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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Photoblog Wednesday

United States Post Office
Tequesta, Florida

Can you imagine "running out to mail something" here?? What a gorgeous building!

Monday, March 29, 2010

(The Best of) Monday Mug Shot

Originally posted at Yahoo on 10/22/07

Chicago Cubs

The mug is from one of the shops in Wrigleyville, that neighborhood in Chicago that surrounds Wrigley Field. I “collect” out of town ball parks, so I have been to a lot of stadiums all over the country. Still, even being a Reds, Braves and Tigers fan before any of the other teams, Wrigley is one of the parks of which I am most fond!

The first of many times I’ve been to Wrigley was in 1995. It was a baseball and art adventure with my mom, John, Heather, Rich and Tom, a friend that worked with Rich, Heather and me. We went to the station in Dearborn, Michigan, on Saturday morning and took Amtrak to Chicago.

We were split down the middle all the way! The Saturday afternoon game was the Braves and Cubs. John, Rich and I were going to tomahawk chop at Mom, Heather and Tom in Cubbies blue. It was a fun rivalry all weekend long. The Braves won game, which opened the door for some great antics later.

We had dinner at Ed Debevics, where the waitress “tripped” and flipped a full tray of (empty) water cups on our table and instigated the applause for John as he returned from the men’s room. Tom brought his video camera, so I even have a few snippets of video from the weekend. That video became even more meaningful to me after Mom’s passing.

Saturday night, we went to the observation deck at the Sears Tower and got to see the fireworks display at Navy Pier from above. That was SO cool to see!

We stayed at the Palmer House Hilton, in downtown Chicago. Still pumped up from the day, we played a board game back at the room and Tom, while recovering from the Cubbies loss, started insisting that they were supposed to have a mini bar and Ryan Klesko (my favorite Brave at the time) was a thief because he came to our hotel and stole the mini bar. We laughed as we walked through the halls, Tom boisterously insisting that “Ryan Klesko stole my mini bar!” It was a bit more sheepish Tom the next morning when we discovered that we were staying in the same hotel the Braves were!

Our group remained divided on Sunday. If baseball is a true art, than the Cubs are the impressionists, while the Braves are the Italian masters! Mom, Heather and Tom went to the Monet exhibit at the Art Museum on Sunday. The other three of us, the Braves fans, toured the rest of the museum and spent some time in the Renaissance wing with DaVinci and company.

It was a great weekend with many fond memories. It was also the first of many trips to the sacred grounds at Wrigley.

Friday, March 26, 2010


It’s just past midnight and this IS a Friday blog. So, the post tiled “Early” starts early!

I did my catch-up scrapbook page early today, er yesterday. I am complete in 2007 up to September and I’ve imported the last folders for that year onto the laptop. I had already done the Christmas folders, so I have October and November, but that includes a huge folder for our Montana trip! Early Thursday I “fixed” two layouts and added a second page to one. Remember, I started digi-scrapping in late summer 2007 and I was excited to use some of my fabulous Montana photos for a couple of challenges. At that time I was paper scrapping in 8 ½ x 11 too.

Here was the original of the first layout I did. I don’t remember the designer for the paper and ribbon I used 2 ½ years ago. Sorry!

Original 2007 layout

It really only took a few moments this morning to make it a square layout, like I do now, and oh, yeah, shadows! I used the same ribbon on the psd file to make a page two with additional photos from the same day and area.

Here is the new page 1:

And here is page 2!

I like the 2010 version of 2007 better than the original 2007 version!

I got my coffee photo for today early yesterday morning too. David had an early meeting and since I was awake anyway, I stayed that way. It gave me some extra time to scrap a little before school.

I wasn’t sloughing off either! I got back to the books by ten and finished up my case study. Done with the assignment due next Wednesday…early!

It was easy to do that this week. I had a lot of fun with this chapter. I learned how to make drop down menus. I don’t know why, but I was just tickled pink when I coded in the drop down menu for a credit card in a form and hit refresh on my browser to reveal “select a card” and a drop down menu of the four major cards. It was just cool!

Like I said, I don’t know why that particular thing is cool to me, it just is. It made me giddy.

Look what I can do now!

Nani is...

Don’t worry. I’m not keeping track of anyone’s answers. I don’t even have it coded to go anywhere. It just makes me silly giggly that I can do it!

There’s another test next and then one last chapter and our project before the final. I’m pretty excited about the project. I get to choose the subject, as long as I have the required elements, kinda like internet figure skating. But, I’m NOT grabbing onto the blade of my cyber-skate and sailing around like a mobile peeing dog!

Okay, that’s it for the early morning…now I’m calling it a late night!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cock-a-doodle Mooooo!

Rise and shine scrappers! Today is the official release of a fun collab by Nibbles Skribbles and Wetfish Designs, Cock-a-Doodle Mooooo!

This great collab is available in all of Nibbles Skribbles’ stores AND all of Wetfish Designs’ stores. You can’t get any more convenient than that. You’re bound to already have an account at one of these stores, so getting the kit is easy, but they’ll make it even easier to get the kit. As an introductory sale, it’s 30% off at Digital Scrap Ink and right now everything is on sale for 40% off at The Studio as part of the Spring Celebration!

