Date Night with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man – Native Foods Cafe Restaurant Review

Lit matchStoking the fires in a twenty year marriage sometimes can be as simple as changing out of bleach-stained sweatpants.

For all my love of fashion trends and designer handbags, you can usually find me in a pair of threadbare sweats and an extra large Yale t-shirt that my son keeps me supplied with.  Or should I have more correctly said “with which my son keeps me supplied.” Damn those pesky grammar rules! You know what I mean though, right?

(I’m the proudest Yale mom EVER. Yale bumper stickers, Yale license plate holders, Yale key chains, Yale sweatshirts, Yale t-shirts, Yale+Hello Kitty marketing marriage merchandise…and I drink coffee out of a — yes, you guessed it — a Yale mug. Without a doubt, I REPRESENT, YO!)

Back to date night…if you read my post (and you should) Pap Smear With Benefits, you’ll remember that whilst mid-exam, my gyno told me about a newish vegan restaurant in Encinitas, Native Foods Cafe on El Camino Real, just north of Encinitas Blvd. It’s the only chain vegan food establishment I’ve ever seen, and we were excited to try it.

I got all dressed up head to toe in clothing from Anthropologie so I’d fit right in with the trendy vegan crowd and made my tugboat man wear skinny-ish jeans, even though he was doing a fair amount of grumbling about not being built like a twenty-year-old skateboarder. He’s right, ha ha, but when in Rome….one’s attire needs to be appropriate for the venue, that’s my motto.

As soon as we walked in, I noticed that it was way more of a casual atmosphere than I had anticipated for a date night meal, and I was super overdressed. I mean, I could have NOT changed out of my bleach-stained sweats and I would’ve fit right in. You can only imagine the grief I had to listen to from my tugboat man about those skinny jeans I forced him to wear…

A very nice longhaired hippie-ish young man explained the menu and took our order as soon as we walked in; we paid and were given a number to take to our table where the food was delivered. It’s set up is similar to Rubios or other fast food establishments, not the fine dining ambiance I had anticipated.

This is what we ordered:

Bangkok Curry Bowl
Seared tofu steak on top of steamed veggies, greens and brown rice with a lemongrass and ginger-infused coconut milk curry. Topped with sesame seeds and cilantro. 9.95 GF

Sesame Kale Macro Bowl
Grilled Native Tempeh atop steamed kale, brown rice, creamy ginger sesame sauce, tangy sauerkraut, gomasio and toasted sesame seeds. Green onion garnish and crunchy cucumber seaweed salad on the side. 8.95  GF

Native Fries
Thinly-cut, cooked in pure vegetable oil and seasoned just right!
Seasoned Potato Fries. 2.95

I’m a pretty fair vegan-veg cook and I’m sorry to report that we were both underwhelmed by our meals. The tofu was chewy and rubbery, the tempeh was flavorless, and the brown rice was gummy — it seemed to me that it had been sitting in the pot far too long and had attained the consistency of old oatmeal. The kale was simply a few large steamed leaves I needed a knife to cut into bite-sized pieces;   I would have chopped them in squares or strips. The fries were pretty good, though.

Let me know if you’ve been there or if you do go, please share your experience with me. Maybe we got just there on a bad day.

I know this might be a touch nitpicky but here goes:

What really bothered me about Native Foods Cafe was the fact that a big part of their marketing is directed toward the promotion of “meat replication” vegan food.

This is our personal passion; we don’t want to eat any food that sells itself as a flavor replacement for meat or chicken and tastes like a living creature.

This might seem to be an extreme concept but my hub and I strongly believe that this is the right way for us to live — respecting and honoring the right of animals to exist without cruelty and abuse.

These are some “meat replica” examples from their menu:

  • Sausage Seitan meatballs
  • Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Crispy battered Native Chicken
  • Philly Cheese Steak
  • Bistro Steak Sandwich
  • Native Seitan Steak

After we left Native Foods Cafe feeling slightly disappointed with our date night fare, I was reminiscing with hub about the BEST vegan/vegetarian food I’ve ever eaten.

makedaIf you’ve lived in San Diego as long as I have, you might have eaten at The Prophet on University Avenue, owned by a good friend of mine, Makeda Cheatom, also known as Reggae Makossa.

With training in culinary arts from San Diego Mesa College, Cheatom opened The Prophet vegetarian restaurant in the 1970s.

Her amazing food attracted well-known patrons such as Dick Van Dyke, Gloria Swanson, and George Harrison of the Beatles. “George got mad at me because I wouldn’t let him smoke,” Cheatom says.

Nowadays, Makeda runs the non-profit World Beat Center in Balboa Park and only creates her awesome food for special events.

It’s too bad, really, because she’s a truly gifted chef, providing spectacular food and memorable dining experiences.

Finally, as far as date nights go, it’s a good thing we can try again next week!

