Saturday, September 23, 2017

Getting In The Groove Again

Both classes, the natural perfume intensive and the Kyphi incense class, are full with energy and synchronicity. It feels like a bit of a let-down when I have to shut down the computer and put the courses to bed for the evening. I'm enjoying myself immensely with this new group of people.

I'm also making Kyphi again. I've yet to get to those boxes in the garage as late Wednesday I began to feel the ticking scratch of a cold coming on. I've been on 12,000 mgs of C a day, zinc supplements, plus otc meds. The sinuses are congested, but I don't feel terrible like I did when I woke up Thursday morning with a pounding headache and a sore throat. It's never a good time for a cold, is it? Such a damned inconvenience no matter when they strike.

Once I get off the computer, in about a half an hour, I'm going to get to cleaning the house. When I'm not well and my energy is petering out, everyone here scatters like rats off a sinking ship. Once I feel better, today, actually, I'm left to clean up. I know. They're all adults. But that's what makes talking to them about cleaning up after their dirty bums so difficult. I get lots of, "I know." And, "I'll do it later." So maybe not quite adults yet.

Once I'm done cleaning the house, I'm going to start the goods for an early supper, and then get to tackling boxes in the garage. It seems like nobody is concerned with what's left out there since the cupboard's are full, the laundry is washed, the dishes are done, and there's food on the table. They're like cavemen -- ha!

I'd better get going then. There's Kyphi to make, and the skincare line -- oh, yeah, I'm starting a new skincare line. It debuts mid-October. Watch for it.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall and All She Brings

Now that the mad rush to finish the course is over, and the time it takes to do daily instruction has considerably whittled down the time I spend on the computer, I can get back to the house! I've got tons of boxes to unpack, warranties to fill out and mail, repair issues to deal with, and a string of birthdays coming up. And the central valley here in California seems to have let go of summer, finally. Just in time, too, for the official change into fall. You know you've gotten way to used to hot weather when 90 seems like a pleasant break. That means moving around is easier in terms of what gets done inside and outside.





We've begun the back yard, but there's a lot of work left to do. The soil is what we here in the valley call hardpan. Basically, it's like cement. The builders removed the top layer of soft soil when they leveled the lot, exposing all that lovely red hardpan. It's a mess to deal with, and will take a while to get it in shape for planting. We'll have to add some lime, gypsum, and lots of organic compost and churn it all into the ground. This will take a few weekends of all day digging. Again, the cooler weather helps immensely. Then I can start bulbs in raised beds and get some other plants in the ground. And get some grass growing so the grands will have somewhere to play next spring.

I received a shipment of oils yesterday, and, man, there were some nice ones in this lot. Cardamom CO2 is exquisite, beautifully green and fresh, with lovely floral back notes, and a slight twinge of eucalyptus. The CO2 is deeper and warmer than the cardamom essential oil from Guatamala (also in the box). The Guatamalan sample is brighter and more green with more of those eucalyptus notes and less of the warm floral note. Oakwood CO2 is a revelation. It is gourmand, warm, edible, with vanilla and cognac notes. I really love this stuff! The blue Egyptian chamomile (matricaria chamomilla) is stunning! Sweet, herbal, fruity, and surprisingly warm. Coffee CO2 is like a strong cuppa joe. Another winner. A gorgeous floral/fruity clove bud oil also arrived, reminding me of the turning of the seasons from hot to cool and the long nights spent in my garage studio creating tons of soap for the holidays. The bergamot oil, traditional, non FCF, smells brightly citrusy and sweet with hints of those famous floral notes. This one smells absolutely delicious! And last, but not least, juniper berry oil. This one is sweet and breathy and warm and fabulously beautiful. It reminds me of making Kyphi, the moment after crushing the first berries in the mortar and the sharp, sweet sting of scent that bursts forth.

