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

Contact Nani at
chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Projects and Goals

Yes, I'm getting off to a slow start this year. But a slow start is better than no start, right? I did some rethinking and re-organizing of my projects and goals this year. Some of them are very similar to the projects that have always been and somethings have been dropped or are new. Without further ado, here are my planned goals and projects for 2017.


Health and Wellness

I'm returning to counting food points. Planned full time on February 1. I have a food app on my phone and tablet that figures points like the old Weight Watchers system. When they changed to the new point system, I dropped my membership. Doing the Simply Healthy program for 2 weeks, then the regular points for 2 weeks worked well for me. However, I noticed the system they switched to increased the points for sugars and starches and other things that seemed like it was steering more toward weight loss/maintenance to ward off diabetes. That's fine, my mom was a Type 2 diabetic and weight, carbohydrate consumption and/or genetics contribute to that disease which has become more commonly diagnosed. With the many things wrong with me, my blood sugar is one of the things that has always been consistently spot-on. I'm sticking with the program that works for me, as long as I'm doing well, rather than changing how I nourish myself to treat something I don't have.


In the next couple of weeks parts will be here to repair the lift recliner that I spend most of my time in. That time includes using a board across the arm rests as a table to use the computer. Right now I can't sit straight up in it which makes working on the computer painful after a while. That makes scrapbooking and blogging difficult. I'm behind where I want to be with both this month. When the repair is done I'll be physically and mentally in much better shape to have my creative mojo. With my creative abilities working go I'll be able to blog more often and scrapbook more often


I'll be getting together with my doctor this week to get physical therapy started. The object is to concentrate on my legs to strengthen my hips. It's not going to mean I'll walk again, but it may mean some increased movement and I can exercise again. My big goal with exercises to strengthen my legs is really to just be able to hold the grab bar in the bathroom and just stand for a couple of minutes.


Scrapbooking

I'm sticking with the page-a-day goal. I haven't reached that goal the last two years, but I'm still on track to finish all of my scrapbooks by the end of the year! My idea of doing the current month for all the years I had to catch up worked well. I finished 2008 last year. I only have December for 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2016, 2010 has been done for a while and the rest of the years start in October or November.

I'm proud to say that by doing Project 365 as a diary-style scrapbook, focusing on brief journaling every day, has been a success! I've finished every year since 2014. As for the scrapped pages for 2017, I just finished week 3, so I'm still holding strong this year. Truthfully, I really enjoy the daily and weekly expression and it makes it easy to keep up.

I'm also planning to do a few mood boards each month. I'll post a blog about what mood boards are and what they do in a few days. They fill so many purposes and several areas that I think have potential to be very constructive for me. I'm not exactly sure how I'll organize this project yet, but I have done two of them so far.


Reading

Last year I had a personal goal of being more aware of current events and national and world news. I overdid it. The world outside of my backyard is ugly and it's getting worse. Personally the worst part is that I believe we are one of the bad guys. It makes me sad and afraid. This year I'm going to try to stay more uninformed. It's safer for me emotionally; I want to smile again.

I didn't read anywhere near enough books last year. Part of it was from reading too much news, but part of it was not getting out enough. I do a lot of reading while waiting. I read while waiting for the bus or waiting for the doctor. I also read a lot when I go out for lunch on my own. The new wheelchair doesn't fit under most restaurant tables so I tend to stay home. I may consider more out for coffee options once the weather is more conducive for me to be out more.

I access both my Nook and Kindle libraries with my iPad. I have 16 books downloaded on the Kindle app and 11 on the Nook for a total of 27 books. I want to read at least half of them this year. That and at least trying to read less news is my reading goal.


Finances

I really hope to find a customer service job to earn enough to pay for those aides. Insurance doesn't cover home help and it's not really an option because there are just too many essential things, getting cleaned, dressed, housekeeping that I can't do without help. Right now I'm okay, but in a year my retirement savings will be gone. If I can pay my aides, regular monthly bills and medical copays so I can leave what's left of my investments alone, that would be great. I don't know if there's an honest work from home job that pays that much or if my MS compromised nervous system has the energy to do it, but I really do have to try. Vocational rehabilitation says they can help because MS is a recognized disability. I just need a letter from my doctor saying what kind of work I can do and how many hours a week I can work. Maybe I still have some Type-A magic left in my tank!


With a heavy and anxious optimism fighting hard to keep me afloat, as always
this, or something better.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Creative Process

I've been doing my Project 365 as a scrapbooked diary for a few years now. I do the layouts with the daily journal entries and an assortment of photos, clip art, memes, cartoons and scrapbook elements. NFL playoff scores in early 2015 was the first appearance of the character I knew in my mind as "the Foxborough Fox." The fox was included three times in 2015 by the Pats' post season scores finishing sitting on a football near a “We’re #1” banner and the Super Bowl score.


As the Patriots started into the playoffs last January the Fox was back with the Patriots scores. I decided to have some fun with New England promotional items from the web. In one of those 2016 playoff results pics he's holding a Tom Brady doll and his name changed and his identity formed. He became Brady the Patriots fan and the image of a boy under ten years old. Giving him a personality gave me direction for molding him to be more than just a logo element. The Foxborough Fox was the same expression holding a Patriots sign. Brady is a superfan with all of his football fan stuff and the exuberance and team loyalty of a child.

