Giving Thanks

In Hawaiian culture it is said that each person is born with a bowl of light.

This light is the light of consciousness and love.

Each time we give way to negative emotions such as jealousy or hate, a stone appears in the bowl and the light is diminished.

Sometimes it seems that the weight of the accumulated stones will extinguish the light forever.

Hawaiian spiritual teachers say it is always possible to tip the bowl over, empty the stones, and live again in the embrace of the miraculous light we were gifted at birth.

For more on this beautiful concept, read The Bowl of Light by Hank Wesselman. In 1996, a revered Hawaiian elder befriended an American anthropologist, and from their rare and intimate rapport, something miraculous emerged. Through the words and teachings of the kahuna wisdom-keeper Hale Makua, Dr. Wesselman was gifted with an enhanced perspective into the sacred knowledge of ancient Hawaii.

Info curated from https://www.facebook.com/burt.kempner

Left Behind

I don’t know if it was Freud or someone else who said that there was an underlying subliminal reason why someone leaves things behind at your home, but in the case of my Angels, I love it when they do.

I find and gather up the artifacts to either mail or bring with me on my next visit. They’re like little treasures that attach themselves to memories of a special time.

Thank goodness I didn’t step barefoot on a fierce Ninjago Lego minifigure. I had found another one and mailed it along with random socks and a forgotten light up ball that had rolled under the sofa, but this little guy was exhumed when I changed the sheets and I recalled the morning Angel Boy crawled into bed with me at about 6am.

“Grandma, are you awake? Daddy said I could come down. He’s going surfing.”
“Look at my Legos.This is one of the Ninjagos, LOOK!” “He’s one of my favorites.” “Grandma, can you make me a Ninjago cake?” “You can do it, I know you can.”

“I don’t know, T. I can do a kitty or an owl or a bunny, but a Ninjago cake seems pretty difficult for me.”

“Did you wash my favorite (Ninjago) shirt for me?”

“It’s a bit early for me to handwash your favorite shirt, T. How about breakfast first?”

“Grandma, do you always do the same things every single time you wake up?”

“What’s that, T? What do I do?”

“You put on your glasses, take off your retainers, take a vitamin, and do your inhaler. And then you make coffee.”

“You know what, Angel? That’s exactly what I do, in exactly that order. You are incredibly observant to remember each and every detail. I do those same things every single day at your house and my house. Do you think about that?”

“Yes, I do. I’m hungry. Can I have some apple pie?”

The answer to that was yes. The children know me too well. I approve of apple pie for early breakfast. I wrapped a piece for dad to eat before his dawn patrol surf sesh, too.

Those Angels leave a trail of love behind, that’s the best part.

Every Little Thing

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Although I never before knew who originally created this quote, I always KNEW — deep in my heart — that a rainbow or a sunset or a whale, a Monarch butterfly, the sighting of a coyote or a bobcat, my hawks — the discovery of a rock or achingly perfect seashell — brings joy as much as a new Chanel or a stunningly crafted pair of heels.

The night when I was genuinely poorly, when I ALMOST thought I’d have to go to the ER, I was awakened by the conversational hooting of a couple of Great Horned Owls and felt comforted by their voices. In my feverish delirium, I believed they were telling me to hang on, it’ll be OK.

Thank goodness, they told the truth. As much as antibiotics bring their own set of issues with my little body (don’t ask), I’m on the road to recovery, as my RN mom would say.

This morning I have SUCH a strong desire for vegan hot chocolate, it made me think of her and start laughing. Simple joys, right?

When I was sick, as soon as I had a craving for anything chocolate, my mom said her nursey training told her all she needed to know to stop worrying about me.

I fully earned the title of Princess because I used to make her wear her nursey cap and drape her stethoscope around her neck when she answered the bell that was on my nightstand. And she happily complied while carrying a tray with ice chips, fresh flowers, and tea in the special antique porcelain tea pot.

At the end of the day, little things are undeniably all there is. Those of us who understand this surely are the lucky ones.

Conversational Speed Bump

As I sit here with a sore throat, sneezing so hard I think I’ve rearranged some brain cells, I wonder how I even got sick since I still mask up in public. I’ve tested twice for Covid and it’s been negative both times, so that’s something to be grateful for. All I want to do is to curl up with a mug of spicy ginger tea and a cozy blanket.

