Showing posts from January, 2010

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

On the TV, there's a piano theme. One of the most recognizable movie themes: Halloween. It begs the question, how many movie themes or songs do you hear and instantly are transported to watching that movie.

I may be one of the few people on the planet who has not seen Jaws, but I know the theme well. It came out in 1976, and if my dad dared to take me to the theater to see it that summer, it wouldn't bode well for his Sunday ritual of soaking in the sun at Jones Beach.

That wasn't the first theme that was memorable. Once again, a horror movie captured the attention, but that time, I didn't realize it was. Mike Oldfield wrote Tubular Bells, and The Exorcist may have catapulted to the top of the box office because that song was everywhere when the movie came out.

Other songs may have extremely strong associations with the movies that contain them, but the horror movie themes? They stay with me.

How about you?

The Desk Dilemma

You would think, with the amount of studying I do, that I would have a desk to contemplate the workload every day. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I do my studying on the couch.

It's not the perfect solution. The leg issues necessitate keeping My Stupid Leg (trademark pending) elevated as much as possible, but it means I'm trying to balance laptop and books on one table. Sitting at a desk before (if I had my own, that is) would not have been comfortable. Now, with the spread of the RSD and post op complications, I didn't think a solution would be feasible.

Until the other day.

I was out shopping and saw this:

Initially, I contemplated it for putting all my school stuff because there is just so much more of it this semester. Then, I thought, "Hey, maybe I could use that to prop up my leg under a desk while I'm studying!"

Until someone makes my dream item, a desk that is at the height of a chaise, this might be my work around. I think the next step is …

In Search of That Last W-2

I'm stalking the postman. Well, post lady, because our carrier is female. Ed's had his W-2 for about 2 weeks, my unemployment W-2 showed up on Monday and now I'm just waiting on the Census.

Yes, I'm one of those people who does their taxes as early as possible. Part of the reason is to do my FAFSA early and get whatever grants I can get to come my way, part of it is for verification for Game Teen's Patient Assistance.

This year, after the bills are paid off and the tuition is tucked away for the summer classes, we are splurging. Yes, alert the media, we're going to make a major purchase.

A new bed.

I know, exciting, right? The current bed was purchased when I was expecting Chef and it's no longer comfortable for either one of us. Since I developed RSD, it's impossible for me to get a full night's sleep on it. Ed's final straw was when he cracked his ribs.

Lately, it seems like there have been a heck of a lot more commercials on TV for sleep…

Thursday Tidbits

It was a long academic day, but at the end of it, I am weary and in pain-but the mind is swimming from the scholarly pursuits. So, little bits of this and that are the order for the day.

*While waiting for my 8am class to start this morning, I was chatting with a classmate and we agreed that the professor is definitely the type that you want for an 8am class. It was mentioned that Game Teen gets on the bus at 6:00, then I head over to Tampa from Lakeland. Then I was paid a compliment, that he should have figured me for a Poly student by the kind of questions I ask in class.

*I realized something today. For the drive between campuses, I dug out my Spanish for Gringoes CDs, but inspiration struck. The spanish textbook publisher has a website that we utilize for listening exercises. If I access that with my phone and plug it in to the car stereo. While those CDs are good, it's much better to practice the exact materials during the drive!

*There aren't a lot of food options c…

Fun with Numbers

Before this semester, everyone had the same statement to offer about one of the required classes I am taking:

Statistics SUCKS

I scoffed at them, because number crunching can be fun. There, I said it-I enjoy calculating probability, percentages and interest rates.

The assurances were that once I got involved with the sum of squares, standard deviations, Z scores and statistical significance, I'd change my tune. However, the opposite is happening: I am geeking over the stuff I can now calculate!

The homework has required thinking, but it's definitely real world applications we are using. One of the questions involved a fictitious Canadian city and temperatures over 10 years. We made a lot of jokes about the information we were asked to provide ("what would you tell someone who doesn't know statistics? It's damn COLD in Canada on December 26th!") So, we calculated out all our information and the professor asked what all the numbers told us. Blank stares.

I Hate Vista Redux

Once upon a time, I was well versed in all the wonderful things that you could do with Excel and Word. Creating forms for work? No problem. Making professional looking flyers? Sure thing.

Then I bought a laptop with Vista and Office 2007. All the wonderfulness that is Windows XP and Office 2003 was left behind. I think I have griped before about how much I loathe Vista. Today, it is time to bash Office.

I'm making frequency graphs and histograms for one of my classes. Once I input field data, if I insert a label, Office removes the data! Oy. I've been playing with this stuff for two hours. It is extremely frustrating, but I need to figure this all out-as four classes will utilize these representations all semester long. Too bad the search feature doesn't bring up hyperlinks that jump to the needed function, as in 2003.

I'll get this all figured out-just in time for something else to come along!

Second Verse, Same as the First

Or, second trip to WDW in a week and I'll visit the same park again!

