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Carine’s Blog

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  • Not a Cali Girl Anymore

    Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016

    Funny how much change can happen in 3-1/2 years.  I was told by a very wise young man at a Five Guys restaurant that “you acclimate after the first year“.  It was August, Steve was doing his 3rd interview for his present job and I was trying to beat the 115 degree day since there were no indoor malls in that part of Scottsdale-I must have looked ready to die because the young man wouldn’t even let me pay for my drink-just handed me a cup and gasped.

    Fast forward to now and we‘re in the midst of our 4th summer, it’s 115 outside at 10 a.m. and I’m just piling through the day with Dylan and Aidan.  Can’t go to the water park, the pool or the splash pads-it’s as the song says, “Too Darn Hot“.

    This week has been rather rough.  After hosting Father’s Day dinner, the kids all left, dinnerware was washing and it was a mere 112 at 10 p.m..  Then IT happened.  The air-conditioning unit blew out.

    Do you have even an inkling of what it’s like to sleep in 95 degrees with fans blowing hot air around and sharing my side of the bed with a 7 pound cat on one side (head resting on my shoulder) and a 6 pound dog along the opposite side?  

    Let me tell you:  YOU DON‘T!

    By 5 a.m. Steve and I realized we were in trouble.  Except Steve had the luck of going to work.  I left early for my water aerobics class and stayed late.  The pool felt GREAT.  Got home and Steve had contacted the home warranty company and set up a repair for the next day.  Between 1-5.

    It’s really nice to have our son and daughter living at the end of the block.  We were invited (pets and all) to stay there until the a/c was fixed.

    Thankfully, the repair person came at 2 and said the heat had blown the capacitor.  He fixed it and we were able to move back in around 5.  Pepper was pretty happy about that-at 13 he isn’t happy about even the slightest change in his daily routine of playing fetch, teasing Lucky and sleeping.  He peed on Jackson’s rug and then did the opposite in our closet once we got home.

    Which brings me to how we know that we are now Arizonans and not Cali “transplants“:

    1-We don’t expect cold water out of any of our cold water taps.

    2-We keep an ice chest in my trunk so we can buy a bag of ice when grocery shopping to make sure our food arrives home in edible condition and not cooked.

    3-We know how to pronounce Cholla, Papago, Haboob and Saguaro, plus-we know what they mean to us here in AZ.

    4-Even when we park in the shade, we put in a customized sunscreen in the windshield and keep a towel in reach so we can touch the steering wheel.

    5-You will never see us walking around without a bottle of water.

    6-We expect to use the clause in our car insurance policies that give us new windshields.  Cracks are just part of the charm of living here.

    7-Just because we have a community pool doesn’t mean you will see us using it after 10 a.m. because we know we can still get sunstroke.

    8-We never walk barefoot.  Outside we‘re asking for burned feet/possible stings or inside where we could still get a scorpion bite.

    9-Just because we hear the thunder, see the lightning and “feel” the moisture-this doesn’t mean we expect rain.  And when we get it-we‘re not sure if it will dry before hitting the ground or flood the entire area.

    10-We expect to lose power at least twice during the summer months.  How long?  Does it really matter?

    11-When it does rain and we happen to be driving we pull off the road because we don’t know how to turn on our wipers, they probably won’t work and besides the rain is usually hitting so hard that it will break the hot glass.

    12-We think the house is cold when it’s 80 inside after we’ve let our dogs out to potty in 110 degrees.

    13-Unless we golf-we don’t know what grass is anymore.

    14-Before I let the dog out, I check for rattlesnakes, owls, hawks, bobcats and coyotes.  Lucky is the perfect size snack for all of these and all of them have visited our yard at some point since moving here.

    15-We don’t decorate for Christmas-but those who do decorate cacti because there’s not a fir tree anywhere in the community.

    And that is life here in AZ.  Despite what you’ve just read, it’s a beautiful place that I’m proud to be living in.  Finally.


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  • Goose Eggs and Ninjas

    Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2016

    When our kids were little, obviously someone was always getting a bump, bruise, scrape, broken bone or other malady.  Hey, it’s part of growing up.  But when you‘re a grandparent, you figure you won’t be too involved in some of all this-unless you are like Steve and me.

    Since we are caregivers to Dylan and Aidan 2-3 days a week, we are the one’s who need to handle the immediate little things-you know the items I’m talking about:  Scrapes on the face or knees (or wherever) while rough-housing after being told not to touch each other only about a dozen times.  The pokes in the eye from some hug that got out of hand and moved to hitting and annoying the heck out of each other and their grandparents.  The crying because someone’s movie was 30 seconds longer than the other and “he still gets a turn“.  

