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
....................................

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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

My New Ride

Pride Mobility Stylus LS

That’s my new baseball seat! Okay, it’s for more than just baseball, but baseball is the most important thing the wheelchair will do. This one is mine, not borrowed and not reusing a “retired” chair, it is brand new and only mine.

I knew I needed a chair now for sporting events, concerts, festivals, conferences, anything that requires more walking than I can stagger with a walker for. When I talked to my regular doctor about it and told him what I wanted and what type, he agreed it was a good idea and wrote me a prescription for a manual, not power, wheelchair.

After using the one that David’s Mom had used for the Rush concert and for SEMMantics this year, I definitely realized that it was a good thing to have. The chair that was my Mother-in-law’s was well-used and, while I am SO glad we had it, there are a few things that needed fixing, worn brakes and the tendency to roll to the left when I was moving the wheels straight. Add to that, Kay was much thinner than me and I don’t know what the weight range on that chair is. On my own chair, I know that I won’t fall through the frame! I also know that this time last year I would have needed a weight range up from this chair. Yay me!

It was like car-shopping, really it was! There are so many types of chairs! It’s not just manual or motorized. There are folding and standard, light ones and heavy ones, “sport” ones that are great for basketball or racing and don’t have the handles in the back for someone else to push, ones that recline, ones with padded leg supports that extend up or down. There are extras like pockets and organizers, different firmnesses of padded seats even cane, purse or cup holders! I was really drawn to the colored ones! There are chairs that have all the metal parts in red, purple, green, blue or even black chrome. In my mind I wanted a red chrome, folding ultra light, one I could leverage out of the car myself if I wanted to use it someplace I was going solo, but with the handles, so if someone is with me and wants to push they can, or if I need a shove uphill, I can ask for help.

You probably noticed that picture shows silver chrome parts on my chair. That picture is from the owner’s manual. No, it doesn’t have a glove box, but yes, it’s all the information you’d read in a car owner’s manual, tire pressure stats, maintenance, safety. It can be kept in a file at home or a pouch on the chair if that accessory is ordered. My wheelchair is silver. Like the photo. This model is like the Model-T cars were, any color you like as long as it’s silver chrome. Do you know what the difference is between the models that come in silver only and the ones that come in all those colored chrome colors? About $400 that insurance doesn’t cover between the top of the line one-colors and the bottom multi-colors! What insurance does cover for a manual chair is pretty much a coupon as is unless you want the Yugo equivalent wheelchair. The Yugo equivalent is a heavy standard chair. I wanted a folding wheelchair that I could lift. This one isn’t too heavy and if I unlock the wheels, I can use them to leverage it and roll it in or out of my backseat if I’m solo. I use the wheels on the walker that way and it works great. For quick errands, I still use the walker. Important things my chair has that aren’t in the owner’s manual picture are the gel and foam seat pad, the backpack and the cup holder!

Coming out of the box, it smells like a new car! A new car must have a maiden voyage to truly enjoy it. Plans are to do a test run to a Mud Hens game this weekend with the new wheelchair for its maiden voyage. You know, to make sure it works!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Donnez-moi plus de cafe!


Cup art from the kit Couleur Cafe by Katussia

Ne dis jamais “ça suffit de café!”


Happy Sunday, everybody!

Isn't the cup cute? It's from a freebie kit, Couleur de Cafe by Katussia just-a-dream here on blogspot. I love coffee kits and I scrap about coffee every now and then for spacer pages between my 2-page layouts in my scrapbooks .

Yes, I blew it on the last day of the week! No post on Friday means I did NOT post every day of the week and here it is the last day of the weekend. It’s Interleague Play. I hate Interleague Play and it just messes with my whole day when it starts. The Cubs pretending to be an American League team in Boston was on the TV because David hates Interleague Play slightly less than me and he still watches. I saw enough to know I couldn’t even pretend it was the World Series because, come on, the way the Cubs are playing defense in the National League, there’s just no real way that could happen this year!

I will probably at least have the Reds game on today. The Reds and Indians is a viable pretend World Series this year and the Reds have lost the first two games. Shame on the Reds for requiring the fans to watch Interleague trash to get a win! I wish it as the Reds home series. I like National League ball better. I’ve said it many times, the designated hitter position is just a way that millionaires can still make those millions a few more years when they don’t have what it takes to play the whole game. It’s more overrated than the closer position. Hey there are, or are supposed to be, 30 professional closers and Mariano Rivera and 4 different other guys every year who can actually do the job. Closers get paid more than the other relief pitchers and the designated hitters get paid like any other player when they do half the work. Wouldn’t it be grand if we all got paid that way? But we, the baseball fans of us anyway, pay those overinflated among the overpaid salaries every time the prices at the ballpark go up. By the time you figure parking, tickets, concessions, it’s easily over $100 to take a family or even a date to a Major League Baseball game. Interleague Play may bring in the casual fan who has money, but to get real baseball fans in the park cut the crap and bring down the prices! Make it affordable by getting back to the roots of the game. The players can still have their money, but ask them to kindly perform for it. I say get rid of the designated hitter and bring us dollar hot dogs and $3 beer!

