Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's For Dinner Wednesday

Oops. I was so hungry, I was halfway through my dinner before I even thought to take a picture of it, so I'll raid the web for a reasonable substitute.


This is one of my all time favorite sandwiches. If we had to live our lives eating food from only one cuisine, my choice would probably be Greek, and of that give me Gyro first. I even eat fish when seasoned their way.

How about you? If you had to choose one cuisine, which would it be?


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sometimes, You Just Gotta Do It

Hire a maid, that is.

Two weeks of back spasms and the other daily issues that aren't going away made me decide last week to hire someone to do the scrubbing that would either a. drive me to painkillers (that I've actually should have been using for the #@!$#%#$% spasms) or b. require a visit to the doctor after pushing too far and doing too much.

See, I'm learning!

Calculate the cost of the doctor's visit, the physical therapy that he'd send me to and the possible prescription for more when I used up the bottle that's always there 'just in case', and a maid is a bargain.

She does good work, too:

You'd never know a flour-happy cook used that kitchen and a powder happy man used that bathroom!

And with that, the only thing left to finish in that house is the last few things in the garage.

Voy a beber cervezas manana para celebrar. I'll still come out ahead from what the doctor and assorted items would run!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday Monday

A friend mentioned on FB yesterday how this time of year made her pull out the Jesus Christ Superstar Sundtrack and listen to it over and over. Another friend added that for her, the show of choice is Godspell.

This sent me off on the search of YouTube for one particular song.

In college, attending all ten nights of the theatre department's production of Jesus Christ Superstar actually was the catalyst for my return to theatre as a course of study. I'd been a communications major at that point. I have the soundtrack and know it intimately, some of the songs are so tied to the actors in that production. For instance, it'd be hard to beat Josh Mostel's "King Herod's Song", but the actor who did it in that production was phenomenal.

Another musical of religious theme from that era has music that always caught my attention, but until last year, I didn't own it, the movie was purchased at rock bottom price during Circuit City's demise. As a huge fan of musical theatre, it is not typical to know a soundtrack very well and not see the show.

And so it is with Godspell.

One of my favorite songs off that Broadway cast recording is "We Beseech Thee", but until I watched my movie, I did not know that this one was cut from the film.



Boom chick!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Rather, YouTube is. Despite writing a blog post and clicking 'share' over there, the item still hasn't posted 45 minutes later. Nor have the other three attempts to get a video over here.

It's happened before. What will happen is that there will be four posts at 3am.

I don't feel like retyping it all, since I should get back to the moving of stuff...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Secret Ingredient Is Love

Growing up, i always looled forward to visiting with my Nana and
Papa. We didn't get to see them very often
, but when we did, we could count on having a piece of Nana's
delicious coffee cake.

When Nana passed away, my Mom discovered that the recipe Nana had been
pleasung us with for years was actually one that she'd won a state
home ec prize for creating.

The difference was that Mom's recipe featured cocoa, while Nana took
it out and doubled the cinnamon sugar and nuts.

I was tickled when Mom wrote the recipe down for me, knowing how much
i loved that from scratch treat.

I found the recipe tucked in a box of kitchen doodads today.

I think it is time to share the love with the boys, now that they are
old enough to understand...

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Grammar Police

I like to consider myself a grammarian, one who respects the importance of using proper language rules in speech and writing. Yes, there are many out there who can point out my numerous flaws, but I'm always striving to write well.

It began with the passion for reading. Later, my Dad encouraged my enjoyment of language arts by purchasing books like "The Joy of Lex", "The Elements of Style" and other books geared towards becoming a better writer. I think he was telling me something 25 years before I became a blogger!

Back when I started writing the blog, the typical blogger could have easily worked in as a professional writer if they didn't already work in the field. Perhaps that was part of what intimidated me from starting up-I am not on their level.

Still, there are daily reminders that most people haven't read "Eats Shoots and Leaves" or had excellent English teachers and professors. There are people just don't care that they've made glaring errors in an email that is sent to a large group of people.

Those same people, when you mention that they might want to run an email through a grammar checker (because hey, your copy of Word came with it!), you get blown off with the statement "it's not a big deal."

Maybe not to the person who uses 'they're' when the proper word should be their. To my brethren, it starts a huge discussion about the various violations against the English language that we've seen daily.

