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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 30, 2015

Christmas Tears

Oh, I’m talking about the kind of tears that I want to feel welling up in my eyes during the holidays! I had a wonderful Christmas as a giver with gifts well-received and a few unexpected extras that I truly enjoyed seeing the reactions of the recipients. But I was the gift-getter of not one, but three gifts that gave me those happy tears this year!

It started Christmas Eve. There were some errands to run and we were going out to dinner. It rained on our anniversary and David and I decided to have an earlier dinner on Christmas Eve rather than me venturing out in my chair in the rain. Even with an umbrella, there is much more of you exposed to the rain in a wheelchair than there is standing up. So we were going out after David’s afternoon “commitment.” It wasn’t a train or poker and he wouldn’t tell me details, so I figured the “commitment” was something for me.

Well, the time for that commitment came and David was still home. He told me the time had been pushed back a little later. He started cleaning up some things in the living room where I had been cleaning little by little but he's capable of picking it up much faster. I was thinking to myself that helping with that was an awesome gift in itself. He works full time and when he’s home, taking cafe of all the things I can’t do is a full time job. I don’t remember exactly what I asked, but his answer included that he was clearing out space because Mike was coming over and they were putting up a tree.


He’d read the blog post I did about being sad that I wouldn’t have an aide yet to help me clean up the living room and it’d be the third year without a tree. He wanted to give me a tree for Christmas Eve. Mike, who is allergic to cats, drugged himself up with allergy meds and came over. He and David put up the tree with lights, garland and the tree skirt and angel on top, just like I was planning to do.

At first I told him it was the thought and it made me feel so good, but he didn’t need to put up a tree. I insisted it was a lot of work to do it and we weren’t going to be home on Christmas but then I stopped saying not to do it. I was ashamed of myself for not appreciating the incredible meaning of the thought. It’s not just that he reads my blog; it’s that he really reads the piece of me I put into what I write. And he knew better than I did just how much it would do for me to have a tree.

Oh those beautiful, warm lights glowing in the dark after we got home from dinner were just beautiful to to watch. I settled into the recliner and he cozied on the couch and we just relaxed. I’m not a snow means Christmas person, Christmas is Christmas as long as there are lights. David gave me my Christmas spirit this year.

My other happy Christmas tears from gifts I received came on Christmas Day. We did name drawing for our family gift exchange on Christmas morning. Tori drew my name. I had already said I was prepared for a warm and fuzzy gift. She “owed me tears” after the books I’d done for the girls when they turned 18. I got my gift and opened Catopoly, the cat version of Monopoly. After 21 years, she knows me well! I was anxious to play the game. I was surprised there wasn’t a mushy gift after all. But then there was a second smaller box. The second box was the tears box.

When the girls were learning to talk, they had 2 names to learn in their world that were similar. They had Aunt Nanette, with vowel sounds similar to “baguette,” and Aunt Nani, rhymes with “Donny.” For a while we were both “Nana,” like the end of “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’.” As their ability to better grspthe vowel sounds improved, Nanette became Aunt Nanette, but part because Nana and Nani sound so similar and part because they saw me more often and had been calling me Nana all along, I stayed Nana. It’s the same as my Aunt Raffaella has always been Auntie to me and still is. That’s what makes her MY aunt, and so my name, Nana, is with the girls.

The smaller box had tissue paper that when unfolded revealed a silver rope bracelet with a clasp big enough to be put on and taken off with MS hands. It also has a heart-shaped sparkly charm that says NANA in block letters.

It’s pretty much been as everyday important as my medical alert bracelet since Tori fastened it on my wrist Christmas morning.

My last happy Christmas tears came when we got home Christmas night. Edna spoiled me with a couple of boxes. One was a sort of stocking in a box with wrapped presents that included one that felt like it must be a neck warmer like the ones I knew she was making for Christmas gifts. I opened that last because I love hand-made gifts and I expected that would be the special gift I’d want to open as the finale of the box.

I opened the paper and saw the variegated pink, purples, orange and yellow; gorgeous. I remember how much I liked the multi color ones she’d done. I may have even left a comment about it on her blog. It was beautiful! But when I turned it around the get a full look pinned together from the front, that’s when my eyes welled up again that'd day.

On the pin is a orange ribbon MS charm. The gorgeous gift was very personal and yesterday when I wore it to the doctors office, it was warm too!

