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

Share

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…

Share

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.

Share

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!

Share

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

Share

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

Share

Scent Diary, October 1-7, 2012

 

Happy 12th birthday to Taz!!

This has been a terribly boring week. The laptop has behaved, but now the desktop computer is being strange…

Monday, Oct. 1 – Rain. SOTD: Soivohle Centennial.. Did the usual weekly grocery shopping… holy cow, Taz will be twelve this Friday! Gaze was supposed to have a football game this afternoon, but rain has delayed it to next week.

Tuesday, Oct. 2 – Rain in the morning again, gradually clearing up toward afternoon. SOTD: PdN Vanille Tonka. VT was one of the very first niche scents I fell for, in early 2009, and I still love it. The CEO went out of town this evening in order to do a presentation for the Agricultural Technology program at Virginia Tech, so he was gone and I watched Something That Was Not Football on TV. Made chocolate chip cookies after dinner, too.

Wednesday, Oct. 3– Sunny. Finally made it to the salon to get that haircut I’ve been needing for a couple-three weeks now! Got a longish shag which I don’t like much… it’s too flat. And dull. Should I color?? SOTD: Carthusia Lady, from a sample. I’m a little on the fence with it, but will discuss further in a mini-review.

Gaze was late getting out of football practice and Bookworm was having a how-can-I-get-all-this-homework-done? panic, so we skipped small group tonight, and I missed it. There was going to be a bonfire. SOTE: Deneuve.

Thursday, Oct. 4 – Nice weather today! Beautiful fall. SOTD: Tabac Aurea, the epitome of autumn for me. Good rehearsal at community choir, too. I am kind of getting sick of testing new stuff… I want to just wear and enjoy my standbys. I’m not bored at all with perfume, but I want to have fun with it instead of analyzing the heck out of it. Sigh. This feeling comes and goes.

If I goop up my hair with gel and curl it a bit, it’s much more attractive. More work, too, but since my hair looks awful when it’s flat, I suppose I’ll keep doing it.

 

Tuba Dakota running around hugging EVERYBODY and mugging for the camera. The kid has so much fun, it should be illegal. PETBoy is a tolerant soul, isn’t he?
Friday, Oct. 5 – Brrrr. Chilly today. I did some cleaning and some laundry. It’s Taz’s birthday; he turns twelve today. I am having a hard time encompassing all the time that’s gone by since he was born… sigh.  SOTD: I’m testing some new Micallefs.

Chaperoned the band to one of our few Away games that we don’t have to travel far for. The team we played tonight was runner-up for state champion last year in our size division, so we were expecting to lose big. Instead, we won, 17-14. Surprise! The band did not perform a pregame show because it was Recreational League Recognition night, so the kids just wore their official warmups instead of uniforms. I think they enjoyed not having to worry about keeping uniforms clean, especially since they’ll be spending most of the day in them tomorrow for competition. SOTE:Organza Indecence. I smell nice.

 

The tubas escort the “tied-up” color guard across the field. Note the color guard member (it’s PETBoy’s sister Haley) in borrowed band uniform. She’s going to “cut” the color guard loose in a moment, so that they can escape to begin the mutiny.
Saturday, Oct. 6 – Cloudy at home. Got up early, cleaned house, grabbed quick lunch for myself and Bookworm on the way to the high school, where she had been taking SATs. SOTD: Vanille Tonka again, and it lasted most of the day – which is good, because the day was looooong. Another marching band competition today. We got there too early and then had delays getting on the field, so Bookworm was sort of going crazy with all that time on her hands and no way to spend it doing physics homework. It was hot in the afternoon, followed by chilly-windy weather, and the concession stand was mobbed… I stood in line 28 minutes and moved forward about six feet; I think the kids ahead of me kept letting their buddies cut in line. Eventually I gave up, and after the competition we went for fast food on the way home.

