Showing posts from February, 2010

Would Suzanne?

The new Facebook gives you instant notifications, so when I was on there earlier, a status box came up "Jessica just answered a question about you! See what it is!" I figured, why not?

Well, the trick is the application wants you to answer questions, like "Do you think Jane would rob a bank?" (true question that I found when I opened the page, that one. Hmmm.) Then you can see what questions your friends answered about you, with a catch. You have to actually use the Friend Quiz to find out who said what. No thanks, I'll just laugh at the questions. Want to join me?

Do you think that Suzanne is a wannabe? (this must be the one Jessica answered-she said NO)

Do you think that Suzanne has ever done anything they're ashamed of? Friend answered NO. (have to disagree with this one)

Do you think that Suzanne has ever had a 1 night stand? Friend answered NO, and they must know my more conservative pov on that one!

Do you think that Suzanne would sell you out …

Plenty of Blue Sky Ahead

When I first started the process of applying to USF, The local area was peppered with advertising for the university. All of the LED jumbotron style billboards advertised the college and "Blue Skies Ahead." I thought it was just a slogan, because opportunities for the majors offered on the Poly campus are better than some offered at more traditional schools.

Then, during welcome back week for this semester, I met an energetic gentleman who asked those of us manning my club's table if we were familiar with Blue Sky. None of us were, so we got a brief explanation that it is a business incubator for Polk County. First thing one of my companions asked was "Are there internships?" and the answer was definitely.

Recently, I got a chance to visit the Blue Sky offices in downtown Lakeland, where it became clear that along with the university's expansion into a full scale, four year school, there will be plenty of energy devoted towards growing businesses to hire…

Soup's On!

Take that, Campbell's. One huge pot of homemade Chicken Noodle Basil
soup. Yum!

Tales of Another Job Fair

This time, I was there on behalf of school, not as an applicant. If there's one thing that would not be a good idea, it would be to start a new job in the next month with all the moving stuff.

I've written of the things I've seen before in this space. At that time, I was responsible for hiring. Things have not changed. Well, a few things have, like the fact that there were 40 employers (three were branches of the military) and probably 600 applicants.

So, if you're headed to a job fair, consider the following...

The t-shirt with the cutesy/raunchy/offensive saying, shorts and flip flops will definitely get you noticed. So will the neon green hair. Just not in a good way.

If you look like you're one of the employers who are recruiting, those recruiters will spend time talking to you.

Job hunting is a solo effort. Gossiping with your friends about the extra curricular activities is not going to make as good a first impression as you standing in that line looking …

Truth in Advertising

It was an interesting and productive day. This morning, we had an estate sale company come and look over the remaining contents of the house and we will be holding one soon. However, the garage is full of boxes from when Jane and Mom moved to Florida. One box had pennants from the 70's (look for a photo blog in the near future), another had snow babies in boxes. A garbage pail was full of good silver service pieces.

Between now and the sale date, Ed will be opening all those boxes and determining what goes into the sale and which items from the trip down memory lane come back to the present with him.

(The above picture was from the garage. A five year old garbage pail, unmoved since they moved into the house, had this humorous sticker.)

Know When to Say When

...doesn't just apply to beer consumption.

If you like collecting things with images of a character on them, you're taking it too far when:

You're buying duplicate items, just because they have 'your favorite' on them. This especially an issue when you've got EIGHT ball caps and expensive crystal keychains (along with others), with price tags still hanging on them or still in boxes that are covered in dust.

When the items are not age appropriate, like lunch boxes, rolling luggage for little girls, dolls and the like. Hey, I can understand being in touch with your inner child, but one is enough, right?

If it's an item you really don't use (like lunch boxes or school backpacks), why would you have multiples, some still in boxes (and all with price tags still on them?

If your closet is full of clothes that fits but you haven't worn, your drawers have brand new t-shirts that haven't been worn, isn't it a little silly to buy another 40 of them, ju…

Hey, Toshiba!


Apparently, Toshiba no longer allows Electronics World to do warranty repairs for the big box retailers. Now, the machines have to be sent out.

With a one to two week turnaround.

And they wipe out hard drives on all machines that come in for servicing-whether they need it or not. I found this out with NINETEEN minutes of battery life left on my machine. I don't know of any hardware backup that works that quickly, either.

The machine was sent off this morning with a couple of notes attached.
Toshiba, if a machine is coming in for issues that have nothing to do with the hard drive, why would you scrub it?

I'm holding my breath until the machine comes back...

Of Technical Difficulties

When you use your laptop as much as I do mine, there are bound to be failures.

For instance, when the Toshiba was but a couple of months old, the keyboard failed. Toshiba happened to have an authorized repair center here in Lakeland and they repaired it within 24 hours of drop off. All was good.

