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, August 29, 2015

Here’s A Chair For You

Hi! Thanks for visiting my cyber coffee shop! Please have a cup of your favorite beverage and cuddle in for a few paragraphs!

I wanted to mention my cyber-recipes. Usually if I post something tasty you can make at home I’ll either include the recipe (look for “Davlicious” in the key words at the bottom) or I’ll include a link to a recipe page if it’s a recipe I find on the web. Most of the time when I offer up a piece of black forest cake, or recently tiramisu, it’s cyber-cake; completely calorie free, but not something you can replicate at home. This is an ages old Naniism. Time for a “Little Nani Story.” In this case two.

For the beginning of the story, let me offer you a comfy chair in my cyber coffee shop.

Here’s a couch for a couple of guests

And maybe we have someone joining us who’d prefer a kitschy chair!

I have always loved pretend imagery. One of the first TV shows I loved when I was a child was “The Friendly Giant,” one of a few CBC kids’ shows I watched with my mom. One of the spoils of being a border-baby is that, even before cable, we got CBC in from Windsor, Ontario, Canada; great kid’s shows and Hockey Night in Canada! Mom always watched a few episodes of any shows I watched. I guess I figured out when I was an aunt to very young girls that she did that as a responsible parent to make sure she knew the content of the shows I watched, but I remember it as just getting to pick the show that we were watching together. Parents watching the shows the kids are watching at least a little is important. I even remember my dad complaining that “they should be learning Italian, not Spanish” on Sesame Street. Of course my dad was still only about 10 years in this country and wanting a little of his roots to make him feel a little more welcomed. (It was only a year or two after we started watching Sesame Street before he chose to become a citizen and stopped complaining about the Spanish segments on Sesame Street.)

But back to The Friendly Giant. It was basic kids content. Friendly was a giant who had animal friends; a puppet was one and watching a clip on YouTube I remembered the giraffe that visited his window. The thing is I remembered those characters watching a clip from the show. What I didn’t need a clip to remember a few years shy of a half century later was the beginning of the show when he set up the little living room for us.

He invited the viewers into his castle and set out chairs in the little living room so we had a seat while we visited. That imagery and use of imagination has always been part of me. So when you choose a chair, imagine you're really relaxing with your coffee for the read!

Now that you see where my brain learned how to get comfy in a pretend chair, the next “Little Nani Story” will explain the “scratch ingredients” that go into making cyber-cake!

My brother, Dave, and I were pretty normal kids in that we often had to be nagged about cleaning our rooms and occasionally mom came in with the big garbage bag and “helped” us clean our rooms. One of the list of things she didn’t know or understand until I was an adult was why, more than once, she was throwing away a cardboard sheet or box with pictures of food taped on it.

Well, Star Trek came out the same year I did, in 1966, and my mom was a huge Trekkie. That meant Star Trek was one of the shows we watched together that she picked. One of the things I played often was that my closet was a space ship or shuttle and I was the captain. I had a control panel that mom never wondered about because it looked like a spaceship panel a kid would draw. But those boards with the pictures of food on them were my replicator. Thinking back they were sort of a cross between a vending machine and a replicator because if I touched the picture it created the food I touched, well, I pretended it did. If I wanted something that I couldn’t find a picture of in the grocery sales papers from the newspaper, I’d ask for it. I imagined the taste and looking at the picture enjoyed my meal on the spaceship.

So, now I serve all-grown-up replicated desserts, or cyber-food, in my cyber coffee shop. As an adult I can still pretend the wonderful flavors but I appreciate the calorie-free more.

Have some black forest cake…and don’t ever let you inner child grow up!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Political Profanity

I pay attention to news and politics because I like to entertain the idea that my thoughts and my votes matter in the greater scheme of things. But reading political stuff, interviews, polls and opinions, gets me mad or frightened or both. I’m concerned that Donald Trump is ahead in polls for the Republican presidential polls. (Which by the way is an election in 2016 and why are we even reading about it yet?) Oh, if we ever needed a confirmation that political contests are all about money and elections are bought… But I wanted to see his take on the issues. Why is this man who is so ugly in his opinions about immigrants getting such support in the polls? If you go to the Trump website and click “Positions” you will find a tab for “Immigration Reform.” That’s it. He officially has no other positions. This leaves me more confused and more concerned.

