Showing posts from July, 2013


The things wrong with this, let me count the ways:

1. Pink bottle

2. Peanut butter banana chocolate donut vodka

Need I list more? This sounds like people will be puking.

Little Greek, Tampa

Those of you who usually read my blog are probably thinking "ANOTHER Greek place?" Yep. Especially when this one is a stone's throw from work.

The beauty of this place is the freshness of the ingredients. The salads are made to order, the pitas soft and fresh, the fries thick cut wedges, wonderfully marinated meats and crispy gyro loaf slices. They have wonderful rice pudding and baklava-which I understand is made for them at Hellas in Tarpon Springs.

Everything is prepared to order, so there may be a few minute wait. It is worth it.

They do a rewards program and according to my points, I've been there 8 times. Fresh, high quality Greek food will draw me every time. I've enjoyed Souvlaki, that Gyro platter, Greek salad, Pastitsio, and both desserts. Not one thing has disappointed. The platters have been big enough that I usually have leftovers to enjoy the next day.

I understand there are 5 locations with more franchised locations coming. They…


I made the call for the neuro appointment. There needs to be confirmation and a treatment plan for this spread of the RSD. It is one thing when my leg is f'ed up and limits how much walking and standing I do, but it's quite another when it has the potential to keep me from working because I can't feel a mouse.

Thankfully, I know a few people who also have RSD. None of us present exactly the same way, heck, we all have different locations. That said, all of us have an understanding of the basics of each other's pain. We ask each other 'does the A/C kicking on make you cringe, because the air moving will HURT?' and other things along those lines. At a time like now, when a spread is suspected and pretty much confirmed before going to the doctor, the others can both sympathize and encourage. Maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe there's a more effective medication that I'm not allergic to. Maybe it won't progress beyond what it does right now.�…

It Is Unanimous

Relative or friend, if I have to visit the local hospital to see someone I care about, I get anxious as soon as I cross the threshold.

While it is concerning that the person in there now doesn't have health insurance, he generally takes very good care of himself-this will not be a frequent flyer situation. I just want them to stabilize his issue to send him home...

C5-C6 Spinal Fusion: Ten Months Later

In September, 2012, I had a spinal fusion and laminectomy of the C5 and C6 vertebrae to resolve pain, a herniation and numbness in my hands. It's been several months since I've updated my progress and since there have been some developments of late, figured it is time to place it on the blog.


My pain has been greatly reduced. Prior to surgery, most days were around a 6 on a 1-10 pain scale, with the few months immediately preceding the fusion at regular 7, 8, or 9s for me-and I have a very high pain threshold. Now, I spend most days at a 2, some at 3 and a rare day at a 5 or above.

One thing that has gotten worse is back spasms. I have medication for them, but it makes me incredibly sleepy, so I do my best to avoid using it by using heat packs and stretching when I seem to be headed for one. Part of this is because I sit at my desk all day, then tend to sit doing schoolwork many nights. I'm waiting for a clearance for exercise, because I think it would be hel…

New Goal: 300 Beers in 4 Year

This makes the 'Beer Around the World' club at one of the bars I used to patronize up north seem wimpy.

Ed and I joined the 'Brew Crew' at a local beer chain that offers about 70 smaller label beers on tap and another 200 in bottles and cans. The goal? To become a beer guru, meaning we've sampled 300 beers.

My thought is it guarantees us a night out every week or so, while expanding our beer palate.

I'm .0667% towards my goal...

Two chocolate stouts, one from Fort Collins, the other Young's Double Chocolate Stout. They seemed appropriate after a steak dinner: dense, full flavored and 'thick', for lack of a better term. Looking at the list of drafts is like being a kid in a candy store, so many good choices that it's hard to settle on one.

I suspect there will be blog posts here and there as we work through our choices.

Why I Love Shellac...and...

So, this is my manicure two weeks in, which is why I love gel manicures.

Then, I sliced a fingernail while making food for a potluck last night, this is what the other hand looks like:

At least 9 of them look good, which is a lot more than I could say prior to getting my nails done regularly! >

Songs that Remind Me of Summers, Concerts, and Breezes off the Hudson River

Flashback, 1985. Summer concerts on the Pier, two Squeeze concerts, Hooters as the opening act.

Free College Classes

A new trend in college studies are MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, where you can participate in college courses. Some of the world's most respected universities are offering classes. My university has one available, too.

As many of my friends are into Disney, you may want to check this one out: Fairy Tales and Princess Stories.

How Times Change

Thirty years ago, if I wanted to learn how to play a song, I'd spend a lot of time in front of the piano, annoying the whole family while I figured the song out. Perhaps that was the motivation in giving me some cash for painting the house and my 18th birthday-I got a $200. Casio keyboard that I could plug headphones into.

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Tim Minchin, and there are three songs I want to learn. Thing is, he doesn't know how to read or write music, so a lot of his stuff doesn't have sheet music. Here's where times change: I sat with my iPad using Garage Band and the YouTube video of this song:

I'm about a minute in on it and would be further if GameTeen didn't take over the iPad. It sure is a lot easier to figure these things out when you've got a video you can listen to over and over.

