Friday, September 30, 2005

New and Improved!

So I went to my post-boot camp (pre-next session) consultation and have my results. I only lost 1 flipping pound!!!


But I did get the full on lecture from the instructor... Muscle weighs more than fat, blah, blah, blah...

However. Y'all remember this:

Yeah? Well I lost 4% in body fat! That's better than my 1 measly pound isn't it?!?! I'm thrilled! As TheBoy so eloquently put it... "Who cares what you weigh babe - your body is HOT!"

I think I'll keep him around...

I can't wait to see how the next session goes! It's not too late for any "friends of Tiffy" who want to sign up... Next camp starts October 10.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

September Reading Material...

Sadly - this list made me realize that I have been neglecting my reading! Must have been all those trips to Shasta/Oroville/Sonoma...

I've been going through my books at home so that I can have a list of what books I own and which ones I've read / not read and notes on what I thought of them. Because I am a HUGE geek. And an avid reader. And the book collection is getting out of hand, threatening to over-flow the bookcases in the living room and assorted boxes under the bed to take over my entire apartment. And we wouldn't want the cat to get hurt in this book-take-over.

So, in that same train of thought there was a car that said, "hey maybe I should blog about which books I've read in a month so that if anyone needs reading material - they'll know where to look." And viola! Here you go...

Now obviously it's going to take me a LOOOOONG time to go back and catalogue all the books I've read, own, etc... So I'm going to do this monthly. I think.

This month I've read, in no particular order:

Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
This book together with one called Gods and Generals, written by his son Jeff Shaara, were the basis for the movie Gettysburg. Lots of factual information on the two armies and strategy of the Civil War. It's a bit dry and hard to get through in some places but I liked it none the less. But I am a history geek after all.

Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago
This author comes very highly recommended from TheBoy's OlderBro and Mom. It took me awhile to get into this book, the author apparently scorns punctuation so sentences often continue over a page and a half! But in the end the story was very moving and it kind of draws you in to the various characters. Excellent reading - well worth it. Not for someone wanting "light" reading though.

I Love Everybody, and Other Atrocious Lies - True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl
The Idiot Girls Action Adventure Club
We Thought you Would be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive
all by Laurie Notaro

I got turned on to this author through the blog stalking of Cupcake and she is freaking hysterical! Perfect quick reading for a lake trip... I laughed so hard during some of the passages that I had my beer taken away from me by a concerned TheBoy who thought I had perhaps hit my drunken threshold a bit early in the day! Fantastic!

The Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams
This one is pretty self explanatory right? I want to get into triathlons next year... Jayne is wickedly funny and offers some awesome pointers for those of us interested in the sport who aren't naturally thin and fast.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tiffy from A to Z

I totally stole this off of Erik's MySpace page... And I'm tagging all of you - faithful blog readers and IIF's. Let's learn random stuff about each other!

[A is for age:] 26

[B is for booze of choice:] beer.

[C is for career:] mortgage finance.

[D is for your dad's name:] Dad = Al. Father of the biological kind = Jim.

[E is for essential items to bring to a party:] wine.

[F is for favorite song at the moment:] Sarah Beth by Rascal Flatts.

[G is for favorite game:] Black Jack.

[H is for hometown:} Mountain View - I move too much!

[I is for instruments you play/ed:] the violin - but not in ages.

[J is for jam or jelly you like:] Marionberry. Or fresh blackberry.

[K is for kids?] No comment.

[L is for living arrangements:] ghetto apartment with TheBoy.

[M is for mom's name:] Melba

[N is for name of your crush:] Matt Damon - so totally NOT a secret!

[O is for overnight hospital stays:] Umm...

[P is for phobias:] Not being good enough? Is that an official phobia?

[Q is for Favorite quote:] Right now it's this one:

When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!

-Capt. Correlli’s Mandolin

[R is for relationship that lasted the longest] It's a tie at 4 years and 3 months. Well except that I'm still dating this one...

[S is for sexual preference:] Love men.

[T is for time you wake up:] 5 am

[U is for underwear:] usually - and if so it's a thong.

[V is for vegetable you love:] brussel sprouts!

[W is for worst habit:] cussing.

[X is for x-rays you've had:] umm... I think if it can be x-rayed I've had it x-rayed.

