Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fried Green Beans

Suzanne and I had a lovely day on Wednesday.  We went out to what is known as the "Northern Neck" of Virginia in her little Miatta convertible.  This is a rural country area with old homes and little summer cottages along tidal estuaries and the Chesapeake.

We stopped for lunch and some vintage shopping, where I got the "lawyer's case" for my office.  The restaurant is in the old Richardson's Drug Store.  I had lobster bisque and a salad, but Suzanne got kinda cra cra and ordered FRIED GREEN BEANS.

I was intrigued, especially when she pointed out that onion rings aren't so very different.  These were truly delicious, with a spicy batter on them and more of a snap than onion rings.  How do I know?  She shared.

Home Depot's Personal Customer Service

Bruce's cousin Andy posted this on Facebook.  I thought it was hilarious.

Baggage – Metaphorical and Otherwise

I’m embarking on a new stage in life.  God’s given me a miracle and shown His incredible sense of humor at the same time.  The Virginia State Police Academy at 51?  You betcha!  He’s not kidding when He says, “I will give you back the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25).  More on that later; the big day is July 9.    He is faithful to that promise.

So, I need a better home office and filing system as a result.  I will have case records and files which I need to store and carry to court.  I lost my work desk when I set up my breakfast nook and sitting on the couch with the laptop won’t cut it.  My friend, Joe, had some vintage suitcases which he dropped off to me…white with a red silk lining.  They got my creative juice flowing.

I went to visit my sister in Atlanta before entering the Academy.  We were visiting an amazing store called Rustique.  I found two more vintage suitcases, one with the coveted labels on the leather indicating the places or hotels visited.  

My Papa built the desk for me when I was in junior high.  I picked up the last suitcase needed, one designed for attorneys, with my friend Suzanne yesterday in a vintage shop.  She spied it first, but in characteristic generosity, handed it over to me.

I set up my office and then realized that there was an enormous metaphor for life among the “baggage.”

I’ve been working through some exceptionally painful issues from my formative past.  It has been hard, frustrating work in which I mopped up some of the dirt and crud from way back when, blew the cobwebs away, and started out with everything clean and fresh.

The chair belonged to my grandfather Galvin who died when I was 18. That chair has been vacant for a long time.  Father, as we called him, was a Yale law school graduate.  As I embark on my career with the law, I am occupying that seat 33 years later.  One chair wheel was broken, so Bruce replaced them all.

There was a kind of icky worn leather seat which I thought I’d use a cleaner on and perhaps put something else on top.  I thought the cushion was part of the chair.  I turned the chair upside down, cleaning away the dust and cobwebs from the bottom.  Then I used Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the wood on the bottom and that clean smell permeated the foyer. 

I turned the chair right side up and the nasty old cushion flew off.  Underneath was caning in perfect condition.  I see it as my Grandmother Helen’s last gift to me.  Caning is a lost art these days, but she loved it on a chair.  She had a “man” who did her caning for her out of his garage.  She must have put the leather seat down to protect the caning.  I think it is beautiful.

Now I have an office that I love.  My Papa built my desk.  My husband helped stabilize and repair the chair, just as he does for me emotionally.  It symbolizes a family history of devotion to the cause of justice. My beloved sister and friends helped me create that suitcase stack. 

With God’s help, behold, all things are new again...even the old stuff that I love.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Suzanne and "The Irish Show"

Wow, I cannot believe I spelled Busch Gardens wrong in my last post.  I know that blog etiquette says I shouldn't go back and fix my error, but ha ha, I did anyway.  Good GOSH, how did I miss that for so many years? I guess you can believe me when I say I don't like amusement parks, I can't even SPELL amusement park.

My friend Suzanne is on the stairway with the accordion.  She truly is an amazing woman.  She plays so many instruments that I've lost count.

She's the Queen of Frequent Flyer miles.  Suzanne is the only person I know who actually likes to fly these days.  Earlier this year, she flew to Hong Kong.  Now if memory serves me correctly, she wasn't there even 24 hours.  She never stayed in a hotel.  Instead, Suzanne took in the sights, rode the famous cable car, had a great Chinese dinner and flew home.  You know what she does with the miles she accumulates?  Well, she sent her parents to Hawaii and she will donate frequent flyer miles to "starving artist" musicians who don't have enough money to fly to a promising audition.

Playing at Busch Gardens is something she does once a week just for fun.  She is also a gifted church organist and choir mistress.  She plays as a piano accompanist at a local university.  Suzanne composes music. She also plays the flute and the bassoon on a professional level.  Suzanne also sings beautifully. But Busch Gardens is just for fun, where she blesses friends with comped or discounted tickets.