 

PETBoy prepares to spin the “ship’s wheel” attached to the drum major’s podium, near the end of the show.
The show went well; some new elements were added that add to the effect, and the music was better than it was at the last competition, but the marching was a little sloppy. I don’t know why. We came in second (a very close second, apparently, according to the score sheets) overall in our size class, but won percussion, color guard, and general effect. Three more competitions this season…

I had some vintage Caron Poivre (Thanks, Daisy!) in a little spray bottle in my purse, so I spritzed some of that to help on the chilly ride home, which was punctuated by Dakota the ADHD trumpet player’s constant talking. Constant loud talking. He may have been due for another Adderall dose, or maybe it was the large chocolate milkshake he had for dinner, but the kid Would. Not. Shut. Up. And I did have to break up a too-cozy couple, too – PDA is frowned upon by both the director and myself, so I did manage to tell Alex and Becka to keep it appropriate. Alex is a section leader and should know better, but he is also a teenage boy.

In bed by 1:30 a.m. Exhausted.

Sunday, Oct. 7 – Chilly-cloudy again. Looks like our lovely autumn weather is over – it’s getting down to upper 30s at night and not getting above 65 in the afternoons all this coming week. SOTD: Parfum Sacre. Which seemed sort of faint to me, and I wonder if the weather was affecting my nose. Nothing had much of a smell at all.

In the afternoon, we had family members over for birthday cake and presents. It’s been nice to celebrate both boy birthdays on the weekend between the two, when that’s possible. Taz requested red velvet cake, so we had cake and punch and ice cream. Yum.

SOBedtime, after bath: B&BW Velvet Tuberose body cream. Still nice stuff. I like the fragrance better in the bath products than in the EdTs.

Share

We Won't Forget, 2011

Veterans’ Day, 2011
 
To my dad, who served in the US Navy in peacetime
 
To my brother-in-law Bob, who served in the US Army in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and returned this past January from a stint in Afghanistan
 
To my friend Army Lt. Terry Plunk, who died clearing landmines in the Gulf War
 
To all those who gave their lives for their country
To all those who served
To all those who are serving now
To all those who will serve in the future
And to their families
 
My deep and heartfelt thanks.
 

 Photo is Arlington National Cemetery, by RuthannOC at flickr

(This is a recap of a post from Veteran’s Day, 2009.  It’s still true.)

Share

Gaze and the Magic Whiteboard

Breaking news: I bought a new whiteboard recently. I put it on the fridge, so we can use it to write notes to each other, because some of us are developing teenager schedules and are not here all the time.

First, it looked something like this, complete with two round magnets and a black pen:

After Gaze saw it, it looked like this:

I said it was cheerful.

The next morning, when I saw it, it looked like this:

I rolled my eyes.  West Virginia jokes being a common form of humor in this place, I’ve heard a lot of them.  (My favorite:  Why don’t West Virginians eat a lot of M&Ms?  Too hard to peel.)

Shortly after he got home from school that day, the whiteboard looked like this:


I laughed. “Very clever,” I said.

And the next day, it looked like this:
And then, this:                                                           And this:

 

 

 

 

And now, this:


I have the uncomfortable feeling that I may have created a monster. (A really funny one. But still.)

Share

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not, technically, Irish.  Nor am I Catholic, and saints’ days don’t have much significance for me in the traditional way. 

 But at least some of my ancestors came to America the hard way, on ships with sails, in the mid-18th century.   They landed in Philadelphia and worked their way south down the long valleys, looking for land they could make their own.  They found it in Southwest Virginia, and they settled.  Got married – to Scots and Germans and English and other Irish – and had children and grandchildren.

At least one branch of the family was casual about religion in Ireland, changing from Catholic to Protestant and back, depending on the political situation.  Another branch was Protestant before they left Ireland.  But all of them seemed to have gone whole-hog Protestant in Virginia.

