Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

The Chronicles of Nani On Video

I am overcoming my inability to type with my ability to talk (and talk and talk and talk) I'll be posting a video every week on my YouTube channel. I'll be posting those videos here too along with an occasional regular blog in the mix. (As long as my hands are up to doing the extra typing.)

You'll be able to watch the videos here, but I encourage you to stop by my channel at YouTube once I'm up and running to follow me and get my numbers started!

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the latte with a slice of black forest cake!

Contact Nani at

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Digitalegacies Designs Sale Paper

Happy Thursday everybody!

Just a quick stop in to remind everyone about Crazy Thursday at Scrap Bird. This week there are 22 products at half off, including Eight Days a Week by Digitalegacies Designs!

If you need happy colors and a lot of room for inspired journaling, consider Eight Days A Week! This kit was made with Project 365 layouts in mind, but it’s super versatile!

The kit comes with 3 full alphas and the Project 365 Templates set 1, a $1.99 value, as a free bonus! Today the kit with bonus is $2.50!

Or if you want some quick and easy Project 365 or any multi-photo pages, try the Project 365 Quick Page set!

Four ready to go pages, just slip your photo behind, resize as necessary and there you have it. Now you are ready to spend some quality time with the journaling, or to add your own extras. Those are $1.38 today!

Also, as April is wrapping up, this is the last day for the Add It On For Free special from Digitalegacies Designs! Buy the kit, get the add-on free!

Coupon codes for the free add-ons:

One Step at a Time - kjad4365
Homemade Love - lknd856hn
Because Of You - dkrj25jdh
Your Own Special Way - lknrj37hdn

Just put both items in your cart and enter the code, the price for add-on will disappear!

Tomorrow will start the NSD weekend sale at Scrap Bird! 40% off the entire store all weekend plus see the Scrap Bird blog for more specials and the freebies announcements! There is a special NSD freebie from each Scrap Bird designer this weekend AND the second part of our fabulous Flowers Blooming collab is free for three days too!! Most of the freebies will go into the stores after the weekend, so make sure you check out Scrap Bird while everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is on sale or free!

Have fun shopping the sales!

Be One With The Manta

I love going to aquariums and places like Sea World. Fish are cool and big fish, even cooler! Sea World is that perfect combination of aquarium and theme park and this year, next month, there is a new fishy-ride in town!

Manta is the new attraction at Sea World Orlando. After walking through the tropical aquarium area, floor to ceiling seeing amazing fish, you turn the corner to where the ride i. You hear and feel the whoosh of air and no doubt screaming riders as it gets close to your turn. What a great concept, while you’re standing line, you are surrounded by the aquarium. You ride on a rail strapped to the belly of a steel manta!

But you can circumvent the lines too! If you go to the Manta homepage, there are six activities you can register and do. There is a mantis a quiz to test your manta knowledge. You can download a manta mask and decorate it. Take a picture and upload it to Flickr! You can also upload a picture of yourself holding an “I heart manta” sign to Flickr “Fill Your Row” means that you send friends a referral with your code and ask them to enter it when they visit You can tweet Real Shamu on Twitter and you can post a video telling why the ride is exciting for you on YouTube.

Okay, that sounds like hyping the new ride, what’s in it for you? Well, sign up and do two things and you get a photo of the ride, but do all six and they put you in the front of the line! 5,000 people will win the front of the line prize! That’s good payment for a little easy and fun promotion!

It looks like such a totally cool ride, as if Sea World wasn’t high enough on the coolness scale! If you’re making plans to be in the Orlando area this year, or if you are now, you gotta check out the Manta Experience! There’s plenty of time to do all six projects to get your front of the line pass before opening day, May 22, 2009!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is My Marriage Is In Trouble?

The very definition of a toxic relationship is codependency and addiction. When the hopelessly addicted user rolls up the spouses sleeve and gives them their introduction. There is no sleep, only the incoherent, euphoric feel of the rush in your veins. It happened yesterday to me.

Oh it was innocent at first. I hadn’t heard of the drug and asked my husband what it was. This is the man I trust, forsaking all others, for richer, for poorer, in good health, in the dark despair of sickness, of addiction. I asked and he introduced me to the fix.

So the online version of Mah-Jong is now bookmarked in the games file, with Skee Ball! It’s ancient Chinese solitaire and I’m hooked! I need to get a laptop so we can sit together and play side by side like a couple of junkies! hehe.

I actually finished a board today at lunch. Not easy to do, woo hoo for me!

We were the guest of the team last night at the Mud Hens game. We talked to our sales rep about the reception in July and checked out the party area. It’s PERFECT! There is a decent view of the field, the picnic area is covered and semi private. It’s on the main level and close to the left field gate, how appropriate for David and me. But even better, I was telling Grandma on the phone tonight, Dad can drop her off and it’s a really short walk from the street to sitting at the table in the party area and the rest rooms are right there too. I’m telling ya, this is going to be my dream reception!

I’ve never been conventional in that way. When I was in high school and girlfriends talked about the someday weddings, I never had much to add to the talk. I figured if I ever met and fell in love with the one who was right for me, we’d get married. I mean I never thought about a wedding, just if you were in love and wanted to be together it was no big deal. We’d just get married. David and I did that, as matter-of-factly as I’d pictured it would be. Yes, it was a big deal, but a very personal big deal. It was all of the romance and perfection I thought it might be way back when.

