Thursday, March 31, 2016

New Perfume For A New Time

Life has taken a turn for the better in several ways and I'm feeling kind  Which of course, means a new perfume. But choosing a brand new perfume for a brand new time is harder than it looks. After a Sephora extravaganza earlier this week, I'm thinking perhaps Jean Claude Ellena's latest - and reportedly last perfume for Hermes - might be the one.  As much as I love Jean Claude, several things about his perfume are pissing me off.  Like the name, Un Jardin de Monsieur Li. 

'What are you wearing?' 
'It's Hermes Un Jardin de Monsieur Li.'  

Yeah, I don't think so.  My 14-year-old self is still snickering at Un Jardin Sur le Twat Toit.  It's the same reason I don't drive a Vulva Volvo.  Plus, Monsieur Li has no staying power, so even if I were to talk myself into wanting it, Inner Farm Girl has already said no.  

She said No means No.  She's mean.

During an Ulta visit on my way home the other night, I start thinking my new 'it scent' might be Jimmy Choo eau de parfum.  You know those cheesy online quizzes to find your perfect perfume?  (Do you prefer romantic evenings, walks on the beach...or casual nights at home in soup stained sweats covered with dog hair and no bra?)  I'm pretty sure that's what it said.  Jimmy Choo must be a 'sweats with dog hair' kind of guy because this perfume is a frequent recommendation.  Until a few days ago, I had never tried it on my skin because it has a hefty dose of patchouli, and my nose Daphne, is spoiled by Borneo 1834, the greatest chocolaty, dry roast beef patchouli of all time. Jimmy Choo smells too much like a colleague at the office who wears Coco Mademoiselle, a squeaky clean, twin set sweater kind of patchouli. Great patchouli is dirty, everyone knows that.

I've even tried going backwards to revisit perfumes I have worn during happy times in the past. This accounts for over-spraying myself with Victoria's Secret Heavenly last Saturday morning after a 20-minute stint on the treadmill while watching Pioneer Woman make fried chicken sliders on Food Network. And is it just me, or do you find yourself liking or hating a perfume more after reading reviews from Fragrantica and MakeupAlley?  How else would Eternity Summer end up all over the collar of my favorite long black sweater?

Taking a little breather from my perfume search can only be a good thing at this point even though it's hard. I need more perspective before making a final decision about what perfume will mark this Very Special Time.  Sit. Stay.

Image from 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter: When Small Things Matter Most

Easter makes me think about everything I love; my family, my health and a rich life that constantly changes and evolves.  People I love that are gone.

On Good Friday, B-man and I take a little road trip to buy lotto tickets just across the border of a neighboring state, and to drive by the farm where I grew up. We buy the tickets - and beer for later - then wind around the small country road to the farm. Walking through the barnyard, surrounded by collapsed buildings and rusted equipment, I can't help but think of the movie Titanic. Just like the movie, scenes in my mind go back and forth from the wreckage of the present to the past when the farm is at its peak, brimming with life. Now bird songs fill what would otherwise be complete silence.

My grandparents' home remains on the property and it is now owned by a woman who spends her summers here and her winters in Arizona,  She arrives earlier than usual this year, which becomes obvious when her two tiny dogs begin barking in the house and Paige, our dog, joins the chorus from outside. B-man and I wander separately around the farm, and I try like always to push my nose against the shed that holds the tractors so I can pick up the scent of diesel, old metal and wood that reminds me of Dad and of home.  But it's shut up tight, which keeps the smell locked inside.

As we stand around like sheep separated from their flock, the woman inside comes out and says, 'Okay, which one are you?' (She is used to my family visiting the property.)  I tell her I am the second daughter and she says, 'you had dark hair last time I saw you, so that threw me.'  Then out of the blue, she asks, 'do you want to come and see the house?'

Much of the house is the same as I remember. Because of the addition of a new deck and new landscaping, I assume that more will be different inside as well, but I am wrong. Everything from the living room, the narrow hallway, high ceilings and entrances to the basement and attic are all the same. Still intact is the porch grandma enclosed to do her oil painting, and so is the built-in vanity of her bedroom that held all sorts of magical perfumes and make-up. I cry and the new owner hands me a tissue. She says when she's ready to sell the house, she will offer it to my siblings first. 'I'll take care of it until it's back in your family.'  I hug this woman I barely know and we leave the farm once more.

Throughout the two hour drive home, I keep telling B-man that I love him. I guess it is my way of saying what the day has meant to me and my gratitude that I can share it with him. At one point, I say, 'it's been at least 20 minutes since the last time I said it, but I still love you.'  B-man says, 'Yeah, I was beginning to think the honeymoon might be over.'  Then he smiles and kisses my hand.

Happy Easter.

Photo from

Saturday, March 19, 2016

And The Truth Will Set You Free

I don't claim to understand God.  I am not religious and have no faith whatsoever in traditional dogma. Whether God is a guy in the sky, a beautiful sunset or the perfect meal doesn't really matter to me. Yes, sometimes I think God is food.  However, I do know the spiritual sense of purpose I feel when I can say, 'this is what I was meant to do in the world.'  It's been a long time since I felt that.

As my career in health care has progressed and changed over he past 15 years, I have become more and more removed from the type of human connection I find meaningful.  Like a slow leak, it was hardly noticeable at first, overshadowed by my need to conquer the next challenge, and then the next.  Denial worked its magic, assuring me that the stale air of corporate life is important, even though it is often filled with activity that is mundane and...pretend.  Gone are the days of pulsating drama inside the hospital when I could see and feel where I was needed most and respond to that need in the moment. Never did I feel more radiant and alive.  Never have I felt closer to my interpretation of God.  