I think I need to find a bunch of badges, because most of my friends are fellow officers in the Grammar Police.






Thursday, March 25, 2010

Food Fun

One of the shows I occasionally watch on Food Network is Chopped. Honestly, though, I see the commercials for it more than I actually view the show.

The premise is this: Four chefs, four ingredients, create a dish while the clock counts down. The worst of the four dishes gets 'chopped'. Then the next round is three chefs, four ingredients and then a final round, with the lone chef who has not been 'chopped' getting a $10,000 paycheck.

The four ingredients can be far reaching and might not work well together. The panel of judges rates the chefs on appearance and taste and how they incorporate the four ingredients into their dish. For instance, on one episode, a chef made a phenomenal beef with berry and parsnip dish, but used the pretzels as a garnish.

Tonight, we saw another commercial and Ted Allen's voiceover states "Chefs, your ingredients" and my mind immediately came up with four things that might be difficult to make into a cohesive meal:

anchovies
peaches
maple syrup
swiss cheese

Who knows? Those four ingredients may have already been on an episode. All I know is that if I was served a dish with all of those? I'd chop it!




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finally Feels Like Spring

No matter where on the east coast you live, it has been a colder than average winter. Now that the calendar says we are in spring, and more than six weeks past the pint size prognosticator observing his shadow, Florida has finally come out of the cold that's been hanging around for a while.

It just feels so strange for the thermometer to register above seventy degrees.

Now, if only the rest of the east coast can get some seasonably appropriate weather, too?

Come on Mother Nature, Phil promised only six more weeks of that cruddy winter!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Squid Jerky

Entering an Asian market with Chef means I will walk out with new and
interesting delicacies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Musings

Things I ponder as I sort through my children's belongings in preparation of moving it:

1. How does a child suddenly have 3,485 Lincoln Logs, when the only time the toy was purchased was when a certain 13 year old earned them while potty training. We're talking one of these jobbies: We now have a 16 gallon tub full of them and neither boy was ever given them as a gift for any occasion.

2. Where did all of the matchbox and hot wheels cars come from? I suspect that my gearhead husband snuck them into the child's room on a regular basis, because we haven't really purchased those since the last move and the tub that contained them is overflowing, with a second one corralling approximately 20 more. Weird.

3. When you have barely purchased any toys in the last two years, and aren't parents that buy toys on whims anyway, it stuns you the quantity of Legos that are amassed when two boys buy them with gift cards. Chef leans towards the larger Star Wars ships, but I can't see anything resembling that it the two monstrous totes filled to the brim.

4. How is it that a toy that's been up on a shelf for over two years with the battery on the whole time is still lit up AND worked properly when reunited with the remote control that was in the other child's bedroom the whole time (in the bottom of his closet, no less.)

I think these toys procreate when we're not looking. If only there was a way to harness that power...



Sunday, March 21, 2010

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

It has been mentioned here many times that my musical preferences were shaped in part by what my siblings would play on the stereo. I was very young when I was immersed in the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel catalogs, and it is hard to recall a time when there wasn't music of some sort playing.

My oldest brother had control of the stereo for a good bit of time after he'd returned home from his four years in the Marines. He'd amassed quite a record collection while overseas and the artists were quite eclectic. Then, add to it the fact that he worked at one of the most influential nightclubs on Long Island and his future wife worked for a record label, and well, there are artists that I heard that most people said "who?" and soon after, that would be the most popular act around. (the Police, for instance)

While my sisters tended towards Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jackson Browne and CSNY, my brother would play Kansas, Rockpile, George Thorogood, Janis Ian, Blondie and the Police. He was an equal opportunity audiophile, equally enjoying straight ahead rock and folk.

Most of it was appreciated on my part, but there were a couple of albums that would drive me from the house, most notably Joan Baez. Don't get my wrong, I respect the woman for her contribution to the music scene, but that voice was like nails on chalkboard to me.

