Thursday, February 25, 2021
I Had Surgery During the Plague
Sunday, February 21, 2021
It's All About Perception
Not all tape measures are created equal. Unless you buy a calibrated or certified measuring tape, it is legal for the measuring tape to be off of accuracy by 1/32 of an inch for every six feet. I would imagine if you pick up a cheap measuring tape at the dollar store, the accuracy could be off by more than that. Same goes for rulers. And scales. Unless you are using an expensive scale at the doctor, there will be some margin of error.
I’ve been trying out various perfume samples the last few weeks. I always start the same way, spraying them on a piece of paper, or a tissue, or a napkin, and smelling them on the paper. One of the ones I got, as soon as I smelled it on the paper I said, “No!” and moved the paper away. But I know that things smell differently once you put them on, so I tried that one on, and…I like it. I like it when it is actually on me. The ginger which repelled me from the paper doesn’t stand out when I wear the perfume. In fact, the perfume in question, Whispers of Time, is so light and subtle, I can’t smell it on my skin after a couple of hours.
I debate with myself if a perfume which last such a short time is good or bad. And actually, it’s both. It’s good because it gives you the opportunity to put on something else after a few hours, but bad if you wind up just putting the same thing on, since the bottle won’t last as long. It is also good if the perfume you tried on turns out to be a stinky mistake. It doesn’t linger and make you regret the spray.
Similarly, the Mickey & Minnie perfume smelled overpoweringly like vanilla on the paper. But I tried it on and found it much nicer once I was wearing it. I get a lot more of the coconut on my skin, and the fragrance is lighter on my skin than on the paper, so I don’t feel like I’m drowning in vanilla and coconut.
Look at that! Such a nice bottle. And it came in a black and gold fancy box. I was going to buy Whispers of Time, but it was out of stock when I made my purchase.
Why now? you may be asking yourself. I mean, I’m not done collecting the Trend purse sprays yet. Why would I move on to the large bottles? Two reasons. Mickey & Minnie is limited edition and might not be available by the time I really figure out if I am committed to it. And they were giving away some items with purchase. So I purchased. For Whispers of Time and Mickey & Minnie, my perception changed when the delivery method of the scent changed. From paper to skin. It made a difference.
The gift with purchase was a full-sized perfume called Whispers of Innocence and a matching lipstick holder bow, with a tube of lipstick. I also got a sample of Whispers of Innocence, which seemed a little thoughtless to me. Hey, if you like the big bottle you just got, why not try it in a small bottle to consider buying a big bottle!
I don’t understand why the bow lipstick holder doesn’t come with a lipstick as standard. It should. But that is a complaint for another day.
I love the little queen bee on the lid. I haven’t decided yet to take the plunge and graduate it from paper to skin. I think it will have to happen very close to shower time the first time, so I can go wash it off if it doesn’t settle on me. I took a chance on a gift with purchase, and it might not have worked out. Anyway, the bottle is really cute.
I also expanded my collection of the Trend sprays with the Trend#4, United We Stand. Wow. It STINKS! I have to classify this as the worst of that collection, so far. Very strong, very lingering. So… I don’t think I can even get past the smell enough to try it on my skin. And just because I think it stinks, doesn’t mean everyone will think it stinks. It’s supposed to be comprised of frangipani (which is another word for plumeria) and parijata (which is another word for jasmine).
Similar to when I make jewelry, I understand that not everyone shares my taste. I will always remember being commissioned to make a blue, black and purple necklace. Left to my own whims, this never would have happened. And even though I didn’t like the result, my client was happy.
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
I Can't Stop Buying Perfume
Ahhh! All right. Here’s how my latest obsession, House of Sillage, is going.
Two new fragrances have arrived. The Trend 1.0 and the Trend #6. The Trend #4 United We Stand is on the way.
I though the Trend 1.0 for men was going to arrive in the same type of container as the Trend purse sprays for women, but it is larger. I got this gift set with lotion and bath gel. I really like the way it smells. I haven’t tried it on me yet, but I’ve sprayed it around and it is good. I’ve actually been using it as a kind of air freshener for the past few days.
I distinctly remember buying him Drakkar Noir at least once. Looking at the composition of Drakkar Noir today, it is a very complex scent. I don’t think the Trend 1.0 is as complicated. I don’t even know if they smell anything alike, but I would have bought this for my dad. Or for a boyfriend, if I had one.
