Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2013 All Over Again

While perusing the blog earlier this morning, I found another post about moving from October of 2013 wherein I wrote that my 'spiritual advisor' told me that I would never live in Fresno again, and my initial reaction to reading that was, "Bullsh*t!", but then I checked myself. I'm not going to live in Fresno proper, I'm going to live in Clovis, an entirely different town nestled in the curve of Fresno's neck. My temporary home and my new permanent home are both in Clovis, each further east of Fresno, and the permanent home is halfway to Sanger, another town about 15 miles east of Fresno. So, as dubious as that prediction was back in 2013, it was technically correct. But, of course, I had grand ideas of moving further and further from my disreputable hometown, perhaps landing somewhere interesting and exotic. I suppose the universe knows what's best for me, and so chose the 'exotic' city of Clovis, CA as my landing spot, the land of ultra-conservatism and cowboys who've never wrangled a cow.

Random photo of The Scented Djinn soap inserted for your viewing pleasure


I woke in a sweat last night despite the near-freezing temperatures when I realized that where I'm going for the next six months has zero space for my projects. Once installed in the Plum Palace, the workspace will be a corridor of shelving in the front of the garage, which is what I had here, and it worked beautifully. Yay for being organized. I may have to carve out a small spot where I am headed for the interim, otherwise, I'm surely going to go bat sh*t crazy. I'm about 1/3rd of the way there now since I haven't had my hands on any creative work since November 5th. I am itching to get to work on some Christmas incense cones and sticks. And maybe a lovely frankincense and myrrh oil. Nothing will be ready for at least a week after I get set up, maybe around the 7th or 8th of December, so my holiday sales this year will be dismal, I'm sure. No worries. What I sell isn't one-time holiday type stuff anyway.

It's all becoming terribly real right now. This chapter is coming to an end, and the next chapter begins.




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Almost There

I completed packing the garage -- the entire garage -- by myself. I've discovered muscles where I didn't know I had any. In the garage, there is a pile of charity stuff (a loveseat, Christmas ornaments, baby clothes, adult clothes, shoes, books, household items) and a stack of packed boxes. There is also a stack of boxes in the dining room, living room, and my bedroom. It's like a maze inside the house. And yet, the realtor keeps bringing prospective buyers in. The house is upside down, the garbage cans are full, and there are heavy duty bags of trash in a queue waiting their turn in the bin -- it's a mess, and I don't see how a prospective buyer can make a decision with all the distractions. The landlord owns the house next door too, and that's been put up for sale as well. The tenants there just moved in around February and they were out within two weeks of being told the house was for sale. According to the realtor, they were none too pleased. We aren't either, but it's turned out to be a blessing for us as we're moving back where the family is, and we're buying a house, and the house just increased in value $10,000 over what we're paying, and there's work for me there. Our former neighbors were quiet people. Extremely quiet. Now there are workmen coming and going from the house next door, and today is wash-the-house-day as there's a guy out there with a pressure washer (extremely loud contraption) hosing down the walls. Yesterday was hammering day, the day before was landscaping day -- it's been non-stop racket since the neighbors vacated. And with all the noise coming from the not quite so empty house next door, the back neighbors' Maltese mop dogs won't stop barking at the 'threat'. It's almost as disconcerting as life in The Tower. Almost.

I didn't discover anything out of the ordinary while packing the shop. It's been too recent since I went through everything, that I'm pretty familiar with what I have. I did find a lot of old friends, though. Like the kilo of arnica root oil I've been hoarding. And the big jars of finished incense that I haven't put up for sale. There were some other things that I marveled over briefly, such as the multitude of bottles of patchouli. I have nine different patchouli oils, and somewhere in my mushy little mind, I still think that isn't enough patchouli! At any rate, it's done. The goods are packed and ready to go. But am I?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Persuaded

Today is the day. It's shop packing day. And it's raining, which lends the process more of a hermit's work than a chore. I have not been looking forward to packing the shop in even the tiniest of measures, but I know, as it always happens, that once I'm in the scents, the joy level will increase exponentially until I'm done, my elated heart abuzz.

Sorry for that. I watched Persuasion before bed last night. Ha! It's my absolute favorite Jane Austen book to film.

I very recently pulled everything out of the HP closet --well, a bit but not all -- and set up shop in the garage, so repacking won't be such a big deal. It's the other stuff around the shop that I need to pack that is going to be a hassle. Lyll's expensive blow-up oasis pool is lying in a heap, there are boxes of odds and ends, things from my mother's house, errant picture frames and motorcycle helmets. I've also cleaned out the chest freezer, so tonight's dinner will consist of fried cod, buttery broccoli, and a frozen strawberry mash over freshly fried, previously frozen beignets, all complements of the deeper depths of the chest freezer. I also have two big bags of mini guava whose fruity-floral scent is filling the house now that they've been liberated from the deep freeze. I'm re-freezing them and I think I want to distill them for hydrosol. I was going to use them in incense, but I've changed my mind. Distillation with guava is on the list.

