Dear WordPress…What Am I, CHOPPED LIVER?

What am I, chopped liver?When I was little Princess Rosebud growing up in Detroit,  my mom used to be the Queen of chopped liver.

At Channukah and Sukkos and the High Holidays, our family would come from miles around to chow down on her spectacular cooking and baking, including that tasty, albeit ugly, liver-y creation. Even a sprinkling of chopped hardboiled egg and parsley couldn’t mask the grey/brown blob of mushed up, mashed up internal organ.

Oh, and gribones, which is an artery clogging mixture of fried chicken skins, onions, and schmaltz, which is chicken FAT. Rendered chicken fat. Jars of it in the back of the refrigerator. GAG.

According to Wiki: The word gribenes is related to Griebe (plural Grieben) in various German dialects (from Old High German griobo via Middle High German griebe),[2] where Griebenschmalz is lard from which the cracklings have not been removed. German “Geriebenes” is a matter which has been grated or ground, from German “reiben”, to grind.

No wonder I became a veg.

schroncefgsula.blogspot.com

schroncefgsula.blogspot.com

I’ve been a vegetarian since 1971, when I was still in high school. I haven’t had a taste or even a morsel of meat nor fowl since then, including the liver, chopped or otherwise, of any living creature.

Why the chopped liver memories?

For the longest time, I’ve felt like I’m the human embodiment of chopped liver, ‘cos it seems that I’m the ONLY blog in the entire family of WordPress blogs that hasn’t ever been chosen to be Freshly Pressed.

I’m very sad.

I read a lot of Freshly Pressed posts, and I ponder.

I scratch my head —  and it’s not that I begrudge the recipients who’re chosen, but I’ve held an objective mirror up to my writing and my subject matter and my unique voice, and I truly believe it’s GOOD. In some cases, way better than the lucky bloggers who can boast of being Freshly Pressed.

Lots of people tell me I’m good. Even my son tells me I’m a good writer and he’s pretty stingy with his compliments, which make them all the more valuable — plus he’s a Yale professor AND author, so I take his praise with more than a few grains of salt.

I’ve had readers wonder why they don’t see me in Freshly Pressed, when other bloggers have had multiple posts chosen.

In my not-really-humble opinion, It’s a travesty.

On a serious note, it reeks of favoritism and might as well be advertising and promotion for ONE blogger at the expense of many other worthy writers.

There. I’m finished now.

That’s my Friday rant.

Tonight I’ll light some shabbat candles and wish really hard that one day SOON, I can proudly display a Freshly Pressed badge on my blog.

Dreams CAN come true, ya know.

Hello? WordPress? Can you hear me??

Can you hear me NOW?

POETRY: Ebb and Flow

serene-ocean-and-vast-horizon-under-cloudy-skyWith my tugboat man so far away somewhere in the vast, vast ocean, I’ve been reading a publication my son sent to the tugboat man as a birthday gift.

Lapham’s Quarterly / Volume VI / Number 3 / Summer 2013

Title: Sea Change
“Standing on shore, we struggle to understand its fury; Lewis Lapham explores the mystery and power of the sea.”

It’s a lovely publication; a compilation of sea stories, excerpts, and poems from Homer to Melville to Marquez to Conrad.

I discovered the beauty of this poem and yeah, I’m missing that big tugboat guy just a bit.

Ebb and Flow

 

Step into my boudoir…

Not really, but welcome to our living room.

I penned a haiku to celebrate my day of cleaning in preparation for Tugboat Man and Angel Boy later this week:

White shirts softly worn

Lemony-scented polish

Teak oak walnut shine

This is what I was doing on Sunday. ALL day.

I took every single item off every single shelf and cleaned each and every one of them.

That included all the pictures on the piano.

In case you’re wondering, not everything was acquired by me–a lot of what I have was given to me by my mom and by my tugboat man from his travels around the world.

And then I put everything back.

It was all very Zen and quiet and lovely.

Finally, I polished the furniture and vacuumed.

I like to work from the top down. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ll save the rug shampooing ’til the end of summer when it’s really hot.

shelf5 shelf6 shelf4 shelf3 shelf2 shelf shelf7 hawaiipic piano

An Enchanted Book Review: “where we belong”

One of the few joys I look forward to as an on again-off again single woman when my tugboat man goes out to sea is the freedom to read in bed as long as I want, without being told to “turn the light out and put the book down.”

That’s why I was soo excited to find a new Emily Giffen novel.2012-WhereWeBelong

where we belong (click on the title to read a chapter preview), is a radical departure from her other novels, and I’ve read them all:

An Emily Giffen story is usually so fun and captivating —  it’s like comfort food with the classic story structure: action, background, conflict, development, and the ending — with a happily ever after.

