Scent Diary, Oct. 31 – Nov. 6, 2016

Those false lashes tho

Monday, Oct. 31 – It’s never very Halloweeny around here. The CEO doesn’t enjoy the holiday, and we no longer have little ones to dress up in costume and take trick-or-treating, and living out here in the boonies we don’t get trick-or-treaters coming to the door. So, no Halloween. (Could have gone to our church’s block party at a member’s house, but I was just Not In The Mood.) Wore L’Arte di Gucci, which smells like I imagine Endora would: loud, proud, colorful, in-your-face witchy.

Tuesday, Nov. 1 – First day of NaNoWriMo. I was seriously on the fence about doing it again this year, given my recent lack of success in revising an earlier novel, but I did decide to go ahead and write a story that’s been in my head for years. Switched it up, though: instead of writing it from the perspectives of the college lovers, I’m now writing it from the POV of the wife of one of them. She’s going to be absolutely blindsided by her discovery of the 20-years-ago affair.

It’s gloomy and windy today, perfect for vintage Magie Noire. My mini is super-old and still smells amazing, but it sort of eats my head and I can hardly think of anything else while I’m wearing it, so it’s a rare occasion when I do.

Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Very foggy in the morning, gorgeous later. I only managed to get 932 words down yesterday, so I had some catching up to do today. Getting excited about this one, now, so I got up to 3759 before the end of the day. Working title is “Personal Injury,” because two of the characters are lawyers, but I may not keep that.

Mowed the grass for what might be the final time this year. The lawn is decorated with scattered fallen leaves, but I never mind that; they’re not thick enough to kill the grass, and I figure the soil can always use the organic matter, once I crunch them into bits with the lawnmower. SOTD probably should have been Arpege, because it’s amazing in the fall, but I wound up testing a bunch of samples. Bedtime scent was Le Galion La Rose, which I thought was going to be a soliflore. It’s a warm woody rose, though, pretty and comforting.

The boys went off with the cross country team to the Regional meet today, after last week’s triumphant Conference 24 win. They were, however, non-triumphant today. Nobody on the boys’ team ran well today. We did have two girls qualify for State, but that was it. Bummer.

The newly-painted bathroom, with new bronze accents and framed mirror. I might replace the faucet as well, because this one is a)builder grade and b)the chrome is pitted and flaking. Photo via my terrible cell phone camera.
The newly-painted bathroom, with new bronze accents and framed mirror. I might replace the faucet as well, because this one is a)builder grade and b)the chrome is pitted and flaking. Photo via my terrible cell phone camera.

Thursday, Nov. 3 – Warm again. The bathroom is finished TA-DAAAA!! and I’m pleased with it. SOTD was samples in the morning, and Le Temps d’une Fete in the evening.

Friday, Nov. 4 – Met my parents and aunt and uncle and we drove two hours to Bristol to meet another aunt and uncle for lunch. Nice. I wore sunny Chanel 1932 edp, and my mom told me I smelled good (well, she would, she’s a Chanel girl). Chatted with Bookworm and my sister A while we were there together, too.

Senior Night, 2012, with Bookworm.
Senior Night, 2012, with Bookworm. Photo by David Gravely.

Then home and a few chores before it was time to go to the high school for Senior Night. Before the football game starts, the seniors participating in fall sports (football, volleyball, golf, cross-country, cheerleading, and marching band*) are introduced and walk, escorted by parents and/or other significant people from the end zone near the field house down the track, in order to be recognized for their efforts. *Yeah, band. A couple of years ago — oh, I guess this was after the year that booster parents wound up taking five kids to the ER during band camp — the school began requiring that band students take the annual sports physical as well.

This final game of the regular season was against Salem, our school’s traditional rival, and a bitter rivalry it is. (I didn’t attend this school; the two of my cousins closest to me in age went to the rival school and I didn’t have a poor opinion of it until I got fed up with the treatment the band received every time we played there. Typically, the on-field nastiness does not reach the band, and there is friendly feeling between fellow musicians. Not at Salem, and that’s all I have to say on the subject.)