 I don’t have a single Catholic relative (unless you count the lapsed-Catholic brother-in-law).  And we’re all what I like to call “standard Colonial mix,” that mid-Atlantic blend of Scots and Irish and English and German, with a bit of Welsh and Dutch thrown in.  That’s us: Daughertys and Powerses and Strawns, most of us fair and freckled and blue-eyed, or Black Irish dark.

 They came here for many reasons, according to family lore and genealogical research: Overcrowding.  Too many sons, not enough land.  Religious oppression.  Having lost their land to an English lord.  Enterprising spirits.  Escaping judicial punishment.  Simple poverty.  And they all wound up here, in the little corner of Virginia that’s as hilly as Ireland, and nearly as green.  It must have seemed like a little piece of home to them.

 I raise a glass to them, on the day people are proud to be Irish.  Slainte! 

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

Share

Scent Diary, Feb. 7-13, 2011

Monday, Feb. 7: Chilly but not unbearably so today. SOTD: To go with my pearls and apple-green sweater, I wore Climat. I might like it best for the first hour, when it’s all green galbanum and cool white flowers, and yet you sense the civetty warmth lurking underneath.

Received a cheapie eBay purchase in the mail today. I found a mention on a blog of an inexpensive fragrance that, to the blogger, mimics a pricey scent that I just adore, and which I only have a small decant of. I spritzed on the smell-alike and laughed out loud: it reminds me not only of the one the blogger mentioned, but also of a newer fragrance, also upscale. I may do a comparative review later, and I’ll mention names then. There is an essential cheapness to the smell-alike, and the resemblance to the Expensive Niche Thing only lasts about fifteen minutes or so, after which the resemblance to the Upscale Moderately-expensive Thing (which I did not love) takes over. However, the scale of Fun: Cost is probably greater than the last experience I had at the movie theater. (I took Bookworm to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I.” The movie wasn’t bad, but the people sitting in front of us were up and down and up and down the aisle every eight minutes on average, and the doors at the back of this elderly theater let in light and noise, and the movie viewing was no better – and maybe less enjoyable – than watching a DVD at home on our 19” TV screen, with the lights on and people demanding food… Grrrr.) So, anyway, I’m working on a Fragrance Throwdown for this scent.

Tuesday, Feb. 3: The CEO’s bottle of Acqua di Gio is getting low, so he asked me to find him something new, “something that makes you want to nuzzle me,” he said. I’ve got a few samples of (so-called) masculine fragrances for him to try, and we’ll see how they go.

Wednesday, Feb. 2: SOTMorning: Parfumerie Generale L’Oiseau de Nuit, which was quite nice, if a bit derivative – it reminds me of Shalimar for some time. Eventually it develops that resiny-balsamy thing that I hate so much, and that I cannot quite identify. (Great name, though.)

SOTAfternoon: Alahine. Yum. Started a new small group Bible study this evening; I hope it continues to be as good as it started.

Bad news on the masculine fragrance front: I really liked Encre Noire, but The CEO tried it today, and commented that it smelled like smoke to him. “What, like you’ve been smoking?” I asked. “No, like woodsmoke. I don’t want to smell like woodsmoke.” It wasn’t at all like that on me, but SSS Winter Woods was, and that’s not a comfortable situation: to smell as if you are becoming ham.

His further comment: Hugo by Hugo Boss is off the list too. “This smells like old guys,” he said.

Thursday, Feb. 3: It snowed last night, all of half an inch, and school was closed today. I’m still baffled. I know that this was supposed to be an early-release day for parent-teacher conferences, but I’m so annoyed by the hit-or-miss scheduling. Temps got up to 36F today, so the snow was gone by 11 am. Grrr.

I started out thinking I should wear something new and review it, so I pulled out a tiny bottle of DSH Perfumes Cielle and put it on. It was ethereally pretty for half an hour, and then I couldn’t smell it anymore, so I gave in and just wore Mary Greenwell Plum. I’ll get back to Cielle in the springtime; it’s a very nice jasmine.

