Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Yes, the magazine crap continues. On the deputy's suggestion, we got a post office box and it is filled nearly every day with the magazines. (Not only are the people immature, their responsible for the destruction of tree after tree. Jerks.)

Anyway, I can tell you now, since I get several of each every month now of these, none of the Vogue, Elle or Cosmos arrive intact. Usually, it's a torn in half cover. This time, I got the baggie that apologized for my damaged mail and it looked like this:

Yep, that is just the cover. I'm glad it's one less magazine, because those particular magazines have fragrance inserts. However, GameTeen's school and my college classmates might be a little bummed-the fashion magazines are the first that people snatch up when I come bearing a pile of the annoying things. At least others are getting some enjoyment out of them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


**I asked for some writing prompts from others tonight, and this is the first of them, suggested by my friend, Bob. Why? Because my professor tonight said that doctoral students should spend an hour a day writing on various topics to hone their ability to discourse. This one was good.***

I consider myself fortunate in that I grew up with parents who were politically aware, without spouting an extreme opinion either way. We had many conversations in the car and around the dinner table about current events and they gave perspectives to situations that went beyond what the news reported. Probably the most important thing is that they encouraged curiosity. If we asked questions, we got thoughtful responses.

The funniest part of it was that they both were registered members of the Republican party, but their ideology was mostly fell with the Democrats. One thing both of my parents agreed on is issues voting, that is, they explored the candidates and selected one who aligned with their views more than any other candidate. Sometimes, that meant choosing the Right to Life Candidate, even though they both were pro-choice.

So, when I turned 18 and promptly registered to vote, my dad and I had a serious conversation about the registering Republican thing. The Republican party was king in our county and if you wanted something done, or a job with the county, you registered GOP. Yeah, I know it shouldn't matter-but sometimes it does. Two years later, I was disgusted with the two party system and went independent.

A few years on and a move to another part of the country, I found myself surrounded by many who did not share the point of view that politics and elections should be decided on issues, not just the affiliation you had on your voter registration card (mine now had Democrat). Instead, if asked for an opinion, I'd get derided for having one that didn't match the rhetoric of a radio host that the person listened to every afternoon.

Meanwhile, it was important to me to listen to the candidates speak, to read their platform and weigh which one aligned with my point of view. Maturity slowly colored that a bit to help me decide that the speeches were from the 'I'll say whatever they want me to in order to win the election.' It meant that sometimes, that lever went down on a Republican candidate.

I moved just outside the beltway (we're talking 3 miles) and at nearly 30, I found my political brethren. People from all political ideologies, all willing to gather the differing opinions for the sake of understanding. My assistant manager was the most conservative fellow you would ever meet and he and I had some of the most fascinating discussions on topics like gun control, immigration and taxes. It was good to get a differing perspective.

A few years later, Ed and I moved to a planned community that I likened to Stepford. I was definitely outnumbered politically, but it didn't matter all that much. When topics came up, even hot button ones, conversations seemed to stay level headed. I don't know how much of that was colored by the fact that our television and radio dials were well stocked with programming that ran the gamut on current interest. My commutes to work had me listening to a lot of talk radio, DC politics shows and news. It was enriching.

Now, we live in Florida. I feel disconnected from politics here, there's not as much discourse as I was used to before. The media coverage tends to go to extremes. Thankfully, the internet provides what the airwaves do not. I don't talk about what's going on in Washington the way I once did.

Part of that is because I feel that our elected leaders and candidates have become one giant mass of finger pointers, thinking that if they don't own up to the fact that we ALL are responsible for our nation's ills, they'll be returned to their offices next November (or the November after that, if that's the case). As a nation, we shouldn't be looking in the rear view mirror and the wreck we've caused, we should be looking at the road in front of us and trying to figure out what needs to be done to FIX this damn mess we're in.

Yes, I know politics are not a topic I write about very often. Those who know me in real life know I'm passionate about some hot button topics. It is something we all need to get a fire in our britches about right now.

In a first, I'm going to put up some of my opinions on the political issues that are important to me. I do this to spur you to think about the issues that are important to YOU, not what the leaders of your party tell you should be important. Why? Because you may see that your views run the gamut (like mine). I am not completely aligned with the party on my Voter ID card.

What is important to me?

1. Taxes-we can't have big government and all the services it provides us without paying for it. This means that we have to pay taxes. No tax cuts to make people happy in the short term.