Here is a layout I did with Cocka-Doodle Mooooo for the Monday night scrap chat at The Studio. I just loved working with this kit!

LinkCredits: Cock-a-Doodle Mooooo! By Nibbles Skribbles and Wetfish Designs

I am so pleased with how my cluster turned out on that one! I’ve really been working on those. One of the spoils of a CT position, I got the okay to share my first cluster that I’m really, really pleased with! Manda said I could give it away as a blog freebie at The Chronicles of Nani!

sorry, this download is expired

Visit the designers' blogs for more Cock-a-Doodle Mooooo freebies too! Be sure to check out all of the great things at Nibbles Skribbles’ stores and checkout Wetfish Designs too. Good stuff!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Photoblog Wednesday

Wilson's Cheese Shop Pinconning, Michigan

"The Big Mouse" was an up north travel icon for me growing up. Wilson's is a store with some souvenirs, grocery items and GREAT CHEESE! What else would attract such a large mouse?

This was our destination last week on my father-daughter day with Pop.

If I Was On My Own

I’ve always lived in a house. Then again I’ve always lived with someone, so the choice was either not mine or not entirely mine. In a lot of ways I envy my good friend, Heather.

I liked her last apartment. Our group of friends has many great games night memories there. It was a nice, small apartment, perfect for one person, but with plenty of room to put a leaf in the table and seat eight of us comfortably

Heather has been an apartment dweller for a while. She’s in a new one that I haven’t visited yet, but I bet I’ll like it. She has great taste and brings that taste into nice apartments in safe neighborhoods. If you go to a place like apartmentgrade.com to get apartment rating, I bet you’d find every place she’s ever rented high on any list! Not everyone has a Heather to steer them to the best, that’s why we all have apartmentgrade.com!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nani Updateables

Mug Shot Inventory

Greetings morning to all! Life in general is keeping me pretty busy right now and I’m trying to get myself organized! Part of that organization is that The Monday Mug Shot will be “Best ofs” for a few weeks. I’ve been writing the Mug Shot most Mondays since mid 2007, that’s a lot of mugs! Oh, I have tons more I haven’t written about, but right now I have limited display space at home too, so they aren’t all unpacked, or unrepacked. The point is, I need to make a list of all the mugs I’ve done so I know what ones are stories yet to be told! 2008-2009 ones on BlogSpot are easy. I just hit the mugshot tag in the right column and I’m good to go. The earlier ones on Yahoo are a bit more of a challenge because they have no tags in the archives and you have to go through the whole history to find them. I may use the full chronicles archive on my EDH and run a search. That will still take time. Since I have school and other duties I have to keep up too, the mug shot inventory won’t be a one day and done thing. I hope you don’t mind the oldies!

Journal Camp

I have the rough drafts of the “lessons” for all 5 weeks of journal camp complete! Now I have to edit, prepare any other necessary example layouts and freebies! The layout prizes will be from the Digitalegacies Catalogue that used to be at Scrap Bird. Remember that I will not turn things from my store into freebies, because it’s not fair to others who have paid for them or won them in some other way, but offering them as the random gifts at Journal Camp is okay. I’m going to offer them in sets of two or three items from the store at a time. The freebies will all be new items and I am busy creating them right now. I’m also planning to create a logo and blinkie for Journal Camp and I’ll offer a thank you gift for anyone that wears it on their blog or in forums!

LOTW at the Studio

My page, Maybury, created with At The Park by Nibbles Skribbles was selected as the Layout of the Week at the studio!

Credit: At The Park by Nibbles Skribbles

Imagine my reaction as I was reading the newsletter and I see my layout! Double cool because it was the first Nibbles Skribbles kit I’ve officially worked with as a CT! There is a gift certificate prize that goes with the selection. I don’t know if CT members are eligible for the prize, but it’s so cool to be selected!

The journaling style I used on this one is “letter-style,” talking to the person in the pictures, in this case, Rina when she was 10. That is a style we’ll talk about at Journal Camp too! :)

While I’m showing off my LOTW done with a Nibbles Skribbles kit, I’ll mention that I have two new kits by NS that I’m working with right now (busy, busy, busy) and The Studio is dedicating a week to celebrating spring! That is SO my kind of party! There is a progressive scrap, which I’m going to try to eke out a few minutes a morning to keep up with to work on my clustering, chats every night and some other fun challenges, including the avatar challenge, hosted by Manda, Nibbles Skribbles! The challenge is to renew your avatar by dusting off an old pic of yourself. The picture has to be half your current age or younger! This is me in 1972:

Credit: Butterflies and Blossoms by Nibbles Skribbles

Need More Coffee…

Credits: I Love You A Latte by Double Dutch Designs,
P365 template by Heavenly Scraps

They stopped doing the photos Project 52 at My Life and Scrap, but they are doing it at The Studio, which is home since Digital Freebies pretty much dried up, after being in the SASy Lady contest in 2008, I know and love the girls there anyway! It is a lot easier to keep up with a single-layout weekly challenge than going it on my own, as I’m still plugging away at the layouts for Patch 365 last year. I have the photos and the journaling in folders. I just need to assemble the layouts!

