Showing posts from 2011

Let There Be Peace on Earth

As the year ends, we all pause to reflect on what happened in our past and to look forward to what is in store in the coming year.

Instead of going that route, I'll share something that I look forward to during the holidays when I can get over to Epcot, the add on to IllumiNations, Let There Be Peace on Earth.

(Next year, I'll make sure to sit under a speaker when I tape this-and maybe have a wider angle lens to capture it all!)

Gelcolor by OPI, Louvre Me Louvre Me Not

Today was my second time getting an OPI Gelcolor manicure.

For those of you who landed here by searching "OPI Gelcolor" or "Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not" (and I know you're coming, trust me), I'll provide you with a little backstory. I'm most definitely NOT a girly-girl, but I coveted nice-looking nails.

I hate the look of acryllics, hate that the nail techs use dremels to remove those or the earlier Gel coatings and well, especially hated that cooking, doing dishes and swimming kind of ruled out having silk wraps done. So, my nails looked like crap most of the time.

Enter CND's Shellac. It goes on like polish, lasts two weeks and protects my nails? Sign me up. There are many posts of the various Shellac manicures I've had done by my lovely nail tech, Katie. (Seriously, if you're near Lakeland, email me and I'll set you up-she is awesome.) The color selection was 18 when I started, now is 24 and 6 more are announced for March. Not bad…


Some of the best indulgences don't cost a dime.

I love to take long soaks in a very warm bath. It's an indulgence, because a soak in the tub means I'm spending an hour, getting pruny fingers and reading a favorite book. Alas, this is one indulgence I don't engage in much during the semester, because taking textbooks into the tub is not a good idea.

(Hello, Clumsy, the 8th dwarf here. Expensive textbooks do not like getting bathed!)

So, many of my favorite books may be in the bookshelves as both a hardback and a paperback, so that I can drag one along for the relaxing time in the tub. It's not like the one I used to have:

The next house will have a tub like this-but a jacuzzi

but the water is hot and if I've got a good book, I'm happy.

The bummer part is that for Banned Books week, I volunteered to read a selection from the Diary of Anne Frank. I don't know where my copy is amidst the many boxes of books that need a bookshelf, so Game Teen and I visited a …

The Things We Forget

We've lived in Florida 7.5 years. It's been long enough that 60 degree temperatures seem cold and 95 isn't all that hot. That's a big change from when I was a kid, where 85 in the summer seemed oppressively warm.

As it is winter, we're hitting the other extreme, the cold end. The first year we were here, we were still wearing shorts at 50 degrees, because that is shorts weather where we lived.

What I forgot is when it was that cold, my wrists hurt from mid-October until mid-March. I spent most of the winter in splints to try to minimize the pain. Even with numerous surgeries to repair acute issues, they just were not happy campers. (My orthopedist told me arthritis was a when, not if proposition.)

Then we moved to Florida and the wrists wouldn't hurt unless I did something stupid, like move from one house to another.

Today, the wrists and elbow hurt from the moment I woke up. I didn't do anything extreme, in fact, the vacation has been very relaxing, s…


I ordered this case a few days before I got my iPad.

As it was designed for the first gen iPads, it wasn't a perfect fit, but I was okay with that. I had plans to take a dremel to the back to make the opening for the front camera lens a little bigger and create a hole for the back camera lens.

Alas, once in the case, it would. not. come. out! I tried several times and since the camera wasn't that big a deal, I didn't press the issue.

Today, the iPad was in my bag when I was headed into the supermarket. Somehow, as I was exiting the car, the iPad fell about 3 feet to the ground and the case fell off. A quick glance and everything looked okay, and I was relieved. I left it in the car.

Then I got home and found this:

Not even a scratch or dent in the aluminum case-just the glass. Ugh!

I'm thinking as much as I love my case, I'm going to replace it.

What a Grade Stalker Does in the Off Season

Throughout the semester, I am known as a grade stalker. The quest for A's makes me this way, I need the rush of seeing those >90 numbers in the grade book all semester long. So, when the semester is over, it's hard to break that habit.

This semester, though, I have another activity to replace it. See, I selected my three classes for the upcoming semester with one that meets every week on campus, one that meets *most* weeks on campus (we're not sure how many yet) and a third online class. I'm paying an extra $150 for online delivery, so I know it's online.

Except that about two weeks ago, that professor changed it from online delivery to add "weekly Elluminate sessions every Monday night from 6-8pm", which conflicts with one of the other classes. Really? You add this now? I was excited about all three classes, but the two I really wanted have class meetings the same night. Ugh.

