Thursday, September 30, 2010

Five

Five years ago today, after being gently nagged for months by a friend, I started this blog. 1700+ posts later, not only am I still at it, but addicted to posting every day.

In that time, I have read some great stuff, once in a while wrote some decent stuff myself and made more than a few friends along the way. I've been inspired and humbled, shared joys and failures. All along, the best part has been that what I write has triggered hundreds of conversations, both in the comments and in real life.

It can be said that writing is a solitary pursuit, but that's not quite true. When people respond to the message you've crafted, it takes on so much more.


Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pure water

Water should quench you thirst, right?

Check out the ingredient list.

No wonder why two bottles of it made me so thirsty!

No, I won't purchase Dasani ever again. I want pure water to have ONLY water.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Irony

A letter showed up today.

Addressed to Ed's mom.
It was from AARP for Roadside Assistance.

For a woman who never obtained a driver's license.
And passed away nine months ago.

Do people need roadside assistance in whatever comes after this life?

(Yeah, I know. We can't stop some junk mail from coming for her.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Todos mis amores

It's crunch time.

I'm working on the first exam for Spanish 3. It's a power point presentation that will be accompanied by me speaking to the class. In it, I'm supposed to talk about tres o cuatro personas famosas. One of the people I talk about must be a spanish speaker.

As soon as I got the assignment, I knew who I wanted to do my presentation about:

Tom Cruise (he of crazy, couch jumping insanity)
Penelope Cruz (the native Spanish speaker who was wise to leave him in the rear-view mirror)
Katie Holmes (the kool aid drinker)
Suri Cruise (the love child who may or may not be Tom's and is overly pampered)

So, I had to come up with a title for this thing and at first, I thought "Todos los amores." Then I realized that didn't work, since he was married to Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, too, and has two other children, Isabella and Connor.

So I changed it, with strike through and all.

Now, it's "Algunos de mis amores."

Let's hope it turns out as well as I visualized for weeks!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Longevity

The Psychology of Aging class has been fascinating, much more interesting than I ever could have imagined. Some of the things that have come up in the class reinforce what I suspected. Unfortunately, looking at a family member's penchant for ignoring medical advice, then taking this class and hearing all the medical support that backs up those suspicions has been a little unnerving.

Meanwhile, there are two projects for the semester. One is due tomorrow, and requires that we take life-expectancy surveys on two sites and compare the results. I was a little worried about this thing, as I figured all my chronic issues don't correlate with a long life.

However, these studies aren't very scientific. I mean, I'm going to get points off for not using condoms when I've been married for 13 years and don't have to worry about pregnancy? I think they'd need to be far more in depth to really answer this anywhere close to accurately.

The results? For one, it says I'll live to 85.87 years and the other says I'll live to 87 years of age. Unfortunately, there were too many smokers in my lineage who lived reasonably long lives, but they probably could have lived longer. I have no real accurate measure.

Want to find out for yourself how accurate or inaccurate it may be?

http://www.northwesternmutual.com/learning-center/the-longevity-game.aspx


http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html






Saturday, September 25, 2010

Favorite Authors

Although I don't get as much time for pleasure reading as I once did, this semester, I'm trying to mix a little pleasure reading in the mix of chapter after chapter of psychology texts.

This time around, eBay has helped out and Facebook was party to the acquisitions. See, I became a fan of a favorite author, Nelson DeMille. He's a Long Island native and weaves the island into many of his stories. My Dad handed me his Charm School soon after it had been released, which was a grippling tale of a Russian spy school that only had a passing mention of my home.

Then the following Christmas, Dad gave me The Gold Coast, a story of wealth, power and privilege on Long Island's north shore. As a result, I sought out many of DeMille's books and all but one grabbed my attention.

For a while, I didn't really have time for reading or picking up new books, so by the time I'd gotten back to pleasure reading, there were a half dozen books to read. Plum Island introduced readers to the North Fork of Long Island, and once again, DeMille weaved the familiar into a murder mystery. (Mom had taken us to vacation several times in Southold and Greenport, setting for much of the story). He also introduced NYPD detective John Corey.

