Monday, June 30, 2008

My Namesake and My Hero

Sarah Caroline Gudschinsky (1919 - 1975)

I was named for her, though I never met her. She died before I was born and I've always regretted that I missed her.

I hear that if you asked how to pronounce her name, she always said, "There are good shinskys and bad shinskys."

She started out as a kindergarten teacher and remained a teacher all her life.

She was a doctor of linguistics in a time before women were readily given such opportunities.

She was linguistics and literacy consultant for colleagues in the Summer Institute of linguistics in Mexico and Brazil.

She was the first woman in SIL to earn a Ph.D. and be elected to the SIL Board of Directors.

She was fearless, going to Mexico with her team and working with Mixtec and Mazatec tribes (who had likely never seen a person outside their race before) to create a written language where none existed. She created a method of teaching language that was later named for her. If you google "Gudschinsky" you can see all the books she wrote and the research that is still being done using her methods.

She died of ovarian cancer in 1975 and donated her body to science so that doctors and researchers could learn more about the disease and others could be helped.

I am proud to bear her name.

Hero sounds like such a petty word. It's overused and has lost the magnitude of its meaning.

Her sister, Mary Katharine (my grandma) was equally amazing. She was in school to become a surgeon but had to quit when she ran out of money. She was one of four women in her class. She ended up teaching first grade in central Michigan. She prayed for my father and his brothers constantly. Even after her son, Jimmy, died at 18, and her husband died just a few years later, she kept her independence and remained, well the word that comes to mind is serene. She was the most peaceful person I ever met. Even with four insane grandchildren who could probably have picked her up and shaken her if we wanted to, she maintained this serenity.

I can remember sitting on her lap as a little girl and reading to her. She's the one who taught me that an exclamation point applies to the whole sentence, not just the word it follows. Before Grandma set me straight, I would read, "Dick and Jane ran through the PARK!!! Spot the dog barked LOUDLY!!!"

She died before I was old enough to appreciate her. If you have grandparents, please don't take them for granted. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I had mine here to talk to.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Yes, I'm jumping on the bandwagon. At least for this week...

Thirteen things I would love to eat and won't...

1. Hershey Bar - I could live on these delectable candy bars, but my thighs would never forgive me.

2. Chili-Cheese Fritos

3. Cheese Danish

4. Giant Strawberry Muffins

5. Peach Cobbler (still working on making this low-fat)

6. Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream

7. Starbuck's Iced Cafe Mocha

8. Banana and Chocolate Chip Cookies

9. Macaroni and Cheese
10. Cheesy Potato Soup

11. Fried Chicken

12. Brownies

13. Nachos and Cheese

I think I'll splurge later and have Creamy Caesar Dressing on my salad. Newman's Own, of course.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Pursuit of a Perfect Bod...

...or at least one that doesn't make me cringe if, by some horrible mistake, I happen to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror au natural. Therefore, I am on a diet. I am tracking my food habits here. This means, of course, that I am hungry. Ravenous, even. It doesn't matter that I just ate lunch and got the required amount of protein, fat and calories. Just knowing that I can't go on a mad binge and eat two dozen chocolate chip cookies or an entire bag of tortilla chips (or both, if the mood strikes me) causes me to feel sympathy hunger pains. Sympathy with myself, that is.

I can't use Steven as a diet buddy because for some completely unfair reason, boys are allowed to eat more than girls.

I am tempted, but a little embarrassed, to post before and after pics or at least before and after weight. But if I mentioned that, I'd eventually regret it and spend the rest of my life tracking down anyone who happened to read this post and cutting out their tongues.

Any chubby girls out there want to help keep me accountable? Or even if you're not chubby. I just need somebody to yell at me and call me fat. Any takers?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fireflies? Sweet!

I had a thought today. Surprised? What makes a lightning bug light?

Once upon a time when I was a little sprout (and supposed to be asleep), I wakened my dear mother after seeing a bug in my room! She dutifully came and squished it's little bug guts all over the wall. When the light was turned back off, the guts were glowing! They stayed alight for a minute or two and scared the bejeebers out of me. Now that I'm old(er) I can appreciate the wonder of God's "technology" that is awe-inspiring to man. Or at least to me. Where do you think the idea for florescent lighting came from?

The larva is creepier than the firefly, but isn't it cool how it glows continually? Apparently they taste bad and the glowing warns predators away...

Monday, June 23, 2008

In other news...

