Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!


Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite
beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of

black forest cake or the tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Projects and Goals For 2016

I go back and read the Project and Goals post for the year ending before I write the current one to get some perspective and a clear look behind so I can look ahead with a clean view. It kinda makes me sad that 2014 ended with “don’t let the fireworks burn your butt on the way out.” Hmmm…


It seems that the end of 2014, especially December, was the beginning of 2015. I seem to have an issue with the number 15 in my life. The only other year that I really just wanted to erase from my book of me when it was over was 1981, the year I turned 15. 1982 was a great turn around from 81, so I’m pretty optimistic about 2016.  I think I’m done with 15s until 2081 now, when, of course, I’ll turn 115.

2015 was rough. I mean, it started with TWO books I just wasn’t getting into. Now, I really didn’t like the ebook and I was having a hard time reading the hard cover physically. I may try that one again this year after a few other things change around. Alternatively, I may see if I can find it in an ebook. I got it in a book swap, so it came highly recommended.

Before 2015 was over, I ended up canceling a few trips because of mobility problems, gave up a ticket to a concert and I had a car stolen by a supposed friend. And believe it or not, the thief who stole the car came in SECOND for the “Worst Person In The World” award in my 2015. The worst person in 2015 was that sales person I wrote about a while back who has such a “hard job” that it was too much of a pain to tell me she wasn’t bothering with doing that hard job to get my wheelchair. That wasn’t just stealing a car, that was stealing a chunk of my life, as the current chair has messed up my hips and causes actual pain when I’m in it for a while. I guess the fact that there were TWO despicable people in my world last year is what floors me. 

Everyone has bad days and I try not to judge people on a single bad experience but I do run into those who are just not nice people or have questionable morals. Ancient knowledge, Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do.” Therefore, repeated dishonesty is just a dishonest person. I dealt with two people who had seemed to be decent people, but turned out to be ugly people. They were toxic and I’m glad to have them out of my life. I pursued repossession of the stolen car to the extent I could afford for a vehicle that was taken out of state and I did the most a person could with the wheelchair rep; I took my business to another vendor and I make no bones about telling the healthcare professionals who make the referrals to their patients to avoid Rehab Medical because of their bad customer care.


I can usually find a bright side or at least appreciate a lesson in a circumstance to lessen the blow. The car thief still owed over a thousand on the car that she left the state with and decided to stop making payments on. I still have the lien and original title, but as one who currently can't work at all, since I can’t spend a full shift in the chair without pain, the monthly payment was important. I do have the option of tapping heavier into my savings, but I shouldn’t have to. I will never recoup the payments on the stolen car, but I won’t extend beyond what is my legal right;   I don’t think it would make me feel any better to be as ugly as she is. I’ve always believed that you don’t lend money, or sell a car on a payment plan, to a friend unless you can afford to lose the money or the friend. In this case I lost both, but the money ended up being worth more, which is rarely the truth. I won’t stop trusting my friends. I’ll just be more careful about what level of trust I give to whom.

The increasing chronic pain from the chair has me cursing that rep from Rehab Medical every day and she is more loathsome to me than the car thief. I have done the strongest thing I can think of in that instance, taking my business to another vendor, but that meant the paperwork needed to start over again so what was started in May was officially back to square one in November. So far I’m pleased with the new vendor and the communication.  Of course, while I was in the nursing home for 2 weeks all progress on the new chair stopped. The reason there is the bureaucracy of our Second World excuse for healthcare in the United States, but that is a long-existing soap box in my world.


So that was the worst of 2015. The two worst people and the source of most of the bad things in my 2015. Counting down the last of 2015 on December 31, at the stroke of midnight I said out loud, ‘Thank God it’s over!” But ya know what? I survived 2015 to build 2016 into a better year.


As I move on to this year, there were many goals that were not met last year and many projects undone. I am officially erasing them all with the same HUGE eraser I’m getting rid of the whole year with. I’m not erasing the lessons, just the bad things that made it necessary to learn them. So here are my projects and goals typed on a clean screen for 2016. 

Wellness Projects & Goals

First and foremost this year is a new wheelchair! This circus has been going on for 8 months now, actually just 2 with the new vendor, but the current chair has messed up my hip flexors and they won't start to repair without proper support. When I'm in the chair I have now, there is pain and my legs also swell.the new chair as ordered fixes the hip problem, better supports my hips, back and legs, reclines and lifts legs and lifts to enable me to reach out to a grab bar or counter and strand. It also has seat padding that will help avoid pressure pain.  This has the potential to open as many doors as the current chair closed last year.


I have a hospital bed that Lynn, my occupational there therapist is working with me on  transfers and utilizing the triangular trapeze bar for strengthening excersize.