So, I first emailed the professor who just added the Elluminate sessio…

Low Key

After five years of chaotic Christmases, due to the hospitalization of one family member or another (or me recovering from surgery), it was very, very nice to go nowhere, get no calls from a hospital, visit a hospital and just stay home in our jammies all day.

We all had naps at some point.

A nice dinner, some cookies and time to relax and recharge?

That's exactly what we needed this year.

Merry Christmas to all!

(and tomorrow, I'll probably tip my hat to my friends celebrating Channukah by making brisket and latkes.)

Merry Crabcakemas!

A tradition continues in the SuzanneCalling household: the Christmas meal of crabcakes!

I hope your holidays (Christmas or Channukah) are filled with wonders and joys, the people you love around you and the foods you love in your belly.

(and tomorrow, maybe I'll finally get that video uploaded!)

Holidays in Epcot

Considering that I started uploading a 4 minute video TWO hours ago and it hasn't completed yet, this post is now modified to show you pictures of our evening at Epcot.

Hopefully, I'll have a video uploaded for your enjoyment...

A Wrapping Tutorial Revisited

A few years back, I posted a tutorial on how to wrap presents, with accompanying photographs for the critical steps in the process.

I am debating recreating this in video form. Anyone want to tell me if they could use a video guide?

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Well, maybe not. This is, after all, Florida-the lowest number on the thermometer has been 53 in the morning during the past week.

However, at work, you can tell something's up. There are coworkers I haven't seen for a week. Add that to the 10 day break our employer gives us and it adds up to a very nice vacation. Alas, my classification doesn't get paid time off, so it was not an option.

It will be interesting tomorrow. We shut down on Friday, and I suspect those who didn't have a whole week of vacation to use probably added tomorrow to their time off in order to get last minute things done.

I think we'll get in the Christmas spirit Friday with a detour over to Orlando. It'll feel like I'm playing hooky!

Ways to Tell it is Semester Break

You can find a parking spot in the front row.

The line at the bookstore is only 3 people deep.

You maintain your level of checking school email, but no new mail arrives 8 out of 10 times you check.

Your desk starts to resemble something other people use.

Your computer now has folders for all the classes you took, they're sorted by semester and then by class.

The year's worth of photographs you've taken now are sorted into topics, all 32gigs worth. Or was that 64?

In any event, the things that one says need to be done finally do get accomplished when the schoolwork goes away.

Cookie Marathon

With the kids off from school, Chef asked if we can bake cookies. I said we sure can, and we decided what cookies to make. Both boys wanted sugar cookies, I figured Ed wanted either chocolate pb chip or peanut butter and I wanted my krytonite, rainbow cookies.

a recent batch at our favorite restaurant, Romeo's.

Once I mentioned Rainbow Cookies, Chef was excited. Typically, we only get those when we visit New York-the ones pictured above are the first batch that we've seen Chef Manuela put into the dessert cooler of awesomeness in the two years we've been going to Romeo's.

Anyway, the quantity of baking requires preparation, lots of it. My body rebels against that amount of standing, so today, I got a brainstorm: why not prep all the dry ingredients into storage bags, label them, and then tomorrow, I wouldn't have to stand so long?

It was inspired, it was great, it had a major flaw: the 25 pound bag of flour was in Ed's van.

Oh well.

I think the cookie marathon …

Holiday Traditions, the Next Generation

I'm wondering what my kid's spouses will think someday, because the things that make them think 'holiday' may be a little strange.

For instance, this time of year, the local grocery stores begin stocking the Hebrew National cocktail franks. Of course, this means I buy them and a package of crescent roll dough. It's ideal finger food for New Year's eve, but I know full well that once the kids find them, the jig is up.

Which is what happened this afternoon. I was napping, because the cold has been brutal. GameTeen woke me up, waving the package of cocktail franks in front of my face. 'Can we have these?', only slightly less excited than if I told him I was letting him buy all the video games he wanted at Game Stop.

So, yes, they had pigs in blankets for dinner.

As far as my kids are concerned, this surely means Christmas is right around the corner...

Renovation Realities

Ed has found a new show to watch, DIY's 'Renovation Realities.' Honestly, I am not an expert at home renovations. I can wield a hammer, I know how to paint, drywall and do basic repairs, but I cringe at what people do on this show.

For instance, on one show, a guy put a window in his garage by eyeballing it. No tape measure, no levels, just cut out a hole for it where the homeowner wanted to put it for his man cave.

