Showing posts from April, 2010

Making A Kid Happy

Last weekend, Chef spent most of the weekend with his best friend at his house. They spent Sunday visiting Gatorland and he's still telling me how much he enjoyed the place and needs to head back soon

This weekend, best friend's mom gets to be one kid lighter. Sent them to bed at 9:30 and they're still awake in his room, thinking that if the sound is turned way down, we might not notice that they're not asleep yet.

Wonder if this means they'll sleep really late in the morning?

What Silly Thing Did I Do Today?

Well, I took a final at 8am. I ended that class with an A. That's three down, and two to go. Then again, that wasn't silly. Nor was the trip to the bookstore to pick up summer textbooks and some Spanish study materials.

That Spanish class had a written an and oral final. If you had a 92 overall after completing the semester and the written final, you're exempt from the final. I ended up with a 96.5, so I was exempt. Meghan got 100 in the class, she was also exempt and makes me look like a total slacker!

However, my friend and classmate Meghan and I both expressed concerns about spending a month not speaking any Spanish before we begin the summer class. The summer class in which the instructor no longer utters any words in English. Both of us know how rusty we can get with a couple of days w/o practice and we're the ones who ENJOYED the homework and extra credit.

I mentioned picking up some study guides on my own, but Meghan approached our professor and arranged …

Of Goals Present and Future

Yesterday, I took final number one. This was a written final and after it was complete, if my overall average was above 92, I would be exempt from the oral exam. I could have bombed the test and still been clear. Around midnight, the confirmation showed up-I completed Spanish with a 96.5 overall.

After studying about ten hours, I took final number two this afternoon. It was for my lone web based course and I sweated it, because I needed a 92 on the test to maintain my A in the course. There is an opportunity to earn twenty points of extra credit by writing a comprehensive paper about the course. Based on the previous three exams, I thought I'd be close, but figured I'd be off by a hair.

I was, but I noticed something that points to my future. There is a major glitch with the software used for online course content. My selections were being switched when I cursored from my selection to the 'save answer' button. It happened a total of twelve times in the course …

Look Alikes

Today, someone in the house was playing a video game I'd never seen before, Little Big Planet. It looks pretty good, graphics are good, but the character he was playing as looked strangely familiar. This is a black and white image I found online:

It brought me back to a show the child liked a few years back, one whose theme song got changed by me to "I'm just a kid who's four, each day I whine some more, I'm an annoying bore, I'm Caillou." The only part of that show that was tolerable was the section with the puppets of Gilbert the Cat and Rexy the dragon and this character from that game looked like Rexy:

Get the cute character without the whiny kid? Sign me up.

In the Home Stretch

...and being a good girl.

Despite the pool finally being warm enough to consider taking a swim today, I only dipped my feet for an hour while reading my developmental psych text book. Tomorrow morning, my first final. Another Thursday morning and the Developmental by 5pm Friday.

That leaves two finals the following week and a couple of weeks of rest between semesters. Maybe. I got a call this morning, asking if I'd come tomorrow morning in for training for the next phase of work. Instead, I will start training for that process in two weeks. Fortunately, the school schedule will not interfere with being able to work over the summer.

So, the weather has finally brought us around to swimming, but the calendar says not until next week.

Whatever Works

Some thirty years ago, Madame Boucai gave us a homework assignment to assist us in learning body parts and articles of clothing. We got dittos of a boy on a beach and a girl in a store to label. Some of us colored them in, because it gave us an excuse to color something as teens.

One girl in my class, Faith, painted the boy's fingernails pink and gave him earrings, something that wasn't very common in 1980. It was the source of Madame's joking for a long time after the assignment had been turned in.

The method used to remember these worked very well. So much so that now that I'm studying for my Spanish final on Tuesday (with much better results than French), I decided it was time to make my own clothing page:

The Dali Museum and The Columbia Restaurant

Today, Game Teen and I enjoyed an afternoon in the company of my professor and a bunch of classmates from my spanish class. We took in the Dali, then dined at Ybor City's Columbia restaurant.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the exhibits at the Dali, but it was different from my trip last may. I'd say about 30-40% of the display was different, and they change every three months. Game Teen apparently had studied Dali with his awesome 5th grade teacher, so he was quite interested in what was on display. (My favorite from last time, a gouache "After the Battle" painted on wood, was not on display. bummer)

Our docent was hilarious and I will be looking for him again (Terry). He reminded me a bit of one of the chefs that is frequently seen on Food Network, Art Smith. As Game Teen was the only under 18 in the crowd, he warned that the presentation was PG 13, but he needn't have worried.

