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Showing posts from August, 2011

Final Preparations

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I have looked at so much math this week, i can probably teach it.

And yes, that would be the world's most expensive calculator. I like it. It multitasks and takes pictures, too.

This time tomorrow, I will be sitting at home and having a HUGE drink to celebrate that my GRE is over. :D

Overlapping Topics

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I love when the Instructional Technology classes navigate the psychological research waters, because it just reinforces what I already know, while giving me a fresh perspective.

For instance, tonight in class, we covered quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. In the psychology realm, qualitative research is considered good, a case study or a more in depth probing into a topic that may or may not be applied to the population at large. The resources just aren't there to do a lot of qualitative research. (Think Quality here to remember the differences).

No, in behavioral sciences, it is more important to conduct quantitative research, to know that what you hypothesize and measure can be found in the population at large. (Think Quantity.) For an example of why quantitative measure is important, you remember how researchers in Great Britain said they had found that immunizations caused autism? Remember the firestorm it generated?

The doctors later admitted that they…

Phishing in Florida

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Florida is unofficially known as 'The Retirement State,' but there is another name it should have "the Phishing State." My sister in law got scammed a couple of times and we bailed her out of one, but the mail Saturday brought this little gem:





At this point, if it's coming addressed to Jane, it is an insurance EOB or junk mail, because we've notified everyone else. I will admit that for a second or two, I wondered WTH was up with the 'Electric Update,' until I remembered that she never had a utility bill in her name. Then I looked at the thing a little closer.

At the bottom, there's that *not affiliated with any public or private utility company.
Unfortunately, it is printed in a font so small that a person with declining vision may not notice it, so a claxxon alarm started going off.

Turn the card over and it says to "Jane...or current resident. Again, something that you wouldn't notice at first glance and this organization is hoping th…

Recipe, S'il Vous Plait (RSVP)-Make mine 'Que

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I don't know the first time I had a pulled pork sandwich, but the first good one I had was in the summer of 1984, when Dad, Giggles and I were on vacation. The smoky flavor (that didn't come from a bottle of liquid smoke), the tangy barbeque sauce and the perfect bun. I was hooked.

Since then, I've had my share of good 'Que and bad, but the purchase of the grill last year made me want to perfect my own 'que at home. I'm not there yet, but the most recent offerings I made on the grill were deemed so good by Chef that he insisted no barbeque sauce was needed.

Whoa.

I think the key to satisfaction from all three menfolk was the dry rub I used this time. Put a good one on a pork butt or picnic, let it sit and then grill for half the day, and your family will be raving, too.


While you may not have the means to grill something low and slow at home for 6 or so hours, you can do the same in the oven. It won't have the smoke ring, but it will have some good fla…

Dejá Vu

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Back in January, to prepare for my graduate program, I spoke with a fellow committee member from the school about jobs in Instructional Technology. She led the department on campus that handled all course content for online and the possibility existed that she *might* have a position for a graduate assistant this past spring. Alas, the chess pieces that needed to move did not, which is why I am where I am and doing what I'm doing.

I use the skills I've learned so far, but that is not the intent of my role-just a bonus that my employer is only too happy to let me play with on a regular basis. (Yes, I am a lucky woman on that front!)

So, when I spoke to that director back in January, she urged me to go introduce myself to the Instructional Technologists on staff and ask them about their jobs, and what I could expect to do if I came on board as an Instructional Technologist. I met with two people and the time was well spent-as I found that what I expected of the IT Master'…

Spaghetti Models

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While I would never want to go back to the days where hurricanes showed up without any advance warning, the current methods may just provide too much information.

Case in point:
The Weather Channel has a Storm Tracker. It takes those models from the National Hurricane Center and expands the information. For instance, you can zoom in on that map to street level.

Earlier today, it showed the eye of the storm passing three blocks away from my sister's house. Granted, the eye is huge, so her house would be in that-but it's the winds on the back side of the eye that inflict the most damage.

When I looked at it a couple of hours ago, it passed over Betsy and Tod's old house (and my sister's old apartment from her single days). Now, it passes about 1/4 mile east of the gas station where Ed and I met when we worked together years ago.

