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
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Christmas Scrapbook Freebies

If you were visiting from Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies, follow the
hyperlinks for Digitalegacies Designs' mini kit Christmas Cocoa
and the add-on Christmas Cocoa Flowers.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Mug Shot

Yay! The return of an old favorite! I know from watching the stats that the MMS has always been a popular feature at The Chronicles. It has been since the Yahoo days when it first started. I can't say every Monday for sure, but my promise is that I'm going to try to do it more often than not.

There is a little bit of a prelude to this week’s Mug story. You see, this week is one I need to tell myself as much as I want to share it. It’s been a cloudy Monday, cloudy internally. It started out cloudy outside after the torrential rains last night, but there was some evening sun later in the day. But inside, I’ve been cloudy.

They day started off with a ride in a wheelchair. I seldom enjoy those. David and I went to tour a nursing facility. Whenever it is that whatever work needs done on my back is done, I’ll likely need to spend a month or so in a nursing home to rehabilitate. Looking isn’t deciding and it’s not signing papers. It IS something I can do to feel like I am an active part in all this. I HAVE to be part of it all. Control freak? Yeah, I’ve been called that, but it’s better than being helpless or a victim!

I love my husband dearly and he did what needed to be done for the image sake of us both. Wheelchairs are okay because I power them and I control my movement, which I can’t do so well walking just now. However, in a public situation, especially one where you’re touring a nursing home, your significant other who is helping you check the place out is “supposed” to help by pushing the wheelchair. If he didn’t, the woman giving us the tour would have. ---sigh---

So we took a look around and asked questions, heard the spiel and then went home. They have WiFi and I can use my laptop plugged in to the outlet by the bed or bring it in to a few different places to do my school work. Perfect. That was the reason that this semester had to be online. What’s NOT cool is no private rooms. I kinda LIKE my alone time and my privacy. I like my time I have alone without my husband, so I’m really disappointed that there is not a choice about living with a stranger for a few weeks. The last nursing home I was at was where Grandma was, so I envisioned a private room with a sitting area, a mini fridge and a sink with a private bath. This place is pretty much a hospital with carpet, like the nursing home my great-grandmother was in, but with carpet. When I was envisioning the private room with an almost studio apartment feel, I was thinking, “relax, heal, rebirth.” He hospital feel with a stranger living with me makes me think, “work fast and heal enough to get out.” I was walking better when I got out in the first vision. They do let visitors bring in a cat carrier! That means David can bring one of the kids every now and then when he visits so I miss them a little less and they don’t think I’ve abandoned them. Up until today, missing the cats and them forgetting me was my biggest worry looking ahead. Now the living with a stranger thing is rattling me.

This is where I need to hear the Mug Shot…


Monday Mug Shot


Atlanta Braves
Atlanta, Georgia


On a Friday morning in April, 1998, I got up early to catch a first flight of the day to Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first of several things for me. It was my first time flying alone. I took my first taxi ride alone and it was my first all-day job interview, including having lunch with a couple of the managers. I had my big briefcase packed with resumes, a copy of my demo tape and the one pocket that could have fit the laptop computer I didn’t have at the time, fit an extra pair of nylons, my makeup bag and a change of underwear. Grandma always told me to never go out of town, even for a day without a change of clothes. Well, it wasn’t a big enough pocket for a full change of clothes, so I packed the “essentials.”

I checked in with Northwest and went to my gate. I’m always early, especially with interviews, so I had some time to sit at the gate and be nervous. My Interview was for a news graphics position with WSB, ABC’s affiliate in Atlanta. This was my dream. Oh, to get the job and work my way up starting my network career in Atlanta, it was going to be a day to remember forever. And it was.

The pilot came on the PA to let us know we’d be landing in Atlanta soon. It was raining when the plane landed and pulled into the gate. After deplaning, I went to the front of the airport and called my contact at WSB, as I was instructed, so they could send a cab.

I don’t recall a lot about the conversation, except that I admitted I was a little nervous and the cabbie told me I’d do fine. I also remember him voicing concern about the rain as we passed Turner Field because the Braves were home that weekend. When we got to WSB, I tipped the cabbie and went in. The all day fun had begun.

The rain persisted. My interview day included meeting lot s of people in creative services. The actual interview part was delayed and I “job shadowed” one of the graphics people who told me a little about the software they used and what all the various graphics positions entailed. The delay in the interview part 2 was because I was interviewing for a news position and there was news happening. The big news was the weather. There was thunder and high winds and tornado watch.

