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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's My Half Birthday!

I’ve never made it a secret that I’m not a fan of winter. In fact I’ve done a pretty good job of painting myself a an anti-fan of winter. So what’s an optimist to do to keep from falling into winter blues? Well, as a child of the summer, I celebrate my Half-Birthday! I’m not looking outside at Mother Nature’s gag-gift this year; in 6 months it will be the heart of Leo entering into the dog days of summer when even cats find shady spots if they are outdoors. (which is only acceptable if they are rural barn cats, a little safer from traffic than urban cats on the streets and cats and dogs on the farm should always have access to clean water!)

Now my half birthday isn’t celebrated as a festival and I usually just do something special for myself. I might order a pizza today; I discover a thin crust pizza with white sauce, bacon and veggies at Marcos. I add green olives and banana peppers to it for a little sour bite and it’s SO good! And it’s only 18 points for half a small. Of course since David doesn’t do pizza, it would end up being dinner tomorrow too since I can’t reheat on my own. Unless I didn’t refrigerate overnight. I like cold pizza fine but I don’t care for it chilled. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll just ask David if he’d drive trough and bring me home a McLatte.

One fun thing I did for myself for my half birthday this year is a 2-page scrapbook layout. I had a kit that was a set of journal cards that I really wanted to play with for a while. According to the dates on the files, it was May last year that I got the kit Hello! by Scrumptiously. I wanted to do a pocket-page type layout and I knew I wanted to do a totally narcissistic layout about myself. I’ve said before that scrapbooking is both a loving and giving hobby and a totally selfish hobby all in one. It’s saving your, memories to share with other people but it’s also putting yourself as the keeper of history. You get to be the dictator of the future by directing the past. I actually think that’s fine as long as you aren’t blatantly lying about the resent it’s a wonderful series of family heirlooms for generations to come. I also think that selfishness manifests itself in vanity. Too many scrapbookers don’t include their own completely separate from others in the family thoughts or photographs in their books. Generations later relations and even family friends will wonder about the person who assembled the books. What did she or he look like, what were they doing? That’s just my little scrapping soapbox.

Of course, there’s plenty of me in my scrapbooks because I do think that way. I try to be vain for everyone and use flattering photos of us all so generations down the line multiple greats of nieces and nephews will marvel at what an attractive lot we were. But I want my scrapbooks to hold memories, lot of them, but I want my character and sense of humor to be in them too. I want to look back at my books and remember how much fun being me has always been. Oh yeah, and how attractive we’ve always looked too!

Also my half-birthday 2-pager uses those journal cards and prompts to put a time-capsule bubble around my brain at 48-1/2 years old. Making “right here, right now” ordinary day a time capsule page every now and then is fun too!

Credits: Hello!  by Scrumptiously and other papers from my stash

The pages are full-resolution if you want to enlarge them and read on the pages, but if you want to read what they say in simple written form, the contents of the cards are right here:

So there’s my self-indulgent answer to the winter blues. For my birthday festival I encourage everyone to have ice cream to celebrate and last year it was to buy ice cream for a kid. So if you want to celebrate my half birthday with me have a cookie. That’s nice to go with hot cocoa to shake a winter frown away. If you like the snow and ice, go enjoy it! And have a hot cocoa for me when you get in because if I was there, you know that’s where I’d be!

Find the happy, everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Am Defined

Happy Sunday everyone! Unless you’re reading this tomorrow or on any day that’s not today or some multiple of seven from today, then happy whatever of the six other days this happens to be.

