Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!


Welcome to my remodeled cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of black forest cake or the tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Soon!

I’m living with more bad computer news in Naniland. Remember how Stupid (my Dell computer) had to have a lobotomy in July because it was losing the ability to communicate with itself? Well after it came home I reloaded the basic programs I use every day because I wanted to take it easy on it just coming back from wipe clean. I also wanted to get the basic programs that I’ve had on it pretty much as long as I’ve had it, about 2-1/2 years to try to avoid whatever happened to it with newer stuff. I’m already getting the messages and trouble I had before. When I restart it the desktop icons are all over, I get long waits and “not responding” on desktop windows and programs and a blue screen and reboot every other day. It did the same things last time and I know I’ll lose function using it regularly by the end of the month. Yes, the Geeks at Best Buy will fix it again, but then I’ll be spending $5 in bus fares and time in my day again in November, right?

If I upgrade for free to Windows 10, it's adding on top of the system I hate and the one that keeps giving me the blue screen with notes about kernel problems. It’s added stress and frustration I don’t need in my life. I deal with enough things I CAN’T change. I did some math and I believe I can fix this situation. I’ll meet with my account guy tomorrow and make sure I carried all my math columns right. As long as I did, I’ll be hitting the mall next week to Tilt-A-Whirl my way to the Apple Store.

http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/
Shortly after Labor Day the name Joey shall belong to a 13” MacBook Pro. My external keyboard and mouse will still work with the Mac for use at home. The touch pad does some new things that might make that more user friendly to me. Also, now that I’ve gotten used to the tablet and phone talking to each other about me, I like that convenience and I look forward to them including my computer in the conversations. It means my personal calendar will update on all three, photos I take will be available on my computer without emailing them to myself and I can read a book on any device and it will always be on the right page. I most enjoy now that I can comfortably read on my tablet before be and on the phone while I’m waiting for the bus. Now I'll be able to read on the computer while I'm having lunch too!

I will suggest to everyone that you should password protect all of your electronic devices so someone can’t even see your menu or desktop without your code. There are some wonderful advances in this world we share now, but it also means there are not-so-wonderful opportunities for dishonest people to get their hands on your information. Just be careful and know what security is available to you on devices you use. When I’m at home Stupid doesn’t require a password every time I step away for 5 minutes, but when I’m away from home I adjust the settings so it requires me to log back on more often when I have been away from it. Answering the phone and dialing 911 are the only things I can do on my phone without the passcode if I’m off it for 30 seconds. I like the fact that I can erase the phone or tablet from any computer if I lose them. Know what you can do to protect your data!

Actually, I have to thank Stupid for its timing. By acting like the lobotomy worked for a month, it puts me between kids on summer vacation and holiday shopping beginning so the mall will be slower. A slower mall means fewer people competing for the sales reps’ attention, I still have many questions to ask before I make a huge purchase. (Well, it’s huge to me!) Less wait means more time to have lunch and fewer other people means more room to Tilt-A-Whirl! That is if I decide to Tilt-A-Whirl with a big bag of computer stuff. Maybe I should Tilt-A-Whirl before I go to the Apple Store.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet…


…We're hunting pumpkin spice!

According to Nani’s Rules, September 1st is the official opening day of Pumpkin Spice Season!

Yes, this is a huge fad and yes the middle-age-white-woman is the stereotypical demographic that the fad is known for. But I don’t follow the fad; the fad followed me and now it caters to me. I’m okay with that.

Starbucks takes credit for starting the fad, but I think the first time I had a pumpkin spice cappuccino was a gas station machine cheataccino a year before it was available at Starbucks. Starbucks made it "cool." Also the whole “pumpkins mean fall” thing for me was since childhood. I loved pumpkin pie and Pop roasted the pumpkin seeds from the Halloween jack-o-lanterns he carved before we were even allowed to handle sharp knives. I also used pumpkin pie spice mixed into Cool Whip for a low calorie pumpkin spice treat. I hadn’t thought of adding pumpkin spice and sweetener to coffee but when I tried the gas station cheataccino, I was hooked! It was a hot cocoa styled drink for fall; yum!

