Sunday, October 30, 2011

Perfume: The ones I didn't buy

I've noticed something. When I meet a perfume, and fall in love, and order samples, there seems to be a limited window in which I either buy that perfume, or I'm never going to buy it. Why is that?

There's Bvlgari Black, for example. I like it a lot -- that vanilla-soaked slice of bicycle tire is a delightful kind of weird. And it's surprisingly inexpensive, at least at the discount sites. I've put it in more than one online shopping cart, but every time I find myself imagining that odd little bottle in among my bottles, and every single time I find myself thinking of it as clutter. Is it the bottle? If Bvlgari Black were sold in something tall and thin, would I buy it? Or is it snobbery -- do I refuse to buy it because it's less expensive, and because it's so widely available? I don't get it.

Then there's Dzing!, a classic weird that's not quite weird enough. It's always rumored to be discontinued and it never is. Maybe that's why I never bought it -- maybe I resent feeling pressured. The same for Bois Blond (still around) and Indult Tihota (tragically gone). 

I let Velvet Gardenia slip into discontinuation, and I'm not sorry. Usually. Comme des Garcons Garage faded away too, and I am sorry. I loved it; I refrained only because  thought it was too weird to wear among human beings. I'm going to try not to make that mistake again. If Aftelier's Cepes & Tuberose goes away, that will be a similar but much larger regret. I think it's time to budget for that terrifyingly expensive quarter-ounce bottle.

Will I be sorry if Luctor et Emergo vanishes? To my surprise, that thought doesn't worry me. Maybe I love the name more than the perfume.

All sorts of things are approaching the end of their "buy it or never" period. Heeley Cardinal. Chene. Parfums de Nicolai Number One. Fumerie Turque. Fille en Aiguilles. Jardin de Kerylos. Kyoto's expired a long time ago. And why haven't I bought Tubereuse Criminelle? I don't see the export yet, but The Perfumed Court has those partial bell jars.

Of all the perfumes I fall in love with -- of all the perfumes you fall in love with -- what finally triggers an actual purchase?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rambling: 100+ Reading Challenge Update

I signed up for the 100+ Reading Challenge again this year, and I'm up to sixty-nine books. That's at least ten books below where I should be -- and that's ignoring the fact that NaNoWriMo is likely to dominate all of November.

So why am I spending all this time on the web? And what am I doing re-reading books? If I must re-read books, why won't I ever re-read the whole thing so I can count the book? And why do I keep dipping into gardening books without finishing them? I've read and re-read large portions of Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, and The Resilient Gardener, and An American Cutting Garden, and The Flower Farmer but I haven't finished any of them. A couple of hours devoted to reading the bits I skipped would probably give me four more books for my tally. (Ha! I just finished the last bits of Gardening Without Irrigation, and my count is seventy!)

And if I'd just stop re-reading Ammie, Come Home, and put a new-to-me novel by the tub instead, I'd be regularly racking up novels just with bubble-bath time. Certain books serve as security blankets for me, and the books in Barbara Michaels' Georgetown series are high on the list.

And, does Bread and Jam for Frances count?

I'm just asking.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Gardening: Plant Wish List

I've blogged about plant breeding before. I didn't end up actually doing any of it this year -- I didn't even eat the sunflower buds and radish pods that I planted. But as this year's garden winds down, I find myself thinking of things I'd like to grow. If I find that they don't exist, then that gives me a breeding goal.

I want:
  • A small -- two-serving, maybe -- watermelon that will ripen in my climate. No, it doesn't need to be square, but ideally it would be one that can be dryfarmed.  It has to taste like classic watermelon, and it has to be red, because I just can't get that watermelon vibe from yellow flesh. The best candidate that I know of for "ripen in my climate" is Blacktail Mountain. For small size and dryfarming, I don't yet have a clue. 
  • A cherry tomato that tastes like Sun Gold but doesn't split like Sun Gold did this year. The White Currant tomatoes that we're also growing this year rarely split, and the flavor is pretty nice, but it's not as nice as Sun Gold. (Hmm. I read that there's something called Sun Sugar, bred for exactly this goal.)
  • A full size tomato that tastes like Sun Gold. But everybody wants that, right?
  • A disease resistant pole snap pea. Wasn't Carol Deppe working on this? Did she make one?
  • Um...
I know that there are more. When I think of them, I'll post.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gardening: Dryfarming

We used a lot of water at The Farm this year. In the excitement of the new garden, we weren't willing to take the slightest chance of any plant being thirsty. While the bills weren't bankruptcy, they certainly took the edge off any claim to have saved on food costs. (Then again, how much is a dead ripe red-to-the-middle strawberry worth? Mmmmm.)

