Blog Revamp - PART 1

I've successfully finished part one of my BIG BLOG REVAMP!

All posts from Tiffany Takes On... have been successfully transferred over to this blog, as well as related comments. YAHOO!

If you haven't kept up on my rantings, read them here!

Next step - upload new template.

I gave my chosen new template a try-out tonight on a test blog, and it works beautifully - I think you're going to love it! I'll have it uploaded over the weekend and ready to!

Stay tuned...much more to come.

You Can Never Be Too Careful...

Writing that post earlier tonight about my police officer husband and his love for buying gadgets for his work put me in an oddly sentimental mood. I've spent the last half hour or so remembering how I first met my husband (online!) and what it was like getting to know him through email and phone calls before I finally agreed to our first date, six weeks after we first made contact.

I'd done the whole blind date thing before. I'd done the pick up a random guy in a bar or a restaurant and then go on a spur-of-the-moment 10-day vacation with them to California thing before. (I'm not kidding.) I done the met a guy in the elevator at work and then endure two miserable meals before escaping thing. What I'm trying to say is that up to and including Chris, I've had interesting adventures in dating.

But even though my friends still believe that I'm nuts and God only knows what my family things of me - they're still scandalized that I moved to Texas SIX years ago! - I've always played it very safe while dating.

How's that, you say, when I was obviously crazy enough to pack up and spend 10 days in San Diego with a guy who I'd spent a grand total of 6 hours with, two weeks before that trip? How's that, you say, when I was so willing to jet off to Daytona (it's Daytona, for God's sake, and it was bike week) with a guy more than twice my age?

Easy. With each and every one of those guys, I got online and ran complete background checks before I committed to anything wild and crazy. With the power of the internet today, it's possible to know more about someone else than they may even know about themselves within a very short amount of time, and for less than what it costs to fill your car with gas! Now, you could spend all of your time over countless days and weeks trying to track down everywhere someone else had lived, worked, and played...or you could work with a terrific organization that is certified by the Better Business Bureau, whose only focus is to run criminal background checks in order to gather the information that you need to make informed decisions about the guys you date, the employees you hire, or the people you hire to take care of your home or children.

With SentryLink's National Criminal Background Check program, you get results in around a minute, tapping into millions of databases in that time. Whether it's crime reports or sex offender listings, you can find out what someone else may be trying to hide. All you need is less than twenty bucks, the name of the person you're investigating, and their date of birth. How easy of that? Twenty dollars is a pittance to pay to ensure your own piece of mind - and that's why I've run checks on so many of the guys I've dated. There just isn't a price I'd put on my own security.

I was lucky - when I ran criminal checks on potential beaus, I never had information pop up that was negative. One of my oldest friends in the world was not so fortunate. She got involved with a guy a few years back who lived in Texas - she lives in Pennsylvania. Things got all hot and heavy with their sporadic visits, and she finally spilled the beans and told me all about him. What she was saying didn't exactly add up in my head, so without her knowledge, I went ahead and decided to run a background check on the guy. It was with a very heavy heart that I had to take information back to her that he was already married and had a murky past. If she'd only done a check at the get go, she could have avoided a lot of heartache in the long run.

I've been accused of being crazy; some have called me paranoid; but I just like to think that I'm safe. That's why I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would have nothing to fear when Chris picked me up for our first date...and I'm ever so glad that he did!

The Cat Who...

Isn't my "Cat Who" cute? Say hi, Frankie!

When I got this kitty 6 years ago, it was definitely "At First Sight"!

Calling All Officers!

Police officers, that is - not to slight military officers, but this post is meant for our men (and women!) with badges, not BDUs!

Ya'll know that my husband is a state police officer...but what you probably wouldn't know about him is that he can sometimes be a bit of an impulse buyer. And he looooooves buying police gear - anything from pants that have more gadgets than a Swiss Army knife to miniature cars from jurisdictions around the country. If something catches his eye, he usually gets it!

So that means that I, as a good little police wife, often keep my eye out for places that he can find police gear, both useful and decorative. (Have I mentioned that he also collects police patches?)

In any case, Chris just bought this quite nifty pair of pants that can do just about anything except the laundry, and he's looking into getting a few more pairs to use for work. His agency doesn't have a uniform, but they do get a bit of an allowance to buy their own clothes to suit the operations that they are assigned to.

I'm not sure where he got those last pair of pants, but I just came across a web site for 5.11 tactical pants that I'm quite sure are quite similar to what he already has. Needless to say, I'm going to share this site with him as soon as he gets back from his week of training in Austin!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share it with ya'll, since I do believe I have a few officers or police wives among my readers! Go, seek, and enjoy!

American Idol

Ok, so I just have to say this...

Does anyone else not care about American Idol as much as I don't care about American Idol? Supposedly, someone won tonight. Freaking yay. Half the blogs on my Reader are gushing over it. As if I care.

I tune into the try-out episodes if I'm home and nothing else is on that I'm dying to see...basically because I'm the heartless sort that loves laughing at stupid people. (And as a musician, I love to laugh at stupid people who actually think they have talent.)

I have not once watched an actual competition episode. I have a download of one of the performances - some chick singing with Rascal Flatts - but that's it.

The rest of the time? Please. TV off, hand me a book. As much as I miss my husband when he's out of town, I like having this time with no TV on. It really gets sickening sometimes. Plus, I actually get stuff done when the boob tube isn't making my brain cells die.

