Showing posts from November, 2009

Procrastination, Thy Name Is Suzanne

I can't sleep.

Why? Probably because my head is swimming with all sorts of stuff. Stuff like:

*Nonverbal communication strategies and Asperger's Syndrome (the paper I need to write for class tonight)
*Denial of Service Attacks (the group Wiki project for another class that is due Saturday, but I set the internal group deadline for today)
*The Powerpoint presentation I want to tweak for another class
*The chapter I really wanted to read before tonight's class
*The surgery that's in 9 days (AAAACCCCKKKK)
*The freezer that really doesn't have room for twelve frozen meals from the meal prep place
*The letter I need to write to one of Ed's mom's creditors
*The copy of last year's taxes I need for Game Teen's meds
*The scout project Game Teen signed up for that happens to be three days after surgery
*The house that needs to be cleaned prior to surgery
*The assisted living places we need to look at SOON because Jane needs to make a decision
*The physical therapy a…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Funny thing, earwigs. I'm trying to eradicate one right now, without much success.

You know what I am talking about-those songs that get stuck in your head. A friend and fellow blogger, Robin, decided to feature a song in her Salute the the 70's (her very own special feature I *usually* enjoy). Not just any song, a football team fight song.

The football team song is in a class by itself. It has to be simple, so that even the youngest fans can sing along. It has to be catchy, so the adults can sing it, too. Depending on the team, it might have to be extra simple, because those fans can get really snockered during the game. Wouldn't you, if your team typically had a season of 2-14?

I've lived in three major metro areas and had five, count them five NFL teams playing within an hour's drive. Only one got on my nerves, thankfully. But "Hail to the Redskins" isn't to blame for my current earwig dilemma.

No, it's a team that plays right here in …

The Herd in My House

I'm in the kitchen, making pizza dough (yay). Both boys are in the living room, playing the Wii. All of a sudden, I hear mooing. First one then two bovines are making noise in my living room. For the record, they are not playing a game that has animals in it. (Mario Kart Wii)

"Who let the cows in?" Lots of giggling from the living room, then more mooing.

"Seriously, who let the cows in? There's enough mess around here with just you kids." More giggling, more mooing, then Chef pipes up with

"Hey, Mom, look on the bright side. You know you can have hamburgers for dinner tomorrow."

Nice to know those toy swords are good for something. I'm going to put Chef right to work on that...

Surgery Date

The past week and a half, I've been calling my doctor's office to find out when I'll be having surgery. It was an exercise in frustration. No amount of explaining why I wanted to know and get things in order seemed to help.

Ed needs two weeks notice to request a day off
I already had an appointment on the books for December 11th that my doctor said to keep as a 'post op appointment.'
My classes start back up on January 7th, and I wanted the all clear to drive before then.
I needed to know if I had to make arrangements to get to the hospital or home if Ed was stuck working.

If you haven't noticed, I thrive on planning what I can. Not knowing something that I need to know drives me batty. So, in an effort to plan, the doctor's office got a daily phone call. Well, the word finally came back. My surgery is scheduled for December 8th. Ed is off from work. (Minor miracle). I have an overnight stay, and I'm hoping they kick me out early on the 9th, because …


This year's Thanksgiving was nice and low key. A split menu, because we were spending the afternoon at Bob and Maureen's. A bargain turkey and I was ready to brine. Stuffing and twice baked potatoes and we were ready to go. It seems like something is missing when you only make a few things.

It was nice to have a relaxing day with friends, but it would have been better to have Ed with us. He has a job, they expected him to work today, and well, you do what you have to. Besides, he's not a turkey fan, so it will be a nice ham meal sometime in the next couple of days.

I broke in the mixer by making whipped cream for chocolate cream pie (store bought crust, meet store bought pudding.) Alas, there was an unfortunate pie incident on the way to their house and we didn't enjoy the fruits of the Kitchen Aid.

Now, after a snack of leftovers, I'm ready for a nap...

The Changing of the Guard

It's probably a toss up as to who has missed the mixer the most. For me, I lost the ability to make several favorite meals and treats. For Ed and the kids, pizza night was gone. For Jane, well, anything that sprung from the mixer was well received.

Months ago, she said she was going to save up and get us a new one. I didn't get my hopes up. If it happened, great. If not, there would be a tax refund someday.

Last week, we went to lunch together and Jane told me to go buy the one I wanted, it would be her Christmas present to me and Ed. It didn't matter which one I chose. Part of me wanted the top of the line 525 watt behemoth, but I'm still fiscally responsible with other people's money. I went for a more powerful 5 qt model, so I could still use the bowl from the old one.

