Showing posts from December, 2009

Everything is Better With Cheese

I am thankful this year is over.

We are having a quiet end of 2009 evening, after a last minute visit to the doctor this morning. The fact that I was still having pain, three weeks after surgery concerned his nurse, and over to Tampa we went.

The good news is that it isn't what she'd suspected and is probably due to me wanting to get back into the swing of things. Apparently, I am not sitting on the couch enough. There's another week of rest to follow, and maybe I'll be ready for my first class in a week.

Yesterday, a friend mentioned on her Facebook status about having fondue tonight. Mmmm, fondue. The idea sounded great and the menfolk agreed. Then I called Jane and asked if she was in on it. Apparently, the last time she had fondue was during the Ford administration and she was eager to break the drought.

As this is not a meal you can pack up on a plate and bring over to someone, we all headed over and sat around the table, breaking bread, swiping apples a…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

We went to the market today to get some meat for dinner. Everything was frozen at home, and well, I wanted something easy after dealing with paperwork today.

Hmmm, sale ground beef. Ed thought Hamburger Helper and I knew I wanted taco salad. Save the Hamburger Helper for a night I'm not home, guys. I realized that this was probably one of the first things I started making as a teen that wasn't from one of Mom's recipes.

The thing I do a little differently when I make it is that I use the appropriate amount of taco seasoning, then add about a half cup of medium salsa, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powders. Assemble the ingredients per each person's likes and instantly, everyone wants seconds.

Bummer, because I was hoping for some leftovers tomorrow!

Sharing the Love of Disney

When I met Ed's family (again) when we started dating, I knew I would fit right in. They were wacky and had a warped sense of humor. The weekend Ed and I were engaged, we'd traveled to Long Island to visit with friends. We arrived at a late hour, but Mom, Nancy and Jane were up and waiting for us.

There was a lot of laughter and good natured ribbing going on that night, all of it centered on my intended and his status as the baby of the family. However, in good fashion, he let loose a couple of zingers himself during the conversation that night. The first one, his Mom said "Hit him!" and I whacked him on the arm. They though this was great.

A few minutes later, Nancy said something cutting, he fired back and she said "Hit him!" My response was to put my hand out and tell her to pay me. At that point, they knew that we'd all get along just fine.

In addition to that sense of humor, their house was chock full of Disneyana, and we had yet another thing…

Combatting Cabin Fever

I had just gotten a taste of freedom from the first surgery when I had to have the second. Two days of driving and running errands and BOOM, back on the couch for me. It's getting old.

Apparently, with this type of hysterectomy, the first two weeks of recovery go well, and then in week three, as the healing begins, the incision sites can become extremely tender. I'm the average patient on that front, but I have the added multiple incisions behind the knee from removing the saphenous vein. I was barely getting off the couch-driving is NOT something I intended to do.

Today, however, Ed had his first day off since the surgery and I wanted to get out of this house. First up was lunch, where the boys entertained us with antics with food. Chef definitely has inherited our taste buds, hot buffalo shrimp and three mile island wings and he was looking for more:

I'm glad I had my sights set on a nice salad, since the plans of sharing the buffalo shrimp usually means a 50/50 split…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

When you're cooped up in the house, there really isn't much to write about.

Fortunately, I do have something to share today. If you haven't had enough of Christmas music, and want to have a good variety, head over to Pandora's blog for a few channels of Christmas music. The holiday channels should be available a few days more.

If I hadn't made a nice mix for that dinner Monday night, this is what I would have used for musical entertainment the other night.


Looks Like It Was a Keurig Christmas

Now I can talk about it!

Last week, my brother in law called me and left a message to call him back on his cell phone. "I got Giggles the Keurig, what else do I need?" Seems that she's wanted one since we lugged ours up to Virginia when we vacationed with them over the summer. Prior to that, I think they laughed that I worked so hard to win the darn thing. Then they enjoyed the coffee for a couple of days and their minds were changed.

My friend Rich had one on her wish list this year, because one of her bosses had one in his office (she works for a husband and wife that run two separate businesses). We talked about this last week. Her sister was sort of hoping that she'd get two, so that she could justify getting one by buying it off her sister.

