And the winner is…XX or XY?

I’m bursting to tell, but first…

(I seem to repeat myself on both blogs and a big sorry to those who follow both cos you’re reading things twice, so I need to sit myself down and figure out how I can have both topics in one location cos this is driving me crazy. Well, crazier than I was, and now that the mothership (me) is obsessing about this baby, well, I’m at a whole new level of cray.)

And now we return to today’s post…

how-to-have-a-baby-girl

Don’t hate but here’s a truth; when my son was in elementary school, I’d pick him up every day after school and we’d walk home while he chattered away about what what happened during the day, what he learned, and sometimes this:

“Mom, Mom, guess what? I have EXTRA CREDIT!”

Yes, my Angel Boy looked at additional schoolwork as a gift —and why would anyone want to rain on his bliss?

Always the overachiever, it’s not surprising that he performed over and above in this category too, because he and DIL are having a…

wait for it

wait for it

oh, I can’t wait.

IT’S A …

BOYseashells

*Squeeeee!!*

Can you hear me screaming for joy?

DIL’s already referring to him as Angel Boy 2.0…here’s a pic.

He looks exactly like the Original Angel Boy with that big head!

AB2.0 BLOGpic

The first thing this yummy grandmummy did was to rush out and SHOP!

babygifts1

Next on the list is painting the nursery a lovely vintage yellow. I’ll decorate with an animal/nautical theme.

Lots of animals.

Nautical + animals but NOT a Noah’s Ark vibe.

Of course lots of love.

Cos that’s really all you need.

All you need is love. heartconstellation

What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

For this #MothersDay, I’m honored to welcome a special guest poster on Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife…my very own daughter-in-law, or as we fondly refer to her, DIL. I know you’ll love this post as much as I do. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
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What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

As we sit 20,000 feet up in seats 1C, 1D, & 1E, our little team can almost exhale as we head home from Boston to San Diego.

Rewind ten days.

What would you do at 4:00 a.m. when you’re terrified in the Emergency Room. Your husband is in agony. The surgeons’ don’t know what’s up and the pain meds aren’t working?

You call family.

Nobody wants to make that call. I knew that waking up MIL in the middle of the night to tell her that her Angel Boy was in the Emergency Room hooked up to morphine 3000 miles away would put the ice-cold, fear-of-God in her.

I took a deep breath and dialed. When she did not pick up I knew the panic she would feel when I called again right after.

No one wants to see their DIL’s number twice in a row in the middle of the night.

When I got through I told her calmly what was happening. I could hear the panic in her voice but she responded exactly as a mother should. She said that she was on her way. Not just hopping in the car or on the bus. She was booking tickets to fly across the country without a moment’s thought. I knew that I had opened them to that sick pain and fear I was feeling – but it had made me feel better. I knew whatever was coming I did not have to face it alone. And that’s what good mothers do. They take on your pain, so you can feel better.

From then on, I counted the hours until they arrived. Literally. I did not leave AB’s side until they got there and I knew another loved one could watch over him.

It had been fifteen hours in the hospital without even a cuppa. I had screamed, cried, fought, and begged every RN, CRN, resident, consultant, physician, surgeon, radiologist, you name it. But now I knew I had some people on my team.

Team AB.

The next ten days after the surgery went by on auto-pilot. I’m convinced Team AB drove the whole floor nuts. We were on their ass 24/7 – from wash clothes, to walks, to IV, to test, results, more CTs — we did not stop for a moment to breathe.

But me and MIL were on the same team, working together, side by side, to make sure our AB got better.

It’s true when they say you have to laugh or you’ll cry. Too true! In amongst all of the drama and fear we belly laughed. I mean really laughed. Even when Jason’s roommate “One Tooth Tommy’s” girlfriend overdosed him on her street Xanex. Or or when I got some sympathy gas in the canteen in front of a table of young cute residents.

The day AB was getting discharged, I woke up and I looked over in our hotel room to see MIL sleeping and next to her an empty glass of wine, vodka tonic, and the remains of my Cosmo. What can I say? It had been one of those weeks.

And now as we head home to San Diego, it could not be more perfect that tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Because it’s definitely time to celebrate MIL.

When an emergency hits – it comes out of nowhere and the whole world stops.

