A recipe and a request…from a tugboat captain

The wonderful FurFiles (meow!) is back from her Jamaican vacation, and it’s about time!  I’ve missed her astute blogging and pithy commentary, like the many ways I can exact revenge on my tugboat man should the need arise.

ex=lax signNo, I’m not going to put ex-lax in his food. Not this time, anyway.

Ms Fur has furrily requested the recipe for another version of carrot bread I made last night, loosely based on a recipe from my 1970s Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook.

I’m not the magnificent artist of decor and whimsy like Judy at Petit4Chocolatier  nor do I possess the versatility of (bakery owner in another life) Tonette of tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily but I have my most consistent success with everyday, homey, mom-like healthy breads, apple pies, lentil cookies, and black bean brownies.pastry bag and tips

Confession: I’ve been known to wield a mean pastry bag to build roses with tip #12 and #104 on flower nail #7 (as well as shells and garland)  but I save that skill set for special occasions only.

A Schwarzwälder kirsch kuchen similar to one I made to celebrate my son’s graduation.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Black Forest Cherry Cake dripping in kirschwasser

 

First the request...I’m conducting an interview of my resident mariner for a future post. In the wake of today’s ferry accident in New York and other recent vessel related incidents, it seems timely.  

Anything you’d like to know?

I’ve tortured used my not inconsiderable powers of persuasion to convince my tugboat man to put up his surfboard for a moment and consent to an interview. The convincing involved all sorts of things like I need to wear nothing but a pair of six-inch heels and red lipstick and must refer to him as Most Exalted Master Seaman, but that is my cross to bear, not yours.

It was his idea to take requests from my readers in the wonderful world of blogging and Twitter and FB and I agree that’s a great idea–which should prove to doubters (and children) that hubs does have an independent thought once in a great while.

He’ll entertain queries about maritime-related stuff, what it’s like being married to me(!), technical stuff about boat handling/boat restoration, marlinspike seamanship,– ask away!

Certain things can’t be revealed of course, but he’ll do his best to answer all questions. He’s a USCG certified instructor, so you know he’s got the cred and he’s not just another pretty face.

You’ll discover the funny side to life as a seaman–they have a weird sense of humor–creating witty rhymes such as, “It’s not gay when you’re underway…” [urban dictionary]

I’ll credit the question with a link or you can remain anonymous–your choice.

And now for the recipe….carrotraisinbread2 carrot raisin bread

Carrot Raisin Bread
It’s moist and delicious with a rich texture! The difference is in the process. Try it and let me know what you think about it. Hubs loves it!

Ingredients
One cup grated carrots
One cup raisins
3/4 cup honey (I didn’t have a lot of honey so I used 1/4 honey, 1/4 agave, 1/4 brown sugar) Maple syrup would be yummy, too.
One teaspoon each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Two tablespoons vegetable oil
One egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, not sure how to do the conversions.
In a medium saucepan, cook carrots, raisins, honey/sugar, oil, and spices in the water for about ten minutes. Let cool. When cool, add beaten egg and mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and add to wet ingredients. Pour into one or two loaf pans depending on size. I made mine in one large loaf pan. Bake for about 45 minutes but check carefully so it doesn’t over bake. Let cool before slicing.

 

Daily Prompt-Time Capsule

I don’t know what just happened with my previous publish. Maybe the Elf on a Shelf has infiltrated the offices or computers at WordPress, but it all went haywire, deleted 90% of my Time Capsule post and then re-posted a re-blogged post. Drinks all around! Sorry for the annoyance. Hopefully, this goes right…

The year is drawing to a close. What would you put in a 2012 “Time capsule”?

In 1990, when my son was in elementary school, they created a time capsule and included items like mini-skateboards, sand, Vans shoes, Airheads, Nerds ,Pop Rocks, and a surfing video, “Gleaming the Cube“. The list of favorite songs (girls) included “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips and Madonna’s “Vogue”. The boys liked Bon Jovi and Guns and Roses. His favorite (and most annoying) saying was “talk to the hand”.

If I wanted to communicate with the future (assuming there is one), I don’t have a clue what to pack away. I’m embarrassed by our callous disregard for the environment, our children, and animals.  I don’t think that a box of things conveys my personal message to those who inherit the earth, (except of course for the assortment of my favorite seashells.)