[Y is for yummy food you make:] let's see... I make a mean chicken and white bean chili, turkey sausage and spinach lasagna, enchilada pie... Carrot cake, oh and cheesecake! Totally cheesecake!

[Z is for zodiac sign:] aries.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Huge geek - HUGE!

So I'm totally in love with this series of books by Diana Gabaldon. Seriously, I've been hooked ever since I picked up the first book at a friend's house the summer before my senior year in High School. In fact, I don't think I ever gave that copy back! Whoops! I'll just add book-thief to my resume...

In case you're wondering what the point is to this post, a HUGE and HEAVY box just arrived on my desk from Barnes and Nobles! LOVE Barnes and Nobles y'all! And in that box was this:

The 6th book in the series - just released today! Wahoo!

Also, there might have been hardcover versions of the other 5 books. To replace the worn yet well-loved paperback editions I've read over and over and over... But shh... Whatever you do - don't mention it to TheBoy! He already thinks I have a book problem! Please? And please someone come help me smuggle this box into the house?

Also, any "friends of Tiffy" who would like to borrow the paperback versions of the first 5 books let me know. So that you too can be sucked into this fantastic love story of Claire and Jamie and the beautiful historical writing that takes us from post-WW2 London to the 18th century Scotland Highlands and on to the newly formed American Colonies.

Things that I am thankful for today.

1 - extremely patient and understanding hypothetcial boss* who thinks I'm wonderful even if I do make mistakes that annoy clients. And lose us money. Also, 1 very understanding and fantastic referral source who did not recommend my immediate firing.

1 - fantastic best friend who calms me down when I start to panic about the above hypothetical mistake. And promises to come drink martinis with me to make me feel better about this huge, gi-normous and also money-costing mistake.

1 - loving and patient TheBoy. Who loves me just as I am. Which is Crazy. Also maybe a little Neurotic. *ahem*

1 - pay day - coming soon!

1 - trip to Vegas! Coming very soon... Wahoo! Love you Vegas!

1 - perfectly good state of health. Because, y'all know, what is up with the illness! And I don't just mean the sniffles and flu bugs going around.** But also the serious and life-threatening kinds that seem to be spreading like... Well, like cancer. It's amazing how things like that put your life into perspective... I'm entering into a new phase in the evolution of Tiffy. The one that says, you know all this crap? Like work and money and house hunting and petty arguments and just general crap? That stuff doesn't matter. Not really. What matters is relationships. And health.

*Not that I am confirming or denying the existence of said job or boss. Just, y'all know, if I DID have a JOB and a BOSS that this HYPOTHETICAL BOSS would be awesome. And understanding.

**On that note - is it socially acceptable to carry Lysol in one's hands at all times so that you could randomly spray sick people, like the guy a few cubes over who is currently trying to maintain possession of his left lung? Because I don't want to be sick. Y'all know.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Whale of a Tail

There's a little pub at the Bridge Bay Marina on Lake Shasta called Whale of a Tail. Normally we don't go to Bridge Bay because, frankly, that's where most of the tourists go to launch their boats as it's the most accessible marina right off of I5. And the people who don't go to Shasta all the time, who don't have a vested interest in keeping the lake beautiful and are generally just there for a one time trip? They're annoying. Generally they don't follow the basic boating rules. And you seem to get a lot more attitude at the Bridge Marina stores and gas docks.

So we generally launch our boat at Centimundi. And we use the Digger Bay Marina. Because not only do they know us well (Dawn, Doug and Jerry all have or had slips there for their boats) but it's more of the locals place to go. Not as big and fancy as Bridge... But nicer. Calmer. Less drama. It's like the equivalent of entering a club through the kitchen alley door because you're friends with the owner instead of waiting outside in line because you heard something about the club is awesome.

But we do like the pub. Usually after 2 or 3 days of camping we're ready to head into someplace with AC and drink ice cold beer out of real glasses. Plus the view from the top is awesome. Shows the Bridge (thus the name Bridge Bay - so clever), the Dam and sweeping views of the lake's shoreline. Really very fun.

So last month when the gang was up with us at Shasta we took them to the Wahle of a Tail on their last day... Yes, this is the same trip as the beer pong from below. Only 3 days, 100 degree + heat and lots of tequila later...

