Showing posts from June, 2013

Overnight in Daytona

We had a nice brief getaway that I think Ed and I wanted for a long time, but couldn't get over there until the other day.

I think we need another detour over there really soon, because that is one place where I can really veg on a lounge chair all day-when I don't anywhere else.

I think we need a longer weekend before summer is over.

Pig Stand, Ormond Beach, Florida

When staying in Daytona, it is a given that we will travel a few exits north on I-95 to Ormond Beach and visit the Pig Stand for some 'cue. We spent the night over on the beach and decided that lunch had to be Pig Stand before we returned home.

Chef was nursing a sore mouth, so he just went with Macs and Cheese, and when GameTeen heard that, he got them, too. Meanwhile, I went for the Burnt End sandwich, a nice pork BBQ that is served naked with slaw on top and a choice of side. Barbeque sauces are on the table, and I opted for a blend of the mustard and hot. Yum. The slaw is a little on the sweeter side, but is crunchy and fresh, in case you prefer tangy slaw.

I will probably skip the corn next time. It seems like frozen ears and no amount of butter, salt and pepper could give it flavor. They make really good, savory beans-I'll go with those next time.

Ed got the Fat Boy with beans. This sandwich comes with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese and a creamy dres…

Comp Time

I am employed in an administrative role, which means there is no overtime. The extra hours I put in this week has been converted into comp time.

As our university president usually is really good with rewarding us with days off here and there, I was hoping for an announcement that since Independence Day is a Thursday, we'd have Friday off, too. Now, I don't have to wait for an announcement. I have a 4.5 day weekend. :)

It will feel really weird on Monday when I don't work at a breakneck pace on a chapter!

Marathon Development Session

In the past three days, I've logged 18 extra hours of work to completely redo the first three chapters of the iBook project. It is now uploading.

While physically and mentally, that pace is brutal, emotionally, I feel elated. The quirks of the iBook Author are known quantities, so I was able to create a chapter from lousy source external source material in 25 hours and then take a chapter that didn't have a powerpoint and a jumbled mess of information and put it into order. The many semesters of being anal retentive about my lecture notes is the primary reason why I put this chapter together in 16 hours.

Now, to go have a beer-I'm wiped out! At least I have a three day weekend to recover-and another 9 hours of comp time (that probably will become 11 once I finesse the upload) to show for it!

SCOTUS, Thank You!

The decisions out of the Supreme Court the past week have been very frustrating, which didn't bode well for DOMA and Prop 8, in my opinion. Then, last night, I read an article that quoted Justice Antonin Scalia that implied that he was *not happy* with the decisions handed down on these two basic rights cases.

The fact that the court ruled to overturn DOMA and upheld the lower court decision to overturn Prop 8 just reaffirms what Thomas Jefferson stated in our Declaration of Independence "“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." We can say that every man and woman in our nation can pursue happiness with the person they love by their side. This makes me happy.

This makes ME happy.

The Cardinal Sins of Power Point Presentations

If I didn't learn anything else in the past four years (and 2.2 degrees), I have become a power user of Power Point. Prior to school, I had absolutely no need to learn how to use this product, even though I was a long time power user of Word and Excel. Want a pivot table? I'm your woman. However, as a hard core user of it, I see a lot of mistakes in other presentations that can be avoided.

My current work project involves taking presentations and crafting iBook chapters from the information contained in those Power Point slides. While the professor I'm working with doesn't need to be an expert user, she's got much of it right. However, I have to create a chapter from Power Point slides from an agency she partnered with and these things are making me cross eyed at the many things that violate design principles, as well as basic pedagogy. The most grievous sin is how disorganized the whole thing is. So, thanks to this lovely thing that I will convert into a…

The Friends in the Computer

I have a lot of friends in the computer. Part of it is from being an early adopter of the pre-WWW Prodigy (aka *P), CompuServe, bulletin boards, and the like. In my Facebook friends list, I have a few friends who date back to online friendships made as early as 1993. If only I can find the two really good *P friends, I'd go back to '91. However, the vast majority of these online friends were made about ten years ago.

