Scent Diary, June 13-19, 2011

Romantic Perfume from Ms. Tina at Flickr

Over the weekend, dire circumstances befell certain farm equipment, and so today The CEO had to drive to neighboring C-burg to drop off the mower, which has a broken spring, at Farmland Equipment, and the John Deere 4230 tractor, which has a broken seal in the water pump and is leaking hydraulic fluid, at the John Deere dealership. (Luckily, most of the mowing and baling has been done for the first cutting, and there’s no immediate pressing need for those pieces of equipment. There’s time to get them repaired.) I had to go to Wimmer’s and pick him up, a round trip of about an hour and a half, with a third of the time spent waiting for him to make arrangements with the guys at the tractor dealership…

After supper, The CEO headed off for a conference in Calgary. He’ll be gone about ten days, spending several of them at the conference and the rest in sightseeing. SOTEvening: Moschino L’Eau Cheap & Chic, for review.

Tuesday, June 14: Another cool day, highs in the low 80s. It’s beautiful outside. SOTD: The Different Company Osmanthus, which I’m finding pretty and soapy-peachy. Not worth the four-star paean it gets in P:TG, in my opinion, but there again, personal preferences play a huge role in any review. The drydown reminds me just a bit of that of No. 5 Eau Premiere.

SOTAfternoon: Moschino Funny! Been on the phone a lot today: looks like the swim lessons for the boys will be underway in a few weeks, and their week-long summer day camp starts next week. Also, there may be a possibility of an active Boy Scout troop in P—– for Gaze, and I’m thinking that Taz might like to learn to play the piano, since he’s been dinking around on it for some time now. As for Bookworm, her time is pretty well taken up with marching band stuff all summer. Running camp conflicts with the beginning of band camp, so she won’t be doing that, but her behind-the-wheel driver’s instruction is scheduled. The internship with the Congressman is still up in the air, however.

Wednesday, June 15: Still cool, and I am loving this weather! Our neighbor’s donkey woke me up early again today. Curse the thing, I hate him. There are actually two donkeys, but it’s the jack that’s loud; the jenny minds her own business. SOTMorning: Eau de Merveilles. I did really like it when I sprayed it on a card in the Rome airport Duty Free shop in March, but when I tried it on skin I was disappointed. It’s pleasant enough, but… okay, I’ll say it: deeply boring.

Took the kids to the library. Our local one is very, very small, and the offerings are limited. Still, there’s usually something there to read. SOTAfternoon: Crown Bouquet. Funny, I didn’t have any cravings for this juicy green thing earlier in the year, but it sure smells great to me today. Then we rented the latest Harry Potter movie to watch this evening. Bookworm and I had gone to see this one – Part 1 of Deathly Hallows – when it came out in November, but the theater was so busy and noisy, and people kept getting up and going out and coming back in and going out again and returning, each time squeaking the door and letting in light from the lobby, that I think I missed a good third of the dialogue.

Thursday, June 16: Taught Bookworm how to run the lawnmower. My dad never taught me how to do it; either he was worried about how I’d manage the hills in the back yard, or he thought it was a man’s job (he did teach my brother, but it’s possible that P may have asked to learn). Funny thing is, in The CEO’s family, mowing the yard was a woman’s job – while the man was out wrangling cattle and fixing tractors and planting corn and whatnot. I like mowing because I’m outside and nobody is yelling, “Mom! He’s cheating!” or “Make her leave me alone!” Did some laundry, posted a review, yada yada, boring sort of day. SOTD: Moschino Funny! , which sort of makes up for the boring.


Hayley, summer 2010

I also took Hayley, our 8-year-old beagle-lab mix, to the vet. Last Friday evening, while the boys were out in the yard playing football, our neighbors’ German shepherd began barking at them. Dakota is the third female German shepherd that Roger and Debbie have had in the nine years we’ve lived in this house: Elsie was part collie and a big old sweetheart, but she died unexpectedly, possibly from consuming antifreeze. Hemi was next, and she was all sound and no fury; despite the fact that she weighed twice as much as Hayley, Hayley could run her off with a growl. But one of our other neighbors hit Hemi with his truck one late-summer twilight, right there in front of Roger and Debbie’s house with their son watching. Very sad. Dakota is not much like the other two: she’s even bigger than Hemi, and she’s not willing to let some 47-pound pipsqueak of a dog run her off. A few years ago, half-grown, she got the notion that our farm shop was part of her territory, and started to attack The CEO and another guy who was working for us, as well as Hayley, every time they went into the lot. So Roger put in an Invisible Fence, and things have been calm since then – except that the other day, Dakota was growling at the boys, and Hayley, who’s very protective of her human pups, went into Dakota’s yard and challenged her. We had to really yell at Hayley to get her away from Dakota, but finally Gaze got her back into our yard and brought her in the house, bleeding from one ear.

I cleaned the ear and put antibiotic salve on it, and that seemed to be her only wound. But we noticed that within a few days, the Canine Vacuum Cleaner had to be called to dinner and coaxed to eat, and didn’t want to play in the yard with her Frisbee. Her ear looked worse, so I finally called the vet. Turns out that she actually had another bite on her flank, that we’d overlooked in all her fur, and that she’d been scratching at her ear and turned it into a “hot spot.” The technicians had to anesthetize her in order to clip her and clean her wounds, poor baby, and she’s on antibiotics and a corticosteroid to reduce the irritation and scratching.

Friday, June 17: Hot again, in the 90s. SOTMorning: Testing Shiseido Inoui EdT on one arm, and Nobile 1942 Chypreon the other. Will probably review both of these; they’re interesting, if not exactly what I expected.   Hayley’s appetite has returned. She must be feeling better.


Took Bookworm to B’burg to meet with someone regarding a loosely-constructed internship with our congressman’s campaign committee. SOTAfternoon: Idylle EdT (thanks again, Karin!).

Saturday, June 18: Miserably hot and humid, 96F. The boys went to spend the day with their Grandmom B (The CEO’s mom), while Bookworm and I went to help with a band fundraiser. The arrangement actually annoys the crap out of me because the way it works is, there’s a company that sets up the carnival/picnic facilities – usually for a company or organization’s summer picnic – with food, portajohns and tents and tables and chairs, as well as inflatables, games, crafts, and prizes for kids, and snacks like ice cream, sno-kones, and cotton candy. The carnival-arranging company gets paid a flat fee, of which the band receives a part for providing most of the labor. This fee is nowhere near minimum wage for a ten-hour day, even for the 20 adults, much less the 40 band members. The carnival company is making money that they wouldn’t be making if they were paying employees to do these jobs, which just burns my shorts. But then, where else is the band boosters going to make $2000 for a day’s worth of work? Arrgh.

