Zemanta is Back!

WordPress bloggers, were you as saddened as I was when Zemanta disappeared from our writing template sidebar?

I know I was super disappointed. :(

Zemanta was my FRIEND.

Zemanta

Zemanta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I loved the personal assistance with tags, related content, links, and photos.

I depended on Zemanta especially as a beginning blogger in 2012.

Zemanata was my writing guru — I like to think he’s sitting in the living room next to me as I type —  shirtless,  gently guiding my hand to choose correct tags while he performs his squats and lunges and pushups (oh wait, my fantasy intrudes, ha ha!) …and imparting  a lot of knowledge about the mysterious world of SEO in the process.

Well, it’s BACK like MAGIC!

Just go here to Zemanta and download the version that works for you.

Zemanta is awesome, just sayin’.

(Now take off your shirt, Z,  and show me those biceps..)
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P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post, totally my own opinion!

Just a Cup of Coffee – Part Two

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

Click to read Part One HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was it luck or serendipity? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I still have no idea.

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

Which do you think it is?
_______________________________________________________________

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

We mirror each other.

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

You know you looked exactly the same.

You KNOW you did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here comes the good part, y’all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[pause]

That did it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red lights flashed on and off in my head.

DANGER AHEAD! STOP THE MISSION! RUN!

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

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

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

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

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

“So…you’re a surfer?”

That is most definitely NOT on my list.

“I like to think I am.”

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

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

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

This is where it gets weird.

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

He looked at me and smiled.

I felt lit from within.

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

I sighed. He sighed. I sighed again.

That was IT.

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

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

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

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

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

“When? Tonight?”

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

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

And with that, I drove off.

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

I raced home and power-called all my girlfriends.

I was in panic mode.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I took a deep breath and the words tumbled out,

“IthinkIamfallinginlovewithyou
andwonderifyoufeelthesame
way–orifitisjustme.”

“I mean, I really need to know.”

[Pause]   [More pause]

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

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

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

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

I discovered my soul mate, my tugboat man.

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

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

Christina Perri, “Miles”

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

Throwback Thursday: What The Heck IS This Thing?

Do you know what this is?

Hint: It used to be my job when my mom baked.**

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

walnut-pieces**P.S. It’s a nut grinder! Did you guess correctly?

Happy New Year! 2013 in review

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.

Click here to see the complete report.

Smooth sailing? Not always.

The Continuing Saga of Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man

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

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

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

The unpredictable life of a mariner

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

Weather

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

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

Things weren’t always so idyllic for us.

Did you think it was?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if he met someone else?

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

I changed my telephone number.

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

MotorolaPager

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

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

This is the funny part.

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

WITH MY NEW NUMBER.

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

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

Fast forward to yesterday’s phone call.

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

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

HA HA.

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

Final Words

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

The Boy Who Is My Heart. So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller

An homage to William Carlos Williams

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On a bitterly cold afternoon, my tugboat man and I embarked on our annual yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California while he trimmed the eucalyptus and mulberry trees.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
I saw bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles suffused it with a gleaming radiance through the brown. steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discover in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect child. 
I gently brushed away twenty-five years of encrusted soil and sand.steamroller2
sandboxI was engulfed in a wave of memory. I was there. I saw him–my four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  I saw him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.looking down from the hill
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

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!