Still, thanks to the computer, I got back in touch with people from high school, a few here, a few there. People I really enjoyed hanging around with back then, but never got to know outside of school. Enter Facebook and a mutual friend or three (or 15!) and the next thing you know, you're interacting regularly and realizing 'holy crap, I had no idea how much we actually had in common besides growing up in the same town.' Let's just say that my brand of humor is appreciated by a lot of those people.

Recently, one posted a song by an ar…

Promising Research

So, my major professor and I determined what and how I will conduct research for my dissertation. At the time, I hadn't found a single thing that came close to what I was looking to explore.

Then, I had to do an article review for class-and found a paper presented two months ago that just got submitted for publication. It essentially did what I plan to do, but on a smaller scale and with a different research design. Still, it is good to see researchers finding significance.

What this means for me is that I can look at the flaws in their methodology and adjust for them. I'd already decided that the method they used would suffer from validity concerns in that some of the student gains could be attributed to exposure effects. They only had one group of ten and all were participants. Meanwhile, I want to use two groups, one receiving instruction via iPad and the other, traditional face to face with a teacher.

Now that one has shown up, it is only a matter of time be…

The Benefits of Blogging Redux

One of my classes this semester is throwing me off, in that all of the assignments are due SATURDAY night. The other class, as well as the class I TA, the assignments are due Monday morning, and most online classes I've taken have Sunday due dates. This is because in graduate studies, you have an extraordinarily high number of students who work full time and attend classes part time. (The doctoral level class? Not one full time student this time around-we all have full time jobs.)

So, my head is having a hard time accepting the fact that the work is due Saturday nights.

Meanwhile, tonight's the due date for a SIX page paper. Have I started it yet? No.

Am I worried? No.

The reason is that it is a review of two articles, when I've read many on the topic. I just need to synthesize the information into one paper, the rubric is a piece of cake and well, after writing the blog (and editing work for others, to be quite honest) I don't feel like this is a b…


I'm usually the first one to work every morning. However, now that the kids are out of school, my boss usually arrives a little before or a little after me. Today, she got in about 7 and was surprised that I wasn't there.

One of my coworkers came in at her usual time and was surprised that I wasn't at my desk. She went to the boss and asked "Where's Suzanne?" and boss thought that maybe I'd asked for the day off and she forgot. Still, she was a little concerned and texted me and pinged me on Facebook.

I was still sleeping.

I woke just before 9am! Yikes! I'd thought I set my alarm, but I did it with my glasses off-and apparently I hadn't done so.

So, in four months, they expect me to be the first one there, which is good. Then, at 3pm, the boss told everyone to go home, because she doesn't feel right leaving on a Friday and expecting her staff to stay. I said I'd stay and get my hours in. She insisted I didn't have to…

A Week to Go Live

My iBook project at work is almost ready for student rollout. This means that we'll have a bunch of students each take a chapter and give feedback for what they like and don't like, or even features they would add to the content to help them retain the information.

I have to create a Qualtrex quiz to embed in each chapter, but that's ridiculously easy. You know those online quizzes you take for retailers? It will be like that, but the same quiz with encoding for me to know which chapter the respondent is reporting on.

The hard part is going back and redoing the first two chapters. They're not hard, per se, it's just that what was created is really difference from what I'm doing. What I do is mostly educational theory, but enough of it is design that the developer's style comes through. Even Ed said after seeing a chapter and a half that he sees my style emerging in what I create.

Those chapters were made by someone who has such a different st…

Crunchier Than I Thought

I don't consider myself a huge alternative medicine person. Which is to say, if there is an option, I'll give it a try, but generally, I do not go out of my way to use them. Today, I came to a realization that I use them far more than I'd realized.

I awoke with a headache. Now, my migraines present in one part of the skull, the Chiari headaches are different from those, and I'll get sinus headaches. Today's headache was on the right side, just behind the ear. I attributed it to the dental work and figured that I should get something in my stomach and take some Aleve.

So, I did that, and it didn't work. I also had some headache specific caplets in my desk, so I took those two hours later and still had no success. That's where alternatives come in-I heated my thermalon and wrapped it around my head. Heat or ice can help, and heat didn't do it.