A few more years pass, and I find a few DeMille books in the clearance section of Barnes and Noble. A couple more John Corey books and I was happy. One of them, Night Fall, reminded me of being on hold with a friend who worked for a LI television news station and the hold had the audio of the news broadcast. It was July, 1996, and I was hearing witness accounts of seeing Flight 800 explode off the southern shore of LI. (Those witnesses mentioned seeing a flash of light go UP towards the aircraft, the basis of the story)

Once again, I'm in the thick of the DeMille characters. There was a sequel written to The Gold Coast and I just finished that. It motivated me to search eBay and I found a few 99 cent copies of the two remaining books I hadn't read, The Lion and The Lion's Gate. I also found a hardback of Plum Island cheap.

So now the bookshelf has all but two DeMille books on it and I'm about 1000 pages from reading everything but By the Rivers of Babylon. And then I'll be like all the other DeMille fans, exhorting him to write faster (the man writes in longhand, people)!

And you? Care to share authors that you enjoy to the point that you seek out everything they write?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Laughing My Butt Off

When Clerks was released on video, my boss of all people, insisted that I needed to see it. We were managers of a retail establishment and he thought that it was too funny not to share.

I don't know why it took them ten years to make a sequel-or why it took five years for me to see it.

Add Clerks II to the list of movies that are better than the original

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumnal Equinox

After six years, you'd think I'd be accustomed to the fact that on the first day of autumn, it's well over 90 degrees.

Nope.

We just might be seeing the glorious lanai weather in a few weeks. What this means is evening spent out on the screened in porch, enjoying the coolness of the evening without the worry of mosquitoes carrying off your children.

And here in Florida, the equinox is accompanied by a science experiment gone awry: Love Bugs. These things won't bite, but they're damn annoying when they swarm your car.


For the next three or four weeks, we get treated to the sight of bugs attached at the butt.

Yay.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grade Junkies Get Senioritis, Too

I am a grade junkie.

Rather, I'm 'performance focused,' if you wanted to use the motivational psychology term. I study as much as I do because seeing those A's is the best thing in the world. It's tangible evidence of an intangible pursuit.

Then I got sick. Even though I had my butt parked on the sofa, I lacked the motivation to study for either of the tests I had today. Originally, there were exams in all three classes, but one was changed to next week. Still, I typically spend about 8 hours time preparing for exams on top of reading the chapters and doing whatever assignments I have.

It works. I get A's.

Except this time, I did minimal preparations prior to yesterday. One class is fairly easy for me because of the content (Psychology of Aging) and well, I've had the professor for two other courses. I know how she writes questions and that she'll ask from the lecture and the book. She also has been known to curve her exams, with the thought that if a lot of students got it wrong, the question wasn't well presented.

In total, I put three hours studying into it and feel that I focused my efforts well. The test was very easy. That's probably partly due to the first hand experiences with Jane and Mom and the other part resulted from knowing the instructor's thought process in testing. I feel reasonably sure I walked out with an A, as there were 2 of the 40 questions that I wasn't sure of the answers.

Then, the second exam. It's material that isn't as familiar-parts of the brain that haven't really been covered much in my classes. Biology covered a small part and the Aging class had another small segment. I spent about three hours studying and on the way back to Lakeland from the Tampa campus, called a friend who has had this professor for two other classes.

She gave me insight into how this professor asks questions and I spent another hour reviewing the Power Points for things that probably would be covered. All in all, that was the best way to do it. Whenever possible, I wrote what I knew on the test paper for the match ups before even looking at the definitions.

I ended up with an 85.

No, it's not an A, but considering that I didn't put my usual effort into it and I was not comfortable with the material, I'm happy.

Meanwhile, next week has two tests that I feel a lot better about.

Hmm, think I need to get cracking on the books now. After all, I want to see more A's.




Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Important to Have on Campus

When you attend a campus in Florida, you covet this:


SHADE!

It makes the walk on very hot days tolerable.

The bonus is that it is very scenic, too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pizza on the Grill

One of the thoughts that danced in my head when we were looking at the grill as soon as the owner of the grill shop said the temps go from 150 to 500 degrees is "Damn, I can make pizza in that thing!"

After a failed attempt last night (PSA: Clean your catch tray before you crank your pellet grill above 400 degrees!), I took the remaining dough tonight and made a few pies.

Here is GameTeen's requested hawaiian The first batch was two pies on the grill. I found when I went to spin them, it's better to only put one on the grill to better rotate it.

Chef's requested sausage. With his, I learned that you have to use a ton of flour on the pizza peel in order to slide them on the grill. (or semolina, but I don't have any right now.)


