Lilly

I truly love Lilly Pulitzer. I didn’t try on one thing I didn’t adore.

So, I’ll be adding more than a few Lilly Pulitzer pieces since I don’t have enough, and it really is my style (I recently started doing an overhaul of my closet). But at least I have a classic Lilly shift dress now (that can be tailored down once I loose all my pregnancy weight).

I also bought these rather bold earrings. They are yummy.

Floridita!

And…until I’m back to my regular size 4 or 6 I won’t be buying a skort (or anything else from Lilly). The skorts really are cute but it’s not worth it until I’m totally back to my normal size. Perhaps I should have just bought a 4 or 6 size skort (I recently bought two blouses in smaller sizes at J. Crew ) but…*sigh* my best weight might not happen by the end of this summer (or it might, ideally) so I’ll just have to wait until next summer’s clothes arrive. *thumbs up*

Beverages

My husband is a coffee connoisseur. He even goes so far as to carefully roast his own beans. His favorite beans to roast are Arabica from either Ethiopia or Kenya. They apparently have a particularly bold flavor.

Whenever we go on a vacation anywhere he likes to research and try the local coffee shops. Today, Chicago was a treat!

May I say that Fairgrounds Coffee is amazing! My gosh… My husband ordered a (single origin Arabica Mexican) Americano that was mind-bogglingly smooth. I mean, I took a sip and I can attest to its extraordinary nature. If you’re ever in Chicago I highly recommend them. (They also have unusually good pastries)

Also, though I prefer red wine (Burgundy) over any other, I’ve come to realize that G.H. Mumm is my favorite champagne (for now). For years, even after trying it and loving it from the start, I’ve thought that it was taboo to claim that about Mumm given its reputation. And I thought that since I’d only tried a few varieties that I should wait and make sure. But even after trying Taittinger the other night (I’ve tried others over the years too), which is light and acidic in a similar way to Mumm, in my opinion, I’m still stuck on (non-vintage) Mumm. I like the ethereal lightness.

Mumm isn’t giddy or coy, in my opinion. It doesn’t scream “New Years Eve” necessarily or “wedding” (even though it’s used for such occasions regularly). Perrier-Jouet, for example, is one that does seem very befitting of a “special occasion” as it is sort of…well…sweet and particularly bubbly. Matter of fact, for whatever reason, Ginger Rodgers even comes to mind when I think of Perrier-Jouet. I envision her dressed in sequence dancing at a New Years Eve bash in the 1930’s. Iconic!

But no… I like Mumm. Even over the much touted Dom Perignon, I prefer Mumm. It’s just that fresh and bright.

(I tried Taittinger in the tub!)

And…(speaking of Champagne) I am now realizing how brutal I am to my bags at this point in my life. I have my Noé in mind in particular. I bought a used 2000’s Louis Vuitton Noé about a year and a half to two years ago and while it’s still very usable it’s not in as good of shape as when I bought it. I’m sure the leather cleaner and moisturizer I’ve used hasn’t helped because no matter how good it is, it wasn’t made for vachetta (from Coach) and in the future I’ll never use any sort of cleaner or moisturizer on vachetta. But, I think I’m, unfortunately, hard on my bags too (right now)…

Also, I can’t keep my Gucci Jackie. It looks awful on me. When I first wore it I loved it, but now it just feels all wrong.

The Noé, on the other hand, really is my sort of bag. Too much so...

So, I’m on it. Dionysus might even have to wait because I need to buy a Noé first… Practical luxury is true luxury.

Random Thoughts

Floridita! Doesn’t that just sound nice?

It reminds me of the vacation I took in college to Disney World. I stayed with a dear friend in Augusta, Georgia for spring break and then her parents decided to take everyone to Disney World. It was…so much fun. Generally I don’t like amusement parks or the like…but that was an exception.

And it makes me think of two things: Emory University and skirts. Yes. Random, I know.

I was thinking of attending Emory for law school back then and after a bumpy flight to Augusta I laid in bed at my friend’s parent’s house in a cool but cozy guest room sipping iced tea and reading about Emory. It was my first time meeting them and staying at their place but they made me feel very at home. They just let me lay there in silence for hours while I recovered from motion sickness. It was peaceful. They were truly some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, although the parents of several friends were all very lovely…

AND I wore this cute skirt back then and by goodness…I wish I could find one like it. It was my favorite clothing item.

