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


Girl Stuff

You'll be glad to know that yesterday my Smashbox Proof eyeliner sampler arrived.

Yes, now my eyes can be lined in Lava, Picasso, Midnight Purple, Midnight Brown, Putty, Caviar, Thunder, Midnight Green, Deep Bronze and Cameo.

And I already have the special Trish McEvoy eyeliner brush that I need to effect this wondrous change.

I'm thinking silver glitter (excuse me, that would be Thunder) for around the house, a nice accent to my black sweatpants, pink tshirt and Vamp-polished bare toes. A perfect "Study Look" and So Festive!

*Beauty Addict will be so proud!*

Why is Jim giving me those sideways looks?

Google quote of day: If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.
P.G. Wodehouse


What I Like About Lucy

Tomorrow is the birthday of Tan Lucy Pez (bloglink at right) and I would like to tell you a few things I really like about her:

Lucy doesn't have a pretentious bone in her body.

Lucy's pretty darn honest. She won't tell you the truth unless you ask for it. But if you ask for it, I think she'd tell you the truth.

Lucy knows how to be happy. She may grumble, but underneath you're pretty sure she's enjoying herself.

Lucy has my mother's sense of humor. Sometimes when I'm reading her posts, I swear I'm listening to my mother. The same self-deprecating wit masking a sharp, sharp intelligence.

Lucy has a heart as big as ... oh, it's pretty big. And she applies it where it does the most good.

Lucy is physically fit. She walks with her friend C every day. Go Lucy, Go Lucy!

But mostly Lucy is interested. She likes knowing what we're all doing ... she does her walk around the blogohood, saying hi to Doug, Tom and Fred ... checking up on Actonbell, dddragon and AP3 (who need checking up on) ... sending a hug to Still Life ... maybe waving to Icy and Ariella ... shouting across the ocean at Bela and Lulu ... and dropping in on me, just to keep me real.

Lucy, I'm very glad you're part of our blogosphere.
Happy Birthday. xoxo


Baby, It's Cold Outside

But I came home to an envelope with these beauties inside.

Please, meet Kisane and Anais ... two pretty products of the mind and copic pen of Janey.

I don't know why, but I think Flemish peasant girls when I see these. Maybe the headdresses?

And I also know that I fall back into strange torpor when I'm paging through the work of Janey's Journey (see bloglink at right). As if I were luxuriating in a warmer place.

Maybe it's the hot colors, maybe it's her subject matter -- something deeply female about everything she does. I like it a lot.

Thank you, Janey.

Supposed to Snow In Seattle


And it's the land of Freaked Out Drivers Who Only Know How to Drive in Rain.


My Alter Ego

Yes, Annie (of Blogdorf Goodman, link at right)!! Of course!

Dita von Teese is the Real Me!

*finally found a pic that didn't involve pasties*

Today's fragrance: Ormonde Jayne Ta'if with an Agent Provocateur chaser


(Georges-Pierre Seurat
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte 1886)


CavePerfumers Believed Fragrance was Unisex

(the wooly mammoth notes of cave perfume)

Food Hangover Day 2

(Snakes discussing how everything they eat goes to their hips)


Rainy Day Seattle

Raining Cats and Salmon
Alden Mason

Remember the Good Old Days?

When Thanksgiving didn't involve pharmaceutical intervention?
(Prilosec OTC)


Sweet Talk

I am SO full.
(cartoon of husband telling wife she's a cupcake with an inordinate shelf life)


Don't Make Me Call The Flying Monkeys

Ok, it's Thanksgiving and I'm cooking. Not everything, just enough to give me anxiety hives.

So, look. I've got a turkey baster and I know how to use it. Stay out of my way until everything's out of the oven or I won't be responsible.

*I'm much better around a keyboard than around an oven*



Inspired by Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union "Four Freedoms" speech, Norman Rockwell created these four paintings: Freedom from Fear ... Freedom from Want ... Freedom to Worship ... Freedom of Speech.

It's good to be reminded of how much we have ... and how much some sacrifice in our name.

I'm grateful for these freedoms and for all the young men and women serving on our behalf in Afghanistan and Iraq during this holiday season. I hope they'll be home next year.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Today's fragrance: I am also grateful for DSH Cimabue. Get a load of the notes (literally). How could you not love it? PLUS it has saffron! Top notes: Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Cardamom Seed, Clementine, Italian Neroli, Lemon, Nutmeg. Middle notes: Carnation Absolute, Cinnamon Bark, Clove Bud, Egyptian Rose Geranium, Grandiflorum Jasmine, Honey Beeswax, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Mysore Sandalwood, Saffron absolute, Tuberose Absolute. Base notes: Ciste Absolute, East Indian Sandalwood, Labdanum, Oppopanax, Siam Benzoin, Tahitian Vanilla, Tamil Nadu Sandalwood, Vanilla Absolute.