My time capsule would be more of a plea or a wish list.

1. By this time, I hope you’ve learned to honor and respect animals.

2. I hope with all my heart that you never abuse or mistreat any living creature.

3. I hope you don’t EAT animals anymore, and that you’ve created another nutritious food  source that isn’t based on death.

4. I hope you’ve figured out how to feed and house starving people everywhere.

5. Please look at the news for 2012 and realize that child abuse must be abolished.

6. I wish for every child to know a life of love and nurturing.

7. Take a look at this photo of the Arctic and vow to become global stewards and protect the world, not destroy it.

8. Read a lot of history books. Read the classics. Read a lot. Learn. Think. Care.

9. See the video I’ve included of injured and broken men and women in uniform?

10. Please end war.

All I want for Christmas is you…and a credit card with a high limit.

While I’m hard at work on a new post–or maybe it’s a chapter of my book...please enjoy the musical interlude.

 

It’s a dedication–of sorts–to the physical representation of the disembodied voice of my tugboat man. And while the lyrics might say, “all I want for Christmas is you” and that IS true in an existential way, it’s not the only thing I want for Christmas/Hannukah. Yes, I did get my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, I mean, I could hardly represent my hood without it. Yo. But now I need the matching wallet. And although the GST is a roomy, serviceable day bag, I still very much need the 2.55 with the gold chain for all of my sparkling evening events. Which right now is zero, but once Tina Fey realizes that I am going to be her most prolific, witty, banter filled writing and producing partner, then I’ll be showing up at all the MAJOR parties. Maybe, just maybe, if I’m very, very good, I’ll be able to negotiate with my tugboat miser man and work out a mutually satisfactory deal, if ya know where I’m going with that. Wink. Wink.

P.S. And if you’re thinking to yourself…well, try this…imagine me imagining you with a thought bubble, “Is she really this shallow?” and maybe you’re getting a bad taste in your mouth about this whole “enchanted” person and her apparent obsession with Chanel and shopping, what if I was just a really good writer–but I’m a seventy-year-old MAN–or what if I was really the mariner, and I’m the one on a tugboat, and I have a scruffy blondish/silvery beard and all the boy parts and this is my secret persona–WHAT THEN, huh? Paradigm shift? Could be, ya never know…

Hairy Hannukah Harry and the story of Hannukah 2012

…or the continuing saga of my life. As my first husband’s mother said to my mom, “isn’t it such a shame you wasted so much money on her education. She doesn’t really seem to do much of anything, does she?”

Looky here, readers, you all need to stop whining right now. Right now, I say!

I’ve peeked inside your private lives. Here’s a typical scenario:

8:00 a.m. You’re home with your spouse before leaving the house to go to work or he goes to work while you “stay home to take care of the kids” which really means you’re going to Tweet and shop all day and change a diaper or two, only if necessary. Not all of you, but enough to make it true. And I know it’s true ‘cos who do you think I tweet with all day?

Spouse: “I’ll home home at six. See ya.”

{Smooch goodbye}

crzy cat lady bathrobe

This is awesome.

Wife pulls the ratty bathrobe a bit tighter and rebelts it because an important message is acoming…

“Now you come right home after work, don’t stop anywhere; no bars, no strip clubs, nothin’. You come right home, ya hear me?  I’m making something special for dinner tonight.”

Spouse: “OK”

He walks out to the car. Five seconds after leaving the house, before the car even backs out of the driveway, he totally forgot everything his wife said. Typical, right?

6:00 p.m.- no hubby

6:15 p.m – no hubby

6:30 p.m. Here it comes…the power texting, phoning, emailing commences.

{no response}

burned dinner in oven7:00 p.m. Dinner burns. wife drank all the wine, spends time sharpening knives. Candles burnt down to nubs, the smoke of one burnt out candle with its acrid scent floats through the air.

The scissors come out to make a few strategic alterations in his favorite t-shirt.

She opens another bottle of wine.

8:00 p.m. His car drives up, front door opens, “Hi honey, I’m home!”

“WHERE. WERE. YOU.”

