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 tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at
chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Quake by Lisa Arrington

Finished January 28, 2014

Synopsis on Good Reads

Ali and Caden thought they were your average teenagers trying to navigate high school pressures and college decisions.

During a camping trip all of that changes when an earthquake ushers in an Alien invasion on their small desert hometown.

Lives are lost and friendships are tested as Ali and Caden, along with their best friends, begin running for their lives. However, nothing can prepare them for the secrets they discover when they begin learning more about themselves then they ever thought possible.


My Review on Good Reads
3 of 5 stars

I wish they had half stars or 10 stars Good Reads. Quake is definitely worth a 3.5 closing in on but not quite 4. The book was too short and the ending abrupt. I remember reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm in one night high school. That’s classic literature not young adult but it was a shorter book than Quake so the length of the book is not my issue for a young adult book. It’s just that it ended with me not craving more but looking for the next chapter.

Now onto the reason I gave it the almost 4 stars.

I absolutely loved every one of the characters! The teens in the book are very real and I could have easily been friends with them when I was in high school if my brother had been on the basketball team. My brother and I were close like main characters Ali and her brother Caden so they seem very real to me and their mom has definite similarities to our mom when we were in high school. I already kind of disliked the bad guy before she was revealed as the bad guy and she is perfectly despicable.

The story is riveting and moves appropriately fast for young adult fiction so it makes the book hard to put down. Once the details of the alien invasion become apparent how the pieces all fit together makes sense.

I’m anxious for the follow-up book, AfterShock, to come out and will definitely read it. I’m just personally not a great fan of cliffhangers but I suppose the suspense is supposed to “kill me.” That worked. I’m on the mailing list because when it’s ready that next book “must be collected.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014…

badge created with Peppermint Mocha by A-Manda Creation

I’m wishing me a Happy Half-Birthday today! I’m officially 47-1/2 years old. As I was telling a cousin this morning my birthday is in July; I’ve never been cold on my birthday and I’ve seldom even seen rain. 6 months later it’s not the comfy day I love! This year in Toledo it is bright and sunny, wonderful to look out and see, but that sunny comes at a price! It’s noon and 14 degrees! That’s what happens when there are no clouds to hold any tiny bits of heat close to the earth; we get bright sun and bitter cold! It’s over a month since the beauty and festivity of the holidays and it’s still over 2 months before Opening Day! It’s cold and there is snow and ice everywhere. I celebrate my half-birthday to make me smile at a time of year that is unquestionably void of cheer and Nani-happiness! Do please, find a smile with me today thinking about July and that it was just 6 months ago that I asked you to have some ice cream to celebrate with me and know that on a warm day just 6 months from now, I’ll encourage you to do the same! But for the half-birthday, join me in a cup of hot cocoa!

I’ve seen photos and read news stories about the devastation this insane winter has brought to the south! It’s so sad to see the craziness and the traffic tie-ups yesterday and now. I saw photos of people sleeping on the floor at CVS using maxi pad packages for pillows because they just couldn’t get home last night! In their defense to any of us up north who say they “should have known better,” how? For many of them, including city and state officials, this is possibly the most snow they’ve ever seen at once and they’ve certainly never seen that much snow and ice on their homes and workplaces. In a discussion about the 4” in Atlanta this morning I brought up and imagined what I’d be like driving in bumper to bumper traffic after being evaluated for a hurricane. I’d be scared, confused and making bad choices because I’d simply never been in anything like it before. I’d have known ahead of time, but I wouldn’t be able to fathom how bad it could really be until I was faced with fleeing from my home. The difference in places like Atlanta is that they are trying to flee TO their homes and can’t. As one who has always lived in areas that get several inches of snow and below freezing temperatures in the winter I cut them a little slack. This isn’t just another half foot on top of the half foot they usually get or below zero instead of the 20s. It’s 8 times the snow they get every few years all at once in a part of the country that’s seldom cold enough for the snow to stick when it does flurry. It’s a totally different experience; it’s got to be pretty surreal.

To everyone dealing with the crazy weather, bless you and be safe!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let’s NOT Talk About The Weather

This week I posted a new profile picture on Facebook:

This photo was taken on Christmas day 2013, just a month ago. I have no makeup, my hair is messy and it’s one of my favorite photos of me I’ve seen in a while. I asked David to hand me my camera as we were getting ready to head out of the hotel to go to my dad’s for Christmas morning breakfast and he took the photo just before he handed it to me. So it’s a fairly candid photo except that, just like Tori, when I see a camera pointed in my direction I smile. What I love about that photo is that David took it.

Years ago when I was an assistant editor for a wedding videographer I scanned a set of photos I’ll never forget. You see part of my job was scanning and editing to music “growing up“ photos of the bride and groom before the even met and doing the same if honeymoon photos were provided. One couple in particular provided growing up photos of the slender boy in glasses who was not in a rock band in high school and there were no sports photos. He would’ve been what was probably a “geek,” maybe a “brainiac,” not one of the super popular or even well-known kids at school. The bride was the adorable little girl in dresses and cute poses with professionally done photos and high school photos that included the prom and her varsity cheerleader photo. From the wedding photos I could see that the “cheerleader” was not the ultrathin beauty queen she’d been in high school. I’m not saying that to disrespect the bride. What made their photos memorable were the honeymoon photos.

