Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

Yes, I’ve been gone a while…a long while. I’ve had some other physical and subsequent mental issues. I don’t really want to talk about them. It enhances the stress and potential depression. I read an article that explains the MIA from blogging probably better than I could.

Isolation: When Our Disease Makes Us Withdraw

So whether it’s starting over or
just continuing like I was never gone…

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the pumpkin spice scones!

Contact Nani at

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Hodge Podge


I’m joining Joyce at From This Side of The Pond for the Wednesday Hodge Podge.

1. Are you settling for something?

Interesting question. One could say I’m settling for a lot of things because I have to but I don’t think that’s really settling. That’s making the best of it when I have no choice of something better. I don’t think that’s settling that’s taking the most I can. I don’t think I’ve ever settled and I don’t know that I ever will.

2. It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?

Well this is a hot topic. No, I’m not shopping on Thanksgiving Day and while some services should definitely be open on every holiday including gas stations and restaurants for people traveling, providers of news and people who work in television and radio as well as hospitals and even the emergency veterinary clinic, shopping is NOT a vital necessity. Thanksgiving Day is an American holiday and as Americans probably the most important holiday of the holiday season.

Truth be told, I pretty much stay away from the mall and large retail stores from now until after February 1.

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-

New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul.

Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?

Of the cities listed I’ve only been to New York and you could only say I “shopped” there if you include souvenirs and a couple of pieces of chocolate. I’m not what they call a “pleasure shopper.”

4. When did you last dine by candlelight?

David and I usually light candles during dinner when we’re at home on Valentines day and Christmas Day. Since we ate out for Valentine’s Day this year I guess it would’ve been last Christmas Day.

5. What do you have too much of?

Clutter; I can’t do housecleaning for more than a couple of minutes and David works full time and does other more important than housecleaning things that I can’t do. The hous is cluttered. I’m learning to ignore that most of the time unless we are expecting someone to come over.

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan? Did you read the book(s)? Will you/have you seen the movie? Will you/have you seen Catching Fire? No spoilers please!

The Hunger Games… um… no.

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner? If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday.

For Thanksgiving Day David and I will have brunch at Cracker Barrel before he goes to work and I will scrap pretty much all day while I watch football and enjoy French toast-style Italian toast with tomato basil bread from Panera. We’ll enjoy leftovers from Monday for dinner gets home.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Okay my random thought today kinda explains my answer to #7. We celebrated Thanksgiving with my dad and aunt on Monday. David works for the newspaper and Pop works retail. Yes, it’s working on a holiday but keep in mind there wouldn’t be retail stores open if shoppers wouldn’t rather shop than be with their families on holidays. It’s still holiday pay for the hours worked. And David, well remember what I said about media; we still need necessary information. So it’s okay to celebrate on the day they both have off work and can relax and enjoy family and the meal.

We had turkey that Pop roasted with the traditional fresh sage stuffing I made with Mom’s recipe. I made cranberry relish with my recipe on Saturday and brought it with me. Pop made mashed potatoes cream cheese, spinach and bacon; oh my! Aunt Judy made wonderful sautéed squash with zucchini and summer squash. She also made a dessert to go with the pumpkin pie. It’s a four layer pumpkin pudding something… Who really cares what it’s called; it was fantastic and everyone had a second helping.

It was a small gathering and a wonderful day with family talking about family and enjoying a great traditional feast. So our Thanksgiving wasn’t on the Thursday. We still have each other and glorious abundance for which to be thankful. And it was Monday so it was a very authentic Thanksgiving; there was still football.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The End of an Era

Jonathan E. Camaro is no more. I haven’t driven in over a year and I haven’t driven the Camaro since March 2011. I knew I wanted to get the car out of our garage but I had no idea how to sell a car or get rid of it in any other way. I think maybe I didn’t want to either. But at the beginning of this year I decided it was time to let go.

