Friday, November 30, 2007

You just successfully completed NaBloPoMo, what are you going to do now?

Uh, sign up to blog every day the month of December at Holidailies?

You know, the blogging thing has gone well for the month. I posted every day, sometimes more than once, and I barely reached into the back of tricks (or word file of topics). The original plan had me seeing how many days I could go without taking a day off, anyway.

Oh, you were wondering about my leg? I went in search of leg specific posts, since I'm rounding up on a year of when the hell began. There were 45 specific posts and about a dozen more that mention the leg peripherally. When my blog grows up, I will be tagging posts, thank you very much. It doesn't make much sense to tag them now and then do it again when I jump ship down the road (does Santa give Typepad accounts? Wordpress software?)

The leg is doing well, thanks for asking. It doesn't look great, but it never will again. There's some dry, flaky skin and constant swelling. The atrophy in the calf has gotten worse in the past few weeks (or maybe the weight loss has arrived at my leg), but now you can clearly see the tibial vein just below the surface of the skin.

Pain? Yeah, got that. RSD, Yeah, got that, too. After the first week at work where the malleioli felt like I was climbing Mount Everest, they've settled into a pain free existence. I think I should chalk this up to following Nurse M's directives. I am sitting for the whole of my break each day and whenever possible, work is finding me tasks off my feet. Somehow, they seem to be behind whatever measures it takes to keep me at work.

I wish I could report that the RSD went away with the wounds, but it hasn't. In some respects, the sensitivity is much worse. That could be related to all the walking I am doing again, the shoes that rub the top of the foot or from some other issue that we haven't discovered yet. I will do the nerve block sometime in January. The RSD keeps me from sleeping in my bed some nights. The nights I do end up in bed, I wake up often from the shooting pains that are caused by something as simple as a sheet brushing my ankle.

I will add some pictures later, but I think I'll skip the before and after ones.

Meanwhile, off to spend an evening with my menfolk and gather food stuff for taking to work tomorrow. I think a nice glass of wine and dessert are on tap for completing the NaBloPoMo challenge. Hope that I get one of those prizes for doing 30 days of posting.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How many times have you...

had eight people at a table and five of them were left handed?

Had eight people at a table and seven of them could roll their tongues?

Had those same eight people at a table and they all knew what Disney movie Chick appeared in and who Jimmie Johnson is and what was important to him this week?

Had a child who is severely allergic to seafood saying that he wanted to eat all the (pretend) shellfish in his backpack, just because his cousin said the backpack was filled with HIS favorite food in the world, shellfish?

Driven to visit family an hour away and lamented the fact that you only got to spend two hours with them?

Watched a lousy mime routine (with really bad music) and been cracking up, because the relative pulled out on to perform decided that he had to make crazy faces to get through the experience?

Really felt bad for your sibling, who discovered that she's severely allergic to CHOCOLATE? (Doesn't that suck?!)

Gotten off Disney property spending less than fifty bucks?


FTR, Giggles has a serious nut and a goofball, just like us. Chef Jr and the L man? Two peas in a pod. B man and Gameboy both appear to have the family photographic memory.

I need to scan the picture of Giggles at 4. L man looks just like his mom at that age-same hazel eyes, nose and chin. I know somewhere at my stepdad's that picture is waiting to be scanned. Perhaps I should head over there with the laptop and all in one and preserve some family memories. It feels disrespectful to take things from his place-but I think it'd be okay to scan the images.

Any ideas on how to get the two families to vacation together? If two hours could make us laugh this much, I can only imagine several days of these kids all together!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bag Lady

For many years, I was beholden to the nondescript handbag. Big and black was my preferred. Slung over my shoulder meant a bag would stick around until it fell apart. The bags typically were blah, boring, and very similar to my wardrobe.

When I moved to Florida, a transformation happened. My wardrobe gained color. I found a handbag (bah, not a shoulder bag) at the Disney store and a matching cosmetics bag. One of my favorite colors AND a Mickey pattern? Sign me up. So, these two pieces started me down the path.
The bag didn't have a zip top, so that was one strike. However, the cosmetics bag makes a great iPod case, so I didn't have to worry about losing parts. The handbag didn't make it into long term use mainly because it was not park touring friendly.

You could say that these bag purchases softened me up for THIS:

I started out thinking the Vera bags were fugly. Really fugly. What didn't help matters is that they came in colors I do not like and at the time that they started popping up all over, they seemed to grace the shoulders of the women who lived in Stepford with me.

About two or three years ago, I noticed the turquoise pattern above (Bermuda Blue). I still wasn't a huge fan, but the color grew on me. The brown and turquoise (Java Blue) further improved my opinion of the bags. I still didn't hurry out to buy one.

Then, in early summer, I was walking into work with one of my boring black bags and the strap on one side of the bag just disintegrated. That would not do, so I made a detour into Crabtree and Evelyn. The bag above (the Betsy, they all have names) was on clearance. The price was reasonable and it had pockets for all the crap I need to carry and a zipper, too. Sold.

A few weeks later, I ended up back in the store for the little wallet thing. My thought was that it'd be great for the trips to theme parks, I could just carry id, passes and a credit card in it, along with my keys and cell phone. I think I should have seen the warning signs, but nope-I blew past them.

I took the boys over to Sea World and realied that every time I sat down, I worried about losing the keys or phone. Hmmm. One of the ladies at C&A had suggested buying a wristlet. I had said no, I don't need to carry EVERY card in my wallet when I go out. After that outing, though, I realized I needed a small bag to sling over my shoulder. It had to stay there, even when I got on a coaster. It would need to carry those three items.

Alas, the pattern I liked had been discontinued and the bag I'd chosen (the Amy) was only in stock in fugly patterns in the store. I ordered a Java Blue to go with the wallet I already owned. It arrived just in time for a trip to Jacksonville and it did a great job going to the football game with Donna. There was even room for my meds and camera. Not bad.

You know where this leads, right? Over to eBay, because while the Amy was a good size, I needed a larger shoulder bag. I found one that was almost new, right here in Tampa no less, and won it. With the shipping across town, it cost me less than half of a brand new Hipster. Bermuda Blue.

So, the woman who six months ago lived with black, BORING bags now has FOUR Vera Bradley products. The funny part? Just like when you get a new car, Ed sees them everywhere! "Honey, is that a real one?" "Gee, that one is HUGE!" (I had to explain that what he'd seen was a diaper bag! That ship has sailed, don't need to carry that much stuff anymore!) "That pattern is nice, don't you think?" (we don't exactly agree). It boggles his mind that they've got over thirty different types of handbags, they come in different patterns and then the patterns get retired.

No, I am not a girly girl, but I am doing what I do best. If I find something and I like it, I end up going and buying it in multiple colors. If you're a Vera fan, this means that they will become woefully unfashionable right about..............now. (but I'll buy them anyway)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Now I know my ABCs...

Once again, Mary has tagged me. I'll take it, but I'm going to be nice and skip the tagging this time, lol. Today's foray is into the alphabet as it relates to me. You can skip if you're tired of the memes.

A is for analytical. Yes, this is a good thing (shut up, Ed)

B is for Black Forest Cherry cake, my favorite. (but I don't like cherries all that much, go figure)

C is for creative. I am a frustrated artist, I can't draw well at all. I use graphics programs, scrapping goodies and my camera to get the creative urge out. For some reason, the calligraphy I learned in 7th grade is a coveted skill!

D is for dog, as in I want one. Lab, to be precise. You notice the impasse-Ed wants a cat.

E is for enthusiastic. I'll drive you crazy with my love for things!

F is for foodie. There is no reason to consume boring foods. Foodies love Fondue, yum.

G is for genial. You'll find me in a good mood most of the time.

H is for Hawaii. It's at the top of the 'must see' travel destinations list.

I is for intelligent. (and iPod, too)

J is for Jingle Bells, the song Chef Jr whistles while floating in the pool at the in laws (in the summer, folks). Kinda resembles my sorta sister Mary, who would play Mitch Miller Christmas sing a long albums in June.

K is for Kathi, my baby sister (a/k/a Giggles), who I saw at WDW last night.

L is for life long learner. If I had my druthers, I'd be a permanent student

M is for mandoline, the unitasker in my kitchen I love having.

N is for North Merrick, my hometown.

O is for October Project, a group whose CD's I could listen to over and over and over and over and over...

P is for pizza, especially with pesto, pepperoni, peppers and onions. Yum.

Q is for quality. It beats quantity every time. And do you really want a world with two Suzannes? Take the quality one you already have!

R is for reader. Anything and everything printed is fair game.

S is for singer. Too bad if you don't like it!

T is for ticklish. Very ticklish. No, I don't like being tickled.

U is for Urban Dictionary, where you find out the slang that your friend called you is actually a good thing! (who knew? Thanks Jeff!)

V is for VW, my lovely little car.

W is for wacky. I give Lucy and Ethel a run for their money!

X is for that weird alien that founded a 'religion'.

Y is for y'all, a phrase you cannot help but pick up when you live south of the Manson Nixon.

Z is for zany.

Phew, I made it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A day at the carnival

Yes, I did promise these pictures last week, but I'm pleading flu, headache and retail insanity.

It seems that Gameboy had more fun riding the bumper cars than his brother. He was laughing and smiling the whole time. I think it was the theme for the day, as Chef had refused to go on the swings, then he wanted to go on them over and over!

Of course, no carnival is complete without some sort of sugary snack. Chef Jr chose a sno cone, Gameboy a Pina Colada, Ed an ice cream and I got a brownie sundae later on. Here, Chef Jr is trying to show off his red tongue, but there's no dye on it!


