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Showing posts from September, 2010

Five

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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.

Pure water

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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.

Irony

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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.)

Todos mis amores

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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 o…

Longevity

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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…

Favorite Authors

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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 re…

Laughing My Butt Off

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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

Autumnal Equinox

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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.

Grade Junkies Get Senioritis, Too

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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 th…

Drunk on Mudbugs

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Important to Have on Campus

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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.

Pizza on the Grill

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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…

This is What Happens When You Need a Bag

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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 …

Paying it Forward

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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, know…

My Dinner, Let Me Show You

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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!

Apparently, I Am a College Graduate

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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 en…

Court of Honor

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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!

I'm a Baaaaad Influence

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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'…

This Is Getting Old

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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...

Girl Meets Grill

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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 …

Florida in September

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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.



Well, Crap!

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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 …

Suzanne's Guide to Studying On Campus

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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:

I Thought 11 Year Olds Think Girls Are "Yucky"

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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 LUC…

Thank You, Walgreens

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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. …

My Best Friends Right Now

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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.




When the Cook is Ill

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Romeo's to the rescue.

And the Verdict Is...

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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...