His, mostly debunked, stand on immigrants and loud support of unsubstantiated “stats” is frightening. I know he is attacking immigrants from Mexico, for now, but he doesn’t seem to discern documented and undocumented immigrants in his onslaught. Several Republicans have been using the term “anchor baby” in attacking each other and voters concerning immigration reform. I hadn’t really heard the term and I was born to a married couple; a US citizen and a green card documented immigrant. I needed to find out the root of the term because I actually didn’t know if my brother and I are anchor babies.

The term was coined in the 1980s to describe Southeast Asian teens who came to America to get a financial foothold and sponsor family members to come over. As it morphed into that foothold being established by the citizenship granted babies born in this country, regardless of their parents’ nationality, it became thought of as a child citizen who could anchor the parents into the country. That, by the way, is false. A child born in this country is American but may sponsor their parents to enter the country after they are 21. There is no guarantee that the parents can legally remain because they have a child that was born here. The term came to prominence again in 2006 as congressional Republicans  used it in a derogatory way to pass legislation to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.

The thing is it’s always been a derogatory term. It’s just like terms I remember hearing as a kid that were “just sayings.” But to a kid whose great-grandparents were born in Poland, I knew “dumb pollack” was meant as something mean to the people who said it and meant it as an ugly stereotype; it wasn’t just a saying. Anchor baby became used retroactively to describe any child born in the US that the person using the term deemed to be only born here to keep alien parents in the country. It was never an actual term to describe someone’s status, but a term used with disdain to describe anyone based on assumption. As a term that means a baby born to an immigrant mother, or one who is not legitimately here, calling someone an anchor baby is the same as calling someone a bastard; it’s the accusation that they come from illegitimate parentage. It’s pretty sad that we allow people who claim they want to lead us throw that term around so casually.

Oh, and as far as whether or not my brother and I are anchor babies, we’re not. If my dad had been the US citizen and mom had been the one with the green card it could be different. Women getting married to a US citizen and making babies to anchor themselves in the country is an acceptable suspicion but notsomuch for men. You see “anchor baby” is not just rooted in racism, but it’s rooted in sexism too. There are no anchor babies; you don’t choose where you are born. If you are an American, you are an American and deserve all the rights of an American citizen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review: Bullseye by David Baldacci

Finished August 24, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads

Will Robie is closing in on his next target when he finds himself in the middle of a bank heist--and he's taken hostage alongside Oliver Stone. But is this just a simple bank job, or are the robbers after something even more valuable--and dangerous--than the cash in the vault?

My Review at Good Reads
5 of 5 stars

Bullseye is a short story, so it’s a quick read. It pairs Will Robie and The Camel Club, an awesome combination! At closing time on a Saturday at the bank in the mall, the security guard closing the doo¬r is killed by 4 people in masks with a covered cart. Will Robie and Oliver Stone are in the bank when the robbery starts. But is it a robbery or something else? The group is skilled and has the details down. They confiscate Robie’s gun and every cell phone or device of communication from the hostages and move them into a room that is also void of communication to start their work.

Oliver gets a message out to the Camel Club and he and Robie, who don’t know each other, work together in the bank while the other members of the Camel Club work in the mall to figure out what the actual target of this gang that’s sawing something outside of the closed room the hostages are in.

I’m not giving spoilers, but it’s great brainwork and action in a pretty quick read. Stone and Robie are a good working pair, with Stone trying to get Will Robie to admit who he is and what he does and Robie not admitting when Stone’s guesses are right. It was a great quick read and the quality I’ve grown to expect from Baldacci.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Good Life

Oh here is a blog post I love writing. Maybe you’ve heard about Coca-Cola Life and maybe that’s what you need me for!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a BzzAgent, which means I get to try new things and talk about them, Bzz! When I was offered the opportunity to try Coca-Cola Life I signed up right away. I got a carefully bubble wrapped 8oz glass bottle in the mail and popped it in the fridge. I just chopped the ends off a couple organic carrots for an afternoon snack and figured now was the time to try the naturally sweetened Coke. Oh my!

Coca-Cola Life is sweetened with cane sugar and stevia leaf. It’s only 60 calories and here’s the kicker for me; it doesn’t taste like a diet soda, it tastes like a Coke! Coca-Cola has always been my cola of choice and while I liked the Diet Coke with Splenda, it was still a diet soda. Coca-Cola Life tastes like the cola I’ve loved since I was a kid!

You can find Coca-Cola Life at most of l the major retailers that sell soda and if the place you buy soda doesn’t have Coca-Cola Life, ASK FOR IT! It’ll be with the other sodas or you’ll find it with the natural food area because it’s just as natural as my organic carrots.

