Thursday, August 11, 2016

Jimmy Choo: I Can't Fight It Anymore

Every time I take a 'what's your signature scent' quiz online, it points to Jimmy Choo eau de parfum. This started to annoy me because it's not that I hadn't ever tried Jimmy Choo, it's that I didn't get the appeal.  At first, it seemed like just another fruitchouli, all mainstream and ordinary.  


The thing is, I couldn't get it out of my mind and thoughts of Jimmy Choo stalked me relentlessly until one day earlier this summer when I visited a nearby Ulta to decide - once and for all - if Jimmy Choo was for me.  Every Ulta in the valley recognizes me because I can't seem to pass one without going in.  'Oh hi - we haven't seen you for a while.'  Or, 'Oh, hi - you're back again so soon.' Introverts never want to be called out this way.  You may greet me casually but don't comment on the frequency of my visits or ask if I need help. Just go about your business and never let on that you know I'm the crazy perfume lady that sprays paper strips and leaves them sitting by the appropriate perfume while wandering back and forth to smell each one at various stages of drydown.  Just look away.

What's worse is I never actually buy perfume at Ulta, but instead turn to discount outlets online.  Inner Farm Girl is nodding her approval.  However, I do buy make-up, hair stuff and nondescript clearance items that I neither want or need, which end up in our hall closet on the shelf above the towels and underneath the toilet paper.  Inner Farm Girl just shot me a dirty look.  Point is, I buy enough stuff at Ulta that I felt comfortable that day as I sprayed Jimmy Choo liberally on both arms before walking out of the store with no purchase at all. My car was parked a short jaunt away and I braced myself for what I was sure would be sillage to match Paige's dog farts (thick, oily and cloying) once inside the car. Whatever happened, this issue would be resolved.  The stalking had to end.

First thing that hit me was the barely chewed Wrigley's spearmint gum. Then the toffee, smooth and deep and then, finally, the patchouli.  Spoiler alert: it's not a bomb at all.  In fact, I wish it had a little more blast to it, if you want to know the truth. Something about it reminded me of the smell of, after a long walk in the cool, early morning air.  That, or I am in complete denial about the allure of my body odor and morning breath. Jimmy Choo feels familiar.

No one can smell it on me which, as a compliment whore, is a crushing blow.  B-man did smell it once after I doused myself with it and sat right next to him on the deck. 'Mmm, what smells good, did you just put something on?' Part of me wanted to say, 'Ya think? I've been wearing this every frigging day for weeks.'   But I was so giddy with excitement that he noticed, I couldn't help batting my eyes, leaning toward him and saying, 'Really?  Do you like it? Really?'

Jimmy Choo owns me.  My first bottle is nearly gone, and I still can't leave it alone.  

Picture from Fragrantica

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Wallflowers: Scented Anxiety

Bath and Body Works is having its semi-annual sale again.  These events make me crazy because 1) I can't stay away even though I swear I will, and 2) I end up buying stuff that I don't want, making at least one return trip necessary.  So far, I have visited four stores.  You have to shop around because they all have their own cool stuff.  Everybody knows that.

This year, just to shake things up, I have ventured into a new area: wallflowers.  Until now, they seemed too scary to assemble, but I figure what the hell, I'm a big girl - I can handle this.  The scent holders themselves are puzzling...I can't imagine under what circumstance I would want a 5-inch anchor jutting out of my wall, or a seashell.  Or a turtle.  And what scents are best?  By my count, there's five thousand and forty options.  Baffled, I stare at them for a long time and wonder how I want our rooms to smell.  Like fruit?  Flowers? Cinnamon rolls? They have 'em all.

After sniffing the matching candles, I settle on three scents: Vanilla Beach Flower, Georgia Peach and Frosted Cupcake.  When I get home, just for fun, I read the reviews of these room scents and promptly decide that they all suck.  By relying only on my stellar instincts alone, I have chosen three of the lowest rated scents on the website. 

According to reviews of long time wallflower warriors, Heirloom Pumpkin is a stunning scent with 'throw' and longevity.  B-man likes the smell of pumpkin, which emboldens my decision making. Certain I have avoided a what stinks debacle, I trade the three losers in for three of the pumpkin saviors and hurry home to plug in my very own wallflower, waiting to swoon in delight.  

I hate Heirloom effing Pumpkin.

