Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Mele Kalikimaka!

Since my Angel Boy has flown off to England, we’re going to the Anza-Borrego desert for a day hike where temps will be in the eighties. 

Can you believe it? On Christmas Day?

I‘m going to attempt to take pics with my new Canon Rebel  – wish me luck!

I hope Santa brought you all everything you wished for…he brought a new surfboard for hub and yes, I got that Chanel 2.55 I’ve been DYING for, spoiled girl that I am.

tugpearlschristmas

Enjoy this little Bing Crosby tune and have a safe and happy day from our home to yours.

http://youtu.be/hEvGKUXW0iI

 

Best Christmas Decorations EVER-Haters, Line Up! Yoo Hoo, Pinterest, I’m Calling YOU!

 I hope you enjoy a repeat of one of my most clicked on posts of 2012 while I spend a little time with my tugboat man and my son, Angel Boy.
…..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     

It was last year that I was inspired by other topnotch decorators who so kindly blogged about their DIY Christmas tree masterpieces.

In fact, I was so inspired and so thrilled to be stuck here all alone for the millionth time during the holidays that I created a masterpiece of my own, just for you, my loving internet family.

As I looked around my house, the elliptical seemed like it had the best “bones” to adorn.

Plus, it had a ready-made beverage holder!

I didn’t have any Maxi-pads or other feminine hygiene products–’cos THAT ship has sailed–if you know what I mean. (Hey cool, a nautical reference jauntily tossed in. Damn, I’m good!)

I added a toilet paper garland, a couple of Sophie Kinsella novels, two glittery seashell ornaments, a bottle of wine in the beverage holder, a white plastic poinsettia, a few EMPTY gift bags, and a festive plush Hello Kitty toy.

You can’t really see it very good, but there’s a chocolate bar too, which I don’t have to share with anyone! I’m such a lucky girl! This is the best use I’ve found for the elliptical. Hanging freshly ironed shirts hanging on it is a close second.

Now you can carry on with your day; just take a moment to let it all sink in.

The moral of the story is that it might not be a good idea to leave Princes Rosebud alone for long periods of time.

Don’t HATE…Emulate.

Decorated for Christmas elliptical

Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

decorated elliptical

Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

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.

A recipe and a request…from a tugboat captain

The wonderful FurFiles (meow!) is back from her Jamaican vacation, and it’s about time!  I’ve missed her astute blogging and pithy commentary, like the many ways I can exact revenge on my tugboat man should the need arise.

ex=lax signNo, I’m not going to put ex-lax in his food. Not this time, anyway.

Ms Fur has furrily requested the recipe for another version of carrot bread I made last night, loosely based on a recipe from my 1970s Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook.

I’m not the magnificent artist of decor and whimsy like Judy at Petit4Chocolatier  nor do I possess the versatility of (bakery owner in another life) Tonette of tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily but I have my most consistent success with everyday, homey, mom-like healthy breads, apple pies, lentil cookies, and black bean brownies.pastry bag and tips

Confession: I’ve been known to wield a mean pastry bag to build roses with tip #12 and #104 on flower nail #7 (as well as shells and garland)  but I save that skill set for special occasions only.

A Schwarzwälder kirsch kuchen similar to one I made to celebrate my son’s graduation.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Black Forest Cherry Cake dripping in kirschwasser

 

First the request...I’m conducting an interview of my resident mariner for a future post. In the wake of today’s ferry accident in New York and other recent vessel related incidents, it seems timely.  

Anything you’d like to know?

I’ve tortured used my not inconsiderable powers of persuasion to convince my tugboat man to put up his surfboard for a moment and consent to an interview. The convincing involved all sorts of things like I need to wear nothing but a pair of six-inch heels and red lipstick and must refer to him as Most Exalted Master Seaman, but that is my cross to bear, not yours.

It was his idea to take requests from my readers in the wonderful world of blogging and Twitter and FB and I agree that’s a great idea–which should prove to doubters (and children) that hubs does have an independent thought once in a great while.

He’ll entertain queries about maritime-related stuff, what it’s like being married to me(!), technical stuff about boat handling/boat restoration, marlinspike seamanship,– ask away!