Went to bed in Shalimar Light, re-reading Elizabeth George’s “advice to authors” book, Write Away, which really is wonderful. I must get back to revising my NaNo novel… but first, I have to clean out the family room and paint it. Like, this week.

Friday, Feb. 4: Hard frost outside. No school due to more parent-teacher conferences – I didn’t need those this grading period, everybody came home with all A’s. I’m a little disappointed with the “effort” grades on Taz’ report card; apparently he’s figured out how to make decent grades without trying very hard.

SOTD: PG Bois Blond. A real weirdie, here – I’m not sure whether I like it or not, because it changes frequently. I went through several stages with it (and sprayed it again after the first drydown, just to experience it again). First, I don’t like it at all; it’s medicinal/herbal/cold galbanum green, very bitter. Then it goes slightly chemical for about five minutes (bleah) before turning grassy and sweet, and I like it. Then it goes away for awhile, and I can’t say if I like it because I can’t really smell it. Then it’s back, and I can’t identify it, and I don’t particularly care for that part either – is there patchouli in this? Finally, it comes up a lovely lightweight amber, and I like it again. Very wack. I don’t remember another PG fragrance being so schizophrenic.

Saturday, Feb. 12: Cleaning up the house again… again again. Trying to clear out the crap from the family room so that we can paint… it’s a rare warm day, but it’s low 40s and windy, so it feels colder than 42F. On the other hand, we have sunshine, which feels amazingly good. Stayed unscented most of the day, but in the evening, put on Organza Indecence. Gosh, that’s good stuff.

Sunday, Feb. 13: Warm and sunny today, in the 50s. Went to my parents’ house after church for a big family lunch. It was supposed to be in honor of my brother’s and his wife’s birthdays, but it turned out they couldn’t drive the five hours from Richmond, so the get-together turned out to be in honor of my brother-in-law, just back from Afghanistan, and a farewell lunch for him and my sister and their son, before their little family moves to Ft. Hood, TX this coming week. SOTD: FM Iris Poudre. Lovely.

I don’t even want to talk about how much I’ll miss my sister, a person I spent about fourteen years of my life, from age 5 until 19, trying to ignore, but who has turned out to be a truly wonderful friend. (Love you, A.)

 

 

Top image is from mmsmlzgud546 at Fragrantica.  Lower image is from A’s Facebook page.

Share

Scent Diary, Dec. 20-26, 2010

Monday, Dec. 20:  A cold, windy day.  I have taken the day off from work so that I can attend my grandmother Nell’s funeral, about which I do not want to say much at this point (why? I don’t know), except that family is a wonderful thing when the people in it are fairly mature in an emotional sense.  I will tell you that I chose to wear the transcendently lovely, unflappable, Serge Lutens La Myrrhe.  It was beautiful all day.  I am not sorry.

The few inches of snow we got late last week has now turned to ice on our half-mile-long, curving, sloping, gravel road, due to the vehicular traffic.  We headed out for the funeral and spun out halfway down the hill; thank God we didn’t hit anything, and The CEO drove us backwards down to the paved road.  I thanked him for getting out of that situation without damage, and he told me it was all due to his mad skilz as an AIP.  A what? I wanted to know.  An Agricultural Industry Professional, he explained.

The boys went home with my parents after the funeral, and about the time I got home from  fetching Bookworm from Indoor Track practice, The CEO got word about the potential job.  It did not work out.  I think they interviewed five people, and he was the final player to get cut from the roster, so to speak; the deciding factor was the other candidate’s experience.  Heavy sigh here.  It’s possible that something may come up in the future.

Tuesday, Dec. 21:  Cold.  The road is still icy, so I took the farm pickup truck, which has four-wheel drive, to work.  Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve introduced him to you.  The CEO’s Camry is, of course, named Cameron, and my minivan is Eddie Van – for Eddie Van Halen, natch.  The pickup is known as Walker Ford Ranger.  (Yes, yes, I know.  You don’t have to tell me how cheesy it is.  But it makes us laugh, so I really don’t care what anyone else thinks.)

