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Carine’s Blog

  • Oh What a Night!

    Posted on Thursday, December 8, 2016

    It was actually the entire day around here.   

    Have I mentioned that ever since the pups and I got caught in that huge storm a couple of weeks ago that Sunshine has been having “issues“?  Poor thing is so scared of the wind, the cold and the snap in the weather that she has been having some “accidents” (you know, the kind that are on purpose).   

    Take Monday night, as an example:  I fed all three pets, took the dogs out to do their business.  Lucky did a lot for a 6 pound wonder dog.  Sunshine did a brief squirt and ran (without touching the ground I might add) back to the security door to be let in.

    Okay.  It was 44 degrees, high desert winds and dark.  I could understand her trepidation about spending even a few more seconds in that howling mess as I wasn’t enjoying it either.

    Came in and deciding that since Steve was working late, I’d go take a nice hot bath and warm up my rather aching joints.  I plugged the tub, poured in the Epsom salts and had just put my hand on the hot water tap when I see Sunshine begin to squat!!!

    I said, “NO“, rather harshly I fear, and picked her up and put her outside as fast as I was able and said, “This is where we go potty!”

    She looked up at me and went, looking very sad and tears welling up.   

    Sigh.  It’s always the mom’s fault.

    Sunshine has also made a habit of waking up at 4 a.m. (again, since the storm) to throw up.

    Steve went to visit his sister and mom for a few days and I was left to keep getting up for each incident of both ends coming out where they weren’t supposed too.  After I dropped Steve off at the airport, I stopped at our vet’s to ask for some help here.  There is also a third problem that is rather disgusting that I let her know about-let’s just say she’s been very good at keeping Pepper’s litter box clean.

    “It’s a small breed thing to do the litter and it sounds behavioral with the regression in house training, but I am concerned about her nightly vomiting.” Next morning I dropped off Sunshine to see what was happening.

    Lucky and Pepper were not happy-where was she getting to go and why weren’t they being given a car ride?

    8 hours later I went to go pick her up.  The diagnosis?  Acid reflux, a very possible UTI and she’s just plain freaked out from the storm and it will take some time and patience to get over it.

    I was told she’d need to have some Pepcid with her food and meds and report back how things were going.  I hid the doggie K-flex and antacid in a greenie pill pocket.  Guess what?  For the first time in two weeks Sunshine didn’t throw up.

    She also didn’t sleep through the night.

    Not her fault.  When I let the dogs out at 10 for their last bathroom break, there was a whole pack of coyotes on the other side of the block wall howling, yapping and again, freaking out my two little “snacks“.

    Then I locked up, turned out the lights, turned out the security system and all four of us snuggled down for what I hoped would be the night.

    Nope-those coyotes were barking, howling and I figured they had decided my front porch was the perfect place to keep warm and out of the wind for the night.  The four of us were lying there listening to all that noise.

    By morning 3 a.m. they had stopped enough for us to get some sleep.  Then at 6:30-my fur babies decided that they wanted to potty and be fed.

    Sigh.  Thankfully we no longer heard the pack literally at our door.  When I met my friends they were gone.   

    To make sure I don’t forget my last 24 hours, as we were rounding the corner to get back to home, we all saw one of the coyotes just wandering down one of our streets.

    I know we‘re safe here inside the house, but it is very unsettling to know that all those neighbors are that close by and willing to claim my porch as their shelter.

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  • From Swimsuits to Parkas in a Day

    Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2016

    A few weeks ago I posted a photo of my water aerobics class.  We were in the pool at 9 a.m. enjoying the record breaking heat for November here in Arizona.  Then IT happened.  

    Two weeks later we were rained out in favor of a storm front-complete with peals of thunder and lightning.  It was NASTY!

    That day Adam asked if I wanted to chance walking the dogs.  I didn’t go with my girlfriends because at our then set time of 8 a.m.-I was no more going to walk in the storm than I was going to go swimming.  I went down to Adam’s house with the dogs in between some heavy misting and we hung out and watched for a break in the weather.   

    About 10 a.m. we actually began to see a tiny bit of sun.  It was still a very uncustomary 52 degrees outside, but at least it wasn’t raining.  So we bundled up Jackson and Bryce, Lily’s fur was pretty heavy but Dex, Lucky and Sunshine were bundled up and trying their new winter coats and we went.   

    It was cold and uncomfortable, but we made the 3 miles.  I think I looked more like Gumby’s girlfriend than a former dancer, but at least we got our exercise, the dogs emptied themselves out and the kids had very rosy cheeks.  When we got back to Adam’s home, the tiny bit of sun had left and we could hear some pretty loud thunder returning.