Oh, and I DID get another cup of coffee too, but it was a fun heading for the layout! It’s gray and gloomy and there’s just a tiny chill in the air in Toledo today. That is a weather mood setter for coffee. I brewed a pot with a regular amount of Columbian for a strong brew, a half-teaspoon of caramel popcorn seasoning and a half-teaspoon of fresh ground cinnamon. It made a wonderful pot of coffee with a robust body mellowed by a hint of sweetness and spicy flavor. I poured a cup with Coffeemate and Splenda, good stuff! Yeah, I love my coffee.

Little milestones
Every Monday, I program my exercise goal into my recumbent bike. The higher the level, the more resistance which stretches my back better, but it’s harder on my knee, so I set a time goal for the week and a resistance level that will work my back well. Then I try to reach that cumulative time goal for the week, allowing myself to stop when my knee starts hurting. Now remember I mentioned having added the arm work to the routine too. I think that in some aspects makes the workout a little more intense, but it also creates a diversion form concentrating on my knee. Yesterday, while I was on the bike, the computer stopped. For the first time since I’ve started doing the weekly goals, back in September when my back got bad after therapy sessions, I reached ZERO! The computer stopped and said “check my stats” because I was done! YAY NANI!

I did 30 minutes at level 6 and went 5.3 miles. That may not sound like a lot, but remember, my knee is usually begging for a break after grocery shopping and level 6 is pretty intense. The routine I chose changes from lighter to heavier resistance, so some days are a little tougher than others. I figure I won’t change the goal for a couple of weeks and let myself be level there for a while and then add another ten minutes.

Okay, back to school!

(The Best of) Monday Mug Shot

Originally posted on Yahoo, December 17, 2007

The Flying Elephant

This mug was a Christmas present about 8 years or so ago. It was under the tree with no “from” on it, so it was from Santa, Mom.

I have a thing with Elephants, I guess. My absolute favorite book from my childhood was the Little Golden Book, The Saggy Baggy Elephant. I actually still have a copy of that book in my books collection. I have given it to many friends as a baby gift. It’s just a wonderful story about not letting others tell you what to think or who to be, find what makes you special and BE special.

The story of Dumbo is very much like The Saggy Baggy Elephant. While that little elephant was told he shouldn’t dance and kick while he was walking and his wrinkles were the thing about himself he had to accept, Dumbo’s challenge AND special talent lie in his ears! I have always loved stories like that. Those are the stories where the hero must be strong in the face of others that didn’t accept them for who and how they naturally are and must persevere in the face of those challenges, finally winning their battle with their own special talents and with a lot of faith in themselves and optimism. I can’t tell you if those stories from my childhood made me the positive and accepting person I am now, or if that is just part of who I am and why I was attracted to those stories as a child. I just know that my young elephant heroes still fit my style, my taste and my outlook on life.

The one scene I completely love from Dumbo, is the “Baby Mine” scene. That’s the one when Dumbo visits his mother in the rain at the circus car she was locked up in as a “mad elephant” because she became violent when the other elephants were teasing Dumbo. I always and always have cried to the point of sniveling and gasping by the end of it. I likened Dumbo’s mom to my own. As a child I ALWAYS knew Mom had my back, that she would go to bat for me and protect me, no matter what. I thought that if we were elephants, she’d experience the same rage Dumbo’s Mom did if she felt I was being treated unfairly or that I was threatened. When Dumbo visits his Mom, she gently puts her trunk out and cradles him during that song, it always gets to me. (in fact typing that got me all choked up!)

One of the things paper has over electronic media. I can still read my copy of Saggy Baggy Elephant just as well, okay, even better, than when I was a kid, turning those pages and reading the words after a glance at the illustrations. I will eventually need to replace my VHS copy of Dumbo with a DVD version. Maybe some day I’ll need to replace it again with the media microchip under my skin. But the truth is that those stories and their messages have been under my skin and part of me for a very long time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Photoblog Wednesday


This is the earliest picture of Grandma I’ve found, so far, in the treasure box of old photos from her garage. I’m guessing it would be maybe Spring or summer of 1926. She looks to be around a year, non?

Photoblog extended

Notice the tabby cat Grandma is holding in the photo. I have another, blurrier, picture of Grandma standing up holding that cat. She’s a little older and the cat is too. In that photo, the cat looks to be around 3-6 months. I’m comparing to photos of Kaline here. In the blurrier one, the kitty is almost as tall as Grandma is, and very tolerant of being girl-handled by a toddler!

I only knew Grandma to have one pet, Aunt Brandy. They had parakeets while Mom was growing up, but a parakeet isn’t a pet in the same way that a dog or cat is. Birds don’t cuddle!

Aunt Brandy was a toy poodle. Grandma and Papa had a very good friend who was Aunt Brandy’s Mom and who spoiled Aunt Brandy like crazy. When she passed away Grandma and Papa adopted her dog. I should mention that Aunt Brandy was “Aunt” to me, not them. They called her Brandy! When Mom started referring to her as “my furry sister,” I started calling her “Aunt.”

Grandma and Papa adapted their travelling style to include frequent stops and finding pet-friendly hotels. When they came to visit, Aunt Brandy was always in tow. She and our collie, Missy, got along well.

