Monday, Nov. 26 – Was chilly last night, but not so bad this morning. No frost on the windshield. The CEO’s car needed its tires balanced before he heads off to Chantilly, VA tomorrow, so he drove my van and I sat at the garage waiting until they were done with the tires. SOTD: Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory on one wrist, Amouage Lyric Woman on the other. They’re playing nicely together.
Made some Russian tea mix for The CEO and Bookworm, who both love it. I don’t like it at all, but then I don’t like Tang. And I HATE it when the Tang dust floats in the air and stings the back of my throat. The things we do for family…
Russian Tea Mix:
¾ cup instant tea (I always use decaffeinated)
¾ cup sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)
2 cups Tang
½ cup instant lemonade mix, or use 1 packet of unsweetened lemonade mix plus ½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Stir until blended. Store in airtight container. To prepare for drinking, use 2-3 heaping tablespoons of mix and 6-8 ounces of very hot water. I don’t know how many servings this will make because it gets used up at my house within days!
(I’ve adapted the traditional recipe familiar to innumerable Southern Baptists from 1970s church cookbooks, which I always found too sugary and too heavy on the Tang. I mean, seriously – the most common recipe calls for half a cup of instant tea, 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of Tang, and a Kool-Aid lemonade packet plus the spices. This one is more weighted toward a tea flavor. It still has that 1970s thrown-together-with-convenience-foods feeling, but certain people don’t seem to mind that. Excuse me for awhile; I’m going to go simmer up a pot of chai with milk and brown sugar for myself, and I’m not going to share. Get your own.)
Made some comfort food – well for me, anyway – for dinner: pinto beans, cornbread, green beans, country ham, and stewed apples. It’s Old Home Week or somethin’ around here. Actually, I don’t care much for country ham. (It’s too salty and the texture is weird. I have a definitive preference for a nice tender spiral-sliced Smithfield.) But everybody else in my family loves it. Now me, I go and gorge myself on kale and corn muffins and pinto beans, digestive gas be darned…
SOTE: Parfum de Empire Wazamba. For a while there, everybody was waxing rhapsodic about Wazamba and its similarity to Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. I didn’t like Fee on Eggwee, as a friend of mine terms it, because of its weird combination of incense, curried fruit, pine and amber. Wazamba, despite having the Most Fun Perfume Name to Say EVER, is actually hideous. It was supposed to be pine incense (without the curried fruit), and that’s pretty accurate. Problem is, it’s also chock-full of Youth Dew-esque balsamy stuff. Which you know I hate. After I scrubbed it with some grapefruit-scented hand soap, it smelled like a slightly lower-pitched Coco Mademoiselle: bearable, but still not very nice.
Tuesday, Nov. 27 – Chilly, but not horrible. The CEO left this morning for the annual Virginia Farm Bureau convention, this year held in Chantilly. He’ll be gone until Thursday. Did some online shopping, painted over the splotches in the entry hall where I was trying out six different paint color possibilities (winner is Vanilla Brandy), fed the orphan calves sweet feed. Also packed up two books I was selling secondhand on Amazon – one a duplicate, and one a fairly recent, critically-acclaimed fiction hardback that nonetheless depressed the heck out of me so that I never want to read it again.
SOTD: Comme des Garcons, the original one. It’s very nice, a woody rose with a bit of incense, and I realize that I’ve probably tried many of the fragrances it engendered. Quite a few of those, though, I disliked intensely: some combination of cedar, rose, and frankincense combines to smell very much like the acrid, bitter, biting smell of cold wet wood ashes to me.
Made pasta carbonara for dinner. The boys refused to eat it, as I had expected they would. They wound up eating leftover country ham and plain pasta and peas. This would frustrate me more, if I didn’t know that both of them have been broadening their food repertoire. Pickiness runs in the family, on both sides; my dad is notorious for it. We are talking Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally” here, y’all. There was a point when toddler Taz would not consume anything except chicken nuggets, applesauce, Cheerios, french fries, red jello, ketchup and milk. Not bread, not cheese, not green vegetables, not steak, not hamburgers, not peaches… all things he eats now, thank goodness. He’s still not up to managing spinach, but we’re making progress.