Speaking of Kyphi, we're finally going to start our Kyphi batch for the course tomorrow on the eve of the new moon. I'm really looking forward to beginning this project.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

New Beginnings

The brand new International Perfume Foundation certified natural perfume course at The Natural Perfume Academy officially begins tomorrow -- well, if that isn't a mouthful. The interest in this course by the public has been astounding. Ruth and I busted our bums for months getting this new course up to par, and I think we're very nearly there. Our tutors have been working hard to update their courses, and we've begun translating the course into Spanish for a new course set to begin next year. This first six-month course will be the pilot course, and tweaks will occur both during and after the end of this run. It's exciting as hell, and a little bit scary as well. I can't help but to get a little nervous before each new course begins, but this one has me in knots. We've got videos -- with me in them (ugh) and I'm not the least bit sure of myself in this arena. We've got slideshows, which are far easier for me mentally -- ha! I've got a programmer working on a perfume formulation program for the course so the students can create their perfumes with ease -- aka, without all the maths involved. We even got an 'official' US and Canadian perfume kit supplier, Sunrose Aromatics, on board with us. We're still working on setting up the same kits with UK, EU, and Australian suppliers. Let me tell you, this isn't easy. Oftentimes, it's simply the politics that prevent forward motion. But we are persistent -- we've been doing this since 2008, so, yeah, we've learned a thing or two about how to get around, under, or barrel right through a problem.

This is where our 2017 Fall six-month course students live. It's pretty darned cool.


Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Garage Blues

Today I tackle the garage. Again. It's getting to the point where I don't want to anymore. Especially kitchen wares. The builders are coming out today to fix or replace the brand new dishwasher. I've been hand washing everything that comes out of those kitchen boxes because of the dishwasher being on the fritz and I'm well and done with it. I am in a rush to get the garage cleared out so I can set up my tables and shelves and get my studio wares sorted out, get some soap going and start on the new products for the shops. I'm under the gun here and it feels like I'm making very little progress. I know I said I work best under pressure, and I do, but there are only so many hours in a day, so many days until the looming deadline, and I'm moving as quickly as I can. It feels a bit like chasing my own bum.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Jasmine Sambac

So, yesterday was a shopping day, gathering things for the new house to make it habitable, or at least pretty. Things like shower curtains, trash bins, cleaning supplies, etc. While digging around the end-of-summer offerings at a popular department store, I stumbled upon an entire shelf of Maid of Orleans Arabian jasmine, aka, jasmine sambac. And, they were practically giving them away! I got three, but I plan on returning and getting a few more. In my area, this type of jasmine has the potential to bloom year-round, with the best coming in the spring. Right now, these three wee plants are blooming like mad! Especially since getting them here, setting them up on the porch, and giving them a good drenching. 


They weren't blooming like this when I found them, in fact, most of the sambac at the store had very few flowers blooming. 

The scent is heavenly. I will be getting a jar of deodorized coconut oil later today and performing an enfleurage of these blossoms until they stop giving me flowers. It's going to be very hot, around 109 degrees F, a record breaker, and it's been unusually humid -- conditions, I've read, are best for growing this type of jasmine.




Friday, September 01, 2017

The World

Social media is killing me right now. For two weeks here at the new place all I had was my phone and it was plugged into FB constantly. With no internet to do extensive research, study, and writing on the computer itself, I got sucked into the vortex of bs. I'm just now beginning to extricate myself and work on real world projects. My heart just aches for the 'real world', too. I think I'm suffering from information overload, real and bogus.


Not only am I still working on the teacher's manual on the desk top computer for the new perfume course (with help now -- I have an assistant! -- and while sitting on a step-stool and a throw pillow because my office chair was ruined in the move) I'm also starting the first round of Kyphi making in the Walking the Kyphi Path online course I teach. Can I do it? Of course I can.

I found the brand new soap molds that I had been searching for during the entire 10 months we were living at my daughter's house, so I'm going to be making soap again soon -- for myself, and for the shops. I found these gorgeous lotus soap molds too, so those will be the fancy pants perfumed soaps I'll be selling on my official website, www.scenteddjinn.com

Gotta run. There's still so much to do setting up the house -- the garage is a jumble of boxes and furniture that have not yet made their way in. It's a work in progress, and especially taxing since most of the boxes contain kitchen contraptions that require washing before storing, and our nifty new dishwasher doesn't work. The builder's coming to fix that next week.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Incense & Perfume

Today the new washer and dryer arrived. They're on their second load now -- the second of many more to come. It's lovely having a washer and dryer inside of the house again, rather than in a cramped garage. It's just plain lovely having something that works the way it is intended to work.

