Tuesday, May 31, 2016
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.
What's your bedtime smell routine?
Photo from littlebeetkids.com
Saturday, May 21, 2016
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 wikipedia.com
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
|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
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
Me: Hey, you know the Mauboussin?
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 99perfume.com