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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Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Want To Get Smashed

I am NOT being compensated for this post in any way. 
I just really want one of these!

I decided Saturday morning that I need to do some Smashing! I picked up and dropped the large envelope with my baseball ticket stubs in it, all of them since 1992. I counted them, 181 ticket stubs showered onto the floor now completely out of the OCD chronological order I had them in. Of course I know how many there were in that envelope because I’ve put them back in chronological order. Oh, I don’t really have OCD, just some obsessive order tendencies. Disorganization makes me crazy, but not certifiable, not yet anyway.

So Smashing, with a capital S is as in Smash Journal. I saw a video for Smash Journals last year and was intrigued. I mean, really they are very old school scrapbooks. Someplace to keep clippings, notes, ephemera; like baseball ticket stubs. Here’s the demo video I saw:

I love this! I wanted to buy one the first time I saw the video, but I wasn’t in the financial position to do it and just sort of let the thought go. But in re-sorting all the ticket stubs I realized that I remember every one of those games. Maybe I don’t remember who won, the score or even a play from the game, although for a lot of them I do, but the ticket makes me remember who was there with me, a detail from the day. The first game I saw in 2000 was in Cincinnati in April. John and I went and it was definitely a hot chocolate game. The ticket stub brought back that memory with a friend that was so close to me. I have little mementos, cartoons, notes and fun clippings in boxes, folders, drawers and I never look at them because they are all over and not organized, A Smash book doesn’t organize per se, but it puts all those things in one place and assembles fairly quick because it’s almost a collage, just fun things in a book. How great to browse without looking all over or forgetting about things that bring back sweet memories and inspire creativity!

Here are some photos from the web of what a Smash Book can look like.  They are very personl and the possibilities are endlessly unique.

click images to see original blog.

I love the pockets on this; I'll have to have lots of pockets!

You know there will be plenty of coffee in mine too!

 I like this for the pockets and semi-flat trinkets.

Now, while I really do want a real smash book kit with the stick and flags and tapes and all, right now it’s still beyond my budget. But what I do have is all those tidbits I want to save and paper scrapbook supplies I don’t use anymore because I do my scrapping digital now. I had thought I was going to package it all up and sell or donate, but now I think it will at the very least be my “Archive Smash Book.” I’ll need to gather everything, which will work well with my desire to get things organized here and get things in books instead of all over and prone to spill out all over the floor! I’d like to be able to get an actual Smash Book for 2013, but for now, I’m going to gather all of my little things and use up the paper scrap leftovers. I’m kind of excited to have all my special things gathered in one place.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Fabulous Friday!


You’ll see my candy list in a few minutes, or less if you are a fast reader. I did a scrapbook page yesterday from our time in Canada on one of the days of our vacation last year. Yeah, somehow I’m falling behind again instead of catching up. Hey, maybe I can do a bucket list after all! If I put “finish my scrapbooks” on it, I would achieve immortality!

Anyway, I did the page from the day in Canada was the day we made a Shopper’s Drug Mart stop to load up on Canadian chocolate bars. David and I both love Canadian chocolate and a visit to the Sisterland, because the US and Canada are sisters, always includes a candy stop! Now we haven’t been to Canada in over a year and I’m craving a Coffee Crisp like mad! We really need to do something about that.

I’m not dissing American chocolate at all! Ghirardelli and Hershey are both American and they make some of my favorites too. But Canadian chocolate is different. It’s its own kind of awesome.

And now for a couple of the Friday Memes…

This week’s statements:
1. when I was little I was called ___
2. ___are my favorite candy
3. If I could have one magical power it would be______
4. If I could go back to school it would be to become a _________

My Answers:

1. When I was little I was called Princess by my Dad.

2. Mr. Goodbar, Pretzel M&Ms, Almond M&Ms, Baci, Coffee Crisp, Hershey’s Air and Mint Aero Bars are my favorite candy.  Plus some others, but they all have chocolate in common.

3. If I could have one magical power it would be the power to heal the sick. Yes, I’d start with myself, but after curing Multiple Sclerosis, I’d move on to Cancer and every other disease out there.

4. If I could go back to school it would be to become a Computer Programmer.

1. Do you prefer to drive to your vacation spot or fly?

I used to love flying, but when it got to the point where it took longer to fly from Detroit to Chicago than drive because of all the “arrive early” and invasive security that’s almost scarier than any threat I became a bit disenchanted.

When I was flying and I had to sit on the floor to remove my shoes to go through security because the limited seating was taken up by business flyers who had to have an extra seat for computer cases while they took off or put on shoes, I realized that airports had become such a hassle that travelers were losing manners or even the awareness of other human beings in the vicinity. It’s that loss of awareness that completely cancels any feeling of safety all the security measures might give.

Oh, and airplane, wheelchair, airplane bathroom… I can’t help but think it will be an uncomfortable trip if I ever fly across country or to Europe again. I may need some extra absorbent Depends!

I prefer to dri…have someone drive, because it puts us in control rather than at someone’s mercy. And I can usually even talk David into a pit stop now and then! ;)

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Toledo, Ohio with a winter home in Las Vegas. I really do like the city I’m in now, just not the winter. So I’d go play when it’s cold.

3. Should grown women wear leggings?

GROWN women should where whatever they feel comfortable wearing. I wear leggings in the summer and in winter under my jeans…which are also leggings. It’s what’s comfortable and easy for me. If you’re offended by how I look, I’m not trying to impress you; don’t look. If you can’t help but look, I’m sorry I’m so captivating; resist or get some help.  Not my problem.

