Tormenting Husbands is FUN

When my tugboat man goes out to sea, communication is limited to email and cell phone, and even that depends upon what part of the world he’s in. Sometimes, there’s no cell at all and I’ll only occasionally receive a call from the vessel’s sat phone. And sometimes the boat’s computer stops functioning and I don’t get email. And that’s when I start to worry.

Since he’s a fairly quick learner after twenty-plus years of training,  he tries to call or email at least once a day, the obligatory “I’m still alive” type of thing. Read more about that HERE (if you don’t call, I think you’re dead, and that’s why I’m getting a pair of Loubies)

Every so often I attempt to spice things up and venture beyond the boring…here’s a verbatim transcript of pretty much every call,

“Hi, honey, what’s up? How are you today, did anything break down, is the car OK, anything come in the mail for me, anything I need to deal with, what’s the surf like, and oh, by the way, I miss you.”

it’s  a definite struggle to maintain that thread of mystery and personality in a three-minute call or a few words tapped in black on a sterile white background.

A lot of the time, one or both of us’ll say, “I got nothing else” and the other will say “I got nothing, too” and then my tugboat man’ll end with “Lock and load” which is our secret code for “don’t forget to turn the security alarm on before you go to bed.” always ending with “Love you” and “Love you, too”

So far, this this time he’s been away for about thirty days —  he’ll HOPEFULLY be home before Thanksgiving, which totally sucks ‘cos I thought he was gonna be home by Halloween. Nature of the biz and all that.

To try to inject a little fun into our convo yesterday when he called, I asked him if he was sitting down ‘cos I had something really serious and important to tell him:

“You might want to sit down ‘cos I gotta tell you something that might shock you and I don’t want you to faint.”

(It was a total set-up.)

He gets this super cute, super serious tone in his voice,

“What is it. Is everything OK?”

And then I hit him with the shocker:

“I washed the car today”

Maybe y’all don’t get how earth shattering that news is, but you have to trust me that it could cause hub’s heart rate to skyrocket and blood pressure to explode.

In shock.

I don’t like to spend the $$$ or the time to take it to a car wash and I don’t EVER wash it — I mean EVER — but there I was in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water and a hose.

With neighbors watching in case hub needed witnesses to this miraculous event.

He laughed so hard it was totally worth it to wash that stupid car.

And then there was more.

“Are you sitting down?”

“Yes.”

“For reals? Where are you?”

“In the wheelhouse, but we’re tied up at the dock right now.”

“‘Cos there’s more.”

[Pause]

“I went to a gas station and filled the tank with gas.”

“Oh. My. Gawd. Stop the presses. Was it running on fumes? Had you depleted the Reserve tank like you usually do?”

“Nope, I had about a quarter tank, but I drove by a gas station with cheap gas, and thought it’d be a good idea to take advantage of it.”

“Shocked, huh? Speechless?”

“I’m more shocked that you actually thought to fill it up before you were stranded and  forced to call triple A; that’s the part that’s boggling my mind. But good job! You go, girl! I’m proud of you!”

And that’s how we keep our love alive around here, or in other words, how we torment our husband and have a little gentle fun at his expense.

Just another day in the life of Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man…

 

 

 

BEST BAKING HACK EVER.

Trust me.

This is SO easy. And SO awesome.

For realsies. This could be the BEST tip I’ve ever shared.

Did I conjure this up myself? I’m not 100% sure…but it’s too good to keep secret.

OK, say you’ve made a batch of Brownies (recipe below) or a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake or even an Hot Milk Sponge Cake (super light and fluffy).

Would you LOVE to drench your creation in a dreamy, creamy, fudge ganache?

Don’t have the time to make frosting from scratch? Or you’re out of powdered sugar? Don’t want to resort to that chemically-laden and overly processed frosting in a can?

No worries.

Here’s the ONLY ingredient you’ll need.

You probably have a package of semi-sweet chocolate morsels around, right? I mean, ‘cos who doesn’t, ya know what I’m sayin’?

SO AMAZING.

In one easy step, you’ll create a  to-die-for topping.

Ready? This is all there is to it…

bakinghack1

Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Take a handful of chocolate chips; I think this is about 1/2 cup.

Sprinkle the chips evenly over just-out-of-the-oven brownies (or cake).

Ya gotta do it while it’s hot enough to melt the chocolate. (See my special seashell table?I can make one for you, too!)

Simply take a butter knife or offset spatula and spread the melted chocolate chips gently over the top.