Aaaanyway. It was hot, it was hot, it was miserably hot. SOTD: Mirto di Panarea, from Acqua di Parma’s Blu Mediterraneo series. It was lovely for the hour it stuck around. After that I was sweaty and smelled like barbecue, so I doubt anyone could have perceived my scent anyway.

Then it rained. We saved some of the food cooking on the grill, but it rained buckets and the wind knocked down the food tent, and most of the company picnic-goers left. I was soaked. Bookworm seemed to be having a good time, as she usually does at this sort of thing; at least she didn’t get sunburned.

Sunday, June 19: Cooler today after the storm. It’s a shame that The CEO is missing Father’s Day with his family, but I think he’s having a great time wandering around the Canadian Rockies. SOTD: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, such a pretty, warm-smelling thing. Had a nice time at my parents’ house; Bookworm will be staying there next week, while I take the boys to their summer camp classes at Governor’s School.


Jasper National Park, Canada, photo by The CEO



Scent Diary, June 6-12, 2011

Our road, June 2011

Monday, June 6: Took Bookworm to the Community College to do a placement test for the Governor’s School, then we bought groceries. SOTMorning: Annick Goutal Rose Splendide, which is really pretty but doesn’t last all that long, i.e., a standard floral Goutal.

SOTAfternoon: By Kilian Beyond Love. All tuberose, all the time. Yummy. Bookworm and I helped The CEO moved another bunch of cows from the Front Field into the Meadow Field, in preparation for moving them into the barn lot tomorrow. This bunch was less insane than the one the day before – or maybe moving them one field at a time, one day at a time, is easier.

The Gator ran out of gas on the way back home, and we had to push it off the gravel road and hoof it back home, maybe three quarters of a mile. Not awful, but the shoes I was wearing were not really up to the gravel; I think I felt every rock under my feet. SOTEvening, after a shower: Diptyque Do Son. I have tested this before; I didn’t like it. Maybe that will change today, although I’m not expecting anything.

Tuesday, June 7: Hotter than yesterday. Cleaned out the area under the master bathroom sink (holy cow, I have enough skincare products, sunscreen, haircare, and toothbrushes to stock a pharmacy). SOTMorning: Do Son again. Still not impressed.

Went to water the hanging baskets and discovered two just-hatched birds – squirmy, blind, dandelion-fuzzed – in one of them. I don’t know where the mama bird was; I hope she’s taking care of those two. I did have to either water the plant or let it die (and therefore deprive the baby birds of shelter), so I watered very very carefully, around the nest, but the nest still got a bit damp. I hope I didn’t do any permanent damage to the birdies. I had known there was a nest with eggs in that hanging basket, but since I never saw the mama bird flying in or out of the basket, I figured the eggs were sterile. Clearly they weren’t.

SOTAfternoon: Silences. Crisp and green and cool… and I’m actually starting to miss the boys, who have been at “Camp Nana” – my mother’s house – since Saturday evening. Mowed at least a third of the yard before it rained.

Wednesday, June 8: Hot again, in the low 90s. SOTD: Do Son yet again, while I write a review. I keep trying to like it, and it goes through phases of “nice,” but on the whole I think it’s a waste of my time. Finished mowing.

Thursday, June 9: (Gasp! It just occurred to me, I missed my nephew Curiosity’s birthday! Arrgh.) SOTD: testing vintage Guy Laroche Fidji, which starts out as an absolutely gorgeous sweet green floral with carnation. After a while it gets a bit soapy, and it very much has an old-fashioned feel about it, and not in a “retro-chic” sort of way. I sometimes don’t mind an old-fashioned fragrance, but the longer I have Fidji on, the more I think its day has passed – unlike older, no-longer-in-fashion fragrances that still somehow seem fresh (Apres l’Ondee comes to mind here).

My dad brought the boys back home today. I was starting to miss them, but I was definitely not missing the sibling arguments.

Hot and humid again today, in the low 90s. It poured this evening, just about the time that The CEO was walking into the house, having baled everything that had been mowed. (Yay! Perfect timing.)

Friday, June 10: I really should have done this before now, but I have been arranging the summer schedules. Gaze and Taz are going to a one-week summer camp for rising 5th, 6th, and 7th graders at the Governor’s School for Science and Technology in this area – the same magnet school where Bookworm will be taking science and math classes in the fall. They also need some intermediate swimming lessons. Then Bookworm has marching band responsibilities and cross-country practices off and on all summer, and in August she’s got to have behind-the-wheel driving instruction, and she’s trying to arrange a part-time internship with our congressman too. Aargh! SOTMorning: DSH Perfumes’ version of Norell. I’m not a big fan: it opens green and formidable and Proper Perfume-y, and then turns into a white floral, but there must be a ton of orange blossom in there, because from then on, it is SOAP SOAP SOAP. Bleargh. (Could also be a carnation note, too; sometimes carnation does that on me unless it’s the absolute. It’s hardly ever the absolute, too: carnation absolute is pricey. The cheapest I found any sample was $12 for a 2ml vial. Ouch.)

Baby robins in nest, from

The baby birds in the hanging basket, of which there are now four, appear to be thriving: they’re bigger, squirmier, livelier. We’ll be watching them. Also, I’ve now seen the mother bird flying into the basket, so she must be feeding them.  I think she’s a robin, but since she’s mostly a brownish-gray color it’s hard to tell for sure.

Went to my late grandmother’s house, to see my parents and pick up some things that Taz left at their house on Wednesday. Nell’s townhouse will be going on the market soon, so Mom and Dad and Aunt Becky and Uncle Mike, were there today putting away miscellaneous stuff and getting the house ready for viewing. SOTAfternoon, from a purse sample on the way: Guerlain Elixirs Charnels Floral Romantique. Smells nice. I do really like it, it’s a more skin-scent, creamy version of Idylle, not groundbreaking but (as I said) it simply smells nice. Too bad it’s so ridiculously expensive. Bookworm drove there and back. She’s getting better.

Saturday, June 11: Got up early, took Bookworm to a local park where the high school track teams were hosting a 5K run as a fundraiser. Cleaned house. For the SOTD, I broke out that bottle of Moschino Funny! that I bought at deep discount at the end of last summer, having drained three sample vials and realized that I kept thinking about the fragrance. It’s one of those things that works like cologne for me, and it’s terrific.

