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

Contact Nani at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com
....................................

Christmas Scrapbook Freebies

If you were visiting from Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies, follow the
hyperlinks for Digitalegacies Designs' mini kit Christmas Cocoa
and the add-on Christmas Cocoa Flowers.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Review Murderous Traits: The Rare Traits Trilogy Book III by David George Clarke

Finished October 29, 2015

Synopsis from Good Reads

The third book in the fast-paced Rare Traits Trilogy of modern and historical mystery thrillers, Murderous Traits continues the tale of the apparently immortal 15th-century artist John Andrews and those who share his extraordinary longevity, interweaving once again the present and the past, self-preservation and murder, art history and forensic science, immortality and DNA.

John Andrews is in a state of shock. Just weeks after meeting his daughter Paola for the first time – almost 500 years after she was born in Naples – she is abducted and DNA evidence shows that the culprit is Jacques Bognard, John’s seafaring friend from 17th century Marseille.

When the body of a brutally murdered, unknown woman is discovered in Paola’s Cape Cod house and Paola’s own identity is found to be false, the police are baffled. And the deeper they dig, the more mysterious the case becomes.

In the gripping, fast-paced finale to the Rare Traits Trilogy, the apparently immortal John Andrews finds himself in a desperate search for his daughter that leads him from the US to the UK and then to the area of Tuscany he knew as a young man in the 15th century.

Meanwhile, in the frustration of her captivity, Paola must come to terms with her psychopathic tendencies …


My review at Good Reads
5 of 5 stars

The only thing bad I can think to say about this book is that it’s number three in the trilogy! Even at that there does remain an opening for possibly more at the end...

John Andrews, as he is currently known, has been painting master works since the Renaissance under many different names., The rare trait of his DNA leaves him impervious to ailments and factors that cause aging and he enjoys the appearance and health of a man in his 30s with the mind and an impeccable memory of a man who has seen over 500 years of the world. He has loved, married and seen friends, family, even children age and leave his world. There are also a few offspring who have inherited their father’s remarkable traits and those family members have begun to find each other.

But there are “bad apples’ in every family and having incredible health and near immortality is in no way a guarantee of happiness or morality. How are those rare traits passed on? Can a test-tube baby be created to have those traits? To what extent will someone go to create progeny of their own?

The final book of the Rare Traits trilogy takes the reader through the intrigue of how the remarkable genetic traits become easier to understand and discover and possibly exploit in the modern world. The antagonist, who has kidnapped and threatened in order to replicate the DNA to a new generation, must be discovered and the captives freed using both modern technology and ages old methods for remaining elusive. The action is great, the drama intense and it intermingles great fictional “traits” and rich historical references. And, like any of rare Traits trilogy, once you pick up the book, it’s near impossible to put down!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

And Then There Were Nine

I don’t post all the time Facebook, but this was my Facebook status this morning:

A woman brings her paperwork for the first time she’s seeing a podiatrist in her Cincinnati Reds tote. After meeting the podiatrist, Dr. Cardinal, she leaves his office with one less big toenail. Coincidence or conspiracy?

This really happened! The front of my feet hang over the footplate on my wheelchair and last week I hit the refrigerator with my right foot, my big toe taking the brunt of the collision. This is not new; I hit the fridge and counter bottoms often. Only this time the pain was especially nasty in the area of the toenail, which already hurt. It didn’t just go away, ike it usually does when I hit my toes. In fact the pain was there all day and when David took my shoes off that night, it was evident that there had been some bleeding.

The toe was actually okay, but a little sore the next day. It hurt like crazy in the nail area when I bumped it, but it was a brief pain and not incredibly unlike my toes often hurt, especially the big ones, around the nails when I bump them. The day after that was a different story!

The next morning David was helping me with my shoes and he slipped the canvas loafer over the tip of my foot and I started screaming to just take it off. The pain when the shoe hit the big toenail was excruciating. He got one of my too-big slippers on the foot and I was on the phone, first to the insurance company to see if a podiatrist was covered, then to a podiatrist. Good old insurance; I have the wrong disease to have a podiatrist cut my toenails, therefore knowing if thee is anything threatening my feet, but if I’m in pain, it’s absolutely okay to see a foot doctor.

