Scent Diary, April 9-15, 2012

Monday, Apr: 9: I really must finish Bookworm’s prom dress this week. We will have another Eisenhower Fellow visiting us at the weekend and staying in the sewing/guest room, so all the sewing stuff will have to be packed away by then. Aaargh. I predict an extremely boring Scent Diary week… however, it is beautiful outside, spring all over the place. SOTD: Bond #9 Fire Island.

Tuesday, Apr. 10: Madly sewing. SOTD: By Kilian Asian Tales Collection Bamboo Harmony, Water Calligraphy.

Wednesday, Apr. 11: Sewing. No SOTD. Bizzybizzybizzy.

Thursday, Apr. 12: More sewing – and I think I’m almost finished! I still have to steam out some wrinkles after I tack down the edges of the zipper seam allowance, but the dress is mostly done. No SOTD until evening, when I headed out for our last chorus rehearsal of the season – Kenzo Parfum d’Ete, the old one with green notes and lots of lily of the valley. The soprano that claims to be bothered by perfume said she could smell it. Grr.

Friday, Apr. 13: Disaster: when Bookworm tried on her dress again, the zipper broke. I’ve tried several times to get the teeth to engage properly, but they simply won’t. It is unaccountably chilly, too. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome.

Saturday, Apr. 14: Housecleaning. SOTD: Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil. The CEO went to Charlottesville to pick up our Eisenhower Fellow visitor, Pascal, who’s an attorney and financial guy based in Paris, and a member of a Thomas Jefferson club. They toured the University of Virginia, which was founded by Jefferson (The CEO made sure to wear his Virginia Tech baseball cap), and then since Pascal had recently visited Monticello, headed for Poplar Forest. It was too late for a tour when they got there, so they went to a minor league baseball game instead, where I’m sure The CEO enjoyed explaining the game to Pascal. We had beautiful weather today, and I just know that UVa was covered in blooms at this time of year.

My parents stopped by briefly for a visit, and my mother agrees that the zipper on the prom dress is busted and I’ll need to just replace it. (GRRR.)

Sunday, Apr. 15: After breakfast, The CEO and Pascal and the boys headed off for an adventure. They went to visit Thomas Jefferson’s other house, Poplar Forest, and the D-Day Memorial located in Bedford, VA; Pascal is originally from Normandy. After that, they visited the Natural Bridge, which was surveyed by George Washington and was once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Meanwhile, Bookworm and I went to church and then came home for lunch. She did homework all afternoon while I went to perform in our community chorus presentation of Haydn’s The Creation. SOTD, applied lightly at about 8:30 am, was Le Temps d’une Fete, and the Perfume-Complaining Soprano did not, in fact, complain although temperatures were in the 80s, with no windows open in the church where we were singing. It went well.


Posting delay

It’s been a busy weekend, and today is busy as well.  I’ll be back with Scent Diary Tuesday morning, so I’ll leave you with a few springtime snapshots that Gaze took and I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Honesty plant (Lunaria annua) growing wild on roadside


Apple blossoms


The Pond Field

Madly sewing, Scent Diary will be posted later today

Front Bodice is sewn + sleeves

(No, this isn’t Bookworm’s apple-green taffeta with brocade midriff.  What, you think I have time to TAKE PICTURES of my painstaking, one-step-at-a-time process?  And then get the pictures uploaded to the computer and post them?  NOT.  Nope, borrowed this one from creativelenna on Flickr.  Sorry, though.  I promise pictures when it’s done.)


Smoldering Embers: A less-ranty rant about perfume blogging, part II of II

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen - 365 Day 21
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen, via Flickr

Beyond the issue of “crap blogs,” which I ranted away on last week, is the issue that has been under some discussion recently in the perfume blogosphere: Are there too many perfume blogs? There have been post after post and discussion after discussion on the subject, some of which I’ll link to so that if you’re really that interested, you can follow some of the history. I realize that many readers have been in on the discussion before, but upon reading some of the recent discussion it was clear to me that the origins of the question were fuzzy, and some remarks have been ambiguous at certain points, so I thought it would be helpful to catalog at least portions of what people have been saying on perfume blogs.

