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Carine’s Blog

  • My Last Day of My 50's

    Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017

    I don’t know how this happened!  How did I get to be 60?  Seems it was just a few minutes ago I was in my early 20’s, getting married and having kids.

    I guess the good news of this is that I went to the rheumatologist yesterday for my regular follow-up and my Prolia shot (nothing says young like those two things) and they weighed me-seems I am 2 pounds less than the day Steve and I were married.

    Somehow though, my body doesn’t look like it did in 1981.  While thanks to Janet Starce’s water aerobics and walks with Lucky and Sunshine I am toned-things aren’t near as “taut” as they once were, yuck.  Plus, I don’t think there’s a single bone or joint that doesn’t hurt.

    I was having coffee with a friend just this morning and she too was lamenting that “why can’t we be spared some of the natural process of getting older?“  For her it was skin that wasn’t tight and firm and she hated that her various body parts looked  like they didn’t belong to her.  

    The graying hair?  Don’t care.  I’ve earned them.  The “laugh lines“?  Earned those too.  The scars and “war” stories?  Means I’ve lived.  

    What does bother me about this milestone birthday?  I used to love wearing knit dresses and high heels.  Now looking at the heels makes me groan.  And the knit dress?  Well, I have a feeling that even though my height and weight ratio is quite good, my ability to “pull off” the tight body hugging long sweater has left the building.

    Even if I could find one that looked really good on me, I’m pretty sure the orthopedic flat shoes would have people smirking.

    All in all, I’m okay with getting older-as many don’t get to have this privilege.  And honestly, 5 months ago I wasn’t all that sure I would see this birthday.  

    That said, “Good bye the decade of my 50’s and Hello to my 60’s”

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  • My Oven's Been Sick

    Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017

    Our new BBQ is finally up and working!  We bought it in the original version of needing a propane tank so Steve had to change it over to natural gas and hook it up.

    Poor guy!  It was far from an easy task.  Adam and Steve put the new grill in the old one’s spot-right by the gas line.  Of course, they unhooked the old one first.  Then Steve took the conversion kit and got right into what he thought was maybe an hour of work.  Nope-three hours later he finally told me to take out the indoor grill pan for the steaks.

    Now I would’ve used the broiler in the top oven, except for one little irritating thing-the panel had died and while it would heat up and do the work it was intended to do, then it had a problem cooling down!  We found that out Thursday night. The repairman came Friday in the a.m..

    I know you‘re all thinking, “So what if it takes longer to cool down?“  That wasn’t actually the entire problem.  The real problem was about an hour after I turned it off-the timer beeper went off, incessantly.  I’d turn it off, it would come back on.  This went on Thursday night for about 2 hours.  Friday too, because I turned on the oven and then remembered what the repairman said.  

    Not sure about Steve, but I was dreaming about the timer going off all night, twice.

    And if that wasn’t annoying enough, I turned on the bottom oven (hey, they aren’t the same unit!) and used it to bake some poppyseed bread for the grandkids snacks.  But that oven began sending out the aroma (loose term) of burnt popcorn.  Plus, my loaves came out burned on the bottom even though I took them out 15 minutes early.

    In Europe and Asia very few homes come equipped with ovens.  I personally don’t know how they survive!  Where/how do they roast veggies, potatoes, bake cookies or a cake or just keep something warm for a few minutes while waiting for either people or other food to be ready????

    Our ovens get used every single day.  Usually multiple times.  I love a good baked oatmeal in the mornings.  Weekends, it warms our plates to keep our waffles warm.  I roast a lot of veggies around here too.  Not being able to do any of this has been frustrating!

    Take the other night, Steve took out a package of beef ribs.  I seasoned them, wrapped them and then they had to pre-bake for 2 hours before he could finish them off on the grill when he got home.
    That was fine, but then Steve asked for either oven fries or tater tots to go with them.

    “Sorry, no can do.  Both will take about 20-30 minutes plus the wait time on getting the oven temp up from 300 to 450.”

    Plus, the house already stunk of burnt popcorn.  I do like popcorn smell, but not when it smells burned.

    As I’m writing this I’m waiting for that text telling me that the repairman is on his way with my new panels.  He is also going to re-calibrate both upper and lower.  

    It may seem like such a minor thing, but it goes right back to that song line, “You don’t know what you’ve til it’s gone.”

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  • Fire, BBQ and Babies

    Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2017

    I suppose it would have been much better to have led with the “baby” both in importance and alphabetically sound technicalities, but Fire seems to draw attention, no?