And the commercials have suckered Jane. That and the fact that every time Ed shows up at the house to bring her somewhere, he's got a mug of coffee in hand. This made an impact on her, because Ed was not much for c…

Merry and Not So Merry

Long time readers will remember the Christmas of two years ago, the one in which Game Teen took all of his presents into his room and opened them before the rest of us had stirred for the day.

He did it again, only this time, he took ALL the presents into his room. They weren't labeled, so he didn't know which were his and which were his brother's.

Yes, it sucks. I'm disappointed and annoyed. Chef started the day on the couch, crying and saying he wished he had a normal brother. What do you say to that? Ed rapidly rewrapped Chef's presents and he opened them. Within the hour, he was happy-but kept apologizing to us for his brother's poor behavior.

The nice thing about the PS3 coming out is that the PS2 and accompanying games are CHEAP. There's a boat load of racing games, too. That was this year's family gift, and I think that two of them will be racing against each other a lot.

We kept some traditions, though it was kind of interesting each time I …

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve. The tree isn't up, the presents aren't wrapped and the kids aren't sleeping.

But it'll get done.

Just like years ago, even with one knowing about Santa (and the older one unaware), they still get just as excited as when this picture was taken:

As long as there are presents under the tree and monkey bread to eat in the morning, they'll be happy.

And that's all that really matters.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

What's For Dinner Wednesday

Yes, this meal has been featured in WFDW fairly recently, but I planned ahead for a post op dinner. In addition, until I made it for the first time in years, I had no clue this was Ed's absolute favorite Italian meal.

We've even had temperatures just barely in the 50's all week. So, pasta with Bolognese sauce tonight. It warms you to the toes. Yum.

Another Day, Another Surgery

Six am, Tampa. Checked in and waited and waited and waited. My surgery was scheduled for 9am, but I wasn't even taken back until then! Oh, and because I didn't have pre-admissions testing, the person who came back wanted a sample-after I used the facilities.

Those were the only hiccups, though. Once I got back into pre-surgery, thinks moved quickly. I had a few good laughs, like the fact that the sample was needed to do a pregnancy test! When Ed was ushered back, we had some fun with the pulse/oxygen sensor. (Tapping it makes pretty patterns, lol)

The anethesiologist was a little surprised that I was getting local(but rolled with it) and twice again, I was asked if I worked at the hospital. That's three times in two days, folks. And NO, I am NOT going into the health care field. That requires biology classes, yuck.

I was brought into a freezing surgical suite, and laid prone on the table so they could reach my calf. Instead of local in the manner I had it last time…

It Sucks Being Right (Again)

My Stupid Leg (trademark pending) strikes again.

I've been a good girl, following doctor's orders and taking it easy. I was supposed to spend a lot of time on the couch-so I did. Yes, I got up and moved around, but the main instruction was not to do too much, don't spend too much standing and take it easy.

Fat lot of good that did me.

Saturday night, I got up to check on dinner and got a sharp pain in my calf. Oh, crap. I know that pain well. The "OMG, there's a clot in there!" kind of pain. I checked my leg. Not warm, nothing that felt like a pebble.

Yet, I knew.

I kept an eye on it Saturday and Sunday, figuring I would call Nurse M Monday morning. First thing when I got up Monday, I left a message for her, asking if she wanted to take a look or should I wait and see. My ringer was shut off yesterday evening, so I missed her return call. "If you think it's a clot, it probably is." Call the vascular lab in the morning and they'll get y…

It Started With a Turkey

Last week, Jessica mentioned she had a turkey. "We should do a Christmas dinner with the people of Noah's Ark!". With that, a meal was planned.

Two turkeys. A large chicken. Two pork loins. A bunch of Suzanne-made sides and the cookie making factory in one kitchen and we had food for twenty.

I think it's funny that the person who doesn't cook had the plan, but I took that ball and ran with it. Entertaining is tons of fun-but I don't normally have that many people around to cook for. To cook and not have to clean my house to do it? Even better.