Starbucks is caving into the health food Nazis who started the Pumpkin Spice Latte conspiracy theory last year, freaking out about not having pumpkin in the drink and having some sort of poison instead. This year they have changed the recipe that’s been so successful while, according to them, not changing the flavor. Pumpkin Spice Latte will be available at Starbucks, to slide down your throat with slimy pureed pumpkin making your drink thicker but not affecting the taste, which you hopefully don’t really remember exactly from one year to the next, on September 8.

I probably won’t try the new recipe. If other places use a small amount of mashed pumpkin in their pumpkin spice drinks and I don’t notice it, fine. I had decided a couple years ago that for flavor, Eat ’n Park’s pumpkin spice latte was the best anyway. I have 2 big things that drive my thought that I have no interest in trying the new recipe at Starbucks. First, the purely psychological effect; I never expected anything but the spices in pumpkin spice latte and the thought of purred pumpkin in my coffee just sounds gross. Second, and I think the bigger reason, is I just can’t support anything that’s purely kissing the butts of conspiracy theorists. So, if I don’t know the pumpkin is there and it is, it proves that it doesn’t make any difference because I liked it fine without. It might even be defense of the change if it’s discovered that pumpkin in my coffee is what makes me think one is better than the other. BUT, you can’t even improve the taste and win me over when you’ve offended me, and giving in to the food Nazis is offensive. It won’t affect Starbucks at all. Many people won’t care, they’ll have a new customer or two who’ve read and were afraid because of the food Nazis and I’ll still drink plain lattes and their fabulous, albeit hard to get there in time for, pumpkin scones. But for pumpkin latte, I’ll stick to Eat n’ Park or Speedway.

I won’t miss Starbuck’ 'Pumpkin Spice Latte anyway because there are now so many fabulous pumpkin spice treats in the fall! Be on the lookout for these pumpkin inspired yummies!

The only things on the list I haven’t tried are the ones highlighted in yellow. #means I didn’t care for it. * means I have to have it at least once every fall!

*Pumpkin Spice Latte (Eat ‘n Park is the best!)
*Cheataccino (gas station cappuccino)
*Coffee (I’ll be ordering a Couple boxes of PS K-cups next week!)
Tea

Cookies
*Donuts (At a cider mill or orchard is the best, but Dunkin Donuts does good ones too!)
Loaf (I make a loaded Christmas loaf with pumpkin and spice that I rather like)
Cake
Muffins
*Scones (Starbucks)

*Ice cream
Shakes (McDonalds are great)

Egg nog (I called it Pumpkin Nog)
Cream cheese (Philadelphia, but I couldn’t find it to try it last year)
Yogurt (Couldn’t find it to try it.)

Pudding (Jello instant, YUM!)
Oatmeal (Made my own with pumpkin spice creamer)
Peanut butter (Jif WILL try this year)

***Soup (Zoup, OMG)

#Beer, Ale, Shandy (The pumpkin beer I tried was okay, but not really a Nani choice)

Pumpkin butter (I’ve bought a jar at a fruit market and made a batch of my own; an excellent fall addition for biscuits, toast or anything you’d use a fruit butter with!)

Snack pie (McDonald’s has a hot pumpkin McPie which I love. I think Hostess does one too)

Pop Tarts (I WILL find these this year!)
Oreos
Pepperidge Farms Pumpkin Spice Milano cookies

***Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms (New this year and I want to try them. It might Pumpkin Spice repackaged or there may be 2 types of pumpkin M&Ms this year)
Hershey Kisses (These are good, but they are pumpkin spice white chocolate confection, not chocolate)
*Candy Corn (Seriously, pumpkin spice candy corn – OH MY!)

**Pancakes (IHOP has done these for many years and they are fantastic!)

Fudge
Salt Water Taffy
Marshmallows
Chewing gum
Toffee (Trader Joes)
Salted caramels 

*Almonds (Blue Diamond – fabulous!)
Candied Pumpkin Seeds (Trader Joes and Nature Box, both excellent with baked sweet potatoes!)
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Truffles (tried these in Vermont last year – YUM!)

