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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Grocery Trip - Nani's Liberat-yum!

Black Bean Soup

Good morning on a bright and gorgeous Saturday! Yes, wake-up temperature was 36° but it’s SUNNY!!! Besides, tomorrow, Easter Sunday, it’s going to be 70-ish degrees and still sunny; perfect for a pastel dress and a new hat at church or coffee on the patio while munching the ears off a chocolate bunny.

Yeah, okay, sunshine just makes me happy. Moving right along…

At the end of last week I went grocery shopping! That may not sound like a big deal but I went grocery shopping by myself. I had my list, my coupons and three reusable shopping bags. The reusable shopping bags hold more than the little plastic grocery bags and there is a two-bag limit on the bus. I can put one bag around the head rest on the back of my chair in order to have three bags of groceries but only use floor space for two bags. I chose a time day when it would be a little less crowded at the store and was happy to find people were so helpful. A store employee swapped out full handbaskets for empty ones so I could get my shopping done – I can’t push a shopping cart from a wheelchair. I had no trouble finding employees that would grab things on the top shelves for me and in one instance a fellow shopper seemed almost honored when I asked if she would get a can of beans off a shelf that was out of my reach when there wasn’t an employee in that aisle. It was a good day. I got my three bags of groceries home and got them all put away before a well-earned cup of coffee and a donut.

At the beginning of this week I made a crock pot of black bean soup with the fruits from my shopping trip. I haven’t made black bean soup in a long time and golly it was SO GOOD! A 1 pound bag of black beans makes six servings. I have three left; one of the fringe and two in the freezer. I’m going to try not to thaw the container in the freezer for a couple of weeks but I haven’t made it in years and years and years and it’s really hard not to have it every day right now.

I use a slight variation of a recipe from “Fabulous Beans” by Barb Bloomfield, one of my favorite cookbooks, printed in 1994. It’s a great cookbook and in looking up the Amazon link I found “More Fabulous Beans” which is now on my Amazon Wish List!

Black Bean Soup

1 lb dry black beans
8 cups water
1 chopped green pepper

1 TBS oregano
2 TBS cumin
1 TBS salt
6 TBS lemon juice

Soak the beans overnight with 2 TBS baking soda. (The soda will make the beans kinder to your stomach, sort of like adding preemptive Beano to the soup!)

Drain and rinse the beans and put in a crock pot with 8 cups of water and the chopped green pepper. Cook on high for a few hours until the beans are soft. Turning the crock pot on in the morning will make the beans ready for the finish when you get home from work.

To finish the soup, add the oregano, salt, cumin and lemon juice to the beans and cook in the crock pot for another 30 minutes. Purée a couple cups in a blender and return it to the beans to give the soup a creamy texture. Serve with a tablespoon of sour cream.

The recipe with the sour cream is only 6 WW points. :)

The “bookmark” made me smile. This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a long time. We used to do one “vegetarian night” a week when I worked at Omnicom cable just after trade school. I remember when I wrote the note to Mom because I was working until 6:30 and she got home around 5:30. She was adding the finishing ingredients so the soup would be ready when Pop got home. Back in the mid-90s my printing was legible too! I loved this soup and was excited to share it with my parents. I was pleased that they both liked it. When we did vegetarian night, Mom and I used to go vegetarian all day. Pop made sure he had lots of meat with lunch.

She Is Truly Just Awesome!

 Rina is one in a million

I listen to a variety of MS teleconferences on Tuesday nights. I like to stay informed about areas science is exploring on my disease and with my responsibilities as a self-help group leader I think it’s important to understand what other people with MS find important as well. Keeping in mind that I’m special; Primary Progressive MS is less common than Relapsing Remitting MS and I really would like to understand more about RRMS too.

