Last Journal Post For a While…Promise!

I really will be back to reviewing fragrances, while I might write more personal stuff later. But my nose has been out of service, so to speak, with a cold and I’ve had a lot on my mind…

Right now though, I’m awake in the middle of the night because my son got cold and needed more blankets and then I realized I was very hungry. But that’s a typical routine lately… Ha! I wake up for some reason and then find myself eating.

I thought I’d write this quickly because my mind is now at work and I need to do something to quiet it after I’m done eating so I can sleep. I hope this post works in that regard…

I reread a few recent posts and you know I really do have an awful time editing. I apologize! I swear I make the most ridiculous typos and then I miss them again or I add something weird. Basically, I’m just not good at editing my own writing. But, either way, I will get around to editing my posts more in coming weeks…

Also, I found a couple of possible points of confusion in my last few posts.

1. I did not attend that first university (where I was in the honors program) because I couldn’t get accepted at the school out in Pennsylvania I eventually attended. I was accepted to the private college in PA in high school but my father didn’t want to help me pay for it and wanted me to attend his alma mater instead. It was where he received his bachelors degree in sociology/anthropology (the Midwestern university). …And nobody in my more extended family decided to assist me either in securing the funds for my preferred school (it was tens of thousands of dollars more a year)… So, I went to the university. But, again, I did not attend the university to raise my grades to be accepted at the private college.

2. I think some criticism I’ve received on Instagram has been due to lack of good communication. I once told someone that I couldn’t smell the tuberose in Chanel No. 22 and I think that’s when some people started doubting me more… Well, that and I don’t like much niche. And I actually didn’t prefer Bois Des Îles to Jean Courtier Coriandre.

But, Coriandre feels rebellious to me. It’s heady, and moody and a bit sad in the best way. And it evokes something in me that feels cathartic and comforting… And while I can see why Luca Turin and others think Bois Des Îles is superior to many others I don’t actually prefer it to Coriandre. It’s just personal preference. It doesn’t mean Bois Des Îles isn’t objectively necessarily “better.” But perfume is art and art can be better or worse objectively speaking but what it means to you personally…is indeed…personal. Subjective not objective.

And about tuberose: Every damn tuberose I had ever smelled, in my memory and perception, was vastly different than the one in Chanel No. 22 (up until then). Truly… And I don’t think it was lack of quality in previous tuberose incarnations so much as something else. And actually, ever since someone pointed out to me, years ago, that No. 22 is supposed to be a “tuberose fragrance” I’ve been stumped. I’ve been looking for that tuberose in other fragrances… I almost found it once in the last year but it wasn’t quite the same. Close though… But, regardless, despite what some say and claim is based on absolute, totally conclusive fact (are they really that sure though?), I swear skin chemistry and environment matter in how a fragrance manifests. And on me, at the very least, the tuberose in No. 22 somehow melds so seamlessly with the other notes that it’s very hard to individually pick it out. Well, I struggle with it anyway. And I doubt I’m just that incapable of smelling it (someone could pick it out so much better because I have a bad nose overall or I have anosmia to Chanel tuberose). Also, the person who basically thought I was an idiot for not smelling the tuberose often said No. 22 smelled sweet on them… It is not that sweet on me. Really. Really! Especially the vintage… It’s gorgeous, to be honest, but it’s not a sweet fragrance on me. It’s cleaner than that and in a lovely, effusive but warm way…

My skin makes fragrances cold. And clean. I can’t wear “clean fragrances” actually because of that (especially the actual Clean fragrances). Most clean scents smell like ugly bathroom sanitizers on my skin…

<shrugs>

So…No. 22, while perhaps sweet for some, is not that sweet on me. And again, the tuberose isn’t as clear.

<shrugs>

Now…about me being able to find good vintage perfumes. Damn it. I just do. Ok?! <rolls eyes> I’m an antique dealer after all. Remember?! And I’ve been collecting things of various sorts since I was a little girl. I’m good at searching for things… And right now it’s my actual career… I also have an eye for things. And it’s hard for me to say that sort of compliment about myself but it’s just the damn truth. I can tell what’s authentic and I know where to find it, and somehow I manage to often find bottles that have been well kept. Some can sometimes be better or worse than others but they’re often at least close to the original.

Also, America is a very wealthy and large country (and has been wealthy for a while)… There’s a hell of a lot of vintage perfume here. People had the funds to buy perfume and did so. And they often kept bottles and bottles of it… And in the Midwest we likely have some of the best considering our cooler climate… It’s all pretty simple.

But…do people really have total, flawless scientific evidence to prove that all bottles go bad anyway?! Surely they change and surely they aren’t as clear and bright as they once were but that “clearness” and “brightness” can be almost negligible in my opinion, at least. Am I just less picky about that sharpness when it comes to enjoying a fragrance? Because I can smell it but it doesn’t bother me… It doesn’t stink. It’s not offensive or off. They’re just looser less sharp notes…

If it’s a fairly well preserved bottle I find it to be like the difference between the first glass of champagne and the second. Or third. It’s not quite as good perhaps because it’s not as sparkling but it still does sparkle. And it’s still good. Really, there’s not that much of a difference… (And please don’t start claiming that there’s tons of time between the first and second glass to avoid my point)

At any rate, I think a fair number of people just found something wrong with me or my intelligence or my words or my so-called “stories” (I’m actually just sharing my reality not some sort of fiction) or my photos…or my face…or my perfume (I could go on and on with the at times obsessive critiques of others) because I irritated them on a personal, emotional level. I think they were threatened, to be honest, and/or they were projecting their own issues on me, or they were mad at someone else who I reminded them of. But I’m not them, I’m not those other people and frankly if I seem threatening to you I have some harsh news you need to hear: There are LOTS of people in this world like me. Why haven’t you gotten over whatever it is that bothers you by now?

