Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dole Cools Us Off

Dole contacted me recently to see if I wanted to host a smoothie party and create some recipes using their frozen fruit products. I jumped at the chance, one because who doesn't love smoothies? and 2. I really like Dole's fruit products.

Tonight, the boys and I planned to take a test run of one of the ideas I had. Insert a public service announcement here: do not, I repeat, DO NOT, store your blender in a hot garage in Florida. The piece that spins the blade in my KA blender MELTED in the heat of the garage.

Fall back plan: Make them in the food processor. That worked nicely. See?

So the recipe:
1 bag DOLE frozen Mango chunks
1 6 oz Yoplait custard style Strawberry yogurt
8 oz ginger ale
8-12 oz water

It was smooth, it was creamy and both boys inhaled these glasses of goodness so quick I was worried they would get a brain freeze.

If you're following Weight Watchers (as a friend is), each serving, using regular ginger ale, is 3.7 points.

There will be more recipes and info coming, because we're going to have fun making lots of different kinds later this week.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Feed Me Friday

The plan for today was to make some chicken. Was. I got a text from Meghan, asking if we wanted to meet up with her family over at Romeo's. Heck, you don't have to ask me twice.

Chef and I shared a Romeo's salad, which is a lot like our current ABC salad (walnuts instead of pecans). I'd told the boys we were splitting a pizza as soon as I knew we were going-Game Teen lobbied for Hawaiian, Chef for pepperoni. Then we got there, Chef looked on the menu and found the White Rustica. Ricotta, ham, meatballs, pepperoni, garlic, olive oil and scrumptious.

We came home with half a pie-Ed got a nice late dinner out of it, too.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Evening with Family

A big part of moving to Florida six years ago was because it brought us closer to family. Recently, family members moved to Florida so that they could be closer to family, too. Ed's sister by proxy, Betsy, husband Tod and son Michael moved a half hour away. (Betsy's brother lives an hour in another direction, too.)

Tonight, we got to see their new place and enjoy a meal and companionship. It was so nice to actually sit and shoot the breeze, laugh about the things we all find amusing and share what we know about their new town (it's minutes from scouts and our old stomping grounds.)

They found a wonderful house in a quiet neighborhood that backs onto a lake. Chef's favorite part was probably the treehouse, and he took these pictures from his bird's eye vantage point.

For next visit, I need to brush up on pinocle rules, because they apparently are a couple of card sharks!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Next Food Network Star, Week Seven

The show opens at the house Aarti worried about being on the bottom. Tom, says six people left makes things very intense.

Food Star Kitchens, Giada is standing in front of a table of six Kellogg’s cereals. Breakfast time? Not quite. To assist Giada, in explaining the challenge, out comes Melissa D’Arabian, winner of last season’s competition.

Melissa tells the challengers that her life has changed so much since she’s won NFNS, she’s now a working mom and doesn’t always have the time to shop. This means she has to fashion a meal out of what’s in the pantry and the Camera Challenge today is to make dinner with breakfast.

Aria- Crispix-Hopple Popple Frittata with Crispix Potato Pancakes
Brad-Rice Krispies Rice Crispies Encrusted Tuna with Cucumber Salad
Aarti-All Bran-Quinoa pilaf
Tom-Rice Crispies-Corn Flakes and Pecan Crusted Pork Chops
Serena-Cocoa Krispies-Pork Meatloaf with Cocoa Crispes
Herb-Froot Loops- Froot Loop Encrusted French Toast with Latin Sausage

The challenge is tight-20 minutes to get a dinner on the table and 30 seconds to present to camera.

Herb is first and he makes his story personal and introduces his new concept, Cooking Con Sabor. (I’d watch that). The judges like the food and the presentation

Aarti takes about Quinoa being a protein and was polished, and they loved the texture. Melissa says Aarti is a natural on camera.

Serena starts off by singing and Bob cringes. She doesn’t even name her cereal properly. The presentation is forced and phony.

Aria doesn’t even tell them what Hopple Popple is, the dish is unattractive and the food didn’t taste good.

Tom runs out of time for his presentation, but the food was well received.

Brad had fun with Rice Krispies, but he didn’t have enough time to describe anything other than Hoisin sauce. Melissa says she wanted to go buy Rice Krispies to get the texture he got on his tuna.

