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Carine’s Blog

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  • Happy Birthdays, Etc...

    Posted on Friday, April 29, 2016

    Yes-so busy “running” that I forgot to let everyone know about the start of the annual Birthday Season of our family!

    For those who are either new to reading my little weekly blog or have better things to do that remember my yearly rants on the summer weather or the exhaustion of birthday season this is a few days late.

    It actually starts with our anniversary on April 4th, a bit of a reprieve until our son Adam adds another “notch” to his age belt.  This year our baby turned 32. How did he get that old?

    That’s nothing though-Sarah, our daughter and eldest, will be 34 this Sunday.  Yes, their birthdays are exactly 1 year and 51 weeks apart.  That’s not where it ends however.  My sister-in-law Ila’s birthday is the 2nd, our brother-in-law Dave has a birthday on the 6th, Sam and Adam’s anniversary is on the 8th, our nephew on the 13th, my dad on the 15th and we round out the activity with my sister-in-law Ila and her husband David (at least names are easy) have their anniversary on the 23rd.  And we can’t forget Mother’s Day in the lot of all these important days.

    Now that we live in the country and far away from any and all California relatives, it’s a bit harder to celebrate.  My mom was mentioning that she’d really love a new family portrait.  Impossible.  We realize that the previous one doesn’t include the latest 2 great-grandchildren and we have a bit of a shuffle going on, but there’s no way all of us here can make it out there and the reversal is also true.

    Our niece and nephew have their own lives and aren’t always around and most certainly we can’t all leave our various work schedules and pile into our cars and all go there!

    Even a “fake” group shot would be a stretch to combine.

    We did send my family a few portrait shots of Steve and I and added some wallets from our cruise.  That’s about the only time Steve and I allow photos to be taken of ourselves.  As we get older we still clean up fairly well-but I just keep wondering where the crow’s feet have come from?

    Back to the birthday celebration.  We decided (okay, it was me-all me, I decided) that last Sunday would be a good time to have our kids birthday party.  I do it every year.  Usually they pick the menu.  This year I was still trying to get the jet lag and cruise exhaustion leave my system, so I did the entire plan.

    I served Ribeye roast/Pork loin roast.  Salad bar and lots of noodle kugel.  Aidan loved doing s‘mores a couple of years ago-so as long as we didn’t have a “burn” ban (last year we did) that sounded fun.

    Everything was going pretty well, but the guys wound up working a bit late (fortunately Sam made a beautiful birthday cake!) and dinner wasn’t served until almost 8!  Too late for a 4 hour log in the fire pit.  Bryce was yawning (but now in a high chair, she sat at the table with all of us-yeah!).

    We had the older boys spending the night.  Somehow they were having yet another day off from school and Sarah had to get up at 4.  We told them IF they behaved and the weather held we’d do the s‘mores the next night after dinner.

    All in all, the start of our clans important dates was a success.  We didn’t get to the s‘mores, but we will!


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  • Reality Sets In

    Posted on Friday, April 22, 2016

    Sometimes reality is great and other times, well, let’s face it:  REALITY BITES.

    This past week was a bit of both.  

    Let me start with the “great” part:  Adam, Sam, Jackson and Bryce moved and now live down the block from us!  Yep, this clan owns the corners of this particular rural housing tract.  It’s fun to know that they live just down the street.  

    The hard part was that moving is always way too much stress.  Adam’s bulging neck disc (he obviously takes after his mom) is killing him, poor dear Sam is exhausted from the work, the kids and the move and has come down with an awful cold.  The house is “clearing” out of the box situation, but it’s still a work in progress.

    I have re-started my RA meds, but the six weeks without them has rendered my various joints swollen and painful.  Since returning home from our cruise I have been to the rheumatologist, the spine/pain med doctor and have had a physical.  I’ve also had a total of a dozen blood tests, a chest x-ray and have set up a cervical epidural for next week, an ultrasound for my hips and even managed to squeeze a PT appointment in at the beginning of next month.  Oh yeah, I’ve been to the dentist too.

    Nothing says “after vacation” quite like hitting the ground running with medical, dental and kid duties, no?

    I did a great job with my power walking on the cruise and got right back into joining my friends here at home.  I even went with Adam and the kids!

    This is not an easy task as I swear my knees and hips are grinding against each others bones.  I’m probably going to call the knee/shoulder doctor-but I’m trying to let my meds kick in first.  Getting a steroid shot in the knee is just plain no fun.  The last one lasted 5 months.  Just really hoping to not go to the next step of having the gel injections or even worse-replacement.

    It’s also heating up around here, no real surprise on that score.  As I write this the temps are in the low 90’s and we‘re no where near the noon hour.  Lucky and I (our friends were busy with house guests and work trip) went out at 8 to beat the heat.  Pretty soon I’m thinking we’ll be starting our walks at 7 a.m.!

    The rest of the day?  I have the older boys not just today after school, but all tomorrow as they have a day off.  While Dyl is in his Mandarin tutoring session, Aidan and I will take Lucky for a much needed mani/pedi.