I mean, I am unique. I am an individual. But the things about me that likely bother you are not traits that are mine alone.

And there’s nothing “wrong with us” either (people like me). <shaking head> Perhaps something about us just makes you feel insecure? But why? Why is that my fault? Why take it out on me? And why haven’t you dealt with it already if it affects you so much? Why am I so shocking that you feel the need to deal directly with me on such a personal level? I just don’t get it.

I’m a nice person. Truly. I used to be even nicer… I do not deserve your animosity. At all! And I bet a lot of you know that. Just because I don’t put up with catty, passive aggressive, competitive, (and/or) rude bullshit doesn’t make me unkind. And just because I don’t appreciate being copied and (often at the same time) insulted by people who are desperate to find something wrong with me or be “as good” if not “better than me” even if they have to lie and make crap up or change themselves to mimic me to a potentially pathologically disturbing degree, doesn’t make me a bitch. And people have done that… Or they’ve searched their group of friends or family history looking for something to outdo me or be “as good. ” <look of sadness and disdain> And sometimes they’ve likely mixed fact with fiction when it comes to what they found. Or, of course, they just lied almost entirely… Or they delude themselves into thinking their lies are true or that their desperately contrived tokens of status are comparable. (Sorry, I’m being honest.) But of course they are not and I can always see through things.

Side note: If you’re one of these people then please don’t bother me, especially if I’ve blocked you. Ha! I never wanted your attention in the first place. I thought I was getting attention from another sort of person… And I gave you attention because you approached me and I thought you were a potentially good person, and even maybe a potential real friend. Unfortunately, due to your jealous nonsense we can’t be acquainted. But our differences never bothered me.

I don’t compete. I just am myself and I evaluate people based on who they are not what they have, their status driven accomplishments, how they look or their overall social status. Your mimicry wasn’t/isn’t intimidating. It’s extremely, unbelievably annoying. And it’s insulting to my intelligence… It’s nearly impossible to truly fake certain things. Read the damn Great Gatsby… <rolling eyes> …You obviously are impressed with me, which is flattering, but get a grip. I truly am just one of millions who you would find equally or much, much more enviable. Go find someone else to emulate who you can’t personally annoy. Someone truly famous… But here’s a pro-tip: Don’t actually stalk them.

No, I’m honest, I’m tough, but I’m not a bitch. I’m not a “rich bitch” either little annoying dearies… Maybe other people are…(for better or worse) but I’m not. Go find a real asshole and bother them with your crazy crap. Okay?

Lastly… What I Did

Someone was wondering what exactly I have done with my life. And I think they mean, what have I done as far as achievements.

Let’s see… Well, I’ll start with college, I guess.

I went to a well established old Midwestern university as a part of their honors program for a year and did well. I took private viola lessons, participated in school government in a leadership position (I focused on recycling), and tried to start a historic preservation society on campus… (one of my many passions) My gpa was decent there (I took a full course load). But, it wasn’t my dream school and I longed to establish my independence so I went to a top-ranked private college in the Northeastern U.S. for four years (although it wasn’t as good as Vassar or Middlebury) and while there was the President of the College Democrats, a leader in an international human rights organization, worked part-time at the school library and took four years of full course loads. And I made lots of friends. BUT I was constantly exhausted and coffee helped but didn’t help enough… And nobody could figure out how to help me there, even though they tried. I grew more depressed and more exhausted and so I eventually was told to go home by the school administration without finishing my undergraduate degree. Very bad!

…I went home. Then I managed to be accepted at a university in the UK with the help of my college advisor and a lovely European acquaintance who knew a lot about how to apply to foreign institutions. Actually, she did that for a living…

(But I met Mark and didn’t go)

Anyway. I’ve also volunteered for a few political campaigns. I’ve done some canvassing… And I’ve organized non-political fundraisers, etc. etc.

I’m a decent violist. For a while I contemplated playing professionally and according to my private viola teacher at the time I had a chance (and she knew as she had played for prestigious, internationally acclaimed, musical groups) But it wasn’t for me. I still do play though… And someday I’d like to be a part of a music ensemble again. I’ve been in several orchestras, etc.

I play the piano. I had lessons for six years starting at age 4. I’m not too bad at it…

Hmm… I’ve worked at coffee shops, libraries (including a law school library)… Umm…

I’m currently trying to slowly work towards establishing myself as an antique dealer. But my main focus is on raising two healthy and happy people and on developing better relationships with friends, my husband and family….

I’d like to finish a PhD someday. And as my kids grow I plan to. I also want to publish a novel (at least), even if I have to self publish.

I have many other hobbies, like collecting, researching, reading, this blog, painting, analyzing perfume and needlepoint. I love to knit sometimes too. I have lots of little hobbies… I enjoy gardening. Sewing. Attempting gourmet cooking… That’s all I can quickly think of.

<shrugging shoulders>

I suppose there are other accomplishments too but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. And frankly even if some of them are “impressive” what’s the big deal? Oh! I was interviewed by CNN once about a US Presidential debate because I was the President of the College Democrats. And I’ve been interviewed by local tv a few times too… And I’ve written letters to local newspaper editors on behalf of candidates (that were published). But it’s silly to make a big deal about stuff like that…

<shrugs again>

I’ve traveled. Internationally… I’ve been to almost every state in the US. I ski fairly well both downhill and cross country. I can figure skate (I took lessons growing up). I like golf and tennis, although I’m not great at them. I enjoy running although I’ve not done a marathon and likely never will…

I’ve tried rowing but sadly have never gone sailing… A friend in college was great at rowing and a friend in high school sailed.

…I fish! I can even clean fish.

I love the arts. Passionately…

One More Follow Up…

Umm… People never cease to amaze me lately with how little they read and research things. Or maybe it’s how bad they are at reading and researching things? I don’t know. Either way, I’ve still got a cold and I’m grumpy.

Ha!

