Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

The Chronicles of Nani On Video

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

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

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

Contact Nani at

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Last Wednesday Hodge Podge of February

1. When were you last facing an ocean? Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean.


2. What are three sounds you hate to hear?

Growling or hissing from cats, tornado sirens, howling wind when it’s snowing

3. This question comes to you courtesy of some real life friends. Hi real life friends! When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don't like or what doesn't fit?

It’s a mobility thing, but I don’t waste my energy on clothes shopping. I buy online and return it if it doesn’t fit, but aside from fit, I know myself well enough to know what will look good on me. I’m also closer to 50 than 25, so clothes just aren’t so important to me now.

4. February 26th is National Pistachio Day...are you a fan of the little green nut? Do you use them in cooking and baking or prefer to eat them right out of the shell?

I like pistachios out of the roasted shell just fine, but my favorite way to have them is in ice cream or a cannoli. I prefer pecans or almonds as just plain out-of-the-shell or really ANY way nuts.

5. When did you last have to compromise with someone? Were you happy to reach the compromise or slightly irritated it was necessary?

I don’t look at compromise as a “have to” thing. I think compromise is the most sensible answer when two people or two sides of a situation disagree as long as neither one is causing harm to anyone. Mature adults should always be ready to compromise; a half full glass is better than an empty one, even if you wanted the whole glass.

Half full as opposed to empty is why I can always find satisfaction in compromise, even if sometimes it’s delayed satisfaction. The last time I had to compromise it was really with myself in prioritizing what I can and can’t get done in a planned day. Accepting compromise on my “to do list” is essential for my mental health!

6. Have you ever written a letter to an elected official? Did you get a response?

I have often written to my elected officials! Actually if I don’t get a response, it’s pretty much a guarantee that they won’t get my vote next time they run. Even if it’s a form letter/email response, I want to know that they at least included me in their “count” of constituents that do/don’t agree with them.

I’ve received some very contentious replies from officials I do and don’t agree with, either comforting me that they are fighting for the cause I believe in or respectfully explaining their different view. I have noticed over the years that a left side official will respond more often, even if you disagree with them than a right side official will even of you do agree and the more moderate the elected official, the more likely they are to have a real dialogue with you.

Debbie Stabenow in Michigan and Marci Kaptur in Ohio have been the best and most respectful when I’ve written or spoken with them.

7. We 'March' into a new month at the end of this week...what's something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile?

Spring training games on TV

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s s&*#ing. We had rain all day and night instead of s&*# yesterday, but boy was it serious rain! It started to rain just as I was leaving therapy yesterday but it wasn’t bad rain until I’d been home for a while. Then we did have rain, freezing rain, sleet and big wet s&*# flakes but not enough to stick to the ground.

Right now it fine and quickly falling s&*#. Hey Buckeye Chuck, what was that about no shadow and early? Humph.

Freebie Repost

This is repeated because the freebie site picked up the wrong image for yesterday's freebie. I did tag the preview, but their software seemed to fail me!

If you're visiting because the actual preview was more interesting than the box in a box that started yesterday's entry, click here to go to the entry with the freebie. If you already saw yesterday's entry, nothing new here. Click here for today's Hodge Podge!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All Boxed Up

Shadowbox created by Digitalegacies Designs
Trinket box from web

Remember yesterday I told you about having a plan for the last February page from 2012 but I didn’t actually have the item I needed in my stash. My answer, after searching to find the item I needed ended up with the answer being to make it myself.

My vision for the last February folder was to put the photos in a cardboard shadow box frame. I hadn’t done anything with a lot of even blocking or in a box of any type for February in 2012, so it was time for one. I like doing shadowbox and quilt style layouts so I try to be careful that I don’t overdo it, but there was definitely room to do it without being repetitious in the 2012 book, I envisioned a 9-opening cardboard box. I thought I already had one, but when I discovered that I did not actually have just what I needed I figured it wouldn’t be hard to find. WRONG!

Since I didn’t want to pay for the more expensive commercial use items for one layout and an item I might use once a year, maybe, I decided I create my own box.

I don’t think it looks too bad! The layout was a longer production than usual because I had to create the boxes from scratch, but here is the last February 2012 cat layout:

Shadowboxes by Digitalegacies Designs
Additional cat elements created by Jen Yurko

I did the freebie with one each of the square box and a rectangle box. The rectangle is roughly 4”X6” and the square is 8”x8”, both are 300dpi. In addition to the two boxes, the download also has the templates for both, co you can add papers and customize your boxes to suit your needs. One thing I did discover is that using prints on the sides will distort your box, so a print will need to be distorted to fit the perspective of coming up from the back of the box. Or, you can just use solids for the box fronts. I chose to just line the backs it papers and left the sides bare.

Click preview to download at MediaFire

I hope you can use the boxes! If you use them for scrapbooking or blog logos, etc... I’d love to see what you did! Send a link in comments or to chroniclesofnani@gmail.com.

Please enjoy the boxes for your personal use. The terms of use page is not a commercial use license. If you’d like to use the boxes for scrapbooking freebies, just drop me an email and I’ll write up a commercial use for freebies license for you. If you’d like to use them for profit, contact me and we can negotiate compensation.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Creativity Monday

Cluster made with Because of You by Digitalegacies Designs

Hello there!

