Scent Diary, January 1-8, 2017

Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017: Chilly. Rainy. My thought on 2017, as it begins, is that it would have to work really hard to be worse than 2016, so let’s be good to each other this year and see how it goes. SOTD is Cuir de Lancome and I smell nice.

We went to see Rogue One (Star Wars) at the movie theater today and had a great time. I practically had to twist The CEO’s arm to go — he’d heard that it was “not a real Star Wars movie,” and he usually hates to spend the money to go see a film in the theater unless he’s really excited about it. As it turned out, we all thought it was enjoyable: a tight, exciting story exploring the history of how the Rebel Alliance actually got hold of those Death Star plans in the first place. We went to the “good” theater, too, which is a half-hour’s drive away via Interstate but modern, comfortable, uncrowded and quite reasonably priced ($6.75 for matinee tickets, wow).

Monday, Jan. 2: Warmer and dry today, and I’m glad the weather is more comfortable for our trip to see my parents. They were gone over Christmas, visiting my sister and her family (including that new baby!), and Mom’s back is still bothering her. SOTD is Caron Parfum Sacre.

Kids and Hayley, Christmas 2010

Tuesday, Jan. 3: SOTD, the golden and joyous and Christmassy Teo Cabanel Alahine. It’s time to take down the Christmas decorations. We usually start decorating about the second week in December, and then unless there’s an event we need to schedule around like there was this year, we un-decorate on New Year’s Day. That’s about as long as I want the Christmas stuff up, honestly. I’m not judging folks who put their tree up at the beginning of November…

Kids and Hunter, Christmas 2016

… well, okay, maybe I’m judging them a little bit, but in an “I just don’t get it,” sort of way and not a “That is so trashy,” sort of way. I love decorating, but I really don’t want Christmas stuff up while I am still enjoying the end of autumn. If you are perfectly fine with celebrating Thanksgiving with a Christmas tree and a Nativity set up, good on you, but my preference is generally to finish up one season before I start on a new one.

Wednesday, Jan. 4: SOTD is Ferre 20 by Gianfranco Ferre, which I bought from a little shop in Rome; I was just in the mood for this comfy aldehydic floral musk. The CEO came home from his checkup and said, “Hey, you know we’ve been talking about trading in your minivan for a small crossover SUV, right? They’ve got a couple of nice ones at the certified-used dealership…”

We are typically the kind of people who consult Consumer Reports and shop around for sales and good deals over a couple of months, whether we’re buying a car or a dishwasher… but somehow we wound up buying a 2013 Kia Sorento, after test-driving it and having our mechanic check it out. I’m still shocked at the quick decision! I was okay with continuing to drive the 2007 Grand Caravan, but the low gas mileage (20-22 mpg) was starting to feel like a burden, especially since we’re not hauling around multiple kids in car seats anymore, and the van wasn’t getting any younger. I’m very pleased with the Sorento.

Thursday, Jan. 5: No scent of the day today. Bookworm has a cold and feels yucky, and I’m hanging out with her, so I just skipped fragrance today.  We watched The Commitments and I ironed clothes: boring, low-key, nice.

Friday, Jan. 6: SOTD is Dior Poison. I really used to hate it back in the day, when everybody was wearing six spritzes too many, and you couldn’t walk through a girls’ dorm without needing a gas mask to survive the Poison fumes… now? potent but cuddly dark-berried white floral. My bottle is ca. 2003, and it’s missing that truly toxic vibe it used to have; I don’t know what that is. Brian at I Smell Therefore I Am thinks it’s the old musks… well, maybe, but that resinous cough-syrup-of-death thing that used to scare me so much seems to be missing as well. In principle, that might be good, but I notice that I hardly ever wear Poison, and I think that’s because it’s both nicer and less interesting than it used to be.

Since we’re supposed to get snow over the weekend, the boys’ indoor track meet has been canceled so they’ll get to stay home tomorrow. We stacked up a big pile of firewood and I’ve made cider for tomorrow, and we’re ready.

