Saturday, November 30, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Little Drummer Boy Challenge

Year Three of evading 'The Boy' has begun.

The rules are simple: From 12:01am the day after Thanksgiving, until Christmas Eve, participants cannot hear any version of 'The Little Drummer Boy'. Hear it, and you're out.

Year one, I was taken out on the evening of December 23rd, I was in the home stretch. We were at Epcot, and the Harry Simeone Choir took me out, a recording piped in near the big Christmas tree at Epcot in WDW.

Last year, I made it to the end. How, I don't know. My friend Allen even was going to purposely sabotage me-but that was before we'd become good friends. Even if we were working together this year, I think he would have helped me in avoiding 'The Boy'.

Meanwhile, I understand the Today show took people out this morning. The bastiches. (FTR, I already hate them for what they did to Ann Curry-now to take out my fellow comrades in silly challenges less than 8 hours into our quest!)

If you want to know more, check out their website or Facebook Page.

Normally, I have a hard time dealing with a quiet office that uses headphones for music. Right now, I'm happy for it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

UK vs. US

A friend tagged me in a Facebook post with this Buzzfeed link

My response was that I knew the four countries of the UK. Of course, my international friends are sarcastic and come up with 'well, what about Europe?' So, this picture was posted in the thread, I printed it and put my money where my mouth is.

Gee, I think I'm a little rusty on everything that used to belong to the USSR...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


My sons have entered the stage where I lovingly call them 'the locusts'. Where food just miraculously disappears, even items that in the past, would not have passed muster with GameTeen (nearly anything not white or cheese), or Chef (anything beef).

I can tell the people who have younger children, female children, or have not had children, because there is a blank look when my offspring are referred to as 'locusts'. However, mothers of present or former teenage sons soon adopt a knowing look, nod and smile slightly, then give me a look of compassion, like 'ye gods, woman, you have TWO to feed?'. A few, with similar senses of humor, have adopted the term for their male children, too.

When they no longer required child care, we were doing the happy dance, because we were disgustingly broke and that $130 a week could pay for needed items. Now, if I'm not careful, that is the increase in the grocery bill. Thankfully, I have a decent job that it's not killing us to feed locusts. However, I really need to step up the efforts on teaching one of the locusts how to cook, so that perhaps they can lay off the items in the fridge that were purchased to make the next night's dinner!

However, tomorrow is the Olympics for those who enjoy cooking, as well as those who enjoy eating. I've learned that I can no longer do the cooking decathalon, but I can make the locusts happy. They each got to chose one of the sides, and a double batch of one is prepared, while a double batch of the other will be put together in the morning.

It's anyone's guess how long before they pick the bowls clean...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Door Number One, Door Number Two, or...

Door number three.

I finally got in to see my new neurologist. Her nurse triaged and seemed irritated that I wasn't there first and foremost for headaches, the neurologist seemed annoyed that I talk fast. Eventually, we got things sorted out, she did some basic tests, and I'm set up for the usual array of MRIs and EMGs. Her first objective is to rule out Carpal Tunnel for the wrist.

Say what?

The hand issues do not present in any way like I experienced Carpal in the right wrist, but I get where she's coming from. I expressed confusion, because there has been no pain (thankfully!), but admittedly, most of these issues do show up in Carpal. Well, I'm not so sure about Coldfinger, but the rest of it does.

I have to learn to stop nodding when I agree with the conversation, I was making myself loopy.

The final verdict is that I left with medications for the spinnies, for the nausea that accompanies the spinnies, the back spasms that come from the spinal fusion (because the stuff I have makes me sleepy), and a new prescription for migraine injections. I thought I had a drugstore in my purse before, now I will sound like I'm carrying maracas!

At least the two MRIs can be done at the same time and I got all the tests scheduled before I return to see her in the new year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

How Much of A Sickness is It?

To have multiple versions of a soundtrack in your iTunes?

Currently, the iMac, which is where I plop my tucchus to do schoolwork, has three versions of Jesus Christ Superstar and two versions of Matilda. It could have two versions of Fiddler on the Roof and three versions of Guys and Dolls, if I were inclined to put them on this machine.

That said, the current performance of JCS is the first I've owned on DVD, or more accurately, on BluRay. I think we have the Ted Neely version in the boxes of Jane's DVDs that I need to pull out before those go up on eBay.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Shoes

My Stupid Leg (trademark pending) has made shoe shopping a challenge, but I think I've mentioned this before. The left foot is an 8.5, D width, while the right is an 8.0, A/B width. Both feet have pinky hammertoes and plantar faciitis, while the left is plagued by various manifestations of RSD. The worst is my instep, from toe tips to just before the ankle, which feels like someone stuck my foot in an electrical socket.