Speaking of books...MAJOR updates coming for my book blog! I'm behind by as many books as I've already blogged on, and have finished 2 more in the past 3 days! This weekend's project is to CATCH UP ON BOOK BLOGGING!!!

Oh yeah, and the other updates and that pesky little BIG ANNOUNCEMENT that I pre-announced. Still coming soon. Layout update ought to complete this weekend as well. BIG ANNOUNCEMENT tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 27th.

Stay tuned...

Thursday Thirteen #17

Thursday Thirteen Campaign Edition

Completing the series begun two weeks ago and continued last week, I'll be giving my suggestions for campaign songs that could prospectively be used by the three remaining candidates for the President of the United States of America.

Keep in mind that these are tongue-in-cheek and not meant, in any way, to inflame and/or start a political debate. If you don't like my humor, go elsewhere.

Top 13 Campaign Song Suggestions for John McCain

If you're interested in downloading any of these songs, click on the link and you will go straight to iTunes. And hey...I'll make enough commission off every purchase to buy, well, some penny candy. Yahoo!
  1. Alabama - I'm in a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)
    Just let Hillary and Obama fight it out...when they're done, McCain will be the last man standing!
  2. Backstreet Boys - Show Me the Meaning (Of Being Lonely)
    Boy, that Republican field just dried up - must be lonely at the top!
  3. Beastie Boys - Fight For Your Right
    This man has been fighting all of his life...from being a soldier to a hostage to a Congressman, to a former Presidential hopeful to his current, it's time to party!
  4. Beatles - With a Little Help from my Friends
    Unlike the damage Hillary is doing to the cohesiveness (snort!) of the Democratic party by continuing to cling instead of going away gracefully (snort!), other Republican hopefuls bowed out to throw their support behind McCain and provide a unified front early on. Bravo! Incidentally, this is one of my FAVORITE songs to play on the piano...singing along, of course!
  5. Billy Joel - Only the Good Die Young
    I'm not implying anything here folks, but he's a bit, er, aged! (Sure, I don't imply...I just go ahead and say it!) (Have I ever mentioned, here, that Billy Joel is my ultimate music crush? Like ultimate, ultimate. Like I'd quit my job and abandon my family for the opportunity to go drool on this man. I definitely have just decided to spend the next few weeks devoting TT's to Billy Joel's greatness. Can't possibly do him in one week...hehehe...pun sorta intended.)
  6. Black Sabbath - Iron Man
    When I am this man's age, I fully intend to be retired, rich, and planted on a beach somewhere getting nice and brown and wrinkled and sipping enough umbrella drinks to make me think that I'm still, well, my current age. I'm convinced the man is on steroids to still be in the hell that is politics!
  7. Blink 182 - What's My Age Again
    Last age joke, I promise.
  8. Bowling for Soup - Almost
    I. Can. Taste. It.
  9. Brad Paisley - I'm Gonna Miss Her
    When Hillary drops out/dies/is kidnapped by unsuspecting aliens who quickly return her to planet earth once they discover their mistake in believing her to be a healthy specimen to study.
  10. Dixie Chicks - Ready to Run
    Doesn't matter who the Dems put up...let's get this thing fired UP!
  11. Frank Sinatra - It Had to be You
    Frankly, (geez, I'm full of puns tonight...anyone catch the one with Bowling for Soup and tasting?) I wouldn't have had McCain as my first choice, since I'm a Rudy girl. But hey...looks like this time around, Old Blue Eyes was on John's side.
  12. Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
    This one is hubby's contribution...considering McCain was born in, well, Panama!
  13. The Lion King - Just Can't Wait to be King
I've had a ton of fun with these last three weeks...and I'm definitely going to continue on the music theme for awhile! Let's plan out the next six weeks, shall we?
5/29 - The Essential Billy Joel, Part 1
6/5 - The Essential Billy Joel, Part 2
6/12 - The Essential Elton John
6/19 - The Essential Meatloaf
6/26 - The Essential Bruce Springsteen
7/3 - The Essential Sound of Summer

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!

Don't Kill the Messenger!

Since I work for American Airlines in my full-time career, I often hear from friends and family - and sometimes from people in the blogosphere - about their thoughts and feelings when something that may be unpopular is announced by my highly-visible organization.

I'd like to make a few comments to address the latest brou-ha-ha that seems to have flared up over today's announcement of additional baggage charges, effective with tickets bought on or after June 15th.

First, and most importantly, people must remember that American Airlines is a business. And like every other business in the world, it has a strong and prevailing interest in making enough revenue to cover the costs of doing business. No one wants to run a business that consistently operates at a loss, but over the entire history of airline travel, there have been more years of loss than gain.

Second, and important to me, is that people have to remember that I work for this organization. I'm not in executive management; I don't make decisions on pricing or capacity or route planning. But I can assure you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the people that are making those decisions are very highly educated and very thoroughly trained. They didn't just fall off the turnip truck - the average seniority of AA senior management is greater than the average age of my friends. And, drawing on my experience in delivering leadership training to individuals who are just starting down the path towards leading, I can tell you this very important fact: a good leader doesn't make popular decisions; a good leader makes correct decisions no matter what popular opinion may hold.

