Do you know what this is?
Hint: It used to be my job when my mom baked.**
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 48,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
The Continuing Saga of Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man
Day 30…thirty days and thirty long nights since my tugboat man has been away.
He’s on the move–closer to land–and his cell works! He called last night. Other than the five minute satellite telephone call on our anniversary a couple weeks ago, this was the only time we’ve spoken. It was so unexpected. What a surprise to see his name pop up on my screen!
I always ask the same thing, “When are you coming home?” The answer this time was the answer he usually gives me; he doesn’t know, it could be now or in a month. “…you’ll be the first to know.” Dry humor.
The unpredictable life of a mariner
Some mariners have a regular schedule: three weeks on, three weeks off or two weeks on and two weeks off or even a month on and a month off. In the world of ocean-going tugs, there is no such certainty. One of my captain’s recent assignments was estimated to last two months and it dragged on for a full four months due to several factors–including weather related issues.
There’s always weather. Right now, the project he’s on has had a lot of weather delays. If there are storms, high winds, and high seas, it’s neither prudent nor safe for a tug to proceed, and that entails a wait or what they call “on standby” until it clears.
What do you think about that? Do you think that uncertainty is a relationship hardship?
Things weren’t always so idyllic for us.
Did you think it was?
Before we met (at the company where we both worked), the captain had plotted a career move to Hawaii. His goal; good surf and work, probably in that order. Our company was setting up operations in Hawaii and he was tapped to head up that division.
Guess what? A year later, he left. He did. He really did.
I do kinda still hate him for that sometimes…wouldn’t you?
I took him to the dock and had to say goodbye. I mean a real goodbye, maybe a forever goodbye; he had packed up all his belongings and they were on the boat with him.
It was horrible at the time and it makes me sad now thinking about how I felt that day…so alone and bereft.
Us–we–it didn’t end. Over the course of several months, we visited back and forth a half dozen times. I was unhappy with the whole situation–I had done my work, made my list, and he was IT. Hawaii’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love paradise–but that wasn’t part of MY plan.
Oh yes, he was IT for me but I couldn’t figure out how to persuade him to move back and allow our relationship to blossom. I was running out of options.
What if he met someone else?
One day I had just had enough. I was sick and tired of having a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not boyfriend. It wasn’t what I wanted. And do you know what I did?
I changed my telephone number.
That’s just the way I roll. My home number was a landline and I called the telephone company and changed it. I figured that when he called, he’d get the recorded voice saying, “The number has been disconnected and there is no forwarding number” and he’d become so distraught when he couldn’t reach me that it would be the catalyst he needed to come running back to me!
I didn’t have a cell phone. I had a beeper, a pager–remember those things? Now I think only drug dealers use them LOL. He had one, too.
I waited for him to beep me. I waited all day. I was DYING to know if he had TRIED to call. This was 1992-ish; email was in its infancy–I don’t believe we even had a home computer, and the computers at work didn’t have internet access.
This is the funny part.
I started power paging him; over and over again. I mean, like twenty times, thirty times.
WITH MY NEW NUMBER.
I went to so much trouble to change my phone number and I couldn’t wait twenty-four hours. When he called, I asked him if he had tried to call the old number and he said he had (still not sure of that) and asked why I did something crazy like that. I can’t remember my response–I WAS crazy at that point.
[The quick end to that story is that I flew to Hawaii the following weekend and from there we went to Kauai and he said that I had wasted my time changing my number because he had already come to the conclusion that he couldn't live without me and he didn't want to live without me and he proposed and came home for good two months later and we were married nine months after that.]
Fast forward to yesterday’s phone call.
After we said our initial hellos and all that, I asked him, “Do you ever get worried that I”ll change the number again and you won’t be able to reach me? Like when you’ve been gone a really long time and I’m getting tired of it? Like NOW?”
Him: (Laughing) “Not really, or if you did, you’d just call me right away to give me the new number like you did before.”
Now he’s turned into a sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not HUSBAND. The difference is that he always comes home–to me. Oh, and his paychecks come here even when he’s not. Hee Hee.
It cracks me up when I hear “Somebody That I Used to Know“. Gotye sings, “No you didn’t have to stoop so low. Have your friends collect your records and then change your number“…
So much depends
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
What is marriage all about? Based upon my personal research, experimentation, and analysis, I have the answers to your questions.
This is for all you young’uns who’re on the cusp of searching for a mate or for the older and hopefully wiser female who perhaps wants to dip a toe back into the dating pond.
Do you want a life partner with whom to share your laughs, your tears, your bout with intestinal flu, your pillow and cat-laden bed, and to assist in the breeding of your offspring?
What’s the secret to my long lasting (twenty-two years together, nineteen married) relationship?