On an Alaskan cruise there weren’t as many photos of them together as there were photos they took of each other. In the photos her new husband took of her she was incredibly more beautiful than even the professional wedding photographer could show. A professional can set up the classic poses with different people and produce great photos. A nonprofessional captures a moment, a millisecond when they see exactly how their mind perceives the subject. It’s that point where the subconscious makes you click the shutter. I was almost in tears looking at those photos, as I’m often almost in tears talking about them years later, because in his mind eyes he grew up, fell in love and married “his beautiful cheerleader.” The photos from the heart will always be more amazing than a professional could take. David still clicks the button when he sees that split second where I look cute and fun; it’s what he sees when he thinks about me.


I got lots of “likes” and comments on my new profile picture. I posted my new cover photo on the top of my timeline and got very little in the way of response. Hmph. Actually I’m very pleased, even proud, of my new cover photo.

Credits: Snow Fun by Sheri Ferguson Designs.
 
I had the idea that if I used the right mask I could make it look like I wiped the snow with a mitten to expose the baseball. Considering that it replaced the December cover photo when I usually don’t remember to replace that photo for six or seven months I thought it would get more response. Oh well, I think it was a pretty creative idea and a good-looking cover photo.


Tomorrow is my half-birthday! At 7:45 AM I will be 47 ½ years old. I have never expected gifts or greetings or anything like that for my half-birthday. I think the half-birthday is a personal acknowledgment point and for me it also marks the point in the year where I start to round up the next age when someone asks how old I am. It won’t happen right away; if someone asks me how old I am on Thursday I won’t necessarily say I’m 48. But I’ll start the segue to 48. The funny thing is that yesterday I went in for my second steroid injection in my lower back and my hospital bracelet said I was 47.5 years old. When I noticed that after I got home I giggled and feigned an offended tone and told the bracelet I am NOT 47 ½ yet!

I really don’t buy myself presents for my half-birthday although this year it seems I may have accidentally done exactly that. What I mean is I’d purchased some “presents” that were originally scheduled to be delivered on the 29th. Now most of them, according to the shipping information I was emailed, has been delayed a day. I said I wasn’t going to talk about the weather so I have no idea what may have delayed the shipments but they’ll be here late. On the 30th my closer to 48 and 47 self will be expecting a box of coffee (Golden French Toast), my order from drugstore.com that includes citrus body wash so that’s kind of presenty, and my full spectrum light desk lamp. Light as bright as a sunny day will not only help me see better but also feel happier.

I am so looking forward to coming out of the shadows!

So there is my taste of Tuesday Nani. I hope everybody has a great, bright day and if you don’t I’ll let you know how the sunny lamp works.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Whoosh--Woooo--Woosh BANG-SQUEAK-BANG!

I’m starting today a little talk about the weather, then I’ll change the subject, okay?

If I don’t talk about the weather the title makes no sense. I started off the day early this morning at -2° but barely windy compared to what it’s been this afternoon. There was snow earlier this week and my power chair wouldn’t be able get through the end of the driveway to get the bus so I changed my appointment with my counselor to 9 o’clock this morning. I considered after that and especially when I woke up this morning that I might be just a little bit nuts after all. Why would I schedule my appointments for earlier in the day when it will be colder instead of afternoon when it would warm up to today’s sweltering forecast high of 15? As it turned out, cold as I was this morning, I made a better choice after all. The wind picked up and it’s been whoosh-woo-whoosh all afternoon.

I had medication delivered and invited the woman delivering it to come inside while I signed the paperwork and I ordered lunch delivered and welcomed delivery woman into the house to make the delivery as well. Before you even wonder about it, yes, I definitely included the appropriate tip for a delivery made when the wind chill is below zero, 10 below, yanno when it gets to below zero, actual temperature or wind chill, it doesn’t really matter it’s definitely cold enough to warrant a bonus tip. After I brought lunch in I started hearing the “bang-squeak-bang!” That’s our side door. It doesn’t close really well. There’s a latch at the bottom that helps keep it from opening like that but I can’t reach it without tipping over down the stairs so it’s not latched. I sent David a text to let him know that if the door is still attached when he gets home it will need to be latched.

When lunch came Marco was more interested in meeting delivery person than he was in the food. In fact he didn’t seem interested in my semi-comfort food Italian sub at all. But when I opened the salad…

Our little vacuum cleaner will eat anything but he LOVES his lettuce!

I think the cold and wind has something to do with it but I’ve realized that I scrap a LOT of Cat pages especially in the beginning of my books. My theory is that in those first couple months I don’t get out a lot, or at least I try not to. So I take lots of pictures of the cats. Since I have January and February completed for the years I’m catching up I decided to see what page number the 10th cat page was for each year.

In 2008 the 10th cat page was page 38 but that was also after eight pages of my first trip to Iowa. In 2009 number 10 was page 28 and it was 27 in 2010, 31 in 2011. Keep in mind percentagewise we’re talking 25-33%. After my MS diagnosis that percentage increased. In 2012 cat page 10 was page 19 and it was page 20 last year. So far this year January pretty much snow and cats with an occasional lunch. My counselor suggests that scrapbooking is a good thing because it keeps me focused on happy or funny subjects and is a good stress-relieving creative outlet. I agree with her 100%, but I also think a doctor who prescribes that you scrap more is almost as good as a doctor who tells you to drink more coffee!

But all the cat layouts in the beginning of my books do look good!

