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Carine’s Blog

  • I Love August

    Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2016

    I know you are all thinking I’m crazy-but there’s some “method” to my loving August in the desert:


    Yes!  Monday, August 8th-the boys will be back in school.

    It was hard enough when they were really little to keep them busy between grades but now?

    Well-let’s just say I applaud our local librarians and the volunteers.  Without them I’m not quite certain I would’ve kept my sanity for the last two years.  They are FAN-FREAKIN‘-TASTIC!

    The volunteers sponsor the summer library reading program.  As you saw from a few pictures the boys were kept quite involved in creating everything from solar ovens and solar meals to stress balls and tee shirts.  This past week was the last of “Maker Camp” and the Thursday morning “Open House” events.  

    The boys made their own coasters with plastic beads, vanity buttons and were allowed to have a last afternoon of both lego creating and electrical robot activities.  On Thursday morning it was “Celebrating the Olympics Around the World“-they made their own “Gold” cookie medals, Felt medals, tattoos, balloon ping pong, soda bottle bowling, made their own “torches” and so many other crafts.

    In general, going to the park is out after 11 a.m., the boys refuse to wear the under armor shirts and it’s too hot to entertain the pool even with the added protection.  There are sun “sails” over the areas but that only works when the sun is straight overhead.  Otherwise-you have that blazing heat coming in sideways.

    Next week, in lieu of these activities, I’m using our HOA community center and hoping that there will be some other kids to play:  ping pong, foosball, basketball or whatever else is around.  It’s supposed to be total monsoon weather and 112, so I’m doubting even a toe dip at the water park or a few laps in the pool will be possible.

    Back to loving August.  I will love being able to NOT breaking up sibling fisticuffs, hearing that everything is “boring” (didn’t that used to start around the teen years????) and feeling as if I somehow was given a position as head cook in a diner.  

    It’s going to still feel wonderful to get in the pool and do water aerobics in the morning and it will still be easy to walk at 6 in the a.m. twice a week (especially after my 3 faint-worthy injections to the most pesky knee).  Still won’t be thinking “the cooler weather is near at hand“.  Summer will be in complete full swing.  

    Going to the market without hissing “Dyl, Aidan-behave!”  will be really nice.

    I love those boys with all my heart, wouldn’t have the summers any other way-except “all good things must come to an end“, even if it just goes from having them from 7-6 to 3-6.  It’s a nice toss up in the schedule and in our lives.

    Just to be sure we re-establish grandpa/grandma time alone-I’m skipping my water class as you read this and Steve and I are taking the “harrah’s coach bus” to a local casino for a few hours of totally unlike us frolicking.

    They do the driving, give us $10 to play with and bring us back to our parked car!  Yes!  August is almost here, I hear the school bell gearing up to ring and the finish line on another summer vacation period coming to a calm and peaceful end.

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  • Human Pin Cushion

    Posted on Friday, July 22, 2016

    Funny and sad:  I am a human pin cushion.

    It is NOT pleasant.  I feel like a Dr. Seuss book:

    I do not like a needle in the house,

    I do not like a needle with a mouse,

    I do not like them with some ice,

    I do not like them-they are NOT nice.

    This is the thing when you have chronic illnesses-you don’t have a choice.

    My week thus far?  

    Monday:  Mammogram (clear!), DEXA scan (sorry, Carine let’s try osteoporosis medicine #3 and hope for some improvement-in the meantime, don’t let anyone hug you without it being in “air” quotes) and two gel injections to each one of my hips.

    The needles HURT!

    Tuesday:  Time for my 6 week blood tests.  4 vials.  Lovely.

    Wednesday:  Oh joy!  Time for my Humira injection.  Being a big needle with an acid base, let me just say I think Steve’s hearing loss is partially due to my screaming as the meds enter my body.

    And wait, that’s not all!  Oh no!

    My “shoulder/knee” guy got approval to torture my most offending knee with orthovisc.

    I know I shouldn’t have done it but I looked up “patient reviews” on these gel injections.  


