I’ve Strayed

I’ve strayed from my essence.

Have you ever done that?

It all became clear; it all got brought right back – smack in my face – with this particular comment from a PR person who liked a review I’d written…

“I love your particular writing style (your voice is very casual and personable)”

…and that lovely and very unexpected compliment stopped me in my tracks.

Isn’t writing, after all, the raison d’être?

The WHY of why I’m doing this?

I mean, blogging, ya know?

I’ve been sidetracked.

I’ve been petty.

It isn’t to attract FRIENDS or FOLLOWERS or LIKES or pennies that dribble in from time to time – it’s the WRITING.

Duh.

Screaming in the darkness of the void of humanity.

Or something like that.

I thanked the giver of the the compliment – it arrived at the perfect moment.

Now what?

Probably nothing, ‘cos I hold title to being the world’s biggest procrastinator. Those three books with titles and about 500 words each — I look at them from time to time and…and then I go shopping.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, here’s a few words with a pic that perfectly describe ME.procrastinate

However. Even without my tugboat man home to fill my days – and nights – it was an awesome weekend.

I had my first photography lesson on Saturday. A whole new world has been revealed to me: Fstops, aperture, shutter speeds, ISO, rules of three — it was like being back in kindergarten and only knowing a few words but wanting to read all the books in the whole world.

After the class, I met a friend and we made calls on behalf of a local politician running for office who promises to eradicate stores that sells puppies from mills and factories.

Sunday was full of old school, pre-internet technology activities.

I washed all the bedding, turned the mattress (does anybody even DO that anymore?).

Laundered, ironed, and rehung curtains.

Re-organized the laundry room. Our laundry room is on the top level (third floor) of our tri-level home, and it’s packed to the rafters with shelving in addition to a washer and dryer.

Now it’s all clean and orderly.

I used my mini/handheld steam cleaner and made the showers happy and hard water deposit-free.

I washed windows. And screens.

Sunday 9:00 p.m.

The only sounds are the tick tock of a seashell clock and the gurgling of our pond’s waterfall in the backyard.

It’s warm outside and the patio doors are wide open. There’s not much breeze but there’s a lot of quiet.

I ate junk food.

I drank wine.

I’m exhausted.

But full of happy.

Wishing you some happy, too!

http://youtu.be/CEN9I8jJ0Nk

Decorating? Try These Jazzed Up Tiles

artistictileI was sent an array of awesome tiles to sample and review —  I LOVE businesses that have women at the helm — these tiles are GORGEOUS, but I received no other compensation other than the product samples.

I love them!

Dapper Daisy is a new floral glass mosaic from the  popular Jazz Glass Collection by Artistic Tile.

“Dapper Daisy is the result of years of experimentation and play by founder and CEO, Nancy Epstein, as she sought to create a feminine, sophisticated design that adds versatile elegance to home and commercial projects.”

I wish I had a wall to redecorate!

Dapper Daisy would be perfect for a young girl’s bedroom, or for any room that needs to be spruced up with elegant and dazzling tile.

I think it would be stunning in a shower, too.

Check out the gallery of pretty Dapper Daisy tiles.

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Not a Sunflower

And not an artichoke, either.

These are SUNCHOKES.sunchoke1 I wonder what they taste like. Anyone tried them?sunchoke2According to Wikipedia, The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called sunrootsunchokeearth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America.It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.[2]

I haven’t harvested my tubers yet ‘cos I’m still enjoying the flowers — that’s about all that’s flourishing in my garden during this horrible drought in California — but when I do, I’ll probably roast them with garlic, since we got a HUGE string of garlic from Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world, the last time we drove through central Cali.

Sunchoke Liqueur

Sunchoke Liqueur

Have you ever tried sunchoke liqueur? Maybe best of all, in Baden-WürttembergGermany, over 90% of the Jerusalem artichoke crop is used to produce a spirit called “Topinambur (de)”, “Topi” or “Rossler”.[13] By the end of the 19th-century, Jerusalem artichokes were being used in Baden to make a spirit called “Jerusalem Artichoke Brandy”, “Jerusalem Artichoke”, “Topi”, “Erdäpfler”, “Rossler”, or “Borbel”.

