Friday Feast #5

Good morning!

Busy day here at work - GB project update, President's Conference, etc., etc,. so sneaking in for a VERY QUICK Friday Feast before getting busy! Have a great weekend, ya'll!

What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?
Hmm...I'd have to say Go Carts!

How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?
I talk. A lot. Usually with an adult beverage in my hand.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?
10-10-10! I love deep discussions! Especially if there's two (or more!) deeply divided schools of thought!!

Main Course
Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?
No and no. Only time I ever get the flu is when I get a flu shot. No, thanks!

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?
Watching? Probably about 8-10, not counting NASCAR. I do keep the TV on when I'm alone, though, for the noise factor...I'm just not watching it.

Leave me your link and I'll be around to visit you later! Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Thursday Thirteen #6

I can't believe it's that time of the week again...and even after skipping last week for Thanksgiving, I can't believe it's already time for another TT! Ack, what to write, what to write? (It's midnight, folks. My mind is dead.)

Whenever I'm not quite sure what to write next, or where one of my projects is headed, or when I'm just not in the mood to write, I have lots of ways to occupy my mind. That's what I call it, at least. For all the rest of ya'll, you might say I've just found...

Thirteen Ways to Procrastinate

1. Read - I pick up whatever novel I'm in the middle of - reading is never a bad thing, and it's a great way to waste - er - fill time until your next activity!

2. Surf - I tend to compulsively search the internet for random information. It may be looking for more writing jobs (when I already have enough to keep me busy) or pricing new cars (when the plan isn't to buy one for another 6-9 months) or even looking at hotels in places I want to visit. You may call it pointless; I call it research.

3. Write - Writing can definitely be a form of procrastination...when you start writing on things that have nothing to do with what you're supposed to be doing. Sometimes, when a project just ain't blowing up my skirt, I'll write on just about anything but that project. Sigh.

4. Recipes - I compulsively read recipes. I share that in common with my mother, who owns, no joke, over 200 cookbooks. (I think I'm being conservative. Before they moved a couple years ago, her shelved cookbooks took up 3 freestanding bookshelves, and she had tons more unshelved.)

5. Budget - Ok, so budgeting is a good thing, right? Saves money, pays off debt, yada yada. Except that I'm compulsive about it, and so when I'm looking to waste - er - fill a few minutes, I analyze various budget points. I'm a geek. Go away.

6. Schedule - Perhaps I just have a compulsive personality in general, but I like scheduling my time. In 15-minute slots. From waking up to going to sleep. But only occasionally. I think I use scheduling as a stress thing; when I feel like there's too much on my plate, I schedule everything.

7. Clean - I know, I know...cleanliness is next to Godliness. But I clean just to get out of doing other things at times...and luckily, I have a house that's pretty dang clean 95% of the time as a result, but I'm starting to think that I'd happily trade that in for a finished manuscript!

8. Fetch - My younger dog, Missy, only learned how to fetch at the age of almost-five. What other dogs do by instinct...well, her scrambled mind takes a lot longer to learn. So when I'm looking for a mind break, I'll either grab her tennis ball and head for the yard or her stuffed Christmas toy and stay in the house and we have ourselves some silly fun.

9. Pet - My kitty cats are just irresistable at times. They just beg to be pet. In my own defense, they sometimes come crawl in my lap while typing, occasionally laying right on the keyboard, so they make me procrastinate. Oh yes, they do!!

10. TV - Well, TV is usually a last resort, quite honestly. My mother-in-law and I were just talking over dinner tonight that I typically don't watch any shows unless Chris is home. I do, usually, keep it on for noise, however. Old habit from lots of time spent living alone. So when I'm at an impasse...I actually tune into whatever's on. Sometimes for hours. Thank God we gave up HBO!

11. Memes - Actually, that's why I did both my first Friday Feast and Manic Monday - I only really intended to keep up with TTs, but, finding myself with some time that I didn't want to use for the purpose it was intended, I got started...and now can't stop! (And don't want to, so nah!)

12. Organize - Ok, admittedly, this is truly, truly a last, last, last resort. Because as much as I like an organized house, I have to be in a truly manic mood to start organizing. But at certain just works!

13. Sleep - When in doubt, naps work wonders. Always. Even 20 minutes! It's actually amazing how refreshed I sometimes feel after a quick episode of shut-eye. I think I'll go do that now, in fact...should get in a good 6 hours before it's time to start tomorrow! :-)

Hope you all have great Thursdays! If you leave me your link, I'll be around to visit later!


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

But anyone can write, right?

Since I began "seriously" writing as a freelancer almost two years ago, I have fielded this kind of reaction more times than I can count.

"What's so special about what you do? Can't anyone do "that kind" of writing (referring to web content)?"

Know what? I never claimed to be all that special. What I have always claimed, however, is to have a knack for putting words together into cohesive thoughts and sharing those words with others.

Know what else? Even though I only began "regularly" freelancing two years ago, I've written for more years of my life than I can count. From starting a newspaper in first grade with my friend Caryn to editing my high school yearbook, to publishing two articles in small publications while in college, writing has been a large definition of my life.

And although it's not my only or even primary income, I consider it an achievement that I've been able to do more and pay for more and spread my writing around (under my own name or as a ghostwriter) because of the projects I've taken on as a freelancer.

A majority of the costs for my wedding - paid for by freelancing. A large part of the down payment of my house - paid for by freelancing. Various payments and extras and fun stuff - you got it.

It makes me very angry to compete against writers who think that it's perfectly acceptable to sell either a majority or all of their "writing" for pennies on the dollar. And it's gratifying how many web site owners come to realize that if you pay $1 for an article that is 400-500 words long, they got what they paid for: crap.

Deb Ng, one of my heroes in freelance writing, had a great post on her blog today, reacting to a web site she found proclaiming that anyone and everyone could write for pay if they chose to. *Snort.* Deb is arguably the first lady of freelance writing and blogging, and ya'll need to head over to her award-winning site, Freelance Writing Gigs, to check out her article and all of the resources she has to offer.


Taking On Immigration

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

(cross-posted to and

I would like to share the following portion of a famous political speech. Please read through the speech instead of succumbing to the urge to skip to the bottom, where I've posted the author/bibliographic information.

(1 Comment Transferred; original posting date 11/27/07, 6:45 PM.)

Jude's BlogLoggin said...
You know this is most well thought out post on the illegal problem this country has. I really like your blog. December 8, 2007 7:49 PM

"Our present immigration laws are unsatisfactory. We need every honest and efficient immigrant fitted to become an American citizen, every immigrant who comes here to stay, who brings here a strong body, a stout heart, a good head, and a resolute purpose to do his duty well in every way and to bring up his children as law-abiding and God-fearing members of the community. But there should be a comprehensive law enacted with the object of working a threefold improvement over our present system. First, we should aim to exclude absolutely not only all persons who are known to be believers in anarchistic principles or members of anarchistic societies, but also all persons who are of a low moral tendency or of unsavory reputation. This means that we should require a more thorough system of inspection abroad and a more rigid system of examination at our immigration ports, the former being especially necessary.

The second object of a proper immigration law ought to be to secure by a careful and not merely perfunctory educational test some intelligent capacity to appreciate American institutions and act sanely as American citizens. This would not keep out all anarchists, for many of them belong to the intelligent criminal class. But it would do what is also in point, that is, tend to decrease the sum of ignorance, so potent in producing the envy, suspicion, malignant passion, and hatred of order, out of which anarchistic sentiment inevitably springs. Finally, all persons should be excluded who are below a certain standard of economic fitness to enter our industrial field as competitors with American labor. There should be proper proof of personal capacity to earn an American living and enough money to insure a decent start under American conditions. This would stop the influx of cheap labor, and the resulting competition which gives rise to so much of bitterness in American industrial life; and it would dry up the springs of the pestilential social conditions in our great cities, where anarchistic organizations have their greatest possibility of growth.

Both the educational and economic tests in a wise immigration law should be designed to protect and elevate the general body politic and social. A very close supervision should be exercised over the steamship companies which mainly bring over the immigrants, and they should be held to a strict accountability for any infraction of the law."

I would like to state that I think that the author of this speech is a very wise and prescient man. And no, I am not of an anti-immigrant mind; rather, I'm against:
  • any person who enters this great nation illicitly;
  • any so-called "illegal immigrant" (why don't we simply call them "illegal") who takes and takes and takes from the resources of our land without any effort to give back;
  • or any legal and able-minded citizen who does not actively seek to better himself and his nation.

Who is this orator, you ask?

None other than President Theodore Roosevelt, in his "First Annual Message" (a precursor to the State of the Union address) given on December 3rd, 1901. Read the speech in its entirety at The American Presidency Project.