    Here’s to reality-I’d rather live in it than anywhere else.


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  • Too Fast, Too Short

    Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2016

    It’s hard to believe-we‘re already back at home and busy as the proverbial bee.  I think we hit the ground running!  

     We started (as you can see by my sunrise photo below) pre-dawn. I’m not much for getting up in the dark.  Super Shuttle couldn’t seem to find us on the “map” so poor Steve had to drive me and our luggage up to our local Hampton Inn, drive home and then walk the mile and a third back in time to get our ride to Sky Harbor airport.  

     The wonderful desk woman said to enjoy a cup of coffee while we waited.  

     Our flight was bumpy, the seats undid the epidural (why or why do they make them for hunchbacks???) and yet uneventful.  We finally got to Miami at 6.  By the time the hotel van got us to our final destination for the night it was 6:45.

     We stayed at Elements-a Westin spa hotel.  Let’s just say, as Steve put it:  There were elements we liked and elements we didn’t.  Lovely room, good treadmills.  Horrible neighborhood, blasé employees, terrible breakfast buffet and it was pretty expensive for a spa hotel without a Jacuzzi pool!

     Thanks to Celebrity cruises-we arrived at the Reflection and were greeted and treated wonderfully!  As expected and is their norm-we were pampered and our anniversary celebrated almost everywhere.

     First night out, once we left port, we went to the high end jewelry store.  You might remember my beloved 25th anniversary present (4 carat diamond tennis bracelet) was stolen during our home invasion in September of 2014.  We put the insurance money aside with the intention of replacing it.

     Well, we did!!!!

     Steve found a couple of very nice watches to replace a couple of the ones he had taken as well.

     We were very happy with our new pieces.

     As is usual for us, we went to the first trivia games and met 2 lovely couples and became the ship’s best trivia players of the week!  One couple are Florida residents and new all about chemistry and medical things, the other couple were from England and were great at history and sports.  Steve and I brought up the rear with literary and entertainment facts.

     Entertainment was really good!  Saw one of the American Idol finalists (do NOT ask me what season, I didn’t watch it) and he was great.  The runner-up from Holland’s Got Talent was on 2 nights.  Royal Music Academy grad and she was fantastic!  A pretty good magician and a very funny comedienne plus the original shows with the ship’s dancers and singers.

     Before we knew it we were off the ship and back on the plane home.

     Somehow, despite Steve’s hard work on securing my vegan meals-I was not given any food to eat.  Grrr.  I sent a rather “nasty note” to the airlines on this and told them it was lucky we used our points for those seats or I’d be more than hungry and miffed.

     As we landed and Adam loaded us into his car and got us home-we realized that we missed the kids, the grandkids and especially our fur babies!  The last part were rather mad at us!  Lucky didn’t want to sleep with Sam and Adam, Pepper deliberately peed on the floor a few times.  Well, he’s 14 and I guess spending a week with 4 other animals, 2 kids and a house in a state of moving was just too much for him.

     I’m not sure where the week went, but it really was one that Steve and I needed desperately.  

     We are glad to be home!


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  • #35 and We're Off!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    After two years of saving, paying, anticipating and planning-Steve and I are leaving!

    Yes!  Off we go to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary and our first vacation ALONE together in 5 years.

    We need this, real bad.  Since moving to Arizona it feels as if all we’ve been doing is:  taking me to medical procedures, doctors, physical therapy and running errands.  Oh, and helping out taking care of our grandkids.

    While we love our kids and grandkids to the moon and back and are willing to do whatever is asked of us-the time has come that we need to be alone.

    What does alone mean, I mean besides the obvious?  For us, it means a week of not making out lists of what needs to get done, doing the stuff on the list, endure big, freaking needles put into some area of my spine, tortured (for the good of my body) at various appointments and not having to make a meal, clean something or worry about one of our dividends.

    It doesn’t matter that they are in their 30’s-I think most parents still worry about their kids.

    This trip, Sam and Adam have graciously offered to watch Pepper and Lucky.  I hope this isn’t going to be too much with their own 5 kids (2 human, 3 four-footed).  I’m pretty sure that 14-year-old Pepper will just hide under their bed with Toby and Zoey (Adam and Sam’s cats).  Lucky however, oy!

    The last time we left Lucky for 3 days-she gave herself nervous colitis and our wonderful vet went to the local animal resort to “patch” her up.  

    We‘re hoping that staying with family, her cat and her friend Lily (Adam and Sam’s sheltie) will be just the ticket.  

    Still, she is my baby and I’m concerned.

    Once we get on that plane-I’m going to try really hard to put everything other than Steve in a locked drawer.  We want to have fun!  And that’s exactly what I’m planning to do-enjoy my husband’s company, the romance of a Caribbean cruise and time away from the every day.

    “See” you soon!


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  • I Hate Redundancy

    Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2016

    Sigh.  I don’t like to repeat myself, but I’m afraid that’s just what is about to happen folks.