Chef Jr was very pleased here-he got his favorite driver's car. Yes, I know Richard Petty retired in '92, seven years before the child was born. He doesn't care.


Tonight, cross your fingers that we get some pictures suitable for using on Christmas cards!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Five days left and a lot more topics

Remember how I said if you do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit? This blogging thing has become one. I'm in the routine of writing every day. It's not all great writing, but even the best have bad days.

My list of topics has been mostly untouched, but tomorrow I may actually use one (or two) of them. I also need to take some pictures to verify that my nifty new Nikon camera friendly USB plug works.

The class I led went well, and the feedback I got netted an 8.2 out of a possible 10. The common comment is that the customers much preferred my unscripted tips to me telling them the info from the scripts. Interesting. That was nearly identical to the last class. Everything I customized was better received than the document sent from corporate. Next week's group will get unscripted product information! Teaching when you have a passion for the product is so easy.

Tomorrow afternoon, we'll head over to WDW to see Giggles and her family. They're there until Wednesday, but all we could coordinate is an hour or two. We won't meet up until the normal bedtime for my two, who will be going to school the next day. Guess a couple of hours is better than not seeing them at all. :)

I think I need to get to her earlier next time, to coordinate going to Sea World. Thanks to our passes, they'd get discounted admission and we wouldn't have to pay for it. If her two are anything like mine, they'd probably LOVE the place.

My favorite niece (I did notice that, Tracey) sent me pictures of her family and my nephew's. They met halfway between their two cities in Virginia for a Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, to see their smiling faces with the beautiful fall leaves! Very cool. She's off to her husband's last duty station in Indiana soon. I don't envy the bitter cold they'll find there. Now, how do I explain to Tara that she's not my favorite, lol? Did you ever think it was funny that Granny had six girls and almost all of the grandkids are boys?!

the up side to no appetite

Yesterday, I found one of my old shirts in the closet. It was red, which means I can wear it to work for the next five weeks. Last year, it was too tight in the chest (what else is new?).
Now, it's a perfect fit. I know I'd lost about 10 pounds since I last put this thing on, but the flu probably took another five pounds off.

I broke down and took the shot of Imitrex yesterday. It was 2pm and there was no way I could function at work in the state I was in. Unfortunately, it only worked for about an hour. Lesson learned, don't use 20 bucks worth of meds if you know it isn't a migraine.

This morning, I'm teaching a class and had to be functional. CVS gave me some items that worked last night, and I've got some vitamin water to battle dehydration. Oh, how I'd love to have some coffee-but I don't think it's a good idea.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oy Oy Headache

I've been dealing with an off and on headache for a week now. Last night, it got bad and it's still got hold of my head this morning. No amount of Aleve has made a dent in it, though. Any ideas? It's not a migraine, so I am not even going to use some of the Imitrex on it.

I'll be back later when I can think properly. Nothing worthwhile is able to come out of the brain this morning.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Live from Tampa, it's Black Friday

I'm on my break from working the 'busiest shopping day of the year'* As is normal, my store is experiencing Saturday business. It is NOTHING like I've ever experienced in retail before. Last year it freaked me out, but this year, I'm enjoying having ten people on the sales floor. Even if we did double the business, I wouldn't be running ragged.

On that note, I feel like me again. I'm back to my quick pace and snap business decisions. I've missed feeling sharp and in control. I couldn't have a better day to feel like the old Suzanne. I even made some sloppy joes for the staff, to make sure there was something warm to have for lunch.

Yesterday's meal was delicious. The decision to go at 1:30 was perfect, as we were seated immediately. The boys ate well, we adults stuffed ourselves and then headed over to Lakeland with the in laws. Chef Jr asked to watch "Meet the Robinsons."

We had skipped getting this one because it didn't look promising. We were wrong.
It was a good story and great animation. The story vaguely reminded me of "Back to the Future", but in a good way. The animation was retro-futuristic. It seemed familiar, so when we saw that it was executive produced by John Lassetter and William Joyce, things made a lot more sense. William Joyce created Rolie Polie Olie, and George Shrinks, and both of those have the same feel.

So, a good day yesterday and today is feeling like another good one. I'm hoping this trend continues. Cross your fingers.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am not in the proper mindset to be thankful this year. It's been hectic, stressful, and crazy lately. To help myself get back into the groove, here's a list of things I am thankful for and perhaps it will get me out of the crabby mood I've been in lately.

* My kids. I've got two great kids and a friend was right, they are the best thing that can happen to you.

* My health. It took a long time to be able to look at the leg and not see the nasty stuff

* My job. It's a good company, I like my coworkers and the products we sell. They're on board with my plans to go back to school.

* Cub Scouts. They give Chef such joy, help Gameboy to make strides in socialization and gives Ed and I an hour a week of adult conversation!

* My friends. The phone directory will never be as vast, but what I lack in quantity is more than made up in the intelligence factor. You all are fun, smart people.

* Selected relations. Those who don't know my family are confused. Those who do are laughing, and those who I am thankful for roll their eyes at the dysfunction that we were born into. Giggles and Tracey (gotta get you a nickname, girl!), I'm so lucky that there are sane people among the crazies.

* My in laws. They drive me crazy, I drive them crazy.

* My friends in the computer. When you can't get out to socialize, the world comes to you. I hope you all know what you mean to me. (and thank God for IM). The day is coming where the world doesn't think we're freaks for having friends we've never met IRL. (or go to meet them in person!)

* Wine. There's a great big world of cab savs, merlots, pinots and other reds to explore. Thanks goes to Rosie at PRP for expanding my wine horizon!

* Southern Comfort. When I need more than to savor a glass of wine, SoCo packs the punch. (Yes, the holiday season in retail-make sure there's booze on hand for the occasional rough day)

* Good food. Whether it's dining out or made at home, a good meal restores plenty. Ed makes the best comfort foot (pot roast) and Chef Jr makes the best PB&J.

* Chocolate. Scharffenberger and See's are tops, but even Hershey's is good.

* Crocs. Yes, they are butt ugly, but my feet don't hurt. That's a major deal for me.

* Coffee. I drink it like others drink wine. It's gotta be good. Gimme Barney's or Indigo and I'm happy. (and if it's at a Barnie's, add a Selma's cookie, too) Oh, Krispy Krack, Dunkin Donuts and Racetrac make a good cup of joe, too.

* Books. Especially when several of your favorite authors published books that you haven't purchased yet.

* Beaches. They're best in the late afternoon when the water is warm.

* Laughter. You can never have enough of it.

Last but not least

*Ed. He still hasn't figured me out yet, but that's okay. He's a good man.

Don't over eat, people!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The roller coaster ride of retail

Today is like being on the roller coaster, at the top of the ascent, before all heck breaks loose.

I go in tonight for five hours to prepare my department for the insanity of Friday morning. We've never had Black Friday specials before, but this year we have one. Thankfully, I don't really have to deal with it. I do, however, want to make sure my department is stocked, signed, cleaned and ready to go for opening. I've been graced with the early shift Friday this year.

This year, I've got a Black Friday under my belt. I know how to prepare for this company's traffic patterns. They are so very different from what I am accustomed to. I know the product lines and can answer questions (I hate not knowing the answers). I know all the resources I can rely on if we don't have it-and how to get it in to the customer's hands in time for the holiday.

I am prepared for the people who will want every item wrapped separately and will think that 10 minutes to wait for one present is too long. (I want to see how nice their wrap jobs look!) I am armed with the "If you see it now, BUY it now. If you change your mind you can return it. If you come back, it WILL be gone." Usually, it works. When it doesn't, more often than not, I am the person to help that customer the second time and I can actually remind them of the conversation!

It's like an old friend, this roller coaster ride. I'd miss it if I didn't get on each year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My favorite Disney commercial

It's great when you find old favorites on you tube. Here's one of mine.


We had it on laserdisc at the stores and without fail, every one of the CMs would drop everything to watch the "Magic Happens" commercials. We all adored this one and thought it was so sweet.

A few months later, one of my coworkers comes in to work and says "She doesn't marry him". NO! We were all in shock. She said "She's having a baby with some guy in the GE 4D Ultrasound commercial." This was all reported in deadpan. A very funny memory, as if there's some sort of commercial world relationship stuff going on!

Potpourri for 100

I'm still feeling like crud, but at least I had the day off to vegemetate on the couch. Lucky me had a brand new book to read. Fortunately, I had something good. I finished the book in less than 24 hours, nearly 500 pages. Now I've got to look on eBay for more books on my list.

Ed thought I was ticked at him because I hardly spoke. That's something he's never noticed about me getting sick-I get very quiet. I'm one of those people that as soon as I stop talking, people think there's something wrong. Well, there IS, but it's physical.

Okay, anyone of the newfound friends from the blogosphere can help me out here? I was wondering if type pad or word press or any of those blogging sites have the ability for private entries. I need to vent about stuff sometimes, and can't, because the party(ies) involved get all offended that I write about things that bother me. I started this blog to be able to vent from time to time and I'm getting tired of not using the blog for one of the purposes for which it was intended.

I think my "just stop, it hurts" email finally got through to the thick headed individual. Reader's digest version: it wasn't just BCCs, it was that I wasn't valued as a friend unless I drove over to WDW and plopped down money at the gates and entered a friggin park. Some of us don't have 1200 bucks a year for annual passes for our families.

I don't have to worry if she reads this and if she does, I don't give a rat's ass. Thankfully, this means she won't be calling me with a million and one pregnancy or baby questions when that time rolls around-because she would do that. I'm only useful if I can do something FOR her.