The 1994 hot red Camaro was my third car and my first brand spanking new car. My 1987 Camaro had gotten to the point where I was essentially making a car payment for repairs almost every month. It was time for a new car. Since I was at the dealer, again, for repairs I went into the showroom and spoke to a salesman. I was just looking. I asked him to tell me about the new Camaros.

They really were new cars too. 1994 was the first year for this model of car. I had seen the new Camaro sitting in the hallway at Cobo Hall in Detroit on the way to Rockers indoor soccer games a few times at the end of 1993 and loved the car. A test drive later and I asked Larry, my salesman, to tell the repair shop to hold my repair order this time.

I asked my dad, barterer extraordinaire, to come in with me, see the pretty car, meet Larry, and make that beautiful car one I could afford. I told Pop the absolute highest car payment I could make each month and that I was willing to pay five years to finish but I wanted that car. There were some safety features that he wanted to be sure were on the car and that included the car alarm. After a little talking he was happy because all of the safety features he wanted would be on the car, Larry was happy because he was making a sale and I was ecstatic because I was getting a new car!

There were a few awesome things about that car. The first was that the loan was in my name and my name alone; no cosigner. I made every payment and the car was 100% mine. It was a fun car to drive. Because the model was so brand spanking new it was a guy magnet too! For the first couple of years that I owned that car I made sure that I was dressed well, full make up and nice hair every time I drove it. Well, you know… I never got a date because of the car but boy I enjoyed lots of fun flirting.

The weekend after I got the new Jonathan I went to visit Grandma and Papa. I went into the house and announced “I took Jonathan in for repairs and you should see what they did to him.” Papa stood up, put down his paper and said “Come on Mom, let’s go see her new car.” Nobody called ahead to spoil my surprise, Papa just knew.

The stuffed cherry in the picture was a gift from Papa that weekend. He called my new car’s color “fast, cherry-ass red” and warned me to watch my speed because the police would be looking for me. (Yes the car was fast but the truth is the two speeding tickets I’ve gotten were when I borrowed my dad’s sport-utility vehicle.)

Now the vignette you see above is all that remains of that first major purchase that was completely in my name; my first real adult contract. I’m not physically capable of driving a car or even cleaning one out and David did all the work. I’m so lucky that he still “gets me.” Cherry and Rudy, the teddy bear I bought while Christmas shopping in 1987 lived in that Camaro and moved to the new Camaro in 1994, were very important to me. He also came home when the car was being towed to go to auction. I donated the value of the car at auction to the MS Society. David did one last check to be sure nothing was left in the car of personal value, especially making sure that he had taken Cherry and Rudy out for me already. He knew it would be important to keep them. This morning he also brought in the hubcap that had fallen off and was left in the garage; one last memento.

I didn’t take a picture as they were towing the car out of the driveway. I don’t want to remember Jonathan that way. I never really liked driving but that car made it bearable because it was a fun car to drive. I’ve read that letting go of things you can’t do because of MS is important in accepting your new reality. I guess I can say that I’ve accepted it now since I had made the decision to donate the car at the beginning of the year and didn’t shed any tears as I watched it leave the driveway. I was prepared to bawl my eyes out but I didn’t cry. It didn’t feel like mine anymore. I just said goodbye to that part of my past. I’m finally ready to move on.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Found The Good Stuff!

That was my breakfast this morning I finally found my Panettone solo uvetta, senza canditi; only raisins or no candied fruit. That’s not the common and traditional way to make panettone but I don’t like the candied fruit and and never have. Mom didn’t like it either but loved the panettone senza canditi and every year Noni found a panettone senza canditi for her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter for Christmas. Now I make a point of finding only raisin panettone for Christmas in remembrance of my grandmother and my mother and because it just tastes so great.

It usually takes searching before I find my panettone. Shopping online helps! So when I ordered my traditional Italian Torrone candy, I added a couple of the mini panettone like the one I had for breakfast in case I still couldn’t find full size. The candy shop didn’t have panettone solo uvetta in larger packages. But I did find 2.2 pound panettone senza canditi at a different store online and bought two. Now I’ll make sure keep my hands off one of them so I have it for Christmas breakfast.