More smells might be tested, but the process already has me stressed out and gearing up for an Oscar worthy anxiety attack. There's a reason I stayed away from wallflowers all these years.

photo from

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ode to the Flu...My Week in Review

Stale breath
Unwashed hair
Stinky armpits
Chicken soup
Sweaty sheets

Picture from

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Perfume That Made Me Eat Crow: Heiress by Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton's Heiress has popped up several times on this blog.  I thought if I mentioned it in passing, like 'I wear it, but only at night,' or 'I bought the body spray because I was bored and it was there,' no one would judge me or confiscate my ID card to the Perfumista Club.  Probation is a constant threat, but I still use words like 'flanker' and 'sillage.'  That's got to count for something.

To demonstrate my loyalty to said club, I scoffed at Paris Hilton perfumes for years so that everyone would know I had higher standards than they did and was therefore superior.  And I scoffed out loud, not in my head like usual.  I'm talking audible pshhh-ing plus an eye roll with my nose in the air. Chortling may have been involved.

Then came Heiress, which produced an almost obscene OMG moment.  Maybe it was the skittles-wrapped-in-dryer-sheets vibe or maybe the feeling that I was walking past a lilac tree while peeling an orange and chewing bubble gum.  Either way, Heiress is a girl crush in a bottle. 

Bad news is the journey from scoffing to swooning requires eating a few helpings of crow, which sucks because I almost had the chortling thing down.  And crow tastes nasty.  But I must be getting used to it because I just bought two more Paris Hilton perfumes unsniffed: Passport Tokyo and Passport Paris. The most embarrassing part, other than standing in the checkout line forever so everyone knows I'm buying Paris Hilton perfumes? I actually like them.

What the hell...I faked the ID, anyway.

Picture from

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sweet Dreams: My Bedtime Scent Routine

Good dreams depend on good smells at bedtime.  Otherwise, one risks anything from evening ponies (dreams that trouble or mildly annoy) to full-blown nightmares.

Night mares...Evening ponies.  Work with me.

Thank God for Bath and Body Works.  As Inner Farm Girl would have it, all of their beauty products are reasonably priced and easy to access.  Plus, they layer well with each other (and lots of other stuff) to create a comforting, smushed up sort of smell.  This is perfect at night when my brain is fuzzy and I speak with a lisp even though I'm not trying to be funny.

In order to pile on as many products as possible, and justify the run amok purchase of non-essential stuff, I try to make my routine look as strategic as possible.  It goes something like this:

1. Remove make-up and then shower at night - always.

2. Some type of face serum (Clinique, Ellen Tracy, Oil of Olay) followed by St. Ives moisture rich face lotion, which is creamy and lightly scented. Inexpensive and not the least bit posh.

2. Bath and Body Works Moonlight Path lotion mixed 50/50 with Dial 7-Day Moisture Rich lotion (my favorite to soften a stronger lotion without changing its scent...great texture, too).

3. Body spray - White by Kenneth Cole, Heiress by Paris Hilton or Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte by B&BW (now discontinued...argh). All work beautifully with the slightly diffused Moonlight Path.

4. Vaseline mixed with whatever body butter is in my nightstand for my feet (currently Wild Madagascar Vanilla), then socks, which get thrown off in the middle of the night.

5. Cherry Chapstick on my lips.

6. A final layer of Trader Joe's Coconut Body Butter on my hands and forearms.

Once I am sufficiently greased up and smell something like musky vanilla cake batter, I read or channel surf until I can no longer make sense of whatever episode of Alias I happen to be watching.  

Lights out.

What's your bedtime smell routine?

Photo from

Saturday, May 21, 2016

They Called Her Glo

Yesterday, I went to a funeral in my hometown for the mother of one of my childhood friends.  Her name was Gloria, or 'Glo' to those who knew and loved her.  She was legendary for her generosity, her off-color humor, her too-loud laughter and above all, her kindness.  My mother, introvert that she was, didn't fully understand Glo's charm, and it irritated her to no end that Glo could be seen by all mowing her lawn on Sunday morning when everyone else was driving to church.  Glo did whatever the hell she wanted.  And she was happy.

Glo operated a beauty salon in her home in a community so small it doesn't show up on a map. Women from surrounding non-map-showing areas came to get their hair done, listen to Glo's free flowing advice and sample treats of brownies or chocolate popcorn.  Bonfire parties in her back yard were famous, including people the family didn't even know simply because Glo had met them somewhere earlier the same day.  She knew how to draw people in and treat them like family.