This morning, a classmate and I met at a local Starbucks to complete our statistics homework together, something we've done before. The Starbucks chain likes playing music in their stores that is also aired on their XM channel. It is an eclectic mix, as I'd walked in to primitive bluegrass and within minutes, I was hearing XTC's "Senses Working Overtime", and then "Fly Away Home" (which Jenn did NOT enjoy), some Elvis Costello, Everything But the Girl, Alison Kraus and others less familiar. Several songs inspired comment back and forth between us, some caused us to laugh (especially when this one song elicited my comment "what the hell is dying in those speakers?"), but I heard a familiar guitar intro and exclaimed "Oh crap, I cannot stand Joan Baez!" as the warbling began.

That song got about 12 bars in before an entirely different song began, and we soon saw an employee coming out of the back room. Clearly, he did not appreciate Joan Baez, either, and Jenn and I both laughed at how it isn't a generational difference.

At least not this time...



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Returning to a Passion

This past fall, there was an announcement on the college campus that caught my attention. Auditions would be held for a production of "The Vagina Monologues," and there would be a meeting for anyone interested in participating.

Now, I know that my skills with the stage are definitely not on the floorboards, thanks to my high school days, but I did want to do something I'm familiar with and help out. That's how I came to be the light technician for this production.

It was very different from my college days. Every few weeks, I'd climb 30 foot high scaffolding, crescent wrench in hand. It was attached to my belt by telephone cord because climbing up and down 30 feet every time that darn thing slipped out of sweaty hands.

For each production in those days, we'd hang anywhere from 100 to 200 lekos and fresnels, place gels and gobos and then have the fun of doing lighting tech for a couple of nights to get everything just right for the upcoming ten nights that the Theatre Department would present each show. Then, I'd either run sound or lights (sometimes both) for the ten nights and strike those lights afterwards. (It probably contributed more damage to already screwed up wrists)

No, last night's work didn't feel like it. I sat to one side of that stage and operated a two scene preset board, but this one was electronic. It was attached to a portable lighting rig that one of our college librarians uses in her theatre company. I didn't touch a single light.

The production needs of this show are bare bones, a backdrop (formal set for you techies), four microphones and twelve lights. Two lighting scenes, so all I did was cross fade from one to the other.

I realized something. I really miss my technical theatre days. The fun of preparing for shows, the adrenaline that comes with making sure a show is technically sharp and being a part of something without having to be the one in the spotlight? It's right up my alley.

Last night, I had the best seat in the house. Due to the portable nature of those lighting towers, the board had to be close at hand. So, I watched these fantastic performers from twenty feet away.

They were funny, serious, sad and empowering. The two schools sharing the campus have some women who KNOW how to put on a good show, and have the audience laugh, gasp, cheer and applaud because they were so convincing in what they were saying.

If you have never seen The Vagina Monologues, I recommend the show if the opportunity presents itself. It is worth the price of admission, especially since many productions donate their box office receipts to a local agency that assists domestic violence victims.

Seeing a show that packed a lot of emotion into 90 minutes was great. Rediscovering how much I enjoyed helping put on a show was the cherry on top.

When is the next show?



Friday, March 19, 2010

Heart Palpitations

Remember the old days? You'd take a test and have to wait a week or two for your instructor to grade it and give it back. If you thought you did well, you anxiously waited for the proof that you knew your stuff. On the other hand, if you struggled, you hated waiting to find out just how bad you did.

Technology has made that wait a thing of the past, but it can cause some minor freak outs, like the one I had yesterday.

My motivation instructor gave the second of the three exams we'll have in his course. Fifty questions, and they're funny For instance: Princess Leia tells Chewbacca he doesn't have to clean the Millennium Falcon, a chore he detests, because he's been well behaved this week. What is this an example of? (Negative Reinforcement)

The first test, we didn't get the grades until the following Monday, so I didn't expect to see the grade before the weekend. However, at the end of the next class, I had a text message. Yes, I get text messages any time a grade gets posted to Blackboard. It saves me from signing often.

The message: Motivation Exam 2 Grade : 45.

WHAAAAAAAAT? I studied ten hours for that test, read all the chapters, and even made a comprehensive study guide to review. The heart started racing. Then I remembered that this instructor grades on a FIFTY point scale. That grade was really a 90.

It took a good fifteen minutes for my heart rate to return to normal.

Maybe getting those text messages isn't such a good idea...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Me Llamo Suzanne

You can tell how long I've known a person in a pretty easy way. How, you ask? By the name they call me.