Certain things can’t be revealed of course, but he’ll do his best to answer all questions. He’s a USCG certified instructor, so you know he’s got the cred and he’s not just another pretty face.

You’ll discover the funny side to life as a seaman–they have a weird sense of humor–creating witty rhymes such as, “It’s not gay when you’re underway…” [urban dictionary]

I’ll credit the question with a link or you can remain anonymous–your choice.

And now for the recipe….carrotraisinbread2 carrot raisin bread

Carrot Raisin Bread
It’s moist and delicious with a rich texture! The difference is in the process. Try it and let me know what you think about it. Hubs loves it!

Ingredients
One cup grated carrots
One cup raisins
3/4 cup honey (I didn’t have a lot of honey so I used 1/4 honey, 1/4 agave, 1/4 brown sugar) Maple syrup would be yummy, too.
One teaspoon each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Two tablespoons vegetable oil
One egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, not sure how to do the conversions.
In a medium saucepan, cook carrots, raisins, honey/sugar, oil, and spices in the water for about ten minutes. Let cool. When cool, add beaten egg and mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and add to wet ingredients. Pour into one or two loaf pans depending on size. I made mine in one large loaf pan. Bake for about 45 minutes but check carefully so it doesn’t over bake. Let cool before slicing.

 

Yes, I really AM that annoying.

And every once in a while, it’s really black and white.

While I’m absorbed in the embracing and releasing of my inner beeyotch, there’s an overriding theme that’s emerging around Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

It seems that I am annoying in different ways to different people. Some might find that to be a negative character trait and should be “worked on.”

Not me.

I consider my annoying self to be a value-added option or a gift with purchase–to the liberation of my beeyotchiness.

There are some aspects of parenting and marriages that don’t reveal themselves right away. Sometimes it takes a child moving out to give him/her perspective and a spouse can also evoke a similar epiphany.

Last night my shining bright star boy child called and I was APPARENTLY nagging (his word) him about his eating habits and not eating enough. A great multi-tasker, he was chewing while chatting and told me he was eating a Subway sandwich. Always a caring and concerned and nurturing mom, I told him it didn’t have enough calories for a skinny boy like him and he needed to take bcare of himself and eat higher quality protein and more frequently, blah blah blah.

I said, ‘Maybe I should come back there and cook for you.” “No, that’s OK.”  “Why not? I would have loved it if my mom cooked for me.” “No, I can cook for myself” “But DO you?”

“Were you always this annoying?”

That about sums it all up for me, and anyway, the answer is yes, I have always been this annoying.

In fact, the captain asked me the same exact question yesterday. I was bugging him while he was hiding from me working on a project–and he said, “Do you have any idea how annoying you are?”

To which I answered, “Yes, I am very well aware of how annoying I am. This is not new information to you. I did not suddenly emerge from my chrysalis and become an annoying person. I didn’t misrepresent myself. You knew full well what you were getting yourself into more than twenty years ago. So stop complaining. Your complaining IS annoying.”

“Once in a while, you should try to not be so annoying.”

Like really, like does he not know by now with whom he’s dealing? I was gonna say, does he not know who he’s dealing with, but that’s not proper English, so if it sounds strange, whatever. Deal with it. Oopsie, just let a bit of my beeyotchiness out, like a silent but deadly you know.

I felt picked on and since I’m only sixty inches tall, I feel a good old Napoleon Complex simmering just below the surface, ready to boil over real fast, rear its ugly head, and take no prisoners.

I added that snide remark to his Frico/Freaky sharp-witted comment of the other day. Like an elephant, we women don’t forget. We just tally up the misdeeds in one of our brain’s compartments, and when it fills up, watch out.

Thar she blows!

Here’s a little confession. Pissing me off is expensive. He paid dearly and with much pain. He was forced under duress to accompany me to South Coast Plaza in Orange County. I’ve  spoken of this place before, I know, but it really is a shrine, a shopping mecca, a retail temple of the beautiful–and Chanel, or as my new friend calls it, ChaCha. (Check out her blog, reversecommuter–she’s awesome.) I love Hermes and Valentino and Versace and Gucci, but Chanel holds my heart.

