02 May, 2011

Little pleasures...

...for a girl who has been stuck inside with a cold all day.

I bought a bottle of L'Occitane's Calanques Eau de toilette several months ago. It's a light, watery fragrance inspired by the rocky inlets of southern France (Google it-- amazing). This scent makes me think of summer, but the initial reason I bought it was because it smells like the first "scent" I ever wore:
I'm tempted to buy a bottle online just to see if the memory I have of Love's Rain Scent is correct. It seems my tastes haven't matured in the last sixteen years, but oh well, at least I'm consistent.

Another source of happiness today:

I'm only a third of the way through, but this novel is surprising and full of the kind of details I love. The kind of details which make humans both pitiful and beautiful.

And, finally, my toes. My feet have enjoyed the pleasure of sandals exactly twice so far this year. The weather seems to be making a turn in the direction of spring, so hopefully there are more sandal days in the near future. Even so, walking around my apartment in bare feet and catching the occasional glimpse of Essie's Geranium on my toes makes me happy.

I hope your day has been full of pleasures--  great or small. 

03 April, 2011

Spring in Chicago

In November, I moved to Chicago. Admittedly, November is not the best time to move -- alone-- to Chicago. I knew this and attempted to prepare myself for a long winter indoors; for months of learning my new city through windows and hurried walks from one destination to the next. And, minus a few mild days that made being outside less painful, that is how my winter went. There are several things that eased me through my first Chicago winter: books, telephone calls, re-runs of the Golden Girls, latt├ęs, and one individual I am beyond grateful to have met.

But now, spring has arrived. Officially, at least. Chicago remains cool and, as yet, unadorned by flowers or green, but there have been a few beautiful, warm(ish) sunny days, and yesterday was one of them. And so, a walk was in order. Up calm side streets, back down against the chaotic human tangle of Michigan Avenue, relief at a dark, noisy bar with a big pizza and enormous margaritas.

It was a wonderful walk.

Before I moved, I was warned by multiple sources that living in a city can be horribly lonely. I don't disagree. If I had moved to Chicago expecting a warm welcome to the neighborhood, I would have been bitterly disappointed. But I'm not sure who would ever expect such a thing. Like relationships in other places, relationships in cities take time. Perhaps it is the sheer number of people in a relatively few square miles that gives some people the illusion of camaraderie. In Chicago, as in every other place I have been, people are busy living their lives. It is true that sometimes I find it off-putting and feel sorely out of place when I offer a smile that is not returned. And perhaps it is true that the view I have adopted, that of observer, is not conducive to any meaningful civic contribution. But I also like the idea of people just living their lives. Silence doesn't have to be unfriendly.

...At such times I begin to notice how many of us there are. The hurry of the streets is an illusion. The noises that rise in clouds, and the too-many suits of clothes and hats that sweep by--all these things are part of an illusion. The fact drifts through my tired senses that there is an amazing silence in the streets--the silence inside of people's heads.
                                                        -- Ben Hecht, 1001 Afternoons in Chicago