The last two times I attended funerals in my hometown, I was there to accompany Dad; once when Mom was too sick and again after she died.  Now, as I made my way to the church entrance alone, an elderly woman I didn't know walked slowly toward me from the opposite direction. We greeted each other and made small talk about our lateness, as time for the viewing was coming to an end. Together by circumstance, we stood in the receiving line and chatted about where we had grown up and any relatives we might have in common.  Her name was Sharon, and as it turned out, she went to school with one of my dad's cousins. 'What's he doing now?' she asked. It pained me a little to tell her he had died several years ago. 'Oh, yes,' she said, as if just realizing her own age. 

To move the reception process along, Glo's daughters left their post by the casket and began working backward through the line, greeting and hugging each person. They talked about their mother in a warm, but real way...the difficulty of her Alzheimer's and the awfulness of her final weeks. No pretending, no 'she's in a better place now,' or 'it was her time,' or 'it was God's will.'  Just the raw truth of loving and then losing their mother.  

Sharon and I found a good spot in the chapel for the 15-minute wait until the family entered and the funeral could begin. She told me about her son who was killed in a snowmobile accident 25 years ago during a family reunion.  She told me about visiting another son on Thursday in the hospital and her frightening drive home late at night in the rain. Sharon told me about her husband who died five years ago. She said there were many times when another breath from him seemed impossible, but he kept living for months after his terminal cancer diagnosis. Then one day - a good day for him - Sharon was holding him in her arms while her daughter re-arranged the pillows on the bed when he simply died. 'I could tell he was gone because he was suddenly lighter,' Sharon said. 'I didn't know until then that a person's spirit has weight.'  We looked at each other and leaned in, touching foreheads as she wiped a small tear with her slightly crooked finger.

After a brief and poignant service, Sharon and I hugged, thanked each other for the companionship and said our goodbyes. I found my friend - Glo's daughter - one last time to express my love for her and my appreciation for her mother's life.  She said, 'I have to tell you, for whatever reason my dad has been talking about memories of your dad all week...I can't really figure out why, but his name has come up several times.'

It would be just like my dad to comfort a friend with memories as he faced the hardest time of his life. Or to send Sharon to keep me company, knowing I would be lonely there without him.  I miss you, Dad.  Say hello to Glo.

photo from

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Magic of Rain

Rain on the deck last night

For the past week, it has been raining at least part of every day. There is no amount of rain that would be too much for me, and it poured again last night after a deceptively sunny morning.  In my ideal world, each week would include five days of rain and two days of partly sunny skies. Maybe one day of full-on sun, but certainly no more than that.

Rain mirrors that cozy feeling in the middle of the night when it's chilly and I have snuggled into a warm blanket.  And rain is reflective - the introverted partner of the sun's growing power, a vacation from the predictability of the sun's rise and set.  Dark rainy days blur the lines between day and night, teasing my senses and adding the drama of midnight into the day's earliest hours. Rain interrupts the predictable and makes me believe anything is possible. 

Then there's the smell...wet rocks and evergreen, sweet dirt and cedar.  When it rains, I crave perfumes with patchouli and oakmoss, licorice and mint.  All of my senses are heightened and more alive on dark, wet days.  Rain brings with it a break in life's pace, a slowing of my heartbeat and a nostalgia that never fails to calm me and bring me joy.

Pluviophile - A lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Photo my own

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

In A Mauboussin Mood

Mauboussin was one of those rare perfumes that upon first sniff sent me to the land of Oh. My. God. Stale morning breath mixed with allspice, vanilla and benzoin make it an aromatic wonder. Sometimes Mauboussin assaults my nose with full-on patchouli (hints of Borneo 1834), and sometimes it knocks me out with plum and amber. But when the mood is right, as it is on this reflective Wednesday evening, Mauboussin hits the spot like nothing else.

Several months ago, in a clean-out-this-damn-perfume-cabinet frenzy, I bequeathed B-man with Mauboussin. Bequeath: hold the item far out in front of you with both hands and bow as you hand it to the other person.  Knowing the great importance of the perfume - because of the bequeathing and all - B-man wore it occasionally. It's actually quite nice on him, lasting well into the next day, through at least one shower.  But after a while, like any self-respecting middle child, I started getting jealous, certain that if Mauboussin smelled good on B-man, it would smell even more amazing on me. Yesterday out of the blue, I worked up the nerve to ask if he would please, oh, please consider giving it back tell him I wanted it back. 

