Scent Diary, August 20-26, 2018

Monday, Aug. 20: Taz started his senior year of high school last Thursday; Gaze and The CEO started classes at Virginia Tech today. (Means I get the house to myself again. 😀 Maybe I can get some writing done now.) SOTD is Guerlain Elixir Charnel Floral Romantique. I always feel like I have to justify loving this thing. Yeah-yeah, derivative overpriced pink mall juice, yada yada whatever, I don’t care. It’s a floral with a deliciously bitter edge and I love it. Besides, I got a slightly-used bottle at deep discount on teh ‘Bay. Nyah nyah.

Tuesday, Aug. 21: Intermittent thunderstorms all day. SOTD was Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere. It had cleared up by 5 p.m. and the sun was shining, so I left beef-veggie kabobs in the fridge for Bookworm to cook when she got home and went on to deep water aerobics. We’d only been in the pool for about 18 minutes of class when lightning struck nearby and we had to get out. Sad — especially because by the time I got dried off and in the car to leave the YMCA, skies were clear again. I had thought I might go for a walk after dinner, but it got dark while we were eating. The kabobs were SO GOOD.

Wednesday, Aug. 22: Again, intermittent showers. I managed to do a ton of errands and wash two loads of towels. SOTD was Chanel No. 19 edp, which I love. I had planned to go do exercise bike at the Y, but then I ran across a low-impact high-intensity interval (HIIT) workout on Youtube for people with wonky knees, and decided to do that instead. WHEW. Hard. Really hard. I liked it, though.

Talked to Gaze recently. VT is so packed with new students that dorm space is extremely limited and there was talk of moving noncadet students into any extra rooms in the cadet dorms… but there’s no room in the cadet dorms. The Corps is so full that most cadets, even upperclassmen, are jammed with four people in triple rooms and three in doubles. Gaze is one of three in a double room in the basement, and Housing even had to convert the study lounges to sleeping spaces. Yikes. All this because Tech’s president is making a push to “grow the university.” Which would be fine, except that the infrastructure to do that is not yet in place. Dorm space doesn’t spring up out of the ground overnight, and although there is plenty of apartment housing in Blacksburg, freshmen and cadets, as well as the honor dorm residents like my nephew, perforce must live on campus. I hear that the dining halls are particularly crowded at midday, as well. (There are four main dining halls plus several snack places, and at least five food trucks.) Grr.

Thursday, Aug. 23: Sunshine! That means laundry! I washed six loads and hung them out on the line, brought them in, and folded them. Yay me. Also, Deep Water Aerobics this evening, which I have decided to call Happiness Time. SOTD was Hanae Mori Haute Couture, big friendly citrusy jasmine fruit thing. (Discontinued, probably because it smells nothing like the original Hanae Mori berry-‘nilla scent.)

Friday, Aug. 24: Showers again. I had two loads left from yesterday, but managed to hang them out in between the rains. SOTD was softly powdery Rose d’Ete, my first niche purchase and still a love. Delicious New York strip steaks for dinner, plus mushrooms, cauliflower rice, green beans, roasted chunky potatoes (which I didn’t eat), and grilled zucchini. Yum.

Saturday, Aug. 25: Taz overslept and missed the 6:45 a.m. bus to his cross-country meet; I wound up driving him to Blacksburg. Once I was in Blacksburg, of course, the only sensible thing to do was to . . . go to Aldi. 😛 I did some grocery shopping before coming home and doing some cleaning. SOTD was Leonard de Leonard.

There are cows in the 20-Acre Field behind the house, so we are right now suffering a Plague of Many Flies. UGH. You swat one and three more come in the door.

Sunday, Aug. 26: I don’t feel well. Went to church anyway and was glad I went. Then after a quick lunch, we all went to see a local production of “Chicago.” One of Taz’s classmates was in it, and she was fabulous as Velma Kelly. (Frankly, I wondered why she wasn’t cast as Roxie — who was also good, but in my opinion, less fabulous than Velma.) So I was glad we went to that, too! SOTD was Lubin Epidor, which is somehow both golden and dusky-plummy. I like it very much.

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Jumping Through The Hoops

(If you’re here for the perfume, you’ll be disappointed today.)

Photo by Julia Maudlin at Flickr, Creative Commons license, some rights reserved. Photo may only be used with attribution and a link to the source. Click through for link.

My last post was about Essure and my gradual realization that many medical problems I had dismissed under the rationalization, “I’m just getting older,” or “I’m just fat,” may actually have been caused or simply worsened by a medical device that was rushed through FDA approval without adequate studies beforehand.

This post is about the timeline of hoops that I have begun jumping through, in order to reach the goal of having Essure removed.

1) In September 2017, after I find out that the FDA has recommended a black box warning for Essure, I decide to get rid of these things which have caused me so much insidious trouble. The doctor who placed my Essure (and delivered my first baby via C-section), retired seven years ago and I haven’t been to see another since. I call to request an appointment with another GYN, who is well-regarded, who used to practice with my implanting doctor, and who delivered my third baby, but it takes THREE MONTHS to get on her schedule. It’s now December 2017, and when I go in, she refuses to consider the possibility that all might not be well with my Essure. To humor me, she orders an ultrasound to locate my coils. I ask for a hystero-salpingogram (HSG) or an x-ray, so we can be sure they’re where they’re supposed to be. “They don’t move,” she says flatly. “Ever. Put that right out of your head. But I guess we can do an US, to make you feel better about it.”

2) I have the ultrasound in January 2018. It doesn’t locate my coils.

3) I see another doctor in my GP’s practice in March, for a sore throat that hasn’t gone away in two weeks. Unlike my usual GP, Dr. Kelly actually listens to me, considers a concern I have, and answers my questions without making me feel like an idiot and a fussbudget, instead of a woman with a bachelor’s degree who can understand some basic medical science. It is a revelation. There are doctors who do this? I NEED ONE OF THESE.

I notice that when The CEO began having pain in his ankle, Dr. Kelly prescribed an anti-inflammatory and sent him straight to physical therapy. Did I get PT for my foot and ankle pain? Did I get meds? I did not. I got the standard “Lose some weight and don’t wear those shoes.” I begin to realize that it might not just be me: my doctor might be part of the problem.

4) In May, I schedule a regular checkup and request to see Dr. Kelly instead of my regular doctor. The office manager tells me I can’t see him because he’s not my primary physician, and he’s not taking new patients. I’ve been seeing him, and other medical practitioners in this “family medicine practice,” for the past 20 years. How am I a new patient? “He’s not taking new patients, period,” the office manager says. I agree to see the female physician’s assistant. I weigh the most I have ever weighed, and I know I’m going to get fussed at for it.

5) I have my checkup with the PA. She listens. I think she’s skeptical, but she listens. We talk about Essure and my ongoing foot pain and my diet. She agrees to refer me to an allergist so I have testing done to see if I’m allergic to the materials in Essure. She agrees to test me for thyroid issues. She puts me on 9 Advil a day for 3-4 weeks, to combat my foot pain and inflammation. She suggests low-carb dieting, particularly because my blood pressure is creeping up. She suggests checking to see if my insurance will cover the new shingles vaccine, and she strongly suggests I get a screening colonoscopy. My blood work indicates no pre-diabetes or other issues. It also indicates that my thyroid is normal.

