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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!

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Projects and Goals

It’s New Year’s Eve. Tomorrow will be a new year and 2014 will be gone. There have been a few good things, but for the most part, especially the last half of the year I say “don’t let the fireworks singe your butt on the way out!”

I haven’t blogged nearly as much as I do in a typical December. Remember I told you that I write to get frustration out ad lately I’ve had to really work to write a page positive enough to be a decent post. It’s SO not like me but I’ve had some so not like me things going on. I want to take a moment to remind anyone dealing with even mild depression to not try to fight it on your own! This time last year I was getting help from a psychologist. If I hadn’t taken it on myself to get help this year would surely have crushed me! As it was it just maxed out my time. I’d estimate I was about two weeks behind by Christmas Eve. No baking this year and we’re going to write a New Year’s letter to the family of relatives and friends on our Holiday Card list to let them know everything is okay, we’re okay, but a bit f MS related set-backs in December are why our Christmas Cards are arriving in January. If you’re waiting to see our card, look for a Happy New Year greeting from us in the next couple weeks.

There were many contributing factors that made it a miserable December, but I had edema (swelling) that acted up really bad in the beginning of the month. Wrestling with the walking I can’t do and the water pills that send me walking into the bathroom three times and hour for a few hours I’d stopped taking the pills. Yeah I got scolded by my doctor for that, deservedly so. I also wasn’t drinking my minimum of water each day for successful control of my diet or my MS. So it shouldn't amaze me that I wasn't feeling well to begin with. In the beginning to middle of December the edema was not only causing swelling in my ankles but the swelling had gone all the way up into my thighs. My legs were pretty much useless. I couldn't get upstairs so I couldn't get any regular sleep I was sleeping in the chair and I ended up finding great relief in the bed in the emergency room. They kept me for a few hours with an IV of medication to get rid of some of the fluid and my subsequent phone call to my doctor before the follow up resulted in me taking the maximum strength of the water medication until the edema was under control which was almost until Christmas. Needless to say I've gotten much better about grinning and bearing it and taking my water pills. I don't drink my morning coffee until after the pills have had their couple hours and I make sure that I drink my minimal water during the day. I’m feelng much better now but, well, our Christmas cards will be going out in January.

So there is my confession of how I screwed myself up and suffered the consequences, really suffered them! But now I'm back on my feet again…well no I'm not back on my feet again I'm back sitting high on my butt again with a confident smile. And as I go through 2015's projects and goals and assess how I did on 2014s you'll see why am so glad to see this year go out and why am so happy to see 2015 coming in.

Projects and Goals Report 2014

The clean and organize project was a major bust from 2014. I had planned to look for some assistance with cleaning in the house and David and I were going to have a company assist with some of the bigger cleaning. Neither of those things ever materialized and we're pretty much living with the clutter that's driving me crazy and occasionally is a little dangerous.

If you’re a regular reader of The Chronicles of Nani, and there still are some of you, you know that I did not excel with the blogging more goal.

My reading goal was 2 books a month. I read 23 for the year. In my defense on that one there were a few paper books hardcover or paperback are harder for me to read because of the dyslexia and therefore take longer. I finished the year only one book shy of my goal which is probably more frustrating than 10!

I missed my page a day goal for scrapbooking having only completed 360 pages this year instead of 365 but the last page I finished today was the last page of 2008 and I can say that year is ready for proofreading and printing! That is a great consolation to missing goal by five pages. Also good news in the scrapbooking world I had a goal of finishing project 365 this year with the more random format that I've shown a few times on the blog and all that's left to complete on that is week 52.

The health and wellness goals which included losing 20 pounds by June didn't do so well as the steroid injections I was getting for my back made my back feel great but also caused weight gain even though I was eating healthy. (This year's goals will NOT include injections in my back!)

I did have some unplanned success with the employment area, which is going to be re-named business goals for this year going forward. I participated in Walk MS and after joining in only three weeks before the walk I raised just over $1000. I’m participating again this year and I'm starting with the thousand dollars as a goal. I hope it wasn't beginners luck! I went through training and became a certified group leader for the MS Society's self-help groups. Our self-help group meets on the second Tuesday of every month. Now I just need to get organized so I can get my paperwork in on time.

So there's 2014; a little good, really good, and a little bad some of it really bad. But assessing the year really gives me a chance to see where my goals can be adjusted and what projects I can change, add or omit to make 2015 better. And so now here's my 2015 plan.

2015 Projects and Goals

Health and Wellness Goals

I'm putting these goals first because I think that these goals are paramount to everything else falling in place. Health and wellness goals will include making sure I take all of my medication, including water pills, every day. I’m actually pretty good about that with the exception of those water pills but I'm going to be more disciplined in general and try not to miss any pills. I never liked taking pills and I've got to finish the fight with myself to change into a new regimen of taking all the pills that really are important to my health remaining intact.

I'm also going to make sure that I drink my water every day I have a bare minimum of 4 16-ounce bottles a day. I can drink this starting with when I'm taking the water pills as long as I wait for coffee (caffeine) until after they're done doing their stuff without suffering too much and in fact I feel a lot better when I drink enough.

I've got some information coming in from the MS Society pertaining to assistance both finding and making sure I can afford a lift chair recliner and a personal home aid. Part of my health and wellness goals include the fact that I need to have my feet up on and off during the day and the doctor suggested something on the main floor of the house that I can lie down on during the day. The recliner will be perfect for that. I just purchased an ottoman for under the table today. On Christmas Day Aunt Judy gave me a footstool that was wide enough that I could put my legs and feet on it and some swelling that had started instantly started going away when I put my feet up. Okay that's sort of like getting foot religion.

A personal home aid can hopefully offer some help by scolding me when I need it; when I’m overdoing something or underdoing something else. I hope an aid can also help with cooking so I can have hot lunch? I spilled soup on myself three times in December. It would be great if I could have some help to heat up soup for lunch, reach the microwave and hey, maybe even help cook soup in the crockpot! Okay I don't really know what home health aide does but I'm going to find out and I'm going to get the help that I need.

I'm doing my January detox cutting out most of my indulgent snacks until they return in measured portions in February and adding a cup of green tea each day. I'm not setting myself a definite number per month weight loss goal, partly because I still can't balance well enough to stand on the scale every week, But mostly because I want to concentrate on making sure that my diet is healthy, talking to my physical therapist about what kind of exercise I'm capable of doing and make myself healthy; the weight-loss will follow in line.

Clean and Organize Project

My big Christmas present from David hasn't arrived yet, but it’s a new nightstand for my side of the bed in the bedroom. I've been using an accent table with a banker box underneath it ever since I moved in in 2007! The new nightstand will keep me from knocking things on the floor upstairs. I'm also looking at getting deep shelves rather than a new chest of drawers for the one that needs replacing. I could put folded clothes on the shelves and the bottom shelves will have the cube fabric drawers for socks and underwear. David said I should see if that's already designed and if not I should copyright it for wheelchair-friendly furniture. I want to make sure it is friendly first. We are also going to look into getting the brakes fixed the old chair that belong to David's mother that we use as a transport chair upstairs. Working brakes would give me some safe freedom of movement.


I'm not changing this goal. Similar to last year I'm going to try to blog more regularly and I'm going to give myself the goal of writing at least one blog entry a week and reading at least 5 a day. I am and have been this year at times a week behind on the blogs that I read all the time. Doesn't give me much opportunity to read anything new when I have to devote that much time to catching up.

