Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!


Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite
beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of

black forest cake or the tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com
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Christmas Scrapbook Freebies

If you were visiting from Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies, follow the
hyperlinks for Digitalegacies Designs' mini kit Christmas Cocoa
and the add-on Christmas Cocoa Flowers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Demand What You Want When You Want It

Ondemand

With the holidays coming up you have a busy schedule ahead of you, don’t we all? But you also need some relaxing time too. After work, shuttling the kids, holiday shopping and oh yeah, the house needs to be kept up for visitors too, a nice break for family movie night keeps the stress level down and gives a good break.

But think about it, can you really PLAN those breaks? When you get a couple hours for family time, it’s a little too late to order a movie in the mail and even driving out to rent a DVD that may or may not be available is such a hassle. If you’re a Charter Cable household, the movies you want are there all the time and ready for you at your leisure!

There are over 6000 shows and movies that you can order at any time! No car, no waiting on the mail, just select and make the popcorn! See hit movies, TV shows you missed, even those favorite shows the kids love and are impatient to wait to watch at Charter On Demand. Accessing the channel for ordering is free and right there as part of your Charter channel line up! You CAN keep the holiday rush a bit more sane! Click to learn more at charter.net/ondemand

If you want up to the moment information you can get updates and fun extras on Charter’s Facebook page. It’s a fun way to be in the loop!

Take a stress-free break from stress with Charter On Demand!


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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Photoblog Wednesday

Candy Bombs!


It's my favorite part of Halloween! I love seeing all the little ghouls, goblins, wizards, princesses and giant ladybugs!


Each has 6 pieces of candy. We don't have kids, so without the expense of supporting any kids, we can afford to spoil everyone's kids a little on this night! I love Halloween night!



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Yeah, I know, a day late, but it’s here! I’m on a tight schedule this week. I fell a chapter behind last week with John’s funeral and all the prep for that, so I have two chapters to do this week, plus getting ready for Halloween and a few other odds and ends. Busy, busy, busy!

So without further ado, here’s this week’s Mug Shot!


Underground Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia

I’ve been to Underground Atlanta many times. It’s a mall in the heart of downtown at Five Points, where five main streets meet or cross. The underground mall is built over underground “streets” that were part of Atlanta’s passenger train station before they went underground. In the 1920s, the streets were built up with viaducts to level the roads for better flow and the merchants moved up to the new street level, creating an underground level. Merchants used the storefronts on the underground level for storage and moved their businesses up to the main streets. In 1968, the whole section was reopened as an underground center for retail and entertainment. Underground was closed in 1980 for the construction of the MARTA rapid transit lone, but it reopened in 1989, having been out on the National List of Historic Places for the significant infrastructure and railroad historic past. I went to Underground Atlanta for the first time in October, 19898.

But the first story this mug brings to mind with a huge smile, is from 1996, well, 1995 THEN 1996.

The Olympics were coming to Atlanta. That had been such a huge deal every time I visited the city since being awarded the Olympics. On the top level of Underground The Olympic Experience had opened up where visitors could purchase commemorative everything for the Olympics. There are a few other mugs to tell about that! But the significance of the Olympics now, is that’s why we were there at the end of 1995. I thought it would be fun to welcome the Olympic year in the Olympic city!

I started planning in the beginning of October. We’d stay at The Suites Hotel at Underground. It was the only hotel that was actually at Underground Atlanta and we could just walk from our rooms to the giant party at Underground that went all day and culminated in the big Peach Drop at the center of Underground. I made the plan, figured the ballpark total cost and the prices for plane and hotel and made the flyers. It ended up being John, Heather H, Tracy, Rich, Jeff T, Jeff’s then girlfriend, Jeanne, who is now Mrs. T and Me!

It turned out a good thing that we were staying at Underground for several reasons. First off, once the New Years Eve festivities officially started, Underground was roped off with ID checkpoints. For the evening, it was a party you had to have an official wristband for and 21 and over mall! But we started sampling the fruits of the mall’s entertainment before that!

Tracy, Heather and I met Dave and Dee and their just over year-old twins for lunch a MARTA stop away while Jeanne and the guys went to Hooters at Underground. They were craving football and hot wings. I know the guys were not going there to drool. There are just no other good restaurants at Underground. (And I’m making it clear that’s sarcasm because there are FABULOUS restaurants at Underground!) When we all met back up after lunch, we discovered Fat Tuesdays.

Fat Tuesdays is basically a long counter of slushie machines – alcoholic slushies! We all tried some. Very good! By the end of New Years Eve, I think we’d tried all the flavors! We’d stocked the bathtub beer wine coolers and a couple bottles of champagne for toasting at midnight. There’s another good reason we were staying at Underground. The crowds at the MARTA station not withstanding, although no one got sloppy drunk, I don’t know that any pf us were in trustworthy shape for navigation!

We had dinner at Dante’s Down The Hatch. Dante’s is a Jazz-Fondue restaurant that is built to look like you’re dining on an old ship. I don’t think the one in Underground is open anymore, but the one in Buckhead is! We had a really nice dinner and I think most of us too home souvenir glasses! Then we went back up to the guys’ room, where we’d stocked the tub. Jeff’s brother, who lived in Atlanta joined us for the evening too and we all had a few drinks in the room before returning to the party.

Once the party was really going, it was loud and festive and CROWDED! After a trip back to Fat Tuesdays for more slushies, we agreed that we’d all meet near the Peach Drop site before midnight and ventured off into the party atmosphere. Tracy, Heather and I went into the center of Kenny’s Alley, where all the bars and restaurants were and where a crowd made up almost a mosh pit of dancing to Devo’s Whip It. We were thinking we’d cross over to the other end and ventured in. We got caught up in the dance and totally lost each other. I figured we’d all find each other again on the other side and danced along moving in that direction. When the song was over, we did find ourselves all together again, in front of Fat Tuesdays. The crowd dancing had turned us all in circles and we ended up right back where we started! We decided we didn’t need to go to the other side and bought more slushies!

When our group reconvened in at the spot we’d watch the Peach Drop from, Rich shrieked, “THE CHAMPAGNE!” He said he’d run up to the room to get it.

