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My Designs on Zazzle

21 Aug


Take a look at my store on Zazzle if you haven’t as yet. This is the spring/summer items they sell for me. I’ll be doing another selection very soon for fall/winter 2017.

Here’s the link to browse and purchase —> IvoryTide

Kim Troike

Designs & Photography

Athens, Georgia

26 Jul


Recently I visited the city of Athens, Georgia for a championship swim event. My daughter and I ate downtown at the South City Kitchen upon her suggestion. I couldn’t have been more pleased. Look what I found.


We entered the old building that is from around 1908 and found it fully restored to its grandeur. The people came and went and the whole place was a flurry of night time entertainment.


For instance, there was a wedding in place with beautiful girls wearing soft peach dresses. My waiter told me there are three back rooms, ballrooms, for weddings and events. As we ate dinner we had a window seat to a couple’s glorious once in a lifetime event!


I couldn’t help but stare at the chandeliers and think about the days of old in America. Things were more formal, and possibly, slower, thus allowing time to stretch out and make us feel grateful versus our fast paced selfie lives.


Here is a mirrored view with candles. Go ahead light a candle and make a wish or say a prayer because in America you can do either or both. It’s called FREEDOM and I love it.

Thanks for stopping by,

Kim Troike

Photography by me.

Check out my store; click the link.  My Store


Nobody Asked

18 Jul

*First up this is an opinion piece. While I usually write with optimism, little constructive criticism, and niceties galore, this isn’t that. Believe me, I’m not a bitter person, just older and wiser, and, by now, have formulated a few opinions. It’s just that no one is asking-so I thought I’d give my two cents to one of the most complicated problems around. I always thought Obamacare was the bridge, not that they didn’t try, just that we need to do a couple attempts at this. Time to hit land on the other side. Here goes. I’ll try to tread lightly.

Woman day dreaming while sitting on a pier

Happy woman sitting on the edge of a porch , shoes lying in foreground

When did healthcare become all about insurance, medications, surgery, medications, pre-existing conditions, medications, pain killers, medications, opioid addictions, medications, oversized premiums, medications, heavy fines, medications, billing correctly to receive maximum government money, medications, soaking the government, medications, unnecessary surgeries, medications, deep pockets, medications, fraud, and a business out of control?

What do I know? I was only a nurse for 38 years caring for patients and families while pursuing the best outcome, obeying doctors orders and complying with rules and regulations. Nurses don’t take long lunches,  if any, don’t drive Mercedes with heated seats, nor sports cars, get bonuses for cutting employees jobs while building new wings to make more money for them and the doctors they allow to work for them. Yes, I know healthcare has become a money driven business with new technologies that Americans take for granted, and expect it to be there for them (when they want it).

But who is governing all this, and the outcomes of such care? The very caregivers who make the money on it? What about the quality of life? Does anyone care about the outcomes that don’t get talked about? Does anyone read the page of what ifs, what might happen to you? Like flying a plane we take our chances and relish the good life when the trip or surgery is complete. We made it to our destination! What about those that don’t make it off the table, stroke, bleed out, and end up in a vegetative state?

Where’s the money? Whose pocket is it lining? The doctors? The hospital administrators? The insurance companies? Because its not lining the pockets of nurses. Hard work for decent pay is what nursing is all about. But nobody asked me. Where is the money and why can’t we have healthcare for all? Because the system is bloated that’s why. Nurses are the answer in my opinion.

The nurses could be driving down healthcare while becoming more useful, instead they still can’t act independently and must be the handmaiden to the all important doctor who controls the money, or by now the controller is the insurance company. I would like to see nurse practitioners and other qualified nurses (like ER and ICU nurses) help to drive down costs from the single largest deliverer of care: the nursing personnel.

In this new era we need nurses to do more than assist bedside care for post op patients. Their education costs are less, yet highly qualified to do more than they are presently doing. Certainly Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and CRNA’s can fill the gap. Like most Americans I’m ready to bring down costs and we should keep trying until we get it right. If you include only the bosses, doctors, hospital administrators, insurance companies, or Congress, then you only have the profiteers opinion. This is not democracy.

Why do we have so many hospitals and sick people? Maybe we don’t have enough parks for people to take walks. Maybe we take too much medicine and its making us sick! Why should a CEO make 4.5 million and cut jobs of the very people caring for the ill, while it hires more money managers to make sure it gets all the refunds and money from the government? To stay in business you’d say. The government would be us, taxpayers and citizens, buying goods.