At the outset I’d like to state categorically that anyone who wishes to write a blog should just go ahead and write one. The more the merrier! No experience required. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and an opinion. (I’d like it better if at least mostly-proper language were used, but that’s just my little hangup. I’m not troubled by the occasional mithspelling or unperfect grammar, but I am not interested in reading a blog that looks like an extended txt msg.)

The issue may have started in 2010, when Denyse Beaulieu mentioned in a comment on her blog Grain de Musc that she felt that there were now so many blogs, so many places to discuss perfume that the conversation had become diluted. Because of the ensuing uproar and the hurt feelings, she’s removed that post and I cannot link to it. I myself felt, at the time, a little stung. Both Denyse and Robin at Now Smell This had been very welcoming to me as a newbie blogger, and I wondered whether I had not perhaps bitten the hands that had fed me. Continue reading Smoldering Embers: A less-ranty rant about perfume blogging, part II of II


Scent Diary, Mar. 19-25, 2012

Monday, March 19: Warm, today, in the upper 70sF! We had a thundershower in the morning (Hayley-dog crouched under the desk looking panicked), and then by afternoon it was warm and sunny and breezy. SOTD: Deneuve parfum. This stuff is gorgeous.

Tuesday, Mar. 20: SOTD: Penhaligon’s Violetta. More rain-followed-by-sunshine today. Worked on the practice prom dress – and I think I’m just about ready to start cutting out the real thing.

Wednesday, Mar. 21: Paint prep, which I hate. Grrrr. CEO helped me move the ridiculously heavy piano into the middle of the room with all the other furniture, and I taped off most of the room. SOTD: Amoureuse, which is so gorgeous. Went to Lowe’s and bought three gallons of paint as well as the usual accoutrements (rollers, more tape, etc.).

Posted that rant I was talking about in last week’s Scent Diary. Wow, a big ol’ fireball of comments… thanks, everybody, for commenting. Continue reading Scent Diary, Mar. 19-25, 2012


In which I am interviewed by Ari of Scents of Self…

My husband jokes that now I’m famous.  Thanks to Ari for her “perfume blogger interviews” series, where we can meet people in an up-close-and-personal style!

Here’s the link:

And because I feel like sharing, here are a few pictures of people and places dear to my heart.

The CEO, with Gaze (in Red Sox hat) and Taz, last summer


Bookworm, running a relay in a recent track meet.

 And this is my girlie.  I am so proud of her.

I had every intention of uploading some farm photos for you, but my ‘puter does NOT seem to be cooperating at the moment.  I’ll try again later.





Oh, you have to see this CAKE!

I love nutcrackers.  You know, the brightly-painted, vaguely-Germanic Christmassy decorative nutcrackers?  I collect them.  (So far, I have managed to avoid also collecting nutcracker rugs, nutcracker trashcans, nutcracker shower curtains, nutcracker plates, and the like, by dint of much insistence.   Okay, I now have a nutcracker rug that once belonged to my late grandmother.  And I have some nutcracker ornaments that really started the Whole Nutcracker Collecting Thing.   But that’s it, I swear.)  Here’s a pic of my collection.  Please note that every single one of these guys has a name.  That was Taz’ idea several years ago, but it was mine to insist that they all have Teutonic names, just Because.  SO I have Wolfgang und Karl und Siegfried und Josef…

My favorite?  It’s the guy on the second row, far right, in the blue.  He’s getting older, and his paint is chipping, but he’s still Karl and I still lurve him.

And I love the Sunday Sweets posts over on CakeWrecks.  Well, I love CakeWrecks posts in general, especially the Mithspellings ones, but I especially love to look at beautiful cakes.  So when I saw this one, I HAD TO SHARE.  Enjoy!  He’s CAKE.  How could anyone eat such adorableness?  It’s beyond me. 