The next couple of months, it seems like a lot of friends are making tracks for the Mouse's house. My former boss, Joyce and Tim, a blogging friend, a few YaYa sistahs and more. Today, I went over to meet my friends Liz and Greg.

It was great to see them and make our way around the park. What I liked the best was that because they're coming down again in a few months, we enjoyed a relaxed pace today. They suggested doing one of their favorite activities, which I'd never seen before.

Over the years, I'd heard about Miyuki, the artisan who crafts beautiful animals out of taffy at the Japan pavillion, but I'd never taken the time to watch her in action. It's one of Greg's favorites, so we hung around waiting for her next show time.

It was impressive, and something I need to bring the boys to see. In a couple of minutes, talking the whole time, Miyuki takes a ball of hot candy and tu…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

It's always cool when a favorite artist teaches you a word or five in a foreign language within a good song.

This came to mind the other day in my Spanish class, as we were learning about the different subjectivos
en espanol. (gotta figure out how to get that tilde on there) We learned about historia, anthropologia and psicologia and my mind went to a wonderful gem of a song from Julia Fordham, "Genius".

In the song, she talks about having to be a genius to work out the relationship issues she is having as she sings the song to her partner. This bossa nova inspired song then shifts to Portuguese, though I thought it might be Spanish. Alas, I tried to find a decent video on You Tube to share it, but the one good video only performs the song in English, but I did find Genius at

One that came out while I was taking French in middle school was this gem from Billy Joel. I remember singing it while walking into class and my teacher got annoyed with me that I pa…

Things to Consider When Transferring Colleges

Last month, while I was sitting in the hospital reviewing my transcript online (neat feature we have in the Florida higher education system), I noticed something: my math class taken in Maryland had transferred in to USF, but just as a 3 credit elective and not as a math class.

Until I looked that day, there is something I hadn't considered: every single college out there has different names and course numbers for similar content. When I transferred credits from the college in Maryland back to New York for my Associate's, NCC (the school in NY) was not familiar with Business English, a course taken in Maryland. Once they were provided with a course description from the second school, NCC applied the course to their English requirement.

At that same school in Maryland, another course I took was Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics. USF transferred it in as an elective. When I was accepted as a transfer student, I was just so tickled that USF took every single credit, I didn&…

A Bad Day at Epcot is Better Than

...just about anything.

But I didn't have a bad day at Epcot, I had a good one. Some pictures and few notes today. My apologies to those of you following along on Facebook today, some of these are duplicates.

(If it doesn't take a dog's age to upload video, there might be some Soarin' video tomorrow, too).
The morning started with rain. A LOT of rain. I almost canned the planned visit, but I thought that even with the rain, I'd have a good day.

The reason Disney hates people like me. This is the only thing I purchased in the whole time I was in the park. Have Vitamin Water, will travel.

The first ride I went on. In the line, I recognized someone from a message board and thanks to using the scooter, I experienced the standby line for the first time. With the walker, I end up in the alternate queue. Sitting in the scooter is better in some respects-I'll take the wait.

Looking for Spanish wherever I can for my class. It was funny, I heard a couple talk to …

Leaving it to The Last Minute

Back in July, I got a free ticket to Walt Disney World for my birthday. Well, sort of.

The thing was, when I showed up at one of their parks, fifteen minutes before it closed, it was POURING out. I went to actually claim one of the other things that they'd advertised, the $75.00 gift card-but I had to have a ticket or pass to get that gift.

Sooo, there I was, I could have a ticket and it was not optimal park touring weather. I asked the cast member what my options were. She suggested that I take my free ticket and convert it into a three day play pass for a nominal fee. So I did.

Of course, I felt guilty that I had a ticket and the men did not-so I haven't used the thing. It expires on the 26th, and I still have three days. However, I do have friends vacationing at the Happiest Place on Earth, and I will see them on Monday-that's one of the days.

Tomorrow, while the boys are in school, I'm taking a scooter and touring a park. I've ruled out Hollywood Studios, b…

Good News For Lego Fans

Do you like Legos? You know, this stuff?

Do you vacation in Florida, or plan to sometime in the future?

What if you could capitalize on your love of Legos while visiting the Sunshine State? Wouldn't that be cool?

The beleaguered Cypress Gardens was sold last week and the information was leaked that Legoland's parent company is the new owner. I even commented to Ed "wouldn't it be cool to have a Legoland a half hour away?" We'd loved the Carlsbad, California location when we visited three years ago. He scoffed at the idea.

Apparently, tomorrow, there's a press conference scheduled with Charlie Crist, governor of Florida and Maverick, the new owners of the Cypress Gardens property.

I think I see another trip to Legoland in my future without leaving the state.

And here's the official announcement. I'm a happy camper!

Fun With Facebook

Lately, there's been interesting things afoot on Facebook.

First, a message. "Help raise awareness for breast cancer research. Put your bra color in your status. Nothing else, just your color. Let's have some fun." I was game, so I put my color up (not boring, lol) and many of my friends did it, too. The funny part was when guys put up "Blue", "Navy" and "Turquoise." Interesting that they didn't know what was going on, but the ones who did it all chose shades of blue.

