Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

Yes, I’ve been gone a while…a long while. I’ve had some other physical and subsequent mental issues. I don’t really want to talk about them. It enhances the stress and potential depression. I read an article that explains the MIA from blogging probably better than I could.

Isolation: When Our Disease Makes Us Withdraw

So whether it’s starting over or
just continuing like I was never gone…

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the pumpkin spice scones!

Contact Nani at

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Spring means...

The Sunny Spot is back!

The sun is now high enough in the sky to really beam over the neighbor's house and right in the hall window for full effect light and warmth. The kids just love to soak it up!

Meanwhile, I am watching them revel in the joy of spring as I am waiting patiently with gravel in my chest and a stuffy nose for the peak of tree pollen to do its thing and go away! This too shall pass! :)

Photo Credit - DSP

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

A day late, but NOT a mug short! I was on a tech assignment in th e Motherland (Michigan) yesterday. :)

I wrote this last night, but didn't get home to upload until just now.

Cross In The Woods
Indian River, Michigan

Cross In The Woods, true to its name, is a giant crucifix at the altar of an outdoor Catholic church in Indian River, Michigan.

I got this mug in 1997, when I went on an all-star break trip up north with Heather H, Rich and Jackie. We went to the church on Sunday, before we crossed the bridge into the Upper Peninsula. But for me, the roots are way deeper than a fond memory of a stop on our baseball break trip.

I don't specifically remember the first time I saw the towering cross with the sculpture of Jesus on it. I just remember that it has always been there, it was always a spiritual place in my mind. I have old photos of my brother and me with our parents in the Stations of the Cross gardens and by the statue of the Blessed Mother. When we were camping in the area, that was where we went to church on Sunday, a beautiful mass in the woods with the appropriately larger than life itself symbol towering high over the raised altar. Like I said, I don't have specific vivid memories of visits there from my childhood, just the very strong memories of the "feeling" of being there.

We always lit candles there. I do remember being there with Noni and lighting a candle for Nono. We always lit candles, even when we weren't there for mass. Mom and Dad had that same feeling, I'm sure that's how it came to me, an unspoken knowledge. I think that's the one place in all the world I have always felt at peace, closer to God, safe.

As an adult, when I've returned it was often to feel that sense of security again. To meditate and allow myself to be that innocent child again. It's a place of spiritual cleansing.

In 1991, after I'd finished trade school and before I traveled to Atlanta for my first job interview since completing my certificate, I went there. I got the token praying for safety for my car there before the trip and let that peace wash over me. I lit candles for Noni and Nono

In 2003, I returned again in search of peace. It was the first time I'd been alone in weeks. It was the first alone time I'd had since my Mom died. She and I were very close and no one let me be alone. I needed to have that alone time to grieve privately. After taking Grandma home, I went to the Straits of Mackinac, a place that Mom and I had enjoyed together many times. On the way I stopped at Cross In The Woods. I walked around the gardens and sat in the empty seats in the grounds of the outdoor church. I got to cry, meditate and I found some peace, peace I could hold on to and begin to heal. Before I left, I lit a candle for my Mother and one for Tori and Rina's Mother. Candles for mothers called home before their daughters were ready to say "goodbye."

I know my love for Claes Oldengberg's outdoor art, my appreciation for skyscrapers and admiration for the immensity of the ocean as I stand on the beach are all born from that presence that left its mark on me as a child. My appreciation for symbolism and "larger than life" comes from the impression that image of spirituality showers over the woods at its base - All powerful, all consuming and all comforting.

See the website for Cross In The Woods

De, Boy and Girl-LICIOUS!

The delicious part of this blog is NACHO MOUNTAIN!

(Sorry no individual mountain pics -
we were to busy enjoying to remember to photograph!)

The concept is that yo have the center bowl of chips, the main mountain, and the surrounding foothills of cheese, sauces and yummy stuff that goes on the mountain. Then everyone creates his or her own personal mountain. Tori’s mountain is especially beefy and cheesy, Rina’s is vegetarian and Nana’s is almost a salad!

As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for Nacho Mountain!

Nacho Mountain

1 large bag baked tortilla chips
1 jar prepared cheese dip (Nacho's Cheese)
1 16 oz bag shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
1 lb of prepared taco meat
(1 lb ground beef or turkey browned with a taco seasoning packet)
I 15 oz can fat free refried beans
I jar salsa (Mild to hot depending on taste)
Chopped tomatoes, green onions, bell pepper
shredded lettuce
sliced black olives
Sour cream

Put the tortilla chips in a large bowl in the center of a Lazy Susan to form the main part of the community mountain. (Can be just placed in the middle of the table if a Lazy Susan isn't available) Place the other ingredients in small bowls around the mountain to create the "foothills"

Each person places chips on their own plate or bowl, and builds their personal mountains from the assorted condiments.

Serves 4-6

Boylicious and Girlicious -

Boylicious and Girlicious are Darlene Haughin's latest kits. I am lucky that the Creative Teams I’m on are for designers who’s kits I used before I was a CT member anyway, so I’m using kits that fit my style. I’m always pleased with the results of my CT layouts!

Girlicious was so much fun! I have nieces, I’m a girl and I come from a long line on Mom’s side of only-child girls, so I have a lot of stuff, current and heritage to scrap for girls and this kit is great for both!

Mom Becomes A Teenager

Kit Girlicious by Darlene Haughin at stoneaccentsstudio.com
Fonts - Gadget, Gramond, Janet, Marker Felt

Boylicious is as perfect for boys (or tomboys) as Girlicious is for girls! I took a little bit of my own tomboy with the very male competitiveness that comes with rooting on separate side of a game with your boyfriend for this one, with a little element manipulation to turn “Play Tough” into “Play Ball!”

The More Things Change...

Kit - Boylicious by Darlene Haughin at stoneaccentsstudio.com
font - Britanic Gold

Check out these kits at Darlene's stores!