At midday, I had the interview part of the day. The creative services manager asked what I’d like from the menu she handed me for lunch. Yanno, in school, they always told us to politely refuse when asked if you’d like something to drink before an interview because that something to drink could sabotage you. They never thought about an all-day interview in school! I mean, you can’t not eat All day and no one expects you to! I ordered a penne with an alfr4do sauce. It was a local restaurant that I knew well and I knew that it was a dish I’d like. I figured that not liking and not eating what was ordered for me would be worse than a glass of water could ever be at an interview. So I had lunch with the creative services director and the news manager with the station manger stopping by to meet me during lunch too. Then the interview part one commenced.

We went back in to the news room later where things were abuzz with breaking news of storm damage and an unconfirmed suburban tornado. It was exciting watching the busy crew and it made me really want to be part of it. During a break, I got a few more questions and met a few more people coming in for afternoon shifts. I enjoyed the people I was talking with that would be my peers if I got the job and knew I could enjoy working with them.

As it was time for me to leave, to return to the airport to catch my plane back to Detroit, a call was made to confirm if there were weather delays. It was hinted that if they needed more time with me, travel could book me a later flight. I was glad they didn’t think that was necessary because honestly, I was getting quite tired. Being under the microscope all day can take the energy out of you! They called me a cab and sent me back to the airport. It was dark and rainy but I remember that the lights inside were on at Turner Field, like they were hoping, maybe… The cabbie dropped me off in front of the main doors at the airport and my time in Atlanta on WSB’s radar was done.

It wasn’t quite 5:30, so I didn’t call home since Mom would be just getting home from work and Pop wouldn’t be home yet. I got a cappuccino and a pastry and walked to my gate and had a seat. The area was getting close to full as it was not long before boarding time. It was still raining pretty hard with lightning and out plane wasn’t in yet. Then a flash, I watched lightening hit the runway with a simultaneous loud crack and for a brief moment the concourse went dark! There was much commotion and surprised exclamations as people wondered out loud what had happened with the power. It seemed to be raining harder, you could hardly see anything on the tarmac.

Then over the loud speaker and on the monitors, flights diverted, flights canceled, including my flight!

Now there’s a special first, I’d never been on a canceled flight before, a delayed one, one that got changed to a different plane, but never canceled. A little while later it gets better! I went to the desk to see about changing my flight, actually to just ask, “so what do I do?” There were no more flight to Detroit with any room that night. That little old bolt of lightning shut down one of the country’s largest hubs for just a half hour or so, but it crippled it for the weekend! The best they could offer me was 8am Saturday morning. So, I guessed I’d be sleeping in the airport.

But I met another woman, a bit younger than me, traveling on business. Her business was farther south from Atlanta and she didn’t know the city well, but she had a company card for travel. We talked a little, where we were from, why we were in Atlanta, getting to know you things. She wanted to get a room since she couldn’t do better than the same flight I got for the next day and see if her husband could drive up to Detroit to get her since a connecting flight to Indianapolis wouldn’t’ be until much later after that flight got in. Rooms anywhere near the airport were full already and she offered that if I would lend my knowledge of Atlanta, she’d pay for the room if I wanted to share it. After the all-day interview and then how muggy the airport had gotten with the rain and all the stranded people, a shower sounded great. We ended up taking the subway a ways, back into the center of the city. We both showered, then got pizza and talked some more before getting some sleep.

In the morning, the rain had let up and the street was just breathtaking with blooming dogwoods. I’d been to the city I wanted to call home every time of the year but the spring. We went to check-in and were told the flight was delayed until 12:40 because there was no crew! My friend in crisis didn’t want to delay getting home any more than she already had part because she didn’t want to have to keep calling her husband to let him know there was another delay in picking her up and part because it was the end of a 2-week business trip and wanted to see him! She rented a car to drive back to Indy. She offered that if I want to go along she’d give me the car in Indianapolis and let me return it in Detroit, which was generous, but since our fight was eventually going to get to where my car was, I declined When I did officially check-in to the now delayed flight, they bumped me up to first class!

So I got another cappuccino, I knew where all the cappuccino places at Hartsfield were by the end of the two days, and laughed at myself. There I sat in the same suit I had on yesterday, modest, but still 1 3/4'” pumps without nylons thinking that if I had tennis shoes, leggings and a t-shirt, I’d book and evening flight and go to the Braves game. When I told Grandma about that she smiled and said, “told a so! You ALWAYS bring spare clothes when you fly.”

