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Carine’s Blog

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  • Good-bye October, Hello November

    Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2016

    Here’s hoping all of you had a great Halloween!

    I was prepared with a few big bags of treats.  With my trusty glider pillow under one arm, bowl of candy being held mid-body, phone in one pocket and keys in the other pulling my shorts down from my waist to my hips-I waited for the yearly “spook” fest to begin at 5:45 on my porch.

    At 6 p.m. no one had come around.  A neighbor (who lives closer to Adam and Sam) asked if I’d seen any kids?  She hadn’t seen a single costumed goblin either!

    Finally at 6:15 3 kids showed up.  Then another five minute gap and another half dozen or so came by.  Then nothing until a heard a very familiar voice from mid-way down the block:

    “HURRY, WE GET TO EAT HALLOWEEN!!!  WE GET TO EAT TRICK OR TREAT!!!  LET‘S HURRY TO GRANDMA‘S HOUSE RIGHT NOW!!!”

    Yes, Jackson was so high on excitement that he just couldn’t contain himself.  He proudly told me, “I brought my baby sister, Bryce too!“  No mention of mom, dad or his grandma Linda.  Tells you the “pecking order“, no?

    Plus, his object of interest (Grandpa) was at work, so the conversation was kept fairly brief.

    Jackson went as an astronaut and Bryce was his personal star.  After they left, I realized I hadn’t taken any photos!  Oops!

    The older boys were doing Halloween with their father and we didn’t see them at all until Wednesday.

    By 8 our trick-or-treating had come to an end.  One bag of candy hadn’t even been used up.  I took back the rest of the bags the next day and switched it out for more “urine b gone” spray (just when you think that house-training is officially over-you find out it really isn’t).   

    Our friend up the street said the same.  In total I know I gave out under 100 pieces of candy!  Last year we went through 2 bags and closed the doors at 9.  The first year we were here and we had no idea there were that many kids in all of the community known as Anthem/New River!

    Guess the kids are getting older. Since we don’t really have much in the way of “turnover” moving that makes sense.

    Lucky and Sunshine whined through the door and I could hear them scratching.  I’m sure they recognized Jackson’s voice and wanted to come out and play.  Pretty sure Pepper fled for the comfort of his cat condo in our bedroom (that’s the farthest point from the front of the house).  I called for him when I came in and still didn’t see him for about an hour.

    And then as fast as Halloween started, it was over and it was November!

    I am 2 weeks away from celebrating my last year in my 50’s decade.  Whoa!  That is a frightening thought.  In 19 days, we will celebrate Bryce’s first birthday.  This Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for-it just seems that the year has passed at something past lightning or warped speed.

    Speaking of Thanksgiving-I’ve decided to really toss things in the air!  I’m not making a whole turkey.  NOPE.  I’ve decided to make a turkey breast and a ham.  There I said it-no whole turkey to fret over as to whether it will be juicy or dry.  No hours trying to get help pulling it in and out of the oven to baste.  And thankfully, this will mean I won’t have to try disguising the leftover dried out breast meat to fool Steve into eating it until it’s gone.

    I’m a rebel and I’m not apologizing for it.


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  • Always Think Ahead

    Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2016

    This is a story about “always think ahead“.

    It all started with my pesky arthritic knees and being in a LOT of pain.  After complaining to my less than helpful rheumy (who, BTW, misdiagnosed my knees in several ways) she sent me to my GP who agreed that the rheumy is less than satisfactory but the rest in “my network” weren’t any better.

    Sigh.  I’m getting off track.

    After those two, I called my really good shoulder guy who also does knees.  Whew!  He gave me a shot of steroids and then realized that my RA, OA and torn meniscus weren’t being helped by that and had me get approved for those lovely and quite painful cushioning gel shots to the knee (at least the worst one).

    In the meantime, he told me I could NO longer walk with my friends 5 days a week for 2-1/2 miles.  I was to cut back to twice a week and for half the mileage.  He suggested a bike.  Told him that wouldn’t work as I walk with (at that moment) a 6 pound wonderdog.  He then suggested water aerobics.

    Talked it over with some other good coffee buddies.  Turns out our community center pool has wonderful classes because we have a fantastic teacher!