What do you think?

Unsatisfactory Immigration Laws

(cross-posted to and

I would like to share the following portion of a famous political speech. Please read through the speech instead of succumbing to the urge to skip to the bottom, where I've posted the author/bibliographic information.

"Our present immigration laws are unsatisfactory. We need every honest and efficient immigrant fitted to become an American citizen, every immigrant who comes here to stay, who brings here a strong body, a stout heart, a good head, and a resolute purpose to do his duty well in every way and to bring up his children as law-abiding and God-fearing members of the community. But there should be a comprehensive law enacted with the object of working a threefold improvement over our present system. First, we should aim to exclude absolutely not only all persons who are known to be believers in anarchistic principles or members of anarchistic societies, but also all persons who are of a low moral tendency or of unsavory reputation. This means that we should require a more thorough system of inspection abroad and a more rigid system of examination at our immigration ports, the former being especially necessary.

The second object of a proper immigration law ought to be to secure by a careful and not merely perfunctory educational test some intelligent capacity to appreciate American institutions and act sanely as American citizens. This would not keep out all anarchists, for many of them belong to the intelligent criminal class. But it would do what is also in point, that is, tend to decrease the sum of ignorance, so potent in producing the envy, suspicion, malignant passion, and hatred of order, out of which anarchistic sentiment inevitably springs. Finally, all persons should be excluded who are below a certain standard of economic fitness to enter our industrial field as competitors with American labor. There should be proper proof of personal capacity to earn an American living and enough money to insure a decent start under American conditions. This would stop the influx of cheap labor, and the resulting competition which gives rise to so much of bitterness in American industrial life; and it would dry up the springs of the pestilential social conditions in our great cities, where anarchistic organizations have their greatest possibility of growth.

Both the educational and economic tests in a wise immigration law should be designed to protect and elevate the general body politic and social. A very close supervision should be exercised over the steamship companies which mainly bring over the immigrants, and they should be held to a strict accountability for any infraction of the law."

I would like to state that I think that the author of this speech is a very wise and prescient man. And no, I am not of an anti-immigrant mind; rather, I'm against:
  • any person who enters this great nation illicitly;
  • any so-called "illegal immigrant" (why don't we simply call them "illegal") who takes and takes and takes from the resources of our land without any effort to give back;
  • or any legal and able-minded citizen who does not actively seek to better himself and his nation.

Who is this orator, you ask?

None other than President Theodore Roosevelt, in his "First Annual Message" (a precursor to the State of the Union address) given on December 3rd, 1901. Read the speech in its entirety at The American Presidency Project.

Manic Monday #6

Hey, ya'll...sneaking in with an early morning post! Happy Monday, and thanks to Lisa for her great questions as always!

Which personality trait has gotten you into the most trouble?
My inability to keep my trap shut at times...telling a teacher he looked like a monkey was probably the height of my tactlessness, but 14 years later and I stand by my claim that he deserved the, er, compliment.

If you had to gain 10 pounds what would you eat to gain the weight?
Hmm...I can't really gain weight to save my life (I have Graves' Disease, a form of hyperthyroidism) but I'd have to say that I'd probably eat a lot of mashed potatoes or vanilla ice cream, or bean soup. I know - nothing really interesting, but I'm not so much the sweets fan anymore.

How is your private self different from your public self?
Hmm...I'm a lot quieter in private. (Shocker - but it's really true!) What else? Not really tell me!

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Hi, everyone!

Sorry to have missed out on sharing my Thursday Thirteen and Friday Feast with you this past week - it was low-key all the way, and I've been off the computer and doing stuff around the house since Wednesday night - LOVE IT!

Thanksgiving was great at our house - we so enjoyed having everyone over! I, of course, enjoyed cooking and fussing. I'll let the pictures do my talking for me! (With captions, of course!) (No touch-ups, by the way...just don't have time to do that right now!)

We had a ton of fun cooking...our alarms went off at 7:30 and we didn't stop moving until food was on the table for a 2:30 dinner! We did take about 45 minutes at 11:00 to shower and pretty ourselves up, do we look?

Going around the table...the empty seat in the top left corner is mine, then clockwise from me is Kristen (friend), Karen (mother-in-law), Don (Chris' uncle, Patti's husband), Patti (Chris' aunt, writer extroidonaire), Zachary (alrighty, so you can't see him, but he's there...his bouncy was on the floor), Anne (Chris' cousin, Patti's oldest), Jamie (Chris' cousin, Patti's middle), Becca (John's fiancee), John (Chris' cousin, Patti's youngest), and Chris (my husband - duh!). We were joined later by Charlie (Jamie's S.O.) and friends Timo and Kay, just in time for desert. As a special treat, my brother-in-law, currently serving a 15-month stint in Iraq, called for about 20 minutes and got to talk to all of us in turn, and his kids, our niece Julia and nephew Aubrey, called to talk to us all as well as soon as they got home from school. (They live in Canada, but lived in the U.S. up until a year ago.)

Since Zachary wasn't really in the last picture, here he is later in the day, being babysat by our Chihuahua, Naya.

By ourselves again, at the end of a long day. (Ignore my red eyes...too much wine and I got emotional.)

And now, for Christmas!

This is what it looks like when an 18-pound cat named Frankie decides to cram himself into a holiday decorative card holder that measures 12 x 8 x 6.

Our tree...

With Audrey busily contemplating how to climb it! (And yes, Audrey is named after Audrey Hepburn...kudos if you can guess Frankie's namesake!)

Hope your holiday was wonderful as well, and for my friends outside of the U.S., hope you had a terrific and relaxing weekend!


Taking On Polygamist Cults

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

Warren Jeffs was recently given two 5-to-life sentences for his role in setting up a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin, as a part of marriage practices condoned by the breakaway cultish religion that calls itself the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a group that still practices polygamy and endorses arranged marriages.

Not sure what's the bigger problem here in my mind: a 14-year old girl getting married; a girl marrying her cousin; a religion that condones arranged marriages; people blindly following cult leadership; the vagueness in the sentencing; the practice of polygamy; or the fact that my opening sentence had 65 words in it!

Ok, folks, the point of this blog is certainly not limited to religion and cults...and I know this is my second post in a week on that topic, but this one really gets my gall.

What the hell is wrong with people? I mean, seriously? I'm a student of history; it's what my minor was granted in when I graduated from college a few years (or so) ago. I understand that historically, 14-years-old may not have been an unusual age to marry. But I also understand that during the time in history when young teen girls were pushed into marriage, the average life expectency was in the 30s - that means that the marrying age was lower in proportion to length of life.

Welcome to the 21st century, people. Most of us will live into our 80s. Marrying at 14? Gross. Ick. Why wasn't this girl in middle school, happily bopping around with her friends? Serious issue here.

And then there's the marrying her cousin part. The news stories never really say what degree of cousin he was, but they ALL refer to him as her cousin. Again, gross and ick. Inbreeding much? Might explain the mentality of these morons.

Let's see, what do I want to attack next? Ok, let's hit arranged marriages. You know, in some parts of this world, arranged marriages are still fairly commonplace. Those same parts of the world are commonly comprised of 2nd and 3rd world countries, however, not highly-advanced industrialized emancipated societies like America. For God's sake (and I mean that literally) let the child grow up, have a life of her own, and choose her own life partner.

I'll only touch polygamy briefly: I could but wish that a man who engages in polygamy would be saddled with enough strong-willed wives that his life is made absolutely miserable. My father had a saying: everyone should be married; no one should be happy. (He'd always say it with a smile, though, and a nod to his own long-lasting marriage to my Mom.) So I'd use that saying in multiplicity to men who want several wives - may they each make you miserable. Women are not chattel and were not put on this earth with the purpose of providing men with sexual pleasure and multitudes of children. What an insulting concept!

I also have a comment on his sentencing. Isn't 5-to-life a bit, er, broad?! I mean, 25-to-life carries some weight...if you're 50 when sentenced, 25 years is a long, long time...most of the rest of your life. Unless you're 80 when sentenced, 5-to-life carries no such weight. Especially considering that with time off for good behavior and various crap like that, he'll be up for parole in just THREE years. What's the punishment in that?!

And now to the cult that is the FLDS. I married into a family where members were or are still a part of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I'm willing to accept that church as a legitimate religion. However, this splinter group that Warren Jeffs heads: not so much. The people who are a part of this cult blindly follow wherever lead, never once stopping to question the lives that their leaders choose for them. I could feel pity for them, but as always, I only feel sorry for the children. For the adults, I only feel contempt.

