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...If you don't find me crying myself to sleep, I'm off on a mission to find the perfect shoe! And...I met His Holiness The Dalai Lama, so def read that post!

A Light Bulb Moment

Literally.

Photo by Luca Nardone on Pexels.com

I don’t know how long it’s been since I needed to buy light bulbs; maybe five or six years, something like that.

I can’t remember exactly, but I had so many of them go out at the same time that I was compelled to navigate the light bulb aisle at a local home and hardware store.

I must have looked sufficiently confused because an employee walked over to me and said, “I’d ask you if you need help, but I can tell you do!”

I DID need help!

Apparently, I’ve been on another planet because the entire light bulb industry has changed while I’ve been gone.

Weird shaped bulbs, lumens, CFL, LED, halogen, incandescent, wattage, energy saving, HID, voice-enabled, smartphone technology–pretty soon even the light bulbs will be listening to our conversations like Alexa and Siri. It’s a whole new world.

I paid no attention to the lesson he gave me (sorry, nice man) but I told him what I wanted or what I used to have in the good old days, and let him choose the appropriate replacements.

They’re also way more expensive than they used to be, also a shock, but when I got home and restored illumination to previously darkened rooms, I was grateful for his kind assistance.

Recipe: Refreshing Infused Herbal Water

As promised, I’m going to share my recipe for this refreshing and healthy herbal beverage. It’s been unseasonably warm here and I was getting tired of plain old water to hydrate and quench my thirst.

Every herb came from my garden. To sliced cucumber and lemon, I added

Thyme
Basil
Sage
Lemon verbena
Cilantro and cilantro flowers, the whole thing, stem included
Celery leaves (yes I grow celery)

I suggest that you try whatever you have in your garden. I might add a sprig or two of lavender, but it’s an overpowering addition and I wanted the purity of character that herbs impart. My parsley and marjoram are still seedlings and I didn’t have any ginger on hand or I would have sliced a big hunk of that, too. It’s fun to experiment…just make sure every plant is edible and non toxic

After refrigerating for a while to marry the flavors and chill, I poured it into a big glass and garnished with an orange nasturtium flower. Keep replenishing the water and it’ll stay fresh and yummy for about four or five days.

It was so delicious and refreshing! I felt exactly as if I was being pampered at a posh day spa.

Happy first Saturday in April!

Have you ever gone on a pub crawl?

Confession: I never have, but I did something SIMILAR…a garden nursery crawl!

SO MUCH FUN.

The get-together was originally planned for last week but I came down with a mysterious and debilitating migraine and we postponed the outing for a week.

I was picked up in a snazzy (does anyone even use that word nowadays?) metallic blue Tesla, and we were off.

Our itinerary included places I had never previously visited–hidden gems in SoCal– and I wasn’t disappointed. An added plus is that it felt as if things were almost back to pre-Covid times.

We weren’t offered a menu of wine and cocktails at every stop on our crawl; instead I found Marzano tomatoes (best for homemade sauces) and orange mint and perpetually producing spinach; more strawberries, Yerba Buena, wasabi mustard greens, and an exotic hot pepper, plants not usually found at corporate garden shops.

We saw adorable and friendly goats and followed secret garden pathways that revealed exotic and delicious edible veggies, fruits, and herbs.

If I wasn’t under constant assault from aggressive squirrels and bunnies, I would have brought every single one of them home with me, but first I have to figure out new ways to outsmart those little critters.

When we returned home, we sat in the shade and enjoyed fresh herbal water festooned with nasturtium flowers and chatted about the next day when we’d plunge our hands in the soil to put these babies in the ground and watch them flourish.

A pub crawl would be fun too, but we woke up with clear heads and zero hangovers, so it’s probably a much healthier activity than to to go from one bar to the next and get progressively more drunk.

PS I’ll post a recipe for the herbal water tomorrow. It was amazing!

Confession: Secret Talent

One of my proudest skills is the unexpected ability to propagate plants. Currently I’m propagating lavender, rosemary, roses, and a variety of bushy daisies.

Another simple (and thrifty) joy of mine is to go to the section at the nursery where the sad unloved plants are piled up and sold .50 cents to a dollar. I call them my “rescues”. Sometimes all they need is to be transplanted, maybe cut back, offer a bit of care and tenderness, and they’ll thank me by bouncing back and thriving.

A couple months ago, I “rescued” six Autumn Sage one gallon plants. I transplanted them to serve as a border around the deck.