Now, the Suites Hotel had one elevator, lots of guests there for the New Years Eve party and our champagne was on the tenth floor. That one elevator was moving VERY slow! Rich waited for a while, nervously looking at his watch as it ticked on to midnight. He ran to the stairs, up to the 10th floor and grabbed the champagne. Then he ran down 10 floors of stairs and back across the walkway and down to where we all were with 2 minutes to spare before the each fell! He panted until 1996, but had caught his breath back in time to open that champagne and toast the New Year as the peach fell and the fireworks started.

Once back in the hotel, we looked out the window at the stopped traffic on Peachtree Street and the huge crowd of people waiting to get into the MARTA station and were glad we were staying at Five Points. We also, as we sat sipping from the beer, wine coolers and another bottle of Asti Spumante from the bathtub, realized that we’d had an early dinner at Dante’s and were somewhat picked and hungry. Jeff grabbed the phone and called for pizza.

If you’re painting the picture of this scene in your head, you know the streets are a parking lot and there is still barely room to move in the line into the subway. There are some great restaurants that have now all closed, at Underground and there is NO pizza place at Underground. Dominos Pizza told Jeff that they couldn’t deliver to The Suites hotel at Underground.

This became a “Let me talk to your manager,” issue with Jeff, who insisted on having him paged when he was told the manager wasn’t in. Jeff explained that there was a roomful of drunk people who needed food to sober up and it was their fault if we never sobered up. He went on to inform the poor manager that we were from Michigan and could easily report him to the owner of the franchise in Ann Arbor. You just can’t deny people from Michigan Detroit-style pizza when they travel! The manager asked for his address and said he’d send some coupons for free pizza. Jeff gave him his address and seemed satisfied. Honestly, no one was THAT drunk and Jeff was just being mischievous, but it was a fun prank for everyone, even, I think, the Dominos manager. He might still tell the story about the insane Michiganders to his friends.

We ended up emptying the mini bars in both rooms and crunching candy, chips and macadamia nuts and boy we went to town at the complimentary breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant that went with our stay! We had a great time and learned a valuable lesson this trip – when you buy the New Years Eve booze, BUY MUCHIES!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

We’re Gonna Be New Parents!

Carla Yastrzemski “Yaz” schmoozing for a new home

We went to Paws and Whiskers today thinking we’d be meeting and possible taking home a handsome 5-year old Siamese named Carl. Unfortunately, sweet as Carl is to humans, he is a one-cat-household boy. He doesn’t play too well with other cats! Kaline and Baggle would not be too eager to welcome a new brother with a nasty temper! Even when Kaline plays tough-cat, she really isn’t truly nasty. So, Carl was not the cat of destiny I thought he was when I emailed his profile to David while he was on railfanning vacation this past week. David grew up with and loved Siamese cats and had said he wanted to name the next cat after Carl Yastrzemski, his baseball hero as a kid. We held and cuddled with him a little but also saw him pick a couple scraps with the other cats.

Paws and Whiskers is a very cool shelter. They are cats only and no-kill. Every cat who finds themselves at Paws and Whiskers will find a loving home and be as spoiled as one can be living in a cage while they are there. The cats come out of those cages and run around at the shelter, so they don’t live 24/7 in a cage and the people who work there love cats. They all get attention and playtime too. After accepting that Carl was not the right cat for our home, we stayed and met and played with a few cats. There are so many sweet kitties there. As we pulled cats out of their units or reached down to pet the ones already out and about, we realized that deciding if one was right for us wouldn’t be easy.

I was flirting with a calico kitten and her tortoise littermate. Now, the kittens weren’t a real consideration. David and I agreed that if we got a shelter-cat, it would be an adult cat. Cute little kittens will have a much easier time finding a home. There were quite a few of the cats who stopped and gave us a rub or a bump, but two of them were especially attentive and appealing.

Shannon is a 3-year-old brown tabby who was raised as a foster cat after her pregnant mother was found in a dumpster in a box with three other cats. She was adopted for a couple of years but returned because she became irate with the kids in the house. No one was sure why she came to dislike kids so much, but she is an otherwise sweetheart. She just needs a home without kids. Well, okay, we have that.

Sassy is a year-old black cat. She was too young to be pregnant and roaming the streets. A woman had taken her in to have her kittens before taking her to Paws and Whiskers. Sadly, she’d had it pretty rough in the streets and her kittens didn’t make it. She’s spayed now, so there won’t be more kittens and she is just a cuddly little girl in need of loving home.

It really did come down to Shannon or Sassy. Shannon was sweet and attentive when we went to her, but Sassy was the one who kept coming back to us. She sold herself well! Right now, there is a promotion for adopting black or black and white cats. The $70 adoption fee is cut to a $40 sponsored fee. So, when the decision was made, the cat who really worked it was a less-expensive sponsored cat.

The reduced cost for the adoption had nothing to do with our choice. Sassy was the cat who wanted us the most. But because we were deciding between the two, we spent the full adoption fee and put the difference into sponsoring Shannon. Now Shannon, who didn’t come to live with us, is a sponsored $40 to adopt cat.

Look at this lovely little girl!

Shannon is now a sponsored cat at Paws and Whiskers
She is sweet, calm and cuddly. The only reason she didn’t come home with us too, is that we had 3 cats and know we can provide the love they need and keep up with cleaning litter boxes and keeping the food and water socked. We had four cats all together for a while. We know that’s too many for us. If not for that knowledge, we’d have taken Shannon too! So, I can tell you that whoever adopts her will get a price break and a great cat!

If you are in the Toledo area or if you pass through and have been thinking about opening your heart to the purrs and cuddles of a feline companion, stop at Paws and Whiskers and meet Shannon!


Now, as for Sassy…

Her name is no longer Sassy. We’re going to christen her Carla Yastrzemski when she gets here. We’ll call her Yaz. It’s in the same way that Kaline is Alexis Kaline and we call her by her middle name. I noticed that the cats at the shelter really don’t respond to the names they’re given at the shelter. There are so many of them and so many names, they really don’t have the chance to know the sound of their names before they find homes Even so, the transition from the “Sas” sound and the “Yaz” sound should be pretty easy. We get to pick her up Sunday evening, the day after Halloween or on Monday. The shelter has a policy that black cats adopted just before Halloween can’t go home until after Halloween. There are actually people who would adopt a shelter cat as a decoration and then either take them back, or worse, just set them out and send them away. If Yaz decides she’d like to sit in the window and watch kids in costume, she’ll just have to wait until next year to participate in the holiday. If it keeps creeps from “buying” a cat as a decoration and not as a pet, we’re all for the rule and more than willing to wait to bring Carla Yaz home! If Baggle and Kaline are a good example, I don’t see why anyone would think a cat would stay anywhere “decorative” when people come to the house anyway!