Getting back to the little matter of Chicago being in the Midwest: Yes, Chicago is really, technically, a.k.a in reality, considered a Midwestern City. Now, there are some people who actually go so far as to say that Saint Paul (in Minnesota) is the “last East Coast City” when heading west… But that’s meant to be taken at least partially in a tongue-in-cheek way, because Chicago really is in the Midwest and that’s to the east of Saint Paul. Actually, Ohio is sort of where the Midwest begins according to a lot of people’s estimation. It’s sort of a middle ground between the Mid Atlantic states and the Midwest? And remember for those of you who don’t come from the US and who have spent little or no time here, this country is very, very big. Some of our states are like small countries in their size. Regions do matter in terms of culture, geography, etc.

And yes. I love geography. I was in a geography bee in middle school. That was before I became very depressed and stopped doing as well academically…

And while we’re on that topic, I actually took honors and AP classes throughout high school and my high school was an excellent school. It was the equivalent of some decent prep schools because many parents in my community insisted that their children go to Ivy League or semi Ivy League post secondary schools. They were very involved in our school and paid well for it. Mark Dayton (the Governor of Minnesota and a member of the Dayton family) once visited our school and talked with a few of us (not some large assembly) about his political ambitions (before he ran for governor). And he commented on how our hockey team was brilliant… His kids went to a school called Blake and he valued good hockey. Actually though, I met him that day… But he would never remember me.

Anyway, the point is, my school was what some people would call a “posh” school. Even though it wasn’t private. Actually, my friend’s sister went to the same school as Mark Dayton’s children… Her parents felt that their one daughter should attend that school but they wanted their younger daughter to go to the local school (where I went). And it wasn’t that they couldn’t “afford” to send both… (I’m sure some desperate person will think of that one) They just thought about it and felt the local school was best for their youngest.

Anyway!!

I had plans to attend Vassar, Middlebury and a few others but…I truly fell ill to clinical depression in high school and my grades were not good. I passed classes but…I went from being a top student who only occasionally got a b and found a c tragic (an A- was bad) to a student who stopped trying… I had horrible existential qualms about many things, my parent’s marriage was crumbling…and basically life just kicked me to the point that I doubted the point of anything but true love in all its forms. <smile> And it was hard to figure out how my desire to enter politics and be a lawyer had any real point. It seemed pathetically bourgeois. Very selfish and silly.

I only really recovered from that mindset when I met my husband Mark, although I think my actual depression improved before that. In college I truly think it was my unhealthy thyroid that was to blame for my lack of energy, etc.

….

But…yes. On my mother’s father’s side we were definitely a well off, old, English-origin southern family before the Civil War and after everything above but well off. And given the way they immigrated from England and how much money they came with it’s unlikely they were anything socially below landed gentry or something of some money and connection. But given our historical research it seems they likely did come from a titled family. And again, when they abandoned that to move to the US (possibly for somewhat noble reasons) they lost their titles if they had them. But…that’s nothing to be ashamed of… They fought in the Revolutionary War and were Americans. Again, recognizing noble ancestry that was perhaps romantically abandoned for something more idealistic is hardly an embarrassment. Duh. <rolls eyes emphatically>

I mean…when one of the family members in the 1800’s gave up his slaves because he was an abolitionist he was losing a lot of money in the process and the ability to make more money. But he did it on moral, courageous principle. That’s also hardly something to be ashamed of… Idealism asks big. The cross of Christ is heavy…. Doing the right thing sometimes involves true humility.

Again. DUH!!! <rolls eyes>

Most people wouldn’t have the guts to give up actual wealth and high prestige for a good cause or for moral reasons. Most people… Having people like that in your family doesn’t take away from where they originally came from entirely nor is it something to be ashamed of.

And for those of you hateful people who will stubbornly insist that this must all be false or false in some way that soothes your fragile, wounded egos, let me say that I have decades of accurate scientifically provable evidence to back up everything I’m saying about my family and my life can be proven to be what I say it is (not that I’d trust anyone to do so nowadays…given how ignorant, irrational, morally misguided, selfish and angry so many people are or seem to be). But it is my reality. I’m sorry that breaks your hearts.

You know most of you are just grasping at straws… Right?

The real question is: Why is my life and family history so offensive? It’s a question I’ve tumbled around in my head for a long while now…

I mean sure, some people just covet perfume and I do have a sizable amount of lovely perfume. And their angst likely stems originally from perfume collection envy… And for a while I had more followers than a lot of people on Instagram. But then what was popular changed and the best way to gain followers was no longer the way I did things. And I still had a decent number but many people had more than me. And oddly or not, that’s when I noticed people getting meaner. So were they intimidated into silence before? Or did people stop following me as much because I became perceived as “offensive” in some way that was previously perceived as charming? A lot of people suddenly started questioning my integrity and intelligence as a reviewer around then too… But I won’t start defending myself on that front. It’s too sad to me… And pointless because people will doubt you for emotional reasons that have nothing to do with objective reality and it’s impossible to reason with those people. They’ll twist every damn thing you do or say to fit you into some vision they cling to of you that comforts their egos or soothes their personal hidden anguish.

But again, what is that anguish?!!!

In 2014 people were more cheerful. In 2015 they were grumpy but they had hope… But by 2016 people started ripping things apart internally and looking for suspects. Someone was to blame and it wasn’t them. Most people were sure of that… Some ism or some social ill or some group of people were certainly at fault.

And even if you didn’t feel the need to find a criminal you felt the strain anyway… People grew more insecure. More prickly. Worldwide.

So here we are in the final stages of 2018… I’m now a private account. Losing followers daily… And I’ve almost entirely stopped caring about not being offensive. I seem to bother people regardless…

Of course, I could be more careful and only post perfume, but I look at Instagram as a way to express myself and that sort of careful curation is not for me. And I do try not to be mean… I just have given up on not upsetting people by being myself.