And ya know what? There's a lot of criticism in the newsmedia that the salaries earned by our executive leaders are undeserved. (Pronounce with me, folks - undeserved in this instance should have three syllables.) Well, I'd have to respectfully disagree. Compared to other industries, including companies who are also facing dismal financial futures, our executives are compensated far less. And compared to people at my level of management, our executives do deserve to earn far more. By virtue of the unique wisdom and very, very hard work they bring to our the constant headaches they face in conducting business in today's challenges...they deserve every penny they get.

Do I wish I made more? Sure. Who doesn't? But realistically, I know that my salary is on line with what the airline can afford to pay me for the work I do within the organization. Could I make more elsewhere? Sure. I could and I have. But there's something about the company culture here at American that just inspires me to stay and do my best to positively impact the future.

Do I wish that ticket fares were cheaper and fees nonexistent? Sure. I'm the original cheapskate and I hate for friends and family to have to open their pocketbooks even wider to afford travel. But I also know that the same gas prices that are making me shudder when filling the 20 gallon tank in my SUV are doing far greater damage to the companies who run vehicles - airplanes - that burn more gas than that per minute.

We could all start pointing fingers, here, and perhaps some people would take gratification from that. But instead, let's look realistically at the entire financial landscape and realize that we're all of us going through tougher times than before. Tough times don't last forever, though. We'll all pull through. Along the way to brighter times, hard decisions may have to be made, but if they're made in good conscious, I believe we'll only see far greater possibilities in the future.

To read a great WSJ article on the state of the airline industry, click here.

Keep in mind, as always, that when I make reference to my full-time job and place of employment or make remarks about the industry in which I'm employed, I am not purporting to represent any opinion other than my own.

Q&A with God

Finn, over at A Life Less Ordinary, has been kicking back with God over at her portal...and today, I got my burning question answered! Go over and see why God made the platypus! :-)

Burning Questions, Part II: A Conversation With God

(No, I'm not making fun of religion - I happen to be secure in my faith and belief in God. But I do think that some people take God and faith way too seriously, and so I love little skits like this one that I believe can be used as a teaching tool for people to learn that not all of life is serious and that it's ok to have a comfortable relationship with God.

And as for Linkies...

Yes, the linkies are coming back!

I'm realizing that it's much harder to return visits when I simply have people comment instead of leaving a Linkie AND commenting.

WHY is it so much harder, you ask? Well, quite simply, a lot of people have more than one blog - as do I - and so figuring out which one to go to can be time consuming, and then halfway along the way, I usually find that I love one of their other blogs as well, and so I read through that for half an hour, and then finally make my way back to where I was headed in the first place...or I'll get distracted and follow another link and just never get there and...

Are ya getting the point? Not that I don't want to visit each and every blog maintained by each and every kind person who comes to visit me here, but ye Gods - it can get to be a full time job!!

Starting Thursday, the Linkies will return and I'll consider my non-Linkie experiment that resulted in laziness from not wanting to go to another web site in lieu of simply posting my MeMe a loss. All hail LINKIES!!


Stop Calling Me - Part 2!

Thanks for keeping me honest, Gabriel!

Gabriel checked out the web site I wrote about last night when I was venting my frustrations about the many phone calls my household receives that are just plain not meant for us. He thought the link was cool, but pointed out that it's for US exchanges only - not Canadian!

Since my traffic has been telling me that I have quite a few Canadian readers, I thought I'd do a bit of research and post some resources for my neighbors to the north to utilize!

If you're in Canada, you're in luck! It turns out that a Do Not Call format was just finalized this past December. Read all about it here. Unfortunately, it's not required to be operational until September 30, 2008. Keep your eyes open for more information on how to register - I couldn't find a registration site, but with September only 4 months away, I'm sure one is coming soon!

For reverse lookups on Canadian phone exchanges, try these two resources: and Find a Person. I went ahead and gave both web sites a shot with a relative's number that lives outside of Calgary, and it seems to work just fine!

Have a great Tuesday, ya'll!

Stop Calling Me!

We bought and moved into our house 13+ months ago, and along with that move came a new home phone number.

Ever since we've had our phone number, it's been a hassle and a half. For the first 6 or 7 months, 1 out of every 3 calls was meant for the previous owner of the phone number. My most common gripe when the phone rang was "who's number is this - ours or his?" Apparently, he was a real scumbag and owed lots of people (some of them not very nice) lots of money (some of them, lots of money). We got calls all hours of the day and night.

Halfway through those first few months, we also started receiving phone calls trying to collect money from a relative who put us down as a reference/contact but didn't tell us (ask us!) first.

Now, for the past 6 or 7 months, we've been getting survey and telemarketer phone calls. I'm thoroughly annoyed. After doing some research to get no call list information, I've put our number both on the national and Texas do not call lists, and we're still getting calls. Hopefully, those'll end soon - I think they're supposed to stop within 3 months.

There's also another breed of calls that also annoy me. It's the random numbers (without names) that call us at random times when we're not home (or when I refuse to answer, because I don't recognize the number). These people don't leave messages. But yet...they call. Sometimes, repeatedly!

I found a web site that's allowed me to alleviate some of my frustration, and wanted to share it with you, dear readers. They offer no call list information, but also give you a way to look up those annoying numbers that are calling you!

Who's Number Is This

Manic Monday #14

Yahoo! I'm finally doing a Manic Monday, courtesy of Lisa!