4. If you could change your name to any other name, would you? And what would it be?

I changed my name when I got married; maiden name became my middle name and David’s last name became my last name. I didn’t hyphenate; I kept my identity and my married identity as two separate parts of who I am. I also wasn’t crazy about my middle name. Of course, my middle name was the name I was baptized as, so the Catholic Church has an APB out for me! hehe

As far as the first name, I have always really, really liked my name and wouldn’t consider changing it.

5. What magazines to you have subscriptions to?

I have subscriptions to Momentum and Neurology Now, both publications with MS research and information, and David and I share our subscription to the Mensa Bulletin.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

She’s Ba-ack!

End of the day in Fort Madison, IA

I brought my laptop and I was really thinking I’d blog a little last week, but traveling has a way of wearing me out by the end of the day after an early wake-up. David and I have been in Illinois and Missouri for most of the past week for our end of summer vacation. We were originally were going at the end of August, but the weather was looking less than favorable and he was asked if he could change some plans for work and… So we ended up going last week instead.

Biggest drawback of the schedule change is that we were traveling after Minor League Baseball season was over, so no baseball, not even one game. Also, we were in Cardinals territory on Saturday when the Reds clinched the Central Division. I’m going to wear my 2010 Division Champions shirt, but I am NOT buying the 2012 Division Champs shirt. Division Champions was the highest point of the 2010 season. I’m waiting to buy my World Champions shirt this year! Unless…

…unless, it’s not the Reds. There is only ONE way it won’t be the Reds; The Tigers are tied for first place in the American League Central Division! My dream World Series is still possible! If it’s the Reds and Tigers I can’t lose! I admit that I lean a little more towards the Reds because well, the designated hitter makes that much difference to me. I’m a National League fan. But the Tigers are my AL team and the team that brought me the love of baseball when I was just 2 years old dancing in Mom’s arms when they won the 1968 World Series. So really, in that dream World Series the only thing that would burn is if either team sweeps. I’d love the decision to be whoever wins the 1-0 Game 7. Then I buy the World Champion Shirt and the other League Champion shirt and wear them both proudly! But I want those shirts; it’s bad luck to buy a shirt for any step on the way. I buy my shirts for when I’m ready for it to stop; and I’m NOT ready for it to stop yet!

What I didn’t get in Minor League ball on our trip, I did get in the beginning of fall colors and the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle!

World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Water Tower
Brooks Catsup, Collingwood, Illinois

I love kitschy art and water towers and larger than life everyday objects. What’s not to totally Nani-love about that water tower? Driving back to our hotel after dinner, we got to see it all lit up too! Totally cool!

I’ll probably show some more photos from our trip in the next few days, but for now, I’ll click back into normal cyber-life and join Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for the Wednesday Hodge Podge!

1. The Wednesday Hodgepodge this week falls on John Chapman's birth date. He's more famously known as Johnny Appleseed...what's your favorite variety of apple?


Galas are my most common apple at home, but they are #2.

When ambrosias are available, that’s my apple! They’re number one.

2. When did you last say 'ick'?

ick, icky; words I use often to describe things I don’t like, so without thinking too hard I can pretty much guarantee I used it today, probably more than once.

3. Do you think there's a generation gap? Explain.

I live in a generation gap! I’m too young to be cool for the music I like because I’m the age of a parent of the age group those songs are geared for. That’s true for any current trend for those of us in the age group that parented the current trend-ruling class. I’ll start to be cool for liking current music in about 10 years. Then I’ll be a “cool old lady who ‘gets’ us” to the targeted age group.

The “generation gap” is created by teens and early 20-somethings who have reached the age of wanting to establish themselves and their own culture as they enter into the adult world. Culturally, we the “uncools” should step back, be there if we’re needed, but let the new adults define their cultural generation. In a few years we’ll either come back into coolness for enjoying current trends or be respected as the sweet old people listening to 80s music on the “oldies station.”

4. What's on your computer screen saver? Do you leave it alone or change it often?

The screen savers on my laptop and on my phone are both animated bubbles. I’ve always loved bubbles! The screensavers on both devices were set the first day I had them and haven’t changed.

5. If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes, what would you say?

Just 2 minutes?

Adopt a rescue.

People who try to control other people’s lives do because they can’t control their own.

Respect and tolerance are the keys to peace; if you can’t handle it stay home and off the internet so the rest of us can enjoy a better world.

It doesn’t matter what you call him or how; God doesn’t think you’re completely right.

The sincere way to be charitable is to give and don’t tell anyone.

Oh and that respect? That includes respecting the experience and proficiency of REAL NFL referees and doing what needs to be done to get them back on the field.

6. Four fashion trends to try this fall are-brocade/jacquard (fancy printed fabrics), peplum, lace, and printed pants...which of these four would you be most likely to wear?

I’m 46 years old; too old to let a magazine tell me what to wear or a designer tell me what to spend. I still looked up photos of each of the four for fall 2012. If I was a clothes trend follower, I think I’d just hibernate this year and hope for better in the spring! Not crazy about the types of prints for pants or the designs using lace. I’ve never cared for jacquards/brocades and I’ve never had hips small enough to carry off peplums. I think I’ll just stick with jeans and big t-shirts or sweatshirts for everyday and dress pants with a silk tank and jacket for business/dressy.

7. What can make your bad day better?

Ice cream or an ice cream based product.  My last bad day turned around with a pumpkin shake at McDonalds

8. Insert your own random thought here.

As for pumpkin – the beginning of our trip was pumpkin-awful! On getaway day, Monday, we stopped for dinner. Not only were they out of the carrots I wanted with dinner, but NO pumpkin bread at Bob Evans! I love Bob’s pumpkin bread and it’s pumpkin season! When David went out to get drinks after we checked in to the hotel, he came back with iced tea fir me because he asked; no Pumpkin Spice cheataccino until next week. On Tuesday we ate at Olive Garden and I had tiramisu for dessert because they were out of the pumpkin cheesecake I ordered! Thursday breakfast at IHOP; Ah! Pumpkin pancakes! I ordered the pancake breakfast with sausage and bacon. Feeling deserted by my beloved pumpkin, David asked if they had pumpkin pancakes for me. Our waitress said “yes” and I smiled and said “I’ll have those!” I asked for the whipped cream on the side. I should have worried when she said they didn’t come with whipped cream. Breakfast got there with regular pancakes. I finally got my pumpkin something on SUNDAY. The McDonald’s pumpkin shakes are wonderful! But a week on the road without pumpkin anything is just wrong; wrong, wrong, wrong!

