Labor Day, 2014

Happy Labor Day to my fellow Americans!

I have, again, sorely neglected to keep my Scent Diary up to date, so you’re getting a summary.  That’s The Way It Is. (Heavy sigh.)

outlanderI’ve been watching “Outlander” on Starz.  I’ve loved the books ever since I picked up the first one in the series (which now stands at eight books, with at least one more in the works), in 1995. It was a good fat book, and it seemed to involve Scotland and a romance, so I figured it might be good reading material for what I was doing at the time. Namely, sitting on the couch and nursing my first baby. Bookworm did not have a good handle on this breastfeeding thing – and neither did I, to be honest. Besides that, she was a small six-pound baby and wanted to nurse every two hours around the clock.

Let me repeat that: around the clock. Every two hours. Without fail.   So I was spending something like 10 hours a day parked in one spot. I needed stuff to read.  And I was quickly engrossed in the story of Claire, a WWII nurse suddenly transported back 200 years in time, without a way to get home, forced to escape the perverted interest of an army captain by way of marrying a young Scotsman.

Ah, Jamie Fraser… if you can find me a woman who’s read the books and not fallen for Jamie Fraser, I’ll tell you that she is either a newlywed or has no heart.

Taz at Grand Tetons, a selfie using his dad's camera and tripod.
Taz at Grand Tetons, a selfie using his dad’s camera and tripod.

I’ve sampled a few new things, as well as a few fragrances new to me. More about that coming, but here’s the list: Carven Le Parfum, Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant, and Dame Perfumery Pear, Waterlily and Amber.  I have re-explored Monyette Paris (oil format) and Robert Piguet Fracas, plus Sonoma Scent Studio Yin & Ylang.

What I would love to know is, why can’t I find a manufacturer sample of the rereleased Carven Ma Griffe? I read somewhere that it was considered a “soft” launch, not much fanfare… but NO samples?  Perhaps this is a US problem only, and there are at least testers available in multiple places in Europe. I did once buy a mini of the vintage stuff on eBay, but it was truly spoilt so I still don’t know how it was meant to smell.  I’m very interested in smelling the new, anyway.

Bookworm with her sax.
Bookworm with her sax. Photo by YPMB Photogs.

Bookworm went back to school on the 23rd. She seems to have settled in just fine. She’s in a suite with four other girls – Kat, Maya, Sophia, and her roommate, Ring – and practices for the Yale Precision Marching Band have already started.  (Ring is Chinese, and that’s her English-language use-name because apparently her Chinese name is difficult for Americans to pronounce.)

Gaze is a sophomore in high school, and Taz is an eighth-grader.  They’re out of school today for the holiday, and so is Bookworm, for that matter, but Virginia Tech held classes today, so The CEO is teaching today.  We’re going to a potluck meal with my extended family for lunch today, and when we get home, I intend to rearrange my perfume cabinet. There are some bottles in there that I’m not wearing, and I want to organize them and prepare them for sale on eBay. Never done that before, so that will be a new experience.

(Perhaps I shall offer them for sale here first? Think I will. Don’t expect any hidden gems, though.  It’ll be mostly mainstream stuff – no 1930s Vol de Nuit or anything like that.  I probably will slough off my two purchases of 1980s Coty Chypre, however. That is tough to find. I just don’t love it, not the way I adore the really vintage stuff. In any case, I will take pictures and post things for sale here, and leave that post up for a week or ten days, after which everything goes straight to listing on eBay.  I’m sorry to say that I will only be shipping within the US; attempts to mail out of the country have gone very badly for me. Paypal only.)

Gaze with his trombone.
Gaze with his trombone. Photo by Stacey Utt.

The high school had their first football game Friday. We lost 28-8. Miserable.  The band did well, though.  Weather’s been odd for August – very wet, continuing the rain that marked the last half of July.  Just in the last week or so, it’s been hot and humid, which is more like our usual August. I hate August.  And last week, the cross-country team hosted a scrimmage against a school from a neighboring county. The course was laid out over land that we own or rent, and it’s an extremely tough one: hills and varying surfaces (paved road, gravel road, grass).  Finishing times were  slow, and although that must have been partly because the course was so new that no one had run it before (except Gaze, who’d run it once) and partly because the temperatures were brutally hot.  We did not exactly cover ourselves with glory, but we had all of our boys finish, including the two middle-school boys, Noah and Taz.


The dog is driving me crazy. It’s like living with a toddler.  Out! In! Out! In! Investigate the goats! Bark at nonexistent threats!  Attempt to steal food and eat inappropriate things like quarters and pieces of plastic! On the other hand, he’s sweet. And he hasn’t really destroyed anything… much.  Except three shoes, one of his leashes, several used tissues, a plastic bag, one of The CEO’s socks that he bit a hole in, one of Taz’ socks that he bit the heel completely out of, his plastic Frisbee, and half a pan of cinnamon rolls he snagged off the counter (I don’t want to know what acrobatic feats he accomplished to even reach the pan).  I can’t watch him every single second! Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom!

Hunter is spoiled rotten!
Hunter is spoiled rotten!

Fragrances I’ve been wearing recently: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, Mary Greenwell Plum, Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil, LeLong pour Femme, Chanel 1932 edt, Guerlain Vega, Dame Perfumery Black Flower Mexican Vanilla, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour Femme, Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete, and Ralph Lauren Safari.  I even pulled out Amouage Memoir Woman for a bedtime spritz last night. (It was lovely.)  I’ve been trying to wear decants, and I’m going to try to continue that focus into the future.

I purchased two inexpensive blind buys off eBay recently: Lucienne von Doz Lucienne, and a nearly-anonymous vintage thing in a vaguely Avon bottle, called Chypre d’Amboise and labeled Paris. I haven’t worn it yet. I’ll report on Lucienne soon as well.


Perfume Review: Dame Perfumery Scottsdale Black Flower Mexican Vanilla

Artwork for Black Flower Mexican Vanilla, by V. Dave Dame. From Dame Perfumery website.
Artwork for Black Flower Mexican Vanilla, by V. Dave Dame. From Dame Perfumery website.

The Aztecs called vanilla tlilxóchitl, meaning black flower.  The origin myth explaining the existence of vanilla springs from the Totonac people, who live on the eastern coast of Mexico, and may have been the first to cultivate the vanilla orchid.  From Dame Perfumery’s website:

According to Totonac mythology, the tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the tropical orchid grew.

I’ll be honest, I have never been the biggest fan of oriental vanilla fragrances for myself.  I did love Emeraude, back in the 80s, at first sniff, and even though it is now an absolute disaster (seriously, don’t sniff the current stuff. This has been a Public Service Announcement), it has a very definite vanilla focus and at one time was a pure-genius sort of fragrance, the kind of thing that belongs on cleavage.  Rumor has it that famously-vanilla Shalimar is a riff on Emeraude.  Other vanilla fragrances often either have a “vanilla-and” character, or can be ridiculously simple to the point of dopiness.  Either way, I have yet to really love a vanilla scent the way I love vintage Emeraude.  (See my Sexy Cake post for an elaboration on the subject.)  The short version is, I like my gourmandy vanillas (berry-vanilla, or caramel vanilla), or my white-floral vanillas.

