Robert Piguet, old and new

Robert Piguet’s fragrance line was originally an extension of its couture fashion line, established in the 1930s. Its first fragrances, Fracas and Bandit, were developed with Germaine Cellier and quickly became big perennial sellers. The couture house closed in 1951, shortly before Piguet’s death, but the brand continued to develop and market fragrances into the 1960s. The house, now exclusively selling fragrance, was sold several times, the last time to Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics in the late 1990s.

Since that time, Robert Piguet has reformulated its classics to adhere closely to their original versions, albeit with modern materials, and has also released several entirely new fragrances. The house nose seems to be Aurelien Guichard; I have only seen his name and no other perfumer’s connected with the newer fragrances, and we do know that he designed the reorchestrations of Piguet’s classic scents.

I very rarely get the chance to smell the newest, latest, hottest niche perfumery, much less all the indies, but for whatever reason, I’ve had the opportunity to test a fair portion of the fragrances from this house, and wanted to do a few thumbnail reviews here.

Image from the Piguet website

I’ve divided these as Robert Piguet has suggested in its marketing materials: unisex fragrances are highlighted in green. Women’s in (Fracas) pink, of course. Ones I’ve smelled are in bold. I have not listed limited-edition anniversary versions, because typically there is nothing special about the juice. (I’ve also not listed Fracas for Men, which is produced by a licensee of the name from the ’70s era and is generally not regarded as being a legitimate Piguet fragrance.)

Alameda 2013 – Modern chypre. Really, a sweetened patchouli-rose with lily, something like Calypso but without the cheerful fruit, heavier on the patch and castoreum.
Baghari 1954 – Aldehydic woody floral. I bought a small portion through a split. Obviously, vintage bottles age differently, but this thing was intensely animalic on me, so much so that the grocery clerk actually leaned away from me while ringing me up.
Baghari Refo 2006 – Still an aldehydic woody floral, but cleaner. Candlewaxy aldehydes, an intense orange, woods.
Bandit 1944, reformulated 2006 – Mean green chypre leather in both iterations, though the modern ingredients took some of the bulk out. Tried to shiv me in the nose, then went for the eye socket. I had to duck. Bandit indeed. (Hmph.)
Calypso 2010 (Original released in 1950s) – Floriental. Candied orange peel, rose and geranium, a greeny herbal patchouli, a bit of suede, and iris. Fun and pretty. I’d have bought it if I didn’t already own at least two other rose-patchouli scents.
Cravache Refo 2007 (Original released in 1960s) – Aromatic woody chypre.
Douglas Hannant 2011 – Fracas Lite, with pear (also see Petit Fracas, below). To be honest? I liked it. And I’m not sorry. I mean, it sho’ ain’t Fracas, but then absolutely nothing else is.
Fracas 1948, reformulated 2006 – Iconic Giant White Floral. My in-depth review is here. I’ve tried both 1960s parfum and the current EdP; both are very good, though the modern is streamlined (to some degree!) where the vintage was plussshhhh and narcotic.
Futur Refo 2009 (Original released in 1960s) – Green floral. I was sure I’d love this, but I don’t; it is standoffish and almost unfriendly, in my opinion, and now I understand why some people hate green florals. There is a ton of violet leaf in this, which I don’t mind, but also a ton of vetiver, and I wanted more florals than I got. There’s no reason Piguet should classify Futur as feminine, other than that the original was intended for women. I’m convinced a man could wear this successfully.
Gardenia 2014
Jeunesse 1975
Knightsbridge 2013 (Harrods exclusive) – Leather. This scent is still exclusive to Harrods and more expensive than the rest of the line (which is not exactly cheap), at $325 for 50 mls, but I found it really enjoyable. It’s a rose made out of smooth glove leather, sprinkled with nutmeg and drizzled with Calvados, resting on a bed of makeuppy iris powder. Not quite edible, almost addictive. If only it were priced reasonably . . .
L’Entier 2018
L’Insomnuit 2016
Nuit Velour 2017
Oud Delice 2015
Oud Divin 2015
Petit Fracas 2012 – Fruity floral. Like its name suggests, it’s a youthened version of Fracas; actually,  it’s Lite-Fracas-Lite, with a fruity topping and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. (I preferred Douglas Hannant for a modernized Fracas.)
Rose Perfection 2013 – Rose soliflore. Wisps of powdery violet and a little mean-green smack of geranium surround a very pure, pretty rose. I’d probably rather have YSL Paris, but this is nice.
V Intense 2014
Visa 1945
Visa Refo 2007 – Woody oriental. Part of this I liked (the candied-peach/vanilla/suede thing), part of this I really really hated (the Angel-esque, piercing patchouli). Overall, I found it nauseating, but if you liked Angel, give it a shot.

Les Celestials de Knightsbridge Collection:
La Lune 2017
Les Etoiles 2017
Les Soleil 2017

Nouvelle Collection:
Bois Bleu 2013
Bois Noir 2012 – Woody incense. Sometimes I like a nice woody incense (Comme des Garcons Zagorsk, anybody? Amouage Jubilation XXV?), so I tried Bois Noir. Smoky guaiac, aromatic cedar, frankincense and some fairly harsh woody aromachemical lead into dirty patchouli and labdanum. Sigh. No.
Casbah 2012 – Oriental spicy. This one is what I expected Bois Noir to be: woods and incense, with nutmeg added. Not something I’d buy at this price point, but really nice.
Mademoiselle Piguet 2012 – Floral woody musk. Basically, soapy orange blossom, screechy neroli, and shaving-cream tonka on me. I didn’t love it.
Notes 2012 – Herbal fougere. I didn’t realize it was a fougere before trying it (Fragrantica calls it a chypre), but IT SO IS. And therefore, Not My Thing.
Oud 2012

Pacific Collection:
Blossom 2012
Chai 2012
Jeunesse 2012 – Fruity floral. I thought I might enjoy it — I like a good fruity floral, emphasis on good — but the Pacific Collection was patently made for the Asian market, which tends to favor very light florals, and Jeunesse (“Youth”) is an olfactory raspberry macaron, sugared berries over a floral background so light it’s almost not there.

Overall, there are only a few Robert Piguet fragrances I would wear on a regular basis: Knightsbridge and Douglas Hannant (forgive me, Fracas, but that cold-cream orange blossom sometimes just does me in). Maybe Calypso, if I wasn’t already stocked up on rose-patchouli scents. On the other hand, I think the line is fairly well-composed and varied, and Fracas is so iconic that everyone should at least smell it, even the modern iteration.