So yesterday was my first-ever appointment with a podiatrist. There are several doctors at the foot and ankle clinic and they got me an opening with Dr. Cardinal. Hehe…You know my baseball brain; the first thing I thought was ‘so THIS is what the rookies do in the off-season.” Dr. Cardinal is not a rookie. He is an experienced and knowledgable professional with a reassuring and friendly bedside manner. I kinda thought the toenail was in bad shape and I knew a tone fungus had developed too. I was expecting that my first meeting with the podiatrist would include me coming back to have a toenail removal procedure. What I wasn’t expecting was him asking if I’m allergic to lidocaine and poking me in the foot in four places so I’d be numb enough to have the toenail removed in a half hour!

As I understood him, my toe hurt so bad because the nail was about 90% removed already and the 10% was just tugging on my toe bed constantly while the rest of the toe wiggled. He told me it was like a loose tooth in both what it was doing and how easy remove would be. I love a doctor who knows how to use a metaphor well so patients can understand.

A half hour after the numbing shots he was back and grabbed a couple of tools. He wanted me not to watch if I was squeamish about blood and I’d just feel a little pressure. I didn’t even feel that. I looked at him while he was talking and looked down because I did want to watch, but he was already holding my toenail in a tweezer-like tool in one hand and dabbing my bloody toe with gauze with the other. He held a little pressure on it with the gauze and then wrapped it up and sent me on my way with after-care instructions and directions to come back in 9 weeks unless there are issues with the healing before that. The foot doesn’t heal as fast as the mouth, but after a little pain when the lidocaine wore off yesterday, the pain’s been minimal today.

I miss my cute feet. At dinner for my 40th birthday I wore sandals that showed off my painted toenails. I will not have exposed toes at dinner when I turn 50. I probably won’t even have 10 toenails to paint yet ! But my ugly toes won’t hurt either!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

It’s Good To Be The Princess


My dad and a dear family friend have been visiting quite a bit the past couple weeks. It was Pop’s idea, no his mission, since the spring to get an easier and safer bathroom area for me at home. It’s especially important since last June when the visiting EMTs suggested that I really needed to stop going upstairs. The shower is upstairs.

So, we worked on where we could put the bathroom, what I needed in that space and when we could do the work. Pop did the construction part and Greg, who is a family friend and he and his wife were my first bosses, babysitting their kids on bowling nights when I was a teen, is a plumber by trade and is doing the rest.

I’m enjoying the fact that growing up a construction princess means that I have a very real idea of how much materials cost and I know what you get for the cost of labor, even though I don’t get charged that; it’s a gift. I do know that there shouldn’t be any complaint about construction costs when you employ a responsible contractor. I grew up with the importance of quality work instilled in me and I know there are many days when construction workers are home late finishing a job or because they fixed or headed off problems or changed something because the person ordering the work wanted a change half way through the project. Part of those labor costs include vacations the family never takes in the summer and games or concerts dads and even even moms miss because work keeps them away. Honest contractors make those sacrifice to deliver quality work and at times their families make those sacrifices right along with them. Ideally it makes the family stronger and ideally that really does answer any questions about the worth of the cost to anyone who hires a contractor to do a good job.

I’ll have the grab bars installed next week by the same local small company that did the grab bars we have now and wheelchair ramp and Pop will be back to do the finishing, but everything is installed and all the water is working. I can use my electric toothbrush tonight!


Spire during early construction

We have had one mystery that’s part of the new bathroom and sorely missed. We have 2 plants that we’ve had good luck with. They are both baby rubber tree plants. Spire was the one plant I had in Northville that survived Kaline’s kittenhood. I had replanted the plants from a couple of growing greenery arrangements from my mother’s funeral. When a sprig of a couple of Spire’s leaves broke off, I put it in water and it sprouted roots. When the new roots were robust enough I planted it and we christened the new plant Sprout, Spire’s offspring!

Sprout in a photo shoot with Coca-Cola Life in August

Somehow in the early construction we lost Sprout; I mean file a missing plantson report, lost. How do you lose a plant? Sprout was a fairly robust plant on the skinny top of the short wall off our kitchen counter right next to where the bathroom wall would go. Pop handed sprout to me and I set him on the counter next to the stove. He’d been moved to on top of the toaster oven, which we weren’t using yet at the time. I saw him there. David saw him there. But in the evenng after the rough construction and electric inspectors had been in, David filled the cats’ water bowls, watered Spire and then went to water Sprout. He asked, “Where is Sprout?” We looked all over the house and Sprout was no where to be found. I texted Kelly, who’d been here during the the start of construction and the last place she’d seen him was on top of the toaster oven. When Pop was in again we asked and he joined another impromptu search party. Still; no Sprout. It was an involved enough mystery that Pop was soon joining us in using the personal pronoun “he” in searching for the plant!

