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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Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

I’ve been branching out a little bit blogwise which means I’ve decided to participate in some of the memes I’ve enjoyed reading for a while. My friend, Ronalyn, has been doing this one and I’ve gone to the main blog, Never Growing Old, and read a few of the participants’ answers. Ya know, I’m in the minority preferring chocolate chip cookies with nuts! I read so many replies to that one that said everything from nuts are bad to it isn’t a chocolate chip cookie if it has nuts! I am with the majority in preferring red apples to green. Comparing answers with other participants and analyzing trends definitely appeals to my inner marketing geek too!

Questions and answers:

My current weather is _______?
Cold. It’s supposed to be a little cloudy but dry tonight for the trick or treaters. I hope that’s accurate!

What is your favorite sound?
Kaline and Carla purring in stereo!

What is the worst flavor of ice cream?
Tie between Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Ricky Road I’ve never eaten anything with marshmallows that I liked.

What magazine do you look for when you are stuck in the waiting room?
Newsweek or Sports Illustrated

What is your favorite condiment?
Honey Dijon Dressing. I cook with it, great on fish, put it on my ham sandwiches, dip pretzels and ketchup doesn’t hold a candle to Honey Dijon for fries!

Ronalyn’s blog The Adventures of Esa and Zed

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Shorts

Well, I’m definitely not talking about the shorts you wear. It’s cold here in Toledo, but I have many friends and family who are snowed in in the east! Edna posted a little later than usual today. I thought she might be without power. I know she already had snow in her yard, and on her flowers, Friday morning and she is in that area for which The Weather Channel coined “snowtober.” She has power at home, but no power at work. She got some great photos of downed trees and the morning sky on her way home this morning. Visit her blog to see them! (Miss Edna’s Place)

David called his brother’s house last night. Their power was still on. He offered the idea that they should make a snow-pumpkin, similar to Frosty Cottontail that we did when we got snowed out from Grandma’s house for Easter a few years ago. Ellen, our SIL, thought it was a fabulous idea and figures JP will love it. I hope they send us pictures!

As for here, it’s 50 degrees, going down to 40, still chilly, I don’t like it to get below 60. Whichever angel was in charge of installing the internal heating element in souls that were going to the Midwest didn’t install mine. I’ve always been cold. I feel bad for the child born in Florida who got my heating element. We can’t just trade now. I married a properly equipped Northeastern boy. He doesn’t like hot weather.

Hugging myself in my fleece jacket and putting my plush slippers back on…brrr!!


When I first embarked on my weight loss journey, I was going to reward myself with a Pandora bracelet. They are gorgeous bracelets and so perfectly Nani. Bracelets are, my opinion, the absolute best piece of jewelry. I love my necklaces and earrings, but I don’t really feel like I’m wearing jewelry, I don’t feel pretty, without a bracelet. This has everything to do with why my favorite earrings are the dangly ones with at least a couple pieces in the dangle that clang together. I can hear them every time I move my head. Without noisy earrings, I don’t see them. Other people do, but I can’t enjoy them unless I look in a mirror. A bracelet, I see all the time.

I’d love to see this every time I see my wrist:

Or this:

Ah, but the Pandora bracelet is not the reward for my weight-loss milestones I hoped it would be. With the price of a Pandora bracelet, rewarding myself with technology is cheaper! But I still get trapped looking at bracelets and all the pretty beads to build something beautiful and original just for me. Last year, when David asked me what I liked from the Rogers and Holland catalog, for his reference, I discovered they carry a different version of the Pandora-style bracelet called Tuscani and I’ve since discovered a definitely cheaper online source, Pugster that sells base chains and beads that fit all the Pandora style bracelets. That’s something I’ve definitely bookmarked for future reference! I wish I could afford to give them to all my girls as gifts. Okay that’s me projecting me, I want everyone to feel as pretty as I do with a nice bracelet!

I AM going to get my Pandora styled bracelet, I don’t know that its beads are interchangeable, but look what I found!

Hope Paige Medical does a huge assortment of practical to stylish medical alert jewelry. That’s a medical alert bracelet! I’ve been diagnosed allergic to Penicillin since I was 15, but I never wore my bracelet because it was the generic one that wasn’t pretty and screamed, “Hey look! Something’s wrong with her!” Yeah, that darned Leo ego. I was thinking that I do enough running around town or driving up to Michigan alone, that I should at least have something that would direct medical pros to find my prescription list in my wallet if there was an emergency. And the one thing this medical ID bracelet has going for it that the old one did not, I LOVE the way it looks! There are a few beaded bracelets in the Pandora style. I could get three and put a different warning on each one so I can wear them together! Okay, maybe not, but it is a lovely medical ID bracelet! When I can get a Pandora style bracelet, it will combine with it just fine!

Halloween Prep

I love Halloween! I finished packing up the “candy bombs” yesterday. There are 150 bags, each with five pieces of candy, one tier one; mini candy bars, the larger Tootsie Rolls and mini boxes of Dots, one tier two; Whopper, Peppermint Patties, big Sweet Tarts packs and long, skinny tootsie rolls & Tootsie Pops and three tier three; Smarties, Tootsie Roll Midgies, Mary Janes, and mini packs of Sweet Tarts, Bottle Caps, Nerds and Laffy Taffy. The candy choices are a combination of large bags that have my favorites Mr. Goodbar and Tootsie Rolls and David’s favorites, Kit Kat, Heath, Smarties and Sweet Tarts in them. This year we don’t have Sprees for David or Bit-O-Honeys for me, but we do both like Bottle Caps. The belief here is when you don’t have a direct request, give a gift you would be happy to receive.

That’s what treats on Halloween are, gifts to kids we don’t know. I LOVE greeting the trick or treaters on Halloween. I remember how much fun it was when I was a kid to dress up and go trick or treating. People were usually nice to downright fun when you went to their houses. I always remembered to say “thank you” and when I got home with my pillowcase half full of candy there was always a moment of amazement. I don’t think I used the term “generous” at 6 years old, but I thought I lived in the best neighborhood because the people gave us kids so much. Like I said about Santa the other day, it’s a privilege to be an adult and get to give the treats now.