There were raves about the twice baked mashed. For the first time, I made candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top (because Jessica and Lin requested them) and that was the pan of them that was gone. I forgot to bring the stuff for garlic knots, though.

That's okay, we had tons of leftovers. I can make the garlic knots with tomorrow night's promised Bolognese sauce.

It was cool to do what I enjo…

More Humor From Chef Junior Again

The child does not understand that laughing and incisions is not a good combination. A couple of funnies from this weekend:

I had a meeting yesterday morning that kept me away from the house a little longer than expect. When I got home, it was after 1pm and I wasn't going to make the kids wait while I rolled out the pizza dough and baked a pizza.

Chef was crabby, pointing towards his mouth to signify that he needed food NOW. Food decided upon (meatball sub for Game Teen, cheesesteak for Chef), we headed down to a sub shop. While en route, Chef informs me "mom, some people are lactose intolerant. I'm hunger intolerant."

Today, he and I ran a few errands and one stop was the dollar store. While there, he requested his own wrapping paper. After the present fiasco two years ago, we have a new strategy for gifts. They get wrapped in a specific paper for each child, but there are no tags on anything.

So, he found exactly what he'd requested (blue paper with snowf…

The Storm of The Century, 2003 Edition

Well, it happened.

There's a huge part of the country that is blanketed under a lot of the white stuff tonight. Meanwhile, we're here in Florida and while it is a little colder than average today, it is far from freezing. It was a storm of this magnitude that actually got us to move to Florida.

February, 2003: We had scheduled one of our twice a year treks from Maryland to Walt Disney World. It was booked to take advantage of the value season rates and we'd still get Valentine's Day at the previous week's prices.

Then while watching the Weather Channel early that Monday morning, the predictions of doom and gloom started happening. The mid-Atlantic region was going to be dumped with two feet, then three feet of snow. I called my boss on Thursday to see what was going on. (The beauty of those cell phones that we'd picked up the month before!) I got an earful about the storm that was going to start the next night.

Our original plans had us driving home Saturd…

Gifts of Christmas Past

As a kid, one of the things my dad loved to do in December was drive around the local area and look at Christmas light displays. Back then, Long Island had some pretty impressive displays. Each year involved a trek over to Uniondale to check out the what the Klimczuk's had done.

The Klimczuk family decorated every square inch of their postage stamp sized yard, the sides and top of their garage and the entire front of their house with lights, wooden signs and animated show pieces. It was impressive, even if a little excessive, but their house was definitely one where we would stop the car, park and spend time marveling at what they'd added.

Closer to home, families decorated more sparingly and simply. In his drive back and forth from our house to his the next town over, Dad would take different routes in early December, locating new decorations to view. Along his postal route, he'd note who was decorating and tuck that information away, too.

One year, he was excited t…

December 17th

Christmas tree up? Nope
Yard decorated? Nope (and this year, the neighborhood looks a lot more festive than years past)
Presents purchased? Nope

Well, except for the teacher gifts that the kids are bringing to school tomorrow, not one present has been purchased or brought into the house. I suppose I should get my butt online and start on the presents for the kids.

For the past few weeks, the kids have each mentioned the various holiday goodies that they want to enjoy. Peppermint bark, oatmeal cranberry cookies, mock apple pies. So, it looks like we'll be spending the early part of their Christmas vacation making the house smell really nice.

I'm hoping we can use some of those as presents, because the quantity of baking they're proposing is probably enough for a family of four to enjoy for a YEAR.

Ahhh, Freedom!

When you're housebound, it's kind of hard drumming up blog fodder. Let's be serious, do you want to see pictures of the four walls? No, trust me, you don't.

Today, Ed was off from work and drove me hither, thither and yon. To the campus (really, really quiet). To the other campus (also pretty quiet) and two books are purchased. The third was the wrong book (argh).

Then, a much needed grocery shopping. Aaaaaahhhh. I won't have anyone complaining that there's nothing good to eat. At least not for a couple of days.

It was nice to get out of the house for a few hours and do something.

Santa, Can I Have A Maid For Christmas?

I feel bad for Ed.

