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 8, 2018

Finding Holiday Spirit With Candy

This is my signature GingerScraps for this month:

A couple of nights ago, after not having been hungry for dinner finally feeling hungry at 2 o'clock in the morning I decided, to go through my jar of candy and see if there was anything that sounded good to replace dinner.

Now of course, I'm a Chocovore. Okay that's the term that was created by Krave cereal when it came out to promote that it has real chocolate inside of it. I decided to adopt that as the reality of my style of eating because chocoholic makes it sound like it's a problem. I'm a very proud Chocovore!

If you've read some of my recent blogs, you know that November was pretty much a crappy month for me. I mean seriously, MS makes things heal slower than normal. So I have to deal with the opioid paranoid government saying I can't have painkillers for more than a month because broken feet should be healed by then, regardless of what my doctor says when she knows that because of my disease it will take two or three months for my feet to truly heal. So there's the general me angry with the government because someone who's actually in pain isn't allowed to have painkillers. So getting around that my CNP (my doctor is a certified nurse practitioner) increased my tramadol at least for the next couple months from the five a month, which is actually that I take three and have 2 that I can use if needed, and increased it to the maximum dosage of eight a day to take 2 every six hours. Now that the pesky government is out-of-the-way , so the ever so brilliant health insurance steps in and says I can't have that many tramadol right now because I've already been given enough tramadol to have 8 day. That doesn't really work because I used PillPack pharmacy and the tramadol isn't in a bottle but it's in separate packs over the course of the day. So I've had to rip apart a week’s worth of pills to steal the tramadol to and the right amount to packets that already have it in it and when the insurance company is okay with them sending me a bottle of extra tramadol to last until the end of the month I'm going to have to figure out how to reassemble the packs I've had to tear apart.

So right now my bad mood can be attributed to the government that doesn't allow people in pain who really need painkillers to have them while there are emails that come in all the time letting addicts find it whenever they want it. The insurance company who has my brain that's already jumbled from all of the painkillers I took last month having to organize how to disassemble my perfectly assembled pills they come in every month. (at least PillPack was allowed to ship the extra tramadol on Friday so I might have it by Monday which should probably only screwup a weeks worth of prepackaged pills.) I'm also angry because MS has got my feet so screwed up that I can't even place them on the floor trying to adjust myself in the recliner without a great deal of pain. Also my feet are still swollen and bruised. I have aides who come in 4 or 5 hours while David is at work. But David does work at least a good 8 hours plus lunch and drive time and if he is at an early meeting he somehow never gets to come home early when he starts early.

Now the last couple nights he's been at the casino in a poker tournament. I'm not really complaining when he is it doing successfully playing poker, but the more successful he is at playing poker more time I'm sitting at home alone and in pain. When it comes right down to it December started with me still as miserable as I was since the sixth of November when I fell broke bones in both my feet. I also bruised and cramped one knee and knocked one of the bulging discs in my back the back so that I've been receiving sciatic nerve problems every time I move back. I'm still in pain from all of that stuff because MS listens to the government and the insurance company and laughs at them hysterically.

What the king brought his broken little princess

So now the piece of candy and how it changed my holiday mood for the better… I hope at least for the rest of the month. I pulled out of the candy jar a couple of nights ago because I wasn't hungry at dinner and got hungry ate about 2 AM. I pulled out a couple of Mr. Goodbar miniatures because Mr. Goodbar has been my favorite candy since I was a child and I figured my inner child could use the chocolate comfort food. I also pulled out of couple of Tootsie Rolls, because I just like Tootsie Rolls. But I found one of the two Pocket Coffees left that my dad brought when he stopped over on his way home from doing a construction project with my brother over the weekend. After a hug and a kiss that I desperately needed, he brought lunch that we shared and he brought me chocolate including Pocket Coffee, which is one of my favorite candies as an adult. I set the Pocket Coffee on the armrest of the recliner while I ate the two mini Mr. Goodbars and I began to cry. No matter what and no matter how bad things are, I can still say without a doubt, that I am loved. I think I needed reassurance of that lately. My dad made a point of stopping to comfort his little princess. I think the candy made me cry because it reminded me that I really am still his little princess I needed to remember that. No matter how lonely I may feels sometimes, there are still plenty of people who love me. I am not alone. I am loved.(Just a little bit of a pain in the foot right now)

I collected a bunch of pictures from Christmases in the past and used Aprilisa's Winter Magic kit and created trhe signature, that included one of the photographs I took of that precious Pocket Coffee. I created the signature that made be happy, that made me smile.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Weekend Playlist, December 2

There's been a lot of unhappy and perplexing going on in Naniland. Oh, it's Nothing to worry about.

Have I bragged about my niece, Tori, who finished her masters last June in psychology? I am so proud of her and it is such an important and noble profession. I can honestly say the incredible relationship I have with my dad now has everything to do with the counseling place that helped me when I went to it for a few month after school. I can also say seeing a psychologist a while after being diagnosed with MS kept me from being clinically depressed. So I guess what I’m saying is if you’re having any sort of personal problems, things you are even nervous talking to with your best friend, psychologists can save your life, or rather they can show you how to save your own life. Most health insurances cover talking to a professional and there is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of in seeking help. Actually it's quite more something to be proud of. It's making your problems your solution.

I’m kind of in that kind of funk right now for many reasons. I’m gonna be meeting with a social worker, who happens to also be a psychologist. I have some pretty big issues that need fixed. And I am openly admitting I'm going to get help because that's what strong people do.

So this week’s songs are not from my general library. They're from a playlist that sort of reflects things that are going on in my brain right now. The playlist doesn't have a title because right now I feel a bit untitled.

