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Showing posts from 2013

2013

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For the first time in a while, I can look back on a year and be very satisfied with how it turned out.

I have a job in the field I studied and it is what I expected. I look forward to going to work each day.

Money isn't plentiful, but things aren't horrible. When I get a flat tire, it limits what we do for a paycheck, rather than killing our budget for two months.

My family is healthy, the extended family is extending more, with a new baby and an engagement. While my health and Ed's aren't perfect, they aren't too bad.

We have trips out of state planned this year. Yes, multiple. Heck, Ed and I have a trip out of country, and there may be a second one before the year is over.

We've reconnected with old friends.

If 2014 just gives us more of the same as 2013, it will be fine with me.

Here's hoping that you all have good tidings in 2014.

Paprikash

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I haven't uploaded the pictures, but I will do so in the morning.

Paprikash is a one pot meal that is so good, especially in the winter months.

Chicken Paprikash
4 pound chicken parts (I use chunked boneless breasts)
6 onions, slivered
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon pepper (yes, that much-it is supposed to be peppery)
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons paprika
8 ounces sour cream

In a large saute pan or pot, lightly brown the chicken in olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and spices and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring often. Then turn down heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. There should be a lot of moisture cooked out of the onions, if there isn't, then add one cup of chicken broth. Stir in the sour cream and serve.

It's best served over egg noodles, but I've had it over mashed potatoes or rice, and that is still pretty good.

Swinging Santa

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Yesterday, we enjoyed enough afternoon cocktails that we felt like this guy for a little while. There's something to be said for vegging on a lounge chair in December while tipsy.



I kind of looked at it as preparation for our upcoming trip. We realize that we will probably purchase a moderately expensive drink package before we board our cruise in the spring, and to make it worthwhile, I think we will be feeling tipsy more than once.

Guaranteed

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I typically buy the textbooks I need from Amazon or eBay, especially the ones not for my specific program. For this semester, I'd found one of the books for one class on Amazon for 3.00, but it was a book on tape-not even CD! That must be the first edition of the book, published in 1999. There have been 2 editions since.

The other book, it was a tad cheaper to rent it from the bookstore than to purchase the current edition, so the day before semester break, I went and picked up both books, thinking it I wouldn't find better deals.

Of course, now that I rented these books, I found one on Amazon for 3.00-for the current edition, then found the other on Half.com for less than what I paid for the rental!

I suppose I knew this was going to happen, because if I hadn't opted to rent them, those other two never would have shown up!

A Lifetime Ago

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IMing with a friend who is going through some friendship issues right now, and offering some advice that one gains from personal experience. We're talking about when it's time to cut your losses and move on. While my experience is different from hers in several ways, the core issue is pretty much the same, and we are discussing how bottling up your feelings doesn't change the situation and really isn't good for a person.

In talking, I realize that so much has changed in my life when I made the decision to walk away from a friendship. Back then, it really sucked, because I had very few friends in my circle, due to the situation with GameTeen (I really limited who was around him back then) and the thought of losing just one was difficult. Since then, though, other friends from that time have become much more peripheral and you know what? I'm okay with that.

The subsequent years have brought losses, many more gains and a very different outlook on life after dea…

Quiet Celebrations

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Yesterday was a nice, low-key kind of day. After several years of chaotic holidays, and then a couple of years of family holiday dramas of hospitals, nursing homes, and the like, we're finally at the point that Christmas isn't a chore. Add to that being gainfully employed and having the ability to buy some of the requested gifts, and the day is more festive than it had been.

Still, I goofed. When we booked a vacation a few months ago, I remember Ed and I having a conversation that Christmas and Valentine's gifts were not needed, because we were spending about the same amount for this trip that we did for our week in California with the kids many years ago. Crap, that trip was SEVEN years ago, before everything seemed to go to shit. I remembered this lack of gifts, Ed did not. Oops.

Guess I need to remedy that for Valentine's day, or something like that.

I realize that the coming year brings some changes, though. We'll have some of my side of the family …

Doctor Who Regeneration

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They totally sold Matt Smith short. I feel like Steven Moffatt put all his effort into the 50th Anniversary show and snoozed through writing this episode.

Looking forward to Peter Capaldi in the role, but feel he was robbed of a proper send off.

Egg Rolls

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Yesterday, after my poking and electrocuting, Ed and I went for lunch at our favorite Barbeque joint over that way. A few doors down is probably one of the better Asian markets around, so I kind of had designs on popping in and getting sweet chili sauce.

What I didn't realize is that since we'd last visited this location of the Barbeque joint (review coming, all the pictures are on Ed's phone), they went and expanded from an average sized store to a supermarket. Before, you could walk in and three people would be working. Now, three registers were manned, as well as a hot food counter, several people stocking shelves and about 4 people behind the meat and seafood counters-it was hopping!

