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Carine’s Blog

  • 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.


    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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  • Fate and Friendship

    Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2016

    When I was in about 4th grade a wonderful Navy family moved into a home just a few doors down from us.  Nice couple who had a daughter my age, then came the lone boy of the kids, and two toddler girls who were pretty close to my sister’s age.

     Dede and I got a long well and were in each other’s class at school.  Our sister’s had a good time together as well.  I’d say you could call us “besties“.  It was a sad day when their dad got transferred and they moved to London!  

     After London, they came back to California-but to Coronado, a beautiful little island right off San Diego.  I visited several times, so did my parents and we stayed in touch until they moved to Virginia and we were teens.

     A few months ago, don’t know why, I started thinking of her and the family and wondered where they were and what they were all doing.  I even tried looking her up on Face Book and Linked In.

     Turns out-Dede had somehow found one of my articles on the internet and knew that with my name that it had to be me.  Had no idea that my maiden name was even included on some of the stories floating around out there in cyberspace!

     That perked her interest and she found me on both Face Book and Linked In-BUT (weirdness) for some reason-I never saw her note to me until almost a year later!!!  Don’t even know what I did but there was her note dated almost twelve months prior to my spotting it.

     I sent her notes everywhere-FB, LinkedIn, the e-mail addy she had put on one of her notes and then, I waited.

     Her reply came a day or so later!

     We caught each other up on our lived over the last 45+ years.  Turns out she has a good friend that lives in Scottsdale, not that far from where we live!  

     This is what I love about the internet-I’ve re-connected with so many good friends over the last few years!  My bestie from the time we were 5, two of my bridesmaids and my best friend from college-as well as my best friend from junior and senior high school.  Lots of other good friends as well.

     Let’s face it-as we all are aging, it’s fun to find out how many of us are doing, what has happened both good and bad in our lives and sharing it all with people who have known us longer than our spouses.  

     Here’s to fate, may it long continue!

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  • This Time Better Be the Last

    Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016

    I didn’t enjoy February with the first round of this horrible “sickness“.  And after only a slight reprieve of a week before the “thing” hit me again, twice as bad-I’m not enjoying the beginning of March either.

    When it first hit me last Thursday, I was determined NOT to let it get out of hand and go further than just some weekend misery.  However, that was so NOT to be because by Friday morning I was not only sweating and freezing at the same time from my fever of 101 (this from a woman whose norm is a firm 97.3), I also had white pockets lining my throat, various colors of gross stuff coming out of my facial holes, my neck was killing me and the bags under my eyes were as dark as the chafed and blistered skin on my face.

    I knew I needed to see a doctor, however I was in no condition to drive, Steve had to go to work (he was also trying to stay as far away from me as possible), Adam and Sarah were almost as sick as I was and dear Sam was just trying to keep herself from falling victim while taking care of the kids-so I was doomed to wait until Tuesday when Steve finally had a day off.

    On Tuesday (now on day #5 of my fever), Steve drove me to urgent care (what not your GP you ask? Funny side bar in a bit) and stayed in the car to avoid being around an entire waiting room of sick people.

    The nurse remembered me.  The doctor remembered me.  Both were not amused that I was back with a much worse re-lapse.  Yep, upped the ante I did.  I went from the flu strain B, bronchitis and a sinus infection to:  strep, bronchitis, sinus, gland infections along with the flu strain B.

    Because of my RA-the course of action was to give me a shot of antibiotics right there and then (nurse said he only does that for his really sick patients) gave me a prescription for a double antibiotics and a stern warning to drink a lot of fluids, rest and if I didn’t get better within 48 hours come back because his fear was that I’d slide into pneumonia.

    Great.  Just great.

    Thankfully by the next afternoon I finally hit my normal on the thermometer.  By Thursday I had significantly lessened my need to have a box of Kleenex attached to my body along with the needed “snot” bag taped to it.

    As of this moment, I can’t possibly say I’m doing great-but I’m pleased that I actually slept for a couple of hours and my fever is still gone.

    Really, really hoping that I continue to improve at an even keel.  Breathing without a wheeze would be so nice.

    Never, ever take good health for granted.  My goal is to be on stable ground with clear lungs, a pink throat, sinuses that don’t feel as if they‘re coming off my skull and glands that are of normal size by the time we leave for our 35th anniversary cruise.

    On the “funny” reason I didn’t go to my GP on Tuesday-I tried 4 times to call the office.  Why 4?  Well each time they said to choose one of 4 extensions.  Every time I tried one it would answer that “You have reached an invalid extension please try again” and then it hung up!  

    Frustrated, sick and tired-I decided that having Steve drive me down and just sit there in the lobby was my best bet at getting treatment.

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