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The first “thrill” of MS is that it's not my fault and I couldn't have prevented it. The next thrill will be when they can fix it.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why is it so hard to say “Happy Holidays?”

We had a very nice group meeting last night with our MS Self Help Group. Everyone was invited to bring holiday cookies to share and we enjoyed cookies, a game and our usual conversation. At the end of the evening even I said “Merry Christmas” because it had become evident over the course of the evening that everyone present in our modestly-sized group celebrates Christmas. That makes it okay. If anyone had not been forthcoming about Christmas traditions at home or had mentioned honoring a holiday that wasn’t Christmas at this time of year I would have said “Happy Holidays.” This is not a new practice for me and I don’t understand how it can be offensive.

I’ve mentioned before that when I was 6 I made the decision to become a nun when I grew up. I think I also mentioned that by age 9 I decided Catholicism wasn’t for me. I consider myself a Universal Unitarian now and those years of “studying” to become a nun pretty much made me a Unitarian. It’s the concept of “studying” religion in elementary school. It never occurred to my very young self that if I wanted to learn how to be a good nun, “ask a nun.” I was in Catholic school; it’s not like finding a nun was difficult. But I listened and learned in class when we had our religion lessons and I watched my first-grade teacher and aware that there would be tougher things to learn when I was older but the most important thing I had to start doing was learn how to love everyone. An important part of that was understanding.

I went to different vacation bible schools, my parents were quite pleased that I wanted to go to bible school in the summer, and more than one week of it! I went to Bible School and youth events in various Christian churches and found them to be pretty much the same. It didn’t matter what you called your religion; if you love God and love people, God is pleased. Also the “golden rule” at home from the time we were kids agreed with that thought. It was was simple to our child-minds and it grew more immense and a little more challenging as we got older but it never changed. Mom’s rule was “Stay straight with God and stay straight with man.” How wonderfully simple. It was basically if you have self-respect and respect for other people, you’re okay. I still find that simple rule, although as an adult it's more difficult, to be a good golden rule.

When I was 7 or 8 my world got a little bigger. I wasn’t in Catholic School or Baptist and Methodist bible school and field trips. I was bowling now. Our bowling league wasn’t a religious event, it was just fun. Don’t ever think for a moment that kids don’t have serious discussions just like adults do. At bowling was the first time I asked someone else, “You mean you don’t celebrate Christmas?” Imagine a Catholic kid having a theological discussion with a Jewish kid at a bowling alley. That happened with no adults, no one insisting the other was wrong, respect and genuine interest in hearing about each others holidays. My fiends' idea of what Jesus did, a great rabbi and teacher, was different, but the stories and morals were the same. Over the course of a few months 2 things happened to me. First I formed the opinion that if God was able to make all things possible, why wouldn’t he have different ways to reach everyone? I mean if he made us all different wouldn’t he be what would make us comfortable with him adjusted for how he made us? Yes, as a child I REALLY deviated from the becoming a nun plan with that opinion. Your religious practices don’t matter if you’re a good person. I also never said “Merry Christmas” to people I didn’t know again. “Happy Holidays” included Hanukkah and that was nicer to my friends who were Jewish than to wish them to enjoy a holiday they don’t even celebrate. I still said “Merry Christmas” to family, friends I knew had Christmas, people in church, but never to someone I didn’t know. I thought of that as bringing my Christmas happiness to everyone not as anyone taking my holiday away from me.

I still say “Happy Holidays” to people I don’t know unless they’re wearing a Santa hat or a t-shirt that says something about Christmas. That’s still respect; sharing my holiday spirit rather than pushing my practices on someone I don’t even know. I don’t really know when erring on the side of respect became offensive to anyone. If anything in the holiday season, that becomes more anti-people every year, has or is still steering me away from the beliefs and traditions of my young childhood it’s not the people who aren’t me that want to respect and be respected, it’s the people who celebrate the same as I do that refuse to respect others.

If a stranger says “Happy Holidays” to you don’t say “You mean Merry Christmas” to them which essentially says their greeting isn’t good enough for you. Just smile and say “have a great holiday” back to them sharing whatever holiday spirit you hold in your heart. If respect is offensive to you maybe you’re the one “ruining Christmas.”

