Showing posts from December, 2010

Mutually Beneficial

Since GameTeen started at his current school, the Director and I have had many conversations about the goals of the school, her personal goals (she is ABD on her PhD.) and my goals beyond the Master's Degree. She's been great about helping me to refine my purpose and to a lesser extent, I've been doing that for her.

My goal with projects in the grad program is, whenever possible, my assignments benefit the school. It will be more meaningful to me to create something that can be used instead of just for credit. We've discussed this and have plans to sit down to create a 'wish list' of things the school needs.

Today, she pinged me on Facebook with a question. What she needs is a relational database to catalog and easily retrieve student information. I'm well versed in making flat file databases, but have yet to work with relational. It is something I do need to learn, because I will need to catalog my research data.

We conversed for a while, spelling out …

Ringing in the New Year

Yesterday, I reminded a FB friend about his informative Tweets a few years ago about the proper undergarments to ring in the new year. This piqued the interest of another of his friends and seeing that we had about 15 friends in common, she sent me a friend request. She also asked a question:

What's the deal with the yellow underwear?I sent her the link and I got the coolest complement, in that she said she was laminating it and putting that post up on her mantle.

However, as it is nearly New Year's Eve, you may be considering the things you desire in the coming year. To refresh your memory, yellow underwear is good for financial prosperity, red for romance, and black is very bad.

Plan your undergarments accordingly.

The Hip Bone's Connected to the Headache

Femoral Neck Fracture.

Partial Hip Replacement.

That's what we gleaned from Jane's doctor yesterday. He asked where she lives, and I told him she lives in an apartment that she tells people is assisted living, but the property manager points out that they're not. Her doctor didn't seem too concerned.

However, he told us that she's got about 2 months of rehabilitation ahead,with x rays every two weeks. He doesn't know Jane-we do. I kept my mouth shut, because frankly, if she doesn't care enough about doing whatever it takes to get better, why should we?

She's supposed to be released from the hospital tomorrow, but to where, we don't know. Nor do we know for how long, as it depends on how much effort she'll put into walking again. The big concerns with hip injuries are that reduced mobility increases her risk of blood clots or pneumonia due to increased fluid in the lungs. She's already on Plavix for elevated clot risk, and she is suppose…

Tower Prep

Usually, I'm an innocent bystander in the selection of television viewing in this house. We've had the current TV since April, and I still don't know how to work the remote. (That's what kids are for when you don't choose much on your own)

A few months ago, Chef started watching the live action original programming, namely Unnatural History. The show took historical events and wove them into a fictional series about two cousins who at first dislike each other, but later realize that they need each other to solve mysteries.

So, in October, when a new program started up, he was in. We didn't see every episode, but if it was Tuesday night and we were home, Tower Prep was going to be watched. The difference was that this show (like Unnatural History) wasn't a dumbed down storyline. It had appeal for both me and Chef.

Basically, Ian wakes up and finds himself in Tower Prep, a boarding school where the students all have special abilities. He has no clue how h…

Global Warming, My Tucchus!

It is 29 degrees outside right now. TWENTY NINE! In Florida!

So, I did what any other rational person does when faced with cold, winter weather: I cooked. Then I baked, and then I baked some more. First, one of my favorite winter meals that Mom would make, loin of pork with roasted potatoes and pan dripping gravy. The difference is that I seasoned it like I was making Pernil instead of Mom's salt, pepper and garlic.

Then, I made a boat load and a half of cookies. Chocolate chip, oatmeal cranberry, peanut butter, then peanut butter cookie cups with Reece's peanut butter cups inside. My friend Meghan's mom, Betty, offered some pumpkin bread in exchange for cookies and that sounded good. So did a nice dinner, so they dined with us tonight. On a cold night, it's good to have company and lively conversation to keep you warm.

Now, I'm relaxing in my flannel USF jammies and enjoying the idea that my fridge has plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week. Yum!