And no tax breaks for businesses. Sorry, you're turning a profit, you pay a share to the government. The only tax breaks should be for hiring the unemployed, underemployed or someone getting themselves off the welfare roles.

2. Welfare-it is one huge mess. Personally, I think there should be a limit on on. Five years, maximum. I don't care how many kids you have, you get the same amount, because employers don't give raises to their staff for having more kids. I'm all for helping someone get back on their feet when they're down, but the way welfare is in our nation nowadays, it is a HUGE crutch for people. (And I agree with the drug testing to keep benefits-both of these opinions definitely don't agree with my named party)

3.Government-is too big. We need to cut it, first by figuring out duplication of services. We need to cut the perks our elected officials receive. It is nuts that someone who spends 2 or 6 years in office gets a pension and health insurance for life. Do you get the same from your jobs? What would your boss say if you walked in and said "I'm getting a raise, and you're giving me a pension and insurance, even after I'm gone."? Seriously, you'd be kicked out and someone would be sent to collect your belongings out of your desk for you.

4. Charity begins at home-When our country is such bad shape economically, why are we bailing out other countries? Cut the aid to other countries, many of whom don't pay us back. It's time for another country to pick up the slack.

5. China-human rights abuses, trade benefits and they're one of the world's worst offenders on pollution. Why are we even trading with them?

6. Gay Marriage- I'm sorry, if a couple can have a big media event wedding for a union that lasts for 72 days, does that really protect the sanctity of marriage? No, it doesn't. Married or not, gay and lesbian couples are not a threat to others. I've spoken on the topic before, but I really doubt all the gay couples I know (and I know many) are a threat to your ability to marry-why should we deny them the ability to legally commit to each other?

So, you see, my ideology isn't simple. I'll bet yours isn't either. Or your husband, sister, dad, daughter, boss, coworker, clergyperson, dentist, hairdresser or anyone else you know.

The point of laying this all out is to ask all of us to THINK about the issues that are near and dear to us. Don't listen to one political pundit and adopt that person's rhetoric as your personal beliefs. Don't watch ONE news program and decide that it is why you have to vote for Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse or Spongebob Squarepants.

Explore as much as you can from many sources to make your decisions. Put at least as much effort into your ability to select your representatives as you do buying a car or a house, heck, where you're going for vacation this year. Ask others their opinions, especially when you know their views are different from yours. Ask them WHY they believe what they do.

If you have the opportunity to speak with your elected official, ask them tough questions. If they respond with finger pointing, stop them and let them know that you're tired of that, that you want to hear solutions, not accusations.

Ultimately, it boils down to a quote by Voltaire "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." We owe it to ourselves and our fellow Americans to consider these words when it comes to our political system.

Don't you think?

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Survived the Biggest Shopping Weekend of the Year

By purchasing three blu-rays, none of which will be gifts.

The Harry Potter movies will be going on moratorium after the first of the year. Yep, all eight movies. This is a strategy Disney uses with their movies, to good effect. Their movies go in and out of the vault all the time.

We were missing Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, and I found them for 9.00 with free shipping. Sold. They arrived today.

Yesterday, we took advantage of Ed's last day home by walking around the local outdoor shopping center. In the Books a Million, I found a blu ray copy of Rocky Horror Picture Show. The boys are a couple of years too young for the movie I spent many a weekend night viewing, but 11 bucks for a copy so I can yell at my television is worth it.

While there were many cyber Monday deals that would have been good, I really can't think of anything I need. The kids presents are better left to the very last minute and Ed and I talked of getting each other tickets to a concert in DC in June. It's a nice, light shopping year here.

Which is why we only spent 29 dollars over the course of the weekend!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Apple Bourbon Turkey Brine

Last week, I saw an Apple Bourbon marinade in one of the magazines we've been getting (yes, still-I'd like to say more, but won't). Anyway, it sounded really good, but it was a marinade, with cheesecloth and basting and well, ugh.

I'm not into the basting thing and I'd rather cook on the grill. So, I took the elements of that marinade and went a few steps further. It had nothing savory and wasn't designed for brining-but that's exactly what I modified it to be:

Apple Bourbon Turkey Marinade:

3 quarts apple juice
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup bourbon
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
3 tablespoons sage
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper

Stir until the sugar dissolves. To brine, place a rinsed off turkey into a large bucket and pour the brine over it, then top with ice. Keep in a refrigerator (or unheated part of your house, if you live in colder climates) for 12-24 hours.