Suspend Disbelief

Dr. Masaru Emoto -- whose work is featured in the cult film on the spirituality of quantum physics, "What the Bleep Do We Know?" -- is involved in study positing that water can "carry" our emotion, that our thoughts and feelings affect physical reality.

Emoto (interesting name) developed a technique using a powerful microscope in frigid conditions, along with high-speed photography, to photograph newly formed crystals of frozen water samples. He discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them.

Water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.

(The illustration of this post is the crystal, "Love and Gratitude.")

By producing different focused intentions through written and spoken words and music and literally presenting it to the same water samples, the water appears to "change its expression." [edit and addition: It isn't that water has emotion. It is that its physicality -- its molecular definition -- can be influenced by human emotion. The theory is that the electrochemistry of our thought processes can influence water's molecular footprint.]

If you haven't seen "What The ..." I hope you will. These thoughts are dealt with in a fascinating manner. Humans and the earth are mostly comprised of water. If you accept that thought can shape crystals made of water -- as you are mostly made of water -- imagine.


Cultures Gently Colliding

I'm sitting in the atrium of the building where most of my classes are held, and small groups of a class are meeting over their projects ...

I overhear the discussion at one table but can only pick up the main topic: What Is Femininity? Sitting at the table are perhaps five 18 to 21 year olds ...

... of the five, two are wearing low-cut jeans with tattoos visible above the back of their jeans and below their midriff-baring tops as they perch forward on their seats. They are typical American girls, heavy on the MAC and very assertive in their speech

In stark contrast, one of the other three is wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf and is artfully dressed to cover every inch of her body except her hands and the portion of her face not obscured by the scarf.

But her face -- totally un-made up -- is just as animated, if not more so, than the other girls. She gestures wildly, her face is so engaging, she's every bit the participant in this discussion of what it is to be a woman.

Although I couldn't make out everything being said, I didn't sense any arguments being put forth. The young women were simply enumerating things as one of them took the project notes.

What an oddly inspiring sight.

The Dream That Came

Last night I dreamt about Bainbridge Island. A wooded island that's really an outpost of Seattle now. Just a ferry away from downtown Seattle (you can see the city from Bainbridge) with a stripe of Elliott Bay separating the two. Why would I dream about Bainbridge? Why last night?


What Night Brings

This looks like Seattle's Pioneer Square: Post Street Alley.

But it isn't.

But it looks like someplace you'd visit in a dream, doesn't it?

Maybe a night's fragrance influences where I go.

This time, the near-cedar sandalwood/balsam of Serge Lutens Santal Blanc, and sweet musky amber of Narciso Rodriguez For Her.

I don't know what the dream will look like. Any more than I know what tomorrow brings.

"Dreams pass into the reality of action.
From the actions stems the dream again;
and this interdependence
produces the highest form of living."

Anais Nin

Jean-Michel Folon 1934 - 2005

A kind Belgian reader, Kati, advised me that Jean-Michel Folon -- the Belgian artist who did the "Inflammatory America" painting below and so many others that I admire, died in Monaco recently.

I became aware of Folon indirectly in the 1970s -- I worked in downtown Seattle and every day I walked past a gallery exhibiting serigraph posters whose geometric edginess were perfect ... especially one of umbrella-topped, briefcase-accessorized businessmen marching to work, a perfect satire of a scene found in Seattle every winter day (and a serigraph that still hangs in our kitchen).

Those were by an artist named Granger, the first "art" I ever purchased ... and the interest in Granger, a student of Folon, led me to the work of Folon -- whose soft-edged dreamscapes were even more intriguing to me than his student's work.

In particular, I admire Folon's ability to gently -- and sometimes sharply -- address social issues through his art.

In 2004, Jean-Michel Folon received the Legion of Honour; he also became a UNICEF ambassador. This year, before his death, the city of Florence opened the doors of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Forte Belvedere for a grand retrospective of his work.

Jean-Michel Folon died in Monaco on 20th October 2005 at the age of 71.


No Drugs. Just Insomnia.