Whew! I sometimes don’t know where my blog will go when I sit down in front of the keyboard. I write to keep myself at peace and centered, so if something needs to get off my chest, my hands will take it out on the keyboard!

So, it’s Sunday, second cup of coffee day! Ne dis jamais “ça suffit de café!” is Never say “that’s enough coffee!” That’s my Sunday battle cry. Et maintenant, j’ai besoin de plus de café. (Now I need more coffee) And I put the game on and Joey Votto hit a deep home run in the first inning. With that kind of apology, I really can’t turn my back on my team during the “let’s pretend it’s October” play date with the Indians.

If I close the shades on the windows, crank up the air conditioner and put something stronger in the coffee, it might even feel like October!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Show and Tell Thursday


Today is the brunch talk edition of my blog every day week. I have some fun or interesting notes and a couple scrapbook layout for show and tell today.

Baseball Tell

First off, not much baseball talk today because I feel “up” and that’s not because of yesterday’s baseball. My number one team in BOTH leagues was shut out yesterday. I know I have a fair share of Red Sox fans who follow The Chronicles, but there are only a few times that I’m not cheering for the Sox with you and well…

I was reminiscing yesterday about the intro/outro bits they had on the Tigers broadcasts for a while when I was a kid. It was the feisty cartoon Tiger growling at the beginning of the broadcast, ready for battle. At the end of the show you saw the tiger again biting a bat with the opposing teams logo when we won. He ripped it up, spraying splinters everywhere. I loved it when we played teams that could be otherwise represented too. For instance, when the Tiger grabbed the bat with the Orioles’ logo after a victory, you heard the growl and instead of splinters, orange feathers, very cool. When we lost, you’d see the sad tiger with a cold pack on his head and hear a whining meow, followed by a quieter “we’ll get ‘em next time” growl and a determined look. I loved those bumps! Yesterday, after an evening of fog and rain, my child brain saw that sad meowing tiger with the cold pack. I always took that “we’ll get 'em next time” to heart, still do. So, sorry Red Sox first fans, the man who shares the TV we watch it on included, today is OUR TURN! And arrrgh, mateys, the Pirates walk the plank too!

And that’s all I have to say about baseball today.



How about some show to go with all the tell? Here is a scrapbook layout I did. This page is an “ad” for the new album by The Feline Patch. David always refers to the shots of all three of our kids in the hall as their “rock band pose.” So, I ran with his idea and did one of the rockstar photos he took as an ad for their CD!

Credits: Cat in a Basket by Miss Edna and Suruha Freespirit

Featured Tracks:

What Part of “NO” Do You Understand?
Hiders From The Storm
Fun Mouse
Feline Groovy
War Kittens
Tuna The Page
House Cat Strut
When The Cats Go Marching In
Theme From Meow Mix
(remix, with more salmon)

It’s not our first collab piece. We’ve written a few sets of parody lyrics when waiting for trains too. David and I can come up with some fun stuff when we work together!


Oo! There’s another piece of way good news, to me anyway. I watch baseball and Degrassi on TV. Sometimes I watch some news, if there’s something I want to see instead of just read about, even though I’ll go back and read for better details later, but baseball and Degrassi are the only things I make an effort to watch on TV. There used to be another show and it’s been a number of years now since it’s show finale, Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Yeah, I have a strange thing about shows in high schools. Well, the network that carries Degrassi, Teen Nick, is going to debut Buffy on May 31! For the first week, it’ll be 2 shows a day, then it will be one a day in a regular time slot. That is just so cool!

Okay, maybe I’m too easy to please.

My Netrition order came in yesterday. Yay for having fat-free peanut butter in the house again! I also got a couple of meal replacement bars. I like those once in a while to replace the small meal of the day. A lunch bar and a large can of V8 is a full meal without feeling too stuffed if I’m not hungry. Promax lower sugar bars come in chocolate fudge and peanut butter chocolate and I bought one of each to try. The sample they threw in this time also happened to be a lower sugar Promax bar, the chocolate fudge. They are sweetened with Stevia and I think the Stevia tastes even less artificial than Splenda, and I love Splenda! I tried the chocolate fudge bar and instantly flew back to my childhood.

