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, November 28, 2009

Turkey Soup For The Soul

Star from Christmas Evening by Jodiann Cates

I’m taking a break in this busy Saturday to check-in.
Oh, I’m, really just giving myself a break because my head isn’t in the school zone right now. I’m not in panic mode. The project isn’t due until a week from Monday. I’m really in okay shape if I take the rest of the weekend off and get to finishing my rough draft Monday morning. My study goal is to have everything done and turned in Friday night.

Dinner tonight is planned to be easy – Thanksgiving in review!
We split the leftovers with Pop and Aunt Judy, so it gives us a great (and easy) dinner for tonight. Of course, I’ll get to wash all the dishes the leftovers came in, but dinner will be worth it!
David is out railfanning without me today. To be honest, I felt just awful this morning and that awful stayed with me into the afternoon. Around noon I took a couple of Advil and a B12. Golly B12 is wonderful stuff. It helps the brain and nervous system and in the formation of healthy blood. It really does help reenergize me and it clears my head, helps me focus. It just helps make everything feel better. I have a pretty full plate of life right now with the challenges and responsibilities I’ve had added with Grandma and losing John, which I wasn’t prepared for. I’m hoping that once my project is complete and thus, school is done for the semester, it will help. Of course the cat adjustment situation weighs heavy on me.
Carla is better from the respiratory infection, just a little weeping from her eyes still, but a lot less than she had! She goes in for a check-up Monday. She’s adjusting to the house and other cats now, although she is balanced by extremes. She either walks slowly and tentatively near either of them afraid to get them agitated or she is having so much fun playing she runs right into them and a hissing fit and fight ensues.
Baggle seems to be adjusting the best of the incumbent cats, but he adjusted to Kaline better than Chester did when they all first met too. He still will hiss or swipe a paw at her when she is being rambunctious too near to him, but he tolerant. Last night Carla was sitting on David’s lap and Baggle was next to him with no growling!
Kaline is really the last holdout. This is breaking my heart. She hasn’t been coming in to sleep with us and seems a little mistrusting, even of me. I just can’t stand that! She does sit next to me during the day and often plops down on the table behind the laptop, but she’s just not comfortable a lot of the time. She spends a lot of her awake hours watching or looking out for Carla. Now, that being said, earlier today she was sitting up on my desk upstairs and Carla jumped up onto the scanner, just a couple feet away. She growled at Carla. I growled at her. I matched her moan for moan and growl for growl that she gave Carla and she calmed down. I know that sounds silly, but it’s always worked with Kaline. If I “speak” to her as an angry Momma cat, she stops whatever she’s doing and gives me that “I’m growling at you in my mind” look. It helped get her through growling at Azreal when they met and through hissing at both Chester and Baggle when the girls met them.
Kaline has to revisit the vet about her tummy problems. To be honest, we really haven’t been able to administer the medicine for it, but she hasn’t been throwing up any more since the shot she got at the vet. The medicine is supposed to help her calm down and help her tummy. If she goes nuts and gets all worked up when we try to give her the medicine, how is that helping her? So David and I decided that the medicine would be there if she started having issues again, but we wouldn’t add to her problems by hogtieing her and shoving icky tasting liquid in her throat.

I want to share a link to a website/blog, I discovered! Simple Scrapper just started a six-week program yesterday that is fabulous for scrapping the holidays! I’ve downloaded the workbook and first template. The program is called Capture The Season and this week’s layout is about the things you’re thankful for. You’ll get prompts, ideas, templates and tips to make your pages better and quicker! There’s even a link for journaling tips too. I know a lot of people say they would like tips on doing that! I’ll definitely be showing off my first layout when it’s done, so if you don’t download the free workbook and template for week one today, be prepared to be tempted again!

::Deep Breath:: Mmmmm!

One of the best gifts I get from Thanksgiving is the turkey carcass! We used to have Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s and Mom would get the turkey carcass in the soup pot and make the stock Thanksgiving night. On Black Friday, instead of the outlet malls, Mom and I would go holiday shopping in Tawas, MI. Black Friday in a small lakeshore town is like being there in the summer. Small town means, just enough people for it to feel festive, but few enough fellow shoppers to talk to people and be greeted sincerely by shop owners. I loved that!
Now, there is a Walmart that’s killed a number of the businesses and what Walmart didn’t destroy the economy has really pressured. I don’t make a secret out of my dislike for “The Evil Empire.” Walmart is bad for local economies. It’s nice to save a little money, but I don’t think it’s worth seeing my next door neighbor stocking shelves at Walmart for minimum wage after his store was driven out of business. Kinda kills the Christmas spirit for me.
But back in the pre-Walmart invasion in that area, it was a wonderful day free from the sales hounds to really get in the holiday spirit. It was usually cold, sometimes gently snowing, but always fun in a classic Christmas way. When we got back to Grandma’s for dinner, we set up the turkey congee with that homemade broth and leftovers. It was just ambrosia, food of the gods! Now tomorrow, I’ll try a congee light-style for us. David isn’t a fan of the heavy veggie and meat soups I do. He likes a simpler brothy noodle soup. Cool thing is, congee can easily be both, so that’s the plan for tomorrow!
Okay, need to go stir the soup and adjust the seasoning. I do know the smell of that soup just washes over me with the holiday spirit and makes me feel good! Whatever part of the holiday season you partake in, in the face of the economical woes and the state of so much of the world, let the joy and peace of this season consume you. Happiness is contagious and we should do all we can to make it spread!


Let The Shopping Begin!

I hope everyone in the US had a great Thanksgiving and those who are into it had a successful Black Friday! Ours turned out pretty well, cooking the meal at Dad’s and transporting the whole thing 20 minutes north to Grandma’s apartment. I had fun with my turkey hat too. The family dining area is private in that the door is closed, but all glass walls in front so people can see in. I joked that it was like we were the Thanksgiving zoo exhibit, but we weren’t bothered and people who walked by smiled and waved. Okay, maybe some of the smiles were at my hat, those ones where they pointed at me and smiled. I smiled back, said Happy Thanksgiving, and it was usually followed by a wave and a wish for the same. It was pretty cool. The turkey hat is very me, but I also knew that wearing it would get some laughs or smiles at the senior apartments by residents and workers alike. That’s my selfish side of giving. Sharing a little joy and making people smile when they are residents in the memory care unit or working on a holiday just feels good!

