Showing posts from March, 2011


Whoever said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb should have spent the last couple of days in Florida. We've had winds and torrential downpours. Heck, in driving Gameteen to school, I was not that far away from where a tornado touched down.

I didn't know about the tornado warnings, but that's because there weren't any for my county at that time! Instead, I drove in rain that made it impossible to see, rivaling the rains that preceded a couple of the hurricanes we had in '04 and '05. Poor Chef had early release from school at 3pm, and didn't arrive home until 4:30, about five minutes earlier than he would have on a regular day.

The camera stayed tucked in my bag in my travels today. Once home, I took a look at our pool. Yesterday, Ed and I agreed that perhaps we should drain it a bit with all the rain that we've had. It didn't get done. Around 5pm, I looked at it and saw this:

The water is supposed to be about three inche…

Silly Hoomans

I iz the ruler of dis house. The hoomans, they think they run the place, but it is MY house.

They put silly things on me and take my picture.

I ask "Why ME?"

Oh, right. They shower me with the love and adoration I deserve. I guess I will put up with teh silly hoomans and do what they want.

For today.

New Camera, More Pizza

One of the things I like to do is play with the camera to take pictures of the food I cook. I'll never be a food stylist (yes, people are actually PAID to orchestrate how food looks in pictures), but part of the fun of trying to take good quality pictures is that I get to eat the subject afterwards.

And so it was tonight.

For the first time since getting the camera, I made pizzas on the grill. A nice pepperoni and onion and then a Hawaiian. Practice makes perfect on some fronts: the dough was done and rising in about three minutes, it took about 10 minutes to roll and prepare two pies and I've really learned the best temperature for getting the crust crisp and firm without burning it. (for the GMG, about 12 minutes at 375 produces a nice, smoky flavored pie) The new discovery is that grilling some of the ham while the first pizza is cooking is a great way to get even more flavor onto that pie.

Be Very Afraid

I will be learning Web Programming this summer.

I'd wanted to take Flash, but that professor insisted that I have some experience programming in an object oriented language first. The Web Programming instructor has the same request, but I sent him an email to request a seat.

I told him about my first computer that did not have Windows (it was DOS 3.31, thankyouverymuch), about working at Babbages and telling people why they wanted the US Robotics modem instead of the cheap one and how I'm surrounded by computers at home.

The piece de resistance may have been when I said "I survived 14 credits last summer, I think 6 this summer will be much better."

If I take this now, there's a good chance I take Flash and Web Page Design soon. Maybe I'll redecorate this page in oscillating colors?

Fun with Flash

A project from the book, from nothing to this mutant lemon:

To a fish that could use Botox:

To a talking fish:

To a talking fish whose word bubble actually is in the right place:

To "Hey, this isn't all that bad!"

After working on this, and seeing how much is involved, I'm thinking that taking Flash over the summer, while it is still fresh, might be the way to go. The original plan called for Web Programming, but spreading that out over 15 weeks is preferable.

We'll see where this all leads...

Online Shopping Head Scratcher

I like to shop online.

The convenience can't be beat sometimes. My camera, for instance, came from a major retailer's online division because they didn't offer the package I ultimately chose in their stores. Heck, the location nearby didn't even carry the D90 at all.

I'm a frequent shopper of Amazon, because we have ONE measly bookstore in this whole
town. It's a fact that bookstore likes to crow about when I shop there. I think I give them fits when I respond to this comment (which is an inducement to join their frequent shopper program) with things like "this doesn't reflect well on the literacy rates in our county," "but competition is good for the consumer, lack of it is only good for the retailer," "and it's a shame my favorites are no longer around." When given the choice of buying a CS5 Flash Professional book from the brick and mortar for 59.99 or the same new book from Amazon for 39.99 and free shipping, I'm…

Changes for GameTeen

Things have been changing for Game Teen.

A few months ago, his former Psychiatrist agreed that ten years using the same medication is too long, so we started lowering the dose of his OCD medication to prepare to switch to another one. Then she went on maternity leave, returned very briefly and left permanently. (It was her second fellowship in the program). So yesterday, he saw a new doctor for the first time.

