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

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Awards and Tags and such...

Please note that there will not be a Monday Mug Shot this coming week,
due to the Labor Day holiday. Mug Shot will return September 8!

This week was one of both frustration and the warm fuzzies!

Everyone who reads on a regular basis knows about the freebie frustration from earlier in the week. I’ve got that resolved. I decided to join the designer competition at SAS. Won’t you please stop by when I have freebies up during the competition and consider voting for me? I say consider it because there will be lots of designers and only 3 will join the ranks. At last count it was 40 designers who have joined. Download my kits, play with them, do a layout. Then ask yourself if you’d consider buying this kit or suggesting it to someone else if it was in a store rather than a freebie. If the answer is “no,” don’t vote for me because I’m not ready. If you honestly think my work is of the quality of other kits and scrapbooking items you’ve bought, I appreciate your support through a vote.

Please remember, the freebies will always be here if I “go pro” or not. As an out of work bum I understand the need to have good freebies available and I appreciate the quality ones I download. A digital camera, a computer and good freebies means you can always scrap your memories and print them when your financial situation is better. I won’t forget those whose generosity has kept my sanity through a miserable job hunt. That’s the same for when do find that placement that has been working so hard to evade me.

So that piece of frustration transformed to warm and fuzzy.

Also this week, Edna from Miss Edna’s Place, tagged me! It’s the 7 randoms facts tag that goes around. The coolest thing about this game is random facts can always be new. I mean random, we all have more that seven “things about me.”

Make a point of stopping at Miss Edna’s Place for fun anecdotes and wonderful scrapbooking! She has some great pages on display and dynamite freebies. I just finished collecting the pieces of her RazzM’Tazz kit, just a wonderful kit. Now she has started to release her newest free kit, Cactus Sunset, rich southwestern sunset colors, great for fall layouts too!

Okay here are my last seven random Nanicentricities of Summer 2008
1. My car’s name is Jonathan. Every car I’ve had or will have is a ne inCARnation of Jonathan.
2. I’ve never had a home computer that wasn’t a Mac. (But I’ve used Macs, Windows and Amiga at work. <-- marketable="" skill="" span="">
3. As far as movies go, I am totally pop-culture illiterate.
4. My musical taste makes up for latest-release-movie-free lifestyle because I like many types of current music.
5. Random guilty confession - I’m a teen show addict. You might know about my Degrassi addiction, but I got hooked on the HOUR long Queen Bees right after Degrassi. I was up to an hour and a half of guaranteed TV very week! (The computer is my vice, so that’s a lot of television for me to watch) The final episode of QB was last night (YAY Gisbelle!) so now it’s officially the TV “off-season” until October!
6. As poor as my typing seems here, I score well on typing tests. Professionally, I’ve typed training manuals and live graphics for TV.
7. A lot of old family recipes are just lists of ingredients with no amounts, so I had to play with them to figure out how much of things to add. Now I create my own recipes the same way. I have to make them again to figure out how much of stuff I used to write down the amounts!

I’ve also had my blog award that Livia granted me a while back re-upped! Diane, Carjaziscraps, is another Ohiogander. She's farther south in Ohio than I am, but our Michigan roots are only a few miles apart.

Carjaziscraps just opened up a store at Digital Scrap Garden . Her newest paper pack is called Mediterranean Terrace and it’ stellar! I end up doing the papers last when I design. I’ve been trying to put more work into making them interesting, but she’s got that mastered! You have to check out her store!!

Now, I am to name seven people to do the seven randoms and seven who will win this award from me. I usually wimp out on this and award it to everyone that wants it. But then I never see anyone take me up on the seven things or feel bold enough to display the award without it specifically being given. So, here’s what I’ll do this time.

I’m going to give 7 people the ability to earn the award by listing 7 random things. You can post the award as son as you post the seven things. Then, if you’d like, you may send the award/request for seven things on to seven more bloggers.

my seven:

No Reimer Reason -
The home of just FANTASTIC templates and lots of great freebies. If you want to design a page that looks great, is totally you in the papers and embellishments but you want to do it quickly, go to No Reimer Reason! Excellently laid out multi-photo templates with quick download time.

RC Mama -
Where it all started for me in Digital Scrapbooking being more than an occasional thing to go with my paper scrapping. Sherrie was the first designer to invite me to be on her Creative Team. I was attracted to her wonderful freebies in her preprofessional days and helped with the promotion that eventually brought her to exclusive designer status at DSO!

Beth Nixon -
Great freebies here, but also wonderful real-life philosophy! Beth shares some wonderful stories abut the day-to-day real world of a Mom of 2. She has just a wonderful outlook on life. “Choose Happy!”

Darlene Haughin -
The other designer that I full-time CT for. Her kits and templates are great and I use them often, even for the personal stuff I don’t post! There’s a new freebie every Wednesday and she shares a few pieces of her great life with her husband, 4 almost adult to adult sons and her furbaby, Coda!

Lorri’s Scraps and More
Lorri was born in england and moved to Italy when she was a teenager. Her three kids share names with members of my Italian family, so there is a neat attraction to her blog there, but I love her templates! I’m working on that heritage project that I want to have completed before the end of the year, so sources for great templates are beyond value to me in reaching that goal and hers are creative and well-designed for maximum ease of use!

Bubble’s Babbles
Vicki is the queen of the quick page, including one she did with my “A Perfect Summer Day.” She has great anecdotes on her blog and all the fire I often wish I had with the talent to back it up!

The Maltese Scrapper
Bonnie is a singer,music teacher, has a cookbook ut and still she produces some great scrapbooking stuff! I love the elements she includes, especially the “real-life” items, like shelves! You have got to checkout her collection of “window” quick pages and her latest rodeo theme.

Okay, that’s all for now! Everyone enjoy the rest of your weekend, Labor Day weekend here in the states and the unofficial end of summer. Drink it up while you can!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday By Request

Friday By Request this week came from Sheri, who sent me an email that said, “Okay, I wanna go with what was suggested on Girl's Night. Find a name of a city on Ohio that starts with each letter of the alphabet. (Akron, Bloomville, Cleveland, etc.)” She also said if I was feeling really daring, I could do the Motherland too!