It has been sitting in the box for almost a week, because I wanted an empty sink. Yesterday, Ed took on that chore (thank you, Honey!) and today, it has been unpacked and placed next to…

The Roller Coaster Ride

It's been an interesting few days on the in law front. Since last Thursday, there have been ups, downs, loops, reversals and all sorts of interesting things.

On Wednesday, a phone call that Mom had fallen out of her wheelchair. She tried to stand up and get out of the chair, but shecan't and ends up on the floor. The same thing happened Thursday after I'd visited her briefly and brought a requested sub. Her blood pressure was 80 over 54. When the doctor was consulted, he didn't like the numbers. I was called and asked if we wanted them to observe her at the nursing home or send her to the hospital?

I asked the nurse her opinion. She didn't give one until I asked "what would you do if this was your mother?" She suggested we send her-so I did and she was transported Thursday night.

Friday was really hectic and we didn't get to check up on her. Saturday, I kept getting put on hold at the nursing home, so I called the hospital. She was still there…

You Have To Start Somewhere

Those who follow in Alton Brown's footsteps don't need this (and have
a designated brining bucket).
For those who decide to enter the world of juicy turkeys, welcome! It is likely that once you've brined, you will never go back.

The Teddy Bears

It started back in 1985.

My then boyfriend wanted a teddy bear to keep him company while I went out of town for Thanksgiving. I searched the entire mall for the 'perfect' teddy bear. Dad had picked me up from work one night and I commented that I needed to find the perfect bear.

He asked what qualities the perfect bear had to have. It had to be soft and huggable. It had to have a face that just cried out 'squeeze me'. It had to have a belly, too. I'd know it when I found it, but I hadn't-yet. Then, a week later, in my own department at work, the perfect bear showed up. Crisis averted, I bought the bear.

A year later, my sister was hit by a moped and broke her collarbones. She would be confined to bed for at least a month. I no longer lived at home, and once again, I was searching for the perfect bear. This time, it needed to be a bigger bear, so that Giggles could use the bear as a pillow. Once again, I found the right bear.

As was typical, Dad notic…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Once a choir geek, always a choir geek.

What prompted that statement? Believe it or not, the assignment of a watching a movie for my Counseling Skills class. To tie in all the things we've learned about human interaction, we were asked to watch the movie "Ordinary People."

In it, the main character, Conrad, is a member of his high school choir. A couple of rehearsals are shown during the movie to set the scene for his interactions with another character, Jeanine. In the first, they are singing a hymn that is set to Pachelbel's Canon in D.

The second is the focus of my geekiness. It is a piece I performed several times, Handel's "Hallelujah, Amen", the final chorus from the oratorio Judas Maccabeus. It's one of those pieces that the first time our choir director had us perform it (in 9th grade), I sang it as a soprano. Then, two years later, thanks to our new prinicpal's decree that there be NO sacred music performed at all, a compromise of…


Why, oh why did I let the physical therapist talk me into increasing weight to 30 pounds on the rowing machine Thursday, after the assistant and I agreed we should drop down to 25 after my neurologist appointment? I shouldn't be doing it at all, but I saw improvement.

Instead, I've got a two day headache that won't go away (all those headaches that didn't respond to Tylenol, Aleve or Excedrin? Chiari type.)and my neck and shoulders are really sore. I can take painkillers for that, but it doesn't do a darn thing for the headache.

Why is it that I can ask five times, and the can can overflow, and people put their trash on the counter and STILL no one empties the trash can?

Why is it that the dishes pile up (dishwasher is broken) and rather than pick up a sponge to wash dishes, the other inhabitants of the house feel the need to dig out rubbermaid containers to eat from instead?

Why is it that whenever someone is hungry, they tell me instead of doing something about it…

This is Hole 8A

Not to be confused with hole 8C or hole 8B, which I have been to on the way here.

Golf courses are confusing!

Oh, it is better to yell "fore" before your golf ball hits my leg!

Then there were the golfers who gave my companion and I each a beer. We were representing the college, so we didn't think it was a good idea to drink them at the time (even though we wanted to!). We later found out it would have been just fine to do it. Now we know for next year's event.

Good Gravy!

There are many lessons my mom taught that I take for granted that everyone knows. It still surprises me when things I learned as a small child are not common knowledge. Especially the ones related to cooking.

If you asked me when I learned how to make pan gravy, I can't tell you. It's one of those things that I always watched my mom do and picked up like anything else a child would. drippings, flour, cold water, salt, pepper, boil and then voila, it's gravy. Simple, right?

Apparently not.