Princess Rosebud’s Fashion Forward Protest Garb

puppyprotestMy tugboat man and I joined more than forty dedicated angels with San Diego Animal Defense Team and Protest Oceanside Puppy on Saturday in a protest at the Oceanside location of a pet store owned by David Salinas.

Salinas owned a similar business in San Diego called San Diego Puppies before it was forced to close under an ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council earlier this year banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at retail stores.

Animal rights groups want to end the practice of breeding and selling puppies bred in commercial facilities called “puppy mills.”

Quote from Protest Oceanside Puppy:

The owner of this store is busy churning out Christmas puppies and trying to make a profit off of the backs of the mother dogs. We have pictures of the inspections done at his breeders and it’s horrifying how these puppy mill dogs live their short tormented lives! These mother dogs never leave their cages, stand on wire their entire lives with no fresh air, little or no veterinary care and no socialization. Please help educate the public that THIS IS WRONG. This store owner was already shut down in San Diego! We must stand up against animal abuse!

About a dozen cities in California have adopted ordinances placing restrictions on the sale of animals from commercial breeders, including Chula Vista, Los Angeles, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach and Dana Point.

Under the ordinance passed in San Diego on July 9, no store can display, sell, deliver, offer for sale, auction, or give away animal pets in the city. Existing pet stores, including San Diego Puppy, were given up to six months to stop those practices.

Pet stores can (and should) offer adoptions of dogs, cats, and rabbits in partnership with a shelter or rescue groups.

If you’ve ever seen a photos or a video of the living conditions of the breeding dogs and puppies, you’d be as horrified as I was.

I am continually disappointed by the inhumane treatment we inflict upon other living creatures.

Sometimes we have to be assaulted by the ugly truth before we can make a compassionate decision.

SHAME ON CARLSBAD!

My city continues to allow California Pets to sell animals obtained from puppy mills.

Please take a few minutes to email or call your elected officials to let them know that you support any decision to shut down stores that sell factory farmed pets.

How can we, as civilized and caring people, continue to allow this to occur?
…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …
But…being me, that is, being Princess Rosebud, I had to adorn myself in the appropriate fashion forward outfit to stand on the street holding a protest sign.

As much as I love to defend and protect animals, I also love to dress properly for any and all occasions.

I chose a sparkly Dior Not War t-shirt over Joe’s skinny jeans, brown knee-high boots, a butterfly scarf from Nordstrom, pulling it all together with a lovely gray sweater from Anthropologie.

Since it was sunny, I topped the look off with a lively turquoise straw hat, Chanel sunglasses, and my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, which was, upon reflection, not the most politically correct handbag to carry that day, but I can’t be perfect all the time…My bad. Ooops.diornotwr graysweater

If you live in North County or you’d like to take a drive up the coast on Saturday, please spend a few hours supporting these amazing and dedicated animal defenders.

For more info: http://sdanimaldefenseteam.blogspot.com

Oceanside Puppy
1906 Oceanside Blvd., east of the 5.
Saturdays 12-3

More pix of the day:

puppyprotest3 puppyprotest2 puppyprotest1 puppyprotest

My Mad Skills As A Personal Fashion Stylist: But NOT My Dream Job, I Guess…

what-not-to-wearI had visions of becoming another Stacy London of What Not To Wear — without the signature silvery streak, of course, but with snappy repartee and a fast paced shopping excursion highlighting all of the essentials.

I’d help my clients build a wardrobe of neutral staples combined with pops of color, figure flattering visual interest, texture, sparkle, animal print, completer pieces, awesome shoes, and scarves to draw attention away from the hips and up to the the face.

I had an epiphany.

Sometimes things that theoretically seem like a great idea and plausible do NOT  always turn out that way in the real world.

I so wish y’all could have been with me; you’d be the ghost-like apparitions following us around the shops.

Here I am at my age (just never you mind about what it is) still grabbing at parachutes, searching for a career path, a niche, a calling, a vocation.

It’s been suggested by some that I should combine my love of shopping and fashion and become a stylist to help others who don’t have my innate good taste and eye for color, texture, and style. All kidding aside, my Hello Kitty obsesh is only a teensy weensy anomaly, not representative of what’s contained in my closet(s).

You know, shopping but for others with OPM (other people’s money) and stuff like that.

I kinda have a dilettantish background for it; I worked at San Diego‘s Old Globe Theatre in the costume department, I’ve sewn my own clothes for years, read all the fash mags, and spend hours and hours and hours shopping and drooling over finely crafted designer wear. Sigh.

In fact, I had serious thoughts of starting my own clothing company. I registered the name and acquired the patterns and though it kinda never went anywhere beyond the concept stage, it’s still viable. ***If anyone wants to partner, email me.

Anyhow, here’s the backstory:  I was getting my glasses adjusted last week at the same place we’ve gone to for about fifteen years. There was some convo with the owner who was asked to accompany her guitar teacher at a gig in Rancho Santa Fe (very ritzy part of San Diego) and she declined because she had nothing appropriate to wear.

