Mine’s Blue

July 22, 2011

There is still time to get into the running for this fabulous ice cream maker. Mine’s blue but if you win, you can select a brand new one from a wide variety of colors: orange, red, plum, lime, black, white and, of course, blue like mine.

All you have to do to win is tell me what  your favorite ice cream flavor is. That’s it. Just post under “contests and giveaways” – You Scream – I Scream.

Then go ahead and subscribe because you’ll never know what you might miss. Gardening tips, mouth-watering recipes, great summer reading picks and quite possibly another contest or two! After posting, click on to home site (top left corner) and you’ll see the subscribe box.

Entries for the ice cream maker will be accepted until midnight July 31 and a winner will be picked at random (even you, Tammy Coker Smith, who is the number one post will have a chance). Invite your friends to join the contest and who knows, they might invite you over for some dessert. One comment per person please.

I’ll reveal the winner on August 1st.

I love my ice cream maker – I’m sure you’ll love it too!

a husband retires – sort of

February 27, 2022
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

I love my husband. I really do. Maybe I don’t say it enough and I’m sure he’d like to hear it more often, but he has seen me through some incredibly difficult times and he is just the nicest guy out there but there is a problem.

He wants to retire. Sort of. Well, not completely retire but he doesn’t really want to go to work either and deal with all the headaches of owning a business. Waking up at the crack of dawn, being the last one at the office to lock up, he’s been there and done that.  But he loves his work and he misses getting in there and getting his hands dirty. 

And this is why it has taken him a couple of years to finally pull the plug (that and a pandemic and a major surgery for me). Because if he doesn’t have that, that work identity, what does he have?

It turns out the answer was me. Which sounds so sweet, doesn’t it? I mean, how wonderful is it that a guy wants to hang around with you so much.

But this is where the problem begins. Because I love him, remember that.

We are celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary in April. In this day and age I realize that that is quite the accomplishment. I have a pretty good idea of why we’ve lasted so long. It probably has something to do with our sense of commitment (the whole “this is for life” thing), four kids, a pretty nice life and the ability to make each other laugh but more to the point, we’ve always had our own lives. We were never defined by each other.

He liked to hunt. I liked to go to Vegas. He liked fishing. I liked theater. He let me have the final word on raising the boys and I didn’t complain much when he worked late or hung out with his brothers at the office. We didn’t keep a score sheet but we highly encouraged each other in our ventures.

Even though I worked in an office, most of my “career” took place  and continues to take place in a room in our house. Freelance writing, Zoom meetings, bill paying, Christmas wrapping. My home office was all mine. I did set up an office for Charlie in the garage (it’s seriously a nice place. He likes it). We even divided up the house when it came to chores. He was responsible for everything outside and my domain was inside. Kept us clear and sane on who was responsible for what.

But now he’s home. He’s IN my domain. All. The. Time. 

At first it was kind of fun. There were so many little things he could help me with. Fixing drawers in the kitchen. Buying new screens for the windows. Unclogging the vents and filters. Picking up groceries. He is a busy bee.

I gave him bigger things to do. Remodel the kitchen. Build a goat pen. Oh and get some goats. Re-do the landscaping. 

And he had things he liked. Old cars to fix. New cars to race. Trips to Alaska for salmon. Drives to Mammoth for some skiing. Trust me when I say this all is much better than sitting around watching Fox News which seems to be an old guy’s sport these days.

I’ll admit. He’s lost a lot of friends. Friends who would have been the first to jump on his bandwagon. Britt, Paco, Bill, Marty, Jimmy, Pat. He misses them a lot.

But now he wants me to go with him. Travel, he says. See the United States. The Grand Canyon. Monument Valley. Sedona. Our nation’s capital. And why not cruise down the Mississippi? Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But does it?

I am not done working yet. I like my house and my kids. I have girlfriends who I want to visit and do things with. I still do some freelance writing. I’d like to go back to school or just take a class. Maybe even get a part-time job. My mom worked until her 83th birthday (it was just Hallmark, but she said everyone needs a reason to get up and she liked meeting people). My older sister is still working. She owns a restaurant/bar. My younger sister just sold her first painting and my even younger sister is working and studying to be a CPA.

