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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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Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Pop's and Aunt Judy's tree
*decorated byTori*

Christmas blessings were abundant this year. In a year where health, finances and time left me giving a little less in some areas than I usually like to, I still seemed to receive a lot. I think what hurt the most was that we didn’t do Christmas cards this year. We always put the kids on our cards. If not having Kaline on them didn’t hurt enough, we knew Carla was sick at the time I would’ve been making the cards and I couldn’t bear to even think of whether not to put her on the card. I’ve also been in constant back-and-forth arguments with the insurance company about how much money out of pocket I’ve spent on my healthcare this year since the end of September.

But onto the happy stuff! David and I woke up at 5 AM yesterday to forage north to Pop’s House for Christmas. It had snowed a little and it was very cold but our drive was relatively uneventful. The main road off the freeway and the dirt road to Pop‘s house was our biggest snow challenge. The last of my cold still lingers, so I couldn’t smell Pop and Aunt Judy’s citrus pine, but I sure could smell the bacon cooking! Tori was busy at the stove with a couple packs of bacon cooking and cooking. “Papa said ‘just cook at all.’ I have a small stack of wimpy bacon for Uncle David t oo.” My love of crispy bacon is a family trait.

Then it was present opening time. It was Rina's and Tori‘s suggestion a few years ago that we draw names instead of buying for everybody. It gives you the opportunity to really shop for thoughtful gifts for one person instead of trying to spread the budget around two gifts for everyone. It worked out great. I know in the past few years I’ve given and received some wonderful gifts. This year was no different.

Rina's boy, Basil, sitting next to his great-uncle.
Ya know how cats are drawn to non-cat people?
David is not a dog person, but this started 
with a nap together before breakfast.

In drawing names it was strange this year that fathers and first daughters traded gifts. Pop and I had each other as did Dave and Rina. It was Star Wars for Dave and Red Wings for Rina and their Exchange and mostly food stuff between Pop and me. Keeping in mind that this is the 52nd Christmas Pop and I have celebrated together, choosing gifts wasn’t difficult, but it seemed that knowing when to stop was for both of us! Pop gave me a wonderful vibrating kitty neck wrap that I’m looking forward to trying tonight, As well as some warm slippers and a beautiful bracelet. And the food, wow! I got 4 solid large persimmons and some ambrosia apples to help them ripen, an only raisins panettone, lemon pizzele and some other tasty treats including two packages of my favorite breadsticks that can only be found, that I know of, and his Italian store. Among the things I found for him, to go with the stories and recipes from American immigrants cookbook, were an 18-pack of Pocket Coffee (dark chocolates with a liquid espresso center) chestnuts in a 1 pound block of aged 3 years Parmesan Reggiano cheese. We had a fun and yummy exchange! Tori was beyond happy, Especially about 2 poetry books from Ucle David. Between Rina, David and me for the information and finding the books, we did really well with that one!

It had been snowing a little bit while we were opening presents and there was already a thin coating of snow on our van when the Indianapolis family headed back home A little before noon. We made sure to have them call when they got home. I guess the worst of the snow was in Michigan for their ride.

Our annual Christmas 3-shot
Rina, Nana, Tori

Around 3 o’clock my cousin, Lisa, and family arrived for dinner. The snow was falling in heavier squalls by then and when Lisa’s bff, Annelie, and her kids got there they were commenting about the roads being pretty nasty.

All. Freaking. Day.

David and I have usually seen Lisa‘s kids a few times during the year between Christmases. I usually see Lisa’s kids more than we see Lisa! This year we hadn’t seen the kids all year and in a year her oldest, Owen, looks like quite the young man and as completely sweet and giving as he’s always been. Her twins don’t look like kids anymore either. At 13, they are definitely teenagers. Audrey is a beautiful young woman who looks more like her mom every day. Ethan is 100% teenager, showing off his new smart watch, but he made a point of engaging everybody, making you feel like his favorite person when he was talking with you. (What a magical gift!)

My awesome cousins

At the end of the evening when we were all packing up to go, Annelie sent home half of her homemade apple pie with us, we tried that apple pie for the first time at Thanksgiving and OMG it is wonderful! Before they were ready to leave Lisa‘s husband, Tory, shoveled off the ramp so we wouldn’t have to do that to leave. I’ve always said and I’m always proven right; my family chooses and breeds the best!

