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Carine’s Blog

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  • Saving a Bundle

    Posted on Friday, September 22, 2017

    Steve and I are extremely proud of our efforts at the grocery stores this week!  We are VERY good at saving on our food bills.  We sometimes are a little too good, but it somehow works out in our favor-most of the time!

    This week our freezer was already at the “Fibber McGee” closet point when Steve saw that the Friday special deals at one market had sockeye salmon on sale for $5 a pound.  Fresh, not “previously frozen“.  We eat a lot of fish around here.  So, with that in mind and the fact that on Friday Steve didn’t have to go into work until mid-morning, we went to the market to go and get the salmon.

    Okay, we didn’t drive there early in the morning for just salmon.  There was also fresh tilapia and some ahi tuna on sale.  Plus, it turned out that this market was the only one  that was offering our precious morning “berry” fest at a reasonable price.  So, we stopped for a quick breakfast at the local bagel shop and toodled across the street to pick up our treasured items.

    Besides the “deals” of the week-we also had a $5 coupon for the said $5 Friday deals.  Can I hear a woot, woot???

    We got to the fish area and Steve saw that in the regular case there were 4 packages of not sockeye-but KING salmon stamped with 50% off coupons as a manager’s special!   He took them all.  Easy enough to cut down into portions for dinner.  All were not only fresh but pre-seasoned.  I’m all about making things easy on myself these days.  Here’s the breakdown:

    Regular price:  $20 a lb.
    Sale price:  $10 a lb.
    With the manager’s special:  $5 a lb.

    Remember, this is for the better salmon!  We also got the other two fish, the berries (which we took our individual quotas on and paid separately).  

    According to the computer generated receipt, Steve and I paid for all of this and the rest of the shopping (the norm of veggies added, some extra Ziploc bags and whatever) $85 and saved a whopping $180!

    Patting myself on the back.  I’m totally exhausted from my short little walk with the girls this morning, breakfast out with Steve and the 20 minutes in the market and 20 minutes of packaging up all the fish, so I’m going to go take a good rest now.  

    Wish I could say I’m done for the day, but I’m off to see the pulminologist for a much needed re-check this afternoon.  This will be quite the undertaking for me-haven’t driven this far since before I got sick.  So this rest time is no maybe, but a must.  Until next week!


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  • Memories

    Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2017

    This week is filled with wonderful and sad memories.

    Today, 20 years ago, after losing our 1st precious Lucky, we went to a rescue event and fell in love with our first Sunshine.  My very first blog was about giving her a shower with Steve’s help.  Our Sunshine still, after passing 7 years ago, still brings on tears of missing her because she really was something very, very special.

    Perfectly behaved, a real talker, great with kids of all ages, loved her Pepper (in fact, it was her love that gave him the chance to win us all over!) and us.  

    I can still remember her watching Dylan on the floor of our family room, he had just begun sitting and she was watching him intently and making sure he didn’t fall.  Didn’t care about her fur being pulled.  Then she stood up and got her favorite toy, a doggy sized soccer ball and brought it over to him and dropped it in his lap.  Then starting telling him in clear doggy speak-throw my ball, let’s play!  Dylan laughed at her and enjoyed the puppy kisses and nuzzles.

    You all can tell by my posts that we dearly and completely love Pepper, and namesakes Lucky and Sunshine, our love in unconditional and forever-but Sunshine #1 still brings tears to our eyes at the realization that she really is gone.

    What makes this week doubly difficult is that not only did we adopt her this week in 1997, but we lost her 3 days after her 15 “birthday” with us.  The high and the low in 72 hours.

    Given her personality I’m sure she would have adored the pups that now play with her very well behaved and very senior tabby. She’s probably watching from over the rainbow bridge admiring that he has tried to use some of the same playing moves to dogs that are 1/5 of her size and shining that smile that lit up our home all those years.

    While I type this tribute to a wonderful family member and bawl my eyes out-I can also look at the three loves in front of me and know that they’ll be getting more than the usual amounts of hugs, pets and kisses this week.

    I wish you all a family pet that adds so much to your lives that you feel the same amount of both despair of their loss and the love you felt for many, many years.


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  • WARNING: HEALTHCARE RANT AHEAD

    Posted on Saturday, September 9, 2017

    The last two weeks I’ve spent a great deal of time on the phone with insurance companies for things that shouldn’t have even been brought to my personal attention.  I just don’t have this kind of energy for nonsense of this kind.

    We received a bill from our lab for services rendered.  According to our handy-dandy book of information, we‘re NOT supposed to pay for any lab work.  Why the bill?  That was my question.

