Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wellness Challenge

In two weeks, I've lost 5 pounds. It is all due to eating right and drinking a lot more water. I'm paying attention to what choices I make, because I still can't exercise.

I think when you're doing something like this as a team effort, it's a good way to foster a positive attitude. I like my team mates and don't want to let them down, so I find alternatives when I want to have something that is less than ideal.

When we were at Trader Joe's recently, I picked up a bag of TJ's Everything Pretzel thins. They give me the crunch of chips with the flavor of my favorite everything bagels, and each thin is only 5 calories. I'm just wondering what the heck I'm going to do when this bag runs out. I haven't seen anything else like them in the local stores. It is likely I may make a trip to stock up on them!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The RedHeaded Stepchild of Apple OS's

My MacBook Pro is running Apple's Leopard OS, also known as 10.6.x. When it comes to installing software or drivers, the thing is pretty darn solid. No conflicts, no issues, a walk in the park. I love many features of the OS, like how it separates all my folders for me into what has been added today, yesterday, in the past week, or month.

So, when I bought the iMac, I fully expected the same ease in adding software and the drivers for my printer and various items, even though it had Snow Leopard, OS 10.7.5. The first hiccup was when I tried to install my Final Cut Express software. It wouldn't work. Likewise for my Adobe CS5.5. Product after product, I hear 'we do NOT provide drivers for 10.7.5.' It is slightly frustrating that I'd like to edit video on the iMac, but do it on the MacBook Pro's smaller screen. Of course, now that 10.8 is out, there isn't any motivation for developers to ensure their products are compatible with my OS.

Enter my coworker with an item I coveted and recently purchased-a laser printer. It was $100 bucks, the toner cartridges $15. Instead of replacing ink cartridges left and right, I'd get 2500 pages out of that one cartridge-and it printed in duplex, too. Considering how much printing I sometimes do, it made a lot more sense.

I'd forgotten about the driver woes. This printer has them, too. My coworker has been using his with one of the school's Dell laptops.

Ed dug up an appropriate cable and I am currently hardwired. I need to play around this weekend and find yet another driver set (I'm up to 4), that actually works with a Mac.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Along My Commute

Just the right amount of fog. It doesn't ruin visibility and scare people that they're going to be in a multi-vehicle pile up on an interstate (2 within 50 miles in the past 5 years). This image reminds me of most of my commute in Maryland. I didn't mind the drive, because it had views like this most of the way to and from work.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Tonight, I go all choir geek on you, because most cultural events that I'd enjoy are presented in Orlando or Tampa. It's rare we get something I think is culturally awesome in Lakeland.

Two weeks ago, I drove past the local Presbyterian church on my way to pick up lunch downtown and saw the Marquee "Chanticleer-Live! January 28th". Heck, while waiting for my salads to be finished, I even posted on Facebook because I was as giddy as a young girl finding out that Justin Bieber is coming to her town. (If you didn't know I was a nerd before now, what have you been reading? It surely wasn't my blog!). I did the investigating, found out the tickets were a bargain $20 bucks and that was all that I needed to skip out on studying for a few hours.

My first exposure to Chanticleer was in 1983, when my choir director played their version of Tomas Luis de Vittoria's 'O Magnum Mysterium' for us.

The male sopranos had such a pure tone on that recording-and they still do today. Wow.

The first set was filled with various Renaissance and Baroque pieces from many Italian composers.

If you are acquainted with Elgar and Grieg's orchestral work, you might be surprised to know that both men composed some lovely choral pieces, too. Grieg's 'I Laid Me Down to Slumber' and Elgars 'Yea, Cast Me from Heights of the Mountains' were both just as enjoyable as their other works.

The end of the first set was an amazing work that left the audience silent for about 30 seconds after it had ended, we were all so entranced by the beauty and sadness before standing and cheering. I actually bought the "Sirens Call" CD to have a recording of 'Canticum Calamitatis Martimea' by Jaakko Mantyjarvi. It was composed as a commorate the MS EStonia shipwreck of 1997. Below is one of the few recordings I found on YouTube. It is good, but if you are in a building with good acoustics, it makes you shiver when you hear those dissonances.

The second act also had some standout songs, including 'Temptation' by Tom Waits. One thing I must say-all three sopranos have incredible range and pure tone. The encore, a fantastic arrangement of Queen's 'Somebody to Love'. Then, the performers spent quite a bit of time afterwards greeting audience members and signing autographs. I managed to get many, thanking these men for coming to Lakeland.