6) Into June now. The 9 daily Advil help so much that I actually do not feel like crap every day. The whole time I’m on them, I’m feeling good. I buy Chaco sandals. I put fresh plantar fasciitis-fighting insoles in my shoes. I don’t walk much, but I start water aerobics with the Fabulous Old Ladies at the Y, and sometimes I use the exercise bike. The pain in my elbow goes away. The pain in my right foot goes away. The pain in my left foot (always worse) is greatly lessened. I lose four pounds. I schedule my colonoscopy for the end of July.

7) I finish 3.5 weeks of daily Advil. The pain in my left foot is still there. I make another appointment with the PA. My appointment with the allergist will not be until August. I ask about the endocrinologist, and the PA sighs and says that if I really want an appointment she’ll try to get me one, but she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with my thyroid. I ask about a referral to the podiatrist, and she says she’ll order one. She also orders an x-ray of my left foot, to see if I have bone spurs. My BP is up to 140/103, so she wants to put me on lisinopril.

8) In June/July, 10 mg lisinopril makes my BP go down to 120/85 most days.  I read on the Essure Problems group site about a woman who had been suffering for days with pain in her pelvic area, until she was taking a shower and felt a sharp pain in her vagina. She reached down and found… yep. One of her Essure coils. Go right ahead and tell me “they don’t move,” Dr. Howell. Sure, they’re not supposed to. But that doesn’t mean they can’t.

9) In May, Carilion’s medical records archives unit cannot locate any records of the placement of my Essure, which is part of what Dr. Monteith in NC needs in order to talk about scheduling Essure removal. I call the office twice in June and get a response of, “Oh, sure, I’ll call the archives in Roanoke and tell them what we need. We’ll call you back,” both times. Neither person calls me back. In July, I go to the hospital for my x-ray, and stop by the medical records office to ask one more time. I get, “Oh, sure, I’ll call the archives in Roanoke and tell them what we need. We’ll call you back.” I also get a printout of the doctor’s transcribed notes from the procedure, which might be most of what I need, but it does not contain any of the pictures taken with that teeny camera, showing the coils in place. I do not get a call back, either. (Third time. Carilion medical records, you suck.)

10) July. The x-ray of my foot indeed shows bone spurs. Yay. (“Don’t wear those shoes” seems horribly callous to me right now. I’ve been having pain for three years. Did I get sent to physical therapy? Noooooooo.) The pelvic x-ray shows two Essure coils that seem to be intact and approximately in the right place. (Which is relatively reassuring, but also a potential block to getting someone other than the elective surgeon to remove them.) I talk to Dr. Monteith’s office staff about sending them the disk with the x-ray results on it. I fill out the preliminary form and email it to the office. The scheduling nurse calls me back and says that my BMI is too high for the surgery there.

11) The endocrinologist’s office in Salem is overwhelmed because another specialist in the area retired, and they refuse to see me for a full thyroid panel, saying I can just see my GP. (Who thinks my thyroid is fine, and never mind that my mom needed a full panel to be diagnosed.) Also, I am too fat for the surgery to remove the thing that made me too fat in the first place.  If this is not discouraging, I do not know what would be.

12) I will keep my appointment with the allergist August 31. I may have recourse to removal if my tests show sensitivity to nickel. My dad says he will ask his endocrinologist if he’ll agree to see me since I’m getting the run-around.

13) I decide to try to lose the 50 pounds it’s going to take to get my BMI low enough for Dr. Monteith’s surgery. I may fail — Lord knows I’ve failed to lose weight often enough in the past — but I am going to try, and try really hard. It’s not going to be fun.

I check out the Paleo diet my college friend Heidi says works well, but it doesn’t allow cheese. That’s not going to work for me. I check out the ketogenic diet that a friend from church is on for his diabetes, but I do not think I could manage that food plan for the time it’s likely to take. I decide to do South Beach (the original reduced-carb/low-fat one from cardiologist Dr. Agatston’s book, not the new one where they sell you food like Nutrisystem) again. I lost about 20 pounds on SB a few years ago, but as soon as I started eating carbs again the weight came right back. I am going to have to say goodbye to favorites like mac-n-cheese and cake, like, forever. I mean, I can live without fruit for the first two weeks, and I can skip carrots and corn and beets for a while, and I can live indefinitely putting my fish tacos and burgers and sandwiches on lettuce leaves instead of tortillas or bread. I can probably live with pizza made on a cauliflower crust. (Although I LOVE beets.) But no baked potatoes? ever? 😥

14) I go for a walk the third day of my diet. My feet feel okay, and I go fairly slow for forty minutes. The next day, my left foot is killlling me, and I’m limping around as badly as I ever did. It occurs to me that the GP’s office has never gotten around to referring me to the podiatrist and I will have to call myself. AGAIN. I need a new doctor.

15) I call Dr. Monteith’s office back and ask if I can stay on their list. Sure, the scheduling nurse says. They’re expecting a rate increase (up from $7500) next spring, but they hold on to records for at least two years, so if I want to start an account I can do that. I say yes, please.

16) In late July, I see the podiatrist. Yep, I’ve got plantar fasciitis. I get new insoles and a prescription for anti-inflammatory meds. The insoles don’t really help. The hard massage ball does. The stretching does, a little.

17) On August 10, I manage to get in to see my dad’s endocrinologist in Roanoke. Dr. Bivens says that while I do have some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, he doesn’t think that I have it, but we’ll wait for the labs to come in. My full thyroid panel comes back normal. Dr. Bivens suggests a sleep study; I could have sleep apnea. (The sleep tracker on my Fitbit seems to fit a fairly normal pattern most nights, but it’s not a real medical diagnostic tool. We’ll see, I guess. As of now the sleep study is not yet scheduled.)

Summary to date: There are likely more hoops to come. I am very lucky that The CEO has good health insurance.

I have currently been on the original South Beach Diet for one month now, and I’ve lost eleven pounds — that’s 15 pounds down from my heaviest. I’ll need a lot of support, but I continue to press toward a lowered BMI so that I can have surgery. That will be forty pounds from now.

(As a show of support for me, please do not send me chocolate. Or chocolate-scented perfume, for that matter. I will take commiseration, prayer, and hugs.)

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In Lieu of Recent Scent Diaries

So, heads up: medical stuff goin’ on, y’all. Life stuff, really. Sorry, no perfume at this point, though I hope to get back to it eventually.

A few years ago, I stopped getting regular checkups. I got discouraged at hearing my doctor say to me, “There’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to lose weight. Eat less. Exercise more.”

And when I would say to him, “Look, my feet hurt. I’m tired all the time. I’m not eating burgers and ice cream every meal; I eat grilled chicken and veggies; I try to eat healthy. I’ve been on a diet. I’ve been exercising,” he would say, “Well, eat less. And exercise more.”

I asked for a thyroid test, since I have a strong family history of thyroid disorder on both sides. “Your tests are normal,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with you, except you weigh too much.”