On the meal front, everything tasted so good! The stuffing was exceptional this year, if I do say so myself. At one point, Grandma asked me if my Mom was coming to dinner. Pop was great as he seamlessly got her immediately on another subject, but I was thinking to myself, “Grandma can’t you taste that she was touching the stuffing when I made it?” That was the hardest part of dinner, when Grandma asked if people were joining us who only could in spirit, but there was enough good food and conversation that she didn’t dwell on those questions before another topic came up. It really was a very nice and special dinner.

Now after that recap, I’m wanting some cranberry relish. Is cranberry relish okay for breakfast on a weekend during the holiday season? (Someone please leave a yes in the comments so I feel better about it because I’m gonna do it!)

Now that Thanksgiving is done, I’ll be officially adding the Christmas music. I’ve been listening to some hit and miss for a while with those all Christmas all the time stations that start the first of November, but it’s now officially Christmas Music season! As always at The Chronicles of Nani you can click the off button on the iPod to the right. I always make sure it’s high enough on the page that it can be easily turned off if a visitor doesn’t want to listen. Just think, if this were a real time coffee shop, you’d have to BUY your coffee and listen to whatever is on the overhead speakers, which means Christmas music even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, or if your taste in Christmas music is just really different than mine! So, I welcome you all once again to enjoy the sounds of the season or enjoy being able to NOT enjoy them when you visit my cyber coffee shop!

And to go with that cyber coffee, here’s some festive calorie-free black forest cake! (Festive because black forest cake makes any blog entry a party!)

A Freebie With A Twist!

Actually a freebie with several twists!

I have so many attempts at the photo in the center of this layout that I wanted to include a couple to document my struggle and eventual success! 2007 was my first Christmas Day in Toledo and I wanted a Christmas Day picture of Baggle and Kaline together. It was almost 20 shots before I got one where they were both looking at me and there were no glowy eyes!

This was originally a layout for a challenge at Designs In Digital, but that challenge required several things and there was to be no journaling. The finished product was not to my liking, although it fit the challenge criteria. I loved the template I made for it and decided to strip it down and redo the layout with the same pictures but different everything else, including journaling. Now I like it, but it wouldn’t have fit the original challenge. It did qualify for the Out of the Box challenge at Digital Freebies, though!

So the freebie is that template, with the twisted mats and photos that don’t quite go in the frames! I call it Twists! I usually use a mish-mosh of colors that don’t really go together when I make a template for my layouts because it’s easier to tell which layer is which in the layers thumbnails in Photoshop CS. I’ve even recolored traditional shades of gray templates when I’ve worked with them for that purpose. It’s especially handy when it’s a template with lots of layers, like this one. If you have a strong opinion on the colors of the layers in a template, one way or another let me know in the comments. I could have taken the color out, but that takes extra time and, like I said, I think it makes it harder to work with. Feel free to chime in!

Click preview to dowload
Passwords is kitties

Of course, I love to hear from you if you have a moment when you download. The comments here are pop-up style, so you can comment and download at the same time. I hope you enjoy the template and I’d love to see what you make with it!

Okay, I’m really craving some coffee and that cranberry relish now! Bye!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Photoblog Wednesday

Getting There!

We still have growling, hissing and chasing, but a week ago I couldn't have taken this picture I took Monday of Kaline and Carla sharing the same couch for nap-time. After taking the shot I went over and smoothed out the blanket between them so they could see each other. They looked up and saw the other cat and went back to sleep.

Baby steps! But it IS getting better in the world of cat-peace!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Changes Behind the Scenes

Well, there are those who say ANY change is bad. There are also those who believe it but don’t say it, they just loudly suffer when there’s a change at work, home or even a store they like to shop at. My Dad swore up and down that he’d never use a computer and that computers were the bane of modern existence. Now, he uses the computer to check his schedule for work and is smugly proud of his accomplishment every time he does it. I don’t think my Dad will ever shop online and I’ll never hear him say anything that starts, “I was IMing with someone who….” But hey, he could surprise me!

As any of you who regularly read The Chronicles of Nani know, I’m a big time believer that change is good. I have to be to be back in school and changing careers at 43 years old! But in those 43 years, many things have changed that have made things much better. I mean, I seriously wonder what my technophobe Dad would do if he couldn’t heat up a cup of coffee in the microwave? Change is good to the last drop there!

Ah, but one of the things we are learning about in school is being properly prepared for change! One of the scrapbooking sites I frequent, or anyway, did frequent, is going through a major change. It’s pretty much an annual change, not fond of that. It’s not good for brand recognition to change your site look all the time. But this time they are suffering from a ton of stuff that’s not transitioning smoothly. About half of their challenges didn’t happen this month, they pretty much missed DSD and they are STILL swamped with the things that aren’t working correctly! Ultimately, that’s bad, really bad, for business in a saturated market!

One of the great tools we have learned about in class is virtual systems. Someplace that mimics the online network, but is not part of the working network. It’s a place you can try out everything before it goes online to make sure everything that needs dotted or crossed is done right. As I’m winding up this semester and getting ready to collect data and write my term paper and as I’m getting ready for my few weeks break before the next term begins, I’m applying what I’ve learned so far.

Not to bore anyone who isn’t a geek with the details, but I’m collecting data to explain how the Sever OS we’re studying works with multiple formats. This is close to my heart as I work on a Windows Vista OS on my laptop and Mac OSX on my desktop! I figure I have a head start to really understanding the eccentricities of combining the platforms on a network because I understand them both, but I’ve also worked for a company that did art and video work on Macs with the accounting and library on Windows machines with a load of custom software and documents that were shared by the whole building. My job at that company wasn’t one of the more exciting ones, but it gave me lots of time to cause trouble for the IT department trying to figure it all out. I even found it exciting to stay late and stressed the night the server crashed. I got to figure out how to finish up our department’s work for the night, but I also got to hear the IT guys stress and toss ideas to each other out loud. I didn’t understand it then, but it was exciting to me. Yes, I’m a geek. There is a certain rush out of fixing problems!

