Saturday, December 5, 2015

Life With Natalia

Natalia recently experienced her first American Thanksgiving. Well, I guess I could say her first Thanksgiving in general, because they do not celebrate a holiday such as this in Spain. 

Her jobs were to make the pumpkin pie and a sweet potato dish. She has very little experience cooking, but was enthusiastic about making both. She likes pumpkin pie and had eaten it before. She likes sweet potatoes too, but had never seen them assembled in this fashion, with a bunch of butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Oh yes, and the little marshmallows on top. 

Most all of our family was together, which can sometimes be a little hectic and overwhelming. I think she enjoyed it, and even asked for a group photo. She seemed to enjoy the meal. Interestingly, it was the first time she had ever seen or tasted a whole, roasted turkey. According to her, people in Spain do not eat this meat. I suppose it makes sense, since turkeys are native to the Americas. She was curious just to see what it looked like and what it tasted like. Her first response was that it tasted like chicken. 

Since we have celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and now are leading into Christmas, I see clearly how over-the-top Americans celebrate every holiday. Much more elaborately than other countries. I haven't decided yet if this is a good thing, or not. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Two Months Is Too Long

Oh my Lord, it's been two months since I had a counseling session with Kate. They had to cancel my October visit. I wish tomorrow's visit was going to be a two hour session, because I feel like there is a lot to catch up on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Life With Natalia

One of the first nights Natalia was here, she was looking for a snack in the pantry. She pulled out a packet of "peanut butter and cheese crackers" like the ones pictured here. She looked puzzled and said to me "What is this?"   I told her it was cheese peanut butter crackers, to which she replied, several seconds later, "This is not cheese". 

What Natalia learned:   When it comes to food in America, you are not always getting what you think you are getting. "Cheese" might really mean artificially flavored, artificially colored crackers, chock full of preservatives.

What I learned from Natalia:   We eat a lot of shit that is not real food.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I Didn't See This Coming

At the start of the school year, my daughter came home telling me about a new friend she had met. An exchange student from Spain named Natalia. 

As the weeks passed, she began telling me that Natalia's host family was having some personal problems, which eventually grew out of control, and Natalia became displaced. She had to move in with the coordinator of the program while she searched for a new host family.

One weekend the coordinator had to be out of town, and since Natalia was friends with my daughter, we were asked if we could keep her for the weekend. Once I met her, I just fell in love with her. I can't really explain what happened next, but I felt it was laid on my heart that we had to take this girl into our home. 

Now bear in mind my home is not always the most stable place on earth, but everyone in the house agreed we felt it was what we were being called to do. 

As I type this, Natalia has been with us a couple of weeks. She is intelligent, beautiful, and witty. Every day I learn something new from her. In the days, weeks, and months ahead I will share with you the things I learn. Things like bravery, about giving, and how similar yet different our two cultures are.

Stay tuned. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Pursuit of Happiness

Something very odd has happened to me in the past 2 weeks. Something foreign and strange. I believe people call it "happiness". 

I have stated it out loud and in text messages that "I feel happy!" Or that "I am in the best mood today!" Just an overwhelming feeling of gladness that makes me feel the need to say it out loud!

Ever since I started my vacation, I've just had this weight lifted off my shoulders. There could be a couple of reasons for this, but if I'm being honest with myself and with you, dear readers, I believe it has everything to do with being away from work. The past year has been the second most challenging year I have faced at work. I feel like a manic firefighter, running around extinguishing problems all day long. I see frustration in the eyes of my coworkers. Exhaustion in my fellow managers. Two of them have told me they feel the stress is taking a toll on their physical health. Being away from there and putting it out of my mind has been delightful. 

I visited my my primary health care doctor last week. She was rather upset with me for not letting her know about my skin condition. The last time I saw her was just about one year ago, when she walked in, saw me covered in a rash from head to toe, and gasped "You are having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic!". She had no idea of the struggle I had endured since that day. Since my psychiatrist moved away, my primary care physician is now responsible for regulating my anxiety drug. She felt it was time I quit taking half of the dosage the psychiatrist had prescribed for me, and begin taking the full amount. Mind you, this is still an extremely low dose, but in the four and a half years since I started taking it, I chose to only take half a dose, believing less is more. The increase in medication could potentially be another reason for my improved state of mind. 

