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I Bleed Coffee! July 19, 2011

Filed under: Caffeine,Coffee,Food,Hello world! — Gr8ChefMB @ 3:47 pm

Cut me and you will discover I bleed coffee…LOL! I am a coffee freak! When I first started drinking coffee, I used to have to doctor it with tons of sugar and cream. When I worked as a receptionist, I discovered it was easier to just pour a cup and drink it black. These days, I mostly drink it black, but occasionally I used cream or flavored cream. I used to absolutely hate cold coffee. However, since I reside (and melt) in Texas where it is currently is freaking hot, I have discovered the joy of cold coffee drinks…LOL! Getting a coffee drink at Starbucks or other coffee outlet is an occasional treat due to the price of those drinks. Starbucks has offered cold coffee drinks that are available at almost any grocery or convenience store. The price for these aren’t as exorbitant as visiting one of their outlets. Also, because of cholesterol concerns, I have had to limit my intake of caffeine…bummer!

 

Seattle’s Best Coffee Iced Lattes in a can is here to save the day! Four-packs in vanilla, mocha and original are available for only $4.99 at the aforementioned grocery, mass market and convenience stores. Each 9.5 ounce can only packs a 130-calorie limit which is absolutely awesome. They are portable and will fit in your purse, gym bag, briefcase and/or diaper bag. How cool is that? Seattle’s Best Coffees are already really good, and I can’t wait to try their latest offering.

 

A lucky Blessings Abound Mommy reader will win a 4-pack of each flavor (vanilla, original, and mocha) iced canned lattes! SERIOUSLY! What could be better than 12 cans of a great iced coffee drink?  All you have to do in order to be qualified for a chance to win is to leave a comment with what role coffee plays in your day! Visit this link – http://www.akblessingsabound.com/2011/07/review-and-giveaway-seattles-best-coffee-iced-canned-lattes.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+akblessingsabound%2FidNO+%28Blessings+Abound+Mommy%29 – for an opportunity to possibly win 12 cans of Seattle’s Best Iced Canned Lattes. WooHoo! 🙂

 

Coffee-aholics Unite! April 8, 2011

Hi! I am Gr8ChefMB and I am a coffee-aholic! Yeah, I am one of THOSE people. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE coffee in all its forms. I have cultivated this love affair over many years. It didn’t start out to be that way, though. As a kid, we couldn’t drink coffee – it was a beverage only for grown-ups. At that particular time, my only vice was iced tea, until decaffeinated tea bags came out…LOL! I could drink gallons of tea, and probably still could if I didn’t enjoy my coffee and plain water so much…LOL!

When I got into high school, I tried coffee a few times, but it was more like, “Have some coffee with your milk and sugar!” I just couldn’t drink it black, or even muddy brown. It just HAD to be loaded with lots of cream and sugar until it was almost white. When I think about that kind of coffee, I think, “What was the point of that???!!!” Talk about a waste of coffee… I remember one of my best friends’ mom literally drank coffee from sun up to sundown. I did think that was a little strange…silly me!

After I got out of high school and dabbled with college, I started working full time. My first ‘real’ job was as the front-desk receptionist for an independent insurance adjusting firm. I sometimes carpooled with my mom and a friend. We would stop at Denny’s for morning coffee. I would still doctor it the same way. Because the company breakroom was stocked with free coffee, I started drinking more coffee. Of course, being a front desk receptionist, I didn’t have freedom to move about the office. I got two breaks and a lunch hour. If I needed to attend to other needs, I had to get someone to relieve me. I discovered it was easier to just pour and run; hence, learning how to appreciate coffee without a bunch of additives became my game. I grew to appreciate my coffee black. I started discovering that there were other varieties other than basic Folgers/Maxwell House/etc.

