Scent Diary, Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2018

Monday, Jan. 29: Warm for January, in the upper 40s. I did errands and made lasagna for supper. The CEO went to Taz’s academic challenge team match (which they lost, by one question, because Taz didn’t buzz in with the answer quickly enough).

I’ve been in communications with my webhost tech support about disallowing comments. They keep thinking they’ve gotten it fixed, but since I haven’t had comments for several weeks, I don’t think so.

SOTD was Mary Greenwell Plum, which was nice for about two hours but then shrank down too close to the skin. (Maybe the house is too dry? my skin is too dry?) I put on some Tabac Aurea before bed, when the wind picked up and temperatures began to drop outside. We got a robocall from the school system alerting us to a two-hour delay for Tuesday, due to expected high winds, low temperatures and snow.

The project for the week is Finding My Vanilla Scent. More info to come, but it’s not exactly going well.

Tuesday, Jan. 30: School was canceled early this morning, though why I don’t know. We only got a dusting of snow! And the temps aren’t that bad, either: 10F with the wind chill. (I’m feeling smug and puzzled because I had a 1970s childhood and would wait for the bus outside in this kind of weather on a regular basis in the winter. What, they don’t make coats and gloves and hats anymore?? The buses can’t run if there’s a quarter of an inch of snow??) The high for tomorrow is supposed to be in the 40s again.  Taz, of course, was jubilant at getting a day off until The CEO ordered him to do some housework.

SOTD is Ralph Lauren Safari. Good stuff, so good. I notice the ambery drydown more in cold weather, but this is a year-round favorite.

Wednesday, Jan. 31: Testing Guerlain Cuir Beluga today. Not impressed. Powdery vanilla suede, sorta kinda. Meh.

Thursday, Feb. 1: Warmer, with rain on the way. I’ve been testing Tom Ford Vanille Fatale today. I’m on the fence about it. It starts odd, with a twangy herbal thing, then slides into pretty-much-straight-up-vanilla extract. After that, it goes through a couple of weird stages that I don’t much like, with odd effects including smoke, slightly-rancid butter, and wet dog. But the drydown is gorgeous and reminds me quite a bit of PdN Vanille Tonka: a root-beery vanilla leather smell. Which is quite nice. On the other hand, if you were wishing (as I was) for the long, long delicious drydown part of TF Tobacco Vanille, that gorgeous clear nonpowdery vanilla-liqueur portion of it, you are out of luck.

Also, Vanille Fatale runs $230/50ml and Vanille Tonka, even with its originally wonderful lime topnote reformulated out, runs $155 for 100ml. I think the choice is clear, friends.

I think I might be coming down with something. Hope it’s not the flu, but I’m achy and my head hurts.

Friday, Feb. 2:  Groundhog Day, and a happy birthday to my cousin Holly! We were awakened at 6 a.m. with a robocall from the school system again: 2-hour delay. Then at 6:50, another call: school closed. It has been blowing snow all morning and the accumulation is about half an inch, if that. Temperature is 23F at 10 a.m., and with the wind chill it feels like 13F. So. Yeah, cold, but I can remember waiting for the bus in below-zero temps (and hey, metric system peeps, I mean below-zero Fahrenheit, so -18C). WIMPS.

SOTD is Amouage Memoir Woman. I love Memoir, but it is an all-day commitment, and sometimes it can get A Bit Much. Today I just don’t care. I’m luxuriating in cozy weirdness. And I feel better.

Saturday, Feb. 3: Cold again. The CEO built a lovely fire and then took some wood to a friend; the rest of us cleaned up the house and drank hot chocolate. SOTD was delicious Prada Candy, and we went to see the high school’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” (Which I admit I’ve never thought much of. It’s like somebody’s senior high school music-writing project — great for an early effort, not great as a product of a mature composer.)

Sunday, Feb. 4: Woke to a light snow turning to sleet. It’s getting icy out there. No church today. Bleagh. Worked on structure for the new novel — I know where it starts and where it needs to go, but the middle part is nebulous. SOTD began with some vintage Arpege extrait, but I suspect this one has gone off. It’s not pleasant. I scrubbed and put on Organza Indecence for the rest of the day.

We ate snacky food (boneless buffalo wings with celery and bleu cheese dip, mozzarella sticks and marinara, spinach dip with pita chips) for dinner and watched the Super Bowl. GO EAGLES!

Well, okay, I’m not a big Eagles fan, but I hate the Patriots. Hate ’em. They’re a trashy organization from the administration down and I’m glad to see them lose. (Feel free to lob rotten tomatoes if you like.)


Scent Diary, Jan. 22-28, 2018

Pulled by light on a winter’s day by Simon Matzinger, via Pexels

Monday, Jan. 22: Wow, three weeks into January already. The CEO just commented that January lasts forever, but I think it’s been zipping by. I’ve been working on the new novel, but after the weekend’s conference I have an idea how to deal with the structure problem that’s been making the old one tough to revise, so I’m rewriting some scenes for it. SOTD is Mariella Burani.

Tuesday, Jan. 23: More writing, and some cleaning up. Bleah. SOTD was Parfum Sacre, after testing Abdes Salaam Attar Benzoin

Wednesday, Jan. 24: Taz has a MACC (academic challenge team) match this evening — hope they win. Tested Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille in the morning. SOTA was Hermes 24, Faubourg, which is still just a tad too orange-blossomy-soap to be a love for me, but which reminds me in a pleasant way of the  Karl Lagerfeld Chloe I wore as a teenager. I miss Chloe and it was a genius scent, but I really cannot wear it now. I’ve tried.

Thursday, Jan. 25: Chillier in the morning, but warmed up by the afternoon. Decent choir practice this evening, and I like most of the music selections for this semester. SOTM was a sample of Seveline Vanille de Madagascar (as part of my unofficial Vanilla Exploration Project); SOTE was Parfum Sacre.

Friday, Jan. 26: Weather is still warmish for January, which I don’t like. SOTD was Parfum d’Hermes. I continue to try with this one, but I just don’t love it. It reminds me a little of Chamade, and a little of Deneuve, but I can’t put my finger on why it fails to hit a sweet spot for me.

SOTE was a goodly spritz of Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea, which has hit that sweet spot for me since first sniff in fall 2009. I’m sad that SSS perfumer Laurie Erickson is ceasing production, but I wish her well in her new endeavors (I think she may be pursuing photography) and I do hope she is able to sell SSS to someone who will be able to keep the company going and producing Laurie’s wonderful fragrances.

Sharry Baby orchid image via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, Jan. 27: Taz had an outdoor indoor track meet today. (Ha. I mean Indoor Track, the sport, held a “polar bear” meet outside today. Temps were middle 50sF, so not all that cold . . . but still not great running weather. He PRed in the 1000M, but didn’t run his 2000M well.) The CEO went with him. Bookworm and I went shopping for a baby shower gift, and did some house cleaning. SOTD was LeLong Pour Femme, which is a pretty, smooth floral-oriental — it’s mostly orchids and sandalwood, and pink in a very grown-up way.

The CEO and Bookworm and I went to see a Tom Petty tribute band at the local theater tonight. It was fun, Free Fallin’ was good, I love TP music, so an enjoyable evening. More LeLong pour femme.

Sunday, Jan. 28: SOTD was a half-spritz of Memoir Woman. Which is big. And rich. And weird. And probably too intense for temps in the upper 40s, but I don’t think I gassed anybody out at church. The drydown was amaaaazing. Sometime around 5 pm I was sniffing my arm with delight. So I respritzed after my evening bath. 😀

Beautiful service at church today.


Scent Diary, Jan. 15-21, 2018

Not my house. I WISH we were getting snow.

Monday, Jan. 15: Chilly but not ridiculous-cold. Wearing Annick Goutal Nuit et Confidences again from a sample and thinking, “Ehh. Meh.” It’s not bad, mind you, it’s just not exciting.  It’s sad, because the bottle’s gorgeous. It’s Vanilla Week at Now Smell This, so I’m gonna try.

Tuesday, Jan. 16: So The CEO forgot that he was going to take Taz to school, and I wound up taking him (without getting my own breakfast. or wearing makeup. or, heaven forbid, making coffee). And just as I got home, I found The CEO waiting for me in the driveway — really late — saying that Cameron (his Camry) was making the weird noise it makes when it’s low on oil, and that he would need to take Thorin (the Sorento, which is ostensibly mine to drive) and I would need to take Cameron to the lube place to get an oil change and, oh yeah, get it inspected because the sticker runs out at the end of the month. And he gets into Thorin and zooms off.