    I decided to get the dogs home before the next onslaught of rain could start.  At least that was the plan.  The three of us didn’t make it home dry.  Nope.  In fact by the time I passed the third house the wind became so strong that it was pushing us back to Adam’s!  Then came the sideways heavy rain.  By the time the dogs and I got home, we were soaked down to our proverbial bones.   

    Got the dogs in, got the stroller in and managed to close and lock the door and shut off the alarm system.  Next came getting the girls out of their soaking wet coats and drying them off.  Following that chore, I took off all of my uncomfortably sticky wet clothing and started running myself a hot Epsom salt bath.  It was so awful and I was so stiff that I didn’t even remember hearing the booming thunder or the hail pounding on the windows!

    Since then I’ve put my shorts away, dusted off all my yoga pants and got rained out of what was to be one of the last two remaining water aerobic classes of the year!

    Have I ever mentioned that one of the perks of moving here to “The Face of the Sun” was the fact that it would be hot?  It is no longer hot.   

    Given the fact that the 10 day forecast says it will be sunny and dry on Monday morning, but we’ll only have a high of 58, I’m doubting that I’ll get up the nerve to put on my swimsuit and enjoy my last class.  I love it and will miss it until probably the beginning of March, but I’m not an idiot either!

    A person with a poor immune system who can’t move on dry land in these very cold temps should NOT get in a cold pool (alright, they‘re keeping it at 80, but I have a feeling that it will not make up for the 45-50 out of pool air).

    In fact, my girlfriends and I decided that it was two dark and cold to walk at 8 and decided until Spring weather comes back to us here in the boonies of Phoenix, we‘re going to walk at 10 a.m.

    Lucky isn’t happy but is now fully house-trained and is making good use of the door mat by our bedroom door and is doing her best to convince Sunshine to use it-but this is Sunshine’s first real winter and she’s hating having to be put in outerwear, hating going out even more and takes one feel of the air as I open the door to go out in the yard and literally starts whimpering and shivering.  Poor baby!   

    What a difference a day makes!  One day we‘re sweating at 9 a.m. while working out in an unheated pool and now we‘re wearing triple layers, earmuffs, gloves and woolen coats.

    There didn’t even seem to be a “gradual” change either-nope went right from swimsuit weather to parkas.  I am so hoping that this rather stark arrival of our usually brief winter isn’t an omen.

    I have a feeling it’s going to be a long winter.

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  • Birthdays and Holiday

    Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016

    My birthday crept up on me again this year.  The 18th I will officially be 59.  Honestly, I’m not sure what 59 should feel or look like, but as long as no one looks at my MRIs or x-rays, I think I look okay.

    But I’m not the only birthday!  Nope our grand-daughter Bryce is going to turn a whole year old on the 22nd!

    Fastest year ever.  Our Bryce is easily the cutest grand-daughter on the face of the earth.  Don’t even try saying that’s debatable!  How can anyone think otherwise with her parents being our son and daughter by marriage?

    In this short year Bryce has gone from newborn to a giggling, cuddly beautiful soul who loves her brother, has a contagious and fun laugh and is just about to walk.  She also loves all the fur babies that are around, her cousins and loves to “boop” noses-just the way grandpa showed her to do.

    Then, of course, we are celebrating Thanksgiving.  This will be a rather different “spread” as our kids have been changing their eating lifestyles and I for one am NOT going to put out things that will cause all their hard word to come to an end!  Adam is down to his high school weight and Sarah has been working very hard on changing her nutritional views as well.  Plus, Steve should really take a page out of his kids notebook and start listening to his doctor’s caveats!

    Our dinner this year?  Turkey breast and grilled ham.  Mashed cauliflower.  Roasted green beans/beats and walnuts with goat cheese, sugar free homemade cranberry sauce, sugar free/low carb desert.   

    I think it sounds pretty yummy!  Maybe get a family walk in sometime during the day as well.

    The next night some of our California family will be coming into town so we will celebrate Bryce’s birthday then.  Mine?  Right on the 18th, barring any small snags.

    I know this week is pretty short, but since Bryce shared her virus with me-I’m not really feeling all that great today.  It’s not good when you can’t think of drinking some ginger tea or eating toast.

    It just better last no longer that the 48 hours Bryce had it because I’m just not all that thrilled with feeling and looking like Kermit the Frog (you know, the green thing).

