Showing posts from September, 2011


I hit a dud on the Shellac front.

Katie and I had both seen several photographs online of some cobalt blue nails, an effect that can be gained by layering Negligee over Black Pool. If I twist my hand in just the right direction, yes, there's a tinge of blue, but nothing dramatic.

It wasn't a total loss. Once we realized that the Negligee wasn't so sexy, Katie suggested putting Moonlight and Roses over the Black Pool. THAT looks nice, kind of a purple metallic.

Pictures of both tomorrow.

Halloween is Coming

Game Teen, while beyond the age of trick or treating, loves Halloween. The costumes, the ability to wear someone else's imaginative ideas, really tickles him like few things do in the everyday world.

Many months ago, he told me he had a costume in mind, and we discussed making it. Well, the time has gotten away from us, my sewing machine is buried in storage and I am woefully behind on schoolwork. I don't have time to cut, pin and sew an elaborate costume in time for this Halloween.

So I went on line and found quite a few suppliers of the costume in question. Several who will custom make a costume to his measurements, in fact. While about triple in price to a traditional store-bought item, the quality is far superior. I honestly don't expect him to grow much more than he has thus far, so shelling it out isn't going to be a case of spending more than I usually do for something that will see one year's use.

In looking for his, though, one of the suppliers offers f…

Breakfast Week?

Yesterday was National Pancake Day. I found out today was National Corned Beef Hash Day, but after I arrived at work, thus missing my opportunity to stop and get some for breakfast.

Apparently, tomorrow is coffee day. (7-11 is giving away free coffee from 7 to 11 and I think Dunkin' Donuts is doing something similar.) So we've got the pancakes, the hash and the coffee in a row.

Is tomorrow Orange Juice Day? Fruit Cup Day? Maple Syrup?

Convention vs. Reality

Last year, some advice that I was given by others in graduate studies (and echoed by a couple of faculty members, I might add) is that you never want all your degrees to come from the same University.

The conventional wisdom behind this is that it indicates the student is complacent in the known and avoids spreading their wings, taking risks and the idea of change in general. I thought it was odd that this would be stated, especially since my observation is that a good research institution is going to challenge you no matter whether you've been there for your undergraduate and/or master's programs, because they want to foster good researchers. It wouldn't serve them well to get soft in the upper tiers.

So, this view, shared by more than a few people, is a large part of motivated me to seek out other schools. Honestly, if I didn't have a family to consider, GameTeen's unique needs or a garage and storage facility full of crappe de Jane, I'd be all…

Preparing Contingency Plans

One of my classes has a group project that will make up half my grade. When my group was created out of default a little over a week ago, I felt pretty good about the match-even though we didn't hear from one of the group members, then had a flurry of emails and contributions to the discussion from her the day of class.

Tuesday night, we came up with three ideas that we wanted to explore for our project, with each of us taking one of them to explore more in depth. I posted the week's punch list (as the manager of the project, it was my role) and member one quickly turned in her part.

The two days later, member two submitted a report-on the same item. Since then, there's been no response to emails, nor a response to the group contract that she needs to add material to before it can be posted.

Last week, there was a little worry that something was wrong. This week, I realize this may just be the way she operates-but it doesn't work well for group projects. The other g…

Tornado Alley

After watching Storm Chasers last year, I knew one thing-my fear of tornadoes is justified. I have a great deal of respect for the people who chase the storms, all in an effort to video tape them, or set down sensing devices to hopefully learn more about them and increase warning times.

One of the teams followed was Sean Casey and his TIV (Tornado Intercept Vehicle). His efforts were to make an IMAX film about tornadoes and to be honest, I thought the guy was an ass. He is more than a little high strung and he treats his team members like idiots-which they definitely are not.

Today, the boys and I went over to MOSI and we watch the film that was created, Tornado Alley. It had many images like this one, which only increase my fear of the midwest as a place to live:
If you're going to see this film, be prepared, it's a little dizzying. I'm not sure how much of that was because we viewed it in an IMAX dome or because our seats reclined, but the kids experienced some degree…


No, it's not the answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything, it's the number of magazines the festering maggot idiot has bestowed upon my family. All I can say at this point is that the Postal Inspector is in receipt of copies of 27 of the invoices, the local Sheriff's department is also has those copies, as well as one of the original postcards and a card that is signed by our possible suspect.