2008 – Good Cats?
Credits: Day By Day by Nibbles Skribbles

Kaline 2010


Carla 2012

The last two are layouts done a while ago and I don’t have the credits recorded. (The first one was posted in a scrapbooking gallery so I was able to swipe the credits from myself)

That’s it for tonight – Stay warm!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: The First Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders

Finished January 23, 2014

Synopsis at Good Reads

In the first novel in Lawrence Sanders’s bestselling Deadly Sins series, New York cop Edward Delaney chases a serial killer who’s armed with a mysterious weapon

New York Police Department Captain Edward Delaney is called to the scene of a brutal murder. A Brooklyn councilman was struck from behind, the back of his skull punctured and crushed with an unknown weapon. The victim wasn’t robbed, and there’s no known motive. The commissioner appoints Delaney to head up a clandestine task force, but soon this effort ignites an internecine war of departmental backstabbing.

Distracted by the serious illness of his wife, Barbara, Delaney begins his secret investigation. Then the killer claims another victim—slain in the exact same way, leaving the strange puncture wound. As more young men are found murdered, Delaney starts putting the pieces together. Soon, he’s faced with a cop’s dilemma: He knows who the killer is, but the man is untouchable. That’s when Delaney lays a trap to bring a monster to justice . . .


My review at Good Reads
1 of 5 stars

The five star system just hasn’t worked for me so far this year. This time I want to award negative stars. How do you rate a book that gave you serious pain for the last 50 pages because it just wouldn’t end?

I started to read The First Deadly Sin just after Christmas. After reading the first couple of chapters, I checked out the reviews on Amazon. There were a lot of people who hated this book, but they “hated” the whole book so much after reading just a little bit of the beginning. One reviewer made it through almost a third of the over 600-page book before he “couldn’t stomach it” any longer. But there are raving reviews about how great the story and book are. Of course those reviewers read the whole book. I decided I was going to go on reading the book until New Year’s Eve. At midnight I’d decide if I was going to continue reading the book or put it away and start something else begin 2014. This was not my first book of 2014. I enjoyed my first book of 2014.

The one positive I can say about The First Deadly Sin is that it’s only January and I’m quite sure I’ve already read this year’s worst book on my reading list! It’s an old book. I know in 1973, when it was written, it would’ve been a horrendous choice for seven-year-old. In 2013 and 2014 it was a horrendous choice for a 47-year-old.

The book is about 300 pages too long, 603 pages too long for my taste. It’s overly descriptive about unimportant things that don’t need to be described for character or plot development. Perhaps that added to the fact that I simply didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t care who the good guys were, who the bad guys were or who came out on top in the end. Add to that the subplot of the main character’s sick wife that really didn’t need to be part of the story and only added a flat character and made the main character less likable. The end of the book was 50+ pages, 10 days, of a long drawn out anti-climax. There was no shocking high point in the action. There was no “I can’t believe that!” There was no edge of your seat reading. There was just an incredibly boring description of the last 10 days of the story. It was just the same redundant over descriptive detail.

So there you have it. I read the whole book. I should be singing the praises of a great well-written story. What happened? Maybe I just live in the wrong state to legally like The First Deadly Sin.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cool Change

Good freaky-cold morning! Okay, it was freaky-cold, -2, for a wake up temperature when I started writing this. It might be late afternoon when you’re reading. That’s okay since I started with telling you it’s morning. (smile)

A note about Global Climate Change. In my opinion it’s not all our fault. I think we have managed to speed the process up, a lot, but the changing climate is normal. Just as you and I change as we age, so does the earth. Of course we last somewhere within a century, if we’re lucky, and the earth has aged over a few billion years, so the planet's changes are slower.

We, that is the inhabitants of earth, have been through a global climate change before. There was a time, about 20,000 years ago, when the room I’m sitting in was in the end portion of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. I’m combining what I remember from science classes with what I confirm with internet pages and Ice Age maps. I think it’s all pretty fascinating stuff. The ice sheet retreated and now ends somewhere near Greenland, much farther north. Why did the ice sheet retreat? There weren’t greenhouse gasses 20,000 years ago. So I think the Climate Change is a natural occurrence, pushed on a little faster by the earth’s greatest parasite; man.

What made the glaciers begin to retreat? Lots of evidence and theories about that. It wasn’t aerosol deodorant. It was natural. If it’s moving in that direction again, or perhaps still, and it’s moving faster, man may have something to with the faster part. I think it’s a sensible idea to take care of our earth. If we can slow Global Climate change even half as much as we’ve sped it up, it’ll help. And no matter what your belief system, it’s the most wonderfully unselfish gift you can pay forward to people you’ll never know; a place to call “home” for more generations.


Retreat Chronology of the Laurentide Ice Sheet

Ice Age maps
 
Time-Lapse maps of the ice sheet retreat (Video)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Helloooo Saturday!

The coolest thing about all this snow and the bone chilling temperatures is this:

Crocuses, April 2011

This was the first spring for my stripey crocuses and their friends and it was the spring after Snowmageddon, that nasty Ground Hog Day Massacre that ravaged these parts and almost introduced us to language we’ve never heard Jim Cantore use with thunder snow in Chicago. But after Snowmageddon and all the snow that seemed to only quit for a few days and bring more, the spring perennials Kelly and I’d planted in October 2010 were beyond gorgeous! After the incredibly mild winter of 2012, they were just awful but after cooler temperatures and a cold snap at the end, the flowers were strong and pretty again last year. Some were lost in 2012 or eaten by burrowing critters still, their splendor didn’t die and I really hope it means that dealing with all this frozen slop will mean another wonderful spring on the side of our house.

