Friday, February 28, 2014

PaniniRiffic, Tampa

The lunch truck today was one I hadn't seen before, PaniniRiffic. I like paninis, they're good. In fact, if I suggest making my family paninis (using a cast iron pan as my press), they're all over it. In fact, we had roast beef with horseradish mayo and cheddar last Saturday. So, the idea of someone else making them definitely appealed.

They came prepared, truck at the ready with a staff of three. Smart move, as they'd be the only truck and it was a gorgeous winter day around here.





The menu had something for all tastes: roast beef, mojo chicken, a cuban, and a vegetarian option. Plus, they had fried yucca, plantains, and guava balls for dessert.



This was my mojo chicken panini. I asked for grilled onions along with the mojo, because it seemed like it'd be a little better with them. Each panini comes on a bed of seasoned french fries, similar to the kind you get at Checkers. That was kind a surprise, because I saw one or two peeking out from under my sandwich and then realized that oh, there are fries. Most trucks don't include fries-nice bonus.



The Thai Sweet Potato soup sounded delicious. I wasn't expecting Thai hot, so when it wasn't I wasn't disappointed. It's a delicately seasoned pureed soup that has the tiniest hint of heat and a definite thai seasoning. Now I'm on a quest to find a recipe to do something similar for niece and her fiance, we all love sweet potato!



A closer look at the sandwich. Good crunch, good flavor all around and a very satisfying lunch for ten bucks. Hope they come back soon!



Paniniriffic on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reunions

About two months ago, a friend shared on Facebook that our 30th high school reunion would be held this summer. I was waffling about the idea of going, but she is gung-ho and well, Ed thought a summer trip to NY would be cool. We started contemplating it, and decided that if we went, the reunion would be at the beginning of our visit up there, so that if it was a dud, at least we'd have some sightseeing to do and family to see.

However, this week, a friend sent me info about my college '1.0' major program's 50th anniversary reunion. It's the kind of event I like: multiple years attending. Even better, these are people I willingly spent a lot of my free time with for several years.

The finances won't allow for two events. If they did, I'm of the mind that I'd much rather the college reunion, since it was where I really enjoyed the entire experience. Heck, one of my friends from that time is telling me to ditch the HS event because the 'cool kids' are going to be at the college!

Of course, as is typical nowadays, there's a Facebook page. It's been a nice walk down memory lane, reinforcing that yep, this was one fun program.

Thankfully, I've got two months to decide whether we're going up to NY for this one. The heart definitely says yes.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Realization

This semester's class has given me plenty of reading, and even more food for thought. It is the last class that my department offers in philosophical pursuit, which is why it fuels so much contemplation.

I am so very thankful that I had a germ of an idea sprout while seeing Tony Attwood speak in Fall, 2010. Then to have this desire to learn, to explore, to share what I discover become a solid idea grounded in educational theory, and then refined through the many probing questions of my major professor.

This class energizes me more than any other, and this saying quite a bit, because there haven't been many classes in the past five years that weren't enjoyable. However, I leave and have many things I want to write down, to synthesize the evening's discussions as they relate to my specific topic of research.

For a while, I've thought it may be time to start writing a professional blog. No, not one that is about making money with it (though that would be nice.) Rather, one that features musings on scholarly pursuit and where I am in this journey, what I find relevant to the upcoming research. My best work comes from writing it down after many hours of letting it tumble dry in my head.

So, with tonight's class, in which I presented half the discussion, it is time. Time to start that new blog.

That doesn't mean an end to this one, though. Where else have I been able to be my ADHD self in cyberspace better than here? No, it'll be a separate page, lest I put people to sleep with the stuff that gets me wide awake with excitement at the ideas and knowledge gained.

This time, I'm going to jump ship. Eventually, it is possible that this little endeavor will make the move over to Wordpress, but that one has to start there because there are many more features that I'll need to incorporate.

Seven years of writing every day has really improved my skill overall. Writing content specific material regularly will just make that dissertation that much easier to put together...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ages and Stages

When you're in your teens, you want to be invited to the Sweet 16s/Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and the various milestone parties. The prom, the fraternity formal.

Then the bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings.8579 Then you reach the stage in your life where merely getting the invite doesn't do it for you. Having a real connection with those celebrating the milestone is what matters, because you don't want to spend the day in the company of strangers that you'll probably never see again. (and I'm a very social creature saying this!)

I think I mentioned this a few months back, when a coworker was tiptoeing around wedding invites and I honestly had no interest in going. Today, on the other hand, I was given a verbal invite ahead of a wedding in the fall for a friend's daughter. An online friend, who has become an IRL friend and whose daughter has also become a friend.