Floridita is a pattern by Lilly Pulitzer. I love Lilly Pulitzer… And I wish they sold Floridita in a skirt. …But currently they sell skorts and not in Floridita… Now, that being said, I do plan to go to one of the brick and mortar stores and try on a Lily Pulitzer skort just to see if a skort is as hideous as I remember it being, but I’m not optimistic. *sigh*

But thinking of Florida makes me think of my father… My dad owns a cabin at a lake and goes up there frequently in the spring, summer and fall and this weekend he said he’s going there with a very good friend who has cancer. My father and him like to use his Jet Ski or their ATVs to explore the trails but my father said that his friend might not be entirely up to it this time… (Riding on a Jet Ski requires a decent amount of coordination if you don’t want to fall off.) And it’s heartbreaking. They’re so close and I can’t imagine my father not having him to have fun with. They have a lot of good times. …

But, it’ll be nice to see my husband’s family soon. His father has a cabin/house at a lake but it’s on the East Coast so obviously it’s too far to travel to for a weekend. …Actually we won’t even see my father-in-law this time, but we will see many other people and that will be very nice! Very nice indeed…

Floridita. Wouldn’t it make sense to wear Floridita with Orangers En Fleurs!? I think so.

Style Part I

Never impersonate anyone but yourself.

There are times when we all need distance from those around us and we have to step back internally and “go through the motions” outwardly. In those cases you have to use your public face or “persona”. It’s not that you’re not being yourself but rather that you’re simply just not letting others see into the depths of your soul. There’s nothing to hide but it’s simply that you need space to think. At least, that’s true for me.

Of course, we all have sins though.

My sin is more often coldness than anything else. Ironically, I’ve been told I was very “intense” or “mature” since I was a child and that’s true to a point, I suppose, but I think more accurately that we all have depth and intensity. What I really struggle with is coldness.

I am a mostly honest person and I tend to offend people who are dishonest in some way (out of their own pride, insecurities, disorders or mental illnesses, etc.) or who I don’t automatically like. Sometimes the dishonest try to turn their lies around on me and make me guilty of their sins by public displays, or they just shift it around in the confines of their own minds OR they do both. Other times the dishonest offended employ different maneuvers. But generally, regardless, I tend to be in a position of sitting and watching them fall into their own traps.

For those I don’t like I am often accidentally patronizing in a foolish but genuine attempt to be kind, which is dishonest none-the-less and can be hurtful, of course, if they sense it. And then I find myself in my own muck.

It’s particularly bad when all or more than one of those things take place.

…What I regret most in the last five or more years are all the times I’ve not recognized this particular sort of coldness in myself. I’ve likely made lots of people upset, caused them stress or pained them by not seeing myself properly. And what I mean by that is that I when I see the genuine flaws, crooked edges, incorrect answers or true evil in others or a situation I need to stop myself from cutting too sharply into it. Or I need to restrain myself from being openly involved.

It’s one thing to “make a stand” in a positive way, but I’m talking more about my…coldness. Again, it’s not that I lack concern, love or empathy for others either but more that I just…”see the Devil in people” as someone once told me.

The lady who told me that certainly was an extremely bright and world-worn soul. She was a black woman from the Deep South, a crack addict (everyone thought she was clean at the time I knew her even though she secretly wasn’t), and she’d been abused her whole life. I met her in a Christian women’s group at a church I once attended.

This lady often was very charming and most people thought she was a flamboyant, Oprah-type who was always self-improving and extremely cheerful. I cared about her as a person but I’m sure she knew that I wasn’t “buying” her act.

Once, she sat me down when nobody else was around and said, “You see the Devil in people. So do I.” And it actually was one of the most shocking moments of my life because I had never met anyone who had just come right out and told me that about myself, much less realized it about me or labeled it in the first place. “Yeah, I know.” she continued with a frighteningly aware and empathetic smile after I must have given her an amazed response. “I bet no one else has ever told you that before.” she continued. She was right…

But that ability to see things as they are can cause coldness. One has the ability to truly help people but one also can grow to feel…cold. Then, I suppose, one can start to make choices that are callous towards one’s self if one is a compassionate person. Or if one isn’t careful it’s too easy to cut people deeply without meaning to and if the intent is to be mean (out of anger) it’s almost guaranteed that it’ll do more to hurt someone than intended.