I love seeing the kids and costumes from the littlest in pumpkin suits that are falling asleep on Dad’s shoulder by the end of the street to the teens with their teen-age bravado begging for candy and sporting that same smile as the ten-year-olds when they get it. And I’m happy to say that they say “thank you” more often than not.

That’s a big reason why I love being in Toledo at this time of year. We had dwindled from about 20 kids the last year I trick or treated to none for about the last decade I lived in Novi. Our numbers have been growing here since 2007. Last year we had 147 kids! I lament that in this day, it’s not acceptable to even think of taking photos of the kids that visit. I’d love to scrap some of the cute costumes, but I do take photos of the decorations and candy and journal, journal, journal. This year David is working ion Halloween night and as long as the weather is okay, Scotty is coming down from Michigan to have early dinner with me and help me pass out candy. David worked last year too and I was really sore by 8:00. Scotty is going to make sure I don’t overdo the standing up and bending to put treats in bags. The kids won’t think it’s rude if I stay seated by the door to give candy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

After a Good Night’s Sleep

Oh, it’s not another post about decaffeinated coffee, it’s what I had last night: A good night’s sleep! I haven’t really had one of those in about a week. I’ve had a couple of new MS symptoms. I can’t get started on my disease modifying drugs soon enough! That, by the way, will be on November 14. The medication I’ll hopefully be taking requires a 6-hour observation for the first dose to make sure there aren’t super adverse side effects, primarily that the drug can, often does, cause the heart rate to slow down. The heart rate is usually back to normal within a month of starting it, but the main concern is that it doesn’t start slowed too much, so they want the patient, in this case me, to be in a facility with doctors available “stat.” The other drugs included ones that were injected, which I could learn to do to myself, but I’d prefer a pill, and ones with way worse known possible side effects, including brain disease. I’ve been through a ton of tests to be sure I’m strong enough to give the medication a try. Since the beginning of the year I have been tested for just everything! Other than the MS, “I am strong like ox!”

Occupying My Mind

I’ve been reading a lot about the “Occupy” protests going on, not just on Wall Street, or even all over the country, but all over the world. The whole Occupy movement doesn’t seem really organized or even in harmony with itself, but it’s young, so it might evolve into more. Right now, it’s definitely loud. I can imagine the 60s protests must have started something like this, only without the Internet to put them more in everyone’s living rooms, dining rooms, libraries, coffee shops and back pockets on a Smart Phone! I was a baby during the protest movement in the late 60's, no, serious, when the pot started to heat up for those protests I was probably a zygote! The anti-war movement peaked in 1968, but it really started to bubble in 1965. The reading I’ve been doing suggests that the unrest started before that, somewhere as the unification of World War 2 began to fade in the post war years and became unrest about racial equality, unemployment and poverty.

This time the civil unrest had its unification on 9-11-01 and for the comparatively brief period after the terrorist attacks. I recall the comparison to Pearl Harbor at that time. The end of WW2 brought out a similar celebration to Bin Laden’s death, albeit without the dramatic sailor kissing a woman in Times Square photograph, but this age is different too. We did not have the economic boom that my Mother grew up in and our Vietnam happened before the end of our WW2. Iraq was the war that divided our country into those who supported it no matter what and those who said, “what the…?” Our president’s enemy was in Iraq, but our country’s enemy was in Afghanistan. On the world political scale, we had the unrest and economy of the late 60s and never got the boom and celebration of post WW2 and we had it all at once. It’s no wonder the whole movement is mad and seeking someplace to aim their anger. The direction is unclear because the "enemy" is still unclear.

I’m not totally sure where I stand on the Occupy movement. Right now I’m trying to understand it from a psychological and historical point. It’s an interesting opportunity to understand why we study history. Society runs circularly, but it does seem that our historical model has been sucked into the middle of a metaphorical funnel, with groups like Occupy and the Tea Party trying to anchor themselves on the outside with ideas to pull us out, to “save us.”

I read the “demands” of Occupy Wall Street, or one could call them ideals, my preference to call something if you want to get people on board with you. "Demands" is confrontational and sounds dangerous. Their ideas are mostly decent. Some things will take a lot of work to change, some things need to be undone, some things never should have happened. There are other ideals that will never be allowed to happen or shouldn’t because of the strong possibility they’ll do more harm than good.

Yes, the details are purposefully vague there. That's mostly because I don’t have set opinions on a lot of it yet, but also because an entire blog could be devoted to opinions about the Occupy Movement. There are a lot of blogs already devoted to opinions about the Occupy Movement. This little section was just a look at the historical comparison and as fodder for thought and discussion. If you have any insight or opinions, grab a cup of coffee and post away!

It’s definitely NOT a decaf morning!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bedtime and Smell the Coffee!

It really does work for bedtime as well as wake up! I have to tell you about my new sponsor link. Please keep reading! I’m not going to tell you what you should buy, or even to buy at all. I’ll encourage you to take a look and I’m going to tell you what I’m going to buy!

ROASTe is a wonderful site to check out if you’re a coffee lover, like me! But think about it. It’s less than a week before Halloween. The holidays are coming! I’m thinking spoil the guests I entertain or a host gift for Mom when you eat her Thanksgiving feast. What about gifts for Christmas or Hanukah? See where I’m going with this? I’d love it if you find something you’d like from ROASTe, that’s where the fund for Carla’s Obedience School is fueled, but I think it’s just so cool to have my “coffee shop” sponsored by a real coffee site! And ROASTe is a site I’m truly honored to support, if for no other reason than the wonderful selection of flavored decafs!

I know, you’re probably wondering if I’m abandoning my Keurig Brewer, NEVER! I love that thing! In fact, ROASTe does carry K-Cups too, but I also have the adapter to make my own K-cup filters from any coffee I want, including the more Nani flavored decafs. Oh, and, ROASTe had that same adapter in their accessories. It truly is one stop for great coffee and anything you’d need to make it your great coffee.

When the weather gets colder, I really like a fancy cup of flavored coffee at night, but I don’t want the caffeine as a bed time drink! Ready-made K-Cups in flavored decaf are very limited and not flavors of which I’m very fond. Right on the home page at ROASTe, there is a coffee profile. I clicked decaf and flavored, then clicked the start brewing button. The first coffee on the page is Caramel Crunch decaf. Caramel Crunch? Its coffee heaven!

