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


Mary Magdalene

I don't have time to do this topic justice ... but the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie, the uproar over copyright of the book and an upsurge in interest in the Gnostic gospels piqued my interest in who Joan Acocella, in her article in a recent New Yorker calls "The Saintly Sinner."

A concluding paragraph in Acocella's article describes the Magdalene after she found Jesus in the tomb; I found it very moving:

"This scene is the New Testament’s most powerful statement about the confrontation with death, about losing forever the thing you love. The setting is beautiful: the green garden, the morning light, the angels. Then we hear the cruel words: “Don’t touch me.”

He was there; he had called her name; she had reached out to embrace him. Now she must stand back, let him go, and make her way alone."

Mary Magdalene, Mantegna


I Got An Internship!

And because I'm superstitious, I won't tell you anything about it! Until it's over! But I'm so excited about a legal department actually letting me in the door as a fledgling paralegal, I can hardly stand it! *No, I will not be dressing like this. Too much cleavage. Statistics show that very few paralegals succeed when they dress like '50s torch singers. Pity.*

*whisper: despite knowing that I should not wear perfume to an interview, I had some pale vestige of SL Chergui wafting around me when I met my new boss. I like to think she was subliminally influenced by my exquisite taste in fragrance. And I don't want to hear anything from the person on the fragboard who thinks it smells like petrol, or kerosene or something. It does not either. Bah.*



Our best wishes to K and G, on the birth of their baby girl!!

This healthy 8 lb 15 oz, 22 in, baby girl --
Fialka Ruby -- was a result of a LOT OF WORK on Winterwheat's (Yelling Fire in a Crowded Theater ; K's; Tournesol's) part ...

and we are so relieved for, and proud of, her!


Monkey Love

Janey the Artist (who did this favorite drawing, left ... thanks for giving me an excuse to post it) developed a crush on one of the Arctic Monkeys (she falls fast, doesn't she?) ... and you can see her adoration posted on Janey's Journey . Go on over there. It's sweet.

Xenophobia? No.

Christopher Dickey, in this week's Newsweek, addresses the uproar over the Dubai company all set to take over operation of six (or is it seven? Eight?) American ports.

He paints a portrait of Americans as ... oh, let me quote him: "The United States looks increasingly wary, withdrawn, insecure and ill informed. Jingoism, xenophobia and thinly disguised racism may help win votes, but they won’t make the United States any safer."

Mr. Dickey: the American people have been fed a steady diet of jingoism, xenophobia and thinly disguised racism since September 12, 2001 by this administration. Some Americans fully digested it, and now regurgitate it back onto this administration.

The same administration that twists intelligence to propel us into war, generates continuous spin about how well the "Democratization of Iraq" is going and now -- secretly (we can only guess who's paying off whom in this deal) -- was on the verge of handing over our already vulnerable ports to ... who?

I am not xenophobic. I am not ill informed. I am not a racist.

I AM wary, withdrawn and insecure ...

... about an administration that I have never trusted and which now has just narrowly been stopped from -- apparently -- attempting to pull another fast one.

We are owed Congressional oversight of this deal. Contrary to His own belief, we do not yet have an imperial presidency, completely free of Constitutional checks and balances.

Not so fast there, Tex. (Oh, my mistake. You didn't even know what your administration was doing until a few days ago. Right?)


I Love My Dog

edit: all the below is still true although I woke up this morning to find that in the middle of the night, when it was snowing, when he was supposedly outside relieving himself (he couldn't have been out there more than 15 minutes), Bucky made time to make a nest in my daffodils and sweetpea sprouts, which have already been dealing with freezing weather. The sweetpeas are pretty much toast. The daffodils have a fighting chance. If they fight. but ...

I love his big self. His furry flanks. His fluffy ruff. His significant rump. His totality of a tail.

I love burying my face in his side when he's stretched out. When he growls low, his dog purr.

Also he sleeps on the floor on my side of the bed.

I love when he plays hand. He makes a big show of baring his teeth and taking my whole hand in his mouth. And closing his jaw gently down on it. And then quickly releasing it and kissing me. And sometimes after I've brushed him, he grooms me back with tiny, soft repetitive bites.

When he and Jim pick me up from school, he grins and wags his tail and hands me the paw.

He's been my dog for nearly two years of his eight year life ... we are so lucky to have him.

I love my dog.

Hate the Game, Not the Player

What up with this trash talk about my man Dante?