It’s been weeks now and Sprout hasn’t shown up anywhere. We’ve looked on top of anyplace he could have been put and under anyplace he could have fallen. Maybe when things are done and I start to move the pantry and clothes out of the dining room and living room, I’ll find him. Or maybe the mystery will never be solved. There is another sprig of baby rubber tree plant that had fallen off one of them in a glass of water in the kitchen. I think it’s growing roots in the water.

Book Review: Hannibal’s First Case: and two other Hannibal Jones Mystery shorts by Austin S. Camacho

Finished October 20, 2015

My review at Good Reads
4 of 5 stars

This was three short stories told in first person by Hannibal Jones himself. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend it as reading for someone not familiar with the Hannibal Jones series. For you, I recommend The Troubleshooter! But if you love the books, the short stories are like having a cup of coffee with Hannibal while he recounts something that has happened. From having read the books and some of the shorts, I can tell you you're enjoying coffee with a very sexy man who appreciates the finest coffee and is a great storyteller.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review: Don't Say a Word (Don't Cry #2), by Beverly Barton

Finished October 18, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads 

Cross Your Heart. . .

One by one, they will die. He has waited patiently, planning their final moments. Their tortured screams, their pleas for mercy--all will be in vain...

And Hope. . .

Homicide detective Julia Cass has witnessed plenty of crime scenes. But the murder of a Chattanooga judge is shocking in its brutality. Teamed with FBI agent Will Brannock, Julia delves into an investigation that soon unearths more bodies--all mutilated in the same way, all left with a gruesome souvenir of a killer's ruthless rage. . .

To Die. . .

The only way to stop the slaughter is to predict the next victim. But when you're dealing with vengeance at its most ruthless, one wrong move can make you a target. . .and the next word you utter could be your last. . .


My review at Good Reads
3 of 5 stars

Unlike the last book I read, which was a new writer’s first book, this one is an established writer’s last work. Beverly Barton died in 2011.  Don’t Say A Word is the sequel to Don’t Cry, but having not read Don’t Cry, I can promise it holds its own as a stand alone book.

I knew going in that this was "suspense romance" or something like that, but I got the book as a freebie, or maybe a daily pick Nook deal so it wasn’t a great financial investment and I thought I'd give it a try. It wasn't too bad. Personally, I could've done without the romance part. Pretty much everything that had to do with the sex and romance was completely over the edge as far as believability goes and I think it took away from the book. But the serial killer story, why I read the book, is well done.

The reader visits the killer’s mind and parts of the murders without divulging the identity or motive. His kills are planned and meticulous and he has a definite agenda. The federal and local detectives comb the scenes of the high profile crimes and follow leads that go in the wrong direction at times and put the pieces of the macabre puzzle together.

In the end, the killer’s motive and identity are revealed and it’s definitely a surprise. I was sure I’d figured out who he was and I was very involved in screaming “no! That’s where he is!” to myself as I was reading the last couple chapters.  I absolutely love the attention to many details that were clues to the reader of the killer’s identity.

I enjoyed the murder mystery part of the book and if you like the investigative drama and serial killers, skim past the unrealistic romance garbage and there really is a very good story. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Yah, I’m A Lil’ Twisted

I bought something this week that came wrapped in a big plastic bag. The bag was on the floor this morning and I picked it up. I took a look at the label printed over and over down the middle of it.

It made me giggle. No, it gave me a giggle fit. Im not giggling about warning people of suffocation from a plastic bag. It’s the drawings. A baby crawling around “goo ga-goo ga-goo” with a loose square bag on its head, a dog just standing there “woof wa-woof wa-woof” with a loose square bag on its head and a human clutching the bag around his throat with a face like the painting The Scream. The baby and dog have a fighting chance against the plastic bag because they aren’t clutching it tight around their throats.

Last weekend gave us a fun Saturday night celebrating Rina and Tori turning 21. After a nice dinner that Rina enjoyed with a bottle of hard cider and Tori complemented with a glass of wine, we all met at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. To be honest, I would have rather gone over the state border to the casino in Cincinnati; Ohio casinos are non-smoking. The girls are worth it but it took 4 days of antihistamines for me to recover from the evening. I had some nice one-on-one time with each of the girls while playing video poker. I made my $20 donation to the casino. Rina didn't think she would like gambling, but her stepmom, family friend and aunt did a decent job of showing her how to play a little, enjoy the evening and not lose any more than you planned as your entertainment budget. I think she found her game when friend, Michelle, took her slot machine hopping.