And now, the In Only Seven Days finale -

I hope you’ve gotten all parts to this kit and that you enjoy it if you have! As always I like seeing the numbers go up in the downloads, but I’d LOVE to see you layout using my kits and show them off at The Chronicles of Nani! Send your layouts to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com. I look forward to seeing them!

(sorry, link is expired)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It’s Been Almost Seven Days Already??

My how a week passes when you’re involved in a project, huh?

Okay, truth is that the involved part of In Only Seven Days was done before the first part was released. One thing I did NOT want to happen was to release little parts at a time while the kit was unfinished and then have something come up so I couldn’t finish a part for a day or to end up with more than seven days worth. I’m job seeking right now, but my marketing brain is VERY functional! My scrap kits and Friday By Request keep me disciplined in creating, promoting and meeting deadlines with what I hope is quality work. It doesn’t matter what type of business I end up in, those disciplines make me a more valuable employee to any company, so it’s a good thing to keep the skills sharp! Creativity, promotion and deadlines are also the parts of every job I’ve had in the past 26 years that I’ve really loved. Let me use my creativity, let me shout from the rooftops how great our company and products are and give my energizing projects with absolute deadlines and I’m that employee my superiors have always raved about - I’m also a very happy employee!

It’s never been about the money. Though, yes, I’d like to think that a college grad with a good professional reputation should make enough to pay the bills, go a modest recharging vacation once a year and put enough gas in the car to get to work and home without a second job grinding ice for Mochachinos at Starbucks, I don’t require a mansion and a yacht. (Not even to buy them used from Elmer Fudd!) But, if I have the opportunity to be business-creative and promote with the buzz of a realistic deadline towards which to work, I don’t ever have to be a seven-figure CEO. Just, well, maybe enough to buy a lottery ticket now and then! LOL

This working on working week ended on a positive note. I actually talked to a few people, not voice mails! Oh, most of them welcomed me to call back next week, but that is still, in a rough job market, a very good week!

In other news, this is an Aunting weekend for me! Tori and Rina are watching a movie right ow which gives me a little time to blog, maybe even to scrap a little? We’ll see about that! David is out donating blood this morning and we’ll all be going to the grocery store when he gets back, maybe after lunch.

The grocery store isn’t exciting news, but what happens as a result is! Dinner tonight is Nacho Mountain! Nacho Mountain is the “Nana-Style” Nachos I have made for the girls since they were kids. Of course, at almost 14, they help a lot with preparation - they an even cut the onions! (hehe) I’ll try to remember to take some pictures of the “Feast with the Mexican Flair” tonight and I can reprint the recipe from the archives at Simply Davine. Nacho Mountain was a featured recipe in June of 2004!

David is working an extra weekend shift tonight, so it’s going to be girls night here! Girls Night for the three of us is usually a board game and happy sounds in the full range of giggles to hysterical laugher! Remember that I said they get cooler and cooler as they grow up - they totally bring out my inner giddy teenager!

And now the Day 6 Freebie...

If you’ve been downloading the parts to this kit and read the lyric sheet, or if you just know the song, the line about the weekend is, “Saturday, just 24 hours, Oh no, I’m going back home on Sunday.” Yep, we’re there! Saturday, just one more download, Oh wow, we’ll be all done on Sunday! Those of you familiar with my poetry know that was some of my best stuff right there! ;)

Okay, after even a line or two of the third worst poetry in the universe, I really owe you today's download!

(sorry, link is expired)

Friday, April 25, 2008


I've received this most honorable Arteypico Award from:
Darlene at http://darlenedesigns.blogspot.com/

I got an award. How cool is that? The honor was bestowed upon me by Darlene, whose Creative Team I’m on and whose design work you’ve seen a lot of at The Chronicles of Nani!

Now for the formalities of the recognition. If I fail in my duties then a runner up will have to take my place and that’s very scandalous, so I don’t want to let anyone down!

The rules state that in order to keep this award, I must nominate 5 friends’ blogs as well. Not easy to decide! But I do have a few that I subscribe to because I make a point of reading them whenever they post something new! Since The Frenzied Feline is informative articles but not memes and such and since I already listed it as a favorite the last time I won’t repeat it, except to say that I do think it’s an all-star blog! I’m also not nominating Kristine, WenchdGrafix, because Darlene already did! I did want to publicly mention those two blogs, because they deserve the award from me as well!

If you were nominated, here are the rules for you to pass it on.

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award. http://arteypico.blogspot.com/
Make sure you visit the link above. There are crafts of all kinds shown; you are bound to come away inspired!

5) Show these rules.

My 5 Winners:
Vicki - Bubbles Babbles
A fun journal to read, great layouts to see and she really is “Queen of the QP!”

Dutch - Dutch’s Digs
I fell in love with Dutch’s blog when we were both blogging on Yahoo. We moved to different “neighborhoods,” but I still like to keep in touch!

Sherrie - RC Mama Designs
Sherrie was the first designer who welcomed me on her Creative Team. I’ve been a regular to her blog for a long time!

Veelana - Veelana’s Vastly Varicolored Vortex
A friendly blog that really invites readers to take part in the blog! Great scrapbooking layouts and kits and a fantastic promotional idea I’ll be borrowing soon!

Anna -
My Secret Garden
AneczkaW Challenger Hunter
A great designer at SAS and SFS. I can’t miss her Secret Challenge at SFS! It’s fantastic!


I guess this award is my “sorta” Friday By Request, since it does ask for a specific posting and for me to act on instructions, but I’d really LOVE a Request for next week! Please check out the post with instructions for FBR and consider sending me a challenge! We get to have some fun as the challenger and challenged and if you have a blog, I’ll include a link back to you! According to my new stat-collector, I’m getting over 100 hits a day and they stay for an average of 2.3 minutes, so a lot of those over 100 people are not just stopping by for the scrapbook freebies, I’d venture to guess that it would invite some people into your cyber-coffee shop, store or living room too!

Mutual Admiration Society?