The coffees are all reviewed, not by the coffee sellers and not my the coffee companies, but they are reviewed by customers who’ve purchased and tried them You can try a specific grind or whole bean, regular and decaf, dark roast, even espresso, or light. You can also search by origin of the beans, the flavor notes present in the coffee or by specific coffee roaster.

So, my cart has a bag of the Decaf Caramel Crunch and one of the Decaf Classic Cookie, resisting the coffee flavor syrups, noticing the Keurig adapter I have is the same price I paid for it a year ago and thinking seriously about the silicone lid that makes any regular coffee mug a to go cup. I made sure to click the banner in the bulletin board and get the code for my 10% off. I’ll tell you all about my experience as a customer after I try my first cup of Caramel Crunch decaf!

Mmm... Can't wait!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vintage Thingy Thursday

I said I wanted to join in Vintage Thingy Thursdays. My very first official Vintage Thingy combines some of my passions and will definitely appeal to the Red Sox fans who visit my Coffee Shop on the Information Superhighway!

This plastic snow globe was a giveaway at Fenway Park in the 60s. I have tried many times to get an actual year that it was given out, mainly because I’m curious if it or I am older! Many of the antiquey things I own are personal and have a story or family history. I definitely have more heirlooms than antiques, the difference being how personal the history is. With this one, the personal history is the fond memory of when I had a great job and good money. I got this on eBay back in the 90s. Believe it or not, I didn’t even know the Red Sox fan I’m married to, in fact, he was probably still in Connecticut.

What appealed to me at the time and what would possess me to buy it now if I had the disposable income, is that it represents baseball and marketing. I love old advertising and promotional items. Thinking back to the early 70s, when I was a child, I would have been so impressed with this as a giveaway at a game. Heck, I have a plastic snow globe from the last game at the Astrodome in 2000. It still is appealing as an adult!

Another strong appeal is that it’s a snow globe. I kinda wish I still had the plastic snow globes from my childhood. That was MY souvenir when I went some place. I loved them! It could keep me quiet in the car for hours, shaking and watching the snow or glitter sprinkle. Remember, seventies, I didn’t have a game boy, just my imagination!

This snow globe is only about half-full of water. There’s no leak, just half full. I think it evaporates with time. Unfortunately, there is no place to add water. I have a glass and finished wood globe my Mom gave me that can be refilled, but that’s just not something that makes sense for a baseball giveaway item! It’s still got more water than some of the ones I’ve seen on eBay!

The pitcher and batter are on a teeter-totter that gives the illusion of the pitcher moving towards the batter, like he’s pitching and the batter moving toward the pitcher like he’s hitting the ball when you move it. And you know my inner child still couldn’t resist shaking it and looking at it after I photographed it

It’s Pumpkin Time

As a lover of all things pumpkin, and a bit of a strange fascination, or maybe a challenge, to my non-pumpkin crazed husband, I often get the opportunity to try new pumpkin tastes because David brings them home. Now, when he finds and brings me Pumpkin Spice Coffeemate, that’s saying “honey, I love you.” When he brought me a jar of pumpkin butter, it told me he thinks of me, even when he’s picking up a steak for himself. But the last something pumpkin, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. He brought me home a 6-pack of Pumpkin Ale from his last trip without me there. Was this a challenge to my pumpkin love?

I’m not a huge beer drinker. I enjoy a beer once in a while with pizza or barbecue. Those are just dishes I think beer goes well with. Sorta like drinking red wine with spaghetti and meat sauce. But because I don’t imbibe often, I am super picky about the taste of my beer, wine and liquors. I’m not consuming empty calories or killing innocent brain cells for something that won’t make my taste buds smile! Well, there is a FIVE pack of Pumpkin ale in the fridge now. I tried one a couple nights ago. It was good! The initial taste was very reminiscent of Honey Brown beer, which is a domestic beer I really like. Then, the finish is a nice mellow spicy pumpkin flavor. I don’t see it replacing Honey Brown for me, or my Canadian beers, but I can definitely see it as my one six-pack a fall beer!

The pumpkin beer and talk of things pumpkin segues into some scrap talk. Eva, Eveziur, Designer at Digital Scrapbooking Studio, hosts the Me, Myself and I Challenge. If you’ll recall from Journal Camp, I am very big on the importance of including yourself in your scrapbooks. You should never let your own vanity rob your children’s children of the opportunity to know you.

I don’t want to inject mortality here, but it’s reality. My nieces lost their Mom when they were 5 years old. They know her through pictures and stories shared with them from the people who loved her too. She lives in their memory books.

So you don’t like the way you look in photos? Few really do unless they are professional photos or that one every couple years that makes you say, “That’s ME???” The people reading your scrapbooks look and say with a smile, “that’s HER!” They say that to every photo, every sweet memory, just like you do of the people you scrap. Step back IN your scrapbooks and IN the documented lives of the people you love.

Okay, there’s my preachy bit. Back to Me, Myself and I.

As I said, Eva sponsors this, truly important, challenge every month at The Studio. If you only do one layout a month about yourself, that’s 12 pages a year that you add to tell the future about you today. Getting to know you is understanding WHY the people you care enough about to scrap are important. You really should go check out this fabulous challenge!

This month, it was scrapping your favorite dish, favorite food. I interpreted it as my favorite flavor!

Credits:Pieces from Fall Splendor (blog train) by Digitalegacies Designs
and Delicate Harvest by Twin Mom Scraps,
Pumpkin Latte Cup by Beckie Wallace, Pumpkin Alpha by Kimberkatt Scraps

My layout includes a photo of Sheri and me in Frankenmuth, a day I enjoyed FOUR different pumpkin treats. I’m in my rented scooter, victory over vanity – It’s the second photo I’ve published of me using a mobility aid. There was a baseball pic with the wheelchair just after vacation. If I own my limitations, they aren’t limitations to who I am.

You still have time to join in the challenge this month and take a look at the yummy layouts in the gallery. If you participate in the Me, Myself and I challenge ten months, Eva will give you a $10 coupon to her store too! Talk about incentive!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I’m A Secret Santa!

