Scent Diary, Oct. 17-23, 2016

autumn-leaves-light-wallpaperMonday, Oct. 17 – It was downright warm for October today, into the low 80s. Indian summer, I suppose… I went out to do errands, and had to roll the windows down for comfort. Among other places, I went by TJ Maxx to see if they had any more of those Paddywax Pumpkin & Spice candles that are a gorgeous mix of PS and mellow tobacco, but of course they’re gone. Did some grocery shopping, had the MDF molding boards for the bathroom mirror-framing project recut to the CORRECT SIZE 😳 , and picked up a pair of black dress pants for Gaze since he’s been wearing his suit pants for every. single. FFA activity (he’s an officer). As I came home, I could smell that beautiful dry-leaf scent, as my tires crunched over them.

Sigh. Autumn is wonderful. Annnnnd – I later found a couple of those candles for sale on eBay, too. Yay me. 😀 SOTD was Le Temps d’une Fete, because I can’t resist it on sunny fall days.

Tuesday, Oct. 18 – ‘Nother warm one in the low 80s. I don’t particularly enjoy it. In some ways, I wonder if I should just move to England and live most of my life in weather between 32 and 65 Fahrenheit, except of course I’d have to learn that in Celsius. (The quick-and-dirty formula for F to C is: Subtract 30 and divide by two. That’s not entirely accurate, but it’s close enough for government work, as they say. So, 5C to 20C. Once I’d spent a few months living with Celsius, I’d probably be okay; I just don’t have the reference points, such as 17C feels like 65F.)

SOTD is Amouage Myths Woman, which I like just fine, and which feels like Le Temps d’une Fete and Jolie Madame extrait made a baby. I adore LTdF, and I have five little bottles of JM parfum stashed away because it is just. so. good, but somehow I don’t love Myths. It is maybe too dry for me? Maybe not quite floral enough (the narcissus is there, but not very petally)? Dunno. The drydown does last for hours, even on me.

Wednesday, Oct. 19 – Warm again. Dang it, I want my sweater weather back! And by “sweater weather,” I mean the kind of weather in which one only needs a light cardigan or jacket outside. Like, 65-75F, or late August in Kensington. 😉 SOTD was a sample from SIXTEEN92, one of six that I’ll be reviewing in two batches soon.

ja-frisbee-9-16Bookworm was supposed to be driving home for Fall Break today, but she fell during an Ultimate Frisbee tournament on Sunday evening, and hit her head. They didn’t think she had a concussion – she had no memory loss, no nausea, no changes in vision or eye focus, no passing out – but she’s had some headaches since then, and I insisted she go to student health yesterday to get it checked out. We decided it would be best for her to stay in Connecticut and just rest as much as possible instead of subjecting herself to a 10-hour drive home and another one back on Sunday. Which is fine. I want her to feel better, and we’ll see her at Thanksgiving when we take that family trip to Belize. But I’m bummed. (But I’m FINE.)

Apparently, this is AN ACTUAL CAT, despite looking like a fluffy stuffed toy with gigantic sad eyes.
Apparently, this is an actual cat. It just LOOKS like a stuffed toy with gigantic sad eyes.

Thursday, Oct. 20 – I miss my girl. Snif. I’ll see her in a month, when we go on our family vacation to Belize(!), but I would love to hug her now.

Today: warm again, though it’s supposed to start raining tomorrow. Wearing another SIXTEEN92 sample.

Friday, Oct. 21 – Aaaaaaand fall is back! We had an ugly storm this morning: torrential rain, plus wind whipping through the trees and ripping off leaves everywhere. It was gone by noon, and the weather was back to chilly, windy October. The rain was gone by late afternoon, in time for the stadium to dry out for the football game. SOTD was Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, sweet coziness that kept me warm in the concession stand. (Or maybe that was the heat lamps.) We ran out of hot chocolate before halftime, and for some unknown reason, the athletic department had failed to stock the always-popular Dr. Pepper, but we sold tons of popcorn. Taz came and helped; he isn’t allowed to handle food because he’s not 18, but he can take money and pass prepared food across the counter. He did a great job, not only distributing drinks and foil-wrapped hot dogs, but also keeping the stations stocked between customers. Proud of my boy.

Saturday, Oct. 22 – Went to my cousin’s renewal of wedding vows ceremony. The boys were at a cross-country thing, and The CEO had a work thing, so I went on my own. Susan and Richard started dating in high school and have now been married almost 26 years, with three lovely daughters and a son as well as a granddaughter. Congrats to them! The weather was far nicer than yesterday – windy and chilly but at least there was sunshine.

SOTD was Teo Cabanel Early Roses over a small application of Tauer Rose Delight body oil. Nice. On the way home, I stopped to sniff things at Macy’s and was disappointed to see that the perfume department at the Roanoke store seems smaller than it was a few years ago. It’s now about the same size as the one at Belk’s, and while there are a few differences in the fragrances stocked, there still aren’t many interesting scents there, and only a few that Belk doesn’t carry – Armani Sì, for example, and the Vince Camutos, nothing that caught my attention.

Having tested No. 5 L’Eau from a manufacturer spray sample the Belk SA gave me a few weeks ago, I wasn’t tempted by that tester. (I’m currently working on a review.) No. 5 always smells like its wonderful self, and Eau Premiere is still lovely, so I grabbed the EP tester and gave myself a spritz for the drive home. It was still great when The CEO and I went out to dinner at the Mexican restaurant.

Speaking of our Mexican restaurant: El Ranchero has upscaled since they moved out to the strip mall near Wal-Mart, just off I-81, a couple of years ago. They’re not just offering that list of numbered specials consisting of various combinations of burritos, tacos, and chimichangas; now they’re doing seafood and steaks, too, as well as mixed drinks they didn’t serve when they were in the old building. I mean, I don’t kid myself that it is Real Authentic Mexican like you would get in Mexico (or in Texas, for that matter!), but they’ve made a move toward higher-quality ingredients. I’m so glad to see that they’re thriving. The restaurant is clearly a family enterprise, too. All members of the service staff speak English, but most of them have noticeable accents except the two younger guys who must have grown up here, given their Southwest Virginia drawls. There’s this one guy who has been there since the restaurant opened sometime in the early 2000s, and he regularly carries six plates at once. Six!! He puts a long hot mitt on his upper arm and one on his left hand, and loads that side up, then gets another plate in his right hand. Now that is some skill.