I also want to take a minute to refer the Chronicles of Nani regulars and passers by to a great blog I discovered...well, Sally discovered me!

Winged Heart Ohio
is, obviously, another blogger from the great state I call home and a fellow scrapper and designer! Sally’s has some great stuff to see and read, including the fact that, according to the Nani rules for birthdays, she is in the last weekend f her Birthday Festival for this year! Stop by Winged Heart Ohio and see her great designs and layouts, read about her fun day last Friday and wish her a Happy Birthday before her festival is over!!

And now, my gift to the scrappers out there! If you don’t scrap, I do still have some black forest cake left from yesterday - the cherries keep it moist, even a day later! :)

In Only Seven Days Part 5-

(sorry, link is expired)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It’s a Black Forest Cake Kind Of Morning!

Ah breakfast...

Good morning all!

No stories or anecdotes today. Yesterday was a bit of a bum day. I got one resume in the mail, thanks to David’s delivery service, and one job applied for that was posted. Grandma called and she’s having some problems with her new DSL service that will require me making a trip for a couple days next week. I spent a chunk of the day looking for a receipt for some sewer work that was done last year and needed warranty work. It was a couple hours waiting for them and with them being here, only to have it be unrelated to the repairs done in October and a charge. Finish the unproductive day with the Reds under the arm of Bronson Arroyo getting crushed and I DESERVE to have a slice of black forest cake for breakfast!

Well as the book I’m reading will tell me in the end, tomorrow is another day - and today is that tomorrow!

There’s only one slice of the cake, but I can see if there is another one on my hard drive if anyone wants to share! ;)

For those collecting the pieces, here is Part 4 of In Only Seven Days.

(sorry, link is expired)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Holland, Michigan
August 2000

Just for grins, we’re traveling back in time. The two Dutch girls are none other than Tori and Rina at age 6! They are going to be here for a visit this weekend. I got to have them at the end of their Spring Break a couple weeks ago, but after time divided between three grandparents, they got here just in time for the lunch and games with friends we’d planned and then it was time to go! So this weekend, it’s “Weekend at Nana’s - Spring Break 2!”

As I’ve said before, kids are wonderful and the best part is those sweet little ones you rent when they are young just get cooler and cooler to be with the older they get!

For those of you stopping by for the scrapbooking freebie today, I hope you’re enjoying the other fun features from The Chronicles of Nani too! Here is the Day 3 freebie for In Only Seven Days -

(sorry, link is expired)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Irrational Fears

There are two things I can say I DON’T like about spring. Just two, the laundry list of dislikes is WAY bigger for the winter, but there are two biggies for spring and they both zapped me big time yesterday!

I had a headache. Not your run of the mill headache, I had a “the trees are budding, the trees are budding!” headache! I try not to be a crybaby about it. My allergies are so mild compared to what a lot of other people deal with, but the spring tree pollen allergies are the worst. I’m usually mildly discomforted for about a week, last week, then I have about three days where I get nasty, blinding headaches and try to fight off any worse. If I get a full sinus attack, it’s a miserable and stuffy week. If I can manage to deal with the headaches and fend off the full attack, I’m in the clear until fall! So Monday was the start of what I hope every year is just a few days of sporadic pain. Wish me luck!

The other thing I don’t like about spring, the thing I can say I truly hate about spring, is the return of the beasts that think they own the house. Those nasty 8-legged creatures that find their pleasure in paralyzing me with fear.

David works the evening shift on Mondays, so he’s usually home during the day, even on the sunny train days, he’s usually back in time to have lunch before work. Yesterday we sat having lunch and my eyes glanced up long enough to see the dark mass up in the corner where the wall and ceiling meet. I took a breath and calmly told David there was an unwanted guest on the wall. The wonderful thing about a 6’5” mate who is NOT arachnophobic is that he can, with a small corner of paper towel, reach and squish a spider, no marks on the ceiling. And he can get right up to the thing’s level, it doesn’t fall, it gets squished.

Unfortunately, that lunch time one was the lookout. Sorta like a suicide bomber. It spreads terror, then dies, but not until it send vital information back to the camp. “The tall defender is present, abort plans for a midday attack.”

Of course, since it was a beautiful day yesterday, we had all the windows open letting in the fresh air. When it started getting dark and cooler in the evening, I went to pull down the shades and close some of the windows. It wasn’t dark, just getting dark, so when I went to pull down the shade on the upstairs hall window, I almost fell backwards! Thankfully it was on the outside of the window, but The Terminator, the GIANT spider the suicide bomber contacted seconds before he was squished was sitting on the window. David was at work. It was just me and the cats at home.

I immediately closed the window. Kaline had tried to climb that screen Monday morning and, while she dismounted as soon as she heard the raised voice of discipline so I don’t think she damaged it, there was no way I was getting my glasses wearing self close enough to the window to check it out just then! After staring, shaking and beginning to hyperventilate, I grabbed a hold of myself and pulled the blind down. It took a few minutes, but I did manage to convince myself that it was on the outside and with the closed window and it was too big to get in the house.

I know it’s an irrational fear. Even the half-dollar size wood spiders that nest in the roof area of our house are much smaller than I am...much smaller than my foot or a baseball bat. Okay, after seeing the ceilings in my rooms at Dad’s house, David almost told me I couldn’t bring my baseball bat, or as I called it my “spider-squisher.” If they weren’t moving, it was nail them with the end of the bat and twist. As Grandma would say, “They won’t have the guts to do that again.” If they moved, it was a half can of spider spray until they stopped moving. Then when they fall, pound them a few times with the bat. They STILL didn’t have the guts to do it again!

Well, Ohio spiders are about five times as big as Michigan spiders. And the nastiest, biggest ones are usually on the outside of the second story windows. Sadly, what I’m most terrified of is the sight of them, followed by the knowledge that they are there. So, you can see that closing the blinds is not enough to make the goose-flesh subside. Killing them or seeing them killed is what I need to shake the creepy crawlies.