But I’m not a suspect dears. Go find someone else to blame. Or perhaps, grieve… Or…try to find a way to realize what’s actually bothering you. It likely doesn’t involve you hating something or someone so much as grieving…and then finding a way to truly improve things.

A Follow-Up…

Someone on Instagram was perplexed by my description of two of my school friends growing up. Frankly I think they couldn’t believe the American Midwest had any sophistication or actual wealth. They are from Europe and are probably in the middle/upper middle class? (I don’t suspect they read anything I post now so I feel safe with such an “insult” <roll eyes> as to suggest they aren’t an actual queen in a castle)

Anyway, apparently they seem to think there are two coasts with wealth in the US and everything in between is filled with so-called Trump supporters, dirty, run down farms and poor hicks. And cows. Lots of cows… Maybe some trees?

I pointed out to them that Chicago is in the Midwest but they either didn’t seem to catch my point or they thought I was lying, because I seriously suspect they thought Chicago was somewhat close to New York City. They claimed to have spent many vacations in both cities and again…I think they thought Chicago was somewhere on the East Coast.

Ahem.

Well…actually the Midwest is complicated. Parts of it are farmland (although there are many wealthy Midwestern farmers although they’d never call themselves that out of sincere humility). Parts of the Great Lakes Region (where I live) are covered in heavy native forests and thousands and thousands of big and small lakes.

Anyway, the Twin Cities have been populated by non natives since the 1600’s. This area (I’ll only speak much to where I’m from) was first settled by French fur traders who arrived in the 1600’s and other people groups followed after that.

We’ve had “society” here since probably the late 1700’s or mid 1800’s. The late 1800’s and early 1900’s saw a boom in that group of individuals as wealthy barons built their mansions here and raised their kids here at least until they were sent to finishing school or a more prestigious prep school back east. But there are now rather prestigious private schools in the area…

Anyway, wealth and so-called “sophistication” have been here ever since…

The family of the young lady with the large house in my last post lived here because they wanted to raise their kids away from the bigger cities on the coasts. They felt it was a cozy, family-friendly area to live while raising a family. …But the Twin Cities (and surrounding suburbs which are included because it really all goes together) does have a population of 3.28 million. And this area is sometimes considered one of the top 25 (there are many cities here – about 20,000) most expensive cities in the US to live in. And we’re about 7 hours by car or an hour or so by plane from Chicago… In the US 7 hours is not as big of a deal either, FYI.

Anyway, there are many lovely places to live in the US. Some more expensive than others. But wealth and “sophistication” are actually sprinkled all over the country… And not everyone who lives in a “big city” is actually all that sophisticated. Although many of them tend to believe that of themselves if asked in reference and comparison to people from other parts of the country. But Americans are innately competitive and there is some truth to the idea that very large cities have a higher likelihood of producing “sophistication” based on the resources and opportunities available.

And this is not just me speaking as a Midwestern. No… I lived in Pennsylvania near Harrisburg for four years in college and somewhat frequently used to travel to Philadelphia, D.C. and occasionally New York City. I had friends from those areas or surrounding suburbs. I still do.

Sometimes I went to the south too (Georgia, Virginia, Florida) because I had friends from the Deep South (one from Georgia in particular) and I had one friend from northern Virginia (not the Deep South but still the south)… I used to even talk about the cultural differences (and other differences) between the Midwest and the East Coast with those folks. And of course some of them were rather ignorant about anything beyond their microcosm of the US and probably might almost echo the Instagram follower, but not all.

I also lived in Seattle proper for two years… And my husband and his immediate family are from Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts. Anyway. The point is…different kinds of people come from all over and most people who are genuinely aware of the country’s regions would agree. And while there are some generalizations to be made, it’s not wise to make those assumptions unless you have objective non-emotionally driven evidence to suggest those generalizations are correct (not because you’re feeling insecure or threatened). And sometimes popular generalizations are not accurate, but are based on misunderstandings, jealousy, ignorant pride, plain ignorance or lack of exposure/experience.

My suburb/neighborhood was populated by truly wealthy folks, upper middle class folks…and a few sprinklings of middle middle class people. I had friends from all of those groups.

One of them had spent months of their childhood on a yacht sailing the ocean (truly) and their family paid for Ivy League educations. Others had political connections to Washington D.C. because of old family ties. There were lots of surgeon’s kids. Lawyer’s kids. Doctor’s kids… etc. Others…had parents who were teachers or fathers or mothers who had sustainable but not particularly lucrative small businesses. I could go on with more examples… But my friend with the large house was not unusual…

But anyway, that’s where I grew up. I can’t do much about it in any direction and it obviously did affect me. Everyone’s childhood and adolescence affects them.

??

But no. Chicago is not on the East Coast.

The 1950’s

Things have “changed” since the 1950’s; the so-called era of conformity and willed innocence. Some things have changed for the better and some for worse. But people really haven’t changed. I mean, they really haven’t…

What we allow has changed, both in ourselves and from others. And what we tolerate and understand has changed. But again, people are fundamentally the same. Sure, we may have been or be better or worse versions of ourselves, but still… Our core is the same.

What does that mean? Well, while in 1950’s America people rarely spoke candidly about sex or certain inner turmoils -many period films in the last twenty years have been made about this – people today rarely speak candidly about sex and their inner turmoil. Ha! Of course, it’s in a different way though. Some things have “changed” after all.

In the past if a woman was unhappy in her marriage she had great incentive to be quiet about it. Today a woman can speak freely about her marriage woes. But what isn’t talked about as honestly or openly, in my opinion, are all the people who fight against marriage…

This could get way too detailed so I’ll use a few semi quick examples:

There’s the woman who won’t stop flirting with your husband at the corner store to the point that said husband now uses a different store to buy cream for coffee out of actual annoyance. Oh and don’t get me started on that – how little we acknowledge that a lot of men actually don’t always want to cheat or have sex with every woman (or person or man in some cases) they meet. But it’s so very cliché to say and believe otherwise that thinking anything opposite to that seems unfathomable to many, including some truly pushy pursuers of men.

