Just a Cup of Coffee – Part Two

Just a Cup of Coffee…the true love story of Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man.

Click to read Part One HERE

(This might take a while, grab your hankies, it could have been broken up into three parts, but I didn’t want to prolong the happy ending.)

Fast forward to a year later, the following September 1991.

Yes, I kept my promise; no dates and no mistakes. There was the excruciating lure of nubile and suntanned young surfers but I stood firm in my resolve in spite of the half naked, salty-skinned–oh crap. Living in Southern California is sooo like opening up a fresh box of candy. It wasn’t fair, but a deal’s a deal.

box of chocolatesIf only I could have had just a teensy-weensy bite here, a bite there–oh, SO yummy–that one has a caramel center, or that other one’s coconut-filled, or a tart juicy cherry embraced by dark chocolate, or full of Baileys Irish Creamer–you get what I’m sayin’?  I’ll just bet you do. On my towel, surveying the beach, I wanted to take a little bite out of each one, so to speak.

But….I had to go cold turkey and avoid them all. Not one lick, not one taste.

I had a goal, I had a vision; I had my list–clenched tightly in my hand–WILLPOWER–it’s all about the willpower.

Here’s where serendipity might have had a hand in the convergence of our lifepaths.

In the beginning, I THOUGHT I first laid eyes on the captain when I was hired for the marketing department of a local cruise line.

Aside…because the whole idea of me and boats is a joke. I’m not what you’d consider sea-worthy. I’d only been on a couple of boats previously and became violently seasick on both of those trips.

OK, now read this – could it be the hand of fate that brought us together? Was our eventual connection forged a decade before ?
_________________________________________________

Was it luck or serendipity? 

On a romantic evening In front of the fire with a couple snifters of Courvoisier, my tugboat man and I concluded that our paths did cross, not in a prior life, but…

In the 1980s he captained a charter vessel in our local harbor–tours of the bay, dinner cruises; that kind of thing.  

In between going out to sea for four to six months, he’d come back to SoCal for a break and to surf-and worked locally.

Around that same time, my mom and I took my then five-year-old son on his first boat ride, a tour of San Diego Bay.

At that time, there was really only one boat company that offered daily excursions.

It wasn’t until we had been married for probably ten years or so– looking through an old photo album–when he saw a pic of my mom and me on “his” boat — that the subject came up.

(That’s part of me and the Coronado Bridge. Obviously, my mom couldn’t take a decent pic.)

Since there were only two captains, and the time of day we were there was during his (remembered) shift, it’s highly possible that we spoke–or made eye contact. As captain, he always greets and counts the passengers while he collects boarding passes; especially because we had a child with us. Always concerned with safety, my captain.

Our ships DID, most likely, PASS in the night (day).  

What would have happened if we had talked? I was married with a little boy–the timing was absolutely not right.  

Did we each hold on to a momentary glance or imprint on our subconscious so that our path to romance was pre-determined? 

Why did I become employed at a cruise line when I don’t even like boats?

I still have no idea.

That we met in 1991 and felt an instant connection might be interpreted as luck or serendipity. 

Which do you think it is?
_______________________________________________________________

Back to the story:  Was it merely coincidence–meaninglessly simultaneous occurance–or  synchronicity?  We agree that it was meant to be. We’re two peas in a pod, me and him.

We mirror each other.

One of my first marketing duties was to attend a downtown trade show. I vividly recall my ensemble–and before you get all judge-y and everything, let’s take the year into consideration–1991–please be kind.

You know you looked exactly the same.

You KNOW you did.

I wore a short split skirt (dare I say skort) of silky polyester-type material (I know, I know) imprinted with brightly colored parrots (cringe), a turquoise blazer, and four-inch-high red heels. Oh, and they were LARGE parrots.  I’m five-feet-tall with very curly dark brown hair. You can imagine the style when I tell you it added five inches to my height. Nuff said–stop laughing, I have nothing to apologize for; it was the decade of big hair.

The owner of the company walked by our booth and introduced me to his senior captain. I played it cool; I’m good at that–just a quick handshake and then I turned my attention to the marketing materials like I was very, very busy.

I only allowed myself a passing glance his way, committed as I was to making a good impression on my boss. Plus, I was fully dedicated to my promise to celibacy and just because he was ADORABLE was no excuse to give in to temptation. Not even with those green-gray eyes. Not even.

Since I was on a “man diet, I transformed him (in my mind) into a rich chocolaty truffle chocolate truffleand successfully used my powers to resist–at least on that particular day. During the next few weeks, our paths crossed many times; at the office with brief hellos in the hallway, and with overt scrutiny during cruises when I accompanied some of the charters. (When I wasn’t stuck with my head in the toilet. I told you the truth, I’m not a natural seawoman.)