If I had all the answers, well then, I’m sure I would win an award. But nobody asked me. But I sure would have liked to been asked to participate and contribute after I’ve given a lifetime to nursing. I helped patients get better, relieve pain, assist doctors while they make lots of money, helping secretaries secure and charge well to retrieve all monies due from insurance, people, and government. Wait. The government is me and I would have liked to have been asked as I remember all the dying patients, stroke patients, helpless patients, and yes, healed patients.

Why does everyone believe in pills so much? Certainly the human body is near perfect most of the time. Could it be the people need to get moving more (fit bit), eat better, love better, wash your hands more with soap, use less chemicals, seek more natural remedies, smile more, say I love you, take up a hobby, take care of their children and parents, quit suing so much, drive more carefully, moderation of all the devils deeds, and eat your fruits and vegetables?

I wish nurses would have been asked to be a part of this process during this crucial time in our country. Maybe they were, like I said I am not up on everything. This is just my two cents. Anyhow they could tell you more than just cost since they don’t pocket the money. Are they overlooked because they are mainly a women’s field? I know that is changing immensely as it should. Why do they seem to always get the short end of the stick? Getting more degrees so you can sit behind a desk and tell others what to do and write more procedures to comply with does not make sense. Is there an apple with that procedure? Nurses are over complied, overfilled with rules that employees can hardly remember all of them instead of caring and getting the person better more quickly. Compliance. Compliance. Compliance.

Seriously, I know about strictness and doing things correctly. I’m a by-the-book gal on mostly everything. I just think there’s a simpler way. Simplicity is my motto as much as possible. I do sound like a nurse who was overworked, underpaid, and undervalued her whole life. I did the best. Now what? We can not keep abusing and paying for the out of control healthcare system. If a person chooses to not have healthcare-so be it. In the end they get the minimum. Period. Why charge them a tax or penalty? That is wrong. This is America and we are about freedoms.

I wonder what our president thinks about healthcare? Penalizing people because they don’t buy into it strikes me as not a good plan. I don’t think healthcare is a right! Breathing, Eating, Drinking, Food, Shelter and Freedoms, these are rights. Below are my ideas, basics to be expounded upon.

Three Basic Plans …


Delivered by Nurses (nurse practitioner’s & well qualified nurses, ER, ICU, etc.)

Small FEE or FREE for indigent (welfare)

Immunizations, colds, Flu, Paps, Baby needs, Mammograms, BC, well checks, BP    & Diabetes care, prescriptions by doctors, wound care, antibiotics, eyeglasses, food stamp program delivered by nurses (pick up at CVS and Walgreens, requirements).

Delivered at local corner drugstores, nursing homes, etc., by nurses under doctors stamped orders.

Alternative Therapies Availability via nurses referral: yoga, dance, music, art, talk.


Delivered by Doctors, Surgeons

Co-Pay from insurance companies free market via work and other purchases.

Cancer, Maternity (not delivered by nurse), Baby, Strokes, Maintenance Meds & Conditions, Cosmetic, Joints, etc.

Delivered at hospitals, outpatient centers, dialysis centers, x-rays, cardiac care centers.


Delivered by Doctors and Nurses at hospitals

Co-Pay from insurance companies via work or FREE to indigent

Accidents, burns, bones, emergency surgeries, hospital emergency rooms.

Doctors and Nurses can opt to work here to pay for medical and nursing school bills. One year residency programs for doctors or nurses to alleviate school burden.

*Non profits or churches must contribute to society by giving back if they own buildings such as quarterly FREE days for your parishioners of basic care delivered by nurses, paid to the nurses.

*Nurses, Doctors and other healthcare providers contribute to these FREE services for indigent care as part of their yearly hours required for license renewal. Just think of how much good we could do instead of boring hours via the computer we hardly remember.

I appreciate comments or criticism. I’m always learning. The world will be a better place because you care!

Opinion piece by Kim Troike

Thinkstock photo credit

The Ivory Tide 1st Collection

6 Apr


The Ivorytide

I’ve just begun my own store via Zazzle. This is super thrilling-as everyone begins somewhere. Take a look at my 28 items for Spring and Summer. Whether you need a gift or something for yourself Zazzle ships it to you! Above is the Palm Canvas Print-perfect for your dorm room, new apartment, or redecorating.


Baby Flag Romper

Is a friend having a baby or are your friends new parents? Purchase this adorable baby romper for your own child or as a cute gift. Just in time for celebrating our wonderful flag in the grand ole USA! Click link above.