I will write a separate entry about it, but in the past couple of weeks I have been to introduced to a beautiful young exchange student from Spain. After much deliberation, we became her host family, and she moved in to my home last week. I love being around young people. Especially bright, intelligent, and engaging young people. This young lady is all three. It has lifted my spirits tremendously to have her here. Another possible source of my new found happiness. Or maybe it is a combination of all three things. 

I have less than a week of vacation left. I have made tremendous progress in organizing clutter and removing much of it. My husband and I have detailed rooms. It clears the cobwebs from the mind when you clear the cobwebs from your home.  I just don't have the time to do that on a regular basis. That is why I look so forward to this two weeks in October each year. 

Anyway, it's a quick update on the pursuit of my happiness. I don't want it to go away.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cleaning Cobwebs

It's the start of my annual 2 week fall vacation. 

A time to clean cobwebs, not only from my house, but from my head. I look forward to the quiet, alone time. I rarely turn on the television, and often I don't even have music. Just me, myself and I, compartmentalizing thoughts and ideas, and restoring order to the chaos which is my living space and my mind. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Even Monday???

I was having a text conversation with Kitty a few days ago. One statement she made during the conversation really resounded with me. She said "I want to enjoy EVERY day. Not drag through to the weekend or whatever special occasion". 

Wow. Enjoy EVERY day? Is that possible?

So I bounced the idea off of Sally, and we kind of ran with it. What would it take to have something in your life each day to look forward to? Something that would make you happy or bring you joy? Since then we have both made a conscious effort to focus on one joyful thing each day. It's not always easy, but it is very rewarding. And I think it's important. We spend so much time counting down to the weekend. Life is short, why only enjoy a small piece of it?

If you can't enjoy your job, plan something to look forward to in the evening. Or plan a break during the workday and do something special. Even if it is 10 minutes to meditate or pray, to redirect your thoughts to something positive or productive. 

So many of my friends  have stressful jobs or situations right now. I hope you all accept this challenge and look for some ray of good in each and every day.  Even Monday....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

And It Makes Me Wonder

I was driving to go get some fish sandwiches yesterday, when I saw a man walking down the street with a guitar case. This made me think of a story. Something that happened a long time ago, and it made me smile. 

It was about 1991. Maybe 1992. I was on my way out of town with work. I don't remember where I was going, but I was making a change of planes in Nashville, Tennessee. I had just gotten off my flight, and was headed to another gate for my connection. I was young. In my late 20s with long blonde hair. In those days, when we traveled with work, we had to wear business attire. I remember I was wearing a long dress and black shoes with a small heel. Coming towards me, a good distance away, I spotted a handsome young man with dark wavy hair. He was wearing a checkered shirt, faded blue jeans, and some old cowboy boots. He had a black guitar case strapped to his back. I kept glancing away, then glancing back. As we got closer to each other, my glances turned in to a stare, as he was staring back.  We passed each other, and just kept walking.

Several steps later, something made me look back. I turned around to find him looking back as well. We both smiled at each other and just kept going.

You ever think about things like that, and wonder what if? I do.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tired Of Being Tired

I'm tired of being mediocre.
I'm tired of being overwhelmed at work. 
I'm tired of being surrounded by clutter.  
I'm tired of being overweight. 
I'm tired of feeling weak and unhealthy. 
I'm tired of feeling like there's no way way to change anything. 
I'm tired of complaining. 
I want my sun to rise, not set. 
I want to do something fabulous.

Monday, August 24, 2015

So Was That The End?

 People keep asking me when I'm going to write something in this blog. I tell them I don't know. 

Sometimes I feel like I've said everything I can possibly say. I've told every story of my life that has led me to this point. It feels like there is nothing left to say or think about. 

That can't be all there is. I don't want to be frozen in time. I don't want to be done. I need to figure out the next chapter of my life. What I want. How I'll write it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I Just Need Some Jars

Last fall I started canning. Fruit preserves and butters. It has become a very fun hobby for me. After all, my therapist told me I needed a hobby. My friend Nodrog told me to watch the movie Baby Boom with Diane Keaton.  So last night I watched it. After a strange series of events, a New York City businesswoman winds up living in Vermont, and while she is snowed in with an abundance of apples, ends up canning applesauce. She turns it into an empire called Country Baby.

