Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

My log has something to say. Not now.
Why don't you ask my log what it saw?

Fine then, why don't we ask the waiter from the Meaning of Life?
 And the usual twelve crates of brown ale? Pate, little quails eggs, and jugged hare all mixed up in a bucket? But of course.
 And finally, a wafer thin mint.
That's sixteen dollars worth of fake vomit in that bucket. And wafer thin mints. The log was cheap. I already had all the clothes for the Log Lady, which is funny, and a little bit frightening. Red glasses would have been better, but these are all I had.

It is now 7:30 and we've only had one trick or treater. I'm bummed.

The opera was fun-we survived! I guess I'll have to eat all this candy by myself. Maybe not the wafers.
 My log said to, "bugger off"
Well my bucket says "that's a damn fine log you have there."

Happy Halloween!
Would someone please come knock on our door and get this candy out of here?

Four Hours of Opera Won't Kill You


I'll be at Filmstreams today enduring Tannhauser on the Met simulcast. I knew what I was getting into, but Mr. ETB called me before ordering the tickets to make sure I knew just how long it was.
"The Ring would be worse." I consoled him.
"There's naked ladies in it."
"They're nymphs."
"Whatever. If it gets really boring I can go hide in the lobby and read something on my Kindle."

He's all too familiar with the opera having worked on the crew of an opera company out west when he was a university student. I suppose the opera goes quicker when you're moving sets and hanging lights.

Danny enjoys opera. I'm sure he's channeling my dad or something because that was the only thing in life that brought him any enjoyment.  He'd be pleased to know his financial contributions to the Met live on (if you Google his name, that's the first thing that comes up) and I'm sure he'd be thrilled that finally someone in the family appreciates opera. I absolutely hated it, but I listened on the radio every Saturday during the season (usually trapped in the back seat of the Mercury on some pointless drive to Wisconsin because the stereo in the car was better than the one at home) and whether I liked it or not, I learned something. I vowed not to force music appreciation on my child, but in a cruel twist, he's gone off and discovered it by himself. Earlier in the week we went to the Hauntcert and I quietly sat through Pictures at an Exhibition silently chastising myself for not checking ahead to see what they'd be performing. I don't know why I hate it so much, but I do. It is mercifully short, but I'd take four hours of Wagner over it any day.

As I'm now the music teacher, I'm finding it difficult to get terribly excited about music appreciation-because I don't really have an appreciation for it. I listen to news on the radio, and rarely put on a record or CD for enjoyment. The last CD I bought was an old, live Iggy Pop performance. You don't need a music appreciation course for I Want to Be Your Dog. I mean, Karl Haas never covered the Stooges on Adventures in Good Music.

Anyway, I'm fully prepared to sleep through the second and third acts before heading home to answer the doorbell for the Trick or Treaters. I'm pleased that Danny has found something in the arts that interests him without us having imposed it. I'm thankful it isn't sports, or stamp collecting, or D and
D because I would know even less about those than I do opera. I understand there is a Tannhauser game, though I haven't personally run across it.

If I survive this, the rest of the season looks interesting. I know Danny will want to see The Magic Flute, and Turandot. We'll see about Madam Butterfly.

I hope your Halloween is delightfully frightful and if you're lucky doesn't include four hours of singing about a knight that misses his pilgrimage because he's in a cave fornicating. Unless of course you enjoy that sort of thing...


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Autumnal Hues

I joked with Danny that this jacket makes me feel like a Quality Street. I have a copper coloured skirt in a similar material but, I thought better of it and offset the look with a matte skirt. A little shimmer is nice, but easy to over-do.

I put fleeces over the garden beds last night, and though we came close, the promised frost never did matetrialise. We have the same forecast tonight, so I'll do the routine again, but so far we've had an unseasonably warm autumn. I still have nasturtiums blooming.

We stopped at the Friends of the Library book sale today, and dropped off some of the homemade Twix biscuits. Everyone was commenting how tall Danny has grown, and that they've known him since he was an infant.
"You're like family" I told the volunteers, "But better. We don't actually like my family."