So we'll be making some changes next year. The strawberries and at least some of the bush beans will still get all the water they want, but the tomatoes and peppers and squash and sunflowers and any number of other things will have to do a certain amount of doing without. I'll grow the cucumbers that didn't get bitter this year during hot spells, in the hope that they'll be equally amiable about low water. The corn will have more lavish soil but less water. The herbs and perennial flowers will get a chance to show how nicely established they are. And we're thinking about experimenting with dryfarming. (Drygardening?)

What's dryfarming, you may ask? It's growing without irrigation, using the water that's naturally stored in the soil. Luckily, I'm gardening in Oregon, where the soil is saturated every winter, so there's a moisture bank to draw on. But all the same, dryfarming involves a lot of changes.

The most obvious change, as far as I can tell, is plant spacing - it's drastically expanded for dryfarming. Corn is normally spaced somewhere between six and eighteen inches apart, depending on the variety and situation. Steve Solomon's _Gardening Without Irrigation_ recommends a dryfarming spacing for corn of three feet, and that's for a climate that might be a bit cooler than mine. He also mentions Arizona gardeners that have grown un-irrigated corn at at ten foot spacing. One cornstalk in a space the size of a small bathroom. Yikes.

Steve Solomon has (or had) sixteen acres; space isn't a big issue for him. We have a fraction of an acre, but all the same, I'm planning a little experimenting. A couple of dryfarmed tomatoes at a five or six foot spacing. A few corn plants at a three-foot spacing, or maybe I'll go with two feet and water them a bit. A few un- or lightly- irrigated pole beans. I'll dryfarm at least one patch of garlic -- some sources say that since garlic gets a good deal of its growth in the wet spring, this should be easy. Some sources fervantly disagree. We'll see.

Of course, all that wide spacing does you no good if you allow weeds between the plants to suck up all the water. So dryfarming will require essentially perfect weed control. And, to my surprise and dismay, apparently a nice weed-suppressing mulch actually increases water loss in a dryfarm situation. The explanation for this oddity is that mulch keeps the top layer of soil damp, allowing water to travel by capillary action from the deeper moisture reserves all the way to the top of the soil, where it evaporates away. Without mulch, the top of the soil turns bone dry and and doesn't allow that surface evaporation. If you break it up to further destroy capillary action, you've created a "dust mulch", a phrase that still fascinates me.

So. Dryfarming. I'll let you know how it goes.

Image: By Li-Sung. Wikimedia Commons

Friday, October 21, 2011

SOTD: Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey


I thought that this would be a summer perfume -- that after buying it, I'd put it away and ignore it until warm weather. But it was exactly what I wanted.

That is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gardening: Ramble. Really rambly ramble. And where's my donut?!

One flaw with growing my own vegetables is that sometimes I'm too tired to cook them.

Today I weeded and re-dug (they were tilled in the spring) two twenty-five-or-so-square-foot beds in The Farm, in the now-cleared summer bean area. And planted yellow potato onions in one and Chesnok Red garlic in the other one. And mulched them both with nice fluffy alfalfa straw. And hoed the bitty weeds out of a hundred or two square feet of already reasonably clear bed, elsewhere, on the "hoe first" principle. (OK, I wasn't doing "hoe first" because I dug first. But at least I did the hoeing.)

While I was putting the garden tools away I realized that (ooh!) there was a garden fork in the shed. I tried it out and learned that the garden fork does a much, much better job of the weeding that I'd already done before I saw it.

While I knew that a garden fork is the tool of choice for nightmarish weeds like Bermuda grass, our main nemesis on The Farm, for some reason I had convinced myself that my long-handled cultivator claw thingie would do the job just as well. But, no; the cultivator claw thingie just lets me apply two hands to the tug-of-war with the Bermuda grass. The fork, on the other hand, breaks up the soil that the Bermuda grass hangs on to, so the grass forfets the tug-of-war altogether.