Before you leave my little home on the net today, please take a jaunt down to one of my other posts and give me feedback on proposed changes to this blog! (I figure if I hyperlink it enough times, you'll actually read that other post and give me feedback!!)

I also want to share that I have finally transcribed a notebook's worth of handwritten scenes into two of my Works in Progress - yahoo! All said, I've added 4365 words - 1489 to DNA and 2876 to Winter Break. Although this is old writing that I simply transcribed (and edited) today, it feels like I've accomplished something new!!

On to Manic Monday...

If you knew that every minute of the next 24 hours of your life would be recorded on camera is there anything you would change about your habits?
Hmm...that's quite an interesting question. Yes, I'd stop sitting around my house in jammies and put on "real" clothes!

If you could take a one-month trip to any single destination in the world and money is not a consideration, where would you go?
Beach. I think if I had a month, I'd do Hawaii. Dump me on the sand and I'll see you in 30 days!

What is the best example of “perfection” that you can think of?
Seeing the roses bloom in my rose garden...each flower seems like perfection!

No linky - just leave me a comment and I'll come visit you!

Changes, They Are A-Comin'

To the site, I mean!

I've decided that I'm completely bored with the look of my blog, so over the next few days, I'm going to be working to change that. Want a sneak peek on what may be coming? Here's what I'm contemplating!

  • Total Layout Change. It's blah-blah boring right now, isn't it? I need some pizzazz!
  • Header/Banner Change. I'm kind of a fraud according to my own banner. Let's face it. This isn't my writing blog. It's a blog where I post random thoughts, occasionally a product or site review that I'm commissioned to work on, lots of MeMes...and oh, yeah, the occasional snippet of my writing. So yeah, while it was meant to be exclusively about my writing, it's gone pretty far beyond. And somehow missed the theme of fiction along the way!
  • Fiction. Hey, I knew I started this site for a reason! In the future, I'll be posting more snippets of my writing for you, dear readers, to give me your feedback on. Some short stories and some excerpts from my manuscripts in progress.
  • Theme. Yeah, I call this place Breakfast at Tiffany's, as a play on my name and my passion for both the book and movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. But other than splashing a picture of Audrey Hepburn up, I've done zip, nada, nothing with that theme. Shame on me! I'm working on creating a weekly, or potentially bi-weekly feature that's actually a play on the theme. Stay tuned!
  • This whole columns thing... I don't like it either. Two just ain't cutting it. So I'm going to three. I'm actively in the hunt for a new template that mimics the layout I've got pictured in my mind. (Did you know that at one time I was a Layout Editor?) So why three? Well, let's face it. I've monetized my blog. I'm trying to make pennies wherever I can. Have you seen the rising costs of gas and food? So even though that's all I'm making right now - pennies - I'm working on improving that. I once ran several moderately successful websites that pulled in around $50 bucks a month each in advertising. Not a lot, but some cash. I gave it up because I just didn't keep up with it and thought that I'd rather focus my efforts on blogging instead of HTML-ing. I now realize the error of my ways - I should have done both. (And in an effort to do so, I've purchased a few new domains and will be making them into monetized sites with specific niches. More on that later.) In any case, going to three columns is a boon to both me, the person hoping to make a bit more money, and you, the reader who may not want to see my ads. I'll be "segregating" all of my ads to one of the as you're scrolling down, you can quite easily let your eyes ignore a portion of the site, instead of having to scroll through ads to get to other sidebar widgets or information. And hey, if you happen to see an ad you like, go for it! :-)
  • Two become one. A few months ago, I created another blog called "Tiffany Takes On." It is basically my rant blog. I see a news article that gets my feathers in a flair and write my reaction to it. Ok, in like 8 months I've written 14 posts. I'm not exactly prolific over there. And my site traffic reflects upon that! So as a part of the redesign of this blog, I'll be incorporating those posts in (dated appropriately and with comments copied and pasted as they won't transfer) with the contents here. And in the future, when I feel like ranting, I'll just do it here!
  • Cheaper by the dozen. Ok, not really a dozen. But I'll still have other blogs independent of this one. Namely, the book blog, Read and Release: Tiffany's Tomes, will be staying a standalone blog. A couple others I started as a whim, however, will be going away. Not worth my time/effort. Don't worry - you won't miss anything. I never announced them here or put them under my profile, so the few posts I have done on those topics won't be missed by anyone if gone. I will, however, be introducing one of my other blogs to you all. It was actually the first blog I started, back in July of 2007 - 3 months before this blog here. Since then, I've written it quasi-anonymously (using even a different Google login!) and it's on a fairly personal topic. But the readership, interestingly enough, is about 5 times of this site, with no marketing or advertising on my part. Google loves to index that blog, so it gets lots of hits. Anyhow, I think you'll like it, and so it's COMING SOON as a part of a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. So, other than the four sites I mentioned buying above which will be run entirely independently, I'll be down to three blogs - and that I can handle!
So there you have it! Now it's your turn, readers! What do you think? Any changes to suggest? I'm open to them all - and to your feedback on everything I've written about up above!

I'm a Big Baby!

Almost a year ago, my husband got Lasik surgery done on his eyes.

This was a tremendous deal for him. The man is more skittish about having people near his eyes than I can even describe.

Oh, but let me try!