After the tour, we spent time wandering around and Game Teen ask…

Cool Ways to Supplement Learning Spanish

Fifteen weeks later, it has been a lot of fun learning espanol. A good professor, great classmates and several pointers have really helped me to do well and enjoy to the point that I'm looking towards taking three more semesters with this instructor-even though I only need to complete two.

The first day of class, she gave some tips to help students in learning and I've used them all with great success. Of course, I want to push it a little more, so I was looking for other things to do.

Starting small, perhaps use My Weekly Reader en Espanol? No luck on the web for that unless you subscribe, but then I hit up CNN en Espanol and that worked much better. I've also toyed with writing a sentence or two on the blog every day en espanol to keep the skills fresh for the month that we're on break between class sessions.

It always makes sense to use what works for you and for me, writing helps things to sink in better. I'm just hoping it will keep things fresh for the mon…

Can I Sleep Till Noon?

It's definitely the end of the semester, because no one wants to be in class (including the instructors) and most students want to sleep until noon!

Next week's agenda has three finals and the following has two. Very manageable, but the daily study sessions start tomorrow morning.

I suppose I should go get some sleep before the heavy duty studying begins...

"I Didn't See You"

Part the first:

The fuse box I had replaced the first day of school (to the tune of 450 bucks) that decided it was not going to work more than three months and 14 days that made for an interesting ride home from Tampa today.

Part the second:

While I was waiting for the tow truck to arrive, the ding that some girl who worked in the restaurant my car died in front of put into my car after walking right by it with me saying "I hope I'm not blocking anyone" without looking out the back of her car at mine, and proceeded to say "I didn't see you there!" and thinking she was just going to drive away...

The nasty migraine is NOT happy...

Pretty Good for 1.99

A few weeks ago, I noticed the pictures my friend Jill was putting up on her facebook page. She's a shutterbug, but it was a bit of a surprise to find that the retro images were thanks to a 1.99 iPhone app!

I went and grabbed it for myself. Yes, I need to figure out the quirks, but it's like I've got my dad's old 126. Dad's trick after he was done with a roll was to sit it on his clock radio overnight. It seems to make the colors stand out. Obviously, that's not going to work on this one, but I want to see what I get out of it.

Things I Love About College, A Random List

I don't love Chiari, and I don't love my allergies right now, because they both are kicking my head right now.

However, there are many things I love about school:

1. There are two weeks of the five class semester left and as it stands right now, I have an 96, a 94 a 95, a possible 89 (still waiting for the test grade) and an 86. I'll definitely be pulling one of those up to an A, the other one, maybe.

2. My campus is the small one, so I know faculty and staff. Thanks to the smaller class sizes, I've got a half dozen good friends, too.

3. When there's a concern, I contact an advisor and Boom, my problem is fixed. To the point that I am officially scheduled for the last seven classes I need to graduate in December.

4. And when I feel like crap, like right now, I can skip studying for the night and get the rest I need and hope that the headache goes away...

Migraines, ugh

I don't know if the cold snap has made this spring interesting.

I've had some nasty headaches. It's annoying when Aleve, excedrin, tylenol and all manner of alalgesics do nothing.

Can this pollen just STOP?

Fourteen Years Ago Tonight

At this time, I had just given birth to a 9 pound, 11 ounce baby boy.

He has enjoyed celebrating his birthday today by picking out his own birthday presents, had one of his favorite meals for lunch (General Tsao's chicken) and a Carvel cake.

It's amazing how quickly time flies, because it seems like only yesterday he was this little guy: and now he's this guy!

Happy Birthday, Game Teen!

Argh, Earwig

So I'm sharing it with you, since I am finishing up a term paper.


Thunderbirds are GO!

The scene: Me, in my car, parked in a quiet industrial park adjacent to the Lakeland airport. I was engrossed in paperwork, listening to a podcast for a psych class and the windows wide open to enjoy the breeze that was blowing.

