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Carine’s Blog

  • Making a Difference

    Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017

    Everyone wants to make a difference in the lives of others-on whatever level is comfortable to them.  At least that’s my personal hope.  That said, I thought I’d talk about making a difference in the lives of my kids-those who walk on 2 feet and those who walk on 4.  Hopefully this doesn’t get to maudlin as I bring up why I decided to write about this subject.

    Let me throw in the lives of my grand kids-for those who haven’t kept count, that would be 4.  3 boys and a girl.

    In the lives of my kids, what I hope I’ve accomplished on some level is:

    The importance of both standing up on your own two feet and knowing that sometimes you need to ask for help.  Know that if it’s possible, I’ll be there to cheer you on and do my best when you‘re losing balance and need someone to hang onto.  I can’t promise that I’ll be able to be everything you need/want-but I’ll do what I can, even if you don’t see it when it’s happening.

    To the grand kids-my goal is to love you, help your parents when they want and/or need it and do what I can to see that you‘re lives have good health and as much happiness as I can contribute too.

    Now that Steve and I are (theoretically) empty-nesters, we take our responsibility as pet parents as seriously as we do as being human parents, we didn’t give birth to you, but you‘re ours and we love you from the first day you entered our lives and we will NEVER do anything mean, unthinkable or hurtful to you.

    There’s way too much of that being done lately to children of any kind.  I mention this because I’m active on Face Book and find way too many stories and links sending me to articles about children being mistreated and animals being dumped unceremoniously in high kill shelters as if they are simply not breathing and living beings.

    Children and pets are not a right, they are a privilege and should be treated with nothing but love and dignity.  It’s okay to get mad at less than perfect behaviors, it’s more than okay to discipline and to what you need to do to correct those incidents, it’s okay to agree to disagree about choices made and how to handle to backlash.  We all make mistakes, we all have different ideas about what is “right” and “the best choices“-what we don’t have a right to do is be abusive and (since it’s the subject) literally throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Our youth, our pets, they learn from how they are treated.  Yes, I’m a firm believer in self-determination and the strong arm of steering, but at some point, everyone has their own natures and desires and need to make their own choices as to what is the most important thing they need to do to be happy.

    Making a difference simply means to be supportive in a positive way.  Do what you can, be there and realize that sometimes the decisions will be hard to swallow and yet, you can still get through the dark tunnel and find the light on the other side and keep being a family who loves each other.

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  • Don't Blink!

    Posted on Friday, April 14, 2017

    It never ceases to amaze me that vacation can be over in a mere blink.

    Steve and I planned our latest cruise for the usual 2 years and before we knew what was happening-we’ve been back almost a whole week!

    This cruise was a bit different.  First-we couldn’t get our “free” point-driven airline tickets for only one day prior to our sailing date.  It was 3.  We did go to Miami-but trust me, it wasn’t the “beautiful” part.

    Nope.  That’s another thing about making reservations from a website-you never really know what you‘re getting into until it’s too late!  Where as last year we had a beautiful hotel in an industrial tract and we were gated in like animals in a zoo and close to absolutely nothing-this year, well, the hotel was mediocre (staff was very nice), we still couldn’t really go anywhere, but we did have a few chain restaurants within walking distance.  Plus, we had the added bonus of this hotel being on the “route” of the “Orange Shopping Shuttle” which takes you to the Dolphin Outlet Mall and Entertainment Center.

    We choose these hotels (by the way for your understanding) because they have shuttles to the cruise ships port and the pricing.

    So, while we had 2 full days to fill we did have something to do:  shopping, seeing the world’s worst movie (we each wanted to watch different films so this was the compromise which we both groaned at-ugh) and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in that mall.  By the hotel, we thankfully took our BOGOs for Denny’s and had a breakfast and a dinner there.

    Once on the ship, we met up with one of the couples we made friends with on last year’s cruise. 
    We also met another great couple from Canada who joined our trivia group.  We, again, swept the week!  Okay, we lost 2-but only by a point!  Came home this year with 3 t-shirts, a baseball cap and a few decks of cards for using our brains on vacation!

    We enjoyed the walking, the talking and the new island!  We’d never been to St. Kitts before, we still just walked around the area off the port, but the four of us had a great time.

    Our only hitches this year we unfortunate.  The day before our flight, Steve was rear-ended on the freeway.  Thank goodness the car wasn’t badly damaged and while he is now in physical therapy for whiplash, both are in one piece.  Hence the reason for us NOT going on any tours!

