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Carine’s Blog

  • 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!

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  • Balancing Life is an Art

    Posted on Friday, March 6, 2015

    It's an Art

    Life is an art-think about it.
    We learn to juggle home and work lives.  We learn to get the most out of our waking and sleeping hours.  We constantly use our ability to change to either accommodate others or our ever-lengthening list of "must dos" to help us seamlessly move from one item to the next.

    It's truly an art.  Maybe one of the more futile ones, but an art nonetheless.
    This past week I had 2 major doctors' appointments, physical therapy, blood work, met a friend for coffee, did the shopping and errands with Steve, ran back and forth to Adam's house twice daily to feed the cats while the dogs hung out with Lucky and Pepper at our house.

    Naturally, I had to be home as much as possible while doing all of this because, well, we didn't want to leave 4 trouble-causers unattended for more than a brief amount of time.  Oh and we had the older boys after school.

    With the exception of the houseguests, this is pretty much our norm.  When someone mentions "Let's get together once things calm down."  We've got to chuckle!   After all-things will not be calming down.  So we might as well just find a way to add whatever it is we would like to do to the calendar and hope for the best.

    After coffee with my girlfriend we realized as we were saying our goodbyes that it would really be fun if we could plan another day trip.  Our last one was way back in September when we took the day to drive to Tortilla Flats and do a paddleboat cruise and enjoy our favorite Italian beef (you've probably guessed I had a grilled fish sandwich) hoagies.

    We agreed it would be fun to head out for the day to Sedona and then to Jerome.  Of course this brought up the "schedule".  My friend is working some crazy hours at her part-time job.  Her hubby isn't working that many hours but the ones he is working seem to be opposite of everyone else's.  Then there's Steve who just had his days off changed.  I'm the most flexible since I accept only the assignments I can work in between my various medical sessions and child care duties.
    Little did I realize that when I tell someone I'm in the "arts" that what I would be talking about was the art of planning and filling out a calendar.

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  • wowie-510!

    Posted on Friday, February 27, 2015

    Wow!  510
    It was a big surprise-the above number was one day of hits for this blog on the subject of writer's block.
    At first I thought I read it wrong-510 for one day? It's not as if my blog is on the same stratosphere as a gossip columnist or celebrity. Honestly, I was amazed.
    Evidently lots of writers are stumped for ideas on how to get out of the doldrums and get back to getting some work done!
    Maybe part of the problem lies in the fact that actual publishers are not really hiring us for reasonable salaries? Since the demise of numerous print publications and many of the ones that are left are mainly using staff writers or even unpaid interns-getting paid is a huge issue.
    One dear close friend who has had a great career writing for magazines ranging from Good Housekeeping and Woman's Day says she now finds herself writing three times the amount of articles and receiving half the pay.
    When I moved from Orange County, CA I lost my contract with the Orange County Register-they only wanted to use local talent. I understood, really. But the publications I still wrote for have also gone through huge changes.
    One magazine decided that they wanted to write the publication for those under 25. There's a decision. Because so many millennials are into print editions. The editor went to another start-up and is now finding herself writing everything until the start-up can support paying others. Another long-time publisher was actually bought out by the same company that owns the Register.
    Can you guess who no longer needs freelance writers?
    When I got here to Arizona, I tried really, really hard to introduce myself to all the various local magazines and the one regional newspaper. Not a good experience.
    My son said, "Maybe you need to get out of what you usually write and try something new." That might work IF there was a magazine or paper that would even acknowledge that I sent them queries and letters of introduction.
    I was encouraged by one editor who somehow found me-she e-mailed, she called and said she was so impressed with my work and wanted to have me as a regular contributor. By that point I knew the going rate here and told her my fee.
    That didn't seem to matter as long as she could work with me. Great. Thrilling. Then she said she'd send me the names of people she wanted me to profile. Two weeks went by and I heard nothing.
    I dutifully sent her a reminder note. She apologized and said she'd send them right over. Two weeks went by and I sent another note. At that point I got a terse note saying things were changing at the magazine and to please understand that she would get back to me by the beginning of the coming month.
    That didn't happen. I sent one more note-this time I said that I thanked her for considering me and that I didn't want to bug her-but that I did want her to be honest and say that this was not going to work out or to explain what was happening so I knew how to proceed with accepting other assignments.
    This woman who found me didn't have the courtesy to respond!
    And with this rant, you can now understand why I hit over 510 hits on just one day on the subject of writer's block.  It's not only the writing that's in question-it seems to be a wall that's ever rising that many of us can't seem to reach the top of in order to find a reason to keep on doing what we love.