This was enough to brine a 16 pound bird.

Oh, and on a pellet grill, this bird was cooked in just under three hours.

Now I have a bunch of leftovers. Yum!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Then and Now

Thirty years ago, I wanted a career in radio. I was an avid music fan and constantly had the radio tuned to the various offerings that one can get in the nation's top radio market (and my county was the 11th market at that time, while still being within the listening area of #1).

A friend had a low wattage station that he ran out of his house, fully above board with his FCC Engineer's license and when I was 16, I was bestowed with an air shift on his station. As he was a college student, all the talent at the station pre-recorded their shows, which Joe replayed at more convenient times. Even then, he had a knack for automation, as we'd spend many an evening hanging out at his house, my house and my friend Lisa's house and if we were at mine or his, we could tune in the station and listen. At two miles away, Lisa's house fell outside the range of the station's very small transmitter.

Still, the desire was rooted and I ventured off to college with plans of majoring in Radio/TV production and eventually getting a job in the business. I got 'hired' on at the college radio station, where I started as a news reporter and eventually, I got coveted air shifts, then the prized Saturday afternoon rock shift, where I could play whatever I wanted for two hours. We even had a decent audience and sometimes, that phone would ring constantly with requests for Zepplin, Floyd, B 52's, Depeche Mode and Kool and the Gang (the last was from a good friend who didn't quite 'get' the rock format.)

I learned a lot in those first few months at the station, like how to produce some of the talk programming, run a board during news broadcasts and produce public service announcements and news actualities (short human interest stories) onto cartridges that others could use during their news broadcasts.

It was great, I became skilled at audio production, to the point that one of the Radio/TV professors walked into the station's production studio (which I'd been using to make some PSA's) with his class of 20 or so students and said "Hey, Sue, teach my class how to edit."

It changed my course in college somewhat, because I didn't see the point in paying for a class to the learn production skills I already had, and that sent me over to the Theatre department and a major in Technical Theatre. (Yes, I chose the majors you didn't find many girls in-what of it?). Still, over the next two years, I remained at the station and got quite adept at producing content.

(Someday, I'm going to pull out my remix of Chaka Khan's "I Feel For You" and transfer it to the digital medium"-it is my first production effort.)

Anyway, I moved to Maryland and quickly got a job at an AM station and found that I could make more money flipping hamburgers, so my bubble burst pretty quickly.

However, those skills? They were stored away. Several years ago, Ed got a copy of Sonic Foundry and I now could use those audio production skills, but in a new way. No longer did I need a white grease pencil, razor, editing block and splicing tape.

Now, if I want to edit my recordings, I just had to place a marker at the start and end points of the recording I wished to remove and with a couple of keystrokes, I was golden. Heck, if I overcut my edit, a mere 'undo' would restore what I needed, so I could retry. No more 1/2" splice after splice to restore a mismarked piece of reel to reel tape.

Well, with video, it's equally easy to edit what I produce from raw data to something closer to what I had envisioned. For example, this semester, one class required our small group to produce educational content for web-delivery of our choosing. As I had the voice over experience, I was tasked with that work. I was able to bang it all out in one or two takes.

The video was a little different, for it required screen captures of me using software and voicing over in real time. I could have done that in two steps, but it made more sense to me to not bother with synching the two later.

These past couple of weeks, I've worked on creating all the audio (21 segments from 30 seconds to two minutes) and six video screen captures. My skill set made it clear where my experience lay, because those segments were done in about three hours, including editing. The video? Well, it took more time, but I'm happy to say that I still have all my hair-and all the video I intended to use.

I suspect that if you showed students in the Radio/TV major this picture today, they wouldn't know what the heck it is-or that it pertains to what they wish to do after they graduate!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Yay, It's Over!

I won't have to hear that horrible song again! (Kohls, I hate you.)

We didn't even leave the house today, because 25 years of retail has trained me well-don't go out unless you absolutely have to do so. As it was, I took advantage of the online deals to get the two Harry Potter blu ray disks we don't own, before they go on moratorium.

At that, those weren't even gifts.

Maybe I'll go spend some money tomorrow during small business Saturday, but that's a big if right now.

