xoxo From Mexico: The Gift That Keeps on Giving…

Please accept my sincerest apologies for not yet posting the resolution to “Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband”. (Click on the title if you haven’t read it.)

I had no intentions of making the cliff hanger last so long but…

Mexico bestowed upon me its highest honor: Montezuma’s Revenge.

From PETA

(From PETA, thought I’d offer a little subliminal message LOL)

In between bouts of throwing up and…. you know…I’ve been trying to figure out where I got it. Ice cubes? Fruit? Not sure, ‘cos I was my usual compulsive self about using bottled water for everything.

To make it even worse, our trip home was delayed for four hours. We boarded the Alaska Airlines flight, sat there for a long time, was told there was a problem with the fuel gauge, and deplaned. We all sat in the airport with free food vouchers while some people left to go to a hotel, but finally, we reboarded and departed only to be told that there was a lot of fog in San Diego and they might have to divert the plane to LAX and bus us down.

I don’t think my poor stomach could have taken much more of that. We made it home safely, with no diversion.

While stuck in the Cabo airport, we had the pleasure of meeting an awesome Angel who brought home a puppy that had been dumped on the side of the road near Cabo.

Now I’m on clear liquids, probiotics, and dry toast.

I’m almost finished with the rest of the story about that stupid girl surfer and will post tomorrow, but I’ll leave you with a little teaser…my tugboat man just needed a little refresher course about how to spot predators.

 

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

Beachy December Festival of Light and Color: Photos

Even though it’s the beginning of December and was the fifth night of Hannukah, here in Southern California we enjoyed a brief summery Sunday before a massive winter storm barrels down the coast from Alaska.

A late afternoon beach walk in Carlsbad with my tugboat man…magnificent sunset, boats, seagulls flying home. Not such big waves though, or he’d be surfing and not walking!

Maybe that’s why I get so excited for the WordPress snow to appear.

It’s the only snow I see unless we go skiing!

These photos have not been retouched. This is exactly what it looked like. AMAZING, right?

Decsunset6

Decsunset1 Decsunset2 Decsunset3 Decsunset4 Decsunset5 Decsunset7Decbirds

Lesson #1. Never do this to your daughter-in-law. Ever.

Or anyone else, for that matter…

I write a lot about THINGS.

Things I collect.

Things I like to acquire.

Seashells. Rocks. Driftwood. Sand.

Treasures discovered in little out-of-the-way shops.

Other things…gifts, presents, prizes, surprises…rings and necklaces and bracelets and trinkets from my tugboat man’s travels around the universe.

Chanel south coast plazaMy first Chanel handbag and wallet — ad nauseum.

Why does Princess Rosebud’s tugboat man give her so many THINGS?

Have you asked yourself that question?

Why does SHE rate all that loot?

Really, why DO I?

One of the reasons, I mean, besides my specialness, of course –hold on — I’m taking a breath here.

I’m gonna reveal something personal.

It’s deep.

Hubs feels that he needs to make amends for the way his parents treated me –uh, er, I mean Princess Rosebud.

THE FOLLOWING IS A CAUTIONARY TALE.

Never do this to anyone, especially your DIL. It’s the meanest thing EVER. EVER. I mean, like EVER.

My wonderfully sweet tugboat man EXORCISED the demons.
In a big way. Again and again.

Here’s the story: We had been married for only a year, perhaps two. I’m not sure exactly because I’ve tried to block the pain of that Christmas. And yes, I’m Jewish, and yes, I have a Christmas tree and a menorah, and yes, I say “Merry Christmas”. What. Ever. Haters gonna hate.

If you’ve been reading my confessions for a while, you prolly have gathered by now that I loves me some designer labels. Whether it’s a new ChaCha or treasures from that secret consignment shop, I have a deep and abiding love for all that is beautiful. And Valentino, too. (Click on the link to read about my vintage find of all finds.)

Take a look at these Lanvin and Jimmy Choo shoes. Aren’t they TDF fur realz?Jimmy Choo and Lanvin Yup, that consignment shop again.