I'm still thinking she thought my 'Golden Rule' email was a forwarded thing, much like she'd taken to sending me. Sure, fine for you to send that sort of stuff to me, but not the same if I did to you? Nice. Either that or she's really stupid and reading that didn't sink in. Based on Jeff and Paula's interpretations of it, I was pretty clear without being nasty.

Final tidbit for now is a cool one. We have Gold Passports to Sea World and Busch Gardens because they are realistic about people's finances. It's easier to get people to become passholders when you offer a monthly option (and they're a bargain, too). The new park, Aquatica, is set to open in March and we got our first mailing. If we upgrade our passes now, we'll get invites to a preview in February. Woohoo!! It's only a buck more a month, too.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ugh, the flu

This three days of feeling like crud must be the flu. I waver between sore back, fever (to the point that everyone tells me I look very flushed) and headache. It's a sign that I came back to insanity. Tomorrow, I will load up on vitamins and make sure I take them every day for the remainder of the holiday season.

The 21st is my one year anniversary with this employer, so I didn't think the week preceding Thanksgiving would be busier than my first week on the job last year. Then, it was oppressively slow and I wondered if I would again quit a job because there wasn't enough to do (College bookstore-I lasted two months, then quit because I felt guilty about reading books on the clock. They said it was fine, but I didn't agree.)

Bedtime last night was extremely early for me, 9:30! My wonderful hubby put up with my crabby ways yesterday. He reheated my leftover burger and brought it to me. One bite and I knew I couldn't eat any of it. Then he brought me a glass of schizophrenic red to enjoy while I read a chapter of Danny Meyer's "Setting the Table." Yum.

This morning, I was off to work for 7am. Yuck. The flu symptoms wavered back and forth. I had a floor move to finish up, which seemed to involve finessing displays and wrapping lots of merchandise for grab and go gifts. That always reminds me of being holed up in Mom's bedroom with everyone else's Christmas gifts and doing the job on Christmas Eve.

Like yesterday, if I keep myself occupied, it's not so bad. As soon as I shift into a less active state, though, I am toast. That's why I worked on addressing postcards for a customer event on my break. If I'd just vegged, I would have been down for the count.

Oh, I'd mentioned the controllable statistic that no one else was working on while I was gone? I was tops last week in it. Other than the store manager, who was pretty close, everyone else was FAR behind us. Happy Happy Joy Joy. Now if making sure all the markdowns get ticketed were as easy...

I'll be back tomorrow after some rest. I may fall asleep reading the book that I won off of eBay. I finally got Marian Keye's "Is Anybody Out There?" I scored really well-5.95 total (including shipping) for a trade paperback that is in pristine condition. Yay.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some people just don't get it.

Remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about writing off a friendship? I was tired of being hurt and felt that I was only worth having as a friend if I entered the gates of a Disney park with this person. Never mind the fact that there are hundreds of things to do on WDW property and thousands more in the greater Orlando area without entering the parks.

I poured my heart and soul into an email. In it, I explained how much it hurt and I didn't want to get the BCCs that just pointed out how much I wasn't a part of her life anymore. I left off with the comment that if she couldn't be bothered sending real emails or calling me, then to just stop-it was too painful otherwise.

The inbox today had yet another one of those damn BCCs. I've had enough, I sent a one word reply "Unsubscribe". How would you have handled this? Some off you have the unabridged version and if you care to comment, go right ahead. Am I over reacting?

Yeah, this sucks.

So, what do people envy about you?

People Envy Your Compassion

You have a kind heart and an unusual empathy for all living creatures. You tend to absorb others' happiness and pain.
People envy your compassion, and more importantly, the connections it helps you build. And compassionate as you are, you feel for them.


Oh, and the crankiness yesterday that I thought was from my body hating my return to work? No, it was the beginnings of a bug. Ugh.

We're going to the carnival in an hour or so to hopefully gather some more pictures for me to participate in the Weekly Winners on Lotus' site

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I've been tagged

How I got 17 days into NaBloMoHos without getting tagged yet defies explanation. My peeps love me, or maybe they realize I've got my secret arsenal of blog topics (now up to 12, since I'm saving the 'things I hate' that was the topic du jour) or perhaps they have noticed that I am already long winded and want me to shut up already.

Grandy, my kindred spirit on the health/out on disability/and go camping anyway is no longer a virgin to the MeMe. Ooooh, ahhhh, ooooooooooooo! I suggest you go back and read Grandy's page today, since she saved you from a long bitchfest from a cranky and sore Suzanne. It's probably better for a retail professional to post this kind of griping during the holidays, anyway. ;) (pssst, dee? If you made it over here...the Jerry Garcia doily is MINE!)

Without further ado,

5 Things about Suzanne (that you may not know, then again most of you do!)

1. When I was a kid, I was the family bookworm. I was what they call a 'spontaneous reader' right around 3 years old, according to the family legend. Somehow, I suspect Socrates* was trying to learn how to read and I picked it up while he was struggling. For years, you could find me sitting on the couch with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, a bio of Harry Truman off of the family bookshelf and anything and everything printed. Nothing escaped me reading it. (For instance, at 6, someone wrote in to Ann Landers about wanting to take 'the pill' and her parents said no. I thought 'big whoop')

2. I learned how to ride a two wheeler the same way. Please don't tell my kids this, as I haven't spent enough time showing them what to do to get those training wheels off! Now, picture a tiny, almost 3 year old on a 16" Schwinn with an apple seat. How I didn't kill myself, I will never know, especially since we lived on a busy street.

3. Famous people I have met are, in no particular order: Debbie Gibson(before she was famous), Jonathan Edwards (we played Chopstick together at My Father's Place, a nightclub on LI), Zero Mostel, Dorothy Hamill (got a handshake at the Ice Capades), NY radio greats Scott Muni (always had a bottle of Jack with him), Dave Herman and Marty Martinez, David Bowie (thanks to Ed winning tickets from the previous three-AND backstage passes!), Ned Jarrett, The Rippingtons, Ramsey Lewis, The Yellowjackets, Lindsey Brien from the Real World, several NY Mets (I have pictures with Ron Swoboda and Cleon Jones), Bobby Nystrom, and a couple of members of Echolyn (but I didn't realize it was them).

I've been close enough to touch, but not introduce myself to the members of Marillion and Kansas. I was in the same dinner and staring agape at the Who while they ate dinner at 10am on a Sunday when they were on the tour before their first farewell tour and had played the Nassau Coliseum the night before.

4. I am a travel wannabe. The money's not there,but the dreams are. There's an ever expanding list of places to go, and I end up asking people lots of questions when they tell me they traveled someplace I am desperate to visit! (Poor Donna!)

5. I'm one of eight kids, and as a result, the first niece and nephew are only six and seven years younger than me. They're more like siblings than their mom. Besides, Legacy* (their mom) has an extremely annoying habit of stealing my news. Like when I found out with pregnant with Gameboy, I called my mom before I went to Tracey's son's first birthday party. I knew that Legacy wouldn't wait ten seconds after I departed to call Mom. I was right.

She later repeated this by calling the hospital repeatedly the night I gave birth. Several of my sisters sound alike, and when she got Ed on the phone at 1am, he thought she was another sister and shared the news of Gameboy's birth. He said "Don't tell Legacy, let Suzanne call her in the morning." Of course, she agreed, then hung up the phone and called my mom. Do you know how crappy it is to call your mom to announce the birth of a grandchild and hear "Oh, Legacy woke me at 1am, DRUNK, to share the news." Nice, huhh,

Okay, you're reaching the end and that means I have to tag some of you. Ooooooh, the power!

Let's see, who do I tag?

Mandy
Ben (why not? It'd be cool to see a dog meme)
30 Bef0re Thirty
Imaginary Binky
pwning adulthood


Before you curse me, just realize that I gave you a day's blog fodder in the homestretch!






Friday, November 16, 2007

Why I love eBay

Looking forward to getting the cable for my camera that I won on eBay last week. It will remove the following steps when uploading pictures to the computer.

1. Take card out of camera.

2. Put card in HP All in One printer.

3. Schlep HP laptop that has a card reader EXCEPT for my format across the house to all in one. (Note to HP-there are lots of people who have compact flash cards!)

4. Find stupid USB cord to printer in among all the other black cords under the desk. (Note to self: It *might* be a good idea to put some of the colored nail polish on the end of it to differentiate from all the other black cords)

5. Pray the laptop battery doesn't die during the conversion because I forgot the cord was too lazy to bring the cord along with me. This sucky battery lasts 20 minutes tops and I’m far too cheap to buy another one. (Hmmm, I’m saying why I love eBay…)

6. Look like a flamingo while I stand there going through the process of uploading because I'm cool like that.

7. Schlep laptop (and the cord I had to go retrieve) back to the living room and play with the pictures.

It's sad that it's easier to upload my crappy 640x480 camera phone pictures than the ones from my good camera.

I can thank the TSA for deciding to inspect my luggage the one time I checked my old laptop instead of carrying it on. The proprietary cable disappeared at MCO airport about four years ago. At first, I had though it was a case of “Hey, I can use this cable.” Now I think it probably fell on the floor mid inspection and they found it several hours later.

Thanks to Ebay, a new one is on the way. Unfortunately, parcel post is really busy and hasn’t gotten it to my mailbox.

I am so glad I cut and pasted a reply to Lotus into Word the other day. I am positively beat today. The past few days have been incredibly busy at work-so much for the calm before the storm! I expanded on that reply and voila!

Last year, I started with my present employer the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It was very calm and quiet for about two weeks. However, my department has some necessities for the holiday, so I’ve been running my butt AND finishing a floor move that was supposed to be completed before I returned.