Pumpkin Breakfast Fest!

This morning I had a pumpkin breakfast at home; Pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin yogurt and a pumpkin donut. Ahhhh.. My autumn world is in balance again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me - Find The Lie

1. Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?

I wouldn’t say any book has changed my life, but I go reread parts of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People if I feel a need to refocus some part of my character/mindset.

2. What was your favorite game to play as a child?

Probably Monopoly, because it was the game we played most often as a family game. Dave and I seldom won, but it was fun to play a grownup game with Mom and Dad.

3. What person in history would you most like to meet?

Thomas Jefferson to talk about religion and the constitution. Jefferson donated to all of his local churches, but attended the Unitarian Church, which if you can afford it, follows Unitarian beliefs. I’d love to ask him what he thinks of the religious pressure we have in government now. He was of the opinion that eventually all people would grow and that “everyone will die a Unitarian.” We’re a far cry from that now. Still, I’d like his thoughts on what a modern Unitarian can do to help our government return to its religious roots.

4. Tell us two truths and a lie about yourself...

DO I tell which is which or let you guess?

Hmmm… Okay:

1.  I’ve been the Prima Donna Ballerina

2. There was never anyone dressed even close to like me in school.

3. Although roller-skating was hugely popular when I was in middle and high school, I’ve never roller-skated.

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

5. So, which one of my answers to #4 was the lie?

Friday, September 14, 2012


Credits: My Blue Heaven by Digitalegacies Designs

I have a pretty full plate today and David is working an odd day that means he’ll be home for a chunk of the afternoon! Right now it’s gray and gloomy and rainy, but should that improve and we get a glint of sun, I want to have the current load of laundry done so I can take it if there’s an opportunity to get out in the fresh air!

I’m doing the Friday 5 Question meme, hosted by Mama M at My Little Life today. One question and my answers have a brideish theme!  If I have an opportunity to blog more later, I’ll be back!

1. How long did it take for you to find your wedding dress? (Wedding dress pics anyone?)

David and I were the Wedding Industrial Complex’s worst nightmare. We eloped in December and had a wedding reception weekend in July that cost less than some women pay for the dress. That being said, what I wore was important!

On the day we got married, I asked David what he was wearing to the courthouse and chose a very nice blouse and dress pants to coordinate with him. Ice and snow and there was no way I was wearing a skirt and any type of heel. I started out that morning falling in the kitchen right on top of a 12-pack of Diet Rite cherry soda squashing one can and getting cherry soda all over the floor and my nightgown, there was no way I was going to mess with the chance of falling again!

Here is the only picture of the two of us on the actual day, taken by the judge right after he married us”

December 23, 2008

For our reception weekend it didn’t take long to find the “dress.” David was wearing his tuxedo t-shirt to the baseball game with his “Groom” baseball cap. I stumbled on a wedding dress nightshirt online and thought it was the perfect complement to David’s shirt. Fortunately, it’s perfectly okay for a woman to wear a shirt that goes half way down the thighs with carpi-length stretch pants in public!

Not everything about what we wore getting married was determined by what David was wearing. The most important clothing decision for me, my equivalent of “the dress,” was The Hat. I wanted a very bride, very feminine hat for the reception weekend. I wanted everyone at the ballpark and every engineer that saw us when we had our train day on Sunday to know that I wasn’t just any other fan that weekend. So maybe I did have a little bit of bride vanity after all. I spent a few weeks looking at baseball hats with veils and different designs. I picked out David’s “Groom” hat, but yeah, typical to the rules of the Wedding Industrial Complex, my hat outshone his. And at $40, out-cost his by double. The final two choices included one with a longer veil and one with lacy braiding and rhinestones. The bling won out! And the veil went a good distance down my back anyway. I LOVE that hat!

See? Plenty of veil!

I know Tori is into the WIC, but I told Rina if she ever does elope and have a hockey-reception, more her style, she could definitely have my hat for the reception.  I'd be honored!

2. Someone in your general vicinity releases a NASTY smelling fart. Do you say anything or blow it off?

I got the giggle fits when I read this one; not because I’m a fan of fart-jokes, but the image it planted in my mind reading it right after the wedding dress question. If you were at a wedding and a bride in a $5,000 dress let a stinky one, how would you react? Remember, a bride is “always beautiful” on her wedding day. Do you ignore it or tell her how her farts even smell like roses today? hehehehehe

Okay serious answer, reacting is rude and it further embarrasses the perpetrator. If it's that bad, step away, but I don’t say anything; even if it’s not the bride.

3. What is the scariest thing that happened to you or scared you recently?

Alas, every time I walk down the stairs it’s scary. :(

4. Favorite brand and flavor of ice cream.

Brand: Baskin Robbins! In the summer it’s a waffle cone with America’s Birthday Cake and Baseball Nut, when those are not in season, it’s Chocolate Fudge and Cherries Jubilee.

I’ll always get a pretzel cone if it’s available with something black foresty when we go to an ice cream parlor that isn’t BR.

At home I like Haagen Dasz Coffee, Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, Skinny Cow Caramel Cone Crunch or Weight Watcher Giant Latte Bars; LOVE the Giant Latte Bars!