Now that I'm on their mailing list, I'm definitely seeing them again when they're in town. Heck, I'd drive to Orlando or Tampa-but I'd love it if they come back to Lakeland.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


A nice, bucolic scene on a lake near Sunset.

What you can't see is that the swan is being followed by a pirate ship.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dreaming of a Bigger Pantry

There are many things I hate about our house. The kitchen, however, is at the top of the list. It is designed for people who do NOT cook and was probably designed by someone who didn't cook, either.

Take my pantry, for instance. It's a 2x2 that probably would be good if I was single, maybe if it was just me and Ed. This is the view of it today after I actually organized it more than usual.

It has to be organized to survive. In fact, I annex the canned goods to a baker's rack in the garage.

Sadder still, I bought more things this afternoon after I took these pictures, taking advantage of my preferred supermarket closing (wah). So now, they're both wedged tight with non-perishables that we'll use, and making me dream of a day when I have a huge walk-in pantry.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Take Two

We went back to Sarasota, so we went back to Walt's. I got my stone crabs.
The verdict? Sweeter than snow crabs. The mustard sauce served with it is really good, like better than it should be. I can totally see making a crab salad that way. However, the shells are HARD, and if you happen to bite down on some, it might present a problem. Despite my best efforts to pick off all the little pieces, I chomped down on shells a little too often for my liking.

I might ask for the mustard sauce with snow crabs next time!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This semester, I'm taking Stats 2, the first class where all the students are pursuing Ph.D degrees. It's been pretty cool, especially since the professor's attire consists of jeans and a different Hawaiian shirt every week.

To do well in this class, I'm taking the advice of my fantastic Psych Stats professor and rewriting my notes every week. Alas, I didn't follow one part of his advice, which is to do it within 48 hours of the class to help encode the information properly, so some of it required heavy thinking to remember exactly what my scribbles were.

Still, the combination of rewriting and listening to the lecture recording definitely helps.

In Psych Stats, we covered ANOVAs at the very end, in the class last semester, it was covered right after the mid-term. Tonight, we once again went over between groups and within groups and those formulas I said I'd never memorize looked awfully familiar.

Who knows what will happen after rewriting them tomorrow?

And what does it say of the semester that we're covering something fairly easy and familiar early in the semester? Is the bumpy ride that everyone insist is Stats 2 about to begin?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Second Interview

And I have to present!

Now, if only I could have an extra couple of hours in each day between now and Friday to get it done, I'd be all set.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Just Call Me Jeeves

As I mentioned yesterday, we took a little road trip to pick up a new to us car. Alas, the vehicle is in Sarasota getting a new serpentine belt, but we're back home. At least Ed wanted to have it checked out because the voltage meter was showing us at 12volts-it hadn't broken.

Anyway, we drove in tandem from Fort Myers to Sarasota, doing a little sightseeing before the overnight stay. Chef traveled with Ed, as he missed his dad's old Jeep. Game Teen stayed with me.

I thought he'd want to sit up front. Instead, he took one of the 'back-back' seats, as we call the van's third row. I told him I felt like a chauffeur.

At least he didn't ask if I had any Grey Poupon. This picture catches him mid-grab of swiping my iPad, which he didn't ask to use until we were back on the road!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant

We went to Cape Coral today to buy a car. That's another story, but on the way home, we decided to happen through Sarasota and find the Trader Joes. We knew it was on Tamiami Trail, but not exactly where. In looking, I spied a place with a thatched roof tiki bar and a lot full of cars. The sign outside said 'Walt's Fish Market and Restaurant." I had already had it in my head we were having seafood for dinner, having visited Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda and walking through the seafood restaurant when we weren't hungry. If the others weren't interested, I'd be lobbying for this place for dinner-thankfully, there was no arguing. Once we'd settled into a hotel and made the maiden visit to TJ's (we'll be back), we were hungry enough for dinner.

We pulled into the lot at 8:30 on a Sunday, the bar outside full of people, the restaurant not nearly as busy. When we walked in, a hostess asked if we were there for dinner, then a server suggested we pick whatever seat we wanted. To the left was a long display case full of fresh seafood. Too bad we didn't have a cooler or plans to head directly home.
The menu is two sides of seafood options, with alternatives for those who don't care for fish or shellfish. Chef's taste buds are off due to a cold, he went with chicken tenders and pouted that he was missing out.