Senior Night, 2016, with Gaze.
Senior Night, 2016, with Gaze. Photo by David Gravely. (New band uniforms arrived at the end of marching season 2015, which is why Gaze’s looks substantially different than Bookworm’s.)

Salem returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the game went south badly from there, ending up with a score of 56-14. Worse, the band seemed to be having a very off night. Star Spangled Banner sounded awful, the stands tunes were rough, and the halftime show lackluster. I don’t know why. It was an emotional time for me, seeing my band kids together for the last home game. Some of them I’ve known for five years, and I’ll miss them very much. I was kind of a wreck; it’s Gaze’s last year at home full-time, and since Taz quit band, this is the end of an 8-year run as Band Mom for me. Stupid thing to be sad over, but there it is: I was very sad.

Saturday, Nov. 5 – The CEO and Gaze went off to watch Virginia Tech play football at Duke. Taz had declined a ticket, so he and I stayed home, cleaned the house, planted two chrysanthemums, ate pizza, and hung out together. It was pleasant.

SOTD was Pierre de Velay No. 11 extrait – one of those creations based on a recipe book from defunct French perfume house active in the early 20th century, given new life by Roja Dove’s perfumery in the UK. It’s very much a classical chypre: the bite of bergamot, some beautiful rose and jasmine, patchouli and oakmoss and amber to ground it. It reminds me a great deal of Coty Chypre parfum, except it’s sharper, not nearly as soft as Chypre smells now (after a good 50 years of maceration, of course). It’s also similar to Soivohle Centennial, also based on a classic chypre recipe, but Centennial has a peculiar and lovely animal fuzziness I can’t pin down. The de Velay No. 11 has no fuzz at all. It’s toothy and joyous and very, very retro. I love it. Picked it up at Surrender to Chance, which I think is the only place that has it (unless you want to contact Roja’s place and see if they’ll ship to you).

My Low Brass boys! I'm going to miss them. L-R back row: Isaac, Jeremy, Jake, James, and Gaze. Right in the center there is rookie Branden (whose big sister taught Gaze to march!), then Briggs and Lakin on the front row. Photo by Stacey Utt.
My Low Brass boys! I’m going to miss them. L-R back row: Isaac, Jeremy, Jake, James, and Gaze. Right in the center there is rookie Branden (whose big sister taught Gaze to march!), then Briggs and Lakin on the front row. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Sunday, Nov. 6 – GAH I AM SICK OF POLITICS. Sick, I tell you. I think the worst part is that after one of the candidates wins the election… that person has won the election. And then we have to live with him or her.

SOTD was By Kilian Sweet Redemption. Taz told me I smelled like lollipops. I’d roll my eyes, but the thing is, I do smell kinda like lollipops.


Rose Week #1, spring 2016

mycityflower pink roseThe Now Smell This Friday project is “wear a rose perfume.” I’ve taken the opportunity to make this a rose week. ROSE WEEK YAY!

If I’m being truthful, I probably have enough samples of rose perfumes that I could do a Rose Month. Maybe two months. 😳 And yes, rose perfumes come in many moods, so I could run the gamut from vampy, Gothy dark roses to fresh-cheeked sweet roses, to rose chypres and rose gourmands and woody roses and citrus roses and fruity roses and incense roses and…

Okay, you get the idea. In any case, what I’m longing for now is the gentle, uncomplicated ones, the ones that “feel pink” on my skin and just make me smile. I didn’t even have to dig very far to find several gentle pinkies. Here’s what I wore this week:

My bottle of Petite Cherie looks like this, all lovely celadon green frosted glass.Monday, April 12Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, edt. This is very definitely a fruity rose, and rather simple, which isn’t odd considering that it was created for Annick Goutal’s young daughters. It’s cut grass, pear, peach, rose, vanilla and musk. I never smell peach in it – or vanilla, for that matter. Instead, it’s pear, cucumber, and rose, and it evokes a sweet childhood memory for me, so that I find it extremely comforting. There was a time when Gaze used to ask me to spritz it on the hem of his sleep shirt… (why do they have to grow up? sigh.) My bottle is the pale celadon-green frosted glass one, 25ml, and I keep it in the fridge since it’s so well-known for going off; it’s now seven years old and smells just fine.