Are you a pumpkin spice fan? What are some of your favorites?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Here’s A Chair For You

Hi! Thanks for visiting my cyber coffee shop! Please have a cup of your favorite beverage and cuddle in for a few paragraphs!

I wanted to mention my cyber-recipes. Usually if I post something tasty you can make at home I’ll either include the recipe (look for “Davlicious” in the key words at the bottom) or I’ll include a link to a recipe page if it’s a recipe I find on the web. Most of the time when I offer up a piece of black forest cake, or recently tiramisu, it’s cyber-cake; completely calorie free, but not something you can replicate at home. This is an ages old Naniism. Time for a “Little Nani Story.” In this case two.

For the beginning of the story, let me offer you a comfy chair in my cyber coffee shop.


Here’s a couch for a couple of guests


And maybe we have someone joining us who’d prefer a kitschy chair!


I have always loved pretend imagery. One of the first TV shows I loved when I was a child was “The Friendly Giant,” one of a few CBC kids’ shows I watched with my mom. One of the spoils of being a border-baby is that, even before cable, we got CBC in from Windsor, Ontario, Canada; great kid’s shows and Hockey Night in Canada! Mom always watched a few episodes of any shows I watched. I guess I figured out when I was an aunt to very young girls that she did that as a responsible parent to make sure she knew the content of the shows I watched, but I remember it as just getting to pick the show that we were watching together. Parents watching the shows the kids are watching at least a little is important. I even remember my dad complaining that “they should be learning Italian, not Spanish” on Sesame Street. Of course my dad was still only about 10 years in this country and wanting a little of his roots to make him feel a little more welcomed. (It was only a year or two after we started watching Sesame Street before he chose to become a citizen and stopped complaining about the Spanish segments on Sesame Street.)

But back to The Friendly Giant. It was basic kids content. Friendly was a giant who had animal friends; a puppet was one and watching a clip on YouTube I remembered the giraffe that visited his window. The thing is I remembered those characters watching a clip from the show. What I didn’t need a clip to remember a few years shy of a half century later was the beginning of the show when he set up the little living room for us.


He invited the viewers into his castle and set out chairs in the little living room so we had a seat while we visited. That imagery and use of imagination has always been part of me. So when you choose a chair, imagine you're really relaxing with your coffee for the read!

Now that you see where my brain learned how to get comfy in a pretend chair, the next “Little Nani Story” will explain the “scratch ingredients” that go into making cyber-cake!

My brother, Dave, and I were pretty normal kids in that we often had to be nagged about cleaning our rooms and occasionally mom came in with the big garbage bag and “helped” us clean our rooms. One of the list of things she didn’t know or understand until I was an adult was why, more than once, she was throwing away a cardboard sheet or box with pictures of food taped on it.

Well, Star Trek came out the same year I did, in 1966, and my mom was a huge Trekkie. That meant Star Trek was one of the shows we watched together that she picked. One of the things I played often was that my closet was a space ship or shuttle and I was the captain. I had a control panel that mom never wondered about because it looked like a spaceship panel a kid would draw. But those boards with the pictures of food on them were my replicator. Thinking back they were sort of a cross between a vending machine and a replicator because if I touched the picture it created the food I touched, well, I pretended it did. If I wanted something that I couldn’t find a picture of in the grocery sales papers from the newspaper, I’d ask for it. I imagined the taste and looking at the picture enjoyed my meal on the spaceship.

So, now I serve all-grown-up replicated desserts, or cyber-food, in my cyber coffee shop. As an adult I can still pretend the wonderful flavors but I appreciate the calorie-free more.