Share

Early February, 2019

Posting has been spotty of late, as I work through some plans for the empty-nest life coming as Taz leaves for college in the fall. My original plan was to stay at home until the first two children entered school, and then return to full-time employment.

But then there was Taz (surprise!), and since in my experience, life gets exponentially more complicated with each additional child, I did not knock myself out trying to find another accounting job to replace the one I left when I married The CEO and moved to this semi-rural area. In fact, I wanted to return to college and earn the degree in English I’d always wanted, but there wasn’t money for that. Instead, I wound up working a series of part-time jobs just to supplement the farm income: delivering newspapers, providing childcare, transcribing recorded depositions and interviews for a court reporter business, and handling the books at our local NAPA dealer.

When I left the bookkeeping job, my intent was to become a full-time novelist. I have to this point written two books, but have not found a publisher. Truly, I feel that my fiction could really benefit from some more education, and I would love to pursue a master’s degree in literature, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

In terms of posting here, I do have another set of mini-reviews to put up soon, so look for that.

So the polar vortex spun through and then we had spring-ish weather for a few days, and now the cold is back. Feels like a normal February.

I’ve been wearing a mixed bag of fragrance favorites: Jolie Madame, Ralph Lauren Lauren (vintage) and Safari, Guerlain Floral Romantique, Chanel 31 Rue Cambon. Tried a few new vanilla scents from CocoaPink (Frosted Eyelet and Snowflakes, which were nice but no Triple Vanilla Dream, wink wink). Retried my samples from January Scent Project for a review I think I might have promised a year ago — just the three original scents of Eiderantler, Selperniku, and Smolderose, since I can’t get my paws on the newer Vaporocindro (though I don’t think it’s up my alley anyway).

No news on the Essure removal front, because I can’t get anyone at the allergist’s office to return my calls about testing me for allergies to nickel and titanium. I think it may be time to go see a different allergist.

The knee is still weak but recovering. Plantar fasciitis is mostly at bay. Gained four pounds back, so I must regroup with the diet.

Attended an alumni function for my small college, at the Taubman Art Museum in Roanoke with a former housemate. It was so nice to see Laura, and to see that her post-separation life is gaining a shape it maybe always should have had.

I plan to eventually add links here to my other — long-neglected — blog, the one focused on my fiction. I’m currently working through a program called DIY MFA, and am working on a third book as well as some historical-fiction short stories.

And Taz made the official decision to attend Emory & Henry College next fall. He’ll be majoring in history (with an intent to teach), and if all goes well, will be running cross-country for the Wasps. We’re so proud.

Share

Mini-Review Roundup, End of January 2019

(Wow, it’s been a while since I saw this image… and I still have no idea where it came from. Yee-HAAAA!)

Here are some mini perfume reviews for you today; generally speaking, these were not winners for me. I could have titled this post “What Was I Thinking?” and you would wonder along with me why I bothered to mess with orientals when I have such a poor track record with them.

I dunno. It’s winter? It’s really cold? There are some orientals I do like? I felt like being inclusive and equal-opportunity? I was wearing my Bad Idea Jeans?

Or . . . it’s winter? Srsly, I got nothin’. I guess I feel like whining about these.

Guerlain Le Parfum du 68: (How did I even get this? Was this a freebie someone sent to me? I can’t possibly have thought this would suit my tastes.) Fragrantica calls it a “woody spicy,” not an oriental, but on me? oriental. Very powdery, not woody-spicy — there is a ton of tonka bean in this. Official notes: spicy notes, immortelle, tonka bean, benzoin, incense and leather. But it’s really like a no-citrus, powder-bomb version of Shalimar: boring.

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche — I’m not much of an amber fan, as you might know. Honestly, I can’t remember why I got this sample, unless it’s because I picked it up for cheap when The Posh Peasant was going out of business as a decant service.

The official notes are “amber, frankincense, labdanum, styrax, benzoin, iris absolute, vanilla, and Russian leather,” but what this thing smells like to me at first sniff is root beer. Eventually a nice bit of what smells like church incense (heavy on the benzoin, yum) pulls up, and I think some woods, but it’s unable to overcome the initial impression of root beer. Good thing I like root beer. This one lasts forevvvver, which is unusual on my skin and probably due to its focus on basenotes. I like it, but it’s a one-trick pony.

Annick Goutal Myrrhe Ardente — I tend to like myrrh wherever I run across it. (Why? Dunno.) It’s not as universally beloved as frankincense, and it often smells medicinal, but [shrug] there it is. Official notes: myrrh, benzoin, vanilla, tonka, gaiac wood, and honeyed beeswax.

I read at least a couple of reviews of this scent that called it “all root beer, all the time,” but I don’t get root beer out of this one. (Unless, of course, somebody mixed up my samples. Possible.) There’s something very sharp and not-quite-unpleasant but not-entirely-pleasant about it. Herbs? It reminds me just a tad of the wackadoodle opening of Serge Lutens’ almost universally reviled Serge Noire, except that I liked Serge Noire, and I don’t like this.

Actually, I begin to believe that maybe someone did mix up these samples. There is a crap-ton of labdanum in the sample labeled Myrrhe Ardente, and no noticeable labdanum (which often smells like a mildewed rubber tent to me) in the sample labeled Ambre Fetiche. But . . . I dunno. Meh. It occurs to me now that there was literally no point in my testing oriental fragrances, even if they did come from Annick Goutal.

Incidentally, Goutal has revamped their line and changed all their packaging within the last few years, and I miss the old stuff. The new bottles seem less charming and more commercial. But the lovely Songes and Heure Exquise are still on the website, and I’m relieved.

Annick Goutal Encens FlamboyantePSYCHE!!! I never actually managed to get a sample of this well-regarded (Tania Sanchez gave it a 4-star review in Perfumes: The Guide) third member of the Les Orientalistes collection, and now the collection is defunct if I remember correctly. Oh well. Supposedly smoky, piney and frankincensey, which is kinda not my thang anyway. Just thought I’d mention it since I was testing the other two.

SIGH. I think I will go put on some vintage Coty Emeraude and call it a day.

Share

A Life Update, late January 2019

Having whined so loudly and bitterly last fall about my personal health issues, I figured I was about due for a lemme-sum-up post. If you’re here for the perfume, check back on Thursday for a Mini-Review Roundup.