paris YSLTuesday, April 13Yves St. Laurent Paris vintage parfum. I bought this mini recently on ebay and am utterly floored by it. It’s like rose liqueur – heady, intense, very beautiful. Not that I’ve tasted rose liqueur, but I’m sure it exists. (It does, I just looked it up. Pretty sure they don’t sell it at my local ABC store. They do sell moonshine there, though!) Man, if you sprayed the parfum on, you’d radiate for three city blocks. Not that that would be a bad thing.

roses and peoniesWednesday, April 14Parfums MDCI Rose de Siwa. I can’t help sighing in pleasure over it, because it is just the pinkest, prettiest, un-Barbie-est floral ever. If you hate it, you probably hate kittens and babies and flowers, and I’m not sure I wanna be friends with you.

(Just kidding.)

Thursday, April – Testing Parfums de Nicolai Rose Pivoine… and I don’t like it. Not enough peony, too much geranium for my personal taste. Once that wore off, I tested Ann Gerard Rose Cut, which I cannot now make up my mind whether I like or not. I did love the first hour of it – a gorgeously jammy rose, with a hint of patchouli and just a tad of vanilla. From there it got more and more oriental-balsamy, and by the end I was just waaaaaiting for it to wear off.

creme de la cremeFriday, April 15Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete. Okay, I admit it – for all my yarking on about pink roses, the yellow ones are really my favorite. Rose d’Ete smells like yellow roses – a soft hint of apple, and a gentle powdery rose that makes me feel joyous. I think this one might have been THE first niche fragrance I ever bought, and I still love it.

I found so many rose perfume samples in my stash that I’ll be sure to do another Rose Week soon! This was fun.


Presidents Versus Dictators

Interesting conversations happen at my dinner table.

The other night, The CEO and Gaze and Taz, inspired by the upcoming NCAA  basketball tournament, put together a Dream Team of US Presidents for a pick-up basketball game against the World Dictators All-Stars.

Here’s The CEO to describe their plan:

The rules: Presidents and Dictators are chosen based on their peak physical condition. Dictators were chosen from a timeframe consistent with the existence of the US Presidency, 1788-present (so don’t look for Julius Caesar, who was reportedly tall).

Here are the lineups:

The American Presidents Dream Team
Starting at point guard, from New York City, speaking softly and carrying a Big Stick… standing at 5’10… wearing number 26…
Theodore “Teddy Bear” Roosevelt
At shooting guard, from Harvard … 6’1… wearing #44…
Barack Obama
At small forward, from the College of William & Mary…6’3… wearing #3…
“Too Tall Tom” Jefferson
At power forward, the General and team captain…His Excellency himself…6’2… wearing #1…
George Washington
And at center… 6’4 without the top hat… from the Illinois Home School League… wearing #16…
“Honest Abe” Lincoln

For the World Dictator All Stars:
At point guard… 5’7… from Russia and parts of Ukraine…
“Bad Vlad” Putin
At shooting guard… 5’8… from Libya,…
“The Desert Rat” Moammar Gadaffi
At small forward… 6’3… from Zaire…
“The Rumble from the Jungle” Mobutu Sese Seko
At power forward… 6’4… from Cuba…
Fidel “I Can’t Gitmo Satisfaction” Castro
At center… 6’4″… ‘The Ugandan Nightmare’…
Idi Amin

Here is some commentary about the players and the match-ups at each position:

At the point guard position, this looks like a great match-up for the fans to watch.

TR cowboy







The always energetic Teddy Roosevelt will push the ball up the court for the Americans looking for fast break opportunities. The Russian strongman Putin, while the shortest of the dictators, is their most physically imposing. We’ll see if Teddy can dribble with one hand while carrying his Big Stick or if Bad Vlad will take over the backcourt like he took over the Crimea.

(Photo credit EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

libya-young1The shooting guard should be the Americans’ strongest scoring position with Barack Obama the Presidents’ best pure shooter. His biggest weakness is that he only shoots from the Far Left Wing. He’s matched up against the always elusive Gadaffi who gets open for his jump shots by using his well-honed nomadic skills developed from years of living in tents in the Sahara dodging missile strikes.