Scrapbooking and Project 52

The last page of 2008 is done!
I'm pleased to say that I finished a book this year and since I did come so close to goal the goal remains a page a day for a total of 365 pages done at the end of the year. I'm also not going to change anything in the way that I'm doing my project 52. A two-page spread in quadrants is perfect for a little bit of journaling a photo, clipart, random things per day with an extra block for a day that needs more space or some other interesting tidbit. I'm very pleased with my pages from 2014 and I plan to continue 2015 in the same way.

Reading Goals

This is an area that will also do the same I only missed my goal by one book this year and going forward I'm going read my paperback and hardcover books as bedtime books and a current e-book is the book that I take places with me. When I’m waiting at an appointment or for a bus I usually have more time than my eyes can handle reading a paper book. So it only makes sense that I should have a book I'm reading on the e-reader. Of course if I'm going to be reading a hardcover or paperback and an e-book at the same time they’ll need to be different genres to keep the stories separated which will give me the opportunity to try some new things. It's a doable win/win!

Business Goals

My business goals are going to include setting up our printer which networks to serve all the computers in the house if it’s set up correctly in a place where we can get to the printer. The printer also scans so I can scan materials necessary to email the reports in for my MS group.

One big goal that I want to achieve this year is I want to gather all of the tax forms and have all of our deductions added and ready to go before the end of February.

My last goal is a special goal for me and is for business, scrapbooking and perhaps my general mental health. We have a new Apple Store at the mall on the bus route! Windows 8.1 has been driving me so totally insane that I have plans to visit the Apple Store as soon as the payments on the iPad are done so I can start making payments on a MacBook! You know, "once you go Mac you never go back," and I've been banging my head against a Window for the last 5 1/2 years; I want to go back to Mac! It's time.

So there is my projected 2015.

This or something better!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why is it so hard to say “Happy Holidays?”

We had a very nice group meeting last night with our MS Self Help Group. Everyone was invited to bring holiday cookies to share and we enjoyed cookies, a game and our usual conversation. At the end of the evening even I said “Merry Christmas” because it had become evident over the course of the evening that everyone present in our modestly-sized group celebrates Christmas. That makes it okay. If anyone had not been forthcoming about Christmas traditions at home or had mentioned honoring a holiday that wasn’t Christmas at this time of year I would have said “Happy Holidays.” This is not a new practice for me and I don’t understand how it can be offensive.

I’ve mentioned before that when I was 6 I made the decision to become a nun when I grew up. I think I also mentioned that by age 9 I decided Catholicism wasn’t for me. I consider myself a Universal Unitarian now and those years of “studying” to become a nun pretty much made me a Unitarian. It’s the concept of “studying” religion in elementary school. It never occurred to my very young self that if I wanted to learn how to be a good nun, “ask a nun.” I was in Catholic school; it’s not like finding a nun was difficult. But I listened and learned in class when we had our religion lessons and I watched my first-grade teacher and aware that there would be tougher things to learn when I was older but the most important thing I had to start doing was learn how to love everyone. An important part of that was understanding.

I went to different vacation bible schools, my parents were quite pleased that I wanted to go to bible school in the summer, and more than one week of it! I went to Bible School and youth events in various Christian churches and found them to be pretty much the same. It didn’t matter what you called your religion; if you love God and love people, God is pleased. Also the “golden rule” at home from the time we were kids agreed with that thought. It was was simple to our child-minds and it grew more immense and a little more challenging as we got older but it never changed. Mom’s rule was “Stay straight with God and stay straight with man.” How wonderfully simple. It was basically if you have self-respect and respect for other people, you’re okay. I still find that simple rule, although as an adult it's more difficult, to be a good golden rule.

When I was 7 or 8 my world got a little bigger. I wasn’t in Catholic School or Baptist and Methodist bible school and field trips. I was bowling now. Our bowling league wasn’t a religious event, it was just fun. Don’t ever think for a moment that kids don’t have serious discussions just like adults do. At bowling was the first time I asked someone else, “You mean you don’t celebrate Christmas?” Imagine a Catholic kid having a theological discussion with a Jewish kid at a bowling alley. That happened with no adults, no one insisting the other was wrong, respect and genuine interest in hearing about each others holidays. My fiends' idea of what Jesus did, a great rabbi and teacher, was different, but the stories and morals were the same. Over the course of a few months 2 things happened to me. First I formed the opinion that if God was able to make all things possible, why wouldn’t he have different ways to reach everyone? I mean if he made us all different wouldn’t he be what would make us comfortable with him adjusted for how he made us? Yes, as a child I REALLY deviated from the becoming a nun plan with that opinion. Your religious practices don’t matter if you’re a good person. I also never said “Merry Christmas” to people I didn’t know again. “Happy Holidays” included Hanukkah and that was nicer to my friends who were Jewish than to wish them to enjoy a holiday they don’t even celebrate. I still said “Merry Christmas” to family, friends I knew had Christmas, people in church, but never to someone I didn’t know. I thought of that as bringing my Christmas happiness to everyone not as anyone taking my holiday away from me.

I still say “Happy Holidays” to people I don’t know unless they’re wearing a Santa hat or a t-shirt that says something about Christmas. That’s still respect; sharing my holiday spirit rather than pushing my practices on someone I don’t even know. I don’t really know when erring on the side of respect became offensive to anyone. If anything in the holiday season, that becomes more anti-people every year, has or is still steering me away from the beliefs and traditions of my young childhood it’s not the people who aren’t me that want to respect and be respected, it’s the people who celebrate the same as I do that refuse to respect others.

If a stranger says “Happy Holidays” to you don’t say “You mean Merry Christmas” to them which essentially says their greeting isn’t good enough for you. Just smile and say “have a great holiday” back to them sharing whatever holiday spirit you hold in your heart. If respect is offensive to you maybe you’re the one “ruining Christmas.”

My Christmas wish is that everyone has a safe and joyful holiday season!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ah, December…

I want to apologize because it’s been over a week since I posted! I know I’ve chosen to take sabbaticals without mentioning it before. Wow, that makes me sound flighty. I’m really not so flighty, it’s just that The Chronicles of Nani is my hobby and non-cyber issues like medical, family and legal junk take precedence over bogging or scrapbooking. Visualize if you will that we all hang out at the same coffee shop and I don’t show up for my usual coffee for about a week. Sure, you might be concerned and I’ll definitely feel bad that I made you worry, but it wasn’t necessarily that anything is wrong or that I’m not having my coffee; it’s just that I’ve been getting a cup at a drive-thru and haven’t been able to stop and check-n!

This past week has been, well, odd. In a nutshell I had a medicine change that I don’t think my body has adjusted to yet. As a result I haven’t been sleeping well with any regularity and that’s left the door open for the MS fatigue to shine, or dim as it were. Unplanned power-naps a few times a day mess with my to-do lists!

Yesterday I found and old Barnes and Noble gift card and tried it out to see if it was still valid. There’s been a balance on the card but it was a few years old. The card was still valid and the balance still there! Except that it’s not there anymore; it exists as the electronic files of four new books! There are three thrillers and one probably controversial book. Beyond my personal spiritual fulfillment, I find religious history and opinion to be fascinating. I want to get back to the ereader after the current book. I’ve been reading Dan Brown’s Inferno for a long time. It’s a paperback my sent gave me after she finished it because it seemed like a book I’d enjoy and she was spot-on with that prediction. I’m enjoying the book, reading a chapter or two before bed. Unfortunately, the miracle of the ereader is a bandage, not a cure, for my dyslexia and when I’m reading a paperback I return to reading carefully and much slower. But it is so far a pretty good book. I’m on page 361 of 611. I think I’ll finish it before Christmas. :)

Here is my first scrapbook challenge layout for December. Readers here might have read most of the journaling part before. It’s about my first walk to the store to buy my own donut when I was 6 or 7 year-old.