I remember when Aunt Brandy met my cat, Ritchie, for the first time. Ritchie seemed to like dogs, but dislike other cats. I imagined that because he was a runt, the scar on his ear when I found him may very well have been from a scuffle with another cat. If the dogs in the alley around Noni’s house were kind to him, or even just left him alone, that would explain it. The only dogs he knew were the big dogs from the alley and his full-grown collie sister at home. Then he was introduced to Aunt Brandy, a dog he stood nose to nose with. He just sniffed her all over with the oddest look, like he’d never seen a cat-sized dog before. It was a source of giggles for everyone!

When Aunt Brandy died, she was cremated. Grandma said she didn’t want another pet because they traveled too much. Grandma and Papa kept her urn until 1994, when Papa passed. Aunt Brandy’s remains were buried with Papa.

When we were cleaning up at Grandma’s house, Rina saw a painting of a dog in the bedroom and started thinking of dog-fans that might want it because it was a pretty painting. I stopped her there, “No, I want that one.” Rina was surprised because I’m a cat-person! I had to explain to her that it wasn’t just a dog painting, I knew that dog.

Seeing the very young pictures of Grandma with the tabby explains a lot, though. Grandma started the habit of Christmas gifts for pets when we got “Inky,” which was what she called Ritchie because he was “black as ink,” save for a few single white hairs on his chest. There were treats for Missy from Grandma too, but it started when we got Ritchie. We have kitty afghans. Grandma made one for Azzie when she starts crocheting again and she started making Kaline’s as soon as she saw Kaline’s picture on my blog!

When she came to visit us, Grandma always put extra milk in her breakfast cereal. Azzie would lay on the couch next to her while she ate breakfast and she saved a couple spoons of milk in her bowl that she put on her lap and Azzie would sit on her lap and drink. She definitely fawned over Kaline when she first met her too!

Growing up, we had three different dogs. When we first moved to the suburbs, we had Mesa, a German Shepherd/Toy Collie mix, then Gent (Regentitano), a purebred English Pointer, and then Missy (Melissa Mesa of Meadowbrook), our papered Collie. But my first pet was Chinker, the cat who knew just how far to stay away that she could watch the baby without getting grabbed by the baby in the playpen, but Chinker did watch and protect me! I don’t recall being told the whole story in detail, but Chinker was gone before we left Detroit. Dave was a baby when we moved and I think he never knew Chinker, his first pet was Mesa. He’s a dog-person, I’m a cat-person. Hmm…

You may get over your first crush and move on to find happiness and love with another, but that first pet will shape your admiration of the domestic animal world forever!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Pi Day!

Mmmm! Black Forest Pie!
(click image for the recipe!)

Yes, Pi Day is a geek holiday, but geeks know how to party!! We’ll need 3.14 of those for the holiday dessert! Hehe

It’s been a pretty good weekend for me getting a few things done. It’s college basketball tournament time! Yaaaaayyyawwwnnn. Oh nothing at all against the college athletes playing. I know that there are a LOT more college basketball players who use the free degrees they got to make a honest regular living like the rest of us and these tournament games are part of the road to the highest basketball high they’ll ever have a chance to receive. It’s just that I don’t find NBA basketball to be much of a thrill either. That being said, the TV is in plain view from the table where I usually park to scrapbook and I’ve seen lots of basketball whenever I look up and the endings of some of the games have been pretty exciting. Still, it’s a good thing the tournament will be over before Opening Day or the next new episode of Degrassi!


I’m about half way through the rough drafts for the Journal Camp text. There is no way I’d do something that lasts for more than one blog entry without having at least the first draft done on all of them. That’s why I haven’t announced a date yet. I’m still on plan to announce the dates and start promoting it by the end of the week.

I’m finding out that there IS a method to my journal madness after all. That makes setting up a program a lot easier and I really think I can provide some tips and lessons that can help others. If anyone reads this has trouble journaling or considers it the most agonizing part of scrapbooking, you should come to Journal Camp! Even if you journal well, come for the challenges and the freebies!


David is feeling better after a nice relaxing day yesterday. I did some extra cooking and kitchen clean-up with him home and not feeling so well and, like I pay to have the driveway plowed once in a while to do my share where I can, since he wasn’t really up to helping out yesterday, he took me out to breakfast this morning! I had a spinach and feta omelet made with egg beaters at our favorite local family restaurant and he had eggs and sausage.

After we got home, I pulled out the box of photos in the treasures I brought back from Grandma’s house. Yes, that box is FULL of photos, most black and white and most I’ve never seen before. There are a lot more pictures of Papa in his Navy uniform than I thought there were and so many pictures of Grandma at 15-18 years old! That shouldn’t surprise me. My Great-Grandfather, Dad-dad, was a big photography hobbyist! There are pictures of both of my great-great-great grandparents on my maternal all the way down side. One that was especially cool was a picture of Baby Grandma sitting on her paternal grandfather’s knee. That would be my maternal-maternal-paternal great-great-grandfather, a man of whom I’d never even seen a photo before today. Pretty cool!

Okay. I need to get my minimum layouts for the day done…and get over this incredible craving for pie!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coloring Outside The Lines Is COOL!

Big announcement : I’m a Skribbler! YAY!!

If you’re scratching your head, Skribbler, with a K, is a member of Nibbles Skribbles creative team! I’m SO looking forward to working with Manda’s kits!

