“You’re a princess, Grandma!” More good chat with the T-man

“Grandma, I camped in the backyard last night!”

“Did you really?”

“Yes, for real, Grandma, not pretend. In a tent and my sleeping bag!!”

“Wow, T, that sounds like so much fun.”

“It WAS fun, Grandma. But today is a rainy day, see?” As he turns the phone toward the window so I could indeed see the rainy Pacific Northwest Sunday.

“What do you want to be for Halloween?”

“Grandma, I already told you a million times, I want to be a Gruffalo.”

“You want to be a buffalo?”

“NO GRANDMA, you are silly! You KNOW I always wanted to be the GRUFFALO. I told you. NOT a buffalo!”

“OK. If you’re going to be a Gruffalo, what should I be for Halloween?”

“You’re a princess, Grandma, that’s what you are.”

“I’m a princess?”

“Yes, Grandma, that’s what you are!”

OK, stop. Just STOP. Drop mic. Heart exploding.

“That is a very kind thing you said. Thank you, I WILL be a princess for Halloween.”

Out of the mouths of babes, right? Totally unprompted. No coaching. Is this how he thinks of me? I really have died and gone to heaven. My job here on Earth is done.

And it should come as no surprise that I’ve started working on my costume. It’s not like I don’t already have a tiara or two hanging around Casa de Enchanted Seashells…

I vow to be the princessiest Grandma ever.

If only there was a Prince Charming somewhere…

PS The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is one of T’s favorite characters.

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Russian Ballet Theatre’s AMAZING Swan Lake

I’ve seen most of the greats: Margot Fonteyn, Maria Tallchief, Rudolf Nureyuv, Galina Ulanova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov with Natalia Makarova.

THIS version of Swan Lake with the Russian Ballet Theatre did not disappoint!

The RBT production captivated us with Russian traditions while adding new choreography, hand painted sets, and beyond beautiful hand sewn costumes.

Getting ready! Lots of excitement in the air. I love to sit close enough to hear the sound of toe shoes on the stage.

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido was packed; it’s lovely to see a great response to ballet. This was the opening night of their US tour.

Olga Kifyak as Odettel/Odile accomplished the Holy Grail–I believe we counted 32 successful fouettes, which is every ballerina’s fantasy to attain. Olga owned the stage with her powerful and ethereal dance and the most amazing extension.

Head Jester Mikhail Ovcharov seemed to fly through the air with his cabrioles and grand jetes–a definite audience favorite.

PLEASE check out the tour schedule below and don’t miss it!!!

For those of you who need a refresher about Swan Lake, it’s based on a German fairy tale. Tchaikovsky’s score tells the tragic but timeless love story of Prince Siegfried and a lovely swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of a sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming on a lake of tears and her nights in her beautiful human form. Odile is the black swan, and of course there’s a happily-ever-after ending.

Link to website: https://www.russianballettheatre.com/
Link to tickets: https://my.artcenter.org/single/SYOS.aspx?p=4353

Swan Lake: Magical and Bewitching

Since the original Angel Boy and DIL named the newest member of their family Charlotte in honor of my mom, I started thinking about mommy and how much I miss her.

We had so much fun together, whether it was shopping (OBVIOUSLY) or cleaning house together (she made it into a game which is why I’m the crazy person who loves to wash windows), or when we went to the symphony or ballet.

I started ballet when I was eight at the Detroit School of Ballet and continued taking lessons for pretty much my entire life. Oh, I was never as good as Anna Pavlova or Prima Ballerina Margot Fonteyn or Maria Tallchief or any of the primas that I worshiped, but I’m pretty good even though I wasn’t a phenom and I had a less than insane turnout. Here in SoCal I studied with Madame Kaliskis and took a few classes with the California Ballet Company and at USIU. I actually danced until I was seven months pregnant and could no longer move, haha.

My old and well worn pointe shoes…
Link to a previous post about my love for ballet and all things pink. https://enchantedseashells.com/2017/03/03/theres-nothing-like-pink-ballet-shoes/

The corps de ballet, Russian Ballet Theatre

My love for ballet never waned. Who doesn’t love tulle and toe shoes? Duh.

My mom and I attended many performances. We saw Margot Fonteyn and Maria Tallchief and Rudolf Nureyuv and Galina Ulanova My mom had actually seen Anna Pavlova and the great Nijinsky. As she remembered that magical experience, she said it was as if he defied gravity.

