Showing posts from May, 2013

Big Metal Chicken

More like, little resin chicken.

Communication Breakdown

Ed's job is such that he needs to request time off three weeks in advance. The joys of retail, I was the manager making the schedule for many years, and that's what my employers required as well.

So, the first week of May, I called Chef's school to find out when the 8th grade graduation/moving up ceremony would be held. The secretary's response was 'Oh, we don't hold a graduation. We'll have an awards night during the school day." No graduation? Really? I checked the school website several times in the next week and a half and it was still on MARCH. No April, no May-no information at all. I took the information at face value and put it out of my head.

GameTeen's school, my former employer, has always been severely lacking on the communication front. They don't see it that way, but last minute notice is common. When you've got special needs kids, dittos home with the kids isn't the best method. Many times, I'd find …

Teaming Up

My boss has been a classmate in a few classes and TAed a class with me prior to working together.

She was a doctoral student, I was in my M.Ed, so the only overlap we had was the courses in our major. Until I became a doctoral student, too. This semester, we have both classes together and in the fall, we'll have one together. This is a good thing, because we can go to the other for clarification if a class got missed.

Last night, the professor said that the assignment due next week can be done in pairs. Me, I'm used to going it alone and didn't even consider that my boss would want to pair up for the task. It actually is really nice to know we can split the workload this weekend. Which is good, because there's a mountain of reading to do-at least it gives me back two or three hours to do that.

Wonders of Dentistry

I went back to the dentist today to have the impressions taken of my broken tooth.

What I experienced last month was not an aberration. For finding a dental practice in an emergency situation, they are an amazing practice. They remind me of my wonderful dentist's practice in New York. No, Dr. N will not be Steve, but he and his staff are on top of their game.

They remembered my need for pediatric sized equipment and took periodic breaks to prevent my tm joint from freezing up. Dr. N had a deft hand with the novocaine injections, too-I barely felt the upper interior ones that tend to hurt, even with lidocaine prep.

Then, the advances made in the 8 years since I was seeing a dentist regularly (and that was the UMBC dental clinic, not a bastion of cutting edge bells and whistles). Instead of gagging on xray films, I had a device put in my mouth, put into a 'scanners' type booth and they got whole mouth xrays in 10 seconds. That would usually be a gag fest.



This was a nice, relaxing weekend.

I should have done more schoolwork, but hey, I got a lot of decompression time in, which was sorely needed.

At least the first two assignments were turned in...

My Assumption Was Correct

I am allergic to Nutrasweet. There was a period of time where I was getting up to six migraines a week and living on toxic doses of Imitrex to combat them. Once, I went to work with a migraine (a normal occurrence back then), but my district manager had not seen me in that state. I was green and looked like death warmed over. She later heard me vomiting in the bathroom and then I was able to cope. Talk about instant 'you are Iron Woman' respect!

Not that much later, Nurse Giggles (my sister) suggested I try cutting out Nutrasweet, as she'd determined it was her migraine trigger. I was a heavy duty diet soda drinker, stopped cold turkey and went from about FIVE migraines a week to maybe 5 or 6 a year. Hmmm. After that, I avoided anything with Aspartame, but the inadvertent consumption would trigger one.

As Splenda became more popular, I made it a point to avoid it, since I wasn't sure exactly whether the process to make artificial sweeteners was what I ha…

Gelish- Radiance Is My Middle Name and Garden Teal Party

First mani-pedi in 9 years (and only my second pedicure ever). The shades are the same, but one is regular polish

As if I Need to Prove I'm a Grownup

Well, honestly, this is about me AND Ed.

We've been without a washer for a while. The logic board died on our LG and we debated getting that fixed (on an 8 year old washing machine) or just getting a new machine. We waffled, while I schlepped way too much laundry to the laundromat. Ed and Chef did some of it, but the laundromat ended up being my chore more often than not-and I shouldn't be doing it.

So, this week, before making some other large purchases, I visited our favorite salesperson at our favorite big box and bought a washing machine. I didn't bother to consult with Ed, because I was not putting up with the laundromat anymore.

And this afternoon, we geeked out like it was Christmas when the delivery man set it up in our garage. Like little kids getting the thing they'd asked Santa for.

Giddy. Totally slap happy-over a WASHER, people.

If that isn't proof that we're old, I don't know what is.