A lot can change between now and when it makes landfall in NY. I'm kind of hoping for an outcome like Belle in 1976, where the st…

Why I Won't Be Walking Into Spiderwebs

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Over the summer, I learned a little bit about JavaScript before I learned my limitations and waved the white flag and dropped the class.

The professor for that class posted the syllabus and book material after the semester started, took a hands-off approach to teaching the course, and looked over my code when I was having problems, declared it good-but didn't offer any suggestions of what to do to get it to work on my machine.

Basically, I needed someone who could tell me why good code wasn't working. When I dropped the class, I consoled myself with the belief that this course is better suited to a 15 week semester with a professor there to answer my questions in real time.

Tonight, I had my first class of the same course and I was more than a little worried about it. I'd wondered if this was going to be an exercise in futility-as well as a minor worry that he'd tell me I was crazy for taking both of these courses in the same semester. At least I had people I k…

Kitteh Mind Push

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The kitty thinks that we cannot resist his charms. It must be ingrained that they show the belleh and get the hoomans to do their bidding. However, he is puzzled by me, because I don't get up to pet him. I can resist the belleh and often do.

It's pretty funny to see him confused that his tricks don't work on all de hoomans. In some respects, this is my own version of 'messing with Sasquatch,' only he doesn't have thumbs, therefore, he can't throw crap at me. Win-win!



Shake, Rattle and Roll

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That earthquake today? If we still lived in Maryland, we'd be about 90 miles from the epicenter.

Too close for comfort in my book. I'm usually laid back about stuff, but I am terrified of tornadoes and only slightly less scared of earthquakes. Yes, I've lived through several hurricanes and many, many blizzards, but you can plan for them.

The unpredictability of the earth shaking or a tornado tearing a swath through the paddock between my house and the neighbor's five acres away is not something I ever want to deal with on a regular basis. That tornado touched down in 1994, while I was in Chicago, moving Ed to Maryland. It was a good thing I wasn't there to see it.

A lot of people are describing their experience as "thinking I was lightheaded/dizzy/woozy" and this made one friend comment to me on the phone tonight that she now has a little bit of an idea what life with vertigo must be like. To an extent, yes, what she experienced sounds like my usu…

Using the Assets I Have

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I was asked to write a blog for work, partly because I have experience working with one and because my boss was familiar with my writing.

Now I have a new boss and she's quite pleased with my social media savvy and Adobe CS5 skills. So, I have some new tasks-creating a Twitter account and Facebook page as soon as I get some guidelines from legal. Heck, she wanted me to start things up today, but realized that waiting for the green light was the way to go.

In the meantime, I'm also treading some ground I haven't seen in years. Client sign in sheets have been scanned in for a long time, and someone manually goes through them to create Excel sheets of how many contacts were made, what form of interaction there was and who worked with the client. The job was time consuming and it was expected to become my task while they searched for a software package that would import the information from Outlook into a database.

Instead, I asked if we wanted a relational database in Acc…

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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The boys start school tomorrow. For the first time since returning to college, I do NOT have a Monday night class, which feels a little strange. I have Tuesday, Thursday and a web based class. Thankfully, the web-based one looks straight forward after two semesters of this stuff.

Meanwhile, it's 9 days until the GRE and I'm working my way through the math book. Let's see how much I can get done once I add schoolwork to the mix. The bright spot in all of this is that GameTeen needs to be at school by 8:30, I can probably start work at 9 right now and this means I can study for two hours before picking him up each day.

Commute time to Tampa will be spent listening to mis lecturas en español, because I plan on keeping up the group lessons. As long as I spend 20 minutes at day on it, I'll be maintaining the skills I have.

All of this, of course, means it is back to a normal bedtime. Boo.




Epcot

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Is much better when I don't limp around the world showcase. My sweetie loaded the scooter in the van for me first thing this morning, before I even got up, because the kids and I had plans to use their After 4 APs.

So, we enjoyed some of this:






More pictures will be added tomorrow. I succeeded in video taping Impressions de France in its entirety, so the card is taking forever to upload images. I plan to knit the 4 videos together to have the whole 18 minutes of one of my WDW happy places ready to play whenever I feel like it!