Thomas-Jefferson-Quote-Youngg20110215-mobutuinaugOn the front line, at small forward, an intriguing match-up pits the author of the Declaration of Independence against the man who created kleptocracy: theft as the fundamental purpose of government. Will Jefferson get the freedom he needs to hit some open jump shots or will Mobutu steal the show at the small forward position the way he stole most of his country’s mineral wealth? We hold these truths to be self-evident: if Jefferson can’t post up against Mobutu it’s going to be a tough night for the Americans.

Peale_GeorgeWashingtoncastroAt power forward it doesn’t get any more powerful than George Washington, the Father of our Country, taking on Fidel Castro, the last hold-out of Communism (well, the last one with any height, anyway. We were going to start the North Korean guy here, whatever his name is, but he’s just too short and fat). Washington stands head and shoulders above any other American President, but at 6’2 he’s giving up 2 inches in height against the 6’4 Father of the Cuban Revolution. But we don’t expect Washington to give up an inch of ground in the paint where this battle will be fought. After all, this is the guy who taught the world that Americans will cross an icy river to kill our enemies in their sleep on Christmas morning. Washington will have to be aggressive, but he also has to play smart against the cunning Cuban Commie. He doesn’t want to be first in war, first in peace, and first to the bench with three fouls in the first half.

Abe youngidi aminCenter looks like the toughest match-up for the Americans with the Great Emancipator, Abe Lincoln against the Ugandan Nightmare, Idi Amin. While they both come in at 6’4, the concern is whether the long-armed, lanky Lincoln can use his enormous wingspan to counter the much heavier and bulkier Ugandan dictator and former boxing champ. Neither of these guys is a natural scoring threat, so the battle down-low will be more about defensive positioning, blocking shots, and rebounding. Lincoln’s got his hands full here. If Amin is enough of a monster to eat the carcasses of his dead enemies he’s going to be a monster to stop on the boards, too.

If Lincoln gets into foul trouble trying to curtail the self-proclaimed Last King of Scotland, then Coach Eisenhower has another problem with his depleted bench at this position. The next tallest option is 6’2 Andrew Jackson, but his minutes will be limited due to injury. He still has a bullet lodged near his lung from a duel with the man who was supposedly Jackson’s wife’s ex-husband but who says he never divorced her. So, while Jackson was our seventh President, he was the first whose relationship status was “It’s Complicated.” And it’s going to affect his playing time.

Initially Ulysses S. Grant was going to back up Lincoln here, just as he bailed Lincoln out from Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. We thought “Unconditional Surrender” Grant might force Idi Amin into submission in the paint the way he did to the Confederates at Vicksburg, but Grant’s continuing struggles with alcoholism have led to him being suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Americans are coached by President and former General of the Allied Forces in World War II, Dwight Eisenhower. We like Ike as coach. Anyone who could plan D-Day can design an offense that can score points in the paint and stop the Dictators’ pick and roll with a collapsing zone defense.

The Dictators were initially going to be coached by Adolf Hitler, making this a rematch of the Normandy Invasion against Eisenhower, but even among the Dictators nobody could stand to be around this son of a [gun] so they sent him back to his bunker and hired Vladimir Lenin. Actually, they didn’t really hire Lenin, he just kind of sneaked in on a train from Germany and took over.


Scent Diary, Jan. 18-24, 2016

light driving out darknessMonday, Jan. 18 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day here. An amazing man.

When I was in high school, Coach Roland Malone (who taught Health & PE as well as coaching the boys’ basketball team) would take the microphone for morning announcements and read us MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech every year on this day. Amen and amen. (Coach, who died a few months ago from cancer in his mid-80s, was also a minister and a lovely person. He was, as we say around here to describe the indescribable, “somethin’ else.” I clearly remember him exhorting us in health class to avoid straining on the toilet, lest we cause ourselves hemorrhoids. Oh, yes, he said it…)

SOTD is Mary Greenwell Plum, over a bit of Juicy Couture body creme. Mmmmm.

