I Said “Seaman”, NOT “Semen”. SHEESH. Grow Up, Would Ya?

With regard to the recently released film, “Captain Phillips” about the ship that was boarded by pirates, I am boycotting it. I forced my very handsome tugboat man to audition, and he went through two videotaped auditions (including sides, which is part of the script) and he was NOT hired for a major role. I believe it’s because he’s so blindingly beautiful that he would have grabbed the spotlight from Tom Hanks, who MUST have felt threatened.  My hub’s audition tape was AWESOME. So. There you have it.
______________________________________________________________________

Not this!sperm from etsy But THIS4780_CruiseShip+Captain

I thought it’d be fun and informative to conduct an interview of my seaMAN, my merchant mariner, my tugboat captain, my sometimes-he’s-here-sometimes-he’s not husband of nineteen years. What kind of man is the husband of Princess Rosebud? What’s it like being a merchant seaman? He didn’t always go out to sea for months at a time. We met in 1991 at a local boat company where he was the master captain of several vessels and I was in the marketing department, and he worked around our harbor for many years.

It was “annoy” at first sight…

I’ve written about our love story in “Just a cup of coffee” and “Just a cup of coffee, part two”  with many more chapters in draft form as the story unfolds.

As you’ll see, he’s pretty serious when discussing his career; otherwise he has a very dry sense of humor, not too snarky. He’s really a very good natured, even tempered guy. Like I always say, he’s the turtle to my rabbit.

On an enchanting side note, as I walked out of Trader Joe’s this morning, a homeless man told me I had a beautiful smile. Life is good, y’all. A compliment is a compliment. It was appreciated!

Let’s Play!

Twenty Questions for a Merchant Seaman

The interview of this mariner took place while he was home between assignments. He’s a professional mariner, an academy graduate, and has been in the tug and tow industry for a quarter of a century. He’s also captained 700 passenger vessels and worked in just about every aspect of the maritime industry (except fishing).

Thank you to TheFurFiles, tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily, ibdesignsusa and  Yvonne La Brecque Deane for playing along and submitting questions.

WORK-RELATED QUESTIONS:

Not his tug, just an example of the type of work he does.

Not his tug, just an example of the type of work he does.

What types of boats do you work on?
Mostly I work on vessels of limited tonnage-under 3000 tons. I’ve worked on numerous unlimited tonnage ships but currently am assigned to work boats and tugs.

Do you think it’s a good career for young people to pursue?
I think it’s is a good career, but it’s not for everyone. You have to be able to live for long periods of time in close quarters with others, and it’s difficult to be away from home.  It hasn’t been dramatically effected by the downturn in the economy.

Can you talk a little about the adjustment period from being home to being stuck on a boat 24/7 in cramped quarters.
The worst is right when you report aboard find your room, bed, etc. it takes a couple of days for the pain of being away dulls then you get into a routine of standing watch and life aboard ship and your new shipmates then things settle down and its not that bad.

What do you eat while you’re out to sea?
I’m a vegetarian which makes it a bit challenging. I eat a lot of brown rice and lentils and vegetables; sometimes seafood. We stock up on high quality foods unless we’re away from port for extended periods of time, then most of the food has to come out of the freezer.

Does everyone cook his/her own food?
Most boats I’m on have a cook on board. Every once in a while I’ll bake for the crew and email Rosebud for a recipe and a coaching session–I’ve made apple pies and brownies and banana bread. She’s a great instructor.

What do you do out to sea when you’re not working?
I work out, do my knot tying, read, watch videos, listen to music, and play my ukelele.

I know that you were involved in Desert Storm. Can you talk about what role you played?
Yes, it wasn’t much but the ship I was on was prepared to support the war effort. We were loaded up with military equipment some of the exploding type but were redirected when the bombing stopped and did not reach the Gulf.

What do you do nowadays in times of conflict?
Even if we are not directly involved with the support effort, our service is important. Keeping our credentials current gives the US a support force that can be called during times of war. This has happened throughout US history.

