Sunday, December 21, 2008

Can You Dig It?

Yes, I can. I've been waiting such a long time. For today...

Que Sarah on holiday. I'll be back next week.

Peace to you...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In case you're not on the mailing list...

If you're a normal reader you already know all of this, and even if you're an abnormal reader, I'm sure this will be familiar, but I want to share anyway. Is that a crime? Here's the Christmas letter being sent out by the House of Curtis, complete with pictures.
I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the annual CURTIS FAMILY NEWSLETTER! Rest assured, it has arrived. Not much has happened this year, but somehow we’ve managed to stay busy. I’ve read about a million books and Steven has played about a billion video games. Steven preaches the sermons that bring the house down. I struggle to retain my sanity working with the crazies. Same old, same old.

In June, Steve and I played hosts to a certain paper kid named Flat Stanley. Our nephew, Nick had to send Stanley to a relative far away for an adventure (for a school project) and he picked us! It was quite a unique way to get to know our city a little better. He got to taste real Memphis barbecue. He even got to go to a Stanley Cup playoff game! Get it? “Stanley” cup!? Ah, never mind.

In July our church had Vacation Bible School. Though a teensy church, we had 30 kids show up! Thank God that these kids were able to come and learn about our Lord. I was the harried and frazzled director and Steven led the singing (and the motions) and I think he had as much fun as the kids did. The church really came through and worked hard to pull it off. If you’ve ever worked at a VBS before, you know how much goes into it. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.

After VBS, Steve and I needed a little break. We headed to Atlanta for some much-needed rest. We spent the next week running like chickens and seeing the sights. That is, every sight. Nothing escaped our scrutiny. We camped, we ate, we rode giant escalators (that would be at the CNN building-an eight-story, freestanding escalator that’s more than a little scary). What more could you want? We were a little smarter this year than last. When we went to Missouri, it was almost unbearably hot so this trip, we were sure to bring along our box fan. We roughed it with our fan, laptop and cell phone in the tent. Yup, real outdoorsy. Well, it was fun.

This year, our family was blessed with a new niece and nephew! Jonathan Philip was born to Philip and Jen this August and we’re looking forward to meeting him very soon. Also, Chris and Amanda had a little girl, London. Steven was able to meet her this summer, but work kept me away. We’re so excited to see all the nieces and nephews. And the parents. And the siblings. Well, we just miss Michigan altogether, how about that?

This December, we celebrated our eighth anniversary. Eight years?! Seems like seven. Really, the time has flown and we are as much in love now as we were on our wedding day. (Awwwwww.) Here’s to 200 more years.
We hope you will pray for us as we press toward the goal. Right now the ultimate goal is GRADUATION!

Peace to you,
Steven and Sarah Curtis

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

My mom gains another year today. It was a little difficult finding a picture of her since she's normally the one behind the camera. And when she is caught in a picture, she's wearing her grandchildren like a blanket. Isn't she lovely? She raised four kids with love and affection and is now a source of joy to five grandkids.

And why not? My mother is the most humble and gentle and loving person I know. Not just to her family, but to everyone who knows her. Her church family knows she can be counted on to do whatever is asked of her, be it small or important, and she often doesn't receive the credit she deserves.

One of my favorite memories is her reading us the "Little House" books before bed each night. She even sang the "Old Dan Tucker" song in it.

Also, she used to sing in the Praise Team at church and I loved when she'd look at me with an upraised eyebrow as if to ask, "How am I doing?" She's got the most beautiful voice.

Here's the best one, though:
Steven and I drove up to Michigan one Thanksgiving without telling our families we were coming. I'll never forget the look on her face when I showed up at the front door. I was wearing sunglasses and my hat and coat and through the distorted glass of the front door window I must have looked like my sister because she greeted me with a "Good morning, Patti!" and then when she realized it was me I got the world's best spine-crunching Mom hug and an enthusiastic "Sarah!" Repeat times five other family members and you get the best Thanksgiving ever.

Happy Birthday, Mommy! You'll never get Christmas wrapping paper from me!


Not only is this my Mommy's birthday, it's my 100TH POST! Kudos to my family for being such excellent blog fodder. Need proof? Click here, here, here, or here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Listen to the Words

I heard this song for the first time ever recently and was moved. It's taken from a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow after he lost his son in the Civil War and his wife was burned to death when he was unable to save her.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men

And the bells are ringing
Like a choir they're singing
In my heart I hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

But the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Then ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And the bells they're ringing
Like a choir they're singing
And with our hearts we'll hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they're ringing?
The life the angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men

I especially love the stanza that says "God is not dead nor does He sleep." I'm reminded that no matter how unbearable this life seems, no matter how insignificant we feel, God still knows us and loves us.

Aunt Sarah says it better:

"God tells us who we are. He tells us we are unique in the universe. Psalm 139 says he knows our ‘downsitting and uprising.’

It says that he knew me before my birth. Before I was a person, before I gave my first birth cry, God knew me, saw me and was aware of me.

Who am I? Well, I like to read Scientific American. I find articles on astronomy fascinating. Within my lifetime astronomers have learned that the stars we see at night are only from one galaxy out out of many galaxies. And our largest telescopes tell us there are billions of galaxies. And every one of those galaxies can have a billion stars. How many of those stars have solar systems like ours? Our earth is less than a speck of dust in the total of God’s creation.

How can I think of the infiniteness of God? My mind can’t take it all in. I run out of words.

And yet, out of billions and billions of objects and time-years in the universe, there is only one fifth child of Ursula E. MacFarlane and Edward E. Gudschinsky, one named Sarah Caroline Gudschinsky. I am unique in the universe. You are unique in the universe. In all those billions of years, there never was another you and in all the time to come, there will never be another you. You are made by God into a pattern He will never repeat again.

Why on earth, then, am I worried about how I can be somebody? I am somebody, a unique creation of God."

Watch. There's just something about those kids singing "peace on earth."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wise Men Still Seek Him

So the church is putting on a Christmas play, right? And we were a little short on adults to play some of the parts (like the Wise Men who brought gifts to little Jesus). So sort of jokingly, one of the play workers picked three random men from the congregation and signed them up for the parts.

We had our first run-through yesterday and, lo and behold, they all showed up! I knew two would be agreeable, but the third (we'll call him Mickey, and thank God no one from church knows about this blog, cause Mickey might take offense at being called Mickey) I had just about written off as a lost cause. He is the manliest man I believe I've met! Retired Air Force, this dude has a plane in his garage! He's got a great heart, though, and he sure was a trooper yesterday. I'm just hoping he'll still be gung ho when he sees the costume we've got picked out for him :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Scrooge? Me?!