Mine brought the lesson, three pizzas in, that there's a certain smell to look for, kind of like when you've got bread in the toaster that you know is just short of getting burned.


And then there's Ed's. He got the benefit of three practice pizzas. The only thing he quibbled about is that I'd run out of the mozzarella that we tend to sprinkle over the white cheddar.

His got pulled when that distinct smell hit my nostrils once again. Then, I looked at the bottom of the pie and realized that in one turn at the grill, four pizzas went from pretty good to awesome.

Something tells me I'll be making more pizzas than I have in the past!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is What Happens When You Need a Bag

One day, while walking from the parking garage to work, the strap on my handbag broke. At that time, in early 2007, I was carrying around various medical supplies along with my usual belongings and could not be without something for very long. Mind you, the stuff wasn't heavy, it was bulky.

Instead of pressing on to my store, I detoured to the Crabtree and Evelyn in our shopping plaza to see if there was a Vera Bradley bag that I liked that would not break the bank. It was a rare departure for me, as I usually gravitated towards simple, solid color bags. Stranger still, when we lived in Maryland, most of my neighbors carried them and I thought they looked like someone took Grandma's quilts and turned them into purses and wallets.

Well, on this particular day, my visit resulted in me finding a pattern I liked, in a color I liked and at a price I deemed acceptable for a handbag. I went home with a Betsy bag in Bermuda Blue.
From top to bottom: Betsy, Hipster and Coin Wallet in Bermuda Blue

I loved that the bag had a zipper top and many pockets inside for me to organize iPod, cell phone, medications, pens and assorted other items I tend to carry. The idea that if the bag got dirty, I could throw it in the wash also was a big selling point. For $40 bucks, I got something I felt was worth the price. The only down side was that the pattern I started with was recently discontinued, so I'd have to seek out things in other patterns.

Soon, I wanted more. As I'd been friendly with the C&A ladies for a while, I'd go in and look at the other styles and we'd chat about them. When I expressed the opinion that this bag wasn't the best for when I took the kids to amusement parks, the manager suggested a smaller bag. (A not pictured Amy bag that is currently hiding from me). It had a thin shoulder strap and I could still wear it while riding a coaster. Of the patterns that weren't pink, the Java Blue grabbed me. So, a month later, I got the Amy to carry the bare essentials when I could downsize.

Along the way, I found that the way to get retired patterns was through eBay. That's how I ended up with a Hipster in the Bermuda Blue and a Coin purse. The total for these was about 1/3 of the original prices for items that were new in the store. Now, you can see the love of using them a lot once I got them in the picture above.

The veteran Vera Bradley shopper will tell you that twice a year, new signature patterns come out and at the same time, a few are retired. Usually, it's four new and a few retired, but it varies. Soon after I got the first three bags, a new pattern came out that I really liked, Daisy Daisy.
Daisy Daisy Top Zip Tote and Zip ID case

I think Ed was surprised that while I really liked the pattern, I held off on buying anything more than the zip ID case. I soon got another one of those in the Java Blue, but my mindset was that I didn't need multiple bags of the same pattern. I'd rather find different bags that served similar functions. Somewhere in there, I picked up a Wristlet in the Java Blue to carry my cell phone, ID case and iPod for work.

Then, when I started back at school, the bookstore carried Vera Bradley items. It's become a tradition to treat myself to a new item with the start of each semester. I got the Villager bag in Java last fall. Soon after, I grabbed another coin wallet in the Hope Gardens pattern to hold Ed's mom's credit card and items for her in a way that kept her things separate and easy to find when we went shopping or I stopped to pick up medications or groceries for her.

By this time, I was on the mailing list and got the catalogs from Vera. A new pattern came out this past winter, Blue Rhapsody and while it was nice, it didn't appeal. Then Ed took me to the bookstore to get the spring textbooks and I realized that the bag has a purple hue that doesn't photograph as well as it looked in person. I only got a small tech case that day, but went onto eBay a month later and found a Vera bag in the pattern for a great price.

I bid and won and while looking, a friend mentioned the discussion boards for Vera Bradley on Facebook were a great place to find items. I posted that I was ISO (in search of) items in Daisy Daisy or Bermuda Blue. Within an hour, I had an email, asking if I wanted the Tall Zip tote that's pictured above for 20 bucks. Heck yeah, and that bag showed up in pristine condition.

