Christmas Lights 2017

Ever since I was a little girl in Detroit, I loved the lights of Christmas.

It says sparkle and excitement and anticipation. We mostly had snow around the holidays, but here in SoCal with zero snow, we still enjoy decorating our homes.

I went for a walk around the neighborhood and snapped a few pics of the more elaborate displays.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and enjoy the WordPress snow!
38E7756E-E9D7-4228-9A24-317F0B13CD482FEE8194-132D-4EE9-B7E8-4F55949AEF7F42BF8445-092D-47DF-A208-12578C4D424850FAF03A-8FB0-48D7-9AB4-3EAB31A23ACF8562407B-FC8A-4706-A6EA-40A3D8519A3A7DF64BB7-41E9-4A88-AFDD-21B3B150A6A8

21 Months: Toddler Time

Lucky lucky me got to spend another week with Angel Boy 2.0.

AB 1.0 asked me to bring some of his favorite childhood Christmas tree ornaments that his grandma and I had collected over the years so they could continue the tradition.

We brought home a seven-foot Noble fir and spent my first night decorating the tree with Theo. It took a while, but he finally understood the concept of leaving the ornaments ON the tree and not pulling them off and throwing them like a major league pitcher.

Although it had been raining for a few days, while I was there, the weather was beautiful but FREEZING, at least for this SoCal girl. I was wearing about a dozen layers, perfectly suited for Pacific Northwest arctic temps.

The next morning Mr. T and I went on a walk to the marina. He was all bundled up and you can see the snow on the Olympic mountains in the background.

B039A72B-F9FE-4029-8A17-8C5F774D3CC462F33226-5031-43D3-B254-9A39B15D69A1CC4686B1-CE4F-40E8-B342-55BDDDD473DB

On the way to Ballard Locks.64F334D4-FE48-441F-9658-D72E7951B705

After a power nap, Theo and I made a pizza, helping me roll out the dough and scattering sliced zucchini, green peppers, and broccoli over tomato sauce.  With lentil soup, it was a perfect winter lunch.

For some reason, I became his sole choice for ALL diaper changes…AmmahAmmah had to do them all, and there were NO complaints from mom or dad. Besotted as I am with this little human, even THAT melted my heart and I gladly complied with his request.

These moments are so fleeting – one minute you’re changing a diaper and the next you’re sending them off to college. I learned a long time ago with the original Angel Boy to appreciate each and every detail along the journey. Even diaper changes. Yes, even that.

When he was here for Thanksgiving and we walked to the park and he was kinda balky, I created the game of “Puppy” with each of us holding something (or a pretend something) as a leash to encourage him to keep moving, and he remembered (!) which meant there was lots of puppy play and kitty play. And tea parties.

Yes, I am the ULTIMATE playmate. Laser focused attention. HEAVEN. BLISSFUL. JOY.

EF00EA0F-55A4-43BB-9777-2D1BEB561D83As the sun set in the evening, he’d choose a few books and we’d snuggle on the sofa and wind down with Peppa the Pig or Postman Pat or his new Hannukah book or my favorite ones about animals.

He’s memorized so many stories that have already been read to him a billion times.

It’s an important interactive pre-reading experience.

To engage a bright young mind with a lifelong love of learning and reading is a goal we all share.

One of those priceless moments I’ll forever savor and never forget is the heavy weight of a perfectly relaxed little boy nestled in the curve of my protective arm, feeling his excitement as he points to the picture of a wolf when prompted and howls when asked, “what does a wolf say?”

The next day we went to his Gymboree class, which was so cool for me because I had taken his dad there when they first started franchising in the 1980s.

