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 ?
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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?
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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”

Just a Cup of Coffee – The Love Story of Princess Rosebud and her Captain – Part One

Today:  Sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not. That’s the life of a tugboat captain’s wife. Right now he’s not..

weddingpicture

Yup, the secret’s out. I’m married to Johnny Depp

The Wedding: February 21, 1994

Our song, our first dance as husband and wife. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
http://youtu.be/wkVuQGgx7d8

The Beginning…This is the love story of me, Princess Rosebud, and the tugboat captain.

We met when I was a year into my deal with myself to stay celibate until I met someone, uh, worthy…

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010… At 3:40 this afternoon, I was in the threshold of our garage door that leads into the living room where I had dragged in a ladder to help with my latest project–painting the living room walls a divine shade of seafoam green–to stay busy when the captain’s out to sea. I mean, I can’t shop ALL the time. A girl has to take a break now and again, right? I set the ladder down and went back to close the garage door. At that precise moment, the glass vases on the shelves surrounding our fireplace began to vibrate and wobble. Here in SoCal, I’ve endured a handful of quakes, but never such intense shaking.

Through the open garage door I saw the bicycles that hang from the ceiling sway back and forth. As I attempted to process THAT information, the crystal lustres on my grandmother’s antique porcelain candelabras clashed and clinked. Terracotta tile flooring in the foyer seemed to roll back and forth as if I was on a sailboat in San Diego Bay, and I had a difficult time standing.

Feeling dizzy and unbalanced, I grasped the doorway for support.  My poor kitty gave me a dirty look like I had interrupted her nap on purpose. So much for the concept that animals can sense an earthquake–not this spoiled little brat.

I ran up our oak-planked steps into the family room and through the patio doors onto the deck and shouted out to the neighbors.

“Look at your pool!”

“I know, this is crazy! Are you OK? Any damage?”

“I don’t think so. A couple seashells fell off the shelf in the family room, but I was so freaked, I didn’t want to stay inside, so I ran out back. I don’t know if we should stay in the house or what we should do!”

“Us either! Let’s see what’s on the news.”

This quake was so violent that it caused the water in their pool to slosh over the sides like a mini-tsunami. We each went back in our respective homes and turned on CNN. We discovered that there had been a 7.2 earthquake in Mexico. The first reports that came in revealed a lot of damage near the epicenter in Mexicali, but no major problems in San Diego; only broken glass and falling cans at grocery stores, which seemed pretty miraculous considering the earthquake’s size.

Still spooked by the shaking and some pretty strong aftershocks, I surveyed the house, removing anything unsecured and potentially dangerous.

This is as good a time as any to confess something.

I’m a shell-aholic.

seashell mirrorI’ve got shelves and shelves of seashells in every room–including the bathroom. Everyone collects seashells, right? One here, one there, as a memory of a great beach or a fun vacation, right? Well…I’m a seashell hoarder. I want ALL seashells–there are never enough seashells to collect or buy. I make things out of some of them–picture frames, mirrors, boxes–they line the walls in our two bathrooms and even our front door, but mostly they just hang out–in bowls, on shelves, anywhere and everywhere. There is no empty space in our house, and if there is, it’s quickly filled with a shell–or a rock.

After a couple decades, we have come to an understanding, the captain and I. He thinks I’m crazy and obsessed with shells and rocks and driftwood, and I don’t destroy his surfboards if he doesn’t give me a hard time about it.

I anxiously emailed the captain who’s half a world away in the middle of an ocean. I figured that if anything would cause him to cut his four month assignment short, this might be it. The way that emailing works in deep ocean situations is through a pretty inefficient satellite; sometimes it takes hours to complete the process. If there’s a real emergency, I have a phone number to call, but this didn’t really fit the definition. I wasn’t hurt and the house wasn’t damaged or anything. When he finally read the email and wrote back, he told me to “standby” at the house phone because he would try to make a call from the boat’s sat phone. When he called, I used all my powers of persuasion to convince him to come home, but to no avail. He simply wasn’t going to call the United States Coast Guard to fly a rescue mission a thousand miles from land to bring  him home because the kitty and I were scared.