As much as I tried to deny it–I can’t lie–there were those familiar little tingles, goose bumps even, delicious frissons of attraction. On one hand I was fighting it with all I had, yet on the other hand I spent more time in the office than I really needed to.  A little extra makeup, perfume, a few new outfits–you know how it is. OK OK, I admit it! A smile from him did something to my insides, that fluttery butterfly sensation I willed myself to ignore.

I carried The List in my handbag and referred to it in moments of weakness, and for a while I was able to avoid temptation.

Here comes the good part, y’all.

In mid-November, I met with a client at one of the boats to plan a large corporate event. As we walked up the gangway, I discovered the captain was on board in the wheelhouse. I had no idea he would be there, and resolved to ignore him, except that everyone always wants to meet a captain, (too much Love Boat) so I was forced to be polite and make the introductions.

Here’s where it all went wrong-or right-depending on your point of view.

After my meeting ended, I did not immediately leave. I stalled, meandering around the small area of shops located near the harbor. I was so mad at ME; I tried to talk myself into leaving by going over The List and telling myself that I should be writing up the event details.

Just GO, I said to myself! But guess who didn’t listen? I found myself furtively looking around to see if the captain was still there. Since the whole chocolate visualization thing didn’t seem to be working anymore, I turned him into as a gooey, cheesy, spicy pizza and I used all my willpower to stand firm–to stay focused–recounting all the reasons why that delicious piece of heaven is not worth the calories.

I swear to you, I had every good intention of leaving and driving to the corporate office, I really did, but cosmic forces had grabbed hold of my good sense.

I was powerless. The hand of fate had me in her grip–and that chicka had been working out with the heavy weights.

Finally, I could find no further excuse to drag my feet and delay the inevitable departure.

I very reluctantly and slowly walked to my car, parked in front of a coffee shop, and as if by magic, the captain appeared.

I was trying to act all cool and nonchalant in spite of the fact that my heart was racing.

“Where are you going? Why didn’t you say goodbye? “What’s up?” “How about buying a co-worker a cup of coffee?”

I demurred, saying I had to go, I had another appointment (not true); uh, I don’t buy guys coffee, and he kept badgering me,

“C’mon, don’t be stuck up, don’t you have fifty cents for a cup of coffee?”

(That was before six-dollar lattes and Starbucks on every corner.)

“You don’t want me to think you’re a snob, do you?”

[pause]

That did it.

Of course you understand why I wouldn’t want him to think any of those things, right? RIGHT? It was a matter of pride; once he turned on his charm, I was hooked. I unearthed a few quarters from the bottom of my handbag.

Yes, I bought the coffee. It’s something I can’t believe myself.

My other credo had always been, “Princesses don’t pay. Men pay.” But buy the coffee I did.

Honestly, I was borderline pathetic. Not even borderline. I was hanging on to the cliff with my fingertips.

It’s like sparks were flying off his body. I made every excuse in the book to lean over and oops, accidentally brush his arm and cop a sniff. He smelled heavenly.

It’s that damn pheromone thing. I was–still am-hopelessly–magically attracted. He’s irresistible. And he knows it.

We took our coffee outside and sat at a cement patio table. It was one of those perfect SoCal November days–balmy even. For a few moments we said nothing as we sipped from our coffee and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

Red lights flashed on and off in my head.

DANGER AHEAD! STOP THE MISSION! RUN!

Less than a foot away from me he straddled the half-moon shaped concrete bench. His thighs were encased in soft worn jeans and my thoughts were heading into hazardous waters.

His hair was wet and looked like he just had showered.

“What are you doing here? Did you know I was going to be here?”

“No, I didn’t, I had to update the logs, and I surfed a bit earlier.”

Ah, that’s where the wet hair came from.

“So…you’re a surfer?”

That is most definitely NOT on my list.

“I like to think I am.”

Scintillating conversation, huh? I thought that was a bit arrogant, a bit–AHEM–cocky.

Later I learned that he had spent much of his youth in Kauai and he really was/is a great surfer, but I didn’t know much about him — only what I was feeling.

As the conversation unfolded and we chatted–he told me where he lived and where he had gone to college, and–those thighs, oh wait–no, not that–of course I meant what kind of music he liked and that he loves animals–I found myself listening to his voice but not hearing the words.

This is where it gets weird.

And pinky-swear, it’s all true, it all happened exactly like this. It was REAL.

He looked at me and smiled.

I felt lit from within.

My heart melted. (Even now, his smiles affect me the same way.)

I sighed. He sighed. I sighed again.

That was IT.

