Showing posts from February, 2013

Always With Me

Since my parents are both gone, there are times where I feel like I need them with me when something is important. I know they are always there, but something tangible, something that engages the senses.

Like my first day back to college, I had on a necklace dad gave me and earrings mom gave me. It's like a talisman, something that gives me a good feeling, makes me realize I can do anything. That they're involved in what's going on, even if they don't walk the earth anymore. Does that make sense?

I'd bought a twinset to wear for the interview. Any woman worth her salt will tell you that pearls must be worn with a twinset. So, out came the pearls. When I was 16, one of my great aunts passed away. My Nana and Mom were going through her apartment, getting things ready for Goodwill that she hadn't earmarked for others. Mom mentioned to Nana that I said I wanted a set of pearls about a year before that. Come Christmas morning, my mom pulled out a box a…

Nice to Feel Wanted

I switched to a part-time schedule at my job in preparation of taking a second part time job in my career field. However, while the funding came through for that role, they also got funding for a full time job-that I am in the process of interviews to possibly take instead. As I'd already given two week's notice of reducing my hours, I kept the plan and have been using the time to study.

The colleagues I am closest to expressed their dismay, as it is nice to have a coworker to laugh with when things get crazy during our days (which they will, without fail). What I didn't expect is that I open the gmail client each day and I get messages from several other members of staff "Are you here today?" before I even change my status on there!

If I get this full time job, I should prepare for the pouting, because they're already telling me how much I am wanted on the days I am not there...

Testing the Waters

I am still on restrictions from my neurosurgeon, five months post op.

Part of the limitations are due to the stupid Chiari, but still, I decide to see if I can do stuff, because it gets old seeing chores pile up. Or the laundry mountain get bigger and bigger. So, I went and did laundry tonight.

You know what?

I have a very good idea why my restriction is in place-and that it won't be removed any time soon.

Numb hands are not fun.

Practice Makes Perfect

In one of my classes, we're doing a major group project with the university as a client-something that may be used long after we finish the project. As the end users are instructors, we needed to survey them to identify what items they want in the training, because we may have good intentions, but for the wrong content.

The rest of my group consists of master's students, and the program does not require stats towards the degree. Even before I started my current studies, I had that stats class in Psychology and enjoy the number crunching. I was handed off the completed surveys.

Not only am I doing the basic percentages, I'm cross referencing the data within subjects. No full scale ANOVAs will be done, since this is a simple tool that we need, but it'll be nice to give the data in several formats that are useful.

Am I turning into a Stats geek, too?

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Today, Song Pop gave me a song to guess and by process of elimination, I guessed it, Mason Williams 'Classical Gas'. You're probably like me, heard it a million times and probably didn't know who performed it!

Here's the thing, for years, I thought that it was played by the Moody Blues. Why? Because the melody line reminds me of the vocal verses in "The Story in Your Eyes".

Other than those melody line similarities, there isn't anything else that could tie it to the Moody Blues, but I still had that impression.

CND Shellac Limeade

When I last visited my nail tech, Katie, she had all the new Shellac spring colors, which looked like Easter egg pastels. Since we were coming up on Valentine's day, I went with the Gelish red that I pictured earlier. That one wore extremely well and I will definitely revisit it.

This time around, I went for Limeade. In a first, it comes out with a lot more yellow undertone than you'd expect: I usually don't do well with those types of colors with my skin tone, but I have a shirt this exact shade-so I think it'll be fine for a couple of weeks. Katie has plans to do my fingers up like Easter eggs. Me, I'm not so sure. I have plans for dark green for St. Patrick's day and that won't come off my nails until 2 days before Easter. Maybe I can escape her plot!

Frustrations and Fun

I planned on volunteering at the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Today, I went over to Disney property to pick up my volunteer packet, only to spend 15 minutes to make a left turn into the resort where I was to pick it up. Then, I spent another five minutes waiting to move forward, only to hear "Oh, we'll help you to make a U-turn. You need to drive to Downtown Disney to take a bus to come back here." This was even with a handicapped placard.

Yeah, I'm not driving 20 to 30 minutes to the other side of property (depending on traffic), to wait 20 minutes for a bus that will take 20-30 minutes to drive back to the resort-then have to do the same thing all over again. At this point, I doubt I will waste the gas to drive 45 minutes over to Disney to go through that tomorrow. I'd love to volunteer, but that's ridiculous-waste three hours minimum out of my day because you didn't arrange packet pick up at a resort that has enough parking for the anticipat…

Most of My Master's Paperwork

I have another one of these baskets with notebooks and folders of undergrad work, too.

