Off to New Zealand!

The CEO will be leading a class/overseas trip next December & January, during Virginia Tech’s 3-week Wintermester class period between fall and spring semesters. It will focus on international agricultural trade in New Zealand, which has a fabulously diverse and strong export business in agriculture. He won a grant that enabled him to go to NZ this summer (their winter) to set up and “test-drive” the trip… and I’m going with him.

Don’t know if I’ll get the chance for sniffery, or to meet up with any perfumistas, but I’ll enjoy the trip very much, I’m sure. I loved it when I visited for two weeks in 2007, and I’m thrilled to go back. It’s a very beautiful place.

I’ll be back with posts in a few weeks!


September Start

Here-Comes-September-August-2013Yay, it’s September. Have I mentioned how much I hate August? I hate August.

On the other hand, somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature that the calendar flipped over, and it is mizzzzerably muggy around here. They’re even letting the kids out of school two hours early today because of the projected heat index.

(I’m quite sure all the Floridians are laughing. However, I bet all the schools in Florida are air-conditioned. They’re not, here. Both county middle schools and at least one elementary school are un-air-conditioned.  Heat on the upper floor of the middle school where Taz goes has occasionally topped 85F, and it is even worse at the elementary school all three of my kids attended.  The elementary school – built on the cheap according to plans drawn by an architect who specialized in strip malls – has tiny, tiny windows, and its halls are not constructed for air flow. The heat at DES can be over 90F. The school board has been trying, for the last two and a half years that The CEO has been on it, to convince the county Board of Supervisors to build a new consolidated middle school to replace these badly-aging structures and to substantially renovate that one elementary school. I think everyone agrees that something must be done at the elementary school, but there is ongoing argument about what should be done with regards to the middle schools. AAAARRRRGGGHHH. If  one new school had been built in the 1990s and another in the early 2000s, as planned, we wouldn’t be in this mess. However, it was apparently felt that the buildings were “adequate for now,” and construction/substantial renovation was put off until renovation is no longer a good and inexpensive option. But nobody wants to spend the money to build a new school, even though renovating two schools is nearly as expensive as building a new one, centrally located near the high school.)

Gaze is going to go to cross-country practice with Taz – there’s a meet on Saturday – for the short workout Coach O has planned, then come home, shower, eat something, and zip back to the high school around 4 pm for a trombone sectional before the band has their pregame practice at 5.  The football game will start at 7 pm, assuming that the storm seen approaching on the weather radar misses us.  I’m supposed to help sell pizza on the visitor side of the stadium – I cannot imagine that it will be any more comfortable for us than it will be for the band, or for the football team, tonight.

plumNow Smell This has a scent challenge going on this weekend: Wear the same fragrance for four days, starting Friday, and see if you notice something new about it, or simply describe the experience. Most of us fragheads switch every day, and sometimes wear more than one fragrance a day (I frequently do), so this ought to be interesting.  I’m going to go with Mary Greenwell Plum, which I love.

Incidentally, it is getting tough to find Plum in the US nowadays. If you go to the Mary Greenwell website, it’s still listed, but clicking on  the picture takes you directly to Harrods. Harrods, in case you don’t know, is an iconic British retailer, and they don’t ship perfume to the US. LuckyScent no longer carries Plum (they still have Lemon), and I suspect that Ms. Greenwell’s low brand recognition in the States has led to a loss of US distributorship.  It’s a shame, too.

Hunter Dog is kind of driving me nuts, just Being a Puppy.  He’s a funny thing – but he came into the bedroom this morning and sort of flopped his head down in my lap so I could pet him. It was sweet. He’s still doing weird stuff like licking the carpet and the dishwasher, ripping covers off paperback books (my blood pressure just spiked, writing that), and whining like a baby when he wasnts to go sniff things, but he’s sweet too. He went with me in the car to drop Gaze off at school today, and as soon as Gaze got out, Hunter commenced the pleady I want to get out! whine. It lasted until we got home, too.

Hope your weekend is good.  Feel free to share plans, if you like, and your scent of the day.


Posting delay

Okay, so… we got a dog.

Which, YAY!

But, not YAY quite yet. Because said dog needs some adjustment time, and so do we. We’re doing a trial period.  He’s not used to us, we’re not used to him, and he’s got some issues. We have the leash-pull-y issues, the whining-to-go-out-at 4-am issues, and the growl-at-family issues. We’re dealing with a lot of stuff, okay?

So please bear with me, and I will update with posts and a couple of mini-reviews when I can. Mwah.  Meanwhile, Gunnar (I don’t like his name, and we’re thinking of changing it) says hi.Gunnar


Band Camp Again, uh-huh

It’s that time again.

Santa Rita HS (Tucson, AZ) drumline.
Santa Rita HS (Tucson, AZ) drumline.

It’s going to be an interesting year, I think. You know the new high school band director we got last season, right before band camp started? And there was all this worry that we wouldn’t transition well from Mr. Butler, who’d been with the program for several years before leaving to take a position with a large high school near his wife’s job in North Carolina? And then Mr. Wilner came and we had another successful band year, with PCHS being named a Virginia Honor Band for the 13th time?

Well, Mr. Wilner found a new job. Yeah, right before band camp.

We met our new band director today. I think we’re going to like Mr. Shrewsbury. He grew up in the county and has been director of the marching and pep bands at a university in South Carolina, as well as assistant director of their concert bands, but I understand he was interested in returning home.

I’m very proud of the kids for taking the initiative to behave well, to claim the band as their own regardless of director.  Look for more updates soon.

As well as Scent Diary.

And a review of Byredo Flowerhead, as well.







Okay, we’re back to boring around here :)

I’m not sure what the heck is up with WordPress lately, or whether I am just picking inappropriate theme templates, or WHAT… so I am returning to an earlier theme that seemed to work fine. I’m a little disappointed because I never felt this theme looked particularly nice, but I may need to just play around with themes for a while to see how they work.

