Showing posts from May, 2010

Foodies, Let's Celebrate

Because now there are TWO channels devoted to food. Cooking launched today. If you're on Brighthouse, it replaced one of the Travel Channels.

Then again, I didn't need to know there's a second place to visit about food, there's a lot of studying I need to do!

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

It has been mentioned many times here that I am a big fan of Billy Joel. I think I've even mentioned what is my favorite song.

This one is appropriate to showcase here, on Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to those who currently serve, have served and to those who wait at home for their loved ones who are overseas.

It Figures

I asked Game Teen about a dinner selection the other night, and he said he wanted Chicken Legs.

The conversation was slightly amusing, in that I asked if he wanted the Sweet Chili legs, since thats the way I usually make them for him, with the end result typically seeing him consume five of them at one time.

He tells me no, he just wants PLAIN ones. "You know, Mom, the ones you always make." I explain that I either fry them or make the sweet chili legs and then he says he would like them the usual way.

Tonight, I made the requested menu item-and he turned his nose up at them. First, his excuse was that they were too greasy (um, no, these are baked, there isn't any grease on them.), then he says he's full.

Note to self: don't mention the things that go into making the food he likes, otherwise, Game Teen will suddenly dislike them.

Oh well, I suspect Ed and Chef are happier that there are actually leftovers this time!

Feed Me Friday

Feta, romaine, red peppers, vidalia, pecans, blueberries and Aldi's house vinagrette. YUM.

Even Biology Can Be Fun!

**Hello, Dr. El-Rady's Students. Thanks for visiting to see my take on your homework questions!**

This is one of my homework questions for the Biology of Humans, and my answer:

4)The parody religion called The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster uses a very interesting correlation between pirates and natural disasters:
“You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.”

Can the scientific method be used to prove or disprove this pirate/disaster correlation? How would this be done? (6 points)

Yes, it can be disproven.

The way to do this would be to track other things that can relate to shrinking pirate numbers since the 1800’s. For instance, other modes of transport have been invented and used , such as trains, automobi…

A New Semester, New Things to Learn

All four classes have 'met' for the semester, and the learning continues. Some of the knowledge I've gained:

The Psych of Learning textbook introduction suggested reading chapter 11 first. If it's that important, why isn't it chapter 1? Anyway, the chapter delved into ways to improve remembering what you've learned. Many of the tips are already employed, but it suggests a modification of one.

Instead of taking time with each flash card, do a speed round for one minute, several times a day. If you remember what's on it, it goes in one pile, the rejects in another. The method will result in remembering more, and much faster than the old way.

It also says that if you've got a list to remember, instead of drilling yourself until you can go through the entire thing without errors, keep going. The more you work on what you've learned correctly, the more it embeds itself in the brain.

Also, for the past month, I've been reading un poco espaƱol, li…

Decisions and Celebrations

Twenty six years ago, I applied to a college by completing a paper application-and waited three weeks for my decision to come in the mail. *Note-rolling admissions and I waited until the rush was over*

Twenty years ago, I applied to a second college by completing a paper application-and waited two weeks for my decision to come in the mail. *Again, rolling admissions and the application was done in June, when college admissions departments aren't too busy*

A year ago, I applied to a university by completing an application online and waited six weeks for the letter to arrive. This time, it gave me information for getting online and continuing my enrollment process in that manner.

Four weeks ago, I applied to graduate school by completing an application online. It was almost too easy, because I applied to the school I currently attend. Today, I got my answer:

I have been Admitted to the Instructional Technology Master's program, class of 2012!

Now I've got seven months to fig…

Droolworthy Deal

It's that time again!

The boys and I were near scouts very early today, so we decided to kill some time in the mall. As there is an Apple store, we ventured in to look at the goodies.

We all gravitated towards the various toys, me to the MacBook Pro that is an asset for a student in the grad program I'm headed for, Chef towards the iPod Touch he covets and GameTeen towards the iPod Nano he wants because this version plays video and his does not.

Well, the signs were hard to miss. If you're headed back to school, buy a Mac (any Mac) and you'll get an 8 gig iPod Touch for free. They'll prepare the rebate before you even leave the store.

Can you understand why we tell the staff "we'll wipe up the drool before we leave the store"?

Oh yeah, if you're tempted, you have until September 7th...


When I was a kid and beginning to cook, there were two pans that we were given free rein with-the cast iron frying pans that had been my great grandma McC's. I learned how to make home fries in them, fry up leftover spaghetti, make a roux and countless other things. If we had burgers as kids, they were always friend in those pans because nothing else gave them a crust like the cast.

