Enchanted Seashells Photography: Starfish At A Jaunty Angle

Seashells in repose….starfish at a jaunty angle.
starfish study

Step into my boudoir…

Not really, but welcome to our living room.

I penned a haiku to celebrate my day of cleaning in preparation for Tugboat Man and Angel Boy later this week:

White shirts softly worn

Lemony-scented polish

Teak oak walnut shine

This is what I was doing on Sunday. ALL day.

I took every single item off every single shelf and cleaned each and every one of them.

That included all the pictures on the piano.

In case you’re wondering, not everything was acquired by me–a lot of what I have was given to me by my mom and by my tugboat man from his travels around the world.

And then I put everything back.

It was all very Zen and quiet and lovely.

Finally, I polished the furniture and vacuumed.

I like to work from the top down. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ll save the rug shampooing ’til the end of summer when it’s really hot.

shelf5 shelf6 shelf4 shelf3 shelf2 shelf shelf7 hawaiipic piano


Finishing up three or four posts that aren’t cooperating. They’re not funny enough, they have no point, no denouement, no zing–nada. Instead of a rational thought process, I’ll offer up a scattered smorgasbord of tasty appetizers instead of a whole meal.

Remember these cats?

bandit in a boxOur Bandit used to talk to us that way. After a while, I started answering her back. She’d say, “Meow“, I’d respond, “Meow”. She’d stroll into the kitchen and greet me with a head nod and a brief “Mew”. I’d imitate her head nod and answer her. She tried so hard to communicate with us! If we didn’t go to bed at the same time every night–if we stayed up a bit longer than usual–Bandit marched into the family room with an outraged sense of purpose-maintain eye contact–and kind of growly-meow, walk a few steps toward the bedroom, and then walk back to us. If we didn’t follow her, she’d leave in a huff and wait on the bed and if we didn’t move quick enough, one swipe of her her paw let us know she was pissed. She had the sharpest claws. They spoke volumes.

One day, the captain said something to me and I didn’t hear him. Instead of saying, “What did you say?” I said, “Meow?” He seemed to understand what I meant because he repeated himself. That one meow led to complete conversations in cat language. Angry meows, grunting meows, questioning meows, and mews in agreement. We just have to remember not to do it when anyone else is around. I’m not sure many people would understand. Meow?

We worked out at the gym this morning. Before we left, I asked the hubs to take a couple pictures of me. See the hairband with sparkles and the Hello Kitty slippers? Starfish?

me2 Pictures of me

Late this afternoon I heard a hawk in the eucalyptus tree across the street. It let me get really close for these pics! The colors were magnificent. I wish I took better photos.
hawk2 Hawk in tree
Chocolate cake was requested by my tugboat man; I whipped up an easy one bowl version. It was sooo good! It’s lowfat but really moist. The recipe is below.
choccloseup chocolate cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
from Better Homes and Gardens

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk ( I use half non-fat milk and half cold coffee)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • egg
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×1-1/2-inch round or 8x8x2-inch baking pan.2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

    3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Spread with glaze.

Chocolate Glaze
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1  cup confectioners sugar
3 tbsp. water or coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens; do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, gradually add confectioners sugar; beat with wire whisk until smooth.

11 pictures of my enchanted bath. The finished project is ready for your pleasure (well, just mine really, but you can look)

As I’m watching an old South Park on TV and drinking some jalapeño infused vodka I was supposed to save for the captain’s return (oh yeah, like THAT was gonna happen), I can breathe a sigh of relief at my completed mini-bath refurbish. It’s taken a great deal of my valuable time, time better spent searching for more proofreading/copy editing jobs, but when the seashell calls, one must respond. Right? Right. Glad we’re on the same page, so I can use y’all as backup when the captain wants to know what I do with my day (like he doesn’t know.) I made a video but I’m afraid to post it, so we’ll go with the still photos. My skills as a videographer are primitive. Trust me.

Come on in! Have a seat on the Enchanted Mermaid Princess vanity seat

Look up! Pretty mermaid nestled among shells (well, what did you expect?)

More, uh, seashells and starfish…



Are you bored yet? Lots more to see.

More of the same.

Of course there’s a seashell rug. What did you think I’d have? A lighthouse?

A different perspective.

The seashell drawer pulls are so perfect!