That was breakfast this is now

Skipped a few hours there because the bus called and I went shopping! Yanno, it is SO cool to use the paratransit bus for something all by myself that’s NOT a doctor’s appointment! I did some Christmas shopping including finishing all of my Secret Santee shopping. Now I’m not going to say what stores I shopped at because my Santee might just read The Chronicles of Nani. Besides I bought a few other things that might also be for someone who reads my blog. You never know.

No one has ever asked me how long it takes me to shop. I never have been a huge shopper. In my teens and early 20s I could spend a day at the mall with my mom or with friends but I don’t think that really counts. I like to shop for Christmas things alone and I really do enjoy that. If I want an opinion I like the unbiased input from clerks and other shoppers. So today I had a mission, one place that I wanted to go and to make my trip reservation with the bus I had to be able to sell them how long I’d be. Hmmm… One store, one list with a few different names and a few different things and some choices I knew I’d have to make for those things. So I guessed two hours. It took me one at the store I planned to visit. Since I had an hour before the bus was scheduled to pick me up and the rain had let up I motored to some of the other stores in the center and did a little more Christmas shopping!

One of the stores was Family Dollar. David doesn’t do dollar stores or discount stores; what Grandma used to call “junk stores.” Don’t get me wrong there, Grandma loved going to “junk stores.” What wonderful places they are for craft notions and the little things we use every day that aren't meant to last. Frankly I’d rather pay two dollars for something that lasts a month than pay five dollars for something that last two months. Sometimes the natural female shopping gene just makes more sense than the male “I hate stores” gene. I don’t get to go to those stores so much anymore because when I get together with girlfriends it’s for catching up over lunch, dinner or coffee. I was very happy when I passed the windows and realized the next door was to Family Dollar. I only had a half hour left so I was careful and well behaved and next time I’m grabbing a bigger basket! But this is where I found a special little something for me:

Isn’t it just SO Nani? I collect coffee mugs and I just adore the word art with a single word or subject in many fonts and it’s the word coffee! My little giftie for me was only a dollar and a large size from my Keurig brewer with a tablespoon of Coffeemate is a perfect fit! I love my new mug! They have a mug that says cappuccino in orange and cocoa in purple too. I may have to plan another trip to Family Dollar after the holidays. The really good news to me was when David came home for lunch I showed him my new mug and I told him it was only a dollar. He smiled. He understands that a good deal on a mug I really like is the same thing as a good sale on model train cars that fit his layout for him. .Ah, marital bliss!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Anyone Ever Eaten a Newspaper?

I’m reminded today of the story my mother told me about when I was in the hospital with pneumonia when I was only two. Every day Mom read the menu to me and let me decide what I wanted for my meals the next day. Every day I insisted I wanted spaghetti. And every day my mother talked me out of spaghetti. Shortly before I was ready to be released I once again insisted I wanted spaghetti for lunch. Mom gave in and checked off spaghetti for lunch the next day. That next afternoon when she visited I wore a frown. She asked me if I enjoyed my spaghetti. I said “no. The spaghetti tastes like newspaper.” She told me she never did figure out how I knew what newspaper tasted like but she knew I wouldn’t like the spaghetti. The only spaghetti I’d ever eaten was made with authentic Italian sauce. I was a snob at two

You might wonder why I remembered that story today. Well, it was lunch. For lunch foods I like to have several different ready-made meals on hand. I have favorite soups and definitely favorite Lean Cuisines that I can pop in the microwave especially on the days that I’m just feeling too sore to do serious cooking. There are a couple of the Hormel Compleats that I like but the one I keep asking for is Macaroni and Cheese. David insists he won’t buy the Hormel Macaroni and Cheese because it’s too expensive for something you can buy in the dollar store box. Okay David didn’t say dollar store, I don’t think he’s ever been inside a dollar store, but I know you can get macaroni cheese at dollar stores sometimes even 2, 3 or 4 for dollar. The thing is there is a difference between dollar store mac & cheese, Lean Cuisine mac & cheese and my homemade mac and cheese. The Hormel looks good in the picture. I figured it was comparable to the Lean Cuisine and wanted to try it.

