Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

The Chronicles of Nani On Video

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

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

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

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yes Nani, There Is A Santa Claus

Merry Christmas Eve and Happy First Day of Hanukkah! Boy, we got here fast this year. I'm sure the surgery at the beginning of the month can be blamed for the things that are late or didn't get done this year. Well, I'm blaming it for taking a week of prep time away from me. I can't bake anymore, at least not alone, and I've been sending other cookies or treats to the loved ones I'd sent those to before. I didn't this year and that makes me sad. I feel a little plowed under by the holiday season that sort of avalanched. Our Christmas cards are still here and will be sent out after Christmas as our way of extending the warmth and love of the holiday.

Last minute shopping I needed to do was thwarted by weather yesterday. How that happened on a dry and warmer day was that iced over packed snow at the end of the driveway turned to thick slush. My wheels slid around and got stuck and the bus driver had to help me out. That was at the beginning of about a 10-yard slush field. After backing me out I had to refuse the ride since we agreed there was no way I could get to the bus. I had asked David about making that trip after dinner. We had planned to go out to acknowledge our anniversary last night, but a combination of that slush on the wheelchair van, rediscovering that the old wheelchair, which is lower and fits at restaurant tables, is the "old" wheelchair because the seat is too short and is the reason why my hips are painfully twisted (they're worse now and it hurts more) and to top it off it was raining, cancelled the dinner plans too.

It's been a challenging Holiday season for me this year.

But there are many good things too.

For the surgical procedure to have happened at all it meant the blood pressure problem that saw it rescheduled in November is under control It was successful with no complications and visiting nurse says healing well.

I always put funds for a couple extra gifts in my Christmas budget for gifts for friends I don't always exchange with, RAKs, extra help for people I don't know or charity. I don't make a big deal about doing that because it's something I do for myself, it just makes me feel good. This year I didn't have time to spend that, but I did get an "emergency call" from a friend who I was able to help because of not having time to spend it. I gladly accept that there's a reason for everything

I ran out of time but I really wanted to make a single batch of gingerbread cookies. I spent years perfecting my gingerbread recipe to be exactly the cookies I wanted. I did that to my taste, I shared them with my holiday baking, but they were the cookie I made for me. One of my aides said we could make the dough one day and bake them the next. Unfortunately she wasn't scheduled to be in this week, so the cookies weren't made. However, if she's in the week after Christmas, we can still do a batch. I also accept that gingerbread doesn't have to be a Christmas cookie.

I did get all the presents I had planned on getting and I got them all wrapped. There were two boxes that were sent in the mail and I know that one of them made it today and I'm hoping that the other one did as well. David is picking up the breakfast pastries that I couldn't get yesterday and I will have those ready for Christmas morning. I've talked to Pop; there is a beautiful decorated tree to go with the fabulous meal he'll be serving tomorrow.

In so many ways it is felt like this holiday season is just another part of a gloomy year. But even in the darkest of times, the holidays bring out the best in everybody and the brightest of feelings inside all of us.  Yes Nani, there is a Santa Claus; but sometimes you have to look for him so you can give him a hug.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm joining Joyce at From This Side of The Pond for the Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate

As a former producer/project manager, I can't say I favor one over the other because both are equally important to get things done. I'm personally an outgoing introvert, which says "both" too; when I'm alone I concentrate on tasks I want finished, but I try to be very conscious of others, where they do their best, and by that enjoy what they're doing the most, when I'm working with a group. I've found that both personally and professionally making sure everybody is doing something they really love and do well make anything work better for everyone involved and is better quality in the end. So I guess that makes me a little more people oriented. I place great importance on the people who are doing the tasks and I believe that anything is better with a devoted group than it is alone.

2. December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls Day...do you own/wear pearls? If you're a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a 'pearl of wisdom' with us here today.

I don't have, nor have I ever had, real pearls. I'm a shiny stones person. I have worn plastic pearls in the past.

"Pearl of wisdom?" A good psychologist will not solve all of your problems for you. A GOOD psychologist listens to you and asks you the questions you need to answer to solve your problems yourself. Any kind of real change or repair has to come from you. But don't ever be afraid to let a professional help you find the answers that you have inside.

3. Speaking of pearls...oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest-have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little?

I'm not an oyster fan. Honestly I don't remember if I've tried them, but I probably have at some point during my life. As a first generation American I tried a lot of weird stuff as a child. LOL I'm told I was a huge fan of calamari when I was little. I know what they taste like and there's no way I'd eat them now. So it's probable that I did try oysters at some time but the thought of eating an oyster now is kind of gross so I don't want to try them, probably again, to see if I like them. There are so many things that I enjoy that I see no need to try to add oysters to that list.

I do know that I have tried in recent years and don't like eggplant, Portabella mushrooms, sushi, tapioca putting, salmon or tilapia.

4. Time Magazine has named President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year. Let's take presidents and presidential candidates out of the mix for a minute. If a political figure had not been chosen who would you name Man or Woman of the Year for 2016?

Time's Man of the Year in 1938 was Adolph Hitler. Hmm...

