Yahoo for taxes!



But we're now responsible homeowning taxpayers now - just paid our first property taxes online - and now that we're $5k poorer, I've got to say...


The former owners didn't file any exemptions last year for their portion of the taxes, since they were selling...which upped the bill by like $1k.


And we only put away money from June through December, so instead of putting in monthly towards our taxes, we only started putting in after we were in the house and started paying the mortgage.


But, actually, that says good things. If we were able to put away that much money after DRAINING our savings to buy the house and pay for the materials to do the updates we've done, and if we were able to live comfortably on our remaining income, we can successfully continue to put away that much each month which will mean an actual savings ACCUMULATION since it'll be 12 months versus 7!

And our exemption is already filed for this year - the estimate for next year's total due is WAY LOWER! YAHOO!!!!

I think the latest goal is to use the leftover savings come next January's tax time and buy a small used camper to use for NASCAR weekends. But our goals change with the wind, so who knows???

Glad that's over with!

Two Tags and a Rant

Howdy, folks!

This is kind of another one of those "move along, nothing to see here" kinds of posts...but not quite.

Still having a busy, busy, busy week, and it's only going to get worse. But I wanted to acknowledge that I've been tagged for two MeMes, and also express a slight rant.

Thanks to Siani for tagging me in a link love MeMe. I'll get my own version up with a new link ASAP. Always nice to spread the love!

Thanks also to "Twinkle Mom" for tagging me for "Six non-important things/habits/quirks" MeMe - sounds like fun and it'll definitely get the juices flowing in my brain.

And now, a slight rant. last post was about entering Nathan Bransford's Surprisingly Essential First Page Challenge. In my post, I mention that a few other bloggers have joined in the fun and were also offering critiques of the entries. seems a few delicate writers got their knickers in a knot and raised a holy fuss. "How dare random people critique me when I've publicly posted my content."

Get real, dude. First, if you're looking to write solely for your own pleasure, keep your notes in your diary and don't share it around. If it gets posted to the web, it's considered public content. Period. That doesn't mean people can steal it, but it DOES mean the people can offer their own opinions.

Second, if you only want "nice" feedback from people who love you, go share your drivel with your mother. If you want REAL feedback, you're going to have to accept that CRITICISM FROM UNBIASED PARTIES IS ESSENTIAL TO DEVELOPMENT.

And finally, if you can't take feedback from a few well-intentioned folks trying to ensure that every contest entry got it's 15 seconds of fame, you will never do well with exposing your work to the general public - AKA, seeking publications.

People so annoy me sometimes.

Nathan Bransford's Surprisingly Essential First Page Challenge


So many of you have probably seen my link to Nathan Bransford's blog, because I consider it essential reading for the unpublished writer. I read it daily - or as often as he updates - but am mostly a lurker. I've commented once or twice...but that's it.

So today...I took a big plunge. Nathan, a literary agent, opened a contest looking for up-to-500-word submissions of your manuscript's first page. He and an apparently insanely adventurous friend of his will be reviewing all of the entries and choosing nominees for readers of his blog to vote upon. If you win, you can get a query critique, partial critique, 10-minute phone call, or a book published by one of his clients. Cool stuff!

For all of you other writer-types that I so love, go visit. Enter. We'll all drive Nathan crazy together!

Oh, and several of his loyal readers are also giving feedback for some of the entries on their blogs - since I'm linking the heck out of this post already, go on ahead and also visit Josephine, Chro, and Jen.

After debating, and re-reading the first 500 words from each of my 5 works in progress, I decided to go on ahead and stop being a scaredy cat and enter. Which one did I pick?

DNA - the WIP that I started with all sorts of good intentions for NaNo 2007 and then didn't get very far with because work and life just, well, got busy again. Still love the story - just haven't gotten very far with it yet. But...I think it had the most compelling first 500 words - actually 475, which is the entire prologue.

Now here's the *headdesk* part - I haven't shown these 475 words to anyone else. Anyone. Not even my husband, who originally had the idea that started this story. Why in the WORLD would I submit something that NO ONE else has ever given me feedback on? I guess I'm just feeling adventuous. And hey, I do it on short story contests all the time and have won my fair share of those, so fingers crossed, right?

Anyhow, for your reading pleasure, here is a copy/paste of what I just posted on Nathan's blog. ANY feedback is appreciated.


DNA - Suspense/Thriller - WIP

This 475-word SEFPC entry is the prologue to a work-in-progress that pits a calculating killer against a police officer who stands accused of the other’s crimes through a cleverly orchestrated case of mistaken identity. When the officer launches a personal investigation not only to clear his name but track the ruthless murderer, he is exposed to the murky world of governmental covert operations and scientific experimentation that is straight out of the twilight zone. When his scrutiny comes too close to exposing secrets so long and carefully buried, it becomes a race against time to catch the killer…before the killer catches him. The WIP offers back and forth POVs between the cop and the killer, and this prologue is the reader’s first look at the birth of evil.


Walking down a street that was at once familiar and strange, he paused to reflect upon his mission, willing his body temperature to adapt to the cool of the night while mentally slowing his pulse to a level indicating relaxation. Tonight, of all nights, was about timing. A new mission always dictated new directives, and the directive he’d formulated called for swift calculation and rapid actions unhindered by remorse. The journey to this night had been long, but the payoff would overcome the pain.

Arriving at a darkened intersection, he paused only briefly before turning down the dark alley to the left. Drawing closer to the end of the narrow passage bound on three sides by high brick buildings, the ambient noises of the street left behind faded and were replaced by an incessant drip that echoed in the tight space. He glanced around to see the source of the watery sound, but none was apparent.

Following the instructions of his own directive for this operation, he leaned his trim and powerful body against the building that bound the area from the east. Withdrawing a lighter and cigarette from the interior pocket of his blazer, he lit up, slowly inhaling and exhaling. It was nearly time to begin, and his cat-like senses strained to hear the thud of approaching steps.

At last, the other had arrived.

He watched as the other came slowly towards him. This new beginning, so delicately intertwined to the final ending for the other, was invigorating.

Deep in thought, continuously reviewing the details of his plan within his own head, he allowed the other to wait for him to speak first. After an interminable pause, he was finally ready to communicate.


The knife slashed strikingly, reflecting the gentle glow of the alley’s one light. With each motion, a hissing noise seemed to become the voice of the implement. Communication.

Communication and death.

Muscle was parted from ligament, organs exposed to the elements.

Humming under his breath, his movements held the confidence of a surgeon, the conviction of a preacher and the calculation of a mercenary.

A new mission, begun.


He paused to light another cigarette, his third in the past half hour. Butts had been dropped, unceremoniously, beside the body of the other. The metallic smell of blood filled his mouth, his nose, even his eyes with involuntary tears caused by the spreading maroon pool.

Glancing again around the alley, now bathed entirely in shadows, he discarded his latest cigarette and reflected on the scene before his eyes.

In the war, operations had been conducted from remote locations, without the psychologically satisfying benefit of mano a mano contact.

Tonight was different. The war was his own. The operation simple. The payoff would continue for years to come.

The prize, after all, was his own life, his future, his identity.

His DNA.

Thank you for considering my entry!

Nothing to see here...

Move along, move along.

Sorry, guys. No Manic Monday this week...because it's a very Manic Monday in real life...

Dashing through oodles of work at my desk, trying to balance freelance must-dos, attempting to help my husband write a response to a complaint at his work which will require hours of research and a few beers to calm my temper before taking pen to paper, looking at what hubby and I need to do to get everything filed for our new little LLC, facilitating paying our end of the month bills AND our yearly property taxes (which we got screwed on because the sellers never filed the proper exemptions for their portion, which means our taxes are nearly $1k higher than they should be) AND filing our income tax return since we finally have all of our W-2s, and I'm still sick to-boot.

I actually felt fairly well yesterday...this morning, I'm back to a head that feels like it was smashed with a sledgehammer. Argh. Meds are gone. Doc told me if they didn't work (well, they at least made me feel human again, but I wouldn't say they totally worked since it's like THREE WEEKS LATER and I'm still sick) that it was probably viral and I'd just have to wait it out. And for that, I pay big money?

Yeah, so you probably shouldn't expect too much in the way of blogging from me this week. SORRY! I still love you all. MWAH!


Friday Feast #11

It's that time again...happy weekend, ya'll!

How many times per day do you usually laugh?
As many times as possible. I love laughing!

What do your sunglasses look like?

You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?
California or Florida. Amtrak goes lots of places from Dallas.