When my mom was consolidating her New York house when she sold it and was moving to Florida, each of us kids was asked if there was anything we wanted. The only thing I wanted was one of those cast iron pans. Alas, two of my siblings beat me to them.

Those pans were dark black and nothing stuck onto them. One of my first purchases for a kitchen of my own was a pair of similar pans, but I knew nothing of curing them and had no idea that the ones I'd grown up with had been in use for probably 70 years, which is why I could use Brillo pads on them with no ill effects. The ones I bought soon ha…


I've got a virus. Rather, my computer has one. It showed itself today by telling me my security protection was out of date, and when I clicked to close the message (grammatical errors and all), it launched "Antispyware Soft", which was telling me I had dozens of infected files. I run Ad Aware and Spybot regularly, so this thing must have taken hold in the last week or so.

This one is especially insidious, a trojan that, even after you remove all the components you can find, it still can replicate. There's one especially resistant file (~DCD9.tmp), that tells you that it is in use in another program when you're attempting to delete it, then when you go back in the temp directory, there are more.

The appropriate security programs have been updated and I'm running a scan. Yippee.

Aquatica Again

Chef's best friend recently informed us that he, too, has a Busch and Aquatica pass, so we made plans for a day enjoying the waters of Aquatica. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for it: hot, sunny and few clouds to be seen.

The nice part about the kids getting older is that I could let Chef and his best friend go to their preferred attractions, Game Teen could do his favorites and I could alternate back and forth-or spend time reading a textbook in a central location.

Electronics, water and sand do not coexist well, so the only pictures I got today were right before the boys got out of the wave pools for the afternoon:

I had fun with Game Teen in the wave pool, showing him that when I stand with my back to the waves, the current draws me to the back of the pool, but when I stand facing the waves, it doesn't happen. This prompted him to turn around and let the current take him where it would.

There's a new ride this year, Omaka Rocka, but I didn't reali…

Feed Me Friday

I had plans for tonight. The family favorite pepperoni roll has not been made in months, but it was 97 degrees outside when I was going to make the pizza dough and I was NOT going to warm up the house with the oven.

Grilling was a possibility, but Chef has been lobbying all week for Chinese food. Ed agreed that it sounded like a good idea, so instead of cooking, the house remained cool and the take out place made our dinner. Appearing below, my meal, Pork with Garlic Sauce:

After doing last week's mystery shop, I was intrigued by the drinks placed before me and visited the Bacardi site, where I found the recipe for that Florida Sunset, although it was presented with a different name. The preferred take out place is right next door to a liquor store, and the next thing you know, I've got the ingredients.

A cool house and a cool drink? I'll take it!

Postcard Perfect Day

Ed and I headed over to Clearwater Beach to do a secret shop today. The weather was glorious, one of those days you picture in your mind as being an everyday event in the Sunshine State.

While it was nice to drive down the Causeway and see the end result of the construction, and to walk along the beach before lunch, the best part was to have a great seafood meal that Chef (aka Crustacean Kid aka Poacher) wasn't bogarting! I think this was the very first time I had crab legs I did not have to share.

I could get used to postcard picture days and meals that I don't share!

One Way My Kids Are Different

The average kid is probably excited if Mom says hot dogs for dinner, because they're not going to be subjected to a meat they don't like.

My kids aren't that jazzed about hot dogs. No, they'd rather have these:

I'm lucky I grabbed one before the two of them had dinner tonight, because they went for seconds and a third (with his brother complaining that there wasn't a third for him, too.

Once Again, We Search

When Game Teen was placed in his current program, we were told that the program was a long term one. We met with the social worker and she didn't mention that they were not, because she'd worked with his former school many times-they knew it was short term. Most students stay there one marking period. At most, they're there for two, then they go back to their home school.

Problem is, he's headed for high school, so the previous school is not able to have him return. So here we are, in the position of school shopping. The good thing is that his current teacher encouraged me to apply for the McKay scholarship and get him into a private placement. I was told of several local schools that would be a good fit for Game Teen's needs.

Then, on the McKay site, I found a school that is the Cadillac of programs for kids on the spectrum. It is residential and day students. They offer scholarships for financial need. The question is, would the scholarship cover the b…

And It Begins Anew

Today begins my latest semester.

However, it's two online and two on campus classes, so it didn't feel like it. this week, I'm on campus one day, and the other class begins next week.