One of her employees said, “Hey, you should ask Rosebud to shop with you, she’s a fashionista.”

One thing led to another and I learned that she hadn’t shopped for clothes in at least two years. TWO YEARS. Yeah, I know. Can you believe it? The poor thing. She needed me.

With a public declaration that I would be her personal stylist, our mission was to acquire a variety of clothing to wear for musical gigs in several different venues from upscale to casual.

We arranged to shop for a solid five-hour block.

Focused. Determined. Goal-oriented.

She picked me up here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells and we were off to The Forum in La Costa. I wanted her to feel the textures and colors and variety at Anthropologie, not necessarily to buy a lot of clothing there, but to arouse her senses and try on a lot of things outside her comfort zone.

Her current comfort zone seems to be heavily dependent upon beige t-shirts and beige cargo pants.

OY, the horror. I’m shvitzing just thinking about it.

If only I really were Stacy London, I would have happily tossed them in the trash can!

All my research tells me that It’s important to get to know your client and her personal taste, in order to help her to look her best. Trying on clothes is critical! Just because something looks good/bad on the hanger, you’ll never know if it works unless you try it on.

I had to force her to see beyond the initial like/dislike of something that’s just hanging on a rack.

We found a couple of JBrand skinny jeans at Anthro, along with several casual ethnic-inspired tops, and then we were off to Nordstrom Outlet in San Marcos. In addition to clothing, they have an amazing selection of footwear.

I selected two different styles of boots, two pairs of flats: one casual, one dressy, and two pairs of not-very-high heels.

She’s pretty open to trying new things and expanding her fashion choices (beyond beige, thank goodness)  but she’s not a girl who wears dresses or skirts with ease.

Because she needed to portray class and elegance especially for her upscale gigs,  I chose a Calvin Klein black blazer and matching tuxedo trousers as wardrobe staples.

I paired several blouses with the blazer/trousers, including a beautiful turquoise, green, blue swirly graphic design with a self-tie for visual interest, and an appropriate silk animal print.

Unfortunately, we were in such a time crunching whirlwind, I wasn’t able to take pics of the outfits.

What I learned about myself is that I’m REALLY good at this personal stylist stuff; I’m always helping everyone in dressing rooms who need advice — I’m not shy about offering my opinions, THAT’S for sure…

But…

I’ll let you in on a little secret…

I HATE SHOPPING WHEN IT’S NOT FOR ME.

Hate it. HATE IT.

This little Princess wants it all to be about her. Yes, I’m speaking in third person — it’s what I DO when I’m trying to really get my point across.

My arms are crossed and I’m stamping my little foot and yes, my lower lip is jutting out just like you thought it would be.

PRINCESS WAS SAD.

As I (back to first person) was perusing the racks for appropriate clothing to dress my client, my gaze wandered longingly to shoes and dresses and sparkly things that I wanted to caress and lovingly scoop up in my arms and run off to the dressing rooms…but this was not like going shopping with a friend where you each try on outfits and then come together for independent reviews of yea or nay.

I was being paid to SERVE someone else’s needs.

ME NO LIKE.

NO CAN DO.

Obviously NOT my dream job.

I was a very sad Princess Rosebud. I guess it’s not in the stars for me to be a personal stylist.

Yes, it was a success for HER but I came away empty-handed and depressed.

Black blazer and pencil skirt

This is not me; the suit is being tailored for my short arms and legs.

Guess what I did?

I bet it’s not too difficult to figure me out.

I went back to Nord a couple of days later and tried on clothes and shoes to my heart’s content.

I came away with an awesome black Calvin Klein blazer and matching pencil skirt (to replace an outfit I had previously returned to White House Black Market.)

And you know what?

NOW I’m happy. :)

And PRINCESS is happy, too :)

P.S. Anyone want to go shopping with me?

What I Do is What I Do. A Day in the Life of an Empty Nester.

(With a very obscure tip of the hat to Solzhenitsyn.)

This isn’t typical of when my tugboat man’s here, and most definitely not the fabric of my waking hours when I was a SAHM; rather, this is an especially bland and Seinfeld-ish day. 
_____________________________________________________________________________

My day commences abruptly at 6:00 a.m.

Sleep to instant wakefulness at the hoarse, screaming kee-eeee-arr of a red-tailed hawk.

Over and over again. Ear-piercing screams.

I get up, find my glasses (I’m extremely myopic, can’t see a thing), locate hub’s extra binoculars, and discover two hawks in the eucalyptus tree. They’re sitting on the same branch and they’re facing each other, having an early morning conversation or a duet, probably courtship time.