Me: Hey, you know the Mauboussin?

Him: Uh...what?

Me: You know, the perfume I gave you.

Him: Oh yeah, what about it?

Me: What if I wanted it back?

Him: You want it back?

Me: Yeah, I'm pretty sure I do. Did you throw the box away?

Him: No, I have it somewhere.

Me: 'Cause I noticed it's not in its box.  In your drawer.  Not that I was looking in your drawer.

Him: Take it - I have more stuff than I can possibly wear anyway.

Me: So I'm kinda doing you a favor.

Him: You're doing me a huge favor.

B-man understands the role that perfume plays in my life. This evening when I got home from work, my Mauboussin was neatly boxed up and sitting beside my perfume cabinet...bequeathed back to me.  Sure, we could share, but sharing is for well adjusted only children.

Picture from

Saturday, April 30, 2016

If Paige is Happy, Everyone's Happy

Paige with her favorite toy, Hedgie

B-man and I are looking forward to taking a few 'let's break out of our homebody routine' trips this year, which means leaving our doggy, Paige, for several nights at a time.  For years, we have taken her to a boarding company that employs young people tattooed from head to toe to care for the dogs that run free in an indoor/outdoor playground.  Paige insists on herding everything and when we check on her by webcam to see how she's doing, we get mere glimpses of her running back and forth with her tongue hanging out. Other dogs are lounging on their sides and watching her like, 'who's the crazy bitch?' 

Last time we boarded Paige, she came home an absolute mess.  She had scratched the skin above her eyes until it was infected, she was anxious (howling in the car on the way home), and she smelled bad, like stressed out doggy B.O.  Think Muscs Koublai Khan with more ass.

After a bunch of research, we just found a new place...a family that will involve her as their own and work her into their busy lives.  Yesterday was Paige's first trial daycare at her new home away from home.  Even though she was a bit 'skittish' according to her new family, we all feel confident that she will settle in nicely as she gets to know everyone.  When she got in the car to go home, she settled right onto her blanket without a peep. Best of all, she smelled like her sweet doggy self.  

Mission accomplished.

Photo my own

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hyacinth in the Air

Every day this week, I have walked outside. This was a ritual for years, walking alone, walking with my sister, walking with B-man...negotiating the hills and staring at the mountains that have seen endless lifetimes and still remained the same. 

Lately, though, I've become a treadmill girl, logging necessary workouts early in the morning before trudging into the office. But this week, I've come home early to walk in my neighborhood again. Water bottle in hand, I take off up the hill, breathing in the scents of leaves, fresh dirt, geranium and...hyacinth.  Stopping to smell them is never the same as passing their scent in the breeze. Hyacinths were meant to sway back and forth, filling the air with their sillage.

At the end of every walk, I return home and shop my perfume cabinet to find something that best matches the smells of the outdoors.  I know I've found the right one when it is such a perfect replica that I can hardly detect its scent when holding it up to my nose.  Yesterday, as soon as I got home, I started searching for a perfume that carried the hyacinth magic.  One after the other, I opened the box, sniffed the nozzle and replaced it on the shelf. Then, like the thought of a familiar face, I remembered a perfume that was tucked away in the sock drawer B-man recently donated to hardly-worn-but-still-admired perfumes: Josephine by Rance.

Josephine is not a perfume I reach for, and honestly, I bought it for the name alone. But yesterday, its sweet, tweedy hyacinth extended the pleasure of my walk and helped me remember what I'd been missing.  Josephine presents hyacinth combined with orris, which emphasizes the old fashioned powder of the dry down and then gently fades away in a cloud of dusty vanilla.  

Josephine by Rance: I bought it for the name, never suspecting that spring lived inside.

picture from

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ode To Oxygene by Lanvin

Pencil Lead
Orange Rind
Prom Corsage
White Chocolate
Amusement Park

Picture from

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Oh, To Have A Mother Again

I just finished watching, 'Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper.'  The prevailing feeling I'm left with is...jealousy.  I would give anything if my mother and I could have had a similar conversation; an honest reflection on her life, her challenges and her loves...what an absolute treasure that would have been.

