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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Time

Shhh! It’s still quiet and kinda dark in the house and it gives a little essence of cool. We officially hit 103 degrees yesterday, a new record for Toledo! The Blade, our paper, reported 104 degrees downtown where the temperature would have been recorded for the previous record in 1934, when there was no Toledo airport.

So, woo hoo! We broke the record! Remember, if it’s going to be sweltering hot, at least let us be part of history. Also, yesterday afternoon, about the time it hit that record, our air conditioner started to give up. We’ll be calling for, hopefully quick, service today. We slept in the living room last night. Bedtime temperature in the lower level was 82!

1. What's your favorite childhood snack that you still eat as an adult?

Fresh fruit. Mom was big on fruit as a snack and my parents were both fans of trying new fruits, so from a very young age I enjoyed not just apples and bananas, but persimmons, pomegranate, kumquats and a few different varieties of pears. I still love fresh fruit and many different types of it.

2. What food will you not eat the low fat version of?

Cofffeemate. There is little difference in the stats between the low fat and regular, but a huge difference in taste. I don’t use enough of it to make a big difference anyway and we’re talking about messing with my coffee!

3. What's your favorite way to cool off during the summer?

Ponytails. Seriously, aside from air conditioning, which I usually set cooler than I find comfortable, I have very thick hair and just pulling it away from my neck can make a huge difference. Last time I got my hair cur I told Jamie that I wanted it left long for ponytail season. It also shows off my earrings, but it also means that I really should make a point of wearing earrings!

4. What's your favorite summer read?

Hmmm, as in a book about summer or one I read every summer? If it’s the latter, I tend not to read many books again because there are so many waiting to be read!

Okay, so there was a radio script I read in high school that was an adaptation of the Twilight Zone episode, Midnight Sun. The earth was thrown off its orbit and moving closer to the sun. People were attacking each other for water or fans or anything to get a little cooler. The town where the story takes place is part deserted from people crowding the road to go north to look for a little relief, as far north as they can. I actually read that script before I saw the Twilight Zone episode, It’s just a great story, with a surprise ending.

5. What are you doing to stay cool in this awful heat?

Um, ponytail, getting the AC fixed!


This week’s statements:

1. ____makes me laugh
2. sometimes____makes me sad
3. My ___ looks ___ after ___
4. When I hear ___ I ___

My answers

1.Misspellings on business signs makes me laugh

2. sometimes over-analyzing makes me sad

3. My hair always looks good after I leave the salon, never too look that good until next time I’m at the salon!

4. When I hear birds singing in the morning I always smile.

**  With the heat in the house I worry more about David because I handle the heat better. If it was 10 below and we lost power, it would be worse for me. No, it would be devastating for me. But as it is now, 82 degrees is just a little warm for sleeping ad muggy in the house is not good for existing during the day!

**  If you didn’t see my post explaining what I call hot dogs, please read Snouts and Tails.

**  My overdue coffee order should be in this weekend. It’s not anyone’s fault but mine on the overdue part, I just ordered it, finally. I broke out of my PVSD, Post Vacation Spending Disorder and my spender’s block has cautiously gone away. That means I’ll have K-Cups in the house!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Filling Up My Dance Card

I mentioned finding a couple of dance cards in Grandma’s keepsakes and David gave me a puzzled look.

“You’ve never heard the expression ‘My dance card is full’ or ‘I think I have room on my dance card' or any of the other dance card expressions?”

“Yeah, but I thought dance card was just an expression not a thing.”

I showed him this one and he was…well, he was less than impressed. I guess I get that. I have to agree with him that in today’s world, for a woman to carry around a card at a dance and schedule dance partners seems like it would get in the way of fun at a school dance. But in 1944 dancing was just dancing. It was ballroom type that had definite steps that some did better than others. Maybe it was a way for a popular girl to mean it when she said she’d dance with a guy before the dance is over?” No “dirty dancing” either!” The other dance card I found, which is put away upstairs and I’ll share photos at another time; had the types of dances listed so a girl could write in the boys who fit the style best. It had waltzes and the Charleston but NO TANGO!

This was the Junior/Senior prom for CHS. I’m not sure what high school that was, but Papa graduated from California High School in California, PA, so it makes sense that Grandma would know some people there. The Lee Barrett Orchestra performed. Can you imagine and orchestra at a high school dance? Don’t think for a minute that my romantic brain isn’t picturing and Astaire and Rogers prom!

 Senior  class officers and Prom sponsors were listed on the last page of the book, but other than the orchestra and date, no other credits are in the dance card.  More clues may surface as I go through some of the other things I have.

This prom was the year after Grandma graduated and a month before she and Papa married. The only name on her dance card, for just 2 dances, is Allen Russell, not family or anyone I ever met. I wonder if it’s a friend who was going into the service after graduation? I am quite sure it’s Grandma’s dance card because I recognize her handwriting. The answer to that question, I’ll never know!

So, anyone else who didn’t realize where the references to dance cards came from, they really were part of our American culture!

See and share more wonderful bits of history at The Coloradolady's Vintage Thingie Thursday!

Snouts and Tails

I caused a bit of a stir yesterday with the term “snouts and tails” for the hotdogs I prefer. Let me explain:

The origin of Snouts and Tails:

Snouts and tails is a phrase that describes my favorite hot dogs. Given a choice of a hamburger or a hotdog at a picnic I always ask, “Are they snouts and tails or all-beef dogs?” If the answer is all beef, I go with the hamburger and LOTS of condiments. If the dogs are snouts and tails, I’ll go with the dog. Snouts and Tails is the phrase I use for a hotdog that is not made from all one meat. A beef hotdog is a beef dog and a turkey hotdog is a turkey dog, but the very best tasting dogs are snouts and tails dogs!