The woman I sat next to in first class and I talked a little about the weather, everyone talked about the weather. We had to laugh, had to crack jokes. The announcement was that due to scheduling and the weather, etcetera, there would be no snacks on coach. BUT in first class, we still got drinks and a meal. It was 2:00PM, but lunch on our originally scheduled for 8AM plane, was cheerios! We got into Detroit as the later afternoon sun was in the sky and I retrieved my car from its overnight $tay in the short term lot and headed home.



So you see, the unexpected, challenges and sharing space with strangers is not like something I haven’t done before.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My List

Nani's Nukable Cocoa-Espresso Breakfast Cake (sugar free!)


Good Saturday morning!

It was a sleepy start to the day for me. Okay, by some people’s standards waking up just after 8 on a Saturday morning is NOT sleeping in, but I’m usually up and about between 6 and 7. After a couple of days of lots of sitting and fewer breaks than usual because I was a woman on a mission, finishing up my XML exam, my legs, even my feet were sore. Yeah, that’s odd, but connected with my multiple messed up disks. If I sit straight up, as I do when writing code, it’s just such a position that messes with the leg circulation, a little in the left and a lot in the right. As soon as I stand up things start getting better and if I stretch, the pain almost instantly goes away and even my cold toes warm up. As a result of that tunnel vision that makes me not notice the problem while I’m “in the zone,” I had one of those days yesterday where my leg muscles were sore and spasming hit and miss. That means I took a bed-time muscle relaxant last night. That always makes me oversleep. That cocoa-espresso cake and a cup of Autumn Harvest coffee is a wonderful wake-up breakfast!

So, with a slow wake-up and lots of stiffness, I started thinking about my one-year plan. I have 5-year and 10, 25, etcetera plans, but the biggie for right now is that one-year and my list. The List is NOT and never will be what people refer to as a “Bucket List.” I HATE that term! “Things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’” Sends chills down my spine to hear of it. I would never make such a list, one that would put an expiration date on me. I guess I could put “live forever” as the first item, but well, I thought the point was to put grand achievable things on that list. If you put just a few things, you are ready to “go” once they are done, an expiration date. If you put to many, you won’t achieve them all, a recipe for failure. I don’t want to have anything to do with either one of them! I want to do everything and not stop until it's time to stop. No timeline, no regrets. My glass has always been half-full and there has always been room for more! I intend to always enjoy the half I have and always add more every chance I get. A "Bucket List" is either too limiting or it sets up for a fall. I just fall to much as is to have a bucket list!

My “list,” the one I refer to now when I say “it’s on my list,” is a list of the things I want to do again. It’s the list of what I’m taking back once whatever needs done to my back is done. In recovery I’ll start to work on my list, so right now, is time to add to the list, to complete it. The very first thing on my list is cleaning cat boxes. Who would have thought I’d miss that? Truth is I don’t miss the chore, but I miss being able to do it. David and I have three cats. I should be cleaning one and half cats worth of litter box. I owe him quite a few 3 three-cat box days already! I want to get whatever procedures are necessary done, come home from recovery and clean the cat boxes first thing. Somewhere down the line, I want to work up to buying a bicycle so I can go to the park and ride a real bike again.

As for today’s list, a simple “to do” list, I’ll start off with the dishes in the kitchen and getting a start on laundry. Then, as I hear the poker and computer game music in the other room already, it’s going to be some scrap-time. I’ll be working on my Imaging class assignment this week, which is an opportunity to scrap at lunch since Photoshop is already open, but it’s also lots of class work that is NOT scrapping (but makes me want to scrap!) SO for today, Photoshop is not school software, but hobby software. I think it’ll work out well. It’s still cold, snow-covered and a bit cloudy, so I’ll scrap until my legs are feeling the need to stretch, which will be about change laundry load time, when I’ll get that stretching done. It’s going to be a great day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Do Groundhogs Know, Anyway?

Groundhog Doodle by Artgal Style

This was scheduled to be a much longer blog. I started writing and got on a roll. Then in rereading, I realized that there was a lot of tongue-in-cheek talk about religion, religion and groundhogs, but religion just the same. I didn’t want to publish it in case it might be offensive to someone stopping at my cyber coffee shop for the first time. I think that first half may just be in the personal archives. If you want to read the copy that didn’t get published, drop me a line at chronicelofnani@gmail.com and I’ll send a copy.

After the religious stuff the post kinda changed direction...