Blue Train, Marty Stuart
The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel
Don’t Lie To Me, Barbra Streisand
Burn, Usher
Who’s Crying Now, Journey

While going through my general funk, I've been reading some of my old journals. When that last song, Who's Crying Now by Journey came on it really reminded me of something sad about my old journals. I used to keep journals written when I was in high school. That's when I started having my occasional not able to sleep and I stayed up all night listening to the radio while writing in my journals. Sometimes it was funny stuff, sometimes it was things that frustrated me. I think back in high school is when I realized when something was bothering me if I wrote about it and just kept writing until the problem presented itself, the real problem, I could solve it. That's something that I've always done.

Nani circa 1981

Sadly, in my 20s, I decided silly things that I'd written when I was in high school were a dumb thing to keep and I threw them all away. I'm 52 now and I'd love to go back and read some of those things that went through my mind when I was a teenager. So note to any teens that read this - don't throw things away that are a piece of you, no matter how silly or painful a piece of you, you think they are, because in years to come you'll wish you had them. Whether it’s to show you how far you’ve come, remind you how strong you were and still could be, or just to remind yourself about the great person you've always been. It's a lot easier now because you can put it all in a digital folder.

Where this particular song really brought out that said memory was because I remember the first time that I heard the song. It came out in July of 1981, which means it wasn't a school night-yay for me on that one, right? But I remember the Journal with the green cardboard cover but all handwritten and I remember talking about Journey's new song and how awesome it was. And just to be silly now, what really made me think about it was hearing the guitar solo at the end and actually writing something like “wha, wha-wha, wha-wha, wha-whaaah … SO COOL!"

Such a silly direct line to remember, huh? But it made me smile.

So here's a fun know. The video is the song with the album cover because no actual video was produced for this song I could find or remember seeing. Why bother? The song came out in July 1981. MTV didn't exist until August 1, 1981. Can you imagine putting out a single and no video today?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Weekend Playlist, November 25

Oh the wonderful, inspiring, world of music! What I'm going to talk about today is probably what nobody thinks after reading the playlist! Hehe

But first, here are the five songs from my Music library that got me there:

Pray For Me, The Weekend, Kendrick Lemar (Black Panther)
Soothe My Soul, Depeche Mode
You're Going To Miss Me When I'm Gone, Brooks & Dunn
Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread), Tommy Dorsey 
It’s Now Or Never, Elvis Presley

There are a number of Elvis Presley songs that were "borrowed" from the classics. “It's Now Or Never" is one of those ones that has very special meaning for me.

You see, when I was young my dad played accordion very often, especially when there were family gatherings and lots of us kids around. We absolutely loved to listen to him play and when I hear a solo accordion tune of any song now it always makes me think of my dad playing for the family. He played for the adults too and they enjoyed listening to it but I don't think it was quite as special as it was when he played "On Top Of Spaghetti" for us kids. He always did that as a major sing-along with all the kids gathered around him. He absolutely loved that.

But now, let's get back to Elvis.. The other kids may have loved “On Top Of Spaghett” but my favorite song that my father played was "It's Now Or Never”. The funniest part of that is when Pop played it, at least when I was really young, he wasn't playing "It's Now Or Never.” He wasn't playing Elvis Presley at all. He was playing “O Sole Mio.’

Please keep in mind that I was born in 1966. I don't have any video of my dad playing accordion. I only have one or two photographs of my dad with an accordion. But believe me he played often and played well. I do have a video of, not my father, but someone else playing…"that song" on the accordion.

I was a kid. But what song do YOU think it is?

As I got older and my love for a classical music got stronger I started to realize there were a lot of old Elvis tunes that I really liked that weren't Elvis tunes when they started out. I still love “It's Now Or Never” and it still reminds me of my dad playing the accordion every time I hear it. But I have to admit especially with their bit of comedy in the song in the video The Three Tenors version of “O Sole Mio” is probably the version of that melody I love the most.

Well, Second most. My memory of my dad playing what I thought was “It’s Now Or Never” on his accordion will still always be the best version in my heart.

It seems that for some reason not possible to embed the Elvis Presley version the song. But as a special treat today here's that version of "O Sole Mio"by The Three Tenors I love so much.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Blame It On The Drugs

I'm eventually getting get my parts of the week straight, just not quite yet. The last couple of weeks have been um, challenging. So remember last post when I told you about surgery. The wonderful thing about anesthesia was it didn't affect me, Woot, woot! But now the next day was kind different.

That Tuesday was election day. It was also the day that I planned to give a call across the street because I'm concerned about the neighbors and I wanted to make sure they were okay. But it ended up being the morning that I was put on a stretcher and wheeled out to the ambulance to be taken to emergency.

It had nothing to do with the surgery. Everything was okay there except that there was a little bit of bleeding which is normal and it had to be explained to the EMTs who were just a little concerned. I was having problems with some discomfort in my back I wanted to move back because my bare feet were slipping and pulling me out of the chair. I don't think David heard the first couple times that I asked to please be pushback or something done with my feet sliding because when it became a frightened emergency he complained about everything's a crisis with me and finally put my shoes on so I wouldn't slide. The unfortunate problem is he didn't stick around long enough to make sure I had my balance. I didn't. I fell, quite painfully, forward.

David called 911. My aide, Heather, came in just before the EMTs did, so she had no idea what was going on except that David did let her know “Davonna’s on the floor.” That kind of launched her into instant caregiver freaking out mode. The EMTs got there got me rolled over on sling for the Hoyer lift so they could use it to put me on the stretcher and covered half naked morning me and carted me out to the street to put me in the ambulance and get me to the hospital. NOT the way I expected the day after surgery to be. I was planning to relax all day, take my meds and recover.

