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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Book Review: Antiques Maul by Barbara Allan

Finished March 25, 2015

Synopsis on Good Reads

After her impossible-but-adorable mother quits the local theater group, Brandy Borne has a brilliant idea for keeping Mother out of trouble: open their own booth at the new antiques mall in town. But things turn grim when a body is found between the cigar-store Indian and the chamber pot. The local law believes that normally good-natured Brad Pit Bull, the victim's dog, mauled its owner to death. But Brandy and Mother suspect the hound has been framed. And as Halloween approaches, true terror unmasks itself when Brandy's young son, Jacob, goes missing. Now Brandy and her diva mom are on the hunt to find Jake before a devious killer can maul again.

My Review on Good Reads
3.5 of 5 stars

I read the first book in the Trash ‘n Treasures series, Antiques Road Kill, a couple years ago and found it to be a cute read with fun characters and a light murder-mystery. Antiques Maul is a natural continuation of those characters with main character and first person narrator, Brandy Borne, and her eccentric mother, Vivian, maintaining their booth, number 13, at the local antiques mall. The Borne women are once again involved enough in a murder that they need to solve it before they’re next!

I enjoyed the book as just what I expected it to be; a cute story and characters that made me chuckle. It didn’t have to be believable; it just had to make sense within itself. It was an entertaining light read.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It Only Takes A Few Drops

(Nani grooving to funky music)
 “I’m up all night to get lucky…”

What a great Friday!

The garage door opener tech-guys were over bright and early to find out why our garage door has been open for a few days. It was stuck and David thought he hit a rest button that made the button in the garage work but none of the remotes worked. The service call was almost $100. It would be plus parts if they could fix it, half could be use towards an all new opener if they couldn’t fix it and if hitting reset cleared the boxes it would probably be money spent so they could click a couple buttons and say goodbye. Well, it needed a part that they had in the truck, put it in and the door opens fine again. It cost much less than we feared it could, but it was indeed necessary to pay the service fee and have them come out.

How about another for today? David and I want to go see Lindsey Stirling in Michigan in June. I was in charge of finding out what the venue, that I haven’t been to since long before the wheelchair days, has for accessible seating. They have wheelchair spaces and chairs for companions and the level area right behind the pavilion seating. But since the accessible seating in the outdoor theater is just outside of the pavilion cover, the seats are priced as lawn seats. $25 for a concert!

Now, as for my title and beginning of the blog; how could the day not be just golden for me? Let me back up a bit. It’s my few drops of Irish blood this St. Patrick’s Day week, you see. I guess that even though those few drops that gave me green eyes and summer freckles is from the orange side of the flag, the Irish blessing still applies. I have slowed way down in my music, books and scrapbooking allowance every month since Christmas. Two gift cards for Christmas loaded up my iPad with books, so I haven’t suffered there and I’m conservative with scrapbook supplies I buy and only shop sales, but there hasn’t been more than two new songs a month where I used to give myself a limit of ten a month. Since I hadn’t bought a song in quite a while and was dying to hear that Daft Punk song, Get Lucky, I bought it yesterday evening. No, the song is NOT about Irish luck, but that doesn’t matter.

On St. Patrick’s Day Ginger Scraps had a contest that I joined in on. There was a list of 23 designers and those who played along were to torture themselves by going through very one of the 23 stores and pick out one kit that you’d want if you could have any kit in their shop and put the title and link to it in your document with the 23 titles and links. It really was having some fun and helping to promote the store, part by beefing up your own wish list. One lucky player would be selected at random and actually win their entire lit!! 23 designers and the average cost of a kit is about $6. It’s an over $100 prize! When I read my email this morning at about 6:30AM there was an email alerting me to a private message at Ginger Scraps. I’d forgotten all about the game on St. Patty’s Day and I wondered if it was something about the last layout I posted there. The title of the message; “You Are The Lucky Lady!” I was the random selection! I won 23 kits!

I am floored! I am excited! How cool is that??

Then there was the happy garage door fix and at noonish, l logged on to Facebook because the iPad said I had a private message from Jill, of Created by Jill Scraps. Jill’s one of my favorite current designers. I get her newsletter and I have a separate folder in my scrapbook cross reference file because she doesn’t sell at a store where I usually do challenges and want to access her kits quickly when I scrap. I’d left a comment on her Facebook page in a “leave a comment to win” thread. A random winner would receive her new in store today kit. Guess who is Ms. Random again today?! After posting here I’ll be on my way to Pickleberry Pop to download my new kit!

I’ve had some struggling days since the end of last year. A day like today, a Nani is a lucky winner day, well, if that’s not a great way to say “Happy Spring First…” I guess an all-expense paid trip to Florida or Arizona, but I don’t recall entering anything like that to be surprised about. But it’s been an awesome day to say good riddance to another winter.