Well, I know where I stand in his list of priorities. Hmmm, I wonder if this is when I hatched my plot to get that Chanel. Hmmm, I wonder.

After that stressful event, and many aftershocks later, some pampering was definitely well deserved. That evening, I drew a bath in the upstairs bathroom we call the spa because it’s decorated in earthy tones with seashells and beach glass surrounding the mirrors and along the walls.

(I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t care.)

I lit a fragrant and calming lavender candle, eased my body into the almost too-hot-to-stand-it water, and trickled in ginger and lemongrass aromatherapy oils. Sipping from a glass of merlot, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and my thoughts wandered.

Experiencing an earthquake; the dizziness, the weightless feeling in a tub of warm water; it all reminded me of falling in love. It all felt the same… and it all started with a fifty cent cup of coffee.

Newly divorced in 1990, I speed dated a few guys, including one totally boring and slightly scary man who immediately wanted me to meet his parents after the first (and last) date, along with a couple of total idiots whose combined IQs prolly didn’t equal my Border Collie‘s. Those unsavory experiences became flashing red lights–STOP! NO! THINK!–impossible to ignore–that I seriously needed to take some time off the dating circuit.

It was the perfect time for a list.

I’m an inveterate list maker; I prioritize my errands and even list groceries in the order of where they’re located in the store– like my own custom board game–where I start at the entrance and finish at the cash register.

I wrote this particular list with the hope that if I documented the qualities desired in a significant other, the universe would deliver the right one when all the planets were aligned. Or so I dreamed.

At midnight on August 7th, 1990, with a bottle of wine to seal the deal, I made a promise to myself–I would not date (or do anything else) for a very long time, and the next one would be “the one”.

The List
1. Must call when he says he will. This is non-negotiable.
2. Must show up on time for dates.
3. Must love pets. Also non-negotiable.
4. No cigarettes. No smoking, and of course, no drugs.
5. Likes to exercise, work out, eat healthy, etc.
6. Must have gainful employment.
7. Must be nice and polite and honest and trustworthy.
8. Fidelity is of paramount importance.
9. When the time is right and he meets my son, my son has to like him. Also non-negotiable.

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

Tomorrow:
Part Two…Just a cup of coffee, the love story of Princess Rosebud and the tugboat captain

What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

For this #MothersDay, I’m honored to welcome a special guest poster on Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife…my very own daughter-in-law, or as we fondly refer to her, DIL. I know you’ll love this post as much as I do. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
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What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

As we sit 20,000 feet up in seats 1C, 1D, & 1E, our little team can almost exhale as we head home from Boston to San Diego.

Rewind ten days.

What would you do at 4:00 a.m. when you’re terrified in the Emergency Room. Your husband is in agony. The surgeons’ don’t know what’s up and the pain meds aren’t working?

You call family.

Nobody wants to make that call. I knew that waking up MIL in the middle of the night to tell her that her Angel Boy was in the Emergency Room hooked up to morphine 3000 miles away would put the ice-cold, fear-of-God in her.

I took a deep breath and dialed. When she did not pick up I knew the panic she would feel when I called again right after.

No one wants to see their DIL’s number twice in a row in the middle of the night.

When I got through I told her calmly what was happening. I could hear the panic in her voice but she responded exactly as a mother should. She said that she was on her way. Not just hopping in the car or on the bus. She was booking tickets to fly across the country without a moment’s thought. I knew that I had opened them to that sick pain and fear I was feeling – but it had made me feel better. I knew whatever was coming I did not have to face it alone. And that’s what good mothers do. They take on your pain, so you can feel better.

From then on, I counted the hours until they arrived. Literally. I did not leave AB’s side until they got there and I knew another loved one could watch over him.

It had been fifteen hours in the hospital without even a cuppa. I had screamed, cried, fought, and begged every RN, CRN, resident, consultant, physician, surgeon, radiologist, you name it. But now I knew I had some people on my team.

