Showing posts from August, 2010

Yay, Cake

I've got several posts knocking around my head that will see the light of day in the next week or so, but Game Teen decided that he'd work on sharing his nasty cold.

I am whipped.

Meanwhile, a plan I had months ago actually came together on Sunday. I'd called a bakery in Tampa to price out making a lemon cake with apricot filling and discovered that a simple 8" two layer cake would be considerably expensive.

When Ed and I married, I let him decide exactly what he wanted and gosh, it was good.
We inadvertently ordered more than we needed (40 guests, ordered a cake to feed 50, but it probably fed 80) and as a result, we spent most of the week of our honeymoon feasting on that cake. Well, you're supposed to drink honey, I suppose it wasn't too far off.

So, for the 12 years since we consumed the top layer, my husband has mentioned that wonderful cake. However, we live in Florida, where bakeries, real honest to God bakeries, are few and far between. I figured it…

Plasticity, Mobility and Getting More than Expected

If you'd asked me which of the psychology classes I most wanted to take, if scheduling conflicts didn't occur, it's be courses in Industrial Psych, Educational Psych, Perception and Cognition. The idea of taking Psychology of Aging didn't appeal.

But the professor teaching the course did.

I've had this professor for two previous classes, like her teaching style and when she told me I didn't have to be on campus for class three days a week as stated in the course catalog (the third meeting would be a homework assignment and discussion topic online every Friday), I was in. The material might not be the most interesting, I thought, but at least the instructor would make it somewhat entertaining.

I was wrong. This is fascinating stuff that I would have missed if I hadn't looked beyond the mistaken notion that it was merely the study of 'old people'. Add to the positive of a good instructor the fact that she'd chosen a textbook written by the autho…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Now that I'm back to school, it's time to resurrect SSS.

This past summer has been an awakening of sorts for Chef. Always musically aware and having his own distinct musical tastes, there is a noticeable shift lately. We probably can thank the video games to an extent.

With the purchase of a new game system came a used copy of a game "Brutal Legend," which is heavily packed with the major players of heavy metal, such as Lemmy Kilmister and Ozzy Osbourne. The kid ate up all the classic music coming his way, some of it he'd heard in the past-but much he had not.

Other games for this system featured other classic rock, heavy metal and even classical music, all of which were either sung or whistled by Chef throughout the summer. It probably would surprise him when Mom or Dad would sing along and know the song, or in my case, I'd find the track on You Tube and play him the full version of these tunes.

In addition to the game system as a source of discovery of ne…

Yet More Humor from Chef Jr

Some of the things the kid has said today:

In the car, talking about his brother:
"He's going to eat death, and then laugh about it."
Me: "Don't you mean 'Cheat death?" and he tells me not to quibble about the details.

Talking about one of the Star Wars canons:
"I'm a clown, but this is the Clone Wars. One stupid typo from being in the Clone Army"

I'm just a pebble in the Rebel Alliance.

Playing a video game:
"This won't hurt one will hurt A LOT"

In Matters of the Heart, Sometimes Technology Really Bites

Today, the tale of a friend's current situation. Some names are changed to protect identities, but I was told that it was okay to share the jerk's name.

Back in my day, when a guy was being a selfish pig, a jerk or just yanking a girl's chain, he only had the phone or letters as alternatives to face to face communication. The addition of technology is a beautiful thing in many ways-but a curse in others, like what I'm about to tell.

The players:
Adam -27 year old guy
Betty-27 year old girl
Veronica-also a 20-something.

The situation:
Several years ago, through mutual friends, Adam and Betty met and became friends themselves. They shared many common interests-but each was dating other people. They agreed that they would make a very good couple, but the timing is wrong. They joked that someday, when they're in a nursing home, they will finally be reunited and become a couple. They remain friends, even after Betty's toxic relationship with her then-fiance di…

Hard Core Gamer

Yes, he did fall asleep playing his DS.

There's a reason why he IS the Game Teen, after all.

Three Days, Four Classes

Finally. I've now been to each class at least once.

Another semester of only female professors, the first where I'll be sitting in class for all of them, two repeat professors and it's looking pretty good. The good thing about taking five classes in a semester, then four over 10 weeks-four classes over 15 weeks doesn't seem so bad.