Edna gave me the idea of combatting winter by showing spring on my blog. She had some nice spring nature pics yesterday that just made me feel warm inside. I said I’d post a spring piece of my art. Edna is a great photographer and does wonderful photo art. My art, of course, is my scrapbooking. I did this page in 2011 of my crocuses and daffodils.


I don’t have credits for this one, sorry, but it was finished a few years ago. I thought I might have posted it in one of the scrapbook galleries so I could get the credits, but I didn’t. I think it may have just been random freebie papers from longer ago than that in my stash. I really let the photos and journaling do the talking. I do that often. I tend to not use so many elements on my pages. I like to make a small cluster or two, but the pictures and story are the focus of my pages. That’s not to say that I always journal or never use a lot of elements, just that looking at my work all together, I use fewer elements and journal a lot more than the average digital scrapper.

When I started exclusively digi-scrapping in mid-2007, I actually did my first layouts in 2006 when I did a scrapped photo book for David’s 40th birthday; my hands were already going downhill. I didn’t know it was MS at the time, but my handwriting had been getting worse. I was printing typed captions and cutting them out for my paper books. When I started digital, I typed the whole story of why I scrapped the photos on my page in the gallery descriptions. Someone who’d been digi-scrapping longer than novice me suggested using my stories as part of the layout. And so, the mad journaling scrapper was born! I guess, although I use flower elements sometimes too, I have an attitude of “I got words; I don’t need no stinking flowers.”

While I’m talking about journaling and scrapping, I thought I’d share my week one layout for this year’s “Random 365.”

Page 1

Page 2
Project 365 papers by Kitten Scraps, elements from: Notice Board Mini
by Danish Design; Ice, Ice, Baby by Connie Prince; Project 2013: January
by Connie Prince; Winter Rhapsody Word Art by Jennifer Labre;

I like it. It’s a nice combination of the Journal 366 I did in 2012; the only daily project year I’ve finished, and other things that spark my interest on any given day be they a photo I’ve taken, news, or just a tweet or Facebook status. It’s a nice old-school scrapbook or Smash Book look and I think they’re fun to look at and read. So far they’re a lot of fun to scrap too. If you like the dated papers that I use for some of the days, they were freebies!! I think they are stunning papers for the project and you can get the current day at Kitten Scraps’ blog as a freebie! I’ve only missed one day so far, but that’s what gave me the idea to use the dated pages for some squares and kit pages for others.

Okay, there’s my “spring and scrap” for today! Let me know what you think of the first two Random 365 pages; it’s a FUN project this year! I also hope you enjoyed that bit of floral spring and if you are in the snowed under part of the world, the promise this cold and white stuff gives us for the coming months!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy Wednesday

Cartoon from Facebook
 
It’s hard to believe were halfway through the week already! Okay, I accept that the reason why this week seems to be moving fast is because the first two weeks of the year were pathetically snow-slow. As I mentioned in my last entry snow and cold had me pretty much locked up the first 10 days of the year, so the freedom to get outside even for a minute makes me smile and a smile makes time pass faster. I’m not saying frown a lot and live longer because if you live longer but you’re frowning all the time; what was the point? I just mean “time flies when you’re having fun” and it DRAGS when you’re snowed in!

So since the tenth I’ve just been enjoying little Nani-things that make me happy including meeting Lissa for lunch this past weekend and retrieving my own BzzKit from the side steps instead of asking David to do it for me. My current BzzKit is SO COOL! It’s tasty treats from Kroger’s Simple Truth line. I’ll be talking about that here in the next couple days.

Monday morning I got my first epidural steroid shot. Looking back I’m not sure what I was worried about. Okay, I was worried about how I react to IV drip anesthesia and being able to feel needles driving into my back. Actually the IV was nice, not an “I want to do it every day” nice, but in an I slept, didn’t feel anything never felt truly out-of-control nice. I saw my doctor in the hallway as I was being wheeled in the room where I would get the anesthesia and the procedure but I truly don’t remember seeing him again after that. I have a vague recollection of hearing his voice and then the next thing I knew they were putting me back on the gurney to take me into recovery. My back doesn’t feel great yet but it feels better and I’m not getting the crippling muscle spasms when I straighten it out. It was a good experience and I can say that I’m looking forward to the other two injections that will complete the procedure for now.

Okay enough prattle. I’m joining Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for the Wednesday Hodge Podge!

http://www.fromthissideofthepond.com/2014/01/schussing-through-hodgepodge.html
1. Are you a force to be reckoned with? In what way?

I don’t think I consider myself “a force to be reckoned with” but I get the feeling that there are others that think of me that way. I do acknowledge that I’m a control freak and pretty much always have been in the past. I think those things have made me a good organizer and even a good project manager, but a force to be reckoned with? Nah, I don’t think so. “A force to be reckoned with” gives the impression of someone people are afraid of. I don’t think I’m anything to be afraid of, at least I know I don’t want to be


2. What are two things you love about the wintertime? Or, if love feels like too strong a word, what are two things you 'like' about winter?

Two things I like about winter; hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps.


3. Pomegranate, kumquat, persimmon, kiwi, and guava are all fruits said to have health benefits, particularly during the winter months. Do you have a favorite on the list? Are there any on the list you haven't tried?