The first thing I’ll do today is tell you all what fun this is! I remember doing Secret Santa at a number of past jobs and it was so much fun, especially in larger companies where you may draw the name of someone you don’t know well. Investigating, talking to their friends and finding the right gifts to make them smile was so much fun. Of course right now, I’m not working and having been a self-employed sole proprietor before that, it’s been a long time! I’m excited to be part of the Secret Santa Soiree, organized by Suzanne, The Coloradolady.

You can go to The Coloradolady to sign up to be in the soiree. The only prerequisite to join is you have to have a blog. There is a questionnaire to fill out after you join, but your blog is where your secret Santa gets to know you! The spending limit is a flexible $20, which means you can spend more, but don’t expect that your Santa will. I think that’s fair. In hard times, people can’t be as generous as their hearts may want to be, but you still can’t beat the feeling of giving. Whether it’s putting your extra pennies in the penny cup at the convenience store, saying “yes” when your own child wants a little something from the toy aisle at the grocery store, making a contribution to a soup kitchen or saving up to buy that special gift for your parents, giving just enriches your soul. I’ve found that nothing replaces that good all over feeling.

I was seven when the kids at school were talking trash about Santa, that he wasn’t real. How could they be so mean about someone who was so loving, so giving? When I talked to my Mom about it after school, she told me that they were part right. Santa is not a real person and he is not the magical guy I thought he was. She told me that Santa was a spirit of love and giving and that when you’re old enough to know that, you are old enough to BE Santa. She also told me that it wouldn’t be fair to say anything to my little brother because I was old enough to make Christmas magic, but did I think he was? Well, no, of course I didn’t. “Davey” needed to get the Christmas magic a little longer before he could make it. I remember that I felt a little sad. I didn’t want to be that grown up yet. I wished Mom had lied to me or that my classmates hadn’t said anything. They were so mean to make me grow up too fast! I was absolutely NOT the person who told Dave because I wished I hadn’t been told yet. But I did learn to really love being Santa.

Now I get to be that magic for someone I haven’t met yet. It’s like Santa in that you don’t really know who doing the giving and it’s creating a piece of the magic that is Christmas. Totally cool! You can join the Secret Santa Soiree too! Just click on the link below to go directly to the announcement and sign-up page. It has all of the information you need to participate and be one of us, the Secret Santas! While you’re there, check out all of the neat stuff on Suzanne’s blog! I personally LOVE Vintage Thingy Thursday! I keep thinking I’ll contribute some of my antiquey things from my Grandparents, but the life of a student, my candle is always near the middle with both ends burning! Need more wax!

Join the Santa gang this year. It’ll make you feel good!

Join the Secret Santa Soiree

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not As Planned

What a day! I don’t subscribe the whole negative on Mondays thing and this hasn’t been a bad day, not really at all. It’s just been…odd.

I’m a planner, always have been. And I mean always. By the time we had recited the date in Kindergarten, I knew who I was walking home with and what I’d buy at the store if I could talk Mom out of 50 cents and she’d let me go. Yeah, 50 cents would buy a candy bar and a bottle of coke. Doesn’t that make me sound old? Hehehe

SIGH, Just a conversation piece!

Well, today was planned. I mean it was planned a week and a half ago. I had a physical therapy appointment at Cleveland Clinic this morning and on October 12, Tigers World Series tickets went on sale. David and I had talked about it and he decided we could afford one really big splurge and we’d try to get tickets when they went on sale. We wanted to go with the single maybe, trying to get tickets for game one or two in Detroit IF the Tigers made it to the World Series, but by the time we got out of the cyber waiting room and into the ticket selection, there weren’t any seats left together. Not just that there were no wheelchair seats with companion seats, but no seats together at all! So we tried the double maybe of game 5, IF the Tigers were in the World Series and IF it made it to Game 5. We got a wheelchair and companion seat just a couple sections farther away from home plate than where we had been for the Division Series game we went to. Remember I said the seats for the Division Series were more than twice the regular price for upper deck outfield seats? Well, multiply by FOUR for World Series seats a couple sections farther back. We’ll be getting a refund, but I really meant it when I said David declared we’d SPOIL us. Hmm… maybe this is a good year to ask about getting a Tuscani bracelet for Christmas?

The Rangers threw a wrench in the plan for tonight, but the day was out to get my plans from the very start! I had just an awful cramping pain in my back just above the hip last night. I slept on the hating pad with lots of Icy Hot on it. When I first got up I thought maybe it had gone away, but taking a step showed me it was still ALIVE and well! I ended up canceling therapy because they wouldn’t let me do anything if I was in pain, so why make the 2-hour trip? Over the course of the day I used ice, rest and the recumbent bike on level 6 two minutes at a time to stretch it. I’m better now after doing that all day, no sharp pain. But I feel like it could come right back if I turn wrong. I’m still tender!

This evening we went to see the jack-o-lanterns in Perrysburg. It was a pretty cool display in town with jack-o-lanterns carved in the traditional style, artsy ones, spooky ones and some cats.

VERY cool! After checking out the pumpkins, we went to Cracker Barrel for meatloaf. We’d tried to order meatloaf for dinner at Cracker Barrel twice last weekend when we were in Tennessee and both times they were out of meatloaf! Tonight we got our meatloaf!


Somehow the big freebie site didn’t pick up my word art freebie, so I’m reposting in the hope that they pick me up this time!

Click on the preview to go to 4Shared.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Scrappy Day & Nani’s New Shoes

It’s my reward for getting all of my school work done and turned in yesterday, it’s due tomorrow night. David is at work, so I got to scrap with a big bowl of popcorn and a huge mug of my own blended sugar free dark chocolate English Toffee latte. I love Ron and Frank’s drink mixes! The Dark Chocolate cocoa is sweetened with Splenda and the English Toffee cappuccino is unsweetened, so if I blend them I get perfect sweetness! I added a spoon of Coffeemate to make it creamier and a spoon of instant espresso for stronger flavor and it is positively decadent!