    So we all three went-but I stayed.  I’ve been going twice a week since May.  Since it is so hot here in Arizona-our teacher has said she’ll keep class going until the end of the year. Then we’ll all re-evaluate the need for either taking a short break or moving up the class time.

    And no, I’m not getting off track again, just giving background.

    Anyway, I wear water shoes in the pool for two very good reasons:  I have really ugly RA feet.  And the bottom of the pool rips up my nodule ridden soles.

    I had had my former pair of shoes for about 6 years but only used them on vacation or to keep my feet from both showing and blistering while taking the grandkids to our waterpark.

    Now I was in the pool jumping, jogging, twisting, etc... for about an hour and 20 minutes twice a week.

    My shoes had elastic laces.  Well after all these months-the laces and the soles looked at me the other day and said, “Lady, we quit“.  I tried having a serious talk about the season being over and that Wal-mart and the 3 shoe stores at the outlet mall not having either waterproof laces or new shoes in my size.

    The shoes didn’t listen.  Nope, they went right ahead and just quit.  The laces stopped having the pull and kept on untying in the water and the soles, well, they just look pathetic and made my bad feet start having spasms.

    Steve tried googling where to get “pool laces” and where I could order a new pair online.

    It just so happened that morning we were also doing a bunch of errands and having breakfast at the local bagel shop which turns out is conveniently located right next door to what????

    BIG 5 SPORTING GOODS!!!!

    We went in and the nice associate took us back to the last of the summer water shoes and laces.

    He suggested a large youth size.

    Guess what????  Turns out I got a great pair with laces (I have a wide toe need with a very thin ankle that needs the support of the laces) and they were on sale for 50% off.

    So the moral to this story is:  If you have ugly painful feet and need water shoes, don’t wait until the end of October to buy new shoes for your exercise class.  And if you do, think out of the box and get a good deal that will hopefully keep you and your feet “on your toes” through the winter water classes.

    Next?  I’ve been told I might want to find myself a nice “water” jacket to keep me warm when I’m both in the water and when I get out.

    Shoot-I bought those new swimsuits and now the “vets” in the class tell me I’ll really need to cover them and me up with outer pool wear.


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  • The Winds are A-blowing

    Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2016

    While we are still experiencing temps in the 90’s here in paradise, the heat is “different“.  Not as blazing and delightful in the evenings.

    Mornings?  Guess what-when the girls ask to go out at 6:15 we’ve moved from blazing heat to dark, gusty and a real nip in the air.

    In fact this morning our walk was more of a guided push!

    My friends had to move up their time due to work issues and I had to go to a doctor’s appointment, so the girls and I didn’t actually go out until 9:30.  It was easily about 78 outside.  The bad part of our walk?  Well, the winds were going strong at about 35 MPH!

    We were greeted by howling and blowing gusts that literally pushed us across the street.  While the directions kept changing the blowing was still strong enough that poor Lucky kept hitting into Sunshine and I was just trying to keep moving in an upright position.

    I know you‘re all wondering why I didn’t just bail and go back in the house.  I can tell you these wise words that I’ve heard during an “Angie’s List” commercial:  A tired dog is a good dog.

    The girls love getting out and they NEED it!  They smell every shrub and tree trunk to garner all the neighborhood doggy news.  They also do their business along the way, adding (presumably) to the gossip chain.

    Once home they both share the water bowl, kiss Pepper and they either share the couch here in the office or the blanket on the floor.

    Because the weather has changed, Steve and I used one of his days off this week to shop for winter coats.  Not for us, ours are busy gathering dust in the closet, but for the pups.

    Now it’s true, Lucky has a wardrobe going on after having her almost 4 years.  She has a thin hoody, a cute bright red sweater with white puffy trim and a fleece hoody.  She loves the red one the most.

    Since Sunshine is new to our family she didn’t have anything to keep her warm during those few weeks when the temps both dip and the wind is bitter.  So this brought on the shopping trip on her behalf.

    We checked out the usual spots:  PetSmart, Petco, Wal-mart and then we walked into Ross Dress for Less.