It was amazing to observe Theo’s interaction with the instructor and other children. He is so much like his daddy was at that age, it’s a great response to the debate of nature versus nurture. When my son was very little, a brilliant woman told me “he sees the world in his own way” and I saw those very same characteristics in Theo. He’s not shy, he’s exceptionally self confident, but like his dad, he’s reserved; a thinker and an observer, absorbing everything and filing it away in his mind to process in his own way, but he’s not much of an active participant, although he very much enjoyed himself and helped pick up and put away the musical instruments when it was over. This week was the culmination of Beatle’s music, so when we went back home, I played the same songs that we heard in class, Yellow Submarine, All You Need is Love, and Hello/Goodbye. Theo sung along and shook the maracas exactly the same way he had paid such close attention to. With all children, it’s a great idea to take their lead in situations like this and let them guide their level of participation.

His verbal skills are on fire now, parroting dozens of new words and learning sentence structure. I call it the Helen Keller moment. Two-word directives like “Theo down” …Choo choo loud” “Daddy home” is being expanded upon. DIL and I both heard him clearly say “I want Abby’s cake” when we had a little birthday party for a friend. OF COURSE he was rewarded with the cake that he wanted. OF COURSE. It’s all about positive reinforcement, right?

My brother came to visit from Portland for a couple of days and one of our excursions was the zoo. As you might imagine, I hate zoos. I hate caged and captive wild animals. I hate that their very existence is used to make money as entertainment. I HATE seeing them in their unnatural habitats. But I figured that if I went to the zoo, later on at the appropriate age, I could begin a discussion about all of that, so I did. Theo especially loves gorillas and flamingos, so that’s what we saw. I can’t tell you how sad it was to watch those magnificent gorillas who should have been SOMEWHERE ELSE and I actually thought they seemed depressed. I felt like I shouldn’t be looking at him. Tragic.

gorillazoo

DSCN1143

The very best part of the day was on the way out.

I noticed a woman crouched on one knee pointing a camera into a tree. I looked up and saw a magnificent OWL, also one of Theo’s fave animals. When he followed my gaze and saw the owl, he was transfixed. We stayed there for a bit and he called it Daddy Owl because it was so large. The sun was going down, so this isn’t the best pic, but it was a spectacular sighting.

owlzoo

Although he gifted me with a nasty sore throat and the beginnings of the flu or some type of upper respiratory infection, it was once again a magical time; although flying home to vicious Santa Ana winds and out of control fires, loss of homes, dozens of horses perishing, and emergency notifications from the city to prepare for possible evacuation brought me right back to reality. The winds have died down for now but are forecasted to be gust at 50+ mph on Sunday.

Best Christmas Decorations EVER-Haters, Line Up! Yoo Hoo, Pinterest, I’m Calling YOU!

 I hope you enjoy a repeat of one of my most clicked on posts of 2012 while I spend a little time with my tugboat man and my son, Angel Boy.
…..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     …..     

It was last year that I was inspired by other topnotch decorators who so kindly blogged about their DIY Christmas tree masterpieces.

In fact, I was so inspired and so thrilled to be stuck here all alone for the millionth time during the holidays that I created a masterpiece of my own, just for you, my loving internet family.

As I looked around my house, the elliptical seemed like it had the best “bones” to adorn.

Plus, it had a ready-made beverage holder!

I didn’t have any Maxi-pads or other feminine hygiene products–‘cos THAT ship has sailed–if you know what I mean. (Hey cool, a nautical reference jauntily tossed in. Damn, I’m good!)

I added a toilet paper garland, a couple of Sophie Kinsella novels, two glittery seashell ornaments, a bottle of wine in the beverage holder, a white plastic poinsettia, a few EMPTY gift bags, and a festive plush Hello Kitty toy.

You can’t really see it very good, but there’s a chocolate bar too, which I don’t have to share with anyone! I’m such a lucky girl! This is the best use I’ve found for the elliptical. Hanging freshly ironed shirts hanging on it is a close second.

Now you can carry on with your day; just take a moment to let it all sink in.

The moral of the story is that it might not be a good idea to leave Princes Rosebud alone for long periods of time.

Don’t HATE…Emulate.

Decorated for Christmas elliptical

Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

decorated elliptical

Property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Cleaning Naturally — A Review of #Earth Brite

EarthBriteFlipping though the stations, this product caught my eye on HSN — ShopHQ, as it’s now called. A little name change, a branding re-do — to confuse the armchair consumer and blur the lines with another shopping network, QVC. Is that playing fair? What do you think? I’m not sure how I feel about it, or if I even really care — but as a marketing professional, I’m always fascinated by branding and new directions in marketing from an established company.

I don’t often purchase from these TV shopping shows: first and foremost, I’m a natural skeptic, and unless it’s a VERY GOOD DEAL like the Canon Rebel camera (that I’m impatiently waiting for),  I normally bypass this method of shopping as I’m a touchy-feely kinda gal; I want to see it, touch it, smell it–before I buy it.

However, on this day, two very excited and animated hosts were scrubbing and smiling, telling me all about how Earth Brite’s natural, clay-based all-purpose product cleans, polishes, and protects everything from silverware to tile to boats and RVs, while the XR51 degreaser helps remove grease and grime.

Intrigued by the spiel; I thought I’d spend twenty dollars to test it out myself. I checked out the product information online and this is what I learned:

Earth Brite’s natural, clay-based all-purpose product cleans, polishes and protects everything from silverware to tile to boats and RVs, while the XR51 degreaser helps remove grease and grime.

When it arrived, I put on my trusty yellow rubber gloves to see first-hand if those claims are true.

  • I used it instead of Comet on my porcelain sink. Earth Brite did indeed work, but I had to scrub a lot harder to get the same results.
  • In the bathroom, I scrubbed the shower floor and glass doors, which is a big test here in SoCal where we have SUCH hard water that it sometimes takes a chisel to get the shower clean. The results were OK but not “earth” shatteringly better than plain vinegar or any of the other array of products I have around Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
  • The final test was an old Revere copper-bottomed saucepan. Again, Earth Brite shined and polished the copper, but with additional elbow grease, and it wasn’t as easy to shine as the TV hosts told me it would be.

Not a spectacular shine, right?earthbritepan

Product Review:
In the final analysis, I was hoping that this all-natural product would replace most or all of my chemical-laden cleaning supplies, and it has not done that. I’m happy that it contains ingredients that are healthier for my family and for the environment, but I was disappointed that it did not live up to the live on-air demonstrations that initially compelled me to make the purchase. However, the companion product, XR51 Power Cleaner & Degreaser Concentrate turned out to be a wonderful surprise and it’s become part of my daily cleaning — and it smells great, too.


Here’s What I Received:

  • (2) 10.5 oz. Earth Brite All Purpose Cleaner
  • 2 Round applicator sponges
  • 8 fl. oz. XR51 Power Cleaner & Degreaser Concentrate

What The Website Wants You to Know:

  • Work All Purpose Cleaner into wet applicator sponge before applying to any surface. Failureto thoroughly wet product may result in scratched surfaces.
  • Always use the application sponges included.
  • Apply light pressure and increase pressure only as needed to clean surface.
  • Rinse thoroughly to avoid possible clay residue after cleaning.
  • After each use, let the All Purpose Cleaner paste dry before closing the container.

When a Zygocactus Blooms, It’s a Sure Sign the Holidays are Coming!

Whether you call it Christmas Cactus or Zygocactus, it’s really a Schlumbergera hybrid.

Christmas Cactus1Today at Casa de Enchanted Seashells, we’re packing up to drive the eight hours it takes to get to Sacramento so I can testify at the Fish and Wildlife hearing  on Friday to protest the delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species List.

I’m so happy (and relieved) that my tugboat man is going to be able to attend the hearing with me and I’m sure that he’s REALLY looking forward to keeping me out of jail.

FYI — Princess Rosebud and hunters do not mix. It’s a recipe for disaster. Cue the tugboat man, a voice of reason versus my ghetto mouth that has no impulse control!!

However and whatever…

I’ve got a new black suit, AMAZING heels, and a speech that I hope will make a difference, ‘cos that’s what it’s really all about.

While we’ve been getting ready, I noticed a magnificent plant blooming and crying out for attention.

