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Carine’s Blog

  • Learn SOMETHING!

    Posted on Friday, April 17, 2015


    As a former teacher it has always been my belief that we should learn SOMETHING (no matter how small) every day.  

    Not only does it serve to keep our egos in check (who wants to be around a "know-it-all", really?) but it makes life interesting.  

    I don't really care if it's something as mundane as realizing that your local library has a couple of different areas to stash your favorite genre-or something as vast as realizing you won't be the same person at 60 that you were at 20.

    That's the reason when I decide to do something with the grandkids I try to make it as fun as it is educational.  Hence taking them to the local Science Center for their birthdays.  They had a blast and learned about building dams, weather changes, how to build a house so that it won't be destroyed in various harsh weather formations and all the things their bodies can do!

    It's also the reason I have them help in the kitchen with food preparation.  I must admit-I did the older boys' mom absolutely no good by not letting her try her hands (literally) with using safety scissors, kid knives and yes, I wouldn't let her consider using a veggie peeler at age 6!

    Why?  I was so afraid that she'd get hurt I just wouldn't let her do it.  I swear that even today at nearly 33 our daughter still isn't up to Mario Batali's knife skills in the kitchen.  It's definitely my fault.

    Lesson learned-I insist that the boys help me!  Dylan is quite capable with the said veggie peeler and loves to do carrots for me.  Aidan is fantastic at measuring items for whatever dish it is that we're creating.

    This is also a great way to teach kids about the importance of measuring correctly when baking and discussing that it is a science where cooking is creative.

    Another thing I've gotten them involved with thanks to the lovely lady (Teacher Pam) who was in charge of the craft class that I had been taking them too-is a game called BLOKUS.  It's basically a logic skill game.  The boys have to decide what goes where on the board and think about the other 3 people they're playing with or they will wind up with "bloks" that  will go against their score at the end of the hour.

    Dylan is in heaven-as he loves puzzles.  Aidan told me that "I won when I played this game on my own grandma.  Now I lost."

    I let him know that it was just the first week and that no one was keeping score. Plus, "the game is meant to be played with 3 other kids so that you all have a good time and learn how to fit the pieces in to the best of your ability."

    That was what the boys learned this week.  

    Steve learned that when you "catch" a stomach virus you shouldn't keep eating.  I'm sure that this is more than enough said on that this subject.

    Me?  I learned that when you have an hour to wander in the library that you find out that for whatever reason the mystery section is NOT altogether.  Nope, not at all.

    I've been reading all of Sue Grafton's letter mysteries (Kinsey Millhone, I love your spunk) and for whatever reason the area I was finding most of them in had several missing.  So I went and ordered 3 from the main library.  They're sitting in the great room now.

    However, while I was waiting for the boys I did wander around the non-fiction area and realized that the mystery section had an entirely different stack a couple of rows back!  Woo Hoo!

    I found letter B and started reading it right then and there.

    All in all, we all learned a few things-none major, but enough to fill my "learn 1 thing daily" quota!

    0 Replies
  • ACHOO!

    Posted on Friday, April 10, 2015

    Spring, while beautiful in temperatures, plays havoc with our family.
    This past week alone we have:
    Sam sitting up and sleeping because she can't breathe.
    Dylan no longer allowed out in the yard because of the tree next door being in full "bloom". He starts sneezing and can't stop. You can only imagine what happens around sneeze 5!
    Little Jackson has watery eyes and the typical toddler snot coming out so fast and furiously that his poor little face is chapped and his nose cracking to the point of having bloody noses.

    Then there's me:  running nose, watery eyes, sneezing and my throat is scratchy from the severe post-nasal drip.  Plus-the sneezing and coughing have had the added effect of blowing out my lower back, neck and shoulder.  Lovely.  And oh, add the dark circles under my eyes and I'm sure you have quite the "visual".

    HOLD ON!  I'm not done!

    Nope, poor Lucky is having a time with her "reverse" sneezing.  Poor Pepper is about the same as Dylan!

    We're all taking our choice of allergy medications-except for Pepper.  I stopped by the vet and asked if I could let him share Dylan's Benadryl.  Yes.  One very big problem-Pepper in all his 12 years and 3 months has NEVER let us give him any meds.

    But I went to Wal-Mart (my home away from home) and got a syringe.  Steve swaddled him and then I tried to feed it to him.

    Should've seen the look on that cat's face!  "Really mom?  Do you think I'm going to let you feed me what's in there?"

    This not enough of our "Spring" for you?  The other night Pepper's nose dripped onto my face.  Of course that woke me up saying "ewwwwwww".  Then the little guy sneezed in my face about a half dozen times.