The pain in my feet and ankles? “Lose some weight. And don’t wear those shoes.” (The shoes in question were not flip-flops or flats; they were a sturdy pair of leather mules with 1 1/2″ heels and arch support.)

The numbness in my hands? The brain fog? The constant fatigue? Could I please have a referral to the endocrinologist, because I’m the same age my mom was when she was finally diagnosed after 8 years of symptoms and “normal” test results, with a full thyroid panel? “Your thyroid is normal. No.”

The intermittent pain in my abdomen on the left side, the one that felt like something inside pinching me? “I can’t feel anything there. There’s nothing wrong with you.”

What about this rash on my upper arms, that I keep getting especially in summer when I’ve been outside? “Sun sensitivity. Cover your arms up. Wear sunscreen.”

And so my doctor secretly labeled me a complainer. A fat complainer. A fat, lazy complainer. A fat, lazy, non-compliant complainer. I got used to asking questions and being told not to worry about it. It was all in my head. There was nothing wrong with me.

Just lose some weight, and don’t wear those shoes.

I was tired of the not-so-secret judging. I quit seeing the doctor, unless I had a illness that needed medication. I do realize that this was an ostrich kind of move, but I don’t know if I can explain how much it affected my confidence, knowing that my doctor thought I was a big fat whiner and didn’t believe my pain or concerns were worth investigating.

Then I got a big wake-up call last August from an unlikely source: Consumer Reports magazine. See, I thought the vacuum cleaner was dead (as it turned out, it had just gotten too hot). I had gone to CR’s website to find their vacuum ratings — and found a gigantic ominous banner across the top of the website saying something like, “Essure Black Box Warning.”

My immediate reaction: Oh gosh. I have Essure. I’ve had it for, what, 10 years? What’s wrong with it? I haven’t had any problems with it.

So I go read the brief article, which says something like, “The FDA has recommended a black box warning for the Essure device. A black box warning is the strictest warning put in the labeling of prescription drugs or medical products by the Food and Drug Administration when there is reasonable evidence of an association of a serious hazard with the drug or product.”

My immediate reaction: Oh wow. Serious hazard? Well, I knew that it might not work, and I did have to sign a waiver thingie before Dr. Young put it in, about understanding that it might lead to complications. But he said that complications were super-rare, and that this was a good option for me, given that I was aging out of birth control pills and I had a history of IUD failure¹.  Essure wouldn’t involve surgery or hormones; it was all done in the office, so that must’ve been safe, right?

¹And thank God for that, or we wouldn’t have Taz. He was an unexpected blessing.

So then I go read this article, “The Consumer’s Guide to Essure Birth Control,” at Consumer Reports, which details the serious complications many women have with Essure. (It’s short. Go read.) I’m not convinced yet — but I’m wary. So then I go and look up the Facebook group called Essure Problems. I ask to join. I read the posts. I’m thinking, Wow, these ladies are very quick to say that Essure caused all their health problems. Gynecological ones, sure, that makes sense. But other stuff? I don’t see the correlation. And I have not had any serious gynecological problems.

There’s a frequent commenter on the page who says, “If you didn’t have it before Essure, it’s because of Essure,” often, probably at least once a day, and I still think that’s too simple. It’s bad science to rely solely on anecdotal evidence; commonality is not causality. Women who have never had Essure do develop illnesses, after all. I had my gallbladder out before I had Essure, for example, so I’m not sure we can say that every single case of gallbladder disease developing after Essure is definitely due to it. I am skeptical.

Two days later, someone posts, “Anyone having pain on the tops of their feet? Like the tendons on the tops of their feet are strained and inflamed?” and my jaw drops. I have that. Sure, Dr. Kincaid said not to wear those shoes, but I get those pains even when I wear good supportive athletic shoes, with good supportive insoles. And in real time, within 20 seconds twelve people reply, “Yes. I have that.”

The next day, two other people are talking about how their upper molars are just crumbling in their mouths, and how their dentist thinks they grind their teeth at night, and that they must never brush or floss. Eight others mention a metallic taste in their mouth. A doctor in the group comments that he thinks that Essure changes the chemistry of saliva.  And my jaw drops, because I have that. I’ve had that metallic taste in my mouth since 2006! Less than a year after I had Essure put in, I lost two upper molars which just cracked for no apparent reason. My dentist has given me a night guard, which probably saved a third upper molar via a crown procedure last year ($1200, thanks very much).

So I read some more, and I research some more, and it becomes clear to me that Essure is at the very least an agent provocateur in kick-starting medical problems that might not have developed, or might have developed later in life. In particular, it seems to be associated with problems in a few broad areas:

1) Gynecological. Heavy and too-frequent menses, early menopause, cysts, pain with sex, uterine/cervical/vaginal atrophy or enlargement, ectopic pregnancy, device migration, endometriosis, unexplained sharp pains in the abdomen, puncture of uterus or fallopian tubes, frequent UTI’s, repeated yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis resistant to treatment, etc.  I have some of these symptoms.

2) Auto-immune and unspecified inflammatory. Auto-immune, Hashimoto’s, thyroid, Crohn’s, gluten sensitivity, IBS, gallbladder disease, allergies (particularly to metal), weight gain resistant to diet and exercise, tendonitis, etc. I have some of these symptoms.

3) Dental. Severe cavities, teeth crumbling, gum disease. I have these symptoms, too, after decades of good dental hygiene and good teeth.

You can read more about Essure and its incomplete studies here, in an article from the New England Journal of Medicine.

If you have Netflix, you can check out a documentary called “The Bleeding Edge,” beginning July 27, about how the Essure device was rushed through FDA approval and how it has ruined thousands of women’s lives. As of a few weeks ago, Bayer — which bought Conceptus, the company that originally produced Essure, in 2013 — announced that they would end sales of Essure in the United States as of the end of this year, due to declining profitability. (Interestingly, or maybe suspiciously, the current head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, was a significant investor in the company that originally brought Essure to market in 2002 without a study of its long-term effects.)

So once I figure out that my Essure coils might be contributing to health problems, I get to researching how I can get them removed. Typically, a doctor would do some laparoscopic surgery, reach in with forceps or whatever, and pull out the thing that’s causing problems and then sew you up — but that would be a disaster. If Essure coils are cut or pulled or tugged in any way, that is likely to leave both metal fragments and PET fibers behind, and many women who had their coils removed have had excruciating medical problems dating to the improper removal. If you want to have them out, and they are “in the right place,” that is, mostly inside the fallopian tubes with a small portion trailing into the uterus, you will need at the very least a bilateral salpingectomy (both tubes removed) with a cornual resection (upper part of the uterus removed), or salpingectomy with hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and possibly the cervix as well).

Removal is a big problem for me. I don’t have any of the gynecological disorders that would induce an OB-GYN to agree that I need a hysterectomy.

Then I found out that there’s a doctor in North Carolina who, though primarily focusing on reversing tubal ligations in order to restore fertility, also removes Essure using microsurgery. He’s had good results in getting all of the coil without leaving fragments behind, and without needing to take any part of the uterus out.

So what do I do now?  I start jumping through the hoops. That’s been my year since last August, pretty much, and I’m going to detail it in the next post.

