Princess Rosebud’s Empowered Solo Vacation: Part Three

Hiking at Montana de Oro.

After a horrible night of not much sleep thanks to a bunch of obnoxious college students who must have been too drunk to understand that, to most people, camping means peace and quiet, not a beer binged free-for-all, we embarked on a day hike.

Our goal was Valencia Peak, but we first made a loop up Oats Peak Trail.

Valencia Peak is a coastal mountain located within Montana De Oro State Park. This trail offers gorgeous views of the Central Coast, great views of Morro Bay, Cayucos, and on clear days, you can see Cambria and beyond — with amazing views of Spooner’s Cove to the south.

It’s an easy trail with gentle elevation gain; I didn’t even need the alpine walking sticks I packed.

The spectacular views begin right away as you ascend up onto a saddle, and the rest of the hike is before your eyes.

The trail gets a little harder the closer you get to the top.

DIL and I stopped shy of the peak; my son wanted to run to the top and back, so we took a break, ate lunch, and admired the view of the ocean.

There was cell service, so I called tugboat man to say hi and to let him know we are DEFINITELY going to spend a few days here when he returns.

The views are beyond breathtaking. It feels like you’re on top of the world.

The hike down is much easier, but watch out for rattlesnakes. We saw a baby, whose venom is more potent than the adult rattlesnake.

Not too difficult, right?
montanadeorohike1

Ah-may-ZINGmontanadeorohike2 Kind of a hazy day, but perfect hiking weather.montanadeorohike3My little goat boy.
montanadeorohike4A narrow passage.montanadeorohike5View from the Visitor’s Center.
montanadeorohike6Part Four: Jade Cove, Julia Pfeiffer, Cambria, and Costanoa.

Princess Rosebud’s Empowered Solo Vacation: Part Two

After the mostly tranquil train ride (except for one poorly parented relentlessly screamingfordonuts toddler who seemed not to be bothered by her screeching while staring at their smartphones), I was met at the train station in sunny Santa Barbara by Professor Angel Boy and we stopped for lunch at an organic foods cafe.

We made an unscheduled detour because he wanted to check out the surf at Morro Bay, and because it’s always really all about him, that’s what we did.

Driving up the coast to Morro Bay.
campingmaysantabarbara2

I’m not much of a seagull lover, but this guy was too photogenic to ignore.campingmay22seagullmorrobayAfter a brief surf session, we continued to Montana de Oro State Park, six miles southwest of Morro Bay and seven miles south of Los Osos on Pecho Road.

It’s fairly rural and rustic, but SO beautiful. We set up camp and were able to manage a late afternoon hike.

With the sun low in the sky; clouds and fog actively moving over the tops of the mountains, it was serene and enervating at the same time.

campingmaymontana3

Crossing a small creek.campingmaymontanawater

Lichen.

campingmaymontanalichen2Pretty yellow flowers.
campingmaymontanaflowersAh-MAY-zing view.campingMay23oroA mole peeking out of his hole.
campingmaymontanamole

Quail are everywhere and for a while, their melodic conversations were the only sounds we heard. These guys were walking around directly outside my tent.

Later that evening, after a relaxing fire and glass of wine, we heard the unmistakable scream/growl of a bobcat across the canyon.

At that moment, life was perfection. The only way it could have been better was if tugboat man wasn’t oceans away and not able to enjoy our holiday.

Little did we know that in a few short hours, in sharp contrast to this beauty and tranquility, we would endure the WORST EVER camping experience of our lives.

As we settled down to a good night’s sleep under a star-filled sky, a group of approximately twenty college students set up their camp nearby and proceeded to drink and yell and party LOUDLY until 4:30 a.m. in spite of the 10pm-7am quiet time rules.

Apparently, nobody, including us, got up to inform the camp host or the rangers of this HELL we had to endure, but we all complained to him the next day.

Just awful.

However, at approximately 3:30 a.m. just as we were dozing, or trying to, during the bacchanal, three fat raccoons furiously attempted to tear apart the locked food cabinet next to our picnic table. My son had to get up and shoo them away, and as he put the food in the car, one of them tried to sneak in.