Silver Sea Journal

Finally inspire someone to begin a journey of self-discovery or imagination about the world we love. Perfect for a writer, dabbler, or beginning poet. Maybe even just right for that traveler or graduate setting out on the horizon.

Thanks for stopping by to browse my store on Zazzle! I’m just getting started; this is the very first collection.

Caroline Clemens-designer-2017




Teens Visit the Biltmore-Part Three

5 Mar


Welcome back to the final post on my tour with the teens to the Biltmore!

Oh yes, I found them as we exited and headed to the lawn and garden portion of the tour. This is a pretty view with the chateau and fall trees behind them as they walk over a bridge. Did you know that the Biltmore is still privately owned? I’d say they are doing a fantastic job of making it a family business. Certainly they work very hard. It’s not about the riches, it’s about the history and culture of the place. It allows you to go back in time while you walk around. Face it when this place was built electricity didn’t exist, nor plumbing. After it was discovered they added those items into the interior. That means refrigeration didn’t either. I believe my dad once told me that refrigeration is probably one of the great saviors of mankind, but we take it for granted.

Dare I say cell phones weren’t around and now most people have one in their hands, look above.

The architecture alone is eye catching and can be seen everywhere. The middle picture exemplifies that Gothic look which writers write books and poems about with mystery and magnitude exonerating some ancient past. And then there’s the vines in the first picture; you don’t grow those overnight. I have always wanted to grow wisteria over a pergola and have never done that. Things come to those who wait while pursuing other dreams. I’m certain I will do that. We didn’t venture into the greenhouses on this trip but you can bet they were filled with orchids and such. In the third picture can you see the white horse?


A picture is worth a thousand words as the cliche goes and I say this one speaks that eloquently. I’ll never know what they were talking about because I didn’t ask. This was their moment in time.

While practicing my selfies (I need to smile more) a half-clothed male statue photo-bombed me. That was exciting. Ha! In the center photo I used a filter to give it a soft glow making it seem more like a fairy-tale castle or a sunset view. If you didn’t know better you might think I’m in Europe but I’m not. It is worth the trip as Asheville is surrounded by the mountains. There’s a newly built brewery with live music just down the road from the Biltmore.


I couldn’t help but notice this little guy, a cherub, holding a wreath and frolicking across the lawn in a playful manner. The backdrop has all the fine detail of the Victorian era-late 1890’s with the light green color of aging bronze due to the oxidation of copper. Mark Twain called this period ‘The Gilded Age’ for some of the lavish lifestyles created due to the wealth of some during the late 1870’s-1890’s. Most definitely it was prosperous after the ending of the civil war and later mobility due to Ford’s invention of the model T. With Edison inventing everything else under the sun this is my favorite time in history.


Thank you for reading my personal post on a recent tour of the Biltmore. It is a place that has been inspiring in my life, though, I can’t point to a specific reason as it just is. I’m happy my teens came and I was able to share with them something that I love. There’s nothing like a live history book. Hope you enjoyed my posts. See, I still haven’t mastered the selfie.

Caroline Clemens

*This is a personal post for my followers. No sharing or re-blogging.

Teens Visit the Biltmore-Part Two

3 Mar


Let me begin part two of this series from our visit to the Biltmore last Thanksgiving with … if you’ve never seen a mountain or vista in real life and only in a book, well, there’s no comparison. Your eyes will tell you, the beauty, the magnificence lasts forever!

This is when our visit got real. We stepped out onto the portico and looked through a screen to the North Carolina Mountains beyond. Behold the beauty of the United States of America, this is what our grandfather’s saw and wanted to protect; this is what the Indians had for countless years to themselves. My husband introduced me to our parks out west like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Natural Bridges, Mesa Verde, and the one made famous by Ansel Adams. His grandparents lived out west for a short time and talked about it with him, so much that he wanted to see the places with me! It was an adventure.

Why do I tell you this? Because this place is as grand as the canyon (well, maybe), and its right here down south in beautiful North Carolina.

I wonder what they are imagining? Maybe something great, or that wow the earth is beautiful and natural. Whatever they see it’s planted in their brain like a tree, a seedling from mother earth. I’m glad we made the trek.

It was out on the veranda the girls made a connection and yes, the teen kind. A couple other students, classmates were also here at the Biltmore on this very day! Back in our day one would probably never know that unless we saw them. With their connections they snap-chatted, posted Instagrams, etc. Suddenly the smiles came readily.

