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Carine’s Blog

  • Let's Party for Jackson

    Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013

    Let's Party!

    I know, just posted on Friday afternoon.  The reason I'm writing so soon is that I'm FIRST:  ON A ROLL.  Just finished 3 magazine articles and figured while our grandson Dylan fell asleep, I'd keep going.

    The 2nd reason is that the time has arrived for our wonderful inherited daughter Sam and I to cross the desert and visit Orange County for a very special reason!  Hard as it is to believe-it's time for us to celebrate the eminent arrival of Jackson Dale by going to her baby shower!

    Of course, this is not going to be an easy fete.  Sam just crossed over into her 33rd week of pregnancy and I, well, I am me.  It is what it is.  We'll taking off after we have breakfast with our husbands on Thursday.  Now I can't say positively-but I have a feeling that we'll be lucky to arrive at dinner time.

    Sam will stay at her mom's house; I'll be bunking at my sister's.  Friday, my plans are to meet a dear friend for coffee a couple of hours before I pick up my wonderful and birthed daughter Sarah at the airport.  Saturday-I'm so getting a haircut and spending time with my parents and sister.  Sunday-Sarah and I will be up quite early.  

    We have to go pick up the cake and join Sam's mom and sisters to set up for the shower.  I'm sure the day will go very fast.  I'm going to be taking pictures and even video so that we'll be able to remember the day.  Monday-we three very tired and hopefully happy ladies will eat breakfast and take off for our desert homes.

    Sarah hasn't seen her husband and kids for a month.  I won't have really seen my husband for the better part of a week (he went to visit our nephew and his sister for a couple of days) and I'm sure by then, Sam will be darned happy to stop travelling around and share with Adam the details of our excursion.

    In some ways, these trips are both a blessing and a bane-we're so excited to see our family and friends, yet it's never enough to realize that's what we did!  What I do realize is that the next time we make the trip "home"-Sam will be a new mom, Adam will be a new dad and I'll be a grandma of 3 of the cutest little boys I've ever seen.

    At least in my humble opinion.

    3 Replies
  • It's hard to be 6

    Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013

    It's Hard to be 6

    As you may have guessed, I have Dylan, our 6-year-old grandson, most of the week days.  Aidan, our 5 year-old grandson is going to pre-K over the summer to get him ready for "real" school at the end of August.

    I feel rather sorry for Dylan.  By 10 a.m. it's way too hot for us to do what he (or I) would like:  go to a park, go to the community pool or splash pad or just enjoy something as simple as a walk.  

    Lucky is starting to wonder what's up with the 10 minute walks in the morning as well.

    Plus, I'm also supposed to be working on improving his reading skills while he's with me.  Easier said than done, I assure you.

    Take the day of my writing this week's entry.  Dyl arrived at the usual time of 7:30.  Steve had a client meeting to go to on his day off-so it was just Dyl and I having breakfast.  Once we were done Dyl wanted to watch some TV.  Knowing that I really don't like him sitting like a bump on a log and glazed over, I told him he could watch it as long as I was still nursing my second cup of coffee.

    Then we took our 10 minute cruise around the neighborhood.  Lucky leaving "piddles" every few feet.  Once we returned to the house I brought Dyl into the office and told him to pick out a book and he needed to read while I attended to a few business bugaboos (I've been trying to get a set of Senior community organizers to let me come and visit their compound and talk to the residents and activity staff for over a week!).

    Low and behold, for the 4th attempt in a row-Dyl fell asleep.  Didn't take 5 minutes and the boy was snoring on the couch in the office.

    Sigh.  I know he hasn't been sleeping too well. Our daughter's been working in Colorado for almost 3 weeks now and the kids really miss her.  I don't want to wake him up when he's this exhausted, but I don't want him sleeping the day away either.
    It's a fine line we've all been walking.  My husband and I need to run errands when he's got his "weekend" going, as I am just not able to lift items over about 5 pounds.  Honestly, with my right shoulder and neck giving me constant grief-pushing a basket around is also not one of the most pleasant ways to spend any time either.  Again, Dyl winds up doing the errands with us.  

    Not much fun for him.

    Last week we picked up Aidan and we took them to the community Water Park and pool for over an hour.  We all had fun.  Steve even went down one of the huge water slides.  He did manage to "beat up" his elbows, but they all had fun.  I enjoyed swimming a few laps, stopping when my "trigger" points started screaming at me.  It was a great way to cool off and finish our day with the grandkids.

    We dropped them off to Alex and went home and enjoyed our dinner.

    You would think that the community center would have a day camp for 6 year olds.  They start at age 8.  It would be wonderful if they had an indoor basketball camp for this age group-our daughter checked it out as well.  

    8 must be the lucky starting age.  Sarah even thought there might be a Sylvan course to at least put Dyl in a couple of afternoons a week to get his reading and math skills sharpened and ready for 1st grade.  

    Poor Dyl, those too started at age 10!

    Our closest indoor mall is 30 miles away.  I'd take him to the little splash pad at the outlet mall up the street, but since it's 110 and the cover over the play area doesn't really help until after 3, we're both looking for things to do until that magic moment that makes it safe to enjoy the outdoors.