While I have another project I’m working on right now, the project that’s the reason why I probably won’t finish 2008 this year, I’m still slowly but surely keeping up with the 2011 pages…slowly. I finished this page from our May into June vacation today.

Credits: Kit- Wrapped In Chocolate by Heartfelt Perfections
Flowers from various other kits
Chocolate Word Art by Digitalegacies Designs

That piece of fudge cake deserves its own page! It was the best, and I mean the best dessert of 2011 so far. That bottom level is fudge, not fudge cream or fudge cake, but actual fud,ge with a couple of chocolate cream layers on top all on a chocolate cookie crumb crust. I started the layout last night and woke up this morning craving chocolate. Hmmm…

We went out this morning to get me some new shoes. We did well! I got shoes for me, David found a pair in his size, special in itself, but on sale and the second pair of shoes was half off! Then the socks packs were buy two get one free, so I got four packs for me and David got two packs free. I’m not shy about the fact that I am not a woman who has a shoe fetish. In fact, I have a shoe aversion. I can’t stand shoes and if I could be barefoot or sockfoot all the time, I would be.

There are a number of reasons for that I guess. My Mom was an insane shoe woman. When Dad and I cleaned out her side of their closet, we never ran out of shoes. She had so many different kinds, some to match only one specific outfit and some never worn, but she had to have her shoes. I think it disappointed her a little that I was not a shoe shopping companion for her. I did go out shoe shopping with her, but I went for her company and enjoyed coffee after shopping much more than the stores, especially the shoe stores!

Mom finally understood why I hated shoes when I was in my 20s. When she commented on my funny walk and the shoes didn’t look right, I was in 2” pumps at the time. My heels are narrow. Medium width foot with AA narrow heels, duck feet! So shoes don’t fit right. The heels always slosh around when I walk and dress shoes flop off the heel when I step. Scrunched up toes keep them on my feet, but oh, they hurt!

I guess I’d have to say that’s the greatest thing, a good thing, about using a walker or wheelchair. Nobody ever, ever, expects me to wear dress shoes! I can wear comfy ballet-style slippers with a dress in the chair and I’m stylin’! Tennis shoes with the walker are fine no matter what. I’d look plumb insane if I was wearing slippery hard-sole shoes with any kind of heel with the walker. And I am NOT insane. I’m not crazy at all. I’m especially not crazy about shoes!

Ah, but today I had to get new shoes before Monday because I have physical therapy on Monday. Monday I’ll learn how to wear and walk with an AFO!

I had the AFO made not long ago. AFO is an Ankle Foot Orthosis. It’s a plastic brace that helps with foot-drop, the biggest reason I won’t be taking ballet back up. Well, there are several reasons I don’t dance the ballet anymore, but foot-drop is also a big part of why I fall. A hopeful good additional effect is that it will control the hyperextension in my knee. Right now I’ve put it on and tried to walk. It terrifies me! I need my PT to show me how to do it! That comes Monday!

It is, however, why I had to get new shoes. I have a comfy pair of size 9-1/2 Reeboks. I’ve worn Reeboks for years and years. It was the best walking shoe I found when I used to walk at the park every day. Now that I’m not walking for exercise and enjoyment anymore, I’m still true to the Reeboks because they fit. I can order them off the Internet and they’ll fit because the size is true to my feet. Unfortunately the supports that make them great walking shoes, the padding in back that make the fit my skinny heels right and the tapered toes that form supportively around my medium width feet, don’t fit in the least over the AFO!

Keep the shoes! Give me dots and stripes
and plaids in my favorite colors of SOCKS!

The orthotist who made my AFO suggested New Balance because they don’t have the tapered toes that Reeboks do. So, we went to Shoe Carnival, which has always been my shoe store of choice because they are inexpensive, have good sales and a nice selection of socks. As much as I hate shoes, I love socks. A saleswoman assisted me in finding the right pair and size to fit over the AFO, which I brought with me to try on shoes. She asked me if I had a color preference. Yanno, I am I fairly well endowed woman. I haven’t seen my shoes in many years. I didn’t tell her that, but I told her it didn’t matter as long as they fit over the AFO.

I ended up bringing home a pair of gray and silver New Balance with white trim and little pink accents. It’s a good thing the accents are pink so I can tell them apart from David’s. My shoes aren’t quite as comparatively small anymore! These are a size 11 D wide! Hopefully, it means that come Monday, I’ll start walking a little better with the walker. 11D, Yeesh!

My HUGE new shoes

Okay, a last note, as a thank you for reading my tale of shoe-woe, I have a scrapbooking freebie for you! I was so pleased with the word art I did on my chocolate layout that I want to share! Yeah, keep the silver; I want my clouds to have a chocolate lining!

Click on the preview to go to 4Shared.

Well, while I’ve been typing, I finished my big mug of Nani’s cheat-a-ccino blend. Man, that instant espresso is one of my favorite cooking pals! My layout is still making me crave chocolate, so maybe one more before David gets home. Speaking of yummy coffee, I’ll be back to talk about that clickable banner in the bulletin board. A coffee sponsor? I could weep with joy!


Make Any Day a Holiday

You remember how I was floating on cloud nine on the spring as my flowers were blooming. The blooms, all that color, it was just sunshine no matter what was in the sky every day all spring. Now, the flowers are gone and the fall colors that were so bright just a week ago are starting to carpet the ground. The brown season, as David calls it, is just about here. Kinda depressing. It makes me think about what can put that 24/7 smile back on my face. Then I took a look at the Serenata Flowers website!

Serenata Flowers is based in the United Kingdom, but they ship flowers through partnerships with local florists. You can send flowers to anywhere in the world. I read a testimonial from a woman living in the US who sent flowers to her mother in the England . She said her “Mum cried when she saw them.” That’s what makes the inner sun shine, sending flowers makes you just feel good, it’s a warm glow you feel inside. I remember this past Valentine’s Day I sent Tori and Rina roses, which is something I don’t always do. It was a pretty special deal to them and it shook the winter blahs for me to make them feel that special. Flowers just make any day a holiday!

Serenata Flowers has arrangements on their site that capture the splendor of autumn, the magic of romance, celebrate any special event and make every day a special celebration of its own. By using additives to make flowers last longer, the person receiving your gift can extend that happy glow. You can be an important part of that inner sunshine that flowers preserve!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Help a School Girl Out?