There has got to be a happy medium. One thing my husband and I did figure out. Instead of spreading all of our paperwork out on the kitchen table, we must go in our offices when we want to work. There we are off limits. We are working.

Okay. That’s one thing. Now if we can figure out how not to stay in our pjs until noon.

I know I am not alone when it comes to living with a retired husband. I also know there are those who have lost their spouse and would give anything to have them back (see above). And there are even those gals out there that LOVE to be with their guy, day and night. It’s not me and it may not be them either, because deep down inside we all need our space so we can keep growing. 

Both of us.

I survived a Triple A

November 3, 2020

John Ritter. Lucille Ball. My neighbor. Randy’s cousin. Gail’s brother. Andre’s dad. These are just some of the people who died of an abdominal aortic aneurysms. They never knew what hit them.

Triple As are usually caught when a person goes to the doctor for another reason. There is really no sign, no pain, no explanation. John Ritter was being treated for a heart attack in the hospital when he died. Lucille Ball was at the Academy Awards shortly before she died. Others never even made it to the hospital.

For me, it was weight gain. In case you didn’t know, there is a pandemic going around and as we are stuck in our homes, wine and home-made bread sounded just great. It was something I took great pleasure in until I realized I had gained 20 lbs.

– getting fat –

A friend said I should call my doctor but I thought for sure the doctor would say that I was fat and I needed to go on a diet. She didn’t. One look at my face and she sent me in for an ultra-sound and there it was – an abdominal aortic aneurysm. I was to go see a vascular surgeon asap.

My husband was out of town so my sister went with me to the doctor. I was told my aneurysm was 9.7 cm and it had to be remove fast.

Surgery was scheduled for July 13 (it was the 4th of July). Surgery was 11 hours long. I was in intensive care for 14 days on an incubator and then another 2 weeks in general care. It was the most horrific thing I have ever been through. I have stories.

Fast forward from the 4th of July to today (Halloween). I had an infection in September (and a birthday) and went back in for more surgery. I had to wear a wound vac contraption for 6 weeks.

Had another surgery to stitch up the wound that hadn’t closed and today, Election Day, I had the drains removed.

It’s been a hell of a 4 month ride. But I have to say – I feel 2 years younger.

So here’s what you need to know about aneurysms: They usually occur in men over 60, smokers, and genetics. My mom had an aneurysm and so did my brother (they survived). So my siblings are being tested. My sons are being tested.

I don’t know why I am still here. My husband has been an excellent caregiver and he keeps telling me I am not suppose to go first so maybe it’s that simple or there is something else I need to do.

I need to hear more success stories because … well the others are just so sad and scary.

Thanks to my family and friends who took are of me. I hope I can return the favor one day,

surgery looms`

July 11, 2020

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go to sleep on a Monday and not wake up again until Friday. 

So begins the biggest challenge of my life and it all started with a heart. 

love heart flowers spring

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

THE HART STREET GIRLS

MARY: The Good Girl

I met Mary Chilton when I was six years old. She lived about five houses down the street and had three brothers and one sister. All the Chilton’s  attended St. Joseph the Worker elementary school while my brothers, sisters and I went to the local public school – Hart Street Elementary. 

Because we were in public school, all the Rogers’ kids had to go to catechism every week. Then, whether you were in Catholic school or not, it was confession every Saturday and of course, church every Sunday. 

This is where Mary and I bonded. 

As soon as we were old enough, probably fourth grade, we rode our bikes to Saturday confession. Mary wanted in and out of the confessional, get her penance, kneel down in front of the altar to say her Hail Marys and then she was out of there.

Me, on the other hand, felt a need to tell Father Doyle every little infraction I had made since the Saturday before. 

And I had a lot: lying to my mom, not finishing my homework, staying up past my bedtime, being mean to my  sister, not finishing my chores, talking about a girl in school. Oh the list would go on and on. Mary said I was so loud about my sins, the whole church could hear me.

As a penance and probably because the priests were tired of hearing from me every week, I had all the long prayers to recite; five Our Fathers, 10 Hail Mary’s and throw in a couple of Acts of Contrition.