Snouts and Tails is a totally Nani term. I had heard too many times the question, “Do you know what in those things?” from hotdog haters, all-beef fans and self-ordained nutritionists. Yes, I know what’s in them. It’s written on the package and all hotdogs that aren’t all beef or turkey have pretty much the same basic ingredients.


If there was anything dangerous in a hotdog, the FDA would not let it be sold in the USA.

I KNOW that hotdogs are not heath food. Neither is milk chocolate or frankly carrots if you eat a couple bushels. I was tired of the idiocy of being judgmental about someone else’s food choice. As if a hotdog could make someone inferior or superior?? I was also tired of the naive regurgitation of senseless urban legends, “everything leftover from the pig goes into a hotdog.” So, I started happily calling my favorite hotdogs “snouts and tails dogs.” When I said I was eating snouts and tails or when I used that as my smiling answer when asked that worn out question, they stopped asking me. I thought it was a fun term and have used it for many years, so I don’t think about the fact that snouts and tails isn’t a common way to say “hotdog.” I think of it as, although a little more obscure, colloquial like soda vs. pop or lollipop vs. sucker.

So, if your hotdog has more than one meat in the ingredients, or if there is a choice between a hotdog and an all-beef hotdogs at an event and you chose the cheaper one, you’ve got yourself a snouts and tails dog. YUM! Enjoy it!

I leave you with my favorite ad for Ball Park Franks from my childhood. It was in the Tigers game programs and I always looked for it. Fun!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gee, It’s Hot

Good morning all! I’m sipping my morning coffee; a Cinnamon Spice Starbucks VIA. I need to place an 11th Street Coffee order today. My wonderful cousin, having read my Tweet about the VIA before we left for vacation and knowing that we don’t have a close Dunkin Donuts, sent me a box of Dunkin K-Cups. That was an awesome surprise when we got back! Since we were leaving for over a week, I wasn’t placing a coffee order or going to the grocery store the week before so my morning coffee was VIA Colombia. While I definitely like the VIA Columbia, The Dunkin Donuts coffee is the absolute taste of comfort for me!

Not a lot going on in Toledo this morning. The big story is the weather, mainly the HOT weather. David mentioned that he’d probably end up writing a weather story today. Headline: “Gee, it’s hot!” I’ve read several sources they predict over 100 for tomorrow! National Weather Service says 101 and Google says 106! The hottest it’s ever been in Toledo is 105, so 106 would definitely be a record breaker. I say bring it!

That’s not me craving heat! Over 100 is even too hot for terminally cold me, but like if you’re buying a new car and want a sun roof, get a car with a sunroof, add it on to the loan. It’s not like you’re paying cash without the sunroof and spread out over the life of the loan you won’t even notice it whereas it might be too expensive after market. Point being; if you’re going to spend the money on a car anyway, get it all. If it’s going to be over 100 anyway, break a record! Hopefully that means that we don’t need to go over 100 again. We’ll see how that works, but if we’re all going to be uncomfortable anyway, let’s be part of an historical event!

1. What do the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' mean to you? Does your mind go more in the direction of not being persecuted or discriminated against or does it head in the direction of doing what you please?

Freedom to me is all about taking the responsibility of respecting and being respected. It’s having my individual rights and my own choices without senseless persecution. If you’ve read any of my rants here, you know that I have little tolerance for those who insist that everyone does it their way when not doing it their way has no effect on them or their own ability to do it their way. I don’t insist that anyone marries who I tell them to, dresses how I say to or drinks coffee every morning because I do. Those things don’t make a difference in my own ability to be married to my husband, wear a sweater in the summer or have my morning coffee. I’m also not going to change any of those things because someone else says I should. My marriage, dress and coffee habits make no difference on their marriage, what they wear or the fact that they prefer tea.

Freedom and liberty are not just doing what I want, but it’s not judging or being judged where no judgment is warranted.

2. Nathan's sponsors a hot dog eating contest every 4th of July. Last year over 40,000 people attended the event and almost 2 million watched it on TV. The winner ate over 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. How do you like your hot dogs?

First off I hate gluttony contests. The concept of eating quickly until you throw up when there are people starving anywhere is disgusting to me. But, back to that last question, to each his own. I choose not to watch those displays.

I love hot dogs! I eat “snouts and tails” dogs, never all-beef, at the ball park and Ball Park Turkey Dogs at home. Two is my usual limit on the turkey dogs, one on the snouts and tails and always mustard, just mustard. When I was little that was all they had for hot dogs at Tiger Stadium and I came to know just mustard as the only way to eat a “real” hot dog!

3. If you were going to enter an eating contest what would be on the menu?

Again, never will, but ice cream, definitely ice cream.

4. Do you run your house more as a dictatorship or a democracy?

I’d say a dictatorship, but the cats are benevolent dictators.

I am so opposed to the idea of running a family unit as a dictatorship. My brother has that notion and I don’t know where he got it from. We weren’t raised that way.

Our home was, in political model terms, a communist state when we were very little. We did things to the best of our ability and were provided for equally by “the government,” Mom and Dad. As we got older we moved into a democracy where in our capitalist world we did our chores and got our allowances with opportunities to do extra things for an increase in pay. When there were things happening, rules changing, curfews etc., we had a voice; sometimes it was a vote and sometimes the government listening to our concerns before making a decision. That form of household “government,” that grew as the family grew, fostered mutual respect between parents and kids.

