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, August 31, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

South Dakota coffee

The coffee mug for today is one of eight new ones from the trip. I have seven of them on the dining room table and have to find the other one in the car when David gets home, but I’m sure I got an Iowa one and that isn't in the group of seven that I have. There has to be an eighth one somewhere.

Today’s mug was actually bought in Rapid City, South Dakota, but the most memorable coffee was from the other side of the state, in Sioux Falls! We stayed at Kelly Inn in Sioux Falls, South Dakota last Thursday night after the Sioux Falls Canaries game. Kelly Inns are part of the Best Western group and a very nice, not too expensive, hotel.

The breakfast spread there is awesome! They had fresh made waffles, a favorite hotel breakfast treat, but we didn’t do the waffles Friday morning because we were planning to shoot the Dakota and Iowa Railroad on the bridge next to Sioux Falls park. It was a gorgeous morning shot we’d seen chasing the train north Thursday afternoon. David had cereal for breakfast and I had chocolate mini muffins with an apple and an orange. That was one of my grumpy issues with Super-8, where we stayed on most of our stops. Too many of them have super-carb breakfast. I like a little carbohydrate and fruit for breakfast. Fortunately, I could always find bananas at Casey’s General Store, the region’s gas station/C-store chain. But at Kelly Inn, there were both fresh, crispy apples and sweet and juicy oranges. I took one of each to finish breakfast in the car with my coffee.

The coffee was...beyond simple words! It was the good-stuff times two! That is times two for the TWO cups that I fixed and put to-go lids on. With the heavenly mini muffins, fresh fruit and awesome coffee, Kelly Inn was definitely the BEST hotel for breakfasts of the whole trip. So, when I look at this mug, bought in Rapid City, the “best coffee” will always make me think of Sioux Falls!

A Better Fantasy

Football season is here again! Yes, I’m a baseball fan first and foremost, but there is a certain quality that football brings in. Welcoming football season is welcoming fall, apple picking, pumpkin spice coffee and tailgating. There’s also Fantasy Football leagues!

David was in a casual fantasy football league through GenX Mensa a few years ago. When he was on a railfan vacation, he called in changes he wanted to make to his team for me and I updated his stats before the weekend games. I have to admit, it was fun! Now he has a laptop and if he’s traveling, he can update from a hotel room. If I ever want to play again, I’ll need my own team.

That’s a scary thought. I’m a casual fan and I’m sure David, who follows football stats closer than I do would be subscribed to someplace for closer analysis before making his Fantasy Team choices! WaiverWire.com is a great place to get Fantasy football analysis that is up-to-date.

There are three levels of membership you can choose from. All three levels are slashed in price for what they call “2009 Season Stimulus Pricing,” including the basic package, which is completely free this year!

There are very involved Fantasy Leagues with cash prizes that are well worth the investment in the more expensive packages, but the free analysis, stimulus packages, would be a great complement for a free league. If you are thinking about a Fantasy Football team, or if you already have one, WaiverWire may be the place on the web where you can get all the info you need to make the most of your managing experience! Even if Fantasy Football isn't your thing, if the armchair quarterback in your life is actually an armchair head coach, why not steer them towards a comprehensive place to get all of the analysis they need to make the best of their fall hobby?

We’re Ba-ack!

At the Joliet Jack Hammers game on August 15
one of 952 photos my hardworking point-and-shoot
put on my hard drive this trip!

We got in around midnight last night from our 16-day tour of west of home for our honeymoon, seven months after we got married. Hey, it was only 5 weeks after the reception. It was a great trip and I’m thinking we should have more honeymoons!

Okay, maybe not full honeymoons. Two weeks away from the kids was rough. You can’t call a cat and say things like “Are you having a good time with Grandma? Be good! Mommy and Daddy love you and we’ll bring you home something special” Those things comfort and even excite human kids of 4 and 13. Okay, the 4-year old might cry, but Grandma will say that they’ll see Mommy and Daddy soon and feed them ice cream and they’ll forget about being upset that they’re gone. The 13-year old would probably be having friends over for a party.

We did bring home Friskies Party Mix treats from Iowa for them. They were happy about those. The partying seemed to have consisted of finding the downstairs bag of stinky treats and chewing it open. I tried to see if it was just chew marks or claws too. That would tell me which one of them was the guilty party since Baggle doesn’t have front claws, but truth be told, the bottom of the bag was too shredded to tell if it was teeth or teeth and claws that opened it. There were a few treats left in the bag too which makes it seem more like Kaline did it. Kaline is also the one who knocks over the waste basket if I throw out the empty package so she can try to get into it. But it was chewed open under the table, where they both hang out, so who’s to say?