Tonight's class was with a professor that I've wanted to take classes with for three semesters, but she normally teaches on Tuesday nights. This semester, she added a Wednesday night, so here I am. While I wasn't in her classes, we've worked together on other things on campus.

She remembered a conversation from working graduation together last December, because she made an offhand comment "Suzanne's the IT person, she would know" when someone was having an email issue. That just blows me away.

So, the countdown to graduation begins:
15 weeks
60 chapters
4 classes
30 trips to Tampa

It's going to be a lot of …

Como se dice "I must be nuts to think I understand this language" En Español?

This semester, I'm in Honors Spanish.

Not because I am required to take it, but because I adore the professor and I've learned a lot in two previous semesters. Heck, a year ago, I'd look at those advertisements in Spanish that are everywhere in Florida and I actually understand them. The signs in the NY Subway system? No problemo.

Then, I sat down for the first class of semestre tercera. O M G! A mi profesora hablaba solamente en español. For 80 minutes. I think I understood about 50 percent of what was said, but was able to pick up the context of what she was saying.

And my fall back, the recorder that tapes lectures, so that I can listen to them in the car? Well, it was on lock and I didn't realize this until we were 45 minutes into the lecture. There I was, focusing so hard on trying to figure things out, but not freaking out because there was a tape to listen to later-BUT I DIDN'T RECORD IT!

This is the third semester with this instructor (and another …

The First Day of School, or "Neither Kid was in Dress Code"

We were out of town when both boys schools held their Orientations last week. No biggie, right?

Yeah, that. Chef's school hasn't updated their site in two years, nor did they mail out any information ahead of time. None at all, not even BUS information that would be useful. (When I called this morning, I was told "Oh, we gave those all out at the Orientation." Nice.) I did get a nice voice mail on Thursday that informed me that the students would not be using lockers and could not bring back packs to school, but they could bring 'binders with straps' to better carry their belongings.

Ends up the child was supposed to wear a school logo t-shirt in a color other than what he was wearing this morning, all the better to recognize that a 6th grader is intruding into the 8th grade domain (and vice-versa)

He's got the binder, he's got the 'tude, I think he's ready for middle school!

Game Teen's school director had told me when he had the shado…

The Vacation, a Recap in Pictures

I used today to rest, for the most part. Tomorrow morning will be a scramble and I need to be in bed shortly. So, for tonight, some pictures from the week:

Recovering From Vacation

Usually, I need a day or two to recover from a day at a theme park, but I probably need more than that to recover from a vacation. Too bad three of us have school on Monday, because it means what should be a day to rest instead became a day of running around for various school items.

Some highlights of the trip:
*Spending lots of time with my sister Giggles and her family. The cousins sure enjoy getting to play together
*Going to Manhattan for a day, then visiting the Museum of Natural History
*Chef got his requested Dim Sum meal in Chinatown
*Enjoying some delicacies we can't get here in Florida
*Spending the day with Donna on the way home

Pictures and recap to come soon-hopefully tomorrow.

Alas, the pounding head is preventing me from doing the recap tonight.

My Stupid Leg (trademark pending)

Doesn't like vacations.

Sunset in Georgia


Cousins United in Evil

I wonder if the Batman shirt cancels out some of the Decepticon's badness.

Manhattan Bound


Thank You, Food Network!

First off, a blogger with a different point of view won NFNS. Yay, Aarti.

My favorite pretty much from the first week, Tom, is getting a show, too! While it's not actually him in the kitchen cooking, I'll take what I can get. Who knows? Many FN stars do double duty, and it'd be cool if Tom eventually did the same.

Where does this leave Herb? I am so hoping another announcement is coming, say from Cooking. I love latin foods, and I do a pretty good job of cooking and eating it. To learn how to make it less fattening without losing the wonderful flavors? Sign me up.

I mean, the guy had me drooling over a frittata and I hate eggs. Seriously, when I get back home, I may end up making a scaled down version of the recipe in the smallest skillet I have and see if adding all that good stuff to them can convert an egg-hater!

So, Food Network, thank you for the two shows-can we please have a third?

The Next Food Network Star Finale

We are down to the end. Who will it be? Aarti, Tom or Herb? I’m pulling for the Big Chef, but I like the concepts presented by Herb and Aarti, and they are both such likeable presences on this competition.

