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!

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Keeping an Eye on the Market

You know this is such a tough economy to live in for all of us. The job market is so dismally connected to that. That’s why I’m back in school and why so many people find themselves relocating to go to where the jobs are!

If you’re moving or uprooting your family, no doubt you’re keeping an eye on today's mortgage rates. Mortgage rates have everything to do with you buying a new house and someone else being able to buy your old one! It’s good to have someplace where you can monitor the pulse on an important factor in keeping afloat today! Being prepared will help to ease the stress of taking that large step into the hopefully brighter unknown!

Friday, June 26, 2009

School Dazed

I’ve decided that what I need to do is put the Chronicles of Nani regular features on a “not guaranteed” status until my current class is through. I have three regular features: Monday Mug Shot, Photoblog Wednesday and Friday By Request. Now, Friday By Request is only when I have requests and I’ll still honor those when they come in, but my class is Monday and Wednesday with plenty of homework between those days too, so I’m just not in a position where I can guarantee that my focus and refocus will be working! So, the regular features will be on a “as time allows” basis for now. Hopefully my fall class, which will be a full 16 weeks instead of 16 weeks in 8, like summer semester, will give me a little sanity to keep up! I will keep up blogging a few times a week and even the features when I can.

That being said, school uis actually going okay. I feel like I‘m starting to get it now. I’ll be a networking machine in no time! For me, the key to learning is the metaphor. I need to be able to create my own metaphor to make it stick. The book uses traffic comparisons, that the path of information in wires is like traffic, so I work on finding other tangible comparisons or at the very least, visualize my own car as a packet of data.

Well, it’s working for me!

I finished up a new scrapbook kit yesterday! See? SOME semblance of organization and time is coming back! It’s going to be released as July starts so I can maximize the time it gets to be in the “new kits” front page at Scrap Bird. I’ve made the mistake of putting a new kit up on the last day of the month before and lost a lot of visual exposure in the store! I’ll have more about the new kit next week, but here is a little tease:

There’s still time for the challenges this month at Scrap Bird! I’m going to be doing my Template Challenge layout this weekend and I’m still hoping to give away some more copies of Stardust!

You can have Stardust for free when you do a layout in the I Wanna Talk About Me challenge! This month, I’m asking for a layout that includes a photo of you with someone special to you.

This weekend is a big cleaning weekend. We’ll be in Pittsburgh next weekend and then it’s the reception. EEKS! There isn’t a TON to be done, but there is a lot. We still have to do the proofreading on our programs and get the house at least clean enough for guests to stop by. The party isn’t here, but I’d rather have everything clean and no one stops by than have anyone pop in and it’s a mess of prep for the party and marathon studying!

So, after my 8:30AM physical therapy session, I’ll come home and do the part of sorting things that I can do while I’m sitting with the ice pack for a while. Then I can do the things for which I need to be ore mobile. David will do the vacuuming, but I’m in charge of making the grout shine!

And for now, I need to get ready for physio! I’ll try to write a bit more this afternoon!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blu Holiday!

It‘s a really cool “Tweet To Win” contest from BluFrog Energy drink. If you tweet them on twitter, you could be a winner of one of five great prizes I’m thinking it might be time to get a Twitter account for this one! I want to win the trip to Lollapalooza!

Yes, I said the trip to Lollapalooza. The prize includes round trip- airfare, 2 tickets to the 3-day festival and hotel, not to mention an X-shot aND Loaded iPod are part of the prize.

Okay, a little nostalgia, maybe? Mom always wanted to go to Lollapalooza. It’s in Chicago at Grant Park. Chicago was Mom’s favorite city too! The food and beverage part of the weekend isn’t in the prize, but with everything that is covered, we’d have some freedom to taste the wonders that you’ll find in Chicago restaurants too!

I’m figuring that I’d probably ask Tracy to go to the festival with me. A three-day music festival in a city with lots of commuter trains isn't David’s scene, but he could share the room and chase trains while Tracy and I are enjoying the music! It would be a fun weekend!

There are also trips to Aspen, New York and Orlando as well as an X-Box complete gaming package, so there’s definitely something for everyone! It’s SO worth a tweet!!