I’d probably manage that, anyway, because, you know, he’s cake.


Scent Diary, Dec. 12-18, 2011

Christmas parade (Taz in foreground, in red shirt)

Monday, Dec. 12: Clear and cold again. News flash: you know, Neutrogena Rainbath shower gel in the original formula still smells really good. Why don’t they make a Rainbath EdT? I’d wear it.

This is the last week of school before winter holidays – the boys are joyous. Bookworm is too stressed, with a report due for her science project class, and exams in her other classes, to be joyous now. By Friday, though, I’m sure she will be over the moon with relief. Final community chorus concert this evening.

SOTD: Harvey Prince Ageless on one wrist. Harvey Prince has offered a giveaway (see here), and sent a coffret of six small roll-on bottles of their scents, so I’ll be reviewing them.

Concert went okay. We totally blew it with going flat on one song (my favorite one, of course)… I still don’t know what went wrong, but I think it started in the altos and we just never recovered. The brass players (four kids from the high school band, including PETBoy) did great, though, and I think that particular song went even better than yesterday. I dabbed one wrist with a drop of DSH 1000 Lilies parfum, and no one complained – probably because it didn’t radiate much.

Tuesday, Dec. 13: The Christmas presents I ordered online are starting to roll in now, and I’m almost done with the shopping. SOTD: Etat Libre d’Orange Like This. I loved this sniffed from the vial, all gingery-spicy-pumpkiny goodness. But on my skin, not-so-much. I’m not sure why. Immortelle overdose, maybe. It smells… flat on me, not the lively joyous thing that I smelled in the vial. I’ll try it again.

SOTEvening: Harvey Prince Eau Flirt. This one’s supposed to drive men wild. We shall see. (For the record, I am skeptical.) The CEO said, “I like it! This smells like… the hair salon. I don’t want to say old ladies, but… you know. Like when you go to get your hair cut and they’ve been doing perms.” After the topnotes went away, he said he liked it better, but that now it smelled more like an average department store perfume. Not distinctive. “Nice,” he repeated, “very nice. But not unusual or special.”

We have another orphan calf to bottle-feed. He’s staying in the Guest House (see last week’s Scent Diary for a picture of said Guest House) and getting a quart bottle morning and evening. We’ve named him Samuel, and he’s a cutie.

Wednesday, Dec. 14: Weather is warming up – the high today was 58F. The kids are counting down the days until winter break; at breakfast today, Gaze looked earnestly into my eyes and asked, “Is today Wednesday?” I nodded. “Two more days after today!” he exulted. Taz is looking forward to Friday, when his class will bring snacks to share and watch “The Polar Express” on video. And Bookworm has a rough academic week: big paper due for her science project on Monday, Chemistry exam Tuesday, Statistics and American History exams today, Advanced Math and English exams tomorrow and also the band winter concert tomorrow night. She’s pulling for Friday for all she’s worth!

The CEO is home grading papers; he says it’s difficult to transition from teaching college classes to farming and back. Also, we have a heifer who jumped a fence and broke her leg the other day, so I’m going to have to clear some space in the freezer. The CEO is chagrined because we’ve lost several animals to injury or disease this year: a bull to peritonitis, a cow to a broken pelvis following calving (this is unusual – usually calving problems lead to calf death, not injuries to the cow), two cows to unexplained disease (not communicable, apparently), months apart, and this heifer to a broken leg. None of these were preventable, except possibly the peritonitis; it’s common for owners of really valuable purebred cattle to feed them each a small magnet, so that if the animals accidentally ingest something sharp, like a nail or a piece of barbed wire, the metal will stick to the magnets in their stomachs instead of trying to navigate the intestines and poking holes there, leading to peritonitis. The magnets aren’t guaranteed to work, of course.

SOTD: Harvey Prince Coupling. The company claims that its notes are “proven to arouse.” Uh-huh. Again, we’ll see. Review of all of these Harvey Prince scents coming. SOBedtime: Shalimar Light.