I’m posting late today because I was working on a scrapbook layout. Here me out here. I’m working on catching up a few years’ worth of photo folders to be done before I can even think about proofreading and getting my funds saved for printing, so there is a LOT of work to be done! I have lots of templates; freebies I’ve collected over the years while I was collecting photos and scrapping every four days…or weeks; that’s how I got so far behind! That and really, when I was selling my kits at Scrap Bird for a half a year, I designed and I did NO scrapping of my own. That was the nicest thing about the decision to quit designing is getting to scrap again. I do enjoy designing once in a while, but I like scrapping a lot more. So the templates make getting great looking pages done much quicker, even though I usually use the templates as a base and alter or add to them to make it my style. I can usually get a page done in an hour or two if I sit down and do nothing but work on the page. Usually, I have photo shop open and work on a page here and there while I’m doing a ton of other things, so a page is often an all-day affair. But I can punch out 3 or 4 pages on a Saturday while David is at work. Still my goal is always one page a day.

The page I started this morning I had a definite idea in my mind for the look, unfortunately, there was a main part of the layout I don’t have. I searched for a freebie, a base, a relatively inexpensive piece; nothin'. I found a commercial use set that was way more than I was prepared to spend on one page. So it took a few hours, but I made the piece! I remain vague about it because after all that work, I’m going to package it as a freebie for this week and I’ll unveil it then,

While my creativity seemed to be on board this morning, so was the hiss and growl fest. The cats are getting better, really they are.  It’s just a slow process. I have to keep reminding myself that it was 6 weeks before there started to be peace with Kaline and Baggle when Carla joined the family. Patience Nani, patience.

So there was the start of my day. Then it was wash hair, lunch, dishes…Oh, blog! That brings us to here and now. The end of the workday version of the Monday Quiz About me with Acting Balanced and Touristic!

1. If you could go to any festival or event in the world; which one would you choose?

I’d love to go to the World Series again, preferably with one of my teams, even better if it’s Reds AND Tigers, but nothing beats the electricity in the air at a top echelon playoff game.

2. What is the first sign you see that tells you spring is near?

Spring is near when the crocuses bud.

3. When you were in school did you do your projects as soon as they were assigned or as close to the last minute as possible?

I procrastinated until I had the “bug assignment” in 7th grade. We had to kill bugs, mount them on a board and identify them. I hated the assignment. Not that the bugs were an issue, it was killing them. With the exception of those 8-legged things, I agree with David that they get swatted or squished when they’re in the house, but in their house, I’m the invader. I hated killing them. I put it off, collected them the week before the assignment was due and after leaving them in a jar while I was gone for the weekend, I got home Sunday planning to put them on a board and they were covered in a wispy white mold! Mom helped me try to wash off and recover them, but I didn’t have enough for the required number of bugs. I was devastated. I was told to kill things, I killed things and I still ended up with a bad grade for the project.

To this day I still think there should be an alternative research project for things like that.

I learned two things from that project. First, if you tell a teacher that you think the requirements of the project are immoral, they usually WILL give you an alternate assignment. Second, ever after that and in work and social projects too, I get it done as soon after receiving the assignment as I can do it with quality.

4. Would you rather have the power to be invisible or the power to read minds?

I’d rather be invisible when I wanted to be. I fear reading minds would be depressing. None of us are as smart as people think we are!

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

5. What winter/sprog temperature is warm enough for you want to be outside? (Please put your temp in Fahrenheit and Celsius – easy converter here: http://www.wbuf.noaa.gov/tempfc.htm )

If it’s sunny and I can wear a jacket that isn’t too bulky, I’ll stay outside to wait for the bus, shop at an outdoor shopping center etc… I used to go back to the park to walk when the ice was gone from the paved trails and I could keep from shivering without a parka, so I’ll go back out by choice at about 45F/ 7C, but I really prefer it to be about 50F/10C

Friday, February 22, 2013

Freezing Friday

Cluster made with Lights, Camera, Popcorn by Picolina Designs

Okay, not really SO freezing. Some freezing rain and snow mix junk and it’s going to get above freezing. The frozen junk will turn to rain and then when it gets cold again… YUCK. It’s not my favorite time of year.

I have a few fragments today, but let’s start with a few fill-ins with Hilary at Feeling Beachie!

This week’s statements:
1. I can’t believe____
2. I never liked the TV Show _____
3. If I were a ____________I would most definitely __________.
4. I ____________ when I ______________

My Answers:

1. I can’t believe how much of a difference having my mobility meds back is already making after only 3 days. Stupid insurance company should be ashamed for denying me for a week and half.

2. I never liked the TV Show … I’m not a big TV watcher anyway, but I’ll throw Seinfeld in there. I only saw a couple of episodes and I have no idea how it was ever popular.

3. If I were a lifetime skinny woman I would most definitely have a pierced navel and a Cincinnati Reds navel post.

4. I always take my Nook when I go anyplace I might have to wait.

And now, we’ll join Mrs. 4444 for some blog defragging

**   My Valentine flowers were just starting to fade a little last night. David brought them home for me last Tuesday, so they lasted well!

Aren’t they gorgeous?

I’m pressing lily and some of the rose petals for my Smash book. I have the plastic pockets for those!

**   It’s been almost 2 weeks since Morgan came home. There’s still some kitty unrest. Morgan really doesn’t seem as aggressive as they warned us she might be at Paws, but she doesn’t take the grief Carla has been giving her. When Carla sees her she growls and hisses. And Morgan will sometimes give chase. Morgan is a big girl; product of no real exercise room and nothing to do but eat for a year and a half at the shelter. She doesn’t outrun Carla, but if she pins Carla like Carla pins Kaline sometimes, Carla’s not going anywhere, so she runs,, hides and stays well hidden someplace Morgan can’t reach her for a while. Oh, to give her a little human logic ability so she’d realize she has the power to end that!

She looks ferocious, doesn't she?

Kaline will occasionally growl or hiss, but she pretty much tries to stay away from Morgan. Give it time. It took 6 weeks before Kaline and Baggle played nice with Carla.