As is typical, there is a book issue to start the semester. One book is on order, and is anticipated to show up at the college bookstore on Thursday, with the first two assignments from it due on Friday. The professor put PDFs of the first chapter online for us to use, but we cannot access the e-content without purchasing a code or entering one from the textbook.

The instructor seems lively. This is his first time teaching web based content, and the content hints at a great sense of humor. Incorporating a homework question around The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Inspired.

It's a good thing, too, because it's a 1000 level course and the workload is massive for a lower level course. I need humor to get around the fact that I have a quiz, a two page reaction paper, and two other assign…

Love is in the Air

Love bugs, that is.

For the past week, Chef has come in the front door of the house and groaned "Love bugs." They are the pesky insects we Floridians encounter for three weeks each spring and again in fall.

Today, I picked him up from camping and the car was being attacked by the little pesky things. So, Chef starts talking about them.

"Mom, one of my friends pulled them apart from each other and the two flew away." Apparently the kids feel bad that they are stuck together.

"Mom, why are their butts stuck together?" Before I could answer, he answers his own question "Oh, it's to make love bug babies, isn't it?" Saved from a conversation I wasn't quite ready to have! Then he starts in on how it's all about the continuation of the love bug species.

Then the ten year old twist, "What if they fart when their butts are stuck together?"

Do bugs even fart?

I had my kid back for 15 minutes and already he was finding a way to c…


One child is off camping this weekend. This means the house is a lot quieter. No battles between the two, no yelling at someone to stop the monologues about Pokemon, no nagging me "I want to watch Chef play XYZ, but he says he doesn't want to play."

What did I do? Surf the net, and read while floating in the pool. It was very nice, but I figured it would not be a good idea to take a textbook into the pool, so I grabbed a paperback and lounged around for a couple of hours. I've got some toasted body parts to show for the experience.

Now, if only the neighbors who were enjoying their pool at the same time had better taste in music. About five minutes after I got into mine, they started cranking the stereo and it was an afternoon of Roxette, Michael Jackson, and other artists that aren't on my preferred list. Oh well, can't have everything.

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

It started with those words, and then today, when I saw this on a friend's Facebook status:
Please put this on your status if you know,
or are related to someone killed on Alderaan when it was obliterated by
the Death Star. My wish is that people will understand that the Empire
is a band of murdering scum. The Rebel Alliance wants only to bring
peace to the galaxy, but the evil Empire continues to kill innocent
civilians. 93% won't copy/paste this. Will YOU make this your status for
at least one hour?

and I had to add it to mine, because it made me chuckle so much. That's when the fun began.

-comments about "Suzanne, use the Force"
-one friend saying he was afraid to put that in his status, lest the Empire find him, he'll just be a quiet moisture farmer

The friend who posted it had one of his friends stating that she'd missed the memo, since she was drunk in Mos Eisley. Or was it Maw? I commented that she was a brave woman to spend time in that hive of scum and v…

More Things I Like About College

I probably could have returned to college several years sooner, if I had been willing to go the 100% online route. I wasn't. Online schools been a great avenue for several of my friends, but for me, at least half of my classes needed to be in person.

I'm glad I did it this way. The main purpose for having a campus is that I wanted a place to get involved, to feel like school was a home away from home. I chose wisely, because that has definitely been the case here. There are plenty of things to do on campus.

Getting involved: I applied for and was selected for a group, this upcoming year I'm the chair. I enjoy getting to know administration, faculty and staff-and I love knowing all the people in the administration building. I worked on the play and have another in the works for the coming year.

Making friends: An unofficial goal was to make at least one friend in each class. A benefit to our small campus is that there are less students and we tend to interact a l…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

One of the things (if there is anything) that Ed and the boys dislike about my return to college it's this: I'm not cooking as much during the semester. Regular readers of the blog have probably noticed it, too, because WFDW has been absent since January.

It's back, for two weeks, anyway.

To combat the fact that I'm in another classroom for the months of June and July, I'm thinking of moving the food related posts to Friday. As in "Feed Me Friday."

The meal I made tonight is one that I've featured before, but it's always a hit in the house. Some leftover London Broil, garlic bread and mozzarella and we're full. Except I didn't have any mozzarella, but I did have a brick of cheddar.

You know what?

A meal I've been making for over 25 years (and Ed has enjoyed for 23 of those, because it was frequent party fare for my friends) has been elevated to 'this is the BEST' status. Who knew that switching a good melting cheese for seri…

A Mind at Rest

Doesn't stay at rest for very long.