Anyway. I did muddy stuff. And then I wandered around the garden and stared blankly at the lettuce. (Ready to harvest.) And artichokes. (Ditto.) And broccoli. (One head almost past prime harvest time, clearly thinking hard about bolting as soon as no one's looking.) I ignored them all and ate five or six strawberries right off the plant. The high up ones that I convince myself have no dirt on them. Then I ran away home to drink milk rather than cook anything.

Then I went to the grocery. Walking seemed easier than cooking and I wanted one of their donuts. Vegan donuts. This fact annoys Himself, but they're good anyway. Today they were (grrr!) out of donuts, so I bought something called a Cocoa Crackle. And more milk. Then I walked home and was so tired that I had trouble getting out of my sweatshirt. If it had been a slightly snugger fit I might be toppled over on the couch right now, fast asleep with my arms tangled in the sweatshirt halfway over my head. Snoring.

Then I sat down to type, and produced this. As I look around, I see three watermelons of dubious ripeness, four Delicata squash, and about ten Acorn squash. I bought wild rice to stuff the squashes with when I bake them. I know that there are two bags of beans and a crisper drawer full of cucumbers and two packages of chicken and a pound and a half of butter in the fridge. There are a whole bunch of onions curing outside that I really should brush off and put in a bag. I'm not cooking any of them. I plan to eat the Cocoa Crackle and then an ice cream bar. So there.

It's not as if I actually worked that hard. But I am that out of shape.

I want my donut.


Ooh, but those strawberries were good...

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Perfume: Hermes, The Ziploc, and Decluttering Weakness

Yesterday, I read a Basenotes thread "What house(s) do you collect?", so I went through my Basenotes wardrobe out of curiosity. I wasn't the least bit surprised to find Parfumerie Generale and Serge Lutens amply represented, but I definitely didn't expect to learn that Hermes is one of the top three in my collection. That's not to say that I disapprove of Hermes or anything like that, but I didn't think that liked them all that much.

So I had to go through the list of Hermes fragrances that my wardrobe claims I own. Hiris, sure, I love that. Oh, yeah, I bought a Discovery Set from Hermes plus a couple of stray Discovery Set bottles from The Perfumed Court; that should show all those other houses that tiny bottles can inspire purchases from other-than-favorite houses. Eau d'Orange Verte, didn't I give that away? And Terre d'Hermes, too? So I went to look at the actual collection, and, yes, no Eau d'Orange Verte, no Terre d'Hermes.

That was when I made my mistake: I went to look at The Ziploc.

The Ziploc is a gallon ziploc crammed full of fragrances that I plan to give, sell, or swap away. (Probably give, locally; Postal Regulation Phobia continues to rule.) It's the product of much decluttering heartstrain. Actually looking at The Ziploc, rather than stuffing a rejected fragrance in with eyes averted and running away again, is a mistake.

This is because The Ziploc makes me go "Ooh!" and then fragrances come out and then I spray on things that I had firmly given up, like Creed Original Vetiver, and then all that decluttering is in danger of going out the window. I smell strongly of Original Vetiver right now. If I've got my terminology right, my superego filled The Ziploc; my id ("Pretty! Smells good! MINE!") wants to retrieve everything from it.

It's all the more dangerous because we moved and combined our households and therefore all of my Perfume Breadboxes are in one place, and it was the crowding of the Breadboxes that made me declutter in the first place. You'd think, of course, that the Breadboxes would be just as full even though they're reunited, but that's not true - two homes meant bottles in one place and decants drawn from the bottles in another, and I boxed up the decants and that means that Breadbox Real Estate is freed up.


So I'm eyeing the Ziploc and questioning my decisions. For example, why is Mandragore in there? I love Mandragore! Could I possibly have decided to get rid of it on the flimsy grounds that I haven't worn it in three years? Unthinkable! It's going on the "maybe" shelf.

Then there's Coty Wild Musk... OK, I can give up Coty Wild Musk. I bought it for the Drugstore Series, and, no, I'm not going to answer to the part of my brain that's asking, "But did you review that one? Shouldn't you hang on to it until you do?" No. Just no. Goodbye, Wild Musk.

Demeter Dirt?! I love Demeter Dirt! How could...

Oh. Yes, I love some of Christopher Brosius's current dirt renditions more. That must be the reason. Back in the Ziploc with you.