One has to wonder how screwed up an individual must be to send this many magazines to one house, using different names in the process (GameTeen has apparently been adopted by people with another surname). How cowardly is a person, rather than tell us we ticked them off, to instead clog our mailbox and use the USPS in a passive-aggressive manner to show displeasure?

The sad part is that the federal government does not take kindly to the use of the postal system in this way. All the person had to say is "Suzanne, I'm pissed at you," though I cannot…

Painting a Memory

Tonight, I got to do one of the paintings at Paint Along that I'd seen several times, but my life schedule conflicted with their schedule. That said, I saw it, and it reminded me of Skyline Drive, so I wanted to have it hanging on my wall.

Now I will:

Sure enough, the painting David did (which is much nicer than mine, by a lot), is based on a photograph of the Smoky Mountains-just a little further south in Virginia than the area that this reminded me of.

Not bad.

Sign of the Times

In tonight's web programming class, the TA put some important coding on the board. He asked us to come up to the board to see what he had written, so that he could explain it step by step.

I walked up, digital recorder in hand, as I'd asked the first day of class to record. Also in hand: my iPhone. I figured I would take pictures of the code and then transfer it over to a Word doc tomorrow. So, as TA spoke, I got several pictures of the white board, including the changes he made through the process of explaining Arrays.

The book suggests putting Array codes in line, but the TA prefers putting them in the header, because it makes for cleaner HTML coding. I have to say that I like his way better, because it will make it easier to debug.

When we were done, I go to return to my seat and the professor asks "When you get a chance, would you post those to the discussion board?" So, the idea to take the pictures, instead of being an annoyance, was viewed as a positive, …

Homework Fun

As if there wasn't enough proof on this blog of my geeky tendencies:

This week's group assignment is designed for us to learn how to sort out who does what in the assignments. We have to create a brief Power Point to explain to 6th grade students the proximity of Earth to other celestial bodies, then calculate the travel time in a space vehicle at a speed of 30,000 mph and present the time elapsed in a way the students will understand.

I took the research part, because I enjoy it, probably far more than a person should. Of course, I got the information (using average distance, because we're not getting into elliptical orbits and double the work, people) and came up with this:

Statistical information for Space Travel Group assignment
Each of these distances is an average between the closest possible location and furthest possible location, due to elliptical orbits of all the planets.(It's better than doing two for each!)
1.Moon-238,854 miles from EarthIt takes almost 8 hou…

Group Project Redux

The bane of a college student's experience is the dreaded 'group project.' I think I heard more than a couple of you groan in the peanut gallery. I was with you in the past, because the only two good groups I had in my undergraduate classes contained my friend Jessica, one of the hardest working students I know.

So, group projects. I hadn't had the best experiences with them prior to graduate studies, but I have to admit, they've worked out extremely well for me. In my Interactive Media class, I was paired with two very talented ladies who were understanding of my Jane situation and also very willing to allow me to do the writing part of our project. (me + writing = happy Suzanne).

In the other group, somehow, the four of us divided up the content we had to present in such a way that we all covered the material we gravitated towards all semester long. That group was fun and is directly responsible for the Season One 'Big Bang Theory' DVDs that are sitt…

Baking Bread

I've said it before, I'm a frustrated artist. I can see a picture in my head, but I can't transfer the mental picture into a similar result on a page.

Which is why, when presented with an assignment to complete a storyboard for class, I'm doing two things I've had a lot of practice in doing: baking and taking pictures along the way.

If this is the bread my professor baked for both classes during our first week, I'm happy-and the nutella is at the ready...

Melding Topics

When I met with an admissions advisor about my plans to study Instructional Technology, I knew the program would be available as a masters program, but what should I study to obtain the bachelor's degree? Fortunately, Sal suggested Psychology as a good foundation. (He had friends who worked as Instructional Designers.)

Once again, the work I'm asked to do this semester draws heavily on that background, just as the previous two semesters had covered behaviorism, cognitive theory and research methods. The web-only class is currently going through the history of Instructional Systems Design (ISD), and it draws heavily from the lessons from last year. I find it funny that I encoded those lessons well and am recalling them when I'm reading about how we process and store information in long-term memory.