Main Course
Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.
5 months of summer, 3 months of spring, 2 month of fall, which only leaves 2 months of winter!

If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?
Sky blue pink.

Thursday Thirteen #12

Following last week's posting, where my hubby made all sorts of good suggestions for TT topics, I'm going to start using his ideas!


1. Snoopy - wouldn't you rather have the little yellow bird as an advisor instead of BILL CLINTON?
2. Pee Wee Herman - seems to me that his moral transgressions were a bit more minor than Bill's. And we all know that Bill and Hillary are running as a team here.
3. The Rock - what terrorist threat? The Rock will pound 'em into the ground.
4. Bill Pullman - if he can do it on the big screen...
5. Catherine Zeta Jones - because apparently my husband thinks she's hot.
6. Stu, the cashier from Kroger - because he was more diligent in counting back change than Hillary would be in regulating any kind of economic policy.
7. Mr. Peanut - dry roasted is better than dry speeches and dry ideas.
8. Santa Claus - I think more people could believe in him than Hillary!
9. Thomas Kinkade - his portraits of life are so much more enticing than Hillary's.
10. Dwight, from "The Office" - oh, why not? It'd be fun.
11. Tim McGraw - because when he says "Something Like That", it just ends up meaning more than when Hillary uses the same phrase!
12. Roger Clinton - because if we're destined to have another Clinton in the White House, I'd rather it be a mellow musician than an uptight, er, nevermind.

And now for my REAL answer with who I'd like to see become our next President...

13. Rudy Giuliani - America's Mayor = America's President = my political crush

Sorry to be up so late - come visit me and I'll visit you back!

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!

Music MeMe: Now and Then

Good afternoon, everyone!

I thought this would be a fun way to spend my lunch break today! I found this MeMe over at Carrie Lofty's blog, Salome's Corner, and it's the fun one.

How to participate:
Visit this Web site to find out what songs were on the Billboard Top 100 during the five calendar years you were in high school. Then, choose three things:
a)Favorite song then
b)Favorite song now
c)Worst song overall

Ready? Let's go!

1995: Going into 9th Grade
Favorite Song Then
  • Cotton Eye Joe, by Rednex (This was the fav song to dance to as a group at school dances. UGH!)

  • Back for Good, by Take That (Catchy. Very, very catchy.)

  • Roll to Me, by Del Amitri (For a VERY short song, this one was fun.)

  • Only Wanna Be With You, by Hootie and the Blowfish (I LOVED Hootie. LOVED. Once made my mom follow a car down the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey because it had the license plate HOOTIE.)

  • Let Her Cry, by Hootie and the Blowfish (Have I mentioned LOVED.)

  • Hold my Hand, by Hootie and the Blowfish (Yeah. Still on it.)

Favorite Song Now
  • Take a Bow, by Madonna (Something about this song just gets to me.)

  • Kiss From a Rose, by Seal (Mmm.)

  • Hootie. 'Nuff said.

Worst Song Overall
  • Boombastic, by Shaggy (There's actually a few Shaggy songs I like...this ain't one.)

  • You Gotta Be, by Des'ree (No, I don't gotta be anything)

  • 1st of the Month, by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (I have no respect for anything with the word "thug" in it.)

1996: 9th and 10th Grades
Favorite Song Then
  • One Sweet Day, by Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men (The mix that was made after TWA800 went down with the kids from Montoursville still makes me weep.)

  • Because You Loved Me, by Celine Dion (I loved singing this song, even though it is COMPLETELY not in my range.)

  • I Love You Always Forever, by Donna Lewis (Ok, catchy, couldn't stop singing/listening. Hated it after awhile)

  • Ironic, by Alanis Morissette (Oh lord. The memories. Not good ones.)

  • Follow You Down, by Gin Blossoms (The highlight of my sophomore year was introducing this song on the Hot Nine at Nine on 98.5 KRZ. HIGHLIGHT. I have it on tape. And make my husband listen to it. Regularly. I keep it with my tapes of my own broadcasts when I was a DJ in college. I'm sick.)

Favorite Song Now
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Deep Blue Something (Oh lord. The memories. All good ones.)

  • Count on Me, by Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans (Love the vocals.)

  • Anything Hootie. Yeah, still on that.

Worst Song Overall
  • Macarena, by Los Del Rio (My mom could Macarena better than me. Does that not give you nightmares?)

  • Give Me One Reason, by Tracy Chapman (Can't stand her. At all.)

  • Tha Crossroads, by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (See above. Damn thugs.)

  • Wonderwall, by Oasis (I can't stand Oasis. They annoy me.)

1997: 10th and 11th Grades
Favorite Song Then
  • Candle in the Wind (Princess Di version), by Elton John (Ok, I considered Princess Di both to be my fairy godmother and who I wanted to be when I grew up. I've never cried so hard in my life as when I found out she died. The weekend of the funeral, I literally taped EVERY television broadcast I could find, had multiple VCRs going, everything. And CRIED the entire time. Still cry when I hear this version of the song.)

  • How Do I Live, by LeeAnn Rimes (Once I got over the fact of how young she was...I still actually prefer the Trisha Yearwood version of the song.)

  • Wannabe, by the Spice Girls (I'm so ashamed. So very, very ashamed. But I have the single AND the CD.)

  • Quit Playing Games, by the Backstreet Boys (Ditto the ashamed. I only have the tape single. Started hated the 'Boys after that.)

  • MMMBop, by Hansen (Does my shame never end?)

  • Evita ANYTHING, by Madonna (Ok, slight story crush.)

Favorite Song Now
  • Semi-Charmed Life, by Third Eye Blind (This was THE song of the summer for 1997.)

  • The Freshmen, by the Verve Pipe (The lyrics say a LOT.)

  • All For You, by Sister Hazel (Correction. This was THE song of the summer for 1997.)

Worst Song Overall
  • No Diggity, by Blackstreet (Ugh. Shudder.)

  • It's All Coming Back..., by Celine Dion (She stole Meatloaf's writer AND style. Bitch.)

  • Anything Sheryl Crow. I can't stand her.

1998: 11th and 12th Grades
Favorite Song Then
  • You're Still the One, by Shania Twain (Ok, so this *might* have been "our" song when I was dating Mark, my high school sweetheart.)

  • This Kiss, by Faith Hill (Hmph. Mark again. Dang.)

Favorite Song Now
  • I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing, by Aerosmith (Really, it's Aerosmith. Gotta love it. Plus it's Bruuuuuuuuuce Willis and Ben Affleck and like one of the best movies ever.)

  • One Week, by Barenaked Ladies (Fun.)

Worst Song Overall
  • My Heart Will Go On, by Celine Dion (Let's get this straight. The ONLY reason I saw the Titanic is because I know the man who edited it. And he's a great guy. But the movie itself? Blech.)

1999: 12th Grade, Graduation and BEYOND!
Favorite Song Then
  • All Star, by Smash Mouth (GREAT beat.)

  • Save Tonight, by Eagle-Eye Cherry (This was apparently the "song" of our Prom. Whatever.)

Favorite Song Now
  • Amazed, by Lonestar (I hadn't even HEARD of Lonestar in high school. I wasn't really into country...only a few singers, so it wasn't even on my radar. Now I love this song. And Chris sings it to me sometimes. Awww.)

Worst Song Overall
  • ...Baby One More Time, by Britney Spears (Need I say more?)

  • Genie in a Bottle, by Christina Aguilera (Again...)

Now it's YOUR turn. Comment on my songs. Then go make your own list. Let me know about it. I'll come visit. We'll schmooz. K?

More changes!

Howdy, folks!

I'm going to be working a VAST overhaul of my blogroll between today and tomorrow - need to better organize and get additions made and such! Stay tuned!!! :-)

For now, have you visited my book review blog, called Read and Release: Tiffany's Tomes? If you haven't, go take a peak now - there's already 4 reviews up for January and a 5th coming any day now!


Taking On Senseless Death

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

It was announced yesterday that actor Heath Ledger was found dead in a New York apartment with sleeping pills found nearby. Although his autopsy produced inconclusive results and the "true" cause of his death may not be known for some time, I wanted to take this opportunity to rail on the senseless deaths that have ended the lives and careers of well-known celebrities.

I spent some time yesterday talking to a co-worker about Ledger's death, and we both came to the conclusion that there is something inbred into the celebrity persona that makes people believe they are above or beyond death. Like it isn't permanent. Like drinking or drugs or reckless behavior won't have the same affect on them as it has on everybody else. Like they aren't mortal.