My bright little pot loves to sit in our kitchen window for most of the year; when I see the red buds at the tips of the leaves, I know it won’t be long before the massive butterfly blooms emerge. 

(There’s an x-rated overt clitoral resemblance when the buds start to swell…just saying’.)

I love to say “zygocactus” like ten times in a row cos it feels so good as it rolls off the tongue, plus it’s really easy to grow!

You try it. It’s neat, huh?

zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus zygocactus

Schlumbergera truncatus blooms closer to Thanksgiving while Schlumbergera bridgesii blooms closer to Christmas, but through hybridization there is a certain overlapping of blooming times.

This is the most intense pink; the flowers feel kind of waxy or fleshy.
Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera are epiphytes (tree-dwelling) originating in the mountainous rainforests of Brazil.

It’s excellent as hanging basket plant on a sheltered patio, or can be brought indoors in a bright area with excellent airflow.

Think about how lovely a blooming plant will be as a gift to bring joy for many years.

I’ve had pretty good success propagating these beauties by snipping a cutting at the natural “joint”, letting it dry out for a couple days, and then planting in sandy soil, keeping it only slightly moist until roots appear.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did by letting it get too wet or it’ll rot and die.

The next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Sacramento, meeting other wolf advocates and giving my two cents worth to a panel of Fish and Wildlife members who have blood on their hands from the senseless deaths of hundreds of beautiful wolves.

However, they have yet to hear from Princess Rosebud.

Boys DO Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses. Oh YES, They DO.

Kate Spade glasses2

Newsflash: Eyeglasses are the new aphrodisiac.

Sasssy and sexxxxy in a slightly beeyotchy way.

That describes both me AND my new Kate Spade glasses, don’t you agree?

Can’t wait for my tugboat man to see the new me. He loves the sexy librarian look…

Aren’t those polka dots TDF?

And the hair? It looks like my head had a curl explosion.
Oopsie, it seems as if the picture on the wall behind me is slightly askew; my OCD side will fix it immediately, since I clearly have no control over my hair.

And yes, that IS my enchanting bathroom, and no, I’m not wearing any makeup.

Kate Spade glassesIt’s a different world now than when I first needed to wear glasses. Back then, it tolled the death knell if you aspired at all to be a popular gal and hang out with the cool kids.

I was continually taunted with.such witticisms as,  “Hey, Coke-bottle‘s here. Ha Ha.”

Not so funny to be the target of mean girls. 

I couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear contact lenses.

But now, wearing glasses is just another important fashion accessory, not a signal to the world that the wearer is a bookish nerd, not that there’s anything wrong with that!

If you live in the San Diego area and need new frames, come to Carlsbad and check out
Andrews Optical on Grand for a huge selection and great customer service.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Stop Wolf Hunts Now

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Ghandi

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!

Best Christmas Decorations EVER-Haters, line up! Yoo hoo, Pinterest, I’m calling you!

I was inspired by other topnotch decorators who so kindly blogged about their DIY Christmas tree masterpieces.

In fact, I was so inspired and so thrilled to be stuck here all alone for the millionth time during the holidays that I created a masterpiece of my own, just for you, my loving internet family. S

o, Cousin Fur and Aunt Cheeky and Second Cousin Far Removed Tracy F for Fantastic, this one’s especially for you guys.

As I looked around my house, the elliptical seemed like it had the best “bones” to adorn.

Plus, it had a ready-made beverage holder!

I didn’t have any Maxi-pads or other feminine hygiene products–‘cos THAT ship has sailed–if you know what I mean. {Hey cool, a nautical reference jauntily tossed in. Damn, I’m good!} 

I added a toilet paper garland, a couple of Sophie Kinsella novels, two glittery seashell ornaments, a bottle of wine in the beverage holder, a white plastic poinsettia, a few EMPTY gift bags, and a festive plush Hello Kitty toy.

You can’t really see it very good, but there’s a chocolate bar too, which I luckily don’t have to share with anyone! I’m such a lucky girl! This is the best use I’ve found for the elliptical. Hanging freshly ironed shirts on it is a close second.