What do you do with a dead body?
We follow the orders of the medical adviser.

What do you do if you need to restrain a crew member because of a mental break or a crime?
Restrict them to their room, or lock them in if necessary. Otherwise restrain them somehow. ZipTies work without hand cuffs until the next port of call.

How far is too far for the United States Coast Guard to make a medical rescue?
I think about 1000 miles.

Have you encountered pirates?
Not directly,  but I ‘ve been in dangerous waters where there was an elevated risk.

What’s the smallest craft you’ve encountered on the high seas?
An ocean going row boat.

What is the biggest drama that’s taken place while on duty?
Usually it has to do with unruly crew members causing trouble with other crew members or while ashore; getting into fights etc.

Have you ever been near a tsunami?
I haven’t experienced a tsunami, but have been offshore enough times during tsunami warnings. It’s n eerie feeling when you are offshore when that happens–actually being far offshore is safe because you rarely feel the effect of a tsunami in deep water.

What is the Jones Act?
Jones Act laws are what’s left of US job protectionism. We should protect the laws that protect US jobs. Without laws like these, we would lose our jobs to cheaper foreign labor. This doesn’t necessarily mean that foreigners are less safe. There are very professional foreign flag merchant mariners world wide, but most countries have the same protectionism which would prevent me from taking their work. The anti Jones Act drive predominantly rides along the lines of cruise ships which are just about all foreign flagged vessels. It is a complicated thing that gets distorted. It’s all about profit. Proponents of Jones Act laws are claim that in order to remain competitive…blah blah blah, we need to rescind these laws. They claim that since most of our products imported and exported are done so by ship, the cost of transporting these goods by US standards are hindered by the high cost of US labor. Relatively speaking, US seaman rates are higher than internationally, but in the big scheme of things our labor merely cuts into the higher profit margins that big companies would gain and do gain when they re-flag their fleets. APL (American President Lines) a company that benefited from Jones Act laws during WWI and WWII by giving them priority in carrying US goods to and from war zones have now shifted most of their assets into the foreign market. Most APL ships you see today fly foreign flags and carry foreign crews. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the end of the Jones Act in my lifetime. In the world of Costco and Walmart, its all about the cheapest goods. My job is expendable if a pair of jeans can be purchased for ten bucks.

How important is it to the economy to have a vibrant merchant fleet?
It is important to the economy to import and export goods. This has to be done by ship or barge. It is nice to buy “Made in the US”, but there is nothing wrong with buying foreign either as long as US manufacturers can compete fairly in the international market. US is restricted by environmental and labor laws that most foreign companies are not, making it very unfair for US manufactures to compete both in the domestic and overseas market. The US jobs that our merchant fleet create are in the hundreds of thousands I’m sure, but is a relatively small job creator in the big realm of things. Keeping a strong US merchant fleet provides good paying jobs to a whole bunch of people all around the country.

PERSONAL QUESTIONS; HE’S A MAN OF FEW WORDS, NOT LIKE ME!

At the time you met Princess Rosebud, did you ever think she was going to be your future wife?
Probably not at the time, I was a bit lost then, and now I’m not lost.

When will the next ChaCha purchase take place?
2028.

What do you love most about your lovely wife?
I love how she makes the most awesome homecomings that last for weeks on end and that she loves the simple things I bring home for her, like rocks and shells and stuff that washes ashore. She loves the other stuff too, but it’s not all about the nice things that I can’t always afford.

What’s your favorite movie?
Apollo 13,  Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan.

What’s your favorite food?
I love my wife’s cooking, her homemade granola, tuna melts, all of her desserts, that chocolate swirl bread, and buckwheat pancakes. I really like to eat.

