my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Geocultural and Gender-Related Differences in Bathroom Maintenance

How lucky I am to have highly literate and incredibly articulate friends who occasionally share their stories with me. So I can steal them.

This wonderful person -- who knows a boatload about fragrance and to whom I owe my addiction to ... oh, never mind -- shared my recent digestive issues. But she took time out from her own suffering to send me a missive on geocultural and gender-related differences in bathroom maintenance ...

"Of course, in the depths of physical misery I now have to wonder if we will shortly be visited by the local health inspectors who may try to evict us due to my dear husband's misstep this morning.

Some men were scheduled to come and do some garden work this morning. Husband assured me that they wouldn't need to come into the house to use the bathroom (not a long job). I was too ill to do anything but believe him.

Most of house is fine, but husband's clothes are randomly strewn about and I haven't had the energy to pick them up. Still, not *terrible*. My bathroom is perfectly clean, but I left an undergarment on the floor this morning.

Husband's bathroom however, is a frightening, haunted place into which I only venture once a week in full body armor to do a cleaning and then have to exit through his study, which is another holy nightmare and which I rarely bother to pick up anything in since he appears to enjoy the stimulation of terror one feels upon entering and seeing the mess.

Well, I was in the bedroom napping when one of the men apparently *did* feel the call of nature and asked husband to use our bathroom. Did husband go pick up said undergarment from my perfectly guest friendly bathroom??? NO!

He instead invited the unsuspecting man to come in, go through his study and use HIS bathroom. AAARGH!!!

A good Southern man who undoubtedly has a wife who keeps her bathrooms so spotless at ALL times that you can eat off the floors in them. I expect health inspectors to show up any minute now. Husband came very close to needing another trip to the emergency room when I found out.

Our feng shui woman warned me dire things would happen if I didn't keep the WHOLE house clean. Yes, I veer into weirdness from time to time and we paid a considerable amount to have the house feng shuied. Main thing she left us with was to keep all the energy flowing and to keep it *clean*....said while looking suspiciously at husband. I just hoped (in vain apparently) his two black hole rooms could be overlooked by the gods of flowing energy. Sob!

Am off to South America this weekend. Perhaps permanently.

Making matters worse, early this evening I had to take metrocanine out for a stroll. Didn't recognize the truck on the corner till it was already too late and I found myself passing the men who had worked in our yard this morning.

They've met me before. I had no option other than to wave and give a brave cheery smile...all the while PRAYING the earth would just open up and swallow me on the spot. Oh, GOD! I bet they're spreading the word through the neighborhood. Uncleaned Port-a-potties probably look divinely Martha Stewartish compared to husband's bathroom.

I tell you, was only planning about 5 days in S.A., but may just apply for a green card while I'm there."

Well, as I analyze this material, I see that my dear friend has absorbed WAY MORE of that Southern mindset than she needs to. She feels she must live up to the standards established by our genteel Southern sisters.

I'm sitting up here, relaxed, in sweatpants and two ponytails, in the upper left corner of the country and I say: NAY! We must be who we are! Even when we have been transplanted into a locale where the bathrooms are uniformly spotless! I think, though, that this gentility may actually be a part of my friend's personality. Never mind the Southern location.

Also, I'm loving the feng shui aspect of it. That's an interesting counterpoint to the whole Southern thing. I love the image of dear friend dutifully taking notes on clearing the ch'i as husband
apparently rolled eyes and couldn't wait to get his study and bathroom back to their (his) natural state. That's entertainment!

That brings me to the gender-related differences. Um, there aren't any. I'm afraid I fall much more in my friend's husband's camp on the whole hygiene spectrum. Me, I like a little earthiness. Heh. (I mean, not cholera or typhoid ... but nobody would ever suspect me of being Martha Stewart. Or any of her servants.)

But I hope my friend decides against the green card. We would miss her a lot. (Me, her husband and metrocanine.) (And we're not the only ones.)

Today's fragrance: Wild Summer Rose ... a triangular scent of rose, jasmine and iris ... which somehow makes me hum wild thing *I think I love you*

I TOLD You It Was Autobiographical Fiction!


"Color has got hold of me, I no longer need to grasp it." Paul Klee

To see more beautiful color, please check out artblogs Laurelines and Janey's Journey (links at right).

Today's fragrance: Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise. Notes: Eden's Mist, Blue Hyacinth, Orange Flower Templar, Jabuticaba Fruit, Orchid, Jasmin, Honeysuckle, Plum Blossoms.

Mmmm, Jabuticaba fruit!
Jabuticaba Fruit Fun Facts! Grape-like in appearance and texture but with a thicker, tougher skin. Most California fruit is dark purple to almost black in color. Gelatinous whitish pulp contains from one to four small seeds and has a pleasant, subacid flavor markedly similar to certain muscadine grapes. The skin has a slight resinous flavor that is not objectionable. Fruit may be produced singly or in clusters from the ground up all over the trunk and main branches, and the plant may fruit up to five times per year. Fresh fruit is delicious eaten out-of-hand and can be made into jellies, jams, wine [and perfume!]. The skin is high in tannin and should not be consumed in large quantities over a long period of time. [But presumably ok when juice is splashed liberally on your skin]

But, seriously, Mr. Turin, this fragrance is awfully sweet. I can feel my teeth decaying just from proximity to my wrists. Sweet AND flowery.

Maybe it's a miracle of modern science, what with the Eden's Mist and exotic, with its touch of the magic Jabuticaba fruit (ole!) but I don't want this scientific syrup in my nostrils.

I still respect you, though. xoxoxoxoxo


Good for Diet, Bad for Blog

I feel yuk. (See illustration) Maybe a 24 hour virus or some sort of stomach flu. (Is that Too Much Information? she asked facetiously.)

Hope I didn't give anything yuk to Kate yesterday. Refuse to believe it was the jambalaya (Jim is fine).

Must drink ginger tea and go back to bed. Hope everybody else is ok. Have a good day, you guys.


Adulthood: It's Not Just For Adults Anymore

My friend Ruth -- whose daughter Ariela reminded us that our naughty pasts are always with us -- has another daughter, seven year old Dvorah. Apparently she represents our other, mature side.

"Last week I was driving Dvorah somewhere and drinking my coffee and making loud annoying slurpy noises, just cause she was being so quiet and I felt like it.

Finally Dvorah says 'WHY are you making those noises?'

Me: 'Cause I felt like it. Sometimes mommies need attention too.'

Dvorah (drily): 'I noticed.' (resumes looking out window)"

Today's fragrance: Ormonde Jayne Ta'if with just a bit of Sage Machado Amber AND, thanks to Kate, a whif of Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan! woohoo!


Cooking As Meditation

As I'm typing this, the smell of the italian sausage i'm preparing for tonight's jambalaya [thank you, Lex Culinaria] is wafting toward me. And I've set out the red pepper, green pepper, italian parsley, onion and tomatoes on the counter. Garlic ... and I need to get the celery.

For some reason, when I was in a back brace and morphine stupor after spine surgery, all I dreamed about was chopping vegetables. It seemed such a healthy, wholesome thing to do. It represented everything I wanted to do but couldn't and was afraid would not be able to.

But today I can ... and it's meditative exercise for me. I have a wonderful knife [Globe; thank you for the recommendation, Bob] and I can't wait to slice through the beautiful peppers, the onion, the celery, the garlic. The sausage, the ham, the chicken. The rice, the tomatoes. Wonderful scents, incredible textures, beautiful colors.

God, I love my life sometimes.

Today's fragrance: Serge Lutens Clair de Musc layered over Les Bains du Marais Musc Blanc. Sweet soft skin smell.

What Would Edith Do? 2

This is the second installment of an irregularly scheduled feature in which I channel the spirit of Edith Head and provide answers to all your fashion, fragrance and lifestyle questions.

Now ... Let's Ask Edith!

Dear Edith,
A young woman blogger, with special appeal to the 25-34 demographic, I am currrently reveling in my fifteen minutes of fame. Known for my propensity to emphasize BY USING ALL CAPS and my liberal salting of posts with a thick layer of f*ck, fart, sh!t and damn (PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON EXCREMENT OR LACK THEREOF), I am widely perceived as The Blogger To Mimic.

BUT EDITH! Far from being the angular chicster portrayed in the hundreds of digital photos featured on my site, I am a nebbishy domestic goddess WHO ACTUALLY ENJOYS BEING A MOTHER AND KEEPING A HOME. I feel so INAUTHENTIC, Edith. HOW CAN I SHARE WHO I REALLY AM?
Deuce-Faced in Nebraska

My dear Nebraskan Nebbish,
You need to let go and let ... uh, never mind. Just stop swearing, ease up on the capslock key and print a couple pix of your own bad self, your perfectly behaved toddler, your spotlessly clean SUV and your beautifully maintained home. Problem solved.

Edith my dear,
Could you help formulate a fragrance for my beloved metrocanine, Astro, that would make him smell all nice, but would not be too sensitive for his delicate nose?
Barbara from California

Dear BfromC,
So often we neglect the fragrance aspect of our dogs' grooming, except to say, "Jeez, you stink. You already need another bath, dammit." I am aware of the cuteness of your canine charmer and really think some sort of sweet white floral would suit him. Cacharel Anais Anais, that's it! Admittedly, the name is a bit rude. But fact is, that's what dogs are most interested in. Tell me if Astro approves.

Dear E.,
I like to get up early and get the newspaper in off the driveway before I have my coffee. Since I sleep in skimpy nightwear, my husband objects to my going out to grab the paper so lightly clad. Do I need to get dressed that early?
Tan Lucy Pez

Dear TLP,
I sense hubby is a little jealous of any glimpses those wicked neighbors might be catching. But, OTOH, doesn't he realize how lucky he is that his wife sleeps in such seductive garb? Of course, if he's exhausted enough from antics the night before, he'll be asleep and won't care what you're wearing to greet the paperboy, now will he? Heh.

Dear Ms. Head,
As a dog, I don't give a lot of credence to online advice columnists, but I am at my tail's end. I am, let's face it, a fiendishly handsome lab/shepherd mix who would really score big if I could only get Alpha and Beta to let me off the leash once in a while. I admit it, I've hurt my chances for a little autonomy by making a break for freedom the few times they've let me walk to the car on my own. But I tell ya, I'm desperate to get out there and meet some ladies. What can I do to regain the 'rents' trust?
Seeking A Way Out in Seattle

My boy,
You'll be lookin' for love in all the wrong places if they let you go leashless. Do you know what kind of diseases are out there? Better you should strengthen the platonic relationship with your dear Master and Mistress. I sense they're feeling neglected ... since I've noted you are not the type to demonstrate affection freely, if at all. There's more to life than sex. I've heard. A few adoring looks and swipes of the tongue can go a long way toward getting the "me-time" you're looking for. [disclaimer from Mireille: Bucky is neutered. This quest for adventure is all in his mind; we just try not to hurt his feelings by pointing out this fact of life.]

Today's Fragrance: Departing from her usual Youth Dew by Estee Lauder, Edith is wearing three JAR fragrances, layered -- because he sent them to her trying to get a free endorsement in her column. No way.


And Let This Be A Lesson To You

From the Associated Press ...
"Nursing home love triangle ends in homicide
Scorned great-grandmother, 78,
blows away 85-year-old ex-lover

Furious that their romance was ending, a 78-year-old great-grandmother shot her 85-year-old ex-beau to death as he read the newspaper in a senior citizens home, police said.

'I did it and I’d do it again!' Lena Driskell yelled to officers who arrived at the home June 10, according to testimony. Police said she was wearing a bathrobe and slippers, waving an antique handgun with her finger still on the trigger.

She is accused of plotting the shooting of Herman Winslow because she was angry that their yearlong romance was ending and he had found another companion.

Driskell was released on a $25,000 bond and placed under house arrest after a hearing Friday. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks stipulated she must wear an ankle monitor and live with her granddaughter Lena Holt.

'I don’t want her on the streets,' Hicks said. 'Who knows how many other guns she has?'"

And she's way more even-tempered than I am.

Speaking of Old Lady Fragrances, what scent does an Old Lady wear? Apparently anything she damn well pleases. Today's fragrance: L'Artisan Jour de Fête, almond tea with a splash of vanilla cream. More subdued than I expected. But nice.

Open House

My secrets cry aloud.
I have no need for tongue.
My heart keeps open house,
My doors are widely swung.
An epic of the eyes
My love, with no disguise.

My truths are all foreknown,
This anguish self-revealed.
I'm naked to the bone.
With nakedness my shield.
Myself is what I wear.
I keep the spirit spare.

The anger will endure.
The deed will speak the truth.
In language strict and pure.
I stop the lying mouth:
Rage warps my clearest cry
To witless agony.

Theodore Roethke, 1941


Wherefore, Pastor?

As I meander along my blogreading route, I periodically come upon posts or comments that are so incredibly self-righteous, that make such rigid pronouncements, that set my teeth on such edge ... that, without knowing biographical data, I know I've found myself reading something from someone who has a degree in divinity, is pursuing a degree in divinity, or sure wishes they had a degree in divinity. Oh hell, skip the degree; what they really want is god-status.

Some of you may have picked up that I am a Jew by conversion. Prior to my conversion, to prepare for standing before a Beth Din (rabbinical court), I studied for two years with a Reform (which is the rather more liberal arm of Judaism) rabbi because this is the faith that has always made the most sense to my heart.

The halakha (Jewish law, custom and tradition) is appealing to me for its reason, its humility, its assertion of human responsibility, its insistence that there is One G-d (this spelling used out of respect for any Jewish readers).

But I lived my childhood in another faith, part of it the stepdaughter of a Christian minister. One of the most arrogant, hypocritical, cruel and self-centered individuals I have ever known in my life. I directly place the death of my parents' marriage at his feet, I know how unhappy my mother was in her marriage to this man and I am uncomfortably aware how many people were attracted to (read: fell for) his floridly emotional, slap 'em on the back, hail fellow-well met ministry.

I choose not to air any more family laundry in this venue ... this much linen serves merely as a bottom sheet for my real question:

How can a human presume to speak for G-d ? How can a human presume to know what is unequivocally right and place themselves in judgement of others? How can a human absolutely know the way and the truth in their intepretation and/or application of scripture? And why would anyone seek to appropriate that particular type of power over other susceptible humans?

Absolutely there are good ministers. I saw them doing outreach in the Chicago innercity. I met them in college-oriented church groups. I have worked with them as hospital chaplains. And corresponded with a military chaplain. And I have been grateful for, if always mistrustful of, their counsel.

Because I couldn't stop asking the question: why do you do this work? What is there about you that made you choose this? Are your motives clean?

Because I am afraid of the type of person who chooses this work.

Teacher I understand, and respect. A pastor is different from a teacher. Look at the word pastor: [from Wikipedia] "Pastor comes from the Greek word "poimen" meaning shepherd ... in a modern context, the term is often used to denote one who gives spiritual guidance and counsel ..." There is often an assumption of special status in taking on that role. A delineation of "there is me and then there is thee."

To those who choose this, who believe they have a vocation, a calling, who lust for the pulpit or bimah, مَذْبَحُ or altar, I can't stop asking: what makes you think you are special?

How dare you take on the god-like status of one who guides others' spirituality -- not through reference to, and well-intentioned discussion of, an established coda but through personality and inflicting your thoughts and will on others? What kind of ego fosters the idea that you are equipped to tell others what is right and wrong for them? Is your life so flawless?

Although I managed to make a choice for religion and am at ease with it, I still question any person or would-be person of the cloth, whether Protestant, Jewish, Catholic or Muslim: why do you want this power? What is your intention? What makes you worthy? Does your own behavior withstand scrutiny?

Why should what you think matter to me, or anyone else?

Today's fragrance: Isabey Gardenia. Notes: tangerine bark, ylang-ylang, orange flowers, gardenia extract, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, iris, musk, ambergris, sandalwood. It really IS all that.


My Dinner with Alphonse

As I write this, the soft sweet sound of cricket chirping is in my ears ... crickets who may or may not know they have an abruptly abbreviated lifespan because Gecko Hunter, Alphonse, is on their case.

About every two weeks, we make a trip to Petco and come home with a plastic bag of air and crickets. At first I was disturbed by this foodchain thing, but I'm used to it. I'm sure all murderers go through that.

One of us, and it's usually Jim, dusts calcium powder into the bag and shakes it as if fried chicken was in development. Then opens the bag 'o air 'n crickets into the aquarium and for a period of up to a week it sounds like a high summer midwest evening in the family room.

Until Alphonse the Leopard Gecko is finished eating.

He's cute. Until he opens his mouth. (Ever notice how often that is the case?) Long sticky tongue and quick, quick mandibles.

We're not entirely cruel about this. We also have special food for the crickets. It looks like small damp carrot cubes, must be refrigerated and we spoon a few every day into the aquarium so that their needs are met. That's why they're chirping, I think. They're happy and looking for girlfriends right up to the fatal moment.

Well, really, you can say that about a lot of humans, too. Can't you?

Today's fragrance: I can't even think about that right now. I'll get back to you.


A Special Woman Who Wore White Linen

Yesterday, as an adjunct to my birthday, I traveled to a town north of Seattle for a reunion that was very special to me.

Almost twenty years ago I worked for what was then an all-woman ad agency run by a force of nature named Peggy Doph. Unusual for a woman of her generation, Peg had come to the advertising business via banking; she had also been the "first woman" there, an executive vice president at a time when women just didn't advance that far.

If I can name one woman in addition to my mother who has had a tremendous influence on me, it would have to be Peg.

Always beautifully groomed, with her hair just so and her nails perfectly manicured, Peggy ran that ad agency like a general would run a sorority.

She would dispense fashion and etiquette tips, then instantly turn hard as nails as she discussed the need for new clients, billing and how we as an agency just did not do spec work.

The original Steel Magnolia, Iron Hand In The Velvet Glove and, I mean this in the nicest possible way, DragonLady. All without uttering one word of profanity ever. The most we ever heard from her was "Oh, Dirty Word!" or "Shoop de doo!" And yet ... those words, coupled with a hard glare, could inspire terror.

This was a woman who would be cooly at ease (or at least make you believe she was) with a congressman (one of our clients), national political operatives -- or the men who owned the grocery or auto supply chains whose advertising business she wanted.

I think she was my Estee Lauder ... who coincidentally created Peg's favorite fragrance, White Linen. I will never forget that fragrance, or Peggy. Her jewelry, her coiffed hair, immaculate suits, hosiery and heels. What a lady.

The dear woman now is 79 years old -- and yesterday showed me and my coworkers Jeanie, Cherie, Lori, Diana, Marta (and many thanks to her daughter Jan for sharing her with us) that she still wasn't missing a beat.

I raised a glass of white wine, her customary libation, in her honor and remembered her as the first person who ever really thought I could write. And make money at it.

Peg, thank you.

Estee Lauder White Linen topnotes: citrus, peach and jasmine; middle notes: lilac, rose and amber; basenotes: cedarwood, sandalwood and benzoin.


Let's turn to page 78 of our hymnal, Parfums le Guide Edition 1994 by Luca Turin and raise our voices in song:

White Linen (Estée Lauder)
Qui n'a pas souhaité, en tenant entre ses mains un gros savon de bain blanc tout neuf, pouvoir entendre en entier la petite musique de son générique? Estée Lauder comble ce voeu au centuple. Ce que l'on croyait être un refrain devient la première phrase d'une symphonie poudreuse et fruitée. Si No. 22 (Chanel) avait la luminosité d'un brouillard printanier, White Linen possède la radiance réfractée du soleil sur la neige.

Un très grand parfum. Lorsque l'on ressent le besoin d'un grand nettoyage de printemps.

White Linen (Estée Lauder)
Who hasn't wished, while holding in his hands a large bar of very new white bath soap, the capacity to hear in entirety the faint music of its composition? Estee Lauder fulfills this wish a hundredfold. What one believed to be a refrain becomes the first phrase of a powdery, fruity symphony.

If Chanel No. 22 had the luminosity of a spring fog, White Linen possesses the refracted radiance of sun on the snow.

A grand perfume. When one feels the need of significant spring cleaning.

Yes, Jacqueline, I translated this myself. Stop laughing.


I'm Not A Doctor, But I Play One In This House

So last night I have my hand in Bucky's ear canal up to my wrist -- yes, I know, there are far worse canals my hand could be up -- as I'm flushing, swabbing and administering drops to a dog that at least THIS time is wagging his tail at me. When we first started this, I got growling and teethbaring. Not the Look of Love he now bestows upon me.

And today, as I do once every two weeks, I found myself preparing Jim's injection. This is the part of my quasi-physicianship around here that I'm kind of proud of.

Any child who was sent to the tropics at age five, as I was in the mid-'50s, who was forced to have what must have been twenty injections from some amateur corpsman in some military hospital, is bound to come out of it with traumatic association with hypodermics. I mean, those HURT.

I'm over it by now, but I didn't embrace the idea of inflicting the same kind of pain on someone very close to me.

Six months ago, though, there I was in a doctor's office with a nurse giving me lessons in giving shots. I knew I had to do it but I really didn't want to. And I couldn't admit how much I didn't want to, because that would have been letting the side down.

So here we are. I pick up the hypodermic barrel. I take the 18-gauge needle and tightly twist it onto the barrel.

I then take the medication vial out of the box and use an alcohol swab to swipe the permeable rubber seal on top.

I draw back the cartridge to the one cc measure and plunge the needle through the seal. Push the cartridge down to expel the air into the medication and then slowly draw the viscous fluid into the hypodermic barrel. Slowly, slowly. Being careful not to draw air into the cartridge. Because horrible things can happen if you're sloppy with air and injections.

Fill the barrel. Pull the needle out of the vial.

Top the needle with its cap, twist off the needle and replace it with the thinner 22-gauge needle. Tap loose any remaining air bubbles. Remove the cap. Push the cartridge a tiny bit to make sure fluid is at the needle end.

Now the horrifying part:

A vulnerable portion of a person you care a great deal for is exposed to you. Briskly rub a two inch section of flesh with an alcohol swab for about thirty seconds. Pinch a section of the vulnerable portion so that you have a little mound of flesh.

Quickly push the needle one inch deep into that human being who makes you coffee every morning. Pull the barrel out, drawing air into the needle to make sure there's no blood; you haven't hit a blood vessel, thank God.

Now you're almost home. Slowly, carefully push the barrel down, pushing the medication through the needle into the muscle. Almost there, almost there.

It's in.

Quickly pull the needle out, brightly announce, "You're done!" and start briskly rubbing the injection site with another alcohol swab to disperse the medication into the muscle.

Honestly, I thought I'd throw up the first time I did it. But I'm good at it now. He says he doesn't feel it at all.

He's a liar but I appreciate the vote of confidence.

Today's fragrance: Sage Machado Amber, elegant wood; sweet resin set in stone.


What Price Beauty?

I spent the morning at a salon ... where priorities are different and clearly expressed.

For instance, I learned that it takes three hours for toenail polish to "cure" and I needed to remain immobile for most of that time OR SHE WOULD NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RESULTS.

Speaking of products, it was necessary to spend an additional $50 (!) for the special foot callus slougher ("It will last forever IF YOU TAKE CARE OF IT," said the authoritarian pedicurist) and footcream ("By the time you get back in here, I WANT TO KNOW YOU HAVE USED THIS EVERY NIGHT FOR THE PAST MONTH" because "IF YOU DON'T, I DON'T WANT TO TELL YOU WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH THOSE HEEL CALLUSES. SERIOUSLY.")

I was suitably cowed by the time I was handed off to the stylist who would cut my hair. I learned that my hair, left to its own devices, has a woefully strong cowlick (cowlick, hm. Cow Lick. hm) and must be beaten into submission with no less than three products and two instruments of torture.

One of which is a ceramic flatiron which will require an additional investment of approximately $200. I didn't have the guts to nonchalantly slip that into the house. I must prepare Jim for that one.

Also: one must think in terms of Standing Appointments. Because you can't just waltz in there and expect one of these artistes to be at your beck and call. No, these slots fill up fast and if you want those toenails to stay in their current bloodred polished state, You Must Make Six Appointments So They Will Always Be There For You.

So, armed with my new slougher, footcream, knowledge of ceramic flatirons and standing appointments, toenails buffed and polished, hair trimmed and straightened, I emerged a New Woman.

I feel pretty! And poverty-stricken!

Today's fragrance: Penhaligon's Ellenisia, the name derived from the Celtic 'Elen,' meaning nymph. Gardenia and rose with Moroccan jasmine. Three of my favorite things AND there's musk and vanilla. I really like this, C.


Disembodied: Thoughts on CyberRelationship

I remember reading science fiction about the evolution of man, in which man slowly, slowly outlives his need for a body. On this evolutive highway, man's physical entity becomes more and more attenuated ... and finally disappears altogether. Mind is all that remains.

I wonder if the WWW is one of our trips down that highway.

I find myself with three of my most valued relationships being conducted via email, phone and IM ... and many other important friendships conducted through a messageboard and my blog.

Of course I still am in solid form with Jim and Bucky (although, in light of my mood today, both would welcome a little less solidity, I'm certain.)

The downside of cyberrelationship is that very absence of physicality -- I can't hug those friends, they can't see my eyes, or weigh my tone of voice.

The upside is the freedom to be with these friends any time, all the time. Time and distance don't matter; our untethered minds connect.

Children today have never known a world without computers or an Internet. One wonders what advances their children will preside over ... and whether the body will have taken even more steps toward its own obsolescence.

Today's fragrance: Parfums DelRae Amoureuse with notes of tangerine, cardamom, tuberose, jasmine, ginger lily, cedar moss, sandalwood, honey. Light whiteflower for a warm day.


Who Cares If They're Having An Affair?

[Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie] I really don't. I think avid interest in celebrity is all about not having enough of a life of your own.

But from a sheer aesthetic standpoint, if they're not having an affair, they should be. Perfect physical match.

And the movie was witty.

Today's fragrance: Creative Scentualization's Perfect Veil, lemony vanilla-y musk. The prototypical Your Skin But Better scent.

Random Thoughts & Musings on Internet Influences

Created Tomato/Edam tart, thanks to Lex Culinaria and her grandmother. Excellent.

Baked Strawberry Custard tart, thanks to Prim Optimist. Jim is very happy.

Need to put together Earthquake Kit, thanks to Crazy Aunt Purl. California is awfully close; nervousness has ensued.

Thoughts swirl on Ways to Make Perfume Pay, thanks to NowSmellThis. In my case, pipedream. (Pipette dream. heh.)

Knitting scarf from great yarn, inspired by Scarf Style Knit-Along. Beautiful.

Thinking of shaving head so Cleopatra wig will fit better, a la Alex from Don't See In Here.

Must obtain sample of Beyond Paradise for Men, thanks to PerfumeNotes' Luca Turin. Euphoria anticipated. Continue to beat down secret crush on LT.

Made wilted spinach salad with gruyere and installed Cost of War counter on blog, thanks to mamiesb from well-known fragrance board. The salad was delicious. Look at those numbers.

Bucky is undergoing neural reprogramming, thanks to Anxiety Wrap suggested by Winterwheat of Yelling Fire in a Crowded Theater. Results still out.

Momentary flush of anger about Women on the Verge of Thinking's post today: runaway bride attempts to cash in. Wouldn't that effort be better spent on therapy? Or maybe that's why she wants the money.

Fight tendency to envy Victoria's writing style in Bois de Jasmin. Rededicate self to learning everything I can from her. Still a bit green (both meanings).

Find visual inspiration in Laurelines. Still viscerally lust for drawing done on patterned paper. Have no feelings whatsoever for nude male model.

Admire Urbanchick's rhubarb photography and sweet, sly humor. Imagine her children are adorable.

And this doesn't even address what I got out of Blogdorf Goodman, Brain Trapped In a Girl's Body, Catbird Journal, Crazy Jay Blue, Hrmph, Janey's Journey, Life in Paris, Make a Mental Note, Ombligo and never last or least, Seldom Nice Nowadays. But I do take away something valuable from each of them. Every day.

Have a good Saturday. I'm going to the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith to see if I can discern whether Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are really having an affair offscreen. Not that I care.

Today's fragrance: some faint whiffs of last night's Arpege, many thanks to G.


What Would Edith Do?

This is the first installment of an irregularly scheduled feature in which I channel the spirit of Edith Head and provide answers to all your fashion, fragrance and lifestyle questions.

Now ... Let's Ask Edith!

Dear Edith,
I'm concerned about my dog's nakedness. I've always had girl dogs before, and for some reason haven't been bothered by their nudity. But my current dog -- let's call him Buckminster -- is, ahem, male. I am just not sure if it's proper for him to be running around with everything showing. Please advise.
Blushing in Ballard

Dear Blushing,
Well, let's consider how Buckminster feels about his mistress's discomfort with his natural splendor. Sounds a little Victorian and repressed if you ask me. And you did. Come on sister, Mother Nature made us in all shapes and sizes, get over it.

Yo, Edy!
I'm a pro basketball player and my contract's up this season ... I'm lookin' at a major lifestyle change. It's been years of baggy shorts hangin' around my knees, droopy jerseys, oversize Nikes and the usual pile-o-bling aroun' my neck. I plan to go into social work and need an image change ... what say?
Slackin' not Shaquin'

Slack, dude:
You're tall. That's one good thing. Clothes always look better on tall people. Unfair, but true. Since you're going to be pursuing a career in a helping profession (yes, I know, sports are their own kind of therapy), I see you doing the Eddie Bauer look with a touch of Brooks Brothers thrown in. (get it? thrown in? heh.) Sorry, but long pants are a must. And lose those boats-for-the-feet. It's khakis and loafers for you, my man.

Edith, ma cherie!
I'm in need of a new perfume ... can you suggest a man magnet fragrance that's not too old ladyish? I like all the Victoria's Secret scents and I dig anything Bijan. (That DNA is to die for!) Surely you can help?
Honeypot23 on a well-known fragrance board

Yes, I can help. And don't call me Shirley. You need to expand those fragrance horizons, babe. And, for God's sake, stop looking at it from the "Got to Catch Me A Man" angle. They can SMELL desperation, you know. I sense you wear a lot of makeup and short skirts with tight, midriff-baring t-shirts. The obvious fragrance for you is Angel by Thierry Mugler. Let me know how it works out, doll.

And that's it from Edith today! But she'll be back, so let us know any questions you might have!


Today's Fragrance: Edith wears Youth Dew by Estee Lauder.


History According to My Mother's Decor

Turquoise! The horror of turquoise!

[Magically disappear three of those kids and make one a girl (those boys look a LOT like my butchcut/butchwaxed five year old brother; the sharpshorn Brad Pitt -- if you unfocus your eyes -- could be my lieutenant colonel father in civilian clothes. But we didn't do that icky holding-hands-during-grace thing until the advent of the Wicked Stepfather). Oh, and my mother looked nothing like Angelina Jolie with the flowing locks. Sorry, Mother. But it's true.]

My Mother's Life in Decor was neatly segmented into three periods:

The Turquoise Period, in which she surrounded all of us in all turquoise, all the time. This even extended to her car, a turquoise-with-fins Chevy Biscayne. Then there were her clothes, mostly turquoise. But it was most evident in our living room, where she played off many, many turquoise accents against black and white furniture. Mom was pretty chic then, all things considered.

Olive Green and Burnt Orange -- Her Second Decor Age -- is the one that still makes me shudder. Which scarily coincided with her Early American Colonial furniture period. We had living room wallpaper with an olive green colonial scene bouncing off the MATCHING (yes, matching) patterned drapes. Accents -- and again, a lot of them -- were in this rusty orange, and all the maple furniture had these spindled legs that you just know no self-respecting Early American would have been caught dead with. Pewter everywhere, though. So Paul Revereish. But do you really think Olive Green and Burnt Orange when you think Founding Fathers? Hey, tell it to my mother.

That one lasted a LONG time.

I had moved out and married by the time Mother went into her last redecorating frenzy. But her taste had really muted -- it might have been a reflection of her illness, actually. She was tired, and wanted calm colors and traditional furniture. Sadly, her last home decor period was my favorite. Pale blue and cream plaid on the traditional armchairs, a soft blue and pink floral on the loveseats, pink accents. She still had spirit, though. My stepfather HATED the blue and pink period. But she was adamant. And got her way at the end. Always.

I'm amazed at women who have linens, silver and and other familial artifacts handed down by their mothers. Our family moved a lot, and my mother was a compulsive seller/discarder who periodically sloughed everything off (including a husband at one juncture) and started over. There's nothing left except memory of my childhood homes.

It's not sad, really, although I would now love to have something, even if it was turquoise or burnt orange, to remember her by.

But she did teach me to live light. And I'm now going through my own Era of Red and Gold. Heh.

Today's fragrance Ivoire de Balmain by Pierre Balmain. Lemon, carnation, jasmine and fresh green leaves, accented with amber, raspberry and oakmoss. Thank you, Marta!


Oops! There Goes Another RubberTree Plant!

This one goes out to all you cats and kittens in the audience:

remember, happiness is just around the corner! There a silver lining to every cloud! A stitch in time saves nine! Measure twice, cut once! Better late than never! The devil can cite scripture for his purpose! Better safe than sorry! Don't hide your light under a bushel! Feed a cold, starve a fever! He who laughs last, laughs best! Carpe diem!!!

I KNOW you know what I mean!

Just what makes that little ole ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant?
Anyone knows an ant can't
Move a rubber tree plant

{But he's got hi-i-igh hopes, he's got hi-i-igh hopes}
{He's got high apple pi-i-ie-in-the-sk-y-y hopes}

So, any time you're gettin' low,
'stead of lettin' go,
just remember that ant

Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
(Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant)
{Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant}

When troubles call and your back's to the wall
There a lot to be learned/ that wall could fall

Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram scram
He kept buttin' that dam

{'Cause he had hi-i-igh hopes, he had hi-i-igh hopes}
{He had high apple pi-i-ie-in-the-sk-y-y hopes}

So, any time your feelin' bad,
'stead of feelin' sad,
just remember that ram

Oops, there goes a billion-kilowatt dam
(Oops, there goes a billion-kilowatt dam)
{Oops, there goes a billion-kilowatt dam }

A problem's just a toy balloon,
they'll be bursted soon
They're just bound to go pop

{Oops, there goes another problem ker-plop}
(Oops, there goes another problem ker-plop)
{Oops, there goes another problem ker-plop}

And a BIG shoutout to Bob!

Today's fragrance: L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Papillons, palest sweet whiteflowers cut with linden, with a deep curtsey to Victoria.


Flag Day 2005

Latest count: More than 1700 dead Americans, countless Iraqis; more than 12,000 American wounded (many with debilitating brain injury from head wounds), countless Iraqis.

Politicians should not be allowed to wrap themselves in the flag to disguise this cost.

The flag deserves better. We deserve better.

A Bouquet of BPAL Roses

Black Phoenix Alchemy Laboratory is a goth-capitalist's dream ... specializing in exotic perfume oil combinations, BPAL enjoys intense if not vast popularity in perfume-crazies-land.

As I told my friend Michelle, I have the sense that there is art here, but I can't always appreciate it. It's art that often isn't speaking my language.

A typical review should go "This [fill in the blank ] BPAL oil combination elicits smell of a New Orleans cemetery, macabre characters in the dark of night ... a perfumed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Maybe a scented Thriller when MJ was still hip."

Um, ok. Sometimes it's all just too hardworking for me. I like pretty. I like feminine. I especially like sensual. But I don't always need a Beardsley/Wilde/Baudelaire combo wafting around me. Sometimes a girl just wants to smell good, you know?

And that is possible with BPAL ... you just need to choose the right fragrance from what seems like thousands. Here's notes on my bouquet of BPAL roses:

Zombi: Dried roses, rose leaf, Spanish moss, oakmoss and deep brown earth. The moss -- whether Spanish or oak -- is apparent. There's a depravity about this aged rose. As with most BPALs on me, there's an initially offputting strong scent ... but drydown is rich, producing soft, ancient roses with an old-attic touch of must.
London: "Venerable Victorian Tea Rose… twisted, blackened and emboldened with wickedness." Predominant rose in a dark mood. There's something with depth underneath there that I can't determine (no notes on site), something sharply herbal that I like.
Seraglio: From BPAL: "Sweet almond and Mysor sandalwood enveloped by a heady veil of Bulgarian Rose, neroli, nutmeg, clove and orange peel." This is very interesting, with the citrus of the neroli and orange peel peeking from under the predominant almond. I don't get a lot of rose with this.
Alice: Milk and honey with rose, carnation and bergamot. On me, cinnamony sweet. In fact, a lot like redhot candies. Ick. Time takes down some of this sweet sharpness and, although it takes a while to get there, it does become a soft, pretty fragrance. Never did find much rose, though.
Persephone: "Beautiful, radiant daughter of Demeter... her loveliness was so exquisite that even Hell itself could not resist her. Pomegranate and rose." Fruit! I hate Fruit! Grape kool-aid with a powder drydown.
Empress: Rose, sandalwood, maybe amber. I couldn't isolate specific notes on the site for this one, but it is my favorite of the six I tested. The rose and sandalwood/amber are balanced and calm from the beginning. A dignified fragrance that doesn't try to shock. Subtle. Here, too, I get slight powder at drydown. Elegance in understatement, which I think is a rarity in this line.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Laboratory is an entertaining labyrinth. I give them high points for their Flowers of Evil copywriting and Beardsleyesque graphics. If you'd like to explore the site, the address is:


Lengthening List of Monday Irritations

Why does Jim always snag the New Yorker the minute it comes in the mail? So that all the good cartoons are used up by the time I get it?

Why does Bucky insist on doing the circle dance before he lies down, wrinkling the living room carpet so that I'm sure its weave is getting damaged?

Why do I wake up at 5 am but am barely breathing by 8 pm? When I used to sleep until noon and stay up until midnight?

Why does Bucky shed enough hair to knit sweaters for all the children of a third world country?

Why don't neocons talk about their past illustrious service on active duty in our armed forces?

Why does Jim hate Law and Order SVU?

Why does the beautiful silver hair at my temples have an entirely different texture than the rest of my luxurious dark brown hair? So that there are, like, two different heads of hair on my head?

Why does Bucky refuse to come when I call him? And yet is all over me if he hears a bakery bag being opened? (Not that I, in my present dieting state, am opening bakery bags. But if I did.)

Why is the Downing Street memo being underplayed by the mainstream press?

Why do I have the appetite of someone who is 6' 8"? When I am 5'?

Why must we listen to every damn argumentative political talkshow that exists? (McLaughlin Report, Crossfire, George Stephanopolis, Robert Novak, Tim Russert et al?) (And don't get me started on all Wolf Blitzer, all the time.)

*Why don't Democrats understand that Democrats have more in common with moderate Republicans than moderate Republicans have in common with neocons?

Why must I be so grumpy? When I know it is not attractive and does not make me lovable?

*Why can't Howard Dean say, "I was wrong to criticize Republicans as a whole. Who we need to criticize is the small group of rabid right wingers, self righteous proselytizers who call themselves Republicans and call themselves conservatives -- neocons -- who are taking us for a destructively ideological ride. We're all in the trunk together, Democrats and moderate Republicans."

*thanks to Jim for the asterisked irritations, which I edited. Because I gotta be me.
Today's fragrance : BPAL's Zombi. BPAL review to come.


This Happened

A student, a young woman, in a fourth floor hallway of her lycee,
perched on the ledge of an open window chatting with friends
Between classes;
a teacher passes and chides her, Be careful, you might fall,
almost banteringly chides her, You might fall,
and the young woman, eighteen, a girl really, though she wouldn’t
think that,
as brilliant as she is, first in her class, and beautiful, too, she’s often
smiles back and leans into the open window, which wouldn’t even be
open if it were winter,
if it were winter someone would have closed it (Close it!)
leans into the window, farther, still smiling, farther and farther,
though it takes less time than this, really an instant, and lets herself
fall. Herself fall.

A casual impulse, a fancy, never thought of until now, hardly thought
of even now …
No, more than impulse or fancy, the girl knows what she’s doing,
the girl means something, the girl means to mean,
because, it occurs to her in that instant, that beautiful or not, bright
yes or no,
she’s not who she is, she’s not the person she is, and the reason, she
suddenly knows,
is that there’s been so much premeditation where she is, so much
plotting and planning,
there’s hardly a person where she is, or if there is, it’s not her, or not
wholly her,
it’s a self inhabited, lived in by her, and seemingly even as she
thinks it
she knows what’s been missing: grace, not premeditation but grace,
a kind of being in the world spontaneously, with grace.

Weightfully upon me was the world.
Weightfully this self which graced the world yet never wholly itself.
Weightfully this self which weighed upon me,
the release from which is what I desire and what I achieve.
And the girl remembers, in this infinite instant already so many times
the grief she felt once, hardly knowing she felt it, to merely inhabit
Yes, the girl falls, absurd to fall, even the earth with its compulsion to
take unto itself all that falls
must know that falling is absurd, yet the girl falling isn’t myself,
or she is myself, but a self I took of my own volition unto myself.
Forever. With grace. This happened.

C.K. Williams

Today's fragrance: I'm going to pull out those Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab imps I waited so long for, and see if they were worth it. More later.


Cake or Death?

I think almost any man could be improved with mascara, a bit of eyeshadow and a touch of blush.

And this is something Eddie Izzard, the funniest man -- er, transvestite -- er, man -- in the world understands.

If you're lucky enough to be in Los Angeles tonight at 10:30 pm,
The Coronet Theatre
366 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
TO BOOK CALL: 310.657.7377
Official site:

Truly, this man makes me howl. I've only seen the "Cake or Death" performance (there's also "Sexie," "Dress to Kill" and more). Fly to LA or, if not, rent a DVD. He is SO funny.

Here's some help from Eddie on the transvestite thing:
"‘Cause if you're a transvestite, you're actually a male tomboy, that's where the sexuality is. Yeah, it's not drag queen, no; gay men have got that covered. This is male tomboy, and people do get that mixed up, they put transvestite there - no no no no! Little bit of a crowbar separation, thank you! And gay men, I think, would agree. It's male lesbian, that's really where it is, ok? Because… it's true! ‘Cause most transvestites fancy girls, fancy women. So that's where it is. So it’s “running, jumping, climbing trees, putting on makeup when you're up there.” That's where it is!"

But one of Eddie's funniest trips is on Church of England Fundamentals: "So yeah, and the Romans went Christian and then we had Christianity for about 1500 years. You know, Catholicism, we believed in the teachings of Cathol, and everything it stood for...

Then Henry VIII came along. Henry VIII, a big, hairy king, and he said to the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church: "Mr. Pope! I'm going to marry my first wife, and then I'm going to divorce her. Now, I know what you're going to say but stick with me, my story gets better. I'm going to marry my second wife and then I'm going to kill her, cut her head off! Ah, not expecting that, are ya? Third wife, gonna shoot her. Fourth wife, put her into a bag. Fifth wife, into outer space. Sixth wife, on a Rotissimat. Seventh wife, made out of jam. Eighth wife…” ( makes sound similar to putting babies on spikes )

"And the Pope's going, (Italian accent ) "You crazy bugger! You can't do all this! What are you, a Mormon? You can't marry all these people! It's illegal! You can't do all this! I am the Pope, I am the head of the Church, I have to keep up… ciao! I have to keep up standards. What have you been reading, the gospel according to St. Bastard?"

"So Henry VIII, who was Sean Connery for this film, said: ( imitating Sean Connery ) "Well then, I will set up a new religion in this country. I will set up the Psychotic Bastard religion."
"And an advisor said, "Why not call it Church of England, Sire?"
"Church of England, actually. Much better... Even though I’m Scottish myself."

"So they did! That's the birth of Church of England, the birth of the Anglican Church! Disgusting, eh? That's no basis to start a religion on! Nothing to do with the Protestant church, I mean, Henry just shagged and killed a lot of women and then stole all the money off the monasteries. You know, rape and pillage, that is!

"Nowadays, Church of England is much more, "Hello, how are you?" Much more a hobby-type ... "Hello!" A lot of people in Church of England have no muscles in their arms. "Hello, yes... ( chuckles ) Yes, that's what I thought. ( chuckles ) Do come in, you're the only one today! Now the sermon today is taken from a magazine that I found in a hedge. New lipstick colors this season are in the frosted pink area and nail colors to match..."

"The Anglican faith ... You'll never go:
"Vicar, I have done many bad things."
"Well, so have I."
"What shall I do?"
"Well, drink five Bloody Marys and you won't remember."

"Because the Anglican faith had a lack of principles for a long time. You can't get really headstrong about it. You can't say, you know, like the Islamic jihads that we hear about. We get scared about those Islamic jihads. I think we do assume that everyone who is into the Islamic religion is having a jihad every other bloody day. There's a lot of very relaxed Islamic people, and we got to understand - remember, this is very important - and we do assume that jihads are just like, you know, every day three jihads are issued by every individual. I just don't think that's happening.

"But you can't do that in Church of England, you can't say, "You must have tea and cake with the Vicar, or you die!" You can't have extreme points of view, you know.

The Spanish Inquisition wouldn't have worked with Church of England. "Talk! Will you talk!"
"But it hurts!"
"Well, loosen it up a bit, will you? Fine..."

.... and Eddie on Cake or Death: "‘Cause that's what it would be. "Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death? Tea and cake or death!" ‘Cause, "Cake or death?" That's a pretty easy question. Anyone could answer that.
"Cake or death?"
"Eh, cake please."
"Very well! Give him cake!"
"Oh, thanks very much. It's very nice."
"You! Cake or death?"
“Uh, cake for me, too, please."
"Very well! Give him cake, too! We're gonna run out of cake at this rate. You! Cake or death?"
"Uh, death, please. No, cake! Cake! Cake, sorry. Sorry..."
"You said death first, uh-uh, death first!"
"Well, I meant cake!"
"Oh, all right. You're lucky I'm Church of England!"
"Cake or death?"
"Uh, cake please."
"Well, we're out of cake! We only had three bits and we didn't expect such a rush. So what do you want?"
"Well, so my choice is 'or death’? I’ll have the chicken then, please."
“Tastes of human, sir. Would you like a white wine? There you go, thank you very much.”

“Thank you for flying Church of England, cake or death?"

Today's fragrance: Cabaret by Gres. The perfect transvestite scent with its sparkling roses.


A Note of Explanation

If you read my blog earlier today, there was a post of a draft chapter of writing that is very personal, autobiographical fiction, if there is such a thing -- and some realtime editorial remarks from Jim, who encouraged me to radically change direction on the piece.

Although I received some very kind, even loving comments, I found myself feeling just too naked and raw about putting it out there.

I'd posted weeks ago about seeing the blog as a desensitization process for my writing.

For me, there is a very thin membrane between self and creation. I am assimilated into my writing -- or the best writing I do is assimilated into me. And at risk of sounding artiste, I'm fragile about this work. I am frightened by my creative process and what it costs me emotionally to write.

This means that post was too visible. Or at least too visible for what I am able to bear right now.

This in itself is an attempt at transparency. And I will soon return to the acerbic wit that is this blog's usual program format.

But, if you were interested, I wanted you to know.

Today's Fragrance: Parfums DelRae Debut.


Recycled Diatribes

My friend Barbara, attorney by trade and agent provocateur by disposition, has a wonderful blog, Women on the Verge of Thinking (see link at right). Everyday she poses a different question and we take up our posts on either the left or right and start whacking on each other.

Sidenote: One of Barbara's favorite topics is The Penis (ok, I admit it. I kind of encourage her in this hobby) and she occasionally devotes a whole section of her blog to the Penis Chronicles. Fun!

But mostly B poses questions about life and politics, morality and justice. I was just nervy enough to go swimming back in blogwater to retrieve my answers to a few of her past posts. Here are my recycled diatribes (and remember, in my case, no logic is promised. Just unreasoned emotionalism, my specialty):

Supreme Court Rules that U.S. Can Ban Medical Marijuana
I'm stream of consciousnessing on this one: it seems a cruel morality, a modern take on the punitive Calvinism of the 1600s that punished those who became ill, because surely their illness was evidence of immorality. What harm could come of providing analgesic marijuana to those
whose cancer has so invaded their bodies that they are in constant pain? What harm? Can you honestly say there is a link between this highly regulated compassionate use of a controlled substance and the peddling of crack cocaine in ghetto streets? That halting one will have any effect on the other? Why does this feel so self-righteously punitive, this additional invasive intrusion in private life by conservative legislators of morality? And no, I do not use marijuana for any purpose, recreational or otherwise. I actually believe its street use can be a gateway to harder drugs. But this is not what we're talking about. We're talking about taking away a physician's ability to prescribe a controlled substance for pain relief for cancer patients. Why limit a physician's arsenal of pain relief available for a terminal cancer patient when there is absolutely no provable causal relationship between this regulated use and use of street drugs?

Should the Bush Administration Be Held Accountable?
Yes, they should be held accountable ... as they demand accountability for human rights abuses from every other country they criticize. I can barely form words around my anger about this. Yesterday, as I watched the horrific tape of murders in Bosnia, used as evidence in the Serbian
leader's trial, I thought how this administration should be giving deep thought to their legacy, and how they may be judged by history. Even if they refuse to judge themselves today.

(additional post) Yeah, we're pretty sure Clinton enjoyed more than one extramarital blow job ... but, as you know, the comparison is impeachment for extramarital oral sex versus no apparent judgement for(at last count) 1600 American soldiers dead (edited to add: and 12,000+ wounded) in a war entered into under a falsified pretext. And, yes, there is a war against terror. But it should be a global war conducted by collaborative allies, a true coalition, not an empire-building effort spearheaded by neocons who rarely if ever served in the armed forces they are so eager to deploy.

Trial of God
B, first -- thank you for a thoughtful forum in which you have maintained civility while encouraging spirited discussion. Second, no, I don't blame God. His ways are so far beyond my limited human reason that, to me, it is foolish to even think of blaming Him. In my emotional immaturity, I may
question Him, though. I may ask "Why?" In the face of tremendous loss and pain, I cannot blame others for losing their faith. But in the words Jung placed on his lintel: "Bidden or Unbidden, God is Present." I believe He doesn't leave us, even when we attempt to leave Him.

Please ... visit Women on the Verge of Thinking. It's good exercise for your mind. And tell her Miri sent ya.

Today's fragrance: Agent Provocateur, of course. Dry-scented saffron, with a faint undertone of sweetness (the rose, jasmine and magnolia). Coriander then comes in and takes over and I'm ok with that. I think it's the sharpness of the coriander -- playing against the floral sweetness -- that gives it mystery until the final musky drydown.


In the Dark Room ... or Lost in the Hall of Mirrors

I imagine we all go through periods of deep self-absorption. The scary part is watching it in someone else, and realizing how blind you are when you can't see past yourself.

I call it being in the dark room, that state where you have absolutely no idea of the effect you're having on others.

You're either in too much psychological pain to accurately gauge reaction to your behavior, you've always been totally self-absorbed and somehow rewarded for it, or you're just plain oblivious. Maybe all of it.

I cringe when I think of my twenties and thirties, prime hall of mirror years. A lot of energy spent dwelling on my reflection.

Some of it's connected with mating ... worrying about How Do I Look and If He's Looking. Some of it's about work: Do They See What I'm Accomplishing? Am I Good Enough? Is this Enough Status? Enough Money?

And, embarrassingly (don't ask me how I know), it's possible to have Dark Room Redux in your forties, even fifties ... some would call it mid-life crisis.

At what point does it serve us best to stop craning our necks to catch sight of self-in-mirror, not to navel gaze, but just to do? Just to be? That seems be the door out of both the hall of mirrors and the dark room ...

...just step forward and walk out into the light. Back into connection with others, interaction, caring about what others are feeling and seeing and doing.

Today's fragrance: Serge Lutens Sa Majeste la Rose because I think it just screams Versailles. It's an elegant rose. Some herbal undernote. Beautiful but distant.


Well, Here's To You, Mrs. Robinson ...

In Memoriam
Anne Bancroft
September 17, 1931 - June 6, 2005
“Film critics said I gave a voice to the fear we all have: that we’ll reach a certain point in our lives, look around and realize that all the things we said we’d do and become will never come to be
— and that we’re ordinary.”

WHAT Did You Say?

Allergies are driving me crazy. Eyes are squinty and itchy. Nose seems to have taken over most of face. Sleepy, sleepy, sleepy from pharmaceutical mixed cocktail (Claritin and Benadryl).

High point of morning: maple bar split with Bucky. (Do not mention diet to me. I only ate half and Bucky got the bigger half.)

In other news, scarf I am knitting snarls itself while I sleep. Obviously possessed by evil demon intent on seeing I never finish the damn thing. (Don't worry, recipient. None of this will be apparent in finished product.)

Read other women's blogs and once again swept away by vast ocean of internet talent. Once again I hate them all.

Big fragrance news is Luca Turin blog. Have secret crush on Luca Turin. Must disguise it by proclaiming disdain for "Hero Worship." Must sneak back to reread later.

Internal monologue not very cheerful. A bit unfocused. Although did have some nice erotic dream content last night. Thank God, no more Katie Couric.

This is it for now. Perhaps more later. *practices Princess backhanded wave, imagining self on palace balcony, waving to adulatory crowd*

Fragrance of the Day: Frederic Malle Une Rose, because of Tania's mention and Victoria's truffle accord. Do not feel girly. Feel in full bloom, surrounded by pollen.


I Have To Admit It's Getting Better. It's Getting Better All the Time.

Looking at Michael Jackson -- sadly -- I wonder: at what
point does working on yourself result in a caricature?

Variations on that theme are women "of a certain age" who
hang onto to what they feel were their best years WAY past
the sell-date.

The blue eyeshadowed, darkly liplined, collagen and/or
silicone-enhanced, rapunzel-locked, gray-rooted babes of
yesteryear who just can't give up the fight.

The fight for what? To be sexually viable? To be appealing
to the barrel-chested, balding Lothario in the recliner with
the remote? To appeal to their current fantasy of
male-at-the-top-of-his-game, maybe Bo Bice (!)?

What, who is the fight for?

What about a graceful acceptance of who you're facing in
the mirror?

I'll soon be 54 and life has only become richer for me. I
receive much affection and give much. I have more of a
sense of who I am as a woman and am acknowledged for,
and gratified by, my femininity and my sexuality ...

I had always thought European women had the corner on
this market: the woman coming into her prime. The Anouk
Aimees, Catherine Deneuves, Melina Mercouris et al. But
now I see that American women can become just as
fulfilled in this time of our lives ...

I am more discriminating in all aspects of life ... resulting in
much more benefit to me. Because I am much quicker to
open my hands and set free those things that dissatisfy

So why such fear about aging? Can it not only get better?

Today's fragrance: clearing's Mireille Green Rose, today bittersweet at first, softening down to a beautiful soft rose. Once again, thanks, C.

Jean Shrimpton: Yes. Katie Couric: No.

Why would I spend a good three hours of REM sleep being reincarnated into Katie Couric AS A CHEERLEADER?

Seriously, I woke up this morning to memories of being Katie Couric AS A MERCER ISLAND CHEERLEADER.

It was me in that flippy short skirt, long blond hair and perpetually perky grin.

Oh, and there was a Svengalic male cheerleader advisor (does that ever happen?) who seemed a lot like Bob Saget (who I have never willingly watched on anything). (I barely know who the man is.) (But there he is, offering cheerleading tips.) (To ME, the squad captain.) (Hrmph.)

Let's deconstruct this.

Katie Couric and I are both short, have fought being called cute all our lives, are extremely verbal and power hungry.

My ex-husband was from Mercer Island, Washington ... but, to the best of my knowledge, never attended a high school sports event (he was the sullen artsy type), nor was involved with any cheerleader types (he hates blondes).

So, on that weak platform, any semblance of similarity ends. I cannot explain how her physicality got into my subconscious pervasively enough to dominate my dream sleep last night.

But I can tell you, I didn't like it.

Tonight I will schedule my dream sequence around being Jean Shrimpton (this one's for you, Annie!*).


National Cancer Survivors Day

I'm fortunate to have never experienced cancer ... but I have friends and loved ones who have, and at least a few of them have some anger with the way our culture and health care system regards that disease process and those who live with it.

Dr. Andrew Weill addressed this in his weekend email, and reminded me that National Cancer Survivors Day is today, June 5. Here's part of his message:

I share your frustration about the way conventional medicine identifies survivors as those who are in long-term recovery when, in fact, from the moment of diagnosis, everyone touched by cancer is in survival mode. This is true not only of patients, but also their caregivers, family members, and loved ones.

Survival begins as new cancer patients first confront the suspicion of the disease, and continues as they undergo the testing, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Their emotions can vary from fear to loneliness. There often is a sense of approaching mortality, and feelings that they’ve lost control over their lives, as well as confusion in interpreting medical information.

...As far as therapies to complement your cancer treatment are concerned, you have wide choices.

Meditation and Mind-Body Medicine: Explore mind-body techniques such as guided imagery, meditation, and energy medicine modalities such as Therapeutic Touch and Reiki.

Stay Active: Regular exercise is an essential part of maintaining good health. Engage in gentle exercise (yoga is a good choice) as often as you can.

Nutrition: Eat lots of fresh (organic, if possible) fruits and vegetables (consider juicing to increase serving size without feeling too full); drink several cups of green tea daily (for its cancer protective and antioxidant effects); and eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, ground flaxseeds and cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines). Always discuss changes in your diet with your physician.

Seek Support: Join a support program for people with cancer. The inspiration and hope you’ll find there is priceless.

Have Faith: Don't underestimate the role of your spiritual being in the healing process.

To anyone who is living with this disease, I say first, "damn it." It would be really artificial to try and put a flowery pollyanna spin on this devastating disease and what you have to do to deal with it.

But on this day that honors you, I can honor your intention to live your life fully ... and extend my positive thoughts for success in achieving your best ultimate outcome, your way.

Today's fragrance: Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, with a breath of anisette. Because I am comforted by it.


Ariela Channels the Young Ruth

Yesterday I received this blogpost from heaven.

Actually it was an email from Ruth, who had this conversation with her four year old daughter Ariela in the car on the way to work. Ruth noted, "this conversation has convinced me that occasionally spirits from my past life enter the body of my daughter purely for the purpose of tormenting me."

Ariela: (in the back seat, quietly) What the fock? What the fock? What the fock?

Ruth: What did you say?

Ariela: FocS. I said FoX. What?

Ruth: The other word. You know what I’m talking about; it’s not a very nice word.

Ariela: Fock. Rhymes with sock. Fock, fock, fock rhymes with sock. Mommy, fock rhymes with sock.

Ruth: So does block.

Ariela: Good one, mommy! So does cock.

Ruth: (silence)

Ariela: Geek.

Ruth: WHY are you saying these words to me?

Ariela: Because I think they’re funny! (singsong voice) But youuuuu don’tttt.

Ruth: (silence)

Ariela: Sock, block, shock, lock, fock, dock, tock, knock. Those are all good words. Except the [stage whisper] FOCK one.

Today's fragrance in honor of Ruth: Annick Goutal's Ce Soir ou Jamais, one of my favorite, most ladylike roses.


Chaos to Order

I have my own Chaos theory and you can see it in my home at this very moment.

I despise cleaning ... and yet, if one does not want to live a third-world existence (I'm sure this offends someone), one must regularly, energetically use abrasive household products.


I'm of a mindset that really enjoys the bonbon eating, TV watching, trashmag reading side of life. I know it says unspeakable things about my character but, hey, I Gotta Be Me.

It's bad enough my bonbon eating is currently restricted, but to have to clean house, too?

*Feels minor rebellion fomenting* *Sullen facial expression emerges* *Wildass fantasy entertained of teaching dog to vacuum*

I'll let you know how this turns out.

Today's fragrance: DK Black Cashmere thanks to mamiesb *mwah.* Because I am a femme fatale with sponge-in-hand. Spicy, musky earthy skin scent. I love it.


Lemmings as a Diet Aid

In perfume fanatic parlance, a "lemming" is something you lust for, usually in the encouraging company of many like-minded individuals who also would be willing to knock over their mothers to get at the desired bottle of whatever.

My current lemming list includes, but is not limited to, the largest possible bottles of the following:

Agent Provocateur
Caron Or et Noir (added just this minute as I read V's Bois de Jasmin)
Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur
Frederic Malle Une Rose
Regina Harris Rose Maroc
Serge Lutens Sa Majeste la Rose
Serge Lutens Chergui
Yosh Sottile
Yosh U4EEAH!

I have decided to use my lemming list as a diet aid. For every five-pound increment lost, I should receive a bottle off my list. This averages approximately $100 invested for each five pounds lost.

Such a small price to pay for my happiness.

I have not yet shared this with Jim, but I know he will be supportive. Heh.

Today's fragrance: the very economical Tipton Charles Sandalwood layered with the equally cost-conscious Lady Evangeline. Warm woodsy, cherry almondish coziness. Perfect for another %^&* gray Seattle day.