Something in my DNA really resonates when I watch Irish step dancing and hear Irish music.  I'm 100% Irish and proud of my heritage.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Busch Gardens Part One

I am not a fan of amusement parks.  I don't need a park to amuse me. I amuse myself pretty well without having acres dedicated to my potential amusement.

However, my friend Suzanne is a musician at Busch Gardens.  When she offered me free tickets to see her perform in an Irish show at the park, how could I refuse?  I was gratified to note that Starbucks Corporation and Busch Gardens finally recognized what the true name of the famous coffee establishment should be.

I didn't go on any rides.  Not a single one.  Totally disinterested,  I really enjoyed my little train ride through the park and all the animals, though.

What a handsome boy.

Here he is chilling at the end of the day

The park has a habitat for magnificent rescued bald eagles.
And a wolf habitat.  This one is snoozing in the late afternoon.

He's in the upper left of the pic.  As laid back as he is, they keep him far away from these guys:
These birds don't even look real to me; they look like you need to plug them in or add batteries:
Irish Fyre is next!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


She moved in next door not long ago.  I learned yesterday that her name is Genesis.  She is only five, but knew exactly how to spell it.  I asked her if she knew where her name came from. She said, "my Daddy."  True enough, but not quite in the way that she meant it.  I picked up my Bible from the porch table and pointed out her name there right at the beginning. She was delighted.

The Bible tells us to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life and mind our own business.  I try to, I really try. But Genesis is out unsupervised on a busy street for more time than I am comfortable with.  Her mother is overwhelmed, I am sure, by two younger children.  However, leaving a five year old out unsupervised for 45 minutes to an hour scares me to death.  I am praying to figure out what Jesus wants me to do in addition to loving this child for Him.

So Genesis and I had a talk as we watched the butterflies flit around the cottage garden. That's all I could think to do yesterday.

Update:  I talked to my neighbors on the other side, wonderful Christians with kids the same age.  We decided that God must have put this young family in our midst for a reason. We agreed to be praying and help out whenever we could..  They invited the new family to a spaghetti dinner and dessert auction  at church two blocks away and the new family was glad to go.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fishing in Edenton, North Carolima

I drove to Edenton, North Carolina on Thursday, not so very far from me. It was a cloudy day, or "a dull day" as Queen Victoria would carefully record in her diary, when she accounted for sunless weather in the Scottish Highlands.  My day was anything but dull, with an interesting glow behind the clouds and the Chowan River a particular gray shade like black pearls.

Edenton is a little jewel of a town, with a monument to Dr. Hughes, signer of the Declaration of Independence and friend of John Paul Jones as well as another monument to James Iredell, one of the first Supreme Court Justices. A town which raised two founding fathers of the United States is a wonderful place indeed.

However, I was just as pleased to make the acquaintance of Kahleel and his friends who were fishing from the Edenton Pier.  I walked down the pier, thinking to just nod and say "good morning" when Kahleel looked at me with a proud smile.  Kahleel is on the left in the pic, his buddies were much more shy and didn't give me their names.

"We caught some fish..."  There was a question at the end of his sentence, where his voice raised a little uncertainly.  Would I care that they caught some fish?  I did care.

"Can I see?"

We squatted down for some serious inspection as he pulled the red top off the cooler to show an impressive catch.

"What kind of fish are they?"

"Regular perch and raccoon perch...see the stripes, that's why they called raccoon."

"Do you guys eat them?"

"They's good eatin', we gut 'em, and fry 'em up in cornmeal,."

"What do you use for bait?"

"Whatever dey is.  We just ran out, called Grandma, and she brought some worms.

She must really love him.

Justice James Iredell said this:

For my part, I am free and ready enough to declare that I think the Christian religion is a Divine institution; and I pray to God that I may never forget the precepts of His religion or suffer the appearance of an inconsistency in my principles and practice.
James Iredell, Essay on religion, 1768

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Okay, so I know I have a weird perspective on things...

But every time I pass this company in Port Norfolk on my way to ride my bike along the Elizabeth River, all I can think of is little, teeny tiny guys with pointed shoes and green peaked caps hammering shoes for miniature horses.  Sort of like the Keebler elves...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

DC's Capitol Hill Neighborhood

I love big cities; Boston, New York, or DC.  I like big, old cities.  Do I want to play the tourist to shop?  Absolutely not.  I want to walk, and walk, and walk some more, take pictures, and absorb the places where people really live.  Then I find an outdoor cafe and sit, watching the people walk by living their regular routines and wonder what it would be like to live there.  I admire the architecture, the old growth trees, and savor the flavor of real life in that BIG CITY.

