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Carine’s Blog

  • Baby, You're a Firework

    Posted on Friday, July 4, 2014


    In Cali, most of Orange County was not allowed to set off even sparklers for much of the last 2-3 decades.  Here in Arizona, things are well, different.
    Steve and I walked into Wal-Mart last week and the wall that was previously filled with sunscreens, pool toys and otter pop bags had been replaced with fireworks!  We later read in the local freebie newspaper called In And Out that here in Anthem it was more than legal to buy these boxes and set them off from pretty much the third week of June.  

    The one caveat?  After the 6th of July-no one better try setting one off.

    Personally, I was all for going to our community center where our small town hosts a whole day of food trucks, carnival rides and games and pool time all culminating with a fireworks display around 9 p.m...
    However, at the last moment (literally!) a monsoon blew into town and the display was cancelled.  Don't know about the folks who wandered over to enjoy the rides and such.

    I remember vividly being in the hospital for knee surgery when I was 14 and having one of the only other 2 teenagers there (the other was my roommate) come into my room-turns out it was his umpteenth surgery on his hand.  The doctors were trying to save it from being mangled and burned during a July 4th celebration when one of those gun powder holders went off in that said hand.

    He was only 17-couldn't understand the pull and allure then and I definitely don't understand it now.

    Yes, fireworks are beautiful and create lots of "oohs" and "aahs" from all who watch them.  And yes, if you add a background of patriotic music an appropriate amount of throat lumps will ensue.  But I'm still all for letting those who are professionals set off these explosions a safe distance away from those who are looking up into the sky.

    End of sermon.

    Besides our country's birthday and celebration-it's my mom's 84th birthday!  Another one where she is celebrating in one state while we are firmly rooted in another.  It is what it is.

    I can't quite say that I'm getting used to it.  Probably never will be.

    Steve is working July 4th, so is Adam.  Sarah is taking Dylan for a long weekend (remember Aidan came with us to OC a month or so ago while Dylan stayed home sick) to the Bay area.  What I'm hoping is that all the noise won't scare Lucky too much.  She didn't enjoy all the popping sounds AT ALL last year.
    Pepper's never really cared one way or the other.  At nearly 10, I doubt it will bother him now.

    My biggest hope for the holiday is that it WON'T be the expected 115 at dinner time and that perhaps we can plug in the misting fan and eat our BBQ under the stars. But with the looming gray skies and the threat of more wind and sideways rain, I think indoors will be best.  Just hoping to get those ribs on the grill.

    Here's hoping that everyone reading this will have a safe, safe and fun Independence Day.

    0 Replies
  • I Really Don't Like to Complain

    Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014

    I Really Don't Like to Complain

    I know it sounds as if I like to complain, at times, but I don't-really.

    A couple of months ago I "won" a prize of some organic kids' meals from a new company.  A month later I realized that I never received the food, vouchers to pick them out myself or even a note of explanation from the site that told me of my winnings.

    I dropped a note to them and they had no idea and said they'd check into it.  As promised, the nice customer service woman sent me a note about 3 days later and let me know that the company was pretty much in startup but they had sent out my vouchers.  She said if I didn't see them in a week to contact her again.

    So much for the "check's in the mail" moment.  Two weeks later I again reminded myself about these elusive products and sent another note.  This time-no reply.

    Figured I tried too hard as it was and decided I was lucky to receive the first prize of various types of whole grain/rice side dishes.  I threw in the towel.

    Then Saturday I received a hand written note from the company apologizing for having not gotten the vouchers to me sooner.  

    Living out in the "boonies"-I went on line to the company and did a search as to where I could find the product.  According to them I had to go to one of 2 Super Targets.  One was 21 miles away, the other 30.
    Guess where we went? I even called first. After all, at 42 miles round trip, my "free" food was costing us 2 gallons of gas! I was told that "in fact, we just re-positioned the freezer section to accommodate the items."
    Thankfully, we geared the day's errands to include this store in the loop.  Why?  Because when we arrived and went to the "kids' meals" section-they had another company that had the word "mom" in its title-BUT IT WASN'T THE PRODUCT I HAD VOUCHERS FOR!!

    The manager apologized profusely-but didn't offer to reimburse us for the time and energy spent due to the person who answered my questions on the phone.

    Being slightly miffed-I sent a note to this effect to the customer service contact us area on the site.
    I'm still waiting for a reply.

    Luckily, I'm not really into giving the grandkiddos frozen dinners.  Just thought it would be an interesting change.
    Never know-maybe someone will get back to me.  We'll see.  Until then I'm feeding them fresh homemade food from grandma's kitchen.

    6 Replies
  • Nothing Like Home

    Posted on Friday, June 20, 2014

    Nothing Like Home

    As much fun as going away is-nothing says "Fantastic" as much as getting home.  Sometimes that happens for more than just due to the facts that you're out of laundry and/or money.

    Steve had a few days off and wanted to get out of our usual rut.  So we decided to book a couple of days in a quiet (definition:  boring) and inexpensive place (we're still paying off our new dining room).  It has a river that neither of us have any desire to break what's left of our spines on and besides-THAT WATER IS FREEZING COLD!
    We don't gamble and outside of one pretty entertaining show we saw at ½ price-walking was the only thing to do.  The outlet mall was a ghost town, no one goes here to eat-but it was a couple of days we could spend with no one but ourselves.