In the afternoon, Bookworm headed off to the lake with a group of band friends (the gathering hosted by Charlie’s parents), and The CEO wheedled my help with moving some hay bales from the field behind the Presbyterian church manse to the bale lot. So I got to drive the ancient Ford one-ton known as the Brown Truck. It’s in crappy shape, and probably older than I am (that is, it hit Antique Vehicle Status about 20 years ago), but it’s in better condition than the last farm truck I drove anywhere. That was the old green truck, and the first thing I said when I got into the thing was, “Honey? Honey, where are the floorboards?” Rusted out. Just prop your feet on the sides there, anywhere they’ll fit, he said. So the second thing I said was, “Well, where’s the seat?” He shrugged. It’s mostly gone. The frame’s there. And the third thing I wanted to know was, “How can I scoot the non-seat up closer so I can shift gears without sliding out of the non-seat and becoming horizontal in it?” (I am a shortish person with short legs.) You can’t scoot it, he said scornfully. It’s not made to move, it’s a bench seat. Aarrgh.

But it went well today, no troubles. Except that I didn’t return the truck to its usual parking space when we returned to the shop lot near the house: I, er… am reverse-directionally-challenged. That is, I will go to lengths to avoid having to back up into a narrowly-defined area. I never, ever, back into parking spaces, even if that means I have to wait longer to get out of a crowded lot. I ‘m always more comfortable backing from a narrow space into a wide one, particularly in a long vehicle like a farm truck, or my trusty Eddie Van.

SOTEvening: Parfumerie Generale Hyperessence Matale. Smells sort of like vegetation, sort of like cologne, and sort of like soap. It’s the Hyperessence of Meh, actually.

Sunday, June 12: Hot and muggy. SOTMorning: Hanae Mori Haute Couture, which I think of as a fizzy pink lemonade sort of fragrance, and the only jasmine-heavy scent I like. However, Bookworm scrunched up her nose and called it “sickly sweet” this morning, and Gaze said it “smelled like Nana’s house – you know, not bad, but not really a perfume.” Holy moly. They probably think I stink fully half the time they’re awake…

JHaG purse bullet pack, from

SOTAfternoon: Juliet Has a Gun Citizen Queen, in the oil formulation for the purse bullet. Dee of Beauty on the Outside was kind enough to send a purse bullet refill my way (thanks, Dee!), and wanted to know what I thought of it, given that I find the EdP pretty sexy. What can I say? It’s CQ, only with better staying power and a little more oomph. (No licentious remarks, please.) Oils typically have less sillage than alcohol preparations, but this one is wafty enough for me; I’m not a big-sillage fan. Yummy stuff, and I think the oil may be weighted toward the leather and musk, away from the aldehydes and violet of the EdP. It’s all good.


Scent Diary, May 23-29, 2011

Monday, May 23: Sunny and warm, in the low 80s, but very humid. Probably will rain today. SOTMorning: Mary Greenwell Plum, which I still love to tiny little itty bitty pieces. Testing in the afternoon, one on each wrist back, two formulations for Laurie Erickson’s (Sonoma Scent Studio) upcoming summer scent. I like them both very much, with a slight preference for the “C” formula over the “B” one. It’s a soft white floral, but clearly identifiable as an SSS fragrance, with that lovely rich base and the beeswax. It’s delicious; not all that far from Amaranthine, actually, but without the focus on ylang-ylang and milky notes.

Bookworm’s spring band concert this evening went long, two whole hours. Taz was a squirmy bundle of nerves – he didn’t eat much dinner, and he kept complaining he was hungry. Very late getting the kids in bed. SOTEvening: Ferre 20. Rain.

Tuesday, May 24: Wanted to wear Jour Ensoleille again, but couldn’t find my sample. Wound up with Le Temps d’une Fete instead, which I continually adore. Hot in the morning, rain and thunderstorms in the evening. Hayley Dog gets scared by the thunder, and goes down to cower under The CEO’s desk. No amount of petting or sweet words can coax her out when she’s nervous like this, although I’ll bet a friendly hand holding bacon would do the trick.

Wednesday, May 25: Sunny, hot, and humid – I was sure it was going to rain today, but it didn’t. SOTMorning: Voluspa Mignonette, which reminded me a great deal of Rochas Tocadilly, with a brief almond note in the middle. It’s pretty, but inconsequential. SOTAfternoon: Rose d’Ete, which I love. It was my first niche purchase, in 2009, with birthday money (ebay, tester, considerably discounted). Took Bookworm and Gaze to the high school for the $10 school physicals. Local doctors donate some time one day a year toward providing these physicals, which are required for all middle and high school students participating in a sport. It’s something of a melee, but it’s still better than dragging a kid off to the doctor’s office and paying $35. (Oh, and I found the Jour Ensoleille sample; it had rolled under the Wedgwood plate, a wedding gift that I keep on the dresser to hold things like earrings and lipsticks and safety pins… and samples.)

Thursday, May 26: SOTD: Petite Cherie, which I also love. (I find it very light and very comforting. It’s probably as close to cologne as I get: light, ephemeral, cooling. I keep it in the fridge.) Dropped kids off at school and started to do a “few errands” for The CEO, while he and Jeff the Hired Guy worked cattle, giving them a dewormer pour-on medication, and injections of a preventive vaccine called 7-Way, which inoculates against seven different very nasty cow diseases. I was to go to my erstwhile workplace and pick up a battery cable end for the truck, then go to the post office and mail two large envelopes to the IRS-USDA and the Farm Service Agency (also a government entity), and after that, deposit some checks at the bank. While I was at the NAPA store hearing about how hectic things have been since I left (three new hires, one after the other, who’ve already left, within 10 weeks!), The CEO called to see if I’d go pick up a 50-dose bottle of 7-Way, and two jugs of Cylence (the dewormer) at 5-C Farm and Home Supply in P—–, the next town over. I said, “Sure.” He called back in just a few moments to tell me that they didn’t have it, and I’d need to go to Southern States, a half-hour drive in the other direction.

So off I went to Southern States. While I was there, he called back and told me he also needed a bag of trace minerals with selenium, two bags of dicalcium phosphate, and a 50-dose bottle of Pasteurella. Oh, and while I was at it, I could go by the FSA office since I was already going to be in C-burg and drop off his mail instead of taking it to the post office.

I did all this, and also went by the fancy grocery store in R—– for a few things, including some wonderful JonaGold apples and turkey kielbasa and a bottle of Australian Pinot Grigio, which you cannot get either at Wal-mart or at Wade’s grocery store in town here. I’d left at 8 am, and it was 11:15 before I got home, unloaded the minerals and Cylence in the farm shop, and put the groceries and the cow medications in the fridge. (Doesn’t everybody keep cow meds in the fridge? No?)

