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Carine’s Blog

  • The Very Long, Hot Summer

    Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2017

    I can tell, it’s going to be a VERY LONG, HOT SUMMER!

    Picked up the boys at 11:35 yesterday after their last day of school.  Two seconds after entering the car they got into their “usual fight” mode and one, in particular, was deciding that he should go with “sassing” me.

    Got home before noon.  One was hungry.  The other had had a pizza/cupcake party in his class.  Supposedly the other only got goldfish.  Not really believing that line, but went ahead and fed him: a ham (4 oz of ham mind you) and whole wheat sandwich, carrot sticks, a huge apple and water.

    Two hours later-he swore to me he was “starving grandma“.  Okay.  Gave him a bowl of cheerios and 2 s‘more brownies with some hot chocolate.  Figured that should hold him until his mom came.   

    Younger one was now hungry-fed him the same.

    Then came the first meltdown of the summer season.  Sigh.  It was 107 yesterday, so there was NO WAY I was taking them to a park or outdoors.  They had a new checkers/chess set from their great-grandparents that Uncle Adam picked out, so I gave it too them.

    You probably see where I went wrong-I was trusting them to actually cooperate with each other and play the game nicely.  Too much to ask of a 9-1/2 and 10-1/2 year-old.  One started making noises and the other started poking his brother.  I told them to stop, even said take a time-out to re-group, but NO!  They kept at it until one was crying into the dogs’ couch blankets and the other was saying, “It’s his fault, he was making a noise!”

    I took the board/pieces away, shut down the TV and told them we were about to have a “chat“.

    Laid down the rules:

    Meals:  I was not going to feed them 24/7.  They’d get breakfast when needed (i.e.-when their mom had to be at work too early to feed them), a snack, lunch and a last snack before 4.  I was NOT going to be a short order cook.  They’d be given 2 choices:  what I’m offering and go hungry.

    Activities:  Told them at their ages that I should be able to expect good behavior and fairly decent listening skills-park/pool activities would be done and finished before noon.  I was NOT going to sit in triple digit temperatures and drag food and drinks everywhere.

    Whatever special things grandpa and I would do with them would be in direct relation to what behaviors we were dealing with-no way would we take them out in public and be embarrassed.

    If they were spending the night, I’m expecting them to put their dirty clothes in the correct hampers and make their beds in the morning.  There would definitely be the following chores:  cleaning the bathroom they used, helping fold and put away the laundry that they had added to my normal amounts and they could easily help set and clean-up the meals they partook in.

    When they left for the comforts of their mom’s car, I followed them out and let her know about our “chat“.  Seems mom had just had the conversation with them not but the night before!   

    With days always in the triple digits and no indoor activities-save our weekly maker/reading camp at the library, this summer could be one of the longest in history.

    Steve and I hope to get them to the community water park either early morning or late afternoons, we hope to take them to a couple of movies and make use of the library programs as much as possible, but most of all-we‘re hoping to just make it through unscathed until the end of August.

    Pray for us!

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  • Don't Laugh, I'm Cold

    Posted on Friday, May 19, 2017

    I know that those of you who come here to read my musings realize that I usually live on what we refer to as “The face of the Sun“-Arizona.

    Since moving here, we have gotten used to our March weather as hitting the triple digits, easily, during the day and in the 70’s at night.  We only use blankets on our beds from about Thanksgiving until around the end of February-then we use sheets.  By the time June rolls around-we‘re even rolling those to the end of the bed!

    This year though, we seem to be having an anomaly in the weather department!  We did have a few triple digit days, right in time to make the first Music in May Concert in the park a NO GO for Steve.  “I’m not sitting in that heat to sit with the rest of our community (we‘re too small to be called a city-or even a town) to listen to music with all the dogs howling and the kids running around“.   

    Darn-I love to do all of that social stuff.