Rounding Out The Week

Nani and Popsie through the years

I missed Photoblog Wednesday this week, but I really am trying to get myself organized! The good news is that I think it’s finally working! as of yesterday afternoon, my homework for Monday is completed and I’m working on reading ahead the chapters for next week! YAY, NANI!!

We woke up to TONS of rain this morning, complete with thunder and lighting. I had therapy at 8:30 and the barometric effects on everything we’ve been working on in therapy made my shoes feel like 50-pound weights! That was BEFORE I went! I’m actually doing better, more reps than Wednesday and better at keeping my foot straight. That knee is what we’re working on. My right foot tends to fall sideways to the right when it’s relaxed and the normal muscles became weak as a result. Part of strengthening the knee is retraining the right muscles to work. The therapist says he can see by the way I walk that I’ve been using the wrong muscles for a long time! So, while I’m really not doing much, it kinda knocks me out. This afternoon I’ve been especially lethargic. I’m going to grab a B12 after I finish this. The extra oxygen in my blood will perk me up and will help the muscles heal up so I can attack them again Monday afternoon!

David and I will be making a trip to Indianapolis to have Father’s Day barbecue with Dad at my brother’s. Dave called me last night to find out when we’d be there and to let me know what Pop’s plans are. My Dad will get to Indy around noon-thirty and he’s going to barbecue dinner. That’s his thing for Fathers Day. Let him cook for both his kids, their spouses and granddaughters and he is the king of the wold. Bonus for us that Pop is an incredible artisan at the grill!

Since we’re celebrating Fathers Day tomorrow and David is working on Sunday, AND that y homework is done, I’m hoping to get some things done in designing. I have three kits in different stages of done on my Apple’s hard drive and my plan uis to have at least one of them done and in the store next week! In the mean time, there is a great Fathers Day weekend sale going on at Scrap Bird right now! As part of that sale, ALL of Digitalegacies Designs’ products are 30% off all weekend long! Make sure you check it out!

A special wish to Seamhead Gypsy, South Shore Billy and the Dads reading for a

Diamond Girl

That’s me! Nani the Diamond-Girl!

Yo know how much I like diamonds! I love baseball diamond enough to be planning our after-the-fact wedding reception at a ball game and I adore the rhythmic sound of a train crossing a diamond, where two tracks intersect. There’s that diamond that David put on my hand to sparkle forever too. You know I really like that one! My favorite perfume is even a diamond!

I love White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor! I just feel like I sparkle like a diamond myself when I’m wearing it. There is a perfume shop online where I can get it for an awesome price too. Lucky me! I’m thinking maybe I need to spoil myself a little with a bottle of my favorite favorite perfume. My first exam in school is next week. If I do well, I’ll reward myself!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday Mug Shot (Student Edition)

Okay, the truth is I should be able to get back on track with the Mug Shot being on Mondays by August. Right now I start every Monday with three hours of intro to computer networking and, at least for now, I also have physical therapy for my knee on Monday afternoons. So this means that there will be weeks that I can’t get the Mug Shot done on time. I don’t want to stop doing the weekly Mug Shot because I’ve gotten a lot of comments on it and a few emails. I think it’s a relatively popular feature at The Chronicles of Nani. Maybe there are more hits when I give away a scrapbook freebie, but the Mug Shot is more popular with my regular readers and while any coffee shop appreciates and needs those customers who stop in every once in a while for a cappuccino to go, it’s the regulars you keep your doors open for!

I ended up cancelling physio yesterday because my doctor wanted me to come in and talk about the x-rays he had me get done on my knee. That made me a little nervous! What could be going on that he couldn’t tell me on the phone? Of course, my blood pressure was up!

He assured me it wasn’t anything terrible. I have some swollen tissue, water on the knee as it used to be known, and cartilage loss, osteoarthritis. My insurance won’t do an MRI until attempts in physical therapy have been tried so I’ll be in that three times a week for about a month, then we’ll reassess. He’d prefer to not do surgery and the arthroscopic rather than a knee replacement if it’s necessary. He told me the shelf life on a replaced knee is about 20 years and then it would need to be replaced again. I’m too young for that if it can be avoided. If I make it to 97, I’d have to have THREE replacements! I did get a shot of cortisone in my knee which brought down the swelling and dulled the pain quite a bit. Today, I’m relieved of enough pain that I can feel how weak my knee really is. All in all, that’s a good thing. I’ve been hurting enough that I don’t mind feeling a little weak.

