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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

USAF Museum
at Wright Patterson Air Force Base
Dayton, Ohio

I love this museum! I’ve been to it quite a few times. I love to see my old favorite planes and exhibits and there’s always something new, or anyway, new to me, that I missed in previous trips.

The Air Force Museum gives a history of flight, a history of the use of flight in the United States military and a war history as well, in a tangible way. You see the planes, get an actual feel for the size and the power. It makes the historical lessons more meaningful. It just makes the more fascinating.

I remember the shock and wide eyes as I covered my mouth the first time I saw “The Strawberry Bitch” with it’s scantly clad strawberry blonde pinup girl painted on its side when I was ten years old. I remember the same looks from Rina and Tori when we took them there when they were four! But there is one trip there of which I have the fondest memory.

In 1990, I made my solo trip down south, where I made the acquaintance that encouraged me to go to broadcasting school. I head “Georgia On My Mind” on the radio as I was crossing into Ohio on the way home, as I was leaving Dixie. It choked me up! But I wasn’t going all the way to Michigan that day, Thursday. The plan was to stay in Dayton and spend a half day at the Air Force Museum before going the rest of the way home. I was the first time I’d been to the USAF museum on a weekday. Any other time before or since, I’d been on a Saturday or Sunday. What a privilege it ended up being to go on Friday!

To start with, it was much quieter than I’d ever seen it at the open of the day. It wa summer time, so there were some tourists, families on vacation. And there was me, just me. I enjoyed getting to pass some of the exhibits I’d seen so may times but were the ones I enjoyed less in favor of spending more time really reading and studying the things that the groups I’d been with had nt enjoyed as much. The best, absolutely the best, part that day was checking out the World War 2 planes! You see, weekday mornings are when the local men who flew those planes get together! I as there, alone, granddaughter aged and interested. Talk about bell of the ball!

My new adopted grandfathers for the day were all too willing, all too pleased and proud to tell their war stories an the tales of camaraderie from the war days. Showing me planes that were the models they flew, sometimes listening to a conversation amongst two or three about how they handled or what they were used for. Every question I asked only made them beam more. I was getting a private tour and a better tour than any paid tour guide could give.

It was a wonderful morning! I had planned on a brief three hour stop before heading home and stayed over four. The times I’ve been back since, have been interesting and fun, but they'll never compare to that day when I was the sweetheart granddaughter to a half dozen men!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

That’s Good, That’s Bad, That’s FREE!

I have to chuckle at myself for the title. “That’s Good, That’s Bad” is a children’s book that was written in 1963 and the book I read for the oral reading competition in school in first grade. I remember the book so well because I won first place in the first grade division. Steve P was my classmate who came in second place. He won the next year while I was in second and we tied for first in third grade. It was a good, friendly competition between the two of us for three years.

The last couple weeks have been good, well, and bad too. David was on vacation last week, so after getting back from my tour of the Motherland Fathers Day weekend, it was just me and the cats...and the job hunt. I make it a practice to give a full workweek to job hunting, but not more. That is I take breaks during the day, a lunch hour and I quit at 5:00, unless there is something I need to put a little OT in for. It’s just like my hours would be at a job. When you average the mornings I “go in late” because I cooked breakfast for David before work with the days I “stay late” it’s pretty much a 35-40 hour week.

When I had coffee with John and Scotty, John was blunt. That’s John’s way. If I need something said to me, he doesn’t sugarcoat, much anyway. I mentioned that I was making that effort not to burn myself out and welcome in the negativity that can go with job hunting. He said “thank you.” Oh, it wasn’t a “Thanks for taking care of my friend” thank you. It was a “You were impossible to live with because you were so cranky last time you were job hunting,” thank you.

I had no idea I was that grumpy before! But John and Scott both assured me that I was and I am much better this go around. Hmph. With age DOES come wisdom! ;)

Last week was more of two things. More later days because I didn’t have someone coming home and more time at the end of the week at night for scrapbooking. I refuse to watch Interleague blasphemy, but the Reds were in the only real game for the first part of the week. That’s all we’ll speak of the series against the Dodgers. I was on a pretty high creative flow then! I did a few layouts I’m very pleased with! You’ll see a couple of them below!

Anything bad, that is the big thing bad, no David, was fixed with the birth of Monday morning, when David came home just after midnight. The industrious, but lonely week was over!

I’m also thinking I was living right on the job search front. I started yesterday with an interview, followed by an email confirmation on another resume and request for more information! Of course, with nothing signed on any lines at all, I returned from the interview to fill out that information request and continue with my search, but I got to do it all feeling like I’m not hopeless!

Write-It, Frame-It
Write-It and Frame-It are sets of extras for journaling or framing. I was inspired in two ways to gather and put these element packs together. First, I thrive on praise, and I got all kinds of comments about the train magazines under my journaling in this layout that I did for the SAS scraplift this month.

Credits: June Color Challenge add-on by Kim B, coordinating frame by RC Mama Designs,
flower from Vintage Elements by Kanela’s Xpressions, Inspired by “Our Family” by emst

I had actually created the magazine journal mat as an add-on element for Train, Train. I haven’t done a freebie since Heart of Glass and I wanted to offer at least something small. But then I started thinking about the amount of journaling I do and the fact that I am always looking for new journaling mats so the pages in my scrapbooks don’t get boring with the same old journal mats all the time.

Credits: Kit - My Guy by Darlene Haughin at stoneaccentsstudio.com,
layout inspired by “Graduation at Harvard” by urgodschild2

This layout was for a scraplift at Digital Freebies and Maria LaFrance’s weekly challenge last week. Maria’s challenge was to use an element in a different way. That was easy for me! What will I turn into a journaling mat? In this case, it was a frame turned into a place for journaling!

Here are Write-It and Frame-It

sorry, this link is expired

Write-it Elements Pack

includes notebooks, 2 magazine stacks, a DVD box with 2 sides for journaling or one for journaling, one for a photo mat and baseball and popcorn journal mats.

sorry, this link is expired

Frame-it Elements Pack
Includes 2 variations of the DVD box, a sparkly heart and a couple baseball and popcorn frames just because Nani wanted to!

For these two collections, you can use them as intended, or not. Use the write-it pages for photo mats or turn the frames into journals. Whatever you do with them, if you download them, enjoy them!

As usual, I ask that you please refer people to The Chronicles of Nani for the freebies, rather than just share the links. I appreciate all comments, but I am sure to see the ones you leave here instead of at 4-shared. Finally, if you use the mats or frames in any layouts, regardless of the designer(s) for the rest of the layout, please credit me in your gallery and send me a link! I’ll send you a link for A Perfect Summer Day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Head On Shot!

I love this photo. Oh, you can see the ground so you see that David is on the sidewalk and the tracks curve, but I like the view of David face to face with the engine!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Hershey’s Chocolate World
Hershey, PA

We’re settling up plans for our summer trips with Tori and Rina. Rina, of course, is going on a railfan weekend with us! Last year we went to Hancock Tower, which Rina thought was wonderful, but that trip was a lot of bumpy roads and CSX trains. It was, in her mind, shy on Norfolk Southern’s “black beauties.” This year’s trip to Pennsylvania will have us staying near the NS main line and she’ll be able to photograph plenty of engines with her favorite horse!