I enjoyed many of the movies in which Heath Ledger played a role. I also enjoyed the various performance styles of Chris Farley, Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix, and unfortunately many, many other celebs whose lives ended unnaturally. But I will surely not canonize a celebrity for being a tortured soul or having a crazy lifestyle that lead to such a senseless end. That's simply ridiculous.

We all have struggles, challenges, and difficulties in our lives. But how many of us end up in this manner? Fortunately, not many. Because I think another inbred portion of the celebrity persona is the "poor me" syndrome which leads to the belief that no one else has issues or problems. Tortured celebrity? I dare them to go change places for JUST ONE DAY with a soldier fighting in Iraq. Misunderstood personality? Go shadow a social worker who is charged with the responsibility of maintaining the welfare of dozens of babies and eeking just some small sense of justice out of this world. Crazy lifestyle? I don't think there are many celebrities out there with enough stamina to trade lives for even the shortest amount of time with a police officer who leaves for work each and every day knowing that today might be the day a criminal ends his career or life.

I will remember Heath Ledger somewhat fondly for his acting abilities. I will not, however, shed any tears for the way in which his life ended. What a senseless death.

Read more here: Autopsy fails to find how actor Heath Ledger died.
(1 Comment Transferred; original posting date 1/23/08, 7:33 AM.)

Gellianne said...
Hi! Very nice post and informative too. Thanks for the visit at my blog. And yeah, I think I need some "me" time. February 8, 2008 9:44 PM

Manic Monday #12

Can you believe it's already Monday again! Here are this week's Manic Monday questions, courtesy of Lisa!

If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?
Mmm...I'd have to say this is about the most unusual question I can conceive of answering.
We'll go with Nevada. Just call me "Nevvie." :-)

Where do you go for advice?
Hmm. The internet, a lot. A few of my iVillage boards...also a lot. Occasionally friends and family, although I really prefer to find my own answers.

What is the sickest you've ever been?
Hmm. Well...I'll actually name three times. The first was back in 1993 - I had salmonella poisoning, which earned me a very unpleasant 5-day hospital stay and resulted in losing 15 pounds just in that time. I was down for about two weeks total. They kicked me out of the hospital once they realized that it was salmonella and not my appendix (which they were about 5 minutes away from removing when my tests finally came back) and so I suffered at home for the next week. There IS no treatment for least there wasn't 15 years ago.

The second time was just before I was initially diagnosed with Graves' Disease. I'd been sick for a long time...losing weight like crazy, not sleeping to the point of feeling manic, ending up at the ER every other week because I'd crash or my body would just be tearing itself down. Finally, one doctor managed to pull his head out of his ass and run the right tests to figure out that I had a thyroid issue. This happened again a few years later after I was taken off meds prior to surgery for another issue and my doctor left the practice and the new doctor thought I was depressed instead of a thyroid patient and treated me as such. Then, my blood pressure was spiking so high that I was too weak to even walk a flight of stairs. Read about it here.

And finally, last winter, the second time I had pneumonia that winter. The whole needing breathing treatments and having to sleep sitting up while taking inhaler hits every 20 minutes thing was just not fun. That was another two weeks stolen out of my life.

I once had a doctor tell me that I was either the sickest healthy person or healthiest sick person they'd ever encountered. immune system pretty well doesn't exist. Fun times. :-)

Have a great week, ya'll! Make sure to leave your link in my Linky AND leave a comment!

I'm Certifiable!!!


I passed my PHR certification exam this morning - yippee!!

PHR stands for Professional, Human Resources, and is a certification program administered by the Human Resources Certification Institute, in affiliation with the Society for Human Resource Management.

Notwithstanding the fact that I would have felt considerable pain in my pocketbook to pay $300 to take this test and FAIL it, it is a huge professional accomplishment to obtain this certification. The overall test passage rate is only about 60% and the certification is looked upon extremely favorably in hiring and promotion practices.

The test is comprised of 225 questions, and you are alloted 4 hours to complete. (I finished with 90 minutes remaining.) The scaled passing score is 500 on a scale of 100 to 700. How that translates into number of correctly answered questions, I have not a clue. I'll update ya when I get my detailed score report...right now I just have a prelim certificate that says that I PASSED!!

So it's celebration time. I'm excited. Can ya tell??

This also means that I have checked off an item from my 101 in 1001 list - 1 down, 100 to go, 981 days remaining!

Friday Feast #10

Here we go with this week's fiesta!

What is your favorite beverage?
Alcoholic, malted: Smirnoff Ice
Alcoholic, mixed: Long Island Iced Tea
Non-alcoholic, cold: Wild Cherry Pepsi
Non-alcoholic, hot: Hot Chocolate!

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
1. Pictures of Christopher
2. Tissues
3. Post-it notes

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
Hmm. Well, I spend a decent amount of time trying to spare feelings of certain people, so I quibble sometimes. Other times, I'm brutally honest. We'll go with an 8.

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
Istanbul was Constantinople now it's Istanbul not Constantinople...ok. I'll stop.
Hmm...I'd change Daytona Beach, FL to NASCAR USA. The reason should be obvious.
By the by, I'm getting our 2008 Fantasy Racing League together, so if any of you out in the blogosphere want an invite to virtually hang out with some crazy NASCAR fans, drop me a line.

What stresses you out? What calms you down?
People. Christopher. Fortunately, he's not often among the first population, since he's the sole figure in the second!

You know the drill...leave me your link AND a comment, and I'll visit you back! Happy weekend, ya'll!

An Award!

I'm so tickled - Siani over at Siani's Pot-Pourri has given me an award! It's beautiful and it's made my day - thank you!

I'm going to be a little thrifty with passing this along...only two people, this time! I visit these two ladies every single day - there's only a couple others I visit so regularly, including Siani - and panic, in fact, if they don't have new posts up to read, because I worry that something might be wrong. Funny to feel that way, since I know of them only through the blogosphere, but there are many days when their posts make me smile, laugh or just nod my head in agreement.

So...drumroll please...

I hearby present the "You Cheer Me Up" award to:
1. Penelope Anne at the Cafe at the End of the Universe
2. Deb at Don't Make Me Get the Flying Monkeys

Have a great day, ya'll!

12345 Things

Siani has tagged me for this MeMe, and I'm happy to play along!

1. Name one thing you do everyday.
  1. I read each and every day - if a day went by where I hadn't read at least 5 pages in whatever book I currently had my nose in, I think I'd be lost. No matter where I am or how busy...gotta read!

2. Name two things you wish you could learn.
  1. I would like to learn how to fly - not just take controls momentarily or help quiz someone else on theory before their ground test, but actually learn for myself.

  2. I would like to learn how to play golf - I think, quite honestly, that it would bore me to death, but I'd like to at least learn!

3. Name three things that remind you of your childhood.
  1. Poppyseed rolls. Yum.

  2. The beach - especially in New Jersey.

  3. Spaghetti sauce. I miss Spatini!

4. Name four things you love to eat but rarely do.
  1. Peanut Butter M&M's

  2. Braunschweiger sandwiches

  3. Godiva Chocolate dessert at the Chop House

  4. Banana and butter sandwiches

5. Name five things/people that make you feel good.
  1. Christopher - he's my ultimate feel-good remedy.

  2. Babies - I just love seeing/playing with them.

  3. A nice, long soak in a fragrant bubble bath, especially by candlelight. (stolen, verbatim, from Siani. Just too perfectly worded to change!)

  4. The ocean crashing against the shore - water is my serenity.

  5. My heating the end of a long day, it makes my back bearable.'re it! I hope that you will play along!
  1. Penelope Anne

  2. Kelly

  3. Patti

I gave you a pass, Carrie, since you're deep into editing! :-)

Happy Friday!

Awards and Tags and Fridays, oh, my!

Hey, ya'll!

The lovely Siani has given me an award AND tagged with me a MeMe, plus it's time for a Friday looks like I have some catching up to do over my lunch break on my blog, now don't I?

Stay tuned...I'll be back soon to post my award (smiles!) and pass it along to others...and to put up the MeMe...and my Friday Feast. Ye Gods, it's a busy day in bloggy land!


Thursday Thirteen #11

Hi, everyone!

I didn't want to skip out on two TT's in a row, so although I'm still feeling a bit under the weather, here we go with Thursday Thirteen #11!

Ok, cheesy. But I couldn't think of a topic for this week. So I asked Chris, "what topic do you think I should write about this week?" What follows are his suggestions...and, of course, my responses.

