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Carine’s Blog

  • Another Year Has Flown By

    Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014

    Another Year Older

    Surprisingly enough, I think this birthday (#57) is actually an improvement over last year.  Not a lot, but I at least now have almost full motion in my previously frozen right shoulder/arm.  Plus, despite the intense pain in my spine-the same physical therapists are working on trying to improve my back as well.

    On the actual day, I woke up at the ungodly hour of 6:25 (I swear it was made worse by the 48 degrees of gale outside) and hobbled to PT.  Because it was my "special day", I was treated to one 20 minutes of exercise, 15 minutes on moist heat and then about 25 minutes of them working to help ease the pain in my spine.  

    Some call it "therapeutic" massage-I call it pain.  But, it will be worth it when I feel better without the use of an epidural.  I'm figuring if they're half as successful with this as they were the shoulder I'm going to be very happy.

    Until then, if any of you watch "Dancing With the Stars" and saw Alfonso Rubiero crying from the pain in his back after he was through dancing-you have seen the way I go through life.  

    It's not pretty.

    After that, Adam and Jackson took me to brunch.  Poor Jackson didn't have the best of mornings either.  Adam took him to the doctor's for a checkup-where he remembered getting shots and his ears washed out.  Adam said he cried non-stop for the entire hour.  It culminated with another ear washing and another booster shot.  

    Normally he blows kisses to everyone and waves good-bye.  He did NOT do that to anyone there.

    By the time we got to breakfast he was back to his happy self and ate an entire plate of chocolate chip pancakes and threw kisses to everyone in the restaurant.

    It's a matter of timing.

    Once home I found that almost my entire Face Book list wished me happy birthday, I had voice mail from family members and my youngest nephew phoned me!

    Our daughter had called the night before because she had to be at work early.  She also wished me a cute Happy Birthday/short joke on Face Book.  It appears since osteoporosis and age have set in Sarah is now a full half foot taller than I am.


    The rest of my week was filled with doctor's appointments of various kinds-seems that the medical profession feels you need to been seen just to check that you're not falling down the rabbit hole of life as you get closer and closer to 60.

    Besides getting older, we've officially been in Arizona for 2 years now.  Time flies, no?

    One last thought:  Happy Thanksgiving to you all-may it be blessed with health, happiness and just the right amount of family dysfunction.

    3 Replies
  • Traveling and Bad Backs Don't Mix

    Posted on Friday, November 14, 2014

    Travel is Over-rated

    Don't get me wrong-I love my family in CA.  Love having time with my daughter and grandsons BUT driving for over 6 hours with my various health issues is simply NOT a fun experience.

    We took off early-only Lucky had eaten.  Sarah and I did drive-through a Starbucks and get some coffee for the first part of the drive.  Our plan was to get to Palm Springs and have brunch before finishing up the journey into Orange County.

    Of course with two women, two little boys and a Chihuahua we had to make a couple of "pit stops".  Considering the coffee-only stopping twice was pretty good.  The fighting in the back seat was NOT.  I also didn't enjoy the constant stepping on my seat belt.

    "I'm not grandma, it's your imagination."  Do you have any idea how many times we said, "Stop being a sass mouth"??

    Lucky was an angel.  Really.  Almost.

    As we got closer to Palm Springs, I googled "Dog-friendly restaurants".  We decided on "Cheeky's".  It was perfect.  Weather was 80 degrees, patio was covered, and food was all organic and homemade.  They even brought Lucky a bowl of water.  

    Then came the Schnauzer.  Sigh.  Lucky was not pleased.  All 5-1/2 pounds of her went from adorable to scrappy in a matter of seconds.  

    Fortunately, we had just finished eating.  We paid the bill and left.  Didn't even make another trip to the bathroom.  We decided it would be more prudent to use the facilities at the Morongo Reservation gas station while filling the tank.

    Once at my sister's, we started our family-filled weekend.  Mostly-my part was visiting with my parents and sister, brother-in-law and nephew.  I was able to see a close friend and colleague on Saturday afternoon, but otherwise it was pretty much:  eat, walk the dog, eat, walk the dog (you're seeing the pattern by now).  

    As you probably noticed, the boys spent time with their cousin Jonathon and Uncle Dave learning the finer points of building tall buildings with blocks.

    Before we knew it, we were back in the car and on the way home.  My back and neck killing me, boys fighting and Lucky being an angel again.