SOTE: Amouage Memoir Woman. I should, according to my usual tastes, just haaaate this thing. Instead, it is luxurious and cozy and interesting and a little bit sexy. Wonderful.
Wednesday, Nov. 28 – It isn’t even December, and I AM ALREADY SICK OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC. My usual radio station went wall-to-wall Frosty the evening before Thanksgiving, so I can’t listen to it. (I did leave the bedroom radio set to Q99, because when the alarm goes off to Jose Feliciano singing “Feliz Navidad,” it sure makes me jump out of bed right away to hit the OFF button. No lazing in bed listening.) Even my usual contemporary-Christian music station has gone all Christmas, which means I can’t listen to Spirit FM either, at least not until next week. Grrrrrrr.
I wonder if retailers know that “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is the main reason I do most of my shopping online? Maybe they don’t care. Maybe I’m unusual. I mean, I don’t hate Christmas music in principle, and I can probably listen to some of it by about December 15th. I am sick of “Winter Wonderland,” though. Even the Annie Lennox version, and I like me some Annie. Maybe it’s because I’ve been singing Christmas music since August in community chorus rehearsal… but what we’re singing is religious and less commonly heard. More likely it’s just that I’ve heard all these Santas and reindeer and Frostys, et cetera, until they’ve worn grooves in my eardrums. I could probably listen to Madonna’s “Santa Baby” and the “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” song a couple of times before Christmas, but Frosty can go suck eggs. Gah.
SOTD: testing some fragrance oils from an Etsy shop called Alkemia. It’s a mixed bag; I’ll review. Today I tried Yuletide Blessing and Les Mysteres. Painted off-white over the tan/beige splotches in the hall where I was trying out various paint colors; trimmed the remaining dead flowers in the front garden and took them to the shop lot; paid some bills. Boring day.
Thursday, Nov. 29 – My radio alarm woke me up this morning to Straight No Chaser’s delightful, humorous “Twelve Days of Christmas” medley, and I found that I did not, after all, want to throw a hammer at the radio. Huh. Then they played “Mele Kalikimaka” and I did want to kill my radio, so I’m not sure what my point is.
Forgot to wash Taz’s sadly-neglected gym suit yesterday, and he needs it before lunch, so I had to rush through two loads (red, to get the shorts, and light colors, to get the gray t-shirt) to get it to him. Had already washed the t-shirt before I discovered the CHEWING GUM STUCK TO IT! Thank goodness for Goo Gone. I think I got it all out. He brings a shirt home with gum on it again, I’m just going to take cash out of his bank account and buy him a new one. Not. Doing. This. Again! SOTM: testing more Alkemia fragrance oils, La Belle Epoque and Falling Stars at Winter Solstice (great name!) to be specific.
Went to the mall and to Target (this is half an hour’s drive away, mind you) to do a little shopping and to pick up a couple of county Farm Bureau members who were riding back from the convention with The CEO, so he could go straight on to Virginia Tech and teach a class without having to come home first. I got some Christmas shopping done – I like to do most of it online, but sometimes you just can’t – and did a little sniffery as well.
Actually sprayed Tuscany per Donna on my skin, just to see how it would behave. It seems kind of like a cross between Tresor (the fruit and the rose) and Aromatics Elixir (the rose, the greenery, and the urine), and it skeered me a little but never actually developed the Dreaded Lauder Base that makes me feel so nauseous. (Didn’t TpD get a four-star review in P:TG? I think so. But then, so did Tresor. And AE was five stars, if I remember correctly.) Eventually Tuscany per Donna settled down to a nice fruity skin musk thing, and I’m pretty sure I’d never wear it but I have to say it has more character than a lot of things I smelled at the mall.
The SA – an older lady I’ve seen at Belk’s several times – tried to show me Lady Gaga Fame and then Marc Jacobs Dot, and seemed surprised that I didn’t want to smell either of those. She’d found me near the Chanels… where I had been noticing that nothing smelled good. Even the No. 5 EdT, a reliable must-spritz, smelled odd to me today. Might be the tester, though. I tortured myself a little by sniffing both the Youth Dew and Cinnabar testers – no, I must be okay, I still hate them – and then the Aromatics Elixir – yep, still smells like somebody peed all over a rose hedge.