My mother named me for a french lullabye, Une Petite Suzanne. My grandfather used to sing it to her every night when she was a girl and she knew that someday, she would name her daughter Suzanne. If I'd been a boy, my name would have been Terence-strange, since I have a sister who is nicknamed Tery.

However, Suzanne was a pretty formal name for a little girl and the family called me Suzy. (I changed it to Suzie when I was in fifth grade). Friends from the neighborhood, classmates in elementary school and my family used this name.

My last year of middle school, I made a few new friends and they started calling me Sue. It fit, and at school, you could tell newer friends from old ones. Then, in college, I showed up on the class rosters as Suzanne and finally, the name didn't seem so out of place anymore. I started a full time job soon after beginning college, and they called me Suzanne.

From there on out, I would introduce myself as Suzanne, as the history of how I got the name showed how much love my mom had for my Papa. The following year, he passed away, and I think Papa loved the idea that finally, that name was the one I used.

However, as I started to use my given name, from time to time, I'd be called Susan. It didn't happen so much in New York, but when I traveled and then moved south of the Manson-Nixon (as we butchered it), this seemed to be the rule, rather than the exception.

As a more impatient person back then, I would correct people over and over, but it persisted. Eventually, I stopped answering when called Susan, and when questioned, I would explain that Susan is not my name.

Apparently, other Suzannes in the area found it bothersome, as a local realtor took to writing her name SuZanne on all her advertising, and a local reporter's byline was Suz Anne. I could relate. Every once in a while, I'd get called Suzanna, but at least that was closer to the proper spelling.

So, you can usually tell how long someone has been a part of my life by the moniker they use. (My friend Jeff is the one exception-he's always called me Sooz).

Now, I'm taking spanish, and the way my name is spoken is Suzanna (e's sound like ah en espanol). I'm getting used to it, but I'm thankful that in another language, my name doesn't become Susan!

Ed's situation was a little different. He was named for his father, and instead of having Big Ed and Little Ed (which was a common situation with my mom's family), his mom chose to call him Neddy.

He HATED it, to the point that he finally refused to answer to the name. Funny thing is, as much as his mom was upset that he wouldn't use the nickname she'd bestowed upon him, she eventually had a change of heart. In the letter I'd found that was a quasi will, she wrote that every time she spoke his name, it reminded her of the man she'd married and it made her smile.

In chosing names for the boys, Ed and I mulled over many choices, but nicknames were what caused me to veto several names on the list. It is probably part of the reason why Game Teen has a name that has no nickname (so he was dubbed Munchkin as a baby). Chef's name can be shortened, which our beloved day care provider tacked on 'ito. It fits.

How about you? How did your name come about, and do you have multiple versions of your name?




Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I hope you're wearing your green!


No corned beef and cabbage meal here, due to class tonight. Perhaps I should go pick up a four pack of Guinness for afterwards?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crazy Eights

Vixen tagged me for this meme a very long time ago. I didn't find it until a month after she'd tagged me, and I forgot to post it held it in reserve to use on a day like today.


THE RULES: Mention who tagged you. Complete the list of 8’s. Tag 8 other people.

8 THINGS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO:

1. Finishing this moving thing
2. Relaxing in a pool after all the moving
3. Getting all the studying for my motivation exam done
4. Heading to New York in May
5. Visiting friends while in New York and Maryland
6. Registering for Summer and Fall classes so that I can GRADUATE in December
7. Sleeping on a new bed that doesn't hurt
8. UsThe kids being on Spring break soon


8 THINGS I DID YESTERDAY:

1. Moved a bunch of kitchen gear
2. Ran another stupid errand for Jane
3. Went to Wal Mart (three times, woohoo)
4. Washed new sheets for the new bed (new and improved bigger bed means bigger sheets)
5. Took my Developmental Psychology exam
6. Told someone off for the fact that I only hear from her when she needs something
7. Ate french bread pizza
8. Typed up some notes from espanol

8 THINGS I WISH I COULD DO:

* Take a Hawaiian vacation
* Go to culinary school
* Move more of this stuff myself (Chiari and My Stupid Leg have made it clear I can't do much)
* Have company actually come visit us
* Live closer to the people who we love and love us
* Take the family on a tour around the world
* Pay off our bills, our family's bills, our friend's bills and then donate a
bunch of money to charities that matter to me
* Buy a HD TV (thankful for cable right now)