This one, I want to attend.

If we can make it happen, we will be there, because you want to be there for friends.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Migraines

Since I was a kid, I've had migraines.

As an adult and new mom, my nurse practitioner went through a series of medications to find a best fit for me to treat my 4 or 5 migraines a week, since Cafregot was no longer on the market. Ultimately, I ended up with injections of Imitrex and carried a package that looks kind of like an epi-pen dispenser.


image from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=82010

Injectibles are what work best for me. I have no problem with them, and if it gets rid of the migraine, I'm all for it. Fortunately, my brother in law figured out a major trigger and I went from numerous migraines to around a dozen a year.

However, about 5 or 6 years ago, I was without insurance and didn't have the money for the refills. I would tough out the migraines and use other less effective methods to deal with them, since they weren't as frequent as they had been.

My new neurologist specializes in the treatment of headaches, and while I detest her bedside manner, her first priority was to make sure I have the tools in my arsenal to deal with the different headaches I have. I told her I'd identified the Chiari headaches and what worked for them, and that 'these were the headaches that the Imitrex didn't do squat for before I knew why', so she listened to what does work for them and said stick with it.

However, the fact that I still have what is considered frequent migraines bothered her. I was sent home with four prescriptions, one was for that little case and twelve vials of Imitrex.

The last time I had the prescription, my insurance company fought giving me that many at one time, so it was surprising to get this large bag of medication. My purse sounds like I'm carrying maracas from everything else the doctors have prescribed, but this thing sits in there, quietly.

Then, this morning at about 5am, I woke up with a monster migraine. I found my purse and the pack, go to dose-and find that there must have been some change to the StatDose since the last time I've used it. First, I couldn't get the syringe on it. Then, I couldn't get it to trigger. Finally, I got it to trigger and unlike the past, there wasn't a dribble of medication from the injection site.

So, I'm sitting there, wondering if it worked, not sure if I should take another injection. The meds should kick in around 5 to 10 minutes later-it didn't. So I decide to try another dose-and can't get the thing to work!

I think I need to do a little reading up on it, because I clearly don't know how to use something that worked well for about 7 or 8 years!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Nails

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Work From Home

It seems that once again, I have a deadline before me that probably was a little ambitious.

It can be done, but only because I had put in 9 hours of overtime prior to yesterday. Today, I had a need to stay close to home, but I've done work intermittently throughout the day. I'll probably put in another our to complete a section of questions, then pack it in.

I was thinking that I might get 4 hours of work done with the other things I'd need to do for the day. Instead, I've got over 8 hours into this work so far.

Because I'm salaried, overtime becomes comp time. The question becomes 'when will I take it?' Would love to take it tomorrow, but the due date is tomorrow, and I should be on campus to test it out and fix whatever bugs may have occurred with my branching logic. (I found one, but no others...yet).

Instead, it may be Monday or Tuesday and I'll take a much needed day to sleep in!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Further Proof of My NPR Nerdom

Over the years, I'm sure it has been covered about my love for NPR. It probably is a good thing that the radio in my car was always tuned to it, because the car stereo started acting wonky a few years ago and well, the only station that comes in clearly where I live is NPR.

A couple of months ago, though, I got an alert from Twitter (before I shut off all the notifications from there) that Neda Ulaby started following me. I squeed with happiness, and the majority of the twitterverse was like 'who?'. I don't know what I said that she found me worthy of a follow, but this fan girl followed right back.

Now if only I can get Ari Shapiro, Steve Inskeep, David Greene, and Scott Simon to follow her lead, I'd be a really happy fan girl.

About six months ago, I stepped into an Ulta store for the first time and signed up for their loyalty program. They send emails on a regular basis and now that there is a local Ulta, I tend to stop in about once a month after a nail appointment. Anyway, today, they sent me an email and it just furthered how much NPR is part of my life.

The email headline was that there was a sale on Mario Badescu beauty products. Frankly, I have no idea what kind of products, but my brain immediately interpreted it as Andrei Codrescu beauty products. Andrei is a very engaging commentator and is editor in chief of a web journal site.

I was trying to figure out the tie in between Ulta, and the talented Andrei, and Exquisite Corpse, and laughed. Makeup for cadavers? *

Even Andrei would find that funny.

In an NPR Nerd kind of way.