Today, I had my meeting with my now official major professor. I started the program with an unofficial major, but this past semester was the first time I'd worked with her and I liked the way she motivated me, understated but extremely effective.

So we met, to cement my course of study and in her typical way, we talked about my research plans in a way that challenged me to see things with a different lens. At first, she was thinking that maybe I'd want to change the dissertation to match my work experiences. When I explained the why of my intended explorations, she dug into the topic, asking me about my tenure with these kids.

I spent some time telling her about the research studies I keep reviewing, and got me to realize that I need to cast a wider net to get the research support to back up my hypothesis (which she agreed is worthy of a lot of effort). Not only did we discuss the why on a micro level, but we talked about what kind of application of this information co…

Getting the Hang of It

So, my predecessor at work started working on a project for one of the professors. Four months to create three chapters of an iBook. The beauty of iBooks is their interactivity-you drop in widgets to embed You Tube videos, power point slide shows, photo galleries, links to web pages that allow the person to stay in the book, unlike a hyperlink, which opens the browser on your iPad instead.

Unfortunately, my predecessor didn't use any of these tools, except for taking pictures that should have become a gallery and made them into something else. When I was given the project, I spent a week between Atomic Learning and, learning the majority of what I would need to know to create the content for the rest of this 24 chapter interactive book.

In that time, I made a 'book' with's tutorial (they provided the elements and walked me through how create content with them), so that I had something tangible to show my boss that we can do with iBooks Auth…

First Week of the Semester

Means I'm getting people who googled 'Pirate/Disaster Correlation'.

I think I'll always know when USF starts the semester...

What Time is the 3 O'Clock Storm?

It has begun.

Most days, from May until September, you can pretty much set your watch by the afternoon thunderbumper. Today, I got an email from our coordinator to come sign a couple of birthday cards and decided to stretch my legs. My office is in an annex building, and it has no windows, except for next to our entrance.

Whoa, Nellie, the sky was BLACK! It was rather ominous. I opened the door and the wind was whipping around. The thunder and lightning became quite apparent in moments, and when I returned from walking across the (covered) promenade, my hair was quite tousled.

Floridians don't need to look at their watches. Of course, it's 3pm!

As there haven't been too many yet this year, my boss came through and gave the admonition 'save, and save often'. Apparently, that power outage a few weeks ago is a common situation in our annex during the summer. Guess it's a good thing I have tasks I can do without power.

So, if you are visiting …

Wish I Got a Picture

I had lunch at Panera today.

It is not uncommon to see people there with laptops, doing work, surfing the web, having meetings with others. However, as I was walking out, I spied a HUGE laptop in the little alcove that is formed by the exterior wall and the glass wall from the vestibule. It is a little tucked away corner that generally can't be seen from the rest of the dining room.

It wasn't a huge laptop. It was an iMac, and at that, a 27" iMac-the bigger one! Taking a picture would have been quite obvious, because the only way you see into that alcove is from the vestibule. My 21" iMac is quite bulky and she was about my size. Carrying a 27" from the parking lot inside must have been quite a sight!

I almost want to go back around the same time next Sunday and see if this is her usual routine!

This Might Be Weird

I'm TAing a class this semester.

In it, one of the students is a former professor of mine. One who I didn't really care for and dropped the course.

Grading the work in the class will not be a problem-many of the assignments are cut and dried-either you did it right, or you didn't. For the subjective items, the professor whose course this is has provided a thorough rubric, so again, either you meet the criteria or you don't.

Still, I know the impression is that I am not capable of doing this kind of work, when the reason I dropped the course was the ever changing instructions and assignments. This professor was unprofessional in other situations we interacted in later, calling me out for dropping in front of others when it would have been bad for the professor if I were to say exactly WHY I dropped. I kept silent.

Sooooo, I wonder how things will play out...

First Date

Ed considers this our first date:

Mind you, I was engaged at the time!

We worked at the same gas station. Shifts generally meant you worked alone, with you relieving the person before you and there being about an hour overlap, and the same again at the end of your shift. This meant there was a lot of alone time, which for us, was filled with studying and listening to the radio between helping customers.

Both of us (and the ex, who worked at another location of the gas station) got really good at winning the various 'be the 100th caller' contests put on by the three rock stations. In my tenure, I won sweat shirts, t shirts, a few albums, a few more CDs, a WNEW 'locker' filled with goodies and lots of concert tickets. As did Ed. And the ex.

