Showing posts from September, 2013

Eight Years

Eight years ago:

-my mom had terminal cancer.

-my mother in law and sister in law were preparing to move to Florida.

-we lived just outside of Tampa.

-I worked for Disney.

-My chronic health issues were just a blip in the past.

-Ed was unemployed.

-the boys were in elementary school.

-going back to school was just a dream idea.

-I liked to write, but other than the occasional short store and humorous email to friends, I didn't consider it something I 'had to do'. And now:

-three family members here in Florida have passed away.

-we live in Lakeland.

-I work for a university.

-My chronic health issues have announced their presence with authority quite a few times.

-Ed has been working the same job for six years solid, I was unemployed for three years.

-both boys are in HIGH school!

-after years of having time and no money, or money and no time, I returned to school and finished two degrees and am 6 courses into doctoral studies.

-I've written this blog for eight y…

Does Anyone Else Hear Peter Brady

When they think of pork chops and applesauce?

Chalk Another One For "I'm Happy I Have Boys"

Because I highly doubt they'd want these:


There's this thing about chronic health issues: they can be dormant for ages, heck, for years, and lull you into a false belief that you won't be affected ever again.

Then you get blindsided

Back in 2002, I had a few months of 'the spinnies', as GameTeen had dubbed them, which ultimately was diagnosed as Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo (BPV or BPPV). Despite an MRI of the upper brain, and several tests, my doctors weren't sure what caused it. The MRI was too high on the brain to visualize the Chiari malformation, so it would take another few years to find that. The thing is, if we'd seen it then, then we would have known what was causing the vertigo.

The first episode lasted about three months, with many long spells of Objective Vertigo, where everything around me was spinning at various degrees. I equated it to records, spinning at 16, 33, or 45 rpm. I learned what could cause an OV flare, like tilting my head upwards more than 5 degrees, or bei…

One Year Later

The spinal fusion was done a year and two days ago. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have waited so long to have this done.

My pain level averages a 3 out of 10 on most days. Immediately prior to surgery, I was usually a 7 or 8, and having a hard time doing even the most basic things. A year later, I have far more good days than bad, pain wise.

That's not to say that it is all smooth sailing. As is common with those with RSD, having surgery exposed me to a spread of it. Yes, mine spread to both hands and I'm waiting for the appointment with the neurologist to discuss our treatment options. I walk around with frozen hands on 95 degree days, how many people can say that? At least these are not manifesting like the leg-they're twitchy and cold, but not electrically charged like my leg.

Still, the day to day is better than I could have expected. That's more than I could have asked.

The Road Not Traveled

I always have had an interest in psychology, in analyzing situations, and where it comes to people, trying to figure out what makes one tick or can be the best way to resolve an issue they're facing. For a long time, that made me think that pursuing a career in psychology would be a good fit. Over time, though, I realized that I'd want to fix the problems for my patients, and I dropped that concept. (It was also clear that I would bring their problems home with me-not a good thing.)

Still, over time, friends old and new will come to me when they need to sort through a problem, because I will pose the questions a skilled therapist tends to ask. A friend working towards a degree in that discipline has said the field would be perfect for me. While I enjoy it, that's not a passion-I just like to provide a fresh perspective when called upon for that task.

This week seems to be one where I've been called on to take on that role several times. I got a panicked text …

It is Easier

To write up an eBay listing for stuff that you own and are looking to get rid of, or stuff that you sold for many years and are extremely knowledgeable about, than it is to list stuff that you know what it is, but nothing about the market for the item.

A friend has never sold anything on eBay. Purchased, yes, but not sold-so I am tasked with listing the things and well, the listings are not my usual descriptive sales spiel. I didn't realize how difficult it is to list stuff you're not personally invested in!

We'll see how this goes.

Online Communities Really Can Get Neighborly

Back in June, a friend introduced me to Tim Minchin (which I've mentioned here a couple of times.) What the friend didn't do was introduce me to the fan community for Tim, I found them on my own. A few friendships have been struck, and the ones who hang around on social media are just a fun bunch of people.

What I didn't expect is for one of those members to seek me out to offer me a pair of tickets to see Tim perform live. Now, that would be really, really cool-but it's in Leeds, England. A bit of a commute to accept those free tickets.

Still, it was a very sweet gesture and very flattering. I like interacting with the dozen or so active fans on the interwebz social media sites. I just didn't expect them to be that generous.

Now, if the prize patrol wants to show up in the next few days so that I can buy a plane ticket and go, I'm happy to give you directions...

His Highness


Nails Outside My Comfort Zone

Allen keeps telling me I am in a rut with my nail colors. I think this is definitely not my usual color range...

"I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world..."

The view when I left work

Lockdowns are not fun.

At least this one ended with nobody hurt. Still, kind of scary that they didn't find the guy.

On The Right Track

I created a project plan for my Flash class. The majority of it was done far in advance, the the night it was due, I tweaked it, added a flowchart and some storyboards and submitted it.

It got a perfect score.

I really expected it to get dinged on some small facet that I'd overlooked, but it seems that I hit all the marks on the rubric. Yes, I've gotten perfect scores before, but usually on these types of things, there is room for improvement, a component you didn't address, a detail that is essential to the product that you knew about, but forgot to add to the document. This time, that didn't happen

Part of it was because I interviewed an actual client who will use the product at the end, and we were able to meet all of his needs AND the tasks that I need to do in the course nicely. The other part definitely was due to the medication. The best part is that several of the elements will be really easy to execute.

What's funny is that in the past, the c…

Harvest Moon


A Sea of Black

If you're going to cattle call interviews for say, medical school, a piece of advice for you.

It is suggested you wear a suit in a neutral color. Of course, this means EVERYONE wears black. I mean everyone. So, you want to be memorable, the one who stood out, right?