Amazing.

It was an eventful night.

Right after THAT little adventure, a bobcat screamed so close we thought it was within feet of where we were sleeping, and figured that he had an altercation with those raccoons.

No one slept much after that, because we wanted to stay awake in case we could see him walk by.

No luck with the bobcat sighting, but as I unzipped my tent in the morning, see who was looking at me? An beautiful gray fox. These aren’t the best pics because I was in such a hurry to snap them before he ran off.

campingMay23fox1 campingmay25fox2

What an astonishing gift to sort of make up for the rude frat boys.

So far, quite an adventure, don’t you agree?

Part Three: A Ten-Mile Hike

Princess Rosebud’s EMPOWERING Solo Adventure

(Blogging from the train, which is OK except for spotty wifi and my paragraph edits aren’t working, so this post won’t look exactly right.)


“It’s never too late to become empowered” she said.

Well, thank you very much for that unwanted opinion.
At 6:15 a.m., I was the first one in line when the Amtrak Station opened up.
I’m on my way to Santa Barbara to meet my son/DIL and have a little camping and hiking vacation. This is something that tugboat man and I had been looking forward to, but alas, he was called back to work immediately upon arriving home, so I decided to be a BRAVE princess and venture forth into the big scary world all by myself.
What was I thinking??
Confession: I’m not much of a traveler. Although I do travel alone from time to time, mostly tugboat man and I are together and he takes care of everything and all I do is stand here or sit there and do as I’m instructed, moving from point A to point B.  It works out better that way for both of us if he takes the lead. I mean, he’s so GOOD at it, and it reduces my stress level (and his) if he does all the thinking.
But this adventure is all my own.
My son’s dad picked me up a little before 5:45 a.m. to give me a ride to the train station, which is why I was there bright and early at 6:15.
I had many questions for the Amtrak employee:
1. Where do I go?
2. Where will the train be?
3. How will I know it’s the right one?
4. Where will I sit?
5. Where will my son pick me up?
6. Where will I find my suitcase?
7. Will you lose my luggage?
I explained to her that I never travel alone and I’ve only taken the train one time twenty years ago, and that’s when she proceeded to give me a life lesson that I didn’t expect, didn’t ask for, and didn’t really need.
“I never travel alone.”
“Well, you DO travel, don’t you?”
“Yes, but when my husband and I travel, he takes care of everything”
That’s when she said, “It’s never too late to become empowered”
I have to admit her tone was ever-so-slightly snarky, and this was corroborated by the nice young man from the United States Marine Corps (whom I have attached myself to for dear life).
He was standing next to me listening to all of my questions and I believe that he felt sorry for me (reminded him of his mom) and felt like he was performing in the intereste of our national security to guide me on the train when it arrived, and now we’re sitting next to each other.
He’s on leave for Memorial Day to his family ranch in Los Osos.
Of course, I thanked him for his service and I must say that I feel very safe and in good hands until my son collects me from Baggage lol.
Stress level is high, but if I could make my way SOLO to Goettingen, Germany to stalk visit my son while he was there for his junior year abroad, I can certainly sit on a train for four hours with my own personal USMC escort, dontcha think?
After all, like I keep telling my Angel Boy, that umbilical cord will stretch, but will never evereverever BREAK.
There isn’t a place on earth he can go that I won’t follow.
I know that sounds like a threat, but it’s really not. It’s just a mother’s LOVE.
I stand corrected…an EMPOWERED mother’s love.
Here’s a few pics from the train…
Train1 train2 train3 train4

Let’s Not Forget The Merchant Marine on Memorial Day, OK?

We honor all who served and made the ultimate sacrifice, but let’s never forget our merchant mariners.

California…December 1941: Submarine Sinks U.S. Ship; Fires on Rescue Boats

Montebello1941rescueYou can read about the attack of an oil tanker off the coast of Cambria, California here. The oil tanker crew were all merchant seamen.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1941/12/24/page/5/article/submarine-sinks-u-s-ship-fires-on-rescue-boats

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the pipeline oil spill in Santa Barbara. 