Team AB.

The next ten days after the surgery went by on auto-pilot. I’m convinced Team AB drove the whole floor nuts. We were on their ass 24/7 – from wash clothes, to walks, to IV, to test, results, more CTs — we did not stop for a moment to breathe.

But me and MIL were on the same team, working together, side by side, to make sure our AB got better.

It’s true when they say you have to laugh or you’ll cry. Too true! In amongst all of the drama and fear we belly laughed. I mean really laughed. Even when Jason’s roommate “One Tooth Tommy’s” girlfriend overdosed him on her street Xanex. Or or when I got some sympathy gas in the canteen in front of a table of young cute residents.

The day AB was getting discharged, I woke up and I looked over in our hotel room to see MIL sleeping and next to her an empty glass of wine, vodka tonic, and the remains of my Cosmo. What can I say? It had been one of those weeks.

And now as we head home to San Diego, it could not be more perfect that tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Because it’s definitely time to celebrate MIL.

When an emergency hits – it comes out of nowhere and the whole world stops.

Everything is stripped back and you see people for who they really are.

Raw.

What we saw this week was the purest and selfless love of a mother.

AB, you are lucky to have such a mom.

And I am lucky to have a friend, a partner in crime, and the best MIL you could wish for!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

Full Circle From Hell to Happiness

So…we’re all sitting at Gate 36 at Boston Logan Airport, waiting for our flight to San Diego, the final leg of our massive journey to bring home Angel Boy. YAY!!!

We can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel like I gave birth to him all over again.

It all started with the call at 3am that propelled the labor pains to GET TO HIM at any and all cost.

‘Cos you never know, right? What if we had been flying and it was too late? What if we had landed, turned on our cells, and learned the worst had occurred while we were desperately working to make it to the hospital before his emergency surgery? The what ifs were killing us. What if the surgeon couldn’t fix him? What if he had a rupture? What if he suffered a massive infection that couldn’t be controlled? It was touch and go for a while, but he pulled through  – we ALL pulled through…

Lucky for him AND for us, none of those fears came true, and that’s why we’re here at the airport, anxious to see my tugboat man and get back to my normal routine of going to the gym, cleaning the house, baking, and of course, SHOPPING!!

On a serious note…

This whole experience got me thinking…always a dangerous thing, right?

I believe that it’s critically important, if you’re ever hospitalized, to have a family member (or two) act in the capacity of an advocate —  with the docs, the nursing staff, and the insurance company.

It’s next to impossible for the patient to communicate on his own behalf or even function at all –when he’s in pain and suffering — before surgery, especially emergency surgery, and after surgery when he’s basically comatose and drugged up, during the entire stay and up to the exit strategy.

RNs have about eight patients at a time; because of that, we handled most of my son’s personal care.

DIL and I stayed with him 24/7, taking turns sleeping in the recliner next to his bed.

We took his temp, cleaned him, took him to the bathroom, kept after him every few minutes to use the little tool to keep his lungs healthy, and when he started walking the very next day post-surgery, we walked him further and further every day.

It was back to basics: baby steps. Measuring his urinary volume, charting his temp, checking for gas, helping him to the bathroom  – the simple joy of having his naso-gastric tube removed called for applause and cheers.

Baby steps. Walking further every day. Walking with the IV detached. Ditching the hospital gown and wearing his own clothes.

The first meal after eight days was spectacular. Chicken broth and apple juice constituted a feast. My already thin boy had lost so much weight.  More baby steps.

Even though they check vital signs once an hour, we were there to monitor any changes minute by minute.

When he started to run a temp, we alerted the RN and she alerted his surgeon and because of our “assertiveness”, a ton of blood tests were ordered along with a CT scan to rule out infection or abcess. It turned out that he DID have a blood infection, but not MRSA, the scary one, and it responded well to antibiotics.

The final issues were insurance-related, and we had to literally drive the discharge process and all that red tape in order to leave the hospital in a timely manner.