8 SHOWS I WATCH:

* Next Food Network Star (when it's on)
* The Little Couple
* Deadliest Catch
* Ace of Cakes
* Iron Chef America
* The Best Thing I Ever Ate
* Diners, Drive Ins and Dives
* Ghost Hunters

8 FAVORITE FOODS:

* Asparagus
* Greek food
* Homemade Pizza
* Steak
* Tex Mex
* Home Fries
* Chocolate
* Fresh bakery Rye bread

8 PLACES I’D LIKE TO TRAVEL:

* Australia
* Hawaii
* England, Wales and Scotland (hey, Great Britain is one country)
* Ireland
* Belgium (after seeing Jientje's pictures, how could I not?)
* Germany (for the ultimate wine tour)
* Canada
* Iceland

8 PEOPLE I’VE TAGGED:

Count yourself in, because I'm not going to offend!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Monday Musings

It's time for another round of things I've been pondering. Won't you join me?

Do I have "personal slave" tattooed on my forehead? Seems I get called constantly with "I need you to" or "You need to get me..." It's getting old, especially when I've got 2 weeks to move and tests to study for!

If a person has a wound on the leg that's getting red and infected, has a history of MRSA and VRE, should they wait three days (until the weekend) to let one of the nurses caring for them to 'take a look at it'?

If the same person has a history of ulcers acting up with infection, and blood sugar that goes out of whack with an infection and both are happening, shouldn't that be a blinking neon sign to do SOMETHING? *Long story short, MRSA, extremely high blood sugar and potassium levels earn a hospital stay*

If you're being taken to the hospital for the above issues, would you make sure you have everything you need or would you presume that your personal slave is going to drop everything and get batteries for your insulin pump because oops, it just died?

Would I be justified in yelling at that person for assuming I'm a slave and for never asking, just saying "You need to" and "I need" to me instead of politely asking if it is possible for me to fulfill their request at my convenience?

When is the fact that she's in assisted living means THEY assist her going to sink in?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Florida Strawberry Festival 2010

Today, the kids and I went to the Florida Strawberry Festival. We'd planned to visit as a family on Thursday, but the weather and Ed's flu conspired against us. Waiting until the last day played in our favor, because it was a gorgeous day!


Once again, when presented with all the food choices, Game Teen said he wanted pizza. I asked if he remembered what we had said last year about fairs, and he did-and promptly asked for one of these chicken on a sticks.

So the trick to getting the kid to eat a whole chicken cutlet is to put it on a stick? I am so getting more skewers tomorrow!

Later, I got a shish kebab and once Chef saw it, he changed his tune and helped me eat it. Later, they had some frozen hot chocolate, but strangely, we didn't eat anything else. Weird. We did enjoy checking out what options were available.

The highlight this year was that Adventure Base 100, an exhibit celebrating 100 years of Boy Scouts in America, would be at the fair. It was worth the visit.


We entered a inflata-tent to view a brief movie that highlights the things that scouts can enjoy. (I especially liked all the video of Philmont that was interspersed throughout)

Then, we went through the touring version of the National Scouting Museum. The boys sped through the historical part and spent a lot of time with the hands on. What a surprise. I got a bunch of pictures of the exhibit in case they want to see what they missed. Oh, and there were some commemorative pressed pennies, so they each added to their collection of flattened copper.

The rope climb had a long line, so they passed, but they each had their picture taken, Game Teen on the cover of Boy's Life, Chef as a rock climber. These will be emailed to me within the week and I'll share them here.

If you come across the Adventure Base 100 in your travels, be prepared to pick up some 100th anniversary scout stuff. We did, and on the way out, we saw our council's 100th anniversary patch-so we bought a couple. If we hadn't just put Chef's new patch on his new shirt with badge magic, he'd be wearing it. (wonder if we should pick some up for trading if they make it to the Jamboree this year?)

Afterwards, we walked around, listened to Sara Evans while the concert was going on and soaked in the warmth and sunshine. All three of us enjoyed it, but next year? We'll make sure that Ed gets to spend time, too.






Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dropping Your Phone is BAD, M'okay?

But dropping an iPhone is worse. The screen cracks, yo.

