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Carine’s Blog

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  • I'm Seeing Red

    Posted on Friday, July 25, 2014

    I'm Seeing Red
    No, I'm not angry-just enjoying a bit of the color "red" around here.  We are used to seeing reds, pinks and blues in the sunsets-but this morning was different!

    Lucky had just finished her morning meal and I was taking her out into the yard when I heard a bird singing.  That was just a tad odd-you see, the road runners make a weird sound that is both "peep" and "engine" in nature.  The pigeons make a traditional "coo", the owls the "who" and the quail make a cluck-but this was a song.

    I looked around and saw not one but two red birds!  If I didn't know better I'd swear they were cardinals, but outside of the pro football team here, I doubt a cardinal hangs around the North side of Phoenix and in the Sonoran desert.

    There they were on the block wall singing a song to what appeared to be just me and our tiny pooch.  It was lovely.  I wanted to snap a photo and share it with you but darn if the phone wasn't inside being charged.

    Steve finally saw the family of cottontails the boys and I have been telling him about-he couldn't believe they were hiding in one of our shrubs.  "Don't those rabbits know they're just begging to be stuck by those thorns?"

    They're rabbits; I think they're just happy to find a source to have water (the drip system tubing), a bit of shade and protection from the rattlers and coyotes.

    I was seeing a bit of red over a couple of unexpected medical bills though.  As a woman, many of those who read this part will sympathize!  I had to have an extra mammogram a while back.  Six months before the technicians found "something" that turned out to be nothing but insisted they wanted a re-check.  So I went.  It took 4 long hours!  Poor Steve had to entertain the boys during this event.  This set of techs also saw "something", but on the other side.  It too was just what I said, nothing.  But I was happy they were so thorough.

    Turns out our PPO does cover mammograms-but it does NOT cover extra views or ultrasounds!  Imagine our chagrin when we received a bill for $500!  GRRR.

    Other "red" things this week-I was not happy to find out that a special "compound" my pain management doctor had ordered was still not close to being able to give me a price on.  It's been almost a month, countless phone calls and then I was told, "We have to get this okayed by your PPO in California because we can't get approval here."  That was over a week ago.  I also asked, "Before you send it I need to know how much will this personal compound cost is going to cost me, how long does one tube last and is this something that I will need to use all the time or once it works over the course of time I can wean off of and not have the problem come back?"

    I was told these were excellent questions and they'd have someone call.  I'm guessing the questions were quite difficult since no one has bothered to contact me!
    Luckily I'm seeing the doctor in a few days-maybe he or one of his assistants can do a bit more work and get me some answers.

    Until then, I prefer to see the red birds and hear a song that anything that puts my checkbook or face "in the red".


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  • Not in My Neighborhood

    Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2014

    Not in My Neighborhood!
    Honestly, I wasn't sure how to approach the subject of having a sex offender in the neighborhood.  I suppose I could have used the "S" word in the title and received a lot of hits.  

    It all started when I picked up the mail on Saturday.  In the box along with a Blu-ray for Steve, a Time magazine and a couple of credit card offers (thank goodness no bills!) was "an IMPORTANT sex offender notification"!

    In all my 56+ years-I've never received one of these before.  But this one had the information that this person had "tied up and bound 3 juvenile females for a period of time and then released them."

    Now our neighborhood watch leader is researching this information-because we all seemed to think it was illegal for a person such as this to live within a certain amount of square footage of a park and/or school.  We have 3 pocket parks and a school up the street.
    The entire situation alarmed us all-whether we had young children, no children or grandchildren who were visiting with any amount of consistency.
    Personally, while I've interviewed Lenore Skynazy (the free-range mom) several times and agree with her on many points-I just can't feel comfortable allowing my grandsons to go across the street to the pocket park unless I'm right there with them.  There's an entire desert wash which houses everything from rattlesnakes and bunnies to teenagers using the poor saguaros as target practice for their bb guns.

    Sorry, not this grandma!  

    Obviously this means the chances of the boys wandering the neighborhood on their own is 0%.

    But a lot of kids do wander around.  Several parents were very vocal about this flyer on our personal website.  Hence the leader checking into what, if any, options there are to keep this person away from all the kids.  

    Intellectually we all know we can't throw this person out because of his history-unless Arizona also states that he can't live within a certain amount of feet of schools and parks-but we also don't feel our children should feel threatened by who lives around them.  The adults feel uncomfortable with the new information as well.

    This news also arrived just as I received a writing assignment for, what else, how to keep latch key kids safe while walking home from school (or getting home from their bus stops)!