——The coffee angels start singing here: aaahhhhhh!—— 🙂

When I got pregnant with my son, all the medical pundits said that caffeine was bad for pregnant women and fetuses.  AAaaaarrrggghhhhh! I had to give up my beloved coffee……I can’t tell how freaking hard that was! Instant coffee at that particular time was crap…weak and bad flavor…didn’t taste at all like coffee. Folgers came out with instant coffee bags similar to teabags in a decaffeinated variety. I was absolutely so desperate for a cup, that I used those, but they really were quite awful. Still, it was better than nothing… Nowadays, apparently 1-2 cups are okay to drink during pregnancy. I wish they had come to that conclusion 18 years ago.

My love and appreciation for that caffeinated delight grew and grew. It got to the point where I was a coffee junkie…couldn’t function without that brew, especially first thing in the morning! Eventually, it got to the point where I was drinking a 12-cup pot (or more) by MYSELF! When I went for a physical one year, my doctor asked my about caffeine intake. Of course, I didn’t lie (probably should have, though!) and told him exactly how much coffee I was drinking at the time. My doctor is fairly easy going and nothing really seems to phase him, except for this bit of news. He absolutely BLEW A GASKET! I can’t recall ever seeing him that angry. He read me the riot act, especially because my cholesterol and blood pressure was fairly elevated around that time, hence the physical. I had to cut down on my coffee intake or I would die – his exact words. That kind of put the scare into me…for about three or four months… I did cut down to only 4-6 cups a day. Yeah, I know…that wasn’t quite what he had in mind, but, hey, at least I did cut down some.

When my son was attending Sunday school at church, they were desperate for volunteers. I decided to volunteer since I had to go there anyway to drop him off and I wouldn’t have to pay for tuition. Of course, those weren’t the only reasons…I really do LOVE to volunteer for various things. It’s a nice change of pace, something to do and I love to meet different people and learn new things. As I became more active in my church – I was born and raised Catholic – I started to adhere more to my religion, which means making some sort of sacrifice at Lent. I know you are probably thinking, “She really didn’t do it!” Yes, indeedy…that was my sacrifice. I gave up my caffeine for 40 days and 40 nights. My family and friends were incredulous and didn’t think I would make it all the way through Lent to Easter. My students were placing bets as to when I would crack…no pun intended. That was even more difficult than giving it up during my pregnancy, because this was VOLUNTARY! I allowed myself two cups of hot tea every day, but they were herbal teas, and I drank a lot of water and decaff iced tea. Whaddayouwant…at that time, caffeine was my only vice and thus, the only real sacrifice I could make. I couldn’t very well give up working…. 🙂 I actually did make it to Easter Sunday, but I had to wait until after Easter Mass for my first cup. Golly, Mass seemed to drag on for 3-4 hours…actually, not really; it just seemed that way. After we got home, I headed for that magical machine that puts forth that magical devil’s brew. However, my mother stopped me and said wait a minute… She gave a pretty new coffee mug in which to enjoy my first cup. It was kind of egg-shaped in a periwinkle blue with a cute little design painted all over it in a lighter color. (I still have that mug, too. The inside is cracked, so I can’t drink from it anymore.) That was such a sweet thing for her to do. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed and savored that first cup….aaaahhhhhhh! BTW, I had a checkup after that Easter, and my cholesterol had gone down drastically, so I guess my doctor was right. I hate it when that happens! I did give up caffeine every Lent after that and made it through 4-5 years until my brother-in-law passed away rather suddenly. That was such a shock, and it still is, even five years later. When we went for the viewing, I got such a severe headache from crying so hard and trying to comfort his family and my family…I ended up breaking my Lenten sacrifice. I feel pretty sure that God understood why…the grief we all felt was so overpowering. He was my youngest sister’s husband identical twin. It was such a waste because he was so funny and musically talented, but he had a problem he just couldn’t seem to overcome, no matter how he tried. I miss him, still… After that year, I did still make my annual Lenten sacrifice and made it for a couple more years, until another bad year…