I've been away a while, and now here I am with a little rant. I apologize in advance. I'm sure this will be no fun at all to read.

My brothers-in-law have accused me of Scrooginess. Sometimes my hubby accuses me of having a heart that's "two sizes too small."

I think they think it's because I was raised not believing in Santa Claus. You can agree with this practice or not, but one thing I can say is that my parents have never, no not ever, lied to me. We had Christmases filled with family, candlelit church services and caroling.

Just because I get irate if I hear Christmas music at the store before Halloween or am accosted by Christmas trees and mall Santas does not make me a Scrooge.

I also get irate if the Salvation Army bell ringers are deprived of their bells. The Salvation Army gives many people Christmases who would otherwise be forced to treat the holiday like an ordinary day. My grandma was a huge supporter of the Salvation Army and I can't pass a donation bucket without thinking of her (and Uncle John, too, but for a totally different and semi-hilarious reason...story to be told at a later date. Maybe.)

Also, people who gripe over hearing "Merry Christmas." If you don't like it, don't say it back to me. Ignore me. Don't start a petition to have it banned from the world. In my experience, most people don't care if you say it. Most people will smile and say it back. It's something to connect us to strangers, even if only for a moment. Two of my bosses are Hindu and I have a very good friend who is Jewish and none of them have a problem with me celebrating "my" holiday. There must be a small handful of people who want to make life difficult for Christmas-celebrators. Boycotting Nativity scenes, Christmas trees and religious Christmas carols. I don't particularly agree with the history behind Halloween, but I definitely wouldn't presume to boycott the celebration of it.

I'm just sayin...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Don't worry, you're not tagged...

Joy from Joy of Desserts tagged me for this Thanksgiving Meme.

There are only two easy rules:
1. Post these rules when you participate in this meme.
2. Link to the people you tag as well as the person who tagged you.

Here we go...

1. Which do you like better: hosting Thanksgiving at your home, or going elsewhere?

Hosting myself. Though if I had an opportunity to visit my family for Thanksgiving, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I love the cooking, the smells, the guys watching football...

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen turkey? Organic? Free-range?

Eh, I get whatever's on sale. Though in the future, I will avoid Wal-Mart's meat like bubonic plague.

3. Do you make stuffing or dressing? What kind?

Well, dressing is one thing Steve's pretty clear on: he likes Stovetop. However, due to some recent dietary changes, Stovetop Stuffing is not an option. I'm making dressing myself this year for the First Time Ever. I'm excited!

4. Sweet potato pie or Pumpkin pie?

Sweet potato. Maybe with a touch of whipped cream (AKA "calf slobber" or "lickdab" in the house of Kennedy) (that would be my family, not the President. I have no idea what they call whipped cream.)

5. Are leftovers a blessing or a curse?

Definitely a blessing. Mmmm, leftover turkey and mac n'cheese...ooh and don't get me started on the ham rolls. Though I doubt they count as leftovers if you go rescue them from the fridge an hour after dinner.

6. What side dishes are a must-have in your family?

Patti's mac n'cheese. Oh, and her green bean casserole. HAM ROLLS. Apple rings (though I'm the only one to eat them). Mom's yummy mashed taters.

7. What do you wish you had that might make Thanksgiving easier?

I'm with Joy on this one. More space. And a maid for dish washing. And a convection oven.

8. If/when you go to someone else’s house for the holiday, do you usually bring a dish? If so, what is it?

Last year was the first year I didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner. We went to a church member's house and had a lovely meal. She asked me to bring dessert and I prepared a Lemon Meringue Cake and an Apple Pecan Pie. That cake was so darn good I could have eaten it all myself before dinner. God bless Martha Stewart. And Swiss meringue. And lemon curd. Mmmmm.

9. What do you wish one of your guests would bring to your house?

Strawberry rhubarb pie. Ooh, and more ham rolls never hurt anyone.

10. What do you wish one of your guests would NOT bring to your house?

Bologna salad. Please, don't ask.

11. Do you stick with a particular menu from year to year, or do you mix it up?

I like the traditional stuff: turkey, sweet potatoes, etc, but I do like to add new things (like cream puffs for dessert this year! Woot!

12. Is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday in your home?

Neither. It's a day when we gather with family to enjoy a meal and each other's company.

13. Share one Thanksgiving tradition.

Tradition has sort of gone out the window, what with us being away from our families so long. You'd think in the last seven years we would have come up with some traditions of our own, but alas, it is not to be.

14. Share one Thanksgiving memory.

Our last Thanksgiving in Kentucky, we were busily packing for the move to Memphis. We took just a little time to eat an adequate, though small and hastily prepared meal for the two of us when there was a knock at the door. Our pastor and a church member stopped by to wish us a good holiday and to bring us a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Their thoughtfulness was so very appreciated.

15. Name five things you’re thankful for.

1. Family
2. TWO days off work (sorry, I couldn't resist)
3. A new nephew to meet once we get back to Michigan
4. The means to provide a meal and a home and the loved ones to share it with
5. My dear hubby, who supports me in everything without question (and who has promised to clean the house, including the toilets, while I cook dinner).

Since I recently went a little tag-happy, I'll leave it up to you. Do it or don't but let me know if you do so I can check out your answers...

Friday, November 21, 2008

He Loves Me...

...and for the life of me, I can't figure out why. If any of you really knew me, you'd wonder why too.

He's stuck with me through it all - for better or worse, in sickness and health, rich and poor, mean and with morning breath...

I don't deserve him and yet he acts like loving me is a privilege.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cream Puffs

Pate a Choux, used to make cream puffs for the church ladies.
Recipe courtesy Mr. Brown


* 1 cup water
* 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
* 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 5 3/4 ounces flour
* 1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites
* vanilla pudding
* milk
* 1 cup chocolate chips
* 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Boil water, butter, and salt or sugar. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing.

Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Raise oven temperature to 425. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam.

Prepare pudding of your choice (I used Jello vanilla) with 3/4 of the liquid called for. Load pudding into piping bag fitted with star tip. Using the hole you created to let the steam out, pipe in enough pudding to fill the cream puff.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler with oil. When completely melted, dip tops of each cream puff in chocolate and allow to cool before devouring.

Makes about 4 dozen.

