Friday, December 28, 2012

Yummy Smoothie Recipes

Okay, so these are three smoothie recipes I've come up with using the Arbonne Vanilla Flavored Protein powder. I love the powder as it has the perfect level of sweetening with stevia and rich vanilla flavor. And the protein is derived from peas so its totally vegan, non dairy and non soy. So much of vegan food is soy based so it nice to have a protein alternative and it tastes better. Plus Arbonne products are made exclusively from organic, non GMO botanicals (in this case veggies). So here they are:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
In blender add:
8 oz cold water
3 ice cubes
2 scoops Arbonne vanilla protein powder
1 banana
1/2 to 3/4 c canned pumpkin
Handful of fresh baby spinach
1/4 c ground flax seeds or wheat germ
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend until ice cubes are pulverized. Enjoy in a tall glass.

A Berry Good Smoothie
*I use frozen berries in this because they are so much less expensive and keep longer but fresh berries work fine too.
In blender add:
8 oz cold water
2 ice cubes
2 scoops Arbonne vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup frozen berries to blender
3/4 cup frozen berries - microwave 1 1/2 min to thaw. Add to blender
Handful fresh baby spinach
1/4 c ground flax seed or wheat germ
Blend until ice is pulverized and berry and spinach particles are very small. Enjoy!

Carrot Apple Protein Smoothie
This is not a real sweet drink but its jam packed with healthy components
In blender add:
4 oz apple juice
8 oz cold pressed carrot juice
Handful fresh baby spinach
2 scoops Arbonne vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coursely chopped
2 ice cubes (optional)
Pulse blender 2-3 min to ensure ginger is pulverized.

Any of these smoothies can replace a full meal. You have your protein, healthy natural carbs, vegetable and fiber. Also they have a low glycemic index even though they are sweet. Thank you stevia and natures sweet fruit.

Where to find the Arbonne Vanilla Protein Powder? Visit my stepdaughter's website at the protein powder also comes in chocolate flavor and was developed as part of their detox and weight loss line of products.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think or if you have other suggestions for recipes.

Peace be with you and all that jazz...,

Copyright (c) 2012. Chardale Irvine. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 24, 2012

About Kissing and Licking

I know, I know!  I is an enticing title but read along and you'll find it is appropriate for my lightbulb of insight that I got yesterday.

The day started rough.  I awoke with a backache and with my right leg, the one with the recently repaired ruptured superior quad tendon, numb and quite painful.  This happens every several days or so in the, so far, seven week recovery process (with months and months of physical therapy stretching in front of me).  I laid in bed trying to massage the back of my right leg with my left foot.  It was marginally successful but I really did need the whole leg massaged before I got up and started moving around on it.  So I called on my dear husband Walt and he came to my rescue.

I laid on my right side with my left knee bent in front of me so I was almost lying on my stomach.  Lying like this made it so I could completely relax the muscles in my right leg and made it possible for Walt to have access to the entire leg at once.  The brace and restricted movement has really affected my circulation so he worked on the muscles down the back of my leg and as he got closer to my foot I could feel my foot "waking up" as the nerves started firing or the blood started circulating or whatever.  It felt amazing and was such a relief.

Just as Walt finished, Bruno, our 6 1/2 pound yorkie mix began licking the back of my thigh.  Walt and I stopped talking to avoid distracting him.  He slowly and methodically licked his way down the back of my leg towards my foot.  He stopped and licked in a certain place for a little bit at the several places that I had asked Walt to work a little more on.  Walt was not showing him where those places were - he just knew somehow - those were the places where I felt surges of life coming back into my foot and those were the places that Bruno found too.

When he got down to my ankle he stopped licking and went over and laid down.  I rolled over onto my back and called him over to me and cuddled and petted him.  Mostly I just thanked him for being my little angel dog.

I know, I KNOW!  Some of you are dog people and that kind of situation is probably normal  and totally accepatable and expected.  Some of my readers in other countries like Turkey, Iran, Syria, etc. don't even HAVE dogs for pets. For many people, myself included up until just recently, like maybe today, that would seem hideous and icky.  The feel of saliva in general, regardless of the kind of mammal it is coming from, generally grosses me out.  The sound of licking also is creepy to me.  And, as such, I have trained Bruno to not lick me or kiss me.   He also has been encouraged to only lick himself when I'm out of earshot.  Walt, on the other hand, does not have those boundaries, so Bruno routinely kisses him on the lips and the ear and likes to lick Walt's wrist every now and then.

Bruno is 13 years old.  That is a lot of years to NOT kiss me and then to all of the sudden decide a whole leg needed attention.  But it really isn't all of the sudden because he has been ever so attentive to this knee injury ever since I had surgery.  When he's on my lap he insists on draping himself over that leg and resting his head right on the top of the incision. At first this was painful so I couldn't have him on my lap because he refused to lie anywhere else.  Since it is mostly healed I can tolerate him on my lap but he is very focused on that leg. This is not his normal lap sitting position.  I can move him off the leg and he moves right back onto it.

Here is Bruno working his healing magic on my knee.

So that happened.  And the day went on.  I was checking my Facebook and my second cousin K. had posted a new profile pic of her with her fiance'.  She's in her early twenties and we have never met but I've found her to be edgy and interesting.  I've met her dad P. only a couple of times but know her grandparents quite well as they are my mom's brother and sister in law.  I was a "server" at their wedding which at the age of 11 was such an honor.  The bride, my new aunt, was stunning with long auburn hair and a big, easy smile.  I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.  And I realized today that one of the reasons I enjoyed visiting K.'s page so much is because she looks now SO much like her grandmother did when I first met her.  It's like leaping back into time.

So, I made an awkward attempt to explain all that to K. and her dad P. I apologized for the weirdness but they were very gracious and then other cousins jumped in and backed up my observation so it ended up being a marvelous way to connect with some family that I don't know well at all.

It really never occurred to me until several hours afterwards that there was a link between Aunt B. and my licking boundaries.  It wasn't her per se that tipped the balance but she did represent for me a time when I drew a certain and definitive line in the sand:  No More Relatives Were Going To Get To Kiss Me.

It's like this you see:  The Griffiths family are a whole bunch of kissers.  I say "are" because I'm assuming they still are but I really haven't kept track since I stopped participating- so we will just stick with the term "are".  They love to wrap you in their arms, hold you to their chest or breast, then pull away and kiss you smack on the lips.  Right.on.the.lips. And this is a family well endowed with lips.  They have voluptuous lips which turn into big, much too loving smiles and beautiful teeth as well.  These peope are way, way nicer people than I ever thought of being.

I spent quite a lot of time around this side of the extended family for a variety of reasons so there was a certain amount of familiarity expected.  Aunt B. came into the family fully endowed with her own set of full,voluputuous lips and was a kisser just like the rest of that darned bunch but the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when she, complete albeit beautiful,total stranger, kissed me full on the lips the first time I met her (or something like that).  It was then I put my foot down and noone was allowed to kiss me after that.

It is important to note that I did figure out that I DID like SOME people kissing me.  Apparently strange boys that I had barely met were acceptable but NO relatives. And I apparently like kissing feisty Irishmen because I've married two of them (not at the same time, mind you).