If you don’t mind commenting to let me know if you had trouble with any earlier themes – and what browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, what have you) and operating system (Windows 7, 8, Vista, etc.) you are using – I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.  Thanks so much.


ANOTHER New Look (sorry)

Dior's New Look. (Not mine.)
Dior’s New Look. (Not mine.)

The CEO recently reported to me that he couldn’t read the blog because the type was blending into the background. DANGIT. (I liked that background. And it looked just fine in Firefox.)

So. ‘Nother new WordPress theme, which I hope to be playing with and tweaking around more to my liking. Meanwhile, I hope everybody can read it now.  Thanks for bearing with me.


Vacation 2014

Montana.  We’ll be there for several days. Never been. Should be interesting.

glacierI’m quite sure that it will be seven days of The CEO and Gaze wandering around looking at everything through their camera lenses.

We’ve got a friend house-sitting for us. Bookworm, off at her internship in Louisiana, can’t go (bummer, bummer).montana-lake

I’m taking decants of DelRae Wit, Smell Bent One, Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, and the new Dior Cuir Cannage with me. Will report back, of course.


New look… again

I’ve been playing around with the blog again, since the last time I changed anything I simply went to a default theme and photo.


It may change yet again.  And I may actually begin posting some stuff here again soon, too. 🙂

I have become more and more frustrated with my web host platform, due to repeated hacking attempts and confusing fixes.  Am tempted to chuck it all and head back to WordPress.

I hate blogging, lately, and the logistics are getting to me.  I don’t want to stop writing, but it has been such a pain recently.


Memorial Day, 2014


Whatever you’re doing today – spending it with family, eating wonderful food together, enjoying fun activities – take at least a minute or two to remember and appreciate those who have served their country.  Pray for them, if you’re so inclined, both the ones who have served in the past and the ones who are serving now.

Today I’ll make deviled eggs and fresh corn salad and lemonade. We’ll hang out the flag and have a picnic lunch with family. We’ll water the peony on Hayley-dog’s grave.

The CEO is gone on a missions trip to Montenegro; he’ll be back on Wednesday evening. Bookworm is going to spend the week with my parents. This is the last week of school.

I’ll be wearing the first, lovely, Ines de la Fressange fragrance, which I’m sad to say that you cannot get now unless you’re willing to plop down about $15 for a 4ml mini.  I think I paid about $17 for my 30ml bottle from an online retailer, back in 2009, and when I found out how good it was I went right back and bought a 50ml for about $20.  Love the stuff.

Ines de la Fressange Ines de la Fressange for womenThis is the 1999 Calice Becker version in the octagonal bottle with silver top. Notes include aldehydes, peach, bergamot, rosewood, carnation, iris, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, sandalwood, tonka bean, benzoin.  Yes, it’s a fruity floral. No, you don’t have to curl your lip and sneer, unless you’d curl your lip at a floral print dress. It’s not a ditz, and its fruit is unsweetened. What it is is lovely.

Enjoy the day.



Testing, Testing, one two… nine ten… seventeen eighteen…

sound checkI’ll have a Scent Diary up tomorrow. Last week was a nice one with Bookworm home, and now I miss her, so I’m mentioning something else today.

After several weeks of not really testing anything new in a serious and focused sort of way, I’m back to it. I won a giveaway drawing at Indie Scent for a set of EstherP samples, so I have those six to test and report on, and I also have a brand-new set of (beautifully packaged) samples from Oriza LeGrand, all seven, plus a five-sample set from Scent on Canvas.

Yep. Busy sniffery ahead.

I’ve already worked my way through the Scent on Canvas ones and have tried half the EstherPs, so look for those reviews to arrive over the next week or two.  What is interesting to me is how varied the concept and approaches are among these three producers. (I hesitate to call two of them perfume houses, as their business focuses – foci? that sounds so wrong in English – are very different from the classic perfume houses.) Oriza LeGrand is the only one like a traditional French perfume house, in operation since the time of Marie Antoinette and producing fragrances, scented soaps and candles, and skin care items. EstherP is a design house – not unusual in itself, but its boutique shops are based in Canada; the company offers perfumes composed in Grasse. Scent on Canvas is located in Barcelona and attempts to marry their perfume creations with original art.

4th January 1973:  A girl tries some perfume at the counter.  (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
4th January 1973: A girl tries some perfume at the counter. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

(I love this photo, don’t you?)

EstherP fragrances include Barbara, Barocco, Boteh, L’Eau d’Emma, Fugue, and Queen of Persia.

Oriza LeGrand fragrances include Chypre Mousse, Deja Le Printemps, Horizon, Jardins d’Armide, Oeillet Louis XV, Relique d’Amour, and Reve d’Ossian. (There’s another fragrance, Foin Fraichement Coupe, but it isn’t included in the sample pack.)

Scent on Canvas fragrances include Blanc de Paris, Brun Sicilien, Noir de Mars, Ocre Dore, and Rose Opera.

(Sorry, didn’t bother to put in the diacritical marks since I am lazy was writing directly in WordPress.  Oh well.)


Welcome 2014

blank journal from inknouveauIt’s a fresh new page in the journal of our lives… metaphorically, anyway.

It’s funny, you know, I always loved the beginning of a new school year much more than I ever appreciated New Year’s Day. There’s always carryover, I suppose – I might have been going to school on the first day with new school supplies and possibly new shoes (almost never new clothes, as my mom insisted that all her kids usually had a growth spurt in November, and she refused to buy new clothes before we went through that), but it was the same old me carrying them.

Still, there was always the hope that this year, new and exciting things would happen. And that carries through.

Wishing you the best on your fresh new page.