Slightly taken aback, I shook my head to clear it and went in to eat my now-cold scrambled eggs and put on a scosh of makeup and brush my hair. Then I mentally shrugged at Vanilla Week, stuck a Safari parfum mini in my pocket and zipped out the door to the lube shop where we get oil changes, because the Serious Repair Shop is short-handed these days and it’s tough to get common jobs scheduled there.

So the Safari was delicious, as usual — every time I wear it, I wonder briefly to myself why I ever wear anything else — but that was the only good thing because a) I had no coffee
b) the oil change guy said that Cameron needed an alternator
c) Cameron failed inspection due to two nearly-bald tires on the back.

So I called The CEO and he wanted me to go get his buddy at the serious-repair shop to look over the car and give his opinion on whether it really needed an alternator, and if the tires were really bad or if the lube shop was just trying to make bank out of a clueless female. However, the serious-repair shop was covered up with customers, so I made an appointment for Wednesday.

Wednesday, Jan. 17: Woke to an official robocall saying that the school system’s status had changed from “two hours late” to “closed.” Taz was joyous that he’d get to stay home. Bookworm and The CEO had to go to work anyway, and of course none of Gaze’s activities were suspended. I’m sure he was out with the Army ROTC for PT at 5 am as usual. (Brrrr!)

There wasn’t much snow, only about an inch, but it was slick. Conditions worsened as the day went on, because traffic melted what was on the road, and then it would freeze as ice. School will be closed tomorrow as well, not because we have a lot of snow, but because the roads are icy. Sure, you Northeasterners are laughing — but I guarantee you that you don’t know what it’s like to try to drive a school bus down some of the narrow twisty roads in the Hiwassee area. Add ice to those roads, and you got Accident Waiting To Happen.

SOTD was a spray sample of Natori, which nobody talks about anymore. I guess because it’s discontinued? Shame. It’s a velvety, plummy oriental that I can wear for a lonnnnng time — like 7-8 hours — before it starts pulling up that dreaded Youth Dew Accord and I have to wash it off. It reminds me, actually, of the also-late-and-lamented, by me, Tom Ford Private Blend Black Violet, of which I only have about 3 mls left in a mini. (PSA: if you didn’t manage to grab a bottle of Natori back in the day due to cost, check FragranceNet, where a 50ml is running about $17 and the 100ml $20. I actually considered the shower gel momentarily before deciding it would probably go very Youth Dew on me, and we can’t have that.)

My actual face.

I took Cameron to the Serious Repair Shop run by a school friend of the CEO’s for the new alternator, since Terry commented the old one was spitting sparks all over the place.  😯 Then, as I promised The CEO, I asked Terry if the tire tread would pass inspection.

He laughed. Hard. And then he said, “There isn’t enough tread on these for me to even measure. They’re toast.” So we ordered tires, too, which they’ll put on tomorrow afternoon. This whole little “Hey, take my car to get an oil change and an inspection,” suggestion of The CEO’s has turned into $600+ of necessary repairs, not to mention several hours. Of my time. (Which, I assure you, I would have been much happier to donate if I’d KNOWN this would take hours. Or if the Ranger hadn’t also been in the shop, so that I could have dropped the car off and left it there to be dealt with instead of sitting in the waiting room.)

Or if I’d gotten more than an offhand, “By the way, thanks.”

I’m thinking I deserve something good in return. Like maybe a bottle of Lubin Epidor? Or maybe just a hefty decant, so I can see how it wears when I spritz it out of a normal spray mechanism, as opposed to the plastic spray sample. Oddly, none of the usual decant services have Epidor in stock. Well, okay, Lucky Scent does, but they only either sell you a full bottle or a .7ml dabber vial, and I’m well past what a dabber vial will do for me. #firstworldproblems #i’llshutupnow

Hey, in any case now I have proof that the lube shop is not only competent to diagnose things like bald tires and alternators spitting sparks, they’re comparable to the serious-repair shop in terms of pricing.

Thursday, Jan. 18: Chilly weather. Spent a long time at the garage, waiting for the tires and shivering every time somebody opened the door (brrrr!). I’d made an appointment, but apparently it takes 2.5 hours to rotate and align tires. Shrug. The Ranger is still waiting for parts to be shipped, so it’s not ready yet. SOTD was Hermes 24, Faubourg.

Good community chorus rehearsal this evening — first one of the semester. The CEO eventually thanked me for going above and beyond in getting Cameron serviced.

Friday, Jan. 19: More chilly weather. SOTD was a half-spritz of Shalimar Light (lemon-vanilla powder, nice) for housework and writing, so I could actually wear something vanilla for the last day of this week’s NST challenge.

SOTE was Chanel 31 Rue Cambon (the edp, from my newish decant); I went to a writers’ conference in the evening. I had been to the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference several years ago, not long after I started blogging — either 2009 or 2010, I think, and hadn’t been since. I’m not sure why not. Sharyn McCrumb spoke at that earlier conference; she was really funny. I like her books, don’t love them, but she’s amazing. Tonight was good.

Saturday, Jan. 20: Temps in the mid-50sF today, which was certainly a switchup. Conference all day, wearing more 31 Rue Cambon. Incidentally, I’m not getting a big difference between the edp and the old, original edt (if indeed you can call something released in 2006 “old”). The edt might have been a bit more irisy in the drydown, maybe. And tighter restrictions on citrus and jasmine since 2006 have definitely taken some of the sparkle out of 31 RC, but it still smells like itself: classic, retro rather than vintage, and tastefully rich.

Conference was very good. I got something out of almost every seminar, and I’d even say that I got more out of the seminars today than I did from the very large Writer’s Digest conference I attended in Nashville last summer.

Then I had dinner with a college friend who lives in Roanoke and who I never manage to go see, because if we’re going to Roanoke, it’s pretty much to see my parents. That was lovely, and it was fun to meet her son, who reminds me a good bit of Taz.

This bottle. My mini came from eBay with no box, but it has that gold embossed cap so I know it’s the “fleur de parfum” version.

Sunday, Jan. 21: Still warm. Which is nice, but worrisome. I don’t like this big weather swing in January, I think it’s going to make us all sick. SOTD was a dab of vintage YSL Paris parfum, and y’all, that stuff is literally BIG PINK NEON ON SKIN. But gorgeous — it’s a huge exuberant flowery hug.

Member lunch and meeting after church. Then we had Breakfast for Dinner later on, and it was yummy but I am missing Gaze.


Scent Diary, Jan. 1-7, 2018

(It always feels different writing the new year for the first time, doesn’t it?)

Monday, Jan. 1: Still cold. High today of 18F. SOTD was Memoir Woman, because it is both delicious and really freaky. We took down some of the Christmas decorations; I think The CEO might be kinda ticked at me for asking him to go out into the cold and remove the wreath from the big second-story window as well as the garland and lights from the porch.

Tuesday, Jan. 2: So I’ve started a trial membership at This came about for two reasons: A) my sister is very interested in tracking our family but hasn’t been able to join the site, and B) on Saturday during our trip to the Virginia State Capitol, we were talking about famous Virginians. That discussion included Sam Houston and another Virginian who went to Texas and became prominent — Stephen Austin (namesake of the city of Austin, TX). Who I am related to, distantly, through my paternal grandmother. The CEO was not aware of this, and somehow neither were my kids, so I thought it would be good to fill out my side of the family tree for them. Some relatives of The CEO’s have done a thorough tree several generations back, so the kids have access to that, but the other side is fairly mysterious to them.

SOTD is Shalimar Light with a scosh of Organza Indecence on top. It’s still quite cold.

Wednesday, Jan. 3: Still cold. I noticed last night that the tree was getting a bit crunchy despite our plan to leave it up until Epiphany (Jan. 6), so we undecorated it. The Nativity and snow village and nutcrackers are still on display, at least until Saturday. SOTD was just a bit of Tauer Rose Delight body oil.

Just heard today that our former band director (Gaze’s, not Bookworm’s) had died as a result of injuries from a car accident. I’m stunned. You never expect things like that.

And our neighbor (the one with the goats) was on his cattle farm in a nearby county trying to coax a bull back through the fence the bull had broken through, and the bull took offense and knocked him down. Neighbor is in the ICU in Roanoke (50 miles away) with ten broken ribs and at least one cracked vertebra. If you feel like throwing up a prayer for Tommy and his family, please do.