This week’s topic was telling kids and helping them understand that you have MS. From listening to the psychologist talk and then hearing the comments and questions from people on the teleconference after her it seems that telling young children is much easier than teens and young adults. I wasn’t surprised. Young children usually have unconditional love, faith and trust in the adults who care for them and will accept and deal with a situation much in the same way those adults will. If the adults are calm and positive with a drive to learn about the disease, the young children will handle an adult they love having it better and will learn at the level that’s right for their ability to understand. That’s not pshychobabble; I watched Tori and Rina adapt to my mom’s limitations with arterial sclerosis and rather than pulling away because they didn’t understand they were the 7 year olds getting the wheelchair at museums because they understood that Grams can’t do the walking in museums, but with the wheelchair we could all go together. Even thought my dad usually did the wheelchair pushing, the girls could help by getting the chair. By letting them do part of the caregiver responsibilities they accepted and learned what they can do to help. I’ve seen other young kids adapt in the same way. The kids that are with a parent who has MS at the family events I’ve been to are very much the like the girls were with their grandmother; they understand that parent’s limitations and it actually empowers them to feel like they can do something to help.

I will be honest that it broke my heart hearing so many people who commented their teen and young adult kids didn’t seem interested in learning or understanding about MS. There were also comments that that age group didn’t seem interested in helping in any capacity. I was in my late 20s when Mom was diagnosed but I’d like to believe that I was enough of the same person that had been my early 20s I still would have gone to medical classes with her to understand the disease. I do understand that the age, teens and early 20s, is a time when you’re pulling away from your relatives a little bit and establishing your own identity, adopting your own extended family through your network of friends, but I think when a parent tells you they haven’t incurable disease you might bring yourself mentally at home find out a little more about it and see if there’s anything you can do to help your parent.

I want to take the opportunity to give a MAJOR shout-out to Rina. She was the first one I thought of when I heard so many people talking about their young adult children who didn’t seem interested in helping or knowing any more about MS when their parent told the of their diagnosis. I just couldn’t understand some one’s own kids trying to distance themselves because my niece chose to do a final project for one of her college classes talking about MS, the different types of MS and how they affect people who have it. This project was to include a segment explaining why the topic was chosen and Rina included photographs of me in her PowerPoint slides to support why awareness and research of the disease is important to her. When she showed me her project I was in proud, loved and happy tears. After hearing the more common reaction in her age group to someone in your world having the disease it solidified what I thought anyway; she is truly an incredibly special young woman!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nuts About Hodge Podging!

1. April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes. When did you last 'shower' attention on someone or have attention 'showered' on you? Did you love it, or did all that attention makes you squirm?

Christmas is good for showers. In 2012 during the hockey strike, David and I gave my hockey nut brother a large box with 12 individually wrapped gifts in it calling it a “12-Step Program for the Hockey Strike.” It had everything from York Peppermint Patties because to a hockey fan going through withdrawal they look like pucks to a Red Wings bar clock to a Red Wings greatest games DVD set. He loved it and laughed and smiled the whole time he opened it.

Last year, Dave, Laura, Rina and Tori returned the spotlight on me with my “Box Full of Sunshine. Every gift in the box was yellow from a yellow lip balm, to the DePauw t-shirt and mug Tori added to the “Ain't I just a freaking ray of sunshine?” travel mug, all packed with yellow wrapped candies. Did I squirm? I love giving gifts like that on occasion and I’ll probably do it more after feeling how loved and fun it is to receive them.

2. Share a favorite 'spring break' memory. Not talking about just the 'college spring break' thing, but any favorite spring break memory you'd like to share. Keep it family friendly please!

I always loved it when Tori and Rina were little and they spent half their Spring Break with me. Whether I was working outside or at home or if I wasn’t working, I took that time off so we could do some fun things. Once they moved to Indiana and were in high school spring break wasn’t so much aunt-niece time anymore, but now that they’re adults we still get together when they’re up this way. And they still get cooler and cooler as they get older like they always have! (I love them like they’re mine and I’m just as proud!)

3. It's National Pecan Month...are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite dish that calls for pecans?

I am definitely what I eat and I love nuts! ;) My favorite nuts are almonds and PECANS!! I love pecans plain, in salad, as part of caramel corn, cinnamon roasted and I do a cheese ravioli dish with roasted vegetables and either crashed pecans or walnuts that’s to die for!