I want, I want, I want...

I’m pretty easy to please when i read chick lit. I don’t ask for much — a little romance, a little fashion, a little roadblock to the romance, some witty repartee, conflict resolution, and a happy ending with a huge diamond.

But not this time. What a disappointment this was!

[Spoiler alert]

Giffen’s character development was flat, stereotypical, and full of cliches.  The entire premise was kind of hard for me to believe. A teenager (Marian) gets pregnant, tells her mom but no one else — not the teen’s dad nor the teen’s boyfriend (Conrad); they conspire to hide her away somewhere until she gives birth and subsequently offers up the three-day-old child for adoption, and immediately gets on with her life to eventually become a successful producer of televison shows. Eighteen years later, the child (Kirby) searches for her birth mother and father, and ultimately all four parents attend her high school graduation. The reader is left with the hint that the bio-parents still have the hots for each other.

That’s it!

That’s all I got out of it the 372 pages.

My overwhelming feeling is that Giffen is looking to cash in on another series — will they or won’t they act on their feelings? Even the Reading Guide hints at this: “What do you think happens after the last page in this novel is turned? What future do you see for Kirby, Marian, and Conrad?

Sorry Emily Giffen, I’m not a fan of this one.

Have you read this one? Let me know what you think about it.

Don’t bury the lead

My tugboat man called last night.

When he’s near land, he tries to call at least once a day. I know he’s concerned about me being here alone and a phone call or an email eases his worry.

I spent about ten minutes blithely chatting away about my car that slipped a little on the wet streets because it was raining and everything else I did: went to the gym,  how I was planning the menus for my son/DIL’s visit and what kind of birthday cake the Angel Boy requested (chocolate), and how we were hoping the weather would be nice for them.

Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 7.57.30 AM

When I stopped to take a breath,
he told me what was happening on the tug –they played cribbage,
he lost–he was tired and
going to sleep, and oh, by the way, the assignment was winding down and he’d be flying out in a couple of days.

WTF? WHAT?

WHAT. THE. HELL. DID. HE. JUST. SAY?

What did you say? You let me chatter on for all that time and never stopped me to say you’re coming home? YOU BURIED THE LEAD? Who does that? You’re supposed to LEAD with the important part of the story. Geez”

“I was planning to, whenever you stopped talking.” he said. Oh SUH-NAP.

What every writer should know

BURYLEAD

Every writer, every journalist, EVERYONE knows that you never bury the lead!

Once upon a time, there was this thing that was made out of paper that had words printed on it. It was called a newspaper. People just like you and me read them every day to learn about the world around us. That was before television even, and well before the internet. Writers and journalists were a key element and held in high esteem. (This is MY story, right?)  Those of us who took journalism and writing classes in college learned the old adage: Never Bury The Lead.  In the pre-blog paper based publishing world, page space held a premium. All writers knew their magnificent five hundred word story might get hacked up on a busy news day. If the shortened version didn’t “have legs” on its own, the piece could be killed. That’s why news writers are concise.  The survival of their by-lines depended on it.

hisgirlfridayNothing like the good old days, am I right?

Our conversation would have taken an entirely different path if my tugboat man had started with “I’m coming home”.

Barring more delays (entirely possible), he’ll be here early next week!

Picture me spending that time finishing the spring cleaning, grocery shopping, and baking — oh, and planning what to wear to pick him up at the airport. I think it’s time for another new outfit to match my new and improved face,  don’t you?

Happy International Women’s Day and Happy Friday, everyone!

For your enjoyment,  another Cure song (of love and sadness) along with one of our favorite Bob Marley songs (of love and joy).

Why are old men such assholes?

Old men, you are hereby put on notice: STOP PICKING ON ME BECAUSE I LOOK LIKE AN EASY TARGET ‘COS I’M ONLY FIVE FEET TALL! STOP BEING BITTER, RESENTFUL, SMELLY, DRIED UP OLD ASSHOLES!

old manThat grumpy neighbor, we all have one in our ‘hood, “Get off my lawn, you whippersnapper!”

There seems to be an epidemic of grumpy old men in beige shirts with beige windbreakers and stained beige slacks–you know the kind that are pulled up high and belted–so you get that burn-the-eyeballs, never-to-be-forgotten view of either 1. their Depends, or 2. a nasty old Vienna sausage (if you know what I’m sayin’)

They all seem to be farty and perpetually frowning; what happened to chivalry?