Hershey was Tori’s choice. I’m making sure the cooler that plugs into the car’s data port to keep things refrigerated is clean and ready for transporting souvenirs! ;) My “deal” with Tori was that we could go to Hershey if she brought back souvenirs for her sister. David’s addendum to the deal was that she had to be okay with a couple of trains on the trip if we’re driving that far. For a weekend of chocolate, Tori said “no problem!”

It won’t be my first trip to Hershey. I got this mug on our “Sweet Retreat” in 1995.

It was the only weekend in May that we weren’t totally booked at work. In fact it was the only weekend since March and the only one there would be until the end of June! Community television got very busy at the time of spring concerts, recitals, playoffs and graduation commencement ceremonies for four high schools. The local programing department pretty much worked seven days a week between videotaping events and editing them to get them on the air soon after taping. We were pretty well running on fumes and needed a break. I presented the idea of meeting up at the studio at close of business on Friday and taking a weekend adventure.

Rich, Heather and Tracy were interested in going. I had opened the trip up for “and guests,” which included John coming with us too. The four Omnicom Employees made sure the playback operations were covered for the weekend and we were ready to go.

Everyone met at the studio at 9:30 and with the extra time I’d put in earlier in the week, we were out the door and just about gone by ten! We took driving shifts. The girls drove first, while the guys slept. At about the halfway pint, we stopped at a turnpike service plaza in Pennsylvania, sugared and coffeed up and switched, the guys driving while we slept. We got into Hershey just after sunrise.

We stopped at a diner in Hershey for breakfast. My chocolate holiday had begun! On the menu were pancakes made with real Hershey’s chocolate chips! Yep, that's the breakfast for me!

Next was Hershey’s Chocolate World. Mmmm! At Hershey’s Chocolate world, there is a free tour, a ride that takes you through an animated exhibit about how chocolate is made, the founding of Hershey's and how Hershey's Kisses got their name! At the end of the ride, they gave everyone a full size Hershey’s chocolate bar! We got lunch at the Kit Kat Cafe and ogled the ice cream shop. Then we went through the store, Candy Heaven with a big time emphasis on Chocolate! We decided that we’d come back before leaving for home on Sunday to get souvenirs. It was May and just warm enough to make us want to leave chocolate sitting in the car as little as possible.

The next stop was Indian Echo Caverns. We toured the caverns, where we saw very cool stalactite and stalagmite formations and bats sleeping on the ceiling. Then we played a game of mini golf at Indian Echo Mini Golf before we headed back into Hershey to check-in to the hotel.

We stayed at the Hershey Lodge, five people in one room made that affordable. When I checked in I made sure they had the rollaway bed in the room and the woman checking us in asked how many people we had staying in the room. I told her there were 5 of us and she gave me 5 full size Hershey’s Chocolate bars! We were all falling in love with the town! We had a really nice dinner at the hotel's restaurant and it was shortly after dinner that the amount of traveling we had done and the amount of sleep we didn’t have hit us! It was an early night!

Sunday morning after breakfast, we did some walking around, checking out the kisses-shaped streetlights on Chocolate street and checking out the view of the Hershey's plant. Then it was back to Hershey’s Chocolate World to go shopping! I bought night shirts for my almost a year old twin nieces. NEVER too early to get them chocolate-wear! I got a stuffed lame' Hershey’s kiss for me. I also brought home some edible souvenirs, how could I not?

When we got out to the car to get going home, John gave me a bag. In that bag was a 4-car pewter mini train, a steam engine and caboose with two flat cars with a kiss ad hug on them. Rich got me a Hershey’s magnet clip that I displayed on my filing cabinet at work and Heather and Tracy showered me with more chocolate! While I was thinking how great it was to have friends to go on a trip like this with, they were giving gifts to say “thank you” for planning it! The coolest things about that first trip to “the sweetest place on earth” with friends, mostly from work, is that 13 years later, I can talk about it on any given games night, and there are still 4 people there sharing those memories with me. Chocolate is so much more than candy - it binds hearts and souls for life!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday By Request

I’m still working on catching up my scrapbooks. So, that’s why those of you who read The Chronicles of Nani who are also in any of the digital scrapbooking communities I am have been seeing a lot of 2006 lately. I always do Aneczka W’s Secret Challenge at Scrappin Freestyle. In the secret challenge, you download a grab bag and in that grab bag are also your instructions for the challenge! It’s just fun, fun challenge! For June, Anna filled the secret challenge bag with some wonderful papers and elements for scrapping pets with the theme animals!

This is the layout I did for the challenge:

credits: Kit -June Secret Freebie by Aneczka W
Fonts - Angelina, Blair MdlTC

I got a comment on the layout from holden05 who asked “So do they all live together happily now?” I told holden05 about FBR and asked if I could answer the question for this week.

A Tale of Four Kitties
(Tails in Two Cities)
for holden05

The gallery description for the layout says, “In March of 2006, David and I had 4 cats between us, still in 2 States, but we knew that we’d someday all be together. My big brother, Scotty, had already started to call us “That couple with the cats.” Of course if you look around the blog now you only see two cats and if you read Kaline’s blog, she only speaks of one brother as part of her daily world.

Azzie, the tortoise cat in Michigan, died at the end of September 2006 at 17 years old. She had been living with medication for a brain tumor since she was 10. She lived about six and a half years longer than her vet thought she would.

After she passed, I took the almost full bottle of her medicine I’d just bought in to her vet. Unlike with human medication, you can donate the medicine so the vet has some that can be given to families that can’t afford their pet’s medicine. I thought back to 1999 when she had her first seizure, how terrified I was watching her, how scared I was the next morning after she had the first treatment with absolute knock out drugs when I had to shake her to wake her up. Then I thought, I was 33 years old then. What if it was a kid’s pet? Would I want to help them treat their furry family member if they couldn't afford the medication? I had most of a three month supply of pricey pet medicine in that bottle that Azzie was done with needing.

I know I sat on the stairs and cried with Rina when Az died. Azzie was older than the girls. They had known her all their lives. We knew she was sick, very sick. We understood that she was living on borrowed time. What if there was a cat or dog that was loved by someone younger who also had never known life without that dear pet? Even if another bottle couldn’t be afforded, three months would be three more months of a pet living with a decnet quality of life. It would be three months to enjoy that pet, for the family, maybe kids, to understand, try to prepare, to get to say “goodbye.” There was no question that I needed to donate that bottle of medicine. There’s no greater tribute to a loved pet than helping another loved pet!

We did have all four cats together in Ohio in the summer of 06 and in Michigan in the fall. Four cats in one house. Can we say “stock in kitty litter?” Wow. But David and I had agreed that there was no way we were going to choose cats to keep and cats to give up. That was absolutely out of the question! What we agreed was that we wanted two cats and natural attrition would decide which two. We’d love and provide for all of them as long as we had all of them. We did expect Azzie to be the first to leave us.

