Hope you are celebrating Valentine's day all week long as it deserves. It's always an interesting week for me because my birthday falls the day before. I arrived between the bookends of Lincoln's birthday and Valentine's day. Between justice and love. I look behind and know I stand on the shoulders of all who have fought for the principles of justice and equality and I look ahead and know that love is always in sight.

Love guides and empowers every effort to make us one, to unify and harmonize. 

'Love is all there is'... as the Beatles sang.

I basked in a sea of love this week. Sweet gestures from friends and family. On my birthday, a Thai massage from my daughter, and later we watched Bridesmaids together. Howling with laughter is a good way to start the next year.

My friend Lis sent a gift that was so loaded with memories and love, I've been in the afterglow ever since.

Habinita is a French perfume, created in the 20's, initially, to scent cigarettes for women, and then crafted into a complex scent for the kind of women who smoked cigarettes back then. The Habinita bottle is designed by the French glass designer, Lalique (in the photo are my two empty bottles on the left, and a new full flacon from Lis on the right). As one reviewer on a perfume website describes, "... Habanita is the flamboyant, chain-smoking flapper with a boisterous laugh and devil-may-care attitude, who couldn’t care less whom she offends".  I'd seen the movie, The Artist, the day before and was love-struck with the flapper costumes and boisterous flappers.

I bought my first bottle at a duty-free shop in the Cayman Islands in 1980. I fell in love with it, headlong, recklessly, at first scent. I've never again found one to compare. On this particular adventure, I had moved to the Cayman Islands to work for my friend, Lis, and her (now ex) husband. They were negotiating to buy a resort for scuba divers on Grand Cayman. These months were full of tropical intrigue, with characters and plot twists you couldn't make up, until finally, the folks selling the resort disappeared without finishing the deal and a British banker arrived to take over. 

We returned to Oregon, but I had the perfume! When I think of the years following, I can't separate the memories from this fragrance. Finally, I was down to a swish in the bottom (there are still a few drops!). Sometime in the late 80's Lis sent another bottle as a birthday gift - I think, from a shop in San Francisco. This was a time full of challenges: losing my father, divorce, moving, career, raising my daughter as a single parent. At some point I think I stopped using the second bottle when there was still maybe 25% left. I think I stopped believing in it - or believing that I deserved to feel that good. 

Perfume, like life, gets stale when it's not enjoyed. It loses it's juiciness!

Now, my Habinita is replenished, a flacon of love in my life again. If the first bottle was adventure, and the second was getting through life's challenges, then this one is promise. 

All is new again. All is possible.

But, above all else, Habinita is friendship. Enduring, deep, unconditional friendship that spans decades of joy, grief, loss, revelation, hope, and change - with open hearts and soul's bared. A friend who knows me so well and, as they say, still loves me. Still!