The Hormel Macaroni and Cheese taste like newspaper

Eh, ya live and ya learn.

In better news from today I was inspired to do a scrapbook page by a photo I just had to take this morning:

Credits: Forever in Blue Jeans by Seatrout Scraps

The basket Marco had adopted as a kitten had fallen on the other side of the table and we found it last night. Marco found it pretty quick after we did but it was a tighter squeeze than it had been. It didn’t stop him from getting inside and chewing on the handles. I just looked down and saw a scrapbook page.

I hope everybody that was in the area affected by the storms yesterday fared well. I texted my brother and he said they just had fierce wind in Indy. Seamhead Gypsy and I tweeted back and forth; we both spent a little of Sunday evening in our respective basements in different parts of Ohio. Thankfully it was sirens but no tornadoes for both of us.

Now the unfortunate part is that David and I have discovered I’m better off taking my chances with the tornado than trying to go downstairs. I scooted down the stairs on my butt okay but getting back upstairs was somewhat of a dramatic challenge. Health insurance doesn’t cover stair climbers and at the price of the stair climber we had to choose which set of stairs got one. Upstairs is the bedroom and shower and downstairs is the basement. Since we figure that I’ll want to sleep or shower more often than there will be tornado sirens we put the stair climber going to upstairs. Next time there is the tornado siren my place for shelter will be the downstairs bathroom rather than taking the set of stairs into the basement. With so many people in the area without power and other potentially greater medical emergencies I felt it would be irresponsible to call 911 so someone could carry me up the stairs on a stretcher or something. David was incredible in helping me get each foot up on the next stair while I grabbed the railing and pushed up with the other arm but it really is a better choice in the future to hunker down in the bathroom rather than try to get down the stairs.

Ya live, ya survive and ya learn some more.

I’m behind on my book reviews! There will be two more soon. I really am doing well with my reading goal for the year!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Coffee and Clouds

I find that cloudy days make me crave coffee. Okay, if I tell David that he’ll ask, “and that’s different from any other day how?” But rainy or cloudy days make me truly crave coffee not just want a cup. That makes today a great day to tell you about the Nani-perfect opportunity I received last month as a BzzAgent!

Yes, I’m promoting a product I got to try for free, but it was a free sample of a new flavor of a product I liked anyway! I got free K-Cup samples of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Three Continent Blend. To be honest I was a little leery at first because one of the coffees blended into Thee Continent is Sumatra and I’m not a Sumatra fan, but as part of a blend it took away the acidic edge I wasn’t fond of and it was good. But what I really learned at the Choose Fair Trade website is why some of my favorite Green Mountain coffees are favorites!

I’ve been drinking Fair Trade Colombian for a while because it was just the best Colombian I’d tried and I love Colombian as my every-day coffee. The Pumpkin Spice from Green Mountain, also my favorite of the Pumpkin Spices, is also a Fair Trade coffee!

Fair Trade means that coffee farmers are guaranteed a minimum price for their beans which gives them money they can invest in their crops and communities via hiring and spending. A statistic that bothers me is that only 38% of consumers even know what Fair Trade is! And I admit that prior to the opportunity to try and learn I was part of that 38%. I knew there was something about the Fair Trade Colombian that made it better. After viewing the website and reading about the people singer Kelly Clarkson visited while she learned about Fair Trade I was even proud to discover that the Pumpkin Spice I love and The Vermont Country Blend I’ve tried are both Fair Trade.

