Dear WordPress…What Am I, CHOPPED LIVER?

What am I, chopped liver?When I was little Princess Rosebud growing up in Detroit,  my mom used to be the Queen of chopped liver.

At Channukah and Sukkos and the High Holidays, our family would come from miles around to chow down on her spectacular cooking and baking, including that tasty, albeit ugly, liver-y creation. Even a sprinkling of chopped hardboiled egg and parsley couldn’t mask the grey/brown blob of mushed up, mashed up internal organ.

Oh, and gribones, which is an artery clogging mixture of fried chicken skins, onions, and schmaltz, which is chicken FAT. Rendered chicken fat. Jars of it in the back of the refrigerator. GAG.

According to Wiki: The word gribenes is related to Griebe (plural Grieben) in various German dialects (from Old High German griobo via Middle High German griebe),[2] where Griebenschmalz is lard from which the cracklings have not been removed. German “Geriebenes” is a matter which has been grated or ground, from German “reiben”, to grind.

No wonder I became a veg.

schroncefgsula.blogspot.com

schroncefgsula.blogspot.com

I’ve been a vegetarian since 1971, when I was still in high school. I haven’t had a taste or even a morsel of meat nor fowl since then, including the liver, chopped or otherwise, of any living creature.

Why the chopped liver memories?

For the longest time, I’ve felt like I’m the human embodiment of chopped liver, ‘cos it seems that I’m the ONLY blog in the entire family of WordPress blogs that hasn’t ever been chosen to be Freshly Pressed.

I’m very sad.

I read a lot of Freshly Pressed posts, and I ponder.

I scratch my head —  and it’s not that I begrudge the recipients who’re chosen, but I’ve held an objective mirror up to my writing and my subject matter and my unique voice, and I truly believe it’s GOOD. In some cases, way better than the lucky bloggers who can boast of being Freshly Pressed.

Lots of people tell me I’m good. Even my son tells me I’m a good writer and he’s pretty stingy with his compliments, which make them all the more valuable — plus he’s a Yale professor AND author, so I take his praise with more than a few grains of salt.

I’ve had readers wonder why they don’t see me in Freshly Pressed, when other bloggers have had multiple posts chosen.

In my not-really-humble opinion, It’s a travesty.

On a serious note, it reeks of favoritism and might as well be advertising and promotion for ONE blogger at the expense of many other worthy writers.

There. I’m finished now.

That’s my Friday rant.

Tonight I’ll light some shabbat candles and wish really hard that one day SOON, I can proudly display a Freshly Pressed badge on my blog.

Dreams CAN come true, ya know.

Hello? WordPress? Can you hear me??

Can you hear me NOW?

Advertisements

No, I can’t go with him. Ever. Please stop asking.

Being married to a guy who goes out to sea elicits ongoing explanations–what does he do, why does he go away; he’s fishing, right? (Wrong)

At the gym today, one of the girls asked me the question I have been asked literally hundreds of times, “Do you ever get to go with him?”

NO, I can’t ever go with him, nor can I meet him and spend a few days sightseeing.

In the middle of the ocean?

These are working vessels. They don’t carry passengers for safety and security reasons; plus he works ALL the time.

Usmm-sealA refresher for new readers…my husband’s a tugboat captain. He’s also referred to as a mariner or a merchant seaman. He’s a member of the United States Merchant Marine.

The way most tug captains and crew are paid when they’re out to sea is on a “daily rate” basis which means he’s literally on the clock 24 hours a day.

Sometimes it’s eight hours on and four hours off, or six hours on and six hours off. In the “off” times, he has to eat and shower and sleep, which is why seamen often suffer from sleep deprivation.

When he comes home after a long assignment, it takes about a week to regulate his body to a more normal sleep/awake pattern.

I guess there are still some situations where spousal visits to ports are possible, but that’s never been my own experience, and since I get seasick and tugs are super noisy and smelly and dirty, I’m not sure it would be that much fun.

Here’s how we prepare for a long assignment. We’ve discovered that having a departure routine is also a coping strategy, as it helps us work as a team.

The prep is a major undertaking, although a reluctant one on my part, because it ends with a drive to the airport as a couple and the drive home alone. When our beloved pets were still alive (Victor the Border Collie and our daughter cat, Bandit) just getting the suitcases out of the garage actually caused them to become depressed, as they both came to associate that action with their daddy going away. So sad.

A very old pic of Bandit as a kitten and old man Victor

Bandit as a kitten and old man Victor. The best kind of love.

We make a lot of lists so he’ll have enough supplies of personal items to last the duration of his assignment. He’s often gone for 2-4 months without any stops in port or he’ll be in a part of the world that doesn’t have a Target or CVS on every corner.