So, what does that mean in terms of style? Well, for one, I need to stop patronizing others about what I like that they don’t think I should. I’m very accustomed to trying to fit in and dress more casually or “youthful” than I really want to. And I’ve been trying to rid myself of that tendency or something like it for years at this point, although I did say that at 35 I felt I had an excuse to finally be authentic, but I have yet to go through with it entirely. But…I need to just look as offensive or scary (to some) as I actually am?

Recently (last few years) I’ve started to wear more designer stuff like Louis Vuitton or Gucci, but it’s not really about that necessarily. It’s more about a certain aesthetic.

My father once angrily called me, “Little Miss Vasser” when he thought I was being too liberal and “Pollyanna” in high school. That was when I was 14 and doing fairly well still in my honors and A.P. classes (getting an A). But I was sensitive and took his words to heart (they crushed me) and tried to please him more after that with my choices. He said I should focus less on getting the top grades and more on God and my spirituality. …Due to my thyroid failing and depression my grades were already slightly in peril but, of course, his words didn’t help encourage me to push myself. So I let myself go in some ways and I went to a Christian private college (Messiah College) that was excellent (one of the very top schools nationally of its sort) but it was not Vasser, my dream school. I also went to his alma mater for a year before transferring to the private college. And…the outcome was neither good nor bad, I suppose. I didn’t live my dream but I also learned a lot about things and people I otherwise never would have. I believe God is always fair and above all human errors, evils and foolishness and that He tries to respect genuine goodness, if we have it, eventually in some just way…

Regardless, I am that creature my father ripped into that afternoon, after school, in the living room. And again, I am the person behind the persona that so many people hated online over the last few years. Of course, it was my online persona but it was a reflection of parts of reality and it was still…ugly…to be attacked. Just as hurtful as when my father took that part of my self that was “successful” as an adolescent and used it to make me feel evil or not “Christian enough”. Yes, it was the opposite of what most parents do, but he wasn’t a typical parent and he didn’t value “success” the way some parents do. Neither of my parents have or likely ever will. They both wanted to be missionaries or artists and…they had very different values than most people. Of course, there’s real kindness that’s necessary no matter what you think about society that I didn’t always receive from my father (he thankfully might apologize for that now), but…either way, I have to be brave. I have to embrace my inner “Little Miss Vasser” whether it’s what my father would have thought wise or not while being aware of what’s “flattering on me” from good, healthy, and honest outside sources. My parents (the ones who raised me) might have been too hip or passionate or “woke” (before it was a thing) to be so…”waspy”…but I have to be brave and let go of the rejection I might receive for being truly honest with my style. And, as in the case of Orangers En Fleurs it might even be what people would enjoy… At the very least, it’ll warn them before I (truly) accidentally cut them with my cold truths. Ha!

Ghosts of Chicago

I’ll be in Chicago soon as part of our family journey back East and finding the right place to stay there has been slightly problematic. First of all, bed bugs have been a reoccurring major issue for that city off and on for years. Those bugs have been everywhere in Chicago. The most elegant to the most dreary spots have had them.

Secondly, there’s the issue of crime. Shootings, muggings etc. seem to be a genuine concern if you plan to stay inside the city limits. Walking outside your four star hotel might bring you to the site of a drive-by murder on (a not rare enough) occasion.

And of course, there are…well…unseen elements to consider too. Some might disparage the whole thing but I’ve sensed entities of that nature my whole life (and no, I’m not just insane) and I’m unlikely to rest comfortably in certain hotels. While I love the grand beauty and charm of the most historic properties, I don’t want to be woken up at 3am to the sound of a demon or a pushy, angry ghost (?) trying to get my attention.

…Do you believe such things exist?

You know, my father has a B.A. with a double-major in sociology and anthropology from an old Midwestern university and a separate degree (I can’t recall the title) from a Christian college specializing in missionary studies. And in order to get his second degree he had to do an internship ministering at a men’s halfway-house in the late 1970’s? Maybe it was the early 80’s. Anyway, the half-way house was in a part of a town dating back to the 1800’s or so and the house was obviously very old.