As a result, we looked a bit more than expected and there are plans to go back again soon, because they still have fantastic prices. For instance, I got ground pork for $1.99 a pound. Immediately, my thoughts went to what Asian treat I could make with it, and that's how I de…

Taze Me, Bro

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I had my Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction studies today. These two tests are performed to see that my nerves work the way they are supposed to and are usually the means to rule out problems, rather than rule them in.

Thing is, they are freaking painful. I am very sore right now, because the EMG places an electrode on my hand, then the doctor pokes me with pins at certain nerve points up the arm. The neurologist records the reactions at rest and with flexion. Basically, at rest, you shouldn't hear very much, and with resistance, it should sound like a Geiger counter hovering over a piece of uranium. Mine did, but I don't know whether the actions were good or bad.

Thankfully, that was done on the left arm, the one that has been the bigger problem.

Afterwards, the nurse worked on the nerve conduction study. During that one, there were metal loops placed on various fingers, then a tazer was employed to shock at various points up either arm, then measured a…

Advantages of Technology

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I spent several hours with a friend yesterday, working on a memorial video for his ex, who recently died in an accident while living out of state. He lives with ex's family, and as a result, is heavily involved in the memorial service planning.

The video involved hundreds of pictures set to music. Years ago, that would have involved someone trying to make a slide show, and then tape recording the proper songs. For us, it was me converting audio files into the proper format, then sorting the pictures into early, teen, young adult, and adult years, then moving those folders into iMovie. Once there, pictures got tweaked, so that the focus wasn't on knees and feet, or they zoomed in on the right person. In one case, a requested song was 'Drink a Beer' and in the queue pretty soon afterwards was a picture of that person with the recently deceased, with both holding beers. It was a small matter of tweaking times of the preceding pictures to make it so that the first…

Farewell

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Today was my last nail appointment with Katie, my awesome nail tech. Lakeland's loss is Raleigh's gain, so if you live there and want an awesome tech, message me!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Because I have the next 13 days off-paid-and they don't go against my annual leave accrual!

Maybe I can get some cleaning, baking, reading and writing done.

Oh, and sleeping. The best part of vacations is the fact that I can sleep later!

I Wonder

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Is it better to go through high school as something of a social outcast, having a life where you have a very small circle of friend and are as far from popular as possible, only to later find that people held you in pretty high regard? Or would it be better to experience high school knowing that people valued those positive traits you have?

I went through life as the former. It shaped who I am, and I think it made me a very empathetic person. However, the more people I reconnect with from my youth, the more I hear those positive comments that would have made a world of difference to me back then. Ones that would have removed a lot of that need to seek approval.

That said, it shaped who I am now, so maybe it's better that I didn't know that the peripheral connections back then actually liked what I had to say or what I did.

All Clear

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Unremarkable. So says the neurologist. Guess this means the Chiari isn't to blame for the fun stuff that's been happening.

Up next, an EMG on Monday. This time, instead of just having my right side done, I get both sides. Yay.

What The Heck Is This?

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Subtropical, my ass!

Then during my commute to work, it dipped as low as 39, settling at 43 when I got to work.

Who ordered the cold? You can have it back.

MRIs

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A very real fact of life for me is that I need annual MRIs. Due to my neuro leaving the practice and starting with a new one, it's been almost 18 months between them. In that time, I managed to block out how nerve wracking the last one really was.

My first few MRIs were fine, I sucked it up and got through. Even though I don't consider myself claustrophobic, something about putting me into a tube where I can't move for 40 minutes is tougher to bear than a root canal. Those, I can handle no problem. However, the last MRI, my arms hit the sides of the tube on the way in, further proving the point that this thing is TINY, and I panicked. If not for a really good technician, I think I would have spent the whole time tachycardic.

Until last week, I'd blocked out what had happened afterwards. I'd forgotten that I was dizzy, nauseous and nursing a moderate headache when I went in and a severe one when I got out. I also forgot that I went to meet a friend in…

Something Different

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It has been a while since we've had family nearby, and at that, we'd spent a lot of time towards the end of their lives doing more care taking than the simple hanging out thing.

My niece up in New Jersey, however, started dating an old friend-who happens to live two miles away from us. She'd been down here several times in the past year and recently decided that she's going to make the permanent move here. There are quite a few factors, boyfriend owns his home here, renting in the NYC area is insane and while he could transfer back up with his job-it makes more sense to stay here.