They’ve just called for our flight; back to sunny SoCal, back to the beach, back to retail therapy. Holla!

It was a hellish ten days, but I really feel like I’ve given birth all over again…to a healthy thirty-three year old baby boy! Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

surf-WEB

 

I Fell Down and a Baby Popped Out.

In that order, but it took a whole day to achieve my life’s greatest accomplishment.

In 1981, March 23 fell on a Monday.

This year, my Angel Boy is in New York at a conference at NYU. My BABY boy is not a baby anymore. That’s a hard concept to grasp…

The day before…
I took my dogs, Beowulf and Sabrina, out for an early morning walk.

My mom was going to come over around noon and take me shopping — see, that’s where I get it from!

It was a full week past my due date and those pesky Braxton Hicks contractions were terrifying me on a daily basis. My mom was the head RN of Women’s Surgical at a local hospital. She thought a bit of retail therapy (see what I mean?) would take my mind off of that discomfort.

At that time, my son’s dad and I lived in an older part of San Diego; Hillcrest. The sidewalks were deteriorated with huge cracks and fissures.

With my big belly full of Angel Boy blocking my view, I tripped and fell — not hard — but with sixty extra pounds on my normally one hundred pound frame, I was more than a little ungainly.

I remember being super embarrassed for anyone to watch my feeble attempts to get up. Luckily, no one was out that early. I leaned on Beowulf (one-hundred-pounds of Akita/Husky/Wolf) who stood about thirty inches at his shoulders, and he was a sturdy support to help me up.

I continued walking home — just a few blocks — and didn’t think much about my fall, but I did tell my mom when she picked me up to go to the mall.

She knew everything there was to know about birthin’ babies.

She reminded me that she had told me a zillion times not to go walking alone this late in pregnancy, but I replied like I always did, “Blah, blah, blah…I’m not listening to a word you say.”

We stopped at a lingerie shop and she bought me a beautiful rosebud sprigged shortie nightgown.

As we were leaving the store, I whispered to her, “Mom, I think I wet my pants.”

(Dumb me, who had read every single book ever written about pregnancy and childbirth, didn’t comprehend what had happened.)

My mom instantly went into what we always called her “nursey” mode.

Quizzing me non-stop about any other symptoms in a very calm voice, we cut short our shopping day (darn) and drove home.

I don’t want to be too gross here; let’s just say other things were leaking out of me, too…

Suddenly, those Braxton Hicks contractions became the real thing.

I called my doctor. It was time.

All during my pregnancy, I had planned to deliver at home, au natural, with my mom as midwife.

Toward the end, it became obvious that my Angel Boy was too big for that to be possible.

I hate hospitals.

I didn’t want that atmosphere to be the first memories implanted in my baby’s precious brain. With reluctance, I agreed that his health was more important than my hippie chick desires, and hubs, mom, and I all went to the hospital.

The doc examined me, concluded that the fall had merely torn the amniotic sac and the potential for introducing bacteria was a concern, so I agreed to let him completely puncture it to speed up the process.

And oh yes, speed it up it did. The mild contractions intensified.

Other than the unrelenting pain, which didn’t respond to that stupid Lamaze class training, I remember my son’s dad watching “Patton” on the wall TV in the birthing room.

I will always hate him for that.

After being in labor all night, my mom and the doc had a consultation.

Apparently, my baby had a head the size of Plymouth Rock and it was stuck.

It just wouldn’t come out.

I was so upset I couldn’t stop crying.

I had failed my first test as a mom.

So…at 9:42 a.m. on Monday, March 23, 1981, I had an emergency Caesarean Section.

I was wide awake and watched it all.

In the end, I guess it didn’t really matter how my Angel Boy got here.

He was beautiful and healthy; 8 1/2 pounds and 21 inches. He scored a 9 on the Apgar Scale; a high achiever from the beginning!

Happy 33rd birthday, Professor Angel Boy!