    Poor Steve also got hit by a stomach virus on our anniversary.  We were going to one of the specialty restaurants to celebrate, but hearing he was sick, they easily changed the reservation to a couple of days later.  Then, poor guy, he mixed too many foods together on that last night and was really hugging the porcelain bowl until we left the ship for the airport.   

    Thankfully, again, he was doing much better by the time we got on the plane.  It was a very long day in the getting back home.  Adam picked us up around 7:30-ish Saturday night.  By the time we unpacked we collapsed at 11:30 p.m.  Steve had to be at work early, I had to go get our pups out of “puppy prison“  (so happy to hear that they did well) and spent most of the day doing laundry, a bit of shopping and trying to catch up with other little pesky chores.   

    Rest of the week?  Lots of time watching the grand kids, errands, doctors appointments and tests.

    Before I could know what had happened, here I am 19 days later writing up this blog for you all!

    Now, it begins again:  counting down for our 37th anniversary cruise next year, same time, same anticipation!

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  • pass the coffee

    Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2017

    What I’ve come to love about living in New River is that once you find your “crew“, it’s wonderful.

    It did take me a while to find friends who could understand that I can’t always do physically what I want to do-because neither could they!  And then I found friends who can enjoy my need to walk in the air with my dogs, go to water aerobics and commiserate over a good strong cup (or more) of coffee.

    There’s also the adjustment that some of them are not here all the time.  Snow birds abound, some of them about ready to leave for their other homes in “cooler” temps during the Spring and Summer.

    It’s funny, this has been a very atypical year for us here in Arizona-lots of rain and wind during this winter, cooler temps than normal too and then WHAM!  The heat arrived-two days before the unheard of March start date for water aerobics!

    Our coach said she usually waits for the first week of April, but so many of us were requesting to start (even though the temps were very cool) back up that she took a chance.  Well, we were all there Tuesday morning, right on time and it was a beautiful 85 at 10 a.m..

    It felt wonderful to get into the water, see all the other devotees and enjoy the morning.   

    I had planned on going to the other two left in the month, but thankfully my spine doctor pushed through an emergency epidural so this Tuesday I will be in a surgical suite with Adam and the younger grands waiting at a nearby Starbucks (having a special, special while I’m being stuck with some nice large needles) and coming back to get me home later.

    The kindly doctor also shot my hips full of steroids so I could start feeling less gimpy and more able to enjoy our upcoming cruise for our 36th anniversary!

    This morning though, it was all about enjoying some time with my two friends, drinking coffee, discussing our aches and pains and what we’ll be doing in the coming month.  One friend is leaving to care for her grands in another state for the month, the other just had hand surgery and is expecting her 4th grandchild in a couple of weeks and I am just looking forward to enjoying some alone time with my husband.

    It will be a busy time, but I’m really hoping that we will be able to walk as much as we want without my paying for it later on.   

    When we return, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to meet up with my various groups and be able to participate in the swimming, the walking, the talking and most importantly-the friendships.

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  • Some Days, I Just Want to Scream

    Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017

    I knew it was coming, but I wanted to pretend it was A) the weather, B) doing something stupid or C) just something else I needed to rest up from.

    What am I talking about?  My stupid back, of course.

    I literally just finished paying off my last lower back epidural on Monday, I felt that all too familiar jolt of lightening bolt spasm/pain in not only my sciatic nerve but it was also in those pesky herniated discs otherwise referred to by my spine orthopedic as:  L3-5, S1-2.  Plus, my neck (known as herniated discs C1-3) was screaming at me as well.

    It’s been unseasonably cold, windy, rainy, etc. here in the desert so I just kept saying:  I’ll feel better when the typical temperatures return.   

    The problem with this form of stupidity is that we are about to leave on our anniversary trip and barring some kind of miracle-I won’t be getting that epidural before I leave.

    Herein lies the reason (besides the constant severe pain and my allergies toward all medications that somehow are supposed to help the extreme hurt) for my wanting to scream:  My specialists, in several different practices, have this frustrating problem-it’s called NO ONE PICKS UP THE STUPID PHONE!


    I want to ask the rheumatologist a question, I leave both a voice mail and then send an e-mail through my “personal portal“.  If I’m lucky, they call me on the wrong phone number and I play phone tag for a day or two.  Once they actually replied to my e-mail!