Everything became quiet and a calm-before-the-storm sensation enveloped me. I placed my hands on the bench because I was suddenly lightheaded–I needed support because I felt like the ground beneath shifted;  waves that triggered that falling phenomenon just before you completely succumb to sleep–like a hypnagogic myoclonic twitch.

Faintly, I sensed the planets tumble into position, the clickclickclick… of stars aligning in the heavens; the sun, moon, Venus, and Mars at that moment were singing in the universe.

Did we just have an earthquake? I jumped off the bench like it was on fire. I ran to my car, unable to deal with the intensity of the moment. He was right behind me. He was so annoying!

“Where ya  goin’? We  should go out sometime.”

I was having a hard time breathing and fumbled with my keys as I unlocked the car. I leaned against the door for support and turned to him,

“When? Tonight?”

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not known for being subtle.

“I have to work a charter later, I’ll give you a call.”

And with that, I drove off.

Of course, I never went back to work. Who could blame me?

I raced home and power-called all my girlfriends.

I was in panic mode.

I reported every detail to one friend after another. I needed advice, I needed explanations. I needed to be talked down. But no one had experienced anything comparable. No one knew what to do.

I was on this voyage alone; no rules to follow. I was in uncharted waters.

That evening I did what we are warned not to do, what mothers counsel daughters against.

I was nervous and jumping out of my skin, but also determined to be 100% honest (also on my list). How else would I know if he was “the one”? I called and left a message on his voicemail. Remember way back when we used voicemail?

“Hi, can you give me a call when you hear this message? There’s something I need to ask you.”

He called a couple hours later. I was  on my bed, reading a magazine, pretending I was not waiting for the call…dreading the call.

“Hi there, it’s me. I got your message, but I was planning to call you anyway. What’s up?”

I took a deep breath and decided it was now or never–I needed to go for it…take that chance. DO it.

”Uhh, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what happened at the harbor…I never felt anything like that EVER, and I think… I think…”

I took a deep breath and the words tumbled out,

“IthinkIamfallinginlovewithyou
andwonderifyoufeelthesame
way–orifitisjustme.”

“I mean, I really need to know.”

[Pause]   [More pause]

Oh boy. In that single, painful, heartstopping moment I wished I could hit delete and erase the last five minutes.

Palms sweaty, heart pounding, OMG, I am a total f-ing idiot–what have I just said–I’m insane, he’ll think I’m a freak or I’m exhibiting psycho pre-stalker tendencies–and then, finally, it seemed like hours of silence had gone by–I was gonna hang up and hide under my bed if he didn’t say something–he said,

“Umm, no, it’s not just you. I’m feeling the same exact way. Something happened to me today too,  and I can’t explain it either.  How about us going on a real date and let’s talk about it?”

I released the breath I hadn’t been aware I was still holding. That last planet locked into position.

I discovered my soul mate, my tugboat man.

There’s lots more to this story; some twists and turns and ups and downs, but the thread that ties it all together is how we found each other and fell in love.

Today: I wait for him to come home. And wait. And wait. And remind myself, “Don’t count the miles, count the I-love-yous”

Christina Perri, “Miles”

What I Do is What I Do. A Day in the Life of an Empty Nester.

(With a very obscure tip of the hat to Solzhenitsyn.)

This isn’t typical of when my tugboat man’s here, and most definitely not the fabric of my waking hours when I was a SAHM; rather, this is an especially bland and Seinfeld-ish day. 
_____________________________________________________________________________

My day commences abruptly at 6:00 a.m.

Sleep to instant wakefulness at the hoarse, screaming kee-eeee-arr of a red-tailed hawk.

Over and over again. Ear-piercing screams.

I get up, find my glasses (I’m extremely myopic, can’t see a thing), locate hub’s extra binoculars, and discover two hawks in the eucalyptus tree. They’re sitting on the same branch and they’re facing each other, having an early morning conversation or a duet, probably courtship time.

6:15 a.m…Grind beans, Trader Joes‘s French Roast, make coffee, simultaneously grab the remote to turn on the news and pop open my laptop. News is depressing. Problems in Syria, fires in Yosemite, a SWAT standoff in La Mesa; time to turn it off. After checking to see if my tugboat man emailed me (he didn’t),  I turn to WordPress.  A few comments necessitate responses (not as many as I’d like), a few likes (not as many as I thought my brilliant post deserved), and then I switch over to Facebook. In the beginning of FB, or at least my experience with FB, it was all about connecting with new and old friends, sarcastic and funny observations, cats, dogs, mainly cute animal pics. Now it’s all about supporting “friends” in their sponsored posts, marketing and promoting for their sponsors. I don’t begrudge anyone who can generate income; it’s just that some blogs start to feel really corporate and inauthentic after they become “affiliates” or “brand ambassadors”. It’s a newer version of Tupperware or jewelry parties where you get all your friends to show up and buy your stuff.

