About Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife

MIDlifestyle blog. Sometimes he's here, sometimes he's not. What. Ever. I''m married to a tug boat captain who travels the world, while I stay home, waiting and shopping. I'm the mom of a wonderful son we refer to as Professor Angel Boy. I have a background in education, marketing, advertising, and public relations. I've been in a few films, helped my surfer husband with a surf-related radio show, owned a couple small businesses, and co-directed a non-profit organization. I'm and editor and proofreader. I love seashells and rocks, gardening and baking, Hello Kitty, Chanel, and anything sparkly. I've been a veg since 1970 and an ardent animal activist forever. Fashionista...veganista...animal activista...

When a Ship Goes Missing — The Other Side of Being a Mariner’s Wife

It’s not ALL about shopping ’til I drop while my tugboat man is out to sea.

From ABC News:

“A stricken cargo ship with 28 Americans on board that vanished during Hurricane Joaquin remained missing early Saturday.

Officials said there was still no sign of the El Faro, which was last heard from around 7:20 a.m. Thursday when a distress call indicated it had lost power and was taking on water.

The 735-foot vessel was bound for San Juan in Puerto Rico from Jacksonville, Florida, at the time. It was carrying 28 Americans and five Polish nationals.

Image: Cargo ship El Faro missing in Hurricane Joaquin
The container ship El Faro. TOTE MARITIME via EPA

Around 850 square nautical miles were searched on Friday and the effort resumed at dawn Saturday.

When the El Faro left Jacksonville on Tuesday Joaquin was just a tropical storm. It quickly grew in intensity and was declared a Category 4 storm Thursday as it approached the Bahamas carrying winds of 130 mph.”

It could be 1815 or 1915, but in 2015, ships still go missing and are at the mercy of the elements.

Even with advanced communications technology and state-of-the-art equipment, Mother Nature reigns supreme.

The terror of being lost at sea is all too real and always somewhere in the back of our minds.

That’s why I need to hear from my tugboat man every day or I start to worry.

It doesn’t matter that he’s one of the best captains in the industry; in a heartbeat, things can happen that are outside his control, and all it takes is a minute—for a disaster.

This is our nightmare.

Our hearts go out to the crew and their families.

P.S. My own tugboat man is sorta in the area, and he’s safe but I wish he was here; home, on terra firma.

Enchanting DIY Seashell Planter

Having two blogs is like having two toddlers running around the house; trying to spend quality time with one of them and feeling like I’m neglecting the other one produces a lot of stress!

It’s exhausting!

Hmmm, maybe that’s why I only had one human child—because I didn’t have to worry about dividing my time or attention, he didn’t have to share me.

I was getting my nasty gray roots touched up at the salon and saw the cutest little planter at everyone’s station — I couldn’t wait to get home and recreate it.


It’s so easy and didn’t cost a penny, which is the best kind of DIY, am I right?

What you need:

  • Seashell
  • Potting soil
  • Succulent (taken from a larger plant in the garden)

Seriously, it took about five minutes start to finish.

Fill the shell with damp soil, insert the plant, water again gently, and that’s IT.  I know you’re supposed to let a succulent sit around for a few days to callous before you plant it, but I didn’t because I’m too impatient.

It’s so easy and SO adorable. I used a very small seashell, only about three inches long.


Not only is it great for someone (like me) with a lot of allergies, but how about as…

  • Housewarming gift
  • Hostess gift (along with a bottle of wine, of course)
  • Place settings
  • Wedding favors
  • Easy-to-do craft with children of all ages


(Photos were taken with three different types of lighting.)

I had another post planned for today but then this came to my inbox and is way more important to share

Because he doesn’t have a REBLOG button that I could find, The Matticus Kingdom gave me express permission to copy and paste.

The subject is important. The words, raw and beautiful, drip tears of outrage. 

Here’s his post and if you don’t already, follow him!


Image Credit: Mark Boster / LA Times – Click the picture to follow the link to the article that inspired what follows.

The walls and black scars, full of screaming metal, crept across the land,
A progressively greedy excess without permission, balance or order,
And the ancestral paths of the pack were cut and buried asunder,
Forcing them to wander further away from the shifting sand,
To provide their families with food and sheltered dens,
Under the disdainful, entitled, glare of fearful men.

We are supposed to be knowledgeable and civilized,
And should be mindful of our encroachment,
Change our behavior and sentiment,
To achieve the ultimate prize,
And coexist peacefully,
As it should be.

Instead, we condone shooting coyotes with paintballs…

Is that really who we have become?