Click here. No really, click. Just in case you're not clicking (you're so stubborn!) there is a man living in Frankenmuth, MI that is trying to get the city to remove a cross from their city seal. This guy is an absolute dingleberry. Yes, that's right. You guys may disagree with me on this, but Frankenmuth is (or was, when I lived in Michigan) one of my favorite places to visit. It's religious symbols are just one way they display part of their heritage. I'm surprised he didn't say the waiters in the Bavarian Inn wearing lederhosen is discriminatory against non-Germans.

I do not agree with the some of the townspeople ostracizing him, but I do wonder what would possess an atheist to willingly move to a town that is so openly expressive about their religious history.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Southern Peach Cobbler

Whenever you want to make something sound mouthwateringly delicious, just stick "southern" in front of it. Southern Pecan Pie, Southern Fried Chicken, Southern Baked Beans...

The first peaches, in my not so humble opionion, aren't really good for eating, so when I couldn't resist picking some up at the Farmer's Market, I found this tasty dessert to throw them into.

Southern Peach Cobbler (recipe courtesy of

8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Not so pretty, but believe me, it's delicious.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My First Meme!

The Page 123 meme . . .

I got tagged by Janet.

The rules (tweaked to my liking)

1. Pick up the nearest book.

2. Open to page 123

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

From The Grapes of Wrath:

"Then what'll we do?" Uncle John asked.
"We go in like the law says an' they'll come out for him. We on'y got a hundred an' fifty dollars."

Here are my favorite 3 quotes:

How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him--he has known a fear beyond every other.

In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

Whenever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Whenever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there...I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad an'-I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry an' they know supper's ready. An' when our folks eat the stuff they raise an' live in the houses they build-why, I'll be there.

I'm tagging:

My Ice Cream Diary

Story Girl


Nature Nut

Edited to add:

Karla, consider yourself tagged!

House Next Door: Part 2

I finished The House Next Door and I'm on to The Ruins by Scott Smith. I hear this one has talking plants! Woohoo!

The House Next Door is not a traditional scary book, but there were a few more of those ohmygoodness moments. If you're worried about goriness, there's one part that made me cringe a little, but nothing on the level of Stephen King or Dean Koontz.

(A little aside here: If you're wondering what it would be like to rip someones testicles completely off their body, Stephen King offers a great description in Black House. Just in case you're interested.)

The ending was a little disappointing, but only because I like to end books with the plot neatly tied up in a little bundle with no annoying loose strings poking out.

All in all, it was very well written with believable, well-developed characters. I'm on the hunt for more books by Anne Rivers Siddons.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a mini book review

I am a fan of Stephen King. As 50 Cent would say, I love him like a fat kid loves cake. Which is to say, I tend to overindulge and eventually make myself sick and swear off his books for a year or two before giving in and binging some more. My grandma would not be pleased. She's telling her husband, "For this I taught that little girl to read?! So she can waste her brain power on garbage! Pah!" She's probably asking God for access to the lightening bolts right about now.

Anyway, I'm in the swearing off period. I'm reading a book called The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons and I've just had my first gasp out loud moment reading a book ever! As in, a sharp intake of breath that makes Steve look up from the computer and ask me if I'm ok! Oh My Goodness! Just in case anyone actually reads this post and actually gets the book and actually reads it, I'll refrain from mentioning any details. This may end up to be a real stinker of a book, but it's worth reading (to me, anyway) just for the moment of shock. Go and check it out from your friendly neighborhood library. OOOORRRR, clicky!


An unfortunate event

Last night, my dearly beloved was swooping in for a tender kiss when our feet collided and his Ginsu toes hacked a little piece of my middle toe off! He dutifully rushed into the bathroom for first aid and wrapped my poor unsuspecting toe in a bandaid, causing it to look like a pig in a blanket. My toe is so ashamed he won't even let himself be seen in public, causing me to wear big, clonky shoes in the 95 degree weather. Thanks a lot, clumsy toes! (That would be you, Steven).

Homework: Try googling "toenails" and see what kind of weird creatures inhabit our planet.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

How I Spent My Friday Night

Well, though we were given some good suggestions, we just ended up doing the same old thing. We:

1) went to Sam's
2) debated what to do about dinner.

Steven: What do you want for dinner?
Sarah: Something I don't have to cook.
Steven: How about hamburgers?
Sarah: Ok. Let's go to Back Yard Burger.
Steven: (insert puppy dog face here) But they're so much better homemade...
Sarah: (utterly defeated) Ok, get the crap.

