Sorry for the delay in posting – people have been sick here and I’m busy with other stuff… also, no photos or links today. They take TOO MUCH DANG TIME.
Monday, Nov. 5 – Gah, it is Monday. Gah, I am so far behind on NaNoWriMo that I don’t think I’m going to catch up, and I am strongly tempted to bail on the whole thing. Probably should. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete.
Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Another frosty day. I am really going to have to cut and cart away all the dead annuals in the front yard; they look terrible. SOTM: Comme des Garcons Eau de Parfum, the newish one in the bottle that looks like a melted light bulb and purports to contain notes of packaging tape (I love the smell of packaging tape). Actually, it is a) sort of nauseating, in that I-can’t-identify-this-but-it’s-making-me-sick sort of way, and b) boring. Essentially, it’s a dull floral. Reminds me somewhat of the dull floral hiding under the skeevy stuff in Secretions Magnifiques. And why bother with that? Bleargh.
I voted. It took me longer than it’s ever taken me before: 35 minutes from the time I walked out of the house until the time I walked back in. I had to wait in line for awhile. I’ll confess: I wasn’t happy with either one of the major-party candidates for President, and don’t feel compelled by any one of the minor parties on my ballot (Libertarian, Green, Conservative). I voted for the candidate who has slightly more in common with my values and stance on issues, according to my conscience. That’s all I can do.
Looking at the news on TV and Internet, and reading comments by friends on FB, it seems that the country is more divided than ever (well, since the Civil War, anyway, and see how much fun THAT was? At least SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND soldiers dead, not including civilians who starved to death) ideologically. And I’m wondering: is victory sweeter when the margin is closer? Is it more fun to win when there are so many people who disagree with you? You’d think so, given the gloating. (I already knew, from watching The CEO’s thirty-five-year devotion to the Red Sox, that losing stings worse when winning is juuust outside your grasp. And the losers are being pretty gosh-darned whiny about it.) #sosickofpolitics!!
SOTA: DSH Prophecy, a nice incense-amber thingy cushioned with Dawn’s usual soft musk base, which I tend to like. It’s in oil format, and I’m wondering if it would be more forthcoming in EdP. At least I smell good.
Wednesday, Nov. 7 – MORE frost. 32F when I took Gaze to school. Winter is coming, to coin a phrase… As an aside, I enjoyed the first few books in George Martin’s Game of Thrones series, but I’ve lost interest since reading the fifth book. All the major characters we met in the first book are either dead or scattered or in hiding (or worse!), and the Winter is Coming warning that Eddard Stark used to repeat sounds thin – those scary cold murderous inhuman guys (“Winter” represents them) that showed up in the very first scene have yet to make a real threat against civilization. If this series is supposed to be seven books long, Martin’s left it a bit late to mount a convincing defensive war against the non-human enemy. If it’s going to be a longer series, I don’t think I can muster the will to keep reading. I read somewhere Martin’s comment that his mental picture of the end of this story arc was a white wasteland dotted with gravestones, with the wind blowing, and that fairly well snuffed my drive to find out what happens. EVERYBODY DIES, THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS. The “how” doesn’t matter so much now.
Way to take the candy away, George Martin. Kudos.*
On a similar note, I notice that I have broken my promise to review the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Thinking about reviewing it makes me feel heavy-hearted, because although I think it is a fairly good book, it was a monumental disappointment. I was particularly dissatisfied with the way that Ms. Collins’ war-is-hell premise came to the forefront, leaving her characters in the background. Her point is really that war changes people, damaging them irretrievably – and I GET that, okay? I do. But I’m pretty annoyed that she made me care about Katniss and Peeta and Haymitch (Haymitch already being one of the Damaged) and then ended the novel with such bleakness. We get one single glimpse of a tentatively hopeful future, and not a glimmer-of-light-in-the-darkness future, either, more like a there’s-a-glimmer-of-light-but-Katniss-doesn’t-care one. I feel horribly cheated by the prospect of Katniss living out the rest of her life as if it is a punishment. I feel certain that Ms. Collins wanted to show “flat emotional affect” as one of the traumas of the aftermath of war, which is true to life, but it’s so… ugh. Couldn’t we have gotten to see her at least trying, Scarlett O’Hara-like? “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again! Or lose someone I love!”