Christine and Michael:

Angie and Erik:

Me and TheBoy:

The group:

Beer Pong

One of our favorite things to do in Bella Vista the night before we go out to the lake is play beer pong. Call it a throw back to our college years... It's like regular ping pong only each player has a cup of beer (or whatever) in front of them. If your opponent taps your cup with the ball you drink. If they sink the ball in your cup you chug. And they win - game over.

Here's some pictures of the gang playing beer pong last month. (I know, I know... But at least I posted them eventually right?)

Christine and Angie looking cute:

Me and Angie:

Ryan and Michael warming up:

Ryan and Erik had the first match. Michael was there for moral support.

Erik shows his skills:

Erik kicks Ry's butt - Game over honey!

Angie takes on Erik:

Erik kicks Angie's butt too! Erik is running the table!

But what's this?

Christine kicks Erik's butt! You know it was hard - but someone had to put the new guy in his place! Go Christine!

A case of the Mondays...

What movie is that from anyway? Office Space?


Could someone invent a fast forward button for days like today so I can skip right through the rest of this afternoon and plop my butt down on the couch with a well-deserved martini? And maybe watch last week's OC? Please?

And it's not just me! I know of at least 2 other "friends of Tiffy" who are having one of those days also... You know I'm not even sure what all it is that is bugging me today.

I have a feeling it's mostly due to the fact that the insomnia is back. IN FORCE.

(But in blogging news that means y'all will soon be getting tons o' posts and if Blogger wasn't having "technical difficulties" last night/this morning there would have been long over-due photos for your amusement.)

Insomnia SUCKS! Good for blogging - bad for Tiffy's mental health. I'm just saying, is all.

Although, I did have a fun fun weekend so maybe that's what is making Monday such a drag... Had a little quality time with my ladies on Friday night! (Pictures soon - Blogger - technical difficulties - remember?) Went to this new place in Mountain View called the Buddha Lounge. Used to be a pool hall which is weird but... It was fun. And long overdue!

Saturday I spent cleaning, which I know is not fun for most people but y'all, I'm not normal. We know this. And we love me anyway! I am a neat freak. Anal-retentively neat. Yes I am. LOVE to clean. The combined smells of PineSol, Windex and Endust just fill my little heart with joy. Seriously.

Saturday night consisted of Margaritas, Arrachera (sp?) and Dave and Mandi. Plus Mike. Weird how people are all growing up and having babies and stuff huh? The marriage thing I'm getting used to. But babies? Woah.

Yesterday we went sailing. Which was fantastic! (Again with the photos and Blogger but hopefully soon) I LOVE sailing! In fact I've actually decided that I pretty much like anything that involves a large body of water. I'm definitely a water chick. So so beautiful yesterday too. Love Sausalito! We even managed to get a bit of wind in the afternoon so we could, you know, sail a bit. Otherwise it was just sitting out in the Bay in the warm late-summer sun, drinking wine and chatting with TheBoy's family. Perfect.

Last night TheBoy and I took Angie and HerBoy to Hot Pot. Thanks to Christine for the introduction to Hot Pot! Yum! Good food, good company and Sake. Can you think of a more perfect way to end a weekend?

Yeah, me neither.

Commence the fast forwarding at any time.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Fit Test

Warning: This post contains more enthusiastic pro-boot camp emissions. Proceed at your own risk.

This is the last week of boot camp. Technically we have one more class but... This is the end of the 4th week. On Friday of the first week our instructor, Mary Beth*, gave us a "Fit Test" which consisted of various masochistic exercises to determine our level of fitness. It was also designed to give us an idea of where we were starting in relation to where we wanted to be. Needless to say, I was NOT in as good of shape as I had thought. Marathon, schmarathon!

Today was the "results show", if you will, of boot camp. Drum Roll Please.

Test 1 - Extreme Ab Torture
You lay on your back with your legs straight out in front of you. You then lift your legs 6" off the ground and hold them there. For as long as you can.

Week 1: Max time = 3 minutes. Tiffy's time = 2 minutes.
Week 4: Max time = 4 minutes. Tiffy's time = 2 minutes, 12 seconds.**

Test 2 - Push Ups
Pretty self explanatory right? So we break it down into how many regular push-ups and how many modified (girly) push-ups we can do in a minute.

