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Carine’s Blog

  • Life's Too Short for Bad Coffee

    Posted on Thursday, February 1, 2007

    Life's Too Short for Bad Coffee

    The only relationships that I have been in that lasted longer than the one I share with my spouse are the ones with my family, two girlfriends and coffee. And coffee comes in ahead of one of those girlfriends. Gives you an idea how much I value this substance.

    Bearing that in mind, I say with much confidence that starting my morning with something hot and strong isn't enough. If it were, all I'd need is my husband. Trust me on this, before I can thoroughly appreciate him, I must have my coffee. Thankfully, he's been aware of this since my mother warned him on my morning needs on our third date. Didn't scare him off in the least, he proposed on the fourth date anyway.

    Speaking of my mom, she started me on this addiction-this one and crossword puzzles. As a mom myself, I realize everything is our fault, but she admits getting me hooked. Unfortunately mom is not a coffee snob. In fact for years she bragged that she fooled everyone by serving instant sanka in her percolator just so she didn't have to clean the grounds in the pot!

    Okay, this was the late 1960's, when instant coffee was new and different. But even though I was 10, I knew this stuff was simply not worth drinking. I mean, come on the stuff smells of formaldehyde, EW! What made this time special was that I got to hang out with my mom and her friend and talk. I was a rather sickly kid so I was home from school a lot. I guess since I was sick, allergic to dairy products and home so much, my mom's thought was probably "hey, it's fluid, it's hot and it's decaffeinated-why not?" Besides, I really do not like tea.

    I drank it. Then as I aged, I found "real" coffee, with a kick in it. This helped me stay awake through boring college lectures as well as while writing many a term paper. I also realized I was a much nicer person after the caffeine kicked in.

    Then I had kids. Kids mean early mornings-at least that's what having mine meant. Bless them, they are still here because I had the good sense (and a mate who saw to it that we had a timer on our Black and Decker space saver)to make sure my coffee was brewed before they let out their first "howdy" squeal of the day.

    After a while, coffee growers of the world saw a niche to provide the earth with "gourmet" beans. Some with custom roasts and then came the "flavors". Why didn't someone think of these last two earlier???? My favorite is chocolate raspberry!

    Today, I have a fancy "brew machine" that grinds my fresh beans right before it makes my morning pot. Yes, my morning pot-with caffeine. I cut myself off at 11. Fortunately, my "day job" colleagues also love their morning jolt. I think that's one of the reasons we enjoy our co-existence.

    Good coffee is similar to having a good romance: if you have a relationship that is hot, smells wonderful and understands your needs-what more could you possibly wish for in life?

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  • What's in a Name?

    Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007

    What's in a Name?

    Everything we are can be summed up by what others call us-good bad or indifferent. Some titles we earn, some we are born or have bestowed upon us by simply just being.

    This week I've been thinking a lot about a new little guy's name. I've also been thinking a lot about all of mine.

    The moment of my birth, I obviously became Carine. I also received the monikers of daughter and granddaughter. I've never had the honor of being a niece or a cousin. Luckily, I am a sister. Then there were the "me" years-teacher, on-air newscaster, dancer. After those years-wife, mother, aunt, sister-in-law.

    Somehow, my names/titles keep growing, in a very good way! For a while, I was a business owner, supervisor-I was happy to put those aside.

    A few years ago, a wonderful young man entered my daughter's life and added mother-in-law to my list. I hope I am one that is appreciated and not avoided, I assure anyone who is reading this, I make a real effort at not being the stereo-typical!

    Thursday the young man and my first born gave me the honor of adding grandma to my list.


    Wow, I've had 8 months of preparation and yet it didn't really hit until 8:45 this morning as I was on my way to my day job. Must have been quite the site for people driving near me! There I was bawling my head off. Crying about being happy that our daughter was doing well, that the baby had the heat lamps turned off and was drinking from a bottle on his own. Crying because I was thankful I did not look like what I thought a grandma should look like! Mom, close your eyes, because you certainly do not look like this either! For some reason I think of Dorothy's Auntie Em when I think of grandmothers. I don't know why!