Things have slowed down on the other creative teams I’m on and I have really had the itch to do some serious promoting for some new-to-me designers. You’ve seen my work with Morning Mocha, Nibbles Skribbles' collab with Little Red Scraps and now, Nibbles Scribbles is selling at The Studio!

Manda’s work is also available at Digital Scrap Ink, which is a new site for me too. I just registered there, so I haven’t posted anything yet, but this is scheduled to be a stay-at-home, rainy weekend, so I’ll have some time to settle in. It’s also going to be a weekend with some scrapping time! I have the latest from Nibbles Skribbles, At The Park!

I have some ideas cooking in my head for this kit! I have great old pictures at the park when Tori and Rina were little. We were big time playscape and playground connoisseurs when they were under ten sand we all lived close to each other in Michigan! Now, they are half way to 16 and we usually find a way to get to a Starbucks when we get together. I’m proud to say I got them started on that with Starbucks steamers when they were about 4. While “cappuccino” for me as a kid was Noni’s drink of vanilla ice cream and a spoon of espresso in a demitasse, the version of kid cappuccino I introduced to the girls was steamed milk with a flavor shot. Rina really liked vanilla and Tori enjoyed cinnamon. They both liked caramel. So I could scrap the girls with At The Park AND Morning Mocha!

I’m also thinking of a perfect reflection page for my own inner child as one of those extra pages I’ve talked about before. We’ll see what I unleash tomorrow!

In a recent The Studio newsletter, it was announced that Nibbles Skribbles had joined the team of designers and Manda gave this wonderful gift to the subscribers:

I was working on a layout with it and thinking about the fact that I’d seen a CT call at The Studio, and stopped mid-layout to send my application. Then I finished this:

redits: Springtime Fun by Nibbles Skribbles,
March10 Template by Kimberkatt Scraps
Fonts: Segoe Print, Going Nuts

I’m scrapping September 2007 now! Remember I started the year with the start of the year 2007. Woo hoo! I have three current pages that I have in folders, so I’m keeping up with 2010 too. Doing well with the scrapping goal!

I’m also keeping up with my Project 365! This week’s layout includes a couple of shots of the treasures from Grandma’s house.

Credits: Cafe by Skrapper Digitals,
template Project 365 template by Sus Designs

The task of cleaning out Grandma’s house and preparing it for sale is a bit daunting. The treasure we’re finding though! I have a couple of boxes FULL of old photos. Photoblog this week was one of my Great-Grandmother punching the time clock at work and I have a totally sweet one of Grandma and Papa kissing. It’s dated 1944, but before they were married! I would think at that time, it was probably a little bit of a scandalous photo! I also found the military permission note for Papa to send Grandma a locket dated 1943, probably that locket I brought home after her funeral. I even found the receipt from the hospital when my Mom was born. Grandma was in the hospital 9 days and it cost under $90 for the visit, no insurance, medications and tests included in that figure. Of course, in 1945 there wasn’t advertising for prescription drugs and doctors didn’t have to drive BMWs. Maybe I should scan that receipt and send it to Washington?

In addition to scrapping this weekend, I’m going to spend a few hours working on the Journal Camp material. I figure I’ll be ready to schedule the dates and promote the blog-camp by the end of next week. I’m planning lessons, freebies and participation bonuses too. I think it’ll be fun!

Okay, I’m finishing this post now so I can get an early start on the scrapoliday weekend, David has been restless with a nasty cold, which probably means I’m next. I think he fell asleep in front of the basketball game and I want to make sure he gets to bed too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Even Better Ideas for an Even Better You

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


Great way to start a blog, huh? But it’s a good “ow,” really! I started adding upper body stretching to my recumbent bike time today. You know, when you start a new exercise routine, or add to one, there is some soreness. So, I have a little soreness tonight. Ow.

I visited a great site, sponsored by the Jennie-O Turkey store, www.wellnessdaily.com. It’s a really cool site! The article about not letting a disability stop you from exercising caught my eye. When my knee and back start to really hurt, I depend on my arms to keep me upright! The article in WellnessDaily talked about the benefits of keeping what you can in shape, even when you can’t do a lot for what is injured. I’m lucky, I can keep working on it and repair what’s messed up right now and I definitely got some encouragement to keep it up! Exercise is good for muscles, keeping your blood oxygenated and it really does pump up a good mood. I believe that I love that feeling of, “I hurt, but I’ve succeeded!”

WellnessDaily.com also offers some great dieting tips and recipes. Sometimes just reading a new tip gives a lot of inspiration!

Here’s some inspiration, you can sign up and join the WellnessDaily community. Jennie-O is offering a rebate, up to $5, on any Jennie-O food product to the first 25,000 people who join. What a great deal on food that’ s good and good for you, just for joining a great resource for eating well, exercising well – BEING well!

Visit WellnessDaily today!

Visit my sponsor: Attention all you health enthusiasts!

Journal Camp Idea

Last night was a speed scrap at Designs In Digital. I usually go to those on Wednesdays while David is playing his online poker. He does his thing, I do mine and we can still talk to each other about what we’re doing or anything, really. It’s a pretty cool set-up. Most of the time the cats will stick around for a while, at least at treat time, 10:30, and Carla will spend most of the evening with us. She’s Daddy’s girl and after all day without him, she’s a little clingy, his lap cat!

