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Showing posts from December, 2012

Goodbye, 2012

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Even though a lot of good happened in 2012, like getting my Masters, going on vacation, getting a teaching job, and starting a doctoral program-I'm looking forward to 2013.

I've applied for a bunch of jobs in my career field, and I think this is a better opportunity. Working with the kids is fulfilling, but the bank account needs help, the Beetle needs to be repaired, and we have some home improvements that need tending.

So, come on 2013 and bring some nice changes with you!

Swap Meet Redux

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Last week, when we woke at 5am, it was 31 degrees. We reset the alarm and at 6am, it was 30 degrees-so we decided to skip it.

Today, it was 39 at 6am, and we got there at 7am, which is normally pretty late to get going. That said, we got a prime location and probably saw most of foot traffic, based on where customers parked and entered. This was about half of what we had two weeks ago.

It wasn't a bad return for five hours work. We completely emptied four boxes of stuff out of storage, consolidated down what we do have, and will probably pull more stuff out of the garage and storage this week.

We have a Russian family that will come look for us next week, because we have more of an item they wanted, we just didn't bring it all with us. We've even decided that we're going to buy another table to put stuff out, because we'll earn it back in about an hour's time out there selling.

It's kind of nice to put some money in our pockets AND clear ou…

Orchids

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Ed and I stopped at a farm stand yesterday, and I got pictures of their gorgeous orchids-but they're on the iMac, which Chef has camped at pretty much all evening.

I'll add them later.

Semester Break Treat

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I went to pick up textbooks today. After last semester, it was rather pleasant to only have two books to buy, or in my case, rent. I'll have no need for stats books after this semester, save for the SAS book I bought last semester.

While at the bookstore, Ed pointed out the latest JK Rowling book, which reminded me of my intent to visit the library to borrow Nelson DeMille's The Panther. However, since I was there, and since I didn't have to blow $300 on books this time around, I decided to look for it.

The search was fruitful and even better: It was cheaper than buying the eBook version!

Now I get to enjoy one of my favorite things to do: a soak in a very hot tub with a brand-new book. Awesome.

Drive By Googly Eyes

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I have to thank Anne Wheaton for this idea: she and Wil Wheaton carry around bags of stick on googly eyes and randomly add them to things. I thought it was too funny, and the next time I ordered something from Amazon, I added a bag of eyes.

My plan was actually to use the small ones on magazines in the checkout at the supermarket, but my classroom got them first...

Photo a Day-2013?

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Blogging every day has become so ingrained that I can't bring myself to stop, even on the days when I don't have a lot to say.

So, for 2013, I'm thinking it's time for a twist. I'll still blog every day, but perhaps I'll take a picture or vlog every day. This way, there's a post to come check out each day, but sometimes, the image will do the talking.

Part of the impetus to do this is that every day, I walk around with my iPhone and one or two video cameras. Some days, I have a third video camera. If I start pulling them out of the bag more often, I'll hone those skills I learned in class last year. This will come in handy later in my doctoral research, too.

For this, I may resurrect some features I've done in the past, but with a twist. What's For Dinner Wednesday will pretty much be the same, but maybe a Soundtrack Sunday video here and there when I can't find what I want to share on You Tube? Considering some of the rare n…

Dr Who Teaser

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The traditional Dr. Who Christmas special was on tonight. Now, we have to wait until APRIL! Grrrr!

His new familiar, Clara, looks and sounds familiar. More like, the Doctor didn't SEE her last time, as she was Oswald, a Dalek (but she didn't realize it). In a little interstitial they showed on BBC last week, this was brought up, and Matt Smith comments that he never saw her-implying that this was a completely new character.

However, in tonight's episode, when Clara first enters the Tardis, she asks about the kitchen because she makes souffles. Wait a minute, Oswald made souffles. Sure enough-it IS the same person-in two time eras.

And now, we have to wait until April to find out what the heck is going on!

Something different happened with tonight's episode, though. A friend tagged me and a few other former coworkers/sci fi geeks and we had a running commentary on FB throughout the show, during the commercial breaks. We enjoyed it so much that when the s…

Sometimes, the Best Gifts Aren't Under the Tree

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As I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I realize that the best gift my mom gave me was sharing her love of feeding her family. Sure, I can buy cookies at the store (and sometimes do), but the ones made at home taste better.

Which is why there is cinnamon roll dough proofing in the oven right now.

The Next Iron Chef Is...

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I still don't know.