    Several people told me I'd find this "name" the easiest--I totally beg to differ! As my handsome husband and I sat there waiting for updates, all of my titles were on the edge of an exhausting journey.

    As a mom, I was worried about my baby. She had been having complications of the serious kind throughout the eight months. Due to the complications we were worried about our grandson. We were very good. Our daughter's nurse thanked us profusely for staying out of their way so they could focus on taking care of the business at hand. I, in turn, thanked them for doing just that-otherwise, curtains! Thankfully, the hospital staff did an excellent job because all three are doing very well.

    Now my daughter and son-in-law are on their way home, no long a couple. They are a family. With brand new titles themselves.

    Eight months ago, the arrival of this event was very unreal. Today, here I am writing about what's in a name that makes you look at yourself differently. As well as how others look at you.

    As I walked outside my office to get an hourly report from my son-in-law, people in the area I work yelled out "Hi Grandma!" I waved back with a huge grin and a light heart.

    Thursday at 3:03 p.m., a little boy named Dylan Brian arrived into the world. 4 lbs, 14 oz and 18" long. He's already begun his own list: son, grandson, nephew and cousin

    May your list continue to grow and change.

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  • The Art of Positive Thinking

    Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007

    The Art Of Positive Thinking

    The art of positive thinking. It's supposed to literally be a cure for anything that ails you, both body and soul. I do believe this to be true in most cases. It's a matter of learning to put the right "spin" on the subject.

    I even have some examples:

    You have a really bad job. The pay is terrible, the work tedious, the hours inconvenient.

    Think of the pluses! You have a place to go, people who more than likely commiserate with your situation (who doesn't enjoy a good b-t-h session now and then?) and some kind of monetary stipend which is hopefully keeping you close to eye level with the bills you've accumulated.

    Truly better than the alternative!

    Another scenario: You have been stricken with some terrible affliction. I know, many of you are reading that last sentence and wondering "WHAT????

    However, it's a known medical phenomena that being positive that you will survive and even be better than ever when all is said and done, really, truly works. We all know someone who defied the odds of a "terminal" condition, simply by deciding that they had not finished what they needed to here on earth. One of my husband's cousin's had a husband who had esophageal cancer and was given only 3 months survival-he lived a full life for another 12 years after that and died of a heart attack-not cancer. It allowed him to be there for all of his children's marriages and see most of his grandchildren come into being!

    All this being said-I really want to stress I do believe in having a positive frame of mind. I myself came back from being close to not being able to maintain a "regular" lifestyle with my rheumatoid arthritis. It was my positive attitude and trust in medical science that made it possible for me to sit here and write, get out and go power-walking and numerous other daily activities rather than sit in constant pain.

    EXCEPT FOR ONE THING: head colds. I really see nothing positive about them. Okay, in the grand scheme of life, this sounds ridiculous, but have any of you ever had one and have been able to think "oh good, I needed a cold!" What fun! And now, I have a doozy!

    Does anything make you feel or look worse? My eyes are tearing, I can't hear anything, my throat feels as if a match has been struck on it. I'm dizzy. My face and lips are chapped from all the sneezing, blowing and coughing. Oh, while I'm complaining-my body hurts and my back went out from having to cough and sneeze at the same time. Plus, who sleeps in this condition?

    This is after 9 days and enough "symptom relief" medication to choke the proverbial horse.

    Childbirth was easier. Shorter recovery time too. Plus, you came out with something wonderful.

    And now, I may not be ready to post, but I have to-I positively need another hot cup of lemon and honey and a new Kleenex.

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  • My Baby's Having a Baby!

    Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007

    My Baby's Having a Baby! Or: An Open Letter to My Daughter

    By Carine Nadel

    Dear Sarah,

    You are about to embark on one of life's most exciting adventures. It will last the rest of your existence. It will take you to emotional highs and lows that are presently unimaginable.