Parmesan-sage pork chops for dinner. Plus lemon rice and steamed green beans and baked pineapple, yum. Wanted to put on more perfume, something I actually like, so two hours before chorus rehearsal I managed a light spritz of Mariella Burani. Ahh. That’s more like it.
Friday, Nov. 30 – Frosty cold this morning; The CEO sent me out to check on a cow that appeared to have a dead calf with her out in the field. I didn’t think that collection of dark lumps could possibly be a calf, but it turns out I was wrong. Poor cow. Poor calf.
We finally got Bookworm’s senior portraits back this week. I had delayed and delayed in ordering them, because they were ridiculously expensive and I had had thoughts of asking a talented amateur photographer friend to do them instead, but I finally realized that trying to find a time for her to do a sitting was just going to be impossible. I mean, the kid barely sleeps, and I’m going to make her set aside two hours to sit for photos, just to save some money? No. Not this time. And two of the four formal shots taken at school last spring were so flattering that I knew it would be a risk to turn them down and simply hope that the friend could get some that would be just as good. For unknown reasons, photos of Bookworm are rarely as attractive as she is in person. It’s hard to get a bad photo of Gaze, but you have to get just the right expression out of Bookworm or she looks somewhat severe.
(And Taz? Oh dear… wonder if I’ve still got a digital version of that dreadful school picture from a couple of years ago? Hmm, can’t find it. It was SO awful that at first I thought I’d demand my money back, but the more I looked at the photo, the more I laughed, and then I realized that that dreadful photo was worth every single penny! The deal was this: fall photos you have to preorder. They don’t even send proofs. But he’d missed the first photo day when he was sick, and I hadn’t gotten the memo from the school about make-up pictures, and we were running late, and his hair was sticking out every-which-way, and he’d put on an old t-shirt that neither one of us liked, but he didn’t have time to change, and I didn’t think it would matter… Of COURSE that would be the day they did make-up pictures. Oh, and that face he made in the photo? Completely priceless. Utterly Taz. It still cracks me up. Worth. Every. Penny.)
SOTD: Mariella Burani edt. This is one of those scents that I had overapplied once, and people around me kept saying, “Do you smell baby powder?” Eep. I put it away for awhile. Now I know, don’t employ the “spray until wet” technique for MB. But gosh, it’s nice.
Saturday, Dec. 1 – Warmish. My parents stopped by to bring me the poinsettia they usually give me (I know, they’re sweet, aren’t they?) and give some hugs. We cleaned up, of course, and made a nice meal. Unfortunately, The CEO found an enormous water leak in a field we rent, and the cows all standing around the waterer thiiiiiis close to dying of thirst, so he spent the day trying to fix it, and when he was home, he was in a horrible mood. I don’t think he appreciated the steak. SOTD: Vintage Emeraude. So pretty.
Sunday, Dec. 2 – Slept late. It’s December, so no morning church. This is the third, or maybe fourth (?) year that we’ve done “December Nights,” services in the evening only. Last year we were in a small venue, and did services at 4 pm and 5:30, but this year we’re borrowing a larger space, with one service at 5pm. I like the experience, but it feels odd. And we always miss out on at least one Sunday night service because of my community choir concert, which is always at 3pm on the second Sunday of December, and 7pm the next day, in two different locations. The CEO spent most of the day trying to fix the waterer in that rented field; lack of a necessary repair to the hose caused water not to get to the container that the cows drink from, and they get all pushy and start banging into the waterer, and then IT gets damaged, compounding the problem… I think he finally got it fixed.
Watched “The Blind Side” together and talked about some of the things we’d like to do this holiday season. Bookworm left at 4:30 to drive to Roanoke College, about an hour away, for an overnight recruiting visit. A good friend of hers, Grace, attends Roanoke on an excellent academic scholarship, and since Grace has been something of a mentor to Bookworm in a number of areas (she was track and cross-country team captain, drum major, and Governor’s School student) and encouraged her a lot – well, Bookworm has not been all that interested in Roanoke College, except that Grace is involved! Proud of my girl for driving herself and stretching her wings a little.
SOTD: Black Cashmere. It’s relatively warm for this time of year, with daytime temperatures in the 60sF, but I really love the clove-benzoin-incense thing BC has going on. It’s not too heavy at all.