I also have a piece of advice for people who belong to this cult, and others like it throughout the world: there's a reason that you are shunned by society and undergo criticism at all turns. By pointedly and repeatedly ignoring the laws and practices of the society in which you live, you have chosen to wall yourselves off. If you dislike something about the society in which you live, work constructively to change it, or relocate to a society more accepting of your beliefs and practices. Intentionally subverting the society in which you live is just unacceptable. There are far better ways to work to coexist in this world.

Read more here: Polygamist Leader Jeffs...

Take Care,

(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 11/21/07, 11:20 AM.)

Weekend Recap and Goals 11/19

Hi, everyone!

In a nod to the holiday week, I'm going to go low-key on my wrap-up and goals this time around. For last week, here's my recap:

Got Patti's interview and new PR done; still working on Isabel's.

Worked through exercises for parts 1 and 2 of DSDB, chatted with Patti re: results last night for like 30 minutes.

Nothing for NaNo - well, ok, a few words, but it's just not been a priority.

Got more writing apps out AND landed a new gig - I will now be blogging for The Pitstop Report on 451Press. I start later this week.

Web site ain't up - I'm going to take Patti's advice and stop fiddling with it and just post it. I can continue revisions once it's up.

Got a few FL articles done, but not 10. Again, I'm not pressuring myself...last week had enough stress as it was.

Blogging - nailed it. Had my 10 posts well ahead of time.

Dad's not here - ya'll know the story of that already. Talked to Mom this AM and they rejected him from both the in-hospital rehab program AND the rehab center program due to his mental state because of the Alzheimer's. Sometime tomorrow they'll be transferring him to a full-scale nursing home, instead. That just breaks my damn heart...I hate to think of my Dad stuck in a "home". I can say, at least, that Mom picked a good one - of all the ones I worked with when I was working at the Hospice in high school, the one she chose was nicest. With Medicare and his BC/BS supplemental, they'll cover a total of 100 days. God willing he only needs 40 or so and can then come to my home down here.

I had an ok week - not a great week, but I survived it, so it qualifies as ok. Hopefully this week will be better - really looking forward to Thanksgiving and hosting everyone. Looks like we'll have 12...that's a good number for me!

I discussed this week's goals with Patti last night, but I'm not going to list them all out here this week, as it's my first week really following the suggestions of DSDB, so after this week is up, and I've assessed how I did, I'll go back to posting here.

Have a great week, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving!


Manic Monday #5

Happy Monday, ya'll! It's been a very busy start - I'm a bit late getting this up, aren't I? Thanks to Lisa for more great questions this week!

What is your least favorite day of the week and why?
Monday - of course! Just always a frantic start to the work week after the lull of the weekend. Plus, I hate when the weekened ends!! :-)

What's the best way to end the day?
With a good book - I read every single night before bed.

Which animal would you have left out of the ark?
SNAKES! Oh, God, I hate snakes beyond anything I can possibly describe. My fear is so deep that I can't even see them on the big screen (aka movies) without just wanting to go into hiding for a long, long time. Noah, what were you THINKING?!

Have a great weekend, ya'll!


Beware "The Seeker"

I don't intend to make reviewing movies a habit on this blog, but I just want to share my thoughts on the movie I saw last evening with my friend Kristen.

After both of us were somewhat indecisive on what to see, we finally decided to go to the Cinemark 8 in North Richland Hills, which charges only $1.25 for movies that start before 6 PM. (If only the same discount applied to concessions...)

We chose The Seeker: The Dark is Rising ahead of time, but I think it was primarily based on title and not because we'd even really heard of it or desired greatly to see it.

If you haven't already added this to your "must see" list, please don't. I won't flat out say that it was a terrible movie - it wasn't - but it sure as hell wasn't great either.

My issues with the movie? It was flat, first of all. The plot wasn't all that intriguing, quite honestly. But perhaps I wasn't in the demographic they were aiming for. Next, the characters were as flat as the plot. None of the characters were developed at all - not bit - and consequentially, the interaction between characters made little-to-no sense at all. My final real issue with this movie was that the editor had a bit too much fun - the thing was positively jumpy, hopping from scene to scene without a segue to be seen. (HA! Say THAT seven times fast!)

Oh yeah, and it was derivative. I was reminded of these other stories/movies greatly through nearly the entire movie:

The Day After Tomorrow
A Wrinkle in Time
The Chronicles of Narnia (complete; not just one of the stories)
The Birds
and Sleepy Hollow

So if you'd like to see a movie about drastic climate changes on earth that occur while bending time and on a magical quest that includes creepy blackbirds and a mysterious horseman...The Seeker is your best bet.

If not, stay away.


Taking On Suicidal Cults

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

In the midst of an already-cold Russian winter, members of a doomsday cult have holed themselves in a cave to await the apocalypse, which they believe will come in May 2008.


Folks, I have a healthy respect for religion. These folks call themselves the "true" Russian Orthodox Church, and as the granddaughter of a woman who was Russian Orthodox, I have to say that I'd believe she's turning over in her grave to think of these fools pulling this stunt.

Typical of many cults, their leader has lead them to a very dark place...and now isn't even there to share it with them. Instead, the Russian police have asked him to intervene and get them out of the frigid cave.

The members of the cult have threatened to kill themselves if the police attempt force. Boo hoo. Go for it. The only tragedy of this is that the loonies have 4 kiddos inside with them - any adult sick enough to deliberately put a child in that kind of circumstance should just be shot on sight.

I'm sending many prayers and positive thoughts out for those kids, and have my fingers crossed that the Russian authorities find a way to get them out of that cave before the adults blow themselves into their own Armageddon. As for the You people are disposable if you are really so weak as to blindly follow a leader who controls every aspect of your lives, straight to the point where it looks like your only option is to batten down in anticipation of the end of the world. Wow. I'm trying to muster up some pity for these folks, but all I can think about is the Heaven's Gate mess and then of course the Branch Davidians here in Texas...and really, I can only ever feel sorry for the kids.

And as for the contemplation of suicide, all I can say is that if you truly believe that your God wants you to kill yourself, you've obviously gone far, far astray.

When will people finally understand that religion is not ever about causing harm to one's self or to another or deliberately putting one's self or another in danger?

Read more: Doomsday Cult Threatens Suicide

Take Care,

(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 11/16/07, 11:26 AM.)

Friday Feast #4

Hi, ya'll!

I'm sneaking in with a just-past-midnight Friday Feast - enjoy, leave me your link, and I'll come visit you later in the day! :-)

What was your first “real” job?
My first paying job started at age 5, working in my Dad's grocery store as a bagger - he'd pay me like .50 an hour to bag, since my Mom used his store as a babysitter. By age 10, I was running the cash register for a couple bucks an hour like an old pro. By early middle school, Dad was also paying me to "help" his older checkergirls with their term papers - in the process of typing their notes for them, I also did some pretty heavy editing...I'm pretty sure all of his checkers got straight A's because of MOI. Haha!

The first few times I made money outside of my family was with music - I performed my violin and piano at a variety of church-based events in the greater Scranton/Poconos area throughout middle school and high school and made around $35 for an hour's highest per hour pay, to date! :-) My first "punch the timeclock" job was as a salesgirl/jewelry buyer for Cloud 9, a funky little apparel/jewelry/trinket shop on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey. I worked there the summers of '98 and '99.

My first "real" post-college job was in IT/Compliance/Clinical Ops with a radiology company in downtown Dallas. Fun times! Add a few years and jobs and I'm finally in my ideal job as an HR Analyst/Project Manager with American Airlines - now that really is a good time! :-) (Have I mentioned that I have the world's best boss?)

Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
The beach - seeing the water pound against the sand does things for my soul that I can't quite describe. That's probably part of my problem these days...haven't seen the ocean in far too long. (And no, the ocean hitting the rocks in Vancouver in September doesn't count - I'm talking "go to the beach and sunbathe" ocean - think NJ/FL/CA coasts. The last I experienced that was Ang's wedding last November. BTW, Happy First Anniversary, dear old friend! :-)

Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…
My husband brags on me. He does it to be sweet and supportive, but it makes me go tongue-tied, which is something that rarely happens in my world.

Main Course
What values did your parents instill in you?
Eh, I have a *slight* problem with this wording. One of the leadership courses I teach deals with the differentiation between morals, ethics and values, and using the definition of values from that course, values are something that you hold dear above anything else. I believe values come from a personal decision, not from "instillation", which means that you didn't have a choice in choosing what you hold dear. (Other definitions from that course: morals are a person's personal beliefs of right versus wrong, whereas ethics are the result of several individuals banding together and agreeing upon morals and values that define their population.)

