Monday, September 30, 2013

Moving, Moving, Moving . . .

The kid moved out this past weekend, taking herself and the wee one with her. It was a lonely sleep last night, however uneventful. Oddly, I feel a lot less emotional about it than I thought I would, and I've had plenty of time to sit and stew in my misery, but that deep level of misery has yet to arrive, if it ever plans to appear at all. I think looking to the future

and knowing that life is a series of phases and we are expected to move from one to the next, whether it be fluid or not. Accepting change has been a breakthrough for me in terms of emotional attachment. Everything changes, daily, by the minute or second, creating huge alterations or barely noticeable ones, and our ability to accept the changes mean all the difference in our mental state.

I have no sofa, no dining table, no sittin' chairs, two completely empty rooms, and wide expanses of wood floor in desperate need of cleaning. I do have a ratty recliner, a lamp table, books, a bed, a roof, and hope. Still no action in the studio. This week I have to get a roll of paper to wrap each bottle, each artifact, every piece of the 'collection' as it is all glass and fragile as eggshell. During the last move two years ago the collection suffered the unfortunate loss

 of several beautiful pieces of antique lab glassware attributed to poor packing. I have only two weeks and one day to get this show on the road and I feel like I'm really lagging. It's sad, moving. Leaving behind people and things that inspire memories, but at the same time exciting and a little scary.

I've been burning a LOT of incense and sage. I also have a specially made house wash that both cleans and invites good vibration into the home that I will be using closer toward the end of my stay here. It's important to me that I leave no trace of our stay here, leaving the new tenant with a clean slate to work with.

I'm having issues with fall allergies, as I usually do, and I do miss, even for this short period of time, the idea that I'm not going to be working with the perfumery materials for a while -- even though I technically can't smell anything. My plan when I arrive at the new place is to hit the ground running. Soap is in order. Fall isn't fall without multiple batches of soap getting done up. I would normally have made 50 or so pounds of soap this time of year to fulfill the craft show circuit but I don't do those anymore. I will be making lots of soap anyway. Pumpkin spice, nutmeg and cardamom with patchouli, lavender patchouli clove, frankincense and myrrh, a few 'witchy' soaps for purpose, and whatever else I can whip up to satisfy my hunger to create. Then it's the foody stuff -- or perhaps in conjunction with soap -- I plan working on. I've got a cookbook to put together and I'm really looking forward to it.

So this is where things stand for the time being. I feel almost like I'm in a holding position even though I am making some advances. Hurry up and wait.

You have a great day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Time is Nigh

Three weeks. Just three more weeks before I've seen the last of this place. I still have moments of great apprehension, to the point I was offered Xanax to help calm me down. Why am I so fretful over this move? It's not the move itself. Moving is just packing boxes, loading boxes and furniture, and rolling to another place. It's the 'other place' I'm so nervous about. I know this is supposed to be a good move for me, I know this, yet I still feel like I'm being flung out into the universe without a lead, untethered, without responsibility. Maybe that's what it is. I'm giving up the last little crumb of responsibility I had here, the final thread is being severed. I think perhaps I've existed to serve others for so long that I don't know what to do when there are no 'others' to serve.

The house is nearly packed, but the studio is still completely intact. It's strange to walk through the house with bare walls, packed boxes in a corner, all traces of personality erased, then walk into the studio which looks cozy and well-loved. The kid is moving first, so perhaps this is what it will look like for a while -- a live room surrounded by a group of dead, empty rooms.

I think I think too much.

What I would love to do, once established, is open a small shop -- a thurifercorium, an incense shop, and hold smelling sessions with a small back room dedicated to perfumery and perfume formulation, and a wee soapery. Imagine cozying up on plush Moroccan settees with the scent of rare and exotic resins curling into the air, the warm glow of beeswax candles, the sweet iron bite of honied black tea, and the promise of fragrant alluring edibles ~ neroli cookies, patchouli goat cheese with dried plums, toasted pecans and sea salt, rose scones ~ and while away the day in aromatic bliss.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Kyphi & Frankincense

After all that weirdness from yesterday, the oncoming panic attack, the growing mess here with boxes and packing peanuts and shredded paper, and a very unexpected invasion of houseflies, I was able to calm down with a little help from a big bowl of pho, a bloody Mary, and some persistent burning of frankincense and Red Kyphi. It's all good now.