I will say that I loved the drydown of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Havane Vanille (renamed Vanille Absolument) – after the boozy, fruity, pipe-tobacco parts faded off, about eight hours into wearing HV, the vanilla appeared on stage solo, so clear and intoxicating. No hint of powder.  I sometimes had difficulty waiting out the early stages to get to the part I really liked.  What was really super-awesome about that clear, intense vanilla drydown was putting a dab of By Kilian’s Beyond Love on top of it. Tuberose-vanilla, yum, a do-it-yourself floral vanilla that I loved.

So I admit that I was sort of hoping that Black Flower Mexican Vanilla would be something like the drydown of HV, particularly when reading the description of it on the Dame Perfumery website: “A perfect vanilla is simply vanilla without added accents, and its creation is a task of restraint and avoiding misguided add-ons of ‘vanilla + such and such’.” 

The notes list for BFMV is more complicated than “simply vanilla.”  Fragrantica‘s list is as follows: lemon, grapefruit, caramel, nutmeg, gardenia, jasmine, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, musk, tonka. Fragranticans smell mostly vanilla in it, plus tonka bean; the other elements seem to be noted as present but not a large portion of the scent. I’d agree: vanilla and tonka, primarily. It’s not particularly sweet, either, which is nice in a vanilla fragrance.  I was expecting a floral cast, but there isn’t one: it’s mostly just vanilla-tonka.

What I don’t understand is what smells so powdery in it.  On my skin, BFMV has a good bit of powder, following its barely-citrusy opening. I do not smell much in the way of white florals or woody notes, and I don’t notice vetiver or nutmeg at all. The caramel shows up, but if I’m being honest, all it does is make me want to go buy a mini of Prada Candy.  Perhaps the powder is due to a dusty-quality patchouli making itself noticeable; whatever it is, I’m not enjoying that bit.

There is a similar dusty/powdery quality to another one of my “vanilla” fragrances, Givenchy Organza Indecence.  But OI has so much else going on (the orange, the spices, the woods) that I can forgive it a smidge of powder.  Black Flower Mexican Vanilla – not, I emphasize, very floral on me, despite its name – has placed the vanilla front and center, so there isn’t anything to distract me from the dusty qualities.  The aspect of the drydown of Havana Vanille (which does, yes, have a dusty quality in its heart) that I loved so much was its clarity and its complete lack of powderiness; it is much more like vanilla liqueur than the powdery stuff.*

Sillage is gentle and lasting power is quite good, 6-8 hours on me where I typically get 3-5 hours’ wear out of an eau de parfum.  If you are looking for a nicely-done, unsweetened vanilla fragrance, test this one. It might be what you’re looking for.  It’s decently priced, as well: you can still pick up a 7ml spray sample for $10 including shipping, and it’s worth it if you ask me.

*Habanita nearly killed me, if you’re wondering about my tolerance for that version of “powdery.”

Well done, Dame Perfumery. It’s still not my sort of thing, but it’s competent and pleasant and engaging to wear, all the same.



So the kids found a cave in one of the pasture fields on the farm.  This was back in the spring, actually, when a school friend of Bookworm’s and Gaze’s came over to shoot Airsoft rifles with Gaze.  They found something that looked sort of more than our usual “hole in the ground,” which we have plenty of because this area is highly karstic and prone to sinkholes and small caves.  There was no time then to explore the cave.

Cave entrance from the outside. (All photos in this post by Bookworm.)
Cave entrance from the outside. (All photos in this post by Bookworm.)

Grey came back on Sunday afternoon with his caving equipment and good flashlights and ropes and whatnot, and he and Bookworm went slithering into the cave to see how far it went. They could see from the opening that it would probably be big enough for one person to enter and get out, and possibly for two people, so they took the appropriate precautions when entering an unexplored cave and went in.

There is a big rock in the center of the opening, and it’s necessary to scramble to one side or the other in order to pass it, but once inside the main room, the space opens up.  It’s tall enough for most people to stand up in, and is about the size of our kitchen (10 x 10, approximately).

Cave entrance closeup.
Cave entrance closeup.

There’s a secondary room to the left, and from it you can see an opening to the surface where light comes in, as well as two small tunnels too narrow to explore.  To the right of the main room (entrance at your back) is a tunnel with several tiny side passages.

There are stalactites and stalagmites forming in the cave, showing the presence of water and minerals. This fascinates me.


The kids spent all afternoon in the cave. Don’t think I’m going in it! But it’s cool to know it’s there.



Almost-Scent Diary, Aug. 4-17, 2014

Photo from FarmGirlBloggers.  (I JUST NOW found out this site exists. Now must explore...)
Foggy August Morning in the Appalachians. Photo from FarmGirlBloggers.

As usual, when things get crazy, I neglect keeping up with the Scent Diary. Sorry. :) But here’s a summary-type entry.  (Hey, I just NOW found out that the Farm Girl Bloggers site exists… must explore.)

As I mentioned in the post about the new dog, I’ve Been Busy. I had forgotten how much time a not-grown dog takes, not to mention the time it takes for a rescue dog to acclimate to a new situation. Bookworm came home from her internship in Louisiana last week, and there were all the school administrative things to take care of before school started, which it did last Friday. (That’s early for us, but the school board is trying an adjusted schedule so that the students who have standardized tests to pass before receiving credit for certain classes can take the tests before Christmas break, instead of having two weeks off and then coming back to take the tests unrefreshed. I hope it works, even though starting early is a huge pain in the behind.) And we all had dentist appointments.

So much stuff going on.

Taz is not taking band this year. I am sad, but it is his choice. He’ll be taking one semester of Information Technology and one of Technical Education instead.

This is a portion of the low brass section (t-bones, tubas, baritone horns) at band camp. That's Gaze there in the red shirt and gray shorts. Love these kids.  Photo by Stacey Utt.
This is a portion of the low brass section (t-bones, tubas, baritones) at band camp. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Gaze, on the other hand, will be busy with band all year, and particularly this fall with marching band. The band has already played – for the school administration’s Convocation service last week – and will be playing for the “benefit” scrimmage football game this coming Friday. (The Band Boosters are selling pizza and barbecue pork sandwiches at the game, so I won’t see them play.) Then there’s the Parent Preview Picnic, where the parents get to see the show as it currently is, on Thursday, just before The CEO leaves to take Bookworm back to school. And all of that is before the marching season proper begins, with the first official football game on August 30.

Bookworm has been transitioning from living on her own in an apartment to ten days at home, being babied (yeah, come on, cut me some slack on that. I missed her), and then packing up for another school year. I think she might be a bit apprehensive about declaring a major, but I know she’s looking forward to getting back to her friends on the Ultimate Frisbee team and the band. Classes this year might be less tough on her.

There is a middle school cross-country team this year, and Taz is participating on it. He gets on a bus at the middle school which takes him to the high school after the school day ends, so he can practice with the older kids. (I’m not sure Gaze is crazy about having his baby brother around, but he’s taking it with good grace.) Besides after-school practice, the team also goes to the New River Trail to do a long run on Sunday evenings. Yesterday, Gaze and his buddies and the coach and assistant coach ran about eleven and a half miles. Taz ran nine, himself. We’re very proud!