Since this emerged in 2006, I've pretty much stuck to Crocs for my shoes, even with a district manager who would threaten to write me up for wearing them, despite 3 doctor's notes. In retrospect, I wish she had carried out the threats. It was bad enough she held me to a higher standard of clothing-my coworkers could wear nicer pullover shirts. Me, I had to wear perfectly pressed shirts, and if they had a smidge of a wrinkle, she was on my case. (It didn't help that her office was in my store.)

I bought one pair of very expensive shoes (Ariats), which in every other way are perfect-except for touching my instep. The last few times I've worn them, I've noticed a disturbing rash, and since many pairs of socks and hose are uncomfortble, I've stuck to my Crocs.

Still, I wanted cute shoes that were comfortable. A few months back, I happened on a blog Barking Dog Shoes, which is specifically written for those of us with problem feet. The emails would come and I'd see adorable shoes. Nothing quite addresses my issue, but there are many that come close, that I figured that sooner or later, I'd find something that hit 80% of my wants/needs and I'd give it a try.

Last week, she featured these:

Alegria Paloma "Coral Owls" and I fell in love. (Image from Footwear, Etc., but they appear to be sold out of them.)

Well, not with the color.

If those were blue or green, I would have bought them instantly. Instead, I scoped out several other sites, found some bargains in what appears to be my size, and I plopped down $60 on a pair of shoes. I was holding my breath that the strap would land high enough on my instep that it wouldn't stir up DEFCON pain impulses, as it appears to be about a half inch higher than other Mary Jane type straps. That strap means my right shoe won't go flying in front of me because it's much wider than needed on that foot.

Sure enough, they arrived Friday night and were promptly unboxed and placed upon my feet, as seen here:

They definitely hit the 80% benchmark I had in mind, though more road testing may bump that number up. I wore them Friday, out and about to dinner, a concert, and for after show drinks, then out today as I ran errands. Yes, they rub the instep in a way I can't ignore (unfortunately), but high enough on my foot that it doesn't make the alarm bells in my nerves go into overdrive. Maybe the sensory input will become familiar and eventually, I won't notice every movement of my foot. Gee, doesn't that sound weird? It's why I've lived in Crocs!

I think I have a winner, they're comfortable, cute, and go with a large portion of my wardrobe. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Oh, and those adorable owl shoes? I said to Ed that the reason I didn't get them was because I own two red tops. He doesn't get the matchy matchy thing and urged me to buy them if I really like them. I suspect that they will be worn with much of my black and gray wardrobe.

No, I won't turn into an Imelda Marcos clone, but to move from four pairs of shoes I can wear to five (and soon, to six), is worth talking about!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Spoilers, Sweetie

As in, I don't want to share any from the 50th anniversary Doctor Who episode today, but I want to talk about it. Instead, I'll be kind to those who will be seeing it in the theatres in a few days. So, you get this...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tampa Food Trucks

A little over a month ago, my employer had a food truck rally for homecoming week. It was such a success, and with nothing but a bookstore available for students to grab food quickly, the decision was made to see if we could have a food truck show up several days a week.

The response was overwhelming, and soon, we were told we'd have TWO food trucks four days a week. As a result, I've been remiss on my intentions to bring sandwich makings and prepare my own lunch every day. However, this means that I can give you a recap of a bunch of mobile food options if you're in the Tampa area, with links to whatever social media they're using to inform their fans where they'll be.

A quick word about that: due to the nature of being a moveable feast, championing social media avenues to have a crowd waiting is essential. Some listed here are fantastic at it, others haven't quite gotten the hang-but I'll share what is current. If there is no link, there is no social media source at present.

Just Smokin' BBQ

Oh my gosh, the smell is intoxicating and the 'que is darn good. I got the Elvis, a Pulled Pork sandwich with slaw , and their Memphis gold sauce on top. The slaw was nice, vinegary, and the sauce had a nice heat to it. Definitely would do this one again, even with doing a good que of my own at home.

Just Smokin' BBQ on Urbanspoon

The Roaming Gourmand

(Not on Urban Spoon yet, I think I need to fix that).

I tried the Empanadas, which were a seasoned ground beef that had a nice little burn going on, and the Chip's Chips, which came with a roasted onion dipping sauce. I would go for more of those chips and lots more of that dip. Coworkers raved about that spinach artichoke grilled cheese, and if not for a desire to try all the different trucks, I would have had that earlier this week.

Rolling Zoinks

I'm not typically a fan of wraps. That said, I got the Oink, and it was a winner. You have your choice of sauce, and it is expertly wrapped with fresh grilled veggies. I saw they had a green curry sauce, which I adore-but I was informed that the flavors wouldn't play nicely together, so I got the Bang Bang.

In a word, YUM.

The vegetables were fantastic, fresh, with the hint of grilled char, and the pork nicely shredded. I'd contemplated getting the Scallywag, which it ends up the woman waiting in line before me (as the first customer of the day), told me she gets EVERY time she travels to Rolling Zoinks. Apparently, they know her so well that they just ask if she wants large or small.

I got the small and struggled to finish it. Your mileage may vary.