Having said all of that (I'm feeling wordy tonight), I would have to argue that my parents modeled certain moral beliefs and value preferences that I've chosen to live in my own life as well. (In some cases, I've chosen the opposite of that modeled!) Some of my beliefs, quite honestly, make me feel very "old-fashioned", but ah, well...we all know that morals have gone to hell in society. I don't think I'll ever live long enough to outlive my Catholic guilt, but on the other hand, I know quite a few people who could use a big ol' dose of that.

My greatest value is independence. No matter the issues I may have with portions of my upbringing, the greatest gift my parents ever gave me was the ability to make decisions that would affect my life from the time I was very young; to travel and live independently; and to always rely first upon myself before ever asking for the help of another - this to the point where I find that I can barely ever bring myself to ask for help, even when I may desperately need it. So perhaps my independence is a value to the point of a flaw at times, but I'd far rather be able to always do for myself than feel beholden to another to do for me. As was said in my Audrey Hepburn quote from last week's Thursday Thirteen, (paraphrasing) we are given two hands for a reason - one hand to help ourselves and the other to help those around us. Unfortunately for our world, too many people believe that they are given two hands so that they can use both to reach for a handout.

Name 3 fads from your teenage years.
Yeesh. This one's hard...I went to a high school that required a uniform, so fashion fads never registered with me...perhaps why I still care so little about clothing to this day. (But I was a damn good clothing and jewelry salesperson!) So let's think...
1. Pagers - we all had 'em! Funny stuff. We thought we were so cool. (Bear in mind that cell phones were mostly still hardwired into cars at that point - my first one was! My second cell phone was so damn big that I could have used it to kill a rat. Text messages definitely did not exist back then - we were lucky the phones dialed! Caller ID on a cell phone? Not unless you were psychic! I should post up the link to my first published freelancing article which talked about the progression of cell was funny stuff. Article: How I Learned to Use My Cell Phone When the guy published it, apparently it lost all formatting - sorry that it's a bit hard to read!)
2. Cut jeans - we'd cut either side of the ends of the pantlegs of our jeans to fit around boots and such. Crazy stuff.
3. Ying yang symbols - I had necklaces, earrings, etc. that had this crap on it. Stupid stuff!

Sorry for the sermon, folks. Some things just get me talking!

Dad update: surgery afternoon of 11/15, rehab to start 11/20, cleared to come to Texas near the beginning of the year. All going well so far. Thanks for the prayers - keep 'em coming!

Happy Weekend!


Lohan Serves Jail Time for Taking Off

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

Lindsay Lohan recently spent time in jail as punishment for drunk driving and possessing cocaine.

How much time did Lohan serve for her illegal behavior, you might ask? 84 minutes. Eighty four minutes. Eight four.

Are you kidding me?

The woman has been arrested twice in the past year, once she wrecked her car and the other time after leading the police on a chase.

In addition to her 84 minutes behind bars, Lohan was also sentenced to 10 days of community service, 3 years of probation and 18 months in an alcohol education program. Lohan also spent two months in rehab, although that was not court ordered.

Let me remind you that this star of Freaky Friday and a variety of other mind-numbing movies was arrested for DRUNK DRIVING and POSSESSING COCAINE.

84 minutes.

I'm freaking fit to be tied. Of course, this is out of the Left Coast, where the legal system, which includes the misguided 9th Circuit, always does just the opposite of what would be rational or realistic.

And, of course, if you're famous, the law doesn't apply to you as it does to "normal people", does it? Freaking ridiculous. No wonder our legal system is laughed at by the rest of the world. No matter how often MOST people within the legal system do the right thing, some jerk has to go and decide that 84 minutes plus basically meaningless additional punishments like community service and probation, is appropriate for two felonies.


Read more: Lindsay Lohan Spends 84 Minutes in Jail

Take Care,

(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 11/15/07, 8:24 PM.)

Thursday Thirteen #5

Hi, everyone!

It's been a heck of a week...I've had some accomplishments, and some pure frustrations. I'm trying to minimalize the frustrations, no matter how readily they're trying to take over my life, so in order to give myself a mental vacation, this week's Thursday Thirteen is about places where I actually want to go on vacation - plus the times of year I'd go!


1. Daytona Beach, Florida, in February 2008 - just in time for the 50th running of the Daytona 500. Man, I'd give my right arm to go. Unfortunately, that's about what it would cost! :-(

2. Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the spring - I have heard that Cape Cod is just the most beautiful place in the spring - I'd love to find out.

3. New Hampshire/Vermont, in the fall - this is the setting for my WIP The Mommy Letters and I still haven't identified the actual town I want to model mine after...for now, it's just a "small New England town."

4. Boise, ID, in the fall - I have never been, but this is where my husband went to college - I'd love to be able to take him there one fall for a football game.

5. England/Scotland, in the spring, with my mother - I know, *gasp*, wanting to take a trip with my mom. What's wrong with me? But my mom shares my interest in learning more about our family history, much of which lies in England, and so it would be a neat trip to take to learn more.

6. Beirut, Lebanon, whenever they stop shooting for longer than 5 minutes - Ok, this is a weird one, I know, but I'm 50% Lebanese, but yet know hardly anything about this portion of my heritage. In tracing my dad's family, it seems all info from before his parents immigrated at the turn of the 20th century simply doesn't exist.

7. Detroit, Michigan, in the spring - This is a primary setting for flashbacks for my WIP DNA, but yet Michigan remains one of 9 states to which I have never been. Need to go!

8. Lake Lure, North Carolina, in June - My "Texas parents" up and moved to North Carolina last fall and I miss them terribly. They're actually the parents of a former boyfriend of mine, but he's generously shared them with me. June was Ginny's (Texas Mom) favorite time of year to visit her property in NC before their home was built there, and so that's when I would like to visit as well.

9. Anchorage, AK, in the summer - Alaska is another of the 9 states to which I have never traveled, and now that I have (AF) friends living in that area, I have a reason to visit! They know I hate winter, though, so the visit will have to wait until summer. Even more special is that Chris spent summers in Alaska growing up, so it would be somewhat of a homecoming for him, as well!

10. Sturgis, SD, during Bike Week - Ok, I've attended Bike Week in the past in Daytona, but I've heard that it's NOTHING like what goes on in Sturgis...and that's something I need to see for myself! Plus, SD is another of my missing 9 states, and I could also hit ND, WY, and MT quite easily from there, taking another 3 off my list o' 9!

11. Greece, in the spring - I've been obsessed with taking a cruise through the Mediterranean for years, now. I've loved Greek mythology and history all of my life, and to go there in person would just be awesome!

12. Oberammergau, Germany, in 2010 - I really wanted to go see the Passion Plays in 2000 (since they are held only every 10 years) but was simply not able to would be so special to be able to re-visit Germany and introduce it to my husband while attending this once-in-a-lifetime event.

13. Hawaii, anytime, forever - If you know me at all, you had to know that I was going to end with a beach - in fact, you're probably surprised that I didn't include more beach locations, aren't ya? If I could make enough money to go plant myself on a beach and never move again, I'd be the happiest girl alive. Plus, HI is another state on my remaining 9 to-visit list! I love Texas, but boy do I miss the beach...and no, the Gulf is certainly not the same.

So...if you're counting, if I got to take the trips on this list, I'd go to 13 different states and 5 foreign countries, plus reduce my list of states not visited to only 2 - which would be great, since it's my goal to hit all 50 states before age 30 and I'm down to less than 3 years left! (Remaining states are Wisconsin and Oregon.)

Have a great Thursday!

If you can, please spare a prayer for my Dad, who broke a hip yesterday. I'm still awaiting word from my mom on when his surgery will be for a replacement, and then the current thought-in-progress is having him come to Texas directly after the hospital plus possibly a few weeks at Allied for rehab, to finish his recovery in my house, since any in-home assistance is just impossible in mom's home. He was supposed to come down on Saturday - argh! So perhaps we can get him down here in early December or even early January instead. Anyhow, keep him in your prayers, please.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Announcing "The Daddy Spell"

Romance author Patti Ann Colt will have her debut novel, The Daddy Spell, released on November 14, 2007 by The Wild Rose Press.

Patti just so happens to be my husband's aunt - and so I've had the opportunity to have the inside scoop throughout her publishing experience.

I've just published an interview with Patti on Associated Content - it would be awesome if you went to check it out, and even more awesome if you checked out Patti's book when it comes out tomorrow!

Interview with Patti Ann Colt



NaNo Blah Blah

I sat at my laptop for about 3 hours last night, after spending the prior 3 hours finishing up Patti's latest press release and finalizing the text of her author interview. I stared at the screen. I stared through the screen. I went back and re-read everything written to-date towards NaNo - which is to say, I read the very few pages (like 15-ish?) I've actually written. I re-read my outlining notes for DNA, the piece I'm working on for NaNo. I checked my email, my Facebook and my MySpace. I checked in with my women's group on iVillage. I checked the weather in Scranton for the weekend. And then I stared some more.