Mary hated waiting for me.

This is the beginning of at least one book I’ve been trying to write for a long time. The Hart Street Girls was (is?) to be about growing up in the suburbs, making friends and getting boyfriends, going to concerts, trips to Zuma beach, Little League games and being crazy about the Beatles.

All around, America was changing. As Southern California kids we thought we lived in paradise and were pretty sheltered from the world around us. We didn’t know about white only drinking fountains or integrating schools. Moms stayed home with the kids and dads came home with a cocktail waiting for him. Heck, even my brother had a really high draft number and was never sent to Vietnam.

We did have our secrets though. As our parents struggled to understand our music, why we didn’t wear bras or why we needed birth control pills, drugs, and Woodstock.

I remember telling Mary the book had to be about coming back together after high school, college, marriage and kids. She did have her battle with cancer and thankfully got it under control. This time it had to be big, I said. Someone needs a heart problem – hence the name of the street we grew up on – Hart Street – would play in rather nice.

Well, that seems to have made its way into our lives and that person with the heart problem is me.

I will be going into Cedars Sinai this Monday, July 13 (my lucky number). I have a fairly large aortic aneurysm – 9.7 cm – that has been growing over the years. Interestingly enough, my mom had the same problem and had hers repaired when she was in her 70s. This  is pressing on my left lung and causing shortness of breath among other things. The doctor said it could burst within the next month and then that’s it. You’re gone.

You don’t find these aneurysms unless you get an ultra sound or something of that nature. I happened to get one because I couldn’t loose weight and was swelling everywhere. I thought it was the COVID 19 and I was just fat. Turns out it is a little more than that.

They tell me this surgery is pretty intense but I seem to have a good team who I’ve met and are positive about my outcome. Once I am put under on Monday, I could be out of it for a couple of days.

Charlie has promised me to wake me before the election.

So many of my friends have sent me their good wishes, flowers and special treats. I wasn’t go to say much about this that’s why it’s not on FaceBook for the world to see, but I’m bored right now and a little depressed and scared. I thought writing would be a good outlet.

So when you read this, I appreciate your good thoughts. My husband especially appreciates them because sometimes I think he was more worried than me. But he’s been a rock this week and is making sure I do absolutely nothing as to not cause any infection or rupture.

Keep a good eye on him my friends and I will see you before you know it.

 

 

 

morning at the 4th quarter

August 21, 2019

An emergency appendectomy kept Charlie away from the ranch this morning so I thought I would send him some photos.

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Breakfast time is always a fun time for the girls. But Bleu is getting fat! and the only thing  these two eat is hay! I’ve tried celery, carrots, apples and various other treats. (I’m saving the beloved animal crackers for bribery – I want them to come to me for those!)

My goats mamas assure me that they can munch on hay all day long but we may all have to go on some sort of diet soon.

 

4th quarter ranch (a goats tail)

August 20, 2019

4TH QUARTER RANCH

Goat Blog

It is day 5 with the baby goats. Bleu seems to be the most curious of the two. Hazel holds back and hides. I haven’t been able to feed either of them out of my hand yet but every goat mama tells me to be patient.

So I am. I sit on my folding chair in their pen a couple of times a day. Bleu always comes out of her barn but hasn’t really approached me yet. I say both of their names. I think they are getting used to them.

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Here’s my routine so far: Up at 7 am. I go out and unlock and open the door to the barn. The girls usually jump up in anticipation and run around a big. But I say good morning and continue on.

I fill up their feeding station with fresh hay and then add 1 quart of Chaffhaye (they love that). I do a little clean up of goat poops and then settle in my chair (usually with a cup of coffee).

Sometimes they wait for me to leave before they eat but I guess it depends on how hungry they are.

Last night I had Charlie grab Bleu for me. We noticed she has been rubbing her head on a wire we had in the barn so Charlie covered up the exposed wire and got Bleu. Hazel went crazy when we were trying to catch Bleu and Bleu cried up a storm but I settled her in my lap and rubbed her head (I think it itches where her horns use to be). Finally she squirmed out but she didn’t hide so that’s a start.