Since I've had surgery, he's run his butt ragged to the point that he doesn't have time to do our household chores.

It boils down to this: it seems that whenever someone else is getting more attention for a health concern, she has to do something to command attention. Mom went into the hospital for a stroke, well, Jane up and got herself sick enough that she had to be in the hospital, too. If it wasn't so sad, it'd be funny.

Well, last week, I had surgery. Planned surgery. This, of course, meant that Jane needed to make all the appointments for doctors that she would blow off in the past. Including one on the day AFTER my surgery.

This doctor has a nasty habit of keeping patients waiting for hours. Now that Jane doesn't drive, it means that someone (normally me) gets stuck sitting in the doctor's office, instead of doing the dozen or so things on the To Do list. In Ed's case, it kept him from doing dishes and laundry and visitin…

What Lurks Over The Computer Monitor

Chef lives to make me laugh. Even when it might hurt to have a good belly laugh right now.

This is what I encountered yesterday afternoon:

This is on top of requesting one of my all time favorite movies (Monty Python and the Holy Grail), he also decided to bop and sing along with the Ramones. It really hurts to laugh, but you know what? I won't trade it for anything.

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunda

This time of year, there are so many songs I look forward to hearing-Christmas songs. Today, a short song list of the quirky and lesser known favorites-and a free download, too.

As a teen, one of my favorite comedy variety shows was "Second City Television", especially the comedy of Bob and Doug McKenzie. Eventually, the popularity of the routine that Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis compelled them to release an album completely in character of these two Northern nuts. I love the Christmas song that came from the album:

It's been said many times, the next song is my favorite modern Christmas carol. I know it's made an impact when Chef Jr whistles the melody this time of year. Now, I've got to teach him those lyrics.

Every once in a while, a new favorite emerges. I was pointed to Straight No Chaser a couple of years ago and ended up with one of their Christmas CDs. It is one of those that I listen each time and try to pick another part out of the arrangement! This…

So Much More Than Learning

It has been mentioned in a couple of previous posts about the experience I had this semester in fund raising for a local organization. Today, Jessica and I met up with the executive director and his wife and brainstormed on how we can continue to help.

As we sat there, discussing their needs, it was like my future plans fell right in line with theirs. I need to get a couple of software programs to familiarize myself prior to starting grad school-and they're useful for the organization. Plans for another hardware purchase also can benefit my future educational experience and their organizational desires.

Skills I already have are among those that can be of use. Jessica's skills at coming up with good ideas fit right in, too. It almost feels like we were meant to find them this semester.

We're meant to travel a much longer journey with Noah's Ark. The learning? Instead of ending with the semester, is just beginning.

I'm really looking forward to the lessons y…

Like Magic, They Arrive in the Mail

It has been mentioned here before that we love our Keurig coffee machine. Since I won this lovely machine last April,
our lives have changed.

No longer do we have science experiments growing in the bottom of Mr. Coffee. No longer do we crave a mug of hot java, only to lament that the other half isn't there to share a pot. And no longer do we whine that we don't feel like going out to get a single cup of caffeinated goodness. Heck, we love our machine so much that it got wedged into the trunk of the Beetle and taken 1,000 miles on vacation with us this past July.

Over the eight months, we've kept tally of flavors we like and flavors we didn't. Tully's makes a kick butt Kona. Newman's Own has a nice medium roast. I like the Coffee People's Donut Shop blend, while Ed is partial to the Green Mountain Breakfast Blend.

Then there are the flavors. Call us wimps, but we like flavored coffees. I think the whole house is in agreement that Gloria Jean's …

Apparently, Ethics Means Something Different Than I Thought

Since I'm still kind of out of it from the anesthesia, you get to read two of the letters I had to write this week to the members of my group in the Ethics class.

The first one:
Hi, everyone.

We have a big problem with the group project. Several members have been flagged as having substantial portions of their work listed as plagiarism. From our syllabus slide 21, plagiarism is defined as follows:

Academic Dishonesty: Plagiarism is defined as "literary theft" and consists of the unattributed quotation of the exact words of a published text, or the unattributed borrowing of original ideas by paraphrase from a published text. On written papers for which the student employs information gathered from books, articles or oral sources, each direct quotation, as well as ideas and facts that are not generally known to the public at large, must be attributed to its author by means of the appropriate citation procedure. Cit…

Going Home Tomorrow!

