These words were originally published on October 13, 2011 on the site PerfumePosse.com.

The number above – that’s the tax deduction 30 Serges (Exports and Exclusives), plus about 100 more miscellaneous fragrances and other items will get you if you donate them to charity.

How do I know this? I found out about 2 weeks ago, finally, what my wonderful aunt did with my perfume collection and some other items I was forbidden to retrieve from her house. Now, I guess you can say I have “closure” of the situation since she threw me out over a year ago.

I’m usually not one to air dirty laundry, but since I’ve been through so much over the past few years, I thought, what the hell. I’ve lost everything so I literally have nothing left to lose.

The problem is, finding out that my treasured collection is gone forever has put me off fragrance. This is worse than going off meds or having a run of bad luck. Right now, I just don’t care what I smell like or what anything smells like. I even pitched what  few bottles that did manage to make it out of her house; I just couldn’t stand looking at them anymore.

So, for now, I bid you all adieu. I have no desire to smell anything and I don’t know when I will again. I know my attitude sounds defeatist and it’s allowing evil to triumph over good, but I am too exhausted, emotionally and physically, to keep fighting. The only thing I can hope for is that my aunt will receive some sort of karmic retribution for all the crap she’s pulled on me over the past couple of years. You know the saying: what goes around, comes around. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

I hope to see you all again before too long.

In Memoriam

This essay was originally published on November 4, 2010, on the site PerfumePosse.com.

How many of us have loved and lost? I’m not just talking about perfume: friends, family members, spouses, pets…we mourn for different things in different ways, and no two are ever alike.

Three years ago, my life as I knew it changed forever. The details of this transformation don’t matter, but in coping with all the upheaval, I decided, who better to help get me through it than family? Turns out, this was the worst decision I could have made.

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Reflections On the 4th

I’ve been tossing around one of my lists in my head, and since I haven’t posted in a while, I thought it was the perfect time to share my thoughts.

The Fourth of July in America is mainly about barbecues, fireworks, and enjoying the summertime weather. When you live in the Pacific Northwest, especially during an El Niño year, it’s more like a random day in November. The weather notwithstanding, I’m happy to be an American today, just as I was happy to be a Canadian on Canada Day (July 1).

Now, here’s what’s rolling around in my head:

Two Years Ago Today…

Two years ago today, I came home from the hospital after having a double mastectomy. Breast cancer changed my life in so many ways, and the one, rather, two things I miss the least about my pre-breast cancer self are the parts I no longer have. Seriously, I don’t miss the “girls”. I might look slightly strange to some people, but I don’t care. Take me as I am; if you don’t, it’s your loss.

This Is the First Thing I’ve Written In Two Months

Before I started working full-time, I thought all I ever wanted to do was write. It turns out that I was in serious denial about needing a break. I was so exhausted from the constant hustle that I hated what I wrote, and hated the act of writing even more. I’ll always need to write – what I won’t likely do for the foreseeable future is try to make a living at it. Being a writer today is exponentially more difficult now than it was pre-World-Wide-Web. My hat is off to those of you who can endure the hustle, but my hustling days might very well be behind me. I gave it my best shot. There are more enjoyable ways to make money, and I’m going to explore those for now.

My Nose Is Back!

Many of you remember me as a pretty major “frag hag”, and I am happy to report that my nose is once again fully functional. In fact, I’ve been bingeing on fragrance with utter abandon lately, and it feels great. It’s the most incredible feeling knowing that sociopathic relatives and vile medical treatments were unsuccessful at trying to kill my love of scent. Rebuilding my collection is reinvigorating my spirit to the point where I’m seeing pink unicorns and rainbows every night in my dreams. Well, not really, but there are many of you out there who get what I’m saying.

Ignorant People Have Me Shitting Bricks

I’ve been trying my best to ignore the contentious political climate that has overtaken most of the developed world, but I find that lately, I’m lapsing back into my addiction to politics. I had other things on my mind for so long that I didn’t realize how badly ignorance now plagues our lives. Sure, I’ve read tons of crap on social media about Hillary, Trump, and Brexit, but what really gets me is how easily we can be coerced into forming opinions. A great many of us have no idea what’s behind the way we think, nor are we the least bit concerned about repeating our mistakes. We simply want to follow the herd instead of delving deeper into what we read, see and hear. There has always been an underlying hatred of the intelligentsia, and now it is so far out in the open that many smart people find themselves afflicted with delusional thoughts and paranoia. Please pay attention, folks – there will not be anywhere to hide if you don’t.

And finally…

Life Is Good. Here’s Hoping It Stays That Way.

When Full-Time Freelance Writing Is No Longer Viable

I’ve worked as a full-time freelance writer since September, 2009. Over the past seven years, I’ve experienced some pretty euphoric highs, a few bouts of blinding anger, particularly when one client pulled a $6,000 job out from under me for a very minor spelling error (I believe it was actually because they decided they didn’t want to pay me that much after all), and some near-suicidal lows. Those three phases can be somewhat typical for a person who freelances at anything – not just writing.

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Dissembling In Order to Save My Life

One of the biggest lessons cancer taught me is that it comes in many different forms. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is simply not  just cancer. There are many different types of breast cancer, and once the type is determined, doctors can decide how best to treat it.

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Walking, Eating, and Thinking Myself Into Oblivion

It’s the first really warm day of the season here in the Pacific Northwest, and I should be out doing something in the sunshine. Instead, I am reading one woman’s story about why she stopped participating in breast cancer walks. I am also hungry. After I posted my tale about the rigmarole I’m being forced to go through in order to have weight loss surgery, I made some drastic changes to my diet. I had to come to terms with the fact that this is one battle I will not win unless I lose. Unless of course I miraculously find $50,000 in my travels.

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Preparing For Weight Loss Surgery After Breast Cancer

Back in January, I mentioned that after enduring many frustrating months of bureaucratic boondoggle, I received approval from my insurance provider to pursue having weight-loss surgery. The process began in earnest the other day, and like the time spent waiting for corporate bean-counters to give me their official okey-dokey, I’m looking at yet another steep, uphill climb.

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Why Kim Kardashian’s Nude Selfies Piss Me Off

I’m coming up on two years of dealing with the breast cancer “experience”, and the more time that passes, the more I am beginning to resent the impact cancer has had on my life. As much as I truly don’t miss having breasts, I sometimes wish I could take leave of my body to prove a point to other women. Life doesn’t revolve around what your breasts, your ass, your legs, and every other body part looks like. You don’t have to be stricken with cancer to attain that mindset.

Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if Kim Kardashian were diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m not wishing evil on her, but I wonder if she would choose to do what’s best for her health rather than compromise it by attempting to preserve a couple of hanging glands that might eventually kill her. Her body is, after all, her golden ticket. Do not attempt to kid yourself by believing society does not value looks above all else. It is obvious that we are more obsessed now than we have ever been.

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I Am a Woman Who Hates Other Women

In honor of National Women’s Day I give you this post, which was also published on Medium.com.

Last week, I had lunch with a writer friend of mine. We met almost two years ago, introduced by a mutual Internet friend who put us together because she had gone through breast cancer surgery and reconstruction, and I was about to embark on a similar journey. We hit it off instantaneously, not because we had illness in common, but because we shared the same perspective about our gender: we are both women who hate other women.

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