Showing posts from January, 2012

A Public Service Announcement

If you are like me, and subscribe to the theory that eating very spicy food is a good thing, as it clears out the sinuses, this is for you:

Should your spice of choice be mango habaƱero buffalo wings, be sure to take a CLEAN napkin to blow your nose when the floodgates open. Especially if you happen to blot the inside of your nostril and the raw skin immediately below your nose.

Then, twenty minutes later, when everything calms down, don't try to blow your nose on the other side with a similarly soiled with wing sauce napkin.

It is NOT pleasant, trust me.

Support Network

Some days, when you're at the end of your rope, you can pick up the phone, or type a status on Facebook, and they're there. The people who understand, who are walking (or have walked) the mile in your shoes. The ones who 'get it'.

I don't talk much about the situation with GameTeen anymore, mainly because I'd commented somewhere at a very low point with him a few years ago and was attacked for it. Now, however, I have an excellent source of support in his principal. We've become friends in the time that he's attended his school, and we are undergoing similar educational journeys. On those days when I'm stressed, I can ping her on Facebook, call her on the phone or email and she's got the educational background to make me see the big picture.

Every semester, I have been fortunate to walk away from it with a new friend. This semester, I'm thinking there will be more than that, but the best thing ever is having someone in the same three cla…

Bringing up the Rear

Ed and the boys had the yucky cold and general ickyness last week.

So of course, I've got it now, when I'm trying to do a boatload of school work and cannot concentrate!

Can I sleep in tomorrow and let GameTeen drive himself to school? Never mind that he doesn't know how to drive...

Bosphorous Turkish Kitchen

Back in June, the night I went to Paint Along Studios, I happened upon Bosphorous. It was their opening night, the word was not out yet, and I ordered some Kofte and baklava to take home-and was promptly blown away.

You have to understand, Lakeland is not a haven for ethnic food. You want Pho? drive to Tampa. Greek food? There's a limited menu at Pappas', but a full Greek dining experience requires travel along I-4. Kosher? You're out of luck. So, to have an honest to God, authentic Turkish restaurant was just not something I expected.

The kofte were grilled expertly, with wonderful seasonings and a nice, gentle char. A mixed salad was in the container, topped with an orange dressing that was at once sweet and tart. The cracked bulgur was mixed with tomato sauce and an expert infusion of mint. In short, a talented chef was at the helm in a storefront previously occupied by a barbeque joint.

The next visit was a few weeks later, and the whole family traveled with…

OPI Gelcolor, Suzi Says Feng Shui

When OPI announced the colors in the Gelcolor line, I immediately gravitated towards the Suzi Says Feng Shui. I knew that at some point, it would be on my nails. Can you tell that I'm a happy camper, now that red, coral, pink and nudes are not the only 'proper' colors for nails?

Better pictures coming later, but for now:

It's a creme polish, but I'm thinking that a nice layer of glitter over this would be very nice. :)

OPI Gelcolor, Day 14

I have a nail appointment tomorrow. This is my third go round with the OPI Gelcolor and this is what I'm looking at:
There's a noticeable difference between the CND and the OPI gel product, and for me, the Shellac wears MUCH better. There is a 'sealer' that OPI recommends nail techs put on a client's nail prior to the base coat. It is there to keep nail oils seeping through and preventing the polish from lifting.

Even with it, the gelcolor lifts and on two occasions, it lifted enough on my nails that I ended up with a naked nail or two at the end.

That said, take a close look at that naked nail. How many reports have you heard about the gel polishes destroying someone's nails? I'm here to show you that if you go to TRAINED nail tech, who is adamant about following proper procedures and instructs you in caring for a gel manicure, you will come out of the experience with better nails.

For me, I've slacked off on Katie's suggestion of using Solar Oil …

Outlook: Annoying

I am not a fan of MS Outlook. For years, it's been the vehicle by which computers get viruses. Nowadays, I think the protections enabled by employers that use it compensate, but this has made me steer clear of it.

However, at work, we use it-and the attached calendar tool. I share my calendar with everyone in the department, by virtue of what I do, they all share their calendars with me-it's good. I can effectively schedule appointments and the like.

This semester, my school schedule varies by day and by week. I emailed my boss the schedule, but everyone in the department needs it. Besides, a list of dates by day of the week wasn't easy to reference-for her or for me. She asked me to update my calendar for the semester.