So, we’ll be starting November with the loving growls and hisses of the kids getting to know and get used to a new sister and by Christmas we’ll be telling three cats that the Christmas tree isn’t a playground and Baby Jesus is for the nativity and not a cat-toy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Celebrating A Heart of Gold

John W. Scully
January 16, 1959-October 21, 2009

I have a heavy heart today. John Scully, one of my oldest and dearest friends died yesterday from complications of the heart and lungs due to emphysema. John was only 50 years old.

I first met John when I was 15 and learning how to drive. Mom would take me up to the mall after close to practice. Then we’d go to Dunkin Donuts to talk bout what I did, or more often didn’t, do right. At that time, John was 22 and working the evening shift at the donut shop. He was a sweet and friendly man who just clicked with both Mom and me. He always had a warm smile and a good laugh to share with everyone and he was never afraid to poke fun at me! I admired that because generally my friends seldom did that at that time.

As I’ve said before, I met all three of my closest and oldest friends at D&D. As friends from school met John, he became part of the group my Mom named “The Zoo.” Years after high school as many friends went their separate ways, John and Scott, who I did not go to school with, remained and our family of friends grew.

Having met when we were 15 and 22, our relationship was always that of a big brother-little sister. He always looked out for me, talked me out of making dumb mistakes and sometimes talked me into making the better choice. He was also the first one to check yes when I asked everyone about an evening or weekend out. Through the years we did so many fun things together. He and I went to my first national league baseball game together in 1991. That was on a trip to Atlanta when I had a job interview with a railroad video company. He wanted to go together just ion case I ended up moving to Atlanta and we didn't get to see each other as much. He was also one of the great idea-men in making costumes for our many wrestling fan events in the late 80s, even playing Virgil to my Tedi DiBiasse!

John was one of the first people to tell me that qualifying for Mensa was “No big deal,” to him and it didn’t surprise him. We met when I was seriously in my teenage inferiority complex and he was one of the first to tell me that the only stupid thing I ever said was that I was stupid. He played an instrumental part with Mom in getting me over that.

He was an incredibly generous man to everyone he loved. He was the first one to offer to drive when we went on trips and he never accepted gas money, even when we were all younger and poorer!

In 2004, when I made my tongue-in-cheek run for the White House, he was my running mate. Some of his social ideas were even more liberal than mine, although we both maintained fiscally conservative ideas. He was so much fun to have as a partner in our faux-political race.

In 2006, he and Sheri did all the planning for my 40th birthday celebration, including that it was John who bought all of the tickets for the baseball game a week later where the section was filled with my friends from Michigan and Missouri that came in a few at a time at the game I thought I only had two tickets for!

He was always there for the fun events in my world, but equally there to ease my burdens during the rough times.

When Mom died, it was hard on all of us. My close core of friends, the Zoo, enjoyed times with Mom as the “den mother.” When I, the one who usually does the planning, was just too emotionally involved to function as an organizer, John took over, gathering information for flowers, time for us all to be together to support each other and just spending lots of time making sure I was okay. During that time, along with Scott and Kelly, he held me up.

There are so many wonderful things I can tell about this incredible man who was a fixture in my life for almost three decades, more than half of both of our lives. There is an empty spot in my heart just now, but the world of wonderful memories will eventually fill it and the pain of losing him will be replaced with the reminders of the better person I am for the part of him he left on my heart forever.

I love you and miss you, John. Thank you for everything.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Very Hard Day

Yesterday was a rough day. Lots of negative things happening.

I visited Grandma in the earlier part of the afternoon. It was a nice visit, but not one of her better days. I’ve been spoiled by seeing her so often on her really good days. Those conversations are like the ones I’ve always had with her. Yesterday, the conversation was a bit more disjointed. She was doing well remembering people and places, but was having difficulty staying focused and changed the subject of our conversation in midstream, picking up a conversation I wasn’t in! Those are the days that drain rather than energize me when I visit, but I still enjoy my visits with her.

After seeing Grandma, I met Scotty. We were going to see John in the hospital before dinner. I’m saddened that John is not at all doing well. When we were leaving the hospital after seeing him Saturday, I asked Scott if he was ready to quit smoking now. John has emphysema from years of smoking. Yesterday he was in a breathing mask with a morphine drip. When I spoke to his sister last night, she told me his time is very short. My dear friend, a big brother to me for the last 28 years, will be leaving us very soon.

John, me and Scotty at John's 50th birthday party earlier this year

Dinner started out very quiet for Scott and me. We’ve been a pretty tight family for years. This is scary. It hurts. We all just celebrated John’s 50th birthday this year. January 16 will be a hard date for us in 2010.

A stop at Trader Joe's when I was in Novi was a bright spot in the day. There are some things that I really like that I can only find there, only there for a reasonable price anyway. So I came home with a large grocery tote with some special stuff.

After I pulled in, while I was unlocking the door, our neighbor from across the street came into the driveway. He apologized for the intrusion, but said he had sad news. Then he asked if we had a black cat. One had been hit by a car and died. It was crossing the street from our house.

I was a bit shaken. I told him we have a tuxedo who is mostly black. My mind was racing. There was a stray, or anyway an outdoor black cat, that I’d seen in the back yard a few times, a skittish cat that ran when anyone looked like they were going to come near. But just a couple weeks ago while David was bringing something in the house, Baggle stepped outside in the driveway. David told him to get back inside and he gently walked back up the step and into the house, but could he have snuck out while I was leaving to see Grandma?

Our neighbor asked for a description of Baggle’s markings. He said he’d check out the body to see if it matched. I said he was a 16-pound cat with a white chest and paws. Right off the bat , when I said 16 pounds, the neighbor said he didn’t think it was him. He told me he’d look at the body and if he didn’t come back, that was good news, it wasn’t a match and he’d continue to see if he could find the cat’s owners. I shook his hand and thanked him for coming over to let me know.

Too big, not enough black fur - THANK GOODNESS!