Nantucket Blend, a flavor enjoyed by Seamhead Gypsy and shared with me last Christmas is Fair Trade. The Wild Blueberry Rina likes and ended up sharing the box I gave her with her dad? Yep, that’s Fair Trade too. Green Mountain Coffee offers one of the largest selections of Fair Trade coffees.

I encourage you to check out the Choose Fair Trade website and check out all the facts about Fair Trade and the great selections of Fair Trade coffees. If what you contribute to the communities in coffee-growing regions isn’t enough to make you feel even warmer inside than just a hot cup of coffee, how about this? That investing in their crops and quality of life in the area just makes a better-tasting coffee. If you won’t do it for them, then do it for yourself!

Let’s make the world a better place one great cup of coffee at a time!

Friday, November 15, 2013

I Love Being a Secret Santa!

I just want to give a “shout out” about how totally awesome Suzanne at The Coloradolady is for taking on the big job of coordinating the Secret Santa Soiree This is the third year I’m participating and I just love it!

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. That’s the real reason I’ve blogged so little. I’ve been depressed, actually down, me! I don’t mean to make light of it. I’m a super-optimist and I always have been, so chronically bouncing between happy and sad makes me..well, it makes me sad! I decided to talk to a counselor about it. I want to talk to someone who can professionally ask me the questions I’m not asking myself and someone for whom I don’t feel a need to “fake it” if I’m in one of those sad moods to keep them from worrying. I’ve been feeling happier since making the appointment. I’m confident that this will work and get me back to being me.

That actually does tie-in to the Secret Santa Soiree. When I got my Santee for this year all kinds of ideas started. I did some reading; my Santee’s blog, looked up and learned about some things she likes, looked up some photos. This is one of my favorite parts of the swap. I love learning new things and getting a feel for what gift or gifts would be very special.

In the past there’s been one idea, one part of the gift that was a mission for me. Something I had to search for. Christmas shopping has always been like that for me; there are one or two gifts every year that I get in my mind and have to search for. It’s so much easier now with the Internet. That’s how David got his jar of Argentinian Dulce de Leche last year. For a few years he’d comment about the incredible caramel spread he had in Argentina. One of my holiday missions was to find a jar of it even if I had to pay to get it imported. Both years so far I was inspired to search for part of the gifts I gave my Santee and this year was the same.

There was a perfect item that I really wanted to find. I knew in my mind a general idea of what it would look like and was sure I'd just “know” when I saw it. I spent a few hours searching today. A few hours on the internet is the same as a few weeks a couple decades ago! I saw it and I did just “know.” I hope my Santee “knows” when she sees it!

I’ll be taking advantage of the powerchair and paratransit to finish my SS shopping and do a little more Christmas shopping next week Don’t worry, the UPS guy won’t miss me; I still do most of my shopping the week of Cyber Monday!

And that is all it took today to keep me out of the bad and into a really great mood!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The All Day Post

Good soggy Wednesday! That is not a complaint about the weather, I’m glad for the rain. I had one of those mornings where I woke up and could barely get up off the bed because my back hurt so bad. Then when I did finally get out, after a generous coating of Icy Hot, I could barely walk to the bathroom or moved to get dressed. It never hits me why this happens but later after whining about how much I hurt I noticed how dark it still was at 9 AM. I usually remember that the barometric pressure just before it rains really wreaks havoc on my back and knees. Salvation comes when the rains come down, the pressure changes and I can walk again without the discomfort instead of pain.

In the boring world of talking about health, which makes me sound like an old lady, I get the pleasure of being crammed into a tube like sausage meat with supersonic earplugs for 90 minutes of MRI fun! I have prescriptions for two MRIs and I’m getting them done back-to-back so I only have to be stuffed in once. That’s my annual brain MRI for my MS doctor and the lower spine so I can see a specialist about steroid injections. I know I didn’t really want those but the discomfort and weakness has become pain and weakness more often than not. Hopefully, ideally, if I get rid of some of the pain I’ll be able to exercise better and get my muscles a little bit better.