If I wasn't called out to bring someone food, it probably wouldn't have happened. Add insult to injury, that person realized she was out of prescriptions and I found out AFTER I drove to the other side of town.

Replacing the phone involves a trip to Brandon. Yay.

Pictures later.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Walking Down Memory Lane

Ed and I have been sifting through lots of memories. One surprise was how many pictures Ed's Mom had of things we did not, like our wedding.

When we'd venture up to New York, the cameras came out. When they came down here, more of the same. Sometimes, we got prints, but not of everything. As we were holding a grandson hostage 300 miles away, we appeased a doting grandmother by getting duplicates of every picture taken of 'wonderbaby', as Jane had dubbed Game Teen.

Mom had them all saved in albums and boxes. On top of that, she appears to be the family keeper of the negatives-ALL the negatives for everyone. I wasn't sure what to do with those, but my niece told me there is a USB device that will scan and covert them to digital images.

Now, we have some memories that have something more than the images in our brains. It'll be interesting to see what else we discover over the next few months.

Game Teen is just over 2 months old here. It wasn't uncommon to find the two sleeping like this!
In August 1996, we traveled to New York for an all members reunion of my high school choir
Game Teen's first Halloween
Our wedding, August 1997. Until I found the photo album and a few other prints, Ed and I had none of our wedding.
August, 1997, just married (our car is in the background)

Who knows? I may have others to share soon!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Stupid Leg, the Update

I know, I don't talk about it much, but it's still there. Annoying me, causing me pain.

My Stupid Leg (trademark pending)

On the right, an 8 1/2A. The left, a 9 EEE

Now that the RSD has spread, wearing a compression stocking can be quite interesting. The past few weeks, thanks to moving Jane and getting that house cleared out, it's constantly in the state you see above.

The neurologist appointment is coming, but thanks to this being a pre-existing issue, I really can't see Nurse M right now. Cross your fingers that Dr. M comes up with another way for me to be checked out by vascular.

Is it April yet?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's For Dinner Wednesday

I know, you haven't seen much WFDW lately. That's due to a spate of drive through runs on Wednesdays, as I drop the boys at Bob and Maureen's and run to class. This week is spring break, and I had plans to cook every night.

Alas, the men are all sick (and I may be coming down with one of these illnesses). The younger set has been dealing with a cold, and Ed the flu. No elaborate dinners tonight.

Instead, I used some rotisserie chicken and made something that everyone enjoyed: Chicken nachos. It was an easy way to get them to eat some protein.



In my case, I should have followed it with some OJ...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

When Worlds Collide

This is too cool not to share.

Besides, you don't want to hear me whine, anyway. Trust me.



Monday, March 08, 2010

My Monday Musings

If you are going to write a letter that you intend to be an unofficial 'last will and testament' type document, wouldn't you make sure it was readily accessible by the parties who would need to read it, instead of buried in the bottom of a box of junk that is buried in the bottom of your closet?

(At least Ed knows he's following Mom's last wishes appropriately from this almost 14 year old letter)

If you get a call asking you what items you want out of the house TEN days before the contract is signed for an estate sale (at which time, nothing can be removed from the house) and you're asked several times for a list, wouldn't you get your list to the people who can do something about it?

If you're going to buy every freaking Tinkerbell tote bag that the Disney company made in the last ten years, wouldn't you at least use more than two of them?

Is it really necessary for one person who would try to live on take out food alone if I wasn't cooking for them to have FOUR huge unopened jars of mayo in the fridge?

How many pairs of scissors does one person need? Is a pair for every day of the month enough, or should there be two?

And finally, how many versions of Star Wars is George Lucas going to release before he decides to stop monkeying with it?

In our own hoarding tendencies, we got our hands on the deluxe VHS version that Mom had purchased (and was still in shrink wrap). It joins our DVD and Laser Disc, and I'm pretty sure each version is different.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Last and A First

Chef's results in the pack's Pinewood Derby last month made him eligible for the District Pinewood Derby today. We were looking forward to seeing him compete, although we didn't have high hopes for him against many other cars (though we ended up with 36 total.)

Friday afternoon, our former Cubmaster/fellow committee member of the scout troop called and asked for some help. At the last minute, our Troop was asked if we would provide a concession stand for the event. Would the boys help? Without hesitation, I agreed and Chef joined me this morning.