This was so frickin easy I didn't even want to take credit for them last night. Everybody loved them...I think they'd taste good frozen, too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not much of anything

Yesterday at Wal-Mart I put my hand into something smelly. It was in the chicken. It was kinda like...It smelled like...Well, let me put it this way. If the bloody flux has a smell, this is it. The smell is STILL on my hand after numerous hand washings and I just can't take it...Note to all readers: When in Memphis, avoid the poultry case.
I had a dream. No, this was a real dream. A dream where there were hundreds of people standing in a room together, counting down to some great event. Five...4...3...2...1...and then Steven woke me up. So here is the question: Was my waking up the "great event?" And if so, how cool is the human brain that we can know the exact time we'll be woken? Or (and this is surely more likely) did Steven interrupt what was going to be some profound pronouncement, like the meaning of life? Darn you, Steve!
Now that you're all sufficiently lulled, this is a meme! HAHAHAHAHA! And if you're reading this, you're tagged! HAHAHAHAHA!

Retiredandcrazy sneakily gave me this to do, and so I am sneakily handing it off to you.

This is the "seven things" meme. 7 things I plan to do before I die, 7 things I do now, 7 things I can’t do, 7 things that attract me to the opposite sex, 7 things I say most often and 7 celebrities I admire.

7 things I plan to do before I die

1. Have kids
2. Visit the Holy Land (though I'm more than a little nervous about this)
3. Celebrate my 100th anniversary with Steve
4. See the giant redwoods
5. Save someone's life
6. Adopt a dog
7. Adopt a child

7 things I do now

1. Remember every stupid thing I've ever said
2. Cook and bake up a storm
3. Hate my job
4. Teach kids Sunday School (and love it)
5. Drive too fast
6. Work too hard
7. Get paid too little

7 things I can’t do

1. Play the piano (d'oh)
2. Talk in front of more than two people without blushing
3. Wait til we move back to Michigan
4. Throw things away
5. Hold my niece and nephews :(
6. Stop checking my email
7. Go to the circus (can't stand the clowns)(or the imprisoned animals, but that's another story)

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex

1. Big hands (to hold me)
2. Blue eyes (to stare at me)
3. Cleanliness (to combat my packrattiness)
4. Braininess
5. Muscles
6. Morals
7. Honesty

7 things I say most often

1. Is it 4:30 yet?
2. I don't want to go to work today.
3. Hello, can I help you?
4. Mr. Brown says...
5. Dear God
6. Good Lord
7. God help us

7 celebrities I admire
(these are all because of incredible talent, I know nothing of their personal lives)
1. Kurt Vonnegut
2. Roald Dahl
3. Stephen King
4. Shel Silverstein
5. John Steinbeck
6. Alton Brown
7. Tim Burton
You're tagged, dang it! Get to work!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Further proof that my parents are the coolest (as though we needed any more proof):

They sent me real, live, made in Michigan saltwater taffy!

AND my brother sent me Michigan cherry coffee.

AND some of the nephews are sending leaves from the tree outside my parents house. We just don't have good Autumn here in the South.

Think they're trying to tell me something?

44 days and counting. Michigan here I come!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Food, Family and Forgiveness

Thanksgiving: It is what you make it. It doesn't matter to me that there are only three in my family on Thanksgiving. I cook like Julia Child herself is coming to dine. I learned how to cook at my mother's side and got a few more wrinkles in my culinary brain when I moved to Kentucky and got my first taste of "Southern" cooking. Working in a tiny college kitchen serving dinner to ravenous scholars was quite an experience. What better guinea pigs are there than guys that'll eat anything as long as you put enough ketchup on it? If the food was bad they ate it anyway, if it was good they thanked me extravagently. While the lunch cooks were pulling out pre-packaged frozen food, I was poring over The Joy of Cooking and delighting in the thought that anything Stouffer's can make, I can make better.

While I cook dinner for my mini-family, I always think of my family in Michigan. Family has always been important to me, but never so much as when I left them behind. This is not to say that my husband and his brother are not my family, because they certainly are, but there is just something about waking up early with my mom and helping to get the turkey in the oven that can't be duplicated. Kind of like Mom's potato salad. I remember spreading out on the dining room table to make ham rolls (and eating about half before dinner even starts.) Sneaking apple rings and being found guilty with pinkened fingers. Trying to get the dog to eat the turkey innards.

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. First and foremost to God, who provides for us and protects us. I'm thankful that God loves me though I don't deserve it, that He forgave me when I asked for it, that he promises Heaven though I am not worthy.

Food, family and forgiveness.

This is Thanksgiving to me.

Submitted to Scribbit's Write-Away Contest

It's Official!

I do not like lamb.

Not only does it make your breath smell like baby poo, it just doesn't taste right.

Steve and I made lamb and barley stew the other night and while he was sauteing the carrots I was chopping up the lamb and we were singing the theme from "Lambchop's Playalong" and frolicking around the kitchen. (Note: be careful how you frolic with a ten-inch chef's knife in your hand.) I think it would have been excellent with beef instead of lamb.

I very rarely disagree with Mr. Brown, so maybe it's an acquired taste, like rattlesnake or hippopotamus.

Alton Brown's Lamb and Barley Stew (recipe courtesy of The Food Network)
* 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-size pieces
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
* 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
* 1 cup barley grits
* 4 cups chicken broth
* 2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano

In a medium mixing bowl, toss the lamb with the salt, pepper and flour.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven set over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add half of the lamb, and brown on all sides, approximately 7 to 8 minutes total. Remove the lamb to a bowl and repeat with the remaining oil and lamb. Remove the second batch of lamb to the bowl and add the carrots to the pot. Saute the carrots for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return all of the lamb to the pot along with the grits and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the lamb and grits are tender. Five minutes before the stew is finished, add the oregano. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve in bowls.

How about you? Do you like lamb? Hate it? Have you tried it? Should I try again?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Phone Etiquette

It seems that the rules of phone etiquette have just flown right out the window. People in my very own family are GUILTY as sin!

Names have been changed to protect their privacy, of course.

Incident # 1: Sam had to get some medical procedures done. Sam's wife, (we'll call her Suzie) called the insurance company to ask some questions about copays, coverage, etc, and was stonewalled. She was told that no information could be given out without the insured person's express, written permission. Sam proceeded to call back and yell at the customer service department. Sam's family member, who just happens to work in the health care industry, called Sam to snoot at him when she heard about his meanness.

HIPAA prohibits health care workers from sharing ANY information with ANY person other than the insured/patient himself. That means our hands are tied, folks. No matter how much you yell, scream, cry or threaten, we can be held legally accountable if the wrong person ends up with your information. So there.