The last famous dancers we saw together were Mikhail Baryshnikov with Natalia Makarova.

One of the final experiences she wanted to share with Angel Boy before she died was front row seats to a local performance of the Nutcracker. Somewhere in a old cardboard box there’s a photo of us. It’s beautiful and so sad at the same time.

Other countries have brought us amazing dancers but no one has done it more consistently than Russia. When I heard that the Russian Ballet Theatre would be in town on September 19 for one performance of Swan Lake, I was so excited. It’s absolutely my favorite ballet and I can’t wait to go! It’s too bad Angel Boy 2.0 isn’t visiting, or I’d continue the lovely tradition that my mom started and introduce him to the world of dance so he could be transported by music, the art of choreographic perfection, and the human body in its purest form.

About the Russian Ballet Theatre:

Russian Ballet Theatre is passionate about producing shows that adorn Russian Ballet traditions in dance, sets and costume making.  The new production of Swan Lake, is choreographed by Nadezhda Kalinina (Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro Lirico, Omsk State Music Theatre) who lovingly retouched the oldest St. Petersburg version of the ballet.

Hand-painted sets and over 150 hand-sewn costumes were created by young, accomplished designer Sergei Novikov (Mariinksy Theatre, Omsk State Music Theatre, St. Petersburg State Music Hall) in the tradition of the great masters. SFX makeup by Award-winning Irina Strukova (Crazy Rich Asians,Netflix, HBO) will make ballet devotees feel as though they have seen the beautiful Swan Lakefor the first time!

The Russian Ballet Theatre will donate a portion of ticket sales from its 2019 tour to local public schools through a collaboration with the Plus1 initiative. The ballet is partnering with DonorsChoose.org, an online platform where organizations can choose the school they’re donating to, and $1 per ticket sold will go local teachers in or around each city of the tour. For more information, please visit, www.DonorsChoose.org

Who wants to join me? This will most definitely be an unforgettable evening.
How many fouettes will we see??? (Insider comment.)

Link to website: https://www.russianballettheatre.com/
Link to tickets: https://my.artcenter.org/single/SYOS.aspx?p=4353

A couple of amazing Swan Lake performances:
Tchaikowsky – Swan Lake, Act 4 – Pas de deux Rudolf Nureyev – Margot Fonteyn – 1966

Anna Pavlova – 1905

Move over, Princess Rosebud; there’s a new princess in town!

Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte!

August 26, 2019!

Eight pounds, seven ounces of perfection.

She was named after my wonderful mommy. What an amazing honor!

I can only imagine how happy she is up there in heaven or wherever her free spirit has taken her. She died when the original Angel Boy, was only about seven years old, so she never was lucky enough to see him get his PhD or get married or be the best daddy ever to Angel Boy 2.0.

Check out these photos of Theo and Charlotte 3.5 years apart. They look like twins! That’s strong DNA for sure.

So far, her only accomplishments are eating and sleeping. Big brother looks intrigued…

What do you wanna bet she’ll have curly hair?

A Tale of Two Dresses

Do you ever take a moment or two out of your busy day or before you close your eyes at night and wonder who in the hell Princess Rosebud really is?

So do I, my friend, so do I.

Toward that goal, ponder upon this for a while. The following might give you (and me) some valuable insights into my intimate gray matter. (Not Fifty Shades of Gray, maybe only about three or four.) Or not. You decide.

I bought two dresses. I love them equally. I hung them side by side to admire them and I’m looking at them right now and I’m loving so much about each of them for their individual intrinsic qualities.

One is a Lilly Pulitzer. a tried and true real designer brand that I could wear anywhere and be appropriately attired. I love the sleeves and the sassy outrageous bright colors and the dynamic print. It speaks of shiny happiness to me. I also love that it’s XXS, which soothes my poor body image issues. In my convoluted and distorted mind, I feel that IF I fit into an extra extra small size and it’s loose on me, then no matter what or how I feel on the inside, I can’t be ginormous, right? (Not that I’m body shaming anyone as this is my own personal issue.) With a spiky highhigh heel or summer-y espadrille, this is a sexysexy dress cos it’s super short, too.

The other dress is a treasure I picked up at the Buffalo Exchange in Ballard when I visited Angel Boy 2.0. It’s Forever 21 (which is EXACTLY how I feel on the inside. Arrested development and all that…) I love everything about this dress too: the muted burgundy and black/tan colors, the print, the little buttons, the tassels, and the vaguely Elizabethan/hippie empire cut with the billowy long sleeves. With leggings and adorable boots, I can’t WAIT for autumn.

