Showing posts from November, 2008

Thirteen Down, One to Go

I don't know what happened. I had three topics for Soundtrack Sunday over the course of the week, then today? I can't remember a single one of them. Perhaps I should just write them in draft mode next time and save the entry until Sunday.

Two things about music:
Why is it that when video games try to use authentic music from an era, they get the crappiest music around? Ed's beaten Grand Theft San Andreas, but the new version he's playing is like the Worst of the 80's. It's so bad I want to suggest he turns off the volume when he plays (which is what I really want in the first place, but the music really drives me crazy.)

It's really weird when the nine year old is singing Bob Seger because of some stupid toy commercial! Every once in a while, a show or a commercial will have a favorite song, I'll start to sing along, and Chef says "What The.." that mom actually KNOWS the song.

Anyway, the title has you wondering, right? Today is the las…

Video From Sea World

Yesterday, I played with the video feature on Donna's camera. I only realized it did video right before we taped my NFNS audition.

One thing that's a given when we're at Sea World is that the kids want to see the Stingrays and Shark Encounter. We get real laughter when Gameboy pets the stingrays and I caught some of that on film (SD card?). There is a lot of ambient noise, so it's hard to hear him.

Thus, I spent the rest of the day filming things. Now that I've got some editing programs, I'll be editing it down into a couple of minutes of all the animals you'll see. I got most of the Blue Horizon show, too. Next time? Both batteries need to be in the bag and fully charged.

In the meantime, I leave you with this: Is this a lettuce or is it a fish? Filmed at Shark Encounter yesterday. (Ed and I love watching these guys!)

For Those Who Have Enjoyed My Cooking

What dish do I make that makes you say, "Sweet! She's making THAT!"


Yes, I'm having a hard time with my three signature dishes. So far, Crab Cakes, The London Broil garlic bread thing and I'm drawing a blank on the third!

Another Day at Sea World

We spent the afternoon over at Sea World. It's the first time we've seen it with holiday decorations up. I was playing with the video with Donna's camera and ran out of battery-so I'll have to go back to get more pictures soon!

First up, Manta is moving along. It's supposed to open in May, and wow, they're moving fast. Last time we were in the park, a month ago, there were two support beams up. Now? Look!

We always have a good time petting the stingrays. Gameboy is guaranteed to give plenty of real laughter.

I'm playing with the different image modes on the camera. I still haven't figured out how to take pictures of the dolphins underwater.

While Ed and I were looking at the fish that look like lettuce, the kids got into a staring match with two barracudas. No joke, they were eye to eye. I know Chef was looking at his thinking "dinner!", but the barracuda was probably thinking the exact same thing! Here's Gameboy in a staredown wi…

Apparently, I've Been Remiss

Robin proclaimed that she's been tagged for the first time ever. Damn, you mean I missed tagging you with one of the umpty ump MeMe's I've used? Mea Culpa!

That's ok, since I didn't tag her, she tagged me! So, without further ado:

The Rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you Robin
2. Post the rules on your blog (this is what you are now reading).
3. List 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

Random things about me:
1. My husband has threatened me with death if I don't make the cherry cobbler again. He's just kidding, but it was the world's easiest recipe, so that won't be an issue.
2. This is the first Black Friday since I was pregnant with Chef (and before that, it was 1992), that I haven't worked. I've been working in retail or related jobs since 1984-I'm going to enjoy this.
3. I can't sleep without my hands next to m…

Stuffing Day

When Chef awoke this morning, his first words to me were "Yay! It's Stuffing Day!" Yes, he's nine and it's all about the food.

The turkey was made by Publix, along with a couple of the sides. When you enjoy cooking, you look at the holes in the menu and make plans. I didn't see sweet potatoes, so a souffle. It has been stated many times that it is NOT a holiday without the Broccoli Bake, so of course that was made.

Would you believe that I have never had green bean casserole? Around the same time that the green bean dish became a must have on the Thanksgiving table, my mom submitted her recipe to Bisquick for a contest. Her recipe earned a place in a Bisquick cookbook and a check. Heck yeah, I'm making it!

A few other veggies and of course, desserts. Right now, my house smells like Ed's Cherry cobbler. He had to work, but joined us at the In Laws after he finished work. I popped that in the oven. The rest of us enjoyed an Apple cobbler. Yum.