Things have been very difficult with him for at least six months, but the reduction in medication made things bad. Really bad at school, to the point where he was expelled right before spring break. We and the school directors came up with an alternative plan for him, where he attends for a half day, completing work on a computer in a quiet office with the high school principal.

So, this week, he started half days. That went well. Then the new doctor, after reading summaries from me and the principal agreed that it's time to change things up. She asked what the bigg…

My Companion for the Next Few Days

I have a project due Monday. Ninety seconds of Flash, with a button, tweening and some bells and whistles.We shall see how much help my companion provides.

Mind Like a Steel Trap

Ed will groan and complain that I have scary recall of details, events, birthday and the minutia of the things in our life. Heck, we can have arguments over stuff because we remember it differently and then I will recite, nearly verbatim, an entire conversation with identifying information, such as where we were, what the weather was like, and what precipitated the conversation.

He hates it.

However, one of the memory skills came in very handy today. I remember birthdays. Half of my first grade class, I can tell you their birthdays (and two of them were September 11th, so I kind of feel bad for them now). My former boss, Elaine, was stunned the year I moved to Florida when I called her to remind her that it was William the UPS guy's birthday the next day and she'd better go over to Mrs. Field's cookies and get him something. (You have to understand that William is the BEST UPS MAN EVER and richly deserved a snack.)

So, back to birthdays. With the passings of family memb…

Lighter Load

Today, I turned in my research paper for my Psych class, then did a presentation about my study and findings. This assignment makes up thirty percent of my grade. At this point, 65% of the course work for the semester is done .By Monday night, 75% of the assignments for another class will be done, and the third class is mostly done.

Most of this semester was extremely stressful because I had due dates and Jane stuff. Now that I'm out from under the stresses, I can relax and take my time with the remaining assignments to give my usual quality work.

For now, I'm hitting the sack to get some of the sleep I missed last night.

Planning for the Inevitable

Soapbox time. Dealing with paperwork and more paperwork.

In October 2005, as my Mom was in her final days, I urged Jane and Mom to create a Living Trust, to get all their affairs in order to make it easy on anyone (us) left behind, to make sure that all their paperwork was up to date and easy to access. As my stepdad and I were sifting through writing letters, closing accounts and the things Mom never thought he'd be dealing with (he was the sick one, after all), I must have repeated it several times.

Instead, nothing was in order and several policies had the beneficiaries changed to my (at the time) 82 year old mother in law. Stale dated insurance reimbursement checks were never deposited, forms requiring completion and a notary's signature never filled out or returned. Questions about whether things were handled thoroughly when Ed's sister Nancy passed away in 2005 now fill my brain.

So please, for your families, make sure your paperwork is in one place. Spend a few …

Cat on Mouse

You didn't want to use this thing, right?

Hipstamatic Mood

There have been quite a few Hipstamatic pictures here on the blog since I purchased the app not long after I got the iPhone.

Yesterday, when I decided to take some pictures of some neon with that app, I found new film options. I think this film captures that retro feel that neon gives a place.

This is the sign without the hipsta filters. I think there's more character in the cheap iPhone pictures.

Of course, the neon tour isn't complete without playing with the Nikon, so I used it on the exterior signs, too.


Ed had today off and well, we were just tired of being here in town. We just needed a break-so off to Jacksonville we went, for some quality time with Donna.

It was a good day with a good friend, good food, some window shopping and a gorgeous evening of mini golf here:

It still seems weird that we can drive three hours and not leave the state. I guess that mindset is hard to break when you're raised on LI and spend many years living in the skinny part of Maryland, where in three hours, you can WALK through three states (and possibly four, depending on where you start).

Once I install the Nikon share software on this machine, I'll post the pictures of some vintage guitars we got to view at a show/appraisal event.

Ruh Roh

Since the past couple of months have been spent attending to Jane, rather than my studies, let's just say my books, handouts and various educational stuff had been piling up. One of my goals this week was to get things reorganized. Heck, I was prepared to take the materials from my Bachelor's studies and organize them in one large binder, too.