When, Not If

Those three words describe Jane to a T. It's never a case of 'if she goes into the hospital, but WHEN will she go into the hospital again.' In the time that I've known her, these things happen with stunning regularity and seem to happen most often when an event will be disrupted.

For that reason, I withheld information about my graduation. Ed and Betsy agreed with my logic and we all kept silent about that event, even though my husband told me that he would not miss watching me walk across the stage for anything.

Still, we knew something would happen-and it did.

Wednesday, the five of us were slated to visit Betsy and family for an early Christmas celebration for nine. Ed got a phone call fairly early in the morning. Jane requested that he bring the manual wheelchair because she'd fallen in her apartment and banged up her hip. He went to the storage unit and picked it up, only to get a call about 20 minutes before we were to get her that she was in too much pain…

Raise Up Cups of Christmas Cheer

I think this song has the right idea. A nice, low key Christmas is what we needed this year.

It's not quiet, as the kids are playing various video games, but it's been perfect.

To you and yours, I hope the day has been with those you love and exactly what you wanted.

Happy Life Day


The Dear Abby Axiom

From a very young age, I was a regular reader of "Dear Abby." Actually, Newsday, the Long Island daily, carried her sister Ann Landers for a long time before Abby arrived on the scene, so I honestly started reading Ann first.

Anyway, I was surrounded by adults in my life who provided plenty of common sense advice, but Abby filled in a lot of things that were unspoken. One thing that stuck with me from all those years ago was this one thing that she'd repeat many times over and over to letters asking Abby's opinion of something that sounded outrageous:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

This comes to mind because a couple of days ago, I paid the cell phone bill and realized that it was 30 bucks more than usual, so I looked through the itemized detail of all four phones on the account. Mine, Ed's and Chef's all looked the same (Chef had all of 17 minutes usage, all calls to me), but Jane's had some unusual activity.

9.99 for a Daily Astrology…

Careful What You Wish For

Because it might be very, very scary!

Witness the cat and his desire for the string from one of my party balloons:

Once he actually got hold of the string, the mylar bouncing along the wall made a HUGE sound that you can't hear on the video and he ran to the other side of the room and looked at the string nervously. If I showed the full video, you would hear me and Ed laughing hysterically for about 10 seconds. He tried grabbing it earlier, but I must have distracted him when I reached into my purse to get the Flip.

Next time, I've got to make sure I'm on the other side of the room so I can show this comedy in all its glory!

The Tub of Goodness

The rest of my house is a case in point that Martha Stewart does not live here, but my pantry is another story.

It's a lot smaller than I'd like, and it's overflowing with provisions, but there's a strong sense of order. Namely, these tubs like pictured above. My spices and baking goods are all stored in them, so I can pull out what I need at a moment's notice.

For instance, the baking tub has baking powder, baking soda, various chips, extracts, cocoa powder and vanilla. This way, if the urge to bake strikes, I have all I need in a matter of seconds instead of spending a half hour rooting through all the spices for a stray ingredient.

Hey, it works for us. And it's why there are now 8 dozen chocolate cookies (with pb chips, Reece's pieces or dried cherries in them) and a double batch of sugar cookie dough in the fridge.

There's only one thing missing from the tub, and that's because Hershey's stopped making them. My specialty for years w…

Head Scratcher

To graduate my fine University, you have to fill out several "Application for Graduation" forms. One is a PDF form that can only be completed and submitted online that I've been trying to submit for over a month.

This morning, I called the Financial Aid office, as this one is what allows me to see funding for my graduate studies. I explained to the young lady who answered the phone that I've been trying to submit this form but have been unsuccessful, is there someone I can email it to?

She asks if I've checked both of the boxes in the certification portion. Yes, I reply, then she asks "You have a Mac, don't you?" When I reply in the affirmative, she tells me that this form doesn't work on a Mac. "We get a lot of phone calls about that?'