    However, back at the homestead things did not turn out so calm.
    Adam and Sam watched Pepper for the couple of days.  Pepper loves Toby, Lily and Billy-but he took one look at the new 3 pound tuxedo kitten dubbed Zoey and hissed.  From what I understand-his hissed for 2 of 3 days.  We picked him up and he refused to talk to us until we went to pick up our drama queen.

    Sigh.  When I dropped Lucky off at the pet hotel she went into "shake" mode.  Now I know that most of you think of Chihuahua's as being natural born shakers, but not ours.  She mainly just likes to be cuddled and loved.  Nope-she's a calm girl.   So imagine my guilt when Lucky began to shake uncontrollably and tried hiding in my tee shirt!

    Next morning the manager called to inform me that she had not stopped shaking, had (TMI ALERT) bloody stools and threw up!  I immediately called our FANTASTIC vet, Dr. Kristin Young at Daisy Mountain animal hospital.  

    This woman went in between patients to check up on her and give her medication!!!!  Seems she was so stressed that Lucky gave herself "nervous colitis".   Have any of you pet parents ever had a vet who would do this???  And no, she didn't charge extra! By the time we picked her up a couple of hours ago-her stomach was doing much better and she was so happy to see us she didn't know who to have hold her!  

    Her tail was going like a whirl-y-bird, she was crying, kissing us, leaping from one parent to another and then heard Pepper and started pulling us toward him to make sure it was her brother in that cage!
    Pepper was so happy to see her that he began crying as well.
    We're happy to be back to our home as well.   I've got a very full lap and a very full heart-while I'm not happy my fur kids were out of sorts, I'm glad they missed us.

    0 Replies
  • Father's Day and Anniversaries

    Posted on Friday, June 13, 2014

    Father's Day and Anniversaries

    This is a pretty special Father's Day for us this year! Adam, our son, will be celebrating his very first one.  If that isn't special, what is?  It's so hard to believe that he's been a dad for 10 months already.  And no matter how hard we all keep trying to teach Jackson to say, "Momma"-he still answers with, "Daddee".

    I know how that is-Sarah didn't call Steve "daddy"-but before she said "mommy", she would go around the house calling, "honnneeeeyyyy".  

    Adam's a very hands on dad.  Mondays and Tuesdays he and Jackson spend together.  Besides the usual parental care, he's also finally catching on to needing to help out with household chores.  It's a wonderful relationship to watch grow and change.

    Because of the heat, I took the older boys and met Adam and Sam at the community water park in the late afternoon.  It was Jackson's first time in the center.  While Dylan and Aidan went down the myriad of long slides, we watched from under the sanity of an umbrella.  At 5 p.m. it was a very hot 111 outside.

    The next morning I texted Adam and asked if he wanted to join us after Jackson's morning nap for a cool down.  We spent there until the lunchtime stomach grumbles began and then went to Subway for lunch.  Adam ordered up a kid's meal for his little "me".  Jackson tried to chew peeled and diced apple bits, fresh French bread and some avocado and cheese.

    Let's just say that I'm sure someone was going to need a bit more food that was soft in nature upon getting home.

    This Sunday Adam's working-so we'll all be up at the crack of 7 and meet at the same place we had Mother's Day breakfast.  It's a popular and close local spot (this can be deciphered as-one of 4 places in our rural community that's open during the morning hours).  It's special because once you've celebrated your "first" of anything-it really can't be done again.

    Speaking of firsts-I mentioned "anniversaries" in my title-This weekend is also the first anniversary of Steve and my very first date.  Yes, Saturday is the 34th celebration of what brought 2 young people together and the lives they've created for an ever-growing family.

    So, while I'm not allowed to toast with champagne-I will simply say to my husband, "I love you and so glad we didn't meet at that awful group for Jewish singles.  My front door was so much better."

    0 Replies
  • The Heat is Really On

    Posted on Friday, June 6, 2014

    The Heat is Really On

    I had to laugh out loud-our nephew, a nurse for Fresno County in California posted on FaceBook, "109 on a Monday?"

    As our 7-1/2 year old grandson has a fondness of saying, "Welcome to my world".

    According to my sister-in-law Ila, Lucas was not happy about a possible week's worth of this temperature.  I'm still chuckling at this-we have triple digits of anywhere from 110-120 from Mid-May until late September.  If we're lucky, the overnight temps dip to a nice "chilly" 85.

    When I pointed this well-known fact as an answer on his post-I did not even get the slightest of internet groans.  I'm guessing he figures we chose to move here.  But, really, he chose to move to Fresno.  At least he's got fresh sun-dried raisins.

    The boys are out of school and seem to be pushing their grandparents to the limit of how we will all survive the summer.  I've personally taken them to the "big" splash pad twice, grandpa went with us the other evening and I've driven them around the corner to the splash pad at the outlet mall out of desperation for both my sanity and Lucky and Pepper's well-being.