Everything is stripped back and you see people for who they really are.

Raw.

What we saw this week was the purest and selfless love of a mother.

AB, you are lucky to have such a mom.

And I am lucky to have a friend, a partner in crime, and the best MIL you could wish for!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

A daughter-in-law dedication

My Saturday in SoCal has not been nearly as eventful as this. My son sent these pics from New Haven where he went cross country skiing in thirty-eight inches of snow. I hope everyone is OK and hasn’t lost power or anything!

This is my 200th post–what a milestone! It seems only right that I dedicate this to S, my DIL. She badgered encouraged me to blog, to share my thoughts and snarky commentary (and not bug her and my son so much??) and it was my son who set up the WP account. (I’ll save those accolades for his March birthday post-plenty of time to get your hankies washed, ironed, and perfumed–they’ll be drenched with tears. A mommy’s love is fierce, y’all. Just a warning.) 

miljokeI hope I’m not a bad MIL. I had two of the worst mothers-in-law you could imagine-three if you count my tugboat man’s evil stepmother. The first one wasn’t really that bad; she suffered from a lot of medical problems so I’ll give her a pass for that reason-but she was just a precursor, a forerunner to a doozy of a bitch. Hub’s mom; a laconic thrower of backhanded one-liners–a future post’ll share some of my most memorable experiences.

MIL noteHopefully, that’s taught me not to be SO terrible, but as mom of an only child who happens to be a son whose nickname is Angel Boy and on whom the sun rises and sets, you can bet there needs to be a bit of benevolence, compassion, understanding, and sensitivity on both sides. There’s a def learning curve.

(I’m sure she fondly remembers our house rule of “no cohabitation without documentation” before they were married.)

S has a great sense of humor and a highly developed wit–a great way to deal with a MIL! Right, S?

Although she did recommend I watch “Monster-in-Law”…do you think she was subtly trying to tell me something?

Is my DIL trying to tell me something?

Is my DIL trying to tell me something?

S is London-born with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brown. She’s opened up my world to lots of cool things like Absolutely Fabulous, Gossip Girl, and Downton Abbey. She’s a girly girl in addition to all that brain power. We’ve had a lot of fun together: shopping, getting manis, and making candles. I never had a girl child so it’s been a lot of fun doing things that my mom and I did. As a family, we’ve all gone hiking and camping together–it was DIL who taught me how to “pop a squat”–a skill that’s come in handy more times than I care to mention!

I can’t share what she does-YET-but as soon as I can, you can be sure I’ll shout it to the heavens with PRIDE!

DIL earned a special title.

Isn't she totes adorbs?

Isn’t she totes adorbs?

When she calls (which she should do more often), I’m alerted by the screen telling me it’s Angel Girl.

Thank you, DIL!

UK SPK™- Part Two

Since my son met and married a girl from London, his language has become peppered with UK SPK™, which I define as words and phrases he’s appropriated from his wife, her family, and friends. Because I like to be as trendy and hip as he is, if only to annoy him, I have incorporated quite a few into my daily life.

When everyone was here for Thanksgiving, my DIL (daughter-in-law) and her sister left behind quite a few gems to share.

I really love this one. You need to use rinse if you listen to a song over and over again. “I love Christina Perri‘s song, ‘Jar of Hearts‘ and I’ve been rinsing it.” Or…to use something a lot; “I’ve given my credit card a rinse this holiday season.” …or to play Candyland with your kids until it wears out, or to read the same bedtime book over and over.

Spunk is a very interesting word. For us who speak American English, it means courage or spirit or full of energy, as in  “She’s full of spunk” or “She’s a spunky girl. However,  for Brits–spunk takes on a WHOLE different meaning!  it’s a slang term for semen. Imagine the shock on DIL’s face when a man at a business meeting told her she had a lot of spunk and she thought he was sexually harassing her!

Cheers–not as a prelude to lifting a glass or a toast, but as a way to say thank you. It’s spoken in monotone with no inflection. Let’s say someone passed you a bowl of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. You would say “cheers”. It’s low-key.

To DIL and her sister, swish means cool–to us, swish is a disparaging term for a gay man and denotes an effeminate personality.