Thursday, Jan. 4: Drove to Roanoke with Gaze to help my parents put away their Christmas decor. Mom’s just not up to moving boxes around, and it tires my dad out.  SOTD was DK Black Cashmere (yum) with a dab of Vero Perfumery Rozy edp on one wrist and Shanghai Tang Rose Silk on the other. Frankly, the Shanghai Tang is to me far preferable to the Vero; Rozy has that oddly flat fuzzy vanilla-dusty patchouli angle that makes me dislike it.

At 7 pm it was 8 degrees Fahrenheit, by the thermometer. With wind chill? -5. NEGATIVE. FIVE. (Bizarrely, the dog keeps wanting to go outside, five minutes at a time, three times an hour.)

Friday, Jan. 5: COLD AGAIN. 8F. Brrrrr. Nice to stay inside. I need to take the recycling to the town center because it’s starting to pile up, but it’s COLD, Y’ALL. It can wait. SOTD is vintage Coty Emeraude parfum de toilette, ca. 1973, rich and plush and a gentler take on Shalimar, for me. I mean, if you love Shalimar, more power to ya, I don’t mind smelling it — I just don’t want to wear it.

Also retested the Vero Rozy edp and instead of just disliking it, I hated it. Total scrubber. It wasn’t the dusty patch-nilla this time, it was a disturbing unwashed-body smell. (There’s honey in it. Maybe that.)

I had a free Redbox coupon code, and we’d been wanting to see “Dunkirk,” so I rented that. We Yanks don’t generally know a lot about what happened at Dunkirk, unless we’re WWII history buffs. I’ve read my share of British novels set during WWII, some of which mention this amazing rescue of the British army from the coast of France in 1940, but I really did not know many details. (And probably still don’t, since films based on historic events typically gloss over or omit, or even mischaracterize, significant details in favor of compelling storytelling. Which doesn’t bother me that much, to be honest, because I’d rather watch a compelling story and look up the reality later.)

It’s a very good movie. Part of that is that the real-life event is such an amazing story in itself — the removal of 338,000+ British and French soldiers from the coast of France where they’d been soundly routed by the Germans, to England, by some 700 civilian-owned seacraft and the British navy. True patriotism, true sacrifice, true heroism. Part of the movie’s excellence is the direction of Christopher Nolan, who makes such good use of his actors and his score and his visual approach. Dialogue is limited, and the trick of dumping viewers right in on top of characters we don’t know and letting us find our place as things progress is successful. Then, too, Nolan has a gift for using very talented actors and keeping them restrained.

If you remember, I was complaining recently about Kenneth Branagh’s self-indulgent turn as Poirot in the visually-lavish “Murder on the Orient Express”. Well, Ken was directing himself in that. Nolan keeps him on a tighter leash, and Branagh’s reserved and heartfelt performance as the British naval officer in charge of the evacuation is a reminder of how good an actor he really is when he’s not chomping scenery. Tom Hardy’s sub-5-minute screen time as a Spitfire pilot with a low fuel supply is a highlight. (Having only seen the poster showing a sea of tin hats and one tommy looking up, I didn’t even know TH was in it until that distinctive mug briefly popped out from behind his oxygen mask, and then I was all ooh look my boyfriend’s in this one! bet he dies tho. So of course when I went to Youtube to look for a trailer to embed here, he’s front-and-center in it! I don’t know how I missed it this past summer.) The rest of the cast, including several big-name British movie actors as well as theater stalwarts and some new faces, is uniformly excellent as well. Highly recommended.

Saturday, Jan. 6: Indoor track meet for Taz; The CEO went as well. It went badly. For one thing, it’s been far too cold for the distance runners on the team to adequately train. For another, the meet organizers somehow decided to combine two sections of the boys’ 3200 — and wound up with 38 runners in the race. That’s terribly crowded, and crowding has the effect of making the runners go out too fast in an effort to spread themselves apart, so the first half of the race was ridiculously fast and then the second half was ridiculously slow. Bad idea.

RIDICULOUSLY cute packaging. This vibrant color combination just makes me so happy.

SOTD was, first, Twilly d’Hermes from a spray sample. From reading (generally positive) reviews, I had expected something pretty, lightweight yet substantial, a sheer tuberose with ginger. What I got: that raspy, chalky orange-baby-aspirin/Tang dust effect, plus that synthetic spiky jasminoid thing that takes a Skilsaw to my nerves. Only after that stuff wore off, about an hour in, did it turn sheer tuberose. I never got much ginger, unfortunately; I think it was underneath the baby aspirin. The ad campaign’s bright colors (I love the color scheme!) fit the fragrance, and if you’re not sensitive to those two particular aromachems, you’ll likely find Twilly really attractive. I’m sad that I am sensitive to them.

In the evening, I sprayed some new/vintage Parfum d’Hermes. (Vintage bottle in box, batch code dating to 1990, but new to me.) I’m uncertain about it. It does remind me a bit of vintage Guerlain Chamade, but just a bit, and only the higher concentrations of it. And the thing  is, really, I don’t love Chamade. I only like Chamade. Further, if Kafkaesque is calling this thing (in vintage form) a powerhouse, then it ought to BE a dang powerhouse. And it’s not.

Maybe this bottle has aged badly. (Unusual for something still in a box.) Maybe this particular batch was improperly mixed or macerated. Maybe I’m anosmic or hyposmic to something in it, so that I’m not smelling it properly. (This is possible; when The CEO got home last night, he was most appreciative of my fragrance. “This room smells good. Hey, you smell good. You smell really good.” And I’m sitting there thinking, Wow, you can smell it? I can barely smell it.) Maybe the very low humidity in the house is affecting my nose. I don’t know.

Sunday, Jan. 7: Birthday lunch with my parents, a little early but Mom wanted to have a family get-together while Gaze was still on break. He has to be back at Virginia Tech on the 12th. As it turned out, the memorial service for Mr. Shrewsbury was at the high school this afternoon, and he had to leave early.

SOTD was more of the unsniffed-blind-buy Parfum d’Hermes. I like it, but to be honest, I don’t love it, and I only like it a little more than I like Chamade. And the more I wear it, the more I start thinking, the heck with this, I feel like wearing Safari instead.

We should be getting a break from the cold pretty soon, though. That’d be nice.


Scent Diary, Dec. 25-31, 2017

Monday, Dec. 25: Merry Christmas! I hope you had a lovely day, if you celebrate.

Beautiful original Alahine today for a lovely day with the family. Bacon and homemade cinnamon rolls and my mom’s delicious scalloped apples for breakfast. Stockings and gifts, lovely surprises.

We went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a family in the afternoon and then spent a good bit of time talking about it. No spoilers, but we felt that we could have written a considerably better script.

Tuesday, Dec. 26: Another nice (if chilly) day, spent with The CEO’s family. I had recently cleaned out a closet and found a few samples in a box, along with a Travalo atomizer, full but unlabeled. I’m not absolutely sure what’s in it, but I think it’s Prada Infusion d’Iris. Which Bookworm once misread and called “Infection of Iris,” and from there it morphed into “Infectional Virus,” which might be juvenile and crass but it makes us laugh. That was my SOTD. It’s funny, but there are a fair number of perfumistas who consider Id’I (Infectional Virus, wink wink) the gold standard for wearing to a dentist visit. Apparently we tend to find it inoffensive, pleasant and calming.

Vintage Samsara parfum in the evening, for coziness.

Wednesday, Dec. 27: The CEO, along with Gaze and his first cousin Curiosity, and Curiosity’s dad K (who was The CEO’s roommate at Virginia Tech, way back in the day, before he married The CEO’s sister E), went to a basketball game at VT before they delivered his sister J to the airport and went home themselves. Bookworm and Taz and I rested and cleaned up a bit. I’ve made three giant vats of spiced cider this week, and the third batch is almost gone already. SOTD was Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique from an old sample. This one is really nice, a pleasant spicy woody vanilla; I was surprised to find out that it’s been discontinued. Huh.

The general talk about PG in comments on Now Smell This is that Pierre Guillaume is perhaps too expansive with his product line, both with the original Parfumerie Generale and the more boutiquey Huitieme Art house. Then, too, as far as I understand, he is also the perfumer for Phaedon Perfumery; I’m not sure whether he’s materially involved in owning Phaedon or not. The perfumista complaint is that he seems to always be promoting the new-New-NEW stuff and ignoring the marketing of the original products, to the detriment of sales. PG himself does come off looking a bit vain (go check out his Facebook page, which despite being designed as a public figure/business type page has a fairly large number of pics of him posing like a model). I don’t know. I do know that Un Crime Exotique was really good and I am wishing I had a small decant of it. I liked Felanilla, too. Have not smelled any of the more recent PG fragrances, nor any Huitieme Art nor any Phaedon.