I just know you needed a close up!

Glue guns rule!

My thoughts exactly!

Princess Mermaid Enchanted vanity bench-a DIY project

Fit for an Enchanted Mermaid Princess

Here’s what I’ve been working on night and day. The captain made the X bench just before he abandoned me left to my specifications for the refurbished master bath, 10Wx18Lx15H. It’s the perfect size for a princess mermaid (or short person like me). I went to JoAnn‘s Fabrics and found the material and the pearl ribbon. I made the overstuffed cushion and hot glued the pearls to the wooden bench seat prior to attaching the cushion. I had originally planned to completely encrust the entire bench with seashells, but sometimes less is more, although that’s not my mantra–mine is more is better–but for now I really love the look of the single starfish on either side.  The room is almost finished; I’ve given myself  ’til tomorrow for the project’s end because it’s time to start prepping for Thanksgiving.


Bad language, the Titanic, and seashells

Sunday night; it’s been a crazy weekend. DIL and her sister (I call her sister wife but my son says it’s inappropriate –throwing my word back at me–and she’s his wife’s sister) drove down from San Francisco via LA for the day. They got here yesterday about 10:30 a.m. I had  breakfast burritos ready to go. Bio-dad (my son’s dad) was here and we all ate on the deck and then it was time to go through the entire house like I’m Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Macy’s all rolled into one. They needed bed linens, towels, blankets, comforters, shelving, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and for some reason, all the chick lit books I’ve read over the past three months. Sister wife took a dolphin lamp the neighbors were gonna put in the trash but I rescued. A walk around the yard yielded several potted plants that would adorn their rental in SF. The price was right–of course, even things that are free usually have strings attached,  but in this case, we were just glad to help them out. Here’s the scenario: DIL moved to SF. Her husband, my son, still lives in New Haven and teaches at Yale. We all have our fingers crossed that he gets a job in NorCal soon. In spite of the obstacles, they’re doing a great job of making this long distance thing work.

After ransacking our house, we went for a walk on the seawall in Carlsbad (bio-dad built it in 1987) and stopped for an early sushi dinner at Mikkos. (Bio-dad went home after breakfast. We’re friendly, but not THAT friendly.)  The captain checked over DIL’s car to make sure it was in good working order and they were back on the road at 4:30 p.m.

My reward for all this was a whole slew of new slang for UK SPK Part Two, which will be coming along later in the week. Sister wife is a treasure trove of great speak!

Last night we watched The Artist on Netflix. Are we the last people in the US to see this awesome film? Start to finish, it was fantastic. The acting was so incredible we forgot it was a silent film.

Today the captain and I went to the famous Carlsbad Street Fair. We parked at the beach and walked down to the village. It all started a bit aggressively as we crossed Carlsbad Blvd. in the proper crosswalk. One lane of cars stopped for us, but in another lane a car sped by and almost ran us down when we were most vulnerable in the middle of the street. Captain says, “Slow down, buddy” I yell, “Slow down, asshole!” Idiot driver says, “Fuck you!” I yell, “Fuck you, too!” and all the other cars are honking at him–‘cos he’s an idiot and he almost killed us. Good times in Carlsbad. Here’s me safely on the other side of the street enjoying a nice stretch. Not having a good hair day but the hat covers the worst of it.

The first thing we saw at the fair was a slide replica of the Titanic. Come on, people. In what universe could it be considered “fun” to imitate the gruesome tragedy of  1500 or so deaths by recreating the event in an activity for kids.

This is a pretty gruesome if you think about it.

I was on the lookout for  the booths that carry seashells. Yeah, I admit I’m a bit obsessed about  the whole seashell thing, but it’s a relatively innocent obsession, so I don’t feel too bad about it. We saw one booth and I stopped to take a pic before I picked out the ones I wanted but the owner stuck her hand in front of my camera like I”m a papparazi or something and said, “No pictures” so I called her a bitch and left without purchasing any seashells.  (We actually exchanged a bit more words than that and included someone calling someone the “c” word.) She’s lucky she still has both of her hands. Captain was very supportive (maybe even scared of me a bit, as I’m only five feet tall but kind of freaky crazy sometimes when stupid people act stupid for stupid reasons.) I was only planning to give her biz a shout out but since she was irrational, I won’t post the pic which I got in spite of her ugly hand block. We found another purveyor of seashells and I scored the motherlode. I got so many starfish and unusual shells it wiped away the other bad experience. 