One Sunday AM, while listening to Pete Fornatele's Mixed Bag, I won tickets to see Renaissance at Club Bene, a cabaret in New Jersey. As I knew it was one of Ed's favorite acts, I invited him along. Ex and anoth…

So, You Want to Get Gel Nails?

I talk about my nails a lot here. After 40+ years of crappy nails, the fact that I have nice looking nails with minimal effort on my part makes me happy to share the information and the pictures. Two years ago, I'd read a thread on a message board asking about Shellac, I was curious about the concept of a two week manicure and did some investigation.

Like many of the people who visit my blog, I'm just a consumer-a savvy one. I looked for the good, bad, and ugly about gel nails, because I wanted to get my money's worth. You do, too. My two experiences with acryllic nails left my soft nails weak for months afterwards. I didn't want a repeat. So, today, I share what I know.

Why? Because there is a ton of information about there saying that Gel nails are bad. When done by a TRAINED nail tech, they can be very good for your nail health. Trust me on this one-nearly 45 years of nails that split, peeled and chipped if I looked at them the wrong way and now, they…

Dreaming of Vacations

As we get closer to summer, the thoughts turn to vacations.

Where I work, I accrue a LOT of vacation. On top of that, my employer closes for the week between Christmas and New Year's, so to say I get a lot of time off is accurate. As a result, we're probably going to take a week somewhere after I finish my summer classes and before the kids return to school in late August.

So, Ed and I kind of planned to discuss this further, but haven't yet. Favorite past destinations came up and my sister and brother in law consulted. Alas, their schedules won't allow for vacationing this summer (waaaaah), but we have tentative plans to coordinate for next year. This leaves us open to the possibilities.

We'll be driving, so Eastern seaboard. It's hurricane season, so if we do a vacation at the shore somewhere, we should have a backup plan.

Two couples got married in Maryland this week, and it'd be nice to see them and other friends. It'd be nice to do…


There are some oddities to summer courses at my university.

First, not many full time professors stick around for the summer, so classes are frequently taught by adjuncts. Second, the majority of the courses for my college are offered online, because the professors want to enjoy some of their summer. What this means is that typically, students have a course that can be self directed or have minimal class meetings.

In the past four years, I've had on campus classes with adjuncts, but most of my classes have been online with a mix of full time faculty and adjuncts. Until now, if we were expected to have regular online meetings, the course was listed in OASIS as such-and you could plan accordingly. For example, two classes I wanted this fall both were listed as meeting on Tuesday evenings-so I changed one.

Neither of the summer classes had meeting times listed, or even 'TBA', so the assumption was that there would be no class meetings. For me, this was a big relie…


I got a lot of it today, so there isn't much of the day to talk about. The inside of my eyelids have no holes.

Today begins the summer semester. I TA one class and I'm taking two towards my degree. The class I TA is the same one I took last summer and is really easy. The quantity of work in the two summer classes have me wondering what the heck I'm in for. Then again, the work probably wouldn't be so bad over 15 weeks, but we're doing it in ten-plus, I like to take the tougher courses first.

At the end of July, I can say I have year one of the doctoral program done.

For now, though, I'm up for inspecting the insides of those eyelids to get healthy enough to do all the reading...

The Signs...

Cold. Coughing. Choking Cough.

What are these signs, you ask?

That I'm headed towards bronchitis, if I don't get my butt to the doctor ASAP.

Tomorrow morning, guess who I'm calling?

Shellac Water Park


The One Before the Big One

Ed is celebrating the last year of being in his 40s. Well, I don't know if celebrating is the right term for it.

To soften the blow, he now has a bigger iMac than I do. :) I suspect that will go a long way towards him doing more home recording than he has since the kids were born. He started doing some with the iPad, but now, that he can buy software that makes the iPad apps seem trivial, things probably will change on that front!

Now, what the heck do I do to top that for the big 5-0 next year?

P.S. We save all our Apple product boxes and last year, I got the idea to make an Apple 'tree' around the holidays-inspired by some of the book 'trees' pinned on Pinterest. It may just be featured here...

Getting Used to a New Work Culture

I am a product of my raising. Growing up, my parents went to work with health issues, including my dad coordinating his radiation treatments for cancer on his day off from work each week. So, I saw two people who would work when they were not 100%.