Mom used to buy “Food Sticks” as snack for us when my brother, Dave, and I were kids. We were astronaut nuts, all abuzz after the lunar landing and anything that the astronauts ate, you could get us to eat. We drank Tang and loved dehydrated ice cream, in fact, you can still get dehydrated ice cream at the Air Force Museum in Dayton and when I visit there, I always bring some home as souvenirs. Food Sticks were shaped like beef sticks, but instead of meat, they were vitamin fortified fudge. I don’t remember what flavors they were, but I do remember the chocolate and the peanut butter. The Promax lower sugar bars have the taste and texture of Food Sticks! YUM!!! I think in my next order I’m getting a whole box!

Okay, one more “show.”

This is the first page for our “wedding album.” I think I’m going to do our reception weekend and Patch 365 as a separate book in between the two 2009 books.

credits: Mr. and Mrs. – Red and Gold by Nibbles Skribbles

I’m a few folders behind on 2011, but keeping up well and I really need to get moving on the 2008 pages in my catch up, but this page fit well for a challenge at Ginger Scraps. It did put me in the mind that I really need to get some notes down for some of the folders that I don’t have a hand written notes for.

That’s it for Show and Tell day! Need more coffee!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Photoblog Wednesday

A Blast From The Past

Basking in the afterglow of another Reds victory, today’s photo is AT a baseball game. This is Rina and Tori at Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, Michigan in 2000. Baseball, Dippin Dots and Cotton Candy was always a sure way to get a smile from both of them!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Tuesday!


Okay, I’m hoping you all don’t leave comments saying, “please don’t,” but this week I’m going to try to blog every day. I don’t usually do that, although sometimes I have in the past. There are a few blogs that I read every day that have a new entry every day and I really enjoy them. Sometimes it’s a short note about what’s going on in the day, other times it’s big news and sometimes it’s just a couple lines to say, “hello,” and give a link to a scrapbook freebie. I can’t promise I will blog every day from now on, but I’m planning on every day this week. I’m also hoping to get a few Mug Shots done this week so on weeks where time is taxed, or I’m just not feeling mug-inspired, I still have a feature for Monday. Here’s hoping that plan works!

This afternoon I’ll be cracking open the XML text again to start my catching up work. I have three chapters and the final exam to complete and turn in, but I’m going to go back a few chapters and redo the reading and work to get up to speed first. The worst of my stress and mental anxiety over the medical stuff is over, so I should be able to catch up the work and actually “get” it.

We’re still on “arc alert.” The rain hasn’t been hard today, but there still has already been some rain and it’s just dark out. These are the days that make me want coffee. I have this problem with coffee. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, which means that it dehydrates you if you over do it. Yeah, there’s the “ZZZZT!” factor too when it starts making you jumpy. Two cups won’t do that to me, but if I’m going to drink more than a cup, it’s more economical to make a pot than use the Keurig maker. So I make a pot which is 12 cups or about 5 mugs. On Sundays when we’re home and do hot breakfast I make a pot, one mug for David with a second cup if he wants one and two for me. I’ll usually heat up the rest of the pot for Monday breakfast. The carafe keeps it warm but not hot by Monday morning. The problem with dreary days that put me in the mood for coffee is that if I make a pot, I’ll drink it all by the evening. Too much caffeine and quite dehydrated by then! Since I’ve scaled back to one cup of regular coffee most days, that really has become TOO MUCH caffeine! I think I need a bag of decaf on hand for days like this! I’ll add that to my list.


One last thought on this gloomy Tuesday is shoes. Our 1950s era house was built before residential architects were run over by the clue bus with the words “MUD ROOM” written in large letters on a chipboard in the grill. We buck the norm in the area of footwear. David has WAY more shoes than I do. He has work/dress shoes, casual slip-ons, tennis shoes and two different kinds of boots. (I think one is for mud and the other is for MUD.) I have tennis shoes. There is a pair of white dress shoes and a pair of black in the closet upstairs and some flip flops/sandals. But in the main living area, where shoes that are currently worn a lot are, I have one pair to his five. With no mud room, shoes go on the mat near the door that just happens to be between the kitchen bathroom and outside door. I stumble over his shoes all the time. I’ve thought about putting little shoe-shelves just inside the bathroom, because there is just no room in the little hall for them. The only trouble is if I put little ledges in there, the bathroom door wouldn’t close. I’ll have to keep pondering a solution for this.

