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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good Things!

I posted this on my Facebook wall this morning:
Tolerance doesn’t mean you don’t disagree with others and it doesn’t mean you don’t share your time or thoughts with others. The greatest intolerance I see on Facebook is when someone posts an opinion or idea and everyone who disagrees jumps to comment. Sometimes people post a thought simply to share the thought, not looking for an argument. INtolerance is the inability to resist starting an argument when someone doesn’t share your opinion. An open post encouraging hate is intolerant because it is lack of resistance to pick a fight. The best formula to use when posting an opinion, especially of the taboo religion and politics stuff: “we’re great” = tolerant, “you suck” = intolerant. If you replace the “we” or “you” with “The World” in that formula you’ll get the results of the ideology.

I’m proud of what I wrote and I believe it. I also acknowledge that it’s not easy to stay away from that “you suck” speech I address at the end. The cool thing is, in an ideal world, that when any one of us slips and utters a “you suck” phrase there are enough people working on the “we’re great” ideas to avoid a “you suck worse” argument that results in that “The World sucks.” I’d love it if we all worked on “The World is great.”

I don’t think it’s a secret to visitors at The Chronicles of Nani that I think this has been a happy week of Supreme Court decisions. I’m a big supporter of marriage equality and have been for….the first friend who came out to me was in 11h grade and I definitely had the “not on MY watch” opinion of anyone denying him ANYTHING a human being has a right to. If he’d met a guy and they wanted to get married it probably would have shocked and incensed 16-year-old me to hear that they couldn’t. So I think I can say I’ve supported marriage equality for 32 years; before it was even “a thing.”

That decision makes me happy even though the only actual effect it has on my life is that there are people who have been, are or will be in my world that can plan a special day that’s appropriate to celebrate their love just like David and I did. That makes me smile

The decision that does affect me, and a lot more of us than the marriage equality decision, is the ruling for the Affordable Care Act. Despite the act’s imperfections and my support of single payer healthcare long before my MS diagnosis, the requirement to carry health insurance goes with “pre-existing condition” not being a reason to turn anyone down for coverage. The Affordable Care Act means I’ll have healthcare in spite of a disease that can’t be cured yet. There has always been so much debate and so many awful things some groups have said about people like me that I’ve been late getting medical things until I had to wait in pain for them because I’ve bought in to the accusations that a disease I did nothing to cause to myself and couldn’t have prevented made me a “leech” and a “drain on everyone.” I’m not of that belief anymore because a wise friend brought me to realize that by taking advantage of the things available to me I can better be a contributing member of society; not at all a leach or drain. In all of its imperfections, the Affordable Care Act is a step in the direction of helping everyone and bringing us up to speed in healthcare with First World Countries.

The last thing I’ll share today is my immediate most important issue: quality sweets that are low in Weight Watchers point! David found these when he was East last week:

Charms Boutique Premium Lollipops are incredible! David chose two for me to try; Cinnamon Bun and Caramel Latte. Mmmm! Great flavor and a vanilla tootsie roll center on the two I tried. I have the last about a dozen Golden Delicious caramel apple pops I bought in the fall. Since the candy canes and peppermint Tootsie Pops from Christmas are gone I’ve been back into that bag of 60 I bought. When those are gone I just might buy a box of Boutiques! In addition to the two flavors David picked out for me, there are Birthday Cake, Orange Cream, Crème Brule, Raspberry Lemon Tart, Strawberry Cheesecake and Root Beer Float, a total of 8 flavors. I think I want to try Birthday Cake or Root Beer Float next. If you like the occasional, or one or two a day, lollipop and you see these, definitely try one!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Review: Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari

Finished July 20, 2015

Synopsis on Good Reads

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, thirty-thousand-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

In Chasing the Scream, Hari reveals his discoveries entirely through the stories of people across the world whose lives have been transformed by this war. They range from a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn searching for her mother, to a teenage hit-man in Mexico searching for a way out. It begins with Hari's discovery that at the birth of the drug war, Billie Holiday was stalked and killed by the man who launched this crusade- and it ends with the story of a brave doctor who has led his country to decriminalize every drug, from cannabis to crack, with remarkable results.

