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 tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at
chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Calling Upon the Ghouls and Goblins


I just love trick-or-treating! I loved dressing up in costumes as a kid and showing my costumes off to the neighbors, even the ones I didn’t know, and collecting a bag of candy! We lived in a big neighborhood, in a suburb not far from the city then. Just like I looked forward to being part of Santa’s network of giving when I became an adult, I looked forward to being the one opening the door, seeing the cute costumes and hearing the happy “trick or treat” before putting the year’s candy offering in the bags and plastic pumpkins.

When we moved to the home I finished my childhood and spent my premarital adult years in, the first year of trick or treating was very cool! It was a small subdivision, but an upper middle class one. Everyone knew everyone and the treats were generous! Many homes had different treats for neighborhood kids that included homemade cookies and caramel apples. Those kinds of treats are safe to give to the kids you know. My Mom would never have let us eat a homemade caramel apple from a stranger! I trick or treated for only a couple of years there. My last time making the rounds was when I was 13. The cuteness factor ends around then, I think. That’s when I started tending to the door on Halloween night.


The first few weren’t too bad. Less than 15 kids, but we did treat bags with a full size candy bar and some smaller candies to go with it, so the kids were always big smiles and seldom left without a “thank you.” But as the years progressed and the neighborhood kids, like Dave and me, grew up. The median age of the neighborhood was getting older and there were fewer kids until the year came that we had our candy bags made up, but not one knock on the door.


How sad! I had always looked forward to spoiling kids the way I was spoiled as a kid. I loved the generosity of my neighbors and how much they all did to make Halloween fun for us kids and I really wanted to get to enjoy that from the other end. So, my evenings of giving to happy kids dried up.




Then I moved to Toledo, back I the city! I was pretty excited. In 2007, we had a good haul of kids visiting. I went through the candy bags I’d made, as I recall I did about 30, and then some of the extra candy. For 2008, I made 45 bags, based on the 2007 number. We figure Halloween being on a Friday night and being warm enough for us to sit outside on the porch to greet the beggars had to do with the increased turnout. We went through those 45 bags in the first hour! Our overstock bowl of candy and the extra Tootsie Rolls I asked David to pick up saved us from running out! In 2009, I did 80 bags. We also had a huge overstock bowl. We were prepared! We had only about a dozen visitors over the bags we'd made.

This year's treat bags - 100 of them!

This year I have done 100 candy bags. Each bag has a fun size chocolate bar, a fun size Skittles or Starburst, Smarties and a couple pieces from the Tootsie Roll/Mini Tootsie Pop bag. There is also a huge overstock bowl. David and I don’t have kids, no clothes to buy, school supplies, medical bills, clubs, sports or prom dresses. We can afford to do up the bags and give a little more on Halloween. If the number of guests is down because it’s a school night or if the weather is bad, David will take any leftover bags to the school they sponsor at work and the leftover overstock, after we select a few treats for ourselves, to work. I would much rather continue giving the day after than run out before 8:00, when trick or treating ends in Toledo.


Today's art work (by David)
Tomorrow's decoration
Monday's Pie!

David drew the faces for the pumpkins which will sit on the table under our porch light. We did the drawn face last year and it turned out much better than my try at carving the year before. This year, we did 2 pie pumpkins instead of the jack-o-lantern pumpkin like last year. The jack made great pumpkin seeds, but not much when I tried to boil the flesh. I know the pie pumpkins make both great seeds and pie filling!


I really do want to be that house the kids make a point of coming to. For the last three Halloweens it’s been so much fun. Most of the kids remember to say “thank you,” even the shy ones who barely can bring themselves to say “trick or treat,” say “thank you,” quietly with a smile after I put the candy package in their bag. Not having those other bills, also means we don’t see kids on Christmas morning. It’s still special, just grown up. Halloween is when we get to see the smiling kids and get that warm feeling that goes with helping to make that happen.


I’m as nervous and excited on October 30 now as I was as a little kid. Tomorrow’s the big night! I can hardly wait!


Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nieces


The last two weekends have been all about Wedding gifts and favors, nieces. When I got married, I got 4 new nieces, 2 adults already, and when my brother got married again, I got one more, also an adult. I’ll take a moment to give props to Tori and Rina, the originals with whom I share DNA. They have always been such awesome nieces that I found it easy to open my heart up for more.


Two weekends ago, I finally got the opportunity to meet the two adult nieces from David’s family. Sarabeth and Deborah were the bride and matron of honor, respectively, at the wedding we attended! It was a gorgeous wedding at a country club in the DC area, There were mushy speeches and many tears of joy. Even the men at our table were misty when they heard both nieces sharing warm and fuzzy stories about their Dad, who was crying hardest of all!

That part of the family is a very devoted Christian family that testifies by living lives that inspire rather than coffee shop preaching. I overheard a guest saying that she was so amazed at how wonderful and loving the family is. That she thought religion wasn’t a priority in marriage, but she was thinking maybe she really wanted to fall in love with “a believer.” All I could do was think, THAT is how it’s supposed to work, “they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” It was pretty cool to hear that and be in that atmosphere.

This past weekend, we were in Indy. My most recent niecely acquisition Amanda, Dave’s step daughter, is having a baby! When Dave got married to Laura, he became the Stepdad of 2 adults, Amanda was already married and she and husband, Aaron, were in the future planning stage as far as adding a baby to law school workload for Amanda, who is starting a new job with a big Indy firm. Our second nephew in the “great tier,” Deborah has one of each already, is due at the end of next month/beginning of December.