Then there’s the guy or girl buddy who is still single or unhappily coupled and insists you must be too, either subconsciously or otherwise. “Why can’t he let you come out more?! Why do you always have to be with each other?” Of course, if you’re truly happy and in a healthy relationship it’s not that the significant other won’t let you go out…and it’s not so much that you are “always together” as that you are together and umm…that’s kind of how a lot of romantic relationships work. Right? You tend to want to be around each other. And while you love your friends they aren’t your significant other.

But see, in the situation with the friends it’s their job to find someone to be their significant other. Friends don’t fulfill the same purposes emotionally, etc. as a significant other. And it’s up to them to find that someone who meets those needs for them too…

But people get scared and then, sometimes, they get jealous. And in the above case of the woman in the corner store it’s not a coincidence that she supposedly has a different boyfriend (actual boyfriend) every three to six months at most. She once was accidentally overheard telling someone on her cell phone, on a smoke break, that she struggles with deep insecurity and it’s ruined every romantic relationship she’s ever had.

But we don’t really really talk about the above situations. I’ve only just barely skimmed the surface in my description. …And while it likely seems that we do discuss the sort of things covered in the situations I’ve described there’s a lot left uncontemplated and dealt with. It’s always the things that seem “silly” or “…well that’s just not the way it works” that we don’t touch. Those things are still alive and well. Those anxieties and pains have just squirmed their way into another social cavity of foreboding and confusion. We can’t avoid being human no matter how much growth or change occurs and being human is divinely, tragically and beautifully complicated.

Here’s a link to a recent article on Fox News that encapsulates all the confusion, anger, and misguided intentions of the above issue: Girlfriend’s ‘Controlling’ List. In this article the lady is clearly being controlling to the point of madness but one does wonder what made her that way (although we are never supposed to truly wonder why evil doers of all genders are evil nowadays but instead just castigate them). And frankly I read only one mentioned response in the article that even vaguely touched on the likely actual truth of the situation… I tend to think this boyfriend is a cheater and instead of letting him go she’s doing her best to fix things. But her best is sadly an unsustainable disaster… Either way can people talk about this sort of thing without getting uncomfortable and agitated? No. Truly they can’t. I picked this issue because it’s perfectly suited as an example of a closet we hate to open in our time. We make quick assumptions, blame someone (in this case the “controlling and abusive woman”) sharply, decisively and then close the door. No more thought and certainly no more real discussion.

Actually, just to clarify, in my reality right now, there is no woman at a corner store and our friends are supportive. However, I know those people like the friends I described and the woman at the store exists, and I’ve had to cope with them all in the past. But what got me on this train of thought was watching a documentary about Bernie Madoff.

It’s fascinating to ponder what he got away with. He was masterful, but of course he was also profoundly idiotic in that he neglected to fully realize how fundamentally myopic and absurd his schemes were. Getting away with them was possible but doing it permanently was unlikely. It was a colossal risk and he bet everything.

But Bernie did understand some of the “hiddens” of the current age. And part of me thinks he justified his greed with one thing in particular: In this day and age people often want to be lied to. And it’s not necessarily because they’re scared in some way that’s easy to compassionately empathize with.

Ok. Maybe they’re scared because they lack a sense of perspective. With the secularization of the world and the radicalization of the fringes it’s harder to place yourself cosmically in a discernible place? Or maybe it’s the crumbling American/Western middle-class hegemony coupled with a sense of intensity and doom about the future? Those are big picture things but they stumble into the personal in weird ways… It’s complicated, certainly.

Regardless, people want to comfort themselves, almost pathologically nowadays. Maybe they want to cover, fill or circumvent all that angst of a worthless void and longing for agape love that they experience. And I’m not just taking about single or generally “unhappy” people.

And these people longing for comfort tell themselves that if they’re the best they’ll be ok. If they reach some pinnacle or accomplishment just beyond the next that it’s there they’ll be secure. Sounds cliché but it’s true, I think.

Bernie Madoff knew that. He knew the insecurities of the lady in the corner store because they fundamentally look like the same insecurities of the wealthy, Palm Beach set he fooled.

Madoff sold security, peace and comfort. He flourished because people don’t truly change all that much and we still “don’t talk about certain things.” We don’t often acknowledge what’s really bothering us – our real issues.

Those investors wanted something basically impossible mathematically speaking, and they believed it when they found it because it comforted them. Or they didn’t know what they were asking for was impossible and/or were investing blindly… The lady at the corner store wants to believe she can have any man she wants. And when she finds a man she wants she disregards any disinterest he shows or any red flags about him either out of ignorance or self deceit. But both the lady and the Palm Beach Set fundamentally want to believe lies to avoid obnoxious truths about the ugliness of actual life.

Question is: Who do you sympathize with more? The Madoff investors or the lady? Can you honestly think about it without feeling a little uncomfortable or angry? And how can I even compare them?! Right? There’s so much we can’t say…

What to Buy Now…Maybe

I don’t usually recommend what to buy. Even when I had a public Instagram account (as of yesterday I made mine private) and I received direct messages asking for recommendations about what to buy I hesitated. I don’t want to impinge on someone else’s taste… We’re all so unique and what we are drawn to should be somewhat unique to us too. It’s never wise to blindly copy someone lest you smother your inner wisdom.

But…

There are times I make a rare exception from my norm and recommend something. Today is one of those sort of days. See, I read an article this morning online (Artsy Editorial) that got me thinking.

Even though they say in the above article that antique prices in stores (and otherwise) are quite low right now as compared to in the past and they claim that antique dealers are worried they’ll never go up, I think it’s a good time to buy. Buy antiques, that is. And that’s not just my advice as an antique dealer (how I stumbled upon this article in the first place). As many a shrewd investor I’ve known have always told me: Buy low and sell high.