    It seems one of my doctors ordered a few tests that the lab “didn’t do in house” and they (without letting the doctor or I know first) sent it out to their parent company to do the work.  Not my fault, not our insurer’s fault, but we get the bill.  I tried to solve it on my own-since a mistake had already been made by the same side provider the month before and then it was corrected.  This time, the person on the other end of the phone wasn’t so helpful.  There’s an hour of life and energy I won’t get back.

    Next, I called our insurer-who finally took me off of hold after 45 minutes of elevator music and listened to me.  Now I have to admit, this woman was very nice and she really worked hard to help me.  She listened to me, said she didn’t understand why I should have gotten the bill and proceeded to call the provider and put us all on a “conference” call.  

    After about an hour (no kidding), he refused to talk to me, referred to me in the 3rd person and was rude to my insurer!  Wind up was she filed a complaint on my behalf and the bill was erased.  Great news there.  She also informed me that since my hospital stay had pushed me “minimum” that I probably shouldn’t be seeing any more bills until next year.

    Again, that was fabulous news-as I am now up for:  a Prolia shot (a mere $1,000), a updated CTScan on my lungs to see how the Valley Fever is coming along and a few more doctors appointments.

    EXCEPT-shortly after that news, Steve gets a text telling him that due to rising costs and the present insurer wanting to raise them by 15%-they were switching us to another provider as of October 1st!

    Fantastic, NOT!  So now I have to hope the new company will A) let me continue to see my present doctors B) not hold up any of my treatments C) charge me for what I wouldn’t have seen a bill for just because we‘re changing.

    This whole thing is a necessary evil.


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  • We're Celebrating a Birthersary!

    Posted on Friday, August 25, 2017

    Hard to believe, but Wednesday we celebrated Sunshine’s 2nd birthday and her one year anniversary as part of the Nadel clan!

    This has been one fast year cram packed with changes of all sorts.

    We gave the birthersary girl a special bone and lots of singing.  She loved the bone and gave us strange looks on the singing.   LOL.

    In the last 12 months Sunshine has gone from being a very shy and scared girl to showing us quite a personality.  At first, she’d cower and hide her head and cry just from us wanting to give her a kiss.  Now, she wakes me up every morning giving me a face full of kisses and tells us (quite verbally, I might add) that she wants us to pick up Lucky and take them out potty.

    For the most part (knocking on wood and praying I’m not jinxing anything), she is also quite house-broken.  Lucky loves to have her around-they sleep together, bathe each other and Sunshine simply can’t go out potty without the company of her sister.  Pepper seems to love her a lot as well.

    He watches his “girls” when they‘re in the yard, greets them when they come in and loves to get his kisses from both of them.  He’s also been hiding behind certain cabinets and in the reclining sofa to bat at them when they walk by.

    Sunshine has some of the qualities of our beloved first Sunshine:  loves to be cuddled and hugged, gets excited when she sees the grand kids, can hardly wait for a walk and has those big brown eyes that make your heart both melt and soar.

    I’m pretty sure #1 Sunshine is looking at her baby Pepper’s new sisters and is happy that he has them both in her absence.  Sometimes I swear I see that same big smile on this Sunshine’s precious face.  Here’s hoping our second year brings nothing but more love and good times.  

    On the flip side of Sunshine-poor Lucky is still having the residual effects from her fall off the bed just before I got sick.  We were unaware until I decided that even if it was just to cross the street into the pocket park, I had to start walking.  That’s when I noticed she barely made it into the park when she’d sit down and hold up the paw and cry.  

    So Tuesday, I did my first solo drive of over 1/4 mile and met a friend for coffee and took Lucky to the vet.  Turns out the paw is fine-she pinched a nerve in her shoulder.  

    Sigh.  Does she fit in with this family or what?

    Our wonderful vet said that just the painkillers weren’t going to help and sent me home with the added medications of both an NSAID and a muscle relaxant.  Poor little thing.  

    But as close as the vet could guessimate-she should be feeling much better by the end of the week.  If not, then it’s time for an x-ray.  

    Please cross your fingers and toes that Lucky is back to doing her Jack Russell imitation by the time you read this blog!


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  • Doing the 2 step

    Posted on Saturday, August 19, 2017

    I wish I could follow that by saying I felt so strong and encouraged that I made Steve take me out line dancing, but alas-I cannot.

    Monday I decided that enough was enough and took the dogs and walked around the park.  That was an experience.  Lucky’s paw is still hurting her and barely made it home.  She’s turning into a “pudge” so we’ve cut back her food.  Poor little baby-she doesn’t even eat 1/2 cup of food total in a day as it is and now a diet???  But better than her turning into a sausage.