This brings me to today. I’m catching up yesterday’s blog, then I’ll be devoting the lion’s share of the evening to more reading and homework. The way the homework assignments work, is while we’re in class Monday and Wednesday, all the homework is due Monday morning. I prefer to be ahead than behind or even just on time! But for now, I’ll pour my second cup of coffee for today and tell you about the mug it’s in!

Smiley Mug

David and I stopped at Eat-N-Park in wet of Cleveland on the way home from our trip east last month. Eat-N-Park is one of my favorite family restaurants and it was an easy “yes!!” for me because I‘d been craving their fish. They have so many wonderful choices that fit in with the Wife 1500 program including a great salad bar!

Eat-N-Park is a smaller chain family restaurant based in Pittsburgh. I love their fish menu, especially the Nantucket Cod, my favorite, cod made with crab, shrimp spinach and cheese for 418 calories. They also have a real espresso bar and I can’t stop at Eat-N-Park without having a signature Smiley Face Cookie. It just completes the meal!

The closest Eat-N-Park to us is in the Cleveland area, so it’s a treat and a “must stop” when we are near one. David and I have stopped with both Tori and Rina on trips to Pennsylvania we’ve taken with them, with Smiley Cookies for dessert and I mentioned to Ben and Ellen that it’s a great place to stop when they travel west for the reception, stressing the importance of Smiley Cookies for the kids!

That last time we stopped, it was in the evening the day before Memorial Day. There were very few customers, so the staff had a moment or two…or three, to spend with each and every customer. David was wearing a t-shirt that he’d bought the weekend we met. It says “All this and brains too.” It caught the attention of one of the servers who loved the shirt and wanted to know where it came from. One thing Mensans learn fairly early is that you don’t make a big point of being a Mensan unless you’re with other Mensans. That waitress asked him where he got the shirt, and he was honest. He got it at a Mensa gathering in Michigan. As she told just everyone in the place about the great t-shirt, she also repeated over and over that he got it at a Mensa event, that he was one of those smart guys. I really don’t know if she believed him or not, but boy she went on and on! It IS a pretty cool shirt, though!

David is the one who saw this mug when we were walking in and he fully intended that I should take it home. Something about my mug obsession and my Smiley Cookie obsession making it perfect or me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday By Request

From Talkin Baseball Word Art by Digitalegacies Designs

Let me start by telling everyone that the nature and process of the seven layers of the OSI Model in Networking is essential to understanding, well, everything else in networking. It was also half of the first week of my Intro to Networking class. Our instructor told us we’d need to read the chapter at least twice to fully understand it. Boy was he right! But I think I have a good understanding to take with me as I keep learning now!

Summer semester if half the weeks of the other semesters, so it’s intense and accelerated! I love being challenged like that! Of course, I’m only taking one class right now, but I’m also planning our small, but still detailed, reception, trying to keep up with my responsibilities at Scrap Bird and I’m also in physical therapy for my knee. My plate is full!

So, in that very involved last week, I got a request for Friday in time to do it, but I couldn’t pull my nose out of my text book to do it! This week is connectors and radio signals. I’m learning how they work into the OSI model, but the “new” information is old information for me. I constructed cables in my old cable TV job and I’ve passed the FCC test twice, having to understand waveforms and signal measurements, to become licensed in high school and then again as part of the curriculum in trade school. So this week, I can breathe a little and catch up!

So here was the question I got from Seamhead Gypsy:

“Can you give me a logical reason that makes sense why MLB/Direct TV Extra Innings has said that living in New Bremen, Ohio is a market for the Detroit Tigers?” Last week, when the Red Sox were in Detroit, he couldn’t watch the game on NESN (New England Sports Network).

Logical reason, I can provide that, but it doesn’t makes sense to me either!

America’s Capitalist Pastime
For Seamhead Gypsy

First off, I agree that New Bremen, Ohio is definitely not in the Tigers market at all. David got to watch the Red Sox games because we get the Tigers games on Fox Sports Detroit in Toledo. But if a Red Sox fan is PAYING to see Red Sox games, he or she should be able to watch them from the Red Sox bias too! In our house, at least half of us appreciates the Tigers bias for those games, but if I wasn’t in the picture and David had paid to see the Red Sox games, he shouldn’t have to watch the Tigers broadcast either.