When I went in the house, Kaline was in the dining room watching the door. No Baggle. My heart raced. I called him and shook the treat bag, sure he was home, but needing to see him. Baggle walked in around the sofa in all his beautiful fat-cat glory. I showered him in scritches. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you tonight, Baggle Buddy!”

Our kids are house cats, that is exactly why. We live on a 35 MPH road near the corner of a 50 MPH main road. It’s just way too dangerous for domestic animals to roam outside. The city wildlife, bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels are not domestic but acclimated and they don’t even always win. Domestic animals take greater chances because they trust people. Even the ones who animals really can trust, can’t necessarily see them quick enough to react in a car. If that is the stray we sometimes see in our yard, I don’t know if it does have a human family. It was always a scaredy-cat whenever anyone tried to approach it.

After the rough visit with Grandma, disheartening news about John and the scare with Baggle, last night was a night for a good cry, and extra treats and hugs for the kids.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finding Your Next Best Friend


Growing up our family had a tri-colored collie, Missy. She was an awesome dog! She was the epitome of the char4act5eristics of her breed. Collies are smart, loyal, protective of their families and homes and big enough to be intimidating if they need to be, yet gentle enough to play with the kids and not hurt anyone.

I’d like to introduce you to the boy whose picture is on top of this post. His name is Conner. Conner is a neutered 9-year-old brown and white rough collie. He lives in Temperance, Michigan…in a shelter. He’s one of the many pets in this country that is without a home.

There are lots of reasons pets end up in shelters looking for homes. In this economy, people have had to give up beloved pets because they plain can’t afford to feed them or because they lose their homes and end up having to move to someplace they can’t have pets. There are many cases too, where they pet is the companion of a sick or elderly person who passes. Can you imagine grieving the loss of your master and then being sent out to a shelter to live in a cage? And believe me, pets do grieve. I remember watching Azzie for a week after Mom passed. She really missed her.

Conner has a chance at least. He’s listed on Petango, an Internet search site where you can find and adopt a pet. I found Connor’s profile at Petango. I guess, even as a cat person, I’ll always have a soft spot for Collies after Missy. Adult pets, when adopted, of course will need a little adjustment time, but they have the experience of having lived with a family before. They are already familiar with people-rules and already know how to get to know you and get to love you.

Of course another reason to visit Petango.com - Adopt a cat!! I was hoping our local cat shelter was one of the shelters listed there in our area and I think I’ll mention Petango to them when David and I attend the fundraiser poker tournament next month. Petango posts pictures when they can and tells you all about the cats, dogs and other pets in need of homes in your area.

If you have room in your home and heart for a faithful companion, a furry someone who will be ever grateful for rescuing them from life in a cage, please consider checking out Petango to find those in need near you.


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Monday Mug Shot

Yesterday was a just the cats day and me. I think maybe that would be what many of my weekend days would be like if I was still single and had moved independently away from my family in Michigan. I had a wonderful, productive and creative day, but I’m still so glad that on most Sundays I have David! I’m usually a much more social, people-person, but every now and then I like my alone time, time for just me that I can be lazy, that is spend the day in my jammas, and just do my own thing. Those are NOT days married people get often.

I’ll finish off the last school assignment for the week today. The official school week starts on Tuesday, so I had enough time to take a day off from school yesterday without falling behind at all too. In addition to laundry and some kitchen chores, I got 7 scrapbook pages done before dinner, 3 more after dinner. The three after dinner were done at the same time and they were photos from the same day with similar layouts that I did as a group, so It’s not like I created three solo masterpieces after dinner. Like I’ve said before, the layout and presentation is very important to me, but the art is the life the photos document, not the book! I’ll post a few of those layouts later.

David and I visited Grandma Saturday, so I’m going to go see her Tuesday this week instead of Monday. I woke up with a little bit of a sore throat this morning and I don’t want to make the 2-hour drive after taking Benadryl. So today will be the case studies form this week’s chapter, finishing laundry and then I’ll go to the grocery store if my knee still has something left in it after all of the laundry stairs! If not, dinner will be the ham steaks in the fridge. We usually keep the ham steaks, which have a hefty shelf-life being cured meat and all, on hand for the Nani doesn’t get to the store and David doesn’t feel like stopping on the way home nights.

This kinda segues into the mug shot pretty well!


Sleeping Bear Dunes Empire, Michigan

This mug has become one of memories of accomplishments and hopes, goals for the future. It’s mug everlasting mug of recovery encouragement!

In August of 2003, John and I took our niece Heather and Nephew Eddie for camping and dune climbing retreat. Heather was 15 and Eddie was 9. We camped and stayed at Interlochen Sate Park where we enjoyed flaming marshmallows the night before. Okay, I love to make marshmallow torches. I don’t like marshmallows, but I love burning them on sticks. That’s since childhood! Mom and Dad never let me have a second marshmallow. As an adult, I can make as many gooey bricks of charcoal as I want!

In the morning we learned a valuable lesson about charcoal! We probably would have been better off using the burnt marshmallows and cooking our Eggo waffles over the fire on sticks! I have always used Matchlight self-starting charcoal on my little grill for cooking. My Dad has always grouched about it, telling me I’d be able to taste the lighter fluid in the briquettes in my food that I cooked over them. Never has happened, until that morning! Now, in defense of Matchlight, the store was out of Matchlight when I bought the charcoal for our trip, so I bought a different brand. BIG MISTAKE! We found out what Dad had been grouching to me about. The waffles were awful! I put extra syrup on mine to drown the taste of the lighter fluid, but I ended up burping up that taste all morning. YUCK!

After striking our campsite and properly disposing of the nasty charcoal, the whole unused balance of the bag too, we loaded into the car for the drive to the National Lakeshore.

The climbing part of the dune is a sand face that extends 400 feet up to a beautiful vista looking down on the rolling sand hills that lead out to Lake Michigan. We went to the base of the sand mountain and began our climb, our attempt at reaching the summit. I made sure we all had sunscreen on a mildly hot and clear day. That close to the lake the sun was definitely a factor. John got the kids-size walking sticks for the two of us adults to kinda even out the age-handicap! Eddie took off running up the hill, leaving his older sister and Aunt and Uncle staring in amazement. All of that 9-year-old energy raced up the hill and upon reaching the top while we were still struggling or way up, he ran back down and started up again. He laughed and taunted us. He told us it was fun, which was the point after all.

