Happy Birthday, Anna!

Crazy to think it has been another year already ❤

Congrats on graduating college…and making it around the sun again!

My favorite memory from this past year is still probably all of us siblings piling into the van on Christmas in our matching pajamas for gas station pizza. Those PJs wouldn’t have happened without you and your determination to bring some style to the house.

Happy Birthday!


Sociable Evenings

I’m almost halfway through what’s turned into a week straight of social commitment. There was Taco Tuesday and then the last-minute concert Wednesday and then dinner with my former assistant last night and the county fair tonight. Then I’m helping someone move tomorrow, going to a small group Sunday night, hosting people for dinner Monday, and treating the legal assistants tp an evening out on Tuesday.

And it is all most lovely but also, my apartment needs cleaning and my plants watering and I need to go grocery shopping and dang it, this is not sustainable.


SHANE & SHANE

“Do you just love Shane & Shane?” asks the effusive concert-goer to my left.

“Actually,” I tell her, “I have only the dimmest idea who they are. Someone invited me to this concert 45 minutes ago and I came.”

She looks at me horrified.

I do feel like seats three rows from the stage are wasted on me.

Then the band comes out and I feel even dumber because I don’t know which of the four individuals on the stage are “Shane and Shane.”

The guy who looks like Tim Hawkins starts talking and I piece together that he is a Shane. And then he points out the other vocalist as a Shane. The other vocalist looks like a middle age youth pastor. Throughout the performance, Tim Hawkins-Shane does most of the talking. Your-church-youth-pastor Shane only occasionally gets close enough to the mic to come through audibly.

But regardless, I enjoy the concert. As a general rule, I enjoy corporate worship, and that’s effectively what this is. Most of their songs come from Psalms so even if I don’t know the melody, I know the words.

10/10. Do recommend Shane & Shane concerts. Even and especially if only moderately familiar with them.


10 Years On The Road

10 years ago today, I passed my road test and became a licensed Wisconsin driver.

Contrary to popular belief, the world did not end.

I have a decade to prove I am an excellent driver. Or at least, a competent one.

So, take that, mocking younger siblings of 18-year-old Amy.


Voice Famous

Today I called someone to offer legal advice and in the middle of the conversation, she went: “Wait, are you Amy??”

I said I was. (I promise I introduced myself at the beginning of the call.)

“I recognized your voice! You did the video on homeschooling in my state!”

So. I’m not saying I’m a celebrity now, but… 😉


E-mail Etiquette

Today I Zoomed with a high school student who wants to go to law school. She was a delight and very professional with her questions. As we wrapped up, she informed me:

“When I first reached out, I thought you would be old.”

“Oh?” I preen, expecting a comment on my youthful good looks.

“Yeah, but then I got your e-mail and you e-mail like you text, so I knew you weren’t.”

………………..

Excuse me while I go overanalyze if this kid just insulted my e-mail skills.


Ending the Church Hunt

I’ve moved quite a few times over the last decade or so and unfortunately, almost every move meant the need to find a new church.

Every once in a blue moon, I walk into a church and on the first try know This Is The One. I feel a sense of peace. Things fall together. Even if I meant to look elsewhere, I don’t.

Sometimes I’m back in my hometown. Then I go where my family goes. Built in community where I am automatically accepted as the oldest, never seen daughter in an otherwise active family.

Often I settle for “good enough.” I’ve got a consistent ride, worship I like, sermons I don’t disagree with even if I don’t love them. It is a season.

Occasionally, though, I find a church and keep going and it becomes The One even if it wasn’t what I expected. And I think I’ve found that here in Virginia.

Mostly I dreaded returning this morning. After about two months of consistently attending one church, I all but disappeared for 6 weeks. Granted, I wasn’t in the state so I didn’t abandon them. But they don’t know that.

So, I braced for the awkward. Awkward, ‘I know you, don’t I?’ smiles. Awkward half-greetings. Awkward teasing about not showing up. Or worse, the awkwardness of being greeted by no one. The feeling of starting over…again. Of feeling like a stranger after pouring time and energy into a place. The echoes of starting over…once again.

But that didn’t happen today. I was greeted by hugs and exclamations. Greeted with: “You’re back!!” and “We knew Wisconsin couldn’t keep you forever!”

I sat down and waved to a couple I knew a few rows behind me, only to have them get up and sit by me. And then someone else joined me a few minutes later and sat on my other side.

And it just hit me how nice it is to not have to start over again.


The Floating Admiral by The Detection Club

The Floating Admiral

Imagine the great, classic authors of detective fiction playing a game. G.K. Chesterton writes the preface to a mystery. Then another author takes up his pen and writes the first chapter. Another writes the second chapter. Agatha Christie takes up chapter three. Etc.

Nobody knows who did it. They have all their pet theories, of course. Each person writes down their guess to add to the end of the book along with an explanation about the clues they got and the clues they left. (My favorite line: “I am, frankly, in a complete muddle as to what has happened, and have tried to write a chapter that anyone can use to prove anything they like…”)

The end result is, indeed, a complete muddle. And while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I would not recommend this as a mystery. It is no good guessing whodunnit when the answer quite literally depends on who is writing the chapter at the moment. While I admit I didn’t see the twist coming in the final chapter, I can confidently say no one did but the author of that chapter. And it shows.

At the same time, what makes this book delightful is how each author’s strengths and weaknesses shine through. They all start with basically the same characters. But a few adjectives here or there really make a difference. The wooden vicar of chapter 1 turns into a melodramatic but memorable side character in chapter 2. The any-man detective of the first three chapters gains a personality and hobby in chapter 4, only to turn into an inveterate follower of police procedure in chapter 5. Some chapters focus heavily on the unique personalities involved in the mystery. Others spend paragraphs organizing facts and clues.

The other aspect I enjoyed was reading through everyone’s proposed solutions at the end of the mystery. Some authors spend pages accounting for every move by every character. Others try and guess what each author before them meant to do. And still others provide nothing more than a paragraph summarizing their best guess.

As a glimpse into the minds of various Golden Age detective authors and how they plotted, this was fun. Not much of a mystery, but creative. Now to track down the other book they co-wrote: Ask A Policeman.


Thai Spicy

“One flame equals American spicy. Two flames equal Thai spicy.”

So read the menu at the Thai restaurant my friend and I chose for lunch. The basil chicken sounded so good. But the word “chili paste” and those two flames warned against impulse decisions…

Of course I ordered it. I survived in Thailand where I couldn’t read the menus so I would just point at something and hope it wasn’t weird. Surely that made me immune to something. Yeah, maybe my diet over there contributed to my extreme food sensitivities now, but so did law school. How bad could it be?

Bad. Somehow the menu missed the part where the dish came with jalapeño peppers masquerading as bell peppers.

Tasted amazing, of course.

At one point, the waiter, quite alarmed at the sight of my watering eyes, sniffling nose, and undoubtedly beet-red face, brought me a mug of milk tea instead of refilling my water glass. He didn’t even charge me for it!

I like spicy things. Spicy things do not like me.


Leftover Gluten Free Pasta

I don’t know what they put in gluten free pasta but it goes from a delicious Italian food to bland, boring blah within 24 hours. Without fail.

I had the most delicious Italian yesterday. I brought my leftovers home and thought about coming home to my yummy dinner all day.

BUT GUESS WHAT?

Actually, it was still delicious.

But the pasta’s texture left much to be desired.