Okay, ice cream is more important to me than a wedding dress was too. Hmmm…

5. Are you able to sleep well in hotels?

Depends on the mattress. If I could stay at a Sheraton every time I stay in a hotel, I’d say I slept better in hotels than I do at home. Unfortunately we stay in hotels too often to afford a Sheraton every time. Besides we are often in small towns that don’t have a Sheraton anywhere close. I can’t sleep on a hard mattress or with a pillow that's too stuffed. I’ve tossed the pillow and used a stack of bathroom towels instead a few times. I've also slept in the chair once or twice.

By the way, we slept at home the night we got married and both nights of the reception weekend, so there was no mattress issue. By the time we went on the honeymoon we'd been married almost 9 months, but I think it's still in poor taste to talk about mattresses on a honeymoon!  ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A BIG Birthday


early 1995
Tori, Nana, Rina

The sweetest nieces in the world 
are legal adults today!

August 2012
Nana, Rina, Tori

(yes I’m VERY biased, so?)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Hodge Podge

1. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? The NFL is back in action along with all the college teams. Are you a fan? Who do you root for? If you're not a fan what do you do while the rest of America watches Saturday, Sunday, Monday night, and now Thursday night games?

I don’t watch much college football. I’ve never been anything more than casually interested in watching college sports. The super college sports fans that never went to any college turned me off at a young age. I do enjoy the NFL and will watch games early in the season if there isn’t baseball on, but baseball will always win with me if there’s a choice unless one of my football teams is playing and my baseball teams are not. That’s not so common, but it has happened. I never really followed football because, well, I was born a Lions fan and as an optimist those two usually conflicted. When I got married “Forsaking all other teams and taking The Patriots” was in the vows. (don’t you dare even think about changing my baseball teams was in the prenup) So I follow a little closer now because David supplies the necessary information. I still want to see the Lions win, but I cheer f0r the Pars.

2. What's something I'll always find in your closet?

My other pair of shoes.

3. Share one of your earliest memories.

I have a few brief episodic memories from before I was 5 years old and 4 snippets. The snippets include my Noni slapping my hands for dipping my sucker in the sand, I’m told she’d taken a few suckers away already and the slap was more of a tap, and my very pregnant mother bending over and saying something to me, but I don’t remember anything that was said. My only brother is 14 months younger than me; it’s possible I didn’t understand some of what was said.

One of the other snippets may be from the same day, but I have a flavor and texture memory of a round lime lollipop with a gritty texture rubbing on parts of my mouth that didn’t have teeth yet. It's a weird memory, even for someone who has crazy ancient episodical memories, because there is no visual, except that I visualize the inside of my mouth when I think of it but I know that is not an actual part of the memory; it’s just sort of the index card in my brain for the flavor and texture memory.

4. What circus act best describes your week so far?

Um…I was at the circus once in my life when I was a kid. I remember three rings, a guy in a top hat and a lady in a short sparky skirt…and cotton candy. (But I don’t remember if I ate it or watched someone else eat it.) Never watched a circus on TV, so all my circus knowledge comes from Dumbo. Which the way Dumbo and his Mom were treated is possibly why I never asked to go to the circus as a kid. Hmmm…

Some days getting up and down the stairs to do laundry seems as magical as making an elephant fly, so I’ll say Flying Elephant in the laundry room. :D

5. What's a food you disliked as a child but you love now?

I liked fried calamari as a kid and hate it now; part because it’s fried and part because it’s squid. And I hated lima beans as a kid and still hate them now. Loved green beans as a kid, still love them now. Hmmm… disliked as a kid, like now. I can’t think of any. It’s not that I have a boring palate no, quire the contrary, There are a lot of new things I like now that I never tried as a kid, middle Eastern food for instance, I might not have liked hummus, but I don’t know. But I did eat calamari as a very young child. I also tried veal and prosciutto, neither of which I liked and neither of which I care for now. I do use prosciutto in soup, but that’s not new and its no-t new that I like it in soup. I’ve disliked steak since I was a kid, always liked ham. If I come up with one that’s changed, I’ll add it as a random thought next week!

6. Describe your summer in three words.

Too darned COLD!

(Remember that I’m pretty much a shut-in during the week right now. The air conditioned temperature is killing me!)

7. Where were you on September 11, 2001? Will you do anything special to mark the day this year?

I was a job seeker in 2001. I signed on to my email account and started checking for the days postings when I saw the news photo on my sign-in screen on AOL. At first, I thought it was about the bombing a few years earlier, slow news day. Yeah, anything but a slow news day. I spent the rest of the day glued to the TV. I remember being scared when the Pentagon was hit because I wasn’t sure how many places were targets or by whom. I was horrified as the towers fell on live TV. John called me as soon as he left work. His first question was “Are you home alone?” when I said I was he said "I’ll be right there." He knew me well enough to know I’d be going nuts.

I hope it’s not too selfish of me, but I read articles of remembrance and looked at memorial graphics on facebook, but I was thinking about John and missing my friend. He was my strongest comfort that day when our world was falling apart.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’ve been worried kitty-mommy all week. I said Monday that there was no way we were getting that medicine into Kaline and her eye was getting better. And it is better too, but now the other eye is draining and inflamed. She seems more annoyed that I want to look at it than any problems with it. Her appetite is fine, she runs and plays with Carla fine and Carla is showing no signs of catching anything or acting like she thinks Kaline is sick, so I am sure that it’s allergies. Her left eye still looks good and her right eye is looking better now. I think we need to make sure we aren’t irritating them trying to clean the drainage, no matter how awful it looks to us. When she was on the ointment last year, we didn’t touch the dirt that collected because I thought cleaning the corners of her eyes was what infected it. Leaving them alone this year has really seemed to help the problem pass quicker.