You know, if it would quit raining, shoes wouldn’t have to be taken off at the door.


Okay, to the books for me! May the solutions to all life’s troubles be the sunshine in all our worlds today!

-Nani

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wrapping up Monday

A little taste to kick off the week!

The first bit of business I need to address to start this week is a “fix” from last week. I got several points wrong in my early rant about how Sally, the mother goose from our post office, died. I didn’t correct the mistakes or take down my original post because I don’t want to delete the comments and my demeanor hasn’t changed. It’s settled now after a few days, but the anger about it is a little fueled. The stupid mistakes were made by people who should know better, WAY better. The people who moved the family were from a center for the “rescue” and rehabilitation of wildlife. When they moved the goose family, with three goslings and two un hatched eggs, to a “better” place across the street, they were caught by surprise that geese are territorial and the incumbent geese in that area would threaten the new geese and try to drive them out.

Yanno, I just don’t get how you can work for a wildlife center in an area where there are a lot of geese and not know that. They said it was a “no win” situation because Sally was nesting in an area where there was so much traffic. How about carefully move the family to somewhere that there aren’t geese already living? I mean, if you’re moving the geese and have already invaded them, why not put them someplace safer than where they already are? Sure, a busy parking lot by a busy road is not ideal, but it’s not like no one knew they were there. Putting them in an area where not only is there the human factor but also territorial other geese sounds like a “maybe lose” or “lose big” choice and they chose lose big.

You can read the story on the Toledo Blade’s website here: Blade article



I SO don’t want to be all doom and gloom n a cloudy Monday, here in northwestern Ohio. We’re still on the lookout for that arc! ^The rain was hard and nasty Friday night into Saturday morning. The tulips took quite a beating! In the front half of our side bed, there is a lot of petal litter! That’s from the blooms that just exploded from the driving down rain on them. I’m glad I got my photos when they were strong and healthy! There are more exploded tulip blooms in the front section than the back, so there are still flowers, just not as many. The smaller tulips seemed to fare better than the taller ones, but they weren’t as open. David reported this morning that the absolute las6t of the crocuses, a couple of the stripey ones that bloomed later and stayed a little longer, had finished for the year now. That ups my resolve to get some bulbs in the ground for summer and fall. Now if we can just get a day that doesn’t rain. Our forecast for the beginning of this week: today was “cloudy with a shower or two,” we got three or four, then “mainly cloudy, showers around,” and on Wednesday,“ warmer with showers.” Hey, at least it’ll be warmer! Just give me one weekend day that’s cloudy, but no rain, so David can help me, and I’m good!


There are things that make me happy. The Reds swept the Cardinals out of town over the weekend and hold first place again and they beat up the Cubs in the sixth inning tonight for another win. I like this kind of roll!

David and I got out to the grocery store yesterday and left with many bags of groceries and a lighter pocketbook for the effort, but we saved BIG TIME with coupons, careful sale shopping ahead of time and a good buy ten and get $5 off deal at Kroger. I also got my almond milk supply refilled and Dannon Greek Yogurt comes in peach now! This morning I made a cup of warm cocoa with almond milk and a scoop of Splenda-ized dark chocolate. MMM!!!! I let David try a sip and he was impressed too!

Okay, it was a little bit of a mundane Monday, but it wasn’t a bad Monday. I still really do like Mondays, even if the telling of them is really just wrapping up the weekend. It’s a fresh start to a new week.

Now if we can just get it stop raining or get passage booked on that arc…

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Grim End To The Tale

This is so sad! Remember the Canada Goose family that was the subject of the April 13 Photoblog Wednesday? They had a sort of fan club visiting but keeping a safe distance, leaving food for the geese and basically being the “Gosling Watch.”

Then this past Monday the goslings started to hatch, not even all of the eggs had hatched, but they started to. Some idiot, and I use the term idiot with every bit of vinegar, spite and blame it can conjure, thought it was a good idea to move the mother goose and goslings/eggs to the other side of the road. When the mother goose was approached and her babies threatened, she went nuts and in the frenzy ran in front of a car and was killed. What was something beautiful to the post office patrons was destroyed, murdered, by human ignorance.

You don’t ever touch a baby animal. The smell of a human on them can make a mother abandon it. If you approach a baby, a mother will react. In this instance, that reaction cost the mother goose her life and probably the lives of the babies. I haven’t heard that the father goose was involved at all, which means he probably wasn’t there at the time. That means he wasn’t able to be there to save any of the goslings. A young gosling must be warmed by a parent about every 15 minutes and these were newborn and still unhatched geese. Geese mate for life and are absolutely as attached as humans are. Scratch that, most humans can’t comprehend that kind of a bond in this day and age. The gander would have returned to find his family massacred.