One little piece of history cracked me up, though. The Ford Foundation, in the 50's and 60's, provided heavy funding for schools to have televisions in classrooms, an…

Lucas Monkeys with the Trilogy Again

(I have to thank my friend Bob for pointing this one out)

With the Blu-Ray release, George Lucas has once again tinkered with the original Star Wars Trilogy. (We don't care what he does with I-III, because it's all Jar Jar's fault, anyway). From the Greedo shot first garbage, to the superimposing of Hayden Christiansen's face at the end of the last movie, George needs to just say no to changes. Besides, if it's a young Anakin, shouldn't that been young Obi-Wan and a young Yoda next to him?

Anyway, drum roll please, because...

Alderaan Shot First!

Cat Farts

Are just as obnoxious as dog farts. In case you were wondering, wonder no more.

Hey, you're not paying for insightful and intelligent posts, this is what you get tonight. Besides, I need to evacuate the area...

Clarity and Confusion

In pursuing the doctoral studies, I knew that there were three possible avenues towards the research I wish to explore: Instructional Technology, Special Education or Educational Psychology. There are benefits to each path, and ultimately, I will have a doctorate in one discipline with a cognate in a second, so two of the three will be covered at minimum by the time I successfully defend my dissertation.

However, last fall, I asked two professors who are psychologists what they would do if faced with this dilemma and both asked the same question "which will be more beneficial to have in your defense arguments, the psychological underpinnings or the pedagogical value of the technology?" When I took time to think about it, the answer became clearer, that I should follow the Instructional Technology path.

Once in the master's program, I realized that the cognate should be educational psychology, though I am still debating trying to squeeze in a graduate certificate in Autis…

CND Shellac's Purple Purple

As far as the new CND Shellac colors go, I'm really happy. Many more people commented on the Black Pool/Iced Coral combo that gave me Bulls Green nails for back to school, but I got quite a few comments about how pretty the Hotski to Tchotcke looked.

Personally, it was my favorite color yet. The fact that I wore several shirts in the two weeks that matched my nails nearly perfectly kind of bears out how much I love blue and teal things.
So, my first look at the Purple Purple on all the websites was "that's nice, but not nearly as nice as that teal."

Then Katie showed it to me when I got my nails done last time. It has an iridescent sheen that doesn't really show up in the photographs I've seen. After seeing the color as it comes out of the bottle, I knew it would be today's choice. And wow, does it stand out.

In an awesome, my nails look like they've got liquid neon painted on them way. It's not super dark, more like a plum, but it stands out…

Presentation Makes a Difference

My Waterloo class from the summer semester, Web Programming, is identical in structure to the fall semester. Other the fact that the course is spread out over 15 weeks instead of compressed into ten, there are big differences in how the class is delivered.

For one, the online class was pretty much independent study. If you didn't catch on, the professor was available to answer questions, but you had to know how to describe your problem. For instance, I did an assignment and the code looked right to me. I went through it line by line and could not find the reason why it was not working.

We were not encouraged to use debuggers or workspaces to complete the work, which as a Mac user, may have lead to my frustration with myself. Even though I'd emailed the professor, asked him to look at my code, explained that I was using Firefox, Safari and Chrome to review the code I'd written in text edit, I got an email back that my code looked fine, with no coaching.

Instead, this tim…

Research Pays

I contacted four of the five contenders besides my current university, seeking information beyond what is posted on their (fairly comprehensive) websites. My main concern is that the cognate areas I want to cover will work together, and whether I am barking up the wrong tree as far as their focus.

Since Saturday, I've had email exchanges with three of them and have a phone appointment for one on Friday. It's been rather pleasant to discuss possibilities and know that the ideas I have are considered worthy of empirical research by more professionals in the field than the faculty I'm currently studying with.

Even if I stay right where I am, it's good to reach out and make contact with others in the field. One never knows when it will come in handy later, especially since the published articles that they've written are so interesting.

It would feel pretty cool if ten years from now, a prospective doctoral candidate felt the same after emailing me based on my publish…

My Magazine Collection, Let Me Show You

All but two of the magazines that someone ordered for my family are shown below. I couldn't find Guitar World, but a salesperson told me they were sold out. I was tired of looking, so I didn't track down Harper's Bazaar.

Yep, 15 magazines, and new invoices every day. It is getting freaking old, especially since these choices are just so weird.

Anyone who has ever met the four of us knows that the teen and pre teen could care less about fashion.

Same goes for me, I mean, seriously? I wear Crocs!

