Friday, August 26, 2011

Will the real Tiffany please stand up?

I have always been pretty fortunate to have a unique name.  Not crazy out there unique, like Apple or Pilot, but still, in the midwest, Tiffany was not a common name as I was growing up.  And my maiden name is very unique.  Pretty much anyone with that name is someone to whom I am related.  And in my hometown, it was a name everyone knew, because two of my cousins were professional baseball players.  So, no one ever questioned that I was, well, me.

When I got married, I thought my married name was pretty unique.  I had never heard it before I met Hubby.  So, when someone told us that they saw in the newspaper where someone with my name had bought property in another town nearby, for a split second I thought I had been a victim of identity theft.  My heart dropped.  We tried to find the listing, but never did, so I let it go.  Later, I received a piece of mail from a local politician.  He has his aids find stories about local families in his constituency, and sends them the news clippings.  So, I opened the mail, and there was a picture of a girl whose mother was listed, and the mother's name was my name.  Clearly, this was a mistake, right?

I did a little searching, and found out that a woman with my same name lives in a town near me, and this mail was clearly intended for her.  So, I contacted her, got her address, and sent it to her.  Since then, we have come in contact with several people that know her, and when I tell them my name, the always mention her.  It is kind of a running joke.  Turns out Hubby's last name is fairly common in our county.

So, no one actually stole my identity.  But others are not nearly so lucky.  The FTC estimates that 9 million people suffer identity theft each year.  There are a lot of things we can do to help safeguard our personal information.  One such thing we can do in terms of identity theft protection is to use some sort of service, like Identity Hawk, to determine where your information is vulnerable, and to put safeguards in place.

I am amazed that in such a small area, someone has my same exact name.  I am sure this happens a lot in bigger cities, or with names like Joe Smith, or Mary Jones.  And in 20 years, when today's babies are all grown up, there will be lots of Jacob Johnson and Isabella Williams mix ups I am sure.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Do you remember.... "the talk"?

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Every child, at some point, has to learn the facts of life, the birds and the bees, sex education, whatever you want to call it. And at some point, every parent has to have "the talk" with their child. Well, usually, that is. I kind of beat my parents to the punch.

I was what you would call a precocious child, and (I am sure this will come as no surprise) an avid reader.   I would almost always spend whatever money I had on books.While I was not allowed to go to the mall alone, my parents would take me into the Waldenbooks and let me browse by myself.   So, when I needed a little information about where babies came from, what better way than to seek out a book and read it for myself.

Within minutes of entering the bookstore, I located a book, complete with anatomically correct cartoons, that explained the knitty gritty of getting busy.  I read as much as I could, as quickly as I could, to insure my parents did not see what I was doing.  I stored all that info away for later use.  And by later, I mean dinner that night, where I, in my 7 year old glory, informed my parents that babies were made by having sex, and having sex was like jumping rope, in that you could not do it all day because you would get too tired.  I had no shame.

That would change a few years later.  I was an early bloomer, and completely self conscious that I had to wear bras, real bras, not training bras, by 5th grade.  This was the grade in which the boys and girls were separated for 2 days, and educated on puberty.  I decided to tell the nurse in charge of the educational program that my mom did not allow me to participate, so, I got to go work on art projects while everyone went through day one of learning about their blossoming womanhood.  The school must have checked with my mom, though, because they found out my story was bogus, and the second day I was submitted to pure torture, which concluded by the nurse giving us all packs of tampons.

My poor parents, I must have had the scratching their heads over the years.  Do any of you have funny stories of either giving, or getting, "the talk"?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Out of Town: Punxsutawney


On weekends, Hubby and I love to take little local trips to different places, and just check out different off the beaten path things.  So it came as no surprise to him that one recent Saturday, I suggested we go to Punxsatawney.  This sleepy little town in Jefferson County PA is most famously know for being the home of Punxsatawney Phil, the groundhog used for prediction on Groundhog Day.

The groundhog is this town's cash cow, and man oh man, groundhogs are everywhere.