I have finally been defined with a definition I agree with. For years and years I’ve taken forms of the Meyers-Briggs tests, including the all out test that I took for a job interview many years back, and the results always start with E, calling me an extrovert. I’m actually consistently an ENTJ; Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judgmental, and the description of an ENTJ fits me pretty well except that I am not that outgoing. I’m outgoing when I need to be, when I have to, but I treasure my alone time too. As a rule, extroverts can’t stand being alone. I took a test online that tells what kind of introvert or extrovert a person is, because I love taking personality tests no matter how corny they are although this one is less corny than others I’ve taken, and it doesn’t call me an extrovert. According to my results I am an outgoing introvert. Which if you look at this description; 8 signs you may be an outgoing introvert, it fits me perfectly. And I love the fact that it doesn’t call me an extrovert.

I’m in the midst of a reading dilemma. Remember I said I was going to have an upstarts book and an ereader book going at the same time? Well, I did that. If you look at my Good Reads widget on the right, there are 2 current books listed. One is a hard cover that I got in a book swap and one is an e-book, young adult fiction. I read the Harry Potter series, and the Trylle series in the beginning of 2013; don’t judge! ;) But my current problem is that I’m just not really into either one. They’re both okay, but nor riveting at all. I have a Baldacci paperback in waiting and thanks to Christmas gift cards for both Barnes and Noble for the Nook app and Amazon for the Kindle app, both on my iPad, I have a couple lists of loaded and ready to read books on the tablet. I have a goal of averaging 2 books a month and I’m not even half way through either book with only a week of January left! January and February are usually good reading months for me. I have to come up with a plan to get myself some reading time so I can catch up and start some bocks I’m more likely to MAKE time to read.

I was talking to a friend from our MS support group about the things that make MS easier to live with today than it would have been years ago, say in the 1940s when it was first diagnosed and recognized as an actual disease. Without MRIs, there was no apparent scarring of the myelin to see on the brain or spine images and while it wasn’t a death sentence for sure, it did affect life expectancy just because they knew so little about it. So much about diagnosing and understanding the disease has improved in the many years since then.

The first disease modifying medication was approved for use and became available in 1993 and more medications became available after that; all injectable. The first oral medication was approved in 2010. That was my first choice in 2011, anything to avoid needles. There are 10 medications an MS patient and their neurologist can try, depending on what side effects you want to chance. But just think;25 years ago there were NO options. You were diagnosed, treated the symptoms as best you could and you knew the disease was going to progress with no way of slowing it down.

Back in that day, just prior to a drug for the disease, it wasn’t considered a disability. In fact the ADA was a baby in 1990 with members of congress that still didn’t want it to pass. We MSers were still destined to end up in wheelchairs and there were still people fighting tooth and nail not to have to widen a door for those chairs or anyone else with a wheelchair, walker, cane or just limited mobility or allowed mobility for breathing or heart conditions. We have advocates and are encouraged to be self-advocates in the fight to continue living instead of just existing as helpless invalids; we became legally valid!

But we really acknowledged the internet, tablet, smart phones. The internet means we aren’t hopeless and lonely when we are at home. The incredible ability to reach out to others like us and be cyber support is fantastic. I couldn’t live without my iPad. With the numbness in my hands that has me dropping things all the time and unable to write having my planner and several reading apps in one device, with a padded cover and replacement insurance on it, is such a blessing It also has a notepad, radio and MP3 storage, camera and my social media apps. And it has speech-to-text for every app I’d type in, a godsend for the times when my “fumblehands” just aren’t up to hitting the right keys. This is not an ad for the iPad. It’s an acknowledgement of how technology makes disabilities less disabling. There have been many times in the past year that speech-to-text software,, like Dragon on my PC, has written this blog!