I'm loading up some things tonight and taking them over to the newish house. I'm going to spend some time near the sea to kind of decompress from this whatever it is. Then it's back to the grindstone Monday AM to train a few people in what I do so I can leave a feeble legacy of sorts. Honestly, I have no guilt whatsoever about any of this. I will miss, however. I will miss very, very much.

Next week also brings more packing, and I'm going to focus on the studio now that the garage/shed is nearly done. Most of what was in the garage/shed was trashed anyway, having already been scattered and sorted by the zombies who do such things. We put some clean, nicely folded, though somewhat storage-musty, sleeping bags and blankets out near the dumpster and they were gone the next morning. The zombies come in fits and stops -- two at a time, a single, a small group, some with rattling shopping carts, others with wagons, a few with backpacks on bicycles, all taking their turn at what treasure they might find in the trash, and this goes on through the night so that by morning the dumpster is half empty, and trash is lying about outside of the dumpster (that part ticks me off). I think the gardeners here clean it up, but what a pain in the ass when the tenants here definitely store their trash inside the dumpsters. No shame in dumpster diving unless you make a mess of things.

I feel like I missed the harvest moon, but I had to do what I had to do to get myself back to rights -- soup, a little alcohol, some incense, a good book, and an early night. That could pass as a mini-celebration. 

I'm planning to leave this house with all sorts of good mojo. I've put together a few things, procured a few things, and will be implementing them into the final clean-up here. No negativity shall enter. I just feel like my spirit needs this to move on. I have no bad feelings about my space here, but I can't say the same for the entire upstairs. Bad mojo up there. Maybe some of what I do down here will float up to them.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Perfume Stuff

It's that time again, as it happens twice a year, once in March and again in September, The Natural Perfume Academy begins another six-month natural perfumery intensive course, where I teach, tutor, instruct, and encourage students from all over the world in the art of natural perfume making. Yes, it's an art. And a science. And a source of joy and frustration, not always in equal proportions.

Unlike some courses, we do not offer a starter kit or a book. We used to but the logistics of getting dozens of books and kits ready became overwhelming so we pared down the price of the course to reflect the changes and now offer lists of materials to obtain during the first month and a half of the course. The course materials which are mandatory are the basic essences for formulation and a few perfumery tools (bottles, droppers, etc.) During the first unit we include an optional kyphi making tutorial for students interested in creating perfume through smoke, the original par fum ~ incense. Those materials are also purchased separately with the Academy providing source lists to procure them.

We walk our students through each step, from learning about the rich history of perfume making all the way  to the student's final perfume creation, with all sorts of activities and lessons in between that help move the student perfumer toward their goal.

What I like to tell my students upon introduction to the course is 'you get what you put in', but I elaborate on that statement so it's more interesting and descriptive. But in a nutshell. I suppose it's true of everything, we just need to be reminded once in a while.

About the move . . .

. . . I am really FREAKING out! I'm having a hard time sleeping, I'm fretting over the logistics, I have no sounding board (but you), and I'm really and truly losing it. The kid is flaking big time and it looks like I may be paying the rent from October 1 through October 15 on my own instead of the 50/50 split as normal. Plus the electric/gas is in the kid's name, so that will probably be shut off on the 1st, which means I can sleep here in the cold dark gloom every night, but I won't be able to bathe, cook, or clean -- and cleaning is what I am really pulling out my hair over. There's a time frame here in which things should be done, and I'm on it, but the kid is -- as I said before -- flaking big time -- she's never home after I get off work to help, and packing never happens during the day as her excuse is 'I didn't know what you wanted me to do'. Cleaning up a bit would be nice. Stop making messes would be nice. Stop lollygagging would be nice! Collect some boxes, empty drawers, cabinets, cupboards, closets -- look at what you got and made decisions, like keep it, sell it, give it away, or throw it away. How hard is that? Oh yes, I forgot, it interferes with texting and Netflix and the Kardashians -- what was I thinking?!