Donna, Joyce and other friends of long standing here can tell you I've always cooked, and that's just one of those things that was a given, if I was roasting a turkey, chicken or beef, there was a gravy boat of yummy stuff.

I think the first hint that it was not normal is when I traveled to New York in '94. My friend Joe had just lost his Mom a few months before, I was newly separated and headed to my high school reunion that Thanksgiving weekend. We decided I'd cook t…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

My butt is still being whipped by this cold. The worst is over, but a couple of days of running around and I was wiped out.

Good thing I had an easy dinner planned. A very easy dinner. I put a roast in the oven, just added water every hour and we ended up having Pernil with egg noodles. Other than using the crock pot, this is probably one of the best no effort meats that tastes like it took a lot of work. Zzzzz, then yum.

Reality Sets In

Jane hasn't seen Mom for three weeks. In those three weeks, the dementia has progressed-A LOT.

This morning, I got a call from the nursing home. Once again, Mom was throwing things and disrupting things. As her blood pressure is below 100, they couldn't give her Ativan. The doctor called in a different prescription, but it wouldn't arrive until the afternoon pharmacy delivery. Could I come and sit with her for a while to get her to calm down?


The reality is that I had a physical therapy appointment and I'd only be able to be there for twenty minutes. Realization struck-perhaps part of the problem is that she hasn't seen Jane. I called Jane and explained what was going on-would she visit with Mom while I was at PT for the hour?


I brought her over there and when I walked in, I got a "Hey, Sweetie", but she told Jane she didn't know who she was. At the same time, she told her that she should have called to let her know she was out of the…

Another Day of Go, Go, Go

Today's travels with Jane-a visit to the wound care doctor. She and I disagree on treatment protocols and she doesn't like the way they've dealt with her wounds in the past. However, I figured she could tell them what she wanted and they could go from there.

It's hard sometimes, hearing some of the questions and her answers and having to endure the disapproving looks from the health care professionals-as if I had something to do with the lack of concern for her own care.

Hey, I'm not going to sit there and monitor everything that goes into her mouth. She's a big girl. If she's going to be hospitalized for renal failure and not change her ways, you think that I can talk sense into her? That would be a big, fat NO.

The upshot is that she's got more dietary restrictions on top of some restrictions that are due to medications she's taking. I can cook within those guidelines, but that's only one meal of the day.

After that, we picked up Ed and en…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Remember when you were a kid and your parents had control of the TV? Not the remote, because back then, the remote meant Mom or Dad nudge you and said "Go change the TV to channel 5." No, I mean when your parents chose what TV shows the family watched, because they were kid friendly until 10pm.

Back then, the shows had great theme songs. Real ones that lasted a full minute, ones that gave you enough time to come in from another room or finish washing that last dish before the good stuff started.

For me, there are shows like the Mary Tyler Moore show (who can turn the world on with her smile?), Archie Bunker (Boy, the way Glenn Miller played), Maude (Lady Godiva was a freedom rider) and MASH (did you know there are words to that theme? I learned how to play it and it. is. sad!)

A friend posted a link the other day and I was transformed to weeknights in my Mom's den, watching back to back episodes of this favorite. Jack Klugman reminds me of my dad, partly resemblance a…

It Takes One Step To Make a Difference

That phrase was the inspiration. My classmate, Jessica, came up with it the one Wednesday that I missed the Counseling Skills class. She and I (and another student, who dropped the class) were inspired to have a walkathon for the local agency we wanted to help, Noah's Ark. We had met with one of the directors and could have listened to him speak all day about what they do.

We found a location and picked a date. She found walkers, I found local businesses to give us prizes for the walkers. It was a learning experience for both of us. Much of it was met with a "Now we know for next time."

Why were we thinking that way?
This was just a project for class, right?

Yes. And no, too. See, the grade is one thing-we want to do well. BUT this group inspires us that we want to do more. Each visit, each phone call to a member of their board and we became emotional with how much a few parents of special needs kids can do when they put their minds to it.

The past few days,…

The Very Productive Day

As I mentioned in Thursday's early morning post, the day was chock a block with stuff to do. Well, I got everything listed done and then some. It felt pretty good.

Headed over to Tampa early because USF was holding a Graduate School Recruitment Fair. When I got there, I found that my intended program was not present, but I got names and directions over to their building on campus.

Two visits to offices that weren't the right place, a simple tour by a really nice GA and then a even more comprehensive tour by the director of the Instructional Technology program. He brought me to one of the two program advisors and we spent nearly an hour talking about the Instructional Technology curriculum, the three tracks to the program and what software and hardware I will need to do course work. (Design Elements Pro, here we come).

