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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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Friday, March 29, 2013

Tid Bits, Fragments and Festivities

Cluster made with Eggy Easter by Studio 4 Designworks

You’d never get a cat to agree with this, and in truth it’s odd to hear it from me, but for some things colds are better than warms! After the truly nasty beating the crocuses took from the recent heavy wet snow I thought they were going to be worse than last year. Well, the snow beat up the yellow crocuses, the first ones that budded. But the purple, white and purple and white stripes came up through the snow after it fell and look!

They look so much better than last year! Even the yellow ones are okay, although not as strong as the ones that budded after the snow. It's the snow falling heavy and wet that they didn’t like. When it gets heavy and wet as it’s melting it’s okay.

The narcissus family looked okay last year and I do already see daffodils starting to bud. We’ll see in a couple weeks how bad the tulips really got it last year. I have a feeling that some of the tulips were discovered by bur roughing critters too. I’ll see how many have survived and then I can make my decision about whether or not it’s worth it to try to replace them. I know there was no sign of my favorite tulipas last year. That was a group near the front of the house and more. Mom always griped at the rabbits because she blamed them for eating her tulips. I think maybe I’m seeing that tulip bulbs are just plain tastier than crocus and narcissus.

Now this week, I‘m joining Mama M at My Little Life for Five Question Friday

1. How often should adults have birthday parties?

Well, everyone who’s been a regular at The Chronicles of Nani for a while knows I celebrate my Birthday Festival every year; from 5PM the Friday before my birthday to midnight the Sunday after, Friday the week before and Sunday the week after when my birthday is on a weekend. During my festival I plan fun things to do, try to see or at least touch base will all of my family; the friends and relatives who’ve made the past years ones to celebrate. There must always be ice cream since my birthday s in the heart of summer and at least one baseball game, preferably with fireworks. Cards and balloons are always welcome and I don’t expect anyone to pay for my meal if they drive all the way from Michigan or Indiana to celebrate with me.

2. What was your room decorated like when you were a child?

In Southgate, were we lived until I was 9, it was red carpet with red and white wallpaper, I don’t remember exactly what was on the wallpaper but it was a little girl’s design. The furniture was white wood in the most common little girl’s furniture I’ve seen from the early 70s. It was still nice for me at that time.

When we moved to Novi I got to pick out my own room décor. I kept my white bedroom set and had green-yellow-white carpeting that I thought matched my wallpaper well. That paper I picked was yellow gingham tulips with green leaves on a white background. I hated that combination when I was 21 and redecorated in the formal urban motif, but as a kid I loved my room.

3. Do you have any traditions for Easter? If so, what? and do you have a why behind that?

We don’t really have any tradition anymore since my relatives are more spread out. My dad has the day off on Easter this year and invited us to dinner, but David doesn’t have that day off this year! As a kid we did church, Easter baskets (although I really never believed in the Easter Bunny) and dinner at Noni’s.

Now David and I exchange candy; my inner child still needs a chocolate bunny.

4. Do you get Good Friday off? If so, any plans?

As a non-working disabled person I pretty much have every Friday off right now. When I can start working again probably not because I don’t think a lot of businesses recognize Good Friday as a holiday.

5. Did you wear hats and white shoes to church on Easter? (Or was that just in the South?)

When I was little I had the hat, shoes and white gloves for church on Easter. Pop bought corsage for all “his girls” two carnation corsages for Mom, each of my grandmothers and a one-flower one for me. My chest was too small to support two flowers during the corsage years!

Dave, Mums (great-grandmother) and Nani
Easter Sunday 1969

Now I have a couple more tid-bits, we’ll call those fragments and share them courtesy of Mrs. 4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time!

**  We don’t really have any available Girl Scouts in the family or traveling door to door in the neighborhood and another year without Samoas is here. I’d say that Girl Scout Samoas are my favorite of all cookies. I should get a source and buy a case a year. A proper serving of Samoas is 2 cookies, although I could probably eat a box in 2 sittings with a big glass of milk, for all of my weekly extra points.

Last year, when there were no Samoas in the house to slowly ration to myself, I did some experimenting in the Nani laboratory and created Cafe Samoa. It’s sugar free and a zero-point treat. While it’s not quite the same, the taste does quell my insane Samoa craving.