In thinking about the goose’s reaction to a strange human with plans to move her, touch her hatching eggs, I completely understand the reaction. If I was holding my newborn baby and someone who didn’t speak my language said nothing but grabbed the baby, I’d go nuts too. That’s a natural reaction

As simple humans who have many generations ago abandoned the use of our instincts for conscious thinking, and usually under-thinking to the point of touching a nest when the eggs are in the middle of hatching, my only hope is that we learn. I hope that everyone who was touched by the potential simple miracle of nature’s new life in the spring, can learn from the sad feelings that range from disappointment to anger, and get a better understanding and respect for the animals that come to live in the city when we’ve grown our cities in so many of the places they live.

Life renewing itself in animals of any species is an everyday miracle, the art of life itself. Treat those miracles like art in a museum. Look, but don’t touch and when security tells you you’re too close, respect.

Photoblog Wednesday

Kaline Melted!

Guess the sunny spot really is warm!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Little Bit of That – Spring 2011

I told ya I’d be back! It’s been a good baseball Mother’s day so far. So far is because the Braves are still playing, but they are ahead by 2 in the 9th. Philly still gets their last at-bat! In the day games, the Reds, Red Sox and Tigers all won,


Still Losing

In the healthy diet world, I’m just a couple pounds away from another goal-gift. I have finally started to see the scale move in the right direction again. Stress is a nasty critter for causing plateaus and even weight gain! I tried a few new things, because weight-loss counselors will tell you to first, stick with your diet even when you’re under stress or on a plateau. Second, they’ll tell you to mix things up a little, swap lunch and breakfast foods or just try something new. SO I’ve tried some somethings new!


I tried Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze, almond milk. Oh my, that stuff I SO GOOD It’s low in fat and only 60 calories for as one-cup serving. I also don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything so good on cereal. It adds a great nutty flavor. Now, almond milk isn’t as high in protein as regular fat free milk, but almond milk is very high in Vitamin E. My neurologist told me to double my daily vitamin E, double that if I can. So, I take my Vitamin E supplement twice a day and also add almond milk, especially at breakfast on Fiber Plus cinnamon or Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal. I need to see how it tastes on Honey Nut Cheerios! I keep track of my protein and fiber intake every day and even with switching out some of my milk with almond milk, I’m still a decent amount over the recommended minimum. I want to try the dark chocolate almond milk for an occasional treat too. It’s double the calories of plain almond milk, but it’s still less than regular chocolate milk and chocolate and almond, yum!

I’ll be getting the opportunity to check out new things in the store again now. I’m sad to say Flying Grocery, the local grocery delivery service I’ve been using, has gone out of business. As a former small business owner in a rough economy myself, I totally understand. A delivery service with current gas prices has to be difficult to maintain. The weekend of Easter, David and I went to Meijer to get some groceries. I like going to Meijer because they have a wheelchair with a shopping basket. You know, if I can’t do the walking, I at least want to exercise my arms. Well, Easter weekend when we went someone else had the wheelchair and I used one of those scooters. While I really don’t like those things, they make me feel lazy, it’s still a viable way to get the groceries bought. Accepting this means that I can shop at Kroger and Giant Eagle too and I won’t hurt so bad I can barely get the groceries in the house. Still, I’m going to miss seeing Leslie, the owner at Flying Grocery, and I know for me, my business was my baby and I was sad to have to close my doors.



Qwirkle


Last weekend, David and I went to SEMMantics, the Mensa event in Farmington Hills, Michigan, that’s responsible for us meeting. If he hadn’t been giving a talk there, he wouldn’t have asked me to come see his multimedia show and give him some professional thoughts. That email inviting me to his program is how we found out we both like trains, baseball and cats.

This year, David placed fourth in the Texas Hold Em tournament. David’s wife finished third! I SO seldom ever finish better than him at poker, I was tickled pink! We also discovered a new game! We played Qwirkle, which is a matching colors and patterns game. It’s a fantastic and addicting game! We promised ourselves we’d buy it after we got home.

There was one problem with the idea of buying Qwirkle after we got home. Why would we want another one? We bought ourselves a new game before Christmas that looked like fun, but since it was Christmastime, we put it away with the other games and well, forgot it was there. I was looking up Qwirkle to get an idea of the cost after we’d gotten home and then glanced over at our games shelves and there it was, still in its shrink wrap, the game we’d fallen in love with during the weekend. We’ve played a game of Qwirkle almost every night since discovering we already had it! Generally the games are kinda close, but I’ve only won twice. So, I need to practice! :)


Okay, time to wrap up today’s this and that. The Braves won that game while I was writing, YAY! All of my teams won today. It truly was a good baseball day!