The other day, I was told that no, I can't take graduate level courses as an undergraduate. If a course interests me, by all means, I should take it, a…

Can't Sleep

Did you ever have to get up early to do something, but when you tried to get back to sleep, your mind was swimming so much that you couldn't?

That's me right now.

I drove Game Teen to the bus stop this morning, as I do each morning (I am not a fan of him standing out there on his own at that hour). Then I stopped at Jane's to empty out the fridge of items that are well over two weeks old because she's coming home from the hospital today (two weeks this time). I came back home and tried to sleep, but it isn't happening.

Some of the things weighing on my mind:

1. This weekend's walkathon. My job is to find donations from businesses to give to the walkers and refreshments to hand out during the walk. It's been a learning experience, because the corporate owned locations want notice months in advance. So, my head was racing with local businesses that I love that might want to recognize the efforts of our walkers.

2. I broke a pyrex bowl yesterday while was…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

A few weeks ago, I made Bolognese Sauce and found out something I'd never known. It is hands down, Ed's favorite Italian sauce. Here I'd thought it was Alfredo sauce all these years.

Of course, this meant I had to make some again, especially since he was dropping hints about how much he loved the last batch I made. Alas, the kids won't eat it, but they'll eat everything else, so making a pot doesn't mean I really have to make two dinners.

The funny thing is that when I make it, I am reminded of a song from a high school. My sophomore year, we did the play Scapino, and in it, a singing waiter serenades a beautiful woman with the following:
Minestrone, Macaroni
Ravioli Aux Crevette
Caramella In Padella
Avocado Vinagrette

The bridge is why I've had it running through my head and singing it half the week

Scallopine Valdostana
Scampi, Fritti and Bordeaux,
Pasta Bolognese
Pate Mayonnaise
Cappuccino, Espresso

Some of those don't sound so appetizing, but the Pasta Bolog…

Winding Down, Gearing Up

There are three weeks left in the current semester. Two of my classes are definite A's, the other two are iffy, one due to group projects, and the other because I've whittled away 43 of the 65 point cushion that I need to keep an A.

That professor apparently still hasn't learned our names-she told me yesterday that she won't look at me during lectures, because I will supply the answers. When I lamented the two 80's on exams, she was stunned I was worried that I wouldn't get an A.

Meanwhile, the time has come to register for next semester's classes. I need eleven more for my degree, and I've got my list in the back of my notebook. For weeks, I've been scouring the class schedule to determine what I'll take. Two of my classmates expressed interest in carpooling to the Tampa campus to get a better selection of Psychology department electives. The down side? All those classes meet two days a week.

Ultimately, when it came down to it, the nee…

Fun With the Nursing Home

Saturday morning, my phone rang. "Suzanne? This is R at the nursing home. Your Mom is flipping out." He told me she was out of bed and throwing items, and even tried to throw the TV.

The woman who needed to be picked up to get out of bed is walking around and yelling?

I high tailed it over there and sure enough, she was in a state. They'd given her a shot of Ativan to calm her down, but she was still angry. Apparently, the current delusional episode is that they WON'T! GIVE! HER! THE! BABY!. Confused, I thought she was talking about the cat, Jiminy. She told me not to screw around with her, that I knew what she meant.

In her mind, a miscarriage from long ago resulted in THE BABY, and she wanted it. (None of us is clear on what baby she's talking about). If that were the only issue, I would probably just chalk it up to the dementia, but she was positively horrid to the staffers, Chef (who was with me) and me.

She said she'd heard THE …

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

A friend mentioned on Facebook the other day that he'd gone to a Karaoke bar in NYC and sang Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine" in front of the crowd. Amazing what a good song will compel a guy who doesn't sing in front of the crowds to do!

The mention of this jazz and blues singer brought back many pleasant memories, of late nights, AM radios and a voice dripping the blues. I've always loved his voice and that song in particular just brings the raw emotion to life.

I commented about another Bill Withers gem that the average person thinks is Grover Washington, Jr. However, Grover plays the sax and Bill sings the song on the song that is said to have inspired the Smooth Jazz genre "Just the Two of Us."

Once again, someone mentions a favorite from my past and I want to track down a greatest hits album, because he's a great song crafter AND singer.

Enjoy these two, as I have been listening to these oldies but goodies since Dennis mentioned th…

First Friday

Bob and Maureen suggested we visit Lakeland's First Friday last night, and it sounded like a great plan. Off we went.