If you try Coca-Cola Life, stop back and leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Review: Stone Cold (Camel Club #3) by David Baldacci

 Finished August 21, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads

The #1 bestselling author of The Collectors and Simple Geniusreturns with STONE COLD...an unforgettable novel of revenge, conspiracy, and murder that brings a band of unlikely heroes face-to-face with their greatest threat.

Oliver Stone, the leader of the mysterious group that calls itself the Camel Club, is both feared and respected by those who've crossed his path. Keeping a vigilant watch over our leaders in Washington, D.C., the Camel Club has won over some allies, but it has also earned formidable enemies-including those in power who will do anything to prevent Stone and his friends from uncovering the hidden, secret work of the government.

Annabelle Conroy, an honorary member of the Camel Club, is also the greatest con artist of her generation. She has swindled forty million dollars from casino king Jerry Bagger, the man who murdered her mother. Now he's hot on her trail with only one goal in mind: Annabelle's death. But as Stone and the Camel Club circle the wagons to protect Annabelle, a new opponent, who makes Bagger's menace pale by comparison, suddenly arises.

One by one, men from Stone's shadowy past are turning up dead. Behind this slaughter stands one man: Harry Finn. To almost all who know him, Finn is a doting father and loving husband who uses his skills behind the scenes to keep our nation safe. But the other face of Harry Finn is that of an unstoppable killer who inevitably sets his lethal bull's-eye on Oliver Stone. And with Finn, Stone may well have met his match.

As Annabelle and the Camel Club fight for their lives, the twists and turns whipsaw, leading to a finale that is as explosive as it is shattering. And when buried secrets are at last violently resurrected, the members of the Camel Club left standing will be changed forever.

With unrelenting pacing, stunning reversals, and two of the most compelling characters in modern fiction, STONE COLD is David Baldacci writing at his breathtaking best.

My review at Good Reads
5 of 5 stars

I adore that in this series the good guys and bad guys are gun metal gray and silver rather than black and white in their MOs and motives. I’m not saying the lines between main character heroes and villains are blurred, but some of the supporting cast may change your mind...and change it back before you finish the book.

There are two stories happening separately and together in Stone Cold and they coexist very well with both complete and intense and neither one taking anything from the other. Let me ask you this: When is it okay to kill? Sure in self-defense, but revenge? And if revenge is justifiable when does it become justifiable? When a family member is killed? When you suspect a child may have been killed? What about when the same killer is still killing the people you care about many years later? Like I said; gun metal gray and silver.

The end of the book was more than I expected and the big question as I finished was “I thought there were more books in the series; HOW?” The very end could have gone one of two ways. It obviously wen the other one. I’m anxious to read what’s in Book 4!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What Does “Kitty Whipped” Mean?

Behind Orange Eyes

I haven’t written in a while because there hasn’t been new stuff for a while. Well, that and I let Carla and Marco put their paws to the keyboard because they had stuff going on. Carla graduating from Obedience School last year was huge and we let her ride that salmon upstream for a while…then we ate it. Carla and I also found out that Marco leaves us alone when he blogs. It almost makes me want to give Macro a blog of his own just to keep him out of our fur but Mommy says that’s not such a great idea. I think that cuzza proofreading. Marco is the only member of the family who types worse than Mommy.

So Mommy uses a phrase I don’t get. She calls herself “kitty-whipped.” I think it must be a good thing because she uses it when she talks about her cat-staff work and I know she loves her job. Well, maybe not working for Marco so much. Marco wants to go outside and make people chase him until he goes inside. Mommy doesn’t do doors, she opens windows, but not doors. But she usually does everything we tell her to do and we’ve never whipped her. We’ve never used the cat-of-three-tails on anyone. I guess that’s because we’d have to agree to make a cat-of-three-tails. But we’ve never whipped her, never had to because she does whatever we want. It just must be something good.

Hey speaking of Mommy and how good she works, She started doing something for me every night. She sleeps on the chair that goes back like a bed and I sleep in her lap. Well, one night she left some treats on her table so I had a snack when I woke up. What a great idea! Well, the very next night she forgot to put treats out for my midnight snack when I looked for them. I let her know she forgot and now she makes sure there are a couple of treats on that table for me at bedtime. That’s when I hear that “kitty whipped” a lot. Anyway a midnight snack for Kaline is a great idea. Way to go, Mommy!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Look - Pardon The Dust

If you’re a regular or even occasional visitor to The Chronicles of Nani you may have noticed a tiny little change. And you probably just noticed that my occasional sarcasm is not the change! The biggest update I wanted to do was to give the old blog a new look. I’m not big on doing that often because it messes with “brand recognition.” But every now and then an update is a good idea.