She seemed to start having problems when it got a little cooler and we had open windows. The problem doesn’t happen in the spring or summer if the windows are open, just in the fall. She became a housecat at 5 weeks old and the vet had said she was weaned too early. I bet tha6 has everything to do with developing allergies to something that comes in the windows in early fall. If her eyes drain and get irritated but not infected and she doesn’t get sick without medication, as long as she isn’t showing any indication that it hurts or even bothers her, I can deal with a couple weeks a year. Even knowing she’s not in pain or discomfort, I still hurt inside for her when I see the dark streaks in the corners of her pretty eyes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Down On The Farm

This morning I had the same breakfast as yesterday; pumpkin donut and a cup of Verona, only today I had a white nectarine instead of a peach. I’m trying to decide if I want to just go with that breakfast for four more days or freeze three or maybe even all of them so I have some variety…and some healthier breakfasts!

I did a challenge layout at Ginger Scraps that I’m very pleased with: Autumn Splendor

Credits: Falling Days by Keep In Touch Designs, 
based on Sweet Summertime template 1 by Connie Prince

I think I felt a need to do that layout because of the color we likely won’t get this year. In the “be careful what you wish for” world, I guess I really do want weather I’ll truly hate for a little while this winter. Very cold and snowy is good for spring flowers and the trees all summer. The drought conditions this summer further messed with the fall colors and on top of trees that didn’t get their winter rest last winter. I don’t expect the fall foliage to look as good his year.

Area farms are really suffering, though not as bad as other places that were hit harder by the drought. The corn is just not as tall as it should be and the ears not as big as they should be and the stalks started to turn brown too soon. Recent rain we’ve had has helped save the soybeans. In fact, the soybeans are looking fall-good!

Soybean field and a CSX train near Carey, Ohio, 8/31/12

As promised last week, I have a set of barns that I shot on the way home from the Norfolk Southern Heritage Unit Festival in Spencer, NC on the Fourth of July. On the way home we stopped to see the barns at Bob Evans Farms!

Here’s the main visitor’s area barn:

I love the barns with quilt squares on them and this one is so bright and defined. Of course, this is a visitor’s center barn and not a farm-working barn.

I’d seen the photographs and the picture on the menus at Bob Evans restaurants. I know through the wonders of retouching and adding graphics there are two barns that may or may not be painted with logos. I was sure the Ohio Bicentennial Barn for Gallia County was there and I hadn’t read anything that it was painted over

Gallia County Ohio Bicentennial Barn

If anything the Bicentennial logo has been kept up. I like that! I am fascinated by the project of putting the logos on a barn in each county to celebrate the state’s bicentennial. I thought it was a cool idea in 2003 when Ohio celebrated 200 years as a state. I became a little geekier about them when I became a resident of Ohio in 2007. Almost a decade later I know I won’t see and photograph the barns that were painted in all 88 counties because I know a few of them have already been painted over, but I want to see and photograph as many of them as I can, letting the photos date the painting with the natural weathering where there is weathering and the commitment to preserving the logo on some. The one at Bob Evans Farm is well-maintained!

I also know from some older photos that the Bob Evans logo on the barn in front of the Bicentennial Barn was photoshopped in on the menus. There are lots of photos of the Bicentennial Barn with a blank barn in front of it. It was my opinion that they really should put the Bob Evans logo on that barn because it was appropriate for the first barn you see at Bob Evans Farms and it would just look good. Guess what that first barn when we drove in looks like?

You can see the Bicentennial Barn behind it. From the right spot, here are the barns together:

Bob Evans, “down on the farm” for great food, great barns…and we have to work on the coffee.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Want The Chocolate One

Good morning members of my blog family. Even if you’re visiting for the first time, welcome to the Chronicles of Nani family. As this is my coffee shop on the Information Super Highway, I need to take a break and get a cup of coffee!

While I’m doing that, I’ll share a scrapbook page I did with some shots I just love of Kaline:

Credits: Chill by Sugar Kissed Designs

Okay I’m back. Aren’t those pictures of Kaline nice? I’m pretty proud of the photography!

Part of this is me feeling a little guilty. I want to thank everyone on Carla’s behalf for the nice comments and birthday wishes. Where I feel a little guilty is I didn’t post anything on August 12, Kaline’s birthday! I did do a Facebook Status for her, but not a blog. Shame on me! She turned 7. She did mention her birthday on Behind Orange Eyes in The Cat Days of Summer where she used one of the photos from that layout. She thought it made her look cute; she is a Leo after all!

So I made a cup of Verona in the Keurig maker. I can see the bottom of the container the Verona is in already! After it’s empty, I’m going to put a new box of Vienna Coffee House, which is my everyday coffee. I have 3 boxes of Verona left, but Starbucks is pricier than most of the K-Cups, so I don’t want to use it all up and I’m not in a financial position to upgrade my everyday java. Besides, I prefer to keep my indulgences as a treat.

To go with the yummy cup of Verona, breakfast is definitely not my normal fruit, yogurt and whole grain cereal. I've been craving a donut like crazy for a couple of weeks. It got worse when I was chatting with Kelly a couple nights ago and we were talking about her impending visit next month. We agreed that we must go to the cider mill in Michigan for cider and donuts. Yes, there are places locally that we can get cider and donuts, but cider and donuts in Michigan taste better. It tastes like home. We’ll go visit Scotty for one of the days she’s here, and the three of us on a picnic table with cider and donuts will definitely happen! And for a little while, we’ll all be in our early 20s, single and not a realistic care in the world.