So at the hospital, which I requested because I was sure I had broken many bones in my feet, I got to go through all kinds of interesting things. I was lying in pain for a long time before they gave me anything for the pain. In fact that one point I screamed “OW, OW, OW, OW,” when a spasm was making my foot go insane, a foot that I now know was broken in two places, and heard a woman at one of the desks in front of the room where I was mock my screams and she and the man and woman sitting next to her laughed pretty loudly. With all of my pain it was everything I could do to keep Heather sitting down and not running out to kick butt. She did get the photograph of the mocking woman at UTMC election day morning.

People who loudly mock people in pain need to find a different line of work.
You know, one where human beings aren't involved.

They did finally come and give me a tramadol, which is one of the drugs that I do take. They took x-rays of both my feet. I can promise you when you have broken bones and they're turning your feet all over the place so that they can see the broken bones it hurts like you can't imagine when they've only given you one pill for pain. The doctor on staff took a look at the X-rays and said that because I don't walk and have weight bearing on my feet it makes the bones of my feet very pale and breaks very hard to see. They wrapped up both of my feet in ace bandages and sent me home telling me to continue taking tramadol and Advil.

For the three days after my surgery I had aides in for the full day while David was at work. So thankfully after Heather went back to get the wheelchair van, that thankfully David had already put the wheelchair in before he went to work, and brought me home, Patty was already there waiting to takeover. For my part, I just sat the wheelchair and screamed. One pain pill I already take and wrapping up my feet really didn't cut it as far as easing any pain. When we got me in the recliner and got a hold of Diana my primary care CNP, she added taking the tramadol and valium I'd been prescribed already “as needed” and to add putting ice on my ankles a half hour on, a half hour off. Patty came back for a couple of hours to do the ice until I could fall asleep. Between that and the painkillers David was at least able to sleep without me screaming all night when he had to work next day.

Diana made phone calls and hand delivered prescriptions for me so that every four hours I could take tramadol, Valium and vicaprofen together. Vicaprofen it Is Vicodin for people who are allergic to acetaminophen. Taking those every four hours actually did work at relieving the pain enough for me to fall asleep for a few days until Diana could get the full report from the emergency room and come and look at my feet.

Health insurance does a wonderful job of making sure that people in incredible pain can't get the narcotics they need. There are lots of ways for addicts to get the pills they want. For a while I was really tempted to find them and get the pills it took two days for my CNP to convince them I needed. SMH

Diana is visiting me once a week, while she is working on getting the visiting podiatrist to come and decide what will need to be done with my feet. My right foot is sprained with a broken big toe. Spasms have done a great job working the sprain back normal. (Remember we're talking about me and I always look what the rainbow even if it doesn't seem like there is one.) Now my left foot is fractured in two different places, the heal and the bone in front of it. It may need a cast. It may need surgery. The podiatrist will have to tell. Right know, thanks to (sarcasm) wonderful insurance (/Sarcasm) visiting podiatrist is not in network so my broken foot will have to be carefully covered up from cold so that I can be taken to an in network podiatrist. (sarcasm) because they truly believe increased pain will make me a stronger person. (/sarcasm)

For right now, I been moved up to every six hours for my trifecta of painkillers. I'm willing to put up with a little bit of pain, not the incredible pain I am right now without drugs, but Diana also knows my terrible fear of addiction. But believe me, if I have pain after about five hours I have the pills in my hand and I'm ready to shove them down my throat!

David was gone but he did bring 2 bananas and flowers for me.

David left Friday for a football game and a long weekend with his family in Florida and was back yesterday after work. I’ve needed almost 24/7 care while he was gone. I've had two wonderful friends who've had coffee with me every morning. One even brought me two cream filled long johns! My aides have been here longer during the day, my doctor visits once a week and texts daily, and a nurse spent the night every night he was gone. I was well taken care of. The good news is that the ER visit maxed out my out of pocket expense with the insurance company. That means, although they don't cover home health aides, everything else is free. That means the MRI I still need to get and if they have to do surgery on my foot, at least it's free. See? Rainbow.

Send me a prayer, are wish me luck.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Weekend Playlist, November 11

Music really is one of the coolest stimuli in the world. You know that ages old philosophical question "if you had to give up your ability to see or your ability to hear which would it be?”

Oh I'm not going to answer that question. As a scrapbooker, how could I ever think of not being able to see? It would be the end of one of my favorite hobbies. Every year when David puts his best train photos together and picks out the music to create his end-of-the-year multimedia presentation, I do the editing which absolutely requires vision and hearing. Editing has been my favorite part of every video job I’ve had and working on David show, in addition to some other small things that I do, is one thing that makes me feel totally alive. So for me the answer to the philosophical question is another philosophical question. "at what point does a person lose so much that they don't care what else they lose?"

So here are the last 5 songs that played with my library on shuffle before the feature song today:

She’s Like The Wind, Patrick Swayze
Chocolate Girl, Keith Sweat
Ant Music, Adam and The Ants
Knocking On Heaven’s Door, Heaven
All In A Mouse’s Night, Genesis

All In A Mouse’s Night was on the Genesis album Wind & Wuthering, released in 1976. The first time I had ever heard this song was on February 14, 2006. It was the first truly romantic Valentine's Day I ever had. I used to host "Stag Parties" on Valentine's Day when I would invite anyone who didn't have a date over for chili and what ever the worst B-film we could find on video tape. I am absolutely sure that there will be people who read this that remember The Toxic Avenger and films as such. Heck, I even remember word about those stag parties getting out and one couple begging me that if they promised to sit I'm opposite sides of the room and never look at each other could they please come this year? I have to admit that made me kind proud but my mom donated the chili every year and it had quite the reputation too.