Credits: I Love Donuts by Aprilisa Designs and Fit To Burst by Aprilisa Designs

Journaling: That DD looks just like one I went to when I was 6 or 7 years old. It was the very first time I walked to a store by myself and bought something. It was a chocolate honey dipped donut from Dunkin’ Donuts on Eureka Road in Southgate, Michigan. The donut was 15 cents and in the early 1970s; I was six or seven years old. Some memories are just so strong they last forever.

Times have changed, huh? Imagine any responsible parent letting a 1st/2nd grader walk all by herself up a block to the busy street, down another block in the alleyway behind the stores, across a neighborhood street and into a restaurant by herself. It was definitely safer in the early 70s. Well, I would imagine that the neighbors on our street knew I was going to the donut shop and my parents knew the owners of the stores whose alleyway I walked through as customers. Heck, the guy who owned the store with the penny candy and baseball cards knew me personally as a regular customer with the neighborhood kids. So in that I actually knew neighbors and business owners it was probably safer anyway. The idea of safety ever crossed my mind as a concern. My only concern was saving that 15 cents of my allowance so I could walk up to the store and buy my own donut, bring it home and have it for breakfast. I got to sit down at home and have my breakfast with my milk knowing that I was one step closer to being a grown-up.

I’m going to start scrapping some pages like that for little Nani-Historical anecdotes. I haven’t decided if I’ll use them as filler pages in my regular scrapbooks or if I’ll do a separate Nani Historical book. That’s one of the questions I’m mulling around about my art journal pages. That really should tell me I should include them all in my regular scrapbooks because I’m getting too many separate ones. I’m no where near printing so I have some time to mull ideas around.

Another point of good news on the scrapping front is that I did finish all the November files for 2008 and 2011 and feel pretty confident that those years will be complete at the end of this year! there are only December photos for those two years. On January 1 I’ll have every year that’s left, 2009, 12, 13 and 14 done to at least June. It’s starting toy possible that this time next year I’ll be caught up!

Yesterday James, the technician from the power chair place was over in the morning and my chair is finally fixed after an altercation with the door at Panera killed my chair’s swing arm and joystick on November 13. They couldn’t even order the replacement parts until they got an okay from insurance. Of course someone who uses the chair for mobility in the house doesn’t “need” the steering to work right. I mean, refrigerators can be replaced, right? (Yeesh)

Now, I have breakfast and lunch dishes in the sink waiting for me and now that I’m truly mobile again, a grocery list to prepare!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Café

Welcome to December! It’s only 24 shopping days until Christmas. That’s also only 24 scrapping days to finish Christmas 2013 or you’ll be officially behind. Or if you’re like some of..ah it’s me, it’s 24 days to complete 2008 or be another year behind.

I took a little time to blow the dust off the Digitalegacies Designs tool box and join Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies again this year. My 2014 offering is called Christmas Café, a word art set that features a lyric bit from 4 Christmas songs and a nod to my favorite hot beverage.

Click preview to go to download

There is a lyric bit from Jingle Bells, Holly Jolly Christmas and 2 coffee cups; the one for home with a bit from Neil Diamond’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas and one for out and about with a bit of Silver Bells. There is also a version of the to-go cup that just says “Christmas Day.” The Jingle Bells word art is a variation of the one I made for our railfan holiday cards this year and it inspired the set.

I hope you can use the free word arts for your layouts or projects this year. If you’d like to use them for graphics on your blog, please link back to the Chronicles of Nani when you do.

Find more freebies from this year’s hop by visiting Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies. Happy creating and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Hodge Podge

I'm joining Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodge Podge this week!

1. What's something you take for granted, that when you stop and think about it you feel truly grateful for?


I never thought about how great walking was or how much I enjoyed the walks I took, my ability to do walking things, until I started losing that ability. I don’t dance anymore or play mini golf, there are no more walks at the park choosing the uphill dirt paths because it felt good to stretch my muscles. When I could do those things I did them because they felt good and never gave a thought to how fortunate I was to be able to do them. Why would I? There were always lots of other people who did the same things.

But at that time there were also lots of other people using canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs. Now that I’m one of those people in a wheelchair walking seems like a pretty special thing. Looking back I’m glad I got to do it for well over 40 years. I miss it, sometimes to the point of tears, but there are those that had far less than 40 years of walking, some who never had it at all. And I have to grab things and gimp into the bathrooms at home or grab things to stand up to reach things. Every time I’m successful at those things I celebrate it. I’m thankful I succeeded. Oh, it’s not always with a sincere celebratory smile, but when I think back, I feel victory. There are those that can’t do even that much; I still have some determined independence. For that I’m grateful.

I used to not even think about being grateful when I danced but now I dance in my mind every time I take a couple steps.

2. The color brown-love it or no? What's your favorite shade of brown? Most loved something in your home or closet in a shade of brown?

I don’t wear brown or choose brown when I have a choice except as an accent. You’ll never see a scrapbook page in brown created by me either. So, not really a huge fan of brown.

However my favorite brown shades are milk chocolate and coffee…my favorite things in those colors are their namesakes.

3. What's something you're looking forward to today?


4. The word 'feminism' is not new, but it has been generating all kinds of headlines in recent days and months. What do you think/feel when you hear the word? If you're a woman, do you want to be described as a feminist? Why or why not?

When I hear the word “feminism” it think it should be an archaic term that isn’t used anymore and it makes me sad that it’s a term that’s still relevant. I don’t even think “equality” should be a term used much because with an ounce of intelligence or humanity they should be “duh” words. But unfortunately there are too many people in more secure positions of power who are afraid they’d have to work harder to earn those positions if all things were actually equal. My altruistic 9-year old self expected youth hockey teams to all be coed and that there would be girls on NHL teams by now. Isn’t that what our team beat (and beat up) the boys travel team for?

Feminism means equality. Yes, I’m a feminist and many other “ists.” I believe that people are equal. We all have strengths and weaknesses; that why we’re ALL here. We need each other.

5. What's something you personally can't eat without making a mess?

Ooo…I HATE messy food! I’m a nibbler so there’s a lot of finger food in my world and I can’t eat without a napkin!

I guess I’d have to say popcorn. I’m popcorn crazy but I can’t eat popcorn without dropping a few pieces. I think that’s why David hides my popcorn popper.

6. When did you last surprise someone with a little gift or when were you last surprised by someone with a little gift? What was it?

David and I get little gifts for each other all the time. He brought me home pumpkin spice goodies from the post-Halloween sales and “Nani visits the eye doc” always means I bring him a treat from Panera, so I don’t think I count the everyday husband and wife little gifts. Those are just the underlying romance that keeps our marriage strong, part of “getting each other.”

My last surprise gift, and I don’t call it little, no gift is little, was a bracelet from my friend Stephanie during the baseball playoffs. We enjoy the friendly rivalry of I’m a Reds fan and she’s a Cardinals fan. She sent me the Reds colors bracelet. Bracelets are my favorite piece of jewelry and this one will definitely see a few ballparks.

7. Share a favorite quote, saying, song lyric or scripture relating to gratitude.

I don’t so much have a quote of thanks that’s a favorite. I’ve always stepped back and was grateful for the people and things I have in my life. I realize that those parts of my life are important for me to be able to overcome the challenges in my life. So I guess that’s my quote:

“Be grateful for the people and things you have in your life because they are essential to meet the challenges in your life.” -Nani

8. Insert your own random thought here.
It’s Ambrosia Apple season! Ambrosias, originated in British Columbia, Canada, in the early 1990s, are my absolute favorite apples, SO SWEET! David picked up a half dozen for me last night. There are five now. Maybe the bananas he also brought me will help the ambrosias last longer…and maybe I’ll just be eating lots of fruit the next few days!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy These and Thats

I need to write a nice blog post, really I do. I’ve actually written a few…papers, we’ll call them papers, they might end up being blog posts at a date in the not far future, but right now they are just papers. I’m dealing with some things right now. I’m not dipping back into depression, I keep a close eye on that, but I’m troubled by a few things and that shows up in my writing. I write to relieve stress until what's at the root of my problem comes out and it seems to have not come out yet, so when I "just write" it hasn't been as "up" as I usually am. I have to be really careful about my journaling for scrapbook pages too!

