Sunday, November 30, 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 last day of NaBloPoMo. My second one, in fact. It's pretty neat to think that I started in NaBloPoMo '07 and haven't stopped since. Thirty one days left in the year and Blog 365 will also be in the bag.

IIRC, 1,200 people signed up to blog all year long. I don't know how many are still in the game. Jess at DaysGoBy is one, LouCeeL and Sandy at Momisodes (I think) is another. I'm sure there are more, but the forums have been full of spam lately that I haven't started a topic to see who's still hanging in there.

Tomorrow begins another Holidailies-my second. Somehow, I suspect that there will be an announcement for another Blog365. Will I join? Heck yeah. Will I make it? That all depends on whether I'm in New York. Cross your fingers that I don't fulfill the posting requirements of another Blog365, because that would mean good things have happened.

I will say this-it's been a great experience!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

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!)
video

For Those Who Have Enjoyed My Cooking

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

HELP!

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!

Friday, November 28, 2008

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 with the predator.

All Aboard the Polar Express! They did an incredible job overlaying Wild Arctic to mirror the movie. It was cool, when you walked onto the 'train platform', the air was FULL of pine fragrance. There's an opportunity to have your picture taken with Santa. Gameboy wanted to, but then changed his mind when he saw the line. He later told me "I don't believe what they say that your parents are Santa." Yep, 12 and he's a believer.

The cherry on top was the cheesecake for the kids and the complimentary beer for me and Ed. Shock Top then we each tried a seasonal beer. I probably should have stuck with the Shock Top!

It was a nice day with family. You may even see some video from the day, once I edit them down a bit...

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 my face. This really screws up my bad wrists, let me tell you.
4. I snore. Consider that full disclosure if you're thinking of rooming with me for BlogHer!
5. My hair hasn't completely been its natural shade since my sophomore year of high school. Thanks to the grey, I don't think you'll ever see it the natural shade, either.
6. I remember birthdays. Like, of people I haven't seen in years. Like, of first grade classmates and my sister's friends. Richard H and Suzanne S in my first grade class were born on Sept. 11, and Richard H., brother of Barbara (giggle's friend) was born on September 23-same as Ray Charles. I even would call my old boss on Sept 12 and tell her to tell William, her UPS guy, to have a Happy Birthday!

What random things are you going to tell?

I'm tagging this time, because I don't want be responsible for anyone missing the fun!

Songbird (I'm glad she jumped into the blogosphere!)

Astrogirl426 (she cracks me up on Twitter!)

Geggie (Yeah, I know she just did a meme, but I love me my Geggie fix!)


Daysgoby
(Just doing my part to help Jess through Blog365! Um, will you room with me, lol?)

Mike Golch (the man is a one man blogging cheerleader and I need to know more about him. You are awesome, Mike!)

Saffa Chick (because I haven't seen her do a MeMe in a while!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

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.

It was nice to have good food and family around the table. As Chef is prone to doing, he insisted on a post meal game. I think he does that so he can beat us in whatever we're playing. Tonight, he creamed us in Disney trivia. He said no to Yatzee-I think he knows that game is purely luck!

I hope you all had a yummy meal and good company. And if you plan on getting those sales tomorrow, you'd better be in bed by the time this is posted!

¿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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

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 finally realized that I wasn't hiding nasty ingredients he was afraid of in the tray of goodness.

The only bad part of this is that Chef, Ed and I will have one more person to split the gratin with. that's okay if it means I've got one more thing that Gameboy wil eat!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hopefully, the table will have those you love around it and food you enjoy upon it!


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 the answer on that one-Tracey, can you marry people with a notary where you live now? And no, I didn't have the hundred dollars to get bonded-so I'm not a licensed Notary. Eventually, I'll do it. As for Tracey, I don't think she's read here in a while. I should check in on her.

The next two comments are from Jeff, posing as "Anonymous". A big thank you to Jeff, because he's been one of my most ardent cheerleaders on the blogging thing. We IM frequently, and Jeff always has a comment that's blog related. The early days were great, in that it was always a springboard to conversations with my friends/regular readers that we may not have had otherwise. The internet is a beautiful thing-because this friendship has mainly existed online since the miles between us have grown further and further. Thanks for all that support, Jeff!

