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...

Are You Accident Prone Like Me?

I burn myself ALL the time.

It’s true.

Somehow I get careless and end up burned and blistered, whether it’s from my glue gun or curling iron (which actually works the opposite on my already curly hair-it relaxes the curl!), the iron, or a hot pot handle.

I break bones too, but that’s another story…(click on the link to read.)

Not a Nip Slip But…Slip + Fall = Break

It’s understandable that I’d jump on the chance to try a new product that’s supposed to take the burn away, right?

Burns HURT.

MyPainAway After Burn Cream soothes the pain and discomfort; it really does! It’s made with good things; I keep my tube sitting prominently on the kitchen counter.

gI_84892_After-Burn Tube

…Cooking Burns
…Helps to reduce/improve appearance of scars.

You know I love a company that gives back: 3% of all After Burn Cream sales goes to burn centers.

With all the cooking and baking we’re doing during the holiday season, it’s a good idea to keep this product close by, don’t you think?


Twenty-one years in business and a Certified B Corporation, Topical BioMedics is a research and development leader in topical patented natural biomedicines for pain relief.

The company’s flagship product, Topricin® Pain Relief and Healing Cream, was introduced in 1994 and is now a leading natural therapeutic brand.

A combination natural biomedicine formula, Topricin has been awarded a patent for the treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia and neuropathy. Topricin products are mandatory treatment protocol at world renowned medical centers.

The Topricin family of natural healing products also includes Topricin Foot Therapy Cream, specially formulated to treat painful foot and ankle issues and conditions, and Topricin for Children, which received the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval (with 5% of sales are donated to pediatric cancer foundations).

The company has just launched the MyPainAway™ (powered by Topricin) line of products.  Its two new formulas have been introduced—MyPainAway Fibro Cream (3% of sales donated to fibromyalgia research foundations) and MyPainAway After-Burn Cream (3% sales donated to burn centers)—with others slated to roll out later in 2015 and 2016.

Made in the U.S.A., all Topricin products are federally-regulated over-the-counter medicines with no known side effects, no parabens, petroleum, or other harsh chemicals, no grease, and no odor.

Topical BioMedics launched a free monthly pain management webinar in February 2015. Featuring Lou Paradise, president, chief of research, and pain management expert, the webinars are streamed live the second Tuesday of each month from 12pm to 1pm then archived on the company’s WordPress blog for on-demand access 24/7.  https://topricin.wordpress.com/

For more information visit http://www.topricin.com

This is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife…

My tugboat man departed mid-September for what was supposed to be a six-week assignment.

In the world of the merchant mariner, that’s easy; a piece of cake.

He’s still not home and what’s today’s date?

November 22.

Will he be home for Thanksgiving?


Will he be home the week after?

Hopefully, but no guarantees.

Am I complaining?

Only kinda, sorta, cos I’m pretty much used to this by now.

During the first fifteen years or so of our marriage, he worked in our local harbor as a tug captain and also as port captain of a tug company, and then with the downturn in the economy in 2008, he was offered an opportunity to return to his roots of long distance towing.

Not only is he a maritime academy (won’t tell which one) graduate and a high ticket tug captain, he’s a tow master.

Being a Master Towboatman is highly specialized and a difficult and often dangerous job.

Which is why if I don’t hear from him every day, I get a little (OK, a LOT) crazy.

Even though we do have limited satellite email, I haven’t actually SPOKEN to him in a few weeks, but tomorrow he’s going to bring one 800-foot-long barge into a port and exchange it for another one to take offshore and do whatever it is that he does (can’t tell you) and the highlight of my day is a PHONE CALL.


Which makes me very, very happy!

So, in spite of my bestie not being here on this Sunday where Princess Rosebud (me) can make him his fave buckwheat pancakes, I am very thankful that I’ll be able to hear his voice tomorrow.

Gratitude…Take it wherEVER you can find it.



WTF WordPress. Not AGAIN…

Have you noticed that I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a few days?

2015-11-19 02.01.38-1

Were you wondering what’s happened to Princess Rosebud?

Did I go on a shopping spree that spiraled out of control?

Nope, no out-of-control purchases, although I did attend a Chanel trunk show and walked away empty handed, but only because the earrings I desired were clip on and not meant for my pierced ears.

Oh well.