So I was 11 at that time.  I do remember informing my parents that I would no longer be kissing them goodnight when I was in the 2nd grade - so that is what - age 7 or so?  So the boundary setting had started at age 7 and then extended full circle when I was 11.

As I went to bed last night I just kept flashing on Aunt B's smiling lips coming in to kiss me and I'm like "What the heck?  Why am I flashing on this?  What is it trying to tell me?"  And then I realized that my boundaries with teaching Bruno not to lick or kiss me was based in the same place.

Now, I've had a therapist or two suggest this early no kissing boundary could have been based in some sort of inappropriate experience with an an adult at a younger age.  And my therapist in Denver, Phyllis, seemed very concerned and puzzled by my no licking boundary with Bruno since she saw it in action because he came to therapy with me (coolest therapy EVER).  I'm not sure. But I've done a crapload of work around it and I'm still just not sure.  So, I'll chalk it up to a simple aversion.  Well, simple in most families.  Not so simple in OUR family.

As I matured I was ever so happy to be given the thin lipped, small mouth that came from my dad's side of the gene pool.  Imagine my shock when I learned that voluptuous lips are seen to be sexy! (That awareness truly did not hit me until Angelina Jolie became popular - I was well into my 30s).  Its good I didn't get the Griffiths' lips.  They surely would have been wasted on me..

My grown daughter has a version of those lips and they look fabulous on her.  I have never kissed her or her brothers on the mouth though.  Lots of kissing people still try to kiss me and the errant kiss usually lands on the side of my neck which, truth be told, is actually creepier than if they'd just smacked one on my lips.

Just STOP with the kissing already!  And the licking - well unless you're MY dog and I have a hurt knee.  Maybe I would let the relatives kiss my knee. is worth pondering.  Now hopefully I can get to sleep.

Peace be with you and all that jazz....

PS.  My stepdaughter Amanda Falso is now an Arbonne Consultant.  I've tried several of the products and I'm very impressed.  The Vanilla protein shake mix has no dairy and no soy and is yummy and versatile in making smoothies.  I love the Baby Shampoo which I use as both a shampoo and body wash.  The BEST product I've tried so far is the RE9 Renewing Serum  Great stuff! Check out her website at Amanda's Arbonne Page  She has a couple of end of year give aways planned so it pays to check in and order now! 

Copyright (c) 2012- Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Who IS Santa Anyway?

My dad tells a story of when he was a little boy. That Christmas they were very, very poor. On Christmas Eve, though the cupboards were empty and there were no gifts under the tree, Grandma Chatterton gave him and his brother a dime each to go buy a Christmas present for themselves to put under the tree from Woolworth's Five and Dime. He and Uncle Jack went to the store together. They were ragamuffin kids, dressed in patched hand-me-downs and holes in their shoes. A nicely dressed woman stopped to talk to them in the store. She asked about what they wanted from Santa and what they were doing there that day. They told her Grandma had told them Santa wouldn't be coming that year. When the woman turned to leave she reached out and grasped Uncle Jack's 9 year old hand and squeezed hard as she wished them a Merry Christmas. Jack's hand was smarting from the squeeze after she left so he looked down at his hand and only then realized she had pressed a $20 bill in his palm. It was as though she had handed them a million dollars!

The first thing they did was to rush to the grocery store to get all the fixings for a fancy Christmas dinner- a big ham, potatoes, yams. They also bought a big sack of both flour, beans and rice. After that they bought Gma some warm wool gloves and a hat and for little sister Odena (Rosalie wasn't yet born) a new baby doll. Jack picked out a gift to surprise Dad with and Dad picked one out for Jack. The Five and Dime wrapped gifts for free so they had the 4 gifts wrapped. Those little boys went to bed that night happy and at peace. They would wake up and have a gift to open on Christmas and both felt as though THEY had been given the gift of BEING Santa.

Christmas morning everyone slept late. There was no reason to hurry. That one present wasn't going to take long to open. The boys woke to the smell of pancakes cooking. Gma had whipped up her familiar pan size flap jacks with the flour they had bought. As they were eating breakfast they heard a knock on the door at that house on California Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dad went to answer it and when he opened the door he found noone there but the porch was covered in boxes filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Six boxes in all. A card attached said Love Santa.

Both Jack and Dad got what they had asked Santa for earlier. Needless to say there was much hooting and hollering as little boys realized that 'Santa' had not forgotten them. They all got new warm hats and gloves and socks. there were Christmas cookies and candy canes. there were toys and new pajamas and slippers. there was a beautiful, warm bathrobe and slippers for Gma. And that is the meaning of Santa in the Dotson family.

And...that lesson was perpetuated when my own kids were young. It was Christmas 1989. Adam and Matt were 9 and Kaycee was 7. I was married to Kelly then and we were living in Lafayette CO. Our marriage was failing so it was a dark time. We were also very broke but we scrounged enough money to buy gas to make it to Mom & Dad's back in Lyman WY. We had no money for food on the road so we made sandwiches and koolaid. We only had enough money to get the kids two presents each. Kaycee was getting a Cabbage patch doll (whose name was Mindy Marjorie and whose name would forever become the infamous Mindy Margerine) from Santa and PJs from us. Matt and Adam were getting something from Santa each (I don't remember what) and PJs. The PJs would be opened on Christmas Eve so each kid would only have one gift under the tree on Christmas morning. Kelly and I had not gotten gifts for each other or anyone else.

The trip up to WY from CO was smooth and uneventful but very quiet and subdued. Our family was breaking apart and everyone in that car either knew that or could sense it.

We arrived in WY to a house also in despair as my parents financial situation was crumbling and they were getting ready to file for bankruptcy and to move from the house they had built. It was dark and quiet in all of our hearts but the gift of being together with family on Christmas when the earth was shifting in all our lives was lost on no one.

After opening the traditional Christmas Eve PJs gift we sent the kids to bed and turned in early ourselves. We were looking forward to Norwegian pancakes for breakfast but dreading seeing the kids faces when they realized how few gifts there would be.

We woke to the glorious smell of coffee brewing as three little kids shook us awake demanding we hurry and get up. Santa had come and they wanted to open their gifts. We all made our way to the living room and postponed the inevitable look of disappointment on the kids faces by pouring a cup of coffee for all the adults. There were a number of gifts under the tree. Shaun, who was a teenager, had some gifts and then each of our three kids had two, one from Santa and one from Gma and Gpa. Just as they were settling into realizing that the two gifts were the extent of their Christmas the phone rang. Gma answered it, listened for a moment and then hung up. Ten minutes later she asked the subdued kids if they'd heard a knock on the door. They had not nor had we. She insisted they check the door anyway which they did complaining all the while and when they opened the door they found the porch covered with boxes of brightly wrapped Christmas gifts.

Mindy Margerine made out best. She had a pink plastic stroller, high chair and crib. She had new clothes and blankets, plastic baby food, plastic baby utensils and plastic dishes. Everything Mindy Magerine related was pink. The boys got an Atari 2000 with several games. There were gifts for all the adults, for Shaun and lots for the kids.