**   Sunday is the annual MS awareness day at the Toledo Walleye hockey game. It’s the kick off right before MS Awareness Month in March. David and I went last year and it was fun. The gathering is sponsored by our local National MS Society chapter. There is some comfort in knowing that, while MS is different for every victim, at least we’re not completely alone.

Still, if the Tigers can do Christmas in July, the Mud Hens can do MS Day in June, no?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cold, Snowy, Hodgey Podgey

Cluster created with Morning Mocha by Nibbles Skribbles

I love that kit that today’s cluster comes from. I was a Skribbler on Manda’s Creative Team for a while and that kit is what made me jump at the opportunity when she had a CT call. Well, come on, a coffee-themed kit in one of my three top colors, how could I not love it?

I had physical therapy this morning. When the bus got here to take me, there was a little snow in the air and it wasn’t expected to accumulate or even last long. I am 15 minutes driving time, tops, from therapy. The snow got harder and was sticking to the roads. By the time we pulled into the lot, we were going through drifted snow. When the bus door opened, the lead therapist was bundled and out shoveling. There were 3 or 4 inches accumulated and no way my chair could get to the building through it! It had been falling for about 2 hours and everything was white. It was totally unforcasted and a surprise. Since my wheelchair sits outside until David gets home, as a rule if it’s snowing or raining I’ll cancel any appointments and stay home. I called him to see if he could come home at lunch.

Thing is. He had no idea what I was talking about; there was no snow at home. Nothing at home, there’d just been a light squall and that was it. A few miles away, big-time shovel-worthy snow on the ground! Coming home it was completely white until just before we hit the Toledo city limits line, then there was visible grass everywhere. Amazing!

It was still cold and I got my chair-backpack and gel seat in and left the chair outside the door. No snow has fallen on it yet.

1. When were you last 'on a mountaintop'? You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.

Truth be told, as a disabled person, I tackle mountains every day. I’m a fairly accomplished mountain climber.

2. Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household? What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?

I don’t think we have any kind of strict budget. We’re pretty good at living within our means and saving so we can afford nice things every now and then and are prepared for the unforeseen, like two computers dying in the same week and hospital copays.

My advice for someone starting out is to budget carefully if you need to and save so you don’t live beyond your means; credit cards should be paid off to a zero balance every month and if they cannot, make payments but put the card away until it is paid off.

3. Cherries-yay or nay? Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherries Garcia...pick one.

Yes to cherries! I love the fresh ones, especially Rainier cherries! As far as the list goes, I pick cherry pie to be the one I exclude and I’ll take the other three. :)

4. Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?

Never! I try not to discuss either too much with people I DO know.

First off, too many people, First Amendment be damned, can’t separate the two and trying to have a civil discussion turns into “my god says I have the right to beat you into my political submission.”

Second, my spiritual beliefs are my private business and I’m very selective about with whom I share them. I really don’t like to commercialize my religious beliefs. I like my relationship with my creator to be a happy one and discussing religion with people who worship differently ultimately taints that.

5. When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger? Where were you headed on your last road trip?

Even when I did drive I preferred to be the passenger. I like road trips for relaxing, something I can’t do when I’m driving. My last actual overnight road trip was with David for Bortrail the weekend between Christmas and UTMC Eve. We need some good enough weather to get away for a weekend!

6. If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent?

Summer; green Winter…probably equal purple and green. There’s a little more black for a neutral in winter a little more white in the summer, always heather gray and denim.

7. Who's your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?

This perplexed me for a minute, then David asked, “wouldn’t it be your dad?” Well, duh! Pop IS a senior citizen! I was 12 when I first really though about my parent’s ages and my first thought in my head when pondering my parents’ ages had always been “early-30s.” Pop is about twice mid-30s now and definitely a senior!

He’s special because he’s my dad! And he always sends me home with veggies!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Umm… Not feeling especially random right now and I need to post before Wednesday is gone!

Book Review: The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

Book Synopsis from Good Reads

My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. If you will listen, I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Let me tell you what it means to be a witch.

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, moving from place to place, surviving plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan and begins teaching her the ways of the Hedge Witch. But will she be able to stand against Gideon—who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul—in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?

My review at Good Reads

3 out of 5 stars

It wasn’t a bad book, but a long book. There were many shorter stories within the longer story and at places the book plodded along with detail that wasn’t really necessary. It took me a week and a half to read the 400+ page book, which is longer than usual for me. That means it was a book I could put down for a while and even skip a day of reading. Not my usual reading style, especially if it’s a book I like.

I really did enjoy that for the most part the book wasn’t predictable; however some points in the foundation stories were almost Forrest Gump incredible. There are only so many great or notorious world events you can take part in before it loses credibility and destroys the story. The Witch’s Daughter did not go as over the top as Gump, but it flirted with that fiasco. I really did enjoy that by less than half way through the book I didn’t trust any of the supporting characters and that mistrust lasted until the end of the book.

The book is written as a series of stories and journal entries written by the main character and I still wasn’t sure as the last journal entry started if it was being written by a “good guy” until the very last page. I liked the fact that of the several possible endings I predicted while reading, none of them were the case and still, the ending was exciting and credible within the story.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Desserts, Love and Movies

Cluster created with My Funny Valentine by EllenM Creations

I know I skipped Cyber-town for a week, what’s up with that? Well, last week was my first full week of therapy for my neck and upper back and really, it’s more exhausting than I thought it would be. I was tired and kinda uninspired creatively last week. I have a little more energy today, we’ll see if it lasts all week!

I didn’t miss Valentine’s Day, though! I took David out to Red Lobster for fish dinner last Wednesday and we did an at-home movie night on the actual day. The best find at Red Lobster was dessert! They have a trio sampler with caramel cheesecake and, wait for it…. Chocolate Brownie a la mode AND Key Lime Pie!