The unpacking continues, and I suspect it will for many months to come. My main priority now is getting the course work done, sorting out the studio, and getting a Kyphi batch started up for the course on Kyphi making I teach at the Academy. It opened in May and so far we haven't created a single batch. I still have the second half of that gorgeous blue lotus Kyphi I made last year. It's ripe and delicious smelling and ready to be sold again.



It still amazes me how incense -- real, natural, resin-rich incense -- behaves over time. It's like a beautifully crafted natural perfume that ultimately ages into something exquisite and sublime. I've been going through a few of the boxes of old finished perfumes and discovered that the ones crafted with water -- the eaux -- are not as pretty as they once were. The water degrades them a bit, I think. Something about the pH level -- I'll have to test them to see if my theory is right. Which means only one thing (to me) -- natural perfumes don't need water. Over time, water does not benefit the perfume, and, in fact, might harm it -- a lot.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New Course Begins September 18


What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Did you miss me? It seems like forever since I was here. I just got internet yesterday and hooked up the computer last night before bed. It is now sitting in its own little cubby just off the dining area, kind of out of the way but still in the middle of the 'action' around here.

What an ordeal this move has been. So many situations popped up out of the blue (and some not so out of the blue) that tested every patient bone in my body. Basically, anything that could go wrong, did, starting with the moving van being the wrong size and ending with a possible job termination. One of my two precious kitties got very nervous about all the moving around in the old place that he decided to hide out for four days. My daughter brought him home to me late Thursday night after she caught him rooting around in her garage. He was skinny and starved and so happy to see us. Everything in between all of that was absolute hell too. I can't even accurately express how badly things went, and I really don't want to revisit. There were moments during those two weeks that I seriously considered packing a bag and hitting the road as a vagabond perfumer. I'm only now, two weeks in the house, feeling a stirring of excitement for it. I am no where near done unpacking. In fact, the garage where we've stored everything for the time being is as full as it can be and still be maneuverable, and the house inside is an absolute mess. There are still boxes stacked in the dining room waiting to be unpacked. There are pieces of art leaning against walls, curtain rod boxes and loose books lying around. We've got a list of things that need to be addressed by the builder, such as the non-working dishwasher and a crack in a cabinet door. Other than that, the house is perfect. Now if I could just get someone to come finish unpacking and clean this monstrosity for me . . .




At least all of my shop wares are in one place instead of scattered willy-nilly throughout the garage, and there won't be any trolls crawling on and through them to find their lost box of treasures they're sure are underneath. Everything is finally and truly in one place.

Tomorrow the washer and dryer will be delivered, and let me tell you, I need them right now. With all the cleaning going on, I've got a nice stack of dirty house rags in dire need of a wash. Plus I'm running out of clothes!

Once I get things a bit more settled inside, I'm going to begin working on the shop. I promised to have the online shops open by October, and that I will do. It's going to be a little bit different from what I have been doing -- going more into what I was up to this time last year, before the first move. Skincare will be featured, along with gorgeous scented stuff. And then there's the new online perfume course that I am still working on. The teacher's manual is only three units shy of completion, and while I've been out of the game for the past two weeks, I've been burning the midnight oil writing, with a pen, all the things I want to research and add to the manual. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, but as I've learned in the past, overwhelmed is my default setting, and it's the condition under which I operate best.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Aaaaaaand, We're In . . . Sort'a