During that particular holiday season we were still seeing hubs family which means it was pre-2001, ‘cos we haven’t seen them since. (That’s a whole other chapter, and not the subject of the MEANEST GIFT EVER, but a story about the worst family ever.)

We received a package of gifts from the captain’s family and arranged them under the tree for Christmas morning. I was sooo excited because the one that had my name on it (misspelled again, dammit) was a huge bag from Versace.

In fact, here’s the bag.

versace bag I’ve kept it as a reminder of something to NEVER EVER  do to my DIL–or anyone else. Look at it! It’s Versace! All glossy white with the iconic golden lion head.

OMG, I thought it was prolly a scarf–I love scarves–and I was having a hard time not sneaking a peek.

Christmas morning…in front of the fire with a fresh cup of coffee–one present for the captain, one for my son, and then it was my turn… I plunged my hand into the bag and pulled out something encased in white tissue paper.

What could it be??? A scarf? Jewelry?

Alas, NO to all that wishful thinking. pencil and pad of paper

It was a muvvverfluffing pencil and pad of paper from a muvvvvverfluffffing dollar store.

This is MAJOR. Let me repeat that.

IT WAS A MUVVVERFLUFFING PENCIL AND PAD OF PAPER FROM A MUVVERFLUFFING DOLLAR STORE.

I turned the bag over, shook it, peered inside, felt all around the four corners and even under the little flap on the bottom, and then  – nothing, nada, zip, birds could fly in and out. Empty.

No Versace ANYTHING.

Which means my darling hub’s evil bitch of a stepmom must have gotten something for herself from Versace and used that bag to toss in that cheapass idontgiveashitaboutyou pencil crapass crap in the bag. BITCH BITCH BITCH BITCH BITCH. Yeah, I’m talking to you, MOTHER-IN-LAW.

A vicious calculating diabolical mean-spirited deliberate intentional act. There is no excuse for that behavior. None at all.

I “get” the whole subtext of that little THING. 

Not that I wouldn’t normally like a little gifty like that as a stocking stuffer because I’m a very apprciative recipient, but for all that is holy, don’t set me up to expect something from Versace only to be brought to tears by your passive aggressive ultimate unkindness.

The message was crystal clear; this was no accident. I’m not being overly sensitive but I always had the feeling that she didn’t like me; before this occurred, I never had an overt sign.

How do I know that there was no other reason for this cruelty?

She’s a muvvverfluffing PSYCHOLOGIST.

She knew full well what she was doing. She has all the mind screwing tools at her disposal. Way to go, hateful bitch!

I was gonna take that pad of paper with the cheapass pencil and fill every page with a long list of all the ways she was a total bitch and how it hurt my feelings, and how it wasn’t a very nice way to treat the woman her husband’s son loved, but then I decided not to (which isn’t like me cos I don’t have much impulse control); instead, hubs and I ceremoniously burned it in the fireplace.

My amazing hubs could see how distraught I was, not because I didn’t get an expensive gift, but because she set me up, and because it was proof positive that she didn’t like me, because everyone else received nice and thoughtful gifts. (Like I said, there’s much more to this story.)

And for all these many years later, he’s still feeling guilty and ashamed of the way his family [still] treats me, and that’s why I get a lot of prezzies. Well, one reason, anyway! Wink, wink.

But I kept the Versace bag so I’d never forget. Lesson #1 about how to NEVER treat my own Angel Boy’s DIL.

marc jacobsRight, S?

Don’t you just love your Marc Jacobs handbag “reward” for achieving that extraordinary work-related goal? My pleasure.:)


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Countdown to Sexy Time – Part One

My fall–not from grace but off the counter–didn’t slow me down, but it certainly kept me on terra firma for the remainder of my pre-tugboat man welcome home preparations.

I thought you might like to accompany me on my journey of self-imposed indentured servitude over the last couple of days:

  • Washed the windows, inside and out, including taking the screens out and washing them.
  • I paid special attention to the patio door tracks. I hate dirty tracks, don’t you?

    Window Washing

    Tools of the trade: toothbrush, skewer, bleachy stuff, glass cleaner.