Now, she DID provide a link to a map and Wikipedia has a full list for both Ohio and Michigan, but I tried to do as much as possible without help and also tried to use a city I’d been to whenever I could.

Ohio cities A-Z and Michigan cities A-Z
For Sheri


North Baltimore
Ottawa Hills
Tipp City


Grand Rapids
Luna Pier
Mackinaw City
Tawas City
Van Buren Twp
Watersmeet (home of the Nimrods)
Xamilc ;)

BTW, Sheri - there is no city that begins with “X” in the Motherland!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What’s Cookin’?

Bountiful U-pick harvest

I love U-Pick places and farmers markets! All of the wonderful fresh fruits and veggies, YUM!! Between the farmers market gift Dad brought me a couple weeks ago and the peaches, tomatoes and plums from last Saturday, it’s been a harvest time of GOOOOOOD EATS! I’ve been enjoying fresh foods and wonderful recipes for two weeks!

Today was the day of peach cooking! I made a Shortbread Peach Crisp at lunchtime and there are peaches in the slow cooker making what David calls “peachle suace.” (I just call it peach sauce, same as applesauce but with peaches!)

I have a file on my extended hard drive for a someday cookbook. It’s 12x12 scrapbook recipe pages, old family favorites and Nani-written ones. Today, I’d like to share some of those pages and recipes! By all means, feel free to snag the layouts to get the recipes. If you’d like the pages in 300 dpi for printing, just drop me a line at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com and I’d be glad to share!

Baked Green Tomatoes

Kit: Fried Green Tomatoes by Kim’s Scrappin’, font: j.d.

These are a wonderful lower fat alternative to the classic fried recipe! Kelly stayed with us for a couple of weeks after my Mom died. For dinner one night she pitched in to the dinner prep by making Fried Green Tomatoes in the true Missouri fashion. Now, I’d had fried green tomatoes a few times and liked them a lot, but hadn’t seen them made.

Kelly sliced the tomatoes and egged and floured them. Next she asked for cooking oil. I got the bottle out of the cupboard, there was about a cup left. She asked, “Do you have more?”

“WHAT???” I asked with my eyes bulging.

Pop and Grandma just laughed. It wasn’t odd to them that it would take a half bottle of oil to cook the tomatoes. It also wasn’t odd to them that I’d react that way.

Kelly’s fried green tomatoes were wonderful! I also knew, there was no way I’d cook them that way! So, I set about finding a way to recreate that classic Southern taste without all the oil! After trying a few different ingredient combinations, I came up with this one that I was very pleased with!

Zucchini Pancakes

Credits: Papers - From The East by Lelanie, Template by Designs by CMR

This is the newest recipe from the Nani Kitchens! Dad’s gift from the farmer’s market in Hartland included 8 zucchini! I personally love zucchini enough to eat them every day. Zucchini and green beans are the two veggies in my world that can NEVER get old! David likes them, but not with the same passion I do. We had pan-fried zucchini coins and Italian steamed zucchini and I had zucchini at lunch a couple times, then I had an idea one morning when I was feeling creative in the kitchen for breakfast.

Zucchini pancakes are like a cross between potato pancakes and a breakfast soufflé. They were SO good! Good enough that I knew I needed to write down how I made them and make them again so I could get pictures for a recipe page. Not that I minded eating them again at all!

Shortbread Peach Crisp

Papers - Pride by Doreen Stolz, Brackity template by Beth Long

The last recipe page I’m sharing is that Peach Crisp I made.

This is a wonderful recipe! I adjusted an apple crisp recipe to make this one and its one of those things that I have in mind when I pick peaches! The crust is a wonderful butter shortbread and it goes great with ice cream! I prefer either Dulce de Leche or Butter Pecan, But I guess it would be okay with vanilla too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Bicentennial Barn
Lucas County, Ohio

Can you believe I've lived in Ohio for a year an a half and I just took this picture of the Bicentennial Barn in my own county this past Monday?

I want to go back in a month and get another one when that tree behind the barn is in full fall color!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Rant and Sample Layout with DLG

Okay after yesterday, I’ve taken to borrowing another idea from Vicki and stuffed the password into the body of the blog that goes with the freebie. I feel a little bad about that, but how frustrating is this?

I took a pre-contest tip at SAS and opened my freebies back up at DigiFree and posted at DigiScrapDepot. The lion’s share of visits to The Chronicles were from those two sites yesterday, to the tune of over 300 hits. When I checked in last night, when I posted the Mug Shot, there had been two comments, just two! Which I’ll take a minute to say thanks in a big way. They were very encouraging comments about the idea of joining the contest. But those two comments were supporting over 100 downloads of the kit! There were six comments at 4-Shared, which is polite, but just the same I know the blog had not been read, and another over 100 downloads with no feedback at all.

Now, normally I’d just suck it up and tell myself at least the kit is being downloaded. Maybe some of those downloaders will be back if I join the contest to download and maybe a decent number of them are SAS members who’ll vote for me. Maybe... But the most frustrating point of this is that “Daddy’s Little Girl” was done as a test run to see if I thought I could keep up with the requirements of the contest. I ASKED for feedback on the kit. I said I wanted opinions about whether or not my work was good enough to give it a try. As of 11:20 last night, 110 people thought the kit was good enough to take, but not good enough to actually notice anything about the designer or care if I said I wanted the feedback. I have no tangible positive or negative rating. 94% of the people who downloaded don’t care, didn’t read the blog to find out what I needed or wanted in exchange for the download. 94% who won't care if I just stop designing all together and concentrate on the other things they don't even look at in my blog.

Yes, that’s doubly frustrating because the return of phone calls or emails is better in the job search and well, the job search is a bit demoralizing! So now, I ask my loyal readers who are bothering with this post even though I don’t have something for free offered, what do you think I should do?

I can leave the blog open to the vultures at those sites throughout the designer contest and hope and pray one or two of them might vote for me. I could close the blog again to those sites and just hope I can get enough exposure at SAS and through my regular promoting channels to get some votes. Or last, and I’m not totally sure I like this one but I am thinking about it, I accept that more people are interested in something for free than they are my work and give up the idea of entering. I still have a week to mull this over. I really do welcome any opinions!

