Gallimaufry. What’s That? Today’s Confused Hodgepodge.

Gal·li·mau·fry  [gal-uh-maw-free]
…a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.

That’s today’s title and a great descriptor…a little bit of everything ‘cos, well, just because.
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Update on my son...

Staples removed (20+ of them!!) thanks to my good friend’s doctor hub whom we’ve known since our boys were in first grade and we used to go to aerobics classes together…he’s a topnotch internist at North County Internal Medicine.

A while back they added something special to his practice, NCIM Aesthetics — specializing in state-of-the-art laser skin laser technology PLUS my personal favorites: Botox, Juvederm, and Radiesse. Give ‘em a call @ 760-726-2302 or email NCIMaesthetics@gmail.com

So far, the only hitch in Angel Boy’s recovery was a by-product of taking Augmentin for an infection he got in the hospital…another really awful stomach bacteria called c. difficile, but with a switch to Flagyl and some high quality probiotics, his fever and the infection disappeared. He’s finishing up his recovery in SF with DIL. Alll he needs to do now is build up his strength and gain back the nearly twenty pounds he lost over the last month.

Me (‘cos it’s always about me, right? I mean, even when it doesn’t seem to be all about me, it’s really ALL ABOUT ME.)

Suffering from writer’s block again, so I’m watching back to back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, Real Housewives of Orange County (or New York), and Sherlock —  all very successfully helping me NOT create a post — or writing — of any value. There’s no real writing inspiration, just escapism.

Honestly, I don’t know who I’m crushing on more: Randy Fenoli from SYTTD (I’d kill for his eyebrows) or Benedict Cumberbatch as the ultimate Sherlock. I love them both! But not nearly as much as I’m lady boning for Richard Roxburgh as criminal lawyer Cleaver Greene in Rake, (the original Aussie one), not the US version, on Netflix.

Watching SYTTD and Housewives is something I can ONLY do when my tugboat man is out to sea; it’s one of those pesky non-negotiables when he’s home.

He literally REFUSES — says, “Im outta here” as he leaves the room, so I save them as my guilty pleasures when he’s thousands of miles away.

A successful marriage is all about compromises, right? Do I want to have a fight about a stupid TV show? Nope, not this Princess.

With my very empty nest, it was time to put on my comfortable shoes and flex my weakened shopping muscles. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent the day as a little retail butterfly, flitting from one store to the next, checking out the offerings and laying down the “plastique”; I’m a bit rusty and needed a warm-up before attempting one of the big malls or my own personal mecca, South Coast Plaza.

After a great hour-long boot camp class at 24 Hour Fitness, I checked my watch, 10:00 a.m. and I was off! First to Target for essentials, then Trader Joe’s and a vacuum store for a new powerhead belt, on to Marshalls to test my shoe-spotting and ability to browse both-sides-of-the-aisle-at-the-same-time skills.

After the one hour mark, I was a bit tired and thirsty so I stopped to eat an apple and grab a bottle of water — it’s imperative to stay well-hydrated and nourished whilst shopping.

Revived, I meandered downtown to get my glasses adjusted and stopped at my favorite consignment shop where I’ve previously discovered Valentino and Missoni treasures –not so lucky on this day, but I didn’t leave empty handed; there was a sweet and comfy chartreuse bathing suit coverup  that called out to me.

This practice shopping excursion ended with a visit to Lowe’s for vegetable seeds, a pomegranate tree, and mesh to cover an apple tree that’s being eaten by nasty ground squirrels, presumably cousins of the elusive Spirit Squirrel™.
Click here to read all about it.

Still all about me, but on a serious note…

I was just diagnosed with vitreous detachment in my left eye which is sad because I thought the sparkles I was seeing was once-and-for-all proof positive of my Princess-ness.

However, I was wrong. Here’s the info from NIH (National Institutes of Health) in case you ever see sparkles and it’s not the optical or silent migraine type of lights.

It’s definitely NOT something to ignore…

What is vitreous detachment?
Most of the eye’s interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina, the eye’s light-sensitive tissue. As we age, the vitreous slowly shrinks, and these fine fibers pull on the retinal surface. Usually the fibers break, allowing the vitreous to separate and shrink from the retina.

In most cases, a vitreous detachment, also known as a posterior vitreous detachment, is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment.