Shrug. So many MANY fragrances, so little time. (So few available to me to smell for free, as well.)

Thursday, Dec. 28: SOTD was Lolita Lempicka Eau de Minuit. A writing day/cleaning up day — though we won’t really dismantle the Christmas decor until New Year’s. It is COLDDDD.

Friday, Dec. 29: Took Thorin (the Sorento) to have his oil changed and the slow leak in his rear passenger tire repaired, and it took so long that after that and swinging by the grocery store, there was practically no time to do much else. Virginia Tech lost its bowl game, unaccountably. Of the numerous VT sports writers around here, nobody seems to understand exactly why it was so unsuccessful against Oklahoma State.

In the evening, we decided that we would get up early and drive to Richmond to see the Terracotta Army exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I’d visited that museum once before, with my sister. She did her best to explain modern art to me, but I suppose I am a philistine. So much of it I just don’t get. Quite often I’m looking at it and thinking, “Um, so? What exactly about this is art? What am I supposed to be thinking or feeling? Because I’m thinking, ‘my preschooler did something remarkably similar to this,’ and ‘this is basically A Colored Rectangle and I have no feelings about it one way or another.'” Sometimes the sculpture has an impact on me and I enjoy it, but a lot of the 2D stuff, nah.

But the terracotta army? Fascinating! I will be posting a separate article on it, with The CEO’s pictures, in a few days.

After the art museum we visited Virginia’s historic and beautiful state house. The last time I’d been there was ca. 1978, when I was a fourth-grader on a field trip, and it was exciting to see the new entrance to the building, constructed under the hill in 2007. I could spend a lot of time talking about this building, which is the second oldest state house or state capitol building in the US (behind Maryland, although Virginia’s state legislature is the oldest body continuously in existence, because the Virginia legislature moved its location from Jamestown to Williamsburg and only then to Richmond). It was designed by Thomas Jefferson and would look quite familiar to many Americans because of its similarity to much of the architecture of federal buildings in Washington, D.C., and indeed to many government buildings throughout the United States. It does contain an interior dome not visible from the outside, but maintains a clean and simple exterior roofline.

Thing is, the Virginia State Capitol was conceived and its cornerstone laid in 1795, five years before Washington, D.C. even existed, much less before a building was constructed inside the new capital city. Neoclassicism as used in American governmental buildings really began with Jefferson’s architecture based on ancient Roman temple Maison Carrée in Nimes, France. The Virginia General Assembly still meets in this building, albeit in wings built in 1904.

This building also houses the only statue of George Washington created from life studies, by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. (More than two dozen bronze copies of this statue exist in various places, including the Washington Monument, so undoubtedly you’ve seen one of those — but this one in glowy Carrara marble the color of moonlight is the original.)

We got home late but glad we took the opportunity to go.

Sunday, Dec. 31: L’Arte di Gucci for this quiet day at home. The CEO built a fire and edited his photos of the terracotta army, and we cleaned up before spending the evening together.


Scent Diary, Dec. 18-24, 2017

One of my favorite ornaments, hand cross-stitched by me in December of 1989.

Monday, Dec. 18: First GYN visit in several years, since Dr. Young retired. Am overdue for a mammogram. Bleagh. SOTD was a tad of comforting Parfum Sacre.

Spent the afternoon wrapping gifts. I’m still behind.

You’re sensing a theme, aren’t you? Not every ornament on my tree is a nutcracker, but there sure are a lot of them.

Tuesday, Dec. 19: A little warmer today. This is The CEO’s last day to teach this semester, and spring semester doesn’t start until January 16th. SOTD is pretty vintage Samsara parfum, from one of those cute mini bottles I found for cheapie on eBay a couple years ago.

The current sample of Alahine arrived yesterday and I put a dab on the back of my hand. Kafka’s right, They Done Rurnt It. (Sorry, that’s Redneck for “it’s been ruined.”) It really, really is a mess now: half its former tenacious strength, with some unidentifiable and migraine-inducing basenote snaking its way up to strangle your brain. Iso E Super? I can’t really smell much of it, but having once overdosed to the point of nausea on three spritzes of Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (the OJs are FULL of Iso E Super), I know this might be an issue for me. On the other hand, SSS Tabac Aurea has a bunch of it, too, but TA doesn’t bother me. Karanal — the woody amber stuff in F Malle Une Rose — makes me feel stressed and anxious, so I don’t think it’s that. (But maybe it is, because I spent the rest of the day yesterday being crabby for no apparent reason. Though that could be perimenopause. Or the holidays. Or having the house full of people and consequently very cluttered.)

Frankly, I do not know what’s in there, but it’s awful. I shall be hoarding my vintage Alahine now, saving it for Decembers because to me it smells of Christmas.

My vintage bottle. Wasn’t it an elegant presentation?

Wednesday, Dec. 20: I gave the sample Alahine another shot. Maybe it was something on my skin, maybe it was something in the air, maybe I was wrong about it.


It is not simply a bad reformulation now; it is a truly bad perfume. I generally have significant tolerance for most synthetic materials, but whatever is in there now is just awful. I scrubbed it off and gave myself the smallest half-spritz of real, vintage Alahine from its pretty glass bottle, in honor of joyful Christmases past and in mourning for that which is gone.

Thursday, Dec. 21: Gaze has managed to go back to campus, a thing most college students on break would probably tend to avoid. He’d volunteered to assist with the commissioning ceremony for cadets graduating in December, because we live close and he’s finished with exams. SOTD is By Kilian Sweet Redemption, because who doesn’t need to smell like oranges, flowers and candy at Christmas?

The soldier guy top right was a gift from my grandmother Nell when I was, oh, maybe twelve? He started the whole nutcracker thing for me.

I still need to mail some gifts. They may not get there in time, but I am still finishing up the wee nephew’s crocheted hat. SOTD is Lolita Lempicka Eau de Minuit (2013).

Went to court with Taz to receive his official driver’s license. We do that in Virginia: teenagers who’ve finished the coursework, the behind-the-wheel instruction, and the 50 hours of supervised driving time with a learner’s permit take the exam, and those who pass are issued a paper temporary license until the Division of Motor Vehicles issues the real one. DMV sends all the new licenses to the court, to be issued personally by the circuit court judge to the parent or guardian of the teenage driver, along with a short, sensible “these are your rights, these are your limitations until you’re 18, and these are your responsibilities,” presentation. Yay, he’s legal now!

Friday, Dec. 22: Gifts shipped via UPS (finally)! I was right, they won’t arrive until next Wednesday. I should crochet faster.

Photo stolen from, mostly because a) I don’t have a photo of my own, and b) the nutcracker mugs are cute. Click through for link.

Made a big pot of spiced cider. Yum. SOTD is glorious vintage Alahine again. Finished the shopping, including stocking gifts.

Saturday, Dec. 23: It’s cold! Bookworm has the weekend off, plus Monday and Tuesday, so I’m glad to have her home with us. Christmas music on the stereo and my Spotify. A tad of vintage Dior Dolce Vita parfum today. This is such nice stuff: woods, benzoin, rich dried fruit.

Taz’s last gift arrived today, in the nick of time! Enjoyed the “Eve of the Eve” Christmas service that our church joins with three others to host. A lovely night.

Sunday, Dec. 24: Spent the afternoon at my parents’ house doing Christmas with them. SOTD was a very light application of Parfum Sacre again. Turkey, ham, Nana’s best cooked apples, and way the heck more dessert than seven people (one of them diabetic) really needed.

Christmas comes but once a year, right?


Scent Diary, Dec. 11-17, 2017

A favorite poster from a concert years ago (1991 or 1992, if memory serves). Poster is leaning against the wall so its proportions appear odd in this pic.

Monday, Dec. 11: Still chilly (good! I like a cold December even though The CEO keeps saying things like, “We could move to Kauai”). Second community chorus concert this evening, which went well but the space is not as excellent as the one we performed in yesterday so the Sunday concert was better. SOTD was Iris Poudre again. Aldehydes are good in cold weather. They sparkle.

Tuesday, Dec. 12: Colder. NST’s community project for Friday this week is, “Wear a fragrance with an animal in the name,” but I’m just not feelin’ it. I do have at least samples of a few*, but frankly I can’t be bothered right now. SOTD is golden-rosy incense Parfum Sacre.
* Zoologist Nightingale, Cartier Panthere (the old ’80s stuff, not the new), Hanae Mori “Butterfly,” and  Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant.

