Monday, February 27, 2012

Squint Your Eyes and Look Closer....

*Current Fragrance: A layering of LUSH's Vanillary & Dirty
*Currently Listening: Valerie - Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse

...I'm not between you and you ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am 32 flavors and then some...

I kinda get the feeling that with my helping out with the Top 20 project, that No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 may be getting some more traffic, so I thought I'd take today to talk a bit more about myself and my background. This is a bit of a terrifying proposition, as I start to really talk about myself candidly, I can't help but wonder..."just how bat-sh#t crazy am I going to come off to everyone?" OH WELL!

So often people get asked as a lead question to conversation, "Like, who are you? What do you do?" I've realized that this really annoys me. So my response shall ever-more be the following: "I'm a person. I live life." While that sounds very esoteric and makes me sound like an a$$ hole, it's universal, and I think the most important part of life. I think that my twitter profile sums things up pretty well (lord almighty did I REALLY just type that?): "Somewhere between musician and what's next. Wife. Cat lover. Sister. Friend. Gets loud. Champagne enthusiast. Perfume blogger. SweetTart fiend, Snark-tastic!"

While I live in Boston now, I'm not a native New-England-er; I am a Southern Gal, from the oh-so-interesting nexus of where Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico meet. Proud of my Southern roots (mostly of Cajun decent), I couldn't WAIT to completely leave SETX. While I have lots of dear friends from the region and 97% of my family (I'm guesstimating here) still live there, I never quite felt that it was the place for me. I feel like so much of what I have done and been drawn/attracted to in my life in some part of my brain would help propel me to my goal of leaving SETX for good. I understand that sounds VERY opportunistic, is, but it's also very real and honest.

Quick time line on my life: Born and raised in SETX, lived in the same town from the age of 1-19, commuted to University for the first year, started as a Music Education Major, met my now husband on AOL (curious about more of that, you should read this post), ran-away to NC between the fall and spring semesters of my "Senior Year", got married, lived in NC for another year after getting married, came back to TX my tail tucked between my legs, started back to school eventually, changed my major from Music Education to Clarinet Performance, graduated with my B.S., stayed at same school for a Master's in Clarinet Performance, moved to Boston to get a Graduate Performance Diploma that should have taken two, but took three due to some health issues, about two months before graduating from Conservatory got Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (they let me graduate anyway...THANK YOU!), wallowed in self-misery, confusion and an odd sense of relief for about six months, got on as a holiday hire at a local LUSH Shop (and they KEPT me!), and started No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 in mid-December of last year, which brings us up to present day with a sentence long enough to make Hemingway's head spin right off.

Through all of that, I've grown into a person that I really do like. Not to say that it wasn't a sometimes soul-wrenching journey. Outwards, I'm a pretty sunny person, (Yes, sunny and snark CAN coexist!) but inwardly I've dealt with a lot of dark. Through lots of time, self-reflection, and yes therapy, I've finally got it drilled through my skull that the darkness and the light are a part of my life. It makes me uniquely me; and how I choose to deal with that is a part of my the rest of my life. Shades are grey are perfectly acceptable, and while "fine" and "good' are four letter words, they are not "four letter words"

There's a certain degree of peace I've found in my early 30's to relax, and just enjoy life for what it is. I must say, being able to enjoy where you are in life 100% while always knowing there could be better (ok, or maybe worse) days ahead is incredibly freeing and joyous. I've always said that "What a Wonderful World" was my favorite song, now I really buy into it.

Those are the nitty-gritty, yet wide-sweeping details. If you have any questions about my life that you are just itching to ask...go ahead, I'll be as candid as I feel comfortable. :-)

Now, to the cast of characters: the only people that will mention by name are myself, my husband Al, our cats Harley and Ezra, my Mom, my sister (I don't know if I've used her name), and my all four of my Grandparents. I don't really talk about my Dad all that much in this blog...but he really doesn't have a lot to do with the perfumed part of my life. Everyone else gets initials or nicknames, but more on that later. First some pictures....

Al and I getting ready to go out for to celebrate my turning "30 for the 3rd Time"

My baby sister Allison & I celebrating her "Quarter Life Crisis", and looking remarkably related

Allison and I looking a lot more like ourselves; shining examples of our own personal styles and personalities!
My parents, out for crawfish, celebrating Dad's birthday earlier this month. Dad texted this photo to me. Upon my father's learning to text, life has never been the same.

Al and I do have two children. Yes, we do. They've got A LOT of hair, 8 legs between the two of them and go "meow"....

The rest of the cast of characters in my life that I have spoken about on No Disassemble Charlie No. 5.....

D.F. "Dear Friend" - My closest friend in the Boston area, my partner in crime, if Al's my male soul mate (I don't know how I feel about the idea of "soul mate's" anyway), she would be my female one.

N.N.A. "Non Nordic Avocado" - Another close female friend, trust me...the name makes sense to me.

R.M.W. "Reed Making Warrior" - Another close female friend, all of our conversations that I initiate, start something like this: Me, "What are you doing?" R.M.W. "Making reeds."

P.P.P. "Pretty Pretty Princess" - My husband's best friend and college room mate. He really IS a Pretty Pretty Princess!

M.P.M.S.M. "My Pop Music Soul Mate" - Boyfriend of Pretty Pretty Princess, who really IS my Pop Music Soul Mate.

Bartles & James - Friends of ours that live in NYC that were raised in the same corner of the world I was.

I think that's enough for today... Tomorrow is the Arizona and Michigan installment of the Perfumed Primary Project, Wednesday I'll write more about my deep love for perfume and music, as well as why they two are so linked in my mind, and I'll finish up the week with more of the Top 20 by tackling the three Chance's on the list.

I'll finish this post by sharing the rest of the lyrics to Ani DiFranco's "32 Flavors"; if I had a theme song....THIS would be it!

...and I'm beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you're going to get hungry
and eat most of the words you just said

both my parents taught me about good will
and I have done well by their names
just the kindness I've lavished on strangers
is more than I can explain
still there's many who've turned out their porch lights
just so I would think they were not home
and hid in the dark of their windows
til I'd passed and left them alone

and god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room
and god help you if you are a phoenix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying back

I'm not trying to give my life meaning
by demeaning you
and I would like to state for the record
I did everything that I could do
I'm not saying that I'm a saint
I just don't want to live that way
no, I will never be a saint
but I will always say

squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I'm beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Cause someday you might find you're starving
and eating all of the words you said

*Currently Listening: Philosophy - Ben Folds Five

**Photo Credits: All photos my own.
****Lyrics to "32 Flavors" -


  1. Kathleen, I have to admit that I am enjoying your blog. I am not a perfume obsessed person but rather find olfactory stimulating senses recalling fond memories as a naturalist. Because I was raised in the outdoors, I can totally relate to your symbiotic relationship of memories with scents. I have found myself looking up your scents mentioned and I am intrigued. Thanks for all of your candidness and let Al know I am still waiting for his incoming texts to be blogged about! Take care. -Alissa

    1. So glad you're enjoying NDC#5, Alissa! :-) Hope all is well with you, Jerry and the kiddos! For an olfactory memory of the Farm, stop by somewhere that sells Jo Malone and smell their Orange Blossom fragrance. It has ALWAYS brought me back to morning in Magnolia Springs in the late Spring / early Summer!

  2. Somehow I missed the running away from school to NC scandal. I must have been in England at the time. How did I NOT know this story about you?

    1. You probably WERE in Germany when that happened? How long had you been married when you went over there? Yup, Al and I had been "together" - i.e. had finally seen each other face to face and decided it was real (by that point it had visited me in TX three times). One day I woke up, completely OVER SETX in oh so many ways, got a plane ticket, packed a suitcase and a duffel bag, told no one in TX what I was doing, and flew up to Chapel Hill. No one in TX knew where I was for 3 days. It was the best and most life defining decision I have ever made. (Although I wouldn't recommend it for everyone.)

      My dad was for sure I was dead. My mom knew I just needed to disappear and I'd emerge when I was ready. "I thought, I raised Kathleen, she's NEVER quiet, if someone was trying to kill her, she's make such a ruckus someone would either think, 'this just isn't worth the ear-shattering trouble or SOMEONE would hear her and help her out."

      This episode also spawned the best conversation I've had w/ BWJ....EVER...
      Al's roommate sleepily hands me the phone w/ "Some middle aged dude with a really thick accent wants to talk to you."
      Me, "Good morning Dr. Johnson"
      BWJ, "You safe?"
      Me, "Yes sir."
      BWJ, "You want to come back home and get back into school this semester, because we can make that happen?"
      Me, "No sir."
      BWJ, "You happy?"
      Me, "Yes sir."
      BWJ, "Well, good. You know where to find me if you need me."
      Me, "Thank you sir."

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