I’ve been playing around at Allrecipes.com and saving my favorite recipes there, since Bookworm has expressed a need for a cookbook with all the family specialties in it. I figure this ought to work just as well as a paper cookbook.

Saturday, Jan. 7: SNOW! Not enough to go sledding in, unfortunately, and with the wind, it feels like 4F outside BRRRRRRRR. We drank hot chocolate and cleaned up the house, and then when the boys went over to a friend’s house in the evening, The CEO and Bookworm and I watched Birdman. (My thoughts on it: How on EARTH did this pretentious, artsy-fartsy, depressing nonsense win awards? Gah. There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.)

SOTD was Amouage Gold, and I know I’m going to horrify at least one person, but — I don’t like it. I know, I know! I’m the AldeHo, I should like Gold. I kinda like Dia, though I wasn’t tempted in the least to buy it, and the Gold body lotion is wonderful on my mom. I had tried it from a sample someone sent me back in, oh, 2010 maybe?, and I didn’t like it then. My notes say it was “too big,” and I don’t think that anymore, but like vintage Arpege parfum, Gold is… thick. And heavy. And animalic. I didn’t feel elegant in it, I felt stinky. (And also like I ought to lose my AldeHo card.)

Sunday, Jan. 8: All the local churches were canceling services today, and I expected ours would as well, since we meet in one of the local elementary schools and there’s no guarantee the school system will scrape the parking lot before Monday. However, we all overslept, and when we woke up with half an hour to eat something, get dressed, and leave the house, the NOAA website said that the temperature with wind chill was -8F. That’s -22 Celsius, btw. DOUBLE BRRRR. So we decided to stay home. I made choc-chip pancakes for breakfast, chili for dinner, and put on some Soivohle Centennial for the warm fuzzies effect.

 

 

 

 

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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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Goodbye 2014

Goodbye-2014-card2014, we hardly knew ye.

Or maybe I’d just prefer to skip over the year, filled as it has been with political crap and turmoil and…

Oh wait. That’s hardly unusual. Nebmind.

It wasn’t a bad year, I suppose, at least personally. The family is generally okay. The fiction writing is going slow but not badly. The blogging stunk this year… and I really don’t have a reason for that, except maybe that one new commenter who skeered the bejesus out of me earlier in the year. Or the gazillion changes to the blog theme/image. Or the fact that everybody else seems to have so much to say about perfume, and lately, I kinda just want to smell it without talking about it. I dunno.

There have been some changes here in the house, too: Gaze suddenly got tall! He’s now standing even with his dad at 5′ 10.5″. And Taz got tall-er! He’s shot up four inches since this summer, when he passed Bookworm, and now he’s only got about a quarter of an inch to go to be as tall as I am, at 5′ 4.5″. Gaze now has five ewes for his FFA project, and will be eligible for his driver’s license next month. (You may pray for me at any time, thank you.) Bookworm had a difficult and stressful fall semester of her sophomore year at Yale, but seems to be settling down now. Taz insisted on giving up trumpet in his last year of middle school, which makes me a little sad because someday I won’t be a Band Mom anymore. Gaze has both sets of braces, upper and lower, on his teeth now. He says it affects his trombone playing, but it doesn’t mess too much with his good looks. 😉 The CEO is still teaching business classes in the Agriculture Technology school at Virginia Tech, and we still own seedstock bulls.

I plan to be posting one article a week this year, or at least one a week. I’ve got a haphazard sort of Scent Diary to post, and I hope to pick it back up on a regular basis, but I may write some new reviews as well.

Wishing anybody who might still be reading, after four months of silence, a wonderful year. Smooches.

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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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Five Favorite Green Perfumes for St. Patrick’s Day

There’s such a wonderful freshness to green fragrances, it would be a shame to only enjoy them on a day honoring the “wearin’ o’ the green.” Green florals – especially galbanum ones – are some of my perennial favorites, so here’s a short list of some I really love:

narcissus bouquetFirst, and always: Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete. This lovely green thing has, as I’ve mourned over the past year, been first reformulated to be lighter and then labeled by the perfume house as “available on demand.” (It is nowhere to be found on the PdN website, though Parfum1 and LuckyScent* have the 1 oz bottles in stock, $45 to $50.)  Notes: galbanum, narcissus, jasmine, hyacinth, styrax, opoponax, oakmoss, sandalwood, patchouli, woody notes.