The plan was that whatever boys showed up would man the table, selling drinks and snacks and would split the proceeds equally to go into their scout account. Three committee members and three boys showed up this morning (the usual suspects, actually!) and business was brisk, even at 8am.

Chef got pulled aside by one of the leaders of the Pack hosting the event. As a Boy scout, it would be a huge help if he would relay the boxes with the vehicles from the staging table up to the track. Off he went, and we moms and other two boys ran the snack table.

He was in his element, as he will work his butt off for a little bit of gratitude. There were a total of three boys helping out, and at one point, the leader who'd asked them to help brought the boys over to the table to treat them to snacks.

At noon, he was in the strange position of ferrying cars-including his own. He won his first heat, but came in third for the remaining three. I got the impression that he didn't even mind, because he was enjoying being the BOY scout who was asked to help, not the cub scout on the sidelines wishing to be on the other side.

So his last official event as a Cub was also his first official event helping out as a Boy. It was very cool to watch him in action, my little boy who is anything but little anymore.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Espanol en Vida Real

Now that I'm studying Spanish, it has been good practice to translate the Spanish I encounter in every day life.

For instance, we had a website from Spain bookmarked on the spare laptop that had various games, but would play the Bubble Shooter. Back then, I didn't know what it said on that site, just that I enjoyed it.

Nine weeks of Spanish and I can comprehend about 90% of the words. By no means am I anywhere close to fluent, but these opportunities to learn are welcome.

Now, if only I didn't get sucked into that game for hours!

Friday, March 05, 2010

My Turn With the Memories

On Sunday, we meet with the estate sale people to sign a contract to officially have a sale. In preparation for that, Ed has spent most of the time not working for his employer working in the garage at the house that is soon to be our home.

I've mentioned here that it is mind boggling the stuff that was packed and moved here. His mom could have easily served drinks to the entire population of their town on Long Island in real glasses, without resorting to Dixie or Solo cups. How do I know? Because there is one whole corner of a room filled with boxes of various drinking glasses. Large boxes. Heavy boxes, ones that no doubt the movers were chortling that they booked the move by WEIGHT of the contents of the truck.

Over the past few years, both Jane and Mom had said to Ed, there are boxes of your stuff in the pile over there. It was a floor to ceiling stack of probably about 70 boxes, most of the exterior were labeled "Nancy's stuff", so he didn't rush to get his stuff. Especially after the items he had specifically requested come to Florida (about $3000.00 in HO train tracks on a sheet of plywood) did not make the trip.

Yesterday, he went through everything and found three tiny boxes of essentially nothing of importance. Yeah, thanks for bringing my stuff. I can't help but feel for him, especially after sifting through crap and seeing more glassware than two people can use in a year and the contents of a deceased person's bedroom, unwashed clothing and all, was important enough to pack in its entirety and shove in a garage.

Today, I had a go at things. Mainly, my objective was to pull all paperwork, put it in a tub, so that the estate sale people didn't have to do it. I found stuff everywhere, all manner of things.

*Ed's father's birth certificate. Initially, I wondered how that was possible, because Ed the elder lost both his parents as an infant and the orphanage where he was raised burned down when he was an adult.

Then I saw the date on it: 1943. He must have gone into the Department of Vital Statistics in Manhattan and given them the appropriate information, and they hand wrote him a new one. (he was born in 1915) That would never happen today.

*A folder full of pictures, mostly of our two boys AND three pictures from our wedding. It was cool to see other people's candids and find all the studio shots tracking the boys through the years, but the pictures from the wedding? Those were a happy find. See, Ed and I put all our wedding funds towards having a nice reception for those who traveled from NY to see us exchange vows. The prices we were quoted for professional pictures were too high if we were going to serve a nice meal, too.

I'm hoping to find the original prints, because these were reprints from scanned pictures-and they were on some sort of textured paper. Once my laptop returns and I can scan images, they will be shared.

*All manner of paperwork from various Disney crap that litters the house. Yes, I am to the point that it is Disney CRAP, and those who know me well are probably surprised to see me put those two words together. I'll add this: Tinkerbell can suck it. There is so much JUNK with that wench all over it that I wish she would just be eaten by the alligator!