More Christmas to come...


Sunday, December 10, 2017

We Are A One-Cat Family Now

Carla Yastrzemski Patch
“The Good One”
*September 9, 2008 - December 1, 2017

December started for us with our second visit this year to that room at the vet’s office with the soft blanket and a box of tissues. They couldn’t perform the scheduled mastectomy on Carla. They shaved her up to get her ready, and discovered the cancer had moved into her armpits, it was just too aggressive to operate. We thought we would have to go in the next morning to say goodbye. I called David that afternoon and told him I wanted him to bring Carla home at least for that night. In 2008 when we brought her home from the shelter and promised her a forever home, we rescued her from living in a cage. I didn’t want her last night to be in a cage.

They sent her home with pain medicine. We would be able to allow her to let us know when she was done. She wasn’t really a lot weaker yet, she could still jump up on the bed to curl up with her daddy until he fell asleep and she could still come downstairs. to jump up on the foot rest of the recliner and sleep to relax her mommy to sleep. She was still eating and enjoying treats and in the evening she still spent part of the time attached to daddy's side on the couch and the other part on her armrest on the recliner making Carlaccino.

Marco and Carla- one last sun bath in the front window together

That lasted just over two weeks. At the end of two weeks she was moving very slow, sleeping a lot and not able to get up to the places she liked to be. Three days before it was over we had given her one of the painkillers in the morning. It was very sunny and it took her two tries to get on top of the chest by the window. She sat confused and Marco sort of guided her in to the cat hammock in the window so she could sit in the sun. It broke my heart that night after David went up to bed and she didn't follow upstairs, she crawled off the couch and sat in front of the recliner and cried up to me begging to be picked up. I wanted so badly to be able to pick her up and comfort her. She crawled back up to the couch and curled up back to sleep and I cried. The next day we gave her a painkiller in the morning and she pretty much slept all day with no interest in food or any of the other things she normally liked to do. She knew it was time.

We'll remember Carla in many special ways. She was a year-old when we adopted her and after having a rough first year, including having had kittens when she was still a kitten herself, she was adult cat size but had the happy kittenhood with lots of love she was owed. We were happy to give that to her and she never stopped being grateful. In so many ways she never stop being a kitten.

But to everyone that met her, Carla was a kitty of sounds. Her shelter name at Paws and Whiskers was Sassy. It wasn't too long after she came home that we realized how such a sweet girl could be called sassy. Carla had no problem letting us know when she needed petting. She had a very distinct, loud and plaintive meow when she demanded attention. But more than that meow, I worried the first time I heard the happy meow. She would yell loudly but muffled when she had a toy in her mouth and was walking around with it. We came to call that muffled meow singing, "I got I toy, I got a toy, I got a toy!” We call her purring “Carlaccino” because it sounded like the espresso machines in the coffee shop. When you pet her on her sweet spot; right on the top of her head between her ears, her purr would start low and quiet and get louder, building just like an espresso pot.

But what turned out to be the most distinctive Carla sound was there in other parts of the house but it really came to life when we removed the carpet over the hardwood floors in the living room. She had her clumsy moments jumping up on things, but when she walked through a room she had a fluid elegance and when she walked on the hardwood floor her claws made a rhythmic clicking sound like a lady in high heels. My weekend aide always celebrated her when she came downstairs welcoming her as “Miss Fancy Feet.” The friends, aides and nurses who are here most often noted they missed the lady like clicks of her feet on the floor when she came home for hospice care. In prepping her for this surgery she ended up not having, they clipped her claws.

Now all of Carla’s sounds, warm cuddles and the eternal kitten who never stopped playing in the eight years she was with us are gone. Last year at Christmas time, gifts to the canine family and friends came from "the three wise cats." This year Marco will be an only cat for the holidays. He left his litter mates when he was a kitten and instantly had two sisters so he's never been an only cat. It's different for all of us in a little emptier house this year.

2017: We lost our ‘Queen” and our “Good One.” 2018 has to be better.