Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Figs! (an oldie but a goodie)

My grandfather, GungGung, was a man of faith like to walk on water. He absolutely could if he had even the slightest inclination to. Faith like a grain of mustard seed, enough to say to this mountain, "Be cast into the sea."

Sometimes this absolute faith in God led to humanly stupid behaviors. For example, he didn't look both ways before crossing the street because he reasoned that if it was his time to go, nothing could stop it, and if it wasn't, well... I'm sure his guardian angel had a few close shaves. Another time he was bit by a snake and didn't want to have it checked out because, again, if it was his time... his kids, my mom and her sibs, finally convinced him to go to the doctor... He walked there. This is the kind of guy who, since the Bible said that "threescore and ten"1, 2, lived out his seventy years and was completely ready to go. God didn't take him on that day, so he shrugged and said, "OK, God, I guess you want me to stick around here for awhile," and he lived on for a dozen more productive years. Even in nursing care after his stroke, whether or not he recognized his kids and their kids when they visited, he would sing along (with the half of his mouth that worked) if you sang him hymns.3

1 Psalm 90:10 KJV The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
2 For detractors of "new math", this is realllllly old math, by merit of archaic terminology and rhetoric. A "score" is 20 years, so threescore is 60 and threescore and ten is 70. Similarly, Abe Lincoln intoned, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal..." Fourscore and seven. That's a lot more sonorous than 87. (Similarly, "fortnight" echoes of Anne of Green Gables, but it sure sounds nicer than "two weeks".)
3 This right there is my viscerally strongest argument for retaining old hymnody in worship services, and for holding periodic hymn-sings to tell stories about the hymns and about moments they've impacted individuals. I have done so many sing-alongs with my mom with retirees and with those retirees for their friends in nursing care where music memory brings good times back to those with their facilities, and even brings mentally "lost" people back to lucidity. And don't get me wrong, I like some of the new hymntunes even better than the old ones, but sing-ins connect generations. Also, this.

Anyways, FIGS.

GungGung's faith was strong and childlike in its simplicity.

One time, he had a boil on his hand that would not heal and would not heal. But he read his Bible and he studied it and internalized it. And King Hezekiah, he once had a boil too.

Hezekiah’s Illness

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”

Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

2 Kings 20, emphases mine (same story told also in Isaiah 38)

Clearly, the thing to do was prepare a poultice of figs.

Except GungGung lived in that fig capital of the world, urban Detroit.
And unlike today's whole-foods movement, this was the postwar processed-foods 1950s.

GungGung hied himself to the store and looked around.
He came home with a package of...?
Fig Newtons.

He laid Fig Newtons on that boil of his.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Strawberry margarita cheesecake bars

Pillsbury strawberry-margarita cheesecake bars

Thanks to Jody from book club. Delicious!


Ian: It's like I've died and gone to Canada.

Peter: The correct Canadian pronunciation is, "Sorry, it's a poutine burger."

Miles: Which part of the maple tree does gravy come from?

Read all about The Poutine Burger, on NPR. Drool alert.

The Muppets also have delightfully done Poutine in Montreal

Saturday, April 26, 2014


After two-thirds the class did one thing and our third did something different:

Tappin' Tortilla: You told us to clump ourselves, so we clumped!

Also, "I was holding for the intro!" "We're running it without music -- the intro is "8-and!"

In the round is gonna be fun...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


M, finishing up z-to-a:
Now I know my zee-why-exes....
I bet you did not expect this.

The kid has a gift for rhyme.
(Obligatory Princess Bride quote: Well, some of the time.)

Monday, April 14, 2014


Watching Dancing with the Stars' Disney night.
Donny Osmond says he was in Mulan, as the voice of Shang.

me: Donny Osmond? No way! I have to look this up. (goes to IMDB)
Huh. Who knew! He was the singing voice of Shang. But BD Wong was the real voice, you know what I mean?
Big Frog: Like what's-his name and what's-his name in The Student Prince.
me: Yeah! Oh, I was gonna say Singing in the Rain.
Big Frog (laughing): It's funny how they both have the same name, what's-his-name.
me (also laughing): And you wouldn't expect them to be in both The Student Prince and Singing in the Rain!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Winners WIN!

