On The Way To Yellowstone: Princess Rosebud And Her Tugboat Man

This summer, we embarked upon an Odyssean journey to fulfill my life’s dream of seeing the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.

It was an amazing ten days of a ife-changing, life-defining adventure, made bittersweet by the current slaughter of wolves in America.

Hub was the driver; I was the navigator, photographer, and keeper of a journal chronicling the three-thousand mile round trip.

We returned home and hardly had time to unpack and reminisce about what we saw and experienced when my merchant mariner got called back to work sooner than anticipated.

Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife…

Photos of magnificent peaks near Zion National Park on the way through Nevada and Utah.

roadtrip2 roadtrip1 roadtrip3……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Stop Wolf Hunts Now

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

“I didn’t win the Powerball Jackpot”, says Princess Rosebud

Source: wchingya.com

Source: wchingya.com

Yoo hoo! It’s me, I’m back!

Sigh, we’re not the Powerball Lottery Jackpot winner, although we actually bought a couple of tickets which we never do, and I had mentally chosen an array of colors for my new Chanel and Hermes handbags — pink, white, turquoise, orange… and my tugboat man had picked out the locations for our new homes so he could follow the surf year-round.

Oh well.

This blog thing — it’s just like riding a bicycle, right? Hold on while I climb back on that seat and clip my shoes in the pedals.

Although I’m a little rusty, let’s see if I remember how to do this…my tagline is “beguiling pearls of wit, wisdom, and whimsy — with attitude.”

Hopefully, I haven’t completely forgotten…and I hope you haven’t completely forgotten ME.

It feels like it’s been sooo long since I sat down with my Mac on my lap to write a post — in my favorite writing spot — looking out the patio doors to the deck and beyond, listening to the birdsong…Pencils-lined-up

If we still wrote with pencils, you could picture me with them all lined up, sharpened to a point, awaiting the construct of a thought to translate into letters and words.

Where is YOUR favorite location to write?

UPDATE:

My tugboat man came home last Thursday evening – my son was delivered to me via Southwest Airlines on Sunday (Mother’s Day) and flew away on Friday night.

Saturday was full of cleaning and laundry, finding the clothes my son forgot to pack that he’ll probably need me to send to him — why is it that he can write a 250 page dissertation with an amazing amount of detail, but is so forgetful of the minutiae of daily life? Ah, the absent minded professor syndrome in action, right?

I took tons of pics of our busy week of hiking and birthday partying and surfing (them, not me).  I was baking and cooking and cleaning.

When I’m here all alone, I forget how much work is involved in caring for a family.

Can you believe that they expect to eat ALL DAY LONG? It’s true. Geez. And they want to do that EVERY DAY —  it is SOOO annoying!

Princess Rosebud wearing glasses.

Princess Rosebud wearing glasses.

I’m currently hard at work on several posts; our hike to Crystal Cove, my Hello Kitty birthday party, the one-year anniversary of my son’s commencement, and a pictorial of my box collection — I counted about thirty of ‘em in all shapes and sizes.

Stay tuned for a little husband snark, too. Just sayin’…

How To Stay in Shape if You Work On a Tugboat

Have you given any thought to the daily life of a mariner working aboard a tug at sea?

wheelhouse

Wheelhouse or bridge on a tug

It’s a fairly sedentary life with bursts of physical labor, but mostly there’s a lot of sitting and standing, as in “standing watch”. Standing watch or watchstanding refers to the division of qualified personnel necessary to operate a ship continuously.

What is Standing Watch?
On a typical sea-faring vessel like an oceangoing tugboat, specific crewmembers keep watch on the bridge (also known as the wheelhouse) and the engine room. It’s a twenty-four hour, seven days a week job. Time is divided up as “watches” so that every one is on a rotation.

Someone has to be there all time, or else it’d be like a car rolling down the road with no driver!