Took long enough, right? And it hasn't been without it's major problems. More recently, it was the 'explosion' of the work car's transmission all the way over on the Central Coast -- this happened Sunday, the day before we were scheduled to close escrow. Late yesterday afternoon, before we got the call to pick up the keys, we got a call from the Chevy dealership in Arroyo Grande, where we left the work car, with the estimate for repairs -- $3,700 plus. The 'plus' was to cover the leaking manifold, which we didn't even want to hear about. We only paid $5000 for the car in 2007 and it's been very, very good to us, with over 270,000 hard miles on its leaky engine. We've had our eye on a little Toyota hoopty for $3000 and I think we're going to move on it now. G'bye old hoopty, hello new hoopty. Then, yesterday, when we were waiting for the call from the builder to come get the keys, we got crickets instead. Two o'clock came 'round, the time we were told it would be done, then three o'clock, then four -- then we had enough sitting on pins and needles. The hubs called to find out what was going on and the salesperson who sold us the house was as in the dark as we were, anyway, four phone calls later we discover the county's computer system was down and the house closing escrow hadn't posted, but everything was done. Damn. We got the keys anyway. Not allowing a little computer glitch to set us behind. Then as we were driving to get the keys, the new non-hoopty car decided to flash some danger dash lights -- looks like we'll be needing some new brakes soon -- but, Universe? Now? Geez. Haven't we had just about as much as we can handle for the moment? Spread this crap out a little, would you? But all will be well, once the dust settles. It always is.

We spent the night last night sealing grout and granite. Don't let anyone tell you it's easy. Well, technically it IS easy, it's just extremely time consuming. And the fumes can be a little much. Thank heaven there were five of us in rotation or it would have taken one person two days to get done.

I've been writing my bum off these past couple of weeks in hopes of getting done with the teacher's manual for the new course before the move, but it didn't happen. There are three major sections of the course that still need coverage and I'm pretty sure they won't be getting done this week. I did have the foresight to print the course out in its entirety so I could work offline on the teacher's manual, so there is that.

The moving van will be here shortly and I need to get moving. It's going to be another long day.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The New Ballgame

It's only one week before the move and I'm beginning to have feelings like I did in the days before giving birth -- calm and nesty. I had long ago stopped dreaming of how I would be setting everything up in the new place -- the sofa over here, the Tiffany lamp over there. All I've thought about for the last few months is that I just want out of where I am right now. With each set back, with each change in the move-in date, I'd lose a little bit of my shine. But now that it's nearly time, now that I'm on the verge of getting there, my patience for the process has come back. I'm planting the fragrant garden in my mind. I've got gardenia here, and jasmine grandiflorum there. A wee tuberose and hyacinth bed against the back fence, the damascenas and centifolias in the front where the sun shines brightest, yuzu and bitter orange trees in back on the west fence, and the iris pallida in clumps here and there.  Moving isn't going to be fun -- it never is -- but once the dust settles, everything will be rosy.

Plum Palace
I have a big 50% off sale going on at the Etsy store, which I'm closing on the 9th of August (two days from now). I won't reopen until some time in October, and I probably won't have the same items in stock that I do now. And the actual website will be opening up with new product. (www.scenteddjinn.com)

Changes all around this year. We (me and my business partner, Ruth) completely redesigned the Natural Perfume Academy. I've been working on the curriculum for the new certified course all summer long, and Ruth's been working on the overall design and function of the course. We even have a new logo. It's a whole new ballgame.



Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Time

I miss my Bama dog. I miss his annoying bark and how he was always underfoot. I miss his deep stares and the way he cuddled up with me to watch television. I just miss his big dopey butt.

I've been writing like a fiend lately, burning the midnight oil, getting a couple hours of sleep, drinking half a pot of coffee, and going at it again. I'm running out of time. The new perfumery course begins on the 18th of September, and I'm moving in two weeks, so I'm going to miss a week or so of writing time. Crucial writing time. The course has literally one module left to flesh out, then it's on to the teacher's manual, where the meat of the course's potatoes will be.

I'm at a place where I'm missing things to the point of pain. Emotional pain. I miss being able to take good photos with my fancy pants camera (that is packed). I miss working out formulations and experimenting with natural raw materials (that are packed). I miss having space to set things out, to study them, give 'em a good stare and a sniff (because everything's packed!) All of these things were my escape chutes. Ways to get away from the daily stress of unhappy people making certain everyone knows they're unhappy. It's a vicious cycle. They're upset and unhappy, that makes me upset and unhappy, that makes them upset and unhappy, so on and so forth. I just don't know how much more of this sardines-in-a-can life I can take. I feel like my whole life has been put on hold since November because of a damn house! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the closer it gets, the farther away it feels.

