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The Chronicles of Nani On Video

I am overcoming my inability to type with my ability to talk (and talk and talk and talk) I'll be posting a video every week on my YouTube channel. I'll be posting those videos here too along with an occasional regular blog in the mix. (As long as my hands are up to doing the extra typing.)

You'll be able to watch the videos here, but I encourage you to stop by my channel at YouTube once I'm up and running to follow me and get my numbers started!

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the latte with a slice of black forest cake!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Have Some Ice Cream

Yanno July is one of the big photo months for me. There are lots of reasons for that. I just get out more in the summer, there are more things to do and I try to see lots of my people and do a lot of things during my annual festival and take lots of pictures. Last year there was the Heritage Unit celebration in North Carolina, a steam special that came through Toledo and much baseball. But in going through my scrapbook folders for July… I still had major long weekends in 2008; one we took Rina on and one we took Tori on. Then in 2009 was our wedding reception. I already had 2010 and 2011 done when I started this scrapbook catch up project. Still I don’t see me closing any or the years for this month! I did a huge bunch of pages, but there are still so many folders. But July 31 will be the last day for July folders through 2012. Net year will be finishing time for those. And I hope to have this month’s pages done by August 7. I really do want to keep up this year at the very least! Going into August there awaits our 2-week honeymoon in 2009. No pressure; I usually take good notes when we travel. I’ll be as ready in 2014 and I am now.

Today is Treat Yourself to Ice Cream Day! That is it’s the official holiday of Nanifest. Celebrate with me by treating yourself to ice cream today. It’s an even bigger gift to me if you also treat a kid to some.

Now, Naniday and all, it’s still Monday. Let’s join Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic for the Monday Quiz About Me!

1. What is your favorite pair of shoes?

My absolute favorite shoes are this super comfy flesh-tone pair called barefoots

2. Do you get embarrassed easily?

I’ve been afraid of doing something embarrassing all my life but the truth is that when things that should mortify me happen I usually laugh them off or otherwise deal with them and move on. Guess I over prepared for the red faced moment. That’s a good thing though.

3. What makes you cringe?
Watching someone fall. I know that can be devastating and frustrating for someone who has a hard time getting up from a fall and it’s also something, from child to senior and everything in between, that can result in a serious injury.

4. July 29th is National Lasagna day... are you celebrating? What kind of lasagna do you prefer?

I don’t have plans to celebrate Lasagna Day, however David and I are thinking about dinner out tonight. I don’t think Red Lobster has lasagna. I remember the veggie lasagna a=I had at the Sunday luncheon of our reception weekend. I do love veggie lasagna, but I remember really loving Noni’s lasagna made with spinach pasta, ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and her homemade Bolognese. Mmmm! I miss that lasagna!

And here is my totally self-indulgent question for you.

5. Will you join me in celebrating Naniday today by having an ice cream treat? Will you bring kids and treat them? What kind of frozen treat will you enjoy?

At some point today David and I will stop for a waffle cone or we’ll decide to go to the Mud Hens game and have some Toft’s at the park. It all kinda depends on the weather. It could be a lazy day at home too.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Book Review: Absolute Power by David Baldacci

Book synopsis at Good Reads

In a heavily guarded mansion in a posh Virginia suburb, a man and a woman start to make love, trapping Luther Whitney, a career break-in artist, behind a secret wall.

Then the passion turns deadly, and Luther is running into the night.

He has just seen a brutal murder involving Alan Richmond, the president of the United States, the man with... "Absolute Power."

My review at Good Reads

5 of 5 stars

David Baldacci is a writer who was suggested to me at different times by both a cousin by marriage and cousin by blood who have never met. I figured if I was getting the same suggestion from both sides of my family, it was a pretty safe bet I’d like his work. So I chose an old book of his to try it out. Now I want to read more. I owe a HUGE thanks to my cousins!

The action starts on the first page and the reader starts to draw opinions about the characters right off the bat. I surprised myself at who the good guys and bad guys were. As you can imagine from the teasing synopsis there are many characters involved in this night of passion/night “on the job” gone terribly wrong. Baldacci introduces each of them in a way that does not get confusing and the main players have depth.