I’m not naive enough to believe I was a totally equal person in my parents’ home. Any of us totally equal to members of our government? But I felt respected as a member of the family and made choices with much less selfish considerations, even as a teenager. So did Dave, but he forgets. (Judgmental big sister grumble)

5. Where was your favorite summer place when you were a kid?

Everywhere around town! Summer started with Vacation Bible School at the Baptist Church and we did stuff with the youth group all summer, we had passes at the high school pool for swimming and there were arts and crafts at a few of the schools. I can’t say I loved any of them more than the others; I always had great summers!

6. Do you have a guest room? Would you want to stay there?

No and no. We have a lot of work to do on our house before I’d invite anyone over! The house is a perennial work in progress.

7. Next Wednesday America celebrates her independence. Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July? If you live outside the USA when and how does your country celebrate its own patriotic holiday?

I don’t really have any plans. I usually wear red, white and blue, red and white on Canada Day (July 1) too, and I try to find someplace to see some fireworks.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Credits: Thanks A Mellon by Blue Heart Scraps

For my random thought today I’m sharing a scrapbook layout and a “recipe.” Recipe is in quotes because it’s more an idea than a recipe. In 2008, a few days before we left on a Labor Day trip, Pop gave me a whole watermelon. I love watermelon, but don’t buy whole ones because we wouldn’t eat it all before it spoiled. Well, since we were leaving, my idea was that I’d cut up what was left and see how it froze. After forgetting it was in the freezer, I pulled out the frozen watermelon cubes in October! I shaved down the cubes in the blender and it made wonderful watermelon slush! It’s actually a great summer dessert idea and it’s watermelon; a wonderful frozen treat for kids! The “recipe” is chop-freeze-crush and serve!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Okay, I screamed for ice cream.  :D  I'm going to ask you to give a shout out for your favorites too!  Read on...

1. What was your favorite childhood toy?

Drowsy! She was my favorite doll and the one I took with me everywhere. She had a pull string “voice” that would say things like “I’m so sleepy.” The pull string lasted a couple of months, but Drowsy didn’t need to talk to be my favorite! Eventually, because she went everywhere with my, Drowsy started looking a little, okay a lot, worn, when my Dad started referring to her as “Lousy.”

Every couple of years Drowsy and Dave’s favorite, who went through the same kid abuse Drowsy did, Smokey the Bear, went to the North Pole for the elves to clean them up and fix them up and we got them back on Christmas Morning in new boxes and everything! Drowsy went to the North Pole for her spa trip at Thanksgiving, but my memory seems to want to say it was in September, because it seemed like she was gone so long! Six weeks in child-time is MONTHS!

2. Where did you go this weekend?

Yesterday we went out to breakfast at IHOP. I had the Red Velvet Pancakes. They were good, but honestly, I was torn between Chocolate Chip and Red Velvet and got the Red Velvet because they are on the limited time special menu. They weren’t as chocolaty in flavor and I would probably have enjoyed the Chocolate Chip more, but they were good with the butter pecan syrup, frosting and whipped cream, all on the side because I don’t even use half of it. All of it on the pancakes would be just too much sweet for breakfast for me!

While at breakfast we decided to go to the Mud Hens game at 6:00. We had “Club Seats” which are upstairs for $3 more each. We hadn’t been in club level at Fifth Third Fled before. Club Level includes an air-conditioned concessions area on the suites level. The ramps were on the very end, so David got a workout pushing me. We went in the elevators on the first base (right) side of home plate went to the left field party deck to where the ramps are, went down the ramps to the club level and then back to home plate to our seats. $3 extra per ticket is way cheaper than the cost of a gym membership! The best available wheelchair seats on the main concourse were in far left field and uncovered in the sun for the first half of the game. Our seats were great!

Club Level View

Club Level close-up, Miguel Tejada batting
When he stuck out, one row got free ice cream!

Tejada struck out once and the free ice cream didn't go to our row, so after the game, we went to Baskin Robbins. I got my usual use of my weekly Points Plus and got my double scoop in a waffle cone; one of Baseball Nut and on of America’s Birthday Cake. I can’t decide which flavor I like better and they are both summer seasonal flavors, so, yes, I mix them and no chocolate! But I had chocolate pancakes, remember? My usually ice cream conservative honey had TWO flavors of ice cream in his sundae. Man on the wild side this week! hehe.. David had a 3-scoop hot fudge sundae with 2 of Chocolate Chip and one of…wait for it….MINT Chocolate Chip! He doesn’t get my always mixing flavors either.

3. When was the last time you shopped for yourself? What did you buy?

I bought a bangle cuff bracelet from Amazon to try out. I like that style of bracelet and it seemed easier to put on myself than the Pandora style Medical ID bracelet. It is, but one of the balls that screw off so you can put the beads on fell off in the first week I had it! :(
I also got 2 new beads, in perfect Nani colors, to go with it and while the bracelet doesn’t work for me, I didn’t lose any beads, or the medical ID charm, and I put them back on the original chain. I like the fact that with a few more beads, I’ll be able to match my medical ID bracelet to anything in my wardrobe!

4. Paper, Plastic or Reusable?

We have a ton of reusable bags that we try to remember to grab, and usually do, when we grocery shop together. For quick stops, it’s plastic and we recycle them, putting them in the reusable bags and dropping them in the recycled bag container when we shop together.