Tom was told he was nearly insulting to the audience, Serena that she was insincere and Aria that her presentation and her food were unappetizing. Aarti wins the presentation.

For the second part, Tom finds a note that tells them that they’ll be taking the vans to an undisclosed location. The six are taken to a place that looks like a garage, but it’s an exclusive supper club, Smog Shoppe.

Bobby meets them and they’re told they’ll be cooking for 40 foodies. Aarti is the team leader for the challenge and her concept is that they present “My LA,” with each contestant picking a part of the city to represent.

Aria does Santa Monica and makes a carrot and cardamom soup
Brad does a lamb chop with a white bean ragout to represent downtown
Herb does a flan-but the pans are too short
Serena does Pasta Alla Norma for Beverly Hills
Aarti represents little India and makes a Green Curry Chicken and Naan

Aria comments in the voice over that she wants to make Aarti crack. So, as Aarti is introducing the concept to the people, Aria interrupts her. This is the SAME thing that Dzintra did to her. It doesn’t trip Aarti up, but the look on Susie’s face make it clear that they knew what Aria was doing. Aria says “We’re working as a team, but my food needs to come first.” Aria’s presentation was mediocre, the soup wasn’t carrot-y enough and she was deemed forgettable.

Serena is up next, and she is frazzled. She also is making pasta for the seven weeks in a row. Serena was rushed and overacting. If you play the “I am from Italy” drinking game, then drink up, Shriner!

Tom has Thai Twon and makes a Seared Cod broth with Bok Choy, and he’s over used soy. He knows the dish is horrible, so the presentation is also horrible. Everyone was expecting heat from Thai food.

Brad has downtown, so he does a spiced lamb that’s medium rare. He waits until the last minute to grill, then finish the chops in a convection oven to finish and he finds the Blodgett ovens are not working, so he scrambles to get it done-ultimately putting them back on the grill.

He’s worried that they won’t be done, so Tom suggests cutting them and flashing them on the grill top. His presentation starts cool and easy, but he blanks out and ends with a head scratcher, probably because he was relieved that the food turned out okay.

Aarti’s presentation and food are perfect and she has charmed the 40 people at the table, the people at the table saying that she gave good flavor and good story.

Herb ‘s got a Flan and the pans were too small, plus he was working on everyone else’s stuff that they were inedible. The presentation was wonderful, but the Flan was overcooked.

Evaluation time.

Aarti was told she was relaxed and did a great job. Bob raves about the Green Curry.

Aria was told her soup wasn’t smooth and that she’s falling to the middle. Susie called her out about the interruption and was admonished that she kicked off the event in a bad way. Bobby also criticized what she does.

Brad is told that his food is great, but he doesn’t know his point of view and in talking about himself he finds a potential POV.

Herb is commended for his presence, but his flan was horrible.

Serena is called out that she didn’t knock their socks off and she has not made any progress on any of the points they’ve been addressing the past six weeks.

Tom was told that he came off that he wasn’t taking it seriously. The soup wasn’t good, either. Presentation and food was at the bottom.

The winner for the week is Aarti, with Brad and Aarti winning the supper club challenge. The remaining four are on the chopping block.

Aria has been stuck in neutral, Herb’s new POV is loved and they want to see more, Serena hasn’t delivered anything new or exciting and they’re not ready to give up on Tom.

Herb is safe. Aria is safe.

And Serena…

Goes home.


I deleted a post that wasn't supposed to be deleted.

In it's place, the half constructed post, still in draft mode.

I hate when I do that!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


One of our favorite family restaurants over in Brandon closed the other day.

Cody's Roadhouse is a Tampa based chain that caters to families and a bar clientele, serving up decent food at a decent price. There aren't many mid-tier restaurants that you can expect to spend 40 bucks for a family of four, but this was one of them.

When we lived locally, the rallying cry in our house was 'Fajita Wednesday,' because that was the night you could buy one platter and get another free.

Yes, there are others in the area, but it's still a little disappointing to lose one of the places that was a treat on scout nights (when kids ate free).

Monday, July 26, 2010

88 Lines About 44 Birthdays

44. Not young not old, just in the middle. Two years ago, I got the idea about 88 lines for a birthday post and decided to save it for this year.