Right now The Chronicles has a new layout and background from the standard Blogger choices. A background needs to fit but not be distracting so I didn’t want to overthink that. I also created a new header, which really is the face of the blog. I’ll be creating a new blog badge soon too for link swapping. I’m going to go with the slightly larger static badge which is more commonly used now. The shorter, animated badge was popular and appropriate for scrapbooking forum signatures, which when the blog started on Blogger in 2008 was appropriate as I was just starting scrapbook designing. But now, I’m only designing things hit and miss for fun and I want to create a badge for The Chronicles of Nani that fits more with current trends in blog-style.

I’ll be tweaking things over the next few days or weeks, depending on what I get obsessed with doing. I have spiffed up the Good Reads badge, the favicon, which I guess some browsers post in the address line or title on the page; Firefox does not, nor does Safari on the iPad, so I’m not sure wat the favicon does, but if you see the favicon on your browser, It’s the MS Awareness mug instead of the baseball now. I updated my profile pic to a more recent photo that represents my current hair and that I’ve almost quit wearing my glasses. (I’ll talk more about the glasses soon) I also updated language from the old “coffee shop on the information superhighway” (Who really calls the web that now?) to “cyber neighborhood coffee shop.” I think it sounds friendlier.

I’ll share one last treat today as I’m debuting the new look. In addition to the time-honored calorie-free cyber black forest cake at The Chronicles of Nani, have some cyber tiramisu!

It’s made with all the wonderful ingredients we're accustomed to in cyber cake with no fat, sugar or gluten to cause any guilt and all the flavor a good photo prompts your imagination to have!

I hope you like the new look … and the tiramisu!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Beautiful People Make People Smile

I’ve had a pretty rough couple of weeks. Pressure sores, achy legs, my arms so drained I can’t pick things up or type and even tired enough that talking to my Dad on the phone was draining me. I saw a presentation by a neurologist a while back who acknowledged that people with progressive MS can have exacerbations where things seem a lot worse then get back to “normal.” I think that could be what that was for me, but I’ve also been doing a lot in preparation for the projects we’re having done, so I may have just pushed myself too far. I forget that I can’t be physically Type-A anymore.

But as much as there are times, honestly many times, that MS related issues get me down, there are good things too, and the good things make me feel much better than the challenges make me feel bad. I know a lot of people with disabilities complain about how others can be unsympathetic to downright cruel. I’m blessed that I haven’t seen that much. My disability seems to bring out the very best in other people.

I’ve been told that it’s my smile. I bring out the helpful in others because I smile; how can you ignore someone in a wheelchair that smiles? I guess the typical picture in people’s mind for someone in a wheelchair is someone sad or mad about being in the wheelchair? There are lots of people who dwell on the negative part. I’d make myself nuts if I did that. I’m doing everything I can to slow the progression and even make it a bit better, but I accept that there is little chance I’ll walk on my own again. MS doesn’t shorten my life expectancy on its own and I’m only 49. I have quite a few years and a simple choice. I can be negative and miserable because the wheelchair reminds me of what I can’t do for another 40 years or I can smile because the wheelchair reminds me of how much I can still do because I have this wonderful assistive device. The only good about the negativity is it will feel like I live longer. The “seems faster” route is more in line with my remaining type-A tendencies.

I’ll finish today by telling you about an awesome friend. Edna of Miss Edna’s Place has been a wonderful friend who I met through our blogs back in 2008, way before I was diagnosed with MS so she’s a friend that’s been through the diagnosis and adjustments with me. Edna has left so many encouraging comments and some wonderful advice too. If you read her blog, one of her big hobbies is she does lots of crochet work and that’s recently included doing lapghans. Lapghans are lap afghans sized just right for wheelchair users. She’s done them for veterans and other groups who can use them. She sent me, I think it was 9 total, to share with our MS Support Group.

Aren’t they beautiful? The main one you see in the photo is the one I kept for me, a gorgeous lime green. The other ones in the picture are leftover ones because there were a couple of regulars to our group that weren’t there the night I gave them out and I’ll bring them to the next meeting. Everyone was so happy about the gifts. And they extended much gratitude. I sent that thanks in the email I sent Edna the next day. We have a few people in wheelchairs or who use scooters and those who marveled at the perfect size for taking off the chill when sitting on the couch or that you can drape it over your shoulders for an impromptu shawl too. Edna’s generosity created lapghans and a room full of smiles.

