Monday, June 27, 2016

Currently- June 2016

I should have written this post two or three weeks ago, when June was at its most glorious, full of the usual promises, this year amplified by the great gift of the three kittens we rescued. The kittens are wonderful, no worries. They're thriving, loving, and filling our house with purrs and fluffy acrobatics. I can't thank you enough for following this magic both on Instagram and through our Jersey Cat page (no membership needed, it's completely public ). I'll try to update the page tomorrow with their name stories, and some observations about their characters (other than "fluffy").

But June has brought on more than that. A serious emergency on the husband's side of the family has rattled us to our core, and has changed the outlook of the immediate and not so immediate future. 2016 hasn't been very kind to several of my friends, so we're just one family out of many. Perspective, though, is not all that it's cracked up to be.

I started reading Jennifer Weiner's Who Do You love, but had to take a break as the emotional resonance was a bit much.  I enjoyed Angela M. Sanders'  (that's Angela of NST, if you didn't know) The Halston Hit. Vintage couture, drag queens, a frothy kind of suspense... it's a god fun. And I'm about to start a book my sister has wholeheartedly recommended: Life According to Lubka by Laurie Graham. There's no eBook version, and it was only printed in the UK, so I had to order an actual paper copy from  (all of a sudden it's 1999), but I expect some pure reading joy.  My Mom wants to add that if you also speak a little Bulgarian, your enjoyment would be even greater (my own vocabulary is limited to saying "monkey", "frog", and "fried bread")

I couldn't find a video of Jono McCleary's Brightly, but everything this guy records is magic. This is the acoustic version of Tomorrow, and if you suspect that your musical taste somewhat aligns with mine, I highly recommend checking him out. (question: is anyone interested in a blog post about my favorite music? A blogger friend has suggested it and I've been kind of skeptical).

Before we get to the main event, I can tell you  that over the last month the husband and I binged the entire fourth season of The Americans. It was hard to DVR every weekly episode and avoid spoilers but we did it and I still think that this is the best way to watch this complex and heart-wrenching series. People who've never watched tend to dismiss The Americans as "that show about KGB spies", but it really isn't. It's about family, trust, love, the crazy 1980s, and the way it all culminated for people who also happened to be ruthless KGB spies, yet also loving parents going trough a massive identity crisis (brilliantly written). This season also featured a mega Emmy-worthy performance by the incomparable Dylan Baker (Colleen Sweeney, if you used to watch The Good Wife while it was still good).

Another binging worth your time was the ESPN documentary (did I just type those words?) about OJ Simpson. Those were ten hours of meticulous research, in-depth analysis of race relations, Los Angeles in the 80s and 90s, no sensationalism, and a jaw-dropping amount of authentic footage (no reenactments  or any of the usual BS). I think it's an important show.

But, aren't we here to talk about Cersei?

Beware of spoilers.

I loved the sixth season nearly as much as I hated the fifth one. Despite the general lameness in Meeereen and the way my favorite actor, Peter Dinklage, has been underutilized, I loved the pacing, the wrapping up of old storylines from Uncle Benjen to the Hound, Walder Frey eating pie, Jaime and Brienne's complicated relationship, and the brilliant Wildlings (RIP Wun-Wun). I'm still traumatized by Hodor , but somehow it was the understated and carefully filmed last seconds of King Tommen that touched me the most. I liked Tommen, I was sorry for him, I knew he was doomed, but still. And now we have a Queen. Darth Cersei. As terrifying as the Mad King himself, a fact that Jaime couldn't have missed during the coronation.  Just wow.
And one final gloating: R+L= Jon Snow. Anyone not seeing that one coming should join Giantsbane for a drink of fermented goat milk.

When your best friend goes on a business trip to Paris you end up with more Bell Jars.

I just bought the Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette. I'm officially a sheep who owns a red eye shadow.

Frequently Worn
Clothes that smell like kitten formula.

Something to help with the next nine month withdrawal: Watchers on the Wall.

I've been consisting on an odd diet that includes fresh tomatoes, Turkish delight, and scary amounts of chocolate milk. Whatever works.

