Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Monday, January 29, 2007


How did I miss this beauty before? I used to wear CdG's in-your-face carnation but stopped because it was a little too caustic, like Starbuck's (a.k.a. Charbuck's) without half-n-half. Enter Caron Bellodgia, all creamy-pink and comforting. Every February I begin to crave springlike florals, and this is the one that snagged me this year. Thank you Saks for carrying the EDP (last bottle in stock!).

It was the high point of a weekend spent shopping in the city with Fia. She handled it beautifully, with only one meltdown, in the Oilily shop across the street from our hotel. The low point was a set of interactions I had with an SA at Nordstrom. Chicago's Nordstrom has this great little nook of classic and collectible perfumes, arranged in a little arc on the back wall of the fragrance section. When I approached I saw a locked display of four fragrances in colored bottles adorned with bronze statues. Two years ago I'd tested one of them ("Julia") and really liked it. I was certain it contained immortelle, that maple note I love so much in AG Sables. It was priced at $400 then, which stopped me in my tracks. But I'd thought about it a great deal since, and was hoping to meet it again someday. That day was Saturday.

K: Do you happen to have the key to this display? I tested this one a few years ago and would love to try it again before investing.

SA: Ooooh... you don't want these. *waves hands* These are, like, three or four thousand dollars apiece. They're for serious collectors.

K: Wha?? Naw, I priced them a few years ago at $400.

SA: I don't think so. Well, we don't have a tester and I can't let you try the ones in the display anyway.

K: I'm not asking to spray one, just to smell it at the atomizer to see if it's as I remembered.

SA: I don't know where the key is. Really, these are for collectors.

K: I've owned almost 400 perfumes. I currently have over 200. I'm a collector.

SA: *looks me up and down* Tell you what, why don't you give me your number and I'll call you when someone comes in with the key. Will you be here over the weekend?

K: Yes, we're leaving tomorrow, but I'll try back at 11 when you open.

Fast-forward to 11 o'clock the next day.

SA: *sees me, walks over excitedly* Well, well, well, it seems you knew what you were talking about! Yes, these retail for $400. I've got all the info you need.

K: Really, you know the maker and the sculptor and the notes in the fragrances?


Fast-forward 20 minutes. She had no information I didn't already have. And she still kept telling me she couldn't let me spray them, and I still kept telling her I didn't WANT to spray them, I merely wanted to sniff the atomizer, for crying out loud. At one point our exchange went like this:

SA: No you see I can't spray them because air would get in the bottle and break the seal and that would be bad and you need to understand how perfume is made because every perfume has a year and a half before it goes bad once you break the seal and--

K: I. under. stand. I. don't. want. to. spray. them. That. would. be. stealing. perfume. from. whoever. buys. this. bottle. I. simply. want. to. SNIFF. THE. NOZZLE.

SA: Oh! Wait, we have testers of two of them. (WTF? Why didn't you say so? She pulls out testers, lets me spray. It's as I remembered, a good dose of immortelle. I am in love. The SA, in contrast, wrinkles her nose, and goes, "Ewww.")

At this point I started counting slowly to ten in my head to avoid losing my temper while she ran off to get me something. I relaxed when it turned out to be filled sample vials of both the women's scent ("Julia") and the men's ("Romeo"). So I get to try it on my skin and see if it's worth investing $400.

Nobody should EVER have to work that hard to see if a perfume is worth buying. You may wonder why I didn't read her the Poor Service riot act or just walk out. The reason is that I was no longer offended; it's hard to be offended when one is dealing with a person who is legitimately mentally/emotionally disturbed. I went into "kid gloves" mode with her. And I tried not to laugh when she gave me her card and assumed I'd buy it from her once I'd made up my mind.

I left Nordstrom none the wiser about the composition of the scent (I'm still certain it has immortelle), but Google informed me that 7500 of the bottles were made and that the sculpture is by Barry Shiraishi. Here's what the bottle looks like. It's much nicer to look at in person, and it's got a pleasing heft. In spite of the price, I might have bit the bullet and invested, except that I didn't want to reward the SA for poor behavior. I can get it cheaper on eBay anyway. We shall see.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What's this Expression?

My daughter is 11 months old and already knows how to make mischief. She digs it too. Two favorites are putting her hand in the dog's water bowl and sweeping her hand over the food on her high chair tray so it flies all cattywampus.

The fascinating thing is not that she enjoys making mischief (all babies do), but the way she interacts with me while she's doing it. Is the sidelong glance with a raised eyebrow an inborn expression of impending naughtiness? Because that's exactly what she does: the moment she's about to go for the bowl or play "chaos" in her high chair, she looks at me out of the corner of her eye, pauses, and proceeds incrementally, to see how far she can go before I stop her. If I raise my eyebrows in return, she'll actually crinkle up her nose and eyes and give me a huge, impish grin. Like she's trying to charm me.

It always annoyed me when people would accuse babies of "flirting" (can we please wait a few years before assigning sexual motives?), but I can understand the temptation to assume that very adult dispositions underlie infant facial expressions, because some of these expressions look so adult. Hence movies like Look Who's Talking and, inexplicably, Look Who's Talking Too and Look Who's Talking Now.

The beauty of children is that, as soon as they can speak, they reveal our efforts to project our own thoughts and dispositions onto them to be not only misguided, but hilariously wrong. I look forward to the day when I see an expression on Fia's face like the one above and think, "She looks like she's trying to connect with me on a spiritual level," only to have her open her mouth, take a deep breath, and say: "POO POO."

Monday, January 15, 2007

I knew this day would come...

...but I never thought it would come so soon. Sigh.

Her favorite bottle is Après l'Ondée. I would have expected something more colorful. Must be the texture or the way light glints off the little nubblies all over the bottle.

In any case, good choice.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Worse Than Death

Several years ago my academic department employed a student to help the old technofarts like me manage our computers. Her name was Dani. She was a senior and smart as a whip. She was also extremely skinny. I'm not clairvoyant and don't possess x-ray vision, so I didn't "know" she had an eating disorder, but I sure as hell suspected it. We interacted quite a bit, always in a jovial way, so when she seemed less than jovial I'd stop her and ask if she was okay. I never said, "Gee, you look like you could be eating more," I just asked if she was okay. This happened two or three times. Each time she looked extremely uncomfortable and escaped from me as quickly as she could. She was well aware that I did research on disordered eating.

A month before she was due to graduate from college at the ripe old age of 21, she went on a trip with her boyfriend. The story I was told is that they were going deep-sea fishing and stopped at WalMart to get some fishing gear. She had her heart attack right there in the store. Good thing WalMart has defibrillators. (Please resist the totally understandable temptation to laugh at that sentence.) Fortunately, someone got her heart going again, but not soon enough. She was in a coma for a long time, and couldn't be transported from the West Coast back to the East Coast, where her family lives, for fear that she would not survive the trip.

Her parents were ready to pull the plug, but her uncle fought them, and eventually Dani woke up. She now lives with her uncle, who takes care of her as one would care for a child. Her brain damage was so great that she's basically starting over. Her family has been torn apart by the whole experience; it's hard to understand why she is with her uncle and not her parents. You can actually read about it at the website her uncle set up to publicize the situation. He hasn't posted for almost a year, though. It makes me wonder what's happened since early 2006.

When I went to the site I nearly cried when I read the post reporting Dani's last email to her uncle, four days before her heart attack. She was asking her uncle what she should do about her "crazy roommate" who was throwing up after every meal. And the pictures on the site: gone is the wry sparkle in her eye and the knowing smile. It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.*

The electrolyte imbalance caused by purging can make even normal-weight bulimics die from heart failure. And anorexia causes muscle wasting. Since the heart is a muscle, it shrinks too. Electrolyte imbalance plus a wasted heart is a recipe for disaster. Girls who refuse to eat think death is the only monster lurking on the horizon, but I know one far worse.

If you know someone who is purging or restricting, you might want to share Dani's story with them. And if you hear some fashion victim or Karl Lagerfeld fan bitching about recent initiatives to institute minimim age and BMI requirements for fashion models, send them to her website too.

*Even more chilling, to me, is a picture of Dani at Christmas, smiling and holding up a picture bible that her uncle gave to her. Prior to her accident, she was an atheist fascinated with Nietzsche. Now she's a smiling, unprotesting Christian. I'm not writing this to blast Christians; if she were a devoted Christian before and the picture featured her holding up the Atheist's Manifesto, I'd be just as chilled. It's the complete turnaround of identity and lack of memory that shake me to the core.

Bad Idea

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


PFG tagged me, the dirty minx.

Okay, then, here are my fours:

FOUR jobs I have had:
1. Subway sandwich "artist" (fired for talking back to customer)
2. On-air "talent" at a community access television station (left after graduation)
3. Ride operator at a Renaissance fair(e) (job ended when the fair[e] was over)
4. Personal assistant to a megalomaniacal organizational communication consultant (quit)

FOUR movies I could watch over and over:
1. The Shining
2. Harold and Maude
3. Dog Day Afternoon
4. Koyaanisqatsi

FOUR places I have lived apart from where I live now:
1. Detroit, MI
2. Grosse Ile, MI (an island at the mouth of Lake Erie, 'tween the U.S. and Canada)
3. Ann Arbor, MI
4. Madison, WI

FOUR TV shows that I love:
1. America's Next Top Model (like crack, and I'm not embarrassed to say so)
2. Twilight Zone reruns
3. The Star Hustler (now called Star Gazer to keep web-surfing kids from hitting the wrong sites)
4. Unwrapped

FOUR places I have been on holiday:
1. Paris
2. London
3. St. John, USVI
4. New Orleans

FOUR websites I visit daily:
1. Go Fug Yourself
2. Now Smell This
3. Marlys Magazine
4. New York Times

FOUR favorite foods:
1. Japanese (all kinds)
2. Cheese (all kinds)
3. Mediterranean/Middle Eastern (all kinds)
4. A brownie (NO NUTS) with vanilla ice cream

FOUR places I would rather be right now:
1. In bed asleep
2. In bed asleep
3. In bed asleep
4. In bed asleep (I have a 10-month-old)

FOUR people I am tagging:
1. B
2. K
3. J
4. J