  1. Chris: "Why don't you write about thirteen people who would be a better President than Hillary Clinton?"
    Tiffany: "Naw. I can't think of that many politicians I actually like."
    Chris: "No, I mean people like Snoopy...Pee Wee Herman...anyone else. I'd vote for the Rock. Who was the guy from Independence Day? He'd be a good President. Bill Pullman. Catherine Zeta Jones...she'd be a good female President. Stu. The cashier from Kroger."
    Tiffany: "Ok, you're done."

  2. Chris: "How about a list of TV shows you wish were still on?"
    Tiffany: "Already did that. Want me to read the list to you?"

  3. Chris: "Ok, you could make a list of thirteen ice cream flavors."
    Tiffany: "But what would I say about ice cream flavors?"
    Chris: "Oh, you know. If Baskin Robbins only had thirteen flavors, which ones would you choose?"
    Tiffany: "Hmm."

  4. Chris: "Well, there's Mom's puzzle. Since it's a map of Texas, you could write about thirteen places in Texas you haven't been too."
    Tiffany: "Hmm. Well, I wrote a TT about thirteen places I'd want to travel to...I guess I could write about Texas." (And perhaps I someday will.)

  5. Chris: "Ok. How about thirteen cars you'd want to buy?"
    Tiffany: " - - - "
    Chris: "You wouldn't have thirteen on the list would you?"
    Tiffany: " - um - "

  6. Chris: "Thirteen days you wish you could go back and live again."
    Tiffany: "Hmm. I think I could come up with thirteen days to live over. I'll put that on the list."

  7. Chris: "Thirteen beaches you want to visit."
    Tiffany: "Hold on, I'm still on the last one."
    Chris: "Ok." Waits patiently.
    Tiffany: "Ooh...thirteen beaches. Where would you pick?"
    Chris: "Mazatlan."
    Tiffany: "Hmm."

  8. Tiffany: "Ok, what else?"
    Chris: "What was the last one?"
    Tiffany: "Thirteen beaches."
    Chris: "So we're caught up?"
    Tiffany: "Yep. Go ahead."
    Chris: "So are you actually doing thirteen of each of these?"
    Tiffany: snicker
    Chris: "Yes or no."
    Tiffany: "Uh, no. They're for future weeks." grin "Go ahead."
    Chris: "I don't know. I'm having a hard time. What are you typing? You're typing my exact words aren't you, all thirteen of them?" grins
    Tiffany: "I love you."
    Chris: "I love you too, I think you're making fun of me. You are making fun of me, huh?"
    Tiffany: "No, I'm not making fun of you. I'm just making you a character on my blog."
    Chris: "Would it be inappropriate to do lists of thirteen potential names for babies?" *
    Tiffany: "Nope."

  9. Chris: "Thirteen girls names..."
    Tiffany: "Uh huh..."

  10. Chris: "And Thirteen boys names."
    Tiffany: "Ok."

  11. Tiffany: "Ok, you're doing good. I only need three more."
    Chris: "Three more." silence "Here's a tough one for you. Thirteen books you're gonna write. Ha! Might as well get some use out of this."
    Tiffany: "What does that mean?"
    Chris: "Get a nice list of things to look forward to so when you say 'what was I going to do next' you'll have it there."
    Tiffany: "Ok. I'll put it on the list."

  12. Chris: "Um. Thirteen recipes for the next thirteen nights of dinner?"
    Tiffany: "You sound hopeful."
    Chris: grins
    Tiffany: "Ok. Leftovers. Leftovers. Leftovers..."
    Chris: "You can't have leftovers of leftovers. They're already...leftover."

  13. Tiffany: "Ok. Last one. No pressure."
    Chris: "Thirteen ways to punch that bitch in the face? No. Honey. HONEY. I've gotta watch my mouth. I've never been so...reported." (he was talking about a newscaster we dislike)
    Tiffany: "Ok, you get a do over."
    Chris: "Ok. Thirteen people you'd like to punch in the face. I know your favorite will make it on the list." (Ok, maybe I hate Anita Foster. A LOT. Money-grubbing publicity whore. I thought good people worked for the Red Cross. I was wrong.)
    Tiffany: "That works. We're done."

Hope ya'll enjoyed coming to visit this week - we surely have enjoyed entertaining you!

* This is not an indication that your favorite blogger has an announcement to make. We just like to plan ahead. grins

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!

Manic Monday #11

Good (early) morning, ya'll! Here is this week's Manic Monday, courtesy of Lisa! Great questions, as always!

Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have you ever wished you were the opposite sex?
I have always believed that males have it easier, in almost any culture. They can pee standing up, they aren't subject to jokes about monthly cycles (what bleeds for 5 days but doesn't die? har har har), and in many corporations, they still promote easier, sooner and higher. Would I trade myself in to become a guy, however? Most likely not! :-)

What books from your childhood would you like to share with your children?
One of my favorites is The Devil's's a great learning story for the holocaust. I remember Judy Blume and Carolyn B. Cooney and Lurlene McDaniels fondly, as well. I'm honestly not too big on little kids books, but I love middle ages and YA.

What is one talent or skill you don't possess but always wanted?
I've always wanted to be able to draw or paint or create something visually artistic. The best I can manage are feeble flowers.

Have a great week, everyone!

I Hereby Baptize Thee...


We had a discussion over dinner today (very tasty, thank you) about the cow that now resides in our garage. And about the fact that despite talking/marveling extensively over said cow, it had not been named.

And so, may I present...Bubba.

Yes, folks. Apparently we have a redneck cow. :-)

Short Story: Hidden Intent

Instead of linking to WDC for the conclusion of this story, it is reprinted here in its entirety, so that I can use this entry for the February Creative Carnival hosted by Write Stuff! Comments/critiques/feedback are appreciated!

Hidden Intent
Dawn’s light crept into the peaceful bedroom in the corner of the house. Joy blinked rapidly to clear the sleep from her eyes and slowly propped herself up in the plush bed she shared with her husband, Jonathan. Twisting her head to say good morning, she noticed that his side of the bed remained smooth; untouched. It appeared he hadn’t slept here yet again, but Joy was not awake enough to summon the now-common anger at his absence.

She stood, stretching towards the rays of light emanating from the windows that consumed three walls of their large bedroom. Making her way to the bathroom to prepare for the long day ahead, she languorously pushed her long brunette hair from her face. There were so many plans she still needed to finalize. Jonathan had grown so distant, so remote; Joy knew that she needed to take drastic actions to show him the effect he had on her.

Through years of marriage, they’d shared everything – no secrets were kept, no arguments endured, no break in their mutual beliefs of true love. This past year, however, had brought a drastic change. They hadn’t argued, but Jonathan continued to drift farther away.

Time rapidly passed, as the day charged forward from sunrise to sunset. Standing hidden behind the elegant folding doors that led to the dining room, Joy thought of all of the preparations she’d undertaken to get to this point today. Nothing could go wrong now – she’d come too far and there was no turning back. She clutched the sharp knife so tightly behind her back that her palm was growing sweaty. With a tremendous effort, she composed herself mentally and willed her face to remain passive and body to remain calm.

Jonathan sat with his late afternoon cup of tea, engrossed in the latest issue of the Wall Street Journal. Each day, he rose early in the morning to leave, returning each afternoon to unwind from a busy day. The details of this time away were never shared with Joy anymore, although they’d once discussed everything. It was only by chance that she’d stumbled upon what now occupied his time away from their remote country estate. Wouldn’t he be surprised when she revealed herself in just a few moments?

Renewing her grip on the knife, Joy heard rustling behind her, but ignored the distraction. Counting silently to herself, she waited until ten to move forward, pushing through the doorway and into the dining room. Joy whipped her arm swiftly from behind her back to reveal the hidden knife as Jonathan looked up in surprise.

“Darling…?” He managed before the motion of her arm took his breath away.

“Surprise! Happy Birthday!” The shout came from the friends who poured through the door.

Joy set the knife upon the rolling cart that carried a sheet cake commemorating Jonathan’s birthday and moved to her husband’s side.

“I really got you, baby, didn’t I?” She asked. “You’ve been avoiding me so often that I was starting to think you had secrets going on behind my back. When I found out that you really did, I decided it was time to take actions of my own.”

“Wha-what are you talking about?” Jonathan sounded confused.

“Let’s just say: gotcha! Once I realized that you were busy making plans to sell the company so you could have more free time, I knew I needed to show you how I feel.”

“I don’t know what to say. You weren’t supposed to find out until it was a done deal.” Jonathan stood as friends crowded around to share good wishes.

Joy began slicing and serving Jonathan’s special cake. She passed around plates to the people who had joined her and her husband on this momentous day.