But, that was ten years ago and the IT department was a 3-man team working on the problem. My holiday break project will be a just me endeavor, so I’m going to be careful. I don’t want to be a month working on major problems! The Chronicles of Nani has been on BlogSpot for two years now. I’m not planning on moving, just redecorating. I have learned a lot reading Easy Custom Blogs and seeing what other bloggers have done with their blogs. I’m in the mapping stage right now. I’m going to decide what I’d like the Chronicles to be able to do, then see if I can do it! It’s not going to be a huge change, as I’ve said, that’s bad for recognition, but I will probably update the header logo and glitz up the appearance a little. Now, I have learned a thing or two. I already have my virtual blog set up. As I get ready to put together the skeleton code, I’ll be able to try it out to make sure everything works. Then I’ll add the pretties and make sure it looks good and still functions the way I want it to. Then I’ll be able to cut the whole layout code and transfer it over. I’m kinda hoping it will be a glitch-free transition and the new look will go online and be working at 100% instantly. Keep your fingers crossed for me! The nice thing about doing the change on a virtual blog first, is I don’t have to make any changes until it’s ready to go, there will be no interim look, just the new look.

Now I’m asking my readers for some input! What types of things would you like on The Chronicles of Nani that would make it easier to read or navigate when you visit? Are there any tags you’d like t the top of the blog for easy clicking? How do you feel about the Monday Mug Shot or Photoblog Wednesday moving forward? Should I continue them? Would you want one regular day for scrapbook freebies or layouts? You don’t need to suggest a real time coffee machine that dispenses real, not cyber coffee. I’m working on that and if it’s possible, The Chronicles will be the first blog to dispense real coffee! But anything else you would like me to consider, please, let me know what you like about the blog now and what you might enjoy as the blog grows. I’ll take every suggestion into consideration!

Links: Easy Custom Blogs

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland
Frankenmuth, Michigan

I’m in a bit of a funk right now and sorta running on auto-pilot as far as the holidays are concerned. I’m usually all abuzz by now with preparations for Thanksgiving and our Christmas cards, getting ready to plan for our annual trip East and plans for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but this year I’m a little overwhelmed with things going on, school, Grandma, missing John and now the trauma with the cats adjusting. Where I usually don’t listen to Christmas Music before Thanksgiving, I have a Christmas CD in the stereo and I’m writing about a very Christmas mug. I just need a kick!

Thanksgiving dinner was served at our house when I was younger, but it moved to Grandma’s house after Papa died in 1994. Mom and I usually had things scheduled right at work so that we both had a day or two before Thanksgiving off and we drove to Grandma’s together, stopping for a few hours at Bronner's. The day after Thanksgiving you can’t move at Bronner’s and it is pretty much that way until Christmas, but just before Thanksgiving, it’s a lot less stressful, with all the new stuff out and ready for the busiest time of the year for the huge all Christmas store and Christmas music playing with it just quiet eno0iguh top hear it complementing he treats for your eyes!

When I say huge, I mean huge, a few football fields worth of huge Christmas displays. We always browsed the tree trimmings and decorations. Mom always added a few new ornaments for the tree and she always decorated every stocking with a new ornament. Several of the ornaments on my tree are collected ornaments from my Christmas stockings. Mom was a shopper. I’m not, but I did always enjoy shopping with Mom at Christmastime. It was like shopping with Santa himself! She found such joy and was so careful with selecting gifts. She was certainly infectious!

The opulently plush garland that decorates my tree now was Mom’s. She had bought commercial grade garland and Bronner’s was absolutely the only place she could find more of it. She started the custom of our named ornaments. We had gotten the Mom and Dad ones for Pop and her and then she found the Dave one and had one special ordered for me since Davonna is not a standard stocked name. We had a named ornament for every member of the Family who was there on Christmas morning. There was another special order when Dave married his first wife. Deanna wasn’t a stock name either! Mom ordered two ornaments when we stopped at Bronner’s on the way to Grandma’s house that first Thanksgiving up north. She had two new grandbabies with unusual names that would need their ornaments special ordered to be sure they arrived in time for Christmas!

The pre-Thanksgiving stop at Bronner’s always included a break for coffee or hot chocolate at the Bronner’s cafeteria, near the international displays. I enjoyed looking at the Polish and Italian displays, my heritage. Something about recognizing my heritage and family traditions made me feel warm inside. It reminded me how special and important the traditions of the Christmas season really are. It’s why I have to have certain Christmas treats, even if no one else eats them! The stop in Frankenmuth was a great mother-daughter day for us and the spiritual fuel I needed to officially kick off the Holiday Season!

This year we’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner at Dad’s and bringing it up to Grandma’s apartment. I’ll be there for part of Wednesday and then I’ll be back with David the next day. It’s going to be different but different is change and this change means we’ll still be able to have Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s. It’s good.

As for my holiday current funk, I’m resisting change. I still need somehow to grasp a little bit of my traditions to perk up the spirit in me. Tomorrow Kaline has a vet appointment in the morning. After I get Kaline home from her vet appointment, I’m going to go out the the Italian store. It’s not too early to buy the nougat candies, panetone and Baci that are traditional Christmas sweets from my childhood and maybe a nice capicola sandwich for lunch will wake up that inner child and the holiday spirit she embodies in me! I think I’m ready now!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Drink Your Tofurky and Gravy

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Jones Soda. All opinions are 100% mine.

Isn’t my Thanksgiving hat awesome? I am SO wearing it to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s just so, so…so Nani!

It was part of my Thanksgiving Postie Pack from IZEA, the parent company of the sites where I find my sponsored post opportunities. The gift is from them and Jones Soda. The other part of the gift was a sample of Tofurky and Gravy Jones Soda .

When I first got the email telling me about the Postie gift coming, I thought they were kidding about the soda flavor, but I really wanted the hat!! But the soda is the real deal too.