I suppose I'd better get to the shop and begin. I left it for last because I felt it was the biggest job to tackle. The thought that once in there, once the picking and sniffing commence, I won't need too much persuasion to continue.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shop Closed Until Dec. 1, 2016

I've made the decision to shut down The Scented Djinn's Etsy Apothecary and Thurifercorum until this move is over. I'll reopen on December 1, 2016, possibly with a few new things to share. I feel like with the shop closed I can finish up packing more efficiently and get this move over. You can still chat with me here if you need anything.

So Over It

I'm feeling very frustrated right now. It literally seems like I've fallen down Alice's rabbit hole and things are not as they should be. I pack and pack and pack and sort, and the more I do it, the more I find to pack and sort! It's maddening! And to add insult AND injury to an already stressful time, the neighbor's dogs, just five feet from our sliding glass door, have been barking non-stop for four hours, and their puppies haven't stopped whining for that long either. I'm in knots right now with this packing and yapping stuff. I'm doing 99% of it alone, and it's really beginning to wear on me. I have until Friday the 25th to finish. So, I guess I'd better get at it.

Ta-ta!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Work That Mojo

I'm moving at a snail's pace these days. The weather changed to cool days and colder mornings. My hands feel frozen all the time. I pack and pack and pack, wipe off the sweat, stand up and see a house full of more crap to pack. With as much stuff as I have packed, and have left to pack, it still won't fill the new house we're building. Not even close. It will be years, perhaps even a decade before we get close to turning our new home into the eclectic and whimsical gallery/museum of our dreams. Hell, I could be dead by then.

We were going to rent a small apartment in Fresno until April or May when the house is projected to be done, but we changed plans and are moving in with our daughter and her family, into her wee haunted house where things DO go bump in the night and closed doors open by themselves, and door handles rattle at 3AM. Yeah, that should be fun. And I am unpacking NOTHING. Well, except my spiritual stuff, and the things I sell on Etsy. Everything else stays put unless it goes to the Farm to be worked on. There's a lot of work to be done on the Farm, so I'm sure those months in Hannah's Haunted Hootch will pass by quickly. Then it's off to the Plum Palace with our insufficient furnishings, two dogs, four cats, a wee child, and the exhaustion that comes at the end of a long journey.

I miss formulating! I have a notebook that I'm trying desperately not to lose in the mess of boxes and things pulled from cabinets and drawers, that I write down all the ideas I have for things to make and put up on Etsy. Wonderful things, a la Howard Carter. Well, maybe not quite THAT great! The incense book is on complete and total hold, though the rough draft sections that are fleshed out are decent, and all the notes and research and personal experience stuff are sitting in a folder ready to be put into the book. Again, this is a magic wand moment. I wish I could think the book into existence. We'd all be authors then, right?

Sales are up again since the election has come and gone. I think now the sales reflect retail therapy and perhaps a bit of celebration. The Scented Djinn Etsy shop is picking up new customers, which I love! I remember a time just a few years back that nearly all my sales were long-time customers who stocked up every two or three months. They kept me afloat during those rough, lean times when I was considering chucking this whole bag and moving to Alaska to make money fishing.

Like I said, I'm just itching to get back to working my mojo ~ ha!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Future Forward

I wish my magic wand had an autopack setting. I am just about sick and tired of it already. The house we're moving to during the interim while the new house is being built won't see a picture or a piece of art from my boxes because I absolutely refuse to unpack them. Any of them except those necessary for running my business. Basically, I won't see my personal stuff again until May, when it's being moved into the Plum Palace. Almost everything except my shop is well on its way into boxes and bags. I didn't realize how much stuff we have until I began pulling it all out of cabinets and drawers. I'm getting too old for this crap. It is my wish that once stationed in the Plum Palace, it is the last place that I live.

