Musette’s Musings

These past 6 weeks have been interesting for me – I’ve been simultaneously doing a lot of Musette’s Musings while also trying to NOT get too much into my own head (more on that in a minute).   As we slowly lurch back to business-as-usual, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share with you some of the things that have been on my skittery little mind.

  1. Timing is everything – or is it?  I have given a bit of thought to the timing of the pandemic, weather-wise.   So much was made of food insecurity, early on, and this is the perfect time of year to assuage that, especially if, like me, you are used to growing so much of your own food.  But Social Media (especially if you’re on the gardening boards) has taken it to PANIC!!! level, which sucked nearly all the joy out of the process.  I actually had to stop! and take a look at what I was doing – why on earth would one person (who lives in an area where everyone already has a garden) grow 12 tomato plants?  Answer:  I wouldn’t.  So I didn’t.  But it was a close call.  Once I calmed down and accepted that 12 tomato plants wouldn’t make me and The Girl one nanobit safer, I went back to enjoying the gardening process.  I still have 40 collard plants, though – but I would have 40 collard plants, no matter what – I eat them 5x week and they freeze like a dream.  But the question still sticks in my mind’s craw – how much more terrifying would this be if it were, say, January?  For me, I think the answer is: Way. More. Terrifying.   At least for now, I can imagine I have a little bit of control over some aspect of this madness, even if it’s only the aspect of a tomato.
  2. Gratitude.    I’m a big one for Gratitude because I have been brought those lessons on way too many occasions – but it’s interesting that so often it’s weird little things that spark the biggest moments of gratitude.  Yesterday, I spent the morning in the garden, working like a fiend, then the storms came.  In between the storms, I took The Girl for a quickie and as the next wave of storms neared and we headed for home I realized a profound sense of gratitude that I had a home to go to.  Nothing like a heavy thunderstorm to make you grateful for a roof over your head.
  3. Naps.  Once home, I gave in to my exhaustion, took a shower, then a nap.  I rarely nap, which is a weird, control-freak/worker bee aspect of my being (see #4) but there ya go.  But it was a rainy, post-garden holiday afternoon, and the sweetness of giving in… just giving. in.  to that descent into sleep……. knowing there was no reason NOT to.  Omgosh.   The sensation of a safe surrender…. it is very.. hedonistic.  Which leads us to…
  4. Hedonism.   Hedonism gets a bad rap, being associated with the excesses of Certain Roman Emperors and that 80s resort in Jamaica – and when I took a ‘are you a hedonist?’ quiz I failed because I like to get up early (and, apparently, Certain Roman Emperors didn’t)… but the definition of hedonism is “devotion to pleasure as a way of life’.  … and I ask you, isn’t that pretty much everybody?  Even masochists derive pleasure from pain (not my thang but do you, darlin’ … do you).  That nap?  Pure hedonism.  The smell of my Spring garden at 5am?  Omg.  Eleventy billion on the Hedonism Scale.  I wonder if those Emperors ruined the definition, what with their Vomitoriums and everything.  I may have failed the test because I’m allergic to oysters but I posit that some of the simplest things (drifting off to sleep during a rainstorm, the smell of warm dog fur) are some of the most hedonistic things on this earth,  No Vomitorium Required.
  5. Early Spring Scents.  This is a weird weather time, where it’ll swing from 45F to 85F in 4 hours – but even with those swings, it’s still got that Spring feel to the air (yes, even at 85F), vegetal, earthy and damp.  It’s the perfect time for some really ephemeral scents that can only present themselves in early Spring.  You’ll scoff at some of them but (again) I posit:  these are perfect for this time of year precisely because they are so lightweight ephemeral – and in spite of being a rather pragmatic, solid gal, I do love me some ephemerals.

Romeo Gigli.  A forgotten treasure, absolutely adored by my ex-DH because of its ephemeral beauty.  The list of notes goes on and on and on .. but all I ever smelled was galbanum (not listed) and thin white flowers.  I wore the snakes out of this back in the waning 80s (it was intro’d in 1989, with the saucer bottle and the galaxy top).  And…. now that I think of it, this might’ve been my wedding day scent.