Sure, millennials aren’t “biting” a lot of traditionally sellable items in general, much less buying antiques, and sure…things look very gloomy right now in certain ways. But, things simply can’t stay that way forever. Indeed, it might take years or it might take a decade, but someday millennials will have more disposable income and someday things will iron out and people in general will have more disposable income or at least a significant portion enough to affect antique prices will. AND…given the closure of all those antique stores the supply will be low. Even auction houses are drying up (as discussed in the above linked article). So, if you buy an investment antique (or very vintage item that’ll soon be an antique), keep it in good condition and then wait…you might profit nicely someday.

Just to clarify, to be an antique an item generally has to be at least 100 years old and to be vintage it generally has to be at least 20 years old. Also, note that antiques are still not cheap generally speaking (unless you are diligent, lucky, have some idea what to look for and find them in thrift stores and/or some estate sales, etc) and keep in mind this is a long-term investment I’m discussing. …If you have too much debt and/or etc. it’s obviously best to pay that off first, or you may be better off saving for a rainy day first (after all that rainy day could come before antiques rise in price again). Also, do your research! It’s easy to get scammed by uneducated or unscrupulous sellers and dealers. Try to make sure what you buy is what they say it is! Some stores and areas are infinitely more reliable places to buy antiques than others. Don’t just go in for the clever stores that look cute or trendy (they can be ok or they can be just totally ridiculous and overpriced semi-vintage nonsense). Look for knowledgeable dealers. Do your research!

Now… What else? Hmm.

I truly think it’s possible hybrid and electric cars are the future. And I tend to think it’s a good idea to invest in a well-made electric or hybrid. Maybe in the next two to three years if not now. A lot of makers are debuting new hybrid and electric models every year and a lot of other makers are just starting to debut their first hybrid and electric models. Think about it.

Anyway…

And, as always and to reiterate, I’d recommend investing in yourself and paying off debt or saving first. Right?! I’d like to think that my generation (the millennials) will emerge from underneath the student loans, etc. that plague us and become the most frugal and thrifty generation since our great grandparents and grandparents. Or at least, that we’ll invest in the future more and put less into short-term, shallow pay-offs. …And teach our kids and grandkids to do the same and why they should and must.

Until later.

My Aunt

The aunt that was at the party the night of Chappaquidick (she has an interesting story about that night that I won’t share) met the young man she was almost going to marry in the Peace Corps. His parents and he were Catholics from Boston and they were friends with a few members of the Kennedy family. My aunt even had lunch with Joan Kennedy on Martha’s Vineyard once. But it was the young man she almost married we have always heard the most about (not the Kennedy family or any other well-known individuals)… My aunt has always had her priorities straight.

Her suitor once visited my great grandparent’s farm. My grandmother had moved there after her divorce to take care of her aging parents (my great grandparents) and so when the young man visited to meet my aunt’s family (my family too) he stayed there.

He loved it. Once during a meal he tapped on the walls and proclaimed, “These walls have good energy.” Anyone who was there during those years or for decades after (when my grandmother lived there as the matriarch of the house) would likely have agreed. It did feel unusually peaceful there… That sort of place and feeling should be less rare. People need spaces like that…

My family liked my aunt’s suitor from Boston. He brought small, but very thoughtful gifts for people. And actually, his family loved her too. Ironically his mother even had the same name as my aunt… As I said, they almost were married. But my aunt seemingly decided against it.

Sadly, that decision to not get married may have had something to do with his Catholicism… My family was very Lutheran and I think there was some discomfort about that difference. Christians back then were divided by sect much more severely than they are now. Also, I don’t think my aunt would have wanted to live in Boston. She loves the wide open spaces of the Midwest…

But that aunt could have married a lot of different young men. She was very lovely, intelligent and had an absolutely delightful personality. She still does. She is very sassy, spunky and yet wise. Young men loved being around her because she was so at ease and clever (she has a brilliant wit) but she also was a true lady and they appreciated that as well as her innate beauty.

She once had three gentlemen, who all claimed to be in love with her, unexpectedly visit my great grandparent’s house at the same time. She handled it gracefully and peacefully although my family held their breath a little… But I don’t think anyone was hurt. She didn’t play with hearts… She just won hearts without trying or doing anything tawdry or uncouth and then found ways to kindly and gently set them free again, it seems… She was that sort of rare breed.

Yet, she never let all the admiration from those young Romeos affect her… I still I find that both inspiring and daunting. Inspiring because it’s what people should be like… I aspire to that sort of depth and groundedness. And it’s daunting because life can be so challenging for all of us here and there and handling both blessings and difficulties consistently with that much of a focused perspective on one’s core and genuine values seems near impossible at times… But I still try.

Frustration

…A dear friend on Instagram just messaged me out of concern. They were worried that I was suffering from insomnia, I think. I’m sure they meant well, and I wasn’t offended but as they explained their concerns further I did become frustrated. Not because they were offensive, (the opposite) but because they seemed unaware of a few things I’ve tried so desperately to be clear about. And I do try to be clear. Unfortunately I have no idea what people understand and what they read. He may or may not read this blog… Who knows. Truly.

But either way, I think it’s tougher for others to understand us online than we realize. There’s a lot to sort through.

So, since they seemed to worry that I might also be feeling lonely let me clarify this: While it would be nice to have more close friends (I used to have more) and I miss my family back in Seattle, I am not lonely otherwise.

My marriage has changed a lot for the better over the last year. There have been two times in the last three years we’ve separated but…I fell in love so deeply with Mark at the start for a reason. And he married me and allowed me to see gradually into his heart and let me into it for a reason. He’s not one to trifle with and he rarely opens up so if he does it’s meaningful. I’ve realized this now…

He loves me. But it’s taken years to understand that… Sadly. Because, Mark is soo different from me and I’m different from him. We think differently due to our innate personalities (and not due to our problems mind you). He’s a math genius and I can do math but I’m average at it at best. I am more verbal and I’m more of a “people person.” He loves reading but isn’t as verbally inclined. And again, it’s not that those differences are bad but we communicate our thoughts and feelings differently. We have different approaches to life at times.