Now, we’re doing the summer reception. My dream party would definitely be a baseball party. I’m going to have the hat with a veil and David in his tux tee-shirt, our family and close friends and a double header with fireworks. Dream reception! I know if David could do a dream wedding reception, he’d have good food in an air conditioned restaurant at high noon, when the light is not good for pictures. The restaurant would be track side of tracks with plenty of trains passing by and there would be train chasing before after dinner with family and friends, including a “posse” of our close railfan friends. That’s going to be Sunday after the baseball game!

A marriage that starts as a yearlong fantasy is a sign of one that has a solid future. As for our shared “addictions?” The ones like Yahtzee, Mah-Jong, baseball, trains and each other...We can quit any time we want. We just don’t ever want to!

Photoblog Wednesday

Mascot of our Toledo Mud Hens

He's on the dugout doing the chicken dance, of course!

Tomatoes and Cat Safety

You’re probably wondering how cats and tomatoes come together. In my brain it’s all a logical succession that ends with me hungry for tomato soup. Let me explain.

I love this time of year when the snow is gone and the weather bounces between those fresh cool nights that make baseball sound just awesome and the warm and sometimes rainy days that green up the grass and trees overnight. The one thing I really hate about this time of year is the return of the spiders and the fact that our house is somewhat of a magnet for them.

Last week, there was a huge one in the window. I’ve talked before about what a certifiable, clinical arachnophobe I am. I have a bottle of spider spray on each floor of the house. If I’m home alone, it takes a LOT of spray to kill one. If David's home, it takes a shot or two of spray and he squishes them. Last week, he was home, so when I saw it, I called him. I was just staring and terrified. It was on the outside of the window, but inside the screen.

He grabbed the bottle and opened the window to kill it. At the sound of the window opening, Kaline ran toward it. I grabbed her and held her while she was squirming to get down. You see, as much as cats love the open window, the spider spray is highly poisonous until it dries!

That got me thinking. I want to try my hand at growing a tomato plant this year. I’ve seen so many ads for ways to grow tomatoes and super tomato plants and the ads just make me hungry for made-from-scratch roasted tomato soup with fresh, and I mean fresh from the garden, tomatoes.

Spiders terrify me, but I have no problems with other bugs. I have some cool pictures of grasshoppers and inch worms from railfanning. I have no problem getting up close and personal with them. But I do think I’d have a problem with them getting up close and personal with my tomato plant. So, I’d want to protect my plant, but not at the cost of putting poison in the earth or on my food! Yes, I can wash it, but while Kaline and Baggle are indoor cats, we do get the occasional stray around the house and our yard is home to chipmunks, squirrels and a fat groundhog. If I put poison on my tomato plant and a stray cat shimmies by it, eventually he will groom and ingest the chemicals.

Organic pest control is the only way for me. I’ve talked before about Safer Brand products. They are OMRI listed and compliant for organic gardening, no chemicals, no poison! Safer Brand has a concentrated product, Bug Patrol, that attaches to your garden hose for use on the lawn, shrubs and garden to rid you of pests all over your yard without putting harmful chemicals everywhere. Safer Brand organic B0ug Patrol kills over 40 insects including ticks, which are arachnids, so I’m happy to see them go!

So, I’m thinking a bottle of Safer Brand Bug Patrol would protect my tomato plant and give it a fighting chance as my brown baking thumb learns to be green. It would also be good for the ornamental flowers and good for the cats in that maybe the cat nip will live this year, with no poison on it when we bring it inside!

Yanno, maybe it also just might kill off enough bugs that the huge spiders have nothing to eat and either move to another house or at least get a little smaller! I can dream, right?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Toledo Mud Hens
Detroit Tigers AAA

This is a brand new mug! I got it last week at the game David and I attended. I had intended to stop at “The Swamp Shop,” the Mud Hens’ store at Fifth Third Field, and fix a terrible wrong - I didn’t have a Mud Hens mug in my collection!

Of course a brand new mug doesn’t have a specific memory attached to it, but it does symbolize so many great memories. I’ve been seeing the Mud Hens play live since 1999. I started going to Minor League Baseball games in ‘99 and the Mud Hens were the closest to home for me. They were even a little closer than the Lansing Lugnuts. I interned for WUPW in Toledo in 1996, so I knew the timing of the drive and basic directions well. In fact, when the Hens played at Ned Skeldon Stadium, I drove right by where I live now!

I’d been to games at that park many times. The sight lines were okay, but the park had a VERY minor league feel about it. When you were in the concessions area, it kinda felt like a community ice rink, you know, the part where there’s heat and you can drink hot chocolate to warm up before going back into the ice area?

I’d been there in the rain, the cold and the very hot muggy days. I’d been there with friends, with Mom and Tori and Rina ran the bases there. I‘d been there on a date too. That was with the first guy who took me to a Mud Hens game for a date. (I waited for better!) I have pictures from a rainy night in the last year of the Mud Hens there with Heather and Tracy. Dark skies and umbrellas!

Then came the new stadium. Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo opened in 2002. I traditionally took Mom to a ball game for Mother’s Day and for Mothers Day 2003, she wanted to see the new park in Toledo. John and Scotty went with us for that game. It turned out to be the last baseball Mothers Day I had with her, so that is a very special memory.

My second date with David was to Fifth Third Field for a Mud Hens game against the Indianapolis Indians. That kinda adds a coolness factor to the fact that our planned reception is going to be at Fifth Third Field and the Mud Hens are playing the Indianapolis Indians! Add to that the fun of my now having family in Indy. Plans are to make sure they have Mud Hens hats to take home!

It’s funny how many special things become so “everyday” to us. The Mud Hens are just a couple minutes drive or even a bus ride from home and we go to see a few games a year. It’s no big deal to meet David at work and catch a game. But it’s never going to be just another team and just another place to see a game. I have so many wonderful memories as a baseball fan and personally about our small-city, AAA Minor League team, that it will always be an event when we go make some more.