    Friday I was thrilled to meet my friends and go for a walk.  It was a glorious Spring day (as you can see from the photo I took Saturday morning!).  

    By Friday night I told my husband, my throat is really dry and I’ve been drinking more water than anyone should really consider.

    Saturday morning it was hot-real hot.  So Lucky and I went for a our walk at 8:15.  By the time we returned 45 minutes later I could barely swallow from how dry I felt.

    Adam told me that poor Sam had finally succumbed to what is being called “the crud“.  I really wished I could go and help her out but apologized because I didn’t want to risk getting a third round of this horrible thing.  After all, we‘re about to embark on a wonderful 35th anniversary trip and I wanted to remain healthy.

    HAH!

    All Saturday I took little peeks at my throat-little familiar white dots were starting to grow into big white dots.  GRRRR!

    By Sunday morning all I wanted to do was stop the lumpy feeling, the dryness and the dread of round 3.  Still, I didn’t want to infect myself more by going to the walk-in clinic.

    I held out until Monday morning.  I was now running a fever, eyes watering and throat aching.

    The clinic opened at 8, but the lab opened at 7:30.  I got there at 7:15 and waited patiently by the door.  Two other “3rd rounders” joined me.  It was nice to have company in my misery.

    My favorite nurse and walk-in doctor looked at me sideways.  Although I was at least more “alive” than my visit 2-1/2 weeks ago, I still wasn’t doing well.

    Left there with another prescription and orders to force fluids and rest. Oh and “Happy Anniversary“.

    The doctor did say that this is the worst infectious season he’s seen here in the past 5 years.  I believe it.  I honestly don’t remember being this sick, this many times since the kids were little.  Not even during my “day care providing” years.

    Since my blood work was so precarious a couple of weeks ago and my rheumatologist freaked out and told me to NOT take my RA meds as I was “too sick“.  That was before round 3 was official.  I called her back with the “good news“.  Her call?  No RA meds until I come back from our trip.  Oh and here’s a good one:  Talk to my GP and ask her to have me take the test for a local delight called “Valley Fever“.

    Well, it’s miserable and takes a lot of anti-fungals to get rid of it but on the other hand, it’s not contagious.  Just very serious for people like myself who have auto-immune disorders.  Hoping that I can get an answer on this before we take off for blue skies and warm waters.

    We shall see.

    And now, it’s time for another hot, decaf drink.  Salud!


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  • Glad for NOTHING

    Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016

    This week has thankfully been rather reserved.  At least compared to the drama that has ensued that past couple of months.

    Last Thursday I began feeling better enough that I started up walking again.  Not with my morning walking buddies but walking nonetheless.  With my friends, our course is to do a 2-1/4 mile loop in about 30 minutes-me carrying Lucky from just before the half-way point until we part ways.  Let’s face it-Lucky, my 5 pound wonder pup, can only walk at that speed for so long and then she just puts on the brakes and wants to be carried.

    One of my friends suggested a “doggy” Bjorn.  I wanted to get a dog stroller.  Adam told me he wouldn’t walk with me if I dared to push Lucky around as if she were a human baby.

    Don’t know why -does it really make a difference if she has her own stroller or hitches a ride with Jackson and Bryce?

    By Sunday I managed almost 2 miles in one burst.  I texted my friends and said I’d join them the next morning.  They were impressed.  After all, the month before when I did the first walk I nearly passed out from lack of air.

    After we reached the “fork“, I let them know that I wouldn’t see them until Friday.  Steve and I had errands all day Tuesday (remember I’ve been down for quite a while) and Wednesday we had to help Adam and Sam in the morning and then I had my much needed lumbar epidural in the afternoon.

    Normally we’d have the older grandkids on Wednesday but that wasn’t to be since there was no way for us to get back in time for pick-up.  

    Thursday was just the norm for the day after an epidural-feeling okay but having to adhere to the “no exercise rule” for the 24 hours after the procedure.  I picked up Aidan and we went to the park while Dylan went to Mandarin tutoring.  Then it was back to the house, homework and a late snack for them.  

    I also wound up making dinner for all of us as I was told last minute that the boys would be spending the night and I’d be taking them to school the next morning!  Sarah wound up having a 6 a.m. meeting to attend.

    That also made it possible for me to realize that I had absolutely NOTHING to send with them for snacks-so out came the ingredients for the boys favorite pumpkin breads.  Add making them shower and starting not one but two loads of laundry and the dishwasher and I was quite exhausted by the time the day was over.

    Friday-just happy that I saw my friends, took a great walk and enjoyed a quiet week.  We decided that we’d better start taking our exercise break earlier as the morning crispness is now just plain out and out HOT!  Yep, we here in the great state of Arizona are already waking up to temperatures in the mid-70’s.  By 9 a.m. it’s hitting 80.  Any later than that and poor Lucky will have to be left behind for fear of her feet getting burned.  She just wants no part of puppy walking shoes.

    “Nothing” of this kind is good, I actually enjoyed a week of warm weather, clear lungs and just doing nothing.


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