‘Wha? Why is it so dark in here?”

Where. were. you. I called. I emailed. I texted.”

“Ohhh…didn’t I mention I’d be late today? I -uh- thought I did.”

-End scene-desperate housewives

OK, I could go on and on but the point is that when 99% of you get mad at your significant others when they’re late; when work or whatever–delays their arrival at the appointed hour–you all need to STOP WHINGING AND WHINING about it!!

Since the world revolves around me, take a walk around South Coast Plaza in my shoes (not the Gucci ones, tho. I wear a 5 1/2 and your feet’d stretch ‘em all out.) I was expecting the captain tomorrow, Thursday. I cleaned the house, washed the windows, planned and anticipated the whole homecoming–even made a new welcome home sign–and he called and said he’d be LATE.

HE’S GOING TO BE A MONTH AND A HALF LATE!

HE WON’T BE BACK UNTIL SOMETIME NEXT JANUARY 201THREE!!

I’m not saying not to be pissed at your inconsiderate spouse–I would never think to deprive you of that joy–just think about ME next time.

OKAY?

Your “late” and my “late” are two different things altogether.

Ahem. Now, to give equal time to my cultural background as a full blooded Jewish American Princess, may I formally present to you my Hannukah installation….with the one and only Hairy Hannukah Harry holding the torah. Eight candles represent the eight days that I had to wait before I could spend more of the captain’s hard earned money and buy a huge bottle of Chance by Coco Chanel (of course.)

Hannukah candles

Forget Elf Shaming, try Hannukah Harry!

Chance by Chanel

Of course I got the larger size. ‘Cos I’m worth it.

Best Christmas Decorations EVER-Haters, line up! Yoo hoo, Pinterest, I’m calling you!

I was inspired by other topnotch decorators who so kindly blogged about their DIY Christmas tree masterpieces.

In fact, I was so inspired and so thrilled to be stuck here all alone for the millionth time during the holidays that I created a masterpiece of my own, just for you, my loving internet family. S

o, Cousin Fur and Aunt Cheeky and Second Cousin Far Removed Tracy F for Fantastic, this one’s especially for you guys.

As I looked around my house, the elliptical seemed like it had the best “bones” to adorn.

Plus, it had a ready-made beverage holder!

I didn’t have any Maxi-pads or other feminine hygiene products–‘cos THAT ship has sailed–if you know what I mean. {Hey cool, a nautical reference jauntily tossed in. Damn, I’m good!} 

I added a toilet paper garland, a couple of Sophie Kinsella novels, two glittery seashell ornaments, a bottle of wine in the beverage holder, a white plastic poinsettia, a few EMPTY gift bags, and a festive plush Hello Kitty toy.

You can’t really see it very good, but there’s a chocolate bar too, which I luckily don’t have to share with anyone! I’m such a lucky girl! This is the best use I’ve found for the elliptical. Hanging freshly ironed shirts on it is a close second.

Carry on with your day; just take a moment to let it all sink in. Don’t HATE…Emulate.

Decorated for Christmas elliptical decorated elliptical

“…We sail tonight for Singapore, don’t fall asleep while you’re ashore” Tom Waits

Here’s today’s Daily Prompt Challenge: Hindsight.  Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your first post.

This is MY deja vu–my first blog re-do–obviously my life is a deja vu redo Groundhog Day repeat. The captain was gone again, I was alone for a very long time…I’ve learned to use tags since then–maybe THIS time it’ll get read! 

My First Blog Post

“…We sail tonight for Singapore, don’t fall asleep while you’re ashore” Tom Waits

Day 60: Alone again! It’s 8:00 p.m. on a Sunday evening and I just completed a copy editing assignment for a brilliant young neuroscientist. Since my first pink lock and key diary at the age of eight, I’ve filled notebooks and journals with my thoughts and observations, and even minored in creative writing in college, but the hardest thing in the world for me to do is to let go of my own words. (I’m a word hoarder. Hah!)

Update: Now I’m a word spewer–since I started blogging, I can’t STOP writing!

