About Enchanted Seashells by Princess Rosebud

MIDlifestyle blog. I'm the mom of Professor Angel Boy and grandma to Angel Boy 2.0 and Angel Girl 2.0. I love to camp and hike. I've been in a few films, co-produced a surf-related radio show, co-owned a couple small businesses, and co-directed a non-profit organization. I love seashells and rocks, gardening and baking, Hello Kitty, Chanel, and anything sparkly. I've been a veg since 1970 and an ardent animal activist forever. Fashionista...veganista...animal activista. I'm still trying to find the perfect shoe! And...I met His Holiness The Dalai Lama, so def read about it here: https://enchantedseashells.com/2017/06/19/meeting-the-dalai-lama-thaumaturgic/

OMG What Just Happened

T found this caterpillar (pretty sure it’s a Monarch) on a plant, got a box and made a home for it with leaves and flowers to eat.

For an entire day, he referred to it as his pet and was constantly checking on its welfare.

“I love him so much, he’s beautiful.”

Late afternoon, he chose to release it under a shady plant because he thought it would have access to a fresher food source.

With me by his side, we picked a plant we both agreed would be tasty.

No sooner than he put it down and we watched it crawl away than a lizard ran over, grabbed it in his mouth and swallowed it.

We both gasped in horror as the realization of what occurred fully blossomed in our minds. It happened so fast and took us a moment to actually process what we saw.

T, sitting cross-legged on the ground, lowered his head and began to sob in genuine lament, tears staining his face and dripping down his chin.

“WHY, Grandma, why?” He said, “I loved my pet, why did the lizard eat him, why?”

Hearing T cry, Dad came out, I told him what happened, and he gathered T in his arms to comfort him as we gently tried to explain how nature works. His sadness broke our hearts, but I’m so proud of the compassionate way his dad helped him work through these huge emotions.

“I hate lizards. I’m going to hurt them.” Although retaliation was his first solution; it’s obviously not one he would be allowed to do!

After a while, and after a mango/black cherry ice cream cone (thank goodness I had made a double batch), he started to calm down and recover his normally cheery disposition.

He’s an extremely sensitive child and this was his first experience with the raw and gritty side of how animals live and survive.

I found two more caterpillars for him (whew) and this time we didn’t release them and they’re still here in his Spiderman bucket, gnawing their way through leaf after leaf.

He doesn’t know they’re only tomato hornworms and that’s going to be our little secret, right?

Untying The Knots

What’s that sound I hear?

Melodic silence greeted me this morning.

Not at the godawful hour of 5:30 a.m. (their witching hour) but at a more respectable 6:30. The only sounds on this Sunday morning are the hawks and birds and the incessant warning squeak of a ground squirrel.

As I restore the house to a once again adult dwelling, moving the breakables back into their original position, I turn to the garden where I’m greeted with a massive knot installation by Captain Theo.

He had been deeply involved in a fantasy world of boats where he was the captain and we had to salute and respond to him with “Aye aye, Captain.” I asked him what my job was on the ship and he said I was his Mate, and so I was referred to as “Matey.”

Don’t even ask me where his creative little mind dredged up that scenario, but it was SUPER cute, as Char would say.

He wore a hat and gathered up all the rope he could find, along with some buckets and an old oar that was lying around, and proceeded to create a fairly sophisticated jumble of knots, all the more impressive because no one had ever taught him about the art of knot tying.

He designated himself as Captain of his world–that level of self confidence in a child is positive and healthy especially since he really really loves to give orders, which is why he’s been called Bossy Boots since he was two.

When it was time to untie the knotted structure because he wanted to build something else, he was frustrated and asked for help.

Always looking for the lesson in things–a teachable moment–as I sort of guided his unraveling, we chatted about what it feels like to be frustrated and how sometimes, a task like UNtying knots opens up an opportunity to learn to really pay attention (mindfulness) and practice patience.

Thereafter, his new phrase to Char was, “Just be a little patient and it will all work out.”

Hand to heart, that child is beyond precious. What a gift he is.

Now if someone could just get over here and help me untie the knots he left behind I’d really appreciate it!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Patience, Princess.”

PATIENCE.

BREATHE INTO IT.

“Super Cute”

I’m not sure where either one of them picks up their quirky language especially since they rarely watch TV, but Angel Girl 2.0 has mastered this art.

It was time for us to all put on our “day clothes.” The kids dressed first, ready for all the adventures a new day brings.

Followed back downstairs to my room, lacking any personal space boundaries, I was severely scrutinized as I chose an outfit for this very warm summery day.

Under her judgy and appraising almost two-year-old eye (think Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada), I stop midway and ask, “Do you like my dress?”

*Pause*

Super cute, Grandma. SUPER cute.”