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

On the subject of the ice cream;

Do you like to mix flavors when you have an ice cream shop treat or are you a single flavor person?  What's your favorite ice cream treat?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fabulous Friday Stuff


This week’s statements:
1. I love a ___
2. If I could ____ anywhere I would ____
3. When I grow up, I want to ________
4. the best _________________ I ever ____________________

My Answers:

1. I love a purring cat that’s in the mood to cuddle.
2. If I could have alone-time anywhere I would spend it on the porch of a secluded cabana on the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise.
3. When I grow up, I want to have a lot more money!
4. The best fireworks I ever saw were last year at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. The Reds’ Friday fireworks are the best ever. Brilliantly choreographed to the music, they are amazing!

1. What do you keep a stock pile of?

Zip-Loc bags and the like. I use them for everything from storing food, to storing craft supplies to separating and organizing things to be scanned. If I find them on sale, or if I find the tiny zipping bags at a dollar store, I stock up!

2. If Ben & Jerry asked you to invent an ice cream, what would it be?

Considering that Ben and Jerry’s already makes my “go-to” flavor, Cherry Garcia, I guess the ultimate flavor would be if Cherry Garcia came in a chocolate base, so Chocolate Cherry Garcia.

3. How do you blow off steam?

I usually write in my personal journal to blow off steam.

4. What would you do if you had an hour to yourself anywhere within a ten mile radius of your home...no kids, no hubby, just you?

I’d take my Nook out to lunch, probably Cracker Barrel, which I’ve often done before. (only in the past it’s been with the Kindle, paperback or a textbook.)

5. When you were 16, what was your curfew in the summertime?

Summer and weekends it was midnight at 16. It moved to 12:30 at 17 and no curfew at 18, with the expectation that we’d extend the courtesy of giving our parents an approximate time we’d be home.

**  I know there are those who dislike music on blogs. I’m not one of them. I enjoy stepping into someone’s cyber-living room or cyber-kitchen and hearing their favorites playing. It’s another part of the person and the world of the person writing the blog; it’s part of their personality. Sometimes if I have more than one window open playing music, I’ll employ the mute button, but usually I enjoy the sounds of the blog I’m reading.

Blogland is pretty quiet these days. Playlist, the blog-music source for many of the blogs with music I read, has stopped hosting music outside of the playlist site. That’s a shame. I’ve become acquainted with many new-to-me songs from other blogs. My exposure to new music is limited if I’m the only one making the choices!

** I’ve been suffering from a little blogger’s block lately. I have a ton of things I want to write for the Chronicles of Nani as well as for my MS blog and Kaline and Carla have some things they want to add to their blog too. I just haven’t felt like writing! If it feels like a chore for me to do, it just won’t be a quality I am proud to publish on my blogs. This too shall pass; stay tuned for a rush of entries when my brain is ready to write again!

** I’ve also had “spender’s block.” There are some things I really do need to purchase and some things I really want, but I get as far as looking and planning to buy and then stop. I even have prescriptions that I ordered but since I’m not out of them yet I haven’t picked them up. I think spender’s block is a normal post-vacation stress disorder!

**  I bought a light blue t0shirt at The Wright Brothers Museum when we visited last week. They did have a green one, but I decided to try a new color. I have other colors too, but my usual choice is green so there is a lot of it in my wardrobe. I wore the shirt yesterday and I noticed that my eyes still are unquestionably green. It reminded me of when I was 15 and my blue eyes transitioned to green. When I wore green, my eyes appeared green, but when I wore blue, they still looked blue.

My brother’s eyes changed in his early 20s and I think Tori and Rina both have green now too. Adults with green eyes usually had blue eyes as children that changed over in their teens to 20s. I still think I look better in green, purple or a darker blue.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer First!

I know, I know, I have been a little scarce. I was really busy at the beginning of the week a couple weeks back getting ready for last week. Last week was our (late) spring vacation! Last year and this year David’s vacation time was later than it had been when we went to Florida in 2010. Of course we melted last year in record end of May/beginning of July heat in Iowa and especially in St. Louis, so this year, with vacation time in June…we went farther south!

It sounds quite insane considering that, while I like the heat, David unequivocally does NOT! But there were free room and family opportunities that prompted the decision. Baby brother was planning a trip after his girls graduated from high school to take the whole family, including his step daughter’s family and Dad and Aunt Judy to Italy. As a planner I guess I’m a little harsh, but I’ve commented before about my brother and paper bags and being trapped inside one without GPS.  He probably wouldn’t have planned ahead and brought batteries for the GPS anyway. Four months before the trip, he discovered the prices for flights to Italy were just a TON pricier than he expected. So, the family trip to Italy became a beach vacation in North Carolina.

The planned beach vacation was his family with Dad and Aunt Judy to the Outer Banks. David had planned his vacation time around his birthday and concert tickets in Washington DC the day before. We asked little bro if he might have room in his beach rental for guests a couple of nights and he was ecstatic that we wanted to join them. So our vacation week included 2 days and three nights in their sound-side rental in Duck, North Carolina, in between trains, 3 baseball games, a Marillion concert and a fun evening car-camping by the railroad tracks. For our two days, we visited The Wright Brothers museum and memorial in Kill Devil Hills, Jenette’s Pier, where my family was fishing, 4 light houses and we ate lots of seafood!

My main issue with the 3 nights at the beachouse was the steps. There was a full flight of stairs into the main level of the house. That’s hurricane protection, but it’s definitely not handicap-friendly at all. Every time I used the steps, someone had to run the walker in front of me so I could grab it when I reached the end and walk in front of me going down or behind me going up with instructions to push hard if I started falling down because I’d rather break a few teeth on the wood steps than my skull on the concrete floor below. Good news is, as nerve-racking as it was doing the steps, I experienced the victorious feeling of accomplishment every time. But next time I go to the beach, we’ll do a hotel with an elevator. I’ve never understood vacation rentals; what kind of vacation is it where you cook, clean and make your own bed? (And do more steps than home!)