He knew that I loved him but he struggled to make his feelings clear to me. He’s not the best at sharing his feelings (stereotypical guy thing, I know). He’s told me he loves me but…he’s more one to communicate with meaningful actions than words or romance. And I’d seen his rejection in his actions in the past but missed how much he tried to prove his love…

In the last year in particular I’ve seen his love so often in moments of vulnerability that I’ve realized more of his heart. And of course, he’s happy I’m finally believing him that he means it when he says he loves me the few times every once and a while when he manages to truly say it. 😂 He never wanted our marriage to end but didn’t know how to fix things beyond just being himself… And thankfully, for us, that’s currently more than good enough.

I can’t guarantee the future but I can say that we’re in a much better and different place than we’ve ever been in.

Who knows what people are thinking though… I can only imagine. This person, again, was trying to be kind today. Lord only knows what my enemies believe… 😂 (like the other recent message I received)

I do try to be honest though. Truly…

Oh well.

Bragging about my Family

And now to once more confront this issue (as raised by the message on Instagram).

While I will admit to purposefully sharing more than I thought was wise about my family in the past, at times I have to ask: What’s the difference between bragging and just telling people things? It’s not always clear. For example: It varies what qualifies as bragging depending on who you ask. Who’s definition or guideline is the one to use?

I think I often just share about my family because family history is fascinating. Everyone’s family’s history or lack of it is interesting. Truly!!

And actually most of the the things I could brag about go unsaid. If anything, I’ve often downplayed things about myself and my family (family history included). That might not sound possible to some (??) but I have. It’s instinctual.

Let’s see… Let me just share stuff and you can determine how “braggy” it sounds to you. But to clarify, to me I’m at least mostly just sharing stuff in the following paragraphs… (And I’m doing this because I refuse to be bullied)

Hmm…

My mother is an artistically gifted lady.

Am I supposed to find her faults and list them now to not be bragging? I suppose that is what people do, isn’t it. But…she really is gifted artistically. That’s just a fact. Those aren’t just the words of her loyal daughter.

Anyway, she and her siblings are all well educated. They all have college degrees and a couple of them have graduate degrees. So were her parents… And while my one aunt was at the party attended by the Kennedy family the night of the disaster at Chappaquidick (she was seriously dating a son in a family who were friends with the Kennedy family)…none of them were ever “party people” per se.

My other aunt was a “cool kid” in her high school and I know she went to parties but…the siblings really aren’t “party people.” I don’t think they drank much, they didn’t do drugs, etc. That just wasn’t them. The one time my uncle tried smoking a cigarette in his teens (he thought it was cool) he threw up and got so ill that it was his last time too.

My mother is actually a teetotaler. None of her parents, grandparents, etc. were alcoholics but she just hates drinking… 😂 Her brother, my uncle, makes his own wine though (or once did) and they have had heated discussions on the topic. He’s kind of a foodie and has been for years. But, my mother believes there’s no proper time for drinking. Not even during dinner.

…My mother is one to do things on principle often though. She once went on a vegan diet (in the 1970’s) but did it poorly and started to loose the hair on her head. 😂 Yet, she she encouraged others to do likewise with passion. Her family was kind about it but naturally not persuaded. 😂 …She eventually stopped that diet and ate meat, etc. because of her hair loss and other health problems it created. …But now she’s much more well-informed (she’s been researching it all for decades now as a hobby) and laughs about her first attempts at eating so very healthily… ☺️ I did grow up taking disgusting tasting vitamins because of her though. 😂

…Her family and extended family are all very close on her mother’s side. I’m close to them too.

Her father’s family were mostly southerners. Everyone got along but after my grandfather and grandmother divorced in the 1960’s people didn’t interact as much.

My grandfather remarried too… My grandmother never did.

They were in love but ill-suited for each other. My grandmother was a quiet, sweet lady who eventually became a full time English teacher after her divorce. My grandfather was a very creative, somewhat tempestuous and brilliant man. He composed music and loved horse racing passionately… Even though he did later become a judge he spent his younger years absorbed in numerous business endeavors (a restaurant, a movie theater, etc) that were not always successful. That was a strain on their marriage. And I don’t think they understood each other very well.

My mother has a memory she’s sometimes shared of one of her paternal aunts. That aunt gave her the prettiest bottle of 1950’s hot pink nail polish (in the 1950’s) when she was little. She kept the pink polish in a small handbag. Sadly however, that bottle broke and all the pretty pink polish spread in the bag and dried. It was a little tragic at the time… Her mother, my grandmother, did not wear almost any makeup (other than lipstick). Women back then didn’t wear makeup as often – it was seen as somewhat risqué to wear “too much” of it (and that wasn’t just “a thing” among certain conservatives or etc. either). So she prized that pink polish because it isn’t something her mother would have likely purchased for her.

My father’s family was fairly well off. My paternal grandfather was good in matters of business and so was my great grandfather. And they cared about being honest too and their community. For a while my paternal grandfather was the president of the school board and my grandmother was a church pianist (among other things they did for their community).

My grandmother knew my father’s family and when my mother asked for her blessing to marry my father she readily agreed. They were a “good family.”

Actually my grandmother and her siblings used to attend the same dances in the 1930’s and 40’s as my father’s uncles, aunts and parents did. And my paternal grandmother’s family were at those dances too. My Great Uncle Ed once told me that my Great Aunt Mabel, my grandmother’s sister, was a wonderful dancer.