I’ve always though there are generally more good people than not in the world and as someone with a disability I am even more convinced of that. Maybe it’s just that I’ve always been picky about the quality of people I welcome into my world. Maybe it IS just my smile. Then again, the quality of friends and relatives I call my family keep that smile shining.

Wednesday Hodge Podge - Back To School

1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question submitted by Marla, who blogs over at Marla's Musings. Thanks Marla!

She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?

When I was 43. That’s how old I was when Grandma died. She was my last grandparent and it marked not being able to run away and be a grandchild anymore. What still keeps me young is my dad; I’m still Pop’s little princess.

2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

My last vehicle purchase was the 1994 Camaro which is the only car I bought new and paid for every cent. The whole experience from purchase to hanging up the keys was fantastic…well, maybe notsomuch the hanging up the keys part.

Quite recently, I was part of the decision making process of the wheelchair van David purchased. It’s recent enough that the jury is still out on rating the experience.

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

Corn bread with apple or peach butter.

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

Movies. I’m not a big movie watcher so I usually have to think hard and then make something up if the question is about movies.

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.

Let me put my thinking cap on…

6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

Resting, Rehab Medical (company that does my wheelchair) and Resonance (The R in MRI)

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

I pronounced “ABC” in German to give myself a little slack. ;)

Lucidchart, the software I used to create the first proposed floor plan for the new bathroom. It’s basically a knock-off of Visio which is software I used for a few floor plans and technical drawings in school, but it’s been a few years since I’ve used it. It’s like riding a bike, though.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Whoever coined the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” to describe the difficulty of learning new things has never tried to teach a young cat anything. I just say “you can’t teach a cat” and be done with it. David just went out the door to take the van to the mechanic and Marco went right out with him and trotted on ahead. A few seconds later the porch door reopened and Marco was unceremoniously dropped inside. Marco is the 7th cat who has lived here (that includes when Azzie and Kaline were here for a few weeks before Kaline moved in and a 3-month trial with Morgan) and out of those 7 cats he is the only one with a consuming desire to go outside. We live near a busy street and our cats are absolutely house cats. I just don’t get it. He was born in a garage and stayed there with his mom and siblings until he came to live with us at 7 weeks old. He was never wild cat. Where does this desire to be outside come from? He was named after an infielder not the explorer. Sigh; you can’t teach a cat.

Monday, August 17, 2015

It's The Coffee, Stupid!

This is influenced by Bob Evans. Bob’s is an Ohio-based company that’s been seeing its regulars and repeat business shrink in its restaurants lately. David sent me an article from the Columbus Dispatch about it. They are changing the menu and getting back to fresh and wholesome basics in their food. It’s their thought that improving everything will improve the bottom line.

Bob Evans AWESOME Sausage Gravy!

I’ve had Bob Evans’ breakfast food And let me tell ya, they don’t need to improve the food! They make a variety of wonderful sweet breakfasts and the best, BEST, sausage gravy this side of the Mason-Dixon line. They cite losing breakfast market share to IHOP and Cracker Barrel. Those are two restaurants with great breakfast food, comparable but not better than Bob Evans. What Bob Evans lacks is that IHOP's coffee isn’t fabulous, but acceptable and it’s pretty good at Cracker Barrel. Bob Evans’ coffee is the WORST! I’ve written complaints to Bob Evans about their awful coffee before. Of the three restaurants, the local Bob Evans is closest to us, but we eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel or IHOP more because I don’t like to have breakfast without my morning coffee and I won’t drink the coffee at Bob Evans.

Think about it. You go out for breakfast and you’re seated. The first question the host or wait staff asks is if you’d like coffee. You’re drinking the coffee before your breakfast comes to the table and you’ll finish your last cup before taking the check up to pay it. It’s the only part of the meal that is there and on your taste buds for the entire visit. Bad coffee will drive people away much faster than food that’s a cut under gourmet. But they’re changing all the food. I hope the change the coffee and make it a ton better too because if they don’t change the coffee I won’t be coming in for the new breakfast items…unless I can bring a cup of to-go Cracker Barrel coffee with me when I visit.

What are your thoughts on sit-down breakfast out? What restaurant has the best coffee? What’s your favorite breakfast dish?

I started it with Bob Evans Sausage Gravy and Cracker Barrel coffee.