Of course I’d love to monetize — I’ve even had one sponsored post — and I want my book to be published and make a truckload of money so that my tugboat man wouldn’t have to go out to sea anymore, but I don’t think I have the personality to push products or pull people to my site –which is funny ‘cos I have a background in public relations and marketing — but I’m more of a soft sell, not the jackhammer-type.

I’m more like “Hey, I’d love for you to come by if you have the time and no pressure or anything. No worries if you can’t, I understand.”

I check Twitter too, but it’s kinda lost its appeal for me at the moment.

7:00 a.m…Paid a couple of bills online; mortgage and credit card. Checked TMZ but it’s all Kardashian-this, Kardashian-that, and I’m sooo over it. I hear the squawk of our resident scrub jays, throw a few raw nuts on the deck and watch them eat.scrubjay

7:20 a.m….After a couple cups of black coffee (the only way I drink it),  I start to get ready for the gym, but first I make the bed and wash whatever dishes I didn’t do the previous evening. I don’t eat breakfast on a regular basis; sometimes I’ll have a little protein drink, or a couple bites of toast, but I don’t really like to eat in the morning, unlike hub, who’s up and chewing before his eyes are completely open.

7:35 a.m…Check email again. Yay, a brief message from hub. All the last minute work was completed on the tug, they’re underway and are offshore. Everything is going fine, which is good to hear. I write him back and tell him about my boring weekend without him; how I went for a six-mile walk to the beach and back, gardened, washed the windows, boring, boring, boring, oh, but I heard a coyote and an owl, so there’s that.

7:55 a.m…Get dressed; black workout pants, yellow Zella top. Brush teeth, use Clarisonic to wash my face, apply light makeup — just eyebrows, liner, lipstick, spray perfume –Chance by Chanel (of course). Fill a water bottle, grab an apple for after Boot Camp.

8:30 a.m…Publish the post I wrote the previous evening. I try to stay one or two days ahead.

8:35 a.m…Head out. Water a few plants near the front door; take the trash cans out to the street (something else I have to do when hub is gone).

8:45 a.m…The 24-Hour Fitness I go to is about three miles away, but up a huge and long incline or I’d ride my bicycle. Sometimes I get lucky and get all green lights; today was one of those days, yay!

10:10 a.m…Back in my car after a strenuous workout with a zillion tabatas to exhaustion. Squats, lunges, box jumps, weights, jumping jacks. I still can’t do any real weight bearing exercises, so no pushups yet or plank. If I wear my cast/brace, I can lift five pounds in my left hand while I lift ten with my right. Eat the apple, need nourishment for a little retail therapy hee hee. Oh NO! I almost forgot I had an 11:15 a.m. physical therapy appointment for my almost healed broken wrist. No time to shop now, darn. I’ll have to run home and shower.

11:00 a.m…Made a fast smoothie including yogurt, banana, chia seed, wheat grass, protein powder, and frozen loquats and mulberries from the garden. Showered, threw on a maxi dress, and out the door to Encinitas. Hope there’s no traffic or I’ll be late.

12:30 p.m…Where to go after PT? I drive up Encinitas Blvd. to El Camino Real and you know about Speed Dating? This is speed shopping. I stop at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Pier One Imports, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, White House, Black Market, and even H&M. This was more of a browsing mission. Nothing really caught my eye; nothing I couldn’t live without, so I came away empty. Plus, I’m out of water and thirsty. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow :)

3:00 p.m…Back home, and NOW I’m starving. Time for hummus with Ak-Mak crackers and a veggie wrap. (Lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, cucumber, raisins rolled up in a tortilla.) Plus ginger tea and a fat-free fig cookie.

3:30 p.m…Check email, WordPress, FB, Twitter. All pretty quiet. No new Miley Cyrus outrageous behavior. Best news of all, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is back. Yippee!

4:00 p.m…Work out in the garden since it’s cooled off a bit. Our summer garden was HORRIBLE this year. I’m not sure what caused it, but I pulled everything out and will allow it lay fallow for a bit. I’ll need hub to get more mushroom compost when he returns; in the meantime, I’ll work compost in. Mowed the lawns, front and back. Another job I must do while my tugboat man is away. Take the trash cans back from the street. Had a chat with a nice neighbor who keeps an eye on me while hub’s away.

5:30 p.m…Back in the house, checked email again; this time I discover a message from my tugboat man, letting me know that plans have changed and he won’t be making a port stop in San Diego after all, and he’ll call to explain when he gets in cell range. Oh DARN! I was really looking forward to seeing him, even for only a brief moment. I’m disappointed, but not overly so, things change all the time; I’m inured — accustomed –to fluid situations.
There’s always the possibility things will change back again; I’m a hopeful, glass half full kinda girl.