I’m taking a Customer Service/Service Desk class this semester. There have been a lot of group projects, which is a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy group projects and I’ve often done well on them. When I was fresh out of high school and in community college, my money fit better with community college than a university, group –projects were often me doing a lot of the work. That was partially because I was young and not experienced with taking a leadership role and delegating, but it was also part because many of the community college students, that were my age at the time, weren’t as much serious about their studies as they were not serious about the working world. Serious 18-year-old students were in a 4-year college. Yes, this is something Rina and Tori have heard about often. Still, I enjoyed the group projects, even if it was 2 or 3 classmates taking credit for work I did most of, we all got an A!

When I returned to finish my degree as an adult, in an accelerated program with a lot of other adults too, group projects and discussions got even better. I often ended up the group leader by election because I had some management experience by then and knew how to assess the strong points of the group members and delegate. We still got As, but the results were much better!

Now, I have group projects again only this time, it’s an online class! I posted on our class message board, inquiring how we were supposed to do the group projects, expecting to be told to do it via chat or email. We were instructed to work with friends and family! Eek!

It’s not all bad, really. I’ve learned in past jobs and various seminars that the best way to learn something new is to teach it to someone else. If you can explain a new concept in a way that someone who is unfamiliar with it can understand, then you truly have learned it. Fortunately, this is not the brain surgery class!

So, I’m asking anyone that has a couple of minutes that they can spare to be part of my group, if you could give your opinion on one or both topics, I’d really appreciate it!

Project 1

Discuss experiences using technology for help.

By technologies, I mean, a time when you’ve called a help desk or customer service and used a phone menu to route your call, filled out a web form to request assistance with a question, used a Company’s website for information (hyperlinks, FAQs etc.) or an instant message or chat with a service rep.

Choose one instance and tell me about it.

How do you feel about interacting with support technology either before or instead of speaking with an actual person?

Were there any positive things you recall from the experience?

Were there negatives from the experience?

Project 2

Situations that cause frustration or anger.

Here are some situations that can cause frustration or anger for customers that were discussed in this week’s reading: waiting a long time on hold, continued problems that resurface when they have already been fixed, perceive their complaint is not being taken seriously or that the service rep isn’t listening, a helplink on the company’s site is broken, a long wait to get into a help chat room, forms that don’t include the problem you’re having as a choice when you must check a button or box, forms that don’t give adequate space to describe a problem

What other situations have caused you frustration with customer service/help desk reps?

What are the top five situations that cause frustration for you as a customer?

What could a company do to make your number one frustration easier to deal with?

Thanks to everyone who can lend a helping hand on this!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Photo Walk Pics

Finally, huh? I was out of town, just got home this afternoon. David ‘s been working some extra days and had some less traditional days off and was making plans to go to Tennessee to get photos of the Franklin Minerals train. It’s not like it was really planned on my part, I said, “Can I come?” And well, I went.

As I understand it, railfans with railfan wives aren’t super common. Some of us aren’t near as passionate about the trains as our husbands, but chasing trains is not just getting to enjoy the trains, which we do, it's "us time." Many of us photograph them too and many of our railfan friends who are couples will send their train photo Christmas Cards with a photo credit that’s sometimes him and sometimes her. David and I used to do 2 cards in each envelope, but since we’ve been married we do one card, the best snow shot from an adventure we went on together. In addition to the trains, a railfan wife gets to enjoy travel to scenic places both natural and man-made and time, often one on one time, with your mate. Yes, David and I have time together at home, but while the TV is on, I’m scrapping, he’s playing computer games and the cats are demanding attention, it's not the same as the time alone talking about everything and anything from the serious to the silly while we’re waiting for a train. When you can both really smile after a weekend together like that, you know you chose well when you selected a partner for life!

So, now to those Photo Walk shots!

Sheri and I did our photo walk for Worldwide Photo Walk Day in Frankenmuth, Michigan, on Saturday, October 1. Unfortunately, we’d planned to do our photos before dinner and it was cloudy and cold! We took photos anyway, answering the challenge of the light, but to an extent taking advantage of no shadows and some interior shots too. Still, my favorites of my photos were taken after dinner, when there was sun!

This is, in my opinion, my best shot of the day, taken on the way out after dinner.

Bavarian Inn all dressed up for fall!

Here are some others:

Bavarian Inn (taken from Zhender's parking lot)

Sculpture: Hobie’s Dilemma
Artist: Douglas Gruizenga

Sculpture: Semaphore
Artist: Brian Ferriby

Horse-drawn carriage stand

I think the horses are trained to pose for photos!

Frankenmuth Visitor’s Center

Frankenmuth Cheese Haus

Hay! A Turkey!
At the corner near the Bronner’s parking lot.

Even if not all sunny and not at all warm, Frankenmuth in the fall is a giant photo op! It was a great place for a Photo Walk!

Dad's Advice

Written by Shannon Tillman

When I was a little girl my dad told me that if you did something you loved you would never work a day in your life. That really stuck with me for some reason and I’ve been trying to live that out ever since to the best of my ability. Dad’s gone now but I think he would be proud of my small business and the fact that I absolutely love getting up and going to work every day. It’s nice to be my own boss and make my own decisions about things like bank card processing and how to market and what to do with our profits although it’s nerve-racking paying other people and trying to keep this place afloat when times are tough. The economy’s been hard but I know if I can get us through this that we’ll be fine for posterity so I’m just going to keep on keeping on in hopes this little business of mine will keep growing. I’m sure dad’s helping from wherever he is, of course!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Celebrating a Fall Morning

Colors in Toledo on Tuesday

Good morning!

It’s such a very fall morning this morning. Last night’s rain brought down a lot of leaves. David commented that he hasn’t seen this many leaves on the lawn this early in a long time. I hope it doesn’t mean we’re ushering in winter too soon! The oak tree in our front yard has been a highway of squirrels and chipmunks for the last month. I think I enjoy watching "Oak Highway” better than the kids do on Cat TV, but Chipmunk does his show right up by the screen so that holds their interest longer.