It started to snow in the afternoon, and it kept snowing: a slick, wet snow that was halfway to sleet, the most dangerous kind to drive in. The CEO and I went to the Farm Bureau Christmas dinner held at the Draper Mercantile**, and I was glad to see Taz driving in safely from track practice right before we left. While we were at dinner, though, Bookworm called to tell us that she was stopped on the road behind traffic. Before leaving work, she’d checked the VDOT traffic website, which showed accidents and delays on I-81 between work and home, so she took US 11 instead. However, delay after delay — as we found out later, an accident followed by police stopping traffic for the salt trucks to put down salt — kept her on the road for four and a half hours, fully four hours longer than it should have taken in ideal conditions and two hours longer than it would have taken her to go Interstate. She finally dragged herself in the door at 9:30 p.m., starving but safe.

** The Merc, once a country store and post office in rural Draper, VA, has become a gem of country dining, with the influence of Chef T (who might be familiar to you as runner-up of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen Season 14) bringing upscale twists on classic southern dishes. I love eating Chef T’s food.

Wednesday, Dec. 13: Still cold, but the snow has begun to melt off. School was out, so Taz and I drove to Roanoke to help my parents decorate for Christmas. A nice day. SOTD was Amouage Lyric Woman. I only have about 3 mls left of a 15ml decant, so I haven’t been wearing Lyric much lately. Probably a mistake, since decants often seem to deteriorate due to the increased presence of air in the bottle. I should use it up, right? It’s really good, but I doubt I would buy any more.

Thursday, Dec. 14: Snow completely gone. SOTD is Parfum Sacre again, delicious and comforting. It’s truly the only Caron I’ve ever loved. Aimez-Moi was nice, but it had this powdery vanilla in it I can only describe as “flat,” and after some time it wore on my nerves. The old classic Carons I don’t get at all, at all. Probably that old Mousse de Saxe; I don’t love it.

The CEO brought home a tree, a very nice Frasier fir. We’ve put it in the corner of the living room and not in the foyer this time. Enjoyed decorating with Bookworm.

Friday, Dec. 15: Still chilly, and it was blowing snow early on. The CEO gave an exam today; he’s got one to administer on Tuesday and then he’s done teaching until mid-January. SOTD is spicy Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant. For some reason, in my mind this scent is a warm burgundy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to last very long on me: maybe 3 hours from a generous dab. Seems like I remember it lasting longer on prior wearings.

Gaze called at lunchtime to tell me that he was done with his final exams and he needed to be out of his dorm pretty soon, so we made arrangements with The CEO (still in his office across campus) to bring Gaze home. YAY, THE BOY IS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!! Hunter went mad with excitement.

Taz at Lord Botetourt HS Polar Bear Meet. (That’s a tarp, not snow.) Photo by Melissa Boone, cropped.

Saturday, Dec. 16: It has warmed up considerably, into the middle 40sF. Lucky thing, too, because Taz had a Polar Bear meet (one held outside during indoor track season) today. He PR’ed in the 3200m (11:07.80) and in the 1000m (3:09.86), but did not qualify for the regional meet. The CEO expects he will by the end of the season.

Bookworm and I did errands, and we cleaned up a bit and prepared for Sunday. Gaze had to go back to campus to play with the pep band for a women’s basketball game.

No SOTD today. I’m in quasi-mourning. I heard recently that Kafkaesque was bemoaning the current state of Teo Cabanel Alahine, which if you remember is a darling of mine in winter (despite my not being much of an amber fan at all, at all) and is — or, rather, was a glorious cacophony of golden bells, a joyful noise of ylang-ylang, rose, allspice berry and amber. Apparently it’s been reformulated, and disastrously so, which is definitely an occurrence to bemoan.

Before you send me blithely off to eBay, think again: I already tried that. Four years ago, actually (right after TC changed the packaging to that ugly round metallized-plastic bottle), plus several times since, and while Teo Cabanels in general are quite difficult to find used, Alahine bottles are nigh-impossible. I still have about 45 mls left. It’ll have to do me for the next umpteen Christmases.

Sunday, Dec. 17: We went to my MIL’s church this morning to hear the cantata (very well done!), dressed up more than usual. We go to a jeans-‘n’-flannel shirt kind of church, which has its own level of comfort, but her traditional church is nice as well. SOTD was the clean, symphonic floral Hermes 24, Faubourg. Lots of orange blossom in it, which reads “nice soap” and “flowery clean” on my skin.


Scent Diary, December 4-10, 2017

I am planning to keep Scent Diary going in all of 2018, even if it’s a curt, “Monday I wore X, Tuesday I wore Y, Wednesday the calves got out and I wore Z,” sort of thing.

My father-in-law used to say, “There ain’t nothin’ better than a good cow dog. And there ain’t nothin’ worse than a bad one.” Unfortunately, Hunter is . . . well, honest truth is he’s bad.
Photo stolen from Circle L Stock Dogs, which apparently breeds and trains good ones.

BTDubs, the calves did get out last Friday. Bookworm was going out to her car to leave for work (she leaves around 7:20 for an 8 a.m. start, earlier than everybody else) and came rushing back to the house to exclaim that calves were in the yard — not in the shop lot, or the road, the yard of the house, i.e., inside Hunter’s Invisible Fence bailiwick which he polices with some diligence, running at the fence to scare cows away from it because they are Big and Scary and Might Hurt Mommy. So of course the dog was out for his morning constitutional when the calves managed to knock the gate from the Pond Field off its hinges and get into the shop lot, from which it’s a simple 20 yards into the yard when the shop/yard gate is open. So there were these seven confused yearling calves wandering around, and Hunter trying to herd them, and poor Bookworm trying to leave on time for work. Not that Hunter has the least idea how to herd, just (apparently) a strong instinct. And, of course, The CEO was in the shower and couldn’t help at that particular moment.

Hunter did manage to sort of round most of them up and then Taz was able to direct them back into the shop lot, because usually when cattle are being driven, they see an open gate or a break in a fence and they make for it, trying to get away from whatever’s behind them in a desperate HE MIGHT BE A PREDATOR OH LOOK A NEW FIELD WE’LL LOSE HIM IN THERE! herd mentality. Bookworm used her mad cattle-rounding skillz to direct them into the shop lot and closed that gate, then closed the gate from the lot into the road, leaving the shop lot/yard gate for Taz and me.

At this point, The CEO was hastily drying off and struggling into clothes, and Taz and I discovered that Hunter had penned one straggler into the corner of the yard farthest from the gate we wanted him to go through, and while I was trying to calm the dog down, the calf panicked and jumped over the fence into the 20-Acre Field, at first entangling his feet and then managing to get loose without hurting himself (whew). Hunter, deprived of animals to herd, was so flipped out that he raced around the yard for the next ten minutes, barking, “And stay out! You heard me! That’s your side of the fence, this is mine!”

As it turns out, that straggler that wound up in the wrong field was scheduled to be moved into that group anyway — and didn’t break his leg. Bookworm was not late for work and Taz was not late for school, and Hunter didn’t get kicked senseless, so all’s well that ends well. Shame I didn’t get any pictures.

Monday, Dec. 4: Nice-ish weather, in the upper 50s F, and not too cloudy. I am still missing what I think of as “regular December weather,” which would be a good 15 to 20 degrees cooler. Still, I got some things done: tiny strand of lights amongst the Nativity figures, some grocery and Christmas shopping, some writing, the big closet cleaned out, and firestarters made.

The Friday community project at Now Smell This this week is to wear something with patchouli. Now, y’all know me and patch are not friends. Most of the time, that is. I have identified some instances in which I don’t hate it (usually, that’s when it is really aged enough to smell herbal and mellow rather than oily and dusty). Today I’m wearing the pretty floral chypre Leonard de Leonard, which has a strong component of green, almost floral-sweet, aged patchouli. Shame this one is long gone, because it was nice. Think of a Paloma Picasso without fangs!

Tuesday, Dec. 5: Weather the same temp as yesterday, but cloudier. I hear we’re supposed to get some snow soon and I am so excited! YAAAAYYY! (Shhh, I hope The CEO didn’t hear me say that, he hates snow.) Made some more firestarters this morning and have now used up my supply of cardboard egg cartons, as my local store has started using, ick, styrofoam packaging. Oh well.

SOTD is the voluptuous Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour femme, which Denyse Beaulieu of Grain de Musc calls a “bodice-ripper of a rose.” Also noticeable in it are narcissus and a metric ton of patchouli, again the mellow aged kind I like and not the oily-dusty-abandoned-attic kind that gives me the willies.

Wednesday, Dec. 6: Errands. And Christmas crafting. And laundry. Bleagh.