I so wish there was a way to plug in dates, for instance "On theses dates, I will be unavailable at 2:45, Class in Tampa", but noooooo, I had to enter them week by week for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

Now, 15 weeks are entered, and …

He Likes My Food, He Really Likes My Food

Game Teen is the odd man out in this house. While, Ed, Chef and I will eat all manner of epicurean delights, he revels in 'white' food. Pasta. Bread. Cereal (no dyes, remember?) Yogurt. Milk. Yes, we do get him to eat other stuff, but it's rare that he goes for something remotely different.

Which is why it is kind of surprising how much he likes pulled pork and beef brisket. He enjoys it, and we can get far more protein into him than normal by taking him to a 'que joint. Honestly, though, in the past year, I think he's gotten used to mom making pulled pork.

Today was the surprise. His school has their meals catered by a local BBQ joint. Yes, they serve a variety of food, but I ordered him today's meal, because it was an adult sized pulled pork sandwich. I knew he'd eat every last morsel. So it was a little bit of a surprise when I picked him up from school this afternoon and asked what he wanted for dinner from among the three choices I had ready.

I d…

Another Night at the Laundromat

Using all four of the 'gigante' machines to sort your clothes that would barely fit into the 'doble' should be outlawed. ( she later used three single load machines to wash her belongings.Hearing 'Marvel verSUS CapCOOOMMMMM' every 10 seconds gets old in about two minutes.A lot of people come in to just dry their clothes.As opposed to the Saturday and Sunday night crowd, the Monday patrons are litterbugs.

Setting the Week Up Right!

I found an excellent looking pork butt when I was in the supermarket yesterday. Don't you think?

So, I decided that if I stayed home today (possibility of seeing Liz and Greg today), I'd smoke that bad boy. Then I thought about the thawed boneless chicken breasts I had, and a London Broil also sitting in the fridge. Why not make them all? I did!

The broil turned out lovely, and was refrigerated whole. I'll slice it thin tomorrow and make some cheddar melts.

The pork was pulled, with Ed and I having sandwiches tonight, and we'll probably have more another night this week. The chicken provided tonight's dinner for the boys and I've got 5 breasts left, ready to be incorporated into one or two meals, since we tend to make more chicken than we need for a meal to do just that.

This now saves me from the scramble to make food tomorrow night before my Elluminate session, Tuesday night before that Elluminate session and probably will put me in a good place to make s…

Pixie Dusted

My friend Liz (the woman responsible for pointing me in the right direction academically) had a problem. She was headed down here for her other half's 50th birthday and well, she wasn't quite getting the response from Disney on the little tweaks she wanted to do to make Greg's birthday special.

That's not something I wanted to hear, and definitely something I would help fix. So, today, the family headed over to the Boardwalk Resort and ensured that Greg would not forget what birthday he's celebrating. Take a look:

It was fun decorating, and especially awesome that Greg was not tipped off in any way. We even met up with them in the parks briefly and he had no idea of what we'd just finished doing to his room.

I'm wondering when those balloons will fall off the ceiling and wake them up...

Date Night!

I think one of the best things about my kids getting older is that Ed and I can now take the occasional date night.

That wasn't tonight's plan, per se, but the boys didn't want to leave the house. So I made them sandwiches, and Ed and I went to Outback and then for a drink afterwards. It still feels a little strange, but I think the kids like two hours without Mom and Dad at home. I know Ed and I definitely enjoy the ability to talk about stuff without kids interrupting!

Though now I'm stuffed and sleepy...

SOPA, PIPA and Piracy-Another Point of View

Thank you, denizens of the internet, for showing Congress that they don't know what the hell they're doing when legislating the internet. What do you want to bet that most of our representatives 'have people' to use the internet for them and aren't savvy to the inner workings? No bet? Darn.

The news yesterday focused on the movie industry's complaints that their product is being pirated and they're losing their rightful earnings. That may be true, but what also is true is that they can place a lot of encoding on their products to prevent it, but they don't want to spend a buck to prevent this from happening.

Meanwhile, the people who really need the piracy protections are the ones who cannot afford the lobbying dollars in Washington: the recording artists and the small labels that represent them.

Honestly, the independent movie maker has an uphill battle and won't have the theft issues that the major production companies have. On the other hand, t…

70's Flashback: Wacky Packages

If you were a kid in the 70's, like I was, odds are high that you spent seven cents at least once for a pack of Wacky Packages (though we called them Wacky Packs).

They're back!