Everybody Loves A Good Geek!

If you’re considering taking your web presence to the next level, there’s a site you should consider when making the decision on where and how you want to establish your domain and web hosting preferences.

Who doesn’t love a geek in this day? Geeks have finally arrived to the cool center of the social world and Web Hosting Geeks is a great site for making their world of uber-cool available to everyone!

Seriously, Web Hosting Geeks gives you the cream of the crop in affordable web hosting sites. They give you the top web hosts, pricing, details and bonus features. Everything is broken down into different categories depending on your hosting needs and the top ones are highlighted side by side your your perusal.

You can look specifically at multiple domain web hosting, places that host multiple sites on one account. Many have free domain names with the plan or unlimited domains in one single plan. If I break down my blog topics into separate sites, I could have one for baseball, one for scrapbooking and one for Mug Shots. Hey I already have a separate blog for recipes. It’s only a matter of time, huh? Think about it. If you do multiple crafts for sale, you can have separate sites for each, but one account. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Another category that I just love is Green Web Hosting! I can compare web hosting sites that run on alternative or renewable energy, plant trees and actively recycle. I’d feel pretty good checking those stats while I sip my morning ecocoffee that I make with rescued tap water!

If you’re getting ready to branch out to a hosted website, you must check out Web Hosting Geeks first!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Call Of The Wild?

It’s clouded up now. There’s a possibility of afternoon showers But it was hazy sun this morning and warm! It was an occasion for airing out the house and the kids were in their house cat glory! Funny, since we only have two of them, that there seemed to be a cat by EVERY open window!

Baggle in the cat pedestal in the office.

“Does this shelf make my butt look big?”

Kaline at the atrium window beneath Spire. (baby rubber tree plant)

“I’m a jungle cat!”

Oh Dear!


Wild animals are so cool to watch in the woods or even in the backyard way in the back of a rural area, but one place you don’t want to see them is in your rural or even suburban garden sampling the veggies before they’re even fully ripe! Then, they become just like any other garden pest! But you don’t have to just deal with it to be humane. Take some time to learn about deer control

Havahart makes a product called Deer Off which you can get in a battery powered sprayer. You can target exactly where you want the deer repellent to keep Deer, rabbits and squirrels out of the garden. You’re also not going to end up with repetitive motion problems in your hand from a spray pump!

Now before you worry about any harm to the animals, you know I’m not going to suggest a product that is dangerous to animals , the environment and ultimately us. Deer Off is OMRI listed, safe for organic gardens and keeping them organic, it’s not going to give you toxic vegetables or toxic soil. Because it’s organic, it is also safe for the very animals it repels.

The formula is made from food products, the scent keeps animals away for up to 90 days and if the scent doesn’t do the trick, the peppery taste will keep any courageous critters from trying it again!

If you’re looking to dissuade the friendly 4-footed neighbors from helping themselves in the garden without being unneighborly, Deer Off is just what you’re looking for.


Friday, April 24, 2009


Okay, as much as I did NOT want to spend the money or have to wear a wedding dress, I am totally different when it comes to an obnoxious hat to wear to the baseball reception! If you read this blog with any regularity, you’ve seen enough crazy head gear to know I am dead serious about that!

So, I’ve been shopping around and I’ve found 2 hats that I really like. One has more froo-froo on top and a little longer veil, but the other one has sparklies.

I think I’m kinda leaning towards the one with the shorter veil but the rhinestones. My hair will not have grown back so much by mid-July that it will hang below the veil or anything. But I sure like that extra pouf on top of the other one.

Anyone care to share an opinion??

If Music Be The Song of Learning, Play On!

There is a studio here, locally, that offers Children's Music Lessons, lessons for kids and their parents that encourage children to earn through and with music. Now, you know as one who names all of my scrapbook kits after songs, that I had to look into the idea of music for learning a bit more!

The rhyming words, the rhythms, they are powerful and more powerful than a hard thrashing heavy metal song or an awe inspiring classical symphony. Think about it. What was one of the first songs you knew? In English and at least in America, it’s the ACB song. Yeah, I know it in English and French. My high school French teacher taught us the French alphabet that way. Over 25 years later I can still sing it and I can spell in French without even thinking the translation because of it.

I can only imagine that had there been Music Classes For Toddlers when I was little, I might have had an easier time with the state capitols in 4th grade! Now you can even enroll in a Baby Music Class with your baby to interact and learn to communicate better and understand each other through interaction with music. I can only imagine that’s a lot easier than trying to learn how to communicate with a teenager. I might even make it easier to do that later!

There are so many studies that support the notion that music and interaction at an early age can make children better learners and improves their lifelong aptitude for learning. I bet you can find the appropriate class in your area. If you have young kids, it’s definitely worth investigating!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This, That and a Freebie

A rainbow over the stadium said there was
always hope for the Mud Hens last night!

The baseball game last night, what can I say about the game last night?

We have two new shopping bags! They’re nice ones too, a little smaller than the Meijer ones, just a little, but what’s nice about that is baggers can’t make them as heavy! It seems that everything baggers know, or in too many cases don’t, about bagging groceries goes out the window when you bring an eco-friendly reusable bag. Clue to baggers: when a woman using a cane drives the buggy up and hands you a couple of reusable bags, DON’T put all 12 canned items in one bag just because they’ll fit across the bottom! I can’t lift that much less carry it into the house when I get home. Yeesh!

