17 May

The week I turned 39, several things happened.  None of them were very good.

My 97 year old grandfather was rushed to the hospital the night before my birthday with a blood clot, which they have since successfully dissolved -although from his disoriented state, weakness, and confusion, it’s not likely he will ever be coming home.  Only the day before I had been talking with him and he had been making grocery lists for me and planning meals for the week…it’s strange how at that age you’re doing just fine…until suddenly you’re not.

We are currently dealing with some significant decisions that need to be made, provisions that must be put in to place, plans that must ready to be executed at a moment’s notice.  It’s terrifying and exhausting and this is all just in relation to one person; an entirely different set of processes and considerations must be worked through with relation to my grandmother, who is still at home and cannot be left alone. All of this should probably be filed away to talk about here some other time: a sort of “what to do with your nearly 100 year old sickly and infirm grandparents when all their kids are dead and only the grandchildren are left and there’s only so much money to go around” for dummies guide.

I also had a flat tire this week.  And then something else crazy and awful is happening that I can’t even talk about.

Normally when my birthday rolls around I take a moment to reflect and take stock and I treat it as one might treat the new year; what have I accomplished, what still needs to be done going forward, that sort of thing. It’s not quite a halfway point through the year, but I figure it’s as good a time as any.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect to find anything profound here.  I am just going to tick off the books I have read and movies I have seen.  The perfumes I have gotten around to trying. Which all may seem quite frivolous in light of recent events, but I maintain that taking a moment for lightness and frivolity is an essential part of self-care in the time of crisis and conflict.

Books read  /  mid-May 2015

2015 books halfway


Stand out reads were Revenants, by Daniel Millls, which was an incredibly eerie, atmospheric tale.  It reminded me a bit of Blackwood’s The Willows, or The Wendigo in that sense, although I am not sure they are in any other ways similar.  Also worth mentioning is Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings. Short stories are my favorite kind of reading; my attention span isn’t what it used to be and so the short story format, with limited space to make a maximum impact, is ideal for me. It’s exciting to find authors who thrive in that space. I read Trigger Warning just this week, a time of distress and disquiet, and it provided many lovely, teary, unexpected smiles. Honestly, I was hooked by the introduction, and I mostly never read those, they’re mostly rubbish as far as I can tell.

Films Viewed / mid-May 2015



Age of Ultron is not on this list, although I did just watch it last week.  I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it. I found all of the carnage and destruction pretty appalling, actually. The ambivalence continues with regarding to many of these movies, but I will say that A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is everything that everyone is saying it is, Pontypool is brilliant, and The Lady in Red Kills Seven Times (La dama rossa uccide sette volte) is great fun and showcases ridiculously fantastic sartorial escapism. Oh, also worth mentioning, but not pictured because I didn’t quite finish either one of them is Curse of the Crimson Altar and Blood on Satan’s Claw.

Perfumes / mid-May 2015



It probably goes without saying that there are many perfumes I’ve sampled and purchased this year, but the three I was most looking forward to are pictured above. I won’t get into the  official descriptions and notes, you can read that in the links provided, along with reviews from other folks.

Oriza L Legrand’s Relique D’amour smells like a watered down slurry of all the Comme des Garçons Incense series, but not as nice as any single one of them. Also sampled The Afternoon of a Faun Eau de Parfum by Etat Libre d’Orange, and it was like the excitement of watching finally watching your favorite band play live… except that they were too perfect, too flawless to enjoy. A beautiful scent, but it’s somehow lacking soul. It’s a chypre, which I think some find too challenging, but this one is somehow too accessible. Like a fruity chypre, maybe? I would have preferred a challenge.

Serge Luten’s Profundis, however – that was no disappointment. A singularly beautiful and unique scent opening with the scent of big, lively chrysanthemums in the fall -brisk, slightly spicy and musty. Delicate, dewy violets and damp loamy earth follow shortly thereafter, along with a cool metallic chill that calls to mind a brief wind, rising from nowhere, a shadow that suddenly falls across your path.  This is the scent of a pensive cemetery stroll in late autumn, crushed funeral wreaths beneath your feet, the veil of the sun struggling through the clouds, the lingering wisps of incense from morning mass. It’s probably my favorite discovery in the past few years.

Other items of note thus far in 2015

Ok, so that’s it, right?  I can be done for the year?  Well…maybe not. I’ve still got a few books to read.

What about you?  Accomplished anything of note?  Read anything good? Crossed anything off your list? Well, it’s only mid-May.  You’ve still got some time left this year.

Drax says

Beloved Ghoulfriend,

Your energy and exertions both dazzle and shame me. I don't know how you struggle through these tribulations yet still remain so generous and curious. (Speaking of curious: I had intended to send you my copy of Stephen Gregory's Woodwitch, but I was too lazy and useless.)

I know you will overcome these trials. The world is such a better place with you in it.

Love Drax

S. Elizabeth says

You are too kind. Right now I am trying to find the meaning of life at the bottom of a bag of cheesy Pirate's Booty, and feeling pretty bleak. I am the worst at coping sometimes.

lau says

as always, intrigued by that lutens!

and i'm so sorry to hear about the heaviness and hardness around your birthday. mine was (to a lesser extent) similarly disappointing due to dealing with the stress and quirks of a sick mother and i do think we both deserve a do over.

thank god for books and movies and other things to lose ourselves in, huh? if i didn't have those, i'd probably be in a looney bin somewhere by now.


S. Elizabeth says

Did I not send you a sample of De Profundis? I would be more than happy to! Matter of fact, I just got a crapload of vials and such and I'd be happy to make you samples of anything you'd like to try! You just let me know :)

I am sorry about your less than stellar birthday...I remember seeing your mention of that somewhere, and filing it away, and then totally forgetting about it. I'm sorry. We need to dedicate an entire week to just us - our whims and wishes and wants! I decree it so.

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