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Carine’s Blog

  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

    0 Replies