6:15 a.m…Grind beans, Trader Joes‘s French Roast, make coffee, simultaneously grab the remote to turn on the news and pop open my laptop. News is depressing. Problems in Syria, fires in Yosemite, a SWAT standoff in La Mesa; time to turn it off. After checking to see if my tugboat man emailed me (he didn’t),  I turn to WordPress.  A few comments necessitate responses (not as many as I’d like), a few likes (not as many as I thought my brilliant post deserved), and then I switch over to Facebook. In the beginning of FB, or at least my experience with FB, it was all about connecting with new and old friends, sarcastic and funny observations, cats, dogs, mainly cute animal pics. Now it’s all about supporting “friends” in their sponsored posts, marketing and promoting for their sponsors. I don’t begrudge anyone who can generate income; it’s just that some blogs start to feel really corporate and inauthentic after they become “affiliates” or “brand ambassadors”. It’s a newer version of Tupperware or jewelry parties where you get all your friends to show up and buy your stuff.

Of course I’d love to monetize — I’ve even had one sponsored post — and I want my book to be published and make a truckload of money so that my tugboat man wouldn’t have to go out to sea anymore, but I don’t think I have the personality to push products or pull people to my site –which is funny ‘cos I have a background in public relations and marketing — but I’m more of a soft sell, not the jackhammer-type.

I’m more like “Hey, I’d love for you to come by if you have the time and no pressure or anything. No worries if you can’t, I understand.”

I check Twitter too, but it’s kinda lost its appeal for me at the moment.

7:00 a.m…Paid a couple of bills online; mortgage and credit card. Checked TMZ but it’s all Kardashian-this, Kardashian-that, and I’m sooo over it. I hear the squawk of our resident scrub jays, throw a few raw nuts on the deck and watch them eat.scrubjay

7:20 a.m….After a couple cups of black coffee (the only way I drink it),  I start to get ready for the gym, but first I make the bed and wash whatever dishes I didn’t do the previous evening. I don’t eat breakfast on a regular basis; sometimes I’ll have a little protein drink, or a couple bites of toast, but I don’t really like to eat in the morning, unlike hub, who’s up and chewing before his eyes are completely open.

7:35 a.m…Check email again. Yay, a brief message from hub. All the last minute work was completed on the tug, they’re underway and are offshore. Everything is going fine, which is good to hear. I write him back and tell him about my boring weekend without him; how I went for a six-mile walk to the beach and back, gardened, washed the windows, boring, boring, boring, oh, but I heard a coyote and an owl, so there’s that.

7:55 a.m…Get dressed; black workout pants, yellow Zella top. Brush teeth, use Clarisonic to wash my face, apply light makeup — just eyebrows, liner, lipstick, spray perfume –Chance by Chanel (of course). Fill a water bottle, grab an apple for after Boot Camp.

8:30 a.m…Publish the post I wrote the previous evening. I try to stay one or two days ahead.

8:35 a.m…Head out. Water a few plants near the front door; take the trash cans out to the street (something else I have to do when hub is gone).

8:45 a.m…The 24-Hour Fitness I go to is about three miles away, but up a huge and long incline or I’d ride my bicycle. Sometimes I get lucky and get all green lights; today was one of those days, yay!

10:10 a.m…Back in my car after a strenuous workout with a zillion tabatas to exhaustion. Squats, lunges, box jumps, weights, jumping jacks. I still can’t do any real weight bearing exercises, so no pushups yet or plank. If I wear my cast/brace, I can lift five pounds in my left hand while I lift ten with my right. Eat the apple, need nourishment for a little retail therapy hee hee. Oh NO! I almost forgot I had an 11:15 a.m. physical therapy appointment for my almost healed broken wrist. No time to shop now, darn. I’ll have to run home and shower.

11:00 a.m…Made a fast smoothie including yogurt, banana, chia seed, wheat grass, protein powder, and frozen loquats and mulberries from the garden. Showered, threw on a maxi dress, and out the door to Encinitas. Hope there’s no traffic or I’ll be late.

12:30 p.m…Where to go after PT? I drive up Encinitas Blvd. to El Camino Real and you know about Speed Dating? This is speed shopping. I stop at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Pier One Imports, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, White House, Black Market, and even H&M. This was more of a browsing mission. Nothing really caught my eye; nothing I couldn’t live without, so I came away empty. Plus, I’m out of water and thirsty. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow :)

3:00 p.m…Back home, and NOW I’m starving. Time for hummus with Ak-Mak crackers and a veggie wrap. (Lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, cucumber, raisins rolled up in a tortilla.) Plus ginger tea and a fat-free fig cookie.

3:30 p.m…Check email, WordPress, FB, Twitter. All pretty quiet. No new Miley Cyrus outrageous behavior. Best news of all, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is back. Yippee!

4:00 p.m…Work out in the garden since it’s cooled off a bit. Our summer garden was HORRIBLE this year. I’m not sure what caused it, but I pulled everything out and will allow it lay fallow for a bit. I’ll need hub to get more mushroom compost when he returns; in the meantime, I’ll work compost in. Mowed the lawns, front and back. Another job I must do while my tugboat man is away. Take the trash cans back from the street. Had a chat with a nice neighbor who keeps an eye on me while hub’s away.

5:30 p.m…Back in the house, checked email again; this time I discover a message from my tugboat man, letting me know that plans have changed and he won’t be making a port stop in San Diego after all, and he’ll call to explain when he gets in cell range. Oh DARN! I was really looking forward to seeing him, even for only a brief moment. I’m disappointed, but not overly so, things change all the time; I’m inured — accustomed –to fluid situations.
There’s always the possibility things will change back again; I’m a hopeful, glass half full kinda girl.

6:15 p.m…I got so dirty working outside I’ll need to take another shower and wash my hair this time which takes forever — curly hair needs a lot of love…

6:45 p.m…It’s no fun at all preparing and eating food for just me. One really is the loneliest number! I decide to make quinoa and add broccoli so it all cooks together. It’s ready in fifteen minutes, delicious with a dash of Mae Ploy, sweet red chili sauce.

7:30 p.m…Turn on Jeopardy and keep the TV on, mostly not watching it, while I write the next day’s blog and work on my book (yes, I too am writing a novel.)

9:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. – ish…Get ready for bed, slather my face with a few layers of anti-aging creams; Retin-A, glycolic acid, brush teeth, pop in my retainer, read for a bit, and fall asleep. Goodnight, y’all.

2:00 a.m…awakened by the plaintive voice of a coyote. It seems very close; just one lonely howl. As long as I’m awake, I might as well use the bathroom and I’m back to sleep in just a few minutes.

That’s my very empty nest day.

How To Add Updated Vivacious Vintage To Your Wardrobe

WhiteHouseBlackMarketIn the Carlsbad Forum, White House Black Market is close to Anthropologie — do you think there’s any way that I could avoid temptation?

I confess the answer is that most of the time I cannot. (Hee hee)

This time I was tempted by an enchanting dress sprinkled with meadow flowers.

White House Black Market’s vintage-inspired line of summer dresses has been so popular that some designs have sold out.

The shape is a figure flattering updated and slimmed down version of a “fit and flare” silhouette, reminiscent of the 1940s and 1950s.

Sweet AND sexy is what I call this romantic little sundress in cotton sateen with a sweetheart neckline, hourglass waist, and hidden pockets! Originally priced $160.00, I was lucky to find it on sale at $79.99. The shrug was about $60.00.
I fell in love with the flowers.
closeupwhitehouseblackmarket
 I love the idea of a completer piece and paired it with a silky chiffon shrug.
lilacdresswithblackshrug
Shoes of all kinds, maybe I need a new pair of espadrilles?
To match the lining, perhaps?
lilacdressshoes
The right accessories bring out the lilac…
1. Bracelet of violet flowers with seed pearls we discovered in a little antique shop in Bristol, Rhode Island. We had ridden bikes from Providence to Bristol on a fun vacation a couple years ago.
2. Amethyst ring
3. Amethyst and pearl earrings
4. Amethyst Alex and Ani bracelet from DIL for my birthday. One of my favorite stones and the brand is oh so chic and trendy!
jewelryforlilacdress
And to top it all off, a hat is simply perfection, don’t you agree?
This was a simple straw hat I embellished with fabric flowers and faux pearls.
hat
One more dress hangs in the closet  –  unworn, tags still attached…
Now all I need is my tugboat man and a destination!
It’s perfect for a summer evening stroll in Laguna Beach or Dana Point,
or maybe just here at home on the deck with a fruity cocktail.
maui-wedding-cocktails-pina-colada-image

A Visit to Anthropologie and a Body Image Confession

**Read all the way to the end for the confession part.

Day Eight of my tugboat man’s departure and the retail therapy withdrawals kicked in this morning in a major way.

It was that old familiar itch. I knew I’d have to satisfy my habit — after the gym,  I headed over to The Forum in La Costa. There’s no better way to satisfy a craving than with Anthropologie‘s overpriced and overhyped goods.

I might be a shopaholic, but I’m a pragmatic one…

In keeping with the nautical theme started with my Hermès  “La Rose des Vents” scarf, I discovered this amazing summer dress. I HAD TO HAVE IT.  Had to. Not even up for discussion.

This little darlin’ was comin’ home with me. I’ll wear it for my captain’s next welcome home, whenever that is, that is.

anthroanchorThis Windward Halter Dress is playfully adorned with schooners, anchors, and ships’ wheels in a lovely vintage-feeling pique fabric.

It manages to convey sweet and sexy at the same time. I was especially drawn to the  assymetically pleated bodice; a nice bit of design and technique.

Originally priced $148.00 — it was on sale for $99.00. I was warned that it runs large, so I tried on a size two and a size zero. Everyone agreed that the size two fit a little better all around, so I grabbed it.**

I’ll pair it with either a white blazer or a red silk and cashmere sweater from Barney’s, depending upon the weather and the occasion. I think this ensemble needs simple accessories: a strand of pearls and pearl stud earrings.

The dress is the star of this show, don’t you agree?

anchordress

I have espadrilles, but I’ll probably choose these
Chinese Laundry straw shoes with a little sparkle instead of the nude heels.
Totes adorbs, right?

Chinese Laundry shoes

**CONFESSION:
On a personal note, I bet I can guess what you’re thinking…I already know I have body image issues — I fully admit to it and embrace it. It’s just who I am, probably because of all the years of ballet. I refuse to buy any clothes larger than size two. The only way I’ll really be happy is in a DOUBLE ZERO like Victoria Beckham. I don’t want any therapy; I don’t want to change — it’s one of my little quirks and eccentricities. I’ve learned to love myself for it and deal with it. Don’t tell me how skinny I look; I won’t believe you anyway. And yes, I do eat–I’m not anorexic or anything (or I’d be a lot thinner!)

I REALLY don’t hate kids… but I’m kinda psssst off

kidindeptstoreHere comes one grubby little hand and then the other, followed by a head with tousled hair and giant eyes looking up at me; yellowish-green snot on its slow journey from nostril to mouth.

It’s almost like watching someone give birth.

Next comes the shoulders and the rest of the body…

“Psst.”

“Psst.”

PSSST.

“Go on. GO. Get outta here. Go back to your Mommy.”

GO!!!

I open the door.

“Who does this child belong to?”

“Would the owner of this child get it out of my dressing room? NOW!”

A changing room at the end of the hall opened and a head sticks out,

“Oh, Alex, there you are. Come to Mommy, OK?”

“No, it’s not OK, you need to control your child. It’s not right to let him wander away from you and bother people, and by people, I mean ME.”

Her response to me was a sound that sounded like a cross between a slight cough and a cat hacking up a hairball.

“Ack” plus an eyeroll.

ACK yourself. And don’t roll your eyes at me. Kindly keep your Peeping Tom DNA out of my dressing room.”

capturedcustomerdressing room

This happened today at H&M. A child crawled under the door into a changing room where I was in panties and bra.

This is not the first time I’ve been spied on by strange children while trying on clothes.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Nordstrom or Target or Anthropologie or Bloomingdales or a restaurant.  I’ve even been interrupted in public bathrooms.

One time at Anthropologie, that bastion of successfully marketing high priced clothing and home goods to a specific demographic of women who aspire to a certain type of quasi-sophisticated worldliness, I witnessed an encounter between a very polite salesperson and the mother of an unsupervised child who had been systematically destroying the intricate and beautiful window display. (FYI, Anthro is known for its aesthetic window displays.)

She walked over to the mom who was engrossed in the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl dresses with birds and bows and said,

“I’m sorry, but could you ask your child not to play inside the window display?”

The mom’s attitude was one of entitlement and total abdication of responsibility for the actions of her offspring. I left the shop, shaking my head.

I’m a reasonable woman, really I am.

annoy-254x300I’m an empty nester; I don’t  have a young child 24/7/365. But I’m not to be dismissed as an old codger who’s just menopause-cranky from low estrogen levels.

I can say unequivocally that my son not only never ran around like a savage, he never once wandered away from me and became a voyeur.

Please moms, plan for your excursions. It’s not difficult. Bring a small toy, a book, a healthy snack, paper and crayons–that’s all it takes 90% of the time. They’ll be happily occupied and it’s a win-win for everyone. So simple, really.

Parenting Tip #1…Meet their needs before your own. 

I just don’t get it. What’s the theory behind the practice of going out in public with your kids, but pay no attention to them and ignore every damn thing they do?

What type of denial is that?

“Oh, my kid? I have a kid? Oh, I forgot.”

I’m not even talking about the poor babies who are screaming that signature tired scream– who only want to be at home in their familiar surroundings, fed, and put down for a nap.

I just don’t see how those kinds of moms justify pawing through the racks at TJ Maxx when they have a child who really needs some loving parenting–someone who isn’t selfishly shopping for things they don’t really need– and takes proper care of their child.

Come on! It’s not just that you’re ruining my blissful retail therapy experience–although you are–but what about stranger danger and all that? If you can’t see your kids, someone could harm them in some way.  What happened to holding their hand in public?

Sarah Jessica Parker does…sjpandkids

I could say things like why don’t you have fewer children if you can’t properly  care of the ones you have, but that’s never well received, I can tell you from personal experience.

And I don’t mean this. That’s definitely not the answer!kidonleashmoving

I hope I haven’t offended any readers or bloggers who still have kids at home, but I’m really perplexed!

What do you think is the cause and solution for unsupervised children in public?

(Worst of all, I didn’t come away with one single purchase. The Zen of my retail therapy day was destroyed.)

This is a a great article: Get Your Children Under Control In Public

kidleashsomecardPets-welcome.-Children-must-be-leashed.-6303-ab42ab45ab4662b2c7d1

 

“…We sail tonight for Singapore, don’t fall asleep while you’re ashore” Tom Waits

Here’s today’s Daily Prompt Challenge: Hindsight.  Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your first post.