Now I’m turning up the Daft Punk and heading to check out that Pickle Barrel!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy Black Cat Holiday!

Happy Friday the 13th to all the kitties and the humans brave enough to embrace rather than fear black acts and the number 13! It makes me sad that black cats are hard to place shelter cats. They say it’s because people think they’re “bad luck.” Really? In 2015? It’s just amazing that will all the very real bad things in our world people still fall for unsubstantiated superstitions with archaic roots and take out their gullible fear-attitudes on innocent animals. We celebrate Friday the 13th as a cat-holiday and have adopted the American St Patrick’s Day attitude for it – “Pet me, I’m a black cat” and every cat is a black cat on Friday the 13th!

Please feel free to right click and save the graphic I made for the holiday and share it on your blog or social media sites too. Make Friday the 13th a fun day; catnip for everyone! (and something with milk, like chocolate or ice cream if you don’t do nip.)

Now I’m joining Heather at Feeling Beachie for Follow Friday Four Fill In Blog Hop. This is a meme I haven’t done in a while, but I really enjoy! Stop over to Feeling Beachie to join the fun!

The statements:
1. The worst ____________ is _______________
2. I would rather____________________ than _____________
3. I can ________ but I wish I could ________
4. The song ________________ evokes memories of _______________

My Answers:
1. The worst thing about autumn is winter is the next season.
2. I would rather sit at a ballpark in a rain delay than watch a parade in the snow.
3. I can spin in circles at the mall in my power chair like a tilt-a-whirl but I wish I could still climb into a real Tilt-A-Whirl at a carnival. (That one was too easy, huh?)
4. The song Mess Is Mine by Vance Joy, my current favorite, evokes memories of how wonderful David is and how lucky I am.

I leave you with my signature for Ginger Snaps this month. The challenge was lots of green in your siggie. I got that, but NO green shamrocks! My green eyes and summer freckles are courtesy of the orange part of the flag! My mom used to tell me that it irritated my great grandfather when she wore green to school on St. Patrick ’s Day because her Irish heritage was orange not green. So while I do wear green too, I’ve always made sure to rock a little orange on that Irish holiday in memory of Dad-dad.

Credits: Break Time by Colie’s Corner, Lucky Me by Aprilisa Designs, 
Crocuses from Vintage Rose Blossom by Carena Designs

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My New Personal Trainer?

 Yummy lunch salad only one weekly point on "Simply Filling"

Thursday is the first day of the week for my Weight Watchers tracker. That means that Thursday is, ideally , weigh-in day and the day my 49 points a week for treats or to add to days I have the munchies reset. I’ve been having troubles with fluctuating losses and gains battling with steroids, depression and lately just sheer frustration and the wintertime blues. When I said “diet program,” when I was in counseling the doctor asked me which “diet plan?” She smiled when I said Weight Watchers and told me it was the only answer that would have been acceptable. Weight Watchers is paying attention to and balancing the real food you eat anyway, adding or subtracting to obtaining that balance. Diets with prepackaged food or regimens that leave out your favorites are recipes for defeats that risk mental health as well.

Weight Watchers points system is customizable. There is no food that is considered an “off limits” food and exercise routine is required. One of the program styles that’s a little more strict is called “Simply Filling. With Simply Filling you eat until you are full, but from a list of “power foods;” fat free dairy, fresh vegetables and fruits and lean meats without added fat. You still get 49 bonus points a week, but those points are used for low fat instead of fat-free cheese, the required healthy oils for balance or shake and bake coating on a pork chop. (planned dinner for David and me this weekend) So, it’s a little more strict on food choices, but some have found it very successful and it is very similar to the way I eat anyway, minus the chocolate. So I’ve decided to kick-restart myself using the Simply Filling plan for 2 weeks. After that initial 2 weeks, I’m going to alternate between a week on the Simply Filling plan and a week on the regular points plan. That means I’ll get my double scoop waffle cone every other week instead of every week. By alternating weeks on the different plans I should be mixing it up enough to confuse my metabolism into working harder. We’ll see how it works.

Now the personal trainer I was talking about? Well, remember that it’s not a WW requirement to have an activity routine, but it is encouraged through extra point that can be earned, “activity points,” to add extra food points to your food budget. Well, how much exercise am I able to get in a power chair? Marco to the rescue!