About 2 AM, I reached into my work bag and withdrew the notebook I'd used when writing longhand on last week's flight home from MSP. I went back and read through everything I'd handwritten, although I've already transcribed it into my Word document.

And then...I wrote. So apparently, my brain just isn't into the whole typing my story for NaNo bit...but when I put a pen in my hand, it just freaking flowed. I wrote for about an hour, got about 1500 words on paper (I compulsively count words everytime I finish the back and front of a page...part of my anal-ness, I guess)...and then went to bed to salvage a few hours sleep before getting up to come to work this morning.

Not sure what that's all hand'll fall off if I try to write an entire novel longhand, but I guess, for now, with the typing my story completely not working out for me, I'll continue to give it a try! It's funny...I wrote like 4000 words for other stuff - PR, interview, blog posts, etc....last night as problem with typing all of that! Just couldn't do it with fiction.


Happy Tuesday, ya'll!


P.S. The BAD NEWS on my writing last night is that while reading over what I'd already written, I found a chunk of it to be extremely superfluous - apparently I felt the need to state and restate descriptions - and so I cut a chunk. So my word count is DOWN. Argh, Argh, Argh. In my own crazy mind (and on the spreadsheet I'm now using), I figure I can still "win" at NaNo if I write 2500 or so words per day for the rest of the month and don't strike anything else. But jeez!

Taking On Hillary

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

'24' Executive Producer proclaims that Hillary for President is nuts.

Finally...someone in Hollywood with enough brains not to follow blindly down the path of liberal lunacy.

I don't really have a long reaction to this blog posting from - the most liberal news outlet of them all - except to say that it makes my heart exceedingly proud to read that Joel Surnow, the Executive Producer for hit Fox tv show '24' will probably support Rudy Giuliani's bid for the presidency.

Ya know...I'm not sure I've ever seen a single episode of '24', but I think that I'll now start watching!

Read more: 24 Creator: Clinton as President is "nuts"

Take Care,


EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN didn't actually take down the article - they did, however, change the link after the fact! I've updated the link and it's now available for your viewing pleasure!

(1 Comment Transferred; original posting date 11/13/07, 12:01 AM.)

ArtfulSub said...

Not surprisingly, the leftist trash at CNN has eliminated the article. One suspects there's a newly unemployed editor at the Clinton News Network. Unlike her loathesome "husband", the Hildebeest will prove NOT to be a "comeback kid". She's glass. Hard and cold, but brittle. If she takes a hard hit at some point in the process, she'll shatter into tiny pieces.

November 23, 2007 11:48 AM

Weekend Recap and Goals 11/12

Good afternoon, everyone!

I'm a little late this Monday in getting my stuff posted - my apologies! Today at AA is nothing but meetings, meetings, meetings. Added to my overall physical soreness after 4 hours of cleaning/hauling wood/weeding from yesterday, and it's just been a doozy of a morning.

Something not on last week's checklist that I accomplished is reading the lecture notes to Margie Lawson's Defeating Self-Defeating Behavior class, cover to cover. I've identified Patti as my Change Coach (and she's agreed to the role!) and so you'll find steps towards beginning the journey outlined in Margie's work in this week's goals.

Here's a recap of my goals from last week, and the results. Patti was prophetic when she wished me success in achieving 50% - I hit about 70% - which, although not ideal, is better than nothing!

1. Swap out furniture/decorations, pick up new furniture - check!
2. NaNoWriMo - Heck, no! I'm even further behind now! ARGH! I've written an EVEN MORE agressive catch up plan, however, and by God, if it kills me, this WIP is going to get finished.
3. Patti's interview/review - Yeah, didn't hit this either. Dang it. It MUST get done between today and tomorrow, since her book now releases on WEDNESDAY!
4. Blogging - Check! I posted a bunch here, once on my other blog, and created a new editorial blog for myself to boot. Yahoo!
5. Press release, Isabel - Check! We spoke by phone on Thursday - it will be finished this week!
6. Applications - other writing jobs - Semi-Check - still a few to go.
7. Writing - 10 freelance articles - Semi-Check. Got a few, not all.
8. Welcome my mother-in-law to my house! - Check! She's settling in well.
9. Work out final details for dad traveling down next week. - Check! If my mother changes anything at this point, I'll be fit to be tied.
10. Have a great week! - Check!

Now for this week:
1. Part 1: Write updated press release for Patti's novel, The Daddy Spell, to be released by The Wild Rose Press on 11/14/07. MUST BE DONE MONDAY NIGHT. Part 2: Finish writing Patti's author interview and book review. MUST BE DONE BY TUESDAY NIGHT.
2. Part 1: Finish writing Isabel's press release for her novel, Johanna, to be released by Awe-Struck on 11/22/07. MUST BE DONE BY TUESDAY NIGHT. Part 2: Finish writing Isabel's author interview. MUST BE DONE BY WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
3. Begin working through exercises from DSDB. Set first review session with Patti.
4. NaNo - I need to be at 15k words by 11:59 PM on November 15th, so 2500 words per day between now and then. ACK!
5. Writing apps - still a few in progress. Must close out.
6. Web site - I've fiddled with the damn thing so much that I'm starting to hate it and it isn't even posted yet. Must get it up. Like now.
7. Freelance - 10 articles.
8. Blogging - total of 10 posts between my three blogs (not including Fredericksen blog, but I'll try to get something up over there as well).
9. Pick up dad/uneventful trip home from PA to establish him in my household.
10. Have a great week!

And I hope you do the same!


Manic Monday #4

Week 4 for me of participating in Manic Monday - yay!

This week has some extremely thought-provoking questions - I enjoyed! Make sure to leave your link and I'll be around to visit all of my visitors later today!

What family traditions or customs would you most like to see preserved?
Hmm...many of the traditions I observe are really of my own creation, or were created between my husband and I. I really enjoy making a big to-do over Thanksgiving and will continue to do so in the future on the years that I'm lucky enough to host - like this year! I also really like the tradition of putting up Christmas decorations on the Friday after Thanksgiving...that is one tradition that was sometimes observed in my childhood as well.

What do you feel is the least sexy part of the body?
Feet. Oh boy, I really hate feet. Ugh. Ugly.

What keeps you awake at night? Why? (This could be worries, recurring thoughts, pain or any other distraction. Read into this any way you wish.)
It may be easier to explain what doesn't keep me up at night! I'm a worrier - I think through everything repeatedly and then when I think I'm done, I think through it again. Pain is also sometimes my worst enemy...there are some days when my joints simply do not stop screaming long enough for me to get some peace. I've learned that I can survive quite successfully on about 2-3 good hours of sleep per night, of the 6-7 I spend in bed. That sounds bad, I guess, but I'm used to it! :-)

Wi-Fi Takes Off

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

American Airlines* recently announced that it would partner with AirCell to provide in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers on transcontinental flights beginning in 2008.

To be honest, I think that this is a move that’s been a long time in the coming and that will thrill passengers on all of the selected 767 flights. Quite frankly, however, I am surprised with the testing of in-flight Wi-Fi before a solution has been found or introduced for in-flight cellular capabilities.

You’ll notice that most planes no longer have any kind of phone on board. Simply put, Verizon was charging way to much money per minute to make the use of these devices practical or affordable.

It’s surprising to me that a deal would be reached to provide in-flight Wi-Fi when in-flight cellular service would seem to be almost as much in demand – if not even more desirable – and just as necessary to conduct business and personal matters while in transit.

Having said that, I am very excited to see the coming of in-flight Wi-Fi. I have often been on a plane and wished that I could sync up my email, search Google, or find driving directions to use at my final destination. I think this is a great move by American Airlines that will keep the company at the forefront of innovation.

Read more: American Airlines' In-Flight Wi-Fi to Debut in 2008

Take Care,


*Yes, I work for American Airlines as an HR Analyst. No, I am not writing this post because I work for American Airlines; I am writing this post because I believe it is newsworthy and I have an opinion to offer. Yes, American Airlines is the best carrier around and you should choose it to fulfill all of your travel and cargo needs. No, I didn't write this post simply to shamelessly plug my own Associated Content article on the same topic, but you should definitely go read it anyways!
(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 11/12/07, 12:00 AM.)

Lighting Up on Cigarettes

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

Congress has announced that it wants to add an additional $.61 tax to every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States. They intend to use the revenue from this federal tax to fund the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

I used to smoke. I started smoking when I was in middle school. I quit smoking in February 2007. I've been around smokers all my life - it's part of the reason I started smoking at such a young age.