    It was there that we found quite the array of sweaters, sweatshirts and coats.

    We picked out matching ones in the appropriate sizes and were heading to the cashier when I realized that something important was missing from these items:  leash holes!  How were we supposed to hook the girls up for walks without the leash holes?

    Of course this meant going back to the racks of doggy outfits.  All the dang sweaters and sweatshirts had this oddity!  Then we found them-matching pink puffy jackets with gray fleece linings and snaps.

    Personally, being the one who’s going to be dressing them, I’m not really excited about the snaps, but these will keep the girls warm during our walks this winter.

    When we got home we tried them on.  We did Lucky first, as she’s experienced in what’s “hot” in outerwear for Chihuahuas.  She was thrilled!  Big smile on her face and was prancing around Sunshine.  Then it was Sunshine’s turn.  Poor baby cowered-she thought it was some sort of punishment.

    Then she realized that they were both wearing these “things” and stood a bit straighter and walked around the house as well.  Once we knew they fit we removed the jackets as it was actually 82 in the house.   

    No sense pushing our luck.  They will be walking during our brief foray into the cold winter weather in style.

    For now the matching puffy pink coats will stay in the laundry room waiting for the day when the temps drop clear into the lower 60’s and the wind chill factor will actually put a need for those cute puppy clothes.  Until then, oh my goodness, the girls will continue to walk the neighborhood in a state of total undress.


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  • What a Dif 3 Weeks Can Be

    Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2016

    Three weeks ago Steve and I added to our family.  We adopted an adorable little Chihuahua mix that has added so much joy to our lives.

    We already have no memory of what life was like when our fur babies only totaled two!

    Sunshine still has some ‘accidents‘, but she’s as sweet as could be and both Lucky and Pepper love her, a lot.

    Pepper has decided the best place to sleep in either right next to her tush or on top of her.  Unlike Lucky who once asleep doesn’t like to be disturbed, Sunshine actually seems to like having Pepper be that close!

    Lucky has deftly taken on the role of “tinier but older sister” to heart.  She bosses Sunshine around in the yard. The other night, during the last potty break of the day, Sunshine hopped the 3’ retaining wall and was more interested in finding the lizard that lives there than doing her business-well, Lucky started “talking” to her and seemed to be telling her to get out of there and get with the program.

    Her ears perked up, she jumped down and followed Lucky to the exact spot designated and did her thing and ran to the screen door.

    Right now, I’m sharing my desk chair with Pepper and Sunshine is right next to me licking his head.  That and cleaning Lucky’s ears and eyeballs seem to be her favorite way to show affection to her siblings.

    The double leash is working quite well.  Sleeping arrangements on my side are fixed so that all four of us have a spot, while Dad gets the other half of the bed to himself.  Don’t know why they don’t wish to sleep on that side, but we all seem to get along and get through the night.

    We’ve also noticed some new things:

    Lucky takes after her mom and is NOT a morning being.   

    Sunshine is a morning being along with her brother.

    This means that while Sunshine wakes up with chasing and playing on her mind, Pepper doesn’t quite want to share his toys (this is his time to bat those tiny tennis balls all over the house) and Lucky is a complete grump who growls her speech basically telling both of them to leave her alone until she’s had a chance to have her food and “coffee“.

    I totally commiserate with Lucky.  No one wants to be conversing with me the first hour I’m up.   

    Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m so pleasant at water aerobics at 9 a.m. without the very needed food and beverage.   

    Life is full of love and laughter.  Nothing quite a fun as watching the dynamics of a family change for the better, no?


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  • Actually Enjoyed This Movie

    Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2016

    Yesterday Steve and I saw Snowden.  A “made from real events” movie.  Docudrama if you will.

    It was exactly what this journalist likes in a movie:  entertainment, interesting characters and to learn something.

    It also had a “scary” factor to it.  It was true-developing the story of Edward Snowden, the uber smart IT man who worked for the government and exposed the information telling of how Big Brother was watching over us all.

    I don’t want to spoil the movie (as much as you can on real life events) so I’m veering over to what made this a good fit for an afternoon date:

    THIS MOVIE WAS WORTH BEING IN PAIN FOR 2 HOURS AND 13 MINUTES.