The new bags are navy with the Mud Hens logo on them, quite cool and as David pointed out, we don’t have to worry about taking the wrong stores bag to go shopping. He seemed concerned about cross advertising for the competition, but I make an effort to take the other stores bag so they don’t think I’m, just buying the bag and try to charge me again. Now we have Mud Hens bags!

I wonder how many other teams, major and minor league, did the reusable bags as a giveaway for Earth Day? If you know of a team that did, leave a note in the comments!

Oh yeah, the game. Well, the season is half official. To make a season official, Nani rules, there must be one hot chocolate game and one three-bottle-of-water game. That is, there must be one where you shiver and one where you melt! Last night was the hot chocolate game. We layered and bundled, cuddled under the Red Sox throw and the Tigers stadium blanket. I’ve been to colder games. Our first date was colder! Still, it’s nice to see a game cuddled up with my hubby!

We got to see Joel Zumaya pitch in the top of the seventh inning. He’s in Toledo on rehab waiting to go off the DL and back to Detroit. He looks ready. But his performance for a half inning, didn’t make up for the other TEN runs the Indianapolis Indians got to the Hens’ only 2. We ended up leaving in the 8th inning, just after the Indians scored number ten. Normally, that’s against my baseball practices, but David had an early meeting this morning.

The Mud Hens are in first place, with the second place Louisville Bats starting a 4-game series tonight, so they have the opportunity to extend that lead! As for Indianapolis, they’re the team in town for our planned reception. The home team’s just gotta win for the (6 months later) bride and groom, right?

Wife 1500 and the Ball Park

Okay, 2 live game into the season, I can say I'm enjoying the fact that ball park food has come a long way. At Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, Michigan, Sparrow Hospital sponsors one of the food carts, where you can get low-carb wraps and salads with turkey breast and the nutritional info is displayed on the cart. At Great American Ball Park, in Cincinnati, they have apple slices and baby carrots available. What I love is that so many parks have grilled chicken breast sandwiches! Depending on the condiments you put on them, they range from 250-350 calories.

The chicken sandwich at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne was just stellar! It was easily better than most of the fast food places who often use parts-is-parts chicken or over processed breasts. The sandwich there was tasty chicken on a good, fresh bun with lettuce, tomato and red onion. Yes, if you don’t care for the onion, order it without it or take it off. I like the red onion. The one last night at Fifth Third Field in Toledo was better than I’d had last year, the chicken was better, more flavorful, but the bun was still dry and crumbly. It did have lettuce and tomato, which was something I hadn’t had there before. I’d still rate the Fort Wayne chicken better.

Oh, I still love my hot dog at the ball park, and I’m sure I’ll give up the 300 calories for one hot-dog that just isn’t that filling, but just not when dinner is at the game. That’s a high-calorie and high lots of bad stuff snack for flavor and ambiance. I still get the grilled chicken when I can for a meal!

Retiring Freebies

Time to toss a few more yearlings from the nest! Follow the links to the original posts where you can get these freebies if you haven’t yet, because when April is gone, they will be too!

Spring Sparklies

This was my first color-challenge kit for the SAS challenge in April 2008
original post - Spring Sparklies

Printemps Classique

Printemps Classique was done for the April 2008 DSO color challenge

original post - Printemps Classique

In Only Seven Days

This was a color challenge at SFS last year and a seven-day download. You can get the links to all seven downloads at the kit’s main page,

Original post - In Only Seven Days

She Said YES!

This kit was an early May kit for the DSO May color challenge.

Original post - SEMMantics Weekend and a New Kit!

If you haven’t downloaded these yet, check them out now! After April 30, they’ll no longer be available!

And now the new stuff!

I’m working on a couple of new kits right now, but the newest addition to my Scrap Bird store is a set of brag book pages in the dollar bin!

These are great pages to showcase wedding, prom or any other formal or fancy photos to slip in your 4X6 album to carry with you or to collage them as frames for a pretty full page layout. Get all four for only a dollar at Scrap Bird!

And of course, to make a new dollar bin item even more celebrated than just the stellar price, I have a blog freebie Laura quick page for you!

The wedding that inspired the kit had three bridesmaids. The triple frame from Laura Favors, accommodates that perfectly in this quick page, but it’s also stellar for photos of the bride, prom photos, even graduation pictures. Since it is helping to announce the Brag Book set in the store, the password for the quick page is bragging. Click the preview to go to the download page!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Photoblog Wednesday

The Dayton Dragons team bus
April 18, 2009, Fort Wayne, IN
photo credit DSP

There's a fun story that goes with today's photo:

The Dragons have had a gorgeous Dragon Bus since 2000, their first year in the Midwest League. In April 2000, the girls were 5 years old and Rina was, still is, a dragon fanatic, so she was very excited to see the Dragons at Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, Michigan.

Well, the old jokes about baseball games getting snowed out in Michigan aside, when we got to the park, all was quiet. The tarp was still on the field and you could see from the street that it was heavily laden with snow, The game had been canceled! Rina was devastated, I mean 5-year-old, whining, crying and screaming at the ballpark to open, devastated.

Taking kids to a baseball game in Michigan in April, you always have a backup plan. There was an arts and crafts show at the mall in Lansing and the girls loved crafts. Tori was changing gears to excited about the craft show pretty quick, but Rina still sniffled in the back seat. Nothing short of them clearing the tarp and calling the Dragons back to the park was going to save her day.

When we got to the mall, we saw the 2000 version of the pictured bus in the parking lot. Rina's eyes lit up, "THE DRAGONS BUS!!"

Somehow, though she hadn't actually seen the Dayton Dragons yet and the guys weren't in baseball uniforms or anything, she just knew that the group of 4 men that we saw when we walked in were Dragons. With wide eyes, she looked at them, and said "The Dragons!"