After being overcome by my own problems last August, I was put on some medication that reacts badly when I imbibe too much caffeine. These days, I am pretty much limited to no more than two cups a day. It’s probably better that way, because my intake was starting to creep back up to ungodly levels again. Because of that, it is more diffficult to make that sacrifice. I do love my coffee and will drink it hot or iced. Sometimes, I do add a bit of cream; it depends on what variety of coffee I am drinking and what time of day. If I had unlimited funds, I would probably go to Starbucks every day. As it is, that is a once-in-awhile treat. My fave brand at home has to be Folger’s. They have really branched out and come up with some delicious flavors, including their Black Silk. In fact, Folgers has a give-away opportunity to win a prize package including coffee, a singnature red coffee mug, black silk robe, and biscotti. Visit http://www.themommy-files.com/2011/04/folgers-wake-up-with-black-silk-giveaway/ to sign up to win.

 

A ticket to Alaska and a Hot Dog Cart July 19, 2010

Here is a short story written based on a prompt found at http://blog.writersdigest.com/promptly/. It was kind of fun exercising that lump separating my ears! Hope you enjoy it…

“Hey, Joe! Have you got a reindeer sausage left? If so, lemme have one with spicy mustard and kraut on it! Can I get a grilled pretzel bun with that, too, please?”

 

“Sure thing, Eddie! How’s the family doing?”

 

“Oh, they’re doing fine. They would be here with me today, but little Jenny has the sniffles and Marg decided it wouldn’t be a good idea. She is sure that the other two will get sick, too. You know how it is – bugs get passed around….hahaha!”

 

“Here’s your dog! Thanks for the business. You are my last customer of the season. I’m getting ready to fly south for a few months. I hope Jenny feels better real soon….”

 

Flashback to three years earlier…

 

Today was the final straw for Joe Murphy. It started out badly when he overslept and was late to an important meeting to discuss a new buyout of an ailing company. It got worse during the meeting because the client wouldn’t budge on a couple of contract options. After lunch, his soon-to-be-ex-wife called after lunch screaming about some minor catastrophe that she blamed on him. “Yeah, sure! All that is my fault? Guess again! This is why we can’t stay together, Cathy. You are driving me crazy!!! It was a short put, anyway. Pull yourself together and get over it. Don’t call me at work again.” Click.

 

To top it off, today marked 45 years that Joe had been walking this planet; no one, not even his ex, remembered or mentioned it.

 

To console himself, he stopped at his favorite watering hole, a dive called the Blue Goose. He propped himself up at the bar and ordered a tequila shot and a Negra Modelo. The bartender placed a steaming basket of chips and hot sauce in front of Joe as a welcome gesture. Joe slugged the shot down, and then took a sip of beer. Joe ordered the evening enchilada special along with another shot. The bartender just shook his head, and asked, “What’s up, Joe? You usually don’t drink tequila.”

 

“It’s my birthday, and I have had a lousy day. You really don’t want to hear about it, trust me! I think I’m going to cash everything in, move to Alaska and buy a hot dog cart.”

 

“I’m sorry to hear about your lousy day. Happy birthday; this one’s on the house. Alaska, huh? You could sell reindeer sausage along with those hot dogs. You’d probably make a killing during the Iditarod. Hahahahaha! What a crazy idea! Good luck with that one!”

 

He’s having a midlife crisis. Only instead of a sports car, he buys … a ticket to Alaska and a hot dog cart.

 

Flashback to present day…

 

“Yeah, thanks to you, Joe! I hope you enjoy your trip, you crazy SOB. I wish I had thought of this myself. I can work 12-hours days for two or three months straight just to get the next nine to ten months free. So, whatta you gonna do with all that free time?”

 

“I think I’m going to go to culinary school, maybe in Paris, maybe in Italy. All that time I was stuck in the office dealing with all that shit, I kept thinking about how all I wanted to do was cook, and maybe open a little restaurant someday. Well, some day is here, and I have some cash saved up. Next year, I’ll have some great new sausages to showcase.”