My Christmas wish is that everyone has a safe and joyful holiday season!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ah, December…

I want to apologize because it’s been over a week since I posted! I know I’ve chosen to take sabbaticals without mentioning it before. Wow, that makes me sound flighty. I’m really not so flighty, it’s just that The Chronicles of Nani is my hobby and non-cyber issues like medical, family and legal junk take precedence over bogging or scrapbooking. Visualize if you will that we all hang out at the same coffee shop and I don’t show up for my usual coffee for about a week. Sure, you might be concerned and I’ll definitely feel bad that I made you worry, but it wasn’t necessarily that anything is wrong or that I’m not having my coffee; it’s just that I’ve been getting a cup at a drive-thru and haven’t been able to stop and check-n!

This past week has been, well, odd. In a nutshell I had a medicine change that I don’t think my body has adjusted to yet. As a result I haven’t been sleeping well with any regularity and that’s left the door open for the MS fatigue to shine, or dim as it were. Unplanned power-naps a few times a day mess with my to-do lists!

Yesterday I found and old Barnes and Noble gift card and tried it out to see if it was still valid. There’s been a balance on the card but it was a few years old. The card was still valid and the balance still there! Except that it’s not there anymore; it exists as the electronic files of four new books! There are three thrillers and one probably controversial book. Beyond my personal spiritual fulfillment, I find religious history and opinion to be fascinating. I want to get back to the ereader after the current book. I’ve been reading Dan Brown’s Inferno for a long time. It’s a paperback my sent gave me after she finished it because it seemed like a book I’d enjoy and she was spot-on with that prediction. I’m enjoying the book, reading a chapter or two before bed. Unfortunately, the miracle of the ereader is a bandage, not a cure, for my dyslexia and when I’m reading a paperback I return to reading carefully and much slower. But it is so far a pretty good book. I’m on page 361 of 611. I think I’ll finish it before Christmas. :)

Here is my first scrapbook challenge layout for December. Readers here might have read most of the journaling part before. It’s about my first walk to the store to buy my own donut when I was 6 or 7 year-old.

Credits: I Love Donuts by Aprilisa Designs and Fit To Burst by Aprilisa Designs

Journaling: That DD looks just like one I went to when I was 6 or 7 years old. It was the very first time I walked to a store by myself and bought something. It was a chocolate honey dipped donut from Dunkin’ Donuts on Eureka Road in Southgate, Michigan. The donut was 15 cents and in the early 1970s; I was six or seven years old. Some memories are just so strong they last forever.

Times have changed, huh? Imagine any responsible parent letting a 1st/2nd grader walk all by herself up a block to the busy street, down another block in the alleyway behind the stores, across a neighborhood street and into a restaurant by herself. It was definitely safer in the early 70s. Well, I would imagine that the neighbors on our street knew I was going to the donut shop and my parents knew the owners of the stores whose alleyway I walked through as customers. Heck, the guy who owned the store with the penny candy and baseball cards knew me personally as a regular customer with the neighborhood kids. So in that I actually knew neighbors and business owners it was probably safer anyway. The idea of safety ever crossed my mind as a concern. My only concern was saving that 15 cents of my allowance so I could walk up to the store and buy my own donut, bring it home and have it for breakfast. I got to sit down at home and have my breakfast with my milk knowing that I was one step closer to being a grown-up.

I’m going to start scrapping some pages like that for little Nani-Historical anecdotes. I haven’t decided if I’ll use them as filler pages in my regular scrapbooks or if I’ll do a separate Nani Historical book. That’s one of the questions I’m mulling around about my art journal pages. That really should tell me I should include them all in my regular scrapbooks because I’m getting too many separate ones. I’m no where near printing so I have some time to mull ideas around.

Another point of good news on the scrapping front is that I did finish all the November files for 2008 and 2011 and feel pretty confident that those years will be complete at the end of this year! there are only December photos for those two years. On January 1 I’ll have every year that’s left, 2009, 12, 13 and 14 done to at least June. It’s starting toy possible that this time next year I’ll be caught up!

Yesterday James, the technician from the power chair place was over in the morning and my chair is finally fixed after an altercation with the door at Panera killed my chair’s swing arm and joystick on November 13. They couldn’t even order the replacement parts until they got an okay from insurance. Of course someone who uses the chair for mobility in the house doesn’t “need” the steering to work right. I mean, refrigerators can be replaced, right? (Yeesh)

Now, I have breakfast and lunch dishes in the sink waiting for me and now that I’m truly mobile again, a grocery list to prepare!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Café

Welcome to December! It’s only 24 shopping days until Christmas. That’s also only 24 scrapping days to finish Christmas 2013 or you’ll be officially behind. Or if you’re like some of..ah it’s me, it’s 24 days to complete 2008 or be another year behind.