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Princess Rosebud’s Fashion Forward Protest Garb

puppyprotestMy tugboat man and I joined more than forty dedicated angels with San Diego Animal Defense Team and Protest Oceanside Puppy on Saturday in a protest at the Oceanside location of a pet store owned by David Salinas.

Salinas owned a similar business in San Diego called San Diego Puppies before it was forced to close under an ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council earlier this year banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at retail stores.

Animal rights groups want to end the practice of breeding and selling puppies bred in commercial facilities called “puppy mills.”

Quote from Protest Oceanside Puppy:

The owner of this store is busy churning out Christmas puppies and trying to make a profit off of the backs of the mother dogs. We have pictures of the inspections done at his breeders and it’s horrifying how these puppy mill dogs live their short tormented lives! These mother dogs never leave their cages, stand on wire their entire lives with no fresh air, little or no veterinary care and no socialization. Please help educate the public that THIS IS WRONG. This store owner was already shut down in San Diego! We must stand up against animal abuse!

About a dozen cities in California have adopted ordinances placing restrictions on the sale of animals from commercial breeders, including Chula Vista, Los Angeles, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach and Dana Point.

Under the ordinance passed in San Diego on July 9, no store can display, sell, deliver, offer for sale, auction, or give away animal pets in the city. Existing pet stores, including San Diego Puppy, were given up to six months to stop those practices.

Pet stores can (and should) offer adoptions of dogs, cats, and rabbits in partnership with a shelter or rescue groups.

If you’ve ever seen a photos or a video of the living conditions of the breeding dogs and puppies, you’d be as horrified as I was.

I am continually disappointed by the inhumane treatment we inflict upon other living creatures.

Sometimes we have to be assaulted by the ugly truth before we can make a compassionate decision.

SHAME ON CARLSBAD!

My city continues to allow California Pets to sell animals obtained from puppy mills.

Please take a few minutes to email or call your elected officials to let them know that you support any decision to shut down stores that sell factory farmed pets.

How can we, as civilized and caring people, continue to allow this to occur?
…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …
But…being me, that is, being Princess Rosebud, I had to adorn myself in the appropriate fashion forward outfit to stand on the street holding a protest sign.

As much as I love to defend and protect animals, I also love to dress properly for any and all occasions.

I chose a sparkly Dior Not War t-shirt over Joe’s skinny jeans, brown knee-high boots, a butterfly scarf from Nordstrom, pulling it all together with a lovely gray sweater from Anthropologie.

Since it was sunny, I topped the look off with a lively turquoise straw hat, Chanel sunglasses, and my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, which was, upon reflection, not the most politically correct handbag to carry that day, but I can’t be perfect all the time…My bad. Ooops.diornotwr graysweater

If you live in North County or you’d like to take a drive up the coast on Saturday, please spend a few hours supporting these amazing and dedicated animal defenders.

For more info: http://sdanimaldefenseteam.blogspot.com

Oceanside Puppy
1906 Oceanside Blvd., east of the 5.
Saturdays 12-3

More pix of the day:

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Boys DO Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses. Oh YES, They DO.

Kate Spade glasses2

Newsflash: Eyeglasses are the new aphrodisiac.

Sasssy and sexxxxy in a slightly beeyotchy way.

That describes both me AND my new Kate Spade glasses, don’t you agree?

Can’t wait for my tugboat man to see the new me. He loves the sexy librarian look…

Aren’t those polka dots TDF?

And the hair? It looks like my head had a curl explosion.
Oopsie, it seems as if the picture on the wall behind me is slightly askew; my OCD side will fix it immediately, since I clearly have no control over my hair.

And yes, that IS my enchanting bathroom, and no, I’m not wearing any makeup.

Kate Spade glassesIt’s a different world now than when I first needed to wear glasses. Back then, it tolled the death knell if you aspired at all to be a popular gal and hang out with the cool kids.

I was continually taunted with.such witticisms as,  “Hey, Coke-bottle‘s here. Ha Ha.”

Not so funny to be the target of mean girls. 

I couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear contact lenses.