Incident # 2: Lester has a bill that he doesn't believe he owes. He calls up the customer service department and says, "Look, dear heart, I don't owe this bill and I want to speak to your manager RIGHT NOW!

First of all, beginning a sentence with "look" or "listen" immediately puts the other person on the defense. We know we've got a live one on the line and *surprise* we're probably going to record your call for legal purposes.

Second, calling a person "dear heart" (which is the nicest way I could think of to say what I really mean, which is "idiot" or worse) is degrading to that person. It just makes them mad and if they can, they'll probably make this as tough on you as possible. You'll be routed you to 20 different people or left on terminal hold. (The same goes for doll, sweetie, honey, or any number of other names.)

Last, nine times out of ten, I know more than my manager. If you call me up and ask me to help in a calm and civilized manner, I will do my best to resolve your situation. Look at it this way, I don't want to be talking to you any more than you want to be talking to me. Why prolong our displeasure?

I could go on, but I'm not used to writing so much and it's weird. Maybe I'll continue another day.

Why do people not say "bye" anymore? It's starting to rub off on me now. I just hang up when I'm done talking.

Also, voicemail is not the devil. Leave a message, people! It's ok, leave one!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Take Me Away, Officers

One of the very innocent-looking people in this picture is actually GUILTY of a terrible crime (that doesn't involve wearing over-sized sunglasses). No, it involves the breakage of bones.

Ok, it was me. Well, Becky was there, too, but she's innocent.

It all happened late one night about a week before I got married. Steve and I took some friends out to play Whirley Ball (which is like rugby/basketball in bumper cars) and after we were done we were just hanging out in the parking lot, laughing and talking. Becky and I were sitting in Steve's truck (a Sonoma, identical cousin to the S10) and I was about to drive us home when I noticed Steven's friend, Bogie, hanging off the tailgate.

His huge and goofy smile told me he wanted me to drive him around the parking lot a few times, and so I happily obliged. After I stopped, I looked into the rearview mirror and SAW NO BOGIE. I, therefore, pealed out of the parking lot like the devil himself was chasing me. Unfortunately even though no Bogie was spotted, a Bogie was still hanging on perilously low. Imagine my surprise when Becky squealed for me to "Stop, Bogie's dead!" I stopped, Bogie was not dead, but he did have a broken wrist which is how our Best Man ended up in a cast on my wedding day.

I'm guilty and I take full responsibility.

Next up: How NOT to start a conversation if you want someone to help you out. HINT: Avoid words like "look" and "listen" as sentence openers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Killing Time

When I'm not exercising with the Wii Fit (ever after known as "fitzercising" in my home, and by the way, I've lost three pounds), I love to watch movies. Lately I've been into movies that are decent, have a good message, and don't make me vomit from an overdose of corn. Without further ado (okay, maybe just a little more ado), here they are, in no particular order:

Pete's Dragon. Especially for this guy. I love the song about what he plans to do with all of Elliot's body parts after they kill the dragon. Oh wait, maybe this one's not so kid friendly.

And PLUS I just found out one of the hillbilly brothers is Kenickie from Grease!!! That's right, folks, if Elliot is lucky he'll get a hickey from Kenickie. Because a hickey from Kenickie's like a Hallmark card. AND it's got Red Buttons and Mickey Rooney who's always drunk!

Pollyanna. Because this one made my dad cry. He's been so insistent that I see it that I'm sure I'll find a copy in my Christmas stocking this year.

Well Dad, I watched it this week and even Steve was sucked in by Pollyanna's charms. I've found myself playing the "glad game" this week at work and I actually don't want to rip the heads off my boss and coworkers! (Well, not as much, at least.) Okay, I've never actually wanted to rip anyone's head off. Maybe just pull on it a little.

The Parent Trap. But not the crappity remakes. There's just something about Hayley Mills. This one's got Hayley Mills TWICE! In case you haven't seen it, there's a part when one Hayley Mills plays a prank on the other Hayley Mills by cutting off the back of her dress. Ever since seeing this as a kid, I just know someone's standing behind me waiting to disfigure my clothing (especially at church, I mean, gosh, those senior citizens are so devious). No really, I'm paranoid about this. Yet another reason that I'm weird, I guess.

Freaky Friday. But NOT the remake! The older version's got Jodie Foster in it, and who doesn't love Jodie Foster?

The idea of changing bodies with someone so you can see how they live is kind of intriguing, right? Though in my case I may not want to give trade back, especially if you morph into, I don't know, Oprah.

Really though, this is a great movie and Jodie Foster eats ice cream for breakfast EVERY DAY.

The Emperor's New Groove. Everybody, this is Yzma. Yzma, meet everybody. She's voiced by Eartha Kitt. She is devious (Yzma, not Ms. Kitt) and hilarious and with Kronk (her assistant/boy toy) they steal the show, in my not so humble opinion. Squeak squeakins squeak squeekers. (That's 'watch this movie, it's really great' in chipmunk language.)

Oh, and David Spade and John Goodman and Wendie Malick, too. I'm just realizing how many of my everyday expressions come from this movie. Man, I really need to get a life.

Singin' in the Rain. Alright, have you SEEN Gene Kelly? There is a reason that I watched this every single day for a few childhood years, and it wasn't the snappy dialogue (well, okay, I love the snappy dialogue). But Gene Kelly, people! He was awesome! Happy memories = Singin' in the Rain + mac n'cheese.

Let's see, good lines. Ooh, how bout "I can't make love to a bush!" from Lena Lamont or "I can't stand him." also from her or the whole Moses supposes his toeses are roses song. Ah, good times.

James and the Giant Peach. Because Roald Dahl is the man. Everything he wrote is worth reading, and this adaptation of his book is very well done. It's produced by Tim Burton and is made in his signature style (like Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas). It's funny and good and not sickeningly sweet like a lot of kid's movies are.

I say all this to get you to join Swap A DVD. Well, actually, I really wanted to post this blog, but what a great commercial for DVD swapping! Click to swap DVDs for freeeeee!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things I've Learned the Hard Way

1. If you tell a mental patient that your computer has "a mind of it's own," they will believe you.

2. If you go in for a job interview at a doctor's office and the interviewer tells you they specialize in mental health, run, do not walk, out the door.

3. Most people, when they ask how you're doing, really don't want to hear about all the reasons you're having a crappy day. Yes, folks, we have therapists for that.

4. When you normally blog about everyday, mundane life, a blog about politics can fall right on it's well-meaning face.

5. When grandma calls you "dear heart," what she really means is "you moron." (Or in the South, "bless your heart" means "you're related to me so I can't call you stupid but that doesn't mean I don't want to give you a nice kick in the pants.")