Look at this guy, then look at the picture of me at the top of this page. Really, does this look like something I would aspire to? (I like six packs of Shock Top, not muscles)
Retch, cough, puke. I'm thinking that this magazine is Home Interiors on steroids. Blech.
I have a Shape, it is round. Most of the effort required to get a similar shape to the cover model would put me in serious Chiari pain and a possible trip to Hawaii for that leg surgery.
When I found out about …

Nose to the Grindstone

This weekend has been full of study time. Since we'd been on vacation, my efforts had been focused on the GRE, so the weekend following it I was just spent and didn't put in the usual 8 or 9 hours each day to keep on top of things.

Fortunately, though, one project is due this week that is about 80% done. I'm just twenty pages shy of having Tuesday's reading done (and the homework is relatively easy, I just need to find a way to make a flowchart in PowerPoint) and the web based class is behind, but not to excess. By Friday, I'll be up to date on everything-all readings, all assignments.

It's been a while since I have been able to say that, and it'll be a good feeling to finally be ahead of the game. Once I'm ahead, then I will focus on things like personal mission statements, a school resume, reference letters and all that fun stuff.

While I feel pressure to get it all done, it's not an anxiety looming over me. More like, "you're SO cl…

Honing Those Research Skills

Six contenders.

I contacted four of the schools on my short list today, and have plans to talk to one of my doctor's mom next week. (When I went in for an annual visit, he'd mentioned I should contact her, because her school has the program. They do-and the research population I need.) She responded to my email within the hour, which is much better than the non-response from the inquiry to the program director last month.

While I didn't expect a prompt response from anyone, and was pleased at the one I got, I did some important research. What kind of expenses are covered, what courses are included in their programs (I'd scanned earlier, but this was more comprehensive), what do they need in their application packet, when it is due, and what GRE scores are acceptable.

The scores listed all were lower than the low range of my GRE 'score' on the old scale, so that's good. The application packets all want two or three references and a sample of writing, eithe…


Immaturity has reared it's ugly head around here.

The other night, I returned home from class and found invoices for four magazines, selections for Ed, me and Game Teen. None of them were ordered by us and the choices were head scratchers. Details for Game Teen, when he doesn't have much cognizance of music and movies that would interest his peers, a gym rat tome for me, Guitar World (for me) and Men's Health for Ed. He's a big guy, and that was just not a right fight, even if he'd set out to get magazines. He hadn't.

So, he set about cancel these choices via emails. He got responses back that two more magazines had been ordered for Game Teen: Vogue and Teen Vogue. Okay, this is not funny, the child on the autism spectrum is being sent these?

Today, a response from the company that I'd contacted to cancel a magazine to find that Shape had been ordered for me and another magazine for Ed. And then a Fine Cooking magazine showed up for Chef. (Why does he …

Recipe, S'il Vous Plait (RSVP)-Marinara Sauce and Baked Ziti

Do you have recipes that you've made for so long that you don't even think about the process, you just do them? Then someone asks you for the recipe and you have to think about measurements and steps and you respond 'Oh, that's an easy one, seriously, anyone can do it.' Except that they can't, because it's not something they do with regularity.

It's like that for me and most Italian dishes, because I grew up watching mom and well, we're coming up on 34 or 35 years that I've been making some of these things. Which is probably why I made Baked Ziti for my class 'snack' the other night. It's quick (relatively), it's easy and it feeds a lot of people for next to nothing.

First, the marinara. I know I've said it before, but I can't remember if I did on MomDot or here that each of my siblings has their own take on my mom's basic marinara recipe. The trick to a good marinara is to let it cook on low heat for a loooooooon…

Give and Take

The dance of a long time married couple...

Husband makes queso dip. Brings wife a small ramekin, perfectly sized for her little appetite. Then the tortilla problem arises. The bag of corn chips was not closed properly when someone last partook of it (we'll leave the culprit unnamed, but it's likely to be one of the children).

Wife gets car keys and visits a convenience store, because this is fresh queso dip, people! We NEED tortilla chips! Queso crisis averted.

Bonus: Wife grabs a six pack while she's at it, because queso, chips and beer are like peanut butter and jelly.

Ruining a Good Thing

If you saw my post from yesterday, you probably wondered whether I'd forgotten what paragraphs are.

I didn't. Blogger did.

At their urging, I went into the new Blogger interface and typed a post. As the hour was late and I had schoolwork to do, I didn't review my posted content. This evening, I was surprised to find one big block o'text where my short paragraphs were in my text entry window yesterday.