 

Teachers That Have Impacted Me August 19, 2009

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in awhile…had to meet a deadline to get my Fall 2009 catalog to the printer. I have also begun updating my work website. I should actually be doing this now, but my brain seems to be mush. I suppose that is probably true most of the time (Just ask my family, friends and coworkers…LOL!), but it is especially so after working frantically for a few days. My catalog arrived from the printer yesterday and looks great. I just have to distribute it now…woohoo! (P.S. If you want to see it, visit www.communityedclasses.org and click on the icon on the right side of our homepage.)

 

I saw a request on our local newspaper’s website that asked for stories about teachers who made an impact on their students. It got me to thinking, especially after attending my district’s convocation this morning. The featured speakers were Patrick Henry Hughes and his father Patrick John Hughs. If you are a regular viewer of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, these names might sound familiar to you. Patrick Henry was born without eyeballs and with an affliction that prevents him from being able to move his limbs freely and easily. He is unable to walk because of this affliction, so he gets around in a wheelchair. Patrick Henry is now 21 years old and a senior student at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He is pursuing a degree in Spanish. One of the remarkable things about Patrick Henry is that he is musically gifted; he plays piano and trumpet beautifully and sings well, also. After he graduated from high school and entered U of L, the band director invited him to join the U of L marching band. As he himself pointed out, his mobility comes from a wheelchair; how in the world would he march??!! This is where his father Patrick John comes in. He attends school with his son as well as marching band rehearsals; for half-time shows, he pushes his son around on the field. How cool is that? A number of people wrote to ABC to nominate the Hughes family for a home makeover, and they were selected. Not only did they get a beautiful new home, easily accessible by Patrick Henry, but ABC also renovated the U of L practice field to make it easier for the Hughes to maneuver on it. [To watch this episode online, click here: http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/extreme-makeover-home-edition/episode-guide/hughes-family/79659.]

 

Another remarkable trait of Patrick Henry is that he feels his lack of eyesight and ability to walk is ‘no big deal.’ It has not hindered his education or life. He has recorded a CD, published a book (I Am Potential published by De Capo Lifelong Books and available at http://iampotentialbook.com/], and travels all over the world, all while still keeping up with school work. He has made only 5 or 6 Bs in his entire education.

 

His parents admitted that they were devastated when he was born, but they adjusted their vision of what they hoped his life would be. He has definitely NOT disappointed them. He hopes to become a Spanish translator and eventually embassador to a Spanish-speaking country. If that doesn’t happen, he wants to host his own game show, “Stash of Cash.” He has never complained about his situation or his condition, and he has not let it stand in his way. Of course, it helps that his parents and his two brothers are willing to sacrifice so much for him to be the person he is.

 

As I listened to his father and him speak, they constantly thanked the wonderful teachers Patrick Henry had all throughout his education. His parents made the decision to mainstream him into regular classrooms because they felt he had the ability to excel.  This so true of the majority of teachers I have had throughout my life. The following is a tribute to my favourite classroom teachers.

 

I am the proud product of the Mesquite Independent School district. I attended Rutherford Elementary, Agnew Middle and Mesquite High schools from 1971-1984. With very few exceptions, I enjoyed the teachers I had along the way. However, several teachers stand out for me and bring back fond memories – Norma McConathy, Dr. Bill Sefzik, brothers Darryl and David Dearing, Jimmy Jones, and last but definitely NOT least, Darla and Wayne Hodgson.

 

Norma McConathy was my fourth grade teacher at Rutherford Elementary. She was such an interesting person and an awesome teacher. She owned an unusual pet named Clyde. Clyde was a boa constrictor, and Mrs. McConathy would bring him to school occasionally; that was always fun. She also made learning fun by incorporating different activities into our school day. She had this book of holidays from around the world, and we would discuss something new nearly every day. For Chinese New Year, we constructed a dragon and made paper Chinese lanterns. It took weeks to construct this dragon out of a corrugated cardboard box, those curlicue packing peanuts and tempera paints. We received special permission to parade up and down the hallways so other classes could see what we had done. Mrs. McConathy was also huge fan of the original Star Trek television series. I was not a big fan of that show until fourth grade; Dad always watched it and I could never understand why. If you did not want to do work, all you had to do was to mention Star Trek and Mrs. McConathy would take off like a rocket (no pun intended). She could discuss that show for hours, and she had even constructed models of the ships featured in each episode. The models hung from the ceiling in a corner of the classroom. Besides helping me to become a lifelong Trekkie, she also gave me an appreciation for other cultures. Sadly, Mrs. McConathy passed away a number of years ago. My prayer is that she is converting angels into Trekkies, too.

