Chai … Чай … चाय

Chai: a wonderful thirst-quencher I was fond of long before it became trendy. Actually, I often drank tea as a boy, as it was my parents’ regular post-prandial refreshment. They enjoyed it with lemon rather than milk, which (unlike coffee, to which they would always add milk) made it acceptable after a meal with meat […]

Pianos and Diaper Buckets: The Perils of Intercontinental Moves

When I married my “starter wife” (defined in “The Fly,” below) I was not yet 30 and in more ways than one was just getting acquainted with the various responsibilities of life as an adult. I was living in Washington, D.C., at the time, but was preparing to leave on my first Foreign Service assignment […]

Courthouse Square Reunified – More Than the Sum of Two Halves

I wrote this article in December 2015 for the 2016 edition of the annual Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce directory (aka the Santa Rosa Community Resource and Business Guide), which was published this week. Text begins beneath photo “Charming” … “tempting” … “idyllic” … “stunning” … “a jewel” … “a delight” … “great for families […]

‘One of the Cowboy States’

My last Foreign Service overseas assignment was to Japan in 1985. This was no ordinary assignment to our embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. consulates around the country. No, this assignment was to the U.S. Pavilion at an international exposition, Tsukuba Expo ’85 (http://bit.ly/1RweFds), held that summer in Tsukuba Science City, 35 miles […]

Surreal Welcome to Leningrad

Bank Bridge over the Griboyedov Canal, one of many canals in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), sometimes called “the Venice of the North.” As a young Foreign Service officer, I arrived in Leningrad in early July 1976 to begin a two-year assignment at the U.S. consulate-general in that city, the second-largest in the USSR. I flew […]

The Fly

The following incident took place one evening in 1971 or ’72 in our apartment, when I was working in my first Foreign Service post at the U.S. embassy in Brasilia. My wife (clarification: my “starter wife,” as a funny friend likes to call a first spouse to whom one is no longer wed) had gone […]

What Car Is This?

Lyrics that I dreamed up for the benefit of our kids at Christmastime 1977 when I was working at the U.S. consulate-general in Leningrad, USSR. We had just washed our (very dirty) blue Saab. These lyrics were originally published in the Neva Neva News, the occasional newsletter of the consulate-general staff. Sung to the tune of the […]