Still a long road to walk

So an update on my weight: down 25 pounds from last June. I kinda went off the diet in December and have had some difficulty really following the plan this month, but have only gained two pounds back. (So far, anyway.) Since I had many more than that to go, I’m back on the diet now. It’s a reduced-carb, lower-glycemic-index, lower-fat regimen, the original South Beach Diet — not the one you see ads on TV for now, because Nutrisystem bought SB out. I could probably lose weight on the ketogenic diet, but could I sustain the diet for long? I doubt it. And even if I could, it seems that cutting out an entire category of healthy food is probably not great long-term. So. SBD it is.

I have not yet lost enough weight for the Essure removal surgery I was considering, so I’m still trying to do an end-around run through getting some allergy testing, because there’s a different doctor who would probably be willing to remove it for that reason. He’s in Virginia, at least, and if I had an allergy test showing sensitivity to nickel, he’d code it as necessary for insurance to cover at least part of the cost. HOWEVER — the allergist my old GP sent me to has yet to actually order the tests, even after my repeated calls to check on it. So I need a different allergist, too.

The plantar fasciitis in my left foot abated enough for me to stop physical therapy . . . and has begun to recur, so I need to step up my PF exercises again. I think it may just be an ongoing issue for me the rest of my life, and it may be associated with SITTING a lot. Which, as you know, a writer does a great deal of. Therefore, I need to be dividing my time between sitting and exercising my fingers on a keyboard, and moving the rest of my body around.

Red ginger at Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden, photo by Joe Guthrie

I messed up my knee on vacation in Hawai’i — it was that long, long steep hill down to the beach at Hanauma Bay on O’ahu first, and then that long, long steep hill at the Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Gardens on Hawai’i a few days later, plus the walking from terminal to terminal at airports. (If those two places hadn’t been absolutely AMAZING, I’d be kicking myself now for visiting them.) Plus twisting my knee on unstable ground at home the following week, twisting it again the day after that, in the long grass in the shop lot in the dark, getting wood, and then twisting it badly again two days later on snow. The new doctor in my primary care office said he thought it was probably arthritis, exacerbated by my weight, and gave me a prescription for heavy-duty naproxen sodium for the inflammation, as well as suggesting lots of R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, in case you’re not familiar). It helped to some degree but the knee is stiff and painful most of the time now. I’ve definitely been seeing the wrong GP! I’ve officially changed my primary care physician to the new guy in the practice, who was sympathetic but practical and didn’t dismiss my concerns.

In any case, I’ve now had a baseline x-ray, from which the orthopedist determined that I have mild osteoarthritis and mild narrowing of the knee joint. He gave me exercises to do, and suggested that if things are not considerably better in a couple of months, we’d try a steroid shot. The orthopedist was terrific, too. Listened to me, didn’t treat me like an idiot, gave me common-sense advice without throwing a prescription at me in the hopes that I’d just go away. Taz had actually seen this guy last year when he was having hip pain, and Dr. Maher was just that great with him. It feels good to rediscover medical professionals who take exam-table-side manner seriously.

Still a long road to walk. But I’m still walking, and still jumping through those hoops.

Share

In Pursuit of My Vanilla Scent

So. Who doesn’t love vanilla?

I do. Lots. I almost always prefer vanilla-flavored desserts to chocolate ones. (Well, except truffles. Because truffles, y’all.)

Because of that flavor preference, I’ve always thought I should love a vanilla fragrance. However, I’m beginning to realize that I’m probably wrong. I mean, honestly, I would love to smell like vanilla extract — and I’ve often heard of people wearing it as fragrance. The one time I tried it, the vanilla was gone in less than an hour, so clearly that inexpensive trick is not going to work for me.

Hand pollinating vanilla orchids in Madagascar, click through for photo link.

The first vanilla-named scent I remember running across was Coty’s Vanilla Fields, back in the 1990s — and I didn’t much like it for myself, though I found it pleasant on other people. I seem to remember my sister wearing it in her teens/early 20s.

I would like to smell like vanilla, sometimes. Thing is, vanilla fragrances often are “too-something,” by which I mean too powdery, too smoky, or too buttery-oily for my personal tastes. My ideal vanilla fragrance would smell like a very deep, rich vanilla extract, with zero powder, and minimally sweetened.  The vanilla fragrances I enjoy are not simply vanilla: Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka, which despite its name smells like a rum-and-coke with lime, Shalimar Light (lemon-vanilla woods, without the mildewed-tarp aspect of the original) and Coty Emeraude (vintage only, please). Sometimes the cocoa-powder bit (it’s the dreaded patchouli) of Givenchy Organza Indecence gets to me, but I like the spicy-vanilla-woods part pretty well.

When I say I want a vanilla fragrance, I’m pretty picky about what Will Not Do. I don’t want floral vanilla, I don’t want powdery vanilla, I don’t want musky vanilla, I don’t want berry or fruity vanilla, I don’t want cookie vanilla, I don’t want smoky vanilla, I don’t want sugary vanilla, and I most definitely do not want that horrible cheap-vanilla-candle oily vanilla. I might take a boozy vanilla if the alcohol part wears off quickly enough, but pretty much I just want plain-old vanilla-vanilla.

Vanilla fragrances I have tried and dismissed for various reasons are numerous, especially after I made the big push to find “my vanilla.” Here are the ones I had the biggest hope for and yet was disappointed by:

Too powdery (by FAR the biggest category of vanilla fails for me)
Bulgari Black
(Mind you, it’s sort of genius. I like the new-sneakers/bicycle-tires rubber note, but the vanilla part of it is flat and powdery.)
Dame Perfumery Black Flower Mexican Vanilla (Nice stuff, not as powdery as some but still too powdery for what I want.)

Too smoky
Le Labo Patchouli 24 (Does not smell like patchouli. Instead, smells like an incinerated vanilla ice cream cone lying on the floor of the smokehouse on my grandparents’ 1860 farm.)
Guerlain Shalimar, of whatever vintage or version or strength (Shalimar is shockingly drrrty on me and very cigarette-ash smoky. It’s gorgeous on the right person, but that isn’t me.)

Too buttery/oily/waxy
Annick Goutal Nuit et Confidences (Vanilla cake with artificial butter flavor.)
Lavanila Pure Vanilla (that weird vanilla-candle note I cannot STAND)

Too boring
Indult Tihota (Vanilla bean musk. I thought I’d love it; instead, I nearly went to sleep.)

Vanilla beans, by Ted Major at Flickr, some rights reserved.