But now, wearing glasses is just another important fashion accessory, not a signal to the world that the wearer is a bookish nerd, not that there’s anything wrong with that!

If you live in the San Diego area and need new frames, come to Carlsbad and check out
Andrews Optical on Grand for a huge selection and great customer service.

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Stop Wolf Hunts Now

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Ghandi

My Mad Skills As A Personal Fashion Stylist: But NOT My Dream Job, I Guess…

what-not-to-wearI had visions of becoming another Stacy London of What Not To Wear — without the signature silvery streak, of course, but with snappy repartee and a fast paced shopping excursion highlighting all of the essentials.

I’d help my clients build a wardrobe of neutral staples combined with pops of color, figure flattering visual interest, texture, sparkle, animal print, completer pieces, awesome shoes, and scarves to draw attention away from the hips and up to the the face.

I had an epiphany.

Sometimes things that theoretically seem like a great idea and plausible do NOT  always turn out that way in the real world.

I so wish y’all could have been with me; you’d be the ghost-like apparitions following us around the shops.

Here I am at my age (just never you mind about what it is) still grabbing at parachutes, searching for a career path, a niche, a calling, a vocation.

It’s been suggested by some that I should combine my love of shopping and fashion and become a stylist to help others who don’t have my innate good taste and eye for color, texture, and style. All kidding aside, my Hello Kitty obsesh is only a teensy weensy anomaly, not representative of what’s contained in my closet(s).

You know, shopping but for others with OPM (other people’s money) and stuff like that.

I kinda have a dilettantish background for it; I worked at San Diego‘s Old Globe Theatre in the costume department, I’ve sewn my own clothes for years, read all the fash mags, and spend hours and hours and hours shopping and drooling over finely crafted designer wear. Sigh.

In fact, I had serious thoughts of starting my own clothing company. I registered the name and acquired the patterns and though it kinda never went anywhere beyond the concept stage, it’s still viable. ***If anyone wants to partner, email me.

Anyhow, here’s the backstory:  I was getting my glasses adjusted last week at the same place we’ve gone to for about fifteen years. There was some convo with the owner who was asked to accompany her guitar teacher at a gig in Rancho Santa Fe (very ritzy part of San Diego) and she declined because she had nothing appropriate to wear.

One of her employees said, “Hey, you should ask Rosebud to shop with you, she’s a fashionista.”

One thing led to another and I learned that she hadn’t shopped for clothes in at least two years. TWO YEARS. Yeah, I know. Can you believe it? The poor thing. She needed me.

With a public declaration that I would be her personal stylist, our mission was to acquire a variety of clothing to wear for musical gigs in several different venues from upscale to casual.

We arranged to shop for a solid five-hour block.

Focused. Determined. Goal-oriented.

She picked me up here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells and we were off to The Forum in La Costa. I wanted her to feel the textures and colors and variety at Anthropologie, not necessarily to buy a lot of clothing there, but to arouse her senses and try on a lot of things outside her comfort zone.

Her current comfort zone seems to be heavily dependent upon beige t-shirts and beige cargo pants.

OY, the horror. I’m shvitzing just thinking about it.

If only I really were Stacy London, I would have happily tossed them in the trash can!

All my research tells me that It’s important to get to know your client and her personal taste, in order to help her to look her best. Trying on clothes is critical! Just because something looks good/bad on the hanger, you’ll never know if it works unless you try it on.

I had to force her to see beyond the initial like/dislike of something that’s just hanging on a rack.

We found a couple of JBrand skinny jeans at Anthro, along with several casual ethnic-inspired tops, and then we were off to Nordstrom Outlet in San Marcos. In addition to clothing, they have an amazing selection of footwear.

I selected two different styles of boots, two pairs of flats: one casual, one dressy, and two pairs of not-very-high heels.

She’s pretty open to trying new things and expanding her fashion choices (beyond beige, thank goodness)  but she’s not a girl who wears dresses or skirts with ease.

Because she needed to portray class and elegance especially for her upscale gigs,  I chose a Calvin Klein black blazer and matching tuxedo trousers as wardrobe staples.