Reem = sexy, great, fantastic. Be reem, see reem, look reem. “Johnny Depp is so reem!”

Error or to drop an error, which means to make a mistake. “I dropped an error and left something in the car”.  The family is sitting around the dinner table and somebody makes a mistake in etiquette and one would say, “Error” and then everyone laughs.

To cotch is to relax, chill, take a rest. Describing something as a cotch means it was relaxed and chilled out. A really great cotch is cotchtastic.

Amazeballs is the same on both sides of the pond. Amazing, obvs.

The last and best one comes with its own hand gesture.

cringe

This is an example. This is how you do it!

The word is cringe–but it’s not pronounced the same way –/krinj/–as if we meant to bend one’s head and body in a servile manner.

This is how to pronounce it the  UK SPK™  way.

/kr-AWW-nJ/ drawing out the w and j sound. This is the perfect word to use when someone says something really unfunny and then everything goes silent, or when someone goes on and on about something which is really boring, or when someone makes an unwanted comment.

“OMG, gurrrl, I can’t believe that Phoebe got wasted and fell down the stairs naked in front of her brother-in-law. That was cringe. Totally cringe.”

What makes cringe totes amazeballs is that, to be accurate, it needs to be accompanied by a hand gesture that is very similar to the Wendy Williams‘s “how you doin”, but with one hand.

So to review, when you find yourself in a perfect situation to use cringe, you’d lift your right hand, (or the hand that’s not holding a vodka marty), and make that WW or “claw” gesture. Got it? Practice makes perfect!

(Check out UK SPK™ Part One)

When DIL/sister were here, we all rinsed “Jar of Hearts”.

A lost opportunity, a huge regret, a haunting feeling

During one of my healing retail therapy sessions in the shoe aisle at Nordstrom, an older (and by older, I mean WAY older than me, like late sixties) well groomed beautifully dressed lady was sitting nearby trying on a pair of boots. She had a scarf around her neck that you could tell simply by looking that it was woven of the highest quality cashmere. She had a lovely air of grace and elegance. I think it was that regal essence that reminded me of my mom. She owned that quality too, always dressed head to toe with class.  The woman looked so together that I couldn’t keep from sneaking glances at her while I too tried on boots. I’d been looking for a pair of flat riding boots that fit snugly but weren’t too high, which is a tall order. (ha ha). I’ve never been accused of dressing elegantly. Sexy, flamboyant, stylish, wild even–but never Lilly Van der Woodsen Upper East Side elegant. Lilly van der woodsenHere’s an example of me getting dressed… If one pearl necklace is good, a dozen is better! A ring for every finger, well, why not? We have ten of them, isn’t that what they’re for? And aren’t our arms just begging to be filled with every bangle and charm bracelet in the jewelry box?

My mom would shake her head and say, “Princess Rosebud, haven’t you heard the old saying, less is more?” My response to her was, “Haven’t YOU heard of my saying, more is better?”

So I’m sitting there and this lovely woman is sitting there and she turns to me and says softly, matter-of-factly,

“My husband died last week.”

What do you do when a stranger opens up that way? What do you do? I said,

“I am so very sorry for your loss.”

She continued,

“We had been married for fifty years. I don’t know what to do with myself so I shop all day. I can’t bear to be home alone without him.”

If anyone could empathize with that philosophy, it would be me. Not that I’ve lost my life partner, but when my darling thirteen-year-old kitty died, I felt the same way. I left the house early in the morning and stayed away ’til dark, wandering around the shopping centers like a lost soul. I couldn’t bear to open the front door and know that I’d never again see her face at the top of the stairs greeting me. I couldn’t bear to sleep in our bed and never again feel her jump up and scratch at the covers to join me, nestled against my body, so I slept on the sofa until the captain came back. What made it even more difficult to bear was that it happened while he was out to sea, and I was the one who was unanchored, aimlessly drifting. I totes understood the poor lady’s pain.

“He made every day worth living.”

I asked her if she had family in the area to help her with her sadness, and she shook her head. It was on the tip of my tongue to invite her to join me for a cup of coffee when when my cell rang. It was my son. He needed me to run to the post office before it closed and send him a book he had accidentally left behind the previous week.