Tuesday, Jan. 19 – SOTD is Honore des Pres Vamp a NY – tuberose root beer, here I come! Cheerful, vulgar, great stuff.  (Funny how I tend to color-code BWFs as pink, isn’t it?)

Wednesday, Jan. 20 – I am almost finished with this novel – I’ve just been going back and adding scenes to bridge from one part to another. It’s kind of driving me crazy, and I think I might be better off putting it aside for a month or so and working on something else in the meantime.

The boys got out of school two hours early because winter weather was expected. I was out doing errands, and actually got caught in it a couple of times, where accidents well ahead of me blocked the roads. I finally decided to turn around and go the long way out to the interstate, which I knew would at least be scraped in one lane (it was clear all the way at that point).

SOTD was Pierre de Velay Extrait No. 11, an old floral chypre formula now produced by Roja Dove. It’s gorgeous. Smells a good deal like Roja’s first LE edp version of Diaghilev (I haven’t smelled the ridiculously pricy parfum version), or like Mitsouko without the brooding darkness. Or vintage Coty Chypre with a ton of lively bergamot up top. I got a decant at Surrender to Chance a while back, and it’s really lovely.

Thursday, Jan. 21 – Yesterday evening’s snow had stopped by 9 pm, and it’s clear today, but there’s no school. The boys are watching Discovery Channel and lounging; I am writing.

SOTD is Donna Karan Black Cashmere, since I finally performed the WINTER perfume cabinet-to-hatbox switch! It does feel like cashmere, but doesn’t smell very black to me at all. Maybe camel or beige, something you can accent with a red scarf. Great stuff.

Friday, Jan. 22 – Snow! Powdery light snow that then turned to sleet and back to snow, getting heavier as the day went on. I participated in the Friday Challenge at Now Smell This, wearing Serge Noire (which is definitely black: clove, wood, incense) on one wrist and sampling Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, which is not black but sort of greige – neutral, but serious about it.

I made brownies and a delicious pot roast with potatoes and carrots and onions. You need substantial food in weather like this.  Taz has been outside shoveling the front walk and the driveway; how thoughtful of him!

Gaze went to check on his sheep in the evening, and found that one of the boy twins was cold and lethargic because his mother had apparently forgotten she had two lambs and was only feeding his brother. It can happen so fast – he’d been up and running around in the morning, and the sheep were free to go inside the hay barn, but lambs are so small that they can lose body heat very quickly if they’re not eating.

sick lambSo the lamb came into the laundry room and we did our best to warm him up and feed him something. It took several hours, parked on top of a thick towel over the heating pad, with a towel over him, before he really got warm, and he had so little energy that it was difficult to get any milk into him even using a syringe. But finally The CEO got him to take a couple of ounces of milk out of a baby bottle, and then got up in the middle of the night to feed him again.

Saturday, Jan. 23 – Snow. Snow, snow, wind and snow all day… makes me think of my 1970s childhood! Total accumulation somewhere around 14 inches, substantial but not crippling. I think this storm wound up farther north and east than I had expected it to go; Bookworm said that New Haven got enough snow that they closed the dining hall. Luckily, she had some microwave meals in her room.

Brendan and SnowflakeWe had a fire going and it was nice in the house. The lamb was eager for another bottle by the time Taz went to check on him early in the morning. He is now taking bottles like a champ, and frisking about the laundry room with bright black eyes. We’re pretty sure he’s going to make it now, and we named him Snowflake.

I cleaned out the upstairs linen closet and came out with a PILE of old raggedy towels and worn sheets to take to the local animal shelter. I confess that I’ve been following the unwritten dictum that guests get the best towels, adults the next best, and the kids use the ones that are less nice; that’s how things were in my house when I was a child. I’ve gotten three sets of new towels in the past year, so it was time to do some towel-shuffling.

Gaze went to check on his sheep in the late afternoon, and found that one ewe was having trouble lambing. The CEO went out to help, and together they pulled the lamb and got the pair settled in a warm spot in the hay barn. The rest of them are doing fine.

SOTD was Shalimar Light, very cozy.