Green-gold perfection, love at first sniff for me. I have waxed rhapsodic about it many times since I started blogging in 2009.

green gold creamGuerlain Chamade. Another beautiful green floral, but one that melts from chilly green through golden heart to creamy-yellow drydown, a transformation I like to think of as being extremely romantic. I have a decant of 1980s parfum de toilette that’s quite powdery, a bottle of 1970s eau de toilette that has deteriorated aldehydes up top but smells wonderful after ten minutes, and a cherished 2ml bottle of parfum. Gorgeous. I hear it still smells, unbelievably, like itself. Notes: aldehydes, galbanum, hyacinth, jasmine, bergamot, rose, lilac, clove, muguet, tolu balsam, peru balsam, sandalwood, amber, benzoin, vanilla, vetiver.

floral-centerpiece-04Chanel No. 19. Another chilly one, but so beautiful in its reserve. I have some vintage EdT (the new stuff is thin, I say) and recent EdP (rosier than the EdT, far less vetivery and without the hint of leather present in the old EdT). Oddly, I never liked the parfum. It’s almost too backbony for me – too much iris, I think.  Nobody does iris more thoroughly than Chanel.  Notes: neroli, green notes, bergamot, iris, narcissus, rose, muguet, vetiver, sandalwood, oakmoss, and leather.  A silvery, elegant green.

RosesPink-IrisJacomo Silences.  Another silvery green, this time with streaks of pink and cool gray-lavender.  There’s so much juicy galbanum in my bottle of parfum de toilette that it practically slaps you upside the head before trailing those silky rose-and-iris ribbons past you.  I have not smelled the EdT, but I am guessing it would be perfectly at home on a man; the PdT is a little rich and floral, perhaps, for the typical man’s usage. Notes: orange blossom, galbanum, bergamot, lemon, green notes, cassia, iris, jasmine, narcissus, hyacinth, rose, muguet, vetiver, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, cedar and ambrette.

[The fragrance was “updated” in 2013 and rereleased as Silences Eau de Parfum Sublime. I whined about it until I smelled it, and then I changed my mind: it smells lighter than original Silences and has a more floral, less mossy character.  Notes for the updated version:  aldehydes, galbanum, blackcurrant bud, pear, rose, iris, narcissus, woodsy notes and musk.  Silences Sublime, as I like to call it, smells a great deal like the way I had expected Chanel No. 19 Poudre to smell. It is better than No. 19 Poudre, if you ask me, and worth smelling if you can get your hands on it. (New London Pharmacy has it in store and online; that’s where I got my bottle.)]

green and whiteCrown Perfumery Crown Bouquet. Green and white, that’s all. I find it spectacularly beautiful and refreshing, though you absolutely must like galbanum (it’s another smack-in-the-face with this cool green note). Sadly, this was discontinued when Clive Christian bought Crown Perfumery and then axed all its products so he could use their lovely crown-topped bottles. (Curse you, Mr. Christian. For shame.) Notes: galbanum, green notes, hyacinth, tuberose, orange blossom and gardenia. Described by Crown Perfumery as “the greenest of all green florals,” it was composed for the… um… interesting Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee for whom King Edward renounced the throne of England. The fragrance is, once past its green attack, very simple and garden-like, and I find it very lovely.

*I’m not affiliated with any commercial fragrance operation in any way. You probably already knew that.

What about you? Floral greens that you love?

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Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, Interpreted in Fragrance: a Joint Blogging Project

a christmas carolIt’s not for nothing that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843, is a perennial favorite. Its tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, miserly in finances and in emotional ties, rejoining the human race after his encounters with the ghost of his former partner and with three Spirits of Christmas – Past, Present, and Yet To Come – is heartwarming in the best sense. It restores one’s faith in the power of redemption and the ability of humankind to improve the lot of the poor. Every few years or so, I get out our copy of A Christmas Carol and read it out loud to the family, and despite its old-fashioned language, everyone enjoys the story.