But into 2006 it was different. I'd had dates on Valentine's Day before and it had been many years since we did the stag parties. But in 2006 there was this new guy. He’d been in my world almost a year and we even frequently used the “L-word.” I was almost 40 and had decided I was fine with, in fact I wanted to be, my own person. Casual dating was fine, even in the occasional relationship as long as it wasn't serious, but I liked me unattached. But then 6 foot and 5 inches with light blue eyes on top that I absolutely melted over walked into my life and screwed up everything.

David worked late enough that I could get to Toledo and prepare shrimp scampi for dinner with a little help from Wolfgang Puck for the lobster bisque. I chilled a bottle of Savignon Blanc (no that's not great memory about the wine. That’s been my standard to go with shrimp for, like, ever.) But what I cooked I do remember. I'd put together a chocolate fondue for two and we ate by candlelight.

I remember talking about music and discussing what we thought were romantic songs. Mine was Diamond Rio’s I Know How The River Feels. He told me is wasn't so much a romantic song as much as he wanted to dance to it. I was cleaning some dishes in the kitchen and he started the Genesis song Your Own Special Way and he came into the kitchen and we danced. Guys, you may not totally get it, but gals, I'm sure you understand that everything around you disappears the moment your significant other pulls you away from the sink and slow dances with you in the kitchen.  * sigh*

In further conversation about music while we had our dessert he played this song for me, just a fun and really cute song about a mouse. Oh, this song is so strange too to entertain two cat-people. Think about it. Why is the cat always the bad guy in cartoons? Poor Tom, Sylvester, PePe.. Wait, no, he's only attracted to cats (LOL) but you get one I mean.

This song is not a hit single, so no video this week, but I hope you enjoy giving a listen.

Oh Man!

When I rejoined the blog-living it was not my intent to be a weekend blogger. In fact this week I planned to start off Tuesday talking about anesthesia. I had surgery on Monday and spent the last couple weeks scared to death because I’d never been completely knocked out before.

Nani and Pop: “We will MAKE you smile with us”

I cover my fears with humor. That’s genetic. My dad does the same thing. The surgical procedure was a feminine one. I had some bleeding which is totally unnatural because my last period was 14 years ago. More standard testing revealed some polyps, I’d had benign polyps before, so that wasn’t an alarm to me, but the lining of my uterus was thicker than it should be for someone past menopause.

-male readers who are squicked or embarrassed at this point, especially if you have kids, shame on you!-

As I was saying, the doctor ordered a D&C, Hysteroscopy and Cervical Biopsy. The combination of things all done at once required complete relaxation of everything, that meant control freak me taking no part in it. They had to put me under.

Like I said, covering fear with joking is hereditary. Pop even enjoyed my freak out thought that, because finding a virgin in 2018 was so difficult, the second coming would most definitely come from a postmenopausal woman, likely one who never had a child to mimic the original “never felt this kind of pain before.” Well, so that would explain the uterus lining being too thick. The angel just hadn’t visited me yet! My aide, Heather, was laughing with me and asked, “so your the new Virgin Mary?” I said “no, I’m the Postmenopausal Mary.” Then I stopped abruptly.

You see, I was raised Catholic and in the Catholic Church you have to be baptized with the name of a saint. In 1966 there was no saint Davonna. So I was baptized as my middle name, Maria. So according to the Catholic Church I AM Mary!

All jokes aside, I of course do not believe I am destined to carry the second coming. But when discussing the different ways people come out of anesthesia, and my aide describing when she's been under anesthesia it's coming out of it like she's drunk. I realized that, being somebody who is a silly drunk, I probably needed something pinned onto my hospital gown that said “please, please, please, don't be offended by anything that I say coming out of anesthesia!” I’d planted in my brain a very crazy and offensive thought. I’ve always believed God has a sense of humor, but I also believe in never insulting someone else’s beliefs. Now I’d given myself new stress.

The good news is those wonderful genetics that I get from Pop, coming out of anesthesia, I was asleep and then I woke up and it was just like waking up. I didn't have any moments of stupidity or goofiness, it didn't affect me at all. My dad said he did the same nothing when he's come out of anesthesia before. Good genes or a strong brain, my inner control freak resisted all the way through!

The doc promised to call as soon as the pathology reports were available. And that call was Tuesday. I asked if she was calling to post check on me and she said no, the lab results were back already: Benign, no cancer. YAY!

Oh, there is a ton about Tuesday I’ll write about in a few days. Stay tuned! It was quite a week!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Weekend Playlist, November 4

I stopped the shuffle this week in a spot that made me kind of sad, it also made me understand some of my feelings this week and why they've been weighing so heavy on me. I'm not used to dealing with truly major problems alone. The first time I tried to do that I ended up seeing a psychologist for a few months. (Maybe a couple of sessions this week would've helped.)

Here are the last five songs from my library on shuffle:

Don’t Stop, Jon Batiste
Deep Cuts The Knife, Helix
Don’t Lie To Me, Barbara Streisand
One more day, Diamond Rio
Silent Lucidity, Queensryche

John and me at a New Year's party, I think I was about 19

Silent Lucidity was John’s favorite song by his favorite group. You see lots of kids in the video but the lyrics speak of giving strong quiet support and protection. John was like a big brother to me since we met when I was 15 years old. He was one of my closest friends and that unconditional support was always there. He considered me to be a strong person and a generous person, someone who always made sure no one was left behind. But the truth is, anything that is considered good about me couldn’t possibly compare to the man that John was.