4. 'Put all your eggs in one basket', 'egg on your face', 'rotten egg', 'walk on eggshells', or 'a good egg'...which egg-spression could most recently be applied to your own life?

I guess I always “walk on eggshells” if David gets upset with something inanimate. She can be snappy when he’s grumbly and he has a loud boomy voice. I try to let him be when he’s upset with something. It’s usually a 5 or 10 minute walk on the eggshells, but for a yapster like me it can be hard to keep quiet that long.

5. In my experience___________________________________.

It’s often better not to tell someone something that starts “In my experience” when your advice is unsolicited.

6. What's a favorite song with the word rain in its title or lyrics?

Kentucky Rain – I often love me some Elvis and that’s one of my favorites…which I need to listen to now.

7. What does the word hope mean to you?

It means doing what you can when you know you can’t do it alone and “knowing” it’s going to work. Walk MS is all about hope.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday was not a good baseball day. The Reds and Red Sox had already lost and the Tigers were in Los Angles in a game that started the scoring with an Austin Jackson home run (his first of the year) which I missed watching the end of the Reds losing effort in St. Louis. Then, when the game was on the west coast and I had a morning appointment so, in accordance with Murphy’s strict laws, it went into extra innings! The Tigers lost in the tenth.

Some days it would pay to have a crystal ball and just leave Investigation Discovery on.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: Proof Positive (Amanda Jaffe #3) by Phillip Margolin

Finished April 7, 2014

Synopsis at Good Reads

New York Times bestselling author Phillip Margolin returns with a shocking and enthralling thriller about the way CSI evidence can be misused by a killer with his own twisted sense of justice.

Doug Weaver is a defense attorney who always believes the best of his clients, and Jacob Cohen, on trial for murder, is no exception. Jacob may be homeless and mentally ill, but Doug can't imagine that this meek and intensely religious man could have killed and dismembered a woman. Yet Bernard Cashman, a forensic expert at the Oregon State Crime Lab, finds evidence that indisputably connects Cohen with the crime.

Frustrated and confused, Doug consults Amanda Jaffe, star of Margolin's spine-tingler Wild Justice. Amanda and her father, Frank, are working on a case that seems completely unrelated—gangster Art Prochaska is accused of murdering an informer. When Amanda starts looking too closely at the seemingly air-tight evidence in these two apparently unconnected cases, people start to die—and she discovers that a madman with the power to alter the truth is on the loose.

My Review at Good Reads

5 of 5 stars

I’m going to read some other series that Phillip Margolin has written. This is the third book in the Amanda Jaffe series and I’ve loved reading every one of them.

Two seemingly unrelated murder cases become intertwined in a much bigger legal issue for Amanda and her father, Frank. The crime-solving is stimulating the action exciting, the murders pretty graphic and the detail is outstanding. I love that the good guys aren’t infallible but they’re morally strong, it surprises you who the bad guys really are and the main underworld types are as gray as gray can be! A criminal lawyer makes a great man character because it offers so many angles to the stories. I overran my bedtime reading into my sleep time a couple of nights with this one!

Friday, April 4, 2014


It’s a bit of a dreary morning today, so David cooked up hot breakfast of eggs and sausage with Pillsbury pop-and-bake Cinnabon biscuits. YUM!

I’m joining the Follow Friday Four Fill-in Fun blog hop today. Thanks to Hilary at Feeling Beachie for hosting every Friday!


The statements:
1. Having ____________ of___________ helps me___________
2. I ____________ to _______________
3. The first thing I do in the AM is _____
4. Tomorrow morning I am going to _____

My answers:

1. Having a cup of hot cocoa helps me un-stress.

2. I want to make a crock pot of black bean soup this week.

3. The first thing I do in the AM is turn on the computer when I get downstairs then I make a cup of coffee.

4. Tomorrow morning I am going to do the same thing I do every day; try to take over the world. ;)

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Flair from Rainy Days by Ginger Bread Ladies

Can anyone use some rain water? I can start by sharing that; I can wring a gallon out of my coat!

