Princess Rosebud and Her Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

I will speak in third person, not sure why, but that’s how I’m feeling at this exact moment so that’s how I’ll roll.

Princess Rosebud had a terrible, horrible, no good, VERY BAD DAY.

Her arms are crossed, lower lip jutting out, brow furrowed (as much as a Botoxed brow can be) and she’s stomping her foot.

A melt-down is imminent.

The day had started out in spectacular fashion.

Her Tugboat Man was FINALLY! COMING HOME!

He had been gone for almost a month and Princess Rosebud missed him a lot especially since he had been absent during the whole retinal tear/laser surgery episode as well as the “meeting Al Gore” event.

The house was spotless; the bed freshly made with 800 thread count linens that had been ironed and perfumed (with Chanel), ‘cos even a tough tugboat captain gets tired of smelling diesel fuel all the time and he appreciates the little things.

After hitting the trifecta: Trader Joe’s, BevMo, and Sprouts, she dragged nine bags of groceries from her car to the house and up the flight of steps to reach the kitchen (they live in a Southern California tri-level).  She then walked back down to the garage to bring up a bottle of Gruet champagne and a couple bottles of wine.

Taking care of the most important chore first, Princess Rosebud placed the champagne and a bottle of chardonnay in the refrigerator and gathered together flour, cocoa, sugar, and eggs for a baking session.

The special welcome home menu would be Caesar Salad with homemade dressing, freshly baked French bread, and a (hopefully) moist and fudgey decadent chocolate cake.

Taking a brief moment to drink a glass of refreshing lemon water, she opened her computer to check for an email from her Tugboat Man with specific flight details. The airport is about forty minutes away and takes much longer if there’s traffic, and there’s usually tons of traffic.

This is what she found in her Inbox:

From MASTER XXXXXX
Bad news they’re asking me to do another trip. I’ve asked them to keep looking for someone else but it’s a possibility. Not happy, sorry. 

(She pounded out a swift reply, of course all in caps.)

To MASTER XXXXXX
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I JUST WENT GROCERY SHOPPING FOR YOU. OMG. IS THIS A JOKE?

(Storm clouds on the horizon. An upset Princess is NOT a good thing to behold.)

From MASTER XXXXXX
I am not kidding.  I will have more time off when I do get home. Just trying to look at the bright side. Now you can eat for a while. I will call you tomorrow with the final word. Love you.

To MASTER XXXXXX
I don’t know what to say. 

(She had a lot to say, but didn’t want to say anything she’d regret at a later date.)

From MASTER XXXXXX
You and me both honey.

What was Princess going to do? She had been so very excited to see her Tugboat Man and he was now delayed for two weeks because his relief captain was unable to take over for some reason. 

It’s not like this never happens in the life of a professional mariner.

It’s always a possibility.

Other mariner spouses have all experienced the “delay”. Either the assignment lasts longer than expected, or another obstacle presents itself.

Like this. Like having to work an extra two weeks because the company is in a bind.

That’s why most of the time Princess doesn’t allow herself to get too excited or plan anything until she knows he’s at the airport and on his way.

But this story has a happy ending. Sort of.

No, her Tugboat Man didn’t get a reprieve; he’s still scheduled to return around the 26th, but Princess’ friend came over and helped her drown her sorrows with a couple of bottles of wine purchased for the homecoming celebration.

A different ending than one of Angel Boy’s favorite childhood books…

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…but the message is the same.

We can learn to cope when things don’t go our way — and in my case, a few glasses of wine turned my frown upside down!

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Shopping Tips From Princess Rosebud. More Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife.

Shopaholic Tip #1 Save your receipts.

Shopaholic Tip #2 Make sure you are well versed in the return policies of each and every store in which you shop.

Here’s why: The other side of being a shopaholic is buyer’s remorse.  Sometimes it happens as soon as you arrive home and unpack all of your treasures — there’s a little seed of doubt growing roots in the other side of your brain no longer high with shopping endorphins — maybe you’re just not as enthralled about the colors or the cut or the style  — maybe the way the color looked under harsh florescent lighting is different that you imagined it would be; say for example, the cornflower blue sweater isn’t exactly the shade of cornflower blue you thought would be such an amazing pop of color with a specific blouse or maybe the shoes that you tried on for a moment in the store aren’t comfortable and would NEVER be worn.

Or if you’re like me and really hate the confines of a dressing room, you chose a bunch a couple outfits that you thought would fit ‘cos it’s your size and all that, but when you actually tried them on in the relaxed and serene (and clean) confines of your bedroom, you discover that the cut of the jeans is unflattering or has an unnaturally low rise. Come on people, when will fashion designers STOP manufacturing women’s jeans based on the body of a  prepubescent boy and remember that most women possess waistlines as well as child-bearing hips and we’d like our trousers to fall somewhere close and not be so obscenely low as to reveal our Caesarean scars? Hmm? It’s not that I don’t have some great Joe’s jeans and skinny jeans from Anthropolgie that fit perfectly right, but I’m talking generalities here.

Anyhoo, this is a running topic of contentious conversation with me and my tugboat man.

As soon as I tell him I went shopping, he asks me how soon it will be until I take half or all of my purchases  back. And then he laughs. Ha ha. NOT. It’s his little (tired) joke to bet me which items will not make the cut, so to speak.

Poor tugboat man. He thought that same psychology would work with any of my Chanel purchases, but sadly for him, this Princess is way more clever.