Week 1: Regular = 5. Girly = 12
Week 4: Regular = 37. Girly = 0

(Go Tiffy - it's your birthday - picture me doing funky white-girl cabbage patch here)

Test 3 - Step Ups
You and a wall about knee high. You step up with both feet and then down with both feet. Repeat as many times as possible in 1 minute.

Week 1: 33
Week 4: 34***

Test 4 - Liners (or for those that played sports, Suicides)
4 cones. You start at the first cone and run to the second cone and back. Then to the third cone and back. Then to the fourth cone and back. Its actually pretty funny to watch... Sprinting in such short distances.

Week 1: 1 minute, 9 seconds
Week 4: 43 seconds

(Go Tiffy - it's your birthday - more funky white-girl cabbage patch)

Overall I'm very very happy with my results! I even woke TheBoy up 20 minutes earlier than usual so I could tell him about it. And show him the funky white-girl cabbage patch. Yes I did.

Of course if y'all remember the trauma that was this post then you can stay tuned... I go for that portion next Wednesday. Wish me luck!

*Happy Birthday to Mary Beth!

**This is the only excuse I am going to offer for the whole damn test y'all - do you have any idea how sore your abs are after vomiting with stomach flu for 3 days? Do you? Yeah. And to add this crap on top of it? Right. I'm just saying is all.

***Mary Beth did say it's VERY difficult to add 1 or 2 more into a minute.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Keys to my heart?

Okay except for the last sentence, this is pretty scary accurate!

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.

In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.

In this moment, you think of love as something you don't need. You just feel like flirting around and playing right now.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rant - Part 2

I fully blame the fact that I feel like crap as to why these little things are annoying me so much... And if I end up with a full-fledged flu bug y'all can expect lots of grumbling and griping from me. I'm like a man! I can't be sick!


But seriously. I do have another gripe. And all of my non-married friends out there can back me up... First things first. It is never okay to ask someone why they aren't getting married / haven't gotten married. Are we agreed that this is a personal and somewhat sensitive topic? Good.

Let me outline the following conversation that I had with a SmugMarried, ala Bridget Jones, a few days ago...

SM: Well are you and TheBoy thinking about getting married any time soon?

Me: Nope.

SM: Wow, really?

Me: (can you please keep the shock out of your voice?) Yep.

SM: Well are you okay with that?

Me: (aren't you noticing the mono-syllabic responses?) Yes.

SM: Well he's right, you know.

Me: (Are you still talking?) Mmmm?

SM: Marriage doesn't change anything.

Me: Hm.

SM: Not a thing.

Me: (Losing my patience) Well to me it would. It would change lots of things.

SM: It really doesn't, believe me. Doesn't feel any different at all.

Me: (Who are you trying to convince here?) Really? Then why the hell did you get married?

SM: Err... Well...

Me: Because forgive me for being blunt but... It's really easy for you to sit on that side of the fence and tell me the grass isn't greener isn't it?

Me (again): If you really don't think marriage changes anything then you wouldn't have gotten married would you?

SM: Well... I was just saying...

Me: Well don't.


See. Do you see how I can be nice and well mannered in one moment and in the next just... NOT? Seriously though. A girl has limits. And I did apologize next time I saw her. And to her credit she didn't make me feel like the slime bag I am for snapping at her.

But honestly. Was there some point in the above conversation where you would have just dropped the subject? Anyone? Is it just me? I mean clearly this is not an appropriate conversation topic right? I don't even discuss these things with my closest girlfriends!

I'm off to go buy some more EmergenC. And Tylenol.

~end rant~

Mushroom and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

In an effort to get more involved in cooking (Because, as the "Friends of Tiffy" can attest, since moving into an apartment with a tee-tiny kitchen my usual abundant desire to cook has fallen by the wayside) I've decided to start experimenting with recipes again to much delight and exclamation from TheBoy.

My goal is at least once a week.* And I mean experiment. Like with a particular type of food I've never cooked before. Or with no recipe what-so-ever. Or anything to do with baking. Cause y'all know me with the baking.