We blue tape tomorrow. It's the official walk-through where we're instructed how to use the appliances, where the warranty information will be, how the AC works, the on-demand water heater, the communications' hub, how to switch on lights, where the exhaust fan switches are, where to plug in the phones to charge them, the type of tile, carpet, paint, insulation, light fixtures, piping, etc., that they've used in our house. Then we get to go around with rolls of blue tape marking the spots we feel need repair. Wee cracks. Badly patched walls. Ugly tile work. Nicks and dings and scrapes. The last time we checked on the house, there was a big crate of peaches in the fridge, a Klondike ice cream wrapper on the newly carpeted stairs, and an empty bottle of jamaica Jarritos in the kitchen counter. It's a little disconcerting to realize we're not going to be the first people to use the fridge, or the toilets, in this brand new house.

Some strides to make it a home have been made, though. Long ago we put a bunch of towels and bathroom items on layaway, mostly because we had no where to store them until the move. We've ordered and received the living room curtains -- a cream with mauve watercolor flowers for the panels, and cream linen-like sheers. I know I've called the house the Plum Palace, but I'm not looking to go full purple here. Shades of purple are the main color scheme, along with pale greens, soft greys, and creams, with the occasional aubergine and royal purple thrown in. And magenta. And maybe some ox blood. And orange. Ha!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Last Saturday's Soap Class

The soap class went very well, with one minor slip-up -- the soap mold we were using decided to bust a seam and began leaking soap, so it had to be dumped back into the pot and a new mold used, which had problems as well, but we got it figured out and moved on from that disaster. We started early for a class, 9AM, which was a godsend since the day began heating up around 11. We were done by lunch and most of us went on a field trip down the street to the Blossom Trail Cafe for lunch. Now we're getting requests for more classes in soap making, incense making, and perfume making. I'm not doing anymore classes until I'm moved into my house. And then once I'm set up there, I'm going to create a portable perfumer's box so it's always at the ready and I don't have to scramble anymore to collect things -- I'm going to do the same with soap and incense. These will be used for classes and demonstrations only and restocked as they are used. Living out of a suitcase for the past 10 months has taught me that having what I need at hand will save me days (months in this case) of frustration and anxiety. Being separated from my art is having a profound effect on my mental health, so I'm now sure, with unwavering certainty, that I could never stop doing what I do or I just might go crazy -- er.

I didn't get pictures of the class because I was busy teaching it. There is a slideshow on FB via the Seasons of Spirit and Curio Apothecary page. It's short and sweet, like 15 seconds, and shows the participants and a little bit of the soap making process. Not the disaster, though. Perhaps in the future I will hire a photographer to take snaps while we're working and make a slideshow that includes all the mishaps, and then how they were corrected and post them to a FB page or website specific to the classes I teach. I think I just created more work for myself.

I've been working on the course curriculum for the past few weeks. I've rewritten a large portion, perhaps 80%, of the new International Perfume Foundation certified course, and nary a word on the new teacher's manual -- which looks like it might turn into a book. I am not saying I'm turning it into a book, just that there will be material in it that isn't in the course and that it will be -- crap, it'll be so much more work! I've got notes and research materials and sources and how-to information spread from one end of my desk (it's my bed, actually) to the other that have to be gathered daily and sorted through and put into a fat, bulging binder every night before I go to sleep. Then the next day, they all come out again, with additions, and I pick through it like a junker at a peddler's fair, trying to find something that will fit into a specific section's narrative.