This summer, one of the things I knew I needed to get was a rolling backback of some sort. The wonderful bag I was using for school, while extremely practical and versatile, was doing a number on my neck and shoulders. Ed even commented that I should look for a Vera bag that would meet my needs. Unfortunately, their rolling bag cannot be washed-one of the features I find important about these bags.

Then an email showed up for a laptop backpack. It looked great, but I held firm and resisted it. The tall zip I had could hold the new Mac nicely, and I'd be okay. A week later, another email from Vera and I was in trouble.

The Metropolitan bag.

It had a compartment for a laptop and a heavy duty strap. It wasn't quite as big as my backpack, but it was what I wanted. The search was on to find it in the Blue Rhapsody or Java Blue (Maybe even in a new pattern, Slate Blooms). Heck, Ed took the boys to all the Vera shops he knew of on my birthday to find it for me, but they found patterns he knew I wouldn't like. (That night, we ended up looking on the Vera site for him to get a feel of my likes and dislikes.)

We went to NY and I still hadn't found the bag. One of the days we were there, we visited the mall and even stopped in at two stores there that carry Vera, one had it in Slate Blooms and Java Blue. Neither was quite right, so I knew I'd be looking for Blue Rhapsody.

Back in Lakeland, a previously unvisited authorized VB location did have it and a bunch of the Vera home items that I'd never seen. I got my bag a few days before the semester started.
Blue Rhapsody Tech Case, Vera and Metropolitan Bags

In all of the collecting, there have only been a couple of instances of duplication. The ID cases and wallets. My reason is that they're small, and I have one that holds all my USF info and receipts from the bookstore, another that holds my insurance, credit cards and typical stuff, one for coins and receipts and the last coin one still has Ed's mom's stuff as a memento.
ID cases in Java Blue and Daisy Daisy, Coin Wallets in Bermuda Blue and Hope Garden


When I look at my collection, I have to laugh. To some, it looks like I've gone overboard, but to other friends who have Vera, I'm very restrained in my purchases! Meanwhile, I know that Meghan jumped in last week and four years from now, she'll be like me and have various bags in different patterns that meet different needs!

In helping Meghan to find different things, we both looked at eBay last week. I found a pattern I'd never seen before and the seller was asking ten bucks for a Villager bag that was in very good condition. I won it, and will now have a duplicate in a bigger bag. Oh, well.

Meanwhile, there are bags I'm still coveting in the Vera collection. Mostly the larger bags for travel. I'll get them eventually, when the need arises. In the meantime, I know a person who probably won't mind scoping out the Vera at the stores with me!

Ten minutes after I posted this, I found this had arrived:

I got a serious bargain on this one. It's not a Villager, but is about 3/4 the size of one with a velcro pocket on the front. If you're in the market for the Vera brand, but don't have the funds for new, check out eBay. There are definitely other bargains to be had.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Paying it Forward

My parents were wonderful in teaching me a wonderful concept: share what you know.

I know, we all should do that, right? Unfortunately, a lot of people don't freely offer up useful information unless specifically asked a question. That's sad, because there are so many things in life that if we know 'hey, I've been there, too' or 'you know, if you just called..." it would make our journey a little easier.

So, paying it forward.

This semester, by virtue of my good grades, I'm in an Honors Spanish class. The structure of the class is more student dictated. For instance, we choose the format of our exams and projects. Most of our interactions are done on Facebook and using the college web infrastructure. I like it, because this helps me to learn Spanish syntax and grammatical structure.

The college places a lot of resources into having an Honors program, and today, students were treated to a picnic at a reserve near the Lakeland campus. I went, knowing that perhaps the only people I would know was my Spanish prof and the Stats prof who took Spanish I with me two semesters ago.

I was right, I didn't know anyone else, but the conversations were pleasant. Profesora was funny, cheering that "my Honors Spanish students are represented" when I arrived. As there were only about 30 people there, she and I got to chat quite a bit about upcoming events in the class (a day trip and an overnight are in the works).

A previous student joined our conversation and the usual questions came up-how long until you get your AA and where do you want to continue in your studies? He expressed concern about coming up with the money and stated that after he graduates next December, he might just work until the following fall to come up with the cash to pay tuition at the University of Florida.

Profesora and I shared what we knew, that applying for a semester other than fall improves your chances for getting one of those coveted seats in a competitive program. He also lamented what he'd found so far on the financial aid front and I gave him the suggestion that worked for me.