*I found wedding pictures for Ed's parents and a couple of pictures of his grandparents. What's cool to see is how much his mom was a doppleganger for her mom. Ed says he found photo albums he'd never seen before, ones from his dad's time in the military. It should be interesting to see what he looked like as a young man and see how close Ed looks to him.

Part of the effort to sift through paperwork was fruitful. I found that Jane purchased an extended warranty for the van that covers maintenance and repairs. She probably forgot she spent the money on it and paid out of pocket for stuff that was covered under it, if it is anything like the VW Masterguard plan I had.

I still need to find the owner's manual for the van AND the two electric scooters. It would figure that the paperwork for unimportant stuff is reverently saved, and the ones that are actually needed got pitched.

It looks to be a busy day tomorrow, working to cull the items to keep from the ones that bargain hunters will soon be going through.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

As of two hours ago, I am on Spring Break. My first one in seventeen years (and that one was 'enjoyed' while working a full AND part time job), but I'm not your typical college co-ed.

No trips to Daytona. No beer pong.

I'll be spending my week getting my butt ahead in my classes, attending the one class that I'm taking from the other college and doing some packing for the move around the corner that's right around the corner.

...and feeling really bad for the other college students headed to Daytona for sun, surf and suds. At least they'll get two of those!


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bombing a Test and Not Bombing a Test

I got a C on a test.

It really was bugging me that due to a delay in grading, then a canceled class, I couldn't find out what I did wrong. The material came to me easily, enough so that I was explaining it to classmates in another class in a way that they understood for the test in that class.

Tonight, at the end of the class, we got the papers back. Yes, I understood the concepts, and I had the correct answers. However, I didn't show all the work, so I got half the credit.

I'm mad at myself for not showing work, but relieved that it wasn't a case of me thinking I understood the materials and really did not. It's been seventeen years since that last math class, I kind of forgot about showing all work. Ugh.

At least I know for next time!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Sifting Through The Memories

When Jane and Ed's mom moved here several years ago, they had a moving company just pack everything up and bring it down. No sorting, no discarding, no effort whatsoever. Despite Betsy's best efforts to get them to consolidate what they were moving, they found it easier to ignore and keep.

They couldn't bear to part with stuff, but they didn't need it. Meanwhile, we've got an estate sale company coming in and they'll sell what we tell them, but we have to cull from the overflowing house what is wanted and what is not.

Ed's got the fun task of sorting all of those items that were shoved in the garage, Mom's closet and wherever. It's not that I don't want to help, rather, I don't know what is important and what is not.

One plus of our unseasonably cold weather is that he's able to work in that garage and open box after box and take trips down memory lane. Some things are good, some not so good.

He found

Simba's ashes, in a can, in a bag from the vet. Rather than deal with it, the bag got tucked away, and eventually into a box. (Simba was the litter mate to Jiminy, the cat Jane put down in January.)

Personal effects from his sister Nancy's passing five years ago. It's strange to find the wallet of someone who hasn't been around for a long time.

Pictures from the various trips the family took. He attended a NASCAR race at Pocono in the 70's and has now compiled all the pictures from that trip, as they were divided among several family member's photo albums.

The plastic Christmas decorations his Grandmother used to display in her bedroom and a ceramic Christmas tree Betsy made. This is strange, considering his family had barely decorated for the holidays in all the time he and I have been together. (I think that's why he enjoys the fact that we do.)

It's somewhat easier going through other people's stuff, even if it's a relation. They're not here, they don't need it. On the other hand, the remaining corner of the garage is full of boxes of Ed's stuff and it won't be as easy to pitch or put into sale when it's his memories he's sorting through.

Only time will tell.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Almost, But Not Quite

I got my laptop back today. It worked just fine - for about six minutes, the amount of time left in the battery prior to shipping it off.

The instructions I got were to send it without battery and power cord. I even asked the guy if they wanted to check them out, since I was complaining of power issues. He assured me that they didn't need them.

Apparently, they did. Another power cord is on its way. If that doesn't do the trick (it should), a new six cell battery.

In that six minutes, I found out that my hard drive is intact and that they messed with my layout a bit. The barely used web cam was relegated to a part of my display where I'm not likely to pan over it (like the top left default location). My desktop icons were moved a bit-but it appears everything was still there

In five to seven days, I'll have another go at a working laptop.