Those were some excited kids I will tell you. 'Santa' Dotson style had showed up in the lives of our whole family once again. And it wasn't just presents 'Santa' brought that year. He brought hope and strength because even though we knew the things that were getting ready to happen would certainly happen we were infused with hope and the knowledge that we were loved and cared about. We all knew we would be okay.

That trip home to CO was treacherous. it was a blizzard the whole trip home and we must have looked a sight when we pulled up to our log house in Lafayette with a Topaz blanketed in ice and snow with plastic doll furniture tied to the trunk, caked in ice as well.

And that is what Santa means Dotson/Mackley style.

I will forever have in my minds eye tying pink plastic baby doll furniture all over the luggage rack on the back of our Mercury Topaz for the trip home from what had turned out to be our family's most memorable Christmas.

And that was Christmas Mackley/Dotson style. It's not really who Santa is but what Santa does.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Where is MY new Grandpa?!!

I have written posts a couple of other times about how technology is impacting my life and the life of my family in a profound way.  We had another episode the other day - Memphis driven - that I thought was hilarious and really thought provoking.

After Adam visited Colorado on Thanksgiving his brother Matt got motivated to figure out how to call us from his Ipad using Facetime.  Monday night he and Memphis called and there they were!  Those people that I get to talk to so rarely.  They were all smiles.  We got to see Memphis ride his bike.  I took them for a tour of the house.  I showed them my incision from my knee surgery and my brace.  And I had Walt put his face in the camera with me so that Memphis could see us together.

We talked to Memphis asking who we were.  He just sort of babbled.  We blew kisses to him.  He blew kisses to me.  Then I said "Blow Grandpa Walt some kisses", which he did and then we moved back to talking with Matt.

And then I hear this loud child's voice:  "Where's my Grandpa?"......  repeated....  "Where's MY Grandpa?  and again.... "WHERE'S MY GRANDPA?!"

I finally realized what he was saying and realized that he could only see MY face in the camera when I was talking to Matt right then.  He wanted to see Walt's face not mine because he had just discovered that he had a BRAND NEW grandpa that he didn't even know about.  And once he figured out that he HAD that grandpa he wanted to keep looking at him and keep talking to him.

So we did that and then the conversation would go back to Matt and I.  And then Memphis would yell "Where's MY grandpa?!" and I'd switch the camera back to Walt. We did this several times - maybe five or six times really!  Memphis just couldn't get enough of this new grandpa and Grandpa was one tickled guy too.

I've noticed with these babies using webcam calls that they don't struggle with the 3D and tactile version of people.  They are entirely comfortable with having a relationship with someone who lives inside of the phone or the computer. And then when they meet you in person they have no struggle accepting you in that realm too.  It is just fascinating how the use of these technologies that still seem like science fiction to me are accepted at an innate level at such an early age.

But....their parents' still have to dial the number and THEY and I are still very wrapped up in the 3D versions of each other.

Peace be with you and all that jazz....

PS.  I need to make sure you know that I have a financial incentive through Google to post about products that can be used with Ipad2. 

Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stepping Off A Cliff of Hope

Be sure to click on Stepping-Off-A-Cliff-Into-Hope to get the rest of the story!

Much, much has happened over the last month.  Our lives are taking significant turn as we finally accept the reality that Walt is no longer able to work and will go on full disability shortly.  He has been on partial disability for several months trying to get a handle on his illness and injuries. He has been valiantly working with rehab, doctors and nutritionists to heal but things are just getting worse.

Because of his waning work hours our income has been steadily dropping and we finally reached the point where we knew we had to get out of the motor home and into a rental house in a community that allowed us both to continue accessing the medical care we have arranged.  We went house hunting in New Smyrna Beach because my CFIDS doctor had suggested that I be near the ocean as much as possible because of my asthma and lung disorder.  We found the most amazing little house on the first day. 

I had imagined moving into a yellow, clapboard house but the two houses we saw that were in our price range were white and blue/green.  We immediately fell in love with the blue/green house, which is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. Nice hardwood and tile floors but in need of some paint and for real, a partial white picket fence. It is two blocks from the intercoastal waterway and 2.4 miles from the beach on the Atlantic Ocean. And I get to have my washer and dryer again! Oh and best of all:  the landlord said I can paint the outside doors pink JUST like the house I picked out in the canvas town of Dotsonville when I was four!

I signed the lease two days later.  Luckily there is plenty of room to park the motor home in the back yard.

Here it is:

There is a little mother-in-law apartment in the back, which was occupied when we moved in, but became vacant two weeks later.  The landlord offered it to us so we picked it up too, with the intent of renting it out as a vacation rental.  We have plans for this too:

I tore my right quad tendon on the third day we were moving stuff in.  We weren't even IN the house yet and I did that.  I'm not going to tell you what I was helping someone carry but needless to say that will be the last time I rest something heavy on my thigh, while repositioning my hands for a better grip.  This is where I ended up - the Bert Fish Medical Center ER. 

Two weeks post surgery I moved from a splint brace where I could not bend my knee to a progressive locking brace that allows for an inch and a half of bend.  The bandage is a sheet of some kind of plastic coated in Betadine covering the four inch incision.  I never have to change it and can shower with it uncovered. Miracle stuff.

And as the month progressed the reality of our shrinking financial base and with Walt facing one of the biggest and hardest transitions in his life we got ready to let the Prius go back to the bank because we had gotten so far behind on the payments and the concept of trying to get the MIL apartment ready to rent with no money, a broken knee and a very ill husband, we decided to ask for help.  And all of our "house" stuff sits in storage back in Colorado.

A plan formed in my mind as I lay awake most of last night, trying to figure out how to approach this dilemma.  We both have felt like the path that led to being in this exact place played out too smoothly to be anything other than a fairly grand design - of God?  Spirit?  The Universe?  I don't know - I just know it is a force greater than myself, of ourselves, that brought us here.  This is the moment to trust, have faith and take whatever action we are capable of.  It always feels just like stepping off a cliff to me.

After carefully budgeting and strategizing...we put up a GoFundMe donation page asking for help from our family and friends.  The response was immediate of support and empathy!  There was so much fear and vulnerability that went into embracing the idea of doing that and then actually publishing it.  I've explained the process much better on the GoFundMe site. Here is the link to check it out:  Stepping-Off-A-Cliff-Into-Hope  Anything you can do...even just a prayer is much appreciated.
The "curious journey" continues.  A soon to be published post will discuss the challenges of staying married when both people are very ill and how to find joy in every single day even when you feel like crap.  Until then:

Peace be with you and all that jazz....

Thank you,
Char & Walt Irvine
Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Technology and the Grandma Toddler Stalker

We have been on the road for three and a half years now and during that time we went from having two grandchildren to having six.  The first two we were able to spend quite a bit of time with.  The other four I have seen only once or twice and Walt hasn't met them at all.

When we lived in Colorado our oldest grandson, Shane, who just turned 11, came to visit us often with his dad Adam and when they visited they usually stayed several days so we were able to develop a strong bond.

Shane knew when he came to our house that there were two boxes kept in the garage that we only brought out for him.  He is kind of a shy guy so to encourage him to talk to me I wouldn't offer to bring the boxes out.  Instead, I would wait until he got the courage to ask and then we would go down to the garage together and carry the boxes upstairs.  It was our little ritual that made it known to all, and especially Shane, that he had a permanent place in our hearts and our house.