Why did I quit smoking? Not out of any particular concern for my health. I didn't really ever think I smoked enough to harm my health - 1 pack a week doesn't exactly a chain smoker make.

I quit smoking because the State of Texas added an enormous amount of tax at the beginning of 2007 onto each pack of cigarettes, making it so a carton of cigarettes went from about $24 to over $40. Simply put, I was too cheap to continue to justify buying cigarettes.

If this bill goes through and an additional tax is added to every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States, I'm wondering how many other people will be priced out of smoking. And would that necessarily be a bad thing? After all, we're all told, repeatedly, that smoking is bad for us. many people do it.

Here's the quandary I face on this issue, however, when evaluating the tax proposed by Congress:

Let me get this straight. You want to charge me an extra $.61 for every 20 cigarettes I buy - 1 pack - because you are punishing me for doing something bad - smoking. (For anyone counting, $.61 per pack is $6.10 per carton.) However, you want me to keep doing something bad - smoke - so that you can fund healthcare for children. Are you serious?

I firmly support President Bush and his stance on this issue, which is to say that he will veto any such enormous tax added to each pack of cigarettes.

Funding healthcare for children who do not otherwise have coverage is an important issue. However, doing so by adding an additional tax to cigarettes just seems idiotic.

What do you think?

Read more here: Congress Seeks to Raise Cigarette Tax 61 Cents Per Pack to Fund SCHIP

Take Care,

(1 Comment Transferred; original posting date 11/11/07, 5:11 PM.)

TorAa said...
This is what I call double moral: They want people to quit smoking and on the other hand calculating State Income. As we said in my childhood: sooner or later we have to pay taxes for fresh air... Need I say more? Nice to have found your blog- for a Norwegian November 17, 2007 3:17 PM


...a new blog.

Ok, ok, I know that this blog, in itself, is still quite new. And I know that I already write all over the place online anyways. But hey, what's another new venture?

Called Tiffany Takes On... my new blog is a place to highlight the news, my views, and what's going on in the world around us. Basically, it's a forum for me to share my own editorial on current happenings.

Fun times! Go visit! Let me know what you think!


Tom Cruise Takes On Politics

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

Tom Cruise as a Republican Senator with his eyes set on the Presidency? Has the world gone mad?

In the latest Tom Cruise flick, released 11/9/07 and entitled Lions for Lambs, the great man himself plays a politician on a mission: to introduce a new war strategy for Afghanistan while making himself a shoo-in for the White House.

Now, I love Tom Cruise. Dearly. And his performances in other political or military movies such as Top Gun and A Few Good Men are just phenomenal. In fact, Top Gun is one of my favorite movies of all time - I do believe I could recite the entire script from start to finish. (Given enough beer, that is.)

But the political views of Tom Cruise more readily identify with his role in Born on the Fourth of July than his current release. Which is why I love him for his acting...not his views.

Like I said above...has the world gone mad? The oft-outspoken Cruise has beliefs that are typically so far to the left end of the political spectrum that binoculars might be necessary to find them. Playing a Republican??? All I can say is that this is a movie I desperately need to see.

Ok, and Meryl Streep? Exactly how many face lifts has that woman had? She's 58 and has the smooth, taut skin of a teenager. I'm amazed...perhaps her own radical views of the world are the output of the wrinkles tucked behind her ears.

I invite all of you to go see this movie and share your opinions back here with me. I plan to see it as soon as I have a spare few moments...and you can bet I'll post my reactions when I do!

Read more here: Cruise Rolls Out 'Lions for Lambs'.

Take Care,

(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 11/10/07, 12:17 PM.)

TTO: Grand Opening

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)

Greetings and salutations!

I am very pleased to announce the grand opening of my new blog, "Tiffany Takes On...". I've often found that my views on the news, society and the world around me can be a of the mainstream at times, and so I'm launching this new blog to give myself a space to highlight the stories that catch my fancy and perhaps give you my own spin from time to time as well! (Ok, so you'll always get a look at my views. Fair warning.)

I invite you to visit, often, and share your own views with me as well. I don't promise to post daily...or sometimes even weekly...but when a story comes out that grabs my attention, I'll always highlight it here!

If you choose to respond, please do so in a respectful manner - the greatest aspect of living in a country that cherishes freedom of speech is the ability to disagree in such a way as to promote conversation, not condescension. I look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,


(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 11/10/07, 12:00 PM.)

It needs to be said... I'm just going to go ahead and say it.

Gregory Peck was HOT.

I just got done watching Roman Holiday - it's been years since I've last seen it, and after my TT featuring Audrey Hepburn, I decided that it was high time to watch it again.

Man oh man...I forgot how hot that man was. Yum.

Serious, serious yum.

Friday Feast #3

This week has some great questions! Fun times - thanks for visiting! Make sure to leave your link, and I'll visit you back!

Which snack do you like to get when you go to the movies?
Popcorn...loads and loads of butter...heartstopping amounts of salt. Yum.

What year did you start using the internet?
Let's first time online was in 1993, America Online. Prior to that, I'd used locally networked computers - just not internet-capable.

What is your first name in Pig Latin?

Main Course
Name something you are picky about.
Oh, heck, nearly everything. I'm definitely a picky eater. Also picky about grammar - but only when it's someone else's usage! Ha, ha!

Fill in the blanks: I ____ ____ yesterday and I ____ ____ today.
I was busy yesterday and I am tired today.

Have a great weekend, ya'll!


Pity Party for Pain

Alrighty...whining ahead. This is more for me than for you, dear reader. To avoid the whine, just go on ahead and skip reading this post. If you proceed...well, consider yourself warned! :-) (And bless you for actually reading!)

< whine >

It's been a bad couple of days for joints in my world. And I'm not talking pot here...I'm talking wrists and back and hips and knees...otherwise fondly known as numbness, dull ache, falling off and won't bend.

I'm too young for this shit. I'm firmly convinced of that.

The problem is that I've been saying "that" for more than ten years now. And it's not gotten any better...just worse, slowly but surely.

I'm 27 years old and I live every day of my life in some degree of pain...most days are really just what I'd now consider a dull roar...but some days, like the past few, are just not good. Not good at all.

I try to deal with my various joint pains in the same way that I deal with other issues in my life...I'll bitch occasionally but largely just tuck it inside and "deal".

When I was 15 and 16, my family doctor (at the time) blamed my aches and ouches on "growing pains". I was prescribed Celebrex. It worked fairly well. He stopped promoting that theory when he came to the realization that I really hadn't grown a speck since age 12 and that a closed growth plate would definitely mean that "growing pains" was not the cause.

At 17, the doctor conceded that I had "arthritic tendencies" but was hesitant to diagnose arthritis in someone so young. (To paraphrase Billy Joel, "tell me about it!") I remained on Celebrex. I was alright...for awhile.

Three months before my 18th birthday, I was in a car accident in Ocean City, New Jersey, where my parents owned our summer home. It was pretty bad. I was turning left from a two lane side street across a four lane main drag with a wide center turn lane. I was hit by a Mercedes going in excess of 60 MPH in a 30 MPH zone. He never tried to stop...instead, he had accelerated to get through the light one block prior and never slowed back down to speed. I was driving my mother's two week old car and was hit directly between the front and back seat doors on the driver's side. The impact caused my car to spin for one full block before I managed to regain control and bring it to a stop.

It was a miracle - a true miracle, in my belief - that I spun straight down the road instead of bumping up over the sidewalk and hitting any of the kids who were playing outside on that sunny summer day. The secondary miracle was that the other driver hit my car directly on the frame, instead of directly on my door. Even so, the frame was bent in by almost eighteen inches. The driver's side door was completely bent in and would not open. The passenger door was jammed because of how far everything had shifted internally.

It took several rather large men to pry the driver's door open. I was removed on a back board and transported by ambulance off the island and to Shore Memorial Hospital, on the mainland in Somer's Point. At that point, a bad situation was made worse. The ambulance was one of the last vehicles off the island before bridges to the island were closed and raised for the annual Night in Venice boat parade. My parents, despite the fact that my dad actually witnessed the accident from our front porch (he didn't realize it was me - didn't recognize the car since it was so new) - did not ride in the ambulance with me and did not make it off the island in time. At the hospital, because I was under 18 and determined not to be in critical condition, left me strapped to the back board - completely immobilized - for more than two hours after arrival until my parents got there. I believe that that lead to my continuing issues just as much as the whiplash from the accident.