    In this heat we can't make bread from scratch, bake cookies or do science experiments in the yard.  Our basil burned to a crisp and the rosemary never surfaced.  To be blunt-we're both bored out of our gourds.

    At least he's getting some rest.

    3 Replies
  • Father's Day & Annual Rant on Heat

    Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013

    First Father's Day in Arizona & My Annual Heat Rant

    This is also the first Father's Day that I won't be able to spend it with my dad.  Our daughters and I will be out at the end of the month for Sam's baby shower, but it isn't the same as being there on the day itself.

    When we get there-we'll be leaving just prior to my mom's birthday as well.

    It's hard not being there.  Not that we did heaven knows what, but it's the fact that I'm there that strikes a chord.  Dad's 84 now and mom's about to turn 83.  When we all somehow carve out a weekend to see each other there's only so much we're able to do.

    Dad's memory is getting worse and with mom's hip surgery it's not as if we're all going out for anything more than breakfast at the local and favorite bagel place.   The owner's great and so is the staff and going there is a bit like eating in one of our kitchens-homey and comforting.

    This time Sam and I decided to take a couple of extra days rather than drive in Friday afternoon and leave after the shower on Sunday.  Sarah will be flying in from Colorado, where she's been working hard at training a lot of new employees.   Sam and I know that with her being 6 weeks away from delivery and with my back issues we will need even more stops than we did last time.  We're hoping to leave Thursday morning before it hits 113 on the car thermometer and arrive by dinner time.

    Friday we'll go get Sarah from the airport.  I've got to squeeze in a haircut on Saturday.  No, I still haven't found a person who can cut my cowlick-laden fine and wavy hair and I'm looking pretty shaggy.

    Back to Father's Day.  I'm hoping that we'll be able to spend some quality time together.   Same with my mom.  

    By the way, this woman is remarkable-according to her physical therapist she's about a month ahead in the progress of moving from walker to cane-a mere 3 weeks after having 3 screws put into her hip!

    I come from a very strong bunch.  Thank goodness, I'm sure I'll be grateful for the stubborn strength the older I get.

    And now for the annual rant about heat:

    I've got none, really.   I don't know why-but 80 degrees here feels almost chilly!  My thoughts on that are this:  When its 113 outdoors by 10 a.m. and the thermometer doesn't dip below a 100 at midnight, 80 really is "chilly".

    Good thing too.  When Steve saw our electric bill in May it was only $136, but this latest one was double that.  He moved up that dial from 78 to 80 in moments.  Plus, he's no longer letting us open the blinds before 4 in the afternoon.  

    I did put the kibosh on his latest "plan" to lower the bill when he told me he was going out to buy sheets to adorn the various sliders and windowed doors, above and beyond the blinds that were there to give us more "insulation".

    Really?  Did he actually think I'd go along with that plan?????

    While I'm feeling blue about not being with my dad on Sunday, I also need to remember that my own husband will be working all day.  Our son-in-law deserves a good celebration-without his ability to be a good dad our daughter could not have accepted the opportunity to train the new Wells Fargo recruits, Cheers to you Alex!  And we'll do something for dinner!

    And one last mention to Adam, I know you'll be working too, but get ready because next year you'll be chasing around Jackson Dale.  He'll be about 10 months old by then and crawling into trouble wherever he can find it!

    Happy Father's Day to all.

    5 Replies
  • The 3 Rs of Grandparenting

    Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013

    The Three "R's"

    Our oldest grandson Dyl has been learning to read.  How shall I say this?  He can to it just fine-but he doesn't want too.  I love to read.  Our "inherited" son and daughter and love to read.  Most often, we have a book that we are in the midst of devouring.

    Now our "birth" children and Steve-they could care less, unless it's something that they need to know.  My best example?  I have never in 33 years of knowing him have seen my husband sit down with a book of any size.  One year when we were pretty "strapped", I heard him mention that Howard Stern had written a book and he like to read it.  Whoa!  Thinking he actually meant it (I think I was still na├»ve only having been married about a dozen years at that point); I decided to buy him the book for our anniversary.  Till this day, over 2 DECADES later-I've never seen that book in his hand past the moment he unwrapped it.

    Dyl seems to be taking that lead.  

    Since I'm watching this smart but uninspired reader on Wednesdays, I informed him that while grandma did some work he was going to look in our vast "library" and read.  The first experience had him:  trying to convince me that he finished a book in less than 5 minutes.  Trouble was I knew from years of reading to toddlers that each book in this series takes about 15.  Then I caught him showing the pages to Lucky.  After that, he found my "brag book" of photos and said he'd "read" that book.  After nixing the idea "until he actually read a book with words", he decided to explain about his need to get a pet snake and keep bugs.

    As you can see the first two "R's" were not going so well.  I was NOT getting my article on the need for those of us over 50 to get an exercise plan that is customized for our individual physical frailties (WRITING) and Dyl was not getting any further in enjoying any of the 3 very kid-friendly book lined shelves.  (READING)

    Shall I move on to the third "R"?  