The next two comments were from Heather. If not for Heather's urgings, this blog never would have happened. It kept us in touch when I moved away from Maryland. Much like if I moved from Florida, it'd keep me in touch with the friends I've made here. The biggest thanks of all go to Heather, because I've made so many friends through this blogging thing.

Thanks go to all of you who read, but don't comment. Maybe someday I can convince you that I don't bite and you'll leave one! :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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 all his toys out into the living room to play because he "can't play in his room." After getting gouged by two toys last week, I decided that enough was enough. That room is getting cleaned.

Since Friday, the child has been sent to his room, where he spends three hours in it, and he say's he's cleaning, but nothing seems to have moved. His friends have knocked on the door the past three days, and have been turned away. I won't let him have play time until it's cleaned. You'd think that would inspire him to move faster and get it done. It hasn't.

Today, there was the "I want to play the Wii, watch a movie, go to mini golf, etc" that peppers the days off from school. Nope, not getting it. Then I got an idea.

"I'm taking pictures of your rooms and putting them on my blog." For one, the concept that Santa looks at my blog (he commented last year, you know!) has scared him into working. The other was terrified when I walked into his room, camera in hand. "I'm cleaning, Mom! Don't take pictures!"

There's been more activity in the past fifteen minutes than the past five days. Guess when they're not doing their chores, I should trot out the camera with a threat of posting pictures for the whole world to see!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Utterli...SuzanneSez?



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, Little People, Big World

8. Film
Comedies and Disney Cartoons

9. Workout
I've got a Wii Fit, but it'll tell me it's been 125 days since my last confession workout. Doctor says 1.walking, 2.swimming and 3.bike riding-no impact exercises whatsoever. 1 is Boring, 2 I have no pool and 3 dude, my wrists can't handle my bike that doesn't have lazy brakes.

10. Pastries
Yes, please. All of it.

11. Coffee
Indigo Indulgence with a squirt of caramel or almond and half and half. Splurge on their mocha with whipped. If I get near a Barnies, hopefully the flavor of the day is Santa's White Christmas or Chocolate Cherries Cordial. Half and half and copious amounts of sugar. In a pinch, Dunkin Donuts Iced French Vanilla with milk and sugar. I'll only do $tarbuck$ only if someone gave me a gift card-it all tastes burnt to me.

And to think that five years ago, I wouldn't touch the stuff, now I can give you a discourse on the house blends at the local convenience stores and donut chains.

Feel free to join in the fun...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

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's holiday 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 play the Straight No Chaser version.



Now the child wants a CD that I want: Straight No Chaser's Holiday Spirits.

Then, we venture over to Moosebutter's site to see if they do a version of his favorite song. They don't, but they've got a holiday album, too, Dee's Ember. No "Twelve Days", though. So off we go, trolling the vaults of You Tube.

I knew I'd find a version of it on a high school classmate's You Tube channel. He conducts a high school choir, so Chef got to hear the the version I prefer. He likes it, too and wants me to sing THAT for the web concert.

He likes hearing me sing and keeps asking for more. I gladly comply and think that maybe, just maybe, he's old enough to sit through that Messiah concert.

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.

Regards,
Staffing Department

Please do not reply to this email.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Simple boiler plate. I like it, because it helps me to keep track of when I applied for a job. Doesn't give false hope-straight and to the point.


In October, a month after the first email, I get this:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Company C
Date: Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 8:30 PM
Subject: 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.

Regards,
Staffing Department

Please do not reply to this email.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Interesting. It might have been generated because it'd been a month since I'd applied-I don't know. In any event, I never got a call from them and figured that I wasn't what they wanted, since I've worked specialty retail and they're not.

A few minutes ago, what shows up in my email in box?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Company C
Date: Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 9:31 PM
Subject: Career Opportunity
To: Suzanne

Dear Suzanne,

Thank you for your interest in the Store 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.