In late November, Kaline became an official Buckcat and we became a full-time, three cat home. Things actually were pretty good with the three furry kids in our family. We’d decided that we could handle three happily and it wasn’t as overbearing as we might have thought. Also with two almost 11 year olds and one at 18 months, we were likely to have our “kitty-cats-three” for a while.

Then one Saturday night just after Valentines Day, David and I returned from a day trip and everything changed. There had been rattling in the basement where we kept the empty plastic litter pails. David came upstairs with Chester in his arms. He tried to explain what he saw when he went downstairs. He thought perhaps Chester had tried to jump on the pails and they fell over, or perhaps one was open and he fell in it. He was making the haunting moans of a hurt cat.

David set Chester on the floor in the dining room and he let out a moan as he tried to move, dragging his hind leg and running into the carpeted cat housie in the dining room. Chester slept in the housie often and it was someplace he felt safe. This night, he was trying to hide from his pain, unsuccessfully, as every move made him moan again.

When we called the emergency pet hospital and explained what David had seen in the basement, they told us to bring him in right away. We unscrewed the top from the cat carrier so we could lower him in from the top. I put Azzie’s afghan on the bottom for him to lay on. David gently pulled him from the housie and placed him on the afghan. He moaned as David lifted him and cried again as he was set down.

Our concerns were that he’d fallen, dislocated or broken a leg. After giving him medication to calm the pain, the doctor had a different take on the situation. She said Chester had no pulse in the back leg, that it was cold. We had just started administering thyroid medication to Chester. Hyperthyroidism had caused a noticeable weight loss and the condition was discovered on his last visit to his regular vet. Now the realities of the condition were setting in, kicking us in the teeth.

Chester had a blood clot, likely formed as a result of the medication he needed for the thyroid. There was a procedure possible, but the chances of it being successful were less than 50% and it would be very stressful for Chester to endure. The procedure would also get rid of the clot he had with no guarantee that a new clot wouldn’t develop. She left us alone to decide what to do.

David’s face was pained with a decision he didn’t want to make. As Chester was David’s cat before I met him, I knew the decision resided with David, but I told him I supported him. Facing a painful and stressful procedure and the probability it would return, love directed us to be merciful. The decision was made to end his suffering. We were there when he was given the injection and stroked his fur as he quietly drifted off to sleep.

I have written before about right to die and how cruel it is that while we offer that peace and dignity to convicted murderers, decent people aren’t allowed to end their own suffering and must endure the pain and indignity of brain clouding drugs until the merciless end. Thankfully, we do have the ability to spare our pets. They understand only faith and unconditional love for the people who promise to love and care for them. Chester’s last experience in his life was the pain going away and his Dad and Stepmom petting him and speaking softly to him.

When we got home we took the afghan out of the empty carrier and set it back next to the cat pillow. Kaline and Baggle sniffed at the afghan and they both sat on it and almost remained at attention and quiet. Instinctively they knew Chester would never come back home and it was as if they were observing moment of silence for him.

I encouraged David to call his ex-wife to let her know then rather than wait until morning. She was grateful that he called, telling him she’d go have a good cry for Chester after they got off the phone. David and I did the same.

It was a dark time for us then, to lose Azzie in the end of September and then to be shocked 4 1/2 months later with the loss of Chester. When we said we wouldn’t replace any cats and when we had 2, that’s what we’d stay at, we really never thought we’d be down to 2 so soon.

We have decided that we are not going to look for another cat, but we did okay with three and if anther one that needs a home finds us, it’ll have a home. That’s why Scotty STILL calls us “That couple with the cats.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Under Construction

This is the water tower in Michigan, near I-96, that I saw on the way to Pop's. On Saturday, it still had "dress," a cloth on those ropes covering the stem while the paint dried. I can't wait until next time I visit Pop to see what they'll paint on the lollipop head!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weekend In The Motherland (conclusion)

Continued from the last post - if you haven’t read that one, go down and read first!

Credits -
Kit - Kismet by Beckie Wallace, Yellow BBQ bow by Swheat Creations
Fonts - Sand, Note This, Georgia
This is going to be the title page for the scrapbook pages for last weekend

I got to Pop and Aunt Judy’s place just before they got in from the birthday party for my cousin’s twins they’d been at. My cousin's son and daughter turned 4 the same day David turned 42! I think it’s neat when you meet someone with your birthday, but I guess when you’re a twin that’s not such a big deal. Last Christmas when I told E and A that they had the same birthday as David they were thoroughly unimpressed!

Dad started up the grill for the feast! He made IItalian pork roast and Italian sausage. He finally found somewhere near his new home that makes Italian Sausage without fennel. Too many American stores believe that the fennel is what makes it Italian. Not at all true! It’s the other spices and style of processing that make it Italian! My imported Dad doesn’t like the fennel flavor at all and I’m allergic to fennel oil. When someone tells you “all Italian sausage has fennel,” it’s a lame excuse to hide the meaning, “We don’t carry it without fennel, but buy it here anyway.”

The meat was wonderful! I love my Dad’s gill-cooking! He also did grilled veggies with a seasoned bread crumb topping. That’s an old family recipe. Noni used to make them, so I’ve enjoyed them all my life. He included some sweet red peppers stuffed with the topping that were sheer heaven! I had a second pepper!

After supper, we played euchre. Dad and Dave against Laura and me. It was my first time playing in a long time and my first time with Laura as my partner. After we won the first game, I just looked at my brother, smiled and said “Thank you for the new partner, Bro! You did well!”

Before bed, in honor of Fathers Day, we put in the DVD I’d done for Dad’s 60th birthday party, “0-60 in 14 Minutes” It was fun to watch Dad grow up again! hehe...

Sunday morning, after breakfast, we called my Aunt in Italy. Actually, it was calling my Aunt in San Marino. I’d asked Dad what I needed to do to get my San Marino mail sent to my new address. I‘d done the address change with the post office, but I hadn’t been getting any San Marino mail. Since my Dad hadn’t become an American citizen yet when I was born, I am a citizen of both the United States and San Marino. Of course I’m not an active citizen there, but a citizen none the less. I get mail from the government concerning political issues, inviting me to come vote and with socialized healthcare, any changes in that as well. The biggest thing that I missed the mail from San Marino for was the opportunity to continue learning to read Italian. I am by no means someone who can correspond in Italian...yet...but I can read and get the general idea of hat’s in the letters and every time I read a letter I pick up a new word of two. Someday,maybe I will be able to correspond in Italian without translation software!

After getting off the phone with Auntie, it was another long hug goodbye and a final {Happy Popsie’s Day.” I think my Dad had an awesome Fathers Day weekend with both his kids there!

The road back south had me stopping to photograph the water tower in the burka. Unfortunately, she didn't have the dress anymore and the sun had been brighter Saturday, but it’s still neat and I’ll have that picture to pair up with a new one when it’s painted. Then I met Scotty and Sheri at Dunkin.