I started burning some of the incense created by the free class students. I'm quite impressed by them. I couldn't tell you who made what because I was a bit punch drunk from all the aromas in the air and didn't think to sort them out and label them. What fun we all had! It is reflected in these wee witches' hats of incense (aka cones). None seem to be self-combusting because the students added more resins than they should have. They burn great on the handy-dandy electric incense heater. Each cone on the burner with the heat turned at about 150 F will disperse scent for a couple of days. The things in my room, from my clothes to my art, are being infused with scent almost 24-7. None of the work the students did is bad. They all smell wonderful. Some more wonderful than others. I ran a free-for-all kind of class. Each student chose the ingredients for their incense after getting some very basic information about resins, woods, herbs, etc. The point, after some consideration, was changed from an attempt to get cheap labor to provide my shop with incense to a day of grinding incense in a mortar and pestle, and an electric spice grinder, and choosing elements for inclusion into their incense, and then working with the materials to get a feel for what they were doing. It was about experiencing what incense-making was all about. The next class will be the labor class. Since they all know what they're in for now, it should be easier to separate those who want to help from those making social calls. Even though the event was very social, full of energy and joy, I could tell a couple of the folks just weren't into the work. I hope by the next time around I'll have a new professional spice grinder and a few more mortars and pestles to make things move more smoothly. I had a blast, and so did everyone else, and though the event was scheduled from 12-4 pm, many of the participants stayed as late at 8:30! We're building a community out there at the farm. There's a store that is being prepared to open in an old 1950's something trailer (cute as heck!), and soon there will be a classroom building to keep us out of the elements while we're learning about incense and soap and perfume and herbs and medicinals and homemade vinegar, and setting up harvest days to wrap and package white sage bundles and other herbals. Great things are happening at Seasons of Spirit's farm.

We all need something to look forward to. Community and spiritual progress is the path I've chosen.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Incredibly Mesmerizing Up Close Look at Burning Incense (psst, turn up the volume)


Homeward Bound

I told'ja it was gonna be a sh*t show. And, boy howdy, is it ever. Gird your loins, boys and girls, because whether you were a 'winner' or a 'loser' in this year's US election, there's trouble brewing.

So, enough of that (for now). It's back to business, not as usual, but with renewed vigor and a whole lot of grace.

We went to Fresno to plunk down cash for the new house. The hubs signed his life away in a two-inch-thick ream of 8.5 x 14" legal paper with all the weird and wonderful details of our soon-to-be home. We've dubbed her The Plum Palace as decor inside and out looks to be leaning toward shades of periwinkle and violet, amethyst and orchid, mulberry and wine -- but I was warned that these colors were to be complementary and not primary -- in other words, no lilac sofas or royal purple ottomans, but throw pillows, patterned rugs, curtain sheers, and art can have shades of plum and eggplant all day long. Suits me just fine. There is such a thing as too much purple, but just barely. When we got to the builders' office, we were told that our house had just gone up in price by $10,000! But we were safe as we had signed for our home prior to the price hike and are paying the original agreed upon price quoted by the lender. We also discovered that our new neighborhood is full with a mixed bag of folks of every age, gender, marital status, race, and religion, and there are walking paths, wee parks with benches, and lots of room for the kids to romp around. I am so excited to be moving there! We've been planning the layout of the backyard for weeks now and have decided on putting together a pergola for climbing perfume plants (jasmines and honeysuckles) and a raised bed of herbs, with the entire back fence holding up tomato plants and cukes and squashes. I just can't wait to have space to grow and permission to do what I need to do for a change.

All of my incense gear is in Fresno with my friend Shannon. I left it all there after the incense class on the 5th because it just seemed silly to drag it all back only to return it to Fresno once again. There won't be any new incense until mid-December, which may be too late for the holidays. I am currently running a 25% off coupon at The Scented Djinn's Etsy apothecary -- the details are 25% off of orders over $10 using coupon code HOMEWARDBOUND. The coupon is good until November 17th, then I won't be doing any more discounts until the new year. This would be a good time to stock up for the holidays if you're so inclined. There is a lot of great stuff in the shop at the moment, lots of well-aged incense, some really pretty scented incense, some luscious perfumes, body oils, and soaps. I normally don't accept international orders as shipping just kicks me in the teeth every time, but if you're out of the USA and are interested in purchasing a few things, with the coupon code in place, I'd be happy to make special arrangements for you. Contact me at my Etsy shop and we'll get it going.

That's something else I wanted to share with you all -- after the first of the year, I will be shipping internationally those products which don't cause a ruckus with customs (soap, body oil, incense), but restrictions of alcohol-based perfume remain in place and I cannot ship those out of the US.

There's been very little creative activity going on lately, just a lot of packing and sorting and planning moving sales and trips to the dump. I have started that new book on incense making, and I fiddle with it every so often, when an idea or thought I can't let go pops up and I want to save the nugget for expansion later on down the road when I have time to work on it.  I have been reading a lot more than usual. I guess that's what happens when the creativity is stunted -- I fill my head with words.

Anyway, that's it for now I guess. I miss sharing the creative ideas with you -- and more than that, I miss being creative!