Look how glossy and shiny and YUMMY chocolaty good that looks.

bakinghack2

Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

DELICIOUS-ness. Guaranteed.

A no-brainer, it’s a success EVERY time.

bakinghack3

Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

It starts out soft and if you’re like me and store any leftovers in the refrigerator, the topping develops into a firm but not too hard coating that serves to protect and preserve each and every moist mouthful.

  • Works great on cookies, too.
  • I’ve never tried milk chocolate/mint chocolate/peanut butter chips, but I assume they’d be good; if you try them, let me know!

Here’s Princess Rosebud’s Brownie recipe. One bowl, super easy!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cold coffee (I always use a bit of coffee with chocolate)
1/3 – 1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup flour
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Option: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix thoroughly oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee. Incorporate cocoa and mix well.
Add flour, salt, baking powder, and nuts, if desired. Stir together, but not too vigorously. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes just until the edges pull away from the pan. No one likes dry brownies!

 

Happy New Year! 2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 48,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Because of a COMMENT by Cowboys and Crossbones

I feel a potentially infectious bout of truthiness coming on and before it dissipates, I need to revise yesterday’s post, A normal life…for now.

Disclaimer: The picture of of my captain and myself IS accurate, we do sit by the fire and read or read before going to sleep–HOWEVER- Cowboys and Crossbones commentary shamed me into a fuller version of the story:

Cowboys and Crossbones says:
How do you keep from talking to one another while you’re reading?! I think it’s a sweet routine.

(ES-She’s just setting me up here, acting all so “sweet” with her and her party lifestyle and wild ways and her BFF cat, Teddy. She knows how to yank the real scoop out of me and I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. Watch out for her, people, she’s a sly one.)

Enchanted Seashells reply:
Well…you are a smart one, I annoy him constantly with commentary, questions:

“whatcha reading now, what page are you on, why aren’t you paying attention to me,  you look funny in your reading glasses,  can you feel me pulling your arm hair,  does it hurt,  am i annoying you yet…”

…those kinds of things which are prolly more interesting than the vision of us sitting quietly reading. hee hee.

To which C&C wrote back:

I thought I had you figured out!!!!! And yes, your questions would be MUCH more interesting than words on a page.

(ES-Darn that C&C! She wasn’t happy just getting the dirt on what goes on at Casa de Enchanted Seashells, NOW she’s saying that’d be more interesting than my original  story, which obvs was BORING!)

Because I strive to be a truth seeker and I rise to any challenge, I have to set the record straight. It’s NOT always uninterrupted evenings of tranquility around here–well, sometimes it is–but more often or not, out of the corner of my eye I’ll see his foot or leg twitch and that upsets my concentration so I need to RETALIATE and TORTURE him in some way.

As a reminder, my theory of a successful marriage: if he’s annoying, be twice as annoying.

In addition to the incessant questions of a two-year-old, I’ll say stuff like, “Do you want me to read you a paragraph from my book?” and he’ll invariably say, “Does it have sex in it?” and I’ll say, “Geez, you are such a baby.” And then he’ll say, “Let me see it. If it has any sex scenes, I can find them like magic.” {insert a finger snap here} …as he fans the pages and then stops, points to a passage and says, “See, I told you I could find it!” So proud of himself as he’s leering at the page. That’s when I say, “You are SUCH a dumb tugboat captain.” (Since I have to have the last word. Always. Always. Always.)

I feel ever so much better having gotten this off my chest. Let’s just say that if C&C hadn’t forced me to come clean, you might have walked away with an inaccurate picture of our serene life. This is, after all, CONFESSIONS of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

Are you happy NOW, Cowboys and Crossbones?

The Boy Who Is My Heart. So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller

An homage to William Carlos Williams

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On a bitterly cold afternoon, my tugboat man and I embarked on our annual yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California while he trimmed the eucalyptus and mulberry trees.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
I saw bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles suffused it with a gleaming radiance through the brown. steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discover in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect child. 
I gently brushed away twenty-five years of encrusted soil and sand.steamroller2
sandboxI was engulfed in a wave of memory. I was there. I saw him–my four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  I saw him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.looking down from the hill
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

Princess Rosebud’s Mermaid Bench

Image

I’ve made a few upgrades to the original by replacing the starfish with huge white scallop shells and the addition of a hot pink polka dot bow.

Now I’m happy.

Picture me sitting in my seashell encrusted bathroom answering your comments and Tweeting!

This is my fantasy world.

Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

XOXO

 

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