Vanilla fragrances that were close to being right but juuuust a tad off perfect:
Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille (Delicious boozy vanilla that somehow did not render me smitten, for no reason I can articulate. Shrug. Good thing, because it’s über-spendy.)
Tom Ford Vanille Fatale (Interesting but wacko off notes interspersed with gorgeous vanilla. Drydown is gorgeous and pretty much a dead ringer for the MUCH cheaper PdN Vanille Tonka.)
Seveline Vanille a Madagascar (Really nice, close to a non-powdery vanilla extract linear experience. Unfortunately unavailable in the US. I guess I could have someone mule it to me from France, but I don’t love it enough.)
Lawrence Dumont Vanille de la Reunion (After a frightening three-minute waltz with that horrid buttery/rancid-oil Yankee Candle smell, it smoothed out and went linear vanilla extract. That part I liked, but it’s discontinued anyway.)

I did not bother trying to test the much-beloved and long-gone L’Artisan Vanilia. I want a Cheap Thrill Vanilla, not something I have to hunt down, pay through the nose for, and mourn when there are no longer any dregs to be found.

I started this post in late 2016 and then held off publishing it while I did more research and tried more vanilla scents. I may now have found my vanilla, though: CocoaPink, an independent fragranced-body-care maker that I originally found on Etsy, that now seems to have its own website, produces a wide variety of fragrances and leans heavily on the foody ones. I tried a good dozen of theirs, either secondhand from other fumeheads or ordered directly from the site, in either oil format and alcohol-based, and a couple of them I tried in both formats. There is a lonnnnnng list of vanilla scents there. Many of them were too sweet for my taste, but I came up with a couple of contenders.

The winner? CocoaPink’s version of Spiriteuse Double Vanilla (description from the website: Based on Guerlain’s famous vanilla. This duplication is high quality and made with notes of pure vanilla, real benzoin extract, frankincense, spices, cedar, pink pepper, bergamot, and ylang-ylang) mixed with their version of Tihota (website description: essence of pure, unadulterated sugared vanilla beans with a soft hint of musk), to create a thing they call Triple Vanilla Dream. It’s got the deep, rich, long-lasting complexity of vanilla extract that I’d been longing for, yet with the simplicity of straight-up vanilla, and it lasts for hours on me. Bonus: that sucka is cheap — 10ml for less than a double sawbuck and 60ml for a half-C-note, both in “Smell me across town” strength.

I liked it in both alcohol and oil formats, but I’m strongly tempted to get it in their Voluptuous Body Butter, because a) the body butter is super-emollient and lovely, and b) again, you can get the big 4.75 oz tub for way less than $20.

For further reading about vanilla fragrances, check these out:
Best Vanilla perfumes, Perfume Posse  (list of noteworthy vanilla scents)
The Vanilla Series, Perfume Shrine (four lists by category, and an overview)
The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Vanilla (eight vanilla scents to explore)

See also my Sexy Cake post from 2010 for more on the subject of man-pleasing fragrances.



Share

Perfume Review: Amouage Fate Woman

(Yikes. It’s been so long since I did a full fragrance review that I can’t even remember the last time. That’s embarrassing.)

I finally got around to testing Amouage Fate Woman. It’s now been more than five years since this one hit the market, garnering praise from Luca Turin and Kafkaesque, and I’m just now giving it a sniff. (Probably because on occasion, I have violently differing opinions from those two respected fragophiles.)

I still have mixed feelings about Amouage fragrances. They’re all rich and complex, which is awfully nice in these days when department store frags seem one-dimensional. But they’re expensive. And given that they’re so strongly art-directed and tend to have strong characters, you really have to appreciate the concept. My feeling on them is, if you make the choice to buy an Amouage, you’d durn well better wear the thing, or you’ve wasted your cash. Generally, too, the lasting power tends to be good, and I put that down to quality materials in adequate concentration — which is important to me, given the twice-aforementioned high price point.

I’ve enjoyed several of them without feeling the urge to buy: Jubilation XXV (the men’s version), Bracken Woman, Myths Woman, Dia Woman. I do own a cherished decant of Lyric Woman from 2010, before they amped the ylang-ylang and muted the rose in it. But Gold Woman was seriously filthy on me. And I hated both Epic Woman (sour ashes) and Jubilation 25, the women’s version (curdled fruit, as most fruity chypres go on me). Beloved Woman was a greasy powder-monster, Honour Woman had this weird brackish pondwater thing (Bertrand Duchaufour’s favorite vetiver, I’m pretty sure) that ruined the pretty florals, and Interlude Woman was simply a hot mess. I thought the chemical flatness of Sunshine Woman had to be a joke. Frankly, Interlude and Sunshine put me off trying another Amouage for a couple of years, and I have never managed to get my nose on any of the Library/Opus series.

Memoir Woman blew my mind for a good couple of weeks before I fell in love with it; it took me four years of scraping by on tiny decants before I found a tester bottle and snapped that sucker up. I still adore the stuff, though I admit it is oddball and definitely not to everyone’s taste. I don’t wear it often, though, because the weather has to be cold enough or it will smother me. I mean, c’mon, a leather-herbal Big White Floral? Freaky, and a monster in summer. Plus, the thang has beastly sillage and you can smell me coming around the corner. But I lurve it when the weather is right, and in our current low-30sF temps, I’ve been craving it like nobody’s business.

Ahem. Back to Fate Woman . . . I bought my sample so long ago that I discovered I’d actually purchased two samples from different decant services: one splash 1ml vial, and one 2ml spray. Last week I decided to combine them, and in doing so, managed to spill a bit on the top of my (paper-and-cardboard) Hatbox of Current Rotation. It beaded up, and I wiped up the excess with a tissue, leaving the tissue on the dresser before going on to something else I wanted to wear. But ever since, I keep entering my bedroom and getting whiffs of something deliciously old-skool perfumery: rich florals, plus resinous woods and, as the French might say, un peu de gousset (a hint of gusset, because so many classic perfumes smell a bit naughty).

(I can’t find an attribution for this image; I found it on Pinterest, which is so awful about linking to the original source. If you know where it came from, please share.)

Fragrantica classifies Fate Woman as Oriental Chypre Floral and describes it as a “spicy floral.” I’ve already said that it comes across to me as a floral on a rich, retro base, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone given its gigantic notes list: bergamot, chili, cinnamon, pepper, rose, jasmine, daffodil, incense, labdanum, vanilla, patchouli, benzoin, leather, oakmoss.