Nani Magazine's Person of the Year 2016 is Simone Biles. Incredibly talented, 4 Gold Medals and I was blown away with how tall she looks when performing.

5. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 has been announced, and it's a vibrant green aptly named-greenery. Your thoughts? Is this a color currently in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade for the new year? Click here to see the color.

Woo-hoo, Greenery! It's a great color and one I can say that I have a lot of in my house and in my wardrobe. I think going forward into 2017 with greenery as the color of the the year rekindles some of my hope that, at least the color copy of, the year will look good!

6. Today I've had too much SNOW!

There was a reported measurement of 9 inches at the airport Sunday afternoon into Monday early morning. There is still snow all over the yard every time I look out the window and it's COLD. So there's the winter. I'm good with that. Bring on the warm weather and bring the spring flowers. I've had enough of winter now.

7. Share a favorite lyric from a favorite Christmas carol.

I chuckled at this one because just last night I wrote down my top 10 Christmas songs for 2016 to put in my weekly journal.

Here is that list:

Unto You This Night, Garth Brooks *
Old Toy Trains, Joe Nichols
Let It Be Christmas, Alan Jackson
Candlelight Carol, Neil Diamond *
Away In A Manger, John Berry *
Ave Maria, Luciano Pavarotti
Hallelujah (Christmas lyrics), The Osmonds
Oh Holy Night, Jo Dee Messina
Mary Did You Know, Kenny Rogers & Wynona Judd
This Christmas, Dru Hill *

* songs that have been my favorite versions of my favorite songs for a very long time and are in the top 50 or so all time. The top 10 for the year is a combination of those all-time songs that really strike me in a given year and the new songs that I'm kind of obsessed about this year.

The Osmonds version of Hallelujah is with the lyrics rewritten to tell the story of the first Christmas. I think Hallelujah is a beautiful song but the original lyrics are about a relationship ending and questioning faith. I think the Osmonds version is much more appropriate for Christmas.

I heard Old Toy Trains for the first time last year and I absolutely love the song, the Joe Nichols version being, in my opinion, the best. That's the lyric I'm sharing today.

Old toy trains, little toy tracks
Little boy toys, comin' from a sack
Carried by a man dressed in white and red
Little boy don't you think it?s time you where in bed?

Close your eyes, listen to the skies
All is calm, all is well
Soon you'll hear Kris Kringle and the jingle bells

Bringin' old toy trains, little toy tracks
Little boy toys, comin' form a sack
Carried by a man dressed in white and red
Little boy don't you think it?s time you where in bed?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've always loved this time of year. Personally I decorate for and share Christmas with my relatives and many members of my family. For me it's a celebration of spirituality, family/community and of children. I honor those as three separate holidays for church, national and a Hallmark holiday for the kid in all of us. As a Unitarian Universalist I also respect and enjoy the many other holidays celebrated at this time of year. I've been one of those dreaded "Happy Holidays" people since I bowled with Jewish kids when I was about 7 or 8 years old.

I'd love it if everyone could embrace saying "happy holidays" in public/with people they don't know and share the joy they feel from their holiday with everyone in a non-judgmental way. But I also like the idea of just not correcting anybody when they say a greeting whether it's "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," "Merry Yule," or even " Happy Holidays." They are all greetings that say "I feel blessed and like celebrating and I want to share that good feeling with you." The best way to share the loving spirit of what you celebrate is to simply smile and say "thank you, you too.” Doesn't that capture the"peace" part of all of the holidays?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Flowers, Flowers, Freebies

Aren't they beautiful? David stopped to pick up a few grocery items, including a special holiday traditional treat for me, on the way home Friday. When he came in he presented me with a bouquet of bright Christmas-colored flowers! He hasn't brought me flowers in the long time. I hadn't been feeling like a Neil Diamond song or anything, but they sure make me smile every time I look at them!

Getting flowers is a nice introduction to me giving flowers to all of my digital scrapbooking friends! I might have mentioned when I released Christmas Cocoa for Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies on December 1 that I thought it needed flowers and maybe something else.

Here are the flowers and a few leaves to add to this month's freebie kit!

Christmas Cocoa Flowers
Click on preview to download at MediaFire

The Christmas Cocoa kit is here,

 I hope you enjoy Christmas Cocoa. Stay tuned! I may yet have something else to add to this kit.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


First up was some good news for me. I got my mammogram a couple weeks ago and the very skinny envelope came in the mail once again saying that there were no apparent abnormalities. Yay! No matter what else happens that's negative I can say that I still have perfect blood sugar and perfect boobs. Even if the boobs aren't as great to look at as they used to be, they're still 50-year-old perfect!