Fresh Lemon Sugar. I loved that. I lift the cap and I still love it. I suspect that it went into the Ziploc based on snobbery ("Too sweet. Teenager fragrance.") and citrus overload. But I'm pretty sure I still love it. It's going to a Breadbox. If and when I buy Din Dan, Lemon Sugar may go away.

Sand & Sable. Drugstore series again. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed writing the review, I enjoyed the comments conversation that ensued. I never ever wear it, because there are heavy white flowers that I like better. Pass on the enjoyment to someone else. Do you hear me, Id? Back in the Ziploc. Back!

ElizabethW Sweet Tea. It was once my very, very favorite. I never wear it any more. I can't look in Sweet Tea's sad eyes as I put her back in the Ziploc; she's going in "maybe" until I'm stronger.

Kiehl's Pear 1977. (Why 1977?) A nice pear and nothing but pear. I enjoy it but it's so simple that I will never wear it. I reassure myself that perfumers will keep on making pear notes, and put it back in the Ziploc.

Eau d'Orange Verte. Its appeal is based purely on "But Hermes makes good fragrances!" and "But I paid money for it!" Not enough. Ziploc. It's a relief that I apparently already got rid of Terre d'Hermes; it has much more snob appeal for me, and I might be unable to resist it today.

Fresh Hesperides. I loved it once, but never bonded with it like I did with Sweet Tea, and it smells aggressively synthetic to me now. It's going back without a qualm.

L'Occitane Bergamot Tea. That makes the Mandragore eviction all the more puzzling; that was my other bergamot fragrance. But if I'm keeping Mandragore I don't need Bergamot Tea; off with it.

Y'know, I have a new theory about Mandragore: I suspect that I was going to buy a real bottle to replace my existing mini, and then the bottle got outprioritized. I'm telling myself that anyway, because it makes keeping the mini a sensible deicison that saves a bottle purchase, rather than a decluttering weakness. Yeah, that's my story.

A "spare" Vetiver Tonka. At just 15ml of fragrance per Discovery Set bottle, I'm reclaiming that. But it reminds me of why I got rid of Original Vetiver -- for me, there are no circumstances under which Vetiver Tonka doesn't beat out Original Vetiver for the SOTD decision. So the giant green Creed bottle goes back in the Ziploc.

And that strengthens my decision to keep Love in Black in the Ziploc - I can maintain my prejudice against Creed that way. Sure, yes, Creed has some nice scents, and I really like the Creed reps I've met. But all the people running around insisting that Creed uses All Natural Materials Woo Hoo! annoy me, and so does the advertising copy that feeds that impression. And I feel no obligation to be rational and unprejudiced about luxury products.

Jo Malone Sweet Lime and Cedar. Smells lovely at first, and then on my skin the lime grows and grows and grows until I want to saw my arm off. Best to get rid of it, to resist the temptation to try it just one more time.

Rochas Tocade. I adore the circus-colors bottle. The scent itself is a "comfort" rose, but I don't like roses enough to want them in my comfort scent, so it has no function for me. Back in the Ziploc. Back. I said back. Look, Id, you can get a picture of the pretty bottle, OK? That's better; thank you.

The bottom of The Ziploc is full of decants and samples; I refuse to look at those. If I don't even see them until I dump The Ziploc out and tell friends, "Take something!" then I'll feel bad saying, "Oh, I changed my mind about that one; give it back." Of course, my friend are polite enough to undermine that by repeatedly asking, "Are you sure you want to give it away?" but I'll tell myself that they'd be furious if I said no. Decluttering calls for mental guerilla warfare.

Image: By H. Zell. Wikimedia Commons.
(What does it have to do with the post? Nothing whatsoever. It was just pretty.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Writing: NaNoWriMo is coming, too.

So, NaNoWriMo is on its way. In case you're not familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, a month when a bunch of crazy people, including me, attempt to write a fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days (starting November first), and spend a lot of time procrastinating and talking about it on the NaNoWriMo website. I've participated for three years, giving up early the first year and finishing my fifty thousand words last year and the year before.

Those last two years, I worked on the same novel twice -- Coriolis Effect, some scraps of which were blogged here. I got the idea halfway through November year before last, then started it again from scratch last year. NaNoWriMo rules don't let you do any writing on your novel before November 1, so I had to either start from scratch or do something else. Or, of course, be a NaNoWriMo Rebel and choose to break a rule.