So, the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania are the ones who brought the tradition of rousting a hibernating mammal on Candlemas for predicting Spring to break up the mid-winter doldrums. The two used to be intertwined, but Groundhog Day was like the spin-off that grew to become more popular than the original show! The original mammal was a badger, but they settled on the Groundhog and that’s why Punxsutawney Phil is the head honcho Groundhog, the home of the original Groundhog Day.

Yes, I know I’ve been going on and on about the Groundhog this month. It’s just that, like the German settlers in Pennsylvania that brought the silly part of their Candlemas holiday with them, I’M TIRED OF WINTER! This year’s been especially cold and especially snowy.

So here’s my problem with the Groundhog – Politics. The Groundhog is too much of a politician. Tells us what he thinks we want to hear and then leaves us to just live with it until by some miracle it happens or we discover he lied again. And it’s not just us humans. It’s everyone alive! This morning I was having my muffin and coffee at around 5:30 before I started my test questions for the day and as the sky started getting light, Kaline joined me on the table and had that, “did you hear something? I heard something!” look. I listened close to see what she was hearing. I heard some dripping from the back window where there were some moving sounds from the icicles and some early commuters n the main street, but wait! Then I heard what her eyes were following to the window behind me. She jumped onto the buffet and seemed to ask me to pull the shade. I obliged her. What we were both listening to now was a Cardinal’s song, just outside the window.

Cardinals sing the end of winter and beginning of spring, their song is the first to fill the air when the end of winter is near. With a big storm coming that prompted my doctor’s office to call and suggest that I cancel my appointment tomorrow, I’m sure the Cardinal was either duped by the Groundhog too or is part of his plan.

Then I remembered that spring means Spring Training and the Cardinal’s song reminded me that Lance Berkman is a Cardinal now. How did we let that happen? If the Cardinal is on the Groundhog’s payroll, then the Groundhog is not a Pirates fan, like I would have guessed, but he’s a Cardinals fan! The groundhog seeing his shadow in the fall made Lance Berkman a Cardinal! Talk about power-drunk! GRRR!

Just one more reason to put groundhog on the menu!

Lance Berkman and his pet groundhog can go play in the snow. I’M going to go hibernate!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Testing, Testing, Chapters ONE, TWO, three, four...

No mas, NO MAS!!!
(because it seems Mother Nature FORGOT her English!)

I’m going to spend the rest of today and probably tomorrow with my first XML test. I had been going over the review questions in the chapters and getting my recognition of the codes sharp expecting a multiple choice test. All of my online tests for every class have been multiple choice. We even have a bi-weekly review for Imaging that’s multiple choice, knowing the vocabulary and being able to recognize the instruction for using Photoshop CS5. I don’t think that’s silly at all. If I can do well on those reviews, I can intelligently discuss CS5 in a job interview. It’s a good real-life thing. I’ve had multiple choice reviews for online and on campus classes on the networking side too. Again, recognizing the terms and being able to use them is truly important.

Okay, with XML the nice thing about multiple choice is I can’t make the little mistakes in coding and I really do want to test my memory and recognition in XML too. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, the XML exam is three case studies and writing the code for them. Grumble, grumble. Yes, I need to be able to do this, even the chapter that drove me insane, perhaps especially that chapter, but in a cut and dry right or wrong subject, multiple choice would have been easier!

---SIGH--- But I have 3 case studies to do and then another one that’s worth 20 extra credit points. I WILL be doing that one too! Yes it’s open book and honestly, the one thing I really need to do is type carefully and check my work, once I’m sure I’m using the right syntax. I’ve got my corrections from my first assignments. I should be able to do this.

I’ve said over and over that as long as the grades are passing, the important thing is to pass the tests for certification, but, well, right now I’m a 4.0 and the grade that kills that is always the worst. I remember when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree. My purchasing class, one I didn’t need to take and never have used the information from, was my first B. What was most frustrating about that is I worked hard in all my classes and that one was a class I really didn’t enjoy. The other B I got was in a business class that kicked my butt, but I absolutely loved. The instructor was an auto exec and he was tough, but real-world. That B is probably the grade of which I’m the most proud. I worked hard for it and although not an A, it was still high-ranking in the class.

But I’m going to fight for the XML grades. It’s an intro class and it’s memorizing code and using logic to apply it. I’ll be putting that mindset to work the next couple days on those case studies! Then, no XML until after Spring Break. I need a week away from XML, really! After Spring Break I’ll jump into the next tutorial with a fresh brain and new vigor!