This year I’d like to contemplate the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come in terms of fragrance, along with my fellow sister bloggers (I just noticed, we’re all female). I’m choosing to interpret Dickens’ Spirits in perfume, but the assignment was loosely structured and I’m sure we’ve all taken slightly different directions in addressing the theme, defined as “Ghosts of Perfume Past, Present and Future.”

ghost of christmas pastThe Spirit of Christmas Past, in Dickens’ words, is small as a child, or rather an old person who has shrunk. It has long white hair but is unwrinkled, with a complexion of “tenderest bloom.” (Anybody who’s ever kissed the rosy cheek of a toddler knows how absolutely delicious the experience is.) It wears a white tunic embroidered with summer flowers, while its feet and legs are bare. It holds a sprig of holly in its hand, and out of its head shoots a jet of light.

This spirit leads Scrooge past many scenes of past Christmases, touching his heartstrings with long-buried memories of joyous celebrations and of the loving, warm-hearted boy he once was, before he closed himself off due to loss and disappointment and pain.

It’s pretty difficult to think of a fragrance that combines the effects of wise age and tender youth, of strong bare limbs and diminutive size, of summer and light and prickly leaves. So I focused on a fragrance that seems to embody nostalgia for me: Tableau de Parfums Miriam.

Miriam opens with aldehydes – a nostalgic touch these days, when aldehydes practically scream, “Old Lady Perfume!” – and continues with a soft and tender rose-violet accent, undergirded with a soft ambery sandalwood. It is above all a tender fragrance, one that recalls for me the soft smell of my own mother when I was a child, and one that never fails to remind me of children who have missed out on the miracle of motherly love. It’s something we’re born to need, I think, and if we don’t get it we wonder if it’s our fault. Knowing that your mother loves you is one of the most basic human emotional needs, and when this need goes unfulfilled, it’s one of the saddest things in the world. Ah, but the love of a mother is an invisible cashmere blanket. Wear Miriam and feel it wrapped around you like a blessing.

A few other nostalgic fragrances to consider:

Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender is a sweet little smile of a perfume, with rose, violet, anise and heliotrope, a happy-memory smell.

Sonoma Scent Studio Nostalgie, true to its name, is another tender nod to times of the past. Similar to Miriam, but with perhaps more aldehydes and less sweetness in the base.

ghost of christmas presentThe Spirit of Christmas Present is a generous, joyful one. Many of the trappings of what we now consider to distinguish “an English Christmas” are mentioned in A Christmas Carol: the holly, the evergreen garlands, the singing of carols, the Christmas punch, the family gathering, the roast goose or turkey or suckling pig on the table, surrounded by all kinds of feast foods. Christmas in England, before the publication of A Christmas Carol, had had more of a religious focus than a family one, quietly celebrated (if celebrated at all) by attending a church service and lighting candles in honor of the Light of the World, the other trappings being seen as pagan and sinful. But people responded so positively to the idea of joyous celebration in Christ’s honor (or was it, perhaps, simply the idea of a good party in a good cause?) that the old once-pagan ways resurged.

Well, I like a good party myself. As far as that goes, Jesus probably did too, given that we know he attended a wedding and often used feasts and weddings in his parables of the Heavenly Kingdom. Haul out the holly! Bring on the clove-orange pomanders! Light the candles, our Savior is born!

Dickens describes his Spirit of Christmas Present as being tall, genial, cheery, with a holly wreath accented with icicles in its long brown curls, wearing a simple green robe trimmed with white fur, and barefoot, holding a glowing torch shaped like a cornucopia. This Spirit leads Scrooge to witness several Christmas celebrations, from lonely sailors at sea singing carols to poor people huddled over outdoor bonfires to keep warm, from the glow of family togetherness at the Cratchits’ meal to the elegant, jovial feast at Scrooge’s nephew Fred’s house (Scrooge having refused the invitation). The Spirit also shows Scrooge less delightful Christmases in the lives of poor people beset by the terrible twins “Want” and “Ignorance,” which makes him ashamed of his earlier suggestion that the proper place for poor people is in the workhouse or in prison.