    It's always wonderful to see family but even more wonderful to get home.  I missed Steve, I missed Pepper and I missed seeing our son, daughter-in-law and Jackson.  We all had a quick dinner at Denny's (hey, kids eat free on Tuesdays) and then home.

    Aahhh. Now off to physical therapy.

    0 Replies
  • spoiled

    Posted on Thursday, November 6, 2014


    You know you spoil your fur babies when they get "spa" treatments more than you do.
    Such is the case in our home-always has been. Our first cat, Snowy allowed me the honor of doing her mani-pedis and loved being brushed. Our first Lucky loved being brushed, but no way was I about to try doing her nails-they were (like our latest Lucky) black. A chance I wasn't about to take since one millimeter to far could result in literal death.
    Pepper and Sunshine wouldn't let us do a mani/pedi, ear cleaning or anything else for that matter.  My very first blog was about what Steve and I went through giving Sunshine a shower.  As she got older, no way would I be able to get her up the stairs and into the re-modeled showplace that was in our former abode.

    Our little girl is a snap to bathe.  I get out the special buttermilk conditioning shampoo and clean up all 5-1/2 pounds of her in a plastic tub in the kitchen sink.  However, her nails are not going to be done by me!

    One of the first things we all noticed when Adam and Sam found her in the wash was that whomever ceremoniously dumped her at her 8 months of age-didn't think to ever trim her nails!  Poor baby had trouble walking.  

    The worst part is that the veins in those nails were now down to the very tips of the paws.  The vet had to stop the bleeding on several toes that first time.  From then on, we make a standing appointment to have them ground down every two months.

    It's a harrowing experience for us all.  Lucky pulls out all the emotional stops of a toddler getting a shot.  Have you ever seen a pup dig in to its mommy's neck and whimper???

    Not that I don't understand.  My feet are so arthritic that I do NOT enjoy a pedicure myself.  And I reserve manicures to when I have no choice because I'm going on vacation or it's time for the annual Holiday party at Steve's company.  I believe I missed last year's "treat" because honestly, the thought of someone touching my hands and pressing on them or moving my shoulder brought on an anxiety attack.

    So I understand.  But it is now time for Lucky to have her imposed event.  

    I'm posting early because we are having a very busy holiday weekend.   My hope is that all our military are safe and sound and that our honored vets receive the esteem they so heartily deserve.

    2 Replies
  • Overwhelmed

    Posted on Friday, October 31, 2014


    As you know by now (if you've read even just a minor few of my blogs), I really try to be positive and see the humor in all that happens in my life.  But I must admit, it's getting a tad bit tough.

    Everyone's life is truly based on a roller coaster-keeps us on our toes and hopefully learning from each experience something good to keep us going on to the next event.

    Now that the old homestead in together, the next step is to feel safe.  Besides the aforementioned sensors/alarms and lighting-Steve has taken the Phoenix Police Department's suggestion of "booby-trapping" the inside of the perimeter wall to heart.  Yes, one policewoman gave him an idea and he's going through with it.

    HERE THAT YOU IDIOT BURGLARS????  IF YOU TRY ANYTHING BE PREPARED TO NEED A TRIP TO THE ER!  I hope your "union" has health insurance.

    Then we're taking another officer's suggestion for a home security system.  

    When the boys are here-I keep yelling:  Don't touch that door!

    I just hate the screeching.  But it's necessary.

    On to the next bit of being overwhelmed.  We realized that when all is said and done-our insurance covered about ½ of our losses.  Monetarily speaking.  We'll never see our sentimental pieces again.

    I am still grieving the heirloom pieces that I had hoped to pass down to the girls.  I'm really grieving the loss of my anniversary gifts.  Steve has gone from watch "collector" to-I don't need any more than the one I'm wearing.

    Then came the "last straw" for me.  I had mentioned to Steve that it was time for our 6 month jewelry check, but we've been "busy".  Last night, I looked down at my anniversary band and saw a spot on the middle stone.

    It was not a spot-it was a hole.  Yes, my stone was gone.

    Sorry.  No joke or twist this time.  I'm just going to have myself a good solid cry.

    0 Replies
  • Costumes and Christmas Trees

    Posted on Friday, October 24, 2014

    Ghosts, Superheroes and Christmas Trees

    I know this is a subject of debate-but how do you feel about decorating for Christmas before the kids have done their yearly Halloween walk throughout your neighborhood?