Weight Watchers changed their plan system to one that is more fitness oriented. I understand changing the program every couple of years is common with them. When there wasn't anything interfering, the old points program, using the grams of fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein, worked well for me. There were activity points, but using them wasn't so emphasized. The new points system requires entering more label information than I have time or hand dexterity for and why change something that worked for me? I bought an app that works on exactly the same system as the old Weight Watchers plan. Saves me $20 a month. My goal is simply to be sure that I record my food very day, even if that means 3 Snickers bars and a half a pint of Cherry Garcia. Own it; all of it.


Paperwork is being completed to get help to afford and aide for at least a few hours every day. The plan there is continued pursuit and implementation.


Cleaning and Organizing 

A couple of people from Molly Maid came in and boxed up the clutter in the room the hospital bed is in now. I've asked for an estimate to clean that room, the kitchen and the accessible bathroom biweekly. I really do hope that's affordable.


Employment

It's my plan to seek a part- time telecommuting opportunity once I have the new chair is here and I can think productively. I already have the the doctor letters necessary to request vocational rehab assistance.


Scrapbooking

For scrapbooking, I'm going to continue with my page-a-day goal.


Reading

I'm sticking with the 2 books a month goal.

Both scrapbooking and Reading goals begin on February 1


As ever, my goals are:
.
This, or something better.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

I Am Home!


2016 started with the last of 2015 loose ends. David went on a one-week respite trip that ended up turning into a 3-week break from caregiver duties. I went to extremes to give him that!

The MS Society helped me with a grant to pay for part of an aide to come in twice a day while David was in Arizona. Promedica private pay home aides was my vendor of choice and their aides were great. I was especially fond of Ashlea, the aide I had every “tuck-in shift” and a couple of mornings. She was awesome and I’d love to keep her, except that having recently passed the test for her nursing license, she’s on to a bigger and better career that just taking care of lil’ old me. (And she will be awesome and I wish her the BEST!)

Now as the week neared the middle, things started to go downhill for me. I was feeling weak. I fell Wednesday morning getting out of the recliner and into the wheelchair, even with an aide there! The nice EMTs put me back in the recliner and the aide packed my swollen ankle in ice while she cleaned up in the kitchen. When she came back and moved the ice, the swelling in my ankle was gone, but I still had a sore knee. She got lunch, juice and filled my water cup before she left me, the TV remote and my iPad in the recliner.

When Ashlea came in that night she was perturbed that she wasn’t notified that I’d fallen that morning when the aide was there. We tried to get me up and transferred into the wheelchair so I could get dinner, but my right knee was in lots of pain. We agreed that it was better to stay in the recliner for the night and she chopped up some cheese and vegetables for me. Ashlea was scheduled to be my aide the next morning and she called to get a second aide in to help with the shower transferring.

Thursday morning I got into the power chair but I couldn't even get to the toilet in the bathroom with two aides. 911 was called and this time I asked them to take me to the hospital because I gotten so weak and so tired. I really figured they keep me and I was okay with that, even looking forward to it. I spent the entire day in the emergency room in unit 15… OMG 15! (make sure you read "Projects and goals 2016” to understand the terrifying irony of being in room 15 in emergency!) They did a urine test and discovered that I had a UTI, X-rayed both ankles my right knee and my chest; nothing was broken everything was working the way it was supposed to, they gave me an IV antibiotic for the UTI and I waited for a doctor from the neurology department to visit, thinking my weakness might be an MS exacerbation. The neurology doctor told me she really didn't know why she was there except that I have MS. after all of the test, The IV antibiotic, and the check up from the doctor from neurology, it was concluded but they didn't need to keep me and I'd be discharged. What?? The social worker at the hospital had to arrange for an ambulette to take me home.

Overnight I had nasty problems with bladder spasms and a dislodged catheter that have me on the phone with the 24 hour nurse line. Jessica, my regular case nurse, was here first thing in the morning to get me cleaned up and change the catheter. She was incredibly concerned with my weakness and the UTI still looked bad. By the end of the day in communication with supervisors at Promedica and my insurance company they had things set up for Ashlea to come in an hour early and help me pack a bag for an ambulette to take me to Heartland of Perrysburg where I stayed for two weeks.

During those two weeks I had antibiotics for a very bad UTI and a yeast infection. That is a nasty double whammy that no one should have simultaneously. I also got physical therapy and occupational therapy. Between that and the extra antibiotics I was pretty well exhausted every day. But it did help. I’m still weaker than I was on January 1, but stronger than I was on January 6! And the nurses and therapists I see at home have all commented about how good my legs, ankles in feet look. The swelling has gone way down and my blood pressure has been very good.