    I think what we all fear the most is that for many of us, moving to the outskirts of the burbs was in some way a stand to make sure our kids could play outside without fear and now the fear is real and overt.
    For the moment all of us are keeping that flyer in plain view of our phones-we have this man's name, his address and his parole officer's name and phone number.  

    What we hope is that he stays to himself; away from the kids and that we NEVER have the opportunity to use the information.


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  • Gotta Love a Great Musical

    Posted on Friday, July 11, 2014

    Gotta Love a Great Musical

    I don't usually do reviews-but I'm going to tell you about a feel good, toe-tapping movie!  Yes, a movie. I know, over the course of the last 8 years I've probably told you that sitting in a movie theater for 2 hours is more a "literal" pain than pleasure-but today I will admit that watching this movie was worth the "ouch" factor.

    A little background, in another life I was a musical theater dancer.  Even though I "hung up" the Capizios at age 31, seeing a show all these years later brings tears to my eyes.  While in New York we got to see Aladdin.  Fantastic!

    Years ago Steve and I had a season of musicals at the LA Music Center-one of the shows was "Jersey Boys".  Frankie Valli had always been one of our favorites and we loved every minute of the story and music.  We even saw it with the original cast members!

    We also were lucky enough to see Frankie Valli in person about 5 years ago. He was, at that time close to 75 and put on a great performance.

    You know what's next!  We saw the Clint Eastwood movie version of "Jersey Boys" this week.  It was fabulous!  The music can't be beat and he used the original Broadway cast which was an extremely smart move!  We both went out feeling happy and glad that we hadn't waited for the Blu-ray version from Netflix.  We were humming the songs happily for the full 20 mile drive.

    In fact, it was so much fun to watch-I still asked Steve to put it on our queue.

    There's also nothing like a "date".  This summer we've had the boys every day except for Saturday and Sunday-and Sunday night has seen them join us by bedtime due to their parents new summer working hours.  A day off to be empty-nesters was just what we needed.

    Thankfully there is also this wondrous and budget- friendly price of $5 on matinees for people over 55.  Sometimes, we actually love getting older.
    Next week?  We know we'll be having bone scans, watching the boys (including Jackson) and doing our usual chores-so we feel justified in at least taking the length of the drive and the movie for ourselves.

    After last week's post, I realized that I've been doing this blog for 8 years.  It's changed in looks and topics and like me, it seems to have found a niche.  

    Hope you all had a great Independence Day!  Hard to believe that we're into the last half of 2014!


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  • Baby, You're a Firework

    Posted on Friday, July 4, 2014

    Fireworks!

    In Cali, most of Orange County was not allowed to set off even sparklers for much of the last 2-3 decades.  Here in Arizona, things are well, different.
    Steve and I walked into Wal-Mart last week and the wall that was previously filled with sunscreens, pool toys and otter pop bags had been replaced with fireworks!  We later read in the local freebie newspaper called In And Out that here in Anthem it was more than legal to buy these boxes and set them off from pretty much the third week of June.  

    The one caveat?  After the 6th of July-no one better try setting one off.

    Personally, I was all for going to our community center where our small town hosts a whole day of food trucks, carnival rides and games and pool time all culminating with a fireworks display around 9 p.m...
    However, at the last moment (literally!) a monsoon blew into town and the display was cancelled.  Don't know about the folks who wandered over to enjoy the rides and such.

    I remember vividly being in the hospital for knee surgery when I was 14 and having one of the only other 2 teenagers there (the other was my roommate) come into my room-turns out it was his umpteenth surgery on his hand.  The doctors were trying to save it from being mangled and burned during a July 4th celebration when one of those gun powder holders went off in that said hand.

    He was only 17-couldn't understand the pull and allure then and I definitely don't understand it now.

    Yes, fireworks are beautiful and create lots of "oohs" and "aahs" from all who watch them.  And yes, if you add a background of patriotic music an appropriate amount of throat lumps will ensue.  But I'm still all for letting those who are professionals set off these explosions a safe distance away from those who are looking up into the sky.

    End of sermon.

    Besides our country's birthday and celebration-it's my mom's 84th birthday!  Another one where she is celebrating in one state while we are firmly rooted in another.  It is what it is.

    I can't quite say that I'm getting used to it.  Probably never will be.

    Steve is working July 4th, so is Adam.  Sarah is taking Dylan for a long weekend (remember Aidan came with us to OC a month or so ago while Dylan stayed home sick) to the Bay area.  What I'm hoping is that all the noise won't scare Lucky too much.  She didn't enjoy all the popping sounds AT ALL last year.
    Pepper's never really cared one way or the other.  At nearly 10, I doubt it will bother him now.