Of course, I pick the one that is a little low in my vocal range...


Technically, I still have work to do for this semester.

But it was really nice to take this weekend and not do any schoolwork!!




So, I've been slowly accumulating things for my desk. I have a Simon Pegg quote up that sums it up by stating that being a Geek is liberating, it is about getting excited about something that interests you, without worrying about what othes think.

My first purchase for work was a TARDIS USB hub. It was a wise purchase, because my Mac Pro is situated in such a way that plugging things into it would be a royal pain in the tucchus. However, I wanted more Doctor Who stuff. In the subsequent five months, this is what is accruing:

I showed Chef this picture yesterday and he and Ed agree that I'm holding out on them because I don't want to let them play with my toys. I don't know about you, but now that sounds like I need to get even MORE action figures...

Chop Shop, Lakeland

From the first time we visited downtown Lakeland, the Chop Shop was on my radar for a place that looked kind of cool. Old school vibe is always appealing, especially when you're downtown on First Friday and the place is packed.

We went on a weeknight around 8, so there weren't throngs of people. Quite the contrary, we walked in and weren't sure of whether someone would seat us or we seated ourselves. The bartender called us back to the bar and gave us the lay of the land: You order at the bar and someone brings your food out later. Since there was a bar, I looked to see what was on tap. Limited selection, but full liquor and I wasn't in the mood for a Guinness( the only one on tap I like), so I got a Woodchuck hard cider, Ed got a Guinness and Chef got a soda.

As I said, it has a retro vibe, the walls covered with various signs and pictures of motorcycles, cars, comic books and all sorts of memorabilia. There are about 25 tables in the place, 5 occupied and…

Pulling It All Together

This is the FIRST time I've had to pull all my rationale about my proposed research in one document: giving the background information so that those not familiar with Aspergers or the learning deficits can understand what makes this research important, a review of the literature and previous research that supports this need and shows that it is a gap in the existing information, and then, the methods I will use and why.

This draws on all domains of previous study, to the point that I am once again grateful that I took psychology. A class I didn't even want to take because it sounded impossibly difficult is actually providing me with so much background that is making this come together like it was meant to be. Not effortless, more like a jigsaw puzzle where each piece is obvious where it fits into the big picture.

Tomorrow, I present an overview to my classmates. The powerpoint has basically become an outline for the 35 pages that will probably be written in about 8 ho…

One of The Advantages of Having Teens

I bought scoop and bake cookies.

Then, I showed teen how to make scoop and bake cookies.

Then, I expressed the desire for some cookies.

Now, the house smells like cookies.

So, is that being lazy-or teaching the kid a skill?


Right before I started the new job, I got some items for my desks to customize it. Knowing that my computer would only have 2 USB ports and that I'd need more, I got a nice TARDIS USB hub from online. Alas, only one of the 4 ports works with my headphones, but the other three work with everything else, so it's fine. At the same time, I bid on and won two of the Tenth Doctor. Now, I didn't expect the sizes to match up, but there were several jokes about it being a good thing the TARDIS is bigger on the inside!

Here and there, I will bid on Doctor Who action figures on eBay, because the selection here in the US is pitiful. I don't care about new in box, just good condition, and as a result, I now have a few characters and a TARDIS that is the proper size for the Doctor seen above. Recently, I got an 11th Doctor for a really good price, so I tried to get him a Clara or Amy and found a fantastic offer for Clara. I won the bid and just got the package over the weeken…

Giving Them What They Want

Chef has been asking me to make cookies this past week. Only problem is, with me in the push to finish 4 assignments this week (about 60-70 pages), making cookies from scratch is NOT happening. When he asks for cookies, it doesn't mean 'please fetch a bag of oreos from the market, mom.' No, it means fresh from the oven cookies. Yes, my kids are no fools, they prefer homemade.

What's a mom to do with no time? Cheat and buy scoop and bakes.

The benefit to this is that he got cookies and he got a lesson in how to use the oven to make the cookies. He knows where the tub is located, he can make cookies until the tub is empty-maybe even make Mom or Dad some, too.

After I'm done with all the writing, he will be learning how to make cookies from scratch himself. Personally, I'm of the mind that a high schooler needs to know how to bake goodies...

CND Shellac-Water Park


Mental vs. Physical

After all the effort this past week, the test last night, some reading last night, I spent my lunch break preparing more school work, like this:

Alas, my brain is fired up and ready to put in a couple hours on the Autism portfolio. The eyes say "no way, you've asked way too much of me this week, I am done!" Yeah, I guess the eyes have a point, so I'm going to bed before midnight for the first time in I don't know how long.

But I'm going to sleep in until 8 and pick right up on it. My goal is to have everything for that class DONE tomorrow, which gives me 6 days to do the things I need from that chart above. Twenty to thirty pages worth. After reading one from another student, my assumption that the literature review portion is going to be really easy, I was correct in that assumption. It may be wise to pull out all the research papers I've written over the years to see what incidental studies I cited on top of the ten that are core to ASD educ…

Missed Opportunity

My go-to study place on campus is a room that I still call 'the Laptop Lounge', which the name switched the semester I started my grad program. It's a room with low lights, macbook computers for loan, software products, a sound booth, and a staff that helps students and faculty with technology needs. I just like going there because it's a quiet location that usually isn't too crowded.