I’ve never tried guava. I don’t care for kiwi. Kumquats are good but not a staple in my fruit basket. Right now I have a pomegranate that really needs to be cut open. I like pomegranate a lot but cutting them open and getting the seeds out is a pain.

There are two persimmons in my fruit bowl that have been there over a month and are not ripening correctly. This is frustrating to me because I’ve loved persimmons since I was a child. I know that a ripe persimmon is so soft on the inside that it almost feels like touching it will make it explode. I also know that they’re not sold ripe and many people try them for the first time when they’re not ripe and get that furry feeling inside their mouths and never try the persimmon again. That’s sad because they are wonderful. A persimmon in the basket surrounded by apples will ripen faster and better. I don’t know why; it’s an old Italian thing. But the three I bought at three for a dollar last month have only yielded one that’s ripened so far. I eat all the apples that are supposed to be helping the persimmons and then buy more apples… for the persimmons. My dad tells me to be patient and they will ripen.

Maybe I need to buy different apples…


4. I passed a local church yesterday and noticed they had this on their outdoor sign- 'When all else fails, do the right thing.' Your thoughts?

If you wait for everything else to fail before you do the right thing you’re doing things way out of order. Do the right thing first.


5. Do you ski? According to one list I've seen, the top 5 ski destinations for 2014 are-St. Anton Austria, Whistler Canada, Cortina Italy, Tahoe USA, and Zermatt Switzerland. Of the five listed, which would you most like to visit? We can make skiing optional if that helps the non-skiers with their answer.

I’d most like to visit ski resort that has the hottest fireplace and the best hot chocolate, and I like to visit there in the summer.


6. What's the last thing you looked for online? (Besides my blog!)

Scrapbook kits. One of my favorite designers, Twin Mom Scraps, is retiring at the end of the month and has a super retirement sale. So I wanted to see if there was anything I “needed” but I don’t already have.


7. What saying, slogan, quote, or motto have you seen lately that inspires you for the new year?

My mantra for 2014 is “it’s not only about you.” I think that’s true for everyone; there’s not a decision that we make that doesn’t have an effect on at least one other person, usually more. I’m making a conscious effort to remember that before I act selfishly.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

Um, I need another cup of coffee and lunch.

Friday, January 10, 2014

AHHH!!! Fresh Air!

I really don’t want to talk about weather anymore although in addition to the 22 inches we’ve already gotten since the first of the year, I got to watch more fall overnight, yay. It’s supposed to get above freezing and rain over the weekend. I say more sincere “yay” for the above freezing but I’m not so looking forward to the rain, be in it and the possible hazards it could cause. Sigh, 2014 weather-wise is not so stellar so far.

Before I going further I have to show you this:

It’s my first wallpaper of 2014. David sent it to me on Facebook and it had to be with me always. Well, at least for most of January. I didn’t’ create it but it sure inspires me; It’s just so me!

2014 has been feast or famine as far as the weather goes and kinda feast or famine as far as my goals and projects go. Folks, I hadn’t been out of the house yet this year before my doctor’s appointment this morning. With the snow, freezing temperatures, level 3 snow emergencies and all of the subsequent cancellations, not just by me but by people and businesses I was going to as well, I just really haven’t had any reason to go out. When there’s been snow or the temperature below zero I really had no desire to make up a reason to go out either. So I haven’t been out to stock up the cupboards with fresh produce and other important healthy grocery items and although I’ve been kinda careful about portions and balance I haven’t been very true my diet plans. What I did have is dwindling fast and my grocery list is growing.

But, being shut in and made it a little easier to blog more, scrap more and read more. Of course reading Delusional Traits had me a little attached to my Nook so for the first few days I was a little slow with the page-a-day scrapbooking but I’m ahead now. We’ll see how well I stay true to that once I actually get out of the house. (Chuckle) I’ve also been doing phone calling and setting up some appointments to tackle some of my other goals, or anyway to see how affordable they are.

Here are a couple of my first 2014 pages:

Credits: Life Captured: November by Pixelily Deigns,
“Freebie Template 5” downloaded with no TOU, preview or credits. 

Credits: Life Captured: November by Pixelily Designs, Challenge template by Lindsay Jane

It’s supposed to be above freezing with some rain and snow/rain mix this weekend. I don’t like the bouncy weather patterns, but I have rescheduled lunch plans this weekend and I can do above freezing and rain much better than snow and ice and this below zero stuff has to go!

The dark spot in my world right now are phone calls from a fake “prophet” who wants to
prey onpray for me, for a price of course. If anyone reading this or someone they know is getting inundated with calls from Prophet Manasseh Jordan Ministries pleases email me and I’ll pass on the email for someone who is gathering information for a class action suit. I’m aware of others with diseases, like my MS, or who have had a house foreclosed ort filed for bankruptcy that “god” has asked the “prophet” to contact with a prerecorded message so they can send money so they pray for them. Disease and money legalities are either public record or not to difficult to get lists. Is the fake prophet’s prophecy to hack databases to exploit the most vulnerable? What kind of diseased mind feeds off people when they are at their most desperate points? Please, if you or someone you know is being harassed by this sicko; send them my way so I can give them information to be part of the class-action suit. Creating a fake “religion” to take advantage of the sick and poor is where my religious tolerance draws the line.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Delusional Traits by David George Clarke

Finished January 6, 2014

Synopsis on Good Reads3

Is The Truth Delusion… Or Can Delusion Be The Truth?

