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Carine’s Blog

  • Interesting Questions & Answers

    Posted on Friday, October 2, 2015

    Our older grandsons come up with some very interesting questions.  Most of the time we have some sort of answer.  Luckily the one up for discussion this week was one of them.

    Aidan was asking me if I suddenly became rich-what would I do?

    Without hesitating, I told him I would hire a housekeeper so that grandpa could have that “taken off his plate” of weekly activities.

    Dylan said, “Grandma, I thought you wanted that dirt plot in the yard finished or your floors re-done.  Even your bathroom that you hate.  What about those?”

    I said (honestly) that he was right, but that if I were rich-those would definitely get done, but I’d like to make something a bit easier for grandpa since he had to work so hard and then come home and do nothing but chores and help me with the shopping.

    Both boys wanted to know if there was anything else I’d do?  It didn’t take long to say, “well, if money really were no longer an object I had to consider, I’d love to help all those sad dogs and cats that have been abandoned and abused and help them to have a place to feel safe and loved.”

    They were satisfied with my answers.  So was I.  I also sighed about the fact that there would be no sudden “wealth” to accomplish any of those ideas.

    On the other end of the question scale is Jackson, a mere 25 months to his cousins 7-1/2 and 8-1/2 years and just really getting started on this talking thing, has only eyes for grandpa (once I’ve given him a stream of grandma kisses and one “explosion” fist bump) asked, “poppa, eat it?”

    For those who don’t know-Jackson has a bit of grandma in him, he’s just not much for protein coming from an animal.  We were having breakfast with Adam and Jackson when our son ordered the little guy some chocolate chip pancakes.  It came with bacon and sausage.  He thinks the pancakes are actually a slice of cake, so those get tasted first.

    His mood decides on how much he’ll eat of those.  Sometimes only a bite, sometimes half the plate.  But the bacon and sausage?  More often than not he’ll say, “daddy, eat it“.  And then he asks poppa to have some.

    Not wanting to hurt his feelings, both men eat the meat.  Even if it’s already been in Jackson’s mouth.

    He thankfully has NOT asked me to share his bounty.  You’ve got to admit though-getting two grown men to eat sort-of pre-digested pork means there’s a whole lot of love going on.

    And that’s it for this week-interesting questions and responses.

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  • Literally-I'm on Pins & Needles

    Posted on Friday, September 25, 2015

    I think those of us who must endure needles on a regular basis should form some kind of a social club.

     Let’s face it, even if your family participates in seeing you get the “routine jab” that fills your personal timeline, they just don’t get what it’s like to be a human pincushion.

     For me the worst one is my bi-monthly acid-filled vial of Humira.  You’d think after 6 years on the stuff I’d just let Steve shoot it into whatever part of my body we‘re “on” and move on.  But that shot is literally worse that having one of my all-too-often endured epidurals.

     The epidurals do NOT have an acid base.

     I have a pretty high threshold for pain but that shot I find myself wishing there was a WHOLE lot more I could do that rubberband an icepack to my body part for 20 minutes.  Any idea how much help that is in making acid going into your arm less painful?  It isn’t.  

     Steve is very good at doing this shot, but no way can anyone make acid feel “better“.  

     I practice slow breathing, I do my best to relax, I pretend I’m doing something outside my body.  It does not help.

     No one but another person on Humira can identify with what it is I’m going through.  And then there’s the blood work every 6 weeks-if all of them come back “stable“, I don’t have to go through the syphoning in between.

     This month wasn’t a good month for that-first there was the extreme vitamin D deficiency.  Then there was the liver enzymes that were way up.  Then we had flu shots.  I still have to get my osteoporosis infusion and a Tdap.  

     My back and neck are truly “killing” me, but with all the other needles-I’m just trying to hold off on the fourth epidural of the year.  I won’t tell you about the toradol shots that were done to help that stretching theme.  Toradol hurts too.

