Northern Gardening

I took over five years of French in school growing up and then some in college. And, I’d love to say that I really speak French and read French but I don’t think I do. Hopefully someday I’ll be better at it. I haven’t given up hope entirely.

My husband speaks French quite well. When he studied abroad in Europe for a year he even had a French girlfriend and they exchanged letters in French for years. When I don’t know what something is supposed to sound like I often ask him.

Orangers En Fleurs. I love my Orangers En Fleurs… But what is it supposed to sound like? He wasn’t sure either…

I feel like the r and s at the end of Orangers should be silent as is the s at the end of Fleurs. However, I can’t be sure. *rolling eyes* It’s such a beautiful language but I don’t know it well enough…

This weekend we’re gardening. The tulips are blooming, a few things need rearranging and we’re cleaning the beds. But I wish we could grow orange blossoms here… For now I’ll just wear my Orangers En Fleurs. It’s smells lovely whether I can pronounce it or not. Ha!

Orange Blossoms (via Google Images)

My Southern Family

My maternal grandfather was born into the Deep South. The South of Zelda Sayre. The Deep South that existed in the early 20th Century. He was born in either 1910 or 1911. He used to lie about his age a tiny bit and no one knew for certain if it was 1911 or 1910. Ha!

But, it was the south of a romance novel. A novel with men who smoked from a pipe with tobacco and drank lemonade on rocking chairs. Real cherry soda.

Of course, after the devastating Civil War the south was never the same. And as Zelda once told Scott, “To understand me you must understand the south.” (I can’t find the exact quotation but I know it was this or very close to it. I’ll keep looking.)

And I don’t think that part of my family was racist actually. Not all southerners were racist. Or are… People want to oversimplify things to boil them down for easy, unbothered annihilation. Self sabotage. But people are complicated. History is chaos. Still with good and evil but sometimes chaotically so… It should go without saying that this is just my opinion, but I’ll hasten to add that anyway. Their ancestors from the century before were more like the austere and perhaps slightly prim, “Puritanical” and noble version of characters from “Gone With The Wind” (yes, I know who the actual Puritans were and that’s why I put it in quotation marks for the imagination impaired). They were the “Whistler’s Mother” version. *laugh* My grandfather, despite the forced humility of his childhood didn’t have a thick accent. A humility he sought to remedy his whole life. But a lot of his family is at least somewhat elegant and genteel and as I’ve said before his particular line of the family had more tragedy than the rest it seems.

It’s a Deep South not in popular culture today. Time moved culture somewhere else. His south is mostly dead, transplanted or very quiet. When I try to describe that family don’t picture a normal southerner of today. It’s just different. Maybe pieces still remain and people still remember but I suspect it’s very changed. I’m sure some people reading this will take that pejoratively, but… *shrug*

I wish I knew more about the current south. My husband is from the New England area and that’s familiar enough to me. But I’m intrigued by the south of my generation. One of my good friends from college was from Georgia and I recall noticing that she was a little freer with her emotions in very subtle ways than I was or the other students from “The North” were. I’ve heard and read that observation about the south of the past too. And of course Mr. Navy was from the south as well. His parents were both (medical) doctors and I think he’d had a pretty suburban life, but he was southern even if he had only a minuscule trace of an accent and seemed familiar in some vague way. I know it’s different but it’d be interesting to find out more about what the south has become or is.

Anyway, I just wish I’d stopped and slowed down. Been at peace with the chaos. Listened. Trusted my inner voice to know more about what I need as a person than the well-intentioned but incorrect advice some provided. Some didn’t.

Oh well. At least I can go forward knowing the little bit more that I hopefully have figured out now.


After rereading a Facebook message I sent someone back in April of 2016 I realize that with time our moments of raw truth become the moments we are most thankful for. At least that’s true for me. And time can be a friend in that it occasionally volunteers real insight. Healing insight actually.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given lately is to trust my sense about things more. And tonight I’m realizing that I probably really hurt the young man I wrote about recently. And it makes me feel terrible. The one who might have wanted jealousy from me, by the way. I’ll call him “Mr. Naval Intelligence” because he told me that was his dream once.

I think he probably felt rejected for somewhat understandable reasons but didn’t say that and then instead openly rejected me first without asking any questions. He might easily have just assumed one of the worst case scenarios about me he suspected could be true and then acted on it. …Somewhat cruelly rejected me actually. And in that cruelty was possibly an attempt to provoke an unguarded emotional response from me. To start an honest conversation? A fight? Or he wanted to get revenge…and he certainly got it indeed. Ha!

But…I had it in my mind that I had to ignore however painful he was being. It seemed, at the time, like I’d be bothering him if he knew how I really felt. It seemed like he’d just think I was very uncool. “Never get attached.” was basically the advice someone gave me in regard to how to romance men. Well, don’t let them think you’re attached anyway. Hide your true feelings from them or risk seeming weak and worse: too deep. I trusted him at first but I didn’t know then what I know now about romantic relationships and I messed-up. But he might have messed up too. Lied even more. I don’t know. …I don’t know.