While we looked at the menu, a server dropped down a small container of their smoked mullet salad, which was slightly smoky and generally had a light flavor. This little taster just proved what the menu stated "we catch what we sell." Granted, they cant do that with everything, but Mullet is a local fish, and it was good.

In our nearly 9 years in Florida, I had yet to visit a place where Stone crabs were anything but a special. You really have to be further south from where we live, and my opinion was that I'd try them where they were a regular item on a menu. Walt's had them, I ordered them and unfortunately, the last 4 were ordered by someone just before me.

As a consolation, I was offered a Snow Crab cluster for the price of the Stone crabs, and I was happy with that alternative. I had skipped it originally, because I didn't know if I'd eat it all. (I ended up with a little help.)

The meat came out easily, as opposed to breaking apart in past efforts. Ed was amazed at the way that leg after leg, I was getting one whole piece at a time. I expressed the opinion that this happens easier with fresh crabs. He agreed. This was served with drawn butter and a lemon wedge, but it probably would be just fine without either.

Ed opted for one of our favorites, clam strips. They were good, crispy and chewy with a briny taste. He says the fries were good, too.

The beers on tap were better than average, and Ed opted for two Guinness from the bar. They were NOT cheap at 6 bucks each, but the rest of the meal was definitely worth it. Next time, we'll see about a pitcher of something else.

Yes, next time. We have to head back to Sarasota to pick up our car, and I think this time, we'll have the cooler-and more food at Walt's. Walt's Fish Market Wholesale on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eating Well, the Fast Food Dilemma

Last week, I lost two pounds.

We began a wellness challenge at work, I was put on a team, and well, since I really like my teammates, I made an effort to change my diet. Other than a soda the first day (that I bought the day before-I have a knack for spending 2 to 3 days drinking a bottle of coke), all soda is gone. So is the sweet tea, my fall back beverage. Even though I drink a lot of water, I went to only water at work, and unsweetened tea when we're out.

It's simple, but effective, considering that I put on 50 to 60 pounds when I found out my 5 to 6 migraines a week were caused by a severe allergy to nutrasweet. Rather than cut the soda out all together, I just stopped drinking diet sodas.

In addition, I upped my veggie and fruit intake, and while I didn't completely cut out carbs, I've opted to eat a lot less than I used to. Apparently, this was a good thing to do-because that two pound loss was done while adhering to the 'no exercise' rule that my neurosurgeon still has in place. I may start walking, as long as it is on flat ground that is free of pebbles and such. Watch out mall, here I come-even though you don't have any stores I like, save for the Barnie's coffee shop.

So, with my school and work schedule, there are nights were I don't have time to make a meal, or I'm ravenous while on campus. The other day, I forgot to bring fruit with me to class and the vending machine had nothing but junk. In the past, I would have said 'screw it' and eaten something anyway, but it seemed better to wait and get something afterwards. I could survive three hours. The beverage situation was equally bleak, because the water was Dasani, which is saltier than the ocean. Yuck.

That meant fast food. I looked up the calorie counts on a Whopper Junior and a double cheeseburger, ultimately choosing to visit Burger King. It wasn't ideal, but it's far better than their other options. A Whopper is too big, IMO.

However, planning ahead is the key to success-even when it means planning to eat fast food on those days I forget to bring something. Getting a Wendy's chili is a good option, McDonald's serves their oatmeal all day long, and if there's a Zaxby's nearby, I can get a salad I really like.

Today, I picked up a water bottle with an ice stick, since I prefer cold water. Then I later got another one in an item I purchased at Sam's Club. I'll probably prep those each night with filtered water. As for the snacks, I need to just remember to grab the fruit out of the fridge, and have a back up plan if I forget.

Now that the ball is rolling, I don't want to stop.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Still no working internet, despite having a Cat 5 cable that shows all 8 contacts working.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bonus Meals

Last night, we went to dinner at Romeo's Pizza and Pasta, otherwise known as our 'Cheers'. Thanks to the work wellness challenge, I went with a healthier choice, the Bruschetta Chicken (yum).

Our server is new and we started conversing about our dinner selections, me explaining that this dish can be two, sometimes three meals. I also convinced Ed to get my favorite (Penne Russea, because he noms on my leftovers all the time.)