My highlight of the beach time was seeing the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras. My parents had traveled to The Outer Banks together and Mom was in her glory seeing the lighthouses. She had brought home a replica of every one of them that were displayed in their bedroom. She was a huge lighthouse fan and Cape Hatteras was her favorite. We shared many lighthouse trips on the Great Lakes, but seeing Hatteras was special for me since she loved it so and that was one we hadn’t seen together. Mom’s lighthouses are on a shelf in our nautical-themed bathroom. I’d been with her to some of them, but it’s neat to have seen a few of the other ones now.

I’ll tell a little more about what we did on vacation in the next week or so. For now, It’s Wednesday and I’m back to my normal week, so, how about a little Hodge Podge?

1. Summer officially rolls in with the Hodgepodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway. What song says summer 2012 to you?

I can’t think of a specifically 2012. When I was in my 20s and 30s, Summer was always official when I could drive the Camaro with the windows down and Motley Crue’s “Wild Side” blasting in the cassette player. More recently, I think Kati Perry’s “California Girls” makes me think of summer. I’ll probably think of a bunch more after I hit “post.”

2. What's your favorite quintessential summer food?

Gazpacho, A Midsummer Evening’s Pasta and Baseball Nut Ice Cream from Baskin Robbins

Recipe is my random thought

3. I've spent a lot of time traipsing up and down the NJ Turnpike in recent weeks. Did you know the rest areas on the turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, James Fenimore Cooper, Molly Pitcher, Joyce Kilmer, Thomas Edison, and Gover Clevland just to name a few. Of those I listed, who would you most like to have known and why?

Thomas Edison – he was an old fashioned Steve Jobs!

A little tongue in cheek there, but Edison said “why not?” to so many things that became necessities. Think about it; in the timeline of discovery, without the development of the phonograph to record and replay data, voice, and without a power grid to transmit electricity, would the iPhone or iPad have ever been developed? I just find the historical roots of modern day normal to be fascinating.

4. At what age did you move out of your parent's house and what prompted the move?

I left my parents’ house when I was 40. I was there for the same reason I left; money. I was fine to stay there and drive my sports car while hoping to get to Atlanta, but mergers in the communication production field and the fall of the economy left me really grateful to still be with my parents! I don’t imagine it would have been easy to have to come back after I’d been out!

The economy was challenging Dad’s income and Aunt Judy’s bills and they chose to combine assets. I was already an hour away from my boyfriend and moving with them would put me farther away. Boyfriend offered to let me move in and I thought that was a better choice for me. It ends up that I’m married and still living with that boyfriend now, so it worked out well.

5. What's more satisfying to you-saving time or saving money?

Saving money is wonderful, but I hate wasting time more than anything! I’ll spend more in gas to drive around construction than be stuck in traffic. I need to feel occupied more than I need to see my wallet full.

6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.

Wheelchairs! No, really, people are incredibly kind and want to be helpful to people in wheelchairs.

7. This last question comes to you courtesy of Kathy over at Reflections...Will you be taking a vacation or a staycation this summer? If so where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?

If ‘va” is the part that makes it “go someplace,” then “cation” is the part that means “take a break.” That being said, I don’t believe in the word “staycation.” Taking a break to me is seeing something new and NOT being at work or home. It’s also having housekeeping making the bed and the staff at a restaurant serving the food and doing the dishes!

We just got back from 11 days in Virginia and the Carolinas.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Here’s my recipe for A Midsummer Evening’s Pasta, one of my favorite dishes I cook in the summer.


A Midsummer Evening's Pasta
 serves 2

2 cups of dry Farfalle pasta
2 Roma tomatoes
1 cup of fresh basil leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 TBS. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup of freshly shredded Asiago cheese.

Boil pasta in water with an extra drop of olive oil to keep it from sticking. Cook pasta until it is al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, dice the tomatoes and mix them with the fresh basil and olive oil. Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

When pasta is done cooking, drain it and put it in a serving bowl, immediately adding the tomato and basil mixture and the Asiago cheese. Mix it to warm the additional ingredients and melt the cheese.

Serve warm.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Briefly, Friday

It’s been a busy, busy week this week and my schedule is still very full! I’ll be getting to catching up with reading, commenting and regular blogging next week. Today, "Briefly, Friday" means I drew one random meme that I usually do as my “hi, still here” and my version of normal will return next week. Stay tuned!

1. Would you grow your hair out to donate it?

Absolutely! I donated 12” and 2-10” ponytails to Locks of Love in 2009 and I’m thinking of growing it out again.

2. What song makes you think of summer?

Any classical symphony with lots of strings.

3. Are you a flip flops or sandals kind of person?

I’m a bare foot gal.

4. Favorite summer treat (ie ice cream, snow cones, etc)?

Baseball nut ice cream in a waffle cone or something chocolate in a pretzel come

5. Do you do something special for the father of your children on Fathers day?

I guess I would, but I don’t have any children.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Good Monday!

Acting Balanced

1. Finish this sentence - I had a great....

bra style for 20 years but they discontinued that style and I haven’t found a good replacement yet! :(

2. What is your favorite kind of soda pop?

Diet Coke with Splenda

3. What is your weather like today?


4. What is your favorite workout song?

When I worked out every day, I liked Sussudio by Phil Collins

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

What’s your favorite vacation activity?

