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!

Was that a wild animal or what?

Last night I totally freaked out. I was watching my new obsession, Aussie Gold Hunters, and I heard a noise. My heart started to pound…

It sounded like there was some kind of creature in the house–in the room where I was on the sofa watching TV.

I muted the sound and looked around to try and figure out if it was coming from under the sofa, under the table, or near the patio doors.

It was a regular sound, kind of like scratching, scrabbling or fumbling, almost as if something was caught or stuck.

I got out a powerful little flashlight and looked everywhere. Then I thought that whatever it could be was trapped behind the entertainment center but there’s no way I can see behind it or move it.

After spending quite a while searching,I was pretty super stressed out. What to do? I straightened up the kitchen, put away in the refrigerator a half bottle of cayenne kombucha that I hadn’t finished, and went to bed, making sure my bedroom door was closed tight just in case IT tried to find me while I was asleep.

The first thing I did this morning was to check and see if I still heard the noises.

Nope.

I made my coffee and while it was brewing, I took out that unfinished bottle of kombucha, had a few sips, put the cap back on, and set it on the tile counter. I went to my bedroom to unplug my computer and bring it out so I could read emails and learn about what fresh hell the Supreme Court was doing while I was drinking the fresh French roast.

I HEARD THE NOISES AGAIN!

“Scritch, scritch, scritch…”

Now it seemed to be coming from the direction of the tile counter where I had placed the kombucha. I put my ear near the cap and heard the very same sounds that had alarmed me last night.

OMG. Apparently, my “wild animal” was merely the bacteria-friendly fermented carbonation trapped in the bottle of kombucha.

Did you know this? When making kombucha, bubbles are created during bottling (also called second fermentation). At room temperature, the yeast eat the sugar and create carbon dioxide (CO2). … This is how kombucha becomes fizzy! If your kombucha sprays out of the bottle as soon as you open it, it’s because there is too much pressure inside.

I quite honestly got weirded out over NOTHING. I really am crazy, but very glad to know that no critter was trapped in my house. Whew!

Black and Blue

Sunday afternoon in SoCal was warm, sunny, and windy. I was intent on my project, hanging outdoor lights from the deck all the way to the grape arbor.

Picture me standing on the highest rung of a medium-sized step ladder. As I reached my arm as far as possible to secure a line of bright lights, I felt one of the ladder feet sink deeper into the soil than the others, creating an uneven support system.

In a split second that seemed to last an eon in slow motion, I knew before it happened that I was going to fall, that there would be no way to recover, nothing to hold to break the inevitable tumble.

And so I fell.

Arm still outstretched, I became airborne as I crashed to the ground, step ladder tangled in my legs.

I thought for sure I broke something (I’m no stranger to broken bones) but I suffered only bruising, no more damage than black and blue discoloration to remind me to be MORE careful in the future. My luck might not hold out if I tempted fate again.

If anyone had been filming me, I’m sure it would become a viral vid on YouTube or TikTok with the hashtag #stupidity, but alas, I was alone with my bunnies and butterflies and the lizards that got scared and ran off to hide under a rock.

There are more planets than Mercury in retrograde; maybe this was a message from one of them? I dunno, but I can verify that the lights look festive and perfect for late nights in the garden, just the effect I was looking for, well worth the pain.

Learning to walk

If I took a poll, I surmise that most females will agree that there’s trial and error in learning how to walk in high heels. A learning curve. I realize that not everyone likes to wear stilettos; some may even feel that it’s another indication of how we women are oppressed and repressed, and I can certainly understand that point of view.

But not for me.

I swear, and my mom would agree if she were still alive, that I begged and begged for my first set of heels when I was three years old.

Santa Claus brought them for me (we celebrate Christmas AND Hannukah lol) The little high heels arrived as a set with a faux mink stole and tiara, but it was the shoes(OK, I admit it, and the tiara) that became as natural to my persona as my curly hair and snarky repartee.

Yes, I was an extreme girly girl. I mean, did you ever stop to think of why I refer to myself as Princess Rosebud? My dad first started calling me Rosebud cos it’s similar to my IRL name, and after the tiara became part of my daily fashion accessories, it was only a matter of time before I became royalty. I’d always felt that I was born into the wrong family and this was all the proof I needed.

I really wish I hadn’t lost the tiara…I could still rock a sparkly rhinestone tiara, I know I could.

But here’s my dilemma.

I can walk for hours in heels and I don’t care if they hurt my feet, either.

But I can’t for the life of me, walk in flats. I’ve tried, I really have, but I don’t know what to do! It’s such a quandry.

I’ve practiced…but HOW? Do you shuffle? Kind of like shuffling bare feet through sand at the beach to avoid a jellyfish sting? Is it a heel/toe movement? Do you bend your knees? When? I just don’t get it at all. I feel very awkward in flats.

Even cute ones like the vegan Tory Burch’s. The Jimmy Choos are the worst. I mean, they’re super cute, but it’s impossible to figure out how to walk gracefully. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me. Even the less expensive ones don’t work right. They’re comfortable, that’s for sure, but I am definitely challenged. I keep buying more and more shoes in case I find the magic formula, but I haven’t found them yet.

There are many YouTube instructional videos–“How to Watch in Heels and Stilettos” –but nothing for flats. I guess I’ll have to only wear heels or suffer the embarrassment of lumbering and shambling down the street.

Ladies, what’s the trick? Help me!

I was bitten by an alligator

lizard.

Yup, an alligator lizard. So adorable. So harmless looking, right?

alligatorlizard

A few teenagers were sitting in a local park above our beautiful Agua Hedionda Lagoon, attempting to humanely herd this creature off the grass and back into his native habitat of sagebrush and coyote bush, when I waltzed by and thought I’d be the conquering heroine and offer my assistance.

They were afraid to pick him up, but I said, “no problem, guys, here’s how it’s done.” I then proceeded to pick him up, totally forgetting the proper way to handle a scared reptile and he immediately latched onto my finger with his razor sharp teeth and WOULD NOT LET GO.

So much for my heroics; I started screaming and shook off the poor little fella, sending him sailing off into the bushes. No worries, though. He was FINE, scurrying away with all of his limbs intact and whole, probably searched for his family to tell them about the lunatic human he encountered, while I was nursing several bleeding puncture wounds…amid teenaged laughter. To be fair, they DID ask me if I was OK, but I think they actually recorded the whole incident, so if you see it on YouTube, yes, that was ME.

I dropped my phone whilst repelling the attack of the ‘gator, and this pic was accidentally taken…

alligatorlizard2

It was all good, though. Just a day in the life of Princess Rosebud.