SOTMorning: DSH Perfumes December, which is rather nice, with pine and spices.  Eventually it nosedives down into those balsamy notes I don’t like, however, so I don’t need any. When when I got home, I gathered up all the necessary paperwork and drove Bookworm to the Department of Motor Vehicles, where we obtained her Learner’s Permit. 

SOTA: vintage Chanel No. 19 eau de toilette.  By all rights, I shouldn’t love this thing, it’s so unfriendly and chilly and standoffish.  But it is also extremely beautiful, and so I do love it.

Wednesday, Dec. 22:  Finally, we have some temperatures in the low 40s, so the ice on our road is melting.  That’s a good thing – I’ve got to drive to my parents’ house and pick up the boys.  They’ve been spending time with their cousin Doodlebug.  SOTMorning: DSH Perfumes Gingembre.  It’s terrific for about half an hour, and then it slides into that “amber” note that reads as shaving cream to me, so I’m not gonna be wearing this one.

SOTA: Le Labo Aldehydes 44.  Very nice stuff.  It’s no La Myrrhe or Vega, but it is really pretty.

I am almost ready for Christmas.  I’ve been scrambling, and I don’t even go out shopping, since I prefer to shop online when at all possible.  Aargh.  And as I’ve said before, doing NaNoWriMo during the month of November really puts a burden on me to get things ready for Christmas.  Whoever thought National Novel Writing Month up (however wonderful it is in other senses), and decided November would be a good time to do it, must have been either a dude or a college student – someone with no December responsibilities, in any case.   Anyway, presents are going to be un-lavish this year, for all of us, and we’ll make it more of a family-and-worship time than a woohoo-party-mad ripping of wrapping paper sort of thing.

Thursday, Dec. 23:  Still chilly, but the ice continues to melt.  Sloooowly.  SOTD: Honore des Pres Vamp a NY.  Gaze still doesn’t like it; everybody else, including me, still does: yummy tuberose-vanilla-spice-buttered-popcorn happy party thing.  It lasts all day, through the last-minute shopping (picture frames, batteries, milk, eggs, apple juice) and the gift-wrapping and the making of dinner, et cetera, et cetera…

Friday, Dec. 24: I have a few things to wrap, and some cooking to do, but we’re set.  (Thank goodness.)  The only dilemma at this point: choosing a Christmas Eve service to attend.  Do we go with The CEO’s mother, and his sister visiting from Atlanta, to the service at my MIL’s church?  She’s playing the organ, and it would be nice to hear her, and the music’s nice there.  The drawbacks are that it starts at 9 pm, and the minister preaches a full half-hour sermon at that service, adding to the hour’s worth of music; the kids are certain to crash before we can get home. 

Or do we go to the candlelight service at the church where we used to attend, with The CEO’s other sister and her family, visiting from northern Virginia?  It used to be a lovely service, in a lovely setting.  But I used to sing for that service – O Holy Night, or Gesu Bambino – and sometimes play the piano for it.  We stopped going there for a few reasons, one having to do with our growing theological distance from the Presbyterian Church, one having to do with the upheaval over the division of the family farm, and one having to do with my sorrow at still, after fourteen years of service as Sunday School teacher, choir member and director, and various other capacities, being considered a rank outsider.  It is extremely difficult to go to church with people you regard as greedy promise-breakers, particularly if they are family members.  And if we suddenly were to show up at that service, I think we’d be swamped with church members asking when we were going to come back.  I’m not going back.  My bitterness over the whole affair is starting to recede, but I cannot at this stage imagine choosing to return to that church, even for an evening.