The University has a great website, and if you look at the admissions section, go into the Financial Aid section. For instance, USF has a scholarship search engine-UF probably has the same thing. There are more scholarships for transfer students and most don't realize they're out there. I mentioned local businesses that encourage continuing students and offer scholarships.

Most importantly, universities WANT you to attend and will help you find the financial resources to attend if your grades are there. He seemed a little surprised at that one, but it's so true. The single most important visit he can make on the UF campus when touring is to the Financial Aid office to explain his situation and see what options he can try. He thanked us and left to join his friends as the picnic ended.

Profesora walked me out to my car and thanked me for giving a personal testimonial that seemed to make an impression on him. This polite, intelligent young man comes from a very large family and dad's job doesn't allow for them to fund college for all their kids.

When I had money, I didn't have time to return to school, and when I had the time, we didn't have the money. Now, I have no money and plenty of time and found a way to make this work. What got me here is persistence and others pointing me in the right direction.

Now it's my turn to do the same.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Dinner, Let Me Show You

In the past week, we've grilled:
Pork Chops
White Hots/Red Hots
Corn
Burgers

Today, Ed smoked these bad boys. He made the rub, loaded the smoker with some apple wood and debated making some homemade barbeque sauce. I told him the best ribs I'd ever eaten (from Gordon's Grocery in Hagerstown, MD), were coated with this wonderful dry rub and didn't need a drop of sauce.

The smell was intoxicating. The poor neighbors.



If you've wondered about smokers, well, I am here to tell you that we spent the same on three racks of ribs from the market that you'd pay for a rack in a restaurant and they were damn good! Smoke ring, fall off the bone tender.
the new grill, which will be very busy around here!
completed ribs with only dry rub on them
Look, a smoke ring!
I suspect this thing is going to pay for itself sooner than I thought!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apparently, I Am a College Graduate

I got a letter yesterday afternoon from the University's financial aid office. It's not time for them to send anything out for the spring semester, and my fall award information was emailed to me back in June, so I was a little puzzled before I even opened the letter.

With good reason, apparently. This letter stated "As you have already earned a baccalaureate degree, your Pell funding has been rescinded for this semester. Pell funds cannot be used towards graduate level studies."

What?

This morning, I went to the Financial Aid office on campus to get this resolved (or get them to give me the degree I supposedly already earned!). Initially, they tried to push me off on the Registrar's office, saying that the registrar handles student statusing. I held firm that it was Financial Aid that sent me the letter, therefore, Financial Aid was going to resolve this issue and get my funds applied correctly.

At first glance on their screens, I'm listed as an actively enrolled graduate student, but it says January-as it should. It took two reps checking several different tools at their disposal to say "Oh, yeah, you ARE still an undergraduate!"

A message was left with the person who generated the letter and she's supposed to email or call tomorrow once this has been resolved.

It appears that my admittance into graduate school prior to funds distribution for the 10/11 school year threw the system into a tailspin. Students can apply to the graduate programs up to 365 days prior to enrolling, but most wait until after they've donned a cap and gown and marched to 'Pomp and Circumstance.' The age of computers does not know how to handle a student who has split statuses in one financial aid year.

The down side? Everything that has to be placed in my files as an undergraduate must be done manually. At least I know this and can head it off at the pass. For the most part, this is done on my home campus, where everyone knows me and will help.

The up side? I've been applying for graduate assistant positions that I meet the qualifications for and since the system is listing me as a graduate student, I may just get one of these positions prior to taking my finals in December.

Oh well, I was hoping that I'd be able to skip classes today since financial aid's letter made it seem that I didn't need them!







Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Court of Honor

Chef's on his way. Three merit badges, a Totin' chit, a Fireman's chit and he actually made one rank.


Now, if only he'd understand that he'd be on his fourth rank if he went to his leaders and ask to have his board of reviews!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm a Baaaaad Influence

Because over the past couple of months, my friend Meghan kept seeing my Vera bags and slowly went from 'meh' to 'those are kind of cute.' I didn't help matters much when I told her about my collection (pictures to follow soon).

I extolled their versatility, durability and washability for months. Then, Vera tortured me by releasing the Metropolitan bag and I spent easily a month trying to locate one in the pattern I wanted, because I needed to use something smaller than my backpack before I did permanent damage to my neck and shoulders.