Then I started school. I now spend HOURS on Blackboard, watching lectures, typing my own assignments (and editing for friends). The keys started acting up again in early October, but not enough to warrant being without the machine for a day or two. I find it better to type my lecture notes than write them, thanks to the wrist issues (and emerging neurological concerns).

This semester, I have a web course that involves two hour lectures. In using headphones on a regular basis, I noticed my right channel would cut in and out. I wedged a piece of cardboard in between the two jacks and that somewhat fixed the problem. I knew I needed to get the thing serviced before the warranty ran out, bu…

Crossing Over

Tonight, I am proud to say I am the mother of TWO Boy Scouts.

Chef's Cub Scout pack had their annual Blue and Gold dinner and Webelos Crossover ceremony. I prefer the combined festivities, because it's great to have family and friends witness the highest achievement in Cub Scouting.

What's really cool is that this year is the 100th Anniversary of Scouting in the U.S. To recognize this milestone, there are special patches for various ranks. For instance, last month, Chef's Webelos badge had 2010-100 years of Scouting emblazoned on it. He earned his Arrow of Light, and he and the other boys got patches with "2010" in red.

When I think back to that little kid that brought home a flyer 4 1/2 years ago and insisted he had to do it, it makes me feel good to know that he's gained so much from the experience.

Congratulations, Chef. We're very proud of you.

Say What?

As we were driving in town today, Ed and I went by what appears to be a new fast food restaurant being constructed. Ed pondered what it was, while I said "Rodda" in the manner of Schnitzel, a character on one of the cartoons Chef watches. We have a local construction company who bears the name of the only word the character says.

So, Ed mentioned that he had an idea for a new cartoon. Basically, you lump all the characters who only say one word as the catch all for every conversation into one show, then you put up subtitles. It'd be a cheap production, because you can use the same footage for every show-just change the subtitles.

The cast of characters would be the following:

The aforementioned Schnitzel from Chowder. His sole word is "Rodda" and he always looks mad, but other characters translate those "Roddas" into a range of emotions.

Coco from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Her sole word is her name, and she's easily excited.


Don't Blink

I'm working on a slide show for Cub Scouts this week. In the mix are pictures of the boys over the years. You don't really notice how much your kid has grown until you look at pictures from the first campout in October 2006:

Or his first Veteran's Day flag retirement ceremony:

And compare it to the picture you took last week and posted on the blog:

This time next week, both boys will be BOY scouts. It has flown by!


This week has been the start of our fun. We moved Jane into Assisted Living this past Friday. Wait a minute-we started moving her into her apartment.

Ed and I are the veterans of quite a few moves. Jane, not so much (this is her 4th in 57 years). I typed up a long post on Saturday morning, detailing things that perhaps people who don't move often might find useful information. Too bad it was too late to use for Jane.

If all goes well, we'll have the rest of her stuff out of the house this week and can start clearing out what remains. A lot of it has me scratching my head, like why a woman who likes to wear a butt ugly leather cap that looks like the one worn by one of the kids on Fat Albert and the Cosby kids has EIGHT Tinkerbell baseball caps. No, I've never seen her wear a single one of them.

I suspect the next few weeks will bring more puzzlement!

Il Fait Foid

Back in the dark ages, 1979-1981, I took Francais in middle school. The reason I took French and not Spanish like 99.99% of my classmates is because my Papa was off the boat French. I had notions of speaking with him in his native tongue.

(What really happened? He taught me phrases to speak to annoy Madame Boucai. Papa was AWESOME!)

Thirty years later, I remembered a word here, a phrase there. The only weather related statements I remembered were the above and Il neige, something that we don't really encounter in Florida. The only thing that really stuck was the numbers. This had to be due to playing hide and go seek with my babysitting charges and counting out the numbers 'en francais' while they hid.

When I was informed that one of my graduation requirements is two semesters of a foreign language, it was an easy decision to take Spanish. It's extremely practical for the area. Odds were better that I'd have a chance to use it and maybe even retain more tha…

Cinnabon Cupcakes-and a Giveaway!!!

I have a confession to make. I absolutely LOVE Cinnabons. When I was pregnant with Game Teen, the store I managed was in the center court of the mall, with the Cinnabon just across from us. The smell was intoxicating-but the mall talk system would torture me with the commercials about the 'Fresh Makarah Cinnamon' several times per hour. It was a rare day I didn't get a Minibon and a milk as a snack.

(I am convinced this has something to do with Game Teen's love of cinnamon.)