Pumpkins ready to harvest

In honor of the nice fall day, and the fact that David likes to sleep with the window in the bedroom open and it makes for a chilling exit from bed, I made a yummy hot breakfast! I put the recipe together last week and repeated it today to make sure the measurements were good. This breakfast is SO GOOD! I’m not sure if I should call it a breakfast cake or a bread pudding. It stands up on its own but it’s incredibly moist. It’s made with Greek yogurt, so it’s very high in protein. With the exception of 2 packets of Splenda, the sweetness is all natural and very low sugar. The pancake mix I usually use is Big Train low carb pancake and waffle mix. You could add a flavorless tablespoon of Benefiber to add some fiber to it too. I’m contractually not allowed to post the actual number of Weight Watchers Points Plus points on my blog, even on the Weight Watchers message boards. I guess that’s so no one "fudges” the points and people take them as gospel. I will say that I allow myself 10 points for breakfast and this with a Pumpkin Spice K-Cup fits. The nuts and raisins puts it negligibly over, but this cake is great without them too.

Here’s my recipe for the cake. I’ll be putting it on Davlicious too.

Super Moist Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

½ cup canned pumpkin
1 single-serve container Dannon Vanilla Oikos Greek yogurt
½ cup pancake mix
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 packets Splenda
2 TBS raisins
1TBS chopped walnuts

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Fold in yogurt and pumpkin. Mix well

Add walnuts and raisins.

Pour into a microwave-safe bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Microwave on high 5 minutes

Serves 1, caution: raisins will be hotter than rest of cake

It’s a gray day today, a few peeks of sunshine, but one of the best things about fall is that even on gray days the yellow and rust colors from the trees I can see through the windows by my computer keep it from being so dreary. I have to go out to see oranges and reds, but even those, going out is just peering out the door. Those trees just aren’t by the computer windows. Fall is a perennial sunshine all on its own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Talking About The Weather

My poor Tigers! The rain has just been following them all post season! Yes, I know it hasn’t just been the Tigers, but they’ve played in rain so much already. Today’s game was supposed to start at a little after four, now the expected start is 5:45. The radar says the rain should be out of the way soon and then time for the grounds crew to prep the field. I hope against all hope that getting the cats wet makes them mad enough to wipe up the field with the Rangers today!

One good thing I can say about the rain delay is that it has resulted in a long pregame show! Although after seeing/hearing them both as on-camera talent, I always thought the 90s Dodger that would retire into National broadcasting was Mike Piazza, I’d still rather SEE Eric Karros! I mean that too. Vocally, he has a twinge of surfer in his voice. He should have a deeper voice. He also predicted the Rangers would win last night. All in all, I’d be happier if he just sat and smiled. Not saying anything naughty here. His wife’s in California, my husband’s at work and I’m just looking. There are no calories in looking at the dessert menu and besides, I’m thinking about how he’d be even better than just eye-candy if he had David’s personality, brain, voice, eyes…. Okay, I guess what I mean is when there is a triple chocolate decadence cake on the dessert menu and it’s what you always have, it’s okay to read about the baklava, but then you still go with the decadence because it’s chocolate and chocolate is always the best choice. I’ve been married long enough to look at the baklava once in a while now. (And when the rain delay puts the dessert menu in front of you, you can’t help but look!) :)

I ought to be clear that in the previous metaphor, Karros is baklava because he’s of Greek heritage and David is Chocolate Decadence because you are what you eat. Rain delays suck. Now I’m craving chocolate. Not metaphorically right now! I’m thinking M&Ms.

Since David is working the late shift tonight, and although not rainy, it’s gloomy looking here, we ran some errands and did groceries before lunch. This is where the pack of M&Ms came from! We’ve finished buying the ammo for this year's “candy bombs,” the ammo is the candy that goes in the bags that we give out to the trick or treaters. The term “candy bomb” is from Kaline’s blog. Her interpretation of how I managed to fend of the scary ladybugs and cheerleaders that were trying to get her and Baggle our first Halloween in Ohio. I’m in my glory on Halloween here! We had maybe 6 kids where I was in Michigan that dwindled to nothing by early in the first decade of the century. Our kids have been growing in number since that Halloween in 2007 and last year we were up to 148! So, I’m making 150 bombs this year, plus the extra candy bowl, I think because it’s a Monday, it might be a smaller crowd this year, but last year was still a school night. We might be becoming known for our treats!

Okay, I think I’m going to make a pot of soup. They’ve changed it from a 5:45 start to an indefinite delay.

Fit For The King Here!

This post brought to you by T.G.I. FRiDAY'S. All opinions are 100% mine.
I got an opportunity to try T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “Entrées for One” in the mail last week.  Well, my first thought was what entrees do they have?  I went to the website and found some yummy chicken dishes, some Mexican and Cajun style entrees and then I saw “it,” Prime Rib Stroganoff!
I know what you’re thinking. Any chicken is the obvious Nani choice, but I was thinking something different.  The 2011 Donna Reed type is NOT always home to cook for her husband and while he cooks just fine, if I’m out with friends and he’s home, David often doesn’t cook and he takes frozen meals for lunch too.  Prime Rib Stroganoff is an obvious David choice, a man’s meal!

Oh, and if you Facebook, and I know a lot of us do, check out the Fun Freezer contest  People submitted photos of their “fun freezers” and Friday’s will choose 10 finalists.  October 7-20 you can vote on your favorite of the top ten!  It was fun to have a look at how creative people can be in freezer décor!

Back to Prime Rib Stroganoff.  Here is what you see after warming:

Almost makes my mouth water and I’m not a beef person.  The true test, what does David think?

He liked it!  In fact, he liked it enough that he thinks we should get more for the freezer.  When he works the night shift and comes home after I’ve eaten, he often grabs something he can heat up.  He was impressed with the Prime Rib Stroganoff.  He said the meat was tastier than you’d usually find in a frozen meal and it was moist and tender.  He’d definitely heat this up for his late dinner.  6 minutes, that’s all it takes, from open the box to eat, perfect for after work!  I think I’m going to decorate OUR freezer on the inside and get some more Prime Rib Stroganoff and the Sizzling Chicken Fajitas, or maybe the Grilled Chicken Mac and Cheese, maybe both!
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

David’s Home!