But I should have been honest. Open. And he might still have been cruel but I wouldn’t regret not telling him the truth.

I was starting to fall in love with him. He may have been starting to feel the same. We might not have been meant to be together and Mark and I really have done lots of work on our marriage but *shaking head* don’t think that when Mark seems too distant or I see other cracks in our marriage I don’t worry. *shrug* And I think admitting that is just being real. Maybe someday I won’t worry anymore about any of those sort of errors. That’s what I dearly want in marriage. I hope we get there.

But…everyone has choices and I have to hope in regard to the most important things that it all works out. That we all eventually find true love.

Jealousy Is A Form Of Rejection

With the exception of romantic jealousy, jealousy is a form of rejection. And sometimes even romantic jealousy is rejection.

It says: You don’t deserve to be what you are, to have what you have or to receive my goodwill. It says: I don’t care what the reality is about your feelings or your life because they don’t matter to me. You don’t matter to me.

Jealousy is often a sincere way of disregarding people’s humanity and dignity to save one’s pride, at best. At worst it overtakes you and you literally lose your mind.

There are serious needs in this world. There are very real hurting people. Sometimes jealous people can be those genuinely tortured souls. And I suppose for those folks jealousy could maybe be somewhat more rational than for others but it’s still not particularly helpful and can be dangerous to indulge in. But this is all common sense though. Right?

I really am not a person who gets jealous pretty much almost ever, although I have been known to be jealous in romantic relationships in the past and it felt awful… And the thing is, again, outside of maybe one relationship it wasn’t useful either.

My first boyfriend cheated. Did I get jealous? Yes. Was it helpful? No. Enough said.

My second boyfriend cheated too. And where I felt fearful and jealous and tried to “make things work” by changing my hair and tanning and doing tons of other stupid stuff I should have instead realized I was just in an objectively bad relationship that needed to end.

There were other relationships too, including my marriage, but the one exception to feeling on edge ironically may have been the only one where jealousy was what he wanted. Ha! Life.

He was very sensitive and very smart. And I think he wanted to make me jealous… *sigh* But since I trusted him I inherently wasn’t jealous. If I feel wanted romantically I don’t get jealous and I think he likely missed that… And, he is the only person besides my husband on my list.

Maybe he was just a jerk though. *shrug* I don’t know for certain…

Anyway, jealousy is not often helpful. It’s fear. It’s external hatred or internal hatred or both. It’s often just fruitless anger. Meaningless negativity.

Or maybe for a romantic relationship it can be proof of love… And if you know people actually respect you as a person maybe some “friendly” jealously can be tolerable or for some it may even be enjoyable. *shrug* I’ve never enjoyed either, for better or worse.

Zane Grey, Stairs of Sand 1928

I only read Zane Grey’s Stairs of Sand this month. Given how exhausting the coronavirus was I didn’t have a lot of mental or emotional energy. I also didn’t have a lot of time.

How did I write so much on this blog? My blog posts take about 15 minutes to a half an hour to write and writing is actually easy for me when it’s just a casual matter, so to speak. It always has been and it always will be. Writing something more serious would take longer.

Anyway, Zane Grey. Honest opinion: It’s melodramatic, Spaghetti Western nonsense. People fall in and out of supposedly life changing love without much of an authentic reason or explanation and every page reads like the climax of the story. It’s slightly ridiculous. However, it has a sort of unique charm. And for the experience itself it’s worth reading. It’s also vaguely about the American Wild West. Vaguely? Yes. The West is there but in the same way it is in a Spaghetti Western. It’s not the sort of beautiful capture of a specific locale the way Woody Allen gives us New York City in Manhattan.

The plot? *shrug* No. I refuse to discuss the plot. Matter-of-fact I had to almost ignore the plot to at all enjoy the book. Essentially it focuses on a beautiful but doomed woman who is in need of constant rescue from unfortunately hapless cowboys. Her “stairs of sand” are the heart of the story. *rolling eyes*

La Pausa (Not A Repost)

I thought I should try the eau de parfum La Pausa before I committed to it along with the eau de toilette No. 28 La Pausa. I’m glad I did in a way, but…it was also a bit of a waste considering I love it and I kind of knew that already. It’s perfect for my signature even more so than the edt.

It’s the mood of No. 22 the way I experienced it before. And with the eau de parfum version there’s a note of leather that’s clearer than in the edt.. An iris leather.

And, considering I’ve loved this one since I first smelled it I don’t need to worry that it’ll ever go awry. I love every version. A lot.