Okay, the frustration released, YEESH!

Lunch today was a salad and a ham sandwich while I created that sample I promised! I’m thinking I’ll upload it to the galleries, a few of them anyway, this evening. It’s a page for my heritage project, the current part of it! LOL

Credits - Kit - Daddy’s Little Girl by Digitalegacies,
fonts - Angelina, Chocolate Box and Curlz

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Jekyll Island, Georgia

This mug gives me a happy smile...and a little shiver!

Another trip with my parents, this one was in 1994. We went to the Golden Isles of Georgia for a week. We stayed on Jekyll Island in a room with a kitchen and a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean, right across the street from the beach.

Along with other sights and fun that week, stopping in Savannah for a night on the way and bringing pralines home with us, spending a night in Florida after driving on the beach in Daytona, we really enjoyed having that kitchen! We bought fresh, and I mean FRESH, shrimp in a fish store in Brunswick. The shrimp we had for dinner had been swimming in the Atlantic that morning! We had boiled shrimp and hush puppies with fresh coleslaw that Dad made. It was heavenly! Pop was just loving all the restaurants that Mom and I had introduced him to. We’d been through Savannah and Jekyll Island the year before and were anxious to show him all the wonderful things we’d seen.

On our day trip to Florida we visited St. Augustine and want to The Fountain of Youth. We tasted the water from that eternal spring. YUCK!!! I’d rather grow old or sacrifice some teenagers to stay young than drink that stuff. We also went to some of the open air shops where I got to taste alligator fritters. The gator was okay. Similar in flavor to a mild lobster, but with the texture of a fried super ball!

What jars my memory and gives me a shiver thought is that first morning in Georgia. It was early November and for the Georgia Coast, cold! I mean it dropped to freezing at night. 32 degrees! In November! The folks on the Island were just not prepared for that kind of cold snap so early! I’m not at all being sarcastic here. The heat wasn’t tuned on in the hotel yet the first night we stayed!

Yet still, there was a east-facing beach and palm trees. Ahhhhhh.... I cannot resist being up before sunrise when I’m on the Atlantic Ocean. Any other time I’d been on the coast before, mornings were predawn, in shorts and bare feet to walk on the ocean in silence and watch God paint the morning. It really is a truly spiritual experience for me. The roar of the ocean waves and the silhouettes of the palm trees growing more defined as the brilliant colors of daybreak slowly fade into morning splendor, it’s sitting in the Master’s studio and watching him turn out another masterpiece. I really don’t believe I could ever reachthe point of taking it for granted, even if I lived on the coast.

But this day, the thermometer read 32 degrees Fahrenheit ...0 Celsius ... FREEZING just before dawn! But still, here I was, about a half hour before sunrise, putting on shorts and not putting on shoes to go out to the beach. Pop thought I was nuts! Mom went to the beach with me! (but she had pants, a jacket and shoes!) But the sunrise that morning was just breathtaking! The clear sky and chilly air made the colors that much more brilliant. The while experience of watching that sunrise was warmer. To this day, I don’t remember feeling cold once the sun started rising until after we’d gotten back to the room. It was magnificent!

Mom told me, with a wink, maybe my feet just went numb from the cold! But I know that every trip to the coast, sunrise on a new day is not just a sunrise over the ocean for me. It’s also a warming sunrise within!

Has Daddy's Little Girl Got It?

I’ve been toying with the thought of trying my luck in the SAS Designer contest. Now, my ego is not telling me that I’m as good as the ladies I work for on their CTs! I was using Darlene’s products when I first stared Digital Scrapbooking and I was in love with Sherrie’s work the first time I saw it and downloaded her “Bountiful Harvest” kit last fall. But I do know that working with their kits and Beckie Wallace’s kits as a guest CT member in June, I’ve learned a lot about designing.

In the spring I tried my hand at digi-scrap designing and it was fun! I’m proud to say that there have been over 500 downloads of “Train, Train” and I’ve enjoyed seeing a few layouts using my kits. It’s very gratifying. It’s also a lot of creative fun. I think my layouts get better and better as I progress in my hobby, again thanks to the wonderful designers I work for, but I also come up with new ideas for my layouts while trying to come up with new design ideas. They work well together!

So now I’m thinking I may just try the SAS designer contest. Darlene was incredibly helpful in answering my questions about what would be expected of me if I do manage to make it all the way and have a store. She was very honest about the balance of what I’d be required to give and what I’d get in return. I think the obligation is something I could handle. I don’t really expect to win, but I wouldn’t enter if I wasn’t going to honestly try and I wanted to be sure I could meet the obligation before I gave it serious consideration.

Even if I enter and don’t win, I’m not in bad company. Sherrie’s first go at designing professionally was in the same contest last year. She went far in the contest but didn’t win. Now she’s an exclusive designer at the shop that was way up there on her list of places she’d like to sell. You learn a lot about deadlines and requirements. The contest also gives you an opportunity to get critiques from other designers, opens your work up to a larger audience and of course, that gives analyst junkie me and opportunity to see what appeals to people and what doesn’t!

All this contest stuff brings me to today’s freebie!

I checked out the first round requirements from last year’s contest. There was a swatch, and a requirement for 6-12 papers and 6-10 embellishments. Recolored items count as one embellishment, same with recolored papers of the same design. The rules for this year tell me that the assignment for each level to the contest is given at 9 am on Thursday and the entry must be posted by 6 PM the following Monday. As part of a hobby I share with a lot of stay at home Moms, I have a bit of a disadvantage there. The career potential isn’t lucrative enough to “quit my day job.” or quit looking for my day job! So the big question for me is “What kind of quality can I produce within that small a window of time??” I worked on “Train, Train” for a couple weeks! Then again, I did “Printemps Classique” in one industrious weekend.

So today was my test run. I made myself a swatch and started working at 3:30 PM. I finished the preview and upload to 4 Shared at 12:30 AM, taking a break for dinner. (David cooked!) A good chunk of the contest is votes from members at Stone Accents Studio. I’ll ask everyone who downloads to leave me a comment here and tell me what you think. Should I give it a try? Do YOU think my work with an exact deadline in mind is worthy of putting in the competition?