Hey mom, you are not so boring after all. Guess what? Our friends are here! This place is cool-so cool that others are visiting too. Phew, glad that happened. It is how they communicate. Wake up world the young are moving faster in many directions and we must impact them just a little before they leave the nest. I know my grandparents were a huge influence on me as were my husbands on his life. We were very fortunate to have had that exposure, that historical exposure that helps us to know we are all the same with individual traits.

Above pictures are the music room with piano, a text check or face time photo, an accordion sconce, a screened vista view from balcony (looks like a tapestry), and lastly the library. The library is exquisite with volumes of books, artistic ceiling paintings, red sofas, paneled walls, and an enormous fireplace, all the while a movable ladder’s in place to help you find a classic novel. I’ll mention George Vanderbilt, who built the place in around 1895, took five years, thousands of workers, had a hospital on the premises, was an art aficionado, avid reader, spoke eight languages, and brought many items over here from Europe. He modeled the place after chateaus from across the ocean. If this is your first time here I’d recommend the audio as you’ll find out facts that maybe you didn’t learn in school. The painting on the ceiling is still regarded as one of the finest, titled Chariots of Fire by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini from the Pisani Palace in Venice. Facts from the book Biltmore Estate House Gardens Winery 1985, The Biltmore Company. Visit the Biltmore.


A commissioned piece! Can you imagine dressing up with the gown and beautiful hat atop styled hair while a famous painter painted you? I can’t either but just imagine it for a moment. All the attention is on yourself and who couldn’t use a little of that? No chores that day, someone else is minding the children and you’ll have a lovely tea come midday!

Or maybe champagne when you get to see the final eight foot plus completion. Amazing. She’s lovely, Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt, the wife of George Vanderbilt. Where on earth did they get all the money to build this place? Let’s have tea and continue on …


No words are necessary.

Extraordinary details are everywhere. It’s a delight for the eye and you find yourself picking out favorites. The room above with the green drapery, light floor, and fine loveseat is my favorite! It faces the west, is on the corner and light filled. I decided this is where I’d like to stay for the summer. The picture to the right of that, namely the curtain drawn back with a brace to open the window, I believe I could write a poem. And probably I will.

This is my husband Michael who has brought so much to my life. We worked out a majority of our life together and the rowing machine (center photo) is a favorite of mine. I need to do that again. We visited many large mansions in our day along with national parks, east and west coast, and much in between. I wanted to mention here that the drive coming into the Biltmore is like going back 100-200 years. The old growth trees and plantings are unbelievable! I only wish we had more places like this to visit. The third picture is one of my favorite photos I took while there; I found this little sparkling tree off the kitchen. It seemed it was all by itself. The window behind made it a piece of art I’d say. Around this time I lost the teens in the mansion.


Finally, this last photo taken for my personal pleasure seems surreal. For me this signifies what I always thought Paris might look like on the inside. I’ll hold that view as I’ve never been there before. I shall dream. Come back and read part three of Teens Visit the Biltmore. We must find out where they went off to.

Caroline Clemens

Thanks for visiting my blog. Photos by me. Nothing may be reproduced, copied, or reblogged. No sharing. This is a personal account of a trip to the Biltmore which I wish to share with my followers as they have helped me to become better and better at writing, photography and blogging. Thanks to all of you.

Teens Visit the Biltmore-Part One

2 Mar


I took a trip to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina for the third time in my life and I brought my teens. What you ask is the Biltmore? If you are asking that then probably you are not from the south, or in fact, most likely not from the states. Why did I bring my teens over the holidays when being a teen means: in school, on your phone, how many likes on Instagram, and what’s your snap chat? Me, I was thinking where will you be going to college a year from now? But first I must show them something important to me: history, beauty, architecture, and my connection to the past. Quite simply, I love the Victorian era and this is pretty darn close, as close as I’ll ever get to it.


Take a personal tour with me as these are photographs by me and for my personal use on my blog ‘theivorytide.’ The Biltmore Estate in Asheville does not allow photographs for monetary gain and I can see why as they have transformed the place since first opening to the public on a grand scale. I encourage you to visit and take your family with you. Yes, I would take the teens again as I knew it would open their eyes but, of course, we all know teens need prodding in a positive-encouraging type of way. Above is the garden room and it is my favorite room on the first floor. I can imagine myself sitting there with folks from a bygone era discussing important matters (like wars, railroads, and prohibition), possibly what to add on to the mansion next, or admiring the ferns in abundance.