“That isn’t all I learned, baby. I learned far more. About you…and about our friends.” Joy’s voice grew louder as she addressed the group.

“Sweetheart, I don’t know what to say. We have terrific friends,” Jonathan said, taking his seat as their friends took others around the large table.

“Yes, darling. You do. They’ve even helped to shield you in these past months when they knew you were planning your new life without me.”

“Darling, you know I wouldn’t do that.” Jonathan took a large bit of his cake.

“Do I? I also know about Debbie, and I know that the plane tickets you’ve booked for next week are with her, not me.”

The guests, and Jonathan, slowly lowered their forks to their plates as Joy continued her accusations.

“I also know that Danny, here, has agreed to let you and Debbie use his coast house until you could get rid of me. And I know that Clair and Chris helped you prepare the paperwork to cast me off without a dime. So yes, Jonathan, you truly have wonderful friends. By the way, friends…how’s the cake?”

Walking around the table, Joy watched passively as faces turned red and choking commenced.

“Joy…Joy. What have you done?” Jonathan’s voice was strained as he tried to bring air into his lungs.

“Oh, nothing, darling. Simply made plans of my own. Without you. Without any of you.” Joy’s voice regained its prior calm as she watched her guests expire before her eyes.

Joy’s preparations included immunizing herself against the poison baked into the cake. Taking a bite, she knew that it would simply put her to sleep, so the police would never suspect her involvement in the death of her husband and guests. By the time she awoke, she’d be free.

Feeling the lull of the poison drawing her into darkness, she smiled at her success. Her smile turned quickly to a grimace of pain. Her chest tightened into spasms of coughing caused not by the poison she voluntarily ingested, but from the wedge of cake caught in her throat. Losing her battle for breath, she realized that although her husband had been missing from the last months of her life, they would be companions in death.

  • Written for: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words Contest, Round 49

  • Winner: 2nd Place

  • Word Count: 999

  • Original WDC Post: Hidden Intent

  • Prompt: Picture depicted a woman standing behind swinging double doors, hold a knife behind her back.

Wonderful Memory

I spend a lot of time thinking about Ocean City, New Jersey - I spent every single summer there between 1985 and 2001 - as well as many long weekends and holidays. So as a 1/3 year resident for so dang many years, it's one of the places that I consider home.

And, other than my current home, which I do truly love, it's the home that I love - and subsequently miss - the most.

I can't tell you what a different child I was between when I was in PA and then summers in NJ. I was happier, freer, calmer, nicer, and happier - did I mention that already? Just driving over the 9th Street Bridge onto the island from Somers Point was enough to elevate my mood, every single freaking time.

The last time I drove over that bridge, I was headed back to PA after having spent time helping my parents pack up the condo they'd owned for 14 years. Since I was about to graduate from college, and I was using it far more than they, they'd decided to sell and give many of the furnishings to me to start my new life wherever I landed. I was hysterical driving over that bridge for the last time. It's a two-mile-long causeway, and I was crying my head off the whole time. For me, that felt far more like leaving behind my childhood home than when I packed up from Pennsylvania and headed to Texas.

I would quite literally give anything that's within my control - which is not a lot, admittedly - to be able to spend summers in Ocean City with my future children like I spent as a child. I know that's not going to happen - our financials are far different than were my parents when I was a child, and barring winning the lottery, neither of us is on a career path to get rich. (Currently, single family homes on the island start at the mid-$400s; condos around $200) But a girl can dream, can't she?

Anyhow, the point of my post is that I came across another post in the blogosphere that's just about made my day. During the summers of 1998 and 1999, I worked on the boardwalk in Ocean City for a store called Cloud 9. I really think that it's still my favorite job to-date. Picture this: I worked the 4-12 shift. After we finished cleaning/shutting down around 12:30, we'd head over the bridge to Somers Point and hang out at the bar for awhile. (Ocean City is a dry island.) Some nights we'd get pizza and hang out at the store instead. Others we head to the island's favorite breakfast spot for late night munchies. Still others we'd drive 20 minutes to Atlantic City and hang out at the Casinos for awhile. I'd never get home until 2 or 3...sleep a few hours, and get up and go to breakfast at my dad's favorite little breakfast place. I'd hit the beach around 10 AM; sleep on the beach until around 2 PM. Come home, make dinner for us both (mom wasn't with us a lot of the time) and then head to work. Rinse, repeat. I got paid decently well, had a pretty free lifestyle, and LOTS AND LOTS of beach time. One of these days, I'll dig out a pic from one of those summers - I mean, I was brown brown brown!

Anyhow, I did a search on "Cloud 9 Ocean City", and found this post. Please go read it and check out the pictures. I haven't stepped foot in there since my last trip to the island in 2001, but it's nice to see that some things just stay the same, just the way they should. You can read another article with quotes from my old boss, Paul, here. And yes, if you're shocked, I once did care very deeply about trendy clothes. I simply stopped caring when I got out of college and had other expenses to worry about than looking cute! :-)

We're planning to go back to the island for Columbus Day 2008, which is also around my birthday. I can't wait to show Chris the place where I really grew up and had the best times of my childhood!! He's already been warned, however, that I am very, very emotional when it comes to my Ocean City, and he may have to drag me back off the island when our stay comes to an end.

I've been SAVED!

No, this is not going to be a post about religion. :-)

What I'm talking about is my blog on 451Press - 451Press has hit some hard times, recently, and has lost portions of their revenue - the revenue necessary to maintain hundreds of websites and pay hundreds of bloggers, like me.

I only began my writing on PSR back in November - so when the announcement came out that 451Press was looking to trim back quite a bit from hundreds of blogs to just 149, I was sure my head would be on the chopping block - new kid in town and all that.

So I kind of took the way of the scared mousie and stayed out of it for the past week as they've been deciding. I have new posts...but haven't put them up pending the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.

Which came out this morning...

...and I'm good to go. YAHOO!

So...look for a bunch of posts to go up tonight, backdated to the dates I actually wrote them over the past 10 days. And of course, please visit me going forward to see all the latest in the world of auto racing - you can see the headline from my most recent article (via RSS) at the top of my blog page here at Breakfast at Tiffany's!


Friday Feast #9

Ok, I'm still sick. But I feel guilty that I said I wasn't doing a TT yesterday and then ended up posting stuff later on here we go! Friday Feast #9, and then I'm heading my sick butt back to bed!

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?
I have several middle names, actually! First, the middle name I was given at birth is Anne - it's my maternal grandmother's first name and my paternal grandmother's middle name. (Modified slightly in both was Anna, the other Ann.) I was baptized as "Anne" because "Tiffany" is not an "approved" name for baptism.

Second, the middle name I took on when I was Confirmed by the Roman Catholic Church at age 15 is Elizabeth, for my Patron Saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton. In what I've always believed to be a clever play on names, I actually stuck this in before Anne when I was filling out my paperwork for the church.

Third, I now also use my maiden name as a middle name upon occasion. Legally, according to the Social Security Administration, I am Tiffany Anne Aller - but in the case of places/people who have still not changed their records to my maiden name, I typically simply use Tiffany Lewis Aller.

And ideally, at some point, I would like my legal paperwork to reflect all three names - I feel all are important to my identity!

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?
Oh, boy. Yeah, I don't have much fashion sense. So let's see. I'd probably use a lot of silk - I love the feel of silk against skin. Maybe satin, too. Colors? Lots of blues, some purples, some greens. Very watery-flowy. Style? Yeah, that's the problem. Who knows. I usually aim for comfort.

What is your least favorite chore, and why?
That's an easy one. I DESPISE cleaning out the kitty litter box.

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?
Snakes. Nope, no event. Never been bit, although have encountered quite a few, both in controlled and wild settings. They're just EVIL looking little suckers.

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.
Kitchen table - I gave up my office to my mother-in-law so she could have pretty constant access to the desktop up there. So this is my new office. For the next few months at least. Let's see...I can see my juice glass, my box of kleenex, and my digital camera.

Happy Weekend, ya'll. It'll probably be awhile until I can get around to you to say hi and comment on your feasts, but I promise I will as soon as I'm back up and hopefully feeling better!