My virus-type thing came on pretty rapidly after THIS experience. Maybe the Universe is helping me stay home and safely away from toxic people…

Photo by Michael Anthony on Pexels.com

There’s one specific car that flies down my street every morning, Monday through Friday, hurtling itself over the speed bumps/humps and barely – if at all – bothering to slow down for the stop sign before turning right and into the elementary school parking lot.

After randomly witnessing this occur over several days, I walked to the school and snapped a pic of the car in the parking lot.

I entered the Admin building and asked the school secretary to please take a look at the photo and explained that I’m sure this was an employee and it would be a good idea to caution this person that she was speeding and please slow down on our street as it’s not a freeway, even if she’s late for work.

I never imagined the vitriol I would soon receive.

First of all, the secretary curtly informed me that anything outside the parking lot wasn’t her business and I should go to the police. While she thought that statement would deter me, along with her frosty dismissive attitude, she clearly didn’t know with whom she was dealing.

I said slowly, enunciating carefully, “I came here as a courtesy, hoping that all staff would be reminded to drive carefully, legally, and responsibly around the neighborhood as it’s a known ongoing problem, and what you’re suggesting is that I should just go to the police?”

“Well, there are fifty cars out there, you can’t expect me to figure out who owns that car! How do I know if it’s even an employee! That’s not my job!”

I responded, “Oh, but yes, I surely DO expect you to do your due diligence, especially since you’re looking at a photo with the license plate. And I don’t understand why you’re not concerned or being helpful. This person is driving in a reckless manner.”

I will tell you that I spoke in a calm but firm voice, having been in that office dozens of times as a parent, which is why I know the lay of the land, so to speak.

I reiterated, “So what I hear you say is that you WANT me to go to the police and you are refusing to address this issue, simply and internally?”

She looked at me and said, “Where did you say this was? At the roundabout?”

Geez, I hate these kinds of encounters so much, but I persevered. I took a breath before continuing. “So far, I’ve explained to you three times that this car flies over the speed bumps on the street before the stop sign.” (And I actually pointed in that direction, which she could see through the doors.)

Her next words made me chuckle. So predictable for people like that.

“STOP YELLING AT ME! You’re being rude! I don’t have to be treated this way!”

I calmly informed her that I hadn’t raised my voice but that we neighbors do not appreciate staff using our street like a freeway and if she’d prefer that I give the vehicle info to the police, I’d be happy to do so as I had made the effort to come into the office as a consideration to avoid involving the police, which seemed entirely unnecessary.

In the old days, I would have been so angry that I would have met her vitriolic negative energy with a shit ton of my own. Trust me, I could raise the threat level to DEFCON 2 (next step to nuclear war) in a heartbeat.

In the OLD DAYS, smoke would have poured out of my ears and nose like a dragon, but this kinder and gentler version of me didn’t respond further. I walked home, shaking my head. Life lessons learned.

I was honestly surprised by her attitude. In my naïveté, I thought she’d thank me for bringing the matter to her attention and she’d inform the principal to review safety protocol for driving in our community, to respect the neighborhood, and to assure me that my concerns were important and would be properly addressed.

I was wrong.

So my next call will be to the police which was definitely avoidable. Once again I’m reminded of one of the reasons I HATED teaching elementary school.

(Another time I’ll recount the tale of the high school assistant principal who DARED to target my 4.8 GPA child for a crime he didn’t commit. Let’s just say that after I was done with him, he had another job. Mama bears don’t have an off switch when it comes to protecting their young, right?)

Don’t Miss This! San Diego International Film Festival October 19-23

As I slowly emerge from the last two years, in my more melodramatic moments, I feel it’s akin to crawling out of a cave, eyes blinkblinkblinking against the light after being stuck for months in the dark.

The vagaries of life are such that one day I’m reseeding my lawn completely demolished by my wild bunnies (most likely a futile exercise); the next day I’m interviewing Tonya Mantooth, CEO of the San Diego International Film Festival.

Does the name Tonya Mantooth ring a bell for you? It did for me, and I followed a twisty windy Google research path to satisfy my curiosity.

A while back I wrote a post about my journey through the side effects of my Covid vaccine which included being enamored once again with the TV show Emergency! and its lovely cast, including Julie London, Bobby Troup, Kevin Tighe, AND Randolph Mantooth. Could it have been a coincidence with that unusual name? Well, it wasn’t. Tonya is his sister!