Ramming their damn shopping cart into me at Trader Joe’s, giving me the evil eye like I stepped in front of them just so they’d have to run me down. Like, really. “HELLO OLD DEAF THING, THE MOTHER F-ING SHOPPING CART IS EQUIPPED WITH WHEELS AND A HANDLE SO YOU ARE ABLE TO STOP BEFORE YOU TAKE OUT MY ANKLES.”

Can you hear me NOW?

I’m on a roll. I’m ranting and rolling. Old men are horrible drivers. Old women are pretty awful too, but they seem to be less hostile.

In my town old men drive with the rage of a thousand Clint Eastwoods.

They tailgate, and pedal to the metal with lead feet left over from the big war, WW2, when cars were cars and men were men. Or something.

They cut you off, they obey ZERO traffic laws, and blast the horn with the same sort of zeal as if they’re masturbating it. HONK HONK HONKHONKHONK HONNNNNKKKKKK.

For the most part when I have these encounters, it’s invariably  when my tugboat man is out to sea and I must deal with it myself, either by ignoring their bad behavior or by being assertive, or by majorly unleashing my previously leashed INNER BEEYOTCH.

If their impulse control clearly functions when I’m accompanied by a “man”, why does it fail when I’m by myself? 

This last time, hubs was there to defend his woman. when men stop being asholes

sceneclapperLet’s pretend this is Episode #24 of my TV sitcom, That Crazy Wife of a Tugboat Captain–a little bit Lucy, a little bit That Girl, a little bit Gossip Girl, and a little any Real Housewife of Anywhere, sprinkled with the best of Erica on All My Children.

Your basic fantasyland, that’s where I live.

Okie dokie.

FADE IN:

EXT. FITNESS CENTER – MORNING

Scantily clad gym members line the dingy hall. They’re waiting for the Spin class to be over and BootCamp to commence. All ages mingle, chat about the cold morning, aches and pains, boyfriend problems. At the front of the line is PRINCESS ROSEBUD–exuberant, this ageless chick sweats charm like an old-time movie star.

[Backstory: The line forms because there’s a sign on the doors to the group class room admonishing members to wait until previous class is over before entering.]

An older, late sixty-ish, flaccid muscled man in an unwashed sleeveless t-shirt (also called a wife beater) with a few dry hairs trying but failing to cover his liver spotted scalp, bumps into Princess Rosebud and pushes his way into the room.

Under the aggressive gaze of twenty PMS-y, peri- and post-menopausal women plus a few actually normal men, he places his water bottle and towel on the floor directly in the spot Princess Rosebud has always claimed for her own. While the spin class is STILL in session, he proceeds to set up steps and risers for himself and another.

PRINCESS ROSEBUD
OH NO HE DINT.

Outrage erupts up and down the line.

PRINCESS ROSEBUD
OMG, Did you see that? Did you see what he did?

RANDOM GIRL WITH SHOES THAT ARE TOES
I can’t believe he pushed you. He can’t do that. I’m going to say something to him.

RANDOM OLDER LADY WITH GRAY HAIR
There’s a sign! We’re all standing here to be respectful of the other class!
We follow the rules, he should too! Does anyone know him?

PRINCESS ROSEBUD
What an asshole. That’s MY spot. Everyone knows I’m in line first ‘cos I take that right upper quadrant. It’s the spot of most mirrors and least germs.

ANOTHER RANDOM OLDER LADY WITH GRAY HAIR
What happened, what did I miss?

PRINCESS ROSEBUD
Remember last week? That’s the same guy who pushed me out of the way at the jelly weight bins and tried to grab the eight pound weight (the yellow ones) out of my hand.

Scene of the first hostile encounter jelly weight bins

FLASHBACK TO THE PREVIOUS WEEK’S ENCOUNTER WITH NASTY OLD MAN
I tightened my hold on the weight, stood my ground, and gave him my best squinty look like, It’s on, old man. High noon behind the gym. Bring it. You’ll get that weight when you pry it from my cold, dead hand. He backed off then, but I sensed further trouble down the road and here it was.     END FLASHBACK


TUGBOAT MAN WALKS UP, HAVING CHANGED INTO WORKOUT GEAR

What’s going on? Why’re you looking at me that way?

PRINCESS ROSEBUD
Where have you been? Didn’t you see? it was that old man, you know, the one I told you about, the one that tried to grab the weights out of my hand last week!

TUGBOAT MAN
What did he do?

PRINCESS ROSEBUD
LOOK
! She points inside the room, which by now has erupted into chaos, a gaggle of women surrounding the old man, pointing to the signs clearly stating the gym policy.

He pushed me and took our spot! I’m out of here, he ruined my bliss.,
I’m gonna go upstairs to work out on the Stairmaster and weight machines.