Food
There’s always a cook aboard the tug, so he doesn’t have to worry about preparing his meals, but he has to have enough toothpaste (4), dental floss (4), vitamins, the kind of tea he likes (Yogi Antioxidant and Ginger), underwear, socks, shampoo (Kiehls is the shampoo of choice), sunscreen, and supplies for his marlinspike seamanship projects.

ropework bottle IMG_0786

I pack raw almonds, raisins, dried (unsweetened) mangos and papayas from Trader Joe’s to ensure he has healthy snacks for as long as possible.

He fills two large suitcases, two medium suitcases, and a backpack that contains his computer, iPod, other personal items.

suitcases

Serious things…

I think it’s important to have a discussion about serious matters,  just in case.

It’s something no one wants to think about, but the reality is that a tugboat is a dangerous place, and it’s smart–not to mention empowering–to be prepared in the event of a worst case scenario.

I suggest making sure you each have current powers of attorney and easy access to all financial documents. (I’m not an attorney; this is just what we have found to be a good idea).

He always checks our two cars to make sure they’re in good working order, fills the gas can for the lawnmower, and completes any last minute house repair jobs. This last time he washed the second story windows. (I abhor dirty windows!!)

It’s these little things that he does that make me feel like we’re still connected even when he’s an ocean (or two) away.

It’s equally as important to know how to reach him in case of an emergency. Cell phones often don’t work in remote locations, and there’s a definite course of action with the company if it becomes necessary to bring him home.

Make sure that neighbors, family, friends have that emergency contact information–just in case.

After his first long assignment, we installed a security system for peace of mind as much as for actual protection.

And to give you a real idea of what life is like aboard a tug, try this…
Leave your lawn mower running in your living room 24 hours a day.
Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get dressed as fast as you can.
[Taken from http://gcaptain.com/forum/professional-mariner-forum/3115-life-aboard-merchant-vessel.html]

No, I can’t go with him when he goes out to sea. Please. stop. asking.

When I was at the gym today, one of the girls asked me the question I have been asked literally hundreds of times…”Do you ever go with him?” NO, I can’t ever go with him, nor can I meet him and spend a few days sightseeing! In the middle of the ocean? He is working ALL the time. The way MMs are paid is on a “daily rate” basis which means he literally is on the clock 24 hours a day. Sometimes it’s 8 hours on and four hours off, or 6 hours on and six hours off. In the “off” times, he has to eat and shower and sleep, so that schedule is rife with potential sleep deprivation issues. When he comes home after a long sea assignment, it takes about a week to regulate his body to a more normal sleep pattern.  I guess there are still some situations where spousal visits to ports are possible, but that has never been my own experience, and since I get seasick and tugs are super noisy and smelly, I am not sure it would that much fun. Def not an idyllic scene like a charter boat moored near an island in Greece, for instance…

If you are new to the MM life, I can share some of our experiences that have worked for us.

Here’s a picture of how we prepare for MM going out to sea. We discovered that having a departure routine is also a coping strategy, as it helps us work as a team. The prep is a major undertaking, although a reluctant one on my part, because it ends with a drive to the airport. When our beloved pets were still alive (a border collie named Victor and our adorable cat, Bandit), just getting the suitcases out of the garage actually caused them to become depressed, as they both came to associate that action with their daddy going away. So sad!

We make a lot of lists so he’ll have enough supplies of personal items to last the duration of his assignment. He’ll often gone for about 2-4 months and there are no stores in the middle of the ocean!  There is always a cook aboard the vessels, so he doesn’t have to worry about food, but he has to have enough toothpaste(4), dental floss(4), vitamins, the kind of tea he likes (Yogi Antioxidant and Ginger), underwear, socks, shampoo (Kiehls is the shampoo of choice), sunscreen, and the supplies for his marlinspikemanship, which is the kind of ropework that merchant marines do to pass the time on those long voyages.  I usually pack some raw almonds, raisins, dried (unsweetened) mangos, and papayas from Trader Joe’s so he has some healthy snacks to last a while. He fills two large suitcases, two medium suitcases, and a backpack that contains his computer, iPod, other personal items. A tug is a noisy place and he tried some noise cancelling headphones but they really didn’t seem to work, but we didn’t get Bose, ‘cos they were almost $300.

I think that it is important to have a discussion about serious matters, just in case. It’s something no one wants to think about, but the reality is that a tugboat is a dangerous place, and it’s smart, not to mention empowering, to be prepared in the event of a worst case scenario. I suggest making sure you each have current powers of attorney, and easy access to all financial documents. (I’m not an attorney; this is just what we have found to be a good idea), He always checks our two cars to make sure they are in good working order, fills the gas can for the lawnmower, and completes any house repair jobs. It’s these little things that he does that make me feel like we are still connected even when he is an ocean away. I think it is also very important to know how to reach him in case of an emergency. Cell phones will often not work in remote locations, and there is a definite course of action to take if it becomes necessary for him to come home. I make sure that my son and our friends have that info just in case something happens to me and they need to contact my MM. I’m off to a Spin class, and then a doctor’s appt. I got stabbed in the arm by a vicious blue agave, and it still hurts like I have a broken arm.  I remembered too late to snip off the sharp ends…