 Outfit Particulars:
Lurex polo neck-K Mart\
Laura Ashley rayon jacket-Goodwill
Metallic and wool shawl-Goodwill
Skirt-can't remember, had it for decades
Earrings-Thrift World
Xeja bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Handbag-Thrift World
Shoes-K Mart
Fragrance-Original Burberry for women (from the 90's)
Lippy-Revlon Spicy Cinnamon
Nan-tights by Leggs

The squirrels have been trying to raid the birdfeeders as the weather is changing and they're starting to panic. I bought a "squirrel-proof feeder" that slides up a door to block the seed when anything heavier than a bird sits on it. Blondin has been giving me the evil eye, but I couldn't be cleaning up spilled seed every day. Not to worry, he still gets his ration, but I had to stop him (and his friends) from their bad behaviour.

The first Dark Eyed Juncos have arrived. They won't eat from the feeders preferring instead to take the seed that has fallen to the ground-if the squirrels don't get it first.

Been a strange week-I'll be glad when Friday comes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Homemade and Haunted

 It turned out the Tunnock's Tea Cakes were unsuitable for people with nut allergies. That was a bummer, so I made Danny some homemade ones. Obviously, they're not Tunnock's...they're Margruder's.
 I improvised a half-assed version of a box too.  Could have been neater.
 These were easy to do. Using sillicone moulds, I brushed them with chocolate, and when solid, I carefully removed them, and filled the interior with marshmallow fluff. I then affixed it to a shortbread that I cut with a glass to get just the right size. I piped them sealed with more melted chocolate, and that was that.
Not exactly the same, but good enough. I also made some homemade Twix bars with the same shortbread cut into logs and topped with caramel and chocolate. Those took all day to make (because I had to make the caramel) but it was worth it. Nut allergies are a drag, but it really is possible to make "faux" versions of popular junk food at home. I have my priorities (and they don't include laundry, mopping the floors, or dusting).

Now, for the Haunted part...
 Every year, the physics department at Creighton University puts on the Haunted Physics Lab.
 There's a couple dozen stations to show various laws of physics at work.
 The exhibits don't change much year to year, but we love going anyway.
 There's plenty to do, scary music, black lights, and graduate students you can stump with your questions.
 Whoa, I just lit that bulb up by waving it past that thing. Cool, man.
 Scary holograms
 Optical illusions

 Even in the Haunted Lab.
 Reading the posters in the physics department will instantly make you feel like an idiot. Are there really people that understand that shit?
 The science building is quite beautiful...
...But don't stare up too long or you'll get dizzy (and it hurts my neck!).

I can't wait until Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ghost Turds and Peacock Prints

 I was in Iowa yesterday, and I couldn't resist stopping to admire the Halloween cakes on offer at Hy-Vee
 This cake looks how I feel! I hear you Mr Cake Monster I do indeed. Seeing all these ways to incorporate the hole from a tube pan into cake design has given me all sorts of ideas. All sorts of ideas. Let's not go there.
 I think these are angel food beneath the frosting. I could see bringing one to a party, they're rather cute...

...except for this one. It looks like a ghost took a shit.

That's a giant chocolate chip cookie decorated with...well, not skill anyway. If Danny didn't have allergies i'd have brought it home. "Look everyone, I bought a giant cookie with a ghost turd on it!" How festive is that?

Can you believe it is nearly Halloween and I haven't baked anything other than a few apple dumplings? Perhaps I can manage some sort of ghost excrement to bring to the library group on Thursday. I see marshmallow fluff on the shopping list.

 It was so sunny, taking outdoor photos was nearly impossible. Still, I won't complain because every sunny day at this time of year is a bonus. We could have three feet of snow by now.

 Outfit Particulars:

Jeans and shirt both K Mart
Shoes-K Mart
Bow tie-Nobbies
New waist carrier for emergency meds-Sheels Sports (best $25.00 I've spent in a while)

Black/silver blouse-K Mart
Black pinafore dress-Thrift World
"Sleeveless Jacket" (that's what people call them now. I laughed too) New Life Thrift
Grey tights-Walgreens
Dalmation print shoulder bag-I can't remember. Somewhere in Boston in the early 90's.
Silver Mexican bracelet-Goodwill
Silver link belt-had it since high school
Earrings-K Mart
Silver Celtic brooch-antique store in Massachusetts
Lippy-Revlon Jungle Peach (a 60's re-issue that should have stayed in the 60's)

"Did somebody say "Ghost Turds?"
No, I said, "Peacocks"

This is one of those dresses that's prettier in person. The colours are richer than the photo would lead you to believe. It has tiny, cap sleeves which I hate (doesn't everyone?) but a cardigan or jacket solves that issue easily. I will always gravitate to a peacock print, or the feathers themselves. 