Angela at Now Smell This was underimpressed, mentioning that on her, Fate Woman was primarily a narcissus floral with an overwhelmingly powdery cast. I don’t get huge powder out of Fate W at all, especially on paper (that tissue I blotted the spill with is still sitting on the dresser, radiating boudoir smells). I also don’t get the oakmoss/chypre angle. It’s a tiny bit spicy, but mostly a rich incense-floral on my skin, faintly dirty with castoreum and narcissus. It has moderate sillage and lasts for several hours on my scent-eating skin. Quite nice stuff. I’ve really been enjoying the waft of that tissue on my dresser.

Am I impressed? Do I want to buy it? Nope. If a bottle fell out of the sky, I’d probably sell it. But then, I’m not much of an oriental-chypre fan; it’s just not my style. And then, too, I think it seems very 1950s-elegant-dressing-table to me. If I wanted a fragrance like that, I could pick up something considerably cheaper on eBay. It’s good; it’s not to my taste.

Carry on.



Share

The January Drear

So we’re having Mud Season again, the Cold Variant: after a year in which the area where I live received 56.54 inches of precipitation, 53% more than our average yearly rainfall, this year is looking just as damp.

Bleah.

Frankly, I’m so over Mud Season. I like Winter, except when it turns into Mud, and I’m thisclose to petitioning God for a cold snap, so at least the mud will freeze. I’ll take snow. I’ll take wind. Just — if it’s going to precipitate like last year, can we please have some cold weather??

I’ve been wearing scents with notable citrus lately, due to a Facebook perfume group’s weekly challenge. Despite thinking that I was never going to make it a whole week on citrus scents — which generally last all of three nanoseconds on me, and three very boring nanoseconds they are, too — I’ve managed, and very pleasantly, too. I’ve worn Shalimar Light (bergamot, lemon), Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka (lime), Alahine (“citruses”), Chanel 1932 (lemon, grapefruit), DSH Chypre (bergamot), and Pierre de Velay Extrait No. 11 (“citruses”). Of course, none of these are technically citrus-focused fragrances, which is probably why I like them. And, true, they are cheerful in the middle of January Drear.

WordPress has updated their editing platform (again), and I can no longer highlight snippets of text and change the color, the way I used to assign certain colors for each fragrance. That’s why the above paragraph looks odd: I tried highlighting “Shalimar Light” and giving it its classic blue color, but it turned the entire paragraph bloo, so I had to send it back to “dark gray,” and only then did I notice that “dark gray” is not actually the default shade. I can’t fix it now, either. I don’t mind updates, generally, but I think I’m unsure about this particular WP version.

I was born in the said middle of said January Drear. Today is my birthday, and today I’m wearing Alahine (again).

So, are you a citrus-scent lover, or are you like me??

Share

I’monna try this again . . . weekly posting schedule

I spent the last few weeks of 2018 creating some goals for this year, and one of those was to post regularly again. However, I am spending much less time trying new fragrances, so I probably won’t talk a good deal about recent releases. It’s difficult to get my hands on New Shinies without ordering samples, and I’m increasingly unwilling to do that. Not to mention that the market has simply exploded in the past five years or so, and the New Shinies number in the hundreds, possibly even the thousands. Then, too, many of the New Shinies come from niche or independent companies with limited distribution, and I just don’t have the mental space.

Sorry.

So I will talk about how certain fragrances make me feel, even if I’ve mentioned them before. If I come across a few New Shinies here and there, I’ll write about them. (Speaking of which, I have some St. Clair Scents to review; unfortunately, I bought the sample pack before the newest scent, Casablanca, was available. And I really want to try that one, because it’s a BWF and totally up my alley.)

I’ll talk about family, and the farm, and my fiction writing, as well as my current health struggles. I’ll also discuss whatever strikes my fancy, so that’s nothing new. Love to everyone, and here’s to a fabulous new year.

Share

Turn of Seasons, December 2018

Ah, yes.

The woods behind the house, from the back deck.

As I write, it is the tenth of December, and the winter equinox lies more than a week in the future. It snowed fifteen inches yesterday; today’s temperature was about 40 F and much of the snow is gone now. Tonight’s low, however, will be about 15 F, and whatever didn’t melt will be ice by tomorrow. Brr.

This feels, in point of fact, very much like my 1970s childhood, also here in Virginia. We typically had had at least one snow and sometimes two or three before Christmas, and then there would be several more snowfalls through the winter. (Anybody remember the widespread fear that we were entering another ice age? Seems funny now.)

My sister’s husband is stationed in upstate New York, not far from Lake Erie, and they get snow. They’ve already had two snows, and the most recent dumped more than two feet on the ground. No school closings or delays, either; my poor nephew had no respite from 9th grade despite the weather.

The CEO left before the snow started, because he and another instructor from Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Technology program had been invited to do a seminar on Virginia agriculture for some Chinese officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. That was scheduled to take place in the Northern Virginia area, near DC, and he didn’t want to get stuck in the forecast snow here, so he took off on Saturday afternoon.

The snow started around 3 a.m. Sunday. I woke up once — you know that eerie stillness in the air when it snows? I heard the silence, if such a thing is possible, and it made me restless in my sleep. There was already snow covering the ground when I went to look out the window at 4:10 a.m. It didn’t stop until late in the evening.

It was feathery, powdery, fluffy snow. Taz tried sledding, but the snow just packed down underneath him and  refused to allow sliding across its surface. It was gorgeous, though, like angel feathers.

The CEO, calling to see how we were getting along, suggested that we were in dire straits and we all should have come along with him, to escape the snow. I scoffed. Miss all this beauty? No way, man. No way.

Besides which, we never lost power, and Bookworm was able to get the all-wheel drive vehicle out and to work this morning with no trouble. So there.

With winter in the air, I changed out the contents of the Hatbox of Current Rotation.

I love doing that. I love marking the seasons with my smells. There’s undoubtedly something to the idea of wearing whatever you want, whenever you want, regardless of the weather, and I don’t make fun of those who wear incense in the summer and citrus in the winter. Matching fragrance and weather makes me happy, though.

The Current Rotation includes:
Guerlain Shalimar Light (discontinued)
Coty Emeraude (vintage)
Soivohle Centennial (discontinued)
Amouage Memoir Woman
Guerlain Charnel Elixir Floral Romantique
Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere
Lubin Epidor
Fendi by Fendi (discontinued)
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour femme
Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur (discontinued)
Ralph Lauren Safari
Frederick Malle Editions de Parfums Iris Poudre
Prince Matchabelli Potpourri (discontinued)
Caron Parfum Sacre
Teo Cabanel Alahine (vintage)

It’s disheartening to look over that list and see so many discontinued fragrances. (Even worse: darling Alahine, my Christmas fragrance for the past ten years, has been absolutely gutted by reformulation. Over the years, so has Emeraude, but at least you can find plenty of vintage on eBay. Original Alahine — gloriously full of naturals, rococo in its concept, but European and never in wide distribution — is utterly gone. I mourn.)

