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


Golden Door (to the New World)

The Seattle International Film Festival featured Golden Door ... a film about immigrating to America in the early 1900s.

An odd mix of fantasy and grit, it brings home this experience of hard transition (and maybe gives one a little more sympathy for those trying to do it today, despite the knotted problems of who pays for what).

My favorite scene was an aerial shot of the crowded deck and the crowded pier ... with the separation of those two masses of people as the boat pulls away from the dock.

Our great-great(-great?) grandparents did a tremendously brave, tremendously difficult thing when they left everything they knew to make a dangerous, dirty trip across the ocean. We need to remember how hard it was and is, and how desperate people are who make this trip.


Memorial Day 2007

Support the Troops:
Bring Them Home.


Are You Experienced?

And would I be any different today if I wasn't?
(I grin when someone younger than me earnestly explains the value of expanding one's consciousness. Heh.)
Image from the current exhibit, Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era, at the Whitney Museum of American Art


I do not know whether I was then a (wo)man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a (wo)man. - Chuang Tse
painting by Dona Turner


Now, Back to Consumerism.

Today's scented candle recommendation: Trapp Candles' Burmese Wood.
They say: "Blend of exotic flowers and the depth of Burmese wood."
I say: I don't smell flower one in this, and that's a good thing. Just spicy, herby woodsiness. Nice.


Before I Open My Hand And Let This Go:

Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.


Speaking Ill of the Dead

Last night I learned news that I have been waiting 48 years to hear.

My stepfather is dead.

I wonder if anyone else, or everyone, can pinpoint singular negative influences in their lives. An individual against whom one struggled for existence -- existence of one's self, one's rights and boundaries, one's ability to move free.

I have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of tear-filled hours in a therapist's office working to overcome the damage this man did. Some of it conscious, most as a byproduct of his narcissistic salting of the earth he walked on.

I had not seen him for fourteen years when I heard the news last night. And still it took an inch of bourbon to deal with.

I remember as a sixteen year old, thinking that hating the man was more destructive to me than it ever could be to him. I tried not to, for my own sake. But, I am sorry and shamed to say, I did hate him.

Let's see if death absolves me. I am certain it will not absolve him.

Portrait of a Young Woman, Lorenzo di Credi 1459-1537


Desire vs Attainment

Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld
French author & moralist (1613 - 1680)


The Most Important Choice

I'm tempted to make some sweeping statement like "a mother because she must be, a father because he chooses to be" ... but I know there are no universal truths, no matter how much we wish for them.

But what I want to speak to, on this eve of Mother's Day, is the most important role a mother plays: the choosing of the father of her child.

That first responsibility is perhaps the greatest. It will shape that child like no other decision she makes.

I suppose there are some women who should never be, or should never have been, mothers. Temperamentally unsuited, lacking any maternal predisposition or skills, maybe cold or damaged.

But despite all that, even that mother can salvage her child through the most basic of acts: by either luck or good judgement, breeding with a male who lovingly takes responsibility for the being he helps create.

I know humans I consider to be good mothers. And, at this age, I am more and more aware of the humans who turned out to be exemplary fathers.

I wasn't lucky enough to have experienced good fathering as a child (although I have been extremely fortunate to have been nurtured by my partner, the man I believe to be the finest father in the world), so I am sensitized to what a good father is, and isn't.

Even at this late, late stage in my life, I have benefited from that nurturance. I can't imagine why I was given this gift.

And I encourage anyone reading this who, as a child, shared my belated experience -- that of having benefited from the kindness, patience and wisdom of a man who met the challenge of being a good father ...

Tell your mother how grateful you are for the choice she made.


Wretched Excess. (Need Any QTips?)

I admire the "eat local" movement, those who would buy only what they absolutely must to survive, and individuals who are disciplined enough to swim strongly against the supersized American consumerist current.

I love reading those blogs that demonstrate that ethos (especially Jamie's 10SignsLikeThis) but -- given my perfume habit as one example (although in my defense, we DO own a CSA share this summer and will be supporting a local farm by eating great produce) -- Anyway. Where was this defensive diatribe leading?

Right. Today we made our Annual-Trip-To-Costco.

Oh dear God. It starts with a long drive using up way too much gas to a location in the burbs. Got an early start in order to beat the crowd. Show up at 9:15 a.m., find a lovely close parking place, in spite of the hundreds who are already jostling by the entrance.

Each of us jockeys an oversize cart into the line waiting to get in. Note the Old Hippie complete with pony tail of graying hair who aims to beat everyone to the front of the line by creeping his cart on the outskirts of the crowd, slowly, slowly making his way to the head of the line. Idiot.

Anyway. Door opens, show membership card for which we spent money entitling us to spend even more money -- and then it begins. It's like I go into a hynotic state and I start wanting things I would not be in my right mind to want. Five oversize bottles of Mitchum unscented deodorant. FIVE LARGE DEODORANTS. We will never need to buy deodorant again. Or toothpaste. Or ibuprofen. Or (fill in the blank). And I really don't want to talk about the lifetime supply of Q-Tips.

Then there is the industrial size Costco peach pie. Why, why, why? At least this one I convinced Jim he wanted so I didn't have to carry the guilt.

He wouldn't go for the huge bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos, though. I had to put that in my own cart. Dammit.

Tide. Clorox disinfecting wipes. Never mind the usual pallets of toilet paper and paper towels.

A new bed for Bucky (that he doesn't like the smell of. Yet.) The double-pack of Cetaphil.

And the list goes on. Until we get in the long, long line for the privilege of paying the hundreds of dollars.

Then the line to actually exit ... and we're out!

Load up the car, make it home and that weird consuming state slowly wears off. But there's a hangover moment as I'm stowing the QTips. Thousands of QTips.

I know the rationale is that buying in bulk makes things cheaper. If you need everything you buy and buy only what you need.

Did I need thousands of QTips? Or the 20-pack of Seth's Pink Cookies? Well, if anything happens, at least we're stocked.

Let me know if you need any Pink Cookies or QTips.


Rabbit, Rabbit ... and Happy May Day!