6. If you tell someone you don't have kids, they will regale you with horror stories of their 72 hour labor, the 400 stitches they needed after it and the little hellions their children have become. Yes, even a perfect stranger will come up with the most intimate details to lovingly impart to you.

7. When you teach Sunday School to young children, please be prepared. They will come up with interesting questions that you'll have to answer in a true and yet tactful way. Examples, you ask? A seven year old once asked me what Potiphar's wife wanted Joseph to do that was so bad. (The answer is to go to bed with her. My response? "Well, she wanted him to do something really bad that Joseph knew was really bad and so he ran away so quick he left his clothes behind!" And so now, instead of them thinking about Joseph committing adultery, they're thinking about him running away naked. Good job, Sarah!)

Wow, I could go on and on. Maybe there'll be a part two.

And now, a picture to give you nightmares:


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I've literally been a ball of nerves for a little while now. This coming election is going to be a doozy. I can sense riots and suicides in our future.

Ron Paul, where have you gone?

Doesn't he just look like somebody's grandpa? Dontcha just want to write his name in on your ballot?

I'm really just tired of the childishness and "no I didn't, yes you did, no I didn't" feel of this election year.

AND, one of the doctors I work for keeps asking me if I "woted" yet. Yeah, he has a problem with those darn v sounds. If I don't wote, I'll never hear the end of it. How's it's my "civic duty" and my "responsibility as an American citizen." What if I just don't like the two losers running? Huh!? How about that, Dr?

Ok, so that was a little childish. Somebody help me out. Who is the lesser of two evils? Who should I pick?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lest my husband disown me... is a tribute to his new obsession, Chuck. Clicky, and you can watch whole episodes for free!

Chuck is a nerd. No, really, he even works at the "Nerd Herd." At the "Buy More" which is a shameless parody of Best Buy. One day, his former college roommate sends him an email containing super secret government, um, secrets. Somehow, due to Chuck's awesome nerdiness, they get imprinted onto his brain. Now, whenever he sees someone who's involved in government work, he "flashes." In other words, he knows everything about them that makes them a baddie.

Casey (also known as the traitor from The Patriot) and Sarah are government agents assigned to protect Chuck and to catch any baddies he "flashes" on. Sounds a little weird when I put it like that, but ah well.
Chuck lives with his sister, Ellie and her boyfriend, Captain Awesome, who are both doctors. They know nothing about Chuck and his super secret nerdiness. Sarah poses as his girlfriend and Casey as a salesman at the Buy More. What's this? Sarah is slowly realizing she may have real, live feelings for Chuck?! How will this be resolved?! Will Chuck and Sarah find romantic happiness? Don't you want to watch and see???

Oh, and there are lovely bits of eye candy in each and every episode. Steve and I are to the point where we call out "Money Shot!" every time someone shows their undies or their masculine, chiseled chest. Sigh.

Steven is concerned that the ratings are down for this show. He knows that if ratings don't do well, shows get canceled. Please, oh please won't you watch an episode or two? If Steven loses this obsession, he might notice the messy house or that the toilets haven't been scrubbed in a coon's age.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Alex and Philip!!!

Since my nephew, Alex, and my brother, Philip, have back to back birthdays, they get to share a post. How exciting!

When Philip was just a mere sprout, he asked God for a baby brother, a baby sister, or a baby baby. God answered his prayer with me! Isn't God great?

The best thing about Philip? No matter how old I get, he'll always be older. HA!

Ok, really.

He's great at Monopoly. I have never, no not ever, beaten him.

He's a good father. He is completely devoted to his family. I never would have imagined him as a family man, but he just fits the mold. I was looking for a picture of him by himself for this post, and every photo I have of him he's surrounded by his kids, wife, nephews, family, or dog.

Unfortunately, his face looks like a butt. Which is additionally unfortunate, because I look quite a bit like him.

And happy birthday, Alex for tomorrow! Alex is a little sweetie. He's my nephew, three years old tomorrow, born to Adrian and Patti and loved by all. He's a little miracle. There were times, especially when he was a newborn, that we were very concerned about his health. I'm sure if everybody I know had not been praying for him, he would not be the sweet, bright and great kid he is today.

Happy birthday to you both, and I love you and will see you soon!!!

***The first picture is entitled "Salmon Faces" and features Philip and his lovely daughter, Hannah.***

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

Or should I say "Mii?" I'd like to introduce you all to my mii. Her name is Sarah, too.
I've wanted a Wii Fit since, I don't know, nineteen tickety two at least. Everywhere we'd look it'd be the same story. "We're sold out and we have no idea when we can expect more." My dear mom-in-law, Karen, sent me money to purchase a Wii Fit for my birthday. I thought, "Hmm, nice thought but I'll never get one." HA! A new GameStop opened up near my house, Steven and I went in to browse and low and behold, a Wii Fit miraculously made it's merry way into our hands (we, of course paid for it first and thanked the young salesman profusely). I think I made his day with my little hyperventilating "woohoo" dance.

So now, we exercise, not to lose weight or to feel better, but to compete with one another! Here, my mii is giving Steven's mii a peptalk. See how much lower my BMI is than his??? Bwahahaha! (Steven is not amused, as you can see.)

You get yoga (but without all the weird meditation stuff), strength training, nifty step exercises, balance correction exercises (like ultimate hula hooping and tightrope walking) and games, too!

On another note, here is my mii family. Yes, my entire family are miis, even the babies. Please excuse the quality of these pictures as I had to take photographs of my tv screen. I don't know how else to do it. Ah well. Flat Stanley's in there, too, can you find him?


In other news, we need a new transmission. We have walked all over Memphis in search of a good mechanic (this means one who isn't going to make us give up our firstborn child in exchange for reliable service). Though this is great for exercise, it's a little scary, and *poof* there goes our savings.

Oh, bother.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In case you can't see the detail here, that is Steven, holding up a Cheeto to a ravenous seagull.

My family has a thing about camping. For as long as I can remember, we have been campers. My old grandma, my youngest sister in diapers, we have just always loved to camp.

We especially flock to Northern Michigan, where you are always just a short drive to the beach and lighthouses and MACKINAC. That's pronounced "Mackinaw." Yes, I know the second "c" makes no sense. Just go with it, ok? Mackinac is an island and fudge and a bridge (also called "The Mighty Mac") and a bit of a tourist trap but if I had to pick a place to spend my retirement (a mere 37 years away), that would be it.