Christmas preparations continue apace. No tree yet, but the nutcrackers and the Nativity and the snow village are on display; a tiny lit tree set in my grandmother’s pickle crock and my father-in-law’s childhood wooden sled ornamented with a wreath grace the front porch. The community chorus concert was snowed out this weekend, but it should be presented next week (Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise).

As for health considerations, those continue. I finally got a measure of relief from that persistent plantar fasciitis with a month’s worth of physical therapy; I’ve lost 26 pounds. But there are more (many) more pounds to go, and recently I did something horrible to my knee, so I know the joint issues continue. Also, I cracked another tooth up into the root so it had to be pulled — another dubious gift from Essure.

My mother had one of those Christmas compilation records — you know, one song by The Carpenters and one by Andy Williams and one by Robert Goulet, that sort of thing — and it contained this gem. I’ve heard a lot of versions of this song, but this is my gold standard. I never hear this song without hearing Mahalia in the back of my mind.

Onward. I leave you with this wonderful recording of Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel, singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” with such joy and conviction.
He came to redeem every sinner
and to wash their sins away — hallelujah!

Share

Still Jumping Hoops

(This post was originally begun on September 17.)
So, okay, an update.

Last time I wrote about the medical stuff, I was still in the process of seeing specialists. I have now seen the allergist and the podiatrist, and one one of those fronts I’ve had some success.

That was the podiatrist. Actually, I’ve seen the podiatrist twice, and the first prescription anti-inflammatory did not help. Neither did the insoles. At the second visit, the podiatrist gave me a prescription for a stronger NSAID and asked if I wanted a cortisone shot. “Or would you like to treat your plantar fasciitis more aggressively?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, please, let’s be aggressive,” I said. “I’ve had it three years. I need some relief, and I want to be able to walk so I can lose some weight.” So she sent me to physical therapy. (Lord knows that should’ve been done at least a year ago, if not sooner. Should’ve been done at least in June.)

The PTs have asked me to continue the stretches I was doing, and gave me another couple to try. They’ve also done ASTYM on me, twice, and I have to think that’s helping a great deal. My heel feels a lot better. I’m not pain-free, but at least I can walk about 7000 steps without being crippled the next day. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks of treatment, my heel pain will lessen more.

The allergist did not test me for allergy to the Essure device or its components, largely because he did not have those tests in-house at the time, but also partly because they’re expensive and partly because he thought there was something else going on. He did order some blood work on me; it turned out to indicate that I do not have systemic inflammation going on. So that’s a dead end for Essure removal. He suggested I see a dermatologist for the rash on my arms. (It’s not that bad. I’m used to it now, used to the scars.)

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels (no, this isn’t me).

As for the diet, well, I’m starting to get frustrated with it. I am tracking everything I eat. I am exercising regularly, 5 days a week, usually about 35 minutes a day, and keeping my caloric intake about 1000 calories under what I expend (based on Fitbit’s estimate). I’m drinking about 80 ounces of water a day and have stopped drinking the one diet soda a day I had been allowing myself. This should have led to about a two-pound loss every week. However, I haven’t lost any more weight at all. It occurs to me that this is the point where I got frustrated with South Beach Diet last time, too — when I had lost 18 pounds and the scale refused to budge any further over a month’s time. GAH.

I have to persevere anyway, because I have to get healthy. I have to.

A lot of dieters swear by weighing once weekly, or weighing not at all and only gauging success by the fit of clothes. I have found in the past, however, that if I skip weighing every day, my brain tends to go straight to thinking, “Oh, we’re not dieting. Go ahead and eat the banana bread.” So I weigh once a day, in the morning after I’ve peed and before I’ve eaten anything. And I’m generally pretty patient with fluctuations… it’s just that I haven’t seen any loss since Sept. 8 (and I’m back up 2 pounds since then, pretty consistently). It’s so frustrating.

I begin to wonder if the NSAID I am taking for my plantar fasciitis is making the scale not move. Hmm.

In other news, though: I had been having a great deal of acne, almost more than I’d had as a teenager. That’s abated, and my face is clearer than it’s ever been since I was, oh, twelve. Low-sugar diet? Maybe. Perimenopause? Maybe that, too.

And now I have a few fun outfits to exercise in, too. This is good.

Updated update, October 1.
My sleep study showed no sleep apnea or diminished oxygen during sleep, so I think we can rule that out as a cause of fatigue.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels (also not me).

I’ve now had a full month of physical therapy, from ASTYM to stretching and icing, and can report that my heel pain is maybe 20% of the level it was in May. This is an enormous relief. I’m not completely pain-free, and might never be completely pain-free due to that heel spur, but I plan to continue for another week or two, to try to reach toward zero pain. I’m consistently walking at least 7000 steps a day, and more often 7500 or 8000, which was just unthinkably painful back in May.

I have lost all of two pounds since September 17th. This is frustrating.

Before you ask: Yes, I’m drinking enough water (at least 100 oz., sometimes more). Yes, I’m eating enough healthy food (5 cups of veggies a day, lean protein, one serving whole grain, one serving fruit, limited fats). Yes, I’m exercising 5 times a week (deep water aerobics, walking, low-impact HIIT videos). Yes, I’m logging everything I eat (including those three pecan halves I ate after dinner this evening). Yes, I’m still eating approximately 1000 calories less than I burn every day (which should lead to a two-pound loss every week). Still, no movement on the scale or in my clothes. I may need to exercise 45 minutes/day instead of 30. Gah.

I know a number of people who’ve had success on the ketogenic diet. I might not be able to sustain that diet for very long — it seems crazy, what with the extremely low carb limits — but I wonder if I should try it, just for a jump-start? I don’t think two weeks of it would kill me.

The allergist wants me to come back to do some specific allergen tests soon. I see the endocrinologist next week.

Share

Scent Diary, August 20-26, 2018

Monday, Aug. 20: Taz started his senior year of high school last Thursday; Gaze and The CEO started classes at Virginia Tech today. (Means I get the house to myself again. 😀 Maybe I can get some writing done now.) SOTD is Guerlain Elixir Charnel Floral Romantique. I always feel like I have to justify loving this thing. Yeah-yeah, derivative overpriced pink mall juice, yada yada whatever, I don’t care. It’s a floral with a deliciously bitter edge and I love it. Besides, I got a slightly-used bottle at deep discount on teh ‘Bay. Nyah nyah.

