Sunday, August 13, 2017

Florida Water and Charlottesville

Dave grew sweet peas this year, a new thing for us. They looked terrific for a couple of months, and then the plants began to get kind of grey and moth-eaten, and laden with seed pods. The blooms began to diminish, and too late we learned that picking sweet pea blossoms encourages the plant to bloom more. Oh well.

I picked these, the last few blossoms of the season, before Dave cut down the plant. I put them in my Florida Water bottle, an antique that my British friend Liz (as opposed to my two American friends named Liz) gave me. It says on it: "Florida Water, Murray & Lanman, Druggists, New York." Liz thought it was the perfect gift for me because I come from Florida and she and I first met in New York.

It got me thinking: What was Florida Water, anyway?

Turns out that it was basically a citrusy perfume. There's a whole Wikipedia page about it. Apparently Murray & Lanman held the trademark for the Florida Water name. I'm not sure how old my bottle might be, but apparently you can still buy Florida Water. From what I read on the Interwebs, it has magical or religious uses (if you're into that kind of thing).

I borrowed that image above from Pinterest. Turns out there are a lot of great Florida Water ads from the old days. Here are a few others:

Actually, that looks a lot like my bottle!


I took Olga to the Heath yesterday, where we both had a long romp. Mud was involved (for her), necessitating a back-garden bath (also for her). I've discovered that hauling my shoulder-strap camera bag long distances is starting to really stress out my back. I may have to find a better way to schlep my equipment -- a backpack, maybe?

Mrs Kravitz is on us again about our rubbish and recycling bins. They are well-maintained and neatly tucked into the alley beside our house, right next to her bins in her alley -- but as she told me when she collared me on the street yesterday, she thinks we have too many. (We have four, which for two flats isn't so bad.) She asked me to get rid of some of them, or to petition our landlord to build a higher fence between our property and hers. (She has three bins for her single-family house, for the record.) I'm going to ignore her. Sometimes, when someone's all up in your business, that's the most reasonable response.

I'm horrified by the news from Charlottesville. The worst among us feel emboldened and, indeed, invincible, because they believe the man in the White House has their back. It's terrifying, and also just incredibly sad. For the record, I too have doubts about the wisdom of dismantling Confederate war memorials -- they're part of America's history, and rather than removing them we should be explaining them, and balancing their message with monuments that more accurately reflect our modern society and expectations. But violence only begets more violence. Trump, through his words and actions on the campaign trail and in office, has propped open Pandora's box.


  1. Horrifying and disgusting...We've been thrown back to a less safe time and may never again gain the ground we thought we had after the civil rights movement...

  2. This morning I woke up with the question in my mind- has Trump emboldened these cockroaches of darkness or has he encouraged them?
    I tend to think it may be the latter although if so, it's certainly both.
    His response to the situation was far less than helpful and only underlined the need to get rid of him before our country and perhaps our planet go up in smoke and flames.
    "Fire and fury" indeed.

    Now. On a different note- the Florida Water postcards are exquisite. I love that last one. Look at it- a bird not native to Florida with mountains in the background is looking down at a body of water to see a floating bottle. Is the story that the bottle floated all the way from Florida to some other tropical place where palm trees and flowers abound along with mountains? It is magical.

  3. It's best to ignore loony neighbors if you can.

  4. love those Florida Water ads. too bad our modern society is so 'modern'.

    I think I would have told Ms Kravitz that if the sight of the rubbish bins upsets her so then it would be her responsibility to build her fence higher.

    as for the Nazis on display, I weep for this country. Trump has done so much damage to this country is just so short of a time.

  5. Those old advertisements are so beautiful. What a time of art that was. I like the advice about ignoring loony neighbors. Yikes, people are really nutty sometimes. Our country is in such a sad state right now. A lunatic president and an emboldened alt-right, neo-nazi movement in his support. I'm worried, seriously worried.