Call us the anti-consumers right now.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today was nice and quiet, just the four of us vegging and relaxing. Well, in between the cooking, that is. The men made their specific requests and I did those, with a twist.

I'd read online about crock pot mashed potatoes and it appealed on the fix it all without draining the pot front (too heavy for me) and the don't worry about drying them out front. I will say that it couldn't have been easier-or turned out as well. Nice, fluffy potatoes that were very hot and tasty. The recipe said 4 to 4 1/2 hours, but they really were ready in 3 1/2.

Chef asked for his stuffing, because he will eat an entire pan of it himself. Ed suggested cornbread (which I've done several times) and I got the idea to make from scratch. A note here: I've been making the same rough recipe for over 20 years, so this was a swap to do stuffing completely from scratch.

It was very light, almost too light, but now I know to modify things for next time around. Ed's family has a recipe called bacon rings (I've shown them in WFDW before), and I think I may just repurpose some of this batch for that.

The reason for doing that is I made the cornbread, but the recipe was supposed to serve 16! Instead, I made half, and figured I could alter the rest for Saturday's turkey dinner.

In an effort to minimize my standing time in the kitchen, I bought pie crusts and made crumb topping for the apple and cherry pies. They turned out great, but I did end up standing too much anyway and I'm definitely paying for it.

At least when I do Saturday's turkey on the grill, most of the sides are going to be leftovers. I just have to boil some cranberries, because turkey has to have cranberries.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gel Color by OPI

And now for something completely different...

I know, they don't look all that different, but they're done up differently this time. (and no, not just the color). There's a new product on my nails.

OPI, the company that you'll find most nail salons, has delved into the brush on UV Gel polish market (their Axxiom is more traditional UV gel that has to be chipped off) with the introduction of their Gel Color line.

It's more similar to CND's Shellac than it is different. Both do a base coat, two layers and a top coat, but there are differences. There is a little less prep to the nails with the OPI line, but the big difference is that OPI's line dries with LED nails in a spaceship looking dryer.

Honestly, the amount of UV you encounter in the CND dryers is less than you would laying out in the sun, but it looks like OPI is trying to cater to those who worry. I will say this, it's easier to get my hand in and out, the timer doesn't start until my hand is inside and depressing a button. Plus, if you do pedicures, it's designed to sit on small legs.

The color variety is already large at launch, 30 colors, and more are slated soon. OPI's most popular colors come in Gel Color, although your nail tech might not get them right away (Katie didn't have Big Apple Red). I don't expect her to stock the three blue shades I liked, because I may be her only client gravitating towards the blues.

The question for me is whether it will hold up as well as the Shellac polish has for me since June?

Keep checking in for updates.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I got the feedback on the prototype of the final project I put together. It was probably the hardest part of the project, as it contained two videos.

We got a 99. The one point deduction was something we'd already gotten feedback to change.

For the most part, I'm done with it. I have three videos to record, two to modify and that's pretty much it. So now, I can focus the attention on the other two classes.

Maybe I can pull a rabbit out of my hat.

Monday, November 21, 2011


It is much harder to edit someone else's mangulation of the Englsh language than it would be to write something new from scratch.

If I put up the exhibits, I think you'd all be doubting that the work was a college student.

My brain hurts now.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Will Be on Your Dinner Table Thursday?

One of my kids will not be happy with Thursday's main dish: he wants turkey, and it will be ham on the dinner table.

He's in good company, because I love turkey, but Ed does not. In fact, as a kid, my family all worked Thanksgiving and I had to endure delayed gratification. When the rest of the world was bored of turkey on Monday morning, I was looking forward to having exactly that for dinner that night.

One year, my mom decided she was going to make something else, and we kids all protested. We got the traditional turkey, but the following Monday? The meal she'd wanted the week before was made. (We usually did prime rib for Christmas dinner).

Meanwhile, Ed and GameTeen are all about a ham for Thanksgiving and I planned to do that, but Chef loves his poultry. I found this awesome apple/bourbon brine that I'm anxious to try, so I told him that we'd need to have more proteins to enjoy with the leftover sides, anyway.

In the meantime, we'll be having each family member's favorite side, so they shouldn't complain too much.

What about you and yours?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Down Under Chicago

The other day, Ed and I noticed a place in Lakeland that tweaked his attention, a place named Down Under Chicago.