Long ago when I had visions of being somehow involved in the film biz, I used to write for the Theater Arts Guild newsletter and knew all of the talent agents in town. In that other lifetime I acted in a few things and was a production coordinator for a while, too…

Back to present day reality…

-The 21st Annual San Diego International Film Festival includes the return of in-person Opening Night Film Premiere & Reception, the Night of the Stars Tribute, Culinary Cinema, plus more parties. Looking for something memorable to do in San Diego? This is IT, a definite must attend event and there are plenty of films for every cinephile. Check out their website: https://sdfilmfest.com/

Honestly, where else can you meet meet filmmakers and actors, participate in dialogues and ask questions?

-I learned that not only will there be a screening of (MGK) Machine Gun Kelly’s film, Taurus, but he will be there IN PERSON to accept an award from CEO Mantooth. (I confess that I didn’t really know who he was, but a few of my younger demographic friends asked about him and were extremely thrilled to learn they could see him up close and personal.)

As we chatted, Tonya was excited to share with me the addition She Said, the film adaptation of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s 2019 book on their investigation into Harvey Weinstein. This is the story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood. Produced with Brad Pitt, it stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan.

I’ve become fascinated by women who follow their passion — like Tonya Mantooth. It’s inspiring and empowering, don’t you agree? I plan to interview her more fully after the festival, but for now, I encourage you to attend this amazing San Diego International Film Festival.

According to Tonya Mantooth, attending the SDFF is an opportunity to participate in shared humanity, to bridge the divide, not increase the divide.” Viewing a foreign film “offers a glimpse into other cultures” as well as how important it is to “connect with community” and “explore fresh perspectives.”

Here’s a brief bio of the Festival’s CEO, Tonya Mantooth:

A ten-time Regional Emmy award winner with over 60 International Telly and ADDY awards,Tonya began her career as an Executive Producer when she became Director of Acquistions for CRM Films.Tonya co-founded and was President of The Dakota Group, a highly regarded film and post-production company in Southern California.Tonya has produced National TV campaigns and award-winning documentaries for Fortune 500 companies.Tonya launched Mantooth Studios and expanded her production scope to Entertainment Projects. Under Mantooth Films, Tonya Executive Produced four feature films, including GRAVE SECRETS, which became the pilot for a Nickelodeon Series. In 2012, Tonya took over the San Diego International Film Festival with a vision to bring international cinema to San Diego and grow the San Diego International Film Festival into a significant contributor to San Diego’s economy. Today the San Diego International Film Festival has grown over 500%.The spectacular six-day Festival features 120+ film screenings, panels and a red carpet Celebrity Tribute honoring actors such as Annette Bening, Adrian Brody, Geena Davis, Lawrence Fishburne, Sir Patrick Stewart and countless others.Tonya is steadfast in her belief that the experience of film allows us explore issues of global impact, to create dialog, and ultimately to develop empathy and understanding in an increasingly diverse and complex world.(From the SDFF website)

Random Chat With a Graceful Soul

Do strangers sometimes strike up random conversations with you in public?

Me, too.

Yesterday, standing outside Trader Joe’s, contemplating their plant display, I wondered if I should bring another one home. I spied a pretty little olive tree. My green thumbed son got one at his Traders and it’s now about fifteen feet tall, but that’s the difference between a drought climate and the Pacific Northwest, I guess.

As I pondered this decision, I noticed an elderly lady next to me seemingly in similar deliberations. She was beautifully attired like my mom would have been to go out for the day in a gorgeous dress with heels, accessorized with a sparkly brooch. Her hair was carefully coiffed.

Such a gorgeous human.

I picked up one olive tree and put it back, not sure if I wanted to potentially kill another living being. It’s difficult to grow a lot of things here with barely any rain and restricted watering. Even if it’s not restricted, the cost to effectively water is prohibiitve.

I pointed to the olive trees and said to her, “Are you thinking of getting one, too?”

She replied, “I would, but I can’t see how big it will get.” She had a bit of an accent.

I read the little informational sticker on the pot and told her, “Ten to fifteen feet unless it’s pruned.”

Then I shared with her my son’s successful experience with the olive tree in his garden and how it already created a few actual olives.

