In Which I Inadvertently Distress My Primary Care Doctor

Example of daily planner page [via Canva] similar to the ones on which I write my annual doctors’ appointments because I am a good patient.
Well this is awkward…

I went to the primary care doctor’s office for my annual physical.

I see a PCP, a woman, who is in her late 30s.  She’s competent, engaging, and most importantly from my point of view, not an alarmist. Mellow about everything.

Usually.  

Anyhoo, I’m sitting there in the examination room with her and she’s looking at a computer screen, reviewing which doctors I see for annual check-ups.  Which I do because I’m a dutiful adult patient who does what she’s told to do.

[Also because I’m a doctor’s daughter.  And let me tell ‘ya, if as a child you listen to enough detailed dinnertime conversations about people who are icky sick because they didn’t go to their doctors for a regular check-up, then as an adult you make those time-consuming appointments with your doctors for your annual check-ups.]

Again, anyhoo, getting to what I want to tell you…

So my doc looks on her computer screen and confirms with me that I’m seeing a certain dermatologist.  Let’s call him Dr. Face.  She asks me which one of his associates I see when I go for my annual skin care check.  I tell her I see him.

She stops what she’s doing, turns to me and says: “You see him?”

I say: “Yes.”

She says: “I go to that practice and I never get to see him.  He’s the best, I wanna see Dr. Face, too.”

I say: “Yes, he’s good.”

She says: “But Dr. Face doesn’t do your procedures, right?  Some other med assistant or doc does them?”

I say: “No, he does them.”

She says: “Well, how does that happen?  Why does he work on you and not me?”

I shrug.

Then she says: “How’d you find him?”

I say: “You referred me.”

There is a long pause while she looks at my chart on the screen and I say nothing.  

Then she says, more like a girlfriend than my doctor: “Well darn, I gotta refer myself.  I’m jealous.  I can’t believe you get to see Dr. Face and I don’t.”

At which point, even though this was kind of funny, I didn’t smile at my good fortune, instead I made murmuring sounds of sympathy for my doctor’s sad realization that she wasn’t getting the best healthcare that she wanted. 

Because doctor is a nice woman, who I am sorry to report, doesn’t seem to have the right connections to get in with Dr. Face.

Go figure!

If A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In August, Do We Get A Polar Vortex In January?

Look closely.  The above is a photo of a butterfly landing on salvia.  I took it, while standing on our stone path by the side of the house, last August.

Seeing the butterfly then made me happy because I’m working on turning one quadrant of our garden, by the stone path, into a butterfly habitat.  So far, this is a project in its infancy having attracted only a few butterflies.

But I have dreams. Big Butterfly Habitat Dreams.

And now, not to put too fine a point on it, I have a cheerful photo, perfect for sharing here today, whilst we’re in the midst of the Polar Vortex.

People, it is cold outside.

Yesterday it was 7ºF in the early morning and I thought that was cold.  I had to go to the doc’s office for routine blood work so I bundled up and navigated the plowed, but still slippery, streets to get there.

It was an interesting drive.

Today, at the same time in the morning, it’s -3ºF outside and I’m going nowhere.  Nowhere I say.  Yep, I’m staying at home inside, being the reasonably prudent slacker that I am at heart.

Why?  Because I can [the obvious flippant answer that we all know and love].

And because you, my gentle readers, are out there in the world wide web, waiting, I hope, to comment on this post so that I have something meaningful to do with my time today.

What up, kids? Life treating you well?

A Life Lesson: How To Look Scruffy In Three Simple Steps Then Get Over Your Sad Self

How ‘ya doing scruffy face?

Zen-Den said this to me as he was walking into the kitchen from the garage after getting home from work.  Because I had my back to him while standing at the stove cooking ye olde supper, he couldn’t see my face.

Domesticity, we got it.

Anyhoo, while you might think this is going to be a tale about another gushy nickname, he was being literal.  There was no Chickiedoodle cuteness involved in this salutation.

~ ~ 👀 ~ ~

You see, somehow, probably while out in the forest primeval behind the house doing the fall clean-up, I got a rash on my face.

And somehow, probably by using one of the aesthetician-approved fancy Vitamin C serums that are all the rage, I exacerbated the rash.

And somehow, probably by not backing down on my doctor-prescribed retinoid, I managed to destroy my face.  Well, not literally, but my face got all red and flaky and itchy and beyond not good– straight to ugly.

~ ~ 👀 ~ ~

So there I was cooking, not looking my best nor happy about it, still feeling a twinge of self-pity, when Mr. Hilaremoose wanders into the house.  And you know what?

His ridiculous way of saying “hello” to me, even before he saw my ratty face, cheered me up instantly.

Didn’t do a thing to reduce the inflammation, but made me realize how inconsequential it is to worry about that. which. just. happens.

Laugh it off, move along.

Make dinner.

My life.

Fashionable Or Not, Here Are My Answers To The Fashionista Questions

Over the weekend I saw that Carol had answered these questions. She got them from Melanie who got them from Rory who asked them originally. I thought this looked like fun so I did it too. Here are my answers.  

• • •

Q1 How important is colour in your life?

It’s very important, so much so that I have a blog tag for it: Colors Of My Life.

Q2 What is your most favourite colour to wear?

Blue, all shades– but not at once.

Q3 Is there a colour that you wear that brings the best out in you and in others – in so far as compliments?

Teal or aqua.  I get compliments when I wear either of those.  They bring out the color in my blue, sometimes greenish, eyes.

Q4 Are you a person who likes to overdress for the day or are you a follower of the credo, less is more?

Less is more, my gentle readers.  Overdressing makes me feel silly and contrived.

Q5 What are five of your best items of clothing that you simply couldn’t be without? [and l don’t mean underwear/socks]

T-shirts, cotton sweaters, Birks, denim jacket, jeans.

Q6 Do you dress for the season, as in colour wise, or just throw on whatever is warm and practical?

Remember the book, Color Me Pretty by Carole Jackson?  With a hat tip to her seasonal color analysis [learn more about yours here], I dress for each season using colors I know flatter my skin tone;  I’m a summer.  Then I add a shade or two associated with whichever season it is, so that I “blend” with the world around me.

Q7 If you were going for an evening out and the dress code was ‘smart casual’ what is your ideal outfit and why?

Dark jeans, silk blouse, a spectacular necklace + simple hoop earrings, leather flats with a bit of attitude.  Why?  ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

Q8 If you were having to attend an important meeting or appointment and the dress code was smart – what would your outfit be then?

Dark pants or a pencil skirt in wool [maybe], a blazer or v-neck cardigan, white blouse or t-shirt, small necklace + stud earrings + watch, flats or pumps [depending], a stylish leather purse.

Q9 How many pairs of shoes do you own, and what is the breakdown [as in casual, smart, evening, leisure]

Flats [5], sandals [12], pumps [3], boots [5], athletic [5].  This means I have 30 pairs of shoes.  Is that a lot?  Seems like it to me.

Q10 Do you have classic clothing, or classic items in your wardrobe that you have had for years and never go out of fashion if so name three?

Of course I do!  I’m all about classics.  Three items are*: cotton cardigan sweater by Lands’ End, three-quarter-sleeve blouse by L.L.Bean, Court bag by Coach [from before they lost their mind].

Q11 Are you into plain colours, wild colours or outlandish designs or a mixture and which do you favour more?

Clear colors, simple textures, as little pattern as possible.  Nothing too match-y, match-y.  I want people to see me not some goofy overpowering pattern or unflattering trendy color.

Q12 Do you have a favourite quote with regards fashion or design – if so what is it?

Yes, it is bien dans sa peau, a French saying that means to be happy + comfortable in your own skin.  ‘Tis a goal and a mantra.  I read about it first in French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano and the idea has stayed with me.

Q13 Knee high socks, ankle socks, shin socks or no socks?

No knee socks ever.  Ankle socks sometimes in the winter when it’s cold everywhere I go.  Sans socks when possible.

Q14 Can you see the connection between colour and music and if so does it influence your dress code for the day in any way?

No, I don’t see a connection between color and music.

Q15 If you are going out somewhere special and want to listen to some music to put you in the mood whilst getting dressed up, what do you listen to? [Provide link please]

I play no music while I’m getting dressed.

Q16 How often do you buy new clothing for the season or the year?

I HATE SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES, however I may buy one or two new items each season… if I have to… preferably while shopping online… so I don’t have to go near a store… with other people in it.

Q17 Remember tie-dye from the 70’s was it a thing you followed, bought into or worse, how do you feel about it now?

I have no strong opinions about tie-dye.  I’d wear it on a t-shirt or scarf, if I liked the colors in it.

Q18 What is the brightest coloured item of clothing you have in your wardrobes/drawers?