I did this scrapbook layout on that subject:

Credits: Chocolate Delight by Digi Scrap SA, El Mojito by 
Twin Mom Scraps and Is This Love by Colie’s Corner

With the Trio Sampler, no more cheating on Chocolate…It’s a threesome, well, foursome with the cheesecake. They could really do a Duo Sampler for me, but the cheesecake was good, I won’t look a gift-dessert in the plate!

Back to a normal blog-week, I hope, I’m joining Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic for this week’s Monday Quiz.

1. Who was the last person you said “I love you” to?

Okay, new answer. David was reading over my shoulder and didn’t want the answer to be yesterday, so he said “I love you” to me and insisted I say it back so I had a better answer. So…

Just a couple minutes ago; just because.

2. What was the last non-kid friendly movie you saw?

We watched Red State on Valentine’s Day. Not really a Valentine’s Day type movie, but a good, kinda haunting movie. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0873886/

3. When was the last time you got angry about something that you felt silly about later?

I don’t get truly angry about things that aren’t important to me. I don’t really recall anything...

4. What is your favorite object at this moment?

My Nook

It’s my favorite object at many moments except when I’m putting stuff in my Smash Book, then my Smash Book is my favorite object. Well, that and whichever coffee mug I’m drinking out of, so my coffee cup is my favorite object. Of course, my coffee cup really only works with my Keurig brewer, so my Nook, my Smash Book, my coffee mug and my Keurig Brewer and I don’t have any other favorite objects. Well, and my bracelets, I always love my bracelets. So, my Nook, my Smash Book, my coffee mug, my Keurig brewer and my bracelets, and that’s all. Oh and my lip balm! I gotta have my lip balm…

That and the movie question just threw me back a few movie years. Do you know what movie I paraphrased? :)

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

This week’s question five is courtesy of my personal blog red pen. David wants to know…

5. Does bad internet spelling and grammar bother you? Why or why not?

My answer:

It depends. When I’m reading someone’s blog, and I really hope when they’re reading mine, I am forgiving about little mistakes because we all make them. I’m a little less forgiving for spelling and grammatical errors on professional sites. On a professional site or blog attention to the work should be the priority and the writers should be undistracted by crying kids, a whistling tea kettle or a dog that wants out like writers of personal blogs often are. Reading an article on a professional site should be as error-free as a text book, magazine or newspaper. A personal blog can be more relaxed like you’re sitting in someone’s living room having coffee. You won’t stop drinking coffee with someone because they make a grammatical mistake, but you might reconsider buying a product if a sales rep can’t speak the language correctly when making the pitch.

One thing that does drive me to the brink of my head exploding are mistakes that are repeated, signifying that the writer doesn’t know the correct spelling, grammar or even words. Even the smartest and most studied of us will occasionally make a he/him or their/there mistake. My personal biggest demon is using the apostrophe in the possessive of it; THAT one makes my husband’s head explode. But you won’t see me repeat that mistake in a comment because I know it’s wrong. When the same mistake is made consistently, it means the writer doesn’t know and it’s usually words or grammar that you should never get out of high school not knowing. That evidence of the “dumbing down of society” makes me sad.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Important News

The news of the day; remember Bissett., the cat we sponsored at Paws and Whiskers over a year ago? So sad that it took this long when she’d already been at the shelter almost a half year. She’ll be three next month and she’s lived half her life in a cage! Paws takes awesome care of the cats there, but it’s still not the same as a forever home. Last week she was a featured cat on the Paws Facebook page and yesterday she went home with her new Mommy and Daddy! Her name is Morgan now and she’s getting slowly ready to meet her new sisters, Carla and Kaline!

Yes, that beautiful calico we sponsored is now our Jo Morgan. When David saw her as a featured cat last week, still unadopted, he called me and suggested that if she was still available by the weekend, we should pay the rest of her adoption and take her home. I gotta tell you, I couldn’t have adored my husband more when he suggested that. We were ready to bring our Jo or Joe Morgan home, but I just couldn’t walk into Paws and take another cat when the cat we were trying to help was still without a home. David’s heart is as big as his 6’5” frame, maybe bigger; that’s why I chose him!

Kaline and Carla have been sniffing and watching the door to the room Morgan is in. Yesterday when I was in with Morgan, Kaline was scratching at the door. Morgan growled. That’s normal cat behavior and why Morgan has her own room right now. They all have to become accustomed to each other’s scent, their presence in the house. Right now, Morgan is in the large carrier in the living room and they are in a three point stare down. There’s been some hissing and growling, but they are, at a distance, getting to know each other. The catcilmating process has begun. We’ll see how long it takes.

1. Do you tend to be more logically or emotionally driven in your decision-making?

I don’t think I completely disregard my emotions, but they are just one more fact to be considered in a rational decision making process. I am a total linear thinker, the bigger the decision, the more I try to distance myself from my emotions as any more than a logical point to be considered.

2. Do you take vitamin or other supplements? Do you feel that they actually work?

Well, I take glucosamine for my joints as suggested by my general practitioner and a high dose of Vitamin D as a little more than suggested by my neurologist. They are harmless enough that I haven’t questioned it or stopped taking them. I haven’t been put on any prescription strength mother of all Vitamin D regimens again, so I suppose it’s keeping my levels where they belong.

3. Have you ever kissed someone and just knew they were not the right person or vice-versa?

Wow. I honestly have never thought about that. Okay. At the risk of sounding totally cold or like a moraless hussy, I’ve never really thought of a kiss as an end all and be all of anything. Some kisses are weightier than others; kissing David has always, always, just been “right,” but no other kiss was anything except just a casual part of dating. After the first one when I was 10, the next one of any significance was David.