As frustrated as I am with my job right now, I think I'll spend this Sunday entertaining that idea.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Not All Bad

21 days have come and gone. I wish I could say I stuck with the food cleanse 100%, but that would be a lie. 

I was very diligent with it for the first week or so, and I did reap some nice benefits. I lost some weight and I felt really good. I haven't eaten that much healthy food in a few years. but no change in my itching or my rash, so I slowly began to add foods like dairy, sugar, and alcohol back into my diet. I have managed to break myself free of most processed foods again, which I hope to continue. I feel so much better when I don't eat crap. 

As for the rash, I guess I will just wait now and see what the patch testing shows in July.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Looking Glass

It's Day 17. 

I'm still all messed up from what I'm calling the "nut incident". These bumps won't be going away for a while. I stayed clear for several days, so I reintroduced a couple of foods. I guess I got too certain of myself and introduced to many things at once. So now I can't be sure what caused the fresh ones. I itch all the time and I still look like a monster.

On another subject, my children are in the middle of a wonderful vacation at Kitty's house in South Florida. These days without them given me a peek into what life will be like when they move away in a few short years. I don't like it at all. I'm not quite certain what will become of me at that time. But this is not making me happy.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekend Update

Day Six:

The outbreak I had earlier this week was a major set back. I will have these bumps for weeks and I am still itching terribly. I still can't be sure exactly what caused that to happen.  The day I saw my dermatologist (Day Two), I was already feeling it coming on. Since I was still having outbreaks, he ruled out my blood pressure medicine, as I had been off of it for a month. He instructed me to resume taking it since my blood pressure was creeping up. Within 24 hours I had a big outbreak. I can't be sure if it was from resuming the medication, or from the nut products. I took the blood pressure medicine for two days, and then visited my general practitioner, who prescribed something else for blood pressure,  A totally different class of drugs. I am so gun shy, I haven't even taken it yet. I want to be on as little medication as possible, and eat as clean as possible.

As for the food cleanse, it is going pretty well. I have only waivered from the plan a couple of times, once with a fried food, once with a gluten/sugar.  The good news is, I am down 7 pounds since Labor Day! Essentially I am eating a very clean, low carb diet, with no alcohol and I guess that is why.  I also seem to have reduced swelling and bloating with a healthier diet. No MSG's or other preservatives. 

And the beat goes on....

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Are You Nuts?

Day Three:

Okay, so I woke up this morning just covered in bumps.  I am itching like crazy. It has to be the nuts. The only other things I have eaten are vegetables, meat, and a handful of dried bananas and apple chips. Drank nothing but purified water.

Today I am officially eliminating nuts, nut butters, and coconut oil for the duration of this cleanse.

Another interesting note… I am down 5.5 pounds since my Labor Day morning weigh in. I am attributing much of that to a reduction in bloating/swelling.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

That's Kinda Nutty....

Day Two:

I want cake. 

There's nothing wrong with green stuff but I'm craving sugar. I had a glass of chocolate almond milk earlier, which was delicious, but does contain some cane sugar. I discovered this after the fact. 

Overall, so far so good. Romaine lettuce, tomato, eggs, avocado, organic free range grass fed beef, a little corn, carrots, organic peanut butter, and lots and lots of purified spring water. I actually like what I'm eating, but I'm having serious sugar withdrawal. 

I saw my dermatologist today. I'm now back on my blood pressure meds since this doesn't seem to be the issue. He was in total support of the food cleanse and has me scheduled for patch testing in July. He's still convinced however, that it is a drug, and is now putting eyes on my anti anxiety drug, Klonapin. I won't lie, that makes me hysterical. We'll cross that bridge in July after the food cleanse and the patch tests. Right now I can't bear to think about it.

In the meantime, I have dozens of new bumps which itch like the devil. A lot of them appeared this evening. The most suspect thing I ate today was the peanut butter. Also had the almond milk after I got home from work, and used pure coconut oil on my skin this morning.  Interesting. I guess that's why I'm keeping this food journal. 

On a positive note, I feel good, and definitely less bloated. 

