juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
My back pain has been particularly bad lately. A week and a half ago was Devon's Swedish family reunion, which was a long day spent in Portland; the next morning I went to my house for breakfast and then we ran errands. I got little sleep in between and, in short, the weekend wore me out—and all the standing and sitting set my back pain off in a bad way. Despite hotpads and muscle relaxants and massages, the back pain lingers. It starts in my lower back, creeps up my spine, tenses my neck, and leads to pounding headaches. The neck pain and headaches make it difficult to read, or write, or sit at the computer; the back pain makes it difficult to lay down and sleep.

In short, I've been pretty miserable lately. Some pain, like my sway back or my tension headaches, I can cope with and almost ignore—like I stop hearing Devon's computer fans, always running in the background, I stop feeling those constant pains. But pain spikes are more severe and less familiar, and I don't know how to ignore them. Some—the sudden spasms of my lower back, or the binding tightness of my neck—just can't be forgotten. I'm in pain and I'm sleeping poorly and I can't find an escape, so for now I hide in the bedroom and devour a book a day and try to wait it out. I normally spend a few hours on the weekdays on Second Life, but I just haven't the pain nor people tolerance for that right now.

Meanwhile, far stranger than this pain spike and rather distressing, I spent the past two days shaking and lightheaded—in a state not unlike a panic attack, but without a panicked mental state. I took a caffeine pill (to see if it helped with a headache—which it did) and a muscle relaxant on Sunday morning. I was already shaking, which I attributed to low blood sugar because I hadn't eaten. We went out, and the shaking got so bad that it was affecting my torso as well as my limbs. Half an hour after eating the severity decreased, but minor shaking kept on—and continued, well in to the evening. No matter what I did or ate, I felt increasingly feverish and lightheaded. My pulse was racing. My stomach felt empty. I had difficulty breathing.

I've only had one panic attack (my anxiety usually presents itself differently) but this felt just like it—just like it, except that my mental state was just fine. I was contently watching video games and reading as it all went on, and was cheerful and a bit sleepy. The symptoms continued for about a day and a half, although the last few hours were progressively better. I'm premenstrual, but never had PMS exhibit similar symptoms. There's no way that a single caffeine pill would have such a lasting effect—and anyway, caffeine has never so much as made me hyper. I'm not unduly worried or concerned with what caused it, because it did me no lasting harm, but it certainly was just the strangest thing.

Other than that, I'm fine. Reading, as I said—and some great books, at that (you all should pick up Black Ships). I'm teetering right on the edge of breaking the top 10,000 reviewers on Amazon, and eagerly watching for the thumbs up that pushes me over. I saw my sister, and we went out to dinner and had a grand time. Ninja Gaiden II is borked thanks to an ironic new game patch, so the boy has switched to Halo 3 and Devil May Cry 4 for a bit (this affects me because I am the strange sort of video game girlfriend that rather enjoys chilling out and watching other people game). I am a bit withdrawn and quiet, desperate for a full night of sleep, and the back pain has me a bit short tempered—but on the whole, I'm doing well enough.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Another stack of BPAL reviews—I still have many more to go (nine new ones at least), but it makes me feel productive to post them and so I shall with what I have. (Furthermore, any distraction from this excruciating headache is a good distraction, and that certainly includes prematurely editing and publishing BPAL reviews, oh yes.)

Invaluable resource for my reviews: Wikipedia's color list, oddly enough. Yes, that means I'm indulging a tentative self-diagnosis for minor synesthesia, but no matter. Whether or not that's accurate is secondary to whether or not indulging it is useful, and it is that. Writing up my thoughts on Bengal, I was fighting back and forth for the right color name for the red that I got from it.

It's a shade of carmine. Who knew? The word is slightly more evocative and specific than "that dark but not deep brickish red color" and so highly preferable. It's not the first time I've used that Wiki list to track down descriptors for the colors in these smells, so if it works then I suppose it works.

Anyhow, I promised reviews.


MAGDALENE (GC, Sin and Salvation)
A bouquet of white roses, labdanum, and wild orchid.
Review. )
Verdict: I'm surprised to find that I rather like this. White roses are a huge departure from the red roses that I'm used to, and unlike red they don't go sharp and bitter with my skin chemistry: instead, they are gentle and a bit sweet, much like real rose blossoms. The orchid is duskier, but it doesn't turn this into a heady mixed floral, but rather shadows in the scent. The resin is a lovely grounding note, and even though the blend suits me better after the floral topnotes have died down, it's pleasant and wearable from start to finish. The scent is mature, a bit subdued, a bit darkened, but overall almost desaturated, ghostly. I don't feel tempted to bathe in it to make it stronger—it's just naturally gentle. This isn't as distinct or as unusual as some BPAL perfume, and doesn't stand out of the crowd for me, but it is a floral I like and can wear, and it's turned me towards white roses. I'll be keeping it around.


