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

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 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 or leopard print. I've been a veg since 1970 and an ardent animal activist forever.

Of Circuses and Condoms: The Slave Trade is Alive and Well in 2015

Circus TextThis might come as a shock to you.

I don’t spend ALL of my time shopping. Seriously, is that what you thought?

It’s true that I devote a great deal of my waking hours in a search for treasures old and new, but once in a while, I aspire to a higher calling.

circus5On Sunday and Monday, I hung out with an amazing and dedicated group who were protesting Ramos Brothers Circus in San Marcos, California.

Shame on San Marcos for supporting the mistreatment of animals.


What’s my story?
 I’ve never been to a circus because my mom felt strongly that animals should not do tricks and that there is something so very wrong in forcing animals to become entertainment for human profit.

If you were wondering where all my animal activist genes came from, I’d have to thank my mom. (Also thanks to her for the fashionista gene.)

I stopped eating meat in 1970 when I was a senior in high school. My surfer boyfriend (yes, I have a type haha) at the time wanted to try to eat healthier so I went along with his experiment. We eventually broke up but I never did eat meat again.

circus1Thank you to everyone who drove by, honked, and gave a thumbs up in support of our efforts.circus4

I have a request to make of you…the next time you see a group of people protesting animal abuse, STOP. Get out of your car. JOIN US. Take an hour out of your busy day just like we did to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Bring your children. Show them that you don’t just talk about caring for animals…you are agents of change. circus2

Then, hopefully, we CAN make the world a better place.

No matter what you think about PETA, they’re right about this:

“Animals aren’t actors, spectacles to imprison and gawk at, or circus clowns. Yet thousands of these animals are forced to perform silly, confusing tricks under the threat of physical punishment; are carted across the country in cramped and stuffy boxcars or semi-truck trailers; are kept chained or caged in barren, boring, and filthy enclosures; and are separated from their families and friends—all for the sake of human “entertainment.” Many of these animals even pay with their lives.”

Animals have RIGHTS.

Did you grow up eating meat, wearing leather, going to circuses, zoos, and the bathtub that is SeaWorld?

Do you wear wool and silk?

Are you now considering the impact of your actions on the animals?

If you haven’t, maybe you SHOULD.

Animals are NOT a requirement for a circus-type entertainment to be prosperous.

The overwhelming success of Cirque du Soleil is proof that you don’t need to have animals of any kind to have a circus.

Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, said people have turned against animal acts as they learn more about the animals and how they are treated. “These are complex, intelligent animals, and this is a lousy, lousy, dirty, cruel business, and people see that,” she said. “This was purely a business decision.”

Isn’t it wrong that these animals don’t get to see this glorious sky, bask in the breeze, and feel rain on their fur? Their lives are dismal, traveling from one city to another in dark, smelly, cramped trailers.
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I’m not going to share the sad, tragic, horrific, heartbreaking pictures and videos of abused animals. If you need proof, you are more than welcome to Google and compile your own documentation.

I KNOW all I need to know.

A couple years ago, I spoke (along with PETA) against elephant rides at the San Diego County Fair and almost got into an altercation with one of the few supporters of this barbaric form of entertainment. I don’t understand how seemingly intelligent and civilized humans could allow this kind of abuse in 2015 when we’ve seen the videos, when we know what hell an animal endures to become “entertainment”.

Aren’t we better than this?

Haven’t we evolved at all in the last one hundred years?

Do you really need all that bacon-wrapped crap when you know what hellish existence pigs endure in factory farms?

Really?

Compassion
Let’s teach our children, the next generation, that not only do animals have feelings, animals have the right not to be exploited, mistreated, abused, and enslaved.

For more information, visit circusprotest.com
I hope to see you in San Diego at the next protest!

As we walked our way over to the sidewalk with our signs, look what we had to step over.

Gross, huh?circus11

However, in some way, it’s a perfect albeit disgusting metaphor for the way too many people think about animals; that their lives have as much value as a discarded condom. Or something like that.

How about a little inspiration from Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young?

Teach Your Children

Cloud’s Illusion

Pretty clouds but no rain.JuneClouds1 I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at allJuneClouds2 Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere,
I’ve looked at clouds that way.JuneClouds3 Subtropical moisture in the air.JuneClouds4 Maybe…

It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life
I really don’t know life at allJuneClouds5Just an illusion…circus8Thanks to Joni Mitchell, lyrics from Both Sides, Now

I Have Little Desire To Be On WordPress

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

This was food for thought. I know I’ve been frustrated by so many WP changes as well as some of the what I believe to be elitism and “friend fueled” Freshly Pressed. What do you think? Are you happy? Looking for a change?