¿sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ noʎ uɐɔ

!ǝɹǝɥ oƃ ʇsnɾ `ʇxǝʇ ʎʞunɟ ǝɥʇ ɥʇıʍ ǝldoǝd ʍoʍ puɐ spuǝıɹɟ ɹnoʎ ǝzɐɯɐ oʇ ʇuɐʍ noʎ ɟı `ʎɐʍʎuɐ

¡ʇı pɐǝɹ oʇ ʇuɐʍ ǝldoǝd oʍʇ ʇnq `ɹǝdɐd ǝuo ʇoƃ ǝʌ,noʎ uǝɥʍ ʎpuɐɥ uı sǝɯoɔ ʇı-uʍop ǝpısdn ʇxǝʇ pɐǝɹ oʇ ʎʇılıqɐ sıɥʇ `ǝzılɐǝɹ ǝʍ uɐɥʇ uoɯɯoɔ ǝɹoɯ ʎlqɐqoɹd s,ʇı ˙uʍop ǝpısdn pɐǝɹ ɥʇoq ı puɐ pǝ

What's For Dinner Wednesday

In a few minutes, I'll be starting my preparations for tomorrow.
Apple and Cherry Cobbler, Broccoli Bake, Sweet Potato Casserole and maybe some Glazed Carrots. We'll be going around the block to the in laws, and the Turkey deal they got is heavy on the starches. I figured I'd *try* to balance that with a veggie or two. I'll probably make the ABCD salad before we go, too.

So, tonight, I tried to make a meal that didn't have a single thing we'd eat tomorrow. Steak, green beans and a homemade Gratin. This time, the gratin was half swiss and half cheddar-and Gameboy ate it. As is typical, if I deconstruct a dish into its components (especially if they're all things he likes), then he decides that he'll finally try it.

For instance, I showed him the Mornay sauce I was making and asked him if he knew what it was. His response "That's what you make when you make macs and cheese!" Next, I showed him the thin slice potatoes and voila, he fi…

Thank Your First Commenter Day

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Neil at Citizen of the Month has designated the day before Thanksgiving as "Thank Your First Commenter" Day. For the past four years, he's taken the time to thank the people we bloggers write for-the ones who feel motivated enough to click that comment button.

I started my blog on September 30, 2005. For a very long time, about two years, the comments ON the blog are few and far between. That's because the roughly dozen readers would pick up the phone or IM me their comments on what I wrote. More often than not, I'd get calls if I let more than a few days lapse between blog entries. This finally stopped when Blogger decided that it didn't want you to have two blogs and I barely posted-even though I had plenty to say.

Getting back to my first commenter. I'd been blogging for six weeks before someone wrote something. Honestly, I thought it was longer. My niece, Tracey, popped in on "Notarize This". I forget t…

Oh, the Power of A Blogging Mom!

For weeks on end, I've been after the boys to clean their rooms. Gameboy actually managed to get his very clean a few weeks ago. However, his cleaning style is to shove everything into the nearest clear bin, then shove them all into his closet. It becomes a mess again in a day or two, because he has to dump out root through all the bins to find the toy he wants to play with. This is despite numerous instructions from the parental units to put items in the bins by type.

Chef's room is a war zone of legos, cars, books and various foam weaponry. I can't walk in there, because there is not enough clear floor for my size 8 RSD foot to safely trod without stepping on something sharp, pointy and painful. As a result, he doesn't get tucked in by me anymore. He pouts, he complains and he knows why I don't come in his room, but doesn't change the condition of the room.

The daily "Clean your room, Chef" falls on deaf ears. I'm tired of him dragging al…


Last year, a blog buddy, Imaginary Binky, played around with Utterz a few times. Recently, another blogger I follow, Lou CeeL, posted a few Utterli entries. The concept sounds good. So, here I am.

It doesn't transcribe entries, which is why I am typing out my copy before recording this. Utterli accepts uploads of sound files or you can call a number and record if you don't have a microphone handy.

I'm sure there's a microphone around here somewhere. I have to find it, because I do need it to record a song for Citizen of the Month's Concert in late December. In the meantime, I'm checking out the sound quality when I use a cell phone. What do you think?

Just Another MeMe Monday

Geggie posted this today, and I figured "Why Not?"