But it's noon in Great Britain! Hi Urban Chick! (access her witty blog at link right) *waves* And, come to analyze it, it IS drugs. Those $%^& muscle relaxants bounced back on me. Better Living Through Chemistry, my ... um, foot.
EDIT: Tonight I am equipped. DH went out and bought me some really cute orange earplugs and a huge bottle of valerian capsules. I will take a warm shower, knock back the valerian with a swig of ginger tea and a melatonin tablet, read something boring, install the earplugs...


Lessons From My Mother

Today when I took that test, I wore my mother's pearls with my typical black-turtleneck -and-black-jeans. And I thought, if there's any luck to be had, I'll get it with these.

Not that my mother was inherently lucky. She would have said the opposite. But she was smart; she had such hard-earned wisdom.

My mother taught me so many things. Mostly when I wasn't looking and couldn't head it off.

Most of what she taught me was after the fact. Like there's power and then there's power ... females can access and use everything they're given to get what they want ... and that the best kind of power is sex and brains in tandem.

She learned that the hard way, I think. My mother was the kind of beauty that men lusted after. An Ava Gardner beauty in a repressed time. She worked it, though -- filtered through her own weirdly Puritan ethic. To my mind, she did a lot of self-justification ... but at this point in my life, I'm less inclined to criticize her for that.

I'm not that kind of beauty ... but I'm getting more and more comfortable with my particular brand of attractiveness. Does that sound self-aggrandizing? I mean, it's taken me a half-century *gasp* to earn that kind of acceptance-of-self ... so forgive me if it does.

Like today, I felt good about my face, and my body, and the way people respond to me. And a twenty-three year old told me how good I looked (mwah, Leslie!) ...

And I thought, "Mother, are you there? They're working. Thank you."

What better luck than to like how you look at 54? (And I think I did ok on the test, too.)

Applause for Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania

Who has the courage to say what so many Democrats have failed to say: The Iraq War is "flawed policy wrapped in illusion" and it's time to get our soldiers out.

And applause for former Marine Colonel John Murtha, Vietnam veteran, who has the courage to call out our vice-president, who never served a day in the Armed Forces in his life.

The U.S. deserves better governance than the individuals who conceived -- and send young Americans to fight -- this ill-advised war. Bring our soldiers home.

illustration: Folon

Old Age and Treachery v. Youth and Skill

Turns out it isn't how many brain cells you have left. It's if you can convince them to work together for a common, unified goal. Like passing the next two weeks' worth of tests.


Can I Get An AMEN!!?

Please open your Nordstrom catalogs to page 32. As you will remember, last week our discussion centered on lip plumpers and DuWop Lip Venom was mentioned as an object of our veneration.

WELL, Beauty Addict (please access her blog at link right) was quick to correct us: the best is
Lip Injection! And, brothers and sisters, she is right, right, right!

I have sampled it and I have seen the light!

Oh lordy, the lips are plumped!


Naked Ladies and Affinity Groups

Janey of Janey's Journey has an interesting post today on creating an artistic community ... which, as she points out, happens in many ways in the blogosophere.

Speaking of, please check out her blog, galleries and shop by accessing her blog (link at right).

And I saved this Janey favorite [Olivia 3] for a Tuesday morning just like this one! Because I love it.

Today's fragrance: Today I'm working a nice DK Black Cashmere vibe ... to which I will add a dollop of MAC MV3. It is my own spicy, woodsy, vanilla carnival!


*embarrassed* I think I have to get one of these:

(rolling bookbag)

Sad Girl with Tremendous Talent

This woman wrote five novels, two plays, twenty short stories and several other items of literary importance. Her novels include The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflection in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, The Ballad of the Sad Café and A Clock Without Hands.

Do You Know Who She Is?

A quote to help: "I live with the people I create and it has always made my essential loneliness less keen."


Three Weeks Until Finals

And then I will be half a paralegal.


Warning: Arcane Perfume Post

But first, Happy Birthday to Doug of Waking Ambrose (please access his blog through the link at right) ... the oral historian of our neighborhood, and a truly nice man. *MWAH* Doug!

back to regular programming ...
Please look at these notes (courtesy of bela):

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque: currants, white honey, candied Turkish rose, Egyptian jasmine, smoked leather, beeswax, strong Balkan tobacco, Peru balsam, patchouli, tonka bean, styrax, juniper oil, vanilla.

Serge Lutens Chergui: Honey, musk, leather, incense, tobacco leaf, hay sugar, amber, iris, rose, sandalwood.