My friends know me well, texting at 10 pm to ask me who won. Thing is, I actually went out tonight-something I rarely do! So, we haven't seen it.

Odds are good for a winner we want, because we're down to Nate Appleman, Amanda Freitag, or Alex Guarnaschelli-and we want either one of the ladies.

We'll know in an hour!

Brrrr

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A high of sixty degrees is something I am no longer accustomed to, and in eight years here-it's freaking COLD!

What am I going to do when we inevitably move further north after I'm done with school?

Paid Vacation

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Until January 7th!

Last year, I had 11 days off because work was closed, but it was unpaid. I think I like this year's way of doing things!

One of the Coolest Parts of My Job

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Among my students, I have one who is not capable of doing the work when his class comes to me each day. At the beginning of our time together, he didn't talk to me much, but I caught little snippets of his speech and responded to them. For instance, he said a line from a Wiggles song over and over (yummy yummy), and I sang some of the lyrics and his face lit up. My comment to his teacher "I think he's trying to tell us he's hungry". They got back to their classroom, crackers were offered, and he was happy.

I brought my iPad to school to occupy him, and this was a smart move. He enjoys it, so we're both happy. His current favorite is the Charlie Brown Christmas app I showed him. One day, I forgot the iPad at home and handed him my phone, which is in a blue case. Yesterday, the iPad died while he was using it and he came up to me and tugged on my shirt and said "blue iPod?". He was excited that I realized what he wanted and handed it over.…

Little Gifts, Big Smiles

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This afternoon, I walked into the office at work and saw that there were gift bags for all teachers from the Deans. Cool. Unexpected gifts are always cool.

Even better is when the gift is chocolate. Hershey's special dark, which I love. I'm a happy camper.

No, I don't need a lot to be happy-just give me the chocolate.

Cookie Time

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Last week, I made vegan peanut butter cookies for a coworker, as well as some Chocolate chip cookies for home. Both batches were a huge hit. I found that I like cookies with three parts shortening, one part butter (not for the vegan, obviously), because that gives a good crunch while retaining the buttery flavor.

Monday, I continued a tradition and cooked a luncheon for work. Alas, I picked up a 25 pound bag of flour on Sunday and wrenched the screws in my neck, to the point that I didn't prepare the cookies to go along with that lunch.

Instead, I made more cookies tonight, and I'll make more tomorrow. Finally, the students will get cookies on Friday. Ultimately, when I make stuff for others, there's a small portion that stays home. Let's just say that by the end of the week, my guys will probably have had their fill of cookies.

Then again, I'm not making rainbow cookies for work-those will be made sometime next week. Yum.

Question

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When you're playing Song Pop with someone, and they tell you to stop choosing 'Old People Music' categories (read: anything other than Today's Hits), do you feel justified in stomping their butts in every other category?

Yeah, me too.

The best part may be that this person has also been beaten in 'Today's Hit's a time or five...

Tips for the Swap Meet Selling Novice

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A few months ago, I participated in my first Swap Meet at the local Drive In. I did very well, almost netting $200 in five hours. This wasn't bad, but I brought home more stuff than I had wanted to do. So, this time, I went in a little more prepared, and I figured I would share what I'd learned.

1. Save your bags. The first time around, many people who purchased items from me asked for bags. Whoops! I didn't bring any. Since then, any grocery bag or decent bag from shopping has been saved in a tub in the garage. It was so much nicer to have bags at the ready-and the customers were happier.

2. Have your supplies ready. I have a little tin with price labels, a sharpie marker, tape, and fluorescent colored index cards. About half of my stuff was already priced, but I tended to price as I went, and it was nice to have them in one easy to find place.

Also, I had two tables for my things, but next time, I'll have two tarps to put things on-they'll be going…

Change in Plans

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We thought there would be an addition to the household, a kitten that we would call Pygmy Puff.

Alas, the two kittens were ill, though my friend and I did not know it. Pygmy Puff succumbed first, then the other kitty did a few hours later.

We're thinking that because we were prepared to add to the animal population in our home, we'll start looking at the Humane Society for another long-haired kitten or cat that needs a home. GameTeen and I don't seem to have too much of a problem with Scamp, and we're thinking that may bode well for another long hair.

If not this month, sometime soon, because too many cats need homes.

Senseless

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Twenty sets of parents aren't tucking their child in tonight, after giving them a hug and kiss and sending them off to school this morning.

Twenty children won't be opening their last two Chanukah gifts, or the things Santa was ready to put under the tree in ten days.