BUT, my parents didn’t know each other growing up. They met through a mutual friend later in the 1970’s. My father was studying to become a Christian missionary (at a college in Minnesota) after being in Vietnam and finishing his undergraduate degree and my mother visited that school with thoughts of attending too. Their mutual friend told my mother to “look my father up” because she thought they’d get along. They did. They were friends… And then my father became determined they should get married.

My mother is talented with sculpture. She made a bust of her grandfather… It’s good.

Hmm…

I guess, just know that while I have shared some things in the past that could qualify as intentional bragging because I’ve been irritated, I also share things that aren’t meant to be anything other than sharing. And also, please stop projecting things on to what I write (as much as that’s actually even possible) or assuming things out of hostility (as much as you can)… Although, if you assume things out of ignorance then I guess the person assuming things wouldn’t even know… (duh😂) …But I actually do try sometimes to be careful and not share things that could be “impressive” to some people if I shared them because they’re occasionally awkward to share. I’m not successful at that as often as I should be.

I just find stories from life fascinating and it’s hard to know when to share and when to not share… I’d want to hear it if it was someone else because I find everyone’s life intriguing. And I find history very enthralling. (I’ve said all of this before so many times) That might sound silly but it’s true… Well, provided that what people share is a true (and what I share is true of course).

But…really. I was a history major for a while (over a year in college) before becoming a political science major (called Politics at Messiah College). I love hearing about people.

One more quick story.

In the late 1990’s my mother received a phone call from a man who had been a hired hand on her great grandparent’s farm when it was being run by her uncle, my great uncle. This hired hand and my great uncle were friends too. My uncle was a kind and very down to earth man.

Anyway, this man probably had been a hired hand in the 1950’s or a bit earlier? I think…

Anyway, this fellow had succeeded in life since then. I believe it was through investing in real estate? Matter of fact, he had done so well that he managed to buy an old mansion either on or near Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He was very proud (although still humble) about his accomplishments.

This fellow had tracked my mother down because she was in the family that he used to work for as a hired hand and we lived in a suburb of the Twin Cities somewhat near him. He invited us heartily to come see his mansion. 😂 And while my mother decided against it she did find it fun to reminiscence with him. Apparently he just wanted them to know how well he had done after being their hired hand when he was young, and perhaps he said some other lovely sentimental stuff.

I’ve often regretted not talking my mother into visiting him though. It would have been fun to see his historic mansion. I love old architecture…

It Never Ceases…

I just received a very hateful message on Instagram.  This person wrote a scathing message calling me arrogant and claimed that I likely either am secretly poor, ugly, have a husband who is on drugs, a child who is “retarded” and a delusional disorder or that I need to stop bragging about my family if I’m not just crazy.

Umm…

Aside from blocking someone like that there’s not much I can do.

But I’m sure there are others like them lingering about who just don’t openly write messages in dm form or anonymous comments on my blog (they no longer can comment on here).  Although they may not be quite as passionate about their feelings as this individual was.

So, just to be clear (although if you want to believe something you likely still will find some way to do so): I am not lying. Aside from glossing over my marital problems a few years ago at the time on my blog I’ve been pretty clear and authentic.   I also tried to be much more open about my marriage after that and I have been. Maybe too honest actually…  I know some people are dishonest on social media but I’m not one of those people.  Have I been 100% truthful?  Probably not.  But I do try to be truthful and what you see is pretty much what you get.

My husband is not “on drugs” thankfully.  He doesn’t do drugs, smoke or drink alcohol. Actually he hasn’t drank alcohol for over seven years…  And the only drugs he’s ever done are mushrooms and pot. He tried mushrooms once in college in Amsterdam. And he smoked pot a handful of times in college and in his 20’s. …He does drink coffee though.  Haha…  Is that what they meant?  <rolling eyes because I know they meant something else>  We’re not poor thankfully…  My son is actually gifted to the point that he gets bored in class and we’ve had to find a school that allows for that because he tends to get hyper out of boredom.  I don’t share his photo to protect him not because I’m hiding him. 🤦🏼‍♀️ …Honestly, that this person attacked my son is despicable.  There’s no excuse for that!

Ummm…  You can think I’m ugly if you want of course?  <shrugs shoulders> I don’t think I am and frankly that’s not something people generally have told me (and not just because they’re being polite).

I did once start hallucinating out of severe exhaustion when I lived in Seattle.  I had just had a double corneal abrasion (I was cleaning the bathroom and accidentally sprayed Lysol in my contact case), had three impacted wisdom teeth removed and was taking care of a sick son all within a matter of a few weeks.  And Seattle was almost always cloudy when we were there too.   …And our neighborhood never slept. After a while it affected my sleep to the point of a medical problem…  (it’s actually kind of funny to me now though 😂)…    But I do not have any mental illnesses that I have been diagnosed with other than depression, and ptsd in my early 20’s from a traumatic event years ago I believe I’ve recovered from almost entirely, and those diagnoses have not caused me to have any delusional issues, thankfully.  Although I do still occasionally get depressed with lots of exhaustion, stress or etc….  But I do not have a delusional disorder.   I am in touch with reality and am healthy in how I present that.

Really, I do try to be honest.  And I would say that I’m honest all the time, but that’s almost impossible to do and be polite or maintain some privacy or etc. at the same time. 🤗

So…

I will say that I can sort of relate to what this person said a little though, in that there is a lot of dishonesty on social media.  People do lie about what they own.  Or they lie about its authenticity.  Its worth…   Sometimes people shade the truth or totally fabricate stories to keep up appearances or compete.  Or they just gloss over things physical, material, or otherwise to make them look prettier than they are for some reason.  At times it can be weird.   Other times it can be funny.   And sometimes it’s sad…   Occasionally it’s irritating.  But, I think that despite that, it’s important to a. not fall into that pattern yourself and b. to not assume that others are making things up just because you feel some sort of envy about that something they have that you don’t have…or because you find reality too upsetting to deal with in some way.

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