Regards,

Staffing Department

Please do not reply to this email.
___________________________________________________________________________________

I suspect that every month, around this time, I'll be getting an email from Company C that "Hey, we have your application and no, we're not going to hire you, but we'll send you this email to let you know we got your application. Thanks!"

It would be quite interesting if every prospective employer did that. Job seekers would get a complex, because every day, you'd get an inbox full of 'we're considering you" messages from companies you applied to eons ago.

I'm quite thankful it's just the one company. Now I'm going to apply to all of their competitors in that category and see if they do the same thing!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

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 are Uhura
You are a good communicator with a
pleasant soft-spoken voice. Also a talented singer.
































Uhura
70%
Deanna Troi
65%
Chekov
55%
Geordi LaForge
55%
Will Riker
55%
Jean-Luc Picard
50%
Worf
45%
Beverly Crusher
45%
Data
43%
Mr. Scott
40%
James T. Kirk (Captain)
40%
Spock
37%
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
30%
Mr. Sulu
15%
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
10%


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." We were in the car today after picking up popcorn and he disputes my use of five gold rings, insisting it's GOLDEN rings, Mom. (This is a nails on chalkboard thing for me, much like in the Star Spangled Banner, people add a note-grrrrr). Somehow, we start talking about what would HE want as gifts for the twelve days.

Sushi.
Shark Tails.
Crab Cakes.
Lobster Tails.
Tuna.

So, now, we're coming up with the Twelve Days of Seafood, and you never know, if you tune into Neil's webcast, you might just hear Chef and I sharing it with you.

It did open a Pandora's box, because the child now wants to make a list in Word of all the seafood he HAS tried to compare against the menus in restaurants. His goal for quite some time is to try everything edible in the ocean, but he wants to make sure he doesn't miss anything.

I suspect that this means we may come up with the appropriate twelve seafood items this year, and he'll go and change it next year to incorporate the new critters from the ocean he's eaten in 2009!

Friday, November 21, 2008

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 the list was a Colecovision commercial. We had an Atari 2600, but my niece and nephew got the Colecovision and the controller was great, especially since they had Donkey Kong for it. The commercial was actually for the Coleco Tabletop Arcade. We watch it, and the guy getting his own Pac Man is a guy I went to high school with that I recently reconneced with on Facebook.



It was rather humorous to show Chef these old commercials, say "I know that guy", then show him some of the other commercials Brett had posted from back then. (Funnier still is that Ed was in a band with Brett's brother, but I've never met his brother.)

So, it was a trip down memory lane with a surprise twist back to high school, too.

How about you? Have you looked at RetroJunk or YouTube at stuff from when you were a kid and found cool stuff you'd forgotten or remembered and never thought you'd see again?

Interview

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.

Interesting

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 http://www.suzannesez.blogspot.com is written by a man (70%)


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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

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 forever comes down it comes down so heavy
Too final to forget
You've got to believe there's something more

After the song is over
The dance goes on, so dance away
When all is said and done
Remember what's been given, not taken away
But you struggle and you strain
As the undertow pulls you down

The years will spare the rod and soften the hardest blow
...but I am never the same
With time comes a certain fading and erasing
...but I am never the same

In each man
There lies a start that has no end
A means to be more
A light that shines in its own special way

Left with cold distance
I'll always be with you
We weather the cycle
I'll always be there
So fragile to balance
Too potent to harness
Life charges past the mortal in man

Remember all the life you shared every day
There's never any endings
...but I'll never be the same

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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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?)

Monday, November 17, 2008

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 back then and was reminded of a family that had five kids in the Frederick area that asked for nothing but volunteers, so the 'wish list' struck me as a fishing expedition.

From the outset, we watched the show and while the kids were cute, both of us would critique Jon and Kate. She never seemed happy, despite being blessed with eight healthy kids when others go through similar fertility treatments and have nothing but an empty bank account to show for it. I know a few people in this situation, which makes me a little touchy on that point.