It’s just amazing and wonderful. How many times did I watched Star Trek episodes where someone was carrying around a tablet with information essential for their job on it? I’m just waiting now for the hypo spray that will zap my MS all together? THAT’S something I’d take to our support group for “share and tell!”
My final note today is for everyone in the areas where the current storm is headed BE CAREFUL! The nasty winter storm the Weather channel is calling Juno is supposed to dump a TON of snow and nastiness on the east! We have relatives and friends that are expected to get in excess of a foot of snow. My friend Edna of Miss Edna’s Place will be seeing it in her part of New England as well, what she describes as feet of inches predicted on TV. If you are in the areas getting snow and hurricane winds, stay as safe and warm as possible and the rest of us please send good thoughts and prayers for them. We’ll get a few inches in Toledo and I’ll complain as I see it falling but then I’ll remember that I don’t have it so bad and check Edna’s blog or ask David if he talked to any of his brothers.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Keeping Very Busy

Are there any statistics on how soon people break resolutions? Now, I don’t do resolutions, it’s projects and goals for me; it leaves room to do many at once and catch up things that fall behind.

So there are a few things I’m behind on. Blog reading and writing is one of those things, Much of my online “work” has been distracted. If you noticed there is a GoFundMe link in my side bar. My good friend, Sheri, spent 10 days of the beginning of this year in the hospital. She went home Thursday night and hopefully goes back to work Monday. Sheri lives alone so she is the only breadwinner in her home. She’s been stressing and I’ve stressed for he too. The bills don’t go away and the biggest bill is waiting in the wings. Where her normal budget is based on mandatory overtime at the job she’s had many years, now she’s used all her sick time for the ear and has about a week on disability that’s less than half her non-OT paycheck. So she has all her regular bills plus a giant bill for the deductible and out of pocket limit for the year all at once coming from the hospital. See a reason for stress?

I’d write her a check for everything she needs to stay afloat if I wasn’t sure my check would bounce higher than a 10-cent superball. What I could do for her was set up the fundraiser. I realize that dedicating my time to this for Sheri will eat into what I can earn for Walk MS but my disease will earn tens of thousands of dollars this year. That makes me happy, really it does, but Sheri will get buried by the financial rubble a hospital stay drops on someone. She is a friend that makes the trip from Michigan to visit me when she is on vacation. She pushes my wheelchair when we’re someplace I can’t get to with the power chair. If my fundraising can make me rise from this chair this year but Sheri will be going without to pay the monthly bills to the hospital without ruining her credit, well, I think I’d rather have her okay and stable to push my chair. So, while I have my page done for Walk, I’m encouraging everyone to donate to helping one person at a time this year. I’d rather be okay with the people I call mine than great alone. Remember I started 2013 in the hospital? I’m not trying to keep a roof over my own head, but I don’t let David pay my medical copays. I have three payments left on that bill. Out of pocket limit all at once when you still have other bills (office visits and prescriptions aren’t part of that limit) is HUGE.

I’ve had some other friends who are dealing with issues and making sure I have time for them comes before blogging, scrapping and working on ways to make the house more accessible!

Credits:P52 Basic Blocking Templates by Digitalegacies Designs, All That Glitters is Snow, Begin Again, My Favorite Brew and Nite At Grandma’s by Aprilisa Designs; When Skies Are Gray by Gingerbread Ladies; Smooches Cardstock by Digital Scrapbooking Studio; Let It Snow and In Then Kitchen – Cooking by Little Rad Trio; Important To Me byu Simple Girl; Chocolicious by Magical Scraps Galore; Journal Cards by A Little Grace and Mercy; Jilbert’s Bits of Bytes; Kimeric Kreations; and Connie Prince

I am a few layouts behind on the page-a-day goal, but only a few and my Project 52 is current! I’ve finished the layouts for weeks one and two. I did week one like I did last year’s layouts , in quadrants. I’m mixing things up a little thus year. Week two has a little different base.