 

Dr. Bill Sefzik started his career with the MISD when I entered the fifth grade. He was a new teacher and he was so full of ideas that were so outside the box. I must admit that I was a lazy student all the way through school. I did try a little harder in his class, though. We started learning history in fifth grade, and he made it come alive for his class. We did not just memorize dates; we learned about what actually occurred on those dates. We also learned a bit about the back-story of those events and why they were so historically important. Dr. Sefzik also wanted to ensure that we succeeded in math skills. His solution was that if we did exactly what we were supposed Monday through Thursday, we would get to have some fun on Fridays by playing Math Football or Math Baseball. He would draw the field on the blackboard, and divide us into teams. Questions were asked, and depending on the difficulty as well as whether or not it was answered correctly, each team would gain yards or score base hits and points would be awarded. Dr. Sefzik was also interested in encouraging us to write. To that end, he would give us a creative writing assignment once a week. He would propose a topic or an idea, and we would have to write. I actually loved doing those assignments because I have a very fertile imagination. As a reward, he organized kickball tournaments with the other fifth grade classes. These were so much fun although I have no athletic ability whatsoever. It was a welcome break from the same old classroom routine. Because I had Dr. Sefzik, I gained a deep appreciation for history and I was not scared to complete writing assignments. I still have difficulty in math, but I had fun trying to learn. Dr. Sefzik is still part of the MISD; he currently is principal at Kimball Elementary.

 

Brothers Darryl and David Dearing bring back many fond memories from sixth grade through my freshman or sophomore year of high school. Jimmy Jones brings back fond memories for the rest of high school. David was the orchestra director of Agnew Middle School, and Darryl filled the same position at Mesquite High School. David came to Rutherford to talk about orchestra at the beginning of my sixth grade year. I told my mother about it, and about how I wanted to play violin. From that point forward, my love of music grew exponentially. David would come to Rutherford twice a week, and I would get to skip P.E. to learn how to play my beloved violin. Although I have no natural rhythmic abilities (and so some people tell me, I probably am tone deaf), I did okay. David became my full-time instructor when I entered Agnew Middle School. Darryl would come over and help his brother out, especially when preparing for contests and concerts. They both had great senses of humor, and they were both excellent teachers. Darryl worked with me on my solo for contest. They weren’t always the most patient of teachers but it was obvious that they loved teaching and working with kids. David actually helped me get my first ‘real’ job. I was a beginning violin teacher at Norris Family Music the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. I had a lot of fun teaching both kids and adults.

 

When the Dearing brothers left the MISD, our orchestra was taken over by Jimmy Jones. Mr. Jones was an unknown quantity because we did not know him. We did not know from where he came, and we did not know his teaching style. If my memory is correct, he and his wife came from Temple, Texas. Mind you, this was around the time that the infamous Guyana tragedy occurred, and as our director shared the same name as the leader of that cult, we thought it would be funny to tease our new director by giving him Kool-Aid. He immediately put a stop to that kind of teasing and let us know he meant business. We did eventually discover he had a wonderful sense of humor and he really did care about his students. His wife was also an orchestra teacher, and she would often help in class, too. They were a lovely couple and eager to teach all they knew about music. They both would give us the back-story on composers and the history of particular pieces of music. During my junior year, our orchestra took a trip to Corpus Christi to participate in a music festival. We stayed in Port Aransas on Mustang Island. One night, we headed to the beach, and built a small campfire. As a joke, Mr. Jones wore a rainbow-colored umbrella hat. Beach Patrol came by and visited us to tell us that fires on the beach were illegal. I cannot tell you how quickly that umbrella hat disappeared when Beach Patrol pulled up. Mr. Jones also let students hang out in his office in the mornings before the first bell rang. We would talk about all sorts of topics, listen to the radio or practice. All three of these men gave of themselves and their time rather freely. Their care and fondness for helping students succeed was obvious. On a personal note, they all gave me a deep love of music, and the freedom to enjoy so many different genres of music. To this day, whenever I hear Smetana’s Themes from The Moldau, a Willie Nelson song or Soul Strings, I smile because it makes me think of these men and their impact on me. Unfortunately, I do not know where these teachers are today. I wish I did, though.