The truth is that I was/am joining forces with other like minded community activists to FIGHT a mega mall development that would, if allowed, forever destroy our precious sensitive wetlands.

And more.

With help, I rescued a cat from a boarded up, condemned home.

I wanted to write a post about all of this, but when I opened WordPress, I was greeted with YET ANOTHER CHANGE TO WRITING, EDITING, PUBLISHING TOOLS.

WordPress, I simply cannot take these changes right now.

It’s not necessary to tweak the format.


And where’s the button to SAVE my work?  That teensy little word with the blue line under it isn’t USER FRIENDLY.

The whole format is NOT user friendly.

WTF, WordPress?____________________________________________________

P.S. To add insult to injury, tugboat man is again delayed; won’t be home until AFTER Thanksgiving. UGH.


Oh Kate Spade, You GET Me!

Kate Spade, you really do GET me.

I love you.

KSbackpackRecently, I went through a massive and stressful shopping campaign to find the perfect purse/backpack for travel and walking for all those times that my sweet baby Chanels couldn’t accompany us and had to stay home; lonely, locked away in a dark closet until my return.

BUT it wasn’t perfect after all.

I thought it was, but it lacked a certain SOMETHING, an undefined je ne sais quoi,.

My post about the journey was even featured on BlogHer!
In Pursuit of the Perfect Vegan Backpack

Today, while I was on the hunt for a new pair of Asics cross trainers, I popped into Kate Spade at Carlsbad Outlet.

Kate rarely fails me and she was victorious again!

KSbackpack1Look what I found! It’s easy-to-clean nylon and the perfect size (really this time, I mean it!)

Kate Spade New York Blake Avenue Hilo Backpack
Measurements: 10.5 H X 9″ L X 4″ W

It originally sold for $245.00 (that’s on the price tag) but there was a huge sale and I actually paid $99.00 which is still a lot of money, but I wanted it, so there’s that…always that.

I brought it with me on my recent trip to San Francisco and it was perfect for travellng and perfect for walking through Golden Gate Park as well as accompanying my DIL to her doc’s appointment.

I love you, Kate Spade.

if you love someone…

“If you love someone more than anything, the distance only matters to the mind, not the heart.”

I saw this posted on Facebook and it seems so very true—and helpful to remember at those times when we really miss our faraway mariner.

Like me, like now, when he’s been delayed AGAIN and might not be home for Thanksgiving and it all depends on the weather, so I’m sending good thoughts to Mother Nature to calm down a bit!


Our hearts are connected no matter where he is or how long he’s gone.

Ten Fingers, Ten Toes, and a Congenital Defect. (Part One)

Ten Fingers, Ten Toes, and a Congenital Defect. (Part One)

Ten little fingers1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect.

Every 4 1/2 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect.

From March of Dimes…

“If your baby is born with a birth defect or other health condition, he may need special care at birth and later in life.

You may be worried and have lots of questions. It’s OK to feel this way.

Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. They change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. Birth defects can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops or how the body works”

DEFECT is such an ugly word: a shortcoming, an imperfection, a deficiency.

A congenital disorder.

In other words, NOT perfect.

I failed as a mom, even before my baby was born.

Or at least that’s how I felt when I discovered that my son suffered from a Meckel’s diverticulum.

I didn’t learn this when I was pregnant during a regular office visit or ultrasound; he was thirty-three years-old and being rolled into emergency surgery all the way across the country when the surgeon revealed the reason why my son was writhing in such horrific pain that morphine couldn’t dull and why his belly was distended.

At first they thought it was appendicitis, but it wasn’t.

It was far worse and if we had not had such an amazing surgeon; there’s a strong possibility that he would not be here now, having his own baby boy.

Apparently he had been born with Meckel’s diverticulum, a true congenital diverticulum, which is a slight bulge in the small intestine present at birth and a vestigial remnant of the omphalomesenteric duct (also called the vitelline duct or yolk stalk).

Meckel’s diverticulum is the most common congenital abnormality of the small intestine; it is caused by an incomplete obliteration of the vitelline duct (ie, omphalomesenteric duct). Although originally described by Fabricius Hildanus in 1598, it is named after Johann Friedrich Meckel, who established its embryonic origin in 1809.