All of a sudden, my car was shaking and my ears were assaulted by VERY LOUD jet whine. "WTF!" I looked out my windows and didn't see anything, but notice that the industrial building next door has people on the roof with binoculars and cameras.

Apparently, less than 100 feet overhead, these guys were practicing for the Sun and Fun show that's currently going on.
My advice? Bring your earplugs if you'll be anywhere near an airport that has the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels or Golden Knights performing~

Mythbusters LIVE!

Last night, the boys and I joined 1,000 other people in the ballroom on USF's main campus to see Kari Byron and Grant Imahara of Mythbusters. Scouts or see two of the people that work on one of our favorite shows? Even the Scoutmaster said he'd go if he had the chance.

The presentation was part of USF's University Lecture Series. We all filed into the ballroom, then at 7pm, Kari and Grant came up on stage, along with a moderator. She introduced the two and the crowd went wild. Grant said "I've got a video to show you" and Kari commented that based on audience reaction, the video wasn't necessary. It was a little something Grant put together on his iPad about the show.

Then, the young lady moderating asked the two of them various questions before opening the floor to questions from the audience. First up was the question "So, how did the two of you get involved in doing Mythbusters?"

Kari told of watching the "Making of Thriller" do…

As the Salesperson Said

If the shoes look like this, the kid probably has a lot of fun in them.

If it's April, Game Teen Must

be changing schools. (9 years, 8 schools, three changes in April)

This morning, he entered a new school. Well, it's not really a school. It's an outpatient treatment program that also provides academics. The purpose if this program is a little different: lets CREATE the conflicts that cause his meltdowns, so that we can help him fix them.

It's a noble idea, one that we all hope works. After this, there aren't any options left that don't involve living away from home.

That idea scares me, so I hope the game plan is the right one.

The Advantages of Communications on Facebook

10am this morning: My friend Karen posts on Facebook "I'm heading to Busch Gardens with the kids today."

10:10am: My comment: "Jealous! We'll probably go next weekend."
10:11am: Karen: "Wanna come?"

I go into GameTeen's bedroom, wake him and ask if he wants to go. His response was to hop out of bed. Thus began our spontaneous excursion to Tampa, with two detours to our storage unit to get the various pieces to put the scooter in the van.

It was a glorious day, 80 degrees and puffy clouds in the sky. The kids had a blast, and Karen and I enjoyed hanging out without either one of us in a scout uniform.

Here's to spur of the moment decisions!

It Beckons Me

It says:
"So what if the water is 65 degrees, you swam in 60 degree water five mornings a week your senior year of high school."

"That bulging disc, pinched nerve and RSD will enjoy a nice, soothing soak and don't care if the water's cold."

"You should get in while one child is off at camp if you want to enjoy a peaceful experience."

I will wait, but not much longer...

The Generational Divide

The generational divide reared its ugly head the other day. We were studying for that test in spanish, and the question came up "which ones are the adjectives?" It made me feel bad for the younger generation, because they weren't raised on these:

I even started singing parts of it for mis compadres to explain. It made me wish that these songs were en espanol to help with language absorption.

In playing it to find for this blog post, Ed commented that his favorite Blossom Dearie song is the lovely minor key composition "Figure 8". Those of you who enjoyed these back in the day, which one was your favorite?

Of Classes, Current and Future

This afternoon, a text message provided some welcome news: Class is Cancelled. Welcome because I had two very intense exams in other classes the past two days and I just didn't want to go-but I would. (Mom as student, you have to set the example for the kids).

The realization that there are only four weeks of this five class schedule also came to mind today. It's probably better to take five classes when you're not dealing with two moves and settling an estate! The bright side of that is that future semesters will seem easy in comparison.

Yes, two major tests in two days and another one scheduled for Monday. Going into this week, I thought my overall grades would be two B's and three A's. Now, I'm sure it'll be four A's and depending on the grade of last week's test, I may scrape out a 4.0. If I don't, I'm not going to beat myself up.

The future. One credit shy of official 'Senior' status, my registration window opened yesterda…

I Want Pizza

Yes, it's 11:30 at night, but I want pizza. Alas, there will be no pizza tonight, unless I make a french bread pizza, and that's not really pizza.