This is MY deja vu–my first blog re-do–obviously my life is a deja vu redo Groundhog Day repeat. The captain was gone again, I was alone for a very long time…I’ve learned to use tags since then–maybe THIS time it’ll get read! 

My First Blog Post

“…We sail tonight for Singapore, don’t fall asleep while you’re ashore” Tom Waits

Day 60: Alone again! It’s 8:00 p.m. on a Sunday evening and I just completed a copy editing assignment for a brilliant young neuroscientist. Since my first pink lock and key diary at the age of eight, I’ve filled notebooks and journals with my thoughts and observations, and even minored in creative writing in college, but the hardest thing in the world for me to do is to let go of my own words. (I’m a word hoarder. Hah!)

Update: Now I’m a word spewer–since I started blogging, I can’t STOP writing!

Although I easily re-write and proof and edit the work of others (and love to do it), my own words seem to be trapped somewhere; I am never quite satisfied with the finished product; I always feel that one more re-write is always needed—just one more, and then another and another–and I am determined to overcome this obstacle by blogging about my life as a wife of a Merchant Mariner. To other MM wives, I’d love to share our experiences, problems, frustrations, and solutions. There are thousands of us around the world—let’s create a community and help one another. What do we all do when our guys are gone? In what ways do our lives change when they’re away on assignment and when they’re home? How do we cope with the work-related absence of a spouse, whether it’s due to the military, MM, or any other career that involves a lot of travelling? Are you sad? Maybe relieved sometimes, if you were to be completely honest?

Update: Still hoping to create the community of Merchant Mariner Wives. I’ve met Snipewife who’s awesome, but there has to be others! Come out and play! 

Also, from time-to-time, I will review either a product I’ve used or a book I’ve read and share my opinion. I have great things to say about Sally Hansen Smooth and Perfect nail polish. I have it in Satin 04. It claims to hide ridges and imperfections with a “breathable porcelain-smooth finish.”  The website says it’s enhanced with ginseng, camellia oil, and lotus to promote stronger, healthier nails. I was really impressed with the finished product and it really does give a professional look. I’m going to try it in other colors and will let you know. Update: it worked great, very shiny, lasts a decent amount of time, and is inexpensive.

Here’s a mini-version of my back story: I’m a (was a) stay-at-home mom; when my son left for college, I stayed home. Don’t you think that’s funny? I do. That’s my standard joke/response when I’m asked what I “do”. Some people think it’s funny, some people think I’m obnoxious. Story of my life.

I’ve been married to a Merchant Mariner tugboat captain for about eighteen years, nineteen in February 2013. For the first fourteen years or so, our life was pretty ordinary and except for a few assignments that took him away for a week or so, his schedule kept him working in local ports.  In 2009, he changed companies and became the kind of Merchant Marine who goes out to sea for extended periods of time and travels to the four corners of the globe. When I tell people that my husband is a MM, most either think he is a “Marine Marine” or they don’t know what a Merchant Mariner is or what they do. My guy is an academy graduate (he won’t let me say which one ‘cos he’s paranoid that someone will figure out who he is) and has been working in the industry since graduation.

merchant marine sealWhat exactly is a Merchant Mariner?? For those of you who don’t know, the United States has a fleet of  Merchant Marine vessels,  ships which are owned and registered in the US and fly under our flag, but are separate from the military. (We are proud supporters of American-flagged vessels.) For example, car ships carry cars (obvs!), container ships hold cargo of TVs, bananas, soda ash, or even sand and gravel.

tug barge

NOT the captain’s tug, but a good photo of a tug pushing and pulling a barge. Tugs are hard little workers. I think I can, I think I can…

The Merchant Marine supplements the military in times of war, transporting goods and equipment to areas where it is needed. The people who crew Merchant Marine vessels are known as Merchant Mariners. Perhaps you remember hearing about the Maersk Alabama, a container ship seized by pirates a few years ago? Tom Hanks stars as the captain in the soon-to-be released film of the Navy Seals’ rescue of the ship and her crew. People who work on tugboats are called Merchant Marines. My guy is a tug and tow Master, although he has decades of experience on yachts, passenger vessels, and just about every type of boat, excluding fishing. No Deadliest Catch stories here! Tugboats pull (or push) barges all over the world, assist all types of ships in and out of their berths, and work in marine construction and the oil industry. It is really more complex that than, with a rich history and great anecdotes, but I am only the wife of, and my perspective is a different one.

Update: I begged and pleaded and guilted and flattered my captain to get him to audition for the Tom Hanks pirate film–they liked his initial video audition so much the casting director even sent sides (that’s a script to those of you who are NOT in the know like I am), but he didn’t get the part. He really should have. I was totes planning to go as his personal manager to Morocco where they were filming.