Other than my class woes, the insane weather has really been what there is to talk about. It warmed up, way up, for a few days. It melted all the icky snow and the grass was all showing with that shade of green that says it’s coming back to life. David even pointed out the first little wisp of a crocus in the flower bed on the side of the door! I wish I’d have been able to get out and balance well enough to photograph it. Right now, Nani takes pictures of things in front of her and above, if I’m sitting down, but standing and looking down, I start to wobble right away. Before I really had a chance to set up a lawn chair or ask David to take the photo for me, the sweet crocus sprig was gone. I don’t think anything happened to hurt it, I hope not, but the freezing rain, sleet then snow returned. All of our promise of early spring that the Groundhog foretold vanished in such a short time. See? I told you the Groundhog has bogus creds! His early spring is just mid-March, 6 weeks after Groundhog Day. It’s all the same prediction because he has as much of a idea as the Weather Channel! Stupid Groundhog.

But we do know at least one of the flowers we planted with Kelly took! I am SO ready for this white junk to melt away and let the sun shine, the trees bud and the flowers bloom again!

Okay, off to tackle that XML test! Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2010 Is In The Books

Last page of 2010
Multilingual word art by Jenn Lindsey

Okay, 2010 is actually ready for proofreading. I proofread 2007 on my own and David’s hair stood on end with a cardinal sin typo on New Year’s Day! Big Boy Restaurant, where we had Brunch, is NOT Big Boy’s, never has been, never will be and boy I’m glad we were already married when he read that! There is a lot of stress being married to a professional writer!

The truth is I cringed when I read it after the book came in and realized I missed that one. So from now on, David gets to proofread BEFORE I send the books to Inkubook. He does that so much better than I do. It’s part of his job, along withdrawing details out of people, and an area where I scored quite poorly when I tested for proofreading for a placement agency. I accept that I am a put together the big picture and make sure the details get done person, but not a go over things with a fine tooth comb after they’re done person. It takes people like me AND people like David as well as people like many others to make a project happen, whether it’s in the business or personal world. I make the scrapbooks look really good, David adds that element that makes them great! That’s not me selling myself short, I could have easily said I make them great, he makes them even greater, but I’m not in the need of ego affirmation this morning.

Now, the goal was to have 2010 done by the end of January. Remember, “this or something better.” The something better was all of my class work caught up AND the 2010 pages done. It took 20 days to do that. So that last page is a pretty cool page for a quiet night at home, huh? The champagne glasses and new year circle are from an elements pack I picked up as a freebie, but it had no TOU and no designer name on the preview. The glasses are kinda sorta similar to the ones we drank our Asti from, so they really did fit with the evening.

So, I was a bit of a scrapping fool yesterday, finishing up 2010 and finishing the Progressive Scrap at the studio.


Credits: Thinking of You collab by the Studio Designers,
word art by Digitalegacies Designs

That is not quite the same layout I did for the progressive. I moved a few things, deleted some. I am learning how to cluster and getting better, but still in the progressive scraps I end up with an element or two that doesn’t quite fit the photos or that I just really don’t care for. I’ll hardly ever use a button in a page that will make it to the printing stage. I just don’t care for buttons. I also put away and go back to progressive layouts to see if they look less cluttered to me. If it’s too cluttery, I start taking things out. You can see the actual progressive version of this layout here.

In celebration of starting the 2011 scrapping with that layout, I want to share the word art! Yes, you recognize the line I loved so much from the Hallmark commercials. Of course, that’s why I can’t sell the word art, but I want to give it away anyway.

I will, for the use of that line, remind everyone that the perfect card can say everything you can’t grab the words to write or even say. I have a huge box of greeting cards. I save them. Funny, that when we cleaned out my Great-Grandmother’s house, she had a box of cards she saved and she had her mother’s cards too. Grandma came into keeping those two boxes and a box of her own! I went through those cards, looking at the way the fronts had changed and also the way the messages changed a little, but the meaning was still the same, “you mean something special to me.” I didn’t keep all the cards from Grandma’s, but I did keep a few of the very old ones to scan and a few special ones I did keep, like Papa’s first anniversary card to Grandma after he got home from the war and a sweetly mushy Mother’s Day card with “Janet” written in print that said my Mom was about six or seven. Yeah, that’s another sappy Hallmark commercial, isn’t it? That one choked me up too. That was because I saw some old cards my Dad kept that I gave him too!

So, here’s the free word art:

Click on preview to go to download
Password is Hallmark

This will be my last day for super-scrapping for a while. I needed a couple days away from XML before I dig in to studying for our first test, due turned in by next Sunday. I did a little better than I expected on that chapter I got the extension for and a few encouraging notes from my instructor too. I’m SO not the “tough love” type, but encourage me and I’ll work extra hard not to let either one of us down.