One night, he was returning very late to the house, and was alone when he heard footsteps on the first floor. He went down to investigate, thinking it was a robber but found nobody so he went back upstairs to go to sleep. But then he heard the footsteps coming closer, eventually going up the stairs, and he started to freak out. After shutting himself in his room, he heard the doorknob twist and thinking it must have been a robber he pretended (shouting) to have a gun. But, of course, nobody was there in the sense we currently consider physical (by consensus scientifically). Instead it was something “unseen” and he quickly realized this and exited the house in a hurry.

Naturally, he was terrified. And naturally, that story is enough proof to me (along with my own experiences) that there’s a lot that we don’t generally acknowledge or understand. And, no, my father does not (nor did) have a mental disorder/illness that creates such things/experiences.

…So, we’re staying outside of Chicago. We might go into the city during the day to see lovely things, but we certainly are not staying there overnight.

Actually, one night my husband and I left a bed and breakfast in the Midwest after checking-in because it felt so awkward. It was a Victorian home that was lovely until you entered one specific room (unfortunately the one we were given) and that room just felt…really hostile and oppressive.

On another night we left a very old bed and breakfast in Penzance (in the UK) because my husband saw a blue light bouncing over my head and I felt a touch that didn’t come from him. It was actually a funny experience though, come to think of it.

That night, in Penzance, I was having a fight with my husband and I kept praying that God would give me a sign to let me know if my husband was being honest about something, as that would mean I was wrong and needed to apologize for misunderstanding the situation we were discussing. I wanted to enjoy my time with him so I purposely made the sign one that was romantic. Well, eventually I felt this soft, comforting and loving touch that was exactly what I had been praying would happen (through tears) and I was happily shocked.

At first I was sure it was my husband as it felt like a man was touching me. It also felt somewhat familiar. But…it wasn’t my husband because a minute or two after I felt it I asked him, “Did you just touch me?” (We were fighting from a slight distance in our room with the lights completely off) and he said very matter of factly, “No.” Then he told me that he had seen a blue light that didn’t seem to come from anywhere bouncing around my head in the dark (but had decided to ignore it out of his own innate skepticism).

…We spent the rest of the night in the car after that, but looking back at it, I almost wonder if that was a ghost with a sense of humor and quite a personality. And my husband was actually being honest, so the sign wasn’t incorrect. Was it a ghost listening and trying to be helpful? …Either way, the fight ended.

Ha!

I don’t believe it was God, of course, touching me romantically (although I was praying to God) and I don’t believe “God” consists of only ghosts (I’m a Christian), but I do wonder if ghosts are souls in purgatory? Maybe?

Some, also of course, would say all entities are just in our imagination and others that all entities are real but demonic or angelic. I’m a Christian so I don’t think it’s just our minds…but I’m not convinced (as some Christians are) that ghosts are all just a bunch of demons or angels. Now, that doesn’t mean you should assume you know which is which, and who is who, I don’t think. That seems very dangerous. But, I do wonder about it all and someday I’m likely to find out. So are you.

In the meantime, I won’t stay in a hotel where the 1900’s version of a wary, depressed immigrant jumped out a window while we’re in the middle of the immigration crisis we are today. Doesn’t seem wise. Also, I want quality, up-to-the minute air conditioning.

What They Like

I’ll never forget in college what one of my friends said. He was a young man who was particularly attuned to the latest trends and style. As he once claimed about his own look, he often tried to appear, “country club ready” with bright colored polos (remember the popped collars of the 2000’s?), perfectly matching belts and brown, soft leather loafers. It was his aesthetic and he happily agreed to the notion that he was indeed very, “preppy”.

But we were in that crowd. We were the “political science kids” at a private college in Pennsylvania. One of our mutual friends went to grad school at George Washington (in D.C.) for law and then found a lovely job as a tax attorney in NYC, and, her path was one of our ideal scenarios. We were all nerdy, sensitive, ambitious and a little…”preppy”.

Now, of course, I had friends who were not in that group. One of my best friends was an art history major (now a professor) and my closest friend was a nutrition major (now a nutritionist) who listened to Rammstein. But I had many best friends in my political science crowd and lots of acquaintances…

Anyway, this young man with the polos and belts decided I needed fashion help. Ha! …I was too “Midwestern” according to his tastes. And he was right, I suppose. I did dress very “Midwestern”. Although, in my defense, my dear friend (the art historian) who was from a super preppy-chic Virginia locale near UVA, insisted I also dressed a little reminiscent of how they dressed there… I still consider that a compliment.