“Carlsbad Referendum Signatures Stun Caruso, City Council Pals”

This is a great article in the San Diego Free Press about the corruption going on my little beach town. We are #CarlsbadStrong

Carlsbad Referendum Signatures Stun Caruso, City Council Pals

Strawberry Field Owner’s Campaign Donations Revealed

via Citizens for North County Facebook

By Richard Riehl

It must have been quite a shock for L.A.’s Caruso-affiliated executives to see the stack of signed petitions delivered to the Carlsbad city clerk’s office last Thursday. The 9,000 signers of the referendum petition are calling for a public vote on the developer’s plan for a lagoon-view shopping center, as promised in the title of the initiative, Measure to be Submitted Directly to the Voters.

When the Carlsbad city Council unanimously approved his plan on August 25, Caruso had already spent nearly $3 million on signature gatherers and a blizzard of glossy, full-color mailers to persuade 20,000 Carlsbadians that his plan to build a shopping mall was all about saving the Strawberry Fields.

The day after the council voted, a grassroots group, Citizens for North County, announced its plan to launch a referendum drive. Caruso had to redouble his marketing campaign. But this time his mailers, accompanied by daily prime time TV ads, featured headshot photos of and quotes from all five city Council members, as well as the owner of the Strawberry Fields. Each repeated the lie that signing the referendum would destroy the Strawberry Fields, despite the promise of Prop D to preserve them, passed by voters in 2006. The Caruso mailer included a detachable, postage-paid card to return to the city clerk for signers of the referendum to have their names withdrawn.

About 700 signers chose to do so. Caruso relied on the confusion caused by his two dishonest campaigns to “Save the Strawberry Fields,” the first by signing an initiative, the second by refusing to sign a referendum, to keep residents from signing anything. Heads he wins, tails we lose.

While the strange bedfellows of big-money and elected officials urged us to turn down our right to vote, the citizen-led referendum drive soldiered on, relying on social media to generate hundreds of volunteers to station themselves in city parks and other public places to collect 9,000 signatures in 30 days on a paltry $9,000 budget. That’s 300 signatures a day at a dollar apiece.

It took 90 days for Caruso’s professional signature gatherers to snag 20,000 signatures. With a $3 million budget, that amounts to only 222 signatures a day at $150 each.

I couldn’t help but wonder why the city Council not only refused to put the Caruso plan up for a vote in a special election, but even to delay their decision for 30 days to enable residents to be more fully informed. The August 25 meeting was packed with dissenters. You’d think elected officials would be more responsive to their constituents.

That made me curious about campaign contributions, so I went to the city’s website, where I found, among Mayor Matt Hall’s financial supporters, the name of James Ukegawa, the man you see posing in the Strawberry Fields on Caruso’s mailers and in his TV ads. He’s identified as a “Carlsbad Strawberry Company Farmer” on the mayor’s filing form, stamped by the city clerk on July 30, 2014. Ukegawa’s $5,000 contribution is dated June 7, 2014.

The “Strawberry Company Farmer” is identified on Michael Schumacher’s campaign finance filing as the “Owner of Aviara Farms.” He made two contributions to Schumacher’s campaign, one for $2,500 on September 12, 2014, the other for $1,760 on October 29, 2014.

Mayor Hall and Council member Schumacher had $9,260 good reasons between them to support their favorite constituent.

As I perused the many other contributions to the campaigns of these two candidates, I noted the number of out of town real estate companies, building and construction firms, and for some unknown reason, the special generosity of the executives of the Rancho Santa Fe Grand Pacific Resorts. I’ll leave that mystery to an investigative reporter, if there are any left after the collapse of print journalism.

The willingness to accept significant contributions from out of town businesses shows the hypocrisy of elected officials who blame “outside interests” for the success of a referendum drive. Click here to find the city’s web page disclosing campaign contributions.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters has 30 days, not including weekends, to validate the referendum’s signatures to see if there are 6,523, the magic number that will force the city Council to either hold a special election or put Caruso’s plan on the ballot in the 2016 general election.

A few years ago, Carlsbad boasted of a $50 million reserve fund, I’m guessing it’s grown substantially since then. The city says the cost of a special election would be $500,000. Mayor Hall says it would be a waste of money. Considering what’s at stake, I’d say it’s a bargain.


After his 30-year career in public education, Richard Riehl began his second life as a freelance journalist, beginning as an op-ed columnist for San Diego’s former daily newspaper, North County Times. During the 2008 Presidential campaign he edited the Huffington Post’s daily, Roadkill: OffTheBus’s Ongoing RoundUp of the Awkward, the Ugly, and the Just Plain Weird. His articles have appeared in the San Diego Reader’s BlogDiego, Carlsbadistan-Taming The Wilds of Carlsbad-by-The-Sea, and the OsideNews.com. Check out his blog at The Riehl World (theriehlworld2.blogspot.com), email him at richard_riehl@yahoo.com, and follow him on Twitter, @RichardRiehl.