  6. Florida Water, ever searching for youth and beauty and fresh mornings!

    the unrelenting despair and anxiety causing underbelly of ignorance, patriarchal imbalance, entitlement, white white white horror since the orange baby has been installed is frightening, heart hurting, inexcusably the very worst of human character. This poor old earth can not shake us off fast enough!

    The orange baby and Bannon are delighted

  7. Trump has been foolish. It will bite him right in the ASS

  8. I am sure descendants of ex-slaves have different opinions than yours about objects that are constant reminders of when their ancestors were considered lower than chattel, were sold and killed at will, and worse. People of color do not need the existence of such reminders to "teach" or "explain" anything. They still live the same old stories. Those demeaning statues have been there since before yesterday and the only thing they "explain" is how shameful America still is.

  9. One other thing: One of the first things the people did after Saddam Hussein's downfall was to tear down the statues and banners. They knew they and their descendants would never need anything explained. The world also remembers their stories for them in case they ever forget.

  10. Maybe Mrs. Kravitz is not quite playing with a full deck. Is that possible? My mother's neighbour usually mows for her, and won't take payment for it - side note, we owe that neighbour big time at some point in the future. When my mom was sick recently, and that neighbour happpened to be away for a few days, she complained every day (sometimes several times a day) that her OTHER neighbour wasn't mowing instead! When she got better she stopped griping. She might have still been thinking it, but she had recovered enough of her filter to not say it, at least!!

    Your suggestion on keeping the monuments and adding others to recognize a more complete history is also being debated here at the moment. Our indigenous people object to a historical founder's statue in a nearby city and people are divided over whether to remove it or add a few more to honour leaders of the other founding groups. I don't know what the right answer is. It seems nobody is going to be happy no matter what.

  11. Those Florida water ads are gorgeous, and your bottle with the flowers is lovely too.

  12. Mrs Kravitz sounds like she hasn't enough to do in the day but I appreciate what you must feel like as I have a neighbour exactly like it.

  13. E: The thing that concerns me is the official sanction of this kind of behavior by our so-called "leader." Where is the denunciation? The condemnation?

    Ms Moon: There's a fine line between the two. I suppose he HAS encouraged them. If they were ever uncertain about spewing their hatred in public, now they're comfortable with it. And yes, I love that cockatoo card, with the mountains. Beautiful, but hilarious!

    Red: I agree. I'm going to be friendly to her and I'm not going to do anything she says.

    Ellen: I should have told her that, it's true. The thing is, she's planted some bushes at the edge of her alley that WILL screen the bins when they get big enough. She's just so obsessed with those bins.

    Robin: It is worrisome. It's a scary time. Our "leader" needs to make clear what behavior and viewpoints lie outside the realm of the acceptable -- but of course he won't do that because they're his supporters.

    Linda Sue: Well, humans have a lot of positive attributes too. I just hope the positives eventually outweigh the negatives!

    John: I hope so. I really hope this comes back to haunt him.

    Limner: This IS a complicated issue, and I know what you're saying. I don't think Confederate monuments need to be explained to minorities -- exactly the opposite. They need to be explained, contextualized, for WHITE people. The message needs to be that these are pieces of our history but we no longer ascribe to those views. What troubles me about the removal of artworks (and statues are artworks) is the Soviet-style erasure of history and art that doesn't conform to a message. Perhaps New Orleans has it right by keeping the art but putting it in a museum rather than a public square. And what should we do about all the counties or geographical areas that are named for Lee or Davis or Stonewall Jackson? Rename them? Now, I would NOT make the same argument about the Confederate flag -- that IS a symbol of hate, an overtly political symbol rather than an artistic one, and deserves no place in our current society. I would not want to model our behavior on Iraq.

    Jenny-O: I think Mrs. K definitely has some issues, but I don't think she's unbalanced. I think she's just a control freak.

    37P: Aren't they amazing? I wish ads looked like that now!

    Briony: That is EXACTLY part of the problem. She's home all the time. She doesn't have enough to do.