Who is at risk for vitreous detachment?
A vitreous detachment is a common condition that usually affects people over age 50, and is very common after age 80. People who are nearsighted are also at increased risk. Those who have a vitreous detachment in one eye are likely to have one in the other, although it may not happen until years later.

Symptoms and Detection
As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina that you may notice as floaters, which appear as little “cobwebs” or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision. If you try to look at these shadows they appear to quickly dart out of the way.

One symptom of a vitreous detachment is a small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. This increase in floaters may be accompanied by flashes of light (lightning streaks) in your peripheral, or side, vision. In most cases, either you will not notice a vitreous detachment, or you will find it merely annoying because of the increase in floaters.

Treatment
How does vitreous detachment affect vision?

Although a vitreous detachment does not threaten sight, once in a while some of the vitreous fibers pull so hard on the retina that they create a macular hole or lead to a retinal detachment.

Both of these conditions are sight-threatening and should be treated immediately.

If left untreated, a macular hole or detached retina can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye. Those who experience a sudden increase in floaters or an increase in flashes of light in peripheral vision should have an eye care professional examine their eyes as soon as possible.

But enough of THAT stuff, right?

On that happy note, I’ll wrap up this Wednesday gallimaufry and try to focus on a submission for Erma Bombeck Workshop all because I opened my big mouth on Twitter and kinda sorta got dared to do it. SCARED! Wish me luck, y’all!

ermabombeck

 

 

Best JewMom Film: A Review of “Guilt Trip”

Since it’s almost Purim and Passover, this is the PERFECT time for a little JewMom guilt, dontcha think?

First of all, don’t go all hinky on me; I maintain the right to use the term “JewMom” not only affectionately, but proudly, respectfully, and accurately, because I AM a JewMom. Probably the JewMommiest Mommy of them all, to be totes honest with y’all.

ince it’s almost Purim and Passover, this is the PERFECT time for a little JewMom guilt, dontcha think?

I CONFESS (this IS Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife and I DO confess transgressions and deep dark secrets every once in a while just to keep me honest and to keep you guys on your toes)

So, I CONFESS that I saw “Guilt Trip” three times in the last two weeks. CRZY. Cray. Beyond cray.

Why, you ask? Netflix stuck? TV broke? Dementia? (That description is from my snarky son, Angel Boy, I mean DOCTOR Angel Boy.)

Here’s how it happened. I was baking up a storm, a marathon baking sesh ‘cos my son, DIL, AND tugboat man were all arriving at Casa de Enchanted Seashells virtually within hours of each other, which meant that I had one train station pickup and two airport pickups back to back to back.

While the Ginger + Ginger Cake was in the oven and chocolate chip cookies were cooling on a rack, I poured myself a glass of chard and searched through Netflix for something funny with which to entertain myself while i allowed myself a relaxing moment or two.

On Netflix “Guilt Trip” came up a few times in New Releases and Newly Added and Suggestions for me, but I kept looking for something else, cos the thumbnail pic of Seth Rogan and Barbra Streisand didn’t really call out to me – film marketing companies need to work on their thumbnails! — but then nothing else did either, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m so glad I did ‘cos it was an unexpected and sweetly funny surprise. Rogan and Streisand have a great chemistry together; natural, easygoing, playing off each other effortlessly. Road trip films are a tried and true formula; moms and sons is a savory twist to the genre.

I love movies that aren’t full of gratuitous violence, gratuitous sex/nudity, and have happy endings. If you’re like me, you’ll like “Guilt Trip”.

A SHORT SYNOPSIS: As UCLA organic chemist grad and  inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime to sell his product, a quick stop at his mom’s house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride.

BEST MOM QUOTE EVER: “If all the little boys in the world were lined up, and I had to just pick only one, I’d choose you… every time.” (Streisand to Rogan)

Every mother and her adult son SHOULD see this film together, whether you’re a Jewish mom like me or not. They are, after all, always our baby boys, no matter their age. Like I tell my son, there are worse things to endure in this world than having a mother who loves him as much as I do.

It is SO funny. I saw a lot of myself in it — the zillion phone calls, screaming out his name at the airport, the son going to school 3,000 miles away from home (we don’t even want to GO THERE) — Angel Boy and I haven’t gone on a road trip together, but it might look pretty much exactly like this one if we did, except for me winning a steak eating contest.