Regardless, once, while we were clothes shopping with another of our mutual friends, he said, “You know, I always think it’s fun and nice to consider what someone of the opposite gender might like us to wear”. (Of course, this was before he came out of the closet as gay a year or two later so he likely was secretly considering the same gender as he went shopping, in all actuality.) …And I knew he was trying to subtly suggest that as a rule-of-thumb I should be following. I think he a. wanted me to be romantically happy and possibly attract the right boyfriend and b. he thought I needed to have more fun overall… Preppy? Maybe. But, regardless, I needed to dress much less conservatively, according to him. And less “Midwestern” (not necessarily the same thing).

At least, I think that’s what he meant… We never openly discussed it and looking back, I wish we had. He may have just thought I wasn’t dressing colorfully enough (literally) for all I know.

Actually though, I do find it fascinating to contemplate what other people like for us to wear. And not just for the purposes of looking “attractive” but also to simply appear…just…nice. Don’t you?

This weekend I was at an estate sale on Summit Avenue. It was held by one of the nicer companies that run estate sales and so it happened to be the sort of occasion where you generally find out what people really think of you. Even though the house was probably around 5,000 sq. ft. and the rooms were all at least fairly spacious you could smell the other people, hear them and experience their presence. When you’re wandering around elegant rooms quickly with lots of people trying to find antiques or other goodies before someone else does, yet also trying to be genuinely polite, you quickly get a sense of other people.

Anyhow, I was wearing Houbigant Orangers En Fleurs. And…people loved it!

I do consider it my alternate signature fragrance to No. 22 (which is like my soul) but…I had no idea how much people might prefer for me to wear Orangers En Fleurs over almost anything else. More than twice, I saw someone at least partially contemplating asking me what I was wearing (in a positive way) or taking a moment to linger and smell the wafts of orange blossom. I caught them, out of the corner of my eye, as they stopped and briefly smelled the air with a calm, happy and intrigued expression and I could sense they were pleased. When I entered a room people noticed for the better and they seemed to become more smiley or at ease…

The only other times I’ve elicited such a positive response have been when I’ve worn Chanel Coromandel. Intriguing.

Sadly, I’ve heard many negative or mixed comments over the years and had other unpleasant reactions from so many others I love. Indeed the likes of such beauties as Shalimar (I love it and love how it smells on me regardless), Narcisse Noir, Chamade, Mitsouko and Paloma (again, I love them all soo much) have even garnered an outright hostile comment once. But, apparently, people really like Orangers En Fleurs on my skin. A lot!

And, it tells me something about myself and how others perceive me. For one, my spring coloring (brown eyes and dark/medium blond hair) and my natural fragrance (we all have pheromones) must be a good match for Orangers En Fleurs. That’s a given. But secondly, this Houbigant must suit my style and personality in a positive way…

Hmmm…

It’s like a truly honest personality test. And the results are that people (seemingly) desire for me to either smell of Chanel patchouli or Houbigant orange blossom (the dominant note in my skin).

What do people want you to wear? What does that say about who you are (in both good and bad ways)? It’s interesting to consider, is it not?! *smile*

Dinner Recipe 1

(I love my vintage Fostoria water goblets)

This evening I made one of my favorite dinners: Salmon and asparagus. Now, that’s baked salmon and roasted asparagus, mind you. Here’s the recipe in case you’re interested:

Simple Baked Salmon

Ingredients:

A whole salmon fillet (the better the quality the better…obviously)

Sea salt

Black pepper

(A Tbsp. dried dill if you wish)

Extra virgin olive oil

A half a lemon

Directions:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or the equivalent). In the meantime, take your salmon and place it in a roasting pan and cover it with an even amount of the extra virgin olive oil. After that, sprinkle (or preferably grind if you have mills) the salt and pepper on the salmon to taste. (Also evenly sprinkle the dill if you wish) Then squeeze the juice of a half of a lemon evenly on the fish as well.