Similar in tone but not quite as interesting:  Caron’s MontaigneFragrantica  has a whole slew of notes (1987 and 2016 note lists seem nearly indistinguishable)  jasmine, coriander, bitter orange, tangerine, black currant (which translates to a weak galbanum to my nose) and some sandalwood –  this could only be worn on a cool day in Spring (ymmv) – it smells like my garden smells right now – a lot of … garden.  Despite the ‘meh’ tone of this weird-assed review, I actually like it.  It has that watery, Gymnopedies feel to it that is always to intriguing to me.

Soivohle Violets & Rainwater – I think I may be brokenhearted, as it appears Liz Zorn has removed it from her lineup.  But! I think I could be a Vulcan and live to 212 and I could still tell you about this scent.  Everything about it is the essence of the emotion of Spring, from the first joy of its arrival, to the melancholy of knowing it’s both elusive and illusive..and then joy in the moment that you can only experience, not hold.  It’s also pragmatic – when I first smelled it, I was taken back to a florist’s shop on 56th Street in Manhattan, years ago – a squall had gone through the neighborhood and wind gusts had knocked over a couple of pots. My heart tore at the sight of these overturned pots … and I started waxing lyrical on the mutability of Life… and then reason stepped in and said ‘if you just pick the damb pot up, the flowers will be fine and you can get on with your day’.  So I did.  And that, my darlings, is a true story and is also the backbone of Liz’s  glorious composition.  Life is beautiful, Life is uncertain, acknowledge it, pick the pot up and get on with it.

Amouage Lyric.  Now.  Calling Lyric ‘ephemeral’ is a bit like calling Godzilla ‘kinda tall’.  But bear with me.  Despite its elegant, complex, heavy-hitter nature , there is a waxy, camellia-like undertone that gives it a chiaroscuro feel, with the rosy notes both warmly rounded, yet greyed out and lifted behind fast-moving clouds.  I love the living daylights out of Lyric, because it’s the perfect embodiment of a rugosa rose on a  damp, cloudy day when the wind is whipping the blossoms about and the scent is being tossed upon the breeze… and is gone… and even though it’s still there (have you ever tested the longevity of Lyric???  Trust me, it’s still there)… it’s a rose-that-is-not-a-rose, yet the most fabulous rose imaginable …. and impossible to pin down.  Utter Perfection.

 

So.  that’s it for my musings.  I’ve actually got to WORK!   I’m off to try to dismantle  and rebuild a quote for some stuff I can’t even begin to figure out.  What’s going on with you guys?

  • Ann says:

    Howdy, dear! Glad to hear you’re doing well. We’ve been out of town for a quick beach trip before his other treatments begin and then back home again to the same-old, same-old. But sharing your gratitude about having a home to come back to, and so much else. And I knew I had to pop in when I saw your mention of Romeo Gigli. That was my beloved MIL’s favorite for many years, and we both delighted in its funky shape and topper. PS Good thoughts for her please: on top of everything else going on here, we just found out she’s got Covid 19 from a small outbreak of it in her nursing home. Asymptomatic so far, so that’s good, but so hard not to see her and spoil her with loads of TLC. We’re just praying that she’ll make it to birthday No. 97 next month. Take care and sending big hugs your way!

  • Portia Turbo says:

    Loved this post Musette,
    Thunderstorms, gratitude and naps. Yes please.
    Also, I still have a mini of the Gigli. It’s not so ephemeral on me. YUMMERS!
    Portia xx

  • HeidiC says:

    I’m selling a house in the middle of a pandemic while my city burns! And not spraying or even opening any perfume before we leave the house because I don’t want to offend any potential buyers. But we got 4 good offers today, so hopefully that’ll be it and we’re done.

  • Patty says:

    Romeo Gigli! I completely forgot about that. I wore that for a year or two and just adored it. Not sure when, but it is gorgeous. Is it still around? Agree with you on the Violets and Rainwater. I think I have a small bottle of it tucked away in a drawer, I just need to find the drawer. I planted three cherry trees, and I have two elderberry bushes to get planted. I have an elderberry tree that is on its final legs, but the blossoms right now are amazing. I take my 2x a day swim, and those blossoms are just intoxicating. Hugs to you. I have three tomato plants and some corn seeds, and I think that’s all the further I’ll get. Oh, and planted some strawberries!

    • Musette says:

      I think it is, Patty – I (think) I got a bottle on The Bay awhile ago – I’ll have to look in the Messy Armoire. Talk about hedonism – we’re all on here talking about PERFUME BOTTLES THAT HAVE GONE MISSING! LOL! I love that. Means the zombies aren’t here!
      Will you be making elderberry liqueur? I hope so!

      xoxoxo

    • rosarita313 says:

      Elderberry blossoms smell so great, do you know of a perfume that smells like that?

  • Dina C. says:

    Lovely musings Anita! Galbanum and iris are my two favorite notes, so spring’s green florals are my home base. Love them! I completely agree on gratitude and naps. They are two faithful companions that are helping me through this crazy year. I’m into low-key hedonism: I’m a great believer in baths. Just bought a couple kinds of bubble bath. Finally, being part of a community like Posse is also a great comfort. Thanks for your post — have a good week!

    • Musette says:

      imo, low-key hedonism is the best kind of hedonism (others’ mileage may vary). I’m sitting here, with a soft, warm breeze blowing the scent of Duchesse de Nemours peonies over me – it’s better than any narcotic!
      xoxoxoA

  • rosarita313 says:

    Ooh I do love your musings Ms A! A lot to unpack in this post. I’m out on my beloved porch with all the windows wide open, Larry the cat is busy hunting everything from safely behind said windows and my neighbor’s peony hedge is only 16′ away, just on the verge of opening up. Everything smells delightful. My husband built a beautiful new deck on the back of my mother’s house and put in a vegetable garden for us in her yard, the first we’ve had in many years, complete with a rabbit fence. Question: there are no pepper plants to be had anywhere around here, is it too late to start them from seeds? And by seeds, I mean the ones from peppers we buy at the store and eat. I’ve wanted to grow poblanos for ages. Shift to perfume: I have always adored the Romeo Gigli bottles. My latest sheer perfume is En Voyage A Study in Water https://www.envoyageperfumes.com/collections/perfumes-only/products/a-study-in-water?variant=2277418563
    It opens with citrus, melts into flowers then becomes one of those gauze floaty scents that you just catch bits of throughout the day. It’s not my usual kind of thing and it’s just lovely.
    Hedonism: my German Mennonite genes fight this urge pretty hard but I fight back. If you drive through Amish country in the summer, you’ll marvel at the beauty of the flower gardens – all gardening is the woman’s domain in that culture. Plain clothes, a plain home, but the fulfillment of the soul’s cry for beauty is in those gardens.

    • Musette says:

      what an evocative description of those gardens, Ms A! Re peppers: it’s so hot right now that… I dunno… I would stick a couple of seeds in the ground and see what happens – what’s to lose, right? do it – but do it now, if you’re gonna!

      Shelley does some amazing scents, doesn’t she? I will have to check that one out!

      xoxoxo

  • Bee says:

    Thank you – now I feel need to do some tomato growing! And dig out my Romeo Gigli – it’s weird must be hiding somewhere in the back of the cupboard. My favourite ephemeral Spring scent is Balmain Paris – soft, airy violet leaves in a really satisfyingly different bottle. Btw the bargain dupe for this perfume is the amusingly named Lagerfeld frag: ‘Karleidoscope’

    • Musette says:

      lol! I didn’t know KL did a dupe (prolly not on purpose, though) – I loved Romeo Gigli back in the day – and am surprised that it has stood the test of time – but it has!

      xoxoxo

  • Cinnamon says:

    I found your tomato plant story both lovely and instructive. And indeed I am constantly reminded we’re in decent shape (house-wise, etc) and I pause frequently to be quietly thankful for that.

  • March says:

    What a delightful meander. I have one of those Google Home things which I thought I’d never use except as a timer and to ask the weather, but it turns out Ms. Google has quite the repertoire of music, so you can ask for a genre and she’ll keep going till you tell her to stop. Yesterday I set up my home office in my living room (looks like we’re going to telecommute for awhile) and I had Satie on in the background … and naps! My sleep cycle is a bit odd right now so I’ve given myself permission to flop down in bed as needed, with my little dogs right there beside me. (Dogs appreciate a good nap.) A nap / falling asleep at night to the sound of a hard rain is one of my favorite things on earth.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Dogs are the nap kings (I think they are better at it than cats). Amazing how they can plunk down in all kinds of weird positions, close their eyes and be out completely. Very impressive.

      • Musette says:

        puppies are the funniest, I think. Falling asleep in their food bowls, falling asleep upside down, half on/half off some rando stair…. they really are nap kings! xoxox

    • Musette says:

      when I coined the phrase ‘Sleep is the New Sex’ I must’ve been thinking of naps… 😉 xoxo

  • Cassieflower says:

    Enjoyed your musings. And I’m so impressed by people who can grow anything. Anything at ALL. I have two brown, or perhaps black, thumbs. With matching fingers. I only have to look at things and think about maybe tackling the planting process and I see them wither before my eyes. In our garden we have quite a splendid nettle patch right at the back. Some big bull thistles muscling in on their territory now as well. The few flowering things are hardy shrubs that can be left to their own devices.
    Now hedonism, that’s something I know lots about, haw haw.

    • Musette says:

      if you like thistles (I do), consider trying to grow Eryngium (sea holly) or globe thistle. Decorative, tough as old toenails! xoxox

  • Jo Ann escaped from L.A. says:

    Musette, thank you for this lovely post. I needed it tonight to remain calm.

  • matty1649 says:

    The 12 tomato plants and the Costco toilet roll really gave me a giggle.I have found myself taking naps sometimes unplanned as I seem to just crash out. I also have found that I can’t concentrate on reading.Our lives have certainly been turned upside down

    • Cassieflower says:

      Matty I’m just the same, it took me four weeks to get through the last book. And I’m finding it hard to concentrate on tv as well. The weather has been spectacular and I have spent a lot of time outside. Have you met up with your girlies yet?

    • rosarita313 says:

      I can’t concentrate on reading, either.

      • Musette says:

        Few of us seem to be able to – I’m watching a lot of fluff tv (Poirot, with the amazing David Suchet, a squickton of gardening shows, etc). I think we’re all just a bit more fragile than we might think. xoxo

  • Ariel says:

    Thank you for such a lovely post. Portia mentioned Violets & Rainwater to me last year (or was it Windowpane?) I just got an order in from SOIVOHLE- the selection was much more limited than in the past and I’m hoping Liz is doing alright. I’m also grateful that I have a wee bit of perfume money each month to hand over to the artists I love. I wore Sonoma Scent Studio’s Rose Volupte to the peaceful protest in my neighborhood yesterday. Helped keep me walking calmly when the the cops put on their riot gear (I still don’t understand why.)

    • Musette says:

      Glad you were able to stay safe! I think Liz is fine – at least her site posts seem fine – she’s an artist and I think she needs to challenge herself – perhaps more than we (at least I) would like, when it comes to changing up her perfume lineup. Here’s hoping she reintroduces V&R – it really is an amazing scent! xoxoxo

  • Ann says:

    I always enjoy your musings! You inspired me to use solo cups in gardening – I bought a really nice tomato on the vine at my Italian market. I dried out the seeds on a napkin and then I started them in a cardboard egg carton. Once they sprout it transferred them to solo cups. I didn’t think all of them would take because it was just a grocery store tomato – the problem now is I have 50 solo cups with really good looking JR tomato plants that are about 6 inches high. what do I do now??

    • Musette says:

      LOL! that. is. FABULOUS!!! well – you harden them off (a few hours of sunlight each day for a week-10 days), then plant what you want to keep, give away or compost the rest (composting the rest is just FOINE! do NOT stress about it.). And CONGRATULATIONS! That is a lovely crop of plants!

      xoxoxo

      • Ann says:

        Thank you! And thanks for the guidance too… I’m jumping into gardening green this year, but really just your mention of solo cups gave me the confidence to start the plantings with what I had on hand and not go to a garden center, which I find very overwhelming.

  • Gina T. says:

    I loved my time from March 20 to May 29 on layoff. Pure hedonism. Simple. Easy. Stressfree. Then I was let go from work with 18 others. How fast that peace changed to panic and fear. But, during that two months I also fell in love again after more than four years of thinking I was done and dead and would die alone. So, I am trying to live in today and be mindful especially since he is 5,000 miles away and I now have no income to take the trip we planned this fall. Meditating and praying and trying to fight the fear.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, Gina – I am so thrilled to learn you’ve found love again! Stay strong. Life is full of surprises, innit? This panic and fear may be the doorway to magnificent happiness! xoxoxo

    • Cassieflower says:

      I’ll cross my fingers that you have a windfall to enable a meet up trip. Glad you have picked yourself back up from your sudden unemployment and resultant money concerns.

    • rosarita313 says:

      If this year had taught us anything, it’s that life can change in an instant. So love has come, job has gone…..the right thing may be just around the corner and that trip become a reality. Happy for you.

  • Tara C says:

    Loved the first part about the gardening panic and 12 tomato plants… is that the gardener’s equivalent of a case of Costco toilet paper? Anyway, I am seriously thinking about selling my big city apartment and buying a small house with a big yard precisely because I felt so insecure during this pandemic. I want a garden, and space to breathe, and a place for my dog to run around in safety.

    As for perfume, I have and love both Lyric and Violets & Rainwater. I will add my current spring love affair with Masque Milano Romanza. I always thought I hated narcissus until I found Romanza. Spring in a bottle.

    • Musette says:

      oooh! I’ll have to try that Romanza. And… as much as I love city life I have to admit that living in my own, enclosed greenspace has made a huge difference.

      and yes, I think it is the equiv of a case of Costco toilet paper! LOL!!!

      xoxo

      • Ariel says:

        I also love Masque’s Romanza! I’ve definitely been enjoying my yard. Part of why my bestie joined our pod is that she lives alone in an apartment with no green space–that’s a very tough situation to live in for months at a time.

    • Cassieflower says:

      Hey Tara, one major thing that I have learned from this whole shitfest is that I’m so grateful to live in a rural house with a garden (I’m just having coffee break then back to mowing). I can’t even begin to contemplate being confined indoors like you and several others have been. And those with small children. I can’t even . . .
      So go for it, I say. You won’t know yourself!

      • Tara C says:

        Thank you for your encouragement! I’m working on bringing my husband round to the idea of moving, he likes it here, but I think it is not sustainable for my long term mental health.

  • Pam says:

    Wow, Girl, what a post! I feel like I’ve been on a journey. Or time travel. And I needed that. I have been flower gardening, and baking bread every couple of days. I’ve always made my own bread, but during this quarantine I’ve been baking for the whole extended family.

    • Gina T. says:

      I wasn’t able to get yeast, and…I am not a baker. But I think I would have tried if I could have gotten one packet of yeast. I wanted to have that option!

    • Musette says:

      ooooh! Bread! I rarely bake it because I rarely eat it… but I can’t think of anything lovelier than a warm slice of homemade bread! xoxoxo

      • rosarita313 says:

        Ha! I rarely bake it because I will eat ALL of it, slathered in butter…..I’d rather have that than cake. I cannot emphasize enough that I should NOT eat either of those things.