Tuesday, Aug. 21: Intermittent thunderstorms all day. SOTD was Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere. It had cleared up by 5 p.m. and the sun was shining, so I left beef-veggie kabobs in the fridge for Bookworm to cook when she got home and went on to deep water aerobics. We’d only been in the pool for about 18 minutes of class when lightning struck nearby and we had to get out. Sad — especially because by the time I got dried off and in the car to leave the YMCA, skies were clear again. I had thought I might go for a walk after dinner, but it got dark while we were eating. The kabobs were SO GOOD.

Wednesday, Aug. 22: Again, intermittent showers. I managed to do a ton of errands and wash two loads of towels. SOTD was Chanel No. 19 edp, which I love. I had planned to go do exercise bike at the Y, but then I ran across a low-impact high-intensity interval (HIIT) workout on Youtube for people with wonky knees, and decided to do that instead. WHEW. Hard. Really hard. I liked it, though.

Talked to Gaze recently. VT is so packed with new students that dorm space is extremely limited and there was talk of moving noncadet students into any extra rooms in the cadet dorms… but there’s no room in the cadet dorms. The Corps is so full that most cadets, even upperclassmen, are jammed with four people in triple rooms and three in doubles. Gaze is one of three in a double room in the basement, and Housing even had to convert the study lounges to sleeping spaces. Yikes. All this because Tech’s president is making a push to “grow the university.” Which would be fine, except that the infrastructure to do that is not yet in place. Dorm space doesn’t spring up out of the ground overnight, and although there is plenty of apartment housing in Blacksburg, freshmen and cadets, as well as the honor dorm residents like my nephew, perforce must live on campus. I hear that the dining halls are particularly crowded at midday, as well. (There are four main dining halls plus several snack places, and at least five food trucks.) Grr.

Thursday, Aug. 23: Sunshine! That means laundry! I washed six loads and hung them out on the line, brought them in, and folded them. Yay me. Also, Deep Water Aerobics this evening, which I have decided to call Happiness Time. SOTD was Hanae Mori Haute Couture, big friendly citrusy jasmine fruit thing. (Discontinued, probably because it smells nothing like the original Hanae Mori berry-‘nilla scent.)

Friday, Aug. 24: Showers again. I had two loads left from yesterday, but managed to hang them out in between the rains. SOTD was softly powdery Rose d’Ete, my first niche purchase and still a love. Delicious New York strip steaks for dinner, plus mushrooms, cauliflower rice, green beans, roasted chunky potatoes (which I didn’t eat), and grilled zucchini. Yum.

Saturday, Aug. 25: Taz overslept and missed the 6:45 a.m. bus to his cross-country meet; I wound up driving him to Blacksburg. Once I was in Blacksburg, of course, the only sensible thing to do was to . . . go to Aldi. 😛 I did some grocery shopping before coming home and doing some cleaning. SOTD was Leonard de Leonard.

There are cows in the 20-Acre Field behind the house, so we are right now suffering a Plague of Many Flies. UGH. You swat one and three more come in the door.

Sunday, Aug. 26: I don’t feel well. Went to church anyway and was glad I went. Then after a quick lunch, we all went to see a local production of “Chicago.” One of Taz’s classmates was in it, and she was fabulous as Velma Kelly. (Frankly, I wondered why she wasn’t cast as Roxie — who was also good, but in my opinion, less fabulous than Velma.) So I was glad we went to that, too! SOTD was Lubin Epidor, which is somehow both golden and dusky-plummy. I like it very much.

Share

Jumping Through The Hoops

(If you’re here for the perfume, you’ll be disappointed today.)

Photo by Julia Maudlin at Flickr, Creative Commons license, some rights reserved. Photo may only be used with attribution and a link to the source. Click through for link.

My last post was about Essure and my gradual realization that many medical problems I had dismissed under the rationalization, “I’m just getting older,” or “I’m just fat,” may actually have been caused or simply worsened by a medical device that was rushed through FDA approval without adequate studies beforehand.

This post is about the timeline of hoops that I have begun jumping through, in order to reach the goal of having Essure removed.

1) In September 2017, after I find out that the FDA has recommended a black box warning for Essure, I decide to get rid of these things which have caused me so much insidious trouble. The doctor who placed my Essure (and delivered my first baby via C-section), retired seven years ago and I haven’t been to see another since. I call to request an appointment with another GYN, who is well-regarded, who used to practice with my implanting doctor, and who delivered my third baby, but it takes THREE MONTHS to get on her schedule. It’s now December 2017, and when I go in, she refuses to consider the possibility that all might not be well with my Essure. To humor me, she orders an ultrasound to locate my coils. I ask for a hystero-salpingogram (HSG) or an x-ray, so we can be sure they’re where they’re supposed to be. “They don’t move,” she says flatly. “Ever. Put that right out of your head. But I guess we can do an US, to make you feel better about it.”

2) I have the ultrasound in January 2018. It doesn’t locate my coils.

3) I see another doctor in my GP’s practice in March, for a sore throat that hasn’t gone away in two weeks. Unlike my usual GP, Dr. Kelly actually listens to me, considers a concern I have, and answers my questions without making me feel like an idiot and a fussbudget, instead of a woman with a bachelor’s degree who can understand some basic medical science. It is a revelation. There are doctors who do this? I NEED ONE OF THESE.

I notice that when The CEO began having pain in his ankle, Dr. Kelly prescribed an anti-inflammatory and sent him straight to physical therapy. Did I get PT for my foot and ankle pain? Did I get meds? I did not. I got the standard “Lose some weight and don’t wear those shoes.” I begin to realize that it might not just be me: my doctor might be part of the problem.

4) In May, I schedule a regular checkup and request to see Dr. Kelly instead of my regular doctor. The office manager tells me I can’t see him because he’s not my primary physician, and he’s not taking new patients. I’ve been seeing him, and other medical practitioners in this “family medicine practice,” for the past 20 years. How am I a new patient? “He’s not taking new patients, period,” the office manager says. I agree to see the female physician’s assistant. I weigh the most I have ever weighed, and I know I’m going to get fussed at for it.

5) I have my checkup with the PA. She listens. I think she’s skeptical, but she listens. We talk about Essure and my ongoing foot pain and my diet. She agrees to refer me to an allergist so I have testing done to see if I’m allergic to the materials in Essure. She agrees to test me for thyroid issues. She puts me on 9 Advil a day for 3-4 weeks, to combat my foot pain and inflammation. She suggests low-carb dieting, particularly because my blood pressure is creeping up. She suggests checking to see if my insurance will cover the new shingles vaccine, and she strongly suggests I get a screening colonoscopy. My blood work indicates no pre-diabetes or other issues. It also indicates that my thyroid is normal.