So she's here now, and we got together with them for dinner last night. Today, I had errands to run, boyfriend went to a football game and I messaged her to see if she wanted to hang out for a little while. Which is how we ended up walking through Sam's Club together, niece, me, and boyfriend's son (absolutely adorable little guy!).

It was nice to spend time shooting t…

Christmas Light Fails

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A long time ago, in a blog far, far away. Oh wait, no, it was this blog, back in the age when I didn't post pictures. I ranted about the things you don't do with your Christmas light display. This time, I give you pictures. Suzanne's first pet peeve of Christmas lights: people who just slap them on the bushes.



People, if you're going to break out the lights, please take the time to make them look like they're magically twinkling randomly from within the bushes. Don't just snake them through like your 5 year old was given the task.

Pet peeve number 2: Don't just dump the whole strand on the top of the bush because your other half wants the outside decorated. This looks just as sloppy as the first group of pictures.

If you have a lot of bushes and a big yard, and not enough lights, maybe doing one column in front of your house and the adjacent bush isn't a good idea. Perhaps just use that one strand of lights to frame the door?

On the …

Customs

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Ever since the first performance of Handel's Halleluiah Chorus, it has been customary for the audience to stand during the performance. This is because King George rose to his feet at the premiere of this oratorio-and the tradition has stuck with us ever since.

After years of listening to the Messiah, performing many choruses from it, and being in the audience countless times, it is something I pretty much do automatically.

I attended a live performance today. No one stood. It was weird.

Quality Over Quantity

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Lately, I've noted that I'm getting a ton of Twitter follows.

If I haven't interacted with the person, I check the profile and see if there are common interests or follows. It seems that the majority are 'follow trolling' or driving up the number of Twitter followers they have. Maybe I just don't get the 'like me and I'll like you back' phenomenon, but I really don't want to add to my feed with somebody whose purpose is to appear popular.

One person who I share an interest with seems to be of another type that I don't understand: like every single artist she likes who happens to be on Twitter, then hound them endlessly with tweets, about half of which are of the 'please follow back' nature. While many artists enjoy the ability to interact with fans, I'm sure they don't want half of their feed flooded with those types of messages!

Now that I'm back tweeting fairly regularly, reading more than tweeting actually,…

Choices

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I needed to finish a project by midnight.

One of my dearest friends is stressed out because his former companion of eight years died the other night. He's stressed, he needs to talk and wanted to know what I was doing tonight.

Friend wins.

It will be another very late night, but friends come first on stuff like this.

Cupcake Delivery!

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In a case of 'it's a small world', my niece began dating a guy last year who lives a couple of miles from me and Ed. They went all through school together up north, and he moved here three years ago when his job promoted him. She's planning on moving down in the new year.

She is visiting him right now and while he was at work today, she decided to make cupcakes, then quickly realized that 24 cupcakes is not a good idea to have all of them in the house-so she IMed me and offered to deliver some!



I can get used to having her nearby, and well, the treats? A nice bonus!

Fresh Produce Delivered to My Door

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A friend shared a link to a local farm that delivers produce every week. Yep, you place an order from the fresh items they have in stock, pay, and they have delivery days to various places in my county. (If you're in Polk County Florida, check out Red Tractor Produce.

Last week, I ordered their $20 box, picked what I wanted, and had a box full of bok choy, potatoes, oranges, carrots, peppers, organic bananas, a pair of mangoes and a pair of avocados. Everything looked great, and so far, I've been pleased with the quality of the produce. This is definitely something that will become a regular habit, as I like to shop the local farm stands, but it's hard to get to them after work. This solves that problem, and unlike a cooperative, I get to choose what I get.

The bok choy was planned to be in a stir fry and I finally got to do that tonight. A couple the peppers and three heads of the bok choy, two onions, two cloves of garlic, three pork chops sliced thin, some sesam…

Crunch Time

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Pulling together this Flash project is rather interesting-I think I have a lot more gray hair than I did when I started this semester!

This is probably the easiest component I've done so far:
(It is coming through as a slide show right now, I'll export it as an .avi later to share.)

I have some parts of it I'm not happy with, but I nitpick too much.

As it's .swf, .fla, and HTML files, I can only do a screen cap of the embedded video viewer.



Back to figuring out why my sound files aren't activating, but the buttons they're embedded in are-and the coding should activate my SoundChannels.

Two Weeks, Two Pairs of Shoes

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On Black Friday, I bought another pair of the Alegria shoes, the Coral Owls I posted pictures of in a previous post. While the first pair purchased were size 39, the Amazon website stated that my 8.5 feet should really wear the 38 shoe.