This week will be studying for that test and getting on the next chapter in imaging. I also have to call the neurosurgeon’s office to get an update on progress with the insurance on my next MRI and David and I are going to tour a…..”extended stay physical therapy recovery center.” It’s a nursing home. If I have back surgery, I’ll be discharged from the hospital and go to a nursing home for convalescence before I go home. Tori didn’t like me saying I was going to be in a nursing home. Not sure if that’s because her experience with a nursing home is with her great grandmother and Grandma was having memory issues. Grandma also passed away in a nursing home and she was in the average age in her hall at 84. Tori refuses to see “her Nana” that way. We were on speaker phone and my brother broke in with the explanation, so I wonder if it was Tori or Dave that had the problem with the wording. Hmmm…

Anyway, suffice to say it’s a busy week coming up. Then it’s Spring Break at school which will give me a chance to get ahead in my class work. For today, I have a few more pages I want to work on. But for now, my second cup of Sunday coffee is done and it’s time to clothe my lazy butt!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unrest

The Nani World is currently in a state of unrest. Leave it to me to NEVER be “simple.”

With my nerves on high alert this morning, I met with the neurosurgeon for my consultation. David went too as my flash drive – he’d remember anything I forgot to ask and anything the doctor said that I don’t. We didn’t ask a lot of questions. Ever have a nightmare where you studied for the wrong test in school or researched the wrong company before a job interview? It was kinda something like that.

I had accepted that I have 4 disks that are in some form of messed up in my lower back. I’d also accepted the probability that I’d need surgery to fix them and was actually kinda excited about it. Relief. That’s what most people who I've talked to who’ve had back surgery say about it. I was all set. I’d have surgery, convalesce at a nursing home for a month or so and outpatient therapy after that. I’d be good as new in a year.

Except, that if I have my lower back issues fixed, I won’t be good as new in a year. After some questions, watching me walk, testing reflexes, the doctor said that the lower back is not, I repeat, not what’s causing my balance issues. But I feel the wobbles in my lower back when I fall. But that’s not the CAUSE of the problem.

I have to say that, first impression, I really do like this doctor. He’s compassionate without being coddling and he explains things in a thorough but simple way. He did a fantastic job of making me trust him. I kinda wish he was a family doctor instead of a specialist. But no, I think it’s more important to trust a specialist than your family doctor. The specialists do the big stuff and explain the really important things.

So for now, another MRI. This time the neck and upper spine, which is where a problem would cause a balance issue, even if it feels like it’s coming from the lower back. YAY! More cram Nani in a tube and tell her to stay completely still! David says he couldn’t do it, the completely still part. I’ve studied deep relaxation and meditation for years. I didn’t find the completely still part that hard. It’s actually pretty easy when you’re crammed in a tube anyway. Where ya gonna go?

Anyway, I’m waiting on call backs to let me know that insurance has okayed me getting the additional MRI so I can schedule that. Then it’s back to the specialist. In the mean time I have an appointment to see my regular doc next week. This is where the unrest comes from. I want this all done yesterday. I hate, hate, hate spending all my non-school time in doctor’s offices and hospitals. It’s a quality of life thing. If I’m going to use my wobbles to walk in a commercial building, I want a scoop of ice cream or a latte waiting at the end of the walk. If I’m going to see someone every week or more, I want it to be my Dad, brother or nieces, or Scotty or Kelly or any of the family in Michigan, not a doctor. I married a writer. Never was looking for a doctor to spend all my time with.

For now, I have some of the clarity that was evading me yesterday leading up to this morning, so I’m going to apply it to finishing this week’s Imaging assignments so I can tackle XML.

I’ll keep you all posted!

Photoblog Wednesday

Roses!

We weren’t planning on gifts this year, so I didn’t expect Valentine flowers, but David came home before work Monday with these! The BEST roses are the ones you aren’t expecting!

We did our Valentine’s dinner Sunday night since he was working late Monday. I didn’t give him candy like I usually do, but when he came home Monday night the kitchen was filled with the smell of fudge chunk brownies made just for him. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another One is Home!

Just a short blog to share the good news. Mittens was adopted yesterday (Sunday)! I got the call just as I was getting ready to go to the Monday chat at The Studio. THAT was SO worth being late for!

Mittens is now in his new forever home!