So, I tried it. It really wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought it would be a mostly sweet beverage, but it’s really not so sweet and there is mostly a seltzer water taste with a mild yet dominant flavor of something with gravy! I’ve never tried tofurky, so maybe that was the rest of the flavor. It’s interesting, but I don’t know if I’d buy it for me. My brother would drink it and honestly, my Dad might like it. He isn’t a fan of sweet sodas but he wants flavor with his fizz, not just club soda.

For me, I love Jones Soda Zilch, Black Cherry. Yep, zilch as in no calories and sweetened with MY favorite no headaches lo-cal sweetener, Splenda! I saw on the Jones site that they have pomegranate now too and they offer a sampler of the black cherry, pomegranate and vanilla cream soda Jones ZILCH. (Hey David, if you’re reading…)

So, if you have a family member who loves tofurky or someone who goes for the less sweet tasting or more eclectic flavor of soda, try the Jones Tofurky and Gravy soda! If you prefer to drink on the safer side of the soda adventure, Jones has a huge line of great flavors in pure cane sugar, natural flavors and sucralose-sweetened to give you something for every taste to complement your Thanksgiving turkey, or tofurky, this year!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And now for some news briefs…

Cat Piller - a bit of genius!

See the picture? That’s a Piller, it is a pill plunger that shorts pills down a cat’s throat. It is the coolest thing, as cool to a human as a can opener is to a cat. Poor Carla has to take two pills in the morning and two at night for her respiratory infection. We’ve been fighting with her tooth and claw for almost a week. She is so good at figuring out innovative cat ways to spit them out. This morning she bit her tongue fighting us and it was bleeding. That was enough for David and me.
The vet’s office where we took Carla last week is in Sylvania, nearly in Michigan, but that’s where her records were and where we had a free visit after adopting her. David was home today and he and I went to visit Grandma, so we stopped at the vet on the way. We were hoping to trade in the pills for some kind of liquid equivalent. They can’t take pills back once they leave the office, so we’d have to buy all new liquid meds or try the Piller. The Piller was less than $4, at the Vet’s office, so we gave it a try.
First try, ack, plunge, remove – the pill went in the cat, no fuss, no stress. Carla didn’t even leave her Daddy’s lap afterwards. If you have to medicate you pet, this is such a small investment to save a ton of hassle!

The kids have been blogging up a storm! Check out Behind Orange Eyes for Kaline’s first impressions of her new sister and the column at that site, written by Baggle, Behind Green Eyes, for his point of view.

Grandma was happy to see us today. She looked great, good color in her face and she was in a very upbeat mood. I’d promised her I’d bring some more Snickers bites and I found a bag of holiday wrapped ones on sale plus a cute green square bowl with snowmen on it to keep them in. She had a candy basket for Halloween, but needed a seasonal update! She’s always happy to get Snickers! She’s looking forward to the family coming there to have Thanksgiving dinner at one of the “Party Rooms,” which have full kitchen facilities. Dad is making the dinner plans, so I’m not sure on what side of traditional we’ll be this year. I’ll be chatting with him tomorrow to see what we need to organize.

Glad We Make Our Own!
In the news, Kellogg’s, makers of Eggo Waffles has an Eggo shortage right now! Between a shut down of their Atlanta plant due to flooding earlier this year and some major repairs being done on equipment at their largest bakery in Rossville, TN, there will be a scarcity of Eggos for a while. They don’t expect to return to pre-shut down levels in stores until mid-2010.
I’m so glad I married into a waffle iron and David married into my flour canister! Together we make beautiful waffles at home! I admit, on waffle days, David makes breakfast, but he couldn’t do it without the flour in my canister set!

They’re Only Cute in Cartoons!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Victor® Rodent Control. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I was 17, I got a cute little runt of a beat up cat, Ritchie. Ritchie was a very lovable runt of a cat I met in my Noni’s alley. I picked him up and he put one paw on each of my shoulders and started licking my face! He must have learned that from one of the alley dogs!

I brought Ritchie in to Noni’s house, where we had just had dinner and Noni’s neighbor friends were over to play cards. I fed him some scraps from the table and showed him to my Dad. “Can we keep him? He could catch the mice we have in the house!”

Noni gasped and moved me in the direction of away from the card game. She told my Dad, in Italian, “just let her have the cat so she shuts up about the mice.” Dad never questioned a direct order from him Mother and I got to keep Ritchie. I didn’t realize what a taboo admitting we’d seen a mouse in the house was!

Ritchie turned out to be a pretty good mouser. He caught two in his first week there and we didn’t see a mouse again.

Now, I’m not saying to get a cat if you have mice in your house. Not all cats are great mousers, but if you do want to get a cat, check out some of my cat posts! What I want to talk about is un-mousing your home!

First off, if you have mice in the house, it doesn’t mean you don’t keep a clean house or that you’ve done anything special to attract them. Mice are attracted to food and someplace warm to sleep. And they are quick! They can scamper in when you are walking in the door and you won’t even realize it. We had mice in the garage at the time Ritchie came home that were attracted to the food dish we had in the garage for our dog! You can’t stop feeding your pets to keep the mice away!

Now I’d like to introduce you to the Victor® Sonic PestChaser® PRO! The Victor® Sonic PestChaser® PRO uses sound waves to repel rodents. Now one of the first things I wanted to know was how ultrasonic repellents workand are they safe to have around pets!

The Sonic PestChaser emits a sound wave that rodents are sensitive to, but it doesn’t repel non-rodent pets. If you have hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs or other rodents as pets, you want to keep them in a room that does not have a Sonic PestChaser unit installed.

This method of pest control is so much better than traps or rat poison. It’s a humane way of telling rodent pests that you have No Vacancy at your house! A mouse can suffer in a trap before it dies and you have to dispose of it without knowing for sure that it’s really dead! Plus, trap can set if you knock them with you foot, which can break toes, or when the family dog or cat noses at the bait.

Poison pest control makes the rodents suffer and they die a slow death, usually some place in your home. Don’t worry; you’ll be able to follow your nose to find the bodies. Also, remember that unwanted rodents are attracted to food, especially nuts and grains. Do you really want a box of rat poison next to your kids’ cereal boxes?