One dress cost ten dollars; the other was on sale and cost less than one hundred dollars. Equal love. Money didn’t factor into the love.

Two shades of Princess Rosebud. There are a few more shades to my personality, but none of them are too extreme unless you start counting the number of seashells adorning the walls and shelves of each and every surface. Hence the title of my blog…

On another totally unrelated subject, many thanks to whomever sent me the package of thongs! I don’t normally wear Calvin Klein underwear cos I love silky things next to my skin, but they are super cute. A mystery gift giver, how awesome! Or…stalky. Hmm…

The Day I Caressed a Butterfly

That was today, actually.

It was around noon. I was in the garden, watering because it’s uncomfortably hot here in SoCal. Not as bad as Paris, cos there’s still a bit of an ocean breeze, but HOT.

A pretty orange and black spotted Monarch butterfly began to follow the spray of water from the hose, and she and I had a little chat.

Well, she listened while I talked to her.

“Hey, pretty girl, are you thirsty?”

By way of response, she floated to the ground and folded up her wings like a beautiful fan. Or like pressed together hands in namaste.

“Are you OK?” “Are you injured anywhere?” At the same time I wondered how in the world I could take a butterfly to the emergency vet.

I turned off the water and crouched down to get a closer look.

What do you need? Are you having a little rest?”

Again, no response, but I inched closer and slowly sat down, hardly daring to breathe.

We stayed that way for a moment or two, each of us motionless.

Can I touch you?” I asked. “I won’t hurt your wings, I promise.”

(By the way, the powder on the wings of a butterfly or moth is actually tiny scales made from modified hairs, and it doesn’t actually damage them if they’re touched.)

Ever so tentatively I reached out my right hand and ever so gently touched the charcoal gray folded up underside of her fan wings, and then I simply sat still as a statue.

After a few seconds in which time stopped, she opened her wings once, twice, three times, and then lifted off the ground and fluttered away.

Thank you” I whispered, and held my heart to keep the love from spilling out.

It was nothing short of an amazing encounter, don’t you agree? One of my most enchanting and enchanted days.

Binge-worthy: Scott & Bailey

While watching Mueller testify and now during a break in the proceedings, I think I’ll finish a post I started last week about a TV show I am SO beyond excited to recommend to you!

And BTW, I think Jimmy Stewart could have portrayed Robert Mueller to perfection, but prolly lots of you don’t even know who the great actor, James Stewart, even is, so my suggestion is to Google him.

I’m not much of a binge watcher; in fact, I don’t watch a lot of TV at all, but I loved The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and that’s about the extent of it. Oh, and Gossip Girl has a special place in my heart. Blair and Chuck forever!

A long time ago, I caught an episode of Scott & Bailey on our local PBS station and it piqued my interest. When I was bored and searching for something to watch on Amazon Prime besides my crush Paul Hollywood on the Great British Bake Off, S&B popped up, and I thought I’d start from the beginning.

I confess that I couldn’t get enough! It’s gritty, it’s real, and I was absolutely HOOKED.

I thought I’d ration myself to one episode a day to make it last longer, but that self control flew out the window almost immediately. Then I said to myself, “Self, you can watch two in a row, but that’s IT, I mean it.”

Well, that didn’t work either. I kept bargaining with myself until I lost all rational thought and binged the entire five seasons, knowing that when it eventually ended, I would suffer REAL pain and feel abandoned by these characters I’d come to identify with and LOVE. Yes, I mean that. I don’t use that word lightly, nor do I take those feelings lightly. I LOVE Rachel and Janet.

They’re two strong women whose lives tended to be screwed up and messy at times, but they PERSEVERED. They ENDURED. They never gave up. You haven’t lived until you study Detective Constable Janet Scott (brilliantly acted by Lesley Sharp) as she interrogates each and every criminal. From her Madonna-like smile to her soft and measured voice, she asks every question with pristine diction and straightforward dedication to solving a crime, often with a full confession. She’s the embodiment of speaking authentically with truth and conviction.(Ha ha, a double entendre.)

Both Rachel (Suranne Jones) and Janet are Detective Constables in the Major Incident Team of the Manchester Metropolitan Police Service, with the team headed by DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), whose character is loosely based on Diane Taylor, a former Detective Inspector from Greater Manchester Police. Yes, it’s a Briit show.