The family is given quite a few 'comps' and they've played them off as 'we got the kids this', when it was clear it was a product placement. Or they would take their eight kids to an activity that I found expensive for my family of four earning two incomes. What about a family of 10 that professes to be 'struggling'? Don't believe me? Check out Dutch Wonderland, Strasberg Railroad's 'Day with Thomas' or the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster and add it up. Nowadays, they do mention that these are they are guests, but they didn't at first.

Along the way, I browsed the Net, and found that there was a couple in Jersey who had TWO sets of twins and sextuplets, the Hayes. I was more curious about how they managed it, since raising eight was 'so exhausting' for Kate. There wasn't much about this family out there to know how they do it. They had to be doing it on a single income, because the child care for six would kill a paycheck and make it pointless to even go to work!

Tonight, the Hayes made their debut on TLC. You know what? They are a hoot! The parents were hilarious and the kids? Perfectly normal, what you'd expect when they don't live their lives with television cameras taping their every move.

The Hayes have one sextuplet who has brain damage, but the little girl is doted on by all of her siblings and Mom and Dad. Mom Betty says "I love that she doesn't yell at me, so yeah, she's my favorite!" It's clear there is plenty of love to go around in that house, and plenty of laughter, too.

Much like watching the Roloffs feels real, the Hayes were real. It was refreshing after seeing a trip to Hawaii spread out over three weeks episodes. It's doubtful the Hayes even want a weekly show, but to check in once a year with them would be great. It was an hour that had us laughing over and over, because we could relate to their brand of parenting.

Confuzzled

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.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Appetizer

video

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 trouble with the mergers. One would only do the merge if the frame speeds were identical. Well, two segments were 30.04, the rest 30.01-so it was a waste. Another was billed as a merger, but it really to merge family photo albums on the Internet. Finally, I used the aptly named AVI Joiner. It has a twist in that the free version only allows you to join three files.

So, I did some track bouncing, much like the days of working in radio. Three bounces later, I have a finished video that comes in at 2:45:99, under the three minute max decreed by the Food Network.

I can't upload it, so I'll be burning a DVD of it tomorrow and sending it off with the phone book, AKA the 12 page application.

I'm happy with the finished product. It's not my full on personality, but it IS me in teaching mode, and I think that's a little more important. Cross your fingers that in mid January, I'll be flying to New York for four weeks. Guess I should dig through the boxes and see where I packed my ski jacket! I haven't seen that thing in four years.

No, I'm not posting the whole thing on the blog, because it's huge and because I'd like to keep it a surprise. Maybe when all is said and done, you'll get to see the video. All I know is I feel really good about doing it and if it doesn't get me in, I know what to do for next year!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

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 have no idea if it was bolluxed up prior to Donna and Big Joe sending me texts with multiple pictures that I can't openf.

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, then serve. It'll feed four hungry vultures...

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 boot and the woman with the walker if we're going any distance.

If I mention this to people who aren't in the blogosphere, they'll be warning me that she's probably an ax murderer or she'll sell me off to the gypsies. As if the gypsies would want me and I know she's got the similar wrist woes as me, so I'd only get a flesh would from that ax! (Love ya, mean it, Robin!)

It bears saying again-sometimes I'm so happy for this little invention called the Internet. If not for it, Jill and I wouldn't have a cool story of meeting face to face for the first time (Transferred into my store in Virginia, and first thing she says after I introduce myself "Are you (screen name) on the Yahoo CM's board?" Guilty as charged. When I went back through some paperwork when moving, I realized that we'd done a pin trade in 2001 for those Disney state pins.

Bob was a part of that same CM board, we'd 'chatted' on the board several times, too. He was vacationing down here three years ago. We met at yet another CM's house, when he mentioned that he and Maureen were going to go house hunting in Lakeland. I happened to be off from work and offered to show them around, since I'd done the same hunt just a year earlier. I had a great day with them, driving around to different communities.

Now they're all here in Florida. The IMs and emails replaced with phone calls and visits. So, that community? You can find friends in the biggest one of all, the internet. Pretty cool, don't you think?

Friday, November 14, 2008

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 white in this house-we've been converted

Deli Drawer: Feta, Asiago, Mozzerella, Extra Sharp Cheddar and some Port Wine spread. No, we don't like cheese. For something completely different, we have bacon, too.