The first day of semester break, Friday, was spent on the grading issue I mentioned Saturday. (and the jury is still out on that grade.) Saturday, I pulled out the CLEP exam study guide because I felt extremely guilty that I wasn't studying.

All weekend long, it was like I was playing hooky, that there were assignments I was supposed to be working on. Yesterday, thanks to Ed getting his birthday off, I got to spend most of the day with him. Still had that nagging voice in the back of my head that I should be studying, so the CLEP guide came to graduation with me.

Today, a quiet house and a beckoning pool. It would be best to take a swim before the boys arrive home from school and lob splash balls at my neck and shoulder (not intentionally, but still not pleasant) Ed picked up a pool float for me last week and believe it or not, laying on that helps the neck. I get out there, laze on the thing, enjoying the blazing sun and cool water-an…

Congratulations, Class of 2010

Tonight, for the second time, I worked graduation for my campus. It's an enjoyable activity, as we assist frazzled graduates before they march into the theatre to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance." This time, I had a bunch of friends among their ranks. Next time, I won't be working, I'll be participating.

Before I know it, December will be here!

MIssing Mom

It's been over five years, and I still want to pick up that phone and call. I'll see something in the store and know that you would have loved it. Or will hear a song and smile, remember you warbling along off-key with the radio.

Yesterday, I looked at Chef as he happily swam in the pool and it was like I was looking at your face. He's always struck me as looking more like Ed, but when compared to a picture, the eyes and the smile were so much alike.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom. You are missed.

Rest and Relaxation

The first day of summer vacation (we're not counting yesterday, because I got wrapped up in a couple of school related items) were spent in the pool, vegging online, running errands with the boys, making the much longed for but no longer available Cholula wings and listening to music.

And the whole time, I felt guilty that I was not studying. I'll probably get right back into relaxation mode the day before I have to head back to that first class next week.

Oh well, it's probably a good thing that I'm constantly thinking I have to be reading a textbook...

Almost, but Not Quite

One of my classes this semester was Motivation. Those of you who have known me in real life for years are probably laughing that I felt I needed to learn about it, since I was the one trying to figure out what motivated my employees so that we could all achieve the store goals. It was a great class and yes, I learned a lot more about a topic that some might say I'm a little overenthusiastic about, at least in the work setting.

At the beginning of each semester, I sit down with the syllabus for each course (that I actually read and mark up all semester long) and look at the grading criteria. If the instructor uses a ten point scale and the total points I can earn equal 500, I'll note that I have a 50 point buffer with which I can still earn that A. Take a test, get an 88, I note that I now have a cushion of 38 points left to still earn that A.

It's a method that works well for me, because I walk into that last exam knowing exactly how many points I need to earn that c…

Bellini, Anyone?

I'm celebrating, so why don't you join me and Ed in an aperitif?

I took my last final of the semester tonight. Typically, the professor doesn't post our grades for over a week after a test. My friend Jessica and I left the exam at the same time and talked about sweating whether we made the A for a week or two. She suggested going back and asking her if she'd check our grades (which she did for Jessica the last exam, because she was the last to finish). We walked back in and I asked if we please could find out the grades.

Sure enough, she graded the papers for us on the spot and then for the last half dozen classmates as they finished their exams, too. Three of 25 questions wrong...and I GOT AN A OVERALL.

That means I earned an A in each of the five classes this semester.


So, help me celebrate?

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin

This is what roughly 1,600 miles per month gets you on the odometer.

Back to studying...

Oh Well

I had hoped that the House episode last night would have shed more light on this disorder I have that I still don't know a lot about. The only thing new I recently discovered (and was pinpointed in the episode) is that the coughing attacks I get nightly when I lay down? Those are a manifestation of Chiari I Malformation.

In case you watched the episode and still wonder what the heck Chiari IS, check out the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke's web page

From their web site, here is a list of symptoms: (I highlighted what I know or suspect are caused by mine:

Many persons with a Type I CM do not have symptoms and may not know they have the condition. Individuals with other CM types may complain of neck pain, balance problems, muscle weakness, numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs, dizziness, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, ringing or buzzing in the ears, hearing loss, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache made worse by coughin…

Sunny Day

Where I am:

Where I want to be:

At least the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I can enjoy these while I study!

Conan, Back on the Air

Yesterday, Conan was allowed to break his silence on what went down at NBC. Tonight, he was interviewed on 60 Minutes. If you didn't get a chance to see it, they've posted it.

I'm bummed that the tour wasn't coming this way, but look forward to finding him on the air at TBS soon.

Back to studying...