Have some black forest cake…and don’t ever let you inner child grow up!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Political Profanity

I pay attention to news and politics because I like to entertain the idea that my thoughts and my votes matter in the greater scheme of things. But reading political stuff, interviews, polls and opinions, gets me mad or frightened or both. I’m concerned that Donald Trump is ahead in polls for the Republican presidential polls. (Which by the way is an election in 2016 and why are we even reading about it yet?) Oh, if we ever needed a confirmation that political contests are all about money and elections are bought… But I wanted to see his take on the issues. Why is this man who is so ugly in his opinions about immigrants getting such support in the polls? If you go to the Trump website and click “Positions” you will find a tab for “Immigration Reform.” That’s it. He officially has no other positions. This leaves me more confused and more concerned.

His, mostly debunked, stand on immigrants and loud support of unsubstantiated “stats” is frightening. I know he is attacking immigrants from Mexico, for now, but he doesn’t seem to discern documented and undocumented immigrants in his onslaught. Several Republicans have been using the term “anchor baby” in attacking each other and voters concerning immigration reform. I hadn’t really heard the term and I was born to a married couple; a US citizen and a green card documented immigrant. I needed to find out the root of the term because I actually didn’t know if my brother and I are anchor babies.

The term was coined in the 1980s to describe Southeast Asian teens who came to America to get a financial foothold and sponsor family members to come over. As it morphed into that foothold being established by the citizenship granted babies born in this country, regardless of their parents’ nationality, it became thought of as a child citizen who could anchor the parents into the country. That, by the way, is false. A child born in this country is American but may sponsor their parents to enter the country after they are 21. There is no guarantee that the parents can legally remain because they have a child that was born here. The term came to prominence again in 2006 as congressional Republicans  used it in a derogatory way to pass legislation to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.

The thing is it’s always been a derogatory term. It’s just like terms I remember hearing as a kid that were “just sayings.” But to a kid whose great-grandparents were born in Poland, I knew “dumb pollack” was meant as something mean to the people who said it and meant it as an ugly stereotype; it wasn’t just a saying. Anchor baby became used retroactively to describe any child born in the US that the person using the term deemed to be only born here to keep alien parents in the country. It was never an actual term to describe someone’s status, but a term used with disdain to describe anyone based on assumption. As a term that means a baby born to an immigrant mother, or one who is not legitimately here, calling someone an anchor baby is the same as calling someone a bastard; it’s the accusation that they come from illegitimate parentage. It’s pretty sad that we allow people who claim they want to lead us throw that term around so casually.

Oh, and as far as whether or not my brother and I are anchor babies, we’re not. If my dad had been the US citizen and mom had been the one with the green card it could be different. Women getting married to a US citizen and making babies to anchor themselves in the country is an acceptable suspicion but notsomuch for men. You see “anchor baby” is not just rooted in racism, but it’s rooted in sexism too. There are no anchor babies; you don’t choose where you are born. If you are an American, you are an American and deserve all the rights of an American citizen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review: Bullseye by David Baldacci

Finished August 24, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads

Will Robie is closing in on his next target when he finds himself in the middle of a bank heist--and he's taken hostage alongside Oliver Stone. But is this just a simple bank job, or are the robbers after something even more valuable--and dangerous--than the cash in the vault?


My Review at Good Reads
5 of 5 stars

Bullseye is a short story, so it’s a quick read. It pairs Will Robie and The Camel Club, an awesome combination! At closing time on a Saturday at the bank in the mall, the security guard closing the doo¬r is killed by 4 people in masks with a covered cart. Will Robie and Oliver Stone are in the bank when the robbery starts. But is it a robbery or something else? The group is skilled and has the details down. They confiscate Robie’s gun and every cell phone or device of communication from the hostages and move them into a room that is also void of communication to start their work.

Oliver gets a message out to the Camel Club and he and Robie, who don’t know each other, work together in the bank while the other members of the Camel Club work in the mall to figure out what the actual target of this gang that’s sawing something outside of the closed room the hostages are in.

I’m not giving spoilers, but it’s great brainwork and action in a pretty quick read. Stone and Robie are a good working pair, with Stone trying to get Will Robie to admit who he is and what he does and Robie not admitting when Stone’s guesses are right. It was a great quick read and the quality I’ve grown to expect from Baldacci.