Sunday, Oct. 23 – Looks like we’re settling back into the normal October weather I love so much: clear, bright, cool. SOTD was Cuir de Lancome. Gosh, this is good stuff. I’m sad it’s discontinued (and feeling juuuust a little bit smug about the two backup bottles in the bedside cabinet).

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Being Crafty (Lined Crocheted Purse)

Over the summer, Bookworm set herself to use up as much as possible of the substantial yarn stash that my grandmother Sarah Lou (“Bambaw”) left behind her.

WRONG.
WRONG.

Please notice that I do not mention the considerable supplies of unpainted china, designs, and china paints she didn’t get around to using before her death at the age of almost-92. Nor the stacks upon stacks of fabric, yarn, clothing patterns, embroidery floss, buttons, and other notions. My other grandmother, Nell, a quilter, also left a similar pile of fabric and notions when she died at 92. She moved from her enormous farmhouse to a condo ten years before, and had reduced her stash to what she thought would be manageable before the move. All the same, after her death, my three aunts were cleaning out the condo and I overheard them discovering yet another supply of fabrics. Oh, the moaning!

I come from a long line of packrats, and it disturbs me, but so far not enough that I’ve begun jettisoning my own craft supplies. I really need to find a new home for the cross-stitch, however, because it hurts my hands. My fingers get numb within five minutes of holding a needle. And I hate that, and I would love to get back to stitching, but it’s just not going to happen. Neither can I crochet with thread and steel hooks anymore, same reason. These days I work with fat yarn and ergonomic hooks.

(No, she just leaves it to her mostly-non-crafting descendants.)
(No, she just leaves it to her mostly-non-crafting descendants.)

However, back to Bambaw’s yarn stash and Bookworm’s attempt to whittle it down… this past summer, she picked a couple of skeins of peculiar yarn out of the box and decided to do something with them. They were cream and goldenrod shades, and of a sport weight size, not very soft but with an attractive sheen to them. These skeins were of 100% rayon, and so old that the price tag on them said 29¢! Bookworm ruled out making her usual items (hat, scarf, dishcloth, rug) from them and finally settled on making a purse. For me, because she never carries one.

Purse and coordinating glasses case.
Purse and coordinating glasses case.

It’s wonderfully cheery, very summery. Looking at it makes me happy. But, of course, it’s crocheted, which means holes, which means you lose things like pens and perfume sample vials and stuff like that, which means that it needed a lining. Which meant that I needed to sew one.

Six months and eight tutorials later, it is done.

Completed lining.
Completed lining.

I used an old, worn, fitted sheet from a set with a pattern I always loved, in colors that make me happy – I cut off the bad elastic near the foot of the sheet, where the pattern was still bright and the cotton in good shape, and used it to line my lovely summery striped bag.

It was a lot of work – measure and cut, iron on interfacing, cut again, measure and mark again, make a stiffener for it, change the thread on the sewing machine, mess with the (aging) sewing machine… rip out a badly placed seam and resew it… then hand-sew it in, a little bit at a time (because hand-sewing makes my hands hurt).

Finished product!
Finished product!

Totally worth it. I love it.

Thanks to my sweet thoughtful Bookworm. Thanks to my mother, who gave me my inexpensive Kenmore sewing machine 23 years ago (she knew I’d need it!), and thanks to my grandmother, who probably snapped up that rayon yarn at half-off, at least forty years ago. The purse might be new, but it says family to me. I’ll carry it with pleasure.

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Random Thoughts, early August 2015

I have yet to get my paws on The CEO’s SD card and post some of his gorgeous pictures from our New Zealand trip, but maybe I can pin him down soon.

I still hate August.

Around here, cornbread is properly made in a cast-iron skillet. God forbid you present Bookworm with any other kind... it offends her delicate sense of order.
Around here, cornbread is properly made in a cast-iron skillet. God forbid you present Bookworm with any other kind… it offends her delicate sense of order.

Bookworm is home for a few weeks! Summer session at Yale ended this past week, and she got home on Sunday evening. Fall classes start on September 2, so she has a little bit of time to breathe and soak in some farm-fresh air.  We made cornbread and pinto beans and country ham – foods she can’t get in CT. Well, they sometimes have cornbread in the dining hall, but it’s made with sugar and a much higher proportion of flour to cornmeal, so that it tastes like cake rather than the coarse savory skillet cornbread she prefers. (The addition of sugar to a cornbread recipe is a much-debated issue among Southern cooks, but of course the American South is such a wide area that “real Southern cornbread” has immense variation. I won’t be insulting and state that a recipe containing sugar can’t be “real Southern,” but my mother’s recipe doesn’t contain any. The first time I ever ate sweet cornbread was at the historic Michie Tavern, near Monticello, when I was seventeen, and I was horrified.)

Gaze started his classes at the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology last week. Bookworm went through the program, which coordinates its classes through Virginia’s community college system, and found it valuable in teaching her study skills and in preparing her for college. It is a challenging curriculum, but I feel sure Gaze is up to it. SWVGS pulls from the surrounding seven counties, but it is located within a ten-minute drive of our high school, so that’s fairly convenient. Classes run from 7 am to approximately 10 am, and then the students return to their own high schools for the remainder of the day.

This year's marching band show shirts.
This year’s marching band show shirts.

We had a very successful two weeks of band camp (including a week of “pre-camp,” which focuses on fundamental marching techniques). It’s a difficult program this year, all original music, and the marching drill is challenging as well. The show title is “The Insanity of an Imaginary World,” and it is an Alice in Wonderland theme.

Taz has been helping on the farm quite a bit lately, and every time I look at him I think he’s a little bit taller! Can’t believe my baby will be a 9th-grader this year. School starts on Thursday. He’s running cross-country and doing well so far.

Don't know what I'd do without one of these.
Don’t know what I’d do without one of these.

If you ever entertained the notion that Pyrex dishes are indestructible, put it out of your head now. Here’s the transcript of a recent conversation I had with my mother:

Me: I could use another big measuring bowl – you know the kind with the handle and the measuring lines on the side? Mine broke. Do you know where I could find one?
Mom: It BROKE? It was Pyrex! I didn’t think Pyrex could break.
Me: Well, apparently if you drop one Pyrex dish onto another one, it breaks.
Mom: (stunned silence)

And now you know. (I found another one at Wal-Mart.)

Stay tuned for the Aotearoa-New Zealand travelogue.