The CEO and Coach Sirak have laid out a cross-country course ranging from the adjoining airport property through our pasture fields, and our high school will be hosting at least one race there this fall. They’re excited about the Farm and Field 5000. It should be fun to watch, I think.

I need to take some new pix of this guy. He's cute.
I need to take some new pix of this guy. He’s so cute.

The dog’s name is no longer Gunnar, but Hunter, and he is starting to settle down. Except that he desperately desperately wants to meet the neighbors’ goats. Desperately. He throws his entire 38-pound body into his leash-harness, going low to the ground in order to get me to take him into their field. Goats, however, are pretty smart: they see him, and they retreat far away from the fence, eyeing him suspiciously the whole time. He also desperately wants to meet the wild rabbits living in the shop lot and the cows in the Pond Field, but the rabbits race away terrified and the cows ignore him. The other being he desperately wants to meet is the other neighbor’s dog, the one that attempted to attack Gaze in our shop lot several years ago, prompting her owner to install Invisible Fence. Hunter’s foster mom also had a large female German shepherd, so I imagine Hunter thinks that this German shepherd is his buddy. He’s wrong. Dakota would like nothing more than to rip him to shreds, and then me afterward, so I’m keeping him away from her.

He loves to chase tennis balls and the boys’ remote control cars. It’s hilarious. He also thinks it’s a “fun game” to growl at and play-bite anybody sitting on the downstairs couch, which it’s not. It really is not, and we’re trying to break him of that weird little habit. But he has learned his name, and he’s pretty good at “Sit,” “Come,” “Down,” and “Go Get It.” We’re still working on “Stay,” “Drop It,” and “Thank You for Alerting Us to Potential Intruders, but That’s Enough Barking Now because This Is a Friend.”

The weather has been oddly cool, in general, for early August. We had six straight days of rain last week – we needed it badly, and we got a good six weeks’ worth of our average rainfall in those six days. Now we’re back to cool foggy mornings followed by sticky, hot, humid afternoons and evenings, which is our normal August weather.

I have made a determination to try to wear more of my minis and decants, in order to use them up. Recently I’ve worn Leonard de Leonard, LeLong Pour Femme, Iris Poudre, Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil, Citizen Queen, Flowerhead, and a few others. I’ve also been testing some things I plan to review, and I want to discuss further my plan to Use It Up, Wear It Out. Obviously, I am having trouble writing recently. I hope to get back to it soon.

Whew. Once more into the breach, dear friends…


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


Fragrance Throwdown: Ines de la Fressange I versus Ines de la Fressange II


It’s been a long while since I’ve done a throwdown, but thanks to Portia’s comment the other day, I finally got down to business to set the two Ines de la Fressange fragrances head-to-head.

Okay, first off, let’s clarify things: the first Ines fragrance was discontinued before the second came into being, so apparently nobody thought it would be confusing to give them the same name. (Wrong.) Luckily, the packaging is different enough that there should be no question which version you’ve got – unless you are looking at a sample vial labeled simply “Ines de la Fressange.” Because then, you’re going to have to smell it to find out. :)

Inès Marie Lætitia Églantine Isabelle de Seignard de La Fressange, daughter of a French marquis and banker and an Argentinian model, is a model and couturier who worked exclusively for Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel in the 1980s.  She is a designer in her own right, and has owned a chain of boutiques; she recently wrote a style guide called Parisian Chic. On top of her own career, she’s a mother as well: that’s her lovely daughter Nine d’Urso featured in the ad campaign for Bottega Veneta’s first fragrance.

Photo stolen Fragrantica.
Photo stolen Fragrantica.

And in 1999, she released the first perfume under her name. It was created by Calice Becker.  This one was packaged in the octagonal column bottle with simple silver top, and the juice inside it is a soft peachy-yellow color. That’s appropriate, because this scent is one of the best representations of fresh peaches out there (according to me), at least in the topnotes.  If you’re already shuddering, please give me a moment. It’s not about the peach. In fact, it’s a multilayered Proper Lady’s Fragrance, and if I had to classify it, I’d have to resort to a description that goes like this: Aldehydic Fruity Floral Woody.  It’s not exactly everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, but it’s complex.

The notes for Ines I include peach, aldehydes, bergamot, Brazilian rosewood, rose, jasmine, ylang, carnation, iris, lily of the valley, sandalwood, tonka bean, benzoin.  I warn aldephobes that the aldehydes are noticeable here. They are less soapy than they can sometimes appear, and add a great deal of sparkle in a fizzy Champagne-like way. The peach is not sweetened, candied, or even creamy; it’s very tart and refreshing. From that sparkling Bellini top the florals come up, and they are beautiful. The rose and ylang are prominent to my nose, but this is definitely a big bouquet of flowers, symphonically floral in the way that, for example, Estee Lauder’s Beautiful and the old Karl Lagerfeld Chloe are floral. Both of those fragrances are considerably bigger than Ines’ first – if they’re big hotel-lobby arrangements, this one is a far simpler mixed arrangement on your best girlfriend’s dinner table, not formally arranged but simply flowers heaped into a bowl in a simple profusion. The base, which blends benzoin and sandalwood undergirds all those flowers with a warmth and friendliness. I do not know whether the sandalwood is real Mysore, though given the release date, it is just possible that there is at least some in there. The general effect of the fragrance is summery, graceful, and effortless, maybe even a bit nostalgic.

I reviewed the first Ines (Garden Party in a Bottle) in August of 2012, and I still love it every bit as much as I always did – maybe more, because supplies are truly drying up. (It’s extremely hard to find now. I paid under $15 for a 1-oz bottle from Beauty Encounter – not affiliated – in 2009, and under $20 for a 1.7-oz, once I realized how lovely it was. Those days are gone.  I can’t find any reasonable supplies of this one at all, save for ONE 100ml bottle, currently listed at $150, on eBay. It seemed to have been available at the discounters when I wrote that review two years ago, but time unfortunately goes in one direction…) I wear this fragrance only in the summer, when its quiet, effortless elegance seems just right. It’s perfect for tea parties and afternoon weddings, or any occasion where peach silk and cream lace wouldn’t be out of place.  (For other reviews, click the “Garden Party” link above.)

Photo stolen Fragrantica. See, isn't this bottle pretty?
Photo stolen Fragrantica. See, isn’t this bottle pretty?

The second fragrance from the house of Ines de la Fressange came just five years later, so I might assume that the first one didn’t sell like hotcakes. (It might have been too ladylike.) This fragrance, packaged in a beautiful flask-shaped bottle with a gold overlay and gold oak leaves, was created by Alberto Morillas.

I recently snagged a manufacturer’s sample of the 2004 version and have been wearing it. It’s… nice. It’s perfectly okay.  It may be suffering from not being sprayed, because even dabbed generously it’s pretty quiet (and I’ve heard from two friends who own both versions that the Morillas one is louder and more fun).

Notes for this one include bergamot, mandarin, either blackcurrant or blackberry depending on the list, neroli, peony, iris, white rose, muguet, patchouli, benzoin, vetiver, white musk.  I’ve read reviews of this one that call it “blackberry musk,” but to be honest that’s not what I get out of it. It is, instead, something of a Coco Mademoiselle clone on me, dominated by patchouli until very late in the drydown.  I am sort of freakishly sensitive to patchouli, so of course your experience may vary, but there it is: patchy floral.