    Not to be outdone by her brother, Lucky came out from the bottom of the bed and started sneezing in my MOUTH.

    Why is it kids never think to do these things to their father?

    I know it doesn't sound as if I enjoy this season-but it is just the perfect temperature for sitting out and enjoying my morning cup of coffee on the patio and having dinner outside as well.

    As much as I hate the allergies, this is the perfect time to enjoy Arizona.  Temps' ranging from the mid-70's to just fewer than 100.  Breeze is still delightful and lets us enjoy the outdoors.

    The only thing the Nadel clan can do is take our bevy of antihistamines, buy a bulk package of lotion-lined nose tissues, get a seasonal package of cough lozenges and barrel through until we can stop sneezing and complain about the "dry heat".

    0 Replies
  • The Census-GRRR

    Posted on Friday, April 3, 2015

    How Do You Feel About the Census?

    I'm asking because I was ready to scream at the entire event.
    As I'm sure many of you also received an envelope supposedly containing a packet-you may understand my frustration.
    The census is a necessary thing that is a royal pain in the patootie.
    In our case, my envelope had the address card that had a bar code, a sequence number and our address.  On the bottom with an 866 phone number in case you had any questions.  It also had a letter from the US Dept. of Commerce saying you had to go on-line to take the test or call the 866 number.

    I dutifully went on line and there was a 6 minute tutorial and a log-in area.  Evidently my address card was supposed to have a special 8 digit number for me to use.  Trouble?  It did not.  Before calling the given phone number I actually watched the tutorial-thinking maybe it would enlighten me as to other areas that this log in number would be other than the area circled in red on the picture on the website.

    It did NOT.  So I called the number and waited.  After 10 minutes I used my option to leave my name and number for someone to call me back.  After 2 days I realized I never got the call back-so I repeated the 10 minute/message process.  

    After a few days of not thinking about the census at all-I received a postcard reminding me that I needed to still do the on-line test.  Wanting to do what was asked of me, I did a 3-peat of the phone call.  

    That took me up to the very last day to get this thing done.  No one called me back-again.  So after coming home very calm, cool and collected from Tai Chi-I called the 866 number again and waited.
    And waited.

    And waited.

    After 22 minutes a very nice woman came on and asked me how she could help.  I told her the problem and about the various calls, wait times and unanswered messages.  Then SHE ASKED ME FOR THE LOG IN NUMBER!
    I re-iterated that this was the problem-I didn't have one!
    She asked if I wanted to do it right then over the phone. I gratefully said, "Yes, please."
    10 minutes later I was done and both of us were happy.
    Hopefully I won't have to do the census for quite some time-I do not have the patience to wait on hold for anything for a long time to come.

    Just so you all know-I finally did get a call back-it was on my answering machine today, having a time stamp of 11:30 a.m...  Not bad, only 3 days after the deadline.  Of course they didn't leave the needed information.  Just a suggestion to call them back.

    0 Replies
  • Baby, It's NOT Cold Outside

    Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Baby, It's NOT Cold Outside

    I'm lucky enough to have a social site that about 14 or so of us put together after the Lady's Home Journal magazine site shut our boards down.   For whatever reason, all of us "clicked" and decided that even without the magazine-we wanted to stay in touch.

    We even decided that since the magazine just "cast" us all aside-we'd name ourselves the very appropriate, "The Castaways".  It's been several years now.

    We did have a wonderful woman who set it all up for us; we all adored her (her name was Diane).  Unfortunately she passed on due to a horrific accident shortly after we set up our "island".  We miss her.

    Back to the reference of this week's entry-with the exception of yours truly everyone else lives in the eastern part of the country.  Meaning that they are still experiencing snow, rain, freezing temperatures and wishing that the Spring weather would start NOW.

    I feel very guilty-as while they're trying to get out for a walk or just go shopping without putting on several layers of winter wear, I am sitting here writing this blog in a pair of gym shorts and an exercise tank top.  I also slathered on the sunscreen before walking Lucky this morning.  

    The pooch and I were out before 8:30 to get the walk in because it was already showing a rather warm 83 on the thermometer.  If I'd waited longer the cement would certainly be too hot for my little baby's paws.  She's not much for the booties I tried to get her to wear last year.  No "Chihuahua" sandals available at the stores around here.

    By the time I got to Qigong class-we were all asking the head librarian for a second fan in the room.

    Yet all my friends in the East are freezing and keeping a pot of coffee heated and ready for drinking just to keep warm.  

    Of course, about a month from now, they'll finally see flowers and their grass will be green while I'll be keeping the blinds almost fully closed, the fans going and the doors shut in an effort to keep our newly sealed and insulated home as cool as possible.  I'm pretty sure our temps will be cracking the 100 mark in about 2 weeks.