SOTD was that rosy chypre bombshell L’Arte di Gucci. Yaaaaas. Gosh, L’Arte is just so so good. Sometimes I think I prefer the similar Lumiere Noire, and then I wear L’Arte again and it knocks me for a loop all over again. Such a diva.

Thursday, Dec. 7: I dragged another chunk o’ Christmas decor out of the attic: baskets, tins, linens, the stars that go with the Nativity set and the Christmas village, the Christmas books, the framed holiday art. (Still up there: artificial garland, lights, wreaths, my nutcracker collection and all the Christmas dishes and mugs. That’s a lot of work still to be done.)

My wrists this morning smelled so fabulous that I was stunned. It was, of course, the far far drydown of L’Arte di Gucci (how? I have scent-eating skin! I put on one spray of L’Arte yesterday MORNING), absolutely fabulous, and so I respritzed after my shower.

After last week’s disastrous community chorus rehearsal, it was reassuring to have a good one. Concerts are this coming Sunday and Monday.

Friday, Dec. 8: We had blowing snow this morning that did not stick around, but it was exciting to finally have some seasonally appropriate weather. I am sorta kinda participating in the NST community project by wearing the not-patchouli* Le Labo Patchouli 24, which smells like the 1860-built smokehouse behind my grandparents’ house. It’s interesting . . . but not patchouli.
* Basically, if Le Labo names the fragrance after a raw material, that’s not what it’s going to smell like. Rose 31 smells like patchouli. So does Iris 39. Tubereuse 40 smells like a citrus cologne. Fleurs d’Oranger 27 smells like orange baby aspirin. Benjoin 19 smells like amber instead of benzoin. Current hipster obsession Santal 33 smells of cedar and synthetic “woods.” The exception seems to be Aldehyde 44, which does smell like aldehydes, and which they have discontinued. Man, I hate everything about Le Labo.

Saturday, Dec. 9: Woke up to snow!

It didn’t last. By 2 pm it was melting off, but it was lovely. We cleaned house and decorated it, except for the tree, because The CEO says there’s a shortage of cut trees in the area and he doesn’t want to get one too soon anyway. Which is fine. The Nativity set and snow village have been up since last week; the garland is on the porch and the big wreath up in the 2nd story window. Stockings are hung on the banister (our mantel is in the basement family room). Nutcrackers are standing on the piano. SOTD was Organza Indecence, which I thought would be a nice spicy-vanilla to go with the cloved oranges on the hall table. However, the dusty patchouli in it, which usually sits at a level juuuust under my Ugh-o-meter, pushed the needle into the red and bugged me all day.

Sunday, Dec. 10: All during December, our church holds services at a local church building in the evening. It’s designed to give volunteers a break from setting up and tearing down (chairs, sound system, music stuff, children’s ministry room), and I get that, but I am not a fan. Sure, it’s nice to be in somebody’s Christmas-decorated sanctuary without having to move chairs for a change, but I kinda hate waiting until evening. And it often conflicts with programs or concerts being held on Sunday evenings, so that’s another reason.

This afternoon was the first of two Christmas concerts by my community chorus. The Sunday concert is usually held at the Presbyterian church in Pulaski, which has lovely high ceilings and mellow wood-paneled walls, and is an acoustical sweet spot, a really gorgeous place for a choir concert. Everything went very well today, except for the oboe soloist. (I don’t play anything woodwind, so I don’t really get it — but saxophone/clarinet player Bookworm and music educator Mom think the oboe itself was not properly warmed up, or perhaps kept warm. Shrug. It was the lone discordance in an otherwise good concert.)

SOTD was a tiny dab of Donna Karan Black Cashmere on the back of my hand, clean stony incense with benzoin. Mmm.



Scent Diary, Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2017

Monday, Sept. 25 – So last night I found out that my mom, who is recovering from that surgery on her spine she had earlier in the summer, fell on Saturday as she was preparing to take the cat to a vet appointment. The cat had vomited in the hall, Mom didn’t see it, her foot hit the slippery spot and down she went, first banging her shoulder into the wall and then hitting her wrist on the floor. She’s got a wrist brace and a sling as well as some pain meds; unfortunately, it’s her right arm that’s hurt.

I spent some time making food to take to her. Simple stuff: roast beef, baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, and a stew-like casserole that involves cube steak, potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes.  Warm day. WHERE is my fall weather??

SOTD was Dame Perfumery Narcissus, from the Soliflore collection. It’s gorgeous, if a bit short-lived, and has that lovely dirty-floral angle that narcissus often has. Funny how much I love narcissus in perfume, especially when I’ve never been all that super-enamored of the smell of the fresh blossoms, but there it is: if there’s noticeable narcissus in it, I’m pretty much going to love it. (Exceptions: Chloe Narcisse, ew, and — surprisingly — L’Artisan’s expensive limited “Harvest” edition Fleur de Narcisse, 2006, which I found underwhelming.)

Tuesday, Sept. 26 – Hot again, upper 80s F. Bookworm and I drove down and did a few things around the house with Mom. SOTD was Le Temps d’une Fete (speaking of narcissus!). Then home and cleaning up for small group Bible study.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 — HOT. Again. Now anxiously awaiting the appearance of October and October weather. I know, I know, it’s Indian summer, but 90F is Too Much Heat for September IMHO.

For my SOTD I thought of Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille, since the Friday project at Now Smell This is skank and JE is a lovely warm dirty jasmine/orange blossom/stable kind of scent… but y’all, it’s hot. No. I wore a smidge of Smell Bent Florist’s Fridge for exactly that experience of sticking your head inside the florist’s cooler; it’s mostly just that cool-air feeling over some flowers and greenery. Smell Bent says orchid and hyacinth, but I really just get carnation plus some nonspecific floralcy. One day I’m going to layer it next to a bit of Jacomo Silences, for some rose and additional greenery.

I wrote some, completed four loads of laundry, and mowed half the yard before worship team practice.

Thursday, Sept. 28 — SOTD was DSH Perfumes Giverny in Bloom, which is a wonderful inky-green galbanum over flowers. Warm again, but not as hot as yesterday. I got the Sorento’s oil changed, hit up the post office and the Wal-Mart (water softener salt, dog food, and Gatorade), then watched “Madagascar” during lunch. I love the penguins. “Shut that guy up!”

Then mowed the rest of the grass, which may have been a mistake because I’m now having shooting pains in my pelvic area, a symptom I’ve been seeing with increasing frequency lately. Time to go see my OB-GYN, but I couldn’t get an appointment any earlier than December. Maybe I should see my GP for the pain and find out if his office could maybe get me a referral for a quicker appointment. Had to skip choir practice this evening.

Friday, Sept. 29 – Not as hot as yesterday. Started out the day in a tiny dab of Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur for NST’s Friday project (skank, which MR is only a little bit of on me), but the gingerbread-vanilla wore on my nerves as the day warmed up and I washed it off. On to Pierre de Velay Parfum Extrait No. 11, a very classic floral chypre recipe made by Roja Dove with modern ingredients. It smells a good bit like RD’s original, limited edition eau de parfum version of Diaghilev, plus a good dash of black pepper and minus Diaghilev edp’s hilariously-weird Freshly Dry-Cleaned Velvet Stage Curtain accord. (I haven’t smelled the current parfum version of Diaghilev, which right now sells for just under $1000 [not a typo, I mean a thousand dollars] for 100ml, and which is said to be significantly different from the first version created for the Victoria and Albert Museum.)

ESPN is setting up on Alumni Mall on Virginia Tech’s campus… right next to the cadet dorms… for tomorrow’s VT-Clemson game. We decided not to drive to Roanoke for the Pulaski County-Hidden Valley football game, but that only means I have to make it to the next home game this coming week. I haven’t even seen this year’s marching band show! Doesn’t matter that I don’t have a kid in it anymore. They’re all still my band kids.

Saturday, Sept. 30 – Finally cooler weather and a rare weekend without a cross-country meet. We cleaned the house; Bookworm and The CEO went hiking up Bald Knob at Mountain Lake; I made grilled lamb steaks and roast potatoes for dinner and Bookworm made an apple pie. Yummy!  SOTD was Givenchy Organza Indecence, cinnamon-vanilla wood pudding that I know from experience smells fabulous in fall.

Then we went to our pastor’s house to watch the Virginia Tech-Clemson game on the big outdoor screen near their fire pit, which was fun until the ESPN app cut out. We went inside to try ABC instead (highlight of the evening: Taz and Bookworm sitting close to watch together). We went home at halftime, and I gave up on the game after the third quarter. We hadn’t expected Tech to win, but it was pitiful, y’all. Clemson is just that good. (Final score Clemson 24, VT 10.)