So this evening when David gets home, we’ll do the prevention drill we did last year that actually seemed to work, at least in the house. We patrol the basement, where the indoor ones camp to plot their assault on me, and shop-vac the ceiling and all the crevices. Then, David entertains the kids while I liberally spider spray the whole basement. Hot Shot spider spray will kill and keep most of them out for 3 months! Around the beginning of August, I go down and give the basement a booster vaccine.

As for the Terminator, I do ritually spray down the screens and the frames around the windows. Perhaps we could try a controlled burn on the roof? :)

Well, there’s my trauma of the day yesterday. Let’s move on to something happier, like today’s scrapbooking freebie!

As promised yesterday, part 2 of “In Only Seven Days” is offered and my sample layout for this kit is ready for your viewing too!

St. Joseph, Michigan

Credits: Kit - In Only Seven Days by Digitalegacies, Font - MA Sexy

And here is Day 2 of In Only Seven Days!

(sorry, link is expired)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Museum of Broadcast Communications
Chicago, Illinois

In September of 1996, Rich, Heather H and I made a weekend forage to Chicago for what I called “An Astounding Cubbies Weekend” on the flyer I’d crafted to invite people along on the trip. The name of the weekend was a takeoff on a Chicagoland car commercial campaign in which Ryne Sandberg talked of “astounding coincidences” between the new cars and great moments in Cubs history.

In the late season game on Saturday afternoon against the visiting Phillies, we didn’t end up the happy Cubs fans. The Phils won the game 6-2, but a trip to Wrigley is never a bad trip!

After the game on Saturday, we went to Planet Hollywood for dinner. That was the trip where I tried the Captain Crunch Chicken Fingers. They were wonderful! I’ve since made them at home, but with Honey Nut Cheerios and I’ve also done a baked variation with Buffalo Wing sauce and Fruit Loops. Both were great!

On Sunday, since the game was a night game, so we couldn’t make it a double-header weekend, we took in some Chicago sites. There was walking to see architecture, a photo OP by the prominent building and street that share Rich’s last name and a stop at The Popcorn Store for a couple souvenir tins of Chicago-stye popcorn. There was also the stop at The Museum of Broadcast Communications!

The three of us all shared our first out of school employer in the media world, working in the local programming department at Omnicom Cable. In September of 96, Rich was still there, but Heather had moved up to the marketing department and I had left in May to return to college. Over the years we’d worked together, we’d become good friends. Traveling together and getting together even after we no longer worked together was common, in fact, it still is! But since our friendships started in the field, we thought it was a great idea to go to that particular museum together!

What great fun it was to see all the antique equipment and pose for pictures behind TV cameras that were older than we were! There was also a section devoted to sports broadcasting and Schoolhouse Rock, which we all grew up with! One of my souvenirs from that trip is my “Bill” figure, as in “I’m just a Bill...”

It was a great weekend for the inner-child, outer baseball nut, the taste buds and a weekend with friends is always good for the heart and the soul!

In Only Seven Days

We had “Easter Take 2” at Grandma's this weekend. It was a nice, if late, weekend! I came home with a few albums that I’ll be scanning pictures from for my heritage project. I have a picture of my mom at my Great Grandmother’s house for a holiday dinner. Mom is about 10 years old. There are a number of pictures like that, but what is neat about this one is you can see the buffet that is in our dining room in that photo! A neat testament to how long my buffet has been around! I’ll be spending a chunk of my scrapping time this week scanning the photos I want to use in the book!

Before I left Friday, I mentioned something about a new scrapbook theme kit that would “start” Monday. Start? Huh?

Okay, first a little bit about my theme kits. While my color kits have names that relate to how I “feel” about the colors, I make a point to name my theme kits with a little more inspiration behind them. My theme kits share their names with song titles! “Train, Train” is a song by Blackfoot, from the 80s and “I’m All In,” by Simon Sweet, is more recent. The new theme kit is named for a song by Queen, “In Only Seven Days.”

The song is about finding love on a beach vacation and the kit is great for a beach vacation! “In Only Seven Day” will include a text file with the song’s lyrics, in case you’d like a little extra inspiration to get started. Also a little different, In Only Seven Days will be released in parts. Be sure to come back each day this week to download the next part and in only seven days, you’ll have the whole kit! - 12 papers and 36 Elements!
sorry, link is expired.

In Only Seven Days is a theme kit that also matches the color palatte of the Mix It Up challenge at Scrappin Freestyle. If you like these colors, go there and check out the challenge in the forums! You’ll find more kits and great layouts with these colors.

As always, if you use any of my kits for a layout, I’d love to see it! Please send a link!

Here’s the preview for Part 1(sorry, link is expired)

You get to start with 2 papers, a matching frame and journal block, a tag and 2 word-arts. Be sure to stop by each day this week for a new part of the kit! I’ll have a sample layout for you with Tuesday’s part!

The Monday Mug Shot will be up this evening!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cyber Field Trip!

Greetings from warm, sunny, gorgeous Ohio!

No requests this week, but I am ready and very willing to take requests for next Friday!

This was MY request for yesterday, peace in the cat world! The kids’ spat is over and healed and they were back to afternoon siesta together on the bed!

As for the "Cyber Field Trip," I wanted to take a quick minute to steer the scrappers who read The Chronicles of Nani over to another blog! Sherrie, RC Mama Designs, has just released the kit she’d done for Scrappin Freestyle on her own blog! Springtime Promise is just a fantastic kit! It’s got pretty spring colors and an Easter theme with chicks and bunnies. If you’ve got pics from Easter to scrap, this kit is a MUST HAVE! She has the papers available today and the elements and quick pages will be up soon!

Easter Brunch (2007)
“Springtime Promise” by RC Mama Designs,
Template Lorri’s Bragbook 2 (altered to 12x12),

Fonts - Comic Sans & Girls Are Weird

I couldn’t wait for the release on her site and snagged it at Scrappin Freestyle earlier so I could do this layout. Since we didn’t maker it to Grandma’s, I wanted some Easter cheer!