I guess that song struck me right now because I really wish John was here. In October 2009, I lost the last person who could let me be worried, who could let me be weak and not feel like I was less of a person for being so human. I have a surgical procedure scheduled for tomorrow. This week has just been hell for me. My brain is tortured by nightmares because I’ve never had anesthesia for anything before, not good for the psyche of a control freak. And also for the last week I’ve not been allowed to use any of the vitamins or supplements that I take and I’m starting to feel the effect of some of those not being in my daily routine. There are vitamins and supplements that I take in lieu of advancing to drugs for some things and I’ve been cut off of some of the drugs that I take that keep some of the MS pain at bay. I’m pretty much miserable and scared. Mostly what I’ve heard from others have been things like, “don’t worry about it everything‘s gonna be fine,“ “suck it up buttercup, it’s just part of life,“ “just shut up already, it’s no big deal.“ people mean well when they tell me not to worry but I need someone to just listen, tell me they understand that I am afraid and comfort me, talk to me, make me laugh to divert the fear. John did that for me on more than one occasion.

Our last picture together at my wedding reception, July 2009

I need somebody to comfort me and quell the demons in my own brain but there’s no one left to do that for me. I miss my friend.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Middle-aged Grumblings

When I turned 50 I made the declaration that “now that I am over 50 years old, I never have to be wrong again." In the years moving towards 50, I heard so many people that seemed to believe people younger than them couldn't possibly be doing something right because it was different then they do it. I looked forward two having that superiority.

Okay, that proclamation really was a tongue-in-cheek joke on my part. I personally think people that are that close minded and refuse to continue to grow are both people that should be avoided and pitied. My mom always told me that's the day you stop growing is the day you start dying. But the fun part of the joke is it's a joke that never ends. But sometimes I really have to wonder if complaining about what seems to be change for the sake of change is really a joke.


My first complaint today, as a 52-year-old woman, is one that I'm a little suspicious might be something that's the fault of someone, or a gang, my age or older. When did it become the custom for hospitals to call patients a couple of days before a surgical procedure and press them for money? This happened with a different hospital and a different procedure a couple weeks ago too. It's something that never happened to me before. In the past, I schedule a procedure, the hospital and my doctors have all of my ID and insurance information, the procedure is done and a few weeks later I received the bill for the portion I owe. Now twice two different hospitals have called me just a couple days before the procedure disguising the call as if it's a courtesy call to be sure you're ready for the upcoming procedure and if you have any questions. Then they tell you that you have a patient responsibility of “X” amount of dollars and can you pay that right now? Wow. It's not enough if I have insurance? Both times I said I'd like to be billed and they said okay and that was really the end of the phone call, leading me to believe that that was the only purpose of the phone call. I haven't been into the emergency room in a while. Do they still treat people in an emergency even without insurance?

I have to be honest, I was both insulted and unsettled by the phone call, especially the one I got today. I'm having a surgical procedure done on Monday and, believe it or not, I’ve made it 52 years having never been under anesthesia. I'm nearing the end of the week where I haven't been able to take vitamins, half of my prescriptions or even drink herbal tea. I'm nervous and frankly, scared. The last thing in the world that I want is for the hospital to be calling me about money days before my surgery. Are they suspicious of something I fear? If I die on the operating table how will they ever get paid?

I don't truly believe that my impending death is the motivation for the phone call. Personally, I’d hate to be the person given a list of phone numbers and money that's not owed yet because services haven't been rendered, and be told that I needed to make phone calls to shake the patients up for their lunch money.

Yeah, it's business, right? It's no different than your favorite baseball player on the home team will probably not finish his career with your team and will probably be playing for someone else's team when he becomes a free agent. If I'm not so important to athletes or teams as a paying fan why should I expect hospitals to give a damn about me as a patient? Surely there are more hospital patients than fans of any particular team which makes us even more expendable.


My other current social complaint truly is about the whippersnapper generation. I don’t, for the life of me, understand how Dr. Seuss and PG ever end up in the same advertisement. But there's a Grinch movie out this month that's computer-animated and rated PG.

I haven't seen the movie, nor do I have any intention of seeing it. That is actuallyone of the cool things about being 52. I am completely fine with the animated version of the Grinch on TV that's been out every year during the holidays since I was a child. I also don't actually have to see it to criticize it.

A bad guy with a network TV rating 

Oh, but work with me here. Those of you that cyber-know me and especially that know me in person or on the phone, know that I'm not going to criticize something I haven't seen. But what I'm criticizing, what I'm questioning, is what part of a movie that is made to attract young children makes it a PG rather than a G movie?

How is making a Dr. Seuss based movie with a PG rating incredibly different than marketing cigarettes in a way that’s attractive to children? Candy and bubble gum cigarettes don't exist anymore unless you find them in an "Old Timey" Candy store. I used to love the bubble gum cigarettes especially because if you blew on them they puffed smoke like a real cigarette. I think the fact that adults in my world smoked and I wanted to emulate them had a lot more to do with what ultimately made me try cigarette smoking than the fact that I occasionally indulged in the sugary puff. That's especially true since when I was a kid I was more likely to spend 15 cents on a pack of baseball cards or big pickle in a plastic bag with lots of pickle juice.

What did they do to a children's story to earn the PG rating? Does the Grinch say something like"Christmas sucks. I don't care if I'm an ass?" Or does the new version have him deciding to steal Christmas as a result of a drug trip? I just want to know what do you have to do to make a children's story a PG movie? And couldn't that have ended up on the cutting room floor so it's still a family movie that you can take young children to see?