    The primary care doctor, while not a specialist, does the same!  At least her office is a mere mile and a half from the house because, honestly, I’ve found it easier to get in the car and drive there and walk in to the office to set up an appointment.  No one ever responds to my “personal portal e-mail” or calls back.  Plus, the phone system never works.  Seriously!  A few times I used all available extensions and each one said, “you have reached an invalid extension” and hung up on me!

    My shoulder/knee and hand guy are in the same practice and someone actually answers the phone there-I love them because they respond in a timely manner. Why don’t the others?

    Now for the spine doctor.  I love her-she’s caring, she looks at me and not her IPad and she does something WHEN I AM THERE.  The problem is that the phone lines at that practice are just plain horrible.

    I knew I should have called a few weeks ago, but kept hoping for some kind of miracle which didn’t happen.  So Monday, after paying off the epidural I asked to be sent to the office to make an appointment.  (Noticing that it is complete irony that someone answered the billing office phone in 2 rings)

    As soon as the transfer was made I counted the rings -6.  Then I got the dreaded recording:  Please leave your name, date of birth and preferred phone number and we will call you as soon as possible.  Do not leave multiple messages as this could result in slowing down our response.  You matter to us, if we can improve in anyway please let us know as we are here for you!

    Why?  But I left the information and then snidely added, “you know what you could do to improve?  Have a person answer the phone!”

    That was fairly early Monday morning.  Guess when I finally got a call back?  Wednesday afternoon-2 p.m.

    Another irony of the call back-they didn’t use the phone number I left.  Nope, used the one I said not to use as it was a land line that I might not be at home to use.  It was just fortunate I was there when they called.

    No apology either.  I’ll be bringing that up when I finally see her next week.   

    For now, I’m just hoping that she can give me some sort of booster shot to see me through until I get back from hobbling through our annual romantic getaway.

    Should be so romantic with an inability to sit, stand, walk or lean for any real given amount of time.

    I take responsibility for my share of this mess, but it would just be nice to be able to phone a doctor’s office and get a person to pick up a phone and say, “Hello, how can I make you feel better TODAY?”

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  • I Want Out! No, I Want IN!

    Posted on Thursday, March 2, 2017

    It’s an old joke for those of us with fur babies.  Seems they‘re always on the wrong side of the door!

    Take this morning, just as an example:

    The sun has finally come out here in rural Phoenix, Arizona after several days of rather weird gray and wet weather!  That’s the good news, but along with this sunshine it’s also unseasonably COLD!  Plus, there’s this pesky desert wind blowing my tiny ones around the yard.

    Actually, Sunshine is holding her own and Pepper has always been an indoor tabby cat-so, admittedly it’s Lucky getting blown around the yard.  The sun has the dogs confused in a big way.  They see the sun, they feel the sun through the window/slider and beg to go out to sit on the patio to soak up the warmth.

    Okay.  I let them out.  They hop up on their chair, curl up in balls next to each other, sit there for about 2 minutes and then hop off and bark at me to let them in.

    Fine, come in!  As they run for their warm blankets on the sofa and bury themselves so only a tail can be seen they warm up and realize-hey, I feel the sun!  Let’s go ask mom to let us out.

    They pitter-patter into the office and cry at me, hit my knees and look at me with those huge brown eyes and look as if they‘re going to burst right there on the floor next to me if I don’t hobble over to the door and let them back out.

    Being the complying mom that I am-I stop what I’m doing on the computer, walk to the other side of the house to where the door and yard happen to be and again, turn off the alarms and sensors and let them out.  I sit at the breakfast table to watch them as they (again) hop up onto their chair in the yard, curl up in a ball next to each other and watch them attempt to sunbathe in the 49-ish degree weather and the 30 mph winds!

    A few minutes later, they (again), hop off the chair and stand by the door howling at me to let them in.  Which I do and then put on the alarms/sensors and lock the doors.

    I go back to work where I am immediately followed by two puppies wanting to go out.


    By about the fourth time of this ridiculous hamster treadmill I am no longer being smiley and nice about it.  I start to become a grump and tell them to go lie down in their blankets and just enjoy the house.

    This is met with tears in the eyes, whining and then Pepper decides it’s his turn to cause some trouble.  If his sisters are all cozy and whiny under a blanket then he’s got to be there too.  He usually decides that Lucky is the perfect dog to jump on and pester.  Within minutes Lucky is growling and running after him while Sunshine is left on the couch, half covered and wondering what’s happening to Lucky.