I need a vacation already. Some Big Sur time with my butt in the Adirondak chair and my feet in the creek and the wind whispering through the redwoods.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The First Load

Or perhaps the second, the first load of my things that left the house were holiday ornaments and decorations that clearly won't be used here, and a few porch plants. But yet this load that left off this morning felt like the first. It contained relevance. Things I love. We're doing the move in bits and pieces so the final haul won't be overwhelming. That will be the furniture, of which I have little anymore. A bed, three dressers, my blending bench and mini fridge, the antique garden furniture, an antique hutch, the computer stand, and two rickety free standing wooden shelves. I'm going through everything in the studio with a fine-tooth comb, taking nothing that I know is not useful to formulation, or is not a part of a distinct collection of perfume ephemera. The rest? Well, to be sold, traded, or given away. I'm taking no linens, they go with the kid, less than half my kitchen stuff, no couch, dining table, chairs, recliner -- all with the kid. She got her own place in the old neighborhood, for which she's been pining these last two years. For all her efforts, she never fully became the 'Tower rat' she claimed to be all those years ago when I had my store down here.

Why is moving so dirty? I keep a clean house, yet going through things, tossing them in this box or that, it's dirty! There's dust on everything, and I just dusted. The person carting off my things this morning said, "Make sure the stuff you pack is clean," as if I'd intentionally sully the goods before packing to annoy him. People.

My biggest worry, however, is the condition I'm leaving this old house. It's just a worry and there's no basis for it. It's as gorgeous today as it was the day I moved in nearly two years ago. I suppose it's a reflection of how I feel toward the woman on the flying bicycle who takes my rent checks. She's just so condescending and negative, and I keep hearing the imagined critical narrative she'll spew during the final walk-through. I won't be here to witness it as I will be off in my other place, but I grit my teeth with the thought of it. Perhaps she'll refrain from speaking and pull a 'The Devil Wears Prada' move and simply purse her lips and flare her nostrils. Who knows? But you see how I torture myself.

I hope the recovery time from the move is brief so I can get started on creating again. I'm wanting to desperately now because I'm so stressed and the art pulls me out of that. I'm so desperate to 'do' something creative that I actually picked green olives on mom's farm and am brining them in a jar now. Not quite my normal stress release, but it's something.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Petit Grain Sur Fleur Neroli Shortbread Cookies

This morning I'm whipping up a wee batch of petit grain sur fleur neroli shortbread cookies for one of my wee ones. While that is baking up in the oven, I'll be whipping up a batch of rose or jasmine mallows as well. It's going to be a sweet, sweet day!
Petit Grain Sur Fleur Neroli natural flavoring extract in vegetable glycerin.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

This morning the air is crisp, cool, and, dare I say it? Fall like? The summer hasn't been particularly brutal, no more so than it ever is here in the central valley, but I'm so tired of it. I think about how horrible it will be when it arrives, and I begin to think about it in November! At the beginning of winter, I'm freaking out about how miserable it is during summer instead of enjoying the weather I have at the moment. Another reason I enjoy the cooler weather is because it heralds the beginning of body butter season. Yes, there is a season for natural body butter-making. I keep thinking that perhaps this year I will focus on creating two fabulous butters, only two. A gorgeous woody santal and patchouli and cedar and frankincense and myrrh and carrot seed and a touch of jasmine butter, and a floral bomb of a butter, ylang-ylang, jasmines, roses, gardenia, lemon, bergamot, 'violet' -- something -- something super floral and gorgeous. And then that will be it for butters because trying to create a multitude of different scents, I've found out about myself, makes for a multitude of mediocre butters. And I may offer custom butter formulations as well, but we shall see how the season unfolds.

I've done a fair bit of poking about the 'net the past few nights between first sleep and second sleep, and found (probably through Facebook) a few cool 'things' that inspire. The first one is this:

Custom laser cut soap stamps -- your logo, your motto, your symbol, your thumbprint -- whatever you want to have as your mark, you can get it done here fairly inexpensively. At the moment I'm using a frog stamp, which, I've been told by my Portuguese speaking friends, is appropriate since my yahoo user name is sapobubbles and sapo in Portuguese is toad. So ~ toad bubbles. Uh-huh. Besides, I love amphibians. Have I made enough excuses for using a frog stamp on my soaps yet? Ok? Moving along.

Next is this, Kathy Baker's homegrown business, Farmer Kathy's.

Farmer Kathy's is right here in Fresno, and it just makes me happy to see something wonderful coming out of Fresno. And if you happen to live in one of the states that supports the home bakery/food business, then it's good news for you if you're handy with a whisk and a mixing bowl and need to make a few bucks to fill in the fiscal gaps.

My collaboration partner has given the thumbs up on the head notes formulation, so I will be moving on to the heart notes now. I really should be packing, but . . .


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