this is just to say

Colin has been working on and off with Arizona Stronghold, pouring wine at weekend festivals.

He brought home a case of wine from this past weekend in lieu of money. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me--it's the most good wine we've ever had in the house at a single time.

Such. good. stuff. I am reveling in the El Serrano tonight. Lovely. I could get used to this.



"I like to come," Lucille said. "I never care what I do, so I always have a good time. When I was here last, I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and address—within a week I got a package from Croirier's with a new evening gown in it."

"Did you keep it?" asked Jordan.

"Sure I did. I was going to wear it tonight, but it was too big in the bust and had to be altered. It was gas blue with lavender beads. Two hundred and sixty-five dollars."

I've been teaching The Great Gatsby for a couple weeks, now. It's one of my favorite books and one of my favorites to teach (a necessary distinction, incidentally), and inevitably when I do my background PowerPoint at the beginning of the unit, I digress into discussions of the prevalent styles of clothing and jewelry . . .

The twenties are by far my favorite period in fashion; the length of my current hairstyle is even loosely inspired by it. So it was with some delight that I stumbled upon the following pieces of 1920s clothing on a website called Shrimpton Couture.

Museum quality piece. Don't look at the price. When I saw it, I thought immediately of that passage from Gatsby. If I were a size 4 starlet, I would be wearing that to some awards show . . . even though it's pink, and I'm not typically a fan of that much pink.

Silver. Hammered around the mesh. And the girl says that you never find a coat like this. . . just shawls, maybe a dress . . .

Ugh. I've been dreaming about them for weeks.


a weekend

It's strange how my perspectives on weekends have changed, now that I'm working. They've gone from "yay I can sleep in" to "yay I can sleep in and have breakfast and watch the light pour in our windows and breathe . . . "

That said, this one is a little out of the ordinary for me. Colin is pouring wine for Arizona Stronghold Vineyards in Tempe today, and has been since Friday, so I'm left very much to my own devices.

Friday night was dedicated to mommy-bitsy activities; we got cupcakes from the Red Velvet Cupcakery at La Encantada (which conveniently has gluten-free vegan cupcakes for J), and wandered into Mildred and Dildred, a toy store I actually enjoy going into. All their toys are the sort I like, designed for imagination and not flashiness. J got a little rubber black bear that's about the size of a dime, and has been carrying him around all weekend.

Yesterday was busier than I anticipated (I tend to try and schedule things to keep myself busy when Colin's gone, because if I don't have a tendency to mope). J got to play with the daughter of some work colleagues while I went to school to babysit the computer lab so our seniors could get a project done. I was one of several teachers taking shifts. There's something almost cleansing about being at the school on the weekend: the halls are quiet, and you can hear the rushing of the fountain in the atrium, and the sunlight somehow seems cleaner without masses of students shouting obscenities in the hallways. I was able to get some grading done, too, and when I went to pick up J there was an orange Pellegrino and stories about swings waiting for me.

I do something called the Open Doors through Arizona Theatre Company: through a grant, they pay for me to take 7 of my students to 7 shows across the spring semester, and then we have a discussion with other schools and sometimes someone associated with the show afterwards. Last night they took us to see The Trey McIntyre Project, a modern/ballet company. It was gorgeous and fun: he choreographed pieces to totally non-traditional music, and two of the three pieces were centered around New Orleans. My favorite by far was the first, "Ma Maison," set to jazz/blues, with all of the dancers in skull headpieces. My favorite female dancer--featured more than almost anyone else--was phenomenal at using the mask as an extension of her physical expression.

And, because the grandparents had taken J for a sleepover, after the show I was able to go tango at the Sheraton for the last part of the milonga (which is when all the best tandas happen anyway). And then a couple of friends and I went to The Taco Shop and then out to a little hipster bar called La Cocina, which deserves its own paragraph . . .