I had an appointment this afternoon and it was raining, I mean it was RAINING. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in rain that hard. And it was a cold rain too. Imagine if you will that you are in a wheelchair in rain that heavy. Think about the difference between sitting and standing and how much of you is exposed to the rain. When it’s raining that hard an umbrella doesn’t do much either. Your entire front is basically collecting the rain and when you lean forward to close the door, well when it’s raining that heavily it doesn’t take long for your entire back side to catch-up in the wetness.

After a wet afternoon at my appointment and then waiting for the bus I’m home now, bundled up and I had some soup and the rest of the sleeve of crackers David left out for lunch. But the sniffles from my cold that were almost gone this morning are back. So if anyone would like a cold to go with the rainwater I’ll throw it in for free!

All right, all right, enough of cranky Nani, right? How about I share something better?

This morning I finished a scrapbook page that’s my first Ginger Scraps challenge this month. It’s for the Mini Kit Challenge. Cherekaye Designs shared a sweet mini kit called Okay Doaky:

I shared Marco’s morning with the cable guys when they came in to replace the box and fix up some connections so we’d be good to go for Opening Day. Well, sure there are other things on TV, Information Discovery for instance; Nani needs her real-crime shows. But the timing that made it important to get it done last month was all about baseball. Marco loves it when people visit to deliver or fix things so he was all over checking out everything they were doing and even if they couldn’t play, he did get a visit before they left.

Credits: Okay Dokay by Cherekaye Designs, Template by Digitalegacies Designs

And now the BEST sharing! If I share a layout on my blog made with a Digitalegacies Designs template, you know it because I’m sharing the template!

http://www.mediafire.com/download/4rbp4hr81ta1b8q/digitalegacies_bubbles_template.zip /?digifree

Click on image to download

Of course if you use this template, I’d love it if you share your creation too!

Now I think it’s time to share some time with the Keurig maker to make a cup of cocoa to take the rainy chill down a notch. You don’t have to share the icky stuff, but enjoy the template!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Pranks Here

Instead of a prank, a little humor

I’m really not a great fan of April Fool’s Day. Harmless jokes or pranks are fun once in a while, but having a day for it really does take the element of surprise out of it and people try too hard on April First. I look at morning radio shows as proof that trying too hard takes the humor out of being funny and too often it results in someone getting hurt. Jokes and surprises work best when they truly aren’t expected and done for fun, not because of some perceived obligation.

I’ve been fighting a chest cold for the better part of a week and yesterday was really the high point for the cold. It started as a buzz in my chest last week and slipped up into my head Saturday. I was good on Sunday for Walk, but I sounded nasal. After the chest congestion started last Wednesday afternoon, I woke up earlier than usual Thursday because the noise of my own breathing kept me up! Thursday night was worse because I used expectorant cough syrup and it loosened up my chest to the point of NOI-SY! Laying down was the noise just echoing in my ears, but sitting up was okay. Yeesh. I quit taking the cough syrup before bed and it fixed that. While yesterday was stuffy and hard breathing, today is a dramatic improvement. I still have to type by hand because Puff doesn’t recognize me!

So, being sick on the holiday wasn’t fun. Only one of our three house teams won yesterday on Opening Day, but that’s just one game, right? I watched the Tigers win in wonderful walk-off fashion but The Reds and Red Sox both lost. What’s worse in Cincinnati we dropped a game to the only Cardinals pitcher we really handle well! Usually I watch baseball until the last ESPN game on the West Coast is done on Opening Day, but yesterday was an up by 10:00 night. It paid off with feeling better this morning, but the scores didn’t change.

It’s bright and sunny today but crazy windy!! Poor little Marco is going nuts. We wonder if his vision isn’t as sharp as, say Carla’s is. Carla watches bunnies at night out the front window. Marco seems to get as riled up for blowing leaves as her does for the chipmunks. In early spring the remaining leaves from fall come back and windy days like this blow them around. Marco seems to think it must be an invasion.

Well, there’s today’s update. My chilly fumble-hands are done typing for now. Maybe tomorrow Puff will understand me again.