The central quality of the Spirit of Christmas Present is joy, I think, and one of my favorite joyful perfumes is Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka. I experience Vanille Tonka as being a giddy romp through an oversized forest of carnations and cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans and incense sticks, with a lime canopy overhead. Silly, I know, but it’s like Candyland to me, so much fun! Such a glowy, happy scent.

Here are a couple more joyful Christmassy perfumes to consider:

Teo Cabanel Alahine, my default Christmas fragrance, always reminds me of the Christmassy Madrigal Dinners my college choir used to put on. It’s essentially a floral amber with some aromatic and spicy notes, and it recalls every aspect of those delightful days.

DSH Perfumes Festive, a wonderful fragrance encompassing evergreen notes, spice, orange, sandalwood and incense. It’s a happy sort of smell.

Christmas Carol - Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come

The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come is an enigma. Dickens describes it as being solemn, tall, stately, mysterious. It is draped and hooded in black which shrouds any glimpse of head, face,or body, except that lone outstretched hand. Certainly Scrooge seems terrified of this Spirit, and with good reason: the Spirit shows him first the effects of the death of the much-beloved son of Scrooge’s underpaid clerk, and then the contrasted effects of Scrooge’s own death. I can only imagine that this Spirit might appear differently to each of us, depending on how we make our way in the world, and I’d guess that it would not necessarily show us each our future deaths.

The characteristic of the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come that I’d like to highlight is its silent mystery. What might the coming year hold for us? God knows.

 

One of the most mysterious perfumes I’ve ever smelled is Stephen Jones for Comme des Garcons, which is a tiny whiff of violet wafting over a blackened lava field, borne on the feathery wings of aldehydes. Originally I had been very disappointed in it, as it had been recommended to me as “a violet perfume.” It’s not a violet perfume. It is a strange, blasted moonscape seen through violet-tinted Victorian spectacles. It’s weird, and eerie, and mysterious, and fascinating.

A few other mysterious and wintery fragrances to consider:

Lancome Magie Noire, which is such an eerie thing (particularly in the vintage) that I shiver a little every time I smell it. One has the sense of a storm gathering just over the horizon when wearing it. Herbs and rose, moss, vetiver and oriental notes add up to an otherworldly character.

angel highgate cemeterySerge Lutens La Myrrhe, the incomparable. I find it absolutely beautiful, but I recently ran across a blog comment at Perfume Posse, I think it was, that called it mysterious. The commenter said it reminded her of “those mossy angel carvings in Highgate Cemetery: exquisite, grieving, eternally silent.” Although I don’t experience it in the same way, that is a perfect and beautiful description. La Myrrhe’s aldehydes, soft floral notes, and woods create a beautiful glow around its myrrh heart.

Please visit the other blogs participating in this joint exercise:

All I Am – A Redhead

ChickenFreak’s Obsessions

EauMG

Olfactoria’s Travels

Suzanne’s Perfume Journal

Undina’s Looking Glass

Another Perfume Blog (Big thanks to Natalie for organizing the joint blogging project!)

A very merry Christmas and holiday season to you all!

 

 

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Fragrances for the Fourth of July

Fireworks

I’m sure that somewhere there exists the perfect Independence Day perfume. Somebody’s probably made one that encapsulates excitement, freshly-cut grass, summer heat, the sound of children playing, sunscreen, a baseball game, aunts gently bickering over who’s going to wash the dishes (“I’ll get this, you go sit down.” “No, you did it last time. It’s my turn.”), hamburgers on the charcoal grill and Cousin Willie Maude’s special dill potato salad, watermelon seed-spitting contests, uncles playing horseshoes, ice-cream cones, fireflies and the acrid smoke of fireworks.

No? Nobody’s managed to get that into a fragrance yet?

Oh well.