A Little Bit of This – Spring 2011

Mom with Dave and me, Easter 1970

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there and to all of the Mom helpers. That photo is the one I have as my ID on Facebook right now. I saw a few people using their Mom’s photo as their profile photo for Mother's Day and I thought it was a neat idea for the holiday, so I used that one. It turns out that my photo was such a good idea that my brother snagged it for his profile photo. Now we look like twins, but as I posted on his page, we kinda look like twins in that photo! (But trust me, we really are 14 months apart!) It’s my Mom with my brother and me on Easter Sunday in 1970. I was almost 5 and Dave was 3-1/2. That’s a photo my Dad carried in his wallet for a long time. There is one that goes with it, Dad’s other wallet photo, of us with him on the same day. We were almost adults and we were still under 5 in Dad’s wallet. The staples in Mom’s wallet were a little more up-to-date. She always had the current school picture, then we got to be seniors forever, but the First Communion photos were always there too.

Today is the 8th Mother’s Day that I won’t be at a ball game with my Mom. “Take Mommy Out To The Ball Game” was our Mothers Day tradition. She loved carnations and that was one of the Mothers Day perks. Many ballparks give a carnation to every woman who comes to the game on Mother’s Day. Sometimes it was a Tigers game, sometimes a Minor League game. In 1996, the ball game was the day before when Heather and Tracy were with us in Philadelphia. We saw the Braves and Phillies after a rain delay the night before and the three of us treated Mom to lunch at Old Bookbinder’s before we left for the airport. When I wrote the tribute that was on her memorial website, I mentioned that she’d see Roberto Clemente, one of her heroes as a kid, play again at Heaven’s ballpark. For this year’s Mothers Day game, she’ll get to see Sparky Anderson manage one of the teams.


Speaking of Baseball…



A little tirade of questioning Dusty Baker - why, oh why, would he put Francisco Cordero in to pitch when they were only ONE run ahead in the ninth inning, I don’t care if they call him “closer," which by the way is the most OVERRATED position in baseball, Cordero is more accomplished at throwing a lead away when it really counts than he is at saving games. I listen to the commentators on Fox Sports talk about how closers seem to perform better with men on base. PLEASE! Any other reliever, we’d call that “not able to get the job done,” “Poor performance.” But for a closer, the ulcers for managers and fans are part of their, I don’t know, legend? YEESH! The first batter Cordero faced went yard and tied the game. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a tie does NOT close a game! Oh yeah, but he did close it in the ninth. The Cubs got another run in to beat, Cordero. It just sucks that the Reds and their fans have to take the hit for his inability to do his job. Yes, he has a bunch of saves, but when the game has been tough or the score has see-sawed or just if it’s not easy, Cordero is NOT the man you want on the mound in the ninth. I don’t care how much of a Reds ticket goes to pay his overpriced salary, I’d rather pay him to sit on the bench and record a win.

Okay, that rant ends. If you read it all, thank you for indulging me. It’s just that Cordero really irks me. Congratulations Cubbies on the victory, but we took it easy one you and gave you Cordero and his beach ball pitches in the ninth. You can thank us by not hitting today!

So after watching the sad ending to the Reds game, I tuned in to the Tigers game in the fourth inning. What better way to wipe my emotions clean of that nasty Cordero inning than Justin Verlander! He was phenomenal yesterday, the second no-hitter of his career and just inches shy of a perfect game! In the bottom of the eighth in Toronto, after facing and retiring 22 straight batters, he went to a full count and walked batter 23, then ended the eighth with a double play. So, he did only face 27 hitters, an almost perfect game!

Justin Verlander - 2nd career no-hitter yesterday!

It was very cool to watch the game. As David said when he got home yesterday, we usually only see the last batter or at most the last inning when a network games breaks into it as the no-hitter is completed. I loved watching the game and seeing the pitcher for one of my teams pitch the gem. Verlander is only the second Tiger in history to throw two no-nos and at 28 years old, he has time to do it again in his career. Can he do it? Could he throw five more and match Nolan Ryan’s record seven in his career? Yeah, no one can answer those questions yet, but it’s going to be exciting as a Tiger fan to find out!