I may be disabled and not working now, but as part of the greater entertainment media field, I'm truly disappointed that my former industry would create this.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Weekend Playlist, October 28

This was fun last weekend so it's something that I think I may continue doing for a while. Like I said last week my musical taste is pretty eclectic. There're lots of reasons why songs end up in my music library. Please don't judge!

Here's a taste - the last five songs that played from my music library on shuffle.

L’estate (Summer,) Antonio Vivaldi
Nothing Else Matters, Metallica
Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Frank Sinatra
Let Me Love You, DJ Snake (feat. Justin Bieber)
The Greatest, Kenny Rogers

The Kenny Rogers song is a great place to stop and talk this week as tonight is game five of the World Series. As regular visitors to The Chronicles of Nani know, baseball is a pretty big deal for me. We have three "House teams" in Naniville. My teams are the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds and David's team is the Boston Red Sox. Since one of our house teams is the AL champion this year, of course, we're cheering for the Red Sox!

So far the series couldn't be going any better. What I actually mean by that is I didn't want a sweep. Our cousin, Cyndi, David's cousin and one of his wedding gifts to me, was given tickets to game five by her son for her birthday. Cyndi and I share the love of baseball and the love of anything pumpkin spice, so of course there's no way I would wish for her to have the world's lousyest souvenir; World Series tickets for a game that didn't happen. I have a pair of those from 2011 when the Tigers did not go to the World Series. They are sad souvenirs.

As a birthday present especially, you should get to enjoy the absolutely electric feeling of being at a postseason game. Now Cyndi is a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan, so I can't go as far as extending a wish that she gets to see her team win. I already wished for a loss to make sure there was a game five. But nothing beats the feeling of just being in the park for a World Series game. (I got to experience that with my mom in 1984.) I do hope she thoroughly enjoys the experience and hey, when I visited Dodger Stadium almost 20 years ago, they had sushi at the ballpark. So there's probably good chance she can get a pumpkin spice latte while she enjoys being at the World Series… and watching Boston celebrate winning the championship.

If it was the Astros (again) I'd totally be cheering for the Dodgers. Just saying.

Enjoy some baseball thoughts or dreams of your own with the video for one of my favorite baseball songs.
(click on the You Tube link to see the video larger)

Friday, October 26, 2018

Our newest baby!

Since I haven't written in a while there are a few things I want to update visitors to my cyber coffeeshop about. If you aren't a Facebook follower of my husband or me you haven't seen photos of JD, who came to live with us in May!

This is Julie Danielle. We call her JD “Catinez.” She is named after "My" former Tiger, now "My" Red Sox, JD Martinez. The JD in the baseball player is Julio Daniel. We decided OUR JD should be Julie instead of Julia because cats respond better and better recognize a two syllable word as their name. But we call her JD and she recognizes JD. I don't think she has any idea who Julie is.

JD is a rescue from the Michigan Humane Society. David's former coworker and a mutual friend on Facebook, Tanya, is a foster mom for MHS. She brought, at the time known as "Gina," to meet us after her kittens were weaned. David saw a picture of her and her story on Facebook.

Marco had become known to us as ”needy cat.” He had become almost demandingly affectionate. He just seemed to not be happy as an only cat. Marco needed company. So we were avidly, or at least semi avidly, looking for a sibling for him.

We’re proud that we were instrumental in making JD very special. In the shelter world black cats are usually the most difficult to find homes for and kittens usually find homes long before their mama cats do. JD is a black cat who was adopted before any of her kittens!

It's usually about a week of listening to growling and hissing sas cats get to know each other. Marco and JD were getting along within about three days. I think part of that may be that Marco is not the alpha cat we thought he might be. We really expected he would take rule of the household after we lost Kaline, but he and Carla remained living as equals. JD did seem to take over that alpha position and Marco not only seemed okay with it, he seemed pleased.

Now, for the last three weeks or so, Marco’s finally realized that at 15 1/2 pounds he's just a little bit bigger than the 8-pound alpha cat. So know when they play it’s a little rough. But I do know that it’s play because she lays on her back and waves her paws at him after she hisses instead of running away and Margo grooms the top of her head after they bump noses in a friendly “kitty-kiss.“Sometimes I just have to remember that cats can play as rough as puppies do. But it's a happier house with another cat.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Weekend Playlist

Music is actually quite important in my world. Don't read too much into my song library, accept it that, like that library, I'm a very eclectic person. I like so many different kinds of music and individual songs for so many different reasons. Sometimes it's the mood the music puts me in, or the beat when I feel like dancing, sometimes the words strike a chord, or it’s the memory of the event or person.

I can truly enjoy music from a variety of genres at a time. That's something that David doesn't understand and sometimes it makes him a little nuts. (he he)

Here is a five song section from my entire music library on shuffle for this weekend:

Fireball, Pitbull
Before He Cheats, Carrie Underwood
Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath
Chains, Nick Jonas
Hero, Family of the Year

Hero inspired an art journal I did a few years ago. It was on the playlist I was listening to when I was meditating for relaxation. As I reached the point in the meditation where I was relaxed and I was no longer controlling the images in my mind but letting them control me, I saw myself sitting around the bonfire on the beach with a bunch of people I didn't know. I walked to the beach and started to dance.

Meditation, whether it's to the spoken word or music, became important me back in 1990. Specifically it was listening to a self hypnosis tape at bedtime on June 12, 1990. On June 13 I woke up and didn't have a cigarette. In fact on June 13 this year I acknowledged 28 years since I smoked. I'm not at all saying that quitting a vice is that easy. I truly believe that you have to really want to quit for yourself and then you use the crutch that's best for you. Meditation worked for me and introduced me to fast and deep relaxation that got me through 2 intense years of classes at 3 different campuses and 3 different part-time jobs to Finish earning my bachelors degree. And now I find it's a wonderful way to relax and let my own brain make me feel a little more positive on my worst days.