Scott & Bailey was an original idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay. Jones felt that there needed to be more roles for women “that weren’t wife-of, sidekick-to, mother-of, mistress-to, etc.”[4] Jones remarked, “We were just chatting away over a bottle of wine in a pub” when the idea came to fruition. [Sidebar: see how much can be accomplished with enough vino??]

The creators paired up with Diane Taylor to create the program. The involvement of Diane Taylor as a consultant producer is credited with maintaining Scott & Bailey‘s “rigorous authenticity”. From Taylor’s perspective, television police procedures were often filled with not only technical inaccuracies, but what she felt were inaccuracies of how officers behaved, saying: “that’s what really irritates me in other dramas – detectives crying over dead bodies and getting drunk senseless. You’d last about two weeks”. She said, of her time as a police officer in comparison to portrayals on television, that “reality is much more interesting. I could pull a thousand cases out of my head people would say would never happen. People need drama because they would not believe the reality”. (Background curated from Wiki)

I’ve shared my obsesh with all my friends and a few are as captivated as I was and totally binged. But now it’s over and I went through cold turkey withdrawals, I need something else, cos I’m jonesin’ for a fix.

For me, the only downside of this amazing show was the outrageous number of smokers. At times, the smoke was so heavy, it almost gave me a virtual asthma attack. I only hope for their health’s sake that there’s a lot less lung damage in the real Manchester Police Department.

Watch it and let me know if you love Scott & Bailey as much as I do! And also share some of your fave binge-worthy TV shows.

Conversations with a human #578. Chicken Butts.

My little three-year-old guy, the one I refer to as Angel Boy 2.0, needed to tell me something so he grabbed the phone away from his dad.

“Dad, I need to tell Grandma something right now.”

“What is it, T-man?”

“No, I’ll tell her. Give me the phone.”

“Grandma, look! My dad made a work space in the garage!”

“Wow, that’s pretty awesome, are you helping him?”

“I have my own tools, Dad’s are really really sharp. See?”

“Grandma! I’m coming to your house next Wednesday!”

“That’s right, T! Good job remembering the days of the week.”

“Theosaurus, I need to ask you a very important question, OK? Can you listen really hard?”

“OK Grandma.”

“Do you have anything special you want me to bake or make for you and Daddy to eat when you come? Muffins or dinner or anything you choose.”

I thought he’d choose oatmeal cookies or apple pie or a blueberry cake, but I wasn’t ready for what he said next…

“Hmmm. Let me think. Grandma? Can you make chicken butts?”

“Uh, how do you make chicken butts?”

“You do something and then put them in the oven and then they’re chicken butts.”

“No, T, I will not make chicken butts. Not ever. Choose something else, please!”

“Can you make popsicles?”

“Yes. I can make popsicles but I will not make chicken butts.”

“OK Grandma. Can I press the red button now?”

“Yes, T and then take the phone back to Daddy. See you soon! Bye.”

Chicken butts. Nope. Just nope.

He’ll have to be happy with an apple pie.


Stuck on the spin cycle

Quick post, but had to share.

I went to THE MOST AMAZING spin class this morning.

Upon waking at 6ish, I wasn’t all that keen to go to my regular weight lifting class ‘cos it’s sorta boring and not nearly enough cardio to burn off wine calories, so I checked the schedule, saw that one of my faves was the spin instructor, packed my shiny pink and black bike shoes, and off I went.

For this class, she had compiled a song list of 60s hits for the hour.

I’m talking classic Beatles, Hendrix and the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Who, Sam and Dave, Dylan. The ride started off with Dion and Runaround Sue.

There was so much high energy in the room that it was contagious. Beyond vibrational! No one wanted the hour to end.

Changed the tone of my whole day into joy and I’m exhausted. So good.

Update: Murder in Carlsbad

I wasn’t able to attend the preliminary hearing for the horrific home invasion murder of Carlsbad resident Marjorie Gawitt, but I’ve pulled together some details of that day.

As I previously wrote, she lived in my neighborhood and her death shook the community. We weren’t close friends, but had I had been invited to a couple of parties that she also attended and we briefly chatted. https://enchantedseashells.com/2019/03/11/not-in-carlsbad-home-invasion-and-murder/

The defendants, both transients, were arrested in a known homeless encampment near Agua Hedionda Lagoon, not far from the scene of the home invasion, hours after the attack, and blocks away from where I live.