6:15 p.m…I got so dirty working outside I’ll need to take another shower and wash my hair this time which takes forever — curly hair needs a lot of love…

6:45 p.m…It’s no fun at all preparing and eating food for just me. One really is the loneliest number! I decide to make quinoa and add broccoli so it all cooks together. It’s ready in fifteen minutes, delicious with a dash of Mae Ploy, sweet red chili sauce.

7:30 p.m…Turn on Jeopardy and keep the TV on, mostly not watching it, while I write the next day’s blog and work on my book (yes, I too am writing a novel.)

9:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. – ish…Get ready for bed, slather my face with a few layers of anti-aging creams; Retin-A, glycolic acid, brush teeth, pop in my retainer, read for a bit, and fall asleep. Goodnight, y’all.

2:00 a.m…awakened by the plaintive voice of a coyote. It seems very close; just one lonely howl. As long as I’m awake, I might as well use the bathroom and I’m back to sleep in just a few minutes.

That’s my very empty nest day.

Wordless Wednesday — Moose Tracks — Don’t Murder Animals

Is it really Wednesday already? On my way to a Pilates class, here’s my contribution:

Moose Resting in Tall Grass in Grand Tetons.

moose

He didn’t move all day. He was about ten feet from the trail when we began our hike and four hours later, he was still there. We watched him for a while, admiring his rack (ha ha) and wondered how anyone could kill such a beautiful creature and mount the antlers on a wall for decoration. 

It hurt our heart and soul to think that if this lovely animal wandered off the protected lands of Grand Tetons National Park, he’d be slaughtered.

If I was anti-hunting before this trip, I have become (if possible) even more militantly against animal murder.

At the risk of offending anyone, I’d like to suggest that hunters have sociopathic tendencies. That opinion was derived from an animal rights group and it resonates with me. 

I guess this wasn’t so wordless after all.

Hiking in Julian with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Broken wrist notwithstanding, it was time for a back-to-nature adventure; this time a seven plus-mile, four-hour walk.

We drove up to our local mountain to the beautiful and historic town of Julian to hike the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, East End. The Cedar Fire in 2003 caused some damage that’s visible in a few burnt out trees, but most of it was spared.

Santa Ysabel East End Open Space PreserveTo get to the starting point from Julian, drive two miles north on Farmer Road to Wynola Road, jog briefly right, and turn left to remain on Farmer Road. Continue 1.2 miles north to the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve staging area on the left.

Start heading west, alongside the upper reaches of Santa Ysabel Creek, on the Kanaka Loop Trail. This part of the trail doubles as a segment of the unfinished Coast to Crest Trail, which will ultimately stretch all the way to the coast at Del Mar. It would be so cool to hike that one day.

Right away you’ll notice cattle — as in COWS — grazing on the grassy hillsides overlooking the creek. Another not-quite-natural occurrence is the appearance of large flocks of wild turkeys. The 20,000 or so turkeys now roaming the Julian-Cuyamaca area descended from an initial population of about 300 that hunting enthusiasts  animal murderers introduced in 1993.

I forgot my camera in the car, so here’s my embarassingly poor rendering of the cows and turkeys we saw.

Don't I draw like I'm five-years-old?

Artist: Princess Rosebud …Don’t I draw like I’m five-years-old? Obviously, both sides of my brain are not evolved equally.  It’s a good thing I don’t shop like I draw.

We saw sycamores, black oaks, and blackberry thickets. It’s a very active site for mountain lions – prints were everywhere along with a lot of coyote and mule deer scat.

The cows have an amazing playground; why they chose to sit in the middle of the trail along the entire route and either give us dirty looks or cause us to walk into the brush to get out of their way or in one case, CHASE US, I have no idea. They are VERY large and appear malevolent as if they know how big they are and were laughing with each other at my FEARFUL screams of “Go away, go away, shoo, shoo, get out of here, you stupid Cow!”

Geez, we don’t even eat meat, so they should have been extra nice to us, don’t you agree?

If I had my camera, I would have taken pics like this…

Kanaka Loop

Other people’s pics

It was a beautiful hike, not too strenuous for my still-healing broken wrist, and we decided to drive the few miles into Julian and walk around like tourists. Julian is an old mining town and is quaint and cute. We went into a one hundred year old soda shop and had a yummy sarsaparilla.

Now I have my camera again.