So those were my smiling Christmas tears. I like to give gifts that are special; something the receiver wouldn't normally buy for themselves but would enjoy or something that just jumps out and makes me think of them or something I create. I like to give gifts that are memorable or memories in themselves. That’s because of how wonderful it feels to receive gifts liken that. This year I had three of them that felt beyond that emotional bar I set for myself as a giver. The friends and relatives that are my famiy are just awesome. I love you guys!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Santa Paws Is Just Awesome!

Behind Stripes and Spots

I needed a break after playing with Wobbert

This was such a cool Christmas! We got lots of treats and toy mousies. Two mousies jungle and two of them make real squeaks! But the best thing I got was Wobbert! Here’s Wobbert’s video:

Isn’t Wobbert cool? Mommy says Wobbert is a “Feline Tickle Me Elmo.” I don’t know what that is but she says that everycat wants a Wobbert this year. Well, yeah. Did you watch the video? How could anycat NOT want a Wobbert?

I’m not so sure about the name on my present. It didn’t say Marco it said Share. Mommy and Daddy have called me nicknames before but Santa Paws is the first one to call me Share. But it’s okay to call me Share if you’re giving me edible string!

That is the part of the video I don’t get. How can you play with Wobbert when he still has chicken-string? When Mommy loads him up like the video shows, the first thing I do is eat the yummy string. Mommy gave a piece of string to Carla and one to Kaline. Neither one of them liked the string so when Mommy stopped holding me against my will, I got the extra pieces of string right away. How could they not like edible string??

We all play with Wobbert and get him to drop treats for us. Kaline platys with him a little, but would rather have human staff just give her the treats. But I admit Carla is pretty impressive. She can get a treat from Wobbert almost every time she hits him! One time she hit him a buncha times and got treats for all of us!

We also found out my Wobbert is better than games for people-kids because Mommy heard that one of her people-kid cousins got a new X-box that wouldn’t play his old X-box games! Santa Paws sent a present from our friend, Pogo, in New England. It was a whole bag of Meow Mix treats, which are very yummy treats by the way, thanks, Pogo! Mommy put some of those treats in my Wobbert and they worked great. Take THAT X-box!

Mommy said maybe she should get another Wobbert since we all like to play at the same time when she loads the treat holders. I think that's a good idea. If she got the girls a Wobbert I could eat all the string since they don’t like the string.

It was a good Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Longer Days Again!

Happy Yule! It’s Winter Solstice which means the days will now be getting longer everyday! YAY!!

After a grouchy and the a whiny post, it’s time for a normal Nani, dontcha think? The Winter Solstice really is a holiday with good memories for me. Most of them are because I love sunlight. Seriously I didn't have to get too old before I realized I just like doing things during the day best. Even when I travel I prefer skipping going out and enjoying what there is to do at night so I can wake up and do morning things. So the marking of the days getting longer is worth celebrating to me. I also have a fun memory of the Solstice Celebration I enjoyed with the guy I was dating many years ago. He was a Buddhist who celebrated recognized the pagan holidays.

This also marks the beginning of a busy week for me. Tomorrow is our anniversary! It will be 7 years since that day that I started off a bachelorette falling on a 12 pack of cherry soda and ended waiting for my husband to get home from work. I still smile when I think about the fun that we had with our mischievous reveals the next couple weeks. There was nothing conventional about our wedding day or the events leading up to it or any of the things we did over the next few months to celebrate it. And I wouldn't change one bit of it for anything in the world. I am blessed that I have a wonderful man in my world. He has gone through so much with me and he is still my rock. I love you, David and as I get things in order I look forward to giving you the very best of me for many years to come.

It's my blog; I can have my mushy moments if I want them.

Then it’s Christmas Eve and Christmas day! We don't actually have Christmas eve plans this year, But David is off work that day. Maybe we'll exchange our gifts to each other if David's had a chance to shop by then. hehehehe… Christmas day will be family time.

I've been enjoying some flavors of the season this past week. I posted this photo on my Facebook page and received decent number of likes for someone who sporadically uses Facebook.

Panettone is a traditional Italian cake. Mom and I both loved panettone, but we did not like it with the candied orange peel. Noni always made a point of having one for Christmas that was solo uvetta/senza canditi; only raisins/without candied fruit. Those are not easy to find at all! I try to find one for Christmas but there have been years where I haven't had any panettone. This year I found an Amazon store that imports groceries from Italy. It fulfills the delivery through Amazon Prime. This panettone is a really good one too!