But that’s next month. For today, I found a box of pumpkin donuts at Kroger when we did our cupboard restocking trip last night. Now, in keeping good tack of my points in my diet, breakfast today is actually a little less than normal for a donut and a peach with coffee. It’s just maybe slightly less good for me than the whole grains and yogurt. But it tastes SO GOOD!

Okay, now on to the weekly Monday Quiz About Me fun, hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced!

1. What is your favorite memory you made while on walk?

I always walked to clear my mind so a memory on a walk would be counter-productive, no? :)

Actually, I went on walks with Tori and Rina a lot. They weren’t as impressed with my favorite trails at Maybury State Park as I was. I liked the dirt paths and the more challenging hills. They hated having to wear bug spray and they hated the bus. But they did like the wildflowers. The best memories are that while they weren’t crazy about the bugs, we did that walking to get to the picnic areas in the back of the park where we discovered a playground they hadn’t been to before! So I guess it’s not so much a single memory, but a bunch of fun memories of picnics with my nieces when they were little.

2. Do you prefer to live in the city, suburbs or country? Why?

Well, I live in the city now, but not downtown, just within the city limits. I have to say that out of all the places I’ve lived I remember loving being a kid in Southgate Michigan because of the plethora of affordable kids programs in the 70s. But I love living in Toledo, Ohio!; it’s a small city, but it has the cultural and sports of a larger city, albeit on a bit smaller scale. The public transportation is good and if you’re driving the traffic is much less congested than a larger it or its suburbs. When David and I started dating that was the most refreshing thing; leaving the always crazy and congested traffic of Novi for the much more pleasant driving in Toledo. We’re close to downtown for things we need to do in the city, live in a pleasant neighborhood and we’re not a far drive from parks and farmland. It’s really the best of all worlds.

3. Post the cutest kid/pet/whatever picture you have taken lately?

Technically I didn’t take it, I’m in it. David took it, so it’s joint effort, right? He did need me there to take it.

I was chilly and kicked back on the couch with my blanket and fell asleep. Kaline is 7 years old and 13 pounds, but she has always loved crawling up and relaxing on my chest. She’s just not the pound-and-a-half kitten she was when she discovered she liked that resting spot. The thing is because she’s always done it, I don’t wake up just because she crawls onto me. I wake up when I hear my husband taking pictures!

4. What is your favorite recipe made with apples?

Tori and Rina will tell you I make the best apple chips there are. My apple chips recipe is simple; sliced cored apples really thin (salad shooter is great for that) spread the apple slices onto racks for the dehydrator. Start the dehydrator and check on them tomorrow. The new dehydrator I got last year will do a full load, about a quart of chips, in a day and a half. It is the greatest, most nutritious snack chip little kids have ever fallen so in love with they want it still sent to them in college.

Now, while I like the apple chips, my favorite thing I do with apples is still Shortbread Apple Crisp; wonderful with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream!

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

5. What was a favorite food of yours as a kid that you still love as an adult?

The easy answer would be chocolate. See the story here about my chocolate bunny when I was 3. (It’s the answer to question 4 in the Friday 5 Questions.)  I don’t lock myself in a closet and eat a pound of chocolate anymore, but my favorite of almost anything is still “the chocolate one.”

On a healthier note, I’ve always loved salad! That was my favorite part of dinner when we ate at Noni’s because her dressing was so awesome, but then and still now, put it on a bed of lettuce and I’ll probably like it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

And Soon The Week Is Done

I’ll probably blog some more this afternoon when I take my baking break. This is going to be a big baking day for me. I’m making half-dozen packages of Mr. Goodcookies for the bake sale at Paws and Whiskers on Sunday. I’m making 10 dozen Mr. Goodcookies to package in half-dozen bags. It’s definitely a labor of love!

This week’s statements:
1. I wish I had ___ to ___
2. I stopped wearing ____
3. My favorite song right now is_________because________.
4. I always sing while________.

My Answers:

1. I wish I had money to hire a crew to come in and clean/remodel our house.

2. I stopped wearing skirts. Anyplace I’d go where a skirt or dress would be appropriate I’d use the wheelchair. Skirt in a wheelchair is not a good look!

3. My favorite song right now is Dear God by XTC because it’s a very passionate song. (PLEASE see more about this song in Fragments!)

4. I always sing while I’m baking!

1. What is your favorite fall family tradition?

Apple picking! We’ve, and by “we” I mean me and any members of my family that want to go, gone apple picking since Tori and Rina were a year old. They’ll be 18 next Thursday. Another great tradition that’s part of that is that I make apple chips in the dehydrator. This year I’ll be shipping apple chips to two different places for my college-girls!

2. If money weren't an issue, how many kids would you have?

Still none; money had nothing to do with my choice not to have kids.

3. If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and where would you put it?

I’d never get a tattoo for real, but I wore a temporary summer tattoo in my teens and 20s; a rose on my ankle. Trite, huh? I’m glad I didn’t get it permanently put on.

4. What condiment is a must in your house?

David likes his mayo on ham sandwiches (mayo-ick). I am a mustard girl. Honey mustard is the number one for pretty much any kind of meat but I like others for sandwiches, cooking and pretzels. I have 4 bottles of mustard that do all get used; honey, spicy brown, Dijon and classic yellow.

5. How did your spouse/fiance propose?

He didn’t. I didn’t either. We were already living together and he was working nights the week before Christmas, so we “went to city hall.” Yes, David worked on our “wedding night.” I scrapped.

**  David and I visited Hollywood Casino for the first time since it opened in April on Labor Day. We both did the smart thing when going to a casino decide how much you’ll lose and when you’ve lost that, you’re done. I did that the first time, well only time, I went to Vegas and considered myself a winner because I only lost about a third of what I planned to lose!