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Scent Diary, Feb 16-23, 2015

I sort of accidentally overwrote my Scent Diary for Feb. 9-15. Whoops. Nothing much happened anyway – the kids were out of school due to frigid temperatures (there are places in the county where students have to wait for a very early bus that they have to walk half a mile or more to reach). We did a TON of laundry, and basically got back into the swing of things after our San Antonio trip.

Monday, Feb. 16 – Cold. Snowing. Yay!! This is the first time all winter we’ve had serious snow. SOTD is Soivohle Centennial, for warmth, because it’s blusterous and in the single digits temperature-wise. The CEO has canceled his morning classes.

sledding feb 2015Tuesday, Feb. 17 – It was fairly warm today, in the low 30s, and the boys went out to play in the snow. It’s too powdery to be good sledding snow, but they were having some success building a snow fort with our neighbor, seven-year-old Zach.

One more of Gaze’s ewes lambed, but the lamb had a fairly serious birth defect and was either stillborn or died shortly after its umbilical cord was torn. It was sad. SOTD was Parfum Sacre, wonderful cozy rose-incense-vanilla.

Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Back to cold temperatures, and school is still out, but The CEO went off to Va Tech today. I worked on some sewing and laundry. SOTD was vintage Emeraude parfum de toilette, mmmmm. Took the boys in for their dental cleanings; took Gaze to get a haircut.

Thursday, Feb. 19 – Chilly weather. The dog is HAVING A TOTAL BLAST in the snow, by the way. He loves it.  Took Gaze for his orthodontist checkup, and did some grocery shopping. Worked on farm books stuff.  SOTD was Memoir Woman, because I love it so.

Friday, Feb. 20 – Really COLD again today. It was 3F when I got up at 7:15. Brr. SOTM: testing Uzac Satin Doll and Caron Pour Une Femme, both modern chypre things a little too light for this weather. SOTA: Escada Margaretha Ley, yummy ylang/white floral/coconut tropical thing that packs some serrrrrrious sillage. This is a good thing when it’s 6F by 1 pm. Go big or go ho-

Oh. Wait. I AM home. Never mind. I’m going big anyway.

Saturday, Feb. 21 – Started out by testing Bogue Maai, which has been described as a chypre Amazon on a panther. Did I get that? Um, nope. We were supposed to get snow, turning to sleet, later on today but it started early. Ugh. Fire in the fireplace, cleaning up the house.

Taz left the C volume of the encyclopedia out on the dining table, and I was about to fuss at him for it when it occurred to me: hey. My kid still reads the encyclopedia. I can’t really complain too much about it. (Yes, he knows how to Google. But there’s no computer in the kitchen/DR area. Or in the kids’ bedrooms, either.)

George (1024x768)New lamb today! This one’s another boy, and he seems to be doing just fine. So now we have Precious, Sweetie, and George, and they are JUST SO CUTE. We might keep Precious, so far the only ewe lamb, but I expect the other two will go on off to market. I’m deliberately not thinking about it. SOTE was Shalimar Light.

Watched “Patton” with The CEO and the boys this evening, and crocheted some on Bookworm’s afghan. I’d never seen it, and I don’t think it was meant to be a funny film, but I spent about half the time cracking up at something Patton just said. The man was an egotistical nutcase/genius, and the utter temerity of his unfiltered comments were just… well, I kept thinking to myself, No way did he really just say that! IMDB, however, reports that a lot of Patton’s dialogue was watered down from his real-life commentary. HOO boy.

Sunday, Feb. 22 – Nasty weather this morning. No church today due to icy conditions. It’s much warmer today than yesterday (from about 8F to 53F) and the driveway was clear by afternoon, but this morning we weren’t going anywhere. Ugh. SOTD was Chypre d’Amboise (a cheapie eBay find), followed by Soivohle Centennial. Made two more mobcaps for the community chorus Broadway concert this spring; our director wants most of the chorus dressed as extras from Les Miserables. Taz shoveled the driveway for us and did such a good job.

After church small group/youth group this evening, we went to the Chinese buffet place for dinner. I really don’t recommend being the last diners at a buffet – the selection is bad and the food condition not stellar (dried out/greasy). The hostess did tell me that if we wanted anything specifically, to just ask her and they’d make it, but at that stage we just wanted to eat what was there and not wait on anything else. The tea was good, though.

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Scent Diary, Christmas week 2014

HNY 2015Actually… looks like the last time I wrote any sort of Scent Diary entry was four months ago. It is hopelessly out of date, and I include it here simply for reference.

Monday, Aug. 18 – First full day of school this year – it was a two-hour early release last Friday. Taz almost forgot his lunch, and Gaze forgot his trombone. I had to take it to him.

RAIN. Super rain. All-day rain. It was like the weather on Venus in that Ray Bradbury story, “All Summer in a Day.” (Which, do not read it if you are a) concerned about the scientific feasibility of constant rain on Venus, or b) emotionally sensitive. It will annoy the crap out of you Sheldon Cooper types who have to have all the facts right or the story doesn’t count, in the first case. And it will flat break your heart in the latter case. Oh, but Bradbury is such a genius of the short story.)

SOTD is Ralph Lauren Safari. Again. Man, I could get addicted to this stuff. Fragrantica calls it a Floral Green, but elsewhere I’ve seen it described as a green chypre. Don’t care. I suspect that its style was, well, out of style when it was introduced in the early 1990s: too perfumey. Too green, too loud, too far removed from the smell of “clean” in the days of cKOne and L’eau d’Issey. Not that it’s a dirty perfume exactly; it’s not Joy or Bal a Versailles by any means, but neither does it smell like Windex.
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Wednesday, Dec. 24 – The CEO’s sister J has been visiting. We went to the Christmas Eve service at the church where my mother-in-law attends, and ran into one of my aunts along with my cousin and her husband, so that was lovely too. SOTD was Prince Matchabelli Potpourri, a wonderfully clovey carnation-woods scent (long discontinued, of course – I paid $12 for a full 1 oz bottle via eBay), with a spritz of Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka for the evening.

I notice that my newish bottle of Vanille Tonka is missing its spritely, delightful lime opening. The lime’s still there, but it’s very subdued and there’s more of a root-beer feeling to the scent now. This is not bad, exactly, but I really adored that lime+spice thing. Sigh.

Was up late, but I managed to finish  not only my MIL’s chenille hat but also Bookworm’s Minion Hat. It is ADORABLE. (Here’s a link to the pattern, in case you would like to make it.)