Sometime last year or the year before I got a YouTube review for my Kyphi booklet. I remember the woman conducting the review said a little bit about how small the book was, but then expanded that commentary to include that it was, what she called, 'a can of tuna'. A can of tuna in relation to this review meant that my little booklet was packed full of information, no fluff, no airy fairy details, just 'meat'. That's what I'm working towards with this new course. The whole thing from beginning to end, including the teacher's manual, is going to be one big can of tuna.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Soap Making Day

Today is a soap making day. We'll be making it to 'serve' to our students on Saturday after making another batch of the same soap for demonstration. The scent formulation is fairly simple and straight forward -- petit grain sur fleur neroli is the main raw material, then there's orange oil, lemon oil, patchouli, and a wee bit of labdanum. We made the scent potion last week and it's been 'stewing' ever since. We're hoping to have a full house, upwards of 20 students, and instead of what I usually do, it's going to be a straight demonstration type class. Usually, I allow students to measure and mix, but with a class this size, it won't work out. People bump into each other, everyone wants a turn at the hand blender, plus I am required to provide aprons, gloves, goggles, and sometimes paper face masks. It's too much of an expenditure when I cut the price of the class as low as it is now. This area is a hard sale area -- I've charged anywhere from $40 to $65 everywhere else that I teach this soap class, but here, I'm lucky to get $20. It's not the fault of the good folks who live here, it's the fault of the local economy. You know something isn't right when you drive through town and a huge billboard (more than one, actually) proclaims: "50% of (blank) County is on Medicaid". I haven't quite figured out if the billboard's message is condemnation or praise of the current health care plan provided by the state, but one thing is for certain, if 50% of the residents of this county actually are on medicaid, then something's wrong with the economy here. Under these circumstances, it's a miracle anyone comes out to learn any kind of craft on a warm Saturday morning for more than $15 a person.

I am looking forward to it. These days I'm lucky to have some creative work besides writing to do. As some of you know, I'm rewriting the natural perfumery course at the Natural Perfume Academy where I teach, and it's turned out to be quite the challenge. For example, there is literally one topic left to complete before the edit, final edit, and addition of a full teacher's manual, slide shows, videos, and audio files to the course, and I'm at a standstill. I worked and worked and worked yesterday, poring through books and notebooks, writing and rewriting, researching online, doing everything I could to get this cohesive piece of work done, and I got nothing. What I wrote, I erased. I was confounded by lack of sleep, too much on my plate, and grandbabies busting in shouting, "Grandma!" every 10 minutes. I'm hoping to get back at it tomorrow with a clear head and new perspective. Working in the arts is a moody occupation -- you can be simultaneously depressed and tortured over the outcome, and at the same time feel intense exhilaration from the act of creating alone. A double-edged sword.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bama's Last Walk

A year ago last June my ex-husband was killed in a car accident. He was with his 12-year-old-daughter (not mine) on his way out of town to a classic car show in Carson City, Nevada, and he was driving his custom 1928 Ford Roadster that he built from the ground up. His Roadster was a convertible, had no seat belts, and, ironically, carried a custom made coffin in the truck bed. Both my ex and his daughter were thrown from the vehicle and landed in rush hour traffic on the 168/180 interchange. Fortunately his daughter survived the wreck with minor scrapes and bruising. My ex, however, sustained major head trauma from which he did not recover. There are a half dozen folks in the world right now carrying bits and pieces of him inside of them -- kidneys and corneas and who knows what else. A month after he passed, my son, one of two children I had with my ex, reluctantly handed over his father's dog, Bama. Bama was a foundling snatched from the streets, a little worse for the wear and happy as a clam that someone found him, got him out of the heat and put some food in his belly. Bama's always been an exhuberant guy. Always happy to see people, always there with a big toothy grin and a vigorously wiggly bum. He's a well-mannered young man. Fully house and leash trained, gentle with children, and adores kitties. Basically, the perfect dog. Today we are having him put to sleep.