Get a nice medium GRAY suit. It is still neutral, but they'll be able to pick you out in a crowd. Isn't that what you want?

I Love When I Already Have

The needed items for a class!

Tonight, I have to turn in my design proposal for the Flash class, including a Storyboard for one of the components of my educational module. I was going to create one from scratch, then I realized, wait a minute, I already DID the necessary work for this client at the beginning of the summer!

Just saved myself an hour's worth of work mocking up pages...

Ikea As Is

Scored once again!

Found a floor model Omar on display, which was two of the tall wine racks and one narrow shelving unit placed together for $79. Normally, those three pieces go for $170, so I jumped on it. While I was paying for sodas for me and my friend after purchasing it, Allen noticed six people commenting about it. Then another four while I went to go get the van, and another five while it sat atop the van and I went back inside to buy straps to hold it on the car for the 45 mile ride home.

Yep, others could see the deal I jumped on! I can't exactly say 'no assembly required' as it shifted during the drive and some things will need to be readjusted. However, I now have a home for ALL the wine bottles and storage for the booze stash we got when Sweetbay closed back in February. Chef already said the K-cups and coffee items should go on one of the shelves.

Love it when I find something we'd wanted in the As Is!

Late night snack

A town isn't too bad if you can get late night gyros.

An Abundance of Apples

I got the Macbook that had coffee splashed on it repaired. That means we have one MacBook that is Ed's, two that are mine and we each have a desktop. The house is full of Apples.

We love it.

Last week, Chef came into my room and was chatting with me as I did my usual organization of my desktop. With Mac, you just drag and drop into folders and he'd never seen that done before. As all my needed software is on the newly repaired machine, I suspect the the kids will have limited access to the newer MacBook, so that they can learn both platforms.

It is kind of amusing that just over three years ago, I wanted my first one sooooo badly, and here we are, a Mac-centric home.

Two Weeks In

Two weeks of meds, three weeks of classes.

At this stage of the normal semester, I'd probably be about three chapters behind on reading, and I am actually through all of it and finding it easier to read longer stretches without the 'squirrel' break or five. I am current on all reading. In tonight's class, she assigned more reading, but we have two weeks. It will probably be done Sunday.

There was one assignment I hadn't done, and that had more to do with getting the text a week late, then losing a study evening (and start on the debate topic) to the car issue I had. Tonight, the professor offered up that if we participated by midnight tonight, we would still be eligible for a grade. I actually went in and read all the debate posts and decided that I didn't want to jump into the fray.

The fact that I didn't do the assignment has nothing to do with the ADHD or usual lack of focus. Rather, it was that I *could* focus on all the posts and felt th…

Scamp Approves

My friend A lives in a tiny apartment. I hesitate to even call it a studio, for it is a closed in carport. We're talking small.

He has one tiny cabinet to store all his food. It overflows, and he just reoriented stuff throughout the apartment and was looking for a shelving unit to store dry goods. I mentioned my small footprint shelves that I got from IKEA last year that is used in my bathroom to store toiletries. The Ikea website showed just a blonde wood, so I texted him a picture of the finish on mine, a honey brown.

A liked, and we spoke of going over to Tampa this weekend to get him the same thing. He responded 'Yay', and I sent another picture:

With it, a message "It has the Scamp seal of approval."

A laughed. We both are warped.

Working Below the Surface

Every once in a while, a student comes to my team for help. Today, a first year student wanted some help getting his Calendar in our Learning Management System (LMS) into Windows 8. Well, that can't really be done, but all students have a university specific Google Mail account. I tell the student I'll see what info I can come up with and get back to him.

There was nothing that covered syncing in the way we needed it that was quick and easy to follow-so I created a tutorial, using my student account. It worked great, I got my LMS calendar into my student email calendar. Sweet. Then I found a way to delete it, because I never use the Google calendar.

However, I have an Outlook account at work. For months, I've had work email go to the student account and one or two student things come to Outlook-and I never stopped to consider that somewhere, student services got that information. That while I don't link the two accounts, the University does.

Yep, that …

Anatolia, Jacksonville (Mandarin)

For Donna's birthday gathering, we dined at Anatolia, a Mediterranean/Italian restaurant in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. Donna was looking forward to finally trying the place, as she'd heard raves about the food. Me? I was all about the fact that it was Turkish/Greek food.

When you walk in, there is a large lobby area with a large bar, and several couches and comfortable chairs if you're waiting for the rest of your party. The bar was rather busy, and the bartender was an absolute sweetheart. The beer selections gravitate towards domestic and light, but they had Efes, which I got for Ed, and they had the Pinot Grigio that Donna had requested. Price for two drinks was just under $10, which is absolutely reasonable, IMO.

Anatolia's has a regular dining room with a baby grand piano, and the pianist was playing some pleasant background music. We were ushered to a nice sized party room, which can be closed off for events. Two servers assisted us, and p…

Aloft, Jacksonville

In the years that we've gone to visit Donna, we've stayed on the cheap and as the kids have gotten older, and we've gotten pickier, we've stayed at decent quality hotels, like Hampton Inn.

Gone are the days were we can muddle through on two full size beds for four people. Chef is now taller than both of us and GameTeen is about a half inch shorter than Ed, we need bigger beds. I was ready to book at the Hampton Inn again, then Donna and I were talking about options, as a friend of hers offered to get us a friends and family rate at the hotel she works at, but it was in downtown, about 20 minutes from Donna's place.

We talked about two boutique style hotels near her in Southside, and I looked over both websites, ultimately choosing Aloft. I'm glad we did, we got great value, a LARGE room, friendly staff, and great basic amenities for $80 a night without using our AAA discount. All four of us were pleased with Aloft and if there's one in locations w…