We gave this guy a few dollars for his animal rescue, ‘cos his little mini-pony was adorable. 

minipony

Carriage ride
Julian realty
Our fun day ended with a stop at a farm stand. Twenty-five avocados for $5.00. Yay! Guess who’s making guacamole?
avocados

Deja F***ing Vu — Hello and Goodbye

Welcome to my world…

smelltugGuess who’s leaving again? You win! Easy to figure this one out. Yup. Another captain got sick and had to be flown home, so the company just called my tugboat man and off he goes on Wednesday.

I don’t think that’s very funny; I hadn’t planned for this — he was supposed to be home for at least a month — however, since I’m a glass half full kinda gal, I found a couple of tugboat jokes and a poem to share.

I hope you get a chuckle out of the jokes, even if they are a bit lame.

Tug humor, gotta love it.

Tugboat Joke #1

Once upon a time there was a famous sea captain. This captain was very successful at what he did; for years he guided merchant ships all over the world. Never did stormy seas or pirates get the best of him. He was admired by his crew and fellow captains.

However, there was one thing different about this captain. Every morning he went through a strange ritual. He would lock himself in his quarters and open a small safe. In the safe was an envelope with a piece of paper inside. He would stare at
the paper for a minute,then lock it back up. Afterwards, he would go about his daily duties.

For years this went on, and his crew became very curious. Was it a treasure map? Was it a letter from a long lost love? Everyone speculated about the contents of the strange envelope. One day the captain died at sea. After laying the captain’s body to rest, the first mate led the entire crew into the captains quarters.

He opened the safe, got the envelope, opened it and… The first mate turned pale and showed the paper to the others. Four words were on the paper; two lines with two words each:

Port Left
Starboard Right

Tugboat Joke #2

Way down the Mississippi River, two tugboat captains who had been friends for years, would always cry, “Aye!” and blow their whistles whenever they passed each other. A new crewman asked his boat’s mate, “What do they do that for?”

The mate looked surprised and replied, “You mean that you’ve never heard of an aye for an aye and a toot for a toot?”

 …and a poem

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song

and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face
and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again,
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call

that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume,
and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again
to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way
where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield, 1878-1967

tugboat

640px-Tugboat_diagram-en_edit1a

Bang Bang, that awful sound

(I’m sorry you received two posts from me. The other one was a draft that wasn’t supposed to be published–in fact, my WordPress dashboard does not show that it was published at all, so I can’t explain it…)

“Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down…” [Nancy Sinatra]

Newtown happened. We wept. Nothing changed.

For some reason that makes no absolutely no sense to me, it’s OK to have a weapon that can spray dozens of bullets at once. A killing machine.

For those who scream about the second amendment and our right to keep and bear arms, get real, would you? Hey guys, it was adopted in December 15, 1791 and one thing I know for sure is that they weren’t talking about assault rifles.

From the Colombia Law School Constitution Society’s blog, http://columbiaacs.blogspot.com/2007/11/right-to-bear-ye-olde-arms.html

“Let’s look at arms – specifically, guns – as they existed at the time of the ratification.

Guns in 1791 WOULD

Guns in 1791 WOULD NOT

Courts can’t wish the Second Amendment away, but they can construe it in a manner that works in today’s society.”

This “new” gun debate is nothing new.

Whether or not to have a gun in the house for protection was the subject of the 1975 Good Times Season 3-Episode 2.

Apparently, crime had been at an all time high in the neighborhood, which caused the Evans family to install extra locks on their doors. However, James took a step that Florida and the kids weren’t ready for, he bought a gun. Later, when the gun disappeared, all hell broke loose, as James tore the apartment apart looking for it. Same old story, 1975-style.

kids-gun-playI can say with certainty that I never used my hand like a gun to shoot anyone; my mom, my dad, or my brother. Toy guns and pretend gunplay were verboten in our home. I grew up in Detroit. My dad was an attorney and my mom was a nurse before she became a SAHM. We went to the ballet and to the symphony. Books were important to us; guns not at all.

My older brother feels the need to have guns for protection. I don’t know how we grew up to think so differently about this.

We don’t have any guns in our home.

My one and only experience with guns 

A few years ago, hubs and I thought it would be a good idea for us to learn how to shoot and buy a gun “just in case”, especially since his work takes him away from home for such a long time.

We even went to a local shooting range for a practice session. It was difficult to find a gun that fit me, so they gave me a junior-sized rifle.

The employee handed us ear and eye protection and asked us to choose a paper TARGET– human or animal.

It was right around this time that I started to feel a little anxious.

Somehow I had never associated the shooing of a gun with any purpose. Maybe in my mind I thought we were going to shoot at cans or a bullseye target like in darts. Definitely not an animal. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t believe in eating animals or murdering them.

Seeing the human form brought it to another level–my anxiety ramped up another notch. I picked the one that was just a target that wouldn’t emulate the killing or wounding of a living, breathing creature, human or animal.