The Big Apple, and they’re going to shoot their pilots. We see them walk into the Food Network kitchens while Rachael Ray walks out. She will be directing their pilots, while the production staff will be preparing food for the three pilots.

The pilots will be shown to a focus group of Food Network people, who haven’t seen the finalists before

Aarti (Aarti Party) wants to make an Indian Pizza on Naan
Herb (Cooking Con Sabor) will make a Fritatta with Egg Whites and Sausage
Tom (Big Chef) wants to make a Roasted chicken with mushrooms under the skin

Herb’s up first and he starts calm, cool and collected-and four and a half minutes over. He has a harder time , but comes up with the brilliant idea of taping pictures of his wife and kids onto the camera and the weeks of jitters evapor…

How Times Change

When I was a kid, the house I lived in only had two air conditioners: one in the living room and one in Mom's bedroom. You did NOT turn on the air conditioners without permission, and it better be scorching hot to do so.

To us, 85 was extremely hot and we had to come up with alternatives to cool off. My trick was to take a washcloth and wet it down with cold water, then wipe my whole body down and stand in front of the fan. (They didn't raise the LILCo bill as much as the A/C, so we could use those.) If we were lucky, a late night thunderstorm came through and cooled things down to 70 degrees or something close.

Then, I moved to Maryland, to a valley in which the air did not move. No breezes off the ocean. The heat seemed to turn on the first week of May and it would stay hot until the second week of September. It was hot, it was sticky, but at least I paid the electric bill and I used those air conditioners! When we built the townhouse, we were excited to have centra…

Does This Mean it is Business Time?

After all, the state slogan used to be 'Virginia is for Lovers.'. Why not combine the two? At least there is already a song readily available for the merger of the two slogans.

Feed Me Friday

Carl Spackler and his brothers provided tasty sandwiches for dinner tonight. No pictures, but a club with pumpernickel was enjoyed by me. The big surprise is that Chef got an over seasoned Italian Beef and was raving about it the whole time.Once again, we had a variation on cole slaw that I will be duplicating at home.

Safe Places

I done did it again, as Ed is fond of saying (no, he hasn't lived south of the Mason-Dixon for fifteen years).

Once again, I put something in such a good safeplace that I can't find it. I'm preparing to take a CLEP exam next month, but the study guide I purchased earlier this summer to help me prepare for the test is nowhere to be found. It probably went walkabout, knowing the plan all along was to read it in mid-August.

I could go to my fallback, the Western Civilization IICLEP guide that I'd purchased the previous semester, but that one is such a dry read compared to the American History book. However, if I don't find it by noon tomorrow, then I guess I'm taking a different book with me-and taking a different exam, too.

Next Food Network Star, Week Nine

Week Nine

The final four are in New York City, where they find a really nice hotel suite. They walk around Manhattan, get hot dogs and Central Park. Tom says “You are all my mortal enemies” and everyone laughs.

The next morning, they talk about being nervous and not knowing what the challenge will be. They walk in to smoke, and blue lights and they notice four iron chefs in front of them. The words “I smell fear” are uttered by Alton, and it’s then that they realize that the challenge is Iron Chef!

Two one hour challenges, contestant vs. contestant. The Iron Chefs will judge. If you’re not a contestant, you’re a commentator. Aria realizes that Alton is an encyclopedia of food, and he instructs that they should not dismiss this part of the challenge. Herb aptly describes this as the “Super Bowl for foodies.”

Then these four are introduced to their sous chefs-Brad, Brianna, Serena and Paul. Tom chooses Brianna, but the other three have to pull from a bucket and the pairings are…

Next Food Network Star, Week Eight

Yes, I know this is very late. I didn't get to watch the episode until Friday night, kept a running Word document-and promptly forgot to post it all weekend long.

I knew who'd been eliminated before watching, and it disappointed me a little, so that had something to do with the delay in watching. As far as the most recent episode, I again know who got eliminated and thought I didn't have an episode to watch, but Ed very sweetly remembered to tape it while I was at my event.

Anyway, here's the recap for week eight:

The show opens in the kitchen and the five are talking about homesickness.