I'm not saying it works every time, but when it does it's a wonderful thing.

I'd never seen the official video for Hero until I decided to watch it before writing this blog. I laughed at how different my art journal page and the video interpret the song. But I enjoyed the video because I love watching bull riding!

Isolation: When Our Disease Makes Us Withdraw

Yes, I’ve been gone a while…a long while. I’ve had some other physical and subsequent mental issues. I don’t really want to talk about them. It enhances the stress and potential depression. I read an article that explains the MIA from blogging probably better than I could.

This will be on the bulletin board for a while. The blog will resume soon, and I mean that. I need to come back to the social world!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Christmas II


Pop and Aunt Judy tag-teamed to get my slipper-boots on me to leave.

After spending a day in the wheelchair with my feet down for most of it they were swollen and putting the boots on was much more difficult than it was when David put them on at six in the morning. But they did get them on, David scraped off the van, we got our goodies to take home and with loving goodbyes we were homeward bound.

The surface streets were slippery and snowy but not so bad once we got on the freeway. The freeway was full of cars headed south on Christmas evening after a seasonally early sunset. Crowded roads were probably a good thing because lots of cars and lots of tires helped keep lanes clearer, but it was mostly the common Michigan practice when it snows, three lane sections of freeway become two lane sections. There were some slick spots but we got back to Toledo okay.

Really our driveway was the most treacherous snow we had to deal with! David tried backing in and that didn’t work so we pulled back out and went in front ways through the drifted snow David did some tricky turning in the backyard to line up my door and the ramp so I could get in the house. He shoveled off the ramp and I put my chair in high traction gear and I got in safe and sound.

Marco greeted us at the door, acting like we’d been gone forever. Christmas day this year is the longest he’s been alone in his entire life. He went from being with his Mama and littermates to having a human Mommy and Daddy and two older sister-cats. He hadn’t been alone more than a couple of hours since Carla’s passing and today had been 14 hours. To a kitty brain, that’s almost a week!

David went in to the living room while I was taking off my cape and immediately discovered some of what Marco had busied himself with during the day!

I’d done a pretty good job of keeping him off the table and not chewing the little tree for the time it had been there

The tree is about 2-1/2 feet tall and was a gift from a friend who helped out in an aide capacity in November and December. I’ve said before that I need those lights, the warm glow of a tree, to feel holiday cheer. She knew what I meant and brought the tabletop tree, lights, ornaments and everything as a gift a couple weeks before Christmas.

After righting the tree and getting the rest of our packages inside and getting something to drink, we opened presents that were around our tree.

I always love giving David an Italian chocolate hazelnut bar. It’s a large candy bar and David absolutely loved it the first time my aunt gave us one in our gift when she and my uncle visited from San Marino in 2009, when we were iced out of seeing everybody. So much of the food I grew up with doesn’t match David‘s palate, so I enjoy making sure he gets that candy bar at least once a year so I can share a little of my heritage. I also got him a sweater in a yarn pattern he seemed to really like and a copy of Stephen Colbert‘s Midnight Confessions.

We agreed that that’s one of our favorite recurring segments on The Late Show and when the book came out that it would be a fun coffee table book.

Yes, that is an area where with the laugh and a smile I admit I’m old; my husband and I tune to “Colbert” before bedtime the same way my grandparents said “let’s see who’s on Johnny Carson.“

Edna was so generous! (she always is) I was a good girl and waited to open the box she sent until Christmas. She sent a message to me not to open the mailer, and that box was the base of the gifts around the tree, protected from my anxious inner chid by the fact an aide put it just out of my reach. Edna gave a bunch of sweet gifts, highlighted with her 2018 calendar. I always look forward to seeing the photos she chose for the year. She’s such a talented photographer! There was also a train DVD for David and sweet squirrel ornament. David added the ornament to the tree because Marco wanted to add my squirrely to the squeaking cat toys Pogo sent him.

The marquis gift this year was the bed doll in a hand-crocheted green dress.

The pic is before her hair was un-messed from shipping and I’ll get a better pic on my made bed sitting on my prayer quilt as soon as my 2018 remix is in full swing. She kinda looks like me in the messy hair shot, well, except that I have a bit more gray. I would so have worn the green dress in the pre-gray and wheelchair days!

After enjoying gifts and taking some time to assure Marco we never planned to abandon him, a fun but long Christmas Day turned into a cozy and exhausted slumber.

Thank you to everyone who contributed in person and in heart to a wonderful holiday!

Happy New Year Remix!

Me at midnight on 2018 take one. 
 See I was ready! 
 Well the packaging was ready.

This week started with some spiced rum in an organic soda I’m not so crazy about. Simple Truth’s grapefruit Italian Soda is phenomenal, but the rum really saved the lime and coconut. It all enabled me to symbolically swallow the bitter start and fix it to improve the flavor for my remix.

I have a new aide during the week. She is experienced and has so far done a great job of getting into my groove. There are a couple of candidates for the weekend too. I feel safe that I’ll be protected for a while. My hard drive was picked by an associate of David’s to retrieve my trapped data. I've crossed everything and prayed to every known deity that, if not all, at least the majority of my data can be retrieved.

Look for (finally) Christmas II this afternoon. After the OS update I’ve been putting off for a couple of days, (Joey is now telling me I can't make the reminder go away without updating) I’m going to start putting my 2018 goals and projects on screen in one place.