It's located in a tiny plaza called Old Town Artisans next to the El Charro. It has an internal courtyard, with bricks and trees and an abundance of twinkle lights and patio tables. The bar itself is in a sparsely-lit square building in one corner, with dingy glass windows making up two walls and brick the other two. The posts supporting the ceiling are naturally shaped tree trunks. Last night the DJ was blaring hipster dance music (none of which I recognized), and everyone was dancing however the fuck they felt like, which was nice (although one of the friends I was with pointed out that the room couldn't quite contain so many free spirits). I got a Tom Collins, which was lovely and strong, and the bartenders were intelligent and personable. I will return, and not just for the blues musicians they host on Thursday nights.

So now it's Sunday, and after spending the morning sleeping in and cuddling the cat, I have to decide how best to manage my time this afternoon. There are chores (notably laundry, dishes, and cleaning the master suite, which tends to be neglected), grading, budgeting, and cleaning out the harddrive on my mac to pick from. There is tango with our local tango band, the Guerrilla Tangeros, at Skybar tonight--although, after three days of Colin-withdrawls, I will probably skip it. There will likely be wine brought home by my honey (who tends to bring home vino more often than bacon, which I consider a virtue).

I think in the meantime, though, I'll attempt that egg fried in bread thing that has been tempting me for the past two days . . .

disclaimer: although I have had a pretty decadent weekend, all things considered, please place it in the proper perspective of a week at work that was straight out of some medieval conception of hell. I'm attempting, in this post, to focus on what has been good and wonderful of late, and hope that the other resolves itself in the meantime.


a world of made

pity this busy monster,manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim(death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness
--electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange;lenses extend

unwish through curving wherewhen until unwish
returns on its unself.
A world of made
is not a world of born--pity poor flesh

and trees,poor stars and stones,but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical

ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if--listen:there's a hell
of a good universe next door;let's go

e. e. cummings

(I taught this poem to my sophomores today. It was their favorite, I think, of what I showed them, which makes me happy.)


cloudy day, imminent rain

I drove north on Oracle this afternoon, and saw the flashing lights of a cop car pulled over on the right side of the road. I moved over a lane, as you're supposed to do out of courtesy, assuming that the cop had pulled someone over (as they are often wont to do in the police-infested speed trap that is Oro Valley).

Instead, I saw the officer standing in the moist air, his hands balancing on either side of his touch-screen cell phone, taking a picture of the mountain range and the storm cloud that had crept halfway down its face in preparation for the coming rain.

Colin said that it must be a sign that he was longing for a more creative profession, since your average cop doesn't stop to admire a beautiful landscape. Whatever the reason, it made me happy.


ode to eos

I'm sure you're like me and have long been on the search for the perfect lip balm. (It's always useful to flatter oneself that one's readers share one's interests.)

The good news is, I've found it. EOS's smooth sphere in five different flavors--three of which I've tried--is wonderful, and I continue to feel that way weeks after I began using it. The texture is light; there's no color and only a very slight shine; it's not at all sticky; my lips are lovely and soft and stay that way even after it's faded; and it doesn't leave any of that icky white residue (surely I'm not the only one who's experienced that). It's 95% organic, 100% natural, gluten-, paraben-, and petroleum-free. Honestly, it's nearly too good to be true.

Plus, the egg shape is endlessly entertaining. Even the material the egg is made of is pleasing to the touch, and it makes such a satisfying click when the top screws on completely (bonus points for making it nearly impossible to lose the cap).

I strongly recommend the honeysuckle honeydew flavor, although so far I've only found it stocked at Walgreens. If you're male (do I have any male readers? Google stats doesn't reveal gender . . . ) and not secure enough in your masculinity to handle fruit flavors, go for the sweet mint.

things I like this week, vol. 5

(clicking on the image takes you to the source)

link also includes a way to donate to help Japan.

additionally, a sexy poem.



A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting. ~Christian Dior

I've given a lot of thought to smell. More specifically, how I smell to other people.

It's a subject that's difficult to avoid, really, given that I go out social dancing as often as I do. On top of that, I've always been--and perhaps this is the result of too many romantic comedies or country songs when I was little--enchanted by the idea of having a particular scent, something subtle but distinct, that people recognize as me.

I've been hunting for a signature scent for years, now, to no avail. My search is complicated by several factors: one, nearly anything with musk in it gives me a headache; two, Colin has an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, and that means I have to be extremely careful that what I choose is something he enjoys.

Listen to this song by a band whose name is shared by a common ingredient in perfume.

I don't have anything that I wear on a day-to-day basis. Nevertheless, I am in possession of a few different scents, some of which are among the rotation of things I wear when I go dancing.

Anna Sui's Sui Dreams: first, I love that the name is a pun. I fell in love with this perfume when my friend Leeann started wearing it, and she never should have told me what it was, because I could not avoid purchasing it. For comparison's sake: the top notes are nectarine, mandarin orange, bergamot and bitter orange; middle notes are freesia, peach, chinese peony and rose; base notes are nutmeg, sandalwood, musk, tahitian vanilla, cedar and anise. It's an unusual perfume--they classify it as an Oriental Vanilla--but Colin claims it smells like nothing but old lady. I disagree, but since he's the one who's smelling me on a regular basis, this one has fallen out of favor.

Same thing goes for Amor Amor, for a different reason; after I had J, it didn't seem to mix with my body chemistry as well. (This seems to be some sort of mysterious factor in perfume: the same perfume smells different on different people. I once had a woman say that if you spritz a perfume on your skin and taste it, and it tastes like soap, it works with your chemistry. I find this suspect, as any perfume I've ever tasted tastes like soap, and it's not at all a pleasant experiment.) I haven't used it in years, and in fact, I'm not entirely sure where the bottle is. Probably in the back of my cabinet. The notes are: mandarin, black currant, melati blossom, lily of the valley, white musk, grey amber.

I bought Gucci's Envy Me in Paris, after Kate and I had decided that that's what we wanted to bring home as a souvenir (we'll ignore the fact that you can purchase that particular fragrance anywhere in the States . . . ). It was sort of an impulse buy, since it was the only one we found that we liked well enough to take home. I wore it rarely, and used it today out of curiosity; it's less strong than I remember it, after a few minutes, and seems to fit me better than it used to. It's still not quite right, though. I feel like it's what I'd wear if I were wearing a pencil skirt and suit jacket to work everyday. Notes: peony, jasmine, pink pepper, litchi, pomegranate, pineapple, pink musk, seringa, white tea, sandalwood, teakwood, sensual musk.

I lusted after Victoria's Secret Satin Rose de Mai for several months, spritzing myself with it every time I passed through the store, before I finally purchased the body spray. (Part of my issue is that full eau de parfums always seem so absurdly strong, even if you spray them only once; plus, the body spray is cheaper.) Of course, once I actually owned it, it suddenly felt like it didn't fit. It's relatively light and sort of summery, but just doesn't fully feel like me. I still wear it when I'm dancing fairly often, though. The notes in it are rose, honeysuckle, grapefruit and mandarin blossom.

I received a sample of the company's Bombshell, and I like it, though it's quite strong. A friend bought me the body spray for Christmas, and I've purchased the rollerball version; while I like wearing it for dancing, there's always the risk that one of my other two friends may be wearing it on the same evening. So much for originality, I suppose. Plus, it feels sort of collegiate and show-offy at the same time: purple passion fruit, shangri-la peony, vanilla orchid, and Italian sunstruck pine.

My most recent purchase was Tisserand's Rose Absolute Oil (with jojoba, so you can apply it directly to the skin). It smells divine in the bottle, but fades almost immediately once I've applied it; I've taken to putting a heavy layer of unscented lotion on first, and then I can keep it around for a few hours. I like that it's so simple, but I worry that, unlike everything else, it's so subtle it's unnoticeable.

Perhaps it's completely absurd of me to think that I'll find anything so distinctly me that I can wear it on a daily basis; perhaps it's ever-illusive, like a signature drink; perhaps I really shouldn't bother, given that my nature is so easily dissatisfied with routine that soap and shampoo on regular days, mixed with a rotation on nights out, is more suited to me anyway.

Part of what spurred this post was this video I saw today of the ever-lovely Keira Knightly promoting Coco Mademoiselle (which I'm pretty sure I find repulsive, though I liked what she had to say about it):


another instrument

I have now had nearly a week of recovery from last weekend.

On an unexpected scholarship from the woman who plans things and a friend to whom I now owe a debt I can't repay, I attended the Tucson Tango Festival.

I attended:
  • The Wednesday night milonga* till 1:30 am (started dancing at 8:30 at Casa V, then moved over to the festival)
  • One two hour lesson on Thursday
  • Another two hour lesson on Friday
  • The milonga Friday night, 10ish-3:30am
  • Three lessons on Saturday, starting at 11am, and milongas after those until ten minutes to five am. There was a two hour break around dinner for food and changing into fancy clothes.
  • (nothing Sunday, because I was completely exhausted)
  • The closing milonga on Monday, 9:30 to 12:15.

    That's about 31 hours of dancing in a 5 day period, and I still feel like I didn't get to do enough.

    Tango is hard to explain to people who haven't experienced it. I can't show you a youtube video and say, "this is tango," because it isn't. It doesn't translate. Something that is nearly impossible to believe in person looks boring when you watch it on a computer screen. And watching someone else dance tango--even in person--doesn't at all convey the feeling you get when you dance it.

    These quotes might give you some idea.

    Pictures, on the other hand, don't do it very much justice either.

    It's a dancer's dance. They say it takes ten years to be truly good at it. It's more complicated than any other partner dance because you can do any move at any point in the dance, and because the leader communicates with the movement of his chest, not with his hands.

    Anyway. It's entirely addicting, and to be perfectly frank, it's the only way I've managed to make it through the stress of this semester.

    Monday night was by far my favorite. There were fewer people, for one, and apparently I prefer dancing on a smaller floor (all of the festival was at the Holiday Inn on Palo Verde; this last post-festival milonga was at the Hotel Arizona). The biggest thing, though, was that all the stuff I had learned over the weekend--most notably on how to improve my tango embrace**--had properly gelled and set and fermented (and a thousand other food metaphors), and I had four of the best tandas*** I've ever had.

    Do you ever get complimented about something, and it means so much you want to store it away somewhere so you can pull it out and remember it when you really need it? I had two of those in one night--and both were directly related to things that had changed about my dancing since this weekend.

    (photo cred: someone called Tango Aficionado on facebook. All others mine.)

    That beatific expression on my face? That's all tango. I strongly suggest you try it.

    *milonga (in this context): a formal evening of dance.
    **tango embrace: how you hold your partner while you dance; made more complicated by the fact that your weight is shared between you and your partner
    ***tanda: a set of three, sometimes four, songs that you dance with the same partner


poem written on a bathroom mirror, morning of july 27, 2010

Blue eyes like the sea--
Like worlds of seas or luminescent clouds.
Valleys at the edges when he smiles,
Two deep lines between them when the worlds within
Grow heavy. Globes of ice in anger;
Soft, cashmere soft, in love.


sunday, in pictures

At about noon. By then half the snow had melted from what I saw when I woke up at 7:30.

Tomatoes. Two knives because the first wasn't properly sharpened.

Poached eggs Proven├žal, thick-cut bacon, hash browns, bloody mary.

Tak thinks she's a person, so she always joins us while we're eating.

2 pm. Snowing again.

Oh, the palm trees.

My grading set up. You'll notice Tak in the bottom left chair, keeping me company.