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!

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