Finally, the website dispels some myths about mice and rats and gives some great tips on the things you CAN do to rodent proof your home. The Victor® Sonic PestChaser® PRO is a better way to get rid of rodents in your home without dangerous traps or poison and you can just keep the cat for purrs and playing!

Now, I just want to get the frequency for spiders!

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Photoblog Wednesday

Kitty Siesta Time in front of Cat TV

Things are getting better, but you still only see truly peaceful scenes when it's Kaline and Baggle or Carla alone. Give it time!

Sweep Up On Cyber Monday

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hoover and Dirt Devil. All opinions are 100% mine.


You know who Dirt Devil is. It's those wonderful vacuuming machines, regular stand up or hand-held machines that get the surfaces in your home dirt and dust free. But this year, Dirt Devil is here to help you clean up on savings and pick up even the hardest to clear spots on your Holiday Gift list too!

I just checked out the Dirt Devil Holiday Gift Guide and it is fantastic! They have tips for online shopping for just about anything. Expecting to see a giant ad for just Dirt Devil products, the first couple things I noticed included sites for music and sports cards! There is also a list of places to look for online coupons before you buy and the ever important portals to shortcuts to get you free shipping, because why save all that money just to spend it on shipping?

I do a lot of shopping online for the Holidays because one trip to get decorations is enough shopping immersed in lights and music to get me juiced and more than enough crowded stores for me. I’m definitely using it as a gift idea guide and to direct me to the extra savings I hadn’t even thought about. It’s definitely something I want to share!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas is Coming (So is a Freebie!)

Christmas is coming, or It came way back three years ago. I am happy to say that I have one more page I’m working on for Christmas, I think two for New Years and I think I’m going to do a mostly journaling page about moving to Ohio, that’s right, my scrapbooks still think I’m a Michigander. Then I’m done with 2006 before 2009 is over, so I’m ahead! Well, I mean I’m not three full years behind anymore which is how I started the year!

I bought the Santa Digi Express bundle from Designs in Digital last week, when it was still only $3.50 for the bundle of mini kits. I did one of the Santa’s Express challenges so far and I won a prize for that, elements featuring stitching with lots of journaling pieces. My kind of prize! I’m going to try out another challenge or two this week too. We’ll have to see what I have time for. There is a $5 gift certificate to the store for completing all the challenges. I don’t know that I’ll finish all of them by November 26, when Santa’s Digi Express ends, but I’ll try to do a few more, but I really want to do challenges that will fit into finishing 2006 right now too. We’ll see what I can manage!

I did do this page with one of the mini kits in the Santa’s Digi Express bundle!

Credits : Kit – Candy Cane Lane by Tiger Lily Digis,
Template 111709 Blog Freebie by Digitalegacies Designs

The Christmas Barn in Wilton Connecticut is where we got our 2006 dated ornament. As the caption on the layout says, it was David’s idea that we get the cardinal in 2006, the year the Cardinals beat my Tigers in the World Series! Humph still! But it is a pretty ornament!

You probably noticed if you read the credits for the layouts that it was done with 111709 blog freebie template by Digitalegacies Designs. Hmm… Could that be what the freebie is all about today? You bet!

I very often make a quick template and move the pieces around until I like the design for layouts with multiple photos. I really liked the way this template turned out. I chose not to use the layered background for the final page, but I left that in the template.

Click on preview to go to download page. Password is Connecticut

As always I’d love to see any layouts you make with the template! You can email me or leave a comment with a link to your blog or gallery Of course, I love your comments, preferably here at The Chronicles of Nani rather than at 4Shared, but all comments are welcomed and appreciated!

Great Cat Mews!

Yeah, that pun never gets old to my silly self! But there is wonderful news in the cat world!

First, two nights ago, Kaline came in and jumped up on my hip in bed at about 4 AM and purred as she settled in. This is all very normal for her. That would be worth celebrating as is, since she hadn’t come to bed like she usually does since Carla moved in. But what made it even more celebration worthy for David and me, is that Carla was not just still here, but she was in bed with us and Kaline knew she was there. She kept her eyes on Carla, but it didn’t stop the purr. Now, I don’t expect to see Carla included in their “cat pit” in the next day or two, but peace is coming and they are staring to tolerate each other. YAY!

Kaline and Baggle are curled up in the living room right now and Carla is probably upstairs asleep, but for now, that’s okay while Carla is still nursing that kitty-cold.

Shannon will be HOME for Thanksgiving!

I talked to a volunteer from Paws and Whiskers for a while last night, yeah, get cat lovers talking about cats, I know. But what’s great news is WHY she called me. Shannon, the cat David and I sponsored when we adopted Carla, was adopted! Remember, it was down to deciding between Sassy, who became our Carla, and Shannon. Since black and black & white kitties were on special for only $40 in October, we put the other $30 we planned to spend on the adoption on Shannon in hopes that it might help her stand up to the competition of the cute kittens who’d undoubtedly be able to find homes easier than a 3-year-old. We so would have taken them both if we could have only had the time to bring two more cats in and give all four the attention and quality time they need. We know that three is our limit and I am so happy that Shannon will have a loving home to be thankful for next Thursday and her new family will be able to add her to the things that make their lives full! Buy her a can of turkey cat food, okay?

Paws and Whiskers
See Shannon’s Profile Page

Put Something Tweet In Your Wallet

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Sponsored Tweets. All opinions are 100% mine.


I can tell you as a not-working student, I really love being able to add a little content to what I do for fun and to relax for compensation is a great thing, especially going into the holidays! But, I realize that writing the occasional post to inform people about a product or an idea or a review may not be for everyone. Remember, I was the kid who wanted to be Darrin Stevens when I grew up. I didn’t have to marry a warlock, but that would have been okay too! I really liked the show, I just LOVED Darrin’s job!

But I’m happy to let those of you who didn’t always want to do promotional writing but would still like an opportunity to generate a little extra for the holidays, coffee or to save up for a camera know that there is a little simpler way to earn a “little something extra! You can sign up for sponsored tweets! IZEA, the great company who gives me leads for sponsors to The Chronicles of Nani, recently launched SponsoredTweets.com.