The old town on canvas from my childhood was in the boxes.  My parents had drawn a whole town on a six foot sheet of canvas when I was four and that had been our Christmas present along with a plastic train and many small plastic cars to drive around on the canvas town roads.  The name of the town is Dotsonville.  It was painstakingly colored with crayons and outlined in magic marker.

I had a bakery called Chardale's Bakery.  Sherone had a shoe store and Rob had a ranch with a ranch house.  Sherone and I had houses in the town proper which were not designated in writing with our names, as the businesses were, but being the bigger and more territorial sister I staked my homestead claim first and Sherone went second.  I'm sure I spent lots of time convincing her then 2 year old self that the house she was getting was perfect for her.  I probably lied to her and told her it was the nicer house and she would have believed me because she trusted me with her life. Mine had a garage and a driveway and a sidewalk with flowers planted along the edge.  Sherone had to park her cars on the canvas street because her house did not have a garage or driveway, nor did it have much of a sidewalk.  And frankly, the paint job on my house was much nicer.  My house was blue and pink.  Hers was yellow and brown.  Who knew that a four year old could have such clearly defined real estate preferences?

I definately did not have her best interests at heart most of the time but I DID save her from drowning in the canal in California when she was three so maybe somehow it all balances out.  Uh...probably no.  Although I've made my amends to her for that and she has absolved me I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for the times when I was mean to her.  She loved me unconditionally and still does.  I envy her capacity to naturally do that and I am grateful to have experienced that in my life.  And I grew up and love her unconditionally now.  She taught me how to do that.

I'm not sure how I ended up with Dotsonville on canvas because it belonged to my brother and sisters as well.  An attempt was made after my youngest sister Shaun was born to add her name to the town businesses but there definitely was an old-timer clique and she never quite felt like she belonged there but she still played with endlessly.  Perhaps I ended up with it because I had kids first?  Regardless of how I got it, I have it.  Somehow, probably through sheer tyranny, I ended up owning the whole town.

In those boxes in our garage also were a whole bunch of plastic army guys that Shane's Uncle Matt had given me for Christmas when he was in the 4th grade. An odd gift for a kid to give their mo right?  Not when you consider his reasoning.  He said he wanted to make sure I had something to play with at work in case I got bored. :)  (My suspicions are that he wanted to make sure there was something for HIM to play with when he and his siblings were with me at work when I was working overtime.  You can only have so much fun drawing on copy paper with government issue pens with black, blue or red ink and then stapling your artwork in every imaginable configuration.  There are also several matchbox size cars and a bigger green pickup truck painted to match the US Forest Service vehicle colors by one of my co-workers at the Boulder Ranger District long ago.

These busy, young parents who are out there, far away, are connected in ways never even imaginable to us.  Adam, in Utah, calls me with FaceTime on his Ipad and I'm able to see my one year old grand daughter Cadence crawl and check on her progress.  I get to see her big brother Shane and her dancing together to her favorite song "Moves Like Jagger".  I see her sign that she wants more music and dancing when the song ends.  Shane walked down the street from his mom's house in Circleville, UT and found an unsecured internet signal.  He FaceTimed with his dad who then three way called me into the conversation.

My stepdaughter Amanda has an Iphone, as do I, and we have FaceTimed several times when she is outside playing with our grandson Logan who is two.  Logan's daddy was in Irag most of the first year of Logan's life and he developed his relationship with his dad over Skype.  Here is the picture of Amanda and Logan meeting Brandon when he returned from his deployment.  You can see in Logan's eyes that there is no fear or uncertainty.  He is one hundred percent comfortable with the actual presence of his dad even though his relationship was developed over Skype

My daughter Kaycee is a single mom of our 4 year old grandson Henry.  We were around Henry alot the first year of his life so there is a bond there even though it gets more distant all the time.  She has been great about sending videos and pictures of him and we recently got set up on Skype as well.  We all have a mishmash of technology so finding "the" optimal way to communicate with each family is challenging.  Henry doesn't have much experience with webcam communication but he still was able to demonstrate his newly developing skill of dribbling a basketball and I got to see, again, what it looks like to have a ravenous, growing four year old who is starving every two hours.

All this, with texting and Facebook have helped immensely in keeping me connected with this tribe of ours far, far away.  We have though entered into a new realm with the web-based baby monitor that is trained on my son Matt's two year old son Memphis' crib.  I have one hundred percent access to sign on and watch his crib.  I have figured out when he goes down for a nap and about how long he sleeps.  I know about when he goes to bed.  I know that he is a crazy man while sleeping, moving all over the place, usually completely uncovered.  I know that he will sit and play by himself in his crib, happy as can be both before he goes to sleep and after he wakes up.

I love to "catch" mama Kelsey or daddy Matt putting him to bed. As a mom forever, seeing my own children's faces always fills my heart with joy, my favorite is when Matt puts Memphis to bed.  In addition to being able to see in both light and dark there is audio so I can listen to my 32 year old son talk to my two year grandson.  His sweet words and gentleness as a Dad make me so proud of him.  Those tender moments between parent and child are usually not observed and the monumental gift it is for me to be able to watch that and listen is not lost on me.  /Here is a link to find out more about this amazing system:

I don't get to see much of his new baby brother Maverick yet because he co-sleeps with his mama and daddy.  I suggested to Matt that they should get a webcam in the living room and he said, Uh No.  But, if they did he would wear the Speedo swimsuit we sent him for his birthday as a gag gift.  Then I said Uh, No.  I'll have to be patient and wait to stalk Maverick until he's a little older *wink*.

I have become a toddler stalker using their Summer Babycam system and now I have to find some way to convince all these parents in my tribe that they should have a night vision webcam on all my grandbabies' beds so I can watch the little angels sleeping - because everyone knows that babies, toddlers, children and yes, even teenagers are ANGELS when they are sleeping.  I can't even describe how much of a gift it is to have these windows into these little people's lives when we are so far away and our access to them is so limited.

I look forward to the times when I can hold these little people on my lap and hug and kiss on them but in the interim technology keeps me just connected enough that I won't be a total stranger to them when we see each other.

I'm lying in bed as I'm typing this on a laptop that is running on battery.  I have the baby webcam on so I'll catch Memphis going to bed.  Tonight I'll sleep with the sound of ocean waves coming from a White Noise app on my phone and my alarm will be set on the phone as well.  My alarm clock sits next to the phone unplugged because the phone has rendered it useless.  Many nights when I lie awake with pain and/or insomnia I am doing medical research on my phone.  In the six months that I have had it I have acquired more knowlege about my medical conditions than the whole sixteen prior years combined.  I am grateful to have access to technology.  I don't take for granted for one second how wonderful it is to have these tools in my life and the lives of my kids and grandkids.

Thanks for stopping by to share my joy.

Peace be with you and all that jazz....

Copyright (c) Chardale Irvine - 2012.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

From the fringe

I wrote this in February 2012. One of my readers, who is also struggling with severe chronic illness, recently commented that my stories about my life make me seem remarkably 'normal' compared to her life. I told her that I don't usually write about the hard times unless I have some realization that I think may have universal application. The truth is I prefer writing about the fun stuff because it is fun and it makes people laugh. It makes me laugh.