I took a little time to blow the dust off the Digitalegacies Designs tool box and join Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies again this year. My 2014 offering is called Christmas Café, a word art set that features a lyric bit from 4 Christmas songs and a nod to my favorite hot beverage.

Click preview to go to download

There is a lyric bit from Jingle Bells, Holly Jolly Christmas and 2 coffee cups; the one for home with a bit from Neil Diamond’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas and one for out and about with a bit of Silver Bells. There is also a version of the to-go cup that just says “Christmas Day.” The Jingle Bells word art is a variation of the one I made for our railfan holiday cards this year and it inspired the set.

I hope you can use the free word arts for your layouts or projects this year. If you’d like to use them for graphics on your blog, please link back to the Chronicles of Nani when you do.

Find more freebies from this year’s hop by visiting Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies. Happy creating and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Hodge Podge

I'm joining Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodge Podge this week!

1. What's something you take for granted, that when you stop and think about it you feel truly grateful for?


I never thought about how great walking was or how much I enjoyed the walks I took, my ability to do walking things, until I started losing that ability. I don’t dance anymore or play mini golf, there are no more walks at the park choosing the uphill dirt paths because it felt good to stretch my muscles. When I could do those things I did them because they felt good and never gave a thought to how fortunate I was to be able to do them. Why would I? There were always lots of other people who did the same things.

But at that time there were also lots of other people using canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs. Now that I’m one of those people in a wheelchair walking seems like a pretty special thing. Looking back I’m glad I got to do it for well over 40 years. I miss it, sometimes to the point of tears, but there are those that had far less than 40 years of walking, some who never had it at all. And I have to grab things and gimp into the bathrooms at home or grab things to stand up to reach things. Every time I’m successful at those things I celebrate it. I’m thankful I succeeded. Oh, it’s not always with a sincere celebratory smile, but when I think back, I feel victory. There are those that can’t do even that much; I still have some determined independence. For that I’m grateful.

I used to not even think about being grateful when I danced but now I dance in my mind every time I take a couple steps.

2. The color brown-love it or no? What's your favorite shade of brown? Most loved something in your home or closet in a shade of brown?

I don’t wear brown or choose brown when I have a choice except as an accent. You’ll never see a scrapbook page in brown created by me either. So, not really a huge fan of brown.

However my favorite brown shades are milk chocolate and coffee…my favorite things in those colors are their namesakes.

3. What's something you're looking forward to today?


4. The word 'feminism' is not new, but it has been generating all kinds of headlines in recent days and months. What do you think/feel when you hear the word? If you're a woman, do you want to be described as a feminist? Why or why not?

When I hear the word “feminism” it think it should be an archaic term that isn’t used anymore and it makes me sad that it’s a term that’s still relevant. I don’t even think “equality” should be a term used much because with an ounce of intelligence or humanity they should be “duh” words. But unfortunately there are too many people in more secure positions of power who are afraid they’d have to work harder to earn those positions if all things were actually equal. My altruistic 9-year old self expected youth hockey teams to all be coed and that there would be girls on NHL teams by now. Isn’t that what our team beat (and beat up) the boys travel team for?

Feminism means equality. Yes, I’m a feminist and many other “ists.” I believe that people are equal. We all have strengths and weaknesses; that why we’re ALL here. We need each other.

5. What's something you personally can't eat without making a mess?

Ooo…I HATE messy food! I’m a nibbler so there’s a lot of finger food in my world and I can’t eat without a napkin!

I guess I’d have to say popcorn. I’m popcorn crazy but I can’t eat popcorn without dropping a few pieces. I think that’s why David hides my popcorn popper.

6. When did you last surprise someone with a little gift or when were you last surprised by someone with a little gift? What was it?

David and I get little gifts for each other all the time. He brought me home pumpkin spice goodies from the post-Halloween sales and “Nani visits the eye doc” always means I bring him a treat from Panera, so I don’t think I count the everyday husband and wife little gifts. Those are just the underlying romance that keeps our marriage strong, part of “getting each other.”

My last surprise gift, and I don’t call it little, no gift is little, was a bracelet from my friend Stephanie during the baseball playoffs. We enjoy the friendly rivalry of I’m a Reds fan and she’s a Cardinals fan. She sent me the Reds colors bracelet. Bracelets are my favorite piece of jewelry and this one will definitely see a few ballparks.