On a tugboat, there is usually a team of two bridge partners, a lookout and an officer or mate who is responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. Safe navigation means keeping the vessel on course and away from dangers as well as collision avoidance from other vessels. The engineer ensures that the tug will continue to operate around the clock. A secondary function of watchkeeping is to respond to emergencies on the tug or involving other ships.

When they’re not standing watch or working, the crew sleeps and eats. They watch videos, play video games, and read books.  Most tugboats aren’t large enough to hold exercise equipment like a treadmill or an elliptical; consequently, there are few opportunities to exercise and maintain good health habits.

My tugboat man developed his own workout routine when he’s unable to go to the gym and he’s stuck on a tug for days – weeks – sometimes even months.

Neither one of us are licensed trainers but we both share a lifelong love of being physically fit and healthy. He used to be on a semi-professional soccer team, and has always worked out, lifted weights, martial arts, surfs, skis, and swims. I’ve taken ballet most of my life, taught aerobics, and work out almost every day. We hike and bike and ski as our activities together.

Not my hubs abs, sigh...

Not my hubs abs, sigh…

This is a basic but comprehensive cardio and strength training routine. Unless there are dumbbells or weights on board, he doesn’t travel with them, so this routine doesn’t use them. Because of the steel decks, there isn’t a lot of jumping around because that surface is too stressful for knees and other joints. If he can’t do jumping jacks safely; for instance if the tug is bouncing up and down in a storm, he’ll do high knees, high steps, or kicks. He brings a jump rope but can’t always use it.

Actually, this is a good routine to follow if you need a workout while you’re in a hotel that doesn’t have a gym, or even if you’re not a member of a gym. Add a five or eight (or more  – pound weight and a set of curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder presses, and that’s all you need to be on your way to good health and strong bones.

A Tugboat Captain’s Basic Guide to Exercise
Performed as a circuit; depending on fitness level: two to five times. Starting with one circuit is 100% OK. It’s important to move around and be active at any level.

Start with three to five minute stretch.

  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 25 squats
  • 25 burpees
  • 20 lunges (alternate legs after 10 lunges)
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 25 squats
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 20 lunges (alternate legs after 10 lunges)
  • 25 burpees
  • 50 push-ups (5 sets of 10)
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 50 push-ups (5 sets of 10) Alternate regular push-ups with triceps push-ups.
  • 50 sit-ups
  • If he can use his jump rope, he’ll end the session with a three-minute jump, or a count to 500.

Don’t forget to always end with a series of stretches.

Check out this video for some great chest exercises:

Countdown to Sexy Time – Part One

My fall–not from grace but off the counter–didn’t slow me down, but it certainly kept me on terra firma for the remainder of my pre-tugboat man welcome home preparations.

I thought you might like to accompany me on my journey of self-imposed indentured servitude over the last couple of days:

  • Washed the windows, inside and out, including taking the screens out and washing them.
  • I paid special attention to the patio door tracks. I hate dirty tracks, don’t you?

    Window Washing

    Tools of the trade: toothbrush, skewer, bleachy stuff, glass cleaner.

  • Mowed the lawn
  • Reseeded the lawn
  • Cleaned out the pond, filled it with water, and plugged in the pump
  • Trimmed the vines on the arbor which involved standing on a three-step ladder but I was very careful. :)
  • Washed our deck with a mop and Murphy’s Oil Soap; it got messed up during our rain last week. (See, it does rain in SoCal!)Rain in SoCal

I have a great vacuuming tip…
Before a special event like my always gone husband returning or guests are coming, or you just want a lovely smelling home, saturate a cotton ball with your favorite scent. It could even be vanilla extract or lavender, but I spray “Chance” by Chanel on the cotton. It’s a bit extravagant, but lasts a long time. The next step is to actually vacuum up the scented cotton ball and commence vacuuming! Your entire house will smell absolutely delicious. You know how the bag can get that really icky smell? The scented cotton ball freshens the bag, too!

Tugboat Man Update:
It’s less than forty-eight hours until I leave for my billionth trip to the airport. His flight arrives Thursday at 3:15 p.m. I’ll have to leave at 2:30 or a bit earlier if there’s traffic.