It opens up with a sharply acidic fruit note – I say it’s blackcurrant and mandarin – and, to be frank, the opening is my favorite part of this one.  “Froot” smells that approximate candy or Kool-Aid, those I don’t like, but I tend to appreciate a fruit note that smells realistic, as this does.  It’s nice. Blending with that tart fruit accord is some neroli, joined by rose and peony, and then very quickly I get a snootful of patchouli. It’s at this stage, and for the next four hours, that Ines II reminds me of Coco Mademoiselle. (It also reminds me of Patou Enjoy, for that matter, and it’s not all that surprising since all three are modern chypre florals, “modern” meaning no oakmoss, with a number of notes in common. Come to think of it, a three-way tussle between CM and Enjoy and Ines II would be a fun throwdown as well.)  There are clearly some natural florals involved here, as well as some that are clearly synthetic (the peony, obviously, and there’s a “clean rose”

Well into the drydown, Ines II becomes a real joy to wear. It’s in this late stage that I do begin to get the musk, which does have a berry tinge to it, and there’s a good deal of benzoin. I am a sucker for that, I admit. The soft plushy base lingers for a long time, as a quiet skin scent, and it’s lovely.  Whether you find Ines II pleasant may depend on whether you like this style; if the phrase “modern chypre” incenses you, you’ll curl your lip.

This one is still available (albeit in limited quantities) at discounters, and it’s reasonable, approximately $30-35 for a 50ml bottle.  Other reviews: The Non-Blonde, March at Perfume Posse, Musette at Perfume Posse (brief).

Neither one of these fragrances are groundbreaking or innovative or terribly distinctive; nor were they apparent commercial successes.  I enjoyed wearing both of them, however, and it’s highly unlikely you’d cause a fellow elevator-occupier to faint while wearing these.  Ines II seems very much “of its time,” the husky-voiced, floral-patchouli-musk “modern” chypres of the early 2000s, but for all that it’s quite pleasant.  Ines I is a Calice Becker through and through, with its soft-edged floral blend that seems shot through with light and grace.

It’s pretty clear which one I prefer, but then I love perfumes done in a soft mixed-floral bouquet style.  Feel free to disagree.


Scent Diary, July 28- Aug. 3, 2014

Monday, July 28 – Second day of band camp. Well, first full day. Weather could not be better – it’s cool and breezy, but sunny, and the kids are very comfortable. The new band director arrived today, and I think things will go well. He’s very quiet, but also very confident, and does not raise his voice to the students but gets across his intentions quite clearly. The show is coming together nicely already, and I have enjoyed hanging out with other band boosters under the tent, chatting away and handing out granola bars and Gatorades at snack time. SOTD: Byredo Flowerhead. I have to get this review written! Luckily, I do love tuberose.

PCHS T-bones, 2014. L-R: Jeremy, Lakin, Gaze, Alex, and James. Photo by Stacey Utt.
PCHS T-bones, 2014. L-R: Jeremy, Lakin, Gaze, Alex, and James. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Tuesday, July 29 – Gaze’s trombone section is doing well. The two sophomores – Gaze and Jeremy – are the oldest in the section, because Mr. Butler (band director at PCHS, 2002-13) felt that he didn’t have enough trombones to march them as a full section, and it was only as Gaze became old enough for high school that Mr. Butler relented and allowed the rising 9th graders to keep their trombones instead of trading them in for baritone horns (similar range, same mouthpiece, but with valves instead of the slide stops). Freshman James marched last year as an eighth grader; freshman Lakin is new to marching but is doing very well. Eighth-grader Alex, who also marched last year, can play just about anything, but is too small physically to manage a larger instrument like a tuba or baritone. I’m just waiting for him to get his growth spurt. The fun thing about band camp this year is that all five of the trombone moms have helped with camp already, so the T-bones have their own devoted cheering section.

I love getting to know the kids. I really do. SOTD: Patou Enjoy, which is reminding me strongly of Coco Mademoiselle but without the high-pitched screech that Coco Mlle has on my skin. More fruit, too. I don’t think I want any, but it’s a pleasant modern-chypre. Speaking of CM, one of the band booster moms wears it, and it is fully as nice on her as it is on my sister – a lovely woody floral thing with patchouli.

Wednesday, July 30 – Our minister called today to see if I could lead worship music on Sunday. EEP.  Funny, I would have been just fine with that if we used a piano (no, an electric keyboard is not the same) and sang out of a hymnal, but we don’t.  Our worship style is Contemporary Christian music, which I love but which I can’t play because I can’t read guitar chords. I read music notation.  And this is not to disparage in any way people who play by ear (hey, I sing harmony by ear) or who “only” play guitar chords. I’m actually sort of the exception among a lot of contemporary-style church musicians these days, for reading music while everybody else just does their thing based on something that looks like this:  G B F# G.  Can I play single notes? yep. Can I play chords based on that? Nope. The thing about it is, it’s like trying to read in one language and translate on the fly in another.  I can DO it, but not fast enough. It’s a little embarrassing.

Anyway, it was a pretty good day at band camp today. Very little drama. No injuries. Perfect weather (low-to-mid-70sF, generally sunny).  NICE.  SOTD: the girly-wirly LeLong Pour Femme. (Heh, you know, somebody commenting on Musette’s review of it on Perfume Posse calls the LLPF bottle “Flavor Flav in a leopard cape,” and that’s so spot-on that it cracks me up.)

Thursday, July 31 – Starting to wonder if Band Camp will EVER END, EVER. Gah. Also, miss my girl very badly. SOTD: Ines de la Fressange (1999 Calice Becker, not the 2006 Alberto Morillas, which HEY I finally snagged a sample of recently).

Nothing new on the doggie front this week.  Too busy with band camp.

Friday, Aug. 1 – It rained last night. The practice field is absolutely soaked – which sort of ruined the senior prank today. They came in early and pitched tents on the practice field, intending to roll out of the tents as the rest of the band came to the practice field and claim that they’d spent the night camping there. Instead, they all made their way back to the band room once a parent took pity on them and texted his kid that the director had decided not to come out and march outside this morning, so they’d better come inside.
(Reasonable on the part of the director – wet weather ruins woodwind pads and then they have to be replaced. Also, have you ever marched around, half the time backward, on wet grass? Let me just say, Bad Idea.)

Oh well. While the band was having sectionals, one of the drumline guys was goofing off and pretending to fall… only to have his jaw bang directly into the shin of another drumline guy, who was practicing a leg-swinging move that the drumline actually does incorporate into the show. So: Shane was goofing off, Logan wasn’t, but Shane got banged up enough to chip a tooth and develop a nasty bruise on his jaw. He went home. This seems to have been the only injury of the week, which is awesome! I can remember years when a band mom made an ER trip almost every day of the week…

SOTD: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine. Yum. I smell like a flower/banana smoothie.