They walk into the Food Star Kitchens to Giada and nothing else. They are instructed to take 45 minutes to make a dish that is THEM for the camera challenge.
Aria-Anchovies brought in by her son Luca.
Aarti-Okra brought in by her husband
Tom-White Pepper, brought by his fiancé
Brad-Ranch dressing, brought by his brother Alex
Herb-Canned Peas brought by his wife and kids

They’ve got 40 minut…

Advice For Incoming College Students

One simple thing that will pay off big in your college experience:


Find at least one organization, activity or club on your campus that either is an interest you already have or one you want to know more about. Attend their meetings. If they offer training, outings or anything beyond the original scope of weekly meetings, do your best to participate.

I just spent a weekend with the STARS Alliance in Orlando, as my school was hosting this year's event. There was a large contingent from my school there, from all the organizations on campus-and it was an incredible experience. I participate in three four campus organizations, and it was cool to spend more time with people from my groups and others this weekend.

It seems that across the boards, the students who do get involved tend to be more successful academically. Think about it, you are more likely to meet up with others who are in the same classes and can study together or even ask a simple question about a lecture …

Oxymorons R Us

Instant Classic?

The View From My Room

It's been many, many years since I've attended a convention for school. Last time, I shared a glorified closet with a friend in Pawling, New York at a Y retreat.

This time, I hit pay dirt:

So, that's a mini bar, eh?

Fun and luxury, all at one time-and I didn't have to pay for it? Sweet!

Feed Me Friday

The other night, I was asked to make burgers. If I bought the big pack of beef with the knowledge that it would be used for something else.

Chef mentioned last night that we should make empanadas with our favorite house dressing mixed in. Game Teen has been asking for apple empanadas ever since I started making them at home. This time, he got his wish.

A half dozen apple, 3 cherry for Ed. A little ice cream, too and this is the mess we enjoyed:

Should I Be Worried?

I bought a travel scrabble game because Chef enjoys board games in general and because it would be nice to have someone else in the house playing it with me. So, he asked to play it today.This was his first word:

Office With A View

This is a curiosity I came upon while on campus today.

Some people crave an office, some people crave a window with a view. Others decide to do something about it and take their office outside!
What you don't see is the other stuff that made it clear that this was a recent change of venue!

Two Years of Cooking School

And Chef really doesn't do that much cooking. Oh, he knows way more about food pairings and what will taste good together more than any 11 year old should, but he doesn't put his knowledge into actually using the stove or oven.

Until tonight, that is. After a Game Teen requested meal of homemade burgers (chimichurri salt and pepper on them) and an ABC salad, I got the ubiquitous Chef needs dessert signal. The mouth open, puppy dog eyes, quivery lip and index finger pointing to an empty mouth.

This time, though, I told him that he was perfectly capable of opening a box of brownie mix and cooking them himself. So he did, see?

Of course, they would not be Chef's creation without monkeying with them. Peanut butter, special dark and white chocolate chips and marshmallows on top.

He did good.

I think I piqued his interest when I said that I don't use the boxes, that mine are made from scratch (those are in there when there is no time and Ed is jonesing for chocolate) a…

It's All Over But the Final

I drafted Chef into cameraman duties for my video. The boy did his best to ensure no one saw any of the floors of the house-missing my lovely vacuuming job (including his room!). He also missed showing the piano I was talking about!

The efforts paid off, as I got a 96 on this exam. It puts me at a 96.3 heading into Wednesday's final. That makes it safe to say that this semester's grades as an A, another A in Biology, of all things, a B- in a class that I really liked and another A.

I may put up some outtakes later on, because there were some requests and Chef did crack me up a couple of times.

Then this week, it's off to the bookstore in Tampa, so I can get ready for another semester.

Four classes left and I'll have a degree...

Does This Look Clean to You?

My last oral exam for Spanish is a video of mí casa. I'll be taping it in the morning and as such, asked the kids to clean their rooms. I've been asking since Chef got back from camp for him to complete this task.

Strangely, I got better results out of Game Teen four days ago and his room has stayed relatively neat since then.

He promised Ed he would clean when Ed was leaving for work yesterday afternoon. That didn't happen, so he was told no games today. The picture above is what he considers a clean room.

And your opinion?