    My biggest hope for the holiday is that it WON'T be the expected 115 at dinner time and that perhaps we can plug in the misting fan and eat our BBQ under the stars. But with the looming gray skies and the threat of more wind and sideways rain, I think indoors will be best.  Just hoping to get those ribs on the grill.

    Here's hoping that everyone reading this will have a safe, safe and fun Independence Day.


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  • I Really Don't Like to Complain

    Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014

    I Really Don't Like to Complain

    I know it sounds as if I like to complain, at times, but I don't-really.

    A couple of months ago I "won" a prize of some organic kids' meals from a new company.  A month later I realized that I never received the food, vouchers to pick them out myself or even a note of explanation from the site that told me of my winnings.

    I dropped a note to them and they had no idea and said they'd check into it.  As promised, the nice customer service woman sent me a note about 3 days later and let me know that the company was pretty much in startup but they had sent out my vouchers.  She said if I didn't see them in a week to contact her again.

    So much for the "check's in the mail" moment.  Two weeks later I again reminded myself about these elusive products and sent another note.  This time-no reply.

    Figured I tried too hard as it was and decided I was lucky to receive the first prize of various types of whole grain/rice side dishes.  I threw in the towel.

    Then Saturday I received a hand written note from the company apologizing for having not gotten the vouchers to me sooner.  

    Living out in the "boonies"-I went on line to the company and did a search as to where I could find the product.  According to them I had to go to one of 2 Super Targets.  One was 21 miles away, the other 30.
    Guess where we went? I even called first. After all, at 42 miles round trip, my "free" food was costing us 2 gallons of gas! I was told that "in fact, we just re-positioned the freezer section to accommodate the items."
    Thankfully, we geared the day's errands to include this store in the loop.  Why?  Because when we arrived and went to the "kids' meals" section-they had another company that had the word "mom" in its title-BUT IT WASN'T THE PRODUCT I HAD VOUCHERS FOR!!

    The manager apologized profusely-but didn't offer to reimburse us for the time and energy spent due to the person who answered my questions on the phone.

    Being slightly miffed-I sent a note to this effect to the customer service contact us area on the site.
    I'm still waiting for a reply.

    Luckily, I'm not really into giving the grandkiddos frozen dinners.  Just thought it would be an interesting change.
    Never know-maybe someone will get back to me.  We'll see.  Until then I'm feeding them fresh homemade food from grandma's kitchen.


    6 Replies
  • Nothing Like Home

    Posted on Friday, June 20, 2014

    Nothing Like Home

    As much fun as going away is-nothing says "Fantastic" as much as getting home.  Sometimes that happens for more than just due to the facts that you're out of laundry and/or money.

    Steve had a few days off and wanted to get out of our usual rut.  So we decided to book a couple of days in a quiet (definition:  boring) and inexpensive place (we're still paying off our new dining room).  It has a river that neither of us have any desire to break what's left of our spines on and besides-THAT WATER IS FREEZING COLD!
    We don't gamble and outside of one pretty entertaining show we saw at ½ price-walking was the only thing to do.  The outlet mall was a ghost town, no one goes here to eat-but it was a couple of days we could spend with no one but ourselves.

    However, back at the homestead things did not turn out so calm.
    Adam and Sam watched Pepper for the couple of days.  Pepper loves Toby, Lily and Billy-but he took one look at the new 3 pound tuxedo kitten dubbed Zoey and hissed.  From what I understand-his hissed for 2 of 3 days.  We picked him up and he refused to talk to us until we went to pick up our drama queen.

    Sigh.  When I dropped Lucky off at the pet hotel she went into "shake" mode.  Now I know that most of you think of Chihuahua's as being natural born shakers, but not ours.  She mainly just likes to be cuddled and loved.  Nope-she's a calm girl.   So imagine my guilt when Lucky began to shake uncontrollably and tried hiding in my tee shirt!

    Next morning the manager called to inform me that she had not stopped shaking, had (TMI ALERT) bloody stools and threw up!  I immediately called our FANTASTIC vet, Dr. Kristin Young at Daisy Mountain animal hospital.  

    This woman went in between patients to check up on her and give her medication!!!!  Seems she was so stressed that Lucky gave herself "nervous colitis".   Have any of you pet parents ever had a vet who would do this???  And no, she didn't charge extra! By the time we picked her up a couple of hours ago-her stomach was doing much better and she was so happy to see us she didn't know who to have hold her!  

    Her tail was going like a whirl-y-bird, she was crying, kissing us, leaping from one parent to another and then heard Pepper and started pulling us toward him to make sure it was her brother in that cage!
    Pepper was so happy to see her that he began crying as well.
    We're happy to be back to our home as well.   I've got a very full lap and a very full heart-while I'm not happy my fur kids were out of sorts, I'm glad they missed us.


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