I dream about peacock-patterned wallpaper. Someday. 
Outfit Particulars:
Peacock print Chadwick's dress-Goodwill
Enamel leaf pin-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage rhinestone earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Bakelite bangle-Goodwill
Tapestry Maddy Bag-Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart
Nan Tights-K Mart
Lippy-Estee Lauder Maple Sugar
Fragrance-A little of everything the enthusiastic sales assistant sprayed on me today at L'Occitaine (the Vetiver was really nice for $58.00)
Hair Products-Prell, and VO5, baby. 
Pose like Olive Oyl! Where's Popeye when you need him?

 Well, I gotta go make a ghost turd bake a cake for dessert.

Whew! We got through Monday. Onward!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Guerlain Chamade-Review

I don't know what the hell is going on with Chamade. I've owned bottles of it over the years, got sick of it, gave it away, and then simply had to have it again. It isn't even a love/hate relationship-I just like smelling it now and then. I can look at the note pyramid and acknowledge the great stuff in it, but overall? I'm conflicted on this one. Perhaps not one of Guerlain's greats, but it does evoke its era (launched in 1969) rather well.

I have a rocky relationship with hyacinths. My next door neighbour has them in his front garden, and each spring they are first through the earth before the daffodils and tulips. Sitting outside on a warm spring evening, the fragrance is...gag inducing. There, I said it. The sun warms that side of the house all day and late afternoon in effect heating the petals like a scented oil diffuser. The pink and purple hyacinths float on each breeze landing smack dab at my front door. They smell like retro bathroom cleaner. Perhaps the only flower whose smell I dislike more is the paperwhite. That's not to say there haven't been hyacinth perfumes I like (The Vera Wang one is quite nice)-but the real thing, growing in the ground? Oh god no. I don't care how pretty they are. I should note that Acqua di Gio is loaded with hyacinth and I can't be in the same room with it. Danny calls it the winner of the "Reek-O Lifetime Achievement Award". Don't you wish such an award really existed? Anyway, if you have issues with hyacinths, be warned.

I recently wore Chamade for a week straight to see if I could get a better understanding of what it is trying to communicate. Essentially, Chamade's message is, "I'm trying to kill you, but I brought you flowers." This is the perfumer's version of chemical warfare-the suffocating aldehyde bomb.

Have you ever smelled something in nature that smelled so artificial you couldn't reconcile your nose and brain's reactions? Hyacinths do that to me every time, but to a lesser degree, lilacs do as well. My aunt and uncle had a beautiful, overgrown lilac that would go mad each spring with clusters of flowers hanging over the patio behind the house. For a couple weeks each spring, their backyard would smell like a cross between a funeral parlour and a laboratory. Once, on an unseasonably warm spring day my auntie set up an inflatable pool for me to splash about in, directly beneath the demonic overgrown bush. Then, they left me there, alone with it, ghastly purple tentacles reaching out to devour me. They went to have tea or something. Anyway, by the time they got back I was still sitting there frozen with fear and the odour of  what I imagined every bad B movie I'd ever watched on a Saturday afternoon in my then young life would smell like in person. Then, to my dismay, my auntie cut arms full to send my mother home with, as they were her favourite flower. I got to smell them filling the kitchen for the following week, mingling with cheap coffee and boiled meat.

The first fifteen minutes of Chamade are intensely unpleasant. I'm not going to lie-the urge to scrub it is so strong it takes determination to get past the hyacinths, aldehydes, and bergamot. You might wonder if it has started to turn, as the sting of a lanolin-based nail varnish remover makes itself known. That's just Chamade's way of saying, "Hi! I'm Chamade and I'm here to kill you. I brought you some galbanum to asphyxiate you first."

Galbanum-done right it can be so beautifully green and bright. Done less carefully, and you'll think you just ate a bowl of raw sorrel leaves and barfed them out so hard a few went out your nose. Chamade's galbanum is somewhere in-between, and it changes as the scent moves through the hours, and other notes. It isn't the worst thing in Chamade by a long-shot, but it is definitely there, and trying to projectile vomit out your nose.