    Pepper's nearing in on 11 in a couple of months.  He loves the boys, but after about the first 4 hours of them insisting on tossing HIS toys around the house for THEIR enjoyment he starts looking at them in a not so friendly glare.

    Lucky is missing her walks.  Aidan has a thing with his feet that makes them hurt after about one lap of the park.  Plus, Lucky wasn't receptive to the cute booties we bought to protect her feet from the heat and after the same lap-she's done her "duties" and wants me to carry her the rest of the way.

    I am now using the treadmill.  Not scenic-I assure you.
    The heat is also on metaphorically.  In the last two weeks, the boys had to endure the lobby of the fanciest and nicest place I've ever been for my mammogram. I'm sure this is what a medi-spa is-and covered by our PPO!  I was offered a plush robe, quiet music, comfy seats and homemade cookies with coffee, tea and water.  Too bad for grandpa and the boys-I was there for almost 4 hours.  

    Don't ask.  Just glad at the end of the session all was declared "Good for another year".

    Then came two other doctors' appointments and an epidural.
    I was pretty sure I had the worst part of the deal with the epidural-the assistant told me, "he really loaded you up-8 injections."  The doctor also suggested that "as good as you are about my torture; you really should consider the sedation.  I know these are really painful."

    But by the reactions of the men, you'd have thought I was waiting the half hour for them and they got the shots.
    And so goes the summer of heat.  

    Dear Lucas-enjoy your few days of triple digits.  It makes for a nice change and then you can really appreciate the weather when it goes back down to the upper 80's.

    2 Replies
  • Going Home-Both Ways

    Posted on Friday, May 30, 2014

    Going Home Both Ways

    My daughters and I went on a "road trip" with Aidan, Jackson and Lucky.  It was a pretty good trip all in all.  It was great to see my family and catch up.  Didn't really do very much-but it was fun.

    While Sam and Jackson headed out with her mom and sisters for the weekend after dinner Thursday, the rest of us remained at my sister's home.  Sarah made arrangements to see friends Friday.  While everyone else did their thing (you know, work), Aidan and I made some plans for us and Lucky!

    Aidan's request was to go to the dinosaur park at the community center.  We walked down the "creepy" staircase located next to my sister's home with my pup and had a great time.  Aidan found a little girl to play with while I chatted with another grandma who lived in Palm Springs.  Obviously, we had a lot in common!  Later-some playing in my sister's pool, despite the overcast skies and cool temperatures.

    This was Lucky's first road trip.  She wasn't sure why she was in the car and was scared to death when we arrived at my sister's and she saw all these "strangers" plus the two very friendly dogs who resided there.

    She was shaking like the proverbial leaf and dug her head in my neck.  Eventually (2 hours) she decided no one meant her any harm and slowly lowered herself to my lap and then the floor.  They played fine the rest of the vacation.

    Only thing she didn't want any part of?  Doing her business in their yard!  Thank goodness for the neighborhood full of interesting smells.

    Saturday was spent relaxing by the pool, buying my mom's Mother's Day gift (her choice were new orchid plants) and more relaxing.

    Sunday had my sister taking my parents to a funeral.  Sarah and Aidan went to Universal Studios to test out the new Despicable Me ride and the rest of the park.  Lucky and I hung out with Dave, my brother-in-law and Jonathon, our nephew.  I learned a lot about their hobbies!  Dave has always loved his very extensive and unique shell collecting from all over the world.  Jonathon is quite the aquarium expert!  He also taught Aidan quite a bit about the fish, including how the loss of a favorite one feels as bad as the loss of a furry pet and how to introduce some new ones to the "top dogs".  Jonathon let Aidan help feed them, clean some of it, bury the deceased one and learn about how to thin out the ever re-producing snails.  He also showed him how an encased jellyfish (a gift that's really a paperweight) glows in the dark.

    For 6-year-old Aidan this was quite the highlight!  When I asked him if it was neat to have a cousin, he told me, "Yes, especially when they're a cool cousin grandma!"

    The trip home was arduous however.  Poor Jackson hated being confined, yet again, to his car seat.  Aidan tried to keep him entertained with funny faces, duets with grandma and "puffs".  Lucky was none too happy about being put into her crate for the first and only time during the trip when we made a lunch stop either.

    The worst part though?  Yours truly made the most stupid move of her life!  Sigh.  I realized about an hour into our trip that I had a lot more leg room than the first trip.  I looked down.  I had my camera case, I had a bag of books to read to the boys, I obviously had the kennel-what I didn't have was my PURSE!!!

    We called my sister-yep, there it was in the bar area along with Lucky's bag of bowls and dog food.

    Sarah said "No way am I turning back!  Tell Auntie to overnight it."

    Overnight on Memorial Day means I didn't get it back until Wednesday afternoon.


    Too say this was an inconvenience is a total understatement.  I never realized just how important the contents of my purse were.  Besides the "nothing" things such as lip balm and tissues, I had to go without important things like: house keys, car keys, wallet-which contained credit cards, driver's license and medical cards and my smartphone.



    Steve and I are going back on Father's Day.  Good thing too-Lucky wasn't too enthralled with her new makeshift bowls for her daily dining pleasures.

    2 Replies