As I walked away, I touched her gently on the shoulder and told her once again how sorry I was for her loss and I hoped she’d be all right.

I really, really regret not getting her name and telephone number so that we could meet at a coffee shop or simply make sure she’s OK. I have a feeling she might not be. I do have that feeling. I’ve never seen her again.

For the most part, women are a truly and deeply caring and nurturing community. I dropped the ball that day and it haunts me.  It haunts me.

VINTAGE VALENTINO FIND, y’all

The universe is dropping some love on me today, that’s for sure. Ommmm. After the gym, I stopped at my secret source consignment shop…somewhere in SoCal…I’ll never tell. But I bet DIL knows which one I went to. OMFG, first I spied the red polka dots (and I’m a sucker for polka dots), and then I looked at the label. Vintage Valentino-fur reals. Then I looked at the price. $40. Forty dollars, are you serious??? Finally I tried it on, and it fits. It’s too good to be true! It’s two pieces. The dress is a sort of a halter top, but very intricate. The top is a snug fit with a flowy skirt, enough to hug the curves but not to make anyone think you’re trying to hide a big belly or some of that good old menopause paunch. The long-sleeved coat is absolutely stunning with handmade fabric buttons. It’s silk, of course, and that famous Valentino red. So well made, it puts my Target outfits to shame. Now I have the perfect outfit to wear for the captain’s arrival! Check out the label–I was telling the truth.

Abandoning the mother ship

pumpkin, pumpkin stew

Soon to be pumpkin stew

DIL and sister wife left this morning to drive back up to SF. I still have my son until tomorrow. He flies out mid-morning to the east coast and I’m not looking forward to the thirty-five minute drive and the lunacy of the airport. At its best it’s not pleasant. Now they’re undergoing major construction delays and it’s another level of Hell.  For the moment, home is reminiscent of the old days; he’s sitting at the dining room table with a computer surrounded by piles of books, only this time he’s not writing a report or research paper, he’s grading essays.

Young Yale Professor

Photo of a Yale professor in action

I can’t believe this little sk8r boy of mine goes to work and fifteen college freshman call him Professor Angel Boy. Of course, they don’t REALLY call him Angel Boy, but I think they  should. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the concept. It’s mind boggling. Especially since he still derives the greatest pleasure by shocking me with offensive earsplitting and vulgar expulsions of intestinal gas that serves as his initial form of communication when he opens the front door (Insert loud breaking wind sounds here) “Hi, mom, I’m home!” or belching as commentary while we’re enjoying a lovely meal at the dinner table, like Thanksgiving. Apparently, my laughing is an ineffective method of dissuading that kind of behavior. Sometimes I tell him he’s disgusting but he finds that a compliment rather than a criticism. His wife thinks he’s funny too; even the captain finds him humorous, shaking his head, “That’s our boy!” almost, no, not almost–completely proud of him– so it’s hopeless. The dichotomy between his academic braininess and his juvenile antics is-uh-refreshing. It’s no wonder I treat him like he’s still in the third grade. It’s as if he never left elementary school with the stupid arm farts and the other robust sounds and smells that emanate from all of his orifices. I keep my fingers crossed that when he meets with his department heads or his publisher that he remembers all the lessons in good manners we practiced and he only acts out here as the living embodiment of the prodigal son. Like I said, fingers crossed. 

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

Smells DELICIOUS

I’m in the kitchen baking another loaf of Whole Wheat Bread. Tonight we had Moroccan Pumpkin Stew (recipe below) with steamed brown rice and Seared Ahi ‘cos I have to make sure he gets enough protein.

It’s kind of cold, damp, and foggy; after dinner we made a fire and  played Scrabble. He won, of course–232 to 219.scrabble

An assortment of desserts; apple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookiesapple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookies

Beautiful flowers from my Angel Boy

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 6 small potatoes, well-scrubbed but not peeled, cut in half
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-1/2 cups canned tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons raisins

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrot, potato, and pumpkin and saute for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time. When vegetables have softened, add the ginger and garlic. Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon stick. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, then add the canned tomato and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, then add the raisins. Allow to cook for 18-25 minutes until all vegetables are soft – but don’t overcook. Serve over or with brown rice.