Last night's meal fell into the "no recipe" category (I had the ingredients on hand and didn't have to make a grocery store run) but I'm going to attempt to re-create it here. While it's still fresh in my head. Because I hate it when I experiment with a recipe and don't write it down. I can never seem to make it the same way twice!

Mushroom and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 pound of crimini mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
8 oz fresh mozzarella, shredded or small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tbsp Thyme, dried or fresh
4 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

To make the filling:
Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Saute until mushrooms become tender and liquid has evaporated. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and add cheese. Combine.

To stuff the chicken breasts:
Place 1 chicken breast on a cutting board with the smooth side of the breast facing up. Make an incision along the thickest side of the breast leaving approximately 1" on either side. You can make the pocket as deep as you like being careful not to slice all the way through. Repeat with remaining breasts. Salt and pepper.

Take roughly 1/4 of the filling mixture and stuff into the pocket. Some filling will be exposed on the side. Transfer stuffed breasts to a shallow, greased baking pan. Divide remaining 1 tbsp butter into 1/4 and place a tab on top of each breast.

Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until done.

I served mine atop a bed of collard greens that had been sauted in butter and garlic with a calabrese salad and pesto crescent rolls. Even TheBoy, who declares all chicken dishes "boring", thought this was wonderful.

Some changes I might make to the next version:

- Lemon juice in the mushroom garlic mixture.
- Provolone or some other stronger flavored cheese

Anyway, I know this isn't a very exciting post. Next time I'll try to remember to take photos so at least y'all can see the step by step and the finished plated product. At least the idea of blogging about my adventures has increased my desire to cook again right?

*Attempts to require TheBoy to cook once a week haven't gone over quite as well as planned but I'll keep y'all posted.

Friday, September 16, 2005

My turn to rant!

Okay I get the honesty thing people. I do. And generally I appreciate honesty and I try to give honest answers to questions when asked. But since when did it become acceptable to insult someone and preface it with "Well honestly I thought..."??? It's not like at that point you can refute the other person's comments if it's what they honestly thought. But why be mean? I'm perfectly happy not knowing. I didn't ASK to know!

So you're probably wondering what caused this rant... This morning, for the SECOND TIME in 4 months, I had an "acquaintance" volunteer the information that they thought I was shallow, bitchy, and all manner of other degrading things when they first met me. Oh but they don't feel that way now, NOW they like me and realize I'm a nice person... So why bring it up? To hurt my feelings? Well congratulations - it worked!

Also, can I please point out that the shallow and bitchy generalizations about me came about because of the way I look!! Specifically the one today was because I'm blonde. Now I laugh along at the blonde jokes just like everyone else. They're funny. I get it. And I realize that there is a whole traumatizing stereo-type from high school about the popular blonde cheerleaders ganging up on everyone and making other girls feel miserable. I get that too.


So if some blonde bitch in high school made your life miserable please don't take it out on me.* Just because I'm blonde. Or because I was a cheerleader. I am sorry it happened. I am. But don't you think it's time to GET OVER IT? We've all been too many years out of High School to still be holding grudges. And taking those grudges out on innocent people.

~end rant~

*Unless that blonde bitch WAS me. In which case I sincerely apologize. And feel free to contact me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dr. Phil's Test

Someone just sent this to me and I thought it was oddly informative.

My score was 35.

1. When do you feel your best?

a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk...

a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you...

a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with..

a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...

a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6 When you go to a party or social gathering you...

a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted... you........

a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?

a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are....

a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...

a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant


1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b! ) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions, and who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Adventures in House Hunting - Part 2

So are you all hanging on the edge of your seats? Waiting to find out what happened to the "perfect" house? Wondering why I haven't invited you all over for a beach party and a visit to my house in Aptos?

Because y'all knew there was a catch right?

So. It goes like this. The house had been on the market for 6 months. That's the equivalent of real estate grid lock. Seriously. By the time we get to it the listing price is $350,000. For an about to fall over shack on a .25 acre in Rio Del Mar. With issues. So we did what any crazy home purchaser would do... We offered them $280,000. And asked for a counter offer.