In 1981, there was nothing like the sort of sophisticated diagnostic tools we have today. I think I had a doppler to hear the heartbeat and that’s it. There was no need to subject me or my baby to amniocentesis and I was all about natural and organic, so the less invasive, the better.

Even now, despite being one of the most common congenital anomalies of the gastrointestinal tract, Meckel diverticulum has rarely been diagnosed in utero, although there is the potential to see it if it exists at the end of the third trimester.

What I learned from the doctors is that it either causes no problem at all or it causes a problem when the child is about two years old, or it causes the kind of complications my son endured as an adult, which can be life threatening.

Which it was.

If this condition is left untreated, it leads to strangulation and ischemic necrosis of the wall of the bowel loop.

  • Most patients with intestinal obstruction present with abdominal pain, bilious vomiting, abdominal tenderness, distention, and hyperactive bowel sounds upon examination.
  • Patients may develop a palpable abdominal mass.

From the moment my DIL brought my son to the emergency room and called us at 3 a.m.,  the whirlwind that brought me and tugboat man rushing from SoCal to the east coast — his intestines were dying and had become so necrotic that two feet (24 inches!) of small intestine would be resected, along with the removal of the inflamed and burst Meckel’s diverticulum, his appendix, eight inches of ascending colon, and various other bits and pieces that were also affected and infected.

I can’t even describe the fear and guilt that washed over me in waves while I didn’t leave his side for the two weeks he was in the hospital.

Why didn’t I know?

What could I have done to have prevented it?

How could I be such a horrible mother?

How come my baby wasn’t perfect?

What if…he didn’t survive?

I know those are the kind of irrational thoughts that have no basis in reality, but a mother’s heart is so fierce, I would have died for him.

And with him.

I’m so grateful to the surgeon and the great nursing care at Rhode Island Hospital; because of them, my Angel Boy is here today.

Here’s the complete story of that almost tragedy on my other blog, Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife:


1. That Dreaded Call at 3:00 A.M.


2. Time To Exhale

3. Full Circle From Hell to Happiness

4. What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma, Unit, and Mother’s Day Have in Common

Remember the Merchant Mariner on Veteran’s Day

And this year let’s not forget the thirty-three lives that were lost on El Faro.
Merchant Marine recruitingposterMy tugboat man is a proud member of the United States Merchant Marine.

He is a merchant mariner.

He also served in Desert Storm.

From the little he’s shared with me, it was a dangerous mission. I met him right after he returned, but I didn’t hear about his involvement until a couple years later when I was updating and re-typing his resume. (On a typewriter!)

Most Americans honor those who’ve served in the military, and we can name the branches of the armed services — Army, Air Force, Navy, and the Marines.

Here on the Pacific Ocean, we always remember to include the United States Coast Guard.fightingMerchant Marine

Hardly anyone would think to include the Merchant Marine, which has long been referred to as the forgotten branch of the military, according to Jack Beritzhoff, former merchant seaman and author of Sail Away: Journeys of a Merchant Seaman. 

“People don’t remember that the Merchant Marine was around before the Navy —  during the Revolutionary War, the Colonies hired merchantmen to protect our shores and cargoes.

At the height of the Second World War, when I served, there were over 250,000 merchant sailors bringing supplies to American forces and our allies, getting torpedoed by U-boats in the Atlantic and strafed by Japanese planes in the Pacific.

There are a lot of historians who say that it was our merchant fleet that won the war as much as anything.”

Please take a minute to learn a little more about the maritime industry and don’t forget the importance of our mariners.

nowfor7seasThe American Maritime Partnership has given me permission to reprint some of their excellent articles.


With more than 40,000 vessels engaged in domestic waterborne commerce, it is clear that this commercial armada is as diverse as the nation it serves. These vessels represent an investment of nearly thirty billion dollars.

Here are some more facts and figures that illustrate the size and scope of the domestic maritime industry:

  • A billion-plus tons of cargo annually, with a market value of $400 billion.
  • 100 million passengers annually ride ferries and excursion boats.
  • 74,000 jobs on vessels and at shipyards.
  • 500,000 jobs in total.
  • $100 billion in annual economic output.
  • $29 billion in annual wages spent in virtually every community in the United States.
  • $11 billion in taxes per annum.
  • $46 billion added to the value of U.S. economic output each year.