Oh, we did reschedule dinner with Grandma and I’ll have 2008 Easter pics, although a little late, very soon!!

Stay tuned for the release of my next scrapbooking theme kit starting Monday!

In the mean time for a weekend scrappin’ fix, check out all of Sherrie’s great freebies at RC Mama Designs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Printemps Classique

I finished all the parts of this kit last night before bed. Then I couldn’t sleep. But I chose to read for what ended up being a couple hours instead of booting the Mac back up. I woke up this morning with a preview still to be done. So, the preview was my lunch entertainment.

“Printemps Classique,” French for “Classic Spring,” is my kit for the DSO Color Challenge this month. I really like how this one turned out. Not that I would post it if I thought it wasn’t good, but I like the flowers and soft colors. It was bright and sunny in Toledo today and the springy colors sorta match the day. They match the buds that are starting to show up on the trees and the kitten in the window who can’t get enough of that fresh air!

The kitten wasn’t so peaceful earlier today. It was Spring Fever - War of the Cats in the office window for a while. Kaline was on her cat pedestal, a carpeted piece of feline furniture with a housie on the bottom and a rope covered scratching post between the housie roof and the cat-shelf on top. She was watching out the window, enjoying the sun coming in and almost falling asleep. Baggle thought that her perch looked like a good place to look out the window, so he jumped up, back paws on the far edge and front paws on the window frame, straddling Kaline. Kaline rolled over, paws in the air and was pushing at Baggle’s belly. I really wanted a picture and grabbed the camera, but too late! Kaline swiped a paw at him, squirmed and jumped down.

Now, of course that wasn’t the end. After all, it’s Kaline’s perch, she was there first and she wanted to be back there. She paced on the floor, looking up at her big brother who was watching out “her” window and didn’t even notice that she hadn’t left the room when she jumped down. She got onto the middle level and squirmed around the scratching post a bit. She sharpened her claws, watching Baggle all the while. Baggle looked down at her and she swiped a paw at him, he swiped back. This went on for a couple minutes as she snaked around the scratching post and swiped again a couple more times.

Then she jumped up on my scanner, which is on a table right next to the cat furniture. She moved to the window ledge and stared at Baggle. Then the direct contact paws commenced, eyes locked on each other, Kaline’s claws and Baggle’s brute strength. They used those same tools to tag-team a mouse at my Dad’s house in 2006, so they knew each other’s arsenals well. The war was brief and it ended in a truce that left the pedestal empty. There’s been no residual swiping paws or anything, but they did NOT take their afternoon siesta curled up together on the bed either. I’m sure they’ll be fine. It’s just spring fever. It effects house cats too! But it did give me a few photos to use for a sample for the new kit!

Paws At Two Paces

Credits -- Kit - Printemps Classique by Digitalegacies, Font - Georgia

And here is Printemps Classique!

sorry, link is expired.

Photoblog Wednesday

One Tough Bee!

The Binghamton Mets’ mascot stares down
an officer on security duty at NYSEG Stadium

April 6, 2008

Photo Credit - DSP

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Indianapolis Speedway
Indianapolis, Indiana

The story that goes with this mug is not an over-involved one. Mom and I were in Indianapolis on our way to St. Louis in 1996. Scotty is a huge racing fan and was absolutely appalled at my reaction to having been to the Indianapolis Speedway, where I got this mug.

When we get back, showed Scotty the mug.

“You went to the Indianapolis Speedway??”

“yes,” I said and Mom nodded.

“So was it cool?”

“I wasn’t impressed. You’ve seen one Speedway, you’ve seen them all. It wasn’t so special. I don’t know what the big deal is about the Indianapolis Speedway.”

Scotty’s eyes got big and his jaw dropped. “How can you mean that? It’s the INDIANAPOLIS SPEEDWAY!”

“It just wasn’t a big deal, Scotty. I wouldn’t even urge you to go.”

Mom agreed that it wasn’t anything special. “”Just like any other Speedway in the country.”

Scotty was speechless. His lil’sis isn’t a race fan, but she is a sports fan, after all.

I told him we stayed at the hotel right across the street from the Speedway and we saw no racing going on, maybe a car pr two driving 29 MPH, but nothing even worth the blink of an officer's eye.

All that he seemed to get out of that part of the explanation was that we stayed in a hotel right across the street. Still amazed he inquired about the size of the Speedway. I told him is wasn’t special, just the average Speedway size.

Scotty was becoming dumbfounded and frustrated with me.

I finally, looked at him and smiled, “They don’t even have any special flavors of cappuccino, just the regular stuff they all have.”


“But they did have the chocolate creme filled, which is the only Krispy Kreme doughnut I like. I prefer Dunkin’ Donuts.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The Speedway in Indianapolis.”

His eyes flashed with the loving glow of the stopping clue bus dropping a passenger off. “You got the mug at the gas station.”

And that’s the story of the Indianapolis Speedway mug!

Of Curses and Waste

A man lost his job and a contractor paid for other workers to waste money. The worker responsible for the prank of putting a Red Sox jersey n the foundation of the new Yankee Stadium was the one fred and his now former coworkers destroyed the work to remover the shirt. It’s the epitome of waste, of vulgar wealth.

The prank was supposed to “curse” the new Yankee Stadium. Because an average construction worker with a baseball jersey as a weapon has that kind of power. He can take down an entire multi billion dollar professional franchise with a with a really strong wish. That’s why he’s working in construction. It pays better than run of the mill destiny changing.

Curses work because stupid people believe in them. In Chicago some guy with a goat and a temper “cursed” the Cubs. Who was this guy? He was an upset fan who, when told of new ordinances and grounds rules, could no longer bring his pet goat to graze in the outfield. If he was some kind of magical being who possessed the power to levy curses, don’t you think he’d have had acres and acres to his own wealthy self to put the goat in to graze?

Yet, for over 100 years, the Cubs have not been the World Baseball Champions. Curse worked, right?