The secret is…COMPROMISE.
Not really. I’m only messing with your head.
What works around here is torture and retaliation.
That’s it. Simple. Torture and retaliation.
It works like magic.
Case in point: My tugboat man goes out to sea for quite a while-usually two months or so at at time. When he returns, all he can think about (other than THAT) is surfing. Yes, he’s a big old surfer baby. Right now there are big winter waves pounding our coast.
This is not my captain because he’s not a dick dragger. That is NOT my term. I didn’t think of it but I wish I had. It’s what the young folks call a boogie boarder. Very descriptive, right? Think about it…
A couple days ago he left at 5:30 a.m. to surf in La Jolla. In case you’re a surfer yourself, waves were mostly six feet with an occasional eight foot set. I was just about on my last nerve with this surf obsesh, so I blocked the driveway with sawhorses and trash cans so he couldn’t pull in the driveway. Hee hee.He had to get out of his truck, move the obstacles, and then pull in.
After that, I used my wiles to torture him into building four more shelves for my lovely collection of shells and rocks.
And that brings us to today. Sunday. I guess the honeymoon’s over.
I was out in the garage chatting up the hubs about tonight’s dinner menu: freshly baked French bread, Caesar salad with my signature dressing, and thought I’d make some Frico at the same time that I make the croutons. I asked him:
“Have you ever had Frico? Do you know what it is?”
“Yeah, I know what a Frico is, I’m married to one.”
How RUDE. HOW RUDE!
I was being the best wife ever; I brought him lunch on a tray while he was working on restoring his rowboat and building yet another shelf (I love shelves, OK?) and THIS is the attitude I have to deal with!? After I brought him a wheatgrass smoothie, fresh pear cut in half and filled with nonfat cottage cheese dusted with cinnamon–and to make it extra-special, a smiley face out of fresh blueberries–he retaliates with a comment like that? Oh, he’ll pay all right, oh yes he will. We’ll see who’s FREAKY when he takes me to South Coast Plaza tomorrow. We’ll test the limits of his stamina and endurance throughout the huge shopping center. We’ll whet our whistle at one end with Bloomingdales as we march determinedly toward my personal holy grail, (do you hear the trumpets sounding?) as we round the corner to….Chanel–Chanel, the holder of my bliss.
Torture and retaliation-the stuff of which great marriages are made.
Frico, not Freako
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Using largest holes on a 4-sided grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner. Stir together cheese, flour, and pepper. Arrange tablespoons of cheese 4 inches apart on liner, stirring cheese in bowl between tablespoons to keep flour evenly distributed. Flatten each mound slightly with a metal spatula to form a 3-inch round.Bake frico in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on sheet on a rack, then carefully transfer each crisp (they are very delicate) with metal spatula to rack to cool completely.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Finishing up three or four posts that aren’t cooperating. They’re not funny enough, they have no point, no denouement, no zing–nada. Instead of a rational thought process, I’ll offer up a scattered smorgasbord of tasty appetizers instead of a whole meal.
Remember these cats?
Our Bandit used to talk to us that way. After a while, I started answering her back. She’d say, “Meow“, I’d respond, “Meow”. She’d stroll into the kitchen and greet me with a head nod and a brief “Mew”. I’d imitate her head nod and answer her. She tried so hard to communicate with us! If we didn’t go to bed at the same time every night–if we stayed up a bit longer than usual–Bandit marched into the family room with an outraged sense of purpose-maintain eye contact–and kind of growly-meow, walk a few steps toward the bedroom, and then walk back to us. If we didn’t follow her, she’d leave in a huff and wait on the bed and if we didn’t move quick enough, one swipe of her her paw let us know she was pissed. She had the sharpest claws. They spoke volumes.
One day, the captain said something to me and I didn’t hear him. Instead of saying, “What did you say?” I said, “Meow?” He seemed to understand what I meant because he repeated himself. That one meow led to complete conversations in cat language. Angry meows, grunting meows, questioning meows, and mews in agreement. We just have to remember not to do it when anyone else is around. I’m not sure many people would understand. Meow?
We worked out at the gym this morning. Before we left, I asked the hubs to take a couple pictures of me. See the hairband with sparkles and the Hello Kitty slippers? Starfish?
Late this afternoon I heard a hawk in the eucalyptus tree across the street. It let me get really close for these pics! The colors were magnificent. I wish I took better photos.
Chocolate cake was requested by my tugboat man; I whipped up an easy one bowl version. It was sooo good! It’s lowfat but really moist. The recipe is below.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Spread with glaze.
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 tbsp. water or coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens; do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, gradually add confectioners sugar; beat with wire whisk until smooth.
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