    A few people said they fainted from the pain!  A neighbor said she had them and hopes it works better for me than it did her.  Pointing out that she didn’t want to finish the series but felt she had no choice once she paid for and went through 2/3’s of the effort.  Thank goodness I had the wherewithal to set them up on Steve’s day off.  Now the nurse told me not to read the reviews as it wasn’t that bad.  Really?  Dollars to donuts they hurt as much as at least the Humira.  Epidurals are a cakewalk compared to that.  

    And oh how lucky-three of them, exactly one week apart.  One of them-I also get my Humira injection on the same day.

    Some days I really just want to scream.  I really do-and then to offset things, I take it to a very literal level.  I’d try and run, but that’s not in my “game” plan anymore.

    Just am feeling a might “pissy” today.  Next week, back to my regularly scheduled breakdown.

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  • TMI

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016

    WARNING:  TMI to follow

    Yes, this past week has been quite arduous.  After the “bath” incident last week I realized that Lucky was in desperate need of her usual 8 week mani/pedi.  For some reason the back paws are never that long, but oh those front ones!  I liken them to “witch talons“.  

    So, I called the vet and made an appointment for Thursday morning.  The night before Lucky started with a whole new routine that I can only compare to that of a newborn humanoid.

    Her “usual” is to do one last potty at 10, then she begs me to take her to bed.  She spins around under the sheet a few times and curls up next to my waist, sighs and starts her heavy breathing sleep until about 6 a.m..

    Well, last Wednesday night she did do that part and then proceeded to wake us up at 1, 3:25, 5:30 and then the alarm went off at 5:40 so we could go meet my friends for our Thursday morning 6 a.m. walk.

    Ugh.  Lucky didn’t even make it to Adam’s house.  At mid-block she wanted in her “chariot“.  Took her at the appointed time for her mani/pedi and mentioned her nighttime activity to the tech.

    She gave me the following suggestions:  Buy new dry food container (turns out the plastic absorbs the oils from the food and then leeches the oil and bits of the plastic back into it), return the “new” dental sticks and give her the old ones.

    Her problem?  Let’s just say we’d be heading for the ducolax and wondering if our kidneys had a blockage if we had these symptoms.

    Steve and I went dutifully to Wal-Mart that night, took care of our returns and our new purchases.  While we were at it-we bought Pepper a new container as well.

    Done.  But not really.

    Thursday and Friday nights were clones of Wednesday.  By now, Steve, Pepper, Lucky and I were resembling zombies.  Vet asked a few more questions, gave a few more suggestions and then said to bring her in Monday afternoon.

    Saturday she got us up at 4 and 5.  Hey, that was almost doable-since I slept from 10-4.  Steve not so much as he had to watch “Dirty Grandpa“.  Don’t ask, let’s just say Steve will watch anything, almost, that comes under the heading of “movie“.

    Now we were at Sunday night.  Still woke us up.  Twice.

    By Monday’s appointment I resembled a person who had been told to quit her coffee habit more than my usual perky self.  Lucky’s big brown eyes had visible “bags” under them.

    Our wonderful Dr. Young took a stomach x-ray, poked and prodded and found not kidney and/or bladder stones (good thing), no evidence of constipation BUT what she did find was that her lady glands were totally impacted.  Hence her wanted to go but not being able too!

    Lucky endured having her temperature taken, a digital exam, held down for the x-ray and then having the glands squeezed out.  

    By the time Dr. Young brought her back to me she was whimpering and stuck her head in my neck.

    The vet said that she’d be tired enough that she should sleep very well.  Told me to monitor her as she still could have a bladder infection but to see how she did overnight.

    Lucky slept from 10-3.  Woke up, threw up on the sheets and then curled up in a ball and fell back asleep until the alarm went off for our Tuesday walk.

    Turned out to be her best walk in over a month!  Yep, walked a full mile before she asked to be put into her stroller, then she asked to get out for the last 1/4 mile.  She left no pebble unwatered and made me glad I always go prepared with at least 3 doggy bags tied onto her leash.

    Pepper even noticed how much better she feels and is constantly pawing at her to come knock one of their mini-tennis balls around.