I’d be impressed with the experiment proving the power of the human mind. But it’s not a controlled experiment. It’s an out of control hoax. They are people who believed an angry fan was actually capable of cursing a team. It only took a few ignorant souls to plant the seeds of defeat and in Chicago. They have been growing many years with some of the greatest fertilizer around. The curse of the goat is scapegoat. It’s an excuse for poor performance. In Chicago, they can “blame the curse” for any setback. The team doesn’t perform poorly. They are never lazy or in a sump, they don’t have to admit anything. They don’t have to put in any effort. They just collect their millions per player and blame it all on a long dead goat.

Ah, but the Yankees don’t deal with those things. They buy anything they want. This, obviously must include flaunting their wealth and ignorance by destroying a foundation to flaunt that they have enough money to cancel a “curse” cast by a powerful mystic construction worker.

But, I say it wasn’t enough.

I say that if the New York Yankees can afford to spend and go through all that trouble to remove on curse, they can afford to reduce the prices in the concessions at the new ball park. Nothing will cost over a dollar. In fact, I say that until they reduce the costs to that extent, the Yankees will never again win a World Series. Oh, I’m not joking. I can’t stand vulgar flaunting of money for selfish stupidity. So, I am cursing the New York Yankees for their waste.

I have more power than a Red Sox fan construction worker. You see, I have karma on my side. I have the cries of the ghosts of fans who remembered actually being able to afford to go to a Yankees game screaming at this act of arrogant filth. I have the powers of justice and balance in the cosmos behind my curse.

Now, of course, if the stopping of curses is so important that Mr. Steinbrenner will waste money to exorcize a jinx, he can contact me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday By Request

Back in the swing of things with the FBR this week, I got a request that made my eyes light up and my very soul tingle just thinking about it. Seamhead Gypsy asked, “What was your most memorable opening day to the baseball season?” Ah yes, a memory so thick I have to brush it away from my face...but first, I‘ll share it!

The Finest Opening Day

The Opening Day to beat all Opening Days for me was Opening Day 1996. It was the Tigers home opener. It was MY home opener. It was my first game as a member of the scoreboard staff. It was my first Opening Day as a baseball pro!

I started with the Tigers in February as an intern. In 1996, I was trying to branch out a bit and add to my experience in media. I was a full time sports producer for the local cable company, covering high school sports and other sports events in the three communities we served. I’d done a morning internship a few days a week before work in Toledo at the UPN affiliate in creative services, and one of my sports interns referred me to his boss at his other internship, with the Tigers. He knew baseball was my number one passion and I jumped at the chance!

In February, the old Tiger Stadium was cold! Even in the control room there just wasn’t very much heat coming in. I remember standing high above in the scoreboard ops room looking down onto an untouched field of snow glistening in the dim lights gleaming out of the concourse. It was quiet. The sacred ground of baseball was asleep under its billowy white blanket waiting for spring.

I spent about 6 weeks going to the stadium 3 days a week. I learned the ropes about all of the equipment, how it worked, what it did. The part of the scoreboard that keeps track of every pitch, hit, out and error links into the MLB database. It’s imperative that the stats are correct to each ball, strike or foul per batter. Each player’s season stats are updated in real time!

I learned where the cameras are placed and how each part of the scoreboard operations show is scripted for every inning break. We updated files, grabbed new still shots from the laser disks for players on the Jumbotron, tested feeds and sound. All of it preparing for Opening Day. If we prepared well, Opening Day would run smooth and the rest of the season would follow suit.

For the 1997 season, I was the Jumbotron graphics operator. But in ‘96, I was still a utility player. There was a limited number of paid jobs and the rest were volunteer. It was beefy resume stuff and free baseball. Money for the gig would just be icing on the cake.

April 9th, Opening Day, finally arrived! I was assigned a camera grip position for pregame. Camera grip basically meant I held the camera cable, made sure the camera operator or a fan didn’t trip and protected the camera from wayward baseballs.

I buttoned up my coat, grabbed my gloves and followed the camera op out into the crisp April air. I have always loved the sounds of early spring baseball. The cold air makes the sound of the bat hitting the ball or the ball hitting the glove sharp and powerful. Add to that the sounds of the stands, the fans filing in, vendors and the recorded organ music. I’d been to Opening Day a few times as a fan, enjoying the celebration and pageantry of it, but this time I was part of the pageantry. This time I was part of making the celebration.

We took the elevator down to the top floor of the fan seating levels and walked all the way down to field level. Then we opened the access door and stepped onto the field. When my feet touched the ground, crunched on the gravel and dirt that make up the hallowed diamond dust, part of me was awestruck. Oh, it was the deep inside of me part. Externally, I was at work. It was business. But that inside part was amazed. I was the one. MY feet were making that rugged scraping sound on the dirt of a major league field. I was standing on level ground with Travis Fryman, Cecil Fielder, Tony Clark and Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. from the visiting Seattle Mariners. I was on Al Kaline’s field! We went onto the area around the pitching mound to shoot the ceremonial first pitches. The mound that Mark Fidrych, John Hiller, Mickey Lolich all called home during their careers.

I remembered so many games I’d seen at that stadium since I was a child. From the stands in the huge stadium, the field was neat, compact. I could see everything and all the players. Average men who happened to be above average players of the game I loved to watch. Now, standing on the field and looking around me, the field was huge! I swear I could see the earth curve into deep center field. And the men playing were giants. Of course, the first player I was standing next to was 6’5” Tigers catcher Mark Parent, but somehow, the men who didn’t look so big when they were walking the halls on the concourse before the gates opened, had grown to so much larger than life once they donned the uniforms and stepped onto the field.

I looked up into the stands in the stadium that had always been such a large place to me. Now it was smaller. Looking at the stadium from the players’ point of view, I could see how thousands of people watching you might not be so intimidating. How it wouldn’t blow your concentration. But I could also see how warming the fans approval could be for the people on the field too. Just as a good game is satisfaction for the fans up there, their cheers are satisfaction for the players down here.