But just to make it clear to my confused readers and maybe to remind myself here are a couple of things I wrote earlier this year:

From the fringe. My life was rich and full: family, career, recreational sports and friends. It dissolved in about a year. I was 35 yrs old.  Following a back injury and a nasty flu like virus I crept back to work. I have been reminded of that Virus everyday for 16 yrs because I really have never felt good since then. The fever and chills went away. The achiness and fatigue never left and my immune system has struggled since. It moved from fully participating in society to living on the fringes. The medical community and society are baffled by what is going on with me. Treatments are few and far between and the drug side effects are arguably as bad as the illness. Relationships suffer, working becomes impossible. Finding a reason to go on every day becomes the number one challenge. It amazes me that there is not mass suicide with this illness. Where I used to find self value in the offspring I produced, by the work that I did- now I have to look elsewhere- inside. I have to trust that I have value because I exist, even in this compromised state. My small daily accomplishments - like doing the dishes or going for a walk- are what defines my success. Many days my accomplishment is simply making it through the day without killing myself. Many days are lost to forfeit because the faculties needed don't show up. There is grief every day. On the good days it is over the realization that that is as good as it gets. On the bad days it is utter sadness of the waste of time. Children grow up and maintain their distance. Family conversation ebbs away with the realization that the former me is not coming back. My body has been taken over and I have become unrecognizable. 


I get it ma
Give life half a chance
I know it hurts
But if you go like this 
Your life will have been meaningless.

Ya but if you go like that
Give me half a chance
Wth? When did I write this???

Oct 28 2012 still have no clue when I wrote this. Suspect someone snuck in my phone and wrote it. But fibro fog has created memory blank spots before. 

Dear readers, 

I dream for the day when my illness is recognized and that there is a cure. 

Peace be with you and all that jazz.....

Copyright (c) Chardale Irvine 2012. All rights reserved. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Serendipity or Back to the Future?

Ah! If you are one of my regular readers and are here after wondering if I fell off the face of the earth over the last month - thank you for coming back! The "undependability" that comes as a side effect of the CFIDS - that my family is Oh So Familiar with - has been hard at work in my life over the last month.  If you're new Welcome! and thanks for dropping by (and be sure to read my most popular - to date - post "The Perils of Peeing on the Beach")

Our theme - that of my husband Walt and I - over the last month has been both about a recommitment process which has been really but &%^$^%ing hard AND a late 70's/early 80's theme.  As a sub-theme by sister Sherone and I did have a couple of "poopy talk" flashback text sessions of hilarity which frankly, really, honestly, may have been what kept each of us afloat for the rather "enriching" challenges life is throwing at us this last little stretch.

But, to NEVER give the secrets away as the QUALITY of our marriage - ahem, ahem - I won't document the recommitment process (*wink wink* babe - you know I love ya) And, because I'm not quite ready to test the generic humor quality of our family's poopy talk experiences I decided to just write about today.

We were headed to the beach in our minds but hadn't quite gotten into the car yet when Trent Sullivan from Sully's Smokehouse posted a picture on Facebook of a slab of ribs.  Walt looked at that and suddenly our minds changed (this is the second time the lure of Sully's ribs has turned us around from the beach) and we headed to Leesburg for dinner.  (For any of you Wyoming people that know me, Trent is married to DeeDra Towne Sullivan who went to school for one year at Lyman High School and graduated with the class of 1981 with her sister DeeAnna and my sister Sherone.)  The ribs were, as usual, fabulous as was conversation with Trent and a couple of his customers.

We took off towards home and drove by a big yard sale on the corner in Eustis, FL.  They had some nice looking antique furniture and the lawn was covered with items so we made a spontaneous decision to stop.  This really was spontaneous as we have not stopped at a single yard sale since we got on the road 3 1/2 years ago. We parked up the street so they wouldn't see our car and made out way to the sale.  I found a Colorado coffee cup and a Key West coffee cup, which I thought would be THE serendipitous happening of the day since I had put "cheapo coffee cups" on the shopping list two days before.  I also found a vintage Air Force fatigue shirt circa 1960's.  I huddled in the corner away from the yard sale people and told Walt he was going to have to handle negotiating for the shirt because I was pretty sure we could sell it on Ebay for a pretty penny and they would be able to see right through me.  I'm thinking if we got away with $10 for it we'd be doing well. 

Negotiations were remarkably undramatic and we paid the guy $3.00 for the lot of it but felt like things were just a little weird.  We turned around to leave and there was a guy standing there to thank us.  I asked if they did this yard sale every weekend because I'd seen a make-shift donations container in the back.  Turns out the place is a transitional housing ministry and they do a yard sale whenever they get enough donations to make the effort worthwhile.  He shared some of his message and some of his journey and we shared some of ours.  We connected at a powerful level with this young man and I thought THIS would be the serendipitous moment of the day.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I found a Carly Simon cassette tape at the sale and purchased it for 50 cents. This was a profound find because I had been waiting for it's return since it was "borrowed" by my ex'husband's friend way back in 1981 and never returned.  Many jokes have floated back and forth over the years about the "borrowed" or "stolen" cassette tape that his friend didn't remember ever having.  I took this picture holding it and emailed it to my ex-husband with this message:

Subject:  Tell S.T. the gig is up
K.,  I found this cassette that S.T. "borrowed" back in 1981.  Tell him the truth will ALWAYS come out.  You can't steal stuff that you "borrowed" and deny for 78 years that you ever had, and not expect that the victim of your evil ways would not find at a yard sale 2300 miles away in Eustis, FL, the very thing you stole and then sold to buy a six-pack.

I did have to pay 50 cents for it which is the same price as a can of generic cat food that I'm buying with my senior citizen social security check.  I went without dinner of said cat food because I had never recovered fro the grief of missing Carly.  I will be sending him a bill for 50 cents when I can afford a stamp and the nursing home bus is headed for the Post Office.  Now to find someone who remembers what a cassette player is.