I have a bright pink [blue undertone] fleece jacket that I wear more often than you might think I would.  It goes with everything I own.

Q19 What is the most expensive item of clothing that you have in your wardrobe? How often do you actually wear it?

The most expensive item of clothing in my wardrobe is my lined wool winter coat that I wear when it’s below 30ºF outside.

PQ20 Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

Nope, answered them all, thank you very much.

Q21 Is being ‘fashionable’ important to you, or is being comfortably attired more so?

Being stylishly attired is important to me, which means that occasionally I’m fashionable, but for the most part means I follow my own aesthetic that I’d describe as relaxed classic with a little boho chick thrown in for fun.

I have a casual vibe.  I like simple structured clothes in natural fabrics, with an occasional foray into animal print or ethnic print or lace or tiny shiny bling.

I want NO extra fabric draping all over me, NO sports team apparel, NO tacky jewelry or makeup.  Just me, pulled together without fuss, comfortable in my own skin**.

• • •

*Hello FTC! As usual no company has paid me a cent to talk favorably about their products here. Fear not, my old friend, The Spectacled Bean remains an ad-free blog.

** In case you’re interested, three personal style blogs that I like are: GIRLS OF A CERTAIN AGEThe Vivienne Files, & une femme d’un certain âge.

A Quandary Regarding Mental Health + Tattoos + Modern Etiquette

“NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We are the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.”

Thanks to the efforts of NAMI it’s Mental Illness Awareness Week here in the USA. This year’s theme is #CureStigma. 

In light of this theme here’s something I’ve been thinking about. I’m unclear about what I should do when I’m in situations like the following one.

I was at a doctor’s office, in the examining room, with a medical assistant who was settling me onto the examining table, getting things ready for the doc.

When she reached across me to grab the blood pressure cuff I noticed that she had a tattoo on her inside left wrist.  What caught my eye was that the tattoo was of a semicolon.

As you probably know, that is the tat one gets when you have, or someone you love has, engaged in self-harming behaviors;  OR when you or a loved one have attempted to commit, or possibly in the case of a loved one succeeded in committing, suicide.

[More on the semicolon tattoo meaning here and here.]

In general I’ve found that people with visible tattoos seem pleased when you notice the tattoo.  They often have a story to tell about their tattoos and I’m willing to listen.

However, in this particular case I was reluctant to say anything, so I said nothing and just smiled like I didn’t know what I was seeing.

So my questions are:

  • Would you consider a visible semicolon tattoo to be an invitation for conversation about what it means to the person with this tattoo?
  • Or would you not say a word about it unless the person with the tattoo brings up the topic?

Anyone got any experience with or advice about how to handle this type of situation? I feel like there might be some kind of modern etiquette involved here, but I don’t know what it is.

As College Begins, A Conversation About Time-honored Clichés & Proverbial Wisdom

Fawn sleeping in our Pachysandra. Posted here just because.

Here’s a fun conversation I had with a friend.

Friend’s youngest child, a girl, is going to college this fall.  Friend and husband didn’t go to college and their other children either didn’t go to college or lived at home while pursuing a degree.

Friend, who knows I went away to college and lived in the dorms [oh yes I did], was asking what advice would I give to her daughter.

Based on my experiences.

During the Dark Ages.

The question stumped me. I mean, it was soooo long ago, and while I admit that going away to college and living in the dorms helped define who I am today, my immediate answer was the somewhat less than articulate: I DUNNO.

Friend, of course, was taking none of that nonsense so together we got talking about time-honored clichés & proverbial wisdom.  You know, the things we say to each other, meant to be inspiration or balm for the soul, as we listen to each other’s woes and joys.

Eventually we realized that our advice could be put into five categories.  We might be phrasing things differently, but we were saying the same basic five ideas over and over again.  They are as follows.

BE WARY: take care don’t be a pawn in someone else’s game make no assumptions ask yourself, where is the lie?

BE YOURSELF: follow your dreams reach for the stars  well-behaved women rarely make history define yourself

DO YOUR BEST: never give up if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again the same fire that consumes the straw, refines the gold positive begets positive

PEOPLE SUCK: stupid is an iceberg no matter what, someone will take it too seriously never make as your priority someone who considers you optional “no” is a complete sentence

OH WELL, WHATEVER: don’t let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon tomorrow is another day  build a bridge, get over it plans change, often

QUESTION OF THE DAY

What did we forget? What else should be here?

Do tell, in the comments below.