Showing posts from August, 2009

Twelve Years Ago Today

Twenty three years ago, I had to find a new job, since my company was going out of business. My then fiance suggested I work for his employer, but we couldn't work at the same location. So, I got a job at one of their other locations, and the guy who trained me? Ed.

A friendship blossomed. Ed became a great friend to me and the fiance and joined our circle of friends. Many years later, when I was newly single, I realized that this was the person who I should spend my life with.
Chicago, 1995. My goofball and me.

Along the way, he's moved 1,000 miles here, 1,000 miles there. Sometimes, the journey hasn't been fun, but he is always there, trying to make me laugh.

Skyline Drive, 2009. Some things never change, like getting Ed to take a serious picture.

Twelve years ago today, we stood in front of family and friends and declared our love for each other. Some in that crowd were probably thinking 'it's about time!'

Much like I said when I got a GOOD picture of the…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Since beginning writing about music every Sunday, today's topic had come up many times. Never on Sunday, though-so it remained unwritten. However, I got a new headset for the laptop this week to better participate in those Elluminate sessions (and FNLs at MomDot, too), and had to test the sound quality.

This meant I had to open Pandora's box. She of the musical genome project, of determining my likes, playing those and then branching out into other songs I might like with similar characteristics.

I got some favorites, alright. Some really good sad songs. I am a sucker for a good sad song, for several reasons. When I was going through a bad time years ago, I could sing along with them and wallow in the misery contained in the words. It was therapy in the simplest sense. Elton John even wrote a song about the concept, but of course-it's not the slightest bit sad!

Some of the songs in my Sad song hit list:

Trisha Yearwood, Hearts In Armor. This album has a plethora of sad…

Type A, Reporting For Duty

The other night, during that Elluminate session, my IT Ethics prof stated that she would assign us our groups after the drop/add period had passed. Then, once she assigned the groups, we would have one week to meet online, draft our group contract and submit it to her.

Well, last night, just before 11pm, the lists were issued in an email, along with telling us we needed to get together and return our contracts to her SUNDAY night,

Less than 48 hours.

I was okay with that, as there is an assignment due next Friday night. Let's get this group stuff out of the way and get to work on delegating our roles along with working on the individual assignments.

Except that not one person had sent out an email or posted on the group section of Blackboard. My Type A personality was champing at the bit, but I held off on posting. I really don't think it's a good idea to lead, in case I do find employment. Yes, it's my strength, but I don't think it'd be fair to my fe…

Night Time Shuttle Launch Video 8-28-09

We had a perfect night for a shuttle launch!

Forgive the low resolution video. Someday, I'll have a fancy, HD video recorder!

No More Capuchins

Remember how I sweated writing a paper last semester? I walked around with a monkey on my back, procrastinating until the day the thing was due. Then, once I started working on it, the monkey was determined to be a nice, cute, itty bitty capuchin.

With two classes under my belt, I don't even consider these writing assignments a monkey of small stature. Instead, they're more like short, regular or long blog posts. 150 words, like the discussion paper I'm about to put up? Short post. 200-300 word written assignment? Okay, maybe a regular blog post, but still short. The 2,000 word paper? A two part long post. Then of course, there is the blog post assignment.

Yep. You read that right.

I have to write a BLOG POST every week for one of my classes.

This was announced, but the feature was not yet activated in Blackboard. I'm sure I was the only student champing at the bit, all ready with my impressions but no place to put them! As soon as that button showed up la…

One Week Down, Fourteen to Go

The first week of the semester is done (for me, anyway) and not only am I starting to learn new things about the world around me, the classes included some learning about myself.

While the semester technically started Monday, USF activated Blackboard, our computer system that encompasses everything relating to the college, back on August 10th. One of my web classes, IT Ethics, had active participation on the discussion boards as soon as that sucker went live. That's a good sign, especially since 60% of the grade in the class relies on group projects.

The instructor had an Elluminate session Tuesday night. We don't have a designated meeting time as a web course, but she chose a time and informed us we needed to be online together for a 45 minute session to review the syllabus and ask any questions we might have. Silly me, I thought 45 minutes meant I'd be done in ample time to get to scouts. Wrong. That session was over two hours long, finishing 5 minutes after scouts…

What's For Dinner Wednesday

Jane actually requested today's meal.

When I mentioned that I would be making some marinara sauce, she asked if I'd make sausages to go with it. Normally, sausages are only paired with onions and peppers in my kitchen. What the heck, I'll give it a go. (I was a little too tired to make the other option for me for tonight).