I love seeing new baseball parks the most. In fact we plan games into our travel plans.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Follows

Boy it seemed like a short week this week. I think it’s because lazy weekend was a long one, starting on Thursday with the girls’ graduation and that was in a week already shortened by Memorial Day and with Scotty’s birthday party that was a busy, busy weekend too! I’d like to say that this weekend will be the veg at home and relax weekend, but we have plans that include a concert and a baseball game. It’s not at all the kind of busy it sucks to be!
So let’s get into some Friday fun, shall we?

Five Question Friday

1. Did you do anything special for your kids on the last day of school? Or did you parents do anything special for you? 

Nah. My Mom worked mornings during the school year and the last day of school was usually a half day so we got ready for the summer on that afternoon. We made sure Dave and I had our summer passes for unlimited swimming at the high school, were signed up for vacation Bible School and we all agreed on what our allowance was for crafts and baseball cards. Okay, I’m the one who budgeted every week for baseball cards, but I needed to know what I had to budget. Most of my jewelry and gifts all summer were from Arts and Crafts at the middle school. Southgate was an awesome place for kids in the summer.

2. What's your favorite summer tradition with your children?

My nieces and I used to make picnic lunches and go to the park to picnic and play almost every weekend. Last week they told me they won’t eat chicken salad any other way than the way we always made it.

3. What was your favorite thing to do during the summer as a kid?

See above? Swimming at the high school, arts and crafts at the middle school, Vacation Bile School at the Baptist church and collect baseball cards. I never turned down the chance to go see the Tigers.

4. How old were you when you were married? Were you a Bridezilla?

I was 42. We eloped. The only thing I was even close to bridezilla about was the cake for the reception. I didn’t want a plain sheet cake which is normal for baseball picnic catering.. I wanted a baseball-wedding cake. Haas Bakery in Toledo did a fantastic cake that tasted as good as it looked!

Credits: With a Cherry On Top by Veelana Designs

5. What is your favorite girl name? (I'm needing suggestions.)

When I was in high school and everyone talked about baby names, I chose Miranda Scarlett, a literary name after Miranda from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Scarlett O’Hara.

Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun


This week’s statements:

1. When I ___ I ____
2. I wish I was ___
3. If the world is my oyster then _________________
4. My favorite meal of the day is __________ and the food I think would be my favorite to eat then would be __________

My Answers

1. When I feel blue I look at my scrapbooks.

2. I wish I was just over half my size!

3. If the world is my oyster then I’m in trouble because I don’t like oysters.

4. My favorite meal of the day is breakfast and the food I think would be my favorite to eat then would be granola, yogurt and a latte. But granola can be very fattening and very addicting. So granola in the house is a once in a while treat. I usually get Caramel Pecan Kellogg’s Fiber Plus with almond milk. YUM!.

Friday Fragments

** I’ve been really appreciating the comments I’ve gotten this week! Thank you all so much! The next fragments will answer a few of the questions I’ve received.

** The Sweetest Thing came out in 2002 and stars Cameron Diaz and Thomas Jane. I confess I rented the movie after falling in movie star crush with Thomas Jane after seeing him in The Punisher, another awesome movie if you like comic book movies. It is a crazy funny movie. If you pick up this one to watch, and you’re not sensitive to sexual jokes, make sure you get the Director’s Cut with “The Penis Song.” I laughed hysterically

** I was so happy to receive some very nice comments to yesterday’s post. Whew! I don’t write political content on my blog often and of course anything negative about religion is touchy. Even more so for me because my religion teaches tolerance of other religions. But I do allow myself that gray area when religion is used for hate, I’m not sure that I recognize it as a religion anymore. It’s just a hot button for me when people are being denied basic rights for no good reason. This country was formed to stop that.

** By the way, in response to the question about my home state. I’m not at all from Washington. I’m in the backwards Midwest in a state that has great theme parks and hate speech written into our state constitution. I support equality even more because I’m ashamed.

** There are four things you can ask me to post a picture of and I’ll, beaming with pride, happily oblige. Those photos are ones of my nieces, my cats, our wedding cake and my trains. Mama Hen left a request to see a couple of trains this week. I’m proud of how my shot composition has improved since my “Railfan Intern” days. David has been a wonderful influence on my photography work!

Amtrak in Tipton, PA, May 18, 2012

CSX train in Deshler, OH, May 20, 2012

Okay, blog defragged for another week. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Soap Box Again - Grrrr

A group calling themselves “Preserve Marriage Washington” blocked the law which would make marriage an equal and valid institution rather than a segregated entitlement with signatures from 200,000 insecure and confused people the day before the law creating marriage equality went into effect. The block will send Referendum 74 to a public vote.

You might say, “That’s democracy, it’s good.” But cults have voted to do great harm before and we say it’s bad. It leaves me a little confused. What is good and American about select entitlement, about prejudice and hate? I know our history is peppered with those things, but why are we still fighting those social wars? In 2012, we are still social cliques at war with each other to be recognized as the “superior clique.” Yes, if you read into that as me calling many of the fundamental religious groups “cults” and “cliques,” that’s exactly what I meant. My Bible says “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” I’m seeing a lot of judging of things that have no effect whatsoever on the people doing the judging. I see telling God he made a mistake in bringing two people together to be a far greater sin than loving someone.