I can’t claim credit for doing all of the moves, because frankly, I had not even been in my department until today! Yep, helping out everyone else. Did ya expect anything else from me. Yes, I’ve heard a lot of sincere “we MISSED you so much” which feels very nice and makes up for the soreness I am feeling.

Oh, and that three days off? Gone like the wind, my friends. Word got to my store manager that I usually will give up the third day off in favor of earning an extra day’s pay. She saw that she really needed me to prep my department for Black Friday and added me in for Wednesday night.

Interesting to note: the other two managers were not given the option. Part of me craves the extra day’s rest. The other part of me fully realizes that I am finally given the recognition that I get things done. If I didn’t, I would not have been scheduled.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The trio camps in the cold

Ok, the cord I won on Ebay is taking its time getting here, so I'll tell of the trip and add the pictures later. BTW, Donna is having a great time touring the vineyards and villas in Napa for work. Mr. MacMahon, I implore you to reroute the prize patrol to my house. I want to go!

Since we had to make sure that Gameboy was at the church for departure promptly at 6:30pm, Ed and I decided to go set up camp while the kids were in school to avoid putting up a tent in the dark. We did that last year at one of the campsites, and it wasn't too bad, but not what you want to do.

The campsite had wooden poles around it and we were unsure if we were to set up inside or outside the poles. We were the first there, and chose to set up outside the poles. Fifty fifty odds and it ends up we were wrong. However, we weren't asked to move it later, and others set up outside as well.

Where were we? At a nice group campsite at Edward Medard Park. The facilities were immaculate and the whole park is postcard beautiful.

Okay, so we set up our tent and brought everything but the cooler along while the boys were in school, then departed for a few hours. After dropping Gameboy off, we went back to the house, got the cooler and ice, then entered the campsite around 8:15ish. We found a nice roaring campfire and many of the campers in front of it.

The kids ran around for a while and we adults sat and talked. One by one, the kids wandered off to bed. Around 10, Ed and I did the same. The evening had been chilly, so I was glad I had my thermal jammies. (Note to self: buy some for Ed and the kids for the January camping trip).

The RSD involves an unorthodox sleeping method, I have to hang my feet off the end of the air mattress. Alas, when it dipped to 39 degrees (verified by another parent at home about 3 miles from camp at 5am), I kept waking up because my feet were cold. Then I decided to pull them onto the air mattress, only to keep waking up from the RSD. If I have to choose between the two, I'd rather wake with warm painful feet than cold feet that are pain free.

Around 8am, the call of the bathroom roused us from our warm sleeping bags. The day ended up being very relaxing. After a breakfast of pancakes and sausage (which Chef Jr) believes to be the ONLY breakfast you can possibly eat while camping), the men wandered off to do some fishing. Alas, there was no catching (again).

Later in the morning, all the kids there made Veteran's Day cards to be sent off to the troops. Then we had a light lunch of sandwiches and there was a hike to 'the hills' for the boys. There will be no hiking for me for a while, so I took a nap to compensate for the lack of continuous sleep the previous night.

It was an early dinner for us, as I needed to head out. No sooner did we bring out the camp stove did others think that it was a good idea to fire up theirs, too. Some chicken marinated for several days in my special marinade was just the ticket to warm the belly.

Once I left, Ed and Chef Jr enjoyed campfire stories and a night time hike to an observation tower to look at the stars. While the kids were amazed at the quantity of them, the adults were shocked at the amount of ambient light killing the view. There was a bonus, though. NASA did a night time launch Saturday night and it was a clear enough night for them to see the boosters fall away from the rocket. Neat. (I'm bummed that I missed it).

Back at camp, the s'mores were waiting to be made. I came back in time to snag some marshmallows. Yummy. Chef Jr headed off to bed and Ed and I sat yakking with one of the other dads. Good people. We started taking about racing and just wandered from topic to topic. It was quite nice to relax and enjoy the company of an adult!

Saturday night, the temperature didn't dip nearly as low but we both kept waking up. Meanwhile, Chef Jr? He was O U T! Guess it's good to get the kid out running his butt off every now and then. Once we decided to get moving for the day, it was another breakfast of pancakes, but with bacon today.

In the 'we must forget one item roulette' that happens every trip, we came up with pancake syrup this time. I even went home with it in my head, but forgot AGAIN. Oops. Fortunately, the lure of some bacon got us some syrup. I think I probably could have skipped offering it and still would have scored it. Nice people all around in this pack, everyone helps everyone else.

Pack out happened pretty quickly and we were back home by 11:45. Not too bad. We'd gotten regular updates from our Cubmaster, since her husband was at the other camp out with the Webelos. At 10:30, he told her that they'd be on time and at the church at 12. Nope, wasn't until almost one.

Gameboy had a good time, we had a good time and no one wants to run us out of the scout pack. Guess that means we're on tap for the next camping adventure in January.

BTW, thank the tendons above your ankles on the front of your feet today. They do so much without complaint. Then when you give them a rest for seven weeks, they tell you in no uncertain terms "I'm working here!". Ow. If you see a 40 something hobbling like she's Granny Clampett, that would be me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

After all, it's a step in the right direction

Tuesday brought me the short straw on the store meeting front. I was the unlucky manager that came in for the weekly management meeting, then back at 2pm to do the closing shift. We all find that the worst proposition, because none of us lives close enough to the store to make it worth going home, then coming back.

Instead, I drove over to USF and took some more steps down the college admissions path. I met with one of the admissions counselors. He gave me some information and a list of the prerequisites for entry into the College of Education. Thankfully, when we reviewed the list, it appears that I only need three Pre Education classes in order to officially be enrolled into the Elementary Education area of concentration.

That was a big relief. After last week's visit to the BoE, I worried if I had a full 128 credits to complete before finishing that Bachelor's degree. Now it's looking like somewhere between 70 and 80. I may be over estimating somewhat, but I'd rather think I have more to do than less.

My 'to do' list, handed down from the counselor, is to get transcripts from both colleges I attended. USF appears to pretty much guarantee transfer admissions to anyone with a cum of 2.5 or higher. Yeehaw, mine is over 3.0. He suggested I have them mailed to me and then hand deliver them to the college. The reasoning behind this is twofold. I am able to confirm that the University received them AND have an admissions counselor go over the transcripts with a fine tooth comb to compare what is needed to what has been completed.

I asked about where I might go to find out about the CLEP exam administration. Happily, that office was right upstairs from Admissions. The tests are offered every weekday except Thursday. Once I bring a $20.00 money order, they schedule the test for me. It's a bargain, $85.00 saves me a semester in class and at the end, I see how I scored before the grades are transmitted to the College Board.

If I am back at work and taking these classes, it'll be a long road. I'll keep plugging away, and eventually, that degree will be closer in front of me than the Admissions office behind me.

(Ed MacMahon, now is the time to show up with the Prize Patrol! I've gotta pay for all this!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it's back to work I go

With no small amount of trepidation, I returned to work yesterday. More details when I go to plug the laptop in somewhere. Finally, someone left a table with the coveted plug. I'm back and ready to tell the tale.

The return worried me on several different fronts. Am I crazy for returning at the holiday time? Maybe. I'll be standing a lot and it's obvious that eight or ten hours on my feet cannot be the way for me to earn a living for much longer.

My District Manager has never been thrilled with me. I'm not fashion plate. Makeup is something that I have to put on, I don't have a drawer full of it. To expect me to come in with the trendiest clothes (in the dress code, mind you) and makeup that looks like Max Factor applied it, well, that's not me.

My fear was that because I'm just tolerated by the DM, perhaps I would be passed off to one of our divisions. The company only had to guarantee the same salary and hours, not the same position. For the last six months, I felt like I was working twice as hard as my peers to prove that I was an asset to the store, because it seemed like whatever I did, she didn't think I was valuable to the team.

I don't think what I wear makes me a better employee. I bring to work is a positive attitude, great selling skills and a very inclusive management style. The way I see it, the more I share with my staff, the more self reliant they will be. That is far more important than whether I plopped down 100 bucks for the best makeup at Sephora. My priority is making sure I establish a rapport with my team and ultimately, my customers.

It seems that in the seven weeks that I was gone, my absence made a huge impression. Morale has dipped and the other two people at my level have taken to trash talking our store manager to the staff. There's been a lot of negativity and work is being sloppily or not at all. The DM has taken note and said that she realizes I am golden compared to the other two. Whoa.

I had contemplated heading off to a different retailer because I just wasn't feeling that I was valued where I am. Retail is my passion and I happen to really like the department I lead. The company is great, but when you run your ass off and it seems like it's ignored, well, eventually you do burn out. Especially when my personal motivator is a quote from a wonderful boss. "When you walk out the door, ask yourself 'Did I make a difference today?'" I felt like I did, but it seemed that others didn't.

Yesterday almost felt like vindication. My impact on the day to day operation of the store was noticeable by my bosses. Last night, as my tired butt was running closing reports, I looked over the results in a controllable area. While I was gone, the numbers in this area were scary looking. My contribution almost doubled the results of Sunday.

Getting that big hug and hour long (scary) story from my store manager revitalized my passion for the job. Now, when I ask if I was crazy to come back now, I still think I'm crazy. Crazy with a love for working retail during the holiday season.

PS My boss showed her gratitude for me returning by giving me three days in a row off next week!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday musings about Scouting

You're here, so you must have some idea what a blog is. Blogger is run by Google, and if you have a G Mail account, it defaults to the last email address that logged in to sign you into your account.

