This Life

At Last

At Last by Lollia


For Christmas, I bought IZ a fragrance sampler from Sephora. He’s worn the same fragrance for years and he was looking for a change. But differentiating colognes at a mens’ fragrance bar is a next to impossible task. It all starts to smell the same. And even if you can find something you prefer, there’s always the acid test of wearing it. 

Sephora and a trip to Portland to the rescue. The sampler lets you try 20 different colognes and gives you certificate to trade in for a full size bottle of the cologne you like best. It seemed like a good way to try something new without  making a committment to a fragrance in the store.

How pretty is that packaging. . . and I have a new appreciation for yellow all over again. Maybe I should reconsider the paint?

Being IZ,  he’s keeping detailed records about each sample. Mostly based on my reactions. Let’s face it, when you’re in a relationship, fragrance isn’t a unilateral decision. Not if you’re smart, anyhow. Not if what you adore makes your sweetheart sneeze or curl their nose or make them say, “Oh, my grandma used to wear that!”  The choosing of scent becomes this subtle negotiation. Do I love it. Does he crave it?. . . Do I smell uniquely like me? Will she notice?

So far, there have been a couple of real winners: but I’m still waiting for the the ultimate cologne that will past my litmus test: will I follow you, or a strange man, around a store just to catch a whiff of it. I’ll never admit to doing this, of course; but if I’m being honest, there is something lovely about a great smelling man. Ahem. 

I’ve worn Lollia’s Wish since 2007, I think. Maybe 2008, I forget; I just know I’ve got several empty bottles stashed away because they’re too pretty to toss. (hoarder!) I layer the fragrance with bath gel and lotion and  I am not tempted to follow women around stores if they are wearing a pretty perfume. That would be creepy. When it comes to my fragrance, I can’t even be tempted by pretty packaging.

It’s soft and floral and reminds me of sunshine. Lollia sells smaller tubes for about $8–an inexpensive way to try a fragrance. 

However, lately, I’m jealous. IZ gets out of his shower smelling like a different man, a new man. Somedays, a man I make up excuses to talk to during work, just so I can catch a whiff of his cologne. He’s not driven by his nose like I am, and he says he loves my perfume, but he’s not following me around the house. I’m delusional, but I may be in a rut as well. 

Yesterday, we walked around Cannon Beach. It was 50 degrees, sunny, and we desperately needed a break. There was a tester tube of this lotion in a store. I had seen the packaging online and I’d wondered what it smelled like. I never pass up an opportunity for hand lotion in the winter or ever really,  so, I dabbed some on. I was immediately intoxicated. 

“Here,” shoving my hand under his nose, “smell this. . . ” 

“Uh-huh… pretty.” 

(Short of wearing a fragrance that smells like prime rib, I probably need to let it go.) And then I spent the rest of the afternoon smelling my hands and sighing so much, that IZ went back to the store and bought me a tube of the stuff before we left.

It totally feels like I’m cheating–but I don’t feel like me, either. I feel new. At last. 

Dear Brain, Have a Piece of Chocolate

Let’s call this an incentive. 


Like most Americans, weight loss is on my mind this time of year. Losing weight and getting more exercise are the top New Year’s Resolutions in this country. And looking at my expanding waistline, I’m not surprised. However, this is not going to be a whiney post about how much I’ve packed on due to my now sedentary job and extreme lack of sunshine. This is a post about chocolate.

I have a serious love affair with chocolate. Certain times of the month my obsession is downright pathological. I need it almost as much as I need tea. But unlike tea, it’s not exactly sugar free or diet friendly.

And exercise? Um…  I tell myself that I enjoy exercising. Every day. “Self, you love this. Yes, you do.” But my brain knows that I’m a big fat liar. My brain wants proof. Or a distraction. So, I’m giving it an incentive. You want chocolate, then exercise. 

Now, the only way to earn one of those tasty (and only 42 calories of sin,er, goodness) pieces is to put in 20 minutes of high-powered activity. Which is an euphemism for exercise, just don’t tell my brain.

There is some evidence that the brain stops being a part of the decision making process once a habit is formed. And the best way to form a habit is to make whatever it is you’re doing enjoyable. If exercise isn’t: then a reward of chocolate after the fact–might just short-circut my “you swear to tell the whole truth” brain’s say in the process. Eventually, with a habit in place my brain won’t know I’m lying to it. I’m counting on the fact that habits are hard to break and that my brain doesn’t stand a chance.  

If this sounds delusional, well, it’s January.  We’ll talk in June. M’kay? 

An Auspicious Beginning

Meet Barbara Kellie — I’m already in love. 

Our baby niece is already a month old, but I woke up this morning to an email from my adorable SIL. She’d sent me this photo of Miss Bee in the jumper I sent her (it says Auntie’s Girl**) and it felt like an auspicious start to a New Year. New Beginnings are a good thing. 

I’m already in love. We’ve been a bit too sick to visit. We traisped into Portland for Geo’s 16th birthday, but my SIL was under the weather and we didn’t want to impose. So, for now I’m making do with snap-shots via the phone and am hopeful to get my lens on this adorable wee one soon. Oh yeah, and hold and cuddle and tell her I adore her in person. Maybe for my birthday! 

I’m still working on my “new beginning” for this blog and my creative life. I’m trying to stay focused and yet open. And I think I’ll keep my eyes on this sweet baby–the right kind of inspiration. No?

And how about you? Did your New Year have an auspicious start? 

**Proud Uncle IZ would like me to point out, that while it says “Auntie’s Girl”, he’s the one who spotted it in the store. Love him. 


We’ve learned to share a bathroom. . . and product. 


Did you have a lovely Thanksgiving? Ours seems to be in full swing still. I should be painting upstairs, but instead this afternoon finds my family curled up in front of a fire watching an old Miss Marple episode. It seems like the right choice considering our weather took the arrival of “Black Friday” literally and it’s DARK outside. All raining, wet, storming, but thankfully, not that much wind. 

We shared a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with our very generous neighbors and friends. We’ve become this little family on the hill during the holidays– as all of us have people far flung and traveling from the Coast this time of year is tricky business. It’s such a great gathering of people. And while Geo is the only “child”, he’s so close to adulthood that he’s treated as such. Everyone wants to know his next plan in school and how he’s doing. Lots of hugs and concern for his loss (and thank you all for your prayers. He took the news poorly, got very ill for several days.) and his favorite drinks. He feels like he belongs, and that’s really what Thanksgiving is about. I hope your gathering of friends and family was truly blessed this Thanksgiving!

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Sanity in a cup . . . 


That sigh. . . that’s what relief sounds like. A big exhale: Glad that’s over.

Now if I could just quit my job.

It’s crazy tunes here. Busy. Detest that word. I go to bed each night thinking: tomorrow I’ll get something done. And I do. For work. But this house is bringing me down.

Halloween was lovely. Geo had friends over after his youth group event. The child actually called me in advance to let me know we had unexpected guests. To reward this ridiculously mature behavior, IZ and I blitz decorated for Halloween and Geo came home to a party ready space. Complete with homemade pizzas and Italian Sodas. Sometimes we rock the parenthood thing. 

Of course, the decorations were still up this afternoon. But we finally got a sun break and I made the kid go take everything down. Good thing too, our neighbors commented that we were “already decorated for Christmas.” What? You didn’t know? Spiderwebs and ghosts are the new trend in Christmas decorations.

I should probably stop putting up posts of beverages. But you’ll notice: no candy in this one.

I hope y’all are doing well. I’d love to hear from you. As you can tell, this is what passes for a post these days. But really after all the words of this past election, do you really mind that I cut it short? 

Breathe out people. It’s over.

Now, back to work.