David and I were pondering if we should set an annual limit for our sponsoring, but we remembered how long it took Lacey to be adopted and right now we’re having a great run. We kinda don’t want to stop! We’re thinking we’ll be back to Paws in a few weeks to find anther kitty needing some help finding a home.

Yay Mittens’ new family! You have a very sweet boy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Thoughts

From Spring 2008.
It makes me feel warm and happier!

When I awoke and started up the laptop that I fondly call Joey, named after the 2010 MVP when I got it in 2009, my Google homepage told me it was 8 degrees in Toledo. I overslept by about an hour, at could have been worse! At 7 am, I’m sure it was colder and still dark. But hey, at least it’s light outside at 8 am now, that’s a sign that spring is closer than the noisy wind would have me believe. Also a BIG sign of spring coming: The Tigers pitchers and catchers will report to Florida in 5 days and the Reds P&C will be in Arizona 3 days after that! Then, the crocuses will bloom and trees will bud and baseball and color will return to the world again!

--sigh-- I can’t wait!


My XML instructor is so cool! I was struggling on the edge of “can I still drop this class?” with the chapter last week. Well, no, I can’t drop the class. I need it for my certificate. SO I turned in the half and messed up part of the assignment I’d done. Expecting maybe a point out of the 20 for effort? I also told him that I just didn’t get it and was going to do the whole chapter over starting at page one and if I turned it in would he give feedback. I don’t expect credit for it. He wrote back giving me a week extension. Now yes, I have 2 chapters to do this week, but in going over the thorn in my foot chapter again, I’m already getting it a bit more. Sometimes going over it again, starting over, does a lot!


My last Physical Therapy session is Thursday. It actually coincides well with my date with the neurosurgeon for consultation next week. I am stronger, but not enough for the therapy I’ve had. I guess it kinda goes with the doc sending me to see a neurosurgeon after the MRI. The shoulder injury from the Turkey Soup Incident is doing much better though. One victory and one challenge moving me towards a different solution.

For now, and David always chuckles when he hears me say this, I need my coffee!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Prettier Than Pink

Pink has a new song that’s getting air play now, Perfect. I love the song, it makes me think about Tori and Rina and I remember the awkward self-image that I had, that most teens have. I wanted to use part of the lyrics in a scrapbook page of the girls, so I looked up the lyrics to get the proper words to quote it.

I found out what I love and what I want to buy is the radio version. The lyrics I found are the same song with the f-bomb thrown around flagrantly, in the hook of the song. Not only does it not seem to fit the meter of the song, it makes a beautiful song that a mother would dedicate to her daughter, a raunchy song a mother wouldn’t want her daughter, or son, to even listen to. It changes a plea to realize “you’re nothing less than perfect to me,” to a middle finger to everything, “I don’t care,” attitude.

Pink is 31 years old and pregnant with her first child. I would think young enough to remember the need for some compassion at that time in her life and old enough to really be thinking about that child in the future instead of just the “here and now.” Ah well, maybe that’s me another decade+ older than that with very special teenage girls in my life. I’m still going to use the words from the radio version on a scrapbook page and I’m still going to but a copy of the radio version for my iPod.

By the way, I don’t have the iPod yet! I have a few new songs that I’ve bought and put away on my hard drive for it, but the iPod comes when I’ve lost 50 pounds! I had gained a little over the holidays and then plateaued. Officially today that plateau finally broke and I’m losing again. Whew! I look at the numbers and I’m proud of the 40, but I’m itching for the iPod now! While I’m goals updating, I have my consultation with the neurosurgeon scheduled, so that’s moving now. The reclaiming the office and train room is not so moving because of the weather. We have some drafts in our sweet 50’s house and it’s chilly in the rooms we use less often. R2D2, my office space heater, lives in the master bedroom right now and I like him there for sleeping. I really don’t have the free mobility to move it back and forth, so for now, I’m not doing a lot in the upstairs rooms, a little here and there, but the big effort will come later. Now, remember the “this or something better” with all my wishes and goals. If I need surgery and the recovery keeps the man cave/woman cave behind schedule, I’ll consider recovery the “something better” that will allow me to work faster and better in those rooms.

Now it’s sleepy time. After a few errands in beginning of the day and the rest of the day will belong to XML class. Maybe Sunday I’ll get a scrapbooking break before the Super Bowl!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hallmark Wisdom

NOT a sponsored post. It’s just me being mushy 10 days before Valentine’s Day.

Heart from Your Own Special Way by Digitalegacies Designs


I just love the new Hallmark commercial for Valentine’s Day. Maybe you’ve seen it? I don’t love YOU, but I love US. I feel that way about David. Oh, I do love him, but what I love most is the “us” we’ve become.