I've got two G Mail accounts, because you know, sometimes you don't need the whole world to know who your favorite Disney character is! This morning, when I went to log in, it had the "last name at gmail dot come" as the default. I don't have a blog with that account, so the screen that pops up says "What is a blog?" with a nifty tutorial. BTW, Blog is a conjunction of the words "WeB log". Simply, it's an online journal. (and a source of entertainment). No, I did not keep a diary as a kid, folks.

I'll tell more about the trio camping trip after I upload the pictures. I fully cop to being a lazy butt, because I am conserving energy for going back to work. However, I will report what I know about Gameboy's weekend.

Friday night, we grabbed dinner and arrived at the church for a 6:30pm departure. It was mass chaos until Mr. C got the Patrol Leader introduced. The Eagle Scout (R, who attended the last camp out with our pack) was quick to explain what the boys needed to do to get the trailer loaded. He's a good kid, well mannered and patient. It took about 20 minutes, but the boys had everything loaded in (or on) the trailer and the caravan pulled out of the parking lot.

For us, it was a major departure from our norm. We aren't comfortable with many people watching him due to his issues. It's not easy coping with meltdowns. Other than daycare situations, there have only been two of our friends who have watched him. It gets old for all of us-we need a break from each other. This trip was the first time he was away from family for more than a few hours. (If I could dance, there would be a happy dance) He probably loved the idea of not having Mom or Dad (a/k/a Drill Sergeants) around for a few days.

His camping trip was organized by Mr. C. Cub Scouts are adult run. Boy Scouts, on the other hand, are boy lead. They have leaders, but the decisions and the running of the Troop is completely up to the boys.

Mr. C developed this program* to introduce the concepts of Boy Scouting to the Webelos so that they see what it entails. Apparently, a lot of the kids leave scouting soon after they complete the Order of the Arrow. From what I've been told, the retention of the boys who attend this program has been incredible. It gets them energized for the next step and fully aware of what's in store. (If I get permission, I'll link Mr. C's website on here. If not, email me and I'll give you the link)

In Cub Scouts, where leaders facilitate completion of requirements and electives. Boy Scouts have to decide which requirements they will fulfill to achieve their ranks. There is adult involvement, but it's more of a support role. It's interesting to note that BSA will make accommodations for permanent mental and/or physical disabilities in attaining those ranks. I think we got a taste of that this weekend, though Ed will find out more tonight.

Gameboy didn't strike us as the type to take on Boy Scouting. His brother was the one hounding us to join scouting. However, Gameboy WANTS to do it. It's amazing to watch, to see him try to reach out, to try to belong. He may never make it very far, but by participating, he's bettering himself. I don't know if he plans to do more than attend the meetings. Even if he doesn't make it past Tenderfoot, I'll be proud. He is trying. That is all that I can ask of him.

He was coached a lot on what he would need to do for the weekend. We assisted him in gathering and packing his bag, going over what was needed and why. Daily, it's a struggle to get the kid to change his clothes, thanks to the sensory issues. That bag was packed with worry whether all the items would come home! He returned still wearing his Class A uniform. We thought it was cool that the boys came back in them.

Gameboy later told us he wore it all weekend. I have to say, it wasn't dirty, just a little ripe. I think deep down, the kid really is proud of that uniform and the sense of belonging it signifies. It was chilly this weekend, and he stayed in those shorts!

He admitted he was a little cold Friday night (according to another parent's outdoor thermostat, it was 39 Saturday morning), but wore his jacket to bed per orders. He participated in all the activities and enjoyed the Trashcan Turkey and baked potato for dinner. Apparently, all the fresh air tuckered him out and he went to bed before dessert was served. His breakfast Sunday morning was a portion of the Apple Cobbler they had saved for him.

I get the impression that this Troop will work with his issues. We had the opportunity to go to a Roundtable last week to meet with all the Troops in our district (like a college fair). The evening of the event, we asked Gameboy if he'd like to stay with this Troop or see what else is out there. He said he wanted to continue on to the Troop attached to our pack.

After seeing how he (and they) survived a weekend camp out, I think he made the right decision. Now I'm wondering, when can they take him for a weekend again?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

30 years later

Even though some of the movie is horribly dated, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is still a heart pumping movie. I came home tonight to find Ed about twenty minutes into watching. Watching as an adult, each of us now finds holes in the screenplay.

Yet, it still is a gripping story. So much so, that I'm making this minimal post today so I can finish watching the movie.

How they got a 3 year old to do his scenes is just incredible. Spielberg is a genius on many leve.s

Tomorrow, more details of two camping trips and a return to work...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Live from camping: BRRRRRR!

Originally, I wondered if this would be the day I fell out of the NaBloMoHo's 30 day posting spree. We have been camping and it wouldn't have made much sense to leave the campsite just to make a blog entry.

However, one thing has helped keep me on track. I helped organize an online baby shower for one of my friends. There are a group of about 20 of us that have a little group amidst a big message board. These ladies (and a couple of gents, too) have been like my family on the web. We rally around each other in good and bad times, so when one of our ranks was expecting, we were so thrilled for her.

So, I left Ed and Chef Jr at the campsite (only 15 miles from home) and came home. I would have just gone up the road to McDonald's to log in to the chat. However, in my haste to pack for everyone else, I forgot to pack shirts! Oops. Since I'm home, I'm popping in the shower and grabbing some totes toasties and hot cocoa for the morning.

What a difference three weeks makes! Last time, we slept on air mattresses and never even unrolled the sleeping bags because it barely dipped below 90 degrees. This time, it has been chilly by our standards. It dropped to the mid 40's last night. The sleeping bags are fine, with one exception for me.

The RSD has created some interesting ways to sleep. I've been sleeping on the couch to keep me from tossing and turning and putting pressure on the leg and top of the foot. My work around when camping is to sleep with my foot hanging off the edge of the air mattress.

Alas, even with socks on, that means that the cold air just pools around the feet! I kept waking up because my feet were cold. Eventually, I decided to deal with the sensory problems and sleep the way I like to (or did, before RSD came into my life). I still kept waking up, but at least the first thing upon waking wasn't "FROZEN FEET, BRRRRRR", instead it was "toasty feet, owwww leg" I'll take that.

Oh, and if you're wondering, Gameboy is on a different camping trip. If he had any inclination to act up and be sent home, we told him that he wouldn't come to the other camp site. He'd go home without game priviledges for the rest of the weekend. As it's now after 8 and he's been camping for 26 hours, I guess he took our instructions as gospel. Hope his weekend is going well-and I'm thankful that he's got one of the newest sleeping bags to keep him warm.





Friday, November 09, 2007

Can't Decide on a Candidate?

This quiz is put out by a democratic alliance, so it may lean more towards liberal issues. However, I found it interesting and useful.

http://glassbooth.org/


(at least Mitt Romney didn't show up as one of my top contenders this time. That certainly made me go WTF?)

Graduation: 2013?

Gameboy's educational path may appear to be the same as other kids. However, there's a lot that goes on to ensure his academic needs are met that the average person does not see.

As a result of his diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, he is classified as an "Exceptional Student" by the state of Florida. We entered into the state, comfortable in the knowledge of how the IEP (Individual Education Plan) process worked and what we, as parents, needed to bring to the table when the IEP team met.

We came from a relatively average size school district in Maryland. The participants at the school level were always the same, but the participants from the BOE offices would always be different. Let me explain: the typical IEP has your child's classroom teacher; a teacher (or three) that provide any special services (speech, reading or other specialty); the principal or assistant principal; a facilitator from the Board of Ed and sometimes the school psychologist.

In Maryland, we had a pretty full meeting each time we convened an IEP. Ed and I brought a friend's mom (a teacher) to the first one because we had not a clue of what to expect, but Peggy was a veteran. She asked the questions that we needed to ask, if we hadn't already done this. We came out of that first meeting far more relaxed than when we walked in.

We had been extremely fortunate that our son's brand new school had at its helm a principal who had spent years heading the county's high school for the worst behavioral students. She had seen emerging issues with our son and her goal was to prevent him from attending THAT school. Not that it was a bad school, but she saw brilliance in our child-that school would not be able to focus on academia in the manner he needed.

Testing was initiated and we reconvened to go over the results. He was confirmed to have Asperger's Syndrome and the ADHD we already knew about(the other diagnoses came later) and plans needed to be made. What could the school do to help him? The amazing part was that in that second meeting is that the principal, Dr. S, turned to me and Ed and asked "What do YOU want for Gameboy?"

They agreed with our desire to keep him in the mainstream program as long as they could. When Gameboy started spending a part of every day in Dr. S's office, we all met again. This happens with the early stages of those IEPs. There will be a lot of tweaking until the right balance is achieved. A year after he began the IEP process, Gameboy was moved to a program our county had at another school. It was self contained and when we walked into the first grade classroom-there were 10 other boys with similar issues.

This program had an established method to assist the students. When there was an issue, a student went into a 'quiet room'. It was a closet that had been completely emptied and padded. The walls were covered with carpet. (We were shown this in our tour and told 'we hardly need to use it." Gameboy gave it a workout!) Many times with Gameboy, he gets so worked up in a meltdown that to get him back on task, he needed time in this place to regroup. Thankfully, there was always one of the social workers, secretary or principal of the program around to coach Gameboy back into behaving. He made great strides in 18 months. We didn't have to get him from school all that much.

Then we moved to Florida. We silly parents, we thought we were pros. We came down here well prepared with all of his paperwork (except for the actual document that indicated Asperger's). We told the facilitator at our first IEP that Gameboy was classified as Federal Code 14, Autism. This is because Asperger's is an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What we did not know is that Florida does not classify Asperger's under the Autism spectrum, rather its classified as Neurologically Impaired.