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Today they are getting a new playground thanks to Paco – our helper. I’ll post photos later.

Tomorrow – if all goes well – a web cam.

 

will you still need me, will you still feed me?

August 29, 2017

My husband recently applied for social security benefits – albeit a couple of years late. He is still working and has medical insurance so he didn’t think it was necessary but apparently the government, much like the draft in his days, needs you to sign up.

It was a very emotional moment for him as he looked back at his work history. Every year his salary was printed out and for each of those years he had a memory:

*When he first started working for his dad.

*When we got married and each year we had a child,

*When he bought out his older brothers and ran the company as a sole owner.

The lady at the social security office, bless her soul, was amazingly patient. I imagine each person who walks into her office relives those same memories.

Beatles2

I’m not quite old enough to sign up for social security. I will be spending my 64th birthday in London. Seven of my eight siblings will be there to help me celebrate as well as my best friend from childhood who probably knows me just as well as my brothers and sisters.

I never considered myself “old” but I began noticing things this year – my knees don’t work as well as they used to. I need to hold on to something when I get up, and my hair and skin is much drier (I mean, what is crepe skin anyway? well, now I know!).

My traveling companion, my friend from childhood who is just 6 months younger than me, recently had back surgery. It’s taking her longer than she thought to recover. We are going to be quite the sight as we head off to Ireland (her homeland), then Wales (my homeland), and finally London for my birthday celebration.

I’ve never worried about traveling (even though I don’t like to fly) but this time the idea of lugging suitcases and checking in and out of hotels sounds… well … like a lot of work!

But we are determined. We are not ready to be “old” and we’ve got a few more years before we apply for Medicare.

I’m not ready to look back on my life.

I’m still looking forward.

poor Coop

June 22, 2017

It’s been a couple of days now since I lost my shadow, my traveling companion, my best friend. She was black and beautiful and had just celebrated her birthday. But she was tired and in pain and it was time to say goodbye.

She was also Cooper’s sister.

Stella and Cooper are dogs. Labradors to be exact. They came into our lives 11 years ago. Stella, a beautiful black female and Cooper, a lovable chocolate male. Cooper quickly became my husband’s dog. They went on hunting trips together and just seem to have the same male macho thing going. Stella, who was gun shy, became my companion. We were actually pretty content when the boys went out of town. The only time Cooper and I bonded was during our afternoon naps.

He liked to cuddle.

But now it’s just me and Coop. I’m not sure if he knows exactly where Stella is but he spends a lot of time napping. Could be his age and he’s always been a laid back lab, but watching him over the past few days, I’m beginning to think it has a lot to do with me. I’ve noticed I’ve lost something. I am feeling a bit joyless.

I think he knows.

I’m lucky to have some good friends that know what I’m going through and have been so supportive. I’m surprised how much this loss has affected me (I’ve lost pets before but this one – wow). I think I need a week or so to mourn the loss of my friend.

I’m just hoping Cooper can wait it out because I have a feeling we’ll need each other.

cooper & stella

 

 

 

Christmas Past

December 24, 2016

I love Christmas Eve. Something about the excitement in the air. The kids on the street are happy and joyous and, in Southern California, the weather turns a nice kind of cold that we can actually lite up the fireplaces (although I’m sure my friends in the midwest think we are insane).

It’s a cool 45 degrees. This year my significant other (hubby of almost 40 years) is recouping from back surgery, so we’re taking it easy. Making Chinese food and watching the Godfather trilogy. While I do miss the kids coming over for crab legs and cole slaw, it’s nice that one of my sons picked up the tradition and is right now hosting more than 25 people at his house. Good thing he’s doing it this year because next year he’ll have a couple of 1 year olds running around and this tradition just may be coming back to grandma’s house.

Got another son who will be cooking up some Aebleskivers tomorrow morning (that’s Danish pancakes for those who don’t know). Another tradition handed down.

And so it goes. My mom passed 10 years ago on Christmas Eve. She had a good life and we always said it was a good day to die for a nice Catholic lady. Celebrating the birth of Jesus in Heaven. Not bad.

