Taking a Hiatus: What I’ve Learned

1) Breaks can be a great thing. I am very refreshed. In fact, it was interesting that while I was away several other bloggers expressed the need to dial it back a bit. All I can say is, if you feel the need, DOOOOO IT!

It seems a bit ridiculous giving this advice since I’m still very much the newbie (oooh, nine whole posts under my belt!) and my break had nothing to do with getting burned out. Still, this strange little practice of mine is now in its tenth year, and while I thoroughly enjoy the shininess of the intarwebz, I can attest that stepping away for a time can do wonders for the psyche.

2) I just can’t seem to do things half-way. This is why, despite my SAHM status, I rarely bake cookies. As long as they’re not in my house, it’s very easy to not eat them. But if they’re in the freezer……. mmmm, half-frozen cookies.

In internet terms this means I am not able to blog-but-stay-away-from-stuff-like-Facebook. Let’s just say Dee got a really pitiful e-mail from me late one night as I lamented the fact that I have no self-discipline, and I had to go *rully rully* cold turkey to get any benefit. It was pretty pathetic. We shall speak no more of it.

3) Did you know that for lemmings, the internet is their main source of sustenance? I suppose I should have expected it, but it was amazing how quickly they quieted down once I stepped away. Conversely, I swear I heard a couple of them yell “CANNONBALL!” the moment I opened up my Google Reader.

4) The lemming behavior is one thing, but what surprised me even more was my drive to try new fragrances quietened down as well. (Do we have a separate phrase for the urge to try samples? All I’m coming up with are images of salmon, and that’s just weird.) There were an awful lot of mornings when I’d consider my collection of untried sniffies, think “meh” and reach for a love instead. Now that I’m back, the samples are starting to look tempting again.

5) Vanessa gave me the answer I was looking for in terms of balance. She referred me to this post, and as a recovering perfectionist, it was exactly what I needed. As much as I’d like to read every blog and always have a witty, erudite comment to add, it’s just not going to happen.

6) Interesting titles really catch the eye when facing over 800 blog posts. Also, making a YouTube video of yourself sniffing Secretions Magnifique will definitely grab my attention. (Shout-out to Portia, of course. ;))

7) So if the lemmings go away, and the urge to sample goes away, what brings me back? That’s easy. It’s the community.

Near the end of last year I read the book “Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way” by Molly Birnbaum. It’s a memoir about the complete anosmia that affected Ms. Birnbaum after she was hit by a car, how it derailed her dream of studying at the Culinary Institute of America and what she learned in the five years it took for her sense of smell to come back. In her quest to understand what she’d lost, she met with a perfumer and learned a bit about perfumistas, but didn’t quite understand the appeal. She loved how cooking brought friends and family together, and fragrance seemed a solitary endeavor by comparison.

I remember thinking that I saw her point, but that she didn’t quite get it. The internet is our dinner table. And there’s something wonderful, almost magical, about sitting down and supping with people from Sweden and Australia and the U.S. and Britain and Austria and so many other places. It really is a grand thing.

It’s good to be back.
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26 responses to “Taking a Hiatus: What I’ve Learned”

  1. Olfactoria says :

    It’s good to have you back, Dionne!

  2. australianperfumejunkies says :

    YAY!! Dionne is IN THE HOUSE!!! welcome home. we missed you.
    Portia xx

  3. Ines says :

    Glad to see you’re back and ready for more. :)

    I think I’m one of those who did a mini-break, I just posted stuff very rarely but didn’t want to stop. I think I might be getting back on track now.

    • Dionne says :

      I think this time of year is very appropriate to dial it back a bit: lots of us go on holidays, if it gets hot where you are only freshfreshfresh will do, the outdoors are beckoning….. Glad to hear you’re back in the groove, Ines.

  4. deeHowe says :

    Glad you’re back Dionne!!!! <3

  5. Tara says :

    Lovely come back post, Dionne! Glad you enjoyed and got a lot out of your break.

    It’s definately the interweb that fuels this little hobby of ours. It’s the source of new info, lemmings (of course!) and the wonderful sense of community. I think quite often people like Molly don’t quite grasp how strong and very real the community aspect is, which is a shame. We do though!

    Welcome home.

    • Dionne says :

      The break was very refreshing, and like always, it provided the needed recalibration.

      And we humans do need our connections, don’t we? For my other interests, I have real-life people I can share those with, but as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, it’s nice to share “Wow-I-just-smelled-the-most-amazing-thing! with someone who understands.

  6. flittersniffer says :

    I fully intend to come back and read this post again properly when I am not on hiatus myself, hehe – now work- as well as move-induced – I must be mad…I will just say that I know what you mean about getting to the stage where it is more about the people than the perfume. I accept that I am slipping behind in terms of awareness of new launches, but I am more concerned about losing touch with the friends I have made in this international community by having too many offline fish to fry at the moment. : – )

    • Dionne says :

      Enjoy your own break, Vanessa. (Although I suppose moving – gah! – isn’t technically a break, but you know what I mean). One thing I’ve noticed is how supportive everyone is when life intervenes. It’s nice to see so many sentiments like “Do what’s right for you, we’ll miss you and welcome you back when you’re ready.”

      As far as new launches go, it’s very freeing to not even try to keep up. You can always come join me in my own little puddling-along corner. I predict that several years from now I may finally try some ouds. ;)

  7. Mals86 (@musewoodenshoes) says :

    So glad you’re back. So glad your “non-producing” time off was so productive.

    (Your lemmings yell “Cannonball!”?? Mine rub their hands together and whisper evilly. Then they go have mad lemming sex and multiply.)

    And now I really must go watch Portia sniff SM. Katie Puckrik’s video was funny enough – I was watching it and advising her, “That’s enough, Katie. No, don’t dab more. Stop. You’re going to regret this. Ohhh, NOW you’ve done it!” and about then, she got a whiff of her arm… I cracked up.

    • Dionne says :

      I don’t know if my time off was necessarily “productive” per se…… I had visions of getting caught up on some cleaning that needed to be done (Golden Retrievers and vaulted ceilings make for unusual discoveries when the light is just right. Just how does the hair get up that high?) but instead, I just read a lot. It was great. :)

      My lemmings, you see, HAVE to yell to get my attention. My house is simply not quiet enough for whispers. (Little side story: Spud’s SLP noticed some hoarseness in his voice, so we got it checked out by an ENT specialist. His conclusion? Your son has nodules on his vocal chords because he is loud.)

      Do check out Portia’s video. My favorite line is “We live in Australia, we don’t speak French. We don’t even speak English.”

  8. Suzanne says :

    Dionne, I admire you and your family for going “unplugged” for a month. The Internet is already addictive, and when you start blogging it becomes doubly hard to stay away … mostly because you feel like you’re going to lose the connection to your blogging friends and be behind on all the news. But in truth, when you step back in after a break you really haven’t missed anything earth-shattering. You might not be able to catch up on your blog reading easily, but you’re basically still in the loop.

    I should step away myself for awhile (and actually will at the end of July when I go with my family to the beach). In the meantime, I’ll see you around the blogosphere! Welcome back!! :)

    • Dionne says :

      Thank you, Suzanne. We’ve had others tell us that they admire us too. And I am VERY proud of my teenagers for still being willing to go along with this. Personally, though, I’m far more impressed by those who don’t need to do something so drastic because they can keep a balance between their online and real lives. But we do what works for us.

  9. Undina says :

    I’m glad you… khm… enjoyed your “time off” but I’m glad you’re back. One thing I completely agree with: if you feel like you need a break – for whatever reason – you need a break.

    Would you like to re-home a couple of my lemmings? ;)

    • Dionne says :

      Depends on the lemming, Undina. If they’re loud, rambunctious, geeky lemmings that are pogo-ing to Weird Al songs, send ‘em on over. However, if they’ve got a “how YOU doin’?” smile and Marvin Gaye is playing in the background, they probably belong with Mals. :)

      • Undina says :

        (yeah, I’m one of those readers who comes back to respond to the response)
        It was very fortunate that I finished my morning coffee by the time I read that because the image of Joey-lemming was so vivid… :) This upcoming Sunday I’ll sort them out and point them in the right direction.

        • Dionne says :

          I’m that type too (you’ve probably seen me do this on your blog as well). A lot of the fun of a blog post for me is the conversation that happens afterwards in the comments. I love the back and forth.

          Should we give Mals the heads-up that her lemmings are VERY fertile and multiplying like mad?

  10. annemariec says :

    Welcome back Dionne, there is something very distinctive about your voice, and I have missed you!

    For me the biggest danger on the perfume-net is the perfume discounters. There are oodles of them and I browse them at night after the kids are in bed. I’m tired, feeling low, may have had a half glass too much wine at dinner. Dangerous.

    • Dionne says :

      Anne-Marie, thank you so much for the compliment. It made my day. :)

      And shopping while HALT (hungry, anxious, lonely, tired), been there myself. I think the only reason the perfume discounters aren’t more of a temptation is because I have such a poor record for unsniffed buys.

  11. Natalie says :

    I’m glad you’re back!

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