Sunday, May 17, 2009

A certain kind of fabulous

I'd like to thank Rose, and Jenavira, and Daily Connoisseur, all of whom have nominated me for a Your Blog is F*ing Fabulous award.  These nods are particular special when they come from people whose own work I follow.

I am asked to share five addictions, and five favorite blogs.  I'll start with the difficult sharing...the addictions...

addictions open and not so visible...
  • Perfume, naturally.  I just don't stop acquiring scents...the reason being I so want to experience and mentally bookmark everything I read about.  The reading about it I'll leave under the "obsession" category, and not place here.  ;)
  • Plants.  I love to garden.  In the ground, in pots, on paper, in my head, for others, for myself.  When my younger child entered toddler-dom, I decided to structure a break and indulge an interest, and took the master gardening class.  That was a wonderful way to find others who shared my passion, to take my interest to another level, to apply all that book reading notice the "obsession" pattern when it comes to reading up on interests, and to give the whole thing an air of credibility.  What it all boils down to, when it comes to confessing addictions, is that I love to gather plants.  From a nursery, from a plant swap, from a cutting, from seed, as a gift.  Like with perfumes, I really love trying to represent the gamut of what is available.  I like to get to know each plant, see where it works best, what kind of combinations it shows well with, learn the extremes it can tolerate, work toward propogating enough to share.  oooh, wouldn't that be cool if we could do that with perfume?
  • Food.  I'd love to couch this one in more erudite language.  For example, what if I just said "cheese," and launched into a discussion of Maytag blue vs. a French import, or the artisinal efforts of many a fine US producer, or even whether aged cheeses seem to trigger one of my migraines.  But, the fact of the matter is, I've gone through a chocolate intense period, a homemade breads & crackers period, homemade sodas, blah blah blah.  With the correlating obsession, of course.  Cookbooks in three different rooms in the house, not including the "coffee table" volumes.  So, I focus my intensities, learn a fair amount each round, and certain relish my indulgence.  But the fact of the matter is, I love to eat...and wonder if my individual food addictions aren't just some sort of serial affairs that play into a larger constellation.  Defined  Yum.  (I am hoping that my cocktail/barchef-ery addiction falls under the food category, and not under "alcoholism." ) 
  • Good mystery stories.  For example, the Kurt Wallender series by Henning Mankell. Mystery and crime novels are one of my happiest kinds of escape reading.  They have to be well written enough for me not feel like I just ate a bag of bad chips, but not pretentious--though I'll confess, when it comes to the mystery/crime genre, there isn't a lot of pretention out there.  I've also enjoyed Sue Grafton and Steve Hamilton as "quick but fun" consumables, and would put Arturo Perez-Reverte in the same category.  Addictions are often inherited, and I wonder if the fact that my parents...who had no small amount of books themselves...had a few shelves lined with the two MacDonalds (Ross and John D.) as I was growing up.  
  • I'm going to confess it here, and harbor a small hope that by saying it out loud, it will start to fade.  But recently, I have been a bit addicted to Facebook, and to some of the ridiculously lame game apps found there.  I whacked players in the mob, harvested crops on my farm, decorated myself and my apartment in YoVille, and watched the little circles erupt on Chain Rx.  I comment on others' posts, I keep track of people who otherwise would be lost to the recesses of my life, and I generally lose a lot of time to a computer screen that I could be using to garden, get chores done, or even better prepare for my job. I do NOT like the recent changes, by the way.

Five fabulous blogs
  • He's starting to get some love -- a Fifi nomination some shout outs for his perfume porn, erm, photography -- but when it comes to writing about perfume, Nathan Branch tells it straight (like some of my favorite mystery characters) without losing the love.  I probably also enjoy the fact that he, like me, can be a fan of the embedded link.
  • I've already mentioned A Way to Garden in other postings, so I'd like to give a shout out to Mr. MacGregor's Daughter, who will be very surprised to discover my fandom, as that is a blog I haunt without commenting.  Just a very nice combination of photos and having the pleasure of reading through someone's garden journal.  Someone who knows how to garden and how to write.  Be sure to check out the extensive and useful blog roll there.
  • Remember, I mentioned food as an addiction?  There are plenty of blogs to go around on that front, of course.  I'm going to point to Smitten Kitchen as a consistently rewarding presentation of photos and recipes.  Hey, wait a minute...there's a pattern starting to develop here in my shout outs...
  • ...and I think I'm going to follow suit here.  I did not mention architecture or design among my addictions.  I can't acquire them, and I have not devoted enough time to them to even count them as knowledgeable obsessions.  But I am fascinated.  Mrs. Blandings is both erudite and entertaining when it comes to design...and, of course, has photos.  I particularly enjoy the way she will visually walk you through past and present applications of designers and styles.  
  • Okay, look, I'm addicted to books.  You already figured that out.  I cheat, by saying that so many of my volumes are "research" which feeds my "obsession" about my various addictions.  But, forever have I loved the smell, the feel, the heft, along with the content of books.  Since my theme here today includes the visual, I am going to point you toward BibliOdyssey, which is all about the graphic as well as the tome.  Fairly serious about content and history.  (In the past, I've mentioned Book by it's Cover, which focuses more on modern era graphics and volume design.)