 

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Scent Diary, June 18-24, 2018

Monday, June 18: A nice day, with temps in the mid-80s and not much humidity.  The CEO had expected to be in the hayfield (with the boys) today, but apparently it’s supposed to start raining on Wednesday and stay rainy for a few days after that, so they did some other stuff around the house/shop today. Poor Gaze, I think he would rather have been mowing.  SOTD was Silences pdt, which is pretty much liquid air-conditioning.

Tuesday, June 19: Warm. Not terribly humid. Really nice, for June.  Worked hard on the stationary bike at the Y today and went 7.2 miles in 35 minutes . . . then I noticed that my Fitbit was fussing at me for getting my heart rate up too high (and that’s a clear indication that my heart is not all that healthy).

SOTD was samples that I will speak more about later. There’s a company that’s planning to rerelease one of four classic scents that they’ve updated, and I got in just under the wire with ordering samples of the four. I’ll post my feelings about these sometime soon, probably before they announce which one of the four was chosen, based on the votes of those who have tried them.

Wednesday, June 20: Hotter and muggier than the last two days. I worked my tail off in Water Aerobics today and actually managed to sweat while standing in the water (okay, so the sun was shining through the big window onto me too). Gaze moved bales today and Taz cleaned out the farm shop; I did some laundry and worked on my eBay sales (which are going okay, thanks. Not ‘going gangbusters,’ as my dad would say, but I am selling some stuff I don’t want, and generally for a fair price. I’m really happy to be sending these unloved bottles to new homes).

My elbow is not hurting me anymore. Neither is my right foot. The left, though, is still quite painful, and not just during or after walking on it. Sometimes I get sharp shooting pains in the heel for no apparent reason. Gah.

It did not rain today. SOTD is once again Silences. #notsorry #greengorgeousness

Thursday, June 21: Good stationary bike workout today; I only went 6.4 miles in 30 minutes but I kept my heart rate in the “cardio zone.” Also went about 3 minutes on the elliptical, and now my foot is killllling me. Dangit. Really no more elliptical for me; I need to quit trying.

SOTD was Chanel No. 19, and a tiny bit of vintage Max Factor Epris, which wears like a classic chypre formula with an oriental growl in the base. I think the citrus notes up top are gone with this one (first released in 1981).

It only rained a little bit today, so The CEO was saying that he could have mowed hay on Monday after all. Oh well.

Friday, June 22: Summer solstice! It crept up on me! I usually do notice.  It was sunny, then overcast, then it rained hard, then it rained steadily, then the sun came out. Weird weather.  SOTM was sunny Chanel 1932, glorious citrus-jasmine-iris.

Went to the Y to try their Deep Water Aerobics at 2 pm, but lightning closed the pool so I went to the cardio room for more stationary bike. Went the same distance over the same time as Tuesday, but kept my heart rate mostly in the “cardio” range, with only a few forays into “peak.” Which is probably the zone I should be in, anyway. SOTD post-shower was vintage Fendi. (That’s tautological, isn’t it? All Fendi by Fendi is vintage because they haven’t made it since, gosh, the mid-1990s or so.)

First local minor league baseball game of the season! The CEO got four tickets from a friend, so he took Bookworm and Gaze and Gaze’s friend and fellow cadet LM who is spending the summer away from home, in Blacksburg, taking some courses. I think he’s an engineering major, and it usually takes those students 5 years to finish the degree. Taz and I stayed home.

Saturday, June 23: Got up early and did Father’s Day Version 2.0, because for various scheduling reasons, The CEO didn’t get the FD meal he’d requested last week. We had French toast with real thick-cut bacon and mixed berries. Yum.

I am for some unaccountable reason exhausted. Cleaned up some today, but I’m soooooo tiiiiired.  No SOTD.

Sunday, June 24: Church. (Blue maxi dress, white crochet shrug. Chacos. SOTD was the friendly Rome souvenir Ferre 20.) Baby shower for a church member in the afternoon.

Sooooo tiiiiired again. Need to go see my doctor again. I don’t think she wants to send me to the endocrinologist, but I also think I really need to.

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Scent Diary, May 29-June 3, 2018

Tuesday, May 29: Overcast and muggy, which looks to be the forecast all week. Sigh. The weeds are getting away from me, but I just don’t feel like weeding them. I’m so tired. Went to a funeral today for the spouse of a good childhood friend. I wish I’d known him better, and my heart’s broken for the family. Chanel No. 19 was again my Invisible Armor today.

When Mom and I got back, a doe went streaking down the side yard and Mom speculated that her baby must be over in the neighboring lot, in the bushes. (This lot never passed the “perk test,” so was unsuitable for building a house on, and it’s grown up in black locusts and paradise trees and thornbushes and the like, ideal for wildlife.) Instead, though, we found the fawn lying on her back deck, and it stayed there long enough for Mom to go inside and get her camera, then get a couple of pictures, before it bounded off. So pretty!

Bookworm, 2 months old. That grin!

Wednesday, May 30: Bookworm’s birthday. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to be her mother. Such a blessing.

Had a checkup with the physician’s assistant at my doctor’s office, and I dumped out all the symptoms that my doctor has been ignoring for the past several years (plus a few other issues). I’m not sure that anything positive has happened yet, but at least the PA listened to me and was able to take my concerns seriously. I hope that something will change soon. SOTD was beautiful and grounding Chanel 31 Rue Cambon.

We ate calzones and salad and apple pie for the girl’s birthday. Delish.

Thursday, May 31: Took Bookworm’s car to the lube shop for an oil change, and worked on some mending. Ignored the weeds (again) because I just. don’t. feel. like weeding. I will probably be sorry about this someday soon, but right now I just can’t. I also haven’t filled my hanging baskets with any plants. I’m just… I don’t know. I don’t think I care. The front porch needs painting so badly.

At least I do smell good, in Crown Bouquet. Another greenie, but who’s surprised by that? Now Smell This’s community project this week is to wear a scent with a creamy or milky component, and I’ve been thinking about Hilde Soliani’s Il Tuo Tulipano, which smells not like tulips, but like those frozen creamy fruit salads people used to bring to church potlucks.

Friday, June 1: Hot and muggy weather. Errands. Paid the real estate taxes, mailed some stuff, hit the grocery store, went by the bank, and stopped at the YMCA at about 4:45 to get my first Y membership in… oh, 20 years? 24? it’s been a long time, obvs. I have GOT to get my feet recovered from this plantar fasciitis. No more walking until I do… so. Swimming. Maybe some water aerobics (with all the spry old ladies!) or stationary bike.

SOTD is Guerlain Charnel Elixir Floral Romantique. I wound up bagging the NST challenge and going with one from a Facebook group, to wear something “swoony.” Floral Romantique, despite its cheesy name and its pretentious packaging, makes me swoon. When it first came out, everybody who was reviewing it said something like, “This is boring, derivative, smells like the same-old department store juice they’ve been shilling since 2008. Also, WAY overpriced for what it is, another floral woody musk. Unworthy of Guerlain.”

For one thing, I don’t revere Guerlain. Generally speaking, my reaction is Meh. (Go ahead and toss the tomatoes, I know I’m in the minority.) I mean, I like Chamade. But I only LIKE it. I like L’Heure Bleue in parfum, sorta. I like Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, too. But I could live without them, if I had to. I nearly always prefer the Coty version of the classics, anyway: Emeraude over Shalimar, Chypre over Mitsouko. Nyah.

