Feels Like Home

Howdy, everybody.  First off, let me just say how touched I was by all the comments on Monday.  (Desperately resisting urge to use humor to fend off emotional honesty/awkwardness.)  I’ve been feeling like I have been letting you down in some way I am not articulating well.  When I told all this to Anita, and expressed my surprise at everyone’s kindness, her response was something along the lines of: whatthehelliswrongwithyouanywayareyouserious?

So.  The message has been received, the guilt stuffed in a baggie and tossed in the trash, and … here I am.  I will definitely dig through Ye Olde Archives (have I mentioned how terrible our search function is?) and select some Best Of links, including some of those already mentioned.  I need to go look at them because, due to our blog movage, some of the older posts have weird typos and missing images, so they need to be tidied up.  If you have other favorite posts, please say so in comments and I’ll look for them.  I also noted everyone else’s suggestions for post topics, and thanks for all the love and rockets.  I read them all, and I think I answered all the questions.

I’m still on my Scandinavian Thriller bender, and right now we’re in Iceland.  I am enjoying this book very much but am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have trouble keeping the patronymic names straight, as everyone in Iceland according to my reading is either named Bjorn Olafsson or Olaf Bjornsson (men); or, Thora or Kristin Olafsdottir for the women.  Insert some random accents and circle-things over those letters, btw.  So I keep having to flip back 15 pages, thinking, wait … is this the dad or the uncle we’re talking about here? We need to send our friends in Iceland some new names.  I’m thinking Mitsouko, Serge and Kilian.

I could never live in Iceland, and not just because of all the murder victims piled up like cordwood on creepy, lonely beaches and in all the heroin dens of Reykjavik (yes, I had to look up how to spell that.)  If I wanted my kids to be smack addicts, I’d have stayed in New Mexico … or, wait, it turns out there’s a lot of heroin in this area, so let’s scuttle along, shall we?  Iceland, Greenland, Finland, Norway, Alaska, anywhere in the northern latitudes with long, dark winters?  I.would.die. I have now read thrillers by two different authors saying that the typical Icelandic murder involves two drunks and a kitchen knife, and I can believe it.   I’d last three months in a northern climate, assuming those months were August, September and October.  Okay, maybe I could suck it up until Christmas.  After that, it’s all The Shining.  You know, just like it was around here in February.

I prefer a more temperate climate – something with four seasons, “summer” not being the length between appointments to have my hair cut.  (This eliminates Maine, for instance.)  Something like …. Washington, D.C.  You see, I grew up here.  In a tiny brick Cape Cod.  With no air conditioning.  When it got hot, we all slept on Army cots on the screened side porch.  To this day, the sound of crickets and an attic fan puts me to sleep instantly. I go out and sleep on the wicker sofa on our screened back porch on sultry nights just for the pleasure of it.

Take today, for instance. At 4 p.m. it was a lovely 95 degrees with a 6mph breeze, and I was happy.  That breeze makes all the difference.  It’s true what they say about the humidity and the still air … my hot yoga I did this morning was not really hot yoga like Bikram, which they keep set at “Dubai” (let’s call it 110F-ish.)  No, it’s merely warm yoga, somewhere in the upper 80s.  It’s perfect.  It doesn’t aggravate my rosacea, and I can stretch (to the degree that I can stretch) and be happy.  I’d keep my house somewhere around 85F all the time in the summer, if the other people living here wouldn’t beat me to death with their icepacks.

I have the vague impression that some people (perhaps 85% of the folks who live here) don’t share my enthusiasm for our summer.  My apologies to those of you who formed beads of sweat which dripped on your keyboards and felt nauseated just thinking about hot yoga in this weather.  Perhaps you like it cold.  On the other hand, maybe some of you are fundamentally indifferent to the weather – no bad weather, only bad clothing etc.  So I’m throwing it out to you, because it is August after all:  any of you who’ve lived in “extreme” climates, hot or cold, extended light/darkness/cloudiness, have opinions about how you cope?  How much does where you grew up form your impressions?  (Can you move from the St. Kitts to Anchorage and retain your sanity?)  Who else is having wacky weather?  We had reports of coldness in Belgium… San Francisco is miserably cold, yes?  I’m pretty sure our summer here is going to be hottest on record.

PS.  In terms of actual perfume:  Denyse really has me wanting to try Boxeuses.  Also, Louise reports in from the field (actually, Saks in Chevy Chase) that “the Guerlain cosmetics counter had a new collection of various perfumes-including testers of Sous le Vent, Liu, the Elixirs, Angelique Noir, Spiritueuse, and others. The SA said she thought they might only be there for a short while…”   Hm.  Louise, what is that strange feeling you’ve stirred in me?  Suddenly I have a desire to hop in the car.

  • Kate says:

    Remember Babette’s Feast? Made me want to blow my brains out. Iceland can’t be that bad.

  • Holly B says:

    I love living in Montana. Cold snowy winters, yes, but summer is spectacular, long days with dry heat and often thunder storms in the afternoon. Wide expanses of prairie with islands of mountain ranges sprouting up from the prairie floor. Very cool. The cold weather doesn’t bother me so much, especially since my favorite perfumes do the best in the fall and winter. I couldn’t do Phoenix type heat, but I don’t have a problem with humidity, I often fantasize about living in the south and sitting on the porch with a cold drink and a fan.

    • March says:

      Okay, one thing we can agree on — those massive, distant summer storms! We could get those in southern New Mexico — out on a prairie, looking at it all the way OVER THERE. Even up around Santa Fe, to gaze out over miles and miles and see it storming over there, not here — well. Just nothing like it.