What do you like to do when you come home?
It takes a while to catch up on sleep and adjust to a different schedule. I take a lot of naps for the first few days. I try to get back to the gym immediately. Of course, I’m sure you’ve read about all the surfing I do and now that I have a standup paddleboard–like Rosebud said, “no wave’s too small”, and that’s pretty much the truth. We like to hike and camp, too. What I really like to do is drive my princess around on her many daily errands from the grocery store to shopping excursions. It helps to bring me back to a normal life, as does the list of chores and projects around the house and yard.

boat_captain_fisherman_t_shirt-r3d30f65e60844ccda55bfb7dcd4b615a_804gs_512

SAILOR MERRY: Gay seaman won’t be charged for having ‘unnatural’ sex in cheating case (vancouverdesi.com)

I Said “Seaman”, NOT “Semen”. SHEESH. Grow Up, Would Ya?

Not this!sperm from etsy But THIS4780_CruiseShip+Captain

I thought it’d be fun and informative to conduct an interview of my seaMAN, my merchant mariner, my tugboat captain, my sometimes-he’s-here-sometimes-he’s not husband of nineteen years. What kind of man is the husband of Princess Rosebud? What’s it like being a merchant seaman? He didn’t always go out to sea for months at a time. We met in 1991 at a local boat company where he was the master captain of several vessels and I was in the marketing department, and he worked around our harbor for many years.

It was “annoy” at first sight…

I’ve written about our love story in “Just a cup of coffee” and “Just a cup of coffee, part two”  with many more chapters in draft form as the story unfolds.

As you’ll see, he’s pretty serious when discussing his career; otherwise he has a very dry sense of humor, not too snarky. He’s really a very good natured, even tempered guy. Like I always say, he’s the turtle to my rabbit.

On an enchanting side note, as I walked out of Trader Joe’s this morning, a homeless man told me I had a beautiful smile. Life is good, y’all. A compliment is a compliment. It was appreciated!

Let’s Play!
Twenty Questions for a Merchant Seaman

The interview of this mariner took place while he was home between assignments. He’s a professional mariner, an academy graduate, and has been in the tug and tow industry for a quarter of a century. He’s also captained 700 passenger vessels and worked in just about every aspect of the maritime industry (except fishing).

Thank you to TheFurFiles, tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily, ibdesignsusa and  Yvonne La Brecque Deane for playing along and submitting questions.

Work-related questions:

Not his tug, just an example of the type of work he does.

Not his tug, just an example of the type of work he does.

What types of boats do you work on?
Mostly I work on vessels of limited tonnage-under 3000 tons. I’ve worked on numerous unlimited tonnage ships but currently am assigned to work boats and tugs.

Do you think it’s a good career for young people to pursue?
I think it’s is a good career, but it’s not for everyone. You have to be able to live for long periods of time in close quarters with others, and it’s difficult to be away from home.  It hasn’t been dramatically effected by the downturn in the economy.

Can you talk a little about the adjustment period from being home to being stuck on a boat 24/7 in cramped quarters.
The worst is right when you report aboard find your room, bed, etc. it takes a couple of days for the pain of being away dulls then you get into a routine of standing watch and life aboard ship and your new shipmates then things settle down and its not that bad.

What do you eat while you’re out to sea?
I’m a vegetarian which makes it a bit challenging. I eat a lot of brown rice and lentils and vegetables; sometimes seafood. We stock up on high quality foods unless we’re away from port for extended periods of time, then most of the food has to come out of the freezer.

Does everyone cook his/her own food?
Most boats I’m on have a cook on board. Every once in a while I’ll bake for the crew and email Rosebud for a recipe and a coaching session–I’ve made apple pies and brownies and banana bread. She’s a great instructor.

What do you do out to sea when you’re not working?
I work out, do my knot tying, read, watch videos, listen to music, and play my ukelele.

I know that you were involved in Desert Storm. Can you talk about what role you played?
Yes, it wasn’t much but the ship I was on was prepared to support the war effort. We were loaded up with military equipment some of the exploding type but were redirected when the bombing stopped and did not reach the Gulf.