Ed looks extremely favorably on the almost two years he spent in Chicagoland, in fact, he was doing everything he could to get me to move there instead of him moving to Maryland when we decided that long-distance dating wasn't cutting it.

While the fact that the people were just so darn nice, a huge switch from metro New York, that wasn't the only reason he wanted to stay. He was a fan of the Chicago dog, the deep dish pies, the Lienenkugel beer, the Italian Beef sandwich and other unique Illinois treats. (Had he known about Art Smith's place, I think he may have been more adamant that I'd be the one packing up and moving a thousand miles.

Anyway, we saw the place and when we decided to leave the house to grab some lunch today, Urban Spoon and Yelp provided some favorable reviews of that beloved Beef sandwich and off we went to Memorial Boulevard.

Down Under Chicago did not disappoint. Both Ed and Chef were quite pleased with their Chicago Beef sandwiches, and I was pleased with my deep dish pepperoni pizza. Game Teen turned up his nose at the requested Meatball sub because it had too much marinara (but he ate a meatball separate), but most people would love the fact that this sandwich had large meatballs and ample sauce.

The owners run the place, with the wife serving our table and the husband spending some time chatting, both talking to us about the other not-so-local places to get a taste of Chicago. Ed told them it was the BEST sandwich he'd had outside Chicago and that the only thing close is the one at Murray Brother's Caddyshack (and that's over in St. Augustine!)

I think the best part is that, unlike our beloved Romeos, Down Under Chicago is open Mondays.

If an urge to have pizza strikes on a Monday night, I think I know where we're headed.
Down Under Chicago on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 18, 2011

It Never Fails

That I decide I'm going to bed early and something comes on television that will prevent me from doing just that.

Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries.

I think that makes it clear to other Pythonites why I probably won't go to bed anytime soon. (Never mind that we already own multiple copies and I have the digital copy on all my idevices).

Your fa

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ahhh, Technology!

I've mentioned before, one of my classes has a group project that is 50% of the grade. I've also mentioned that one group member is pulling less than her weight. If not for the other group member's expertise and talent, we'd be up a tree.

She's out of the country this week.

In the old days, we'd be incommunicado this week, and the problems that member #3 is creating would be all on me. However, we just spent an hour IMing back and forth on the University chat client to iron out the rest of the project. When member #3 can't even follow basic instructions (edit these scripts into a PDF file for the end users, but she leaves in all the directions for the instructional designers), the workload will be greater and the stress lower by doing it this way.

Another good thing:
The courseware we're creating this project in only works on PCs (the output will work on anything). The screen capture software I use is only available on Macs, but the output also works on anything. Five years ago, I would have ended up emailing documents and audio files to myself and stressing that they were bigger than gmail's file limits.

Now, I just sit there with the Mac and Toshiba side by side, save my work to a flash drive and pop it out of one laptop and into the other.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not What You'd Expect to See

When you're driving in a suburban neighborhood:

For the record, there is not farm anywhere near where this little guy was trotting around!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Never Thought to Find This

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Ferris Bueller is one that originally wasn't well received, the Art Institute of Chicago segment where they show some wonderful works of art.

The instrumental that played during the segment was lovely. I knew it was from the Dream Academy, but the lack of a movie soundtrack release meant I really didn't find out the name of the track.

Until tonight's showing of a documentary about the making of the movie on Biography. Curious, I looked it up, and found it's a cover of a Smith's song. When heard with the lyrics, it is clear that it's a Smiths song-but the Dream Academy version is so pretty, I had to share it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hit Me With That Google Search, Hit Me

with apologies to Ian Dury and the Blockheads

I decided to change one of my site trackers to a paid service, in preparation for the move to a hosted site early in the new year. This jump is partly due to the need to host my portfolio online, free of the school's website. It's great for in house, but sometimes, people outside of USF cannot access my content.

It is sometimes fascinating to see what brings people to the site. Lately, I've noticed quite a few spikes in traffic, going up to 70 and 80 hits a day. SiteMeter's free service is very good, but cumbersome in navigating some of the particulars.

So, the new provider is shedding some light on the situation and I find that apparently, Adam, Jamie and the crew of Mythbusters are going on tour. I blogged about their visit to USF two years ago and the whole world apparently is coming to check out my crappy picture taken from miles away.