As I watched this documentary, all I could think was, 'he has no idea what it will be like when she's gone.'  Children imagine the loss of their parents and talk themselves into thinking they will grieve briefly and then go on with life, resilient and whole.  But the absence of a parent is profound, and it leaves a permanent hole in the fabric of life, regardless of closeness or conflict.  It is the death of one's roots, and if the truth remains unspoken, it is forever haunting.

The truth is, I don't know much about my mother. Her fear of transparency and my insensitive response to her honesty left us virtual strangers.  Now she is gone, and the authenticity of her life died with her.  This loss will always be with me.

Dear Anderson Cooper: I hope you treasure the great gift of your mother's story.  In the end, it's the only thing that matters.

Image from

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rant: Conference Food Is A Bitch

Richard Pryor nailed it when he said, 'I'm in love with a bitch I can't stand.'  That's exactly how I feel about conference food.

Last week, I attended a conference with two lunch options: chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies, or Alfredo bow-tie pasta with veggies and sun dried tomatoes. In the picture, it looked delicious, so I chose the pasta. Soon a plate was slapped down in front of me so fast that the bottom spun like a top. On the plate was cooked bow-tie pasta with no sauce, three steamed pieces of broccoli and not one effing sun dried tomato. I glanced around the table, hoping to catch someone's eye and give the look that says, 'can you believe this??'  But like pod people, they were forking the crap into their mouths as if it was the best meal they had ever eaten. Then I realized all the plates looked alike - there wasn't a sun dried tomato anywhere on the property.  

Those. Lying. Bastards.  

Even if I wanted to throw a fit, which I was THIS close to doing, they couldn't have fixed it. Instead, I put leftover salad dressing on the pasta, added salt and pepper, and started forking the crap into my mouth like a good little pod person.

Next week, I'm going to a conference in Dallas. Honestly, it doesn't matter whether it's Dallas or New York City, I'm convinced event planners all refer to the same manual, Food For Constipation and Bloat. Of course, there's the token yogurt in big bowls of ice placed strategically at break time - probably to avoid a lawsuit - but let's get real, no one eats yogurt at a conference.  And speaking of real, if you eat real food on a regular basis, and then eat conference food for a few days, your body will rebel by puffing up like a blow fish and slamming your ass shut. I have learned to wear comfy, stretchy clothes at conferences to accommodate the walking fat suit I've become while I'm there. 

Worst of all, the effects of conference food last way beyond the conference itself.  It takes at least two days to recover from these processed sodium and sugar debacles. Every time, I swear that I'll do it different.  That I won't even eat the food.  That I'll fill my purse with Kind bars, nuts and other healthy options.  But as soon as I get to the conference hotel, I put the snacks on top of the dresser and think, 'I'm not eatin' that crap.' Stuffed from the greasy breakfast buffet, before the keynote speaker is even introduced, I have only one burning question on my mind: what are we going to eat next?

Picture from

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Aura by Jacomo: Perfume Pacifier

My nose, Daphne, is a bratty little kid.  She wants what she wants when she wants it.  The problem is, as soon as she gets it, she doesn't want it anymore.  I cannot tell you how many perfumes I have bought (because of Daphne's whining) that ended up in the 'rejected until I figure out what to do with it' box in the spare bedroom downstairs.  Kind of like the Island of Misfit Toys.

Last week's perfume shopping frenzy wore me out.  The fresh, springy scents I tried left a screechy after-smell, and Daphne would not stop badgering me about her craving for a sweet floral perfume. So I started sniffing through the perfumes I already have. Smelling one after the other, Daphne said, 'no!' just like the annoying toddler she is.  After plundering through my cabinet, I went downstairs and started on the box of misfits.

The moment she saw the yellow package, Daphne gasped and pointed so I knew it was the one: Aura by Jacomo.  It's a sweet floral perfume with freesia, mimosa and honeysuckle, finished by sandalwood and musk.  And butter.  Yes...melted butter.  Aura was an inexpensive add-on to qualify for free shipping, which might explain why I set it aside.  Now, a forgotten treasure suddenly found, it has assumed a prominent spot in my cabinet with the more popular perfume crowd.

Changing into my sweats after work last night, I noticed that my weekend 'lounge on the deck' cami still reeks of Aura from the clothes hamper.  And finally, Daphne is down for a nap.

Photo from

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.  

Photo from

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.

Picture from

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.  


Photo from

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.

Photo from


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