I was tagged!
I was tagged by Geggie

1. Clothes Shop
NY&Co, but I really like the classic styles at much pricier stores. Oh well.

2. Furniture Shop
I liked the stuff at Haverty's, but I can't add to the furniture nowadays. Haven't been in one for about three years. (though if someone wants to give me a complete Arts and Crafts/Craftsman furniture makeover gratis, thankyouveryplease!)

3. Sweet
Snickers bars, Take 5 bars, Mochas (with whipped cream), Black Forest Cherry Cake (only way I like cherries), Pecan Pie (again, with whipped cream), Carvel Ice Cream and Rita's Italian Ices

4. City
New York. Love it, but wouldn't live there

5. Drink
Lots of water nowadays. Alcoholic, Comfort and Ginger Ale or a nice semi dry red wine or a glass of Laura's Killer Sangria (served over rice, lol)

6. Music
Anything except Rap, Wagnerian Opera and music featuring whiny singers

7. TV Series
Good Eats, Iron Chef America, Lit…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

As I'd mentioned yesterday, I've been doing a lot more singing than usual, in preparation for Citizen of the Month'sholiday song fest next month. Chef, sweet child that he is, encourages me and asks me to sing his favorite Christmas carols. You know, like a walking jukebox.

He's a big fan of the a capella music that I enjoy. We have a copy of moosebutter's Cee Dee, which I have not had my hands on since the day it came into the house. He's brought it into his bedroom for bedtime tunes. Chef is a fairly light sleeper, and his way of combating the noises that keep him awake is to play music he likes to relax.

Mom warbling "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" has put him in that Christmas frame of mind. I dug out the Christmas CDs for him to enjoy at bedtime, but he wanted more a capella. Alas, I don't have many CDs in that musical niche.

We ventured off to You Tube so he could hear some one else sing "Twelve Days of Christmas", and I had to pl…

Ummmm, Okay?

Back on September 23rd, I applied for a management job online. I got the standard email back:
From: Company C
Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 8:27 PM
Subject: Company C Career Opportunity
To: Suzanne

Dear Suzanne

Thank you for your interest in the Management - FL - position for the FL - Central Florida area with Company C. We are currently reviewing the entire pool of candidates for further consideration, and if selected, we will contact you regarding the next step.

To learn more information about the exciting opportunity at Company C, please go to [website removed].

If for any reason you want to check your status or need to update your record during the hiring process, you can do so at: [website removed].

Again, we appreciate your interest in Company C and wish you every success in your future career endeavors.

Staffing Department

Please do not reply to this email.

Wish I Had the Legs to Go With Those Miniskirts!

I just took the "Which Star Trek Character Are You? Quiz. Wondering whether I'm the third person on the away team?

Your results:You areUhura
You are a good communicator with a
pleasant soft-spoken voice. Also a talented singer.
Deanna Troi
Geordi LaForge
Will Riker
Jean-Luc Picard
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Scott
James T. Kirk (Captain)
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Mr. Sulu
Leonard McCoy (Bones)

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

So, tell me, who are you?

Always With the Seafood!

Next month, you'll get to hear me warble a favorite Christmas Carol at Citizen of the Month's Christmahanukwanzaakah Blogger Online Holiday Sing! I happened upon last year's event after it had been webcast, but bookmarked Neil's blog.

In a strange twist, Neil began following me on Twitter, and I clicked the link and realized that "Hey, this is the guy I saw last year with the concert!". I'm a more recent reader of his blog and let's just say his random musings remind me of a couple of you out there of the male persuasion.

Anyway, my choice was fairly easy, I quickly claimed "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel", which is technically an Advent song-but a beautiful one nonetheless. I began singing it frequently around the house, because I may just sing it in Soprano, rather than the usual Tenor.

Chef Junior has been enjoying this, and the other night, he starts requesting other Christmas carols he likes, namely the "Twelve Days of Christmas."…

Some Blasts from the Past

I was looking at some old commercials on You Tube tonight, which made me switch over to Retro Junk. If you haven't been over there yet, go check it out. You can relive your childhood and crack up.

Those of you from Long Island? How about this blast from the past!
The Dumpy the Pumpkin mold also made the George Washington Cherry Tree cake, Tom the Turkey Cookie Puss, Easter Chick, and about a half dozen others were made from that same mold.

Then, we found some retro McDonald's and Burger King Commercials. This one in particular cracked me up, because my first job was at a McDonald's with the identical layout. That shake machine style ensured that I would be wearing shake before my shift was through.

Next, let's show Chef Jr the video games we had as kids. Remember the Odyssey? I had one. We weren't allowed to put the overlays on the TV, though and we only ever played Pong, Jai Alai and Hockey, because the rest of the games were really lame.

At the bottom of…


I have an interview December 4th. Wednesday, I applied online for a retailer I've shopped in for years. I think the cover letter did it. In the letter, I spoke of why I'm a fan of that retailer and have been for years.

Three years of blogging has made me comfortable enough in my writing abilities that I went for an offbeat letter. It seems like nowadays, with online job searches and minimal phone or in person contact, job applicants have to do something to make themselves stand out. I think I found mine.

The benefit to this one is that they have locations in both Tampa and Orlando. Cross your fingers.


I was just reading Amy's blog, and she pointed out a neat widget. The Genderanalyzer, in which they review data from your blog and determine whether it is written by a man or a woman.

My result?

We think is written by a man (70%)

What determines whether you're a masculine or feminine writer? It's peaking my curiosity.

Can You Spare Some Thoughts and Prayers?

A blogging friend, Sarah, lost her mom today. This comes close on the heels of losing her father back in March.

This song gave me great comfort when my Mom passed away. Sarah, my thoughts are with you right now as you travel back to Texas.

Echolyn's "Never the Same"

"Never The Same"
[Lyrics by Brett Kull]

WWhat can I say?
What can I do you for you?
Some are here for but a moment
Then are taken in an instant to eternity
Remember life and what's been shared with you
That you have shared

It's funny how we feel closer
With the ones that we love
When they're farthest away
You can feel them so near
Just 'round the corner the memory still clear

"Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there I did not die."
I say to you I will see you again
On the other side someday

"There's never endings only discovery,"
I tell myself over and over again
Some leave their mark in our hearts then go

It's hard to continue onward
When forev…

Planning For 2010

I met a recruiter for the Census Bureau at the job fair last week. Today, I took a test for a job that can begin anywhere from January, 2009 until May, 2010. It's a blast from the past, because I took took the enumerator's exam back in 1989. By the time I got a call, I was gainfully employed and turned down the offer.

While it not help the income right now, it is a good part time job for those who want one. That's why I'm mentioning it. If you want a flexible part time job that pays well and can last up to two years, go to www.census.govand see what's going on in your area.

What's For Dinner Wednesday

It has been chilly here this week, so a good, warm, fill the belly meal was called for tonight. The freezer is full of lots and lots of chicken, so it limited my choices.

Then, my guideline became something not already featured in What's For Dinner Wednesday. That killed making Paprikash tonight. I went for an Asian inspired meal.

It doesn't look pretty, but it tastes great. My go to ingredient? Five Spice blend. For two bucks at an Asian Market, you are in like flint for stuff that tastes like La Choy wishes they could make! Add some garlic, onion, teriyaki , peppers, onions and pineapples and voila:

Next week, if it's still cold, I've got a jones for some homemade Chicken soup...

Want Thanksgiving Dinner with All the Fixins?

Are you away from family and don't know how to cook? Or you live solo and don't want to eat turkey and the trimmings until the next presidential administration is sworn in?

Hopefully, you've got a Cracker Barrel nearby (or Kracken Barrel as it has been dubbed in this house). Check this menu out:

Last year, we enjoyed a fantastic meal at a local place, Buddy Freddy's, but this looks just as good.

And you get to play with those brain teaser puzzles, too!

As for us, I'm making desserts and veggies, because the meal was ordered and we're dining elsewhere-and it's heavy on the starches. I had to promise Chef Jr that I'll make my stuffing recipe to have later in the week, though!

I Always Wondered

If a toddler could ride one of these things. Now I know a kitty can!

It's That Time Again

Time for the Greeblepix Photo Contest!

My entry this month is one you may have notice crop up in the sidebar:

Yeah, I know-it's me. How am I entering a picture of me? Well, when we went to the R/C Airshow at the beginning of the month, I tried to take a picture of me with Chef. Alas, I got some curly locks and my face, but hey, it's a picture of me-not one of everyone else in the family.

Considering how few pictures there are of the family photographer, I figured that merited an entry!

**I just noticed that this was my 900th post since starting the blog. Hmmm, 42 days left in the year, might I end the year with the 1,000th post? It's a possibility! (and what classic cartoon had a character say that line several times in an episode?)