New Bremen, Ohio is closest to Columbus as far as the larger Ohio cities go, that’s about the farthest Ohio city there is from Detroit. Part of the trouble here is satellite TV! I know many people think it’s great and all, but I consider myself a Direct TV survivor. I was in a DTV household for a year and that contract couldn’t end fast enough. Direct TV isn’t local, part of the reason they have no idea what the local market really is. I mean, the Windsor, Ontario channels weren’t considered local to Detroit, but Detroit is local to New Bremen, Ohio? What are those surfer dudes in California smoking before they head to work at Direct TV? Obviously, the same stuff they were smoking in geography class!

But I think the bigger picture here is once again sapping the fans for everything they’re worth. MLB does a lot of “mo money” stuff. Like I said, if you pay to see the games on TV, you should ALWAYS get what you’re paying extra for and you should have it the way YOU want it. David has a paid subscription to listen to games on the radio. Why because MLB wanted the revenue from the local radio stations that were streaming their content on the web. Never mind that now you pay to listen to the radio, advertisements and all. If MLB wants to sell the play by play of the game, they should do it themselves commercial free.

Think about that. If you see a personal website with lots of ads, you know it’s a free site. So, I’m thinking MLB is selling content they get for free. It’s 100% profit for them and 100% rip-off for the fans and the radio stations. If I were selling advertising for the radio station, I could increase my ad sales by coaxing national or regional advertisers with the number of hits during games on the web. Instead, I lose revenue from advertisers who had that idea already, when my listening base decreases because it’s now a premium service sold by MLB.

Is it legal? Probably, but barely. None of us could get away with it. Is it ethical? Absolutely not. If other companies advertising has to be made available to baseball fans at a cost for the league to make ends meet, perhaps the league has outgrown what its market actually thinks its product is worth. They are exploiting fans much in the same way a drug dealer exploits addicts. Once you have a taste and really like it, they’ll charge you more and more for it. Hey, someone has to pay those MILLIONS of dollars a year salaries.

There needs to be a decent system of salary caps. Not on a per team basis, but on a per player basis. It might fix a lot of the problems with major league baseball. I mean, once you reach that ceiling, you don’t need to look at other opportunities that leave the local fans in the dust and you don’t need to increase you performance with drugs to achieve job security or to make more money than the next guy.

But until such a time that fans are no longer victims of owners and players greed, they’ll keep finding ways to charge us for new things that were free before and the obscenely wealthy will keep getting wealthier while it takes a greater portion of a fans salary to enjoy a game that used to be for everybody. But hey, people like teachers, police officers, fire fighters, they can afford that. Such important jobs are equally overpaid, right? Right?

For the average person, Baseball was a saving grace in the last economical depression. This time, for fans, it’s one of the leading causes.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Bug, It’s a Hummingbird!

The first time I remember seeing a hummingbird was in Noni’s backyard. It was hovering around the fig tree looking for nectar, flapping its wings constantly to keep afloat. I was a kid, maybe 6 or 7 years old and I jumped back a bit because I thought I was looking at a huge bug. Noni told me it was a bird and Mom corroborated that story. Upon closer look, I saw it indeed was a tiny bird! Now, Grandma has a hummingbird feederand I love to watch when the tiny and ambitiously flapping birds come to visit!

I hadn’t realized until some recent reading just how my kinds of hummingbird there are! In the US, they migrate north at this time of year and many of the breeds even visit urban areas too, so with the right kind of bait, you can watch them I your very own backyard! They eat insects and nectar and with their very high metabolisms, have to eat constantly. The nectar Grandma use is a simple mix of sugar and water but you can attract even more of them with a bottle of hummingbird nectar.

Of course, you need a hummingbird feeder, to keep the nectar in! Those can be in simple balls that you hang outside the window or in ornate outdoor sculptures that hold nectar. There are some truly beautiful pieces of art whose beauty is just enhanced with the fluttering birds visiting. What an awesome gif idea, especially for someone with a summer birthday, it’s a present that will bring a smile with every hovering stop!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Digitalegacies Designs Sale Paper

Oh, it’s a good time to shop the Digitalegacies Designs sales!