Mowed the grass. SOTAfternoon: DSH Chypre Grass (recreation of Jovan Grass). I’ve worn it before to mow, and it’s very nice. Didn’t blow my little brain sideways like her recreation of Coty Chypre did, but it’s extremely pleasant.

Then the mail showed up, with a package from Dear Daisy which included small 5ml splits of Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano and Illuminum White Gardenia Petals, as well as a few samples of almond fragrances that she sent me out of the kindness of her heart. I spritzed on the White Gardenia Petals, and it’s a pretty, sanitized, forgettable white floral that lasts about an hour. Nice, and certainly the sort of light lacy thing a bride might pick, but nothing to write home about, of course. I knew this was a possibility, but someone says “white floral” and I tend to salivate. Sigh. Actually, Voluspa Mignonette was more interesting than WGP. Double sigh.

And then the dishwasher installation guys called to say they’d arrive between 3:30 and 5:00 pm, if that was okay. That was definitely okay – I’ve been looking forward to the new dishwasher. A busy day, though. Got nothing written except today’s Scent Diary entry. (The dishwasher works great, by the way. But if you happen to walk through the darkened kitchen while it’s running, it’s very Star Trekky, all blinky blue lights. Eerie.)

Friday, May 27: I headed off with Gaze at 4:30 this morning to drop him off at the middle school for his field trip to Petersburg, where the 6th graders will explore Pamplin Park, a “living history” Civil War site.  SOTD: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano.  I’d tried this before from a sample, and I enjoyed it very much.  Spraying from a small decant (thanks, Dear Daisy!) brings out a beautiful creamy quality.  I like this a lot.

[I can understand why some people are puzzled by the Southern fixation on Civil War history – but, you see, the Civil War happened here, and it didn’t happen all that long ago. As I mentioned in this post, a battle took place within a few miles of my husband’s family farm, with the farmhouse itself being used as a field hospital for officers. And my own great-grandfather, then in his teens, set off with the County Home Guard, comprised of teenagers and old men, when he heard that the Yankees were coming. In fact, the family story goes that he set out dressed as he would dress to do farm work: barefoot and hatless. And he was armed with, get this: a musket, a weapon which was a good forty years out of date and no match for cannon. Luckily for him, getting the cannons up Cloyd Mountain turned out to be quite the chore for the Federals. The battle, mired down in very uneven ground, turned to hand-to-hand fighting, and by that I mean bayonets and knives and fisticuffs. I doubt very much my Kidd great-grandfather had a bayonet; that would have been standard army issue, and he wasn’t regular army. He might have had a knife. He might even have turned tail and run; hillbilly boys have a marked sense of self-preservation. In any case, he made it home alive. My mother inherited his gunpowder flask, a tarnished brass item hanging from a metal chain, much dented. I can deplore the Confederacy’s position and rhetoric and indefensible adherence to slavery at the same time that I admire the impulse that could drive a young man to battle in defense of his home, all the while barefoot and inadequately armed. Was he brave or just foolhardy? I don’t know. But he’s part of my history, and it would be foolhardy of me to forget him, or the circumstances under which he lived.]

The CEO headed off with Bookworm, taking her to the Virginia HOBY (Hugh O’Brien Youth) Leadership Conference, held this weekend at James Madison University in Harrisonburg. Since both his siblings were off doing fun things today, this evening we humored Taz in the matter of dinner (crispy chicken strips, broccoli, oven fries) and a movie (Men in Black).

Saturday, May 28: A little cooler today, in the low 80s. Cleaned the house. The boys went out with their dad and Jeff to work cows again, but it wasn’t long before Gaze came back in, sporting itchy pink eyes, a runny nose, and welts all over his chest and back and neck. Apparently he’d run into something (thistles? Some other weed?) in the barn lot that had caused an allergic reaction. I sent him straight into the shower and then stuffed him full of antihistamine, and he was feeling much better within half an hour. Scary, though.

SOTD: Santa Maria Novella Fieno (Hay). Which is not very haylike, or – as it occurs to me now – not very much like the smell of hay that I think of, which is drying hay, either lying out in the field getting ready to be baled, or recently baled and ready to move. I’m not the one who feeds the cows in the winter, so I suppose I don’t even have much of a reference for cured dry hay. Ensiled hay, I know what that smells like too. SOTEvening: Cuir de Lancome.

And by the way, the word for what you do with hay, or for a big pile of it all bundled up, is BALE. Not bail: that’s either the handle on a bucket, or what you do to the water in the bottom of the boat, or what you pay the jail to get out before trial. I saw this word misspelled in a published novel the other day, and my jaw dropped in sheer astonishment. Anchor Books/Doubleday pay people to edit and proofread. I should have had that kind of job.

And while I’m on the subject, the word for that shelf over the fireplace is MANTEL. Not mantle: that’s either a cloaklike garment or a layer of the earth’s structure. The mixups drive me crazy. (Yes, I know that none of this is vitally important to life, the universe and everything. I don’t care. If it’s your job to make sure that the words are spelled correctly in a book, for heaven’s sake, make sure. Gah. It’s just as easy to get it right as it is to get it wrong.)

Sunday, May 29: Went to JMU to pick up Bookworm from her HOBY conference. Apparently she had a good time, but I’m disconcerted by the repeated claim that HOBY “teaches young people how to think, not what to think,” and then encourages the unison shouting of repeated slogans. It was allll just a little bit too Mao Youth to be comfortable for me. HOBY emphasizes leadership and community service, so I guess it’s fine…

SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. (The CEO says it’s pretty, by the way.) I might want to go back through the Scent Diary week by week to see whether there has actually been a week since the last part of November, when I got my little decant, when I have not worn it.

Top image is 1920s ad for Parfums Djemil from eBay.  Hayfield photo from Wikipedia.


Scent Diary, May 2-8, 2011

Bill & Barbara, 1993

Monday, May 2: Taz woke up sick on his stomach. I filed the state taxes, did grocery shopping, saw The CEO’s dad Bill. Bill is worse. Wore: Teo Cabanel Early Roses (pretty-pretty, girly-girly, i.e. Just Up My Alley). Later, wore PdN Odalisque (my sample is not the original, it’s the reformulated), which is great but which I still don’t love. I can see a lot of resemblance between Odalisque and Mary Greenwell Plum, in the “white flowers over gentle chypre base” character, but Odalisque goes irisy and doesn’t have that deliciously tangy opening.

Bookworm was accepted at the Governor’s School for Science and Technology. I had no doubt, but she was terribly worried about it until the letter came today. It’ll be a lot of work for her, but I hope that the college-credit classes will be helpful.

