You can teach an old dog new tricks


It all started with a heart attack.

Stanley, my sweet grandpa who stands at 6’2” and maybe weighs 170 pounds soaking wet, had a triple by-pass and was told (politely) that he needed to change his diet.

Because apparently eating ice cream for every meal is unacceptable. Who knew?

Most 75-year-olds would say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” However, Stanley took this as a personal challenge to #eatclean. He met with a dietician, learned that canned soup is 99% sodium and 1% processed meat, and then vowed to everyone in our family that he was going to live to be 150.

This diet has also changed a few other things aside from his eating habits. For instance, prior to this, Stanley could not cook.

When I was approximately 3-years-old, my parents left me at my grand parents house for a weekend. With Nonna being MIA (she was more than likely playing the slot machines,) Stanley realized he had to feed me somehow. He found pancake mix, knew that water was a reliable resource, and figured he could get eggs from the chicken coop in the backyard (that’s another story). The only thing he needed to complete this trifecta was cooking spray. After finding a spray bottle of God-knows-what, Stanley began cooking.

Do you remember learning about dramatic irony in your high school English class? No? Well this is where the audience knows what is going to happen before the main characters do.

In the movie called, “Devin’s Life,” y’all would have gasped when Stanley thought he was reaching for PAM cooking spray, but instead grabbed spray starch. Three pancakes, some funny reactions, and a call to poison control center, we later learned cooking is not one of Stanley’s strong suites.

But I digress.

Post-heart attack, Stanley is realizing survival of the fittest. In order for him to maintain his health, he will have to go to the store himself. Most of this stems from my Nonna making him potato soup one day post-surgery saying, “The crema no kill him.” BUT ACTUALLY, NONNA, IT WILL.

Last week, I received a call where he was boasting about how he learned to use coupons. He was so excited that you could get a discount on things you normally wouldn’t buy. Welcome to this thing called modern society.

He said, “They were giving away tomato sauce for a discount. SO I BOUGHT 22 CANS OF SAUCE.”

His excitement continued. “And, you can get Kroger-brand jam 2-for-1, so I bought you 8 jars. I shipped them, and you’ll get them next week!”

And, since I’ve written his, he has renewed his membership at SAM’S Club because the only thing better than a discount is a discount in BULK.

The Great Adventure

The time has finally come. After two long years, my Noni is finally trekking to D.C. to visit the city and take in all it has to offer (and mainly see her only grandchild.)

In preparation of her arrival, I have realized that 1) I am going to have to have something planned every minute of every day.

Which, in theory, shouldn’t be too hard considering D.C. has a plethora of activities to take part in. However, my Noni has explicitly stated that she does not want to see any monuments, museums, or historical sites and that she will not partake in public transportation. Oh, and she also made it very clear that she wants to go to Georgetown and eat macarons . . . because that is all this city has to offer. 


I have also realized that 2) my Uber bill is probably going to be around $500 a day. And 3) my apartment must be really, really clean.

So in preparation, I have mopped my floors twice, vacuumed, cleaned out the shower (that she will not see) and reorganized my drawers just in case the sweet lady decides to look through my dresser (ya never know.)

Also, sweet Noni also asked if she could go in the White House and if she could meet some important Members of Congress. Sure. Let me pull this one off.

She specifically asked if she could meet the Speaker of the House. Okay.

If anyone has any recommendations for our weekend together that doesn’t involve walking, drinking, or sightseeing, please help a sista out.

Small Plates

Every couple of days, I like to call my grandparents and tell them how my week is going along with any interesting things that I have done. My Noni doesn’t really get out of Fairmont … ever … and I’m not even quite sure that she understands what I do for a living, so each conversation is both exhausting and hilarious due to the many questions and misunderstanding.

I called my Noni today to tell her all of my adventures of the week (and there have been quite a few), specifically a Japanese tapas-style restaurant that I went to on Thursday. When it comes to food, she wants to know every single detail – what I ate, how they cooked it (like I am supposed to know), how much garlic they used, how expensive it was, etc. I began explaining my experience at the Japanese restaurant and it just BLEW her mind.

Noni: What you mean tapas?

Me: They are small plates… You order a lot of them that way you can try multiple things.

Noni: Oh I see. Wha’d you eat?

Me: I had a lot of things – fried garlic, grilled avocado, octopus.

Noni: You have spaghet (read: spaghetti)?

Me: No, Non, it’s Japanese. Have you ever heard of a Japanese restaurant serving Italian food?

Noni: Wha’d you have for your entrée?

Me: There is no main dish – it’s tapas style.

Noni: Wha’d you mean you don’ have no entrée?

Me: Small plates. You can have a little bit of everything.


Me: No.

Noni: I don’ understand you city people. You spen’ so much money eatin’ here, eatin’ there, tryin’ to be seen, and you don’ even eat a real meal. My mother’d be so ashamed of me if I did that. No wonder you poor. Don’ ask me for no money because I don’ give it to you. Stunad.

And then she hung up on me. Perhaps this week when I am in town we can visit the local Hibatchi Steakhouse.