Winners win. They dont whine, they dont quit, they dont make excuses.

(Sorry. This entire post is just jotted most-impactfuls. But better for me to just go ahead and post it than to let it languish in my drafts folder. It's really for me to go back and review anyways.)
12 things that make ppl rich (Jerry Cipolla):
  • 1 pma - attitudes are not for sale; attitudes are the decisions you make - what attitudes do i have on a daily basis? can't control what happens but can control how you respond to it
  • 2 sound physical health - the healthier you are, the more energy you have and the better decisions you make
  • 3 harmony in human relations - stop being pissed off at ppl - if they're not gonna talk about it at your funeral, don't worry about it
  • 4 freedom from fear - what are you afraid of? fear of failure ? gotta cut that out
  • 5 the hope of future achievement - that's why you need goals - in your car, the rearview window is small and the windshield is large
  • 6 the capacity for applied faith - "I will be receiving $30k of unexpected income this month"
  • 7 willingness to share one's blessings with others - attitude, experiences, fun demeanor
  • 8 to be engaged in a labor of love
  • 9 open mind towards all subjects on all people - other cultures, etc - ppl like ppl like themselves - so gotta be a chameleon
  • 10 complete self-discipline
  • 11 wisdom with which to understand ppl - work hard on understanding vs being understood (St Francis?)
  • 12 financial security

Joe Cardino
  • things will not change unless i change
  • it's gonna be a great appointment!

Ensor's gravesite: The minor adj a winner has to make are so basic and simple that they appear ridiculous. that's why most ppl don't adjust. That's why most ppl don't win.
Jimmy Meyer
  • what a difference a year can make! what will you look like next year is based on what decisions you make now game plan for pt: cf $1500/mo, invest $500 (pay yourself first), 21 yrs at 9% is $560k
  • good decisions compound and bad decisions compound
  • what's your dream?

Joe Cardino
Treat ppl before they become what you envision them becoming

This yr's highs are next yr's lows if we concentrate on consistency and grow cashflows

new ring-wearer Joe Monte
be excited abt pri, be excited to be you
i'm not a qb
but qb can't make the pass w/o blockers. and qb can't make the catch
qb won't make hof w/o completions
so figure out who you are and go recruit the other 10 ppl

Jimmy: potential don't pay the bills, results pay the bills
break your limiting beliefs -- you can do anything you believe you can
the little things make the big things possible
anybody can do the big things, and don't want to miss it b/c of the silly things. CONCENTRATE!

Karen Mahida:
it's my time
I am ready to change, ready to win

Sanjay Mahida:
the trouble is, if i don't risk anything, i risk more
get around ppl who help us create our vision bigger

get crazy goals!

success comes when you have no other options ~ensor

Jim Penn
diff b/t successful and unsuccessful ppl is successful ppl know what they want in life
if ever find self unmotiv, that means you're not in touch with your goals
i am the architect of my life

either gotta start over mentally or get out
winning's tough
but losing's tougher

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Do you want some afikomen?

6:13 adapts Frozen for Passover: Chozen And it is the best of all the covers/adaptations I have seen.

Chag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chopped Canada

TV host: There's a reason this is called Chopped Canada. One of you is going to be chopped.
Big Frog:I really thought that was going the other way.
me: Me too!
Big Frog: In this round everything must have maple syrup.

We've been caged together too long.


Little Orphan Annie had a very distinct picture of what adoption would look like (Maybe far away/or maybe real nearby/he's sittin' playing piano/she's maybe baking a pie...), but when she got to Daddy Warbucks' house, she still said first she'd do the windows, so that if it dripped she could do the floors after. These kids have no idea what adoption means.

How small an eye we have to the picture of sonship -- to be able to cry our "Abba, Father!"

Tetris on a building!

related article in NY Times

...and the tissue box is empty. *Retreat complete!*

photo source: NCF Facebook page
(The slogan at Greenwood Hills is "Christ Preeminent", which curiously was Messiah's slogan when I was a student there. Think there aren't circles in life? Think again. When a lesson doesn't get learned, or when it gets forgotten, sooner or later it gets reintroduced.)