Now, I'm going to insert a side note here to explain that the Realtor who sent this listing to us is a complete moron and the most ineffective, inadequate and useless Realtor I have ever had the displeasure of working with. And that's saying something given I've worked with hundreds of Realtors over the years! It took eons for him to return my calls. I never did get all the reports on the property and the ones I did get I pulled from the county myself! Absolutely ridiculous. But I could go on for days about that idiot... So I'll leave it at that.

So the IdiotRealtor presents our offer on a Monday morning. It's set to expire on Wednesday at 5:00 pm. Thursday morning I finally get in touch with the IdiotRealtor, after probably close to a dozen, increasingly irritated messages from me and he says, "Well I just haven't heard anything." Really moron? That's shocking! (Okay I apparently still am annoyed by this guy months later!) So after one mildly nasty phone exchange, in which one usually patient Tiffy might have lost her temper just a little, I finally called the listing agent directly.

The listing agent, who had coincidentally ALSO left several messages for IdiotRealtor, explained that the client was in Europe and she was planning on speaking with them later that day but would get back to me (and IdiotRealtor) shortly. Well "shortly" turns into another several days in which time we find out the following facts about the "perfect" property.

1) The septic tank is leaking. Say it with me... Ew! But that's not the bad part. Septic tanks do leak. It happens. But this one apparently had been leaking FOR YEARS. The whole leach field around it was saturated (I wonder now why we couldn't smell it if it was so bad) and to make matters worse, the area to access the tank was down a very steep part of a hill. So no one had actually DONE a complete inspection. You know, because it's not that important. Right.

2) They sellers are stuck in the UK. Apparently they were here on work Visas and bought the place but then had to go home. And now they can't come back. I don't know why. But needless to say they didn't really WANT to sell. Theoretically they want to come back to the US and fix up their shack. But they can't.

3) In order to get around the red tape with the county we thought all we had to do was leave 1 original wall standing and we could call it a remodel. WRONG! We had to leave 50% of the original structure and we could only increase the footprint (read: foundation area) by 50% of the original.

Still we were interested. I mean if we could buy it at a good price - it would still be worth it. All of a sudden IdiotRealtor comes out of nowhere saying he thinks we should increase our offer to $300,000. Given all of the issues above, the least of which being the $20,000 +/- for the new septic tank, we were thinking NO WAY! But we talked it over... And decided to wait for a counter offer.

It turns out we were going to be waiting a long time for that counter. A few days later IdiotRealtor calls me to tell me that they have another full price and all cash offer on the house. Fine. At this point good riddance, right? We were bummed but... No use crying over spilled septic solution.


The property never changed status on the multiple listing service. Ah the joys of being "in the business". So a few weeks later I called up the listing agent. I mean I figured what have I got to lose right?

Apparently the sellers decided not to accept the full price all cash offer. Right. I'm thinking there never was a full price all cash offer. I'm thinking that the sellers decided that they either wanted to hold out for a higher offer or that they still harbored dreams of making it back to the US. But that's just me.

And the house? Just went off of the market a couple weeks ago. After 9 MONTHS. And as far as I can tell, it hasn't sold.

Curious. Very curious...

On to house offer #2.

Adventures in House Hunting - Part 1

TheBoy and I have been looking for a house to buy on and off for the last 6 months or so. I would say in the last 2 months though we've become rather serious about it. Now, because I have a background in real estate I thought I knew what I was getting into (ie: this crap is HARD!) but I realize now... THIS CRAP IS REALLY HARD!

Now of course, I will admit that TheBoy and I are being mildly picky... We want a house as opposed to a condo or townhouse if we can swing it for two reasons, 1) no HOA dues and 2) better chance to get something that needs a little work. (Also, a yard for the dog that I don't own but desperately want - ahem.) We'd love to buy a "fixer upper" because between our immediate families we have a lot of willing expertise at our disposal. Of course my definition of "fixer upper" and TheBoy's definition are a little different. But I'm okay with that. And here's the clincher, because we realize that we're asking for a lot here, we don't want to be more than a 2 hour commute from work.

Only 2 hours?!?! So demanding. I know.

So the first property that we put a bid on was in Aptos. Actually it was in Rio Del Mar which I'm told is very swanky... Who knew? Anyway the lot was very large, like .25 of an acre large and it was surrounded by very well maintained and beautiful homes. And it was less than a mile to the beach which made this little country girl's heart just beat with joy. Sounds ideal right?