I got into the chat room late yesterday because David got home a little late and he wasn’t feeling great. After dinner I made hot cocoa before I went to the chat. Ghirardelli makes incredible hot cocoa! I made Hazelnut for David and Mocha for me. It was the first time I tried the mocha. Oh my! It’s exquisite! After I made the cocoa, I went to the chat in progress.

The cool thing about the DID Speed Scraps, is they are speed scraps for real life! The chat starts at 9 PM Eastern US time and the layout is due to be posted by noon the next day. That gives any time zone a chance to check in and get the instructions in the forum if they couldn’t make the chat and everyone an opportunity to enjoy the social part of the chat and still get their layout done, even if they have kids or stayed up late to chat and want to do the layout in the morning. That’s me. I often go to chat and choose the kit and photos for the layout and actually do it in the morning.

Here is my layout for this week’s speed scrap that I finished this morning at about 10:30:

There were two required steps in this layout that made me cringe a little one because I don’t like it and one because I don’t do it well. The "don’t like" is buttons. I don’t like buttons in paper or digital scrapping. That’s a personal preference. I don’t mind the ornate buttons in digi, but I can’t stand to see plain old buttons that look like they flew off someone’s shirt on a page. Bleh. The layout you’re looking at doesn’t have buttons on it. I posted it with the required buttons to hold the pictures on and then deleted them before I saved the copy to print.

The other was the cluster. I have a hard time making clustered elements that don’t look cluttered rather than clustered. I’m getting better at it with practice. Vicki at Bubbles Babbles is my clustering guru! She did a couple of excellent posts about it that you’ll find linked at the end of this post. You can also click the blinkie for Bubbles Babbles in the side bar to get to her front page. I think the clustered journal mat I did turned out pretty nice! (Thanks, Vicki!)

Ah the journal mat! This is something many, and I mean many, of my layouts have. When the instruction for “at least three lines of journaling” came up in chat, I was pleased. THAT’S an instruction that is easy to do! I also discovered that so many people disagree with that. Many people say that they don’t journal, or journal very little, only if they can’t avoid it, like when a challenge says you must have it. But you miss so much without it.

The wonderful thing about Scrapbooking is it captures a moment, an emotion, an idea. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes you need 1010, or 1100 to tell the whole story. What then? You need to be able to put a few thoughts into words. If you can post in a forum or chat room, if you can leave a comment on a blog or layout, if you can have a conversation in person or on the phone, you can journal!

What I’d like to do, is offer some tips and exercises help anyone who’s interested find their inner journal peace. I’m putting together the ideas, lessons and files for “Journal Camp.” I’m going to dedicate one post a week to a five-week blog camp.

If one person says “yes,” that’s enough for me to think it’s worth doing. What do you think? Is it a decent idea? Journal Camp? Would you stop by for it??

I’ll have more details about Journal Camp soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photoblog Wednesday

Opal Sutton, early 1960s
Ford Valve Plant
Northville, Michigan

I’m mixing it up a little today. I didn’t take this one, couldn’t have! This is one of the many treasures we unearthed last weekend at Grandma’s house. I am so happy that the photos in her garage are mostly in decent shape. They aren’t stuck together, at least not in a damaging way and for the most part, they escaped mouse nibbling too. I will write more about the weekend later.

Opal Sutton was my Great-Grandmother. She was a valve inspector at the Ford Valve Plant in Northville, Michigan and retired just before I was born. Thus, how I could not have taken the photo! I have a small stack of pictures of her with coworkers and on the shop floor that were some of the first, on MANY, I’ll be scanning to document, archive and eventually scrap a number of them.

Plush Enough to Drive Barefoot

“Mats, mats, mats…” That was the happy song my Mom sang right after she got her new Cougar. It was sung to the tune of a Motley Crue song, Mom did not have common taste for a woman in her 50s, but that’s another blog. When she got the Cougar, a car she loved, it didn’t have floor mats. This was something Mom didn’t understand. How could a NEW car not have mats? The first thing her new car had to have was floor mats to protect the carpet!

If that had been today, I would have suggested to her to hop on the Internet and get the perfect car mats! I love the Internet for that, being able to shop around, around everywhere, to find just what you want. She would have totally found and loved GG Bailey!

GG Bailey does mats, quality and custom car mats. I checked out their site just to see if they could create something with pizzazz or at least class, for my car, a 16-year-old muscle car. Wow – I couldn’t believe the choices, yes, choices, available for a 1994 Camaro! Rich, soft, plushes, patterns, any color you could think of for a floor mat and trimming. I can even have a monogram or the GM logo on my mats!

One thing that’s really cool is the custom sizing. You tell them what car you drive, the year, make, model, type of that model. I can go to the auto parts store and find mats in black or blue, maybe red and they are “this size fits most…” At GG Bailey, I clicked a few drop down menus that appeared as I made the previous choice and, well the last question was if my car was the convertible, coupe or special model in 1994. These mats will NOT roll up under the pedals because they aren’t quite the right size! I can also have the reinforced heel mat. I can tell you that the reinforcement is exactly where my mats wear out first, and where the hole in my carpet is from driving a few years without car mats! I kinda feel like they asked themselves, “What would make our mats what NANI needs?” That’s always a great feeling!