In 5th place is the visit Duff Goldman made to USF and I'm happy to report that those pictures are much better, but I'm sure that Google surfers don't want to hear that both presentations were free to students. Which reminds me, I need to see what big name we've got coming this year!

Four of the top ten places? CND's Shellac, because a lot of people are curious about the UV gel polishes. Wonder if OPI's GelColor will bump any of those out soon?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Plan and the Reality

The major component of my grade in one class this semester is a group project. This weekend, I was tasked with taking a video screen capture, layering a voice over to it, and then assembling both into a presentation software packet to submit for class Tuesday. No biggie, right? Piece of cake, even.

What none of us considered is that when we walk through a software application without describing what we're doing during screen captures, it takes a LOT less time than when we speak.

Add to that the small matter of software conflicts, such as my Mac isn't dual boot, the software I need to screen capture in use is a windows only product, but the screen capturing tools I have are all Mac based.

It's not a major problem, in fact, in the long run, it's a good learning experience on how to mesh all these products together, but I'm reshooting video that my teammate spent a lot of time on to make it look just right.

I'll be here for a while.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gone Dotty for CND's Shellac

I love Shellac in Hotski to Tchotchke so much that I'd told Katie, my nail tech, that I wanted to alternate every other manicure with the shade. So yesterday, she didn't even ask what was going on my nails this time around. What she didn't expect is that I'd show her a Pinterest picture of a similar teal (but creme) with polka dots all over it, kind of in a lighter teal and cement shade.

She was willing to do all my nails in polka dots (I love that woman!), but I just wanted a little bit of accent, so my pinkies were festooned in dots of Purple Purple and Studio White. Now I understand why nail art looks so much better when other people do it-they've got these cool tools to work with.

Katie's been working with the Shellac line since shortly after CND launched it (and she's the only local nail tech listed on CND's site that answers emails inquiring about it, too), so I guess it should be no surprise that she was contacted by an OPI sales rep about the OPI GelColor line.

She'd tried working with Gelish and OPI's Axxium products and was not impressed, but saw the new GelColor line and had a chance to see how it works a few months ago, so that when the rep came to call, she was willing to invest the money in their system.

It is NOT cheap, but 80% of her traditional polishes are the very cool OPI shades, including the limited edition crackles and ones like the Pirates of the Carribbean colors. The idea of having more colors to offer her clients, and hundreds of more layering options definitely is appealing to her (and to us clients, no doubt.)

So, even though the line is currently heavy on the orangey-reds that don't look right on us fair-skinned women, there are enough colors in the nine she got after I left yesterday that I'll be giving them a try and reporting my results. I don't think she got I'm not Really a Waitress in that initial allotment, but if she did, I forsee it being the first in that line to be run through the paces.

In the meantime, I don't see jumping ship entirely. I love how the Shellac wears, protects my nails, the layering options and many of the solo colors that it'll just be a case of what color I feel like wearing for two weeks when I walk in the door of the salon.

Not a bad place to be for a non-girly girl who likes colorful nails.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nigel Tufnel Day

At 11:11pm on 11/11/11, Chef concluded his premiere viewing of "This is Spıṅal Tap", and as we'd hoped, he found the movie very funny.

However, one of the funniest scenes, the infamous 'but these go to eleven' that inspired naming today as Nigel Tufnel day produced something else: my list of eleven songs that I like to play at eleven.

*Disclaimer-I could probably use about 50 songs, so take this list as eleven for this moment in time.*

Baba O'Riley, The Who

Red Barchetta, Rush

(though to be honest, Camera Eye is the one that gets played at 11 most often)

All Star, Smashmouth

Rock Lobster, B52's

Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen

What I Like About You, The Romantics

It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine), R.E.M.

Don't Fear the Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult

Dream Weaver, Gary Wright

Saturday in the Park, Chicago

Life's Been Good, Joe Walsh

How about you? Which songs do you thing MUST be played at 11?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Slate You Don't Want to See

When you play Words with Friends:
Only slightly better is one in which you see seven consonants, which I finally pawned off enough to have a few vowels. They weren't easy to use ones, more like JVCXKBL. Yeah, You can make a big enough word pairing those with a stray vowel to possibly get enough vowels to get out of slate hell.

What about you? Have you had a slate of five O's and two U's, too?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Paying it Forward Again

A classmate from my undergraduate program is planning on starting graduate school in January. What is cool is that everything that I learned along the way to my program is now passed on to H, and she's constantly thanking me for helping her out.