TLC Night

Around here, Monday night means I watch TV. TLC, to be exact. Ed tends to find shows to watch and I'm a bystander. Once in a while, he'll get hooked on a show and I'll actually watch it. Several years ago, Ed started watching "Little People, Big World". It caught my attention because hey, they're real people-and they have a messy house on national TV. We found them likable and sometimes would laugh at their foibles. They made an impact.

Then TLC added to the lineup, and somehow, we started watching "Jon and Kate Plus 8" when it debuted a few years ago.

I'd heard about them before they'd even had the six, thanks to a message board I participated in. Someone from the Reading area was bitching about this family that was about to have six after having twins and the couple was pretty darn demanding about what they WANTED for the new arrivals, going so far as to put up a website listing all the things they desired. Yes, I checked it out ba…


I got a call back from Nurse M. Last week, I left her a voice mail, asking if their office had received a request from SSDI. My rationale was that if Nurse M had one, that might be why Dr. K sent such a restrictive letter to the prospective employer.

So far, they haven't received anything. Nurse M was concerned that Dr. K wrote that letter based on information from February, 2007. While the RSD is an annoyance, it isn't at the fever pitch it was back then. She thought that I could have easily done the job. It's water under the bridge, because they withdrew the offer.

There are other irons in the fire on the job search. None of them are as interesting as the job that almost was, but all but one appear to be full time and I will know more about that one on Thursday, when I go meet with the recruiter.

An Appetizer

While I'm off scouring the Internet for a free merge/edit program for my AVIs, you get a snipped of my audition tape. Are you excited?

Once I get the thing edited (with a program that doesn't make it into a proprietary format unless you PAY for it), I'll upload it and then work on the TWELVE page application.

Thankfully, I read the fine print last year, otherwise I might have been shocked by the 30 recipe requirement. Good thing I've been working on that all year. Now I need to type them up, so that when they ask, they're ready to submit.

If this one makes you hungry, email me and you'll get the recipe!

UPDATE***After downloading umptyump AVI mergers, editors and the like, I finally found two programs that did what I needed to do. If you ever need an AVI editor, use Solveig's, which can be found on the CNet site. Very user friendly-if I end up with a digital camera that takes movies, I will buy the full copy of this one. It is great.

I had a lot more tro…

When In Rome

Send your friends pictures!

Donna is traveling for work (finally!) and sent this picture yesterday to show she's really arrived. (A tour of Scandinavia a few months ago got canceled because of a canceled connecting flight). I'm so glad she made it there, but the picture is all I can pull up.

Seems that the majority of texts (especially ones with more than one picture) that come my way get hosed in transit. I sent a text last week that I don't even know if it made it to the recipient. So, I sit with this gorgeous picture and wait patiently to hear reports of the lovely time I hope Donna is having when she returns next week.

Unless she texted to send a picture of some gorgeous, romantic guy to tell me that she's staying in Rome as a guest at his villa, then I probably won't hear from her and will have to try using my crappy texting phone to send her a text and fail miserably.

I think waterlogging my phone short circuited that feature. As I don't use texting, I…

I Haz Monkey Bread

Don't be hatin', I'd share if you were here.

Oh, and if this inspires you to make your own, add a tablespoon of vanilla to the melted butter. I know the recipe doesn't call for it, but trust me on it!

There's one less kid in the house to consume it. Think this pout last night was because he had an idea he'd miss some?

UPDATE-I was asked how you make Monkey Bread, so I'm posting a simple recipe here:
4 packages of refrigerated biscuits
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the sugar and cinnamon into a food storage bag and blend. Cut the biscuits into fours, then toss several at a time in the sugar/cinnamon blend. Place into a well greased loaf or bundt pan. When all are done, spread the remaining sugar/cinnamon blend over the top. Melt the stick of butter and add the vanilla in, then pour over the top of the pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, …

You're in the Blogophere, So You'll Get It

People IRL seem puzzled at this phenomenon (doot do dee doo doo), but those who haunt the Net will get this a lot better.

Last night, after years of 'seeing' each other on message boards, months of saying we should talk and exchanging phone numbers, Robin and I finally got around to talking. You know what? When we finally did get on the phone, we couldn't stop talking.

In many respects, we're kindred spirits. We're both Disney freaks, we both have RSD and we're both transplants to God's Waiting Room. I know that may not be enough to form a bond, but trust me, that's just the tip of the iceberg. It was very cool to chat (for THREE hours that seemed like ten minutes) and finally put a voice to those printed words. She's just as funny on the phone as she is in print, even when talking about serious crap like health woes.