    Here in Anthem-the outlet mall, the community center and neighborhoods are all having various Halloween parties and trick-or-treating events, starting on the 25th!

    Personally, when Sarah and Adam were young we started a tradition of going to the local mall and having them "do the walk" there.  After the second trip around, we'd settle at a fast food place in the food court and have the rare kid's meal with friends and neighbors and take home the over-sugared costumed short people and put them to bed.

    They always seemed to find a way to open several of the wrapped goodies before we could confiscate the bag for safety checks!

    Here-the boys love to go to just about every house in the neighborhood.  Since they'll be spending the night this weekend, I'm taking advantage of our community center!  

    First off, the main park is having a grand re-opening and an autumn fest.  The boys are on pins and needles to see exactly what the new equipment and expanded splash pad look like.  There will also be the carnival-complete with rides, games and food trucks.  

    As if this isn't enough-let me remind you of what Anthem, AZ is known for:  We host the tallest Christmas tree in America.  I kid you not!

    One of the main TV stations actually sent up a helicopter (we heard it at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m.) to watch the truck driving it in from somewhere in Los Angeles.  

    Not sure of the exact details, but every year we find ourselves unable to get off the freeway and to our home because of all the visitors who want to take pictures of how the staff decorates this 112+ foot specially raised tree.

    It is really quite amazing.  Any idea how big those ornaments have to be to be seen on a behemoth Fir of this height?????  25,000!  Plus-180 pounds of LED lights.  It's cap is a 3' copper star that represents the state of Arizona.

    So there you have it-while the kids are begging for treats from all of the stores, the staff will be hooked up to harnesses hanging decorative pieces the size of their bodies and dragging "gifts" into place to cover the bottom of the tree.

    If this isn't enough-Santa will arrive and take his position on his chair to hear all the wish lists.  Plus, there's always a petting zoo (complete with reindeer).  Someone from American Idol comes to create even more of a traffic jam.

    I'm not being a curmudgeon, really.  It's just that I'd like each part of the holiday to have its own little celebration-rather than stringing them all together and start the entire season in mid-October.

    The kids love it, of course.  

    One other thing-while the rest of the country is feeling the "nip" of autumn in the air-we've finally seen our temps dip way down into the low 90's.  Just one more reason why it's hard to get into the spirit when you still have no desire to put on anything but shorts and a tank top.
    Just to make it clear:  Happy Hallogivingkahmas

    0 Replies
  • Wild, Wild West

    Posted on Friday, October 17, 2014

    The Wild, Wild West

    I've mentioned before about the various types of wildlife that roams around our digs here in VERY FAR North Phoenix-the rattlers, the ground squirrels, javelinas, bobcats, road runners, burros, coyotes and now, I can add WOLF to the ever growing list!

    It was HUGE too.  I was just about to make the turn that goes onto the road leading to the freeway entrance when something with fur ran right in front of me!  First thought:  whoa, a lone coyote.  Then I took a second glance and realized "Nope, that there is a wolf!"

    We've really been increasing our neighborhood watch since our break-in.  Since I was on my way to PT (Physical Therapy), I texted my husband and had him share the news with our block.

    He hates social media and wouldn't do more than that-won't go on our neighborhood website and let everyone know.  He simply sent word to our "leader" and left the rest to her.

    As I was rounding that same street a couple of hours later-who should run in front of me at the same spot, the wolf!
    Strange, since the weather is at a point where there were a lot of neighbors walking around and enjoying a walk.  Once home I went about the chores of the day and realized that I hadn't had any love notes from either our neighbors via text or signals that they sent out a warning.  

    I hopped onto the city's FB page-sure enough (and so sad) two dogs were attacked right at that corner right in their own backyard.  One died right there and the other was hurt and traumatized.  This is with their "mom" right out there with them too.

    With our temperatures dropping into the mid-80's I wanted to take a walk with Lucky-but thinking about that poor little Pomeranian and her poodle sister, I'm not so sure I want to go.

    What has life become here in the Wild West?  I have sensors on all my windows, alarms on the doors, I have to "hover" my dog so she can go to the bathroom and I have to wonder if when I leave the house that some nut of a driver might decide to run into me.

    Don't get me wrong-there are some great things about living here in the middle of the Sonoran desert:  the beauty, the quiet, seeing the stars at night and so much more, but it's also living up to its description-and not always in such a good way.

    0 Replies