It’s a beautiful drive to SCP and takes about fifty minutes or so. We could see the surf at Trestles on one side and snow-covered mountains to the east. We parked at Bloomingdales. I wanted to check out their Chanel department and compare it to the actual Chanel shop’s designs. I know I just got my Grand Tote Shopper in November, but she was a bit lonely and I thought a little sister (in other words, a matching wallet) would make her happy.

I pulled out all the stops on this one.

My crazy came out in spectacular form. Here’s what I said to the captain. “My mom called and she said that I really need a matching wallet.”

Hold on. Stay with me. Don’t stop reading now! You might be thinking to yourself, “That doesn’t sound too crazy.”

Well…when I tell you that my mom died in 1989, you might think differently, huh?

So…treading lightly here–very lightly, the captain said, “Tell your mom that saying things like that is not very helpful and you also can tell her from me that she raised a very spoiled daughter.”

I walked away and came back a few minutes later.

“My mom said you’re annoying.”

(We chat with my mom all the time as if she were still here, so it’s not that unusual to bring her into a convo.)

Back to SCP. Focus! Bloomies didn’t have a huge selection and the sales staff was EXTREMELY unpleasant and didn’t seem to really want us invading their space, so we left.

We took the escalator down to the first floor. As we were descending, I looked behind me…and there it was in all of its black and white magnificence. I swear the place was glowing, beckoning me in.

I almost forgot hubs was with me.

Marie greeted us as we walked in and made a grand tour of the salon. She commented on the beauty of my GST. I asked to see the black caviar wallet that would complement my bag. She escorted us to the proper glass case, and then beckoned me to go behind the counter where she OPENED ALL THE DRAWERS AND INVITED ME TO TAKE ALL THE TIME I WANTED TO LOOK AT THE DOZENS OF WALLETS IN EVERY COLOR AND PATTERN. My face turned  bright red, I almost broke out in tears. The captain parked his ass somewhere–at this point I had no idea he existed.  I WAS IN HEAVEN. Pink and blue and green and red and quilted and patent leather and imprinted with Coco’s signature camellias.

I touched and stroked and smelled them all.

With a nod from my tugboat captain–KING OF ALL MEN- best husband in the whole world–I chose my prize. When Marie asked if this was for a special occasion, my wonderful hubs shrugged and said it was “Just because.” He’s really a very special guy, my tugboat man.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I was a very appreciative and grateful recipient.

Chanel south coast plaza

Hubs isn’t a very good photographer and he would only take one pic

On the way home from SCP

On the way home from SCP

So beautifully packaged, I didn't want to open it!

So beautifully packaged, I didn’t want to open it!

Chanel ribbon too!

Chanel ribbon too!

Can you hear the angels singing? Isn't it brills?

Can you hear the angels singing? Isn’t it brills?

chanelwallet2

A Grateful Monday

As part of my 2013 resolution to release my inner beeyotch, Helen Reddy‘s inspiredI am Woman helps me stay on track!

I would like to thank three awesome women for their creativity and imagination, especially since it’s all about ME!

1. Rarasaur’s delightful interpretation of ME! Check out her incredible blog and just try to figure out how her mind works! She’s another SoCal girl and she loves cats! And she’s only 60 inches tall just like me! I love her a lot and you will too. Rarasaur doodle enchanted seashells

2. IB DesignsUSA banner in nautical flags, because sometimes the best answer is “Meow”.  Kathy loves all things nautical and is a lovely lady with a great business. International maritime navy signal flags are a colorful way to spell names, messages, or to decorate your home. Give a personalized signal flag banner or wall hanging as a nautical wedding decoration, an unusual boating Christmas gift, or just for the plain fun of it!

Meow banner

3. In response to a tweet of mine bemoaning my lack of mail–no packages, no invitations to a ball, no requests to attend a movie premiere with Tina Fey–wonderful, awesome Red Dirt Kelly sent me a t-shirt!! I was so excited to return home (from my all day torture of my tugboat man as I dragged him from store to store at South Coast Plaza in the OC until he was so exhausted that he was at my mercy and he begged me to buy something, anything from Chanel so he could go home) and find a package to open and it was this t-shirt! Everyone needs to read the Red Dirt Chronicles!

reddirtkelly

Don’t miss Tuesday’s exciting blog! I’ll share an in-depth reportage of our day at South Coast Plaza, a day of torture and retaliation, culminating in a new Chanel acquisition!
Beeyotches RULE!

