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Carine’s Blog

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  • I Love Autumn

    Posted on Friday, October 18, 2013

    I Love Autumn

    A few weeks ago something wonderful happened.  

    WE GOT A BREAK IN THE HEAT!

    Yes, one morning, as Lucky and I reached the kitchen door we were greeted not by a burst of extremely hot air-but by a bit of a nip!  

    Okay, the "nip" was still 85 degrees, but as opposed to the 105+ mornings, this had me thinking, "hmmmm, should I go grab my robe????"

    I kid you not.  

    Then I realized that if I could get my joints moving fast enough, Lucky and I could actually go take a walk!
    Woo Hoo!  You didn't see it, but this had me really immersing my feet and hands into some hot water so I could accommodate this wish.  

    From that point on, Lucky and I have a date 4-6 times a week to get up and out for a return of our morning constitutions.  We are LOVING it!  It's just warm enough that neither of us have a need for a sweater and Lucky doesn't need to worry about how hot the cement or asphalt is-we're both happy.  

    After all, I've been using the treadmill all summer-but poor Lucky has well, how can I put this nicely?  Our little 5.7 pound Chihuahua has gotten what the vet termed, "fluffy".  She weighed in at 7.2 pounds.

    Poor baby.  She only gets ¼ cup of dry food and NOW she's getting 2 tablespoons of wet food and a half of a toy sized denti-stix.  The vet said, "Theoretically she's not getting too much food (we had been giving her ¼ C of wet food with the kibble), but this type of Chihuahua for some reason has a slower metabolism than the ones with longer legs."

    We were told to cut her wet food intake in half and come back for a weight check in a month.  The thought is that with our being able to walk her again and cutting back on her food she should be able to lose some of her "fluffiness".

    Back to our weather.  Here in the desert we have no fall colors.  Now I'm used to that.  In Orange County we pretty much stayed green all year round.  Here we have a lot of cacti, mesquite and very little in the way of color.  I was just thrilled to see some little blossoms on some sort of plant in the yard that gave us a bit of yellow, fire orange and a bit of red.  If only for a few days.

    I miss my roses.  I miss my mint.  I did see someone with a rosemary shrub while walking the other day-so I'm thinking that despite the fact that my seeds never broke ground-I'm certain if a get one of those in a pot I could make some of that grow and see some of the purple  buds next season.  Plus I could have some for cooking again.

    Most people love seeing the arrival of Spring-I did as well, but here where Spring means that we will soon be "living on the face of the sun", I'm enjoying the morning walks, not sweating in the house and we're beginning to eat on our patio once again.  We bought that fancy misting fan and only used it once.  

    Maybe Steve could hook it up-but then again maybe we could just sit outside after dinner and use the fire pit?  I know we've had requests for another s'mores bar!  Sounds great for a nice Autumn family dinner.


    2 Replies
  • Working with Kids and Pets

    Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013

    Kids and Pets

    Was it W.C. Fields who said, "Never work with kids and pets"?

    No matter.   I've made a few realizations of late that have to do with both:

    Since learning how to post photos and videos-my hits have gone was up.  Especially when I post ones of our family's latest additions.

    I'm enjoying writing about family life and being a grandma.  It seems that for whatever reason-you all are enjoying my musings.  I'll take it and give you more.

    Believe me, I'm going to add some of our handsome older "dividends" –I'm always trying to get some updates of them.  Not as easy to do when they realize that making faces and being clowns is an entertaining way to get their 15 minutes of family fame.

    What I wanted to post was the proof that our Pepper really loves our Lucky.  Yes, I captured a video of what has become a morning ritual around the old ranch home-Lucky barking at Pepper to give her a bath and then being cleaned from her nose to literally her tail.  I got the entire thing!  

    You haven't seen it-why?  Because it appears that the "file" is too darn big!  Steve shrunk it down.  Still didn't work.  I've tried to just get a little clip-but unlike Jackson talking and smiling at Sam and it ending with a rousing "spit" of milk-I just can't get them to have another public performance. (Then I heard that the sound isn't there!)