As I have mentioned in the past, we absolutely adore public art installations, like the Erie frogs, and the Garret County MD Bear Trail, so, it made perfect sense to us to try to find all the public art groundhog statues in Punxy.

 We bit off more than we could chew.

There are 32 statues in all, and we found about 20 of them.  Not bad for only being there for about 3 hours.

 We also stopped to see Phil and Phillis, the resident groundhogs.

Of course, being that this is groundhog central, this is where some of the scenes for the movie Groundhog Day were shot.  We did not research any specific locations (and did not make it to Gobblers Knob, the most famous location in town), but we did get to see a giant groundhog that was created specifically for the movie.  It is like a vertical billboard.

The town is so quaint and cool, we stopped in a used bookstore and got some books, and did a little window shopping as well.  We will certainly be going back to see more of Punxy and to find the rest of the statues.

To see the rest of my pictures from Punxy, click here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tiffany's Soapbox: The Glee Project

tiffanys soapboxSo, remember when I said I was kind of over Glee.  Turns out I was wrong.  And you know how I say I don't like reality tv?  Well, wrong there too.  So put those two things together, and you get something I surprisingly care about more than most tv shows: The Glee Project.

This is a reality tv competition where contenders battle it out for a spot on the next season of Glee.  I am not going to recap the whole season or all the ins and outs, if you want that, you will have to look elsewhere.  What I am going to do is say that I really hope Lindsay Pearce is not the winner.  Now before I get all kinds of hate mail from the Pearcling fans, let me explain.  It is not because I dislike her (though I am rooting for Damian), and it is not because she comes across poorly in the show (there is an unlikely possibility that is due to editing).  I am basing this completely on what I see her tweeting.

Sure, she is all rainbows and smiles to her fans and those who worship at the throne of her musical theater greatness (the girl is talented, no question, and does have an amazing life story).  But to her detractors, those who favor the other contenders, she is rude, argumentative, and behaves more like a 12 or 13 year old than a 19 or 20 year old.


 Despite the fact that these tween and teen tweeps dislike her, they often love Glee, so she is serving to alienate a chunk of a very fickle demographic.  I get that she wants to defend herself, but signing the tweets "later hater" is not something you are apt to see any other Glee cast member do.  I would imagine they are groomed in the ways of PR, and taught to take the high road.


So, my point is, I really hope that Linsday did not win, both for her sake and the sake of Glee's ratings.  Because if she DID win, and no one is helping to groom this young starlet in the ways to wisely use social media to build and support a fan base as oppose to alienate it, if they are allowing a Glee cast member to act this way, well, I predict she will act out in other ways as well, and it will affect the quality of the show.


Perhaps I am reading too much into what I see here, but I honestly feel bad that no one is helping her, teaching her to pick her battles, and not battle in a way that can last forever in the form of a screen shot.


I do not dislike her, as I do not know her personally.  I simply dislike where I think this could lead.  She is, in essence, a kid, and I think she needs direction if she wants a long lasting professional career.  I think it is sad when virtual fighting becomes the norm.  But let's face it, show biz is tough, so she better get a thick skin and learn to ignore this stuff.  Otherwise, she will become the Rashard Mendenhall of Glee.

Later haters.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What Would You Have Done: Overheard

IMG_2901 editI live in town.  This means our yard is the size of a postage stamp, and our neighbors are all in close proximity.  On all four sides.  Even our neighbor's neighbors are close enough for us to hear and see.  Normally, this is never an issue.  Most people in our little section of town are family people, so it is pretty quiet.  But the other day, I stumbled into an uncomfortable situation.

I had taken my dogs outside to play and do their business.  It was a lovely evening, so I sat outside with them.  That was when I overheard something uncomfortable.  One of the couples in the neighborhood were having a disagreement of sorts regarding some home improvements.  Now, let me specify here, they were not fighting.  There was no hitting, not even any yelling.  There were no curse words being used.  Just a loud conversational speaking tone serving up plenty of snark and sarcasm.  But it was clearly being done loud enough for anyone to hear.  Things like "Oh no, please, drag it on longer.  There is nothing I would rather do than wait another month for this painting to be finished.".  Stuff like that.  Then the female came to her car to get something, and she clearly saw that I was out in my yard.  I just sat there looking kind of stupid.