Basically, if I wrote it for school since 2009, I can get my hands on it in less than five minutes. I wish I could say the same for everything else important!

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Please, if you are considering purchasing electronic devices, don't ever be swayed by the low price tag. This especially holds true when you are looking at a no name brand for a popular product. It will bit you in the rear.

Case in point: my employer bought several netbooks for $149 each. They thought these items were pretty good, the word is that a relative had one and liked it. However, one person using a machine like this here and there is NOT the same as eight groups of students accessing the device five days a week. They're cumbersome, the browser appearance is confusing to students who'd become familiar with Firefox and Chrome on a laptop and well, there are websites that aren't fully functional with a tablet type machine. Then you factor in the problems. There have been many. Two machines are stuck on the android splash page, and numerous rests will not resolve the issue. Two more now sputter and pop in a sound similar to a penny in a microwave-all w…


I got a periodic IM message earlier today from one of the teens I am friends with on Facebook. However, it was intended to look that way, but it was not the child-it was his mother. Someone I am not friends with, but once was a FB friend.

How do I know?

The teen takes one tone with me. He never uses my name or Ed's name. Instead, he'll say 'Chef's dad' and with me, will go out of his way not to use my name directly. I get it-because I did that as a kid, too. However, the message I got used my first name, used Ed's first name and was phrased like things the mother had written to me in the past.

It just seems strange that the person can choose to contact Ed, with whom she still is FB friends, but she uses the son's account instead. I answered the questions 'the kid' messaged and boom, the messages stopped.

The other tell tale sign? She's sent messages that stated 'J took the boys to Target' from this account. The kid w…

When Is Chilly

I kind of kick myself for not keeping my fingerless gloves. My hands are ice cubes right now...

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

I've done it before, but when you have multiple iDevices, the shuffle never quite comes up the same. So, here are the first ten from the computer I'm typing my post on and commentary on them:

1.Whammy Kiss-B52s
The B's are forever my fun music. Last night, while we were cleaning up after the party, 'Rock Lobster' came on and I did my usual of singing Cindy's part as I went about my tasks. Love the B's.

2.You're My Best Friend-Straight No Chaser
I bought 'With a Twist' last year and have been quite pleased with their a capella versions of favorite songs. I just pre-ordered 'Under the Influence' this week, and that one will probably be in heavy rotation once it arrives.

3.The Great Escape/The Last of You//Falling From the Moon-Marillion
I actually was on YouTube earlier tonight listening to the whole 'Brave' album. It's one of Marillion's strongest concept albums. This is why we are planning our eventual trip to Eur…


I am an officer in an on-campus organization. Last fall, we had a party for our members that went so well, we wanted to have one each semester (well, we want to have more, but the budget for this year doesn't allow for it.) This time around, we invited another group to join us.

What's cool is that as people came in, I recognized about half of the guests, thanks to the shared classes we have. Three people are in my stats class, one is in my other class. Apparently, quite a few people I've met that are outside my organization are in the other one.

So, I knew a lot of them, then they showed that they like to party. My major professor's band played a lot of good tunes and they all were up and grooving. Definitely people you'd want to bring back.

As with my undergrad experience, getting involved with an organization appears to reap more rewards than just being in the group. In this situation, I got to know some classmates better, appear to have coordinat…

Shock Top Honeycrisp Wheat

In a word, Yum.

It's like taking hard cider and removing some of the in your face apple flavor. It's still there, very prominent, but there is an effervescence and wheat finish that are very nice. I think I should stockpile these to use in fondue-if I don't drink them all first...

Amazon's Cloud Drive

There are a few CD's I've purchased that have been lent out and never returned, or I lost them and can't exactly replace them. Have you ever had that happen? It's darn frustrating, because you really don't want to shell out money a second time for something. (Witness the half dozen CDs on my iPod that prevent me from doing any IOS upgrades for fear of losing them.)

One of the discs that I seemed to have lost is a Straight No Chaser CD I bought from Amazon a few years ago, but today, I got an email from Amazon that all the CDs I've purchased from them over the years are now available on their cloud. What this means is that I can rip them to up to ten devices and have my music anywhere.