Shot to Hell

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The last day we were official residents of Maryland, I took Chef and Game Teen to our pediatrician for checkups and shots. Two days later, I enrolled both of them in the local elementary school, and provided the school with both boys' complete immunization records.

I should have made copies.

Less than a month later, GameTeen would be transferred to a school that *supposedly* was better equipped to deal with his educational needs and for some strange reason, Chef's records went along for the ride. More like they took a journey into a black hole, because they were never seen again.

Thus began the regular phone calls from the school "We need Chef's immunization records," and I would inform the lady that I'd given them to her when I spent an hour with her, enrolling both my children in the school. "Right, right, you did-but I still need them." We'd go back and forth that I gave them to her, the fact that she misplaced them was not *my* problem.�…

Go Bulls, Shellac Edition

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The Shellac really does make a difference on my nails. Alas, I had to work when I was supposed to get my nails done right before vacation and soaked it off. Over the course of the week and a half, those super long nails broke, one by one.

So, two weeks ago, we started again with Beau. It just looked like I had buffed and shiny nails. In two weeks, I went from almost nothing, to a decent length. Except for one that got smashed into a box at work yesterday when I was trying to get the shredding together.

For back to school, I opted to do one of the layering effects I'd seen. Apparently, you can get some cool colors by doing two layers of a base, and then a thin layer of top coat. I saw that Iced Coral has a green undertone that when put on top of Black Pool, looks like this:


I'm sporting Go Bulls Green for the start of classes next week!

Oh, and the Black Pool looks so nice on this nail length that I will wear it for Halloween this year. Katie's talking about doing som…

Suzanne's Grand Adventure

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I can relate to this guy.

Tonight, while I was indisposed, my phone rang. I let it go to voice mail because I knew there was no way to get to it in time. Then, I didn't recognize the number and my policy is don't answer those, because 90% of the time, it's not me they're looking for. This time, there was a voice mail from Chef's best friend.

He was at a gas station a few miles away and had walked 3 miles from his mom's car, which had run out of gas. Lately, they've been in straights that Ed and I were in three years ago, but there are relationship issues in the mix that are not pleasant. If it was just the mom, I probably would have said screw it and ignored the call, but I can't ignore kids-especially when I know one twelve year old is sitting at a gas station and mom and his siblings are sitting on the side of the road somewhere.

I went and got him, drove him back to mom's van and after the gas was put in, it still didn't start. No jumper…

Gotta Love Those iPad Apps

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Now that we have a Buffalo Wild Wings in town, I get to feed my trivia habit on a regular basis with Buzztime Trivia. Then Hooters added Buzztime in April and the men know they can get me to go get wings a lot quicker because I can kick some butt in arcane knowledge.

Yes, I'm competitive, why do you ask?

When you play Buzztime, they have ads between sets of questions. One tells you about playing more Buzztime online, another says you can play from your phone instead of with their device, so I downloaded it the other day and played from my phone when we were there last week.

Tonight, I put the app on my iPhone while we were getting ready to go and I signed in (yes, player plus-what else did you expect from a trivia nut?) to the app while at home. It showed me all the local Buzztime locations, like this:


Then I was asked if I wanted to play Countdown or Poker. I do not have a poker face, nor am I any good at it, so I went for Trivia, even though I knew that I wouldn't see…

Flashback

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A friend posted on Facebook today "Does anyone have a Wii Fit they want to sell?" As I have one that would tell me it's been 972 days since your last confession workout, I offered her mine. At the time they came out, I'd thought that the yoga activities would meet my doctor's 'no impact' workout criteria. Little did I know that my balance issues are related to the big fat head and no amount of running dog is going to change that.

I called her tonight and got her voice mail. I commented that I didn't realize that she had a Wii, but then again, her apartment is so clean you can eat off the floors-she probably had it hidden somewhere ( a comment I believe I actually made on the voice mail). If she didn't, no matter, I've got a spare Wii if she wanted to consider taking that, too.

Guess what? She doesn't have a Wii. She thought the Wii Fit was a stand alone product.

