A Grandmother's Tale

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Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States

I love my Grandchildren

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Outstanding Educator Award

Tuesday, June 9 was the annual graduation and recognition ceremony for the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees Training and Upgrading Fund, my employer. I was presented with the Outstanding Educator Award. I was truly surprised and pleased to receive the award from my collegues and from the student body. I was surprised because most of the time I don't think my coworkers even like me. I'm the one who usually complains about what I consider "bad" staff behavior. I don't mind calling the lazy, LAZY. I'm the one complaining about disorganized and poorly planned staff activities. I'm the one complaining when meetings don't start as scheduled. I'm the one complaining about lack of funds for needs of learners. I'm the one murmurring about who needs to be let go so that we can spend that salary for the students' needs. I'm the one telling the male students to take off hats and pull up pants. I'm the one telling the sisters that Kool Aid colors are not for hair and tattoos must be covered. (Why would anyone tattoo their name on their body? Do they think they'll forget their own name? And have to look in a mirror to remember?) I'm the one complaining about the use of profanity in the hallways and stairwells. Collegues see me telling learners to turn off cell phones. I'm the one telling students to let their friends and family know they're in school and not to call during class times. We don't have emrgencies. Emergencies are handled by 911, the police or firefighters.

In the classroom, I'm very comfortable. My students, I hope, feel the love I have for teaching and for them. I try to relate to the learners as fellow adults and share with them from my educational and life experiences. I like to tell stories of my youth and intersperse with stories from my parents and grandparents. I use biblical references, without citing chapter and verse, to edify learners. I use lots of old sayings and truisms to make the point that everyone knows something that's worth sharing and everyone can learn. I encourage learners to "think first" then "think fast" (for test-taking purposes.) Focusing on developing skills and confidence has worked for learners over the years. I've found that oftentimes adults are s0 "beaten down" by the world we must live in that they lack the self-esteem to pursue their dreams. They have believed for a long time that they don't deserve anything better than what they have. Their view is limited to the "here and now" of sustaining a family. I try to help students look beyond and be prepared to walk forward.

At last night's graduation the featured speaker was Lisa Nutter, wife of Philadelphia's Mayor and executive director of a local youth organization. She quoted from Galations 6, verse 9. I would add verse 10, the "therefore" verse which links the 2 verses and makes the point:

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

Saturday, June 06, 2009


I’m back! I glad to be blogging for the first time in along time. If Robert Irvine can come back then so can I. I’m going to try to write a beautifully as he cooks. He uses local fresh ingredients, food, and I’ll use my family and friends to create… something. Here goes..
For Mother’ Day, I got pictures of Chris and Livi and I actually cried!! I can’t believe how they’ve grown so much and I feel like I missed too much of that time. They’re not local. Although North Carolina is 650 miles away I feel sometimes as though it’s another continent. Every summer since Chris was a baby, I’ve taught Vacation Bible School there at their church and had some vacations away with the kids and family, Christmases and Thanksgivings, their birthdays, but, wow, Chris is now 13 and he’s maturing quickly. I could not comprehend that picture. Chris is a handsome young man and that’s not just his grandmother speaking. He’s got a really handsome face and a smile like “an angel.” Now that’s the grandmother speaking! And Princess Olivia is a beauty. She looks exactly like her mother and father. It’s truly amazing. The local boy, no longer our baby, is growing like a weed. Miles is using the toilet and wearing underwear! You should hear him call "MEL.” It’s a riot.
That’s it. Well that’s boring. That’s me!! Maybe next time.
Now I’m going to the kitchen to assemble my brand of sundae. It’s vanilla ice cream, walnuts and caramel sauce that I make myself. It’s delicious.
Here’s the recipe.
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water - use filtered or spring water, not tap (if you’re in Philly)
Pinch of table salt
1 ½ cup heavy cream, very warm - don’t use whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla - the best you can get - I make my own!!
Melt the sugar and water over medium high heat stirring and swirling until it’s boiling and clear. Lower the heat and cover for 3 minutes undisturbed. Don’t lift the lid: you need the moisture for the syrup. After 3 minutes remove the lid and let the syrup take on color. Don’t stir. Just watch it for a deep brown color. (Let it get a little darker than you think: you’ll be adding cream.) At the right color, take the pan from the heat and add the hot cream. Stir with a wooden spoon after the sputtering has slowed. Add the vanilla. Cook gently for 2 or so minutes and cool and enjoy. I love this stuff. It’s my basic sauce starter that I add chopped chocolate to and add toffee bits and pecans and walnuts and …..

