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Showing posts from July, 2009

My Stack is Intact

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Some updates to the post from the other day:

Nephew is home, after a few hiccups. Let's just put it this way-if you select a date, then select a flight on Jet Blue, when they bring you to the screen to select a seat DOUBLE CHECK IT IS STILL THE SAME DATE! Somehow, M was booked on an August 4th flight, which we did not notice until we got to the counter to check him in.

The rest of fun is just beginning. However, Ed and I have agreed (after he's had a few unpleasant encounters with his Mom) that I will stay away from his family. I think it's best. They don't want to hear what I hae to say, and I grow frustrated with their tendency to stick their heads in the sand instead of dealing with a situation.

At least we discussed that there will be ground rules. A set day for grocery shopping-miss it, and the groceries will have to wait until the next week. Doctor's appointments also will have one day where he'll take them around. I will support him in whatever way…

Hope You're Not Hungry

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A couple of months ago, I bought a couple of those TGI Fridays Skillet Meals to keep in the freezer for nights when I was too lazy to cook from scratch wanted to enjoy a restaurant meal without killing the wallet. Well, the wallet's dead, so I pulled the two things out tonight.

When they were purchased, I was enticed by the dishes and didn't pay attention to how much the bags weighed. I pulled on out of the freezer and realized it probably wouldn't be able to feed a family of four (FTR, Cajun Alfredo Chicken and Shrimp). Thus, I also grabbed the second package and figured we could each battle it out over which we wanted. (Southwest Chicken and Vegetables with Black Beans and Rice)

The saucepans were prepped, the meat packets dumped into the pan. Hmmm. That's probably about the same meat as one serving in this house (about a chicken breast's worth, maybe 3 oz). I look at the serving size information and it is revealed that each package contains "about 2.5 …

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I'm Going to Blow My Stack

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The drama never ends.

When last I spoke of them, my sister in law was sent home from the hospital with instructions to follow up with five or six doctors. I was ticked because I wasn't asked if I would take her to said appointments, it was assumed. There was a blog entry.

She read the blog post, as she does all of them. If I write about her, she vents her spleen at Ed and tells him to "control his wife." His response? Fat chance of that happening.

So, after I wrote the post linked above on May 23rd, I called the next day to ask what time she need to be at the doctor's office to have a stent put in. "You don't need to take me, I'll take myself." Um, no, with a surgical procedure, they don't let patients drive home. For one factor, anesthesia is still in the system. For another, she's on blood thinners-a vein puncture doesn't close up quickly. She could bleed out if she hit the brakes too hard.

I mention this and she says &quo…

Irony

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So, I'm about to put stuff up on Craig's List to pay the rent.

I've applied for numerous jobs, have had no calls except for last week's interview (that won't notify me until September for an October start.) I'm getting the 'thanks, but no thanks emails', if anything.

My phone rings. I don't recognize the area code as being A. friend or family or B. local, so I let it ring through to voice mail.

It's some company looking for money. Do I have a clue? No. Why?

I think the person is reading a phonetic guide on what to say on these phone calls.

No wonder I can't find a job, my mastery of English is too expensive for them.

Yet Again, Scouting Comes Through

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After last week's events with Game Teen, some changes needed to happen for him to attend future overnights. Namely, Ed or I have to be on those camping trips to take over if Game Teen melts down.

In a sense, I love the idea, because the end of camping with Cub Scouts is drawing near. At the same time, Chef Jr isn't a Boy Scout yet. I wouldn't be able to bring him. Thankfully, our friend Maureen offered to take Chef. I suspect he and Coaster Kid will enjoy weekends hanging out without Game Teen.

When I left the camp last Wednesday, the leaders had asked for resources and tools to better work with my son. I have a couple of books that I was going to lend out, but I got a phone call yesterday that once again showed why moving with this new troop was the right idea.

Some of our leaders are involved in both Chef's Pack and Game Teen's Troop, and the pack had an activity this weekend. We didn't attend, as Chef had been to the site twice last year. However, th…

Next Food Network Star-Week 8

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And Then There Were Three (or "Suzanne gets a birthday present from the Food Network")

This week, the show opens with the final three still in Miami, where they meet up with Emeril at his Miami Beach restaurant. Their challenge is a big one: after viewing an advance screening of "Julie and Julia",

Jeffrey, Debbie and Melissa will prepare a three course meal for twenty superstars of the culinary world, putting their "passion for food on a plate". Each is supposed to use the movie as an inspiration for what their menu will be and then will present a live cooking demonstration of one of those courses.