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  I’ll be taking a minor break until December 1st.  Stay safe, stay healthy and may you all have a wonderful end to November.

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  • COG Let His Dismay Be Known

    Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2016

    It was bound to happen at some point in my feature writing career.  But it’s really hard to admit that I completely muffed an interview.

    Not in the literal sense.  Just that I was so busy with taking care of hearth and home that I had completely forsaken my office and calendar that sits under my plethora of writing/note-taking books and didn’t realize that I had an interview to conduct!

    Truth is, I haven’t been in the office since my parents arrived for a visit last Friday.  Okay, actually I hadn’t been in my office since oh maybe November the 3rd.  We had the boys, we had a house guest (the best one in the world-he cleaned up after himself!), then my parents came and Aidan joined the mix!

    Just trying to keep everyone’s schedule straight, making dinner for the entire clan and still trying to spend quality time with my parents without missing a beat proved to be a bit more than I had thought it would be!

    One of the reasons was that our eldest fur baby (otherwise known as Pepper the 13 year old tabby) has turned into “cranky old guy“.  My parents brought their Chihuahua, Cisco and he was a perfect addition for the girls-not so much for Cranky Old Guy (from here on he’ll be addressed as COG).

    Poor COG!  He’s used to the quiet of his parents and two sisters.  Suddenly the house swelled to 3 kids, 3 dogs, 5 extra adults and my sister and brother for just a few hours.

    It proved too much for him.  We did put up a gate so he could have an area no one could get too, but his eyes bugged out, he refused to come in and eat and at night, he did NOT want to snuggle by either of his sisters or me!

    Then COG really let me know he was fed up!  After everyone left I went into the master closet and found a huge wet spot on the carpeting and some other form of the “leftovers of life“.  I cleaned it up and apologized profusely to him.

    After the clean-up in there was done, I took down the gate and then went to feed the fur babies.  Guess what?  COG was still swishing his tail and meowing at me.  Following the angry tail dance-he squatted right there in the kitchen and left me another “solid” display of his dismay.

    I swear he gave me the stink eye too.

    No wonder I made this giant professional kerfuffle!  By the next day he was back to teasing the girls and using the correct bathroom areas, so we were all happier about that until Sunshine decided to show me that it was a bit much for her too.  I decided to take a nice hot Epsom salt bath (after I had taken the girls out in the yard for over 20 minutes mind you!) and entered into my lavender scented bliss when I smelled something quite awful-yep, Sunshine joined her brother in showing me that the last two weeks were a bit too much to handle.

    Lucky for us, Lucky was too tired to join in on the “accidental” mistakes of her siblings, she just buried herself in her blanket with her favorite stuffed raccoon and took a nap.

    This weekend I’m going to devote myself to writing up next month’s senior profile, studying up on my various interviews coming up this week and just getting myself back on track.

    Goody, just in time for my birthday, Bryce’s first birthday and Thanksgiving Day-in that order.

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  • Good-bye October, Hello November

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2016

    Here’s hoping all of you had a great Halloween!

    I was prepared with a few big bags of treats.  With my trusty glider pillow under one arm, bowl of candy being held mid-body, phone in one pocket and keys in the other pulling my shorts down from my waist to my hips-I waited for the yearly “spook” fest to begin at 5:45 on my porch.

    At 6 p.m. no one had come around.  A neighbor (who lives closer to Adam and Sam) asked if I’d seen any kids?  She hadn’t seen a single costumed goblin either!

    Finally at 6:15 3 kids showed up.  Then another five minute gap and another half dozen or so came by.  Then nothing until a heard a very familiar voice from mid-way down the block:


    Yes, Jackson was so high on excitement that he just couldn’t contain himself.  He proudly told me, “I brought my baby sister, Bryce too!“  No mention of mom, dad or his grandma Linda.  Tells you the “pecking order“, no?

    Plus, his object of interest (Grandpa) was at work, so the conversation was kept fairly brief.

    Jackson went as an astronaut and Bryce was his personal star.  After they left, I realized I hadn’t taken any photos!  Oops!

    The older boys were doing Halloween with their father and we didn’t see them at all until Wednesday.

    By 8 our trick-or-treating had come to an end.  One bag of candy hadn’t even been used up.  I took back the rest of the bags the next day and switched it out for more “urine b gone” spray (just when you think that house-training is officially over-you find out it really isn’t).   