Thursday, Dec. 25 – a quiet Christmas. The kids slept late, we slept late, and it has been so warm that there was no reason for The CEO to go out and have to feed cattle, so we dove into stockings first, and then had breakfast, and then opened presents. No scented gifts for me this year. (Which is okay. To a large degree I feel satisfied with my current collection, though I would of course love a bottle of Iris Poudre. I’ve gotten through a 5ml decant and I have two partial 10ml decants I’m still working on. The only thing that worries me is the impending purchase of Frederic Malle by Estee Lauder… Lauder owns Jo Malone as of Jan 1, 2015, in case you didn’t know that… I would hate for IP to be irrevocably changed because I love it.)

Bookworm loved her crocheted hat! She knew I was making her one… but when she opened her package she kept repeating, “It’s a MINION! It’s a MINION!” and didn’t take it off all day. Success, I proclaim.

We had a lovely dinner with The CEO’s mother and both his sisters, as well as his sister E’s husband and their kids. Very nice. SOTD was Teo Cabanel Alahine, because it smells like joy and Christmas to me, and it’s become tradition over the past five years to wear Alahine on Christmas.

Friday, Dec. 26 – We spent the morning of Boxing Day at home, straightening up a bit, before heading on to my parents’ house for Christmas Part II. I wore Alahine again, of course, because that is My Christmas Perfume, Period. I love Alahine so much. We had a nice time with family – a nice meal, an excellent time Skyping with my sister. My father recently replaced his 10-year-old Sebring with a Jeep crossover vehicle which seems rather sporty for him… in any case, he gave us the Sebring for one of the kids to use. I think he’d intended it for Gaze, who will be eligible for his driver’s license next month, but we decided that it might make more sense for Bookworm to drive it back and forth to Connecticut. Even with the $400 garage fee charged by the university, and the gas for it, it might be cheaper than airline flights! We’re still waffling on its name. Sebastian? Sabrina? Seabiscuit?* And Gaze, in any case, wants to drive the Ranger, which is way more “manly” than the Sebring.

*Yes, we are those annoying people who name their cars. Cameron (The CEO’s Camry, which is blue) and Stevie Ray Van (my Caravan, which is red) and Walker (the Ranger, which is black) refuse to share the driveway with an unnamed vehicle. 😉

Saturday, Dec. 27 – sunny day, temperatures in the 50s. Niece and nephew came over before the Virginia Tech – Cincinnati bowl game and hung out, and then The CEO’s mom and sisters and brother-in-law came over to watch the game. (My mother-in-law doesn’t have ESPN. In fact, she doesn’t have cable. Nor does she have internet access, or a computer, or even a touch-tone phone. She does have a cell phone, but only turns it on when she’s away from home and wants to ask someone a question. On the other hand, she seems to be getting along just fine.) So we did the basic house clean-up super-fast, and then settled in with some pizza to watch the Hokies trounce the Bearcats. SOTD was Caron Parfum Sacré, reapplied before dinner back over at the MIL’s house.  VT won the game, btw. Everyone was happy.

We have now determined that Gaze is a couple of inches taller than his same-age cousin Curiosity, Taz is now just a hair under my 5’4” height, and the cousin that’s Taz’s age, Primrose, is maybe half an inch taller than Bookworm. Everybody’s been growing except Bookworm, and she finally seems to have accepted that she’s just going to be a peanut. She did comment to me, however, that her friends have told her that she seems like a bigger person than her actual size – possibly because of her confidence and her grown-woman speaking voice.

By the way, I still don’t know why none of the Carons have captured my heart. True, the classic ones seem to have been reformulated badly, but even the vintage-ish stuff I’ve tried has seemed flat and dull to me. I did like Aimez-Moi, which was a more modern composition, but to be honest I never wore it so I traded it off to someone who loves it. Have I been influenced by the lukewarm reactions of Perfumes: The Guide? Perhaps. But I think it’s more likely that I simply don’t have an affinity for the style. I expected to find Narcisse Noir interesting, but the current stuff is way more orange blossom than narcissus, sort of a little girl’s yellow dotted-swiss dress, and the vintage sample I tried was so boring that I kept checking to see that the sample service hadn’t given me Narcisse Blanc by mistake. Tabac Blond is a wack combination of sweet, oily and musty, and Nuit de Noel is all that plus moss. The lovely Blacknall of A Perfume Blog sent me a sample of Or et Noir, which is said to be the precursor of Parfum Sacre, and I found that one difficult to wear, as its first hour or so is a sour, insistent rose soliflore before it relaxes into a beautiful soft ambery, mossy-woods drydown. (I suspect that it’s geranium I dislike so much in the rose scents that go sour on me.) Now, I do like Poivre, very much.

Sunday, Dec. 28 – a gray morning. Niece and nephew came over and played with our kids; I took a nap. We all went to church in the evening (our church, which normally meets at a local school on Sunday mornings, uses the sanctuary of another local church on Sunday evenings in the month of December) with my mother-in-law, as well as E and K, Primrose and Curiosity. Leftovers for dinner and football on TV… rain outside. SOTD: Organza Indecence, so cozy.

Monday, Dec. 29 – RAIN. Bleargh. A quiet day. SOTD was Shalimar Light. My first bottle of it (after the 5ml mini) is half gone; luckily I have one more stashed away. Best Lemon/Dirty-Vanilla EVAH. Made a batch of Nell’s Boiled Custard (YUM)!

Tuesday, Dec. 30 – The CEO’s laptop, or at least its screen, died last night and all attempts to revive it have failed so far. This is the Horrible! Clicky! Computer that I hate and despise because its “enter” key noise is so, well, offensively clicky that I literally cannot bear to be in the same room with it, so I am ambivalent about the matter. I’m sorry he’ll have to deal with the annoyance of a nonfunctioning computer, but maybe Virginia Tech will give him a new laptop that’s quieter.

Incidentally, over the month of November I found out that I have misophonia. That is, there is a name for the irrational feelings of rage/frustration one feels when hearing certain (generally soft and repetitive) noises. There is a NAME FOR IT, PEOPLE!! I am not (entirely) crazy! Gum chewing/popping… chewing sounds in general… the sound of toe/fingernails being clipped… that blasted clicky computer… gah. I have to leave the room. I cannot stand to sit in front of people who are innocently, but ANNOYINGLY, crunching popcorn at the movie theater. It is with the greatest difficulty that I restrain myself from turning around and killing them utterly dead. But at least I am not craaaaazy, even if very few people believe me about the soft-noise rage.