The upshot is that Gameboy spent third grade with a very sweet teacher and aide and five other students from first through third grades. She taught to the lowest common denominator. Gameboy, who had been studying third grade curriculum and learning cursive writing at the previous school, now was bringing assignments home that had basic addition and very simple reading assignments. Had we known more, we would have opted for one of the other placements offered. We had weighed the pros and cons. The facilitator (here, we will have the same dynamo until he graduates) didn't know Gameboy except for what we'd told her. If she had, she would have pushed for a neurologically impaired placement.

At the end of third grade, it was time to review. His test scores for the various Florida standardized tests came back and he was in the 98th percentile on all of them. We said we wanted to try mainstream again. Thanks to those scores, our request was granted.

What a nightmare that was. Gameboy was placed with a second year teacher who had a major chip on her shoulder. We met with her before the school year began and gave her a narrative about Gameboy. We offered to email back and forth and give her a heads up on bad mornings and she could do the same when we needed some more details about what was happening in school. We had done this up north with great success (Alas, Netscape deleted all of those emails in their purge of anything over 60 days. Netscape sucks). No, this was an affront to her expertise and 25 year old "I am the teacher, you're just the parent" credo.

Each time we went to the school for an issue (and we seemed to do this a lot), we'd meet in the principal's office. He would be calm and rational, she'd be sitting with a puss on her face and arms across her chest, clearly annoyed at this child. She wanted him OUT, because he ruined her idea of how a classroom should be. She had succeeded in having the boy across the street removed from the class before and I guess she figured that temper tantrums to the principal were how to get what she wanted. Maybe, but it appears it also prevented her from getting tenured at the end of the year.

In December, despite decent report cards for academics, Gameboy was moved to the "Other Neurologically Impaired" class. Finally, we met a teacher (and aides) in Florida who treated Gameboy exactly the same way we did at home. I will tell anyone who asks that with him, I am not a mom, I am a drill sergeant. We do a lot of yelling and repeating of the same thing over and over. You coddle him, he becomes a terror. These teachers got that. They didn't have to yell, but he got the same drill sergeant front. It was an amazing fit, and we didn't want it to end.

Fifth grade began with worry-next year, we would have middle school to contend with. Ms. W, Gameboy's teacher, told us to relax. The framework of her class was created by Ms. McC at the middle school that he would be attending (IEP took him to this school rather than the neighborhood feeder). All year, we heard how Ms McC's class was where all of her students went and the consistency helped. She eased our worries to an extent, but there was a level of anxiety for us all through fifth grade. At the year end IEP meeting, our facilitator was pleased with Gameboy's progress. Attending the meeting was Ms. M, the ESE specialist at the new middle school.

As a testament to her commitment to her students, Ms. W culled Gameboy's spelling and vocabular words from a college science textbook. She made lesson plans for each of the students, with a main lesson that would work for all of them. The best proof of what she did was that Gameboy made Honor Roll for the whole year. (He'd made it the two marking periods he was in her class in 4th grade). He also got high marks on the FCAT, a test that really doesn't allow for much accommodation of a child with writing issues. As he'd been doing so well, we made the decision to have him attend extended school year with Ms. W, to keep the routine going. All eight of her students attended, and they had a blast.

August 1st rolled around and I started calling his new middle school. To ease Gameboy's anxiety and OCD, I wanted him to walk around the campus, meet the teacher, talk to her and hand her a narrative about Gameboy. I was told the teachers would not be in until the 9th, call back then. So I did and left a message. Then, I got a call from the ESE specialist to arrange a meeting. We agreed on the Wednesday before classes began.

The ESE specialist for the school is great. She pulled Gameboy's info and discovered that HE WASN'T ENROLLED. Apparently, his IEP did not get entered into the system. We had to fill out paperwork to place him at this school. Ms. M walked us around the campus, showing us where the 6th grade pod was, the gym, the cafeteria, the science classes and the library. We went in to meet the principal, as she likes to meet all the students.

First off, she see's Gameboy's discipline record at the top of his file. Why it was at the top, we don't know(he had no referrals for most of 5th grade). He got a stern lecture that it wouldn't be tolerated here. Uh, lady, sorry to disappoint, but you're dealing with a child who is emotionally three years old. Then she saw his FCAT scores-all 4's and 5's. Again, we hear 'talented and gifted' classes. Again, we say we are not inflicting his disruptions on the other students.

The next evening, we attend "Back to School" night. We go to meet Ms McC, only to find that she is not teaching that program any more. Gameboy *might* be in her class, but she didn't think so. We run into Ms. M, the specialist, and she asks us to come back Friday morning, since Gameboy is still not enrolled in the system. Ultimately, we did not meet his teachers then, but we had a mini IEP meeting and all parties got the narrative about Gameboy. We'd be sending him to school Monday morning and Ms. M would get him to the right place.

He was split between two teachers: one for English and Social Studies, the other for Math and Science. Over the first few weeks, we had encounters with one of the aides in these classes, who griped to Ed about Gameboy "he doesn't look at me when I'm talking to him" and other things that made it clear that she had not read that narrative. Ed had to explain each time, some facet of Asperger's that she obviously did not bother to find out.

At the teacher conference, I met one teacher who sang my son's praises-she adored him and kept calling him 'a sweet boy'. She told me what I knew, that he was reading quickly and far ahead of his peers. What impressed me was that she was giving him assignments that catered to his abilities. This meeting went much better than I had anticipated.

Unfortunately, I'd been assigned the last appointment for the day and could not meet with the other teacher. I had no idea how he was doing in Math and Science. Science is easily his favorite subject, but he learned no third grade math instruction. (Once we're financially flush again, I'll be getting him a math tutor to review. He can do far better in math than he is). He gets a daily report card, and while it had some information, we had not a clue how the score related to his academic progress.

Three weeks ago, we began a new marking period and got the word that Gameboy's class assignment would change. He now would spend the entire day with the teacher we had not met. This decision was made because she teaches the 7th and 8th graders. WTH? He's in 7th grade classes?

Apparently, based on his file, he'd been placed with the older student for math and science. This was their work around the talented and gifted issue. I liked the way they thought. Even though I see him struggling with math (basic multiplication is not rote for him), he apparently is keeping pace with the kids a grade ahead.

The new placement has been good, but then in begs more questions. Academically, he's doing 7th and 8th grade work in 6th grade. What are they going to do to challenge him in two years, when he's a grade ahead curriculum wise?

We got his report card yesterday and were happily surprised. Even though the daily report cards ran the gamut, he must be producing enough otherwise. He appears to have the photographic memory that runs in my family, which comes in handy at test times. The net result is that he earned two A's and four B's. In a major surprise to both of us, he made honor roll, even with all the changes and disruptions he's had adjusting to middle school.

Yesterday, along with the report card, there was an item that now has thoroughly confused us. We got what basically is a statement of graduation intent. This document lists how many credits are needed to graduate and the break outs into each area of study. Gameboy's was not completed, but it looks like we're supposed to list what classes we'd like him to take (like European History, American History, Physics, etc). It came home with a note to sign it and return to school.

Both of us looked it over. It looks like it is supposed to come home with all the classes filled out, we just are supposed to approve it. His was blank. the thing that confuses us the most is that it has Gameboy's name, address, school and in the box for graduation? 2013?

I had him the year I turned 30 (made my goal of child by 30 by three months, booya). That little fact made me remember that I graduated in '84, he's supposed to graduate in '14. So, now we've got more questions.

*Is he now considered a 7th grader? Skipped without all the red tape? (If so, I don't think I will complain, provided that for now he's in a multi grade classroom)

*Was this sent in error, since he's surrounded by 7th and 8th graders? (somehow, I doubt it, since it was printed with his information as if it came directly from the Board of Education)

*How do we fix this if it's wrong? (I suspect if this was a mistake, it's going to be a headache to get corrected)

If you've made it this far, you've had a peek into the lives of a special needs child's parents. It's not as simple as what happens today, we really have to worry about the future. Most parents probably wouldn't have given that 2013 a second thought? Meanwhile, we're here wondering if it has a bigger meaning. Did he get skipped without so much as asking our permission? What would YOU think?

(C'mon, you can comment. I won't bite...................much)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Adventures at the mall

Ed and I ran a few errands earlier. I was insistent on a visit to the mall. Seems that now that I don't work in it, one of my credit card payments slips my mind every now and again. By heading to the mall, I ensure that it gets paid on time.

There were mall security guards shooing cars out of the area where I went to park. Weird. One of the guards came over and told me there were more spots on the other side. "Handicapped?" I asked, and he said yes. (We started where he was pointing and there were none). Another guard comes over and says I could stay, that they'll allow the placards, but nothing beyond it. There would be a helicopter landing there. Looking around, there were a bunch of suits in front of Books A Million. Definitely not normal.

Once inside the mall, the concierge informs us that the hullabaloo is because Jenna Bush will be signing books today. Ed, the concierge and I debate whether she is the first (or second) daughter, as none of us are sure if she is the younger or older twin. One of the things about the staff is that because I know them, they'll share what they know about coming stores.

When I went to the Melting Pot with Jill last month, I'd been handed a flyer for Dip, their new chocolate fondue concept for malls. They said the one in Citrus Park was opening in a few days, but I read about a week later that the mall we were in was getting one. Alas, not yet. However, L shared the happy news that this place is back after a three year hiatus! He's seen it this morning during his daily walk of the mall, but wasn't sure if it was open for business yet,

Once we got the inchworm fast scooter, we lurched down to that end of the mall. We made my payment at NY & Co, passed the first of two Starbucks (yuck) and got accosted by one of the phone hucksters (brand new hello Moto, dude!)