Of course, I forgot about it until last night. There wasn't any preparation put into this, meaning this isn't anything like the song that inspired it. Rather, it is some ramblings about what memories I carry from the past 44 years that don't quite add up to 88 lines. The title was too good not to keep.

Year one involved spitting up on Alfred Hitchcock*
He probably found that scarier than those birds in his movie

My siblings probably liked the fact that finally,
someone had a summer birthday to spread out the cake distribution

Year three was the last as the youngest
Giggles arrived the following February

Four was the year that I decided I was going to drive mom's convertible
out of the driveway into the street

For my fifth birthday, a party and a gift of a Hoppity Hop
that my sister popped about an hour after the party was over (oh, how I cried!)

Six was the strangest birthday ever since we were in the midst of moving
Divided among relatives homes, we gathered for my cake at Nana and Papa's

Seven was another party at my grandparent's
and a picture of a gap toothed kid blowing out that 7 candle

Eight was the weirdest birthday because I had an allergic reaction at the garden supply store
and took a nap while my friends had the birthday dinner with my family

No memories of number nine, number nine
But there was probably Carvel cake, the gift of some Nancy Drews and a pool visit, too

The first visit to NYC that I remember came for birthday ten
A trip to the top of Empire State Building, Cattleman East lunch and the Magic Show were the gifts from Dad

Eleven was the year that we repeated the ride to the City
and went up to the top of the Statue of Liberty

Many of the years between were a blur of beach visits, movies, parties with family
Hey, any excuse for a cake and the clan will gather!

For 18, I got a huge sunburn on one side of my face,
so the dinner with just Dad was spent with "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind" jokes

21, finally legal (for the second time) and my friends got trashed at our favorite bar,
while I stayed sober-then got sick on the spritzers my brother kept buying me 2 nights later

22 found me in another state
with coworkers who baked me a huge cake

most of the birthdays in my 20's meant coworkers gathering in my home
having drinking games, laughing our butts off and not remembering squat later

Those days, the birthdays had far away goals
"done with kids by 30" was the one I had in mind.

Instead, for birthday number 30, a wee little Game Teen in my arms
tried to reach for that Carvel Cake while I blew out the candles

Birthdays definitely change when you have the kids
Instead of it being about what what gifts people will buy, it shifts to those intangible things

Of hugs, kisses and smiles from the kids
seeing their joy at making you happy with their scribblings or helping Dad with the birthday trappings

The gift for number 33 was rather special
Chef was due on my birthday, but I was impatient and figured a kid shouldn't have to share-so I asked to have my present delivered six days early...

A lot of things have happened in the years in between
Things have changed (like our locale)
Things have stayed the same (like my love for the 80's songs that inspired the title)
Plans have altered
Career paths changed

But none of that has changed that
I've got a good man beside me, and we've got kids that make me crazy and happy
I've got damn good friends
reconnected with even more of them

And finding their words of celebration in my in box this morning (about 88 of them, in fact) was one of the coolest things one could ever ask for.

So, as I said, 44. Not young, not old.

But pretty darn good for all that has happened and for what lies in store.

If I'm lucky, there will be 44 more...

*I'd been told quite a few times by both parents that they had the occasion to meet the legendary director when I was about a month old and I vomited on the man. No clue how that came about or how they handled it-but if he were alive today, I'd apologize for it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Next Food Network Star, Week Six

Yes, this is VERY late.

I started writing it last Monday with plans to come back to it when I got a moment. The moment did not come. Academic pursuits come first, and the efforts on that front paid off. It's not like you were all blog stalking for what I had to say, right?

This week, the contestants comment on their highs and lows before we see them enter into Food Star Kitchens. On the tables, picnic baskets. Bobby explains that before them is a party in a basket.

The six find that they'll be making party bites for the event with the ingredients contained in the basket, and they find various events, such as a Bachelorette party, New Year's Eve, A Sweet Sixteen, A child's Birthday party, Poker night, and a Tea party. (Herb's will be added in to this when I review the DVR)

Brianna was excited to get a Birthday party, until it was explained that the cheese, mustard and apple juice were for a FIVE year old's birthday. The look on her face would have curdled milk. She makes queso and mustard taquitos that Tom comments "what kid is going to eat that?" and most parents watching could tell that Brianna is NOT familiar with kids.

