Going gray

At least four of my friends took a chance and stopped coloring their hair and are in the process of allowing it to return to whatever natural color it might have been.

Some of them actually started doing it before the salons were shut down, while a couple of friends decided to use this opportunity to embrace the gray.

Oh, that’s not ME:  I like my hair color a lot, and it’s been pretty easy retaining it on my own, but I decided that my blog needed a makeover. I’ve been blogging since 2012 and color palettes have changed. I’ve changed too, and wanted to move away from pink and turquoise.

I spent a bit of time doing a photo shoot with rocks and seashells and pearls–I’m pretty satisfied with the results as it clearly represents the things I love.

In general, I love the color gray. I have gray carpeting, I love silvery, sparkly things, and is there anything more beautiful than a gray beach rock, almost too hot to touch from a million years of absorbing sunshine?

In the color palette, gray is the midpoint between black and white. Some people think gray is boring, but I find it elegant and calm and a great canvas for all of the other colors in the rainbow.

Gray is an old soul, having endured countless life experiences, and is thought to be wildly insightful. However, gray only offers its pearls of wisdom when asked to, unlike me, who might at times offer unsolicited advice.

The color gray respects boundaries, making it a peaceful presence. It offers tranquility and serenity, and can’t we all benefit from more of that? I know I can.

How could I forget the silvery moon? Tonight is the Flower Moon (supermoon), so actually, it’s named after me, haha. This full moon in Scorpio has a spiritual, healing, and compassionate influence. This is the first positive moon phase for six weeks, and a great night to manifest positive intentions, compassion, and love.

Are any of my fellow bloggers using this forced isolation to re-do your blog themes?

 

Enchanting DIY Seashell Planter

Having two blogs is like having two toddlers running around the house; trying to spend quality time with one of them and feeling like I’m neglecting the other one produces a lot of stress!

It’s exhausting!

Hmmm, maybe that’s why I only had one human child—because I didn’t have to worry about dividing my time or attention, he didn’t have to share me.

I was getting my nasty gray roots touched up at the salon and saw the cutest little planter at everyone’s station — I couldn’t wait to get home and recreate it.

seashellplant2

It’s so easy and didn’t cost a penny, which is the best kind of DIY, am I right?

What you need:

  • Seashell
  • Potting soil
  • Succulent (taken from a larger plant in the garden)

Seriously, it took about five minutes start to finish.

Fill the shell with damp soil, insert the plant, water again gently, and that’s IT.  I know you’re supposed to let a succulent sit around for a few days to callous before you plant it, but I didn’t because I’m too impatient.

It’s so easy and SO adorable. I used a very small seashell, only about three inches long.

seashellplant3

Not only is it great for someone (like me) with a lot of allergies, but how about as…

  • Housewarming gift
  • Hostess gift (along with a bottle of wine, of course)
  • Place settings
  • Wedding favors
  • Easy-to-do craft with children of all ages

seashellplant

(Photos were taken with three different types of lighting.)

He Could Have Been a Serial Killer

Was I crazy to invite a man from the virtual world of blogging into our home?

Not a meet-up in a coffee shop; not at a public location where it’s safe, where we could arrive and depart without fear of being followed.

I didn’t even blink when I shared our address with this “friend”.

His online photo could have been fake; his writing just a ploy to lure a naive female to let down her guard and welcome him with open arms.

But there had to be trust on his end too, right?

He didn’t know what he was walking into — literally. He may have never been heard from again.

As it is, I think he could possibly be forever traumatized by the sheer number of seashells strewn on every shelf, adhering to most walls…

seashell mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He could have been a serial killer — to parrot my mom, who always cautioned me not to be too trusting, not to get into cars with strangers — you know, mom-speak.

My mom died long before the world of the internet connected those of us who might never have had their paths cross.

Although we didn’t know him at the time, this young man attended the same university as my son, and yes, we were probably only rows away from each others’ families on graduation day, but the internet facilitates these exact types of serendipitous human bridges.

So, on one of the hottest days of the year, the Jester himself, writer extroidanaire at The Matticus Kingdom (you really should follow his blog!) stopped by Casa de Enchanted Seashells to spend the afternoon with me and my tugboat man where I obnoxiously tried to stuff him full of food (Jewish mom syndrome).

Oh, and he’s a published author as well, with Fauxpocalypse: a collection of short fiction about the end of the world that wasn’t–available on Amazon.

There was lively conversation on all fronts and I can’t wait ’til he’s back in the area with his lovely wife and the Little Prince.

Nope, not a serial killer, but an awesome guy!

You were wrong this time, Mom!


Have you ever invited a stranger into your home? Was it a good or bad experience?

A Quietly Enchanting Rainy Day in Southern California

A rainy morning…RAIN! YAY!

Cleaning up after tugboat man’s all time favorite.breakfast, buckwheat pancakes with blueberries.

Isn’t this perfect?

Of course I embellished it with shells.

enchantedmermaidIt’s on metal, that’s why there’s a bit of a glare.
I got it from my new favorite online store:
California Seashell Company

Seashell insanity–Episode #452

Well…my tugboat man spent pretty much the entire day surfing. He came home at 2:00 p.m and said he had been trying to catch a wave in to shore for over an hour or he would have been back sooner. RIGHT.

Does he think I just fell off the turnip truck? Do I look stupid? I know that trick–the old “I couldn’t get in so I just had to stay surfing until the sun went down and the tide changed” lie.

I was so mad at him for abandoning me that I had to devise a painful retaliation to convey my displeasure. I decided that we were going to go walking in our little village of Carlsbad and go in and out of EVERY shop. That is absolute torture for my hubs, which meant it was perfect. And since I’ve gotten my Chanel, she hasn’t really had a good outing and begged to come along and see and be seen by all the tourists and locals in our little town.

We went to every single store including one where I bought some beautiful seashells, ‘cos, you know, I just don’t have enough seashells. I made him go into antique stores, sandal shops, shoe stores, clothing stores–up and down State Street and Grand Avenue without a moment to rest. When I felt he had been punished sufficiently, we went home and he installed a shelf that he made for my new shells and my seashell box we created together.

There’s more surf tomorrow, so I’ll be thinking of more ways to make his life miserable.

shelf1shelf2

 

 

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

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.