Afterwards, I wore a neck brace for about two months. My doctor put me on Skelaxin to deal with my increased pain levels. I was also given a muscle relaxer. Despite that, my neck began to freeze: I would be in the middle of normal activities and would suddenly become unable to move my neck in any direction. This was most often accompanied by severe pain. The worst point came when I sat down on the kitchen floor one day, talking to my boyfriend on the phone, and found that I absolutely could not move to stand up - my neck had frozen, but so had the rest of my back, as well. My boyfriend had to come over (no idea where my parents were...can't remember) and literally break in to take me to the hospital. I was in full spasm. It was awful. I've never again experienced that level of severity, but I have had my neck continue to freeze as recently as a few months ago.

I began to see a chiropractor. Running x-rays - something my family doctor had never bothered to do, post accident - he found that I had conflicting vertebrae - two vertebrae in my neck were pushing in the wrong direction and pinching nerves, causing the freezing I had experienced. He began treatment immediately, and I felt some degree of relief immediately. I later complained to him about having lower back and other joint pain as well, and he ran additional x-rays on my lower back. The discovery? Scoliosis that was never caught/diagnosed by any other means. I went back to my family doctor and he validated the diagnosis of scoliosis and seemed fairly embarrassed that he'd never caught it, despite my continued complaints.

Back to the chiropractor, who I was now visiting three times per week just to be able to live in a fairly pain-free state. Piecing together x-rays from my upper, middle and lower back, the chiro came to the conclusion that the state of my vertebrae was such that he firmly believed that degeneration would continue, accelerate and leave me physically incapacitated by age 40. I chose then, and I choose now, to ignore that as hogwash. Mainly because I cannot accept any such dire prediction based on funny looking pictures.

But it still scared me.

I continued to experience other aches and pains throughout college, including a rather nasty and infected stress fracture in my left leg that ended my days as a runner. I was switched to Bextra. I forced myself through as many physical activities as possible, to prove that there was nothing wrong with me. I probably only made things worse. I was finally switched to Vioxx. It's the medicine that worked best for me...ironic that most of the meds I've taken for pain, however, are now off the market.

After moving to Texas, I found a new chiropractor and decided to try to face life without meds and instead find alternative ways to control my pain. The second chiropractor did not agree with the first's dire prediction of incapacitation but did agree that things would probably only worsen over the years. Ugh. Being a smart man, he also realized that the hip pain I continuously complained of was probably cause by a tilt in my hips caused by my unresolved scoliosis. Short of wearing a heel lift with every pair of shoes and every single day, no real way to alleviate that, unfortunately.

Finances won out over pain management and I discontinued seeing the chiro when $60 per week after insurance simply became prohibitive. Besides, at that point, I had other health issues to deal with and needed to tighten my focus. Due to various health issues - a severe back spasm in 2002, breast surgery (lump removal) in 2003, oral surgery in 2004 and several burst ovarian cysts in 2005, I stored up a stockpile of Vicodin. Since then, I've been parceling out a pill to myself here and there to combat really bad days. I used to try Advil, but it would take a mouthful to even make a dent in the pain. I've tried OTC arthritis meds...they work for about an hour before I need another dose...but doses have to be 4-6 hours apart.

I have no more Vicodin left. About six months ago, during a very thorough check-up at my family doc following another health issue, I complained loudly and strenuously about my pain. I even admitted that I took a Vicodin - or two - once or twice a month just to be able to deal with my pain. She was, surprisingly, ok with that admission. She responded by running a rheumatoid panel as a part of my bloodwork. It came back clear. She also suggested that I had arthritic tendencies, but said that she would feel uncomfortable prescribing any medication toward that end without also prescribing birth control, to avoid the possibility of getting pregnant while on medication that could adversely affect that. A follow-up with my endocrinologist (I have Grave's Disease, a form of hyperthyroidism) found the advancement of the theory that the pain could be connected to the Grave's. Far-fetched at best. There's no known link. She suggested going on BC, having radioactive iodine treatment to kill my thyroid and seeing if that helped my joint pain. Weak. I've refused that treatment for years and without any damn good proof of a link between Grave's and joint pain, I won't reconsider. The OB/GYN was in agreement as more pain meds for me.

So here I am. I took my last Vicodin about a week ago. Today, my joints are just freaking screaming. I have pain shooting up and down my left leg when I walk. I have to shift in my seat every few minutes and still my hips kill. Crossing my legs or sitting Indian style? Out of the question. Even typing...getting painful.

So really, all I have left right now is to whine. But something's gotta give. If it feels like this now, at this age, how the hell will I feel in 5 or 10 years? Frustrating. Simply frustrating.

That's all I got. Now, off to take my aching body to bed...and one last check in my medicine drawer to make sure there aren't any more Vicodin left.

If you actually got through this, bless you.

< /whine >

Good night!

Thursday Thirteen #4

Thirteen Favorite Quotes/Lines from Audrey Hepburn

If you can't tell by the theme of my site, I'm an enormous Audrey Hepburn fan. This week, as tribute to that great lady whose talents far transcended acting, a collection of my favorite quotes and lines from AUDREY HEPBURN.

1. "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."
One of her most memorable quotes...I love it.
2. "I have no illusions about my looks. I think my face is funny."
(From Funny Face, 1957)
In real life, Audrey believed the same. Perhaps she never heard the phrase that imitation is the highest form of flattery, because women, including myself, have tried to imitate her "look" for decades.
3. "Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself; the second is to help others."
Boy, do I wish that other people would learn this and live it. There are far too many people on this planet who just will not ever try to help themselves - let alone reach out to others.
4. "If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name!"
(From Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961)
Stolen from my own blog's heading - one of the best lines in the film.
5. "Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future."
I aspire to live my life in this manner.
6. "Did you know that there are people who sleep with absolutely nothing on at all?"
(From Roman Holiday, 1953)
This line cracks me up...and her delivery of it is precious. I need to re-watch this's been far too long since I've last seen it. Perhaps tonight!
7. "I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."
I believe in this philosophy...if more people could just learn to laugh - and have people in their live to make that laughter possible - wouldn't we all be happier? When I made the conscious decision in my life to become a happier person, one of the only real changes I made was to laugh as often as I could!
8. "Oh, but Paris isn't for changing planes, it's for changing your outlook! For throwing open the windows and letting in... letting in la vie en rose."
(From Sabrina, 1954)
I've never been a huge fan of France, primarily based on their foreign policy and lack of military strength (How many gears does a French tank have? 4 in reverse to retreat and 1 going forward in case it is flanked from behind.) but this quote - and the character's experience overseas - could almost make me want to visit Paris!
9. "I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it."
Profound wisdom from a WWII survivor who achieved far more than she ever expected. Could be used as inspiration for all of us to reach beyond whatever ills ail our lives and accomplish bigger and better for ourselves!
10. "The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated."
(From My Fair Lady, 1964)
I have no commentary for this. Strong line, strong delivery, strong message.
11. "It's that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so 'don't fuss, dear; get on with it.'"
I struggle with this in my life.
12. "You're like this house. You suffer, you show your wounds, but you stand."
(From War and Peace, 1956)
Again, profound. I can offer no commentary, except to say that if more people would force themselves to remain standing even after the most grievous of blows, what a more wonderful place our earth would be.
13. "I don't want to be alone, I want to be left alone."

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Where has the week gone?

Have you all missed me? It's been a hectic week since I last posted on Monday!

On Tuesday, I spent the day at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport - flew a total of 5 hours to spend 4 hours there on the ground! The meeting was a huge success, however - it's the first Joint Leadership Team meeting I moderated as a part of my new position, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Long day, however! Left my house at 6:15 AM before it was light home at 6:45 PM after the sun had already set.

And yes, I know I'm dreadfully behind on NaNo. I'm getting there, though. I promise! I WILL catch up. I'm actually working, still, on building a new schedule for myself to get enough time in to write! I read Maggie Lawson's lecture notes, in their entirety, on the plane to MSP (I wrote on the way back) and with the help of my new Change Coach, Patti, I think I'll be back on track in a jiffy!

On Wednesday, I spent the day at FSU - which is the American Airlines FlagShip University - first presenting as a part of a follow-on training session to new Internal Consultants (weird, because I was now in a position to present to the same people I went through training with initially...guess I can consider myself up to speed with my team now, huh?) and then attending our monthly core team strategic off-site meeting, which was both enjoyable and informative. Three months ago, I felt like I'd never learn enough to be on equal footing with my new team mates - now I really feel integrated! Yahoo!

Last night, I also went to pick up the glider and bed I purchased for what will be my dad's room. Traveling, traveling. Went from far east Fort Worth, where FSU is, to far southwest Fort Worth, where the glider was, to far northwest Fort Worth, where the bed was, back home to kinda-far-east Fort Worth, where I live. And just to hit 4 places in Fort Worth, I drove through a half dozen other towns. This is a crazy area!

Not having such a great time with this latest weather change. My joints are just screaming these days. More on that later...I'm planning a pity party posting for my aches and pains...beware and make sure not to read, haha! Also have a sniffle that will not go away. Dang it.