The darker skies around the water tower were a forewarning of the killer rain deluge that passed over Dunkin Robbins just shortly after I got there! I sat outside at a table with Scotty and Sheri and felt the rain drops starting to fall on my back. Then the sky zipped open and we retreated inside. I bought iced coffee for me and an iced tea for Sheri when I ordered an ice cream cone. Scotty remained outside in the “smoking section” until the rain and wind were knocking over the umbrellas on the tables. Then he snuffed out the cigarette and came in! The rain did stop in time for me to leave on schedule. Once again the long hugs that had been a staple of every stop on my weekend tour of the Motherland ensued. On the road again, a little farther south, Belleville.

I met Tracy at Cracker Barrel for an early dinner. Early was a good thing! It meant our wait was only about ten minutes! Hey, for Cracker Barrel on a Sunday, that’s a record! We had dinner, caught up, talked, philosophized and laughed. We met for dinner at 3:30. We finally said goodnight because it was going to be dark before I got home 45 minutes later if we didn't go “now.” After dinner, moving to sitting on the porch to talk more and then standing in the aisle for ten minutes saying goodbye, I finally finished the trip home, before dark, but after the ran that had gone through Toledo.

It really was a great weekend! Like the song by that Ann Arbor Michigan boy says “see some old friends, good for the soul.” Of course, I headed north, not west, but it was a fantastic trip visiting some old haunts and the people that make those places special!

Lunchtime Tales

Grab a mug and a slice of black forest cake and enjoy the read!

Welcome to lunch! I have a bunch of things to share and we’ll just see how much I can type (and typo-check) in an hour. I may end with a “to be continued” and ask y’all to come back tonight! **smiles**

First, The Chronicles of Nani got an award over the weekend! The blog awards are the best because they are kind of like the “People’s Choice” kind of awards. For a cyber coffee shop it’s like being compared to Starbucks!

Thanks to Livia for awarding me this “cyber-plaque” which is mounted on the cafe wall to the right. As for the “five” blogs I’d give award to, well, look at the list at the bottom of the right column that I put up last week! These are the blogs I read whenever they are updated (or catch up on when I’m away for a few days). Every one of them deserves the award in my opinion! That’s why I made a point of having them in my Google Reader! If your blog is in that column, please snag a “plaque” to post on your blog from me! And everyone, by all means, visit these great blogs!

While I run into the kitchen to get lunch out of the microwave, check out Kim’s Scrappin. Kim’s daughter’s family lost everything in a house fire. Eight other digital scrapbook designers have joined her in creating a mega kit called Small Wonders. It’s a great kit and the cost is a donation to the fund to help get her daughter's family back on their feet in pretty much starting over. It’s a huge kit and the suggested donation is only $9.95. Of course, if you can afford to donate more, the kit is SO worth it and your donation is going to a worthy and personal cause.

I’m back with Salisbury steak and rice by my side. Yeah, no veggie, but I’ll probably have a salad for a snack later and I’m thinking of making pasta primavera for dinner. I got a lot of wishes here and on some of the scrapbooking sites for a nice weekend in the Motherland, so I thought I’d let you in on some of the highlights of the weekend.

My whirlwind tour of the Motherland was just two days! But my homesick heart got a great lift from it! The weekend kinda started Friday when I made the cookies for Dad. There were 2 dozens each of peanut butter and peanut butter-butterscotch chip cookies. Silly money. Dad would have rather had me there than a tangible gift, but I couldn’t show up for Fathers Day without a gift! Anyway, he really liked the cookies!

My first Michigan stop on Saturday was at McDonalds in Milan. I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet! Next stop Panera Bread in Southfield! I met my friend Liz for an early lunch. Liz and I worked together at the job that became the monster 2-hour one way commute after I moved to Toledo. That commute ended about 15 years mileage on my car, ten years of short sleep on my face and 5 chronological months later in June of 2007. Liz and I went to Panera after work about every week or two when we worked together, but our contact has been phone, text or email for over a year! Needless to say our just over 2-hour lunch was nonstop talking and a huge hug afterwards! It’s wonderful-amazing how I get so much more out od a 2-hour lunch than I did from the 2-hour drive into work. But then again, Liz and I are much friendlier than I ever was to my fellow rush-hour drivers!

After lunch was a couple hours of coffee with John and Scotty at Dunkin Donuts, THE D&D where I met them both for the first time and home base since I was a teen. It was a nice enough day to sit at the outside tables and talk and talk. They asked the common big-brother type questions about how I was, how the job hunt was going and shared the same health-work-money tales of themselves while I sipped my iced coffee and just soaked up the pleasure and the peace of being in their company. They don’t ask if David is treating me well anymore. They feel that I’m in good hands with him. Besides, John was the one ho said, “Ah, you’re married. You just haven’t bothered with the rings yet.” I don’t consider myself married, but I also know better than to debate with John if he is resolved in his opinion!

Next, with an equal desire NOT to leave as I had after lunch with Liz, I took off for Dad’s. While it’s about an hour and a half from home, Dad’s place is only about half hour from Novi! On the way, I did get to see a water tower with a burka! It’s a new water tower that you can see from the I-96 that is so new it still had lines and cloth wind screens while it’s under construction. It’s a lollipop shaped water tower that looks like it has a veil and a dress! I didn't stop to photograph it on Saturday since I’d already called Pop to let him know I was on the way, but I planned to stop on Sunday.

More to come this evening!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Toledo Blade
Toledo, Ohio

I got this mug last week. It was a gift from David who got it from his boss. She asked him if he wanted one of the promotional mugs and he said yeah, “my girlfriend collects them. She has over 300!” Of course, that’s an exaggeration! I have probably about half that, maybe a little more! Of course it’s still a special mug to me for number of reasons.

First it’s a David mug. It’s a gift from him, but it’s also represents a part of him, just as my mugs from Omnicom and Metrovision, which I got when I worked at those places or the Tigers mug that I bought during the time I worked there and to a lesser extent my ESPN mug since I did a freelance job for that network. (But ESPN didn't give me the mug!) The Blade mug is a mug that represents part of David’s professional being.

But the mug also is part of David truly “getting” me. I’ve always marveled at the way he understands me, even my odd habits and quirks. I mean, in the nook just off of our kitchen, there is a pegboard lattice with about 100 mugs from my collection on it and about half of them are up too high for me to reach! There was a time, shortly after I started to unbox the mugs and my Dad came over to mount the mug racks on the wall, that David said “no more coffee mugs.” I think it was shortly after I started doing the Monday Mug Shot on the old Yahoo blog that he stopped telling me not to look at mugs when we traveled. He has come to know them as my model train!

David has been collecting the engines, rolling stock and buildings for his model railroad for years. Some of the cars are on what we call “Mantelpiece Yard,” a set of tracks stretched the length of the fireplace mantel with cars he’s working on or the latest ones he’s added to the collection. The Mug Shot Monday feature and all the stories and memories attached to each mug let him know that it’s not just a collection of mugs for the sake of collecting mugs. It’s a collection of memories, represented by coffee mugs, and “having coffee” to me, is a social and interpersonal thing!

Now, rather than the old, “No more mugs,” he has given me a few mugs, written a guest Mug Shot for The Chronicles and reads the Mug Shot every Monday, complaining all over to me if I’m late getting it posted! My mugs are as much a part of me as his plans for the circa 1990 Upstate New York railroad are of him. It’s really just one more thing we have in common. It just doesn’t scream that it’s the same like the trains or baseball do!