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!!! That’ right, my hubby is 43 today an in honor for his 43rd birthday, I’ve put all the Talkin Baseball stuff on sale for 43% off for one week! That’s right, in honor of the wonderful man who makes my world even better who took me to a baseball game for our first TWO dates, Talkin Baseball, The Talkin Baseball Word Art or the combo pack are all 43% off until June 17!

Talkin Baseball, 43% off for David's Birthday!

While we’re talking sale, today is Crazy Price Thursday at Scrap Bird! I put making it quick and simple half off this week, with my quick page sets for half off! You can get Crimson and Clover Quick Pages, Eight Days a Week Quick Pages, Laura Favors and The Look of Love Quick Page Set any or all of them for half off, Thursday, June 11 only!

Crimson and Clover Quick Pages, Half-off Today!

While you’re checking out the baseball kit to celebrate David's birthday or any of the quick pages sets for half off, check out my Wedding Party!

The Look of Love Quick Page Set, $2.40 until July 13

Our reception is just over a half year after we eloped and I’m swimming in the final preparation! In honor of the fun and romantic, to us anyway, weekend we have planned, I’m putting all of the Digitalegacies Romance on sale for 20% off until after the reception! You can have your choices of any or all of the Digitalegacies Designs Love kits: Your Own Special Way, Because of You, Laura and My Blue Heaven, the kit I did to celebrate our marriage plus The Look of Love Quick Pages after today will stay on sale for 20% off until July 13!

Come check out all of the great designers at Scrap Bird - Crazy Prices Thursday is a great opportunity to try out a designer you haven’t tried before!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad
Belfast, Maine

Let’s start with I have never been to Maine! So, I don’t have a story about Maine or this tourist railroad to tell. But the story is a train story!

I got this mug as a door prize at the train side shows in Durand, Michigan. I met Bill, the organizer of the Durand shows, 5 a year, for 20 years, the first fall show in 2005. The shows in Durand have always been two main presenters showing their slides or in recent years digital presentations. Each featured presenter shows at the beginning of the half before or after dinner, and everyone is welcome to bring a mini program to share. Like any gathering where Railfans show off the fruits of their hobby, there are varying degrees of prowess and many trains from different places!

David has been the featured presenter a couple of times since we’ve been together and he usually make a point of bringing a mini show I have the distinction and honor of having been the first woman to ever show a presentation at Durand! The first show in 2006 I brought the Railfan Intern, which coincidently was the first show by a woman presented at BORT Rail in 2005 as well. Since then, I’ve brought my annual show to present at the first meeting every year.

I got to see the evening as a “just slides” show and saw it bridge the technological gap as so many fans had done and move into having the setup for digital shows on a regular basis. As new fans come into the hobby, they start shooting digital. I’ve met people who I see from time to time when we’re railfanning in Michigan to, many of them I bet we’ll see for the steam weekend next month!

I used to be nervous about sharing my photos with other railfans. I mean, I wanted to do this in my early 20s but couldn’t find someone to teach me the ropes and take me out to find the trains, so I was almost 30 years old when I finally started! But my background in video and having videotaped a few trains to use in local shows when I worked in local TV production in Plymouth, Michigan, gave me a bit of assistance to learn quickly. Now I am eager to show my stuff!

Bill did such a great job from booking the hall, to making sure everyone on the mailing list got their announcements and making sure there was all the equipment arranged for so anyone could share their photos. Now, after 20 years of organizing, Bill has retired as the yard master for the Durand shows. He’s been hoping someone would want to take over as the administrator, but as of the last show, in March of this year there hadn’t been any takers. I hope someone decides to take on the responsibilities for continuing the show, but if they don’t it’s because we all realize that Bill’s shoes are just too big to fill!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Computer Hacking for an Honest Buck?

As I’m moving forward in my quest towards certified geekdom, I’m learning more every day about all of the possibilities for someone, anyone, in the IT field. EC-Council trains people in important IT areas. Network Security is something I’ve considered for a “next step” in my career after I get my certification for network administration and EC Council offers security classes including Ethical Hacking.

Hacking? Ethical? Huh?

You hear me, ethical hacking! You can learn what you need to be a Certified Ethical Hacker. Hey, it’s knowing your enemy. The best way to keep up with hackers is to be that one step ahead and catch them before they can do serious damage!