That got me wondering if it was weird I was able to flip the idea so easily. Dad. Boyfriend. Whatever man happened to be nearby, I’d squirt this on him. One of my friends thinks that’s ok. Another thinks it would be creepy.
But my inquiry revealed Old Spice is a common scent for a man. The all-purpose utility scent. Got a man? He should smell like Old Spice. I’m going to go buy a bottle of Old Spice at Target this week, just to see what it smells like. To see if I recognize the scent from my dad.
Anyway, I really like the way the Trend 1.0 smells and I like the bottle. You twist the bottle and the atomizer button pops up from the top. The container of perfume inside the bottle is replaceable, but I don’t think they actually sell the replacements, so… that’s weird. And the bottle is my colors: blue and silver. I debated keeping the little lotion and bath gel or giving them to someone. Then I thought, why would I give them away? I like the way it smells. Very clean. I’m thinking almost like Irish Spring? I’ve got to get some of that at Target also, to see if my association with it and the Trend 1.0 is valid. But a clean smell, even if a little manly, works for bath gel. So I broke into the bath gel. I haven’t made a move on the lotion yet.
Then I got another purse spray in the Trend line, the Trend #6, Bow Peep. The scent story is listed as black current, blue iris and vanilla bean. It really smells like vanilla. For a while, when I was in graduate school, I wore a lot of vanilla perfume. So I’m ok with vanilla. But I don’t think it would be a good every single day kind of scent.
Of the Trend line of perfumes I’ve bought so far, #10 is still my favorite.
I usually get a sample or two when I buy these things, so here’s what I got that’s new:
Whispers of Time
I also still had my sample of the Trend #9 City Dreams from my last purchase, which I don’t think I’ve fully explored yet. And I got another sample of Mickey & Minnie.
I liked City Dreams, but, here’s the thing, they don’t actually have it for sale on their website! They even sell a “complete” set of Trend perfumes, which doesn’t include City Dreams or the Trend 1.0 for men. Not so complete then, is it??? City Dreams is described as jasmine, praline and musk. I like the way it smells. I haven’t tried it enough to know if it is better for me than #10. Even though it isn’t listed as having vanilla, it also has a very strong vanilla vibe.
I sprayed both of the samples onto napkins that were laying around. When I smelled Whispers of Time, I think I actually said out loud, “No!” As if the cats really wanted to know my initial thoughts on it. I think the ginger in it was what game me that reaction. I will try it on, to see if I react differently, but probably it is not a winner.
And I’m looking for a winner.
Here's my collection so far:
I’m a little obsessive about some things. Like how the Trend comes in varieties 1-10 for women and 1.0 for men. I will eventually own all of them, even if I have to buy City Dreams from eBay for way more than it would cost to buy it directly from the House of Sillage website. Because it is on eBay, which means it existed once upon a time. Maybe House of Sillage will get it back in stock? I’m not in a hurry.
And once I’ve gotten all of the Trend, which only comes in purse sprays, I’ll move on to the cupcakes, assuming I’ve found a scent I like. They call their big perfume bottles cupcakes because they are shaped like, well, cupcakes. They are really cute.
If I can’t find a scent I like, I’ll be better off. The cupcakes are a little pricey. And my obsessive personality would probably compel me to buy a complete set of cupcakes, not settling for just one… or two.
I guess perfume has become my newest pandemic obsession/hobby. I wore Versace Bright Crystal today, from a sample. Love it! A full bottle of that might be in my future. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long. It might be a good “bedtime perfume.” Ha! I had never heard of such a thing until recently. I’ve never put on perfume for bed, but Versace Bright Crystal might be perfect for it.
I’ve got two more perfumes on the way! It’s an expensive hobby, but getting little boxes in the mail each week is making being stranded at home a little bit more exciting. And it gives me something to smell besides my cats.
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Staring at a Maple Leaf: Souvenir Jewelry
Some of my best memories of my mom are when we would go to craft shows together. She was a crafty person, and when I was little, she even participated in a few craft shows. They were the kind held in church gymnasiums. Usually, they were scheduled just before Christmas. We had a kiln in the garage and she did ceramics for a while. The whole garage was her ceramics studio. Then she moved to tole painting. Then wreath making. Both of those took over the kitchen in the evening after dinner.