Monday, March 10, 2008

A hard to swallow story

I can't believe it. Almost 30 days ago I was bragging about having dinner with Sir Robert Irvine, chef of Dinner Impossible, and raving about how pleasant this man is and how delicious his food tastes. Little did I know that the world of truth was chasing Sir Robert with the real story of his cooking history. Robert came clean about his connection to the royal family and he will have to suffer the consequence by losing his Food Network show. I hope the show is not canceled before the segment about the firefighters is aired.
According to an article I read, Sir Robert exaggerated his past work history and used the names of British royals to advance his career. It worked. Lucky for us the man can cook. Every recipe of his I've tried worked out exactly as the recipe states. The flavor combinations are wonderful and the dishes cook up -and look- just as advertised. Try his baked potatoes: they're tasty and pretty. Not so with recipes from other chefs on the network. I'll not name names, but from my experience, there are 2 chefs whose recipes don't come out as expected most of the time. (Watch out for those quick-minute recipes that often look like a dog's dinner when it's all slopped together.)

Bon appetit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Babysitting hasn't changed, the germs just got stronger!

What a wonderful weekend Miles and I had. That is until Sunday when we came down with a case of upset stomach, fever, and diarhea. Unbelievable. Yellow, runny water. Yuck! I know that's TMI but that was the most pleasant way to express what happened to us.

We had a very pleasant Saturday just playing around the house. On Sunday morning we went to church. I wanted to stay for 11:00 morning service because we had the Rev. Jesse Jackson preaching, but during Sunday School I started feeling discomforted and nauseous. Miles was having a good time playing Connect Four and he was enjoying the attention from the girls in our class. Thank goodness I decided to go home. We made it just in time. Both ends exploded, for both of us. As our bodies started making peculiar sounds and foul smells, we succumbed to the hideous nature of a stomach virus!! Then it wasn't just us. We spread it to Ryan and Melanie.

That nice weekend ended with disease!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Post, Old Skills

I'm back to post again but I haven't learned yet to add pictures to the blog. My DIL (daughter-in-law) told me the process but I need to see the process. I'm more of a tactile learner. I have a picture with Chef Irvine and I want it seen.

I'm preparing myself for a wonderful weekend with Miles. His Momma and Daddy are off for a romantic weekend and Miles and I will be enjoying a little time to ourselves. I'll have to stay at Miles' home because he can not come to mine. There's carpeting everywhere at my house and Miles and carpet fibers don't mix. I truly don't want him to have a reaction to my carpet fibers (aka dust mites) and spoil a weekend away for Ry and Mel. These parents need a little time together as man and wife, not just Dad and Mom.

Well I've been interrupted so I must stop. I'll be back.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dinner Impossible, Dinner Delicious

Hello everyone, I'm back. It's been more than a year since I put the first message on this blog promising to add more words and pictures when I found the USB cord. Many things have happened since then. I located the cord, and loaned it to a friend, who promptly lost it. I ordered another and then misplaced the camera. Found the camera and got too busy to blog. Next I forgot how to use this blog. It took me several minutes to figure out how to post. I want to add a picture to this and I hope when I get to that point I'll have the skill. Here's my story.
Last night I had dinner with Robert Irvine, the chef from Dinner Impossible on the Food Network. Robert's staff prepared a meal for 75 Firefighters and he invited me to the dinner. I'm not kidding. He invited me. As the show was filming, Robert passed Ryan who was talking to me on the telephone. I was begging to come to the fire house and wait outside to see the chef. Ryan asked Robert to say hello to me which he did. He asked me what I was doing and said come on down for dinner. What a gentleman and what a chef! Robert made salmon and grits and a struedal with caramel sauce that was plate-lickin' good. Here are the pictures, I hope!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Everybody has a blog!!!

Everybody has a blog nowadays so I thought I'd start one too! Some people use their pages to focus on the beautiful children they have or to "kvetch" about world issues. This blog will do some of both. As soon as I find the usb cord I'll add pictures