Yesterday’s rain turned to snow overnight, and we woke to a light dusting of the white stuff outside, though it isn’t particularly cold. SOTD: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. Mmmm, white florals.

Wednesday, Dec. 31 – Glad to see 2014 go, for some reason. The CEO and Gaze have been watching college football bowl games most of the day, and I’ve been writing some, and doing a few year-end errands. My new Tracfone Android phone arrived today but is not completely functional yet; Taz will be getting my old phone when my new one works. Hope he doesn’t lose this one as he did his first phone and his second (a castoff from his brother); I’ve been fond of that phone.

The Christmas decorations come down tomorrow. Three weeks of those are about all I can manage, though I have friends who enjoy having theirs up for nearly two months. I can’t do it. I don’t mind leaving my nutcrackers out into the second week of January, but the tree has to go, and the garland and lights on the porch railing do too. Incidentally, the whole my-Christmas-tree-is-trying-to-kill-me thing seems to have been confined to the Canaan fir varietal. We had another Fraser fir this year and I’ve had no problems. And it was lovely, too.

SOTD is Memoir Woman. Mmmmmmmmm. I got an order from Beauty Encounter today – a candle that was on clearance/sale, plus a few samples and some mini shower gels. And my new crockpot, ordered from Amazon with my gift card, came today too! Yay! Delicious ham for dinner, and I’ve got an El Cheapo bottle of pink moscato (HEY! Don’t judge me!) in the fridge for The CEO and I to share at midnight.

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful, fragrant 2015!

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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.

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Cave

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.

Stalactites!
Stalactites!

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.

rsz_julie_camera_024

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Scent Diary Summary, most of May 2014

Scent Diary, Summarized, May 7 through June 3, 2014

I have not been keeping a good diary recently. It has been pretty busy here, with attending end-of-school activities and planning for some summer ones, so I’ve only got some “here’s what’s going on around the place these days” notes.
HOME:
As for the house and yard, they look pretty good. We’ve been getting some good rain interspersed with sunny days, so the grass is thick and green and the trees are beautifully full of leaves. The fruit trees are leafed out well, and there are even baby apples on one of the trees – I think it’s the Gala. I got the annuals (pink zinnias and those tall Mexican orange marigolds) planted in the front bed, and the hanging baskets (pink and red geraniums and hot pink vinca) up on the porch, too.

The peony bush we planted near sweet Hayley-dog’s grave seems to be thriving. We all miss our doggie. It’s the little things, you know? Like I’ll be getting home in the evening and thinking, “Look at the time, it’s Food the Dog O’Clock – oh, wait. No, it’s not. Sigh.” Or we miss the thumping tail on the landing in the morning, or we don’t hear barking when someone pulls up in the driveway… We miss the canine affection, too.

We do want another dog, but not yet. Probably by the end of the summer we’ll start looking; I’ve already been looking online at the animal shelters to see what’s available right now. There are a few dogs close by but nothing that automatically jumps out to me to say, “I’m your new dog!” We have set some criteria: House-trained (that one’s non-negotiable). Not a puppy, and not a senior dog (I don’t think we could stand to lose another one within a couple of years). Medium size, between 25 and 45 pounds – Hayley was on the upper end of that range. Not a yapper. MAN, I hate a yappy dog. Barking is one thing, but a high-pitched constant yap? NO. Absolutely not. We’re flexible on breed; we’d probably rather not have a purebred dog, but we wouldn’t turn a shelter or rescue dog down if we had a connection to one that happened to be a purebred.

We decided last year when Silvia died that we would not get another cat; Taz is allergic to them. While we wouldn’t get rid of a cat (particularly an elderly one) for that reason, it’s enough of one that we felt we wouldn’t add a cat back to the household.

We do need to pull out that dogwood tree in the front yard that struggled for a few years and then finally gave up the ghost last summer. It’s the middle one in a row of five, so I think it would look odd to put in something else there, but that means getting as much of the old root system out as we can since the dogwoods are at least eight years old. I also lost one of my Knockout roses over the winter. One of them was pretty stressed by Japanese beetle attack, and didn’t survive the cold. The other one? Looks great. Go figure. I did buy another Knockout – the standard color one, instead of the pink it will replace, but I think they’ll look nice together.

SCHOOL:
It ended yesterday. Graduation for the high school was actually last Friday, because that date was set early. However, due to some late bad weather, the superintendent was forced to add a couple of days of school for everyone not graduating. I notice that the high school parking lot was pretty empty Monday and Tuesday, though, so I bet a lot of kids just skipped those last few days.

Gaze had a good year both academically and with regard to extracurriculars. He was selected as trombone section leader for next season’s marching band, and was also voted “Outstanding Trombone Player” and “Outstanding Rookie” by his peers. I was very proud. He’s only a rising sophomore, but the band had a run of several years with no trombone section marching – I think because Mr. Butler, our previous director, didn’t want to have only a few trombone players. He opted to have those few switch to baritone horn, which has a similar range, instead. There was no trombone section all the years Bookworm was in band. But now there is – and that means that Gaze is one of the oldest players in that section. I think he’ll do fine as he’s very responsible. In any case, his FFA team was successful, his academic challenge team (social studies) was the champion, and he was a member of successful cross-country and track teams as well. Also, this year he’s grown several inches.

I must say, it’s awfully nice to look at the mantel shelf and see Gaze’s Outstanding Rookie trophy right next to Bookworm’s.  We never expected that, and there for awhile Gaze was pretty insistent that he wasn’t going to march, that was Bookworm’s thing, he didn’t want to put that much work into it… Well. He thinks he made the right choice now.

Taz struggled to some degree academically this year. Partly that was due to his lack of interest in organization, and partly that might have been due to his having to face some challenges that neither his brother or sister faced. It’s a good thing that his school now offers Algebra I for those 7th graders who might benefit (that was not available for Bookworm in middle school) and an online language course (not available for either Bookworm or Gaze), but it’s the first time he’s ever had to really put some effort into school, and, well, in a lot of cases he just didn’t. He pulled several B’s this year. However, he ran track, and came in second to a very accomplished player in the school’s chess club tournament. He’s grown too – Bookworm might have half an inch, or maybe even less, on him now.  The CEO and I were (pleasantly) surprised to find, at Taz’ 7th grade award ceremony, that he’d been voted “Most Attentive Boy” by his peers.  All I can say is, they sure don’t live here.  Good to know that he pays attention in class, though!