Then it was retro week. Put up a picture of you when you were younger. I actually had one in my facebook photos because my sister Giggles scanned a picture of me from a vacation when I was eleven. It was comical, because I'm holding a cotton candy that was bigger than my head.

It was cool to see all the pictures, to see what friends looked like as kids, how some people look like they did at ten and others look nothing like they did as a toddler. Not every…


Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the strawberry shortcake that followed.

The update to our freeze here in Florida is that the strawberries will probably be fine. Approximately a third of the citrus crop got hammered. Answers on that front will probably come by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, pass me some shortcake.

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Fun and Games on the Radio

Nowadays, my morning drive involves listening to Morning Edition as I head into Tampa. One, because I finally found out that USF has the local NPR affiliate and two, because the best disc jockey in this radio purgatory got canned in April (Skip Mehaffie, I miss you!).

The other day, a conversation about a wedding of all things got me thinking about the games that the morning hosts would have that made us laugh and/or go nuts trying to be the contestant and win cool prizes.

On LI, I'd vary between the two big rock outlets, but my favorite was WNEW from NYC. Dave Herman and Marty Martinez had great banter, good music and the best part? Fun games. They would do Old, New, Borrowed and Blue, Name that Tune and Rock and Roll Jeopardy.

Over my tenure at the gas station, I actually won quite a few things from NEW, and I think a couple of those prizes are in a box in my garage-I know there are several CD's in the shelves behind me, thanks to fast fingers.…

My Day Has Been Farkled

If you're on Facebook, odds are you know exactly what I just said. If not, it's a dice game that is a rather addicting. The goal of the game is to get various trios of the dice with ones or fives and other combinations that remind you of poker-except they don't.

You get six dice, and if a roll has neither a one, a five or a trio of any of the numbers, you 'Farkle' and lose the points from that round. It's a battle to go ten rounds without farkling too much while racking up as many points as possible.

My day went fairly well on the study front for the most part. One one study break, I even played a round and got the awesomest round of Farkle ever:
Look at round three. That was my highest round EVER. Then I Farkled two of my last three rounds and ended up with a so-so 9100.

The day went in similar fashion. I'd been dealing with a headache for most of the afternoon of the Chiari type. Then when I went to start on dinner (Alton's rice pilaf and file…

In The Year 2010

NBC made the most dunderheaded move it has made since 1979. This week, it was confirmed that Jay Leno was rewarded for having a snoozefest of a show at 10pm by putting him back in the 11:35pm 'Tonight Show' slot.

I was the kid who was a night owl and would sneak to watch Carson's monologue far too many nights to count. I loved the rapport of Johnny and Ed, the Amazing Kreskin routines and Carson garbed in a plaid flannel jacket and Elmer Fudd jacket. As I got older, I'd watch the whole show.

Back then, it was assumed that David Letterman would be passed the baton when Johnny took his final bow. Instead, Jay Leno came in-and Letterman jumped over to CBS. Who could blame the man?

When Game Teen was born, the child's sleep schedule mirrored his Mom and Dad's nicely. My retail hours, and Ed's second shift mainframe job in downtown DC meant we liked to stay up until 1:30 or 2am. Somehow, we got hooked on the Late Show with Conan O'Brien.

It's bee…

Week One Done

Last Thursday was my first class of the semester. As of tonight, I've finally attended each class at least once. The observations so far:

I'm glad that I took so many web based classes before this semester. They force a student to be much more disciplined about studying. As a result, with four on campus classes, I already have myself trained on a schedule of sorts to get my work done.

One of the benefits of managing the meal prep kitchen is one I didn't realize until last Thursday. It ends up that being surrounded by so many native Spanish speakers and having to find ways to communicate with them trained my ear without me realizing it. The pronunciation part will be a little easier, thanks to them!

When you're chatting with a classmate and professor after class about statistics and comment that it's 'real world math, but applied to psychology', the professor nods and agrees. The fact that he is as sarcastic as all get out is going to make those lectur…

Fun With Mad Libs Junior

Mad Libs. The staple of family road trips. You remember them, right? One person had the booklet, and asked the other people for adjectives, nouns, a person name, places and verbs to create funny stories.

Some were hilarious, some not as funny-but we'd keep buying them, wouldn't we?

Well, tonight, I took the boys to Wendy's for dinner before I had to head to campus. Game Teen, as always, ordered a kid's meal. This time, it had Mad Libs Junior. Instead of asking for parts of speech, it gives you a list of appropriate answers for each blank and you have to pick one. The picture illustrates here:

If you can't read it, It says "For my birthday, Mom and Dad bought me a pet ___________. He is so cute that I named him ____________." See if you can guess which family member answered this in which way.

Mom and Dad bought me a pet dolphin. He is so cute that I named him Happy.

Mom and Dad bought me a pet turnip. He is so cute that I named him Stinky.

Mom …