Hiking on New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve, the waves must not have been big enough to entice His Highness the Surfer because he suggested we go for a day hike. It was a gorgeous day to be outdoors; crisp and clean air, blue skies.

If all you know about the OC is what you’ve learned from the Real Housewives of Orange County or The Hills, it’ll surprise you to learn that there’s a lot of beautiful preserved land.

cougarThe last time we were in this same mountain range at Caspers Wilderness Park, there were active mountain lion sightings and warnings. I studied predatory animals in college; wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and bobcats. The mountain lion is the only animal that I’m afraid of. They’re incredibly strong and their behavior is unpredictable. I’ve only seen or heard them a couple of times but there have been several attacks in this area over the years, and I’m always a bit anxious, searching for prints, scat, and looking in the trees where they like to stretch out and take a snooze just like any other kitty cat.

mountain-lion-warning photoIt was unsettling to see this sign as we entered the park.  I wondered what exactly the park rangers meant when I read, “Convince the lion you are not prey and that you might be dangerous yourself.”

OK, that brought on an episode of role playing. As we drove to the trailhead to park, I told the captain his role was to be the mountain lion and my job was to convince him not to kill me.

“Hey guy, you’re lookin’ pretty good today, nice and healthy. How’s about we have a little convo? I’d like you to try and put yourself in my shoes–not literally, of course!  (Little joke there, Mr. Cougar) I’m here for a nice little walk and I’m sure that we don’t want to ruin my day, do we? Look at it from my point of view. I’ve seen many moons and my meat is no longer tender and young–although to be perfectly honest, I have been described as a cougar in my day. You probably wouldn’t enjoy the meal anyway. Why don’t we just agree to disagree? And if that doesn’t convince you, I have been known to go batshit crazy for no apparent reason, and you do NOT want to set me off.”

The captain didn’t really think it was a very compelling argument and probably wouldn’t convince a mountain lion that I might be dangerous, although he did agree that I have been known to go batshit crazy at times, and actually he IS kind of scared of me.

(So there’s that. Good to know; I’ll stow that gem away for future reference.)

I have no idea if the park rangers were trying to be funny since the sign didn’t elaborate, but we didn’t have to debate any mountain lions that day or yesterday, thank goodness!

We drove to Orange County near the quaint Ortega Oaks Candy Store on Ortega Highway/Highway 74 from Interstate 5, about an hour away from home.

The Bear Canyon Trail is about 6.5 miles, although we took a detour that added time to our hike and it took us about four hours. It’s not the most strenuous hike I’ve been on, but it was still challenging.

Here’s the captain at the trailhead. I don’t carry anything but water and makeup. Hee hee.captaintrailhead

I created a gallery of the other pics I took. Check out the snow on the San Gabriel and San Jacinto mountain range.

I wish everyone a healthy, happy, prosperous 2013!

A wintry day in Southern California

It’s a cold and rainy Saturday. I’m baking an apple pie and my captain is making yet another shelf for more seashells. Good times, y’all.

We don’t have snow on the ground, but some trees do lose their leaves and change color, like this fruit-bearing mulberry.

yellow leaves on treeI snapped a pic of a super active yellow finch in our artichoke plant.

yellow finch in artichoke plantTake the steps up to the second level

steps to the second leveland more steps to the highest point of our yard planted in California natives-sages, buckwheat, sumac, and cactus.

up to the third level

A view to the east of Calavera with Mt. Laguna further in the distance.

view of calavera and laguna

Check out our lawn and house from the hill. It’s a work-in-progress.

looking down from the hillI hope everyone is enjoying the last Saturday before 2013!

 

Our nautical Christmas 2012

My tugboat man brought back some treasures and cool marlinspike seamanship projects he worked on while he abandoned me was away for two months.

What do you think of the captain’s welcome home signs?

whatever

This picture frame is huge–2 ft. x 3ft.