It appears that the new posting box can either be 'compose' or 'html', and Blogger chose to default to HTML. Which is fine IF THEY TOLD ME ABOUT IT FIRST!!!


I know, I'm not prone to caps lock, but I dislike when something is defaulted to one different than the previous iteration. Just use the same dang default, or else notify people that the default method of entry has changed. At least I have half a clue about HTML now, which means I can code my posts myself. (but my
in the appropriate places did not take effect, so there are bugs.)



I've spent the weekend grilling and the fruits of my labor are pretty darn good.

So why is it that the kids asked for Burger King for dinner? (In a word-yuck!) Of all the fast food chains, they've got a hankering for the one I don't like, probably because early in my pregnancy with Chef, it was the only fast food place on my side of one of the five largest malls in the US. I had way too many Whopper juniors on my half hour lunch break.

Someday, they'll be responsible for their own meals and miss the days when mom has things like pulled pork and pig pucker sauce in the fridge. It'll sound better than those BK burgers...

***and I think I HATE the new Blogger posting interface. My paragraphs became one big text block. Adding HTML coding to hopefully fix it.

Summer's End

Ed had been bugging me to move to Florida for several years before I finally agreed to the concept, and it was the words of a coworker that tipped the scales in favor of moving. She said "you stay inside four or five months of the year up here, right?" and I admitted that yes, from November until the beginning of March, I'm holed up in the house, trying to keep warm. "Well, just shift the time you're indoors and Florida is pretty much the same as living in Maryland."

She was right.

So, while others lament the end of summer, because the nights are shorter, the nights are colder and it's too cold to swim, I look forward to it. The windows get opened, the sun roof gets used and we spend many an evening on the lanai.

Yes, the nights are shorter, and I do enjoy having daylight until 8. However, if the longer nights mean temperate weather, I'm all for it.

Bye bye, Summer. You've been nice, but I've always liked Fall best.

One Search, Two Benefits

I've spent most of the day looking at doctoral programs, because, well, now I have a rough idea that I'm one standard deviation above the mean (maybe 1.5 above), perhaps some of these schools might actually pay me a decent amount of money to study there, be a TA and then do research.

As a slacker student in high school, the concept that I will apply to these schools and likely get offers is just amazing. My grades are good, better than good, my test scores are pretty darn good and the one thing I excel at is what my advising professor tells me is the tie breaker when all other factors are equal.

I didn't want to get too far into researching programs before getting that GRE out of the way for fear that I'd find a program that fulfills my needs (Instructional Technology and Psychology), fall in love with it and fall short on the GRE score. I have yet to find a program that states their baseline GRE is higher than the lowest mine could possibly be.

So, I spent tod…

CND Shellac's Hotski to Tchotcke

At the beginning of the year, CND announced the Shellac line would have 50 colors to choose from by year's end. The palette last month had a whopping 18, with 6 more announced to launch in September. When I saw them pictured on another blog, I saw two colors that called out to me.

In a bit of a surprise, my lovely nail tech Katie emailed me a picture a few days ago of five of the six new colors, a full three weeks before the scheduled launch date. I'm wondering if the announcement that OPI is coming out with a full palette of UV gel colors has motivated CND to launch the new Shellac colors early. In any event, I was pretty sure that the new teal color, Hotski to Tchotchke was going to be on my nails as soon as it came out.

I have to say, I wavered for a moment when Katie showed me the purple. It's vibrant, it's iridescent and it definitely has pizzazz. Ultimately, though, my love of all things blue and aqua won out and this is what my nails looked like immediately …

One Step Closer

Despite not spending enough time preparing for it, I did the endurance marathon known as the Graduate Record Examination this morning and walked out with a 'range' of my potential scores. Suffice to say, even if I only achieved the bottom of both scores, they still exceed the minimums needed to be accepted to my doctoral program.


In a sense, I was holding my breath, wondering if I am good enough, if I have what it takes. The GRE is a snapshot of one day when presented with questions I've never seen, my answers will tell whether I have the skills to continue advanced studies.

Yes, I know it sounds strange when a third semester graduate student is wondering this, but a doctoral program requires so much more. The same skills, yes, but also the ability to look at an issue, analyze it and hypothesize a solution. I think I've got it, but me saying I do isn't enough. Now, I have test scores that say that I can handle the course work.

Me being me, instead of rel…