    It was actually so hot that last weekend the community center turned on the spigots for the splash pad at the renovated main park.  Our pool is always opened and in full use-but now the residents wanted the water park opened early to enjoy the beginning of our "summer".  The usual first weekend in Memorial Day so we've got a bit to go.

    Either way-while my dear friends from Ohio to New York are bundling up I've been making sure I actually have enough tank tops and shorts without stains to wear because it's too darn hot to wear my yoga pants anymore!

    0 Replies
  • Is Green Still a Thing?

    Posted on Friday, March 20, 2015

    Is Going "Green" Still a Thing?

    I'm not talking ecologically-although I try to buy green and do the "3 R's" as much as I am able.  

    What I'm talking about is the actual idea of wearing green.  This week was St. Patrick's Day and according to tradition we are supposed to "wear green or be pinched".  I don't know about you, but I really hated this as a kid.

    I have olive toned skin which has a lot of yellow in it.  When I wear anything green I look sickly.  Someone once asked my mom if she had had me checked for hepatitis!  I kid you not.

    Green is NOT in my wardrobe.  But now as an adult, I dare someone to try and pinch me.
    Tuesday I expected to be the only one in Tai Chi not wearing a drop of the Irish green in class.  But guess what?!  Out of the 18 of us there-only one person wore anything with green!  After class I went across to Fry's to get some grapes and blueberries that were on sale-honest to Pete, I didn't see anyone in the entire produce section look as if they were worried about not hanging on to this particular tradition either!

    Is it just in our little rural town or is this happening everywhere?  

    Just in case you're all wondering, I really did try to at least put something on that had maybe a little trim of the color.  I took out an Ed Hardy tank top with roses on it figuring that it would have a leaf or two-nope.  I had pink, red, yellow and blue outlined in black, but there wasn't even a dot of green to be seen.

    This is more than okay by me-just having the few yellow roses on my top was enough to make me wonder if anyone was wondering if they should "back away from the sick woman".  

    This is a rather silly post but sometimes I just wonder about the little things.

    3 Replies
  • Museums and Birthdays

    Posted on Friday, March 13, 2015

    Birthdays and Museums

    This week we finally took our older grandsons, Dylan and Aidan, on their long anticipated Hanukah and Birthday celebration.

    We made the date about 3 weeks ago.   Since the boys have more toys than they know what to do with and the same goes for books-we opted to do the same thing we did last year:

    Kidnap them from a day of school!  

    This year we went to a great new breakfast spot first-Eggstasy.  Very different menu that even the boys were impressed with-really.  Dylan opted for a dish he had on our cruise a couple of year's ago-crepes with Nutella and bananas.  Aidan heard that they made s'mores pancakes and chose that dish.  Steve went for a chorizo and cheddar omelet (one of the normal dishes) with hash browns and a side of their banana and macadamia nut pancakes.  I broke my steadfast rule (well as much as I ever do!) on healthy eating and had an egg white omelet with fig compote and goat cheese with a fruit kebab and multi-grain toast.   Not a peep about my need to have no butter either!

    Coffee was needed.  Before we sat down, Dylan told our server that she'd better get me a cup REAL FAST.
    A fact I did nothing but confirm.

    After a huge breakfast that both kids demolished along with helping me with mine we went off to the Arizona Science Center.

    This is a fabulous library for all ages.  Very hands on-everything from learning and trying all different experiments about your body and exactly what liquid nitrogen is and what it can do to building your own dam and taking part in a weather display that had everything from rain to hurricanes and earthquakes.

    We were there for about 3 hours.  We could have easily spent more time but the boys were quite wet from building dams and we had to consider Lucky's pea-sized bladder!
    Once all of the pottying and clothes changing took place-the boys wanted to go to a local and award-winning BBQ place for dinner.

    The pulled pork sandwiches were delicious and the fries were perfect and seasoned with their award-winning rub.

    That was the end of our very busy day.  We dropped the tired kids off to their father and went home to both collapse and enjoy a repeat showing of The Jersey Boys.

    Below you can see a couple of photos that decided to upload-I tried 4 times to share them all but only these weren't being stubborn.  One is of Aidan learning to use a pulley and lift himself up with grandpa's help and the other is of Dylan taking a much earned rest on a bed of nails.

    Amazing how the boys have grown during the last 3 birthday kidnappings!  Our first we only made it to the kids' museum (which they have now outgrown) and now we've made it from just a quick lunch and an hour of "cruising" to a full day's event.

    The best part-we enjoyed it as much as the boys AND we came home to no "piddles".  Woo Hoo on all accounts!

    0 Replies