Even though all three of our house teams; Tigers, Reds and Red Sox, finished in last place this year, it’s still October. I prefer it when all three of our teams play in October. All three in dead last is just…it’s just wrong in Naniland! But since we’re playing baseball through the looking glass this year, I’m solidly in the cheering pocket of the Cubs! It’s been 107 years since they won a World Series. It’s time. Red Sox fans, You’ve been there. You know how it feels. For the Cubs fans, let’s put rings in the North Side in Chicago this year.

Okay, and Austin Jackson is a Cub now, so he who was my Tiger is now MY Cub. I have a personal fan interest.

GO CUBBIES!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review: A Choice of Darkness (Major Crimes Task Force #1) by Jon D. Kurtz

Finished October 6, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads

For millennia philosophers have explained the nature of the world in terms of dualities, such as masculine and feminine and fire and water. As a new year dawns over the capital city of Pennsylvania, far more ominous examples come to mind. The media debates the concept in terms of good and evil. A killer perceives it as a struggle between the light and the darkness. For members of the state's newest criminal task force, it's a matter of life and death.

Under cover of night, he trawls the streets of Harrisburg, relentlessly searching for answers to questions formed in a mind damaged by nature and a traumatic childhood. In his wake he leaves the lifeless bodies of his victims, each lovingly posed beneath a synthetic yellow blanket, the same type used by police and emergency personnel.

Venturing into the shadows, a diverse team of investigators quickly realizes little time remains before the killer chooses his next victim. Forced to navigate the fickle waters of inter-agency relations, lacking the trust of the community they seek to protect, and used as pawns in a political game of chess, the task force races to decipher actions spawned in a mind gripped by psychosis. Yet, their greatest challenge will not be external. Years of battling criminals, comforting victims, and living life leave scars. Hidden behind the stoic facade, even the most indomitable investigator faces demons.

Good or bad, cop or criminal, choices will be made. And with choices come consequences, some temporary, some lasting, and others…eternal.


My review at Good Reads
2 of 5 stars

The book started okay but by the time it was done my head felt like it might explode! This was a new author’s first book and I just felt like he was trying to tell every possible associated story in minute detail. It wound up feeling just overdone.

I’m not sure if the book was written as a thriller, an introduction to the task force or a probe into a killer’s mind. There was a lot of time spent in the killer’s mind; what planted the seed, how his psychotic mind works and what motivates him. The reader knew what he’d do and why almost before he even did it, so it’s definitely not a mystery.

Then there’s the main character; a cop who has been given the role of forming and leading a new special task force while he’s still dealing with his own mental demons of life after his wife’s passing five years ago. It’s not even presented as a strong subplot, yet while he was assessing a potential lead his mind broke into a enthralled like a schoolgirl daydream about kissing a woman the night before. I’ve never been involved in something big at work and drifted off to thinking about my romantic life, in fact a project at work has more often worked for forgetting a romantic situation. Maybe obsessing about one’s love life at work is a guy-thing I don’t know about.

There were many places where things were over-explained. If the book is in the killer’s mind, I don’t need an additional narrative telling me what society thinks is normal. As the reader, I AM society. I know what’s normal and understand that his thinking is not acceptable.

The story was slow and the end was worse. I think in the end there was a chase scene. I think it was after a twist in the plot where the killer became mentally clouded in a different way and it was a shocking total change. The writing was in many characters’ minds and the mental explanations were more detailed than what was actually happening. That lessened the action and the intensity of what I think was supposed to be the book’s climax. There were multiple points where the story could have ended but jumped back in and went further. It became less believable as it went on. After switching gears between thriller, psychology text and personality study throughout the book, it moved into a spiritual story describing things in a way that just didn’t fit with the way the rest of the book was written.

It finished with an epilogue that basically told you that the police never did figure out as much as the reader does. The epilogue was basically a wrap up of the things other books leave out because they aren’t necessary. I was surprised to see an epilogue because the book seemed like it had already ended. After reading the epilogue, I still wondered why it was there.

A Choice of Darkness didn’t leave me soured on a new author, but it didn’t leave me with an anxious desire to read Book #2 either.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Finally A Quiet Night

A peek in to the soon-to-be bathroom!

Wow, a little bit of quiet! It’s been a busy couple of weeks in Naniland. After that first weekend of the trip I sent David away on, things shifted back to sort of normal.