    With any luck, you will begin by having the greatest feeling of love and joy (along with some of the greatest physical exhaustion) known only to our "fair sex". It will take hours to achieve, but it will always be your best achievement. You will only remember the thrill and none of the pain.

    Do your best to include your hubby, he too will be feeling some of the same emotions, but for him they will be on a totally different plane. To experience the wonder of the new life you are bringing into this world, you must share the event as you have never shared anything before. Remember this will be your first moment as a family-you must release yourselves to each others full range of views.

    Enjoy every moment-no matter how frustrating, nerve-racking and angering some of them might be-they only happen once, then your precious child will change and another round of experiences will arise and you will no longer have the prior set to go back too. There will be many times where you will want your first born to "never change", but alas, that is obviously never going to happen. Time passes all too quickly.

    It seems that it was just a few weeks ago that I brought you home. And here you are! About to become a mother yourself. How can this be? Didn't we just go for your first makeover? Has it really been six years since you graduated high school?

    My hope is that you will discover that while being a parent is the hardest career you'll ever have, it is also, by far, the most rewarding.

    May Dylan Brian be just as wonderful a son as you are a daughter!

    Yes, we've definitely had our ups and downs. I know that you hated me at times. I'm honest-some decisions I wish I could take back and do a take-over. Sometimes being a mom is a thankless position. You will find that out in the years to come. The end results are never really known. People change in so many ways during the course of their time here on earth. I know you turned out to be an amazingly strong, loving woman to whom I couldn't be more proud of.

    In the end, women who are blessed enough to say they have children, hopefully will be blessed to one day become grandmothers. You are about to bestow upon me that honor.

    I love you and Thank you,

    Love always, Mom

    2 Replies
  • I Confess!

    Posted on Saturday, January 6, 2007

    I Confess!

    It's 2007, so I'm going to make a confession-I am an addict. Okay, I'm actually addicted to about four things, but I don't want to scare anyone off.

    I solve challenger crossword puzzles, in ink. Yes, I'm one of those annoying people. I blame my mother. She uses pencil first and then, for whatever reason, goes over the writing with her pen.

    But as all children must, I blame her.

    When I was still in elementary school, I was the kid who was always out sick. Whatever the wind carried, it blew into my body and I'd be down for the count. Being a kid, homework and TV weren't enough to keep me busy, so mom gave me the LA Times crossword puzzle to do. She'd also play scrabble with me. Hence, my addiction to writing as well. (Now you know two)

    In time, puzzles weren't just to keep me busy and out of her hair on sick days (she's never actually said that's why she started me, but as a mother myself, the guess must be on target), but to help me learn a dangerous amount about a lot of different things and expand my vocabulary.

    My favorite Saturday morning activity, before I post this column: I sort the LA Times and the Orange County Register and organize the crosswords in order of difficulty. Then I make a nice big pot of coffee (addiction #3) and have a wonderful time with all of them, culminating with the NY Times challenger.

    At first, I kept my addiction from by husband, but once we were married I had to let him know of my weakness. In the beginning, I'm sure he thought our love would somehow cure me. Alas, he was so wrong. Now I had another source for answers having to do with the sports world. I roped him in. He doesn't do them (he'd lose an arm if he tried taking my books or magazines, I think), but when I'm really concentrating, he'll quietly ask "Can I help?" Who wouldn't still be head over heels in love after 26 years with a guy like that????

    In fact, our children were appalled one year and then were aghast at my joyous response. We were going through a rather tough financial time and it was Valentine's Day. My wonderful hubby went on the internet, searched out crossword puzzles, downloaded about 50 and put them into a small paper folder (the kind kids use for school reports). I was so overwhelmed I almost cried. Really.

    Our kids rolled their eyes. "How could you give mom puzzles for Valentine's Day" and then, "You actually liked it! You'd think he just gave you a five carat diamond ring or something!"

    Kids, they just don't know the real meaning of love.

    And just to let you in on my fourth and final obsession, which you've probably guessed, my husband.

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