Actually, we did something similar when I flew to Goettingen, Germany to visit him for his junior year abroad at the University of Goettingen when he was at UCSD. We spent a week together traveling around Germany. I had an amazing time, even though we got stuck in a blizzard, and even if I was prolly a bit annoying. OK, maybe a LOT annoying, but still, to spend time like that with my Angel Boy was priceless. Spending the night at the airport in Frankfurt is still something that makes us laugh.

Aside: In the film, there’s a LOT of blatant product placement from Kmart to Costco to QVC, but it wasn’t too distracting and i had to admire the chutzpah.

The second viewing was with Angel Boy and DIL. I think DIL probably enjoyed it more than my son; he cringed a bit during some of the scenes of Rogan with Streisand that we thought were HILARIOUS. I think it all hit a bit too close to home at certain moments, LOL. And yes, I too have purchased underwear for my adult son. I confess…

DIL thought that UCLA as Rogan character’s school and the UCLA sweatshirt was “art mimicking life” and perhaps a SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE because Angel Boy recently interviewed for a teaching job there (fingers crossed!) and because all I wear are t-shirts and sweatshirts from the universities my son has attended. Right now I’m sporting  a “Someone at Yale loves me” t-shirt under a “Yale Mom” sweatshirt. I am SUCH a cliche, I know, I know.

And i’m drinking out of a Yale/Hello Kitty water bottle. Pathetic, right? I know.

The third viewing was with my tugboat man and I know he liked it mainly ‘cos he didn’t fall asleep once, ha ha!

I hope I’ve “guilt tripped” you into seeing it, too, and I hope you like it as much as we did.

I totes recommend “Guilt Trip” (2012)
I give it 5 Louboutins out of 5
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Book Review: “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”

hedgehog-erinaceus-europaeus-tiny{Spoiler alert if you haven’t read the book yet. Save this post for another time so you can share your thoughts with me.}

I read it. Twice. I read it all the way through really fast like I do and then I read it again to allow the flavor of certain phrases and thoughts to mellow and grow.

I loved it. I hated it.

The ending didn’t change the second time I read it, and for that I am really, really upset! The last scene is forever indelibly etched in my brain.

I was rooting for both of the major characters. I wanted Paloma to find her power as an intelligent and witty young girl and want to live, and I urged Renee to realize how brilliant she was and how she deserved love, and that even in our fifties, we can feel special.

What I didn’t expect was the end. I never saw it coming, just like Renee never saw the drycleaner’s van before it hit her. And that’s it. No hospital, no recovery, no happy conclusion with all the loose ends tied up in a pretty pink polka dot bow. I like my stories delivered to me with happily ever afters. I don’t like to fall in love with a character who feels like a real person and then have her torn away from me!

Paloma contemplated suicide, but will blossom like the camellias Renee grew. Renee died the moment she found a reason to live.

It was released as a film, “The Hedgehog” in 2011. It’s on Netflix and I’ll watch it tomorrow, ‘cos tonight’s “Downton Abbey“. It’s not like I don’t know how it ENDS!

FINAL THOUGHTS: I loved it. I hated it. It was totally worth reading. Twice.
What did YOU think?

Parts of the following synopsis is partly from The New York Times By CARYN JAMES and is partly by me.

By Muriel Barbery and translated by Alison Anderson, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” was a best seller in France and several other countries. The novel’s two narrators alternate chapters, but the book is dominated by Renée, a widowed concierge in her 50s who calls herself “short, ugly and plump,” a self-consciously stereotypical working-class nobody. She is also an autodidact — “a permanent traitor to my archetype,” as she drolly puts it — who takes refuge in aesthetics and ideas but thinks life will be easier if she never lets her knowledge show.

Her unlikely counterpart is Paloma, a precocious 12-year-old whose family lives in the fashionable building Renée cares for. Paloma believes the world is so meaningless that she plans to commit suicide when she turns 13.

Renée’s story is addressed to no one, while Paloma’s takes the form of a notebook crammed with what she labels “profound thoughts.” Both create eloquent little essays on time, beauty and the meaning of life, Renée with erudition and Paloma with adolescent brio.

Both skewer the class-conscious people in the building: Paloma observes the inanity of her parents and her sister while Renée knows that such supposedly bright lights never see past the net shopping bag she carries, its epicurean food hidden beneath turnips. Both appreciate beauty. What Renée calls “a suspension of time that is the sign of a great illumination,” Paloma experiences while watching a rosebud fall.