3) came home, made delicious burgers on the Foreman grill (just a little aside here: my parents are the world's best gift givers. I have used my Foreman grill and my Kitchenaid mixer [also a gift from them] more than any other kitchen appliances. AND for last Christmas they gave me the best apron. It looks just like something June Cleaver would wear and I just love it.] and homemade French fries.

Yes, folks, that is delicious cheddar cheese you're looking at and a real, live VIDALIA onion underneath! The arrival of Vidalias always causes (at least around my house) lots of pumping of fists in the air and jigging at the supermarket.

4) after devouring burgers, settled in for a nice relaxing movie. Steve chose "Live Free or Die Hard" and may I just say that Bruce Willis looks much better bald?

5) watching this movie somehow made Steve start talking about "Rambo." He was utterly appalled that I had never seen it. Thus, Rambo I and II were also watched. Wow, that's a lot of TV. And quite a few muscles, as well.

6) The absolute best part of the evening was watching the lightening

My camera just doesn't do it justice.

oh, and here's Steven's contribution to the muscles:

ain't he cute?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Question for the Ages

What should I do on a Friday night?

Being one half of a couple that doesn't drink or have any desire to "party" kind of puts limitations on the way we spend our free time.

Do we:

1) go see yet another movie?

2) buy a Wii Fit and combine fun with exercise?

3) veg out on the couch watching one of our plentiful movies?

Steven thinks our lack of friends has something to do with our inability to find meaningful and entertaining things to do. I disagree. I am not, nor have I ever been a people person. I would just as soon spend my days curled up on the couch reading books by the truckload. Even if Steve did introduce me to someone, I would just smile politely and make an excuse to get away as soon as possible. To me, everyone is just a potential crazy.

Cabin fever! How do we beat it?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A short English lesson

I'm a little reluctant to say that I have a problem with people using English incorrectly because surely some knucklehead will come along and kindly proof-read all my previous posts for correctness.

However, the mis-use of the word "literally" is about to bring me to my knees. For some reason, this is the one that the crazies seem to prefer:

Patient One: "I was literally screaming my head off."
Me: No, ma'am, your head is still, in fact, attached to your neck, as evidenced by the fact that you are able to carry on this conversation, as unpleasant as it is.

Patient Two: "I am literally bouncing off the walls."
Me: No, sir, unless you are calling me from some distant planet where gravity is not king, I'm sure you are just a little antsy.

Patient Three: "I am literally losing my mind."
Me: (imagining this woman pursuing her elusive mind around the living room, whistling and for some reason, shaking her keys at it) Ma'am, hold to speak to the doctor.

Sometimes my mental images of these people benefit them greatly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And now I'm a murderer

That's right, I have taken innocent life. Today on my way to work I mercilessly ran down a poor little squirrel. Some of you are silently berating me, thinking I should have swerved or slammed on the breaks to avoid the poor little guy, but I assure you, there was no time! Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the whole traumatic ordeal occurred in slow motion, with the squirrel in the middle of the four-lane road, darting here and there trying to avoid the cars. He made a mad dash for the safety of the curb but alas, my tires foiled his plans.

I am not really trying to make light of the poor guy's life, I'm just trying to assuage my conscience. If this had happened a year or two ago, I would have had to call in sick and spent the day in bed, crying.

Please have mercy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Best Leading Men

Here are the world's best actors. In my opinion, which is the only one that counts. Is it strange that only one of these men is still alive? Nope. Acting today is not what it used to be. Why, back in my day, we used to walk to school twenty miles in the snow. We didn't even have any shoes so we tied bread to our feet! And actors could ACT, dang it!

Rock Hudson - lady-lover or not, he's the eye candy of the bunch. Watching he and Doris Day and their playful banter can keep me occupied for hours at a time.

Adrian Brody - especially in "The Pianist" which is my favorite movie of the moment. A good bit of the movie is without dialog as Brody as Szpilman spends his time hiding from the Nazis, but the movie and the music and the story is just absolutely beautiful.

Gene Kelly - absolutely THE MAN. He could dance, sing, act and look beautiful while doing it. My personal favorite part? The part when Moses supposes his toeses are roses. Also, any time Gene Kelly pushes his hat down on his head at a dangerous angle you know he's getting ready to do something amazing.