    Seems that after that first show they became quite camera shy.  Maybe Pepper doesn't want anyone of his feline contingency seeing him accepting the job of dad to a Chihuahua.  Or (hey we don't know this isn't what it is!) maybe he's feeling less than loyal to his original "mom" and thinks that Sunshine might be looking down on his new life here in the desert and is hurt by his new devotion to a different canine.

    Bedtime has also become a bit of a challenge.  Pepper has slept in my left armpit with his head on my chest for 10 years.  Lucky also prefers the left side-but under the sheet (we still don't use blankets!) and in the stomach region.  I'm only 5'1-1/2" so if you think about it-this doesn't really leave much "personal" space for either one of them.  Or me.

    Plus-have you ever seen how long an 8 pound cat and a 5.7 pound Chihuahua become when they're both trying to secure their sleeping spots????

    Let me tell you-it's a lot.

    Pepper has decided the best way to "have his cake and eat it too" is to wait until he can paw at the sheet right next to Lucky and she doesn't move, then he can sit on my chest and do his "rollover" into his usual spot.  

    Since I can't sleep on my right side do to my bad shoulder-I AM STUCK in this position until one of two things happen:
    I have to desperately go to the bathroom OR the sun starts to come up which wakes both of them up and then they start their morning job of waking me up.

    This too is not an easy event.  Mornings are just not my best moments.  My hands and feet do not work.  My shoulder is stabbing me.  My back, hips and the remaining joints don't want to lubricate and move.  Lately –I've been letting Steve know that he's got to get Lucky out before our "baby with a tiny bladder" can no longer hold what's in it any longer.

    Another change of note-in the mornings the temperatures have been really quite gorgeous.  So once I can move, I now take Lucky and I for a nice walk in the neighborhood.  Thankfully the thermometer doesn't see itself hitting the 90 degree mark until around noon, so we go out for about a half hour sometime between 10 and 11.  I could go on (and usually do, but on the treadmill) but a toy-sized pooch can only go so far.  Sometimes she begs me to pick her up and carry her for the last little bit.

    Lucky is very protective too.  The boys came over and we walked to the farthest park (about .6 miles from the house). While the boys played, Lucky and I kept walking around the area.  Then it happened.

    First a family with two pit bulls walked by.  Then a Rottweiler and a spaniel.  A Labrador and a Scottie finished the parade.  Thankfully, Lucky was harnessed and leashed.  Believe it or not, while the other dogs just walked on by-our fierce beast was barking and baring teeth at all of those huge animals as if to say, "Just try and come near them and I'll show you who's boss."

    The other pet parents laughed, the boys laughed.  Ever the mom, I told Lucky I was proud of how brave she was and gave her a big kiss-just not in front of the others.  Never want to give one of my kids a complex.


    0 Replies
  • I'm Peeved

    Posted on Thursday, October 3, 2013

    When Will it End?

    Nothing in particular mind you-but I'm getting a bit sick of hearing the stupidity of people in general.
    My top pet peeves?

    1-People who abuse and neglect their children.  I'm imagining most people hate these poor excuses for human beings.

    2-I'm sure you can guess-those awful people who abandon and abuse animals.

    Both children and pets are not necessities-they're joys and privileges.  If you don't want or can't go through with the care and feeding of them-just admit it and be a person who has neither.

    3-People who have nothing to say about others beliefs except negative remarks.

    Excuse me, our country was built on being a melting pot of diversity.  Rather than denigrate others-learn what they're about!  I'm not saying that you have to agree-but all of us have something to learn from those who believe and think differently than us.  It's not a crime to have an opposite viewpoint.

    4-I'm not going to eat bugs and things, but being a foodie-I think we should all be open to trying new cultural dishes.  Whether it's a new herb or spice, cooking method, protein or switching up to trying a savory soup for breakfast rather than a bowl of cereal!