Bottom Shelf: Italian bread and a gallon of Lemonade

Produce drawers: Lots of onions and apples, some carrots, celery and romaine and a loaf of bread

In the door: yeast, Scharffenberger, butter, way too many salad dressings, not enough hot sauces, worchestershire, teriyaki and ketchup (only Heinz for Ed, thanks), A Bailey's knockoff that tastes like vanilla and vodka, Milk, Rojo Sangria Mix, Balsamic Vinegar, Lemon Juice and a big honkin' jug of Salsa.

Next week, should I post another picture, not much on the door will change, but you'll probably see a lot more leftovers on the shelves. I cleaned house today...

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?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Conflicted

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 cancer treatments (twice!) and my Mom waitressed with Polio and at times, broken bones. I feel like a failure that I'm waving the white flag called SSDI.

If I get the SSDI, will someone hire me for 15 hours a week, so I can provide those little extras for my family (like groceries) ?

Why can't I rest with a decision and know that I'm doing the right thing? After the past four years, I feel like I don't know how to choose wisely, that I have no clue what IS right.

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 months and suggested I contact USF, since they had my medical records. USF wouldn't write a letter, since I hadn't seen a neurologist currently on staff. Without insurance, I wasn't about to spent two hundred dollars to visit him to get a piece of paper. His receptionist took pity on me and offered suggestions. Nurse M faxed over the records SHE had from the neurologist, but it was just a casual piece of paper-it didn't state my limitations.

I was about to contact the woman who offered me the job, to tell her that I couldn't justify spending a lot of money out of pocket for a part time job. One that required me to go get a certification within 90 days that would also cost me a little bit of money. I didn't mind that one, because it is one that could be used in many other jobs.

The phone just rang. It was R, the woman who offered me the job. She had just received a letter from the government doctor with a note from my neurologist attached. I guess Dr. K's receptionist really took pity on my situation and got him to send one-OR the fact that he had to answer questions for SSDI moved him to send it.

R had to withdraw the offer of a job, because of the contents of this letter. What did it say?

"Suzanne has a debilitating form of Reflexive Sympathetic Distrophy. As a result, she cannot work for more than three hours a day, for a total of fifteen hours per week."

It also stated that I should no do excessive amounts of standing, as that exacerbates the condition. There were other limitations in the letter, but those two made it impossible for R to hire me for that position.

WTF?!?!?!?!?! Seriously, when I last saw him, I was working forty hours a week and we discussed this. He KNEW that I was in full time employment, yet he said nothing about work restrictions.

I'm wondering if the SSDI application factors into what Dr. K wrote. I can't think of any job I could take when there are such restrictive guidelines. Can you? So, now, I am holding my breath, wondering if such a letter will get me approved for SSDI on the first go round. Will I be approved before the unemployment runs out and how the heck to I manage in the meantime?

Today's plans included going to a job fair. I have to go-the financial impact of not working has been a disaster. It's hard, though, I have visions of another job offer and that letter coming back around to bite me in the ass once again. Or should I say foot?

What do I do now?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

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 meant 1.5 hours of class time each day singing in choir, then 2 hours after school three times a week AND voice lessons. (Yes, I still love to sing!)

2. I was in Drama, too. In three years, I got 3 lines. Woohoo I later found out my forte was behind the scenes and majored in Technical Theatre in College. I still had a good time hanging out in the Little Theatre and making deli runs and staying through when we did any of our six productions each year. A roast beef on a hard roll reminds me of those days! The afternoons not at Choir practices were usually spent in the Little Theatre.

3. I had to take Geometry and Social Studies over several times. This was because school started way too early for my liking and I missed first and second period a lot. The last time I took both, I had Regents test scores in the 90's.

4. Study? What's that? This pissed people off to no end (like Joyce's sister in my grade), that I ranked pretty high in my class without ever cracking the books. Imagine if I had bothered to actually do the work!