Saturday, Aug. 2 – Everybody is exhausted. Well, I mean, Gaze and I are exhausted; Taz is not. Taz shouldn’t be exhausted, since he hasn’t done much all week except go to cross-country practice and do some basic cleaning in his room and practice his trumpet. And read books, of course, but for Taz that’s like breathing. ;) Practiced music for church this morning, took recycling to the town center, and went to the grocery store, where they had cluster rose bouquets on special. I bought one: white long-stem roses, plus several stems of those small garden-type roses in a beautiful deep coral-pink-red color. Gorgeous. SOTD: Tableau de Parfums Miriam. So beautiful – aldehydes, sandalwood, some very deep quiet florals (rose and ylang in particular, though the jasmine and violet are there too) and that buzzy-fuzzy Ambrox stuff.

Young Kurt Russell, ca. 1970 or so.
Young Kurt Russell, ca. 1970 or so.

I think it’s going to rain; it’s been cloudy all day. Did some laundry, cleaned up the house, cooked steak for dinner and watched “Tombstone” with the boys. (If I’ve never mentioned my almost-forty-year-long crush on Kurt Russell, well… I blame Disney and their Sunday night movies that used to air when I was a little kid.) Ahhh, Kurt…

The CEO got home late from Denver.

Sunday, Aug. 3 – I was right, it rained last night. Back to our regular spot at the elementary school for church services today. Music went well, I thought. SOTD: Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, largely because apparently the last time I put on my white eyelet blouse I was wearing it. No matter, I love Iris Poudre, which is to me less of a dry, rooty iris thing than an aldehydes-and-benzoin thing. FLUFFY!


Scent Diary, July 21-27, 2014

Monday, July 21 – Beautiful cool weather today. The CEO left on his usual summer trip to visit the places of business where his students are interning and marching band pre-camp (for rookies and section leaders) started today, so Gaze is at the high school. It’s just me and Taz in the house. I’m writing; he’s goofing off (Taz in his natural state, actually). We turned off the AC a couple of days ago because the weather was so cool, and it’s stayed off. It gets warm in the evenings; the thermometer in our bedroom says 78F in the house and 72 outside, but that’s still below my “I’m dying, turn on the AC!” threshold.

summer wildflowers, from Wikimedia Commons
summer wildflowers, from Wikimedia Commons

SOTD: Tested Tom Ford Shanghai Lily and rather enjoyed it, except for about ten minutes when it was cuminy BO. It spent a lot of time smelling something like a lightweight DK Black Cashmere, though, so I forgive it. It’s not worth Private Blend prices, if you ask me, but then I’m notoriously cheap.

My MIL left on Saturday to go to a conference for Bible teachers; she goes every summer. She’s going to go visit her daughter E in Northern Virginia, spend the rest of the week with E and K and her other grandchildren, Curiosity and Primrose. While she’s gone, I’m doing the evening feedings for her cat, a sleekly self-centered (ooh, aren’t they ALL?) feline named Fidel Catstro. He’s largely white, but has some gray markings, including a mustache on his face.  SOTE: testing Lush The Smell of Weather Turning. Wow: freakfest. At least for the first hour, after which it becomes actually wearable and comfortingly soft. Lots of tonka, I think.

Tuesday, July 22 – The day started off cool again, and I decided not to hang laundry out. Popped it in the dryer instead. SOTM: Magnolia Grandiflora Michel. This does not smell like magnolia. It’s got the lemony blossom, it has the creaminess, but it is so soapy that I am not enjoying it. “Soapy” on my skin (it was much better on paper) usually indicates orange blossom. I had high hopes, but I suppose now I shall have to test the new Frederic Malle Eau de Magnolia.

SOTA: Jacomo Silences PdT, a cool breeze on a day that is becoming uncomfortably warm and humid. Took the boys to the fair since this was the day when from 2-3pm there was no admission fee, and unlimited-rides wristbands were $3 off. Poor Gaze, who pushed himself yesterday by attending marching band pre-camp from 8-5 and then went to cross-country practice (without food!) from 6-7:40, said he did not feel like riding rides, so Taz went by himself. Gaze had the afternoon off from band, because the brass sections worked yesterday and the woodwinds are practicing today. We took a turn through the livestock barns (I like goats), checked on the results of the photography contest, and went home to have ice cream.

The CEO’s color landscape took first in the adult division. His black-and-white Yosemite pic was second in B&W landscape, and his picture of elks fighting in Yellowstone was also second in Animals. Gaze’s B&W landscape did not place in the high school division, but his color landscape was first, and his picture of buffaloes fighting second in Animals. His photo of fireworks was also second in Special Effects. Taz only entered one picture, a photo of a small Canadian town beneath a towering mountain, but it won first in color landscape in the middle school division. I think everyone was pleased.

goatsAbout twenty minutes after we got home, we found our neighbor’s goats in our yard, nibbling grass. I don’t mind them eating the grass down (my lawnmower needs a new battery, actually) but I’m afraid they might wander down the road onto the highway and get run over, or get lost, so we put them back into their field. I repeat, goats are cute. SOTE: Leonard de Leonard. Don’t know why, but I was craving this green-floral-chypre. There’s marigold in it, I think, and I sometimes get the itch for that bitter, aromatic floral note.

Wednesday, July 23 – Humid, hot day today. Taz and I did laundry and went through the clothes in his dresser, discarding the ones that are too small. He’s grown recently. SOTD: Byredo Flowerhead. I’ve been working on a review. We put the goats back into their pasture.

Thursday, July 24 – Gaze has been at band pre-camp all week; he says his trombone section only has one rookie, who is doing very very well. There are only five members of the section anyway: Gaze and Jeremy are sophomores who have each marched one year. James and Lakin are freshmen, and Alex is an 8th grader, but James and Alex marched last year so Lakin’s the only rookie. SOTD: Flowerhead again.

We put the goats back into their pasture and blocked the gate at the bottom six inches with two boards. That’s where the young goats have been getting out; goats can squeeze through incredibly small spaces. The CEO got home this evening. SOTE: Shalimar Light. For some reason I was craving it.

Friday, July 25 – Went to meet the possible doggie adoptee this evening; drove 55 miles to meet her. I am unsure that this is The One. She is larger than we had expected, and her foster mom was unable to confirm that she is indeed housebroken, as she’s been living outside for the past 8 months. A nice dog, but we don’t think that she’s the right one for us. SOTD: Ferre 20. I like aldehydes.

Saturday, July 26 – The usual Saturday cleaning deal. Dull. Replaced my lawnmower battery, which is a totally tedious task that involves acid and electric battery chargers.  SOTD: various samples.

Drumline at band camp. Photo by Stacey Utt.
Drumline at band camp. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Sunday, July 27 – Church at the lake again. We got rained on. Er, poured on. SOTD: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, yummy banana-ylang thing with cream. I know some people have trouble with the so-called animalic angle of “Amaranthigh” (which, inexplicably, has been discontinued!!), but it’s perfectly proper on me.

Band camp started this afternoon. More on that soon, as I’m quite sure you’re aware.


Perfume Review: Byredo Flowerhead

flowerhead-by-byredoI’ve had this decant for a couple of months now, but I haven’t reviewed it yet. That’s partly because I needed a break from blogging, and partly because I was wearing it the afternoon that we took Hayley to the vet, never dreaming that she wouldn’t come home with us. But I pulled it out to retry today, and I am writing with a pic of Hayley-dog on the screen, so I think I will be all right.