Oh, well - life's not all that bad - this week is actually falling into place quite well! And so, with that, on to my Thursday Thirteen!

Manic Monday #3

It's just another....Manic Monday!

Great questions this week! I still owe a few people visits from last week - I promise, I'll come visit, soon!! :-)

Describe yourself in one word:

What is your favorite kitchen utensil and why?
My Pampered Chef chopper - man is that thing awesome. First, you put whatever food you want chopped under it. Next, you place the circular opening on top. Finally, you wail the shit out of the top of the chopper, mincing whatever food item to pieces. Anger management therapy plus cooking all in one. I love it.

What is the one thing that frightens you the most about growing old?
Having to have someone to take care of me. I hate that thought.

Weekend Recap and Goals 11/05

Hi, everyone!

Hope ya'll had a great weekend and are enjoying a good start to your new week! Halfway through my Monday, I thought I'd share my recap of the weekend and last week, and my goals for this week!

First, let me just say that NASCAR weekend was just awesome. Perfect weather, good friends to share the races with, awesome neighbors in the campground - just goodness all the way around. Ended up having a little disagreement with the hubby (long story, but I was pretty ticked) but I think we've resolved it and are moving on. Still had a good weekend at TMS and can't wait until the next!

Now, a recap on last week's goals:

1. Attend Fall Leaders Conference - check!
2. NASCAR races - check!
3. NaNo starts on Thursday - I wrote on Thursday and just a teeny bit on Friday. Didn't so much work out to write at the track while camping for NASCAR - too much else going on. Check out my goals below for my catch-up plan.
4. Patti's press release - Got it posted to several sites, and she's experienced a 300% increase of hits to her web site - awesomeness. The timeline for releasing her author interview is below in my goals.
5. Blog 5x for writing blog, 2-3x for non-writing blog - check and check!
6. Finish reading The Daddy Spell galleys for Patti and write/post book review - Still reading - will complete soon! Added to this week's goals!
7. 10 freelance articles - Not quite...just simply ran out of time. Dang it.
8. Apply for a few identified ongoing freelance opportunties - I didn't get to the application phase on these, but have gathered all of the information and done all of the pre-work necessary to move forward. Added to this week's goals.
9. Plastering on staircase; more organizing upstairs; finish rebuilding desktop. No, partial, partial. Getting there, getting there! Finding out that a second parent would be joining us for the winter definitely changed what had to be done in my house last week.
10. Have a great week! CHECK!

So, I was partially successful - can't win 'em all, but I'm happy with what I did get done. On to this week's goals:

1. Swap out some furniture/decorations in upstairs bedrooms; pick up bed and glider purchased from craigslist; pick up television purchased from eBay; pick up mirror frame with new mirror glass installed - Monday evening. (This will finalize our preparations to get ready for Karen and Dad. Total spent on furniture and mirror replacement: $145. Not bad. I love craigslist/eBay!)
2. NaNoWriMo - catch up time, already! This week: the goal is 2000 words per day on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, plus 2500 on Saturday and Sunday...and for Tuesday, it's catch-up time - 5 hours on a plane to MSP and back for a 2-hour meeting (the logistics of my travel amaze me) equals 3000 words, I hope! :-)
3. Part 1: Author interview - Patti - post final version to AC after getting Patti's approval - Thursday. Part 2: Book review - Patti - post final version to ArsC - Friday.
4. Blogging - 5 posts here, 2 posts on other blog.
5. Press release/marketing - Isabel - phone conversation pending her schedule.
6. Applications - other writing jobs. MUST get done this week. We'll say Thursday night.
7. Writing - 10 freelance articles. Saturday/Sunday mornings.
8. Welcome my mother-in-law to my house! She arrives late Wednesday evening.
9. Work out final details for dad traveling down next week.
10. Have a great week!

And I hope you all have a great week as well! :-)


Thursday Thirteen #3

It's that time again! I'm off to start on NaNo - can't wait to write my first few thousand words - but before I do that, since the clock has turned and the day has begun, it's THURSDAY THIRTEEN TIME!

Thirteen Random or Little Known Facts about TIFFANY ALLER

1. I work for an airline...and travel fairly often for work...and, in addition, I've flown almost a half million miles in my life for pleasure, spanning several continents and almost the entire continental United States...and I've had informal flying lessons and personally taken the controls of three different small planes...and one of my goals is to get my private pilot's license by age 30...and despite all of that, I'm TERRIFIED of flying!

2. Little known fact: when I was in college, I pledged a co-ed service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega. I remain involved in this organization currently, as an alumni volunteer who travels around the country teaching Leadership Development courses at college campuses. Some of the colleges I've taught at include UCLA, USC, SMU, UT, Elon, UC-Irvine, UTD, UD, TWU, Drake, Creighton, U Toledo and Texas Tech. I think I'm missing a few, but can't think of them!

3. Littler known fact: at my naming ceremony when I finished the 8 weeks of pledging activities (read: hazing is a bad word and we officially don't recognize it...but boy was Hell Night - er, Finals Night - fun!) was a bit, er, embarassing, when I was tagged with the following: My Little Levi's Loving ROTC Hungry Husky. I can't remember if I may be missing a word or two, but what I do remember is that this made me die of embarassment when I had to explain it's background, a la the history written by my Big, to my fellow pledges. I think the potentially missing part had something to do with Tom Cruise. I just can't remember.

4. When I was in third grade, a dear friend died in a snowmobiling accident. That year, at Easter, I wrote a story (even then, I was a writer) about how I wanted to spend spring break visiting him in heaven. In sixth grade, I was asked to write/deliver a dedication when my elementary school opened an outdoor classroom constructed in his name. Those two writings - the story and the speech - were my first two times to be published - the local paper carried both. What an awful way to gain publication, though...although I often think of Brent, I rarely remember those writings.

5. The first two tapes that I owned as a child were the soundtracks to Cocktail and The Bodyguard. Mom bought them for me as stocking stuffers one Christmas. I think that if she'd known the storylines of those movies, I would have gotten a different gift.

6. The first two CDs that I owned, in high school, was the soundtrack to Friends and whatever Mariah Carey drivel was out at the time.

7. I plan an agenda for preparing Thanksgiving in 15 minute time slots. My friends and family make fun of me for this, but I'm 2 for 2 - I've never failed to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table for the years I've hosted at the exact time promised. Hoping to go 3 for 3 this year!

8. I'm a packrat - I save everything. Some people have favorite items of mine (ok, not necessarily favorites, but things they've seen) that they make fun of me for keeping. For Danielle, it's my wardrobe in nearly its entirety. For Mike, it's my juror's badge from 2005. Random stuff!

9. Speaking of wardrobes, I've been nearly the exact same height and weight since age 13 - I'm now 27. Since 13, my weight has fluctuated only by 10 pounds in either direction of where I am right now. That means I have a LOT of old clothes from middle and high school, plus college, that I still wear. See, I'm not the fashionista type. I'm lucky I don't go to work in sweats every day. I could honestly care less about my clothes 99% of the time. I certainly don't allot any money towards fashion but instead buy new duds when I get gift certificates or whatnot. But I consider it a damn good thing I saved so much clothing from, say, debate tournaments and music recitals, because that meant I didn't have to but much in the way of suits or work clothes when I became the corporate type 6 years ago! :-)

10. I have two stories from my past that I haven't shared with anyone I met since moving to Texas: why I left ROTC and why I have an aversion to super short hair and people named Anna. I'm finally at the point where I think I may share both with my husband. Neither reflect poorly on me or are embarassing or anything like that, but both just remind me of things that I'd rather forget, in the interest of not dwelling or being upset.

11. When I was a little kid, my mom refused to let anyone call me Tiff, saying that she'd named me Tiffany for a reason, not Tiff. To this day, I've never introduced myself to anyone, ever, as Tiff. I do scribble Tiff sometimes when writing my name on a list and I use Tiff as part of my AIM nickname, but I've never asked anyone to call me Tiff instead of Tiffany. Despite this, 99% of people call me Tiff at least occasionally. I decided, years ago, to not let this bother me...I am not my mother! :-)

12. In high school, I broke to finals at speech and debate states for Radio Announcing. In college, I became a DJ for the campus station, hosting Classic Rock and Top 40 shows. I think it'd be so neat if I could find a way to get back on the radio in present life...but I'm thinking my chances are slim, wouldn't you say?

13. In 1990, at the age of almost-10, I performed my violin at Carnegie Hall. To think: the height of my musical career, at age 10. But boy...that's something I'll never, ever forget.

And there you have it, folks. 13 totally random things!

Have a great day, ya'll!


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!