Now, we're talking A-Ball here, I'm sure that it was an ego stroke too, but at the sound of the young voice, all four of them looked at Rina, smiled and waved. It totally made her day. The disappointment faded and she thoroughly enjoyed the craft show. When she talked to her Dad on the phone at lunch, the first thing she told him about was that she saw the Dragons at the mall.

Talk about awesome PR!

Tid Bits From Tuesday

Well, I got a little bit of scrapping time last night and this evening. Imagine that. Time to scrap. Between getting things in order to go back to school, daily job hunting grief and starting the planning for our reception, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Now I have a huge inbox of designing stuff to get done. Hey, at least I‘ve got it planned! I’m also trying to get a layout in here and there. Still in 2006, but the layouts I did early this morning and the one I did this evening were 2009.

My alarm is set to go off at 7 and 8 AM. The workday starts at 9 and David leaves for work at 10, so everything sort of weaves in and out first thing in the morning. I turn on the work browser at 9 and go through email. If I cook breakfast and we eat together, I’ll finish the email after he leaves. If I feel like getting up at 7, I get 2 hours of Nani time, usually to scrap or blog. This morning I did the week 14 of Patch 365. I used an Eight Days A Week quick page, so it was easy to do in very little time. I like how it turned out!

Credits: Eight Days A Week quick page set, page 3 by Digitalegacies Designs,
green alpha from Eight Days A Week by Digitalegacies Designs

The next layout is a challenge layout. It fits a few challenges, but the important one is Darlene’s Quote challenge at Scrap Bird! I ask my CT members to do my challenge as part of their monthly commitment and I’ve always considered that part of my responsibilities as a CT member. Plus, I had a great opportunity to use a Shakespeare quote on a baseball layout, 2 of my favorite things!

Credits: Boylicious by Darlene Haughin,
baseball from A Perfect Summer Day by Digitalegacies Designs

The layout is scenes from our first ball game of the season last weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We saw The Dayton Dragons at the new stadium for the former Ft. Wayne Wizards, now the Ft. Wayne Tin Caps. The Tin Caps won in extra innings. First game and free baseball, are we living large or what? Hehehe

Not a happy night for the Reds tonight. They dropped one 7-2 in Chicago. Darned Cubbies! And yes, I can hear Mom giving me raspberries from beyond, but the Reds or Braves against the Cubs or Pirates was always Mom and me jeering each other. I blame Fox Sports for it. I turned on the TV and the Cavaliers were on. Feh, basketball. I ended up watching the game on WGN and the Cubbies bias was very distracting for channeling my fan energy to my team.

Interesting and Odd...

Sign of the times, I was browsing a site for a possible sponsorship. There is a page for maternity wedding gowns. Imagine seeing THAT in a catalog 30 years ago! They come in ivory or white. Now, David commented that people have gotten married because a baby was on they way for years and years. I agreed. But those were usually shotgun or at least small private weddings, no opulent dress required and definitely not a white one!

Oh but another find! A wonderful and addictive find! Online Skee Ball!!!

(See link at bottom!!)

I played a few games last night. It’s bookmarked as my unwind before bed site. I love Skee Ball!

Wednesday night, in honor of Earth Day, The Toledo Mud Hens are giving away reusable grocery bags! Very cool! We have 2 Meijer ones, a Trader Joe's a Rite Aid that I keep in my tote bag and the freezer bag from Hershey last summer, so we don’t NEED Mud Hens grocery bags. It’s also going to be 36 degrees for a low temperature. So you know what that means!

We’re in section 114. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nani, No Ka Oi

Ka'anapali Resort, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Palm trees. I need palm trees!

Okay, that’s not so much a need, but I just love palm trees! Back when we were just in love and dreaming, David and I pondered the thought of Hawaii as half of our two-week honeymoon. I’d have palm trees and pineapple and tropical flowers and beaches and signs everywhere that say “Nani” without Photoshop! Well, now the Hawaii idea is a future anniversary trip, but it’s still in the plan!

Ka’anapali Resort is a Maui Resort that is just made for that classic romance thing! They have fabulous packages for weddings, receptions and even a honeymoon package, the Island Romance Vacation Package that includes an ocean view room, daily breakfast buffet, a rental car, a prepared picnic and even a massage or facial!

Best of all for us! In all of Hawaii there is ONE train, a tourist train that we decided we’d have to photograph, because it wouldn’t be us at all not to. It’s in Lahaina! The Lahaina-Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad operates the Sugar Cane Train, a six mile section of track that crosses a wooden trestle that gives great views of the mountains on Maui and the other islands. And bonus, anyway to me, it’s a steam train!

And then there is the call for an extra memory card! We have so many photos of David in front of things with his name. Okay and sure, it’s my name now too, but I want my picture with a sign that is all mine and not a married mine, but ME! We’d have to use that rental car to go to see Nani Street in Wailuku and we’d absolutely have to have a meal while we’re in Wailuku at the Nani Girl Restaurant!

When we drive back to the hotel, Ka’anapali Resort offers some neat traditional Hawaiian things to add the classic memorable touch to the trip. There’s lei making, a nightly hula and torch lighting show and even ukulele lessons!

And the alarm clock rings on this dreaming Nani Girl and the palm trees fade into the distance, for now. But if the call of paradise is ringing in your dreams too, a Maui Weddings package, or the Romance Vacation Package for a idyllic honeymoon is definitely something to look into further!


Monday Mug Shot

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Probably my best Chattanooga story is about my Dad and a glass of wine to unwind after all day driving.