Panettone is a traditional Italian holiday cake. Taste-wise it’s similar to raisin bread only just a touch sweeter and a ton richer. A typical recipe for panettone includes a couple of eggs and double that number of just yolks. The texture is like the really soft inside of fresh Italian bread with a touch of cake to it with raisins and candied orange peel. Now the hard-to-find “senza canditi” is that just without the orange peel.

During the Christmas season panettone is a breakfast bread, a social coffee side or a light dessert. When you see what looks like a plate of hunks of bread on the table when you visit Italian friends during the holidays you think it’s just a plain thing to munch with your coffee. But when you taste a “little piece to be polite” you find out it has a truly addictive quality! An Italian holiday is a never-ending food coma anyway but the panettone with robust espresso after dinner was always a wonderful finish.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

All I Want For Christmas

Our tree in 2011

I hope everyone is enjoying this festive time of year. Hanukah just ended last week, and while I know it’s not the biggie of the Jewish holidays, it is the biggest commercial one because of the time of the year. I think Christmas is much the same. The bigger Christian holiday is Easter, but Christmas is the big party one. The roots of all of that probably have to do with farming.The crops have been harvested and the time is available for celebrating and feasting. In the northern hemisphere, especially us further north parts of it, the days are shorter and it’s colder. A major holiday celebration is good for morale.That's just my thought based on personal observation.

I’m a little blue because we don’t have a tree again. It’s the third year in a row we haven’t put up the tree, but it’s also three years we’ve been at Pop’s on Christmas morning. I’ve enjoyed the pretty tree Aunt Judy does at their house. I’d still be in a happier Christmas mood if we had a tree at home. A lot of the worst things in our home are because of my disability. I was always the person who cleans up around the house, especially for the holidays, scrubbing up the kitchen before a huge baking week and arranging my “Santa-Nani’s Worksop” for gifts and such. Now that workshop decor is pretty much back to a bachelor pad motif. I’m not ripping on the former bachelor in the house - I’m lamenting my former elfen ability!

We did the tree with lights and a plush gold garland that Mom had gotten many years ago. It’s thick commercial grade; she’d talked a sales associate into selling it to her after Christmas one year. Every ornament on the tree had special meaning. There are ceramic angels from the formal pink and burgundy tree I had in my 20s, gorgeous porcelain angels Scotty’s family gave me and the glass ballerina Mom picked out because it reminded her of my dance days when I was a little girl. In a box next to the box with our tree are baseball ornaments for all three of our teams many cats and trains and gifts from friends. We have a special ornament for every year we’ve been together since 2005, including the photo the judge took of us on our wedding day in the 2008 frame ornament that says “our first married Christmas.” We picked out that ornament earlier in December when we didn’t even know for sure which day the picture would be taken. We’ve gotten an ornament for the last 2 years even though there was no tree but not for this year. I had said that if we didn’t put up the tree this year I wanted to get rid of it because all it was doing was taking storage space; But what I actually meant was I desperately wanted the tree and an ornament for this year.

My pink tree from the 80s/90s
Notice the same tree top?

We almost had a tree too. I had planned to drain the rest of my current savings to pay for a home heath aide (insurance doesn’t cover an aide) and I’d get things picked up and organized and we could have a tree. This year it’d probably be lights and garland, at least until we saw how Marco reacted. He’s 2-1/2 years old and has never seen a “cat-toy tree” or tried to climb one. But we’d fasten the tree to the wall with fishing wire like we did when Kaline still climbed. And my aide would help me with warping gifts and writing on tags. I was even dreaming about making a couple crostadas and a batch of gingerbread cookies. That’s a selfish me thing; I love my gingerbread cookies. But alas; no aide. I need help too bad to get help.

You see, I can't get out of the wheelchair on my own. Right now we’re working on getting a new chair that will have a lift, tilt forward, like our recliner, so I’m half standing, which is all I need to grab something and keep standing. But from this chair, I can sort of levitate my butt, but then someone needs to lift me to that level when\re I can grab something to finish standing. But in that in between, I need to really be supported and lifted up. If I was 145 pounds, which I’m not unless I’m asleep and having a very happy dream, for that lift, it’s over 50 pounds. 50 pounds is the limit of what an aide is allowed to lift. It’s for the safety of both the aide and me and I see and agree with that, but it means there won’t be an aide until I have a new chair and then only if it has that lift//tilt, which I’m told that insurance companies more often than not won’t cover. I did tell the new vendor we’re working with that the chair will have the lift and I’ll find a grant or a loan if it’s not approved.