Even including this category seems wrong and self-indulgent. But I have a list of petty complaints and you're going to hear them. All of them.

When my old laptop kicked the bucket last month the husband immediately ordered me a new and amazingly spiffy machine. Only the one that arrived a few days later did not have a working touch pad. No biggie. Lenovo did good on their customer service promises and replaced it within a week. I love my new toy and its spectacular performance, but the keyboard is slightly different, ending up with me making so many typos that I write like the comment section of People Magazine.

Then the washing machine died. The technician arrived, congratulated me on sixteen years of good washer stewardship (there was not even a speck of rust), and told me that fixing the thing would cost more than 50% of a shiny new high-efficiency Whirlpool. Guess what we're doing on the 4th of July weekend?

Because that's not enough, I woke up with the mother of all back spasms that caused me to throw out my back. It's stress (it's always stress). I have a massage booked for tomorrow, but that makes me feel even more guilty.

Those three whiskered faces that start purring when they see me.

Saturday afternoon with the husband.
A date to Home Depot.
Aforementioned massage.
2017 (maybe). Let's make it 2020.

Sea Change.

Random Thought
I want my mommy.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Art: Rose Garden, Camille Pissarro 1862


  1. question: is anyone interested... yes please.

  2. First, I have been a fan of your blog do a long time. It is very unique and I love your perspective.
    I have a tv recommendation that you may enjoy. This drama series from Ausralia is " A Place to Call Home." It takes place in 1953. The lead, Sarah Adams, returns from WW II. Europe to start a new life in a small town near Sydney.
    Gorgeous scenery, clothing, fascinating characters, plot lines .
    Available on iTunes and Acorn TV.
    There are 3 Seasons, CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF IT.

  3. Gaia - you do have Bulgarian readers. thank you for the book recommendation :)

  4. "Perspective, though, is not all that it's cracked up to be." That would be such a brilliant first line of a novel. I'm very sorry about the emergency in your husband's family - I do hope there is some possible positive outcome.
    On a happier note, I'm very much looking forward to your kitten updates. They are the very essence of joy and hope.
    Just ordered not only the Laurie Graham book you mentioned, but two others of hers. She sounds like just the sort of author I'm in the mood for. Ordered all three in paper - can't help it. I'm a luddite and I find comfort not only in reading, but in the scent of books and in the feel of them in my hand. Oh, and have already read The Halston Hit - it really is a great fun read.
    Am still trying to wear mostly non-vintage perfumes, but today am wrestling with having made an uncomfortable choice. When Ambre Narguile first came out, a very good friend sent me a large sample and, as it arrived on the day I was leaving on a trip, I decided to take it with me to wear on that trip. So many friends of mine who share my tastes adored it, so it seemed like a sure thing that I would as well. But I was determined to find its magic and wore it throughout that trip. Since the trip was one of the best of my life, the associations w/ AN are incredibly wonderful, but I've rarely worn it since because it really somehow does not work on my skin. Today, however, I was feeling a real need to get in touch with the good memories of that trip, so I put it on. Have been struggling with it all day. I've always known that, for me, bad memories can permanently destroy a brilliant scent, but I'm also afraid that the very best of associations may not be able to rescue a not so amazing scent.
    Oh, and I'm with Amalia on the "yes" vote.

  5. 2016 is only halfway over and it's been .... well, remember back in the day when the Queen referred to her "annus horribilus"? Yeah, it's been like that.

    Thank God for kittens and books. Laurie Graham is such a good - and funny - writer that I'm surprised she's not better known here in the US. "Life with Lubka" is fun; as is her "Gone With the Windsors".

  6. Hello Gaia, I'm a constant reader who found you via the fragrance blogs, and I thank you heartily for sharing your thoughts. I'm going to give The Americans another try. I had a hard time enjoying the series, when I first watched I found the suspense overwhelming. I think the calm of summer (and a lack of new programming) is a good time to try watching again. And thank you for sharing the Jersey Cats and kittens, they are such a joy to see.