Osteosarcoma is bone cancer that is common in larger breed dogs. Bama is a pit bull, robust, barrel chested, and long-legged with a healthy appetite and penchant for long evening walks, or as we like to call them, drags. He hasn't wanted to do those things so much lately. His appetite comes and goes. His love of getting harnessed up and out into the yard has diminished. He sleeps long hours and often doesn't move except to lap up water or ask to go outside for a wee. Last October we noticed Bama had a bit of a lump on his snout, halfway between his eye and the tip of his nose. We took him in and the vet diagnosed an abscess in his gums above his big teeth in the back of his jaw, and recommended having the tooth pulled to relieve the pressure, and then put Bama on a round of antibiotics. During the two-week recovery period we all noticed that the lump got larger. The vet put him on another round of antibiotics. Two weeks later the lump was four times as large. We sought the opinion of another vet, one who came highly recommended as a straight shooter. He shot us all straight through the heart when he said Bama had bone cancer and wouldn't survive for more than six months. He recommended we put him to sleep right then and there to spare him the pain of the tumors that would spread, if they hadn't already, to his lungs, liver, and throughout his bones, but we just couldn't do it yet. Over the past month Bama's health has diminished, just as the vet said it would, to the point that he isn't able to hold his bowels long enough to get outside, his feces are watery and mucousy, his mouth bleeds profusely, when he sleeps, his lungs make sounds like an old bellows. When we walk into the room he is in, he no longer raises his head to check who it is. He just lays there, thumping his tail on the floor, as if he's too exhausted to give a proper greeting. He still growls and barks when someone knocks on the front door, and I think that his doing that, as he always has, has given us a sense of false hope that he is okay. It takes a lot out of him to jump up and bark as he saunters to the front door. There are signs of false hope everywhere, signs that we interpret as it not being time just yet, like last night when I set down his food and his companion dog's food and Bama went to town eating both. He hadn't done that in weeks. In fact, he's never done that, not like that. He usually waits for Mary Jane, his dog friend, to eat a little off her plate before stealing the rest, but last night he just butted his way in and ate it.

Today is the day. Bama isn't himself. He's in pain. His body is failing him. At 10:45 we take him in for his last walk.

RIP Bama, 7-12-2017, 11:07 AM

Saturday, July 08, 2017

108 and No AC

It's predicted to be 108 degrees Fahrenheit today, and I woke early this morning, 5 am, to heat that I learned was the result of a broken AC unit. Great. It's the capacitor or the contactor. The outside compressor thingey clicks but doesn't come on. Of course, we'll probably have to wait for an HVAC "professional" to fix it, which could be hours, or could be days. Either way, it's 6:15 am now and 83 degrees Fahrenheit in the house and rising, and I know these people, it's going to one miserable damned day.


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Experiential Intuition

The past few days have been difficult, and not because of the hou -- oops! Forgot that I'm not going to talk about it anymore! I have been having a really hard time sleeping and moving around because I tore the cartilage on a lower rib reaching for, of all things, my little granddaughters 'baby', aka, stuffed pink teddy bear. In order to get baby, I reached over the hard wooden arm of a love seat and under the end table next to the love seat to reach baby and over extended in my haste to stop the screaming (baby! baby! baby!) and *crunch* that's all she wrote. It's six to 12 weeks of tenderness and pain and restless nights and not picking up heavy objects.

2010 Academy of Perfuming Arts Promotional Perfumery Kit

This down time has given me the opportunity to read through notes as I found the box in the garage with all of my old notebooks for perfumery going back to 2005 with all of my grand ideas about how perfumes are created, and I came to realize that nearly all of my work -- all of the good work -- has been the result of intuitively selecting raw materials and intuitively formulating them into perfumes. That word 'intuitively' is a loaded word, though. It means 'without conscious reasoning, or by instinct'. How can a first-time perfumer create something good using only their intuition? They can't.  In order for the work to be intuitive (?), there has to be a good, solid base of experience, which is counter to intuition. What I teach my students is that they have to study the raw materials, inside and out. That's the basis for becoming "intuitive" in natural perfumery. Knowing exactly which patchouli within the working palette will elevate a formulation over another patchouli, and knowing -- or at least having a very, very good idea -- how rose otto 5% dilution will behave in an accord of sandalwood 10% (Mysore) and a weak tincture of Siam benzoin. This is where intuition comes into play -- experiential intuition. This is intuition based on what you already know about the character and behavior of any given raw material within a composition, and it takes years to master.

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