They liked their souvenir and things quickly went back to normal. Kaline slept on my hip and then in between us at the end of the bed, Baggle wanted his water in the bathtub that he enjoys before we go to bed and he came in for morning scritches and to ask for breakfast. They either really liked the Iowa treats or just trust us to come back, even if we’re gone a long time. They were very happy to see us when we got in, though!

I’ll be telling a bit about our trip this week in segments. The Monday Mug Shot is coming up with a little about the South Dakota part of our trip. We stayed the night in South Dakota seven nights, including our only multiple night stay in Rapid City for three nights. We stayed 3 nights in Iowa, 2 nights in Illinois and Minnesota and one in Nebraska. The only state we visited that we didn’t spend the night in was Wyoming.

Coming up this week, I’ll talk about our trains from the past two weeks tomorrow and I’m planning to share some photos from the touristy things we did for Photoblog... Photo-ALBUM-blog Wednesday, the baseball log on Thursday and the dessert tally on Friday. It was our honeymoon. We had dessert every day. There was one day we passed on dessert, but we went to iHop for breakfast and enjoyed pancakes to make up for that!

I’ll also be getting my schoolwork done, returning some phone calls, laundry after our trip, making a trek up to Dad’s to help Grandma out with some things and accompany her for some tests she’s getting done and squeezing getting things ready for the new challenge at Scrap Bird. I’m also hoping to secure an internship in networking by the end of September. The honeymoon is over, time to get back to work with a vengeance, huh?

I hope you’ll stop back and enjoy a little of my experiences in four new states with lots of trains and baseball that mark our first big married-trip and a foundation for many happy adventures to come!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Photoblog Wednesday

Water Tower Mecca
Omaha, Nebraska
David spotted this one first and just KNEW that we need to stop so I could get a pic! It was lunch time, so we stopped at Sapp Brothers Cafe for lunch, where I explained to him that the tower was filled with coffee and the chill from the air conditioner was the water, er, coffee tower calling the java faithful to drink of its nectar!
Photoblog 2
Torn Notebook
by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen
Lincoln, Nebraska

I have wanted to go to the main campus of University of Nebraska to see Torn Notebook ever since I saw the sketch for the sculpture! As we walked around snapping pictures (I downloaded 15 of this sculpture) a student passed by and gave us a look. David said, “Bet we’re not the first ones here taking pictures of this.”

She smiled and agreed, we were not the first at all!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Still Miss the Kids!

At the Saint Paul Saints game

Hello everyone! I’m just checking in at just after the half-way point of our honeymoon trip. We’re having a fabulous time! I’ve added three new sates to my list of places I’ve been and number four of the trip will be added tomorrow. Last week we saw baseball in Joliet IL, Davenport IA and St, Paul MN. There have been some wonderful trains! There as even a beautiful shot n Minnesota with a rainbow! We’ve enjoyed an ice cream treat every day including gelato in Rapid City SD and hand-scooped cones at Devils Tower in Wyoming. Oh, and we’ve seen the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Darwin MN, Mt. Rushmore and Devil’s Tower. We didn’t see any UFOs in Wyoming, but David and I were both humming the theme from Close Encounters while we were there!

We talked the cat-sitter, who calls Kaline and Baggle her grandcats, today. The kids are fine. She didn’t mention them acting mopy or anything. Golly, I hope they haven’t given up on us!! I saw a cat figurine in a shop today and felt the pang of missing them. I hope they are more wanting to be clingy than wanting to punish us when we get back. They would have hated all the driving around we’re doing while they had to say in the carriers. I want to bring them back some stinky treats from Iowa. They’ll be the same ones they usually get, but I’LL know it was a souvenir because we missed them!

Here are a few highlight shots!

David and me with the World’s Largest Twine Ball

Rainbow BNSF train in Minnesota

My first train in South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Crunch Time!

The birthday-girl with her Happy Sock

I’m just stopping in to say a quick hello today. Busy, busy week!

Yesterday was Kaline’s 4th birthday! Hard to believe our baby is FOUR! She wrote about it in her blog last night before bed. Something about Meow Mix Surf and Turf that made her very purry all night! Make sure you stop by Behind Orange Eyes to read the couple of new entries there!