So I purchased a couple of new binders and dividers because the curriculum covered will be be relevant. It'd be nice to have reference materials easy to locate if I have questions about how I did something. The more immediate goal was to get my term paper for Psychology finished today, but I wanted to collect the three refereed articles I read, the five page draft that was already graded and the teacher surveys I conducted at Game Teen's school last week.

Small problem: I can't find the draft paper or the refereed articles. The articles are easy enough to reprint from the USF library (I saved them in RefWorks), but my pro…


The scene: A restaurant in Lakeland. Dinner has been consumed. Dessert has been offered to both kids. (Hey, at 1.99, they can each have a sundae.) GameTeen turns one down. We even check him for fever, because this is probably a first.

Then he sees his brother's dessert and realizes he goofed up. Gets upset, especially since the check is sitting on the table. We ask the server to add one more Spotted Dog and the waiting ensues.

Apparently, when someone else is waiting for a dessert, he wants to go wait in the car. When it's his, he looks like this.

A HA! A Working Web Page!

The Neon Tour of Polk County-A Photo Journey
When I first moved to Lakeland three years ago, I was enthralled with the quantity of old neon signs that were still operational. I promised myself that one day, I'd once again have a high quality camera and would take pictures of these beautiful signs. Each time we spied a new one, my husband and I
would say "There's another one for the Neon Tour."

In late January, I purchased a Nikon D90 and soon started taking those pictures I was itching to get. While there are honestly hundreds of these signs in and around Lakeland and dotted throughout Polk County, I've only scratched the surface in the past few weeks. It's a hobby that I'll have fun pursuing for a very long time.

The first signs I saw caught my eye several years before moving to Lakeland, mainly because the business is one that doesn't often encounter up north anymore. The Silver Moon Drive In features movies on each of their two screens seven ni…

Head Scratcher

So, I did my first, honest-to-God coding assignment. Not a simple strikethrough, not a bold text in the midst of a regular paragraph, not a hyperlink, either. Real code for a real website.

It doesn't work.

It worked just fine in the website that students were directed to for the many useful tutorials. Heck, it even has a split screen, รก la Dreamweaver (which I had a brief intro to last month) so you can work on code and test it to see if it works. On that site, everything is hunky dory. Heck, I even used someone else's source code to figure out what I was doing wrong with my color string.

The proof is in the pudding, and I couldn't get my text editor created project to work in Safari OR Firefox. Next, I emailed it to Ed to try on his machine, but it added a bunch of code that I didn't write. Frustrated, I even used his PC to type in Notepad, but the same thing happened.

Then the light bulb went off. "Hey, Blogger allows a hybrid of plain text and html.…

If the Internet Breaks

I swear I'm not responsible. I am only making a teeny, tiny web page for class. See?

More Neon

Eventually, there will be a smugmug album full of all the local neon, but here's another entry into my neon photo journal of the inert gas:

There are many motels, er, motor lodges, along the highways locally. Quite a few still have their neon signs, but few light them up. This is one of about a half dozen along US Highway 92 that does.

Don't You Hate

When you have a little bit of phlegm in the back of your throat, clear it, then that phlegm deposits itself back where it was before you were clearing your throat?

Yeah, me too.

And that's about where I am right now. The week just was and I'm still dealing and trying to be Ed's support.

I think I'm heading to bed and hoping that this one interloper in the back of my throat goes away soon.

Journey's End

Yesterday at 9:02am, Jane lost her battle with the various illnesses.

For a long time, we had to clean up the messes, to deal with the crap, so Jane as a person became an annoyance, a person who kept making lousy choices and expecting to bail her out of the ensuing messes. They'd spend a week on a cruise ship and we'd be the one shuttling Mom back and forth to the hospital (from 30 miles away, mind you) because she needed to see Jane. So it's been a very long time since we remembered the Jane we knew before they moved to Florida.

