7 Quick Takes about haunted houses, affordable weekend wines, and #TWEETSONAPLANE
I am about to have a crazy week, starting tomorrow. After months of living a life that was like a reality show called Suburban Survival! in which the sadistic producers wanted to see how long one woman and six children could be trapped in a living room without resorting to cannibalism, I’m finally going to be doing all sorts of things that take place outside of the downstairs area of my house. Exotic!
Tomorrow we’re going out with friends; my cousin will be in town over the weekend; on Monday I’m filming a Q&A for the Explore God series with some local Protestant pastors; Tuesday is the big Texas Alliance for Life benefit dinner, otherwise known as Every Single Person the Fulwilers Know, All in One Ballroom; on Friday I jump on a plane to go speak at the Thirst Conference in Bismarck; and thanks to the lack of direct flights from Bismarck to Austin, I get to hang out with Brianna Heldt in Denver on the way home.
In the back of my mind, I thought that all of this great stuff was spread out throughout the month. When I looked at my calendar and realized that it all takes place in one week, I kind of started to twitch.
Here’s another, shorter way to phrase what I just said: it’s time once again for #TWEETSONAPLANE!!!!!! Since my health issues earlier this year cleared off my speaking calendar, this will be the first time in a long while that I’ve flown.
For those of you who weren’t reading the last time I found myself locked into a metal tube that was hurtling through the sky, air travel is not my favorite thing. I mean, it’s okay if the flight goes smoothly, since I can just sit quietly with my knees in my chin and wonder what tall people ever did to the guy who designs airline seats to make him despise them so much, but the moment a plane hits turbulence, it is ALL OVER for me.
It is unfortunate for all involved that many planes now offer internet connections, which gives me access to Twitter during said “it’s ALL OVER” experiences. For the sake of everyone who happens to be online next weekend, let’s hope that we have clear skies in the middle part of America.
I actually have a suffering evaluation metric that I use to help keep myself calm during difficult times, in which I ask myself “Would I rather be experiencing this or stuck on a plane going through turbulence?” Nine out of ten times, the question makes me joyfully embrace whatever difficulty I’m going through and thank God over and over again that I’m not being bounced around in a flying coffin.
When the baby was born in April, it was a fairly un-fun experience that included twelve blood draws in the same arm in one day. When the nurse slunk back into the room to say that she’d have to do yet another draw (I believe this was the ninth) because the lab LOST the last sample, I looked down at my bruised and throbbing vein and considered picking up my IV stand, wielding it as a weapon, and making threatening statements about what would happen to the next person who came near me with a needle. Then I asked myself, “Is this worse than being on an airplane in turbulence?”, and I suddenly felt like I was at a day spa and happily extended my arm for another draw.
Since I mentioned Brianna Heldt in #1, I just wanted to confirm that you all read every post that she writes on her blog. You do, right? Okay, good.
In case anyone needs a recap: Brianna is a mother of eight, including four adopted children. Her two daughters who came to their family through adoption have Down Syndrome and needed heart surgery shortly after they arrived in the U.S. Through all the ups and downs and craziness of her busy life, Brianna always manages to be joyful yet also completely real. I just love reading her thoughts on faith, trusting God, feminism, motherhood, adoption, and pretty much everything else she writes about. Definitely add her site to your must-read list.
One of Joe’s favorite things is to seek out great “bang for the buck” wines that taste like expensive bottles but don’t break the budget. After months of yeoman work on the subject, and with the help of a gift certificate to a wine store that my dad gave us for our anniversary, Joe has finally collected what he considers to be the definitive list of Best Weekend Wines under $15. Behold:
BEST WEEKEND WINES UNDER $15
From left to right: Peachy Canyon “Incredible Red” zinfandel; Dreaming Tree cabernet sauvignon (people on Instagram tell me this is Dave Matthews’ winery); The Show cabernet sauvignon; Kenwood cabernet sauvignon; Kendall-Jackson Vinter’s Reserve red blend; Joel Gott zinfandel; Decoy merlot.
The year doesn’t matter too much, since these are wineries that have a consistent quality level. You should be able to find most of them at any grocery store or liquor store with a good wine selection. Enjoy!
I have spent all week trying to understand the lure of haunted houses. I like taking a walk in other people’s shoes, trying to see the world through the eyes of someone totally unlike myself. For example, the other day I was thinking of what would be the job for which I would be most ill suited in all the world, and I came up with Morning Show Radio DJ. At first I wondered why anyone would ever want to subject themselves to that kind of misery, but when I took a moment to think through it, it made sense. I could see how a high-energy morning person might find that to be a great way to have some fun while making other people’s days better.
But haunted house people have me stumped.
I have tried so hard to put myself in the shoes of a haunted house lover. I attempted to re-create their inner dialogue when making the decision to visit a haunted house, but it turned out like this:
What I need in my life is for someone to jump out of a closet with a chainsaw and scream in my face. I’d like to be able to walk by things that are perfectly still and not know if and when they might burst to life and start moving towards me. I want people who appear to be deranged to stare at me menacingly. I could also use some strobe lights, creaky door sounds, and moaning torture noises. If this could all happen in an enclosed space that I could not easily exit, that would be cool.
I would ask what I’m missing, but I think that trying to explain the lure of haunted houses to someone like me would be like trying to explain the unique beauty of a Picasso painting to a dog. It’s a lost cause.
I’ve had various blogs and websites for 10 years now. Some of them did quite well, others were mostly ignored. It’s given me lots of opportunities to see what works and what doesn’t in terms of how to have a “successful” blog, whatever that means. I’ve never seen a “how to have a good blog” writeup that jibed with my experience of what works and what doesn’t, and I always wished someone could articulate the real secrets behind what makes a website work. Finally, the other day, someone did.
This post by the Bloggess really does pretty much say it all (which makes sense, since she has one of the post popular personal blogs in the universe). Read her point #16, and you’ll know everything there is to know about blogging — or, at least everything I know. I’ll warn you that she’s a big fan of profanity, and I don’t think there’s a single paragraph that doesn’t contain an f-bomb. If you’d rather avoid sites that are drenched with salty language, I get that. But I wanted to put the link out there, because I think that everyone with a blog could relax and have more fun if they took her advice.
Have a great Fall weekend!