If you need car mats or if you are in the market for a home floor mat or pet mat, GG Bailey is a great place to start your Mac or Windows shopping!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Mug Shot

Antico Caffé del Teatro Marcello
Rome, Italy

The first thing you’ll notice about this mug is it doesn’t look like a mug. Well, okay, you might notice some other stuff first. Like I speak and write in English and the cup isn’t written in English or that it’s obviously not on the mug rack because there is all this stemware behind it, and decent-looking stemware too. Actually the cup and stemware are related too. Let’s go back in time and get some answers! Come join my 12/13-year-old self!

I love irony and cool little coincidental things that bind generations together in ways that you don’t even realize until after they happen. My father turned 13 onboard ship on the way to his new home in America. 21 years later, his firstborn, that’s me, turned 13 in San Marino on a family trip to the Fatherland. I think that’s a pretty cool number stat!

We spent a month in Italy in the summer of 1979. Most of that trip was spent in San Marino, visiting relatives and seeing the markets, the government plaza and the three towers the for which our Republic is famous to tourists. We took a couple swimming excursions, including the beach in Rimini, where my brother was shocked, in a shy but smirky 11-year-old way, by the “bikini tops optional” beach. Years later I still wonder why the people you least want to see with even less on are the first ones to discard their clothing in public. We also took a day trip, which ended up being overnight to Venice, where my Mom had that set of crystal hand blown in a custom set and delivered to Michigan when it as done! But the cup is from the week we spent in Rome.

Grandma, Papa and their good friend Catherine flew into Rome and met us for two weeks of our trip which included the day in Venice and then back to San Marino. Every morning we were there, we took the hotel’s shuttle bus into Rome. The bus stop was right next to the Antico Caffé. We had many sodas, bottled water and espressos sitting at the outdoor tables there during our week in Rome. The café is near the ancient part if the city and the touristy exploring we were interested in doing. Rome was the first place I’d ever heard of “iced coffee,” which I drink all the timer in the summer now. At the time the idea of coffee on ice was repulsive to me!

There was one Afternoon that we were at the café that I remember well and it is a bit of a family fable too. There was a bee buzzing near our table. My brother was afraid of getting stung and Mom was trying her best to gently brush it away but it persisted in returning, tormenting Dave. Papa turned over his empty glass and trapped the stubborn bee. A French woman at the next table stood up and came to our tables emphatically pleading in heavily accented English “Don’t kill it! Please don’t kill it!”

I don’t remember exactly what else transpired. Papa said something appropriately protective of his grandson with that classic Papa air of “don’t make me threaten you.” Through the years more than once Papa used that tone towards someone in protecting Dave and more than once to me protecting me from myself!

I remember one of the greatest impressions I brought home from Rome was the cats. There were more cats than you could count at the Coliseum and I reasoned that when Christianity was small, the cats were huge (lions) and now that Christianity had become big as the Vatican, the cats are small. The scariest part of that is that 30 years later, I still think that makes sense! ;)

There was a restaurant we’d gone to not far from the Antico Caffé early in our trip and a couple times after that. It was great food and excellent service. They also were double kind to the open-minded, and open-wallet, American tourists with the family member that spoke Italian well! The last night we were in Rome, they had ordered a seafood smorgasbord just for us. I remember the adults marveling at the exquisite dinner. Ah, but for just-became-a-teenager-me, fish? Yuck! Actually, most of the meat the whole trip was “different” and something I didn’t even want to try. My dining mantra for a month was “un piatto di pomodori, per favore,“ “a plate of tomatoes, please.” When I ordered a plate of tomatoes in any Italian restaurant, I got a full-sized plate of sliced tomatoes in a wonderful vinaigrette. Dinner was usually salad, Italian bread, pasta and a plate of tomatoes rather than the meat dishes. I’d have probably come home thin as a rail if it weren’t for Swiss chocolate, French pastries and Italian gelato that were too readily available!

When we were stopping for one last coffee at the Antico Caffé, Mom wanted one of the demitasse with the café’s name on it. Dad asked if he could buy one and they said they didn’t sell them. A few moments later as we were gathering our things to get back on the bus one last time, the barista came out with a couple demitasse sets wrapped up and gave them to us, thanking us for the business and wishing us a safe trip home. I guess that’s where my theory of offering to buy advertising cups like that comes from. They’ll either sell it to you, or sneak it into your bag.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Than Words Take 2!

I am so sorry about needing to re-list this freebie! As a rule, I only use all lower-case passwords. Also, after having lost entire blogs years ago when typing directly into the online window, I type my blogs in MS Word, then cut and past the content into the box in the browser to publish. The problem with that is that the Word program on my laptop auto-corrects and automatically capitalizes any word that begins a paragraph or comes after a period. That’s the source of the password trouble I've been having. Word capitalizes the passwords, I don’t and passwords are case-sensitive at 4Shgared!

Going forward, I’ll try to pay closer attention to that! But please, if you try a password from this blog and it doesn’t work, drop a note in the comments. Also, if the password starts with a capital letter, try it with a lower-case letter!

For today, let’s try More Than Words again! I only had 9 downloads, likely from people who typed in the password rather than cut and paste and typed it “wrong” (which was right!)