Although I easily re-write and proof and edit the work of others (and love to do it), my own words seem to be trapped somewhere; I am never quite satisfied with the finished product; I always feel that one more re-write is always needed—just one more, and then another and another–and I am determined to overcome this obstacle by blogging about my life as a wife of a Merchant Mariner. To other MM wives, I’d love to share our experiences, problems, frustrations, and solutions. There are thousands of us around the world—let’s create a community and help one another. What do we all do when our guys are gone? In what ways do our lives change when they’re away on assignment and when they’re home? How do we cope with the work-related absence of a spouse, whether it’s due to the military, MM, or any other career that involves a lot of travelling? Are you sad? Maybe relieved sometimes, if you were to be completely honest?

Update: Still hoping to create the community of Merchant Mariner Wives. I’ve met Snipewife who’s awesome, but there has to be others! Come out and play! 

Also, from time-to-time, I will review either a product I’ve used or a book I’ve read and share my opinion. I have great things to say about Sally Hansen Smooth and Perfect nail polish. I have it in Satin 04. It claims to hide ridges and imperfections with a “breathable porcelain-smooth finish.”  The website says it’s enhanced with ginseng, camellia oil, and lotus to promote stronger, healthier nails. I was really impressed with the finished product and it really does give a professional look. I’m going to try it in other colors and will let you know. Update: it worked great, very shiny, lasts a decent amount of time, and is inexpensive.

Here’s a mini-version of my back story: I’m a (was a) stay-at-home mom; when my son left for college, I stayed home. Don’t you think that’s funny? I do. That’s my standard joke/response when I’m asked what I “do”. Some people think it’s funny, some people think I’m obnoxious. Story of my life.

I’ve been married to a Merchant Mariner tugboat captain for about eighteen years, nineteen in February 2013. For the first fourteen years or so, our life was pretty ordinary and except for a few assignments that took him away for a week or so, his schedule kept him working in local ports.  In 2009, he changed companies and became the kind of Merchant Marine who goes out to sea for extended periods of time and travels to the four corners of the globe. When I tell people that my husband is a MM, most either think he is a “Marine Marine” or they don’t know what a Merchant Mariner is or what they do. My guy is an academy graduate (he won’t let me say which one ‘cos he’s paranoid that someone will figure out who he is) and has been working in the industry since graduation.

merchant marine sealWhat exactly is a Merchant Mariner?? For those of you who don’t know, the United States has a fleet of  Merchant Marine vessels,  ships which are owned and registered in the US and fly under our flag, but are separate from the military. (We are proud supporters of American-flagged vessels.) For example, car ships carry cars (obvs!), container ships hold cargo of TVs, bananas, soda ash, or even sand and gravel.

tug barge

NOT the captain’s tug, but a good photo of a tug pushing and pulling a barge. Tugs are hard little workers. I think I can, I think I can…

The Merchant Marine supplements the military in times of war, transporting goods and equipment to areas where it is needed. The people who crew Merchant Marine vessels are known as Merchant Mariners. Perhaps you remember hearing about the Maersk Alabama, a container ship seized by pirates a few years ago? Tom Hanks stars as the captain in the soon-to-be released film of the Navy Seals’ rescue of the ship and her crew. People who work on tugboats are called Merchant Marines. My guy is a tug and tow Master, although he has decades of experience on yachts, passenger vessels, and just about every type of boat, excluding fishing. No Deadliest Catch stories here! Tugboats pull (or push) barges all over the world, assist all types of ships in and out of their berths, and work in marine construction and the oil industry. It is really more complex that than, with a rich history and great anecdotes, but I am only the wife of, and my perspective is a different one.

Update: I begged and pleaded and guilted and flattered my captain to get him to audition for the Tom Hanks pirate film–they liked his initial video audition so much the casting director even sent sides (that’s a script to those of you who are NOT in the know like I am), but he didn’t get the part. He really should have. I was totes planning to go as his personal manager to Morocco where they were filming.