The next thing I knew, he loaded bullets into the chamber and gave us a speech about safety, but I wasn’t really listening.

When the door opened to the actual range, and I heard the staccato pop pop pop sounds of dozens of guns shooting at the same time, I freaked out.  I mean, I REALLY freaked out.

I tore off the ear protection and goggles, shoved my rifle in the direction of the gun range employee, and ran out the door.

I felt rather than saw everyone looking at me, but I couldn’t stop running. I had never before heard the sound of a gun.

I ran out toward our car in the parking lot, and sat on the ground, hyperventilating and shaking.

I panicked; I had an uncontrollable visceral reaction to the sound of a gun. My husband followed me out and comforted me. He said he never saw me move so fast nor appear so agitated.

I dropped my handbag when I bolted. When I walked back in, everyone was very sympathetic and said they saw reactions like that every so often — guns have that effect on some people. I tried to make a little joke to cover my embarrassment about how I must have been really frightened out of my mind because I left behind my Louis Vuitton handbag and that’s something I’d never do if I was in control of my faculties.

We’ve never tried that again, although I sometimes wonder if it’s a fear I should try to overcome. The truth is that we live in a violent world. Do I think we have a right to defend and protect ourselves? I do, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to ever pull the trigger.

Now if only I could stop a crime with my snark and sarcasm, I’d feel so safe… 

Happiness is a Warm GunJohn Lennon [Beatles]

Smooth sailing? Not always.

The Continuing Saga of Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man

Day 30…thirty days and thirty long nights since my tugboat man has been away.

He’s on the move–closer to land–and his cell works! He called last night. Other than the five minute satellite telephone call on our anniversary a couple weeks ago, this was the only time we’ve spoken. It was so unexpected. What a surprise to see his name pop up on my screen!

I always ask the same thing, “When are you coming home?” The answer this time was the answer he usually gives me; he doesn’t know, it could be now or in a month. “…you’ll be the first to know.” Dry humor.

The unpredictable life of a mariner

Some mariners have a regular schedule: three weeks on, three weeks off or two weeks on and two weeks off or even a month on and a month off. In the world of ocean-going tugs, there is no such certainty. One of my captain’s recent assignments was estimated to last  two months and it dragged on for a full four months due to several factors–including weather related issues.

Weather

There’s always weather. Right now, the project he’s on has had a lot of weather delays. If there are storms, high winds, and high seas, it’s neither prudent nor safe for a tug to proceed, and that entails a wait or what they call “on standby” until it clears.

What do you think about that? Do you think that uncertainty is a relationship hardship?

Things weren’t always so idyllic for us.

Did you think it was?

Before we met (at the company where we both worked), the captain had plotted a career move to Hawaii. His goal; good surf and work, probably in that order. Our company was setting up operations in Hawaii and he was tapped to head up that division.

Guess what? A year later, he left. He did. He really did.

I do kinda still hate him for that sometimes…wouldn’t you?

I took him to the dock and had to say goodbye. I mean a real goodbye, maybe a forever goodbye; he had packed up all his belongings and they were on the boat with him.

It was horrible at the time and it makes me sad now thinking about how I felt that day…so alone and bereft.

Us–we–it didn’t end. Over the course of several months, we visited back and forth a half dozen times. I was unhappy with the whole situation–I had done my work, made my list, and he was IT. Hawaii’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love paradise–but that wasn’t part of MY plan.

Oh yes, he was IT for me but I couldn’t figure out how to persuade him to move back and allow our relationship to blossom. I was running out of options.

What if he met someone else?

One day I had just had enough. I was sick and tired of having a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not boyfriend. It wasn’t what I wanted. And do you know what I did?

I changed my telephone number.

That’s just the way I roll. My home number was a landline and I called the telephone company and changed it. I figured that when he called, he’d get the recorded voice saying, “The number has been disconnected and there is no forwarding number” and he’d become so distraught when he couldn’t reach me that it would be the catalyst he needed to come running back to me!

MotorolaPager

I didn’t have a cell phone. I had a beeper, a pager–remember those things? Now I think only drug dealers use them LOL. He had one, too.

I waited for him to beep me. I waited all day. I was DYING to know if he had TRIED to call. This was 1992-ish; email was in its infancy–I don’t believe we even had a home computer, and the computers at work didn’t have internet access.

This is the funny part.

I started power paging him; over and over again. I mean, like twenty times, thirty times.

WITH MY NEW NUMBER.

I went to so much trouble to change my phone number and I couldn’t wait twenty-four hours. When he called, I asked him if he had tried to call the old number and he said he had (still not sure of that) and asked why I did something crazy like that. I can’t remember my response–I WAS crazy at that point.

