Showing posts from February, 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 sandw…


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 …


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 nic…

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 …

Why Doesn't This Come in Adult Sizes?



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

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 headac…

New Nails


More Alegrias


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 hour 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!

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 nai…

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 …


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.

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 …

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.…

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 …

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 o…

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…

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.

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 shou…

Subs N Such, Tampa

The other day, I decided that studying during my lunch just wasn't going to cut it and asked a coworker to leave campus for lunch, because I needed conversation instead of solitude. He suggested 'a really good sub place', and that is how we ended up at Subs n Such.

It's a basic, no frills kind of sub shop, with walls lined with antique bottles of soda, coolers filled with hard to find varieties of other sodas and a menu signboard from the 80's, one that you place the blue plastic letters on a white background.

My friend suggested getting the steak and cheese, and I did, opting for it as a pressed Cuban. While the meat was microwaved, it still had good flavor. It was then pressed with mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and onions. The whole package was perfect- good crunch on the bread, just the right amount of mayo, fresh tomatoes, not too much onion, and ample lettuce. The best part is that it had great flavor without being greasy.

The bonus was that I go…

Why You Want a Front Load Washer

In one of those cases of 'I thought I blogged about this, but didn't', today's post is about some of the product knowledge I have and until now, have pretty much just shared face to face.

When we first moved to Florida, we purchased an LG front load washer dryer pair from Best Buy. We got a good deal, by virtue of them having cosmetic damage on the sides where we'd never see the scratches. Once we switched to front load, we never wanted to go back.

For a brief period of time, I sold appliances, and my big goal was to be the most informed about the differences between the products. So, I did a cost comparison analysis for top load washers vs. front loaders. Detailed below are some of my findings.

1. Uses less resources.

Your typical top load washer with an agitator in the middle uses between 60 and 80 gallons of water for each cycle you run. For most machines, that's three fill ups and up to 240 gallons of water for ONE load of laundry.

In com…

You Don't Realize That A Place Had Become 'Home'

We're coming up on 6 years in our current neighborhood. I don't think either one of us thought we'd still be here, as we'd moved here to help family. Little did we know, we'd be in their house now.

But almost 6 years on, we have a few t-shirts from local businesses, we have some friends, and we have restaurants we recommend to others, many featured here on the blog.

It won't be our final landing place, but sitting at a local craft beer bar, after having pizza from a local places, wearing a local business's t-shirt, I realize that we're more entrenched than we ever thought we would be.

Workplace Suggestions to Live By

In my (cough) thirty years in the workforce, there seems to be a difference in how coworkers interact with each other, bosses guide their employees, and the communication with internal and external 'customers' has changed, there are some common guidelines that seem to have fallen into disuse. Today, I'm going to address some of them.

As I really enjoy with this type of post, please feel free to contribute in the comments. Comments are lovely gifts any time received, but the sharing of insights is especially good on these types of musings.

Okay, so in no particular order, here is my incomplete and random list of things that make the work experience much better.

1. Exchange pleasantries.

When you come into the workplace, say hello to your coworkers. If you're a grump until you get to the coffee pot, try to smile, grunt or otherwise acknowledge the people you spend 20, 40 (or more) hours per week with. Along the same lines, maybe let your peers know if you'…

Unexpected Surprise

The main class I am taking this semester is technically the hardest one I will ever take, but it really isn't.

There is a ton of reading but A TON of discourse each week. I'm hearing about my peer's work toward their research, and it is fascinating. We weigh the pros and cons of the methodology, the rationale for research, what the gaps in knowledge on each topic may be.

I look forward to class each week. Today, work was frustrating and the thing that kept me out of a foul mood was the knowledge that I had class tonight. Heck, I'm thinking that each time it is offered, I'm going to ask to sit in on the class, because there is something so motivating about seeing the ideas others have and how they plan to complete their research.

I suppose that this is further proof that I'm not your average student...


I was studying at the library, and passed by a display of a few books on my way to the restroom. My mind registered the title of this book as Neuroscientology, though I knew it could not be what it said.

On the way back to my study carrel, I stopped and took a look and found it really said this:

It did make me wonder, thought. Scientologists are against the idea of psychiatric medications and treatments, so Neuroscientology would be a difficult science to explore. Would it involve studying the neural networks of those who believe an alien named Xenu dropped their ancestors into a volcano to find out what else they'll believe?


I can honestly say I have never seen a Phillip Seymour Hoffman movie. I will see one of his roles when I finally get around to seeing Catching Fire shortly, but all I've seen of the man is awards clips and heard/viewed an interview or two. I saw a couple of different clips from 'Capote', and I was convinced he was a short, flamboyantly gay man and when I saw and heard him interviewed a few years later, I was amazed at the man's ability to transform himself so much more than the lines of dialogue into a convincing portrayal of someone completely different from himself.

It is a gift.

Which is why so many are stunned at the news that he died of an overdose, that he succumbed to the demon known as heroin. Some are quite vocal at the sadness of it all, how he was sober for so long, others scoff at the notion that he had so much and threw it all away. Unfortunately, it's not quite as simple as that.

I'm the daughter of an addict. His drug of choice was…


This is the text exchange from the other night that started when I dropped a friend off from us going out for a drink:

Yes, I got the cake.

Tech Gloves

When you have constantly frozen fingers, you tend to have a bunch of these:

What I didn't realize is that they're not common everywhere. A friend in Australia didn't know what I was talking about, and I shared that picture.

For the uninitiated, the lighter fingertips are designed so that the user can use a smart phone or tablet, or any touch screen device while keeping their fingers warm. A good thing to have when your index fingers don't register with those touch screens because they're too cold.

It's always fun to sign for a purchase on a touchpad when the cashier thinks these are regular gloves.

If your hands are cold, check these out. :)