Many of the contestants go with a crostini of some sort, but that's where the similarities ended. Aarti's was on naan, for instance. The thing with these camera challenges, though, is that the presentation to camera means as much as the look and taste of the food.

Brianna's presentation about moms having a glass of champagne while the kids get dirty was cringe worthy, Herb talked about being the energy chef, but was so subdued he'd put you to sleep, Aria was lackluster-as was her food (it looked like she slapped together sandwiches). On the other hand, Brad hit it out of the ballpark with camera presence to match the quality of the food on the plate and Tom had Bob laughing. (I'm pulling for the Big Guy).

Ultimately, Tom and Brad are the winners, and we see Brianna whining that she keeps getting beaten by the camera challenges. Hey, toots, the camera doesn't like phony. Just ask Paul.

Time for challenge number two. Into the Food Star Kitchens comes Ted Allen, and he explains that the table full of classic dishes are there because they will be making dinner for some special guests at Frank Sinatra's estate in Palm Springs, where they are expected to reinvent classics.

Brad and Tom get to choose first by virtue of winning the Camera challenge and Tom is hoping that Brad doesn't take the Lobster Thermador. Tom gets that dish, because Brad takes Chicken Cordon Bleu. They choose who gets the rest of the dishes with:

Herb Beef Stroganoff
Brianna Tuna Casserole
Aarti Deviled Eggs
Aria Pigs in a Blanket
Serena Pineapple Upside Down Cake

They do their shopping, then they are at the estate, a 50's era sprawling ranch that oozes coolness from every corner. Joining Bobby, Bob, Susie and Ted will be the editors of three magazines. There's an outdoor kitchen set up and the contestants take their turns preparing food.

The highs of the food include Brad's bacon wrapped chicken as his reinterpretation of Chicken cordon bleu, Tom's grilled lobster, Brianna's crab casserole and Aria's tempura shrimp. Alas, Tom's presentation rambled and Brianna's negativity was once again the only thing the judges took away from their time with her.

Aria was called out on using shrimp to replace the pigs and she says "Well, I've done pork in every challenge," to which I'm thinking that it might show the judges that you've got a large repetoire with that one protein! Serena's interpretation of Pineapple upside down cake includes store bought puff pastry and misses the point of the dish. Herb is quite animated in talking of his latin roots, but the stroganoff isn't very good and Aarti charms them, but her budget dish at a swanky place is not well received.

Back to the evaluation room and as expected, Brad wins the week, and he and Tom are excused. Then Serena and Aria are told they are safe, leaving a final three of Herb, Brianna and Aarti.

The judges tell Herb that when he talks about his youth, he gets a sparkle and joie de vivre that they don't see from him as 'the Energy Chef'. He's afraid of cooking Latin foods because he was a fat kid, why not reinterpret that latin flavor into lower calorie dishes?

Brianna is called out on not doing the challenges as asked and her constant negativity and Aarti is told that her dish didn't have any flavor. The verdict...Brianna goes home. This is not a surprise. The camera does not like phony, and while she appears to have cooking ability, the "Hey Guys" forced chipper camera presence was quite annoying.

We're down to six and I suspect that Serena's days are numbered...

Still rooting for Aarti, Tom and Brad, though if Herb can get it together and run with the nugget they gave him tonight, it'd be a concept worth watching.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Camper

Chef has returned from camp. It was a very quiet week around here, and he's back and singing, whistling and merrily playing video games.

I think he grew two inches while he was gone. He definitely looks older-maybe because he celebrated his birthday at camp. I'm convinced he wants to keep the dirt he collected at camp, because he's been home almost 8 hours and still hasn't showered.

The trip was full of memorable moments. He earned four merit badges, got to use a diving board for the first time, made a troll face in pottery and found a bear cub in his tent.

Yes, a bear cub. He said he'd left his tent early this morning to take a whizz (his words). It was very, very quiet, so quiet that all he heard was his pee. He goes back into his tent and there's the cub, sniffing his cot. He backed out and went over to the pavillion where one of the leaders was resting. He ended up sleeping on one of the benches in there.

In the morning, the sleeping bag he'd been using as a pillow was out on the ground outside the tent. He told his tent mate about it and discovered that the same thing had happened earlier in the evening when HE was sleeping. The tent mate was already back in his cot (and under the mosquito enclosure) when the cub came in.