Things like:
*Don't apply to a program within our school until you start your final semester unless you like getting letters that your financial aid is in limbo.

*The Kaplan guides for the GRE are very helpful and even have two free online sessions that help you study efficiently.

*How to find various offices in the Education building.

The bonus today is that after having the 'what do I want to be when I grow up?' conversation, she met the program coordinator for my program, who is an absolute angel. All the time spent perusing the CoEdu website definitely came in handy when H had questions.

What's the point of all this knowledge, if not to share it with others?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Ed has inverse psoriasis, a form of the skin condition that happens where skin meets skin (or in his case, with the added location of his neck). He's always had severe eczema, but it appeared to switch over to this after his first bout with MSSA two years ago.

It looks horrible and painful, but it's not. It's a little unsightly, especially when others see the neck, but there really isn't much to cure it. Or there wasn't, until the release of a drug called Enbrel. The commercials started showing up on television about a year ago and they target an audience that is embarrassed about their skin.

The first thing in the long list of disclaimers is that it reduces one's immunity to illness. So, the first time we saw this commercial, both Ed and I thought that was not a risk to take. (This was before that his particular psoriasis was the Inverse variety.) He did some research of his own about Enbrel and psoriasis and found that those who have the inverse form also have a very active immune system.

We realized in retrospect that yes, he'd had a lot less colds in the previous couple of years, but didn't really think much more about it. He lives with it and goes about his days.

Then, he spent two weeks in the hospital with MSSA, strep C and acinetobacter infections. Not fun. He's still recovering here at home. These are scary infections, but each time a health care professional saw the inverse psoriasis, they asked the same things, namely "doesn't that hurt?", "are you taking anything to treat that?" and "are you sure that's not a fungal infection?" His answers were no, no and no.

Then when the questions came about not taking medication, his response was always along the lines "I can take Enbrel. Can you imagine what kind of shape I'd be in right now if my immune system was suppressed?"

Right now, I'm glad that the Enbrel ads give the laundry list of disclaimers and they were intimidating enough that Ed wouldn't even consider asking a dermatologist for it to treat his psoriasis. And if you're considering Enbrel to treat your psoriasis, please consider those disclaimers seriously before you do.

As for me, I'm really glad that Ed's home and didn't deal with more severe ramifications from taking that medication when the nasty infections took hold in his body!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Why Do We Still Have Daylight Savings Time?

Do farmers need it anymore?

It's darn annoying to come home when the sun has set.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Random Thoughts

Several thoughts not worthy of a full blog post are the fodder for today. Well, I have a nice, long topic, but it will remain unpublished for now.

* It has been a bad week for friends. My boss's companion lost her mother, my best friend Donna lost her mom Friday and another friend's family made the difficult decision to bring Hospice in for her mom. All three had Hospice intervention for their final hours, and once again, I am grateful for that organization.

It's a sisterhood you don't want others to join you in.

* I wonder why, if someone has an issue with me, 1. why they don't actually *talk* to me about it or 2. why they drag my children into their stupid games. The party involved doesn't realize that not talking to me speaks volumes about their guilt in other arenas...

* I'd been on the fence whether to tack on a couple of classes to get a graduate certificate along with the Master's degree. It is a good idea to increase my Instructional Technology base before starting the doctoral program-it leaves me more room in the schedule to plug in special education courses.

Now I have another reason. Graduation falls on the same day as a large-scale reunion for my high school choirs and our director. I'd rather walk in the summer, anyway-less students means a shorter ceremony!

Okay, back to work...

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Ahhh, Fall

Sixty degrees.

While that used to mean spring had most definitely arrived in the northern climes, here in Florida, it means we have achieved fall. Let the lanai vegging begin.

To that end, I grabbed a nice top round roast and figured that it would either make pit beef or a nice, cooked all day pot roast. I asked Ed what he'd prefer and there was no hesitation: pot roast.

I guess the little dip in temperature has him thinking of comfort foods...

Friday, November 04, 2011

Important Musical Education Going on Here

Chef has a knack for repurposing songs. No, he won't take Weird Al's undisputed title as the King of Parodies, but he does tend to do it in such a way that Ed and I are amused often.

Until he messes with a Ramones song. Son, you don't mess with the Ramones, they are not to be considered parody fodder. It just isn't done.