You know a company has a quality product when they've been feeding us those tasty treats for twenty five years. Never one to sit on their laurels, Cinnabon got together with the creator of their little bit of cinnamon heaven and created something new:

This month, your local Cinnabon will be introducing cupcakes that are moist, delicious and sure to be just as addicting as those Minibons were for me years ago! There are four flavors, baked fresh daily and ready for you to enjoy on the spot. …

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

In 94 Soundtrack Sunday posts, you'd think I'd have mentioned this before, but it looks like I haven't. As much as Ed and I like music, we have several songs we call our own, but in addition to that, we made each other mix tapes (remember those?) when we first started dating-so those songs make us think of each other as well.

Contained in the tape he sent to me were a few songs that have special significance that are not of the type you'd hear on the radio (when's the last time you heard Steve Hackett's solo works on the air?), but several of them are. When I do happen to hear them in passing, it makes me smile and think of the words Ed wrote to accompany the tape.

Today, I share a few of them with you.

Chicago, Wishing You Were Here. Ours was a long distance relationship, so this one made a lot of sense. The second significance was that he was living in Chicago at the time.

Billy Joel, Until the Night. Another one that had special significance, as Billy w…

At The Fireside


Have Some Valentines Fun!

Despair, Inc. has done it again.

First it was the demotivation posters, with sayings such as "Failure-when your best just isn't good enough" and this one

For Valentine's Day, they've introduced the Candy Hearts Generator. It can be addicting!

Of course, you can always make nice ones to share with your loved ones. The possibilities are endless.

Now I want some conversation hearts.

Things You Learn as a Psych Major

Over the years, my psychology classes have given me useful information. No, not on analyzing people-but clues about test taking.

In taking tests and measures, we're learning a lot about creating good tests and effective test questions. Other things that we learned recently:

That most test writers don't want the answer to a multiple choice question to be A, so the a larger number of correct responses than the norm are B & C. So, if you're stuck between two answers, and one is B or C, the odds are in favor of that being the correct response.

The longest response is usually the correct one.

Psych professors tend to write questions that make you laugh out loud while taking a test. For instance, the mean Miss America contestant has an IQ of 100, with a variance of 400. What is the likelihood of Miss South Carolina's IQ being greater than Condoleeza Rice (IQ 145)?" The rest of the Z score questions went along those lines.

Then, included in the test this mor…

Busy Bee

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a test today and another tomorrow (and a toughie next Thursday). In addition, over the next couple of days, the calendar has Jane's move to assisted living (which was supposed to happen LAST Friday, but someone seemed to not understand that deposit and rent are two different things. Grr) and our last cub scout camping trip ever.

The former is worrisome. It will be good when she's in their care, but at the same time, the situation that postponed the move is my biggest fear about her going there. Her tendency to just buy things without thinking has to stop.

The camping trip is to a site we've been to before, but the weather forecast is calling for some cold temperatures. (38 as the low one night). We just have to make sure we've packed extra blankets and the boys have their sweats and thermals. I suspect the fire will be going all day and well into the evening.

Oh, and today's test? I aced it. Tomorrow's test is the unknown q…

Two Down, Two to Go

Tonight's post is a quick one. I have to hit the books.

Last week, I took my first test. Yesterday morning, the second. Both tests netted 88s. (Update-apparently a lot of people got two questions wrong, so she added 4 points to all of our tests, now it's a 92!) Not a bad start to the semester. There's another test tomorrow in Psych Stats that I got together with a classmate to study for on Sunday morning. We both have a lock on the material, so the studying will be minimal.

Then another test Thursday morning. That's my unknown quantity. The lectures are good, full of a lot of information-but he says 5 to 10% of the test will be from the book. Yikes, a needle in the haystack of 250 pages of text! (I've read about 175 of them.)

Back to the books.

My New Wheels

This month, many of my friends are escaping the frozen tundras of the north (well, the DC and NYC areas) and are heading to the Mouse's house.

Today, the visitors in Florida so infrequently vist, that I had to head over: my old boss from Disney was at the Magic Kingdom. The few hours I spent over there were full of laughter.

We hit the highlights. Elaine's best friend saw these while we were on the TTA and we made it the next stop. I like a ride in a convertible at night.

I had to give it back.

It would be interesting trying to drive that thing home down I-4!

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Tonight's Super Bowl game reminded me of the one trip to Nawlin's (as the locals pronounce it) back in 1984 for the World's Fair. It's a city I've wanted to visit ever since, full of history, good food and fine music.

In honor of the city, some songs that mention New Orleans:
Great song, great artist and one of the highlights of her live show.

Hey now, hey now! It wasn't until I was in the Crescent city that I found out this song was about a parade collision of two 'tribes' there.

A change of mood, but still a great song:

To finish out, a musician that reeks of New Orleans to me, Dr. John.

There aren't that many cities that can boast more than a dozen songs about them, but this town has plenty more than the ones I mentioned here.

I'm sure the partying is going to last for days!

