Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Unplugged

Time for Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes. Today's playlist is titled "Unplugged". Check it out.We are a family of electronics users.  Between the two of us, we currently have 5 working computers, 2 working smart phones, countless non working smart phones, a working tablet, and a non working kindle, not to mention various in home and portable gaming systems.  When we travel, even just overnight, we have one whole bag devoted to our electronics.  So, yeah, we are pretty plugged in most of the time.

Which is why the past week has been so frustrating for us.  Our internet service in our house has not been working properly.  It has been sporadic at best.  We have internet access on our phones thanks to our data plans, but some things are just hard to do on a phone or tablet (like blogging when your post included embedded code for pictures or gadgets).  And do not get me started on the fact that we have not been able to watch Netflix streaming.  Being forcibly "unplugged" for the last week or so has made us more than a little cranky.

And yet, there has been something freeing about it as well.  It has allowed me to enjoy quiet times in my home, with the t.v. turned off, and no clickety clacking of my laptop keys.  It has allowed me to get absorbed into numerous books.  It has allowed me to enjoy the luxury of a late afternoon nap.  Am I willing to give up my electronics?  HECK NO.  But sometimes, there is beauty in being unplugged for a bit.  In honor of this, I have selected a playlist of unplugged and acoustic versions of songs that I simply adore.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Out of Town: Niles, Ohio

Last month, we took a weekend road trip to Mansfield, Ohio.  The driving distance was scheduled to take about 3 hours to cover.  However, I am always too excited and impatient for departure, so we decided to leave early and take our time.  Which was good, since we could not check into our motel until about 3 p.m.  So, we struck off, onto the open highway.  We grabbed some breakfast, and motored our way to the Ohio State Line.

Once we were in the Buckeye state, I decided we should take a little side trip to see a couple of sites and look for a geocache or two.  When I saw a sign for the William McKinley Memorial and Library, in Niles, I knew we had found the perfect sidetrack.


Growing up in Ohio, part of the public school curriculum was a course in Ohio History, during which we learned about some of the presidents who had hailed from our great state.  So I was really kind of excited to see the McKinley Memorial.  I never expected it to be as large, or as beautiful, as it was.  We both spent some time exploring the grounds of the memorial.  We also got to stop nearby at McKinley's birthplace.


We did not have too much more time to spend in Niles, nor did we really have anything else specific we wanted to see.  However, we did take a chance to commemorate our little jaunt with locating a couple of geocaches, one near a giant iron man statue.


As far as nerdy, odd sidetrack trips go, this one was pretty awesome!

See all the photos from our foray into Nile, Ohio, here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: B is for Bendl


Over the weekend, Hubby and I attended the wedding celebrations of our very good friends, Lora and Justin Bendl.  Hubby and Justin have been friends since high school.  When Hubby and I started dating, his greatest wish for his unmarried friends was that they would find the kind of happiness we had found, and it has been really wonderful to watch Lora and Justin find happiness and love together.

In the past, as a single girl, I hated weddings, and would do pretty much anything to get out of attending a wedding.  When it came time to plan my own wedding, I was not really into all the frills, I was more concerned about being a wife than being a bride.  But now that I am married, and have a life full of joy as a result, I find myself really enjoying weddings.  Funny how love can change your perceptions.  Hubby and I had a wonderful time at the wedding, sharing in the joy of the newlyweds, visiting with our friends, and getting down on the dance floor.  There were a few moments, out there dancing, when I closed by eyes, and forgot there was anyone there besides Hubby and me.  For a couple approaching our 4th anniversary, we still act like newlyweds.  And Hubby predicts we always will.


As with any wedding, music helps bring people together.  So, I decided to dedicate today's playlist to the happy couple.  This list is just a small sampling of the songs we enjoyed at the reception, including the couple's first dance as husband and wife.  Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Bendl, we love you, and wish a life full of happiness.


You can see more photos from the Bendl wedding here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Burger of the Day

Hubby and I have very similar tastes and sense of humor when it comes to the kinds of things we like.  While there are some things I like (Teen Mom 2, America's Next Top Model) that he hates, and some things he likes (Westerns, monkey movies) that I hate, in general, we enjoy similar movies, books, music, and television shows.  Which means, over the years, we have introduced each other to some amazing things.  And we have also discovered some amazing things together.
Drawing of Bob and Linda by Stephen Harkleroad

For a while now, Hubby has been saying "We should watch Bob's Burgers", because it is similar to other things we like, and is voiced by people we like.  Last week we finally got around to watching it.  And by "watching it" I mean watching the entire first two seasons in one week.  Not only did we realize we loved it, but we realized that we were a lot like the two main adult characters, Bob and Linda.  Bob is the owner and operator of a burger themed restaurant, Linda is his wife.  They have 3 hilarious kids, and the situations are they all get into (like finding a treasure in a taffy factory, or dealing with a bank robbery across the street) are fantastically hilarious.  But one of the best things about each episode is that there is a new "burger of the day", which is usually related to the storyline, and is ALWAYS based on some awful, clever pun.  Favorite examples include the Chorizo Your Own Adventure Burger and the These Collards Don't Run Burger (served with collard greens).  We have become so obsessed with the show, we even talk in Bob and Linda's voices, and parrot back lines from the show.  Yeah, yeah, we really do.  And on more than once occasion, the show has made us intensely crave burgers.