Initially, at the arraignment on March 13, the prosecutor testified that she was stabbed about fifty times.

However, the murder was even more brutal than originally reported. The autopsy of Marj Gawitt indicated she suffered 142 knife wounds.

142 knife wounds. Let that sink in for a few minutes…

Leslie Anderson, a forensic pathology fellow with the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Marjorie Gawitt had 142 knife wounds, including 95 deep stabs, on her body and head from a March 11 attack in her home on Outrigger Lane.

Prosecutors in the March 13 arraignment for defendants Ian Bushee, 37, and Malissa James, 26, had said Gawitt had up to 50 knife wounds, causing people in the courtroom to gasp.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday, Anderson said the wounds were so extensive that the autopsy took two days to conduct, while most take one.

The attack itself was forceful, according to Anderson, who said one facial stab knocked a cap from one of Gawitt’s teeth. Some stabs were made so violently that they penetrated four inches deep, although the knife believed to be the weapon was only three inches, she said.

At the end of the two-day hearing Superior Court Judge Brad Weinreb said that there was enough evidence for the defendants to stand trial on charges of murder and special-circumstance allegations that the killing happened during a burglary.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney argued there was ample evidence, including DNA on the knife, to show James wielded the weapon that killed Gawitt.

James’ attorney, John Patterson, asked the judge to dismiss a charge of torture against his client. The judge declined to do so.

Dan Segura, Bushee’s attorney, argued that there was no evidence that Bushee was with James at the scene of the killing.

Rooney said DNA and other evidence links Bushee to the crime. The prosecutor also said Gawitt used the word “they,” and may have said “people,” when she called 911 to report the attack, indicating there was more than one assailant.

The District Attorney called several witnesses, playing 911 calls and never-before-seen police body camera footage in the courtroom. The 911 call was from the victim, Marjorie Gawitt.

Dispatcher: 911. What’s your emergency?
Marjorie: (inaudible) I’ve been attacked.

That was the beginning of Gawitt’s dying message on the morning of March 11, 2019. The 63-year-old woman was sleeping in her Carlsbad home alone when police said Bushee and James tortured and stabbed her fifty times in the face, neck, and back.

Dispatcher: We’ve got help sent out to you, Marjorie. Who did this?
Marjorie: I don’t know.

It took everything Gawitt had left in her to make that 911 call. The call was so tragic, officers testifying on the stand became choked up while listening to Gawitt’s voice. Because of her final act of courage, Officer Randy Noa found her minutes later, still alive. On his body camera video, you can hear him trying to speak to Gawitt.

“You okay ma’am? Oh. Ma’am. Is he still in here or did he leave? (PAUSE) I can’t hear you, ma’am,” Officer Noa said, breathing heavily.

“It looked like she was trying to say to me that he was gone. But it was hard,” Officer Not testified inside the courtroom.

The District Attorney also played a second body camera video, worn by Officer Derek Harvey. On it, you can hear him trying to console the victim.

“Ma’am, you’re going to be okay. The paramedics are going to be here, any second, okay?” Officer Harvey said. Minutes later, Harvey’s camera recorded him finding what looked to be the weapon on the counter.

“Her eyes were clouded, dilated and fixed,” Officer Harvey said. “I knew she was… probably not going to make it.”

Sadly, he was right. Despite the paramedics arriving quickly, Gawitt died at Scripps La Jolla Hospital.

Trying to piece together what evidence they had, police was that the victim’s boyfriend’s car was missing. Hours later, surveillance video captured the stolen car in San Marcos. The suspects were taped walking around near a masonry warehouse and at a 7–11 store. Investigators said the two later ditched the car in San Marcos, and for some reason, ended up back in Carlsbad.

Police said it turns out Gawitt’s home was not the first the pair had ransacked that day.

“I looked up, and I said something is missing here,” neighbor Patricia Gapik said.

That same morning, Gapik noticed her sewing basket and her daughter’s flute were gone. Random items were also scattered near her sliding glass door.

“I then realized that someone was in my house,” Gapik testified. “I was scared.”

Luckily, Gapik was asleep the entire time, and never confronted the burglars. But investigators later found that the two cases were connected. They found some of Gapik’s belongings inside the car left in San Marcos.

According to court documents, the next trial date is scheduled for late December. If I’m in town, I’ll be sure to attend. I feel like I need to know why and how someone could commit just a heinous crime against an innocent woman and maybe I’ll discover some answers to this senseless murder.