Rina at Fogo, table-side service with 16 different meats

Pop will be 69 years old on Friday! We celebrated in Indianapolis on Sunday. With Pop, Dave and me all living in different states now we take turns choosing the restaurant in our home state and gathering to celebrate Pop the weekend before or after his birthday. This year he chose Fogo de Chao, fantastic Brazilian steakhouse. Fogo de Chao is a fabulous dining experience great food! After an extensive salad bar that includes luncheon meats and cheeses you flip your coaster so the green side is up and “gauchos” who rove the room with 16 different types of meats stop to cut off whatever choices that portions you desire. It’s definitely not a vegetarian restaurant!

I got my Santee for this year’s Secret Santa Soiree, hosted by Suzanne at The Colorado Lady. I always love the day I get to “meet” the person I get to shop for! I won’t say anything about her except that I already have ideas dancing in my head and it’s going to be a ton of fun to find gifts for her!

Okay and last for now, remember I said I was going to do some sort of giveaway when I reached 100 on the Google mug rack? Well I was there, right at 100 for about 2 weeks, Now I’m at 98. I’m going to convince myself that those 2 left Google and not The Chronicles of Nani. It’s NOT that I have followers who were only loyal as long as I was loyal to the memes!

I need to really wrap this up now! I’ve been writing a paragraph at a time all day. I’ll have more thoughts soon!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Disabled and Disenfranchised?

The powerchair might fit if it had no arms

It’s not quite as bad as the title infers, but this morning was, um, interesting. It wasn’t too cold and our polling location is very close to our house so David and I “walked” over to vote. That’s something I haven’t been able to do since the location for our precinct moved to so close because this is the first year I’ve had the power chair. So we closed up the house and made our way to place our votes. However there was a problem.

We crossed the bumpy parking area to the doorway between the school and church and lo and behold the door opening was not made to accommodate my chair! Last year we went downtown for early voting and the year before we took the manual wheelchair and I guess David must have pushed me through the door with my arms forward because there’s no way I could have done it myself without bashing my elbows and/or skinning my knuckles.

Here is where the interpretation of the ADA term “reasonable accommodation” comes into play. If I go to a store and my chair can’t get through the aisles, reasonable accommodation may include bringing me a variety of items to choose from and letting me select the items I want to buy, essentially bringing the store to me. It can also mean taking my order and delivering items to my home with no delivery charge as I wasn’t able to use the store in the same way other shoppers can.

Today, the reasonable accommodation, since I couldn’t get in to cast my vote, was that a provisional absentee ballot was brought out to me. Had it been colder, snowing or raining I’d have been sitting outside in the weather waiting for all the paperwork to be brought out. Regular voting for me is adjusting the screen down and using the touch screen method everyone else uses. Absentee voting is filling out an envelope and choosing which candidate and issue responses by filling in spaces by hand. One of my MS issues is the inability to write well and sometimes to even hold a pencil. There was a book to hold under things to write on but no table and maybe it's just me but I don’t really like the idea of people circled around me able to read and see what votes I’m casting. The voting machines have privacy walls for a reason. So, I backed up a little and colored in the spaces for my choices in midair. If I’m voting absentee, I’d prefer to do it from the privacy and practicality of my own home or at least the more private back table of a crowded coffee shop.

The two gentleman who tackled the problem of there not being accommodation for a powerchair to get into the building were great in their efforts to make sure I could vote and very sincere in their apologies for the situation, but it’s an issue that should not have come up. It’s a building that’s open to the public and should be accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities act as updated in 2010.It's also a location selected by the board of elections that does not offer equal access to voters with disabilities.  I can't believe they don't consider this when choosing places people go to vote.  Updates should have been made to the building by spring 2011; full out construction renovations should have been completed by March 2012. It’s November 2013; it’s unquestionably in legal violation.

Today the accommodation was as reasonable as could be given the circumstance but it should be a call to attention of a bigger problem. In 2014 it won’t be acceptable.

(The Board of Elections will be getting a letter.)