    So far though, outside of those 3 days, our temps have been in the 80’s on average.  Some have even still been in the low 70’s!!!  Right now, as I’m writing this, it’s after 8 a.m., only 62 and the wind is blowing at about 40 MPH.  That wind is FREEZING!

    Yesterday, lover of my water aerobics class that I am, I went at 9:30 to warm up for the 10 o‘clock class.  It was a delightful 75 outside, sunny and almost perfect.  I say almost because that wind was coming at us at about 25 MPH and it was downright COLD!

    Got into the pool.  Water was just right.  Warm enough so I could walk right in and still cool enough to calm the usual inflammation I built up the previous day and night.

    The problem?  Ever see a water aerobics class?  We jump.  A LOT!  Every time we had to jump the wind seemed to want to wrap us up in a blanket of complete unpleasantness.  Nothing says “OMG” like having a cold wind hit your completely soaking wet body, over and over again.

    Trust me on this-I’m not exaggerating in the least.

    After class, we all hobbled over to our bath towels wrapped up and got to the showers to warm up as fast as we were humanly able to do.

    While our son and his family are visiting the California crew, I’m in charge of their fur babies.  So after I took care of mine, I got dressed and walked down the block.  Okay, it wasn’t so much of a “walk” as it was “being shoved by the residing morning gale“.   As I mentioned at the top of the page, the temperature is well below our “normal” for this time of the year by about 30 degrees.

    Supposedly we‘re going to hit 97 this afternoon, but for now-forgive me if I wrap this up and go get myself a second cup of coffee to warm this frozen bones.

    I’ll leave you with this question:  Do you prefer my complaining about not having the air conditioning set lower than 82 during the months of July/August in Orange County, CA or my wincing at the thought of walking my beloved Lucky and Sunshine in the less that 70 degrees with the high wind chill factors here in Arizona?

    No matter, I’ll find the perfect spot someday.  It will have average temps of 80, full sun most of the day, nights no hotter than 65 and rain only when I’m out of town.  I’m open to your suggestions.

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  • Happy Mother's Day!

    Posted on Friday, May 12, 2017

    I’m not at all sure that the way we celebrate Mother’s Day is the way that was originally intended.  I’m pretty sure I agree with the notion that HallMark or American Greetings made up this holiday just so that scores of kids and spouses felt pressured into buying cards and then FTD added to this rather “well thought out” day by throwing in some guilt if you didn’t buy and have them ship half-dead flowers to the person who more than likely both gave birth and raised you.

    What I’ve noticed is that every year, because they work as commissioned sales people in the retail field, the adult males in my life work the entire day.

    Can you guess what this means?  That means for our clan that it’s the women (i.e. MOMS) who put together a celebratory dinner, serve it and then clean up the whole darned thing.

    This year I texted the girls and asked, “If I defrost the ham in the freezer and to the table-are you up to bringing the side dishes?”

    Oldest daughter said she already had a ham out that needed to be used and she’d bring the mashed cauliflower.  Younger daughter said she’ll bring roasted green beans and salad.  Knowing everyone (save the patriarch of the Arizona clan) is watching sugars/carbs and fat, said I’d make the dessert as long as they let me know what was most liked in their homes.  Oldest daughter said she’ll just make one of her sugar-free, high protein chocolate cakes.  

    All is FANTASTIC by me!  I’ll provide the table settings, drinks, condiments and for anyone (I’m guessing our 4 grands will be over the moon on this part) who’d like some, ice cream.

    Once he heard, Steve said when he got home he’d just have me create ham steaks out of the triangle of salty goodness and he’ll grill them on what’s left working on our ready-to-die grill.   

    I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again:  Whatever the holiday, whatever work it entails, as long as all of us get together for a simple and tasty meal, it’s all good.

    When Father’s Day rolls around in about 6 weeks, we women will still be the ones making sure we do actually get to celebrate.   