As we watch them head off to market, the voiceovers and interviews feature each finalist speaking about their similarities with Julia. They each came up with a different perspective from the movie.

Sooo, if you've got $1,000. and are feeding people like Rick Bayless, John Besh, Mosaharu Morimoto, Marcus Samuelsson, Emeril LaGasse, and others, what would Y…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

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Thanks to Facebook once again.

My first career choice was radio broadcasting. Little did I know that most disc jockeys make no money, so my tenure in the commercial side of that field was very short (six years unpaid vs. one year paid). However, I am now in contact with probably two dozen of those colleagues from that era that still work in the business.

What happens when your status updates are peppered with those whose lives revolve around music? You get a lot of links to videos from days gone by, of songs you loved back then. At the very least, it means the iPod gets some long forgotten gems added to the rotation.

Such is the case when one of the guys that overlapped a year at the college radio station posts his picks. Dan posted a link to a classic that never fails to get me singing along. It is just so...so...happy!


This is one of those songs that refuses to let you stay in a bad mood. Ever. Yes, I know it comes from the musical "Hair", but this version is th…

Start Spreadin' the News...

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I'll be there next year!

Last year, I wished I could go. This year, I got halfway to it. That means, next year is the year for BlogHer, right? The lovely ladies at BlogHer announced next years destination for the ultimate convention of women bloggers:

NEW YORK CITY!!!

While it doesn't help me on the quest to see new places, it does have to potential of knocking a few things off my 'To Do' list, like checking out seeing family and friends and checking out some great restaurants I've been dying to try.

Then, factor in the blog friends that haven't attended, either. Grandy over at Functional Schmunctional is on board and Patricia of Notes from the Bunker (one of my first/favorite Twitter friends-@Astrogirl426) is also going.

Somehow, I think the East Coast locale will get a few other friends from around the blogosphere to attend. Perhaps that is what the ladies at BlogHer have in mind, to get more of us to be there.

At least we've got 54 weeks to get things …

The Rollercoaster Week

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This certainly has been a roller coaster week.

*Sent a kid to camp. Picked the kid up from camp three days later.
*Drove to Port St. Lucie for an interview. Two and a half hours each way. Won't know if I got a job until September.
*Have a stupid, bruised RSD foot again. Apparently, if that foot walks on gravel, it turns purple.
*Got a HUGE gift card from a major retailer to shop and vlog and HAVE A CONTEST.

Oh wait, did I tell you that it's to do a room makeover? For a kid? The one who got sent home from camp? I'm sitting here with said gift card and perusing their web site without said child seeing what's going on. I think we need a few day's distance between what happened at camp and a shopping trip to redo his room.

Other crap is going on, which I wrote a blog post about, but I'm not quite ready to publish. It can be summed up in stating that people who frustrated us in may still frustrate us. It's not my conversation to have.

Yes, I Was Planning to Go to BlogHer

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This was the year I would be going, remember?

The conference ticket was purchased. The airline ticket, too. I had a couple of stumbling blocks, though. Namely, how was I going to pay for a hotel room and who would watch the kids.

The hotel room was pricey, but I had a potential sponsor. Then, Game Teen's scout camp coincided with the BlogHer dates. It was a sign, I was sure of it. There are precious few people on this planet who can handle Game Teen for more than a few hours, so the possibility of only asking someone to watch Chef and getting a yes was much better.

Something held me back, though. After the initial email exchanges with the sponsor, I backed off. Two weeks ago, I found a happy taker for the conference ticket and I changed the plane ticket to a voucher to be used between now and March.

Between yesterday and today, it became clear why I shouldn't be going to BlogHer. It can be explained by this: GameTeen is asleep in his own bed tonight.

He was as disrupti…

What's For Dinner Lunch Wednesday

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Dinner tonight will either be uninspiring Dominoes Pizza (blech!) or Chef and I will grab a meal afterward. We are visiting Game Teen at camp for Family night. There's another post ahead about that, but Game Teen politely asked if we'd come tonight.