    Our nephew Lucas and his wife Viola had a baby boy on the 6th-healthy, 8 lbs 5 oz and according to his Facebook posts-dad says he’s quite a “pooper“.  I know TMI, but that’s new parenthood and most of us have been there-reveling in the slightest thing our offspring accomplish.  LOL

    Then Steve’s sister and brother-in-law, who live in the thick of Santa Rosa where all the fires in Northern California are taking place, have been put on alert and are literally living out of suitcases.
    My sister-in-law said that she’s pretending that she’s on a very, very bad vacation.  Plus, her mother was evacuated from her apartment and has been staying with them.  Not much fun there.  

    So far though, the neighborhoods around them are burned to the ground but their little nook is okay.

    I know I’m late for my usual Friday post, but it’s been a rather busy week.  Steve had the last three days off and we had the boys in the afternoon, errands to run and two dogs that were in desperate need of bathing.  For some reason, Sunshine loves to sit in the dirt and sun herself.  That also happens to be their “potty“, so she was number 1 to be put into the sink-ew!  Lucky wasn’t too bad, but since we‘re now in the fall weather and have dipped clear down to the low 90’s-I figured we’d better get this chore done before it gets any cooler.  (Don’t hate me because I live near the face of the sun)

    The real big deal though-our 10 year old BBQ pretty much died and we had to replace it.  We use that particular piece of equipment about 4-6 times a week.  Only time we don’t grill is when it’s raining, which it doesn’t do much in these parts.  This year’s monsoon season gave us only 3 minor storms.

    So Thursday we looked on line and decided it was the choice of 2.  Went to Home Depot and looked at them in person and chose the one that fit our needs and budget best.  Adam helped carry it out to the yard from the truck Steve rented.  Then Steve spent the rest of that day and the next converting it from propane to natural gas.  It really shouldn’t have been that hard to do-but I really think the manufacturers like to make people feel frustrated.  Either way, I had to break down and use the indoor grill pan for our steaks the first night.  Our ovens are on the fritz and the repairman won’t have the parts for those until Tuesday.  Thank goodness for our home warranty!  The top (main) oven has a bum sensor which makes it get hotter after being off for an hour and then beep incessantly for the hour after!  The bottom one, due to the top one works, but is burning things and smells like popcorn.

    This morning, all three grandsons wanted me to go to their opening soccer games.  The older boys, Dylan and Aidan, are on the same team and started at 8.  I told Sarah that I was lucky if I could get my body to bend by 8 these days (remember I haven’t had any RA drugs since mid-June), but I said I’d do my best to be there by 8:30.  Then Jackson was having his first game ever at 9-2 field over.

    Older boys did really well and had a tied score.  Jackson was so excited-until he saw the crowd of people!  Adam went on the field with him and said to have fun.  Nope, wasn’t happening.  He got an attack of the “shys” and started crying, Adam carried him off the field.  We all sat there.  His cousins offered to hold his hand and go on the field with him-NO!  Coach just said “Let me know Bud and I’ll put you in.”  

    Adam finally used bribery-“If you play Jackson, we’ll get a donut after the game.“  That seemed to work!  He went out there, smile on his little face-got the ball and in 30 seconds he had assisted the team’s first goal.  Then he put his head down and cried back to Adam’s lap!  

    At that point, Adam told him that if he wasn’t playing that he was going to have to leave for work, that his boss only approved his being late so he could watch him play.  Jackson wasn’t moved, “Okay daddy, bye-have a nice day.  See you later!”

    With that said, the rest of the family also left mom, Bryce and Jackson on the field.

    It happens.  Stage fright doesn’t have to be on an actual stage!  Next week will hopefully be much better.

    For the most part, I’m impressed that he was able to make those 30 seconds count!

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  • One Weary World

    Posted on Friday, October 6, 2017

    This past week has been quite a tragic eye-opener, no?

    I’m, of course, talking about Las Vegas and the debacle that is now known around the world.  We all hear the stories of loss, panic, terror and grief-to say “it’s awful” is a total understatement and yet, there’s not really any stronger language that fits.

    My sister, Felicia and our niece Morgan along with their friend Cherokee were there.  Went for a girls’ weekend of music and fun.  Instead, they got to be part of something they never imagined.

    Fortunately, they were about 10’ from the stage when “all hell broke loose” and the three of them went for cover under the stage.  They were physically unhurt-but emotionally that’s another story.

    Felicia commended Hooter’s for getting them into a hotel room sometime after 4 a.m.. The area was in total lockdown and they weren’t allowed to go back to their original hotel.  Their phones were almost dead from letting everyone know they weren’t part of the casualties.  Both my sister and niece had just completed their First Aid/CPR course and let the first responders know in case they’d like a couple of extra hands.

    As they finally got into the elevator, there was another concert-goer there with the telltale wristband that all attended received, he said, “These wristbands mean we‘re all connected for life“.  

    Probably.  How sad.