Gregory Peck - Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn is great, but To Kill a Mockingbird is what sealed it for me. He is totally believable as Atticus Finch and has the best line in the movie, "If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

Cary Grant - so very versatile.
In "Father Goose": after Cary Grant's character, Walter Eckland has sucked poison out of a snake bite on Catherine's leg (and she's a little tipsy):
Catherine Freneau: Tell me, I would like to know - what did my blood taste like?
Walter Eckland: Delicious. Now come on.
[he tries to take her coconut full of whiskey]
Catherine Freneau: No, no, no, I'm serious. What did it taste like?
Walter Eckland: Well how would I know? I'm not a vampire,
Catherine Freneau: Um, was it salty?
Walter Eckland: Mmm, a little salty, yes.
Catherine Freneau: Too salty?
Walter Eckland: No, it was just right.
Catherine Freneau: Oh, no! You thought it was too salty, I can tell! You didn't like it!
[she seems on the verge of crying]
Walter Eckland: I liked it!
Catherine Freneau: Oh, really?
Walter Eckland: Uh-huh, I liked it!
Catherine Freneau: You're not just saying that?
Walter Eckland: Great blood!

They just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hello, Stanley...

Congrats to the Detroit Red Wings! I am now officially addicted to hockey because of their stupendous ability. Old fogies or not, there guys are awesome. Ack! Let's just call them "experienced."

If you read about Flat Stanley's Visit then you know we went to see the Wings play the Predators in Nashville. We lost that game, but thank God the Wings pulled off the series. Anything to shut up those fans. They were the rudest people I've seen. I don't expect them to roll out the red carpet for the opposing team, but they were ridiculous. Now for a moment of childish delight: Nyah nyah you guys stink!

That is all.

Edited to add: Steven says I'M being rude by saying the Predators stink, so I will only say that the scent of the Predators is offensive to my nasal passages.

And THAT is really all.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mom's Chicken

Best-ever baked chicken, folks...

Chicken pieces (bone-in is best for this)
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
McCormick's Lemon Pepper
Accent Flavor Enhancer

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse chicken. Place in glass baking dish. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with all seasonings. Use your own judgment here, but I'm pretty liberal with the spices. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for one hour, then remove foil and bake one more hour.

So good, I promise. I've never wanted to just gnaw on the bones like a hungry dog before, but they're about that good.

Read at your own risk, this is pretty gross.

Why, oh why?

There is a person I know (name withheld to protect the disgusting) who absolutely can not bring herself to flush the toilet after using it. What is the thinking behind such a habit?

After seven years of marriage, my husband has yet to see, smell or experience in any way the remnants of my bodily excretions (ew, I feel dirty after typing that, let me go wash my hands...ok, I'm back.) Why would you want to share the "fruits of your labor" with the world? Maybe there are folks out there who would be interested in seeing it, but not me!

Maybe she doesn't realize that you're SUPPOSED to flush! When I was little, I thought there was a witch in the toilet that would come up and pinch your butt if you stayed there too long. (Don't ask me where I got such a thought. It sure made me quick, though.) We could all use more imaginary monsters in our lives, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Saving the world, one crazy at a time...

And now, a post I'm sure you've been anticipating with bated breath...

My job: Super Girl (overworked and underpaid version)

I am a secretary / receptionist / biller / medication clerk / and all around pee-on at a mental health clinic.

My pledge:

If you call the office because your medication has caused you to grow extra limbs, given you bad breath, explosive diarrhea, etc, I'm the one you scream at.

If you need someone to yell at in place of your parents, children, exes, bosses, or the guy that cut you off in traffic, call me up! I'll listen and commiserate.

If you miss a payment by one millisecond, I will send you threatening notes via the USPS and send out the snipers if need be.

I will sit at my desk for hours at a time staring at the phone and wishing it would blow up.

I will go home at the end of the day, so tightly wound it takes an hour of venting to my poor, defenseless husband before I can unclench my fists.

Saving the world, one crazy at a time...

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Horrors of Herod

In church we've been working our way through the book of Matthew. Yesterday Steven preached a message on Herod the Great (chapter 2). I had never realized just how horrible this man was. It seems as if the "Massacre of the Innocents" is never expounded upon, or just quickly read over and forgotten. Herod killed every male baby under the age of two in the entire city of Bethlehem. I wonder what the men were thinking when they were ordered to carry this out. Were they fathers themselves? Did the children struggle? Did they laugh? What kind of insanity would provoke a man to these lengths?

Other things I didn't know about Herod: he killed two of his own children, his favorite wife (for cheating, of which she was innocent), his eighty-year old uncle (who had previously saved Herod's life), his brother-in-law (because the Jews liked him better than Herod), and another brother-in-law for conspiracy. I'm sure there are more.

Supposedly he died a horrible long and painful death. I don't believe in karma, but I do believe that vengeance belongs to God. God used extraordinary means to protect Jesus and His family. Thank God Joseph was faithful to obey!