Stay Tuned for Part Two on Wednesday
Baking and perfumed sheets…I bought him a couple of shirts for a welcome home gift and I’ll be hauling out the welcome home signs.

Call me maybe

February 20, 1994weddingpicwithed

Today’s our 19th wedding anniversary!

Here’s a picture from our wedding. That’s not my tugboat man; it’s Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass. Handsome guy, huh? Dreamy…sigh.

Nineteen years ago –WOW– it seems like it was only yesterday.  I remember looking everywhere for a wedding gown and I found that one at a thrift store–what a treasure! It was ten dollars. I couldn’t believe my luck. It looked like it had never been worn. It was exactly what I had envisioned; romantic, lacy, old-fashioned.

My girlfriend worked for a floral warehouse and her gift to me was that magnificent bouquet and all the wedding flowers.

It was a really lovely day.

Our house landline rang at 7:00 a.m. this morning. It was the princess phonecaptain calling from his sat phone to wish me a happy anniversary!

I haven’t heard his voice since he left and it was a special treat to have a real conversation.

With all the technology we take for granted in our day-to-day lives, it’s amazing to think that there are still places that don’t have full access to incessant communication.

I’m kinda used to delayed celebrations and I know we’ll make up for it when he returns so I’m not too sad.  I’ll just keep the champs on ice a bit longer, that’s all!

I always try to put a positive spin on situations like this–to think about it as something to look forward to, not something I’m missing or deprived of. Glass half full and all that.

funny-pictures-auto-thug-life-tug-469509

Come Rain or Come Shine

It’s a misty, rainy, foggy Saturday in Southern California. My tugboat man only has about ten days left before he leaves again for a deep ocean assignment. We’re working as an effective team organizing a lot of year-end paperwork. We’ve got some reggae music on while we slice open envelopes, creating piles to save and piles for the recycle bin.  We’re drinking tea with ginger cookies. He’s having a ginseng tea; the last of his stash from Korea. My Yogi Anti-oxident Green Tea bag is memorable and prophetic today:

You must know that you can swim through every tide and change of time.

So true, tea bag, so true. I’m not a very good swimmer, but I can count on my tugboat man to help keep me afloat just as he once told me I was his anchor.

Happy Saturday, y’all!
Sinatra sings, “Come Rain or Come Shine”

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.

 

Yes, I really AM that annoying.

And every once in a while, it’s really black and white.

While I’m absorbed in the embracing and releasing of my inner beeyotch, there’s an overriding theme that’s emerging around Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

It seems that I am annoying in different ways to different people. Some might find that to be a negative character trait and should be “worked on.”

Not me.

I consider my annoying self to be a value-added option or a gift with purchase–to the liberation of my beeyotchiness.

There are some aspects of parenting and marriages that don’t reveal themselves right away. Sometimes it takes a child moving out to give him/her perspective and a spouse can also evoke a similar epiphany.

Last night my shining bright star boy child called and I was APPARENTLY nagging (his word) him about his eating habits and not eating enough. A great multi-tasker, he was chewing while chatting and told me he was eating a Subway sandwich. Always a caring and concerned and nurturing mom, I told him it didn’t have enough calories for a skinny boy like him and he needed to take bcare of himself and eat higher quality protein and more frequently, blah blah blah.

I said, ‘Maybe I should come back there and cook for you.” “No, that’s OK.”  “Why not? I would have loved it if my mom cooked for me.” “No, I can cook for myself” “But DO you?”

“Were you always this annoying?”

That about sums it all up for me, and anyway, the answer is yes, I have always been this annoying.

In fact, the captain asked me the same exact question yesterday. I was bugging him while he was hiding from me working on a project–and he said, “Do you have any idea how annoying you are?”

To which I answered, “Yes, I am very well aware of how annoying I am. This is not new information to you. I did not suddenly emerge from my chrysalis and become an annoying person. I didn’t misrepresent myself. You knew full well what you were getting yourself into more than twenty years ago. So stop complaining. Your complaining IS annoying.”