Jerusalem artichoke brandy smells fruity and has a slight nutty-sweet flavour. It is characterised by an intense, pleasing, earthy note. The tubers are washed and dried in an oven before being fermented and distilled. It can be further refined to make “Red Rossler” by adding common tormentil, and other ingredients such as currants, to produce a somewhat bitter and astringent decoction. It is used as digestif, as well as a remedy for diarrhea or abdominal pain.

If you’ve cooked with them, please send me your recipes. Thank you!

 

My Tugboat Man is Gone and I’m Blue

And so it begins…

Tugboat man withdrawals. Cold turkey.

I took him to the airport at 4:30 a.m. yesterday.

Once again there’s that lonely ride home.

This time he’ll probably be gone for a month or so.

blueskywrds

I pointed my camera straight up because the sky was so blue, more blue than I’ve seen in a long time. Not a cloud in the sky.

And nope, I can’t go with him, in case you were gonna ask.

Sky blue, SO BLUE — can you believe this is an un-retouched pic I snapped in our backyard? Kind of heart shaped, can you see it? If you tilt your head just a teensy bit to the left, can you see it now?

blueskythursday2

My old friend, Willie Nelson, singing “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin

YUMMY Old Fashioned ORANGE Meringue Pie

Sometimes it satisfies a certain nostalgia to crack open my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook and recreate her tried and true favorite recipes.

They may not be TOTALLY the most UBER healthy…but once in while it’s OK to indulge.

This time I had a hankering for an Orange Meringue Pie…a bit of a change from the standard lemon meringue — not that lemons aren’t delicious — but I had a few organic oranges around and wanted to work with that specific and intensely ORANGE flavor.

I served it after a dinner of Chile Rellenos with Guacamole (post soon.)
The citrus was the PERFECT finishing touch to a spicy meal.

First of all, I’m going to be a bossy pants and insist that you spend just a few minutes to create your own baked pie crust. It’s not THAT difficult and is SO much better than store bought. (Recipe below)

orangepie4

Old school juicer. VERY low tech.orangepie1 Work it, work it! Don’t leave it for a minute, keep stirring, continue whisking…orangepie2 …until the mixture thickens and become silky, smooth, and emanates an amazing orange perfume.orangepie3

As soon as the filling is done, quickly turn to your mixer and whip the whites into light peaks of pillowy soft clouds.orangepie5Very stiff peaks is what you’re looking to achieve.
orangepie6

The last few steps are the MOST important. Fill the baked pie shell with the orange filling.
orangepie7 Spread the uncooked meringue over the filling, spreading to completely cover the pie. orangepie8Slide gently into the oven for about five to seven minutes. DON’T leave the kitchen ‘cos a minute too long and your meringue goes from luscious lightly browned goodness to crispy burned in a HEARTBEAT.

LOVELY. Very marshmallow-y.
orangepie9 BEYOND GOOD.

HONEST. :)orangepie10

 

Orange Meringue Pie (thank you, Betty Crocker!)

  • 1 (9 inch) pie crusts, baked
  • cup sugar
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • tablespoons butter
  • tablespoon lemon juice
  • tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 -3 egg white, meringue

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.
  3. Combine egg yolks, orange juice and water; stir gradually into sugar/cornstarch mixture in the pan.
  4. Cook stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils.
  5. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly; stir in butter, lemon juice and the peel.
  6. Immediately pour into pre-baked pie shell.
  7. Cover completely with meringue-carefully sealing to the edges.
  8. Bake about 10 minutes or until meringue browns lightly.
  9. Cool on wire rack out of drafts.

BAKED PIE CRUST
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Directions

Heat oven to 475ºF. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on wire rack.

Fog + Condors, and California’s Amazing Big Sur

Remember when I ran away from BlogHer14?
(Click HERE to read my sad tale.)

My tugboat man and I headed west to take the 101 back home to SoCal.

We stopped in Carmel for a lovely night to celebrate hub’s birthday, and thought we’d camp for a few nights as we travelled south.

It was obvious that everyone else had the same idea. No open campsites and no hotels meant we drove all the way home, sad and dejected, at 2:00 a.m.

Even though we didn’t camp anywhere and there was heavy fog, every so often the sun would peek through and I was able to snap some amazing pics.

Ultimate optimists, we’re giving it another try.

We figure that everyone is back to school and we should have a road less travelled. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Until we return with more pics, here’s some of my faves.

See you soon!

California Condors with attached radio collars. Too bad I couldn’t get closer pics but we could see the collars with tugboat man’s superior binoculars.

