“Chanel Time, Grandma!”

We have our routine, Charlotte and I.

I bring out the creams, powder, and a special bottle of Chanel perfume.

Charlotte climbs on the bed and we commence our spa day. Self-care can’t begin too early!

“Let’s start with the powder” I say,

“Just a tiny pinch, right Grandma?”

“That’s right, Char.”

“Come closer.” She takes the powder and pats it on my neck with tiny hands as soft as velvety down.

“Do you too, Char!”

“Just a pinch more for Charlotte”, as she mirrors the same exact patting motion on her own neck.

“Now cream for cheeks, right?”

“Here you go, but not too much.”

“Not TOO much, Grandma.”

She rubs it all over my cheeks and forehead.

Time grinds to a complete stop as there is nothing in the world more precious than being pampered by a little girl not yet two, who takes my face in both of her baby hands and ever-so-delicately and deliberately slathers my face in enough cream for a week’s worth of moisturizing.

“There you go, Grammy.”

“Me turn.” And Char again replicates the second part of this very important grooming process.

“NOW time for CHANEL!”

Excitedly, she opens the bottle, smells the heavenly fragrance, and dips in the stick.

“Pull up sleeves, Grandma.”

I pull up my sleeves and she swipes a few drops on my wrist, motioning me to rub my wrists together to evenly disperse the perfume, as I taught her.

After she does the same for herself and her stuffed flamingo, we’re ready to start our day.

“Come on Grammy, let’s go to the park!”

You got it, Char. Wherever you want to go, my girl.

The Process of Abscission

Leaf Loss / Bare Bones / Blue Sky

This ash tree started out in 1985 in a five-gallon pot as a housewarming gift. As soon as the leaves begin to drop–in just a day or two– the branches will become bare and I’ll have a LOT of raking to do.

Abscission is the reason why leaves fall. Scientists believe that a reduction in sunlight leads to the reduction of chlorophyll in the leaf due to a reduction in photosynthesis and this may trigger the abscission of leaves. The actual process occurs when the weaker cells near the petiole are pushed off by the stronger cells beneath them.

I’m sure there’s an analogy or parallel to my LIFE but I’ve had a tough week and I’m tired of thinking and not able to direct my brain to untangle the profundities because right now all I want to do is quietly savor the stark, elegantly naked branches.

It reminds me of my little vase of twigs and another example of ma. (https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/10/25/ma-the-space-between-things/)

As pretty as it is all dressed in green, the artistry of bare bone branches are stunning in their strength of simplicity,

I see the graceful arms of a dancer against a backdrop of the bluest sky of the year.

  • – Coco Chanel: “Simplicity is the final achievement.Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” …
  • – Frederic Chopin: “Nature is pleased with simplicity”. …
  • – Isaac Newton: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.These three are your greatest treasure” …
  • – Lao Tzu: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

“…that which we call a rose…

…would smell as sweet.

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First Robert Burns, and now Shakespeare?

During this Covid-19 pandemic, I seem to be living in an alternate universe of poetry and literature. Pretty soon, my brain will start to spontaneously remember all my years of French, and I’ll be ready for my trip to France to pay homage to the one and only Coco Chanel.

Once upon a time, in another lifetime, I memorized Juliet’s lines, Act 2, Scene 2, for an audition.

Nope, I didn’t win the role that time, but the words have never left me.

It’s a bit of a cliche considering my name, but a rose is a rose is a rose, according to Gertrude Stein.

JULIET

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

What’s Montague? It is nor hand nor foot,

Nor arm nor face, nor any other part

Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

And for thy name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.

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A Bunny at the Beach and Chanel

Look, a BEACH BUNNY! I saw this adorable creature today at Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad.

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There are normally a billion ground squirrels that live on the bluffs, but I rarely see a rabbit, so this was a special event for sure.

Last week the temperature here was 105 degrees; today it was drizzly and in the low 60s, so I decided to take a little walk to the beach. I went the long way ’round and ended up walking about nine miles.

It’s pretty much downhill to the ocean-super easy- but that means it’s all uphill on the way home, so I’m pleasantly tired.

When I got home, I checked for mail and looky here what I found!!! A sample of Chanel’s new fragrance, Garbrielle, accompanied by the most amazing affirmation…just what I needed right about now.

“I decided who I wanted to be, and that is who I am.”

DAMN RIGHT, COCO. You got that right, GURRL.

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After enduring the shittiest of all shitshows of shitty years, swimming my way up and out and slowly being pieced back together, reforming and rising from the ashes of despair and pain, THIS IS A SIGN.

As I tapped out the letters that spell “despair”, I wanted to make sure it conveyed exactly how I felt so looked up the definition and nodded my head in silent agreement, “the complete loss or absence of hope”.  YUP. Nuff said.

The little perfumed card is propped up on my bedside table, and wonder of all wonders, there are two owls hooting to each other in my backyard.

Life is GOOD, y’all. Life is GOOD.

 

 

Beginnings and endings: 1966 and 2007

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”–Coco Chanel

Two special dates: July 1966 and April 2007

Beginnings and endings.

July 1966 – Detroit, Michigan

I’m in the bathroom, calling out to my mom.

“MomMomMOM MOMMEEE!! Where ARE you? Guess what?”

You know what they say, a mom always knows.

“Honey, I bet you just started menstruating, am I right?” (She was a nurse and always always used a medical term instead of slang. Like we always said “urinate” instead of pee; vagina and penis instead of -well– instead of anything else.)

After a hug and a lengthy (yawn) tutorial about personal hygiene, my mom took me out for lunch and a shopping spree to commemorate this milestone towards womanhood. She told me that when she first began to menstruate, all she got was a slap in the face from her mother, some kind of archaic ritualistic symbolism that had something to do with the fact that her father (my grandfather) was a rabbi. She told me that she was horrified and never forgot it, and if she ever had a little girl, she’d mark the occasion with a celebration, not a punishment.

At school it was called “Aunt Flo” or “Secret Sam” (don’t ask me why.)

Back then everyone used cumbersome huge Kotex pads attached by a hellish contraption known as a “Kotex belt.” Made up of white elastic encompassing your waist along with two plastic clips that attached to each end of the pad, it took some getting used to — and felt very much like my biking shorts do now. It was a great day when I graduated to tampons.

That started years of worry. Worry about waiting to “start”. Worry about what to wear to avoid an accident, and later, worry about NOT starting, waiting every month with a silent prayer to the Period Goddess — please oh please let me start; I’ll be more careful next time. And then getting married and wanting to start a family; holding my breath every month and willing my body to NOT– becoming compulsively scientific, taking temperatures and  stressing over ovulation days and counting. Worry, worry, worry.

Worry about the baby I did become pregnant with…will he be healthy, will I be a good mom, will I produce enough milk, can I protect him from all harm and sadness–the what ifs drove me crazy.

April 2007 was the date of my last menses, my last period. At the risk of alienating my peers, I have to be honest and admit that I had no symptoms of menopause — I experienced none of the common complaints. Oh, I had an occasional hot flash–which I actually enjoyed since I’m always cold — for a few brief moments, it felt like I had my own personal heater. And once in a while, I’d feel a bit tingly which brought back awesome memories of a similar feeling when I was breastfeeding and my milk “let down”. I told my doctor all this and she nodded her head and said she had experienced the same sensations.

I am so happy to be done with all that worry.  I don’t have to check the calendar every month and worry about when or if I’m going to need to carry tampons with me.

It’s not that I’m not still kinda crazy, but my level of worry is diferent. Not that I don’t worry constantly about my son, but he’s a grown up thirty-two- year-old Yale professor and my worry for him is a bit less intense.

I feel freer. Tranquil. Confident. Satisfied. I can take a deep breath now and exhale.

Don’t get me wrong; I do believe Coco Chanel. I still work out like a fiend every day to fit in my size two skinny jeans; I fight the good fight with Botox and color my gray hair, but I’m a very happy fifty-eight-year-old, and proud to say it. Bring on the next chapter of my life. I’m ready!

This post is written for a Generation Fabulous BlogHop. Generation Fabulous is a new website for and about women who are rocking middle-age and beyond. Please click here to see more.