Many of the other shows are equally scary. I think I've watched a half dozen of these with Ed so far (I suspect he saw a lot of these when he was out of work), and only ONE was successful in getting his renovation done on time and on budget. The rest, well, they haven't put a lot of research into the project before they start demolition.

There are projects we'd like to do here eventually, and I feel a lot better about those prospects before beginning, because:

Ed likes to do a lot of research before embarking on something major.
Ed has done drywa…

Two iTunes Accounts, One House

When we got our iPods, Ed and I set up separate iTunes accounts. It made sense, because while I like about 90% of the music he likes, he probably hates about 80% of the remaining stuff I listen to (he HATES 80's music, tolerates my jazz and we won't even talk about my choral music passion.)

Anyway, this wasn't such a big deal, we had separate accounts and we each were happy that way. When GameTeen and Chef got their nano and ip (Chef said it was too tiny to get the whole iPod moniker), the size limitations meant their libraries were housed in my account.

This worked out for quite a few years, until we got iPhones. For the most part, Ed championed the free app, and I actually started spending the money I'd placed in my iTunes account. We existed without complaint, until I bought a $15.00 app that Ed coveted.

GoSkyWatch, a fantastic astronomy application that allows you to point your phone at the sky and it tells you which constellation you are looking at. Fantastic ap…

Damn, I Take a Lot of Pictures!

Easily 50 gig on my hard drive is taken up by the pictures I've taken since late January, when I got my Nikon.

The cataloging of these pictures hasn't been high on my list. Meanwhile, when I put the SD card into the Mac, it creates a new numbered folder, and there's no way to tell what is in each folder, so yesterday, I started organizing the 200+ folder, after which I realized that there were pictures I did not locate.

Off to iPhoto, to find about another 10 gig of pictures. I guess I'll be cataloging some more tomorrow night, but for now, I found all the pictures of stuff I'll be putting up on eBay.

This, of course, was the purpose of going through the albums in the first place. I love semester breaks, when I catch up on all manner of housekeeping!

Scratch One Off the List

As my plans after I finish the Ph.D involve teaching other educators how to implement technology in their classrooms, there has been something that I have been seeking to do-get a job as a teaching assistant.

It's important to me, as I need to see how to transfer my skills as a manager/trainer to use them effectively in the classroom. There are so many more things to consider when you're assigning work that helps student transfer the knowledge they gathered during class, grading that work for their ability to do so and facilitating class engagement.

So, today, I met with the professor of one of my classes this past semester and, along with two others, we'll be the teaching assistants next semester. It's an unpaid role, but I'm thinking the experience will be payment enough towards being a better doctoral candidate.

Who knows, maybe there will be a paid role in my future because I decided to take an unpaid one now. It was pretty neat to sit in the professor's…

I'd Rather Not Share

When we're talking about a cold, you can keep it to yourself!

Alas, Ed and Chef shared with me and now I'm all stubbed up. It is a little frustrating.

I'm going to take some cold meds and get to sleep...

Every Girl Crazy 'Bout a Sharp Dressed Man

Things change in a year.

Last spring, Chef's chorus concert involved wearing a school chorus tee shirt, a pair of khaki and lots of disorganization.

This year, new director and new rules. Still an excessive amount of disorganization (coming in to tell the audience in one section "You can't sit here, the chorus needs these seats five minutes before the performance? Not good), but the new director has some good ideas.

First up, the students wore concert dress: white dress shirts, black bottoms and black shoes. She provided ties for the boys. I'm thinking he looks pretty sharp, don't you think?

Don "Ducky" Williams

Back in July, I bought tickets to an AllEarsNet December to Remember event. Yes, in July (while I was on vacation, in fact). Why? Because this picture, hanging in my living room:
was illustrated by Don 'Ducky' Williams, who was the guest speaker at a luncheon at Epcot. I was definitely going to this one! (Alas, I had two tickets and went solo-Ed couldn't get out of work)

I'm so glad I did. Don's path to Disney is an interesting story of how a banker eventually realized his dream of working for Walt Disney. He even has the letter that Walt sent him as a kid, when Don had wrote him about job prospects when he was ten years old. I won't spill all, because you need to go on a Disney Cruise and hear Don tell it himself.

Basically, he is a one man Walt Disney illustrator. Those park maps you pick up? Don does those. He also does all the illustrations that you find on the cruises, for special park events and just about everything except merchandise. You name …