1970 – Not for the first time in the last four hundred and fifty-two years, gifted artist Annie Carr has brutally stabbed and killed a man. But this time there are witnesses, and with a vindictive district attorney against her, she faces a possible death sentence. Desperate for a way out, she resorts to a dangerous tactic – she tells the truth about herself.

2012 – Despite having always enjoyed perfect health, forty-six-year-old Sara Farsley has worries other women would kill for: she isn’t ageing – she still looks and feels exactly as she did when she was thirty.
Sara can remember that when she was a small child her mother told her they would both live for ever, but her long-dead mother was insane and guilty of homicide.
Having lived her life trying to forget her past, Sara is persuaded by her family to find the truth, and the deeper she digs, the more bizarre the truth becomes.

The second book in the Rare Traits Trilogy, Delusional Traits continues the story of the 15th-century Renaissance artist John Andrews and others like him. The now almost six-hundred-year-old John never met his daughter Paola, born in Naples in 1518, but not only is he certain that she shared his rare traits, he is also convinced that she is still alive. His hopes are raised when his art-and-computer-expert friend Ced Fisher shows him a number of brilliant paintings by an artist called Annie Carr that can’t be distinguished from the work of a 19th century female artist. But then John’s hopes are dashed when he discovers that Annie Carr is dead. Or was her death a delusion?

My review on Good Reads
5 of 5 stars

Okay, it’s actually 4 ½ of five stars but there was no way I was going to give this book just 4 stars so officially it gets five, but it’s 4 ½. Let me explain:

I think maybe the book is too short. The first book, Rare Traits, was a much longer book and still felt like it was too short when I finished. I’m not at all saying anything negative about other book. Like a good book is supposed to they both left me hungry for more. Again Delusional Traits carries the reader to a world of art history through the chain of identities of one centuries-old artist. This time the bulk of Annie Carr’s history is related through talks with the psychiatrist assigned her case after witnesses confirm the murder she committed.

As with Rare Traits two stories, one past and one present, culminate in great discoveries for the characters. I love the detail in the stories that build Annie Carr’s character. Just as John Andrews never changed the person he actually is through nearly 6 centuries of identities in the first book, Annie Carr’s personality doesn’t change from the time of her birth four and a half centuries ago. The book developed an antagonist that the reader can really dislike but left them sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for him to make a move. The story ended with a cliffhanger that just made me yell “NO!” I’m ready for the third book now

For me personally the 4 ½ instead of five stars is because the story lacked the action climax that Rare Traits had. There were definitely some exciting points as puzzles were figured out and computer programs searched, but it didn’t quite have the same “beat the bad guy” punch. Still, it was a great book I couldn’t put down.

I will suggest if you’re reading these great books, and I really recommend them, read them in order. There were many points in Delusional Traits where I excitedly identified “there’s the connection!” or “oh, you don’t know, but keep going in that direction.” Reading the books in order definitely makes you feel like you got an “edge.” I’m really looking forward to the final book in the Rare Traits trilogy at the end of the year. I know I’ll be a little sad when it’s over.

Bottom 20; Just Stop

On top of the ramp rail. Those slats are 4" high
and that's what stuck in spite of the wind!

Wake up temperature was 10 degrees! It’s been steadily falling since 7:05 this morning and the current temperature is -10 at 4:00PM. It’s sunny, which is unusual for the Midwest the day after it snows as much as it did, and windy which makes for bitter, bitter cold getting worse as the day goes on. It’s beautiful, but it’s beauty I only want to see out my window with a cup of hot tea. We were under a level 3 snow emergency until 2 o’clock today. Level 3 means you can get arrested if you’re on the roads unless you are essential personnel like emergency, medical, infrastructure (like snow removal people) and news media. Yes that means business as usual for my hubby. Our fantastic snow removal people, after some debate as to whether or not they could actually make it in time for David to get the work, got here early and did a great job clearing off our drive, walks and ramp in the blowing snow. I still consider it level “too high to count” for me personally. So I’m staying in.

I’m swiping an idea from Empty Nester today because it is just a great one for letting off some steam and clearing the air for productive thought as we get 2014 going. She did her “Top 20 Things I Do Not Want to Hear in 2014.” I’m doing…

20 Things I’m Done With Going Into 2014

Warning: some people may disagree, some vehemently, with my thoughts. Please let’s respectfully disagree and not argue about it. You’re welcome to blog your bottom 20 on your own blog. :-)

1. Cold. I’m just ready for spring now.

2. Keep calm and… Just stop that; I don’t want to see one more meme, advertisement, scrapbook journal card or card that says “keep calm and” anything. Write something original.

3. “Miley Freaking Cyrus” I completely agree with Empty Nester on this one!

4. “My Bible says the government…” Read the First Amendment. Read the passage that starts “render unto Caesar.” Close the book and step away from the keyboard.

5. “It is what it is.” I’ve been done with that copout for a long time. It is what you let it be; quit making excuses.

6. Updates to Windows 8. If they can’t fix it don’t change it.

7. Arguments about why the minimum wage shouldn’t be raised and tax loopholes for corporations shouldn’t go down. It’s just wrong. That is what’s destroying our economy and anyone who argues for it just looks like a fool.

8. Wardrobe malfunction. I think most “wardrobe malfunction” incidents are either intentional or pointed out by people looking to be offended.

9. Pop up ads that cover what you’re reading even if you have pop-up blocker. It’s like my newspaper is spamming me even when I pay for the paper and actually look at the ads in the print version.

