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Carine’s Blog

  • Hanukkah Already?

    Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2015

    I honestly don’t know how it happens-one moment you‘re serving Thanksgiving dinner and cleaning up and then suddenly-WHAM!  One of the grandkids ask if you‘re going to make latkes and donuts for Hanukkah.

    This year it seems that the two events are exceptionally close together.  It starts this weekend.

    Not that Steve and I follow the “rules” of our holiday all that “religiously“.  But the kids (our kids, not the dividends) love potato latkes and homemade applesauce.  In case you‘re wondering-I’ve been known on several of these Hanukkah dinners to serve the latkes with a main course of pork loin of roast-so I don’t judge how others create their own holiday menus.

    Just so you know, I did manage to already secure our box of very lovely beeswax candles.  Now I just have to take out our one decoration (also known as the menorah) and have Steve do the candle ceremony-even if it’s only for the two of us and the fur kids.

    Recently I did get a fun idea about how to better start off the 8 days involved:  The local Chabad and Home Depot decided to get together and have a children’s workshop and party.  The kids will be making their own menorah’s and having special treats.  The boys will get Home Depot orange aprons and if not donuts, probably Star of David cookies.

    I’ll report back to you all on how it turns out, hopefully with some pictures of the boys with their creations.

    The holidays are cause for celebration.  I’m very laid back on interpretation on most but I do find that it’s important for the kids to know something of their history.  Some are easier than others for us to accomplish.  

    Passover is one of those labor intensive evenings in the Spring.  Every year my mom insisted on using her best china and silverware.  Everything had to be washed both before and after the meal by hand.   Plus that went for the pots, pans, roasting pans and Lord only remembers what else their was to do.  It took days to make the matzo balls, the soup, the items on the Sedar plate, hard boiled eggs, roast chicken, matzo meal stuffing and all the rest.

    My sister and I would plead with her to at least use paper plates and plastic ware to at least cut down on some of the work. No.  

    The problem was that mom would not just make it for our ever-growing family but invite curious friends and even sales reps and their families.  A couple of years we actually had to do this feat for a crowd of 30!

    In those days, besides writing, I ran a pre-school and day care and worked 75 hours a week.  This was pre-diagnosis of my various ailments, but I was still exhausted and sore.

    It was the same every stinking year:  my sister and I helped with all steps/parts of the meal and our husbands would clear the great room of its usual furniture and set up all the tables and chairs.  

    We weren’t even part of the service that was at first held by Steve’s dad and after his passing, by Steve.  We were too busy serving and cleaning.  By evening’s end, we 3 women looked like death.  Only to be told by one family member, “You all look lousy, you’ll notice I only asked if you needed help once I knew you were done.”

    Yep, yep, yep.  After my last take on that line-it was my first after learning of my RA, I looked at my then 75 year old mother and said-“I’m not doing this anymore.  I can’t.  I have to work and this next week I will be doing it while hobbling.  I know you want to do this, but this is just not in my wheelhouse anymore.”

    From that point on, Steve and I made a point of making our yearly anniversary trip during Passover.

    Thank goodness we married in April.  This year we’ll be in the middle of the Caribbean.

    As for Hanukkah-can you say  Potluck?

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  • Waxing Nostalgic

    Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2015

    While doing a “vanity search”  I found this story that published and decided since it’s not only my birthday week but quite possibly the arrival of our 4th grandchild and 1st grand-daughter that I’d give myself a “break“!  It seems that 6 years have passed but that the entire story is still totally true!

     It's 2009, so I'm going to make a confession-I am an addict. Okay, I'm actually addicted to about four things, but I don't want to scare anyone off.

     I solve challenger crossword puzzles, in ink. Yes, I'm one of those annoying people. I blame my mother. She uses pencil first and then, for whatever reason, goes over the writing with her pen.  

     But as all children must, I blame her.

     When I was still in elementary school, I was the kid who was always out sick. Whatever the wind carried, it blew into my body and I'd be down for the count. Being a kid, homework and TV weren't enough to keep me busy, so mom gave me the LA Times crossword puzzle to do. She'd also play scrabble with me. Hence, my addiction to writing and words as well. (Now you know two)

     In time, puzzles weren't just to keep me busy and out of her hair on sick days (she's never actually said that's why she started me, but as a mother myself, the guess must be on target), but to help me learn a dangerous amount about a lot of different things and expand my vocabulary.

     My favorite Saturday morning activity, before I get started on my day: I sort the LA Times and the Orange County Register and organize the crosswords in order of difficulty. Then I make a nice big pot of coffee (addiction #3) and have a wonderful time with all of them, culminating with the NY Times challenger.

     At first, I kept my addiction from by husband, but once we were married I had to let him know of my weakness. In the beginning, I'm sure he thought our love would somehow cure me. Alas, he was so wrong. Now I had another source for answers having to do with the sports world. I roped him in. He doesn't do them (he'd lose an arm if he tried taking my books or magazines, I think), but when I'm really concentrating, he'll quietly ask “Can I help?” Who wouldn't still be head over heels in love after 28 years with a guy like that????