Best Last Words Department:
"All right, then, I'll say it. Dante makes me sick."
Lope Felix de Vega Carpio (1562-1635), an insecure Spanish playwright


Who Are the Arctic Monkeys?

And why am I just now hearing about them?

How am I expected to keep my finger on the pulse of popular culture if you guys do not keep me informed??????

(If it wasn't for Jim, I still wouldn't know about them. *miffed*)

For the Hegel of It

Best Last Words Department:
"Only one man ever understood me. And he really didn't understand me."
Georg Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831)
Hegel was a German philosopher whose works place ultimate reality in ideas rather than in things and use dialectic to comprehend an absolute idea behind phenomena.


Today's fragrance: Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka. A pretty, not-so-sweet vanilla with a smoky afterscent.


I Should Be Dancing

Those who danced were thought quite insane by those who could not hear the music
Angela Monet

Pure Elegance

"The relaxed attitudes of the 1960s could be achieved in couture day wear. Hubert de Givenchy excelled in a style associated with such nonchalant fashion paladins as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn. Learning from his mentor, Balenciaga, Givenchy offered a seemingly unstructured two-piece dress - which he dubbed "split level" - indebted to the Balenciaga sack. For necessary articulation of details, he employed "souplesse" instead of a tailor's dart, allowing a supplementary soft fold of material to give shape to these unassuming and chic tops. These ensembles by Givenchy were the "working uniforms" of Diana Vreeland, then editor of Vogue magazine in New York."

The Costume Institute
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Leyte: Another People Cried Dry

I've written in this blog of living in the Philippines. Of the scent of the tropics, that drowning-in-whiteflower scent I can't duplicate. Of the damp heat, and the lizards on the ceilings, and the house in which we lived, behind a wall. And the nuns of my school, and my plaid school uniform, and the briefcase the three-foot-tall me toted to class every day.

I'm not sure I talked about the overwhelming poverty I remember of that just post-war time. Of the Americans who had too much and weren't sensitive to the wealth disparity in that neo-colony. The US military who seemed to be the main industry in that hot, green, floridly floral place. The poverty. The cardboard shanties, with corrugated metal roofs. The half-naked children running on the dirt roads of villages-within-Manila.

And you know, this is all sensory, real and imagined. All I actually remember is sorrow and amazement that kids my age had so little. And then I'm sure I turned away, or was turned away, and thought of different things.

Today, one holiday we spent in Baguio is bringing to mind the Leyte disaster. It's further north, but the same type of country, I think. Green, hilly -- maybe not quite as tropical, with more temperate weather.

Leyte played an important role in the Pacific theatre of WWII: "... in 1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the biggest naval battle between the Americans and the Japanese in world history, transpired in Leyte. General Douglas MacArthur, at the head of an army of more than 250,000 men, waded ashore on the island at Red Beach, Palo, Leyte. This marked the end of the Japanese Imperial Army and, eventually, the second World War." [information from the Republic of the Philippines]

And today the Philippines province of Leyte is one more natural disaster from which people who already had next to nothing are digging out.

If you have any more good wishes and hopeful thoughts to spend, send them to Leyte. They need them now. God help them.

In Praise of Theme Desserts

I am inordinately pleased when I get on top of something, domestic-wise.


I present the Presidents' Day theme dessert! Cherry Cheesecake bars! (Cherry = George Washington. Get it?!!!!)

Now resting peacefully TWO DAYS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE in the refrigerator. I must share the triumph with you. And the recipe.

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted

MIX cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended. Mix crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 8- or 9-inch baking pan.
POUR batter over crust.
BAKE at 350°F for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool.

Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Top with cherries. Cut into bars.


Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Of course! The Sephora catalog!

I Need Some Glamour In My Life

I'm feeling an absence of allure ... not a scintilla of seduction. I haven't worn scent in *gasp* three days (although I have a wonderful Valentine candle in Rose Noir that has made everything around me smell nice).

But seriously, ever go through one of those phases when you need serious work in the attractiveness department? I need a makeover. Now that I have all this new stuff in my brain, it's time to work on the superficial externalities of it all.

Also, it's colder than a toad's nodes here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Brrrr.


And So It Begins

With only a month left of school, it's time to get the old ego ready for battering.

Yes, job hunting.

Resume padding. Hyperbole hurling. Fantastical estimations of one's professional skills and abilities. Romantic remembrances of jobs and bosses past.


*Anybody who tells you they like job hunting is a LIAR*

On Ogre's Day: Ladies First

A story from Marlo Thomas

Did you hear the one about the little girl who was a tender sweet young thing?