  • Grain, coal, and other dry-bulk cargos and crude and petroleum via inland rivers.
  • Iron ore, limestone and coal across the Great Lakes.
  • Refined petroleum products along the East and Gulf coasts.
  • Supplies for Gulf offshore operations.
  • Merchandise and construction materials to and from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

The domestic trades serve more than forty states and ninety percent of the population.

America’s domestic trades have been the birthplace of innovations that transformed waterborne commerce worldwide:

  • Containerships
  • Self-unloading vessels
  • Articulated tug-barges
  • Trailer barges
  • Chemical parcel tankers
  • Railroad-on-barge carfloats
  • River flotilla towing systems

Click here to see a gallery of photos of vessels in the domestic trades.

Safety is another benefit that flows from U.S. laws regulating domestic waterborne commerce. U.S.-flag vessels are built and operated to the world’s highest safety standards. And no other nation sets a higher standard for mariner credential

Why We Need the Jones Act


Under U.S. domestic maritime laws, commonly known as the Jones Act, cargo shipped between two U.S. ports must move on American vessels. These laws are critical for American economic, national, and homeland security, which is why they have enjoyed the support of the U.S. Navy, Members of Congress of both parties, and every President in modern history.


From the earliest days of our nation, shipping has been the grease for America’s economic engine. Today, the maritime industry is by far the most economical form of domestic transportation, moving more than 1 billion tons of cargo annually at a fraction of the cost of other modes. Remarkably, the domestic maritime industry transports about one-quarter of America’s domestic cargo for just 2% of the national freight bill. Fundamental U.S. industries depend on the efficiencies and economies of domestic maritime transportation to move raw materials and other critical commodities.

America’s domestic shipping industry is responsible for nearly 500,000 jobs and more than one hundred billion dollars in annual economic output, according to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Transportation Institute. Labor compensation associated with the domestic fleet exceeds twenty-nine billion dollars annually with those wages spent in virtually every corner of the United States. The American domestic fleet, with more than 40,000 vessels, is the envy of the world. Every job in a domestic shipyard results in four additional jobs elsewhere in the U.S. economy.

A small number of individuals and organizations support repeal of the Jones Act, which would allow foreign-built, foreign-operated, foreign-manned, and foreign-owned vessels to operate on American waters. The result would be to take a core American industry like shipbuilding and transfer it overseas to nations like China and South Korea, which heavily subsidize their shipyards and play by their own set of rules. Additional losses would occur from the outsourcing of American shipping jobs to foreign nations. Particularly at a time of severe economic dislocation in the U.S., it makes little if any sense to send American jobs overseas and undermine an essential American industry.


The U.S. Navy’s position is clear – repeal of the Jones Act would “hamper [America’s] ability to meet strategic sealift requirements and Navy shipbuilding.” Over the past several decades the Navy has consistently opposed efforts to repeal or modify key U.S. maritime laws.

America’s domestic fleet is an important part of the national maritime infrastructure that helps ensure there will be ample U.S. sealift capacity to defend our nation. American ships, crews to man them, ship construction and repair yards, intermodal equipment, terminals, cargo tracking systems, and other infrastructure can be made available to the U.S. military at a moment’s notice in times of war, national emergency, or even in peacetime. In addition, during a major mobilization, American domestic vessels move defense cargoes to coastal ports for overseas shipments.

During Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (2002 – 2010), U.S.-flag commercial vessels, including ships drawn from the domestic trades, transported 90% of all military cargoes moved to Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Defense Department (“DoD”) has consistently emphasized the military importance of maintaining a strong domestic shipbuilding industry, stating “[W]e believe that the ability of the nation to build and maintain a U.S. flagged fleet is in the national interest, [and] we also believe it is in the interest of the DoD for U.S. shipbuilders to maintain a construction capability for commercial vessels.” A study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration, reached a similar conclusion:

The U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry is a strategic asset analogous to the aerospace, computer, and electronic industries. Frontline warships and support vessels are vital for maintaining America’s national security and for protecting interests abroad. In emergency situations, America’s cargo carrying capacity is indispensable for moving troops and supplies to areas of conflict overseas. A domestic capability to produce and repair warships, support vessels, and commercial vessels is not only a strategic asset but also fundamental to national security.