He had an eye infection a few months before his Lasik where his tear ducts basically became clogged. For treatment, he had to rub baby shampoo into his eyes to release the oils in his tear ducts, and then use eye drops. He couldn't handle the eye drop part. At all. Now...picture this.
My husband is twice my size. Big tough guy - he's a cop, in fact. But to get the eye drops in, he had to lay down on the bed and I would straddle his shoulders to try to pin them down and then pry open in eye in turn to get in a drop of the medicated liquid.

When you saw the word "straddle", you probably thought "kinky." Trust me, it wasn't!

In any case, the big baby sucked it up and saved his pennies (and got cheap financing on the rest that's almost paid off) and had his surgery done at the end of last July. And he thinks it's the best thing he's ever done.

And then there's me.

Turns out I'm an even bigger baby. Now, I've worn contacts for like 15 years. I even wore hard contacts briefly. I have NO PROBLEM putting in my contacts every morning. Doesn't freak me out at all. Makes my husband want to puke. If I go to the eye doctor, I'm okay with him manipulating my eyes.

But ever since I saw a brochure with a picture of knife-blade Lasik in it years ago, the very thought of the surgery just makes me shudder. And yes, I know that it's all laser-based now. But there used to be a knife!! Near your eye!!! That cut it!!!!

But yet, I still am trying to work myself up to taking the plunge. So in my scattered wanderings throughout the internet, I came across LasikVue. Unfortunately, they're not located here in Texas where I am (they're in the Bay Area of CA) but they had great information on their site.

I was most interested in their write up on Custom Wavefront Lasik, because the described procedure says that it not only corrects your vision to 20/20 but gives more clarity as well. Specifically, it mentions reducing halos - which is my bane in life! I've all but stopped driving after dark unless absolutely necessary because the halos I see around lights just make me feel like I'm out of control. So if there's a procedure that can make that go away, I need to give it some serious thought!

I still have to do some serious thinking before I go through with my own Lasik surgery - and my FSA monies are spoken for this year already anyways - but I think you'll be seeing me come to the decision to have this done sometime in 2009. With the way the technology is progressed, it's almost silly not to!

If any of you are located out in the Bay Area, check out these doctors and their web site!

Lasik in Walnut Creek

Friday Fill In # 2

I'm rejoining Janet this week with my second edition of Friday Fill In!

Here we go...

1. There is absolutely NO way you can get me to eat seafood!
2. The later setting sun reminds me that summer is almost here!
3. I cannot live without my books.
4. Golfing and martial arts are two things I'd like to try.
5. When life hands you lemons you should wonder if they, too, have gone up in price.
6. Summers in Ocean City, New Jersey is my favorite childhood memory.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to blogging, tomorrow my plans include more home improvements and Sunday, I want to spend quality time with Chris before he leaves to spend a week in Austin!

Your turn! No Linkie this week...just leave me a comment and I'll visit you back!

Got Pics?

Ok. Tell the truth. Have any of you ever fantasized about being discovered and becoming famous? It's truth time, now!

Me? Eh. I'd not mind being well-known, but I hate people looking at me! I prefer to be the one behind the camera instead of in front of it. But back in high school, when I was having my senior pictures made, my mom insisted that I do a full-day photo shoot (I'm not kidding - I was there like 6 or 7 hours and had like 6 changes of clothes) and had a full portfolio created for me.

Why? Who knows! I was young and I guess fairly cute, I but I was certainly no model! I'd once begged to enter a beauty contest, but my mom (same one who wanted the portfolio) shot down that idea pretty quickly.

In any case, I wanted to see what you all think, dear readers! Have you ever wanted to become a model and vault to riches and fame? Or are you the type of beautiful person who would rather be behind the camera in front of it?

Well, if you've ever dreamt of starting your modeling career, head on over to Look of the Year and submit your picture to see if you have what it takes to break into the big leagues. Me? I think that one photo shoot in my lifetime was enough! :-)

Saudis Flake Out

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

Saudi Arabia has pulled its typical "we're friends with you but screw off" nonsense again. After an appeal to Saudi leaders by President Bush to up oil output in order to try to stem increasingly high oil prices, Saudi Arabia replied with a token gesture that raised production by a laughable amount in line with the amount they increase output by every summer. Apparently, they feel there is no greater demand for oil than they're already meeting.

Excuse me? Who passed King Abdullah the crack pipe? Eight years ago, oil, per barrel, cost less than one fourth of what it currently costs. In a conversion to the gas pump, the price per gallon was one-third of what is charged today. According to "economists" referred to in an article on Yahoo, it is demand that explains the tripling of at-the-pump prices and quadrupling of price-per-barrel.

Apparently they shared the same crack pipe. I don't freaking think so. They blame India and China for being gas-hungry. Nice. Now, I know that those two nations are among the fastest growing, population-wise, in the world. Great. Bully for them. But they certainly haven't tripled or quadrupled in size in under a decade. That's garbage, plain and simple.

When will someone with a powerful voice finally stand up and say what the real issue is, here. It's not demand. It's not the cost of pumping or refining or shipping or King Abdullah's newest robe. It's the fact that a very small group of people in this world control one of its most valuable resources.

OPEC, or the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is made up of 13 nations that have and export a lot of oil. We're not a member. Saudi Arabia is. So are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Quatar, the UAE and Venezuela.