I paired several blouses with the blazer/trousers, including a beautiful turquoise, green, blue swirly graphic design with a self-tie for visual interest, and an appropriate silk animal print.

Unfortunately, we were in such a time crunching whirlwind, I wasn’t able to take pics of the outfits.

What I learned about myself is that I’m REALLY good at this personal stylist stuff; I’m always helping everyone in dressing rooms who need advice — I’m not shy about offering my opinions, THAT’S for sure…

But…

I’ll let you in on a little secret…

I HATE SHOPPING WHEN IT’S NOT FOR ME.

Hate it. HATE IT.

This little Princess wants it all to be about her. Yes, I’m speaking in third person — it’s what I DO when I’m trying to really get my point across.

My arms are crossed and I’m stamping my little foot and yes, my lower lip is jutting out just like you thought it would be.

PRINCESS WAS SAD.

As I (back to first person) was perusing the racks for appropriate clothing to dress my client, my gaze wandered longingly to shoes and dresses and sparkly things that I wanted to caress and lovingly scoop up in my arms and run off to the dressing rooms…but this was not like going shopping with a friend where you each try on outfits and then come together for independent reviews of yea or nay.

I was being paid to SERVE someone else’s needs.

ME NO LIKE.

NO CAN DO.

Obviously NOT my dream job.

I was a very sad Princess Rosebud. I guess it’s not in the stars for me to be a personal stylist.

Yes, it was a success for HER but I came away empty-handed and depressed.

Black blazer and pencil skirt

This is not me; the suit is being tailored for my short arms and legs.

Guess what I did?

I bet it’s not too difficult to figure me out.

I went back to Nord a couple of days later and tried on clothes and shoes to my heart’s content.

I came away with an awesome black Calvin Klein blazer and matching pencil skirt (to replace an outfit I had previously returned to White House Black Market.)

And you know what?

NOW I’m happy. :)

And PRINCESS is happy, too :)

P.S. Anyone want to go shopping with me?

When Is A Friend Not A Friend?

Let me ask you a question about friendships…is there a line that can’t be crossed?

What would you do if a friend acted in manner so egregious, so counter to your own value system?

Have you ever said to yourself, I can’t be friends with someone like that, and end the friendship?

It happened to me.

I met her at the gym; she overheard me talking about my obsession with all things Chanel and we became friendly.

My tugboat man coined the phrase “friend not friend” because all we did was shop together. We never went out for dinner as couples and we never socialized together with our husbands. She had been to our house, but had never invited me to hers.

She was a “shopping friend.”

That means we’d meet every couple of weeks or so and drive in one car to a mall, either Fashion Valley in San Diego, or South Coast Plaza in Orange County.

Whoever didn’t drive bought lunch for two; that was a fair trade.

That was the only thing we had in common, even though we learned that our kids attended the same elementary school at the same time.

She’d been a working mom throughout their entire childhood; I’m an ardent advocate for the stay-at-home-mom situation.

She had a tough childhood: was unwanted, abused by a stepfather, and forced to travel around the country with her migrant worker family.

She managed to graduate from college and has been married to the same man for about forty years, the only man she’s ever slept with.

He just happens to be a millionaire, which is an amazing rags to riches tale.

Her inner fortitude and drive to extricate herself from poverty are admirable qualities and I’m sure that somewhere in there is an explanation for the way she acted the last time we spent the day together.

On this particular day, it was her turn to drive. Since she never had new clothes when she was growing up, she became a compulsive shopper, and always bought something, no matter what the cost. I’m more of a browser, and fairly thrifty except for that one (or two) Chanels.

After six hours at South Coast Plaza, we were on the highway heading home.

Looking out of the passenger window, I spotted a little puppy walking in the weeds parallel to the freeway.

I pointed and said, “Oh my gosh, do you see that? Pull over, pull over, there’s a puppy right there. You stop and I’ll run out and get it before something terrible happens.”

She wouldn’t stop.

She would not stop.