    I am a writer.   My vocabulary is quite decent.  There are times where my husband will kid me about my use of "$5" words.  He will always consult with me on spelling and use me as a thesaurus when he needs to send out a business e-mail.  But show me a set of numbers or ask me to add anything and I swear my eyes glaze over.  Plus, never ask me to do any adding/subtracting that may be of a critical nature with money.  I'm awful.

    My sister (6 years younger) was a whiz with numbers and always seemed to get the best of me with money our parents told us was for sharing.  I would always think she knew about monetary splitting and honestly, I was so disinterested that I'd just let her handle it.  Now Dyl does better with numbers.  But I'm not going there.  

    At the end of our first try, I'm trying to figure out if the two of us had any success.  I finally gave up on the paid article and wrote this entry and Dylan fell asleep on the couch with Lucky lying on top of him with her head in his neck.

    There's always next week.

    6 Replies
  • Hip, Hip-Forget the Hooray

    Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2013

    Hip, Hip-forget the Hooray

    Last Friday was yet another medical emergency in this family.  Have you been counting?
    I, well, have my chronic problems and being rammed by a Silverado truck did nothing to help on that plane of thought.

    At the same time, my sister and parents were rear-ended.  Thank goodness my parents were shaken but okay.  My sister had a concussion and the pain resulting from that.

    My sister-in-law found out she had breast cancer and had a successful surgery-but before the poor woman could breathe, we found out that our nephew, her son and only 27, was diagnosed with a rare cancer that is growing around his heart.  

    He's just completed round 2 of chemotherapy.

    Our younger nephew followed his aunt and mom and a car hit him.  The driver wasn't much older than him and was obviously higher than a kite.  He has whiplash and a minor concussion.  Poor guy-his first new car and it's still under debate whether or not to claim it a total.

    And now for the explanation of the title of this week's blog-my mom (who's more blind than sighted) was walking her dog and didn't see a tree route, tripped and fell-resulting in a broken hip.

    Now my sister and I have been on her to use a cane for years and even after several falls and broken fingers and torn up knees-she has repeatedly refused to even try one.

    Well, now she doesn't have a choice.  Thankfully, if one is going to break a hip, this was the way to do it.  Mom did have to have 3 pins put in, but it was done through her skin with dissolvable stitches inside and a couple of "glue" tapes on the outside.  Within 3 days our almost 83 year old mom was walking with a walker.  We suggested a part time aide, but like the cane-she's refusing any help.

    I won't get into the facts-enough to mention that if she had been using a cane she wouldn't have fallen and broken any limb or bruised anything.  This was also quite a horrible experience for our father has only had maybe a week in his married life total where he and my mom weren't sleeping in the same bed.  It left him understandably very scared.

    For our mom, her stubbornness is both her salvation and her downfall.  My guess is that we all have that trait.  Me, not so much.  I've got enough going on where if someone in the medical profession said, "You know Carine it might be best if you used a cane for stability."  I'd do it.  

    That's just me; my vanity is not that strong anymore.  I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    3 Replies
  • Hello, Hello????

    Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Smart?  Phone?

    It is with great trepidation that I allowed my husband to drag me into our cell phone provider and make me choose a "smart phone".  By now you have all realized that I make no effort to hide the fact that I am a complete technophobe.

    So there I was in the store and the very nice salesman was trying to explain the differences between the Samsung, the LG and the IPhone.

    I tried really hard to not zone out and look glazed over.  My husband just kept uttering his mantra of "this way you can learn to text and you can check your e-mails, FaceBook and even the news."

    Now, it was well air-conditioned in this store, but I felt clammy and my stomach hurt.  Our son said "that's anxiety".  

    Don't really care what it was-my head also hurt and it was about to explode!  The salesman just kept right on telling me about the camera's megapixels, the Pandora capabilities and so much more.  Ack and double ACK!

    I finally chose the "purple" one.  I did have another reason-my husband has the same one in white and my ulterior motive was "If I run into trouble, he could help me." Then I realized something after the 3 hour long purchase-I did NOT have a clue how to dial the phone or retrieve messages.

    By the time you read this I will have had the phone for almost 5 days.  I set a goal for myself-learn something new about my device every day.  It's a good goal really.

    Texting is something I'm still not so sure about.  I'm using the audio program to form the messages.  That's good for quite a few laughs.  My first one was to our daughter.  She never got it-or so she said.

    Then I tried one to our son.  He told me to edit things before hitting send.  I reminded him that I had already learned my "1" thing by finding the little microphone symbol and getting out the actual text.  Editing would have to follow at a later date.

    So I gave up my simple phone that I could find my contacts, make calls and retrieve messages as well as take pictures.  I never did learn how to zoom in and out on the darned thing.  

    Sigh, I had just learned how to put it in music mode.  

    Challenges are good.  I think I'll make that my own mantra until I figure out all the things this smart phone is capable of, for that matter, it might prove interesting to see just how capable I'll be able to prove myself to be!

    4 Replies