La Pausa for me please. *smile*

April Showers (Repost)

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April Showers by Cheramy is a surprisingly luxurious geranium and lavender fougère (Cheramy 1921).  It reminds me of an old Chanel with its thick aldehydes, florals, and clear headed green notes.  It’s cheerful and and attractive.  The retro notes are slightly herbal (like No. 4711) and a little sultry – it would make a tremendous aftershave.  In the drydown it seems particularly unisex (even a bit masculine) and quite warm and pleasant.

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In its time, Cheramy, April Showers was very popular.  Cheramy even made April Showers bath salts.  I might try to keep my eyes open for those other products.  I really like this scent…

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This month I’ll be writing about a vintage book entitled, A Pocket Book of Great Operas, by Henry W. Simon and Abraham Veinus.  My husband and I will be attending a performance of Bizet’s, Carmen in early May and I thought it would make sense to do a bit of research about Carmen to refresh my memory. And, I’ve always wanted to read this book so this seemed like a good moment to do so.

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So far, I’ve just read the chapter about Carmen and I found it helpful for a general overview (what this book is intended to be used as anyhow).  However, I now have a ton of questions related to Carmen that I feel a need to answer.   Sadly my time is running short to write more in this post (as always) so I’ll explain more next week…

Until Friday.  🙂

Heliotrope (Repost)

I’ve discussed Hové Parfumeur of New Orleans before, but not Heliotrope in particular.  It’s like a soft, sweet southern breeze from the past with a strong but delicious vanilla note intermingled with charming floral notes.  In the drydown the vanilla becomes even more of a powerhouse, but it’s so ridicously gracious (and vintage) that I can’t say I mind at all.  The sillage is nice too.  Even my husband who rarely smells most perfume I wear from a distance could detect this one and he seemed to really like it…

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Heliotrope was actually a birthday present from my husband last year as part of a group of samplers from Hové.   And, even though I technically don’t do samples on Fridays I’ll make an exception for this fragrance because wearing it today is exactly what I need to both calm my mind and brighten my mood and it’s a rather large sample…

Anyway, sorry for the short discussion about the fragrance of the day.  This has been one awful week.  Usually, it’s just busy, but this week…  was miserable.  One of our parents will be having heart surgery in a month, and I’ve been beyond exhausted and stressed out about many things. 

The thing is, when you’re a child life feels like it will last forever.  Hours take so long.  You feel so alive and your parents seem like they’ll be around as long as you.  If you stop to really think otherwise it doesn’t even work because the present feels so real, so solid and invincible at that age that anything contrary just rings false.  But, you can hardly wait to grow-up so you can really enjoy everything with what feels like never-ending youth. Time is on your side… or so it seems.

Then you do grow up and you’re stuck, for better or for worse, and time goes by way too fast.  Every second disolves before it begins (sorry if this is sounding very cliché at this point). You look back at your childhood and it still seems so recent but it’s not – so totally vivid and real but of course, in truth, it’s gone. Then you see what’s coming next…

It’s wonderfully sobering and we all go through it.  All of us.  And in that regard, we are never unique, or just one person alone in a situation.  We all must pass through the same doors at the start and in the end.  🙂

I just hope that my parent will stick around a bit longer so we can enjoy them for years to come (as fast as those years might go.)  And I’m thankful for the ones I’ve had…

We’re also considering moving again…  There’s a good position at a company where my husband would have more room to grow in his career and it would also bring us a step closer to our dream of moving to the UK.  It’s a good thing, but also just another stressor to add to the mix…


Anyway, until Sunday…

L’Aimant (Repost)

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Coty’s classic scent, L’Aimant (Coty 1927) is a rich, powdery masterpiece.  I think because it’s a “drugstore fragrance” it can sometimes be perceived poorly, but every time I smell L’Aimant (the vintage in particular) on my skin I am reminded of its wonders.  There’s a sweetness, depth, warmth and almost wholesomeness in L’Aimant that is like nothing else.  The drydown is particularly poignant, beautiful and powdery in its vanilla glow – almost reminiscnt of pipe tobacco I vaguely remember old men smoking in my early childhood?

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Top notes: bergamot, neroli, peach, and aldehydes. Middle notes: geranium, rose, orchid, jasmine and ylang-ylang. Base notes: vetiver, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka bean and cedar.

Yet again, it was a wickedly busy week and I didn’t get a chance to finish Evelyn Waugh’s Put Out More Flags, so it will be my book of the week next week too (I’m sorry) along with one other book I’ll try to finish (I may need to adjust things a bit).  However, I can already say that it’s an amazingly authentic sort of book. I am deeply engaged by how realistic the thoughts of the characters seem to be, especially about the war and intigued by the fact that they seem so accessible in the present – there’s a certain “truth” and “rawness” in this book that seems more fitting of contemporary works. In fact, it makes me wonder if other authors often simply fall short in fully making their characters true to life, or if there is something about these people in particular that make them relatable to a person, such as myself, from the present.

More on this all later…