Which left me with the thought of going to track down some migraine ice pads. Alas, I had no su…

I Want a Beer Cooler Like This!!

My next house will have one...

Timing is Everything

The temporary crown is giving me fits today. Like majorly annoying fits.

Good thing it is getting an eviction notice tomorrow!

Fred's Southern Kitchen, Lakeland

It is all Facebook's fault.

The group that talks about my hometown had a post from one of the members about 'taking back' Raay Nor's from the maws of the Mediterranean restaurant that now resides in the building that served up the best fried chicken on Long Island. Oh, and the best pot pie, too, as I was just as much a fan of that wonderfully flaky crust over a nice thick stew.

Then, I moved to a group of a dozen or so online friends, and one is traveling and stunned at the delivery choices where she is. Her hometown only has pizza delivery. We talked about steak (btw, Steak Out does a fine job-had those in the DC area), Chinese food, and then I mentioned the chain that we had in my hometown, Chicken Delight. Their slogan "Don't cook tonight, call Chicken Delight!" As a teen, I looked forward to babysitting gigs where the parents left me money to order food-I'd order the chicken instead of pizza!

After two things talking about good fried c…

What, Me? Barhopping?

The last time I could recall visiting more than one bar in an evening was in 1988, when I lived on Long Island. Then I remembered one of the rare occasions when I went out with coworkers to a going away dinner and then visiting various bars on Market Street in Frederick. We visited three bars in 30 minutes and heard three different bands perform 'Shine' in 30 minutes as well!..

Well, last night, Ed got home from work and had the hankering for another visit to Brass Tap. Meanwhile, I was meeting with friends on a start up venture (that isn't mine, but involves me), so the idea wasn't to come to fruition.

However, while we were wrapping up tonight's bar shop, he expressed a desire to go to Brass Tap, and so we did. We both felt like reckless youth. The kind who only have low APV drinks with good flavor and leave a place without a buzz.

It was a good idea. I think we found a local favorite.

Friday Fives: Five Meals My Kid Will Know How to Cook

A blogging friend, Elizabeth, has a Friday Five hosted on her blog. I decided to join in because Five things? Easy peasy! Chef and I had a talk the last day of school. The objective for us this summer was to refresh him on cooking. More specifically, get him comfortable with actually using the stove, the one thing he did not do in all those cooking lessons. So, we will work together on him learning some easy meals to make and things that will make big batches to either feed him for a while or feed a crowd if he's entertaining. These are what we'll be covering:

1. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese.

As GameTeen can't have dyes, my kids have pretty much been raised on mom's homemade (or Dad will make velveeta shells and cheese, because it doesn't use dye). It has all the things that a kid likes in a meal: One pot, quick, and it makes a bunch. Both boys know you can vary the cheese according to what is on hand, but now I'm going to sh…

Iz Lapcat

Scamp is not a lap cat. He likes to lay squished up against my legs.

I replaced Chef's desk chair by grabbing a bargain out of Ikea's As Is room recently, which means my office chair is bigger. All of a sudden, he wants to be in my lap. He sat there for almost an hour last night, purring away. Then he chomped down on me, hard.

Maybe lap cats aren't all that cool.

Some Things That Tip Your Hand as a Tech Doofus

The guy in IT makes a mistake and creates a dummy help ticket and sends it to EVERYONE at work. If you were one of the 70 who replied to the 'test-please disregard' email saying 'why did I get this?', you might be the tech doofus-because your message also went reply all. Yep, approximately 70 doofuses.

You have big dreams of becoming a blogger. It's your ticket to fame and fortune. Except, you start it with a bunch of posts all at once and then don't post another thing ever. Then you keep on pointing people to that blog you're so proud of, but you haven't posted anything new. Instead of looking awesome, you just look like a clueless hack. Post on a regular basis or don't keep using social media to point people to the same couple of posts that were there the last time they looked at your blog. If you don't know how to add new posts, look at the help offered by your blog host. Another tech doofus.

You got a new computer-five years ago…

It is WRONG (giggle)

After last year's Doctor Who episode in which the evil doers were the angel statues of Manhattan, I'm mildly creeped out by statues. Yes, it is a work of fiction, but still, those statues are everywhere.