Today will be one of my snippets and potpourri posts. There have been good and bad things that have inspired a paragraph or a thought that’s worth sharing. Today I’m going to refrain from things that bug me. Let’s see what I have…

In the scrapbooking Nani-world, last night I finished the last folder in November of 2008 and all that’s left is the December folder. That will be my focus for next month because finishing that only folder left with complete 2008! My main area of concentration for the rest of this month will be in 2011, which also starts with November right now. It has only 4 folders, so I may start December with 2 years of the 6 I’m working on with just a few layouts to complete. I might actually be only working on layouts for 2015 by this time next year! David and I were talking about getting some proofreading time set up soon. The greatest challenge for me there is he has to do the proofreading on my computer because I have a ton of fonts he doesn’t have so he can’t open the files on his computer to make changes…and I know there will be corrections to make!

I read an article yesterday called When copy-and-paste ruled America at Smithsonian.com. It’s a 2-page article about the history of scrapbooking. Very cool read. It talks about how print media and the start of scrapbooking was a natural combination, how men and women scrapbooked and why. Mark Twain made the verb scrapbooking popular and marketed his self-adhesive scrapbooks. It was fascinating and it really does show that the very roots of scrapbooks were so much the Smash book idea of today and that digital scrapbooking in the digital age is as natural as those smash-style books were at the dawn of print media for the same reasons. It’s a fun read and it really makes my daily diary-scrapbooks pretty timeless too.

Speaking of those diary scrapbook pages, here is week 44:

I didn’t record the credits as I go on this one, but if there is a paper or element you see that you’d like to know more about, leave a comment or drop me an email and I’ll look it up! I have them all done through last week, week 45, but last week had some not-bloggy stuff.

I've discovered that I'm becoming enamored of the deco owls I've seen so much lately. An Instagram friend keeps showing dishes she's prepared with deco owl salt and pepper shakers in the photos. I've also found so many owl coffee mugs! It started as simple owls like that in scrapbook kits and it just grew on me LOL

I grumble about Christmas marketing completely overshadowing Thanksgiving, but I found this photo that I love!

It was called a vegan turkey when it was shared on Facebook, but if I was having a big enough party I’d definitely make this fruit tray regardless of the meat-eating status of my guests. It is, however, a great way to have the tradition of a Thanksgiving turkey for non-meat eating guests!

David found a bottle of Pumpkin Spice Coffeemate for me yesterday. I know, it’s late in the pumpkin spice season to be getting my first bottle, but every time I’ve been in the grocery store they’ve been out of it! I actually would’ve preferred the smaller bottle but all David saw was the bigger one. I don’t use it in coffee, I use it in oatmeal! That’s what breakfast was this morning. A quarter cup of flavored creamer is just rich enough and just sweet enough to make incredible oatmeal! It’s 8 weight watcher points for the whole bowl of oatmeal but matched with a single point powdered coffee creamer and a free fruit, it’s within my preferred 10 points for breakfast and on a day I awoke to a couple inches of snow outside it was WELL worth it!

I said I was going to try to be positive today so as far as the weather goes let me just say “Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal!!!!”

Thursday, November 6, 2014

War On What Now?

In the very first chapter of George Orwell’s 1984 it speaks of the ongoing war. In fact it’s one of the ways the people are controlled. They are always at war. Who with changes and allies become enemies, enemies become allies and more troops are sent to the front lines. It distresses me how familiar that sounds and I checked references to make sure I wasn’t confusing today’s news with the book. Alas, that scenario matches both.

But I’m not writing today to lament how Orwell’s fiction from the mid-20th Century, which should have been a warning to governments, seems to be used as a manual. I’m writing to talk about war, my personal issue with a war that I’ve been troubled by for a good 20 years or more; The War on Thanksgiving.

I’m not talking about the stores that are open on the holiday or the insanity of the start of holiday shopping season which was dubbed “Black Friday” by Philadelphia police in the early 60’s because the mad shopping day made it an awful work day. It’s relatively recent that advertisers have turned the name around to make it more positive and a sales tool. It's still means an awful work day to hourly workers. Like the Winston, the main character in Orwell’s book, I think there’s always been a war on Thanksgiving. I remember a time when that must not have been true because there was a year when it was shocking that someplace had put out Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, but that was so long ago.

You see, Thanksgiving was always the big family holiday to me, even more so as I got older. First off Thanksgiving was the meal my parents hosted. My aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents from both sides of the family came to our house for the feast. I remember the traditional turkey with our family stuffing, the pickle and olive plates and pumpkin pie dessert to celebrate the American holiday plus the breaded chicken and pork chops from Mom’s side of the family, a first course of cappelletti soup and espresso with dessert from Pop’s side. As adults with the cousin tier starting to marry off the dinner tradition changed, the numbers of people and the times they were at dinner changed,

Thanksgiving dinner became Grandma’s dinner after she and Papa retired and moved “up north.” Then Thanksgiving Dinner became a trip “over the freeway and through the woods by the lake.” That’s when the war really started for me. Grandma asked me to bring paper plates and napkins for the dessert table. I realized it was getting harder and harder to find paper Thanksgiving supplies. In the late 1990s I became obsessed with a quest for a paper turkey centerpiece. You know, the full unfurling turkey tail in tissue paper on a cardboard turkey frame? I remembered seeing them in tons of places with the Thanksgiving party supplies when I was a kid. I tried CVS, K-Mart, even a couple of Hallmark shops. It was two weeks before Thanksgiving and there was no turkeys anywhere, just Christmas decorations. I finally found my paper turkey at a party supplies store in a little display nestled into aisles and aisles of Christmas stuff.

Tissue turkey tail opened

 I guess I get it; Christmas is a bigger money holiday than Thanksgiving. But Thanksgiving has always been the most special holiday to me because there are no church obligations, no presents, no imaginary symbols to protect the children from hearing truths about for another year, Thanksgiving is just a holiday for time with the family, it’s food and togetherness, being thankful for having enough of the things that really matter and nothing else. It’s a true American holiday too. Seriously, Christmas is a federal holiday because the majority Christians way back all took Christmas off or just didn’t work. Christmas is a federal holiday to keep it from being a federal disaster day. Thanksgiving is a real American holiday, perhaps the most important one because it doesn’t celebrate our nation’s independence, it recognizes the abundance that independence affords us; it recognizes peace over destruction of people.

Maybe that’s what happened to Thanksgiving. We’re at war with everything. War on drugs, war on women, war on poverty, war on Wall Street and of course the war on Christmas which claimed a commercial war on Thanksgiving long ago. The war on Thanksgiving is not a new retail thing. Stores are just opening on Thanksgiving now because were letting Commercial Christmas win the war on Thanksgiving it has always been fighting. We’ve abused the word war so much that it means nothing anyway. The things we're "at war" as meaningful as what you do when you "keep calm." Thanksgiving, thanks for our people, for abundance, recognizes that we gain more from peace within our shores than we do from war. We do need to figure out how to make “war” a mean word again but all I’m asking for right now is a paper turkey and peppermint mocha to wait a few weeks so there’s a little more pumpkin spice coffee to have with pie.