Café Samoa – 1 Island Coconut K-Cup, 1 level scoop Ron & Franks SF milk hot chocolate, 1 pump DaVinci SF Caramel Syrup

I just got an email ad today that tells me the Island Coconut K-Cups, of which I always buy an extra box for the winter when it’s in season, is available again. Of course, if you aren’t counting points and don’t need sugar free, you can use regular hot chocolate and caramel coffee syrup.

**   Yesterday Tori and Rina were driving home from Pop’s house where they’d spent a couple of days. The problem with going to different schools is having different Spring Breaks! Tori is home for break but Rina still have a Thursday night class since her break was last week. So after Rina’s Monday class they drove up to Michigan to spend a couple days with their Papa. Since Rina’s next class day is Thursday, and she’d already made arrangements with her earlier class instructor, they had time for brunch with Nana on the way home.

I took the bus to Cracker Barrel and they brought me home. We hadn’t been to Cracker Barrel together in a long time and it has always been a favorite place for us. We all got breakfasts and caught up on school news and things going on in Indiana. We also talked about what we needed to do to make sure they got their passports so we could plan a weekend with a day in Canada sometime not too long after their birthday. They’ll turn 19 this September and we’re looking forward to a nice dinner, with a legal cocktail and glass of wine with the meal and a visit to the casino. I think Rina is more excited about being able to have a glass of wine in a restaurant but Tori is excited about a roll of quarters and a slot machine.

**   The most consuming something new in my world right now is that I’m getting a power chair! I’ve met with the mobility rep from the company who determines if the chair is an actual need and placed the order with the assistive technology pro, who determines what exact features I need and does measurements so the custom chair fits me and fits through the door. So far everyone is pretty confident that it’s a real need and insurance will accept the claim. The next step is the physical therapist visits to confirm that the chair ordered is indeed the right chair and addresses all of my needs. Who’d have ever thought there was so much involved in powered mobility assistance?

Pending the okay from insurance after they get together with the chair company and my doctor, the chair will be delivered in about 5 weeks. So that’s how much time we have to get the ramp and threshold ramp for the door. We’re going semi-permanent on the ramp since using the space on the front of the house for a permanent ramp would actually negatively affect the value of the house since we have stairs and the house cannot be made ADA accessible. So n thought I have is that if we have a portable ramp we can travel with it for moving the regular wheelchair when we visit family too. I kinda like that idea too.

**   Morgan Report: It will be seven weeks on Sunday since Morgan came home. We have the Feliway plug on the landing of the steps upstairs which is the one place all the cats pass every day. So far there hasn’t been a change in behavior. Kaline and Carla still pretty much stay upstairs all day and the growling and hissing is still there. Morgan still attacks provoked or not. She wants them to stay upstairs and acts to prevent them from coming down. I wish she understood human English when I tell her that the aggressive behavior is going to end up costing her a home is she doesn’t settle down. It could take up to 4 weeks for Feliway to really change any behavior, so we’re still watching and hoping.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: Rare Traits by David George Clarke

Book synopsis from Good Reads

A 582-year-old Renaissance artist's struggle for survival through the centuries and in the present day, where modern technology is starting to unravel his secrets – Rare Traits is a novel of deception, discovery, determination and survival.

Brilliant artist John Andrews is a mortal man like any other, but with one exception: he is almost six hundred years old. The rare traits that have given John his extraordinary long life are an enigma to him, but he knows from bitter experience that he must keep them secret – whenever they have been discovered by others, his very existence has been perceived as a threat that must be eliminated.

Born Luca di Stefano in early Renaissance Tuscany, he is apprenticed to the great fresco painter Piero della Francesca. When his lack of ageing is discovered, a fanatical and over-zealous Church wants him burnt at the stake. Fleeing to Naples, he adopts a new identity and starts a new life, the first of many artistic personas over the centuries. But the lingering threat of discovery is never far away ... and now modern technology is catching up.

Claudia Reid, forensic biochemist, profiles John's DNA following his arrest for a trivial incident. She is stunned by the results: they are unprecedented. Realising she has discovered something extraordinary and driven by a desire to prove her own research theories relating to ‘junk’ DNA correct, she embarks on a reckless mission to find John that could ruin her career.

Ced Fisher, forensic art forgery expert, has written a ground-breaking computer program that reveals nuances of an artist’s style that are way beyond those the human eye can perceive. But when he uses the programme to compare John Andrews’ work with that of certain long-dead artists and finds that they match, Ced is faced with questions whose answers defy logic. And the further he delves into the past, the deeper the mystery of John Andrews becomes.