After getting the National Anthem on camera for the Jumbotron, we left the field. A step up into the stands again and the fantasy was over. I was just at the ballpark, just at work. But for about 20 minutes, I was part of the magic that has captivated me since I was a small child. For a while, that magic surrounded me. For the rest of my days, a small part of that magic will always be with me in the vivid memory of my first steps on a major league field.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quiet Day

Yesterday was a busy day on the job hunt front. It made me smile. Then the Tigers FINALLY won! That made me smile, but it made David growl. LOL

Today has been gloomy outside and dead-endy inside! That makes me want black forest cake and a grande latte! Gonna settle for the Columbian in the carafe downstairs and the calorie-free black forest cake! But I'll share! :D


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

"Can ya see it, Baggle?"
"I can see it, Kaline!"
"Can ya feel it, Baggle?"
"I can feel it, Kaline!"
"Can ya smell it, Baggle?"
"I can smell it, Kaline!"
"Can ya taste it, Baggle?"
"Hey! Now you're just teasing me!"
"But it's SPRING!"
"Yeah, it is SPRING! Let's go see if we can con Mom into treats to celebrate!"

(This open window brought to the cats by a high of 72º!)
Photo Credit - DSP

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spring Sparklies

Okay, I think I got a little carried away. Remember, how I said I had some commercial use items and I wanted to try to do a kit for the Stone Accents Studio color challenge? Well, I finished, but it’s not a small kit! There are 6 colors in the palette for the challenge and since I was doing simple elements, like I do for my color kits, I made each element in all 6 colors. It adds up! I started with glitter swatches and customized colors to match the palette. I think it’s a nice looking kit. It’s just bigger than I’d planned on it being!

I know I said I wasn’t thinking I would do this “pro.” Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve got what it takes as a professional designer. Would anyone want to buy the kits I’ve done or the better with experience ones I will create? I enjoy doing them and it might be something someday that I do well enough to be a supplemental income source. I guess that depends on what the job market brings and how soon. In looking at others’ kit contributions in this challenge, I think my work stands up okay, but it doesn’t stand out...yet.

While I grapple with assessing the quality of my design work, I am working on a new theme kit. It’s probably going to be another couple weeks before that’s unveiled and I’ll probably do a mini color kit for the DSO color challenge first. Having the guidelines makes me stretch what I can actually do a bit. I just don’t want to make boring kits. Like I said before, the color kits are actually harder to create than the theme kits. In the theme kits, the theme determines whether or not the kit appears to be interesting or blasé. In color kits, it’s all about what I can do to give the kit character. There’s the challenge!

Here is my sample layout with Spring Sparklies:

Precocious Cargo
Credits: Spring Sparklies by Digitalegacies, Alpha - Emma by Retrodiva Fonts - Note This, Arial

And here’s the preview!

sorry, link is expired.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

New York, New York

360º view of mug

We just got in this afternoon from our weekend East. David’s nephew, BP, was a main character in his middle school's musical. They did a wonderful job! I joke that David and I are putting in points for the Aunt and Uncle of the Year award, but we are really getting the best part of the deal! We’ve been to a ballet recital (an absolute joy for this former kid ballerina) skating lessons and 2 hockey games this January, one boys and one girls (remember I’m a former kid hockey player too!) the musical last weekend and we have another musical in Michigan next month and plans for a marching band event in June. I gotta say, if they never do create that award, the cool time with the nieces and nephews is SO worth it!

The story of the mug coming home to live with me is simple - I have a WONDERFUL man! Yeah, I know, it’s syrupy and I give credit for half of the fun things in my life to that, but he’s right here, all the time. How could he not have a lot to do with the great things in my world? David and I stopped to grab McDinner on the New York Thruway and this mug was in the gift shop window. It’s a very cool mug! The “New York” is raised embossing on the outside of the mug and it’s as big as what David calls my “soup mugs.” Okay, I have used the big ones for soup from time to time too, but more often they are coffee mugs! If he’s not sharing the pot from the little coffee maker with me, it fills a cup that size with a regular cup left for an evening drink. :)

New York has everything to do with that “Aunt and Uncle of the Year” award too. You see, that award doesn’t exist, yet, but one day it might. When Mike Piazza signed on to a longer term with the New York Mets, his contract included a bonus if he won the Division Series MVP award. Piazza is two seasons past his Mets days and thus far, not playing this season. The Division Series MVP award STILL does not exist! That provision was included in his Mets contract just in case they created the award and just in case he won it. So it is with “Aunt and Uncle of the Year.” Just in case they ever create it... We may not have Mikey’s money, but like Piazza, while we are working on that “just in case,” we’re loving what we’re doing. The best kind of tale - everybody wins!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish!

Wait a minute! I’m not going THAT far! I’m not going for good either.

If you’re lost on the title or how significant it is when I’m talking about birthdays that my next one (and David’s) will be 42, then you need to brush up on your Douglas Adams! Since I may have piqued your interest with the title of today’s blog, you can start here and go forward or back to figure the whole thing out. Better yet, read all five books in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy trilogy! :)

You know how sometimes you do things because they seem like the sensible thing to do and then kick yourself later asking “why’d I do that?” We all have those moments, right? Right??

Well, if you’ve never had a moment like that, you’ve never moved to another state into a house that was already inhabited!

For Christmas one year, Mom bought me a huge hardcover compilation of the whole Hitchhikers series. It’s a wonderful book to have sitting on the floor by the bed (because it’s too big for the night stand) to read, or on the coffee table to enjoy while the Yankees are playing and David insists on watching it because they’re losing. BUT, it’s not something you throw in a shoulder bag and read in the car while waiting for a train!