"I'm ignoring you. You are the Meanest Dog Mommy Evarrrr."
“I’m ignoring you. You are the Meanest Dog Mommy Evarrrr.”

Sunday, Jan. 24 – Sunshine today. It melted much of the snow off the vehicles by the afternoon, which bodes well for The CEO getting to class in Blacksburg tomorrow. Sampling things today, and grooving on the lamb. He is so cute.

Sampling L’Wren Scott for Barney’s, an interesting floral chypre with anise! Rather quirky.

Hunter-doggie is ABOUT TO DIIIIEEEE to go down to the laundry room and play with Snowflake. He excitement-whined all day yesterday. I mean ALL DAY. About 11 pm I had had enough (because he might say he wants to play with, but he really means taste), and fussed at him to shut up, and then he pouted. See?


Scent Diary, Jan. 11-17, 2016

Scent Diary’s been AWOL for far too long. Agreed?

Monday, Jan. 11 – Weather is windy and chilly, but sunny. It’s my birthday, and Bookworm took me to the new place in town for lunch. We shared potato skins topped with shredded beef, cheese, and fried onions, and then I chose a sandwich of sliced turkey and pepper jack with chipotle mayo on a toasted baguette while she had a mushroom swiss burger. Yummy.

MG Plum smells like this vibrant lantana looks.
MG Plum smells like this vibrant lantana looks.

SOTD is Mary Greenwell Plum, over some Juicy Couture body creme because the two smell startlingly alike, especially in the top and heart: a tangy-fruity white floral with rose that just makes me smile every time. The Juicy Couture in parfum and body creme diverges, in my opinion, from the more-commonly-worn EdP, which I find ridiculously Watermelon Bubblicious-y. You know, that highly artificial watermelon flavor? That’s all I can smell in JC edp, but the creme and the parfum skip the watermelon for citrus and green notes. JC never actually gets to its gourmandy basenotes on me, it’s all top/heart. Which is okay, because it’s so closely related to Plum and Plum has a lightweight modern-chypre base that I like very much.

No birthday party yet; the boys had a MACC (academic challenge team) match and then I had to attend a band booster meeting. Bookworm was on the MACC science team, so she enjoyed watching the meet. Gaze and Taz, however, are on the social studies team; Gaze is the geography expert and Taz specializes in 20th century Western history. Social Studies has been good for the past several years, and they did win convincingly tonight.

Tuesday, Jan. 12 – Warmer today. Wore RL Safari during the day and did some errands with Bookworm, in between loads of laundry.

The box for Ostara is simply gorgeous, with what seems to be a cut-paper applique. This photo from
The box for Ostara is simply gorgeous, with what seems to be a cut-paper applique. This photo from

Then my MIL brought fried chicken from the local grocery store deli for dinner. I made my own cake, which was fun although I couldn’t get the icing swirls to go where I wanted them to go (boooo). I did get to unwrap the deeply-discounted bottle of Penhaligon’s Ostara I had bought for The CEO to give me. It’s really nice stuff.

The highlight of the gifts, though, was the copy of The Dragonbone Chair which Taz picked out for the kids to give me. I had a copy, but it’s been read so often that its pages are falling out, so he thought I’d like a replacement. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’ll plug it again: if you like classic epic fantasy and don’t demand a fast pace, give this Tad Williams three-book series a try. There’s a lot of world-building and character introduction in the first, oh, 200 pages, but if you can slog through that, things pick up afterward. Taz is not naturally a thoughtful person, but I think he’s developing some sensitivity. Proud of him.

Gaze's lambWednesday, Jan. 13 – COLD again, windy and well below freezing. Gaze had to gather up his sheep and put them in the small lot near the hay barn, so that they could have access to shelter in this weather. He kept the one ewe lamb born last year, and he’s borrowed a ram, so there are seven sheep… and one lamb! Wish I had a picture, but they’re pretty far from the house (that’s the drawback of the hay barn) so I haven’t snuck out there with my camera. This is a shot of a lamb from last year. #sorrynotsorry

Ostara, though it’s ostensibly a spring floral, has enough heft to it that it hasn’t been overpowered by the cold. I’m getting a good deal more ylang in my bottle, as opposed to the manufacturer spray sample I had used up. I’ve heard some complaints about the white musk in the drydown, but I don’t smell a lot on me; it just sort of tails off into a quiet woody thing. (Maybe I’m anosmic… no, I did get a whiff of it in my sample spray, but very little in this bottle. The base here reminds me a little bit of the drydown of Chamade, actually, though less vanillic. It smells a bit like Amaranthine… hmm…) It actually smells yellow.