Proof. ;D
We left the yard sale feeling totally energized and connected to the universe.  I mean really, coffee cups, making a connection with a young man on the upside of a long struggle and having found a place that we could maybe focus some of our abundance on out here so far from our own families?  What about that wouldn't seem like the MOST amazing thing that the universe could throw our way.
Things have been tough for us lately and we were having so much fun that Walt suggestted we treat this as a Date Night and go to a movie.  I was tired but happy so I reluctantly agreed.
We ended up going to see the movie "Argo" with Ben Affleck.  Neither one of us even knew what it was about but we quickly found out as the narrator staged the movie at the beginning.  It is about events in Iran in 1979-1981 and we were each quickly thrown back into figuring out where we were when these events happened.  I was in Wyoming playing basketball on scholarship at Western Wyoming Community College.  I had just found out I was pregnant and well, that  was pretty consuming for a good little Mormon girl to be dealing with.  My grandmother also died that month and I got back together with my kids' father.  I was pretty consumed with personal stuff.
Walt, though, was in Turkey when this all happened in the Air Force.  This was all like someone making a movie about part of his specific history.  We sat at the end stunned and amazed, as he remembered details of how things looked from the country that borders Iran.  We gotup to leave when only one couple was left in the theater.  We walked past them and the guy said "Great movie, huh?"
And I said, "Yeah, and he was in Turkey when all this happened" and pointed to Walt.  And Here, HERE is where true SERENDIPITY truly played out.  The man instantly connected with Walt because he had been in the Coast Guard and stationed nearby a few years later.  As often happens when a couple of military guys connect, they took off with stories and we stood talking for fifteen minutes.  We made our way out and they were still talking about shared perspectives down the hall, out the door and onto the sidewalk. 
They were just turning to leave and I said to the guy "So, I'm just going to throw this out there because I was JUST talking about this last week.  I lived in Seattle back in 1988 and I rode the bus to work.  I sat and talked with this man every day who was in some high position in the Coast Guard.  I don't remember his name or his rank but he helped us out alot by volunteering he and his wife to care for our kids while we went house hunting in Colorado after my first husband got laid off.  And I had really enjoyed all those trips to and from the city.  I don't remember what we talked about or how we had much in common except we were the only two people who seemed to be able to make eye contact in the whole city."  (this is not verbatim but captures the gist).
"So, if you think of any way you might find out who the commanding officers were in the Coast Guard in Seattle in 1988 let me know."
He agreed to think about it and as he turned to leave he asked our names and introduced himself and the woman he was with.  Walt just mentioned he was a software engineer somehow and the woman says "Wow, I'm in IT".  (I always give him crap about introducing himself as a "Software Engineer" because I don't think the average person knows what that means).  Turns out she new what a software engineer is because she IS a software engineer herself.  She works at a local company and has for the last 20 years, they work on the same computer platform and that they both program in the same language.  THIS is even a bigger "coincidence" that the military connection.  These people who code in the language he knows are a rare breed.
And as she and Walt took off talking IT stuff the guy and I started chatting about our frustration of not being more aware when the things that happened in that movie happened and we danced back to talking about Vietnam and found out we are both Vietnam Prisoner of War aficionados (though his depth of knowlege far exceeded mine).  But, he immediately threw out the name Robinson Reisner, who I had heard speak, and we were off and running, AGAIN.
There were actually a few other, not quite as noteworthy, shared experiences.  We really, it seemed, could have stood there and talked all night but the guy decided it was time to go, probably just a little freaked out by all the connections.  I would be too - if I wasn't looking for them (thank you Dr. Faith, the town of Cassadaga, FL, and two or three other amazing influences).  But really, could someone actually plan that kind of crap?
As we left I told the couple that we would obviously be living in the late 70's for the next couple of weeks. This should be interesting.
And I just want to know:  Is that Ben Affleck's real hair?
Peace be with you and all that jazz.....
Copyright - (c) - Chardale Irvine - 2012.  The contents of this article may not be published or reprinted without the permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you. 


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Best Mud Driving Story Ever: Monroe Mountain

My brother, Rob, is up in the mountains in Arizona right now and it has been very rainy so I've been hearing about how difficult driving in the mud is for them at their property.  This reminded me of my best mud driving story ever.

My son Adam, the oldest by 4 minutes, was visiting me in the year 2000 when I lived in Monroe, a small town in central Utah.  He was on leave from the US Navy.  My property was right at the base of Monroe Mountain. We had been cooped up in the house for several days because of heavy rains.  Finally a blue day dawned and Adam talked me into going for a drive.

He took the wheel and was driving my 1988 Toyota Corolla, 5 speed standard transmission, front wheel drive hatchback.  I was riding shotgun.  He headed up the paved road to the mountain.  We should have been alerted or alarmed by mud washing across the pavement in places.but apparently we didn't notice.

Now - you need to realize that the Corolla, with either Adam or his twin brother Matt, driving, carried with it a subversive, secretive "Fight Club"like reputation that included phrases such as "it jumped from..." and "we four wheeled..." spoken in a whisper anytime I was around and included at a minimum, three wide eyed cousins who had seen their short preteen lives flash before their eyes when they "ran to the store" in the Corolla with their older, daring, teenage cousins, Adam and/or Matt.

So Adam heads up the mountain where the pavement soon ends.  We slogged our way through two switchbacks carved into the side of mountain.  The road surface was a 12 inch deep, soggy, slippery clay.  In an attempt to lighten the load, when it became clear that forward progress was stopped, he ordered me out of the car onto the muddy road to see if that would help.  It did not help and only succeeded in covering my then 32 hour old pair of white, leather Adidas sneakers with said mud.  I got back in the car, bringing with me 9 pounds of wet clay, and we sat there for a few minutes.  I went on and on about how we needed to get out and walk down while it was still light so we could call fro a ride and an unlikely tow.

Blah, blah, blah, BLAH is I'm sure what Adam heard - like Charlie Brown's mother's voice - yeah just like that..

Suddenly he says, "Mom!  Hold on!" which I think means he wants me to stop talking but that he means literally and he instantly starts back down the mountainside road as fast as the car will go in reverse.  I don't know what I said but I'm sure there was some kind of protest.  He reached the upper switchback and did some crazy, ass, double clutch, shifting kind of nonsense and some-freakin-how spins the car 180 degrees so we were now pointed downhill.  Then he calmly shifted into first gear and drives back down the slippery mountain road.

Back on the pavement I yelled at him the rest of the way home about how absolutely fucking, stupid and dangerous that was.  It was just a miracle that we didn't slide into or slide off the side of the mountain.  But inside I'm like "Daham! Now that's badass driving!"  He didn't stop grinning the whole rest of the visit.

Here's a picture of a 1988 Toyota Corolla.  Mine was white with "Toyota" stenciled in large, blue letters on each side.

And here is Adam driving.  He was out of the Navy when this picture was taken.  I don't think he would have been sporting those sideburns while enlisted.
Peace be with you and all that jazz.
Copyright - (c) - Chardale Irvine - 2012.  All rights reserved.  This article may not be republshed or reprinted without the express, written consent of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nutrition Tip of the Day: Smoothie Way to Start The Day

I'm finding that the value of preparing at least one meal a day in smoothie form is a great way to get raw nutrition quickly to the body.  When fruits, vegetables and grains are pureed the body can utilize the nutritional elements sooner.  In addition, its easy to add various ingredients that don't taste very good by themselves and add them into the smoothie where their flavor is masked by the yummy flavor of berries. 

Here is the recipe for the quick, healthy smoothie I make for breakfast most mornings.  It is vegan, gluten and fat free.

First cook your oatmeal.  Put 1/3 cup whole oats and 1 cup water in 1 quart bowl.  Microwave for the amount of time the oatmeal directions advise.

While it is cooking:

In blender add:
1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
1 large handful of raw spinich leaves
1 cup fresh berries or 1 cup frozen berries partially thawed
1 scoop soy based protein powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon stevia sweetener powder or 1 teaspoon honey
6 ice cubes
Pour in warm oatmeal

Blend on puree setting until mostly smooth.

Serves 1.  Enjoy!

Peace be with you and all that jazz....