5. Senior year, thanks to cutting so many gym classes, I had daily gym. My wrists were already really bad and the arthritis was diagnosed in my knees, so I had adaptive gym. This meant that for senior year, I was Coach P's secretary. The only time I suited up for gym the entire year was when we played floor hockey-bad knees be damned.

6. I spent a lot of time in the guidance office, hanging out with the counselors-except my own. He didn't get me, but the others? They were great. The few visits after graduation, Mr. S and Ms. R would want to catch up with me. Somehow, I ended up on my college's poster that they sent to the high schools (a very skinny and sunburned Suzanne, with bad 80's hair and a culture club inspired shirt behind the mic at the radio station) and they circled me on the poster and put up a note 'Alumna Suzanne!"

7. Our school had a program where if a teacher had to be absent, there could either be a substitute or you could go on 'Sub Plan'. The budget dollars allocated to subs went to this program, and each day, there would be a live program (a lecture or activity), a movie, or you could go to the Library or a Study Hall. I was on the Sub Plan staff and we made the posters and dittos for the activities each day.

Hanging out in that little room was so much fun! We'd play pranks on Mrs. K, the secretary, like taping down the switch hook of her phone, so that it'd still ring after she picked it up, or we'd hide the white out. Lunch time, it'd be filled with 'Subbies' and we'd all talk and laugh and listen to the Driver's Ed movies on the other side of the door (the room was a glorified supply closet with windows). I still have a copy of the ditto I did my last day of high school.

No, I wasn't popular. Not by a long shot, but I had good friends and good times and that's really all that matters...

And that is seven things about my high school days. If you'd like to take this one, be my guest, especially, if you're doing NaBloPoMo and need a topic!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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, unpacked the car at home and did some chores around the house. Gameboy came up to me and apologized and offered to help. One trip to the car later, he thought he'd get the freakin piece of plastic back. I had to explain that he would not see it until he'd paid his chores in full. (then we had the flat tire and I had to alter the plan).

Tonight, we had two Boy Scout meetings: one for Chef's camping trip this weekend with the older boys (but no Gameboy, which I'm sure he's thrilled about), then Gameboy's meeting. The deal was that each boy could have their DS during their sibling's meeting.

Gameboy got his turn first, then his meeting began at 7:30. He lasted 45 minutes before he started bugging me for the stupid freakin piece of plastic. His patrol went outside to play a game-he came to me and said they were done. Nope, no can do, Scoutmaster has not dismissed the troop-go find them.

He came back a half dozen more times, saying that they told him it was okay to come back inside. The Scoutmaster observed as I kept telling the obstinate child that he wasn't abiding by the scout law and that I don't drive 45 minutes each way and waste a pile of money on gas for him to sit there and play the stupid freakin piece of plastic.

Once back inside, it got worse. He kept coming back over to me, instead of staying with the patrol. I told him I do not appreciate him wasting my time and money to come to scouts when he's not going to respect his patrol. I asked him if he wanted to be a scout, or if he was more interested in the stupid freakin piece of plastic.

On the way home, he got a long lecture about his insincere "I'm sorry", the words he says because he knows he's supposed to, but doesn't comprehend the meaning. I explained that the stupid freakin piece of plastic wasn't going to put a roof over his head, keep him warm, feed and clothe him or care about his needs, that only the people around him can provide these things.

He told me his heart is breaking. When pressed further, he said it was because he wasn't allowed to play his DS. Not because I'm upset with him, that he's disappointed his patrol and leaders tonight.


Because he couldn't play with his stupid freakin piece of plastic.

Nintendo, I hate you.

Asperger's, OCD and whatever else is driving his damn obsessions, I hate you more.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Come Hell or High Water

I will be going! How about you?
BlogHer '09 In Real Life
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!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

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 the Scout's Own service this morning.

Have you heard the Bubblegum Song?

My daddy gave me a penny
he said to buy a henny
but I didn't buy a henny
I bought me some...
BUBBLEGUM!
Bazooka zooka bubble gum.

My daddy gave me a nickel
he said to buy a pickle
but I didn't buy a pickle...

My daddy gave me a dime
he said to buy a lime
but I didn't buy a lime...