I'm moving real slow and I'm sore, but things are looking good. I'll be sprung as soon as Ed gets here tomorrow.

And with that, I'm going to sleep...

The view from the other side

Downtown Tampa

The reason it looks funny is because there is some sort of screen in front of the windows. I've been doing laps around my floor. Walking speeds healing. Let's hope it works.

Alas, No Room With A View

Five plus years ago, as soon as I moved to the Tampa Bay area, I became acquainted with this hospital. The day before we were set to move from Maryland, I went to the doctor for pain in my leg-it was a blood clot.

The only reason she didn't hospitalize me was because I promised to find a vascular surgeon in Florida. I had an appointment with Dr. J before I'd left Maryland. (My boss happened to know a very good vascular surgeon).

Most of my doctors have been based out of this hospital, and I've had good experiences with two outpatient surgeries on My Stupid Leg (trademark pending) So coming here for surgery as a no brainer.

My doctor called me last night to see if I had any questions and to go over what to expect. It was a nice touch. Today, while Ed and I waited, he came into pre op and we chatted again. He's also got an iPhone and they were about to actually use the Bump app (but Ed needs to put his contact into in his). He wanted to be sure he would be able …

Tampa Skyline, 7:30am

Waiting and really hungry. No food since yesterday's breakfast. At
least the scenery is decent while we wait...

Another Semester: OVER!

I took my last test tonight. The verdict appears to be three As and another one that is so close I can touch it. If I get an 80 on that test, I'm golden-but it was a tough test. We'll see, as the professor does grade on a curve...

That said, it wasn't a walk in the park. The final project for the Ethics class, netted two members of my group submitting their portions of the assignment that were 100% plagiarized. Yes, in an ETHICS class. It kept me busy for two days. My grade was right around 94, but the group project could have dropped me below it. In the many emails back and forth yesterday, the Professor told me that I didn't have to worry about my grade. (We had several conversations over the semester about my worry that the group projects would ruin my 4.0, so she knew my goal was an A.)

My Counseling skills grade was posted tonight-950 out of 900, wheeeeee!

Finally, the Absent Professor (not absent minded, just MIA any time an issue came up) managed to goof…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

The events in one my classes inspired this week's topic. The holiday goodies will have to wait until next week's post.

It's human nature to be inspired by the works of others, music is no exception. The question becomes when does it cross the line from homage to pilferage? There are songs throughout modern music that are influenced by others, and others that you can clearly hear the original work.

First up, an homage. I love me some Dan Fogelberg, and one of my favorites is a seasonal staple, Same Old Lang Syne.

Come on, sing that first line with me:
"Met my old lover at the grocery store, the snow was falling Christmas Eve" Now, sing it with a much quicker tempo.

Did you hear it? The influencing work? I'll give you a hint.

I remember hearing the song on American Top 40 when it was charting, and Casey Kasem mentioned this little tidbit of information about the 1812 and it has always stuck with me. In the many times I've heard the 1812, I can help by ha…

Small Talk Six-For the Love of Disney

From time to time, I participate in MomDot's Small Talk Six, but when I saw what this week's subject was, I had to participate. Why? It's Disney and it's on Walt Disney's Birthday!

So, six things about my love of anything and everything Disney. (Yes, I will keep it down to six somehow!)

1. My favorite character is Mary Poppins. I love the whole concept of a nanny who makes rooms clean themselves and sings pretty songs to her charges. Her philosophy of "in every job there is an element of fun" is definitely right up my alley. She became my favorite when I was in my very first play in third grade, a bit part in what else? Mary Poppins.

2. My favorite Disney park is Epcot.Where else can you travel around the world in a day? After you travel around the world, you get to watch the best fireworks show on Walt Disney World property, IllumiNations. I love the music, and the ending song, "We Go On" still gets me misty eyed.

3. Don't make me list …