    To all of you reading this, make sure that you cherish your moms-we‘re a lot older than you and there may come a day that we won’t be able to make sure that these get-togethers keep happening, so come early, grab a utensil or dish rag and lend a much needed and appreciated hand to make the party just a little more fun than it is exhausting.

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  • I'm Stuck

    Posted on Friday, April 28, 2017

    I’m stuck with a subject for this week!

    I actually have something to share with you all, but I’m sworn to secrecy for the time being!

    So here I am, wondering what to write about this week.

    I suppose I could tell you that a friend of mine and I tried out a Yoga class.

    That was quite the epic failure for this former dancer.  I learned in one hour just how much my RA has robbed me of in the last 20 or so years.  Sigh.  Yep, first I learned my joints don’t want to actually go in any particular direction that I am willing them to go.  I wanted to go into a pose where I sit back on my feet and stretch my arms and torso out in front of me.  

    My body did NOT.  Getting on the floor to even begin was painful.  Fortunately I brought a nice thick towel to make into a pad for my knees.  But once I got them there, they wouldn’t let me bend  to even get my hips on my heels.  Nope.  Knees and hips made sure I had no way of getting into a pose resembling what everyone else was doing.

    So I laid down with the rolled towel under my stomach and did the “cobra” stretch until my neck wanted to snap off.  Then while everyone else was able to stand up and do numerous other stances that not only had me gasping in pain for them-I decided to rollover onto my back and do some of my PT exercises to work on releasing what was left of my hip flexors.

    I also did my “dead bugs” (core work, totally) while others around me were twisting and turning with ease.  Okay, my girlfriend did fall on her tush a couple of times, but I was the only one who was looking a tad green with nausea when I tried a certain pose where you turn your head.

    At the end, the teacher said I should come back because I could only get better (she politely encouraged me by saying she had definitely seen worse).

    As we left, my girlfriend said she was going to at least try the class at least one more time.  I said I might go with her just to see if there’s any hope that Yoga may help my frozen and painful joints.

    Another thing that happened, remember I said I was feeling green?  That persisted for about 2 days.  I was thanking the pharmaceutical world for the invention of Zofran to keep the feeling stifled until my vertigo and sick feeling went away.

    At the end of it all I’ve pretty well decided that even after next week’s second try at this class that “everyone can do“, it will be my last.  However, being first timers, the owners of this practice gave both of us a much needed gift-a 30 minute massage.  I may not ever be able to have my dancer’s body back, but I sure have a body that will appreciate this unexpected pleasure.

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  • Making a Difference

    Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017

    Everyone wants to make a difference in the lives of others-on whatever level is comfortable to them.  At least that’s my personal hope.  That said, I thought I’d talk about making a difference in the lives of my kids-those who walk on 2 feet and those who walk on 4.  Hopefully this doesn’t get to maudlin as I bring up why I decided to write about this subject.

    Let me throw in the lives of my grand kids-for those who haven’t kept count, that would be 4.  3 boys and a girl.

    In the lives of my kids, what I hope I’ve accomplished on some level is:

    The importance of both standing up on your own two feet and knowing that sometimes you need to ask for help.  Know that if it’s possible, I’ll be there to cheer you on and do my best when you‘re losing balance and need someone to hang onto.  I can’t promise that I’ll be able to be everything you need/want-but I’ll do what I can, even if you don’t see it when it’s happening.

    To the grand kids-my goal is to love you, help your parents when they want and/or need it and do what I can to see that you‘re lives have good health and as much happiness as I can contribute too.

    Now that Steve and I are (theoretically) empty-nesters, we take our responsibility as pet parents as seriously as we do as being human parents, we didn’t give birth to you, but you‘re ours and we love you from the first day you entered our lives and we will NEVER do anything mean, unthinkable or hurtful to you.

    There’s way too much of that being done lately to children of any kind.  I mention this because I’m active on Face Book and find way too many stories and links sending me to articles about children being mistreated and animals being dumped unceremoniously in high kill shelters as if they are simply not breathing and living beings.