Background of the story is like this: Mom, Dad and I were going on vacation together in the beginning of November, 1992. It was a few weeks after y7 brother’s (first) wedding, which was a major and stressful event for both families making it happen. Oh, it was stressful for me too! The Braves were in the playoffs and I was a bridesmaid. It told them both that if they scheduled the ceremony while the Braves game was on, I’d have my watchman on while I was standing up by the altar with them. Luckily, the game wasn’t until later, during the reception! But the whole wedding thing was stressful for the immediate family members who didn’t have one of their teams in the playoffs too. So, we ventured off on a well-earned week’s vacation, traveling to Atlanta by way of Chattanooga.

The night we got into Chattanooga was going to be November 8, Dad’s 48th birthday. As I was planning the trip, I wanted to do something special for Pop. He wasn’t as good about taking vacations as Mom and I were. It took a few weeks of quoting Stephen Covey to him and repeating the “sharpen the saw” mantra before he agreed to go.

My love of trains really does come from Dad’s romanticized view of them and I knew he’d love to stay at the Holiday Inn, Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Better than that, I got us not a room at that hotel, but a night in one of the renovated passenger car guest rooms in the train courtyard. I also ordered a balloon bouquet and a cake to be waiting in the room when we checked in.

We left very early in the morning on November 7 with a plan to go as far as Corbin, Kentucky that day. I was already excited about the next night, the surprise cake and balloons waiting for Pop and I had also out a bottle of Asti Spumante in my suitcase to put on ice as soon as we checked in to have with the cake.

It’s about 10 casual hours on the road with stops and all to get to Corbin from Northville. We checked in to the Knights Inn, where I’d stayed a few times myself, at around 4:30. After driving all day, my Dad wanted to have a glass of wine and unwind a little before we ventured out to find a restaurant for dinner. We went over to the adjacent gas station to fill up the SUV and ask where the nearest liquor store was. Dad went in to the store to pay for the gas and ask. He came out with a silly, I mean strangely silly, smile on his face. When he got back in the car, Mom asked him what was up.

He said “I can’t get a bottle of wine here,” sounding a bit perplexed. “When I asked the girl where I could get a bottle of wine in town, she said ‘Honey, you’re in a DRYYYY county!’”

I’d never thought about that. I mean I always stopped at that Knights Inn in Corbin because it was clean inexpensive and close to Cracker Barrel for breakfast in the morning. Generally, if I drive all day, I like to relax with a good cup of coffee. Dry county, hmph. I guess I never really thought about it. I knew the Jack Daniels distillery is in a dry county, which is an odd bit of irony, but, okay, so no wine tonight.

But NO!!! Pop said after he told us about the very quaintly Southern way he was told about it, that the woman in the store told him the closest places to get wine were about an hour north in Richmond or south into Knoxville, TN.

There was a little parental grumbling. Mom figured he’d be fine without a glass of wine that one night, Pop said let’s just go for a ride through the state forest area and look for someplace to have dinner. As we drove around, we kept driving by places that had soda machines in front of them. That became our joking symbol of a dry county. When we passed a small country store with a Coke AND a Pepsi machine, my Dad proclaimed it to be REALLY dry! Funny thing is, it was true. We didn’t see nearly as many soda machines outside once we got into Richmond, and yeah, you KNOW we got all the way BACK north to Richmond before we stopped for dinner! Since we were in a wet county anyway, Dad stopped at a local party store to get a bottle. In fact he got two, just in case, since I didn’t know Corbin was in a dry county, he wasn’t taking any chances with Chattanooga.

Of course, the whole time we’re on this forage back north for a bottle of wine, I had a bottle of sparkling wine in my suitcase. Driving towards Chattanooga the next day, Mom and I tormented Pop with jokes about desperately seeking wine in a dry county. I did tell him to “remind me tonight to tell you a funny story about wine.”

When we checked into the Holiday Inn Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Pop was amazed. Mom and I had been there to the shops before, but it was mt Dad’s first look at the former train station turned into opulent hotel. I had made my Dad promise to let me pay for the hotel in Chattanooga before we left. I just couldn’t have him paying the extra cost for a train car and his own cake and balloons! But he did come up to the counter with me. After marveling at the train cars and smiling with interest when I told him they were actually guest rooms, he was wide eyed and grinning when he clerk confirmed that we were staying in a car.

I said, “Happy birthday, Popsie!”

He hugged me and said that it was a just awesome present. And he hadn’t even seen the room yet!

We got to our car and climbed on board. The first thing as we entered was the bathroom door, renovated to be more spacious than the standard train car bathroom, it had Hollywood vanity lights and the Chattanooga Choo-Choo logo on everything. The soap, shampoo and lotion was in a glossy cardboard foldout of the logo in black and gold. It was pretty cushy just walking in!

We walked into the main part of the room where there was an elevated area where the master bed was and a really sweet daybed, where I’d be for the night. On the table next to the TV and chairs was the cake box and a mug with candy in it and balloons tied to the handle.

“Talk about making you feel welcome! Balloons?”

I smiled, “Pop, look at what the mylar one says!”

The mylar balloon was a Happy Birthday balloon with Popsie in stickers at the base.

“Oh! This is you too??”

Then I opened the cake box, it too said “Happy Birthday Popsie.”

I got another big hug and a kiss. Then I smiled at him. “Remember that funny story I was going to tell you?”

I went to my suitcase and unzipped it. I pulled out the bottle of Asti. “We need to put some ice in the ice bucket for this!”

His eyes were wide. He asked me how long that bottle of wine had been in my suitcase and I told him since we left home.

“You mean we drove all the way back to Richmond and you had a bottle of wine the whole time?”