2. Once the oven is heated place the salmon without a lid into the oven and bake it for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on your oven and the size of the salmon. Basically, the inside of the salmon should be sort of a fairly firm, milky-like (not slimy), shade of opaque pink.

3. Turn off your oven (of course) and then let your fish sit for five minutes or so to cool before serving.

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

Sea salt

Black pepper

Garlic powder

Extra virgin olive oil

Whole frozen or fresh asparagus spears

Directions:

1. Use your same 400 degree F. oven to bake the asparagus. Towards the last ten to fifteen minutes (depending on whether it’s fresh or frozen) of your salmon’s time in the oven you’ll add your asparagus.

2. Place the asparagus spears in a roasting pan and cover with the olive oil, (ground) salt, pepper and garlic to taste.

3. Leaving it uncovered, place the asparagus in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes (longer if frozen).

4. Serve with salmon!

Caroline

I recently had a friend tell me about her newest obsession: Caroline Calloway. She said that she started legitimately following her about a month ago after another (now ex) friend “hate followed” her and spent six months gossiping about her. All of that (ex) friend’s venom actually only made my friend intrigued enough to research her herself. Now, she’s a fan. And, as of last night, I am too.

Why?

Because I identify with her and I think she’s brave and meaningful.

Yup. I do.

It’s incredibly hard to put into reasoned and discernible sentences the way social media has affected my generation psychologically, and to outline the ways we have adjusted to the shifts in our world in a way that generates empathy from our parent’s and our older cousins’ or siblings’ generations (the Boomers and X). But to make a cultural reference some Boomers (and maybe some of “The X”) might relate to, Caroline Calloway reminds me of Janis Joplin. …But also, a little of Zelda Fitzgerald and Truman Capote.

It’s this (Southern?) aesthetic of sadness, intense (perhaps not always totally authentic?) self-reflection, love of beauty, cautioned empathy, poignant mirth about futility, and genuinely risky openness. Where past generations engaged in forms of self-harm like drug use or greed out of a sense of injustice (and the malaise and depression that follows) perhaps my generation overshares. We protest by telling you things that will make you hate us (because you’re tragically predictable), feel too much or make you deeply question our motives and that will, therefore, allow us to cathartically bleed from our souls. We’re angry but we aren’t supposed to be… We aren’t truly allowed to be. So we shock you with the truth one way or another. And, some of us find each other and relate.

We can’t use sex anymore. We can’t truly use violence (some have tried, but thankfully, many of us don’t want to). And, of course, we don’t want to just die. So…how about being painfully obvious? How about embracing “the weird” and “off-beat”? And what’s more weird and off-beat than being very honest? Bizarrely open? Too “out there” with ourselves and our lives to be “taken seriously”. Also, we long to be heard. Just like many of you did…

Yes. A well-off, very well-bred, Cambridge educated young lady with nice things can be genuinely broke.

Think of all the struggling artists of the past from a wealthy pedigree. They existed (especially in an expensive cultural mecca like NYC). Just because you have family money, connections, a world-class education and etc. doesn’t mean you won’t be occasionally broke if you’re trying to live as an artist. My parents (both Boomers) came from decent enough backgrounds but my art major mother and sensitive, well-educated father didn’t give me as many blessings (until my mid 20’s) financially as they had growing up (they eventually inherited an amount from their parents and grandparents and my father has apologized actually…). It happens.

Unless you come from extreme wealth and inherit at least 20 million you have to work at some point (or sell something). Or, if you want to raise children and stay home, etc., you have to be a part of a team effort with a partner or spouse who works (or has that 20 million).

And it truly is overwhelming to deal with this world of the 2010’s. …There may be some criticisms of Calloway that are more well founded than others (maybe she could be more a little more frugal), and I don’t obviously know her well enough to discern her ultimate truths but…if she’s “for real” then she’s amazing. Her art is too. And to some degree, I think she *is* her art. …It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it… It’s subversively offensive and beautiful and sincere and hopeful and utterly depressive and moving and humane all at once. It’s very Millennial.

So, think 1920’s, boozy (which translates to today’s thankfully sober but has potential to “get in trouble”), beautiful-flapper-wearing red-lipstick, chewing gum (secretly to annoy very particular people)…listlessly lounging on a chaise. …Although undeniably engaging, she’s gifted to the point where she can appear “ditzy” to the untrained eye.