  • Mowed the lawn
  • Reseeded the lawn
  • Cleaned out the pond, filled it with water, and plugged in the pump
  • Trimmed the vines on the arbor which involved standing on a three-step ladder but I was very careful. :)
  • Washed our deck with a mop and Murphy’s Oil Soap; it got messed up during our rain last week. (See, it does rain in SoCal!)Rain in SoCal

I have a great vacuuming tip…
Before a special event like my always gone husband returning or guests are coming, or you just want a lovely smelling home, saturate a cotton ball with your favorite scent. It could even be vanilla extract or lavender, but I spray “Chance” by Chanel on the cotton. It’s a bit extravagant, but lasts a long time. The next step is to actually vacuum up the scented cotton ball and commence vacuuming! Your entire house will smell absolutely delicious. You know how the bag can get that really icky smell? The scented cotton ball freshens the bag, too!

Tugboat Man Update:
It’s less than forty-eight hours until I leave for my billionth trip to the airport. His flight arrives Thursday at 3:15 p.m. I’ll have to leave at 2:30 or a bit earlier if there’s traffic.

Stay Tuned for Part Two on Wednesday
Baking and perfumed sheets…I bought him a couple of shirts for a welcome home gift and I’ll be hauling out the welcome home signs.

Call me maybe

February 20, 1994weddingpicwithed

Today’s our 19th wedding anniversary!

Here’s a picture from our wedding. That’s not my tugboat man; it’s Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass. Handsome guy, huh? Dreamy…sigh.

Nineteen years ago –WOW– it seems like it was only yesterday.  I remember looking everywhere for a wedding gown and I found that one at a thrift store–what a treasure! It was ten dollars. I couldn’t believe my luck. It looked like it had never been worn. It was exactly what I had envisioned; romantic, lacy, old-fashioned.

My girlfriend worked for a floral warehouse and her gift to me was that magnificent bouquet and all the wedding flowers.

It was a really lovely day.

Our house landline rang at 7:00 a.m. this morning. It was the princess phonecaptain calling from his sat phone to wish me a happy anniversary!

I haven’t heard his voice since he left and it was a special treat to have a real conversation.

With all the technology we take for granted in our day-to-day lives, it’s amazing to think that there are still places that don’t have full access to incessant communication.

I’m kinda used to delayed celebrations and I know we’ll make up for it when he returns so I’m not too sad.  I’ll just keep the champs on ice a bit longer, that’s all!

I always try to put a positive spin on situations like this–to think about it as something to look forward to, not something I’m missing or deprived of. Glass half full and all that.

funny-pictures-auto-thug-life-tug-469509

No, I can’t go with him. Ever. Please stop asking.

Being married to a guy who goes out to sea elicits ongoing explanations–what does he do, why does he go away; he’s fishing, right? (Wrong)

At the gym today, one of the girls asked me the question I have been asked literally hundreds of times, “Do you ever get to go with him?”

NO, I can’t ever go with him, nor can I meet him and spend a few days sightseeing.

In the middle of the ocean?

These are working vessels. They don’t carry passengers for safety and security reasons; plus he works ALL the time.

Usmm-sealA refresher for new readers…my husband’s a tugboat captain. He’s also referred to as a mariner or a merchant seaman. He’s a member of the United States Merchant Marine.

The way most tug captains and crew are paid when they’re out to sea is on a “daily rate” basis which means he’s literally on the clock 24 hours a day.

Sometimes it’s eight hours on and four hours off, or six hours on and six hours off. In the “off” times, he has to eat and shower and sleep, which is why seamen often suffer from sleep deprivation.

When he comes home after a long assignment, it takes about a week to regulate his body to a more normal sleep/awake pattern.

I guess there are still some situations where spousal visits to ports are possible, but that’s never been my own experience, and since I get seasick and tugs are super noisy and smelly and dirty, I’m not sure it would be that much fun.

Here’s how we prepare for a long assignment. We’ve discovered that having a departure routine is also a coping strategy, as it helps us work as a team.

The prep is a major undertaking, although a reluctant one on my part, because it ends with a drive to the airport as a couple and the drive home alone. When our beloved pets were still alive (Victor the Border Collie and our daughter cat, Bandit) just getting the suitcases out of the garage actually caused them to become depressed, as they both came to associate that action with their daddy going away. So sad.