For three more weeks, Happy Thanksgiving!

Book Review: Spectrum by Alan Jacobson

Finished November 1, 2014

Synopsis at Good Reads

New York City: home to world-renowned museums, theater, restaurants, iconic sports franchises. Central Park. Wall Street. And an infamous serial killer who’s terrorized the Big Apple for decades.

The year is 1995 and the NYPD has just graduated a promising new patrol officer named Karen Vail. The rookie’s first day on the job is anything but easy when she finds herself at the crime scene of a young woman murdered in an unusual manner. Vail is unsure of what she’s looking at or what it means—but it’s a case that will weigh on her mind for nearly twenty years.

As the years pass, Vail’s career takes unexpected twists and turns—as does the case that’s come to be known as Hades. Now a skilled FBI profiler, will Vail be in a better position to catch the killer? Or will Hades prove to be Karen Vail’s hell on earth?

The character who has captivated readers worldwide—and who won the praise of literary giants Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Nelson DeMille—returns in a story that captures the experiences that shaped the revered profiler and made her the top cop she is today.

My review at Good Reads

4.95 of 5 stars

Behold the writer whose pen leaks? There was one chapter I felt a little awkward with. Alan Jacobson is not perfect. That feels odd to hear me admit. I still loved the book and Jacobson remains my favorite current author.

I'm not a fan of prequels. But this isn't a prequel. But it is. It starts and finishes in the current day but this is a case that been with Karen Vale her whole career.

I enjoyed the developing killer's story and the understandable foundation of what life events turned his mind. Vale's beginning as a rookie NYC cop who fast tracked into homicide met with discrimination in the good old boys network and she stepped on toes of those above her in rank who bucked change even when she was right. The eventual turning point for her professionally was given direction through networking with FBI agents at a class that gave her a path in when the work politics were applying a stranglehold on her career.

There was a segment about 9-11-01 that was very tastefully and not sensationally done. Vale, born in New York and working in the FBI office in New York City at that time was definitely involved in the events of that day, and blessed by the luck of circumstances like many were. It was an important part of Vale's life and well done; the world may have been falling apart and crime may have dropped significantly in the days after, but no common criminal or murderer foresaw a terrorist attack on American soil before the exact moment it happened and the work of common crime scenes still went on.

The only chapter I wasn't impressed with was the "cutting room floor" segment from inmate 1577. The scene from Alcatraz was there to show that the case from early in Vale’s career had always been part of her world, but if a reader had picked up Spectrum before reading the other books they'd be thrown into a segment of a case they knew nothing about and characters whose personalities are foreign to them. I had to stop and reread a page to get reoriented. I’m not sure why this particular reference to a case from another book felt awkward to me and others didn't.

I loved the end where the twists in the killer that's haunted the NYC police for over 20 years really start. I had an idea who I thought the killer was and I picked the right one but oh was I surprised to see how he did it and how he was shifting the blame that kept police frustrated for so long! I also give Alan Jacobson big props for blasting a current and real media stereotype witch-hunt concerning an illness they are too often eager to assign blame to for violence, showing how assumptions can make the ones who assume it cooperative pawns in a killer’s plan.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My First Friends

This will kinda be a replacement/reprise of the Monday Mug Shots that I haven’t done in a while. Where appropriate I might show a mug or photo. Retired Not Tired hosts the new Memory Monday meme. It’s recording our memoirs a week at a time with a new prompt each Monday. This week’s prompt is:

My First Friend

I don’t remember my first friends but I remember my Mom telling me about them. In the late spring before I was even a year old we’d spend afternoons in our fenced-in yard in front of our Detroit home. Fenced was good because I was crawling and Mom was pregnant with my brother so she could let me play in the grass and sit in a lawn chair to watch me. There were a couple of girls that stopped by the fence every day on their way home from school and gushed over the baby. Mom told me they always made me smile and laugh and they enjoyed their visits with me too.

Sadly, that was the spring of 1967. During the summer there was a 5-day riot in Detroit that ended with 43 dead and over 1000 injured in the city. When fall came I was sad because my friends walked right by and didn’t stop anymore. After that summer young black girls didn’t stop to play with little white girls in Detroit. The girls knew the tension and that they had to walk by without stopping and my mom knew she couldn’t try to ask them to, but I was just over a year old and didn’t understand.

I’d like to think that I did get a little of a life-lesson from it at that young age. Maybe it was the first time I knew how silly the color of someone’s skin meaning anything about them as a person was. It was definitely the first time I was involved in grownups doing something stupid that ultimately hurt kids. Maybe that’s why I’ve always understood that every choice I make can affect other people in a good or bad way. People being stupid hurt the whole city and I’m not so sure Detroit has recovered from that riot yet.

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Sales and Art

David has shopped a couple places for post-zombie sales. Last night he found a pack of a half-dozen Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins and a box of Pumpkin Spice K-Cups for half price for me and for himself a 6-pack of mini 7-up cans. This is three goodies and 2 talking points. I’ll address those in just a moment.

This afternoon he found a bigger booty in his cheap-sweets treasure hunting. At Target he scored a big bag of assorted fun-size candies and brought me a bag of mellowreme pumpkins as well as pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses and M&Ms. I’d forgotten trying the pumpkin spice M&Ms last year and immediately remembered when I tasted on today! I can’t figure out why the kisses are easier to find. They are good, but made with milk confection rather than chocolate; they only sate the pumpkin craving. The M&Ms are a heavenly combination of milk chocolate and pumpkin spice. Next year I’ll get the M&Ms from Target first then look for a bag of kisses in November.

Now the talking points from last night: There is never an issue with Peanut Butter Cups. They are always good at any price and on sale they reach new points of nirvana. But, while I thought the half-price was wonderful, I don’t really understand the K-Cups being on closeout sale yet. Halloween is over but it’s still pumpkin season until the last pumpkin pie dessert plate is washed after Thanksgiving dinner. They’re dissing the turkey for the fat man in the red suit again!

I don’t really hold that against Santa. It’s just something else the evil corporations are doing to kill our traditions and take our money.

Remember to vote Tuesday!

Anyone reading this ever get a can of soda in their treat bag when they were kids? I mean even a little can takes up precious candy space in the bag and it doesn’t take to many cans to weight a TON for a little kid. Who thinks of these things?

We could probably blame that on corporations too, but I’m really not on a political soap box today. Wheelchair lady already voted absentee. But I encourage everyone to exercise their American right to vote. If you don’t take part you give up your right to complain. You don’t deserve the fruits of or protection from our government either.

Just sayin’; Make sure you vote – better to be part of the system than to be helplessly run over by the system.

I have a scrapbook page that I did Saturday to share:

Credits: Pieces from; Bumpershoots and Puddle Makers by Cherekaye Designs and 
Lissykay Designs, Chill In The Air collab by the Designers at Ginger Scraps,Ginger 
Scraps, Autumn Art paint clusters by Day Dreams ‘n Designs, Rain overlay by Miss Edna, 
First Frost by Seatrout Scraps, September Morn by Mandy King, Snowball Fight 
elements by JenC Designs, Snuggle Season by Mandy King and Mye De Leon, 
Winter Blues by Chunlin Kathryn's Digital Designs

Art journaling really is scrapbook poetry. There was a specific emotion I was feeling as I selected the pieces to make this Page, as I searched for just the right “costumed kids” to represents the Halloween beggars. That emotion was strong as I assembled the page. I have that page posted in a few scrapbook galleries and on Facebook. I’ve gotten comments but none that get that same emotion from the page. This picture-book poet has no problem if people don’t feel the same thing looking as I did creating, but the differences in what people get out of ”art” are fascinating to me. I’d love to hear a word or two about what you feel looking at it.