I could start it from scratch again, but I think that if I continue to pursue the idea, I'll want to do it in a slower and more planned way. It's a complicated, messy thing, involving two time periods about fifty years apart, and I'm still not sure how the core problem's going to be solved. If I work on it again, I'll end up just writing fifty thousand words of banter between Emily and Henry. And I think those two are a little annoyed with me.

So what to do this year?

I've considered exploring the possibility that my writing career, if it ever comes into existence, will be about nonfiction rather than fiction. So I could do the NaNoWriMo rebel thing and write fifty thousand words of nonfiction See, that's the difficulty. Writing about something like perfume or food or gardening would require at least a little research, even if it's mostly uninformed opinionating, and it's too late to get enough research done to allow me to write full-speed. I could write something memoir-like, though that sounds dangerously likely to be fifty thousand words of self-absorbed whining.

But even though I so far haven't found a topic, the idea of a nonfiction book is appealing. It might happen.

If it doesn't, I could try a novel with a very simple, to the point of simplistic, plot. It would be refreshing to actually know where my novel is  going to end up, so that I could focus on characters and situations and still drive the thing to an ending. I've been reading Charlotte MacLeod's books, which have plenty of plot but also have enjoyable characters and stylish-cozy writing, and I suspect that's the mood I'm going after this year.

Of course, simplistic or not I still need a plot. Some kind of plot. Preferably before November 1.  Help!

Image: NaNoWriMo.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gardening: The onions are coming! The onions are coming!

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange just emailed to let me know that my order is on its way. Specifically, four ounces of white multiplier onions, a pound of grey shallots, and twenty ounces of yellow potato onions, "Medium and Large Bulbs". And some Egyptian Brown Onion seed for next year. If it works for our climate; it was an impulse purchase.

Territorial will be sending me an ounce of Egyptian Walking Onions and half a pound each of Chesnok Red, Inchelim Red, Polish Softneck, Premium Northern White, and Purple Italian Easy Peel garlic. Oh, and another, er, five pounds of yellow multiplier onions, which I'm assuming are similar, or perhaps identical, to the yellow potato onions. I really must keep track of my orders.

That's just the onions. Just the perennial onions; the onions from seeds or set will wait for spring.

Onions aside, John Scheepers will be sending me twenty each of Kingsblood, Menton Exotic, and Negrita tulips. Also fifty each of the Single Late Pastel Mix tulips and King Alfred Jumbo daffodils. Oh, and five species lily bulbs.

A quick summing up, and a guesstimate of bulbs per ounce, suggests that I will soon have over four hundred individual bulby things to plant. It might be just as well that I forgot to order peony roots. Again. Then again, maybe it's not too late?

Now, some people cheerfully plant a thousand bulbs in a day, but I may have overdone this just a fraction. In spite of that, I can't stop thinking that maybe I should order another few hundred tulips.

Assuming that I'm not just planting a winter gopher buffet, it's also going to be a pungent 2012. On top of all of the oniony things above, I'll be planting Copra onions again in the spring, this time at approximately the right time instead of six weeks late. I'll be growing my own plants from seed in the World's Smallest Greenhouse, and ordering plants, just in case.

(Re the gopher buffet, I did buy three modest-sized gopher baskets, to hopefully assure that I'll at least get to taste some grey shallots.)

Oh, and there's always leeks. Did I mention leeks? I can't make up my mind about them. On the one hand, I love the way they look in the garden. On the other hand, I hate puttering with trenches, and I know I won't hill them up, and are leeks any good if you don't hill them up? Southern Exposure Seed Exchange has perennial leeks, though they're sold out; I may wait until next year and grow my leeks that way.

Speaking of perennial stalky onions, I have theoretically-perennial scallions, huddling up to the herbs. And, of course, chives. And some clumps of garlic chives that for some reason I planted by the street, that I could divide and install among the vegetables.

I should probably do some square footage calculations here. Himself is not going to be pleased if the onions don't leave any room for next year's corn.

Image: By Filk R. Wikimedia Commons.

SOTD Decision Making, Post One

(Will it be a series? Heaven knows.)