“Once in a while, you should try to not be so annoying.”

Like really, like does he not know by now with whom he’s dealing? I was gonna say, does he not know who he’s dealing with, but that’s not proper English, so if it sounds strange, whatever. Deal with it. Oopsie, just let a bit of my beeyotchiness out, like a silent but deadly you know.

I felt picked on and since I’m only sixty inches tall, I feel a good old Napoleon Complex simmering just below the surface, ready to boil over real fast, rear its ugly head, and take no prisoners.

I added that snide remark to his Frico/Freaky sharp-witted comment of the other day. Like an elephant, we women don’t forget. We just tally up the misdeeds in one of our brain’s compartments, and when it fills up, watch out.

Thar she blows!

Here’s a little confession. Pissing me off is expensive. He paid dearly and with much pain. He was forced under duress to accompany me to South Coast Plaza in Orange County. I’ve  spoken of this place before, I know, but it really is a shrine, a shopping mecca, a retail temple of the beautiful–and Chanel, or as my new friend calls it, ChaCha. (Check out her blog, reversecommuter–she’s awesome.) I love Hermes and Valentino and Versace and Gucci, but Chanel holds my heart.

It’s a beautiful drive to SCP and takes about fifty minutes or so. We could see the surf at Trestles on one side and snow-covered mountains to the east. We parked at Bloomingdales. I wanted to check out their Chanel department and compare it to the actual Chanel shop’s designs. I know I just got my Grand Tote Shopper in November, but she was a bit lonely and I thought a little sister (in other words, a matching wallet) would make her happy.

I pulled out all the stops on this one.

My crazy came out in spectacular form. Here’s what I said to the captain. “My mom called and she said that I really need a matching wallet.”

Hold on. Stay with me. Don’t stop reading now! You might be thinking to yourself, “That doesn’t sound too crazy.”

Well…when I tell you that my mom died in 1989, you might think differently, huh?

So…treading lightly here–very lightly, the captain said, “Tell your mom that saying things like that is not very helpful and you also can tell her from me that she raised a very spoiled daughter.”

I walked away and came back a few minutes later.

“My mom said you’re annoying.”

(We chat with my mom all the time as if she were still here, so it’s not that unusual to bring her into a convo.)

Back to SCP. Focus! Bloomies didn’t have a huge selection and the sales staff was EXTREMELY unpleasant and didn’t seem to really want us invading their space, so we left.

We took the escalator down to the first floor. As we were descending, I looked behind me…and there it was in all of its black and white magnificence. I swear the place was glowing, beckoning me in.

I almost forgot hubs was with me.

Marie greeted us as we walked in and made a grand tour of the salon. She commented on the beauty of my GST. I asked to see the black caviar wallet that would complement my bag. She escorted us to the proper glass case, and then beckoned me to go behind the counter where she OPENED ALL THE DRAWERS AND INVITED ME TO TAKE ALL THE TIME I WANTED TO LOOK AT THE DOZENS OF WALLETS IN EVERY COLOR AND PATTERN. My face turned  bright red, I almost broke out in tears. The captain parked his ass somewhere–at this point I had no idea he existed.  I WAS IN HEAVEN. Pink and blue and green and red and quilted and patent leather and imprinted with Coco’s signature camellias.

I touched and stroked and smelled them all.

With a nod from my tugboat captain–KING OF ALL MEN- best husband in the whole world–I chose my prize. When Marie asked if this was for a special occasion, my wonderful hubs shrugged and said it was “Just because.” He’s really a very special guy, my tugboat man.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I was a very appreciative and grateful recipient.

Chanel south coast plaza

Hubs isn’t a very good photographer and he would only take one pic

On the way home from SCP

On the way home from SCP

So beautifully packaged, I didn't want to open it!

So beautifully packaged, I didn’t want to open it!

Chanel ribbon too!

Chanel ribbon too!