Right. Notice how I didn't mention what the house itself was like? (Did you? Bonus points to those that caught that.) Yeah. The listing called this house "a fixer upper in need of TLC". It would have been more appropriately titled "A tear down that needs to keep one wall to pass the red tape for new construction". Seriously.

It had two general rooms - one that I would guess could be a bedroom though neither had a door. Or a closet. The kitchen contained one counter with rusty sink and that's it. No oven. No range. No fridge. It took some hunting to find the bathroom but we managed. It consisted of a toilet and a shower spigot coming directly from the ceiling with a drain underneath. Oh and someone had thoughtfully put up a shower rod and nasty curtain to try to contain the otherwise exposed shower. Though if I'm not mistaken... The toilet would have been inside the "shower" if you pulled the curtain closed. Yeah.

Also the ceilings were maybe about 6' tall. Which, for me? No big deal. But for TheBoy? Who is 6'7"? A little bit of a problem. The floors were so rickety that we were a little nervous about having more than one person in the house at a time. A quick look below gave us proof that we were right to be afraid. In the area that one might have called the "garage" there was one support beam that appeared to be holding up the whole home. Only it didn't quite reach the ground. So someone had thoughtfully put 3 or 4 cinder blocks under it. You know. To support THE WHOLE HOUSE.

The current owner at one time had thoughts of remodeling and had gotten as far as "building" a new retaining wall for the extended foundation. Unfortunately for them I sat on the wall and it started wobbling so I got up. TheBoy put his foot against it and pushed (ever so gently I'm sure) and it FELL OVER! Totally safe. Totally. Also to code. I'm sure.

Are y'all starting to see why I thought it was more of a "tear down" than a "fixer upper"? Yes? Okay good.

So you might wonder why we wanted this property at all right? Well... As mentioned above, it was a .25 acre parcel in an awesome neighborhood, less than a mile from the beach. And it was in our price range. And it had been on the market for 6 months with 3 price drops. Also, as mentioned above, we have the resources to do something like that.

We thought it was perfect!

We should have known it wouldn't be that easy...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Voluntary Boot Camp

Yep. That's right. I have finally lost my mind. In the never-ending battle with counting calories obsessively, and working out obsessively, I actually have done the unthinkable. I signed myself up for a Boot Camp program. At 5:30 am.

Yes, I did.

But you know what?


I may have even gone as far as to sign up for the next session. Maybe. Seriously though, this program has been everything I hoped it would be and more. It keeps me accountable, it's different every morning, it's helping me lose weight and firm up, and it's letting me get all of those things over with before most of my friends are even out of bed.


Anyone who is in the Bay Area and is even remotely interested can get more information here. Also, I know I've already managed to get one "friend of Tiffy" in a moment of weakness... Are there any others interested?


(End soap box-esque, cheerleader-y enthusiasm.)

Bad Tiffy BAD!

I know, I know.

Don't think it has escaped my attention that my last several posts have begun with apologies and ended with promises to write more often. But yet, here I am, apologizing. Again. And promising to be better. Again.


Are any of you out there still?


Friday, September 02, 2005

Better late than...

So, faithful IIF's (and real F's too!), remember when I went away for the weekend to the Wine Country with TheBoy, OlderBrother and OlderBrother's GF to visit their Mom? Back before the early morning boot camp, stressful week at work, all the horrible illnesses, hurricanes and obsessive calorie counting? Remember? Okay because I hardly do!


And can I tell you how I have come to be almost Nazi-esque about the Sleep? I will fit it in where ever I can. Lunch break = 30 minute nap in the parking garage (with the doors locked). Get home from work = 30 minute nap before the gym. Bedtime = 8:30. It's bad. There is something about doing roughly 647 squats/lunges every morning that will do that to a girl.

Seriously y'all. TheBoy woke me up in the middle of the night last night. 3 TIMES! On the 3rd time I had a full on irrational bitch fit! It was horrible. It involved lots of shaking of his head. And cursing. And a threat of sleeping on the couch. Him, not me. I'm not proud y'all. But. Do. Not. Mess. With. SLEEP! I'm just saying is all.

Okay, I'm rambling. I know it. I have a point. I DO!