We often joke about Marco being part lots of other animals, including part dog in that he eats everything he finds on the floor and he also plays fetch! He has purple and green jingly balls like that one in the picture. When he wants to play he brings David the ball and David tosses it for him. He keeps bringing it back, just like a dog playing fetch! As long as Daddy throws it, he keeps bringing it back. Well just this morning, he brought the ball to me. It didn’t take him too long to figure out just where he needs to put the ball so I can bend over, reach for it and pick it up to throw it for him. I don’t know if it’s worth any activity points, but after a few times I can feel the end, reach, throw, repeat. Even a little movement from a wheelchair is a good thing, right?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Signs of Spring

The notion that spring will come was the picture of the baseball players and palm trees. But now the first signs on spring are happening in Naniland! David was getting ready to leave for a playdate in Michigan Sunday morning. I lovingly call model railroad sessions grownup playdates, like fantasy sports, but trains. I saw him looking at the ground and pointing his phone. I got a text as he was coming back in to give me a goodbye kiss and he told me to look at the picture because it would make me happy.

I was indeed very happy! As the snow melts away it exposes the crocuses poking through last fall’s remaining leaves. Spring is coming! Once the snow has all receded from the flower beds we’ll need to blow the leaves out and pull the straggly remains of last year’s wild roses so the spring perennials can bloom. There is always one last windy day in the fall that puts that nasty blanket of dead leaves under the snow. But my crocuses are my spirit flower. We both fight whatever they load on us to bloom. I think the crocuses are better at it than I am, but they inspire me.

The other Naniland sign of spring is my hankering for ice cream returns. Ice cream is my favorite food group and I still enjoy it once in a while when it’s cold, but more often I prefer it melted into a coffee drink in the winter. On Saturday I grabbed out one of my Giant Latte bars that’s been there since December.

It wasn’t freezer-burned, but there was a nice layer of ice crystals on it. There’s one more bar in the box and then I’ll be thinking about getting some icy pops and other novelty treats. For the freezer. My afternoon mochas will be transitioning to afternoon ice cream soon!

Just As a note for anyone who read that 50 Shades of Grey review and wondered what the canapé knives looked like.

That image is from the web but they are the exact set I got. 3 romance novels a month from Harlequin and they came with a free knife. Get 6 month of romance books and you have the full set. The wood block came with the first knife. I got the books for 6 months to get the whole set of knives and then quit because the books were pretty much all the same and really not good books. I guess I’m a snob because I read a lot of classic literature in my teens and 20s. Now I read the classics here and there, but I read a lot of action crime mysteries. So after the 50 Shades review I guess I’m, a tomboy snob?

It’s a busy week for me this week and a busy week when the weather is warmer isn’t a bad thing. David met me at the medical supply place this morning to look at lift chair recliners. The probability is that insurance doesn’t cover any of the cost of the chair, but my doctor wrote up a medical necessity form to see if that coaxes them to reconsider. Even if the insurance company doesn’t budge that form will make it an acceptable tax deduction for 2015. Since the chairs are not at all cheap and frankly I can’t afford it, David and I agreed to split the cost of the chair. It helps keep my pride and my financial stress balanced.

I sat in a model chair to see if my width of butt and length of legs fit. I tell you I lifted the legs and moved it back and could have fallen asleep right there. It fit perfectly and I think it’s going to have a happy home with us. Well, it’ll make a happy home too! It’s going to be ready for delivery in 3-4 weeks since the chair is built when it’s ordered. It’s going to be a medium-dark green called evergreen which will match our sofa and contrasts well with the Wedgewood blue sofa sleeper of mine in storage at a time we decide to switch the sofas.

One more piece of recent Art Journaling:

Credits: Mostly elements from She Felt SAD by Wendy Tunison, 
CU Window by CJ's Dreams and very old un-TOS papers in my stash

But I’m starting to lose those winter blues!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Book Review: 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Finished March 5, 2015

Synopsis on Good Reads

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

My review on Good Reads

1 of 5 stars (because I can’t give 0 on Good Reads)

Back in 2012 my husband and I joined my vacationing family in North Carolina for a few days of our vacation time at The Outer Banks. One afternoon I was sitting in the living room at the beach house with my Nook. My aunt asked me “Are you reading 50 Shades of Grey?” The highly touted for being scandalous book was new and very popular. I thought then and still believe it’s true ta this book could only become as popular as it did because of eReaders. With an eReader you can read anything anywhere and no one can see the book’s cover or title to judge.

I wasn’t reading 50 Shades of Grey in the summer of 2012. I was actually pretty shocked that my aunt asked if I was specifically reading that book instead of “What are you reading? I really do believe eReaders are what made the “scandalous content” popular for the average American Soccer Mom.

Now 2-1/2 years later the movie is out, the “raunchy BDSM content” is all the talk again and the debates about if the book; Is actually porn? Is the movie porn? Does it demean women or support the abuse of women? Is it a preachy sermon about a woman submitting to a man like the bible says?

Okay, that last one is a sarcastic comment by me. I really haven’t read about any ministers liking it.