Next: Last night before I went to bed, I put on Fumerie Turque and spent the last few minutes of consciousness wondering "who IS this person I'm smelling?" It's a dense, complicated, very adult scent that I frankly don't feel mature enough to wear when I first apply it.

I wake up this morning, though, to its softened drydown version ... and it is so comfortable, soft and accessible. I love it.

And: This morning, to fortify myself for studying, I put on Chergui ... and it is the strangest thing. Chergui is Fumerie Turque's younger sister. Chergui at first application starts where Fumerie Turque dried down! A softer, immediately more accessible fragrance that softens down to a faint smokily floral etherea.

Admittedly, few people care about information of this ilk. But hope it was interesting to those few! Have a good weekend!


Why I Will Never Be A Litigation Paralegal

Four hours in King County Superior Court ... where I observed arraignments for child molestation and rape and a murder trial.

These processes stabilize our society and enable the clean, pleasant lives most of us live ...

but implementing those necessary processes is not how I would want to spend my days.

I felt kind of sick afterwards ... still do.
illustration: Dali Goddess of Justice


A Talmudic Thought

Rabbi Marc Gellman, quoting the Talmud in the current edition of Newsweek:

“Be very careful if you make a woman cry, because God counts her tears."

"The woman came out of a man’s rib: Not from his feet to be walked on. Not from his head to be superior, but from the side to be equal. Under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.”


Winter Rose

I've got sunshine
on a cloudy day.
When it's cold outside
I've even got
the month of May.
I guess
you'd say
What can make me feel this way?
(My Girl)

... and Winter Rose, the warm, spicy rose scent that clearing calls "lava lamp" for the way the oils separate in the vial.

Even in winter, you can feel the warmth ... a closely held memory of summer ... that I just pulled out of my treasures because both C and I need reminding that it isn't always this cold.



(re the illustration: is that a small chip off her tooth? And why is she breathing through her mouth? Allergies?)

Welp, I just got back from my third trip to the bathroom in forty-five minutes (no, not for that) during which I inspected my lips for evidence that they now belong to Angelina Jolie.

Yes, today I received my DuWop Lip Venom. As if I didn't already have enough excitement in my life. NOW I AM IN THE BIG LEAGUES. Well, let's say I'm sitting on one of the Big League benches.

This is going to change my life. I am going from a lipdeficient state to a lipoverage state.

I ripped open my Sephora package, wrested open the artfully -- and damn tightly -- sealed DuWop canister-o-Venom, whipped out the vial and slathered the liquid onto my lips.

YOWTCH! YOWTCH! YOWTCH! Nobody told me there would be stinging! That stuff hurts! YOWTCH! YOWTCH! YOWTCH!

I guess the way it works is, you plaster this cinnamony-burning stuff onto your mouth and your lips puff up out of self-defense.

Well, that was forty-five minutes ago. And ... well, I think I see a little more definition. Kind of. They look a little more ... there.

Ahem. I'm sure it just takes repeated application.

Today's fragrance: L'Orientaliste Santal eau de parfum. This is some sandalwood ... no sweetness; exceptionally dry. So dry, in fact, that it pushes past the Bandit drydown realm of tobacco and leather. Probably a bit too ... androgynous ... for me. In other words, I smell like I just left a tobaccoist. Where I smoked a very good cigar.


Hmmmmm. Monday. What to Wear?

Ahhh, something casual yet insouciant?

A Tribute to Actonbell ...

Acton Bell was the pseudonym of Anne Brontë (January 17, 1820 – May 28, 1849) a British author and the youngest of the trio of Brontë sisters whose Victorian romantic novels of manners and society often had a sly side ... many digs were made at the society of which they were a part. Although they were deep into their own culture, they still saw a lot of what was wrong with it ... were frustrated by it ... and some of their writings could be seen as (gentle) protest.

Acton Bell is also the nom de plume of Hoppy Trails blogster Rahs Speedy Gonzalez Pez (please access her blog through the link at right.)

This post is a tribute -- we're drinking a pale ale in her honor -- to Rahs ... and the daily courage of the working woman. (Sometimes just getting up and getting there is the highest form of valor.)

As we drink our beers, let's read part of one of Anne Brontë's poems:

"Time steals thy moments, drinks thy breath,
Changes and wastes thy mortal frame;
But though he gives the clay to death,
He cannot touch the inward flame.

Nay, though he steals thy years away,
Their memory is left thee still,
And every month and every day
Leaves some effect of good or ill.