One day, there will be a basement designed for his dream model railroad with a house built over it, to protect model trains, of course. That house will have my dream peach and green country kitchen that is sitting in boxes in my storage and it will also have an area of appropriately spaced pegs for all of my mugs. Right now, the rest of my collection is boxed and shares the storage space with my kitchen stuff. That “dream home” somewhere down the road is not a huge drywall palace with rooms we won’t ever use. It’s not a dream house, it’s a dream HOME. It will hold the things that make us happy - our hobbies, silly collections, cats and each other!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Odds and Odds

The title? Well come on, it’s me. To an optimist, it’s never the end! Although today was trying, it’s been a good week, nothing really solid, but I got my portfolio updated and applied to a couple of VERY good jobs and a bunch of not so great, but jobs none the less. I even threw my hat in for a temp job and a couple of part time gigs. As Grandma always says, “keep trying something has GOT to break soon!” And she’s right, as long as I don’t quit, I still have a fighting chance that today is the day it pays off. My personal mantra, it’s better to aim for something great and fail than to aim for nothing and succeed. As long as there’s still a target and I still have arrows, I’m still NOT losing!

Fridays always are a little slow as far as getting voicemails instead of real people and nothing really posted anywhere. Everyone who is employed is anxious for the weekend to start and if they’ve put in any OT, they are trying to wrap up to sneak out early. I just have the grumblies because after I took an hour break for a late lunch, THEN we get really bad boomers, that I can hear and see in the lights, come in. I had to unplug the electronics for about a half our until the storm passed.

Now, the weekend is here. Time for Nani to take a deep cleansing breath, exhale and put the week to bed. I’ll rejuvenate and be back for more Monday morning.

Now The Odds...

What are the odds it’ll be full one day?

I got this from Beth Nixon’s Blog. Beth has been dealing with some sciatic nerve pain for a week now and she has such an awesome “up” attitude while she’s dealing with it. If you stop by her blog, be sure yet drop her a few words of support in her comments!

States I've Visited
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

In order for it to count as a state visited for me, I must spend the night, have a meal or see a state tourism listed attraction or a sports event. It doesn’t count if I just drive through on the way to someplace else, an airport layover or drive across the border for a little while and back while visiting another state unless I do one of the qualifying activities. I’ve stopped in Minnesota twice, once switching planes and once to photograph a train while David and I were in Iowa. So, Minnesota is not listed...yet! :)

The states that are currently way up on my list are Hawaii and Nebraska. There is a Pineapple Plantation in Hawaii I want to see and an Oldenburg sculpture in Nebraska! I also want to go to Delaware and Oregon if for no other reason than that they represent holes in my map!

What are odds that you’ll enjoy the same blogs I do?

I want to encourage everyone to visit Kaline’s blog! At Behind Orange Eyes, you can read her thoughts and views of the human world from the feline perspective. She loves comments from humans as well as their cats!

Oh, and if you are reading down the blog, you’ll see a longer right margin! My Google Reader list is in that column now! Those are the blogs I read as they are updated. It offers me the opportunity to share the blogs I find entertaining and to let you all see some of the sites that give me inspiration from time to time. These are all Nani-recommended reads!

What are the odds that this was a healthy lunch?

See what I made for lunch today? Okay, actually the cookies are my Fathers Day gift for Pop. Years ago, I asked him what he wanted for Fathers Day. I was living with my parents at the time and his reply was “Just stay home.” He didn’t want a gift, he wanted to cook on the grill and he wanted his kids to be there to eat it. I try to make it to his place for Fathers Day, so does my brother, but it’s a lot more difficult since we live farther apart. Last year, I ended up sending a “Happy Fathers Day” text to both my Dad and my brother and they weren’t in the same place either! This year, the barbecue is Saturday night and we’ll both be at Dad’s. My father is ecstatic! He was making my mouth water Wednesday night when he told me what he had planned for a menu Saturday night! I also found out that since I made my reservations at the Hotel Dad first, I get the guest room and brother and mate get the fold out downstairs. Since David won’t be able to make it this weekend, one of my nieces will more than likely take the extra sleeping space with me and the other with my Aunt. Pop will have a full house and he’s positively glowing with anticipation!

My final plan in stretching that gas for the weekend, is Saturday morning, I’m meeting Liz for brunch then going to Pop’s for the PAR-TE-Q. After Sunday breakfast with Pop, I’m meeting Tracy for lunch. It’s going to be a busy but fun weekend!

The cookies are my gift. His favorite flavors for sweets are peanut butter and butterscotch and he’s a cookie nut! (we’ve even seen him eat cookies in his sleep before, but that’s another blog story!) The ones I made at lunch time are half regular peanut butter and half peanut butter with butterscotch chips.

What are the odds that you’ll leave a comment?
I hope good!

What are the odds you’ll come back after the weekend to read more?

I hope better!

Have a great weekend and ...

Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

David's Birthday and Tagged Again!

Happy Birthday David!

Yesterday was pretty big day around here. David reached a goal, a milestone, and epiphany. David is 42, the answer...to life, the universe and everything!

(Hey, some time ago when I blogged about books, I warned everyone to brush up on their Douglas Adams!) Scrawled on our calendar on the June 11 space, is “Deep Thought was here.” And so, now I live with the answer.

David really doesn’t seem different to me today, but for the next 48 days, he’ll be the answer and I’ll just be a plain old middle aged woman. Oh, by right of passage when I turned 40, I’m still always right, but I’m not the one thing in all the universe that everyone seeks. That’s David.

The Answer

We commemorated the day yesterday by chasing a few trains after he got off work and then we came home for dinner and birthday dessert. I made the large round frosted brownie pictured above and cut out the Hitchhiker's Guide logo and mounted it on the deck that hovered over the cake. I did NOT try to draw it in frosting. The last time I tried to make a frosting creation, for his 39th birthday, it was a bit less impressive than I had pictured in my mind when I started. But I was only 38 then. Like said, I’m over 40 now, I’m always right. I now know I can’t decorate cakes! LOL

He did get quite the chuckle out of the cake when he saw it. Then when I added that magical number in candles, it was perfect.


I didn’t get any requests this week for Friday By Request, so there won’t be an FBR tomorrow. But you can feel free to send me requests at any time! If a request comes in after Wednesday afternoon, I’ll do it for next Friday. A request can be for anything I can put in a blog! Want to see a top-ten list? I can do that! Want a soul-searching opinion? I’ll write it! Want to see a short video presentation of my best train pictures or a photoblog of about different flavors of potato chips? I’ll do it! Challenge me to create a scrapbook page with my photos or yours, to post my three best recipes or to write a funny poem about unicorns. Hey, I wrote a page and a half in high school about why red jelly beans were better than the other colors, I love to stretch my brain! LOL If you have anything for me, leave it in comments, with the first letters FBR or email it to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com!

I’m ”It”

I was tagged...again! But, it’s a different week and, well, I’m a Leo. Leos are known for always being able to talk about themselves. Of course, I try not to overdo that, really, but it’s y blog - the whole point of blogging is getting to “talk about me.” (Even blogs that talk about other things are still blogs that are all about the author’s opinion!)