When I got it, she kept saying "Oooooh, preeeeeettttttttyyyyyy." Yep, she's been reeled in. So, yesterday, I hung out with her, showed her one of the shops locally that carries them, then spent some time perusing eBay and the Vera site to give her information about sizing and patterns.

Today, she texted me this:


Heck, I started with one Betsy bag-she jumped in all the way. I'm happy about this, because she's just made gift giving occasions that much easier...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Is Getting Old

Coughing.

Fatigue.

A passel of medications.

Tomorrow, a chest xray-and I think I'm actually going to skip my two classes to rest. The medications are helping, but not quickly. It's probably better not to push myself and do my best to recover this week-when there are no tests on the calendar.

Push, and next week might be spent in bed.

I don't want to miss tests, so I'll take it easy for now...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Girl Meets Grill

For our first wedding anniversary, Ed and I got a gas grill. Year round, we'd use that bad boy, mostly to make steaks or kebabs.

It had a design flaw that resulted in replacing the heating element. Twice. As a result, not that long after we moved to Florida, the grill was history.

Some sucker found it out at the curb and probably looked at the exterior and thought we were nuts for getting rid of a perfectly good grill. It was gone before the garbage men showed the next day. It was going to suck for that person to find that Sunbeam no longer existed and the crucial part to using that grill, the heating element, could not be replaced.

It's been on our list of 'wants' to replace our grill. This year, I told Ed we'd get a new one. However, we have champagne tastes and a beer budget. As is typical, Ed did a bunch of research, then we looked around. One of the places on the list to check was not as full of outdoor lifestyle products as we'd hoped. We were upfront with the salesperson that we were in the market for a grill. He gave us the name of a place, conveniently located right by Game Teen's school.

We walked in and were immediately taken with the SMELL in this place. They knew grilling and smoking foodstuffs. That much was clear. The couple who owned the place offered assistance and we were honest that we were in the market for a grill, but probably couldn't afford the lovely models they were selling.

I don't know if our appreciation for their wares was obvious, or if the guy was just an overly friendly sort, but he told us he was about to sell his demo of one of the grills, as he did every six months. He told us that if we were visiting on a weekend, we would already be loading one of these grills in the car, because the smell of the meats smoking on it would weaken us.

We already were smelling the remnants of those demonstrations when he opened the demo to show the features, and we were struck by the overwhelming sense of YUM that came out of that lid. Smoker and grill, this baby was wood pellet and had temperature control from 150 to 500. Visions of smoked meats and wood fired pizzas danced in my head.

The price-a bargain. A serious bargain. Factor in how long one bag of wood pellets cook compared to a tank of propane and it's in the realm of 'why not'. Ed asked my opinion and I said "I'll take THAT one." I even told the guy he needn't bother with cleaning the inside out like he'd offered.

So, this is what was going on at our house two hours later:
that's my dry rub on the chops: brown sugar, kosher salt, garlic and rosemary.

Yeah, I know, barbeque season is over where you are.

We're just getting started...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Florida in September

95 degrees.

Humid.

Air Conditioning. Lots of air conditioning.

So, when you go to Sam's club, you don't really expect to see an endcap of these:


Somehow, I suspect that the powers that be say to themselves each year "perhaps we shouldn't send the duraflame logs to Florida next year." Then, the following year, they show up.



Thursday, September 09, 2010

Well, Crap!

One week ago: Cold shows signs of becoming bronchitis. As I know the only thing that will work on this is industrial strength cough syrup, I call the doctor.

Prescribed: The world's smallest bottle of cough medicine that I've ever received.

Thought process: Well, I can call back when this runs out, because it will run out before the cough ceases to annoy me. My doctors are used to this, no biggie, right?

What really happened: I called this afternoon to explain that there is one, possibly two doses left in the bottle (and I haven't been taking it the every six hours that is stated on the bottle, either). Does Dr. S want to call in a new script or suggest an OTC alternative?

"There's a note on your file, Suzanne. It says (receptionist reading) "If Suzanne calls back in to request a refill, she must be seen in the office AND have a chest X ray scheduled."

Oh, CRAP.

What doesn't help: Receptionist listens to my cough and says "You still sound like THAT after a week of cough medicine?" And here I thought I was sounding better!

Hell, even my long-time friends (Donna and Joyce) both commented that I sounded good. Meanwhile, my newer friends all wince when I talk, thinking I sound horrible.