About two-thirds of the way up, Heather and I stopped to rest. John had gotten about a quarter of the way when he went back to the gift shop and got the waling sticks for us. I had put my flip-flops in my bag with my camera and was carrying that backpack-style as I climbed. I sat in the two-thirds spot, a little out of breath, and took some pictures, thinking I might call it a done deal there and wait for the other three. But I thought to myself, that I didn’t want to fail without at least trying to climb a little further. So using the stick for leverage on the shifting sand, I resumed my ascent.

Now is a good time to mention that shifting sand. For every large step you attempt, gravity pulls the sand down and you with it about a half of the step you take. That can be frustrating. It’s great exercise, but you take about twice the steps you would to walk 400 feet on level ground! We kept climbing. Eddie ran down past us again and encouraged us to keep climbing.

We got to the level area just before the final ascent to the top about the same time Eddie made it up to that area a fourth time. He hadn’t been climbing the final, shorter section yet because he didn’t want to get too far away from us. We had an agreement about us being able to see each other at all times. When we got to the level area, we noticed that while shorter, that final part of the climb was steeper! We decided we’d let Eddie climb it while the other three of us rested at the “semi-top,” deciding that was sufficient for climbing. Eddie took of running for the3 final ascent.

As I sat there watching him run up a little slower on the steeper last part of the climb, I thought about what Mom had told me about that climb when we were getting ready for the trip. Eddie was going someplace I’d never been. When we went on the Dune climb when I was a kid, Dad climbed all the way to the top, but Mom and the kids waited on that same plateau. In my brain, as I looked at the steeper, but shorter last part of the climb, I thought “this won’t do!” I can’t let Eddie climb up there by himself. I started the steep climb to the top.

Eddie made it up to the top way before I did, of course. He never looked back until he got to the top. Then he saw me climbing up. He cheered, happy that someone was going to join him. He kept calling me, saying “You can do it, only a little more!” Then it became not just a desire for accomplishment for me, but I didn’t want to let Eddie down. He held his hand down to me as I reached the top. “Only a few more steps to go!”

I got to the top and Eddie hugged me. “Yay!” We stood at the top waving arms and shouting to John and Heather. We tried to coax them into joining us, but they vehemently shook their heads and said we were crazy. The view was cool, rolling mounds of sand and clear blue sky with the intense line of water in the distance. Totally cool. I pulled a bottle of water out of my bag and Eddie and I shared it before we began the, easier, climb down.

What a great sense of accomplishment! I was worried that I’d be SO sore the next day, but climbing a mountain of sand isn’t as hard on the joints and muscles as walking on pavement, or even dirt. The shifting sand absorbs a lot of the impact! I actually felt great the next day when I went to the park at home for my afternoon walk.

I did it! I made it all the way to the top of Sleeping Bear Dune. I have that sense of accomplishment because I reached that goal, but I have a new goal too. I want to get my knee back up and running and in shape that I can attempt it again. Even if I don’t get all the way to the top, like in 2003, I want to feel lie I can give it a try again.

For having raced up and down the dune four times, including all the way to the top the last time, Eddie finally did run out of energy. We have photos of him asleep across the menu at dinner to go with the triumphant pictures of the two of us at the very top!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Literary Love at First Bite

I love having the opportunity to tell you about a good book. I love even more telling you about a good book written by a mother daughter team.

P.C. and Kristin Cast, authors of the House of Night Series, are releasing a new installment, Tempted, in the series which follows 16-year-old Zoey Redbird who is going through the change into an actual vampyre.



You can see this video and others for the series, including interviews with the authors at You Tube.

If you go to the main site for the book series, you can read the first chapter of Tempted, you can even listen to the first chapter while you’re there reading some of the background on the series!

Oh, one more thing! Make sure you log on to your Facebook account and check out The House of Night Fan Page on Facebook! You can connect with other fans and keep up with the series!

If you love to read, are a fan of vampires or if you have someone in your world that does, you must check out the House of Night Series and the newest release Tempted!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bleh!


Yeah, I know it’s not a very Nani title for a blog entry. But that’s my today. It’s raining...again. But ooh, bonus! Today we might get rain mixed with the first snow of the season.

I know. I’m in Ohio. We get snow.

But it’s only October! While the snow will be mixed with rain and it’s supposed to be in the 40s, so it won’t stick to the ground or anything else, I was expecting better of winter this year! We had such a mild summer it’s supposed to balance with a mild winter, not an early one!

I’m just being cranky because the weather really does have an effect on people. Give me a mild sunny fall day with a little nip in the breeze to tell me it’s that time of year when there is baseball AND football and I’m skipping and smiling. Okay, not skipping unless I want to be falling, but the warmer air and lower humidity are sure nicer on my worn out joints!


I have to share what I’ve been enjoying for the past week! LOOK!


Timothy’s Perfectly Pumpkin K-Cups - just in case I didn’t LOVE my Keurig coffee maker already! I can brew one perfect cup of pumpkin spice coffee, then add the lite creamer and Splenda to make the ultimate sweet drink for only 10 calories! Totally fall and totally Wife 1500 approved!


On the subject of Wife 1500, I’m going to remain committed to that plan as I go on with year 2 of married life. I can’t say at this point that my wedding outfit will fall off me, but I do have a couple more months. I can, however, in the face of vacations and all the a decadent cake at our reception with leftovers, say I haven’t gained, like many women and further I’ve lost a little bit in my first year of marriage. I’m also an emotional eater and I wasn’t very true to my plan for a couple months of trauma and then readjusting with Grandma. Yeah, those are excuses for lack of control on my part, but recognizing those challenges is part of not repeating them, or at least dealing with them better. And like I said, I still have a couple months too!


Spices ready - Let's get cooking acorn squash gnocchi!

This is the time of year that I love to cook! There are so many farmers markets that are really full of local produce and I love fall squashes. It’s also the time of year for soup! I love soup and I love the random creativity I can have experimenting in the kitchen with soup! I have a container of broth I thawed in the refrigerator. I made that one with a rotisserie chicken carcass and some thick-sliced Canadian bacon. The combination of meats made a wonderful flavor in the broth! I’m thinking I’ll thaw some of the reserved meat and veggies and add it back into some of the broth with a handful of noodles for lunch. Tonight I’m going to make some sauce for the acorn squash gnocchi I made last week. I found the recipe online and they are so good! The first time I made them, I made my own brown sugar and sage butter sauce and it was outstanding! I’ll have that for supper while I make a serving of spaghetti for my less adventurous with food husband! In the long run, washing extra dishes is a little more exercise, right?