It turned out that our own church held a small, informal service in the chapel at Virginia Tech, which we’d missed the announcements for because we missed last Sunday’s service due to the death of my grandmother.  We went, and it was nice.  Clearly, minimal effort was put into the thing since it was such a last-minute arrangement, and I think maybe next year I’ll volunteer to help.  A few candles, a poetry reading or two, a little more music… it could be really meaningful.

SOTD: Alahine, of course. 

Saturday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day: I woke early, at 6:30, to go start breakfast, and found the ground covered in snow.  It was utterly still, not a breath of wind, with the snow coming down like a silent blessing, and there it was: the moment when Christmas arrived in my heart, an overflowing of gratitude for the Gift, a moment of beauty and pure happiness.  Some seasons this moment comes early; I can count on it arriving if I’ve sung “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” from The Messiah, in concert.  Some seasons, it arrives on Christmas Eve, as “Silent Night” echoes from voice to voice in a darkened church.  One memorable year in my youth, it arrived as I lay on the carpet underneath the Christmas tree in my grandmother’s living room, looking up through the branches and the lights: Love came down at Christmas.

I wore Alahine again, since it smells like joyous golden bells to me, all citrus and spice and sweetness, with a tiny dark balsamic thread in the base.  In fact, when Kristin of Scent of the Day and Joan of Redolent of Spices started discussing the possibility of a joint blog post around Christmas, focusing on the scents of the Three Kings, gold and frankincense and myrrh, I wanted to join but knew that, first, I’d be so hectically busy that I wouldn’t do the project much good, and second, I’ve already posted reviews of the three scents that immediately sprang to mind when considering the gifts of the Magi.  Alahine is gold; PdN Vanille Tonka is frankincense, and SL La Myrrhe is (of course) myrrh.  I love all three of them.

It was a nice, quiet day.  The CEO went to feed some cows, as he has done every single Christmas morning since he was twelve years old (save the Christmas he spent at graduate school in New Zealand).  We ate breakfast: bacon and eggs, cinnamon rolls and homemade applesauce.  The kids opened their stockings and waited patiently for their dad to come back.  We opened presents, passed hugs around, and then I cooked a turkey breast for lunch at The CEO’s parents’ house.  We spent the afternoon there, with his family, and it snowed further.

I can only remember one other white Christmas in my lifetime.  It’s a lovely thing, snow on Christmas, if you don’t have to go anywhere…

Sunday, Dec. 26: Yet more snow.  No way we’re getting to church today.  Well, I suppose one or two of us could get out in the pickup, but I’m not driving a car over the ice-covered-with-snow drive.  Undoubtedly the main roads are clear, though.  SOTMorning: Kenzo Winter Flower, very nice soft powdery mimosa fragrance.

Jeff the Hired Guy called this afternoon to say that he’d seen a cow that seemed to be ready to calve, so The CEO went out to check on her a little later, and she’d already had the calf, and it was standing up.  He left the pair alone to bond, came back in and built a fire.  Later, he took Bookworm out with him, so she could drive and he could hold the calf on the back of the pickup, enticing the mama cow to follow the calf into the barn out of the weather.  Bookworm, according to her dad, did a terrific job driving the truck up and down snowy hills, making good use of that learner’s permit. Turns out, though, that the calf is suffering from what The CEO calls SCS – Stupid Calf Syndrome – and was ignorant both of where his food source was and how to access it.  The CEO and Bookworm spent a good half-hour teaching the calf to nurse.

I feel that the calf was unjustly maligned – Bookworm herself suffered from the same condition as a baby, and it was a good four months before we got the hang of breastfeeding.  She’s clearly doing just fine now in the brains department.

SOTAfternoon/evening: Guerlain Vega, which is gorgeous.

Image is NZ-Winter from… I can’t find it.  I’d downloaded it from a free site to use as a background on my laptop, and forgot to save the source.  Oops.  It looks like it might be on the South Island, but I don’t know where, and of course it isn’t winter in the Southern Hemisphere now.  If you know from whence it came, please contact me.

Share