Thursday, Dec. 15: Warm again today. SOTD: Bottega Veneta, still for review. Drove Jeff the Hired Guy to the John Deere dealership to pick up a tractor, and then went to see if I could finish the Christmas shopping. I didn’t quite get finished, but I’m close. I bought a few scented gifts at Belk, and while I was there I spritzed some Esprit d’Oscar, which is every bit as nice as I remembered it. I had commented on a couple of blogs that a Prada Candy mini might be my next purchase, but honestly – I think I’d enjoy the Esprit d’Oscar much better, on the whole. Mowed the grass for the last time this year.

Went to Bookworm’s band Christmas concert and thoroughly enjoyed it! PETBoy had a couple of solos and did a beautiful job with them (no surprise there), and the band sounded terrific. SOTEvening: Iris Poudre, so elegant.

Friday, Dec. 16: Rainy day. Busy, too: Gaze’s class is doing what’s called a “Pet Project,” and students were invited to have their parents bring their (well-behaved) pets to school for a brief time today. Hayley, after a bath and a brushout, went on leash and behaved very well. Also, The CEO got “sworn at,” as he jokes; he took an oath of service to the School Board today. I’m fighting off a flulike sort of bug and really feel horrible, so I did as little as possible today. SOTEvening: Serge Lutens 5:00 au Gingembre, quite nice.

Bought just a few things online today and the shopping is DONE. DoneDoneDoneDone!

Saturday, Dec. 17 Bookworm got new personal records in both her track events today, running 3:24 in her 1000 m race and 12:26 in the 3200.  I’m so proud!  The CEO got his Christmas present early – he’s been wanting a fancy new camera for at least a couple of years now, so he tracked down the one he wanted and found it on sale. So we bought it. We also bought a new 50” plasma TV (yay, we’ve gone digital!), but the one we wanted wasn’t in stock, so we’ll pick it up next week. 

CEO put the tree up today and added lights, but no decorations yet, mostly because I’m still recovering and not feeling up to it. SOTD: 10 Corso Como, for a joint blogging project to be posted Dec. 21. As it faded, I topped it off with some Tableau de Parfums Miriam.

Sunday, Dec. 18: Got up luxuriously late (8:30 am!) and made chocolate-chip-pecan pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Then we decorated the tree, I put a roast in the oven, and we went to church in the late afternoon. SOTD: Alahine, beautiful Christmassy thing.

The kids will be home all this coming week. Feel free to pray for me if you’d like. Eep.


Marching Band Got Me Again, Again: a renewed pleasure.

Remember this post I wrote about two years ago, when Bookworm was new to the high school marching band?  It’s still true.  I am still a Marching Band Junkie.  Cadence still makes my blood itch.

First football game of 2011; photo by David Gravely Photography.

This Friday night, I’ll be riding Band Bus #2 as a chaperone as we head off to another away game.  (Chances are, the football team will go home with their record at 0 for 8.  It’s been a baaaaad year.)    Just heard: the band director has decided we won’t be going to the football game.  It should be chilly and windy, and with several kids either sick or recovering from illness and the big competition tomorrow, he thought it would be wiser to just hold a short practice and then let the kids go home for some rest.  I think he’s right.  Bookworm was going to have to leave and go home with her dad after the pregame show anyway, to get some rest before the District cross-country meet Saturday morning.

And all day Saturday,  I’ll be working at the marching band assessment/ competition our high school band is hosting, monitoring the lower gate by which bands will enter the stadium one by one, on their way to take the field and present their shows for judging.  I’ll be able to hear the bands really well, but not see the shows; this option is more fun than working the registration table or the concession stand, where you can’t see OR hear anything.