TUGBOAT MAN
No, don’t go. Wait here. I’ll say something to him. That’s just not right.
What is it with old men, anyway?

My knight in shining armor came to my rescue!my knight in shining armor

VOICE OVER NARRATION
What is it? Is there a switch that turns a (probably) normal guy into a crabby, belligerant unpleasant person?  is it the slipperly slope of the effects of lowered testosterone levels? Too many episodes of  erectile dysfunction? Ran out of Cialis? Pipes clogged?

PuppetMcCain-scale

Maybe there IS a reason why aging men are so unpleasant to be around. According to Innovative Men’s Health…for MEN, there is something similar that happens as we age called andropause. Andropause is the male version of menopause but is much more insidious (happens slowly over time) and it can happen slowly enough that you only notice it after several years or someone else points out there you seem different. Some guys seem to hit a breaking point where their low testosterone level seems to catch up with them and they all of a sudden start having symptoms, such as erectile dysfunction.

The grumpy old man syndrome is an example of how important adequate testosterone is for brain function. It is like PMS for men but it is ALL the time! Testosterone has an affect on brain function and low testosterone increases your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
END  VO

BACK TO EPISODE #24

TUGBOAT MAN
Walks over to the old man.
Look, man. You can’t go around pushing women out of your way.
That’s not the right way to treat women.
That was my wife you pushed and I don’t appreciate it.

OLD MAN
Throws hands up in the air in a supplicating gesture.
Okay, Okay, I get it. I get it. I heard it from everyone already.
{sarcastically} What am I supposed to do, apologize to her?

TUGBOAT MAN
Nah, that’s not necessary, dude. Just be more of a gentleman to the ladies.
You don’t need to be an asshole.

TUGBOAT MAN reaches out a hand to shake the hand of the nasty old man. The old man accepts the gesture, shakes,  and…class begins.

FADE OUT.

indoor-fitness-boot-camp-classes-now-forming

He who tugs at my heart

Our first Valentine’s Day…a sweet moment in time

10:00 a.m. Pre-boarding routine on a 350 passenger charter vessel.

On the dock, the ramp is placed snugly against the vessel’s port side; a deckhand wipes it down to avoid any mishaps.

The captain checks with his crew to confirm that they’re stationed in the designated safety zones.

In the bathroom, the marketing coordinator fluffs out her hair and re-applies lipstick, grabs the clipboard, reviews any late changes for this corporate charter, scribbles a couple of notes, but her mind isn’t really on her work.

10:30 a.m. Two hundred men, women, and children gather at the foot of the dock awaiting the OK to board.

The captain straightens the gold stripes on his shoulders and counts the people clicker down to zero.

I take my place on his left where I’ll greet everyone with a “Welcome Aboard” after they’re counted.

The captain nods to the deckhand to unhook the velvet rope blocking the gangway.

It’s time to begin the boarding procedure.

He turns to me and whispers in my right ear, “My heart is melting.”

WTF. That is just so HIM, to say something so monumental and amazing and unexpected–and it took my breath away. Literally.  My mouth dropped open. (It really did, I remember it like it happened yesterday.) I had no sense of what went on for the next three hours. I was a zombie.

When all the guests were escorted to their seats and listened to the safety speech and lines were untied and we were underway, and after I had answered a million questions about our destination and passed out a few barf bags, I opened the door to the wheelhouse and handed my captain a cup of coffee.

I was suddenly shy. “Hi.”

“Thanks for the coffee.”

“Why did you say that, you know, back there?”

“Because it’s true.”

“You can’t just say something like that and expect me to just go on and act all normal.”

“I just did.”

Well, tugboat man, it’s our twenty-third Valentine’s Day, and you still make MY heart melt every time I look in your amazing grayish blue eyes.

I love you.

Daily Prompt: Shoulda Woulda Coulda…The Daily Post

Daily Prompt: Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Tell us about something you know you should do . . . but don’t.

I shoulda thought about writing something brilliant for this prompt.

But I didn’t.

I woulda written something that was gently sardonic and entertaining.

But I didn’t.

I coulda just Googled images.

I did.

Coulda-Shoulda-Wouldashouldaquote coulda_shoulda man from pinterest didn't lines

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In which Princess Rosebud embarks upon a magical journey

mermaid “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO THE SEA!

It always has been intended that a proper christening and the accompanying ceremony ensures good fortune to the lady and her crew throughout the life of the vessel.

Please join us for the (virtual) christening of our New Haven rowing dory. Champagne and hors d’ouvres will be served.