Secrets Revealed…For Real This Time

So on a fairly innocuous Sunday afternoon while most of you are probably watching a football game, I’ve decided that I procrastinated long enough; even though my stomach is tied up in knots because it’s NOT PERFECT, and the only truly perfect thing I’ve ever done in my life is give birth to my Angel Boy, and well, I guess there’s the undisputed fact that I’m a great shopper, and there’s that tugboat man of mine, so I guess all in all, I really do possess quite a bit of perfection.

And humility.


But this is a big secret, guys!

Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife confesses:

Princess’s Progeny Procreates!

Oh, and here’s that new blog of mine: Diary of a Yummy Grandmummy

storkSave it, bookmark it, follow it! http://diaryofayummygrandmummy.com/

My DIL will be a contributor, because she’s the one who’s experiencing the highs and lows of a first-time baby making machine!

We’re going to attempt to be informative AND humorous, so come along for the journey as I truly become the most obnoxious yummy grandmummy ever (see how it’s always about me?)

We’ll be asking for advice as well as dispensing it; must have products and everything that’s new since I gave birth in 1981.


I’ll still be confessing and shopping and seashelling here, but it’s time to put on my grandma panties and dust off my diaper-changed skills, so I’ll be spending a lot of time at Diary of a Yummy Grandmummy!

Estimated date of arrival: March 1, 2016

Did you think this was going to be the secret I’ve been teasing you with?

Power to the people ‘cos sometimes the only answer is a revolution

A few thousand sleeping giants have awakened; where we were once snuggled into eight-hundred thread count sheets and fluffy duvets, drinking our ginger-kale smoothies on the way to yoga or an awesome surf sesh, we are WIDE AWAKE.

This is democracy in action!

We’ve come together as one voice, a tribe of local citizens who say…


It’s time for a change.

It’s time for a REVOLUTION.

Power to the people.


I have never been more proud to live here.

All the Davids took on Goliath and we WON.

What am I talking about?

In my not-so-little-anymore coastal town of Carlsbad, a mega-developer (Rick Caruso is the billionaire Republican developer and the dad of the “hot”–  but not really hot — debate guy). who owns a mega-yacht tried to work his way around the normal processes for development (with the blessing of our mayor and city council) to build a mega-mall on Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Agua Hedionda is a sensitive ecosystem that feeds into the Pacific Ocean.

Read more HERE “…I’m not impressed by men in fancy suits with fake tans.”

And HERE: Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

Great article: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/aug/11/agua-hediona-8515-plan-sidesteps-ceqa/

Simply put, one does not build a mega-mall on a lagoon.simplymeme

No matter how much I love to shop at Nordstrom, NO WAY.

A movement was born to fight the onslaught of questionable tactics with subverted and suppressed democratic processes — the very opposite of transparency —  while dozens of citizen volunteers stepped up to spread out throughout the city from dawn to dusk to acquire signatures for a referendum to overturn the Caruso initiative and put the mall development to a vote OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE.

On Thursday, we met in the library parking lot and marched as a group to Carlsbad City Hall to deliver boxes and boxes of signed petitions.

We were stalked the whole way by Caruso goons and his campaign lawyer — that guy lurking behind the fence in the black suit and mirrored sunglasses.

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It was a moment I’ll never forget when one of our leaders announced the tally; more than nine thousand signatures, well above the sixty-five hundred needed (ten percent of the registered voters.)

Strong arm tactics and million dollar TV and print ad campaigns didn’t deter our citizen warriors.





The collective whoops and yells were caught on video. This is one of many, and much thanks to one of my son’s best friends, Bryan Snyder:

And local TV:

You say you want a revolution? Well, you just got one.

Power to the people!

Photo gallery:

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Perfection versus Procrastination

Honestly, I’m having the hardest time launching the new blog I’ve been working on and teasing everyone with…

I don’t like the theme; I want to upgrade, but don’t want to spend the money.

I’ve gone through DOZENS of free theme demos and nothing feels right, it’s like Goldilocks trying out all those beds, but I haven’t gotten to the JUST RIGHT part, so my dilemma becomes this…should I proceed as it is or wait?

This is so totally ME; not being able to DO anything unless it achieves a certain level of perfection, which is mostly paralyzing, cos then I never do anything, which then leads to another case of procrastination.



The First Day of Autumn Brings an Injured But Still Beautiful Monarch Butterfly to Our Garden

Perhaps it’s because this is the first day of autumn that coincides with my Angel Boy’s half birthday (we always celebrate) or because he really has left the nest for real this time with his first tenure track professorship (at least on the west coast so we’re closer) but I’m feeling a sense of change along with the the season.