I felt so darn uncomfortable.  Should I have gone in and allowed them the privacy to have their conversation? Should I have stayed out to watch my dogs?  Is it my fault for not ignoring it or making the dogs come inside? Was it their fault for having a private disagreement is a somewhat public arena?  This sort of thing always makes me so uncomfortable.  Write me a comment and tell me what you have done.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Going Rogue?

Any regular reader of this blog, or any of my friends and family members know that I am notorious for chancing my hair.  Often..Very often.  Sometimes the changes are subtle, like my last round of highlights, and some are drastic, like chopping off 6 inches of hair the day after my wedding (and dyeing it dark brown from bleached blond a few weeks later).  My brother in law says I change my hair more than anyone he knows.  What can I say, it keeps life interesting.

Sometimes, it keeps life a  little too interesting.  Last week, I was feeling bored with my hair, so I bought some dye.  Now, remember, I had bleached blond highlights.  Well, I was in a rush, and did not pay much attention to the color name on the box I chose, I only knew I liked the color.  Apparently, I chose a cool color, which is a no no when putting color over bleach.  I rushed home, colored my hair, and when I washed and dried it, I was dismayed to find that while the base color was a gorgeous chestnut, my blond highlights were now silver.

In a nutshell, I looked like Rogue from X Men

Picture Source
Since I have no mutant powers or energy stealing abilities, and there is no way this body is ever going to look good in a latex superhero suit, I decided this was probably not the best look for me.  I posted a Facebook status about it, and one of my friends told me how to fix it.

You can bet your sweet patootie I was up at 7 am the next day to go to Walmart and find a lovely shade of brown hair dye labeled as a warm color.  It is a bit darker than I originally wanted, but what the heck, fall is on its way.

I actually look pretty for once... lol

Never a dull moment for me, I am telling you.  Next time, I know to check the shade.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It Made My Day: My Friend Roseanna

Today, I got the nicest surprise when I checked my Facebook.  I saw that my friend Roseanna White had tagged me in a post.  When I went to see the post, I was surprised to see that she had written the nicest blog post about me as part of her "My Friend Fridays" series on her blog.

Roseanna talks about how we became friends online, so I will encourage you to go read her post here.  But what she does not mention, most likely because she does not know, is what a huge inspiration she has been to me, as a wife, and a Christian, and hopefully one day an author.

Roseanna has always encouraged me, and has really helped shape my voice as a blogger and a reviewer.  She gives me great advice, and I am very blessed to have met her online.  I look forward to the day when we will get to meet in real life.

So thank you, Roseanna, for the lovely post, but most importantly the blessing of your friendship.  It certainly made my day!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: Puroast Low Acid Coffee

I was never much of a coffee drinker in college, and it was only when I moved out on my own, in graduate school, that I started to enjoy a good cup of coffee.  When I got my first real full time job, I would easily drink a pot of coffee every day.  However, as someone with a lot of gastrointestinal issues, coffee is a huge dietary sin.  The caffeine and acid could do me, and spur stomach aches that would last for days.  When I was officially diagnosed with acid reflux, my doctor told me to cut all caffeine out of my diet, cold turkey, until things were under control.

Now that I have learned how to control my gastro issues, I am once again worshipping at the shrine of the coffee bean.  Since I began working again, I make a small pot daily.  But I quickly find myself feeling icky from drinking coffee.  So when I learned about Puroast Low Acid Coffee, I was thrilled.  It caters to people who have acid issues but love coffee.  I was thrilled to get to try it.