While shopping in Target tonight, Ed came up to me with a handful, telling me "I am spending ten dollars on these and you can't stop me." Back in the day, (eep, 40 years ago!) what he held would have cost .35 cents. Talk about inflation!

This time, though, you're not getting that stick of gum that lost flavor in 30 seconds. No, you get a refrigerator magnet. Back then, no way in the world your mom was going to put this magnet on the fridge, but now? Take a look at what will be on my fridge soon!

There's a bunch more, but you'll have to get your own!

What is sadder still is that I'm singing the jingles from back in the day, but with the new product names...

A Second Chance

As I write this, a friend is getting a second chance at life.

After nearly four years on a waiting list, Ted is getting a new kidney. He's been doing home dialysis for a very long time and taken many medications in preparation for this event. It is sad that a family lost a loved one, but good to know that even in death, someone is bringing second chances to many people.

If you haven't already, please consider being an organ donor AND notify your loved ones of this important decision to give life to others who need it. My license notes this designation and odds are, your state will just have you fill a simple affidavit when you renew your driver's license or non-driver ID.

Have you considered donation? If so, have you shared your decision?

This is the Year

We leave the country!

Well, technically, Ed and I each have barely dipped our toes into Canada, but visiting Niagara Falls hardly counts as foreign travel, not when there is so much of our neighbor to the north to explore. Someday (in the summer, mind you), we'll do some traveling up there.

No, this time around we need passports and we'll be heading someplace warmer. I work for a secret shopping firm and they've approached me about doing this. Most of my shops for the second half of 2011 covered the taxes and fees not already covered by the company engaging our services.

If all goes well, Spring Break will be spent with our toes in the sand and me taking pictures of amazing blue waters...

Memory and the Trick it Plays

When I had GameTeen, he was a linebacker baby. He came out 9lbs, 11 oz and he bunked in the nursery next to a 5lb, 1 oz dainty little girl. He was huge, to the point that some of the newborn clothes I purchased and all the newborn diapers given to us did not fit.

Three years later, Chef was a smaller 7lbs, 13oz. It was a little strange to have a child that wore the same outfit home from the hospital and it was swimming on him, where his older brother filled that outfit nicely.

Still, they were small once. Much smaller than they are now (which really, is only a couple of inches shorter than me nowadays!) They were little and helpless, and I remember this, but only in a fleeting way, you know? I can remember how they looked, cradled in my arms, but how much almost 10 and barely 8 pounds feels? Not really.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I held a baby. A little baby, a barely three weeks old bundle of cute, of thrashing, flailing and crying because I am HUNGRY baby! I la…

My Favorite Season

Strawberry season!

We had a few days of cold last month and some more in the past week, which makes for much sweeter berries.

Let the maceration begin!

OPI Gelcolor, Ink

Based on the quantity of people visiting me for info about the OPI Gelcolor product, I decided to skip my usual every other manicure of CND Shellac's Hotski to Tchotchke and go for another round of the OPI Gelcolor manicure.

I really wasn't as impressed with the Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not, based on the Day 14 appearance:
My nail tech, Katie, does a great job with tipping my nails, and I've never had them look as worn down as this manicure does. Even on the CND Shellac manicures that went three weeks, this did not happen.

Katie picked up more of the colors (supply has been an issue on some of the OPI colors), and I opted for Ink. If I'd known she had Suzi says Feng Shui, that would have been my choice.

This is a deep indigo with a prominent small metallic flake in it. It's very striking, especially in sunlight.

OPI has excellent colors, I'm just hoping this one wears better than the previous two rounds...


At this level of schooling, it is really important to build one's network. Professors may offer seeds of information in passing that later blossom into project ideas. Classmates may already work in the field and have first hand experience that help you refine your plans.

This semester seems to be full of networking opportunities. I didn't realize it, but I selected three classes with professors I have not had yet (though one remembered me from a volunteering experience and thought I'd been in her class). Then, tonight, the classmate I sat beside is in all three of my classes. This is a first. In the past, I've had several classmates show up in two, but never three.

The biggest networking opportunity came after tonight's class. In talking to J, the classmate in all my classes, I'd mentioned GameTeen's Asperger's. This prompted the instructor to ask me some questions about this. He revealed that he's in the process of applying for a grant to do…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

It's time to resurrect WFDW! When you have friends emailing and messaging on Facebook, telling you the ingredients they have and what can they make from it, yeah, it's time to do this again. Sorry, no pictures today.