    Children and pets are not a right, they are a privilege and should be treated with nothing but love and dignity.  It’s okay to get mad at less than perfect behaviors, it’s more than okay to discipline and to what you need to do to correct those incidents, it’s okay to agree to disagree about choices made and how to handle to backlash.  We all make mistakes, we all have different ideas about what is “right” and “the best choices“-what we don’t have a right to do is be abusive and (since it’s the subject) literally throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Our youth, our pets, they learn from how they are treated.  Yes, I’m a firm believer in self-determination and the strong arm of steering, but at some point, everyone has their own natures and desires and need to make their own choices as to what is the most important thing they need to do to be happy.

    Making a difference simply means to be supportive in a positive way.  Do what you can, be there and realize that sometimes the decisions will be hard to swallow and yet, you can still get through the dark tunnel and find the light on the other side and keep being a family who loves each other.

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  • Don't Blink!

    Posted on Friday, April 14, 2017

    It never ceases to amaze me that vacation can be over in a mere blink.

    Steve and I planned our latest cruise for the usual 2 years and before we knew what was happening-we’ve been back almost a whole week!

    This cruise was a bit different.  First-we couldn’t get our “free” point-driven airline tickets for only one day prior to our sailing date.  It was 3.  We did go to Miami-but trust me, it wasn’t the “beautiful” part.

    Nope.  That’s another thing about making reservations from a website-you never really know what you‘re getting into until it’s too late!  Where as last year we had a beautiful hotel in an industrial tract and we were gated in like animals in a zoo and close to absolutely nothing-this year, well, the hotel was mediocre (staff was very nice), we still couldn’t really go anywhere, but we did have a few chain restaurants within walking distance.  Plus, we had the added bonus of this hotel being on the “route” of the “Orange Shopping Shuttle” which takes you to the Dolphin Outlet Mall and Entertainment Center.

    We choose these hotels (by the way for your understanding) because they have shuttles to the cruise ships port and the pricing.

    So, while we had 2 full days to fill we did have something to do:  shopping, seeing the world’s worst movie (we each wanted to watch different films so this was the compromise which we both groaned at-ugh) and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in that mall.  By the hotel, we thankfully took our BOGOs for Denny’s and had a breakfast and a dinner there.

    Once on the ship, we met up with one of the couples we made friends with on last year’s cruise. 
    We also met another great couple from Canada who joined our trivia group.  We, again, swept the week!  Okay, we lost 2-but only by a point!  Came home this year with 3 t-shirts, a baseball cap and a few decks of cards for using our brains on vacation!

    We enjoyed the walking, the talking and the new island!  We’d never been to St. Kitts before, we still just walked around the area off the port, but the four of us had a great time.

    Our only hitches this year we unfortunate.  The day before our flight, Steve was rear-ended on the freeway.  Thank goodness the car wasn’t badly damaged and while he is now in physical therapy for whiplash, both are in one piece.  Hence the reason for us NOT going on any tours!

    Poor Steve also got hit by a stomach virus on our anniversary.  We were going to one of the specialty restaurants to celebrate, but hearing he was sick, they easily changed the reservation to a couple of days later.  Then, poor guy, he mixed too many foods together on that last night and was really hugging the porcelain bowl until we left the ship for the airport.   

    Thankfully, again, he was doing much better by the time we got on the plane.  It was a very long day in the getting back home.  Adam picked us up around 7:30-ish Saturday night.  By the time we unpacked we collapsed at 11:30 p.m.  Steve had to be at work early, I had to go get our pups out of “puppy prison“  (so happy to hear that they did well) and spent most of the day doing laundry, a bit of shopping and trying to catch up with other little pesky chores.   

    Rest of the week?  Lots of time watching the grand kids, errands, doctors appointments and tests.

    Before I could know what had happened, here I am 19 days later writing up this blog for you all!

    Now, it begins again:  counting down for our 37th anniversary cruise next year, same time, same anticipation!

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