And there will still be Digitalegacies freebies here! That’s not going to change! Take a look at some of the designers’ blogs I have links to, the best freebies seem to come from the creative buzz of doing it all the time!

So without more prattle, here is my practice kit, or qualifier. “Daddy’s Little Girl” was inspired by the heritage project I’ve been working on. Lots of pages of Pop and me and some of my brother and his girls. It’s big on the pinks and purples Rina and Tori were identified with when they were babies and the yellow that represents the sunshine little girls bring into a Daddy’s heart!

sorry, this link is expired

Mug Shot will be here Monday evening
Sample layout with “Daddy’s Little Girl,” probably Tuesday at lunch.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lunchie Thoughts


All kinds of things going on my little brain this midday. Yes, midday, I eat breakfast either with David at about 9:30ish or after he leaves for work, about 10:00, so I usually do lunch about 2:30.

First off, last week was a very good week in job desolation world, but I worry maybe all the places I found to send resumes, posted jobs and phone calls that at least yielded information may have been a mirage in the job hunt desert! It’s just that this week wasn’t as fruitful.

I called on a posted Toledo job this morning, listed as local job, but with an 866 number and a second one with a Toronto area code. Huh? Well I called the toll free number and got voice mail...with no actual outgoing message. I left a number and the purpose of my call, but I am skeptical about how legit this posting is. I couldn't find a corporate website or even any firm information about the company. I’m afraid it may be not be a legitimate company. I regard those people that post “jobs” to lure despondent unemployed folks or the ones that bait and switch, tempting with a decent job to offer a low wage job, to be bottom feeders, the lowest life forms on the planet. GRR!

It was good to get a break from that frustration! I had parmesan noodles that I made with leftover egg noodles form dinner last night and the last of the hummus I made for lunch. YUM! It’s been a nice week with tabouleh, hummus and pita in the house! Lunch has been awesome, if a little redundant, all week!

I got back to the desk and read up on a few blogs. I came across a fun one, by way of reading Sherrie’s Stuff. She links to Friday Fill-Ins, which I usually read,but this week I think I’ll play!

Friday Fill-In

1. Dancing to the sounds of Frank Sinatra while in the kitchen cooking dinner makes me happy.

2. The last time I went upstairs in the dark I nearly stepped on Baggle! (He’s TOO trusting!).

3. When I drive I make David nervous.

4. I saw a chipmunk standing on the porch.

5. Give me a job, give me security, give me a chance to survive. (Thanks Styx!)

6. Next week I am looking forward to getting a call returned, setting up an interview and being offered a job.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to watching the new episode of Queen Bees. Tomorrow my plans include going with David to pick peaches with Dad and Aunt Judy in Erie Michigan and Sunday, I want to make a peach crisp with the fresh peaches and get some serious scrapbooking time!

Check out the Friday Fill-Ins every week. It’s a fun blog filler that does NOT ask you about your salad dressing preference. Gotta love it for that alone!

Imagine, seeing Dad and Aunt Judy TWO WEEKENDS IN A ROW! It will be a cool weekend that will most assuredly pump me up for a better work-week...Maybe even a week to get back to work!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

Shoes on the line?

I've heard of clothes on the line, but shoes? We had a few places in my old neighborhood where kids threw shoes up in the trees, but we're talking a pair or maybe two!

This picture was taken in Dayton, Ohio, on our way to Summerail. The neighborhood was a little run-down, David called it "dodgy." I suppose it could be kids getting into mild mischief, a prank before older kids go back to college or even gang related. I don't know. But it was just fascinating to see all of them up there!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Tales

Q - How many Toledoans does it take to change a light bulb?

A - Just 2, one to reach it and one to quote Martha Stewart!

Yeah, Martha does have her usefulness. I remembered a Martha Stewart email and confirmed that it was actually possible at Associated Content.

So, here’s the story:

David was changing a light bulb in the bedroom ceiling fixture Sunday night. I was scrapbooking in the next room. I heard the dull thudding sound of a light bulb breaking on the mattress followed by the appropriate growls and curses. What I didn’t realize immediately was that the sound was of a breaking bulb THEN a thud on the mattress. the working part of the bulb was screwed into the ceiling fixture already!

David growled rhetorically, “What the...do we...do NOW? How can we...get the...thing out of the...socket?”

As I stood in the doorway to confirm what had actually happened, I said, “We need a potato.”

David hadn’t heard of the potato idea for replacing a broken in the fixture light bulb before and honesty, I’d never actually done it, but after looking up the how-to I was pretty confident it would work. So, we decided to keep the light switch turned off and get a potato for our project Monday morning after breakfast.

It was a pretty simple procedure. I gave David my rubber kitchen gloves to use and we turned off the power to the bedroom at the fuse box. That was at my insistence. David didn’t think it was so necessary and the directions even only suggest it as a precaution. Yeesh! We’re talking electricity and while turning off the switch closes the circuit it doesn’t stop the power flow to that closed door! So, I won on that one or David placated me, depends who you ask. I cut the end of he potato and he, taking advantage of his height, removed the broken bulb, pretty easily!

So, if you ever have to remove a broken bulb from a light socket, the potato trick mentioned in the many forwarded emails of Martha Stewart household tips works!

See the Associated Content directions here.

Light Bulb Fries
The AC directions list a recipe in the supplies needed! We made homemade fries to go with our burgers for lunch.

Now we’re cooking....

Black Forest Cupcakes

I made these to bring as a treat for my Saturday night evening in Michigan. They’re not just chocolate cupcakes with a cherry on top! They are real black forest cupcakes, with cherry filling and fudge frosting with cherry butter cream topping. They turned out fabulous!

Also on the cooking front, I had a vegan delight dinner last night. Tabouleh with pita, leftover zucchini and onions from Sunday night and Mustard Tomatoes. I promised a picture and a recipe for those today!