This is Nick's first trip over the Mackinac Bridge. See the joy Mackinac can bring?

I started this post to just write about that first picture, which is a time when we were enjoying pasties in a park just off Lake Michigan and Steven decided to feed the seagulls (even though it was clearly posted NOT to feed the seagulls) and Nick announced to the family, "You know that's technically illegal" and sent my family into hysterics.

Though my intentions were pure, this post is once again edging towards that happy place where the majority of my writing has gone lately, the place where I say I MISS MICHIGAN! The south is ok but it's just not home. I apologize. Once the new year begins, I should have my fix in for a while.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where I'm From


I am from elves capering on the wall, from Vernors and automobiles and cobbled streets.

I am from the pages of countless books, the scent of libraries, a hundred campfires.

I am from Mom's lilacs, the fragrance of every flower imaginable.

I am from straight backs and wide hips, from Kennedy and Crump and Gudschinsky.

I am from the rough and rowdy and loud.

From love and hugs and bedtime stories told with fervor.

I am from strong faith. From folks who are at church whenever the doors are open.

I'm from Scotland and Germany and Poland, from baked chicken and homemade ice cream.

From the missionary, the cattle thief, and the soldier.

I am from the memories hidden in my grandma's room, the stories she told, the history in my mother's mind, the places my father has walked.

I borrowed this idea from Nature Nut. Click here to make your own.

Friday, October 3, 2008

How about you?

quirk - \ˈkwərk\ - 1 a: an abrupt twist or curve b: a peculiar trait : idiosyncrasy c: accident , vagary ie:a quirk of fate

I asked Steven what I should blog about and he said "How bout our little quirks, like how we have to sleep with a fan on." This is all well and good, but MY quirks are a little more quirky than that.

1. I check under my bed every night before I go to sleep. I have no idea what I would do if something or somebody was actually under there peeking out at me while I'm in the most vulnerable position possible, kneeling on the floor with my butt up in the air.

2. I also check in the closet for boogity men (or boogity women, for that matter) before bed. When I enter the closet, I give the door a good shove to ensure injury of any intruders.

3. I cannot abide open doors. Unless I'm in a room, and then I can't stand being shut in. I know this makes no sense to the average reader, but in my quirky brain, it makes perfect sense. (This is due to a scary story told by my cousin, Jeff. Hmm, maybe it's good enough for Scribbit's Ghost Story Contest. Then again, maybe not. We'll see)

4. (with apologies to any family members who may be reading) I can swap spit by the bucketful with Steven with no problem, but the second he takes a sip out of my waterglass, it becomes his. His amoebas have tainted it and it is, therefore, undrinkable.

5. I can kiss and love and cuddle and, I don't know, lick a dog or cat, but I can't bring myself to shake hands with a stranger. No offense, but you probably have cooties.

I know I'm not alone. What makes YOU weird???

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Comes First

Today, after the most nerve-wracking, mind numbing day possible, I headed home for some much needed rest and relaxation. Cruising through Memphis, windows open, cool breeze blowing, a great song on the radio and my day is fading behind me when I see it. A monstrosity of a billboard in red and green. CHRISTMAS advertising. In October! The BEGINNING of October! What happened to Thanksgiving? What is wrong with people? Ok, before I get off on a serious rant, let's focus for a minute.

Whether you're a Christian or not; whether you celebrate Winter Soltice, Kwanzaa or Festivus, Christmas was originally meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus. How in the world did we get to the point where we receive gifts on another person's birthday in the first place? Thank God that in the last few years, I've been saved from ultimate Scrooge-dom by the association of Christmas with my annual trip to Michigan to visit the family.

With the absurdity of gift giving aside, don't you feel taken advantage of when you start hearing the commercials and seeing the holiday merchandise in the stores so early? You know you're going to buy gifts for your family and friends and you may even decorate your home, so why do we need it shoved in our faces when Fall has barely even begun? As my dad is fond of quoting, "Love of money is the root of all evil." Advertisers want to take every opportunity they can to panic us in to a shopping frenzy. 84 days til Christmas?! Whatever shall I do???

This year, make an effort to give your hard-earned bucks to retailers who show a little restraint and wait til we've digested our Thanksgiving turkeys before breaking out the Tickle Me Elmos. Take a cue from Suldog and blog about it, or even write letters to your local paper telling them how you feel. It's a small thing, but one that could possibly save us all a little stress.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A New Presidential Candidate...

I dislike politics, so I'll refrain from mentioning them too much in this blog, except for this one little post. Since both of the major candidates leave a lot to be desired, I've come up with a new choice:

Sarah's Dad for President! Ooh, and I've got the best running mate for him! Sarah's Uncle John for Vice-President!

That's right folks, not only are they handsome and brothers and men of character, but they're KENNEDYS!!!

And when the other guys do all the research for the mud-slinging, the worst thing they'll come up with is that my Dad wore black socks with white pants. To his wedding. Which is pretty bad, but still forgivable. Unless you're his wife.

What more could you ask?


Also, I have a new most hated "word." Guesstimate. I am utterly appalled that it didn't show up with a wavy red line when I just typed it. Which means that some cretin decided to add it to the dictionary, which is why there is insanity in this world (mine), and why it never seems to get any better. Guesstimate.

I guess the mud-slingers could use me as my family's dirty laundry. I'd have to quit blogging. Hmmm. Or maybe I could just become anonymous.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nice things follow...

After reading Becky's post, Patti thought I wouldn't have anything nice to say about her. Ha! I have nice things to say about everyone! Grandma always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Patti is the Middle Child. Growing up, we were very close. When we weren't clawing each others eyes out, we got along quite well.

Patti married Adrian and instantly became a mom to his little boy, Nick. She's the youngest and coolest stepmom I know. That boy loves her madly.

Later they had their son, Alex. Alex was born early and with lots of problems. Patti had a very difficult pregnancy with complications. I remember my mom calling me and asking me about some of the conditions the doctors mentioned and trying to calm our fears. My dad is quick to point out that both Patti and Alex are miracles. Alex was born with hydrocephalus and had brain surgery several times before he was six months old. He's spent more time in the hospital more than most adults have. And yet, he's one of the happiest kids I know. He's almost never without a smile on his face, and his laugh is just a beautiful sound. I know that this is due in large part to his mother, who loves him desperately and never ceases to let him know. Patti spent days upon days in the hospital with him and never complained.

Now Patti's working to help her husband finish his degree and realize his dream of becoming a teacher.