Anxious to see what the rest of the week has in store. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Green Grocery Cart

Day One of the 21 day food cleanse:

I am enthusiastic, and ready to begin.  This is a picture of my grocery cart yesterday. A vast departure from what it typically looks like. Full of vegetables and clean meats.  As much of it organic as possible. I will say, I feared I would have to buy most of my things at Whole Foods, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the huge selection of organic, dairy free, and gluten free foods my local Kroger offers.  

I'm sure I looked a little out of place yesterday, combing the aisles with my list of "good foods/bad foods".  But while I was in the "health section" I encountered several other shoppers. I struck up a conversation with one man while shopping for a coffee creamer alternative. He has an intolerance to dairy.  In fact there were a lot of shoppers in that area; I guess everyone of them had their own story, be it food allergies, health problems, or just trying to STAY healthy in the first place. 

So I got my groceries home and started sifting through them. Can I do this? Will I forget, and accidentally pour a bunch of half-and-half into my coffee? Will I be able to balance what I eat with the things my family eats? I can't overthink this. I just have to do it.

I was curious why I am allowed to eat nuts and nut butters during this cleanse. After all, everyone knows there are a lot of people with nut allergies.  I did some more reading last night and discovered there is a difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Here is a little bit about the topic: 

"It is easy to know if you have a peanut or shellfish allergy that sends you to the emergency room each time you eat it... your body is clearly telling you that you should NOT eat these foods. But more common allergies are really more like “food sensitivities” and because the symptoms are bloating, poor digestion, headaches, lethargy, depression and weight gain, most people don’t think it’s caused by the food they’ve been eating for their entire lives... they just think, “There must be something wrong with me.”

So as I begin today with my creamless coffee, here are some stats:

Weight:  Higher than its ever been. I shall keep that figure to myself!
Blood Pressure: 133/88. Currently off meds (experiment one month ago to see if BP meds were the culprit). 
Rash:  Several breakouts. Particularly my arms, thighs, torso.  Freshest ones occurred in the past 48 hours. Overall condition of my skin is "lumpy" and rough. 
Itchy:  Level 5. 
Bloated and Swollen:  Yes. Particularly my calves and feet. My right side worse than my left. 
Medications:  Prevacid, Zyrtec, Klonopin

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures

So it's coming up on seven months now since I first had a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic prescribed to me for an infected bug bite.  I regularly hear from people, "Now what is wrong with you again?". I will try to explain now. 

I am continuing to have new breakouts regularly, and I itch continuously. My skin looks freakish. I gained about 20 pounds from taking steroids all winter, and I seem to be swollen or retaining water in my legs and belly. This is something I have not experienced before, except during late pregnancy. 

I have made multiple trips to my dermatologist, and have worked with an allergy/immunology specialist, who was convinced there was a problem with my immune system--that it was unable to shut itself off after attacking such a severe allergic reaction. After extensive testing, that proved not to be the case. This specialist told me he was unable to help me further, and sent me back to the dermatologist. Both of my doctors, and three other doctors I saw during a visit to the ER a while back, believe the severe reaction in October triggered new allergies that I may have never had before. But what?  None of their suggestions are working. Interestingly, no one has done any type of patch testing, grid testing or allergy testing. A biopsy I had in December indicated the continued rash was caused from a drug reaction, which is difficult to identify with skin testing. Basically it is process of elimination.  I have eliminated or changed all but one drug I take orally each day, which leads us to the possibility that the culprit is a drug or chemical in food or possibly a cosmetic.  I see my dermatologist again this coming Tuesday, and fear he will tell me to stop taking or using one more item and come back again in another month. I am growing increasingly frustrated, and feel it is time for me to try something on my own. 

Anyone who has read this blog for awhile,  knows that I went through a somewhat militant phase a few years ago regarding our food supply.  Drugs in our meats, pesticides in our fruits and vegetables. A host of chemicals and preservatives in anything prepackaged. The list goes on an on. I try to eat as clean as possible, but it is sometimes difficult. 