To continue my trend of torturing you with descriptions and pictures of meals, today's lunch is presented for your enjoyment.

Crab cakes are yummy. A lot of work, but the fact that there are always leftovers makes it worth the effort. Today is no different. Chef's requested crab cakes were made last night, along with his Caribou Coffee cake with Buttercream frosting. (That's not a pretty sight, but it is VERY tasty)


I especially like the steam rising from the hash browns. The cole slaw was a perfect copy of the version we enjoyed at Skyland last week. I am happy about that, for Ed and I now have a cole slaw we can agree on (he likes sweet, I like mustard).

Now that I've got a bowl of remoulade in the fridge, I&#…

On The Road to Yeehaw Junction

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To get on the Florida Turnpike headed south.

I drove the long trip for an interview. The job would be local.

Of course, no road trip is incomplete without an issue. 45 miles into the trip, I passed the camp that Game Teen is attending. Then, I got to my destination with 45 minutes to spare-and a message from a Scoutmaster that they were 'having issues'.

Thankfully, upon my return to Yeehaw Junction and points west

it was determined that to get the most out of Game Teen, less is more. Assistant Scoutmaster realized that keeping him busy, busy, busy was a recipe for trouble. So, we had a little meeting that was very low key, I enjoyed a yummy lunch with the boys and they all proved that they know how to be very polite-even when their Moms aren't around to make sure that they are!

Game Teen requested that Chef and I attend family night tomorrow. After today's 300 mile round trip, the 100 miles there and back will seem like a breeze!

Behold the Double Digit Dude

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Chef Jr turned ten today. He's probably enjoying an extended birthday this week, since his brother isn't here to nag him.

Today, he got a few action figures, dinner at a favorite Sushi buffet and then a viewing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Oh, and the owner of the restaurant gave him a ball cap with the restaurant's name on it. Cool!

Tomorrow, he gets the requested crab cakes and Coffee cake. No, not coffee cake as you know it-coffee flavored cake. With butter cream frosting. He asked for both items, then said he'd prefer to go out tonight.

I like how this picture shows off our blue-hazel eyes. Our eyes change color depending on what we're wearing, but we have the exact same color eyes. Mine look green in this and his look blue...

I've got an early appointment tomorrow, but once I get home, we'll be making those items together.



Next Food Network Star-Week Seven

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There was no recap last week, as we were on the road to Virginia while the show was airing. I got to see 45 minutes of it last night, but there's no sense in recapping right before another episode airs. Alas, Michael was eliminated when Debbie once again lied about how much work she did.

This week, as last week, the finalists are at the Eden Roc in Miami. After a dismal team effort preparing appetizers last week, Jeffrey, Jamika, Debbie and Melissa are tasked with a live cooking demonstration-with a twist. Each contestant is sabotaged in some way, to see how they handle the realities of show biz.

To me, this would have been a better challenge if each was presented with the same snafus. Instead, it seemed like Debbie had it easy, as the problems she faced were not of the host's doing. She was missing utensils and her fish was substituted with chicken. She easily handled the missing forks and menu change.

Melissa encountered a host who kept calling her Debbie Lee (that wo…

Game Teen Blazes a New Trail

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He is off doing something that neither Mom nor Dad has ever done.

Game Teen is spending six days at sleep away camp with his Boy Scout troop. We honestly never thought we'd see the day when not one, but both his old and new troop encouraged us to send him with them.

I mean, seriously? This is a child who melts down here, there and everywhere. They have experienced some of his bad, but not the worst of Game Teen-and still they want him to go. His leaders are my heroes for taking him on. (It is highly likely that I will need to bring them hard liquor when Game Teen returns Saturday!)

For a Boy Scout, attending camp is the quickest way to complete a bunch of merit badges towards Eagle Scout. Each boy chose five activities that fulfill the requirements. Game Teen made some good choices and is excited to know his sash will soon have more badges to keep that First Aid one company!

It'll be nice to have respite from the daily drill sergeant duties. I am slightly worried that I&…

The Trip By The Numbers

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We arrived home just before 5am this morning. The drive home took far longer than the trip up did! For the most part, it was an uneventful drive-and one that Ed did the lion's share (thanks, Honey!).