      Phoenix type heat I can’t do either. High desert is love, though.

  • Tara C says:

    I’m currently in San Diego too, but I plan to move to Montreal soon, as I love their hot humid summers and cold snowy winters. I agree that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing – if you’re dressed right, weather is not a problem. And I love heat & humidity. My BF whines because I will rarely turn on the AC, I personally prefer a ceiling fan if things get too hot. San Diego weather is boring and too dry for me.

    • March says:

      Yes, there are few hot situations that a ceiling fan and some cool beverage can’t fix. San Diego to Montreal sounds like quite a transition. I think San Diego is probably not enough season for me either.

  • mi-cuit says:

    Born and raised on the Mediterranean where even the winters have bursts of sunny, balmy days and the summer is hot and humid. I’m moving to Oregon in September. I have no idea if I’ll be able to cope. I’m sincerely worried.

    • Tamara *J says:

      Oregon is milder than Washington , don’t fret, it will take massive adjusting but you never know you may end up loving it,
      it does grow on you….hhhmmm like moss on trees! ;)

    • March says:

      Mmmmm, Mediterranean! And lots and lots of people love Oregon, FWIW, in fact I was hoping to make it to Portland this summer and did not.

  • odonata9 says:

    While origins matter some, it isn’t everything. I was born in the DC area and lived in MD for 26 years before moving to San Diego. Every summer and every winter, I cursed the weather and never ever got used to it. While I prefer the heat to the cold, the 90F+ temps and 90%+ humidity in the summer was too much to bear and standing outside waiting for the Metro in winter was no fun either, even though it’s not as cold in DC as so many places. I do miss the seasons (we have 2 here), trees and grass, fireflies, summer thunderstorms, etc. And now that I’ve lived here for 10 years, I’ve become so accustomed to the mild weather here, I don’t know that I’d be able to go back to DC kind of weather. I’m not as bad as the people from here who complain about how humid it is when it reaches 20%!

    I know for sure I could never live in the Pacific Northwest – while it’s not so humid and not that cold, the grey-ness is unbearable. I traveled to Seattle often for work and spent many lovely weeks there in spring and summer. I absolutely love the city and the green-ness of it, but there’s no way I could make it through November and December

    • Tamara *J says:

      It is very hard to deal with and it can really mess with your head but for the most part Washintonians love it and we appreciate the beautiful sunshine and blue skies more than most!

      I love my lil’ Shire, it’s like my own Ireland matter of fact. :)

    • March says:

      Yes, that’s funny, when I was in Santa Fe and they were complaining about the humidity, I was laughing. Please. I have not been to San Diego but hear it is lovely. And as I said up there … somewhere, I spent a cloudy week in Seattle on business once, and while there was much to love and admire about the city, I could never survive the gloomy weather.

  • Gretchen says:

    Born and raised in San Francisco and Pacifica (aka the Fog Coast) and LOVE LOVE LOVE that cool, foggy air– so regretting living and working well south of the Bay in the hot summer zone. Yesterday I spent the day at the DeYoung Museum and Golden Gate Park, happily wearing a chic sweater under grey skies. That’s summer to me! One whiff of that salty, eucalyptus-laden cool air and I come alive.

    I must say I’m glad to hear so many people praising hot, humid climates or four-hit’em-on-the-head-distinct seasons, however. We won’t be competing for real estate and crowding each other’s metro areas, that’s for sure!

    • Shelley says:

      Ha! Gretchen, I had the same thought…isn’t it a good thing it’s a great big wonderful world, with so many places for different preferences to call “just right”? :)

    • March says:

      But that’s great you’re living in weather that makes you happy. I personally feel like the weather affects my outlook so much, I would find it very, very difficult to live in a climate I loathed. I met a woman at a party whose husband has been transferred to Florida. He loves it — the heat doesn’t bother him, he dislikes winter, year-round golf blah blah. And she is miserable.

      And you are right, you and Shelley and everyone else — and it’s part of why I took the survey, it’s interesting reading which climates people love.

  • Karen G says:

    I grew up up in Vancouver, and have spent most of my life in a coastal environment, so rain, wind and damp fallwintersprings where you think you may never dry out don’t bother me (much). It just feels like home. What I can’t abide is COLD. We now live in the interior, where we get real winter and real snow. I hate being cold, it makes me not fun to be around for about 4 months of the year.

    My husband on the other hand is one of those “no bad weather, only bad clothing” people. He works in the Arctic (serious Arctic, like no daylight for 5 months Arctic) most winters, and as long as he’s wearing his parka he’s happy. He spent a good chunk of his childhood in Winnipeg, so there you go.

    Go check out those Guerlains at Saks. I admit, I have trouble with that house, except Shalimar, but Angelique Noir is one I really need to try. Is the angelique note very strong? I love the Frederic Malle Angelique, it smells just like Bombay Sapphire gin to me (Mmmm, now there’s summer in a glass), but I wish it were more potent.

    Love your writing March. Really, whatever you want to post about is fine with me.

    • March says:

      Yes, I think the Winnepeg childhood would help … what does he do? I can’t imagine how he copes, but obviously he’s happy!

      I love Guerlain soooooooooooooo much, I don’t think the AN is very much about angelica though. I’m an old-school Guerlain girl.