So far, I only see three CDs, but I think items are still being added-I am pretty sure I've purchased about 10 or 12 discs in the past five years. Still, I was quite happy to put that SNC disc back onto my iMac, and will add it to my iPad and phone shortly. Amazon al…

Sore, But Why?

Today was one of those days that made me realize how much better my day to day pain level has been for a while now. On a 1 to 10 scale, I hover around a 2 or a 3. So, when I woke up this morning in more pain than I went to bed with, it was disconcerting.

Yesterday, a colleague had a computer with malware on it that was bundled with something she actually did need. (Side note: if you EVER download stuff, read all the little alert boxes and deselect anything extra before approving the download, mkay?) I'd started working on it the day before, in my classroom, in one of the most comfortable chairs I'm ever going to find in a work environment. However, in her class, besides her chair and the student desks, there was this hard plastic molded chair.

That type of chair is evil in my world. Mainly because it puts targeted pressure on the back of my leg, usually in places that are hot spots for the RSD. I thought I'd be working on that laptop for a few minutes and it w…

A Day Early

One of the Mid-Atlantic chains we frequented has flown south and plans to stick around: This one is caddy corner to the USF campus, someplace I happen to be twice a week. So, I went to check to see if I could get a nice cup of coffee and a hoagie for dinner.

Alas, they open tomorrow.

In My Element

I created a walk through tutorial for class last week, a prototype that was to give my team and our 'client' an idea of what I envisioned my portion of the project to look like. Our client loved it, the rest of my group was pleased as well, but it was tied to a power point presentation. At the end of the class, after we'd decided that our product will be delivered as a 'course' in the learning management system, I suggested a name for the course to the client. She ended up creating the course with this name.

As there really wasn't too much work to do for class this week (which felt rather weird, honestly), I decided to take the demo portion I'd created, refine it a bit more and add an intro and outro with the course name, similar to the little news actualities I'd done in my radio days. Instead of a six minute screen capture, the content was netted down to under two minutes of relevant material. This was much better. I uploaded it to the course…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

The Grammys are on, and I'm not watching. Most of it is irrelevant to me, though this year was good for some standout songs and artists. The awards seemed to lean more towards artists who have spent their time paying their dues, rather than the flash in the pan groups who might be gone in a year or two. This is good.

One song that may have been played ad nauseum is Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know", a sparsely produced piece that has impressed me with the quality of the musicianship. To do something so simple, you have to be good. I've listened to more of Gotye's work and while it has fuller instrumentation, the inability to really pigeonhole the music appeals. However, that first song I heard is quite evocative of someone else I listened to often.

Tell me if you hear similarities. Gotye
Johnny Clegg

No, they're not carbon copies, but to me, these two songs have a very similar feel, despite being very different in the tales in the lyric…

Gelish-Good Gossip

After a hiatus of far too long, I was able to go back to Katie and have my nails prettied up once again. While she had the newest CND Shellac shades in stock (the ones that aren't supposed to be out until March), I wanted to go with a bold red for Valentine's day. Of course, Katie had just the ticket-Gelish's Good Gossip.

I love this color, full of metal flake and a bold, red shade. In the sunlight, it really sparkles, something I prefer in the reds. My experience with the Gelish Magneto a while back was good, so I was not at all concerned with it chipping or flaking. Katie and I ended up talking about that, with me telling her that if she'd suggested an OPI Gelcolor, I might have hesitated. Those do not last two weeks with me, typically peeling and lifting. Gelish and Shellac hold up well, and I don't have to baby the nails to get two full weeks.

So, I'm back to having my pretty nails, and I am happy!

Spice Thai and Sushi, Lakeland

Tonight, Chef wanted Chinese food for dinner, but Ed didn't want the same old same old. I thought about suggesting going back to Ling's Buffet, but then I remembered Spice Thai. We really enjoyed the first visit, but hadn't been back since.

The second visit was just as good as the first, and Chef enjoyed. He had Pork Pad Thai that was a little on the sweet side, but the crab rangoons and fried bananas were a hit.

Pictures and a finished review tomorrow.

When You Keep Eating Meals Like This...

You end up with 600+ calories to use at the end of the day.