But this? I really like. Sure, it’s just another soft white floral (tiare, jasmine, ylang, lily) and it’s pretty sweet in that sense. But there’s a thread of something bitter and refreshing running through it, too, and it dries down just lovely on me. The notes list includes cedar, chestnut, maté, and smoked tea, so I have no idea what that bitter note is but I love it. Also, The CEO once told me, “This smells like your skin, only a little more perfumey.”

Saturday, June 2: Cooler and cloudy today. I managed to take a big box of stuff to Goodwill, and then zip over to Target to pick up some stuff, before grilling some burgers. Dinner table discussion concerned Stevie Ray Vaughan, Texas blues guitarist. I’m not a big blues person, unless it’s Chicago blues, which I sort of enjoy if I’m in the mood. But The CEO is a fan. (We once named a minivan Stevie Ray Van. Stevie Ray’s predecessor was Eddie Van, for Eddie Van Halen, so I guess you know what kind of guitarists I like…)

SOTD was the first niche thing I ever bought — Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete. Supposed to be based on the smell of a yellow rose, and darn if it doesn’t smell like one to me! A little fruity, a little powdery, a light and uncomplicated rose. So pretty. I still love this one, and FYI, yellow roses are my favorite.

On the negative side, I just got the response to my  request for medical records in the mail — the ones having to do with my Essure implants, from my GYN who has since retired. And apparently, these medical records do not exist. Which seems super-fishy to me. Because, you know, I was there. It happened. I just don’t quite know where to go next.

Sunday, June 3: Warm early-June day. Outside, it smells like either manure or honeysuckle, depending on which way the wind is blowing! I will be VERY glad when The CEO’s cousin finally gets his dairy manure lagoon empty and stops spraying it on all the fields around.

SOTD was Teo Cabanel Early Roses. After church, the family went to see Solo: a Star Wars Story. It’s getting a lot of complaint (from my friends, at least) so we were a little apprehensive. Especially after The Last Jedi, which we all enjoyed in the theater and then immediately started finding things we thought were badly written in the car on the way home. (We liked Rogue One — a lot.)

We liked Solo, too. Not as much as Rogue One, which was an extremely tight plot, both simple and tremendously emotionally affecting — but we liked Solo. There were things we’d have done differently, and things that confused us, but generally speaking we thought it was a creditable effort. What didn’t we like? All the explosions and flying through the air on dodgy platforms: basically all the superhero movie crap that has been done to death. And the ending, that bothered us too. Possibly it’s setting up a Solo II sequel? I don’t know, but there were a LOT of loose ends there. Also, sticking some young actor in front of a camera and telling him, “Be Harrison Ford,” is a very tall order, because so far as I know, there’s only one Harrison Ford. All the same, I thought Ehrenreich did a decent job. Watching him fall in love with the Millennium Falcon was almost worth the price of admission in itself, and when you add on Donald Glover’s slick-as-snake-oil Lando Calrissian, that filled out the rest of the ticket value.

Anybody have a differing view of Solo?

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Scent Diary, May 7-13, 2018

Monday, May 7: Warm, sunny and breezy — in fact, very comfortable (although The CEO is not happy with breeze). Perfect weather for Le Temps d’une Fete.

Gaze moved his clobber back home last Friday evening and will be home most of the summer. He’s had a successful freshman year at Virginia Tech and seems to have settled in to the Corps of Cadets quite well. Nice to have him home! He mowed the yard for me today, right before it rained. (Unfortunately, all the stuff he brought home — WAY more than he took with him, since now he must have 20 sets of uniforms, a gigantic rucksack for ROTC, and a bunch of other official stuff — is now in my sewing room. I can barely get to the sewing machine, and I have projects started. Grr.)

Bookworm has asked to learn how to use the sewing machine, so we started with a simple project, an apron. We cut it out last night, and then this evening did a hands-on tutorial on sewing straight stitches (complete with installing thread and bobbin, threading the needle, finding correct tension, choosing stitch and stitch length, and turning a corner). She sewed all the straps. I’m proud of her.

Tuesday, May 8: Another day of pleasant temperatures; another day of Le Temps d’une Fete! Took Gaze to his annual vision check-up in the afternoon. It’s an hour’s drive there and an hour back, and I knew he’d have his pupils dilated so wouldn’t be capable to driving safely home. Last time I had an eye exam was five years ago (I know, I know, I need to do it again, but my eye doctor has retired so I need to find a new one), and skies were gloomy with rain, so I had no trouble seeing and drove the 6 minutes home without worry.

While tidying up my perfume collection I found a large-ish decant of vintage Guerlain Vega that I’d forgotten about. Gosh, this is lovely stuff. To be sure, it’s full of aldehydes, so if you hate No. 5 Vega will not change your mind, but Vega is gentler than No. 5 and, I think, easier to wear. I wore it to bed.

Wednesday, May 9: Happy anniversary to The CEO! 26 years and we haven’t killed each other yet. SOTM was a mishmash, miscellaneous sprays from various fragrances I’m selling, just to make sure that they haven’t gone off since the last time I smelled them. Amazone, 24, Faubourg, Chamade, Deneuve, Vanille Tonka, Ostara… I must say, I smell like the perfume section of a large department store.

Packaged up some minis and bottles from the blog sale to send out. Showered and put on some Guerlain Floral Romantique, because The CEO likes it. We went to dinner at Outback (because we had a gift certificate. because steak. Duh.), came home and watched Survivor. (You go, Donathan! And Laurel. Send Kellyn home.)

“La passione di Roma.” What a beautiful piece of advertising. (Also, her HAIR. That rope-twisted braid is lovely… not to mention the fur.)

Thursday, May 10: SOTM was original Fendi by Fendi, eau de toilette from a manufacturer sample vial, and eau de parfum from a mini bottle. Found both in a box of unloved decants (how’d they get there? I had never even tried them!). GOSH, this is gorgeous stuff. Gorgeous. Truly. Very 1980s, in that Fendi is a big floral bouquet atop a serious, weighty, beautiful base of oriental and chypre notes. According to Angela’s review of it at NST, “Fendi includes top notes of bergamot, aldehydes and rosewood; a heart of rose, lily of the valley, geranium, jasmine, tuberose, orris and carnation; and a base of cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood, moss, musk, amber, vanilla and benzoin.” Fragrantica adds ylang-ylang and omits mention of several notes. What stands out to me is rose, geranium, muguet, patchouli, moss, sandalwood and benzoin, and the whole thing seems familiar without being recognizable.

It does strike me, somehow, as being very Italian. I can’t say why. Maybe it’s the ad? I do remember the ad, though I had never smelled Fendi before today. It reminds me of a whole slew of other scents: Magie Noire (though it lacks MN’s witchy, eerie herbal cast), La Perla’s original scent (though I think La Perla is somehow “dirtier,” with more of an intimate-skin angle), perhaps Ungaro Diva (though it doesn’t have Diva’s leather). It even reminds me a tad of the old Karl Lagerfeld Chloe, which you might remember I wore for thirteen or fourteen years, right through from middle school into the early years of my marriage. Chloe is more white-floral and much less chypre, but there is that sense of richness and detail, of tapestry, that it shares with Fendi.