  7. I’m so happy to see your kittens are doing well! I love seeing updates. I’m so sorry to hear 2016 hasn't been a good year, some days you just want to run for the hills with the cats. I hope things get better, for everyone.

    Book - I just purchased a Kindle (it’s about time!!), currently reading All The Birds in the Sky and about to start The Iron King by Maurice Druon. Thanks for the mention of Angela’s book, will add that to my list!

    TV - I’ve been holding off on watching The Americans recent season. I find it totally engrossing and love going back to the 1980s. When I’m back from vacation, I plan on binge watching the entire fourth season. I loved the sixth season of GOT, learning not to get too attached to beloved characters & direwolves.. I admit I was shocked to see Tommen die, I would have thought Cersei knew his fragility and would have someone with him to prevent his demise but perhaps that’s the way she planned it? As scary as she is, Jaime can’t resist her, and needs her more than she him. Wouldn’t be surprised to see if he’s next on the chopping block.

    Perfume – Lots of vintage Magie Noire or Halston Couture, I am in the mood for bone-dry chypres, these two beauties fit the bill.

    Makeup - I’ve been playing around with Kevin Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer, mixing it with primer, moisturizer, my Clarin’s face oil. Once I got the hang of it, it’s magical. Wearing this and some new Face Stockholm lipsticks purchased at the 20% off sale. Cranberry Veil is my favorite (so far).

    Food - Tomato soup, (hello Summer cold), it’s the only thing that is comforting and that I can actually taste. I grate pepper jack cheese over the top for more kick.

    Bane – Summer cold (see above), I made the mistake of bragging how long it’s been since I’ve had one. Silly me! Re: the washing machine, have you tried Speed Queen? They make machines for residential use and I totally adore my new washer. Gets my whites sparkling white.

    Joy - My furry babies.

    Anticipation - A family reunion in upstate NY (Westport) in early July.

    Wishlist – that my taste buds return!

  8. Consider yourself lucky that you need a new washer. I recently got one - my old washer stopped emptying - it was at least 15 years old. The new one is fantastic! The tub is HUGE - no agitator in the middle - I'm thrilled with it! I got an LG.

  9. Book
    Finally a break from Agatha Christie in Spanish, read Marguerite Duras' Agatha and Emily L. And after seeing Danny Says (documentary film about Danny Fields) I just HAD to read Please Kill Me for the nth me.

    This Finnish Classic:

    UEFA Euro 2016 and Happy Valley Series 2

    I guess I have been mostly in a mood for jasmine in June: Drama Nuuï, A Fleur de Peau, Le Parfum de Thérèse, Caligna, Palais Jamais...

    MAC Damn Glamorous lipstick

    Frequently worn item
    Inouïtoosh Arteo scarf

    Spring green cabbage grilled in the oven with tomato, tofu and cashews.

    LOVE to see pictures of the kitten trio, they are absolutely adorable! (I must admit, though, that Gorgeous Georgie holds a special place in my heart <3 )

  10. We had a similar washing machine implosion, and I recently bought an LG HE top loader. I didn't want to go all matchy matchy, so I resisted the temptation to buy its coordinating dryer. I love the machine but it holds SO MUCH more clothing than my old one. Seriously, a full laundry basket only half fills it. This is a feature, not a bug, but it also means that if I fill my washing machine, I can't fit all my wet clothes into my old dryer. Just something to think about, if your dryer is also 16 years old. ;-)

  11. Must add for Makeup my "official" UEFA EURO 2016 nail polish: OPI Yoga-ta Get This Blue! (I'm rooting for France, but if necessary, blue works for Iceland and Italy, too...)

  12. Oh dear, I am crying! I have subscribed on and off to many perfume and beauty bloggers over the years but have been with you a long time and I consider you my favourite writer and irreplacable. My husband considers you "those NOT blonde emails". I have never written before because I never do. Until now. Thank you so much for your consistent efforts and bringing so mush happiness to my days. This particular entry and mostly the end random thought has me touched me. Lisa - Australia


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