That’s where I’m headed tomorrow by Amtrak train  to meet my son/DIL for a few days of camping and hiking along the California coast while my tugboat man tows an eight-hundred-foot barge across the high seas.

Did you know that all tugboats (and I’m sure other vessels) have an Oil Spill Response Plan?

That’s part of hub’s job, to respond to oil spills and actively contain them. He’s nowhere near Santa Barbara, so he’s not part of that cleanup, but he’s been involved in cleaning other spills. 


Our United States Merchant Marine had the highest casualty rate during World War II, yet received no GI benefits…

The U.S. Merchant Marine has rarely received its due recognition in helping the Allies win World War II, although mariners were the first to go, last to return and suffered the highest casualty rate of any group that served.

One in twenty-six mariners was killed in World War II; by comparison, one in 34 Marines was killed.

The first American victim of Axis aggression was not at Pearl Harbor, but a Merchant Marine ship two years earlier.

By the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, 243 mariners had already died from Axis attacks on the ships that shuttled materiel to U.S. allies already at war.

The Merchant Marine suffered its own Pearl Harbor at the Italian port of Bari, Dec. 2, 1943, when a German air attack sank 17 Allied merchant ships with a loss of more than 1,000 lives. The attack released a cargo of 100 tons of mustard gas bombs.

The conflict claimed 8,300 mariner lives at sea and wounded 12,000. At least 1,100 of those wounded succumbed to their injuries.

One in eight mariners experienced the loss of his ship, and more than 1,500 Merchant Marine ships were sunk during the war.

In 1942, on average, 33 Allied ships went down every week.

Until the middle of 1942, German submarines were sinking merchant ships faster than the Allies could build them.

Many of the crews who perished in these sinkings were blown to death or incinerated. Thirty-one ships simply vanished without a trace.

These casualties were kept secret to avoid providing the enemy with information and to keep supplies flowing to soldiers. A soldier at the front required 15 tons of supplies. Most of those supplies moved on ships.

Who were these 250,000 seamen who kept these supplies moving?

The volunteers ranged in age from 16 to 78. Many, like Tom Crosbie of Saybrook Township, dropped out of high school to serve their nation. They were often rejected from other branches of service because of a physical defect – one eye, heart disease, a missing limb.

It was the only racially integrated service during the war.

The end of the war was not the end of their service; 54 ships, including one on which Tom Crosbie was serving, hit mines after Japan and Germany surrendered.

President Roosevelt, upon signing the GI Bill in June 1944, suggested “similar opportunities” would be provided to mariners.

That hope died when Roosevelt passed the following spring.

Mariners were denied everything from unemployment to medical care for disabilities. It took years of court battles for the mariners to finally receive partial veteran status in 1988, too late for many of those who had served.

They continue to seek full, official recognition for themselves and their spouses.

For more information, including pending legislation, visit http://www.usmm.org. From http://www.starbeacon.com/

A Mother’s Love #WordlessWednesday

Our very own full nest.

Property of enchantedseashells.com

Property of enchantedseashells.com

#hummingbird #nature #nestingbirds #birds #MotherNature #love #motherslove

Scrumptious Vegan Pesto

Although I usually make all the food I serve to my family from scratch, sometimes it’s nice to have a healthy vegan FAST option in my pantry.

Sauces ‘n Love sent me their Vegan Pesto to sample and review and it was the perfect choice for my tugboat man’s whirlwind visit home.

I wanted to prepare a homemade meal but didn’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen. vegan pesto

There are only SEVEN ingredients!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Basil, Pinenuts, Garlic, Salt, Black Pepper
Sauces ’n Love Vegan Pesto has the same authentic Italian flavor that’s been perfectly balanced with fresh basil, pine nuts and olive oil and garlic.
It has that rich flavor and texture of the best pesto sauces but without the cheese. Use this vegan pesto over pasta, salads, sandwiches or as a condiment.

I added a two tablespoons to a couple of hastily thrown together stuffed portobello mushrooms for an appetizer and it was delicious.

With Spring here and Summer not far behind, when was the last time you had a truly amazing vegan pesto on a warm day?