The truth is, it’s just a romance novel and not a very good one. Yes, Mr. Grey has a fully stocked play room. It was referred to more than it was actually visited or used in the book. The sex, and there was a lot of it, wasn’t anything even a little kinky until 60% of the way into the book. (Thank you Kindle for measuring the book in percentages) I read a few Harlequin romances in my 20s. There was a 3-books-a-month deal with a very nice set of canapé knives that came with a block for serving; one knife each month. I got the books until I had all six canapé knives and then cancelled the subscription because the books were basically all the same. There is more sex in 50 Shades of Grey than I recall in the Harlequins but it was more boring than I remember the sex being in the Harlequin books. Maybe that’s because I was in my 20s then and I’m in my 40s now. Maybe a romance novel needs more sex to sell to the “modern woman.”

I read the book as fast as I could, often skimming through the sex scenes; all I needed to know was which piece of furniture and the rest was the same as the last chapter. The novel is in first person, told by the main character, Ana, and I didn’t like her at all; I really wanted out of her silly head. The book really wasn’t well written, the story was trite, and I disliked the narrator; a crappy book trifecta. Much like the lead up to the movie release of Blair Witch Project, the product was unworthy of the hype.

I got my 50 shades of pop culture. Now I’m going to find a GOOD book to read.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: The Collectors by David Baldacci (Camel Club #2)

Finished February 28, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads

In Washington, D.C, where power is everything and too few have too much of it, four highly eccentric men with mysterious pasts call themselves the Camel Club. Their mission: find out what's really going on behind the closed doors of America's leaders.

The assassination of the U.S. Speaker of the House has shaken the nation. And the outrageous iconoclasts of the Camel Club have found a chilling connection with another death: the demise of the director of the Library of Congress's rare books room, whose body has been found in a locked vault where seemingly nothing could have harmed him.

A man who calls himself Oliver Stone is the groups unofficial leader. Staying one step ahead of his violent past and headquartered in a caretaker's cottage in Mt. Zion Cemetery, Stone, drawing on his vast experience and acute deductive powers, discovers that someone is selling America to its enemies one classified secret at a time. When Annabelle Conroy, the greatest con artist of her generation, struts onto the scene in high-heeled boots, the Camel Club gets a sexy new edge. And they'll need it, because the two murders are hurtling them into a world of high-stakes espionage that threatens to bring America to its knees.

From an ingenious con in Atlantic City tho the possible forgery of one of the rarest and most valuable books in America history, to a showdown of epic proportions in the very heart of the capitol, David Baldacci weaves a brilliant, white-knuckle tale of suspense in which every collector is searching for one missing prize: the one to die for.

My review at Good Reads

4 of 5 Stars

Sometimes I feel like that tough English teacher who doesn’t grade on a class curve but on a personal curve; how does this compare to what you’re capable of doing? I do rate this higher than the first Camel Club book, but I still struggle with believability issues.

I like the Camel Club; I mean I like the characters, the individuals in the club come from varied pasts and presents, build on each other’s strengths and support each other’s weaknesses, like people do in good friendships, and they are good friends. And those traits of supportive teamwork are essential in business for successful team efforts, which is why I don’t have any personal issues with the Camel Club’s efforts working in the end. It’s just sometimes it’s hard to believe they don’t get caught doing some things. Then again I’m usually surprised when they do get caught because they seem to be approaching it more sensibly than the times they didn’t. The point is that, believability of the plot aside; I’d sit down for coffee with any member of the Camel Club except that I would worry about the possibility a new very real conspiracy starting with a poisoned cup of coffee.

There was one “scene” in The Collectors where once the bad-guys left the room I could hear the announcer from the old Adam West Batman series posing the rhetorical “Will our heroes escape with their lives?” questions with a “Same Camel Chapter” promise to read on and find out. I enjoyed the old Batman series as a kid, but I sat down in front of the TV with very different expectations than I do when I open a thriller to read. I do admit that as I get used to that combination of serious, a little funny and some over the top so far the suspense is silly combination those expectations change and the reading is more pleasurable.

I liked the see-sawing between the head spy and the Camel Club and that the Camel Club did not have it all figured out in the second chapter. They were even wrong in some of their deductions from the facts presented. I like the addition of “Annabelle” even though her seeming infallibility was a bit much.

If you’re looking for a thriller that makes you wonder if maybe what you’re reading could actually be going on somewhere, there are Baldacci titles that will give you that, but 2 books in I’d say the Camel Club books don’t fit that bill. What you do get is four likable guys, some beyond logic clues and situations, a little bit of old Batman TV and a bad-guy reveal bat the end that has a little flavor of Scooby-Do with guns. I have to admit I enjoyed it although I’m not personally handing out any literary awards. As much as I hate cliff hangers, there is a cliff hanger, so Camel Club #3 is already in my e-library.