Well, that's the way she thought of herself. And this tender sweet young thing spent a great deal of time just looking in the mirror and saying "I am a real little lady, anybody could tell that. I wear lovely starched cotton dresses, with matching ribbons in my lovely curly locks. I wear clean white socks, and shiny black patent leather shoes, and I always put just a dab of perfume behind each ear."

When she was at the end of the lunch line at school, all she had to say was, "Ladies first, ladies first!" and she'd get right up to the front of the line.

Well, her life went on like that for quite a while, and she wound up having a pretty good time. You know, admiring herself in mirrors and always getting to be first in line, and stuff like that.

And then one day, she went exploring with a whole group of other people through the wilds of a deep and beastly jungle. As she went along through the tangled trails and the prickly vines, she would say things like "I have to be careful of my lovely dress and my nice white socks, and my shiny shiny shoes and my curly curly locks. So would somebody please clear the way for me?" And they did.

Or sometimes she'd say "What do you mean, there aren't enough mangos to go around, and I'll have to share my mango because I was the last one across Icky River, full of crocodiles and snakes? No matter how last I am, it's still ladies first, ladies first! So hand over a whole mango, please." And they did.

Well, then, guess what happened? Out of nowhere, the exploring party was seized; grabbed up by a bunch of hungry tigers, and these tigers tie all the people up and drag them back to their tiger lair where they sniffed around, trying to decide who would make the best dinner.

"How 'bout this one?" said the tiger chief.

"Nah, too bony," said the others.

"What about this one? It's got a lot of meat on it!"

"Uh-uh. Meaty, but muscley."

"Oh, for heaven's sake, don't take all night!" said the chief tiger. "I never saw such a pack of picky eaters. How 'bout this one, then? Looks tender... smells nice... in fact, I never saw anything quite like it before. I wonder what it is?"

"I am a tender sweet young thing."

"Oh. Far out," said the tiger chief.

"I am also a little lady. You should know that by my lovely clothes and my lovely smell. And if it's all the same to you, tiger tweety, I wish you'd stop licking me. And untie me this instant. My dress is getting mussed."

"Yes, uh," the tiger said. "Well, as a matter of fact, we were all just uh, trying to decide who to untie first."

"Ladies first! Ladies first!" she said.

And so she was. And mighty tasty, too.

Later today, as part of our celebration, I understand we will be hiding behind rocks, growling at children. Right, Doug?


An Ogre to Call Your Own

Fast on the feet of Valentine's Day, we find ourselves readying for Ogre Day!


Doug, what do we do on Ogre Day?

Happy Valentine's Day

*last note on Valentine's Day 2006: it was wonderful.

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable
Yet you’re my favourite work of art

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentine’s day


Tomorrow's the Big Day!

And a special shoutout to Doug of Waking Ambrose , who has proclaimed February 15 "Ogre's Day" and wonders if I'm like this because Cupid has some embarrassing polaroids ... ahh, Doug, Doug, Doug.

Valentine's Day is Romantic!

It's the Romancity of it all!

It's a reason for chocolate covered marshmallows!

*Does Semi-sweet have your order yet, Doug?*


More Valentine's Day Reminder ... A Public Service

I think this could be titled "Love Among the Cubicle Dwellers." See, love is found everywhere!


Still Time to Mail that Valentine

I don't want to put any pressure on anybody. Just trying to help. *mwah*


Meet Francie

So tonight I receive a box from my dear friend, clearing. Never mind that I owe her a box ... I get a box on my doorstep.

I love getting mail from her. There's always perfume involved! And beautiful wrappings! And girl stuff! And ... And it's a Valentine's box!

Excited (and guilty), I take a razor blade to the box and carefully open it, lifting out the first layer of bubble wrap.

Awwwwwww, there's a gold and lace Valentine right on top. Awwwwww.

And a note on one of the beautifully wrapped packages. That says: "Francie."

FRANCIE? Who's Francie? WHO'S FRANCIE????????

Well. *snif* Maybe clearing sent a box to the wrong person. *snif* All this beautiful stuff, not for me. *snif*

But, to make sure, I do the revolutionary thing. No, not email. I PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL HER. YES! I actually speak to her, and say -- "Um. This is a gorgeous box. Who's Francie?"

I should explain. Clearing has three daughters and still has one foot in the Barbie era. Turns out that Francie is Barbie's good friend. And this is clearing's gentle joke on me:


I get to keep the box! La La La La La!