4. Why shouldn't the woman pay for a Valentine's Day date?

Oh, in this family the woman does! I’ve always set up the acknowledgement of Valentine’s Day. I’ll be taking David out to dinner again this week. He pays for our anniversary dinner. This is a partnership.

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

The three cats are still in a quiet stand-off, staring at each other. It’s been almost an hour now. Kaline and Carla have each moved a little closer. Remember that Monday is our Sunday, so we chose a gray windy day we’re both at home to let them have all the time they want to get a look at each other. I don’t know if Morgan will have free roam of the house with the other two cats present today. I kinda doubt; these things take time for cats. But for relatively stress-free coexistence for all five of us, it’s worth it.

5. So, my question as the cats decide if they will get along is what is the longest you’ve ever considered a decision before making it?

I guess for me it was marriage. David and I dated for a little over 3-1/2 years before we got married and a lot of that had to do with me and 1000 reasons why I believed getting married was a bad idea. I was in my early 40s. Seriously, if getting married was important, wouldn’t I have already done it? After lots of thinking and journaling, which I write in my personal journal to get things off my mind and try to sort through problems, I figured out that in spite of my bravado to myself, I was just scared. After I figured that out, getting married was actually a pleasant experience. I’m still okay with it.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Book Review: Scapemaker by Steve V. Cypert

Book synopsis from Good Reads

Matthew is the son of Mr. Nicholas Namely, a local high school teacher. But unbeknownst to Matthew, his father is a dreamscaper whose classroom is connected to the dream-world. From his classroom, his students enter the halls of Scapemaker, a dream-world high school for young dreamscapers.

Following a couple of heartfelt tragic events, Matthew is compelled to investigate the unbelievable mysteries surrounding those events and is propelled into a whole new world. Matthew and his mother, Mae, are soon coerced into moving across the country for his father's strange medical needs. While attending his new school, Matthew comes to know the secrets that Daedree, an annoying girl from his former high school, has locked away. Matthew also meets Amber, a beautiful enigmatic girl who leads him to Mr. Xoner's classroom. While there, he learns the art of dreamscaping (which has been in the Namely bloodline for thousands of years).

Matthew will come to know of Nox Celare, otherwise known as The Sandman, who is after a special element called Magineum. Neck deep in skinwalkers, sandsleepers, zombies, soul feeders, ghosts, dream-world criminals known as “night terrors” and more, Matthew learns he is in over his head. Matthew must not only solve the mysteries surrounding those tragic events, but he will also have to protect the Magineum with his life and find a way to be with the one girl of his dreams. Filled with secrecy, mystery and a forbidden tangle of young love, this new life will lead Matthew to unbelievable characters with the most extraordinary abilities he could never have imagined.

Scapemaker will keep you grounded in the real world while at the same time make the fantastical world around it that much more possible and enduring. This tale of young adult paranormal fantasy will keep you guessing and wanting more.

My review at Good Reads

3 out of 5 stars (It’s a weighted three, a little more but not quite a four)

When I first started reading this book I became a little on the defensive as a reader. It took a couple chapters to get into the book because I felt like there were things that I just wasn’t being told to understand. Then again the main character didn’t know about or understand much yet either. Retrospectively it made the main character easier to understand as he was pretty “out of touch” and confused too. Some of what seemed like parallels to the Harry Potter series were a little disturbing, mainly a group of kids learning their powers at a mystical school and some of the similarities in the characters who ended up not being as similar as the book progressed. But the magic is not simply magic; it’s the magic of the subconscious in some gifted people in a world that visits us all.

The first book in the Scapemaker series is the second book by Steve V. Cypert and you will see some of the rough edges of an independent publisher; some reviews noted typos that were there but not that abundant and there were a couple of places where I reread to clarify who a minor character was and couldn’t find that clarification, but the development of the main characters and the story were sound and well worth the reading.

A couple of days after putting the book down and absorbing what “stuck” from my reading, my opinion is that the book was a good book; the story and characters were memorable and the premise really does make you wonder for a moment in the back of your mind, if this could possibly be actually happening when we sleep and that’s all that good fiction needs to capture the reader.

So if you start the book and feel confused, keep reading. If you start the book and feel like you’ve read the story of kids and a “supernatural” school before, keep reading. It’s not what you think; then again, dreams never are.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And We Danced

Cluster created with I Love by Miss Edna and Suruha-Freespirit

Welcome to the first February A Chocolate Bouquet Blog-Hop. February’s topic is All Things Love! I promised yesterday that I’d turn back the clock to 2006 and tell you about how it came to be that I’m the arranger of the Valentine’s dinner with the story of our first Valentine’s Day dinner together.

For our first Valentine’s Day together I wanted to have a nice romantic dinner. I told David I’d cook and asked for the key so I could have dinner ready when he got home from work. I set the table and decorated with candles, scattered red heart doilies. I set my CD player up in the room to play the CD I’d made for dinner. I put the wine in the refrigerator to chill while I did the prep for dinner. We had Old Bookbinder’s lobster bisque and I made shrimp scampi. There was white wine and chocolate fondue for dessert. Yeah, it was sorta textbook romance which I’m usually not crazy about, but every now and then from the book is quite nice!

When David got in he brought a dozen roses! It was the first time anyone had ever given me roses and I just melted! We enjoyed dinner which I was so pleased turned out perfectly; I always have a little bit of trepidation when I cook seafood because it's so easy to overcook it. We enjoyed another glass of wine with dessert while we listened to the CD from dinner again and David asked me if he could play me a song. He got out the CD as I was clearing the plates from the table and told me it was his favorite love song. It was Your Own Special Way by Genesis and he came to me by the sink and asked if I’d ever heard it. I hadn’t and we listened and while we listened we began to dance in the kitchen.