Once, when Steven was in Michigan and I was stuck in Kentucky, Patti and Becky drove down to pick me up on Christmas Eve. We had a bake-fest, and made cookies and soup for all the couples in our housing area. That's one of my favorite Christmas memories: us laughing and hauling steaming bowls of soup and piles of cookies through the snow.

She's selfless, sweet and loving. She's always the one to call or email me and tell me she misses me. She's a great cook and makes the best cheesy broccoli soup. How could I not have nice things to say about her?

Love you, Patti and Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We'll Leave the Light On

I just love my parents.

We had a guest preacher at church this morning. He talked about the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Whenever I hear this story, I am always reminded of my parents and the porch light.

Whenever one of their kids were out and about, they would leave the porch light on so they can see easily enough to get in the front door. No matter how late I came home, (I didn't have a curfew) even if it was 3 AM, the light would be on, welcoming me home.

Now I live far away, but once upon a time, I drove up for a surprise visit, and lo and behold, the light was on! Now, I'm sure it was a mistake, that someone had just forgotten to turn it off before bed, but I like to believe that they were still waiting for me. Knowing I wasn't home where I belong and waiting for me to come home.

The same is true of God. No matter how far away we roam, no matter what heinous or sinful acts we commit, He is always waiting, seeing us coming from far away, running to us and crying with joy to have us back where we belong and instantly forgiving us of all wrong.

The father in the story always reminds me of my parents, so glad to have me back again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I wonder...

I'm wondering why aging can't be graceful for everyone. My own grandmother lived to be in her 90s and just slipped off one day. By the time we knew anything was wrong, she was already gone.

Then, on the other hand, there are people like Mr. Jim, aged 86. Mr. Jim, who served his country in World War II, got shot, and went back for more, who buried his wife after a long struggle with her illness, raised a mentally impaired son by himself before losing him as well at far too young an age. Mr. Jim, whose body is "eaten up" with cancer, who has been written off by doctors and family members alike and yet continues to hold on. Mr. Jim, who currently resides in a hospital after falling one too many times and is struggling with the idea of either living in a nursing home or giving up his independence and moving in with his niece.

It is absolutely heartbreaking to see him so wasted away and despondent. His will to live is incredibly strong and yet, I wonder why. I wonder what gives a man the will to go on. And I wonder if I would be so determined to survive if I were in his position.

I love Mr. Jim dearly, and one of the best things about him is his attitude on his "good days." With everything he's been through, he'll always claim to be blessed. He never ceases to thank God for His many gifts.

It just hurts to see him in pain.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Nutritional Warning

I am about to become a complete nutritional fanatic. I'm already heading towards a Howard Hughes-like germophobia and now this!

While redesigning our diets, Steve and I have been learning about partially hydrogenated oils. Do you know that every time you eat a PHO, you might as well just drink poison? And they're in EVERYTHING!

Besides the biggie, heart disease, studies are finding links with PHOs to other major health concerns like:

* Alzheimer's Disease: A study published in Archives of Neurology in February 2003 suggested that the intake of both trans fats and saturated fats promote the development of Alzheimer disease.

* Cancer: There is no scientific consensus that consumption of trans fats significantly increases cancer risks across the board. The American Cancer Society states that a relationship between trans fats and cancer "has not been determined." However, one recent study has found connections between trans fat and prostate cancer. An increased intake of trans-fatty acids may raise the risk of breast cancer by 75 per cent, suggest the results from the French part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

* Diabetes: There is a growing concern that the risk of type 2 diabetes increases with trans fat consumption. However, consensus has not been reached. For example, one study found that risk is higher for those in the highest quartile of trans fat consumption. Another study has found no diabetes risk once other factors such as total fat intake and BMI were accounted for.

* Liver Dysfunction: Trans fats are metabolized differently by the liver than other fats and interfere with delta 6 desaturase. Delta 6 desaturase is an enzyme involved in converting essential fatty acids to arachidonic acid and prostaglandins, both of which are important to the functioning of cells.

* Infertility: One 2007 study found, "Each 2% increase in the intake of energy from trans unsaturated fats, as opposed to that from carbohydrates, was associated with a 73% greater risk of ovulatory infertility".

PHOs (also known as trans fats) are in many convenience foods and commercially prepared baked goods.

I say this, not to beat you over the head and insist that you become a nutritional fanatic, but so that you'll know. With Steve's health the way it is, we just can't afford to not pay attention.

Next up: Gluten!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This says it all...

Life is too short to stay in a job I can't stand. Anybody have any suggestions?

And since Suldog says I'm not unique in hating my job (and he can talk, since he's going to be the next president) why don't we all quit our jobs and do what we love? Anyone know a job where the only requirements are sleeping late, reading, cooking and eating?

Sick Day?

I would rather be dead than go to work. If I wake up one morning, dead, my first thought will be, "woohoo, no work today!"

In the spirit of healthy meals, I was preparing a marinade for Slow-Cooked Salmon last night. One of the ingredients is lime juice, so I spent a good amount of time squeezing the limes, added the other ingredients, and went to bed. Before bed though, I had to remove my contacts, right? You can see where this is going. Me, in my seemingly infinite wisdom, stuck my finger RIGHT IN MY EYE and slathered lime juice all over it. "Hmm, feels a little weird," I thought. And then I stuck my finger in my other eye. You see, it didn't hurt at first. Yes, folks, the pain comes later. I went to bed with eyes red and weepy. My first thought? "Hmm, maybe I can fake a case of pink eye and skip work tomorrow! Sweet!"

But alas, it was not to be. My darn morals always get in the way! Ask me about soul competency.

Slow-Cooked Salmon

2 salmon steaks
1 lime
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp white pepper

Place salmon in a ziplock bag. Squeeze lime juice over salmon. WASH YOUR HANDS! Combine other ingredients in a bowl and then sprinkle over salmon. Remove air from bag, seal and roll into a bundle. Refrigerate overnight, or up to 48 hours.

Thirty minutes before cooking, put 2 tbsp olive oil in the crockpot, set to high and cover. Allow to preheat for 30 minutes.

Use a damp paper towel to gently remove the seasonings. Place salmon in single layer in crockpot, cover, and cook for 90 minutes.


Friday, September 12, 2008

A Recap and a Recipe

OK, I was looking for my blog that talks about Steven's health issues and discovered it's not here, it was on Myspace. So you all are sitting there, completely ignorant of my dearly beloved's heart problems.