So now I'm ready to get this new year started!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Tears

Oh, I’m talking about the kind of tears that I want to feel welling up in my eyes during the holidays! I had a wonderful Christmas as a giver with gifts well-received and a few unexpected extras that I truly enjoyed seeing the reactions of the recipients. But I was the gift-getter of not one, but three gifts that gave me those happy tears this year!

It started Christmas Eve. There were some errands to run and we were going out to dinner. It rained on our anniversary and David and I decided to have an earlier dinner on Christmas Eve rather than me venturing out in my chair in the rain. Even with an umbrella, there is much more of you exposed to the rain in a wheelchair than there is standing up. So we were going out after David’s afternoon “commitment.” It wasn’t a train or poker and he wouldn’t tell me details, so I figured the “commitment” was something for me.

Well, the time for that commitment came and David was still home. He told me the time had been pushed back a little later. He started cleaning up some things in the living room where I had been cleaning little by little but he's capable of picking it up much faster. I was thinking to myself that helping with that was an awesome gift in itself. He works full time and when he’s home, taking cafe of all the things I can’t do is a full time job. I don’t remember exactly what I asked, but his answer included that he was clearing out space because Mike was coming over and they were putting up a tree.

What?

He’d read the blog post I did about being sad that I wouldn’t have an aide yet to help me clean up the living room and it’d be the third year without a tree. He wanted to give me a tree for Christmas Eve. Mike, who is allergic to cats, drugged himself up with allergy meds and came over. He and David put up the tree with lights, garland and the tree skirt and angel on top, just like I was planning to do.

At first I told him it was the thought and it made me feel so good, but he didn’t need to put up a tree. I insisted it was a lot of work to do it and we weren’t going to be home on Christmas but then I stopped saying not to do it. I was ashamed of myself for not appreciating the incredible meaning of the thought. It’s not just that he reads my blog; it’s that he really reads the piece of me I put into what I write. And he knew better than I did just how much it would do for me to have a tree.

Oh those beautiful, warm lights glowing in the dark after we got home from dinner were just beautiful to to watch. I settled into the recliner and he cozied on the couch and we just relaxed. I’m not a snow means Christmas person, Christmas is Christmas as long as there are lights. David gave me my Christmas spirit this year.


My other happy Christmas tears from gifts I received came on Christmas Day. We did name drawing for our family gift exchange on Christmas morning. Tori drew my name. I had already said I was prepared for a warm and fuzzy gift. She “owed me tears” after the books I’d done for the girls when they turned 18. I got my gift and opened Catopoly, the cat version of Monopoly. After 21 years, she knows me well! I was anxious to play the game. I was surprised there wasn’t a mushy gift after all. But then there was a second smaller box. The second box was the tears box.

When the girls were learning to talk, they had 2 names to learn in their world that were similar. They had Aunt Nanette, with vowel sounds similar to “baguette,” and Aunt Nani, rhymes with “Donny.” For a while we were both “Nana,” like the end of “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’.” As their ability to better grspthe vowel sounds improved, Nanette became Aunt Nanette, but part because Nana and Nani sound so similar and part because they saw me more often and had been calling me Nana all along, I stayed Nana. It’s the same as my Aunt Raffaella has always been Auntie to me and still is. That’s what makes her MY aunt, and so my name, Nana, is with the girls.

The smaller box had tissue paper that when unfolded revealed a silver rope bracelet with a clasp big enough to be put on and taken off with MS hands. It also has a heart-shaped sparkly charm that says NANA in block letters.

It’s pretty much been as everyday important as my medical alert bracelet since Tori fastened it on my wrist Christmas morning.


My last happy Christmas tears came when we got home Christmas night. Edna spoiled me with a couple of boxes. One was a sort of stocking in a box with wrapped presents that included one that felt like it must be a neck warmer like the ones I knew she was making for Christmas gifts. I opened that last because I love hand-made gifts and I expected that would be the special gift I’d want to open as the finale of the box.

I opened the paper and saw the variegated pink, purples, orange and yellow; gorgeous. I remember how much I liked the multi color ones she’d done. I may have even left a comment about it on her blog. It was beautiful! But when I turned it around the get a full look pinned together from the front, that’s when my eyes welled up again that'd day.

On the pin is a orange ribbon MS charm. The gorgeous gift was very personal and yesterday when I wore it to the doctors office, it was warm too!


So those were my smiling Christmas tears. I like to give gifts that are special; something the receiver wouldn't normally buy for themselves but would enjoy or something that just jumps out and makes me think of them or something I create. I like to give gifts that are memorable or memories in themselves. That’s because of how wonderful it feels to receive gifts liken that. This year I had three of them that felt beyond that emotional bar I set for myself as a giver. The friends and relatives that are my famiy are just awesome. I love you guys!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Santa Paws Is Just Awesome!