 

Darla and Wayne Hodgson are very special and dear to my heart. Mrs. Hodgson was my speech and debate coach in high school. Her husband, Wayne, was a teacher at Agnew Middle School. When I was in seventh grade, the speech class performed for the student body. That looked like a lot of fun, so I wanted to sign up for speech in eighth grade. Sadly, that class was removed from the curriculum. I had to wait until my sophomore year in high school. Mrs. and Mr. Hodgson just were not your typical teachers. By that, I mean that they didn’t just teach from 8:30a to 3:30p. They spent a lot of extra time before and after school with their students. They didn’t impart education just on speech and debate, either. They imparted lessons on life. We spent a lot of time together to prepare for speech and debate tournaments. They both helped us to rehearse speeches and sharpen our debating skills. They also helped us to improve on our research skills so we could be as prepared as well as we could. They transported us back and forth to tournaments, and in my senior year, helped organize our parents as speech/debate boosters. We could talk to them about anything, and they would lend a shoulder to cry on, helping hand, gentle discipline, etc. They both had wonderful senses of humor as well as gentle, kind and patient natures. It is because of their care, love and coaching that I am reasonably comfortable in speaking in front of groups. I can even speak extemporaneously when needed because they gave me the freedom to be interested in a variety of topics. They helped me to become well read and to understand current events. They also taught me how to be empathetic and to treat others as well as I would like to be treated. Sadly, I lost contact with them a few years after I graduated.

 

The majority of my teachers were excellent, but these particular individuals stand out in my memory. They all share one common trait – the ability to think outside the box and find new ways to motivate their students to be the best they could possibly be. My life is richer for having known them and being good examples. I cannot imagine what I would be like if I had not had the honor and pleasure of knowing them. My wish and hope is that all students everywhere have even one teacher that can be half of what these teachers were to me. Once I pass college algebra, I plan to become a teacher and hopefully follow their example. To Mrs. McConathy, Dr. Sefzik, the brothers Dearing, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and Mr. and Mrs. Hodgson, I offer my most humble and sincere thanks and gratitude. I am sure I probably did not show my appreciation back then, but I hope that some way, somehow they know how much they meant to me.

 

I have been blessed and fortunate to receive the benefit of a number of teachers in my life, and not all of them have been classroom teachers. First and foremost on this list is my parents. I have learned so much throughout the years, and I continue to learn from them. I have also been blessed with four sisters and one brother from whom I have learned. There are almost 16 grandkids/nieces and nephews (At this time, the 16th has not been born yet; she will arrive on 25 Aug 09.) and I am continually amazed at what they know and how they impart that knowledge. One of these grandkids is my own son. I also have a wonderful group of friends that have taught me many things over the years of their friendship. In the course of my job and volunteer activities, I have learned more than a few lessons. Watching programs such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has taught me many things. Last, but most definitely NOT LEAST, God is also my teacher. His life is an example of how to live, and His book contains the guidelines for following in His footsteps.

 

Education is such a resonant concept for me; I work for our local community education department of our local school district. I constantly read and do research to education myself. I pay attention to current events and how they impact our lives. If you know me well, you have heard me say this on more than one occasion, “The day is wasted if you have not learned at least one new thing.” I strongly believe that and try to hold true to that concept.