Sunday, Oct. 1 – YAY OCTOBERRRRR!!! Bring on the fall weather! SOTD was more Organza Indecence since it was so nice yesterday.

Here are the HT trombones rocking out during the Hokie Walk before the game, from the HT Flickr page (click through for link), altered with my red arrow over Gaze’s head. Those are Gaze’s hands. I KNOW THOSE HANDS. In the next pic in that album, his head is up and you can see his face. I knew it was him!

I seem to spend my Sunday afternoons skimming through the most recent Highty Tighties Flickr album, looking for Gaze. I’m often able to find him in a sea of other cadets dressed the same by recognizing the shape of his head, or his slender build. Moms are like that. I have literally said to Bookworm in the past week, “Look, there’s Gaze. I know it’s him, that’s his leg,” and then been proven right by zooming in on his face in the photo.  (I admit, though, that sometimes I have to start by looking for his trombone.)


Scent Diary, Sept. 18-24, 2017

Wow, a lotta stuff has gone on since I last posted a Scent Diary…

Monday, Sept. 18: Cloudy morning, warm afternoon. Mowed the grass. Wore PdR Rose d’Ete for the final time this summer and put it away for next.

Photo by me. Unfortunately, my cell phone has a crappy camera.

Gaze ran the “Hokie Half” half-marathon yesterday, and the PCHS cross-country team/boosters manned a hydration station at the 6-mile mark. I got voluntold to go pick up Gaze at his dorm and take him to the starting line, which I did, and got a pretty cool pic of him near the finish line. He ran 13.1 miles (about 21.1 km) in 1:33:08 and finished 38th out of over 1200 runners, 3rd in his age/gender group. That’s about 7:07 for EACH MILE, y’all. Wow.  He had to run it in the officially-sanctioned VTCC Physical Training gear (including that weird reflective belt), since freshman cadets have not yet earned the right to wear other clothing for athletic pursuits.

He seems to be settling in very well in the Corps. He likes his roommates; he’s made several friends; he’s enjoying being in the regimental band. His grades are good, so far. PT is easy for him and he’s doing well in his ROTC class. The Corps’ rules are, he says, petty and annoying but not onerous or unreasonable, and many of those rules will be relaxed toward the end of the year, in any case. Meanwhile, I had to buzz his head again before he went back to campus. New cadets are required to keep their hair at the “0” setting on the sides and neck, and the top can be no longer than the “2” setting on the clippers, which is 1/4 inch. It is not, shall we say, a particularly attractive look on my good-looking boy.

Fun fact: I cried the first time we cut his baby hair, that beautiful dandelion-yellow duckling fluff.  He went from “baby” to “little boy” in about thirty seconds, and I suppose I just wasn’t ready for that. All my babies had sweet hair, but something about the way that first haircut changed Gaze’s face just tugged on my mama heartstrings.

Tuesday, Sept. 19: Another foggy morning melting into a warm afternoon. SOTD was going to be Esprit d’Oscar but I wound up in Mary Greenwell Plum instead; I’m not sorry.

Wednesday, Sept. 20: Another “Investments in Learning” assembly at the high school — academic and attendance awards are given for the previous year, and there is a cash drawing for all students who passed a standardized test the prior year. For each test passed, the student’s name is placed in the pool, so someone who passed three tests would have their name in the pot three times. Individuals, local businesses, and local organizations donate money to sponsor awards, and names are drawn until all the prizes are given. This year the school gave away 70 prizes of $100 each. Pretty exciting, and a good way to encourage kids to take their exams seriously. (I only have one of these assemblies left; Taz is a junior. Man, time passes.) I wore lovely Frederic Malle Iris Poudre.

Taz had a decent showing at the Maroon Tide cross-country meet today. Came in 4th in the JV race. He was pleased.

Thursday, Sept. 21: Warm. Dang, Summer, GO AWAY. The grass needs to be cut again. SOTD was Chanel 1932, a dab of parfum. Bookworm sniffed me and said, “You smell very Chanel-y.” I agree. It’s that iris in the base, I think. I do not really care for iris-focused scents (Iris Poudre is more about benzoin and aldehydes than iris, if you ask me), but I like that Chanel iris very much.

Gaze emailed me last night asking for help in getting the official Virginia Tech health center immunization document turned in — apparently we had gotten the ROTC form signed but not also done the university one. Gah, paperwork. So I dropped it by the doctor’s office with a note for Nurse Barbara, and they had it completed in about three hours.

The CEO and Bookworm have been preparing for Saturday’s cross-country meet, which our team is hosting. There’s a shocking (to me) number of things that must be done beforehand, from ordering and picking up the awards and medals to getting a copy of the course map made and mounted, to borrowing the outdoor carpet pieces from a neighboring high school for covering the pieces of asphalt road the runners will cross. Not to mention arranging the timing, the DJ, the parent volunteers, the concessions, the coaches’ packets… Our coach is fabulous, but organization is not his forte, so The CEO has been doing it.

Friday, Sept. 22: Still too warm. Grr. SOTD is Chanel 1932 again, because it’s purty. I’d been planning to go to the football game to see the high school marching band — I have yet to catch their halftime show this year — but wound up having worship team practice until well into the first half, so there was no point going so late. Maybe next week. I’m missing my band kids.

The PCHS Boys’ JV Cross-Country Team with their trophy, plus a couple of varsity guys with their trophy. Taz is fourth from the left on the front row. Photo by Brad Winesett.

Saturday, Sept. 23: HOT. (GRRRR.) No SOTD. Taz’s cross-country team hosted the second annual Cougar Clash Invitational meet. The day was pretty hectic, but things went smoothly. Twelve teams were invited (that’s a medium-size meet). Taz ran well, snagging 6th place in the boys’ JV race; his team won the JV team trophy, by placing runners at 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Our varsity boys also won their division by placing runners at positions 1, 5, 8, 9, and 16.

I hated to miss Military Appreciation Day at Virginia Tech, and especially because there was a halftime show by a combined band of Marching Virginians (the non-cadet band at VT), Highty-Tighties (the regimental band), and the marching band from Old Dominion University. I personally know 7 kids in the MVs and 2 in the HTs, and I would have loved to have seen the show.

Again the Highty Tighties’ professional photographer (I kinda haunt that Flickr page) got some great shots of the whole Corps as well as the HTs and the combined band practice. Here’s one of the three New Cadet HT trombones on the sideline before the game, making friends with some ODU cheerleaders.

That’s Gaze in the middle there. Click through to go to photographer’s Flickr page.
This photo is all rights reserved and I merely intend to share a link to it, with attribution and acknowledgment that I do not make any money from this blog. (If requested by owner, I will certainly remove the photo.)

Sunday, Sept. 24: Our wandering-around church, which has been meeting in an elementary school for the 4 years it’s been in existence, had to find another spot while the elementary school was undergoing some renovation this summer. We wound up at the local YMCA a few months ago, and since it’s going to take some time for the school project to be completed, we will be staying at the Y. Both Critzer and the Pulaski Y have been awesome and generous hosts, but I think the Y is going to be a better fit for us. The monthly rent is about a third of what we were paying the school, and a housing complex where we’ve been building some relationships is very close to the Y. I love Northstar.

Wonderful message today based on James 1:26-27 (26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.), with the focus on the “looking after orphans” portion. There are 76 foster children in our (meth-infested) county alone. 23 of them are adoption-track. Could I be doing more to help?


Breakfast for Lunch and Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur all day. And laundry. A good day.


End of August, 2017

Along the road to Hana, on Maui. Photo by The CEO. Yes, the water really is that shade of blue.

Well, here we are approaching the end of summer (goodbye, good riddance, don’t let the screen door hit ya in the butt on the way out, August), and I’ve been shockingly remiss in not posting for the last, what, 7 weeks.

There will be a little bit of perfume stuff in this post. There will be some family stuff, some vacation stuff, and some maybe-future stuff. Read on. 🙂

So back in the early part of the summer, The CEO was invited to do a seminar through the Extension office of the University of Hawaii on the island of Kauai, in July. We had visited Kauai following his NACTA (National Association of College Teachers of Agriculture) convention in Honolulu last summer, and fell in love with the place.

Beach near our rental condo, Kapaa, Kauai. Photo by The CEO.