Ethical hacking is one of the more fascinating parts of IT Security. It’s testing the limits of the security in place. That’s kind of being a teenager forever! You can take classes online, so that’s convenient and flexible too.

IT is one of the few career fields that is still growing in this depressed economy and job market. In a hands-on project in the very beginning of my week one homework, we were sent to monster.com to do a basic search for “network technician.” My search popped up 1001 jobs in the US! I tried “network security.” There were over 5000 matches! Network security is even more important as so many breaches are reported all the time. Taking an online class can lead to so many possibilities. It’s certainly worth taking a look!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Nani's Musings

It’s been such a busy week this week! My head is just swimming in newness!

As of Monday, I’m a student again. My intro to networking class is a TON of information that is a need to know course for everything else I’ll take. It’s not easy, but it is fun. I really do enjoy pulling my hair out for hours and not understanding, to finally trip on that one thing that brings clarity to it all. It’s a nice feeling, let me tell ya! Add that new experience to my stress about RSVPs for the reception. It’s a small reception with a limited number of people we could invite, so we have a list that we cal our “A-” list. The people who would have unquestionably been invited if we had unlimited space and/or funds. I also have a number due to catering next week, so I’m stressing a bit about the reply cards, because every “no,” is one more person we can ask. I also have a pending three day a week schedule in therapy starting , likely net week, to juggle in everything else on my plate. Whew!

A Bull Durham Moment

I’m rating this clip PG13 for two f-bombs, but minus the f-bombs, the heads paying attention part to “I’ve been to the show” was like “I have a bachelors in broadcast communications...”

At the start of the first day of class the instructor asked us to all introduce ourselves and tell what year they’re in and why we’re taking this class, as part of their degree or general interest, etc... Keep in mind that I’m getting my certificate in Networking at the local community college. It’s less expensive and employers won’t care where I learned about networking, just if I know it well enough to become CompTIA certified. There were several people who were studying various computer or business associates degrees Some who were coming back after just finishing and even one taking the class at the freshman level while he finished high school. By the way, he’s the one I’M impressed with!

Everyone was kinda listening, but there was a dull murmur of other comments and conversation. Then it came to me in the last row. I started my introduction with “Hi,” rather than the standard “My name is,” and continued, “I have a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Broadcast Communications...”

The dull murmurs ceased and all heads turned towards me. “I have a bachelors degree” in community college is the same as “I've been to the show” on an A-league bus! When I can make a baseball movie analogy on the first day, I know I’ll do well in the class!

Digitalegacies Designs May Sales Report

All I can say is, “thank you NSD!” May was the best sales month ever for me at Scrap Bird. Talkin’ Baseball sold very well, both the individual kit and the Cobo pack with the word art. It really makes me feel good because it shows Scrap Bird is growing.

In all of the hustle and bustle this week, I didn’t post the sale paper yesterday, so, I’ll probably repeat this week’s Crazy Thursday sale at some point this month. I do have a new kit to show you, though!

Stardust is inspired by the tone and mystique of the classic standard as sung, to me anyway, best by Frank Sinatra. Stardust is the posting bonus for the I Wanna Talk About Me Challenge at Scrap Bird this month!

In our monthly book-of-me-style challenge, I’m asking to see a layout with at least one photo of you with someone special. Here is the layout I did:

credits: One Step at a Time by Digitalegacies Designs

This is me and my best friend, Kelly at the baseball game after my 40th birthday, still during Nanifest, when I only thought it was going to be David and me. I was surprised with a party that followed us down to Cincinnati from Michigan and another group with Kelly from Missouri!

So the only challenge requirements this month are a picture of you and someone special and at least one item from a Scrap Bird designer. For that, you get Stardust!

Old friend from 360!

I was so happy to get a comment from Noelle, Chalicat, an old friend from Yahoo 360! Part of what I love about getting comments is the community it fosters. Yahoo 360 was all about being social network with a blog. While I love my Blogger blog, I do miss my Yahoo friends! I’m so glad you hung you coffee mug up here, Noelle!!

The New Doc

I love my new doctor, he’s great! I went in to have my knee looked at. Hobbling around in Boston and then just Wednesday when will call was on the other side of the stadium from where we parked, my knee was sore, really sore, almost can’t walk sore. I saw my new doctor for the first time this morning.