I made an offhand comment that perhaps the form or the instructions that accompany the form should state this, as I could have submitted this thing weeks ago from a computer on campus. I was brush…

I Should Be Studying

The post semester guilt trip.

After a week or so of catching up on all the things that haven't been attended to during the semester, there comes the time where I can sit and relax and take it easy.

Without fail, after a couple of hours of this, I feel guilty that I should really be studying. There has to be a paper, a test, a quiz, a something that is due in the coming week.

This nagging feeling that I have to do something follows me until about two days before the new semester begins.

Isn't it wonderful?

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Kitty

The cat is annoyed at me.

Yesterday, I was cleaning and rearranging things in preparation for a small graduation party. He was miffed, because some of his perches within the house were moved.

Then today, we spent most of the day cleaning in preparation and he was spooked. He hid in GameTeen's room, a place he rarely goes. While we had guests, he didn't want to be out-in fact, he hid. As my bedroom was closed off, he couldn't go to his favorite hiding place, under my bed. Instead, he chose a spot in GameTeen's room where nobody would find him

Now, almost two hours after the last guest has departed, he's still in there. I tried to bring him out, but he was having nothing to do with me. However, he did something he's never done before-curled up next to GameTeen on the bed.

He's never had this many people in the house with him before. I guess he doesn't like it.

He'll need to work on his hiding places, though!

Teacher Gifts

At GameTeen's school, everyone helps out with the students. As a result, I didn't want to go wit the traditional buy a gift for the one teacher,' because that would leave out so many people who have an impact on his day to day instruction.

Instead, I did something I used to do for his school in Maryland: I made lunch for all the faculty and staff!

The menu was a well-received brined and grilled Chicken, rosemary roasted potatoes and a large salad loaded with craisins, pecans, pineapples and feta cheese.

When I went to pick up Game Teen this afternoon, when I went to get the serving platters and bowls, there was still a lot of food left (I tend to over cook). It must have been a hit, because when I asked if anyone wanted to take leftovers home, within two minutes, EVERYTHING was gone! (Which really was my goal) What better way for a few people to start Christmas break than to have a night where they don't have to cook?

When I said that I was trying to figure out what t…

Finding Treasures

There are quite a few boxes that have been moved with us from Maryland that have not been opened. Many of those are just because we didn't have any place to put them.

However, today a friend was looking for sheet music for "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" that included the obligato part that our high school choir performed along with the four part harmonies. It's a very pretty addition to a wonderful advent song.

I had noticed that one of the boxes was labeled music and set about opening it to see if it was sheet music from the piano bench (regrettably, the bench fell apart many years ago). I did find the dittos of the old standards we performed, and as I suspected, the descant was not written in. There was a holiday treasure trove, 'Christmas in Song' and I filched one of those my senior year, because it was the most comprehensive sheet music of Christmas carols you could find (and it is small, too)

Opening that box, I found many goodies: sheet music, concert pr…

What Psych Classes Did You Take?

One thing that seems to be universal, no matter what college or what major you take is this: other students in your major want to know what classes you took, which ones you recommend and which professors to take-or avoid.

There's, but the site has a few drawbacks. First, you're limited to 250 characters, which isn't enough to give an accurate appraisal of any course or professor. Second, students who expect A's for just showing up to class can write a nasty review-or a person who didn't even take a class can write something up to boost an instructor's rating.

It's one barometer, but not the only one to use. That said, if I'd known about the site before I took my Art History class, I probably would have (rightfully) avoided that professor for that class. That's why the feedback for classmates is so important-especially students you know have similar expectation.

For instance, there's a professor on my campus who i…

One Down, Two to Go

Twenty six years and three months after I entered college, I finally earned a degree. Last night, I joined 70 of my peers and participated in graduation.

It was weird to be there and only have one of my friends graduating at the same time (and I sat with him for the ceremony). In some respects, it was good- I didn't have anyone giving me a hard time about the moments where I got a little verklempt during the evening!