    5-Neighbors who refuse to even say hello.  I don't know about your block but we've been here for almost a year and do you know we haven't even seen the face of anyone who lives next door?  Not one person came over and introduced themselves.  Our son said we had it easy!

    Last year Sam's mom sent her birthday flowers that were delivered next door since they weren't home.  When they went to retrieve the gift-the neighbor rudely gave them the bouquet and said, "this isn't a good time to introduce ourselves."  And with that he shut the door.  So far, it has never been a good time.

    I thought that once I started walking Lucky I'd finally get acquainted with some of the other pet parents.  One lady with an older Goldie mix that looked slightly like Sunshine was quite nice-but I only saw her the one time.  A man was at the mailbox with his pooch a few weeks ago and when I said "hi", he nodded and turned away.

    Really?  Is it that hard for people to say hello?  I was told by another woman (she talked to us because it turned out she was a teacher's aide in Dylan's class last year) that we should be receiving an invite to a block party by mid-month.  "They do it every year so we can meet all the newbies and form a better neighborhood watch."  When I mentioned that we closed escrow October 4th of last year and my husband never saw any such invitation-she looked puzzled.  

    That's my rant for the week.  I'm sure if I wanted to sit here and think harder I'd come up with more.

    Oh wait-number 6 pet peeve.  People who have pet peeves.


    4 Replies
  • Things are "Fall"ing into Place

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013

    Things are Falling into Place
    This past week we all saw Summer leave us (pun intended) and Autumn arrive. I am loving it.
    It was with great pleasure that at 10 p.m. on Thursday the 19th I took Lucky out for her last "potty" of the day and was thrilled to realize that it was NOT 100 degrees! In fact it felt wonderfully warm-about 85.
    The next morning Steve and I got up and realized that it was only 80 at 7 a.m.! The strong breeze we felt was not blistering-just warm enough to remind us we had only a couple of more days until the season officially changed over. We decided that it was time to get the leash out and start taking Lucky (and us) for a walk.
    I had attempted this feat with Adam and Sam a week or so before and Lucky wasn't sure what is was we were all doing-but she wasn't happy about being put down on the ground.  She was fearing the burning sensation of the pavers in the yard I'm sure.  By the end of the walk though Lily, Billy and Lucky were all happy to have gotten out of their homes for a bit to stretch their legs.

    With the sun and lower temperatures giving us a great opportunity, Steve and I drove up to the outlet mall and enjoyed the misters and the other local pet parents as we window shopped while getting some much needed outdoor activity. At the 30 minute mark, Lucky sat down and begged to be carried the rest of the walk!  Seems as if her parents aren't the only ones who need to get back into shape!

    I've been using the treadmill almost daily, but Steve has come up with more excuses than I thought possible to get out of doing some real exercise.  Even spending the better part of his remaining 4-day work week to install a faucet (totally un-needed and former plumbing salesperson unapproved), then take it out and put the original back in.  He sweated, he was scraped up and bruised, but he did NOT get on the treadmill and exercise.

    Besides being able to get out and enjoy the cooler temps-we're also feeling slightly down about this being the last week for our waterpark to be open.  The pool will still be ready for some swimming for a couple of more months though.
    This entire new season has been a new way for me to look at fall.  Last year at this time I was "home alone" and just about to have some pretty serious hand surgery.  Pepper and I were making sure we had our "provisions", since I would not be allowed to drive for a couple of weeks.  My sister and brother-in-law were helping out, but I wanted to be sure I kept the added "burden" down to a minimum.  Fall in the great and wonder OC is different that here in the desert.

    In OC the weather had already begun to drop into the mid-70's during the day and dipping into the 60's at night.  Here we're still either breaking 100 or just dipping into the upper 90's at 5 p.m..  It feels good.  I'm getting used to my surroundings, we've made some friends, my kids are close and I've found a couple of new publications that I'm enjoying being a part of their writing team.

    My routine is getting set-things really are "Falling into Place".


    2 Replies
  • Did You Hear that Noise??

    Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2013

    What Was That Noise?