Chef Jr has a strange pasta quirk. He doesn't like spaghetti, but he'll eat any other type of noodle. It makes no sense, but I have to roll with it. Ther were only two choices in the pantry today. Remember, I'm the weird person who hardly makes pasta, right?

So, sausages, sauteed with onions, homemade marinara and elbow macaroni ended up being tonight's dinner. It was pretty filling, too.

My original plan for tonight was one of my mom's meals. I'll hold that in reserve for a different WFDW.

Now I am stuffed.

Back to School Times Three!

The alarm went off at 5:10am yesterday. Yep, it's time for school.

First up, Game Teen. He has to be up so early because his bus arrives before 6am. Strangely, when I went to wake the child, he was awake. We later found out that he'd gone into Chef Jrs room at 3am and woke him up! I think we're in for an interesting week adjusting to the school routine again. (I've got some out takes, but I like this one from the bus stop of my 8th grader.)
Game Teen at the bus stop at o'dark thirty

7am, it's Chef Jr's turn. Fifth grade, ready to rule the school. What I like is how Chef will get himself up and ready with minimal assistance. This year, he gets to experience the concept of changing classes to prepare for next year at middle school.

Ready for a new year of adventure!

Then there's the third student. The boys had been to school and home before my turn arrived. At 5pm, I loaded up my backpack and hopped in the car for the drive to campus. My backpack …

The Sounds of Silence Breed More Sound

Ahhhhh. Do you hear it?


Complete and utter silence. No tv, no bickering, no humming, no one calling "Mooooom, he won't let me...". Granted, no Ed and no kids after a summer of cacophony means I'm singing to myself.

Singing to myself means that I have to go hit up iTunes for songs I don't have in my Cd library. If I was the average person, that would probably mean I was hitting up the latest from a favorite artist or a current hit. Not me.

I'm trolling iTunes and buying choral music. Some observations:

If a composer has a popular title, like say 'Movin' On', unless you know who performed it, it will not be found.

Choral masterworks performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir ALWAYS are the most popular version of the choices available. My apologies to the esteemed Mr. Jessup, but I HATE his interpretations of many works I have performed. If there isn't specific notation for dynamic, he leans towards staccato phrasing-even in a son…

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Normally, you'd get a nice little essay about the music that impacts my life. Sometimes, it inspires you to seek out the artists I talk about. Even better, there are times that the comments bring new sounds into my life.

Today, I am going to give you the annoying earwig that I've been dealing with, because I am hearing two of my menfolk sing it off and on through out the day.

Kudos to Baskin Robbins-you've succeeded masterfully with this one:

Through the years, we all have fallen victim to those jingles that won't get out of our heads. From "I'm a Pepper", to "I'd like to buy the world a Coke", to "Sometimes you feel like a nut, some times you don't", to "Choo choo Charlie" to a song where you sing the ingredients of a Big Mac quickly. The effective ad man knows he's got 15 to 30 seconds to hook us, to get that song in our head. When the job is well done, we are singing it EVERYWHERE.

Viral video? No, viral c…

Visiting Sea World Orlando With the Kids

One of my friends of longest standing (we won't say old), Joyce, is heading here to Florida to visit ME in a couple of weeks.

Okay, so I lied. She's bringing the family and we're just going to gather both families up for an evening while they're enjoying a nice break from her husband's crazy work schedule. (I've mentioned before, but she's married to one of Ed's friends of longest standing-and they've known each other since they were THREE!)

Normally, a trip to central Florida means visiting Mickey and friends, but this time, they're just staying at Mickey's house. They'll be enjoying some of the other fun activities in Disney's back yard. One of them is Sea World.

Once I left the employ of Disney several years ago, my family got Busch Gardens/Sea World/Aquatica Gold Passports, we haven't looked back. The parks are nice and we've been known to venture forth for short day trips. Joyce, on the other hand, has not been t…

Wal Mart Your Zone $500.00 Gift Card Contest!

Note to new visitors-this contest has ended. Thank you.

For several months now, I have participated in WalMart's Beyond Eleven Moms, a collective of bloggers who partner with WalMart to give feedback on products already in stores and ideas about products that the company can offer in their stores.

Last month, I was approached to help test out a new product line in the stores. Many retailers offer room decor for youngsters and college students, but affordable furniture, bedding and decor for teens was hard to find. Enter Your Zone!