Bookworm herself had a good year as well. She would tell you that she wasn’t happy with her grades, but The CEO and I were fine with them. I think her current GPA is approximately 3.65, somewhere around there. She seems to have decided that she will be majoring in chemistry, and I think she’s on the right track. When your college freshman kid complains about Spanish and Calculus, but says that Chemistry is “easy” and “fun” – and comes home talking excitedly about all the “cool things” they did in class and lab? Well, that’s a good indicator that she may have found her niche. She got plugged in with Yale Students for Christ, which is the campus branch of Cru (which used to be known as Campus Crusade) and a church she likes in New Haven. She loved playing with Yale Precision Marching Band for football, basketball and hockey, and she had a total blast with her buddies on the ultimate Frisbee team.

Bookworm, we just heard yesterday, will be doing a summer internship in Louisiana, for a paper mill there. She’ll be assisting one (maybe more) of the chemical engineers at the plant in conducting efficiency testing on some of the equipment used, and hopefully will be able to either assist in a research paper or present her own. I’m a little bit nervous about her being 14 hours away for eight weeks, but I think it’s a terrific opportunity. She’s really excited about the possibilities. She leaves on Sunday.

FARM:
It’s hay season. Ergo, it’s busy. Not just with racing the weather, either – The CEO has spent a lot of time fixing tractors that got through the winter fine. Haymaking seems to put more demand on them, and since almost all of our tractors are approximately my age, they need a lot of maintenance. Bookworm and Gaze have been helping Jeff work some cattle (treating them with dewormer, giving them their shots and ear tags and the like).

The cows look good. There’s lots of grass.

SUMMER PLANS:
Gaze will be attending Camp Cougar this summer, which is an intensive four-week physical education course that can take the place of PE during the school year. Drivers’ Education class time is included, as well as a ropes course at the nearby Boy Scout camp, white-water rafting, caving, and some other fun activities. However, if you miss any part of any day – you can’t receive academic credit for the course, so he’ll be BUSY.

Then, of course, there will be summer band practices which he will need to attend. And pre-camp (for section leaders and rookie marchers). And band camp itself. ACK.

The CEO has to go to Denver for another National Cattlemen’s Association meeting, so this summer we will be joining him there in Montana to do a little exploring at Yellowstone and Glacier. That ought to be fun. We made plans before we knew about Bookworm’s internship, but we might be able to change her flight ticket and allow her to join us for at least part of the trip, assuming that she could get a few days off around July 4th.

I’ll be keeping Taz as busy as possible.

PERFUME:
I have been wearing my spring scents and testing some new things, but just yesterday I got out some of my summer-only fragrances. Things that went INTO the bedside cabinet: DelRae Amoureuse, Chanel No. 19 EdP, Jacomo Silences PdT, Deneuve, Guerlain Chamade, Penhaligon’s Violetta, Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet, DSH White Lilac, L’Arte di Gucci EdP, vintage Jolie Madame parfum, Amouage Memoir Woman, Ralph Lauren Safari, and my vintage Emeraude PdT. I’ve been rather addicted to Safari recently, by the way – it is a warm green as opposed to a cool green like No. 19 or Silences.

Things that came OUT of the cabinet and into the hatbox on the dresser: Ines de la Fressange (the first one), Hermes Kelly Caleche EdP, YSL Paris Pont des Amours, Donna Karan Gold EdP, Hanae Mori Haute Couture, Cristina Bertrand #3, Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl, Moschino Funny!, Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, and DSH La Fete Nouvelle. The current rotation also includes Le Temps d’une Fete, Ferre 20, and Mary Greenwell Plum, as well as my vintage Chanel No. 19 EdT, because those only go into the cabinet in the winter. I’ve also got decants of DelRae Wit, Chanel 1932, and Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipo for summer use.

I have a whole set of 7 Oriza L. LeGrand fragrances still to review as well.

And, oh yeah, I still hate purple.

What’s in your seasonal rotation, if you have one? I know you blokes and sheilas Down Under are heading into winter…

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Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes

Rest in peace, dear Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes, July 2003 – May 2014. Introduced to us as “the perfect dog,” by Elizabeth, the woman who ran the rescue dog organization, she turned out to be exactly that. Part beagle, part lab, 100% wonderful.

Hayley, summer 2009
Hayley, summer 2009

For the first six months we had her, she wouldn’t go any farther than four feet from her Favorite Person, The CEO. She loved Gator rides, chasing Frisbees, wandering and sniffing the 20-Acre field, bacon, getting ear scritches and belly rubs, 6-mile runs with Bookworm and Gaze, and playing in the snow with her people. She was famous for greeting her family with enthusiasm, shamelessly begging for pats, getting into the kitchen trash, vacuuming up crumbs from the table and unattended cat food, jumping into cattle waterers, never bothering the cows, showing doggy sympathy to anyone sick or sad, ripping out the window screens (twice!) and opening the basement door with her teeth to get into the house. Identified 24 of the past 3 potential intruders by barking at any vehicle or person approaching the house – including Jeff the farm guy and The CEO’s mother, both of whom she liked very much once they were close enough to be identified as friends.  She barked like a bigger dog than she actually was, but if she got really excited you could hear the beagle in her voice. She liked to sleep on “her” couch in the family room, on top of the woven afghan that we designated as the Hayley blanket.

Going for a run with Gaze, March 30, 2014. (This was a day or two after she killed a groundhog on one of their runs.) Check out those ears flopping!
Going for a run with Gaze, March 30, 2014. (This was a day or two after she killed a groundhog on one of their runs.)

A slight limp that developed last weekend after a run with Gaze turned into a bigger one.  We took her to the vet’s office on Wednesday, where they did a physical exam and some blood work, and gave her some pain meds.  On Thursday she was mopey and in pain, and she slept a lot; the vet had warned us that the medication might make her dozy. By Friday she was in a much better mood, and thoroughly enjoyed her treat of deli ham (rolled around a pill) and her bacon-flavored treat. She wanted to go onto the porch and smell things and bark at squirrels, and she was as always delighted to get to go for a ride in the van, where she sat on Bookworm’s lap wagging her tail and sticking her nose out the partly-opened window.

They did x-rays at the vet’s office, and the initial diagnosis was bone cancer. Three to six months, the vet said, unless chemo helped. But they also tested some fluid from the lump on her elbow as well as from her lymph nodes, and those tests indicated lymphoma, which has a one-to-two-month course unless we decided to treat that with chemo. I called The CEO and we decided not to treat the cancer. Instead, we planned to manage her pain and make her last weeks or months as happy and comfortable as possible.