My daddy gave me a quarter
he said to buy a porter
but I didn't buy a porter...

My daddy gave me a dollar
he said to buy a collar
but I didn't buy a collar...

My daddy gave me a five
he said to stay alive
but I didn't stay alive
I choked on my bubblegum
Bazooka zooka Bubblegum

It was accompanied by some choreography. Somehow, I suspect that the cubmaster will be hearing Bazooka Zooka Bubblegum for a looooong time!

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.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

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 she was stunned to see me fly through doing it IN THE DARK! We chatted for a while and I was amazed that she did all the work of setting up camp for ONE night.

So, what did I forget?

The griddle (must have left it on the camping gear shelves.
the pump for the air mattresses
to check what size the air mattresses I took actually are

I'd say that's not too bad. Wal Mart to the rescue, so that I can cook dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow.

Pictures from camping so far:
Our campsite



This all fit into a Beetle!


My little burrito!


Oh, the best part of camping? Waking up with a vertigo spell, standing up and doing an out of balance, staggering circuit of the tent, before finally falling on my ass. I worried for a few minutes, thinking it wasn't going to settle down, but it has. Thank God! Haven't had a spell like that in a very long time.

More pictures and details tomorrow. I need to hurry back for us to get involved in the human chess game!

Friday, November 07, 2008

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.

UPDATE:
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 at the campsite last night!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

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 majoring in something that I'd wanted to do in high school, but wasn't really 'in' among that department. The radio staff and the theatre department? They got to know the full on me, the nerd/geek/zany/silly Suzanne. I felt included, something I'd never felt in the previous 12 years of school.

I picked up friends along the way, lost some, too. Perhaps when you start out not having as many friends as most, the losses hurt a little more. Sometimes, it was just a case of me being too involved in work (I did that a lot), the relationship (oh boy, did I do that with the first marriage-A LOT) and moving away. There were tons of people who I wondered 'Whatever happened to?' with a healthy dose of nostalgia for just how cool/nice/fun that person was and probably still is today.

Along came Facebook. Unlike any of the other social networking sites, you use your real name. You enter in the schools you attended, jobs you've had-all in the hopes that a blast from the distant past finds you just as cool as you found them and seeks you out. Maybe even people from the fairly recent past wants to maintain a bond that began at work, scouts, or a neighborhood.

I dipped a toe in to Facebook, nervously. Would I be shunned like I'd been back then? Would those people that I would love to chat with once again with feel the same way?

To my surprise, for the most part, the answer has been yes. There have been a couple of people that I sent requests to that haven't responded. The older and wiser me isn't taking it the way I would have at 16. Interestingly, though, there are people seeking ME out.

The ability to send notes to someone without 'friending' them has been pretty cool, too. It's neat to be able to pop a note to someone and tell them that something they did 25 years ago impacted you in a good way, the music they couldn't wait to play for you is now on the iPod instead of the turntable, the author they suggested is one you still follow.

There is a lot more that I can glean from this experience, that I'll probably muse at another time. Right now, though, I'm just happy that some of those faces of yesterday are once again smiling back at me-from my Friends page on Facebook.

(Gotta say one thing that confuses me. That Friends you may know? It keeps bringing up friends of friends that I've never met!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

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?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

History

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 Florida retirement community. It reminded me of the one Mom and Bill lived in, with well manicured lawns and many yard adornments. Each house had their name emblazoned on the front and some variation of "Welcome, Friends."

It made me realize that our country went through a big shift in twenty years. The 60 year old set welcomes all, and proudly puts their name on their entrance, clearly thinking that there are no such things as strangers, only friends we haven't met.

Sadly, my generation seems to close themselves off from those nearby. Yes, we had a handful of friends in the town up north, but we tended to find friendships with coworkers instead of over the picket fences. In the four years in the old house, we were nodding acquaintances with a few. We never broke bread in a neighbor's house, or vice versa. In a half year here, we've gotten to know more neighbors than we did in all the time over there.

How sad is it that we've become so wary, so cynical, so distrusting of those that share our streets?