Look at that list, folks. Look at the countries - and carefully. Do they look like stable places to you? That'd be a big fat no. By and large, they are run by ruthless dictatorships or regimes that just can't wait to get their hands on more money from the export of oil so that they can fund programs indigenous to their countries.

Like terrorists. As in the 9/11 terrorists that struck viciously at our country and our way of life just a few short years ago. Right around the same time gas prices started going up, in fact. Ironic, eh? Hey, anyone remember where many of those terrorists came from and were trained?

Oh, yeah. Saudi Arabia. Let's call OPEC what it is; it's not an organization that protects the wellbeing of countries and prevents the exploitations of their natural resources. Bunk. It's a cartel, plain and simple, and it has been terrorizing the civilized world for far too many years.

Half of those countries are freaking lucky that we never bombed them back into the stone age when we've had various opportunities to do so. And we're repaid by the continued gauging of oil prices. OPEC has constantly and consistently screwed with output levels to up the price per barrel for oil. Unchecked by the so-called powerful and civilized nations of this world, like, namely, the UNITED STATES!

It's time we stop standing back and bowing down to these gangsters. We need to take a stance - and a good and firm one at that - that shows who really has the power in this world. Our country needs to elect leaders later in 2008 that actually have the cojones to chart a course for this nation to regain economic prosperity.

And I'm not letting American-based oil companies off the hook here, either. As OPEC has found more money to fill its coffers, so has Exxon-Mobil, Shell, and many others. Believe it or not, big oil magnates: you don't need to show profits in the billions of dollars to prove your business smarts. But you do need to show the American people that you're more than just moneygrubbers, riding on the tailcoats of foreign gangsters who want nothing more than to stick it to our people and our nation. Cut your profit margins - I dare ya! - and I dare say we will all reap the benefits.

Read more here: Saudis see no reason to raise oil production now and Wikipedia - OPEC.
(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 05/16/08, 3:52 PM.)

Friday Feast #15

It's that time again...

What is the nearest big city to your home?
Well, since I live in FORT WORTH, TEXAS, I'd say I live in a big city! :-) But just 30 miles away is DALLAS, TEXAS, which is pretty danged big! :-)

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?
I keep secrets pretty well. I've always been the "mom" that other people pour their hearts out to. Sometimes, however, I do "strategically" share information. So I'll rate myself a 9.

Describe your hair (color, texture, length).
Medium brown, thin, past my shoulders. I'm considering a drastic change.

Main Course
What kind of driver are you? Courteous? Aggressive? Slow?
Oh, ack. I grew up in the northeast. Does that say enough? I buy into the George Carlin philosophy that everyone driving slower than me is an idiot and every driving faster is a maniac. And I have terrible road rage. Honking, swerving, revving my engine, shooting nasty looks and/or gestures...yeah, that's me. I'm mean! :-) I have slowed down quite a bit, though. I have had more than enough traffic tickets in my life but am proud to say (knock on wood) that it's been 2.5 years since I was last pulled over. And the better news for other drivers on these congested north Texas roadways is that I actually take the train most days. Better for my stress level and blood pressure!

When was the last time you had a really bad week?
Probably the week in March when Chris and I had to drop everything to rush to PA because my Dad (who is somehow hanging on to life these 2.5 months later) took a drastic downturn and wasn't expected to survive. High stress, high drama, unexpected expenses and Mom. 'Nuff said.

Your turn! Leave me your link and your comments and I'll come visit you back! :-)

Defeated by Technology

A few months ago, I blogged that I'd found this neat article in the blogosphere that centered around a store I worked in on the Jersey Shore back during the summers of 1998 and 1999.

It turns out that the writer of that original blog about Cloud 9, Ann Richardson, came to visit my post, and blogged about it! She then tried to contact me...but that was unfortunately during the time when SBCglobal was busier eating new emails and destroying old emails and locking me out of my account than actually delivering communication.

By complete coincidence, I Googled myself today - something I do every few months or so to see what web sites have linked to me or picked up links to some of my freelancing articles - and found her later post.

I just finished popping off an email to Ann from my more reliable Yahoo address and hope to hear back from her! In any case, she's earned a reader for her blogged related to Jersey Shore Business News - and dear readers, I encourage you to go visit her!

Thursday Thirteen #16

Thursday Thirteen Campaign Edition

Starting last week and running until next week, I'll be giving my suggestions for campaign songs that could prospectively be used by the three remaining candidates for the President of the United States of America.

Keep in mind that these are tongue-in-cheek and not meant, in any way, to inflame and/or start a political debate. If you don't like my humor, go elsewhere.

Top 15 Campaign Song Suggestions for Barack Obama

If you're interested in downloading any of these songs, click on the link and you will go straight to iTunes. And hey...I'll make enough commission off every purchase to buy, well, some penny candy. Yahoo!