    Ah, the fun of child-rearing.  I’d say the “second” time around, except that besides Sarah and Adam, Steve and I raised over 120 kids over the course of 10 years as day care/pre-school teachers.  So this is not the second or even third time we’ve heard the screams, the cries and the “it’s not fairs“.

    This week, Steve wanted to go to the local bagel place for breakfast.  It’s a hangout for many-bagels are quite good, they’ carry Boar’s Head meats, coffee is good and there are a LOT of choices.  Plus, for a mere $5.75 you get a bagel with your choice of meat, cheese and egg and a re-fillable coffee.  Our favorite?  Steve goes for a toasted everything with gyro meat, provolone and egg.  Me?  I’m more of either the 9 grain toasted or pumpernickel with the gyro meat and egg.   Coffee is a must if I want to be coherent and tolerable for the rest of the day.

    After that, we toddled across the street to Albertson’s (grocery store for those of my Euro readers)and bought the sale items we needed.  Hey, we‘re serving ribs for Father’s Day and they had them buy 1, get 3 free!

    Then we texted our older grandsons’ father and let him know to have the boys ready for pick up.  That’s when we were told that the eldest boy (Dyl) had managed to hit his head and that even though it looked better-he had given himself quite the “Egg“.  

    Sigh.  Seems other than watch him and put some ice on the knot between his eyes, Dylan just went on as usual.  

    Thankfully, it was Maker Camp day and the creative work on the menu was to make their own board game.  The boys had fun and then, since Uncle Adam had the day off, asked him over to play several rounds of their version of Chutes and Ladders.  

    When Sarah came we let her know of the Goose Egg story and she spent the remaining portion of the night in the ER making sure it was just a bump that needed rest.  No MRI or CTscan needed.  But yes there’s a slight concussion there and she had to wake him ever 3 hours.

    As I write this, we‘re getting ready to go to the library for Ninja Mania day.  Upon our return, there’s a bit of reading (less for Dyl since he’s supposed to rest) and lots of NOTHING.  

    We‘re under yet another round of excessive heat warnings-it’s presently 9:30 a.m. and the temps outside are already a mere 102.  So they know better than to ask for the pool, the water park, the splash pads or the park in general.

     Aidan is giving me quite the argument-but I’m older, wiser and maybe a slight bit more patient than I was in my younger years.  And in a minute, if I snap-he’ll find out that it’s in his best interest to do what grandma says and not what he wants, if he wants to survive the summer.

    Now that we‘re back-it seems grandma was right-it was a lot of fun.  Besides the photos below of the new Jenga Masters, the boys made Ninja masks, Ninja kisses (cute jars with chocolate kisses in them), origami Ninja stars, finger puppets, wobbly Ninja masters and even got another temporary tattoo.

    The boys even became “models” for the library’s FaceBook page-they were proud to show off their building skills for all of Anthem to see.


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  • I'm Popular in Russia

    Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2016

    I have a huge following in Russia.

     Go figure!

     How do people in Russia (who probably don’t read or speak much English) find my blog and enjoy it?  

     Personally, I wouldn’t even know how to find a blog in any other country-although, thanks to Bun (check last week’s blog for details on his hilarious musings), I know of a great one in England!  Yet, the last two months more people in Russia have read my weekly musings than in the U.S.A!

     I’m rather proud of that-really.  It’s interesting to realize that people across the world read what I’ve got to say and I’m guessing they must enjoy it since they keep coming back to read more.  I’ve also got a pretty good following from people in Germany.

     My grandparents came here from Russia, Germany and Poland-so it’s cool to think that ancestors (of a sort) find my little blog and learn about my drab ordinary life.  Maybe it’s the kid and fur baby pictures?

     This week, besides letting you all know that I’m totally global, I want you to know that we here on the face of the sun have had 5, yes 5, record breaking heat days.  Even at 6 in the morning, my friends and I are sweating bullets and sunscreen by the end of our 40 minute walks.

     I was pushing myself hard and going 5 days a week.  But alas, this RA, bursitis and degenerative disc patient has been told to “KNOCK IT OFF, LADY!”  Yep, my knee guy is waiting to give me gel shots in the knees (seems all that pain is NOT made better by exercising everyday and it hurts).  He also recommended water aerobics.  So now I’m walking only 2 days a week with my neighbors and I’ll be joining my wonderful “coffee” girlfriends at our community pool twice a week for the suggested classes.

     Then my spine/pain doctor told me “Your hips are in bad shape“.  Okay, sort of gathered that from what feels like both an ice pick going through them and the burning sensation.  She’s recommended PRP-it’s where they take my blood, do some magic to it and then inject it into my hips which is supposed to help at least the bursitis and inflammation.  More so that the painful and chemically produced steroids that seem to work about 6-8 weeks.