Snuggling with Bookworm on the porch, Feb. 2013.
Snuggling with Bookworm on the porch, Feb. 2013.

Then Hayley’s lymph nodes began to swell dramatically, right there in the vet’s office, and she began to have trouble breathing.  Mast cell tumor, the vet guessed, although that usually does not cause such drastic swelling, and she didn’t respond appropriately to antihistamine or steroids. They sedated her and gave her oxygen, and she was relatively stable when Bookworm and I took her to the vet school at Virginia Tech, which offers a critical care unit and round-the-clock care.

By the time we got to the vet school hospital, she was struggling to breathe, and the vet in charge there told us that if – if – they could stabilize her condition, we would need to decide how to treat her. I called The CEO, who brought Gaze and Taz with him, and when they arrived, we made the decision to not continue to try to save her. We did get to go back to the ICU and pet her, stroke her soft ears and tell her what a good dog she was and how much she loved her.

Our thanks to the folks at Radford Animal Hospital and the VA-MD School of Veterinary Medicine for doing their best for her.  Special thanks to Dr. Hansen and Dr. Bisoski, and all the techs.

On Saturday, Bookworm and Taz dug her grave, near dear Silvia kitty’s resting place and near where Hayley would wriggle under the fence to go play and sniff in the 20-Acre Field.  When The CEO came home from Virginia Tech’s graduation, we gathered around and lowered our sweet puppy into the grave on her favorite blanket, folding it around her.  Yesterday, I planted a peony bush as a marker.

Hayley, August 2013
Hayley, August 2013

We will miss our Thump-tail, the Flop-ear, the Underfoot, Canine Security, the Frog-dog, Official Greeter, the Insatia-Dog, the Pupful, sweet Hayley.

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Scent Diary, Jan. 14-20, 2012

Well, finally, Scent Diary returns. Can’t really explain why it took a hiatus, except that writing it was boring me to tears and then when you stop writing it for several days you can’t go back and remember what went on… so I just picked up again on a Monday, and now it’s back.  BTW, all photos except the hot chocolate one (which has a Flickr link) are mine.

Snow Jan 2013Monday, Jan. 14 – Wet, raining buckets. If it were colder, we’d be getting snow. We’ve had warmer-than-usual temperatures all winter, and I for one do not like it. The CEO’s happy; the warmer weather is easier on cattle since they don’t have to eat constantly to keep their body temperatures up. But I like my couple of months of cold weather. I was a kid in the 1970s, which was one of the coldest decades of that century, and of course cold winters seem normal to me. SOTD: Guerlain Metallica, which I see that I have never reviewed… it’s nice. I have a decant.

Tuesday, Jan. 15 – Wet, still raining buckets. SOTD: Jacomo Silences edp Sublime. I like it a lot; it reminds me of Chanel No. 19 in the current edp version. (Well, I say current. It’s not available in the US, but I ran across it in the Rome airport Duty Free shop when we went to Malta in 2010, and I spritzed some on both times we were there. I don’t even know if Chanel still makes it or not, but I found it far preferable to the current edt, which seems thin and sharp.) It lasted very well through my eye appointment, the first in about six years.

Regarding that checkup: my eyes are in good health, but I have a small amount of myopia in addition to the age-related close-up focusing problem that has been annoying the pants off me for at least three months now. So my prescription is for, get this, bifocals. Gah. I won’t have to wear them all the time, but for any task where I’m reading and doing something else at the same time (say, cooking from a new recipe, or crocheting on the couch while watching TV). Bleah. In any case, I went ahead and ordered my new glasses, thin metal frames with no rim on the bottom of the lenses. I rather like them.

The other fragrance that new Silences reminds me of is Deneuve, so I pulled that out once the Silences wore off and wore it.

Wednesday, Jan. 16 – Wet. Still raining buckets. SOTD: Chanel No. 19. Wearing this, and discussing it with friends on Facebook, made me want to get out all the green-floral-almost-chypres I know and test like side by side on my arm, so I could run my nose up and down my arm as if it were a smell-harmonica. Weird, I know. But wearing Silences edp Sublime yesterday made me think of No. 19 EdP, which I don’t own (and which is d/c at least in the US, though they had it at the Rome airport Duty-Free in 2010). And I was also thinking of L’Eau de Chloe, Deneuve, and Silences. Oh, and AG Heure Exquise as well. Very similar compositions those.

Not feeling so awesome today. After dinner (yummy leftover pasta), I took a bath and went to bed. SOBedtime: Shalimar Light.

Thursday, Jan. 17 – Wet. Supposed to snow later today as temperatures drop. The CEO snurfled my neck this morning and said, “What are you wearing? You smell smoky.” SEEEE? Shalimar, even Shali Lite, SMELLS LIKE WOODSMOKE. On me, anyway. SOTD, post-shower: Black Cashmere.

Poor Bookworm is driving herself crazy with the statistics for her Science Fair Project. Each Virginia Governor’s School student must prepare one, and it’s a grade. Last year was bad enough, but this year she’s supposed to do something different with her survey statistics and she says she doesn’t understand how to interpret them. The snow will prevent her from going to school tomorrow to use the school computers, so I’ll have to download the software so she can do it here.

It did snow – we got maybe 6-7 inches! It was supposed to continue snowing through the night, but it had stopped by 8pm. More Black Cashmere for bedtime.

Hayley and kids Jan 2013Friday, Jan. 18 – Snow on the ground, sun in the sky. It’s lovely. The boys were up early to put on snow gear and go out into the pasture behind the house, where there’s a slope that’s good for sledding. The dog was absolutely beside herself with joy. She likes to roll around in snow, and she loves playing with the kids, and both at once is her personal (canine-al?) idea of heaven. Neighbor kid, Makayla, came over to sled as well, so there were plenty of people for Hayley to chase around.

Bookworm was feeling sorry for herself this morning at breakfast: beautiful snow she doesn’t have time to play in, and this Science Fair project that she hates is driving her crazy, and she wishes she had never done Governor’s School in the first place, and if high school is driving her crazy how is she going to manage college? Poor baby. The CEO spent some time commiserating about Science Fair and talking to her about the benefits of taking the hard classes now and getting used to what will be expected from her in college, and I think it helped. Eventually, she did go outside and sled for about an hour, and it seemed to do her good.