When my parents were on their honeymoon some 43 years ago, they had tomatoes done this way at a restaurant in France and got the recipe. All my life it was a summer staple when the tomatoes were ripe, so a top French restaurant side dish is comfort food to me! It’s also refreshing, lo-cal and perfect for a sultry summer night patio dinner!

Mustard Tomatoes

One large tomato, sliced
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS vinegar
1-2 TBS regular yellow or dijon mustard
salt and pepper to take
3 TBS fresh snipped parsley

Arrange tomato slices on a serving plate.

Mix olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper im a small bowl. Pour over tomato slices. Generously sprinkle fresh parsley on top.

The Simply Davine Group

I finished the tweaks on my renovation of Simply Davine this morning before David left and I got to work. The old website, which had been about a year out of date, is now the main portal for the Simply Davine Group. You can connect to The Chronicles of Nani, Kaline’s blog - Behind Orange Eyes, my blog of rants - Simply Davine’s Soap Box, Digitalegacies, Photo Zoo and all of my blog archives. The past recipes from Simply Davine are still up and linked as “Davlicious.” The recipe page will be updated with pictures and an alphabetical index, but for now, it’s simply the archives from the old site.

As I get into new projects on the web, I’ll add them there. I’ll be putting up a links page with some of my favorite places on it too. And if you’re curious about what my voice sounds like, the old greeting is still there. I'll be recording a new one eventually too.

The Simply Davine Group

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

North Carolina

This morning I made breakfast for David and me. David had eggs over easy, sausage, toast and orange slices with pineapple-orange-apple juice. We’ve been getting the POA juice a lot lately because we both really like it. I had toast and sausage too and of course coffee, but I did a fruit plate with yogurt instead of eggs. My fruit plate was fresh bananas and orange slices with Howell Melon and raspberry Whips yogurt. YUM!

Saturday I met my Dad, Aunt Judy, Sheri and her Dad for lunch at Cracker Barrel in the Motherland. I had breakfast for lunch since David is not crazy about Cracker Barrel and although we do go once in a while, when we are out and about for breakfast it’s for train casing and there is NOT time for a sit-down breakfast. I LOVE Cracker Barrel for breakfast, well, I love Cracker Barrel period, but I hadn’t had breakfast there in quite a while and was really in the mood for biscuits and gravy with turkey sausage!

I was in the Motherland because I was getting together with girlfriends Saturday night and I never pass up the opportunity to make the most of my gas budget when I travel to Michigan. When we left Cracker Barrel, Pop had a gift for me - A huge bag from the Farmer’s Market in Hartland! I’ve mentioned before that one of the areas where David and I are very different is that he wasn’t raised with an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. Oh, he had plenty of veggies as a kid, just not fresh ones in the variety of kind and preparation that I was raised with. Often times, he’ll stop and pick up grocery essentials on the way home from work. When he calls and asks me what’s on the list on the dry erase board on the refrigerator, I’ll say “bananas” ad he’ll tell me we’ll get bananas when we both go because he doesn’t know how to pick out the good ones. No problem there, because I don’t want him bringing me ten green bananas that will all be ripe at the same time so most of them become overripe! I usually buy three almost yellow ones because like them yellow with no green or brown on the skin.

So, right now, while I don’t have an income, fresh fruits and veggies are an occasional thing. Honestly, that leaves me insanely craving the fresh stuff often! (Except for salad and carrots - David picks those out fine and I always have them!) But Pop, who thinks this non-veggie freak man is otherwise perfect for his princess, totally understands the insane craving for a large and bountiful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. That need was instilled in me by him and he always has the greatest edible gifts! Saturday, he gave me 2 cantaloupes, ten zucchinis, including 2 yellow zucchinis and a half dozen fresh tomatoes. David and I went grocery shopping yesterday and I added the bananas and oranges for this morning’s breakfast feast and also got some carrots, tabouleh and fresh parsley for the French preparation I’ll use for a tomato dish tonight. I’ll likely post that recipe here some time this week, so keep an eye out for it.

Now I bet you’re wondering what all of this fresh veggie talk has to do with a North Carolina mug? Well, it does tie in! The North Carolina mug is about something David hasn’t done that I did do with my Dad!

David is a well-travelled man! Just in this country alone, he has been to 46 of the 50 states. Easy guess is that Hawaii and Alaska are two of the 4 missing ones. I haven’t been to those either. But the other two? The Carolinas! David hasn’t bee to either North or South Carolina! This mug reminds me of a trip to Myrtle beach, by way of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina that I took with my parents in 1994.

My Dad is a fan of The Andy Griffith Show. As we were driving on the freeway, we saw signs for Pilot Mountain, the place in North Carolina for which the TV show’s “Mount Pilot,” “the city,” to Maybury townsfolk, was named. Pop chuckled about driving to “Mount Pilot.”

As we got closer to Pilot Mountain, we could see the very define shape ahead and Pop suggested stopping. How could Mom and I say “no?” He was giggling like a star-stuck kid! So, we got off the exit to Pilot Mountain.

Let me first say, that Mount Pilot and Maybury are TV fiction, especially the part where Mount Pilot is “the city!” Pilot Mountain is a woodsy area with a park, picnic tables, trails, not a city or even town at all! We pulled into the park and took the cooler to a picnic table for a snack. We had driven up quite a way and it was just a beautiful area. There was a walking/climbing trail near where we were sitting and Pop wanted to see what there was to see . Mom didn’t want to do the hike, but I was eager to join! So Pop and I went for a walk on the rock trail.

Some of the trail was level walking ground, but most of it was crawling along a mild rock climb. I’d say it was, as far as rock climbing goes, probably junior novice level, but as neither Pop nor I had ever done any actual rock climbing before, that was pretty ambitious for us! We climbed all the way to the summit of Pilot Mountain and for our effort got just a breathtaking view of North Carolina.

Of course, my camera was down at the picnic table with Mom so it wouldn’t get banged up on the climbing parts of the hike, so I don’t have any pictures of that spectacular view. What I do have is a mug with a drawn picture that reminds me of it and the vivid pictures in my mind of the hike, the beautiful view and a special memory of that just father-daughter adventure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday By Request

Okay folks, Ya gotta help me here! I didn’t have an FBR last week. That’s okay, like I’ve said before, if I don’t have a request for Friday, I don’t do one. But then I mentioned that I didn’t have a request for this Friday at home and David decided that meant he had to come up with SOMETHING.

Now remember, I’ll do any request! Of course, it has to be suitable for all ages and something that can actually be done or displayed on a blog. David has a sense of humor warped in a similar way to my own and he takes the idea of challenge very seriously!

What started as an observation when he came upstairs, “I see a Kaline head and a Baggle tail,” turned into this week’s request. David wants to see what Kaline would look like with Baggle’s head and vice versa. Sort of like if they weren’t both fixed, what their kittens might look like? I just call it...

For David



I just loved Baggle looking at Bagline while this one was under construction. It made me laugh and I wanted to share the full view!

Hope you enjoyed this little request into the bizarre! For next week, send me a new request! As you can see, I’ll accept just about any crazy challenge!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Photoblog Wednesday

The kids watching TV with their cousin, Tori

"Bunny" premiered on Cat TV when Tori was visiting. ALL the kids were riveted to the screen!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Credits: Kit - Birthday by Digitalegacies, Font - Hawaiian Punk

Alexis Kaline is 3 years old today!

Today is the day we acknowledge our feral Baby’s birthday. Of course, since she was born in the wild truck-stop jungle we have no way of knowing exactly when she was born, but based on her vet’s estimate of her age, 4-6 weeks, when we brought her in the day after we found her, we decided to average out the difference and back counted the days to August 12, today, for her official birthday!

I did a layout for her, just like I did when Baggle turned 12. This one was done with my Birthday kit, which you can still download for free. (look for the July 29 entry) Kaline also has a brief blog entry today about her birthday. You can check that out at Behind Orange Eyes.

Happy, happy birthday, Kaline Baby!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Tiger Stadium 1999
Detroit, Michigan

This week’s mug shot is about change, evolution and loss of innocence.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I have been a baseball fan for 40 of my 42 years. I cut my baseball teeth on the Detroit Tigers and fell in love with the Cincinnati Reds In the early seasons of The Big Red Machine. My main men were Al Kaline and Pete Rose. It was a time when great players stayed with the same team for all or at least most of their careers. As a kid, I fell in love with Al Kaline, because I loved the Tigers and I became a Reds fan because I was dazzled with the clips I saw on TV of Pete Rose. They were pairs. Al Kaline was a Tiger, Pete Rose was a Red. That’s how it was then. I didn’t have to worry about either team trading my heroes because they didn’t think they’d be back because they’d be free agents.

But things change, time marches on...

Sunday veteran Cincinnati catcher, David Ross, was designated for assignment. Monday, Adam Dunn was traded to Arizona for three prospects. It appears the Reds have given up. If they’d held on to Griffey and Dunn and acquired Lance Berkman, as I suggested, we wouldn’t be looking at the Cubs from almost 20 games below.

What it is those first place Cubs ALWAYS said? “Wait ‘til NEXT year??”

But really, Lance Berkman should be in Houston and Adam Dunn should be in Cincinnati. Cincinnati, home, should be the only place that’s not Seattle where Ken Griffey Junior should be playing and Mike Piazza should have retired a Dodger.

I miss that innocence of my childhood days. When there wasn’t a flurry of trading as the ominous deadline approached and players on waivers to be dealt off before the team gets “nothing” as the free agent market looms in the off season. I came up in my baseball-blossoming in a day when most players still stayed with their teams for all or most of their careers. The good players didn’t have more than one other team and there wasn’t that oh so prevalent question that there is now, “Which hat will his likeness wear at The Hall?” That question was preposterous! If a player had a Hall of Fame career, he did it with one team! Players of that high a caliber were a wonderful commodity that you didn’t let go. They were a draw, win or lose, and they were loyal to their team and their fans.

Not that big names were never traded. Look at the long suffering Red Sox. That “curse” was a myth believed because of selling Babe Ruth's contract! There were those seasons Phillies fans enjoyed watching Pete Rose mow down catchers, but it was much more common to review a Hall of Fame career and see the same team name. Look at Harmon Killebrew. The Killer played one season in Kansas City, but the rest of his career was split between only two teams, the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins. Oh, did I mention that the Senators BECAME the Twins in 1961? 20 years on a 21-year career was for the same team. From those wonderful days of old, the more common career was like that of Al Kaline, who signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1955 and retired a Tiger in 1974.

This mug is about that innocence of my childhood days. It’s about Al Kaline, Mark Fidrych, John Hiller. It’s a mug that captures some of my secrets. It knows why I find a man in white pants to be so sexy, how I turn into a little kid again on Opening Day and how a game that can have a come from behind victory when the home team is down by ten with two outs in the ninth created the base for my optimistic view of life.

I was at the Saturday night game of the last weekend at “The Corner” in 1999. Tiger Stadium had been there at Michigan and Trumbull since 1912 when it was built and christened Navin Field for the Tigers owner that built the concrete and steel structure for his team replacing Bennett Park, a wooden structure at the same site. The Tigers, one of the original American League teams, had played at that corner in Detroit for over 100 years.

In 1999, I had been a Metro Detroiter for 33 years. I had seen my first game at Tiger Stadium, eaten my first baseball hot-dog there and threw peanut shells on the ground without getting yelled at for the first time there! When I was 9 years old, I had front row seats by the bull pen and John Hiller gave me a ball. I saw a World Series game there in 1984 when a Kirk Gibson home run landed just a section over from the seats Mom and I had. In 1996, I saw the dark field covered with snow as I started my internship with the Tigers scoreboard production crew. I was living the dream, working for the Tigers at Tiger Stadium for two seasons, walking the concourse with my scoreboard coworkers, Tiger players and visiting stars too. There was always a warm smile from Brian Hunter and a friendly “hello” from Phil Nevin if you passed them in the hall on the way upstairs and I remember a pregame field assignment after which I was jokingly accused of fraternizing with the enemy - Chuck Knoblauch was trying to get my attention because Kirby Puckett was waving at me from inside the Twins dugout! (And all I can say there is I’m sure he mistook me for someone else, but it ended up being a point for ribbing for a while for one of the only two women on the scoreboard crew!)

But that Saturday in September of ‘99 was so bittersweet. The whole weekend was sold out and had been for some time. It was a festive night with nearly the electricity I remembered when I was 18 at the World Series. But there was an underlying heaviness too. After that weekend, there would never be another professional baseball game at The Corner. The celebration with heaviness of hearts was like an Irish wake.

The Tigers won that game, but after the fan celebration of the victory was the slow walk out of the stadium. People lingered long after the game. My friend and I walked the entire way around the concourse before we left. There were cameras flashing all around, everyone wanting to grab one more shot to remember. It wasn’t until over half hour after the end of the game that ushers began to gently urge people out of the park. It was the hardest “leaving the park” I’d ever done. Even leaving Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati after the last game was easier than leaving my first of so many things baseball for the last time. After leaving the stadium, it was one final slow walk around the outside of the park. We were definitely not alone walking in the streetlight-lit dark of Detroit’s Corktown area that night. All the Tiger fans in attendance stayed to say their final farewell. I spoke with people who’d been to the other final weekend games and it was a repeated scene leaving the ballpark. I know grown men who cried as they left.

Demolition on Tiger Stadium started in June of this year. I haven’t driven by that area in Detroit since then. I can imagine that I’ll feel it in the pit of my stomach when I see it, or when I DON’T see it. I’ll likely even shed a tear or two for that piece of my childhood that’s gone the way of doubleheaders, heroes that retire with the team they became heroes with, 25 cent packs of baseball cards with gum in them and affordable family afternoons where there was always hope right until the very end.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


There was a little bit of stress in all this,
but I'll share what's left of the cake!
;) Remember, it's the cyber JELLO that makes your avatar fat!

Today’s blog is all about destiny. Destiny is as much something we make as it is something that happens to us. Whether or not you believe, if you’re told your future by a soothe sayer, that future is guaranteed if you stay on your current course in life. You can change that future by changing your present. That also covers the fortune teller if they are totally wrong. You can’t sue them for your ten bucks back because you changed your present, that voided your forecast! Also, if you “know” your future, you’ll subconsciously make changes anyway, so it’s just as well not to be told.

I have a couple items of destiny coloring my world this week. One bad but filled with possibilities and one really great!

The really great one is a hope... I applied for a couple of jobs with a local corporation yesterday. One looked to be a solid job with which I could learn, grow, enjoy and possibly even support myself. The other one was a clerical position that I thought I’d enjoy and would at least pay my personal bills. I applied through their website for both positions. Today I got an email from their recruiting team. They think I might be a match for the first job and invited me to apply! My interest and theirs crossed in cyber space! Golly, I’m hoping that is today’s rainbow on a rainy afternoon after a sunny morning!

Of course timing is everything. I put my resume in their database when I applied yesterday, but the fact that my job search agent and their candidate search agents matched us up is a good thing! It’s like career dating and I want “us” to be one of those couples on TV!

The not so great bit of destiny - passwords! If you browse through The Chronicles of Nani, you’ll notice that there are passwords for all the past freebies now. There will also be passwords for all freebies moving forward. (Big thanks to Vicki at Bubbles Babbles for her help in setting up my passwords) Mine wasn’t a decision to counter the lack of polite in polite society. I love everyone’s comments! I’m always disappointed if I go to do maintenance on my 4-shared account and see comments there, it gives me the impression that people have downloaded without reading the blog. But, even if they ignored what I wrote, they were still polite in leaving a note of thanks at 4-shared. My decision to add passwords was in response to piracy!

I wonder, is piracy part of the destiny of one who offers products for sharing on the internet? Have I created an atmosphere for it by offering my creative efforts, my intellectual property, for free? Will a password system change my present enough to spare me victimization in the future or, at least, has my response to it protected others and given me good karma to take into the future with me?

As I’ve said before, I study all my stats. I read comments left here, check the download counts at 4-shared, inspect the referral, locations and out clicks on my stat meter. Last week found a referring page that was new. It wasn’t an ad I’d placed or any or the referring pages I’d seen before, so I clicked it. I’m a total believer in link swapping. If you have The Chronicles of Nani linked on you blog, chances are I want to be sure to at least add your blog to my list in the left column! But this site wasn’t a blog. It was a private freebies group. I appreciate the extra promotion for The Chronicles of Nani, but I wanted to see how the group worked and I couldn’t read any of it without a membership. I wrote the group owner and joined the group.

I was troubled by the fact that there was a “download” link for every freebie listed! I clicked on the download link to my own Birthday kit and it went directly to the download, no stop at The Chronicles of Nani, not even a passing glance at the 4-shared page! I very much agree with Vicki that the freebies are a blog-gift. People read the blog, and every now and then, there’s a gift to download. Direct download links are worse than grabbing the spray can cheese on a cracker and not smiling at the person spaying the cheese or picking up a box of the crackers or a can of the cheese, It’s taking the cheese and crackers without ever LOOKING at the person spaying the cheese,the box or the can. It’s just eating and not caring how it got to be in your hands.

“OH NO SHE DI-INT!” said me!

I wrote back to the site owner. I complained about the direct linking, that it violates most digi-scrap TOUs and it was considered a form of piracy. I got a terse email back telling me that she was a ten-year veteran (I think I've met the grandmother of digi-scrapping) and knew what piracy was and nothing was direct linked. Sorry, I clicked on a few kits. I could have downloaded them with no idea who the designer was. They were ALL direct linked.

Now the good news out of this conflict is that when I returned to the site after receiving the email denying everything, the direct links had all been removed. So, of course now, I don’t know what my lying mouse was telling me before I got the reply. But maybe I spared some other designers, amateur and pro, from a few direct link clicks that they get no recognition for. I can’t imagine if I was selling my kits and someone was downloading samples without even seeing the full kit in my store. It’s an injustice to everyone.

So now, to control that, a little anyway, everything has a password. If someone clicks a direct link, they’ll be asked for a password they don’t have because they didn’t stop here and at least say “oh wow” at the logo before scanning for the password. I’m a trusting person and I hate that a stranger violated that trust. I know most people sharing their lives through their layouts are honest and I feel a little guilty that you all have to go through the password thing too. But I’m not offering a freebie today, so if you still stopped by to read, please accept my apology for the new security measures on my freebies and know it’s not because of you! You read the blog anyway!

Oh, and in case you wondered, I did NOT download anything I clicked on to see if they were indeed direct links. To me, that would be like buying one of the watches in the guy’s trench coat downtown. If I know it’s stolen, I’m not making myself an accessory to the crime!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Grand Ole Opry
Nashville, TN

This is one of the first mugs got that made me decide to collect them! I love the less ordinary mugs that capture the character of the place they represent! It’s a lot like the guarantee that I’ll order certain things on a menu, like Railroad French Toast in the diner on the train to Chicago or Batter Pecan ice cream at the ballpark or Brunswick Stew in Brunswick, Georgia! This mug, shaped like a cowboy boot, was just the perfect souvenir from Nashville!

The Nashville visit was back when Mom and I took that 2-week tour of the South in 1989. Although it is a Grand Ole Opry mug, we didn’t get to the Opry, this mug came from the Country Music Hall of Fame on the day we spent walking music row!

I’ve always liked a little country music here and there. My Great Grandmother was a country and gospel fan, so I have roots rich in the classics I heard at her house, like “How Great Thou Art” and “Life’s Railway To Heaven.” Those are a couple of my old favorites, joining Mums’ influence with my love of Patsy Cline. In the late 80s, I was starting to really listen to the new brand of country. At that time I was becoming hooked on Shenandoah when “The Road Not taken” album was out. So, with current new wind in my country sails, I was pretty geeked about going to the Country Hall!

It was a neat experience! I enjoyed the displays and stories of the legends of the genre. I also got a giggle out of some of the titles that had been gold record, but were new to me, like “I've Got Tears In My Ears From Lying On My Back In My Bed While I Cry Over You!” Yes, that is the TITLE of the song!

The County Music Hall of Fame gift shop kept some of that vacation money I’d saved for almost a year! I got 2 bluegrass cassettes, including one with The Osbourne Brothers’ rendition of ”Rocky Top,” and a couple “newer” classics, Conway Twitty and The Best of Pasty Cline! That’s also where I got this mug!

It was a really neat day! A few months later when I heard Alan Jackson’s “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” for the first time, I actually knew what he meant and where the places he was going were!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday By Request

This week’s FBR took some research! Seamhead Gypsy asked “What the heck ever happened to the age of Aquarius? (might be a question for an FBR) I don't know about you, but I sure don't see a whole lot of harmony, understanding, sympathy and trust.”

“Aquarius” is a song that has a special memory attached to it for me. The Fifth Dimension released their rendition of the first song in the musical “Hair” just a few months before I turned three! I remember sitting under the kitchen table, which was a favorite haunt of mine at three, while Mom was cooking or doing dishes or something. That song came on the radio and Mom sang along with it. I recall it remained one of her all time favorites and it was one of the songs I really needed to hear after her death. It was healing for me because of that memory, of Mom singing in the kitchen. Mom had confessed that if she hadn’t gotten married and had children, she probably would have been in San Francisco in 1968!

After some research, I'm ready to tackle this one! My personal belief is that while as a society we can control what influences we introduce to the world, we cannot control the plain fact that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. The world will always stay in complete balance - and we will always disagree with the opposing influences!

What Happened to The Age of Aquarius?
For Seamhead Gypsy

I like astrology, for the fun of reading my daily horoscope and the fact that so much of it is vague enough to see it in everything, or be able to disprove it in everything. This is neither an endorsement nor a disbelief in it. This is simply the current world as it relates to the accepted knowledge of the Age of Aquarius in accordance with the song from the 1960s.

According to Wikipedia, the age of Aquarius has been reported to have begun as long ago as 1447 AD or it will begin as far into the future as 3621! Astrological opinions vary greatly on that! So, part of why things don’t seem as Age Of Aquariusy as the song lyrics say, could be simply that it hasn’t started yet!

The pop culture connotation of exactly what the Age Of Aquarius is was formed from the New Age beliefs and popular culture of the 1960s and 1970s, gaining its most popular recognition from the lyrics in the song from “Hair.”

In the new age thinking, it is reasoned that the beginning of the Age ushers in its influence over people with the dominance of Uranus, ruling planet of the sign Aquarius, and its conjunction with Pluto, ruler of masses. Thus, the Age Of Aquarius would be a phenomena that would rule over the masses with the influence of the traits of the sun sign Aquarius, friendly, humanitarian, original, independent and intellectual. However, logically, the Age would also bear the influence the sign’s negative traits on the masses as well which include, perverseness, unpredictability and emotional detachment.

Wiki also attributes to the stars in Aquarius a ruling influence over electricity and computers, democracy, freedom, modernization, rebellions, mental disease and nervous disorders.

Take a look at some of those combinations. Computers have certainly enabled people to become more friendly through chat rooms, IMs, even internet dating sites. I express my own originality through this blog, as do many bloggers. But conversely, computers and their enabling power also welcome the perverseness of hate sites and child pornography and the emotional detachment of cyber encounters and friends you never see.

I don’t think I even need to address the unpredictability and even perverseness of democracy and freedom in this day and age or the emotional detachment that corporate globalization has to both workers and consumers. Yet the humanitarian influence of the Age has brought more support groups, activists and lobbyists demanding legal watchdogs to protect, essentially, everyone from everyone else.

The lyrics to the song Aquarius are optimistic about what the future holds. According to the positive traits of the Age of Aquarius, love will be free and there will be harmony, sympathy and understanding. But the song’s lyrics don’t address the emptiness of the detachment that goes with free love or the risk of disease that came about as a byproduct. And there is always the other side where sympathy and trust become an understanding to some that others are easy targets.

I’m afraid, Gypsy and all who have been waiting for the peace and community of the Age of Aquarius, that it’s here. We just weren’t ready for the dark side the song lyrics didn’t address.

Now that we're all in the mood for a flashback, here is that song in my mental petri dish this week, as performed in the movie of the musical, "Hair."