Since my parents died, I am haunted by their unfulfilled dreams and the shortness of life, especially in light of my own quiet desperation. I have explored other work, or moving out of state to find my lost sense of purpose. Then suddenly, an epiphany.  Someone else saw it first, as if this person looked inside my soul and spoke the truth that I knew was there, but couldn't clearly see.  And the truth, as it always does, set me free.  

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hermes Hiris: A Perfume for Introverts

This morning as B-man and I walked our dog, Paige, I got the distinct vibe of iris in the air. Some yards even showed the green stubby beginnings of iris blossoms to come.  Irises are pure drama with their unique shape and earthy smell. Think about it this way, how many times have you received a bouquet of irises?  They are far too wild to be in the 'Valentines Day/sappy romantic/I screwed up will you forgive me/sorry I didn't buy you cheese instead' category. 

Iris stands alone.

And you can't choose iris perfumes willy-nilly, like you might grab Paris Hilton's Heiress (my current guilty pleasure body spray...if you tell anyone, I'll deny it).  No, you have to be in just the right mood to wear iris perfumes or they come across all baby powder and dirt, which is a real bummer on the wrong day.  Plus, these perfumes are introverts that don't like people all that much.  Never wear an iris perfume if you're a compliment whore or you are hoping to get laid.  It won't work.  Iris perfumes were invented solely to show introvert solidarity.

During our walk I decided on Hermes Hiris as my scent of the day, and touching the frosted blue bottle when we got home made the back of my neck tingle.  In true iris fashion, I've played it cool today, doing introverted stuff like making chicken salad, watching the last half of Titanic and sending a few work emails.  Now I'm enjoying a glass of red wine with B-man.  Quietly, of course.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Things People Say In The Elevator

Tonight after work - okay, I leave work early so it isn't actually night - I get in the elevator to go to the parking garage and another woman gets on who is headed for the lobby.  I know who she is, but we don't have cause to interact much.  She is a large woman probably around my age...mid to late 50's, and she walks with a limp, like she has a bad hip or one leg that is longer than the other.

We both say hello and then this conversation happens:

Her: I'm going for my last electrolysis treatment this evening.

I look at her, raise my eyebrows slightly and nod like I'm interested.

Her: I have a full goatee (she strokes her face where a goatee would be) and I'm used to taking an hour and a half every weekend to pluck it with tweezers.

Me: Oh, wow. (This is my go-to phrase when I don't know what the hell else to say.)

Her: I've already had five treatments and this will be my sixth.  After five times I only have a few stray hairs left (her head is tipped back and she is stroking her chin - I'm afraid she will ask me to touch it).

Me: Wow, that's great. (I can't stop saying wow.)

Her: It doesn't really hurt - well, for 15 seconds - except for last time when my face was red after the treatment.

Where's the effing lobby?

Her: Plus, it only cost $400.  Four hundred dollars well spent!

Me: That's so great. (I can't stop saying that's great.)

Finally, the bell dings and the doors open.  She steps out of the elevator but won't stop talking.

Her: Look, this is my only vanity.  I don't wear makeup, I don't do anything to my hair, (now louder as the door closes) but I do have electrolysis on my face!

I smile and nod knowing goatee I will never goatee see her again goatee without thinking goatee about her goatee.  


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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Turning the Corner

Lately, I've been in a funk. A few months lately.

I'm tired when I wake up and cranky after a 20-minute treadmill session. I'm taking longer than I should to get ready for work, then spending all day thinking my make-up is too pale or too bright, and my eyebrows too...something. 

Hair is in a constant state of not quite rightness - color too light or too dark or too yellow. Yes, mostly too yellow because my hair is lighter than it's been for years.  Or too gray, I can't decide. The other morning, right before I left home for the office, I told B-man, 'I think my blonde hair might make me look older.' He wisely said, 'I'm not getting into a discussion about your hair color - that's your thing.' My son JD and I met for lunch a couple of weeks ago and he said, 'you remember when you bleached my hair as a teenager?  That's kinda how you look.'  Just put me in a choke hold until I black out.

Plus, I'm not sleeping.  Well, there's menopause sleep, where I wake up at least three times each night with hot flashes, then decide that since I'm already awake, I may as well churn over every humiliating moment of my life. There are quite a few as it turns out. After wearing myself out from memory cringe, reading Prevention magazine and skulking on Facebook, I fall asleep for another hour and a half, but not long enough to prevent me from looking like I was on an all night bender.

Having recently changed doctors, I'm in the process of getting everything current, so I'm doing all the good girl tests including blood draw, mammogram, pap test, the whole package.  However, I refused a colonoscopy because there are very real risks involved. Have you ever seen those ads for butterfly patches to prevent 'anal leakage?'  Seriously.  Has anal leakage always existed and no one discussed it, or could it be the direct result of one too many colonoscopies?  And what marketing genius said, 'I know, I know, let's call it anal leakage?'  

Fortunately there's a viable alternative to a colonoscopy.  I can simply scoop a sample of my poop out of the toilet and send it into a lab for analysis.  That's right, just drop my shit in the mail.  Better than a sharp, probing camera for sure, but reading the instructions for getting the perfect sample is freaking me out. Plus, there's this space station spiraled contraption that I'm supposed to put my poop in. I just stare at it, turn it upside down, then walk away and swear I'll come back to it later. Couldn't I just send a selfie?

The good news is, I like my new doctor.  She is young and earthy and we actually laughed together at my first appointment...once I stopped bawling. Soon I will complete all of my tests and re-emerge hopefully with a clean bill of health and the need to manufacture new first world problems, which I consider a personal strength.  But first, I have to conquer the 'you've got mail' stool sample.

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