My first impression was WOAH, this coffee is strong.  I am not a huge fan of french roast coffee, I tend to like a milder blend.  Once I got over the initial taste, and adjusted my milk and Splenda accordingly, I started to really enjoy this coffee.  While it was fresh and hot, it was pretty delicious.

The problem with this coffee is when I returned to the pot for a second cup.  This was probably within 20-30 minutes of brewing, and the heating unit was still on.  But the coffee did not taste fresh at all; it almost tasted as if I had reheated coffee from yesterday.  It actually tasted more acidic that my normal coffee does.  So, I had to throw the rest of the pot out.  Because of this, I just cannot tell if this coffee really does allow someone with acid issues to enjoy a pot of coffee.

Perhaps it was the french roast blend; another blend may have better results.  I would certainly try another flavor, because as I said, the initial cup was fantastic.  If this could be purchased as a resealable container, I may be more likely to purchase it, and make only a cup or two at a time, so as not to waste it.  I am not ready to give up on this product just yet.

I received this product for review as part of the Amazon Vine Program.  If you thought this review was useful, please got to my Amazon Profile and vote it helpful!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cartoons By Hubby: I Been Sleep

Dammit Chloe, I been sleep!

The Backstory: One of my secrets is that I love trashy television shows, despite how damaging I think they can be on our culture and particularly young girls' views of themselves.  Things like Bridezillas, Bad Girls Club, and America's Next Top Model, where you have a mix of prim and proper English and colloquialisms and slang being spoken by girls from different walks of life.  Usually, as the shows get trashier, the grammar gets worse and the slang increases.  The other night, I was watching a Bad Girls Club marathon, in preparation for the new season starting.  During one particular episode, Hubby sat on the couch next to me to cuddle, and witnessed a scene which left him confused.  In the scene, 6 of the girls in the house were drinking and laughing, being a bit loud and generally causing a boozy ruckus.  The 7th girl, who had been in bed, got up and flipped out on the others, throwing punches and screaming things like "I been sleep.  When I be sleep, you need to respect that I be sleep.  You so rude, I BEEN SLEEP".  Notice she never said we is, was, or had been asleep, the proper adverb form, but instead says she simply is or was or had been sleep, which is a noun.

Hubby kept asking me "how can she be sleep?".  I went on to explain that this is a common slang way of saying that one had been asleep.  He said he had never heard this before, and I replied that clearly, he was not watching enough trashy television, as I was quite familiar with the saying, no matter how much it made my ears bleed to hear it.

Today, he sent me a text message that said "Hey.... I be sleep".  Then, I commissioned a cartoon depicting this.  He surpassed even my greatest expectations.  

(for those not in the know, Chloe is our youngest dachshund puppy, who likes to squeak all hours of the night and wake him up.  I miraculously sleep through it 99% of the time)

Out of Town: Sights of Deep Creek, Maryland

Earlier this summer, Hubby and I traveled to Deep Creek for the wedding festivities of our very good friends.  While we were there, we took some time to do some really cool things, like the Garrett County Bear Trail.  But we also took the time to see some really gorgeous sites.

First off, we stayed at the Wisp resort, just like last time, and this time we took advantage of some of the things the resort had to offer.  We actually rode a chair lift up the side of the mountain, which gave us an absolutely breathtaking view of Deep Creek Lake.  Even though I am scared of heights, I really enjoyed out little ride.  After all, how often do you get a chance to do something like this?

In addition to the Bear Trail, Garrett County also has a Barn Quilt Trail.

 Barn Quilts are these gorgeous quilts, based of of actual existing quilts, painted in barns, to help showcase Appalachian heritage and culture.  We did not get to see all of the barns, but we did get to see a few, and they are breathtaking.

We also got to visit a petting zoo, quite unexpectedly.  One of the shops in the area, Schoolhouse Earth, has a petting zoo full of rescued animals.  They were so adorable!



This just goes to show you, there is always something new to do and find when you are on vacation, even if its a place you have been before. I can't wait until the next time we visit Deep Creek, to find even more treasures!

To see some more of my Deep Creek pictures, click here.