Also, for recipe fans, there is a new recipe for low-cal crispy crackers at Simply Davlicious Recipes!

I just finished my contribution to the September Mega it at Scrap Bird, my “rent.” Also, the I Wanna Talk About Me challenge is up. This month is an easy one since I started late, all you have to do is have yourself in a photo on your layout. It can be a group photo, family picture, you just have to be in there somewhere. Pretty easy, huh? The posting bonus is a new mini kit called stones.

Now I need to get our laundry finished for the honeymoon packing. David has everything set with our cat-sitter. It’s their usual sitter, who refers to them as her “grandcats,” so they’ll be happy with that. They really like her. I still don’t expect them to be helping us pack. I think they’d be happier if we ALL stayed with them for 2 weeks!

This afternoon I have to go out to get my passport photos done and I need to pick up the thank you cards from the reception. Being at Grandma;s last week ut us a bit behind in that, but we’re bringing everything with us so we can do the thank you cards while we’re waiting n trains! The passport photos are for our trip in October. We’re going to ride behind a steam engine in Michigan. Our first steam trip riding together! Then, David says we might go to Canada for a bit. With a grumble, I’ll get a passport so I can go to Canada. I was born a half hour away from Canada and have never needed a passport to go there. Grrr...

Then I have baseball stadium directions to print and the schedule of the teams we;ll be near. David was thinking 3 or 4 games, I was thinking 4 or 5, so we’re pretty sure we’ll see 4...but I’ll hope for more too! ;)

Keep your fingerers crossed for me! My text book is on backorder! I ordered it from Amazon and canceled the school bookstore order to get it faster, and I will get it faster, but I just pray it comes in Friday! The confirmation I got said between Friday and the 20th. We leave on Saturday and the semester starts on the 17th! Cross your fingers for me!

Okay, have to get on with a shower then laundry! I’ll check back in later!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Home For A Little While Now

I’d declared today my lazy day! Well, I mean I‘d put “be lazy” on my Monday to-do list. It was a fun weekend with David in Cincinnati, but now, after all of the running around up north with Grandma last week and a weekend of train chasing, I’m just really in need of a break!

So, now it’s August 10. By the end of today, I need to FINALLY have my challenge posted at Scrap Bird and the bonuses sent out from last month. I’m still working on that. I had dinner, Nani’s special roasted veggies, read my to-do list and realizing I forgot to lay round and watch TV while I ice down my back.

Hmmm. That was an important one too.

I still have an hour of toady left.

I did sleep in until 9:30 this morning and I’ve taken it kinda easy today. I ordered my text book for my fall class and gathered baseball schedules for our honeymoon. That was actually on my Tuesday list, but David went in to work at 2 this afternoon, so I totally blame him because we started talking about where we’ll go next week. We want to gather schedules and directions so we have a rough itinerary of what we might do on our honeymoon. That’s important too! I’ll take a couple hours with the ice packs tomorrow

Grandma is doing better. She’s had some follow-up tests done today. Dad is with her right now and he was her escort today. They are working on getting her medications at the right levels. It’s kinda like that scale my doctor has me step on all the time to monitor the progress of wife 1500. You move the counterweights to the current target and hen rock them back and forth until they’re level. Only this is levels and consistency of blood and you cut or increase medication until it levels where you want it to be. Grandma’s hoping to leave to spend a little while at Dad’s place this week. They’ll make sure that’s okay with her doctor tomorrow.

We are, as a family, checking out senior apartments near where she is and near where Dad is. She’s concerned with the costs and wants to explore he different choices. I think that’s a good idea, but I doubt she’ll be happier with the cost of living down state from where she’s at. I’m sure I’ll hear the details as they get them this week. Grandma sent me home at the end of the week to be with David. It’s a sweet notion from back in her day – I’m a newlywed and should not have to be away from my husband. So yeah, while I was there worrying about Grandma, she was worrying about me. I come by my tendency to put my own issues in the background honestly, uh? So, when Grandma put her foot down to me and told me to go home after Dad got there, I didn’t have much choice!

I’ll send some more update tomorrow!

