Showing posts from November, 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.


**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 t…

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 …

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…

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 ma…

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.


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 c…

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 i…


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.


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.

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 fam…

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…

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

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 wor…

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!

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.

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 tha…

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.

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 t…

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?

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?

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?


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 a…

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.

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 Technolo…

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...

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'…

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!

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 …


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 f…