*An Exquisite Corpse is actually a writing technique in which collaborators work on a project together following a specific rule for composition or by allowing the next contributor to only see the last sentence of the previous content before continuing the writing.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Parental Concerns of the Special Needs Teenager

We have a lot on our plates around here in the next two months. So much so that I made the decision that I will be dropping one of my classes this semester in order to gain more time to get the 'To Do' list accomplished. You see, in under two months, GameTeen will be turning 18.

I know, a big milestone. He can register to vote, join the military, legally purchase cigarettes, enter into binding contracts, get a tattoo or piercing without mom or dad saying that it's acceptable. But that would be if he were a typical kid. No, GameTeen probably will not have the maturity to do many of these things for quite a few years. Rather, the maturity to NOT do some of them-like those cigarettes, tattoos, or piercings, and I think the military would exclude him with his Aspergers Syndrome.

This presents two things that are front and center on the agenda for him and other special needs kids-Guardianship and Social Security Disability. On the second, he was determined to be disabled and received $90 a month in SSI from the time he was seven until about six months before I became unemployed in 2008. I was determined to make too much money for him to receive benefits, and there was considerable red tape in trying to get it restored and I gave up.

Last month, though, with his looming 18th birthday and the knowledge that it is easier for a minor determined to be disabled to gain benefits than someone over 18, I contacted the Social Security Administration to inquire whether we are supposed to apply for reinstatement or complete a new claim. I haven't gotten a response, so we'll operate under the assumption that he needs to begin a new application. At least there are 13 years of medical and school records to offer as supporting evidence. Still, there's some legwork ahead, and it will be time consuming.

The other part is equally important. While he is an extremely intelligent person, he has the emotional maturity of an elementary school child. So, with GameTeen on the verge of 18, we are applying for guardianship for our own child. This is a common situation for special needs parents. I've gathered snippets of information here and there and found that in Florida, you petition the court in your county as opposed to the state. Thankfully, there are a few counties that have posted guides to the process and they're very similar, so I am hopeful that our county is somewhat similar and I'll just have to spend one day doing all the leg work, drop off the paperwork to a lawyer or the clerk of the court (depends on the county, I'm told), then appear in court with GameTeen to complete this process.

That has a domino effect, for once that is done, we have to prepare specific types of wills-and that will definitely require the services of a lawyer. We have a good estate lawyer that we've worked with before. Yay, that's one thing off the list.

It's funny, someone said to me last month 'wow, you must be excited that he's turning 18 soon!' I laughed with the person, but I really don't think she knew that it has some important stuff tied to it that the average person never will have to consider.

We won't even talk about the part where my job contract ends and I'm job seeking like mad before the contract ends, doing schoolwork, AND trying to get all this accomplished, too! There's a vacation on the horizon and my goal is to have all of this done, so that the vacation is just rest and relaxation and fruity drinks.

Wish me luck.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tomorrow

I had the blog a couple of years before I added Sitemeter. It's a nifty little widget, telling me who visits, where they're from and how long they've been on my blog. Well, that last one isn't quite accurate, because I know I've logged in from work and it shows :00 despite me being here for a couple of minutes tinkering.

The number has been creeping up lately, and while I don't normally pay attention to the hit number, rather what brings people to the blog (in order to write more of that content), and I saw this:



So tomorrow, that number will move into the six figures.

Kind of cool.

While I get weekly and monthly stats breakdowns, and yearly for a few things, it'd be interesting to see what my top ten all time blog posts are. I have a pretty good idea of the top five, but the rest? Not sure.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

IOS 7: Changing iMessage to Show Only One Phone

You've got a new iPhone, or you just upgraded to IOS 7, and all of a sudden, you've noticed a problem. You're getting your texts AND your husband's. Or you text him, and your phone indicates you have a new text-but it's the one you just sent.

I'd been hearing about this problem from others for a while, but didn't personally have it, so I hadn't paid much attention. Then, my sister Giggles got an iPhone for her birthday (yay, she's joined the dark side), and I got an iMessage this afternoon. Later, she texted me again to ask why she's getting her husband's texts as well. She was helpful, though, telling me they share an iTunes account.

Searching for answers, I came upon what's happening. Not only are they sharing an iTunes account, they must be using iCloud, which pushes all content to all devices. I only share my iTunes account with the boys, and I don't use the cloud, which is why this is a problem that didn't affect me. That said, if you ARE affected and want to fix it, here's the info I provided Giggles in an easy to follow tutorial. You know, since I'm the techie of the family.