NYX (GC, Excolo)
Night-blooming jasmine, warmed by myrrh, lifted by the promise of rose.
Review. )
Verdict: I amp rose so much that I can barely give a review of this blend—my experience is clouded by my own body chemistry. If the rose were softer, the jasmine might be able to come forward and meld with the myrrh, and this blend might be pleasant. Instead, the rose is predominant, very bitter against the background sweetness of myrrh and florals, and far too sharp. The result is a chunky, overbalanced blend with an unpleasant primary note, so I'll be swapping this out to someone who, hopefully, has better chemistry for and better luck with this blend.


MAD HATTER (GC, Mad Tea Party)
A gentlemen's lavender-citron cologne unhinged by the feral pungence of black musk and a paroxysm of pennyroyal.
Review. )
Verdict: After the horror of the initial application, I was actually surprised by how lovely this blend turned out to be. When the citron dies away, it transforms: masculine in the darkness of the musk, but not overtly so; complex, herbal, a touch sweet, mature, a little bit unusual. This isn't so strictly a men's blend that I would feel uncomfortable (as a feminine woman) wearing it myself, at least in the final drydown stage. I'm also surprised at how different my impression is from the other reviews I've read: I get no mint, except perhaps in the hint of sweetness, and the citron is instead predominant. No matter—even with the lovely drydown, there's no way that I'm ever going through the biting, overwhelming, cologne-heavy cloud of smell that comes with the initial application, not again. Without the citron, I'd consider this blend for myself. As it is, I'll be passing it on.


MASQUERADE (GC, Bewitching Brews)
Patchouli, ambergris, carnation and orange blossom.
Review. )
Verdict: The notes were so promising, but the scent is a bit disappointing. I wish that the orange blossom stuck around—I imagine it could give this scent the throw and character that it needs, because as it is I only get a skin scent, like a combination of base notes that should be background to something, not trying to be a perfume on their own. It's pleasant, but faint and almost indistinct. I'll have to try this again and see if I amp it differently under other conditions or like it enough as just a skin scent, but despite how promising the notes are, I may have to pass this along. That's too bad—I had high hopes!

ETA: Over six months later, and my opinion has changed somewhat. The orange blossom still disappears on my skin, but with a touch of aging the ambergris and patchouli have come into themselves. They are slightly salty, earthy, a touch smoky; their scent together is subtle, like a thicker, darker, more alluring second skin, but the throw has increased. I still wish that the florals were stronger, and this scent is not quite what I expected from the notes. However, I have grown to love the combination of ambergris and patchouli enough that I don't mind—I wear it anyway, content with that soft cloud of very bodily, unexpectedly enticing scent.


BENGAL (GC, Wanderlust)
Skin musk with honey, peppers, clove, cinnamon bark and ginger.
Review. )
Verdict: This is far from the dominant spices that I was hoping for. I never get the cinnamon or clove, the pepper is warm and almost sweet, the ginger is smooth and golden. The base is the heart of this blend, a skin musk that ties the scent to skin level and the smoothest skin-warmed honey, not sticky or cloying in the least. The perfume is faint, low throw and low wear length. But for all of that, the blend is still nice—it's not exceptional, and it's not what I wanted or expected, but I like it and so does the boy. It may make a good scent for cuddling in before bed, when wear length doesn't matter and the skin-level scent would be most appreciated. I'm still on the hunt for a good spicy blend, but I'll probably keep this one around.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I feel as if I'm forcing myself through book reviews, lately. The reading goes well enough—more than well, to be honest, as I'm now two books behind in my reviews (Dust and Perfume). And these should be fun books to talk about, since they are both of a certain level of quality—unlike, say, Heart-Shaped Box, the review for which was excruciating to write because I cared not a whit for the book itself, one way or the other. But when I sit down to write these reviews, I'm at a loss, constantly writing and deleting the same sentence and a half. It's like writing the Heart-Shaped Box review all over again, except a review like that would be a disservice to books like these, which actually have redeeming qualities.

I probably just need a change of pace. I've been doing somewhat poorly these last few days—restlessness, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, muscle aches, and headaches. The latter in particular worries me: I've been getting headaches every evening which last for a few hours at a time. They're tension headaches, and I've gotten them regularly for about eight years now, but these are particularly painful and regular. Massaging or putting sharp pressure on my temples can drive them away for twenty minutes or so, but then they come back in full force once again. Tense is just my default state—I grind my teeth, scrunch up my brow (having sensitive eyes doesn't help), and goodness knows I worry constantly, and so these pounding, aching tightnesses are the result. And it's getting annoying.

So I probably just need to go out, to do something, to take a break, be active, reset my headspace a little. Ideally I'd like to go out to dinner tonight with the boy, but he's been working late—so we'll see. Meanwhile there are pigs to try and improve my mood, and TV online if the mood remains unchangeable. Either way.

Even if I can't write book reviews, hopefully I can still write something. With that in mind: a meme stolen from [livejournal.com profile] lupanotte.
Everyone has things they blog about. Everyone has things they don't blog about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post about it. Ask for anything: latest movie watched, last book read, political leanings, thoughts on yaoi, favorite type of underwear, graphic techniques, etc. Repost in your own journal so that we can all learn more about each other.
For some inspiration, feel free to check out the list of tags on the left-hand side of my journal—granted I've mentioned them all once before, but I may not have addressed them since then.

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juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
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