    Steve and I are just glad she’s back to normal, sleeping well and that hopefully that’s the last sheet change for a week.

    Parenting is parenting.  Whether your kids have 2 or 4 legs.  You worry, you fret, you look for guidance from those in the know and hope that no matter what the answer is you can use the information and have them running around driving you crazy in no time.

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  • You! You Washed My Dog!

    Posted on Friday, July 8, 2016

    A few days ago,  I decided that Lucky really needed a bath. She smelled like cat spit.

    She got that way from being “loved” by Pepper (evidently one too many times). She saw her plastic tub come out and looked worried.  She saw the water running and the towel being laid out on the counter.  The “dance of anxiety” got faster and she began to run for the safety of the area under the dining room table which is also her favorite stuffed animal’s residence.  

    I’m guessing that since that little raccoon is her “lovey“, she figured that it would protect from what was coming next.

    Thankfully, as soon as I shook the treat bag she came running.  Didn’t even have to open it.  But I swooped her up and gently put her into the waiting warm water.  As with most animals, she spent the entire torturous 7 minutes (I looked for my own curiosity sake) either looking up at me with those huge brown eyes or crying in my armpit.

    I felt horribly guilty.

    Once I knew all the buttermilk shampoo and conditioner were completely rinsed I put her on the ground.  She did enjoy the toweling off and being told she smelled and looked adorable.  Even though her fur is very short, she gave herself a rather good shake and toddled off to show Pepper that she was clean.

    Pepper was not happy.  He  spent the rest of his afternoon zooming on top of all the furniture and pouncing on her. She kept running to me for help. Poor little girl!  He smelled her ears, her privates and gave her the fish eye.  I suppose it is an arduous task to kiss/bathe a dog only slightly smaller than you and give her the scent that says, “This is my baby, no mess with her.”

    So from 4:15 on Pepper was really out of sorts.  Lucky just wanted a good nap after such an exhausting activity.  

    Finally, at 8:30 Pepper decided to crawl into my lap, Lucky was sleeping right next to me.  So he gave her another long smell and settled down.  Since he’s 13, it’s hard to say if he finally stopped his hysteria out of old guy exhaustion or he finally got used to her clean aroma and figured it was time to give up trying to “fix” the missing Pepper perfume.

    I guess I shouldn’t have messed with the perfection he personally spent hours making sure he bestowed on her.  But I have to say, sleeping was a lot more pleasant for one of us.  Now if only I could figure out how to get Pepper into the plastic bathtub...

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  • I Just Realized

    Posted on Friday, July 1, 2016

    Steve’s aunt and her friend came for a visit this past weekend.  I start with this bit of news because it made me realize that even though it’s getting to two years since our home was burglarized that I may not be as observant as I once was in the matter of what more was taken from our home during that fateful day.

    For those who want a slight re-hash of the event:

    After Steve left for work on September 18th, 2014 at 9:30 and before I arrived home at 11:15 a “professional” burglary ring broke into our home and wiped us out.  Thankfully the pets weren’t hurt but still it was a violation that took us a month to fix physically.  Emotionally, I swear at times I think we‘re still a might shaken.

    Hence, we live in a very protected environment complete with cameras, sensors, security company, security doors and some other implemented ideas given to us by the local sheriff’s department.

    Back to our family visit.  Our aunt’s friend had lost a backing to one of her earring and asked if I happened to have an extra?  Without even thinking about it, I said “of course, let me go find one“.

    Went into our closet where I swore my metal file box sat on the floor of my side of the walk-in to find some for the friend to choose amongst.  

    Problem.  That box I thought I had been seeing (I rarely-okay never-switch earrings since Steve gave me my diamonds studs on our 17th anniversary) for all this time was JUST NOT THERE!

    How does a woman not notice her box of earrings has NOT been sitting in a closet she goes into several times a day for well over a year and a half?

    So much for coming to the aid of our house guest!

    Most of what was in the dented box was just fun earring I wore in my 30’s, but I did have a pair of gold hoops that a dear family friend had left me, 2 pairs of silver earring from our very first cruise that we got in Puerto Vallarta and a couple of others that I really liked.  