Tonight, no pictures, and someone else provided the inspiration, but my gosh, what good inspiration it was! On New Year's Eve, I posted what we were planning to nosh on for New Year's Eve and asked my friends to share what they were having. A friend mentioned that she had Italian Beef in a crock pot and they'd enjoy it.

Italian Beef may be Ed's most favorite food from his time living in Chicagoland. Chef has picked up on his love of this Windy City sandwich, thanks to the several places around the Tampa Bay area that serve it (Mel's Hot Dogs in Tampa, Old Town Pizzeria in Bloomingdale and Plant City and Down Under Chicago in Lakeland)

Fred's recipe is fairly similar to the ones I found online, and all suggest the same thing-do this in your…

Cooking Channel FTW

Since Food Network has launched the Cooking channel, we have enjoyed the ability to see older shows that aren't part of the current FN lineup. (Hello, please bring back Doorknock Dinners. Please?) One of the most enjoyable parts of this review of older programming is the nightly Iron Chef America broadcast.

We realized tonight that the shows we've enjoyed this past week have all been Season One programming. Thanks to Wikipedia's list of ICA episodes, it was realized that they've begun playing the shows in order of battle air date.

Now, I'm trying to mark my calendar for the battles I've always wanted to see, but missed for some reason or another.

If you're like us, and want to check out particular battles, they're on episode seven, Battle Catfish tonight. Oh, and Jeffrey Steingarten appears to have judged four of the first seven battles.

Woohoo, food geek television!

Something New

This semester, I have two online classes. They are scheduled asynchronously, which means that the class does not gather at the same time for live sessions.

For the first time in eleven online classes, this online class will have about half of the sessions online synchronously. At least I don't have to drive to Tampa for class, but it felt strange to be rushing home to be logged in on time.

I was a little worried that world war three would break out with the boys, so I hid on the lanai, with instructions that they shouldn't bug me unless someone was bleeding to death. The good news is that they left me alone. I'm optimistic that they will continue to do this through the rest of the semester, but realistic that it probably won't.

The best part is that I feel I chose well between the two classes that both met tonight. I really like the professor teaching the other class and I definitely will take it later, but this class is much better preparation for next year.

Let th…

Buried Treasures

I don't know why, but the last day of semester break is when my motivation kicked into gear with regard to the dozens of household projects I'd wanted to work on. At least I'm rested.

Anyway, we're awaiting the approval from Serta to replace our 20 month old memory foam bed. It has two valleys, which it should not have and this apparently was a problem with many of the beds manufactured in early 2010. Lovely, right? Well, this potential disturbance of the bedroom has inspired me to clear out clothes that don't fit, unpack boxes that haven't been disturbed since we moved to Florida and potentially get the Polynesian Resort armoires out of our garage, painted and placed into the bedroom.

I opened boxes and found all manner of memories, like the wiggle worm that was GameTeen's constant companion his first year of life. Ornaments the boys made us. and going back even further, a blast from my geeky past:

I joked about wearing it to CES (the Consumer Electronic…

Getting Ahead Before the Semester Begins

I admit my geek status often. Instead of resisting it, why not just go with it?

Anyway, this week, two of the professors posted the syllabi for their classes. Within a couple of hours, they were printed and the assignments for one class were reviewed. A quiz taken, a discussion board topic responded to.

It really was relatively easy stuff, since this is my fourth semester in the program. The other syllabus laid out the seven assignments that must be submitted this semester. One is something I've done before (by virtue of doing video auditions for NFNS) and the rest can be accomplished by creating content for GameTeen's school website. The software we use and will be learning in the class are two products I own and have used quite a few times.

Normally, it isn't wise to do two production based classes in one semester, but there really wasn't anything left to take that I'd like, since I've met all the requirements except the number of credits. Thus, I hav…

Gelcolor by OPI, Day Eight

The semester doesn't start until Monday, so I can actually do one of these mid-manicure updates this time.

The news? I'm seeing something I've never seen before. Chipping. What's sad is that I'm not doing anything extreme that would cause the polish to chip, in fact, I'm probably doing less than I normally do.

Take a look:

Maybe it's just a bad bottle, or the color has less gel than the last one I had (Bagota Blackberry). I will update again right before I get the next manicure to see how it holds up in the next week.

Still, if I'd had a regular manicure, it would have been completely trashed by now, so in that regard, the OPI Gelcolor is still a win.

Glad I Brought My Ice Scraper With Me

In my car is an item that I use maybe once every three ice scraper.

It got used this morning.