Click preview for the download
Password is shouts (no caps!)

I hope anyone that wanted this set has an easier time getting it now!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let’s Talk About the Weather

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

No, this is not another post about my disdain for snow, although snow is part of it! I’m posting to tell you about the all new AccuWeathersite! Accuweather.com has redesigned many of their features to make it even more user friendly and just plain user-useful!

I know at this time of year, I need to know what to expect when I go out. How heavy a coat will I wear? More important, do I need to put the ice pick end on the cane? Last month, having up-to-date weather information had us leave a day early for Connecticut and avoid a long trip in heavy snow. It also enabled me to proactively contract snow removal so out cat sitter could get into the house! As the weather gets more seasonably nice, knowing what to expect is even more important!

Last summer we watched closely as our wedding reception weekend neared. We had backup plans, but the main plans were all outdoors! We figured the second weekend in July was a safe bet, but darned if it didn’t rain on Saturday morning! Fortunately, we knew that it was expected to clear and even dehumidify a little buy game time for our baseball picnic party. There were many phones with Internet keeping an eye online that weekend!

Of course, you can sign up at accuweather.com to have alerts sent to your mobile phone too! If you’re planning a wedding, golf outing, soccer tournament with the kids or if you’re still hoping there will be some of that snow left so you can ski this weekend, accuweather.com is an invaluable resource for starting your recreational planning and for being prepared with a “B plan” is it looks like it’s going to be necessary! It’s a good plan not to leave home without checking it first!

Visit my sponsor: Weather for Your Life

Photoblog Wednesday

Chasing the Providence and Worcester in Massachusetts
February, 2010

I’m finally sorting the card from my camera of the train shots I took last month after we left Connecticut. We went into Massachusetts with our friend, Jim, to railfan. Now, my mobility in the winter is, to say the least, challenged and I often get sub par shots, but this one just struck me with a “That’s on MY camera?” moment.

Sometimes it’s not what you’ve got, but what you make happen within that limitation that makes the difference!

Monday, March 1, 2010

(The Best of) Monday Mug Shot

Originally posted on Yahoo, December 3, 2007

Wright State University
Dayton, Ohio

In the spring of 1992, indoor soccer was thriving in Detroit. The Rockers were the home team. They were winding into the end of a season that would pull them through the playoffs all the way to the final game of the championship series. At that game, the battle cry of Queen’s We Will Rock You was timed to begin playing We Are The Champions as the final buzzer rang. It was an exciting year to be an indoor soccer fan in Rocker-town.

Indoor soccer is a relatively obscure sport. I have “ON TV,” the three hours of programming a day on one channel cable service we had in the late 70s, to thank for introducing my family to the sport. At that time the home team was the Lightning. ON TV showed Lightning games as part of their programming. After watching a couple games on the tube, we decided to try it out in person. It was sheer excitement from the light show introductions to each reboundig-off-the-dasher-boards-at-a-rate-long-field-soccer-cannot-fathom goal. Dad was set to invest in season tickets for the family in the reasonably priced sport in which my brother and I were already members of the kids club. But, even though the Lightning did a fair job of filling Cobo Arena, they only lasted in town for one season. It just left us hungry for more!

In 1990, The Rockers were a new team in an old favorite sport. I was responsible for writing in the sports stories for our radio news at broadcast school that included names like Superman Andy Chapman and Oscar Draguicevich. The sports readers loved me for it whenever Oscar had a good game! Okay, even I stumbled over his name on the air after one game! What started as trying it again after being left after only one season by the Lighting, became season tickets for Mom, Dad and me through 2000. When the Illitch family, owners of the Red Wings and Tigers, gave up ownership, the team was purchased by a less than interested group looking for a tax shelter and something to be a background for corporate parties. But thanks to the Illitchs, we had our sport in town for a decade!

The 1991-92 season was magic. The Rockers had come of age and the “show” both on the field and in the stands was electric! Mom and I had gone on a few road trips to see the guys out of town and cheer them on. We went to a game in Canton with the booster/fan club and even the playoff game that clenched the finals for them in Chicago. At that game we, along with the Detroit contingent of fans, were invited into the locker room to celebrate the victory. Our keeper, Bryan Finnerty, just looked, beaming at the support from fans who drove the 6 hours to see the game and proclaimed, “Looks like we need more beer!”

The Wright State mug is from the game we saw in Dayton, against the Dayton Dynamo. Mom, Jeff T and I drive to the Nutter Center, where the Dynamo played their home games. As we walked into enemy territory, wearing our Rockers colors, we were greeted in the customary indoor soccer fashion by the home season ticket holders. We were given a warm welcome to their town and their home arena...and "we hope you don’t win." In a small sport, the welcoming is much warmer, supporting the sport and trying to keep it alive first, THEN loving your team within that sport.

Perhaps the most lasting memory from that trip, and one that I still use today, is the comment about “page 5.” When we were walking in, a salesmanship savvy program hawker broke from his usual “Programs, get your updated stats,” when he eyed a few teenage girls chatting and giggling walking towards his booth. “Hey, cute guys on page 5!” Page five, of course, started the team photos and bios. Since that day, “page 5” from me, has meant a man whose “stats are well worth looking up!”