Tuesday, May 3: Busy day. Worked on the novel some. Went by the rehab center, with the kids. It’s hard on them; I’m sure they understand what’s going on, but this is their grandfather. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete, because I needed the cheer.

Wednesday, May 4: Chilly day. Hung out laundry. SOTD: DSH Vert pour Madame on one wrist, DSH LiLi (Lily of the valley and Linden) on the other. VpM doesn’t smell terribly different than the Chypre Essense Oil that blew my mind last week, but somehow it seems… less. It was neither floral enough for me nor powerfully weird, like Chypre. LiLi, on the other hand, is really beautiful.

After those wore off, I put on PdR Rose Kashmirie (thanks, Tamara!). My first thought was, “Hey, there’s oud in this!” I wasn’t expecting that, and I’m still not exactly sure that it is oud. Oud is not mentioned in the notes list… and yet, right after I put it on, I got the distinctive, fresh-Band-Aid smell that’s characteristic of oud. It could be that RK just reminded me quite a lot of Montale White Aoud – which is true, particularly in the heart-drydown phase – but I’m still thinkin’ oud.

Gaze’s makeup track meet was canceled, due to chilly weather (low 50s) and the chance of rain. I took the kids by the rehab center to see Bill this afternoon. He is no longer able to focus his eyes, but he’s still aware of who’s there, and can still appreciate grandchild hugs.

Bill has been diagnosed with aggressive myeloma and kidney failure. His doctors have suggested that we consider removing the feeding tube and stopping treatment, and that they simply do what they can to make him comfortable. Barbara has agreed that this plan may be best. I think the feeding tube will come out either this evening or tomorrow, and she’s looking into Hospice. The family’s on board with her on this decision.

I’m sad. But I feel much the same as I did when my grandmother died this past winter: Bill had a good long life – productive, fruitful, mostly healthy, and rich in love. He’s been a good and faithful servant.

Cows and calves in the 20-acre field behind the house, July 2010

Thursday, May 5: Still chilly, but in the mid-60s today. Spent part of the day at the rehab center. Hospice has turned out to provide less medical support than Barbara feels she needs, and so Bill will stay at the rehab center. Feeding tube removed; Bill’s doctor says two to five days. SOTD: Chamade. So pretty.

Friday, May 6: Sang with my community chorus at the dedication of a new veterans’ cemetery in our home town. The high school band was there, too, and it was very nice to be able to participate in a concert with my daughter; I’ve got happy memories of singing next to my mom, when we used to sing in the same chorus. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum, which is currently the closest thing I have to a signature scent.

Went by the rehab center and held Bill’s hand while I sang some hymns for him. He’s having trouble breathing, and I’m not quite sure he knows who I am, though both of those things are probably side effects of the morphine.  He does seem to know Barbara and The CEO’s sister E. The situation reminds me very much of how things were when my grandmother died five years ago. She’d gone into the hospital after a mini-stroke (TIA), and then developed a number of complications, one after the other: a UTI, pneumonia, a worsening of the pulmonary obstruction she’d been battling ever since working at a textile mill in her youth.

The CEO and I attended a “Night on Broadway” event hosted by the high school’s Fine Arts Department: musical pieces from the band and chorus; musical numbers and scenes by the drama department; an art exhibition; New York style cheesecake and coffee prepared by the culinary arts department. It was wonderful. I was able to pick out Bookworm’s short alto sax solo in the Andrew Lloyd Webber medley, though I couldn’t actually see her short little self on stage, and she did very well.

Saturday, May 7: The phone rang in the wee hours; it was Barbara calling us to let us know Bill had died. Things are unsettled. We barely went back to sleep. Got up early to take Bookworm to meet the track team bus. She’s been looking forward to this particular meet for weeks, and we decided not to tell her until she got home, which might be a mistake, but perhaps not. Gaze is philosophical: “He’s not hurting anymore. And we’ll see him again.” Taz is uncommunicative, which always indicates that he’s upset (he’s a chatty little thing when he’s happy).

The CEO went with his mom and sister to talk to the funeral home director and to the minister about arrangements. I cleaned house and mowed grass. SOTD: to go with the cut-grass smell, Crown Bouquet. I overspritzed, and don’t regret it a bit. I am now picking up on a small hint of vanilla in the base that I never noticed before.  Interesting.

Bookworm’s relay team did well, placing fifth among some tough competition; the girls’ team placed 6th overall in a field of 29 teams at the invitational meet. We told her about Bill when she got home, and she was sad but not shocked, which seems to be the general reaction. The kids all saw him a few days ago and could tell he was getting weaker.

Sunday, May 8: Mother’s Day… I’m happy to be one. I feel blessed that the maternal figures on my life have been happy to be mothers as well. (Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Barbara. Thanks, Bambaw and Mawmaw Nell. I love you all.)

Bambaw, Mom, me, and Mawmaw Nell at my sister's wedding, 2002

We dropped off a gift for Barbara and invited her again to have lunch at my parents’ house. She said she’d rather stay home and get some rest, but she was planning to go to church first. She was looking forward to it, which I think is probably a good thing. Church was very meaningful today; it always makes me feel a little odd when there is a sermon about Mother’s Day, since not everyone is a mother, and so many people have conflicting or unpleasant feelings about the whole deal… there was a short, appreciative-but-unsappy video piece in praise of the services that mothers provide and in praise of the One who made them, and then we moved on with a sermon about faith in action (Luke 10, the Good Samaritan story juxtaposed with the Mary-Martha story).

Had a delicious lunch and a relaxing afternoon with Mom and Dad. I gave Mom, among some other items, samples of Gucci Flora, Hermes Kelly Caleche, and Hermes Eau des Merveilles. My guess is that her preference might be for EdM, but we’ll see.


Scent Diary, April 18-24, 2011

Monday, Apr. 18: Gaze is still sick, and I don’t feel all that great myself. Also still very bummed about the busted screen on my laptop; I’ve got it hooked up to the big monitor that is usually attached to our old Dell desktop, the one that we only use for the kids’ games and Microsoft Money. It’s usable, but weird.

Jeff the hired guy came over and mowed our yard today. He also took our lawnmower to the repair shop, thank goodness.

I was concerned that poor Gaze might be getting dehydrated, since he seemed to be, er, losing fluids at every opportunity (I’m attempting to phrase this delicately here). Our family doctor checked him over and pronounced him “heading toward dehydration, but not there yet,” before giving him a shot of Phenergan, an anti-nausea medication. He seems to be better this evening – he’s drunk 32 ounces of Gatorade and eaten a half-cup of plain applesauce. It’s stayed in his system so far.