Additional medical stuff that might give you a window into why I haven't blogged a lot or even read blogs a lot for a while, I had, and I'll add survived, my first non-dental surgical procedure done this past week. I did say a few blog posts ago there's been nothing that's life or death and I stand by that; it was outpatient surgery and not life-and-death. The big issue of it for me was that I've never had anything in the way of surgery that wasn't dental surgery. I had my wisdom teeth taken out at 18, all of them, and had extractions as a result of abscess teeth because my teeth are hereditarily chalky and don't hold crowns. But, yeah, in 50 years that's all the surgery I've ever had. So the thought of even an outpatient procedure was obsessively scary. It was done with sedation and local anesthetic but general anesthetic was a back up if that wasn't enough. It's the general anesthesia possibility that scared me. I don't think there's anything more anti-control freak than being knocked out so far it takes you a scattered while to come out of it. Thankfully, general anesthesia ended up not being necessary. So I've now had surgery but I've never been completely knocked out. That can stay that way as far as I'm concerned. The doctor ended up wanting to keep me overnight for observation. There was nothing wrong it really was just for observation and they pretty much came in and cleared me for going home Thursday morning. Of course at hospitals clearing you to go home in the morning at 9 o'clock means you actually get to go home about about three.

I prefer not to share anymore details about surgery, but suffice it to say it makes wheelchair living safer, easier and less painful.

I had a setback, but I'm slowly building myself back up with all the optimism I can muster!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Shopping

Saturday was a holiday shopping day for me. I like internet shopping because there aren't the crowds I didn't enjoy shopping in before the wheelchair. But honestly, I do miss the decorated malls and the peppermint lattes!

I would have been exhausted doing everything I did in person. I started surfing around noon. David was home so we shared talk, music and meals. There is no way he'd spend the whole day Christmas shopping with me and not be miserable. With me cyber shopping, he could play poker online and I could still show him things I saw in stores. I enjoyed the social part of shopping and he didn't have to step foot in the estrogen-filled stadium of "shop til you drop."

I'm doing Secret Santa with a women's group I'm in. My Santee is someone I've never met before. It's just like the Secret Santa Soirée was done only I don't have years of her blog to get to know the person I'm giving to. I just have her Facebook wall. We life-bloggers and craft bloggers share more details about our passions and preferences than is usually shared on Facebook. Still, between the Facebook Wall and her paragraph about who she is and the things she likes I was able to have several ideas that I could pursue to find just the right gift. I found it around 11 o'clock Saturday night. There was one other person that I was shopping for but I knew what I wanted to get, down to two possible pictures of it in my mind. I found one of the pictures I had in mind after a couple of hours but, as is a regular shopping thing, I found something else that I just loved. I hope it's opened with as big a smile as it gave me to find it. I'm behind on my page-a-day scrap goal for December already, but it was totally worth it to spend a day traveling all over internet stores and finding the right gifts for two different people!

When shopping the specialty stores to collect my traditional Italian goodies and other special things for the holidays, I like to find occasional edible presents and I also like to try something new myself. In years past I tried cranberry mustard, rum cake cookies and even chicken tortellini.

This year I tried a jar of creama di pistacchio, pistachio cream, from Supermarket Italy. At first glance, it's a jar of green goo. It's greener than I was expecting from the photograph online but since it was creamier, than Lake Erie water during an algae bloom, I decided I wasn't so grossed out that I couldn't give it a try.

O-M-G... I swiped my finger on the pistachio cream that was on the lid and the taste is amazing! If you like pistachios imagine peanut butter only with pistachios. The flavor is a little more pungent than peanut butter but that's because pistachios are a little more pungent than peanuts. Where I could take a spoon and just scoop peanut butter out and eat it, I really think I need crackers or biscuits for the pistachio butter. But, oh my, it is good!

I talked to my dad last night and told him about it. I also wanted help on the pronunciation of pistacchio, pistachio in Italian. Pop said, no kidding, that he didn't remember ever saying pistacchio when he was a kid and only remembers saying it in English. Since I'm not bilingual, I've never thought about there being things you'd learn about while speaking in the new language that you didn't know the word for in your original tongue. I was told that when I was learning to talk I had to learn the English word butterfly because I first saw butterflies often at the park with my grandmother. Noni called them "farfalle" and I didn't know that word was a different language than the one I was learning. Of course since I don't actually remember that one, I don't remember how it felt. I still think it would be more strange to an adult. I also think it's a bigger deal to me than Pop.

Oh, we decided because of the vowel sounds and double-c, it is pronounced
| pee-STAH-chee-o |

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Cocoa

Welcome to the 2016 Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies!

If you are a visitor from the Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies blog, welcome! If you are a regular reader here who will enjoy some fabulous Christmas scrapbooking freebies, by all means click that logo to check out the great holiday gifts! Regardless of how you got here, if you download my mini kit, enjoy!

Here is the palette I used for this year's kit.

Without further ado, here is Christmas Cocoa!

Click image to download at Mediafire

This kit is customizable. If you saw the sample layout yesterday, the hot Chocolate mugs work as coffee mugs too. The mugs, steam, marshmallows and whipped cream topping are separate elements, so you can dress up your warm beverage the way that best accents your photos and journaling. It is a mini kit, so visit back! I do think it could use a couple flowers, maybe an alpha or something too. :)

For many of us, we NEED the holiday season to save 2016. I hope all the great scrapbooking freebies are a good inspiration to send the year out with a loving surge.

But wait, there's more! Make sure you pick up the add-on flowers here!