As Claudia and Ced probe deeper into John Andrews' world, they unwittingly put his life at risk. There are others who want to know the secret of his eternal youth and who will stop at nothing to get it. Once again, John is looking over his shoulder...

My review at Good Reads

Five out of Five stars (only five because I can’t give it more)

My goodness, I don’t know where to start. I just finished this book and I think part of me cried because it was over! It was FABULOUS! As one who loves action, a good mystery, art and history, Rare Traits is a rare treat; it has it all!

The book is set in….every time. The main puzzle of the story is in 2009 and I love how well and logically the historical puzzle pieces fit together. The main character is totally likable and there is plenty of “time” to get to know him and like him. He has a gift he doesn’t understand that he could abuse but he never does.

When modern day scientists get ahold of a sample of his DNA an explanation of his secret starts to come together. Where earlier in his long life the church wanted to capture and execute him as a demon, understanding of his condition gets the attention of a modern day corporation that wants to exploit him for personal gain, regardless of the possible consequences to him. Fear and greed are great evils; greed is still more evil.

What I really loved about this book was that it made logical sense. Oh the 600 year old man? Keep reading and you start to wonder if it is indeed possible! Maybe you’ve met a super-super-centenarian. The best fiction is fiction that makes you wonder if just maybe…

At the end of the book, some loose ends are wrapped up. Guarantees are not such guarantees after all. What all does the government cover up? So many parts to DNA; how much of it is still untapped?

Be sure to read the Afterword; it’ll make you go “wow!”

According to David George Clarke’s website, the second book in this trilogy is due to be released at the end of the year; I can’t wait to read it!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Spring Fifth

Happy fifth of spring! There’s our wonderful spring view. Bleh.

My flowers are awful again this year. Last year it was too warm and this year too snowy too late. The flowers that were already there will recover if we get to a regular weather pattern again, but I fear this will kill out the newer flowers that were so beautiful the first year, 2011, but haven’t had the right conditions to thrive since. They are too young to handle it. Think if I plant any more flowers, they’ll be summer blooms so they have a chance with Mother Nature’s inability to stick with a plan. (grumble)

On a happier note, let’s join Heather and Wayne for the Monday Quiz about Me!

1. What is your favorite spring flower?

Crocus, especially my purple stripey ones that looked so good in 2011.

2. Do you suffer from Spring Allergies?

Yes, but no where near as bad as many do. If it’s a bad year, I’ll have a few badly congested days with Benadryl and herbal teas remedies, but usually it’s a mild few days.

3. Have you ever been 'blogged out' and needed to take a blogging break?

Ugh, I’ve kinda been there lately.

4. Has spring sprung where you are or are you still hibernating?

See wonderful snow picture above.

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

5. Do you use a laptop or desktop for your personal computing?

Today I’m actually using the keyboard on my laptop. I usually use an external keyboard and my laptop. The keyboard on this one actually is much better than my old one. My Mac is a desktop. It has the latest OS the processor can use and it’s still too old to support a decent browser anymore. If I update the Mac, it will probably be a laptop, but Windows is financially easier to keep updated!

Friday, March 22, 2013

What Season Anyway?

From Because of You by Digitalegacies Designs

It's the third day of spring and it hasn't been a morning above freezing yet. One year ago today, we tied the record high set the day before at 85 degrees. Some people might call that Mother Nature and Murphy having an affair. Just sayin'.

This week’s statements:
1. My ___ is my least favorite feature
2. I was very ____ as a child
3. The first room I clean in my house is___ because___
4. If I had the guts to ____then I could ____

My Answers: 

1. My feet are my least favorite feature. I used to do my toe nails and go barefoot or flip-flops in the summer. The Raynaud’s makes them pretty ugly now. :P

2. I was very much a tomboy and a girly-girl as a child my father’s chagrin. Pop was as unhappy that his princess carried a hockey bag into ballet class as my ballet instructor was!

3. The first room I clean in my house is the bathroom because I can sit and still reach everything that needs cleaned and the water is right there.

4. If I had the guts to face my fears then I could sit in the dining room without pulling my neck doing a celling check for spiders every couple hours.

**  Big time thank to April at Straight From The Heart for two things. First she inspired me to sign up too be a BzzAgent. (Pronounced Buzz Agent) You’ve probably noticed fewer sponsored posts here; my source for coffee funding is drying up! BzzAgents don’t earn sponsor funds, but they get to try products.

The second thank you is related, and one of the oh-so-impressive BzzCampaigns. April got a Café Escapes BzzKit. As part of that kit she had coupons to give away and I was one of the recipients. I’d seen the Café Caramel at Christmas but resisted buying it in favor of more ecumenical choices for entertaining. I used my coupon to try it. OH MY is it good!

I’ll add to April’s testimonial about how good Café Escapes are. In 2011 Café Escapes sent me a sampler with their original four flavors through Twitter. I wasn’t as impressed with the Chai Latte, but I’m not a chai fan. I did like the dark and milk hot chocolates and I was super impressed with the Mocha! I have a box of Mocha that is nearing its end now; I use it with the leftover candy canes to make peppermint Mocha for very few Weight Watchers points and under 100 calories if you use the mini candy canes. The Café Carmel is 60 calories, regular sugar sweetener and the tastes carmelly divine! I want to keep them hidden from my caramel-loving husband, but David is the one who took my coupon to the store to buy it. It’s gonna be hard to keep a secret!

**  An era in my digital scrapbooking history will end this month. At the end of the month Darlene Haughin will retire from scrapbook design. Darlene was the very first designer I for whom I was part of the creative team back in early 2008 and she is the only designer I’ve created for all five years.
Her designs fit my scrapping style so well and she has been a great “boss” to create for. I’m going to miss her work, but I totally understand burn-out and wanting to leave the designing behind and scrap for you again. I didn’t last nearly as long as a designer when I sold my kits.

So through the years many scrapbook layouts done with Darlene’s kits have appeared at The Chronicles of Nani. If you digi-scrap you can still get Darlene’s kits at her My Memories store. Here is a recent layout I did with Darlene’s Carmela kit:

Credit: Carmela by Darlene Haughin

**  I just wanted to mention that the current book I’m reading is Rare Traits by David George Clarke. I’m about half way through and so far the book is phenomenal! It totally captivates my love for mysteries and the Renaissance Italian Masters. I can’t get enough of it. The book is 474 pages, longish I suppose longer than the books I’ve been reading by about 100 pages, but I could probably be happy if it was 1000 pages; I could read it longer! I got the book at Smash Words  for 99 cents and so far I’d say it is definitely my bargain of the year. Even if I’m disappointed by the end the sheer reading pleasure of the past week makes the price a bargain.

And I’ll stop talking about it until I finish reading it now, but boy for a lover of mysteries and an Italian Renaissance art geek it kinda feels like the book was written just for me!

**  Time for a Morgan update. I wish I could say things are going well and everyone is adjusting nicely. Unfortunately, I can’t. Morgan is such a sweet girl to David and me, but the three cats are just mean to each other. Kaline and Carla are usually united, but there is still growling, hissing and screeching every day. It’s been almost 6 weeks now.

We’re going to try Feliway.  David calls it aromatherapy for cats. I refer to them meditating together or forming a kitty prayer circle. At any rate it’s called pheromonatherapy, using a synthetic copy of cat facial pheromones to calm them and help them get better adjusted. I hope it works. Morgan is so sweet to us, but she charges the other two, usually provoked by their growls, but she also launches preemptive strikes. The attacks on Kaline and Carla have to stop.

Honestly Feliway is Morgan’s stay of return sentence. If we see results, if the three cats can begin to be civil to each other and not make us fear for their collective safety, Morgan stays in her new home. If they can’t learn to peacefully coexist and end our worries that one of them could get hurt, Morgan will have to go back to the shelter. That makes me sad, because she is such an attentive cuddle bug with the humans and I take the promise to try to provide a good forever home seriously, but there was that same promise made to Carla and Kaline too. I hope it doesn’t turn out that Morgan is just a one-cat-home cat.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Donut Daze

Good Monday, Everyone! I woke up to the “tinging” sound of little pellets on the roof. Ugh. It just fuels my growls at the whole groundhog thing. I mean “early spring” and 6 weeks being the same thing notwithstanding, they never address what happens when the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, realizes he’s hungry and searches for a rutabaga which he doesn’t find and goes back to sleep grumbling that we woke him up and didn’t even feed him and curses us with an extended and confusing transition for winter to spring. And don’t forget a grumpy groundhog who is hungry and you don’t have a rutabaga for him will not only curse the perennials but he’ll probably eat some of them too. I figured that’s what happened to my favorite tulips last year. –sigh—

So after coming downstairs, I figured out my breakfast points like a good girl. I take a day off from the diet every couplafew weeks. I read some articles that suggested that was a good thing for dieting because it doesn’t allow metabolism to adjust, just like eating a variety of foods and changing things up a bit does. It actually makes sense. No one gains from one day of eating or one day of eating any more than they lose from one day of exercise. So I took yesterday as my day off. All a day off really means is that I didn’t count the number of chocolate eggs and I had extra donut servings. I’ve wanted a donut for a few weeks. It can’t be called a craving because a craving is fairly constant and a few weeks would never pass before insanity if it wasn’t satisfied. But for a few weeks when I think about breakfast “a donut” has often been my desire. So, yesterday when David was coming home from trying to catch a few trains in the holes of sunlight that occasionally broke through the clouds, he stopped at Tim Horton’s. YAY!

Unfortunately the Tim’s he stopped at did NOT have my favorite Walnut Crunch donuts, so he got me a 10-pack of Timbits, with nothing filled or powdered, and a half dozen of these babies:

They’re cream-filled, chocolate frosted Easter Egg Donuts. They’re so good! He and I both had one yesterday and with 4 left they were breakfast this morning. I like to keep my breakfasts at or under 10 points. I had an apple and coffee, very minimal points, and the Easter Egg donut make the rest of breakfast. I’ll have my yogurt with lunch.

So I’m sugared up and caffiened up and ready to get this week started!

Monday Quiz About Me
Hosted by Acting Balanced and Touristic

1. What is the most expensive car repair you ever paid for?

Well, my Dad paid for the transmission rebuild on my first car, so that doesn’t count. The most expensive repair I paid for was body work after an accident. It was my fault because I hit ice and skidded into the car in front of me. I’m actually kinda proud because the damage could have been so much worse to not just our cars if I hadn’t steered out of the skid. We didn’t file a report, just exchanged information and I paid for her repairs. I had a little crunch that’s still crunched 2 years later, but since it was my fault, repairing her car was my priority.

2. Who is the big bad wolf in your world?

Multiple Sclerosis

3. At what age is the best to have a first child?

It’s different for every person. Preferably it’s timed so that both members of a couple are ready to make or adopt a child, or that a woman or man is emotionally and financially stable enough to take on the responsibilities of single parenthood by having or adopting a child.

That’s my opinion in an ideal world.

In a less than ideal world, adoptions can happen in a hurry if a child loses its parents or the parents are unable to emotionally care for the child. There is also the “oops” factor. Unfortunately too many “oops” factor babies are born to parent(s) who are not chronologically, emotionally or financially ready to have a child but rather than ensuring the child has a healthy loving and at least basic needs home with parents who are ready to adopt, force the baby into a disadvantaged future.

Um, I guess that was a bit of a soap box…. 

25 years old

4. When was the last time you said something nice to someone?

I’m usually a nice person and I don’t keep track of when I say something nice. But now that I’m trying to think of when the last time was, I don’t really remember, so maybe I’m not such a nice person after all.

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

5. How long do you think it takes for a new pet to recognize its name?

We’ve had Morgan for 5 weeks now and she seems to have no clue what a Morgan is. I guess this troubles me because Kaline and Carla seem to know who I’m talking about when I say Morgan’s name. Carla was responding to “Carla” after about three weeks, but she responded to “Sassy,” her shelter name, too so a little bit of calling her “Sassy-Carla” was really all it took. Morgan doesn’t respond to “Bissett” either.

When I say “Morgan” around them, Kaline and Carla go on high alert and begin looking around for Morgan, but Morgan occasionally flicks her ears when I say her name, but mostly she acts like “What’s a Morgan?”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: Ascend (Trylle #3) by Amanda Hocking

Book Synopsis from Good Reads

The final book in the Trylle Trilogy..
With a war looming on the horizon, Wendy's fate seems sealed.But everything she sacrificed might be in vain if she can't save the ones she loves.

Her whole life has been leading up to this, and it's all coming to an end.

My Review at Good Reads

5 out of 5 Stars

NOW I get to give five stars. The last book in the series wrapped things up well and it did wrap up the way I wished it would. I liked the idealistic political undertones wanting to get the kingdom to update with the times and change old ways when very stubborn followers of the old ways resisted, even to the point of wanting to overthrow the current royal family because they wanted change. Ah, but before change, the kingdom must be saved!

The Trylle are at war with the Vittra, whose sadistic king is in fact Wendy’s father. In order for the war to really end she must do what no one’s been able to do yet. She has to figure out how to kill her father. Oren, the king is nearly immortal. That’s not an attitude; that’s his special troll gift. It’s easy to abuse your subjects and wage war with other troll tribes when you have that “get out of death free” card in your pocket.

There are attacks, people die. There is a climactic final battle, people….oh read the books they’re worth the effort!

Keep in mind that it’s young adult. The death and torture is semi graphic, there is some lightly descriptive sex and in the end the good guys… Read the books!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Soup for the Soul

As promised, I’m adding a little of the things I’m writing anyway to The Chronicles of Nani. This is the journaling page for 52 topix, Week 4, January 22-28.

Credits: In The Kitchen by Inspired Designs

The topic was soup. As always with this project, the journaling page takes me on a tour of my thoughts, opinions or memories as I pretty much free-form journal and clean it up a little later.

Soup For The Soul

There are all those “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books out. I’ve read some of them; Mom even got me “Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan’s Soul” many years ago. They are all books of short inspirational stories. Actually, totally my kind of books! Mom got that about me.

A pot of homemade soup is like that. Aside from the ages old tales of chicken soup for colds or other illnesses, chicken soup is comfort food. It’s the most common and usually the first soup an American kid tastes. It truly does warm you from the very core; the soul. How is that?

I remember snow days where my brother and I would be outside playing in the snow that was some winters almost as deep as we were tall. I stayed out for a while, even though I never liked being cold, I did like building snowmen. Ours never turned out as good as the ones Pop helped us build, By helped us build, I mean he let us make the initial snowballs that he rolled into the body parts. He was usually home since if the buses couldn’t get to school, you sure couldn’t do outdoor construction work! After we finished our snowman, we’d go inside for something hot for lunch or a snack. “Something hot” always included soup. Most often lunch on a cold day for us kids included Campbell’s Chicken and Stars, which is my ultimate comfort soup today.

About those snowmen of my childhood, they were huge, they really were! I remember snowmen as tall as my dad decorated with everyday things Pop found in the house or garage that made our snowmen more lifelike than frosty. I don’t care what the lying photos say now; they were as tall as Pop, not just tall as us!

My mom made wonderful soup from anything! She made soup from leftovers that was a whole new meal and our favorite she made was Hot Dog Soup, which was pretty much potato soup with hot dogs in it. Noni would have a pot boiling half the day to make stock for her wonderful soups with noodles made from scratch. Pop makes wonderful thick and hearty minestrone starting with a prosciutto end. It’s no wonder that I can’t allow the carcass of a turkey or rotisserie chicken be the end of the meal! Our home is often filed with the aroma of soup turning the end into a new beginning for future meals!

Soup is warmth, comfort, memories and tradition; the ultimate food for the soul!

Luck O' The Hodge Podge

1. Do you play games of luck/chance for money? Have you ever played bingo for money? Visited a casino? Placed a bet on a horse? Bought a lottery ticket?

Not for big money, but I’ve bought a lottery ticket, usually scratch-offs, but I’ve bought or David and I have bought a Lotto ticket once or twice. I used to go to the harness races with my parents for a nice dinner and to watch the races. My Dad would place a $2 show bet for me and one for Mom for each race on the horses of our choice. I always picked the horse with my favorite name in the race. He let me keep anything I won. One night John and I were going to Canada the next day and I won enough to buy us a nice dinner. But that wasn’t my money doing the betting and I didn’t have to pay for the actual bets. I won decent sums in a few races, but nothing in a few too.

I’ve been to a casino a few times, including a few in Vegas. I brought the money I planned to lose, my entertainment budget for the trip, and brought home $100 of it, a net loss but I considered it winning because I didn’t lose as much as I planned. I did actually have a winning night in a casino once. John took me to the Motor City Casino with him for dinner; he was a regular player and got a huge coupon to a restaurant that he could only afford with a coupon and took lil' sis for a spoil evening. I brought $20 to lose after dinner and took $75 home. I love video poker!

2. Will you be preparing and/or dining on the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage meal this St. Patrick's Day? Mashed-baked-hash browned-french fried...your favorite way to have potatoes?

I used to love corned beef but now I’ll likely never eat it again. Vertigo and subsequent porcelain hugging pretty much killed the taste of corned beef for me. It happened twice after eating corned beef when I had an inner ear infection in early 2004. I thought I’d become allergic to corned beef, but it was just coincidence that had the same effect.

3. What's the last thing you felt 'green with envy' over?

Envy is something I really never have, not real envy. I will say “I envy you,” but it really means “I’m happy for you.” I really don’t have a feeling of wanting something someone else has or a situation someone else has that bad. Maybe sometimes I grumble because someone “doesn’t deserve” a situation or good fortune because they didn’t earn it, or hurt too many people on the way. But I certainly don’t envy the karma they did earn to go with it!

4. What's at the end of your rainbow?

A big cup of good coffee! :)

My Ginger Scraps signature this month
Credits: It Happened This Year by Connie Prince, 
coffee cur (slightly recolored) from Where’s My Coffee by Aprilisa Designs

5. March 12th marks the anniversary of the death of Anne Frank (June 12, 1929-March, 1945). Anne's diary detailing her time spent hiding from the Nazi's during the war ranks as one of the best selling books of all time. Besides your blog, do you keep any sort of diary or journal? Was this a habit you developed as a child or is journaling something new for you?

I kept a personal journal as well as a couple for classes in high school. Stupid me, I threw out all of my high school journals in my 20s because I thought they were silly “kid stuff.” I’d love to be able to go back and read that kid stuff now if just for the laugh. I started keeping a journal again in 1994, trying to be more formal about it, but I found that I had lots of personal notes in with my papers. Today, the Chronicles of NanI file on my computer and extended hard drive contains yearly documents that include my blog posts, papers, some message board and Facebook posts and my personal entries. Remember that I write when I’m angry, depressed or worried because if I just write, the actual cause of my negative emotions comes out and I can resolve them. Sometimes that takes a few days and 30 pages, but it works for me.

6. What's an item in your home or closet that contains every color of the rainbow?

Jelly bean jar

7. Write a limerick with you as the subject. You can do it!! Just remember this is a family friendly blog...don't make me get out my wooden spoon.

Nani likes coffee from Nantucket… hehehe

I suffer from creative blocks
For writing a limerick that rocks
The meter and rhyme
Though often sublime
Is messed up from changing the clocks

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I admit that I struggled with the fourth line of my limerick and I have to credit David for it. Sublime isn’t a word in my regular usage vocabulary, I just know it when I read it in context. That means all on its own, I had to get the definition before I used it because it’s not a normal Nani-word. The definition tells me David has a much higher opinion of my poetry than modesty allows me to have.

I haven’t been blogging as often as usual because I really have had blogger’s block, even for witty or informative answers for some of the memes. That may be in part to just time and the amount of writing I do for my Project 52 this year! What I think I’ll do is post the main journaling part of each week as a blog post. Hopefully that will kick my blogger’s block in the butt. I’m going to start posting some of the layouts and journaling I’ve already done, since I’m working on the week 10 layout right now and haven’t posted all of the layouts for the first 9. Also, Week 10’s topic is Smash Books and the main journaling is pretty much things I already said in the Smashing Defined…Sorta post from October. So I may start with posting the journaling as I go with next week. But look for a 52 topix post this afternoon.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: Torn (Trylle #2) by Amanda Hocking

Book Synopsis from Good Reads

Torn (Trylle 2) by Amanda Hocking

When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.

As a special gift to readers, this book contains a new, never-before-published bonus story, “One Day, Three Ways,” set in the magical world of the Trylle.

My Review on Good Reads

4 of 5 stars

So my reaction to book 2 ending was pretty much the same as the end of book one; “NO! It can’t be done, I have more questions!” Which is of course how a book 2 should end, right? I’m really looking forward to giving book 3 5 stars, when the story is complete. At least I hope I’ll feel it warrants five stars!

In this books Wendy becomes stronger, in many ways and I really like her even more! I also got to know the character Tove better and I like him quite a lot too. Tove is an "acceptable" love interest for the princess, well, according to the Trylle class system he’s acceptable. How two who have become good friends become more, well… This is a non-spoiler review, but I will say “read this series!”

As the Finn character has developed I like him less and less. A new character, briefly introduced in the extra short at the end of book one, Loki, is from the court of the Vittra, who are at war with the Trylle, I find Loki to be quirky, but I really like him. I like the portrayal of the hope that the next generation can fix what generations before them have broken. Isn’t that a modern hope among us humans as well?