I’ll just go enjoy the real thing, and try to get pieces of it out of a couple of different scents. I may wangle the watermelon and good-smelling aunts out of Juicy Couture parfum. Or I may decide to get the barbecue grill, the ice cream, and the fireworks smoke out of Cartier Le Treizieme Heure. I may wear both of those in succession.

I wish everyone reading a wonderful day today. American readers, I hope you enjoy the holiday and the blessings of liberty. If you’re wearing scent today and would like to share what makes the day special for you, we’d love to read it!

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Happy New Year 2011!

We stayed in.  We watched football and the second disc of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and ate Chinese food and then the Dick Clark Rockin’ New Year Celebration – I have never wanted so much to slap Jenny McCarthy before – and then saw Fighting Gravity with Far East Movement and were not impressed.  It was certainly not Fighting Gravity’s greatest outing.

We did not drink champagne.

In the interest of beginning the year as one means to continue it, I wore Mary Greenwell Plum.

I wish all of you a wonderful, healthy, productive, good-smelling year ahead.

Image is American Homestead Winter from Currier and Ives.

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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.

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Scent Diary, Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2010

Originally uploaded by bill littell

Monday, Nov. 29: Happy Birthday, Dad! Lots of love to you.

Just heard from my mother last night that my grandmother, Mawmaw Nell (my dad’s mother), is in the hospital and not doing well. Her doctor says that she could very well recover from a kidney infection. Or, she might not. No news yet.

The CEO and I are at The Homestead for the annual Virginia Farm Bureau convention. The CEO gets to go to all the meetings, and I get to eat wonderful food and see some old friends, and in between work on the novel. It’s going surprisingly well, and I may actually finish today.

SOTD: Chanel 31 Rue Cambon. Gorgeous thing… I’m not alone in wishing for a parfum version of this, the classy floral modern chypre that comes in that Les Exclusifs vat. You need the vat, by the way, if you’re going to wear it frequently. It needs a little bit of oomph, and perhaps a bit more sillage, to be perfect, but it’s so close.

The CEO’s news: he ran for election to the FB state board of directors, and lost to the incumbent. The current director is a lovely lady, and no one had any complaints whatsoever about the job she’s doing, but she had said in her last election that she’d serve two terms and step down, and it was only after The CEO declared his intention to run that she decided she’d like to serve another term. I think that although he did lose, at least he’s got his hat in the ring for the next election in three years. I don’t think Evelyn will attempt reelection again, as she will be in her late 70s at that point.

Retesting Smell Bent Reindeer Games on the back of one hand.

My news: I WON NANOWRIMO!! Went typing away and suddenly found that I was near the end, and that I actually had about 51K. Wow! Last year, I was writing up until about 10pm on November 30. Was going to spritz Iris Poudre in celebration, but didn’t think it could compete with the 31 RC on my sweater.

Tuesday, Nov. 30: Chilly rain. Fires in the fireplaces at The Homestead. They’ve decorated for Christmas already, which I generally hate-I-mean-hate, but which here looks right. It’s a large building, so everything is on the grand scale: huuuuge 15-foot-tall Christmas trees in the Great Hall and in the ballrooms (there are… three here, I think) and in the large conference room. Christmas lights on the lawn in front of the hotel, which we can see very well from our room because of the way the wings are angled. Big wreaths, big red bows, enormous ornaments and 6-inch-wide ribbons on the trees; a train set in the atrium, moving among gingerbread houses… I’m certainly not going to be decorating at home until about halfway through December, but I’m enjoying it here.

SOTD: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, lovely creamy white-floral thing. Friendly yet quirky, with black pepper and plum under the tuberose.

Dinner is usually preceded on the second day of the convention by a reception hosted by the Eastern Shore county office, with crab legs, Virginia peanuts, and those delicious crunchy hand-cooked potato chips, and mixed drinks. Dinner is a little more elaborate than the other meals, and people tend to dress up. I wore my black jersey wrap dress, with pearls and my russet paisley scarf… and Iris Poudre. Ooooh.