 

I am sorry this post is so lengthy this time. Perhaps, it makes up for not posting for over a week. 🙂

 

How did you get that gig, anyway? August 2, 2009

Have you ever wondered how certain individuals get certain gigs? I certainly have…This morning, I woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee and turned on one of my all-time favourite programs, Texas Country Reporter. In Dallas, it comes on at 10:00a on Channel 27, and nationally, reruns are aired on RFD TV (‘Rural America’s most important network’) at 10:30a (and other times, too). I have been watching Mr. Phillips when his program started out as 4-Country Reporter, I think, around 1972 or 1973. He travels around Texas to do profiles on various people, events, etc. that are interesting, weird, heart-touching, thoughtful, unusual, or all of the above.

 

Sorry, I digress…I was watching his show this morning, which featured a guy who restores old license plates, a bait-seller (on the Lake O’ the Pines in East Texas)/poet, a band director who plays songs on a turkey baster (yes, you have read that correctly – a turkey baster) and a couple of other stories…As I was watching, a thought popped into my head – “How did he get a gig like that?” Another thought popped in after that one, “Where does he find these people?” Actually, I have wondered this about Mr. Phillips for a long time. His is quite an interesting job. He has definitely talked to some seriously unusual people!

 

As I am a big fan of NASCAR, after Texas Country Reporter, I flipped the station to Speed Channel. I had seen on ESPN a day or two ago that qualifying had been rained out, so I was hoping the race at Pocono would not be rained out as well. I love watching John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Wallace, Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini on Speed Channel’s NASCAR RaceDay. I have often wondered how Wendy got her gig as pit reporter. Unfortunately, it is still somewhat rare to see a female sportscaster or reporter. Ms. Venturini has been doing an excellent job for the past several years, and man, would I LOVE to trade jobs with her! I have loved car racing since I was old enough to watch the Indy 500 every year. I have been a fan of NASCAR for the past 20 years or so…ever since I watched Dale Earnhardt, Sr. bump and grind his way to all his Cup championships.

 

I would have loved to have been a sports jounalist/on-air personality like Wendy Venturini, Susie Kolber from ESPN or Jillian Barbieri. How in the world did they end up doing what they do?? I love sports in general, and particular ones, hockey, auto racing, baseball, especially. I like to think that I could have been a good sportscaster even though I am a woman. I also like to think that I could have Bob Phillips’ job in a heartbeat if I could operate a camera…I can certainly talk with people and take notes.

 

These are only a couple of examples; the world is filled with even more. How do taste-testers get started, or recipe testers? How do you get a gig as a traffic reporter? Who do you have to know to become a sports arena broadcaster? I guess it’s just one of those quirky things that occupy my mind sometimes. Perhaps, one day I will have some answers.

 

The Joy of Facebook! July 31, 2009

Social networking….is that something that strikes fear into your very heart? I used to be fearful…worried about pervs trying to get to me; annoying people who think they know all; etc., etc. I grudgingly set up a MySpace page and a Facebook page…not too sure about the other social networking sites.

 

Since I have set up my Facebook page, I have been seriously amazed at all the old (not age old…okay, maybe so…LOL) classmates I have found…some of them going all the way back to kindergarten. It is just hysterical. I have even been brave enough and bold enough to tell several high school classmates that I had crushes in high school. Holy cow! Of course, I am not sure I would have been bold enough to do so in person…maybe, maybe not.

 

The thing about technology is that despite its seeming impersonalness (is that even a word?), it allows everyone to connect with everyone else, even when they are miles apart. Keeping in touch can be done at our convenience without regard to time zones, schedules, postage rates, etc. We can laugh at ourselves and our contacts, but no one is the wiser. We can share memories and lives, bad times and good, inane and important events, etc. Sure, a lot of the comments are silly, but it breaks the monotony of our existence. It also crosses the boundaries of break-ups, bad feelings, or whatever because you can choose who you want as your ‘friend’ and how much you want to stay in contact with your ‘friends.’