I can't imagine being those parents, and it tears me up to think about the holidays and milestones those parents aren't going to see.

As a teacher, I got the news after I'd finished with my students today and I worried about how they'd react to the news. I hoped that if something like that happened at my school, I'd be able to herd my charges to safety and out of the sights of some gunman on a tear.

Here's the thing that gets me: We hear the NRA lobbying heavily about our second amendment right to bear arms being sacrosanct. However, that amendment was created at a time that we did not have an organized military, our militias were made up of volunteer citizens.

We need chan…

Shopping is EASY with Sear's Shop Your Way!

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I remember when GameTeen and Chef were pre-schoolers and how Ed and I would do the shopping scramble to purchase gifts. One with the boys, the other trying to dash items off to the register after we saw that our kids liked them. Then, we'd try to get gifts into the house without the kids knowing we had them in the car-never an easy thing.

Then, the miraculous holiday season of 2000, when many retailers finally embraced 'the Interwebz', and I could shop online, while the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade occupied the kids in the next room. The best part was that neither of them knew the boxes dropped off by the UPS dude were their gifts.
,br /> Nowadays, the jig is up, the kids know Mom and Dad buy the gifts and they come directly to us for the things they'd like. I am the keeper of lists, not only for me, but for the boys and for Ed, too. I'm not a fan of being the keeper of the lists, not when I'm trying to create lesson plans and study for class…

Cat vs. RSD

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The cat owns me. I am most definitely his favorite.

What this means is that when I am home, he wants to possess me. The usual routine is when I get home, I pick him up and he proceeds to climb up on my right (bad) shoulder, then he heads across and covers both shoulders, like a stole.

Then when I sit, he needs to be near me, which results in this:
It doesn't matter where the leg is, he will force his body next to my leg. He doesn't care that it sends my nerves into overdrive. If I move, even while he's sleeping, less than a minute later, he is velcroed once again.

So, I wised up and moved my left leg, placed it out of his reach and thirty seconds later, this is what he did IN HIS SLEEP: I don't think he understands, and I don't have the heart to tell him it doesn't feel as good for me as it must for him!

Funny

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I bring the iPad to school to use with one of my students. Some of the others, they ask to use it, too, and sometimes, I'll use it as a reward. For the most part, they play with Angry Birds, though the Charlie Brown Christmas interactive book is a big hit with many.

Then I hook my iPad to the iMac to add some PDF docs to read-and find a bunch of pictures they took in the classroom.

Thinking of using the instagram talk to the hand picture as my background...

Defeated

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Frustrated that we don't have enough to make ends meet, my car is sitting in the mechanic's lot because I don't have the money to tow it home, and then today's capper...
GameTeen's Medicare, which he was eligible for because we are below the income cap for it, was dumped the first of this month in favor of a 'share of cost plan.' Basically, that means we need to pay $1968 out of pocket, then Medicare would pick up the rest.

Only problem is his medications cost over one thousand dollars a month. That I do not have.

Changing Tastes

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When you have a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are correlated issues. For Gameteen, this means he has sensory issues that lead to a somewhat picky diet that goes beyond the 'I don't like that's' that some kids have.

There are some rules we've learned in sixteen years of parenting GameTeen, such as:
He gravitates towards 'white foods', like bread, milk, rice, pasta, yogurt
He doesn't like sauces on his food, which means no gravy, marinara or other stuff
His foods cannot 'touch'
He has a problem with eating most proteins, unless they are ground up

Textures cannot mix, like you can't have raisins in oatmeal or ice cream with additives
Soups have to be broth like

Gradually, though, there has been a change. In the past six months, he's been amenable to things like spaghetti with a tiny bit of marinara, or trying the gravy on his Thanksgiving turkey. We offer, but we do not push, thankful that for a kid on the spectrum, he…

Bartending Blunder

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On several websites, you can find the recipe for a drink called the 'Bailey's Chocolate Covered Cherry'. My boss found it and thought it would make a great signature drink for our party and made a pitcher of the Kahlua, Baileys, and Captain Morgan, with the plans to layer in the grenadine called for in the recipe.

How many of my readers just looked at that combination and cringed?

Grenadine contains citrus, Bailey's contains cream. Have you ever mixed the two?

Well, it didn't go well.

Here's the thing: I don't think Grenadine is the best way to add cherry flavor to a drink, but my other idea at the time wouldn't work, either: cherry 7Up. It wasn't until I got home and realized that Kirshwasser is the way to add cherry flavor without curdling things. Also known as Cherry Brandy.