(Gosh, Eighties perfumery was good. Wasn’t it?)

SOTA was two spritzes of Diorissimo, which I bought early on in my perfume journey (2009), and which I had always thought to be a tester from 2006. Today I discovered that it was actually bottled in 2001. It is beautiful, but somehow it never seems to hit the spot for me for very long, and it needs a new home.

And Gaze went back to campus tonight for a dinner honoring the sponsors of student scholarships. He cleans up good, doesn’t he? The HT under his ribbons stands for Highty Tighties, the regimental band, and the white shoulder braid (worn backwards, deliberately, due to some unexplained tradition) is also a band thing. The 1 on his right sleeve stands for the first-place score of his rifle drill company among other companies. I love it that he’s allowed to have hair now.

Friday, May 11: Uh-oh. I can feel the heat coming. Tomorrow is supposed to be at least 90F, and today will be muggy.  SOTD, for Now Smell This’s community project (“Wear a musk fragrance”), is Ferre 20. The CEO bought me this on our trip to Rome in 2010. This one never got much blog attention, and it’s aldehydes-heavy, so not to the taste of many people, but it’s good stuff: under the aldehydes are blackberry, rose, iris, vanilla and powdery wood (they say sandalwood, but it’s not the real thing), plus lots of fluffy, clean (but not laundry-ish) musk. Pretty, sweet, and smells like lipstick, kind of über-girly.

I managed to finish sewing a reusable shopping bag last night. I made it similar to this pattern, and it came out great! I think my MIL might get this one as Mother’s Day swag, but I have it in mind to make more.

The CEO and I went to a live-theater production, the first from a new local theater group. “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s” is a farce, which is never my favorite genre, but they did a good job with it. I wore some No. 19 edp, but it was somehow the wrong choice. It was dull.

Saturday, May 12: gorrrrrgeous weather. Warm and sunny, light breeze, and the only clouds are puffy ones high up. The CEO wound up coaching half the track team at their meet today; the elite ones are at a meet farther away, and Coach O is with them. (Girl on our team just ran the fastest 800 time in the state last night! 2:10.95, and her mom calls her “Amazing Grace.”)

Wearing beautiful Ines de la Fressange (Calice Becker version) today, because it is so nice outside — like summer without the brutal heat.

The CEO served as assistant track coach at a meet today, and since there is no shade whatsoever at this particular school, he came home miserably sunburned. Ouch.

Sunday, May 13: Mother’s Day was sunny and hot today. Wore Ines de la Fressange again, and was presented with French toast and sausage that I didn’t have to cook! Went to my parents’ and took my MIL along; a lovely meal and a Skype session with my sister’s family rounded out the day.

REMINDER: SALE OF MY PERSONAL COLLECTION IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW THROUGH THE END OF MAY!!  New items have been added and will continue to be added until sale ends.

 

 

 

 

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Full size bottles now for sale here at the blog through May 2018

My last post indicated that I had minis for sale, from my attempt to reduce the amount of my personal possessions.

Fragrances For Sale, May 2018

I’ve now added several full-size bottles from my personal collection that I think perfumistas might enjoy owning because they’re good juice. Anything labeled as vintage might have a few off notes up top, but they’re all what I would call excellent vintage condition, eminently wearable.

Please read the sale parameters carefully. I am so sorry that I’m unable to ship perfume internationally. I think the USPS is making a huge deal out of nothing (when was the last time a bottle of hair spray, liquor, or perfume on an international flight caught fire? I’ve never heard of it actually happening)… but. You know. I’d really prefer to avoid going to jail.

XO

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The Lure of Vintage Mini Perfumes

Selection from “Les Meilleurs Parfums de France,” The Best Perfumes of France. Apparently collections like this, of 5, 7, or 10 mini perfumes, were often sold on European air flights from the 1950’s through the 1980s. This one seems to be from the early 1970s, and is in super shape — except for Molyneux Vivre, which leaked itself empty. Sadface. Photo by me.

Aren’t these things cute? They’re adorable, aren’t they?

I first came to collecting vintage minis when I realized that many of the fragrances I wanted to try were discontinued, long-gone, and even unavailable in tiny amounts at the decant services. It’s the pull of trying something not otherwise available that I’ve never smelled — old, yet new to me. The possibility of smelling the party-in-Rio that is Balenciaga Rumba? Yes, please! The chance to try Jean Patou‘s lovely, tender Ma Collection version of Vacances? YES PLEASE. The opportunity to smell YSL Paris in its neon-pink, nuclear-strength, no-longer-made parfum? DOUBLE YES PLEASE!

Samsara mini parfum.

I’d go to eBay and search “vintage perfume mini”¹, and delight in what popped up: Here’s a tiny bottle of Ralph Lauren Safari parfum in lovely cut-glass; here’s a promotional mini bottle of No. 19 eau de cologne with spare, elegant Chanel lines. Here a micro-mini of Guerlain Samsara parfum; there a small bottle of Hermes Amazone. (Also, everywhere, figural Avon perfumes.) Etsy is another buying source, although I think that prices, particularly for vintage, are noticeably higher at Etsy. Or I’d play around in the sandbox at Miniature Perfume Shoppe and find that sometimes it was cheaper to buy a mini bottle than a sample at the decanters’, especially when I figured in the shipping.

I’m not saying anything that you haven’t heard before, but buying vintage is always a gamble. Not all of those minis contained wearable perfume, but more of them did than didn’t. In fact, there were only a handful I remember as being too age-damaged to wear at all: a tiny Emeraude parfum, one of Fath de Fath (1953 version, not 1993), a micro-mini of Carven Ma Griffe and one of Paco Rabanne Calandre. The rest? After a few moments of nail-polish remover or spoiled aldehydes, they smelled like perfume – probably not how they should’ve smelled when brand new, but recognizably like fragrance.

The classic Chanel parfum bottle — and look, it’s even retained its barbichage (the cord around the neck). So pretty. EXCEPT… that’s not perfume. This bottle is actually filled with colored water.

Mind you, not all of them were things I wanted to wear. For example, Lucien LeLong Indiscret turned out to be a heavy balsamic oriental, a genre I typically hate (and I passed it on to a friend who likes that kind of thing). Scherrer was, as a perfume friend of mine whose tastes I often share recommended, a green floral chypre, but far more “chypre” and less “floral” than I tend to like. The original Armani — for me, surprisingly, meh. Of the several versions of Shalimar I’ve tried over the years, the smoky chiaroscuro of that 1980s parfum de toilette mini came closest to being a version of Shalimar I might actually like, but I eventually decided it wasn’t for me. The adorable black-and-red bottle of Jean Patou Joy parfum was utter Ho Panties on my skin, though the friend I sent it to thought it was marvelous.

But sometimes there would be a sparkling gem in those small bottles. One tiny 1.5ml micro-mini bottle of Balmain Jolie Madame extrait, evaporated or used down to half, turned out to be difficult to hold. I spilled one fat amber drop on my favorite white shirt, and out billowed this nearly-perfect marriage of flowers and leather: a good purse, stuffed to the brim with fresh flowers, leaves and moss. It was so beautiful tears came to my eyes.