What do you do nowadays in times of conflict?
Even if we are not directly involved with the support effort, our service is important. Keeping our credentials current gives the US a support force that can be called during times of war. This has happened throughout US history.

What do you do with a dead body?
We follow the orders of the medical adviser.

What do you do if you need to restrain a crew member because of a mental break or a crime?
Restrict them to their room, or lock them in if necessary. Otherwise restrain them somehow. ZipTies work without hand cuffs until the next port of call.

How far is too far for the United States Coast Guard to make a medical rescue?
I think about 1000 miles.

Have you encountered pirates?
Not directly,  but I ‘ve been in dangerous waters where there was an elevated risk.

What’s the smallest craft you’ve encountered on the high seas?
An ocean going row boat.

What is the biggest drama that’s taken place while on duty?
Usually it has to do with unruly crew members causing trouble with other crew members or while ashore; getting into fights etc.

Have you ever been near a tsunami?
I haven’t experienced a tsunami, but have been offshore enough times during tsunami warnings. It’s n eerie feeling when you are offshore when that happens–actually being far offshore is safe because you rarely feel the effect of a tsunami in deep water.

What is the Jones Act?
Jones Act laws are what’s left of US job protectionism. We should protect the laws that protect US jobs. Without laws like these, we would lose our jobs to cheaper foreign labor. This doesn’t necessarily mean that foreigners are less safe. There are very professional foreign flag merchant mariners world wide, but most countries have the same protectionism which would prevent me from taking their work. The anti Jones Act drive predominantly rides along the lines of cruise ships which are just about all foreign flagged vessels. It is a complicated thing that gets distorted. It’s all about profit. Proponents of Jones Act laws are claim that in order to remain competitive…blah blah blah, we need to rescind these laws. They claim that since most of our products imported and exported are done so by ship, the cost of transporting these goods by US standards are hindered by the high cost of US labor. Relatively speaking, US seaman rates are higher than internationally, but in the big scheme of things our labor merely cuts into the higher profit margins that big companies would gain and do gain when they re-flag their fleets. APL (American President Lines) a company that benefited from Jones Act laws during WWI and WWII by giving them priority in carrying US goods to and from war zones have now shifted most of their assets into the foreign market. Most APL ships you see today fly foreign flags and carry foreign crews. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the end of the Jones Act in my lifetime. In the world of Costco and Walmart, its all about the cheapest goods. My job is expendable if a pair of jeans can be purchased for ten bucks.

How important is it to the economy to have a vibrant merchant fleet?
It is important to the economy to import and export goods. This has to be done by ship or barge. It is nice to buy “Made in the US”, but there is nothing wrong with buying foreign either as long as US manufacturers can compete fairly in the international market. US is restricted by environmental and labor laws that most foreign companies are not, making it very unfair for US manufactures to compete both in the domestic and overseas market. The US jobs that our merchant fleet create are in the hundreds of thousands I’m sure, but is a relatively small job creator in the big realm of things. Keeping a strong US merchant fleet provides good paying jobs to a whole bunch of people all around the country.

Personal questions; he’s a man of few words, not like me!

At the time you met Princess Rosebud, did you ever think she was going to be your future wife?
Probably not at the time, I was a bit lost then, and now I’m not lost.

When will the next ChaCha purchase take place?
2028.

What do you love most about your lovely wife?
I love how she makes the most awesome homecomings that last for weeks on end and that she loves the simple things I bring home for her, like rocks and shells and stuff that washes ashore. She loves the other stuff too, but it’s not all about the nice things that I can’t always afford.

What’s your favorite movie?
Apollo 13,  Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan.

What’s your favorite food?
I love my wife’s cooking, her homemade granola, tuna melts, all of her desserts, that chocolate swirl bread, and buckwheat pancakes. I really like to eat.