In the coming days I plan to try a 21 day food cleanse. I will eliminate known allergens such as dairy and gluten. I will only eat organic, grass fed meat, and free range, organic poultry. Fish, organic vegetables and eggs. And possibly the most difficult for me, I will eliminate alcohol; particularly wine and beer which contain a host of allergens. After 21 days of clean eating, I can reintroduce dairy and or gluten, and other foods to see if they spark a reaction.  it will be hard for me to stay on track. Life is busy, and "cheap and convenient" is such a temptation.  I have been incredibly busy at work, and the next two weeks will be even worse. There is a McDonald's directly across the street from my office, and a restaurant/bar down the hall!!  That is why I have to plan ahead. Also, I need to be accountable, so I will post my progress and my findings in this journal.  Maybe this will help with my lack of desire to write and post. If I have any readers left out there, I hope you will stay tuned.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Remember the film "The Ten Commandments"? The epic one with Charlton Heston.  It comes on every Easter. Well, there's a scene where Moses' family was having dinner and all of the firstborn children were being murdered. All-around them screams of horror. They kept eating and chanting and just trying to get through the night. 

For some reason that is what I remind myself of this evening. Alone in the house, quiet. I hear kids running around outside, and every now and then some excited drunken screams from some of the big outdoor neighborhood parties nearby. I just keep thinking if I can make it through tonight, when I wake up tomorrow Derby will be over. 

It's ridiculous, sad, and hilarious all at the same time.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Fucking Derby

 Well… Here it is. Derby week. 

There's a lot I want to say right now. I'm in a bad fucking mood. But I don't want to talk. I don't want to write.  I'm tired. I am lonely. And I have a really bad attitude. 

Fuck this shit.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Half A Year

In a few days, I will have reached the six month mark of having these itchy bumps on my skin. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would still be battling this strange affliction six months later. 

Granted, the rash is not nearly as bad as it was in the beginning, nor is the itching. But the bumps that continue to come are very itchy, ugly and annoying. Some hurt. There are dark spots all over my forearms. I don't know if it is discoloration from inflammation or if they are permanent scars. 

I'm tired. Trying hard to stay positive and keep a good attitude. Some days I do a better job than others. 

I'm just so tired.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


I feel like my entire adult life is been shrouded in a series of lies. 

I've been lied to so much that I'm not sure what is true anymore. It is very hard for me to trust anyone.

If it weren't for my children, I'm not sure what would happen to me. Sometimes they are all that keeps me going.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Can't Shut Down

I'm feeling overwhelmed. 

So much going on around me. So much that needs to be done!  It all just makes me want to shut down. 

But I know I can't do that, so I will just take on one thing at a time.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Mom: Repeat

Today, on what would have been my mothers 81st birthday, I am reposting something I originally wrote in August, 2014:

The other day someone was talking about my mom, and said "I miss your mom. She was so funny!"  But the thing is, the person they were referring to was my mom when she was older, sicker, and didn't have all her marbles. People thought she was funny because she said crazy things. After all, she had suffered two brain aneurysms and a series of mini strokes. The smokers thought it was funny that my mom would sneak out to the back yard or the garage, or wherever people were blazing up, and try to bum a cigarette. 

Personally, I saw that as very sad. 

I guess it just bothers me that most of the people I know, never really knew my mother. The woman that was beautiful and vibrant, spirited and intelligent. They only had a chance to meet the sick version, who would sell her soul to get to a cigarette; the very thing that took her personality, her looks, and ultimately her life away from her. 

It's no one's fault. It just is what it is. But this Sunday morning, it bothers me. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Scent Of A Woman: Part Six

After I broke up with Design, I was on my own for a while. No relationship with any perfume. 2010, 2011 was a time of change for me. I had made significant progress in counseling, with codependence and in my relationship with my husband.  Medications were working for me and I was coming out of depression.  I was ready to rediscover myself.  I changed my style of clothes, jewelry, shoes, and hair. It was a time of new beginnings for me.

In 2012 I made a trip to South Florida to see Kitty. I still recall standing on the deck of an outdoor restaurant overlooking the beach, and giving Kitty a hug. I remember smelling something so wonderful. This would be the beginning of a new stolen fragrance for me. During my trip she let me borrow the delightful sent, Pure by DKNY. I fell in love. My signature sweet and light, but something new and different to match the new me. Since that time I have gone through two bottles, and this Christmas I asked my husband for a fresh one.  After a failed attempt at different stores, a sales associate finally told him DKNY had stopped making the fragrance. When this news was relayed to me I was devastated! You know the feeling when that special someone you are totally in love with suddenly leaves you, wiith no warning! I was so sad!  Now the question… Do I search the Internet in a desperate attempt to find a stash, or do I move on to something new?  I wasn't ready to let go, so I found a very large bottle on eBay. Being without my fragrance for a few weeks made me very grateful when I received this bottle. I feel tempted to order another large bottle while I can still find it. But part of me says quit holding on. Move on to something new. Another new chapter. 