Last night, I asked Hubby what my playlist should be about this week.  Is it any surprise, given all the above information, that he suggest I do a burger themed playlist in honor of Bob's Burgers?  No, not really, not to anyone who knows us.  So, without further ado, I give you the "Burger of the Day" playlist.
I hope you find it delicious.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Out of Town: Shawshank Trail

Loyal readers of this blog will know that I kind of have a thing for visiting movie locations.  Since I live in a town that has been used for numerous movie scenes, and since Pittsburgh has become an increasingly popular place to film movies, often I do not have to go far to visit a cool filming location.  But sometimes, we are willing to travel a bit for something extra cool.


Which is exactly why, a few weeks ago, we traveled to Mansfield, Ohio.  Why there, you ask?  Well, Mansfield provided about 90% of the filming locations for the movie "Shawshank Redemption".  And that happens to be one of my favorite movies.  It is within a few hours' drive for us, so off we set for a weekend adventure.

We got to see several different things throughout the area that were used for shots and scenery.  The "road to Buxton".


The tree where Andy buried the money for Red.


The 'halfway house" where Brooks and Red lived.

But the most exciting part was touring the prison.  So many cool things to see, and facts to learn.  Not everything we saw there was movie related, but we did see quite a few places they filmed, like the Warden's Office, the parole hearing room, and the props used for Andy's escape tunnel.


One of the coolest parts was the room they used (in the prison) as the filming location for the interior of Brooks' and Red's room at the halfway house.


Brooks was here.  So was Red.  And so was I.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mayfly Magic Time

Every once in awhile, you have that time when something special goes on in your town.  It may be a festival, or a parade, or a block party.  And while we do have all those things in Kittanning, the most special time of all, each summer, is when the annual mayfly invasion occurs.  These gross little things invade our town each year, courtesy of the mighty Allegheny River.


I snuck into town just now to document the beginning of the mayfly invasion.  Due to the short lifespan of the insect, the infestation usually only lasts a couple of days.  They should be gone by the weekend.  One helpful townie saw me taking pictures, and told me that the mayflies crawl up out of the river, once they have consumed all the poisons and toxins from the water.  So, there is that. This is just the beginning. I guarantee by nightfall, this window will be one moving, swarming mass of mayflies. We usually have to close the bridge in town because the surface gets to slippery from mayfly guts to safely allow vehicle to cross it. Nasty.


So, all you other Pittsburgh suburbs can keep your fancy carnivals and church festivals, your parades and your band bashes.  Kittanning has mayflies.  It's ok to be jealous.


Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: A is for America


As a kid, July 4th was one of my favorite holidays.  We used to build a huge bonfire at my grandmother's house, and the whole family would come for a "weenie roast".  You had all your typical picnic foods- hot dogs, macaroni salad, baked beans, etc., and of course, marshmallows to roast.  Then when it got dark, we would be able to see the fireworks from some of the surrounding areas, thanks to living up on a giant hill.  It was always a day full of good food, family, and celebration.  The pinnacle of the summer, it seemed like everything was downhill from there until the beginning of school.

Of course, the weather did not always cooperate, and some years it rained.  So, when it would rain, the only fireworks we would get to see would be from the concerts aired on PBS, things like "A Capitol Fourth".  And of course, those fireworks were paired with some of the most gorgeous patriotic music in the world.  American anthems celebrating our great nation.

This year, for the first time in many years, we chose to not watch July 4th fireworks.  A combination of gross weather and nervous dogs kept us inside.  So, I was inspired to make a playlist of the patriotic music I remember from my childhood 4th of July celebrations.  I dare you to listen and not feel at least some sense of pride for America.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: John Roderick Mania

Historically, this blog has flowed better, and I have been more consistent with posting, when I work within the framework of topical series.  Last month, my fellow Pittsburgh Blogger Alex, from Everybody Loves You, started a series where each Monday, he has a different blogger friend create a mixtape to explain his or her personality.  Alex was kind enough to feature me for a post in this series, and it really got me to thinking. Music is a huge part of my life.  I played and studied music for about 10 years.  I come from a family of musicians, and music has now been passed to my niece and nephew.  Music ties me to times, places, people, memories.  Music can alter my mood.  Music can help me relax.  In short, the fact that I am not featuring music on my blog means I am holding back something of myself.  So, today, I institute a new series, called Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes.  Each post in this series will have a theme, some fun, some serious, but all heartfelt.


If you know me at all, take a look at my Twitter feed, Pinterest boards, or Flickr sets, you will know that I am a tiny bit obsessed with the lead singer of the band The Long Winters, the one and only John Roderick.  In fact, I have openly talked in a past post of how John Roderick's music helped me fall even deeper in love with my husband.  Go ahead and read it, I will wait.  You're back?  Ok.  So, yes, to put it mildly, I have a major fangirl crush on this dude.  His music, it just speaks to my soul in a way that very few other contemporary musicians have.  It makes me incredibly sad that he has not put out a new album in years.  I think if he would put out an album of nothing but acoustic covers of past The Long Winters hits, it would be wildly successful, because his acoustic songs are so dreamy and romantic.  (John, on the slim chance you may be reading this, please, think about it.  It would sell, I promise.  Add a new song or two, and you would make thousands of fans very very happy.)  I personally think John was ahead of his time, and I hear modern songs by groups like the Lumineers and Old Crow Medicine Show who are doing things John was doing 10 or 15 years ago.  He is greatly underappreciated, and I wish more people were familiar with his music.  If nothing else, I need someone with whom I can discuss Roderick's brilliance.

That being said, it should come as no surprise that the first playlist I am featuring for this series is entitled "John Roderick Mania".  It includes my favorite songs of his.  Give it a listen, and if you find yourself falling in love with the music, let me know!