Weight Loss Advice from a Skinny Girl

This is going to seem like an EXTREMELY strange post to follow the one below that talks about buying several hundred pounds of meat. But in my writing circle, the discussion question was posed this week for ideas on weight loss. Here is how I responded:

Well, I'm not exactly your target audience for a discussion on weight Grave's caused me to lose about 10 pounds in '07, which I'm still trying to regain. But here's the kind of advice I usually give to my girlfriends who are looking to lose weight...apparently, they believe the skinny girl is the authority, and I'm always happy to spout my .02 worth. (My background: I studied weight training and cardio in college - not enough credits to be a minor, but enough to learn quite a bit. On the nutrition side, I've always been a bit fanatical about counting various items like calories and fat grams and such...all in attempts to gain, not lose, weight, but still good knowledge to have and extensive reading under my belt.)

The best way to control weight isn't to enroll in any fancy or expensive programs or follow fanatical diets. The best way is through careful moderation of diet and exercise.

The best kind of exercise for actual weight loss is cardio. Weight training does not equal weight loss - instead, it sheds fat weight in exchange for building muscle weight, which actually means that you could end up gaining weight instead of losing. Muscle weighs more than fat. And while gaining muscle is never a bad thing, it's not the best thing to strive for when you're really just trying to lose a few pounds. It's actually easier to start toning your body after you hit your target weight than concentrate on loss first, tone second.

Now...what kinds of cardio exercises are best? Many magazines give the advice to just walk for 30 minutes per day. In reality, this is bad advice. For cardio to actually burn enough calories for you lose weight, you have to increase your heart rate substantially above it's resting beats per minute. And regularly paced walking just doesn't elevate your heart rate enough to do much good. (See below for faster paced walking and its benefits.) Swimming doesn't do a lot either, unfortunately. Swimming is GREAT for toning, but unless you swim long laps at brisk paces, your heart rate just doesn't increase enough to actually burn pounds very quickly.

So what are good cardio exercises? Stationary bikes work wonders, especially if you're looking for a low-impact exercise. 30 minutes per day at a mid-level range that gets your heart rate up into the ideal cardio zone will do wonders for your waistline. If you're up for higher impact exercise, consider jogging or running on a treadmill. Back in the lower-impact zone is using an elliptical machine. I love my elliptical machine - it was the best purchase I ever made - but unfortunately, my high blood pressure (a symptom of my Grave's) makes it hard for me to use it for very long because of the motion of my arms and that impact on my heart. Aerobics tapes and classes are ok, but honestly won't burn as many calories as dedicated machine usage. The problem with aerobics classes is the downtime between routines - to effectively burn calories, you really need to have a set span of time where your heart rate is consistently elevated. Since aerobics classes have high times mixed with low
times, they aren't as effective as 30 minutes straight on a machine.

Now, on to diet. Low fat is a pretty good myth. Low fat does not equate to weight loss. Neither does no fat. Neither does no protein, no carbs, or any other diet that deprives your food regimen of any major food group or nutrient. The key to a great diet is moderation. Last year, my husband gained quite a few pounds while he was on day shift and as a consequence, ate bigger and more meals consistently. When he went back to night shift, and consequently, smaller meals and usually cutting one meal per day, he lost weight pretty quickly and easily.

Many food products base their serving allowances on a 2000 calorie per day diet. In reality, for the average 5'5" woman who is between 25 and 50 years of age and weighs about 150 pounds, only 1500 calories are really necessary per day to maintain that weight at a fairly sedentary lifestyle. To find out how many calories you need just to maintain your current weight, use this website:

Start a food diet and keep track of what you eat for one week - don't change your habits yet, just keep track. There's lot of great websites that you can look up calories per serving on. I use After that week, look back and evaluate. Need 2000 calories but consuming 2250 and not exercising? You're on track to gain a pound every two weeks.

That's right - one pound equals 3500 calories! So think about that in reverse: need 2000 calories to maintain your current weight - why not cut your portions and intake down to 1750 per day instead? That's a guaranteed way to lose one pound over a two week span of time. Forget cutting certain foods - moderation is more important than deprivation. Even fat is a necessary part of your diet! And moderation doesn't mean you have to cut munchies, either! As long as you take the number of calories in munchies that you want to eat per day and subtract it from other meals, you're fine! It does NOT hurt to eat more often than 2 or 3 times a day - in fact, it can help to keep your metabolism constantly chewing on something.

Of course, one pound in two weeks isn't much. So add your exercise back in. Use a stationary bike for 30 minutes five days per week for two weeks at moderate exertion with the body stats listed above - and you'll burn about 2386 calories. Add in 30 minutes of an elliptical five days per week for two weeks at moderate exertion: about 2454 more calories. Finally, make time to walk around the neighborhood, the park, or wherever, fairly briskly, for 60 minutes per day. What do I mean by brisk? In that 60 minutes, you should walk 3 miles. That's another 2250 calories per two weeks.

Ok, so let's add that up. So the average diet is 2000 calories. You cut it down to 1750. That saves 3500 calories over two weeks. You then add in an additional 7090 or so calories burned through various activities. 7090+3500=3 pounds burned per two weeks.

Still doesn't seem like a lot? Consider that your activity burner may only tell you that you need 1500 calories to maintain, not 2000. So if you've been eating 2000 a day and cut to 1500, that's 7000 calories saved through diet instead of 3500 - an extra pound per two week period.

Four pounds per two weeks isn't really a bad schedule of weight loss - remember that you really do need a minimum of calories to function every day - starvation doesn't equal weight loss either. But if you moderate portions and add in 120 minutes of activity per day, you can lose weight healthily and steadily. Two hours seem like a long time? Buy a book on tape and listen to it while you walk for an hour. Watch your favorite TV show on while biking or using the elliptical - while at the gym or at home. Re-read one of your WIPs while on the bike - biking doesn't take any mental function, so you can can easily re-read and make edits while burning calories.

Want to know the "recommended" weight for your height? Go to this website:

Want to know how many calories you'll burn per activity? Go here:

Ok, so say you've lost your targeted amount of weight. Now what? It's time to maintain, maintain, maintain. Gradually move your portions to slightly higher calorie levels. Gradually decrease your cardio. No cold turkey on anything.

Remember that the easiest way to get sidetracked on your targeted weight loss is eating one extra dessert or missing one day of exercise. One day of exercise lost plus one extra dessert per week is 900 calories added back on to your diet. That's 1/4 pound! Perhaps not a big deal if it's only once per two week period, but if it's once a week, that's a half pound you could have lost - but didn't. Twice a week, and you've lost the ability to lose one pound. The time for indulging a bit come when you meet your target weight, not when you're trying to get to it. Then, you have more calories you can play with and more opportunity to cut an exercise or two. Until then...strict is the word.

Hope that helps!!


Want to buy a cow?

We just bought a cow. Half a pig. Few chickens. Some little shrimpies. Did I mention a cow?

Ok, so not really. And I had NO intention of leaving my house today - after all, I'm sick. Really don't feel all that better, despite the fact that I went back to bed for another five hours. When I got up, Chris made me chicken broth with saltines and I managed to sip that actually soothed my throat quite a bit. While I was sipping, he was perusing the circulars that had come in today's mail.

One of the ads included was for the Country Meat Market, located only about 3 miles from our house. The deals that were listed were fabulous - really, I felt they were too good to be true. Before I knew it, we were getting dressed, rounding up Chris' mom, and heading down the road to see what we could see.


We just bought about 15-18 month's worth of meat. What we did is buy the family of four plan - a 12-month plan meant to feed four adults with, um, fairly nice tastes. Not the crap meat, in other words. And since we're only two people...three for the winter while Chris' mom is here...the owner, who waited on us personally, estimated that we'd be in meat for 15-18 months. We really think it'll be longer...

They had EVERYTHING there. It was the neatest little shop. And they do their plans on 12 months same-as-cash financing. In other words, if you pay every month on time, you never pay a dime of interest. And since their financing is coordinated through our bank, we're able to set up an auto-deduct from our checking account to pay the amount every month - so we're golden. It's about 1/2 of our monthly at-home food budget (not to be confused with what we hold aside for lunches at work and dinners out occasionally and stuff), which may seem like a lot, but thinking about what we normally buy, we're getting a great deal here. SUPER EXCITED. Especially since I really do think this food will last us until, well, forever.

Once we agreed on a plan (our credit qualified us for the plan that's meant to feed 10 people per month - uh, no thank you!) they ushered us into the back, where we personally picked the cow that would be coming home with us. Now, folks, I grew up in a grocery store. Literally. My dad owned the town's grocery store. And they did most of their own meat cutting right at the store, in a back room that never saw the light of customers. So I was somewhat shocked that they brought us right back to where Bessie and her friends were hanging out, chilling. (I do apologize for the visuals, especially if any of you are vegetarians.)