    Last week's blog brought the knowledge from a reader that being alone in her home made her "hear" noises that scared the bejibbies out of her.  I had to agree-those 2+ months I spent alone in our home in Orange County made me rather nervous too.

    After all-it was just Pepper and I.  We didn't have any rain, wind or oddities going on, but then I'd never been alone without Steve or a dog before either.  So every little house "sound" had me wondering things such as:  Is someone trying to break in?  Was that water gushing I heard?  Do I hear the gas hissing?

    Plus-I think that since I was recovering from major hand surgery during most of those moments I was having major doubts about my being able to do anything at all about any of the above mentioned catastrophes.

    Now that we've almost been residents of Arizona for a year (the time does go quickly, no?) and we have a fearless Chihuahua named Lucky-I no longer have any worries about those unexplained noises.    

    I know you're all thinking, "A Chihuahua that's 5-1/2 pounds gives her piece of mind?"  I'd have to respond with a resounding YES!

    Sure she's tiny, sweet as they come and cute as a button (please don't say that part's easy since she's almost the size of one) but I don't think any of you would want to come in between our Lucky and any of her perceived dangers when protecting us!

    She's quite protective of not just me either-if a clap of thunder happens; she's herding up Pepper and trying to get him to hide in his post too.  And Lord only knows what she'd do if something odd happened while we're sleeping!  Even when she's buried herself under the linens at the bottom of the bed, if she hears Pepper padding around-she starts barking!

    We had a very nice morning last week, so the two of us joined Sam, Adam, Jackson and their shelties for a walk in their neighborhood.  It was touch and go for the first third of our excursion-the dogs had forgotten what a walk was since it's been too hot to go on one since the beginning of May-yet there was Lucky, protecting us all from passing leaves (it was just a tad of a breeze in the air), the sound of the trash trucks and other cars.

    One passerby said, "That's what those small breeds are all about-they think they're all German Shepherds".

    Now, he said that as if it's a bad thing.  Our first Lucky was a Shepherd mix-we loved her dearly and she protected us from everything and everyone.  She was especially protective of the kids.

    Somehow it's rather comforting to know that no matter where we live, what our cultural background is, how old/young we are or what we do to make ends meet we all have the same worries.

    Right after personal safety, the next major ideas that everyone seemed to be concerned about was our health and what the future held for our children.

    Amazing.  I'm willing to bet that if my questions had been written at the beginning of the 20th century the answers would have been the same.


    3 Replies
  • Let's Get Re-acquainted

    Posted on Thursday, September 12, 2013

    It's Been a While-Let's Get Re-acquainted

    While on FaceBook I found this query from one of my "friends".  I realized that it had been quite a while since one of my blogs had some fun, so here are the questions and my answers, would love to see yours!

    1-What is one of your favorite foods to eat? Let's face it, if you've read this blog a while-you know it's anything veggie.

    2-Where is one of your all-time favorite travel destinations? Love the Caribbean!  We've had 6 trips there and would love to go again for our 35th anniversary in 2016

    3-Who is one of your favorite actors?  Honestly, I don't have one.  I go film by film.

    4-What is one of your favorite movies?  I'm very old school-I like to be entertained.  Not grossed out or disgusted.  I want to feel joy or deep thoughts when I sit for 2 hours.  Since I'm an old dancer-"Singin' in the Rain".

    5-Tell something that you've never shared about you before?  I haven't shared this, but again, if you've read my work at all, you know that family is the driving force in my world.  I'd do almost anything for my kids.  I'm an avid believer in rescuing fur babies and if I could-I'd have a pet rescue.  Any cruelty to innocents such as children and animals truly riles me up.  Shame on those who do it.  They deserve life without parole.  Period.

    6-My biggest concerns?  Same as most of you-the state of our world, what will happen to my kids and grandkids.  Will we ever retire and feel comfortable doing so?  Will my health issues improve?  Will my medical team ever actually be able to help me live a less painful life?

    Now-your answers?


    5 Replies