I cut down the dead stuff in the front yard and carted it off. What a pain. SOTD: Amouage Jubilation XXV Man, which is really nice incense up top but then fades to an anonymous woody hum. That was bumming me out (yay, I’m having such a great week!*), so I spritzed some Lyric Woman over top of it, which helped a lot.
(* Note to Dr. Sheldon Cooper: That was sarcasm.**)
(**Note to readers: It amuses me to imagine Sheldon reading my blog. Or a novel. Or wearing fragrance. Or doing anything, for that matter.)
Thursday, Nov. 8 – No frost on the windshield this morning; it was 35F. SOTD: testing some vintage Cotys, from the rereleased Chypre to L’Origan to Muse edt, as well as a more-recent one, Longing. Interesting stuff.
Friday, Nov. 9 – No frost again, but windy. This should be the last football game of the season – it’s the playoffs, and our won-lost record is 5 and 5, and the team we’re playing tonight beat us pretty handily in the regular season. I’m looking forward to Bookworm’s getting a rest from marching band. She’s had the whole week off indoor track practice because she’d run at cross-country Regionals, thank goodness. SOTD: Cartier Les Heures XIII, nice smoky-woodshed vanilla.
SOTE: SSS Winter Woods, which when I wore it last about two years ago, caused someone to walk through my work space and ask if someone had a woodstove in the vicinity. Not so much on this wearing – it’s woody, yes, but not nearly so smoky. Laurie’s pleasantly sweet labdanum shows up nicely here. And I don’t know whether to be happy or not: we won the game, 32-0. Yep. 32-to-nuthin’. Huh. (Looks like we got a key offensive player healthy who’s been out since the second game, and our opponent lost two or their starting offensive linemen to injury. What a difference three players make, eh?) So we’ll go on to play our traditional rival at their home stadium next week. Don’t know if the band is going or not, but I know it’ll be freeeeezing.
Packed up stuff after we got home, and got to bed around 1 am. I’m chaperoning the band on their trip to the US Bands National Championship competition in Annapolis, MD this weekend (why yes, I have lost my mind… why do you ask?).
Saturday, Nov. 10 – It is darn DARK at 5 am, y’all. And cold. Got up, ate a bit of breakfast, gathered up my stuff and Bookworm’s and shoved it into the van to get to the high school by 5:45. Checked students’ bags for contraband, this including guns or other weapons, explosives, alcohol, drugs illegal or OTC… all prescription meds had to have been turned in to the director along with a detailed presciption note from the doctor. (I’m not kidding, they take that whole “zero-tolerance” thing seriously. A 5th-grader was suspended a few years ago for having two cough drops in his backpack. I already whined about it a couple of years ago when Gaze fell off his bike and had to have stitches in his hand, two weeks after school started, and the middle school nurse gave me such a hard time about my not having had the ER doctor – Yeah, like I could have PLANNED to take a school form along with me when my kid was dripping blood all over the floor and gray in the lips from shock – sign the official school-sanctioned form pertaining to medications given by the nurse on school property. ‘Member that? Cause I SURE DO.)
Annnnyway, the bus ride was actually quite comfortable. We watched two Madea movies, and I had a blast with the other three moms in the front of the bus – Robin (mother of snare drum Bill and tenor sax Zach), Tracie (mother of tenor sax section leader Michael), and Susan (mother of drumline captain Jamie). Bookworm and PETBoy were sitting behind me, and seemed not to mind at all my sitting so close – indeed, she kept poking me through the seat to tell me something funny or ask me questions or remind me that she needed lunch money from the First National Bank of Mom. Wendy (mother of baritone horn Angelica), wound up sitting in the middle of the bus with Scott and Ruth (parents of baritone horn Drew). Poor John (older brother of clarinet Lakota) was stuck in the back with some drum kids! Funny, we only had one band dad on our bus. Seems that the other fathers were either driving equipment trucks or on the other bus.
The competition was fairly intense. For complicated reasons, we were competing in the size category one step higher than we should have been placed, and we finished 13th out of 16 Class IV A bands, but our score was very good at 89.131. The highest-finishing band in the class scored a 95.165, so you can see how tightly packed the scoring was.