This is a truly beautiful floral, centered on tuberose-jasmine-rose. I don’t think Byredo has done many florals, other than La Tulipe (mixed spring bouquet) and Inflorescence (a muguet). Byredo is very much an art-directed outfit, very visual, and typically the notes lists/art inspiration for their fragrances don’t encourage me to purchase samples. What I remember Byredo for is the sticky, melting, frozen-fruit-bar of Pulp, and the Blanche sample a friend sent me, which was fresh-air-and-clean-laundry to my nose (and I even like aldehydes. Oh well).

This one, as most fumeheads probably know by now since I’m months behind the curve on reviewing it, was inspired by the visual of an Indian bride adorned with a floral headdress. Byredo’s creator, Ben Gorham, is half Indian and had a large part to play in the wedding of his cousin, and was inspired by the vision of her with flowers for a head.

The six-year-old girl in me is RUTHLESSLY DELIGHTED at these bridal hairstyles. But they don't say "flower head" to me.
The six-year-old girl in me is RUTHLESSLY DELIGHTED at these bridal hairstyles. But they don’t say “flower head” to me.

Well, okay. Whatever caused Mr. Gorham to decide to focus on the natural glory of blossoms, I don’t really care much; I’m just here for the tuberose. And the jasmine and rose. Hand over the flowers and nobody gets hurt, okay?

The tuberose does tend to dominate, in my opinion, not that I’m bothered by that. It’s kept very fresh by tart berries, angelica and green notes, and I have to say this is one of the loveliest floral openings I’ve ever smelled, a glorious explosion of blossoms with the sharpness of cut stems and leaves. I love it. It’s almost like sticking your nose in a big bouquet – that’s one of my favorite scent experiences, by the way. The only thing missing from the bouquet is a “wet” dewy note. The visual for the fragrance features marigolds, and Ben Gorham has stated that he and perfumer Jerome Epinette attempted to include marigold but weren’t able to integrate it successfully. The tart berries and sharp herbal accents, to me, seem to take the place that marigolds would have taken, and I do love that effect.  In fact, the opening reminds me very much of Arquiste’s wonderful Flor y Canto (tuberose and marigold), and it’s gorgeous.

Half an hour in, it calms down a bit and the berries retreat, and there’s a wonderful tuberose-jasmine duet. The rose flies under the radar for me, and I can only pick it up occasionally, as a counterpoint to the white floral blend. There’s a fair proportion of natural materials in this, and it smells very fresh and gentle. I wish, to some degree, that the fragrance would stay loud, but the initial blast does calm itself down to a smaller sillage. This middle stage lasts three to three and a half hours, respectable for a floral fragrance on my skin.

Gradually it begins to fade away to a very quiet drydown. The official drydown notes are “suede and ambergris,” but I’m really smelling a quiet, dry woody musk rather than anything *I* would call ambergris. It may be, as a reviewer on Fragrantica suggests, Iso E Super there in the drydown. I am not sensitive to Iso E Super myself, can barely smell it at all; what I’m getting here is a soft, barely-there presence that simply helps to extend the florals. This stage lasts about three further hours on me, so that I get about 7-8 hours of wear from one goodly spritz. I would not choose the “spray until wet” method for this one (as I typically do for lightweight fragrances like summer Eaus and Annick Goutals), since Flowerhead’s initial sillage is so big.

Notes, according to Fragrantica, include lemon, cranberry, angelica, green notes, tuberose, jasmine sambac, rose petals, suede and ambergris.

Flowerhead is a really lovely fragrance. The straight-up floral is one of my favorite genres of fragrance, and I enjoy wearing it. One reviewer on Fragrantica says that it’s “too floral,” but I say Nonsense! No such thing! The more flowers the better!  Know your own tastes, I always say, and Flowerhead suits mine very well.

I could wish that the sillage would stay at the same level, or only gradually taper off, rather than dropping drastically half an hour after application – that was my frustration with DelRae Coup del Foudre, for example. At $220 for 100ml and $145 for 50ml, it’s probably outside my price range, but I will use and enjoy my 5ml decant.

Other reviews: EauMG, The Scented Hound, Robin at Now Smell this, Grain de Musc, Patty at Perfume Posse (brief), Colognoisseur.


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.







Scent Diary, July 14-20, 2014

Fourth of July at Glacier, Taz hitting Gaze with a snowball.  Photo by The CEO.
Fourth of July at Glacier, Taz hitting Gaze with a snowball. Photo by The CEO.

Monday, July 14 – Ugh. If Montana was too dry… well, then, Virginia is too humid! I’m never happy with summer. I’ve probably been sick of summer since I was in third grade and got chicken pox the first day of a week in which the temperature by the thermometer was 100 degrees Fahrenheit all week – and we didn’t have air conditioning. (Hardly anybody had it in the house then, though it was common for businesses to be air-conditioned. Hey – it was the 70s.) My sister and I both got chicken pox the same day, in fact, though my case seemed worse than hers, and hers was bad enough. We had spots on our scalp, under our hair, and Mom cut our hair very short to help with the itching. I even had spots inside my ears and mouth. I was miserable. We spent the week pretty much in the bathtub with colloidal oatmeal bath stuff in the cold water. We were itchy, spotty prunes.

(Incidentally, I am just waaaaaaiting for shingles to show up at some point. The CEO, who had a mild case of chicken pox, has already had shingles once. It was a small rash about the size of his palm, on his upper ribs. We didn’t know what it was until he developed a similar rash on his back, about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, when he described it as feeling not itchy but “on fire.” I remember saying, “I bet this has something to do with nerves – oh wait. Of course. Rash plus nerves, that’s shingles. Go see the doctor.” And sure enough, it was. Doctors will usually tell you that the more severe the case of chicken pox, the more likely you’ll get shingles as you age, which, GREAT. I’m probably going to want to die when I get it.

SOTD: Ralph Lauren Safari. Love the stuff. Took Taz to the orthodontist to see about his teeth; Dr. Vaughan says that the crowded teeth are about to come out, and the underbite may or may not be something that can be corrected with orthodontic treatment, so we’re on a six-month wait-and-see schedule for him.

Tuesday, July 15 – Gaze’s turn for a visit to Dr. Vaughan. He had the wires on his top teeth tightened and they’ll put the braces on his lower teeth next month. He seems to be doing okay with his braces, which has surprised me just a little. I would have thought he’d hate it, but apparently they’re common enough among his friends that nobody’s giving him a hard time about them. SOTD: DSH Pink Gardenia. Hmm… I know that at least a couple of bloggers really like this one, but it’s very sweet on me, very coconut/suntan oil. Beachy, sure, but for that I’d rather have Vamp a NY or de Nicolai Just une Reve.

I’ve been searching for another dog on Petfinder, which is sort of an online clearinghouse for pet shelters and rescues to post pictures and descriptions of the animals available for adoption. I don’t have anything specific against dog breeders, but since we are not interested in a particular breed and there are so many dogs out there without a home, adoption is the way we want to go. My criteria: Dog, preferably young, medium size (25-50 pounds or so), house trained.  No specific breed. We just want a dog who likes to cuddle and play, and I am of the opinion that we’ll know each other when we meet. I’ve contacted the caretakers of two dogs we liked the looks of on Petfinder; one of them I haven’t heard from at all, and the other sent me a lengthy adoption application that I had to fill out and have approved before we can even meet the dog. I turned it in on Saturday but have not heard back from them.