Not to mention that trying all those vintage fragrances gave me an appreciation and understanding of earlier styles that I couldn’t have gotten by wandering around the fragrance counter at Belk. Or, for that matter, even by exploring those niche and independent perfumers who specialize in producing retro-style perfumes.

BUT. (There’s always a but.)

I have too many. I have pretty much explored the vintage fragrances I want to explore. I’m keeping the ones I love: Jolie Madame, Karl Lagerfeld Chloe, original Victoria by Victoria’s Secret, Vacances, Dolce Vita parfum. Maybe that Paris parfum. Maybe the Samsara, I haven’t decided yet. Everything else? Outtahere. I’m paring down, and I’m hopeful that I can give others a chance to smell the past.

I have already listed a few things for sale on eBay. I will be posting the things I think might be of special interest to perfumistas here on the blog by Friday of this week.

Whatever does not sell here within ten days of posting, I’ll be selling on eBay, where there is a trove of mini treasures for your investigation well beyond my small collection! Also check out Miniature Perfume Shoppe, which has some really cool stuff (especially if you’re into the bottles) and good inventory right now.

¹ Try “Collectibles: commercial perfume miniatures” as well as “Health & beauty: Fragrances.”

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Scent Diary, Jan. 15-21, 2018

Not my house. I WISH we were getting snow.

Monday, Jan. 15: Chilly but not ridiculous-cold. Wearing Annick Goutal Nuit et Confidences again from a sample and thinking, “Ehh. Meh.” It’s not bad, mind you, it’s just not exciting.  It’s sad, because the bottle’s gorgeous. It’s Vanilla Week at Now Smell This, so I’m gonna try.

Tuesday, Jan. 16: So The CEO forgot that he was going to take Taz to school, and I wound up taking him (without getting my own breakfast. or wearing makeup. or, heaven forbid, making coffee). And just as I got home, I found The CEO waiting for me in the driveway — really late — saying that Cameron (his Camry) was making the weird noise it makes when it’s low on oil, and that he would need to take Thorin (the Sorento, which is ostensibly mine to drive) and I would need to take Cameron to the lube place to get an oil change and, oh yeah, get it inspected because the sticker runs out at the end of the month. And he gets into Thorin and zooms off.

Slightly taken aback, I shook my head to clear it and went in to eat my now-cold scrambled eggs and put on a scosh of makeup and brush my hair. Then I mentally shrugged at Vanilla Week, stuck a Safari parfum mini in my pocket and zipped out the door to the lube shop where we get oil changes, because the Serious Repair Shop is short-handed these days and it’s tough to get common jobs scheduled there.

So the Safari was delicious, as usual — every time I wear it, I wonder briefly to myself why I ever wear anything else — but that was the only good thing because a) I had no coffee
b) the oil change guy said that Cameron needed an alternator
c) Cameron failed inspection due to two nearly-bald tires on the back.

So I called The CEO and he wanted me to go get his buddy at the serious-repair shop to look over the car and give his opinion on whether it really needed an alternator, and if the tires were really bad or if the lube shop was just trying to make bank out of a clueless female. However, the serious-repair shop was covered up with customers, so I made an appointment for Wednesday.

Wednesday, Jan. 17: Woke to an official robocall saying that the school system’s status had changed from “two hours late” to “closed.” Taz was joyous that he’d get to stay home. Bookworm and The CEO had to go to work anyway, and of course none of Gaze’s activities were suspended. I’m sure he was out with the Army ROTC for PT at 5 am as usual. (Brrrr!)

There wasn’t much snow, only about an inch, but it was slick. Conditions worsened as the day went on, because traffic melted what was on the road, and then it would freeze as ice. School will be closed tomorrow as well, not because we have a lot of snow, but because the roads are icy. Sure, you Northeasterners are laughing — but I guarantee you that you don’t know what it’s like to try to drive a school bus down some of the narrow twisty roads in the Hiwassee area. Add ice to those roads, and you got Accident Waiting To Happen.

SOTD was a spray sample of Natori, which nobody talks about anymore. I guess because it’s discontinued? Shame. It’s a velvety, plummy oriental that I can wear for a lonnnnng time — like 7-8 hours — before it starts pulling up that dreaded Youth Dew Accord and I have to wash it off. It reminds me, actually, of the also-late-and-lamented, by me, Tom Ford Private Blend Black Violet, of which I only have about 3 mls left in a mini. (PSA: if you didn’t manage to grab a bottle of Natori back in the day due to cost, check FragranceNet, where a 50ml is running about $17 and the 100ml $20. I actually considered the shower gel momentarily before deciding it would probably go very Youth Dew on me, and we can’t have that.)

My actual face.

I took Cameron to the Serious Repair Shop run by a school friend of the CEO’s for the new alternator, since Terry commented the old one was spitting sparks all over the place.  😯 Then, as I promised The CEO, I asked Terry if the tire tread would pass inspection.

He laughed. Hard. And then he said, “There isn’t enough tread on these for me to even measure. They’re toast.” So we ordered tires, too, which they’ll put on tomorrow afternoon. This whole little “Hey, take my car to get an oil change and an inspection,” suggestion of The CEO’s has turned into $600+ of necessary repairs, not to mention several hours. Of my time. (Which, I assure you, I would have been much happier to donate if I’d KNOWN this would take hours. Or if the Ranger hadn’t also been in the shop, so that I could have dropped the car off and left it there to be dealt with instead of sitting in the waiting room.)

Or if I’d gotten more than an offhand, “By the way, thanks.”

I’m thinking I deserve something good in return. Like maybe a bottle of Lubin Epidor? Or maybe just a hefty decant, so I can see how it wears when I spritz it out of a normal spray mechanism, as opposed to the plastic spray sample. Oddly, none of the usual decant services have Epidor in stock. Well, okay, Lucky Scent does, but they only either sell you a full bottle or a .7ml dabber vial, and I’m well past what a dabber vial will do for me. #firstworldproblems #i’llshutupnow

Hey, in any case now I have proof that the lube shop is not only competent to diagnose things like bald tires and alternators spitting sparks, they’re comparable to the serious-repair shop in terms of pricing.

Thursday, Jan. 18: Chilly weather. Spent a long time at the garage, waiting for the tires and shivering every time somebody opened the door (brrrr!). I’d made an appointment, but apparently it takes 2.5 hours to rotate and align tires. Shrug. The Ranger is still waiting for parts to be shipped, so it’s not ready yet. SOTD was Hermes 24, Faubourg.

Good community chorus rehearsal this evening — first one of the semester. The CEO eventually thanked me for going above and beyond in getting Cameron serviced.

Friday, Jan. 19: More chilly weather. SOTD was a half-spritz of Shalimar Light (lemon-vanilla powder, nice) for housework and writing, so I could actually wear something vanilla for the last day of this week’s NST challenge.