I think the kids had a good time, but it took us two and a half hours to drive from Annapolis to Chantilly, VA, after the competition. On the way up, that particular stretch had taken about 55 minutes, but it seems that nobody planned for the nighttime construction on the DC Beltway – either that, or traffic was worse than usual. The five girls I was responsible for checking on at our motel were in two different rooms, and nobody really wanted to go to bed, so it was once again 1 am before I got to sleep.
Sunday, Nov. 11 – Up at 7am, everybody breakfasted, packed up and loaded onto the buses at 9 am. (Whew!) We visited the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Annex, AKA the Udvar-Hazy center, near Dulles Airport, and I think the kids liked it. It’s one of my favorite places, too. This is the big hangar that Dulles turned out not to need, and the Smithsonian modified it into a museum where they could put all the air/space stuff that there’s no room for in the museum location on the Mall in Washington, DC. There’s an observation tower where you can watch the planes take off from Dulles, along with an air-traffic control simulator; there’s an IMAX theater (we didn’t have time for that today). There are early planes, WWI planes, military planes like the Blackbird, commercial planes like one of the early jumbo jets (a Boeing 707 put into service in 1954) and the Concorde, air racing planes, odd planes like the Spruce Goose and the Gossamer Albatross, and my favorites, the WWII planes. These range from fighters to bombers, from British to German to Japanese to American. The Enola Gay is there – yes, THE Enola Gay, the bomber that dropped atomic missiles onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Whatever we might think now of the desperate inhumanity of such an act, I’m glad it’s possible to stand underneath this airplane’s fusillage and imagine what it must have been like. There’s also a section of the museum housing the space shuttle Discovery and numerous articles relating to the space program, and that’s a fascinating exhibit too. You can’t see everything, or even half of everything, in the two hours we had there, but it’s well worth the $15 vehicle parking fee (admission is free, though the IMAX and the flight simulator are extra). If you get a chance, GO. You won’t be sorry.
After that, we hit the mall for lunch and a bit of shopping; I sniffed things in L’Occitane and bought a candle called Maquis that smells like DSH Chypre, strange and wonderful. I also liked their Eau de Baux and Verveine, but didn’t buy any. Then I went down to Macy’s to see if there was anything new on the shelves I could smell.
A very sweet and clueless SA “helped” me by spraying cards with the fragrances I mentioned an interest in. I’m sure management trains the sales associates to ask, “What do you wear?” and “Do you like fresh, clean scents?,” but it was frustrating to be directed so firmly when I wanted to browse. She did point out the newer fragrances for me (which, of course, I could have found on my own), but wasn’t very willing for me to pick up the testers myself. (Could be an anti-theft issue. Maybe.) I did manage to sneak back when she was looking the other way and actually spray some No. 5 Eau Premiere and the new Infusion D’Iris Absolue on my skin! Then I wandered into Sephora and saw the “fragrance wall” that I’d thought was just a way of describing “fragrances available for purchase at Sephora.” Nope. It’s an actual wall, who knew? Explained to a sweetly clueless male SA with six earrings and guyliner that I was just browsing, and he asked the “Well, what do you wear?” question in the hopes of guiding me to a new perfume. I didn’t even try to explain. “By Kilian Sweet Redemption,” I said. That shut him up.
Things I smelled (or re-smelled) in Macy’s:
Chanel Chance Eau Tendre, the SA’s favorite – vague screechy floral. Boooooring.
Chanel Coco Noir -A lot like Coco Mlle, except less screechy and somewhat duller, which is saying something. Patch bomb, of course.
Chanel Coco – nope, still too balsamy for me although it’s considerably lighter than my memory suggests.
Chanel No. 5 EdP – Okay, awright, I admit it: I Do Not Like the EdP. It smells wrong. Identifiably No. 5, but wrong.
Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere – like a plushy cushion on the marble monument. Nice. Less artistic, maybe, but much more comfortable.
Chanel No. 5 EdT (there was no tester for the parfum) – Beautiful. How is it that the florals are still so lovely in this and so synthetic-smelling in several other Chanel scents?
Guerlain Shalimar EdT – the only Guerlain in the joint. I still think the EdT is difficult. Too much patchouli in there, too much tar.