How to change the messaging settings with IOS 7:

Step One



1. Find Settings. Touch it to launch the application.

Step Two



2. In the settings tab, scroll down to locate Messages. Touch on it to open the screen.

Step Three



3. Locate Send & Receive. If you’re having issues with multiple accounts linked to one iTunes account getting all getting texts, this will indicate 2 or more addresses.

Tap on this bar to modify your incoming and outgoing messages.

Step Four



4. My settings allow one phone number and four email accounts to send and receive iMessages. These are all drawn from my email accounts I’ve configured into my phone and my iTunes account.

I do not use iCloud, otherwise the other phones that share my iTunes account would show up, too. However, you can fix this by touching any phone number or email account you don’t want to be added to iMessage. This will toggle the setting to off.

Having access to your kids' phones is good, but you will want to go into their phones and toggle your phone OFF from their access. Otherwise, they might see holiday texts that talk about buying the item they want the most!

I hope this is helpful if you're trying to find the answer to getting everyone in your iTunes accounts texts!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Street Surfers, Tampa

Some days, a new food truck is paired with one that has food that smells so good and you KNOW it's good that the temptation is to forgo the exploration for the sake of blogging and just get the tried and true. Such was the case Thursday, as Just Smokin' BBQ was there, some 'que would have been good right about then. Instead, I forged ahead with trying the new guy.

I'm glad I did.

Street Surfer is an apt name for a food truck, surfing the streets of Tampa on a quest to bring funky flavors to the masses. The truck has a great retro vibe.



The menu, oh the menu. I was like the couples on house hunters, forced to rule choices out in order to make a decision. Italian beef was scratched off merely because I make a respectable version at home. I didn't want hot dogs, and I was down to the Mojo Nachos or the Shrimp Po Boy. In situations like these, I ask the person on the truck which to get. The gentleman told me the nachos were good, but the PoBoy was better. PoBoy it was.

I hadn't noticed the conch fritters until afterwards and debated adding them on, but I had a feeling the sandwich would be quite enough on its own. In short order, it appeared in the window and yep, this one is big. I know the picture may not appeal, because of that gumbo gravy, but just look at that crusty, flaky bread.



I took the fork. A traditional PoBoy has lettuce, tomato, and mayo and you can eat it like a hero or sub. That gravy made this more like a bread bowl soup, which was perfectly fine by me. The bread was crispy, toasted with garlic butter, and soft inside. I would have just eaten that garlic bread and been happy, but the shrimp and the gumbo were expertly seasoned, with large chunks of Andouille sausage, creamy, and warming on a chilly (45 degree) Florida day.

I ate the large pieces with a fork, then had the gumbo coated bread afterwards and was very happy that I wasn't swayed by the old stalwart sitting beside Street Surfer. You probably may want to do the same if faced with such a decision.

Street Surfer on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finding Your Passion

A former boss and I periodically catch up via phone calls and Facebook chats. She will post stuff on my wall from time to time "Had crabcakes, but I wanted yours!" and generally indicate that she would like me to move back to the DC area. (With all that snow? No way!)

She recently had surgery, so we caught up a few days ago on how she was doing. Today, she IMed me and we got to talking about that mind shift that happens when your body decides it will throw up the white flag and refuses to be like everyone else's. I told her that for me, it took about two years to find peace with the fact that I would never again be 'the old Suzanne'. The one she worked with, that never rested, worked with migraines and remembered the UPS guy's birthday and brought him cupcakes.

The question is cropping up, the 'what if I can't do this anymore? I'm not tech savvy like you.'

I had an answer, suggesting she go back and get her Master's degree.

We talked about which program should she consider, and I suggested one and what she could do with it that combines her 30 years of experience with a job that isn't so physically demanding. For now, while she's home recuperating, she needs to contemplate what is the first thing about the job that gets her out of bed every day, the thing on that To Do list that she tackles first. Then, find the corporate side equivalent that will let her enjoy it.

After working together five years, I know her strengths, which is why I made the suggestion I did. I also shared that a Master's degree is easier than a Bachelor's, in that you are studying one topic in-depth, and should be passionate about the topic if you're doing an advanced degree. That news surprised her, but it's true. The workload can be tough to handle sometimes, but the coursework isn't impossible.

I know the time is going to come soon when we have a few more serious conversations about the what comes after and is the Master's really the right fit? For her, definitely. I've been down the path she's starting on, and know there are some rough realities in front of her. Putting some trail blazes out for her now may make it a easier journey.

That's my hope, anyway.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (and other fruits)

A family tradition we've done off and on since moving to Florida is chocolate fondue for Valentine's day. On the way home from work, I got a half flat of strawberries and two pineapples for ten bucks and realized that I had way more strawberries than I would need for tomorrow.