The book is full of action and I kept coming to chapters that totally dispelled the way I thought it would end. And I reformed those opinions because the twists made sense in the story. It kept me on the edge of my comfy reading seat, smiling and cheering, moaning and cursing.

After a string of books I wasn’t happy with, I know who the writer will be for the next book I read. One down and a library to go.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy Wednesday!

I’ve really wanted to blog more, but as of late I’ve been doing a lot of letter writing with this self-advocacy thing. It’s neither totally selfless nor selfish. I write letters to favorite stores that aren’t accessible, which by law they have to be. If I can gently urge them to comply and they do, it makes it better for me, for them because they neither lose a customer nor experience down-time in their store and lost hours for their employees when the ADA hears the whistle blow on them, and it makes their place of business more welcoming to disabled customers they don’t have yet because they weren’t accessible. It’s a win-win-win again thing. If it’s something they legally have to do and someone (me) is ready to do whatever is necessary to make them comply, might as well get the good PR instead of the consumer advocate news story at 6, right?

This morning I was writing city council members in a couple cities that aren’t served by the Toledo paratransit service what they can suggest so I can get my hair cut and teeth cleaned. Two providers I have no interest in changing, but they aren’t served by TARPS. (Toledo paratransit) A private paratransit service may be more than I can afford, but I won’t know if I can’t even locate the service to call! Wish me luck on that.

So, instead of morning Hodge Podge, I bring you my afternoon answers to the Wednesday Hodge Podge, hosted by Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.

1. July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day. Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. What's something you've recently accomplished solo?

Aside from getting out of the house and taking care of my own errands? That is a feat of sorts. Golly, I’ve always done a lot of things solo and I still do. I don’t know that I’d call them accomplishments. I think and actual accomplishment can’t be achieved solo. My biggest achievements have always been group efforts. I may have been the leader, but there is no point in leading if you don’t have a capable group to work with. Five dozen cookies in one day at Christmas isn’t an accomplishment, neither is a week’s vacation on my own. Even sales is nothing without a product to sell. It’s not even possible to successfully get a business to change to become more accessible without the ADA behind me. Truly big accomplishments are not done solo and anything I can do solo really isn’t that big to me.

2. What's one product you use that never ever fails?

Neosporin! I use it on cuts and they heal remarkably fest. I also use it on rashes or breakouts, canker sores in the mouth, hangnails and if I put a light coating on the posts or wires, I’ve been able to wear the absolute cheapest cute earrings without any irritation!

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

I kinda think my “place in the world” might be as an advocate for persons with disabilities. It’s starting to form now. I’m collecting information, writing lots of letters and getting ready to do some small presentations.

What I really do need to get there right now is the transportation service I need to get to my hair stylist so I can get a haircut and look decent for public speaking. ;)

4. Worst movie you ever saw?

Blair Witch Project(ile)

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

We have a new kitten; everything is fun right now!

6. The month of July is named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar...ever been to Rome? What's your favorite Italian dish?

I was in Rome just before, and I mean JUST before, I turned 13. We were in Italy/San Marin for a month between mid-July and mid-August in 1979. On my birthday I had a traditional Sammarinese “fruit animal” on a tray of French and Italian pastries with one American candle in it!

My fruit animal was based on a lemon and I think 
it was a cat or dog, but this is the general idea,

My favorite Italian dish? Wow, I was raised on the real stuff! Mt dad makes some awesome pasta sauce starting with a prosciutto end. I remember making ravioli with Noni string with flour and creating the pasta dough, the meat or cheese filling from scratch and rolling out the dough and placing the filling on the dough and then another sheet of dough and creasing around the filling to seal the pieces before cutting them. Lots of work but SO worth it. I also regained an immense appreciation for Noni’s crostada after working on refinding the flavor and texture for a few years. My favorite Italian food in Italy was any flavor of gelato!

7. What is one piece of advice you'd offer new mom Kate Middleton?

I was officially so over caring about a “royal baby” about two minutes after hearing about the royal conception. Didn’t we win a war so we didn’t have to care about the royals in England?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My glasses are in and I have to plan a bus trip to go get them. I’ll probably do that Friday. Friday at 5 is the beginning of Nanifest XLVII, but I’ll get my glasses earlier in the day. My eye doc is sandwiched between Panera Bread and Coldstone Creamery. I want to stop and pick up a few grocery items on the way home, thus spending three fares instead of four to make the two stops. But the important question is; do I get a sandwich at Panera for lunch or a like-it-size treat at Coldstone to start my festival early before the bus picks me up? Hmm…decisions, decisions.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Behold The Cuteness!