What do you like to do when you come home?
It takes a while to catch up on sleep and adjust to a different schedule. I take a lot of naps for the first few days. I try to get back to the gym immediately. Of course, I’m sure you’ve read about all the surfing I do and now that I have a standup paddleboard–like Rosebud said, “no wave’s too small”, and that’s pretty much the truth. We like to hike and camp, too. What I really like to do is drive my princess around on her many daily errands from the grocery store to shopping excursions. It helps to bring me back to a normal life, as does the list of chores and projects around the house and yard.

boat_captain_fisherman_t_shirt-r3d30f65e60844ccda55bfb7dcd4b615a_804gs_512

SAILOR MERRY: Gay seaman won’t be charged for having ‘unnatural’ sex in cheating case (vancouverdesi.com)

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.

 

The secret of a successful marriage

What is marriage all about? Based upon my personal research, experimentation, and analysis, I have the answers to your questions.

This is for all you young’uns who’re on the cusp of searching for a mate or for the older and hopefully wiser female who perhaps wants to dip a toe back into the dating pond.

Where’s Harry? A Wet Republic pool party in full swing

Do you want a life partner with whom to share your laughs, your tears, your bout with intestinal flu, your pillow and cat-laden bed, and to assist in the breeding of your offspring?

What’s the secret to my long lasting (twenty-two years together, nineteen married) relationship?

The secret is…COMPROMISE. 

Not really. I’m only messing with your head.

What works around here is torture and retaliation.

That’s it. Simple. Torture and retaliation.

It works like magic.

Case in point: My tugboat man goes out to sea for quite a while-usually two months or so at at time. When he returns, all he can think about (other than THAT) is surfing. Yes, he’s a big old surfer baby. Right now there are big winter waves pounding our coast.

sufingdragger-san-diego

This is not my captain because he’s not a dick dragger. That is NOT my term. I didn’t think of it but I wish I had. It’s what the young folks call a boogie boarder. Very descriptive, right? Think about it…

dog_surfing_01

This isn’t him, either. He’s not that cute but thank goodness, he’s less hairy.

sunset_cliffs_05

This isn’t him either, but this is how big the waves were at Sunset Cliffs.

A couple days ago he left at 5:30 a.m. to surf in La Jolla. In case you’re a surfer yourself, waves were mostly six feet with an occasional eight foot set. I was just about on my last nerve with this surf obsesh, so I blocked the driveway with sawhorses and trash cans so he couldn’t pull in the driveway.  Hee hee.sawhorse2C11TrashCanOld.jpg2F5B174A-5A60-43AB-8E0F6CCF2434E2ED.jpgLargerHe had to get out of his truck, move the obstacles, and then pull in.

After that, I used my wiles to torture him into building four more shelves for my lovely collection of shells and rocks.

And that brings us to today. Sunday. I guess the honeymoon’s over.

I was out in the garage chatting up the hubs about tonight’s dinner menu: freshly baked French bread, Caesar salad with my signature dressing, and thought I’d make some Frico at the same time that I make the croutons. I asked him:

“Have you ever had Frico? Do you know what it is?”

“Yeah, I know what a Frico is, I’m married to one.”

How RUDE. HOW RUDE!

This is Frico, I am not Frico.

This is Frico, I am not Frico.

I was being the  best wife ever; I brought him lunch on  a tray while he was working on restoring his rowboat and building yet another shelf (I love shelves, OK?) and THIS is the attitude I have to deal with!? After I brought him a wheatgrass smoothie, fresh pear cut in half and filled with nonfat cottage cheese dusted with cinnamon–blueberry-smiley-face-berries-pixmac-photo-75642785and to make it extra-special, a smiley face out of fresh blueberries–he retaliates with a comment like that? Oh, he’ll pay all right, oh yes he will. We’ll see who’s FREAKY when he takes me to South Coast Plaza tomorrow. We’ll test the limits of his stamina and endurance throughout the huge shopping center. We’ll whet our whistle at one end with Bloomingdales as we march determinedly toward my personal holy grail, (do you hear the trumpets sounding?) as we round the corner to….Chanel–Chanel, the holder of my bliss.

Torture and retaliation-the stuff of which great marriages are made.