Chasing the Scream lays bare what we really have been chasing in our century of drug war-in our hunger for drugs, and in our attempt to destroy them. This book will challenge and change how you think about one of the most controversial-and consequential-questions of our time

My review on Good Reads

5 of 5 stars

I’d almost call this as essential a read for adults as the recreational drugs book my mother gave my brother and me to read when we were teens. She told us that the book, which of course she’d read first, was to let us know what is there and what it’s supposed to do, including side effects and the likelihood of addiction and dangers from taking the drug. She was always open to discussion but she told us to think; make intelligent decisions. As lax as some may think it was, neither of us had drug problems and did more telling people what the drug we were refusing did than experimenting when we were younger.

Chasing The Scream is a book like that, almost a follow-up to that book from my teen years. It starts with how the “war on drugs” started and follows cases of addiction, laws, punishment, street gangs, violence and murder from that beginning to present day. Careers have been made and ruined by this war, lives have been saved and ended.

The book also addresses the harm drug prohibition does. Similar to alcohol prohibition it curbed the use of drugs a little, but it also made more people criminals. There have been behavior tests that have debunked the strength of addiction to the drugs themselves there have been programs tried at relaxing laws and helping addicts that have worked. There has also been violent resistance. Imagine the governments making money or political inroads from the war and drug kingpins that decorate their mansions with profits because what they sell is illegal and users caught dangerously in the middle, just like it was with the government and gangsters in alcohol prohibition. More people ended up in jail or dead for visiting a speakeasy than the people opening the door or supplying the bathtub gin.

If I sound a little swayed, I am. After reading about the huge strides groups and governments have made with efforts to end the war on drugs and help people affected by them; the people who have actually tried to understand why addiction happens. Drugs and partying is not something new to civilized mankind but addiction is more prolific today. Maybe it’s not what drugs do to people but what people don’t do for other people.

Chasing The Scream, is a well-researched book told in easy to understand language. Real stories and real people tell the history and suggest the future of the war on drugs or its end. I’m not going to all out try to change minds…yet…but I definitely encourage everyone to read this book with your mind open and form your own opinions.

Monday, June 15, 2015

What’s The Difference Between A Latte and A Mocha?

I asked David if he’d bring me home a latte when he left the casino. I’ve been to that casino and they served up a great latte to enjoy while I read after donating my roll of quarters. Since he’s not a latte drinker he couldn’t find the coffee place I’d been to and I asked for a McLatte from the drive through on the way home. He obliged and ordered me a fat-free latte at the McDonald’s drive through. What he brought home was NOT a latte.

McDonald’s makes an acceptable latte and I’ve gotten McLattes for my drink on many occasions. A plain fat-free latte is coffee and a serving of fat-free milk. I like the taste and it’s a dairy serving and even a power-food on the Weight Watchers plan. What I don’t like the flavor of at all is equal parts hot chocolate and coffee with nothing else. That’s a mocha and a bad one. It’s also not a dairy serving and carries the calories of the half hot chocolate. But that is the monstrosity they gave David instead of the latte he paid for yesterday. I’ve gotten that horrid drink on more than one occasion instead of a fat-free latte and from more than one McDonalds in more than one state. What’s up with that?

This one is not just me. A plain fat-free latte is my go-to coffee drink. I’ve never gotten a grotesquely warped mocha when I’ve ordered latte at Starbucks or Panera. I’ve ordered it and David and Kelly have both ordered it for me from different McDonalds, seen it on the view screen that is supposed to “guarantee” that a customer’s order isn’t screwed up, and gotten the same screw-up. It must be a corporate-accepted proper way to McFAIL.

I support raising the minimum wage and I have to say that as a consumer this makes me support it even more. If you have to have a second job to pay your bills you likely spread yourself mentally too thin and even if you are trying to get by just on one minimum wage job you’re likely not getting paid enough to buy your “give a damn” about the job. Either way, the customers suffer. Once they’ve left that drive-through window how many people back track to complain? The franchise owner and corporate make the sale without paying for the employees loyalty to the job or providing customer satisfaction.

In the end I poured out the 20-ounces of bad mocha. I’ve poured out more bad mochas than I returned from various McDonalds. When I do return the bad mocha and get the latte I ordered I don’t feel like it’s making much more of a difference than to get the drink I want and occasionally a coupon for the next coffee on them. To me it’s obvious that employees aren’t being trained correctly. How is it that the SAME improper directions are spread corporate-wide? Is McDonalds failing to give proper instructions to franchise owners? Folks, this is really how the trickle-down stuff works; the money stays at the top and poor quality goes corporate-viral.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Vacation Time Woes

David and I were supposed to leave on our June vacation Saturday morning but we are still in Toledo. There are lots of issues from a rainy forecast to a 911 call, or two.