We rounded the corner of the new wing of the mall and I squealed with glee at the sight of this:

As always, there were a couple of friendly retirees manning the kiosk who were happy to offer samples. Koffee Krispy, yum. We spent a few minutes scoping the wares, and chose a Awesome Peanut Brittle Bar for me and the two kids, and the Toffeettes for Ed (to share). The Halloween candy-it is a tease when you've got good stuff.

Happy in our acquisition, we passed the Books a Million, which had a stanchion set up outside (with no one in it). Anyone going into the store got the wand treatment and I don't think I've ever seen that many mall security staff in one place. The place was pretty secure-too bad the place didn't seem to have anyone other than security and store employees.

Snail like scooter returned, we got back to the car and found that if the secret service were checking it out for being in a restricted area, they didn't disturb my dirt experiment. :)

Since I don't work in a mall, per se, I don't feel the need to head to one. Lately, this one has drawn us to visit. They added Cheesecake Factory, reopened Panera Bread and California Pizza Kitchen is about to open. The aforementioned Books a Million is a good size and has great staff. Now that there's See's, I guess we'll have to brave the traffic a few times this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

In case you were wondering....

I was reading Newton's Knitting blog, and went to a link at OK Cupid to find out if I was a Nerd, Geek or a Dork. The results have been tabulated and here are their findings:

Your Score: Modern, Cool Nerd

65 % Nerd, 60% Geek, 39% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!

Congratulations!


I guess that answers THAT question for all of you. I thought I'd score geek. Yesterday, I added my name to the dorkbloggers network and Ed vehemently protested that, saying I was not at all a dork. Well, honey, I have dorky tendencies. I suppose I should go find the nerd bloggers group.

Where the heck do I fit in, anyway? I'm a mom, but not a mommy blogger. Thanks to previous experiences, I don't write anything specific about work, so I'm not a 'protest against the man' blogger. I have health issues, but they're not the whole of the blog, either .

That test may just prove one thing. I am unable to be pigeonholed into any one category.

(Giggles is probably reading this and saying "I've known for my whole life that she's a nerd!)



Something resembling the rest of the world's sleep patterns

With the announcement that I'd be returning to work came the panic. "OMG, my wacky sleep schedule? I've been going to bed between 4 and 6 and waking up around 10am." The two nights of about three hours sleep due to the time change actually played in my favor.

Monday night, I got to bed at midnight. This is pretty normal for me. Last night, I think I made it until 10:30pm. Cross your fingers that the rest of the week is similarly slumbered. It would suck to return to work on 3 hours sleep.

Just wanted to share that. Are you all yawning now?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Taking that first step down a different path

As noted in yesterday's update, I'm returning to work Monday. To prepare for this, I attended a management meeting this morning. (Getting up at 6:30am? Major Suckage) Apparently, they had no meetings while I was gone.

I walked up to the front door, and unlocked it. The stock manager immediately comes up and gives me a bear hug and tells me he's really missed me. He's not an overly demonstrative person, so this really was a nice gesture. (We talk music, media, travel and all sorts of stuff-he's a very cool guy).

Two of the other managers comment that I've really lost some more weight. I have to admit, the last time I wore these pants was the week before I went on leave and they fit just right-now they are pretty loose.

The meeting got me back into the loop rather quickly and there was no shortage of things for me to do. We have a staff meeting Sunday night and I'll be presenting one part. There's that customer class I'm teaching at the end of the month and a pile of reference checks that are waiting for me to complete, too. I'm sure it could be worse, I could be hearing 'Oh, you were gone?' as if my presence didn't make an impression.

After the meeting was over, I gathered my presentation materials and left. I popped in to our sister store, where I again got some very warm welcomes. I fit in much better with the sister store. While I like the product line of my store and enjoy my department and customers, I LOVE their products. It shows, and they're always eager to chat. Today, one of the part timers even commented that she hadn't seen me in a while-I must be visiting when she's not working. I had to explain the absence.

Then it was time to head down the new path. Once I left the store, I found the Board of Education's employment office. The young lady at the front desk was very curt and overly efficient. She asked the purpose of my visit. I quickly explained I was interested in pursuing an education degree, that I am almost done with my associate's degree and would like to speak with someone about what action I needed to take and/or alternative certification procedures.

She asked me if I would wait. The woman with whom I would speak was busy, but would speak to me as soon as she was done. I was asked to sit in a waiting area. I wasn't budging from my seat until I knew what path I need to take for this dream to become reality.

Twenty minutes later, her meeting over, she asked me to join her in the office. She thanked me for being so patient and I mentioned that I had come unannounced, so a wait was to be expected. A remark was made about patience being a necessary skill for teachers.

We sat down and I explained my purpose. She laughed and said I had a lot of questions. I suspect they were the right ones, because we continued to talk for a half hour about the teaching needs of this county. She reiterated what has been said to me several times, that elementary education is the way to go. I'd pretty much decided on that, rather than high school (keep me away from the middle schoolers).

There always seems to be a need for Special Education teachers, and perhaps I might go that route. We spoke about Gameboy being enrolled in the ESE program and that as a parent, I think I could take on the challenge. It's easier to navigate something and lead a parent through the IEP process when you go through it, too. I made a statement to the effect of not wanting the teachers to have to do it all for my son-we are a partnership with the same goal. Get him educated to the best of his ability, without infringing on the instruction of others.

She was upfront and honest, that depending on the course work I had completed for my AA, I still might need four years of school. When I'd mentioned that I was considering going to USF, I detected an indifference to the school. (I must remember to research this-perhaps they don't prepare students very well?).

Then she recommended that I contact the Florida Department of Education and make an appointment to have them review my transcripts. They will pick it apart and determine what is the best route I should take towards the teaching degree. I am all for anyone offering guidance on this front.

As we were saying our goodbyes, she told me that she is known for talking more people out of teaching than into it. The implication was clear: she hadn't talked me out of it. When she told me four years, I hadn't said "Forget it." It just means that I won't be there until Chef Jr is halfway through middle school.

My dad had suggested I follow my passion for singing when I enrolled in college. "Get a degree in music". I'd scoffed at him, telling him that all I could do with a music degree is teach. I didn't want to. The irony is not lost on me that my passion in my job is training people, sharing new procedures and ideas. That's teaching. I'm good at it. Somewhere up there, my dad is laughing his ass off.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Perceptions

It's funny how you look at things when you don't have the whole story.

For instance, when I was younger, I'd look at seemingly able bodied people alighting from the car parked in the handicapped stall in front of a business and roll my eyes. That person didn't seem like they needed the space and my perception was that they were borrowing someone else's car and decided to take the parking perk along with it. In a case of cruel irony, at 29 years old, I developed a DVT and earned a 9 day hospital stay. The pain was horrible.

My doctor suggested that I get a handicapped tag. He warned me that there would be days where I would not want to walk the short walk from my car to work. "You should make it shorter." This was after he was incredulous that I wanted to return to work in retail.

Apparently, you just don't do that with a huge clot in your body that puts you on a year of nasty blood thinners. Seeing the other patients he had sitting in the waiting room, it was clear that I was damn lucky that I could work. Many of the others had strokes or pulmonary embolisms from a clot. Three clots later, I'm on my last strike. If it happens again, I go back on the blood thinners. Darn Factor V Leiden is a ticking time bomb in my body.

As a young person with a handicapped tag, I got yelled at several times. One notable time was when I'd just left the podiatist's office after minor surgery. I couldn't get my shoe on my foot, and there was blood on the dressing (my advice: don't have surgery when you're taking Coumadin). Some guy driving his mother in a Caddy started screaming at me.

I looked at him, pointed to my bleeding foot and said "It's not what you can see that earned me that tag, but today you can" He drove off, steamed. My make everyone happy nature then resulted in hardly using the handicapped stalls. When the topic came up in conversations with people who knew me, the reassurances were plentiful that I should use the tag. I wasn't strong enough to stand up for myself against those perceiving me to be 'working the system'.

There are new visitors, new readers, people who don't know the back history of my health. The reader's digest condensed version is that I appear to be a freak of nature. If it's weird and happens to less than 2% of the population, then it happens to me. Wanna see the four page, carefully typed medical history I bring to each new doctor?

I'm currently out of work on disability for venous stasis ulcers. If you're squeamish, DON'T Google it. There are several other contributing issues, but suffice to say, at 41, I will never be able to run a marathon. I live in fear of that next clot, because with Factor V, there WILL be another clot. Can you feel the excitement bubbling up in those words? I knew you could.

Today the words that come forth are so serious, and yet, there's a reason to celebrate. I should be happy and cheerful. It has taken almost eleven months to get to this announcement:
THE WOUND HAS CLOSED!!!!!!! The ulcers are history.

The perception would be that all is well, right? Perhaps it is not. The nature of my job is that I stand for forty hours a week. I will see Nurse M today, and she will celebrate the happy news. I'm thinking I need to bring her and Nurse D some flowers today, as it is their care that got me here.

In talking to Nurse M briefly on Friday, she expressed a passing thought that if I return to work now, I probably would wind up back in the office to treat a new batch of ulcers. This perception is based on her seeing me push myself to work when clearly, I should have been out on disability months ago.


If you were wondering, yes, I've got a handicapped hang tag in my car. Some days, I get out and I see the stares, the eye rolls and refuse to consider parking elsewhere. Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it is not there.

If someone does come to harass me about being there because I don't 'look' like I need it, they just might get a recitation of what it is that got me here. I'm not going to let someone else's perception of how healthy I look cause me to do something that will bring me pain. It took a long time to accept that and realize that perception and reality don't always match.