I’m addicted: gotta get my band fix every week.  It’s not just the way that my feet start moving on their own when I hear the drumline.  It’s not just the way that the soloists make me proud and the music swells my heart; it’s not just the way that I gasped with delight the first time I saw the show with the horn flips added in (so cool!).  It’s the kids, too.  It’s been great fun getting to know the kids this year:

Cody, head drum major, in Serious Mode.  His mouth is closed.  This is unusual.  Rode a bus for two hours a few weeks ago, with him sitting two seats behind me, and he never, I mean never, stopped talking.  At the last home football game, I happened to catch him directing the band in a stands tune and talking to his girlfriend (Britney, a 2010 graduate, former alto sax section leader) in the bleachers at the same time.  I didn’t even know that was possible.  He plans to attend community college, and eventually to become a state trooper.  Active with Boy Scouts. Plays trumpet.

This is Charlie, drum major, warming up the band for playing at a football scrimmage in August.  Charlie attends Governor’s School and was instrumental in encouraging Bookworm to apply for it.  She’s a smart girl and a real sweetheart, one of Bookworm’s best buds.  She’ll be able to enter a really good college, but hasn’t settled on one yet.  She’s dating a former drum major, 2010 graduate Robbie, who’s now serving in the US Army, posted in Germany.  Loves her cellphone because he texts her every chance he gets. Good friends with fellow DM Cody.  Plays clarinet.

Anybody recognize this guy?  Yep, it’s PETBoy, Bookworm’s swain.  The first time I talked to him was at the marching band competition we hosted last fall, long before I noticed any glint in his eye with regard to her; he was serving as a bike courier and carrying stuff around from band room to stadium or registration table, and vice versa.  First thing I noticed was that he had beautiful eyes.  Second thing I noticed was that he was helpful to the nth degree, polite, friendly, and very responsible.  Last spring, I started hearing his name pop up a lot in Bookworm’s conversation, particularly during drum major tryouts.  The next week, his mother, who had graduated high school with The CEO, died suddenly after a very short illness.  Every band member who could manage it went to the funeral, and I notice that there’s an ongoing, unofficial Take Care of PETBoy movement among the trumpet section and the low brass players.  Bookworm’s grandfather (The CEO’s dad) died only a few weeks later, and I think that led to some serious conversations and increased trust between PETBoy and Bookworm.  In a lot of ways, they’re kindred spirits.  I don’t know of a single band parent that wouldn’t adopt him in a heartbeat.  One of the two trumpet section leaders, along with Cooper (you can see part of Cooper in this photo, just to PETBoy’s left).

This is TJ.  First band kid, other than my own, that I met.   Never met a stranger.  Makes me laugh.  Staunch friend of PETBoy’s, from elementary school on; they attend the same church and TJ often sleeps over at PETBoy’s house.  The only percussion section member who assists in loading the equipment truck with stuff other than his own instrument.  Bass drum.

This is Brittany.  (You can also see half of Bookworm’s face peeking out from behind the band director’s shoulder in this photo, with Rebecca and Gage, tenor saxophone players, in the background.)  Brittany runs cross-country and track with Bookworm.  Honor student.  One of the few kids whose skin is fair enough to turn red when she runs, just like Bookworm.  Loves M&Ms.  Unfailingly cheerful, even in extreme weather conditions.  Flute section leader.

This is Grey.  Goes by his middle name (actually, so do PETBoy and Tuba Dakota; you’d think the place was Redneck Soap Opera).  Runs cross-country with Bookworm, and plays soccer in the spring.  Can be wickedly funny.  Boy Scout and honor student.  This photo shows him at a band carwash fundraiser, after he cut his hair. You should have seen it when it was really long, it needed its own zip code.   Likes to show off his muscles by going shirtless as often as possible.  Once had a crush on Bookworm – which may be why he decided to run cross-country! – but as she said to me, “He’s like another annoying younger brother,” and that wasn’t going to work out, PETBoy or no PETBoy.  Currently dating Mellophone Taylor, who I think has good taste: brains, brawn, sense of humor.  Tenor sax, also plays alto sax.