So I told her my reason for mentioning it. When I managed the Babbages…

A Step Ahead

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Teenage and nearly teenage boys seem to have one mindset: stay unclean. Using my two specimens in an unscientific study, they'll do everything they can to avoid showering or changing clothing.

With GameTeen, he can't get away with the latter because he the duplicates in his wardrobe are slightly different, so we can tell when he's trying to avoid changing clothes. (His sensory issues are such that he has *always* hated to change clothes, something about the circulating air hitting his skin.) There are no duplicates in his shirts, so it's easy to tell when he's trying to pull a fast one. Heck, most mornings, to save time with Mr. Pokeypants, I'll grab clothing for him to change into.

Chef, OTOH, is a tougher nut to crack. This past year, he started middle school and was bestowed with a dress code. School shirts in a color he hates (which makes me wonder what his flavor of color blindness warps burgundy into) and bottoms in black, brown, navy, khaki or de…

It's Cookie Time

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One of the boys comes out of his bedroom, foraging for dessert. I want to know why these two have this notion that they get dessert every day, but that's a complaint for another day.

Anyway, I'm not in the mood to make brownies or a cake at 11:30 at night, but inspiration strikes. I bought a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough and it's sitting in the fridge.

The house is smelling like chocolately goodness and all I had to do is get Chef to turn on the oven, then I scooped out a sheet of cookies.


Resistance Was Futile

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On the left: hardcover copy of Rachel's Holiday, by one of my favorite authors, Marian Keyes. Purchased off eBay for 1.99, plus 3 dollars shipping.

On the right: iPad with an ebook copy of Rachel's Holiday, purchased for 1.99. I figured the price was right.

If I could take a time machine back to the seven year old Suzanne, I'd fill an iPad with all those favorite books that have been read over the years. Instead of straining the eyes, trying to read by the hall light after bedtime, the Suzanne of the past could have larger, backlit text.

Pretty cool stuff! If any of my favorite authors had books out that I haven't got on the 'to buy' list, I would be grabbing the eBook. Yes, I know, in the past I'd said there's nothing that replaces a real book, but this is still pretty cool.

I Think They've Figured Me Out

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My colleagues, that is.

In my current employment situation, I finally feel like a round peg in a round hole. I enjoy what I'm doing, I can use the skills I've gained so far in my graduate program, and there's a lot I can learn that will help me in the future, too.

It's funny when there's a department meeting that I didn't need to attend, people come out and they file past my desk on their way to the Keurig and tell me "you're going to be happy." See, I've been hobbled to the desk by the work demands of August and unable to unpack boxes and do other things that need to be done.

They realize that while surfing the net, writing blog posts and reading my GRE guide are diversions, I'd rather be productive. Collectively, they found a few things that I can do for them while I'm at my desk and greeting the many clients that come to us this time of year.

So, I spent about a half hour shuffling between the scanner and the duties at my desk a…

Facebook Is NOT Las Vegas

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What happens on Facebook may not necessarily stay on Facebook.

Over the weekend, a 'You know you grew up in (my hometown) when...' group cropped up on Facebook. It blossomed from about 30 people when I was invited in on Saturday morning to just short of 2,000 when I looked earlier.

The trip down memory lane has been nice, but I think some people don't realize that when you join a group on Facebook, unless it is a closed group, whatever you say is out there for anyone with half a clue with Google to see if they search your name. My mindset has always been if I wouldn't say it to a person face to face, to my Nana, to my boss or to a member of the clergy, it's not going to be said on Facebook. My locked down wall is probably considered PG-13, not much more different from the blog.

Anyway, some people just don't get the message. I've seen posts about the substances consumed and the underage drinking and well, that's not really all that bad in the …

Bonus From Kaplan

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If you buya GRE study guide, Kaplan provides FREE webinars and practice tests.Money well spent, imo.

I just spent an hour and a half in one of the free webinars that I was directed to after registering the code that came with my Kaplan Strategies, Practice and Review guide that has been my companion since the summer semester ended. These webinars do NOT replace their courses, rather, they provide a little hands on direction to go along with what you read in the book.