Visit the Tweeters page to sign up. You name the price for a Tweet, advertisers make you an offer and give you some text to put in your tweet. Pretty simple stuff, really. You’ll be rubbing hard drives with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Leann Rimes, Bob Vila, they are all celebrity Tweeters who’d be you “coworkers!”

If you have a Twitter account, suddenly, you have some extra marketable skills that can put some extra in your wallet! Check it out today!

SocialSpark Disclosure Badge

Monday Mug Shot

Yeah, another Monday Mug Shot on Tuesday. Yesterday was a busy day! I took the exam for the last three classes in my Microsoft Server 1 class. I got 94% and my current class average is an A! There are still several case studies that I haven’t gotten my grades back on yet and one more set of case studies and the term project to do yet, so that’s not saying I got an A yet, but I’m doing well. I’m not putting the pressure on myself of needing to get an A, realistically, this is an area where getting official certification is far more important than the letter grades in school. I need to get the knowledge so I can excel where it’s really important. Still when I told my Dad that I got 94 on the test, he said, with a chuckle, “You’re slipping.” Yeesh!

We’re stating to get some peace on the kitty front. Kaline even slept on my hip again for a little the night before last, but not last night. I’m okay with that right now because Carla has a respiratory infect ion that we’re treating her for and I don’t mind the cats not wanting to be close to each other right now. When she’s feeling better and isn’t contagious I’ll want them to be closer again. Bt, they are civil to each other and right now the stress of giving Carla pills twice a day is enough for us!

Here’s this week’s mug!

Phantom of the Opera

The coolest thing about this mug is the mask! On the other side of the mug is a grey Phantom mask that fades into the black cup, but it turns white when there is warm liquid in the cup. Yeah, that’s a Nani-weirdism, I know, but when I did the photographing yesterday I made a cup of coffee in my Keurig coffee maker and photographed it as it filled. The mask got gradually whiter as the cup filled. It was very cool!

While I enjoy going to the theater, I don’t that often. It’s kinda pricey and I guess I’m picky. I saw Cats when I was 20 and didn’t like it. The tickets were a Christmas gift and that made it even worse because I wanted to really like it! I did enjoy the evening out with Mom, Dave and his girlfriend though! I’ve seen Phantom three times and loved it every time! The most recent time was n Detroit, with my Dad and Aunt Judy, before that was in Toronto at the Pantages Theatre with Mom and Dad, and the first time was in Chicago, with Jeff T. That’s when I bought this mug.

Jeff bought my ticket for my 24th birthday and it was the day before my birthday that we saw the show. It was fantastic! I have enjoyed seeing how different productions did the falling chandelier n the play, but the first time, I wasn’t expecting it and it really felt like a giant chandelier was falling on the audience! Yes, the production was fabulous, the singing and acting superb, but the strongest memory in my brain is the falling chandelier and how I was in a split second sure something had gone wrong and it was really falling on us!

After the show we went back to Naperville, where we were stating with Jeff’s parents. There was much talk about the show! It successfully wiped out the unimpressed memories from Cats and brought me back to being okay with going to the the4ater for shows that weren’t Shakespeare. I guess Jeff saved me from becoming a life-long snob, huh?

The next day, my birthday, was the day we flew home. We were flying Southwest out of Midway to go back to Detroit. In all of my then 24 years, I had never seen rain on my birthday. This year was the first!

Just before our plane was due in, the sky just opened up and drowned the airport! Our plane circled around a bit, and then went on to Detroit having never stopped in Chicago! The announcement came that our flight couldn’t land in the rain and we should report to the ticket counter at our gate to be put on a later flight. So, it wasn’t just the first time I saw rain n y birthday, but it was trip-delaying rain at that!

It was going to be three hours or so before we’d be on a Detroit-bound plane. We did what any 24 and almost 25 year-old would do in a situation like this. We sought out the beer man! When we went back down to the beer cart for a third time, the beer man was already opening out beers! If I was getting a third beer now, I’d be staggering to the cart!

When our plane, our new plane, got there, I called Mom. Jeff’s parents shuttled us in Chicago and mine shuttled us in Detroit. What was supposed to be an afternoon trip home, ended up being watching the sun set as the plane was taking off, but it was a fun weekend with a good friend, seeing a great show! It was an awesome rainy birthday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tweet A Wish for Jacob!

Do you have a job that you just love because it makes you feel so good? I was lucky back in the cable days to get to work on a lot of “give back” projects for many charities, the types of things that make you feel good at work and sometimes, the things that brought happy tears, image be damned! This afternoon I found one of those things in my email. It was an alert for a sponsored post opportunity that I was going to write regardless of the compensation offer. Here it is…

LeapFish is teaming with Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant a wish to a special 4-year-old. This grabs at my heartstrings because my cousin’s daughter was just 4 when she was diagnosed with leukemia. Make-A-Wish sent her to Disneyworld and that’s the wish of Jacob.

Jacob is four-years-old and has a rare, life-threatening disease that has affected him since he was born. His one big wish is to visit Disneyland and LeapFish and Make-A-Wish are using tweet-a-cause, a social media initiative trough Twitter to make that wish come true for Jacob and his family.

Tweet-A-Cause empowers Twitter users to make a difference one Tweet at a time. The campaign for Jacob’s Wish runs from today, November 26 until November 27. As their part in the cause, in the Adopt-A-Wish program, LeapFish will donate five cents for every Tweet to Jacob’s wish. Think about all of those addresses in the headers of forwarded jokes, translate that to Tweets at a nickel each and we can amass the $10,000 needed to grant Jacob’s wish in no time!

If you have a Twitter account, please, oh please, tweet this message: “Just tweeted 2 grant a childs wish! #LeapFish donates to #makeawish foundation for each tweet. http://bit.ly/3Tj8A Please retweet!” I tweeted that in my, once in a while used, Twitter account. If you have a Twitter account, please consider pasting that in and getting your contacts to click on it too!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Help!! I Need Link Swaps!

Hello friends! I’m in a bit of a bind! One of the consequences of closing my designing doors is that I’m no longer listed in blogs as a Scrap Bird designer. As a result, my Google rank dropped back to a 2! I need more link swaps!