Madonna Truth or Dare - Grape Popsicle/mini Fracas/caramel. Bleargh.
Roberto Cavalli pour femme – eww. Sweet fakey-floral thing that lowered my IQ in seconds.
Dolce et Gabbana Pour Femme – frooty marshmallow blah.
Prada Candy – waaaay sweeeeeet, just as I remember, but unstupid. Especially compared to a lot of its shelf companions.
Prada Amber (not L’eau Ambree) – well, it’s basically amber-patchouli. Not my thang.
Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue – I’d have thought that I’d like this better than the original, due to its amped floral notes. But no. Tons o’ soapy orange blossom. I mean, it’s nice, and I would actually judge that next to Chanel, the Prada fragrance line might be the most easily wearable in Macy’s inventory. But it seems that I’m not very fond of that OB-iris combination. I’d much rather have that hide-and-seek, barely-there, suedey-feeling iris/musk combination of the original Infusion d’Iris.
Gucci Premiere – wait, did she actually get the spray ON the card? I can barely smell anything, but what I can smell, I don’t like.
Gucci Guilty – I really hate this thing. It’s like the antithesis of good taste, and not in the girlish disarming way of Prada Candy.
Chloe L’Eau de Chloe – I’ve tried it before, and I still like it. It’s like the wispy, summery ghost of a 70s rose chypre.
Chloe Eau de Parfum – Smells like bathroom cleaner. Really. I find it an insult to the lush floral Lagerfeld version I wore all through my teen years.
Boucheron – Pleasant. Perfumes: The Guide calls this a “huge floral,” a category that is generally siren song for me, but I wasn’t wooed. Probably a buncha orange blossom in it; it was muted.
Dior Miss Dior Le Parfum – Ehhhh. Not horrible, but far too similar to Coco Mlle. I didn’t even have the automatic nausea reaction I was wont to feel with the original Miss Dior Cherie, that heeeeedious strawberry-chypre mess.
Paloma Picasso – dear LORD, this thing has teeth. Skeery. At least it smells distinctive. My biggest complaint with department store fragrances these days is that they all smell so much alike, all screechy and high-pitched and Stepford-Wife-y.
Marc Jacobs Dot – okay, who spilled the Kool-Aid?
Selena Gomez – like Dot, a frooty overload. Double bleargh.
Calvin Klein Obsession – nope, still hate it. Haaaaaate it.
Issey Miyake L’eau d’Issey – retested because of a suggestion that a character in a novel I’m writing might like it. No. Still a Windex floral.
Bvlgari Omnia Coral – GAH. Is there a mango note in this? This is hideous.
Gucci Flora – this is very pretty. Not very interesting, but very pretty. Very wearable. Doesn’t reach the benchmark of Marc Jacobs Daisy for “pretty and wearable,” though.
Hanae Mori EdP - okay, duh, a lot like the EdT. The parfum is considerably nicer.
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic – nice. Citrus, of course, so very not my thing, but pleasant.
Guerlain AA Pamplelune – just so pretty. I actually find Pamplelune very very floral, under the bright acidic citrus, and I like it a lot.
V&R Spicebomb – very pleasant. Not nearly so nice as, say, CSP L’eau du Gouverneur, but nice.
Aquolina Pink Sugar – Kill.Me.Now.
Narciso Rodriguez for her, in EdT, EdP, and Essence – I can’t smell any of ‘em. Apparently I’m another person who’s anosmic to the musk.
On the drive home, I turned around to see how Bookworm was doing in the seat behind me. She had fallen asleep on PETBoy’s shoulder, with her calculus homework in her lap, and he’d leaned his head over onto hers and fallen asleep, too. It was adorable. I was going to take a picture, but just as I got out my cell phone, the bus pulled into a rest area and he woke up (Bookworm didn’t!). I asked him if he would like me to move her head so he could get out, but he said no, he was fine, and gave me one of his sweet affectionate smiles. I think he just wanted to sit there with her for awhile longer. Who could blame him? They haven’t been on a date for nearly a month. Too busy.
Got home to find that The CEO is sick, probably with the flu. Respiratory distress, fever, coughing, nausea. Everybody else seems okay, though. (The dog missed us.)