Originally posted on Renard Moreau Presents:

wordpress.jpgMost bloggers are aware of the fact, that WordPress is, the number one blog site in the blogosphere (And, I genuinely believe that they are going to remain in the number one position for a very long time to come).

WordPress is, the ideal place for a blogger to get his or her blog noticed (And, bloggers like being noticed).

However, WordPress is, always doing upgrades; the kind that is famous for stressing out bloggers.

While upgrades are necessary, I believe that Automattic (the creators of WordPress) took things a bit too far by messing with the Editor feature (I hate the new Editor with a heated passion; which is why I am still using the old one).

And, the User Interface is, becoming stranger looking with every upgrade.

Do you still feel the same way about WordPress as when you first joined it?

I can tell you without…

View original 936 more words

Plant Motherly Milkweed for Monarch Butterfly LOVE

The motherly milkweed provides sustenance to the Monarch butterfly and is crucial to sustain the species.

milkweed1

Everyone who loves butterflies should plant milkweed and since NObody doesn’t love butterflies, there should be enough milkweed planted to sustain the entire cosmos.milkweed7To clarify, I’m not referring to the plural of one my fave cocktails, but the cosmos of our universe.milkweed2

According to Monarch Joint Venture…

Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. With shifting land management practices, we have lost much milkweed from the landscape.

Please plant milkweed to support monarch populations, and their incredible migration!

Planting milkweed is a great way to help other pollinators too, as they provide valuable nectar resources to a diverse suite of bees and butterflies.

For a brief how-to flyer on planting and gardening, download MJV’s Gardening for Monarchs or the Wild Ones “Wild for Monarchs” brochure.

As soon as I put the plant in the ground, it became inundated with all the Monarchs in my little part of the world.milkweed6

I planted it FAR away from the vegetable garden so the hungry little caterpillars wouldn’t decide to vary their diet and eat all my veggies.

Reminder! Don’t use pesticides or herbicides. milkweed3Click here for free butterfly garden and milkweed seeds:
https://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm
milkweed5

More information at Bring Back the Monarchs
http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed6

Californians can help save the monarch butterfly by restoring habitats where they can thrive. Take action now: Tell lawmakers to vote “YES” on AB 559 to restore monarch butterfly habitats. http://ecovote.org/SaveTheMonarch >>

DIY Shabby Chic Rustic Planters

DIYSHABBYCHICRUSTICPLANTERDETOUR RANT: It’s so annoying. They turned off the electricity in our entire neighborhood for some stupid repairs to transformers or something and that means no internet, which means I had to seek out a public location and buy a carrot/celery/beet/wheat grass juice so I can use their wifi.

This is NOT one of my favorite things to do, especially in the summer when tourist season is in full swing and the entire downtown area is jammed up with whiny children and obnoxious parents WHO DON’T SEEM TO KNOW HOW TO SAY NO.

I’m trying to ignore the coughing and sneezing (please keep them home when they’re sick, OK?) and whinging and FOCUS.

OM.

Also, ‘rents? If you could PLEASE teach your children NOT to put their dirty shoes on sofas where people sit, that’d be great.

Back to today’s post after the brief ranty detour to once again complain about untrained parents. It’s hard to blame the kids when the ‘rents ignore them to stare lovingly at their smartphones.

What a sad generation of neglected children we’ve created.

OM.


#1 You know by now that I never throw anything away without first trying to find another use for whatever it might be.

We all have variations of those caddies that swing awkwardly from the shower nozzle with those worthless little suction cups, right?

What else are we supposed to use to contain shampoo and conditioner and scrubs?

They’re useful but after a while, the paint flakes off and they get rusty and need to be replaced.

Don’t throw them away!

Instead, transform them into an EASY wall planter for drought tolerant succulents or other plants if you’re lucky enough to live in a rainy part of the world.

I transplanted donkey tails and a variety of other succulents clipped from around the garden.

When these little plants grow and fill in, they’ll cover the plastic containers and spill over to add interest to the fence right off the deck.

I like the rustic look and I didn’t spend a single penny!

showercaddy

#2  When I completely purged my son’s room (Empty Nest Moms, This One’s For You) I found this obsolete artifact from the 90s, a CD holder (remember those?) and tucked it away into the garage until I could conjure up another use for it.

Three little plastic containers (saved from purchasing seedlings) fit perfectly.

Another planter!