I sat at the children’s table

That’s because there was only me plus the kids here, so I was outnumbered. No tugboat man nor BioDad this year. I know it might seem crazy, but am I the only one who can’t seem to think of their grown son as an adult? I still see him as a four-year-old, and I’m still bringing him tissues when he sniffs and I wait until he blows his nose. I still praise him for the simplest things, “Look who’s reading a book, what a good boy!” Then there’s, “Please take out the trash”.  A few minutes later, “Please take the trash out.” After fifty requests, I give up and take out the trash.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, the more things stay the same. I’m short on time while everyone’s still here–cooking, driving, shopping, cleaning–but I’ll be back as soon as I’m free. All my little birdies’ll be leaving the nest on Monday, but while they’re here, my time is not my own. It’s 6:30 a.m. Soon they’ll be awake, needing a first breakfast of homemade granola and Greek yogurt before a surf sesh, which’ll leave me time to get their Breakfast Burritos prepared.

Breakfast Burritos are so easy! Refried beans with cheese, scrambled eggs, sliced avocado, tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream–all rolled up in a huge tortilla. That’s what the cool kids eat!

Our T-day table and one of my son, DIL, and sister wife (on the left). ImageImage

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

From one of the funniest blogs out there,  My Life as Lucille, the absolute best quote about Thanksgiving from my secret crush, Jon Stewart.

Thanksgiving Quote
I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.~Jon Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Kugel-icous Recipe for Passover, too!

I posted this for Hannukah but we make it for Passover, too. I hope you try it and enjoy! Since my stupid oven broke for the 4th time yesterday as I was making my son’s birthday cake, I’m not sure I’ll be able to make Kugel since we couldn’t get a repair appointment until Thursday and the stupid part will take a week to arrive, so we are out of luck! Stupid Sears! Stupid Kenmore! Stupid planned obsolescence!
A pic of kugel (not mine) from http://www.jpost.com/ArtsAndCulture/FoodAndWine/Article.aspx?id=290152

 

What is Kugel?                                                                                                                            Kugel is a savory or sweet pudding of potatoes or noodles usually served as a side dish. It’s of German/Jewish origin. Our family’s traditional Kugel is the sweet noodle kind and my mom’s version is to die for. Really. It’s spectacular hot or cold. I’ll make it tomorrow and take pics. It’s one of those recipes you can make a day in advance and it gets better and better. If you have any leftovers–which we never do- it freezes pretty good. I limit myself to making it only a couple times a year and I eat as much as I want and just work out a bit harder and a bit longer to burn off the calories.

Angel Boy’s Grandma’s Kugel

Ingredients

One large package wide egg noodles
One large can fruit cocktail in juice
One small can pineapple pieces in juice
One large can canned peaches and pears in heavy syrup, yes, you read that right.
At least 3 Granny Smith apples, sliced with about 1/3 cup sugar and 1-2 TBS cinnamon.
3 Eggs
2 tsp vanilla
One lemon,  juiced and zested.

This is a good dish to make in advance especially if you’re also planning to make apple pie (which I am) ‘cos you can just prepare all the apples for both dishes. The secret to this dish is a LOT of cinnamon. If you think you have enough, add a little bit more! Cook a whole package of wide egg noodles and drain. Add 3 beaten eggs with vanilla; it will be super slippery. Add the lemon juice and zest to the apple slices. Drain all the canned fruit but keep the juices; you will need them. Mix together all the canned fruits. Butter one large and one medium deep baking dish. Add a layer of noodles, then a layer of canned fruit, a layer of apples, then another layer of noodles, a layer of the canned fruit, sliced apples, more noodles, more canned fruit and apples, ending with a final layer of noodles. Pour over any remaining egg mixture, and a cup or so of the fruit juices. Be very liberal with the juice. It will all get soaked up as the kugel bakes. Jason’s grandma would dot the whole thing with a bunch of Crisco, like ¼ cup, which sounds gross, but I still follow her recipe. Some people use butter, but we don’t. Other recipes add cottage cheese and raisins, but I’ve only made it my mom’s way, although I’m sure it would be delicious. Bake covered at 300 degrees for about an hour or so depending on the pan size. Take cover off for final 15 minutes. Excellent reheated and/or cold.