That’s Marco, named after Marco Scutaro, currently of the San Francisco Giants. He was born June 1 and was 7 weeks old on Saturday. He came to live with us yesterday.

We set his carrier on the floor in the living room and Kaline was the first to inspect. I gave her a treat so she’d come closer and I put a treat in the carrier. Even the soft treats Marco has to bite into small pieces so he can chew them. While he worked on his Kaline ate hers. Then she went right up to the carrier to give him a sniff…and a couple hisses and a growl. He backed into the carrier a little but didn’t hiss back. She went farther back and settled on the floor to just watch him, but without more growls, for now anyway. Carla came down watched him a little, ate her treats and ran upstairs. I guess she’s letting Kaline speak for them both. The initial look-see went well.

Now Marco is in his room for the acclimation process. He’s still kitten-climbing on things, not jumping yet, but for a small kitten, it’s still a big room! I’ll keep you updated on the girls and their new little brother.

Monday Quiz About Me is hosted by Acting Balanced and Touristic.

1. Wednesday, July 24th is Drive Thru day - do you have any drive thrus that you have a hard time passing?

Baskin Robbins

2. Other than signing your name, when was the last time you physically wrote something?

When I went in for my eye exam last Thursday they handed me a clipboard with a form to update. I can pretty much guarantee that the illegible information is probably useless to them. Yeesh!

3. What was the first movie you saw in a movie theater? the latest one?

I have no Idea what the first one was! The first movie theater movie I vividly recall was when Dave and I were 6 and 7, well I really remember the car ride before the movie. We were all in the car for a ride and Dave and I asked Pop where we were going. “Timbuktu!” he said. That lead into a discussion of where Timbuktu was.  We wondered how we’d get to Africa in the car and decided Daddy was definitely not driving to Timbuktu. Our drive ended at the movie theater where Disney’s animated Robin Hood was playing. What a fun surprise! I recall Pop having a craving for Butter Pecan after the movie so there was a Basking Robbins stop involved too.

The last movie I saw was 42, an awesome movie. I saw that with Sheri when she was on vacation. She came and picked me up and we did movie and lunch.

4. Have you ever visited Disney?

Nope, not any of them. We saw our share of Disney movies as kids, but we were really more raised with Bugs Bunny and Warner Brothers.

And now my question for you to answer…

5. What is a favorite food you eat in the summer that you don’t any other time?

For me it’s gazpacho. I love the chunky fresh tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and spices in a tasty chilled soup. Once the days get cooler, I prefer a warmer hearty soup.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: Everybody’s Daughter by Michael John Sullivan

My Review
0 of 5 stars

“Finished” July 13, 2013

I say finished in quotes because I got about 100 pages in and really just wanted the book done so I skipped pages, read chapter here and there and read the end and called is a mercy killing.

This was an awful book. You just can’t write a fiction that involves time travel and a subplot to the New Testament. I was totally fine with the concept of time-traveling and watching Jesus’ life, but not in meeting him and getting chummy.

I found the book to be offensive. The notes say that the author incorporates his own childhood into the stories he writes; a modern Medici. At its best it’s egotistical at worst sacrilegious. I didn’t really read the whole book and I won’t be reading any of the other titles encouraged in the notes at the end.

Book Review: Dead is Dead by James Gabriel

Finished reading on July 10, 2012

Book synopsis at Smashwords

Jake Thorne is a fixer for the MGM, the biggest and best of the Studio's that rule Hollywood's golden age. If you're a big shot, Jake will sober you up, pay off the cops and keep it out of the papers. So when a too-young girl shows up strangled in a big director's garden, Jake's on the job. But there's something about the girl that bothers him, and when the usually compliant cops try to warn him off, he decides to find out who she was. His search takes him into the world of abandoned girls, pimps and porn dealers, and into his own past where he is forced to confront who he was, what he did, and who he has become.

My review
1 of 5 stars

Writing a story with real people you don’t know is something only the very most experienced writers should attempt. The real people should have been edited out of this one. The only characters more trite and flat than the made-up people were the real ones.