Wednesday, July 16 – SOTD: Jacomo Silences Eau de Parfum Sublime. It has been definitively decided that the new red Caravan, which looks just like the old red Caravan I called Eddie Van (for Eddie Van Halen), is not named Eddie II. Instead, he is Stevie Ray Van (in memoriam of the blues guitar player Stevie Ray Vaughan, of course). The CEO came up with that while we were on vacation, and I was resistant at first – but this evening, when I was taking Gaze and Taz to the park for cross-country practice, we actually saw Original Eddie Van! He caught my eye at a red light, and when I looked closer I recognized his dented bumper. “That’s Eddie,” I pointed out to Gaze. “Lots of red minivans,” he agreed. “No,” I insisted, “that’s really Eddie! Look! That’s his bumper!” Seeing Eddie so clean and well-maintained made me feel ridiculously happy, and at that point I felt that yeah, the new van could have his own name.

The CEO and Gaze are still editing the photos they took on vacation, but I’ll be posting some of them soon. They’re also getting a few of them printed and framed for entry into the photography division at the fair, which starts next week.

Thursday, July 17 – I cleaned out the closet under the stairs, which The CEO has been bugging me to do for a lonnnnnnng time. It took most of the day, but I was glad to have it done. Hauled all the old duffel bags/tote bags out, and the ancient sleeping bags we never use (now musty and mildew from storage); went through all the kid art and stashed the keepers in boxes. Got rid of some old computer accessory stuff.

SOTD: DSH Perfumes Reine des Fleurs, which is lovely but also quite familiar-smelling. It reminds me very much of Olympic Orchids Ballets Rouges, with something else in the base that reminds me of Soivohle Centennial. I’m not sure what that means, that suddenly everything is reminding me of something else, and dark rose fragrances are pretty common. Dunno. Will probably need to wear the two side by side. Reine des Fleurs was inspired by this piece of art, and I do get the relationship – bright rose on a dark background – but it’s also an all-natural fragrance, and it only sticks around on me for about 2 hours before subsiding into a skin scent. Grrr. I know proponents of natural/botanical fragrances feel that synthetics are bad for you, but with my scent-eating skin, botanical fragrances (with a very few exceptions) tend not to last long enough to bother with. I mean, really, I just have no patience with the short life and I don’t tend to have problems with synthetics, so why would I not rather have Ballets Rouges? (I do have it, actually. I finally broke down and bought a small bottle. Haven’t cracked it open, but I will.)

Friday, July 18 – Coolish day, which is nice – only up into the low 80s F. Gaze is off to Leadership Day with the other section leaders at marching band; hope that goes well.

Took a LOAD of stuff to Goodwill/trash/recycling, and cleaned the house in preparation for the kids from Bright Futures Atlanta to come visit tomorrow. SOTM: “An Impression Of” Marc Jacobs Daisy, from the cheapie versions they have at Walgreens. I love Daisy, it’s sort of a guilty pleasure, and I sometimes wish (sometimes) that I had more of it than a dabber mini, no matter how cute the mini is. The El Cheapo version doesn’t have that fruity topnote (on me, the real thing is two minutes of strawberry and ten of citrus) and zips through its generic white florals to plain musk, all in about an hour, so I can’t recommend it, not even for $18/50ml – but it isn’t awful.

SOTE: DSH Perfumes Scent of Hope, which is purported to be a recreation of Iris Gris. I’ve never smelled Iris Gris, and I’m not a huge iris fan, but Everybody Says Iris Gris is Stunning, so I’m testing this. It is rather wildly expensive, even in samples, but it is extrait strength, and you do get a FULL 1ml, not a short one, for your $23 (no added cost for shipping on a sample-only order) when you order it from the DSH website. I’m not loving it. That probably has a lot to do with it being primarily iris – it’s not that I mind iris, but I tend to find iris-focused fragrances a little… (ssshhh) boring. That probably says a lot about me, that I find iris boring and Daisy delightful to wear, but HEY. I yam what I yam. Not sorry.

Saturday, July 19 – More cleaning in the morning, but it was so wet (thank God for the rain, it’s been so dry here lately!) that the BFA leaders, Phillip and Gail, wanted to put off the visit until tomorrow. I did some straightening, took a shower, wrote a little, did some more straightening… no fragrance until after supper. I probably should have tested something new, but the rain impelled me to pick Jolie Madame extrait. Mmmmmm. It’s “Old Lady” in the best of ways – an old lady who could kick your butt. Like Granny in the Looney Tunes cartoons, the one that owns Tweety Bird, you know her: long black dress, gray hair in a bun, round glasses, little mincing steps, and a stunning facility with a shotgun. (Incidentally, I’ve been reading The Wettest County in the World, a semi-fictional account of the moonshining/whisky-running Bondurant Boys in Franklin County, Virginia, in the early 1930s. The book, written by a grandson of one of the Boys, was made into a movie called “Lawless,” starring My Boyfriend Tom Hardy… who says of his presentation of independent, stubborn, nearly-invincible, violent, steel-knuckle-toting Forrest Bondurant that he was inspired by Looney Tunes’ Granny – maternal and protective of those in his care, but unaffectionate to them and utterly ruthless to those who oppose him. It’s a horribly violent movie, and filmed in Georgia* to boot, so if you give it a pass I won’t be offended. I’ll never watch it again, after renting it from the library once. It’s not a bad movie, but it is horribly, horribly violent, and even TH can’t redeem it for me.)

Yet another gratuitous Tom Hardy photo... because I CAN, that's why. This is TH as Forrest Bondurant in the movie "Lawless."
Yet another gratuitous Tom Hardy photo… because I CAN, that’s why. This is TH as Forrest Bondurant in the movie “Lawless.”

*There’s nothing wrong with Georgia in itself. But if you’re filming a movie about mountain people, it might be good to film it in the mountains, ya think? It is not as if there were no places in Franklin County that aren’t still rural enough to pass for 1930s towns. Trust me. I live about 60 miles from the place, and grew up even closer.

Sunday, July 20 – The CEO was filling in for the minister at a very small Presbyterian church this morning, so we all went with him rather than to the lake to worship with our church. He’s still a commissioned Presbyterian lay pastor, even though we are no longer members of the Presbyterian Church, and will occasionally fill in (“supply” as the Presbyterians call it) for some of the smaller churches in the area, the ones that don’t have a regular pastor. This church has about 10-12 people show up on Sunday mornings, and I sometimes wonder how it can be worth it for them when there are three other Presbyterian churches (and probably two dozen churches of other denominations) within driving distance. Today, besides the four of us, there were only seven people in the pews. I played the piano – stick a hymnal in front of me and I’m usually decent, even with no practice – so at least there was music. SOTM: Frederic Malle Iris Poudre. So pretty… I never wear it without thinking the word “fluffy.”