The really rainy forecast means the natural light won’t be good for train photographs, there is a higher possibility minor league games would be rained out or delayed and my barometric body will ache more! That’s not such a matter because after a couple of failed attempts at getting in the shower last weekend. One of the EMTs was there for both the call where the transfer chair broke and I needed help transferring to my manual wheelchair Friday night and then on Sunday when I actually belly flopped in the hallway getting up that last step. He mentioned an Aunt with knee problems that mimic the hyperextension and foot drop I have and commented that our stairs and bathroom setup was dangerous. After Sunday he also suggested that we should give up the thought of me being upstairs at all. He’s right, but the shower is upstairs!

My dad started the plan to turn the extra room off our kitchen, that we use for mostly storage now, into an accessible bathroom with a roll-in shower in March. That’s still a couplafew months in the future and it’s not my intention to wait that long for a shower!! We went to a local hotel with a good roll-in for a night and I got a good shower, but I really had to admit that the hotel bed lacked the back support for a decent night’s sleep and I dreaded the thought of folding into the car all week.

So here’s the deal: The bad weather means David got to go play in a couple of poker tournaments at the local casino. That’s something he’s wanted to do and he figured out that it was about even cost to traveling for a day (except that traveling doesn’t have a chance of winning the money back!) I’m staying home this trip and I moved my appointment at The Ability Center up. I hope they can steer me in the right direction for a hospital or nursing facility that will do an assisted shower on an appointment basis until our renovated bathroom is done. I’m also seeing about a home health aide to help me with some things while David is at work, including using that shower when it’s done. David will be going on at least the last half of our vacation because the time and place choice was to attend our niece’s high school graduation. Emma’s been legally my niece for 6-12 years but David’s niece her entire life! Even if I can't go, he needs to. I feel bad that I won’t be able to go. I’ve been to Tori’s and Rina’s ceremony in 2012 and Ben’s in 2013 and I was really looking forward to being at Emma’s too.

Looking ahead, we’ve stepped up looking at used vans for a second car. Something I can drive the power chair into the passenger’s side and not have to climb in the car to travel would help beyond telling! If the upgrades my therapist wants on my chair happen, combining it with a van will make traveling comfortable again. Keeping my fingers crossed!

When I haven’t been waiting for paramedics and crying in frustration in the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on my scrapping and reading goals. I’m close to finished with “Chasing The Scream” which is nonfiction about the war on drugs history and future. It’s a great book that really makes you think. I’ll be doing my book review soon as I’m close to the end of a fairly long book and I’ll give some of my thoughts in that review. After such a serious read, look for my next book to be a fiction thriller again.

Last month was a banner month for my page-a-day scrap goal! I’m ahead again this month too. I’ve been a little creativity-taxed the past couple days, so I used templates for three layouts Saturday and one Sunday morning.

I’ve done some more Art Journaling, my scrap poetry and therapy.

Credits: I’m Your Biggest Fan by Seatrout Scraps, 
Hope Floats by Pixelily Designs, inspired by the song Hero by Loma Vista

Credits: Twilight by Red Dog Designs, Distressed by Created by Jill Designs, 
Alpha from Secret Agent by Just For Fun Designs

Remember the therapy pages are to get the negativity OUT of me and into pixels! It’s not like I’m going to cut off my ear or anything.

And with that comment my mother is looking down at me and I can hear the heavenly echoes telling me Andy Warhol’s work is "an inspired stock boy." :) We always had a fun running argument about the quality of Van Gogh vs Warhol.

Here’s a recent one that’s not so dark! It was for the template challenge at Gotta Pixel:

Credits: Kitty Love by Kristmess Designs, challenge template by Lindsay Jane

And here are this year’s crocuses that I scrapped Sunday morning:

Credits: Signs of Spring Monthly Mix by Gingerbread Ladies, 
“Selfie” hop template by Dear Friends Designs

I didn’t use a template for this one a while back, but I ended up creating a template based on it!

Credits: I’m Your Biggest Fan by Seatrout Scraps, 
Template by Digitalegacies Designs

Of course, if I made a template, there is a freebie!

Click image to go to download

Sunday, June 7, 2015

So, Define "Religious"

Short grumble, well maybe not so much a grumble as an I’m a little hurt and don’t understand. I don't like to talk about religion a lot and I try very hard not to judge, but I don't like to be hurt either.