Team Pride, Group Style

If you’ve been reading here or on Facebook and read about or saw pictures from our wedding reception, you know what a fan of customizing I am. We had so much fun with our custom M&Ms and I was so flattered to her the reviews on the programs, which were in the style of a newsletter direct mail ad and of course, everything was a fun David and Nani theme, including our bride and groom hats and the replica dress and tux t-shirts! We also did name tags for our guests at the ball park so we could identify each other as part of the party in hopes of opening people up to mingling.

I think stuff like that is awesome. I’ve been to games where groups had t-shirt screen printing done for their outing, whether it was a company holiday or a bachelor or bachelorette party, even just a girls' day out done in a big way. Have you ever been to a park and seen people in their family reunion tee shirts? I’ve seen them done for all the kids at Bar Mitzvahs too.

LogoDogz Pintz is a great place that is known for their quality screen printing tee shirt work. Do you have an event coming up that you could use tee shirts for? How about shirts for the Football boosters t your kids’ school? As the cooler fall nights set in, LogoDogz does custom screen printing on sweatshirts too!

There are lo shirts in kids’ sizes. I was thinking matching shirts for a preschool group outing to the zoo, what a great idea to add one more bit of visible security for the kids. Adults and kids of the same group are readily identifiable and anyone can see if the adult touching a child from the group is NOT with the group. See? Custom logos are not just for sales or fun, they can be used for safety too!

If you have a use for quality screen printing, LogoDogz Print is an excellent choice for your custom logo services!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Checking In…

It’s been a rough so far week here. I’m in Michigan at Grandma’s to help out. Sunday we met with a home nurse who got all the paperwork done to have a nurse stop by three times a week to check her general medical stuff. Dad and I went to the grocery store and dropped a decent sum stocking her fridge with meat, veggies and a few key comfort foods. She’s just plain not eating enough. Sunday, I made us the same breakfast, one egg with an ounce of cheese and one slice of toast That’s 235 calories, served with coffee and hers with juice too, it makes a good start for a day that plans to include a couple of cookies on wife 1500. Unfortunately, it was still like pulling teeth to get her to eat it and she putzed around it ALL DAY! She did promise that “Monday, I’ll eat all of breakfast and whatever you cook.” I didn’t get to put that promise to the test.

Sunday night after Dad had left, she stated having disjointed speech, she was trying to talk, but the words couldn’t form correctly. I called the nurse, who told me to call 911. Grandma got her first ride ever in an ambulance! I locked up and followed in my car. She’s had an episode like this before. I recalled the same symptoms a few years ago at the orchard in Erie when we were peach-picking. At that time paramedics said it might have been a TIA, mini stroke, but she got over the episode and refused to be taken to the hospital. This time, three paramedics and I didn’t give her a choice!

They let me in to be with her in the emergency room. They did some preliminary tests and confirmed that this time, officially it was a TIA. Thank God I was there, but it really confirmed that she needs to NOT be living alone anymore. She was in the hospital a couple of days and released around 7PM last night. We stopped at McDonald’s, mostly because I hadn’t eaten since noon and was starving. I got a hamburger Happy Meal with apples instead of fries. She said that a hamburger sounded good, YAY, and I got her a hamburger Happy Meal too. Unfortunately, after being convinced all she got was fries and a “big guy” (mini beanie baby panda) until I found the burger under the toy, she ate one bite of the burger and about a half dozen fries.

On Saturday night, she’d told Dad and me that she knew she shouldn’t be alone and was ready to explore her options. Last night she moved up to telling her best friend that she would be moving to a senior apartment. Okay, she also included that David and I would move in with her here, but she didn’t want us to have to move. Her hearing aid isn’t working and she was getting “Dad, Dave and David” confused. What I said was that either Dad or I would stay with her until she had an apartment. I still gotta love the fact that she didn’t want to make us move!

The best thing that happened last night was Grandma proclaiming she was hungry! I served a bowl of melon to us both and she ate every piece, after I’d just watched her wolf down a bowl of watermelon in the hospital, then she said he was hungry for cold cereal. She poured about a serving and a half of Honey Nut Cheerios. I was worried I’d be throwing most of it out as she poured the milk, but she ate every bite of it. Vitamin-fortified and all, we might be eating Cheerios for three meals today!