So easy! Turn it on its side and line the bottom with a coconut planting mat cut to size (I think I bought the mats at a dollar store.)

More drought tolerant plants, added some Spanish moss, and attached to the fence.

CDplanter

The moral of this story? Don’t throw anything away EVEN if your husband tries to sneak it in the trash. Almost everything can be reused, reharvested, and upcycled.

Namaste.showercaddy3

Around the Garden Photography: House Finch on Loquats

There are plenty of loquats to share and a comfortable seat to soak up the sun’s rays.

House finches love fruit. 

housefinch1

enchantedseashells.com

Such a bountiful harvest; where do I begin?

housefinch2

enchantedseashells.com

This one looks good and ripe.

housefinch3

enchantedseashells.com

How about a profile pic?

housefinch4

enchantedseashells.com

Scrumptious Vegan Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Dark Chocolate Vegan Cake www.enchantedseashells.comWe have a  bounty of zucchini here at the Casa de Enchanted Seashell garden, and the dilemma becomes what the heck does one do with all of this summer squash?

I made a few loaves of zucchini bread because they freeze well and tugboat man can enjoy them when he returns.

Did I forget to mention that he’s gone again?

Yup, he left a couple days ago, but I’m happy that he got some good surf so he wasn’t all moody and depressed, and we were able to go camping and commune with nature.

But what about all the zucchini?

I’ll pickle a few jars like I’ve done with cucumbers and then I got the brilliant idea to add shredded zucchini to my favorite chocolate cake to boost the nutritional value and keep it super moist, not that it lasts more than a day or two, ‘cos it’s the best chocolate cake EVER, vegan or not.

Best of all, the zucchini magically disappears during baking, so if you have children who are recalcitrant and don’t like veggies (how is that even possible?) this is a great way to TRICK them, although I don’t really approve of deceit as a parenting technique.

Son and DIL are coming down for a brief visit so that’s the perfect excuse reason to experiment PLUS they’re bringing a friend that Angel Boy was in graduate school with at Yale (bad sentence structure, I know), so it’s just like the “old days” when the house was filled with kids for me to stuff with food.

I old-school shredded the zucchini…

zucchinicake

All dry ingredients go into the mixing bowl.

zucchinicake1 Add the liquids…

zucchinicake2 And the zucchini. So simple, now beat for a couple of minutes to incorporate all the goodness.

zucchinicake3 When it’s out of the oven and still hot, place about 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips on top. When they melt…zucchinicake4 Take an offset spatula and spread to make a delicious and easy topping.zucchinicake6

See how shiny?zucchinicake7

It’s always nice to garnish with garden blooms. I plucked a nasturtium, mint, and lemon verbena.

It’s as yummy as it is GORGEOUS!

zucchinicake8

Dark Chocolate and Zucchini Vegan Cake

  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, I use King Arthur, not because they pay me, but because it’s U.S. grown and an employee-owned company)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or Amaretto or Grand Marnier)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, and vegetable oil in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.

Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.

Heaven on Earth: Camping and Hiking in the Laguna Mountains

HeavenonEarthDuring our first cup of freshly ground French roast, tugboat man said,

“How’d you like to pack up and go camping in the Lagunas?”

“When?”

“Right now.”

He didn’t need to ask me twice; I jumped up, packed my things while hub packed up all the camping stuff, and we were out the door almost before our coffee cooled off.

The Laguna Mountains are only about an hour away east from the ocean in San Diego.

Most people go there when we have snow — at 6000 feet, it’s the highest point in the county.

It’s possible to surf in the morning, cross-country ski (or hike) in the afternoon, and drop down into the shimmering desert to experience the best of everything SoCal has to offer.

Late May to mid-June is the time of year when color explodes in the mountains and it’s not too hot to enjoy a strenuous hike while the air cools down comfortably at night.

It’s easy to get here: east on Highway 8 to Sunrise Highway.

We went mid-week before schools were out for summer vacation and we had the mountain pretty much entirely to ourselves.

Fragrant pines, Engelmenn oaks, wildflowers; deep  blue sky with a few white puffy clouds.

Amazing…gorgeous…magnificent…breathtaking…

There aren’t enough adjectives to describe the spectacular views.

We hiked Desert View Trail and Big Laguna Trail, about ten miles or so.

It was truly heaven on earth, one of those experiences where whispering was the only way to communicate-we didn’t want to mar the ultimate reverence for nature.

These are only a sampling of the hundred-plus pics I snapped and none of them do justice to this paradise.