Sauces ‘n Love has a reputation for quality with fifteen Specialty Food Association Awards for superior gourmet flavor.

Check out the brand at www.saucesnlove.com.

Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto with Asparagus with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto
8 oz. Linguine
1 bunch asparagus
4 oz. mixed mushrooms
1 Shallot (or onion)
3 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil Salt & Black Pepper

Preparation :

Set pot of cold water (3-4 qts.) on high heat. Wash and dry asparagus, cut hard end off (3-4″), trim heads, and cut stem in 1/4″ cylinders. Cut heads in half, lengthwise. Slice shallot thinly. Trim mushroom stems, rub head with damp paper towel, removing any dirt. Roughly chop mushrooms.

Actions: In skillet heat 3 tbsp oil on Medium.

  1. Saute’ shallots for 1 minute stirring, add asparagus cylinders (retain the heads), cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  2. Add salt to boiling water, add pasta and set timer according to instructions on package.
  3. Add mushroom to asparagus, cook for 5 minutes. Adjust for salt and pepper
  4. Add Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto and asparagus heads, bring to gentle simmer, add 2 tbsp pasta water (more if you want the sauce thinner)
  5. Drain pasta, add to sauce and gently coat by stirring medium heat.

Presentation : Serve on warm plates, decorate with a sprig of your favorite herb. We like everything a bit spicy, so just added a few hot red pepper flakes. Buon Appetito! (I was provided product to sample and review. Opinions are my own.)

Butterflies, Bees, Bunnies, Babies, and Bliss

Everybody needs some bliss; especially ME when tugboat man comes home unexpectedly and then even more shocking, gets a call to return to work WHILE WE’RE DRIVING HOME FROM THE AIRPORT!

It’s not unheard of in the maritime world, but I’ve not really experienced it until now.

Glass half full; we had an enjoyable one-and-a-half days. Thirty-six hours is better than nothing.

It’s important to stay positive and present in the moment, rather than dwelling on the injustice, which would be a waste of time, and TIME is precious.

So he’s gone again and it’s time for a little bliss in the form of Mother Nature.

Breathe deeply and OMMMMMM….

Butterflies…

ButterflyMay172015may2015butterfly3 Bee on buckwheat. may2015bee Bunny trying to get into the vegetable garden. May2015bunnyI also saw a baby bunny running around, but couldn’t snap a pic before he ran under the deck.

Baby announcement!

The ultimate blissful event is the birth of one of my resident hummingbird’s eggs; you can BARELY see a miniature fluffy speck huddled in the bottom of the nest.

HummybabyMay16Mom feeding her newborn. HummyfeedingMay15

And JUST NOW, the second egg hatched! Could anything be more amazing than Mother Nature?

Hummy2eggsMay17-

Here’s an update: Pretty good close up video of the two newborn hummingbirds:

Ending with the B is for Bliss theme, a boat birdhouse.

At least THIS boat is firmly anchored and will stay in one place, right?

boatbirdhouse After the rain; blue sky bliss.

BlisscloudsGone in the blink of an eye; it’s as if he was never here, except that he fixed a couple of my car’s minor problems and I have more laundry than usual.

Tugboat man should be home for sure at the end of June; at that point he’ll have been out to sea for more than ninety days when it was only supposed to be for six weeks.

Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife.

PS All photos, unless otherwise noted, are property of EnchantedSeashells.

Princess Rosebud Ponders a Dilemma of Gigantic Proportions

Sophie's Choice via Google Images

Sophie’s Choice via Google Images

That’d be me, of course.

Princess Rosebud.

With a dilemma.

An enchanting sort of dilemma.

OK, here’s the deal…

That husband of mine-who-is-never-here-but-really-exists-really-he-does has been out to sea on assignment since March 10.

Yes, that’s correct — MARCH 10.

A very long time indeed, and as it happens, my birthday is coming up VERY soon.

I don’t really care to celebrate the day but I DO love to get a prezzie. (Or two, as you’ll see.)

I’ve had my eye on this little minimalist necklace that is all the fashion rage; hub told me to go ahead and get it, which made me verrry happy, and that’s what I did.