Chamade is sort of a Jack of all Trades...and a master of none. There's so much innovative perfumery happening that it gets disorienting. By the time Chamade gets to the beautiful base notes of amber, vetiver, sandalwood and incense, my nose is being severely challenged. I encourage you to stick with Chamade because once you do get there, the middle notes and base are absolutely gorgeous. There's a bit of rose trying to get through, but I really had to make an effort to catch it, and it is quite fleeting. Vanilla and tolu balsam give it all depth and warmth and when you're sure it is just a disorganised mess that won't work, something happens and Chamade shocks you with the most beautiful, modern sort of perfume composition. Unfortunately, it takes a good hour to get there and you have to live through the aldehydes, hyacinths, and lilacs first. Chamade is one fragrance where Id be happy if my sample got old, and lost the top notes,  it would be a better perfume without them.

Notes: Hyacinth, galbanum, aldehydes, rose, jasmine, tolu balsam, benzoin, cloves, lilac, lily of the valley, peru balsam, vanilla, bergamot, vetiver, amber, and sandalwood.

I'm certain this won't be my last encounter with Chamade as I tend to have a short memory and distrust of my nose. So long as I can get hold of decants I will keep trying it from time to time, unable to accept my dislike of a fragrance so adored by others, but I won't be convinced. I'll be reminded, give it a rest, and try again hoping that something will click in my brain and make Chamade shine for me.

My decant is the modern formulation which smells to my nose the same as it always did. At least it isn't a reformulation horror story, which will be appreciated by the people who adore Chamade. I'm just not one of them.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Emma Domb-My Day as a Piece of Wedgewood

When I purchased this Emma Domb dress for $1.69 at New Life Thrift, I was certain it was cheap 80's tat. The polyester crepe material, the silly side-fastening buttons at the neck-it all screamed, "junk." Still, enchanted by the colours and the prospect of dressing as a piece of Wedgewood, I bought it anyway. I'm pleased to report I was wrong-this dress is from the 70's, and they command rather good prices online. I wouldn't pay real money for a dress like this, but I think I got my money's worth.
The dress is quite sheer, but as luck would have it, I own a full-slip in the exact shade of blue.
"Hubba-Hubba, Ding-Ding, Mama she's got EVERYTHING! Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to stare. Can you go get me a biscuit when you're through pulling up your dress to show off your unmentionables? Thanks."

 I was asked by a woman my age if I was going to a wedding. I can kind of see this dress being appropriate wedding guest attire, but not with a mohair cardigan.
"Is she still going on about the dress?! Lady, I'm starving here." *taps on window*

 Outfit Particulars:
Emma Domb polyester crepe dress-New Life Thrift
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
Hand knit mohair(ish) cardigan-Goodwill
Earrings and bracelet set-Antique store in Wisconsin 20 years ago
Brooch-Had it since college, can't remember where I bought it
Rhinestone ring-K Mart
Lippy-Revlon Snowy Peach
Fragrance-L'Heure Bleue
Vintage French handbag-Goodwill

 Yep-the Christmas displays are already out. This was at Earl May garden centre.

This was the first day I've been out in a week since hurting my neck (which has now traveled down my arm and into my back). Thanks everyone for your well wishes when I was having a bit of a crabby pout. I'm a terrible patient when these things happen. Mr. ETB had to drive, and they both had to carry stuff for me, but I did manage to get dressed and out the door. I hate relying on other people to cart me around, but at least they took me to interesting places. Mostly. I did pop in to the supermarket to buy a few bunches of spinach and some laundry detergent. Then, they took me over to New Life Thrift where I found a few things. I really wasn't up to it, but I still found some items worth having. I also came home with a bottle of Estee Lauder Knowing for .69 cents. It was about 60% used, but that still leaves over an ounce of perfume. Not bad. 
 I adore a good beaded bag, don't you?
 I'm going to wear the hell out of these vintage Selby shoes next summer.
 High heeled sneakers? Hell yes.
I keep finding beautiful leather bags that appear to be unused. This one set me back five dollars, which is more than I typically spend on a handbag, but it was too good to pass up. 

Since I'm already dressed...anyone want to go crash a wedding? 

I'd take Blondin, but he'd go straight for the cake. 
I hope you're having a lovely weekend.