Sunday, January 22, 2012

Data Dump

I'm afraid this post is going to be a bit of a data dump.  This is what my husband used to call it when I would come home from work and need to talk for about 10 minutes straight to tell him everything in my head.  Now, of course, I don't go to work, and sadly many days Mr. Oil will say, "So what did you do today?"  And I say, "Um...went to the park?  Bought a baguette?" 

In any event.  Last week I participated in a perfume seminar given by the same woman who led the perfume tour in October that I loved.  The seminar was also fantastic - we learned about the history of perfume, and then we smelled 8 different perfumes, some classic (Guerlain's "Apres L'Ondee" and "Shalimar", Chanel No. 5), some modern (Jean-Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle's "L'eau D'Hiver" and Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermes "Ambre Narguile").  The class included six other women, all of whom were at least 25 years older than me.  At one point, one of the women said loudly, "I want to know what YOU think" (pointing at me).  I said, "Huh?"  And she said, "Well, you are clearly from the younger generation so I want to know if you think this would make me smell old."  I am about the last person anyone should ask about perfumes as I have no idea what is considered old-smelling, I only know what I like. 
Personally, I really don't like this perfume. But I get that it is super famous.

Which reminds that a full three months after that perfume tour, I finally own a perfume! Very exciting.  I settled on "Bigarade Concentree", from Frederic Malle (by Jean-Claude Ellena, who is generally considered a superstar perfumer, and is a major character in the fascinating book I'm reading about the perfume industry, "The Perfect Scent" by Chandler Burr).  I think it smells like an orange grove and I love it. But I'm also generally in love with all things perfume these days.  It's definitely my latest obsession much like jam was a few months ago (did you know that the most expensive jam in the world in made in Bar-le-Duc, France? And also that Nostradamus provides one of the earliest recorded jam recipes?).  I'm not sure whether its because I live in France, or because parts of my brain are crying out for stimulation (other than building towers with blocks, and making farm animal sounds), but I have never before found myself with so many things I want to learn more, and more, and more about.
Really expensive jam. Like $40 a jar.

My brain did get some activity today, as Mr. Oil and I went to the Musee Marmottan Monet (sans baby - hooray for weekend babysitting!) to see both the permanent collection and the current special exhibition, Neo-Impressionism from Seurat to Matisse.  At least, that's what we remembered it being called.  It turns out it is actually called "Henri Edmond Cross and Neo-Impressionism, From Seurat to Matisse", and was primarily about the life and works of Henri Edmond Cross. Whom we had never heard of. Fortunately for us, Cross turns out to be an artist that we like quite a bit and it was a wonderful exhibit.  The permanent collection, which naturally features a substantial collection of Monets, is also excellent.  It was great to see some of Monet's works after having visited Giverny, though it really made us want to return to Giverny in the summer when everything is in bloom.  And, while I love my son, visiting a museum without Baby Oil is actually much more enjoyable!
It's not like "Henri Edmond Cross" is in a big font size or anything.
I also had my first experience this week with what I will call stay-at-home-mom vigilantism.  I was at an event for families, and one mom who has been in Paris for a while was telling me how she has had only wonderful experiences with the preschools, etc here.  Stay At Home Vigilante walked over and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt but I just want you to know that I just pulled my son out of an halte garderie [nursery school] and I believe that children thrive with one-on-one interactions, preferably with a parent."  She proceeded to frown at the first mom who had been reassuring me as we start our search for a nursery school for next year, after which they basically got into a polite but tense disagreement as they each made their points.  Later, she pulled me aside to tell me that I do not have to give in to the pressure to send my child away. Finally I said, "It was so nice meeting you, I hope to see you around." To which she replied, "I'm a stay at home mom. I'm always around." It was very intense. I am a little afraid of Stay At Home Vigilante.

January is a long month here in Paris.  I can't really complain about the weather but it is dreary that it is so dreary.  And we are making our first trip home since we moved in just two weeks!  My shopping list is getting long....

Woosh. My brain feels lighter now.