Leaves on Salvia greggii are narrow, leathery and aromatic. This low water need perennial boasts a long flower season. Blooms appear from spring to fall.

They responded to immediately and have now grown into gigantic, beautiful plants with lipstick red flowers. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds are happy, too! Even better, I pinched off some new growth and have successfully propagated them to another part of the garden and the little babies are also healthy and flourishing. Success!

“Mama, Mama, I can’t breathe…”

“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! Oh my God! Mama! Mama! Mama!! Mama!!”

I’ve started and stopped several posts in the last few days; lighthearted words and pics about my garden, about the Angels, about a hawk feather I found and uncharacteristically and unselfishly gifted to a friend (I hoard stuff like that and RARELY am able to let them go) but I’ve been following the George Floyd trial, and it seems almost callous and lacking of any human empathy NOT to talk about what happened last May.

I am not a POC. I have never been arrested. I’ve had a couple of mild encounters with the police during my life– most of them were because I needed their help and protection, not because I had committed a crime of any sort.

I feel it’s my obligation as a human to place myself in the shoes of those who have been harrassed, targeted, even murdered because the color of their skin contributed to the way they were treated by law enforcement. In my opinion, it’s something we all need to do. I have so much respect for the heroic bystanders who stayed to document and memorialize what they saw, who tried to help, who called the police to report what they saw.

There are those people who say it’s too ugly or too painful to watch the video of George Floyd crying out while being slowly and deliberately (ALLEGEDLY) murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes–while his coworkers watched and did nothing to intervene and prevent his death. They watched him DIE. We watched him die. I don’t even care what he did…so he ALLEGEDLY paid for a purchase with counterfeit money? I don’t care whether or not he was under the influence of drugs. That’s not the point, that’s diverting attention away from the real crime.

To those people, I will look straight in your eyes and tell you it’s our duty to watch.

Don’t turn away. Don’t turn away in denial of truth.

It’s the same way a certain segment of society turns away when there’s factual evidence of animal torture and abuse, child abuse, or those who still refuse to acknowledge the evidence of German concentration camps.

Say his name. Watch the video. Be upset. Be traumatized but don’t be silent. DO SOMETHING. Take your own videos. Don’t ignore it. We have an obligation to make things right. For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. FOR ALL OF THEM.

Watch The Blinding of Isaac Woodard on PBS.

I DARE you to keep your eyes and ears open and NOT do something to protect our fellow humans.

What if it were your son or daughter? Hmmm? How would you feel?

I wonder what the answer is. Peeling back the layers of racism, I wonder where all the hatred came from and why it’s persisted and become so pervasive. When will it all end? How many more people will die like George Floyd?

Through the Window

This little one returns every spring to nest in the same old birdhouse.

For some strange reason, I woke up with a raging migraine that haunted me all day. I have no idea what triggered it. Thankfully, I rarely get them but this one was especially dreadful because I was nauseous for hours and hours. I slept most of the day which is so unlike me but my body insisted.

At one point when I forced myself to drink water so I wouldn’t get dehydrated, I looked out onto the deck and was greeted with a melodic, warbling song and couldn’t resist grabbing my camera for a couple of photos and then I went back to sleep.

On a side note, I semi-watched Perry Mason and Wagon Train and Mash and Happy Days, not my usual choices, only because I didn’t have the energy to look for the remote to change the station or turn off the TV. I was able to discern a lot of nuance from Happy Days that I had originally missed, in case anyone studies old TV shows.

I feel better today.

Tail up.

Tail down.

P.S. Migraines are debilitating; I lost a whole day; my heart goes out to anyone who suffers on a regular basis.

Shades of Purple

The word “purple” is not a pretty word. Say it out loud. It doesn’t even sound pleasant, right? I looked up the etymology of the word:

Old English (describing the clothing of an emperor), alteration of purpre, from Latin purpura ‘purple’, from Greek porphura, denoting mollusks that yielded a crimson dye, also cloth dyed with this. (From Oxford Languages)

I like these words better:
-lavender
-lilac
-mauve
-periwinkle
-plum
-violet
-amaranthine

As much as I noticed all the sunny garden yellows a couple weeks ago, now THIS color palette caught my eye, and the bees are happy, too!

Chat With a Brilliant Human: Dreams vs Reality

It’s been a while since I’ve shared conversational gold from Angel Boy 2.0.