 

I have actually found people that were extremely important in my life that I thought had been lost forever. How cool is that? It is also seriously cool that I can remember certain things, all because someone made me their ‘friend.’ It may be something I hadn’t thought about for years and years, but a glimpse of a face brings it back just like it happened yesterday.

 

I think the jury might still be out on social networking sites, but in my humble opinion, they are a good thing. It is all about freedom of choice, and like the song says, ‘You can choose not to decide, but you still have made a choice.’ Happy Posting! 🙂

 

Hello world! July 30, 2009

Filed under: Cooking,Hello world! — Gr8ChefMB @ 2:11 pm
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Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

 

Rather ominous words, don’t you think? The greeting is a put offputting, too…I have never fancied myself to be a writer. It was an arduous chore in school, except for fifth grade. It was Mr. Sefzik’s first year, and he had yet to become jaded and apathetic to his students. He was full of promise and, perhaps, naivete. On Fridays, he assigned creative writing exercises, such as ‘what would you be like as a robot.’ He wanted specifics and descriptive imagery.

 

Flash forward about thirty years; it’s a brave new world out there! Practically anyone with half a brain can put their ramblings online for the entire world to see. Seriously, how cool is that???!!! Well, we will see…time will tell.

 

Welcome to my life, such as it is. Hopefully, you will get to know me and I will get to know the world just a little better, and perhaps, understand it a little better.

 

Currently, I am readying Julie Powell’s hilarious account of drifting through life at a dreary governmental job and suddenly deciding to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Through this period, she blogs about her experiences as her life takes turns for better and worse. (I don’t think I could deal with faulty plumbing on a continual basis.) The book is titled Julia & Julia; it has been made into a movie with Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia Child….can’t wait to see the movie. I’ll let you know later how it is….

 

As I am reading this book, it got me to thinking…would the world care what my life is like and what my thoughts are? Who knows…

 

Ms. Powell’s adventures in cooking and eating are hilarious, especially since she is such a picky eater. I can honestly say that I am not a picky eater; I will try almost anything at least once. As she learns new cooking techniques and ingredients, she broadens her horizons and opens her mind. I have been cooking since I was at least 7 or 8, and reading cookbooks and recipes for almost as long. I can remember that my very first cookbook was entitled just that and Mom ordered it from Imperial Sugar after saving the required number proofs of purchase. I wish I still had that cookbook. I think I first made sugar cookies out of it.

 

I am now more of a cook rather than a pastry chef-type. Baking requires precision, the ability to follow exact directions/proportions and attention to detail. With actual cooking, these things are rather optional. It helps to ensure the outcome, but sometimes when not present, the outcome is still good. I think of recipes more as guidelines and suggestions. (Think about the pirate’s idea of parlay in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie!)

 

I have been successful more often than not and I have learned that one shouldn’t drink alcohol whilst cooking shepherd’s pie from a recipe in one’s mind. (It was so awful, the dog wouldn’t even touch it with a ten-foot pole!) Also, don’t cook bone-in chicken and Stove Top stuffing without reading a recipe and/or instructions after inviting a new boyfriend home to dinner with your family. (Very bad idea – raw chicken and boiled stuffing! Uuugghhhh! Of course, I was still young and somewhat inexperienced in the kitchen.)

 

Life is kind of like cooking, I think. You are either really good at it or not so good. So many people come with excuses as to why their life just isn’t working out the way they think it should. I’m just as guilty of this as the next person. Well, guess what! You have to start out with quality ingredients and pay attention. Listen to advice you have been given (just like reading directions for a recipe) and take what you can use. If you don’t have quality ingredients to start out, work hard to get them and get what you want out of life, whatever that may be. It does help to be somewhat detail-oriented. It also really helps to use your imagination, too.

 

Here is a closing thought:

Continual cheerfulness is a sign of wisdom. – German proverb

 

Happy Cooking! 🙂