The sharp-eyed Paloma guesses that Renée has “the same simple refinement as the hedgehog,” quills on the outside but “fiercely solitary — and terribly elegant” within.  The lives of both characters perk up when the rich, mysterious, charmingly attentive Mr. Ozu moves into the building. Not only does he completely renovate his apartment, he does virtually the same to Renee, bringing her new clothes, a new friendship, and a raison d’etre.

Bad language, the Titanic, and seashells

Sunday night; it’s been a crazy weekend. DIL and her sister (I call her sister wife but my son says it’s inappropriate –throwing my word back at me–and she’s his wife’s sister) drove down from San Francisco via LA for the day. They got here yesterday about 10:30 a.m. I had  breakfast burritos ready to go. Bio-dad (my son’s dad) was here and we all ate on the deck and then it was time to go through the entire house like I’m Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Macy’s all rolled into one. They needed bed linens, towels, blankets, comforters, shelving, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and for some reason, all the chick lit books I’ve read over the past three months. Sister wife took a dolphin lamp the neighbors were gonna put in the trash but I rescued. A walk around the yard yielded several potted plants that would adorn their rental in SF. The price was right–of course, even things that are free usually have strings attached,  but in this case, we were just glad to help them out. Here’s the scenario: DIL moved to SF. Her husband, my son, still lives in New Haven and teaches at Yale. We all have our fingers crossed that he gets a job in NorCal soon. In spite of the obstacles, they’re doing a great job of making this long distance thing work.

After ransacking our house, we went for a walk on the seawall in Carlsbad (bio-dad built it in 1987) and stopped for an early sushi dinner at Mikkos. (Bio-dad went home after breakfast. We’re friendly, but not THAT friendly.)  The captain checked over DIL’s car to make sure it was in good working order and they were back on the road at 4:30 p.m.

My reward for all this was a whole slew of new slang for UK SPK Part Two, which will be coming along later in the week. Sister wife is a treasure trove of great speak!

Last night we watched The Artist on Netflix. Are we the last people in the US to see this awesome film? Start to finish, it was fantastic. The acting was so incredible we forgot it was a silent film.

Sunday
Today the captain and I went to the famous Carlsbad Street Fair. We parked at the beach and walked down to the village. It all started a bit aggressively as we crossed Carlsbad Blvd. in the proper crosswalk. One lane of cars stopped for us, but in another lane a car sped by and almost ran us down when we were most vulnerable in the middle of the street. Captain says, “Slow down, buddy” I yell, “Slow down, asshole!” Idiot driver says, “Fuck you!” I yell, “Fuck you, too!” and all the other cars are honking at him–‘cos he’s an idiot and he almost killed us. Good times in Carlsbad. Here’s me safely on the other side of the street enjoying a nice stretch. Not having a good hair day but the hat covers the worst of it.

The first thing we saw at the fair was a slide replica of the Titanic. Come on, people. In what universe could it be considered “fun” to imitate the gruesome tragedy of  1500 or so deaths by recreating the event in an activity for kids.

This is a pretty gruesome if you think about it.

I was on the lookout for  the booths that carry seashells. Yeah, I admit I’m a bit obsessed about  the whole seashell thing, but it’s a relatively innocent obsession, so I don’t feel too bad about it. We saw one booth and I stopped to take a pic before I picked out the ones I wanted but the owner stuck her hand in front of my camera like I”m a papparazi or something and said, “No pictures” so I called her a bitch and left without purchasing any seashells.  (We actually exchanged a bit more words than that and included someone calling someone the “c” word.) She’s lucky she still has both of her hands. Captain was very supportive (maybe even scared of me a bit, as I’m only five feet tall but kind of freaky crazy sometimes when stupid people act stupid for stupid reasons.) I was only planning to give her biz a shout out but since she was irrational, I won’t post the pic which I got in spite of her ugly hand block. We found another purveyor of seashells and I scored the motherlode. I got so many starfish and unusual shells it wiped away the other bad experience. 

We walked up and down every bit of the fair until we were beyond exhausted. I figured we had walked enough to deserve some junk food. We had delicious veggie spring rolls and even a funnel cake, but only a very small one. The two mile walk back to the car probably burned off a few more calories.