Okay, I’m going to make that lunch my stomach is now growling for and get back to my homework. Stay tuned for some layouts and scrapping sale news!


Links:
Timothy’s Perfectly Pumpkin K-Cups
Acorn Squash Gnocchi recipe

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photoblog Wednesday

Chocolate Treasures

David and I both love Canadian chocolate bars! The Hazelnut Kit Kat bars were on sale, so we got a few of those. Boy were they good! There could be a new favorite in the wings! That’s a good thing because we were specifically looking for Caramilk Maple, a household favorite and a staple “souvenir” every time we go the the Great White North and couldn’t find it anywhere. We even searched every convenience store we stopped at. Caramilk Maple seems to have gone the way of my Creamy Latte yogurt and David’s KC Masterpiece Ruffles!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Make It Like Mama!


Okay, the first thing I’ll say is YUM!

The next thing I want to do is tell you about the Dr. Oetker Kitchen Makeover Contest. You can win a $20,000 kitchen makeover or one of 8 great second place prizes. You just have to visit Savory Moments to enter your PIN and get a bonus PIN when you sign up. The PINs for the contest are on boxes of of Dr Oetker’s Casa Di Mama pizzas.

Now there is a contest catch. It’s a Canadian company and the sweepstakes is open to Canadian residents only, but this American woman has already signed up for the Savory Moments newsletter and bookmarked the site!

In the Casa Di Mama tab, right after a scrumptious-looking featured Casa Di Mama Ultimate Pepperoni Pizza is a recipe for tzadziki! I love tzadziki! There is also a beer suggestion to go with Ultimate Pepperoni pizza, a lemon cream cheesecake recipe for dessert. There ’s also a tip on making it an ultimately warm and relaxing pizza evening! There is a full feature for both Ristorante and Casa Di Mama featured pizzas and a link to past features, like a tasty online library!

Of course, if you’re in Canada, treat yourself to their fabulous gourmet pizzas and keep entering PINs to win that “Make It Like Mama” giveaway for a full $20,000 kitchen makeover. The contest runs until January 4, 2010. You can sample Ultimate Pepperoni, Hawaiian, Meat,Cheese, Deluxe, try them all and try the ones you like best again! Then log on to your account and enter those PINs!

If you are a winner, let me know - But I’m going to ask for an invite to have one of those Casa Di Mama pizzas in your new kitchen!


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Why McDonalds Canada is Better!


I just posted “McDonalds is way better in Canada than the US” on my Facebook page and it caused a little bit of a stir. I got an agreement, a disagreement and a couple of “why?” posts on my wall in reply to it. I don’t really get replies to my wall posts that often. I’m not on Facebook as much as a lot of my friends are, maybe once or twice a day on days I visit a lot.

Okay, back up a little.

David and I took a weekender trip to Hamilton, Ontario, hoping to get some train photos in fall color this past weekend. I can confirm that my new passport works! I have a Sarnia, Ontario stamp to prove it. When crossing into Canada from the US, you have to ask for a passport stamp. The customs agent was less than enthusiastic when he stamped my passport, but he did it. They don’t commonly stamp credentials when you are crossing from the US to Canada by car. But they will stamp mine every time I cross!

If you have read some of The Chronicles of Nani, you know how grumbly I am about paying $100 dollars for a passport to go to a country I was born a half hour from and traveled to without a passport for 42 years. So, I’ve paid my $100 to go to Canada. Seriously, I have no plans to go anywhere else that I need to spend the $100 for. So, the passport is good for ten years. I’m going to ask for a stamp every time I cross the border. It’s sort of my receipt. In ten years, I’ll count the stamps and determine if I’ve used it enough to make it worth renewing.

Oh, it will more than likely be worth it. I’ve spent a lot of my now 43 years visiting Canada. I’ve had many birthday dinners in Windsor. Of course, now they’d be smaller dinners because of the 7 people at my last birthday at Spago Ristorante, only 2 have passports, so my plate of gnocchi would go up $500 in price!

Now I’m hungry for Spago’s gnocchi. I guess it will have to be an intimate dinner with my husband.

Fall colors in Ontario - with sun

It was a pleasant weekend and the fall colors were very vibrant, especially when the sun was hitting them. Unfortunately, that was not an often recurring theme. David had said that if it weren’t for the fall colors, the weather forecast really wasn’t optimistic enough to make the trip, but with a promise of partly sunny skies, we gave it a try. We got a few shots, but a lot of frustration as the clouds filed in both days. But the railfan cuisine was good!



See that wonderful, amazing double chocolate muffin at the top of this entry? Oh my! It was SO tasty and, unusual for muffins, no heartburn after! I love muffins, but don’t eat them often because the grease gives my heartburn for half the day after I eat it. I had that with lunch, an awesome salad, on Saturday. It was moist and very chocolatey, but NO heartburn!

It’s from McDonalds!

NOW we’re back to why Canada McDonalds is so much better! With that wonderful muffin, I had a Garden Fresh Salad. You can’t get a Garden Fresh Salad in the US; too many vegetables. I’m serious about that, although it’s said with a sarcastic air. This salad had bell peppers and red onions on it with just a little shredded cheese as a condiment. The salad I like best at home, and I do like it, just I’d order it less often if we had the choices they have in Canada too, has gobs of cheese and a mound of bacon on it.

Sunday morning I had a basic breakfast burrito. They don’t have the burritos with potatoes and meat in them, but the basic sausage, cheese and egg burrito also had onions and bell pepper in it. It’s FABULOUS and still only 300 calories. Lunch was a Mediterranean salad. OMG!! Peppers, onions, olives and feta. Canadian McDonalds is actually a restaurant, not heart attack in a bag. And the food tastes good. We had three stops at McD's this weekend and three really good meals. Amazing! At home, I don’t like the convenient railfan meals so much. They don’t taste bad, but they don’t taste good. They’re just fast. In Canada, McDonalds was a stop to look forward to at meal time!