Thursday, Jan. 14 – It’s far less cold than yesterday. SOTD is Mariella Burani.

Bookworm is packing to go back to school. I’m not looking forward to being the only person in the house that’s lacking a Y chromosome… sigh. Also, I just miss her when she’s gone. We did some errands, like picking her car up from the garage; it needed a current inspection sticker, and it was burning a good deal of oil on its trip home last month, so we had the local garage check it out. It needed its head gaskets replaced (!!! $$$!! ouch) and a tie rod end.

We also had to hit the DMV for a valid registration, because I had renewed it online but we hadn’t received the updated copy and the 2016 stickers for the license plate. I know people love to hate on the DMV… but I have to say, I’ve never had any extended wait times or poor service at ours. It might be because it’s a small office, but I give my local DMV workers kudos. We hit the door at 11:10 a.m., took a number from the check-in station, and were called to the first of the four service desks before we’d even sat down.

Watched the Kenneth Branagh-Emma Thompson noir thriller “Dead Again” (trailer here) with Bookworm after dinner, while the boys were at another MACC match. I do love “Dead Again,” especially for Robin Williams’ scene-stealing, disbarred psychiatrist, who dispenses advice from the meat cooler of the Hispanic grocery store he’s now working in. And for Andy Garcia’s sexy, chain-smoking reporter, who “misses the war.” (I wonder if Ken or Emma ever watch this thing and get a pang; they were married at the time it was filmed, and the attraction shows, but only a few years later, he left her for Helena Bonham-Carter.)

Fri., Jan. 15 – Chilly again. No SOTD; instead, I tested several samples.

Bookworm left to go back to Yale. She called around noon, to tell me that the car was making funny noises and she was concerned. We called the local garage; they put her in contact with a garage close to where she was (somewhere in PA). Turns out the car needed its alternator belt replaced, yikes. They got it fixed and she made it back to her dorm room by 11 pm – several hours late, but safe.

Sat., Jan. 16 – Spent the day cleaning and doing laundry, so I was commando all day. Tired. My ankle where I have a cracked bone (stress fracture) really hurt from all the up-and-down-stairs hustle. The CEO made it safely back to LA, and from there back to Dulles. He went to his sister’s house to spend the night.

The CEO's Virginia Tech Wintermester class, at Arthur's Pass on South Island.
The CEO’s Virginia Tech Wintermester class, at Arthur’s Pass on South Island. The focus of the study abroad was on international agricultural trade, and where better to study it than New Zealand?

Sun., Jan. 17 – I was expecting The CEO to show up around lunchtime, assuming his body clock didn’t get completely bollixed up and he slept too long. However, he came in at quarter to seven in the morning SURPRISE!!! He managed to go to church with us and have lunch before collapsing into a good long nap.

SOTD was Ostara again, and I am increasingly puzzled by the resemblance to Amaranthine. Now this is not bizarre in itself; these two are both from Penhaligon’s. Also, I have begun to notice that many of Bertrand Duchaufour’s creations have a certain indefinable something in common. When I was testing Ostara this past summer, it seemed similar in feel to Neela Vermeire Pichola. But I really should get out my manufacturer spray sample of Ostara and compare it to the bottle, which I bought considerably discounted. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps there was a compounding incident at Penhaligon’s and somebody decided to add the little bit of Amaranthine that might be leftover (it was discontinued this past year, I think) to the Ostara mix, so when someone noticed, the company decided to shove that batch of bottles off to a discount site. No factual basis for this guess, of course, but I’m exceedingly puzzled. Will report back on the wrist-to-wrist, sample vs. bottle test.


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.