Guess we'll find out more tomorrow afternoon, since I'm getting my first chest X ray since 1980. Yay.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Suzanne's Guide to Studying On Campus

Downstairs, it's busy. All the comfy seats are occupied by students and/or their books. If you're going to sit, it will be on the floor, and it's likely someone will be stepping over you on their way in or out of the building.

My body rebels against such situations.

Instead, take a trip-upstairs. Without fail, if I go up one floor (or in the case of the Library, three floors), quiet areas to study can be found. Like this one:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I Thought 11 Year Olds Think Girls Are "Yucky"

In the car tonight, heading home from scouts, Chef spies a Camaro.

"Look Mom, it's Bumblebee." One of the things I got to occupy the kids while I was under the weather this weekend was the DVD of the Transformers sequel. He watched it three times. (Which means I paid less per viewing than I would have at even the drive in!)

"Dude, that one's red."

"Yeah, I know, but that's the right kind of car." He's definitely his father's son, as he can spot a specific model of car waaaaaaay off in the distance.

"Hey, dude, did you notice that Sam looked really familiar? Like from Indiana Jones or something?"

"Hiya, Mutt, how are ya doin'?" Okay, can't pull a fast one on him.

"Dude, remember 'Even Stevens'?"

"Of course, Mom. He was Louis."

"He was a funny looking kid and look at him now!"

"Yeah, I KNOW! I mean, he's got Megan Fox as a girlfriend. Megan Fox! He's so LUCKY!"

Oh,crap. Chef's eleven-and he's noticing Megan Fox already?

Do they really notice girls this young?



Monday, September 06, 2010

Thank You, Walgreens

So, in the war of 24 hour pharmacies around here, there's a clear winner in my book. Walgreens. Let me explain why.

About a mile from our house, there's a CVS. Jane and Mom insisted on using this CVS, despite the fact that it'd take ten minutes for them to acknowledge your presence at the drive through window. Given a pick up time five hours later, you'd show up and still wait a half hour for one of the three techs to actually acknowledge your existence and get the prescriptions-and they'd still miss something. I got wise and would ask Jane how many I was picking up, so that I didn't have to make a trip back to pick up the most important of the dozen or so things I was getting for her.

The other night, I got back to Lakeland too late for my preferred, non-24 hour pharmacy and realized I needed an open location. Close to home, we have a choice of Walgreens or CVS. Heck, you drive 5 miles in any direction and there are four (possibly five) of each chain. I remembered that when we lived at the other house, the closest all night pharmacy was Walgreens, so I chose them. All of the experiences with them were much better than the couple dozen times I'd been to the CVS's pharmacy.

I had a small problem. When I renewed my health insurance Friday morning, I printed out the temporary ID and left it with my doctor's office. No biggie-I'll print out a new one, right? Nope, the company had pulled the website down for the weekend.

The pharmacist couldn't get through to the insurance company, but quickly filled the prescription for the Cheratussin AC, after consulting with me. That was the pressing need at that time. I told him as soon as I got the ID card printed up, I'd be back for the Z-pack.

That was today.

I was in and out of the store in five minutes. Instead of waiting for them to pull up the prescription in their computer, then waiting for it to be filled, it was ready for me with a little post it on it "waiting for insurance authorization." Previous experiences with Jane's meds showed me the other place is NOT proactive like that.

Little details like that, especially when you feel like utter poop, make a big impression.

It was nice to walk in feeling cruddy, ready for a 40-45 minute wait, but walk out in a lot less time because the pharmacist was proactive. He knew I'd be back, why make me wait?

So, Walgreens, thank you for making this sick customer smile. I'll be back.





Sunday, September 05, 2010

My Best Friends Right Now

I've spent over 30 of the past 48 hours sleeping. Partly because these items are helping me to do so:




And my Stupid Leg is making it clear that I'm following doctor's orders, because my ankles are something close to the same size.


Classes resume Tuesday-let's see if my body is ready for that.




Saturday, September 04, 2010

When the Cook is Ill

Romeo's to the rescue.

Friday, September 03, 2010

And the Verdict Is...

Bronchitis.

Sinus Infection.

Doctor's orders are to sit on the couch all weekend. At least I was smart enough while I was over in Brandon to see him to stop at GameStop and MovieStop. The kids will have stuff to do.

At least I caught it early...