So, heres to a great 2018, filled good will, good luck and tasty fruit sodas for us all!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Off To A Slow Start

It's January 5 already. Ugh.

I had plans. I actually had a lot of things already set in place the kick off 2018. And I haven't given up on those plans. I’ve just chosen to push them back a little. Well maybe things were chosen for me. (— makes erasing motion in the air in front of me —) Things weren’t chosen for me; challenges presented themselves and my response to those challenges requires a little extra time. Therefore I'm pushing 2018 back a little. It's my hope that I'll find the elements I need by January 15. I might even try to get that schnapps I've been looking for since the beginning of December and do a countdown and toast on January 14.

But I'm getting ahead of myself

Right now in my mind it is still the end of 2017 and I'm making plans for 2018 to kick off in a much more controlled by me way. Right now I feel like I'm still standing in 2017 and I need a scraper to get the year off my shoes. I hated 2017. We lost two cats. I was taken off MS medications because my liver panel levels we're too high and they're still too high. The doctors haven't been able to figure out why and until they do no MS meds for Nani. Where that is bad is that I'm starting to experience more or worsening MS symptoms. The biggest thing that means is that numbness from the elbows down I'm both arms that I talked about before. That makes blogging, scrapbooking, even writing in my own personal journal very difficult and some days impossible to do. The cost of aides, which is in no way covered by my insurance, has depleted the most of my retirement savings and there was a scare that that wouldn't even be something that was tax-deductible anymore. At least that was saved in the reverse Robin Hood tax bill. There were enough people that wrote to their members of Congress and told them "if you let this happen I'll do everything in my power to make sure that you NEVER have a seat in any kind of government again.” (--whistles and looks to the sky--not that I'D say anything like that to a member of Congress that represents me) My aides alone cost close to half of our household income.

My biggest regret in my life as we start the year with a greater threat of nuclear war than there has ever been in my lifetime, is that I didn't register properly and didn't campaign harder in 2004. With the campaign slogan I created in 1983, “An End To War In 2004,” if I'd been serious and louder I might've at least gotten some influential people laughing at the little 30-something who would be a write-in President Of the United States, but giving some thought to what she was saying. My health plan was still better that anything Washington has come up with since then. And getting rid of the designated hitter was part of my platform too. I also still think that's right but it's part of my platform I’d have given up for the healthcare. (—shaking head—) Too flexible to be a politician.

But seriously, my biggest challenge right now happened on New Year's Eve. Not only did one of my regular Agency aides get into a car accident, that thankfully didn't harm her, that totaled her car, but the friend who is going to be my aide on a regular basis starting January 1 also got into an accident that total the only car she and her husband shared. She is fine but she is no longer able to be my aide. In the first four days of the new year there's been someone into help me once. I'm not saying that David hasn't been help when he's home, but that he's not home all the time is why I need an aide in every day. I've been feverishly looking for a couple of aides that I can afford. Sticking with the agency is really not an option. That I can use them at all now is through a grant from the MS Society that now is barely going to last until the 15th. I do have someone coming in almost every day next week. This is the biggest challenge and why I am pushing 2018 back a couple weeks. I simply refuse to allow this week especially to be part of the new year I had so much hope for.

I do have a great hope for 2018… when it starts on January 15. I contacted some potential caregivers from care.com. I don't know if it's nationwide that there're lots of ads for care.com, or if it's just the TV channels I watch. But I've interviewed a few decent caregivers and it's on my schedule to interview a couple more with a job post still running on the site.

My other great disaster in 2017 was that my scrap booking extended hard drive broke. The information is still there but the physical input to the drive came out so I can no longer use the drive with my computer. That means either someone door company that does disk retrieval we'll have to try to save my information or almost 50 scrapbook pages will have to be redone. They hadn't been transferred because of redundant disc yet. The worst part is my scrapbooks we're done until 2017, completely finished. The plan was to start 2018 with just the last of 2017 to finish and I would be scrap booking current and memories that I wanted to scrap. But if I can't save the data from that drive, I'm still 50 pages behind.

The 2018 prep is rescue the data! Finding some place to get that done hasn't been easy. The only place locally the does anything like that gave me a brochure for a place in California but does disk retrieval. They can do it for $700. I call and get a case number but I can put it on my desk and mail it to them. The good news is if they can't retrieve my data there's no charge. The bad news is if they can retrieve my data it's $700! There's a place in St. Louis that will do it for $400. My creative time alone might be worth that much. That’s about $8 a layout. Figuring the faster layouts take a good four hours to do, plus purchased scrapbook kits on that disk, it probably is worth it, but I can print two books for that price. David offered to make retrieving the data my Christmas present. I said no because it cost so much. Dammit little angel on my shoulder. LOL

One of the lost pages. 
Print-quality pages trapped on the drive include 
3 Christmases, the congressional softball game, 
“Nani at 50” pages and the Kaline tribute pages.

It still makes me wonder if I shouldn't have pursued the geekier part of computers instead of the creative. I am the geekiest member of our household, but that and $400 will retrieve my creative data from my drive!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy 2018

Personally, I welcomed the new year quietly and alone. But it was good.

2017 was an awful year that worsened with every passing month. Worldwide, nationally, personally; I have more bad than good to say about it and I’d gladly give up the good for the bad to have never happened. I’d erase the year if I could.

Too much hate. Too much fear. Too much death. Not enough schnapps.

Not enough smiles.

2018 is a beautiful baby new year, but born from a crack whore we need to as a planet, a nation, as individuals, nurture it with love and protect it so it can have the hope and beauty a new year promises.

*** Christmas 2 will be posted soon pending getting a few photos I want for that blog.

*** Coming soon - 2018 Projects and Goals