So, now I’m caching up on other things in my world. As it turned out, I never did get my birthday ice creams before I left home. I gave my coupons to David. He’s not a big Cold Stone fan, so I asked him to get me the fat free cake batter with chocolate chips and cherries and put it in the freezer for when I get home if he gets a chance to stop. I told him to use my free Baskin Robbins scoop as the base of a sundae for him. I don’t think wasted coupons or free ice cream count as big on the penance list in the afterlife as spilled ice cream does, but just in case… Okay, I’d heard an old Irish saying that the difference between Heaven and hell was determined by being put head first in a barrel of all the alcohol you'd wasted in your lifetime. If thre is so little that you don’t drown, you go to Heaven. I modified that when Tori and Rina were little and we said you'd be put head first in a barrel of all the ice cream you wasted in your lifetime. Hey, that almost automatically starts with at least one cone from childhood for everyone!

Now, I don’t know if there will be ice cream waiting for me when I get home or not. David got a new car! We’d been talking about him retiring the old gas-guzzling Explorer in the Cash for Clunkers deal and I spent a few phone calls coaching him on Monday when he was test driving a Ford…I think it was a Ford Fusion. He commented on wanting to think about the Escape, a small SUV, too. I encouraged him to really consider the Escape because what he uses his car for, railfanning and such, lots of dirt roads, fields, etcetera, he’d really be happier with an SUV. He did some more calling, found the deal that was right for him and signed the paperwork on a 2009 Escape! It’s his first brand new car! I think he said it had 34 miles on it. That has me beat! The Camaro had 54 when I drove it off the lot. Our driveway finally has a car whose model year starts with a 2!! Next is me finishing school, starting a job and maybe a 2011 Spectra?

I needed to catch up on baseball stuff, I’ve really only been able to see the scores, weep at the Reds scores and move on. Now I found out why I’m weeping. Right at the deadline Scott Rolen became a Red. Okay, I remember that last year I was ready to trade Edwin Encarnacion, but that was in a deal that would move Joey Votto over to third and put Lance Berkman in a Reds uniform. The only thing positive I have to say about Rolen is he might be more tempting to Houston. The man is almost as overrated as Gary Sheffield. (That’s my opinion and this is m blog, so everyone is entitled to my opinion!) I’ve been thoroughly unimpressed with him since 1997, when he beat a much better qualified ROY candidate in Kevin Orie. Rolen had the home runs, Orie had everything else. This chick doesn’t dig the long-ball. Home runs are just PART of the game. This chick digs BASEBALL and I loathe how many players that can hit the ball far, just don’t hit it to them in the field, get built up so big. Give me a Mark Grace or Barry Larkin any day!

Okay, time for a coffee refill and to get ready for Grandma to wake up. Dad will be back later this morning, so I’ll get a little bit of break later. Maybe I’ll blog again; maybe I'll go out to the ice cream shop in Hale!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Are Your Kids CampusReady?

"This post was sponsored by Sears. All the opinions are mine."

Let me brag about my niece, Rina. I’m bragging because I’m so proud of her organization skills, her ability to think ahead and her desire to focus on a goal and attain it. Rina will be in September and she starts her sophomore year in high school this month, she has chosen and is quite serious about her career plan. She volunteers at the horse and carriage stables near home with plans to begin driving a carriage when she turns 16. It’s all to beef up her college resume to get into veterinarian school. I wish I could have been that focused and driven at 15! Yep. In three years my brother will be outfitting a dorm room!

Maybe that’s you now! Are you sending a new adult off to school? Is she or he, are you, CampusReady? You just have to see what Sears has for dorm life with style!

You can start by looking at the dorm rooms tab and looking at the bases and ideas you can build from. You can select a general style and shop within that the, or color outside the lines and shop bit by bit from all the looks. You can also shop by price or need. Make sure you get the dorm room recipe for “Cake in a mug!”

There is an available interactive checklist so you’re sure your student has everything they need to get started in dorm life and also a Money Sense section that you can share with your young scholar with tips about budgeting and ways to stretch those college dollars and save their living expenses from semester to semester. Of course, there’s also the “Fill my Closet” section for the clothing items from boxers and bras to hoodies and scarves that will perfectly complement that college sweatshirt!

When you are checking out Campus Ready, be sure to enter for your chance to win part of $25000 from Sears Upromise. Upromise members are automatically entered in the sweepstakes to help with some of those college expenses. You can sign up for Upromise for free t Sears.com/campusready. While the kids are away at school, they can stay connected with you on facebook and still design that dorm just right while they connect with new friends with CampusReady on Facebook.

Watching them leave the nest can be hard. Let Sears Campus Ready make it a little easier.