So what to do? Make chocolate covered strawberries. You know, the same thing that Godiva charges $3 EACH for (yeah, they're good, it's freaking Godiva on those bad boys), but a lot cheaper. Even if you live in a part of the country that gets those strawberries trucked in for $8 a quart, your cost per strawberry will be somewhere around .25 each if you do it yourself.

And it is EASY, people. Really easy. Less than 20 minutes and you can go from :

to this:

What you need:

1 cup half and half or flavored creamer
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 cup chips of your choice
(don't cheap out on these. I used Nestle, but prefer using Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips. White are fine)
1 quart of strawberries or fruit of your choice (pineapple works well for this, as do oranges) Directions: Pour all the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave one minute and stir.
Then, if the chips haven't completely melted, microwave another 30 seconds and stir.
If needed, repeat 30 seconds. It should be rather soupy and easy to stir. If not, add a 1/4 cup of half and half at a time.
Dip the strawberries into the chocolate, rolling gently through until thoroughly coated, then place on wax or parchment paper (I had cupcake cups).
NOTE: The strawberries have to be dry or else the chocolate won't stick.
Refrigerate for at least a 1/2 hour, then they are ready to serve.
Yes, a lot of directions, but it's really simple.
You can give them as gifts to friends and loved ones, or you can just enjoy them all by yourself. I'll never share the secret that you know how to make these.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kind Grinds, Tampa

Yesterday's new food truck appealed right off the bad, for it is Asian inspired. Kind Grinds is relatively new to the food truck business, and was a first timer at USF's lunch trucks, but if what I had is any indication, they're going to be around for a long time.

Smart business practice: start small. It's easier to build your business when you are already out there serving your food, so they've got a pull along trailer, instead of one of those Grumman delivery trucks. It's small, with an eye catching exterior.



Personally, I think the windows on both sides idea is good, especially as they build a clientele, they may need to serve out of both someday soon!



The menus boast a variety of tastes and it was really hard to decide what to get, because there wasn't a single thing that didn't sound good.



Ultimately, the idea of trying something I'd never had before (daikon) tipped me from a bowl to the Banh Mi, but which meat was going to be on it? I totally went eeny meeny minie moe, and opted for the Shogun beef, then asked them to add some kimchi on top, figuring that if I didn't like the daikon, that still would be good.


I shouldn't have worried. The daikon had a texture like onion and an almost sweet flavor that isn't like other radishes. Their kimchi was also very tasty, with a nice burn at the end.

The sandwich was actually a little too soggy to eat as a sandwich, but I didn't mind. It was partly because of the sauce, but mostly because of the quantity of ingredients on the pretzel bun. The shogun, which was beef shank, had a texture like pot roast and a good soy flavor. The veggies and kimchi gave it fantastic crunch and that pretzel roll was very soft. This is definitely one I will try again, though I'm still probably going to have to randomly pick from the other flavors.

Good solid effort, good portions, great price. You won't be disappointed.



Kind Grinds on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rock Royalty

My fingers look like crap, but my nails look good!

I still haven't gotten my skin back to normal since the trip to New Jersey, but I stepped it up with some neosporin on the nail beds and it seems to be helping. In the meantime, we visited an old favorite, and Mandi placed Rock Royalty Shellac on my fingers.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Dude and His Food

We seem to be getting one new contender into the rotation of lunch time selections at USF, and the addition this past week was A Dude and His Food.

The offerings were all sorts of 'cheesesteaks' with beef or chicken, then various fries, and the day we saw them, cheese fries or onion rings. They also run a lunch special with fries and a soda for $10.



In looking over the menu, I liked the idea of a gyro-inspired philly sub, though I fully expect it to be a huge mess to eat. The staff running this truck were very friendly and fast-an important skill on this blustery day. None of us wanted to be out there waiting for food, so they were speedy. I opted for the special with the drink and fries.



I started off with the fries and they were closer to the crispy side and perfectly salted, which makes me happy. Didn't need anything added to them, a bonus. Started off eating that sandwich with a fork, and was afraid to pick it up, due to the quantity of fillings. I shouldn't have-it was well engineered. The tzitziki was awesome, good flavor, the meat chopped finely. Overall, a good sandwich, one that I will get again.

If you're in the mood for cheese steak, I'd hazard a guess that their basic isn't 100% traditional, but it will taste really good. Give the Dude and His Food a try and I suspect you'll agree.

Dude and His Food on Urbanspoon