Pinewood Derby 2010

This is Chef's last month as a Cub Scout. As it is February, we have two traditional scouting events and our pack's monthly camping trip (which is not uncommon in warmer climates). If you're a Webelo 2, the weekends are busy the month you head into the next stage of scouting.

Today was our pack's Pinewood Derby, the first of the annual winter events (the other, Blue and Gold, is at the end of the month). For weeks, we wondered if Chef would get his act together as to what he was doing with his car. See, Game Teen kicked butt several years ago with his aerodynamic half teardrop design-Chef thought he'd copy that. Nope, you're not duplicating his winning design. The middle of last week, he told me he wanted a rounded wedge and explained the reason for it.

Thankfully, one of our leaders cut the car for him and passed it off to us at this past week's meeting. On Thursday, he painted it and Ed assisted on wheel and axle setup. I would have been no help-I…

Car Colors That You Won't Find on the Lot

Today can be summed up with one word. SNAFU. It is extremely frustrating when Jane does not pay attention to the important information given to her by others, because she expects Ed or I to keep on top of it for her. That's all I'll say about it now, because it could be a novel if I don't.

Anyway, while out and about dealing with the aftermath of today's screw up, Jane mentioned she liked the color of the passing VW Beetle. It was my runner up color if VW hadn't done the special edition color I got. I said it was something nature related, like moss green-but that wasn't it.

Her response? She could only think of one thing in nature-Gangrene. No, I doubt VW will be using that for the next green shade they bestow on a car.

But it sent us off on a tangent of colors that won't show up on cars:

Asphyxia Azure
Black Lung
Rubella Red
Vomit Orange
and Cyanotic Cyan

Wonder what other body and health related colors won't be seen in the showrooms?

When Planning A Schedule Pans Out

Several factors go into my school schedule. Night classes can't interfere with Scouts. Day classes have to be done before 2:30pm. Then I factor in what I need to graduate and rule out the lousy professors.

This semester has two Psych classes that were non-negotiable and then two more that fulfill requirements in two different Psych course tracks (the tracks have been likened to a Chinese dinner column A/column B approach). The reviews of the professors for the requirements where I could choose from the five courses in each track were good AND the course content appealed to me. What I didn't expect is the amount of overlap that each pair has had so far this semester.

Tonight's Tests and Measures lecture reviewed all the items that are on the Psych Stats test next Wednesday night. It confirmed what I feel about psych stats-this stuff has sunk in. I got together a study group to review for that test, and we'll probably use the practice materials from Tests and …

What's For Dinner Wednesday

Wednesday nights are hectic around here. Once the boys get home from school, it's a flurry of homework, dinner and then drive over to Bob and Maureen's to drop them off while I attend class. As a result, WFDW has been on a little break.

This morning, I drove Game Teen to school and uttered the magic word and with it, dinner was set.


Ever since Chef came up with his "Chef Paninni" a few months ago, this has become the hit of the dinner in a hurry repetoire. Chef's vision was Asiago bread, honey ham, honey mustard and cheddar cheese. We've done variations, but it's usually ham between those slices of bread.

Today, the boys got their ham, but I did a variation inspired by the upstate NY Beef on Weck. Mine was: horseradish mayo, sauteed onions, colby-jack cheese and roast beef on rye. It definitely will be a repeat for me.

Mi Llamo No Comprende

I've mentioned it before that I am taking Spanish this semester. There are several tips my instructor gave to help us with this demanding FIVE credit class.
1. Write your notes in one notebook, then transfer them into another one neatly after class
2. Use flash cards 5 minutes a day, at least three times a day
3. Listen to Spanish television or CNN Headline news in Spanish
4. Practice speaking from your notes at least 20 minutes a day

All good advice that paid off today. We had our first test and I was calm, cool and collected. I probably got a 90 on it, mostly because I followed her directions, but also because I pulled out my Spanish for Gringos CDs and I've been listening to them. When I listen to them and Chef's in the car, that's when it gets interesting.

On Sunday, he and I worked a Boy Scout fundraiser. While we were in the car, I would escuche and repita. Of course, Chef would interject his comments the whole time. When I said "Adios, nos vemos", he …


My W2 arrived today.

In 15 minutes, I had the tax return done and filed. Fifteen minutes after that, the FAFSA was submitted and both schools I am currently attending will get copies of the report. An hour later, five scholarships I qualify for are in the works-I just need to get the emails sent out to the professors who will complete recommendations.

Once again, an essay is involved, but that doesn't really phase me anymore.

In a sense, I can relax. The difference this year is that I am not done for the year with all these forms. No, in six months, it starts all over again for graduate school. What a concept. If you'd told me two years ago that I would be sitting here now, trying to get my ducks in a row to make it happen, I would have told you that you were nuts.

Amazing what some motivation will do.