“What Lovely Jowls You Have, My Dear!”

Does the rawhide accentuate my jowls?

Does the rawhide accentuate my jowls?

So, one of my recent adventures in desert dog walking involved Charlee seeing a dog and yanking me off balance into a cactus. The result: cactus needles embedded in my right hand and the right side of my face. Seven weeks later (after an infection requiring over 10,000 mg of antibiotics to clear and the makings of an ugly scar on my face), I visited a Scottsdale plastic surgeon to weigh my options regarding the impending scar.

Plastic surgeon’s report: the wound is still healing. Nothing can really be done at the moment. Keep doing what I am doing.

No problem, I thought.

In the next breath and with a look approaching disdain, the physician changed the subject. “You really should consider doing something about your jowls, especially at your age,” she said.

“My what?” I asked, perplexed.

With pursed lips and a generously Botox’d forehead, “Your jowls,” she repeated. “You are at the age when they can become problematic for women.”

Oh goodie. Not only have I been through a fairly traumatic seven weeks (and counting) with most likely a permanent scar on my face, but the plastic surgeon somehow felt compelled to introduce a completely new and unrelated issue unbeknownst to me and with such a lovely connotation … “jowls.” Truly, the word alone could create an anaphylactic response for some.

Fortunately, my ordeal with the cactus and ensuing infection must have primed me for this conversation, because I was ready for it. “Really? What do you typically suggest for jowls? Do I need a facelift?” I asked, knowing the question was ludicrous.

“Oh no! You are too young for a facelift,” the physician gave a startled laugh. “We typically recommend a procedure to stimulate collagen growth and tighten the skin.”

“Really? And what are the results of such a procedure? The jowls disappear permanently?”

“Oh no. Results are very subtle,” she explained. “And you don’t really have jowls, per se. I am simply saying that, at your age, you should be thinking about procedures to stave off those ugly things.” She paused a moment, assessing me, and added, “We could probably do your jowls and entire face and neck for about $2,500.” (The continued allusions to my age thrilled me as much as the inclusion of my “entire face and neck” in the context of a blue-light special.)

“I just want to understand,” I said, seeking clarity. “You mean ‘do’ the jowls that I don’t yet have for only $2,500, and you will throw in my entire face and neck?”

“That’s correct,” she nodded, seemingly quite satisfied with her sales prowess. “It would be more of a preventive procedure in your case.”

“Ahh. Well, I think not. My concern is the scar at the moment,” I explained more graciously than I felt. That marked the rather disappointing end of an appointment I had anticipated with such hope.

As I drove home, the plastic surgeon’s words echoed in my head. “Preventive procedures for jowls,“ I muttered aloud. “Women my age,” I snorted.

Did it require a healthy dose of fear and humility like a severe infection, the Grand Canyon of facial wounds, not to mention nearly seven weeks of living the life of a hermit – all to recognize the shallowness and the vanity of scheduling today’s appointment in the first place? Or, was I able to make this observation because jowls are not yet a part of my daily repertoire?

I sighed, knowing I could psychoanalyze this for the rest of the day, month and year (because that’s what I tend to do). Instead, I hurried home for a welcome by Charlee and her unproblematic jowls. (I can only hope mine will be as beautiful as hers some day.)

Charlee’s Green Eyes

Introducing "Mac-too"  DOB: 4/24/13

Introducing “Mac-too”
DOB: 4/24/13

Charlee had a difficult afternoon. Her grandparents, Nano and Grand Jack, dropped in with a surprise – their new puppy, another West Highland Terrier, just six weeks after theirs had passed away.

I, of course, was elated. It’s a puppy! Charlee, however, sized up the situation pretty quickly … no more impromptu visits by Nano and Grand Jack simply to take her for a ride or a walk or give her a belly rub or a treat. (Truly, the past six weeks have been bliss for her. But that bliss ended abruptly at 2:30 p.m. today.)

Instead of dropping by just to say hello to Charlee, in walked Nano and Grand Jack with a puppy. Charlee’s perfect world and its revolution around her shattered at that moment. Her brown eyes turned green.

Charlee growled at the tiny “Mac-too” (named by my mom, of course, after the late Mac). After being scolded for an attempted snap at him, Charlee just completely ignored Mac-too and tried to coax Nano and Grand Jack back to reality, i.e., Charlee is the favorite. Needless to say, Nano and Grand Jack’s typical 20-minute visit was plenty for her today.

Mac-too likes Charlee; Charlee hates Mac-too

Mac-too loves Charlee;
Charlee hates Mac-too

We definitely have a challenge ahead with changing Charlee’s suddenly green eye color back to its original brown. Stay tuned.

The Exorbitant Cost of Walking Your Dog in Scottsdale

Contemplating a Dog Walker

Contemplating Hiring a Dog Walker

It can cost a fortune to walk your dog in Scottsdale, especially if you are a woman. No, I am not referring to therapy sessions or ER visits to cope with the javelinas, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, Gila monsters and scorpions. I am referring to the actual cost of walking your dog in Scottsdale, i.e., the desert version of Beverly Hills.

Let’s start with your dog walking attire – a lululemon ensemble, of course, and it runs about $200 if you include the sports bra. Then, you need some MBT sports sandals in a variety of colors to complement your color scheme for the day. The most stylish ones run between $130-$200.

And, you cannot spend that much money on your clothes if you are flabby. You will need a personal trainer several hours each week … another $200.

Next, skincare is of utmost importance in the desert, especially when you are outside for 30-45 minutes several times each day. I use and recommend a variety of products. For sunscreen, I prefer the COOLA organic suncare collection. To moisturize the skin around my eyes, I love SkinMedica; for full face, I prefer Jan Marini. The “I-had-the-best-tan-of-anyone-in-the-world-during-my-teens-and-20s” sun damage repair is a work-in-progress with Obagi’s Nu-Derm System and Fraxel laser treatments at the helm. Estimated total cost for skincare: several thousands of dollars.

Of course, you must keep your hair conditioned in this desert oven. My preferred hair care lines are Oribe and Moroccan Oil these days, but I am a fickle consumer. Cost? Conservatively, $300 for my favorite mists, creams and oils from each line.

What about the mandatory manicure and pedicure? Those hands and heels must be hydrated, and nails adorned with shiny polish. Add $75-$150 if you visit a salon. (I prefer to do my own. The OPI nail polish line makes me happy, although Dior is my favorite. For hydrating the desert heels, nothing works better for me than Theraplex Emollient.)

I won’t even delve into the Botox, Dysport, Restylane and Perlane treatments (or other plastic surgery procedures). You can easily add thousands more to your dog walking expenditures, depending on the “work” done and which plastic surgeon or dermatologist does the “work.”

Bottom line: it’s cheaper to hire a dog walking service.