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Carine’s Blog

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  • If it were me...

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2016

    Every May our fair little town (we‘re too small to be called a city) makes the most of the not yet triple digit nights and does a weekly outdoor concert at the main park.  It’s a lot of fun, when it happens.

    The first year here we were only rained out of half of the second one.  The second year Steve worked Friday nights so we didn’t get to go at all.  Last year, monsoons struck all but one.  It was a fun night though!  The bands are always good, most of us make it a dinner and a concert affair by either picking up sandwiches or making our own.  The kids love dancing and the pets spend the night hoping for crumbs.

    The last group that was supposed to play offered to try and play the first Friday in June.  Believe it or not-it wound up being the worst storm of the season!  Our friends and we decided to still get together and sit under the patio cover at their home (They have a fantastic view of the wash which we can only see from our front porch).  We all got up pretty fast for our age group when it appeared the rain decided to add huge bolts of lightening, thunder and a cloud burst!  In the house all of us went and watched a movie instead.  

    Last week that poor band got rained out a third time!  Yep.  My friend Linda and I said if it were us we’d be thinking the proverbial Gods were trying to tell us something and decide NEVER to sign a contract to play in Anthem.  EVER!

    Since I usually post on Friday mornings (and this is obviously no exception), I will tell you that we‘re planning to go and enjoy another attempt at “Music in May“.  

    It’s a shame, really.  The first concert of the season is also a great chance for us to have more than either sandwiches from one of the three not-so-great chain place or a sort-of fast Mexican food place that Guy Fieri featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  Because it’s the opening of the hot time of Arizona Spring weather Food Trucks park in the closest lot to the amphitheater and everyone loves to see who shows up.  After that only the ice cream truck comes clear out here to the outskirts of suburbia.

    I’m pretty sure that one way or the other we’ll have a fun night.  I’m just hoping it’s at the park and not in front of the television watching a so-so to poor movie.

    Here’s to the weekend!


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  • making a meal for ourselves

    Posted on Friday, May 6, 2016

    This year we celebrate not only moms in our home but it’s also Adam and Sam’s 6th anniversary!  

    Seriously, where does the time go?  It seems as if it was just last week that Sam drove Adam home after he played in a frat soccer game and came off the field too sick to drive the 22 mile trek back home on his own.  Then this wonderful woman stayed the weekend tending to him.

    I remember telling Steve, “This is THE ONE!  He’d better NOT blow it!”  Thank goodness for his sake and his future kids he must have listened to my “mom vibe” and listened.  Here they are almost eight years, 3 pets and 2 adorable kids later enjoying their special day.

    As for Mother’s Day?  Well, Adam and Steve both work-so it’s obvious that they will not be preparing their wives, sister and kids dinner.  Nope, once again Mother’s Day means we women will be creating our own special meal.  

    That’s okay.  We‘re very good at cooking and excellent at planning a meal for 9 on the fly.

    I’ll do a ginger and garlic pulled pork and my girls will supply the sides.  Aidan, our budding chef can help with some of the prep and I’ll have Dylan set the table.  I’m thinking I’ll let Jackson place the napkins (he loves to help at 2 years and 8 months) and Bryce-it’s both her first and last year to just sit “be our guest” and watch the goings on.

    It’s a shame that our California family won’t be with us, but it can’t be helped.  With 500 or so miles between the SoCal crew and probably about 1000 for the NorCal delegates spending the day together is just not going to happen.

    If we‘re lucky and the weather holds we’ll finally get to put a log in the fire pit and make s‘mores for dessert!  I’m betting that Jackson (our lover of “special, special” desserts) will have quite the look of ecstasy on his face when he takes a bite of it.

    Here’s my wish for all of you:  May you have the luck to spend the day with your moms and spoil them.  Happy Mother’s Day!


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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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