  1. Aretha Franklin - I Say a Little Prayer
    Praying for his former Pastor to shut up, that is!
  2. Audioslave - Show Me How To Live
    "Is this a cure...or is this a disease?"
  3. Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice
    He's seen as the savior to both the Democratic party and African Americans - but I'm really afraid that both factions will be disappointed in him in the long run!
  4. Billy Joel - Keeping the Faith
    Well, kinda. Just not at that church!
  5. Bobby Pinson - Don't Ask Me How I Know
    Repeatedly dodging questions on how his minimal experience will make him a good President...doesn't that worry anyone?
  6. Bon Jovi - Thank You For Loving Me
    He's been set up by the Democrats from the get go to be a poster boy...wonder how much he loves them loving him?
  7. Pat Benatar - Hit Me With Your Best Shot
    Come on, Hillary! Is that the best you've got?
  8. Aerosmith - Janies Got a Gun
    In his world view, apparently there are a lot of bitter girls named Janie with guns...and religion.
  9. Bryan Adams - Please Forgive Me
    That whole comment about religion and guns, well, I didn't really mean that...and yeah, my Pastor of 20 years that apparently hates America? Didn't know. Swear it.
  10. Cher - If I Could Turn Back Time
    I'd change churches, get a better speech writer, and never says things off the top of my head...
  11. Chris Cagle - Don't Ask Me No Questions
    Unless I've already got a scripted answer, that is!
  12. George Jones - The Race Is On
    He's giving Hillary a run for her money...but will it be enough to go all the way?
  13. Green Day - Minority
    Let's face facts, folks. People are painting Obama as a strong African American man who is representative of a race long underrepresented in politics. But that's bunk. Flat out. First of all, his father was African. Period. Not an American, not a decendant of the same legacy that Obama purports to represent. He was raised by a WHITE mother and spent a large portion of his childhood overseas. When he was in this country, he lived in Hawaii. Not exactly representative of the struggles of the people he's supposed to be the savior for. All of a sudden, he goes and becomes an organizer in Chicago to fill some selfish void within himself and get his ticket punched for having dark skin but having no identification point with people who have actually had struggle because of their race. What I'm saying here, folks, is that he's a fraud. Period.
  14. Meatloaf - Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
    Representative - check. Senator - check. President - eh.
  15. REM - Losing My Religion
    'Nuff said.

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!

Tagged - Hubby MeMe

ACK! I suck!

Grace over at Sandier Pastures tagged me for a MeMe back on April 11th - and I'm just now doing it! MEA CULPA, Grace, and thanks for tagging me!

Here we go...

How long did you date? We dated for 6 months before we got engaged, and then were engaged for 9 months before we got married.

How old is he? He'll be 33 in December.

Who eats more? These days, we're about equal.

Who said “I love you” first? He did. Which he never lets me forget!

Who is taller? He is - by a lot!

Who sings better? I'd say me, but his voice isn't half bad.

Who is smarter? We're both smartie pants!

Whose temper is worse? Neither of us have much of a temper unless you get us REALLY worked up.

Who does the laundry? Both of us.

Who does the dishes? We take turns letting the dishwasher do the dishes. :-)

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Me!

Who pays the bills? I do.

Who cooks dinner? Usually Chris, actually...he's a much better cook than I am.

Who drives when you are together? We switch off.

Who is more stubborn? Me, for sure.

Who kissed who first? Uh, I'd say that was mutual. It was very nice. :-)

Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Wrong? Ha!

Whose parents do you see the most? Well, his mom lived with us for the winter, but we actually don't see any of our parents very often, since they all live quite a distance away.

Who proposed? Him, at the top of a mountain, with roses. Yeah, he's great. Back off.

Who is more sensitive? Mmm...depends on the situation. We can both be pretty jaded at times.

Who has more friends? Probably me.

Who has more siblings? That's be a no-brainer for him - he has two half-siblings, while I have no siblings at all.

Who wears the pants in the family? Hahaha...go away.

Ya'll are off the took me so long to respond to this tag that I'm going to skip passing it along. But if you're so inclined, feel free to tag yourself, and let me know!

Friday Fill In # 1

It's been awhile since I've tried something new, so this week I headed over to the Friday Fill In meme, hosted by my bloggy buddy Janet.

This is a pretty easy meme - you're fed a few prompts, and then you fill in your own responses. I think this might make my weekly list!!

So without further ado...

1. The spaghetti sauce had an extra secret ingredient; it was Spatini!
2. Sun is shining through my window.
3. Right now, I need to be organizing my home office.
4. Saltgrass is where I went Thursday night; it was very yummy.
5. Why does your funny bone hurt so much?
6. All I can think of is the weekend and sleeping in.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to working on my office, tomorrow my plans include tearing up carpeting and tack boards and Sunday, I want to work in my garden!

Your turn!

Blogger Spotlight: The Random Forest

I'm going to begin a new series of blog posts here at Breakfast at Tiffany's: spotlighting other great blogs that I come across through my travels throughout the 'Net.

My first spotlight is on The Random Forest, who can be found with both .info and .com addresses, with varying content.

The Random Forest is just that - random! And that's why I love the two sites this blogger runs. In between sporadic posts letting readers know about products and services, he also puts forward amusing ramblings on music, site authoring, life in general, and just about anything that falls into his orbit. In other words, it's very similar to Breakfast at Tiffany's, but with a more original title!

In his own words, Mr. Random Forest himself describes his blog as Reviews, rants, my life and randomness.

Go check him out today!

Taking On Sexist Parenting

(Post Transferred from my formerly stand-alone blog, Tiffany Takes On.)
I recently read an article that said that "working moms are still more likely to do household chores and childcare." America, aren't we beyond that, yet? I mean, seriously. My job is no less serious than my husband's. My income is no less meaningful. And that means that my contribution around the house and with our future children should be no more overbalanced than his, right?