She flailed a hand about —  you know, in that way, that universal sign of blasé dismissal — and said, “Oh, someone will help. It’ll be fine.”

“No it won’t. We have to help. We HAVE to. Get off the next exit and let’s go back. “

She refused to stop the car, no matter what I said.

“How could you say you love animals but you won’t stop to help a creature in dire need of assistance?”

I was powerless. I hate feeling ineffectual, useless, helpless.

I’m sure she endured all that and more growing up with her dysfunctional family but it would seem that she might have felt more of a kinship toward another helpless creature, not apathetic indifference and total lack of compassion.

I was silent for the remainder of the ride.

By the time we got back, it was getting dark. I thought about jumping in my car and driving back to where I saw the puppy but I didn’t even know the exactly where we had been, which is the reason why I hadn’t called CHP or animal rescue. It would have been impossible to locate. All I know is that it was somewhere on the 405 South from Newport Beach.

That was the last time I saw this friend not friend. She went on a vacation soon after that and when she returned, I heard she started going to another gym.

I’m haunted by the vision of that puppy that I couldn’t help.

Of course I couldn’t be friends with someone like that.

Everything I needed to know about her true character was revealed, and for me, that’s a non-negotiable area.

A deal breaker. A heart breaker.

Have you ever had to end a friendship?

Best Things to Do on Carlsbad Lagoon

Stand-Up paddleboarding and kayaking — on a perfectly perfect Southern California day.

When my son was here over the weekend for a brief visit, we took our new inflatable Sea Eagle kayak out on the Agua Hedionda lagoon along with hubs SUP (stand-up paddleboard) for my son to play with.

Ever the professional mariner, my tugboat man likes to do what he calls a “shakedown cruise” to make sure everything’s working right and our vessel is seaworthy.

Our lagoon was packed full of kayaks, SUPs, rowboats, and dogs running around the sandy beach — a thoroughly awesome Southern California day.

We’re taking the kayak on our vacation to Zion National Park in Utah and Yellowstone.

I’ve always wanted to hear the song of the wolf, and I hope my dream comes true on this trip.

US-National-Parks-Yellowstone-Wolf-Quest-2-wolves

I’ve got a VERY nice hub who likes to make my wishes turn into reality. SORT OF. He’s taking me on this vacation to placate me so that he doesn’t feel too guilty for running off on a surf trip to Nicaragua. He won’t come out and ADMIT it, but he doesn’t exactly deny it, either. Whatev, I’ll take the kind offer to camp out under the stars and hopefully not get mauled by bears or bison.

Sea Eagle kayak

Selfie! None of my hub especially since he was behind me and really doing all the work as usual! Well, MOST of the work; I did as much as I could with my injured arm.

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SUPUh oh, Professor, watch where you’re going! Navigational hazard ahead!

Carlsbad Lagoon Jboy

Whew! He made it, we went under it, too, but no pics.

Lagoon Carlsbad 1

Just a pretty little area, full of crabs and native plants.
Right then a huge fish glided by but you can’t see it, too bad.

LagoonEven though it’s so much more built up since we moved here in 1985, Carlsbad is still an idyllic place to raise a family. There are so many healthy activities on the water. We used to always walk to the lagoon and our dogs would play while we had a picnic.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon — also known as “stinking waters” ‘cos the mud STINKS for real — is a saltwater wetland and watershed and offers year-round recreational and commercial use.  The lagoon includes mud flats, salt and freshwater marsh, and deep water and is actually comprised of three lagoons:  a 66-acre outer lagoon, a 27-acre middle lagoon and 293-acre inner lagoon. The earliest inhabitants were the native Indians who lived on the shores and upland areas.

Going to the beach year-round;  riding bikes or walking everywhere–it’s a great place EXCEPT for shopping. Shopping in Carlsbad SUCKS. That’s one of my biggest complaints–the mall is the worst EVER.  Except for the Carlsbad Outlet Center with Barneys; nada, nothing. Oh well, I can always drive to South Coast Plaza, so I’m not too upset! :)