SOTE was Chanel 31 Rue Cambon (the edp, from my newish decant); I went to a writers’ conference in the evening. I had been to the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference several years ago, not long after I started blogging — either 2009 or 2010, I think, and hadn’t been since. I’m not sure why not. Sharyn McCrumb spoke at that earlier conference; she was really funny. I like her books, don’t love them, but she’s amazing. Tonight was good.

Saturday, Jan. 20: Temps in the mid-50sF today, which was certainly a switchup. Conference all day, wearing more 31 Rue Cambon. Incidentally, I’m not getting a big difference between the edp and the old, original edt (if indeed you can call something released in 2006 “old”). The edt might have been a bit more irisy in the drydown, maybe. And tighter restrictions on citrus and jasmine since 2006 have definitely taken some of the sparkle out of 31 RC, but it still smells like itself: classic, retro rather than vintage, and tastefully rich.

Conference was very good. I got something out of almost every seminar, and I’d even say that I got more out of the seminars today than I did from the very large Writer’s Digest conference I attended in Nashville last summer.

Then I had dinner with a college friend who lives in Roanoke and who I never manage to go see, because if we’re going to Roanoke, it’s pretty much to see my parents. That was lovely, and it was fun to meet her son, who reminds me a good bit of Taz.

This bottle. My mini came from eBay with no box, but it has that gold embossed cap so I know it’s the “fleur de parfum” version.

Sunday, Jan. 21: Still warm. Which is nice, but worrisome. I don’t like this big weather swing in January, I think it’s going to make us all sick. SOTD was a dab of vintage YSL Paris parfum, and y’all, that stuff is literally BIG PINK NEON ON SKIN. But gorgeous — it’s a huge exuberant flowery hug.

Member lunch and meeting after church. Then we had Breakfast for Dinner later on, and it was yummy but I am missing Gaze.

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Scent Diary, January 8-14, 2018

Huh. I’m getting used to writing 2018 already. Usually it takes me a good month to automatically write the correct year on my checks.

Ironic yay balloon.

Monday, Jan. 8: We’re supposed to get freezing rain today. Poor Bookworm, after her disastrous trip home in the snow last month, is anxious.

I have a mammogram and another test scheduled for today. That means no deodorant, powder, or lotion. However, I have cheated and spritzed the web of my left hand with calming Iris Poudre.

I opted for the 3D imaging, mostly since I haven’t had a mammogram since 2011. I think it hurt less than last time, but as the day has gone on I’ve become more sore. Ouch.

The “freezing rain” started out as sleet (nasty enough), but the weather turned warmer and it became just rain by the time Bookworm left work, so there was no need to worry.

Tuesday, Jan. 9: More Iris Poudre. Boring day, considerably warmer than it’s been recently. I suspect I won’t sleep well tonight; I never do when the weather suddenly warms.

Wednesday, Jan. 10: . . . and I certainly didn’t. Sleep well, that is. It’s warm again today (50F), and this bouncing around from temperature extreme to extreme is certain to have everybody sick soon.

Tested — from a blind-buy decant that I somehow misplaced when it was new, ahem, a couple of years ago! — Penhaligon’s Orange Blossom. This is the re-release from 2010 orchestrated by Bertrand Duchaufour, not the original 1976 version. It’s really quite nice.

Bookworm made a wonderful birthday meal for me: fish tacos! I love fish tacos. Got some lovely birthday loot, too: some CDs, a nice scarf from The CEO, and a lightweight cardigan.

Scent of Bedtime was about eight spritzes of Mariella Burani. The thing about MB (sadly discontinued these 8-9 years ago) is that it is cozy and comforting without being heavy at all: lightly powdered aldehydes, soft citrus, musk, vanilla and benzoin. It doesn’t sound like much, and I suppose it isn’t; in a way it feels like Shalimar as a young and very innocent girl.

Still woke up about 2:30 a.m. Bummer.

Thursday, Jan. 11: My actual birthday. I overslept and had barely managed to drag myself awake about 20 minutes before my sweet MIL arrived to take me out to breakfast! It was quite nice. SOTM was a teeny half-spritz of MFK Lumiere Noire pour femme, which was probably too evening-y for a rainy warm winter morning, but I felt like it anyway.

My mammogram came back fine, so that’s good.

Still warm, but a little cooler than yesterday. Feels like winter. SOTA, after the half-spritz of Lumiere Noire wore off, was a huge honking application of vintage Parfum d’Hermes, which I am going to have to talk more about soon.  That deep red is about the color of the box, but the fragrance doesn’t smell that color to me. Actually, I am not sure which color would be best for it — I haven’t figured it out yet.

Friday, Jan. 12: Rainy. Gloomy. Considerably colder than yesterday. Gaze is going back to college this afternoon, because the Highty Tighties are marching in the governor’s inaugural parade tomorrow and the band members have to be back early. 😥 😥 😥 Oh well, it’s been nice having him.

SOTD is beloved joyful Alahine. My 2010 original-formula bottle, now half empty, is being rationed because the recent (-ish. 2015? 2016?) reformulation is such a disaster. But today’s a good day for joy.

Saturday, Jan. 13: Woke to a dusting of snow (yikes, poor Gaze will be cold today) but at least it’s not raining now. Rain is far worse than cold when you’re marching in a parade, in my experience.

The CEO made a lovely fire, and we cleaned house. SOTD was SSS Tabac Aurea, so golden and warm. Right after lunch everybody decided they wanted beef-vegetable soup for dinner, so I went spelunking in the chest freezer for some beef. All I found in the way of stew beef was either a small roast or something labeled “soup bone,” all of it from an old cow (and all of it has been in the freezer for at least a couple of years, because it’s been a long time since we took an old cow to be butchered). So I thawed both out and popped them into the slow cooker for four hours. After that time, the roast was sliceable but definitely not what I would call tender enough to eat. (Old Cow. Obvs.) So I cut it into chunks and put it back in for another hour before it got really edible.

The CEO says that it’s fine with him if I buy steaks and roasts at the grocery store now, rather than suffering with Old Cow any more, now that he owns far fewer cows. Which is great, trust me, but meanwhile we still have several packages to go through.

Gaze is second from the left in the second row. Marching alongside the group on the near side is Highty Tighties director Senior Chief Bean (in Navy uniform). In the background is the Virginia Washington Monument, depicting General George Washington — a Virginian — on horseback. Photo by Anne Simmons, all rights reserved.

We did manage to find the inaugural parade for Gov. Northam on TV, but owing to camera angles, could not specifically identify Gaze in it. Luckily, another cadet mom was taking pictures at the parade. And although the decision was made that “Harry Potter bag” — the nickname for the cadets’ hooded overcoats — was unnecessary, they looked chilly to me. See all those pink ears? Poor Gaze was already cold, having had the sides and back of his head “zeroed” yesterday before he went back to campus. There’s no wind protection from those visored caps.

Sunday, Jan. 14: Really cold. It was 14F (that’s -10C for you non-Americans) when I got up at 8:30. I put on a camisole under my sweater. Wore a tiny dab of Organza Indecence (nice cinnamony patchouli-vanilla, incidentally one of the few noticeably-patchouli fragrances that I don’t hate) and then later tested Lubin Epidor.

Am now plotting how to get more Epidor. Full review to come later, probably this week.

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