A very old pic of Bandit as a kitten and old man Victor

Bandit as a kitten and old man Victor. The best kind of love.

We make a lot of lists so he’ll have enough supplies of personal items to last the duration of his assignment. He’s often gone for 2-4 months without any stops in port or he’ll be in a part of the world that doesn’t have a Target or CVS on every corner.

Food
There’s always a cook aboard the tug, so he doesn’t have to worry about preparing his meals, but he has to have enough toothpaste (4), dental floss (4), vitamins, the kind of tea he likes (Yogi Antioxidant and Ginger), underwear, socks, shampoo (Kiehls is the shampoo of choice), sunscreen, and supplies for his marlinspike seamanship projects.

ropework bottle IMG_0786

I pack raw almonds, raisins, dried (unsweetened) mangos and papayas from Trader Joe’s to ensure he has healthy snacks for as long as possible.

He fills two large suitcases, two medium suitcases, and a backpack that contains his computer, iPod, other personal items.

suitcases

Serious things…

I think it’s important to have a discussion about serious matters,  just in case.

It’s something no one wants to think about, but the reality is that a tugboat is a dangerous place, and it’s smart–not to mention empowering–to be prepared in the event of a worst case scenario.

I suggest making sure you each have current powers of attorney and easy access to all financial documents. (I’m not an attorney; this is just what we have found to be a good idea).

He always checks our two cars to make sure they’re in good working order, fills the gas can for the lawnmower, and completes any last minute house repair jobs. This last time he washed the second story windows. (I abhor dirty windows!!)

It’s these little things that he does that make me feel like we’re still connected even when he’s an ocean (or two) away.

It’s equally as important to know how to reach him in case of an emergency. Cell phones often don’t work in remote locations, and there’s a definite course of action with the company if it becomes necessary to bring him home.

Make sure that neighbors, family, friends have that emergency contact information–just in case.

After his first long assignment, we installed a security system for peace of mind as much as for actual protection.

And to give you a real idea of what life is like aboard a tug, try this…
Leave your lawn mower running in your living room 24 hours a day.
Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get dressed as fast as you can.
[Taken from http://gcaptain.com/forum/professional-mariner-forum/3115-life-aboard-merchant-vessel.html]

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.

Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man visit Palm Springs

What a difference a week makes

It’s nearly impossible to fathom that it was only last week that my tugboat man and I went to Palm Springs. He’s been gone for a week today and I’m experiencing “husband cold turkey” with no cell phone reception and only spotty email.

On my own, I have tons of free time but I’m always busy. Today I sent a Valentine’s Day package to son, DIL, and sister wife. After that, I stopped at one of my fave consignment shops and got a few things– nothing designer or vintage–not photo worthy–just a top for the gym, a Free People sweater, and a Tommy Bahama long sleeved Hawaiian shirt. I prolly won’t ever wear it, but at seven dollars, how could I NOT rescue it! The silk’s worth more than that, right?

I worked my way over to the library and got a few of their $1 books ‘cos I’m out of reading material after the “Elegance of the Hedgehog”.  I saw a car catch on fire in the parking lot!! Luckily for the owner, there’s a fire station right across the street. A few of those hunky guys came out, smelled smoke, did a little pointing, saw lots of people waving them over, jumped in their fire engine AND a paramedic’s unit (although no one was injured) and drove right by me as I stood next to my car. YUMMY!

I arrived home to discover that I was missing an earring, probably dropped at the consignment shop. It was an amethyst with a dangly pearl and I was super upset so I got back in my car. It wasn’t in the dressing room or anywhere else in the store but I retraced my steps to where I had parked earlier and there it was!! Thank you, Mother Earth!

As I drove home along the same route for the second time today, I noticed six police cars at the Motel 6 (for a “village” that tries to promote its quaint-ness, Motel 6 kinda messes with that whole marketing campaign). They seemed to be converging on one man and handcuffing him. Excitement!! I was gonna cross the street and film the action, but my merchant mariner’s voice was in my head telling me it wasn’t very smart to get smack up in the middle of something that could get out of control. Dumb captain always in my head!! Sheesh.