Later, look for an update after I go to the "NEW" office. I'm wondering how long the message informing me of my appointments will have this long message before telling me what time I'm supposed to be there.

Should I post a picture of the ankle? It won't get me any modeling gigs, but it's a lot prettier than it was last December.

UPDATE: I have been released from care, a 'healed' woman. Well, for this issue, anyway. Work is overjoyed that I will be back in their midst next Monday. So much so, that I've got a management meeting in the morning, and a store meeting on Sunday. My boss was ECSTATIC that I'll be back in time to teach a class the end of the month. (training and teaching are my forte. As a result, the classes are mine to lead)

As for the visit, M and I discussed at length what to do if/when this happens again. Until that valve is replaced, there are no guarantees that it will not happen again. We talked about SSDI and going back to school Now that I am headed back to work, won't they laugh me out the door? M seems to think that if I am upfront that my health will decline if I stay on my feet all day, that I look to SSDI to allow me to go back to school, it may just compel them to approve me I'd like to think the government is altruistic on that front, but life has taught me otherwise.

Am I happy? Yes. Am I sad? Oh yes, more than I am happy right now. I did far less with the leave time than I expected to, but I think that was the whole point of being on disability. The house is still a mess, there's a to do list that's still a mile long, but I feel good. Except for the exhaustion that comes from two nights of minimal sleep.

Once I'm back to work, in retail at Christmas time, the activity will revive me. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A NaBloPoMoBoPo (or Bonus Post)

This one came from CajunVegan, and it's got more questions (and more of the interesting kind, too).

1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Closed. The bedroom closet holds kitchen electrics and I don't want to look at them.

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel? Sometimes, and always at WDW. A few years ago, they were useful for making Christmas stockings for women at homeless shelters.

3. Have you ever 'done it' in a hotel room? Yes, hasn't every adult on their honeymoon?

4. Have you ever stolen a street sign before? No, but I really want someone to steal the street sign with my maiden name in Massapequa (off of 107)

5. Do you like to use post-it notes? I use them at work all the time. I prefer unusual colors, especially neon, so they stand out.

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them? Far too often.

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of a bees? Bees. Hands down.

8. Do you have freckles? Yes, but less on my face as I get older.

9. Do you always smile for pictures? Yes, unless I don't know I'm being photographed.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve? Noisy eaters.

11. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Out.

12. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? Not really.

13. Have you ever peed in the woods? If there's been no porta potty. I think that's happened like twice in my life.

14. Do you ever dance even if there's no music playing? I'm a horrible dancer, so no

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils? No, the TMJ would be worse if I did.


16. How many people have you slept with this week? Just Ed, for the 20 minutes I could actually stand the sheets touching my foot.

17. What size is your bed? Queen. I am hoping it grows up to be a King size bed someday.


18. What is your "Song of the week"? I think it's a tie between a few.


19. Is it okay for guys to wear pink? Yes, as long as it's not pink lame.


20. Do you still watch cartoons? Nearly daily.


21. What's your least favorite movie? I forget the name, it had Jeff Bridges and Stockard Channing was set in the 30's. We walked out.

22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? You think I'd tell you?

23. What do you drink with dinner? water, soda, wine or beer

25. What is your favorite food/cuisine? Greek, Mexican, Italian, Pizza, Steak, shrimp

26. What movies could you watch over and over and still love? Monty Python and the Holy Grail, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, Moonstruck, Bull Durham, Mary Poppins, Emperor's New Groove, Ferris Buehler's Day Off, Caddyshack, and about a dozen more

27. Last person you kissed/kissed you? Chef Jr kissed me goodnight as he was going to bed.

28. Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
Yes, a Brownie and a Junior scout. I kicked butt at selling cookies and a career was born.

29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? No, but if I had the perfect body and they offered me a million dollars, I could possibly change my mind.

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? It's been a while. Almost everyone I know is now connected to the internet (glad you could join us, Giggles!)

31. Can you change the oil on a car? Yes, but I won't.

32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket? A few.

33. Ran out of gas? Unfortunately, I have a few times. The last time was in the middle of nowhere, two miles out of Lucketts, Virginia. Fortunately, it's a rural area and a nice couple drove me to the one business open on a Sunday night and I called Ed to come get me. A week later, he bought me a cell phone.

34. Favorite kind of sandwich? If I have to choose just one, a patty melt.

35. Best thing to eat for breakfast? Navy Breakfast. Dad corrupted me, nothing beats corned beef hash and baked beans on english muffins. Except for a pecan waffle.

36. What is your usual bedtime? Whenever exhaustion sets in.

37. Are you lazy? Lately, I am very lazy. I am never lazy at work.

38. When you were younger, what did you dress up as for Halloween? Let's see, a witch, a ghost, a martian, a nestle crunch bar, a scarecrow, a baby...

39. What is your Chinese astrological sign? The Horse.

40. How many languages can you speak? English but I understand more and more Spanish every day.

41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? I succumbed to PCH and ordered Bon Appetit.

42. Which are better legos or lincoln logs? Legos

43. Are you stubborn? Is the pope Catholic?

44. Who is better...Leno or Letterman? Conan O'Brien

45. Ever watch soap operas? I used to watch the whole ABC lineup. Now I turn on GH and wonder who 90% of the people are (or say "wasn't she on Loving? wasn't she on Days?")

46. Afraid of heights? Only if I'm on a rickety carnival ride.

47. Sing in the car? Always.

48. Dance in the shower? Considering my history, do you think it's a good idea?

49. Dance in the car? Only if it is to amuse my Nutty nut nut nut.

50. Ever used a gun? Yes, I'm a decent shot. I shot a .32 and a .45 handgun, a .12 gauge Remingon and the exact pump action rifle that Arnold used in Terminator 2. I scared my ex and the friend who owned the guns with how steady a hand I had. I think that's the only plus to having so much wrist surgery.

51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer? When Gameboy was a baby. It's on my list, since we have yet to do a family portrait of our foursome.

52. Do you think musicals are cheesy? I majored in technical theatre. Would I do that if I didn't like them?

53. Is Christmas stressful? Only the work part of it

54. Ever eat a pirogi? Yes. Poor Ed has been subjected to pierogis and hot dogs as the fall back meal too many times.

55. Favorite type of fruit pie? Fruit? Apple (with cheese please) Otherwise, Pecan.

56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were younger? Teacher,Writer, Disc Jockey

57. Do you believe in ghosts?
Definitely

58. Ever have a deja-vu feeling? Of course.

59. Take a vitamin daily? I should, but I don't.

60. Wear slippers? Once in a blue moon.

61. Wear a bath robe? Don't own one, but I covet the Pottery Barn spa robe. Can you say soft (and expensive)?

62. What do you wear to bed? Jammies, T shirts, sometimes even my clothes ;)

63. First concert? Shaun Cassidy

64. Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart? Target.

65. Nike or Adidas? I'm not sure I'll ever be able to wear sneakers again.

66. Cheetos Or Fritos? Cheetos

67. Peanuts or sunflower seeds? If I'm at Cody's, peanuts. If not, pecans. I like most nuts, though.

68. Ever hear of, "gorp"? Yes, dad used to make it for his hikes. I'd make it for my kids if someone didn't have an allergy to one of the ingredients

69. Ever take dance lessons? No, and I blame my lack of coordination fully on this fact.

70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing? There's a future profession I see my current spouse doing.

71. Can you curl your tongue? No, the plunnett square failed me. All the other residents of this house occasionally torture me with the fact that they all can.

72. Ever won a spelling bee? Yes, it only added to my nerdy perception in 4th, 5th and 6th grade!

73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy? Come with me to Epcot for IllumiNations and see for yourself. Oh wait, I need to PAY to get in? I guess you won't find out.

74. Own any record albums? Hello? Former DJ married to someone who's even more into music?

75. Own a record player? It's got a bunch of crap on top of it, but yes.

76. Regularly burn incense? No, but I've got a fragrance oil burner from the Body Shop, does that count?

77. What's the worst part about camping? Here in Florida? The lack of tree covering for the campsites the scouts use

78. Who would you like to see in concert? Marillion, Billy Joel, B52's October Project, and about a dozen others

79. What was the last concert you saw? The B52's with Donna and the kids. It was so awesome

80. Hot tea or cold tea? Both

81. Tea or coffee? Both

82. Sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Snickerdoodles

83. Can you swim well? Yes

84. Can you hold your breath w/o manually holding your nose? Yes.

85. Are you patient? Except for while sitting in traffic, definitely

86. DJ or band, at a wedding? A good DJ

87. Ever won a contest? A few, but always little stuff

88. Ever have plastic surgery? I'd love a tummy tuck and boob reduction, but unless someone's footing the bill, it ain't happening.

There was no 89, so create your own question.

90. Can you knit or crochet? No, my girl scout leader didn't know how to teach a lefty, and I was the only one. I can do a row beautifully, but that's it.

91. Best room for a fireplace? I live in Florida, it's like having an unheated, outdoor pool in Alaska-hardly used.

93. If married, how long have you been married? 10 years

94. Who is/was your HS crush? I had a crush on Tommy, then Joe, but I think everyone knew that. For some reason, people thought I had a crush on a guy from choir, Craig, but I found him to be a pal.

95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? No, can't stand it when others do it, why would I?

96. Do you have kids? I have two boys.

97. Do you want kids? It's a little to late for that question!

98. What is your favorite color? Cobalt Blue.

99. Do you miss anyone right now? My Mom and Dad. Of the living, Giggles and her bunch.

100. Who do you wanna see right now? The sleep fairy.