The thing that I really don’t understand is the whole “sanctity of marriage” thing when it comes to wanting to keep marriage an entitlement for heterosexual couple only. First off, if we are not going to allow same-sex couples to marry to save the “sanctity of marriage,” we need to outlaw divorce too. That’s a way bigger destroyer of that sanctity. I do realize that if divorce was illegal David would still be married to his ex and her husband and I would still be single. Four happy people would be miserable or lonely, but that “Preserve Marriage” group would be happy and isn’t that all that’s really important?

I’ve had a participant on the occasional debate that sprouts when I post on Facebook that insists that allowing same-sex marriage is a “slippery slope” that next is “marrying your dog.” Aside from the fact that “marrying your dog” is quoted propaganda and not original thought and “slippery slope” is just a desperate catch phrase used when one really has nothing left to present, that argument is the silliest thing I’ve heard. Last I checked dogs can’t give consent and they can’t contract. I don’t think there will ever be a time that a doctor will call your dog when you’re on your death bed but they will call your spouse.

As far as a “slippery slope,” that slope slides both ways. Marriage equality is a plateau. If we can’t reach that plateau, if states keep putting the hate and entitlement language in their constitutions and the hate groups block the states that move towards equality, how soon before the country slides down the way it came?  How soon before laws are put in place to define marriage as “between a man and woman of the same color, same religion and same financial level?” Sanctity of marriage; keep the gold-diggers from destroying the sacred institution! That side of the “slippery slope” makes as much sense as marrying a dog does. 

Allowing same-sex marriage is allowing all couples of consenting adults to legally contract their partnership. That’s all legal marriage is. It has nothing to do with any church; it’s just a contract. I didn’t get married in a church at all and my marriage is still valid and legal and called a marriage. A church that scorns same-sex couples doesn’t have to perform a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple. Churches don’t have to change based on new laws, so why do they want laws to be governed by their rules?

The creation of the United States was greatly based on those fleeing religious tyranny in England. Freedom from the government establishing a single religion is in the Bill of rights. It’s the very first amendment to the constitution. We have the free exercise of any religion so no one religion should be allowed to demand laws reflecting its beliefs be made. One country, one religion, one FAIL. If religious interests take over our government and it becomes necessary to flee from the tyranny again, where will we go?

Get the special interest religious groups out of our government and let them tend to their churches; maybe they can do something about that divorce rate.


Items in red are sarcasm. It pains me to have to note that.

I’m not really looking to debate, just to get some anger off my chest. Feel free to disagree with me, but please don’t leave a dissertation to me of “why you’re wrong” in comments. It won’t be published. I will publish any “I disagree and here is the link to my blog” comments if you’d like to post a differing opinion. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Hodge Podge

1. How many students were in your high school graduating class? Did you know most, if not all of them?

I think about 200. I graduated in January and didn’t go back for commencements, bur my brother’s class the next year was in the 200 area.

2. What was the last thing you photographed?

A train! David and I went out for ice cream and to photo a couple of t5rains before dark.

3. Pickles-love 'em or loathe 'em? If its love what's something you eat that needs a pickle?

I love pickles! I eat pickles on their own and I love pickle slices with Dijon mustard on luncheon meat sandwiches. If I get a Southern Chicken Sandwich at McDonalds, I ask for extra pickles – they absolutely make that sandwich.

4. What's a stereotype you seem to perpetuate without meaning to?

I don’t know that I slip into any stereotypes. Maybe “Pollyanna optimist?”

5. Ever been horse back riding? If so is it something you enjoy? If not, do you have any interest? Did you watch the Kentucky Derby? Will you be watching the last leg of the Triple Crown this weekend?

I rode horseback when camping with the family when I was a kid, just once that I recall. It was fun but it didn’t ignite a passion in me. I’ll probably be out and about Saturday, so maybe I’ll listen on the radio. If I find myself near a TV, I’ll watch. I’d love to see I’ll Have Another take the Belmont. The Triple Crown is an amazing thing.

6. What's your favorite 'wedding' movie?

The Sweetest Thing ; It’s probably the only Wedding movie I’ve ever watched. It’s a comedy and the wedding that didn’t happen is a pretty big part of the plot.

7. What is one 'tourist attraction' in the USA that you'd like to see in person?

Yellowstone National Park

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m giving a random nod to Starbucks VIA! We’re out of regular K-Cups right now. We do have decaf, but first thing in the morning decaf just doesn’t cut it. I have a couple boxes of VIA for coffee emergencies. MMM!! Good stuff. It’s the way to go if you’re going instant! I don’t travel without a few packs in my bag.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Where’s The Mug?/Monday Quiz

Indianapolis Indians
Photo NOT in Indiana

I’ll give you a hint; David and I went on our second date to see the Indianapolis Indians at the Mud Hens. It was a school day game and this is where he went after the date.

The plan had been to do the mug I bought yesterday at the Indianapolis Indians game and tell about the game and the whole long weekend in Indianapolis, but the mug is still in David’s car. He sent me a picture of it from his phone this morning.

 Honors cords on both of them!

This was such a huge week! Notice the picture of me with my graduated nieces; Tori and Rina BOTH graduated with honors cords, something I just missed when I graduated, and I was beyond proud! We got in later than panned and the girls had already left with their grandparents to the Convention Center where the commencement ceremonies were. I didn’t see them until after the ceremony. We were all gathered waiting for them and when they came out they rushed in with hugs and hellos. Then it was picture time with everyone. When they were both standing in front of me, I grabbed the cords in both hands and held them up to them and said, “THIS is what makes me SO proud; I just missed having them. You both topped me!” I couldn’t hide the cracking in my voice.