As America works to secure its borders, it must also secure its waterways. Homeland security is enhanced by the requirement for American vessels that operate in full accordance with U.S. laws and with the consistent oversight of the U.S. government. In that respect, the Jones Act is as effective a homeland security measure as any federal agency could ever write and enforce.

Today, it takes a small army of Customs agents, Immigration Services officials, homeland security staff, and others to regulate foreign ships that enter and exit the U.S. in international trade, even within the carefully controlled structure of U.S. ports. However, there is no precedent for allowing foreign-controlled ships operated by foreign crews to move freely throughout the tens of thousands of miles of America’s navigational “bloodstream.” Inland lakes, rivers and waterways go to virtually every corner of the nation.

There is considerable uncertainty about what laws would apply to a foreign shipping company operating in U.S. domestic commerce if the Jones Act were repealed. However, it is certain that the task of monitoring, regulating, and overseeing potentially tens of thousands of foreign-controlled, foreign-crewed vessels in internal U.S. commerce would be difficult at best and fruitless at worst. Repeal or modification of the key domestic maritime laws would make America more vulnerable and less secure.


American domestic maritime laws ensure a level playing field by requiring that all shipping and shipbuilding companies that operate in U.S. domestic commerce play by the same set of rules. Allowing foreign companies to operate in the U.S. outside of our immigration, employment, safety, environmental, tax, labor, and others laws would be unfair. American laws are often stricter than the laws that govern shipping and shipbuilding in international trades. No other industry operates exclusively in American domestic commerce yet outside of our laws (e.g., paying third world wages to its employees). No country in the world would – or does – permit businesses to operate domestically without complying with its national and local laws. Companies that do business here must fully obey American laws, regulations and other rules.


You don’t need to be an expert in the maritime industry to know that repeal or modification of the key domestic maritime laws would make America less secure economically and militarily. Repeal of those laws would provide little benefit while making America more vulnerable.

Golden Gate Park and Botanical Gardens

Spent the last few days with my preggy DIL and the original Angel Boy.

Today we went to Golden Gate Park and the Botanical Gardens.

It was a glorious blue sky day!

These might not be the best photos; I was rushed and didn’t have time to focus!
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I Met Vice President Al Gore at the Apple Store

This is a repost from a while ago because I felt the need to produce factual documentation to prove to a few people in my little town that I did indeed meet Al Gore and I told the truth! Plus, this is one of tugboat man’s favorite posts.


Hey, that rhymes, doesn’t it? Al Gore at the Apple Store

Of all the days to run out of the house dressed in ratty Lululemons — constructed from the WORST fabric in the entire world. They’re a powerful magnet for all the lint and dust in Southern California and seem to attract more grime than my vacuum.

I stopped wearing them as workout garments ‘cos they’re not very comfortable and they have a nasty X-rated propensity to outline my reproductive parts for everyone at the gym. NOT a flattering look. At least they weren’t the see-though kind. Click here to read my post about THAT.

Now that you know more TMI that you probably needed to  —  picture me in those Lululemons and an oversized “I Hiked Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park” t-shirt with a black hoodie wrapped around my waist. Oh, and my hair was tied up in a scrunchie — yes, you heard me.  A SCRUNCHIE. Shhh. Don’t. Don’t say anything. I’ve heard it all before, “Ring, ring…1983 is calling.” Heard it a zillion times. In my defense, I have longish, very curly hair and a scrunchie is the best method to tie up my hair, OK?

I had MacAirApplea 1:00 p.m. appointment at the Genius Bar of my local Apple Store in La Costa at the Forum because my MacAir was on life support with the dreaded black screen of death —  basically flatlining —  and it needed a major resuscitation. And in case you’re wondering (and marveling) at my handiwork, I most certainly lovingly applied each and every sparkle to the darling apple with my own little fingers.

Keep reading; this story really is going somewhere, albeit in a meandering kind of way. Stick with me, OK?

Did I mention that I didn’t have on any makeup? I was in a rush to get there because how can you live without a computer — a rhetorical question, ‘cos of course it’s impossible.

I checked in with one of the many blue-shirted Apple employees and was directed to take a seat at the Genius Bar to await my personal technician. There were several available stools and I chose the second one from the end. THIS WILL BE VERY IMPORTANT SOON.


Note how close together the stools are.