Back to my story…this lifestyle has been quite an adjustment. When he’s home, he’s a 24/7 at-home husband, just like being retired, and a different routine ensues–one of compromise and diplomacy. When he’s away at sea, I become a sort of “grass widow” (a woman whose husband is away from home frequently or for a long time, as on business) and have learned to structure my time alone to stay occupied while waiting for my best friend to come home. We modern mariner wives are really no different than wives of a few hundred years ago whose husbands went out to sea. We might have email access and satellite telephones, and are able to stay in touch more frequently than the occasional letter posted from faraway ports, but we are essentially on our own for a great deal of time. We have to be completely independent and solve problems and fix broken washing machines and cars and take out the trash and mow the lawn by ourselves, unless we have kids still living at home on whom we can foist these chores.

My confession du jour? I fully rely on retail therapy to help me cope. That doesn’t mean I actually PURCHASE a lot and spend a lot of money, rather, I am an accomplished fashionista BROWSER, (which should be an Olympic sport, as far as I’m concerned.) I have endurance and I possess stamina. I’m a hunter AND a gatherer. A shot of wheatgrass and I’m good to go for hours in my quest for a treasure, a good deal, or something I just have to have, and can’t live without; the next get. You know that Shopaholic film? I’ve seen it about a dozen times; it’s like a training film for me…  A day or so after my MM leaves, I fortify myself with a protein drink, a double shot of wheatgrass, and lay out my itinerary with quasi-military precision. I first make the rounds of my local stores; TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Target, Homegoods, just like a warm-up in my boot camp class, and then move on to H&M, Anthropologie, White Market/Black House. After that, I venture further away to the Nordstrom Outlet, DSW (yes!!!), and then our local mall for BloomiesNieman Marcus, and the boutiques-Tory Burch, Hermes, and the holy grail at South Coast Plaza in the OC…Chanel…Chanel…Chanel. I want/need a Chanel 2.55, the original black quilted bag with the chain strap. I am saving for a pilgrimage to Paris to pay homage to Coco at the original location. I. can’t. wait.

Update: I just can’t do it to y’all again, I know I’m probs on your last nerve with the whole Chanel thing, but it was cool for ME to tell myself, “Hey girl, your dream DID come true! Way to go to think it, believe it, and it will happen!”

Today, I was on the hunt for another blazer; blazers are super trendy and forever a classic fashion staple,  but it has to be the right blazer in the right color and cut. I ended up at a local consignment shop and while I didn’t find the desired blazer, I discovered the treasure of a Tory Burch sweater with gorgeous logo buttons. I found a similar style for around $250, and I got it for $40. It’s in perfect condition and looks like it’s never been worn. The pic doesn’t do it justice; it’s a rich cocoa brown with TB logo buttons and totes adorbs. Update: This is the same consignment shop where I just scored the vintage Valentino.tory burch sweater

Well, it’s back to editing for me and building my Etsy store where I can sell all the ropework jewelry and beachy décor we create. I hope you’ve enjoyed this first glimpse into my world.

Update: STILL working on that Etsy store! Almost done tho, hopefully so I won’t completely miss the holiday season…

Thanks to one and all who’ve read me and followed me and commented and offered guidance and humor and friendship. The world still revolves around me, I suppose it always will…alas, that’s the cross my long suffering tugboat captain must bear…And if you’ve un-followed me, don’t forget that Santa could leave a lump of coal in your stocking, so maybe y’all need to rethink that decision. Right???

 

Downton Abbey–our fun family game

Quick, I have about an hour of FREEDOM, sweet freedom–while the kids are surfing. Don’t tell them I took an unauthorized break. I need to share our fun family game. It’s the ultmate in reality based charades. It’s like the Amazing Race and The Real World meet Downton Abbey. Actually, it really IS Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs. I play the role of the entire downstairs staff. My son, his wife, and her sister embody the aristocracy. Have you heard the phrase, “To the manor born”? I found its possible first use in Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

      Ay, marry, is’t:
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honour’d in the breach than the observance.

The leave their dirty and stained clothes on the floor outside their bedroom doors to let me know that it’s time for a wash. Yesterday they needed help finding a fresh roll of toilet tissue. Heaven forbid they’d change it themselves. I need to be reminded that it’s not their place to do such menial tasks. That’s what I’m for, I can’t forget that! Just now, I went into their bathroom and spied three empty rolls strewn about the floor, even though the wastebasket is about three steps away.

I’m not f-ing kidding you.

How many Ph.D.s does it take to actually find the trash? Apparently more than I have in the house at the present time. Here’s the photo proof…

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Angel Boy touched down here in SoCal. Enjoy the pic, I gotta go!

By special request

Cowboys and Crossbones and a few others have requested pix of the new addition to our family: my Grand Shopper Tote Chanel.  I appreciate any opportunity to show off; I’m a proud mama. She went on her first outing today, first to Target, then Trader Joe’s, and up the street to Anthropologie, B/W Market, and Nicole Miller. At each location, I was treated with so much more respect and deference than usual, when I carried my old Louis Vuitton. Peasants! I’m the same girl who wears bleach stained sweats and old Yale shirts with so many holes they wouldn’t even be useful as rags. Please enjoy these pix and thank you for your interest!

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