     In fact, our children were appalled one year and then were aghast at my joyous response. We were going through a rather tough financial time and it was Valentine's Day. My wonderful hubby went on the internet, searched out crossword puzzles, downloaded about 50 and put them into a small paper folder (the kind kids use for school reports). I was so overwhelmed I almost cried. Really.

     Our kids rolled their eyes. “How could you give mom puzzles for Valentine's Day” and then, “You actually liked it! You'd think he just gave you a five carat diamond ring or something!”

     Kids, they just don't know the real meaning of love.

     And just to let you in on my fourth and final obsession, which you've probably guessed, my husband.

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  • Another Year Older...

    Posted on Friday, November 13, 2015

    I actually didn’t realize it until the “birthday” meals started popping up in my inbox.

    We’ve been so much on baby watch for Bryce that the little fact about I’m turning yet another year older wasn’t even on my own radar.

    Now I’m just hoping that Bryce comes before or after-everyone deserves their very own day of celebration-even if you don’t want to do anything about it, personally.

    Yet here I am about to turn 58.  Hmmmm, not much I really want to say about this fact.  It’s not a “milestone” year, but I’m glad to say that I have another year under my belt.  It is pretty special that our grand-daughter’s arrival is eminent.  That would be the perfect gift! As long (again) as it’s either before or after and not ON the same day.

    Speaking of birthdays, I’ve received a lot of attention from the following food emporiums:

    Denny’s-free breakfast grand slam for me (only on my birthday)

    Jersey Mike’s-free regular sandwich and a drink (only on my birthday)

    True Food-dessert for me (only on my birthday)

    Notice a trend here?  Denny’s we’ll probably manage since it’s Steve’s day off.  We might make the 12 mile trek to JM’s and then Steve can eat it for one of his lunches at work the next day.  True Food though?  Fox Inc., would love to go except I can’t afford to actually eat at your restaurant except for every once in a blue moon.  Thank you for the thought though.

    That all being said it’s been a bit of a rough week here in some aspects, poor Jackson came down with strep throat.  Even with that out there he’s always a pretty happy little guy.  Steve came down with a cold, so I told him to get rid of it ASAP!  Who wants to miss Bryce’s arrival because of a cold?????

    I’m sorry this hasn’t been the best of blogs but I think once I realized how old I’m getting to be I wasn’t up to being either funny or interesting.

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  • Hello?

    Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2015

    Hello, Helloooo, He-ll-ooo, are you there?  Did I lose you again?????

    This has been our lives since moving to Arizona.  I’m talking about that revered and possibly passe thing called a “landline“.  Steve and I have kept it and our Orange County number for many reasons but once we got here we started having a multitude of annoying, frustrating and just plain maddening problems!

    What problems you ask?  Let’s see:

    The quality.  Either we feel as if we‘re talking to people who live underwater, are being electrocuted or just in general can’t hear us.

    Here are just a few of our typical phone exchanges as reference:  I was trying (literally) to chat with my mom and the phone would go dead, they pierce my ear with a high-level shrill and then hang up.  This happened 4 times in one conversation.  Next morning, the same thing happened several times while talking with Adam, our son.

    The week before I was (again) trying to interview someone for an article and the same thing kept happening.  Makes me feel extremely unprofessional to keep calling the same person back over and over again.

    It’s not a new thing, as I mentioned.  At first we thought-well we do live on the outskirts of society, maybe it’s the same power grid problem as our electricity that’s causing the problem?  Steve went to Sprint (they supply our landline) and they suggested a booster.  That was supposed to cure the problem.  Obviously it did not.

    Then we rationed that it must be our phone batteries-after all, we had had the phones for a number of years so maybe new batteries would help.  They also did NOT.

    After trying the booster and new batteries, we decided to try buying new phones.  

    Nope, in fact then we had an added little snag-if someone called us while we were on the phone (otherwise known as call-waiting) the receiver went into a high-fevered pitch of a squeal that immediately cut off the person we were not only talking too, but the one calling us as well!

    After almost 3 years of this nonsense, we unplugged the booster and the Sprint box and we took it to the “tech” store for new equipment.  We figured this could be old stuff and maybe the new generation of torture would let us make and receive phone calls normally once again.

    Well, the nice man named Victor tried for 2 hours to activate the box.  He suggested we go run our errands and come back.  We returned and he said that the main tech support people didn’t know what was wrong but told him the box was defective and try the last one they had.  We let him know that we had to drive 30 minutes to pick up our grandkids at 3 p.m. so he had until then.  We all laughed since it 1 o‘clock.

    We shouldn’t have laughed.  At 2:35 we were still there, waiting.  Poor Victor was still holding for more ideas to try.  Finally, we left everything in his care to go get the boys.  He promised to call us when they figured it out.