Hello Kitty computer caseI settled in and took my Mac out of its totes adorbs Hello Kitty case (I hear you snickering and I don’t care. I’m proudly 13 going on 60).

My tech, Clinton, came out for a moment to discuss my issues — well, not MY issues exactly, I mean, my MacAir haha —  and whisked my laptop off to the mysterious Back Room with the invisible silver doors.

Leaning against the sharp-edged corner of the Genius Bar with the ubiquitous badge around her neck defining her status as “Manager”, I overheard her whisper to another employee, “I’m saving this seat”.

She placed her iPad down on the round stool to emphasize her statement.

“Saving it for whom?” I thought to myself. Is this like junior high where we saved seats for our BFFs? Was that the best seat? Should I have demanded to sit there? Is there anyone more important than Princess Rosebud? All these questions were swirling around in my brain.

A couple of other employees gathered around the manager and exuded nervous anticipation. “He’ll be here soon”.

My radar began to pick up on the buzz. Hmm. Who were they saving a seat for? A celebrity? An Apple bigwig? A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON?

I sniffed the air. I smelled a story. One of my former incarnations was as an investigative reporter wannabe and my curiosity was aroused.

Something was going on.

A man and a woman were ceremoniously escorted to THE SAVED SEAT.

The man sat down next to me.

His stool was so close to my stool that I could feel body heat emanating from his softly worn jeans-clad thigh.

The woman stood next to him at the end of the Genius Bar. They were both casually dressed, nothing too remarkable about jewelry — no huge diamonds or Rolex watches — just a couple of regular people.

They both shook hands with the manager. She thanked them for coming into the store. WTF was THAT all about? This was certainly different than my experience. Not that I wasn’t treated courteously, but this was a bit overly polite and way more attentive.

Now there were three employees plus the hovering manager. The woman took her iPhone out of her handbag and handed it to the manager. I noted (with my laser focused investigative powers) that her phone was encased in a J.Crew leopard print cell phone cover. Nice, but not Chanel or anything. I could see that because another employee appeared from the mysterious back room and snapped off the case, enabling me to sneak a peek of “J.Crew” printed on the inside.

Too much detail? I’m building up to the good part. Don’t leave me now!

The man was doing a lot of talking and I was only half paying attention to WHAT he was saying because I was trying to place the voice. It was a very distinctive voice, something that I KNOW I’ve heard before — a bit of an elegant and classy Southern kind of drawl, a deeply resonant sound that I found to be VERY SEXY.

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out who it was. I ran through all the names and faces of celebrities  in my head – nope, nope, nope.

At this point, I was openly staring at him. He has beautiful eyes. I think they were blue, but I’m not sure even though, I swear, I was inches away. Poor guy, he prolly thought he had a stalker next to him. He could prolly smell my bad breath as I thought to myself, did I even brush my teeth that day? and surreptitiously opened my handbag and slipped a cinnamon Altoids between my lips.

I totally blanked (senior moment, perhaps?) and decided it must be someone who worked at Apple, maybe someone from San Francisco or something. Whatev. No biggie. I looked around. No one else seemed to be staring in our direction, no one was taking pics or coming up for an autograph.

Except for the voice. I KNEW that voice. Was it driving me crazy? You bet it was. I told you how close we were. I could have reached out and caressed his unshaven cheek and stroked his dark blonde/silvery hair. Nice hair.

Do you wonder who it was? Can you guess?

Finally, my tech came back with the good news/bad news that my laptop needed to be purged and the OS reinstalled and all would be better, but it would take a few days. Best news of all, the repair was free.

Mostly though, I wasn’t paying attention to anything he said ‘cos I was going nuts trying to figure out who was practically sitting in my lap, but I gathered up my stuff and prepared to walk away, still puzzled.

I hopped off the stool, turned, and walked a few steps away. I really did.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Another Apple employee walked up to me, laughing. She said I should see the look on my face. Huh? Oh, I guess I looked perplexed.

She said, “Don’t you know who that is?”

I replied, “I know the voice, but my brain won’t come up with the name to match it.”

She whispered, “Al Gore.”

Damn. OF COURSE. Stupid me.

AL GORE. Vice President and almost President but for a few hanging chads; Nobel Prize winner, author, and filmmaker.

What would you have done? Kept walking out the door? Missed an opportunity?

Not THIS girl. No way.