Back to my story…this lifestyle has been quite an adjustment. When he’s home, he’s a 24/7 at-home husband, just like being retired, and a different routine ensues–one of compromise and diplomacy. When he’s away at sea, I become a sort of “grass widow” (a woman whose husband is away from home frequently or for a long time, as on business) and have learned to structure my time alone to stay occupied while waiting for my best friend to come home. We modern mariner wives are really no different than wives of a few hundred years ago whose husbands went out to sea. We might have email access and satellite telephones, and are able to stay in touch more frequently than the occasional letter posted from faraway ports, but we are essentially on our own for a great deal of time. We have to be completely independent and solve problems and fix broken washing machines and cars and take out the trash and mow the lawn by ourselves, unless we have kids still living at home on whom we can foist these chores.

My confession du jour? I fully rely on retail therapy to help me cope. That doesn’t mean I actually PURCHASE a lot and spend a lot of money, rather, I am an accomplished fashionista BROWSER, (which should be an Olympic sport, as far as I’m concerned.) I have endurance and I possess stamina. I’m a hunter AND a gatherer. A shot of wheatgrass and I’m good to go for hours in my quest for a treasure, a good deal, or something I just have to have, and can’t live without; the next get. You know that Shopaholic film? I’ve seen it about a dozen times; it’s like a training film for me…  A day or so after my MM leaves, I fortify myself with a protein drink, a double shot of wheatgrass, and lay out my itinerary with quasi-military precision. I first make the rounds of my local stores; TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Target, Homegoods, just like a warm-up in my boot camp class, and then move on to H&M, Anthropologie, White Market/Black House. After that, I venture further away to the Nordstrom Outlet, DSW (yes!!!), and then our local mall for BloomiesNieman Marcus, and the boutiques-Tory Burch, Hermes, and the holy grail at South Coast Plaza in the OC…Chanel…Chanel…Chanel. I want/need a Chanel 2.55, the original black quilted bag with the chain strap. I am saving for a pilgrimage to Paris to pay homage to Coco at the original location. I. can’t. wait.

Update: I just can’t do it to y’all again, I know I’m probs on your last nerve with the whole Chanel thing, but it was cool for ME to tell myself, “Hey girl, your dream DID come true! Way to go to think it, believe it, and it will happen!”

Today, I was on the hunt for another blazer; blazers are super trendy and forever a classic fashion staple,  but it has to be the right blazer in the right color and cut. I ended up at a local consignment shop and while I didn’t find the desired blazer, I discovered the treasure of a Tory Burch sweater with gorgeous logo buttons. I found a similar style for around $250, and I got it for $40. It’s in perfect condition and looks like it’s never been worn. The pic doesn’t do it justice; it’s a rich cocoa brown with TB logo buttons and totes adorbs. Update: This is the same consignment shop where I just scored the vintage Valentino.tory burch sweater

Well, it’s back to editing for me and building my Etsy store where I can sell all the ropework jewelry and beachy décor we create. I hope you’ve enjoyed this first glimpse into my world.

Update: STILL working on that Etsy store! Almost done tho, hopefully so I won’t completely miss the holiday season…

Thanks to one and all who’ve read me and followed me and commented and offered guidance and humor and friendship. The world still revolves around me, I suppose it always will…alas, that’s the cross my long suffering tugboat captain must bear…And if you’ve un-followed me, don’t forget that Santa could leave a lump of coal in your stocking, so maybe y’all need to rethink that decision. Right???

 

Life Lessons from a Tugboat Man

Last night at 7:00 p.m. I received the call I was hoping for from my merchant marine tugboat captain husband. He was heading toward home, with an estimated ETA Thursday evening. Yeah! Joy! Visions of a naked tugboat captain was dancing in my head–uh–of course I meant sugarplums-hee hee, his sugarplums, that is. I need to stop that right now. This is not THAT kind of blog. Home for Christmas and home for Hannukah, which starts in a few days. “I’ll be home for Christmas” was playing over and over in my head. It was originally a song from World War II, but it’s still relevant. 