  • Christine says:

    My preferred temperature is between 65-80 degrees, so this summer has been killer for me as I do better with cold than hot. That said, I generally like the four seasons thing. I grew up in NJ in a house without central air, but air conditioning in the bedrooms, and I remember hanging out in our basement and the backyard and just loving it. I don’t know when I became such a wuss with heat, but there it is. I did live in Florida for all of 9 months with my parents after they moved there, from about Octoberish to July and man was I just so depressed. Winter was like an unhappy spring day, often dreary. My aunt said something to me about pulling out her fur coat in 50+ degree weather and it was all I could do not to swack her upside the head. I prefer four seasons, but I would do Florida again only if it were in someplace like Miami, I think I need a vibrant city to be near, which was also part of the problem.

    However, my parents’ yard never looked better than when I was there as the one thing that I did enjoy there was gardening. Their Hong Kong orchid tree that I got right before I left is rebounding after the last hard winter (they are in Central FL, and the tree is really meant for a slightly warmer climate). I do miss some of the things I could get to grow there.

    More than that, I’m glad you’re sticking around.

    • March says:

      I’m glad too. And yes, the yards in central florida! Although the insect life is a bit … much. And Florida in winter can be rather dreary like a spring day, can’t it? I remember if we’d go there on vacation and it was cloudy the whole time, how upsetting it was.

  • annie says:

    I HATE lots of heat!!!…ACK…I’ve survived this summer by reading,and being really lazy,AND have lost total interest in perfumes(Patty lit a lil’ spark yesterday,with her Iunx post)…hope the Court will carry the Blanche,and of course,CBIHP is great in the heat,and since I’m the only one in Dayton,OH,that wears perfume,I feel “wierd & wonderful”…I love that……I also LOVE the darkness/night,etc….see?….really wierd!Now,March,I feel DEEPLY about what everyone said about your apathy,and if you jus’ wanna’ talk about underpants,or something,it’s OK…WE LOVE YOU ALL….and I WANT Lee(and his dog,garden,etc)….carry on…..:x

    • tammy says:

      I love dark ad nighttime, too! Which is odd, cuz I am a morning person, but I just love the coolness and peace of the darkness; it’s very cozy to me.

      The sun to me is something to fear and avoid! Bright, harsh, brutal. I love it for my gardens’ sake alone.

      • March says:

        But I LOVE nighttime. Did not mean to imply otherwise. It’s the endless dark of, say, far northern winter that would do me in — places where the sun’s up from 10 – 3 or something? And I like summer but avoid the sun fairly humorously (lady in giant hat, sunproof shirt etc.)

    • March says:

      Uh, well, I’ll try to come up with something better than my underpants, I promise.

  • Disteza says:

    You know, I seem to remember that in the Northern Hemisphere, these things called summers were known for their tendency to be warm, if not hot. Of course, as I type this, I’m sitting at work in a frickin’ sweater and wool pants, in DC, on a day when it’s going to be 98 degrees not counting the heat index. The thermostat here is set permanently on 68! It KILLS me to have to walk outside into that 30 degree difference. I beileve that the whole point in having seasons is for us eejits to enjoy them, not for us to make a controlled environment to spite them!
    OK, getting off my soapbox now…all that being said, I have never minded hot or humid. My perfect day would be entirely cloudy and 95 degrees, with at least 70% humidity. It’s that direct sunlight which kills me.
    I despise the cold, and have challenged myself to deal with it sartorially rather than by cranking the heat. We’re somewhat frugal with the indoor tempp controls–summer is set to 80, winter is set to 64. But that’s if we don’t have the windows open, which we usually do.

    • March says:

      And there you have it, the bane of my existence, that going from 65 to 95. I swear that’s why I’d get sick every summer, working in an office, I think it’s the temperature change. That was a great thing about New Mexico, in general the commercial spaces aren’t hyper-chilled, so there was much less contrast (it’s not that hot outside either, in Santa Fe, generally. Most of the houses don’t have A/C).

      64!!! You’re tougher than I am. Our compromise settings — Cheese and I — are 77/78 summer, 67 winter. Any colder than that and you do NOT want to be in a house with me. Oh, but we turn it down to 65 at night. I sleep under two duvets.

  • Tamara *J says:

    It’s weird isn’t it? The perfume community is so loving- I wish my whole life were like it sometimes. I’m glad you see that.

    Ahhh the weather! I must be getting older cause I can talk about how the weather makes me feel and how it affects me alot.
    I grew up here in Edmonds Wa. and then Lancaster , Ca. so I was raised in a forest and a desert.
    I moved back to Wa. to raise my girls in a small, sleepy cow-town because I wanted them to have better than me and their papa, where we met and lived was frikkin GHETTO,our life was about gangs,poverty, shootings, rampant drugs, heartless, cruel people.
    I have never looked back.
    Up in Washington, I do love that we have seasons, summers are usually glorious and I think fall is really beautiful, we get those ‘Indian summers’ (My hubby is Native American -Quechan tribe from Yuma Arizona and he always asks “Why do they say Indian summer???”)
    Anyways as much as I love Wa. it doesn’t love me back, the rain and darkness does get to me and the dampness and cold is horrible for my R.A. and fibro-.
    You can start to feel a lil’ loopy not seeing any sky for months and months, grey and gloomy can drive you a lil’ mad.
    But the only thing that keeps me sane is exercise, lots of it.
    (and of course huge amounts of perfume, I need tons! )
    I run through fog and rain in my spooky forest trail till my lungs want to burst or my lil’ leggies give out, whichever comes first!
    And I just pray for the spring to come again….
    It’s already getting cooler here, me and my daughter saw geese flying south already the other day and in the forest, already leaves are slowly starting to change.