We went to Indy for the baby shower, well, co-ed baby celebration. I helped Tori with some of the food prep. She is so good at that stuff. I remember that she used to always ask me if she could take my schedules home after holidays or dinner parties. I always make a schedule for the week before and two hours before when I plan events. Some call it “anal-retentive,” but it has kept me with parties and dinners happening on time and without a slip for years. The girls knew those schedules well when they were helping me out. Yes, those schedules allow for 8-year olds helping and things still going smoothly! I never wondered too much about what Tori did with the schedules she took home after the evening, but I guess she read them and filed them in her organizational brain! I remember the stress at the end when doing my part in getting ready when I was 16. Heck, there’s still occasional stress now. But in a few years, she’s going to throw some great parties on her own! I hope I’m invited once in awhile!


My brother’s back yard is huge for outdoor parties, but indoors is a little small for the number of people there. Still, it was comfortable and there was room for everyone to watch the gift opening and to go to and from the table for the appetizer selections and the cake. We had the first part of our gift, from the baby registry, sent right to them, but I really wanted to give the second part in person. Aaron and I share a love for the Reds. In fact my brother has commented about the “Tell Davonna,” “Tell Aaron,” messages with his own, “We’re family, yeesh, exchange numbers!” (But it’s much more fun to play telephone about the Reds through him, especially when the Red Wings are playing hockey!) I wanted to make sure that the new great-nephew was geared up for his first Opening Day! I found a Reds onesie, baby bib and booties set – perfect!



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nani! Where Ya Been??

David pointed out that it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged. He usually just mentions it to me if Kaline’s blog is behind, but it’s very odd that I let The Chronicles of Nani rest almost a month. Non-blogging life has been really full.




First off, school is really stressing me. I just taking Intro to Security this semester, but it’s making me crazy! I don’t get it. That’s an uncomfortable place for me. I’m trying to understand the concepts, but it’s only comng to me in little packets. It’s like my braincompu9ter has a virus – vital parts of the information aren’t getting to me!

Now, being able to use what I’m studying as a metaphor should make me feel a little better, but I just hate being muddled and confused! The part 6that really sucks is that I got my grade for the midterm, which is a huge part of the final grade. I got 210 out of 200 points, an A with extra points and it was an essay test. What’s frustrating is that I could manage that, but I couldn’t talk my way out of a paper bag in an interview! I’m setting myself up to be a lifetime Dean’s List student who can’t get a job!

Next semester, I’m taking a couple of web developing classes and a break from the technical stuff. As much as I want to move into the more lucrative technical area, I may be stuck in the creative area. I’m at least going to have enough of the technical creative knowledge to secure something above minimum wage!



I had a wonderful long weekend at the beginning of the month! Kelly, my platonic soulmate, who lives in Missouri, came to visit while David was on fall vacation. Kel and I keep in touch through email, Facebook and long phone calls, but we don’t see each other nearly enough, not like when we were in the same state! We hadn’t seen each other in the flesh since my 40th birthday! I probably would have had blog-time then, but it was totally girl-time!

Kelly, Scotty and Nani

We’re both Michigan natives, so a chunk of Kel’s visit was visiting in Michigan. We met up with Scotty on Friday. The first thing we did was get some balloons. We’d planned to do a balloon release for John as soon as we were all three together. It was a gorgeous and clear day without too much wind, so the balloons were visible for a long time as they sailed up and out of site. That contemplative time between release and the disappearance from site is the most emotional part of the balloon release. The weather giving us a long time was a blessing.

John's Balloons

After lunch, we went apple picking. Well, okay, Scotty and Kelly went apple picking. I sat at a picnic table at the cider mill with my Kindle. I start therapy for the disc problem in my back tomorrow and the doctor tells me I can be apple picking again by next year. That’s a good goal to work towards!

My Dad returned from his vacation on Saturday and invited us to dinner at his place on Sunday. We went up to Frankenmuth, to Bronner’s, the Christmas Wonderland store, in the morning. Kelly had been all over Frankenmuth, but never to Bronner’s and I hadn’t been to Bronner’s since Mom died. It was a nice morning! Kelly bought some stuff to take home as souvenirs/Christmas gifts and I found one gift for later and one for now. I brought David back a beautiful Siamese cat ornament and when I told him on the phone I got something for him when he got home, I gave the clue “meow,” he guessed, “You got me a Siamese cat ornament!”

After Bronner’s, we went to Pop’s. He made grilled pork and chicken kebobs with an assortment of grilled veggies and Italian bread. After dinner. We sat and talked for a while, reminiscing and catching up. We had done a portrait with Mom on one of Kelly’s visits home back in, I think 2002, a close up of our faces, Kelly and I both have framed copies. Kelly wanted one with Pop too, so we took advantage of the auto time and screen that flips for self-portraits and got that shot. Now next time I’m in Missouri, I want one with her Dad too!


Our six, too short, days ended on Tuesday. Kelly does the Children’s Church on Wednesday nights and while her Dad did her adult Bible class on Monday, he wanted nothing to do with the 12-year olds! We had breakfast at iHop and then double checked Kelly’s car packing before a long, long hug goodbye. I missed her by Tuesday afternoon!


I’ll write some more SOON! (and I mean it!)