So, the news tonight about some statues being vandalized on Snell Island should have engendered some ire, along with the residents, but they were statues. That looked like this:

If the statues on the Doctor Who episode looked like that, I wouldn't be concerned about the unadulterated versions...

The World Looks Different

I picked up my bifocals on the way home from work. Yep, bifocals. There is no illusion of being younger than you are with bifocals!

Alas, the boxes of my contacts arrived, but not the trial pair I will need to ensure the prescription is correct before we open those boxes. So, I won't be trying them out this week, but I will need to get used to the readers on the bottom and the distance on the top.

It should be a fun few days!

Seen in Ybor

Saw this a few weeks ago, and every time I go through my photo stream, it makes me giggle.

I like a tattoo parlor with a sense of humor!

Katie's Choice-Shellac Midnight Swim and More

I didn't know what to go with today and let Katie decide. This means that for three weeks, I will be looking at this:

Apparently, the one different color fingernail is hot right now, but it is the pinky on my left hand and index finger on my right. Plus, it is pink. So, I may be regretting letting her decide! We shall see.

Where Have You Been Hiding?

Ed and I hit pay dirt tonight.

Now that the kids are older, we go out for a date night one night a week, get a drink or two at a local place and catch up on what's going on. Only the pickings are usually pretty slim. We can go to Applebees, the bowling alley bar, Hooters, BW3, or one of the little places where they don't serve food, which means people can smoke. No thanks.

' Tonight, however, we found the place with 60+ craft beers on tap, another 250 in bottles, a stage with a band playing over the bar and friendly bartenders. It was hard to decide which beers we wanted to try first. I did get Ed to have the DTs, so I was amused. :)


Five days into the hurricane season and we got the first named storm. I'm not sure this bodes well!

The part I really didn't like is that this storm spawned tornadoes. One of them was a waterspout that came ashore at Channelside and was eventually spotted a mile from my job. So that's what the campus emergency sirens sound like!

I will say this, if you don't have that WeatherShield app on your phone, GET IT. Mine was working overtime today, but it was a very good thing, as it gave us 10 minutes warning that this tornado was headed our way. So, even though tornadoes are my biggest weather fear, it was reassuring to know what was going on.

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Grading Once More

The professor and I agreed to a manageable workload for me: I facilitate and grade 4 of the 8 assignments that the students will be turning in, roughly every other week. I was given the choice, and selected the parts of web design that interest me most. Which means that this week, I'm grading CSS work. While I don't use it daily, it is something that came easily to me when I took this course.

Facilitation means that not only do I grade, I interact in the discussion board, providing feedback publicly that should engage others in commentary. Within the class, there are a decent number of professionals, so the caliber of work is such that even as a tough grader, there isn't much to deduct. The bonus is that the students who work with web design are charged with bringing something new to the table, to challenge themselves. This makes me happy, as I'll learn some new things from those more talented.

That part of the experience is what prompted me to volunteer t…

Last Day of School

Finally, it is the end of the school year for the boys. I don't know who looks forward to it more, them or us! A ten week reprieve from driving GameTeen to school, from nagging Chef to go to bed at a reasonable hour!

What Chef probably didn't expect is that Mom had plans to prepare him for the high school career. We'll be working on some SAT prep books (I like the Kaplan study guides for the GRE, so I'm starting him with those. He'll also be resuming some cooking lessons. This time, though, instead of lessons at a cooking school, he'll be learning how to make some of his favorites with Mom.

The goal is to have him spend his summers learning how to be self-sufficient.

Surprisingly, he's excited about the fact that he'll have 'Mom School' of sorts this summer...

I Got My Baby Back

Tonight, Sputnik is sitting in my driveway.

It looked like we were going to find a new owner for her, as the transmission repair would not guarantee we would resolve the known defect with the tiptronic transmissions. However, the commute over to Tampa every day (and the one year warranty) made both of us realize about six months of driving back and forth in the van would eat up the price of the transmission repair in the gas difference.

It has been so long that when I got in the car tonight, I'd forgotten where everything was! But it'll be nice to zip down the interstate in my little car, instead of a big boat.