…She feels deep pain over her older brother’s death in WWI and wonders if anything matters more than true love in all its forms. But, she’s incredibly happy to be alive to reach adulthood (her favorite little cousin died of the flu in childhood)…and so she often feels a sincere joyful thankfulness…but…all of the death, the tumult, the arrogance of the world around her…the simmering (albeit blighted promise) she has, and the need for release, forces her into a state of constant expression. Her life is art. As a brilliant friend in college once described about his view of his own personage (IQ in the 160’s), she is her own “magnum opus”.

It’s not neat, maybe. It’s not always palatable. But it’s (possibly and hopefully) real even if it is more of an (honest) interpretative dance of herself than what you’d see in her most sacred private diary.

Now, I’m not saying I’m in that league as an artist (although I’d love to be a good novelist someday) or am the lady above, but I think I might “get it”. And I am thankful for Caroline’s existence.

June Thoughts on Domestic Travel…

In a couple of weeks or so we’ll be off to visit my husband’s family. We’re looking forward to it. Family vacations are fun.

We love traveling in general though, actually. And it’s one of the biggest reasons we didn’t buy a house sooner. As I’ve said before, for the first year and a half to two years of our relationship (after it became serious), Mark and I mostly traveled.

We visited Ireland, Great Britain, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands and the Bahamas internationally. In the United States we were in: South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, Nevada, and Minnesota. (I’ve been to all but six states and need to finish my list soon!)

But, after getting married and having our first child it wasn’t as easy to just pick up our suitcases and go. It’s all so completely different traveling with young children.

Thankfully, we still managed to travel some domestically, even living in Seattle for two years and doing a fair amount of meandering during that time. Our son has spent time on both the East and West Coast (The above photo was from our family vacation to the East Coast last May. That’s a lighthouse in Maine.) And although we are “keen to cross the pond” domestic travel is easier as a family.

It’s also less scary.

Lately, all the stories about tourists dying abroad have reminded me how fortunate I was to grow-up in the 80’s and 90’s when international travel was a heck of a lot safer. Going to the Caribbean or Mexico was a careless, elegant experience back then. “We’re off to Jamaica” or “I’m spending spring break in Cozumel” was very typical to hear where I grew-up. Every spring break from fifth grade to the end of high school girls would regularly return to school with tiny, beaded braids in their hair from their time spent either on a cruise or at a resort in the tropics. They often also had a bit of a sunburn or a tan. If you looked too pale it was assumed you either went to Europe or had a boring break. Ha!

…Why, when I first was dating my husband about ten years ago, he took a vacation to Playa del Carmen for a week and it seemed very normal. Most people who were upper-middle class (or more fortunate) would travel to one hot location south of the US border once or more every year. (As mentioned, the previous owners of our house loved Oaxaca.)

But, it’s changed for the worse.

When my husband was in Dominican Republic last (I’ve never been there), over ten years ago, there were armed guards along the perimeter of the resort and it was considered unwise to venture away from the touristy places. However, he never worried about his safety in his own room, as it seems you might nowadays. And swimming in the pool didn’t have a possible link to heart attacks or respiratory failure.

My husband blames global warming for the problems. He believes that the famine induced in parts of South America and Central America by the slightly changing temperatures may be linked to the increased violence and other problems in the area. That makes sense. A tragic amount of sense…

And, actually, climate change is something to consider with great caution when traveling. A recent article in the New York Times examines the topic further…

But, we’re taking a fairly green route this time and avoiding air travel. And, when we visit outside the US we’ll do so very carefully. Perhaps living in the UK will provide the perfect moment to visit the rest of Europe without having to fly back and forth and pollute so much…

Jersey Parfum

I love Chanel Jersey!!!! And tonight I finally opened my bottle of it.

…That being said I still prefer the eau de toilette (from the original formulation). This parfum is lovely (as is the new eau de parfum) but it’s more of an elegant skin-scent on me than the gently enveloping first form. I do love how the pipe tobacco-lavender note is more noticeable though. It actually even reminds me of a modern, more lady-like version of the vintage version (from the 1930’s) of Caron Les Plus Belles Lavandes, which is very old, smoky, vanillic lavender.

*sigh* Wonderful!