Wednesday, Dec. 1: Drove home from The Homestead, 2.5 hours. I left right after breakfast, since I needed to be at work to send out account statements, but The CEO rode back with one of the other voting delegates from our county. The dog was glad to see me. The cat was nowhere to be found at first, although she decided to come out and yodel at me, probably expressing her annoyance that I wasn’t there to cater to her every whim.

SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum, which I’m enjoying so much that I am a) writing a review, b) planning on wearing it again as soon as possible, and c) scheming to get my hands on more. 5 ml is just not gonna cut it – this decant is going to disappear fast. I sprayed it again in the middle of the day, just to get another hit. (Uh-oh, looks like I’m hooked. Iris Poudre did that to me, too.)

Glad to see my sweet babies. I missed them.

Thursday, Dec. 2: Trying to catch up at work. Retesting Smell Bent Dr. Dreidel and Bi-Polar Express. It’s cold out but not miserable.

The CEO called me at work this afternoon to tell me that “They” (I will eventually identify the mysterious “they.” Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture. Heh.) had asked him to come and interview for a job Friday afternoon, and he’d have to skip his last lab class to do it, but the department TA would step in for him.

Bookworm had a Christmas parade this evening, which I couldn’t go to because I had community chorus practice. Practice went well, which would worry me if it was the last practice before performance – if that happens, watch out, you’ll screw up something very basic. However, we have one more before we present Vivaldi Gloria and some other pieces. The Gloria is a lot of fun to sing; this is my… fourth? Yes, fourth performance of it. Good stuff, very listenable.

Mawmaw Nell will be going home from the hospital tomorrow, unless something unexpected and drastic happens.

Friday, Dec. 3: Taz has some sort of stomach virus, poor baby. Retesting Smell Bent Sexy Turtleneck and Elf-Fulfilling Prophecy. Still trying to catch up at work.

Called The CEO to wish him luck with the job interview. He said, “This may not pan out, and I don’t even know what exactly they are interviewing me for, unless it’s simple gratitude and they don’t have anything to offer me anyway. We’ll see.” He called me back right afterward and told me that he was considering taking this particular job, and wanted to know what I thought about the situation. Wow. That was fast… I’ll share details as soon as I am allowed to do so, probably by the end of the upcoming week.

Put on Organza Indecence at home and made some Chinese food (yum to both).

Saturday, Dec. 4: Cleaned house. Went to the second local Christmas parade to feature Bookworm’s band. Boy, parades are sure not as exciting as they used to be when I was a kid! This was was pret-ty darn boring. One marching band, some old cars, a few horses, a couple of Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, the mayor and town council, only two floats (4H and a local church), some cool tricked-out trucks, and every single fire truck the town owns. That was it.

SOTD: Alahine. I love Alahine. And it’s snowing! It started with little flurries during the parade, and by the time I’d picked up Bookworm at the high school and we’d gone by the grocery store to pick up apple juice and eggs, big fat flakes were spinning down to land on my face. Made me think of Julie Andrews singing “My Favorite Things,” with the “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.”

The CEO built a fire, I made hot wassail, and then we got a call from our farm guy about a cow in the barn lot that had done something incredibly stupid. She was in the barn, and instead of walking through some mud to get out the open door, she tried to go under the wall. Got stuck. Spent the night there, apparently. By the time Jeff and The CEO found her, she was cold and exhausted, and we don’t think she’s going to make it.

Sometimes farming really stinks. I mean, this was a cow nearly old enough to vote, and she was probably going to go to the cull cow sale (i.e., she was ambulatory hamburger) at the end of the month, and you have to expect that you’re going to lose one now and then, but it’s bad all the way around when you lose one to stupidity.

By bedtime, we had curled up in front of the fire with cider and watched the Hokies of VT romp all over the Seminoles of FSU to win the ACC football championship (there was much rejoicing), while the snow piled up to three inches’ worth. This is unusual for the time of year – we usually don’t get much snow before Christmas – but nice. Snow is great if you don’t have to go anywhere in it.