If you’re not familiar with Goggle’s ranking system, it’s a combination of facts, the biggie being links to your blog. I know I was barely a 3 before, so I must be barely a 2 again now. Where this hits me hardest is that the sponsored posts available to me have gone down and right before the holidays is an awful time for that to happen!

I try to always choose sponsors that are relevant to the content at The Chronicles of Nani, paying close attention to the ideas behind the products or services and that they are things that might be useful to check out for all of you, my readers. In return, I can afford coffee and even scrapbook materials and just last week, I entered that charity poker tournament that my sponsored post earnings paid for!

What I’m asking is, if The Chronicles of Nani is not already a link or blinkie on your blog, would you consider adding me? In return, a link or blinkie to your blog will be added to my friends links on the side bar. I would really, really appreciate the help!

You can contact me about the link swap through the comments here (I moderate, so no comment is published if you add personal information or an email address!) or my emailing me at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com.

Thanks so much for helping this modest student out!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Black Taco and the Bad Taco

Black Taco

I’m writing today to praise Taco Bell…and SHAME one of their locations!

First, the praise.

I have absolutely loved the ads for the Black Jack Taco since they first came out. I always state throughout the commercials in my own raspy pseudo-sexy voice, ”Black Taco.” David will confirm that I do this. I just love the ads.

Also, every time I saw the ads, I wanted to try the Black Jack Taco…but not enough to run out and get one and not even enough for it to stick when I was in the car and drove past a Taco Bell. I think I mentioned that often when I saw the TV ad, that the commercials were great, but not enough to make me want to go to Taco Bell. I hadn’t even been to a Taco Bell since the afternoon before our reception when I took the girls because Taco Bell is their favorite fast food place. I even growled “Black Taco,” along with the radio commercials, which never seemed to coincide with being hungry and driving by a Taco Bell. Still, the pepper-jack sauce was appealing.

Finally, the day of Paws Poker benefiting the Paws and Whiskers cat shelter, while I was still baffled by the question, “How on earth did I make it to the finals?” it was the day all the pieces fell into place for me to try a BLACK TACO!

David and I were both in the dozen remaining players from the Sunday morning session that made it to the weekend’s final round that afternoon. We went to shoot a couple of trains before grabbing a fast food lunch. I had a choice between McDonald’s and Burger King. Next to BK was a Taco Bell! We parked at Taco Bell and David ran over to Burger King while I ordered 2 Black Tacos and Cinnamon Twists.

Taco Bell's Black Jack Taco is Taco Heaven!

Oh my! That was the BEST Taco I’d ever tried! I was so right about the Pepper Jack sauce. I loved it! This is something I will make a plan to get! It didn’t keep the fluke that got me to the poker finals going my way, I lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes, then had enough time to sit at an empty table and finish reading a chapter of my text book while David finished up, ah, but the memory of that awesome taco lingered. In fact, it lingered enough to make me want to seek out a Taco Bell on Tuesday when Dad and I were up north in Michigan doing some Grandma errands.

Now the Shame!

Driving to the I-75 in West Branch, Michigan, we drove through the Taco Bell/KFC combined restaurant. They offered a Black Jack Taco box meal that came with a Black Jack Taco, a regular taco and a burrito supreme. As we placed our order in the drive-through, Dad asked for me if they could put 2 Black Jack Tacos instead of the regular taco. The voice on the speaker said it would cost extra for the Baja sauce that makes a Black Jack Taco a Black Jack Taco. No problem. The sauce that makes a Black Taco a Black Taco is worth a little extra. We pulled up to the window, paid the box price plus extra for the sauce and were on the way back south. Initially I checked to make sure it was right because the box was a KFC box, but the wrapping inside was all Taco Bell. Just after we were on the freeway, I opened the first taco.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said out loud. After paying extra for the black tacos, the shell I was looking at was a regular taco shell. Add to that, when I picked it up, it was almost empty! I opened the other taco, same thing, regular shell, less than half full and that was WITH the lettuce on top! I could tell that the sauce was correct, but it was the wrong shell and the worst looking excuse for a taco I’d ever seen. I put the taco down and grabbed my cell phone and the receipt. I called and asked for the manager.

Sad excuse for a taco, huh?

He was polite and gave the standard, “Come back and I’ll replace your meal.” I told him I was on the road and I wasn’t local. I said I wanted to make sure he knew his employees were giving sub-standard product to his customers and ripping people off is not a good way to ensure return business. I was angry and I would likely not be back to his restaurant, but I thought he’d prefer to hear this from a dissatisfied customer rather than from the Taco Bell corporate office. He apologized and promised to send me coupons for free food good at any Taco Bell. I gave him my email address and he promised to email coupons to me. Almost a week later and still no email. Maybe he’s out of electronic stamps?

Taco Bell in West Branch, Michigan charges extra for this!

So now, I’m doing the only thing I can do. I can tell you all how great the Back Jack Tacos are, but warn you not to ever buy anything from the Taco Bell/KFC in West Branch, Michigan. Unfortunately, as much as I really liked the Black Jack Tacos, when I tasted them done right, the experience of getting ripped off, getting a half-filled, yellow-shelled taco in place of what I expected to be a black-shelled full taco, has put a bit of a damper on my desire to make a point of going out for Taco Bell again as a first thought for a quick lunch.

I am sending a link to this post to the Taco Bell franchising office too.

Baby-Safe Travel

If you’ll be binging a new little one to meet the family for the holidays this year, make a point of visiting Baby Safe Travel. You can fins tips on traveling with baby, baby travel gear and baby-safe hotels for stops along the way. Get your new bundle of joy started on the path of loving going hoe for the holidays!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

I think I’m finally getting a grip on things! I’m working on a filing system to get our bills and Grandma’s bills in and separated. I need to finish putting that together and start getting my school work area cleaned up. I’ll have the last chapter done by the end of tomorrow and then there is one more test, a term project and the final exam. Next semester I’m taking the class that is the prerequisite for a number of the classes for the security certificate and I’ve emailed my adviser for some internship leads for 2010.