But it got me to thinking. Ed has found a wonderful family run Italian restaurant nearby. We'd passed it for years, thinking it was just a strip mall pizza joint-how wrong we were. It ends up that the family moved here from Italy a dozen years ago and the entire kitchen staff is family members.

The traditional dishes are to die for, so I hadn't had their pies, but last week, Ed took the boys and got a pepperoni pie.

Now I want some.

Oh, and if you're in Lakeland, Romeo's is THE BEST honest to goodness Italian food you will find!

So, Pepperoni? Sausage? Hawaiian? What's your favorite? There might be a pie in my near future...

Everywhere You Go, Always Take the Weather With You

This week, we finally have the glorious weather that Florida is known for.

When I was growing up, I didn't realize that Long Island's temperate climate was unusual. Travel 50 miles north or west and winters would involve a lot of white stuff, the summers sweltering, sticky days.

Instead, by virtue of the Atlantic flanking the south shore, Long Island experienced summers in the mid 80's, with the rare day in the 90's. Winters involved freezing rain, but the years with snow were memorable, because the warmth of the ocean kept temperatures above freezing.

The move to Maryland brought an understanding of what summer heat really was. I used to joke that Mother Nature turned on the heat on May first, because BOOM, it was 85 degrees, hot and sticky and stayed that way until mid-September. Living in a valley meant that the humidity and heat just stayed there. Those constant breezes that one experiences on Long Island were gone. Over time, we learned to have the summer…

Shuttle Launch 4-5-10

Conditions were perfect for the launch this morning. No wind, clear skies and all systems go.

I will add video as I clean it up. In the move, I found my vintage tripod and had the Flip on it, but when I realized I couldn't pan up and down, I took it off. Thus, the video is shaky. I'll figure it out in time for the next launch.

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Over the almost five years of writing the blog, I've mentioned my love of the nightly fireworks show at Epcot, IllumiNations, Reflections of Earth. Of all the pictures I have of WDW vacations, I easily have more of this one show than anything else in the Disney parks or resorts.

I know the soundtrack intimately, thanks to a coworker handing me a tape of it not long after I started working at the stores. She told me that it was her treadmill tape of her absolute favorite thing at Disney. It was easy to see why, the music effectively inspired mood.

In April, 2001, we made our first trip to WDW since Ed and I were married and saw the show for ourselves and discovered what Tina had already known-this was the BEST way to spend an evening at Walt Disney World.

Over time, we found our favorite place around the World Showcase Lagoon to view the fireworks (near Germany, with a nice glass of German white wine)) and we probably enjoyed the music more than the fireworks. As a result of …

More Humor From Chef Junior, the Easter Edition

When the jig is up on who actually brings the goods for the major holidays, we still try to gather the trappings of those holidays without the kids knowing what they're getting.

This week, Chef saw a Warheads Easter egg while we were shopping. He asked for one, while Game Teen picked up one that contained Hershey's miniatures and said "this one doesn't have dye in it." Chef has also been hinting that he'd like some white chocolate.

Thus began the search for the elusive white chocolate (I know it's not chocolate, humor me here) bunny for his basket. They used to be everywhere, but I'd been everywhere but WalMart looking for one without success.

So, tonight, I had to go run an errand and had the boys with me. Game Teen opted to stay in the car, while Chef asked to go into WalMart with me. He accompanied me down the crowed aisles containing the various Easter confections. No white chocolate bunnies. I asked him if I could just get him some white …

It Seems Like the Perfect Night For This


April is Autism Awareness Month

1 in 150.

When I was a teen, I met a young boy with autism. He was the first one I'd met, the younger brother of several girls I was on the recreation swim team with. I'd try to talk to him and his sisters would tell me "He doesn't talk, he has autism. He lives in his own world." They were matter of fact about it and protective of him.

It'd be years before I met another person with that diagnosis.

Twenty five years later, I live with a child with a different type of autism. I have a nephew with autism. My ex brother in law was diagnosed with that same form of autism two years ago (and looking back, it explains a lot.) One of my best friends has a son with PDD-NOS, which is typically the diagnosis given to a younger child prior to the inevitable Aspergers Syndrome diagnosis a year or two later.

Is this due to better diagnostic criteria? Something in the environment? Both? No one knows for sure. For a while, there was a rallying hue and cry that vacci…