He asked Mom if she knew I had the wine. She confirmed that indeed she did.

We had a good laugh and after we came back from dinner, we shared a bottle of wine, a great cake and more laughs and birthday revelry on the start of a great trip.

Football Skills Not Mandatory

Have you ever head of the game, Cornhole? I think I remember my brother mentioning it, but never really got into finding out more. Now I saw a site that explains the game with pictures. I’m a very visual person.

Cornhole is like a cross between horseshoes and Skee Ball from my research. Only no metal parts. The game’s origins are a little foggy, but it became popular as a tailgate game before Cincinnati Bengals games and the growth as a backyard game spread out from there.

Like horseshoes or lawn darts, you’re throwing something at a target. In Cornhole, That target is a wooden platform with a hole in it and you throw corn hole bags into it, This is where I see the similarity to Skee Ball, throwing things into the hole, I LOVE skee ball, so this looks very appealing! Like horseshoes, lawn darts ot Italian bocce ball or Canadian curling, you get points for how close you come to the target (Except unlike bocce or curling, you don’t knock your opponents out).

It is just a fun for all ages type thing, family picnic fun. I even suggested to David that it might be a fun afternoon game for our reception weekend this summer. Oh yeah, there is an executive tabletop version too! You gotta check out this neat game!

Sign of the Times

This is a mini rant.

That was breakfast. Mmm... One of those awesome discoveries as part of Wife 1500 is the wonderful variety of Special K cereals. My usual breakfast is a bowl of Special K with coffee and a banana. Oh I veer from that, sometimes having a fruit plate with yogurt or even substituting a bowl of David’s Froot Loops if my inner child wakes up hungry. Yesterday, breakfast was the main meal of the day. David made waffles! But the basic Wife 1500 breakfast really does taste good and is filling, a great way to start the day!

I just finished the box of Cinnamon Pecan Special K last week and was tempted to just stick with that, but there are other just as tempting varieties. I’ve decided that I’ll try a new flavor each time I buy a box until I’ve tried them all and then make educated decisions about my mood when I’m choosing after that. But boy, I sure did love that Cinnamon Pecan! This time I’m trying Vanilla Almond. It’s quite good and ten calories less a serving, but I still lean towards the Cinnamon Pecan. We’ll call it my favorite for now, but the Vanilla Almond is good too! A 3/4 cup serving with milk is 150 calories, 160 for the Cinnamon Pecan. Add a banana and a coffee with Coffeemate and Splenda and It’s under 300 for breakfast. Generally, I don't get hungry until lunch after that breakfast.

But the rant part is not about Special K. Special K is just about wife 1500 perfect! The rant is about los plátanos.

This was today’s breakfast banana.

Look at the sticker! It's good for my heart in Spanish too! It’s my first Spanish banana! I’m so totally not ranting about the sticker being in Spanish. It’s good marketing with the number of Spanish-speaking people in the USA, no ranting about that either this time through. I want to study Spanish anyway, so I guess banana stickers are a good educational resource.

But look again. The barcode. That barcode is a tab on the banana sticker! I mean, banana sticker, in Spanish, with a tab on it for the barcode! I think it kinda defaces the commercial icon that is the banana sticker! Not to mention that I am not a forehead sticker gal. I’ve always had bangs, even as a kid, so you’d never see the sticker if I put it on my forehead, so I've always been a nose-sticker person.

The bar code tab is a major distraction on my nose. It’s going to make me blind! Not to mention that the barcode on my nose just plain looks silly! Please, Chiquita, reconsider the practice of making bar codes part of the sticker! If you put the PLU on it, we can manage, even us dumb shoppers in the U-Scan line!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Things I NEED To See

(Note - there are non-commercial links for more information in this post!)

I love giant art! I really think that’s where my water tower fascination comes from. I grew up marveling at “The Big Tire” on I-94 in metro Detroit and always loved seeing the giant Paul Bunion and Babe when we traveled in the upper peninsula. I was also always awestruck, still am, when I see the giant crucifix in Indian River, Michigan.

As an adult I’ve seen several Claes Oldenburg/Coosje van Bruggen sculptures and I really love those as well as the worlds largest baseball bat in Louisville, Kentucky and the baseball water tower at Knights Stadium in Charlotte North Carolina, well, the stadium is actually in Fort Mill South Carolina. There are many of these awesome landmarks I’ve seen, but so many more on my list!

I need to see several things in Minnesota.

I must see Claes Oldenburg’s Spoonbridge, a fountain sculpture in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

I’m also getting information on the worlds largest ball of twine in Darwin, MN for our planned honeymoonish trip this summer.

What’s that in the background?? A giant ball of twine and a water tower too!!!

The worlds largest ear of corn in Rochester Minnesota IS a water tower!!

More Oldenburg in Kansas City Missouri , a giant Shuttlecock at the Kansas City museum of art!

Also in Missouri, an 8-Ball water tower in Tipton!

In Illinois, the world’s largest catsup bottle is a water tower!

Another water tower in Iowa!

And of course, there are the fruit water towers, the peach in Grafton SC and the watermelon in Luling TX!


Hawaii has lost a little now...

Even though I never knew about this water tower, it’s one of those things that just hits me hard. The pineapple water tower at the Dole cannery is gone! :(

There are other things “on my list” but these are some of the top ones.

Do you have any larger-than-life icons in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear about them!

Find some other world’s largest stuff here: What’s Large Where in the US

Check out the store! You can get starter kits to make you own “world’s largest ball of something!” Yanno, with the short hair now, I wonder what the worlds largest ball of hair scrunchies is like.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I’m Going To Disney World!

