Flood Relief for Pakistan

U.S. citizens can also still text "SWAT" to 50555 to donate $10 for flood relief in Pakistan.

As the State Department's official blog notes, 2010 has seen natural disasters strike around the world, from the devastating earthquake in Haiti at the start of the year, to recent mudslides in China, wildfires in Russia, and flooding in Pakistan.

I am proud that our government has joined with the governments, NGOs, and citizens around the world in rushing humanitarian relief and assistance to where it is needed most.

Pack-out and Aloha

We had our first official State Department pack-out on August 10th.  To prepare, we went through our storage unit, our sublet, and my parents' garage and segregated and demarcated all items as UAB (unaccompanied air baggage, which will arrive at our DC apartment just weeks after our arrival) or HHE (household effects, which will go into storage in Maryland to be seen again only when we leave for post).  It was a hectic few days.  By the time the movers arrived at 7 am, we had everything in neat piles. 

Five movers arrived and brought along two huge trucks.  The guys began by opening all our pre-packed boxes and repacking everything.  That was a relief, as we'd done everything pretty haphazardly the first time around.  ;)   The HHE crew then followed us to our storage unit in a nearby city and did the same thing there. We were done by 2 pm -- the easiest move Eva or I have ever done!  Then again, we've never moved with the assistance of five people and two enormous moving vans before.  These professionals moved like the wind and were very good-humored and nice folks.  We just PRAYED we would not exceed our authorized UAB limit of 450 lbs -- which, of course, we did.  We will just have to take the Wii, Rock Band 2 drums, Eva's KitchenAid, and all our clothes n the car with us.

After the movers left, we spent the next two days moving out of our San Francisco sublet and into my parents home.  All we had there were our remaining kitchen items and clothes, but it somehow took forever.  We both feel like we've spent the last few months of our lives moving.  I guess I have to get used to this process as an FSO.

let freedom ring

Fantastic news of the day: PROP 8 WAS OVERTURNED! While this matter will surely be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (and then likely to the SCOTUS), Judge Walker's 136-page decision thoroughly and effectively memorializes the weaknesses of the arguments set forth by the Prop. 8 proponents. The constitutional right to marry, Judge Walker said, "protects an individual's choice of marital partner regardless of gender." He also said domestic partnerships in California are a "substitute and inferior institution" that lack the social meaning and cultural status of marriage. Additional choice quotes from the holding:

That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant, as ‘fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.

Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent.

Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.

Haters, see you in the Ninth Circuit.  Justice prevailed today!

As my lovely wife Eva said, "THE CASTRO IS GOING TO BE OFF THE MID-CENTURY MODERN BENCHES TONIGHT!"  (she's so cute.) She was right. This is what took place outside of our window in San Francisco's Castro District:

(Photo Credit:

hump day

Ahhh yes, moving right along. "Work" is still trudging along; I'm trying not to micromanage the new owner too much (nearly impossible), saying sometimes tearful goodbyes to patients, packing out all my stuff, and mostly just sitting around during treatments, interjecting questions, making silly jokes, and being generally useless. It's oddly nice and less awkward than I thought it would be.

I, in total Eva form, bought a bunch of prepaid discount packages for various exercise related activities and saved them all for the last minute. This means that in order to get my 'deal' I have to work out two and sometimes even three times a day. This also means that my effing abs hurt like a mutha, I'm sleeping like a baby, and really have no time nor energy for anxiety or stress. This also means that I should be in great shape for Hawaii! Did we tell you that we're going to Hawaii? Well, as embarrassing as it is since we went no less than four times last year, we're still not sick of it and we're going on the 16th. We are, however, going to a new island if that makes you feel any better (not newly discovered, mind you, but Kona). Also, now that we moved to the Castro I walk like three miles a day since I have to commute back and forth to the Mission to "work" and take advantage of all my exercise deals. All I can say is that I hope this all pays off.

The packing thing is going to be crazy. My Virgo side is in full effect: making lists, reorganizing lists and updating them, creating calendars, bossing Cyn around, etc. Cyn's bff Andrea is coming up this weekend to help us with the madness (so thoughtful! this is the same person who sent us hot breakfast in bed last week for no good reason except that she is an exceptional person). Cross your fingers for us and the good people moving our stuff...