We picked our cow - our plan qualified us for about 350 pounds of beef - and then started picking the 100 pounds of add-ons that also came with the plan - which we could split between seafood (blech), pork and poultry. Then, they put us to work. We moved out of the refrigerated room and into the cutting room. Four workers lined up to begin processing our chosen cow, and they placed Chris and I at the end to label the wrapped packages and pack our two shopping carts full o' stuff. Karen headed outside to smoke...I really think the atmosphere upset her a bit. It took about 45 minutes...I was freezing and miserable by the end...but we ended up completely, 100% filling our stand-up freezer in the garage, which is really a quite huge device at 19.6 cubic feet...and when we got home pre-filling, only had a pound of ground beef, a few random steaks, two microwave chicken dinners, two packages of bacon, some muffins, some leftover ground venison, and a frozen pizza left inside.

So here's what we got: (some listed in quantity, others listed in poundage - and some of the steak packages had more than one steak inside, but I couldn't remember which ones, so really just packages are listed instead of true quantity)

Ribeye Steaks: 29
Porterhouse Steaks: 6
Bacon-Wrapped Filets: 30
T-bone Steaks: 8
Bottom Round Steak: 5
Round Steaks: 10
Rib Steaks: 16
Sirloin Steak: 16
Pre-packaged NY Strip Steaks: 10 pounds
Pre-packaged Ribeyes: 10 pounds
Ground Beef: 27 pounds

Cross Cut Rib Roasts: 2
Chuck Roast: 5
Bottom Round Roasts: 1
Arm Roasts: 2

Short Ribs: 4 packages, about 5 pounds each
Country Style Beef Ribs: 6 packages, about 5 pounds each

Pit Ham: 7 pounds
Bacon: 25 pounds
Pork Chops: 38

German Sausage: 18 6-inch links
Pre-packaged Smoked Hot Links: 7 pounds
Smoked Sausage: 5 packages

Chicken Breasts: 25 (pre-cut - as in the whole breast, deboned and skinned)
Pre-Packaged Hot Wings: 5 pounds

Shrimp, pre-cooked: 2 pounds
Shrimp, uncooked: 5 pounds

Oh, yeah, and we bought enough to get a $100 gas grill, free! (Naturally, we put it together the second we got home - Chris just HAD to see his new toy assembled.) Plus, if we run out of ground beef, we can go back and get it within the 12-month period for $1.99/pound - way less than the supermarket, especially since I insist on lean ground beef, which is 90/10!

OH! And they GUARANTEE, in writing, against freezer burn! So if you unwrap a steak or chicken breast or whatever and somethings wrong, you just have to snap a picture of it, take the pic and the meat back, and they'll replace it - without time limit! I really wonder how this place stays in business, truthfully, but it was busy the whole time we were there...and not to be snarky here or anything, but it's AMERICAN owned and operated - we could actually carry on REAL conversations with EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE we encountered.

So yeah...dinner's at our house...indefinitely! I've gone out to the freezer to just look at it all in awe several times already. I mean, the dang thing is full. Just can't believe it.

And now, sick-girl here is going back to bed! :-)

No TT Today - Sorry!

I'm sick. Ugh. Fever - hovering around 100. Can't stop my nose from running and so now it's red raw inside and out. Massive headache. Body aches. Dizzy. Sore throat - can't swallow well and losing my voice.

So yeah, called off work, and going back to bed. Sorry!


Bay Area Magic

On two different occasions now, I have experienced what I've decided to call "Bay Area Magic". What I'm referring to, here, is the odd kind of coincidences that have only happened on these two trips to NoCal - very odd, but kinda cool.

The first occasion was back in August of 2004. On that trip, I was traveling out to meeting up with then-boyfriend David, who lived (still does, in fact!) in northern CA. I was flying into Oakland and from there, we would spend 4 days making our way down the coast (via the 101) and finally ending up in the Burbank area, where I would leave from to head back to Texas.

On that trip, when I arrived at the airport in the morning to board my flight on an unnamed airline that is a competitor to my current employer, I was given a random upgrade to first class. Upon boarding the flight to PHX (where I would connect to OAK), I found myself sitting next to a former coworker, Jason, who I hadn't seen in months and months. RANDOM COINCIDENCE #1. We had a great time on that flight chatting and catching up...

Once I got to CA on that trip, David picked me up and we headed down the road. We got about 90 minutes south of San Jose and stopped for lunch at a Subway. While at Subway, my phone rang, and it was an AFROTC friend, Justin, that I hadn't seen/talked to in many, many months. He was stationed in CA at the time and was heading back to his base after a weekend in NoCal. I joked that since we were heading down the 101 and he was heading down the 101, maybe I'd see him on the highway.

It was just a joke, people. I'm sure you know where this is going... David and I finished up with lunch and got back on the road. About 45 minutes later, a blue Ford Taurus came up behind us and then passed on the left. I looked over...and my heart almost stopped. I knew that car! It was Justin! Pulled out my cell phone, called him back, and we had a little roadside reunion. What the hell are the chances of going to another state and someone you know passing you on the highway? RANDOM COINCIDENCE #2.

There's something nagging in the back of my mind that there was a third such incident on that trip, but I quite honestly can't remember. I'll have to ask David the next time we talk...his memory is better than mine. So for now, on to today's trip to the magical Bay Area.

I arrived at the airport super early, and we all know that I just ain't a morning person. No how, no way, no thank you. While the plane was boarding, I thought I saw someone that I recognized out of the corner of my eye, but ignored it. While on the plane, I forgot about it. And, really, tried to forget that I was on the plane, despite my super-chatty row companion who just IGNORED the fact that I was trying to sleep and then read.

Upon deplaning in SJC, I got a better glimpse at the person I'd seen while boarding in DFW - a former coworker, Dennis, who I haven't seen in at least a couple years. Alas, I called his name, but he was moving pretty quickly by the time I said it and he never heard me. I'm quite sure it was him, however, and he's already been sent an email ragging on him for ignoring me! RANDOM COINCIDENCE #3.

Finally, my last eerie run-in. After our Joint Leadership Team meeting, we got back to the airport and while my co-consultant and I went through security, the GM went to park her car. As we stood inside security waiting for her to get back so we could grab some lunch, I saw someone heading down the concourse that I knew...Don, Patti's husband, Chris' uncle. I'm pretty sure that I gave him a heart attack when I called out his name...he'd just arrived on a flight from Dallas for a business trip, and was headed out to collect his baggage. I'm pretty sure I'm the last person he expected to see there...he joked that since he'd moved to Wichita for the Army a few months ago, wouldn't it just figure that he'd have to come to CA instead of TX to actually see family! We had a nice little 5 minute chat before he headed off to catch up with the people he was traveling with and I headed to lunch with my coworkers. Fun times...and RANDOM COINCIDENCE #4.

So there you have it...I never have those kinds of run-ins anywhere else, and I travel frequently and have been to 41 of 50 states. So it must be...Bay Area Magic!

Traveling, er, Wednesday

Had another travel day today...and it was a doozy.

Alarm: 4:55 AM (CENTRAL)
Depart Home: 6:00 AM (CENTRAL)
Arrive south airport parking: 6:25 AM (CENTRAL)
Arrive Terminal A: 6:45 AM (CENTRAL)
Purchase Breakfast to eat on-board: 7:00 AM (CENTRAL)
Board flight from DFW to SJC: 7:25 AM (CENTRAL)
Depart DFW: 7:55 AM (CENTRAL)
Arrive SJC: 9:25 AM (PACIFIC)
SJC Joint Leadership Team Meeting: 10:45 AM - 2:00 PM (PACIFIC)
Lunch with SJC GM: 2:30 PM (PACIFIC)
Board flight from SJC to DFW: 3:20 PM (PACIFIC)
Depart SJC: 3:35 PM (PACIFIC)
Arrive south airport parking: 9:20 PM (CENTRAL)
Arrive Home: 9:45 PM (CENTRAL)
Dinner: 10:00 PM (CENTRAL)

So yeah...long day. GREAT meeting, however. Love going to the Bay Area, but these day trips are just killers! To read a bit more about my day, check out my next post - Bay Area Magic!

Short Story: Take A Peek

Take a Peek
She stared down at the small wrapped package before her, a pleased smile gracing her face. It looked like Mark had gone all out with her present this year – the seventh year she would celebrate her birthday with him in her life. Look at the neat purple design on the wrapping paper – surely Mark had a store wrap the present – goodness knows he’s all thumbs. And the frothy purple bow! Delightfully girlish while screaming of sophistication.