10. Reality TV

11. Facebook games; I get invitations to play them all the time and I have absolutely no interest. It’s like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” when the game players find someone who doesn’t play they call them out so everyone knows and tries to assimilate them.

12. Rising prices on everything. There’s an app for that we just haven’t installed it. (See #7)

13. Retailers stuff your email inbox with spam when you buy one thing.

14. Profit Manasseh Jordan calls; this fake called me incessantly. I actually spent 15 minutes listening to the prerecorded message so I could talk to a real person, accused them of “doing the devil’s work because they get their call lists from public lists of people with financial or health trouble to exploit them and take money” and demanded to be taken off their list. I’m now getting more calls. (Yes I’m keeping track and I’m joining a class action suit.)

15. Off season trades. I kinda long for the old days when a player often retired with the team he was a rookie with. I don't care if I sound old.

16. The photograph with a gun and a Bible that says we should teach them both in schools. If you truly believe the Bible and a gun go together maybe the schools should have a restraining order to keep you out of them.

17. salmon and tilapia; why can’t the fad fishes be flounder and mahi-mahi?

18. “Like us on Facebook to print our free coupon!” I have to accept more advertising to print my own coupon, really?

19. When you mention to someone “I have details about it on my blog,” and they tell you “oh I don’t read blogs.” Even though the same person has no problem delivering the line “I posted on Facebook, didn’t you read it?”

20. Did I mention cold yet? It’s really worth mentioning twice. At 5PM it's -12 here and the wind chill is 40 below. I want to go to Brazil. Right now it’s 88 degrees and the coffee is fresh!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wish I Was A Bear

I’m walking around… Scratch that… I’m rolling around in a strange world. It’s not my world; it can’t be. The temperature would never, I mean NEVER, be much below freezing let alone below zero. But this morning, in this strange world where we had 9 inches of snow on the ground by the end of the day yesterday, it was 9° BELOW zero. I’m just not able to process these bits of information as fact, not in MY world.

I called our snow guy to arrange to have our snow plowed and shoveled before David left for work yesterday. I happened to be sitting in the dining room when he was shoveling the ramp. Of course it kept snowing until midafternoon and there was already another inch when David left but it was still a lot easier to drive through. When he came home you could almost not tell it was done all. There’s more snow in the forecast on Sunday so were just dealing with the snow in the drive and I’ll call to have it all cleared again after it stops snowing on Monday.

So I’ve been inside the house today and after looking at the weather I promptly got on the phone and started fixing the next few days. The temperatures next week will not go much above 10° until Thursday. The HIGHS are expected to be: 1 on Monday, -3 on Tuesday and then a “sweltering” 12 on Wednesday. When it’s that cold the MS and Raynaud’s work together to torture me! My legs and back muscles go into nonstop spasm. I canceled plans to meet Tori and Rina for lunch on their way home tomorrow so they be home and off the road that much quicker. I also canceled lunch plans with my friend Lissa on Sunday in consideration of two days of expected snow with further accumulation. I also postponed doctors appointments on Monday and Wednesday. YEESH!

So there’s my gripe for today. Yeah I know I’m griping about the same thing everybody’s griping about. Did you know currently in its 32° in Atlanta?! Incredible! I know they’re calling it Global Climate Change now but I want to go back and get my Global Warming. (Pout)

All this time indoors is giving me the opportunity to do some important things. But I haven’t been doing a lot of important things. (Smile) I am slowly working on cleaning up stuff around my computer, slowly. At least I have been keeping up dishes. (Bigger smile) Today I did a lot of reading. Well you know, two books a month is on my Projects and Goals list. You can look over on the sidebar; I’m currently reading Delusional Traits by David George Clarke. It’s book two in the Rare Traits trilogy. Remember how much I loved Rare Traits? Yeah. Delusional Traits is kinda like that. (Awesome Mr. Clark!)

Tonight I’ll do some scrapbooking since a page a day was in the Products and Goals list as well and so far in 2014 I’ve done exactly… my signature on Ginger Scraps which doesn’t count in my list of completed pages. I really need to work on that.

I did get all of my needed phone calls done today before I buried my nose in the Nook. That cleared up my schedule to pretty much hibernate for a few days. When David gets home from work I’ll ask him to bring a few containers of veggie soup up from the freezer downstairs (because hey, I just set them on the porch and they’ll keep frozen) and let that be my vegetables for a few days. I’ll go to the produce market or maybe just the grocery store on Friday after my doctors appointment when I’ll be out anyway. Expected high then is 26, maybe I should wear my spring jacket.

Well off to do that scrapping now. No matter where you are make yourself a cup of coffee, tea, warm cocoa or heck, it’s Friday night, whatever it takes to keep you warm! (I like to fill up the rest of my cup of hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps.) ;-)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goals and Projects For 2014

BRRR… I’m cold. It’s cold outside and we have a drafty door near where I’m sitting. But, I feel otherwise good and not at all sick. 2013 ends better than 2012 did and it promises a better January 1 for 2014!

As I say goodbye to 2013 it’s time to set up my goals and projects for 2014. Looking over 2013’s goals and projects I can say that I’m pleased with how well I did in some areas and I know I definitely disappointed myself in some. In some areas I nailed the “or something better.”