Be nice to one another. xo

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Politics and Incense

Sales have been super slow this past week, and I was sitting here scratching my head wondering why, and then I realized it's because of the impending election! Yeah, people are scared. No matter who wins, it's going to be a sh*t show. People are straight up losing their minds over this election in a way I've never seen before. The amount of vitriol -- it's way beyond what has ever happened in the past.

Years ago I used to put presidential bumper stickers on my car, or bumper stickers opposing the person I didn't like having as president. On more than one occasion I would park my car in a public parking lot at a shopping mall only to return to my car to find a message on my windshield (once the message was written with a crayon) about how I was a child molester and pedophile because of my bumper stickers. Another time my son and I were nearly run off the road by another driver who didn't like my bumper stickers. So that was the end of bumper stickers for me! My life and the lives of my children weren't worth having an opinion misconstrued by someone with poor impulse control. I mean, never once in my entire life have I ever thought to oppose someone's bumper sticker by actually writing nasty notes or yelling from a car window while speeding down the road. I have a definite live-and-let-live kind of attitude until you actually step into my space and become a problem. I guess in light of what's going on, I'm pretty naive. I actually believe I have rights to have an opinion without the threat of violence. Never did I imagine that what I experienced years ago would be elevated to where it is today. Never did I think that those anomalies would become the norm.
But, here we are.

I received a box of delicious incenses from various incenseurs around the world in a swap yesterday. I began with an aged Kyphi on the heater at bedtime and it smelled like heaven! It was juicy and sweet, like peaches and amber. I've never smelled Kyphi like this! Before it burned away entirely, I replaced it with a piece of Malaysian white benzoin resin, which melted into a puddle and emitted the most beautiful sweet, almost floral, slightly vanilla scent. This box will take me months to get through as there is a lot of stuff in it. I will keep you posted -- in the meantime, try to be nice to one another.




Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Money, Get Away, Get a Good Job With More Pay and You're O.K.

I had the grandkids over for the weekend, not all of them, just two, so I got zero packing done while they were here, and, in fact, ended up repacking a donation box because the smaller of the two is a land-dwelling octopus who is into everything. Monday morning I drove them back over for Halloween trick-or-treating, with the intention of just staying until the next morning so I could get some errands done (like procuring a home for the next six months), and I ended up running all over town getting money orders and giving jump starts and picking up kids from school and looking at rentals, and didn't make it home until nearly midnight. Driving in Fresno is insane. A far cry from the way driving is over here. On the main streets here, everything is posted at 25mph, and it still takes about 10 minutes from my house to the bank and back. Or my house and pretty much anywhere and back if the stop is just to grab something quick and head back home. In Fresno, not so easy. The two mile trip to the bank from where I was staying took almost 30 minutes, the drive back was almost the same amount of time, just a tad faster. Driving over to give my son a jump start on his truck, roughly 2.5 miles, took 35 minutes to get there and then -- well, you get the picture. Traffic in Fresno compared to A-Town is beyond the scope of comprehension. I spent the majority of my day in the car going from one place to another in bumper to bumper traffic running errands that had I been on Atascadero's roads would have taken maybe an hour. That traffic is going to take some getting used to. Hopefully, if the house deal goes through, we'll be on the very edge of town and won't need to venture too far in to get things done.

I'm just now gathering up stuff for the free class this weekend, and in the middle of it decided I'm taking it all. I'm indecisive on what kinds of incense to make, so I thought I'd choose a few and then do a class made batch or two where we all kind of put our heads together and choose the elements. I'm hoping that within the chaos of this move and all the anxiety it's bringing to the fore (not entirely mine, either) that this class serves as a balm. Great things are happening business-wise and I feel like I've finally hit my stride. I don't want to lose that momentum or enthusiasm because of a relocation. I just refuse to fall into that pit again. I could have been where I am now a long time ago if I had been stronger and understood that I'm important too. What I do is important, even if it's only important to me. The fact that no one in my immediate family respects or understands what I do no longer shadows my work. I don't care what they think. It's working for me, I'm paying bills, saving money (because that's all they care about, the $$$), and working in a very spiritual and creative way. I love it. Perhaps what they are really feeling is jealousy. Know thyself, right? I know me. This is me. And this is me releasing energy, fulfilling my creativity, lifting my spirit, and making the all important cash. I say that last bit with a smidge of bitterness. Don't get me wrong, I love cash, but for me, cash is just a means to an end and not the goal itself. Cash means I can continue. Cash means kilos of resins and herbs and oils that I can then turn into something beautiful. Cash means I can keep a roof over my head, food on my table, and socks on my feet WHILE I create the things I love best. Continuation of the creation is the goal. And hot soup.

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