Rollin Zoinks on Urbanspoon

Michelle Faedo's On The Go

I'd heard about these amazing Deviled Crabs for weeks after the first food truck rally on the USF Health Campus (I was dining at Acropolis with a friend that day). When I found out that Michelle Faedo's was the place that had them, I was all for it.

Long time readers of my blog know that crabcakes are one of my specialties, and deviled crab is a very similar cousin. Heck, I keep Cholula in my desk drawer and was prepared to enjoy this treat. What I didn't realize is that the bags that contained my Deviled crab and fries had packets already, but I went with my favorite.

The fries were seasoned with a sweet/savory blend that kind of reminded me of my pork rub. The portion was huge, especially so for someone like me, who typically eats half of a McDonald's order.

Emblazoned on the side of the truck is "voted all of Florida's best Cubans 2012 and 2013," but it doesn't say who deemed them the best. (Hey, I want proof). That said, I'm not a huge Cuban fan and there's a place in Lakeland that knocks my socks off on that front. Unfortunately, a coworker lived in Miami before living in Tampa and is a Cuban expert. She was less than thrilled with the Cuban (stating the ratios of the ingredients was way off-and there was MAYO! on a Cuban!), but she loved the Deviled Crab.

I'm definitely up for going back for the crab...

Michelle Faedo's on the Go on Urbanspoon

The Cheesesteak Truck

When I walked out to the parking lot yesterday, this SMELLED incredible. It was rather intoxicating, and drew me away from my plans to try that Spinach Artichoke Grilled cheese with another side of Chip's chips. Alas, that bottle of cholula I mentioned? It got a workout. My 'wit' didn't have a lot of cheese or onions, but the Amoroso roll was really good.

I'm willing to give them another shot, but not the Cheesesteak. I guess living somewhat close to the city of Brotherly Love may have spoiled me on this one.

The Cheesesteak Truck on Urbanspoon

I Wanna Wok

I Wanna Wok's review from the initial food truck rally was complete raves. Everyone was talking about the Bang Bang Shrimp. They've been here after we started the two trucks a day, but I was swayed by the Rolling Gourmand's Empanadas.

As good as those were, I got three Bao Bun delicacies and I think I am in love. I got the Headbanger's Bao with Shrimp with cabbage and bang bang sauce, the Hawaii Five Ohhh, with barbeque chicken, peanut sauce and cilantro, and the Meatallica, with bulgogi beef and some amazing kimchi. All of these were served on bao buns, which were pillow like tortillas of awesomeness, and the best description is that they are like Korean sticky buns that have been rolled out.

I think I have a new winner on the food truck front-if all the food trucks were in front of me, I think this would be my first pick. All of these bao buns were top notch and the quality was impressive.

I Wanna Wok on Urbanspoon

More reports as I try the different trucks...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sharing My Lessons

Recently, the registration window opened up for next semester. When my time arrived, I rapidly enrolled in my courses, in part because I have pretty much mapped out what I want to take and when, though I have to make adjustments. For instance, there's a strong possibility that I may only take one course over the summer, as my program may only have courses that I have already taken or ones not needed for this degree.

However, during my time here, I've become friendly with several students that have advising professors that aren't like my major professor: the first time we met, she questioned why I was taking that semester's courses so early in the program, with one before taking the course I have with her this semester. Now that I'm nearly done with the class, I really wish I had known her class would have made a large chunk of the work in that class easier!

It is important for me to share the wisdom gained through these experiences, so when two classmates approached me in the past two weeks to ask 'can I get some help?', I was sure to tell them the importance of the sequence of courses that I didn't know! I TA a class that one is enrolled in and tonight, after class, she came to me with her course of study and asked for insight on which courses to take over the summer. She is not a US resident, so she will be back in her home country for a portion of that semester and choosing wisely is especially important when you have a completely different time schedule.

We talked about what to take and why, and it felt good to have the answers she needed, or at least a rationale to back up one of her selections that I have not taken yet. As it stands right now, it appears that we will be taking the same two classes in the fall. I'm looking forward to it, because it will give me the opportunity to repay the favor of asking for her advice on how to best prepare for the class she completed before I enroll in it.

To me, it's a huge compliment when someone asks for input, so to be able to do the same is pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

85% Correct

So I have three Flash assignments that I've worked at and the instructor looked them over briefly last night. On each, he said I had the hard stuff done and they were 85% complete.

I puttered around for two hours after class and an hour today and they are STILL 85% done. The last little thing on each one defies my efforts to complete the assigned task. Sure, I could turn them in and probably get an okay grade-but I don't want to turn them in unless they are right.

Yes, the stubborn streak rears its head when it comes to technology-it will not defeat me!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This Sucks

It seems the 'spinny' episodes wipe me out for a few days afterwards.

This isn't too bad, except that I have schoolwork that is piling up, because all I seem to want to do is sleep for a few days after dealing with one of these things.

At least I see the neurologist next week. Hopefully, there is something that can stop them from happening...