    Honestly, I can’t say that about many movies lately.  Sully, which we saw when it came out was another movie that was inspiring and interesting.  Batman vs. Superman was NOT.  There were other in the “why bother wasting the silver on this?” category, but they aren’t even worth my remembering their name.

    Steve has always loved movies.  When we met he managed a movie theater just for the perks.   

    There’s a bit of a problem here-he doesn’t care how bad they are!  In truth, I swear to you all, his Netflix account must have some sort of filter that reads “movies awful enough for Steve” and then sends them to our address.

    Out of 20 movies, I may sit through one from start to finish.  A few others find me heading for the bedroom in search of something on Discovery ID or Food Network, Home and Garden, etc...

    He convinced me one time to sit through a movie about a man who could make goats faint (I kid you not).  Had a very high profile cast.  The movie SUCKED, big time!  When it was over I had managed to work about a dozen Sunday puzzles in a book I had.  He actually asked if I enjoyed it!

    My reply?  “There’s 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

    He didn’t exactly like it, but once on he committed to finished the piece of dreck.  After all, “Look who’s in it honey.”

    For most people going to the movies is a delight-not so for me.  Even in the “fancy-schmancy” theater we go to with the reclining seats, they all kill my back, neck and hips.  I have to prop my knee on my purse.  All in all, seeing a movie is quite literally a royal pain in more than just my rump.

    So take my review for what it’s worth.  If I came out asking more questions, googling for answers and suggesting it-you may enjoy this rather talk/thought-provoking bit of cinema.


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  • Professional Issues

    Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2016

    Yes, I’m having issues with my writing.  Not that I can’t write-I could, if publications would realize that I’m not a non-profit and also, well, to be frank-when I put out a call for help in finding subjects, people actually READ what I need all the way through the very brief information box.

    Since moving out to Arizona I’ve discovered that there are really a LOT of local magazines that look really great to do my type of writing for and I’ve sent them ALL my bio, links, etc.-many of them are very interested in having me write for them.  However most of them seem to think that I should be able to pay bills with nothing more than a byline and listing my personal blog’s URL!

    Some of these publications even expect me to drive to venues that may be as far as 50 miles away!

    Maybe I’m expecting too much on the subject of pay-but even though gas is approximately $2 a gallon out here, at 100 miles round trip I’m using upwards of 4 gallons of gas, two hours of drive time, wear and tear on my car and then there’s the time involved in the actual work of putting the article together.   

    So no, I’m sorry, but a byline is really not going to help.

    There’s a magazine who said their top pay is $75. I not only supply the article but any appropriate photos/artwork as well.  If I could do it from the comfort of my office-I’m all in as the issues are high quality, people are very nice and the stories are always interesting.  However, once I start the engine up and spend the time on the highway-well, I’ve calculated the government allowed $.50 a mile-making it $50 off the top for the my vehicle.  Not included the two hours driving and the work involved.

    If I can’t do it from home, I just can’t justify doing it.

    It’s a sad commentary on journalism today.  A dear friend who has written for top publications for over 20 years said that at this point she’s writing three times as many stories for a quarter of the income-and glad to find it wherever she is able!

    For the second bugaboo on my opening paragraph-I use a wonderful source to help get subjects to interview.  It’s called HARO (Helping a Reporter Out).  Basically, I put in what/who I’m in need of, from location, to age group, specifics, etc. and hopefully I get replies.

    This last shout out garnered me three interesting people.  Except one of them didn’t actually read the paragraph past needing to be over 55.  Sigh-wonderful personality, great subject, made the chat time and then, well, at the last moment it fell through because the part about having to live in a certain county of a certain state eluded her!  We were both very disappointed!  Plus it left me short by that one subject for the rest of this year!

    Maybe it’s my age showing, I don’t mean to sound bitter or burnt out-but sometimes it’s just not fun anymore to plead with a lot of people who have no idea who I am (except for the sent queries and accompanying bios) for work.

    I’m at the stage where I send in ideas when I can, hope for the best and in the meantime, just enjoy my life-after all, I can’t let a little thing like the state of journalism today spoil my good times!


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