I told him the cub must have found his cot juuuuuuussssst right.

While he was a little homesick, if you ask him if he wants to go back next week, he says 'Heck, yeah.'

He's making plans for next year...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Here We Go Again

Semester break. A time for relaxing and catching up on house cleaning, maybe heading to one of the three Busch properties with the kids and enjoying days with the family after the ten week boot camp. Maybe getting the damn knot out of my neck and the other health issues under control.

A phone call today instead means I need to go get some answers, because what was said was confusing. The questions I asked were answered in tangents. The main statement "I need to stay out of the hospital for 90 days" is probably an exercise in futility.

Especially when the person has spent about 400 of the past 1,800 in the hospital. In the last two weeks, one in, one out and one in again. The bad part is that this last one involved getting lost and passing out in the 95 degree heat and coming to in the hospital emergency room. (Which is why the phone call was a little surprising, since I am usually notified of hospital admissions)

Instead of taking it easy, it looks like the next few weeks will be spent preparing for the inevitable hospital stay and the scramble for a new placement. Otherwise, I suspect we'll be clutching at straws in about a month...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Remember the MCP?

Greetings, programs!

If you do remember the MCP, and understand the first two words of the post, you probably enjoyed the groundbreaking film for computer animation, Tron.

In San Diego last year, at ComiCon, lucky attendees got to experience Flynn's Arcade once again AND were treated to a trailer for the then recently announced Tron Legacy. This year, Flynn's Arcade is open for business for those who travel the San Diego downtown area.

Apparently, Encom International has a big press conference scheduled for the convention tomorrow. (You'll want to poke around that site, programs.)

It makes me want to go and dig a pair of light cycles out of the toy bins in one of the kid's closets. Who knew when I bought those things almost 10 years ago that we'd be seeing such a huge announcement-or find things on the Internet like this?

The best part is probably that come November, Game Teen will have a new soundtrack to play over and over.

Flynn Lives!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finals Week

And the first test of the week wasn't a final.

It was my Spanish test, and it was clear that all my efforts were spent studying for the other two exams. Even with a couple of hours today and 4-5 hours of study in the past week, I bombed it (by my standards).

I probably got an 80.

At least there's two more tests and I had either a 92 or 93 overall heading into that one...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thinking in Spanish

It's said that to truly master a language, you have to be able to think in it. It's not good enough to be able to translate your native language into another in your head, you've got to know what manzana is without stopping to thing "Oh yeah, that's an apple." It's the biggest stumbling block for the student.

While I'm not 100% there, after two semesters, I'm seeing signs.

A few weeks ago, a restless night's sleep. Every time I woke up, the dream I'd left behind was in Spanish. I was natacíon en la piscina con mis hijos, montar a caballo and yo hablabo solamente en español. While the lack of sleep was annoying, the fact that when I left the conscious behind, I could do that felt pretty good.

Little words here and there just roll off the tongue in the new language. Si. Salud, lo siento, descuple, no más and yo estudio. Now, I'm noticing that when I leave class, or a charlas (the extra credit sessions where we converse en español), I'm thinking in the language.

Last week, I stopped at the awesome taquería truck and spoke with the owner completely in Spanish. Not just ordering the food, but about the weather, my school and with another patron who told me how he scours the highways (a truck driver) for these little trucks, because they've got the best tacos. The whole conversation was in Spanish.

Today, I left the charlas and headed downstairs to see my academic advisor for a sign off on the third semester of Spanish. I had to stop myself from talking to her in another language. By no means would I be considered fluent.

But I'm on my way.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lexulous Again

Check out the word in the bottom!

Now look at my tiles. I'd like to buy a vowel, please?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Week of Quiet

The house will be quiet this week.

Chef is sleeping at a Boy Scout camp a few hours away. It should be a lot of fun for him, with swimming, pottery, hiking, and a bunch of other activities on tap. For the kid who complains that his troop doesn't camp enough (despite going every month), this should be an amazing week.

Of course, Game Teen is home. The agreement is that he does not go camping unless Ed or I join him. That was before the Chiari diagnosis, so now I really don't see it happening. I think he prefers this, because he gets his pick of the video games all week.