I drove to Bloomingdales in Fashion Valley; saw it, loved it, put it on, bought it,

Just like that.

It’s the perfect little sparkle to wear all the time; either by itself or layered with…other necklaces.

laurenjoymini

(Here’s where it all goes wrong (or right, depending on your point of view.)

Floating on a retail high, I strolled around the shopping center, wandering into Hermes, Carolina Herrera, Tory Burch, Gucci, Prada — there’s no Chanel at Fashion Valley, so you’d think I’d be safe from temptation, right?

BUT.

Drifting through Nordstrom, running my hand through racks of silky boho blouses and scarves, I discovered a secluded little alcove that was all CHANEL.

Iconic Chanel tweed suits, timeless classic beauty in the $5000 and up price range — good to look at, but they’re not coming home with me, that’s for sure.

But then.

I turned around and saw a glass display case full of Chanel jewelry.

DID YOU HEAR ME?

Full of Chanel jewelry.

Uh oh.

The very nice sales associate brought out one piece after another and I tried them all on.

“Have you seen this one?” she said.

“It’s sparkly” she said.

OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD.

I’ve always always wanted the little CC logo pendant.

I died. What do I do? Not half an hour earlier I purchased a 14K diamond necklace that was supposed to be my birthday gift from my EXTREMELY GENEROUS absentee husband.

Here’s the dilemma:

  • Do I take back the first necklace and buy the Chanel?
  • Do I walk away from the Chanel?
  • Do I keep them both?
  • Do I have a choice here?

What do YOU think I did?

I had a brief chat with myself because I couldn’t call hub for his opinion since he wasn’t available by cell, so I had to solve this dilemma entirely on my own.

My decision?

I needed BOTH necklaces.(See how I used the word NEED instead of WANT.)

Of course I did, because I DESERVE both of them.

How could anyone choose? They’re both equally amazing, equally beautiful, and now I’m twice as happy!

(No Sophie’s choice this time.)

Here’s the awesome little Chanel.

chanelnecklaceCC1

By some miracle of the cosmos, another gift arrives this week.

Totally unexpectedly, tugboat man called and said he’s flying home for a week or so between assignments. On Thursday. MY BIRTHDAY.

That’s TOMORROW, which means I’m back on Cinderella duty — jewelry off, yellow rubber gloves on; cleaning, baking, ironing sheets, and hanging welcome home banners.

Don’t think I don’t know I live a charmed life.

I know.

Gym Bag Beauty Essentials

gymbagessentialsreview1It was just like Christmas when I opened the bulky envelope chock full of girly toys to sample and review.

I’m a work out junkie; I go to the gym pretty much every day or do some kind of extreme physical activity and I don’t always go right home and take a shower.

I like to go to the gym first thing in the morning and usually do all my errands after; I might be a little sweaty and my hair’s a mess and I definitely need to freshen up before I head to Target, Trader Joe’s, Marshalls or TJ Maxx. (But if I’m going to Fashion Valley or South Coast Plaza, I’ll head home, shower, and change clothes.)

So, do what I do, and keep your gym bag stocked and ready to go with these beauty necessities, which are just as useful for traveling or camping.

1.       Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths in Energize: Keep up with your active lifestyle with ease. Try Ban® Total Refresh® Cooling Body Cloths to instantly cool the back of your neck and décolleté or use for an all-over refresh during any transitional moment day or night. I don’t go anywhere without them, for reals!

2.       KMS California HAIRPLAY makeover spray:  Dry cleansing and instant style renewal. Split-second style refresher. Absorbs oil and builds bulk to refresh limp or day-old styles. Great for quick style touch-ups and in-between shampoos. This is total genius for us curly heads who don’t wash their hair every day.

3.      Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Mini Deodorant: The perfect deodorant to throw in your gym bag! This all-natural, freshly scented deodorant provides superior, long-lasting odor protection. Soothing essential oils blend with powerful anti-oxidants and beta glucan technology for daily defense and nourishment. Because we always need to be fresh, right?