And it has a sample of vintage Shiseido Nombre Noir in it!!

Good thing I'm Francie.


Five Days Until Valentine's Day ...

Do YOU know where your Valentine is?

*This includes you, Doug. Of Waking Ambrose *

Dreaming in Threes

The Faeries by Warwick Goble


Another Foggy Dream

I seem to dream exclusively in the images of Warwick Goble. Yesterday and today.


In My Foggy-Minded Dreams

Bucky and I Take A Walk


Sick. Very Sick.


Malice? Or Incompetence?

I'm sitting here, Saturday morning -- the wind is whipping around the house as I write.

I just scanned the New York Times webpage -- and impressed myself when I recognized a guy I used to sit next to at the synagogue where I was converted -- a former Republican city councilman who's somehow risen up the ranks to be an assistant to Condoleeza Rice and an ambassador who's very verbal about fighting against human slavery. Verbal. I guess results are supposed to come later. So much for six degrees ... from effectiveness. But at least he's trying. It must be hard to do humanitarian work in this administration.

I move over to the Washington Post, and an editorial line at the bottom caught my eye. Something about "Warrantless wiretapping and immigrant bashing: What else can Republicans run on this year? Their competence? Their ethics?"

And that streamed my consciousness to the Bankruptcy Law class I'm taking this term.

Most of us are blissfully unaware that bankruptcy law in this country has been completely revamped within the past year. The option for a "fresh start" in Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- the discharge of nearly all one's debts -- is now nearly impossible to qualify for. A good thing, most of us would say. People should take responsibility for their debts. Learn to live within their means.

On the face of it: of course. But what this law will do in practice will drive the pain, the misery index, of those already suffering economically, through the roof.

My instructor -- a practicing attorney -- alternates between railing against this poorly constructed, legislated "reform" and reminding us that it's the law. And we need to learn how to apply it.

While she's railing, she takes us through the bankruptcy petition and schedules -- like a 1040 tax form -- that is often a paralegal's job to complete.

We take our pretend client through the "means test" that's required of anyone attempting to declare Chapter 7 (most will fail this test and be compelled to file Chapter 13, reorganize their debts and file a payment plan -- whether they can actually pay it or not).

As part of the process (and I'm giving you loose numbers in this example but, believe me, there is truth in this) we find out that if he's head of a family of four and makes $24,000 -- he will be allowed approximately $300 a month to feed his family.

But if he makes $90,000, he'll be allowed $1200 to feed that family.

Think about this. You are both in debt up to your eyeballs. You both are asking the court for relief from the debt. But one of you makes three times more than the other. And that is the difference between feeding your children whole milk -- or being required by the law to feed your children powdered milk. Because of your difference in income.

Both clients will feel pain in this process.

The hypothetical $90,000/year Boeing engineer will have to undergo a tremendous lifestyle change to make his way through Chapter 13. But food for his kids will probably not be an issue.

The $24,000 construction laborer, though, will choose whether he can afford gas to get to work or food for his kids, after his repayment plan is in effect.

Did the "reformers," heavily influenced by creditor lobbyists, think about these repercussions when they slammed this through last year?

My instructor's mantra is "Was it incompetence? Or malice?"

Did the legislators not know the effect of this law will probably be to drive the poorest further into an underclass that abdicates their debts totally, changes their names and makes what existence they can in a gray market of non-documented, under-the-table workers? Whose marginal lives, by the way, contribute nothing to the tax roles?

Or did they know, and not care?



Seattle is bracing for a significant windstorm.

It would be the ultimate irony, after waiting 30+ years to get to a Superbowl, if all power is knocked out in the region in time for the Big Game.

Generators will be purchased tomorrow, I'll bet.


The Male and Female Festivals

Have you ever noticed that the traditional Male Festival -- the Superbowl -- is closely followed by the traditional Female Festival -- Valentine's Day?

One festival requires chips, dip, submarine sandwiches and beer.

The other festival requires chocolate, flowers and perfume.

The main person behind the Male Festival is happy if you just sit there quietly, maybe cheering the right team on ... but not a lot is expected, really.

The main person behind the Female Festival, however, has been known to make the other person's life a living hell if Female Festival requirements are not forthcoming.

I find those differences interesting. Don't you?

If It's February 2, It's ...

Groundhog's Day. Phil saw his shadow. More winter. Bah.


rabbit, rabbit!

It is February 1 ...
rabbit, rabbit!