Then we realized that our rock-loving child had not been exposed to music perfect for his early-arrival teen angst: punk rock. So, we started with Blizkrieg Bop, then went to TV Party and added a few more classics from the mosh pit standards.

He appears to fit right in, and if he'd had a lighter, he would have been burning his fingertips in appropriate respect by holding that Bic lighter aloft. I see further introductions to groups like the Dead Kennedys.

On the other hand, Scamp was utterly terrified by the music. I guess that's the down side of inheriting an animal: I think he cut his milk teeth on Michael Crawford.

Now, that music, I'd gladly watch Chef construct elaborate parodies. Just don't mess with the classics of punk, okay?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

GRE Scores

The scores weren't expected to be released until the 8th, but ETS released those new GRE exam scores this morning for those of us who took the exam in the first six weeks.

I walked out of the exam with an old scale range of where I'd be, varying by 100 points. So, I assumed the middle number and mentioned to the professor that heads up the program what my estimated score would be.

Ends up that I was a little low on that number-but strangely, my verbal score ended up being the equivalent of a 720 and my quantitative score was much lower, like even lower than the bottom range equivalent I was given. Bleh. Still, I was given a range of 1100-1300 on the old scale and it worked out to a 1250, so I really am pleased.

But the perfectionist in me still wants to retake the test, once I get all the incompleted assignments from this semester turned in. I think I can bring that quantitative score way up, especially if 8 of 40 questions aren't on circles!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I Get It, More Than You Know

For all the things I love about Game Teen's school, there is one thing that has been a bit of an annoyance since pretty much day one: the secretary.

Maybe it's because she is not trained in Special Education, she seems to lack patience with some of the students, mine being one of them. She has several children around the ages of my two, and it seems as if she expects these kids to behave exactly like her offspring.

There's a problem, these are kids who have varying degrees of emotional blindness and are, in many cases, fall well below their chronological age behaviorally. I just have to walk on the campus to see it with my own eyes, to know that my son may keep pace (and even excel) academically, but he behaves like the younger elementary school kids.

With my child, there seems to be a snarky tone, when she is explaining to me incidents that happen, it's more like an older kid tattling "well, he did THIS, and he did THAT and well, that's just unacceptable and I can't deal with this and you need to come get him RIGHT. NOW! "

What she doesn't realize is 1. I live with him, and well, the behavior you think I don't know about? I see far more of it than you do, because he does actually *try* to hold things together in school-we aren't afforded that same luxury at home. And 2. By coming to get him when he misbehaves, that sends him a message that if he acts out enough, he'll get to come home and by going home, he won't have to do any work.

We know the precipitate for this: He failed to take his medication yesterday morning and last night, what Ed thought was the night time dose of one medication was actually a morning dose, so the child went to school under medicated. (We remedied the dose situation last night and this morning, but it takes a while for these medications to kick in.)

My concern in all this is the tone she takes with the kids and their parents when telling of the problems. These are kids who take it all in, trying to comprehend this foreign concept of emotion and normal interaction. So, the emotion coming off of her probably should be a little more (okay, a lot more) compassionate. One can be firm and kind, the teachers and directors do a great job of this every day.

It just frustrates me that the school does so much good and this one person? Is not reinforcing the lessons the professionals are working so hard to instill in these students.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Two years ago, we nearly ran out of candy, so last year, I bought about 40 bucks worth of candy-and only had a dozen or so trick or treaters. This year, I thought it was an aberration, so I bought about 25 bucks worth of candy.

Again, we only had about 10 trick or treaters and I've got a lot of leftover candy, even with Chef giving each ghoul and goblin a handful of fun sized treats. Lessons learned: let the kids pick out the treats we give out, then they'll have some of their favorites waiting at home. Then again, neither one of mine went out, because Chef prefers handing the goodies out.

I did something different this year, and Ed and Chef scoffed at the idea. I bought Capri Suns and we had those for the ones who got thirsty from walking through our neighborhood and they told me that it would rank up there with raisins on the lousy treats front.

And every kid that came took one with their handful of candy. Take that, doubting menfolk!

But the best part? I found a recipe for homemade Butterfingers on Pinterest, and it calls for candy corn. I grabbed three bags of them when I went to CVS today. Half price candy is probably the best part of Halloween, don't you think?