We were sent a $500.00 WalMart gift card and given a mission: redo a bedroom whatever way you like within that amount for your teen. If you asked me to do it anywhere else, I think I could buy a bed and a dresser and be done. The whole point of Your Zone is that your teen can change things without breaking the bank.

First up, let's find a bed! The beds the boys have are the bunk beds we bought at Ikea back when Chef graduated out of a crib. They a…

More Clues

The BIG post should be up around 6pm. In the meantime:

We have an Allen key, we have the technology!

Wonderful, wonderful COLOR!
We have an Allen key, we have the technology!

Watch This Space For Something BIG Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, all will be revealed.

A makeover, a contest and a vlog

Hey, Jim Cantore

Ed and I were wondering a few things while watching the Weather Channel tonight. Things like:

*Poor Jim Cantore must have been BORED this summer until a few days ago.
*Perhaps he was complaining about how he hasn't gone anywhere AT ALL!
*Maybe even having to scrap a family vacation because he hasn't been getting the usual allotment of frequent flier miles.
*Feeling out of sorts because he hasn't had an 80mph gust blowing him all over the place, or water dousing him from over a nearby sea wall.

Damn, that stupid recession is hitting everything, wouldn't you say? Even weather reporters are experiencing cutbacks in storms to cover!

What's For Dinner Wednesday

Or, why does my camera let me take pictures without a #$%@#$$% SD card in it?

I am back to cooking meals for two households. There was a misunderstanding before that Ed and I had ample income to buy food for seven-it's been remedied. Most nights, it's not really any extra effort.

Tonight, the quantity of ground beef in the freezer dictated that we would use it. The plan? Meatloaf. That is, until Ed told me his mom HATES it, despite her making it all the time. Then, Chef Jr informs me that he hates it, too. There's more than one way to prepare it. I asked Chef if he'd like Gyro loaf and his two thumbs up told me everything I needed to know. (I asked Ed's mom what she'd like with the ground beef. Burgers.)

Ed's plate, which is unsullied with the peas I enjoyed with mine.


The Many Faces of Chef Junior

It all started with a simple statement. "Chef, I think I need to get you a haircut this week before school starts?"
"But Moooooooooom, the bush is my friend!" As he plays with his curly locks.
"Kiddo, I think if you ran a comb through your hair, they'd find out where Jimmy Hoffa has been hidden!"
After explaining who Jimmy Hoffa was, he reacted like this after realizing I was implying a dead body could be lost in that mess:
"My curls are me, Mom. Stay away with the clippers, dude!"
(yes, I am dude. Everyone is dude.)

Here's the deal. He'll want to cut his hair sometime after the school year begins. Whenever that happens AFTER the first week of school, everyone seems bummed that his locks are gone.

Looking Towards the Future

Today, I visted an Assisted Living Facility with Jane.

The time has come, as Ed's Mom expects Jane to wait on her hand and foot, even though Jane is the least healthy of the two. Yes, even though Jane got out of Rehabilitation today and is having great difficult moving (due to a scooter mishap), Mom will expect Jane to come running whenever she calls out. It's a vicious cycle that often ends with Jane returning to the hospital.

Jane is tired of it and has come to a conclusion that makes sense-Assisted Living. As none of us have any experience with them, the social worker at the facility that was caring for Jane gave her a few brochures. I was given the names and I did some research online. Two had forms on their websites that could be filled out to receive more information. Of course, I filled them out.

In those forms, I gave a brief summary of their health concerns, the issue with Ed's mom's dementia and that neither can do any household maintenance without assi…


The first chore I had as a kid was setting the table and drying the evening dishes every night. About a year later, I was 'promoted' to washing the dishes.

By hand.

Every night.

Did I mention that we usually had eight people at a meal, and up to 15 around the table?

This was in the days when dishwashers were a rare kitchen appliance and the dish detergents were harsh, so my hands look like I was a lumberjack in a previous life. I grew the dread the task, so if I could talk on the phone while doing the drudgery, it wasn't as bad. When cooking was added to my nightly chores at 12, I never seemed to need anyone to keep me company!

When I moved out of my mom's, I entered the world of dishwashers. My ex husband grew up with one in the house and hated the fact that we did not have one. For our first wedding anniversary, I gave him a dishwasher. He picked it out-one with a timed fill cycle. For about a year, we were back in the high life, until we moved out onto a mountain …