This was another one of those stories that is told from a man’s point of view, told first person, in Hollywood’s golden era when men were all tough and women were either easy or your sister/mother. Real-life Hollywood stars weren’t just names dropped, but they had lines and everything. Joan Crawford was a major supporting character.

In the midst of all the hedonistic parties and murder is our main character that works for the film studio and is the only character in the book with a conscience. He feels bad that he was a sleaze in his youth. Everyone else grew up to be sleazier and criminal. I finished the book, but never expecting it to get better. In that, I wasn’t disappointed.

The book eventually ended with the main character finally understanding why things are so screwed up, why he is. And there is little to make the reader believe it changes anything.

Book Review: Dreamcast by Paul Telegdi

Finished reading on June 20, 2013

Book Synopsis at Good Reads

Imagine that you had a nightmare about your ex-girlfriend's murder and woke to find yourself accused of it! This is what confronts Travis Howard, a 23-year old art student struggling to prove his innocence while trapped in jail.

All evidence incriminates him, and the police are determined to break him. Isolated from family and friends, condemned by the community, Travis fights against the growing hopelessness of his situation. His only support is the psychologist assigned to assess him, who discovers latent psychic abilities which Travis has great difficulty accepting.
Increasingly, in this cauldron of conflict, he grows fond of her, but is not sure of her reactions. Gradually gaining confidence and learning to use his new-found talents, Travis tracks down the psychopathic killer to a fateful confrontation.

My review at Good Reads
2 out of 5 stars

At first it seemed trite and full of stereotypes, but told in first person, that was the main character’s naiveté. Some of his “learning about psychic ability was interesting and figuring out the crimes and the crimes themselves were okay but they were a lot more graphic than they needed to be for a book that was essentially 2 fairly brief books, The characters really weren’t developed and many aspects of then weren’t believable. The love story subplot in story 1 was unnecessary and unrealistic. The climaxes of both stories were good but brief and the ends seemed to rush to tie up to many loose ends

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Mondaaaaay!

Break time is blog time in Naniland today! I’m celebrating Monday by joining Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic for the first Monday Quiz About Me in July!

1. What is your favorite summer activity?

If you are a regular reader at The Chronicles of Nani you know summer is all about seeing as many baseball games as possible!

2. Do you have a honey-do list? or a to-do-list of your own?

I try not to have a Honey-Do list, but there are some things I can’t do for myself. I always have a To-Do list, always have. I’ve always worked best writing things down and checking them off. Now I have it typed and highlight tasks as I complete them. I was a Franklin Planner addict when I was a producer, since my workweek was NEVER the same. I’ve been looking for decent planning software that would organize everything without maxing my processor or memory but be flexible and customizable. I want to be able to add a note in fewer than 2 clicks. I still use Word for lists because I haven’t found the software yet.

3. Would you go for a massage? Facial? Spa treatment?

Generally, I’m not crazy about being touched by strangers so a massage or spa treatment would be anything but relaxing or pleasurable. However, just the face, I can do. I had a facial a number of years back and enjoyed it, but I didn't like the oil-based product they iused. It left my face feeling kinda gummy. But I’d love a less greasy treatment! I always loved getting a manicure and the one time I got a pedicure it was alright, but honestly I like manicures better.

4. What was the last song you danced to?

I do still dance; just I do it more as exercise, holding on the counter in the kitchen and getting my legs and hips moving. I think the last song I danced to was Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars.

Number five is for you to answer!

5. What was the last wild animal you saw?

Easy answer for me because the inspiration for the question just walked across the fence that separates us from the apartments next door. As a matter of fact that brown squirrel is still there patrolling. We also see groundhogs, rabbits an occasional deer and of course chipmunks. The deer always amaze me because we live so close to downtown.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

You Mean It’s Not Tuesday?

Today’s title is for Edna. I left a comment at Miss Edna’s Place saying I thought I’d be back blogging on a regular basis Tuesday. Well, Tuesday was a busy day for me, with the holiday tomorrow I lose at least a day of phone calls and such. Yesterday was a day of leaving voice mails that included “I’m not sure what your holiday schedule is like, but if you could call back tomorrow or Monday…” Lucky for me, every call I made was returned yesterday and I have half of next week full of appointments! This afternoon I’ll be trying to get weekend baseball tickets and scheduling several busses for next week. So this is my “Tuesday Take 2” or Tuesday continued. With the Independence Day holiday tomorrow the days this week are a mish-mosh anyway.