7. Share a favorite quote, saying, song lyric or scripture relating to gratitude.

I don’t so much have a quote of thanks that’s a favorite. I’ve always stepped back and was grateful for the people and things I have in my life. I realize that those parts of my life are important for me to be able to overcome the challenges in my life. So I guess that’s my quote:

“Be grateful for the people and things you have in your life because they are essential to meet the challenges in your life.” -Nani

8. Insert your own random thought here.
It’s Ambrosia Apple season! Ambrosias, originated in British Columbia, Canada, in the early 1990s, are my absolute favorite apples, SO SWEET! David picked up a half dozen for me last night. There are five now. Maybe the bananas he also brought me will help the ambrosias last longer…and maybe I’ll just be eating lots of fruit the next few days!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy These and Thats

I need to write a nice blog post, really I do. I’ve actually written a few…papers, we’ll call them papers, they might end up being blog posts at a date in the not far future, but right now they are just papers. I’m dealing with some things right now. I’m not dipping back into depression, I keep a close eye on that, but I’m troubled by a few things and that shows up in my writing. I write to relieve stress until what's at the root of my problem comes out and it seems to have not come out yet, so when I "just write" it hasn't been as "up" as I usually am. I have to be really careful about my journaling for scrapbook pages too!

Today will be one of my snippets and potpourri posts. There have been good and bad things that have inspired a paragraph or a thought that’s worth sharing. Today I’m going to refrain from things that bug me. Let’s see what I have…

In the scrapbooking Nani-world, last night I finished the last folder in November of 2008 and all that’s left is the December folder. That will be my focus for next month because finishing that only folder left with complete 2008! My main area of concentration for the rest of this month will be in 2011, which also starts with November right now. It has only 4 folders, so I may start December with 2 years of the 6 I’m working on with just a few layouts to complete. I might actually be only working on layouts for 2015 by this time next year! David and I were talking about getting some proofreading time set up soon. The greatest challenge for me there is he has to do the proofreading on my computer because I have a ton of fonts he doesn’t have so he can’t open the files on his computer to make changes…and I know there will be corrections to make!

I read an article yesterday called When copy-and-paste ruled America at Smithsonian.com. It’s a 2-page article about the history of scrapbooking. Very cool read. It talks about how print media and the start of scrapbooking was a natural combination, how men and women scrapbooked and why. Mark Twain made the verb scrapbooking popular and marketed his self-adhesive scrapbooks. It was fascinating and it really does show that the very roots of scrapbooks were so much the Smash book idea of today and that digital scrapbooking in the digital age is as natural as those smash-style books were at the dawn of print media for the same reasons. It’s a fun read and it really makes my daily diary-scrapbooks pretty timeless too.

Speaking of those diary scrapbook pages, here is week 44:

I didn’t record the credits as I go on this one, but if there is a paper or element you see that you’d like to know more about, leave a comment or drop me an email and I’ll look it up! I have them all done through last week, week 45, but last week had some not-bloggy stuff.

I've discovered that I'm becoming enamored of the deco owls I've seen so much lately. An Instagram friend keeps showing dishes she's prepared with deco owl salt and pepper shakers in the photos. I've also found so many owl coffee mugs! It started as simple owls like that in scrapbook kits and it just grew on me LOL

I grumble about Christmas marketing completely overshadowing Thanksgiving, but I found this photo that I love!

It was called a vegan turkey when it was shared on Facebook, but if I was having a big enough party I’d definitely make this fruit tray regardless of the meat-eating status of my guests. It is, however, a great way to have the tradition of a Thanksgiving turkey for non-meat eating guests!

David found a bottle of Pumpkin Spice Coffeemate for me yesterday. I know, it’s late in the pumpkin spice season to be getting my first bottle, but every time I’ve been in the grocery store they’ve been out of it! I actually would’ve preferred the smaller bottle but all David saw was the bigger one. I don’t use it in coffee, I use it in oatmeal! That’s what breakfast was this morning. A quarter cup of flavored creamer is just rich enough and just sweet enough to make incredible oatmeal! It’s 8 weight watcher points for the whole bowl of oatmeal but matched with a single point powdered coffee creamer and a free fruit, it’s within my preferred 10 points for breakfast and on a day I awoke to a couple inches of snow outside it was WELL worth it!

I said I was going to try to be positive today so as far as the weather goes let me just say “Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal!!!!”

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