One of the songs I wrote when I was in my teens is a love song called “Forever.” It’s a simple song and the words are perhaps a little trite. I was a teenager. I can say with confidence now, that at 17 I really didn’t know what love was. I wrote the song for the man I thought I’d someday meet. That guy in the song, really isn’t David. As always with my wishes, “this or something better.” I got something better!

The line from Forever that is in juxtaposition to that Hallmark commercial is, “when one and one are one, the world we own.” One and one aren’t one, they never should be. When that unity candle is lit, the two candles that light it shouldn’t go out. One and one should make three. The joining of your heart with another doesn’t snuff you out. Two people don’t give up their own beings for love, that love is an entity of its own. Love makes life richer, it makes MORE, not less.

Maybe that’s the best thing about finding that right man later rather than earlier in my life. I knew who I was and was comfortable with that. I had a full and happy life before I met David and I haven’t given up anything that made me satisfied and happy to be with him. I have more. So does he. I always ask him, when it comes to the things he enjoys without me, “what am I worth to you if I take away from what made you happy before?” I want the emotional investment he made to be value added to his life, like the investment I have in him is for me.

So this year, I have to find a Hallmark card for David for Valentine’s Day. I’m sure there will be one that says the right thing, because the commercial speaks so poignantly to me. I get a little choked up every time I see it. I do totally love the us we’ve become and it gets bigger and better every day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Evie – Your iPhone Personal Assistant

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Evie. All opinions are 100% mine.

I find the world of iPhones fascinating.  On one hand, there is just too much out there for me to wrap my brain around putting on my phone.  How do you organize all those apps?  And, I don’t want my phone anywhere near me when I’m driving, too much distraction for me.  But on the other hand, my brother can play Skee-Ball on his phone!  Okay, my love for Skee Ball notwithstanding, I don’t have and can’t have an iPhone anyway.  Well, with a recent announcement from Verizon, that’s not true either. 

Time for a rethink?

I can tell you the first app I’d have to have is Evie!  If you don’t know what Evie is, you need to read on!

Dock
Uploaded with Skitch!

Evie is an app that is voice activated and essentially is your personal iPhone assistant.  No distractions in the car.  I tell Evie “Call David,” and I can let my hubby know I’m on the way home from dinner with the girls without pulling off the freeway to find a parking lot because I forgot to call when I was leaving.  Evie will find the number in my address book by matching the name or I can just say the number and Evie will dial.

As if that isn’t enough to make me feel connected but safe on the road, Evie will access your iPhone’s music too.  No more fumbling through tapes or CDs in the car or hitting the next button or trying to search on your iPhone for a song.  Tell Evie something like, “Play Rianna,” or “Play Alan Jacobson audio book.”  You can even tell Evie to read your Facebook news feed!

Evie also does directions and location finding.  Ask for a gas station or a restaurant and pick from the selections and get directions or call, no hands!  I’d just say “Find Cracker Barrel,” Or Find the nearest coffee shop.”

If you have an iPhone, Evie is a must-have-app!  If you don’t have an iPhone yet, join me in rethinking that, and start your app collection with Evie!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Groundhogs Destined To Become Endangered!

With the winter we’re having and the winters many have had the past few years, the rodent mascot of meteorology has a lot of snow and ice weighing down his shoulders!

In Punxsutawney, PA, home of Punxsutawney Phil, the supreme groundhog, there is controversy! I was reading an article where his handler is accused of coercion, threatening Phil if he doesn’t make the “right” prediction! Phil predicted and early spring, but at what cost?

Staten Island Chuck, who forecasts the New York weather predicts an early spring. A handler at the Staten Island Zoo , remarking about Chuck’s accuracy, said, “If he was a Yankee, he’d be hitting .800!” Well, we all know how Yankee fans react to the other .200!

In Chicago, a closed Brookfield Zoo meant the Groundhog Day events were cancelled! The high winds last night tore tiles from the press box at Wrigley Field. Chicago NEEDS an early spring! Maybe the early spring cities can share some season with Chi-town?

In VERY GOOD local news, Buckeye Chuck did not see his shadow either! A sigh of relief from me as we had some intermittent sunshine today! So, thankfully, mercifully, an early spring here too!

Spring will be here early, by mid-March! Better than waiting 6 weeks!


Links
Read about the predictions and controversies

Punxsutawney Phil


Staten Island Chuck

Buckeye Chuck

Wrigley Field