I remember being overcome with emotion and in my mind saying “this will be the song we dance to at the wedding.” It was the first time ever that I'd truly thought about myself being married. I was definitely past the point of no return with this man.  Next week will be the 8th Valentine's Day dinner I've orchestrated for the two of us; the seafood becomes more succulent, the chocolate sweeter, the flowers more beautiful and the love even more real every year.  I wouldn't change it for anything!

Please join us at A Chocolate Bouquet with your post about love of any kind!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pain Relief Begins...

Cluster made with A Cat's Tale by Kit Cart

I went to physical therapy this morning. My neck, shoulders and upper spine are such a mess that the doctor needs to have me get some exercise, muscle stretching and electro-cold-press-massage stuff so it gets loose enough for him to manipulate it and fix it. I have to work on posture and I need to sit in a chair with a better back for my “most of the time” chair. Hopefully this will fix the trouble I’ve been waking up with my shoulder-arm-hand is tremendous pain. Of course my next appointment is Friday and we’re expecting snow, so it may not happen. For now I’ll return to my lunch, trying to eat sitting up straighter without wearing my salad. Wish me luck!

Now, I’ll visit Joyce for Wednesday Hodge Podge!

1. Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 10th, and 2013 is the year of the snake. When did you last see a snake? Are you okay around snakes or do they give you the shivers?

I’m fine with snakes. Don’t really think one way or the other about them. My dad hates them and I remember Mom always had to come to the rescue if Pop found a snake in his garden!

2. The color red in Chinese culture usually means good luck. Do you believe in luck?

In as much as any sports fan, but in truth I believe you make your own luck. (Don’t tell David I said that tho...)

3. sledding-ice skating-building a snowman...if given a choice, which activity would you choose? Which of the three have you done most recently?

I haven’t done those things since I was a child. Given the choice of doing any of them now, I’d pick hot cocoa sitting by a fireplace INSIDE.

4. Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited as saying, "The years teach much which the days never knew." Where have you seen this quote played out in your own life?

I’m glad I got my degree, but I wish I’d figured out a way to go to one of the 2 universities I actually wanted to go to and done it in the 4 years directly after high school instead of doing it the hard way. College loans are thankfully easier to get now; The 80s were not a time of prosperity for SMALL businesses.

5. When was the last time you ate a cupcake?

Christmastime. David got me some Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer pumpkin cupcakes.

6. What's something you can't say no to?

Too many to list or pick just one. I’m not good at saying “no” to the people I care about.

7. Are you a doodler?

I always doodle when I'm on the phone.  I don't doodle well, so I try to avoid the phone.

8. Insert your own random thought here.


I know that’s not really so random. Today is February 6; only 8 days until Valentine’s Day! David and I have out little candy tokens to exchange and we’ll be deciding which day we’d like to celebrate. I’m kinda leaning towards the 13th because Valentine’s Day and the Friday and Saturday following are bound to be crowded restaurant nights, but we’ll see what the schedule looks like for next week first.

Our agreement since out anniversary and Valentine’s Day are so close is that he provides dinner for me for our Anniversary and I provide the Valentine’s dinner. That kinda started with the very first Valentine’s Day we shared in 2006. Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about it! I’ll be telling a personal tale of love as part of Josanne’s A Chocolate Bouquet Blog Hop for Februarys: Love! Come back tomorrow and read and add your own post about love to the hop! It’s easy stuff! Just wrote anything you’d like about love and join in!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Monday After...

Cluster made with Espresso Italiano by Violamoni

Good snowy Monday morning! Although it’s a little later now, after breakfast and all, I managed to wake up just one minute before the alarm today. We went to bed a little late, but sleeping all the way to the alarm is a good thing for me! I say snowy, but it’s just a little snow right now; we’re expecting up to 3 inches today last I heard. No, that doesn’t thrill me, but espresso with breakfast helps me deal. ;)

I’m hearing great reviews of the Taco Bell ad yesterday with the octogenarians escaping the retirement home and doing crazy 20-something things including a late night trip to Taco Bell. Humph… Whatever; I didn’t like it. Maybe it’s because I don’t like the song. Maybe because I don’t like the idea that people are obsessed with wanting to be 20-something. I enjoyed being 20-something when I was 20-something but I don’t want to be it again. I enjoy being 40-something just fine. When I’m in my 80s, I might want an occasional Taco Bell, like I occasionally do now, but not because I want to pretend I’m in my 20s; it’ll be just because I’m in the mood for American mexicanish fast food. Maybe I’m overanalyzing but I didn’t find the spot to be good or funny.

The game was more exciting that it should have been. It wasn’t so much good as it was an interesting sway of momentum before and after the early in the second half partial blackout. I’m glad it didn’t happen before the opening kick-off return. I wanted Baltimore to win; I’ve liked Joe Flacco since he was a rookie. I did enjoy the Twilight Zone moments where my favorite ad seemed to have predicted the San Francisco come back and in 30 seconds prevented their win! Regardless of the outcome of the game, it was still a great ad, but with the outcome, it became an ominously powerful ad! Not bad for a one time only shelf-life on the spot!

Okay, no more football, advertising or espresso talks. Let’s join Heather and Wayne at Acting Balanced and Touristic respectively for the Monday Quiz About Me.

1. Are you good about going to the doctor?

I have to be now, but I wasn’t so much in the past. Now (I have doctors that make me schedule ahead and call me when they haven’t seen me in a while. I actually call that a quality of a good doctor now!

2. What do you think about the practice of restaurants adding automatic tips for large groups or specific events?

I think it’s a shame that so many groups tip low enough that it’s considered necessary. I don’t think a server’s tips should be considered part of their wage. Minimum wage is minimum and should be the full base of pay for a minimum wage position. No one is hanging out at the door threatening to call the police if a customer doesn’t leave a tip because it’s not mandatory. If anything a tip is a gift a customer gives for service and it should never be taxed. A server’s wage is what they are paid by their employer and tips are gifts and therefore not taxable.