6) Into June now. The 9 daily Advil help so much that I actually do not feel like crap every day. The whole time I’m on them, I’m feeling good. I buy Chaco sandals. I put fresh plantar fasciitis-fighting insoles in my shoes. I don’t walk much, but I start water aerobics with the Fabulous Old Ladies at the Y, and sometimes I use the exercise bike. The pain in my elbow goes away. The pain in my right foot goes away. The pain in my left foot (always worse) is greatly lessened. I lose four pounds. I schedule my colonoscopy for the end of July.

7) I finish 3.5 weeks of daily Advil. The pain in my left foot is still there. I make another appointment with the PA. My appointment with the allergist will not be until August. I ask about the endocrinologist, and the PA sighs and says that if I really want an appointment she’ll try to get me one, but she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with my thyroid. I ask about a referral to the podiatrist, and she says she’ll order one. She also orders an x-ray of my left foot, to see if I have bone spurs. My BP is up to 140/103, so she wants to put me on lisinopril.

8) In June/July, 10 mg lisinopril makes my BP go down to 120/85 most days.  I read on the Essure Problems group site about a woman who had been suffering for days with pain in her pelvic area, until she was taking a shower and felt a sharp pain in her vagina. She reached down and found… yep. One of her Essure coils. Go right ahead and tell me “they don’t move,” Dr. Howell. Sure, they’re not supposed to. But that doesn’t mean they can’t.

9) In May, Carilion’s medical records archives unit cannot locate any records of the placement of my Essure, which is part of what Dr. Monteith in NC needs in order to talk about scheduling Essure removal. I call the office twice in June and get a response of, “Oh, sure, I’ll call the archives in Roanoke and tell them what we need. We’ll call you back,” both times. Neither person calls me back. In July, I go to the hospital for my x-ray, and stop by the medical records office to ask one more time. I get, “Oh, sure, I’ll call the archives in Roanoke and tell them what we need. We’ll call you back.” I also get a printout of the doctor’s transcribed notes from the procedure, which might be most of what I need, but it does not contain any of the pictures taken with that teeny camera, showing the coils in place. I do not get a call back, either. (Third time. Carilion medical records, you suck.)

10) July. The x-ray of my foot indeed shows bone spurs. Yay. (“Don’t wear those shoes” seems horribly callous to me right now. I’ve been having pain for three years. Did I get sent to physical therapy? Noooooooo.) The pelvic x-ray shows two Essure coils that seem to be intact and approximately in the right place. (Which is relatively reassuring, but also a potential block to getting someone other than the elective surgeon to remove them.) I talk to Dr. Monteith’s office staff about sending them the disk with the x-ray results on it. I fill out the preliminary form and email it to the office. The scheduling nurse calls me back and says that my BMI is too high for the surgery there.

11) The endocrinologist’s office in Salem is overwhelmed because another specialist in the area retired, and they refuse to see me for a full thyroid panel, saying I can just see my GP. (Who thinks my thyroid is fine, and never mind that my mom needed a full panel to be diagnosed.) Also, I am too fat for the surgery to remove the thing that made me too fat in the first place.  If this is not discouraging, I do not know what would be.

12) I will keep my appointment with the allergist August 31. I may have recourse to removal if my tests show sensitivity to nickel. My dad says he will ask his endocrinologist if he’ll agree to see me since I’m getting the run-around.

13) I decide to try to lose the 50 pounds it’s going to take to get my BMI low enough for Dr. Monteith’s surgery. I may fail — Lord knows I’ve failed to lose weight often enough in the past — but I am going to try, and try really hard. It’s not going to be fun.

I check out the Paleo diet my college friend Heidi says works well, but it doesn’t allow cheese. That’s not going to work for me. I check out the ketogenic diet that a friend from church is on for his diabetes, but I do not think I could manage that food plan for the time it’s likely to take. I decide to do South Beach (the original reduced-carb/low-fat one from cardiologist Dr. Agatston’s book, not the new one where they sell you food like Nutrisystem) again. I lost about 20 pounds on SB a few years ago, but as soon as I started eating carbs again the weight came right back. I am going to have to say goodbye to favorites like mac-n-cheese and cake, like, forever. I mean, I can live without fruit for the first two weeks, and I can skip carrots and corn and beets for a while, and I can live indefinitely putting my fish tacos and burgers and sandwiches on lettuce leaves instead of tortillas or bread. I can probably live with pizza made on a cauliflower crust. (Although I LOVE beets.) But no baked potatoes? ever? 😥

14) I go for a walk the third day of my diet. My feet feel okay, and I go fairly slow for forty minutes. The next day, my left foot is killlling me, and I’m limping around as badly as I ever did. It occurs to me that the GP’s office has never gotten around to referring me to the podiatrist and I will have to call myself. AGAIN. I need a new doctor.

15) I call Dr. Monteith’s office back and ask if I can stay on their list. Sure, the scheduling nurse says. They’re expecting a rate increase (up from $7500) next spring, but they hold on to records for at least two years, so if I want to start an account I can do that. I say yes, please.

16) In late July, I see the podiatrist. Yep, I’ve got plantar fasciitis. I get new insoles and a prescription for anti-inflammatory meds. The insoles don’t really help. The hard massage ball does. The stretching does, a little.

17) On August 10, I manage to get in to see my dad’s endocrinologist in Roanoke. Dr. Bivens says that while I do have some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, he doesn’t think that I have it, but we’ll wait for the labs to come in. My full thyroid panel comes back normal. Dr. Bivens suggests a sleep study; I could have sleep apnea. (The sleep tracker on my Fitbit seems to fit a fairly normal pattern most nights, but it’s not a real medical diagnostic tool. We’ll see, I guess. As of now the sleep study is not yet scheduled.)

Summary to date: There are likely more hoops to come. I am very lucky that The CEO has good health insurance.

I have currently been on the original South Beach Diet for one month now, and I’ve lost eleven pounds — that’s 15 pounds down from my heaviest. I’ll need a lot of support, but I continue to press toward a lowered BMI so that I can have surgery. That will be forty pounds from now.

(As a show of support for me, please do not send me chocolate. Or chocolate-scented perfume, for that matter. I will take commiseration, prayer, and hugs.)

Share