Pop started work on the skeleton for the new bathroom and spent the night before Kelly got in and was my caregiver . It was just like the old days! I mean really old days; the kind that includes jokes about remembering my mom's favorite old stories that included my dad and grandfather holding a diaper with the naked baby laughing on the bed because they didn't know what to do with it. Yeah, those kind of old days. Picking up dinner to have together and chatting while he's working didn't bring up the naked baby stories. Those were just giggles with the help boost me up from the chair to get in the bathroom times.

On the Tuesday of that week Kelly got in and she was there the rest the week and through the weekend until David got home. Pop was in and out working during that time and Greg, our family friendly whose also a plumber by trade, was in to check out the site, existing plumbing and what he would need to do the rough plumbing work. Oh yeah, during that time we also had Electric contractors into redo our breaker box several other projects including reroute Electric were necessary for the new bathroom.

The coolest thing the electricians did was this:

They put in a new socket for the microwave on the other side of the kitchen where we can put the microwave for I can reach it. That means I can warm up hot food when David's not home. This was dinner tonight:

Now before anybody says the macaroni and cheese in a cup is not such an incredible dinner remember two important things. First off, macaroni and cheese is comfort food and it's ALWAYS an incredible dinner. Second, and this is the bigger thing, I haven't been able to heat anything up since last December when I quit trying to heat soup because I often spilled it in my lap. So tonight I had hot food for dinner and I didn't have to pay for it. I really didn't have to pay for it either. David bought the macaroni and cheese cup. –smiles–

Right now it's the first day in a while that no one's been over and I haven't had to answer the door for something being delivered. I have a half paneled Half skeleton bathroom with a door that closes, although some walls that you can still see-through, with rough plumbing and fixtures in it. That even includes a toilet that's a few feet away from where it's eventually going to be. Earlier this week when Pop and Greg we're working on the rough plumbing Matt, from Accessible Renovations, the company that did my ramp and grab bars, stopped in to be sure where things will be located and that there's proper fortification in the walls for when he does the grab bars. I joke that it's the kind of "potty talk” a woman wants to have with three construction workers!

Greg's handiwork and my future sink!

While they did the rough plumbing Sheri had come over because it was her birthday Wednesday and I took her out to Ya Halla for lunch. I told Pop on Wednesday morning that I kind of felt bad taking off for lunch while they were working. He asked “why do you feel guilty? Where you going to jump in and help us with the pipes?" When I told them I could at least get coffee he told me he knows how to work the coffee maker. He really wasn't going to except me canceling plans for Sheri's birthday. That's good because I would've felt guilty about that too. And lunch was SO good!

So now October has begun. I should have a working bathroom in a couple weeks!

I Need To Vent

I really hope that things can get moving on replacing the seat of my wheelchair. That's been “in the works” since May. The company that's in charge of that project keeps dropping the ball and letting it sit there. Don't think that that's not gotten to the point really getting under my skin. They did the measuring and put the order together for the new seat around the end of May. When all the paperwork is completed and filed for the insurance company, I’ll have a new seat on the existing base. Except for the dust on the bottom, it’ll be a whole new chair. But the company isn’t having problems with brain-burps. They are having out and out loud brain BELCHES.

When I call to get an update of what's going on from the sales rep, because my therapist told me that's the only way I'm going to get them off their butts is to call her a couple times a week, I get to listen to her whine about how hard her job is and how difficult doctors are to work with. Personally, I think she's in the wrong line of work if it's that tough for her.

Life without the new seat for my chair is becoming even tougher for me. I've been worried for the last couple months that some of my advancing physical problems I've got are related to the MS taking a new turn for the worse. The pain in my legs has become almost constant, losing muscle control of my hips, pain in my back and the incessant sore feet have become very difficult to exist with and very stressful with me thinking that the disease is worsening. After doing some reading I found out that these issues I'm having are issues that result from being in an improperly fitted wheelchair all the time. In May, when this process started, the rep who did the order and measuring told me my wheelchair wasn't fitted properly for someone who is in it all the time. Five months later I still don't have a chair and all the things that are hurting worse are hurting worse because I still don't have a chair. I don't know. I think my job being someone who needs a wheelchair who's experiencing worse pain every day because I don't have the right wheelchair is WAY HARDER then a sales rep who doesn't like calling doctors.

I've talked to lots of people about this and there is a timeline with the date this coming soon where all the paperwork that's been done will be outdated and have to be redone. It was suggested to me, when I asked about switching vendors, that at this point in the game too much paperwork has already been done to start over but if that time where the paperwork becomes void happens before I have a chair we will definitely switch vendors. I honestly kinda hope that they screw up and we have to start over so they don't get the business because I've already been given more business from them than I should have to endure. Mobility-care is a big business, but it's still a niche market.