After we talked about the history of my klutziness and the fact that I don’t see a doctor until I know I’m hopelessly sick and I take as few pills as possible for anything, he sayts it’s likely the beginning of nasty arthritis, but before he confirms that he’s sending me for x-rays. So I have the paperwork for that. I also have a referral slip to be evaluated by a therapist and start three days a week therapy. I also have to wear my knee brace all the time if I’m walking more than ten feet!

Now, I need to lose weight. I know that. That’s what I’ve been working on. I also know that it would help my knee if I did. But of course, today was the benchmark day with the new doctor. Anyone who’s ever struggled with weight will know this is just awesome - The doctor asked me what I wanted to do. Do I have an idea that I want to try for losing the weight, because it’s going to work better for me if it’s my plan. But he’d offer any help I wanted. Pinch my inches, I'm dreaming!

I had an awesome doctor up until about 2000, when he retired. The doctor who took his place was nothing like him and if I was sick, I had to be desperately sick before I’d even start thinking about seeing him. My new doctor today was kind, he smiled, took his time and listened to me! It was important to me before that my doctor talked baseball with me for a minute or two when he came into the exam room and that he knew to tell me when I needed to take all the pills in a prescription because he knew and understood how much I hate pills. The doctor today, in talking about managing the pain while my knee is undergoing therapy, suggested a natural supplement and while he offered that he could prescribe a pain killer, also said I could continue with Advil, making sure that I understood that it’s not addictive, even in doses of more than the three or four pills a day I take when the pain is really bad. I think I may have finally found a doctor who is worthy of replacing the doctor I had and loved for 24 years in Michigan!

Oh, right now the knee still hurts, but I feel better about the future of it feeling better. He says I may be looking at surgery, but he thinks if it can be put off a few years, that’s the better course. Of course, depending on what the X-rays show, it might be different, but I totally love that he was honest and explained things completely to me. Old fashioned people skills and modern knowledge. My textbook says you should have that in the computer networking profession too. I think you should have that in ALL professions. Wouldn’t the world work better that way?

Have an Art!

It’s such a sunny and bright day in the TOL today! Beautiful days make me think of beautiful things.

I saw some great art online by Liudmila Kondakova. Born and educated in Russia and now living in the US, she’s done some great paintings of Paris! She has a very classic style. look at her paintings and I’m sure my Mom would have loved her work! I like the rich colors in her paintings. Yeah, funny huh? An artist Mom and I would have agreed on? But, there is enough classic on the impressionist side and great color combinations. Her work would have appealed to us both! She’s definitely worth checking out!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Photoblog Wednesday

Starrucca Viaduct

Built in 1847-48 and still in use today, Starrucca Viaduct is the oldest stone railroad bridge still in use in the state of Pennsylvania.

Photo by Nani 5/24/09

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

West Virginia

I’ve been to West Virginia a few times, in fact, I have family from West Virginia. Yes, my Appalachian roots is where I come by my mutiny against footwear of any kind!

My great grandparents had the last name Sutton. Sutton, West Virginia is the county seat of Braxton county. My great grandparents were both BORN in Sutton, West Virginia too. Coincidence? Nuh-uh! Sutton was founded by John Sutton, from England in 1824. John Sutton is my several greats of a grandfather!

In the Sutton cemetery, a memorial was erected to John Sutton in the early 1990s. Not long after that, Mom, Dad and I paid a visit to the town of Mom’s and my ancestors.

Now, West Virginia is not a state with big four professional sports teams and huge metropolitan areas. The state itself is a result of Virginians who seceded to the North during the American Civil War. They were the people of Virginia who were too poor to own slaves and more likely to be indentured servants themselves, so the issue of a states’ rights in the area of anything to do with a higher economic level was not one on which they cared to side with the wealthier Virginians. So they claimed secession from Virginia and remained part of the USA. So remember that, but enjoy the story of Saturday night in the county seat!

We drove into Sutton late on an autumn Saturday afternoon. It was a small main street community and pretty much quiet. As we drove past the volunteer fire department’s building on that main street, you could have fired a gun down the street and hit nothing until the bullet was in Kentucky! No, it wasn’t a hot spot for reveling on Saturday night at all!