Some of the speakers echoed my thoughts about the ceremony. One asked the audience to rise so that the graduates could honor them. I would not be there last night without the support of Ed and the boys, because they've made sacrifices in the effort to get this B.A.

The second spoke of finishing that bachelor's degree and getting her first job, thinking her goal was just to be the best teacher she could be. Ten years later, she had a PhD, because being the best meant more education. I'm a little different, I got to that decision before finishing the fi…

We Interrupt Tonight's Scheduled Post About Graduation to Bring You This Important Message


I got a hit to my blog today from your site. Apparently, one of your readers searched your site for college, read one of MY posts on your site, and then came to my blog from your site. Imagine my surprise when I found that I am a CONTRIBUTOR to your site, when until I saw the hit on my sitemeter, I'd never even heard of Disney Detectives

Your site states that you are "Discovering Disney news, one site at a time." I'd like to know what Disney news you found in this post on my site: to warrant its placement on your site as this:

My biggest issue with finding several of my posts on your site is that they're all there without so much as a request from someone at your site asking if I would like to become a contributor or perhaps write original content for you (as I have on other sites in the past). Instead, you've tagged my original content 'posted …


Guess it is a good thing I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup today...

R and R

So, yesterday we went to Epcot. I over did it. Massively.

The lesson learned: if I don't have a scooter to use or the walker handy, I can't handle it. It's still hard to accept that my leg will not tolerate it.

Today was spent recovering, either with medication, a nap or a soak in the tub. I haven't done much of anything, even though there's a Spanish final to take and complete by Tuesday.

Ahh, there's tomorrow and Monday to work on it...

Greetings from Epcot


A Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

It's been almost twenty years. Yeah, I know, a long time. Lately, I've been thinking about you a lot more than usual.

I wonder what things you and the kids would be getting into, whether you and Chef would have been to a Broadway show, a hike or a hundred or whether you'd be debating the merits of various musicians. With Game Teen, you'd probably be pulling that literary storehouse out of the boy and had a lot of patience with his obsessions.

The main reason you've been on my mind is that you valued education above all else. It took a long time, but I realize that my passion for books came from you. Your thirst for knowledge was impressive, and you stressed the importance of a good education to me and Giggles.

You were so proud of both of us attending college and disappointed when I 'took a semester off' that stretched a lot longer than one semester. Right after you passed away, I returned to school to get those 12 credits done, but I got si…

Thirty Years

John Lennon's death was one of those flashbulb memory moments of my youth. Sitting at the dining room table at my moms, her little television tuned to Monday Night Football (no idea who was playing, but it probably was the Jets or the Giants) while she cut and pinned together one of her holiday sewing projects.

Yes, I heard Howard Cosell's emotional announcement.

In August, while in Manhattan, we happened to visit this location. Not intentionally, but after leaving the Museum of Natural History, we strolled along the outer perimeter of Central Park in an effort to find a subway station to get us to Times Square.

Strangely, while the rest of the city was active and full of the sounds of city life, this corner was quiet, muted and just had a very somber vibe. It was as if it was in a little bubble of its own.

For me, what stuck with me the most about John Lennon was that he knew he was not perfect and never seemed to be full of himself with fame and fortune. Quite the opposite…

Saved by the Bell

This morning, I had a large presentation for Spanish about the videos from "Spain...on the Road Again" I had to write 60 sentences en español, speak another 60 or so off the cuff and it's worth 200 points.

The instructions had this information, but just on the rubric. As a result, I was about 12 sentences short. Oops.

However, I was the only one to present today, because the other students were unclear on what day they were supposed to do theirs. We chose these dates over a month ago and I honestly didn't remember that we'd chosen dates, either. So, I was the only one to present.

However, I was about four slides in and time ran out on the day. Profesora asked me if I would finish mine Thursday.

Good, now I can add those twelve sentences!

Working on a Powerpoint for Spanish

This semester's big project is a powerpoint about several episodes of the PBS series "Spain...on the Road Again." The series features food, culture and history while four erstwhile travelers consume lots of wine during their sojourn.