So, the numbers of the title?
2174 miles traveled. So what if 66 miles of it was to go back home to get Chef's Nintendo DS?
The first departureThe second departure
the final number


458 pictures taken
7 tanks of gas

6 states visited (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland)
4.8 miles hiked to get to a waterfall that we could not cool off in!

4 cousins who had a lot of fun playing Pokemon
4 adults who enjoyed beer or mojitos on the deck after the kids went to sleep
Undeterminate stalactites,stalagmites, soda straws and draped formations seen at Luray Caverns

3 gorgeous sunsets seen from various overlooks along the Skyline Drive





2 Black Bears sighted


1 stowaway Virginia state bird



8 people already trying to figure out what next year's vacation will be!

Some Things Never Change

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We spent an afternoon and evening in our old town last night. Sixteen years in Maryland made it resoundingly 'home' for me. Ed, not so much.

It felt strange to see all that had changed, but in the end, the important things didn't. The friendships we carved out in the planned community we liken to Stepford are still the same.

Our first stop in Frederick was for lunch at our favorite restaurant when we lived there. We worried that it wasn't as good as remembered, the place that would be the first choice to dine out when the town was our home.

No fretting necessary, it was just as delicious as always. Chef and I decided to split a Rasta Pasta entree (of which he easily consumed 2/3), Ed got the Ragin Cajun. They have this delicious Cheesy Beer-Potato soup, and just as would happen five years ago, Chef came over and wormed his way into getting some of that and Dad's lunch. If given the chance, he probably would have done it more.

At the meal's end, we wonder…

All Good Things Must Come to an End

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But we've got plenty of pictures to remind us of the fun.

Look! Long Island in the clouds!

Goofing off for the camera.

Another gorgeous sunset.


Once I'm down off the mountain with a speedier connection, I'll go through and pick some more pictures to show. Probably a few from the 3 mile hike that turned into a 5 mile hike-all the kids fared better than most of the adults. It tuckered us out so much, we were in bed very early for us.

Tonight's plans include our old stomping grounds in Maryland, then seeing how far south we can drive before getting a hotel room.


No One Has Sung 'The Bear Went Over The Mountain' Yet

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You really don't want to hear Giggles singing it, anyway.

When we road tripped as kids, she would sing it over and over and over and over-well, you get the idea. She decided it was time to give our kids the chance to do the same. Thankfully, no one is singing it!

Some sights from our time together:
Dream Lake at Luray Caverns

I took pictures over the back of my seat while we were driving into Luray, and got a bunch of Chef like this:
Sunset the other night

After the sun had set, heading back to Skyland


We've become serious wimps in five years. The mountain gets down to the high 50's/low 60's in the evenings. Guess who forgot their jackets in the dryer in Florida? This is cold to us, folks!




Road Food

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When I was a kid, my Dad gave me a great book. Well, actually, he gave me a lot of great books. The one I'm speaking of is Jane and Michael Stern's "Amazing America". In it, listed state by state, were some cool places to visit that were a little less well known.

I've long since lost my copy, but on several of our trips, Dad, Giggles and I marked of pages of the book as we visited. The most memorable of these was a place in Cookeville, Tennessee, that was the ultimate in old swimming holes.

There's another book from the couple that I have been meaning to pick up, "Road Food". For some trips, the meals are just as memorable as the things we did.

One of those places lies along I-81 in Virginia. The ten foot, fiberglass man with a pot on his head probably indicated kitsch to those passing by. To us, it beckoned a visit.

The warm apple fritters placed on the table when the waitress greeted us said we'd made the right choice. The drinks serve…

I Was Looking for a Nugget of Joy

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But I found something even better!

When we moved from the mountains of western Maryland into the DC 'burbs, we got some real TV. Like Food Network and TBS. With a newborn Game Teen and evening work schedules, we gravitated towards Space Ghost.

I thought I'd bring you one of Zorak's nugget of joy this morning, but this is too good not to share, from when most people had no clue who the Space Ghost Coast to Coast guest even was.

Where There Are Limes

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There soon will be Mojitos!

The traveling Mojito Muddler and the aforementioned limes:



I hope that's enough!