     I’m beginning to feel as if I need to duct tape huge ice packs to various joints and wrap whatever is able to peek through in bubble wrap.

     And while I’m on this varied rant-I HATE MY NEW MAIL PROGRAM ON MY NEW COMPUTER! It puts everything and everyone into junk mail-repeatedly.  It also has no place for putting my list of contacts.  And if that isn’t a royal pain in the patootie enough-I have to delete things at least 3 different ways INDIVIDUALLY to get rid of them.  MICROSOFT-I HATE YOUR WINDOWS TEN AND IT‘S STUPID MAIL PROGRAM!

     Hey Russia, aren’t you glad you found me after that rant?


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  • Proud Grandma

    Posted on Friday, June 3, 2016

    By now, if you read my musings at all, know that my family is my everything.  Let’s face it, who would leave a recently and totally remodeled home and a fairly decent writing career to move to the outskirts of the suburbs of Phoenix just to be with their kids/grandkids if it wasn’t “her everything“?

    The older boys got out of school this past week.  The last day was Thursday and the boys were spending the night (Dylan and Aidan).  When we got to the house Dylan handed me his report card.

    Our Dylan made the honor roll!  This was NOT an easy achievement, I assure you-his third quarter was, for lack of a better word, mediocre.  So thanks to tutoring, help from parents and especially a particular grandma, he managed to boost his grades to all A’s!!!

    Go Dyl!  On to the 4th grade.

    Aidan also made some fantastic leaps and bounds in raising his grades and will enter 3rd grade when school restarts in mid-August.

    Our youngest and only grand-daughter Bryce is now 6 months old, finding her voice, has probably 2 teeth (I say probably because I got nipped but wasn’t going to ask to see the actual rough spot in her gums) and is sitting up fairly well.  She also has the required baby roll-crawl down to an art.

    Now for Jackson, about to turn 3 in August and has powers of observation that are quite outstanding for a tyke his age!

    A bit of background-Steve and I had a LOT of points to use up on a credit card and decided on ordering magazines as opposed to other items we had no need or room for in the house.  One of them was Men’s Health.  Steve never reads the issues, but I do and then I hand them over to Adam.  The latest one is the one that creates this anecdotal along with our Jackson.

    Adam had put the magazine on his nightstand.  The front cover had a man in workout clothes:  shorts, tee-shirt and running shoes.  The back cover had a man dressed up in a business suit.

    Jackson found the magazine and began looking at it.  Then he looked at Sam and pointing to the front cover said, “Look, daddy home!”  Then he turned it over to show the back picture of the man in the suit and told her, “Look, daddy work.”  From there he went back to showing “Daddy home, Daddy work” numerous times to prove that he knew exactly what he was trying to show his mom.

    Not to brag (but I feel I have a right here), but I think that’s pretty darned observant for a boy of 2 years and 10 months.

    As for summer plans?  Since I’ll have the older boys Wednesday/Thursday and every other Friday, I’ve signed them up for the library’s reading program, the program that the library is doing in conjunction with the Arizona Science Center and extremely early trips to the park and splash pads.

    In fact, the neighbors and I who have been walking together since the beginning of the year have realized that since the temps are in the upper 80’s by 8 a.m., that we‘re going to try going at 6 a.m. in the morning.

    This should be interesting.  I barely move at that hour-nothing in my body works until after 7.  But we knew the day would be here when we’d have to make the move to this horrible hour.  Ick.  But the alternative is to use the treadmill.  

    One of the best part of the day is walking and chatting with my new found buddies-Cross your fingers for me, things could get ugly.


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  • I Don't Like Birds, However...

    Posted on Friday, May 27, 2016

    My fellow blogger Bun Karyudo posted a great blog this week!  It gave me the inspiration for my post.

    Here is his take on pigeons:

    [Link Removed]

    It made me think about those pesky things. We had a LOT of pigeons in Orange county, CA-here in AZ though-mainly:  huge black birds, owls, vultures, hawks, morning doves, yellow and red birds of some sort, plain old wrens and at night BATS.  No pigeons!  Either way, I’m one of those people who do not like birds.

    That doesn’t mean I want anything bad to happen to them though.  I’m a real softy when it comes to other living creatures-even ones I don’t care for at all.  Especially for ones that fly-EEK!!!  Just ask my older grandsons how I looked and got through a butterfly showing at a museum in NYC-it was NOT pretty.  I was a sweaty, nervous Nellie.

    Because of Bun’s wonderful post, which I encourage you to go “click” on the link and then read, I thought about an awful encounter with one I had last summer.  I cried and had nightmares for a while because of that little fellow.