All that above serves as the background to a sincere apology (again) for my lack of posting legitimate entertaining and also maybe witty posts for the past several days. I apologize. I do. I really WANT to blog. I have lots of posts half started... I promise to get to them soon.

Oh right. I KNEW it would come to me! (Yes, I am still rambling and searching for the point to this post...) But I have remembered the point! Yea me!

So, Sonoma. TheBoy and I drive up to Sonoma on Friday night and, due to some horrific traffic and a raceway formerly known as Sears Point (I think it's Infineon Raceway now) we didn't arrive until almost 9pm. But dinner was waiting and the wine had been poured so all in all it wasn't that bad.*

Also we were informed of the sad sad news that we had missed the bird watching. They went during the afternoon. I was, as you all can imagine, appropriately sad about this news. Right. Because I was SOOOO looking forward to it. But we also missed the champagne caves which I ACTUALLY would have liked to see! I've been consoled with the fact that we will definitely go there on our next trip.

Saturday we alternated between being lazy hanging out at the house and wine tasting.** I managed to control myself, or rather TheBoy managed to control me, and I only bought 4 bottles of wine! And this yummy fig balsamic vinegar. Mmmmm... Sunday we played mini-golf. Yes we did. And it was HOT! But fun. Then it was time for us to go home.

All in all an uneventful weekend. BUT I did have a really honest to goodness good time and there was no awkwardness or tension between me and TheBoy's Mom which is fantastic! I also was pretty excited about getting out of tennis! And bird watching. Though, truth be told, I'd rather go birding than play tennis. I'm just saying is all.

*Not that I had a lot of dinner (Pasta with cream sauce) or wine, but I digress.

**Where I DID drink wine. Y'all know.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Some GOOD News

I finally received word from an old High School friend of mine who now lives in New Orleans, Corine that she and her husband are safe. Her website, which is normally a cute little homage to her wedding and life in NO, is now posting updates for her family and friends that have been displaced by Katrina.

I don't know about y'all, but I am so sad for all the people who have lost their homes and their family members in this horrible storm. And keeping in mind that New Orleans is largely a city of people living below the poverty line, I can't help but feel overwhelmed by amount of work that will be needed to restore this city. I also can't help but be sad for all the history that's been lost. New Orleans has been called the birthplace of Jazz music and it certainly has it's own cuisine, fashion and even dialect. So, So Sad.

I know that my piddly donation won't mean much but at least I feel as if I've done something. If you'd like to do the same, go here for the American Red Cross website.

And for Corine and Beebe, and all the other victims of Katrina, know you are in our thoughts and prayers daily. Be safe.

As requested... Flourless chocoalte cake

For the Cupcake Mafia.

Flourless chocolate cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces - unsalted
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large eggs

How to:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line the bottom with waxed paper. DON’T SKIP the waxed paper step. It’s annoying but necessary.

(The first time I made this I didn’t have a springform pan so if you don’t have one know it can be done in a regular pan. Although, the time I made it in a springform pan it was SO much easier to get out and looked much prettier. Of course if you make it in a regular pan and the sides are bit raged I find a dusting of powdered sugar will hide a multitude of sins. I’m just saying is all.)

Stir butter and chocolate in heavy large saucepan over low heat until melted. (I did the make shift double broiler route for this – metal mixing bowl over pot of boiling water – because I tend to get distracted while cooking and chocolate and butter scorches so easily.)

Mix sugar and cocoa in a separate large bowl. Add eggs; whisk until well blended. Whisk in chocolate-butter mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Flip over and remove waxed paper.*

Best the day you bake it of course but I find that it’s fantastic for breakfast** the next day if you put it in the refrigerator. I’ve seen tons of toppings for these things so be creative. My mom took her freshly prepared and still HOT slice and spread a little butter on top. She’s a purist. My favorite topping involves caramel flavored whipping cream. And raspberries. Mmmmm… Raspberries.

*Feeding your friends waxed paper is never a good idea. Even if it is covered in cream cheese frosting. (I have a carrot cake recipe… It’s a long story.)

**Not that I would EVER eat CAKE for breakfast! Probably why I now have to obsessively count calories and do horrible mean things to my body. Like boot camp at 5:30 am. And marathons.