We’ve now been to four of the five populated islands of Hawai’i (well, okay, we did actually set foot on Molokai during our recent trip from Oahu to Maui, when our little inter-island plane set down to let a passenger off), and Kauai is the place where we felt most comfortable. It is considerably more rural/small-town than the other islands, even the non-resort area of Big Island, and there is a general friendliness and a regard for island life (culture, ecology, conservation, a spirit of aloha) I didn’t notice elsewhere. There is, I don’t know, a gratitude for Kauai, on Kauai.

Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Photo by The CEO. Beach on one side, beautiful mountain on the other…

In case you are wondering, the perfect fragrances for Hawai’i seem to be Big White Florals such as Frederick Malle Carnal Flower and Byredo Flowerhead — surprise, surprise — and Arielle Shoshana’s delightful passionfruit-focused fragrance, Arielle Shoshana eau de parfum. (Go order a sample here, stat. You won’t be sorry.) I also discovered the wonders of fresh island-grown papaya, and we revisited my favorite Kauai restaurant, Verde, for the best fish tacos I’ve ever had.

That trip took up the last part of July. The day we got home from Hawai’i, Bookworm got home from New Haven, and she’s here for the time being.  She’d still like to go to grad school, I think, but she wants some time away from school and is planning to get a job or long-term internship while she figures out where she’d like to focus her efforts next. I’m just glad to have her home for now.

L-R: Bookworm (22), Ian (13), Ian’s baby brother Erich (9 months), Taz (16), Airin (7), and Gaze (18). Incidentally, this is one of the last pics of Gaze before his hair got buzzed off.

We got to have a little family reunion with my sister and her family, and my brother and his family, at my parents’ house recently. With A in upstate NY and P in Florida, it’s hard to get everyone together. But here are all my parents’ grandchildren in one spot! Mom was thrilled.

New Cadet Gaze at the top of the rappelling tower. This face either means, “I really didn’t want to be up this high,” or maybe, “Get that stupid camera out of my face, I’m doing something here!” Also, notice his distinct lack of hair. Photo via the Commandant’s Facebook page.

Gaze is off to college himself. He is, as I’ve mentioned before, a part of Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets program, and he has just completed New Cadet Week, the week-long “boot camp” for incoming freshman. This is the time when new cadets are issued their uniforms, get their hair cut, learn to make their beds military style, learn to march, begin learning rifle drill, do physical training (PT), and become familiar with the training facilities (the rappelling tower and the obstacle course). Other than letters they might receive, there’s no outside contact for the cadets during NCW: no TV, no internet, no phone. Lights out at 10 pm, room inspections at 6:15 am. That will relax at the end of NCW, after the parade demonstration tomorrow.

Gaze at the obstacle course. Photo via the Commandant’s Facebook page.

Fortunately, the Commandant’s office posts photos (many, many photos!) of New Cadet Week on their Facebook page, so that parents can see what’s going on, and hope to pick out their own cadet by playing “where’s Baldo?”

Taz has started school as well, driving himself to and from with, so far, no issue. He’s a junior, which I can hardly believe, and it looks like he’s going to have a good cross-country season based on his times so far.

I am not quite ready to publish my first e-book; I need to do some hole-patching subsequent to a major overhaul of the original draft. However, I created its digital cover last Thursday and I’m ridiculously excited about it. I’d like to be putting it out around December 1. Stand by for further announcements.

Stuff I’ve been wearing this past week:
Chanel 1932. So pretty. Just so gosh-darn pretty! Delightful citrus with jasmine and, I swear, the lightweight version of its fellow Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 Rue Cambon’s beautiful iris-amber drydown.
Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete. Fruity yellow rose with a bit of talcum powder. I especially love its gentle simplicity.
Carven Eau de Parfum. I can’t really define it, but this is easily identified as a Francis Kurkdjian composition. I like FK’s stuff. I like this. It’s commercial and contemporary, a pinkish floral with patchouli. I’m not sorry I like it.
DSH Chypre. Mostly to bed, because the labdanum is a little disturbing during the day, but yummy.
Leonard de Leonard. Discontinued aaaages ago; I snagged a decant of it from a friend. Remember how vintage Ivoire de Balmain annoyed me because it was both soapy and mossy? This is soapy, mossy, and floral, and apparently that makes the difference for me. The patchouli in this is aged to almost a candy sweetness next to the dry richness of oakmoss; the orange blossom makes it Dove-soapy; the carnation and rose keep it from having that discord that Ivoire strikes me as having. This thing is very very green and very flowery. I go through occasional stages where nothing else suits me.


Scent Diary, July 3-9, 2017

Monday, July 3: SOTD was Hanae Mori Haute Couture. This one is completely unlike the brand’s eponymous “berries with sugar and cream” fragrance in the butterfly packaging. Instead, it’s like a homemade spritzer drink — tart mixed fruit juices livened by sparkling tonic water.

Tuesday, July 4: For the first time in years we’re not having an extended family gathering. One aunt has moved to Florida, one aunt is ill, my mom’s still recovering from surgery and not up to helping yet, and my other aunt felt it was too much for her to handle alone. We took my sweet MIL to visit my parents and ate a nice meal there. It was not terribly hot, but it was so humid that once you stepped outside, you began to sweat immediately. Ugh. SOTD was DSH La Fete Nouvelle, drying hay and sweet musk.

Wednesday, July 5: SOTD was Silences pdt. Spent an unbelievable amount of time gathering things on Gaze’s “New Cadet Packing List” for August (I know, I’ve been working on it for at least three weeks now. I still haven’t bought his computer, either.)

Changed out the “spring” current-season fragrance rotation for the “summer” one. As it turns out, I have a lot of frags I only wear in summer… I highlighted the ones that only come into rotation between June and September.
Front row, L-R: decant of By Kilian Sweet Redemption, Marc Jacobs parfum, Bvlgari Omnia Paraiba, Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, Chanel 1932 parfum and edt, Ines de la Fressange (Calice Becker), and DelRae Wit.
Middle row: Cuir de Lancome, Donna Karan Gold edp, Chanel 1932 edp decant, DSH La Fete Nouvelle, Carven Le Parfum, Mary Greenwell Plum.
Back row: Parfums de Rosine Rose D’Ete, Jacomo Silences pdt, YSL Paris Pont des Amours, Moschino Funny!, Hanae Mori Haute Couture, and Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Yuzu.

Thursday, July 6: Took Taz to driving lessons and then to the orthopedist, in order to rule out possible arthritis in his hip, which his primary care doctor thought was a long shot anyway. (Back in May when the school offered sports physicals staffed by local doctors at $10 a pop, Taz answered a “Do you ever have any pain?” question with “Sometimes my hip pops and hurts,” so he was ordered to have this occasional mild pain evaluated before he could participate in school sports again.) We can consider it ruled out; it appears to be a tight IT (iliotibial) band — common in runners — that’s making his hip pop with certain sideways motions. He’s supposed to do some exercises, but that’s all.

It’s hot. It’s muggy. I hate July. I did manage to go for a quick walk down the gravel drive, then up the paved road to the airport and back home, something like 1.7 miles, and was drenched in sweat by the time I finished.

Then shoved off to a cookout for the church worship team, which was quite nice although the smoke from the fire pit kept drifting over us. SOTEvening was a small spritz of Wit.

Friday, July 7: Last day of driving class, and Taz passed the test so he can legally drive alone now.  Rain in the morning, tapering off in the afternoon, left the air still warm but considerably less muggy. The CEO left on a quick visit to three of his students’ summer internship posts.

SOTD was Mary Greenwell Plum.

Politician George Fox (Jim Carter) speaks to a throne-coveting Prince George (Rupert Everett), in a still from the film set in 1788.
Prince George IV, Prince of Wales, as painted by (the perennially optimistic) Thomas Gainsborough in 1782.








Saturday, July 8: Cleaned house with the boys until The CEO got home. Went for a short walk with my MIL, then a longer one in the cool of evening, and watched “The Madness of King George” on TV. Good story, but I admit I’m a little skeptical of Rupert Everett as a young Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent, then King George IV): he’s far, far too slender. Even when young, Prinny had nascent jowls.

Hit 9733 steps before bed. I’d set my goal at 8000 (look, it was just too difficult to get 10K, and it was depressing, so I nudged the goal down to 7500 and then to 8000 when I was starting to hit 7500 consistently) and it was fun to feel the Fitbit buzz at me.

Sunday, July 9: Church at the lake — pretty but really hot, and I got a massive headache in a short period of time. Should’ve taken the umbrella and used it to shield myself — tell me again, why did we give up sunshades? Oh yeah, Coco Chanel and the now de rigeur tan. SOTD was gorgeous Ines de la Fressange, the Calice Becker version.

I’m behind on revising the novel. Again. 🙁