But even after she stopped doing so much crafting, we would still go to craft fairs. It wasn’t really the same back in the day, as it is now. Nowadays, I can go to my local farmers market every Sunday morning and find arts and crafts booths. Back then, they were more of an event. You had to seek them out and wait for them to happen.
Similar to at bead shows, which I go to all the time (before there was a pandemic, of course), things move in trends. One show you will find more cherry quartz than you ever imagined. At the next show its like cherry quartz doesn’t exist and everything is turquoise. It changes unpredictably. One of the big trends when I was a child was electroformed leaves. I wanted one, but somehow it never really translated from me wanting one to my mom buying me one.
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who loves to go to estate sales ended up buying the entire contents of a house. I was lucky enough to get lots of neat things out of the house, including an electroformed maple leaf, an electroformed pinecone and a couple of other smaller leaves I don’t know just by sight.
I polished up the maple leaf and I adore it. The chain is came on must have been 30 inches, so I shortened it to about 18. I actually have a maple tree in my yard. It is the only plant in my yard the previous owners asked me to preserve. One of them planted it in memory of her mother. And when I wear my maple leaf, I think about going to those craft shows with my mom when I was little.
It got me thinking about other items I have from craft shows. I’m sure I’ll think of others, but the main one that popped into my head was a coin pendant, where the man who made them would saw out parts of the coin to highlight the artwork on it. Part of why I remember the specific trip to a craft fair with my mom was because it was the day that Aaliyah died. I didn’t really know who she was, but it was the buzz at the fair. It was August 25, 2001. For some reason, I think we might have been in Reno, but I’m not sure. Maybe Los Angeles.
Here’s the pendant:
That got me to thinking about how my mom and I would sometimes buy jewelry on trips. That way we had something like a souvenir from our trips, but also something more personal and long-lasting than a magnet or spoon. Although my mom got the magnets and spoons, too, and had dozens of them.
This is the one that changed color in the car:
I have a ring from Istanbul. I have a fire opal pendant from a cruise - - which I won! I have several pieces of jewelry from those trips to Mexico. Trips which I don’t think a family could take now.
These souvenirs aren’t my most expensive pieces of jewelry, but they hold great sentimental value. They bring back memories. Good memories.
Here are a couple more:
From Hawaii (my mom and I got matching ones):
From Pisa, Italy (I think it was $3 or so):
Sunday, February 7, 2021
More About Perfume: Trying to Appreciate House of Sillage
After showing some love for Fragonard, I’ve been thinking more about the perfumes in my life.
She had a few favorites. When I was really little, my mom wore L’Air du Temps. I’ll always associate the scent with her.
After church every Sunday, we would go to eat, more often than not at the mall food court where our (me, my mom and my sister) diverse tastes could be accommodated. Usually that meant parking at a major department store and walking through it on the way to the main inside of the mall, always passing the fragrance counter. Always stopping to smell at least a few of them on the way by.
I wore White Diamonds for a time. Then Passion. Or vice-versa. Elizabeth Taylor was big in the perfume world when I was growing up. Perry Ellis 360 had a short stint on my dresser counter. It was a complicated fragrance, though. Some days I liked it, other days not so much. Followed by Tuscany by Lancôme. It was much too mature for me at the time, and still a little stodgy.
One year my mom gifted me a bottle of Red Door. I was confused. It was because I had gone on a vacation and taken a small sample-sized bottle of red door with me as my travel perfume. It was out of convenience that I took it, not because I liked the fragrance. We returned that bottle and got something else.
When I was in France in 1996, I found Eau Belle d’Azzaro. It had light citrus notes with deep pepper underneath. At least it smelled like pepper to me. (It doesn’t have any pepper in it.) I stuck with that as my main fragrance for many years. I still have two bottles from those Christmases.
Then came Le Monde Est Beau by Kenzo. It smelled like magnolias to me. My mom liked a lot of the same perfumes I did. Then Light Blue by Dolce and Gabbana. I often return to light citrus scents, even though they don’t linger.