Have you EVER heard of anyone returning an iconic 2.55 Chanel quilted handbag with the chain strap because it didn’t fit? HAH! He’s not as smart as he thinks he is. I threw him a shady eye for even suggesting that it might go back. That’s crazy talk, Captain. He really doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. Really.

So, of those four pairs of shoes I purchased last week, I’ve kept two of them. The Asics went back. Why? Because upon detailed inspection at home, I discovered that they were NOT the same style as the ones I had originally purchased for $120.00 and they were not as comfortable. And I take my work out/walking shoes VERY seriously because I live in them. A heel or a wedge doesn’t need the same criteria because they’re worn for shorter periods of time and let’s face it, you don’t even think about hiking in a pair of Louboutin heels, right?

That’s why it’s UBER important to save your receipt and all the tags and make sure you know there’s a decent return policy — not as I’ve found with some shops in tiny print “exhange or store credit only”.  No SIR. I want my $$$$ back.  I do NOT want my money held hostage and  forced  to choose something else. That store goes on my list of places to NEVER again  frequent. It’s not that I don’t understand the nuance of a small business — I’ve owned a couple of them myself — but it’s a negative no matter what the reason, that’s all I’m saying.

I’m still shaking my head…return a friggin’ Chanel??? Does my tugboat man have ANY idea who he’s married to? I mean seriously, where has he been for the past twenty years? I suppose it was wishful thinking on his part, but COME ON.

I can’t even form the thought, “I’d like to return my beautiful Chanel handbag that I’ve lusted for and dreamed about my entire life.”

That’s a whole lotta crazy talk.

Hee hee. 🙂 Have a lovely Sunday and remember to save your receipts!

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.

Beginnings and endings: 1966 and 2007

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”–Coco Chanel

Two special dates: July 1966 and April 2007

Beginnings and endings.

July 1966 – Detroit, Michigan

I’m in the bathroom, calling out to my mom.

“MomMomMOM MOMMEEE!! Where ARE you? Guess what?”

You know what they say, a mom always knows.

“Honey, I bet you just started menstruating, am I right?” (She was a nurse and always always used a medical term instead of slang. Like we always said “urinate” instead of pee; vagina and penis instead of -well– instead of anything else.)

After a hug and a lengthy (yawn) tutorial about personal hygiene, my mom took me out for lunch and a shopping spree to commemorate this milestone towards womanhood. She told me that when she first began to menstruate, all she got was a slap in the face from her mother, some kind of archaic ritualistic symbolism that had something to do with the fact that her father (my grandfather) was a rabbi. She told me that she was horrified and never forgot it, and if she ever had a little girl, she’d mark the occasion with a celebration, not a punishment.

At school it was called “Aunt Flo” or “Secret Sam” (don’t ask me why.)

Back then everyone used cumbersome huge Kotex pads attached by a hellish contraption known as a “Kotex belt.” Made up of white elastic encompassing your waist along with two plastic clips that attached to each end of the pad, it took some getting used to — and felt very much like my biking shorts do now. It was a great day when I graduated to tampons.

That started years of worry. Worry about waiting to “start”. Worry about what to wear to avoid an accident, and later, worry about NOT starting, waiting every month with a silent prayer to the Period Goddess — please oh please let me start; I’ll be more careful next time. And then getting married and wanting to start a family; holding my breath every month and willing my body to NOT– becoming compulsively scientific, taking temperatures and  stressing over ovulation days and counting. Worry, worry, worry.

Worry about the baby I did become pregnant with…will he be healthy, will I be a good mom, will I produce enough milk, can I protect him from all harm and sadness–the what ifs drove me crazy.

April 2007 was the date of my last menses, my last period. At the risk of alienating my peers, I have to be honest and admit that I had no symptoms of menopause — I experienced none of the common complaints. Oh, I had an occasional hot flash–which I actually enjoyed since I’m always cold — for a few brief moments, it felt like I had my own personal heater. And once in a while, I’d feel a bit tingly which brought back awesome memories of a similar feeling when I was breastfeeding and my milk “let down”. I told my doctor all this and she nodded her head and said she had experienced the same sensations.

I am so happy to be done with all that worry.  I don’t have to check the calendar every month and worry about when or if I’m going to need to carry tampons with me.

It’s not that I’m not still kinda crazy, but my level of worry is diferent. Not that I don’t worry constantly about my son, but he’s a grown up thirty-two- year-old Yale professor and my worry for him is a bit less intense.

I feel freer. Tranquil. Confident. Satisfied. I can take a deep breath now and exhale.

Don’t get me wrong; I do believe Coco Chanel. I still work out like a fiend every day to fit in my size two skinny jeans; I fight the good fight with Botox and color my gray hair, but I’m a very happy fifty-eight-year-old, and proud to say it. Bring on the next chapter of my life. I’m ready!

This post is written for a Generation Fabulous BlogHop. Generation Fabulous is a new website for and about women who are rocking middle-age and beyond. Please click here to see more.

My tugboat man and I were gone all day…gym in the morning, and then a trip to downtown San Diego for a pair of shoes for him and what I got is a post for another day…I think this is a lovely and inspiring quote and thought I’d share it! Hope your Friday was spectacular!

Explorer's Guide Maritime Academy

Have a great weekend!

~Explorer’s Guide Maritime Academy Staff

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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.