I learned something interesting while writing this series. Something that may help when I do decide to move onto a new fragrance. With the exception of the very woody Lauren, every other sent I have had a relationship with is a vanilla base. I never knew this. So when the day comes that I am ready to start my search, I will have a place to start. Luckily I don't have to make that decision right now. But until that time I will be sniffing my friends just in case…

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Scent Of A Woman: Part Five

We learned with Lauren, that I have no problem stealing a friend's fragrance. So in the late 1980s when I got a whiff of something very pleasing, I knew I would make it mine.

At that point in time, my company always employed several high school or college students during the busy summer months. One particular summer we hired a girl who sat in my area. Once again, I do not recall her name.  She wore this fragrance that was so wonderful I had to ask about it. I had to try it on for myself, because liking the way it smells on someone else, doesn't mean it will smell right on me. After a trial spray, and letting it sit for a few hours, I knew it must be mine! I did pay the girl the respect of asking if she minded if I copied the fragrance. She did not. Quite frankly, it would not have mattered if she disapproved. I knew she would be gone by the time the leaves begin to turn. And once I want something really bad...I usually figure out a way to get it. 

The fragrance was Design by Paul Sebastian. It truly was a signature fragrance for me. A love affair that lasted longer than most relationships I have had with men.  Design just worked for me. It was sweet and light.  It mixed well with my body chemistry, and it matched my style and my personality. My love affair with design lasted from the late 1980s until around 2010.

Paul Sebastian still makes Design. It was my choice to end the relationship. One day I just realized I was tired of it. It wasn't gradual. It just seemed to happen suddenly. When I did my fall cleaning last year, I found four partially used bottles of it.  I bundled three of them and sold them on eBay. I kept one very small bottle, which I keep in my desk at work. Once in a while I will dab on a little bit of it. I guess it is always nice to keep a momento from a long-term relationship. 

This fragrance represented a long period of my life. When I started wearing it I was at the end of a very bad marriage. If followed me through my divorce and into a very happy and carefree time for me. I wore it all through the happy years with my current husband and into the not so happy years. As melodramatic as it sounds, I believe that walking away from it, also symbolized moving away from that chapter of my life.

My friend Sally still wears Design and I love the way it smells on her. For me, it was just time to move on.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Scent Of A Woman: Part Four

After I broke up with Lauren, I was a little bit lost for a while. So I returned to my roots and began wearing another Avon fragrance. Pearls and Lace. I believe I discovered her in one of those foil sample packs inside the Avon catalog.  Back to sweet and light. Pearls and Lace was not ever a serious relationship, but it worked when there was nothing better knocking on my door. 

I wore Pearls and Lace for a couple of years in my mid 20s. 

Little did I know, a major love was about to enter my life.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Scent Of A Woman: Part Three

I don't recall wearing perfume later in high school.  But when I started college I found one that I liked.

I became friends with this girl in my program. For the life of me, I can't remember her name. Anyway, she smelled really good, so I asked what she was wearing, and she pulled a small bottle out of her purse and let me spray it on. The fragrance with Lauren by Ralph Lauren.  I liked the way it smelled on me, so I went to the store and bought my own bottle. It would become my first "stolen" fragrance. 

Lauren became my signature fragrance for the next couple of years. It is a vast departure from all my other fragrances. Instead of light and sweet it was woody and pretty strong. To this day, it is the strongest fragrance I have ever worn. I only use a tiny dab of it.  I still have a bottle of it from back then, and once in a while, in the winter, I spray some on. 

I always liked Lauren very much, and still do. But I never truly loved her. She just wasn't the right fit for me. Too many rules.  Did I spray on too much?  Is this the wrong season?  I don't like rules. 

Lauren is still available today.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scent Of A Woman: Part Two

The first fragrance I ever fell in love with was Sweet Honesty. 