I'll make a note of a couple things at this point. First off I'm creative and artistic but a different kind of creative and artistic than someone who sets pencil to paper and draws cute animals. My dad would always draw horses when I was a kid. It was just something he doodled. Every time I tried to draw a horse it looked like a dinosaur. I've been doing creative things for a half a century now and if I i try to draw a horse it still looks like a dinosaur… like a five-year-old trying to draw a horse, dinosaur. But I do well manipulating images. The Foxborough Fox is an element from a kit called Falling 4 U by Keystone Scraps.


The other thing is that I absolutely adore is watching young kids at sporting events and the unconditional love and loyalty they have for their favorite teams and players. So it's not a surprise that I would find an element that I really like and start manipulating that to turn it into it the character of an eight-year-old boy.

As this your started, I made the conscious decision to follow my #2 sport more closely and was therefore, even as the baseball season was ending, making a point of paying attention to MY favorite two teams. Brady was going to present both the Patriots and Lions scores every week. I started thinking, or may be overthinking but that's what I do, that Brady needed a buddy to watch football with and maybe it would be a good idea if his buddy was a Lions fan. So the search for Brady's best friend began. I found Brady’s BFF in At The Zoo by Mags Graphics.




As the season went on the characters developed, their friendship developed and the entire story of Brady and Ford formed and is still forming. For me it's just fun. “Knowing” the story of the week adds to creating the scrapbook vignette.

Brady and Ford are eight-year-olds in Toledo. They are 3rd graders in the Toledo Public School system. They live in the same neighborhood, just a few houses apart and are best friends.


Brady is an only child. His parents were originally from New England and they moved to Toledo when Brady's mom had a great job offer. Brady's whole family are Patriots fans and they get the NFL Sunday Ticket so they can see the Patriots games every week. Ford and Brady watch football games together at one of their houses. They often go to Ford’s house for the Lions games and Brady's house for the Patriots games.

Ford's dad works in Michigan and his mom works part time but she’s home in the afternoon when Ford gets home from school. The boys spend weekday afternoons at Ford's house. Ford has a big brother in college and a high school senior sister but, "she doesn't like football so she doesn't matter anyway."



That's pretty much the whole story right now. It grows as it needs to for the single frame cartoons with the football scores. David helped me develop Ford's family with Ford being his parents pleasant surprise baby. This came from a discussion that we had because he was surprised that my characters went to Toledo Public Schools. But they had to go to TPS because it was snowing on the Sunday that the network decided they weren't going to show the Lions game. I needed a reason for a snow sculpture. LOL



Week 16 was great fun for Brady who watched the game with his cousins when they were back East for the holidays.



It was a little rougher for Ford. No school meant he got to stay up to watch Monday Night Football but the Lions lost.


The creative process can be a never ending source of imagination and fun!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

It's 2017


I got out of the house yesterday and went to Dayton with David and Mike for BORTrail. There were many great train shows, including David's, his first sound show since 2012. He's been showing pictures and talking about them for the last few years. In 2012 I edited the music video on Stupid, my old Windows computer, using the software that's considered raIlfan standard.

The problem with raIlfan standard video software is the average raIlfan concentrates on taking good photos. The show software is easy to use but not exact. But I am a former video professional. I can't help the fact that I see tiny mistakes in video production and "good enough" is just not enough for me. The accepted software can edit deceptively exact, but the file plays differently in every computer. That means the show I was up all night to perfect in 2012 played with the photos and music out of sync. Regardless of what anyone else noticed, I was totally embarrassed. It was simple enough software that I told David I'd show him how to use it, but I would never edit with it again. I was looking for a good Windows movie maker that I could make a finished program and save it as a complete movie file. Well, the past 4 years have been pretty involved in a not so great way for me. I've been a little too busy to search for new software.

David and Mike grabbing a last of the year train pic on the way the BORTrail.

Fast forward to last week. As of September 2015, I'm a Mac-girl again! The MacBook Pro came with iMovie already on it. That's the software that I used professionally when I had my own business back in 2004. There hasn't been anything that I needed to do a music show for so I hadn't used it. The latest and greatest updated version at the time that I bought the MacBook Pro has been updated since 11 years prior so there were a lot of things that I had to learn and get comfortable with the new features and new interface. After a few screams and grumbles I was able to do the editing and even enjoy putting together David's music bed and show. I daresay I was even proud to be in the credits as the editor.


So between train shows, getting to watch a show that I edited and spending the afternoon and evening with men and women I truly enjoy being with and have terribly missed it was a pretty great ending to the year.


Today I'm wrapping up the last of my 2016 and getting ready to start 2017. That's probably going to take a couple days but it usually does. I just usually start that closing one year and starting the next at the end of the previous year not at the beginning of the next year. But after the way I started 2013, I will always remind myself that it beats starting the year in the hospital.

Welcome to 2017! There's gonna be more to come soon including my goals and projects for the year, some new ideas and the first freebie of the year. Stay tuned