Angela was nearly beside herself with anticipation. Her birthday was still seven days away and she could already feel the irresistible pull to open her present ahead of time…just take a little peek. After all, Mark hadn’t hidden the box very well – she’d found it right at the back of the very top shelf in the linen closet, underneath the never-used towels.

Okay, she admitted to herself, so the hiding place wasn’t really that obvious. But she’d still found it, and that meant it was okay to peek, right?


Want to read more? Read the rest of the story here!

Remember - you have to be a member of WDC to read my works there, but membership is free!

  • Written for: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words Contest, Round 62

  • Winner: 1st Place

  • Word Count: 999

  • Prompt: Picture depicted a birthday theme, in honor of the birthday of the WDC web site

Changes, They Are A-Coming!

My header refers to this site as my official writing blog, but beyond a sidebar on the left that gives stats on my four full-length works-in-progress and my occasional blurb about goals or time availability or what have you, I don't really discuss writing all that often.

Well...that's about to change!

As some of you may know, I participate - somewhat sporadically - at, also known as WDC. Over there, I have a few chapters posted from WIPs (pre-updates - updates coming soon) as well as some short stories.

Coming soon, I will begin highlighting some of my stories over here - just teasers, though! I'll give you the first four paragraphs, and if you're sufficiently intrigued, you can follow the link over to WDC to read more!

There is a catch, however - isn't there always? I have set my writings on WDC to be available only to WDC members - gives some degree of privacy for works I may one day seek to publish. Never fear, however - WDC offers FREE memberships and, if you're a writer yourself, many, many opportunities to showcase your work and read the works of others.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by my world here at Breakfast at Tiffany's - and enjoy the upcoming morsels!



What's in a name?

What Tiffany Means
You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.
You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.
You are loving, compassionate, and ruled by your feelings.You are able to be a foundation for other people... but you still know how to have fun.Sometimes your emotions weigh you down, but you generally feel free from them.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. You have the classic "Type A" personality.
You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.
You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

Ok, who is stalking me? WHO IS STALKING ME? Obviously, these people followed me around for about the last, oh, 27 years and then wrote this profile. Eerie. Go take and comment back to let me know how accurate your reading is - mine is true to a T!

Merry Christmas!

That's right - today is Christmas! Russian Orthodox Christmas, that is.

While I am not Russian Orthodox myself, or even a practicing Catholic any longer, I continue to celebrate this second Christmas every holiday season in memory of my grandmother, who I called Baba, which means grandmother in Ukrainian. Baba, who was my mother's mother, passed away on December 23rd, 1993, at the age of almost-91. We'd thrown one hell of a 90th birthday party for her the previous spring, but in truth, her last few years were rocky, at best.

The year she died, we didn't celebrate Christmas on December 25th in any fashion - too much going on with funeral planning. However, we did remember her on January 7th, the day she recognized as Christmas.

And so every year, even when my mom is being a complete poop and has no Christmas spirit herself (on either Christmas day!) I do something to commemorate the fact that Christmas, in fact, comes twice a year.

So Merry Christmas, ya'll!



Manic Monday #10

Lisa is back with great questions this week for Manic Monday!

What was the last thing you regret buying?
Hmm...I really don't know. I don't shop all that often.

If you had a crystal ball that could tell you the truth about any one thing you wished to know about yourself, life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
If we'll have children/when we'll have children/how many children we'll have. That's really the big question mark in my life right now...God's will is all good and well, but it'd still be nice to know what's in store.

How do you know when you're in love?
When the thought of not having that person in your life is so overwhelmingly negative that you can't bear the thought...

You know the drill, folks. Sign in using the linky, leave me a comment, and I'll come visit you back - unless I already visited you first! Happy Monday!

Friday Feast #8

I'm sneaking in early this time...ha! I'm defeating the "forget to post" monster!


When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?
Chris Rock (female, trainer, not male, comedian) sent me a "don't drive faster than your angel can fly" ornament for my car a few months ago...very cool. Of course, it's a crack on my driving skills, but still a nice thing!

If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?
Oh, Lord, only one? Ok, I'll go for generic. If I could have a summer home, it would be on the beach, at a beach where the average June/July/August daily temperature reaches at least 80 degrees. (Beach must equal warmth. San Diego way disappointed me by still being pretty chilly in mid-July. I can't sunbathe in "pretty chilly.")

If I weren't being generic but could list multiple options, I would say Ocean City, NJ; Virginia Beach, VA; Daytona Beach, FL; or South Padre, TX.

Now to finance this venture...I'm so jealous of my parents, sometimes. We always had two and sometimes three homes while I was growing up...but I'll likely never be able to afford that for myself and my own eventual family. Wholly depressing. Oh, well. There's always the lottery. :-)

Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.
Mmm. Banana. It's the only one I'd eat without any conditions.
(I.E. I don't eat pineapple, the orange I'd only suck on, the apple would have to be peeled and in little pieces, and I only eat maraschino cherries.)

Main Course
Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.
Well, I would say my wedding dress, but I really only just re-used the dress I graduated from high school in to also get married in. Nice, but likely not my nicest. So I'll say the formal gown I bought a few years ago for the Supper Dance we attended with Danielle when we went to Mardi Gras. I rewore it for the Barrister's Ball my law school held that same year. (If this is the first time you've seen me mention law school, I quit after one year, so no, I'm not a lawyer.)

If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?
Hahaha. I'd really probably pick my wedding day. I was so stressed that day and so many freaking things upset me that weekend that I have a hard time looking at it fondly. I actually had screaming nightmares about my wedding for about six months afterwards. My husband would have to wake me up and talk me down basically.

Leave me your link and a comment, and I'll come visit you back!

Thursday Thirteen #10

Hi, everyone!

It's been a hectic first few days in the new year, and so unfortunately, I am late to the game again this week in getting up my post! We spent most of yesterday winterizing our house - yes, even in Texas, this can be necessary! Our 22-year-old home also has 22-year-old windows and 22-year-old doors and well, insulation is a major issue. So while we have on the to-do and wish list an item to replace all windows and doors with new, more energy-efficient types, we've had to improvise in the meantime. I hate seeing $400 energy bills when we already use as little as we can, so $50 in supplies is well worth using to save money in future months...and it's already shown an effect because I was finally nice and toasty warm in my house last night withOUT the thermostat set to 80! Have I mentioned that I HATE WINTER?!

So now, without further ado, my Thursday Thirteen!

Thirteen Christmas Presents Received by Tiffany in 2007

  1. A grey sweater, from Christopher
    (check it out - I'm wearing it in our Happy New Year picture)

  2. A dark green sweater, from my father-in-law and step-mother-in law
    (very cute, very warm, I'm wearing it today at work)

  3. An atomic alarm clock with laser projection, from my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law
    (already set up in the bedroom...pretty cool)

  4. A Christmas tree
    (from my mother-in-law...she asked what we most needed this year and since our old fake tree - I can't have real due to health - was leaning quite badly, this is what we chose...and the new one is very cool!)

  5. An electric cooker/server, from Christopher
    (way an electric chafing dish...and since I love my chafing dishes, I'm super-excited to have a way cool new and improved upgraded kind of thing)

  6. An old-fashioned popcorn popper, a popcorn set, and a gift card to Blockbusters, from our friends Stephanie and Greg and their two girls, who are my goddaughters
    (also way's a stovetop popper and will also work quite nicely when we go camping, using our cook stove)

  7. Three Christmas-themed serving dishes, from my mom and dad
    (Mom loves shopping...just not for me. So this year, she picked Macy's, gave me a dollar amount, and as usual, I chose my own present. Cool stuff. Love my new dishes.)

  8. A snack and sweets assortment in a Santa stacker, from Carlos, my boss

  9. A snack and sweets assortment in a cool winter house, from Chris' uncle Gary and aunt Ardyn
    (again, yum)

  10. Ghirardelli dark chocolates, from Christopher
    (yum and my FAVORITES)

  11. A $30 gift card to Borders, from Christopher
    (will be WELL used! By the way, go visit my blog, Read and Release - my first book review of 2008 is UP!)

  12. A beautiful angel snow globe, from Christopher's aunt Jane and uncle Ernie
    (very cool...matches an angel figurine my aunt Grace gave me years ago and is now displayed by its side)

  13. "The Choice", by Nicholas Sparks, from Christopher
    (funny story...I also gave this book to Christopher for Christmas! We both like Nicholas now we have two copies...can't decide whether to keep both or return one.)

Hope you all got everything you wanted to Christmas this year! Leave me a note with your favorite gift!

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!