After that, she proceeded to tell me one wonderful story after another about growing up on an olive farm just outside of Rome.

Every fall, “just about this time”, she said, they’d pick tons of olives for eating and pressed olive oil and sold it all.

The olive trees outside of Trader Joe’s brought memories flooding back from her youth and you could tell she was wistfully remembering what were obviously happy times with her family.

I told her it was no wonder she had beautiful skin from all the olive oil and she smiled, reached out a hand to touch my arm, and thanked me for taking the time to talk to her.

Actually, it was MY pleasure.

I could have listened to her talk for hours. The stories about her childhood during and after WW 2 were fascinating. I wonder how and why she came to live in California.

(No, I didn’t get the tree, but it’s still under consideration.)

A Fork in the Road

Literally.

On my walk home from the beach, near the train tracks, I looked down and saw this fork in the road.

A single fork with nothing else around it; not a flimsy plastic utensil from takeaway, but a silver fork with a blue handle, part of set, I’m sure.

Thank goodness it was pointing in the same direction I was heading, because if not, that would have definitely caused me to stop and ponder my next step.

I’m not sure what, if any symbolism I’m supposed to glean from this random fork in the road, but I’m relieved to have quite possibly been given a heavenly sign that I was on the right path.

Regardless, it was the route that would eventually bring me home — and for me, like Dorothy, there’s no place like home.

I left it there to help guide others on their own journey, but I did bring home a silky black raven’s feather to add to my collection.

The Enigma That Is Johnny Depp | What Is The Depp Effect?

Whether you followed his recent trial or not, whether you agreed with the verdict or not (although with all the credible evidence provided along with a stellar legal team, how could you NOT), I can speculate with almost 100% certainty that you’ve heard of Johnny Depp.

Whilst I was recovering from the after effects of my second Covid booster (body aches, headache, fever) I was playing around with the channels on my new TV and discovered a million episodes of 21 Jump Street.

Warning: this might become a rambling, incoherent series of unrelated thoughts. I intend to blame it on the way my body reacts to vaccinations.

I remember the show and vaguely recall the character Depp portrayed, but was in the middle of my mom years so I didn’t really have time for anything except being a 24/7 mom. However, no matter what the storyline or who the other actors were, for me it was only and all about Johnny Depp.

If he had been a crappy actor, it honestly wouldn’t have mattered one single bit, but he wasn’t just another pretty face, more expressively beautiful than most — and even in that formulaic sitcom, his acting was nuanced and he had a finely tuned sense of humor. (And that hair.)

He might now own the title of one of the world’s biggest stars, but there seems to be something surprisingly authentic, genuine, and REAL about him — down to earth in spite of or maybe because of any eccentricity. I say “seems to be” because we’ve never met, so I can’t say for sure.

“You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t want to feel.” —Johnny Depp

In my feverish state, I decided to try and unravel the magical mystery of Johnny Depp’s timeless attraction from his twenties to now at the age of fifty-nine.

Why did we all rally to support him during the trial? Why do we feel as if we are, as he says, his relatives?

Dedicated Depp fans travelled from all over the country to support him in court, standing in line for hours.

They’re buying and selling out his Dior Sauvage Elixir cologne.

They’re loud and proud on every social media platform; they’re at his concerts, they’re rewatching all of his films.

What is it? What is it about Johnny Depp?

I need to figure this out, at least before my fever breaks or the Benadryl kicks in and I fall asleep.

I believe his appeal goes far beyond looks and charisma.

There’s just something about him that defies explanation and maybe that’s the answer. His magical allure defies explanation.

I’m not fangirling here, I swear. I never had a true celebrity crush, not even on Brad Pitt who is pretty cute and a good actor.

Wait a minute. To be completely candid, back (way back) when I was in high school, it was Jim Morrison who touched my teenaged heart (I’ve written about that before) and even though I acted in a few films, no one ever ignited my fantasy-state until Johnny Depp came along, and not in a must-have-his-autograph or a hug or throw-my-bra-on-the-stage kind of way, more like I’d be content to pour us a glass of wine (or a mega-pint) and have a conversation with him, an exchange of thoughts and ideas, but it’d be REALLY hard not to also rudely stare at him. I wonder if he feels his face has been a burden.

I would like to ask him how he feels about the genetically random exterior arrangement of his facial features that causes women and men to feel like this Twitter poster: “that chiseled face or the eyes you can melt in”.

I’m mystified and I’m trying to suss it out. His eyes, lips, nose, cheekbones, eyebrows, voice; these things we all possess, but in Johnny Depp’s case, they crystalize into a human package that conjures up intensely personal devotion and loyalty, and a lot of screaming fans at his concerts.

After Nightmare on Elm Street and Platoon and Cry-baby (and especially that kissing scene), I was hooked, even though I’m aware that it was a John Waters parody spoofing Elvis movies and the juvenile delinquency scare films of the fifties,

He epitomizes the vulnerable, misunderstood bad boy with a heart.

Johnny Depp possesses a certain charming childlike, naive, and innocent quality — not childISH, but a childLIKE wonderment. I’ve also been accused of being childlike because I find neverending joy in things like butterflies and seashells and animals so I can relate.

I’m not wearing rose-colored glasses and I don’t ignore reports of his admitted drug use and alcohol consumption and other behaviors that I don’t share, but he exudes natural charm and charisma and intelligence and humor. Those are indisputable facts.

Could anything be more perfect than the Benny & Joon scene with JD’s homage interpretation of the Chaplin dinner roll dance? I think not.

How about What’s Eating Gilbert Grape with Leonardo diCaprio and the steamy scenes with Mary Steenburgen? Here’s a quote from Steenburgen: “And, oh my God, I loved doing What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Who wouldn’t love kissing Johnny Depp all day?”

Maybe the director said it best…Lasse Hallström picked Depp to play Gilbert Grape because of the way he could express so much emotion through his face and eyes. As an aside, I was happy to see Kevin Tighe from Emergency! as the husband.

Here’s a few of my other favorite Depp films: Edward Scissorhands, Don Juan deMarco, Chocolat, Blow, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, The Secret Window, and The Tourist. I enjoyed his accurate portrayals in Donnie Brasco and Public Enemies, but I’m not fond of violence so I usually fastforward during those scenes. The next one I’ll watch is Minamata.

It’s funny, I’ve only watched clips of his Pirates franchise, but I’ll most likely queue them up too. He makes all of his characters spring to life and they become him and he becomes them, in every film, even the early ones.

As for his personal life, I was only vaguely aware that he lived in France, had a couple of children, played guitar, was friendly with Marlon Brando, and owned an island. I sort of remember hearing that he had a nightclub in LA and was in a band called the Hollywood Vampires, but I was too busy with my own life to focus on his.

I didn’t know he had gotten married until I heard that his now ex-wife had accused him of abuse in 2016, but I never really believed it — after all, it seemed out of character as he had never been accused of anything like that during or after his previous relationships.

It wasn’t until her op-ed in 2018 that I started to foment thoughts that he was being targeted and falsely accused because at the time, everyone was jumping on the #MeToo bandwagon. I had experienced my own #MeToo moment in the past with a casting director so I was sympathetic to the cause.

And then there was the trial. I’ve written about that here and here.

Like millions of others, I was mesmerized by Johnny’s testimony, impressed by how he could talk about that incredibly painful childhood with dignity, grace, authenticity, and candor. And humor.

After that, attorney Camille Vasquez guided him through excruciatingly personal details about the physical abuse he suffered by his ex wife and that made me respect him even more. It couldn’t have been easy for any man to be so publicly vulnerable and admit he was a victim of intimate partner violence.

At the end of the trial, Johnny Depp won. With the verdict on June 1, the jury overwhelmingly sent a message that he had been defamed with malicious intent.

More random commentary: “He is yummy on a visceral level – wild, those cheekbones, his penetrating gaze from those soulful eyes.”

“His dark features and his phenomenal bone structure: his cheekbones, his jaw , his eyes and his hair. Oh and his nose ! He just beautiful!!! He s crazy handsome.”

He continues to win as he tours Europe with the legendary musician Jeff Beck.

Interestingly, I discovered that as far back as 2016, there was research into the “Depp Effect.”

Trying to figure out what makes a person attractive has been a hot topic in the scientific community: Do pheromones draw us to others, or face shape, or certain mannerisms? Researchers from several institutions continue the quest with their most recent question — are male faces with feminine features considered attractive? Scientists from the University of Otago, Warwick Business School, and the University of California, San Diego set out to examine the “Johnny Depp Effect,”which involves women tending to prefer men with feminine faces. Their researchrevealed that this effect holds water in some situations, but not all.https://www.medicaldaily.com/johnny-depp-feminine-androgynous-375978

I disagree with their premise that Johnny Depp has feminine or even androgynous features. He is simply a one-of-a-kind rarity that absolutely defies being placed in a category.

Did I unravel the enigma? Nope. Did I solve the mystery? Also nope. At the end of the day, I think I have to admit that there isn’t a way to rationally explain Johnny Depp. He’s a combination of many enigmatic factors, but the bottom line is how much his essence resonates with all of us.

He is who he is, and I wish him every happiness.

Finally, this from Dakota Johnson, “Working with Johnny Depp was the most gratifying and inspiring thing I’ve ever done. The atmosphere on set was pretty dark, but Johnny was….he is a unicorn”

P.S. I just wish he’d stop smoking!

From Fandango, a complete list of Johnny Depp films: https://www.fandango.com/people/johnny-depp-170087/film-credits

Filmography

YEARTITLEROLE
2021Minamata (2022)W. Eugene Smith
2018Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldGellert Grindelwald
2018City of LiesRussell Poole
2018Sherlock GnomesSherlock Gnomes
2018The Professor (2019)Richard
2017Murder on the Orient Express (2017)Ratchett
2017Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesCapt. Jack Sparrow
2016Yoga HosersGuy Lapointe
2016Alice Through the Looking GlassMad Hatter
2015Black MassWhitey Bulger
2015MortdecaiCharles Mortdecai
2014Into the WoodsThe Wolf
2014TuskGuy Lapointe
2014TranscendenceDr. Will Caster
2013Lucky Them
2013The Lone RangerTonto
2012Dark ShadowsBarnabas Collins
2011Hugo
2011The Rum DiaryPaul Kemp
2011Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3DCaptain Jack Sparrow
2011Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides An IMAX 3D ExperienceCaptain Jack Sparrow
2011Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesCaptain Jack Sparrow
2011RangoRango
2011RangoLars
2010The TouristFrank Tupelo
2010Alice in Wonderland (2010)The Mad Hatter
2009When You’re Strange: A Film About The DoorsNarrator
2009The Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusImaginarium Tony #1
2009Public EnemiesJohn Dillinger
2007Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. ThompsonNarrator
2007Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetSweeney Todd
2007Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s EndJack Sparrow
2007Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Running Down a Dream
2006Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
2006Gypsy Caravan
2006Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s ChestJack Sparrow
2006Deep Sea 3DNarrator
2005Tim Burton’s Corpse BrideVictor Van Dort
2005Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)Willy Wonka
2004The LibertineJohn Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester
2004Finding NeverlandJames Barrie
2004Secret WindowMort Rainey
2003Once Upon a Time in MexicoAgent Sands
2003Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)Jack Sparrow
2001From HellInspector Frederick George Abberline
2000The Man Who CriedCesar
2000Chocolat (2001)Roux
2000Before Night FallsBon Bon
2000Before Night FallsLieutenant Victor
1999Sleepy HollowIchabod Crane
1999The Astronaut’s WifeSpencer Armacost
1999The Ninth GateDean Corso
1998Fear and Loathing in Las VegasRaoul Duke
1997Donnie BrascoDonnie Brasco/Joe Pistone
1995Dead ManWilliam Blake
1995Don Juan DeMarcoDon Juan DeMarco
1994Ed WoodEd Wood
1993What’s Eating Gilbert GrapeGilbert Grape
1993Benny & JoonSam
1993Arizona DreamAxel Blackmar
1991Freddy’s Dead: The Final NightmareTeen on TV
1990Edward ScissorhandsEdward Scissorhands
1990Cry-BabyWade “Cry-Baby” Walker
198721 Jump Street (1987)Officer Tom Hanson
1986PlatoonLerner
1984A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)Glen Lantz

I’m a Mutant

I may have confessed this before but I can’t remember when or even if I actually did, so apologies if you heard this story before…

The subject of body odor came up recently when my son was looking through my medicine cabinets because he forgot his deodorant and was hunting for mine. (We’re all about sharing is caring around here.)