Carry on with your day; just take a moment to let it all sink in. Don’t HATE…Emulate.

Decorated for Christmas elliptical decorated elliptical

Winner, winner, winner! Liebster Award

One of my new besties, a very lovely lady who writes Tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily, nominated me for the prestigious Liebster Award. This is a wonderful and unexpected honor, albeit a teensy bit sad, because it’s meant to draw attention to deserving blogs (the happy part) who have less than 200 readers (the sad face part). However, I will carry on with a smile as the glass half full kinda gal I am, and proceed with the rules.

Rules
I need to nominate 11 other under-appreciated blogs with less than 200 followers. Hey guys, I appreciate you! Please visit them and give them some love because they are very interesting to read and are authored by brilliant and creative writers. Some have a bit more than 200 but I really enjoy them so much I wanted to help others make the discovery, and I think I actually have chosen 12, but whatever, I never like to follow rules.  And since most of the time I believe the world revolves around me (well, it does around MY house!) and it’s all about me, I can mess with the rules just a bit. Next comes 11 juicy tidbits about myself, then answer 11 questions sent to me, and create 11 questions for my chosen group.

Eleven random facts about ME you really want to know!

1. My grandfather was a rabbi

2. I was in the movie “Stuntman”

3. I fell down a manhole when I was three-years-0ld

4. I once interviewed Bob Hope

5. I know someone who knows someone who went to the Skyfall premiere

6. I love animals more than 90% of all the humans on Earth

7. I’m from the midwest

8. I could probably have a big win on Jeopardy-my head is full of useless information

9. I’ve taught school

10. My husband says I use a shovel like a man (he meant it as a compliment; I was not amused)

11. I haven’t eaten meat since I was 16-years-old

I nominate:

The Fur Files 

Snipewife 

Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches 

Michelle at Play

Life on Wry

Red Dirt Kelly

Jewels for All

Better Half Weddings

Seashells by Millhill

Misifusa’s Blog

Midlife Crisis Crossover

Elyses’s Life as I Know It

These are the questions that I had to answer:

Where is the farthest you have even been from where you were born? Not sure which is further from Detroit; Germany or Greece, but I’ve been to both

Do you live now where your family lived? My mom and dad and I moved from the mid west to San Diego, and my brother lives in on the west coast but not nearby; don’t keep in touch very much with the rest of the family

Do you like to live in the city or the country? I like where I live now, near the beach with a bit of hills, and the city about 30 minutes away. I want a little bit of everything!

Do you prefer to visit the city or the country? Definitely the country– to go hiking, camping, skiing. The city is only good for shopping

In what ways do you consider yourself the most creative?(Name as many ways as you’d like.)

I think I’m a pretty creative gluer of seashells and I try to put words together like I arrange my shells and rocks and beach glass

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? I would like to build my copy editing/proofing business and maybe have the two books I’m currently working on done and published as well as the reality show I want to pitch to ANYONE and you’ll be seeing me on all the talk shows looking very fashionista

What would you like to try that you have not done before? Ski without being petrified of going too fast and falling.

Is there any place in particular that you have never seen that you would like to visit? France

What would you change about the world if you had one quick wish? No animal or child abuse

Rank these(1,2,3,4):books, music, sports, movies You did it for me, I would keep them arranged exactly the same!

What are your 3 favorite holidays? (Whatever you celebrate) My son’s birthday, Christmas, Hannukah, wedding anniversary (I chose 4)

Here are my questions for you: 

1. How old were you when you first learned to read?

2. Name two of your favorite books.

3. What’s your favorite holiday dessert?

4. What is a Merchant Marine?

5. Who is your role model?

6. Who is your favorite movie star?

7. Do you make new year’s resolutions?

8. What’s cluttering up your life?

9. Do you drive a car or a truck?

10. Do you know how to change the battery in a smoke alarm?

11. What is your best home remedy for a sore throat?