Darlene tagged me this time around. Y’all know the rules. I’ll tell you seven things about me, little or at least lesser known things that will range from boring to downright odd! Then I’ll offer that anyone who hasn’t and would like to, to post 7 things about themselves on their blog and please, leave me a comment guiding me to your blog and your answers! I’d also like to extend an offer for anyone who’s done this and wants to share seven more things please do! If you do the seven more because you too are a Leo with an insatiable ego, welcome fellow lion! When the list is done, I will tag one other blogger.

7 More Points of Nanintrigue

1. I never wanted to be married. I’d even decided to completely give up dating the day before my first contact with David. Strange how events in your life can change your outlook on life.

2. My bachelor’s degree is in broadcast communications. I had enough business credits for a minor in business marketing, but I realized that too late to declare the minor on my degree. Rather than pay for and wait another semester that I didn’t need, I got the degree without the minor. If I get another degree, It will be in Marketing.

3. I love old black and white movies. Cary Grant is my favorite classic actor and my favorite B&W movie is Bringing Up Baby, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn

4. I keep a water bottle at my desk or in my tote bag. I make sure I fill it at least three times a day for a daily minimum of 69 ounces. (I know the minimum RDA is 64, but it’s a 23-ounce bottle.)

5. The most depressing part of unemployment is not being able to keep my hair colored!

6. I love to plan parties and major events.

7. In my early 20’s, I made most of my own clothes.

And now, I’m tagging Kaline!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Welding A Rail

David and I got a little bit of time before he had to go to work earlier this week to watch a couple of railroaders welding a rail in Michigan. It was the first time I’d gotten to see this and it was COOL! Perhaps if David leaves a comment he can get a bit more into the technicals of what’s going on beyond “hot, sparkly and wow!” :)

(Photo taken from the road at a safe distance upwind of the work site!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Agatha’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
Atlanta, Georgia

This one of my newer mugs. I wasn’t even totally sure I was going to buy it, but I was encouraged by my travel-mate!

“Kelma and Nanise” was the trip Kelly and I took in early April, 2005. That trip started with me flying into St. Louis, as I had the year before, but this time Kelly and I took off in her van from Sikeston through Tennessee and into Atlanta.

I’d taken vacation days for Friday and Monday to make it a long weekend. I was self-employed at the time and since I’d just finished a major showcase a couple weeks earlier, my boss was pretty cool! ; ) Kelly picked me up at the airport on Friday morning and I got to meet Jacob, her grandson and my godson. After stopping for Starbucks, because that’s just a tradition, we headed back to Sikeston to drop off the baby and get our start on our weekend.

It would have been a straight shot there, but we stumbled upon a sign for a scrapbook store, trouble! I was still paper scrapping at that time, so it was two scrappers walking into a small, but stuffed store! We took turns holding Jacob wile we browsed. That was a neat opportunity for me to get to know my new godson a little. After dropping a chunk of the vacation fund at the scrapbook store, including a cool die-cut of the St. Louis Arch, we continued on back to Sikeston.

After dropping off the baby, We started out to cross Tennessee to our Friday night destination, Chattanooga. We spent a good portion of Saturday in Chattanooga, seeing the sights and taking in the beautiful spring blooms on the trees. If pinks and purples with bright greens and white are your color scheme, you want t be in the South in the spring. It’s just breathtaking! By the time we fought our wy through the Atlanta traffic, we barely made it to Agatha’s before they locked the doors!

After the great time we had at Bissell Mansion the year before, we just HAD to find another murder mystery to go to! Agatha's is just the place for great food and great murder in Atlanta! We were seated in a much larger dining area than we had been previously. We also had smaller parts, both of us in the chorus this time. The show was called “Hooray For Hollyweird,” and it was the case of the “Sweet Tea Stranger.” It was a fun musical mystery. Again it was a 2-an show, actually, a man and a woman...who both played male and female roles. The cross-dressing costume and makeup in the last act had everyone in stitches!

Part of what Agatha’s is so much bigger a place than Bissell Mansion, aside from the fact that Bissell Mansion is an actual mansion and Agatha's is a restaurant built for dinner theater, is that at Agatha’s, there were a lot of locals! We were sitting across from a MARTA train driver and his wife, celebrating their anniversary. Agatha's is very popular for the food and entertainment by the residents of Atlanta, that speaks volumes for the quality of both!

When the evening ended, the show was over, the desserts finished and the tips left on the tables, we met the actors and had our pictures taken with them. After thanking them for a great show, we went back out into the downtown air to Kelly’s van and went to check in to our hotel. Tired from our long day, the girl talk only lasted a little while. But it was a great long day, as is any day, long or short, with your BFF.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday By Request

This week’s request is from Seamhead Gypsy. He’s looking for fuel economy ideas. Aren’t we all? I, with a sarcastic gleam, will tell you that I’m saving gas by not working - no commute at all! But seriously, I’d love to have a commute, you all know that!

Here is the note SG left me:

“Here’s what I’m doing to keep from going broke at the gas pump.
1. combine several trips into one.
2. Plan better so I don’t have to run out for something I forgot at the grocery store.
3. Ride my daughter on the back of my bike to Dairy Queen instead of taking the car
4. Properly inflate my tires.

What do you do? What else can the rest of us do? Do you think if we all cut back on our gas, the prices will drop? And, why after 30 plus years does this country still not have a viable energy plan?”

Oh boy, this is going to be a lengthy FBR!

First off, I don’t think we CAN cut back enough to make the prices drop. The current gas crush is not just keeping our cars running. There are still parts of this country that rely on fuel oil for heat and petroleum is used for other things we use every day, like plastic! It’s just that where we feel the sucker punch the worst is at the gas pump. But cutting our gas consumption isn’t really about trying to get the cost of gas down right now, it’s about having enough left over to keep our collective heads above water! I haven’t heard of any employers extending compensation adjustments for their employees’ commutes. (And if you work for a company who is doing that, please leave me a comment so I can send in my resume!) I look at the price of gas as a pay cut for every working American and that much less I’ll be making when I get back to work.

As to why we don’t have a viable energy plan, well, part of that might be the 2004 election and the votes for me that somehow didn’t get counted! ;) My own political aspirations not withstanding, it indeed is politics that have governed the nonexistent funding for research for better energy alternatives. When you are researching candidates, find the one who has a personal financial interest in alternatives to our current energy materials and vote for that candidate. Then there is someone in a position of control with America’s interests in mind. Oh, it’s really just another politician looking out for their own financial butt, but at least they have their butt someplace that is beneficial for us all.

Now I’ll step off that collapsable soap box that I carry in my bag. Gypsy, we’ve discussed that soap box in email. It’s not JUST for Barry Bonds! But for Friday By Request, I will address the things I am doing and what we might all be able to benefit from in facing the money eating demons at the pump!