The Jane who was so excited at becoming an aunt that she couldn't wait to tell her coworkers, who promptly started calling her AJ, for Aunt Jane, a moniker that stuck. She came down to visit when Game Teen was six weeks old and doted on him, dubbing him "WonderBaby" (one word, always one word).

The Jane who loved Michael Crawford so much that she flew out to Vegas with a bunch of other members of his fan club and watched him in "…


It seems that five or so years of knowing that things would come to this does not make it easier when things actually come to pass. Then the hip fracture happened and I knew that the situation with Jane would accelerate faster than we could image.

As I write this, Jane is laying in a bed in a Hospice facility. Monday morning brought quite few pre-dawn phone calls that cemented the feeling that she wouldn't pull back from the near death experience this time.

First, a phone call around 5:30 to make sure that they still had my approval for the
debridement. Of course you do, she doesn't stand a chance without it. Her body is in no shape to fight off the Acinetobacter, so this might give her a chance. Two more calls to make sure that transfusing blood was okay. Then another call to tell me the surgery was off because her platelets were too low.

Even in my sleep deprived stupor, I knew that a body that switches from extremely low platelets to one with far too many back to extr…


I was going to write about the events of the day, and Ed brought me a glass of wine because it's been mentally draining.The cat was doing his routine of pawing at my leg like a scratching post and when I turned to him, i knocked said glass of wine onto the MacBook.It shut off immediately. I'm thinking it doesn't care for reisling.And i really don't care for being without the only machine in the house that has CS5 Premium when I have two assignments due this week.

It Was Goooood

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, so why not have some food from N'awlins tonight?

We'd been meaning to try this place since we moved to Lakeland three years ago. It was time, and it was worth making the visit. Ed had an awesome Etouffee, I had blackened chicken with pasta in mushroom cream sauce and Chef had crab stuffed shrimp. All very tasty, and just the thing to take our minds off the things going on.

We WILL go back. Soon.

Not So Fast

I thought I escaped the various forms of creeping crud the kids and Ed had last week. Last night, I was coughing. This isn't unusual, as one of the manifestations of Chiari is a cough, especially when lying down.

However, last night, I thought the back of my throat seemed dry and scratchy.

Yep. It was.

While I may not have the full blown yuckiness they've all suffered through, the kids coughed on me or snuggled up to me one too many times and I've got that and the dull ache in my head. Fortunately, nothing else.

If the rest of it is waiting to announce its presence, maybe it'll have the decency to wait until after 10pm Tuesday night, so that I can get all the school work done before spring break.

The Wayback Machine

Jane thinks the year is 2007. She's not kidding, either.

When I visited yesterday, she never called me by name, but she did recognize me. There were issues throughout the visit, in that she said she needed me to take her into the bathroom. When I asked her if she could walk there, she said 'sure, let's find out.' Meanwhile, she was slumped over in her bed, unable to move the bed to a desired position despite the controls being within reach. She did not use her arms (which are perfectly fine) to prop her body up.

She hasn't been eating. The few teeth that haven't fallen out are noticeably wiggling. The requested Whopper junior (that the nurse said she could have only due to 'quality of life' concerns, remained uneaten in that hour visit). She complained after a visitor from the nursing home left that 'everyone seems to think they're my friend.' At that point, I didn't realize that in her world, some things were very different.

She …

First Friday

Yet again, Ed and I worked on the apartment and got it close to empty, other than the furniture, that is.

Then I went over to the hospital and found that while things are good on the surgery front (I signed consent to do it on Thursday), Jane's on a heavier antibiotic Tigacycline and she was definitely out of it for most of the visit, wanting to eat the delivered whopper junior, but not wanting the table anywhere near her. Afterwards, I found out why she seemed confused at a visitor and the things I was saying. She thinks it is 2007 and Mom is still alive. Not good.

So, after the emotional weight of the day, we decided that we needed to attend first Friday in downtown Lakeland.

We saw this Scamp and all agree that it looks like it's a happy car.

Then another stop on the Neon Tour of Lakeland.

Pizza for dinner and an early bedtime. It was good to get out for a few hours and not think about the heavy stuff that's definitely coming soon.