4.       Rimmel London Wonder’lash Mascara with Argan Oil in Waterproof: You can now get the Moroccan Argan oil your hair loves in a Rimmel mascara with new Wonder’lash Mascara with Argan Oil. Condition lashes and break through clumps for full, smooth volume. The unique brush’s super-soft bristles hug and coat each lash, perfectly separating them from root to tip. Even small corner lashes are dramatically transformed for an effortlessly eye-catching look. Lashes are left smoother, sleeker, and more defined than ever.  Have you heard about the wonders of Argan oil? Now it’s been added to mascara. Awesome!

5.       Scunci Everyday & Active™ Need I say more? My FAVE!!

6.       NYC New York Color Smooth Skin BB Crème Instant Matte: Refine your skin instantly with this long-wearing crème with an effortlessly matte finish. Smoothing and hydrating, this crème leaves skin looking healthy and silky-smooth without even a hint of shine. LOVE!

7.       Burt’s Bees Brightening Daily Facial Cleanser: Clinically proven to help improve the appearance of surface dullness, this cleanser, infused with Daisy extract, helps reveal a more even skin tone in as few as 4 weeks*. Formulated with a multifruit complex, our cleanser effectively removes dirt oil and makeup. Make it part of your daily regimen for a brighter and more even complexion, naturally. I love everything BB!

Beauty tip: Be prepared!

(I was provided product to sample and review; the opinions are my own.)

Happy Mother’s Day To My Son

Vintage Angel Boy

Vintage Angel Boy

Because, of course, without him, I wouldn’t have a Mother’s Day at all.

This was brought to my attention one year by my facetious brilliant child who remarked that in fact, HE should be the one who garners all the attention, because without HIM, I’d have nothing to celebrate.

I thought about it and he’s right and the day belongs to my Angel Boy.

I’ve enjoyed thirty-four years of receiving gifts and presents and all the little things that go along with this one day set aside to recognize mothers; handmade cards and macaroni hearts (I’ve kept them all) and coupon books for hugs and dishwashing (still waiting to collect on a few of those.)

Now that our nest is empty and I don’t wake up to a sweet little boy snuggling in bed with me; that embodiment of Mother’s Day with every smile and giggle, there’s only one thing I desire, and this is true of a lot of other empty nest moms I’ve talked to.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

What do we want?

TIME!

When do we want it?

NOW!

My cell phone rang and the little screen flashed “Angel Boy”, which always makes me verrry happy, because as much as texts and emails facilitate instant communication, there’s really no good substitute for hearing my only child’s voice.

Me: “Was ist los, mein Kinde?”

(That’s pretty much my entire body of knowledge of German, which is Angel Boy’s Ph.D.; Germanic Languages and Literatures)

Him: Hi, Mom.”

Me: “To what do I owe the honor of an actual telephone call?”

Him: “What do you want for Mother’s Day?”

(By unspoken agreement, this query includes my birthday, which is either ON Mother’s Day or within a few days of it.)

Me: “YOU know what I want.”

“It’s that little four-letter word. It’s what I always want. Say it.”

Him: “You want TIME, right?”

Me: “Yup, that’s it. I want YOU. I want time BEING with you. I want to spend TIME with you.”

“Don’t buy me any THING. What I want is priceless.”

And that’s the truth.

Ever since he left SoCal to pursue his lofty academic goals mostly on the East coast, TIME has become a precious commodity.

Now I know why my mom counseled me to spend every second, every minute — with my child, because she knew that once they grow up and fly away, all you’ll be left with is memories.

That’s why I got up at 4 a.m. and did as much housework as possible before he woke up so that every minute could be spent caring for him, playing with him — just BEING with my Angel Boy without having to say, “in a minute” or “not now, I’m busy.”

If I had to give advice to mom nowadays, I’d tell them to spend more precious time being present in their children’s lives, and spend a whole lot less time on their electronic devices.

Because one day, their children will be gone, and you’ll regret the hours you spent on Facebook.

Although I’m not seeing my Angel Boy ON Mother’s Day, he planned a camping/hiking trip for us in a couple of weeks, and that’s when I’ll bask in the glow of TIME.

I can’t wait.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!