She turns, suddenly runs off, returning with her sparkly pink tiara.

“Here, wear this too, Grandma.”

I put it on (of course I do) and she steps back to examine me from head to toe with a serious look on her face.

“REALLY super cute, Grandma.”

For sure that’s the stamp of approval.

And then, “I want a smoothie. SMOOTHIE!”

So there we have it.

One minute a princess, and the next–in the blink of an eye-– I’m back to creating smoothie magic.

My enchanted life…

“Here’s What We Do”

Two children thump down the stairs like a herd of bison.

Very loud whispering…”OK, Charlotte, here’s what we do.”

“Every morning, we go into Grandma’s room and we say ‘Get up, Grandma, make breakfast.'”

“Like this…”

“WAKE UP GRANDMA! MAKE BREAKFAST!”

“Now you do it.”

“It’s OK, she likes it.”

“And then we jump on the bed; come on.”

“Char, you want me to turn the light on?”

He runs over to me, whispers in my ear, “Pretend to be asleep, Grandma.”

“Now you do it, Char!”

A very tiny voice says, “Grandma?”

I respond, “GOOD MORNING, you guys!”

And so my day begins.

Honestly, is there any better way to wake up than to be the first person two angels want to see every morning?

I think not.

GRATITUDE.

Serenity NOW!

My life’s odyssey doesn’t seem to be a straight line to bliss, that’s for sure.

The oven situation was NOT the easy fix I’d hoped for. It’s going to take a whole new electronic panel which’ll take several days to get here.

On the glass half full side, the technician helped me purchase the part online, saving about $100, so I appreciated his honesty. He didn’t charge for today’s visit and diagnosis, and the cost for his labor is reasonable.

As I bemoaned the horrible timing, he suggested I purchase a toaster oven. I had meant to do that a long time ago and forgot, so this was a great solution to my dilemma. I ran out and got one that day AND it was on sale, a fact that makes this Grandma very happy.

If every cloud really has a silver lining, mine is now pure gold with diamond sparkles. Charlotte’s new behavior is to run at me from across the room, jump in my arms, wrap herself around me and say, “Charlotte hug and kiss Grandma!” Over and over again. That two-year-old with the titian hair and her curly big brother expressing their affectionate and exuberant joie de vivre wipe away any and all angst about the oven.

Just now from Theo at 5:26 a.m., “Wake up, Princess Rosebud!”
Right behind him from Char at 5:27 a.m.,”Grandma, where’s apple pie?”

It might be a day late, but they WILL have their apple pie!

Have a happy and safe 4th, everyone!

Adapting To Circumstances

More craziness from my little Universe, but I’ve learned to adapt.

The repairman will be here in a few minutes. While I’m HOPEFUL he will be able to find a solution and fix the oven immediately, there are no guarantees.

Since I still have working burners (the oven is a separate built-in wall version), I searched around for recipes that could work on a cooktop.

I discovered Skillet Granola, tried it, and LOVE the way it turned out. I used my own recipe with oil and maple syrup and a lot of cinnamon. The extras like raisins and hemp seeds and coconut can be added later, but the actual oats are crispy and delicious. AND I didn’t overheat the entire house, which is something to remember when it really gets summery here. Now my original Angel Boy will have his granola, so I’m a happy mom.

My research also revealed many recipes that can be adapted for a cooktop: brownies, manicotti, even pizza. In the unfortunate event that this repair needs a part that has to be ordered, I am much less stressed now than I was yesterday because I’ll continue to fulfill my very important Grandma job of feeding all the creatures.

Thank goodness the anticipated breakfast burritos and buckwheat pancakes are not in any danger.

*Still no resolution with my WordPress issue, but I’ve accepted that the problem might be bigger than an UN-Happiness or Sadness Engineer can help me with. It’s the Universe sending me a message over and over again. OK OK! I hear you loud and clear. I will set it aside for now as it’s obviously NOT the right time.

**An update on the missing pan…still nowhere to be found. This is a real mystery and I have no clue.

Home is Where the Heat ISN’T

More shenanigans from the universe.

I planned to make a gigantic batch of oatmeal raisin cookies so the little people would never feel the disappointment of an empty cookie jar.

I’m on schedule with freshly made mango black cherry ice cream (a flavor request) chilling in the freezer.

Everything was going according to plan until I turned on the oven to preheat and nothing happened.

No heat, no nothing. The panel showed that it was on and preheating, but there was no heat.

UH OH. Those cookies aren’t going to bake themselves.

I was stuck with a batch of cookies all ready to go on two baking sheets with the rest of the mixture in the refrigerator waiting their turn, along with a batch of granola for my son.

I WAS IN PANIC MODE.

NOTNOWNOTNOWNOTNOWNOTNOW

No oven means no baking, no pizza, no lasagna–and that totally stresses me out because this grandma loves nothing more than to watch my kids and grandkids eat the food I lovingly prepare.