Steven was born with a membrane covering one of his aortic valves. At age 16, he had open heart surgery to correct the problem. Last September he started complaining of chest pains and so I, being the good wife that I am, FORCED him to go to the doctor. The doctor referred him to a cardiologist. The cardiologist sent him to the hospital for a heart cath. And now the cheese stands alone. I mean, the heart cath revealed no blockages, but that he has a leaky valve that will eventually have to be replaced. So basically he will have palpitations and chest pains (aggravated by stress, and what normal, sane PhD aspiring, hollering preaching man married to a very difficult woman has any stress?) So we're trying to keep his heart as healthy as possible so there will be no further issues. A heart cath at age 27 certainly is a great way to help you forget the carefree ways of youth. Yeah, right.

Anyway, the point of this post was to say that due to Steve's heart, we're making an effort to eat healthier, beginning with wiping out all processed foods. And yes, people, I know that pork isn't the healthiest thing you can eat, but small changes, ok? Small changes. I love to cook, and this is just the motivation I needed to drag out all my neglected cookbooks. I found this recipe and made it last night:

Fennel-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Sauce (recipe courtesy of The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook)

2 tbsp fennel seed
4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 c chicken stock
2 1/2 c fresh or frozen blackberries
1/4 c honey
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

To prepare the fennel salt, spread the fennel seed in a cast iron skillet and roast in the oven for 6 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder, and then mix with the sea salt in a small bowl.

Increase the oven heat to 375.

To prepare the blackberry sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard. Add the chicken stock and cook, stirring, for several minutes. Add the blackberries and honey, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl. Discard the berries and onions.

To prepare the pork, rub the tenderloin evenly with 1 tbsp of the fennel salt. Place a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and let it heat for 1 minute. Add the tenderloin and cook until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Place the skillet in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for several minutes. Pour any excess juice from the cooked tenderloin into the blackberry sauce. Reheat the sauce quickly. Slice the tenderloin crosswise, arrange on a platter, and spoon the warm blackberry sauce over the top.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Come on, Christmas!

My nephew (Alex, age 2) started Head Start a few weeks ago. His classroom has a camera where parents and other family members can watch the class while they play, eat snacks, and even take naps. I've been following it religiously since I discovered it. Today my sister told me to watch at around 3:00 while my dad came to pick him up. Imagine my surprise when not only my dad, but my mom, my sister, and two other nephews paraded in front of the camera, waving. I couldn't resist calling my dad so I could "see" him while talking to him. It was very sad to watch them walk away.

Hurry up, Christmas! Only 105 days left!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ninety-nine Bottles of Non-Alcoholic Beverage on the Wall...

Otherwise known as "A Post About Random Crap."

One of my favorite (missed) traditions about living in Michigan is the annual church picnic given by my home church in Flint. I'll refrain from mentioning it's name for privacy purposes. I can just imagine Teen People paparazzi storming the place, shoving microphones in my parents' faces and demanding interviews. "We know your daughter knows someone who's related to Justin Timberlake. Give us the story or die!"

Anyway, the church picnic had been held at the pastor's house for years and years. He had a lot of space and a nice pool. We'd barbecue and basically pig out and then burn off all our energy swimming and playing with the dogs and then go home and crash and/or puke. One year, Steve and I were dating when the time for the picnic came around. Joy of joys! My boyfriend gets to see me in a bathing suit for the first time. Definitely a cause for celebration. Or a panic attack. Maybe he sensed my embarrassment, because he proceeded to pick me up, fully clothed, and leap into the pool with me in his arms.

Did I mention that these picnics, though very fun, were somewhat structured events? We'd eat, digest a while, and THEN swim until we passed out from exhaustion. Therefore, I spent the next two hours dripping wet and shivering. Thanks a lot, Steven.

Oh yeah, he also picked up my dad and tossed him in, fully clothed, including his shoes and his wallet.
I just realized that the word "won't" doesn't make any sense. "Can't" is can+not-o+'. "Wouldn't" is would+not-o+'. What the heck is won't?!

I will start saying "willn't" instead.

That is all.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What I Did on My Labor Day Vacation

Yesterday Steven and I went to a family reunion. In Gift, Tennessee. Do we have family in Gift, Tennessee? No, but as Steven says, "If you're a preacher, everybody's your family."

We didn't even have to crash!

Every Labor Day weekend, the Smith family has their family reunion. Turns out there's a ton of Smiths on this planet! Whodathunkit?

Amongst the guests were the grandparents of Tennessee's own Justin Timberlake. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. I am now famous. Teen People will be calling me for an interview any day now. Though Mr. Timberlake (the young one) was not in attendance, Pastor Timberlake (the eldest one) and Steven and I talked and they joked about stealing each others sermons. They seem like very good people.

Oh, and we had food and played with horses.

That is all.

Justin Timberlake, people!

Friday, August 29, 2008

An Ill-Gotten Meme

My Life - The Movie

I stole this meme from Poetic License.

This meme is a great way for me to imagine what's going on in my life playing out on the big screen. So here are...The Rules!

If you had to select celebrities/actors to play the parts in the story of your life today (including yourself!), who would it be and why - this can be based on looks or personality.

1. List the people who would play you, and the key people in your life.
2. Give credit to the person who tagged you.
3. Tag four new people to participate.

Mom - Mariska Hargitay - Something about this lady has always reminded me of my mom. She plays a detective on Law & Order: SVU who's compassionate and hard-working, not to mention beautiful.

Dad - Steve Carell - If you completely wipe every thought of Michael Scott out of your mind, my dad could be Steve Carell. He's funny and a man dedicated to his family. He's even got the same nose!

Jeri (my best gal here in the Southland) - Tichina Arnold - This would be Tichina Arnold the "Little Shop of Horrors" version, not the crazed "Martin" version. She's a woman who speaks her mind and doesn't hold back.

Me - Jodie Foster - This woman presents herself the way I'd like to be seen: poised, articulate, talented and respected.

Steve - James Roday - This selection is because of Steven's man-crush on Shawn Spencer from "Psych." He'll say there's no man-crush involved, but when a man who says the best movie ever made is "The Lion King" suddenly says he respects someones work as an actor, there's a little man-crushing going on.

From a conversation heard recently in our house:

Sarah: You really love James Roday, don't you?!
Steve: I really respect him as an actor.
Sarah: You love him! You've got a man-crush!
Steve: Well, you've got a woman-crush on Jodie Foster.
Sarah: Well, at least she's gay!

Yeah, we're real mature around here.

Ooh, I almost forgot the tagging!

1. Suldog, simply because he reminds me of the joys of telling someone else what to do.
2. Ryan
3. Karla
and hmm, I don't know how about
4. Janet