     There are plenty of us who endure all this and definitely some of you out there that endure way more, but I’m serious-let’s all get together for some coffee and commiseration.

     Just name the time, send me your Skype invitation, tell me some handy hints to lesson the pain-let’s form a club to help each other out!

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  • Business People-Take Note

    Posted on Friday, September 18, 2015

    Before we became Arizonans-Steve and I were born and bred Californians and his occupation for almost 4 years was as a corporate trainer.  For 3 years, I taught learning disabled teens how to get and keep a job.  I’m mentioning this because of a few experiences I’ve run into here in our wonderful but remote community that a few more minutes of training would greatly enhance customers experiences in local businesses and the employees who may (or may not) do better at those said jobs.

     Just as a couple of examples:

     The other night, last moment, we went with our friends to a local well-known coffee house.  It was about 7:30 at night.  Steve was the only one of the 4 of us who actually had coffee.  Our friends ordered a fancy iced non-coffee “shake” type drink, Steve had an iced Caramel coffee and I decided to actually have tea.

     Not just any tea-but I wanted a brewed Chai, no milk and (here comes the point to this blog) I wanted the young man taking my order to check and make sure I could have a de-caf version.

     This actually happened:

     Me: Do you have a de-caf version of the chai?

     Him:  It doesn’t have coffee, it’s tea.

     Me:  Yes, I understand that Chai is tea, but do you have it in de-caf?

     Him:  It doesn’t have coffee in it.

     Me:  Okay, may I have the non-caffeine version of this tea?

     Him:  Uh, (looks at the manager, who was actually witnessing this exchange) what do I do?  The Chai doesn’t have coffee already?

     Manager:  Let me check, I’m not sure if we have the Chai in de-caf.  (several minutes later)  Yes, we do!  Good to know!!!  Would you like it in de-caf?

     Me:  Yes, very much.   Thank you.

     Obviously, neither the store manager or the employee understood the difference between de-caf and coffee.  The real question is WHY??????

     Another situation:

     Steve and I decided to go cruise a market that is going out of business and is currently selling stuff at 40-60% off to see if we could save some money.   We were surprised to see that most of the store was already pretty empty.  We weren’t surprised to see that all of the employees had that “beaten down” look.


     I went back to the store the next day for a few items and talked to one of the managers and one of the cashiers-they were NEVER trained by the new owners and their way of running a store was far different than how the original place ran things!

     Plus, they were all promised at least jobs for 2 years-instead they got 2 MONTHS and 2 months of closing up shop!

     What kind of business training/planning was this?

     In today’s world, customer service is a huge part of staying in business-so here’s a tip from both a consumer and a former trainer:  BUSINESSES, train your employees to reflect your wish to be successful in the marketplace that fits your store and make sure you at least care enough to know your product well enough so at least MOST of the questions coming from your consumers are answered intelligently.

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  • For the Love of Sunshine

    Posted on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

    If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know just how much our fur babies mean to Steve and me.  My very, very first blog was all about giving Sunshine a shower on Independence Day.

    With that said, I have to tell you that this is a week filled with both happy memories and pain. 18 years ago were lucky enough to adopt Sunshine.  And Friday, the day I post this entry, we will mourn her loss for the 4th time.

    A friend from Jr/Sr high school (Shawn!) mentioned on FaceBook that she loved the way I remembered and loved all my pets.  She’s right, below is my answer to her kind words:

    I see Tippy’s eyes in my sister’s Beauty. Our tuxedo cat Samantha in our son and daughter’s own tuxedo cat Zoey, Felix (the cat) in their handsome Maine Coone Toby.  Our first Lucky, a Shepherd in Lucky the chi’s need to protect and both their love of hugs and kisses.  Snowy was a dear we will always treasure and the reason we adore Pepper so.  Both are fiercely loyal to us and their canine counterparts.    

    Sunshine couldn’t have been more perfectly named. She was the light and love of all of ours for the 14 years we were blessed to have her with us. I bet she would’ve loved Lucky and the way Pepper trained her to behave the way she taught him.