Nah, not really, but I’ve been thinking about that great Kissimmee sweepstakes I told you about. Kissimmee is giving away 3 weekend getaways for two and 2 week-long family getaways for four.

Well, even if it’s four adults, there are a ton of things to do. True, Spring Training is over for this year, but if I really needed a baseball fix, Tampa Bay is less than 2 hours away by car. But I don’t think I’d HAVE to see baseball for a weekend or even a week. There is plenty to keep me amused!

Exotic cars in Celebration, Florida

That Dark Sky Festival in Harmony, Florida is right by Kissimmee and free to go to. Celebration is having an exotic car festival. That’s free to view the cars too. And I looked at the website. If you like cars, I mean really cool cars, there is a feast for the eyes there! My three guests and I could just soak up that Florida sun on a picnic in a park that’s already lush and green in Kissimmee. Yeah, it’s not warming up fast enough at home for me!

So after doing the fun things that don’t require money, I’d have enough to drive out to Tampa for that baseball game, but better yet, How about a day at the home of that Mouse? I’ve never been to Disney World in all of my nearly 43 years. They say you’re never too old to enjoy Disney World. Maybe we’d just have to put that to the test! Think I’ll be able to meet Dumbo???

You can still sign up to enter the Freedom to Enjoy Sweepstakes and live your free and carefree dream for two, or maybe even for the whole family!


It’s Official Now

Element from One Step at a Time by Digitalegacies Designs

Nani is back in school! My classes start June 1. I’m taking one at (GROAN) 8 AM 2 days a week and one online. Now if I score a full time job before then, I can switch to taking that morning class in the fall and just keep the online one. Of course, a part time job later in the afternoon or on non school days would work around it.

I need to get cozy with the campus map. I parked in a much further than necessary parking lot from the student services building than I needed to. On one had it was good exercise and surprisingly, my knee doesn’t hurt like it does after I do groceries, but my good leg is sore! I guess quicker steps use different muscles. If I was studying pre-med, I could work on figuring that out, but I’m studying to earn a Network Administration Certificate. My adviser agrees that moving in a new direction and expanding my knowledge looks good on a resume. The job seekers who have the roughest go are the ones who have a narrow scope of knowledge. I sure hope we’re both right!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

REAL Nightlife

“Earth Hour” will be on the 29th at 8 PM. The tallest towers in Atlanta and Chicago, the Phoenix Suns’ arena and the Golden Gate Bridge will join sites that are turning off the lights for an hour. The amount of reduction in light pollution and the energy saved will be measured.

On March 25, the city of Harmony, Florida will join many other cities around the world as part of the Earth Week activities. The town will hold its 6th annual Dark Sky Festival from 6-11 PM. In Harmony, their event is a family fun event where the town lights will be dimmed for the festival and families are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on the lawn and gaze at the stars to create awareness of not just astrology, but just how much light pollution is really taking from us. If I could be in Florida that weekend, I would definitely be at the festival in Harmony!

I love stargazing and I definitely know that more rural areas are much better for it. Living in the city, we seldom see many stars, even in suburbia when I was in Michigan, I could usually see Orion, sometimes the Big Dipper, but the glow from Detroit was much more pronounced in the night sky.

When I am in a more rural area I can see so much more clearly the stars. I thought the Little Dipper had gone away until one night traveling “up north” in Michigan I found it and Cassiopeia too. When Mars was close enough to see it brightly with the naked eye, I still had to squint to see it in Northville, but in the country, you even got a hint of the red glow!

According to an article at USNews.com, studies have shown that the same light pollution that blinds us to the stars can also cause some health risks to us and wildlife. Darkness enhances the deepness of sleep, rest which is essential for brain function. They’ve also noted that there is documentation that supports safety and security lighting may not be a safe or secure as people think. The lights hitting the human eye cause momentary blindness, let alone a false sense of security. The same lights that can scare off an intruder can also light their way!

In Harmony, they will dim the lights and spend some time actually seeing the stars on the 25th. They’ll save some energy too and for a few hours, get a look at what the world REALLY looks like at night.

Dark Sky Festival in Harmony Florida



The Reds won last night, again! That’s 3 straight now. I won’t get bored with that at all! Monday night, I “watched” the game on the computer. That is I watched the pitch-by-pitch at mlb.com. We don’t live close enough to Cincinnati to get the backup channel for the Reds games when they get bumped for basketball. Humph. Basketball bumping baseball. You can SO tell I’m not the executive producer there! But last night’s game was on Fox Sports Ohio, so I got to watch the whole game. Happy Nani.

Nani’s Easter Bonnet:

This is the hat David bought me for Easter! You know we are traditional in our own way! Aunt Judy said it wasn’t Eastery enough, so I added the ears!

David has discovered that the bunny ears are poker-lucky for him. Thank goodness he plays online poker. If he ever makes it to TV....

David and I are starting to plan a small wedding reception for this summer. Just family and close friends, the people who complained that they didn’t have a party to go to because we eloped! It still ought to be nice. We’re trying to plan it around baseball and trains, so we couldn’t have had a a traditional wedding anyway. I had my watchman with me for two weddings because my brother’s first wedding and my cousin Lisa’s wedding were both during the playoffs. We’re looking at dinner AT a baseball game and a luncheon at high noon when the sun is poor for train photography. (We don’t need no stinking wedding planner, they’d probably get the timing wrong anyway!) Seriously, it’s the best of all worlds. I still don’t have to buy or wear a wedding dress, but I’ll have lots to scrap however mushy or not I want!

Gratuitous Train Photo:

Taken Easter Sunday on our way home from Grandma’s!