We made plans to meet sometime next week and you'll be able to spot us if you're in Kissimee: the woman with the air boo…

Fridge Friday

Geggie has always done this, and I thought it was cool. So I'm joining in!

The fridge may look somewhat empty, but that's because we have two. This one is the landlord's. It's a good fridge, but it's sized great for a single guy-and tiny for a family of four that likes to cook.

I'm at my picture max at Flickr, so you're not going to get the boxes on the picture. Instead, you get a row by row detail. Lucky you!
On the top shelf: sour cream, Golden Tango Cream (Bailey's on steroids, my friends), minced garlic, horseradish, three types of mustard and Hellman's (the only mayo that will enter this house). Yes, I like mustard and if it doesn't have horseradish in it, I will add my own.

Second shelf: Eggs, caramel apple dip, red curry paste and 8 jars of jellies, jams and preserves, including the lovely Lingonberry from Ikea

Third shelf: Is occupied by a lonely bottle of PRP 2004 Nahe Auslese. One word: YUM. Oh, and that is one of two bottles of whi…

Getting a Taste

We just finished making my audition tape. Now I've got to edit the segments together and make one uploadable file.

I'm a ding dong and stumbled over my own name! That said, it felt very natural to do this. I'm probably a lot more reserved that those of you who know me IRL are used to seeing, but I figured it was better to showcase my skills and facts than to wow them with personality and suck on the rest of it.

Cross your fingers!

I'm Taping

Taking a break from taping my audition for the Next Food Network Star. In the meantime, Grandy has some important words about World Diabete's Day. Go check it out-and I'll be back with my post later, okay?


The mind is full of conflict right now. Wanna take a peek?

Attending a job fair, and wondering if any of these companies are going to even call.

If they do call, what do I tell them about the SSDI?

Should I not even bother looking for anything, even though we *really* need the money?

Am I a fool for thinking that I'm a good job candidate, when my doctor seems to think I'm only capable of working fifteen hours a week?

Granted, the RSD is much, much better since I haven't been working. Same for the vascular issues. At the same time, I feel bad that I haven't found a job and hurt the family financially while improving my health.

How long will it take for SSDI to tell me their answer, anyway?

Did Dr. K's letter to the employer that had to withdraw their offer mean that he's done the SSDI stuff, too?

Was I nuts for listening to both Dr. J and Dr. K tell me that I'm the rare patient who does work and ignoring what they were implying?

My Dad worked while undergoing ca…

What Do I Do Now?

I was offered a job at the beginning of October. A local government job that was a perfect fit for one of my passions. Twenty hours a week, but still, I'd get out of the house and get some experience in something different. I was sent for a physical with their doctor.

And waited, and waited and waited some more. I'd mentioned to the doctor that I had vascular disease and RSD. He wanted medical releases from the doctors treating those issues. Nurse M promptly faxed them a letter after asking me how I wanted the letter worded (6-8 hours a day and must wear Crocs, please). The problem was getting the letter from my Neurologist. (Can I say that I've been kicking myself for being honest about the RSD?)

He's internationally recognized for his research on RSD. As such, about a year ago, he parted company with USF and started his own research center. Awesome news for him, but a monkey wrench for me.

See, he wouldn't write a letter since he hadn't seen me in 18 m…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

I've said it before, but I'll say it again-if you want a quick, easy dinner, buy those seasoned pork loins from your local supermarket. Tonight's was a Raspberry Chipotle, which we hoped would have more raspberry flavor. I think the fruit walked through it, but there was plenty of chipotle to make up for it.

The best part of this thing is that it fits in your average size toaster oven, so you don't use excess energy to make a meal. The rest of the meal was equally simple, cornbread stuffing, corn and apple sauce. It's always a good sign when the kids say this is one of the best meals ever! (Until I make another pizza, that is)

Tagged Again

This time, Grandy tags all of her readers for Seven Things About Me From (are you ready for this?)...High School. This seems kind of fitting, since I've recently gotten reacquainted with high school friends on Facebook.

Let's see, what do I want to share today...