But it did get me to thinking about a Christmas years ago. My mom was mad at my dad. Don’t know why but she decided not to do Christmas that year. Mind you, there were about six of us then (the other 3 came later). My dad, ever the romantic and holder of all things family, made a run to the gas station to buy us gifts (remember, this was about 100 years ago and not many stores stayed open on Christmas Eve). That year we got car fresheners, key chains, maybe a metal toy truck or car and candy. I pretty sure we didn’t care. For us, it was magical.

My mom must have come around because I really don’t remember it badly. Of course, I may be the only one of my siblings who remember it at all.

Which brings me to 2016. All things change, including Christmas. All those years of crab leg Christmas Eves, 25 to 30 people for Christmas dinner, toys, bikes, skateboards, quads, Playstations were fun but exhausting. Last year, Christmas set me on my heels (like Christmases before) when we lost someone close to us. It seems like a bad time of year for death, but then again, when is a good time to be sad.

The excitement is still in the air. The kids across the street are playing with their race cars and drones, my husband is sitting in front of the fireplace with the two old labs and I’m thinking about Christmas past.

While I’m not a big fan of Christmas (I like Thanksgiving so much more), I’m happy to see people happy. It was a tough year. I’m hoping people in general will stop worrying about the end of the world (ala Trump victory) and focus in on really how good we have it. Because it may just be an air freshener from a gas station, but there is something magical about Christmas and we should enjoy every minute we spend with our family and friends.

Merry Christmas and peace to all.

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what now?

April 2, 2016

Just spent a weekend with my BFFs from my grade school days. It takes a couple of months but by April 1st we are all the same age again. We’re calling it “Club 62.”

We spend these days and evenings together talking about our childhoods, our marriages, our kids and our work, but more often that not, the conversation always turns to regrets or new challenges or (and this is a big one) should we get plastic surgery or just learn to live with our ever sagging faces.

One of us has no problem with seeing a doctor and getting a shot here and there but the others have a serious problem with either having strange fluids under their skin or liking it too much and getting addicted.

So we move on to other serious problems – what do we do now? Lucky for us we believe we have options.

We are taking on a new motto for Club 62 – RESURGENCE. My sister explains it as kind of a new post-puberty stage. Having gone through menopause and watching our children become the adults we always hoped they would be, it’s our belief the time has come for some childlike activities again such as staying up all night and playing games or laying on the beach and soaking up some rays.

What is nice about this resurgence is we really don’t care that our stomaches are not as flat as they used to be (well, we do but we try not to discuss it too much), or that we don’t or can’t wear the latest fashion trends but, more importantly, we realize that spending time with people who make you laugh, make you grow, add to your life in a positive way are the kind of people you want in your life.

The others ~ well we’ll just have to their resurgence.

ladies-on-a-lake

 

CALM… for now

December 24, 2015

IMG_2269It’s Christmas Eve morning. I’ve got Christmas songs dancing through my head, the fireplace is lit and the dogs (and husband) are all still asleep.

I just love the calm of the morning.

There is a lot on our plates right now. We’ve got grandkids who are so looking forward to tomorrow and I can’t wait to see their faces when we visit. We’ve got older children who are looking forward to tonight as we dig into crab legs and Heinekens. It’s all so lovely.

But deep inside of me I have pain. It’s been 9 years ago today when my mom died. Even though she was ready and I was okay with it all, I miss her. Especially today.

My pain today is for my friend who has been battling melanoma for the past 4 years. A brave battle – one that he faced head on and tried everything the doctors threw his way. I can’t even count the many clinical trials he was a part of. And while it didn’t work for him, I can only hope it’s given the medical field some sort of direction to help the next generation of cancer patients.

And now there is nothing else they can do for him.

He is home, surrounded by his family. I’ve already said my goodbyes and told him how much I love him and how much he meant to me.

People say at least you were able to tell him all those things but you know what?

It sucks to say goodbye.

It seems the older I get, the more I am aware of the loss of loved ones during the holiday season and it will always be a mixture of sadness and joy.

So I’m enjoying the calm this morning but the chaos will soon be upon me and for now I’m choosing peace (and Christmas songs).

Merry Christmas Eve to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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