This information is provided by my own experience and is my own opinion only.  It is not meant to be utilized as medical advice.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nutrition Tip of the Day: Calcium

I'm reading that most American women get far less calcium in the diet than they need.  If you are taking a calcium supplement it is best to take it at night right before bed time.  Your body utilizes calcium while you are sleeping and if you haven't provided enough of it nutritionally through food your body will draw it from your bones which can lead to weakening of the bone structures and osteoporosis.

The best kind of calcium supplement to take it calcium citrate.  Take it with magnesium, potassium and Vitamin D3.  These four minerals and vitamins need the others for the body to metabolize and use them.

Peace be with you and all that jazz...

This information is provided by my own experience and opinion.  It is not meant to be utilized as medical advice.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Nutrition Tip of the Day: Broccoli Slaw

I found this inexpensive way to incorporate fresh veggies into various kinds of foods that requires zero prep time.  I found "Broccoli Slaw" in the produce aisle.  Here in Florida it coast about $2.50 for a bag that is big enough to make a family sized Broccoli Slaw salad.  It has shredded broccoli, carrots and red cabbage in the mix.  I have been throwing handfuls into salads, smoothies, pasta sauce, etc.  It also makes a quick and easy stir-fry when thrown in with some mushrooms, fresh ginger and tofu. 

Disclaimer:  This information is offered as my personal opinion only and is not meant to be used as medical advice.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nutrition Tip of the Day: Eat Brown Rice

Unprocessed brown rice has a multitude of health benefits from helping to lower blood pressure to providing a great source of magnesium and fiber.  Buy the least refined that you can get your hands on.  Cook up a big batch and keep it in the fridge and throw a handful into burger or soup.  A yummy and ultra healthy snack is brown rice, a handful of cubed tofu and a handful of fresh, uncooked spinich.  Cover and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes and top with low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg's Amino Acid formula. 

Disclaimer:  This information is provided as my personal opinion.  It is not meant to be used as medical advice.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nutrition Tip For the Day: Apple Cider Vinegar

Each morning 1/2 hour before eating breakfast drink 8 oz water with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.  Studies have shown than it helps to lose weight.  The study I read was a study where they were testing to see if apple cider vinegar impacted fatigue levels at all for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  The results regarding the fatigue were negative but they found that everyone who was taking the vinegar lost weight as an unintended benefit of the study.

Organic apple cider vinegar is best.  Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar is a common and popular brand.

Disclaimer:  This information is provided as my personal opinion and is not meant to be used as medical advise.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nutrition Tip for the Day: Magnesium Supplement

Take a magnesium supplement. It helps you lose weight and you need magnesium in order to absorb calcium and potassium.

Disclaimer:  This information is purely my opinion and is not meant to be offered as medical advice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RV Tip of the Week: No TP in Toilet

Okay, so this is all about saving/reviving blackwater tank sensors and being able to use good, quality toilet paper and wipes when using the potty.  We don't put toilet paper or wipes into the tank.  They don't get flushed.  Gross!  you say?

Well, we have discovered a non-stinky, non-gross solution.  We got an Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail.  The toilet paper and cleaning paraphenalia go into the diaper pail rather than getting flushed.  This makes the tank fill up much slower and prevents the sensors from getting coated with gobs of toilet paper.  The wipes can plug the drain line so they shouldn't go in the tank either.  There is no smell.  You push the stuff through the opening and when you close the lid it twists the plastic closed and pushes the stuff down inside.  Then the lid closes and further prevents any smells.  When you empty it you snap the bag closed before you pull it thhrough the opening to there is virtually no odor. 

We also have a diaper pail outside to put the dog poop bags in.  The rain can't get in and there is no smell.  We purchased ours at Walmart.

 The diaper pail sits back a little further and doesn't get in the way for potty trips and is easy to reach when we're sitting down.  We do have to move it into the hallway when we shower, which in our floorplan becomes part of the bathroom with the doors open.
 So, you stuff the tissue into the middle of the blue plastic and when you close the lid it twists the plastic and pushes it down into the pail.  The lid closes and acts as an odor barrier.
 These are poopie tissues.  Gross, I know.  But I thought you'd need to see and deal with reality.  The door closes and they are out of sight.

Walmart carries the diaper pails but not the refills.  We have to order the refills from them online but they ship free to the store so that's no big deal.  The Diaper Pail costs about $25 at Walmart, Target, and Amazon.  The refill bags cost $16.50 for a 3-pack.  You can get all this at Babies-R-Us but you'll pay a lot more if you do.

How Many Clothes Can You Fit in a Motorhome?

A lot apparently.

We just returned from a marathon trip to the laundromat. While there we washed, dried and folded the equivalent of 14 loads of laundry. We used as many of the ultra big, front loading washers that we could find. Even still we used four machines: Big Bertha, 2 Little Bertha's and 1 Double Load. We have found a laundromat that is closer than the one we were driving to in Orlando.

We go there because they have air conditioning and nice machines. It's a little crowded on the dryer aisle but it is right in Sanford on French Ave. so it is quick and convenient. There are washers and dryers at the RV Park but the laundry rooms are not air conditioned and it gets perfectly scorching in them when the machines are running. Also there are only four machines in each laundry room and we usually have more than four loads if laundry.

Since moving to Florida we change the bedding every couple of days. Getting damp and sweaty from the humidity and either the dog or us tracking sand, fleas and tiny no-see-ums - those pesky invisible little biting bugs that attack your ankles at night. They are unfazed by mosquito repellant even when it has DEET.

Any way it was a freakin' lot of clothes. And they're summer clothes too which are unusually smaller than winter clothes. The Florida uniform seems to be shorts and flip flops topped off by a cool tshirt. Walt even gets to wear shorts so work though he has a hard time with matching with his Bermuda shorts.  Two cases just last week when he wore plaid on plaid:

 Day 1 Plaid on plaid...I didn't discover this until he came home from work so he went the whole day at work dressed like this and noone said anything to him about it.  Note the "Cowardly Lion" imitation he is doing as I photographically document this fashion faux paus.

Two days later he showed up at lunch time to give me the car.  I was able to intervene and help him choose a different shirt so he was only seen in public like this for about 4 hours.  Me:  Babe! You're wearing plaid on plaid again! What the hell?"  Him:  What's plaid?  I didn't know!  ARGH! LOL

The thing that I miss most about having a house is having my own washer and dryer.  I used to be a stickler about wearing anything wrinkled and ironed my work clothes and tshirts every day.  In the motorhome I have never taken the iron out of its hiding place.  My clothes are wrinkled and I have learned to "Just Look Away".  The closets are jam packed with clothes and they wrinkle in the closet.  The laundromat dryers are too hot and they wrinkle there.  They wrinkle in the car when they are being transported from laundromat to the motorhome.  Interesting note though:  In three and a half years noone has ever said a word about my wrinkled clothes.

But really, having wrinkled clothes is the least of my worries.  Oh to have that be my only problem.

Plaid po karirana e golyama greshka moda!

Peace be with you and all that jazz!

Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.  You may not publish or reprint this article without the permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Luther: Demon Yard Dog

Sad sad update: Bruno, our beloved Yorkie/Pom/Hairless Chinese crested dog met his end on December 7, 2013. He is deeply missed. Luther seems to have missed him as well because when I went to move him for the first lawn mowing of 2014 he crumbled into a bunch of rusty shards and bits of crackled plastic. His innards were in tatters as well. It was obviously his time as well and we miss him oddly more than we would have expected.
Rest in peace the both of you fine creatures and thank you for the smiles.