The only strange part will be that Chef spends his 11th birthday away from home. That's okay, we'll celebrate when he gets home...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Well, the Chinese Spammers Are Learning

If you've ever commented on my blog, you may have noticed some Chinese text in the box that comes up. It states that 'comments that are not written in English will not be posted." Before you point out the obvious, yes, I have published comments in French and Spanish.

My main issue is that all of those comments have hyperlinks and text in a language that the vast majority of us do not read. I don't want to be responsible for someone being sent to an Asian porn site, thanks to Vista's 'hover' feature.

The message in Chinese has not slowed them down from submitting comments. I'll just keep rejecting them. Tonight, though, there was a comment in English with the same stuff.

Too bad the English didn't have anything to do with the post


Friday, July 16, 2010

Feed Me Friday

In the various pictures of food on the blog, this one is a first. A grilled meal.

It does not mean we do not care for grilled items, rather, the lack speaks to the lack of ability to do so. We had a nice, simple gas grill, but the ignitor bar rusted out of it-twice. The first time, the manufacturer was still in business, so Ed ordered a replacement. The second time, we were SOL. Despite being the strange people who grilled in the winter up north, we were without the means to do so in a place where it can be enjoyed year round.

When we moved in here, Jane had left behind the Smokey Joe. It's small, so it won't do the whole meal, but there's nothing like a good char on a burger to make a meal great. Heck, you don't even need fine china!

Alas, one of our plans didn't pan out-the cheese filled burgers on the grill didn't cook quickly, so they were finished in the pan-but the flavor was there. That was good enough for me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Presentations

This semester, two of my classes have presentations as a component of the grade. In one, we're going to do something akin to "Lifestyles of the Worthless and Exploited" or "MTV cribs" for the Spanish class. I think that one will be interesting, because we've been asked to prepare a video of our home in which we describe each room to the camera OR we complete a power point presentation and speak about our house en frente del clase.

I'm making the video, so next weekend's project is to unpack the boxes I've been ignoring.

Meanwhile, in the other class, we had to do a presentation and write a paper about some aspect of learning. Over the course of three weeks, members of the class got up and spoke about their topic. Some were compelling, many were not. I think mine fell into the competent range, but then, I've had no trouble speaking in front of an audience. My friends in the class told me they enjoyed it, so I'll take that as a good sign.

My friend Jenn did hers tonight and kicked it off with a video of a news story that tied into her topic. She was well versed. Another friend's was also well presented, even though I know she hates the class and was not enthused about the assignment.

I think the best ones were the ones that had personal relevance for the person presenting. One classmate is a substitute teacher-she presented on a teaching method that is used in many schools. Another friend reported on selective mutism and ways to help the student because one of her daughters is extremely shy around anyone but family It was cool to gain insights as to what areas of psychological study grab other student's interest.

However, among the good ones, there were many that seemed to drag. It would be helpful if we could kindly offer some pointers:

*Take the gum out of your mouth when you're in front of the group
*Speak to your audience as if you're the expert and you're sharing your knowledge. Saying "Of course, we all know that..." when many of us didn't was frustrating. (easily half the class had not taken Drugs and Behavior to know what the heck she was talking about)
*PROOFREAD your slides
*If you can't pronounce those big words in the journal article, please skip trying to pronounce them when you're standing nervously in front of the class
*Don't put reminders to yourself in the points on the slides unless you can effectively use humor. (Breathe, don't forget to breathe, you're almost done and ahh, you're finished are best saved for your notes, not the slide projected to the class)
*If you're not interested in your topic, your audience will not be interested
*If your presentation is on something that has personal significance to a previous presenter, don't stare at that person the whole time as if you're lecturing only to him or her. It can be disconcerting to that person.

I know why the professor wanted us to get in front of the class and I wish so many more would do it as part of their instruction, because it's good to get these kinds of public speaking issues out of the way before one enters the job market. Don't you think?

And for those of you on the other side of this, what are the things you wish you'd see more of when you're in the audience? What are the things you wish people would realize are not a good idea when they are standing behind the podium?

Hmm, does Toastmasters have campus organizations?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Remember How I Said the Rest of the Semester Would Be Easy?

I lied.

I forgot that I have a paper due tomorrow, a test that opens Monday, a test Wednesday and a test Thursday. I'm not worried about two, but one (Psych of Learning) needs a lot of study time to keep the B I am getting in that class.