There was no Monday Quiz About Me this week because our Canadian native hosts are visiting family in Canada and Monday was Canada Day! I hope everyone in Canada and Border States celebrated a great day. I include the Border States because of my own childhood as a border baby. I was born closer to Canada than Ohio and in Metro Detroit when I was growing up the entire week surrounding Canada Day on July 1 and Independence Day on July 4 was “freedom Week,” punctuated by the Detroit/Windsor Freedom Festival which included the huge fireworks display set off from a barge in the Detroit River. If you couldn’t or didn’t want to battle the traffic and crowds downtown, the fireworks display was always on TV. To me, Canada Day and Independence Day have always been a joined holiday and there has never been a question that if I wasn’t born American, Canadian is the only other nationality I could possibly want to be. Yeah, even though I’m proud of my dual citizenship and Sammarinese heritage, if I was picking of all the nations of the world to define my dual citizenship, I’d choose to be American-Canadian. I even know more French than Italian.

Now before I find myself editing because my intro addresses a Hodge Podge question (I copied and pasted but haven’t read the questions yet) I’ll get on to the Wednesday Hodge Podge!

1. What's one simple small pleasure on your summer 'to-do' list?

I think my new pleasure I want to indulge in this summer is getting out with the new powerchair. I can actually get out for fun without any increased fatigue from wheeling myself. I think maybe I’d like to treat myself to lunch at Panera Bread, where I can sit at an outside table with my Nook and a bowl of gazpacho with a salad; just me and just because. I miss doing that.

2. Do you have strong feelings or opinions regarding the immigration debate in your home country? Feel free to share your thoughts, but please play nice.

As a First Generation American I’ve always had very strong opinions about illegal vs. legal aliens in our country. My opinions have softened a little lately. There are so many other things wrong with this country and so many stupid things our government argues about to avoid real issues, I’m for a little amnesty to get it all done with and make our government go back to the old days when they served us. I still don’t want anyone who isn’t a citizen to vote.

But for illegals, and I don’t have a problem defining someone who is here illegally by their crime, it’s not “people who are not here legally” to me, but illegals who have been here and working for a very long time and haven’t broken any other laws should be given an opportunity to become legal aliens and pursue citizenship. We let the problem become too big to just fix it with anything absolute and I’d much rather see our government work on real issues instead of where someone’s parents were born and what religion should rule the formerly free and oppressed by religion again land. (Personal opinion, if your title isn’t Mr. or Ms. you don’t belong in government or talking about it to groups.)

I say let’s work on what the government can do to stimulate the economy, fix the medical crisis without spending all their time arguing about the band-aid and better ways to be safe but still free.

3. What's something in your home or wardrobe that could be described as 'star spangled'?

Um… The All Star Game on TV? ;)

4. Is your house set up for a party?

Absolutely not! We have one party at Christmastime and that would be a small party by many standards. Neither one of us likes big parties and I don’t ever see us even wanting to host one.

5. What one never-before-visited city in America, would you most like to see?

I want to visit San Antonio (by way of Luling, Texas to see and photograph the watermelon water tower.)

6. Your favorite red food? White food? Blue food?

These are my favorites right now. They could be different as soon as tonight.

Favorite red food: gazpacho
Favorite White food: Baseball Nut ice cream (vanilla base with cashews and swirl of raspberry) or vanilla Greek yogurt
Favorite Blue food: Blue (food coloring)buttercream frosting…I guess you could put it on a cake, but a spoon is fine too

7. What freedom do you value the most, and why?

Speech. I value to right to disagree with my government and I greatly value my responsibility to call my country out when I think it’s wrong. Being a patriot is more than waving a flag; sometimes it’s putting that flag down and demanding the country restore itself.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The thing about random thoughts is that I usually get out a lot of randomness in my intro and anything else is addressed in my answers to the questions, so I’m not feeling so random by the last of the Hedge Podge.

I’ll wish everyone celebrating this week to enjoy your countries’ holidays safely but with vigor.