The truth is there’s only been one time that I went to a casino and left with more money than I came in with. John used to go the Motor City Casino in Detroit often enough that he got the occasional big coupon to Iridescence, the very hoity-toity restaurant there. That’s when he called little sis and asked me out to hoity toity dinner and some gambling. It was a chance to spend an evening with one of my closest friends, have a very nice diner with edible art dessert and donate my $20 to the casino while having a little fun with the draw poker machines. This was while John was playing the table games.

Well, that one night, after John has spent his donation to the casino for the evening, he found me having a jolly time at a machine not noticing what the total of credits was because I knew I was winning enough that it hadn’t asked for more coins. That was back when the machines still used coins; much more fun than putting paper money in and getting a paper slip if you win. John had looked at the credit total I was ignoring with huge eyes. “You know that credit total is eighty dollars’ worth of quarters, right?” I lost the next few hands after realizing how much was there, so I hit the cash button and listened to almost eighty dollars in quarters, with bells, spill out of the machine. That’s why I like the old-school coin machines better than the new-fangled paper ones. Like when I cashed out of machines in Vegas, you just feel like more of a winner when the coin cup gets too heavy to carry!

On Monday, because I didn’t really want to go because I didn’t have money I wanted to donate to the casino, David gave me a gambling stipend. We found a draw poker machine I liked and he put the bill in for me and left to find the poker room. I brought my Nook and our agreement was that when he was ready to go, I’d either be in this area playing poker or I’d be having a latte and reading. The machines are really set up so that you win often enough and big enough or almost big enough, to make you feel like you really did well, almost won, but after a decent while, they still get the money. I like that! Just next time I need to pick one of the machines for people who are there with people who play well and last longer! David found me reading the end of the current book and having just finished my latte. He wasn’t a winner that night either, but I think we might go again sometime.

**  We gathered up the cats for that annual trip that if you listened to them you’d swear we were going to the violin string factory. The greatest thing about choosing a vet that is less than a mile away is the ride with the cat chorus is short. We called it playing “Meowco Purro” as Carla would sound the desperate cry from her carrier and Kaline would respond with equal pathos from hers. Carla is 12 pounds and the paperweight that sleeps on my hip is 13! They said it’s average for girls and they look and sound great otherwise. It’s just amazing to me because in all her 17 years, the heaviest Azzie ever was, and that was only one time she weighted in that heavy, was 8 pounds. She was usually 7-1/2. I asked to be reassured that 12 and 13 pounds was normal and was told it’s normal. They eat light cat food, their preference, we tried to go back to regular; they were not impressed, run and play like crazy and don’t have a ton of treats, they’re not crazy about people food either. If they were overweight, I don’t know what we’d do.

Kaline’s seasonal eye problem is allergies. We were given the choice between eye ointment like last year, pills or children’s Benadryl. We’d had better experiences with liquids in the past, so we went with the children’s Benadryl. Yeah, that was a good idea! We got a drop of the first dose on her tongue and she was foaming at the mouth trying to get it out. Her eye is getting better and we’ll try the medicine again if it doesn’t keep improving, but adding that much stress isn’t going to help her.

**  The book I almost finished at the casino and did finish Tuesday morning was Blood and Bones by Austin Camacho. It’s the second Hannibal Jones book and I have all of the Hannibal Jones books; three read, two more to go. I love Hannibal! He is strong, smart and one of those champions for people. If you enjoy mysteries with a lot of action, some violence and great, but realistic, moral victories, definitely try out Austin Camacho’s Hannibal Jones mysteries!

**  About Dear God, by XTC: Don’t get this wrong! Dear God is an old song that I’ve recently become aware of and it is NOT a religious song, in that atheism is the lack of religion. The song has made me think a lot. Churches try to “save” atheists, but after listening to the lyrics, I wonder if those trying to save them have ever asked WHY they don’t believe. While people are starving, living in the streets, children and animals are abused, families are falling apart, many churches are fighting for superiority amongst themselves and government control. I really think I can understand why they don’t see God. We don’t always do a good job of showing Him. Maybe churches aren’t here to “save” the atheists; maybe the atheists are here to save the churches. Just a little food for thought.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hodge Podge

1. In your opinion what's the most important job in the world? Oh, and parenting is a given so besides parenting, what's the most important job in the world?

The warped society we are, you’d think the most important jobs are athletes and celebrities followed closely by politicians and corporate CEOs. In my opinion, they are all the most overrated jobs there are. Well, at least with a corporate CEO they’ve worked their way to the top, usually, but even with that to get to the very top, it is either willingly or unwillingly on the backs of lots of other people who don’t get rewarded for carrying you.

I think the most important jobs are doctors and teachers. My opinion, everyone has a right to a healthy mind and body and the people who dedicate themselves to those two things are the ones who make this a better world one student and one patient at a time.

2. Share a favorite or not so favorite memory from a childhood birthday.

My absolute favorite childhood birthday memory is bittersweet, but when you say childhood birthday it’s the memory that jumps out in my mind and warms me, usually with a tear or two.

When I turned 6, my grandfather was at home after they had done everything they could at the hospital for his cancer. He was fed through a tube directly into his stomach and Noni prepared his meals in the blender. We had my 6th birthday party at their house so we could see Nono. I adored my grandfather and as the first grandchild, it was pretty much a mutual adoration. When it was time for cake, I asked Noni if she could put a piece of my cake in the blender so Nono could have some too. Everyone was saying “no,” but a voice, suddenly stronger than it had been, came from the bedroom, “YES!” Nono wanted cake. Noni put a small piece of cake in the blender for him

I vividly remember asking and hearing him say “yes” louder than everyone who was saying “no.” The other part I remember vividly is after cake I went to his room again and he hugged me and in his broken English said “Best birthday cake I ever eat.”

…And I‘ll answer the next question after I regain my composure; it always happens when I tell that story.