Bookworm sleddingSOTM: Vintage Coty L’Aimant PdT. After lunch, performed all manner of embarrassing beauty rituals, such as coloring my hair (I am getting a few gray hairs here and there, but mostly what bothers me is the way my hair goes a dull light brown in the winter and takes color away from my face) and neatening my brows. Showered. SOTA: Antonio Visconti Alhambra, a sample sent by a friend. I know very little about the line and the few notes I remember from looking up the fragrance online include classic florals on an oriental base. It’s got some nice orange blossom and rose and a raspy, Shalimar-like opoponax/vanilla vibe.

Picked up my new bifocals today. I’m getting used to them. My sister-in-law E and her kids are visiting her mom, so they all came over to have dinner with us.

Saturday, Jan. 19 – Still snow on the ground but a clear sky. My niece and nephew came over and played in the snow with the boys and Makayla. They made a snowball five feet tall and then had to quit because they couldn’t roll it anymore, and after that my nephew Curiosity made a snow chair, complete with ottoman, side table, and cup holder… so of course he had to come up to the house and ask for a cup of hot chocolate to PUT in the cup holder! It amused me no end. SOTD: Organza Indecence.

The CEO took Bookworm to a track meet today. She was only running one event, the mile, and she hadn’t run that since she was a freshman! She placed 10th, not fabulous, but decent. Her time was maybe 6-7 seconds slower than she’d wanted, but it was a PR for her.

I ran out of the prepackaged hot cocoa mix packets, so I dug around and found a recipe for my own. Here it is, adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe:

Hot Chocolate
Hot Cocoa Mix

2 cups powdered sugar (I didn’t have any, having finished the bag making icing for my birthday cake last week, so I threw 2 cups of granulated in the blender and spun it around for about twenty seconds. That makes it “superfine” and more dissolvable. Works just great.)

1 cup cocoa (Alton recommends Dutched cocoa, but I didn’t have any of that either. The Hershey’s Dark cocoa I had on hand worked just fine.)

2 cups powdered milk

½ cup dry coffee creamer (I had plain, but you could probably use flavored if you want)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cornstarch (optional, I didn’t use it)

Mix all ingredients together and store in jars. (Alton also recommends a pinch of cayenne pepper, which Bookworm and I would probably like, but I left it out because Taz and The CEO don’t really care for spice heat.) To prepare, spoon 2-3 heaping tablespoons into a mug and add 6-8 ounces of hot, not boiling, water. Stir thoroughly and top with mini-marshmallows if you wish.

We made so many mugs of hot cocoa that I RAN OUT of clean mugs!! All 13 of them (yeah, I have a lot of mugs) wound up in the sink or the dishwasher.

Sunday, Jan. 20 – Good church service today. SOTD: Dior Dolce Vita edt. I sold the bottle I had because I just wasn’t wearing it often, but some kind soul sent me a 2ml sample. I do still have two tiny 5ml parfum bottles – so pretty, and the juice is incredibly rich.

Bookworm discovered that she had a crucial error in her raw data, so she and The CEO spent most of the day correcting the error and re-running her statistics tests. The boys and I went to see my parents, who’d wanted to have us over to celebrate my birthday. Mom fed us turkey breast, broccoli with cheese sauce, re-stuffed potatoes, strawberry pretzel salad, fresh rolls, and scalloped apples, with chocolate cake for dessert. YUM. We Skyped with my brother in Florida and then my sister in Texas. (My brother-in-law is due back from Afghanistan sometime in the 1st or 2nd week of February, and my sister will be SO GLAD to have him home.)

On the drive home, I discovered an absolutely delicious smell clinging to the sleeves of my leather jacket, which I hadn’t worn in several days at least. Couldn’t identify it at first, which was frustrating because it smelled so wonderful. But finally it came to me: a bit of Cuir de Lancome, plus some Amouage Memoir Woman. So when we got home, I spritzed a bit of each. Wow, it was fabulous!

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Scent Diary, October 29 – November 4, 2012

See? SNOW. In October. Granted, wimpy snow, but still, SNOW.

Monday, Oct. 29 – We did get some inclement weather, thanks to Hurricane Sandy: some snow (blowing, not sticking), some rain, lots of wind. I kept expecting to lose power, because we frequently do (mountains are full of trees, ya know, and trees lose limbs, and limbs fall on power lines), but it may be that we already lost all the vulnerable tree limbs during the derecho earlier in the year, or Appalachian Power Co already did the necessary maintenance on getting tree limbs away from the power lines. Electricity is out in several of the surrounding areas.Doing a “frankenfume” – a layering experiment with the loudest perfumes one owns, proposed by a friend on my Facebook perfume group – with vintage Dior Poison and the similarly-freaky Tableau de Parfums Loretta. Whoa. People can probably smell me in town, three miles away.

Working on helping Bookworm edit her college application essays. Grrrrr. She’s so exhausted – I wish all her extracurriculars would end soon. At least she got to stay home from school today.

Tuesday, Oct. 30 – Another Hurricane Sandy day, with wind and rain. I’m planning for a semi-historical novel for NaNoWriMo – set here in a nearby town, beginning in the early 1930s and continuing to follow the same family into the 60s. SOTD: vintage Bellodgia “parfum de cologne”, which is really lovely, decant sent to me by a generous friend.  Continue reading Scent Diary, October 29 – November 4, 2012

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Scent Diary, October 22-28, 2012

grandma's perfume collection

Monday, Oct. 22 – Took Gaze to the doctor – he’s been getting these awful headaches and throwing up, but not in a pattern which would suggest a stomach bug. Doctor thinks perhaps migraine. We’re going to cut out nitrites (bacon!) and see if that has an effect. Poor Gaze is bummed about no bacon. SOTD: Amouage Ubar, the newer release. Several of my friends in a Facebook perfume-head group raaaaave over vintage Ubar, and I think it’s lovely but it doesn’t really make me swoon. I actually prefer the rerelease, which is strongly floral where the older one was more woody. That’s me, the Floral Gal.

Tuesday, Oct. 23 – A surprisingly warm day, in the middle 70s today. Cleaned up the sewing room, which was quite a mess – I’m very untidy when I sew – and Bookworm’s room, which I would normally leave to her to do, but she’s sooo busy. The child is barely getting six hours of sleep a night. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome. Love the stuff, especially in fall.

Wednesday, Oct. 24 – Not feeling so great today. Cleaned out fridge, finished cleaning out Bookworm’s closet, wrote some, planned a little for the new novel I’m going to start next week when NaNoWriMo begins. SOTD: testing various things, none of which are really pleasing me. Continue reading Scent Diary, October 22-28, 2012

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