So the rules are:

1. You have to pass it (the award) on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.

2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.

3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post. (easy Below)

Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then “add image” it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the “picture” widget. Also, don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dirt and Mothering

Mothers know a lot about dirt.

Dirt that needs a bath.  Dirt that needs laundry.  Dirt that the dog brought in.  Dirt that one neighbor tries to offer about another.  Dirt that just won't get out from under the fingernails.  Dirt that gathers into an astonishing mega dust bunny within 24 hours of a vacuuming.

(Hmmm...maybe that's more than 24 hours...but boy, those "bunnies" sure can grow to impressive diameter.)

Anyway, I happen to be a fan of dirt.  Because I'm a gardener.  I like the way dirt smells.  Humus, quality loam, potting soil...I love it all.  I'm a fan of the right dollop of dirt in certain perfumes, too.  Of course, there are variations on what "dirt" means to different sniffers.  Today, since I am chomping at the bit and go out and dig in my own little patch of green, I'm going to offer up a couple of recent favorite scents with "real" dirt inside.

CB I Hate Perfume Wild Hunt   Yum, yum...and not in a gourmand way.  Not at all.  This is violets on the forest floor, remembering there is green about you, and you get to go for a ride and continue deeper into the woods and stop and smell the humus.  The smell takes you up above the ground to discover the violets (which waft a bit in the air), and then drops you down on the ground again, then mixes them around.  Nice.

Ayala Moriel Rainforest  Okay here's a brand new one to my sniffer, and I am infatuated.  Brings together a couple of passions of mine, galbanum and dirt, on either end of a really fun deep dark dense evolution from one to the other.  Oh, lawsy, where Wild Hunt lets you linger a few feet above the ground on the waft of violets, Rainforest insists you stick with the leaves and the needles and the ground and remember that this growing thing is vegetal, baby.  Ayala calls it a "coniferous chypre," and I can see why.  Vaguely resiny, definitely the green of a mixed forest.  Remember, rainforests don't just exist in tropical can also meander through a rainforest near the 45th parallel on the Pacific coast.  You won't find piranhas, but should be prepared to encounter socks with Birkenstocks. 

I'm heading out to dig, which has become a traditional Mother's Day gift to me:  protected time in the garden, with ready labor as requested.

Happy Mother's day to all who mother, and all who are remembering their mothers.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What's worse than a discontinued favorite?

Perhaps a discontinued cheap favorite?

About a year ago, I found a deal on Jose Eisenberg J'ose for Women.  No, not Jai Ose by Guy Laroche; J'ose, by Jose Eisenberg.  It seems there was an eponymous scent for men, and one for women.  I got my women's J'ose from a California eBay vendor.  Around $25, 100ml.  $25 which got you a big slug of daytime-suitable comforting amber with a hint of gourmand (which I can generally only take a hint of), and a something I couldn't quite nail.

I liked it enough that I thought I might gift it.  So I waited through a few more auctions of it, wondering if I could finagle a better deal, realized the price was pretty stable, and got a second bottle for $2 more.

Then I worried if I had gone off the deep end.  I was early into perfume, I realized that even then, and wondered if perhaps I might regret this cheap scent purchase--which wasn't going to be so cheap if I didn't end up liking it.

Turns out I was right.  And I was wrong.  I have discovered many other scents I like; a couple of handfuls of ones I love.  My fear of cheap and/or gourmand fatigue has not quite played out, though...I still rather like it, though I rarely reach for it.  I pulled it out today because yesterday, during one of my regular internet search forays, I discovered notes for J'ose.
  • Head notes: lemon, armoise, mine ("fresh and aromatic"
  • Heart notes: lavender, coffee, mocha ("floral")
  • Base notes: patchouli, cedar, musk, hay, amber ("woody amber")
Okay, now I get why there is what seemed to my early nose to be a hint of men's cologne.  "Fresh and aromatic."  I also get why I thought of it as gourmand-y; that which they call floral is total confection, isn't it?  Of course, the "mocha" means sweetish vanilla is part of the concoction.   And I absolutely recognize the source of comfort; hay and amber, hint of wood hanging out there.

This is not an expertly mixed concoction, with a carefully conducted drydown.  It doesn't take long for all the players to start making noise, in relatively consistent proportion.  But it does fine as "you smell good."

Unfortunately, it is nowhere to be found.  

So, rather than being able to offer you a "psssssst...hey, bud..." and open up my trench coat to reveal a link to an online vendor, all I can do is offer you the Jose Eisenberg website, which still seems to let you put a (full price) bottle in your shopping cart.

Or, you can get Eisenberg comfort hose on eBay.