I reminded him that I have NEVER used deodorant because I don’t need it; never did, and all that proves is that he NEVER listens to me because I know I’ve shared that with him a million times. (The absent-minded professor cliche and all that entails is a real thing.)

I have zero body odor.

I mean, I smell GOOD thanks to Chanel, but even if I’ve been working out at the gym or at the end of an all day hike, I never small bad. Most of the time I don’t even sweat, but if I do, I still don’t smell bad. It’s true.

I remember back when all the grown up changes were happening to my body and my mom gave me THE TALK and we went shopping for THE THINGS. She told me it was also time to use deodorant and we picked out a really cool one (mother-daughter fun times) along with presents for reaching a milestone (and you can see where I acquired my love for shopping!)

I dutifully added deodorant to my daily self care routine but I slowly realized that I didn’t need it. It made no difference to my body’s odors. I just didn’t have one, nor did I perspire. When I told my mom and had her SMELL me at random times, she was surprised but agreed, and as a nurse, her professional response to me was that I was a medical miracle.

I never purchased nor used another deodorant, not even when I was pregnant and my body was going through a million hormonal surges.

Since there was no Google, there was nowhere to research this unusual phenomenon. I wish my mom was here now so I could tell her what I’ve learned about the genetic factors that cause someone NOT to emanate an unpleasant body odor.

In fact, the gene wasn’t even discovered until the 2000s. It also has something to do with having dry as opposed to wet ear wax but that’s too gross for me to think about.

You were right, Mom! I really am a medical miracle!

The ABCC11 protein is important in transporting small molecules across membranes in secretory cells. Mutations in this gene will lead to dryer earwax and decreased body odor. Mutations in the ABCC11 gene may also lead to a decreased risk of breast cancer.

Two percent of people carry an unusual form of a specific gene (ABCC11) that means their armpits never smell.

What I find really interesting is that East Asian and Native American people were already known to have a form of the ABCC11 gene compared with other ethnicities, and as far as I know, I am neither of those. I haven’t done any genetic testing on myself to be sure, but I kinda doubt it.

My DNA is pretty much 100% Jewish princess.

I also know that I didn’t pass that genetic anomaly to my son because he definitely NEEDS deodorant. Most definitely, which is why he was searching in my bathroom. (Sorry, Angel Boy!)

The finding came from research involving 6,495 women who were enrolled in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol, England and was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

In the study, 117 (2%) of the subjects were lucky enough to carry this gene that allowed them to never have to worry about using deodorant. 

People with the ABCC11 non-functioning gene variant have dry earwax and little or no body odor. People with a functioning ABCC11 gene usually have wet earwax and body odor. I didn’t know there was a connection, did you?

ABCC11 is required for the transport of lipophilic substances, bile acids, conjugated steroids, and – most importantly – the component found in apocrine sweat and earwax, which results in odor and wet earwax. Again, gross…

The transporter doesn’t work for people who have loss-of-function genetic variants and thus doesn’t transfer the odor-causing lipids into their armpits. 

One day I might do my DNA profile to try and figure out how I acquired this genetic deviation, but for now, I will just be happy to be an enchanted mutant princess who smells really, really good, like a rose!

Summer Solstice

Photo by John Nail on Pexels.com

It’ll stay light here until 8pm tonight, but in the Seattle area where my all my Angels live, it won’t get completely dark until 9:30 or so.

I used to think something significant should occur on these solstices, something to remember or define or to memorialize planetary movements, but usually nothing overt happens, although there’s always the chance that stuff might be fomenting beneath the surface.

So far, this is the only significant event that’s occurred…I’m not exactly sure where, but I lost one of my favorite necklaces, the one I never took off with very tiny diamonds and an impossibly delicate chain. I had it for years and years, just a bit of sparkle that layered well with all my other jewelry. It must have broken and fell off without warning. Since I’m not sure where it happened, it’s even worse because I don’t know where to look. I feel like I somehow neglected caring for it and this is a sign or a message from the universe that I should have been more conscientious and attentive. I hate losing things that I’ve loved and cherished and much like a phantom limb, I can still feel it. During the day, I’ll reach up to touch the spot where the tiny pendant would sit between my collarbones and it’s not there. I don’t often lose things, so this is going to bother me for a while, or at least until I get a replacement, but I’ll always miss what I had before it was gone.

Do you celebrate the summer solstice?