This is the tuba section: LowBrass Ben*, Kalep, and Tuba Cody, holding Tuba Dakota and about to bust a gut laughing.   I can’t look at this photo without laughing, myself!   The saxophones started this “pick up a section member” stunt, when the Band Booster President was taking pictures of the sections, by picking up Bookworm, their smallest section member.  Then the trumpets picked up Amy, the flutes picked up Brittany‘s leg – she’s really tall, they couldn’t lift her whole body – and the mellophones picked up Courtney.  The tubas, who have more testosterone than they know what to do with, picked up their largest section member just to be funny.

Ben’s been one of Bookworm’s best buds since middle school, when they were in nearly every class together.  He also plays baritone horn and trombone. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t talk a lot but notices everything, and can come out with some really witty saying when you least expect it.  Was dating Holley, from the color guard, but that fell apart recently and Ben is currently dating mellophone section leader Courtney (Bookworm swears she saw that coming two years ago).  Kalep volunteers with the fire department and is a huge history buff.  Currently dating former flute section leader and 2011 graduate LoriDakota and Kalep have been best friends forever – yes, really, BFF! – and despite dressing and talking like rednecks, are honor students along with Ben.  The three of them, along with slender Alto Sax Ben, were responsible for “The Great Chicken Nugget Massacre of 2010,’ when the four of them ate 100 McNuggets in about 15 minutes, on the way to some marching competition.  Cody I know less well, but I know he loves practical jokes.  He’s currently dating mellophone player Stephanie, also known as “Snax.”  All four tuba players are Boy Scouts.

*There’s also Drumline Ben and Alto Sax Ben, as well as Low Brass BenTuba Cody is distinct from Drum Major Cody; there’s Tuba Dakota and Trumpet Dakota.  There’s Trumpet Alex (female), Baritone Horn Alex (male), and Color Guard Alex (female) as well as Mellophone Taylor (female) and Drumline Taylor (male).  This makes me really, really glad we picked a less-common name for Bookworm.  And it’s no wonder Grey and PETBoy use their middle names; their first names are ubiquitous at that school!

I didn’t even introduce you to Jolly, Jamie, and Li’l Bill (“li’l” no more as a 5’8″ sophomore, though he was just topping five feet when he first joined the band as an 8th grader and got his nickname).  Or twin sisters Teddie and Kasey, who went to preschool with Bookworm.  Or Marissa, who’s determined to wring every ounce of innocent enjoyment out of her senior year.  Or Michael B, or Jessi, or Tristen, or the rest of the 72 marching members of the band.

Good kids.  If you’re worried about the future of the country, go meet the kids in your local high school music department.  You’ll be heartened.  Or come visit me and meet “my” band kids – they’re so great!  I’d take every single one of them home with me and let ’em stay.

WBHS Letter Squad, 1984. Photo by Mrs. Manseau. That's me standing, third from left.

I miss my own friends from marching band.  Some of them are on Facebook and I can chat with them whenever I want; some are not and I’d love to check in with them.  I miss Amy and Tracey; I miss Ricky and Steve and Beth.  I miss Sean and Don and Tammy.  I miss Mary-the-walking-blond-joke.  I miss Tommy, AKA “Fig.”  I miss Kelley.  I miss Angela, AKA “Woolly.”  I even miss Jayson and Tana.  I miss my Letter Girls – especially Jackie, Carlynn, Angie, and Trudy.  We had some great times, didn’t we?

Found this prose-poem about marching band the other day:

Marching Band

The glimmer of the stadium lights
reflect again and again from the medals of shakos
proudly bearing their loyalties
and the night falls on the shoulders of those
dark conquistadors in their black and gold
buttons polished, backs straight, ready for inspection
they stand at attention
chins up and eyes cold and dark
faces like stone work
personas engraved in marble
their hands clutching their instruments like weapons
aggression in the crook of thumb and forefinger
and a certain solemnity in their expressions.
This family of midnight strangers
in practice of the night
greet their futures
beneath a blanket of stars.

-Lauren Hatch
September 19, 2007

All photos by Nicole Ward, unless otherwise attributed.