The salads arrive, we enjoy and then another server brings over a plate of their Bruschetta. It is something I adore, the rest don't eat tomatoes. We didn't touch it, worried that the server mixed up the order. Then the owner waved from the kitchen and we found out it was on the house. This was really nice, as the smell was driving me nuts, garlic and basily goodness.

Dinner came, we enjoy, there's enough left over for me to probably have three meals (I called it right.) We had an extra salad, as Game Teen wasn't in the mood, and my lunch plans come together: the salad with the bruschetta mixture, because the toast points do not stay toasty.

Soooo, today, I had a huge salad with tons of tomatoes in it, then tonight, I had about 1/3 of that chicken. This is the bonus of being regulars at a mom and pop restaurant, the knowledge that you'll eat good several times over.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Surprise Photos

I have two students who have a need for my iPad, so I bring it with me each day. Today, I needed to charge it during the school day, so I plugged it into my laptop because I didn't have a wall wart with me. (The portable battery pack died early into charging it.)

Anyway, it seems that one of those students, and another that GameTeen 'lent' (without permission, mind you) the device off of my desk decided to take a bunch of pictures-and I discovered 50 images.

It's always interesting to see what captures other people's interests enough to take a picture. Similarly, last month, one of them recorded memos onto my phone for me on a day I forgot the iPad.

The way I look at it, at least they weren't blowing through my rolls of film for me to discover random snapshots of the classroom!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can We Please Have Healthy Snacks?

At work, we started a Wellness Challenge, where we formed teams and we're motivating each other to lose weight.

I'm still on activity limitations, so I'm focusing my efforts on eating better. Fortunately, some of those things have already been in place, like substituting the amount of soda I drink with water. However, the other day, I visited the farm stand and added more fruits I enjoy to the fridge.

Yesterday was great, I brought two Honeybells to work and I had them as snacks during the day. Unfortunately, I forgot to grab more today, but McD's came to the rescue with an oatmeal for breakfast (and an unsweetened tea, too.). In the afternoon, I dropped Game Teen at home and turned around and drove to campus-forgetting to grab a refillable water bottle and a navel orange.

Once on campus, I looked in the vending machines. The only thing close to low cal was the Chex Mix and the only water was Dasani, which I find excessively salty. Oh well.

At least I just skipped it when I saw that there weren't any wise eating choices. But still, not ONE healthy snack? This is typical for the vending machines all over campus. No wonder there's that famous 'Freshman 15'!

Monday, January 14, 2013


I bought a half flat yesterday. Odds are good it'll be gone by Wednesday. These are SO good!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Guarding Against Bathroom Ninjas

I have a guard cat. If I go into the bathroom, he stands or sits sentry, keeping an eye on the exit to protect against Ninjas or Zombies (not sure which we have to worry about, I guess.)

He takes his role very seriously.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


The key to our relationship is that Ed and I recognize each others likes and wants.

For instance, he went over to Daytona today to spend time watching testing at the Speedway. He's been home far too much the past six weeks, so it was good to get some fresh air. However, on the way home, he made a stop for coffee and found these:
and grabbed me the bag to enjoy, knowing they're some of my favorite chips.

When he got his motorcycle last year, a few people questioned my sanity. I even got asked a few times "You seriously are letting him get a bike?" There is no let, but I know my husband-he needs something that is his and his alone. He found this patch today and it sums it up perfectly:
He needs his happy place, and the bike was clearly something he wanted.

I just happen to like having him get more two wheeled therapy sessions, too.

Friday, January 11, 2013

You'd Screen Cap This, Too

Tell me you wouldn't save your husband admitting you were right. You know you would! (and my response was shock!)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back to the Books

This is the pile of books I won't have time for this semester. Two classes and lots of work ahead. Thankfully, I have two really good professors, one I knew, another who was recommended.

It appears the assessment of the second was spot on. The section of the class filled in ten minutes on the first morning of registration. Of the 24 of us in the class, 20 are from his Stats 1 class-which is a serious indication of quality at this level. Then, you factor in the Hawaiian shirt and faded jeans, and you've got a winner. Ed says he's a parrothead. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Close But No Cigar

Five of eight working. If not for a very dim telecomm room light, I probably would have stayed later and made sure it was working.

It'll be there tomorrow...