Santa Fe, Turquoise, and Zozobra

I always thought “turquoise” was the most delicious word to wrap my tongue around. So much is going on with its delightful twists and turns.

Some summers saw us travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend time with family who lived in an adorable adobe house. I loved it there. It was dusty and hot and full of colors and sounds and smells that we didn’t have in Detroit.

Our family has a long history in Santa Fe. Before and during WW2, my parents used to hang out in Taos with Georgia O’Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence. I wish I could remember more of their fascinating stories but I was an extremely obnoxious eye-rolling teen and ignored mostly everything they ever said. About anything, haha.

During those trips to Santa Fe, of course I had to have an elaborate fiesta dress and lots of turquoise jewelry. This was probably when I first fell in love with this exquisite rock. I surely wish I still had my little fiesta dresses for Angel Girl, but all I have is my mom’s dress.

We would go to La Fonda and the Plaza where the Native Americans spread their treasures on blankets and we’d spend hours walking around.

This isn’t very PC but one day a little girl yelled at her mom and pointed to me and said, “Look at her, mommy! That’s a real Indian girl!” I always thought that was the coolest thing although I’m sure it was because I was very tan from being outside all day (no sunscreen back then) and my hair was plaited in two long braids.

Sometimes we’d be there for Fiesta and the Burning of Zozobra, an event to dispel the hardships and travails of the past year. Zozobra is the creation of Will Shuster, one of Los Cinco Pintores, a group of artists who made their way to New Mexico in the 1920s. Shuster’s creation first burned in his backyard in 1924 as a 6-foot effigy, and over the years, has grown to a towering 50-foot high marionette.

Photos of Santa Fe from SantaFeSelection.com

Somewhere there’s a photo of me (with pigtails) standing on the steps just beneath the not-yet-burned Zozobra but I couldn’t locate it. When I do, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: My memory was inaccurate! This is a photo I was thinking of, but it wasn’t me, it’s my older brother and my parents, way before I was born…

Another photo, during another summer visit in Santa Fe with Zozobra…

The Burning of Zozobra has been called the first Burning Man, but I don’t like the comparison at all as the intentions of the two events are lightyears apart.

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.

Purify | Purity

It’s 6pm, perfect temp outside, all the windows and doors are open, and I’m listening to the joyful tunes of a mockingbird.

I think it must be looking for a mate on this beautiful autumn evening. https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/04/22/stars-meteors-and-mockingbirds-eine-kleine-nachtmusik/

The melody is extraordinarily pure; it brought to mind one of the Dalai Lama’s favorite mantras and mine, too: Om Mani Padme Hum.

I like the recitation of this mantra much better than the traditional way to commemorate Yom Kipper — Day of Atonement — to atone and repent for any personal sins and to resolve to be and do better in the new year by fasting along with other ascetic, restrictive behaviors.

In my opinion, working to be a better person should be a daily goal, not simply once a year to narcissistically flaunt one’s artificial moral righteousness to the world.

Did you know that you’re supposed to wear white on Yom Kippur? This is the clearest and most visible nod toward the idea of purity. By wearing white on Yom Kippur, you’re trying to appear truly angelic.

My mom thought that public displays of verbal flagellation for Yom Kippur were so hypocritical – one more reason why I was taught to question any type of authority.

Namaste…

All You Need Is…

There’s a growing collection of animals at my front door, along with seashells and rocks, of course. Hedgehogs and bunnies along with frogs and turtles and owls welcome everyone to Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

These are brand new additions to the family…and best of all for my thrifty self, they were both on sale.

Always Wear Sunscreen! A Cautionary Tale…

I just got home from having surgery for a spot of basel cell carcinoma on my shoulder. The anesthetic is wearing off and my arm is sore and achy.

Even though the cancer was caught early thanks to my amazing dermatologist, let me tell you that it’s NO FUN to endure a biopsy and the subsequent treatment.

I’ve had Mohs surgery before for basel/squamous cell skin cancer on the back of my neck and that was even less fun because they had to dig deeper and my movements were limited for a longer period of time.

Since then, I’ve been more diligent about staying out of the sun, wearing a big floppy hat and UV sleeves to protect my arms while gardening.

There will be no more four-hour suntanning marathons at the beach with baby oil or cocoa butter.

According to my doctor, the damage was done decades ago when that was all we did during summer vacation; lie out in the sun. Because I live in Southern California, there’s a LOT of sun and lots of opportunities to attain that deep bronze-y glow.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I have to endure these kinds of procedures. I also had about five pre-cancerous spots removed from my face and chest, but so far none of the suspicious areas are melanoma, the scariest diagnosis of all.

While I’m indoors on the sofa, out of the sun, I thought it’d be a good time to remind everyone to use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when you’re outside.

Another good suggestion is to visit a dermatologist and get checked out so you’ll have an established baseline for the future.

Now I’ll head over to Amazon and look for adorable things to buy for the almost three-year-old Angel Girl. Whatever it is MUST be pink and she loves Hello Kitty. She’s definitely MY little one, that’s for sure!

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!

Best Mantra for 2022 | Mercury Retrograde, Full Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse, Oh MY!

I can’t believe I didn’t post this! It’s been hiding in my Drafts folder since January. We have seven more months of 2022 and we’re not quite halfway there, so I think there’s enough time to meditate and set positive intentions.

With all of this frenetic “as above” planetary activity; Mercury retrograde AND a full flower moon on May 15 AND a total lunar eclipse at the same time, there’s more than enough reason to take a giant step back and BREATHE.

In my area, the lunar eclipse will be visible on May 15 from 7:30 p.m. until 11:50 p.m.

Here’s a great mantra: “Sat Chit Ananda” (Truth, Consciousness, Bliss)

Sit or lie comfortably and take a few moments to relax. Pay attention to your breath as it moves in and out. Soften, let go, and surrender to the quiet.

Silently repeat to yourself, “Sat Chit Ananda (Truth, Consciousness, Bliss).”

Set a timer for ten to twenty minutes, and try not to watch the clock. Allow all feelings and sensations to emerge; feel the power that rises up, and ENJOY!

After you release the mantra, remain still for as long as you can and listen to your heart, where lies all truth.

Namaste.

Later, reflect on this beautiful words by Patrick Graven:

Our hearts full of depth, Life in every breath, Beauty that blooms in our hearts, An infinite love that never parts.Destined to find our way, Will make us live only for today, Guiding the path for beauty to follow, To leave behind the pain and hold the hopes of tomorrow. The wind is blowing against the trees, And the moon shines forth with its glow, Even your own light never to be extinguished, Through life and all its growth. All we have is this space between the poles, As the stars shine with sense renewed, Beauty is seen again as petals unfold, A light that found a way to shine through. Everyday that it takes to feel alive, Believing in our hearts that there is a way, All we need is to shine from the inside, And embrace the meaning of our living grace.The glory of new things to come, The essence of all you will achieve, The purity of all you will become, When you look within and believe.

https://patrickgravenwriting.wordpress.com/

Pink! Pink! Pink! Full Moon

Look up! Tonight’s Pink Full Moon is in Libra, and a full moon is always a powerful time for energy healing, to recharge our chakras and crystals.

This moon is associated with the springtime blossoming of the Phlox subulata plant, a pink wildflower native to eastern North America, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The plant is commonly known as creeping phlox, moss phlox, or mountain phlox.

The Dakota tribe dubbed it the “moon when the streams are again navigable,” while the Tlingit tribe called it “budding moon of plants and shrubs,” in reference to the end of winter and the resurgence of plant growth.

Here’s another reason to look up; a Lyrids meteor shower from April 21 to 22!

The next full moon in my birthday month of May will be a more impressive spectacle because it coincides with a total lunar eclipse.

Since pink is my favorite color, let’s all set happy pink intentions!

Photo curated from https://www.facebook.com/Spiritual-Awakenings-%E0%A5%90-105433989565465/

Melancholy

There will always be a hole in my heart for all my loved and departed souls.

I had a dream about my Border Collie and I thought of “melon collie”, our joke because Victor loved to eat almost anything including cantaloupe and watermelon, and then I saw this.

Sometimes this is exactly how I feel; a void left by grief, sitting on a bench, adrift in sadness.

I’m updating this post to include some research into this sculpture because I feel it’s relevant.

Albert Gyorgy felt intense sadness and isolation with the loss of his wife and went on to create this beautiful piece of artwork as a way to cope.

This hole represents the massive void that we all feel when we lose someone dear to us, and many people have expressed their appreciation for this sculpture for it portraying the exact emotions they feel, but perhaps haven’t been able to quite put into words.

Curated from: https://www.penwellgabeltopeka.com/Blog/6245/Melancoliesculpture