So entering into 2016 there is a lot to look forward to. Everything that has dragged on and on this year has the potential to become a bountiful blossom next year. No matter what it takes, I’ll have the chair that better suits the way I use it. With the lift, I’ll be able to transfer without putting so much stress on my caregiver. That means I’ll be able to have an aide. I’ve applied for a grant for that and have an application for another one too. I hope I can at least have someone in a couple times week to help me get in and out the shower and some housekeeping assistance. And NEXT year I’ll have Christmas Tree and a happier holiday season. Next year I’ll bring a crostada to Christmas morning festivities and I’ll make a batch of gingerbread bats.

Now, DON’T WORRY. I’m still more happy than glum and I bounce back well when I'm sad. I find great joy in giving and I’ve sent a few gifts to friends I don’t trade holiday gifts with. I haven't been out much, so I haven’t gotten to pick up a stranger’s coffee or even lunch bill, but when a friend I haven’t seen in a few years ends a “thank you” with “you shouldn’t have, but I’m so glad you did” it feels awesome.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Outdated Tradition: Another Way PC Is Justified.

It’s my annual grumble and maybe it’s heightened by the fact that 2015 has actually been a rough year for me. In a year where I’ve been pushed out of the social world by control that’s been taken away from me by MS, wheelchair trouble and complications that keep seeming to push a solution farther away, I’m feeling a little nonexistent. That feeling deepened when we received a stack of cards yesterday and exactly half of them make that same observation; that I’m unimportant.

I understand that there is an ancient tradition that dictates that a woman takes on the identity of a man’s additional appendage and gives up her existence when she marries, but come on, it’s 2015. I took my husband’s last name by choice. I gave up my middle name to took my father’s last name as my new middle name because that was my last name for 42 years. I did that by choice too. It wasn’t the choice of marrying David that changed my last name. It was MY choice to change my middle and last names. I didn’t change my first name and I didn’t change my gender when I got married. (And if I did change my gender I’d have come up with something a lot more creative than changing my name to the same as my husband and my brother.) Yet half of those cards were addressed as if my name had become David or as if I just don’t exist.

I do realize that referring to the couple as “Mr. and Mrs. (man’s first name) (man’s last name)” was how cards were addressed 100+ years ago. Then in 1919 women got their pretty pink voting cards so they could ask their husbands what they should do when they go vote after they wash the breakfast dishes if there was time in between laundry loads. Because why would Mrs. Mike Smith have any thoughts that were different than Mr. Mike Smith? There is only one letter different in their identities.

When women having some rights was new there were a lot of people that weren’t used to women being respected as humans. It’s appalling that there are customs that demean women that are still accepted in 2015. In 2015 “Mr and Mrs. Mike Smith” not only disregards Lisa but it assigns her a new identity as a meaningless extension of Mike. Oh, by the way, Lisa Jones became Lisa Smith when she married Mike Smith. She’s still Lisa; pretty much all that changed was her marital status and last name. She’s even still Ms. Jones professionally. The 2015 greeting card should be addressed to Mr. and Mrs Smith, The Smith Family, Mike and Lisa Smith, just Mike and Lisa or just the Smiths, but in 2015, don’t address it to Mr. and Mrs. Mike Smith! Notice the “Mrs. Mike” sex change in there?

There are social situations where David has friends that don’t remember my name. That’s okay. Casual friends he only sees once in a while and not always with me aren’t expected to remember me. They greet me as “Mrs. David" and in person that’s a compliment because they may not remember my name, but they remember WHO I am to them in that social situation. I have friends I’ve met through my husband that occasionally greet me that way as more a term of endearment. In scrapbook forums where friends have never met him, I often refer to my husband as “Mr. Nani.” But I wouldn’t be pleased to see a “formally addressed” greeting” card that reads “Mrs. and Mr. Nani” any more than I appreciate seeing “Mr. and Mrs. David.” They are exactly the same thing and both are wrong. Calling it “formal” and ducking behind an outdated custom to insult someone is not special or upscale for the holidays. If you want to be special and upscale, give Godiva chocolates or use a gold seal to close the envelopes. Don’t generously hand out unsolicited gender modifications.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies 2015

Welcome to this year’s Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies blog train! This year’s freebie from Digitalegacies Designs is a mini kit called Christmas Confetti. I used a classic Christmas palette and a few elements that include a couple of my favorites, I love journal cards and coffee cups, with tress and confetti spill to coordinate with the printed papers. I hope you can use it for a layout of as part of your scrapping stash!

Click the preview to download at MediaFire

Be sure to visit the Christmas Around The World home page to see all the free gifts previewed and links to those designers’ pages to download.

Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas!