What is the Perfume Project?

This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Finally the constant stream of early morning classes and meetings has come to an end and the familiar routine of fall quarter has begun. I’ve survived the rear-end collision of the 4-week “early fall start” class into the beginning of my fall classes, with grading and general clean-up from the first class overlapping with prep for the three classes that I’ll be teaching in the fall. The problems created by colliding courses aren’t completely solved yet, but at least they’re managed.

Wednesday was the first day I haven’t had to wake up to an alarm clock in the dark and commute for an hour or more to get to class or a meeting on time. What a difference an hour or two the morning makes! Instead of 60-90 minutes, it takes me about 15 minutes to get to work. Even though Jasper the cat insists that I get up a soon as it’s light, he wakes me gently, and I’m able to enjoy my morning coffee as I read the news, check my various e-mail accounts, respond to whatever needs an immediate response, and prepare materials for that day’s teaching. I have time to take a long hot shower, put on a little make-up, and actually think about what I want to wear that day instead of groping in the dark so as not to wake Michael up and throwing on a random combination of whatever all-black items first come to hand.

There are times when I complain about my job(s) and my lifestyle, but being forced to keep standard working hours for a month makes me appreciate my usual disorganized schedule more than I could even begin to express. I’m thankful that I’m able to schedule my regular classes at times that are compatible with my natural night-owl tendencies.  I’m thankful that I have amazing people working in my university lab who keep things running and provide a buffer between me and the early-rising bureaucrats.  I’m thankful that I can do the work generated by my businesses on my own terms, on my own schedule. I’m thankful that I have my theatre group to take my mind off it all on a few nights and weekends. I can’t begin to imagine how most of the world works from 8 AM to 5PM every day of the week. In Seattle, it’s even worse because a lot of people start work at 6 or 7AM. I have no idea why, but that’s a fact.

The real paradox is that I work just as many, or more, hours if I start later, and I always accomplish more, but it feels orders of magnitude easier. My hat’s off to those hardy souls who go to work in the early morning every day of their lives.

Last night I dreamed that I’d been running a long, hard race, and was so tired that I flopped face-down on a patch of cool, damp, bright green grass. It felt wonderful to rest. However, I started to worry that people passing by would think I was dead, so I lifted up my head, smiled, and waved at them. That’s what this blog post is – just a heads-up to let you know that I’m still alive and well, just recovering from the trauma of a month of the alarm clock screeching in the dark telling me to get up and go out there to sit in clogged traffic for an hour.

[The painting of people escaping from the mouth of limbo (the black fish-monster) is by Jaume Serra, 13th century. All photos are adapted from Wikimedia.]


  1. Hi there, stranger! I'm glad you're back.
    I don't know how the early risers do it either. Brad gets up at 5:15 so I do too, but all I have to do is get dressed and clean up the studio before my students show up.

  2. Gail, I don't know how Brad does it. What I really don't understand, though, is how the school kids do it. It seems cruel to make children or teenagers get up before dawn every day. Anyway, a belated thanks for the birthday wishes and the cute Pink Panther card!

  3. I am SO not a morning person. Like you, I get as much or more done if I start later, because I'm not battle a couple of hours of a foggy brain.

  4. Laurie, it's good to see that there are other non-morning people out there. I feel really lucky not to have to engage in hours of foggy-brain battle most of the time.