David had part of his last vacation week of the year left and was scheduled to start taking it last Wednesday. I didn’t go this time. With going to the Tigers game Monday and honestly, just baseball distractions right now, I needed a couple days to really get down to completing my school work for the week. I can’t type up papers while railfanning and I have a hard time making myself pay attention to my books while baseball is on.

So, I did get my school questions done by late Friday, so I could get a few hours of sleep before going up to the Motherland to spend the day with my Dad. We went to the apple orchard near him and I brought home a peck of Galas and a peck of snow apples. Pop suggested the snow apples and he was spot on. Those are some fabulous apples, super sweet with a touch of tart. Just awesome! We also stopped at the winery tasting area there. I brought home a bottle of hard cider!

Sheri, who lives a bit closer to Pop than me, joined us for dinner so we could trade her glasses that were left in my car and my memory card that I loaned her on Worldwide Photo Walk. Pop did grilled veggies with bread crumbs, YUM! He did zucchini, tomatoes and ancient sweet peppers. Everyone laughed at me when I loaded up my plate with veggies, but Pop makes my favorites when I visit! He jokes that if he doesn’t have plenty of zucchini I won’t come see him. He sent a half dozen zucchini home with me too! I got home just in time for the first rain delay in the first ALCS game. It was a long enough rain delay for me to get the veggies and apples in and put away and make my “’my home and safe” calls.

Sunday was a day of scrapping and apple chips! Tori and Rina have loved apple chips for, hmm, forever! Mom bought some apple chips when they were little and they loved them. After apple picking, she pulled out the dehydrator and sliced apples to try to make them at home, without any sugar or chemicals. The girls decided they were even better. I inherited Mom’s dehydrator and kept on making them. Just before I moved, the dehydrator got knocked off the counter and broke. Last year, after we’d all gone 3 years without the naturally addictive chips, I got a new dehydrator! This dehydrator makes apple chips in 12 hours! Mom’s took 3 days. So, one almost full peck of Galas, I ate a few, are now 3-1/2 quart bags of apple chips. The girls know and they are excited to be coming over for the first weekend in November!

David was going to leave for his abbreviated vacation Tuesday night after work, but opted for leaving Wednesday morning before I was even up. We went to the ALDS game on Monday and didn’t get home until 2:00 in the morning! Why on earth would they START a game at 8:30 on a Monday?

Nani and David at the ALDS game 3

It was an exciting game and just an electric atmosphere! I got an email from the Tigers a few days later with an opportunity to tag myself in a photo from that game. They did a panoramic composite of the crowd that you can zoom in on exact spots and find yourself. Very cool! I’d never seen a photo of myself watching a baseball game before.

Okay, I’m finding that a sure way to take all night writing a blog is to write during commercials while watching a baseball playoff game. After dropping the first two to Texas, the Tigers are looking much better tonight. As I’ve said to some questioning Red Sox fans, down 2-0 is nothing. The Red Sox came back from 3-0 in 2004. We take the three at home and then finish it in Arlington. We started tonight.

I’ll try to get my best photos from Frankenmuth up in the next couple of days. In the meantime, GO TIGERS!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

About Time For A Freebie

It’s been a bit of a crazy year for me and between all of my doctor stuff and school there are a few things I haven’t done a lot – scrapbooking and scrapbooking freebies! Tonight I had a little time and did a layout and template while I was watching the Brewers-Diamondbacks game.

Here is the cut Halloween layout I did. When she was little, Tori’s Halloween costumes were all about the cute!

Credits: Boo Add On by Retrodiva,
template Little Spookies by Digitalegacies Designs

And for your downloading pleasure, here’s the template!

Click preview to download

Now my eyes are getting heavy and the Diamondbacks have a pretty solid lead in the 8th, but you know - anything’s possible in baseball! I’ll check in to the hotel pillow after the last inning!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Consolidated - Bad!

The Trouble with Google is over-consolidation. If you’ve looked through my blog you won’t notice something. All of my photos, back through November 2009 are gone.

My new Google+ account is supposed to have a great system for sharing photos. I uploaded a bunch of my train photos last week and yesterday I was going to post my Photo Walk photos from Worldwide Photo Walk last Saturday. When I went into my photos where there had been only my train folder, now there were a bunch of folders! The folders were what I thought were copies of every photo I’d ever posted on any Google blog. Well, I switched over to G+ because the interface was too cluttered on Facebook. I did not want a cluttered gallery. So, I deleted a couple of the folders before I realized the message for okaying the delete was not “This action cannot be undone.” It was “This action will delete these photos from all Goggle products you use!”

It makes me mad. Why would they import all of my photos to a new product that I may or may not keep using? They didn’t COPY the photos, the MOVED the actual photos. Yes, it’s my fault because I didn’t read the warning, but I was not expecting my actual photo files to have been moved without even an email to notify me.

So now, it’s decision time. The first decision is not to use Google+. The people with whom I communicate on Facebook aren’t interested in moving, one friend even said she wouldn’t even consider it because she tried it and plain didn’t like it. Second, I wanted to leave Facebook because of the clutter. The clutter on Google+ is just as bad as Facebook for doing things without warning and more dangerous in the form of data loss!

The second decision, the bigger one, is what to do with The Chronicles of Nani and Davlicious? I lost 60 recipe photos and 2 years of main blog photos, roughly 400 there. The first thing I’ll do is replace photos to the first page so there aren’t naked spots. Then, I guess I’ll work my way backwards replacing photos. I have a copy of all of my blog entries in Word, so that ought to help, but every photo has to be relocked one entry at a time. I thought about just deleting my entries before the beginning of 2011. The problem with that is that when I read an interesting blog by someone new, I usually read their very first blog to get to know them. I’ve been blogging since 2008. Most of the first two years is still here, photos and all. It’s just the most recent years, including all of Journal Camp, which I’d hoped to leave up, although the pdf files are still available.

I’m thoroughly tired looking at the daunting task ahead. Putting the actual photo files for all of Google on a social networking site is Stupid. If you have opinions about what I ought to intentionally delete, let me know.