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Carine’s Blog

  • Happy Holidays

    Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2015

    I was just sitting here deciding whether I should write up one more profile that’s been on my desk or read one of the two books I checked out at the library yesterday.  Actually, I thought I had written up a blog already while I was on a hot streak last week but when I took another look-oh dear, I found that what I thought was in my queue was last week’s musing.

    Sigh.  No reading for me (at the moment).

    Besides finding out that I had written nothing for this week it occurred to me that next week is Christmas and then New Year’s.  How did this year pass so quickly?  Wasn’t it just Steve’s birthday?  Here it comes again!  Wait until he finds out that 2016 will be his last year in his 50’s.

    This has been quite the year-we’ve had ups and downs and certainly all-arounds.  everything from the usual birthdays and anniversaries to an actual BIRTH day.  

    In June, Steve and I celebrated knowing each other for 35 years.  We finished paying off our cruise for this coming April-then we’ll celebrate 35 years of marriage.  It’s an accomplishment that is all too unmet by far too many couples these days.

    Looking back over 2015 I must say I was hoping for more in the way of improving my health and mobility-but in lieu of that, I’m learning to appreciate what I do have, continue on working on getting stronger and just realizing that I’m more fortunate that many others who have been literally run over by a truck (or 2 in my case).

    I know that traditionally we‘re all supposed to write up a list of resolutions for the coming 12 months, but mine have been the same for a while now:  Exercise, ask for help when needed, Don’t be afraid to say NO and look forward to enjoying all the little things, excited for the big things and realize I am not able to control most of the outside forces.

    That said:  Happy Holidays to each and every person who stops by.  May your celebrations be in good health and that you enjoy every moment of them.

    I’m going to take off for the rest of the year-next post New Year’s Day.

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  • A Simple Thing

    Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2015

    As you can see from the photos-last week’s Menorah building was a complete hit.   Have to say-oldest grandson Dylan is very observant.  As the blocks of wood were being passed out, he looked at me and said, “Wait, Grandma-isn’t this the holiday where we‘re supposed to light all those candles?”

     “Yes Dyl, it sure is.  I’m sure that Rabbi will tell the story as you‘re putting the project together.”

     Before Rabbi could start, Dyl raised his hand and asked, “Hey, if we‘re supposed to light candles on fire, shouldn’t we be making these things out of steel or something that doesn’t burn?”

     That’s our Dyl.  The Rabbi complimented him on used his Tzekel (Yiddish for brain).

     On to this week...

     Finally, after waiting about 3 months, the library let me know that my turn at reading “X” by Sue Grafton had arrived.  I was absolutely giddy with the prospect of finding out what trouble Kinsey Milhone was going to be getting in now!

     They were also having a book sale.  Have I mentioned that Steve made me swear not to buy any more books?  He’s right of course, we haven’t got a spot to put another one in-but I also swear, I was looking for the kids!

     Anywho, another woman was there and we kept looking at one another (we were thinking the same thing) and started chatting.  She bought a bagful of books and I left with just my beloved mystery in hand.

     As we were chatting I mentioned I was from Orange County.  That’s when she told me she was from Laguna Hills!  What?  Wait, this woman who looks my age lived in my hometown?????

     Turns out-we knew each other from our sons playing soccer!  In fact, we had carpooled to numerous games together!  We lived 2 miles apart.  They had moved to Anthem the same time we had!

     We hugged, we laughed and we exchanged phone numbers.  Only someone from home understands moving and not knowing anyone or where to go the same way you do.

     Told Adam.  Updated him on his friend.

     We now live 5 miles apart.  But it sure feels good to know that someone from our past will hopefully be part of our future.  In fact, we‘re having coffee this week!

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  • 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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