Oh, and the story that made this a topical issue? The woman is the absolute worst example of a Christian ever. The whole eat fish during lent came from a time when the fishermen were the poor people and the sacrifice was to support the poor by eating fish, not at all a fish dinner in a nice restaurant. (A better Lenten sacrifice is a ham sandwich from a local sandwich shop) So given that, I’d think an 18% tip, when the actual average people leave is closer to 20, would unquestionably be part of that 10% to God because it’s more “doing His work” than having fancy new gilded hymnals with that 10% donated by everyone at church.

3. When was the last time you went out for dinner? 

On our anniversary, December 23, we went to Mancy’s Italian Grille…and we both had fish.

4. What is your best budget saving tip for recovering from an unexpected expense or planning for one?

Unexpected expenses for me are almost always medical. I’ve found that the hospitals are really good about making arrangements for payment plans so you can pay a large, to you, bill on installments. They’re even great about updating the installment plan without raising the payment when you have another bill that comes in. Much as I hate copays, I love the fact that the hospital work with me so I can manage to get the testing done that I need.

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 coffee or tea, just your number one favorite. (even I am going to pick just one for my answer! LOL) If you don’t drink coffee or tea, How do you feel about tap versus bottled water?

And practicing brevity, but not by saying I’m practicing brevity first; my favorite is Starbucks Verona.

Super Commercials

My 5 favorite Super Bowl Ads This Year

#1 Tide Montana Stain

#2 Bud Light Voodoo Doll

#3 KIA Forte

#4 Bud Light Lucky Chair

#5 Axe Astronaut

Your opinions may vary.  As I told David, post them in your own blog!  No seriously, I'd love to hear what your favorites were!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy Super Sunday

graphic made with All Star Sports by Twin Mom Scraps

I’m not going to talk up the Super Bowl a ton, I just wanted to include it in a post because after today that cluster won’t matter. I’ll probably take some pictures of the four of us watching the game. Well, it’ll at least be the three of us; When David and I are cozied up watching TV Carla can’t stay away from the attention from us both. But we’ll watch the game, I’ll watch the commercials, we’ll make dinner at half time.

It’s been a big couple weeks of prep for the game, but I haven’t watched a lot. I don’t care about the pre-analyzing the game to death and I could care less abbot the human interest stuff. Yeah, the coaches on the two sides are brothers, so? My interest in the Super Bowl is watching a great game, and I’m unhappy when it’s not a great game, and great commercials. I’m also unhappy if the commercials aren’t top notch for the money that goes into ad time and production. Every time I see the ad after the Super Bowl debut I’d better smile and say “Oh that was a Super Bowl ad!” As an advertising fan I expect them to be that memorable. But the real truth is wouldn’t miss the heart wrenching video packages about some players struggles in college and the half time shows are seldom worth watching if they were gone. I keep the sound up so I can duck back in during the commercials.

Okay, now I’ve totally justified using my Super Bowl graphic! Perhaps you’ve noticed the scrapbook clusters the past few days. Clustering is something I don’t really do well and I’m trying to get better in my scrapbook pages. No I don’t ever plan to do a whole page cluster with a tiny photo in the cluster and I won’t put a cluster on every page; on many pages I do it’s not appropriate. But I do want to get better at that scrapbook skill. It’s not promoting for the designers or anything. Some of the kits are ones I’ve had since 20078 and aren’t even available anymore. Some of them are very current too, but I don’t link to the kits I use, just credit them. If you’re a scrapper and are interested in a kit, drop me an email and if it’s still for sale, I’ll send you a link. So you’ll continue to see scrapbook clusters on the top of my blog a few times a week. Feel free to give cluster feedback in comments too!

Okay, I’m going to try to do just a little more scrapping today before the game. David took off to find a couple of trains because there was a glimmer of sun that appears to be gone now and called from Kroger. He’s says it’s insanely busy there. Of course it is! Best time to be in a grocery store on Super Bowl Sunday is after the game has started. But don’t look for junk food then; it’ll all be sold out!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ohio Tourism Report

Cluster made with various scanned and commercial use items from my stash

Happy Groundhog Day! Today is the day we determine how many people will flock to the state of Ohio in March for the weather. Remember last year when Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter and Buckeye Chuck predicted and early spring, about mid-March, and I predicted the Spring Break crowd just might be swarming into Ohio? Yeah, okay, it was a very warm winter and all but the Walleye didn’t break any attendance records filled with bikini-clad coeds. I don’t know what they did with the extra beer I’m sure they ordered.

This year Phil and Chuck agree that spring will come in mid-March instead of having to wait six weeks! Unfortunately, with the big Groundhog and Chuck agreeing, I don't think we'll see the boost in tourism dollars we didn't see last year.  Not to mention that our very local Holland HuckeyToo did see his shadow and expects 6 more weeks of winter in the Toledo area. I don’t know how he saw his shadow because I don’t see any sun. But, while everyone else gets to start enjoying spring early, in mid-March, we’re not expecting spring in Toledo for 6 weeks, not until March sixtee… Oh.

Anyway this is what we look like this morning:

The groundhog that lives in our backyard didn’t even wake up. I wonder what THAT means.