The wise will find in Memory's store
A help for that which lies before
To guide their course aright;
Then, hush thy plaints and calm thy fears;

Look back on these departed years,
And, say, what meets thy sight?"
"I see, far back, a helpless child,

Feeble and full of causeless fears,
Simple and easily beguiled
To credit all it hears.
That heart so prone to overflow

E'en at the thought of others' woe,
How will it bear its own?

How, if a sparrow's death can wring
Such bitter tear-floods from the eye,
Will it behold the suffering
Of struggling, lost humanity?"
"Look back again–What dost thou see?"

Here's to you, Actonbell.


Or et Noir

The perfume reviewer's Perfume Reviewer, Victoria of Bois de Jasmin (please access her blog through the link at right) -- and a fellow rose lover -- shared Caron Or et Noir ("Black and Gold") with me.

This is one of those fragrances that intimidates me. A dense, dense chypre of a vintage style of perfumery, it is very difficult for me to do one of my "here are the notes, here are the emotions they elicit" reviews of this. It just has too much substance ...

I put it on in the early evening last night ... and the heaviness of the initial scent was a bit alienating.

It's as if the perfumer is a painter, laying down a thick impasto of the oil colors he will later access for his image ... and then he (or time) strips away layers and layers until the most essential and beautiful image remains.

Many things are going on in that initial dense layer of scent. Per Victoria, the notes are Bulgarian rose, centifolia rose and geranium; Anatolian rose, lilac and carnation, oakmoss and woody amber.

Out of this heavy swirling cloud, my chemistry first pulls out the roses, oakmoss and geranium ... and it is heady. This was what first presented itself last night. As the evening progressed, the oakmoss (agent of chypre-ness and density) and geranium receded and the roses moved forward.

But the most surprising element to me was the spicy carnation that -- about two hours into the wearing -- asserted itself. All of a sudden. Lasted for about a quarter of an hour and then the roses and a touch of amber reclaimed the scent.

What was that about?

I don't know -- but it is an example of how extraordinarily complex this perfume is. Complexity throughout ... and then, as it fades, elemental beauty.

V, again, thank you.

painting: Madonna of the Roses, Bouguereau 1903


And Tomorrow I Must Review A Perfume ...

I have neglected scent for too long. The Guilt! All those unsniffed samples! Nothing worse than a slothful scent reviewer. Tomorrow!

Thoughts In Late Autumn

The following quote was on the cover of the invitation to my wedding to my first husband:

I am my beloved's and
My beloved is mine.

From every human being
there rises a light that
reaches straight to heaven.
And when two souls that
are destined to be together
find each other, their
streams of light flow
together ... and a single
brighter light goes forth
from their united being.

Baal Shem Tov

It is now 22 years later ... a child lost, a divorce, much anger and sadness ... and I wonder how to justify to myself the thoughts I so blithely and naively put on that invitation.

Do you believe in a love that lasts for a time? Is it any less than a love that lasts forever? Does any love last forever, truly? Were those souls destined to be together and united ... for a while? Is there still value in that brighter light even though it did not last an eternity? Is it all illusion?

The love one feels in the spring of one's life is much different than the love felt in the autumn. If you are fortunate to still love in later life ... and many lose that ability along the way (or it is greatly weakened) ... the love is richer, deeper -- and leavened with the very knowledge that it will not -- nothing does -- last forever.

But does that make it worth less? Or more?



Happy Birthday to My Favorite Scorpio

His horoscope says he's "one of the most compelling, wise, and intense people in the zodiac" ... and I can tell you that's true.

He is a source of great calm for me. A solid soul who centers my scattered self.

As was said of Elizabeth's I's spymaster Walsingham, "Video et vaceo" ... he sees all and says nothing.

(Oh, eventually he'll say something. A few words that cut to the chase ... and then he forgives completely.)

And I think he would have made a great spy. But I'm glad he's who he is instead.

I have never known a better man. And I am so glad he was born.

Happy Birthday, Jim. I love you.


The Second Intro To Law Exam is Tomorrow

And I do not believe the instructor loves me.

So I must rely on skill and studying.

Think good thoughts for me if you have time, ok?

*I will need them*


Decleor Rose Oil Makes My Bangs Look Like This

(asymmetric Modigliani woman) AND they need trimming. And I need a pedicure. And my cuticles are dry. And ... and ... and... And when I have time, I'm going to do a post on all the neat makeup I need. By MAC and Chanel and Stila and DuWop and ... *Beauty Addict, are you listening?* *Also, Modigliani's model could use some contouring to make those eyes line up.*