There are three “after chapters” at the end of this book too. As the books are told in first person by the princess, Wendy, the extras get into the minds of three key characters. It solidified my opinion that I am starting to NOT like Finn and really like both Tove and Loki.

So far, it’s a great trilogy; not super deep, it’s young adult section reading, but it definitely makes some statements and gives some thoughts to ponder. But most of all, it’s just a fun escape from our more common reality.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Answer is Orange

March is MS Awareness month. We went to the Toledo Walleye MS Awareness day game, which, by the way they lost just seconds into overtime after they tied the game with a last minute goal. It was still a fun day. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but I like to watch a good game now and then. It just would have been nicer if the home team had won.

I was troubled with my wardrobe. Orange is the color for MS Awareness and I just don’t have a lot of orange clothes. Even my favorite MS Awareness shirt is gray with orange in the design. I want a couple more MS shirts, an MS bracelet or two and a pin. I also want a coffee mug; of course I need that! That’s what I want to do personally. I want to own my own situation a little better.

Now let’s join Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic for the Monday Quiz!

1. Which are you better at: Reading, Writing or Math?

Much as I hated the idea when I was in sixth grade, I’ve always scored best in math. I was the only sixth grader in seventh grade accelerated math. Kids hated me and called me the most horrible names and I hated that I scored so well. I refused to tell my math classmates what my grade were because some of them were struggling... I wasn’t.

I finally dumbed myself down in seventh grade because, even though I just barely missed the cut to be put in algebra, they put me in algebra anyway. I didn’t do well because I didn’t apply myself. I also never did algebra homework.

I am so thankful that smart kids aren’t as tortured today as they were 30 years ago! I coulda been a contender…as a mathlete! :)

So, today, while I love to read and comprehend and retain what I read well, functional math is still something I do well without trying hard…and even without a calculator!

2. Tell us a good 'come back' story. Where you were down but were able to reverse fortunes and come out on top.

I kinda think I AM a comeback story every day!

3. Which would you rather do: dine or eat?

Dining is okay once in a while as a treat, but eating is eating. I either feel like cooking and then I make an attractive plate that I munch while I’m reading or doing something on the computer or I just grab something, make a quick sandwich or nuke a can of soup. If I made an event out of it all the time it wouldn’t be special and I prefer dining to be special.

4. What is one thing that someone close to you does that just annoys the heck out of you?

People close to me, even David, do little things that make me roll my eyes maybe, as I’m sure I do for them, but annoy the heck out of me? No one really annoys the heck out of me and stays close.

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

5. What was the last sports event you went to? (any level of play)

Well, the last sports event I went to is the one I mentioned above, Toledo Walleye hockey. The Walleye are the minor league affiliate for both the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks.

Of course, the sport for which it’s not a guarantee that a week later I won’t have seen another game since then starts official in a month! The Opening Day holiday is April 1 this year.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Book Review: Antiques Roadkill by Barbara Allan

Book Synopsis from Good Reads

Brandy Borne and her mother Vivian find themselves investigating the murder of a crooked antiques dealer who just happened to take Vivian for all she was worth. Now they are in a race to find the murderer before he or she strikes again because they could very well be next!

My Review at Good Reads

4 out of 5 stars

This was such a fun read! Told in first person by Brandy Borne, a recent divorcee who really did "go home to mother," leaving Chicago and returning to her small hometown on the banks of the Mississippi to try to put the pieces together again. It was like you were reading a story being told over coffee with the story teller, including all the parentheticals and side note opinions and remarks. It's a serious story, there is murder, there are priceless antique heirlooms and there is definitely some mental imbalance, but don't be so quick to point a finger at the crazy ones or the murderer.

I though the book was interesting as a murder story, but just as entertaining as listening to an amazing story as told by my best friend. I felt like Brandy was a friend by about half way through the book, that is she was likable and I was shocked at what shocked her, mistrusted those she didn’t trust and felt the same "AH-HA!" moments she did, right or wrong. The end of the book made perfect sense, in a fiction sort of way, and I never tried to figure it out before the end because I was just enjoying my "coffee with Brandy" too much.

With the exception of the real psychos, I know or have known a lot of the characters. It made a lighter side mystery very real and a pleasure to read.