Today, I walk in and their volunteer staffer is a young guy I've become somewhat friendly with over the past year. As we hadn't seen each other since the last week of April, he leaped out of his chair and stopped himself before giving me a bear hug (which I ended up hugging the kid, anyway.) That's the kind of place it is-I am among my people.

My purpose for using that laptop lounge is simple-it is an excellent, out of the way place to study. And that is what I did. However, it is a gathering place of sorts and I ran into three of my professors in my two hours t…

Glad I Followed the Advice

Back when I set about returning to school, the admissions advisor I spoke to at Poly listened to my goal of getting a master's in Instructional Technology. He then suggested Psychology for my pursuit of a Bachelor's and gave several reasons for it. As I'd always enjoyed psych classes and even had several definitive psychology guides for personal reading (who really goes and buys a DSM IV and reads it for fun?). It was a good call, because I did very well and loved my time in those classes.

The benefit once again is clear, as I spent a couple of hours studying for tomorrow's final with a classmate. I could define many of the terms, hearing the voices of Dr. H and Dr. P in my head saying "Correlation is NOT causation' 'Validity means your test measures what it says you will measure', and several key statistical formulas. The fact that I've drawn on that information briefly in my measurement class during M.Ed and now, my third statistics and m…

Next Food Network Star, Season 8

This season, I wasn't sure if I'd miss episodes of NFNS, so I decided to skip recapping. Of course, because I decided against it, I've been plopped in front of the television every Sunday night. Sometimes with schoolwork in my lap, but at least I get to see it. Hey, I even learned how to turn on the stereo, cable box, AND the tv to actually watch my one show! We've had the stereo and tv for two years, which tells you how much I influence the viewing in this house.

So, this season, they bring in more people who are polished. One has an internet cooking show, several have on camera experience, one was the runner up in another FN competition. You'd think that'd mean they had a higher level of competition, right? Nope. Same dumb mistakes, but at least more people have an idea of their culinary point of view. That said, what is with the guys who lose a substantial amount of weight and REFUSE to talk about it? Sorry dude, you don't get a show if you can…

Apple WOOT!

Today is the 5th anniversary of Apple's App store. In honor of that, they're giving away 10 different apps FREE! Go move on this one NOW.

I'm back to studying...

Reformatting the Brain

There was a time when you could ask me anything about Disney and I'd rattle off the answer without even having to think about the answer first. Thanks to a photographic memory, if I saw it in the parks, I could tell you where, how much and give you the number for Merchandise Guest Services, too. It's one of the skills that one needs in retail, and it got used with alarming regularity.

However, I am now seven years past my tenure with Disney. There is much I can still rattle off, but as to what is available in the parks, or when a movie is coming out, you're better off looking things up online instead of asking me. I still can give you the essential information and who to contact, but not what product is for sale.

Instead, my brain is chock full of research theory, instructional design concepts, and what things you need to think about when starting a school. We joke around here about needing to reformat our hard drives, but I think mine has done it on its own!

Civics Exam

Can you pass the test given to naturalized US Citizens?

I got 17 of 20-guess I can stay.

In A Strange Twist...

I will have the final project for my Autism class completed two weeks early.

Typically, I am an 11th hour sort of person, which is normal for someone with ADHD. If left to my own devices, I probably would have been burning the midnight oil on the 18th to get this portfolio done. However, I have three chapters of a dissertation proposal AND an exam in my other class, so I'm biting the bullet and getting the major work done for that class so that I can spend the next six days studying for the exam and the remaining time writing that proposal.

The upshot of the work for this portfolio is that it will get handed off to friends starting a new school. It is a resource guide for augmentative and alternative communications for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. I think the idea that someone will be using this resource is probably a big motivator for doing it early and being more thorough that I usually am.

Crazy Cat

One of my neighbors got the big mortar fireworks this year.

Sitting in the house, it sounds like these things are going off in our back yard. So, I go checking it out and find a vantage point in my bathroom. But the cat? He's fascinated and climbs up on the shelving unit.

All so he can watch the fireworks go off...


In the past week, I have had at least 5 blog post topics in my head around 3 in the afternoon, at a time when writing blog posts wasn't feasible.

Of course, I get home and cannot remember what those thoughts were. I suppose I should get in the habit of taking notes on the phone to avoid losing decent topics.


Several people I know also have RSD. All but one of them have warned me that it will spread, typically after having another trauma or surgery. Silly me, I thought it wouldn't happen.

Nine months out from surgery, there are symptoms that at first, I thought were just residual effects of having a spinal fusion. However, there's one hallmark of RSD that tips the hand that this isn't post-op nerves reasserting themselves. My right hand is generally 10-15 degrees colder than the left.

I now look like Michael Jackson, for I sit at my desk at work or at home with a glove on the right hand. Even that isn't enough to shake the cold.

At least it's my right hand and I'm a lefty...