Wrong, apparently.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on an average day, only 54% of fathers help out with childcare, while 71% of mothers are stuck carrying the full load. Similarly, on an average day, only 64% of men help out around the house, while 89% of women are left maintaining everything.

Men, wake the hell up. This is an order! Lincoln freed the slaves and the 1950s era of simpering wives and pampered husbands is long, long gone. Everyone out there, you can find articles that preach to marriages being 50/50 propositions. So why doesn't that 50/50 split extend to childcare and household chores as well?

Preposterous! It boils down to laziness. I'm sure most men pass it off that they're just so much busier than their wives, or that their wives are just so much better with the kids and the chores. BULL! It's laziness.

Not in my house. In my house, adults are expected to carry their own weight. That means that while one of us might be busier than the other on one particular week, we'll do our share to catch up and help out the next. And for those wives who put up with anything less - listen up! It's time you told your man to shape up or ship out!

Read more here: Working Moms Still More Likely to Do Household Chores and Childcare
(No Comments Transferred; original posting date 05/09/08, 11:51 AM.)

Friday Feast #14

Hey, I'm actually doing this on a Friday! Wow! :-)

When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?
Yes, yes I do! I love smiling!

Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix?
Current State: 60% hardwood, 25% carpet, 15% linoleum or tile.
After this summer: 85% hardwood, 15% linoleum or tile.
After next summer: 85% hardwood, 15% ceramic tile.
I HATE carpeting more than I can tell you!

Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name.
Tiffany toodles to the toilet. (Give me a break, here. YOU TRY IT!)

Main Course
Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption?
Quite a few people, actually, and on all sides. I have several friends who are adopted, several friends who have adopted, and a friend who has given a child up for adoption.

Name 2 blue things.
Pepsi Can
Coffee Mug
(I'm going with line of sight, here!)

Have a great weekend, folks!

Your Thoughts - Reality TV?

How do you feel about Reality TV, dear readers?

Are you like me? If so, you probably have a love/hate relationship with the dearth of reality shows that have hit the tube over the past decade.

I hearken fondly back to the days of Real World and Road Rules, when those were about the only "reality" shows around. Of course...they even predate the genre!

These days, I avidly avoid shows like Survivor (how is that reality) and Big Brother (really, isn't this just Real World on steroids?) but confess that I have a secret fondness for a few shows.

For instance, I never miss the auditions for American Idol. I don't watch anything after the auditions, but those tryouts are the real thing: folks who really think they have talent when, in reality (ha ha) they have none.

Another show I love is Wife Swap. Among reality shows, this is my mood booster. It really reminds me how lucky I am to lead the life I lead, and how screwed up some people are! For similar reasons, I sometimes tune into SuperNanny - I mean, seriously, are these parents for real?

If you're an avid Reality TV fan, or even just a sometime viewer, check out They have news and updates on a wide variety of reality shows from Mythbusters (I love watching the things they prove right - and wrong!) to Dirty Jobs (makes me feel better about what I do!) to American Chopper. (Hot guys, hotter bikes - yum!) No Wife Swap section yet, but I'm hopeful that they'll add one, soon!

Thursday Thirteen #15

Welcome to my super-expanded Thursday Thirteen - my way of making up (just a little bit!) for not posting in over a month!

Thursday Thirteen Campaign Edition

Over the next three weeks - starting today - I'll be giving my suggestions for campaign songs that could prospectively be used by the three remaining candidates for the President of the United States of America.

Keep in mind that these are tongue-in-cheek and not meant, in any way, to inflame and/or start a political debate. If you don't like my humor, go elsewhere.

Top 20 Campaign Song Suggestions for Hillary Clinton

If you're interested in downloading any of these songs, click on the link and you will go straight to iTunes. And hey...I'll make enough commission off every purchase to buy, well, some penny candy. Yahoo!

  1. AC/DC - Highway to Hell
    I'm guessing this one is self-explanatory...
  2. Ace of Base - All That She Wants
    We all know what Hillary wants...
  3. Aerosmith - Crazy
    Yes, yes she is.
  4. Michael Jackson/Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal
  5. Barenaked Ladies - If I Had a Million Dollars
    Oh wait, it's BILL that likes Barenaked Ladies. My mistake.
  6. Beck - Loser
    "So why don't you kill me?"
  7. Better Than Ezra - Desperately Wanting
  8. Blessed Union of Souls - Let Me Be the One
  9. Blondie - One Way or Another
    By hook or by crook or by superdelegate...
  10. Bob Seger - Against the Wind
  11. Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer
  12. Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
    Just call her "Wildcat."
  13. Bruce Springsteen - I'm Goin' Down
    Maybe if she had, there wouldn't have been a Monica...
  14. Cheap Trick - I Want You To Want Me
  15. Counting Crows - Hanging Around
    Kind of like Timex...she just keeps ticking. Wonder when she'll go "boom"?
  16. Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams
    And she thought she'd have the nomination locked up with Super Tuesday...ha ha ha!
  17. Linkin Park - One Step Closer
    "One step closer to the edge...and I'm about to break..."
  18. Matchbox 20 - If You're Gone
    I won't miss you.
  19. Willie Nelson - On the Road Again
    "Seein' things I may never see again..." Oh, I don't victory?
  20. Collin Raye - If You Get There Before I Do (Love Me)
    If Obama wins the nomination...

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!