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Boats hidden on a hillside only seen if you hike down a secret trail (and I’ll never tell)…

bigsurboats bigsurboats2

Weird things hanging off a tree.bigsurcrazytreeFog…
bigsur12
bigsur8 bigsur4 And once in a while, the fog cleared…bigsurtripbigsurfog10bigsurfog9bigsurfog8bigsurfog7bigsurfog2bigsurfog4bigsurflower bigsufog4

What A Tangled Web…

With all due respect to Mr. Shakespeare, there’s no deceit here!

Just a creepy spider web.

That’s it, that’s all I have to offer.

A weirdly asymetrical spider and web in the loquat tree located directly to the left of our backyard deck.spider web

A victim of global warming, perhaps? Hallucinogens?  Simply lazy?

If you look closely, it’s a really weird weave, don’t you agree?

P.S. While you’re here, why not check out my scrumptious recipe for Loquat Jam?
Click the link:

http://enchantedseashells.com/2013/06/03/the-lovely-luscious-loquat-jam/

 

My Husband Suffers From Performance Anxiety

A CONFESSION.

But it’s not EXACTLY what you think.

It’s not THAT kind of performance anxiety.

I tricked you and I know it’s not nice to do, but, well, I have no excuse.

I felt like it.

:)

Surf’s been up here in Southern California. A few tropical storms brought a high surf advisory —  thus creating a happy tugboat man.

He’s always in a great mood when he can surf or ride his stand-up paddle boards.

When he was around eight years old, he lived in Kauai and was friendly with Elizabeth Taylor‘s nephew — always disappointed that he never caught of glimpse of her. He also went to elementary school with Laird Hamilton — that very famous surfer.

My tugboat man has saltwater in his blood.

On Saturday, he told me to get ready to go to the beach and bring my camera so I could shoot vid of him shredding and getting barreled and tubed and mastering the wild surf.

This was definitely too big for me to make another attempt at reinventing myself as Gidget. (Click HERE to read all about ME.)

It was a beautiful, perfectly perfect beach day.carlsbadbeach1

Even a few seashells, but nothing like Florida.carlsbadbeach4 Cute shorebirds.carlsbadbeach6

A a proud and loyal wife, I planted myself on the sand with my Canon Rebel T3i zooming in on my tugboat man.

I didn’t want to miss a single wave.

Off he goes!

carlsbadbeach2

Nice boat – there’s my tugboat man, ready to shred!

carlsbadbeach7

Still waiting…watching…sitting…sitting…sitting…carlsbadbeach5

Is he here? Did he catch this one?carlsbadbeach8 Or this one?carlsbadbeach9 How about this wave? Do you see my tugboat man?carlsbadbeach10Nope, neither do I.

I don’t have a tripod (note to self to get one) and my arms were soo tired.

I gave up, sat down, and read a book.

When my tugboat man finally came out of the water, he just couldn’t understand what happened.

He’s a really good surfer and had been catching TONS of waves — UNTIL I got there.

Not a single wave. Not ONE.

See, performance anxiety, right?

Just not the kind you were thinking of.

Tee hee.

Update: To prove he wasn’t suffering from any long term surfing decline, he went back out without me for an “evening glass off session” (surfing terminology) and returned having caught at least a dozen waves.

I think I jinxed him. Oops.


P.S. In case you were wondering, I got hub’s permission before writing a post about this delicate subject matter. I would never want to embarrass him in a public forum.  Privately? Well, that’s a different matter entirely! LOL

 

Red-Tailed Hawk in Eucalyptus Tree

I was so lucky to get close to this magnificent creature perched in our backyard eucalyptus tree.

The colors are so vibrant!

haawktree2I’m standing right underneath the branch.

Look at those talons!

It’s like he/she is saying, “I know I’m beautiful, hurry up and get the money shot!”

hawktree1

Keeping a close watch on the squirrels.

hawktree4Eyeballing tugboat man on the deck. Shhhh!hawktree5

How’s my profile? hawktree3

A Quietly Enchanting Rainy Day in Southern California

A rainy morning…RAIN! YAY!

Cleaning up after tugboat man’s all time favorite.breakfast, buckwheat pancakes with blueberries.

Isn’t this perfect?

Of course I embellished it with shells.

enchantedmermaidIt’s on metal, that’s why there’s a bit of a glare.
I got it from my new favorite online store:
California Seashell Company