I turned and walked  back to the stool where AL GORE and his girlfriend were still chatting with the manager.

I interrupted their conversation as I stuck out my hand to shake his, and told him I couldn’t believe I was sitting there all that time and I hadn’t said anything and it must have been because I didn’t think I was seeing correctly and that he was who he was (brilliant conversationalist, right?) because I just had laser surgery to repair a torn retina and he was like (I said “like” a LOT). Don’t you like like how speedily I turned the conversation to my favorite subject, ALL ABOUT ME?)

His GF was really nice and asked me all sorts of questions about the surgery and seemed to know quite a bit about it, and then we were talking about how I had to go through that pain all by myself ‘cos my tugboat captain husband who was a PROUD AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINER was out to sea. Finally, we talked about my broken computer, and Al (see how I call him Al now that we’re besties?) asked me if I was being treated right at the Apple Store and duh of course I said yes, but secretly I was thinking to myself, “not half as good as you were treated”, and there wasn’t much else to say after that, so we shook hands again. My parting words were something stupid like, “I hope you’re enjoying my little town of Carlsbad”.

So lame.

And so lame that I didn’t snap an Al Gore-Princess Rosebud selfie, but I thought it wasn’t appropriate — so alas, no photo.

But I swear it’s true.

He’s lost a lot of weight and I think that’s why I had a hard time identifying his voice.

Wow. Now I’m thinking if I had actually touched him, the Secret Service would have had me down on the floor and I’d be writing this from a federal prison OR you’d never hear from me again.

Did I ask him about climate change? Nope. Did I thank him for inventing the internet? Nope. Did I mention that my Yale professor son would really like a tenure-track position at Stanford and could he help make that happen? Nope. Did I mention that I voted for him (which I had)? Nope. I talked about ME. ME. ME. ME.

Me in my ratty camel-toed Lululemons with zero makeup and my hair in a curly scrunchie ponytail. Good one, Princess. Good one.

Yes, I met Al Gore, also famous or infamous for that kiss to his then wife, Tipper, at the 2000 Democratic Convention.

Whatever anyone might think of his politics and/or personal life, I can verify that he is VERY SEXY up close and that’s really all I cared about at that moment. And he smells good, too! Yum.

His girlfriend is Liz Keadle and in an interesting it’s-a-small-world-six-degrees kind of thing, Liz Keadle was formerly married to Lyle Turner, founder of Invitrogen, a huge biotech company in Carlsbad, famous for their vertical integration. My son used to intern at Invitrogen (when he went to UCSD and initially majored in Molecular Biology) and met Lyle Turner on several occasions.

Crazy random connection right?

P.S. I learned my lesson. When I went back to pick up my now functioning MacAir, I wore white skinny jeans and a tunic top with just a hint of cleavage and four-inch wedges. Makeup perfect, hair blown straight. Didn’t see anyone at all. I was in and out of the Apple Store in less than five minutes. A total waste of time.


Let me introduce my new best friends, Liz Keadle and Al Gore.



#AppleStore #AlGore #Famouspeople


A World of Firsts

A first grandchild brings memories of other firsts:AB2.0That first moment I knew I was pregnant.

The first time nausea was how I defined each waking moment, a fog of nausea and exhaustion no amount of sleep could erase.

That red letter day I woke up and for the first time in four months wasn’t running to the bathroom to throw up.

It was a day to celebrate. My mom made blueberry pancakes and I not only kept the entire stack down—I gorged on a second serving.

The first time I looked really and truly without-a-doubt pregnant.

That was about the time I felt that first flutter-butterfly kisses from the inside.

The insane feeling of the first kick – and how it was so much more intimate than anyone had warned me about.

That was my baby in there!

A HUMAN attached absolutely and for all time —with his own arms and legs and brain and thoughts and feelings and it was overwhelming.

The first Braxton-Hicks contractions.

I called my mom and she rushed over in less than fifteen minutes to take my vitals and reassure me that this was NOT the real thing. Not yet. (She was an RN.)

The first real contraction.

The first realization that it hurt so much more than I had anticipated.

And then, outside of my body for the first time, unattached but wonderfully connected by heart and soul; the first time I was able to hold my precious baby boy.

Who is now having his own first baby boy.

Simply crazy.

No way I’m that old, right?

I guess there’s a first for everything.