Okay, I'll buy that, the Kyra Flora Blue probably could have been a size smaller and still be very comfortable, so I went ahead with the smaller size. What I didn't know is that the Paloma is a tiny bit smaller than the Kyra. (Alegria appears to have set styles, and they just change the patterns on them, similar to what Vera Bradley does with bags). The Coral Owls arrived and while they fit and the average person would love them, my Stupid Leg would definitely protest the fit.

Unfortunately, Amazon wouldn't just do an exchange, and while they're a good price, I repurchased the Coral Owls one size bigger and had Amazon overnight them for just $3.99 (Prime is awesome!). The 39 in the Paloma is definitely a touch narrower and a …

Tis the Season For Christmas Nails

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Two Gelish Shades, and they're rather festive, Wanna Share a Lift and Dark Side!



Bonus photobomb by the lovely and funny Katie, who in two years, has me figured out and just does my nail colors without me saying what I want.

It Is Assured

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That if your teenager is going on a field trip to the mall, and all you have is $2 or a $20, you give him the $20.

It is further guaranteed that if he is told 'you MUST bring back change', that he will not bring a single cent.

But if it is my kid, he'll spend the $20 on a video game and have no money to buy the lunch that was the purpose for going to the mall in the first place.

Also a given with my kid, he'll buy it from the vintage gaming store for double what it would have cost if dear old mom looked for it on eBay.

Lesson learned. And next month's trip-he only gets a gift card for the restaurant they'll be visiting!

Addendum: It is also a safe bet that the teenager will come to you the next day to ask to buy a $10 app, which you later explain if he hadn't spent $20 on a game found on eBay for $6.00, you might be more inclined to buy it. Message received.

Selling Oneself Short

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Today, I was a bystander to a conversation that made me rather sad. A young woman was talking about her husband and from the gist of the discussion between the participants, it sounds like husband: doesn't want to vacation anywhere she's suggested for their upcoming trip, says derogatory things about the activities she suggests they do, doesn't like the food she enjoys, wants to move them cross country to a climate she's never experienced (and isn't sure she'll like), but won't consider that her career has less opportunities for her in that locale, and generally, makes the man sound like a selfish, spoiled prig.

I could have contributed to this discussion, as I know all the parties involved, but I knew that whatever I said would be met with a lot of the exact same rationalizations I gave twenty years ago.

That was my situation in a previous life. Sure, I made lemons out of it, and I derived a lot of enjoyment from my days, but 20 years on, I look a…

Touch It Once

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Due to the various health issues this semester, I opted to sleep when I really should have toughed it out and worked, but I've learned all too well the repercussions of a lack of sleep. The semester of naps means that it is crunch time on my Flash project.

Unlike some of my other classes in the past, this is a real product that will be used by a real client, so the instructor's insistence to just do enough to show you know how to add this element, use this bit of Action script isn't cutting it with me. I drafted a project proposal of a complete website, and if I'm going to make a video, then it will be the entire video. If I'm going to create an animation, it will be the whole 12 frame animation.

I am using the guide we'd use in retail when processing freight-touch it once. Open the box, put it in a proper home. In this case, create the whole element, put it in its ready to go live state.

For now, it means that I'm going a little crazy to get …

Cyber Monday Observations

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This is an example of what my email looked like today.

Actually, this is thinned out, and is only one of my four regular email accounts, but three of them (despite two having minimal 'commerce' type correspondence on them) were innundated today with email. The sad part is that I had inadvertently deleted a couple of the duplicates straight out of my trash. FIVE emails from MAC Cosmetics to tell me I would get free overnight shipping.

They don't realize that I am not such a cosmetics diva that I have an overnight emergency need for those shades I've got on my wish list. Their standard free shipping gets here in two days, a day won't make much of a difference to me.

Beall's, Lucky Jeans, Old Navy, and Living Social/Groupon seem to not understand that multiple emails stating the same thing is annoying.

In fact, I don't think any of these retailers learned the golden rule that parents often give their kids: Once is a request, twice is a remind…

Burning Up The Texts

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Lately, I seem to be sleeping a lot more. The vertigo is wearing me out, and I need naps to bring myself back to a normal energy level.

Normally, this isn't a big deal. Yesterday, though, there was a motorcycle fatality on the other side of town and one of my good friends got caught about a dozen cars behind it. She knew Ed had a Harley, and the only info she'd gleaned was that it was a couple in their 40's on a Harley. They hit a garbage truck, the driver took evasive measures that ended up throwing his rider under the truck, and she was run over. Neither was wearing helmets, and they both died instantly.

While she was stuck in the traffic jam, my phone went nuts-but I didn't hear it.

As I got the particulars later, I told her that Ed doesn't like to travel in that part of town, because there are a lot of traffic accidents over there. Second, I haven't been on the back of his motorcycle yet, and until I get this vertigo under control, there is NO…

Comfort Food

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