SOTD: Well, I started out with a spray sample of something I thought would be pleasant and innocuous: Jo Malone Dark Amber and Ginger Lily. I’d heard good things about it, and the notes list indicated that I’d like it. I was wrong. It was sour and bitter, like the smell of ashes in the fireplace when rain comes down the chimney, or like freshly-spread mulch. It reminded me, at the time, of something else I didn’t like but couldn’t place. I scrubbed it off, and replaced it with Mary Greenwell Plum. (Mind you, I like the smell of mulch. But outside only, please.)

Later, I put a dab of Guerlain Apres l’Ondee (edt) on the back of one hand. It’s been months since I’ve worn it, but now I see that it sits between Caron Aimez-Moi (violets, anise, heliotrope) and L’Heure Bleue (Guerlinade). So pretty.

OH! Now I know what Dark Amber & Ginger Lily reminded me of: Paestum Rose and L’Artisan for Aedes de Venustas, neither of which I like. I think it’s the Japanese incense and cedarwood that’s coming across as sour to me.

Tuesday, Apr. 19: Pretty weather today: 80 and sunny. And windy, too.  Barbara, my mother-in-law, called this morning to see if I would go over and check on The CEO’s dad while she went to teach her Weekday Religious Education class today. He had fallen in the bathroom that morning. When I went in to check on him, he was in bed and feeling very weak.

SOTD: Ulrich de Varens pour elle, nice powdery-aldehydic thing.   Bookworm came home upset from school – the mother of a friend of hers from band has died, very suddenly.  She was the same age as The CEO; in fact, she and The CEO graduated in the same class year.

Barbara called again after dinner and asked for help getting Bill back in bed, so The CEO went over to take care of that duty – and then she called again past midnight to tell us that Bill had fallen again and she needed help to get him off the floor.  The CEO came home and told me his dad had joked that lifting him would be easier if he had handles.

Wednesday, Apr. 20: Gaze headed off to school today. And just as I was about to call Barbara and suggest that I come over and help her get Bill in the car to go see his doctor, she called first to tell me that his doctor wanted Bill to go to the hospital right away for some tests, and the rescue squad would be there shortly.

Results: he may have had a stroke or TIA, and he also had a severe urinary tract infection. This is hard on anyone, but perhaps especially hard on people in their 80s.

SOTD: Cuir de Lancome, which I seem to turn to any time a hospital is involved. It’s not a comfort scent; nor is it an invisible-armor scent. But perhaps it’s a combination of the two – a scent that says, “Don’t push me around” to others and “Everything is going to be fine” to me.

Thursday, Apr. 21: Went to the hospital to check in on Bill, and found that there was no word on whether or not he’d had a stroke on Tuesday, but he’d definitely had a stroke on Thursday morning, between doctors’ rounds and the time that my sister-in-law arrived.

SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum, because I wanted to smell beautiful. It fills that purpose very well.

Friday, Apr. 22: Rain. Lots and lots of rain. Had all five kids (Bookworm, Gaze, Taz, and their cousins Curiosity and Primrose) here at the house in the morning. There were several fought-to-the-death Connect Four battles, plus a free-for-all involving the three boys, plastic swords, light sabers, a cardboard shield, and six Nerf guns. I don’t know who won. I took them to the hospital after lunch; Bill was visibly glad to see them and seemed more lively.

SOTD: I thought of Le Temps d’une Fete, but decided to save that for another day, and chose YSL Paris Pont des Amours because I was decanting a bit for my sister-in-law’s birthday gift. It’s pretty, powdery and comfortable.

Weird to have Earth Day and Good Friday on the same day.   Went to Good Friday service held at the Virginia Tech chapel – a good service, but sort of bare and unsettled.  Bookworm just barely managed to get home from the funeral service of her friend’s mother in time to go to church with us, and she’s pink-eyed and shaky.  I just held on to her as much as she’d allow me to.

Saturday, Apr. 23: Temperatures in the low 80s, and my grass is getting tall. SOTD: To Dream, a sample of the new woody rose-violet scent from Sonoma Scent Studio. Very, very pretty. (Will review soon.)

A guy came by the farm today to use his metal detector on the ground surrounding the old homeplace. The oldest part of this building was constructed of logs sometime before 1795, which we know because The CEO’s ancestors bought this land in 1795, and the house was already there. This house was also the structure used as a field hospital for Southern officers following the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain in 1864. Metal Detector Mike found several old coins, an old ring made of copper, some very old buttons, and some other odds and ends we haven’t had time to investigate yet. He’ll come back at some point and dig down a little farther next time.

No change in Bill’s condition.

Had Easter dinner (ham, steamed broccoli, scalloped potatoes, fresh rolls, fruit salad, and lemon cake) this evening, to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday because she’ll be leaving before we get back from church on Sunday. It was delicious.

Sunday, Apr. 24: I know there won’t be lilies at church, so I’ll wear them instead. SOTD: Donna Karan Gold. (Lilies or no, church was great today.) Temps were cool in the morning, back up to the low 80s in the afternoon.

Went by the hospital right after dinner to see Bill. He seemed quite tired, but that may have been the time of day. He and Barbara have been going to bed by 8:00 pm (yes, I’m serious), so the fatigue may just have been due to imminent bedtime, or by an exhausting day with several visitors. I’m concerned by the chest congestion he’s developed since Thursday, though.

By the time Gold had worn off, I figured I had arm space for Cristina Bertrand #3, which I think might have lily in it along with lily of the valley, though I think of it as being primarily a jasmine-white floral fragrance.

Image is Parfumesse in Holland by Parfumgott at Flickr.


Scent Diary, April 11-17, 2011

Minis in the Hocking Manhattan berry bowl: MJ Daisy, vtg Shalimar, Nina Ricci Nina, K de Krizia, Encre Noire, DSH Oeillets Rouges

Monday, Apr. 11: A rainy morning, followed by heat in the 80s (ugh, steamy). SOTD: Cuir de Lancome, a choice I’m now regretting given that I have another concert tonight. It turned out that no one had remembered to turn on the AC at the church… or open the windows… and it was miserably hot. I smelled a bit like Overheated Leather Handbag.

The middle school track meet scheduled for this evening was cancelled, due to the tornado damage in the area and the 6 pm curfew imposed for part of the county. These things happen, but Gaze was disappointed.

Tuesday, Apr. 12: More rain. All day. I feel like Noah’s wife*.