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Sometimes we bring a set of old plates and silverware for meals but this time we tried an assortment of amazing new GREEN products that I was sent to sample and review.

repurposeplatesIn order to make our lives easier (and more guilt-free), Repurpose has created a new line of green, single-use tableware that’s entirely plant-based.

Repurpose’s cups, bowls, plates, forks, spoons and knives are made from plants like corn, sugar and bamboo, all of which are annually-renewable resources.repurposeplates1

And unlike traditional plastic or even paper items, all Repurpose products are 100% compostable in an industrial composter in 90 days. But they still won’t melt in your hot soup, or warp with cold, wet ice cream!

Some of the other standout features of the Repurpose line are what the products do not contain; all Repurpose products are BPA-free, chlorine-free, petroleum-free and use only soy-based inks.

We loved these products! They’re sturdy and held up nicely for our beans and tortillas with guacamole and salsa, cups of wine to toast this heaven on Earth, and hub’s morning granola with flax milk.

I definitely recommend them for parties, picnics, BBQs (vegan, I hope), and camping excursions.

(I was provided product to sample and review; there was no compensation, and the opinions are my own.)

Veggie Power! Keep it simple. Keep it clean. Keep it GREEN. *

wheatgrassAs in the green of wheatgrass.

Now don’t scrunch your face at me or say YUCK.

Just give it a chance.

For some of us, the fresh and refreshing flavor of wheatgrass was an instant hit with our palates, but I do realize that for a lot of you, it might take a bit of effort to enjoy.

I’ve been an advocate of wheatgrass since 2000, when a girlfriend started carrying around a water bottle filled with a jade-colored beverage, and said it was the single best thing she’s done for her health and well-being since becoming a vegan.

Ever since then, tugboat man and I “do” wheatgrass pretty much on a daily basis.

What’s the best time of day (and method) to take your greens?

I like to add them to smoothies or drop a tablespoon to the water I bring to the gym and drink it during class.

Here’s what Pines suggests: Take with a good amount of water or other liquid. This helps your body take full advantage of the nutrients without competing with other foods, and may also take the edge off your hunger so you don’t eat as much at meals. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are great times for a green energy pick-me-up.

(There are tablets, if you just CAN’T.)

The health benefits are HUGE. 

According to the Pines International Wheat Grass (the wheat grass people since 1976) website…

1) PROVIDE PROTECTION FROM CANCER
There is significant scientific evidence that eating certain green, leafy vegetables can help prevent cancer.  The American Institute of Cancer Research states:

Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard are excellent sources of fiber, folate and a wide range of carotenoids that can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer .

2) A RICH SOURCE OF VITAMINS & MINERALS
Greens represent a convenient, essentially non-caloric, nutrient-dense source of otherwise hard to obtain minerals, like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese .

3) LOWER THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE AND TYPE 2 DIABETES
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables contain fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help to temper blood-sugar swings by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals. This lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes .

4) BOOST YOUR MOOD
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and collards contain folate and vitamin B12. According to WebMD, there is a correlation between the consumption of these vitamins and rates of depression. “These veggies contain lots of the B-complex vitamins, which are needed to make serotonin, a mood-boosting chemical” .

5) IMPROVE BREATH
Green leafy vegetable like spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, and lettuce, kale and salad greens contains the highest amount of chlorophyll (the green pigment) which is an excellent deodorizer. The green vegetables help balance the pH level of the body and thus prevent the occurrence of dry mouth which is one of the root causes of bad breath. A diet which is comprised of loads of green leafy vegetables will not only eliminate offensive odor but it will also boost the production of digestive enzymes .

6) SLOW THE AGING PROCESS
In addition to playing a key role in helping blood to clot, vitamin K is critical in preventing certain age-related conditions. Researchers in California found inadequate K can lead to cardiovascular disease, bone fragility, and arterial and kidney calcification.

Pines grows the only sold anywhere that is Non-GMO Project Verified.

Try it!

No, really. TRY IT!


PINES International offers a line of the purest, freshest and nutrient-rich wheatgrass, barley grass, alfalfa and beet juice powder that can be added to your shaker bottle for some instant Green Energy®. PINES also offers veggie power in tablets and capsules. Just one teaspoonful of PINES Wheat Grass powder, mixed in water or juice, provides the same amount of nutrition as a serving of deep-green, leafy vegetables. Seven wheat grass tablets will do the same.

Pound for pound, PINES Wheat Grass products are many times richer in chlorophyll and iron than spinach. Protein levels average 25 percent and contain virtually every vitamin known, along with 20 amino acids, including the eight that are considered essential for human health.

*The Pines slogan

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