I was the victim of a slight by a friend a while back. I’m not naming names because it’s not important. I was told by that friend about the conversation between the friend and a stranger to us both. The friend was talking about me having MS and my struggles with it. I have no problem with that; I’m all for awareness and my having MS is not a private secret for that very reason. What bothered me is this part of the conversation the friend told me about:

Stanger: “Is she religious?”
Friend: “Well no, but I am.”
Stranger: “Then I’ll pray for your friend.”

There are a couple of things I find hurtful here. My friend is Christian. I am Unitarian Universalist. The main difference is that I believe that all prayers go to the same place no matter what the religion of the person praying or to what deity the prayer is addressed. The core of my beliefs is respect for all beliefs and compassion for all people, regardless of those beliefs. My immediate self-righteous thought is that it would be much easier to consider myself right and regard anyone who thinks different than me to be wrong, pray for those that agree and I’m done. I work hard within my beliefs and honestly, I’m offended when someone says “she’s not religious” because we don’t say the same prayers. And by the way, I was raised Catholic, so if I say a prayer, it’s likely a Christian prayer. Someone is not “not religious” just because their beliefs are different than yours.

The other hurtful thing is the stranger asking if I’m religious in the first place. When it’s so easy to say “I’ll pray for you” to someone if you find out they are an atheist as a jab at them why is it impossible to actually pray for a stranger unless you know they believe like you do? Isn’t your own belief enough to pray for someone? Even if my friend wasn’t a fellow Christian it doesn’t mean the stranger couldn’t pray for me.

That part of the conversation that was told to me never should have happened. The stranger should have just prayed without boasting about doing it. My beliefs never should have been questioned because they are irrelevant. If you believe in the power of prayer it doesn’t matter if the person for whom you’re praying does. My friend never should have made a judgement about my beliefs because they are different from theirs and offering that “they’ll sponsor me” by saying “no, but I am” is another judgment that I’m “not worthy” of being prayed for because we don’t have identical beliefs.

I’m not going to keep stewing about this now. I realize that the idea that no other beliefs could possibly be right is part of most religions. The fact that I view that as "necessary to fill the holy buildings on the holy days even if it causes more war than peace" is just me doing the same thing. I don’t think my friend or the stranger were hurting me on purpose but I needed to get it out of my head and air it in a pubic(ish) forum to get it to quit grating on me.

Thanks for reading and may God, or however you address the supreme power, bless you every day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Brrr...This is June?

Good morning friends! It’s 7AM and 46 degrees outside. If this were March I’d be ecstatic about the balmy temperature and sunny day. However, being June and all I’m ready to panic! I mean, we really didn’t have summer last year and after the deep freeze just a few months ago, I’d just hate to think I missed the warm weather already. I didn’t go outside every day just because the high temp was in the 80s because I figured it was only the beginning, ya know? This morning I have R2D2 running steady to heat up the room and it has nothing to do with a chill from the air conditioning. I even gave thought to passing on making a cup of morning coffee to get back into the room with my diligent space heater. But you know me well enough to know I stayed in the chill of the kitchen long enough to get a cup of my morning elixir!

Yesterday was Marco’s birthday! Our little boy cat-dog is 2! The kids all shared Savory Salmon Feast birthday cake at Marco’s party last night and David and I sang Happy Birthday. All three of the kitty-kids were so affectionate with the party spirit and even Marco joined in the singing as we held the plates of salmon feast and serenaded him.

My allergies seem to finally be calming down. It was especially bad this year, but I’ve read it just was especially bad; not just for me. I think the storms we had last weekend must have tamped the pollen down so it’s not flying all over. The rain made everything a robust green and made the trees full and healthy looking. The main drawback to last weekend’s rain is it was the festival weekend at the church across the street and the usual carnival sounds I enjoy hearing that weekend were too often interrupted by the sound of rain and thunder! The festival goers came back when the sun did, but it still hurts the church/school's fundraising when rain interrupts the carnival.

I never went to a carnival that I didn’t ride the Tilt-a-Whirl at least once when I was in my teens/20s. Usually I’d ride it a few times! Nowadays I really don’t go to carnivals; they set-it-up-for-a-week rides really aren’t wheelchair-friendly. It’s still great to listen to the carnival sounds and the happy screeching people on a warm summer weekend. But I’ve found that I can turn the speed up a little on the power chair if I have a smooth and a little open space and spin for some fun. I call that tilt-a-whirling! I can go around about 3 times and then I have the same feeling I used to enjoy at carnivals too! What is/was your favorite carnival ride or game?