Some of the change that this country needs begins with each of us. We all need to reach out to our neighbors, foster that sense of community, get to know each other's names, respect those differing opinions.

If not now, when?

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 through the tank of Commerson's dolphins. Alas, I was going through that tube so fast that I didn't really get to see much of anything but "oh, look, I'm in the Commerson's tank" before getting deposited in bathtub warm water.

Next up, Loggerhead Lane. This is a lazy river with inner tubes, that at worst, you have to wait a minute or two for a tube of your own. Today, the water looked like it was blue fruit loops, with only a dozen occupants of the tubes. Chef and I grabbed single tubes. Along the river, there's an exit for Tassies Twisters, a slide you go down in the tube that looks like an oversized, colorful toilet bowl.

Chef told me he wanted to try it, since there was no line-but he decided he'd rather look at the tropical fish and imagine meals aplenty. I did a run on Tassie's by myself. Oooh, in the summertime, I'd gone up the six and seven flight towers slowly, today, I climbed 20 flights rapidly between all the slides. The calves are still complaining.

When I last went on Tassies, I was with Coaster Kid and we were told we HAD to use the double tubes. I remembered this, so I bailed on my single tube and waited in the lazy river for a double. I didn't need to, people were going down in singles. When heading down, you're almost in a luge position as you circle around the bowl-arc your back to get another revolution or two around!

After I finished the trip down the slide, I met up with Chef, who was happily naming fish for lunch, dinner and breakfast and we went over to Roa's Rapids. The rapids are easily my favorite attraction in the park. It's another river, but this one has no tubes, and you body surf around. Many riders opt for the flotation vests, because they enhance the experience.




Imagine those waters crowded with people, because that's how it was every other time we'd been there!

After a few circuits in the Rapids, Chef and I headed over to the Taumata Racers and Walkabout Waters. The Racers are the big slides that are seen from the entrance of the park, and Chef was going to race me. We get detoured by the play area of Walkabout. Here's where my good deed of taking Chef to the park got punished. He was running around (like a total crazy, mind you) and I decided to get out of the water and sit on a lounge chair. I caught my toe in the drainage grate, ripped off a bunch of skin, and later realized I broke the darn thing. Of course, the person who can't isn't running is the one who is injured.

I took a detour to First Aid, then came back. Chef continued on the Walkabout, deciding that he didn't want to climb the towers to the slides. Smart boy, says the woman who's paying for it two days later. I got the bright idea to go on the Walhalla Wave, since I haven't been on it before-and find almost at the top that there are no single riders on this attraction. Guess I would have noticed the signs before climbing 5 flights if it was the height of tourist season. Back down the stairs I go and over to Taumata Racers.

This one also had no wait (what a surprise, right?), but I was winded by climbing two towers in rapid succession. Guess I need to start exercising more. It was pretty darn cool riding down more dark tubes, but on a mat this time. I was reminded of Giggles "Go fast through the skinny places" every time we'd go through No Toll on the Southern State!

Back to Chef and we decided it was time to challenge the wave pool. We collected our crocs and backpack at the back of the beach and headed towards lounge chairs at the front. Again, bathtub warm water awaited. It was just a matter of time before the six foot waves appeared.

If we lived on LI, Chef would be happier than a pig in you know what, because he LOVES this wave pool. During one of the wave cycles, I showed him how the depth of the pool goes from 5 feet to 6'6" in the matter of a yard and explained how this forces the pool to create waves when the motor starts running. He's fascinated enough that he wants to make this year's science project on the topic.

After two wave cycles, Chef decided it was time to head back to Roa's Rapids, in time for some light rain. Earlier, there were a handful of people with us on the circuit. This time, in 45 minutes, I think we came upon a total of 4 people. The guard to guest ratio was impressive!

I found it awesome that we got there at 2:30 and could have gone on every single attraction at least once, probably twice. Locals who worry that they will be cold can relax, that water was toasty. Chef and I didn't even pull our towels out of the backpacks until the end of the day.

Of course, yesterday was a full 15 degrees warmer and sunny. You know what? I think I liked it better colder and overcast. It scared everybody else away!