    Obviously I haven’t worn any of them in literally years, but it was yet another blast of that horrible day and that even though it’s in the past it still seems to be making sure it will always be kept in both the present and unfortunately the future.

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  • Not a Cali Girl Anymore

    Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2016

    Funny how much change can happen in 3-1/2 years.  I was told by a very wise young man at a Five Guys restaurant that “you acclimate after the first year“.  It was August, Steve was doing his 3rd interview for his present job and I was trying to beat the 115 degree day since there were no indoor malls in that part of Scottsdale-I must have looked ready to die because the young man wouldn’t even let me pay for my drink-just handed me a cup and gasped.

    Fast forward to now and we‘re in the midst of our 4th summer, it’s 115 outside at 10 a.m. and I’m just piling through the day with Dylan and Aidan.  Can’t go to the water park, the pool or the splash pads-it’s as the song says, “Too Darn Hot“.

    This week has been rather rough.  After hosting Father’s Day dinner, the kids all left, dinnerware was washing and it was a mere 112 at 10 p.m..  Then IT happened.  The air-conditioning unit blew out.

    Do you have even an inkling of what it’s like to sleep in 95 degrees with fans blowing hot air around and sharing my side of the bed with a 7 pound cat on one side (head resting on my shoulder) and a 6 pound dog along the opposite side?  

    Let me tell you:  YOU DON‘T!

    By 5 a.m. Steve and I realized we were in trouble.  Except Steve had the luck of going to work.  I left early for my water aerobics class and stayed late.  The pool felt GREAT.  Got home and Steve had contacted the home warranty company and set up a repair for the next day.  Between 1-5.

    It’s really nice to have our son and daughter living at the end of the block.  We were invited (pets and all) to stay there until the a/c was fixed.

    Thankfully, the repair person came at 2 and said the heat had blown the capacitor.  He fixed it and we were able to move back in around 5.  Pepper was pretty happy about that-at 13 he isn’t happy about even the slightest change in his daily routine of playing fetch, teasing Lucky and sleeping.  He peed on Jackson’s rug and then did the opposite in our closet once we got home.

    Which brings me to how we know that we are now Arizonans and not Cali “transplants“:

    1-We don’t expect cold water out of any of our cold water taps.

    2-We keep an ice chest in my trunk so we can buy a bag of ice when grocery shopping to make sure our food arrives home in edible condition and not cooked.

    3-We know how to pronounce Cholla, Papago, Haboob and Saguaro, plus-we know what they mean to us here in AZ.

    4-Even when we park in the shade, we put in a customized sunscreen in the windshield and keep a towel in reach so we can touch the steering wheel.

    5-You will never see us walking around without a bottle of water.

    6-We expect to use the clause in our car insurance policies that give us new windshields.  Cracks are just part of the charm of living here.

    7-Just because we have a community pool doesn’t mean you will see us using it after 10 a.m. because we know we can still get sunstroke.

    8-We never walk barefoot.  Outside we‘re asking for burned feet/possible stings or inside where we could still get a scorpion bite.

    9-Just because we hear the thunder, see the lightning and “feel” the moisture-this doesn’t mean we expect rain.  And when we get it-we‘re not sure if it will dry before hitting the ground or flood the entire area.

    10-We expect to lose power at least twice during the summer months.  How long?  Does it really matter?

    11-When it does rain and we happen to be driving we pull off the road because we don’t know how to turn on our wipers, they probably won’t work and besides the rain is usually hitting so hard that it will break the hot glass.

    12-We think the house is cold when it’s 80 inside after we’ve let our dogs out to potty in 110 degrees.

    13-Unless we golf-we don’t know what grass is anymore.

    14-Before I let the dog out, I check for rattlesnakes, owls, hawks, bobcats and coyotes.  Lucky is the perfect size snack for all of these and all of them have visited our yard at some point since moving here.

    15-We don’t decorate for Christmas-but those who do decorate cacti because there’s not a fir tree anywhere in the community.

    And that is life here in AZ.  Despite what you’ve just read, it’s a beautiful place that I’m proud to be living in.  Finally.

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