I'm glad we did. The night was a perfect fall in Florida evening, just around 70 degrees. Parking was a little bit of a challenge, but other than that, it was worth it to walk around downtown and see the sights. Then there were the dogs-LOTS of dogs. Though I have to wonder why someone would bring a muzzled Doberman and when people went to pet the animal, the owner said the dog is NOT friendly.

Several times here, I've professed my soft spot for neon and the love of the quantity this area maintains. There will be a neon tour of Lakeland on the blog someday, but for now, just three of the many signs in the downtown area that held First Friday.
This restaurant gets rave reviews from several friends. Eventually, we'll visit for some cajun food. Maureen warned that her experience netted some extremely slow service.
I wonder if Coaster Kid googled what…

Like My New Glasses?

We're waiting to see Game Teen's psychiatrist. Chef is playing with
Mr Potato Head and the glasses fell into my handbag.I took them out, saying that I didn't need them. He thought they
would make good replacements for my current pair.What do you think?

It Takes One Step To Make a Difference

So it stands to reason that a lot of steps can make a big difference, right?

The main goal of my Counseling Skills class is for the class to form groups and do some service learning in the community. We were all charged with finding a group with a need and helping them out.

These groups found varied agencies in need and the projects are equally varied, like a fund raising dinner at a local restaurant next week for a domestic violence shelter, a clothing drive for the homeless, tutoring at an at-risk program, doing activities at an after school program, and others.

One of my group mates found a local agency that really had an impact on me. Noah's Ark is an agency formed by parents of children with various developmental disabilities (autism, down syndrome, mental retardation, and others) who worried what would happen to their children when the parents passed on. Would they be able to support themselves? Find adequate housing? Have things to do, opportunities to socialize?

Rather t…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

This week, I had plans for the marinated Flat Iron steaks I got from Land and Sea the other day. However, neither boy was interested in steak. They must not be our children, they don't like steak?

Instead, there have been some ham steaks waiting in the fridge in the garage for a fondue night. That said, there are three of those, but I really can make fondue with one, possibly two. So, there was a last minute substitution for dinner.

The kids liked the change to ham steak, hash browns and corn. I guess I'll make the Flat Iron steaks for me and Ed tomorrow night.

Kirby,Take Two

The other day, we got a letter in the mail that the Kirby people had decided to cancel Jane's contract for the purchase of that 1299.00 vacuum. If you look at that contract, however, Jane paid a 99.93 deposit for a vacuum she no longer owns. I called them today and asked if the money was coming back. The answer?


What was interesting was the information that manager from Pivitol, Inc. shared with me. "We're out of the three day cancellation window and I've already lost 698 dollars on this sale, so no, the money's not coming back."

Did you see that amount? Six HUNDRED ninety eight dollars? Yeah, they paid that much commission to the salesperson. If you add that to the hundred that was already paid as a deposit, that's $797.00 paid out in commission. This means the net cost of a Kirby Vacuum cleaner is only five hundred dollars.

The same amount of money I told Jane I was willing to pay for a Dyson.

So, if you're thinking about getting a Kirby…

What a Weekend!

Yes, it was a crazy week last week. Part of what made it crazy for me is knowing what Friday through Monday would include:

Friday-My IT Ethics group project had to be turned in. I did my portion, then planned to put the Editor's hat on and tweak what was done. I look at assignments as if I was the one grading it. I think it turned out fantastic, but won't know how we did until next Saturday-after the other nine groups review it.

Also due Friday-an individual chapter test and a group discussion assignment for the same class.

Saturday-three hours reviewing the study guide for my Literature mid term. It's funny how many of the terms overlap what I'd learned in the two summer classes, because now those definitions are indelibly etched on my brain. The, I got in about an hour and a half of studying before the Halloween festivities.

Sunday-As soon as I got up, I took the Literature midterm-and got 100. Yay! Another hour of studying, then off to a Scout troop budget mee…

NaBloPoMo Once More

Two years ago today, I started on a journey of posting every day. Little did I know, the commitment to one month of blogging would result in twenty three more. Yes, it's been two years that at this time of day, if I haven't written something, I get very, very antsy-I have to post something.

Along the way, I've found some extremely talented writers to add to the daily (or weekly) reading. Even better, I've found some friends in the blogosphere. Someday, I will actually meet these wonderful people. Who knows? Maybe at BlogHer '10.

If you've got the blogging bug, it's not too late to join this year's event at
. Or if you are one the many wonderful blog readers, check out their blogroll and you'll have a month of daily writings from the majority of those who signed up.

Or, maybe, just maybe, you'll see someone start this thing, thinking to themselves "Thirty days? Seriously? What am I going to write for thirty days?&quo…