We walked up and down every bit of the fair until we were beyond exhausted. I figured we had walked enough to deserve some junk food. We had delicious veggie spring rolls and even a funnel cake, but only a very small one. The two mile walk back to the car probably burned off a few more calories.

Almost ready for the big reveal

(Sorry for the previous post. The inserted pictures actually caused text to be deleted, so I had to redo it.)

The bathroom refinish is almost complete. I’m still looking for the perfect spa bench (actually I’m nagging the captain to make me one to my exact specifications) and I need a standing floor towel rack, but it’s close, real close. I went to Pier One and found the most gorgeous seashell and starfish trays…

Our Chanel fragrances

My makeup brushes, Kiehls, and more Chanel.

This starfish is really a votive holder, but if you’ve read a previous post, you’d know that I almost burned down our house with a couple of unattended candles in this bathroom, so I filled it with shells instead!














Now we’re off to a quick dinner at Rubio’s Fish Tacos. DIL’s going to be here tomorrow. This time she’s driving from Northern Cal ‘cos she has a meeting in LA and we’re only about 2 hours from LA with not much traffic, so it won’t be the mom shuttle back and forth to the airport, but I need to get her room ready and stock up on her fave foods. (I mean the foods that are on the approved list.)

She and my son are crazy frenetic travellers. Maybe that’s the new global generation; the world is as close as a flight away. Oh, and she’s coming with her sister, so we’ll have a full house again! Now if only my son were here, all would be perfect but I have to wait for Thanksgiving to see him.




Beautiful starfish surrounded by shells against our turquoise walls. Happy November!

My work here is done.

Final trip to the airport last night, DIL had to get back to work. We had a lot of fun while she was here, but I am totally exhausted. I spent the day cleaning and doing load after load of laundry. She had actually straightened up her bedroom (!) which meant I didn’t have that to do, but the guest bathroom needed a major overhaul. Now it’s back to me and the captain discussing home repairs and projects, trips we’re hoping to take, and surf, of course. He wants to get an inflatable kayak and take it with us on when we go camping and hiking. I’ve lived near the beach for more than two decades and rarely get wet above my knees! I’m not a great swimmer, but I’m always excited to try something new, and I’d feel a thousand percent safe with the captain in charge. In fact, I’m thinking of letting him give me a surf lesson tomorrow. Even though it’s still summer, I’m gonna wear a wetsuit. The last time we did this, he gave me strict orders not to let go of the board, no matter what. (It’s obvious what his real priorities are, right??) He promised he’d guide the board as the wave propelled me forward, but it happened to be a really strong rogue wave and he couldn’t hold on. I ended up getting flipped over and was dragged under the waves and pounded on the rocky bottom but I never let go of that stupid surfboard. The next day my legs were covered in huge black and blue bruises but his surfboard came through unscathed with nary a scratch or a ding. That was about five years ago and I think I’m ready to give it a try again. Like giving birth, ya know, they say you forget the pain as soon as it’s over. Well…that was never my experience, but I’ll try positive thinking and a never-give-up attitude. If it happens, I promise there will be pictures.

On the home front, we’re being overrun with ground squirrels–and not just the adorable Spirit Squirrel™ who carried off Victor’s rawhide bone. He’s brought his entire extended family and then some, and they’ve taken up residence in our yard. The hills are peppered with so many holes and tunnels, we fear a collapse. Squirrels are running rampant across the deck, bringing their cracked corn and sunflower seeds pilfered from the neighbor’s bird feeder,  watching us through the window. I’ve tried deterrents like cayenne pepper and fox urine crystals to no avail. They laugh at my futile efforts. One of the more brazen intruders stole tomatoes from the garden, and took a few bites out of each before discarding. When I found a huge den dug out of the floor of the greenhouse, I knew it was time to take serious action. We called a humane critter relocation specialist. He arrived with very nice Havahart traps and filled them with an irresistibly delicious mix of seeds, nuts, fruit, and peanut butter. We’ve had immediate success and the first family has entered the witness protection program and have been relocated to a safe house (nature preserve.)

And on to a more pleasant topic: starfish sandals! Aren’t they just too cute?!