So that's what I did on Thursday in DC.  I explored the neighborhood around Capitol Hill.

DC has many magnificent row houses in this area, much like the row houses in my beloved New York City, but more colorful.

I stopped and sat on the steps of a Catholic church to talk to a friend.  The sirens of the DC Metro Police and ambulances, the horns honking in cars, the snatches of conversation overheard, "You know, he's a great candidate, Jeb already endorsed him"...the song of DC.   It's a different song of the city than you hear in New York.

Here's that church spire from a distance:

Then there were all the postage stamp sized cottage gardens in the front of the row houses.  This is a big difference from New York

Isn't this little cafe adorable? Tres jolie!

Of to church and to ride my bike

Do not let Sunday be taken from you If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.
Albert Schweitzer

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mrs. Bremer Goes to Washington

I had an amazing opportunity yesterday to interview Congressman Dave Reichart of Washington State.  Congressman Reichart, during his days in law enforcement, was the head of the task force which apprehended the Green River Killer, one of the most prolific serial killers ever.

His book, Chasing the Devil, recounts the harrowing 20 years he spent chasing this monster who has been documented as killing 48 women and claims to have killed 71.  I never thought that I would be sitting next to the person who apprehended a sociopath whom I'd studied at length in a profiling class in graduate school.

I will be writing up this article for Law Enforcement Today, where I am managing editor.  I'll link to the article here in the blog once published.

Dave Reichart is a Christian and a truly wonderful legislator with a conscience and deep concern about the current state of government in this country.  It comforts me to know that a righteous person is there in Washington, DC.

I was his guest at the posh Capitol Hill Club, which I have heard about over the years, never dreaming that I'd be sitting in there in the bar next to people I usually see only on television.  I was cool, don't worry.  I only jumped up and down and said "Oh my GOSH that is Congressman Peter King" and "I'm interviewing a Congressman for Pete's sake" on the inside.  Mostly I was thinking, "Don't stare.  Don't knock over your Diet Pepsi.  Don't be a goober."

I was mesmerized being so near the seat of power of the legislative branch of our government.  The hum and buzz of talk in the club, with occasional bursts of laughter or raised voices has a direct influence on all of us.  I wanted to stand up and holler, "Stop the gridlock.  Cooperate.  Follow the golden rule. We're depending on you," but of course, I couldn't.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flowers from the Cottage Garden

Okay, so I'm driving to Washington DC to do something amazingly cool today which I will share with you after I'm all finished.  I'm afraid that I'll lose my blogging mojo if I miss a day, so I'm leaving you with this bouquet from the cottage garden.  The orange flowers are called pleurisy root, believed to be helpful for that condition if brewed in a tea.  I think pleurisy is an old-fashioned name for pneumonia.  The red rose in the back is a very old variety with the most wonderful smell. I believe these roses are original to 256 Constitution, which celebrated its 92 birthday yesterday.  How do I know? The date is inscribed in the foundation.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daisies are just the friendliest flower, aren't they?  They are waist-high out in the cottage garden these days, along with yellow and orange lilies, gardenias, lavender, red geraniums, and pink roses.  Daisies in an old glass milk bottle are a kind of simple goodness that make me smile when I go downstairs to start the coffee.  So did the coffee,  "caramel drizzle" flavored beans sent home with me by Mom from Atlanta.

I'm hungry.  Time to make the oatmeal and top it with some fresh blueberries.  Mega yum!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Rule Britainnia!

God save the Queen.

Henri's Bakery, Atlanta

I love spending time with my sister.  We are extremely different in many ways.  There is a larger than usual age gap between us of 12 years.  I am Type A, she is Type B.  I question everything; she rolls with the flow.  She is patient; I am not.  Karensa has the cool name; I have the classic one.  Kerry has an awesome sense of direction, while I delight in navigating in NY City because of the logical street grid.   However, we do have some notable similarities...a quirky and ironic sense of humor, a love of Christian music and reading, we both talk with our hands, and cry when we laugh really hard.

During some tough times for me, I have relied on my sister's help.  Her calm nature and her basic, unshakable conviction that God will take care of everything have sustained me in moments of panic and fear.  Kerry has helped with practical things and been there for emotional things.  She was born on Friday the 13th, but she dispels that whole superstition because she has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.

We were able sneak out recently when I was in Atlanta to have lunch at Henri's Bakery.

We sat in seats like these.  I had a Greek salad and Kerry had a sandwich on a croissant.
Henri's smells sublime and it looks even better.  There are no calories if you just take pictures.
Check out the cupcakes.  The frosting rose covers the entire top.  Yum!