My tugboat man spent his six weeks home (between surf sessions) restoring a neglected and dilapidated vessel who just needed a little love to sparkle and shine.
(Don’t we all…)

This New Haven rowing dory benefited from a much needed facelift. He sanded and sanded and sanded every day, patched holes, went to Home Depot–alone, thank goodness–and constructed new railings (or whatever they’re called.) And varnished.boatbefore boat during restoration

Why yellow? Hubs chose the color because it’s one of his favorites (it’s our kitchen color, too)  and because he says it’s an appropriate choice for this type of boat. He saved the best part for me; declaring that every girl should have a boat named after her…paintedboatnoname

What’s her name? Here’s a hint…
princess rosebud in the sand

The makeover is complete…THE FINAL REVEAL!

bestpicboat
mermaidboat

We took her out for a splash–a sea trial–in the lagoon that’s about three blocks from our house. I won’t even try to pretend that I did any rowing, but I did pack a nice lunch. He insisted that I remove the little mermaid (look closely and you’ll see that she’s wearing pearls, too) but if I find a really cool figurehead in an antique shop, he’ll mount it on the prow.

(I’m laughing–I said mount–I’m really never gonna grow up!)

Here I am in an appropriately nautical outfit: Joe’s skinny jeans, striped shirt from Banana Republic, and a cashmere/silk sweater from Barney’s. I took off my Captain mandated life vest for the pic. Check out my nautical Hello Kitty hat hkhatand the string of pearls. I’ll be the first to say it–hair’s gone a bit frizzy, oh well, everything can’t be perfect all the time. I used a new conditioner from Chi–one I won’t be using again, that’s for sure. Ignore the hair, those are Chanel sunglasses, beeyotches!

meonboat

Our lagoon and a very weird sky…

beautifullagoon

My wonderful captain rowed us to a secluded beach for our romantic picnic. I’ll NEVER tell where it is!

boatonbeach

The seagull who ran off with part of our lunch.seagullateourfood

My hero! He didn’t dress for the part like I did, but then, he did all the work, and I just had to sit there and look pretty.my rowing captain

A white egret in the marshwhiteegretlagoon

Raccoon prints!raccoonprintlagoon

Coyote prints!coyoteprintlagoon

At sundown we invited our neighbors over for a christening party.
I found Princesa champagne! Very appropriate, no?
partytable2

meatchristening

Hi, wish you all could have joined us!

We read this as everyone gathered around (and yes, I made everyone follow the script, raise their glasses, and toast ME!)

“For thousands of years, we have gone to sea. We have crafted vessels to carry us and we have called them by name. These ships will nurture and care for us through perilous seas, and so we affectionately call them “she.” To them we toast, and ask to celebrate Princess Rosebud.” “TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO PRINCESS ROSEBUD!”

Everybody takes a sip.

“The moods of the sea are many, from tranquil to violent. We ask that this vessel be given the strength to carry on. She is strong and will keep out the pressures of the sea.” Again the glasses are raised, and the assemblage shouts, “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO THE SEA!”

Everybody takes another sip.

“Today we come to name this lady, Princess Rosebud,  and send her to sea to be cared for, and to care for her family. We ask the sailors of old and the mood of the sea to accept Princess Rosebud as her name, to help her through her passages, and allow her to return with her crew safely. ” Again with the raising of the glasses, “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS BEFORE US…TO PRINCESS ROSEBUD!”

A last, long sip by all.

Finally, we sprinkled a few drops of  champagne over the bow to appease King Neptune, and laid a branch of green leaves on the deck to ensure safe returns.boatwithcandle

And thus ends another day in the life of Princess Rosebud.

Daily Prompt: Toot Your Horn

Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

I possess so many wonderful qualities that it’s nigh impossible to whittle the list down to just one, so I will ask my wonderful tugboat man to sum it up.

Hold on a minute, I have to run outside where he’s working on restoring a rowboat.

OK, I’m back.

After being married for so long, it was totes revealing to hear what he had to say, even though I know he just wanted me to go away so he could get back to his project.

Let’s compare:

Me:
Good shopper, baker, great housecleaner; a fierce and protective mom–even with a thirty-one year old son, I’ll still hurt anyone who hurts my baby boy.

Hubs:
You have an overall and unwavering determination to be a truth seeker while being nurturing–you’re a great caretaker and devoted to your son and me, and most of all you are the most compassionate person I’ve ever known–especially about loving and caring for animals–it’s tough to witness the tremendous pain you feel whenever you hear or read about animal cruelty.

Who wouldn’t love a guy like that?

I think I’ll keep him for a while longer, don’t you agree?

(As long as he keeps buying me Chanels)