Anyway, targeted Facebook ads. Sometime last year, I started getting targeted ads by House of Sillage. The company offered two things I love: perfume and excellent packaging. I browsed the website, but was discouraged by the prices. Could I afford to spend $1000 on one bottle of perfume? Maybe? And if I decide to get one, you can bet I’m splurging on a limited-edition bottle. But was I willing to take the chance on it, nose unknown? No.
But the ads kept coming, and I was constantly tempted. Lucky for me, they have travel sprays which are much more affordable. And a good way to try something before making a real investment in it.
The first travel spray I bought was The Trend #5 (Tropical Jungle). It’s supposed to be Tunisian neroli, Bulgarian rose and Tolu balsam. I have misplaced the box with the second refill bottle in it, but meh. Did I like it? Not at all. Did I like the travel container? You bet. Was I done trying out these perfumes? No.
I have bought two more travel sprays. The Trend #3 and The Trend #10. I’ll admit it. I’m shopping based on packaging and not at all on what the perfume might smell like. Luckily, these were much more to my taste.
I adore the packaging on The Trend #3 (Beauty & Grace). According to the website it is orange flower, black tea and powdered sugar. I’ve had it for several weeks, but it isn’t my go-to scent. And as an aside, those cute little boxes are difficult to open.
I just got The Trend #10 (Lace Up). Calla Lily, jonquil and freesia musk. I like this one the best, so far. My biggest problem is that the scent disappears on me almost instantly.
And I have a sample of The Trend #9 (City Dreams). Jasmine, praline, musk. Thoughts on it, so far, is that it is ok. Maybe I’ll buy a travel version of it next. I'm still not convinced that the House of Sillage products are worth the money. They are beautiful, but I haven't found the scent that blows me away, yet. I'll keep trying.
One thing a lot of these perfumes have in common, in addition to sparking memories, is that they make me long for a different scent. Lately, I’ve been trying to catch a memory of the scent of Japanese honeysuckle. We had a large bush growing in our backyard in Texas. I would go outside, pick the flowers and suck out the sweet drop of nectar from them when I was little. I’d like to get a more tangible version of that memory back.
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Card Games and Bags of Coins
A comedian I follow on Twitter recently asked for suggestions of board games he could play with his 6-year-old and 12-year-old. Since he lives in England, I didn’t want to offer board games, which have different names in different countries or flat-out don’t exist in some countries, so I suggested a good old-fashioned deck of cards.
These were not innocent card games. They were played for money. It was gambling. And even at a very young age, I understood that I wanted to win money. Naturally at some point I was given my seed gambling money, but for a kid, that $1 in change was a gift, not a loan. And whatever I won was mine.
Here are the games I distinctly remember:
Crazy 8s: Each player gets 8 cards (6 if more than 4 play). The deck is put face down in the middle. The top car is turned as the discard pile. Play goes around the table with each player trying to discard all of their cards. They can play the same suit or number as the top card showing on the discard pile. If they play an 8 (free to play any time), they can declare what they are changing the suit to. If you can’t play you pick a card. If you can play the drawn card, you do. And you avoid paying a penny. Or you pick cards until you can play, paying a penny for each. First person out of cards wins.
Up and down Broadway (different than up and down the river): Deal all the cards. Play goes around the table. A 7 is required to start play. If you don’t have a 7 and have to pass, you pay a penny. From each 7, the cards going up and down from it in numerical order are played until one player runs out of cards. First person out of cards wins.
Aces in the corner: Deal 7 cards. Put the stack of remaining cards down and turn over four cards around it. Play goes around the table. You can either play down on the original showing cards, or you can put an ace in the corner. On the original showing cards, you have to play down and alternate colors of suits. So you could play a jack of clubs on a queen of diamonds or hearts, but not on a queen of spades or clubs. Cards are played up in matching suits on the aces. If you can’t play, you can move something on the board to avoid drawing a card. Like move a 2 from the original stacks to an ace in the corner. If a whole original stack goes away you can play a king in its place.
I’m struggling to remember if we played other games for money. There was some game we sometimes played which came with a huge table mat with drawings of cards on it, indicating where you had to play cards and in what combinations. I don’t remember what it was called. In high school, my friends and I played a lot of cards. We didn’t play cards for money but we played a lot of Spades and Pass the Crap. My parents loved to play bridge and I learned how from them, but we rarely played.