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  • who cares? apparantly not I

    Posted on Friday, February 20, 2015

    Who Cares?

    I feel as if I've hit a "brick wall" lately.  I have done several interviews, more on the calendar to do-yet, I sit in front of the computer and stare.

    It was bound to happen.  Let's face it-most writers do have some form of "block".  I'm sure I'll shake it off and get back on track.  But right now, nothing much has been happening!

    My subjects are interesting, the questions and answers are fine but I just sit here and stare at the processor.  Mostly wondering, "How do I start this profile?"

    Could be that I'm tired of doing the "same old, same old".  Could be that our lives have just gotten in the way of my creative ability.  Could be that I just need to give myself a bit of a break and stop obsessing about the 3-4 articles that are just fanned out on my desk!

    Usually a walk will break my block.  They have NOT.  I went and started Qigong/tai chi-I'm enjoying it and it has added another dimension to my PT, but I'm still not getting any further along in my actual paying work.  

    At first I thought-I just realized that I have about 3 months finished and ready to be sent to the editor and maybe that's why I'm in no particular rush to get out of my self-imposed ennui.  But I'm not so sure.

    Even coming up with something for this blog is sometimes an effort in futility.  

    Things haven't exactly been running very smooth of late.  Busy with the boys, busy with all the aftermath of the break-in and extremely busy just trying to keep myself at some sort of level of being human with all the physical therapy, pain and running back and forth to doctors.

    Maybe I pushed all that I've been through the last two years too far back in the recesses of living my life and it's coming to the surface now?

    I have to admit, I saw some photos of a similar accident in the local paper and it had me feeling a burst of anxiety I've never actually felt before-too busy trying to prove that I'm not that "bad".

    Of course, it could just be that I'm in the midst of plain old everyday writer's block and I need to step back, take a few deep breaths (thank goodness I'm going to tai chi where everything is about the breathing) and just relax.


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  • Poor Pepper

    Posted on Friday, February 13, 2015

    Poor Pepper
    I felt so sorry for Pepper this week.  He's 11-1/2 now.  Thankfully he's in good health (knock on wood) and still full of impish behavior-but like all cats, he's never really cared for loud noises.

    This week we've had a LOT of loud noise.

    Even though we've had record breaking temperatures that we're all thrilled to feel-we all not too happy about the gales pealing through our rather rural community.  With the wind we not only get pushed around while walking, we also get a lot more dust and whistling.

    Now that we have security doors I'm able to enjoy letting fresh air into the house.  While Pepper loves to sit on the mat by the screen and sun himself and feel the air-he's not crazy about hearing the accompanying whistles that come with it.

    Speaking of those security doors-after 4 long months and lots of rather curt talks with the store manager we finally have the replacement for the one that's been hanging there in a very warped condition.  The installer came with it and a much better attitude than the first guy.  

    It was my fault on part of the noise.  I remembered to turn off the motion sensors on one side but blew it on the other.  Of course the "other" was where the new door was going in.  First Pepper saw this unknown man.  He ran to one of his hiding spots.

    Then the installer made noise with his drill.  That drill set off the motion detector-it was screaming throughout the entire house until I could get a step stool and turn it off.

    Pepper glared at me from a hole in his condo.  "Mom, first the whistling, then the drill and now that screeching!  I'm not happy."

    About two hours later, as the installer was finishing up, he accidently moved one of the outdoor dining chairs into the glass door.  It had a sensor on it.  Ack!

    Off went the screeching again.  This time I had to open the blinds, find a way to reach it from the couch and get it turned off (and back on as well).

    Lucky didn't exactly love all the noise but she's a dog and quite social.  So as long as I was within "reach" she was fine with the stranger (she smelled him and gave the okay), she was fine with the drill and even the screeching.  She wasn't happy about having to stay inside during her usual morning sunbathing hour or getting pushed around the yard when she wanted to use the facilities but managed through the noisy event.

    Thankfully the doors are okay and Pepper seemed to forgive me by dinner time.  But we'll have to start realizing that he's getting to the point where he just wants to spend his days playing and bathing his dog, chasing after his mini-tennis balls and playing fetch and sleeping.

    And that's okay-now we know he'll be safe doing so.

    0 Replies