This healthier eating thing has been far easier than expected, but the down side to all the veggies and fruit is not that I'm bored-far from it. It's that I eat a lot of filling, tasty, healthy food that is light on calories. The dinner pictured? Barely 300 calories. Twice this week, I needed a LOT of calories at 9:00 pm. Well, the bright spot is that if I ever want to splurge for dinner, I should just keep eating what I've been for breakfast and lunch most days-it'll be fine.

Delayed Reaction

Back in August, our first day of school was delayed by a hurricane. Rather, by the time it got to us, we had tropical storm Debby leave a ton of rain in her wake.

Anyway, my employer opened a second campus, and I sent an email to all of our instructors, asking for student information from the second location, so we could notify parents. I never got a response, but I did get us announced as a closed school on a couple of television stations, so it was fine.

Today, I got an email from one of those teachers that said "Are we really closed Monday? Here's the list of my students." Confused, I looked at the date and quickly noticed it was from August 26th! I responded to him that this email was very old and that no, we don't have the day off Monday. What I didn't notice is that he'd hit 'reply all', so EVERYONE got that email asking if we really were off Monday!

Yeah, there were some disappointed people when they realized that this was a five …

Morphing Prototypes

I am really enjoying my Tuesday night class this semester, and it made me realize how much I love being in courses in my major. Last semester was okay, this one has me pumped up. Apparently, the professor feels the same way. She was supposed to be covering it only for this semester, but four weeks in, she's talked to our department chair about keeping it permanently. Good deal.

So, tonight. We did rapid prototypes for our project. In my six-person group, we divided up the content into three areas and paired off to do them. Tonight, we presented them to the SME (Subject Matter Expert) who will be using them.

In the space of an hour, we presented prototypes, picked apart the ideas we liked from each-but we liked all of them, and we bandied about what method of delivery we'd use. The instructor was lobbying for a web page. I got the idea to create a course IN the product we're teaching about and that was all she wrote.

Now I'm really relieved, because cod…

Unexpected Reactions

One thing that seems to be common to the ASD kids at my school and my older son is a love for video games. We're talking really love it. My son will play video game music ad nauseum, his classmates marginally less so. They discuss the merits of various Pokemon characters and one girl will be called on often to 'evolve' Pokemon for others.

Today, one was telling me (as he is wont to do) how I needed to buy GameTeen a specific video game item. I declined, stating he had plenty. Then the young man offered to sell me a Nintendo DSi for $300. I pointed out that I could get a new DSIxl for about $150, why would I buy his used handheld for $300. There seems to be a kayak purchase in the future, but he has to come up with the money himself. He thought I would be ripe for the pickings, being that GameTeen loves his games.

That's when I opened my desk drawer and showed the class a confiscated DSIxl, DSI, and a vintage GameBoy, that I'd purchased in 1995 (used) …

Super Bowl Tapas

We got smart this year, and prepared tapas plates for the SuperBowl. Pigs in blankets, pork gyoza, aranchini, and pulled pork nachos. It was a wise more-very little prep and everyone was happy with the choices.

I may have been happiest, because I got to have a variety of things I like and still stay within my calorie goals for the day! The only bad thing is that I didn't get out to go get some veggies for salad for tonight or tomorrow. Guess I'll be doing that tomorrow on the way home from work.

Grilling Boston Butt-in Pictures

One of the many axioms Alton Brown used in his excellent cooking show Good Eats is "Your patience will be rewarded." Not only is the man a cooking genius, he is absolutely right.

Witness the Boston Butt. I grill these fairly regularly for pulled pork, and until about six months ago, I'd cook them at about 350 for 4 hours. They were good, pretty good in fact, but I finally opted to try the low and slow method that many grill masters prefer.

Oh my, they weren't kidding that my patience would be rewarded, for the smoky flavor is deeper, the rub caramelizes nicely and the meat is easy to pull apart, something that I need with a shoulder that is still somewhat wonky post-op. Rather than write about it, I'll show you pictures of why low and slow is the best way to go when grilling.

This stayed on the grill for nine hours: The 'stalagmites' as Chef called them are the result of me flipping the butt over, then back an hour later for the picture.

I Need This on a Button

There are a couple of members of staff at work who do not comprehend that I have other things I do besides the tech support role. (That one was dropped into my lap because I'm savvy to it.) For instance, last week, I was setting up a router, and I got asked no less than three times to look at a laptop that wasn't getting on the internet. Hmmm, can I fix the issue for 50 people before I fix your one?