Avoiding Gasoline Rape
for Seamhead Gypsy

Here in Northwest Ohio, the price for a gallon of gas is at the $4.00 mark. When I was a Michigander, if I was traveling South, I’d try to plan to have just enough gas to get to Ohio and then gas -up because Ohio gas was cheaper by a good ten cents a gallon. When gas was approaching $3, Michigan and Ohio prices were about the same. The very automobile dependent Detroit Metro area seemed to try to stick to $2.99 as long as they could, like putting a “3” on the signs was profanity. At that time, when this Ohiogander traveled back to the Motherland, it was a good idea to investigate before topping off when leaving home. Ah, but the $4 milestone doesn’t even seem to rattle Michigan! It’s back to a good dime to 15 cents more, OVER FOUR!!!

What’s a person, any person, employed or not, to do? As I’ve said, I truly look at the speed with which the prices of gas are rocketing up too be a general pay cut for every working American. I find myself looking at job postings and asking myself, “If I get an interview here for this position, is it worth it to even go to the interview, much less accept the job?” If it’s an administrative assistant job in Ann Arbor, it probably doesn't even pay enough to commute that far, where a marketing coordinator or graphics designer job in Ann Arbor might be feasible. So, administrative jobs, which for my career level would be a pay-the-bills job, I don’t even consider applying for unless they are within a 15-minute commute. A year ago I left an admin job in Southfield, MI. At a mere $3 a gallon, I couldn’t afford the commute on what I was making.

So now, after paying up my bills through the end of June, I’m surviving on what’s left of the “gas compensation check” I got from the feds last month. That really is what that check most of us in the US got amounts to. We got to live like gas was only $2 a gallon for a couple months! Of course, for the unemployed, it’s like being able to afford a tank of gas! Oh wait, it’s not LIKE that, it IS that! **smiles**

As far as the ever rising cost of a gallon of gas, like Seamhead Gypsy, I’m careful about planning my trips. I don’t ever go to the grocery store without a carefully planned list. David and I have a dry erase board on the refrigerator and when we run out of something or think of something we want to pick up at the store, we write it on the list. Before we go to the store, I write the list out on the pad in my purse, so we don’t have to make a second trip. The Kroger we shop at is a block away, but a long enough block that my knee isn’t about to make it walking and I just won’t start the car twice for that trip!

And I do plan the trips I make carefully. The bank, grocery store, post office and my storage can all be made in one trip. I usually won’t go if it’s just for one stop unless it’s an emergency stop.

David and I have seen some changes in our hobby as well. A year ago, a day railfanning on a moderately clear day to chase local trains was normal. Now we don’t go out unless the sky promises to be truly clear, free from haze and very few clouds and the trains expected need to be more than average local trains. An upside of that is that when we travel, it’s truly a fun trip, not as ordinary, but now, at least for me, I can’t afford to have any mediocre shots. Sub par photography and fewer days of shooting means no end of the year show! Again, I have to plan and monopolize what I do have.

I’m going to be extravagant this month and fill my tank with gas for a trip to the Motherland. I’m going to see my Dad for Fathers Day, but in that trip to Michigan, I’m going to see my friend Liz for brunch on Saturday, I’m hoping to see the girls for a Girls Night Games Night on Saturday night and spend he night and day with my Dad Sunday, stopping for coffee with John and Scotty on the way home. I miss the family in Michigan so much, but I MUST make a tank of gas stretch!

In an email, Seamhead Gypsy tells me he has started using a non-power mower and trimmer for his lawn work. While we are still using the power mower, we have a small lawn, we do make a point of using the gs discounts whenever we can! We have savings cards at Kroger, Giant Eagle and Speedway. And those cards and the gas discounts have definitely earned our customer loyalty. If you’re going to buy the groceries anyway, buy them where they’ll earn you a little of gas!

On the way home from Pittsburgh, we added Sheetz key fobs to our collection. When we travel east, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll stop at Sheetz at least once for lunch. I GOTTA have my pretzel melt! When we do travel east for fun or to visit the family in the New York/Connecticut area, we take the gas savings even further by either taking my car rather than his SUV or renting a car. Yes, the price of gas makes renting a low-mileage car cheaper! The last rental was a Kia Spectra. Not a bad looking car, (it was red, that helped!) good leg room, important for my almost six and a half feet tall honey and we averaged about 38, THIRTY EIGHT, miles per gallon! I have finally grown up to the point that after driving Camaros for 21 years, I’m thinking maybe the Spectra isn’t a bad thought for a next car. That mileage is ten per gallon better than I get highway on a good day with cruise control set! At 42, it’s all abut the mileage now!

The last suggestion, or rather warning, I’ll give is to beware of where you’re buying that liquid gold that keeps your car going! After years of indoctrinating us to the “pump and run” style of gas dispensing, where we zoom in, use the card to pay for the gas and zoom out, many gas stations have begun to charge a premium price for using that same technology. So much for the Visa Check-Card ads where the world stops if you pay cash for something, at the pump, your heart stops if you use the card! In a world of frightened Internet chain letters about miscalibrated pumps dispensing less gas than they report (according to Ops a lie, think about it, that’s a violation of federal law!) there is very real and obvious gouging going on in bold letters on signs. I have seen the price difference for credit up to 20 cents extra PER GALLON.

At the end of April, I went to Grandma’s to do some work on her computer. She sent me a check to cover gas to get there. David cashed the check for me in gas gift cards from BP. He has a BP credit card and part of their incentive program to use their card is in gas gift cards for a rebate on money spent. I filled up in Toledo on the way out of town. On the way home a few days later, I stopped at a BP in Michigan. The sign said $3.58 a gallon for regular unleaded. I got to the pump, it said $3.62. The 4 cents cheaper was the price if you were paying for a car wash. I didn’t want a car wash so I elected to pay the extra 4 cents. Then I put the gift card in the reader. PING - $3.72 a gallon, 14 cents a gallon over the advertised priuce on the sign. A ten cent charge PER GALLON to us a BP GIFT CARD! Not just credit cards, but gift cards too. If the gift card is purchased with a credit card, then the surcharge the gas station is receiving is 20 cents a gallon. Let alone that those particular gift cards were incentives on a BP credit card that if it was used for gas is also paying a premium in order to earn those gift card. Remember folks, I’m a former small business owner. I researched a few credit card accepting services and I never saw one of them that extracted 2.5% or double that for processing and why all of the sudden is that NOT part of the pricing? If you see a gas station that charges a different price for cash or credit, don’t go there unless you are about to die on the roadside without more fuel. If you HAVE to go there, go inside and pay for the gas. Ask them to be sure the pump stops at ONE DOLLAR and explain that you need just enough gas to get to the next station that doesn’t charge a penalty for using their state of the art equipment at the pump.

That also has a lot to do with why I don’t think the prices will come down. As high as the prices have gotten, they still try to gouge more from customers. I don’t expect prices to come down and I do expect that if the consumers win at the credit card terminals, we’ll lose with the prices staying higher loner when the prices to the oil companies fluctuate. The prices per gallon already rises much faster than it goes down. Think about it, gas prices go up quickly for gas already bought based on speculation that the next purchase the company makes will be more expensive and come down much slower because the gas at the pumps was already paid for at the higher rate. We are already getting extra charged wherever companies can fudge it in. In the day and age of the “fer us or agin us” leadership, in this country anyway, the gas companies “sure ain’t fer us!”