What could be bad about a series with Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman (of the NY Times) and Claudia Bassols? Not much, in my opinion

Well, there was this bed music they used throughout the series that was evocative of Carlos Santana. Some digging netted this musician from Miami and that song:

The artist's name is Monterosa and the song is 'Me Lo Robo'

Then I went to his website and listened to samples of the rest of the tracks on the featured album. Me gusta!

A Parting Gift

Earlier this week, I picked up my cap and gown. (It's still sitting in the bag, because the cat will make sure to deposit many fawn colored hairs on that black gown as possible.) The university asks all students to fill out a survey before receiving these items, so I did my part.

After completing the task, I was given a little bag with some parting gifts. In with the little trinkets was this little guy:

"Oh how cute, I've got a bull of my own!" Rocky stayed in my handbag, because the cat is also partial to gnawing on plastic and/or rubber objects. Wednesday night, I pulled him out to show a friend in class and felt something on the bottom. See:

Not only did I get a bull of my own to signify my graduation from USFP, I got an anatomically correct bull.

What else would you expect from a research institution?

Now I know why Rocky the Bull is clothed at all school events!

Es Posible Que

Yo soy comprender mas de español!

This semester has been one where I have not been diligent about my Spanish studies. There just hasn't been the time to practice, as I've carved out in the prior two semesters.

Fortunately, while this semester's class did introduce new vocab, new verb conjugations (futuro, pasado progressivo, pasado perfecto, etc.) and new grammatical ideas (mandatos), the work focused a lot more on la cultura españa y sudamerica.

Fortunately, this meant that while I haven't been writing or speaking cada dia, it does mean that what would have earned me a C or D in the past may squeak a B. I'm fine on culture, I'm learning a lot on that front. Another saving grace is being a grammar freak, so while I'm no expert by any means, I have made progress.

The past couple of classes and today's Charlas drove that point home.

In other classes, if I've got something to say that's relevant, I'll speak up. The focus on culture and histo…

Two Down, Two to Go

Psych of Aging final-done. I won't get the grade until probably next Friday, because the professor gave the class the option of taking the final in the last class session or the designated final exam time slot. I'm of the mind to get things done.

This morning, I took my Cognitive Psych final. The class is taught by the most beloved professor on campus and I've kicked myself all along that I couldn't take one of her classes until my final semester there. It was worth it. By the time I got home from picking Game Teen up from school, my grade was up.

In typical Suzanne fashion, I continued the 'so close I can touch it' grade streak. My overall average in the class is a 92.69- and 93 is an A. I'm hoping for rounding up!

With two off my plate, the ability to focus my studying on Tuesday's oral exam, Wednesday's final and then next Tuesday's final will be a lot easier to manage.

Refining and Encouraging, All at the Same Time

When I went to pick up GameTeen at school today, the Director asked to speak with me. We already have plans for meeting tomorrow to discuss a behavioral intervention plan for him, because he's having some difficulties behaviorally. The difference here, as opposed to public school, is that all the staff knows how to deal with him.

As my future plans heavily include research in curriculums for autism spectrum disorders, she and I talk regularly about those ideas of mine. I pick her brain about what I see and she gladly says "Yeah! Did you think about..." and points out a facet that OMG, that's really important.

For instance, today, the advice was to narrow down my focus to just Aspergers Syndrome, because these are kids who typically at the top end of the intelligence scale and very technologically savvy. Then, we talked about Temple Grandin's accounts of 'thinking in pictures' and it brought an aHA! moment of geez, no wonder why our kids get frustrated …

An Era Ends

I took my last undergrad class on my campus tonight. Heck, I didn't even realize that it was the last until there were only three of us left in the classroom.

This afternoon, I also took the first of my four finals. That went well, there's hope of pulling out an A-, possibly even an A in the class. We'll see how that goes.

It is just a little surreal, like I'm going to wake up and find out I haven't finished all the work...