Now, the drink is kind of potent, and adding more alcohol is going to make it more potent. I just have to figure out exactly which non-alcoholic mixer to add...…

After Hours Work Party

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I can't tell you the last time I was to a work based celebration that wasn't held during business hours. Most of the time, we'd either have potluck or catered in, and it'd be mostly simple affairs.

The bosses are having a huge holiday party at their house tomorrow. Fifty people attending (our work staff at both locations is 25), catered by a restaurant I've reviewed on here and love and then the thing that I'm not used to: the boss posted a picture of the makings for the signature drink we'll be having tomorrow.

Booze? At a work function? I think the last time I encountered that was when I lived up in Maryland. Still, those Bailey's chocolate covered cherries sound really good...

Little Drummer Boy Challenge

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From the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, I am once again running the gauntlet. What gauntlet? The one in which I avoid hearing The Little Drummer Boy, in any version at any time.

Last year, I made it until the 23rd of December. This year, I almost was taken out last week, when I helped out in the office. I happened to look at Pandora as one song was ending and the next one was supposed to be TLDB. I closed my coworker's browser window so fast, it would make your head spin.

For the most part, I am safe. In the car, the radio is usually tuned to NPR. I don't shop the mall very often. The music at home is light on Christmas music until mid-month, and I can choose it. The only thing that could potentially kill it is the work Christmas party this weekend. How do I avoid it?

I gather up all of my Christmas CDs and make a playlist on the iPod (about 10 hours of music imported), then offer it to the boss for everyone's musical enjoyment. Oh, there's w…

Suckered

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There is a reason they are cute.



Meet Pygmy Puff.

As soon as he/she is weaned from mama, he/she is going to join Scamp in overtaking our household.

Z, T, and Degrees of Freedom

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Last night, I would have told you there is no way that I'm going to pass this take home final. Tonight, I'm sure of it. All these formulas are coming back...

The Beauty of Facebook

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For my Stats class, the final project is a ten question survey, one that I have to analyze the results and present as a report. Originally, since I'm working with the student population that I ultimately will be developing the dissertation research, it seemed to make sense to give them one. However, the IRB (Internal Review Board) would probably take issue with me asking questions of my study population before they've given approval to do so.

Instead, I created a teacher survey. The objective is to reach a minimum participants of 30 to have significance in the results. Smaller than that and you can't really apply what you've learned to the population. According to our textbook, 121 is the ideal and our professor says you never need a group more than 630 to achieve significance, because it's a large enough sample of the population.

So, teacher survey. I work with 15 teachers, but that still doesn't get me to N=30, the goal of this assignment. This is…

Strays

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My friend Jenn is a sucker for kitties. It is probably why she took in a stray that had been wandering around her mom's house about 5 years ago. Scarlett was a maine coon mix. She was tame, but wanted her freedom.

So, Jenn adopted in Tigger, a ginger tabby to keep her company. When I met Jenn almost three years ago, he was a few years old, but seemed like a kitten, very lithe and sinewy and little. At least it seemed that way.

Scarlett wanted to be outside more and more, and Animal control kept coming through Jenn's apartment complex. Scarlett kind of had a family near Jenn's mom's house, out in the country, so her mom asked them if they were amenable to having Scarlett again as an outdoor cat. Back to the country she went.

Tigger was lonely, and on one of her trips to the store to buy food, a little kitten charmed Jenn and came home with her. That's when I realized that Tigger wasn't as kitten like as he seemed.

Sadly, Tigger got sick and died…

Secret Santa

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We're doing this at work, and it's something I have not done in years and years. Typically, my holiday parties at work would involve a game called Dirty Santa, Chinese Gift Exchange, Yankee Gift Exchange or something like that, in which people open gifts and others have the chance to 'steal' what you have.

I had to fill out a questionnaire about my likes and dislikes, then they were all turned in. Monday through Friday, we give smaller gifts, but at the holiday party, we exchange a gift with a value around ten dollars. Nothing too bad.

One of the days involves a gag or novelty gift and this is where I'm truly my father's daughter. I came up with a gag gift that would have my recipient in hysterics laughing BUT it would also tip the hand of exactly who her Secret Santa is. Instead, I am regifting the horrendous door prize I won at my holiday party last year with a note completed by Ed "I think this goes PERFECT with your decor." It doesn'…