Thanks for sharing…and remember to vote!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Global Climate Change Is Evil!

That clipping is the scariest thing a trick-or-treater can see minutes before the start of candy begging time. That was the weather at the start of the 6-8PM festivities for the kids tonight. It's raining on Halloween for the second year in a row and tonight it's 38 degrees and mixed with snow. I think we need to move trick-or-treating to September next year. It only has 30 days, so we could just switch the 31st to the end of September instead of October.

I didn’t do candy this year of course, but I have a plan to be back at the door with my 150 bags of “stuff” enabling the sugar buzzes next year. I’m kinda glad I had to bow out this year. Not only would I be so cold I couldn’t feel my hands or feet womaning the door but I’d feel guilty for giving candy and encouraging kids to come out in the wet and cold. I heard just a few squeals outside, but I think the majority of costumed cuties found an indoor party, at least I hope they did! This is their night and they deserve candy and costumed fun.

I’ve been thinking of being scary and wearing my “Got Celery?” shirt to give out candy next year, but after last year and this, celery might be just too scary!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Little Pill and Happy Little Pumpkins!

Yesterday was a really rough day, I mean the type of day I just don’t have, rough! I know that’s rough because I’ve been told that many of what I call “little challenge days” are “shoot me please” days to others. You see, yesterday I got to find out what one of my meds really does for me! I ran out of the medicine I take for spasticity and stiffness and put in an order for the refill just at the right time that I wouldn’t be able to have it delivered or ask David to pick it up before I’d been without it for a day. It’s just 2 pills in the sea of a gazillion I take and it’s not even a specialty pharmacy pill. How much harm could missing ONE day be?

Let me tell ya, all pills are NOT created equal! A thin little round pill can be a lot more potent medicine than one of those big horse-pills. I still had the giant anti-inflammatories that reduce swelling in areas and thus quell pain, But the smaller pill seems to do a strikingly lot more! I don’t think there was any place on my body that wasn’t stiff and in pain. Even sitting at the table, when I usually don’t feel pain and little discomfort, was an excruciating experience yesterday. When there weren’t little shots of pain beaming through my legs and arms, there were stiff spasms I had little control over, some in my legs so strong they almost made me slip out of my chair!

If you’re even thinking for a moment “Oh, Nani I feel so sorry for you,” then trust me; you didn’t want me to write a blog post or visit/comment at your blog yesterday. My Papa was a Navy sailor in WW2 and the language and decibels those words were screamed in when I tried to lumber into the bathroom would have confused and offended him. (I’m not proud of that but owning my shortcomings gives me the right to be proud of my accomplishments, right?)

Today, properly medicated in the right amounts at the right times I’m feeling like me again. I speak like me again too. I find it easier to live with the PG rated version of Nani too!

Tonight is Game 3 of the World Series. It’s tied 1-1. It was sad to see The Royals lose their first game of this post season in Game 1, especially so brutally. I harbor no ill will to the Giants or their fans, but Kansas City is such a great story since it’s been so long since they won the World title and the momentum and downright joy the team and the city brought into this season and especially the playoffs is just electric. Are they heads and tails better than the Giants? No way, they both deserve to be where they are right now. But with two World Championships since 2010 (and it doesn’t matter that in 2012 they swept the Tigers) I’d just love to see a fresh logo in that World Chaps spot.


Since we already didn’t end up able to pass out candy last year because it rained on Halloween and the reschedule night David and I weren’t in town, I made the sad decision to stop doing the door service. It had been getting difficult for me by 2012 when we had 169 kids visit. I’d prepared 150 candy bags for last year that were donated to the school David’s work sponsors sine I couldn’t share them in person, I still shared with kids. This year I’m just not physically up to it. Maybe if I could figure a way to remove the door and be able to sit there without the house getting cold or any cats getting out… I ran several legit scenarios through my head too. I love giving candy out and seeing all the kids in their costumes. The truth is being home while trick-or-treating is going on outside the door will really compel me to fix this problem before next year. David is one of those no-kids guys who works on Halloween so coworkers with kids can make sure their kids can get out. (One of the many things that makes me adore him) It means I’m the only one home, so there’s no one to fill in or help if I start to wear down. For next year I think I’ll see if I can find a local volunteer through the MS Society to come over for a few hours and help me set up and pass out candy. (That idea just popped into my brain and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it a month ago.) That would actually be pretty cool. A volunteer to help me pass out candy and then after we close shop I can have a bus scheduled to take us to Bob Evans and I’ll treat them to dinner as a thank you. I might have a good plan for Halloween 2015 – I’ll be back, kids!

Last thought today: It’s the heart of Pumpkin Spice Season! It’s a huge fad at this time of year now! I’m proud to be one of the setters of that trend because now I get to reap the benefits of everyone trying to one-up the last guy on the pumpkin goodness. I really was pumpkin when pumpkin wasn’t cool. From pumpkin pie and the fresh pumpkin seeds Pop used to roast after making our jack-o-lanterns when Dave and I were kids to using a can of pumpkin spice and Cool Whip to make low-cal desserts many years ago, I was a pumpkin pioneer! There wasn’t even a question the first time I saw pumpkin spice cheataccino in a gas station. Now every fall holds some magical new pumpkin discovery. This year is the almonds.

Oh my, the Blue Diamond pumpkin spice almonds are incredible! Similar in style to the cinnamon roasted almonds that can draw you into any festival on their smell alone, the pumpkin spice almonds are little cans of euphoria for the pumpkin aficionado. They are 7 for 1 Weight Watchers point and a healthy fat if consumed in the proper portion. My RDA 2 heathy fats a day is 14 almonds, by the way. You know the first thing I had to do after I tasted them was figure out how many I could have in a day! There are lots of ways to make that seasonal pumpkin spice addiction fit into a healthy eating plan; and I know every one of them!

Friday, October 17, 2014

East of Toledo

At the beginning of last month I sent David on a break from being the caregiver vacation and to start this month he went on vacation and took me with him! He tries to schedule vacation time in the fall to take advantage of the fall colors for photography. We saw some beautiful scenery! The picture up top is a road view in Vermont from the passenger’s side. It was my first time in Vermont adding another state to my “states visited” list bringing me to 37 of the 50!

Here’s another Vermont shot; what’s more classic New England than a covered bridge with fall colors surrounding it?
Photo Credit to David on this one

I think I was most impressed with the colors in Upstate New York.

I love the added hay rolls, as if the colors weren’t autumn enough.

And of course I photograph many things when we travel, but “the train’s the thing!”

There was nice color on the east side of Northern Ohio too.

On the way home, on Monday the 13, there were a lot of clouds with an occasional peek of sun and we concentrated on Bicentennial Barns on the far end of the state where we usually are passing through without stopping.

Summit County
Taken by David who has a little more natural elevation from the roadside

And this one I took just because I like older post offices and this was just a breathtaking fall scene!
I’ve been taking it easy this week; vacation recovery, haha, but the yellows are looking very nice out my window, especially against the rain-darkened brown on the trees. I might get out and snap a few photos even though we have mostly clouds.

Book News

If you pay any mind to my Good Reads “currently reading” widget on the right sidebar you may have noticed a very recent changing of the books with no book review. Well, that’s because I write a review after I finish a book and the book I’d previously started reading left me wondering how a book becomes a “best seller” anyway.

Here is what I did write on Good Reads about Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:
1 of 5 stars

I actually read about half, part way into part 2 and I couldn't take anymore. The characters were trite and shallow. Just because a character admits they are stereotypical doesn't make them any less a stereotype. Aside from the insanity twist that starts part 2 (I read chapter synopsis for the rest of the book) it was predictable and there wasn't one character I liked; they were all pretty flat.