Since it got cold out there last week, I've been wearing winter perfumes. Feminite du Bois, Chergui, that sample of Mythique, that sort of thing. Since I talked about Serge Noire being sticky in the wrong temperature, I picked it up to spray today, just to see. Un Lys was visible behind it. That was that. I am a cloud of lilies.

Image: Greg Lundeen. Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rambling: Travelling gluttony. Oh, and perfume, too.

Last week, we went back to the Bay Area to finish off some business and touch base with our respective employers. And (who am I fooling here?) to eat. Himself will no doubt be blogging about the eating, and I'll be offering a link when he does. Updating earlier travel, Himself has posted about our second day of northern gluttony and sightseeing, in September, here.

Regarding food, I'm just going to tell you that if you're ever in San Francisco, go eat at House, my favorite restaurant in the world. We went there for lunch. Then Himself, because Himself is very nice to me, changed our dinner reservations and we went there again for dinner. (Not that Himself doesn't also adore House, he just tends to believe in variety.) If the last train out of town hadn't been leaving at midnight, I might have suggested that we wait around to get hungry again and go there a third time.

I don't like salmon or mustard or cabbage; the House salmon roll with mustard and cabbage slaw is one of my favorite plates of food in the world. I don't like chicken livers; the only thing that kept me from completely cleaning my plate of chicken livers and baby greens at dinner was the fact that I was trying to finish it and the salmon roll after also having eaten the tuna tartare, and of course after an earlier lunch of another salmon roll and the rare-tuna BLT and chocolate cream pie. Did I mention that I also usually don't like dessert? I scraped the pie plate clean.

Ahhh. House. Go. Eat. Have the salmon roll and, if it's available, have the panko-crusted tuna roll. Beyond that, you're on your own recognizance.

OK, apparently I'm going to talk about food after all. I have a question. We ate at Picadilly Catering, where, by the way, they had very fine fried chicken of a school different from mine (battered and seasoned; I go with a dusting of flour and no seasoning other than salt), prepared with a skill greater than mine.

But the question is about the cake - they had layer cake with a very, very thin coating of frosting, and I realized that to me, the modest amount of frosting was exactly right, and somehow familiar. Why familiar? Are there regions of the US where a very modest amount of frosting is more popular than the huge sugar-bomb globs that seem more common nowadays? (Sugar-bomb globs that are partially responsible for the fact that I don't usually like dessert.) How much frosting do they use in Tennessee? I spent much of my childhood there, but I just can't remember.

Anyway. Where was I? Ah. Yes. Bay Area. In other words, Barney's territory. We went there, and Himself kindly settled into one of the "guy" chairs for the duration. I expected to rush in and rush out, but instead I had a lovely conversation with a man whose name starts with 'Mar', and if he ever happens to read this I apologize; I've never been able to remember the names even of people that I meet day after day, and I'd have lost the 'Mar' if he hadn't commented that our names have the same first syllable.

He kindly gave me samples of Parfums Del Rae Bois de Paradis and Mythique, and guided me to skin-testing Carthusia Corallim and Nasomatto Pardon. Corallim was lovely, but too bright for me to appreciate as summer's winding down; I'll be trying it again in the spring when what's now a slightly-too-fruity vibe will, I suspect, be just the right amount of fruit and bergamot nicely muted with the woody notes.

Pardon, on the other hand, was perfect for the season. It had a sandy, dry texture that reminded me of Serge Lutens Serge Noire, even though the notes had very little resemblance. I suspect that it will be more wearable than Serge Noire, a scent that's glorious in full heat or full cold, but that feels "sticky" to me when the temperature isn't right for it. In that day's in-between weather, Pardon was woody, rich but not too rich, sweet but not too sweet, and complex enough that I can't really speak to the notes yet. On my arm, it puffed clouds of scent up to my nose a little too aggressively, but the memory of it is haunting me, and I suspect that in the long run I'm going to end up buying it and making it a back-of-the-neck "waft" scent. Of course, I won't buy it without sampling it again. Really. That Would Be Wrong.

I just dabbed on the Mythique, and I'm enjoying it too. The first minute or so was a bit of a jumble - I don't know if this was a result of dabbing rather than spraying, or if I just don't like the very first top notes. But five minutes in, I'm already liking it - a nice smooth, dusty, powdery thing, without annoying girly sweetness. The reviews refer to fruitiness and flowers other than iris root, and I'm not getting that at all; I'll have to try this again, maybe decanting my sample into a sprayer, and produce a proper review. (At least, as proper as my reviews get.)