“We aim above the mark to hit the mark.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clean and Organize Project:

Well, last year I dropped the White Tornado idea for 2013 and well, I must say we did a good job of not moving forward on that front. Looking forward now however, I’m less mobile and more clumsy and that makes everyday things more out of reach and clutter more dangerous. In the first couple months of 2014 I’ll be researching and asking questions. After suggestions from friends (hi Edna!) and other family members I’m going to look into avenues for daily living assistance for people with disabilities. I understand there are even people who will help with serious cleaning and organizing a more accessible house.

Like I said research first. I need to find out what assistance I can get, if I am an eligible candidate for disability assistance and how much it will cost/if I can afford it. I figure initially there will be a lot of work to get our house truly organized and safe, then maybe just someone who can help tidy up once a week or so. We’ll see; this is entirely new territory for me. I’ll talk to my doctor too to see if he has any suggestions.

One thing that I must get done is the door jamb on the entryway to the kitchen from the dining room has to come out. There is snuggly enough space to drive the power chair through but if the jamb is removed it will give an extra inch. In all the years David’s been here there’s never been a door there, so the door jamb won’t be missed. A mid-December call to 911 to come pick me up off the kitchen floor because my leg just quit while I was hobbling back from the bathroom made me decide that I had to be able to use the chair in the kitchen. I also want to see about a couple more grab bars in the hallway to the downstairs bathroom, where the chair doesn’t fit at all and I have to “walk.”


Blog Goals:

Blog more regularly?? I did the consolidation in the fall putting all my blogs on The Chronicles of Nani so I have plenty of material for a healthy blog, I just need to get my head in the right place. Counseling is helping; I’m getting g better. I also think that if I can get the help to get the house up to safer and more comfortable it will help too. I can’t let my mental health depend on that right now though since I don’t know for sure that I can get or afford that help! Still, I’ve set some 2014 goals with my counselor and I feel good about my prospects. I want it and I believe it will work, 75% of the battle.

So, with my head and heart in a better place, and getting better day by day, I should be able to commit myself to The Chronicles better. I want to blog a minimum of twice a week. I’m also going to post at least one Tweet a day.


Reading Goals:

This is one place I am very pleased with my numbers for 2013. My goal was to read 2 books a month with a short book review on The Chronicles of Nani. I read 27 books with reviews here in 2013! Waiting in doctors' offices gets a nod for help with that one, but so does reading before bed or an afternoon nap.

For 2014, I’m keeping that goal of 2 books a month with book reviews here.


Health and Wellness:

Of course the January Detox starts January 2, or whichever day I can get out of the house after the snow to stock up on some better groceries. With decreased mobility and depression came some bad eating habits and less movement! I don’t try to lose in December; I just try to not gain any weight or at least very little. This November and December was a fail! An emotional eater in distress, I gained enough to feel uncomfortable emotionally and physically. I do start January with a bunch of containers of my own homemade vegetable soup in the freezer, a very recent Lean Cuisine sale where David stocked me up and a week’s worth of Greek yogurt in the fridge. I need to get out to the produce market.

I want to lose at least 20 pounds by June.

In physical health and wellness goals, I will have my first round of epidural steroids for my lower back next week. I’m not going to hide that I’m as nervous as can be. I remember the worst part of spinal taps I got when I was 18 was feeling those needles when I couldn’t see what was going on. Numb or not it was agonizing. For this procedure I can’t take the bus because I can’t go home alone, David has to be there because I get IV funny juice. Continued pain is the only prospect I like less! Hopefully the injections will help me get up from a sitting position better and give me a little light exercise ability.


Scrapbooking:

The idea of scrapping the current month instead of trying to catchup a year at a time went brilliantly! Every folder for January and February was completed during these months in 2013! Now those are the months I take fewer pictures, but I’ll be catching up some of the December and November during those months this year while I’m keeping 2014 up to date.

I did keep a tally of the pages I completed each month with my goal of averaging a layout a day. In 2013 I finished 484 scrapbook pages with my record month being July (When the ramp was still new for discovering all the places I could go and it was hot anyway) I did 66 layouts in July!

In this too my goal shall remain the same; average a page a day with a tally kept.


Project 365:

Now here was a fail this year. I figured out that where I completed 2012 but fell behind and dropped 2013 was in the randomness. 2012 was just a line or two written about the day and a layout with those thoughts each week. 2013 was a structured “writing assignment” that had to be written and scrapped every week with pre-assigned topics for each week. I like a challenge, but hobbies are supposed to be fun and as challenging as I want them to be on any day. This year my Project 52 will be “2014: That’s So Random!” I’m going to do a page a week. It might be a journaling page, or a quote every day, a picture a day, a mix of ideas each day or just a layout of a highlight event for the week. I won’t know until the week is under way what it’ll be.

We’ll see how that works!


Employment Goal:

Part of working toward working for me in 2013 was volunteering. Volunteering means networking and earning some current references who have worked with me in a professional setting. As the year was winding down I had some wonderful ego-building surprises as a result of volunteer work that have pushed me into leadership and more detailed work. That means that I not only feel like I have a lot to offer even with wheels, but I’m perceived as having a lot to offer by other professionals. I can’t even express how good that feels and how much it does for my confidence!

So my goals for employment this year are to keep doing what I’ve been doing, shoring up my resume presentation and add at least a few professional items to my wardrobe. Ideally it would be great to land something part time and either have that go full time or move on to a full time placement from there. I know it’d be best to build my stamina rather than jump into 40+ hours a week right off the bat. I want, no need, to feel I’m making a valuable contribution at work and to the home income too.


And there is my plan for 2014. 
 Of course, this or something better!