Even in SoCal the weather will eventually morph into a winter of sorts and maybe that’s why this butterfly was in a weakened condition, because there’s no way to tell how the injury occurred,  but she was flying around me and then came to rest on the lawn right next to my new raised bed where I was playing around with the sand dolllars from yesterday’s post.2015-09-20 22.03.25

How do you help an injured butterfly? Can I pick her up and take her to the vet? Can you superglue the torn wing? (I don’t think so) but her ability to still lift off and float on the breeze made me think of her metaphorically.

In fact, it’s a day full of metaphors with my son flying off and away (literally on an airplane as I’m typing this) to become a fully fledged adult with a grown up job and a boatload of responsibility.


But then this butterfly visited me and I’m trying to decipher her deeper message, although maybe a butterfly is just a butterfly.

I do know that even though her wing was damaged, she didn’t give up; she was resilient.2015-09-20 22.03.12

Maybe she just needed a safe place to rest and heal.


2015-09-20 22.01.12

And just like that, she flew away, carried off by the balmy breezes of another SoCal heat wave.
2015-09-20 22.02.56And thanks to a smarter blogger than me who writes over at https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/ (you need to follow him!)  his brilliant comment referenced the “butterfly effect. According to Wiki, it’s a popular hypothetical example of chaos theory which illustrates how small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time.

And he doesn’t know it, but this is SO TRUE. As I keep saying, all will be revealed…

Stay safe, my friends, and Happy Autumnal Equinox to everyone!

A Whole Bunch of Dirt, Sand Dollars, and a Riddle

This is a riddle of sorts but there are no clues.


In fact, this probably makes no sense at all right now, but all will be revealed, and even then what’s going on in my head that makes perfectly logical sense to me will still have you scratching your collective heads.

Trust me.

Before he left, tugboat man built this beautiful raised bed so I can plant healthy veggies.


A nice friend stopped by with all of these sand dollars!

If only you could plant a sand dollar so they’d multiply!Sand dollar2

One particular sand dollar is being chased by a several other types of seashells.

sand dollar3

This means *something*.

I promise.

CoExist Peacefully with Dr. Bronner’s Products

dr bronner“Dr. Bronner’s continues its mission and commitment to building an engine for promoting and advancing positive social change.”

I respect this philosophy and admire a business with ethics.

I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s products since the 1970s and do the math — whatev, I admit I’m old!

Although we were well beyond the Woodstock years, at Crawford High School in San Diego, there were still a few die-hard hippie types who hadn’t totally succumbed to all that polyester disco fever, and I guess that’s the group I straddled, although I was never in a clique ‘cos that’s not how I roll.

But even then, I was a staunch animal defender (that’s how I got my wolf/malamute/akita we named Beowulf) and did a fair amount of backpacking in the Sierra Nevada like the time a friend and I were chased by a bear near Rainbow Falls. Scary and awesome at the same time!

If you ever hung out at the mysterious incense and patchouli perfumed and sawdust lined floors of the few natural foods stores in Ocean Beach or La Jolla or Oceanside, you’d find Dr. Bronner’s soaps front and center, along with the ubiquitous barrels of sunflower seeds and brown rice.

A definite pioneer. 

And way ahead of his time, if you read the fine print on the wrappers; way ahead of his time in marketing and branding, too.

I love a local company, and they’re here in San Diego, not too far away from me.

I wasn’t able to go on a tour, but they sent a package of lovely and pure products to sample and review:drbronner2

There is nothing but good things to say about all of the Dr. Bronner’s products I’ve used over the last forty-plus years.

  • High quality ingredients. ALWAYS.
  • Ethical sourcing, fair trade.
  • Organic.
  • Biodegradable.
  • Packed in 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles.

I fought to keep the toothpaste (a new product!) and the bar soap from tugboat man’s clutches — and lost; he packed them both to take with him; but the new orange lavender lotion is light but very effective in moisturizing my dry SoCal skin.

I’ve used it daily and discovered that it also makes a wonderful leave-in conditioner. Just a teaspoon or so applied to the ends of my hair turn my curly locks soft and supple.

drbronner3Thank goodness, I was able to save the liquid Peppermint Hemp soap from disappearing because there’s nothing more refreshing than a steamy shower with the purest essence of mint to lift your spirits!

Do you know Dr. Bronner’s history?
It’s fascinating. Check it out here:

And what a coincidence (are there really NO coincidences?) a local TV station aired a piece about Dr. Bronner’s:


I was provided no compensation, just product to sample and review.

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