My husband mentioned hearing good things about the movie. I hope that means the movie is considerably better than the book.

I think any interest I had in seeing the movie is gone although I did hear the author rewrote the ending for the movie. See? She didn’t even like the book. ;)

After dropping the iPad on the table and screaming to the cats that I couldn’t read any more of it, I read chapter summaries I found online, wrote that review and searched for a book to get the awful taste of Gone Girl away from my reading eyes. Now, I have three paperbacks waiting to be read. I take a break every now and then to read a paperback, dyslexia be damned, because friends loan or give me books or I find a good used book sale. This means I have a small “to read” paperback collection. Oh, I also joined a book swap that will have me sending and receiving a paperback in the next couple weeks. But, but…. Alan Jacobson has a new Karen Vail book out! I bought and loaded the book on my iPad and read the first 2 chapters before bed. I had to remind myself that I was tired and that’s why I went to bed in the first place last night and to “put the book down and roll away from the nightstand.” I’ll go to bed earlier tonight!

A couple of chapters with my favorite author and Gone Girl was gone!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Review: Taboo (Reilly Steel #1) by Casey Hill

Finished October 9, 2014

Synopsis at Good Reads

A first thriller co-written by Melissa Hill and her husband Kevin.
The story is set in Dublin and features forensic investigator Reilly Steel who has moved from the US to Dublin to be close to her father.
But what should have been a quiet period filled with training and Irish forensics team turns sinister and violent when body after body is found of people killed in what appears to be a twisted game.

My Review at Good Reads

3.5 of 5 stars

This book was a freebie on ireads. I found it interesting right from the start and it grabbed me more and more as the Book went on. The family ties in the story were reminiscent of the first Alan Jacobson Karen Vail thriller but Riley Steele is no Karen Vail. Vail is it character I love and Reilly Steele Is a strong character but with a much softer personality than Vail. I still enjoyed Steele as a character.

The story was written and flowed well, however as for editing and printing they were a few typos that even I caught which means there were likely more. Still the story was compelling enough that typos didn't matter. I thought the epilogue could've used a few more pages. It wasn't rushed but I would have preferred if it had been written to read a little slower. I will likely read the second book.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Wheelchair Fashion

Okay, THIS makes me sad:

It’s a ruana called Tassels and Scrolls. I love it! The colors, the style, not the boots, but with black leggings; SO Nani! I can totally afford it, so why does it make me sad? I can see those gorgeous long fringed hems getting stuck and subsequently ripped in the wheels of my wheelchair.

It’s not a one thing in the online store either! There are these ones in style and color that seem made for me too:

Wine Country Ruana

Willow Cardigan

I love fringe and dangly things, always have. But even my favorite type of jewelry, bracelets, battle with the chair for existence! That’s not so true with the power chair because I’m using the toggle controller, but when David and I go out someplace nice or if I go out with friends it’s usually with the manual chair. Kelly made me a wonderful Pandora-style bracelet with very personal charms, 4 of them dangly. Three of them got caught in the wheels and were flung off to the side, and lost. Even my medic alert charm was ripped from the bracelets.

I’ll be honest, through dealing with getting used to MS, the chair and dealing with the depression I shook in March after actually living with it for a couple of years I’d abandoned my personal style. I’d try to get it back, but the depression thing had me giving up pretty easy. Well now; no more!

Kelly visits, then Rina and I see family in Michigan. Then I travel for a week with David. I’ve not been so good at counting my Weight Watcher points. I need incentive, rewards. So here it goes.

I’m going to reward myself for every ten pounds lost. With slow and healthy loss that’s about once a month. I’ll give myself one piece of clothing or costume jewelry as a reward. I’m not going to lament what I can’t wear in a wheelchair because what I can’t wear in a chair just looks foolish like I didn’t know how to dress. Besides long uneven hems with fringe look better standing up. There are lacy and dangly things that are still Nani-style and cute when sitting without winding themselves in the operating parts of the chair.

Stay tuned for my new style…

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin

If I tell you to grab a cup of coffee for this read am I an enabler?

Welcome October…Welcomeish October. I have been SO COLD all day! The picture up top is my attempt to warm up. Yes the popcorn bag is a little scorched. I put it in for an extra 15 seconds to try to get more of the kernels to at least half pop. A few singed pieces are way better than rock hard kernels that never reach any point of their potential. And while I don’t like it burned, I actually kinda like popcorn that’s singed a little. My cup’s contents are courtesy of my last Gevalia K-Cup. That leads to two “let me tell yas.”

Let me tell ya about my cup! Back in 2012 I talked about the coffee mugs Kelly and I swap when we get together. I shared one of the mugs I’d found from 20 years prior in my storage and it was her obligation to find our mugs this time. She found the flowered mugs that hold about a Keurig cup and a half of coffee. She chose orange for hers and picked out my favorite shade of my favorite color for me!

Now as for the second thing, let me tell ya about the K-Cups and the pumpkin! I'm expecting a shipment from 11th Street Coffee tomorrow...afternoon. I'll be swimming is seasonal goodness, but I need morning coffee. So a desperate phone call to one of my favorite dealers brought a 12-pack of Signature Blend to get me by for tomorrow morning when David got in.

I totally blame Kelly for me losing control of my vices! I was only counting points for the first half of the days she was here before the cookies, candy and donuts…or habanero quarter pounder with Kelly’s preferred 5-gallon bin of fries, before the pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin spice lattes. And did I mention donuts? Oh I did, but the pumpkin donuts are worth mentioning on their own. And I was up to a latte and 4 cups of coffee a day. I gained a little; thankfully I can’t balance on the scale so I don’t know how much I can just feel it in my shirts, and I’m still on cup number 3 today, but I’m not ashamed of that. I’ve circled the wagons and I’m slowly climbing back on because I can’t climb fast. Okay, I can probably figuratively climb faster, but I’m sticking with this story. She reasoned “We see each other every couple years.” I rationalized, “Yanno, you’re right. How much damage can I do in 3 weeks?”

So here I am back down to 3 cups a day and counting every point of that 10point popcorn and coffee snack. I had a 5-point salad for lunch in anticipation of microwave popcorn! Give a full week and 3 weeks of damage will be gone and I’ll have great memories of weeks I concentrated more on treasuring my friends than controlling my vices.

She’s Got Legs, But Don’t Know How To Use Them
Credits: Broken by Karen Diamond Designs

I've started art journaling when frustration is getting to me and it's doing a great job of getting the negativity out of me!  We'll call the art journals part of my "Blue Period" Nani Picasso! LOL

For the first week Kelly was here she was my caregiver while David was on a “vacation from Nani.” I talked about that before; it was my idea that David needed a vacation without worrying about me. The timing of Kelly’s visit was perfect for that! Kel did a great job filling in for David, well except the kiss before bed and keep me warm which is in his vows, but not her friend vows. In fact I don’t recall that we ever took friend vows out loud. Kel didn’t have his proficiency with the craft of leveraging my legs up the last step into the upper floor of our house. There’s angle and lifting that I don’t know because I’m worrying about my part of getting me up that step. That did result in a couple nights of me not going upstairs and sleeping in my chair and one 2-day stint upstairs after an attempt to get me up to the second floor resulted in EMTs putting me on the bed. Oh, I’m okay, so is Kelly and on the bed I where I wanted to be anyway.