    I came home and rested and followed that by dusting the house.  Again, a rest was needed.

    Tuesday came and I again walked around the block with the dogs, rested and then walked down to Adam’s to see him and the grands, followed by (I’m sure you‘re getting the drill) resting before walking home.

    Wednesday I decided to walk the “small” side of the tract.  That’s a mile.  I did it with Lucky in my arms the last 1/4 mile.  I then proceeded to lie down and do nothing for the next day and a half.

    Hence the “two step“.  

    Friday, I didn’t walk at all but Steve and I went to go see a very good date movie which was appropriately titled, “The Big Sick“.  True story.  I suggest it highly-which as you know means it was really good.  A few of the scenes in the hospital were a bit too close too home, but it was nice to do something fun and in-medical.

    Also this week, I mentioned something on our Anthem page on FaceBook which had someone tell me about a support group for those of us with Valley Fever.  I was invited to join the page and I’m finding out a lot of things I didn’t know.  Plus, someone who lives really close to me is also on the board and we‘re hoping we will find a way to gather our strength and meet up for actual face-to-face support.

    That would be great!  Steve has been wonderful and supportive and I truly don’t know what I would have done without him, but he has no idea what RA is really like or how the fatigue and symptoms from the Valley Fever intermingle with it on a daily basis.

    It’s nice to have a page to go to share stories and ideas about something few people know anything about-I’m all about facing things head on.  So, here I go-


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  • August

    Posted on Friday, August 11, 2017

    August started out with some happy fun-Jackson turned 4!  To say he celebrated would be an understatement.  It was also my first attempt at socializing (at party #1) with the human race.

    It was a successful morning of fun for Jackson and his best friend Bradley.  Bradley is two weeks older and since they‘re in the same class and both kids live a good distance away from the pre-school they attend, the parents decided to do a joint “Super Hero” party.

    It was at a local pizza place with games for all ages.  I know this because Adam had a great time winning some bouncy balls for Jackson and Bryce.  He was proud of himself-not easy to win all of those tickets in one of these Chuckie Cheese clones!

    The kids had a blast, everyone was happy with their time celebrating and Sam did an excellent job on the themed “Super Hero” cake for the boys.  She also made every child their own superhero cape!  Sam’s amazing!

    Right after the party, Adam took me home for a nap.  It was really, really nice to be out with people and out of the house, but those 2-1/2 hours wiped me out for the rest of the day.  Came in and let the pups out and followed that with a nap.

    Adam, Sam and the kids then went to California to visit family and celebrate Jackson’s birthday with both sides there.  By the time they got home and it was actually the real date of his birth, Jackson was thinking that birthdays last a very long time.

    In their absence, Steve and I took care of the four cats.  I couldn’t walk to the other end of the block, but I was able to manage the drive.  It was tiring, but at least I could say I did it.

    A couple of wonderful girlfriends also came by and picked me up so we could enjoy some coffee together.  I lasted barely over an hour and 15 minutes-but we got to see each other and I didn’t have to feel as if I were a prisoner of Valley Fever for a while.

    This week was a bit more tiring as I’ve been really trying to do more:  laundry, cooking the meals again, even went to the grocery store to pick out my own veggies and fruit.  That was on the same day that we met Adam for breakfast-so it was a “big” day for me.  

    I wound up sleeping until 8 a.m. that next morning I was so exhausted for those 2 events.  Normally that wouldn’t have been a problem, but we had a 9 o‘clock appointment for Pepper at the vet to re-check his mouth after his dental surgery.  We also had to discus the pesky problem of his not wanting to use his litter box even though his mouth no longer hurt!

    He’s 14 and change.  We‘re doing what we can to accommodate.  We spent $50 on a special pheromone atomizer for the kitchen.  We also spent almost the same on:  a second litter box, scoop, more litter (okay, we had to get that anyway), lavender oil to spray on the mats he keeps leaving “gifts” on and a mat to put under the new box.  Oh and the spray bottle to spray the lavender oil.

    I know, you‘re thinking we‘re nuts.  But just like our 2-legged kids, we love him dearly and will do whatever we possibly can to keep him with us for as long as possible.  Remember, he came to us with his “abnormal” front legs when he was just 4 weeks old.  Outside of the first few weeks, he’s never given us anything but love and smiles.  He’s getting old and that’s okay, as long as he’s here and not in pain.

    So August is a bit improved over all of July and the end of June.  If all goes as I plan-by month’s end, I will drive myself the 3 miles to the pool, take my class and drive home. Even if I have to nap afterwards-that’s my goal and hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to it.


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