SOTD: original Nina Ricci Nina – not the modern tutti-frutti thing, but the earlier floral. I don’t remember smelling this particular scent before, but it smells familiar somehow, like an amalgam of the two fragrances I wore most frequently in the 80s: Karl Lagerfeld Chloe, a kitchen-sink white floral with a rich base, and Prince Matchabelli Cachet, a soft floral chypre. There is a pleasant powdery-soapy cast to Nina. It’s not terribly distinctive to my mind, but it is very pretty and soft, with that faintly-chypre hint that suggests that the wearer of this Nice Girl’s Aldehydic Floral could probably clobber her date in a Trivial Pursuit grudge match, if she chose to ignore his ego.

*Joan of Ark, of course. (Apologies to those of you who’ve never seen “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” which is right up there with “Princess Bride” and “Monty Python’s Holy Grail” for quotability percentage in the Woodenshoes household.)

SOTE: Le Temps d’une Fete. After reading Victoria’s lovely review at Bois de Jasmin, I decided not to try something new, but to put on something I already love. Watched “Tombstone” with The CEO last night (hey, another quotable movie!) and wondered exactly why it is that I still find Kurt Russell so gosh-darned attractive, even after all these years. I would blame Disney, but that theory doesn’t explain the Tommy Lee Jones phenomenon.

Wednesday, Apr. 13: Chilly and damp. I am annoyed, and not just because of the weather. The grass in the yard is getting ridiculously thick, and I’d mow it if it would ever stop raining. Also, I just made my 2010 tax-year IRA contribution, and while the numbers on my statement have been getting bigger year by year, I look at the total and think, “No way can I retire on that. NO. WAY.”

Retesting the mystery bottle that Donna (Flora, of Perfume-Smellin’ Things) found and alerted me to: Cristina Bertrand #3. It’s a pretty, gentle white floral. Review here.

Thursday, Apr. 14: Lovely weather. Too busy to mow today; I had errands to run. I deposited donations from our concert, I bought more milk, I took some packages and our federal tax return to the post office. Also, I had to take Eddie Van in to the garage to get a checkup before The CEO takes it on his field trip. He’s got five students doing an honors project, and this is part of it – they’re going to the VA Beef Expo and visiting various agricultual businesses (a seedstock breeder east of Richmond, groundskeeping at Camden Yards, a dairy operation in the Shenandoah Valley, etc.). Anyway, that shimmy in Eddie’s undercarriage, noticeable when going more than 45 mph, turned out not to be “something loose under there,” as The CEO thought it was.

It was a busted sway bar. Thank heavens I took it in when I did. I’m $452 poorer, but safer… thanks to Woodyard Auto.

SOTD: vintage Dior-Dior. Nearly indescribable, but I’ll have a shot at it for a full review later.

SOTE: Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau. Green, fruit, and rose; I can’t figure out why they called it “Shadow on the Water.” I amped the rose with a teeny dab of Montale Highness Rose, and the combo was pleasant and cheerful all through Gaze’s middle school track meet. He did okay. He said he felt nauseated while running, which could have been nerves, or – more likely, IMO – a combination of nerves and low blood sugar. He hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, and he ran at about 7:25 pm. The first thing he did upon finishing the race was go get his backpack and eat a protein bar, and then when he got home he ate a full supper of chicken and veggies and some fruit. His 800 meter time wasn’t all that bad for a 6th grader, though (3:13).

Friday, Apr. 15: The chance of heavy rain for tomorrow is 100%. I figured I’d better mow the grass while I had a chance, but the lawnmower had other ideas. I filled up the gas tank, pumped up the tire, checked the oil, and started out, but I’d only been mowing for about three minutes when the blades stopped. Jeff the hired guy came by while I was messing with the mower, and took a look at it. “Your belt’s stretched,” he said. “There’s no tension on it, so the blades aren’t moving properly.”

Can I fix it myself?” I asked him. He just laughed. So I put the lawnmower away until The CEO can deal with it. There are many things I can do, but my lawnmower repair skills are sadly lacking.

SOTD: Nothing in the morning. I was feeling bad, so I took a mongo nap on the couch. Woke up just before Taz got home, and took a shower so I could go get Bookworm and Gaze from their track practices. SOTA: Dior J’Adore L’Absolu. Looks like I’ve just killed a 2ml spray sample; I have one left. I don’t need any more – there are other Just Pretties out there, not least of which the Cristina Bertrand #3, and that’s a big bottle.

My DSH samples came: some of her Essense Oils Designer Duplicate scents (Chypre, Norell, and Chypre Grass, a recreation of Jovan Grass) and some Parfums de Beaux Arts scents (L’eau d’Iris, Route d’Iris, Lili, and Vert pour Madame). I asked Bookworm to smell the Jovan Grass one because from the vial it smells very much like grass to me, but she says all she can smell is galbanum. “No moss? No grass?” I asked. Nope, just galbanum. Which she hates. She sniffed the Chypre recreation too, and said it smells just like the liniment that the high school’s athletic trainer uses… ouch.

Saturday, Apr. 16: Wore SSS Tabac Aurea to bed last night, as it was chilly and windy and starting to rain. It did indeed rain buckets and buckets this morning, but the afternoon was sunny and windy. The dregs of Tabac Aurea were still there this morning, so I put DSH Chypre on the back of my hand to test. This is an intimidating thing, all steely-eyed witch, intoxicating and dangerous and, somehow, self-centered. Perhaps it should have been called Morgan Le Fay.

It also has made my skin tingle and burn… perhaps there is something after all to those IFRA regs. I’m sure there’s a ton of oakmoss in this. Of course, the oils are pretty concentrated; I might not be bothered by an alcohol formulation of it. I don’t remember having a skin reaction to the other chypres I have (L’Arte di Gucci, Leonard de Leonard). Of course, those are floral chypres, with presumably a lower percentage of oakmoss.

Gaze woke up late and immediately dashed for the bathroom to be sick. Poor baby. Perhaps I had a touch of the bug yesterday? My stomach was fine, but that long nap makes me think perhaps I was fighting off illness.

Sunday, Apr.17: Windy and in the 50s today, but with sun. It could be worse. I gave Taz the opportunity to choose my SOTD from several samples, things I’ve tested before and deemed wearable but not full-bottle-worthy. He picked Lys Mediterranee: “It smells like flowers.” Unbeknownst to the two of us, Bookworm had already picked Donna Karan Gold, and together we were a walking lily bouquet.

Gaze is still sick, poor baby.  I’m a little worried that I’m going to get his bug, too. 