Still have not heard back from the Radford Pound Pals, despite my sending an email asking if they received my application and wondering when they would have an answer. I specifically said that there was no rush, but that I wanted to know when I could expect to hear back from them.  I mean, when you apply for a job, typically they’ll tell you when you’ll hear from them. From these people? Nothing.  I know, I know, it’s a volunteer organization and people offer their time. But how hard is it to reply to an email saying, “Yes, we got your application, and typically it takes two weeks (or a month, or whatever) for us to process one.”?  Hmm?  Or even, “The dog you’re interested in may not be available because we’re talking adoption with another family. How about this one instead?” Instead, NOTHIN’.

However, I found another possible dog on Petfinder last night and sent an inquiry, expecting not to hear anything for several days, but I got a reply this morning. This rescue operation is two counties over, about 45 minutes’ drive, but I’m hoping that this dog might work out. We’ll see.

The Bright Futures Atlanta kids and staff came over this afternoon for a hayride, and apparently had a blast. It got warm and sunny about the time they got here, and the Iris Poudre was largely faded, so I spritzed a goodly amount of Moschino Funny! for its sunny citrus-rose. Phillip, one of the directors, drove the black Ford Ranger we use as a farm pickup (we call him Walker, for “Walker, Texas Ranger”) and Gaze drove the Gator, and The CEO drove the tractor with hay wagon attached. When they came back, they devoured 72 brownies plus six gallons of homemade lemonade, which always gives me a kick. They’re great kids.


Scent Diary, July 9-13, 2014

Fireworks over Whitefish Lake, MT, 7/4/14. Photo courtesy The CEO.
Fireworks over Whitefish Lake, MT, 7/4/14. Photo courtesy The CEO.

Wednesday, July 9 – Gaze headed off this morning with the church youth group. He’ll be gone for five days, at church camp in North Carolina. Poor baby, we barely had time to get his laundry clean so he’d had something to wear. Had to restock the fridge, since I had left barely anything in it, other than condiments. It was nice to sleep in our own beds last night… but don’t you hate coming back from vacation, to face all the stuff you have to do at home? We’d turned the AC off and opened the windows just a crack, so the house was still hot when we got home. And it’s been super-dry here, very little rain, and the grass is crunchy. Also, I forgot to ask someone to water the hanging baskets on the porch, so they were almost dead EEP. SOTD: Ralph Lauren Safari. I don’t know why, but I’m almost addicted to this stuff lately. Was longing for it while on vacation.

Thursday, July 10 – The CEO is sifting through his photos to find something suitable for entering in the county fair’s photography contest. He took a lot of photos… Of course he’s not happy with what’s been done on the farm while we’ve been gone, but then he never is. Nobody else gets as much done as he could (or as much as he expects to get done), and there’s all that equipment to be fixed too. Tractors need a lot of maintenance.

The last time we took a “family” vacation that was longer than a weekend was four years ago, when we went to South Carolina. We took Bookworm on the Big College Tour trip two summers ago, but didn’t take the boys with us. And last summer she went to Europe for ten days with a school group. But other than that, it’s been a long time. We had hoped she could come join us for the last few days, but her work schedule, and the hoops she’d have had to jump through to get to an airport, prevented it. Wish she could have gone.  SOTD: Cristina Bertrand #3.

Friday, July 11 –We cleaned up the house a little, Taz and me, and had The CEO’s mom come over to have dinner and see the photos. I think she was a little disappointed not to see Gaze, but pleased that he was getting to go to camp. Dinner: grilled marinated chicken, rice, rolls, asparagus and steamed green beans, plus brownies for dessert. SOTD (after cleaning up): YSL Paris. It’s so nice.

Saturday, July 12 – More cleaning up today. I suggested a Redbox movie, but The CEO was not thrilled by the selection so we didn’t. Eh. SOTD: More Ralph Lauren Safari, which I find sort of delicious.

Sunday, July 13 – Our church is hosting the regular worship services at Claytor Lake this month. This is a state park, with a large dam-created lake on the New River, and it boasts plenty of fishing, boating, watersports, camping and hiking. There’s a tradition of Sunday morning worship at 9 am at the lake’s gazebo, and our church is serving there the month of July. So how often do you get to have church wearing shorts, sitting in lawn chairs, with a terrific view of the lake? Awesome. SOTM: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, a summer staple for me.

Gaze returned with the youth group from church camp this afternoon. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to be there to pick him up. Instead, The CEO and I attended the funeral of the father of a good friend. Bob Lilly was an educator, a musician, a family man, but most of all he was a man who knew how to enjoy life. I’m going to tell you about his biggest brush with fame, and some of the stories his son Bobby has told about it over the years.

Ever see “Dirty Dancing” – the 1987 original? The film was largely filmed at Mountain Lake Hotel and Resort, in Pembroke, Virginia, and most of the extras were local. Mr. Lilly’s daughter Terri and a friend wanted to audition at the call for extras, so he took them and then found himself a folding chair and waited, people-watching. He was soon approached by a casting agent presenting him with a clipboard and a pen. “We’d like for you to fill this information sheet out,” she told him.

“Oh, no, that’s okay, I’m not here to audition. I just brought my daughter.”

“You don’t understand. We want you to fill this out.” And just like that, Mr. Lilly became an extra in the movie. (Bobby suggests that they knew a character when they saw one.)

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve met Mr. Lilly. He’s the smiling guy in the blue shirt and tweed cap standing next to Baby during the dance lesson in the gazebo, early in the movie. When the cast of extras were rehearsing dances, one of the directorial staff separated the people who could dance from the people who couldn’t, and herded the dancers off to another room while the non-dancers stayed involved with the dance instructors. Mr. Lilly got the staff person’s attention and suggested that they were taking the wrong group of people. “No, no,” he was assured. “No, this is what we want.”

The instructor then had the non-dancers run through the steps again, and the staff started culling the group. Like this: “You and you, sit down over here. Okay, now you and you and you two, find a seat. Good, now you sit down please.” It went that way until the group still on the floor was following the instructor pretty well. Those people got to take a break and sit down.

Still from "Dirty Dancing"
Still from “Dirty Dancing”

And then what happened is that they brought the principals, the real actors, in and had them learn the steps with the people who had been culled out for lack of dancing skill. Somebody placed Mr. Lilly right next to Baby (Jennifer Grey) – and it’s his foot she steps on during the dance lesson. I’m told that particular scene was filmed in one take. So there’s Bobby’s dad, immortalized in celluloid, wearing golf shorts and black sneakers and a goofy grin – having a fabulous time, as usual.

Baby says "Sorry," as she steps on Mr. Lilly's foot. Still from the movie.
Baby says “Sorry,” as she steps on Mr. Lilly’s foot. Still from the movie.

“Dirty Dancing,” despite its silly movie ending (oh please), is a favorite, and we’ll usually make time to watch it when it comes on, but I’ll point out that it is fairly peculiar to see a movie filmed in a place you know. In the first scene, Baby and her family are driving down what’s labeled “New York Thruway,” but those of us from around here are prone to saying, “Oh, no, it’s not – that’s Rt. 460 West outta Blacksburg.” We always repeat Baby’s memorable doofus line, “I carried a watermelon.” And we always commemorate the dance lesson in the gazebo by yelling, “That’s Bobby’s dad’s foot!” I expect we’ll still do that.

SOTE was Chanel No. 5, vintage parfum. A fitting tribute.