He’s now reached five whole years around the sun; 1825 days.

When we were chatting about Daddy’s 40th birthday, he wanted to tell me something but it was too overwhelming for him to share, so he asked mom to tell me,

“YOU tell her.”

Sweet child. When he woke up that morning extra EARLY, he ran into mom and dad’s room and asked if it was too early to go down to the Grandma room and wake me up.

Mom said, “But Grandma’s not here, T.”

He was quite distraught.

Apparently he had been dreaming about seeing me and his dream was detailed and VERY REAL.

Emphatically, he said, “But you told me she would be here when I woke up!”

Like all lucid dreams, it takes a minute or two to separate what is real from what is speaking to us from our subconscious, even more difficult when you’re a little one.

For children, dreams can feel incredibly real. It’s a challenge for them to distinguish between what’s imagined and things that actually happened. Even if they can understand that the content of a dream was imaginary, the emotions felt during a dream are all very real.

“It was a dream, T, and sometimes a dream can seem very real.”

“What do you mean she’s not here! You TOLD ME!

And then he ran downstairs to check and sure enough, the Grandma room was still Daddy’s home office.

He was genuinely sad to learn it was just a dream and I wasn’t there.

I’m sad, too, but our bonds of love are very strong and that makes me the luckiest Grandma in the world.

The Big Four-OH-MY-GOODNESS

March is the birthday month the two Angels share but there’s no way I have a child/boy/man who turned forty today at 9:42 a.m. NO WAY.

In my mind, I still see him as being four or eight or even as an obnoxious and sarcastic teenager, but FORTY?? A dad with two kids? AND a fully tenured professor?

It’s not possible. I’m still shaking my head.

I needed to do the math to make absolutely sure I was correct and there’s no doubt about it. I gave birth to the original Angel Boy forty years ago today after a seemingly neverending 24 hour labor that resulted in an emergency Caesarean section.

Stubborn girl that I am, I tried and tried to push him out but his gigantic head got stuck (TMI) and I only capitulated to the C-section when I saw his heart rate was being compromised. I really wanted that whole Mother Earth experience but of course would never harm my baby boy to satiate my ego. I can always look at that perpetually lopsided scar where the surgeon had to open me up FAST between contractions.

He’ll always be the love of my life, my shiniest and most lovely baby boy.

Even today, I can feel the weight of him hugged tightly in my arms, despite the fact that he’s now over six feet and no longer sits on my lap (‘cos that would be just plain WEIRD.) This is one of my favorite photos if we can ignore my horrible haircut where she obviously didn’t know how much curly hair SHRINKS when it’s not styled properly.

I am forever grateful for this sparkly emerald green-eyed boy.

He called me a bit ago. What’s he doing on his birthday? He took the day off so he could go to the Dirt Exchange, fill the car up with soil and mulch, and spend the day gardening. He has a green thumb to match those eyes.

Read more about AB and his almost catastrophic illness in 2014 here:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/07/24/that-dreaded-call-at-300-a-m-2/

And more about the birth here:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/03/22/i-fell-down-and-a-baby-popped-out-2/

And more about my love for this special boy who will always be my heart here:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/05/10/the-boy-who-is-my-heart/

I Know What Boys Like

I’m talking about my magical ability to pick out great birthday gifts, haha, not anything else!

Do you remember that song from the 80s by the Waitresses? Once it gets into your head, it’s there FOREVER, trust me.

Here’s the question: what do you get a five-year-old that really and truly has EVERYTHING in the world?

Angel Boy 2.0 has a surfboard, a paddleboard, skateboard, bicycle, skiis, his own swing set and climbing frame, so many toys he could open a store, and his very own bouncy castle.

I’ve been noticing for quite a while that when we FaceTime, he takes photos and loves to look at pictures he calls “memories”.

For his special birthday present, I found a child’s camera by Rikum that takes pictures and video with fun filters and frames. Best of all, it’s rechargeable and not reliant on batteries.

I’m hoping to nurture a real interest in photography because I love it, too.

And it was a hit! He got so many MORE presents for his birthday, but I’m told the top three most favorite was a remote control intelligent robot, a remote control truck with huge foam wheels, and my camera.

I absolutely recommend this product if you’re looking for a cool gift that isn’t a video game and will encourage lots positive self esteem, interaction and creative skills, while learning to observe the world through the lens of a camera. (This is an unsolicited product review; I received no compensation of any kind.)

Yay for knowing what boys like!