School’s Out For Summer


Well, this semester was tough for me. Planning on the medical issues being much simpler, I took two classes. Even in the easier one, Web Imaging, which is basically Photoshop 5, I only got a B+. I say “only got a B” because it’s my first grade since returning to beef up my resume that wasn’t an A! I had some of straight-A semesters through high school, trade school and college, but I was never a 4.0 student when all was said and done. I am proud that my cumulative average has always been in the “A” range, but really, I’ve never been asked what my GPA in school was in a job interview, so in the greater scheme of things, a B, even if it was a C, doesn’t hurt anything but my ego, and even my ego is only slightly bruised.

But the ego bruising fades with some very glowing remarks and the full 250 points for my final project in Photoshop! For the final project, we were to create two original pieces using the tools and methods we’d learned in class. I created the first one to be an in-store promotional poster for home and garden departments in the fall for spring perennial bulbs planting. I used photos of my own flowers and the labels from the bulbs with one of Darlene Haughin’s papers from the Everyday Life collab.


For the second one, I used a paper from Darlene’s portion of On My Knees, we had to secure permission to use anything we didn’t create or photograph ourselves, and photos of my own cane and walker. Remember that I got the walker when I was in aquatic therapy because it took me a little to get my land legs back after getting out of the pool. I positioned this as a motivational poster and one that could be used in a co-op ad or public service ad for a nonprofit like Paralyzed Veterans of America or Special Olympics.


As I mentioned already, I currently have an Incomplete in my XML class, with three chapters and the final to catch up by the beginning of August, I want to redo some of the chapters before that so I have the language down moving forward. As I said before, my instructor is awesome, very compassionate and understanding. I want to excel on the portion of the class that’s left, not just for me, but as a way of saying thanks to him too!


Flowers!


The entire length of the house next to our drive is in bloom!

I’m having so much fun watching the flowers Kelly and I planted in October come up! That photo was taken May 4. The tulips are up now and the colors along the side of our house are just beautiful! But, after the tulips are done, that’s it! I planted spring flowers. I’m still new to this flowers thing! I’ve been doing some looking for summer blooming perennials and next I’ll look for fall blooming ones. I’d love to be able to have continuous blooming plants through to fall on the side.

Here are three I found that are right for the growing zone we’re in and I just think would be beautiful in the summer.

Gladiolas

We’ve had glads in the side bed all along, but they were dug up when our basement waterproofing was done and we didn’t get them back in the ground soon enough. I want to get some to plant now because I know they’ll grow there and David picked a Glad branch for me a couple times, when rain or wind knocked them down, and I had a glad branch on my desk at work. So, they have sentimental value too.

gaillardias

clematis

These two are one I found that I just think are so pretty! I want to get some each of the gaillardias and clematis. I love the colors and the sunburst of the gaillardias is just SO summer! Kelly did the planting while I was at school in October, but I know how she did it and I figure I can set out the bulbs in the driveway and just move a chair down to each section to do the planting. David said he’d help too. I’ll see about choosing fall flowers and maybe planting them all at the same time.


Okay, I’ll be back with more later!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

So, The News

I’ve been a little swamped with life lately. School just ended for the semester and I’m taking the summer off. I was going to take one class, but I have some catch up work for the XML class and was granted another term to complete the class. My instructor for XML was VERY cool! This semester wasn’t what I’d planned at all, because the medical stuff didn’t go as I’d planned at all!

I haven’t blogged about it yet because I’ve been going over in my mind how I’d tell the tale. Then Kelly posted a travel query on Facebook and both Jeff and Jeanne extended the invitation to come to Atlanta. That meant it was time to tell everyone what’s going on with me. Well, that means I’ve found the words I needed. Anyway, I buckled down and really looked for them, and there they were!

Okay, first off, what I’m most concerned about is that the written word doesn’t have the inflection the spoken word does. I am not gloomy, sad or depressed. I hope the normal Nani optimism and smiles are clear in my writing. This is the main body of the letter I sent to friends on Facebook:

The plan at the beginning of the year was that I was getting an MRI of the lower back and then probably surgery. Rehab and all, I’d be good as new by Christmas. Well, the neurosurgeon had me do some tricks which I couldn’t do, like standing with my feet together. It was his opinion that, bad as my lower back is, it isn’t the problem. The lower back doesn’t screw up balance. I had an MRI on the upper spine and neck, looking for a pinched nerve. No pinched nerve. Then a CT Scan, looking for a benign, and the neurosurgeon specified benign, brain tumor. That was the worst for me. Benign or not, brain surgery was a scary thought. I even refrained from coloring my hair while going through testing, if you can imagine me giving up that vanity! I figured if they did have to do bran surgery, why pay to color it and then have it shaved off? Well, good news, it’s auburn again now. No tumor.