If you were a girl growing up in the 1970s, you and your mother had plenty of Avon in the house. Sweet Honesty was their scent for adolescent girls. It was very sweet and light. I loved the way it smelled on me. But the best part was it often came in cool little bottles. I had both of the ones pictured here. The furry teddy bear (my favorite) and the deer.  They were necessary staples that doubled as decor on my dresser throughout middle school.  Truth be known, those empty bottles may still be at my dad's house somewhere.

My youthful affair with Sweet Honesty lasted for a few years. Even into my early high school days. Then l guess I just outgrew her. It was time for me to move on. 

Sweet Honesty didn't just represent a young and innocent time in my life, it also represented a time in history. True, there were serious matters going on in the world, but in middle-class suburbia, the mid-70s was a great time for a young girl to live, love, and discover the world around her. Everything seemed so simple to me back then. 

To the best of my knowledge, Avon no longer sells the fragrance. 

They say you never forget your first love. I will never forget Sweet Honesty and I will always love her.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Scent Of A Woman: Part One

For me, women's fragrances are broken up into three categories:
About 75% of them give me an excruciating headache. 
About 24% of them smell really nice on other people, but when I try them for myself, they give me an excruciating headache. 
About 1% of them work very well for me, in which case I typically become quite attached.

I was getting dangerously low on my current favorite, so that was essentially all I asked for this past Christmas. Just get me a bottle of my perfume. It seemed like a simple enough request.  So I was totally devastated when I got the news that the designer had stopped making it. 

A signature fragrance is hard to find. Once you find it, you fall in love with it. It shares your most intimate moments. It touches your most intimate parts. You tend to stay with it a very long time, and may only have a few in your lifetime.  This makes it much like a lover.  Perhaps that is why it is so hard when the relationship ends.  Especially if you weren't quite ready for it. After all, break ups are much easier to get over if it was your idea.

This led me to reminisce about fragrances I have loved in the past.  I decided it would be an interesting mini series to talk about the ones I have worn, and where I was in my life when I loved them. Stay tuned--my next entry will uncover he the mystery behind the fragrance.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


How ironic it is, that we can feel so out of control when it comes to the one thing we actually have control over in this world.   

I'm talking about diet and exercise. Taking care of our bodies. 

We can't control what other people do. We can't control what happens to us. The only thing we actually have any control over at all is what we put in our bodies in the way that we take care of them. So why does eating sensibly and getting exercise seem so impossible?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

One Step

One of my favorite shows on television is "The Biggest Loser". Tonight was makeover week. It was a very powerful episode. I watched as the contestants transformed, and my favorite player Sonya looking so fabulous, said she had never felt beautiful in her entire life until now.  How moving it was to watch her find that beautiful place--to put on a dress that complimented her figure, to have fresh hair and make up. It reminded me of myself a couple of years ago. That's when I discovered myself the same way. I felt pretty for the first time in a long time. Confident. Worthy. 

In the past few months I have lost that confidence. I have gained too much weight. I'm heavier than I ever have been in my life, including full-term pregnancy. I have battled this bizarre rash and it's side effects for 2 1/2 months. I don't feel worthy of pretty things or doing things for myself. I didn't buy a fall/winter wardrobe. Nothing new. When I finally did use some Christmas money to order some boots online, I could not get them zipped around my large calves. The realization that I had to send them back caused my thinking to become incredibly distorted. Everything I have worked so hard for when out the window. I started thinking "What's the use? Just go gray. Cut off the nails. Get as fat as you want. Then just go buy a bunch of old lady clothes. Fuck it. What's the use anyway"? 

Tonight I think I found a little inspiration within myself. Watching the contestants, I remember how good it felt to have that self-discovery and find my inner and outer beauty, and feel confident and good about myself. I want that back. Maybe I have the motivation I need now to get back on the road. One step. One foot in front of the other. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

It Was My Signature Fragrance

So tonight I learned that yet another of my all-time favorite restaurants has gone out of business. Just one in a long line of many. This made me start to connect the dots.  Everything I'm used to, everything I enjoy, has faded away. My favorite hamburger joint, my favorite Italian spot, and now my favorite place for fish. The founder and bass player for my favorite band, AC/DC is in a nursing home.  My favorite fragrance was recently discontinued by the designer. 

At what point do you just accept the fact that you, and everything you like has become irrelevant?