I’ve downloaded a copy of Vista Pro and I think I’m going to install it after the class is done. I don’t want all new stuff and maybe install trouble to deal with while class is still in session, but the virtual Windows Server work with every version of Vista Home Premium, which is the one I have! Microsoft has a great program to supply free software to enrolled college students.Uncle Bill!*

*I won’t be so warm and fuzzy about Bill Gates if upgrading to Pro gives me an ulcer!

A New Award!

BoldEdna, from Miss Edna’s Place, selected me for an award on her blog!

As a recipient of the Honest Scrap award, I must reveal ten random things about me!
1. While my views are most similar to Unitarian Christian, I’m not religious. I am, however, a VERY spiritual Christian.

2. David can bring home anything I don’t like for dinner as long as he brings me roasted red pepper hummus and pita chips.

3. I always get stressed at this time of year because I have to have the house ready to entertain and we are usually very laid back about housekeeping.

4. Although I hate cleaning, I LOVE entertaining and I love Christmas, so in the end, it’s worth the stress.

5. I’m loving school and what I’m learning, especially the network security and that’s the direction I ultimately want to go.

6. I quit wearing the costume jewelry rings I used to wear all the time after I got married because my wedding ring makes them look cheap and gaudy.

7. I hate competition. Oh, professional sports is okay, because it’s really only the athletes winning or losing and they get paid so much when they lose, that it’s really not losing, but I hate personally competing. I’m either good enough at what I do, or I’m not. I don’t like being better or worse than someone else.

8. I still like being recognized for my achievements.

9. I don’t like to drive. The Camaro is what makes it bearable.

10. My stats tell me people visit my blog, but I always hope there are comments to moderate when I log on and I'm a little disappointed when there's not!

Scrapping Burn Out?

Remember when I was lamenting all the places I post scrap layouts online going to the points systems and how that made me unhappy and really, uninspired? Well, I started doing a little surfing.

The challenges at my regular sites haven’t inspired me much and when there isn’t a posting bonus to want or even to be inspired by, it’s difficult to want to do a challenge layout. Yeah, I know, I get points and twenty if those points will get me a dollar off at the store and 5 of those additional four dollars I spend to get a kit will pay for my parking at school for a semester! Maybe the points challenges will be more inspiring after I finish school when I have a paycheck instead of a tuition bill.

So, in looking for something more inspiring, I joined Designs in Digital. For their regular challenges, they have points too, but for the special challenges, they have regular posting bonuses. I participated in my first speed scrap this week. That as a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a Wednesday night!

Credits: Chocolate and Vanilla by Mamrotka

I completed this layout for my Patch 365 book while enjoying some chat. Then yesterday, I got a PM for a free set of journaling elements. I LOVE to journal on my pages! That’s one of the things I like about digital over paper scrapping. My handwriting isn’t great and often illegible!

DID does the speed scrap every Wednesday and I think I’m going to definitely try to hang out there on Wednesdays!

I also revisited a place that I joined solely to do a challenge because for the posting bonus a few years back. DSO was digital scrapbooking .org at that time, and Darlene Haughin was a designer there. I considered that a major bonus! I was disappointed when server troubles caused the entire gallery to be wiped out a while do3wn the road and we were encouraged to sign up again and start over. I did because I was on a designer at the store’s CT by that time, although I wasn’t happy about starting over. While we were encouraged to rejoin, no one ever apologized for the gallery being wiped out. That left me feeling a bit forgotten. When it happened again, none of “my” designers were selling there anymore, so I didn’t rejoin, even though I really admired many of the store designers.

Fast forward to Wednesday after the speed scrap. I was reading Kim, of Kim’s Scrapin’s, blog and she was taking about the color challenge at DSO. I thought maybe I’d have another look at them and, just like the first time I saw the site, there was a posting bonus that just caught me. It’s a beautiful mini kit for the lyric challenge and upon seeing it, I signed up! That’s the layout I started working on yesterday that I hope to finish tonight.

So, my exploring has uncovered the fun, and really great tool for catching up, that speed scrapping is and that DSO, which is Digi Scrap Obsession now, still has great PBs for their challenges! I’m not feeling so uninspired now! I’m glad that didn’t last long!

Digitalegacies Designs Kits

I’m not professionally designing anymore, well, yes I am, just in a more retired mode!

Digitalegacies Designs is one of the designers at a new site, Discount Digi Scraps! I’m not creating anything new. DDS is a store for retired products at deep discount prices!

So far I have a few things in my store there. I’ve resurrected Train, Train and I’m All In. You can get these for free once again! I’ve also begun to repackage and upload my store items from Scrap Bird into the DDS store. Eight Days a Week and It’s Christmas All Over The World are there.

You can get the full Christmas kit for $1.50 or just the ornaments in 8 different languages for $1.00. The popular Eight Days A Week Project 365 quick pages are all four for only $1.00. There are other great designers and the store is always growing, but the prices are shrinking! Be sure to check it out!

Cat Call

Things are starting to get a little more peaceful in eh cat world. Carla is not the one being aggressive now. She’s trying to get close for a sniff. Sometimes it’s greeted with a hiss or a growl, but they are all being more tolerant. It’s just taking some time and it will take some more time for it to be all good, but we’re working on it.

We took Carla in for her vet appointment today. She needed to be checked out, but she also has a case of the sniffles. We’d been calling her Sneezy because she would have little sneezing tizzies, but then she developed congested breathing and she even snored. She started having a teary discharge from both eyes too and yesterday morning, so I called to see if I could get her appointment moved up. We took her in this morning at 8 AM.

She has antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection and antihistamines for the runny eyes and sneezing. I have soft treat pill pockets, but she wouldn’t eat them, so I had to go torturous old school on her and put them in her throat. Got the antibiotic down, but I got a scratch on my hand for the antihistamine, which I thought was down her, but she promptly spit out before she ran upstairs. After I got back from the grocery store, I sat with her and got the treat encased antihistamine down her.

Things are starting to get more peaceful. I was on the phone and couldn’t get a shot, but for about a good fifteen minutes today, we had three cats, all on different cat seats, but all watching the big screen Cat TV in the front of the house today. It’s moving along!

Now I’m off to play Donna Reed and have dinner ready for hubby. We’re having marinated chicken, julienne potatoes and broccoli. Off to cook!