It was probably good preparation for a retail management career. In retail, the show must go one, meaning that even with sick days, you really didn't call out. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I called out in six years with Disney. (and we got 5 sick days a year).

So, that's the mindset I have. Yeah, I have a cold, but I am able to work. Which means I went to work this morning. And when my cube mate came in, she seemed a little annoyed when I told her I had a cold. I wondered if I was wrong for coming in, because I was definitely being productive.

This cold is the nose as a faucet type-I've coughed maybe 4 times all day. I'm sneezing here and there, but I was keeping to myself. I mess…

Sometimes, It Is Okay NOT to Share

Like colds, for instance. You can keep it to yourself. If it'd been chocolate, I would have been happy to partake.

GameTeen decided I needed a cold of my own. It is wiping him (and me) out. Heck, it's 10:00 and I'm going to bed. I probably would have gone to bed two hours ago.

That's saying something for this midnight is an early bedtime person!

Technology is Great

My van was going to need gas sometime tomorrow. The daily commute to Tampa has one downside, and that's the more frequent fill ups (which is why Sputnik is on track to be repaired).

On the way home from going out this evening, we noticed one gas station had gas at $3.46 a gallon. The one across the street was $3.40 and we commented that they probably missed the 3:00pm price change. Ed and I met working together at a gas station, so we are aware of the ins and outs.

I didn't stop for gas because typically, once I cross out of our county, gas prices are 5 to 10 cents cheaper. I'll visit a place on the way into work. Ed comments that this morning, while taking GameTeen to school, gas was several cents cheaper than we'd just seen. Oh well, prices are going up.

Then, we get to the intersection where we normally turn right. A new gas station went up at the beginning of the year. Their price is $3.34. I decided to turn around and get their gas, because they de…

And Now, A Fun Thing For Work

The boss will walk in tomorrow and find these strung across her door!

ETA: The finished product:

I learned something with this project and that is save the pretty paper for larger pieces, and use the firmer cardstock for small things, like letters. Maybe I'll change my mind when I become more familiar with my new Silhouette Cameo, but for now, that's what works better for me.

School Projects

Hand my child 10 pages of options for his spring project for science and he WILL find the thing that he doesn't have the slightest clue of doing the labor, but can tell you exactly what goes into it.

Which is why this mom, who has a general rule of 'your project, your work' spent about six hours on this:

He knows his rocks and rock types, which does this geology fan mom proud. Next time, he doesn't get to make the Yugioh-type project!

Twelve Years of Change on the Autism Spectrum.

GameTeen was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in Kindergarten, back in late 2001/early 2002.

Back then, there wasn't a lot of online information. I researched what I could, found the amazing Barb Kirby's Asperger Syndrome website and became a member of her OASIS forums (Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support), then hosted on Delphi. It was a dark time for us-we didn't know what the future would hold, were worried that he'd never improve, and the unknown was really scary.

There were people on that forum back then that helped me more than they will ever know, just by offering a comforting word or a little bit of encouragement, or a suggestion of where to take GameTeen. See, he was diagnosed by his school psychologist. Dr. T ran the full gamut of tests (most schools won't) at the insistence of a pretty amazing principal, so many of them, that the first doctor he saw was able to review them and jump in on a treatment plan. Dr. C told us most …

When Musical Tastes Collide

I like New Wave, Ed does not. Ed loves Prog Rock, I like it.

Usually, the two do not have anything to do with each other...except that the two musicians who comprised the Buggles were involved with Yes.

We Seem to Have it Backwards Here

April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, right?

So, we're two days into May and my drives home have been rather soggy.

Rainy season isn't until June, mother Nature!

Making a Specialty Vegan Style

I've mentioned here that a friend is vegan. The simple reason is that he had some major organ failures, researched some solutions for the problems without going on the transplant lists or getting dialysis and found that eliminating all animal products from his diet *could* do the trick. It did, and he's made a massive turn around in five years.

Still, he likes meat, love cheese-but hates what they do to him. Sometimes he'll sneak a little cheese, but it's after carefully considering what he'd eaten for the past couple of days. For instance, we did a shop at a pizza place and he decided it was worth the risk. Between the two slices, he had about 1.5 ounces of cheese, so I'd say he was being careful.

The lunch time conversation was partly about that measured decision. That day's plans included visiting Whole Foods, a store I wish we had in Lakeland. The objective was to either find prepackaged vegan ricotta or purchase flax seed and/or hard tofu …