1. I was in choir. Lots of choir classes. Sophomore year, that meant the Sophomore Choir, the audition choir and then the Girl's Barbershop (I forget what we called it.) That also was the year that in one choir rehearsal, I went from Soprano II, to Alto I, then II, then Tenor I! For the most part, I stayed a Tenor, occasionally singing Alto or Soprano and for one concert, Bass. (I think I was the only person in the history of our choir to sing all four vocal parts in one concert!)

Junior and Senior year, due to declining enrollments, I spent my lunch period participating in Sophomore Choir-for no class credit! But it meant that I performed with all the groups at the concerts! If you're wondering, this …

The Stupid Freakin Piece of Plastic

Annoys the heck out of me.

Friday, against my better judgment, I allowed the Nintendo DS's in the car. This was because we traveled from our house in Lakeland to Gameboy's doctor in Tampa, to the campsite in southern Hillsborough County. We'd be in the car for an hour and a half, and I figured it'd be good to occupy the boys while they were overly cramped in that back seat. There is one hard and fast rule of scout camping: no electronic devices.

What happened was that Gameboy bugged me ALL.WEEKEND.LONG about that freaking piece of plastic. Can I go to the car? Can I have my game? When are we leaving? Can we go now? In the midst of breaking camp Sunday morning, he bugged me so bad that I gave him a stern lecture that he WOULD NOT be seeing that DS for a loooong time. He was banished to a picnic table and told not to leave it until I was ready to leave.

One of the leaders intervened and said that maybe Mom would allow him to have it back if he helped pack the car,…

Come Hell or High Water

I will be going! How about you?

More details can be found here . Anyone want to share a room?

At least airfare will be cheap and if I stick around one more day, I can have a birthday Leinie and a pie at Lou Malnattis or Ginos. Woohoo!

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Songs around the campfire.

Last night, we enjoyed a nice, big fire while camping. The kids performed, there was a brief ceremony honoring veteran and songs were sung. Great voice or not, it is absolutely adorable to hear the kids get up and sing.

Chef got up and sang the ABC song, mainly because he couldn't convince me to get up and do the moosebutter "Alphabet Song" with him. I later told him we could work on finding out every sound, so that perform it properly!

Songs were equally simple, but heartfelt. That's one of the perks of attending these things, seeing the kids get comfortable enough that they'll risk potential embarrassment to tell a joke or sing a song. I tend to give a lot more applause for the singers, because sharing that with people is tougher.

Our cubmaster and several of her girl scouts (she's a leader for them, too) performed a song most of us never heard before-and we were teasing her about it this morning when she was asked to sing at th…

Proof that Murphy Still Hates Me

The Beetle being loaded onto a flatbed along the interstate today. We were only 10 miles from the campsite on the way home. Murphy foiled my plans of a soak in the tub and an afternoon nap.

Ask how much money was in my checking account when this occurred? Now there's 10 bucks. Thanks, Murphy.

Notes from Camping

Not quite. I'm at the Panera a few miles up the road. Why did I leave the campsite? Well, because no trip is complete without forgetting something, right?

All things considered, I didn't do TOO bad. I forgot the pump for the air mattresses. Fortunately, someone bailed me out on that one. (Love camping with a group, btw!). When I went to inflate the second mattress, it was a twin, which meant I brought two twins. Oops!

Chef decided to go to bed early. At that time, I didn't have the rain fly up, so he could see the moon and stars above. He asked to switch which air mattress he'd use so he could star gaze-neglecting to tell me that the one he was on was deflating! I didn't find out until after everyone had packed it in for the night.

Another mom is camping solo with her kids. She's got the most adorable twin boys. She came over after I set up the tent in the dark (which Ed and I are pros at-only one camp set up has occurred in daylight!) and told me s…

Not Clowns, But Equally Entertaining...

Can Suzanne fit:
one adult
two boys
a 14 person tent
two air mattresses
three sleeping bags
three camp chairs
two tables
a camping tub o' stuff
a cooler/water and food
a camp stove
and toiletries
and her laptop and reading material, should she be too far from internet connectivity

into a 2004 Beetle?

If so, the pictures will be posted after the weekend of camping.

So far so good-the tent, camping chairs, sleeping bags and air mattresses are in the back of the car. I honestly wish I had a smaller cooler right now, because I don't really have that much in the way of refrigerated items this go round.

Gotta make an entry for Ed to post tomorrow. Apparently, the prospect of guest blogging on my blog scares him. I'd tell him you guys don't bite, but I don't think he would believe it.

Everything but the people are in, and they'll fit easily. Here's the proof!