Sunday, Dec. 5: The snow has melted somewhat, but it’s still flurrying. The little sugar pumpkin that volunteered itself in the garden, which has been in the house since late September, has outlived its usefulness, so it’s now in the oven baking so I can make pumpkin puree out of it. SOTD: the long-awaited decant of F. Malle Portrait of a Lady. Denyse’s review at Grain de Musc says that while wearing it, she didn’t need any jewelry to be dressed up. When I see someone’s description of a particular scent as “frocky,” or “for dressing up and going out,” I’m usually amused, because the scent will typically strike me as something I feel comfortable and very “myself” in, though I rarely wear anything more formal than the aforementioned jersey wrap dress: Iris Poudre and Mary Greenwell Plum come to mind here. But with PoaL, I may have run across the rare scent too dressy, too evening-gowny, too femme and stately, for my personal everyday wear. It does have a resemblance to Malle’s own Une Rose, which I find frighteningly Gothic, and to Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Lumiere Noire pour femme, which I find drop-dead sexy, but there are differences. I’m not even sure I like it. Will review soon.

Church this morning was out of the question, with the snow… when you live half a mile up a steep, curvy gravel road, getting out is a problem. We might be able to make it this evening, but that’s iffy. School will probably go two hours late on Monday.

I’m not ready to do much in the way of Christmas decorating, but I did take down my fall wreath and the autumn dried arrangement in the old pickle crock, and put out my Nutcracker collection. I think in general we start too early and build Christmas up too much, so that it’s not the special day it ought to be. We’ll go get a tree about the 15th, and it will come down New Year’s Day. And I may go ahead and put up my Nativity scene – Reason for the Season, and all that.

Image is Littell – The Homestead decorated for Christmas, from Flickr.

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The Thanksgiving Chair

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6znqpPaYzM4]

Saw this video last Sunday at church, and it’s made an impression on me.  Thanksgiving has always had strong religious overtones for my family, and that’s still true.  To whom to we give thanks, if not to God? 

Question:If you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and you’re not interested in religion, how do you celebrate it?  I’m not being snarky, I’m serious here.  I can certainly understand that Thanksgiving is attractive to people who’d prefer that God just Butt Out Of Our Lives, Please, for various reasons – getting the family together, the great food, the continuation of a tradition, the parades, the football games, the four-day weekend… 

…so if you don’t consider yourself a religious person and you celebrate Thanksgiving because it is, after all, a national holiday, I’d love to know how the day goes for you.  Is it a day for eating a wonderful meal with your family?  A shared cultural phenomenon you participate in because not participating would be weird?  A good excuse to lie on the couch and watch four football games, interrupted only by sage dressing and pumpkin pie with whipped cream?  Not that there’s, ahem, anything wrong with that.

We’re eating the main meal with The CEO’s parents and one of his sisters today, along with some other friends who are on their own.  There will be the traditional turkey breast and ham, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie on the table, as well as my mother-in-law’s  broccoli casserole and grocery rolls.  There will be football, both on TV and outside (assuming it doesn’t rain).  My father-in-law will pronounce the blessing while we hold hands around the table.

I might have burned the pies.  Taz might have made rude noises about the smoked salmon and then kicked his sister.  Bookworm might have yelled at Taz, Gaze  might have slyly prompted them to have started a fight in the first place, The CEO might have disagreed loudly with his father over some element of farm management, or with his sister over the best way to invest.  But I will have spent some quality time in the Thanksgiving Chair, and not even (unburned) pumpkin pie could beat that.

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Commitments for 2010

I’ve committed to embracing a healthier lifestyle (exercise?  Who, me?) this year. 
I’ve committed to finishing my novel and editing it by the end of 2010.
I’ve committed to an Act of Kindness (random or planned) each week this year.

I’ve committed to being Myself, and to appreciating those around me.

Enough insufferable smugness – the purpose of this post is really to remind myself of what I’ve promised to do.  I’ll be revisiting the matter throughout the year.  (And there’s another commitment.  I’d better stop now, these things are multiplying like drunken bunnies.)

Here’s to being a “new bloom, spreading fragrance around.”

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