I’m currently in between books. The last two I’ve read were disappointing to say the least. “Web of Evil” by JA Jance is a book David picked out at Christmastime because it had a train on the cover. Hey, no laughing there! We all have very simplistic subconscious motivators when we make impulse purchases, like a bestseller at the grocery store! But it’s not a good book. It’s trite and a bit scattered. I usually love a good murder mystery, but this one left me looking for the good murder mystery. I don’t like books where by the second chapter I can tell you how it ends! Unless I’m wrong and a brilliant twist logically alters all of my conclusions. It’s very discouraging when I read the whole book only to find out I was right.

So, after that I decided that I’d go older and try a different genre. I’ve had Scarlett by Alexandria Ripley for a long time. It was written in 1991 and found its way to my Christmas stocking. I love the movie Gone With The Wind, it’s one of my all-time favorites and I read the book a long time ago. What I wasn’t really interested in was reading someone else's idea of what Margaret Mitchell might have been forced to write by a money hungry publisher if regurgitating a sequel to everything was the fashion in the 1930s. And I wasn’t wrong about that either. (grr) Scarlett was 884 pages of wear on my eyes that I’ll never get back. The book was over-detailed, a lot of it completely out of Scarlett O’Hara’s character and just ridiculous in the rags-riches-rags-riches, but we never REALLY ran out of riches story. Where Gone With The Wind was romanticized history, this was just romance fluff. It was like a romance novel without the sex.

So, I’ve gone a few weeks without a book in my tote bag or by the bed. I haven’t read a really good book since the last Harry Potter book. That one frustrated me until the end when everything that bugged me twisted and curved into a perfect ending for the book and the series. JK Rowling is a genius! Why isn’t there someone writing books for grownups that well?

So, back now to kicking myself. I have that beautiful hard cover coffee table edition of the Hitchhiker's series, I also had every one of them in paperback, most of them from the used book store (I LOVE used book stores - they smell wonderful!) When I was moving, there were things I left behind. Things that there just isn’t any room for! Yep - I made the executive decision to take the hardcover collection and leave the paperbacks. Now, I want to go back and reread the series in celebration of my 42nd birthday. We’ll be leaving in the morning for a long weekend east and I have to choose between bringing the ten pound edition or choosing another book. “Why’d I DO that?”

I think I’m going to reread Gone With The Wind.

There isn’t a Friday By Request for this week. I’d LOVE it if someone wanted to leave a comment for me making a request for next Friday! Just start the comment “FBR” and make sure you leave a name or Internet ID - Your request comment won’t be published, so feel free to leave an email if you have questions.

And finally, I’ll leave you with a scrapbook page I have posted on my home gallery at Digital Freebies and at digital-scrapbooking.org (DSO)

As you know from yesterday’s Photoblog, we celebrated Baggle's 12th birthday Tuesday. I commemorated the day with this layout that also met 3 April challenges between the 2 sites!

Happy Birthday Baggle!

Credits: Sweet Affection by Dielle brag book page altered to 12x12, font - Tiza

I’m working on a small, but I think neat kit for the SAS April Color Challenge. It’s the first time I’ve done a kit for a color challenge. I usually do a layout, but I had some ideas and a couple commercial use elements and I figured I’d give it a try. It’s a color kit, but I think my designing efforts are coming along and it’s a step up from Raspberry-Orange Sorbet. I find the color kits harder to do than the theme kits because I don’t have the crutch of being able to photograph and extract elements. The new color kit will be available next week!

Until the next Mug Shot, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

What? Baggle 2 Wednesdays in a row??

Shhh! It’s a special Wednesday!
Baggle’s got to sleep off a BIG can of food from yesterday!
It was his 12th birthday!

Happy Birthday, Baggle!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I was tagged by Sherrie (President & Designer, RC Mama Designs)

All are invited to join in the Links fun!
PLEASE just follow the rules! Just copy paste THIS and everything below up until my Five links:

I thought it would be cool to have a meme where we post links. We can post up to five. Then we tell five more people to share their links. If we all share who tagged us, our links are sure to be seen!

They can be business links, favorite sites, affiliate links, whatever you want…

There are Five Rules:

1. MUST be clean. No R rated sites.
2. Only FIVE links.
3. MUST tell 5 people.
4. A link back to the person who tagged you
5. Lara’s Place is the meme originator. (an active link is appreciated)

My five links are:


I have been so satisfied with the products and service at Shutterfly! I’ve ordered 4X6 prints from them. We ordered our Christmas Cards last year from them, they in turn they gave me a free 8.5 X 11 album! I put the album together online and ordered it - not even a penny for shipping and handling! I was so happy with the quality that I’m now planning to order all of my digital scrapbooking pages in 12X12 albums. I also ordered a calendar for my Dad last Christmas. There is so much they can do with pictures there and they do a great job with decent pricing.

The Frenzied Feline

Debbie is a friend from Yahoo 360. She’s moved her blog to blogspot too. (She’s in the friends’ sites links too) Her blog is a must-read if you are a cat parent or just a cat lover! She posts a great collection of informative articles abut cat-care and in general cat-love!

Mike’s Calorie and Fat Chart or 1000 Foods

This is a great resource that I’ve used often! It’s a very complete list of nutrition information for just abut everything I eat or everything that goes into what I eat!

Monster Mini Golf

There’s not one in Toledo, but I keep this as a travel site!

Glow-in-the-dark, indoor mini golf with monsters - need I say more???

The Baseball Bride

I found this link following a link on another blog for “great and unusual” wedding invitations. Of course, great and unusual is a “can’t resist” click for me! However, I was disappointed that there were no baseball or train invitations. Great and unusual means they should have the invitations I’d want for a wedding someday! So, wondering if anyone made baseball invitations at all, I did a search and found this site.

Dina and Ryan got married last September on the field right after a Boise Hawks game. Wedding Wednesdays were contests held throughout the season last year, where the fans made the choices for the cake, wedding singer, invitations, even the dress! It was SO cool!

I’m not so crazy about the choice of dress, but I’m not a strapless type. You cant play mini golf in a strapless wedding dress! But the invitations and the cake, I just LOVE those! You just have to see this site!

I am tagging Mare, Ruthann, Sheri, Rich and Summer