In case you didn't believe me that I could actually put the people in the VW with all that stuff, this was…

Facebook as a Sociology Observation, Take One

I joined Facebook a while back, but have only embraced the site in the past couple of months. It's providing a pleasant walk down memory lane, while giving me plenty of food for thought.

I was am a nerd/geek. Back in my middle and high school days, I only had a handful of friends-but they were good friends. How many of you have among your closest friends people that you met when you were 12? (Ed, don't answer this-you trump me by knowing Tim since you were 3!)

Along the education and life path, there were people who I met who made a positive impression on me. I doubt I had as much of an impression on them, because I was the geek/nerd, the brainiac who didn't quite fit in. Those who got to know me beyond that exterior found out that I have a warped sense of humor and that I was a goofball.

Once in college, I hit my stride. These people didn't know me, didn't know the 12 years of teasing and taunting. I got involved in ton of activities on campus and ended up ma…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

What do YOU feed a hungry man?

This is Ed's plate tonight, because I forgot to take a picture when I enjoyed dinner with the kids earlier. London broil, homemade hash browns and corn.

If you've got a food processor, making the hash browns is easy. Use your largest grater setting to shred potatoes and onions. Rinse the potatoes thoroughly, to avoid having mush fries. Then fry in a hot skillet with about 2 tablespoons of oil. I season mine with kosher salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.

Each time I make them, there are no leftovers, so that should give you a clue how much they like these.

Okay, Fess Up!

Facebook informs me that one of you has a secret crush on me TODAY, November 5th. Which one of you is it? Why today, and not yesterday or tomorrow? Secret crush, are you so fickle that you change crushes like most of us change underwear?

Do you think I'm impressed by you taking a banner ad on Facebook? MySpace? Maybe a more personal way of letting me know you're infatuated is better. I like chocolates. Good chocolates, like See's and Scharffenberger, but any chocolate will do! I also am fond of expensive electronic equipment that probably costs less than that banner ad does!

As for the rest of you, do you think anyone really believes those silly banner ads?


Forty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr had a dream.

Twenty year ago, Jesse Jackson had a dream.

Tonight, Barack Obama fulfilled a dream.

Canvassing Once More

Today, I headed out into different neighborhoods to canvass for Obama. This time, all the houses I visited were within a stone's throw of my house.

Just about everyone I spoke to today had already voted. Many are cautiously optimistic. One man must have had pee covered corn flakes, because he went on a barrage of complaints about Obama and what he represents, blah blah blah. Those of you who know me IRL, know I am a Pollyanna, a positive thinker and usually have a smile on my face. I think it probably upset this guy more that I asked if he'd voted, thanked him for exercising his right to do so and kept the tone Mary Poppins positive.

Inside, I was thinking "Look, sir, I'm not going to change your mind and you're not going to change mine-is it worth getting yourself upset?". I noted on the list of addresses that the 96 year old female at that address was now a Republican 60 something male.

One of the communities I visited today was the quintessential…

Free Stuff in the Land of the Free

In case you haven't heard, there are some free food items in honor of Election Day:

Free Donuts from Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts
Free Coffee from Starbucks
Free Chicken strips meal to the first 300 customers at Shane's Rib Shack
Free Scoop at Ben and Jerry's (my fellow alumni ROCK)

First, if you haven't already, GO VOTE NOW!!! Then, reap in the rewards of exercising your civic duty.

As for me, I availed myself of a free lunch at this place:

Chicken strips dipped in BuffQ sauce, yummy!

Aquatica Cha Cha

After weeks of enduring Chef's pouts, he and I drove over to Orlando on Sunday for an afternoon at Aquatica. He was so excited that when we got there, he was out of the car and up the entrance ramp before I'd even opened my car door. The parking lot had maybe 150 cars in it, when the capacity is in the thousands-so we were able to park at the entrance.

Ed and Gameboy begged off because it was 71 degrees and we were having sporadic rain. Chef and I had the same mindset: the pools are heated and we're going to GET wet! I'm glad we did, because it was almost like having the park to ourselves.

We dropped our bag and Crocs and finally got to try the Dolphin Plunge, which normally has a minimum 45 minute wait. Today, we climbed to the top of the tower and were able to go right down. This is a slide that winds you through a dark tube (if you're afraid of the dark and/or claustrophobic, you may want to skip it), then you shoot through a clear section of tube that goes …