No people....Bruno has not contracted rabies and turned into Cujo. The dog I am referring to is our yard ornament that Walt has named Luther because we are convinced it is possessed. You can see in the picture below the head does not articulate meaning his head DOES NOT MOVE! And yet when we drive into our site he is watching for us and looks right at us as we drive in. And then we stop the car and turn it off. We turn and look at him and he is LOOKING RIGHT AT US.

At first Walt didn't notice but I kept noticing and saying 'that dog just turned its head and is looking at me.' Each time there was a bit more emphasis on the observation, as my voice got louder and screechier. Walt finally started looking because, as has been proven many times in our relationship, he really listens better the screechier my voice gets - not louder, that tends to end the conversation - but screechier, definitely.

When he finally observed the effect of being 'watched' by an inanimate object he freaked and ran to to the dog trying to manually make its head turn. Trying, as our rehab medical receptionist Stephanie would say, 'to debunk the dog'. I wish, wish, wish I had a video of the debunking attempt, but alas you'll just have to take my word for it.

Walt confirmed that the head does not turn. The dog was not debunked after all.

I then went for photographic evidence. You can kind of see below what I mean. So, so creepy! One thing that is making us feel a little better is that Bruno really, really likes to pee on it and when he does we say 'There! Take that you little bastard!

     And finally Bruno trying to debunk the dog

And Bruno peeing on Luther.  There! Take that you wicked, wicked yard ornament!

Peace be with you and all that jazz

Luther der Damon Kettenhund
Herzlich willkommen auf meiner Leser aus Deutschland

Copyright (c) - 2012.  Chardale Irvine - All rights reserved.  You may not publish or reprint this without permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Riding in the Ridey Carts While Shopping

Walt and I both have had the not-so-wonderful need to ride in the ridey carts while shopping of late.  So far, luckily, we have not needed them at the same time.  We have some observations that the as yet non-rider might consider. 

The motorized cart is a moving machine.  A machine.  A MACHINE with a Motor.  When I'm driving it - and I'm 51 years old - with fairly good dexterity - there is a delay between when I notice that you are not paying attention and when I release the "forward" switch and when the machine actually stops moving.  If you are not paying attention you might want to hope that the ridey cart driver is.  You don't have to have a license or insurance to drive the ridey cart.  There are no lessons or practice requirements.  You don't know if that ridey cart driver is a seasoned, experienced driver or a one-time, inexperienced driver because they just had toe surgery.  They don't make you wear a sign that says which you are.  They also don't require a drug test. 

There is no accelerator on the ridey cart.  It goes forward, backwards or stops.  If I am ahead of you and moving I am going as fast as I can go.  And...the carts go much slower than I would normally walk.

The profile of the ridey cart is larger than the shopping cart.  You know when you see one of those big carts with the kid driving the plastic car attached to the cart and Mom pushing?  That's similar to the size of the ridey cart.  It is difficult to turn tight corners and weave around obstacles like people standing in the middle of the aisle gazing at the shelf.  If you are doing that I'm going to have to wait for you to move and that means it holds me up as well as anyone behind me.  I'll probably write another post someday about shopping aisle and sidewalk etiquette but to simplify the concept - keep your cart on the same side of the aisle as you would your car and....if you have to get something across the oncoming traffic side of the aisle make it quick and be aware of your surroundings.

The "horn" on the ridey cart sounds the same as the back up alarm.  If you hear the back up alarm you may want to look around.  It is not loud or invasive so it might be hard to hear it.  We now take our Bear Canned Horn with us when we're going to need the ridey cart.  It is LOUD.  Loud enough to scare off bears so I'm pretty sure it is gonna scare that crap out of a person though I haven't had the opportunity or gotten the guts up to use it yet. 

Don't be surprised if you hear it in a store near you soon because I may just market those puppies to the ridey cart rider community although they are quite the eclectic group so marketing would be a nightmare.  Maybe I could just market it to the ridey cart manufacturers.  Ya...that's what I'll do.

Uh...maybe start a letter writing campaign?  I'm listing the names of some manufacturers at the bottom of this post.  If you are a ridey cart rider, plan to EVER be a ridey cart rider or know someone who IS a ridey cart rider you too have a voice.  Write them a letter and tell them to put a louder horn on the ridey cart (usually referred to as "motorized shopping carts" but I like the term "ridey cart" because that is what my kids called them when they were little.  I still call ducks "Gucks" for the same reason...but I digress).  Huh..just now I went to find the names of the manufacturers and they are primarly in China.  Well, I guess I'm back to marketing them to the ridey cart rider community.

I drive the ridey cart like I drive my car - giving pedestrians the right of way.  Unfortunately, the ridey cart is not quite as responsive as my car and this results in close calls.  It would not result in close calls if I wasn't the only one paying attention to my surroundings.  This is MY approach.  That does not mean ALL ridey cart riders have the same perspective.

If you run into me I am going to give you the stinkeye.   This is because I, most likely, have just "considered" 25 other people by the time you ran into me.  When you are the 26th person who has failed to acknowledge that a moving MACHINE is near you I'm going to be just a little frustrated.  I would like to have a one liner that would educate people during close calls or collisions.  I'm still working on that but not too hard because I'm hoping and planning to not need the ridey cart pretty darn soon.

Yes I DO worry that my butt is going to end up on People Of Walmart while riding the ridey cart but as my daughter Kaycee says, it is more likely that I will land there from melting down crying in the far aisle because I'm so exhausted from shopping.  When I walk in the store I feel fine but 3/4 of the way through I'm on overload and fatigue and pain washes over me.  Several times I've been at the back of the store with a full cart and was so exhausted that I considered leaving it and trying to make my way back to the car.  Those times I had no idea that it was going to happen when I walked in the store.  Like I said, I felt fine when I walked in.  So, so frustrating. 

I've heard of people with CFIDS/FM cutting in line at the cash register when they get like that.  I haven't done that.  Not because I didn't think about it or that it wouldn't help (and believe me it would help) but because I thought trying to negotiate for that consideration would take more energy than just waiting.

If you're ever in line and feeling expansive or empathetic or even empathic consider this:  The person riding the ridey cart is most likely ill or in pain of some sort.  They have just done their shopping having to consider and process all the same things as the ambulatory (walking) person does (ie:  menus, lists, price comparisons, locating items in the store, keeping track of how much they are spending, dealing with fellow shoppers not paying attention to others, smells, sounds, colors, etc.) all the while driving a vehicle that they only drive once or twice a week for an hour or so AND not feeling well.

If you want to make someone smile offer to let a ridey cart shopper cut in front of you in line at the cash register.  They will likely decline out of pride but it will make their day that you offered. There are of course other categories of people that will smile when you do that like the frayed mother who is shopping with her children or perhaps an elderly couple but NEVER, NEVER let a teenager cut in line - unless they are in a ridey cart, of course. 

Peace be with you and all that jazz

Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.  You may not publish or reprint this except for educational purposes without permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.