3. Peanut butter-crunchy or smooth?


I’ve traditionally always loved crunchy for PB&J sandwiches or just eating by the tablespoonful right out of the jar. That explains the need to fins lower fat alternatives and the plus size clothing catalogues now! I use creamy peanut butter to make Krisp Kringles at Christmas and now that’s the only time there is regular peanut butter in our house; 1 jar a year.

PB2 is real peanuts with most of the fat taken out. Just add water and it has real peanut butter taste and texture. I often have my toast without jelly when we eat out and I’ll take home a single-serve grape jelly because it matches perfectly with PB2 when I need a little childhood comfort food.

4. William Butler Yeats is credited as saying, "Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing." Your thoughts?

I don’t think that describes happiness. It describes satisfaction which can be one of the things which creates happiness, but it’s not the end all and be all of happiness. Happiness is a choice; a state of being that comes from everything and anything you decide will make you happy.

5. What's something that makes you cringe?

The phrases “It is what it is” and “bucket list.” The former is an excuse to be lazy and the latter putting an expiration date on yourself. They are both incredibly pessimistic and I cringe when I hear them. To me they both sound like a cry for emotional help.

6. Name a song that always puts you in a good mood?

One Step At A Time by Jordin Sparks

7. The answer is yes. What's the question?

“Would Nani like some chocolate?”

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I had a winning August. In the peel sticker Olympics thing at McDonalds, I got 2 free snack wraps and a free small smoothie. The snack wraps are things I actually eat there from time to time and the smoothie was something new. I had a pineapple-mango smoothie. I loved it! Wonderful flavor and a good points value for an occasional snack, but at the price tells me I’ll wait to win another one or find a large sum of money on our doorstep to have it again. It was still very good!

As part of my winning August, I also won a book! I read Pam’s review of The Divorce Girl, by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg at Empty Nest. It sounded like a good book and she was offering a free copy to a random commenter, so I left a comment to be entered into the drawing. I got an email telling me I’d won! The book came in just after I’d started Blood and Bones by Austin Camacho. I love the hero; Hannibal Jonas and I’ve collected all the books in the series to read. I finished Blood and Bones a couple days ago and decided to read The Divorce Girl next.

I’m only 21 pages in, but I like it so far. My greatest challenge with the book is that it’s a paperback; I’ve been using an e-reader for the last 2 years with the wonderful benefit of no dyslexia! I had forgotten how much slower I read when the background is bright enough to draw my eyes into the problems I have. I’ve taken a couple semesters off from school too, so for the last year, reading on paper has been newspaper and magazine articles, much easier than a book. But this book is definitely interesting enough to keep me making that effort!

I wanted to make a point of publicly saying “thank you” to Pam and every blogger who has freebies and random draws for gifts on their blog. It adds a little tangible fun to our community! I’ll give my thoughts on the book when I finish it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday Night Quiz About Me

Today was the first day of classes for Acme Feline Obedience School. Carla starts this year, but she hasn’t sign on at all today. Kaline took her classes online and so is Carla, but I never knew that Kaline skipped the first day of school! I read it in their blog, Behind Orange Eyes. Carla talked about Baggle having warned them to not go to school on the first day. I guess it’s just not something humans understand.

I’m trying to get back into a normal week; David is working late, it’s the day after Labor Day, I’m not even sure what day it is!

Okay, it’s Tuesday. I have a pretty cool barn photo that I think I’ll post next Tuesday for Barn Charm Tuesday at Bluff Area Daily. It’s a very cool barn set from our Fourth of July trip. If you like barns, come back next Tuesday!

Now with my schedule the last few weeks, I’ve skipped a few things I usually do. Since the Linky is still up at Acting Balanced, I’m going to answer Heather’s Monday Quiz About Me questions, except it’s a Tuesday Night Quiz About Me.

1. What was the toughest job you ever had?

Well, I could say Digitalegacies, my video business, because it didn’t even last 2 years and I had to close it. I did a LOT of work and really believed in my concept for it, but I was really bitten by the Detroit-area economy; laid off workers change their minds about using disposable income when none of it’s disposable anymore. Closing my business was tougher than any job I've ever had working for someone else.

2. What one characteristic makes a good boss?

TQM – I am SUCH a believer in Total Quality Management; getting employees involved in suggestions and understanding changes that are made really gives them ownership and pride in their work and the quality as a whole benefits. I learned this from my boss at Omnicom. She was awesome and we all had an opportunity to input into the department. Her staff meetings were always empowering.

3. How did you celebrate 'the end of summer'?

Okay, with limited mobility I spend a lot of time in the house. While we had a HOT summer, I spent more days bundled up because I was cold than I did sweating. I enjoyed the really hot days when I was outside; even if the heat was mean to my legs, it was pleasurable to the rest of me. So my tentative “last hurrah” was going our for a day trip with David, but as long as the possibility for hot days still exists, summer’s not over! If I get the opportunity to go out on another 80s or 90s day, I’ll do it. I worry that after the really hot summer, we’ll have a really cold winter and we don’t heat as much as we cool the house. I can bundle up, but I sure like it better when I don’t have to!

4. Do you follow the fashion rules about Labor Day being the end of wearing white etc?

Yeah, kinda, I have white shoes and black shoes, but my white shoes have always been more comfortable. But I don’t like shoes anyway. I did wear white shoes in December when we got married. We both wore dark blue, but I wore white shoes; I was a bride, I deserved to wear white, but I deserved more to be comfortable on the day I got married! :)

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

5. What is your favorite thing about fall?

For me, and everyone who reads this blog knows, it’s PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON! But really, I love all the harvest flavors of fall. Eat ‘N Park has their farmer’s market soup again this year, oh so good!!