Marlinspike seamanship picture frame

This is a close-up view of his masterful work.

close up frame

My mariner found a float in the harbor and crafted a delicate netting in black.

netball

And then we worked together to make it into a lamp! The base is a piece of driftwood. The captain’s making some fancy knotwork to embellish the shade.

lamp

Princess Rosebud was spoiled with a necklace from a craft fair somewhere near where Santa lives.

Sparkly!

Sparkly! Shiny!

 He fashioned a pretty little handmade tray with copper tubing sides and handles and filled it with shells and driftwood!

tray

We had welcome home festive cocktails of cranberry juice and vodka with a fresh cranberry in our antique champagne glasses.

cranberrycocktail

And yummy ginger cookies…

gingercookies

Our Downton Abbey-inspired dinner table.

xmasdinnerHis mess, which has since been cleaned up!

suitcases

Now he has a new project–when he’s not surfing– refinishing a rowboat and making it seaworthy.

rowboat

Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife! I’m a happy girl, that’s for sure!

Where was your first “I love you”?

Aside

Christmas
Wednesday, December 25, 1991

This was our first holiday together after I figuratively walked to the edge of the cliff and jumped off by telling my tugboat man I loved him the first time we shared a cup of coffee.

I was positive he was going to break up with me.

My son was with his dad for the day. The captain and I went to the gym in the morning for a little holiday workout before they closed at noon. The house was freezing when we got home. I remember going to the thermostat to turn on our central heating.  It’s rare that we need the heat on continuously here in SoCal; we use it briefly to take the chill out of the air.

It was (like it still is) a sad home when my son’s not here.

On the way home from the gym we stopped at a liquor store and bought a small bottle of Jagermeister250px-Jagermeister_bottle and a bottle of Rumpelmintz.rumplemintz

I was in the bathroom when I heard him. He very quietly said, “Rosebud, will you come into the family room? We need to talk.”

Oh NO, NOT the dreaded we need to talk. This did not sound good. Not good at all.

That’s breakup speak, I just knew it. But on Christmas DAY??? Who would do that? I know we had kind of fast tracked our relationship after that first cup of coffee–he even had been introduced to my son during a  work-related event or two and things were moving along great-or so I thought. Maybe things were moving too fast and he was getting cold feet. All kinds of doomsday scenarios were floating around in my head. All I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to come out of the bathroom; I stayed there, heart pounding, tears welling up in my eyes. I looked at myself in the mirror.

Why today of all days? What did I do wrong?woman_crying_m

I was still wearing my workout gear with an oversized plaid shirt. Nineties grunge, ya know?

At some point I steeled my nerves and came out of the bathroom to get it over with and figure out how to endure a breaking heart.

He was sitting at the small dining table we have in our family room where we eat informal meals. There were a couple of shot glasses filled with Rumplemintz (peppermint schnapps). He looked very serious. I mean, like he planned to deliver really bad news. He pulled out a chair and said, “Have a seat.”

tablechair

I said, “No. I don’t want to.”
Nice guy. He was going to get me drunk, break up with me, and run out the front door. This could be the worst day of my life. Seriously. He was going to do this before I could get a Christmas present from him? Seriously?

“Oh, come on. I need to tell you something. Come and sit down right here.”

Oh. Shit.

I forced my sad little plaid covered self over to the chair and looked down. I looked anywhere but at HIM. I didn’t want to see him for the very last time.

He wasn’t saying anything. I could feel him looking at me. At that point, I was thinking to myself, oh hell–just get it over with already! I gotta get myself a gallon of ice cream and start on it asap.

Finally, he reached over, took my hand and said, ” I need you to know that I love you.”

WHAT? You set me up for a break up scenario and you were planning to tell me that you loved me? WTF? 

I had anticipated the worst possible outcome. Instead, once again–he surprised me.

Crap. I can’t go any further with this story! He just told me that I can’t write the rest of what he said ‘cos it’s private–not for anyone to hear but me is what he said–but I can tell you it was lovely and sweet, and I’m so glad he’s here now–home for Christmas–because I’m always reminded of that first year.

If you don’t have to drive anywhere, try our special holiday tradition cocktail, the Reindeer: mix equal parts Jagermeister and Rumplemintz. Very potent!

Where did your most memorable “I love you” take place?