[The quick end to that story is that I flew to Hawaii the following weekend and from there we went to Kauai and he said that I had wasted my time changing my number because he had already come to the conclusion that he couldn't live without me and he didn't want to live without me and he proposed and came home for good two months later and we were married nine months after that.]

Fast forward to yesterday’s phone call.

After we said our initial hellos and all that, I asked him,  “Do you ever get worried that I”ll change the number again and you won’t be able to reach me? Like when you’ve been gone a really long time and I’m getting tired of it? Like NOW?”

Him: (Laughing) “Not really, or if you did, you’d just call me right away to give me the new number like you did before.”

HA HA.

Now he’s turned into a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not HUSBAND. The difference is that he always comes home–to me. Oh, and his paychecks come here even when he’s not. Hee Hee.

Final Words

It cracks me up when I hear “Somebody That I Used to Know“.  Gotye sings, “No you didn’t have to stoop so low. Have your friends collect your records and then change your number“…

Dear Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz

Or, as the world knows you, Jon Stewart, lord and master of The Daily Show.

Shabbat Shalom to you, my Jewish prince.

Four nights a week I watch your wit and candor and passion and rage and humor.

Most of the time I agree with you and LOL (laugh out loud) ‘cos you’re so darn funny.

I love most of the skits and sketches and some of the interviews.

To be perfectly honest with you, I fast forward through a lot of interviews (snooze) to get to Your Moment Of Zen.

I’m not writing to boost your ego, get show tickets, or a fake signed picture of you for my bedroom wall (although I wouldn’t turn it down!)

NO, I feel the need to take pen to paper fire up my MacAir to shake my fist at you, Mr. Lee-boh-vitz!

I take umbrage, sir!

Umbrage I take!

How dare you mock the millions of us who are Etsy creators. HOW DARE YOU!

This is a verbatim quote from The Daily Show, January 23, 2013:

“…it’s all–we get it, you have a glue gun, okay!”

http://archive.org/details/COMW_20130124_070000_The_Daily_Show_With_Jon_Stewart#start/381/end/411

Look at it this way–those of us who are Etsy devotees create beautiful and practical items in a much too harsh and ugly world.

I proudly wield my glue gun and embellish as many things possible with seashells, rocks, and beach glass. From toilets to walls to my front door, there’s a seashell wherever you go. Want a mirror surrounded by seashells? I’ve got several to choose from and I’ll give you a great price, you know, us both being Jewish and all. (Come see me after the show.)

This is a call to arms! Glue gun enthusiasts UNITE! We need to organize and hire a lobbyist and storm the White House and Congress and raise awareness for the plight of the glue gunners. We need some appropriations–we NEED laws protecting our right to bear glue guns.

You really hurt my feelings with your scoffing and derision of Etsy. I think you and I need to sit down and glue a few seashells on a picture frame and you’ll see it from a whole different perspective. Whadddya say?

You could make it all better by inviting me to appear on The Daily Show with my glue gun(s) and a selection of my creative wares–and we’re not talking only gluing here–my tugboat captain husband is an expert in marlinspike seamanship. On long journeys across the oceans he weaves magnificent jewelry and covered bottles and picture frames. 

I’m looking at my schedule right now–I’m free just about anytime.
So…I’ll be waiting for your call.

Yours very truly,
Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

10 reasons why seashells are enchanted

I’m still in the throes of harnessing my inner beeyotch (the lady who slammed on her brakes and made a u-turn in front of me got a taste of that new me) but I took a teensy break to ponder the oft-asked question: Why do I love seashells?

1. Just like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Some are almost perfect twins, but there’s always an individual characteristic if you look close enough.

2. Unlike a snowflake, they don’t disappear.

3. They are all beautiful in color and shape and size.What a treasure!

4. Shells can be worn as jewelry.Abalone necklace with rope work, earrings, pearl bracelet, necklace of polished shell pieces

4. There is appeal in their symmetry and asymmetry.fairshells

5. For me, seashells impart a tangible tactile and visual state of bliss.

6. Shells give birth to episodes of intense creative passions. This is my most recent seashell bouquet; an organic interpretation inspired by a froggy vase acquired at a local thrift shop that helps victims of domestic abuse.newfrogvase

7. Once upon a time, a seashell housed a living creature.

8. Cowry shells were used as currency in China.cowry shell

9. If you love to collect dust, start collecting seashells! They are a dust magnet, prolly their only negative trait.

10. A small grain of sand–a foreign body–inside a seashell grows into a magnificent pearl.  A pearl is an annoyance to the shell,  just exactly like the way I am oftentimes an annoyance to the captain!white-pearl-in-oyster