McDonalds Canada Mediterranean Salad

The major difference between the quality of food at the fast food giant in the two countries is the veggies. Why are we Americans so deathly afraid of vegetables that they aren’t marketable at our suicide joints? The lower grease muffins can’t be found at an American McDonalds either. On Saturday morning, when we hit the drive -thru before we left town, we were told they didn’t make substitutions when I asked for apple dippers instead of hash browns. Huh? First off, that was that location's policy. I’ve substituted the fresh apples for the fried potatoes before, but why isn’t that franchise policy? Seems to me they’d sell more food if they helped keep their customers alive and healthy longer.

Anyway, McDonalds in Canada has healthier choices and their healthier choices are better tasting than McDonalds in the US. In the end, that could make the passport worth renewing all by itself!

Yoyo Shop - Yo! Christmas Is Coming!

Yo! I mean yo-yo !

I remember Christmas as a kid. There was always a yo-yo in my stocking. What a great memory! There was always candy, lip balm, jewelry and other small toys, but from an age too young to really know how to use a yo-yo to the age where it was cool to learn tricks and everyone at school had them, my brother and I got yoyos every year. I usually got the butterfly shaped one. Those were my favorite because they’re easy to use. I usually had mine open from the packaging and played with by the end of Christmas dinner. It was one of the small gifts that was easy to take along to my Grandmother’s house!

Yo Yo Shop is based in the UK and they have a fabulous selection of yoyos! My inner child perked right up when I opened the age! They have fro beginner to pro models. I was pleased to see butterfly type yo-yos in each category. I’d hate to think after all these years that the tricks I learned were easier because I had a beginner model and not because I practiced them! I wasn’t too shabby a yo-yoer in 5th grade! Yo Yo Shop delivers within the UK for free, but they do ship worldwide. They have a section of yo-yo videos too. In fact many of the beginner models come with instructional CDs or DVDs. I didn’t have the benefit of step-by-step instructions to learn “Around the World”. Maybe I could have mastered “Walk the Dog.”

A yo-yo is a great stocking stuffer and a fun toy no matter what the holiday weather. Yo YO shop is an excellent choice for quick and easy shopping with plenty of time to get that perfect stocking stuffer ready to wrap - Yo!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Nebraska
Honeymoon Hot Spot!

Nebraska was one of the new states for me on our honeymoon. I’ve wanted to see Nebraska for a long time with almost as much passion as I wanted to see Iowa!

We made the most of our day in Nebraska which included a baseball game and getting a picture of a police car in Wahoo Nebraska. There’s just something kinda cool and worth a giggle every time I see the photo of the police car that says “Wahoo Police.”

Of course, I showed photos from our day in Nebraska while we were gone. There was the coffee tower in Omaha, a water tower that I was working on convincing David was not just shaped like a giant coffee pot, but was full of coffee! He still laughs when I bring it up like he doesn’t believe me!

In Lincoln, Nebraska, we saw Torn Notebook, a fantastic larger-than-life sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. I had wanted to see that sculpture for many years and wasn’t at all disappointed. I have loved Oldenburg’s work since I was introduced to it in high school humanities class. I can now add Torn Notebook to my collection of photos of his work that I’ve taken myself, which includes Free Stamp in Cleveland, Bat Column and Chicago and Plantoir in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I think maybe one of the cooler highlights of the Nebraska part of the trip was that it was a turning point for our baseball luck! The Omaha Royals were the first home team we saw win and it was our FIFTH game! The Royals beat the Oklahoma City Red Hawks, 1-0. I love a good pitchers duel!

It was a game time sky pregnant with rain, we feared LOTS of rain, but the rain managed to only stay impending through the game. We felt Ike it was us and five other fans. I think the team’s last place finish and the weather kept many fans away from the park on that night. They did strike out the Coca-Cola Strike Out batter, good for a free coke for everyone. We did collect real cokes for that. David was miffed that he caught one of the Hebrew National squishy balls and the balls were NOT good for turning in for a hot-dog. They shot a hot-dog and a bunch of balls into the crown. Bad promotion. Don’t include the squishy balls for something called the hot-dog toss unless they are good for turning in at the concession stand for a hot-dog!

The pitchers duel made for a quick game that helped stave off the rain too. But that did mean that we didn’t have time for late-innings ice cream! Since we made plans for dessert every day on our honeymoon, that meant we had to make a stop on the way back to the hotel. We got Blue Bunny ice cream treats at the same C-Store where I got this mug.

All in all, Nebraska is a very cool state that I’ll enjoy visiting again!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scrap News and Stuff

I’m going to try to get back to my regular features next week. This over a week between blog entries is SO not me! I think things are getting to some semblance of normal in my world again. It’s a new normal, but it’s okay. I just have to adjust.

I keep updated in between visits to Grandma via phone and I make the 2-hour trek north to visit her twice a week. The Nurse Practitioner advised against putting her back on the medications that made her so cloudy in the hospital (YAY!) and she has plateaued with not exactly clarity of mind, but memory of all of her people. That was Grandma’s greatest worry, that she’d hurt the people she loves by not remembering them. So, Grandma wins this round! She’s even doing her word searches again, though she’s not as fast as she’s always been, but I’m so glad to see her doing them again! I think I’ll bring her another copy of our wedding program so she can do the word search again!

The toughest thing to get used to is the phone and the driving. I don’t like either and I’m finding them taking a lot of my time now! The best thing I do for myself with the driving is make a point of at least one of those trips every week is also a stop on the way home for dinner of coffee with one of my friends. I get to see my family of friends in Michigan so seldom since becoming an Ohiogander and the long drives to the Motherland are a great way to get some quality time with them! Now, I just have to get my “happy head” working again. The driving makes me grouchy, well grouchy for me anyway, and I don’t like that! The nicest thing the phone does for me is the battery dies. Then I get an hour off while it recharges!

I lost a few days on my project 365 when Grandma was sick and in the hospital. When one is fearing the worst about her last grandparent, taking pictures is not really in the foreground of my mind! Also, this project is our first married year and many of those days I wasn’t with David. So for the scrapbook layouts for those weeks, I have some journaling in place of the photos for some days. I’m okay with that and I don’t feel like I failed the project. If a picture’s wroth a thousand words, then journaling CAN replace a missing picture! That’s how I scrap events I want to tell about but didn’t photograph too.


Going Out Of Business Sale!