Had a great Women's Retreat with my sisters from NCF this weekend. We left homes and families to fend for themselves (waves at Big Frog) and spent slightly over a day focusing on the Road to Sanctification, which I gotta be honest, I intentionally continue to call the Road of Sanctification. Everyone's road is different and continues as long as we each are alive.

photo source: Megan Fetterolf
photo source: Megan Fetterolf

Our guest speaker was Mary Beth McGreevy, and my small group had the additional blessing of Mary Beth fully involving herself in our discussions (and even in the Amazing Race-styled scavenger hunt). I'm used to speakers floating amongst groups during small group time, or else taking those interludes as their personal time. Thanks to Mary Beth for her pouring into us in both the larger sessions and especially in small group.

photo source: (left) Megan Fetterolf; (right) Michelle Nestor

A few key bits:

  • God, we are shocked, but you are not.
  • How big is your God?
  • Praying for more than contentment -- pray for joy.
  • Who are you, LORD? What shall I do?
    Our mission depends on Christ and our identity in Christ.
  • Who's the least likely person you know to accept Christ?
    Problem of we get tired of praying for inconvertable people.
    God is still in the business of saving people.
    I am the least likely.
  • God's grace gift to you.
  • Be present.
  • Sanctification is both the work of God and the responsibility of God's people.
  • Sanctification is something we pursue -- can't do nothing today and expect to wake up more holy tomorrow.
  • You become like that which you contemplate-worship-fill your thoughts and minds with God
    Spurgeon describing Bunyan - if you cut him, he bled Bible
  • God gives you this time to contemplate.
  • Remember, God gives the growth!
  • Would a toddler say, "Why should I try to run? I'll just fall down, so why even try." We have way too big a view of ourselves! We're 14mo trying to walk, and when we fall down, God scoops us up, kisses booboos, and encourages us to try again.
    God delights to have us try to walk.
    It's not about our ability but God's enabling
  • Lightbulbs don't work without power.
    Because God works, we work.
    Trust God with all the results.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Noodley noodley noodley

Come to the dark side...
We have noodles.

Noodles Even if you didn't read my previous noodle-based blog post, or if you haven't watched Ching-He Huang on Easy Chinese on the Cooking Channel, noodles show up deliciously in the New York Times, along with a luscious, similarly drool-worthy related article. Try not to lick the screen.

It's enough to make a girl hungry.

So off we went once again to Nan Zhou in Philly Chinatown, this time meeting up with a different set of college friends as well as some cousins. (Interestingly, both families have named their daughters the same things, in the same order.)

We made a concerted effort to order both hand-drawn (skinny) and knife-cut (wide) noodles, stir-fried and soups, plus dumplings and some veggie dishes. Once again we came away with mostly different preferences. And some takeout.
(food photos by Cheryl McFalls)

Yelpers recommend the beef brisket soup above all other dishes. This is with knife-cut noodles and was my personal favorite of all we've tried to date.

We also tried shrimp hand-drawn noodles as a stir-fry.

So far, of everything we've tried (beef brisket, fish balls, shrimp, lamb, roast pork, and certainly some others in various combinations of noodle types and soups and stir-fries) , the only one I wouldn't do again was lamb in a soup because the particular bonyness of the lamb, although it really was luscious.

Now I'm hungry again.

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel Sing "Confrontation" from Les Miserables

Musicals take weeks of practice to come together.

But once they're in you, they're always in you.

Many many moons ago (7 years at least), this same pair were prompted by Megan Mulally on her short-lived talk show to sing as they sang just for fun backstage of How I Met Your Mother. A personal favorite of both Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel, and, since terping Javert, one of mine too.

Engineers drive trains

We have a small and mobile nephew. Plus, he can dunk. This is of important especially on a night when Michigan played Kentucky in the Elite Eights (and one cousin had a particularly split allegiance).

Let's make a train with your new train set, kiddo!

And we could...

And then...


You mean me?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

- .- .--. / -.. .- -. -.-. .

Tap Dance is "Morse code for the soul." ~former Tap Dog Anthony LoCascio

Fun fact: I was looking up the Morse code for the title, and it turns out that Broadway's Eleanor Powell actually encoded Morse into one of her dances, Ship Ahoy, for her character to pass a message to a secret agent (another character).

Also, humorist Mitch Hedberg says, "I would imagine that if you could understand Morse code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy."