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


Ever Been In One of Those Moods?

(sharks commenting on how most surfers deserve it)

hAPpY HaLLoWeEn ...

For Wiccans, Samhain is a time for letting go of the old and looking ahead to the new, a time when the veil is most sheer between living and dead; Samhain is the end of the harvest season, a time when Pagans pay their respects to departed loved ones, ancestors, and guides in the spirit world.

"The Goddess manifests as the Crone and the God as the Horned Hunter and Lord of Death. Sacred colors are Black and Orange. A festival of endings and transformation."

Today's fragrance: Celtic Woods by Dragonfly Blue. Perfect combination of sweet and spicy *whisper* reminiscent of Youth Dew. Heh.

Samhain source material: Detroit Free Press


The (Scented) Haunting

Don't know about you, but I don't want to get trapped alone in a dark parfumerie with Charlotte Rampling.

I think she'd have no hesitation about impaling you on a sharp shard from an emptied bottle ...

... rather than let you have that last bottle of Caron Or et Noir.


Her Royal Surliness Presents ...

The Princess of Pique is having a nostalgic moment tonight. And sees fit to regale you with the lyrics from an old favorite Beatles song. (Unfortunately, not from Revolver, which would go with the illustration. Dammit. But from Meet the Beatles (thank you, Aral.) (Good song, nonetheless.)

You know you made me cry
I see no use in wondering why
I cried for you.

And now you've changed your mind,
I see no reason to change mine.
It's through. oh.

You're giving me the same old line
I'm wondering why:
You hurt me then
You're back again
No, no, no, not a second time.

You know you made me cry
I see no use in wondering why
I cried for you.

And now you've changed your mind,
I see no reason to change mine.
It's through. Oh.

You're giving me the same old line
I'm wondering why:
You hurt me then,
You're back again,
No, no, no, not a second time.


Hallowe'en ... Time To Celebrate Dead Lemmings!

Every perfumista has a lemming (or twenty) that they fell out of love with ... the perfume you had to have, got ... and now: meh. What better time than Halloween ... All Hallows Eve ... The Day of the Dead ... to pay homage to those bottles where you lost that lovin' feelin'? Mine? *whisper* L'Artisan Voleur de Roses. My first love. Now either the bottle's gone bad or my chemistry's changed or ... the thing just stinks. I have cried over it and moved on. Why don't you list yours and do the same? Poor dears.

No Schadenfreude

No matter where one stands on the political spectrum, it is inappropriate to take any pleasure out of this indictment. And, frankly, rabidly partisan liberal Democrat that I am, I'm shocked to feel this way.

But listening to the Republican Special Prosecutor's legal reasoning arising from the two year investigation, and the four five-year counts and one ten-year count for which I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, has been indicted, one can only feel sad and disgusted. For the man. For the mindset and circumstances that allowed this to happen.

But also proud that the system was permitted to work.


Not As Tough As She Once Was, Either

In the middle of the first term of school, and I'm assessing how I'm doing with the dealing-with-humans part of it all: that's always the tough part, I think. Figuring out the "emotional intelligence" of your work environment. And I think I'm doing ok.

I was afraid that the five year hiatus -- my last job as a copywriter ended December 31, 2000 -- and the dead zone, hate-this-so-much trauma I associated with that work's close interaction (read: jockeying for position) would have left me skinless, non-coping, unable to deal, once I was reimmersed. (Does that make any sense?)

But it's ok. I'm still pretty self-conscious about how I come off to people -- but I get along. I'm amazed at how much I play the entertainer, though. I wasn't like that before. I was -- let's be truthful -- kind of brittle and nasty. I'd like to say the work demanded it -- but I really think it was a personality deficit. I was sick and tired of what I was doing and it showed.

Now ... not so much. I love what I'm learning. And I'm sure an actual workplace will be tougher than the learning environment. But I've made a good start at reentry. It's going to be ok.



My favorite time
of the year ...


My Inner European

I Am A Parisian.

2000 American Men and Women Have Died in Iraq

Approximately 1800 of the 2000 died since the end of major combat and President Bush's announcement of "Mission Accomplished."

15,220 have been wounded: head wounds, brain injury, lost limbs, PTSD.

Lists and The Women Who Love Them

Because we** at c'est chic are not solely concerned with smelling good and learning legal, as a public service today we reprint the list of Superfoods (as espoused by Steven Pratt, in his book SuperFoods RX: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.) *we keep wanting to call him Jack Sprat*

We love lists like this, especially looking at them, thinking about them, thinking how wonderful it would be if we followed them, imagining the Superfoods lined up in our cabinets and refrigerator ... and how our life would be made incredibly better by their ingestion. Of the Superfoods, not the lists.

We, however, have not moved past the imagination phase.

But maybe you will!

Beans -- reduce obesity
Blueberries -- lower risk for cardiovascular disease
Broccoli -- lowers the incidence of cataracts and fights birth defects
Oats -- reduce the risk of type II diabetes
Oranges -- prevent strokes
Pumpkin -- lowers the risk of various cancers
Wild salmon -- lowers the risk of heart disease
Soy -- lowers cholesterol (but if hypothyroid, discuss soy with your dr.)
Spinach -- decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease and age-related
macular degeneration

Tea -- helps prevent osteoporosis
Tomatoes -- raise the skin's sun protection factor
Turkey -- helps build a strong immune system
Walnuts -- reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes, and

Yogurt -- promotes strong bones and a healthy heart

Oh, and dark chocolate figures in here somewhere. *We were greatly disappointed that milk chocolate did not make the list instead*

Today's fragrance: Regina Harris Amber Vanilla. Our first experience with this scent was a scent strip obtained from a trip to the uninspired Barneys in Seattle. Their fragrance selection might be lousy but their scent strips swing! That tiny piece of paper permeated my office area for two weeks with this wonderful fragrance: rich like her Rose Maroc, but much more ambery and spicy. Not the typically blandly sweet vanilla fragrance. Serious, dark vanilla, if that's possible. Lovely.

**Note how we are trying out use of the Imperial We. How do you like Us so far?


In Memoriam: Rosa Parks 1913 - 2005

Economic Consequences: Perfume

(whoops, there's goes another lemming over the cliff.)


Happy Birthday to Liz!

Liz is 40! And the mother of Nicholas, and a graphic designer, and a really wonderful knitter, and a sweet, thoughtful human, and the paramour of Peter (!) who actually seems to deserve her, and she has long legs and blonde hair and good taste and is a skilled photographer and makes excellent tomato-red pepper soup and spinach salad and has taken care of me when I've been broken hearted and is one of the dearest women I have ever known. Happy Birthday, sweety! The yarn is in the mail!

Today's fragrance: Etro Shaal Nur is a puzzle, most predominantly spice, incense and rose to me -- the contradiction is the other claimed notes of karo karoundé (floral, herbal, and spicy), narcissus, jonquil and citrus: I don't get 'em. But what I do get is so deep and mysterious. Dark and beautiful. One of my favorite fall fragrances.


But I Need More Black Eyeliner

(desire for Supreme Court nomination)


Old Roses

When my father met my mother
at a dinner party in a garden of very old roses
on Beacon Hill one hot evening
in early June, he said to his friend, F. Morton
Smith, that night, "Morton, I have met
the girl I'm going to marry!"
(We have Uncle Morton's
testimony for that, the certified word
of a Boston lawyer.)

My mother
said my father had looked handsome, yes,
and talked delightfully, but what she remembered
were the mosquitoes. "If you stopped slapping at them,
even for a second, you were eaten up

My father courted her
for the next ten years, whenever they found themselves
in the same place. It was the twenties then,
heyday of ocean liners, and she might be
in Paris, or maybe off getting
run away with by a hairy, two-humped camel
in the Gobi Desert, while he was crossing
the Pyrenees on foot;

but, at last, on another
steamy hot day in Massachusetts, as she,
still wet from the bath, lay naked upstairs
on her sister's bed, she heard the wedding march
start up on the grand piano
directly below her. She sprang to her feet,
threw on her cream-colored dress with a dipping hemline,
and flung herself down the narrow old staircase
straight into the arms of matrimony – which were wearing
an English jacket of dark blue wool for the occasion,splendid, but unendurable.

Would anyone say the marriage was a happy one? I don't think
I know. Sometimes. Perhaps. I can't imagine
either of them with anyone else.

Years later, I,
a greedy child, crouched in the dark cabinet
under the attic stairs, and wolfed down
the last slice of their wedding cake, dried out fruitcake
in a little box covered with silver paper
and lined with paper lace, a keepsake
for wedding guests to slip under their pillows
that night so that they, too, would dream the bright moon
rolling her way through silver light, singing stars
clustering under the clouds.

Those crumbs
became the bones in my seven-year-old body –
and they're in there yet – while the dreams
sing on in my head forever, like mosquitoes
whining among the leaves of thorny old roses.

By Kate Barnes, as recited by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac of American Public Media

Today's fragrance: Annick Goutal's Ce Soir Ou Jamais, a scent ten years in the making, incorporating 160 essences, including Turkish rose, jasmine, ambrette, cassis, pear, peach and wild flowers. Ce Soir bears a resemblance to the lovely Sa Majeste la Rose of Serge Lutens. I think they may share the ambrette, which affords the scent a warm muskiness. But I found this fragrance to soften into a much gentler rendition of rose, after the sharpness of its first few minutes. A sensual scent allowing one to relax into its ultimately very gentle elegance. (I will always associate this scent with cjblue. Thanks, R.)


So Tired

I'm so tired,
I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired,
my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up
and fix myself a drink
No,no,no. Beatles


The Power of Thought

Our dear friend, Still Life, of Dancing In Place, wouldn't ask ... but I'm offering: the power of all of our positive thoughts for her as she recuperates from a hospital procedure.

There's so much power in human thought. And positive human thought is an untapped resource for good. (It can also be called "nonlocal effects of mind" and Larry Dossey, MD wrote a very interesting book on it a few years ago called Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine.)

Please accept my invitation to invest a bit of your positive energy in Still Life's healing process. She is so worth it.

Two Words:



Today's fragrance: Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison. Considering how strident and, to me, FRUITY, the original Poison was, this fragrance was quite a surprise. Almost translucent on me, even though I applied a cream of the same fragrance underneath. I really like the subtle woods/bitter almond/ vanilla of it. Sheerly Ladylike. As opposed to the Blatant Hussyness of CD Poison *open a window and get that purple bottle away from me!*


Don't These Just Scream ROD STEWART?

(red plaid pants)


Ariella: All This Could Be Yours ...

And I think you know what I mean.

*Not only am I ruggedly handsome, but I also am acutely intelligent and have a piquant sense of humor*

*I also rarely play hard to get.*

Bucky, our Groenendahl shepherd/Lab makes a play for Ariella, the Portugese Water Dog of It Really Is A Dog's Life (link right)

My Brain Is Crowded

I have a test on Tuesday and I hope some of this sticks. Wish me luck?
Bench trial Non-jury trial, by judge onlyComplaintPleading made by a plaintiff alleging wrongdoing on the part of the defendant; the document that, when filed with a court, initiates a lawsuitConstructive service Publishing the notice of summons in legal announcements section of newspapers.Contingent feeAttorney’s fee based on percentage of final award received by his or her client as a result of litigation Counterclaim Opposing claim made by defendant in response to plaintiff’s complaintDefaultFailure to observe a promise or discharge an obligation. Term commonly used to mean failure to pay a debt when it is due.Deposition Testimony of a party to a lawsuit or a witness taken under oath before a trial.Direct examinationExamination of a witness by the attorney who calls the witness to the stand to testify on behalf of the attorney’s clientDirected verdictWhen decision has been taken out of the hands of the jury and verdict announced for moving party on the grounds that other party has not produced sufficient evidence for their claim; referred to as a motion for judgment as a matter of law in federal courts.DiscoveryA phase in the litigation process during which the opposing parties may obtain information from each other and from other parties prior to trial.Execution Action to carry into effect the directions in a court decree or judgment.GarnishmentLegal process used by creditor to collect a debt by seizing property of the debtor (such as wages) that is being held by a third party (such as the debtor’s employer)General verdictOrdinary verdict declaring which party prevails without any special findings of factHearsayOral or written statement made out of court that is later offered in court by a witness (not the person who made the statement) to provide the truth of the matter asserted in the statement. Hearsay is generally inadmissible as evidence. Judgment Final order or decision resulting from a legal action.Judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV)Court grants judgment in favor of the party making the motion on the ground that the jury verdict was unreasonable and erroneous.Lien A claim against specific property to satisfy a debt.Motion for directed verdictMotion for the judge to take the decision out of the hands of the jury and direct a verdict for the moving party on the grounds that other party has not produced sufficient evidence for their claim; referred to as a motion for judgment as a matter of law in federal courts.Motion for new trial


DSH Ashram: Death and Forever

I received a sample order from DSHperfumes[.com] and included was this week's favorite fragrance: Ashram.

It's in that family of incense-y fragrances that I've recently come to crave ... for some reason, these scents give you that sense of Death and Forever that's perfect for the season.

Per the DSH site: "Om Nama Shivaya. Peace and enlightenment through meditation ..." i
t has a dense not-so-sweet smokiness that brings to mind burning leaves, but these leaves are from far away trees -- and the burning involves some sort of spiritual petition.

Ashram is not the familiar incense of Catholic mass ... it truly does bring to mind distant mountains where monks in lotus position find satori without seeking it.

Notes include: nag champa, amber, Australian sandalwood, benzoin, champaca absolute, East Indian patchouli base, Brazilian vetiver, frankincense/olibanum, Himalayan cedar and myrrh gum. Although there's no vanilla cited in the notes, it reminds me of Regina Harris' Amber Vanilla, which I also love.

Speaking of Death and Forever scents, here is a wonderful quote about frankincense and myrrh that I read in Robin of NowSmellThis's recent interview with Alexandra Balahoutis of Strange Invisible Perfumes:

"A distiller I know told me that frankincense was the first breath you take and that myrrh is the last. I then realized that myrrh had something to do with death and after that I understood it."

Pancake Fantasy

Never Eat More Than You Can Lift.
~Miss Piggy

Yup, this is today's excuse for a post. PLUS: Today's fragrance is Yosh Stargazer, with notes of lily and ginger. I feel pretty, oh so pretty ... but I still want pancakes.


Pinter Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Today, British playwright Harold Pinter won the 2005 Nobel Literature Prize. A prolific writer, his work includes plays, screenplays, prose and poetry. His politics are vehement ... he is adamantly against the war in Iraq and one can't help but believe his selection in some sense reflects a global community's applause of this worldview.

Below is one of his most recent poems (posted out of a sense of shame. But it is better to know what others think -- and be shamed -- than to pretend others don't exist):

God Bless America

Here they go again,
The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.

The gutters are clogged with the dead
The ones who couldn't join in
The others refusing to sing
The ones who are losing their voice
The ones who've forgotten the tune.

The riders have whips which cut.
Your head rolls onto the sand
Your head is a pool in the dirt
Your head is a stain in the dust
Your eyes have gone out and your nose
Sniffs only the pong of the dead
And all the dead air is alive
With the smell of America's God.

Harold Pinter, January 2003

photo: Harold Pinter, John Fowles and Karel Reisz on the set of 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'



Maybe it's because I feel very pressured. Or maybe it's because it is Yom Kippur and my soul is working hard elsewhere.

I want to write you something worth reading, but it's just not there tonight. Forgive me. I'll give you something worth reading as soon as I find it in me.

I can give you a good quote from someone else, though:

Joyce Carol Oates: "Writer's block is the temporary paralysis caused by the conviction, on an unconscious level, that what the writer is attempting is in some way fraudulent, or mistaken, or self-destructive."

Tagged Again! By ActonBell of Hoppy Trails!

My 23rd post was titled But A Rose Is Not A Rose Is Not A Rose and the fifth line of text read: "There is a subtle subset of unexpected rose fragrances designed, sometimes I think in defiance, by the most accomplished and least known perfumers in the world."

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.

I tag:
Kate of Catbird Journal!
Jonna of Hrmph!
Tom & Icy of My Dogs' Daze!
Atreau of Ombligo!
Fred of Fred's World!

Today's fragrance, as described by Les Scenteurs, Serge Lutens' Sa Majesté la Rose: "This fragrance, just like the rose whose petals have a soft and dreamy texture, is refined and delicate. It opens on a note of Moroccan rose absolute, pure, rich and honeyed where the scent's smoky allusion mingles with gaiac wood. The perfume's aroma is sharpened by clove and white honey and underlines a musk base that perfectly compliments the rose. Sparkling and dewy. Known as 'The Seductress'."


Janey Tagged Me

It's a privilege and an honor to be tagged by Janey of Janey's Journey!

Twenty Random Facts About Me:

I was an advertising copywriter for twenty years.
I was once married to a jazz musician.
I was once told I'd end up in a wheelchair.
I didn't.
I have a steel plate and six screws in my neck.
I paint.
I knit.
I love Jim.
I have seven wonderful friends and one lousy one.
I believe we hate that in others that we fear in ourselves.
My dogs have been named Jenny, Irish, Meggie, Jazmin, Asta and now Bucky.
Bucky is my first boy dog.
I once believed in The Revolution.
I've lived in Independence, Kansas; Fairbanks, Alaska; Ogden, Utah; Manila, Phillippines; Dayton, Ohio; Sweetser, Indiana; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Tuebingen, Germany and Seattle, Washington.
I have green eyes that turn brown when I'm mad.
I think I will eventually live in a glass-windows-to-the-ceiling loft.
I am afraid of water.
I like butter.
I abhor organ meats.
I will die happy.

I tag: bela of Slap of the Day, Canadian Gourdess, Clearingesque, cjblue of Crazy Jay Blue and actonbell of Hoppy Trails!

Doggy Regression

So, behaviorally, Bucky has been a wonderful dog, lately.

In our pack-of-three, he hardly ever tries to shove me out of the Beta position, he's been very free with the tailwags, he allows me to pet him almost any time I want and he's been very accepting of any treats I provide, especially if I bring them to room temperature.

But last night, early morning, about 3:30 a.m., he engaged in an old battle of wills with Alpha. And we all know how that's going to turn out. If you don't come in when you're called late at night, you get the long leash attached to you again and you get reeled in.

Hope you're reading this, B. A word to the wise.

Today's fragrance: Un Robe de Zibeline by DSH. Think Regina Harris Rose Maroc, only about $100 less expensive. Amazingly similar dupe.



The good news is that I was able to get both flu and pneumococcus vaccinations this year. The bad news is getting them both at the same time: I don't feel so good. *snif* But I'm not complaining.

But I smell pretty good. SL Clair de Musc with a little YSL Rose des Bois.

More Pain

2.5 million homeless in India and Pakistan. 20,000 to 30,000 estimated dead.

Please give what you can.


Places To Go Before I Die

Jim is of Croatian extraction and has long talked about wanting to see his ancestors' homeland. Sadly, even though he lived in Germany, he was never able to see it ... because it was then still behind the Iron Curtain. And it was far from my list of places to visit when I was in Europe.

But I saw this photo on msnbc and suddenly I understand. Dubrovnik. Isn't it beautiful?

George Bernard Shaw proclaimed: "If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik." I really hope we get to see Dubrovnik before we see heaven.



There was a discussion in one of my classes last week on the various stereotypes that can affect a just legal outcome.

Income level, social class, race, disability, sex and sexual preference ... and age.

I am increasingly aware of my age ... and just got pricked with it again as I cruised a message board that I frequent. There are so many conscious and unconscious references to age in that ongoing discussion of fragrance, beauty, fashion ... often disparaging.

And I find myself getting angry when I feel that age has been singled out as a negative. Invariably the individuals who make the disparaging age references are the ones whose intellectual shortcomings I fight back the urge to remark on -- or their shallow political views -- or their obvious "I define myself by the man I managed to catch and isn't my lipgloss stunning?" frame of mind. Too bad they don't demonstrate the same self-discipline in their remarks.

I think you can tell I'm pissed. But why? Why should I care what some insensitive, not too bright, not too emotionally developed twit thinks about middle-aged women? (And it's especially ironic when I further assess the twit: I'm pretty sure she's not too far away from the age range under discussion.)

I'm pissed because this type of disparagement of a group, the stereotyping of a population segment, IS unjust. It's limiting and it can lead to limiting of opportunities.

A wise man once told me all anger is rooted in fear ... and I am afraid. Not of being old, but of being kept from opportunities because of stereotypes surrounding age.

I read this to Jim and he said, "Sadly, women who react that way to age, who feel that it is diminishing, will have the most to lose as they age. But your response demonstrates you're buying into the argument to some extent."

And he's right. I need to not care. I need to laugh at the stupidity. And keep living my life as fully, as vibrantly, as richly as I am right now.

Stereotypes be damned.

Health, Hypochondria and the Perennial Diet

I like to lie there in bed when I first wake up, checking symptoms.

Respiratory? a bit stuffed up but check.
Gastrointestinal? well, I need to pee, but that's normal. check.
Musculoskeletal? my ankles and upper back are sore. *rotate ankles* *stretch shoulders* meh, not so bad. check.
Circulatory? normal slow heart rate. check.
Nervous system? neuroses tamped down? check.

Good so far. Anybody know what the symptoms of bird flu are?


CyberCommunity Population Statistics. Heh.

I've been blogging since March 25, 2005 and keeping blogstats since June. This morning I woke up to find we crossed the 20,000 hit mark! 20,013 as of this very minute! And I'm not sure what they mean, but below are the usage patterns for the past four months.

What's most interesting to me is the neighborhood I blog in. I've made so many friends, including but not limited to: Tom and Icy, Tan Lucy, Still Life ... and some are friends who crossed over into blogland: Clearingesque, Canadian Gourdess ... too many to list, but I look for you all. And get anxious when you're not there. Grin at your adventures; I'm sad when there's unhappiness.

Who would have thought a community like this could be built of electrical impulses? But then, look at us: what are we but electro-chemical impulses? That's a thought about cyberspace that comes back to me: we better enjoy our bodies, our physicality now, while we have it.

Because if we keep going down the road of this cyberworld the way we are, we're going to evolve out of our bodies ... and then where will we apply the perfume? Huh?

Today's fragrance: Sonoma Scent Studio's version of the discontinued Donna Karan Chaos. Perfect autumn fragrance with its notes of cedar and spice.


Vigilant Beauty: Fighting Frumpery, Letting Go, and the Odd Spot of Nude Sunbaking

I was digging through some stuff in my beauty file (Yes, I have a beauty file. Your point?) and found this article by Anna Johnson (an Australian writer who wrote one of my favorites: Three Black Skirts is All You Need to Survive. Seriously, I love that book.) that inspired me (LBOS isn't the only one divinely inspired) to share with you (I added a few comments).

And remember: those of us under 40 won't always be.

Style up. Turning 40 is the perfect occasion to take inventory on your wardrobe, your makeup drawer and beauty routines that have become outdated. The difference between elegance and frumpery could be as subtle the wrong hemlength or a laquered up-do that needs to be ditched. Soften your makeup by learning how to blend, flatter your face by wearing color and a more forgiving hairstyle. The uniform we all had in our 30’s of hair pinned up and basic black (I'm not giving up black. Forget it.) becomes limiting and simply severe 10 years on. Now is the time to refine the looks that suit you and let go of timeworn habits masquerading as personal style.

Beauty mantra: Older is wiser and a hell of lot more chic.

Fat. It just doesn’t budge so easily over 50. Now is the time to reduce your intake of calories and break away from comfort foods. Tempting as it is to "let go" and form a menopausal cake fixation (oh honey, you have no idea), I urge you to burn your plus-size catalogues (bela?) and start pumping iron. Weight bearing exercise controls the pounds and helps protect your bones from thinning, a critical health issue for women in middle age.

Beauty mantra: Vitality is a woman in motion.

60s plus
Sex seems a good idea for senior beauty. (HAH, it's a good idea! I'd like to see some statistics on how much sex is being had among age groups. Just wondering.) Making marmalade all day (yeah, there's a whole lot of marmalade making going on out there) just won’t give you the same glow. If a blazing affair isn’t on the horizon (you might be surprised), then at least indulge in some beauty regimes that focus on sensuality: pedicures, oil baths, massage, sea bathing and an odd spot of nude sun baking (I guess she figures this far down the road you don't need to worry about wrinkles? Or melanoma? Please rethink this) remind you to be a goddess, not just a grandma. By now you know how to eat your vegetables, stretch your limbs and spend peaceful time alone, but don’t forget that the spice of life (and vibrant beauty) is variety.Have your feet done up with a henna tattoo, find a lush new scent (we're here to help) and double your intake of raw foods.

Beauty mantra: The most striking women are always a little shocking.

Ladies, please consider this a public service announcement.

Today's fragrance: speaking of sex, if you need any help, I suggest a little Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood. This oriental features notes of viburnum, marigold, orange blossom, orris, rose, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, amber, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli. Variously described as "saucy and racy" and "a scent for a woman's private space." There's some truth to THAT. Try it. Find out what we mean. Heh.


Seems Like Only Yesterday

We watched a PBS special on Bob Dylan that we'd taped ... and I've been carrying around the music for three days now. Thrown back to a time when I still thought there existed a rarified, counterculture few who really knew what was going on. Little hippie chick in my overalls with the embroidered rainbow, sitting in a coffeehouse, listening to friends butcher music like this:

Seems like only yesterday
I left my mind behind
Down in the Gypsy Cafe
With a friend of a friend of mine
She sat with a baby heavy on her knee
Yet spoke of life most free from slavery
With eyes that showed no trace of misery
A phrase in connection first with she I heard
That love is just a four-letter word

Outside a rambling store-front window
Cats meowed to the break of day
Me, I kept my mouth shut, too
To you I had no words to say
My experience was limited and underfed
You were talking while I hid
To the one who was the father of your kid
You probably didn't think I did, but I heard
You say that love is just a four-letter word

I said goodbye unnoticed
Pushed towards things in my own games
Drifting in and out of lifetimes
Unmentionable by name
Searching for my double, looking for
Complete evaporation to the core
Though I tried and failed at finding any door
I must have thought that there was nothing more
Absurd than that love is just a four-letter word

Though I never knew just what you meant
When you were speaking to your man
I can only think in terms of me
And now I understand
After waking enough times to think I see
The Holy Kiss that's supposed to last eternity
Blow up in smoke, its destiny
Falls on strangers, travels free
Yes, I know now, traps are only set by me
And I do not really need to be
Assured that love is just a four-letter word

Today's Fragrance: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan with notes of oregano, bay leaf, coriander, myrtle, angelica, patchouli leaves, amber, cistus labdanum, styrax, tolu balsam, benzoin, sandalwood, vanilla, musk. I'm exhausted by the notes. The fragrance, however, is a warming, herbaceous (love that word) amber -- one of my favorite scents.


In Which I Discover I Am A Bit Competitive

So yesterday I'm sitting in the Contracts class, for which I turned in my videotaped writing assignment and in which we are supposed to have a quiz the last 25 minutes of the class. And she's lecturing along very interestingly. And lecturing. And lecturing. And I'm staring up meaningfully at the clock BECAUSE IT'S TIME TO HAVE THE QUIZ, dammit and she lectures right through the quiz time. Because she was on a roll and forgot we were supposed to have a quiz. BUT MY BODY CHEMISTRY WAS ALL WORKED UP TO HAVE THE QUIZ, dammit and I can't believe how disappointed and even upset I was over not getting to take the quiz and so she says we can take it home and do it openbook and turn it in next class and I think WHAT GOOD IS THAT? Does that give me an opportunity to show off and leave my 19 year old classmates in my dust? I submit to you IT DOES NOT.


Rosh Hashanah 5766

The Jewish New Year -- Rosh Hashanah -- begins at sunset tonight and ends at nightfall on Wednesday

At the beginning of this High Holiday season, I will slice an apple and dip it into honey ... a Jewish tradition observed as we ask that God grant us a sweet new year.

Below is the transliteration for the blessing accompanying this gesture of hope and gratitude:

Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe

Borei p’riy ha-eitz. (Amein)
who creates the fruit of the tree. (Amen)

Y'hee ratzon mee-l'fanekha, Adonai Elohaynu v'elohey avoteynu
May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors

Sh'tichadeish aleinu shanah tovah um'tuqah.
that you renew for us a good and sweet year.

L' Shanah Tovah!


Happy Birthday, Bucky Baby

Today Bucky has been with us a year, and since we don't know exactly when he was born, we're celebrating it as his 8th birthday. I'm baking him a dog cake *this ought to be interesting* and here's the recipe (Happy, happy birthday, dogboy!)

1 cup white or whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey (optional)
1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix quickly. Bake in a greased ring mold at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. You may frost this cake with low fat cottage cheese and decorate with carrot pieces. Store in the refrigerator. (Dogs will eat this without the honey added).