The previous week, my last as a married woman…for a while

Palm Springs is about three hours from home, perfect for a day hike. Neither of us had ever been there or taken the tram, and we both love to hike in the snow, so we packed a lunch, gassed up the truck, and embarked on another adventure. We passed this…bearstore

and this…not a real bighorn sheep

and this was our first glimpse of snow on a hazy day.first view of san snow

We drove past the Marilyn Monroe statue but my tugboat man wouldn’t stop long enough for me to take a pic, so I had to Google it.marilynmonroepalmsprings

Before you reach Palm Springs, there’s another little town called Palm Desert with a shopping section that rivals Rodeo Drive.

gucci

I spied a GUCCI storefront out of the corner of my eye and yelled “GUCCI, GUCCI, GOOOOCHHIIIIII!!” My tugboat man’s response wasn’t very nice, “Don’t even think about it. I’m not stopping. I didn’t drive all this way to take you shopping.” Mean man. I shmushed my face up against the window and whimpered wistfully, “Gucci, Gucci, Gucci” in a manner guaranteed to elicit pity from my stone-faced hub until the light changed and I could no longer see the signage. Nothing. Nada. He drove right by it. Two can play this game I thought to myself–hmm, there’s only one road in and one road out and I’d have another chance on the way home. I’m one clever cookie!

Frank Sinatra lived in PS when it was a celebrity hotspot. We didn’t stop there, either.sinatra house palm springs

tram

Our destination was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tramcar, a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. It’s a brief ten minute ride starting at the  Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft.–ending at the Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. [from Wiki] San Jacinto Peak, 10,834 feet (3,302 m), is the highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains, and of Riverside County, California. It lies within Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Naturalist John Muir wrote of San Jacinto Peak, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”[4]

The tram ride up was SCARY. I spent the entire ride clutching the captain’s arm ’til it went all numb ‘cos I thought the cables were gonna break and we were gonna die. When I expressed that thought to him, he told me to be stop hyperventilating, be quiet, and let up a bit on the vise-like death grip. Sometimes he’s NOT all that perfect. By the time I formed an appropriate response, the ride was over, and we were still alive.tram bench

I stopped to use the restroom and snapped a pic of my new Osprey backpack chock full of the essentials. El Capitan is getting a bit annoyed with the incessant picture taking of my Chanels.

There was SNOW!snowhike

On a gigantic flat rock warmed by the sun, we enjoyed a hearty lunch of canned sardines, cheese and crackers, dried mango, fresh fruit, cookies, and trail mix with raw almonds and cashews.our lunch snow hike

Four legs taking a break. Mine are NOT the hairy ones wearing shorts in the snow.two sets of legs

I left behind a message to others…ES in snow

No GUCCI. No WAY.

Here’s a gallery of the rest of the pics. It was a spectacular day! There wasn’t going to be a Gucci moment–that wasn’t going to happen even though I promised that all I wanted to do was LOOK and not actually buy anything (well, unless there was something that I couldn’t live without), but he was steadfast in his resolve to NOT stop–a girl needs to know when to quit and I do so I did. The last couple of pics are from a detour we made to walk a bit on the famous Pacific Crest Trail. Hubs dream is to walk the entire Trail. Probably not with me. What.Ev.

Come Rain or Come Shine

It’s a misty, rainy, foggy Saturday in Southern California. My tugboat man only has about ten days left before he leaves again for a deep ocean assignment. We’re working as an effective team organizing a lot of year-end paperwork. We’ve got some reggae music on while we slice open envelopes, creating piles to save and piles for the recycle bin.  We’re drinking tea with ginger cookies. He’s having a ginseng tea; the last of his stash from Korea. My Yogi Anti-oxident Green Tea bag is memorable and prophetic today:

You must know that you can swim through every tide and change of time.

So true, tea bag, so true. I’m not a very good swimmer, but I can count on my tugboat man to help keep me afloat just as he once told me I was his anchor.

Happy Saturday, y’all!
Sinatra sings, “Come Rain or Come Shine”