    In the summer our temps average about 110 from now until the end of September, sometimes longer-and with that heat and the rising temps in the accompanying garbage cans we have a horrible fly problem!

    To help with that disgusting problem we use fly traps.  There are a few different versions:  bags of water with some kind of stinky clear solution that lures the pests into them where they obviously drown and die.  The Ziploc bag with a couple of pennies in it that is SUPPOSED to scare them away because the flies are afraid of the glare (it didn’t work for us) and then there are the fly strips.

    This blog is about the last (and worst) of these products.

    Since the bags of stinky fluid reeked and made me cry about the agony the flies were in during their final moments, Steve tried the “penny” bags (which again didn’t work).  The last thing we tried were the strips.

    They still seemed rather violent to me, but I also don’t like flies swarming in the house and creating maggots in my trash cans despite the ziplocked bags of trash that have been frozen and discarded the night before trash day.

    So Steve hung the strip up and the thing not only “caught” flies-it caught a bird!!!

    I heard the poor thing crying and I cried.  I let the dog out and heard it bellowing for help.  I cried and begged Steve to come and “rescue” it.

    Let me assure you, it never had a chance.  I cried, had nightmares and alerted everyone on my facebook page and my Twitter feed NOT to buy those horrible killers of wildlife.

    While birds may not be my favorite thing I certainly never wanted even one little feather on them to be hurt-let alone stuck and its life shortened just to keep the real pests out of my kitchen.

    My best suggestion is:  DO NOT BUY PEST STRIPS!!!

    This year, I guess we’ll go back to the stinky bags-not the best remedy, but at least I won’t be grossed out or having nightmares about our feathered neighbors.


    Carine, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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  • Eek! Summer Weather is Here

    Posted on Friday, May 20, 2016

    When we lived in California I could hardly wait until summer arrived.  The warmth, the sun, the ability to go out at night and leave my various “car” coats in my closet and not having to wait until mid-day to take my power walk.  Heaven.  

    Don’t get me wrong, we had plenty of 80 degree winter days-but somehow the winter 80 was a lot less warm than the spring or summer 80.  Even autumn 80 was pretty darn hot, but then we’d call it “Indian summer“.

    When living “on the face of the sun” you start looking for indoor activities to keep busy with because even going to the community pool after 11:30 a.m. (or one of our fantastic splash pads) is just not as fun as you might be imagining.  

    The “person” I feel the sorriest for is our little Chihuahua Lucky.  Her favorite time of day is when she sees me suiting up for that daily power walk I mentioned a few seconds ago.  She has 3 coats:  one for brisk mornings, one for cold and one for our few freezing mornings.  But summer?  Ugh!

    Our first summer with Lucky, Steve and I found some cute booties to try on.  For those of you who have either never been the pet parent of a dog or just never wanted to go out in either the freezing cold or blazing heat-the booties are meant to do just what shoes do for us-stop our feet from blistering!

    Well, Steve got the front two booties on her, she gave him the fish eye.  Then she saw the third one in his hand and growled the doggy version of “Don’t even think about it Dad!“.

    Steve said, “Put her down, maybe when she sees what we‘re trying to do, she’ll like them.”

    Yeah, right.  I put her down and she looked like a toddler wearing their first ever winter coat!  Big eyes, snarly nose and stiff from nose to tail tip.  We took them off, packaged them up and took them back to the pet boutique we purchased them at and (obviously) returned them.

    If you ask people out here how the dogs cope about walking in the heat, well, we “good” parents will tell you from about the end of May until Mid-September-we just don’t take them on a walk.

    Some people say to just take them at the horrible hour of 6 a.m. or after dark.  Really?  There are two reasons why this is not a good idea:  

    1-During those months our temps reach 120 and only dip to maybe (on cool nights) 105.  The sidewalks are too darn hot no matter what time of day it is!  The sun disappearing for a few hours does NOT make anything feel the least bit cooler!

    2-I can’t speak for downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale, but out here in the “boonies“-we have a lot of critters that can do something we mere humans cannot:  See in the dark.  I for one do not wish to go out in the dark and run into a coyote, a wolf, a javelina or a flying critter of some kind. The other DAY my neighbor and I saw a vulture flying about our daily walking route.  Ew, thankfully I didn’t see the dying/dead critter and for that I’m eternally grateful.

    A few weeks ago the two of us (Lucky was enjoying her walk in my arms) saw a dead coyote on the curb-I wasn’t even asking, I just said, “Let’s go this way” and proceeded to go through the houses instead of on the main road.

    So here we are about to start our fourth summer in paradise and I’m thinking a tune up for the treadmill might be in order.  I don’t enjoy being a hamster, but it beats not moving.


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