Frico, not Freako

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Using largest holes on a 4-sided grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner. Stir together cheese, flour, and pepper. Arrange tablespoons of cheese 4 inches apart on liner, stirring cheese in bowl between tablespoons to keep flour evenly distributed. Flatten each mound slightly with a metal spatula to form a 3-inch round.Bake frico in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on sheet on a rack, then carefully transfer each crisp (they are very delicate) with metal spatula to rack to cool completely.

Meow

Finishing up three or four posts that aren’t cooperating. They’re not funny enough, they have no point, no denouement, no zing–nada. Instead of a rational thought process, I’ll offer up a scattered smorgasbord of tasty appetizers instead of a whole meal.

Remember these cats?

bandit in a boxOur Bandit used to talk to us that way. After a while, I started answering her back. She’d say, “Meow“, I’d respond, “Meow”. She’d stroll into the kitchen and greet me with a head nod and a brief “Mew”. I’d imitate her head nod and answer her. She tried so hard to communicate with us! If we didn’t go to bed at the same time every night–if we stayed up a bit longer than usual–Bandit marched into the family room with an outraged sense of purpose-maintain eye contact–and kind of growly-meow, walk a few steps toward the bedroom, and then walk back to us. If we didn’t follow her, she’d leave in a huff and wait on the bed and if we didn’t move quick enough, one swipe of her her paw let us know she was pissed. She had the sharpest claws. They spoke volumes.

One day, the captain said something to me and I didn’t hear him. Instead of saying, “What did you say?” I said, “Meow?” He seemed to understand what I meant because he repeated himself. That one meow led to complete conversations in cat language. Angry meows, grunting meows, questioning meows, and mews in agreement. We just have to remember not to do it when anyone else is around. I’m not sure many people would understand. Meow?

We worked out at the gym this morning. Before we left, I asked the hubs to take a couple pictures of me. See the hairband with sparkles and the Hello Kitty slippers? Starfish?

me2 Pictures of me

Late this afternoon I heard a hawk in the eucalyptus tree across the street. It let me get really close for these pics! The colors were magnificent. I wish I took better photos.
hawk2 Hawk in tree
Chocolate cake was requested by my tugboat man; I whipped up an easy one bowl version. It was sooo good! It’s lowfat but really moist. The recipe is below.
choccloseup chocolate cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
from Better Homes and Gardens

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk ( I use half non-fat milk and half cold coffee)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • egg
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×1-1/2-inch round or 8x8x2-inch baking pan.2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

    3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Spread with glaze.

Chocolate Glaze
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1  cup confectioners sugar
3 tbsp. water or coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens; do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, gradually add confectioners sugar; beat with wire whisk until smooth.

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!

Seashell insanity–Episode #452

Well…my tugboat man spent pretty much the entire day surfing. He came home at 2:00 p.m and said he had been trying to catch a wave in to shore for over an hour or he would have been back sooner. RIGHT.

Does he think I just fell off the turnip truck? Do I look stupid? I know that trick–the old “I couldn’t get in so I just had to stay surfing until the sun went down and the tide changed” lie.

I was so mad at him for abandoning me that I had to devise a painful retaliation to convey my displeasure. I decided that we were going to go walking in our little village of Carlsbad and go in and out of EVERY shop. That is absolute torture for my hubs, which meant it was perfect. And since I’ve gotten my Chanel, she hasn’t really had a good outing and begged to come along and see and be seen by all the tourists and locals in our little town.

We went to every single store including one where I bought some beautiful seashells, ‘cos, you know, I just don’t have enough seashells. I made him go into antique stores, sandal shops, shoe stores, clothing stores–up and down State Street and Grand Avenue without a moment to rest. When I felt he had been punished sufficiently, we went home and he installed a shelf that he made for my new shells and my seashell box we created together.

There’s more surf tomorrow, so I’ll be thinking of more ways to make his life miserable.

shelf1shelf2

 

 

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?