After leafing through maps and even West Virginia tourist brochures, we couldn’t find the cemetery. We knew the memorial was there because Grandma had been there with her Uncle right after it was dedicated. So, seeing a sign for the police office, I suggested we try asking there, since other shops and such were already closed.

Mom and I went into the building where the library and several other county offices were. We went down a hall of dark closed rooms until we came to the open door at the end. The room was labeled police office. We went in.

There was an officer sitting at the desk in the front room reading the newspaper. Mom asked him where the cemetery was. and she offered “We want to see the monument to John Sutton. He is a distant relative. My family is from here.”

The officer smiled and walked over to a map on the wall. He pointed to an area on the map. Then he asked where we were from.

“We’re from Michigan,” I told him.

“What kind of car are you driving?” the officer asked.

“My husband’s new Mountaineer.” Mom told him.

“How about I just drive up there and you follow me?”

We gratefully said “yes.”

Then the dialog gets to be fun. Remember, this is the county seat, Braxton county’s “big city.”

“Just a minute while I get the keys to the car.”

He reached in on the other side of the partition in the room and said to the other officer, “I’m going to take the car to show these ladies the monument. They’re kin!”

The two Metro-Detroiters in the room politely held in their amusement until we got back to the car.”

We told Dad the officer was going to escort us and once we were moving again, the giggles came out.

“The officer told the OTHER officer... He was taking THE car... to show us THE monument.”

We followed the cop car up a mountain. Well, okay, not really a mountain, just a huge hill, but all the roads are skinny, steep, dirt roads on huge hills. If a car was coming the other way, someone would have to back up. But, I don’t know, maybe there WEREN'T any other cars! We got to the top of the hill, where the cemetery was and the officer showed us THE monument. Seriously, compared to all the relatively flat stones, it was indeed a towering site.

We thanked the officer for his help and he turned THE car around to go back to the police ROOM.

It’s actually a nice monument and it was an especially nice opportunity to walk the streets where my great grandparents were born and touch the monument erected to my great-great great....grandfather. And it was a fun trip to the “big ole” county seat that was in so many ways missed by the passing of time.

Kitchen dreaming

Okay, I’m not so much complaining, really! With the exception of a few things, like our stove, I really do like our antique 1950s kitchen. But now, we’re expecting family to visit in July and in the midst of the other things going on, I have to get the house ready for people to stop by!

So, I dream, dream about what the ultimate kitchen would look like. I can get my Dad to help. The home improvement stuff is what he does! My brother the salesman isn't so far removed from it either. He’d help! As for me, I’m actually pretty handy with electronics and wiring!

So, first for this family project, I’d definitely want a formica countertop and back splash. NO MORE TILE WITH WHITE GROUT! No more cleaning with bleach and an old toothbrush! Then, I’d definitely want to look at stainless steel sinks. The ceramic stains and has to be scrubbed, same as the grout on the counters. Then I’d top it off with a modern electric stove, flat with more heat control than we have now. Of course if I was just adding those things, I’d need to give the floors and cupboard facings a good scrub, but it would be SO worth it.

And when we celebrate our ten-year, we can have a party and everyone can see the improvement! But as for by July, I’d better get the toothbrush and start scrubbing!

June Blog Train

Frame from Train, Train by Digitalegacies Designs

A train so nice, I’ll ride it twice? Maybe even more. I had a lot of fun with the April blog train at DST, so when the opportunity came to do the bimonthly train again, I said “absolutely I want to!”

This month the mega extravaganza is all about the guys. The Digitalegacies Designs contribution to My Favorite Guy gives you three masculine papers and four elements including a fun word art. Believe me, the word art is true! I think of the last remote control monster truck Scott bought, John’s mustang and of course the spare bedroom in our house that is all about David’s model railroad that we’ll someday build a house over!

Nearly 100 designers have contributed freebies of similar sizer to this mega-mega kit for you! You can visit the blog train home for all of the links to the train!

Download the Digitalegacies Designs part here.
Password is David

After you get your Digitalegacies Designs part of the kit here, move on down the line to Down This Road Designs for the next part!

I hope you enjoy all the cars in the June blog train. Don’t forget to stop in the diner car for some black forest cake!!