So, there are my suggestions for coping with gas-rape to add to SG’s ideas - Make shopping lists, plan trips to include as many errands together as possible, when making car purchases, move up in mileage rather than style or status and even if you plan to pay cash anyway, don’t go to stations that charge extra for credit, they are advertising that they WILL find a way to take more from you for the same product.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

West Brownsville, PA

From our Memorial Day Weekend trip to the Pittsburgh area, a coal train comes down the middle of the street! That red Camaro is none other than my boy, Jonathan E. Camaro!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Heart of Glass

Just a quick post-lunch blog today. It’s been a busy, but in a good way, day so far! I left some voice mails and even talked to some people about job stuff. The convos have been very positive, though no interviews, good things could be brewing! For lunch, I had a scrapbook kit! Well, okay, I finished the papers and preview for a scrapbook kit. In a bit I’m going to run a few errands and probably break into that red pepper spaghetti Lean Cuisine in the freezer. Tonight, David and I will assemble my new recumbent bike. So, it promises to continue being a good day!

Back to the scrapbook kit, of course, finishing a kit means a new freebie! I used the color palette for Boo’s color challenge at SAS to create Heart of Glass. Of course, the musical mate for the title brings us back to the 80s and the Blondie hit of the same name. The fun or frustrating part of using song names for my kit names is that those songs get stuck in my head, so I can promise that the songs are ones I like. I’d drive myself nuts if they weren’t!

Heart of Glass us a mini kit, 5 papers, 5 small colored glass hearts and 5 large filled glass hearts with glitter edges. I’ll post sample layout later. I’ll probably put it together after my work-day before David gets in. But I wanted to release it so I could post it at SAS. Since I’m doing it on a short break now, this kit will be a blog and Stone Accents Studio exclusive until the end of the day today, maybe even tomorrow when I can finish the sample layout and post promotion for the kit.

sorry, this link is expired

I will ask that if you’d like to leave a comment or a thank you, please leave it here on the blog rather than in the comments at 4-Shared. The new format there has made it difficult to leave comments while downloading and I really do see my comments here a LOT more than the ones at 4-Shared. I just don’t check them there that often. As always, if you’d like to share the kit, please direct people to The Chronicles of Nani to download a copy of their own. Thanks and enjoy the freebie!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Happy Monday to everyone! I have a couple of things I want to post before getting into the Mug Shot today. First off, I did receive a Red Wings photo to represent the other side in the hockey signs. This one isn’t a current sign, but a photo from a previous Red Wings win. It came from my brother, Dave, who doesn’t live in Hockeytown anymore, so there aren’t as many signs all over, but I think his leg counts as a sign of some sort anyway. He gave a calf to the cause with a tattoo of Steve Yzerman holding the Stanley Cup down the length of it! (For me, not even Pete Rose or Al Kaline, but then again, if I have a tattoo, it’s the kind that comes off with baby oil!)

So here is Dave’s answer to the call for Red Wing Pride, somewhat reminiscent of his tattoo...

Of course, pictures of signs supporting the Red Wings or Penguins, regardless of the outcome of the series, are welcome and will be posted all week! Send them to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

I also wanted to add another great birthday freebie link! The Baskin Robbins birthday club isn’t as generous as the last one was, but their ice cream is generally a bit less expensive too! Joining their club gets you a coupon for a free scoop for your birthday! It depends on the location and how regular a customer you are too, I suspect, but some locations will trade you the free scoop for a two-scoop sundae for the price of a one for your birthday. But that’s personal bartering and varies from franchise to franchise! The promotion is a fee scoop in a cup or cone!

Now on to the Mug Shot!

Screams Ice Cream
Hell, Michigan

I don’t own this mug...yet! It’s a birthday present, but I asked if I could photograph it for the Mug Shot and the giver said “suuuuure.”

David and I carpooled with friends, Dave B and his son, Jacob, to travel across Michigan to see Tori’s 8th grade spring musical, “Katastrophe Kate.” Tori played Snakebite Sally, she had the first spoken lines and Sally is a main supporting female character. She did really well! It was a cute show and I have to admit that I was very impressed with her stage presence, not surprised, because she IS bigger than life, but impressed with the quality of her acting!

I also got to meet my brother’s new girlfriend, Laura, and her kids. I haven’t said this in a very long time about any of the women my brother has dated, but I am so happy to say that it was a great first impression. He’s finally moved up! ;)

Our group of 12, who was at the play to cheer on and support our Snakebite Sally, returned to his house after the play for an after party and hockey party. When the video games started after the game, I found Rina and Jacob playing poker and asked to sit in. As far as how I did against a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old, let me just say that last time I wrote about my poker skills, I had gotten 4 aces. Remember that, always, I had 4, very well-played, aces in the beginning of May!

At this point you have to be wondering how this all goes with the mug. Well, we’re about to get there, about to walk the tightrope of propriety glancing down at way out of reach good taste in the world of puns!

We left in plenty of time to get us back to Toledo in time for David to get to his OT Sunday evening shift at work. Plenty of time, that is, for us to make a stop we’d talked about on the way to the Michigan western coast. The conversation went something like this:

Nani: “When we stop at the train shop for David tomorrow, we’ll almost be in Hell!”
Jacob: “What?”
Nani: “You’ve never been to Hell?”
David: “We’ve been to Hell...”
Nani: “...and back! We had ice cream!
Jacob: “Oh...Ice cream in Hell?”
Nani: “Yep, awesome ice cream in Hell, but no water tower.”
Dave B: “What would they do with a water tower in Hell?”
Nani: “Put out fires?”
Dave B: “There really is a city called Hell?”
David: “Yep, with ice cream. We’ve even seen it frozen over!”

We played with the concept, in good hearted jest, suggesting we could all go to Hell, and decided that we indeed, should go to Hell on the way home!

Please know that the giggles here are not made up by me, they are all real! If you’re going to Hell from the Michigan Paddlesport and Model Train Center, you’ll see the sign directing you to go left to go to Hell. It’s right in front of a large dead tree. The left turn is at Darwin Road. If you’re caravanning in a couple of cars, you get to really mean it when you say, “See you in Hell, my friends!”

Hell, Michigan is an unincorprated little hamlet about 15 miles out of Ann Arbor. They have a great swimming hole created by the water dam in Hell Creek, so people can got to Hell and swim at the dam. You can get Hell souvenirs, like this coffee mug, when you stop at Screams Ice Cream. When David and I went there for the first time, it was at the beginning of Nanifest XL, in 2006. You could still get commemorative T-shirts and other wares from the big holiday on June 6, or 6-6-06!

Sunday, the four of us stopped at Screams for ice cream. I had the Raspberry chocolate cup swirl in a waffle cone! I don’t remember what all everyone got but Jacob was chuckling at the coffin full of sundae toppings. He got a coffin of mints too. Dave B and I both squished pennies. Regular readers know I can’t resist the opportunity to add to my squished penny collection. Mine is Screams Ice Cream from Hell penny and Dave got a “Damn Lucky Penny.” David bought me this mug, to be put away for my birthday!

All in all, it was a great weekend - and a helluva trip home!

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