    Our friend up the street said the same.  In total I know I gave out under 100 pieces of candy!  Last year we went through 2 bags and closed the doors at 9.  The first year we were here and we had no idea there were that many kids in all of the community known as Anthem/New River!

    Guess the kids are getting older. Since we don’t really have much in the way of “turnover” moving that makes sense.

    Lucky and Sunshine whined through the door and I could hear them scratching.  I’m sure they recognized Jackson’s voice and wanted to come out and play.  Pretty sure Pepper fled for the comfort of his cat condo in our bedroom (that’s the farthest point from the front of the house).  I called for him when I came in and still didn’t see him for about an hour.

    And then as fast as Halloween started, it was over and it was November!

    I am 2 weeks away from celebrating my last year in my 50’s decade.  Whoa!  That is a frightening thought.  In 19 days, we will celebrate Bryce’s first birthday.  This Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for-it just seems that the year has passed at something past lightning or warped speed.

    Speaking of Thanksgiving-I’ve decided to really toss things in the air!  I’m not making a whole turkey.  NOPE.  I’ve decided to make a turkey breast and a ham.  There I said it-no whole turkey to fret over as to whether it will be juicy or dry.  No hours trying to get help pulling it in and out of the oven to baste.  And thankfully, this will mean I won’t have to try disguising the leftover dried out breast meat to fool Steve into eating it until it’s gone.

    I’m a rebel and I’m not apologizing for it.

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  • Always Think Ahead

    Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2016

    This is a story about “always think ahead“.

    It all started with my pesky arthritic knees and being in a LOT of pain.  After complaining to my less than helpful rheumy (who, BTW, misdiagnosed my knees in several ways) she sent me to my GP who agreed that the rheumy is less than satisfactory but the rest in “my network” weren’t any better.

    Sigh.  I’m getting off track.

    After those two, I called my really good shoulder guy who also does knees.  Whew!  He gave me a shot of steroids and then realized that my RA, OA and torn meniscus weren’t being helped by that and had me get approved for those lovely and quite painful cushioning gel shots to the knee (at least the worst one).

    In the meantime, he told me I could NO longer walk with my friends 5 days a week for 2-1/2 miles.  I was to cut back to twice a week and for half the mileage.  He suggested a bike.  Told him that wouldn’t work as I walk with (at that moment) a 6 pound wonderdog.  He then suggested water aerobics.

    Talked it over with some other good coffee buddies.  Turns out our community center pool has wonderful classes because we have a fantastic teacher!

    So we all three went-but I stayed.  I’ve been going twice a week since May.  Since it is so hot here in Arizona-our teacher has said she’ll keep class going until the end of the year. Then we’ll all re-evaluate the need for either taking a short break or moving up the class time.

    And no, I’m not getting off track again, just giving background.

    Anyway, I wear water shoes in the pool for two very good reasons:  I have really ugly RA feet.  And the bottom of the pool rips up my nodule ridden soles.

    I had had my former pair of shoes for about 6 years but only used them on vacation or to keep my feet from both showing and blistering while taking the grandkids to our waterpark.

    Now I was in the pool jumping, jogging, twisting, etc... for about an hour and 20 minutes twice a week.

    My shoes had elastic laces.  Well after all these months-the laces and the soles looked at me the other day and said, “Lady, we quit“.  I tried having a serious talk about the season being over and that Wal-mart and the 3 shoe stores at the outlet mall not having either waterproof laces or new shoes in my size.

    The shoes didn’t listen.  Nope, they went right ahead and just quit.  The laces stopped having the pull and kept on untying in the water and the soles, well, they just look pathetic and made my bad feet start having spasms.

    Steve tried googling where to get “pool laces” and where I could order a new pair online.

    It just so happened that morning we were also doing a bunch of errands and having breakfast at the local bagel shop which turns out is conveniently located right next door to what????


    We went in and the nice associate took us back to the last of the summer water shoes and laces.

    He suggested a large youth size.

    Guess what????  Turns out I got a great pair with laces (I have a wide toe need with a very thin ankle that needs the support of the laces) and they were on sale for 50% off.

    So the moral to this story is:  If you have ugly painful feet and need water shoes, don’t wait until the end of October to buy new shoes for your exercise class.  And if you do, think out of the box and get a good deal that will hopefully keep you and your feet “on your toes” through the winter water classes.

    Next?  I’ve been told I might want to find myself a nice “water” jacket to keep me warm when I’m both in the water and when I get out.

    Shoot-I bought those new swimsuits and now the “vets” in the class tell me I’ll really need to cover them and me up with outer pool wear.

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