    • tammy says:

      Girl, RA and fibro??? I can’t imagine what you deal with everyday! I have fibro, and don’t think I could bear having anything else on top of it, even though mine is fairly mild.

      Look in to pycnogenol.It’s pine bark extract, used to treat inflammation; my cousin has cured herself of Takayasu’s Arteritis by taking it regularly. Her doctors are amazed.

      I have been taking it for 3 weeks to see if it would help my high blood pressure, and my blood pressure has gone down already. I have also noticed that my fibro is all but gone, though I think that could be because I have been off work, with no stress.

      I have no affiliation with this at all, by the way!

      It’s kind of spendy, but I am very pleased so far. And of course you’d need to talk to your doc, to make sure it wouldn’t interfere with anything else you’re on. It’s not a prescription medicine or anything, it’s over the counter.

      Sorry for the novel. :”>

      • Tamara *J says:

        Hey Tammy,

        Why don’t be sorry for the long post , that’s my forte’. ;)
        Yes I do deal and it has made me a stronger, better person in it’s own way. I only have been with insurance for meds for a year and a half but before that it just torture,it was definately getting the best of me.
        Crazy how stress mainfests your symptoms huh?
        It really does matter to take care of yourself first.
        My husband has no idea what I go through and cannot imagine how it feels to not have control of your health.
        Alot of people can’t.
        My girls are more supportive than he is.
        Before meds I was big into homeopathic medicine and positive thinking but even then it took it’s toll,
        Girl I needed heavy duty drugs!
        Plus the Doc about killed me cause he prescribed liquid silver and it made my liver go nuts. Now I’m on Gabapentin for my fibro- Meloxicam and Methotrexate and Enbrel for my R.A.
        I do really good and hardly need my pain meds except when it’s freezing out or when I overdo it with my body.
        I’m still really young so it kinda freaks me out that without these I could not have the quality of life I want and what the meds will do to me in the long run but what can I do?
        I will certainly check out what you told me about.
        Thank you for saying something sweety!
        Take care of yourself. :)

    • March says:

      Wow, weather is already changing? That sounds like a tough set of weather, we’ve heard from several people in that area. I think you’ve really got to be up for that or it would be so hard! Isn’t Twilight in WA? Or maybe OR … so gloomy.

      • Tamara *J says:

        Aha! yes Twilight was based in Wa.
        Forks is only a ferry away from me.
        It does get relentless and I ain’t saying it’s not hard but honestly once the gloom lifts, it’s truly gorgeous.
        All the rain has to be good for something right?
        It brings the lushness full on!

        Although your posts of New Mexico made me want to pack up and move the fambam there, I’m sure the weather would be nicer to my joints for sure, but I would miss my trees and mountains dearly..

  • Shelley says:

    Four seasons for me. With snow in the winter, and plenty of it. A measurable period of glorious fall color. Heat in the summer. And that glorious, painful, fabulous smelling transition in the spring.

    Which means I have to be willing to forsake any one of those in a given year, because the balance is never perfect. I’ve accepted that; I’ve also accepted I’ll never be content in an area that leans heavily on any one.

    Speaking of balance…one finds it as best as one can, right? And is willing to accept that the ground, or the body, might shift, and so might the proper allocations to find balance again? You go with your hot yoga; I’m going to try to restart my “moderate climate” regime. :) I myself am working on accepting that it’s not just when raising babies that it is useful to remember that just when you get used to one routine/way of balancing things, it’s likely that there’ll be a change…


    • tammy says:

      Fall never lasts long enough for me, not the truly glorious part of it. It’s what I miss most here in the OC. I miss having seasons in general, but Autumn is my favorite time of year, and it is mostly Living Hell here, especially when the Santa Anas are particularly fierce.

      • March says:

        Autumn on the east coast, esp. in this are, is so stunning. Goes on forever. It’s one of the few things i missed in New Mexico – their autumn is lovely in different ways, but I missed the leaf display, there it’s almost entirely yellow (aspen). They’re very proud of it, but … well … /:)

    • March says:

      It’s interesting reading all of these comments, some people are clearly very affected by the locale, others not so much. And we are all of looking for balance in many ways.

  • Musette says:

    Normally I wouldn’t complain about the heat AT ALL, being a big fan of heat and humidity (as long as I don’t have to work in it or be out in the sun – in a perfect world it’s 85F with some humidity (my sinuses/skin love it) and I’m on a shady terrace, sipping lemonade and reading a THOMAS PERRY NOVEL, MARCH! :-w

    But yesterday I attended the visitation for our late police chief. A 1-hr wait in line, in the 95F heat (100% humidity), then…well, another 45 minutes in the crushing,undulating line in the funeral home….not enough air conditioning….. Shelley and I agreed that I should wear No5 perfume, which can fight back almost anything…and it almost won. Almost. Fan, drenched in L’Imperiale, helped. Almost.

    December is starting to look gooooood to me!

    xo >-)

    • Shelley says:

      …we agreed it was right for *you.* I, of course, would have run the risk of fainting from the aldehydes, let alone the heat… ;)

      Your neither evil nor twin Friend in ‘Fume

      • Musette says:

        Ginger Ale and old Krugerrands, baby. With a hit of pickle (this was a vint parfum). It helped a lot. Plus, it’s one of those scents that transcends whatever situation it’s in, at least for me it does.

        xo >-)

        • Shelley says:

          ***Ginger Ale and old Krugerrands***

          You know I LOVE that!!!

          (And how did you get your alien to show up? I can’t get a simple smiley, let alone a full out something.)

    • March says:

      There you are! I emailed you. 😉 I spent TWO HOURS AT THE POOL but not of course IN the pool, reading. It was 95 degrees and I was happy as a clam on my lounger in the shade…

      oh! I have two Ruth Rendell novels on your recommendation, I think, have not opened them yet.

      • Musette says:

        you do?

        I’m not a huge REndell fan so I’m unsure…I mean, I like her…

        I sent you Metzger’s Dog. You got that, right? I’m starting to doubt my sanity.

        Two hours in a lounger, in the shade, by a pool sounds like heaven. I was at an ethanol plant, getting bitten by flies. It’s probably the cleanest place you’ll ever be in, short of a soon-to-be FDA inspected food plant – but corn is corn and flies is flies…

        xo >-)

        • March says:

          No! I didn’t! I swear … I mean, MY sanity is certainly dubious, but I don’t recall getting a book. However, we have a huge library system, I can check it out most likely. Will look based on your recommendation.

          So it wasn’t you. No worries. I remember a couple (3?) people recommending Ruth Rendell when I was yakking about mysteries.

          So sorry about the flies! I hate flies so much.

        • March says:

          OK just reserved it, they’ll transfer it to my local branch. I love living in a huge, populated county with a great library loan system online…

  • mals86 says:

    I need my four seasons. I need the natural world changing around me, and the differing qualities of the light. Last winter’s multiple snows were exciting… it was the KIDS being home and behaving like angry howler monkeys that drove me batty.

    I remember those childhood summer nights, too – no AC, just open windows and fans, and crickets chirping, and railroad trains rumbling by three miles away, and Dad and I would come in to breakfast sporting mosquito bites on top of mosquito bites, and Mom and my sister would have one bite each. My sister and I got chicken pox the first day of a week in which the temperature hit and stuck at 100+ Fahrenheit, and we like to’ve DIED. I remember sleeping in the partially filled bathtub one night.

    We’re cooler up in the mountains than elsewhere in VA, but it’s still hot. The mountains are so hazy they look like you merely dreamed them. The dog is lying under the porch, panting, and the cows are wandering around the edges of pasture fields, finding little patches of shade where they can, or standing hock-deep in the pond.

    I want some Liu.

    • March says:

      Oh my goodness! I feel like I am right there with you! I would like a glass of lemonade, please, perhaps with half iced tea? 8-|

      And I thought everyone got chickenpox in the winter?!? We all did… of course nobody gets it any more… I take it back, Diva got it on her birthday 🙁 at the end of May when she was 3ish. The other kids were vaccinated. Mosquitos don’t like me either, and I love those trains! I can hear them going through Kensington in the middle of the night, they honk (?)

  • Ruanne says:

    Every year, in August in D.C., I make a point of saying to as many people as I can “I would STILL rather be too hot than too cold.” That said, I do like a little contrast so I can truly appreciate the hot when it comes. I’ve lived in many different climates, and monsoon/hot/monsoon/hot did not set me up sufficiently to look forward to the return of the real heat. I think the greater metro area (or possibly certain mountainous parts of NC) has the best climate for me.

    • March says:

      Ah, a soulmate! Yes, it’s hot out there right now, but it’s wonderfully DEAD — everyone is gone! It’s like it was 20 years ago, and I love that. And Wilmington NC was on my list of places to move to at one point.

  • donanicola says:

    I was born in Southern England by the sea and know that a) I am English through and through and b) I am always content, often happy when I’m by the sea, whatever the weather. Origins matter. Winters here do get me down however, last one was a b*tch. However I wouldn’t choose to move somewhere with no discernable season change so it’s just a case of grin and bear it. What would be lovely would be to spend a couple of the summer months every year in the Med preferably a Greek island.

    • March says:

      Oooh, I’ll go with you in the summer! your plans sound lovely. I’ll bring the SPF 100 sunscreen.

      I wonder if there are sea people vs. mountain people? I’m a sea person. I find mountains vaguely unsettling.

      • Gretchen says:

        Some of us are both! My mother grew up in the Rockies in Montana, then moved to San Francisco as a young adult. She always said she had to live by the ocean or in the mountains, nowhere else.

      • tammy says:

        You know what I find unsettling? The freakin’ prairie.

        I was raised way back up in a holler, deep in the mountains, and I can remember the first time we came across country in a car and we got to Kansas, and I almost had a meltdown. I felt so exposed and vulnerable, like something was gonna come down out of the sky and just snatch us up.

        I live near the coast now, but here in SoCal it’s so crowded, I can’t stand it. I can see myself further north, or on the Maine coast….I especially love the areas where the mountains and pines come right down to the shoreline. Tropical island kinds of places hold no appeal to me whatsoever….too hot!

        The husband and I are hightailing it back to the mountains as quick as we can. I’m a mountain girl, and I am ready to go home.

        • March says:

          I hear you about the prairie, although it didn’t feel like that to me, I thought it was lovely, like an ocean of grass… Maine woods spook me a little. I must not be a mountain girl. But it sounds like everyone has their spot, huh? And tropical has no appeal for me either.

      • carter says:

        Oh, me too, March! I went to school in Charlottesville and had the hardest damn time dealing with the whole foothills thing, and everyone was always wanting to go up higher (geographically speaking and otherwise) and I just felt claustrophobic and, as you said, unsettled. Perfect word for it, actually. But the sea! I feel new again every day by the sea. I could fly away forever on a sailboat and never glance back toward land.

      • Claudia says:

        There are DEFINITELY mountain people and sea people. I last about 20 minutes at the shore. Sunburn and boredom set in quickly. But I can sit on a porch and stare at the mountains (while holding a bourbon and water)for hours on end. The bourbon helps a lot.

        • March says:

          Well, it’s funny. I don’t “do” the beach — I spend as much time in the sun as Dracula (and enjoy it as much) but being in a place near the water, walking on the beach very early or at sunset, always brings me such peace.

          The bourbon would help with the mountains, though, I agree.

          • donanicola says:

            Loved this discussion and yes, I’m a sea person too. I like rocky coastlines but inland mountains? You got the word – unsettling. I went to Cyprus once for a long weekend and we stayed in a little village inland and went up into the mountains one day. I was so unhappy, felt very claustrophobic, and only recovered a sense of peace and happiness when, on the way down, I could see the sea. A walk along the beach and I was right as rain again. Taught me something that did. You’re on with the Greek island!

  • karin says:

    A couple of weeks ago, I was gazing out the window at the very large tree across the street, and spotted a blotch of red. At first I thought – is that a cardinal? It can’t possibly be a leaf. No way. I mean, it’s the middle of July! But leaf it was. And here it is August 11, and the blotch of red has spread. Very localized in a small section of the tree, but still. It’s the middle of the summer! Fall already? As they say here in Maine, summers are short. Last year it was on a Tuesday…

    As an adult, I lived for 19 years in the SF Bay area, then moved here to Maine. I made a decision before I moved – that I wouldn’t complain about the weather. Afterall, I chose to move here. If I don’t like it, I can move somewhere else, right? Funny thing is, EVERYONE here complains about the weather! Winters are the worst with the complaints. I don’t get it. If you don’t like it, why not move somewhere warmer? As for me, I actually enjoy the winters. Not so psyched about the shorter days, but love the snow. I also love the change of seasons (though leaves changing in July is just WRONG). Seasons provide a way to mark memories. Love it.

    • Kathryn says:

      Hey, Karin! I grew up here in Maine, went away for awhile and then came back. I was raised to believe that if you left New England, you fell off the edge of the world. I still sort of feel that way, but it turns out that I really like the sensation of falling.

      I totally agree with your point of view: if you don’t like the weather, then go someplace else. In the dark of midwinter, I sometimes do. The furthest afield I’ve been was a memorable Christmas spent on Easter Island. (That was probably the origin of my love for Manoumalia, lol) But I’ve also have fond memories of midwinter moonlit bonfires here in Maine, surrounded by glistening snow with barred owls hooting in the woods.

      Most often, I find the weather here and the clean air especially, just glorious. I love the old coastal saying “the finest kind o’ day.” We’ve been pretty close to that this morning, I think.

      • March says:

        See, now, winter in Maine (or anywhere in New England) sounds perfect, just perfect. Makes me think of Dahlov Ipcar drawings. Although Easter Island as an alternative sounds incredible.

        • Kathryn says:

          I love Dahlov Ipcar for many reasons, not the least of which is that when I was a kid my parents used to buy the most incredibly delicious fresh eggs from the Ipcar farm in Georgetown. The pictures you see in her children’s books really reflect the life she and her wonderful husband Adolph lived back then.

          And if you are ever lucky enough to eat a fresh caught lobster on the Five Islands Town Wharf on a sparkling summer day (highly recommended), please don’t forget to offer up a prayer of thanks to the Ipcars. They pretty much singlehandedly saved the wharf and the livelihoods of the local lobster fishermen along with it. The 30 acre nature preserve overlooking the harbor is named for them. Since they were both born in NYC, they’re great examples of moving on until you find your own right place in the world.

      • March says:

        PS Re: “go somewhere else” — the sticky situation I think of is people in some employment situations, or with partners/spouses who are transferred somewhere — and climate comes into play as something that works or doesn’t work. I think part of the reason we’re here still is I won’t move north and husband won’t move south!

      • carter says:

        Oh! I just comment about this up there somewhere. I love the winters on Martha’s Vineyard, but Maine takes some doing. Not the cold so much as the light. Even on the Vineyard I had to take breaks and visit my parents in Florida. Of course, the moment I left I couldn’t wait to get back.

    • March says:

      Ohno! Fall already! 😉 My sister in law who’s a Mainiac by birth said the weather up there was gorgeous a couple of weeks ago…. and she is also very fond of winter. Her take on Maine winter, though, at least as a kid (compared to here) is: they’re completely kitted out for winter. Everyone owns the right snowboots, suit, gloves, etc., suitable for extended outdoor play. Here we’re always cobbling things together because maybe the entire winter will go by with barely an inch of snow.

  • SilviaFunkly says:

    One of my best friends married an Icelander and moved there. After 2 or 3 years she had to leave or she’d have gone insane. What got her most was the language, so so difficult to learn, and without that she felt an outcast. Her reports of taking language classes with fellow learners Ukrainian catalogue brides and missionary nuns (?) were hilarious though.
    Generally I have a lot of time for Scandinavia and Scandinavians, I like their silences and their way to take things in deeper and at what seems a slower pace. Quite the opposite of my mediterranean loud and chaotic background.

    On the Guerlain front, Harrods now has L’Art et la Matiere scents both in the perfume room and at the make-up counter.

    • March says:

      Wow … mail-order brides and nuns, eh? I am getting depressed just thinking about it. I have huge admiration for speakers of multiple languages, I barely managed a Romance language.

      I am also desperate to visit Scandinavia. Every year I have the same fantasy that we’ll do a home exchange in Stockholm.

  • pam says:

    I am fairly new to the perfume thing, and have been reading perfume posse for awhile. Love it! This is my first time to comment.
    I enjoy reading all the articles, but especially yours. Even if you write about legos!
    Keep up the good work.

  • Francesca says:

    I asked my Swedish friend and neighbor how they cope with the long winters (and he’s from the north of Sweden) and he said in his deep, soft, nicely-accented voice, “ohhh, we drink a lot…and then we kill ourselves.”

    On another note, March, never beat yourself up over Posse matters. Your posts are always fantastic, entertaining, and enlightening.


    • karin says:

      Ha! Funny! Though it’s true in some cases (not so funny).

    • March says:

      This made me laugh. But that accent! So sexy. I wonder if anyone in other countries would describe any American accent as “sexy”? Somehow I think not.

      I think the southern Swedes treat the northern part like another country, too. Like Alaska.

    • carter says:

      And they tango.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Being British I like cooler weather. We tend to consider anything over 25C as a heatwave. I can’t even begin to think of 95F as “pleasant” – aaagh!

    I love Scandinavia, for the design ethos mostly but also the cool, clean, sensibleness (is that a word?) of it all (see, I’m a Northern European really) but it is a hopeless place for us to visit for any more than a couple of days as we are vegetarian and the food there really does tend towards herring everything and reindeer escalopes; when we were in Oslo last we had to eat every day at a hippie cafe with knit-your-own-yogurt type food as if we were students again. Also the wine is a bit pricey!

    • Shelley says:

      Oy! I remember my time in Norway (with a brief sojurn in Sweden)…loved almost every part of it, but by the time we were boarding the ferry for Shetland, I would have paid many kroner (as it was kroner that were paid then) for a single strawberry. In fact, I think I did. :)

      • March says:

        Eee. No fresh fruit and veg? NOT GOING TO WORK. And it still is kroner btw. None of them joined the EU (except Finland, right? Maybe?)

        • Austenfan says:

          Norway is not a member of the EU. Too rich with all that North Sea oil. Denmark, Sweden and Finland are. Only Finland is part of the EMU ( basically the euro). When I was a little girl we always went to Norway for our holidays. It is stunningly beautiful. More so than Sweden and Denmark. ( IMHO) Winters must be grim though. Wouldn’t mind the cold but hate the darkness. Winters in Holland are gloomy enough for me.

          • Shelley says:

            Oh, right (smacks head)–I know this. I *so* know this. I should be using my nom de plume here, lest somebody who knows me speaks up and says YOU ARE THE ONE MARRIED TO THE NORWEGIAN.

            Well, he’s the grandchild of immigrants. But the identity is fierce. And is fiercely held separately by each of those countries we lump together as Scandinavian. Kind of like a family…you know, outsiders in, they band together. Within the family, you learn things like “well, great-Grandma was really born Swedish, but she saw the light…”


            Norway still hunts whales, too. Not that I point that out at home or anything.

          • March says:

            Thanks! I forget the EU and EMU are different (duh). I think hanging on to the kroner looks like a pretty good decision now… and I’ve always assumed Holland was gloomy from the Old Master paintings, but in a lovely way I like to look at.

    • March says:

      Hehe I just had to go do the C-F conversion, clearly that didn’t sink in in school… well, but nobody has AC, right? So when it gets hot like that, it’s a bigger deal, I think.

      And I laughed at your knit-your-own-yogurt. I would struggle with that too, I eat largely vegetarian. And I’m pro-cheap wine /:)

  • Daniele says:

    I live on one of the gulf islands in British Columbia, and the summers here are usually all too brief. They’re gorgeous while they last, and we do try to make the most of them, but too much of the year is cloudy, rainy, and dark here. It’s a lot more moderate than the majority of Canada, but sometimes it seems like everything here is wet and soggy and dripping under a heavy layer of gray cloud cover.
    The perfect temperature/humidity for me is Hawaii, but I think a part of me would really miss the seasons.
    Also, it seems somewhat absurd for it to get dark so early all year round. Sure, it gets dark here at 4pm in the dead of winter, but in summer it stays light until 10pm!

    • Tamara *J says:


      I agree with you wholeheartedly on P.N weather, I remember 3:30 as already being dark in winter and I love how it stays light till 10! I think it feels like 9 in the morning allllll day in the winter, no wonder we love and NEED coffee desperately!

    • March says:

      That cloudy/rainy/dark … I spent a week in Seattle once on business, and Seattle is gorgeous, but I saw the sun for ten minutes. It was so depressing. Def. need some sunshine, although … after 10 years in Santa Fe, 300+ days of sun a year, I came back here with a new appreciation for cloudy days, believe it or not!

      • Daniele says:

        I think maybe I could use to go somewhere for awhile that would give me a new appreciation for cloudy days. I love it here, but I really do wish there was a bit more sun.

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, as you know I grew up back there, not in a brick cape but in a wood victorian that was thankfully ringed by huge old maples that kept us cool-ish.

    This summer in LA is freakishly cool, which Action McNews reports as if it were a tragedy. I want to slap them. I mean it’s in the low 70’s people! The rest of the country is having floods and heat warnings and people in Russia are DYING from air polluted by wildfires and you’re bitching that it’s 10 degrees cooler than it should be. If the big one hits it’s gods revenge for your whining.

  • Glad to hear that you are hopping back in the car!

    Your contribution to the perfume community is huge and we are always interested in what you have to say.

    Find the balance, find your groove…

    Kay and Gwen from perfumeniche.com.

  • Mary says:

    March– luv ya babe. Mark Twain once wrote that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Well, I’m in Oakland, and today we had a foggy chilly morning, a day of bright blue skies, and an afternoon of puffs of fog, until the fog gradually filled the sky to a warm, downy, comforting gray. It feels chilly but cozy and sort of wonderful. I went to the gym after work, coz the kiddoes had cleverly made playdates for themselves–wanted to do a salsa dance aerobics class, but was too late, so I did the machine and watched tv instead, which was really fun, because we don’t have tv at home. Did you know thee Pentagon gets cyber-attacked a quarter of a million times–per day ????????? Sheesh. Tammy– I grew up in So Cal, and remember a few Christmases where we were playing records about letting it snow, but wearing shorts because it was in the 80’s and 90’s. I had enough of those days-Oakland is just right for me. Today– I’m playing with my samples of the Amouage Library Collectioon. Opus III. I can say this– possibly a substitute for hormone replacement . . . :)>-

    • March says:

      I know that Mark Twain comment! My dad says it to me all the time (he likes it hot, too). Had no idea about the Pentagon, but I can’t say I’m surprised. And I like fog. In moderation. 🙂

  • nozknoz says:

    Oh, I’ve been meaning to trek out to the Chevy Chase Saks again – looks like now is the time!

    I’ve lived in some odd climates, which I mostly enjoyed, but the thing I found most challenging was Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. There Christmas occurs during the hottest and brightest time of the year. This does not work. Christmas is a winter solstice holiday. It must be DARK if not cold, too, for the proper ambience, dark and meditative. instead, there is blinding sunshine. Your red velvet, Christmas-scented candles, Caron Nuit de Noel or Messe de Minuit, etc., are unbearable. Try baking a ham, turkey, yule log, mince meat pies, etc. when it is in the 90s, humid, and all you want to do is hang out at the beach sipping cool drinks.

    • March says:

      Oh! I just said this upstairs. We used to go to Vero Beach for the winter holidays and stay with the in-laws, and I found it depressing. Santa under the palm tree? So wrong, unless it’s in a neighbor’s yard HERE in the actual snow… yes, we’d be down there eating holiday food, like rack of lamb, and I’d think: ew.

  • Tammy says:

    Girl, I don’t know….surely that’s not just on Iceland; I’m Southern, and two drunks and a knife sounds like a regular ol’ Friday night!

    I have never been able to tolerate the heat, and suffered horribly in the summers, even in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. I’d love Alaska, though the lack of true dark in summer would probably get to me eventually.

    We’ve been divinely cool in coastal SoCal this year…hope we don’t pay for it later. Hate 90 degree Novembers and Christmases.

    • Masha says:

      I’m from Miami, and 2 drunks and a coupla AK-47s sounds about right for parts of my city! :o

    • March says:

      And some name-calling, right?

      That’s so interesting, it’s the lack of true dark that freaks you? Me too. I don’t think I could handle that much better than endless night.

      We used to spend Christmases in Florida with my in-laws, and that was always weird. I liked the warmth, but…

      • Masha says:

        It’s what one’s used to, I think. Europe, with evergreens decorated for Christmas?? What’s that all about? Where’s my Christmas palm tree, my fake fuzzy cotton blanket snow in the front yard?? I mean come on, Euro-people!Do Christmas right!

  • Louise says:

    Dahling-I do think weather perception may be related to place of origin. Oregon was so gray, so wrong to me as a kid-I knew I’d have to move away.

    Oregon summers were the real treat in a year’s worth of gray-it meant liberation from shelter and time outdoors to really play-as in hike, swim, wrestle with friends, etc. The temps rarely scratched 85, and the humidity was low. So the DC summers, especially this one, seem oppressive. I can feel awfully trapped by the need to breathe cool clean air. I’ve fought back hard this summer, and have pushed to work out in the heat. I’m pleased that I can now hike on a hot day and actually enjoy the sweat. Acclimation, hard won.

    The winter that challenged so many last year wasn’t so hard for me-because it was mostly bright, and I got out and enjoyed the snow. The real pleasure for me awaits-fall here is glorious-clear, cool, and bright.

    But enough about the weather. Time to google Icelandic mysteries and to steer clear of Saks : )

    • March says:

      The gray would have killed me. I was seriously depressed by a week in Seattle, as much as I loved the city. I guess this is just “normal” to me, in a good way, although if it gets muggy enough it’s bad. But there we were in our sweaters yesterday!

      Spring and fall here are amazing. Fall in particular goes on and on and on.

      • carter says:

        I’ve spent winters alone on Martha’s Vineyard and oddly, that’s what coverted me from a summer sort of person to a winter one. Spent Christmases walking on Lucy Vincent Beach with my dogs and it was spectacular. But the light in Maine gets to me deep down in my soul, even in summer.

        • March says:

          That light thing. That’s a Maine – New Mexico connection, I am swearing it. Something about the light.

          And I loved Nantucket to bits, was always sad Cheese’s parents bought the house in Vero Beach and not there…

  • Tiara says:

    Gosh, please let us know if you DO hop in that car and find anything worthwhile to report!

    While the “Best Of” posts sound great, they should also be fun for YOU. If you’re having to dig and clean up too much just to make us happy, what’s the point? Well, OK, we’ll be happy–but will you?

    A former neighbor was from Iceland, as was her husband. They had 3 children and there were 4 different last names within the family as they used the patronymic name system. Very confusing when addressing mail to them.

    • March says:

      Reading about patronymic usage online is really interesting. I guess it was also used in Norway (?) until they outlawed it, but you’re required to do so in Iceland? You know, all our random made-up names and the way we change them, it’s a different way of thinking about names.