    She then chases Pepper around the house and into my office.  He jumps on me and acts the innocent while Sunshine rushes back to Lucky and kisses her from head to toe.  It’s truly my belief that she’s making sure she’s okay and asking her in puppy language, “Did you get hurt????”

    Obviously, I’ve haven’t accomplished a thing other than letting dogs in and out, telling the cat to stop bugging the dogs and then I wait for it:  Here they come, the fantastic duo-big brown eyes and pleading voices asking me to let them out.

    I hope this blog makes sense because honestly, I have stopped and started so many times that I’m not at all sure about what it reads like but know if I don’t just click on Publish-it might be a while before I get back here to re-do this piece.   

    At least I’ll be adding to my walk to this schedule.  It’s almost 11 a.m., better get out the harnesses, leashes, potty bags, stroller and jackets because now it’s time to meet up with my friend and her dogs for a walk.

    Hopefully they’ll be so tired upon my return that I won’t be asked to let them out for a couple of hours.

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  • Did You Read What You Just Said?

    Posted on Friday, February 24, 2017

    I don’t like to embarrass anyone, but this week left me shaking my head just a tad.

    Here’s what happened:

    As usual, Steve and I have been slowly paying off our latest anniversary getaway (this year is #36!).  This one’s a bit different in a few ways for us.  One is that last year we met two wonderful couples and have kept in touch-one of those couples decided to join us in this year’s trip!  Looking forward to sweeping the cruise’s trivia contests with their help.  We sure did last year!  We were hoping the other couple would opt to join us, but alas they are not.

    The other new thing is that we usually switch off with Sam and Adam on the pet sitting.  That is now not so doable (even though they now live literally at the other end of the block) because we both rescued new pups.  The dogs get along just fine, but the newest additions (Yes YOU DEX AND SUNSHINE!) just haven’t quite got the potty-training down too well.

    In fact, Dex got so excited upon seeing his friends before our weekly walk together yesterday that he decided the best thing to do was to “mark” grandma!  It’s okay, after 10 years as a day care provider it was honestly less disgusting than some of the things all those toddlers shared with me.

    Anyway, that mentioned I have to say that while we’ll still care for each others felines, the pups will have to go to a pet hotel.  Adam and Sam tried it first during a quick trip to see my parents last week.  The dogs seem no worse for wear.

    Steve and I, however, are just plain anxious about leaving our babies in the hands of strangers.  You see when we first adopted Lucky she spent 3 nights in a local pet hotel and in under 24 hours she gave herself nervous colitis.  I don’t really want to give you the specifics of what that means but let’s just say that’s when we knew that we had the best and most loving vet in the entire world!

    After re-visiting where they were the first time and then looking at the “big box” resort and researching a couple of other that FaceBook acquaintances suggested we decided which one to go with and filled out the paper work.   

    (side bar:  if you‘re wondering why we don’t just leave them with our beloved vet it’s because she has no room for boarding with all of her work with our town’s rescue and a couple of other rescues)

    And that paper work is what the title of this week’s blog is about!

    First, the paper work had no request for dates to be needed.  Then no one called me within the expected 48-72 hours that the website promised.  Once I called and talked to the manager-she started to get a tad snippy with me saying she had sent me e-mails and I hadn’t contacted her! That sent my anxiety through the roof.  Then she realized that her sent e-mails never actually left her computer.

    Okay.  Once we straightened that out she asked me to send Sunshine’s shot record as they got Lucky’s from the vet.  We only had the paperwork from the rescue saying what shots and when they were given.

    By her own admittance, she said that what I sent wasn’t good enough because it only had the dates given.   “The shots are only good for 1-3 years. This states that she had them August 6th, 2016-how do we know they are still good?”

    Really?  Did you read what you just said????  The dogs will be there in April.  If the shots are only good for a year-then they will still have 4 months left on them.  So I took more photos of all the various papers from the rescue all stating the dates of the shots given and told her the facts as nicely as I could write them without making her feel slightly foolish.

    This is why I really don’t want to leave my babies in the hands of strangers.  At this moment she hasn’t asked me to contact the rescue for verification, so I’m thinking she figured out all is good.

    Let’s hope so, Steve found a Groupon for this recommended place.   

    I’m beginning to think that we should consider asking how much it would cost to take the pups with us.  I’m sure they’d love the outdoor grassy area on the top deck and the veranda of our cabin.  I’d just need to get them formal wear for dress up nights.

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