In this webinar, I got quite a bit of practical tips I can use when I take the test in three weeks. Tomorrow, I'm signed up to take a free practice test that utilizes the same format that I'll experience on test day.

Each day, students planning on taking the test can take a '20 minute workout,' which throws questions at you with a timer counting down on screen. If you're an anxious test taker (I am not) that probably would be a little disconcerting.

Meanwhile, this is what I experienced tonight:

Two Weeks to Go

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The semester will be starting in two weeks. That same day, the boys go back to school.

My courses populated in Blackboard. I always stalk them to see what information is leftover from previous semesters, to see if there's anything I can glean from the assignments.

In looking at one, I think I'd better get a jump on things now! There is a ton of reading, a lot of practical application and a huge group project. I also have this professor for Web Programming, and I know that class is quite labor intensive, too. At least it's 15 weeks long, as opposed to the ten week class I almost took.

The class rosters have familiar names, probably one of the nicer things about a grad program.

It's a little strange to think that I only have one semester left in the program after this one...




Ed's Other Woman

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Finally, Ed can check a lifelong want off his list:


If he's not at home, all I need to do is see if she's here...



Yum!

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We've got a fantastic Turkish restaurant in town and decided to have a flavorful meal. The plates were overflowing with food and the hospitality wonderful.

If you're near Lakeland and want to try something new and delicious, check out Bosphorous on Kentucky Avenue. It doesn't look like much, but the food will wow you and the kindness is just a cherry on top.






Some Things You Just Have to Do

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It is designed for the original iPad, so it needs some minor modifications. However, nothing that a dremel can't remedy in a few spots.

Of course, I had to go out there and find an Etch a Sketch application to use on it. Currently synching 'the Ring of Sauron' to add that utility...

Junk Mail

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I'm always curious to figure out exactly how some pieces of mail make their way into my mailbox, rather than my neighbors, or yours or my cousin's ex husband.

You know what I mean, right? You didn't request information, yet things come addressed specifically to you that just begs the questions of why, how and WTH? Lately, I appear to have found a couple of sources of my mail and I'm waiting to see if some websites I signed up for will add me to the so called 'sucker' lists.

First up, a generous graduation gift of People en Español (shouldn't that be Gente?) from Donna. She knows that I want to keep those language skills and thought this was a good way to get topical information and vocabulary and perhaps learn about personas muy popular en las paises latinas. Well, I found out that People sells their subscription lists, because I'm getting mail 'en español,' asking me to subscribe to Mujer, donate to charities and buy photographs. The brigh…

All Roads Lead to Chiari

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A long long time ago (2006), in a galaxy far, far away (Tampa), a doctor agreed with my assessment that I was a medical freak when giving me the clearance for a minor surgical procedure. (That resulted in a more major procedure 3 years later, but that's another story.)

In that conversation, he suggested visiting with a geneticist, because it was his opinion that all the freaky crap I deal with is probably linked to one root cause. Right track, wrong train. I needed to see a neurologist to clarify some issues and identify some of the chronic health issues under one umbrella. The diagnosis, Chiari I Malformation, brought together many issues under one cause, namely:
Extreme severe headaches that migraine meds didn't fix
neck pain
shoulder pain
bulging discs
coughing as soon as I laid down
headaches caused by coughing or sneezing
vertigo
balance issues
tingling in my arms

As I'd lived with the pain for a long time, and that of the myriad wrist issues for as long, and the…

Burger Nerd

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In the bottom of a box of software, circa 1996, evidence of my braniac status:
I graduated second in the class, which was funny, considering that I was the training/personnel manager for the franchise and had been with them for three months...

Squeeeee

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or, Steve Jobs loves the number of Apple devices in this house!

Ed told me I could choose my birthday present this year. I could have whatever I wanted. I chose this:


It was scheduled to arrive between the 5th and the 9th, but UPS knocked on our door around 9:30 this morning instead. Now I'm fiddling with it, getting my email set up properly and playing Lego Harry Potter(very nice) and downloading movies onto it, too.

While it's for fun, I suspect that at least one of my fall classes will cover the use of iPads in education, so it may be a bonus that I'm playing with mine now.

Thank you, honey!