Behind Stripes and Spots

I needed a break after playing with Wobbert


This was such a cool Christmas! We got lots of treats and toy mousies. Two mousies jungle and two of them make real squeaks! But the best thing I got was Wobbert! Here’s Wobbert’s video:


Isn’t Wobbert cool? Mommy says Wobbert is a “Feline Tickle Me Elmo.” I don’t know what that is but she says that everycat wants a Wobbert this year. Well, yeah. Did you watch the video? How could anycat NOT want a Wobbert?

I’m not so sure about the name on my present. It didn’t say Marco it said Share. Mommy and Daddy have called me nicknames before but Santa Paws is the first one to call me Share. But it’s okay to call me Share if you’re giving me edible string!

That is the part of the video I don’t get. How can you play with Wobbert when he still has chicken-string? When Mommy loads him up like the video shows, the first thing I do is eat the yummy string. Mommy gave a piece of string to Carla and one to Kaline. Neither one of them liked the string so when Mommy stopped holding me against my will, I got the extra pieces of string right away. How could they not like edible string??

We all play with Wobbert and get him to drop treats for us. Kaline platys with him a little, but would rather have human staff just give her the treats. But I admit Carla is pretty impressive. She can get a treat from Wobbert almost every time she hits him! One time she hit him a buncha times and got treats for all of us!

We also found out my Wobbert is better than games for people-kids because Mommy heard that one of her people-kid cousins got a new X-box that wouldn’t play his old X-box games! Santa Paws sent a present from our friend, Pogo, in New England. It was a whole bag of Meow Mix treats, which are very yummy treats by the way, thanks, Pogo! Mommy put some of those treats in my Wobbert and they worked great. Take THAT X-box!

Mommy said maybe she should get another Wobbert since we all like to play at the same time when she loads the treat holders. I think that's a good idea. If she got the girls a Wobbert I could eat all the string since they don’t like the string.

It was a good Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Longer Days Again!

Happy Yule! It’s Winter Solstice which means the days will now be getting longer everyday! YAY!!

After a grouchy and the a whiny post, it’s time for a normal Nani, dontcha think? The Winter Solstice really is a holiday with good memories for me. Most of them are because I love sunlight. Seriously I didn't have to get too old before I realized I just like doing things during the day best. Even when I travel I prefer skipping going out and enjoying what there is to do at night so I can wake up and do morning things. So the marking of the days getting longer is worth celebrating to me. I also have a fun memory of the Solstice Celebration I enjoyed with the guy I was dating many years ago. He was a Buddhist who celebrated recognized the pagan holidays.


This also marks the beginning of a busy week for me. Tomorrow is our anniversary! It will be 7 years since that day that I started off a bachelorette falling on a 12 pack of cherry soda and ended waiting for my husband to get home from work. I still smile when I think about the fun that we had with our mischievous reveals the next couple weeks. There was nothing conventional about our wedding day or the events leading up to it or any of the things we did over the next few months to celebrate it. And I wouldn't change one bit of it for anything in the world. I am blessed that I have a wonderful man in my world. He has gone through so much with me and he is still my rock. I love you, David and as I get things in order I look forward to giving you the very best of me for many years to come.

It's my blog; I can have my mushy moments if I want them.

Then it’s Christmas Eve and Christmas day! We don't actually have Christmas eve plans this year, But David is off work that day. Maybe we'll exchange our gifts to each other if David's had a chance to shop by then. hehehehe… Christmas day will be family time.


I've been enjoying some flavors of the season this past week. I posted this photo on my Facebook page and received decent number of likes for someone who sporadically uses Facebook.

Panettone is a traditional Italian cake. Mom and I both loved panettone, but we did not like it with the candied orange peel. Noni always made a point of having one for Christmas that was solo uvetta/senza canditi; only raisins/without candied fruit. Those are not easy to find at all! I try to find one for Christmas but there have been years where I haven't had any panettone. This year I found an Amazon store that imports groceries from Italy. It fulfills the delivery through Amazon Prime. This panettone is a really good one too!

Panettone is a traditional Italian holiday cake. Taste-wise it’s similar to raisin bread only just a touch sweeter and a ton richer. A typical recipe for panettone includes a couple of eggs and double that number of just yolks. The texture is like the really soft inside of fresh Italian bread with a touch of cake to it with raisins and candied orange peel. Now the hard-to-find “senza canditi” is that just without the orange peel.

During the Christmas season panettone is a breakfast bread, a social coffee side or a light dessert. When you see what looks like a plate of hunks of bread on the table when you visit Italian friends during the holidays you think it’s just a plain thing to munch with your coffee. But when you taste a “little piece to be polite” you find out it has a truly addictive quality! An Italian holiday is a never-ending food coma anyway but the panettone with robust espresso after dinner was always a wonderful finish.