    Our dear Goldie/lab/border collie mix was a big love bug.  She was easily the sweetest and most patient pup around.  We adopted her from a rescue that found her wandering around the streets of Burbank.  Perfectly behaved and the best family and day care dog EVER.

    On her last day, she was still all Sunshine.  Still with her smile, still just happy to be with us until she wasn’t.

    Nothing says pain like losing someone you love-whether they walk on two or four feet.

    We love and miss you Sunshine!

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  • Do it Big or ??

    Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2015

    I was of the impression that August was in the roller coaster mode, but so far September is showing me that it was only a taste of  what was to come.

    Sarah and I went to our old stamping grounds to visit family, friends, celebrate my parents 59th anniversary and have a few life changing discussions.

    In short-it was the typical family vacation filled with the great, the good, the bad and even (at moments) the ugly.

    I wasn’t exactly in “good” shape when we left-as you may recall I had those two fairly serious falls which gave me an oozing elbow, black eye and a still healing gash.  Let’s not forget the concussion and the added pain from the twisted ankle and knee, the back and my neck.

    Traveling 525 miles with a Chihuahua on my lap did not help.

    Once home I was given a last minute writing assignment where all my subjects were either in school or out of town.  By the time you read this, the story should be over and done with and reading for the layout team.

    If that wasn’t enough-I had the older boys after school for 1/2 the week and we even watched Jackson for a while.  Then came my minor surgery!

    A very pesky and constantly returning cyst was in need of removal.  So it was removed and stitched up-the doctor’s last sentence until next week was ‘this time it won’t come back‘.  We shall wait and see.  I really hope she’s right because this is excision #7.  I was also bandaged up from mid-chin to just below the crease in my neck.  Not allowed to get this thing wet for 7 days.  Should be very interesting to see just how this is going to work.

    That same night I had to have my very painful shot of Humira for my RA and the next morning I was supposed to have the fun of my yearly infusion of Reclast.  However, after driving the 25 miles and even having to get on the dreaded scale-I was told that since I was on an antibiotic I would have to re-schedule for two weeks after I finished the meds.  

    Got back in the car and drove home-in a last ditch effort of monsoon season to give us some rain.  Sigh.

    Not much else to put out there.  Here’s hoping everyone else had a RESTFUL Labor Day weekend and are enjoying the slightly cooler weather.

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  • The Fun Just Keeps Coming

    Posted on Friday, August 28, 2015

    Yes, more of the same this week.

    Woke up on Monday with a “dizzy” head from the concussion and sore EVERYWHERE.  And if that wasn’t enough, I had to at least TRY to go to physical therapy.

     Oh boy!  Got there and my PT took one look at me and said I could either go to the doctor or he could force the issue.

     He checked me out and thought I might have actually given my knee a stress fracture on a non-weight bearing bone.  That scared me.

     So I went to Urgent Care and they took about 20 x-rays of all the “damaged” areas, made sure that my elbow was actually healing and confirmed my own diagnosis of a concussion.

     Thankfully nothing’s broken but it is all bruised and sprained.  My “black” eye is still at this point purple, but the green is taking over.  I guess it’s a good thing that I couldn’t afford to go to my 40th high school reunion or I would’ve gone looking like a victim of war.

     The doctor did say I should continue “sitting out” the physical activity, try to just rest and realize that “at our age, we need to realize how much longer healing takes“.

     And he had to add, “And you’ll take longer with your auto-immune disorder and other limitations.”

     Just couldn’t leave that out, evidently.

     This has been some August.  

     Next week we’ll be celebrating my parents 59th wedding anniversary.  Quite a fete!  Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a post from me.  To finish out the month, I’m going to get to next month’s Senior Reporter profile, give Lucky a bath and just continue to recover from my own stupidity.

     Until the next post:  Take care and don’t try improving your balance outdoors.

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