They both told me separately that it meant a lot to them that I cried. I was told that I used the word proud right because I wasn’t just proud because they graduated. I was proud because of what those cords mean. They both worked hard to earn them and I heard many comments over the last few years about how much work and frustration the AP classes were, how much it wasn’t worth it, how it was killing their GPAs. But they both fought hard and protected those GPAs; totally worth it!

Now I can tell you about the big project I mentioned at the beginning of the year. Friends who know me in the scrapbook forums have seen the pages and now they are finished projects. I started working on books for the girls for graduation/18th Birthday girls in January 2008. I presented the finished books, one custom made for each of them with some pages the same and lots of them unique to them. They both loved the books, but they didn’t cry. They looked through them, but planned to read them when they were alone. Uh huh!

Before they opened the memory books, I gave them each their own copy of The Seven Habits of Hghly Effective People. That is a book they grew up knowing because I used it a lot and quoted it when we worked on projects; “Begin with the end in mind,” “Sharpen the saw” and always having a backup plan were a big part of my habits for effective Aunting! It was also a source of valuable tools for critical thinking and “big picture” decision making. Tori recognized the book right away as the book they were “raised on” and Rina thinks maybe it would be a good book to read before college. And here I was didn’t sign the books in case they didn’t want to read them so they could sell them for part of a text book.

Monday Mug Shot

Indianapolis Indians

My Sweeties are off to college in the fall! It’s not like I saw them all that much during the school year after they moved to Indianapolis, but occasionally they all went to Michigan on a weekend and there won’t be those anymore. But I do have bait to get them to visit me every now and then; I have Ya Halla, the Middle Eastern restaurant we all love in Toledo.

But yesterday was the day for kidnapping them, probably for the last time it would be kidnapping. The next time we spend a day together without their Dad around, it will probably just be adults getting together for coffee.

I had asked the girls before we left the Open House Saturday if they wanted to go to the game with David and me on Sunday. They were both quite enthusiastic with their “yes.” We picked them up at 11:30 for a 1:15 game. We dropped off luggage form the back seat to make room for the girls to switch it back before we went home. When we got to the park, early, as we walked in we were happily surprised to find out it was bobblehead give away day and we were early enough to get them! The Indians are the Pirates’ AAA team and we all got an Andrew McCutchen bobblehead, very cool. McCutchen is my favorite MLB player to hate. Okay, maybe hate is strong; I think he’s an awesome player, this coming from watching him beat up on the Reds and this year the Tigers in Interleague play. So the McCutchen bobblehead will go nicely next to Mike Piazza in our living room.

After getting the bobbleheads, we were then handed Chili’s bingo cards. The bingo cards were very cool! Each card had the free space and 24 possible things that could happen during the game. Tori and Rina both had “Pitch hits batter” on one of their spaces, but Tori was most vocal with “Aw, come on hit somebody!” The cards are actually pretty cool because it really makes you focus on the game to try and check all the boxes. In the end none of us got all of the spaces filled, but the “combined 20 hits” and even “total runs 8 or more” got checked off as the Indians beat the Syracuse Chiefs by a score of 14-6 with 19 hits for the home team and 10 hits for the Chiefs. If you like high-scoring games, that was one to see. Since there were so many high hit and run numbers on our cards, the high score was a good thing for sure!

The girls enjoyed a bit of their childhood, eating their way through the game. Tori proclaimed teat ballpark food has always been the best and she and Rina were both ready for Dippin Dots late in the game. All right, on the Dippin Dots, all four of us were ready! After the game we went to Chili’s with the coupons from the bingo cards, except that we didn’t order the things in the coupons. Still, eating at Chili’s was a thank you for the fun bingo game cards.

Tori posted from the game on Facebook that it was a great time and Rina said it was the “best day in a long time.” And no schmoozing; they had their graduation cards but hadn’t opened them yet at the time! David and I agreed that we were glad the day turned out just as it did! I don’t care if I’m biased; they truly are incredible young women. Onward and upward, girls!

Acting Balanced

1. Finish this sentence - The first thing I do in the morning is...

Take meds/vitamins

2. What is your favorite kind of pie?

Depends on my mood; Chocolate silk or Key Lime, t I’ll never turn down a nice ice cream pie.

3. Do you have pets? 

No, but Kaline and Carla do; they call them Mommy and Daddy.

4. What is your favorite chair in your house?

I want to someday get a “World Series chair;” one I can sprawl in with my knees draped over the side. Right now, there is no favorite chair.

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

Was your high school graduation in May or June?

I graduated in January, but the commencement ceremony for our class was in June.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Follow Friday Fun Fill-In

My Friday offerings will be a little different this week since I'm remote-blogging.  Tori and Rina are officially high school graduates now! YAY! The ceremony was nice and I confess I choked back a couple proud tears. I’m so glad I made the trip before the weekend to be there.

This week I am a cohost on the Follow Friday Fun Fill-In with Hilary at Feeling Beachie. My contributions are the last two. Please join in on the fun! I love checking to other answers to the fill-ins and seeing the different ways people interpret the fill-ins.

This week’s statements are:
1. I always ___when I___
2. ___ is very hard for me to do
3. Whenever I eat ________, I want to _____________.
4. If I ruled the world, ____________ wouldn't exist and everyone would _______.

My answers:

1. I always floss and use a fluoride rinse when I brush my teeth in the morning.

2. Resisting chocolate is very hard for me to do

3. Whenever I eat Baskin Robbins ice cream, I want to have it in a waffle cone.

4. If I ruled the world, hate and intolerance wouldn't exist and everyone would respect one another and debate without the usual hate speech.