The third week was the one that got my watching-what-I-eat the worst, but I’m really not complaining there! Rina came and spent 4 days with us. She’s my niece, not daughter, although I was there as a guardian-teacher often when she and her sister grew up, and maybe that makes it even more special that she chose to spend her time off with me. She helped Kelly help me and after we figured out what needed to be done they got me in and out of Rina’s van with relative ease so we could go on a couple trips to Michigan. We went to Pop’s house for a great day with him and Aunt Judy and enjoyed the meeting of the Italian lunchmeats and cheese we bought at Sofo with the sautéed greens and piada he made; wonderful Italian Soul Food! Then the next day we picked up Scotty and went to the apple orchard (many donuts.) Then we all met Sheri at Dunkin Donuts and headed to Olive Garden for dinner. Of course, there had been dinner at Ya Halla the first night Rina was in!

Rina, Kelly and me at Ya Halla

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mommy Is Just Not Okay In The Head

Behind Stripes and Spots

Mommy sent Daddy away. I mean it. She sent him away for real and he was gone a very very long time. She was bragging about sending Daddy away and she said she did it because she loves him. And I think she’s confused in her head too because she said she wanted him to get a vacation away from wheelchairs and inside hotel rooms with bars in the bathrooms. Daddy doesn’t use those things SHE does! How is sending Daddy away...for a very very long time…giving him a break when it’s stuff he doesn’t use? I can tell you that Daddy doesn’t worry about wheelchairs and hotels with bars when she isn’t there, that’s for sure!

When Mommy sent Daddy away she was all alone. She shoulda thinked about that before sending him away. Mommy got a visit from a friend who saw her pictures of me on Facebook and wanted to meet me just in time so she had someone there when Daddy was gone. Boy was she lucky that happened! I’m so very lucky too because this wasn’t just a new person who brought medicine or a package or even stopped in to fix something. This visitor was KELLY!

I like meeting new people but Kelly is so much more than a new person! I liked her right away and couldn’t help myself from following her everywhere. I had to tell her about my house and my sisters and my Daddy who Mommy sent away but I just knew he’d come back because wishted he could see me and how I love my Mommy but she’s so mean to Daddy making him go away. Do you know what Kelly did? She petted me and said stuff like “Oh, I know baby.” She just gets me.

I stuck with Kelly as much as I could after I found her. I followed her everywhere and curled up to sleep with her. What a guy to do when mean old Mommy sends your Daddy away, right? I was lucky that Kelly came into my life! I mean what if Mommy sends me away because I don’t use a wheelchair and she wants me to have a break, right? I’ll just run away to Kelly.

Then last night I heard a sound I membered from a very very long time ago. Mommy and Kelly were inside but the door opened. IT WAS DADDY!!!! I KNEW he was gonna come home. He HAD to come see me! I was the very first purrson he said hello to the very first scritches he gave. I’m THAT important to him, Marco number one! After he pushed me in the house he said hello to everyone else, even Mommy! After she sent him away he even hugged Mommy and gave her cookies to share with MY Kelly.

My Daddy is such a great guy. He even acted like he was glad not to hafta have a wheelchair or bars in the hotel all the very very long time he was gone. I think next time I‘ll send Mommy away and just stay with Daddy and Kelly.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Gonna Be A Great Week

Good Monday! A little variety is a good thing now and then. Saturday morning David left on just over a week’s vacation. I didn't. Yesterday Kelly arrived with her bags for a long stay. Oh nothing is wrong, this was all quite planned this way.

First thing’s first Happy Birthday to Carla! Our middle child is 6 years old today! Okay, we don’t know the exact day but she was born in September in 2008. We gave her the 8th because that was Carl Yastrzemski’s number and she was named for him.

An important part of chapter one of the book I haven't written yet, The Proper Care And Feeding Of Your Caregiver, is making sure the caregiver gets the rest they need. To borrow a tern from my most beloved book of all think, the seven habits of highly effective people, make sure your caregiver, sharpens the saw, or get pre breaks to relax and rejuvenate. When your caregiver is your spouse, that means that sometimes travel needs to be that spouse and his/her friends without you. Of course in my case at least it means I need a babysitter while my spouse is gone. That's where the ever important best friend comes into play!

This week David is chasing trains. Sometimes he's meeting up with other railfans sometimes solo, and calling me to say goodnight and tell me how the trains were today. Yes, he reports that he misses me, but he needs some time to not worry about wheelchairs at break stops or accessible rooms at hotels. It also helps me receive a little stress relief knowing he’s getting that time to recharge. The “sharpen the saw” concept is that if a saw isn't sharpened, renewed, it does at do its job well anymore, it doesn't saw wood. If a Hum an doesn't rest and renew they don't work as well either.

Kelly is officially my PCA, personal care assistant, right now. She's helping with pretty much everything this week. Yesterday we were on the bus at 1 headed to Books, Baked Goods, Crafts and Fun at Paws and Whiskers, the annual open house. We came home with some books, sweets and silent auction winnings as we left a nice donation for the cats! It was a decent haul more than I could have brought home alone. Groceries will be interesting this week as I’ll likely have more bags than usual there too. Of course groceries will have to be from the froo-froo Kroger this week. Gotta have that girl time at Starbucks you know!

We really took no photos yesterday as day one together was talking, lots of buffs who needed to catchup talking. I see much. coffee and talking today too! Although we can talk about rocket science over coffee, it wasn't required to predict that part of our day,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: Last at Bat by Mark Donahue

Finished August 30, 2014

Brief synopsis at Google Books

LAST AT BAT is the story of a man who refused to give up on his God-given talent and of the small South Carolina town who conspired to grant him a second chance. It is a story of resilience, redemption and enduring love.

My review at Good Reads

My cousin, one of the ones who recommended David Baldacci to me, brought this book with him when we met in Cincinnati for a baseball game and loaned it to me. Another friend of his is waiting for the book after me, so I made it the next book in the queue for me. I will say that when you've been reading using an ereader for a few years a hard cover feels mighty strange in your hands!

3.5 of 5 stars

The book is fiction without a doubt. There is absolutely no possible way the main points in the book could have happened and that did interfere with me really enjoying the story at first. The two main characters are same person and both are dead and play baseball for the Cincinnati Reds. I'm not going to explain that because I do recommend the book for the right readers. If you're not the right reader for the book you won't care what that confusing sentence meant anyway. The story jumps around in time a little, but no more than necessary to give historical facts and it takes place in an unspecified time in the future. I will note that the Houston Astros are still in the National League and division rivals of the Reds, which they were in 2009 when the book was published. The book gets an extra star from me because of the mention that Pete Rose's number is retired.

Last At Bat is a romance novel for men. That's what I got from it and about half way through the book when I came to that realization it became a much more enjoyable book. There are not graphic sex scenes. Science tells us women like those but men prefer visuals for that. What a man would look for in a romance hero is that he is an incredible athlete, smart, good looking and everyone loves him on the field on off and he can woo a woman with words and a look even if the gorgeous but completely down to earth woman believes he's not her type. Meet Dylan Michael. A romance hero for a man would also be strong enough to face the most horrendous physical challenge and beat it out. A devastating physical trauma is something he can overcome with sheer determination and an undying spirit and he'll be physically better than he was without losing the brains and charm that everyone loved before. Meet Matt Wolf.

Can a man be on top of the world, fall completely down and get back up to the very top? When it’s obvious that he was cheated and is an innocent can a man morally evade the law after a conviction and win? Can a man lose the love of his life hoping to find her again and have her sacrifice whatever is necessary to be with him? Can the rekindled romance only be possible with the help of a dog? It's a romance novel, of course it can!

Should you read this book? If you like baseball, fantasy and would just like to see number 14 on the wall of retired numbers at Great American Ballpark in print, yes you should read this book. Although I will recommend that you read it in the off season when the Cubs are unbeaten and could win the World Series and any dream can come true.