Maker of lists that I am, I got right on it. I organized the next few days into chores to do, projects to list not porncomplete, and his fave foods and beverages to get.
The time he’s on assignment is a weird limbo for me. I wait and wait and wait and wait. Don’t get me wrong, my days are filled with lots to do so I’m not just hanging around binge-Tweeting or anything. Hah! Of course that’s what I do, ‘cos the captain doesn’t approve of my Twitter habit. He gives me a dirty look and tells me to “stop laughing like a maniac” so I go cold turkey when he’s home. I went to sleep last night intending to wake up extra early and get to work with a renewed sense of purpose. With a cup of coffee in my hand, I checked my emails. This is what I read:

Bad news they just turned us around the ship needed us after all so we are headed back to______. No kidding either no idea what will happen now, crazy. We can’t believe it. LU

WTF??!! Are you f-ing serious? Again? You would think I wouldn’t be so shocked about an abrupt course change after all this time, right? I should be used to it by now, is that what you’re thinking? Well, I confess to being a lover of immediate gratification. I really hate waiting for anything (like that Chanel), and waiting for him to come home goes against my nature. I want him home NOW. Right NOW. Not whenever. I need a drink. Oh right, I can’t really drink anymore. Now what am I gonna do?

Not only is my MM a tug and tow master, he’s sailed boats all over the world. We had a ketch a few years ago but  I’m not much help; I like to let him do all the work. He’s definitely my better half (no argument there) and this is one of the life lessons he’s taught me (tried to teach me) using sailing as a metaphor. Life is like jibing and tacking and luffing, beating and running–all those things he does while I just sit there. I only move when he yells something about the boom hitting me. “You can’t fight the wind, you have to learn to work with it and manage it to reach your destination.” I get it, I get it. There’s no point being upset about something you can’t do anything about. You need to accept it and make lemonade out of lemons and all those other overused and tired platitudes. That doesn’t really make me feel any better, though. I had a list, I had plans, I had anticipated the end to my five weeks of enforced solitude!! I have my own words to live by…”When your husband’s delayed, buy some seashells.” That’s what I did today…seashells on a plate

I spent another couple of hours setting up my little tugboat photo sesh with every loose pearl I could find to create a new header for this blog. tugboat with pearlsAfter that, I stalked the captain on the live ships satellite map and emailed him to let him know I had my eye on him. He said he should have some updated info on Monday and I should “standby” which is another tugboat-y type term. I have to prepare myself for the call that says he’s on the plane and I need to go to the airport, which means I better take care of some much needed personal stuff, ya know what I mean?? If only I could cross my arms like I Dream of Jeannie, blink, and he’d miraculously appear! I just tried. No luck. Still here, still alone…Oh, and a final thought, you do NOT want to mess with a pissy Jewish princess. No, you do NOT want to go there. Trust me.

Lists. Google. Is it kismet?

I’m trying to figure out how to make sense of Google’s Hot Searches in the United States. What’s the big picture here? What does it all mean? What am I not learning? Why are we here? Here, as opposed to there.  Google has its finger on the pulse of the universe, but I’m just not getting it. Tell me what YOU think. All this randomness is taxing my brain.

Lindsay Lohan, 100,000+ searches. Can’t we all agree that we’re glad she’s not our daughter and move on? THIS GIRL NEEDS HELP. Haven’t we watched too many young people die too soon? There is no good end to this one. In my opinion–not that you asked for it–we should put all the same energy we’re obviously devoting to laughing (or crying) at LiLo into paying down our credit card debt with Rolling Jubilee.  Seriously, let’s help each other climb out of this financial quicksand.

Thursday Night Football, 100,000+ searches. Whatever.

Palestine, 50,000+ searches. OK, I guess there’s half the interest in global affairs as there is in whether Lindsay Lohan and her bloated, distorted face goes to jail again.

Powerball Winner, 1,000,000+ searches. We all wanted to know who it was and direct hate his way because our dreams were smashed into one million little pieces.

Zig Ziglar, 100,000+ searches. He was a motivational speaker. I guess on the day he died, his “alarm clock” didn’t ring. Google it, people.

I’m not interested in people who Google “lunar eclipse” so I’m gonna skip that one and move on to Jessica Simpson with 100,000+ searches. Is she pregnant again? Even I Googled that. I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to see those pix of her at the airport with her fiancé (get married already, would ya? What are you waiting for?) Is that loose shirt hiding a baby bump? What has become of me that I’ve stooped so far below my intellectual potential that I searched the series of photos to see if I could detect a baby bump. I really did.

I don’t know what it all means about the future of our country, but I’d hazard a guess that it means I have way too much free time on my hands.  Raise your hand if you know who Honey Boo Boo is. If you do, you’re worse off than I am.