Yes, two B's this semester. Most people would be thrilled with 2 A's and two B's. I'm disappointed, because I know it's the worst semester I've turned in. Then again, my biology professor said that 4 classes in the summer is the same workload as six classes during the fall and spring semesters.

After Thursday, I'll just have two weeks of the Spanish class and nothing else.

It will seem like a breeze in comparison!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Next Food Network Star, Mid Term Week

After a week off, NFNS returned with a 90 minute episode.

In it, my favorites shone (except for Aria) and the contestants I don't like displayed more of what was unappealing and there were a few surprises in the mix.

More details tomorrow morning when I get time to write it all out!

Monday, July 12, 2010


For that biology grade. Oh well, can't have instant gratification on everything.

Tomorrow is full of studying and running errands. We're sending one of the boys off to camp next week and I'm thankful that this week's school schedule isn't too bad, so I can get him all situated.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

No Alarm Mornings

They are the best thing ever. Although someone else's alarm (coughEDcough) went off at 11am and woke me up. Still, it beats the norm lately.

The past six weeks have been all about getting up no later than 8 am and studying. While the kids have been sleeping in, I've been taking advantage of the quiet and playing a few games of Lexulous and Farklestudying without a break.

Yesterday's exam marked the end of the insanity. Over the next few weeks, there have been a few major things due one on top of another. Now, there are NO tests this week, only a paper that has been well fleshed out, no tests next week, two exams that are spaced out the following week and two tests in Spanish the final week-but one is a video I have to make of my house.

Friday afternoon, I met up with the biology prof during office hours to find out what I should focus my efforts on for the test. In conversation, it came up that I'd had tests in three of my four classes. He told me four summer classes is like taking six classes during the fifteen week semesters.

Yeah, I kind of realized that two weeks in.

It probably is a good explanation why the posts have been rather short and sweet lately, and they will be for a few more.

Trying to squeak out more good grades, you know. Maybe even an A in the dreaded Biology.

Only time will tell.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Steps to Yum

This week was full of schoolwork. As I took the last exam this morning (and totally rocked it!), I decided to make a meal that two of the menfolk love, but is really time consuming.


More pictures later. But it was nice to take a needed nap and not feel like it was keeping me from the books, to take time making dinner and now, take a nice dip in a warm pool.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Feed Me Friday

I guess it is a good thing I decided to text a friend a picture, because I'd forgotten about a food post.

My friend Meghan is a huge fan of the Summer Salad at Crispers. She got me hooked on them, too. Only I don't get them 5 days a week. You could probably cut Meghan and she'd bleed this delicious concoction.

A good salad is always appealing. Until recently, my number one all time favorite was the Fuji Apple Chicken at Panera Bread, but this one is better. So is the kickin' Crab Chowder.

Enough so that when I finished up my visit at the Genius bar today, I walked past the Panera in the mall and drove up the block and got this:

You really don't want to see the soup bowl, because I pretty much inhaled it. If ever I got my hands on that recipe, I'd be in serious trouble...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Love Technology!

Last night was a shining example of some of the advances we've made in the past 25 26 years since I entered college. Some highlights:

We went from taking tests and waiting 2 to 3 weeks for the professor to grade them all (in blue books) before we got them back to grade stalking the college website because the instructor used Scantrons.

Back then, you waited for the college to mail you your grades at the end of the semester (again, a 2 to 3 week wait) to finding out before they are officially submitted.

Instead of getting a poster sized paper with 10 point typeface that listed every class the college offered that semester, then waiting in a long line in the gym to register for your classes-then finding out the section was filled now we are able to look at most of NEXT SPRING'S grad school offerings online and knowing exactly how many seats are available. All 2,000 or so offerings each semester are populated 3-6 months early, and you can start planning schedules-you just can't register yet.

Instead of having a question for the professor and hoping they had office hours that day (because the college didn't give them phones in their offices back then), now you can pop them an email at midnight. Very frequently, they respond five minutes later.

To this:

Mi profesora escribó la tarea on the blackboard while we were taking last night's examen. Of course, all books have to be packed away prior to the test (especially mine, which is covered with artwork that portrays various vocabulario). I didn't feel like digging my stuff out of a 20 something pound pack that was already on my back, so I took a picture.

