Musette Confesses – and a Stalker giveaway

I wish I could blame this on the Internet, truly I do.  But I can’t.

I wish I could blame this on Social Media, the Internet’s Logical Offspring.  But I can’t.

The truth is, I Am A Stalker.  I always have been.  But I don’t stalk people – I stalk things.  Old Events.  Vintage mixing bowls & kitchen stuff.   Art.  Stuff I have a faint memory of (often smell-induced).   I was Google before it was a gleam in its daddy’s eye.   Pre-internet, I once drove from Chicago back to the St Louis Public Library to spend hours going through ALL the Post-Dispatch microfiche to find a Saturday children’s show (from 1973-1976) so I could try to hunt down this film (and yes, year of two later I found it!  It was just at the outset of the Internet and was called Three Nuts for Cinderella (the ‘wishes’ came in the form of a branch with three nuts on it) – do you know how much PORN popped up on my computer when I plugged in that title?  OMG.  And in those days, you couldn’t get out of it – page after page after page would just load, like an entire filecard drawer.  Yick.   I remember watching the (newer) Thomas Crown Affair, where Rene Russo’s character pretty much admits that what she does (a private investigator for high-end investors/insurers) feeds her stalker tendencies – the ones bequeathed to her by her father ‘Bumper’ Olds (bail bondsman).  Those genes were the only bequest, alas, so she had to find her highly successful niche on her own, while her brothers, nurtured by Bumper, slid into mediocrity.  I ‘got’ it.

Wait.  Where was I?  Oh, yes.  The stalker tendencies.  The inability to Let It Go.  I haz it.  I wasn’t smart enough to turn it into a profession, though Project Management does come close.  But once I get my teeth into something, even a little bit, it’s hard to pry those jaws open.  Luckily, though, it’s always ‘things’ *- and since home stuff/kitchens is Mah JAM, often, it’s a BIG thing, like a freaking HOUSE!  Here’s an excerpt from a note to March about my stalker tendencies and my current focus:

This house is no different.  I have actually dreamt about that kitchen – it’s not that I want THAT kitchen (well, I mean, I do but you know what I mean.  I don’t want HER kitchen) – anyway, it’s the freaking Internet – if you put your shit out there, stalkers like me will, eventually, do the virtual legwork necessary to get ALL your intel.
Okay – so by ‘intel’ I don’t mean I…..nebber mind.  I DO mean it.  It’s February, it’s snowing like stink out there and I was bored.  I could’ve , I dunno, read something, or worked on a budget – instead, I decided to Sam Spade.  I remembered that the This Old House article listed where that house actually is and I thought ‘hmm..Vermont.  Where the hell is Vermont ?(the only thing I knew about VT is that it borders Quebec (thanks to Louise Penny)  So.  The article sez the house is in ‘tiny Norwich VT’ and before you clutch Ann’s pearls, NO.  I was NOT going to just show up at this lady’s door.  A) it’s February and B) it’s VERMONT in February. and C) I am NOT that gal.   But I remembered they said there’s a local house/garden tour every year (obviously NOT in February) – so I was going to start digging around re that because I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO, right? 😉  I’m just weird.
And yes, I am weird.  But you know what?  Actually it didn’t start with the whole kitchen – it was the SINK!   Great Wavy Gravy!  That sink tripped  triggers I didn’t even know I had!  It spoke of lazy Summer mornings, sipping coffee and watching birds at the feeder, quiet afternoons in early Autumn, prepping harvest, getting tomatoes ready to can.  Quiet, peace, comfort, calm, safety.  That’s a lot of responsibility for one poor ol’ sink, bless its hort.  But I didn’t give it much thought beyond the fantasy wrought by this photo.  I didn’t even know it was a real kitchen.  I was in film production for decades.  I’ve been on film sets that look Just. Like. This. right down to the light slanting through the ‘window’
So I figured it was just a nice design set. Until Algorithms Attacked.  Pinterest put damb near the ENTIRE HOUSE in my feed…. and the trackbacks included the This Old House  article.   It’s a real house!   Delightful as that is, learning that brought up a host of questions, like:  how does it feel to go onto Pinterest and see every aspect of your house – because this isn’t some show house – this house belongs to a real human woman (and no, I am NOT stalking her.  I’m stalking her HOUSE).   In the pre-Internet days several friends and clients had their homes featured in shelter rags but back then a physical magazine had a much more limited audience than the Internet.  Pre-Pinterest there’s a 70% chance I would’ve never seen this kitchen.  Maybe because it’s still a physical rag the TOH article names her and lists the town she lives in.  Maybe it was her idea.  Who knows? I did check out the town because StalkerandwherethehellisVermont but I didn’t immediately dig into the location etc because I am a stalker, but I’m not creepy.  Y’know?  Yah.
The Real Human Woman has monetized her house!
Can I just tell you how happy this makes me?  She knows the drill, she’s owning it and making BANK on it!   Pre-that I was feeling skeevy, thinking ‘omg.  I am SUCH a weirdo, driving to some remote state I know little about (maple syrup!  King Arthur Flour! 2 hours from Montreal and right down the road from Three Pines ;-)’ to go on a house/garden tour so I can see if this kitchen does the same thing in person that it does in the virtual world.  But heck!  The owner (Jane  Ackerman – and no, I did NOT have to stalk her name – it’s right there in the damb article) has an event planning company and she often uses her house and studio for events! (and yes, How I came upon that intel is, perhaps, a bit creeptastic but oh, well! and here’s a link to her site  it’s pretty neat) – and ON HER BLOG is an invitation that has her address on it (and yes, I read her blog.  I’m in love with her kitchen, remember?! Booya!).   And because I am weird I wonder which came first: the desire to monetize (I’m all for it, btw) or if, upon seeing all those Pinterest and architectural photos (it’s on their site, too – gorgeously styled with what seems to be JBA’s actual stuff, which may be why it resonates so with me) …I wonder if she just said ‘hmmm…y’know…I could DO something with this…exposure’.  I just hope people don’t just show up at her damb door, willy-nilly, as if they are owed something because they saw your stuff on Pinterest.  I’ve had former owners of my home(s) just show the hell up – truly!  One lady knocked on my front door, half in the bag, with her 3 young daughters in tow, one Summer afternoon.  Wanted to see if her two older girls remembered the house (I was the 2nd owner from her sale).  I was so…startled. I let her and the little girls in (mostly because the oldest, around 11, looked totally mortified to be there), but it was weird.  Especially when she took issue with my reno of one of the bathrooms.  Who does that!  I guess (hope) you have to be half in the bag to be that…brazen.  The 11yr old practically dragged her mom out of there, poor baby.  That’s okay, babygirl, we’ve all been there, either as you – or your mom.  It’s okay.
So.  No.  I am NOT going to just SHOW UP at Ms Ackerman’s door.  I am going to drag March all the way up to feckin’ VERMONT for the Norwich House and Garden Tour.  I will pay for tickets.   THEN I will show up at Ms Ackerman’s door…pay homage to James Baldwin (?) and try to figure out where they sited the refrigerator!
That’s not THAT weird, is it?
I’m fascinated by just how transparent so many of our lives are, now that Google Maps has shots of our homes onsite and …hey, with the advent of Facebook, how do people in Witness Protection stay safe – on The Sopranos,  remember the chance sighting and hit in upstate NY during Willow’s college tour?  What if you’re trying to live your new life and some jackass pops a snap of his grocery haul  on Fbook – and you’re in the background, buying grapes?   So many questions…
But what’s your thought on how the Internet has made so much of our intel ‘available’ to the world (e.g. looking on Zillow for possible CA property and the photos showed that the house in question is owned by someone with a LOT of Grammys.  Guess what?  Jim Messina (of Loggins and) is selling his house!  I’m looking at Messina’s bathroom!  That’s. Just. Weird.  He prolly doesn’t care, especially since he’s selling it – but, still… (and no, I am NOT going to his house.  That would be creepy.  Because I don’t like the kitchen.  At All.)
I’m thrilled for Nosy Ol’ Me – but I dunno…I dunno if I want the world knowing about my Frette sheets.   Or how many pieces of vintage yellow ware I have stacked in my kitchen (answer:  not as much as Ms Ackerman, but damb close)
Most important:  do you think I am crazy to drive from DC to Vermont (having first had to get to DC) to look at a kitchen?  Fwiw, I used to fly all over the place for art retrospectives (I flew to LA at the onset of the Iraq invasion to see a Lucian Freud retrospective (that was a nervewracking flight.  Nobody said one word, ALL THE WAY TO LAX – not even the flight attendants.  Nobody)  – I was hoping to see but it wasn’t part of the show and mah custard heart was broken!  – let me tell you about stalking art!  O.M.G.  SUCH an expensive proposition, running all over the world – but somebody’s gotta do it.  Or at least ‘had to’. These days I’m usually in Wisconsin.  Or Nebraska.  No Freuds there.
Are any of you stalkers?  What things do you stalk (if it’s people do NOT tell me.  Yellow ware don’t care – but people do!*  I keep saying ‘things’ because, back in the Wayback I was stalked.  Twice.  Ew. )
The Girl sez ‘hey to Gomer’ and she’ll pull a winner or two.  Fwiw, I still owe some winners from the last draw.  Bear with me – I am recovering from pneumonia and just writing this is exhausting.  I will get everything out asap, I promise!
  • Kate E. says:

    Late to this post but I hope you recover quickly–pneumonia is scary! I think this trip sounds wonderful and think of all of the other interesting things you’ll see along the way!
    My daughters have moved every 2 or 3 years (military family) and I’m never tempted to show them the houses we’ve lived in because houses seem so temporary to me. I’m more inclined to remember the parks, pools, zoos, and little road trips to interesting spots.

  • I love this! The best thing we can all do is to own our eccentricities whatever they may be, our quirks. Because that’s usually where we find our joy. And plus it’s just so damn fun! It’s a form of sacred play. I stalk history, I stalk the past. When I’m exploring a particular perfume, I learn about the year it was made. I immerse myself in the music, art, movies, fashion, makeup, politics, and of course, the smells, and the food, to try to get it as much as I can. If it’s a year before I was born, I end up understanding my family and culture better. If it’s a year in which I existed, I end up understanding myself better. It’s crazy. But I can’t stop now. Thanks for the giveaways! and get over that pneumonia!

  • AnnieA says:

    Like Koyel I patiently wait outside the mousehole of an expensive clothing store and then pounce when there’s a sale. DvF blouse for $80? Mine now.

  • ElizabethC says:

    My hubby and I call this “going down the rabbit hole”. Not just with things but with knowledge and experiences (music, art, books etc.). My newest “stalking” is vintage Taxco silver clamper bracelets. I originally purchased a lovely, vintage clamper bracelet and, a few months later, a very nice Nordstroms employee (and vintage collector) spotted the bracelet and told me how it was most likely made in Taxco. Down the internet rabbit hole I went, learning names like Margot de Taxco and Alfredo Villasana (who made my beautiful 1940s spiral bracelet!). I think I get as much fun from knowing about the background of the jewelry as I do from owning it! One of the great joys of life is “geeking out” – it really doesn’t matter what it is as long as it causes happiness. 🙂

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Musette, I hope you are feeling better! I hate those sinus infections. I used to stalk things like vintage perfume, vintage costume jewelry and silk scarves but now I am thinking of getting rid of all that stuff.

    Many years ago, I had an actual person stalk me. He was a guy I dated for a little while. Couldn’t recognize that we had broken up. Carried a small pistol, as I came to find out–one of the major reasons I refused to see him. I moved out of state and finally he lost contact with me. Years later I learned he had died. I have never told anyone this story before!

  • Jennifer S. says:

    Meh. DC to Vermont’s not all that far. Of course the optimal time to go is in the fall to catch the leaves changing! Make it a nice long weekend at a nice B&B and there you go! No stalker tendencies here but what I wouldn’t give to trade my puny galley kitchen for…well…just about anything else. Lol!

  • HemlockSillage says:

    Hola, dear Posse Peeps! Mrs. M, I’m sorry to hear you have been sick. Pneumonia is the pits—so draining to have nonfunctional lungs. Get lots of rest…so you can haz travel adventures.

    Perfume was my first oddball stalking habit. I’d make lists of perfumes and shops to seek on my perfume pilgrimages. Seeing a lovely kitchen and home online does not seem at all strange to me.

    I love the idea of art obsessions. Just yesterday, I found a podcast (Switched on Pop, ep. DJ Khaled) that analyzes pop music and did a DEEP dive on the I vi IV V chord progression and tonal harmony. It has nuffin to do with my work, but makes me want to study music theory. That’s just my obsession for this week. From music to screenwriting, architecture to KDrama/KPop, I love falling (willfully diving) down the rabbit hole. Friends and family roll their eyes, so I can grok why a photo of a kitchen inspires you! Feed your eyes and soul with inspiration whilst your body heals…and please share your adventures along the way. ??

  • Kathryn says:

    Oh, evilauntie, Vermont is such an excellent place. North Hill in Readsboro is widely agreed to be the best garden in the US, certainly the best one I’ve ever seen here. I’m not sure that it’s open to the public anymore but I highly recommend the book A Year at North Hill: Four Seasons in a Vermont Garden by its owners, Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. I recommend all the other books by Eck and Winterrowd, too, especially Annuals for Connoisseurs. If reading them makes you yearn for Himalayan blue poppies and other exotics, seedlings of all kinds of lovely things can be found for sale at Walker Farm in Dummerston, just outside of Brattleboro. You may gather that I’m prone to stalking interesting botanica.

    Should you get way up north, just for the sheer weirdness of it check out the Anti-Gravity Monument on the campus of Middleburg College. Vermont is the kind of place that after being there for awhile you might end up thinking that the laws of physics might not always apply. After a few stellar meals at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier I’ve had some glimmers of the possibilities of astral projection.

    • Musette says:

      OMGosh! JOE ECK! OMG. It’s been years but, way back in the wayback, I read ALL his and Wayne’s stuff re North Hill – what an amazing pair. Sad about Wayne’s passing so early in life.

      Who knew Vermont could be so…weird? I love the idea of an Anti-Gravity Monument!

      and you have excellent stalking taste! xoxoxo

  • springpansy says:

    Ah, what a wonderful post. I love being let into your personal life just a little bit (not in a stalker-ish way, HA, but because it’s interesting to get to know your favorite perfume bloggers a bit more; you know, the stuff that makes your heart beat a little faster). I also love that this post demonstrates that we may each have a passion for things others would simply not understand–who is to say why we love what we love? Sinks, vintage yellow ware – all good! I seem to collect perfumes and cookbooks and ceramics and scarves. I’ve been known to track down books from my childhood with great diligence.

    And after a recent move where I thought sorting through and editing 30 years and 3 kids worth of stuff would kill me, I’m working on not collecting too much. BUT I think the key is not to avoid collecting, the key is to collect and keep only what is truly special. And sometimes the search is more than half the fun. Have a lovely trip to Vermont with March!

    • Musette says:

      Your Stalker list is EXCELLENT!!! And yes, I agree – keep only what is truly special. I was afraid to use my vintage Pyrex – then I remembered that it’s made to be used! So I do. Every day. The Pyrex is happier when it’s being used.
      And yes! on the search – I never buy Pyrex or yellow ware on eeB, preferring to come upon it in the wild, as it were. I just found a gorgeous little Pyrex casserole (in my favorite aqua) just sitting on a Goodwill shelf. Way more delightful than finding it online (cheaper, too! $4.95 – and that was before my Senior Discount! lol!) xoxoxo

  • Ingeborg says:

    Trying to cut down on “stuff”, so not really looking online for anything but Girl Guide postcards. Hope you feel better soon, respiratory trouble is so draining! P

    • Musette says:

      I couldn’t figure out why I wake up so tired, then I realized that d’oh! I. Haz. Pneumonia. Which equals a diminution of respiration, etc, etc. Can’t wait to be able to breathe normally again!


  • Koyel says:

    Oof. Get better soon.

    I currently stalk perfumes on eBay; does that count? I used to stalk pretty clothes I liked, waiting for them to go on sale. I used to Facebook/Google stalk boys during periods of courtship (never, obviously, in person!..unless you count my friends saying, “hey, x boy will be at y party; do you want to come?” and me toddling along)(…yeah, that sounds like it might count a little).

    • Musette says:

      That is not a stalk. Everybody does that, so you’re okay. Now…if I find out you’re camped out in your car, 3 doors down from their apt, then we need to talk (that’s what one of my stalkers did – it was just so weird.
      And the perfume and clothes? You’re SUPPOSED to stalk those! LOL!


      • Koyel says:

        That’s TERRIFYING. I’m glad that it sounds like no harm came from that. (Right?)

        • Musette says:

          You mean being stalked? I was lucky – neither of my stalkers were dangerous – and they weren’t that dedicated (I’m not making sense here) – one was my dog groomer (seriously) – and I never did figure out why I became her target (she was the sister of a friend of my husband). She would park about 4 houses down and just sit in her car, staring at our house and then zoom away when I came out.

          The other was a guy – and that was scarier because of the sexual focus. But I threatened to kill him, so he went away. I guess it helps to be scarier than your stalker! xoxoxo

  • Sapphire says:

    I had walking pneumonia last summer. It was a bear. Took a good week to get over it and another couple to get rid of the lingering cough. That kitchen is to die for. My current kitchen has dark wood cabinets and I love it in its own way, but eventually would love to have a kitchen like the one in Vermont. We will probably build our retirement Barbie Dream House some day. I am storing up ideas.

    • Musette says:

      Walking P is awful – I’ve never had it but 2 friends have and it just drained them! If you really want to see how that kitchen came to be, click on the Old House link – therein lies a photo of the original kitchen, which is HYSTERICAL! (I can’t quite make it out but I think she has a papier mache planet and a rocket ship in that kitchen, which is about the size of my dog! and you wanna talk dark? YIKES! xoxoxo

  • HeidiC says:

    Ugh, pneumonia! I’m still trying to get rid of 5 secondary infections from the flu, so I feel you. And I love love LOVE that the only reason you’re not stalking Messina’s house is because you DON’T like the kitchen! We’re looking to sell our house in the next few years, so I mostly just stalk comparables in the area to get a sense of what updates we need to do and what kind of pricing to expect. And because I’m a writer, I go deep down some rabbit holes when I’m doing research (did you know that the left hand of Mary Magdalene, patron saint of perfumers and fallen women, supposedly resides in Greece and is said to have a pleasant, spicy aroma?).

    • Musette says:

      Holy snakes and cabbage! FIVE secondary infections? OMG. The flu(s) going around this season are horrific! I’m just glad I ‘only’ got pneumonia!
      And yeah – I would never stalk someone’s house because of the person – that really would be creepy. If I were interested in buying Messina’s house then yeah, okay. But, lovely as the location is, all I could think of is ‘omg. 2.7mil and I would have to rip out ALL that tile.’ LOL! …and another omg – there is a stunning number of cowhides in that house.
      Okay – waitadambminit. There are folks who go around smelling relics? omg. And I did not know she was our Patron Saint. Blessed be! xoxoxo

  • Sarah says:

    I’m not interested enough to stalk stuff and I’m creeped out by “social media”. But girl, I love that sink. A sink destination enabling a journey of two friends. I look forward to the stories sure to come. And sink pictures.

    • Musette says:

      I know, right? I don’t know that I would drive to VT otherwise. It’s a LONG way away from everywhere (except Montreal). We’ve done some hellacrazy trips, Missy March and I – this one will just add to our Wanna? collection! xoxoxo

  • MMKinPA says:

    Hope you feel better! I have some stalker-ish tendencies – when houses go on the market in my neighborhood I HAVE to see what they look like inside. I tell myself it’s to compare market values and to see if we paid too much for our house, but the truth is I’m just plain curious about how big their kitchen is. So, kinda like the sink thing. But I haven’t driven hours to check something out IRL. Internet stalking is so much easier.

    • Musette says:

      Show me the person who does not go to Open Houses in their neighborhood – and I’ll show you a liar! lol! Who isn’t curious about neighbors’ houses!? I just take it a bit further (as in distance) than most! But only for really AMAZING kitchens. Like this one. xoxox

  • ScentSpirit says:

    Well, it is a beautiful kitchen. I think that stalking some thing, some place, some question and getting paid for it is one of the things I like about being a librarian.

  • Marianne Winia says:

    Just one thing: I LOVE the way you write and what you write about!!!
    Half of the time you should be living here in Europe . . Plenty of stuff to be passionately
    stalking after/for/about??????

  • March says:

    Yeah, you loon, VERMONT!!!! I mean, it’s not annnyyyyy weirder than some of the shenanigans we used to get up to not so long ago, trying to get a perfume here from Bulgaria or whatever. And it’s those passions that make life interesting — yeah, I guess you can just plod through it, but isn’t it more fun deciding you *have* to see some garden, or find an old movie? I’m jest along for the ride but if you’re happy, I’m happy. Much more minor-level stalking but I have taken the Vamoose bus to NYC (that’s an eight hour round trip) for just a few precious hours mid-day in the city — generally for some blockbuster exhibition at the Metropolitan but sometimes for dessert, lol.

    • Musette says:

      OMG, yes! Driving EU friends (or travelers) batty with ‘hey, since you’re going to be in Budapest, could you just…?’

      And, omg. Vermont! Lemmetellya – the more I research it, the more alien it looks. But that may be because it is so…… Who knows? xoxoxo

  • marianna says:

    Pneumonia – yikes. Not really a stalker here 😉

  • FeralJasmine says:

    I’m a psychiatrist and the common assumption is that stalking by listening is what our profession is all about. Uh…no. Or rather, only at work. After 20 years as a psychiatrist, I am so pathetically grateful to meet somebody at the gym or at a party who doesn’t want to tell me all about their marriage, their addiction, or other details about THEM THEM THEM that I can live without knowing.
    But people’s art lives? Well, I just can’t get enough. Because it turns out that most people have fascinating art lives. Even if they aren’t artistic themselves, there is a painting or sculpture or photo or real-life instant they saw a long time ago that forms a moment of perfect beauty in their memory that they have never forgotten and will probably remember on their deathbed.

    • Tara C says:

      My artistic memory was seeing an original Rembrandt (Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe) in Paris up close. I had seen this picture many times as a print and was unimpressed, but being in the presence of the original blew me away. The incredible rendering of light and depth was amazing.

      • Musette says:

        Mine was Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid. I must’ve stood in front of that thing for an hour! Those are the best memories, aren’t they? xoxoxo

      • FeralJasmine says:

        Love this! As I said, everybody has a fascinating art life. One of my own Transfixing Art Moments was at the Musee d’Orsay, where I realized that the darkest Impressionist paintings are so full of subtle life that it’s hard to turn your back on them.

    • Musette says:

      Work stalking v. Personal stalking: totally different things! And omg – people who ‘share’ because they are sure that you are SO interested, nevermind that you have to listen to folks’s crap All Day Long. Uh, no. People need to leave you alone! Or at least bore the toenails off you, talking about dahlias. Come sit by me, hon – I gots LOTS to say about dahlias!

      Art. Oh. I need to get back in my studio.


  • tiffanie says:

    Ugh, sorry about the pneumonia. Take care and don’t push yourself.

    I stalk Syracuse Calypso Largo plates and bowls and etc. They were my grandmother’s everyday dishes. I have a few of hers and have added to my little hoard over the years. I love them.

  • Tara C says:

    Oh no, hope you are better asap! Anyway, while you’re in Vermont, do swing by Montreal and say hi, I’ll take you out for a poutine. 🙂

  • Pam says:

    Pneumonia! Good grief! I hope you are on the mend. It takes time to get over that! Enjoyed reading about your stalking.

    • Musette says:

      It’s a recurring nightmare – I’ve always been susceptible and, prolly since I was 6? 7? get it at least once every couple of years (sinus/bronchitis/pneumonia, usually in that order). Sucks to me be, at least respiratorially! 😉 xoxo