P.S. And that’s the way to incorporate all of the top SEO words in one blog. Thank you, thank you very much.

VINTAGE VALENTINO FIND, y’all

The universe is dropping some love on me today, that’s for sure. Ommmm. After the gym, I stopped at my secret source consignment shop…somewhere in SoCal…I’ll never tell. But I bet DIL knows which one I went to. OMFG, first I spied the red polka dots (and I’m a sucker for polka dots), and then I looked at the label. Vintage Valentino-fur reals. Then I looked at the price. $40. Forty dollars, are you serious??? Finally I tried it on, and it fits. It’s too good to be true! It’s two pieces. The dress is a sort of a halter top, but very intricate. The top is a snug fit with a flowy skirt, enough to hug the curves but not to make anyone think you’re trying to hide a big belly or some of that good old menopause paunch. The long-sleeved coat is absolutely stunning with handmade fabric buttons. It’s silk, of course, and that famous Valentino red. So well made, it puts my Target outfits to shame. Now I have the perfect outfit to wear for the captain’s arrival! Check out the label–I was telling the truth.

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

January 1981–Balboa Park, San Diego, California At that time, my son’s dad and I lived near Balboa Park in a little section called Hillcrest/University Heights. There was a back way to the south side of Balboa Park through a canyon trail. That was a favorite walk for my two dogs, Sabrina and Beowulf. Sabrina was a Border Collie. Wolfie was an Akita/Malamute mix that I rescued when I was a junior at SDSU and he was about four weeks old. I bottle fed him and took him to classes in a baby front pack. Fully grown, he was over a hundred pounds and stood about thirty inches high. He had no idea how big he was and sat in my lap just like he did when he was a puppy. He was an awesome pet. They both attended graduation ceremonies with me, which got us into the local paper.

In January of 1981 I was seven months pregnant. I was very active, and continued to attend ballet classes and hike with my dogs. On this particular morning, we walked down 10th Avenue to Robinson and over to the end of Vermont and wound our way through the canyon trail. It was an enchanted place after a rainy winter with lush green vines, mature trees, and a seasonal creek–not at all desert-y  and dry like in this photo.There was probably tons of poison oak but I must have been lucky and avoided it. I remember there was a hill covered in nasturtiums and my dogs loved to roll around in them.  We walked for about thirty minutes and followed the trail toward the park and then turned around. We were halfway to the entrance at Vermont. It was quiet except for the far off hum of Highway 163. I heard a twig crack and ignored it, thinking it was a little critter. My dogs both alerted, ears pricked, hackles rising. More twigs cracked, and I turned around.  I will never forget the next few seconds. A man was sneaking up behind me. As soon as he saw me looking at him, he unzipped his pants and exposed himself. Moving swiftly was not an option being seven months pregnant and fifty pounds heavier, but I tried. I remember trying to be careful that I didn’t trip and fall. The faster I walked, the faster he walked, and he was closing the gap between us. Sabrina turned to growl at him and Wolfie placed himself between me and the man. I simply FROZE. I couldn’t move a muscle. My brain was screaming at me to run away from DANGER, and my legs felt like they were encased in concrete. The adrenaline was pumping, sending the proper primitive signals, but I panicked. Just before the man lunged at me, I picked up Sabrina because I didn’t want her to get hurt. Yes, I picked up my forty-five pound Border Collie, screamed at Wolfie to COME, and RAN THE WRONG WAY. I ran–lumbered--back into the ravine and NOT toward the street that was full of houses and humans and safety. I ran as best as I could with my huge baby-filled belly, until thankfully, a group of women came down from the park and the man disappeared. One of the women who lived nearby took me to her house and we called the police from there. I was so entrenched in fear and panic that I wasn’t able to provide them with a good description, other than noticing he was overweight and probably couldn’t run any faster than I could. This was before cell phones, and when the policemen drove us home, I called my mom. She was an RN and drove over to check my heart rate and blood pressure, as well as delivering a stern lecture about not putting my unborn baby in danger. Needless to say, there were no more solo canyon adventures. After more than thirty years, the re-telling of this potential rape? murder? robbery? still causes my heart to pound.