    After we got in the car I texted our immediate world and let them know that until further notice they could only reach us via our cell phones.

    8 o‘clock that evening Steve got a call from Victor letting him know that the system finally had been started up.  With that knowledge out of the way-Steve left early for work the next day so he could pick up our new equipment.

    Now comes the real challenge-will it make this landline work?  Will we be able to hear, speak, call and receive phone calls?

    That my friends is fodder for another blog!

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  • Just Wondering

    Posted on Friday, October 30, 2015

    Ever had “one of those days“?  When you just shake your head at the nonsense that is happening around you?

    Sometimes I feel like that photo that’s been floating around on FaceBook of Lucille Ball in one of her Lucy Ricardo shots where the caption reads:  That horrible moment when you realize that “these are my monkeys and this is my circus!”

    We've probably all had them.  There the ones where you find yourself talking to yourself about how you could have handled a situation much better than you did.  The ones where you think, "Why did I get mad at for doing ?"  The days where just absolutely NOTHING seemed to go right.

    Those awful moments when you look at the actions of a family member (size and age do NOT matter) and just shake your head at what they were thinking and then realize you did just as stupid an act not that long ago yourself?

    This past week our oldest grandson came out of school with a lot of bruises up and down his legs and was complaining about how his “nerves were hurting in my elbow“.  As in most situations, I asked how he accomplished this-leading him to an answer by asking if this happened during either La Crosse or soccer practice.

    “No grandma, I did nothing I just woke up like this.”  He caught me shaking my head.  “Grandma, I’m telling you the truth, these weren’t here until this morning“.  

    After a few more suggestions from Uncle Adam, Auntie Sam and Grandpa we finally wormed it out of him that he had been on some kind of a ride at our AutumnFest that must have been run on “centrifical force“.  

    Now it all came out-he had been thrown into the sides and some of the other kids legs and feet got tangled up with his limbs.


    Dylan was still maintaining for the rest of the afternoon how that couldn’t be the problem as he was having fun.

    I pointed out that even when you‘re having fun you can still get hurt.

    For a brief example, about 5 years ago I’m sure I was having fun during a power walk until I tripped over a block of sidewalk that a tree root had pushed up.  I’m still not sure that I said it out loud, but I remember thinking (screaming) “Don’t fall you idiot!“.

    But I did.  Tore my sweatpants and my knee up, bruised my cheek, wrecked up my “good” shoulder and (wait for it) broke my dominate hand in 3 places.

    It was the one and only time I took a walk without my cell phone too.  I had to get up and walk to my destination (a pharmacy to pick up meds) which was about a 1/4 of a mile away.  

    They called Adam (Steve worked 30 minutes away to Adam’s 10).  He took me to the urgent care.

    Try explaining that you can get this hurt while walking...

    What are you wondering about?

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  • Affluenza-Shameful

    Posted on Friday, October 23, 2015

    Affluenza-or “How to get away with Murder” in real life.  I’m wondering, do you think the writers on that show will somehow create an episode with this poppycock theory in mind????

    For those who haven’t heard of the term or what it is:

    A 16 year-old drug-addled, drunk teenager with parents who should also be in jail for stupidity, all “got off” of the kid spending the rest of his life in prison for driving in the previously mentioned state and killing 4 people and injuring numerous others.  Yes, it was determined (I kid you not) that he was too “spoiled” to be sent to jail!

    His rich parents admit that they should’ve been better parents and not given him the vision that their having money meant he’d never have to follow any rules, anywhere at anytime, but that didn’t mean “he should have to suffer and go to jail“.

    The judge, who has since retired, deemed that his (parent hired) psychologist was correct in saying he suffered from “affluenza” and should just be forced into re-hab and be on probation for 10 years.

    When I heard the news report, the journalist was doing a special hour-long piece on the absurdity and horror of this entire debacle on a weekly news show.  I had to tape it and find out the entire “scoop” for myself.

    That is the reason for this particular rant.  I’m horrified by Texas (of all states!) allowing this kid to get nothing but a slap on the wrist for what should amount to nothing short of first degree murder!  The families lives he changed forever, the pain and suffering he caused and the knowledge that even now, neither he or his parents have EVER apologized to the victims or shown the slightest bit of remorse.

    The details of the parents absenteeism and bad parenting and the lack of moral code from all 3 are just plain appalling.  Truth is, an older 1/2 sister even told their mom that the kid was in trouble and the mother ignored her- that was  only a mere week before the kid got into his fancy expensive truck late at night and plowed into 4 innocents, slammed into on-coming cars during his self-declared “game of chicken” and even rolling his own car into a ditch.

    Shame on the parents, shame on that kid and shame on the judge, defense attorney and therapist who felt he should get no time behind bars.

    I’m all for kids making mistakes and learning from them, how else will they learn?  However, this is taking it to a whole new level and worse, the kid has only had his horrible upbringing confirmed.  He isn’t privy to dealing with consequences because he’s rich.

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