What the CT Scan did show was that my cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor function, is too small for my age. The neurosurgeon told me that there was no one in Toledo qualified to diagnose me and sent me to Cleveland Clinic. That’s the number four hospital, not in Ohio, but in the COUNTRY! Talk about a happy Leo ego! Best in the state, fourth best in the US, my brain is pretty important, huh? I met with a neurologist there who was awesome! He looked at my CT scan and MRIs with me and he pointed out exactly what I was seeing. Yep, my cerebellum is too small for the space it’s supposed to fill. He says the symptoms indicate a probable genetic condition and asked all kinds of questions about my family. Yanno, Mom had some balance issues and fell a few times, but she had the heart condition and diabetes so it fit together. Since the first of the year, I’ve been tested for just about everything, including a chest x-ray and EKG last week. My balance issues fit with nothing!

I also had a brain MRI last week. MRIs suck and I really am tired of those! I’ve also had more blood drawn in the last month…I look like a junkie with all the tracks! Anyway, I go back to Cleveland Clinic next month to follow up after the brain MRI and blood work. The doctor seems pretty positive that it’s genetic and he’s trying to narrow it down to exactly what it is, for me, what to call it. He has already brought up a special walker for neurological patients and use of the wheelchair. This is not life-shortening, but it is, unfortunately, life altering. Well, it’s way-of-life altering.

The cool part is that I can now blame my medical issues for being so long between jobs when I get back into the job hunt, plus I’ll have some new computer certifications. I’ll be fully qualified for a sit-down job, like telephone help desk or web design and my end of interview sale can be that they can meet a quota and I have the opportunity to make them know they made the best decision they could. Okay, the job hunt is probably going to be the beginning of 2013, when my diagnosis is official and my trips to Cleveland finished and when I'm finished with enough classes to take the certification tests.

Right now I’m working on getting used to things that won’t be changing and adjusting to them. I’m doing okay for the most part. But hey, go with me and we get good parking, guaranteed seats at most places and while that walking part of my brain appears to have shrunk, the thinking part is still working well for smiling, laughing, joking and in general the stuff I’ve always done. I may have to rent one of those scooters to go apple picking and I’ll have to learn how to dance in a wheelchair. :)

So, there is the current story in my world. It’s a new challenge, but it’s also a new opportunity to seize the rainbow behind the clouds that appears when I shine my sun on them. I’ll keep the Chronicles updated whenever it is that they can give my “thing” a name.

Don’t feel sorry for what I don’t have a choice about. Be inspired by what I am choosing to do about it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

From Storage to Style


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


Papasan Chair


I usually work on my computer in the dining room next to the French doors that I’m sure at one time went right outside to the patio. Eventually that patio in our cute 50s house was made into[ an enclosed porch. David and I have been talking for a couple years about making that porch, which is now a storage space, back into a usable area. A drive past Pier 1 ushered in some inspiration!


I checked out Pier 1 on line and WOW is there ever some great inspiration there. There is sweet wicker and rattan furniture that’s actually indoor/outdoor furniture. That means we could use it in the yard when it’s sunny but not too warm, maybe with a patio umbrella, also available at Pier 1. When it’s hotter, or at night after the mosquitoes come out, we could use the sake furniture on the enclosed porch with the ceiling fan on. There are so many reasonable priced choices! I had my eye on a wicker living set for that room, which includes a sweet coffee table, couch and chair, but they have patio dining sets too, great for games night outside! But then, I was caught by the papasan!


Papasan chairs, the big bowl chairs with the padded cushions, were introduced to the United States in the 1950s, when our house was built! What a great idea! Big comfy chairs with plush cushions in a more updated stele. What a perfect fit! The 2011 offering in the papasan line include an ottoman, double papasan couch, even a matching table. What a great way to give that enclosed patio a period look, yet with a modern pizzazz!


One last note I’ll mention is Pier 1 Tweetups. There were four spring Tweetups in Dallas, Atlanta, New York City and Orlando. At a Tweetup, Pier 1 reps, bloggers and customers gather at a local Pier 1 and have a meet and greet with gifts and prizes and an opportunity to see what Pier 1 has to offer and let them know what you like! If they have a Tweetup in the greater Toledo area I plan to be there and I hope if you’re in the area, you do too!


I’ve always love Pier1 for gifts, special things and for finding that one or two things that change the dull into the WOW! Now is a good time for some WOW!


Visit Sponsor's Site