The official dining room is magnificent with its height and grandeur of size encompassing a large live Christmas tree, table and chairs fit for a King and Queen with all their friends, ancient-like tapestries with story telling stitches, and animal heads of state. Animals on the wall; you ask why? Because hunting was more than sport, it was protein for the body and sustenance which lasted a good long while. The chandelier is especially gorgeous and for me it looks medieval or Spanish in nature. I am no way near an aficionado on such items so please correct me if you know differently. Remember, this is a personal post to my blog about something that I love. What are those teens thinking? Soon you will see.


Is this not a beautiful gingerbread house adorned with snow, reindeer’s, wreaths, and holly? I made gingerbread cookies every year up to a few years ago when I gave up on it. I lost that loving Christmas spirit-yes, life gets to you at times. Then somewhere a miracle happens or maybe you climb out of that dungeon and walk among the snowflakes again cherishing everything so important to you. This beautiful place reminded me of the things I love and the things I used to look forward to like special holidays, grandparents, and cheer. Later on towards the night we went to the Grove Park Inn to eat and saw the winner’s of their annual gingerbread house contest. I had always wanted to go and see that and had never made it . Now I got to see it and it was special indeed.


Do they look interested yet? The Biltmore Estate is like nothing they have ever seen before! These teens have grown up on Hanna Montana, Disney, Fairly Odd Parents, princess movies and more in the car, You-Tube, cell phones, Instagram, and now they were seeing something bigger and real, unlike anything they had ever witnessed. There is so much history here you cannot believe it. I was glad I brought them. Still, they were walking on the ground floor. Would they get bored? I didn’t know. Above picture shows their dad instructing them on something he remembered from past visits with me. We didn’t get the audio tour as we’d remembered fairly well. I’d purchased tour books years ago with all the details and even visited the winery the first or second year it opened.


Back to the garden room where they showcase lovely red poinsettias and greenery on the tiled floor with glass ensconced wooden beams above. We had our picture taken here and purchased Christmas ornaments for next year’s tree. About this time I noticed the teens looking at their phones, something everyone does now a days, at least several times a day!


A quick break outside and off to the stables for shopping and lunch before we hit the outside veranda and second floor. Straight ahead in the photo is the old stables that were used for horses and carriages, guests included, which now they have made into outdoor eating, shops and a pub styled grille inside the horses stables complete with their own brew. I had a tomato and bacon grilled cheese sandwich with a superb tasting brew of theirs. I wanted to buy some to go but didn’t see that option. I will tell you and I’m not kidding, it was the best lunch ever!

I call the above picture blondes with boots. Do you remember what its like to be a teen? Having to be stylish while your mother and father took you to a gigantic museum? And they didn’t bring your friends? Stay tuned and come back for part two of Teens Visit the Biltmore.

Caroline Clemens

Photography by me. Nothing may be copied or duplicated from this site. No sharing or re-blogging. I’m practicing my photography, writing, touring skills for blog use from a personal perspective. Let me know what you think.

Thank you!

Online Store

7 Feb


I’ve always wanted to open an online store and now I have! Please visit TheIvoryTide to see my products for sale via my designs. I had fun selecting the photos and products.

You can visit here:  TheIvoryTide

Thanks for following me; you never know what’s next!


definitely more to come …

Poetry Leaves

31 Jan


It is with great pleasure I bring you the brand new cover for my poetry collection. Made by Dani from Brazil, a digital artist, I am truly in love with my cover and craft!

Available on Amazon. I expect the print to be ready soon. For now the digital is available online.

Caroline Clemens~pen

Kim Troike

Fields of Gold

17 Jan

Have a listen. I was introduced to this song over five years ago, for that I am grateful. Touching, soulful, and a spirit you can almost envelop with closed eyes and open heart surrendering; she passed on but we can still listen. This is a reminder that life is short, it’s over in a day, so live it the best you can.

Go out and listen to that live music wherever you can! Support local artists in many platforms; you might just love it, too. My journey online started then and has been ongoing. My contribution to the arts is through blogging, poetry, writing books, and a love of music. Thanks for following. You can find me on Amazon under the pen Caroline Clemens.

My life is full and extremely busy this winter but I will return in the spring with a post on the lovely Biltmore Estate from my Holiday visit, and a  “If I Were President” post before then.


YouTube Credit

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