And the Chanel boutique had the small bottles of Les Exclusifs. I acquired their only small bottle of Cuir de Russie with unseemly haste. With my usual protectiveness of the associations of scents that I've committed to, I'm saving the first wearing for this weekend.


Image: By the27thmaine. Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rambling: Reassuring a Homesick Brain

So, we packed all our stuff and moved ourselves to Oregon. We'd lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty-two years. We'd lived in the same home there for fifteen years. We don't live there any more.

And my brain is having trouble with that. I don't mean that I'm unhappy about it; I'm not. We've wanted to live in the World's Best House (WBH) in Oregon since we bought it ten years ago.  Our reaction to moving consists of remarks like "Woohoo!" and "It's about time!" But all the same, there's something going on. My brain declines to believe that we've moved.

Do you create little movies in your mind, pictures of what you plan to do next? I do. And my movies are filmed on the wrong set. As I tiredly walk home, my mind anticipates collapsing on the couch in the house we no longer have. As I gingerly bag stinky trash, it anticipates the dumpster at the complex that we used to live in.

This never happened on any of the ten years' worth of vacation trips between California and the WBH. Then, I always knew where I was and where I was going to be. It's only since we walked out of the California place for the last time, never to see it again, that my mind suddenly, stubbornly, decided that it still lives in California.

Now, I've always yearned for past homes; that's not new. When I was a kid, I regularly had dreams of searching for old places, as if reaching my old school, the old library, some old loved place would make everything better. But that was back when the new home was less happy than the old one, not, as now, the other way around.

That previous state of things is, perhaps, the point. In writing this, I started cataloging places that I lived when I was a kid, and what I loved about them. There was no particular pattern of better or worse about the places themselves. But as time passed, my parents steadily grew more and more distant -- from each other, from the world, and from their kids. That meant that the past was always better than the present, and the present was always better than the future. Walking away from an old home was walking away from memories of better times than I could ever hope for in the new home. My mind learned that moving was all about loss.

There was a time when that reversed. When we were living in my last childhood home, the house that my mother still lives in, we took my brother to college. When I saw his dorm room I was consumed with envy, but this time the yearning was for the future, not the past. I wanted to be gone, out of a sad house with sad people, to a home of my own. Even a dorm home of only a few dozen square feet. And eventually, that happened, and I met Himself, and Himself and I have been creating homes since the summer after junior year, and those homes get better, not worse, as time goes on. It's all different now.

But all the same, fifteen years is fifteen years, and apparently my brain is scared that long-ago patterns will resume. I suspect that I just need to give it a little time.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rambling: End of Summer

I like fall. I always forget that fact until the first cool windy rainy day comes along, and that happened today. When I walk out into the flapping leaves and gray clouds, it's as if for months I've been compressed by heat and sunshine and flowers, and suddenly that pressure is released. I feel free, like Saturday morning. I'm full of ambitions and plans, books to read and recipes to cook and projects to sew. It makes no sense -- I love sunshine and flowers -- but there it is.

Do the ambitions normally come to anything? I can't remember. After work today I marched over to The Farm and wandered around poking at everything, slowly getting soaked, admiring the progressing broccoli and gloating over the first pea and stealing a sunflower seed from the biggest flower head. After I got home, I finally got around to baking one of the acorn (I think) squashes from the garden that's been sitting around for weeks. And I'm thinking about possibly sewing a Halloween costume. Maybe. I don't know if it'll come to anything, but it feels good.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blogging: Un-juggling

This blog started out as me rambling on about everything.

Then I moved the chicken and bacon and flower bulbs and murder mysteries to another blog, and the decluttering to a third blog, and this blog was all perfume.

Then I slacked off on posting, and all three blogs looked at me with sad hungry eyes.

Now I'm moving the Rambling Chicken posts and the decluttering posts back home. Here. So I thought I should warn you, in case you finish a post about bacon or Junior Mints or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and wonder just where the perfume content was. There might not have been any, at all.

But there will still be cat pictures. Just so you know.

Image: By Clive Power. Wikimedia Commons.