    They finally got a flight out of Vegas late that night.  John Wayne airport/Southwest Airlines greeted all the passengers with numerous signs telling them they were glad they came home and that they supported and loved them all.  Says something about both, no?

    First thing my sister did was call their HMO to set up some counseling.  Per the office-so many others had called in that they were bringing in extra trauma counselors as well as getting them in that morning.

    Obviously questions still abound on the typical news questions about this horrible crazy person, but honestly, judging from how his brother looked, he and we will never know how a seemingly “normal guy” turned into this monster without anyone noticing-including his girlfriend.

    Lately, this world has been turning in a completely different axis than what it should.  It’s all terrible.
    I hope we can do more of the good and helpful and change back to a less violent world before there’s not one left.

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  • Time Flies

    Posted on Friday, September 29, 2017

    As you can tell from the photo of Pepper, he’s no longer the 1 pound kitten with the deformed front paws that Sunshine #1 fell in love with and adopted as her own baby.  It’s so hard to believe he’s now 14!

    Unless he sits a certain way, no one notices his slight imperfection and now HE is the one who has taken the lead of adopting not one, but two dogs!  He loves those two-teases them like any big brother does and hates when they go outside for even the slightest bit of time.

    As soon as we come in from what I now call a “walk“, he’s right at the door meowing at them and smelling who they’ve been around.

    He can no longer do “the bedtime roll“, too much for his joints I’m imagining.  The “roll” is when he sits on my chest, bonks my forehead and literally rolls into my armpit and falls asleep for the night.  These days, he takes quite a bit of time lowering his body into the same area, sighs audibly and then it’s lights out.  

    Other than that, our old guy leaps over safety gates, jumps up to his food bowl and sits at the table while we eat.  He runs after the girls and swats them from his two favorite hiding places-the inside of our reclining La-Z-Boy sofa and from underneath one of the dining room chairs that are formally dressed.  He is picky about his food and knows how to get exactly what he wants by staring at me from the kitchen and then looking down at his bowl.

    Pepper is what a cat should be:  loving, independent, cuddly and playful.  Sometimes, he’s all of these at the same time!

    A friend who saw the photo below asked if he was really as long as he looked or was it just the angle I snapped the picture at?  I assured her that he is the personification of “a long drink of water“!  He’s 7 lbs, 9 oz and when he stands up on his hind legs to get my attention he literally hits my waist.

    Granted I’m only 5‘1“, but that a tad over a 30” reach!

    My deepest hope is that next year at this time I can say that he’s now 15 and doing the same things he can do now.

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  • Saving a Bundle

    Posted on Friday, September 22, 2017

    Steve and I are extremely proud of our efforts at the grocery stores this week!  We are VERY good at saving on our food bills.  We sometimes are a little too good, but it somehow works out in our favor-most of the time!

    This week our freezer was already at the “Fibber McGee” closet point when Steve saw that the Friday special deals at one market had sockeye salmon on sale for $5 a pound.  Fresh, not “previously frozen“.  We eat a lot of fish around here.  So, with that in mind and the fact that on Friday Steve didn’t have to go into work until mid-morning, we went to the market to go and get the salmon.

    Okay, we didn’t drive there early in the morning for just salmon.  There was also fresh tilapia and some ahi tuna on sale.  Plus, it turned out that this market was the only one  that was offering our precious morning “berry” fest at a reasonable price.  So, we stopped for a quick breakfast at the local bagel shop and toodled across the street to pick up our treasured items.

    Besides the “deals” of the week-we also had a $5 coupon for the said $5 Friday deals.  Can I hear a woot, woot???

    We got to the fish area and Steve saw that in the regular case there were 4 packages of not sockeye-but KING salmon stamped with 50% off coupons as a manager’s special!   He took them all.  Easy enough to cut down into portions for dinner.  All were not only fresh but pre-seasoned.  I’m all about making things easy on myself these days.  Here’s the breakdown:

    Regular price:  $20 a lb.
    Sale price:  $10 a lb.
    With the manager’s special:  $5 a lb.

    Remember, this is for the better salmon!  We also got the other two fish, the berries (which we took our individual quotas on and paid separately).  

    According to the computer generated receipt, Steve and I paid for all of this and the rest of the shopping (the norm of veggies added, some extra Ziploc bags and whatever) $85 and saved a whopping $180!

    Patting myself on the back.  I’m totally exhausted from my short little walk with the girls this morning, breakfast out with Steve and the 20 minutes in the market and 20 minutes of packaging up all the fish, so I’m going to go take a good rest now.  

    Wish I could say I’m done for the day, but I’m off to see the pulminologist for a much needed re-check this afternoon.  This will be quite the undertaking for me-haven’t driven this far since before I got sick.  So this rest time is no maybe, but a must.  Until next week!

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