Now that I'm done with today's test (a 90 in AbPsych-instant scoring-yay technology), I can look at this and get cracking on the assignment!

We Interrupt this Crazy Semester to Report

One test down, two to go.

Ed and the kids are going to enjoy Kennedy Space Center without me. If I wasn't so engrossed in the studying, I'd be miffed that I won't experience with them. Now, I'm like "Meh, I'll go next time," because I know my kids-there WILL be a next time.

If you get a free printer with your new laptop, donating the old all in one to a non profit organization (the Boy Scout troop) is a big hit. Really big hit. Extra points for emailing them the link to the printer drivers because the church where the meetings are held does not have Internet access, so they have to get those drivers before they use it. (It paid for itself in the first six months we had it, because we faxed something like 500 pages with the darn thing.)

Facebook has a warped sense of humor. They keep putting up ads for me to become a Biology teacher, to take my students (WTF?) to Europe for free, or to get my PhD online with a school I've never heard of in my life. Then, add to that the suggested friends have included the ex-husband's wife and the guy who banned me from his website. Very funny, Facebook.

When I ask the kids "Would you like me to make empa...", I don't get the whole question out before they're both saying "Yes Yes YEEEEESSSSSSSE" Now, if only I can track down that El Viajara dipping cheese again!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

En El Proximas Dias Cuatro

Yo necesito estudiar para tres examenes, A noche, yo tengo un examen in español. Jueves por la tarde, el examen de anormal psícologia debe ser de completé. Este sábado, alli un examen en mi clase de biología.

A consecuencia, yo no escribe mucho durante las proxima dias. ¡Yo quiero buenas notas!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Lexulous Junkie

I always loved playing Scrabble. In my house growing up, I was an avid reader, and my Dad capitalized on it. I was given a bunch of books about lexography and a deluxe edition of Scrabble.

No one would play against me. Mind you, my siblings were at least five years older than me-they said they didn't want to get creamed.

I still have that deluxe set, which has been used maybe a dozen or so times. Ed won't play, but then again, I've never asked him because he's not into board games.

Thanks goes to Facebook, because now I can play. Friends, random strangers, anyone else who wants to play. One of my profs and a friend who writes professionally were willing to play against me-and promptly started wiping the floor with me. All those two letter and three letter combos? I knew they were at the front of my scrabble dictionary, but I never bothered to learn them.

I'm a quick study, though. There have been a couple of wins, a draw and I've even gotten within a few points of my prof (she's a Lexulous goddess, I must say.)

At any given time, I'm playing against one of three people, and the tips I've picked up lead to this tonight:

I laid down erode.

This is on top of the last game, getting 54 points for putting down wax, then adding a y to the bottom for a triple word score.

It's nice not having to pick up the tiles after someone walks away, annoyed that I was winning...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Isn't He Cute?

This axolotl, a salamander that keeps its gills and still looks like a tadpole, even as an adult.

Gotta love biology, at least there are cute pictures in the text.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

Feed Me Friday

Last week, I mentioned making Arroz con Crema, based on the recipe from Zarela's in Now York. The guys fought over the leftovers, but it was easy to make, so I made plans to do it again soon.

Tonight, I made a double batch, along with some stuffed chicken breasts from our favorite butcher. Mine was the yummy zorba (sun dried tomatoes, feta and cream cheese). To balance out all that dairy, a salad.

I'm stuffed.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I Love The Far East

For the humorous things they write.

Lost in translation can surely apply to the things in my inbox lately and the item that arrived in the mail yesterday. I got a picture, but I need to crop it to post.

See, I bought an Otter Box for my iPhone last month. After cracking the screen, I wanted something sturdy to protect mine. I found a better deal on eBay. Who wants to pay 25 bucks for packaging, anyway?

Well, a long time ago, Ed and I determined that having the same case on our phones is a baaaad idea. I cop to this one-I thought his phone was mine and tossed it into my bag, right before I flew to Florida with the kids. He drove down here by himself with a Jeep packed to the gills and no phone.

So I went looking for an Otter Box in another color and found some knock offs and got one in a preferred color (yellow) sent from Singapore. It arrived in some curious packaging.

But the better one was on the back. The picture is blurry, but the product was "Designed in Somewhere by Someone."

Makes all those blog comments in a language I don't read make more sense...