Today's fragrance, continued: I had previously experienced two (Black Rosette and Eleuria, formerly Con Brio) of the Strange Invisible Perfumes designed by Alexandra Balahoutis ... and firmly decided these were elegantly intellectual scent exercises wasted on me. SIP is no misnomer ... these are determinedly uncomfortable fragrances meant for the jaded scent palate of a perfumista who' s been everywhere and smelled everything; Balahoutis isn't aiming for the general populace, that's for sure.
Yesterday, however, a kind cognoscenti gave me a sample of L’Invisible and I have found a SIP that is not only wearable, but in its own strange way, beautiful. Although it's not in the fragrance notes (oak moss, resins, ylang ylang, blood orange, hibiscus, vanilla, rose, and lemon), I get an initial mentholated blast reminiscent of SL Tubereuse Criminelle. And after that it settles into a quirky chypre-y floral that I found captivating. Never say never.


Be Careful What You Wish

A man made a daily trip to the restroom in his office, for the obvious reason. Each visit, he noticed a spider in the toilet, scrabbling up the side, barely missing being drowned each time the toilet was flushed.

The man felt sorry for the spider, day after day struggling against all odds to stay alive. Each day, he watched the spider's struggle and, each day, increasingly felt that he had to step in and do something. Something to help the spider.

Finally, one day during his visit, the man took a paper towel and carefully scooped the spider out of the toilet and placed him on the floor of the stall. He washed his hands and left the restroom, feeling good about himself.

The next day, he entered the stall and noticed the spider on the floor, dead.

Somehow, even with the best intention, the man had disturbed the natural balance of the spider's world. He imposed his human will on the spider's existence and the spider paid for it.

I'm interested in the idea that there is a moral ecology to our existences. And that even when we believe we are doing the right thing, sometimes by doing anything, we upset that ecology. When our actions aren't moral, the disturbance can be worse, the ripples we create in the pool of our and others lives are deeper and wider, the destruction more evident.

I believe in magic. And I think magic can be a form of superimposed will that inevitably doubles back on the one who attempts to wield it.

When I was in my early twenties, I was madly in love with a man who wasn't madly in love with me. I was willing to do anything -- sell my soul? -- to attract this guy back to me. In the miserable throes of unrequited love, I sought out a friend of a friend who insisted he could cast a spell that would make this happen.

I went to a small apartment in a bad part of town and sat through candlelit anointing and incantation, all the while not really believing anything would come of it.

I was wrong.

Within three weeks I was experiencing the absolute worst luck of my life. Name a part of my life and it was screwed: my apartment was damaged, I got into trouble at work, an important friendship fell apart, my car suddenly needed serious repair, I fell into one of the deepest funks of my life.

Oh, and the guy came back to me. In fact, repeatedly. I couldn't shake him, even when I finally realized he wasn't good for me and knew it was past time to end it.

I had taken steps to impose my will on the universe. But at what cost? The after-effects of problems that occurred during that three weeks lasted much longer than I ended up wanting that relationship to last. And I think this all resulted from my disturbance of my own moral ecology.

"Be careful what you wish." And be careful what you do to get what you think you want. The spider, his Good Samaritan and I learned our lessons.

Today's fragrance: L'Invisible from Strange Invisible Perfumes. And I'll tell you why tomorrow.

Crazy Little FruitBat Analyzes Dreams

The performance anxiety dreams have started. Not two weeks into the semester and last night, I had my first dreams about turning in papers and, when it's time to get our marks, waiting anxiously for the feedback, preening a little because I know how good I am (heh): NO PAPER COMES BACK TO ME. It disappeared. It's as if I never turned it in. I don't exist.

I've had my time on the shrink's leather settee and I think I know what this means. [Ok, in chorus, using Jim's voice: "Oh, I'm sure you do."]

Doesn't everyone (reassuring self) have a deepseated need to look in the mirror and see something there? I need a reflection, a reaction, response. Nothing hurts me worse than being ignored. Nothing I'm more afraid of than being overlooked, passed over, denied.

And when you connect that fear with an evaluation of my work, my SELF, it's lethal.

But hey, it's only a dream, right? My neuroses are safely contained within the hard-shelled nut that is my skull. It won't really happen.

Next week when I turn in those papers, I'm thinking of videotaping it.