Credits: P52 Basic Blocking Templates by Digitalegacies Designs, Afternoon With Grandma by Little Rad Trio, Attitude Adjustment by Inspired Designs, Better Days Ahead by Aprilisa Designs, Chill In The Air Ginerscraps Monthly Mix, Distressed 1&2 by Created by Jill Scraps, Falling 4 U by Keystone Scraps, Good Reads by Aprilisa Designs, I’ll Be There by Trixie Scraps, Owie by Blue Hearts Scraps & Luv Ewe Designs, Rainy Days by Ginger Bread Ladies, Journal Cards from Doctor’s Orders by Studio Meagan’s Creations and Second Chances by Mad Genius Designs

After 53 weeks of the quadrants it was a little uncomfortable ding it that way. I think I’ll probably do mostly quadrants but mix it up with a different base template here and there. I’ve also been making an effort to use journal cards, like would be used for pocket scrapping.. I have a bunch of them that are in kits or were freebies but I’m also making my own. I don’t think the journal cards are a huge difference from the mostly translucent mats I used last year, but I do see it as a way 2015 is unique from 2014. I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel here, I just watched a video about Project 52 scrapping and it prompted me to look at the pages from 2012, the only other year I’ve actually competed this project and really see what aspects I liked most of each.

I really had fun last year with this cupcake:

It didn’t appear for the first time until the second quarter of the year, but it appears in the 2014 book 7 times. A recurring element was fun! This year’s element has already made its premier appearance. It’s not due to return for a few weeks now.

I made a full set of four templates for bases for the 2-page weekly spreads. You might recognize the first two from the layouts I’ve shown above. The second two are created to work for my dally bocks, but they are also great for pocket scrapping or a blocked scrapbook page. Clicking the preview will take you to the download page. Look for more Project 52 things as the year progresses!


That’s all for now; reading time!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Book review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Finished January 4, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads

Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in an Italian hospital, disoriented and with no recollection of the past thirty-six hours, including the origin of the macabre object hidden in his belongings. With a relentless female assassin trailing them through Florence, he and his resourceful doctor, Sienna Brooks, are forced to flee. Embarking on a harrowing journey, they must unravel a series of codes, which are the work of a brilliant scientist whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante Alighieri's The Inferno.

My review at Good Reads

3 of 5 stars

First I will say there like this book a lot more than I did the last book I read by Dan Brown. I still haven't figured out if I really like the book or just kind a like the book. It's the oddest sensation I’ve ever had after reading a book. The art history offered in the book was fantastic and the facts about the art mostly accurate. I've read other reviews of Brown's work and I agree there is a tendency to add “known opinions” that never existed in with facts in a way that makes large parts of the fiction created around the fact to be more real than they are. But reader beware; don’t believe everything you read in FICTION. Brown does a great job of using researched facts to create a conspiracy theory on which to base the plot of his books. I really don't think that's a bad thing but sometimes it can be overdone. I guess it's both what I like most about the book and what bugs me most about the book. I like how all of the puzzle pieces fit together using the facts to create fiction. I wasn't crazy about the over-facting. It started to become tiresome.

But more than the conspiracy theory story that was sometimes overdeveloped I was bugged by characters that were a unbelievable. When you're developing a story that supposed to make the reader believe they are reading more possible additional facts, the characters need to be more believable. In the book that starts with the hero, Robert Langdon suffering from partial amnesia he has an incredible ability to remember just everything that he's ever come in contact with. Couple that with the female main character, Sienna Brooks, who is beyond genius with an IQ higher than most of the most intelligent people on earth and it it leaves the reader expecting no mistakes to ever be made and a much shorter book.

The end was too long. After a catastrophic climax that was left dangling at the end the rest of the book almost seems forced, as if there needed to be “something” else in there. It actually is kind of a sad ending in the unsolved global crisis and our lead hero taking a nap on the plane on the way home. It just left me feeling frustrated that no one actually did anything. I think a conspiracy theory fiction is supposed to leave you feeling hopeful that something can be done, not like a victim. I could just be reading too much into that too.

The action was good the details a bit overdone, but I like detail of historic art so I can't complain about that too much, but I am bothered by the unbelievability of many of the characters and definitely some parts of the plot. Oddly, however, as many little things about the book as I can easily complain about and as disappointed as I felt with the ending I can't really say that I didn't enjoy the book. Odd indeed.