Can you hear the angels singing? Isn't it brills?

Can you hear the angels singing? Isn’t it brills?

chanelwallet2

A Grateful Monday

As part of my 2013 resolution to release my inner beeyotch, Helen Reddy‘s inspiredI am Woman helps me stay on track!

I would like to thank three awesome women for their creativity and imagination, especially since it’s all about ME!

1. Rarasaur’s delightful interpretation of ME! Check out her incredible blog and just try to figure out how her mind works! She’s another SoCal girl and she loves cats! And she’s only 60 inches tall just like me! I love her a lot and you will too. Rarasaur doodle enchanted seashells

2. IB DesignsUSA banner in nautical flags, because sometimes the best answer is “Meow”.  Kathy loves all things nautical and is a lovely lady with a great business. International maritime navy signal flags are a colorful way to spell names, messages, or to decorate your home. Give a personalized signal flag banner or wall hanging as a nautical wedding decoration, an unusual boating Christmas gift, or just for the plain fun of it!

Meow banner

3. In response to a tweet of mine bemoaning my lack of mail–no packages, no invitations to a ball, no requests to attend a movie premiere with Tina Fey–wonderful, awesome Red Dirt Kelly sent me a t-shirt!! I was so excited to return home (from my all day torture of my tugboat man as I dragged him from store to store at South Coast Plaza in the OC until he was so exhausted that he was at my mercy and he begged me to buy something, anything from Chanel so he could go home) and find a package to open and it was this t-shirt! Everyone needs to read the Red Dirt Chronicles!

reddirtkelly

Don’t miss Tuesday’s exciting blog! I’ll share an in-depth reportage of our day at South Coast Plaza, a day of torture and retaliation, culminating in a new Chanel acquisition!
Beeyotches RULE!

“I am sorry, I do not talk to press, but I am fine.”

I’ve been out-beeyotched by a lovely beeyotch herself, Jen of Life on the Sonny Side  who may not have done it on purpose, but corrected my incorrect spelling of beeyotch. I bow to her superiority. That’s role model material, people.

I vow to say this all the time, whether in appropriate circumstances or not.

Since my only resolution for 2013 is to release my inner beeyotch, I’ve been on the lookout for inspiration. These are some of my heroines.

naomi campbell

Photo from naomicampbell.com

According to TMZ, Naomi Campbell reportedly suffered a torn ligament in her leg when she was mugged on a street in Paris. The supermodel was hailing a cab when she was attacked and robbed by multiple assailants reports the NY Post. It is thought they were after her jewelry. The attack left Campbell in a wheelchair and crutches. The Post says Campbell’s boyfriend, Vladimir Doronin, has upped her security since the incident. When called for comment about the incident, Campbell told the paper, “I am sorry, I do not talk to press, but I am fine.” 

michelle dockery

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary

Downton Abbey‘s Lady Mary exemplifies the refined upper class beeyotchiness to which I aspire. Oh, if ONLY I hadn’t been born in the USA! I just know my life journey could have included a dead Turkish ambassador or two.

Look at the beeyatchy way Anna crosses her arms. She ain't messing around@

Look at the beeyotchy way Anna crosses her arms. Guurl ain’t messing around!

And then there’s Anna Wintour, the beeyotchiest beeyotch of all. MEOW! According to Forbes Magazine, the most powerful woman in fashion continues to use her sway in politics. This year the Obama bundler teamed up with actress Sarah Jessica Parker to cohost a $40,000-a-plate dinner with the President, attended by a glittering array of designers and Hollywood icons. Some speculate she’s after an ambassadorship in London, but Wintour says these are just rumors–she’s quite happy in her current job. Vogue, which reaches 11.4 million readers in print and an average 1.2 million monthly visitors online, opened its digital archives in 2011 including articles, photos and ads dating back 120 years. It’s a thorough fashion history book and a new revenue stream–an annual b-to-b subscription price is $3,250. Wintour has edited the magazine since 1988 and is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.