I told you there’d be a sale in connection with my leaving the design business! When my resignation was accepted at Scrap Bird, I was also told that I could come back if I wanted to get back into it. Very cool. But I am there until the end of the month and all the Digitalegacies Designs products, I mean everything in my store, is half off until the 31st! If there’s anything that I’ve created for the store that you might want, now is the time to get it! Some items, like the add-on for Homemade Love or my brag book pages for My Blue Heaven and Laura are only 50 cents! There is no I Wanna Talk About Me challenge this month, but I did do one last contribution to the store collab kit for November, so there will still be a little Digitalegacies in that!


Creative Team stuff!

This new scrapping direction, well return to my old scraping direction, gives me more quality time to spend on my own layouts. It also gives me more time to work with Darlene’s kits again. Her newest kit, Happy Camper, is free with a $5 purchase at SAS right now.


Now, as I was explaining to Darlene, as one who walks with a cane, I really don’t have many camping photos in my current “to be scrapped file.” But the kit is very versatile! I created a nice layout for week 21 of Patch 365 with it. I just LOVE that butterfly and it HAD to be used on one of my layouts!



Also with some extra time, part of my congratulations to Veelana for becoming a new SASy Lady was an offer to create for her! Her “yes,” was enthusiastic and I’m helping her brag about her first kit in her new store!


My first layout with this kit is the second page I did for our trip to Sand Patch in October 2006. I did this for Darlene’s quote challenge at Scrap Bird. Vee’s kit is just perfect for the fall train pictures!



In celebration of my new passport, David and I are going to spend some time in Canada tomorrow checking out their fall colors and trains! Now, I need to finish up some laundry and get ready to go see Grandma. I see a pumpkin spice coffee stop in my near future!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Long Time No Blog!

It’s been, for me, a long time since I posted a blog! Life has been busy and hectic. That’s a drag because one of the reasons I blog is to relax and not blogging means less relaxing too!

Grandma is actually doing fairly well. I’m really uneasy about putting her back on all those m medications, but I’ll be talking to the nurse practitioner that has been seeing her tomorrow to discuss what the next steps might be. I visited her on Tuesday, what an awesome day for me! I don’t even know if anyone else got in to see her Tuesday, but we had a couple hours of talking. She had incredible clarity that day. It was almost like talking to her before she went into the hospital or on our regular Monday night calls, which were often hour-long phone calls. I told her the minutes on my phone were for her and Kelly because I don’t really talk on the phone for any more than I absolutely have to with anyone who is less than an hour away! I don’t like talking on the phone and I’d rather say, “meet me half way for coffee.” But Tuesday was a special day. She had almost full control and memory. I considered our time together that day a treasured gift! Dad said when he visited her Wednesday she was in good spirits, but without that same clarity and she didn’t remember me being there the day before. So it really was a special gift from Grandma, just for me.


Pumpkin Spice Season is Here!


I stopped at a gas station on the way to see Grandma, because I can’t get all the way there without a potty-stop, no matter how little I drink. I usually eat something salty before I go anywhere so I can cut down on the stops when I’m driving, but Grandma is just far enough away that I can’t avoid it. That was a good thing Tuesday, because the gas station I stopped at had PUMPKIN SPICE CHEAT-A-CCINO!! It was my second Pumpkin coffee treat this fall. Last weekend, David and I stopped to put gas in the car at our local Speedway. I told him that I’d pump if he’d go in and see if they had pumpkin spice yet. He came back out, empty handed and said that they had pumpkin spice creamers, was that okay? Hehe...creamers are even better! The wonderful man who complains about how much coffee I drink brought me 7 creamers and a 24-ounce coffee! I was set on coffee for the rest of the day (and then some) but oh it was GOOD coffee!

We also have a pumpkin spice pudding cake that I’ve been having little nibbles of the past few days. That was on sale at Kroger. The Pudding cake is great because it’s so moist that a half-ring can be nibbled for a week without getting dried out if you keep the cover on the package.



Dr. Frank’s

My bottle of Dr. Franks joint and muscle pain relief spray came in yesterday. I haven’t been happy with the results of therapy and if I can avoid drugs, I’ll do that. I ended up with an even weaker hip and pain in the hip and knee joints that was chronic! I’m taking glucosamine and condroitin every day and icing my hip do while I’m doing homework. I’m just now starting to have periods of time without pain and can comfortably shower standing up without fear of falling! The doctor said I could take as many as 4 Advil if the pain was really bad or he could prescribe something stronger.

Something stronger?? Than FOUR Advil???

Okay, I have to remember it’s a new doctor. I’ve been in to see him twice and apparently he doesn’t believe me when I tell him drugs are an absolute last resort. Yeah, I totally get that doctor and patient have to work together for things to work. I’ve done the month of therapy the insurance company requires for an MRI, I just have to have the doctor’s okay to get one. In the mean time, I’ll continue with the ice and glucosamine and try the Dr. Franks and we’ll see if things get any better.

All I’m going to say about healthcare reform is that making everyone have insurance is basically saying it’s even if we’re all tortured the same. Fixing a failing system by increasing the problem is not really a great solution, even in theory.


CONGRATULATIONS VEELANA!!


Veelana's Designs is one of the three new SAS-y Ladies! Vee is a pal of mine, so I’m VERY happy for her. In fact, look to see a few more layouts from me using her kits soon!


Retiring


What opens me up to do more layouts is that I am retiring from designing. Keeping up with the requirements is just a big commitment when I add it to school, and what I’m working towards in school will supply a much bigger paycheck!

Last month I was the assigned Designer of the Month for the store CT. Where there had been multiple pages of links to the layouts in previous months, the CT did the minimum required with my store and most of the layouts were with my templates but someone else’s kits. That kinda was a good indicator for me about why I don’t have much in the way of sales! I don’t think my stuff is awful. The pages I’ve done with my own kits have looked great, but my scrapbooks are digitally done but paper-style. The focus is still the photos and journaling. A page I create is not the work of art; the life my pages tell about is the work of art! Still, I make things for the pages I do in a style I can use. In a saturated market, simple is not really going to sell!

So now, I'm going to concentrate on doing pages for my scrapbooks and get caught up. I’ll still have the occasional freebie here and I suspect I’ll do templates more often. I seem to do those well!

I’ll find out soon what my last day at Scrap Bird will be and I expect there will be a “going out of business” sale. Then the items from the store will retire, I’ll enjoy less stress in getting my homework done and my scrapbooks might even think we’ve finally reached 2007 by Christmas!