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Carine’s Blog

  • Proud Grandma

    Posted on Friday, June 3, 2016

    By now, if you read my musings at all, know that my family is my everything.  Let’s face it, who would leave a recently and totally remodeled home and a fairly decent writing career to move to the outskirts of the suburbs of Phoenix just to be with their kids/grandkids if it wasn’t “her everything“?

    The older boys got out of school this past week.  The last day was Thursday and the boys were spending the night (Dylan and Aidan).  When we got to the house Dylan handed me his report card.

    Our Dylan made the honor roll!  This was NOT an easy achievement, I assure you-his third quarter was, for lack of a better word, mediocre.  So thanks to tutoring, help from parents and especially a particular grandma, he managed to boost his grades to all A’s!!!

    Go Dyl!  On to the 4th grade.

    Aidan also made some fantastic leaps and bounds in raising his grades and will enter 3rd grade when school restarts in mid-August.

    Our youngest and only grand-daughter Bryce is now 6 months old, finding her voice, has probably 2 teeth (I say probably because I got nipped but wasn’t going to ask to see the actual rough spot in her gums) and is sitting up fairly well.  She also has the required baby roll-crawl down to an art.

    Now for Jackson, about to turn 3 in August and has powers of observation that are quite outstanding for a tyke his age!

    A bit of background-Steve and I had a LOT of points to use up on a credit card and decided on ordering magazines as opposed to other items we had no need or room for in the house.  One of them was Men’s Health.  Steve never reads the issues, but I do and then I hand them over to Adam.  The latest one is the one that creates this anecdotal along with our Jackson.

    Adam had put the magazine on his nightstand.  The front cover had a man in workout clothes:  shorts, tee-shirt and running shoes.  The back cover had a man dressed up in a business suit.

    Jackson found the magazine and began looking at it.  Then he looked at Sam and pointing to the front cover said, “Look, daddy home!”  Then he turned it over to show the back picture of the man in the suit and told her, “Look, daddy work.”  From there he went back to showing “Daddy home, Daddy work” numerous times to prove that he knew exactly what he was trying to show his mom.

    Not to brag (but I feel I have a right here), but I think that’s pretty darned observant for a boy of 2 years and 10 months.

    As for summer plans?  Since I’ll have the older boys Wednesday/Thursday and every other Friday, I’ve signed them up for the library’s reading program, the program that the library is doing in conjunction with the Arizona Science Center and extremely early trips to the park and splash pads.

    In fact, the neighbors and I who have been walking together since the beginning of the year have realized that since the temps are in the upper 80’s by 8 a.m., that we‘re going to try going at 6 a.m. in the morning.

    This should be interesting.  I barely move at that hour-nothing in my body works until after 7.  But we knew the day would be here when we’d have to make the move to this horrible hour.  Ick.  But the alternative is to use the treadmill.  

    One of the best part of the day is walking and chatting with my new found buddies-Cross your fingers for me, things could get ugly.

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  • I Don't Like Birds, However...

    Posted on Friday, May 27, 2016

    My fellow blogger Bun Karyudo posted a great blog this week!  It gave me the inspiration for my post.

    Here is his take on pigeons:

    [Link Removed]

    It made me think about those pesky things. We had a LOT of pigeons in Orange county, CA-here in AZ though-mainly:  huge black birds, owls, vultures, hawks, morning doves, yellow and red birds of some sort, plain old wrens and at night BATS.  No pigeons!  Either way, I’m one of those people who do not like birds.

    That doesn’t mean I want anything bad to happen to them though.  I’m a real softy when it comes to other living creatures-even ones I don’t care for at all.  Especially for ones that fly-EEK!!!  Just ask my older grandsons how I looked and got through a butterfly showing at a museum in NYC-it was NOT pretty.  I was a sweaty, nervous Nellie.

    Because of Bun’s wonderful post, which I encourage you to go “click” on the link and then read, I thought about an awful encounter with one I had last summer.  I cried and had nightmares for a while because of that little fellow.

    In the summer our temps average about 110 from now until the end of September, sometimes longer-and with that heat and the rising temps in the accompanying garbage cans we have a horrible fly problem!

    To help with that disgusting problem we use fly traps.  There are a few different versions:  bags of water with some kind of stinky clear solution that lures the pests into them where they obviously drown and die.  The Ziploc bag with a couple of pennies in it that is SUPPOSED to scare them away because the flies are afraid of the glare (it didn’t work for us) and then there are the fly strips.

    This blog is about the last (and worst) of these products.

    Since the bags of stinky fluid reeked and made me cry about the agony the flies were in during their final moments, Steve tried the “penny” bags (which again didn’t work).  The last thing we tried were the strips.

    They still seemed rather violent to me, but I also don’t like flies swarming in the house and creating maggots in my trash cans despite the ziplocked bags of trash that have been frozen and discarded the night before trash day.

    So Steve hung the strip up and the thing not only “caught” flies-it caught a bird!!!

    I heard the poor thing crying and I cried.  I let the dog out and heard it bellowing for help.  I cried and begged Steve to come and “rescue” it.

    Let me assure you, it never had a chance.  I cried, had nightmares and alerted everyone on my facebook page and my Twitter feed NOT to buy those horrible killers of wildlife.

    While birds may not be my favorite thing I certainly never wanted even one little feather on them to be hurt-let alone stuck and its life shortened just to keep the real pests out of my kitchen.

    My best suggestion is:  DO NOT BUY PEST STRIPS!!!

    This year, I guess we’ll go back to the stinky bags-not the best remedy, but at least I won’t be grossed out or having nightmares about our feathered neighbors.

    Carine, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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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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