It’s a win-win for all of us!

I ran next door to my very very nice neighbors who fired up their oven so I could bake the cookies, (for the price of a few for them to eat, which is a fair exchange, an easy quid pro quo).

The cookies baked just fine, but the granola burned to a crisp. OMG, that’s never happened before.

The oven repairman is coming tomorrow and hopefully it’s not a major issue, but I have no idea what’s wrong.

Dear Universe,
Why? Why now?

There’s No Place Like Home

I’ve tried to post this for the last three days but it won’t edit properly and the final draft looks like source code.

Oh well, I’ll try again.

I’ve had the worst day when it seems as if everything is going wrong. Have you had days like that?

I’m having other odd issues with WordPress. The solution should be simple but for reasons I can’t explain, there is no one at WordPress that can help me. They respond to questions I haven’t asked about issues I don’t have and offer solutions to those, while not helping me with what I know would be a simple fix with their support.

I decided to take a break from contacting WP’s NON-support UN-Happiness Engineers to relieve my frustration by doing a little grocery shopping. Everything went smoothly at the store but when I was back in the car, I took a sip of my water and accidentally dropped the cap under the seat. Somehow or another, that caused me to choke on the water that I was trying to swallow, and I ended up with a gigantic coughing jag as if I was drowning in the ocean.

I finally stopped coughing, took another very careful sip of water, and laughed at the absurdity of this scenario. I figured the universe was advising me to GO HOME AND STAY THERE.

Safe and sound, there’s no place like home.

“Go Home, Fly Guys!”

Out of the mouths and all that.

Char has a teensy bit more of a calm way about her; slightly less intense than her force of nature brother, but still as determined to exist in this world on her terms.

She calls flies “fly guys”. No one is really sure where this monniker came from, but now we all refer to them that way.

Also for some reason, she doesn’t like ants. It seems as if she believes they purposely infringe on her space. When she sees ants, she crouches down and blows on them, “Gone, ant!”

I’ve attempted to explain that they have as much right to live here on planet Earth as we do and we need to be kind, and I know her big brother understands that, but Char views the world from a different lens.

Like I said, C is slightly less feral than her brother and dad (and mom too).

She really doesn’t like to go camping.

“Home NOW!” she says.

“Did you have fun camping in the mountains?”

A resounding “NO” from Char. The girl loves her comforts and her lotions and her sparkles.

I’m sure you can guess who appropriated all of my Hello Kitty items.

Pretty funny. Pretty cute, too.

When Doves Cry: Life and Death

**This is so strange. I only published this post today, June 26, but it shows that it was published on the 24th, so I am RE-writing and posting again. Very odd WordPress, very odd.

We had a bit of rain, just a few drops, definitely not the kind of rain we need here in the Southwest, but I think my veggie garden was grateful for it.

When I went outside to check on the status of baby lettuce seedlings, I noticed a Monarch butterfly entangled in the netting surrounding the garden. I’ve been forced to use the barrier to keep out squirrels and rats and bunnies. There are plenty of other things in the garden those guys can eat, so I don’t feel too bad about restricting them from my yummy greens.

Carefully, I removed the netting from those delicate wings.

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After flying off, s/he returned with a mate and they circled my head a few times as if to thank me. “You’re welcome, guys! I was glad to help.”

Later that afternoon, right before dusk, I went for a walk. There were still beautiful clouds in the sky and I was thinking happy thoughts about the butterflies.

Suddenly, before I could even react, several things happened at once. A white van was driving down the street faster than the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. A dove flew low across the street, left to right. (Yup, you can see where this is going.) The driver MUST have seen the bird, I’m sure of it.

Without slowing down or trying to avoid the imminent impact, the van ran into the bird, and to make it even more horrific, the back tires finished the slaughter. There were no other cars on the road; simply slowing down would have avoided it completely.

It doesn’t matter to me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this tragedy. I ran out into the street to see if I needed to take the bird to a vet, but it was too late. Too late. I crouched down on my knees over the little dove almost in shock at the massive destruction the van did to his body. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the poor dear and honor his/her life, but it’s too gruesome to post and I feel it would be disrespectful to the innocent creature.

The bird was probably on his way home, and there might have been nesting babies that won’t be fed and won’t survive all because of the actions of one unaware or uncaring human. What if it was one of the doves I just wrote about that often visit me in the garden? How incredibly sad.

Well, that stripped me of the joy of saving a butterfly, that’s for sure. I’m a fixer and a helper. It’s a tough lesson for me to comprehend that sometimes things can be so terribly damaged that they can’t be mended or put back together, like this poor little bird who was beyond repair.

This made me think of Prince. When doves cry, so do I.