I hope everyone has a great day and enjoys the silliness that is Groundhog Day!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Hop and an Award

Cluster made with A Book of Me by Aprilisa Designs

 I do know how little of Friday is left compared to everyone else who posted the Friday Fill-In this morning at Feeling Beachie. I’ve been working pretty much all day trying to unlock the secret of getting a video that actually syncs up the way it does in the work-window. In December, I was up until 5 AM the day of Bortrail editing David’s show to make it just so with precision edits, like I’ve always done when I edit video. I was mortified that night as the show played and the edits I’d worked through the night on were so badly out of sync you’d think someone who knew nothing about video opened the software for the first time and threw some stuff in the editor. I’ve tried the executable file, creating a free-standing video, burning a DVD direct from the editor, all out of sync. I spent some time on the phone with tech support. I cleared the cache and cleaned up the program and my file, I rebooted the computer before rendering. Still, out of sync crap. I did a show for Tori and Rina’s Sweet 16 with an editor half the price and it was perfect. So now I’ll be recreating the show on that editor and I’ll find out if it’s the “standard” railfan software or the still new enough that I haven’t done video on it computer. If it’s the software I won’t be at all happy. The newer crappy software is twice the cost. But if is the software, I’ll be singing the praises of Wave Pad to every railfan I know!

So anyway, aside from a day wasted with that software that puts me starting the month off behind on my Sugar Cookie comments at Ginger Scraps and about a half a day late in posting my blog…things aren’t bad. I started today with chocolate hazelnut oatmeal! That’s a nice start. ½ cup of quick oats with a tablespoon dark chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon crushed hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Set the Keurig maker for 8 oz. hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate while you make a cup of coffee in with the Keurig, Free Trade Vermont Blend this morning, and by the time I stirred in a tablespoon of Coffeemate the oats were ready and the chocolate melted. MMM! The oatmeal, which I was too busy loving to photograph, was a little more than I usually have for breakfast, 9 WW points, but every now and then you have to do something special for yourself. It was worth every point. And since the creamer is a point and the apple I had was 0 points, I still strayed in my 10 point target for breakfast anyway.

Okay, now finally the fill-ins, Chatty Nani I am tonight.

This week’s statements:
1. I was probably the only kid in the world who ____
2. ____ is my favorite juice
3. I never thought I would____until I___
4. I have always wanted to_____ but_____

My Answers:

1. I was probably the only kid in the world who liked squid! Tastes change and I am so NOT a calamari fan now, but I liked it as a kid, the fried tentacles were my favorite.

2. Pineapple-orange is my favorite juice.

3. I never thought I would get married until I started talking silly wedding talk with David.

4. I have always wanted to hang glide but now it is the one thing the stupid MS stands in the way of.

I'll be checking out everyone else's fill-ins tonight and tomorrow!

My First Award of 2013!

Okay, on SUNDAY, way back in January, Edna presented me with a wonderful award. I managed to stop by and thank her, but I’m just now posting it. Like I said to her in comments yesterday, good thing it’s not a punctuality award!

But it’s better than a punctuality award. In fact the occasional lack of punctuality is in there because it’s the REALITY award!

Isn’t it sweet?

The rules are pretty easy:

(1) Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.

Did that, even twice thanking again yesterday.

(2) Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back to them.

In case you didn’t put the 2 and 2 together, Edna is my dear friend the owner of Miss Edna’s Place

(3) Answer the five simple questions. See below

(4) Nominate blogs for the award and notify each of them. Also see below

(5) Display the award on your blog somewhere.  See above

Here are the questions:

1. If you could change one thing, what would you change?
2. If you could repeat an age, what would it be?
3. What is one thing that really scares you?
4. What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you'll be able to complete it?
5. If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?

1. If you could change one thing, what would you change?

I’d make all diseases that attack people who have done nothing to put themselves at risk disappear. Autoimmune disorders, cancer, diseases of the brain; all gone, poof, those afflicted everything the disease made happen, back to normal.

Okay, and if I can’t have it that way for all diseases, then selfishly, I’ll cure MS first.

2. If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

Edna said she’d stay where she is now, and in many ways I’d say the same. I’ve never had trouble with my age and being happy with my world just as it is right now. I have demons, but I also have wonderful things that have entered into my life.

I could say 28 because it was before my mom got sick and she’d still be with me. But if I look to go back to still have the riches I’ve lost in my life, wouldn’t I want to go back to early 1994 when my grandfather was still with us? But my Papa and my nieces never knew each other. In order to have Papa in my life I’d have to give up Tori and Rina. Even getting Mom back, Mom and David never met.

One time I was asked that question and I said 39 because It was before the MS symptoms got bad, after David and I got together, we’d found Kaline and we had all four cats between us. But Carla hadn’t been born yet. So you see, to pick one age from my past, I’d have to choose who to keep and who to give up. So because I really don’t like decisions, I’ll pick slightly closer to 47 than 46.

3. What is one thing that really scares you?

Stairs. I crawl up the ones at home, but I still have to get to a standing position for the top 2; scares me half to death every time. Fortunately, succeeding without falling thrills me half to life!

4. What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you'll be able to complete it?

I have always tended to have goals rather than dreams as far as things I want to attain. Current dreams include a job and a new home with David’s train layout taking up the whole basement, a ranch with easy accessibility be it walker or chair, laundry on the main living floor and a modern kitchen with appliances that work and a pantry that’s not in a corner over a corner section of counter. Oh yeah, and smooth no grout countertops. Both are attainable, jut not sure how many months/years down the line.

5. If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?

Just for a day? As much as I always say I’d give anything for just one day with no pain and the full abilities I used to have, I think I’d choose to be someone with greater physical disabilities than I have so I could better appreciate how good I actually do have it. Bet I’d never say the “I’d give anything” idea again.

Now I would like to pass this award on to:

Kelly at Coffee Cups and Christianity
Debby at Just Breathe
Josanne at A Chocolate Bouquet
Jen at Grown In Southern Ground

As usual, I realize everyone has busy schedules, even me sometimes!  So, this award is a ift without requirements.  I'd love to read your answers, but don't feel obligated to answer the questions, just know you've been acknowledged as one of the blogs I love to visit!