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Carine’s Blog

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  • Eek! Summer Weather is Here

    Posted on Friday, May 20, 2016

    When we lived in California I could hardly wait until summer arrived.  The warmth, the sun, the ability to go out at night and leave my various “car” coats in my closet and not having to wait until mid-day to take my power walk.  Heaven.  

    Don’t get me wrong, we had plenty of 80 degree winter days-but somehow the winter 80 was a lot less warm than the spring or summer 80.  Even autumn 80 was pretty darn hot, but then we’d call it “Indian summer“.

    When living “on the face of the sun” you start looking for indoor activities to keep busy with because even going to the community pool after 11:30 a.m. (or one of our fantastic splash pads) is just not as fun as you might be imagining.  

    The “person” I feel the sorriest for is our little Chihuahua Lucky.  Her favorite time of day is when she sees me suiting up for that daily power walk I mentioned a few seconds ago.  She has 3 coats:  one for brisk mornings, one for cold and one for our few freezing mornings.  But summer?  Ugh!

    Our first summer with Lucky, Steve and I found some cute booties to try on.  For those of you who have either never been the pet parent of a dog or just never wanted to go out in either the freezing cold or blazing heat-the booties are meant to do just what shoes do for us-stop our feet from blistering!

    Well, Steve got the front two booties on her, she gave him the fish eye.  Then she saw the third one in his hand and growled the doggy version of “Don’t even think about it Dad!“.

    Steve said, “Put her down, maybe when she sees what we‘re trying to do, she’ll like them.”

    Yeah, right.  I put her down and she looked like a toddler wearing their first ever winter coat!  Big eyes, snarly nose and stiff from nose to tail tip.  We took them off, packaged them up and took them back to the pet boutique we purchased them at and (obviously) returned them.

    If you ask people out here how the dogs cope about walking in the heat, well, we “good” parents will tell you from about the end of May until Mid-September-we just don’t take them on a walk.

    Some people say to just take them at the horrible hour of 6 a.m. or after dark.  Really?  There are two reasons why this is not a good idea:  

    1-During those months our temps reach 120 and only dip to maybe (on cool nights) 105.  The sidewalks are too darn hot no matter what time of day it is!  The sun disappearing for a few hours does NOT make anything feel the least bit cooler!

    2-I can’t speak for downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale, but out here in the “boonies“-we have a lot of critters that can do something we mere humans cannot:  See in the dark.  I for one do not wish to go out in the dark and run into a coyote, a wolf, a javelina or a flying critter of some kind. The other DAY my neighbor and I saw a vulture flying about our daily walking route.  Ew, thankfully I didn’t see the dying/dead critter and for that I’m eternally grateful.

    A few weeks ago the two of us (Lucky was enjoying her walk in my arms) saw a dead coyote on the curb-I wasn’t even asking, I just said, “Let’s go this way” and proceeded to go through the houses instead of on the main road.

    So here we are about to start our fourth summer in paradise and I’m thinking a tune up for the treadmill might be in order.  I don’t enjoy being a hamster, but it beats not moving.


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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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