Worse, my laptop fell off the desk while I was trying to hook up the AC converter, and busted the screen.  It appears that the screen is the only thing damaged – I hooked up the laptop to the PC monitor, and everything seems to be working fine – but STILL.  We’re talking minimum $120 for a replacement screen, and that’s if I fix it myself (and don’t screw it up).  I could replace the whole laptop for $200.

Top photo mine.  Photo of Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in “Tombstone” from


Scent Diary, March 28-Apr. 3, 2011

Monday, Mar. 28: Happy birthday, Mom! (That No. 5 pic is for you.  Love.)

We had snow today. Of course, it was all gone by noon (the kids were disappointed), but still, it’s pretty cold for March. SOTD: Chanel Bois des Iles. I spritzed very lavishly, and got better than two hours’ lasting power this time, but had to hoover my arm to smell it past those first two hours. It’s a beautiful thing; I just wish it weren’t so darn retiring.

Tuesday, Mar. 29: Warmer today, but not immensely so. SOTD: Carnal Flower, beautiful.

SOTEvening, once the Carnal Flower was gone, continuing with the tuberose theme: Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. Funny how sometimes VdF is quietly pretty, sometimes quietly threatening, and sometimes outright sex-aaay. (Tonight? Sex-aay.)

Also funny how I hardly ever find Carnal Flower sexy. “Carnal”? Uh, not really. Anybody else got a different take on it?

Wednesday, Mar. 30: Rain, rain, rain. It rained all night, and looks like it’s gonna rain all day. I’m re-trying Xerjoff Elle, from a sample Dear Daisy sent me. Compared to the previous sample, which was carded but the vial unlabeled, thus leading me to wonder if the vial was really something else in the Elle card – well, it’s the same. Elle was described to me as “very floral,” but I’m getting a lot of caramel/cotton candy out of it. There is some rose in there, and possibly some jasmine and ylang, but mostly, it’s sweeeeeet. Nice for a gourmand, but definitely a gourmand.

Played Buzzwords at small group Game Night. Next week we’ll be back to Bible study, but this week was just for fun.

Thursday, Mar.31: Boring day at work. Buckets of rain. Bookworm had a meltdown right after I picked her and Gaze up from their respective track practices. (Okay, I might have given her the final nudge by insisting that she stop bossing her brother around, especially while his actual mother was within earshot. But still, she was already stressed by a Tough Love Coaches’ talk at practice – directed at the kids who aren’t working hard, clearly not at her – and by the prospect of making up her mind whether or not she intends to apply for the regional Governor’s School for Science and Technology, which is academically rigorous and offers college-equivalent credit courses. Classes run half a day, and start at 7:10 am, and I think she’s also worried about the possibility that she won’t get enough sleep.)

SOTD: Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka. I don’t wear this decant often enough; it’s such a happy scent. Lime, spice, carnations, incense and vanilla… It’s beginning to come clear to me that I prefer my incense sweetened up, with vanilla or woods or rose. VT has the same sort of cola angle found in Youth Dew and Opium and Coco and all those heavy spicy orientals, but I hate the heavy orientals and love VT. Go figure.

Friday, Apr. 1: Lord willin’ an’ the crick don’t rise*, this will be my last Statement Day at the NAPA store. Ever. (* This is an old-fashioned country saying in the US – possibly limited to Southern usage, but possibly not – meaning, “Assuming that circumstances don’t intervene.” I’ve heard it all my life, but it’s one of those phrases that is passing out of general social conversation. Pretty soon, we’re all going to talk like news anchors on CNN…)

I am wearing vintage Emeraude parfum de toilette today, as a Personal Statement of the Scented Kind. And my boss sent me a lovely bouquet of mixed flowers – pink roses, lavender purple spider chrysanthemums, stargazer lilies, Bells of Ireland, baby’s breath, dark purple stock. That was sweet of him.

Went on a coffee-sweets-and-marriage-seminar date (sponsored by our church) with The CEO this evening. It was fun. It led to kissing, and who doesn’t need more of that? SOTE, once my Emeraude had worn off: Ferre 20.

Saturday, Apr. 2: Very strange weather: chilly, windy and cloudy early in the day, then 20 minutes of wet flurries, followed by more wind and sunshine. The CEO built a fire. We spared a thought for poor Bookworm, at a track meet today. (Brr! I remember a particularly miserable May Saturday in my own youth, when our year-round swim team went to an outdoor meet, and the weather turned out to be 60F and rainy – and of course, if the air temperature is 60, the water temperature is much colder. And then, we never really got dry after events, because it was, hello, raining. Ugh.)

SOTD: Oscar de la Renta parfum (vintage). I’ve seen mentions of the original Oscar scent being related both to Ysatis – a lemony white floral with a rich, dirty base – and to L’Origan. I’d describe it as a “soft, rich floral,” and although it’s supposedly full of tuberose, I wouldn’t say that tuberose plays a big part in its makeup. I liked the top and heart fairly well, although I’d say it’s distinctly reminiscent of ashtray for a good portion of its development. The drydown was something of a disappointment, however: a sweet, ambery wood, rather uninteresting. Perhaps my sample has suffered from age damage.

Sunday, Apr. 3: We celebrated my mother’s birthday today by driving to her house after church and making her a nice lunch (Honey-Ginger-Soy Salmon, rice, steamed broccoli, grilled pineapple, and chocolate mousse cake). I wore vintage Chanel No. 5 parfum in her honor. I smelled wonderful.

On the way home, we noticed one of the new bulls out in the road, and wound up chasing him back into the 20-Acre Field behind the house, and from there onto the Back Side. (Well, not so much “chasing” as “encouraging him to go where we wanted him to go.” It’s a lot like getting your kids to eat their veggies… easier than herding cats, I’ll tell you.)

Image is 1981 Chanel ad from ebay seller tallpalms.


Scent Diary: Feb. 14-20, 2011

Actually, today’s post should have been called something like, “Painting the Den, and the Lamest Scent Diary EVER.”

Monday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day:  SOTMorning: Gres Cabaret.  There’s something really… puffy about this one.  I like it – I like it a lot – but I’m slightly embarrassed that what I dig the most about it is that puffy musk, because it’s seriously puffy.  We’re talking puffy like Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt, or Melanie Griffith’s post-op lips.  I feel like an airhead when I wear it.

Made a delicious dinner (steak, mushroom sauce, baked potatoes, asparagus, rolls, molten chocolate cakes with dark cherries, yum) and got out the wedding china.  It was very nice.  Then we sent the kids to bed, and snuggled up on the couch.  SOTEvening:  Citizen Queen.

Tuesday, Feb. 15:   SOTMorning: SL Bas de Soie, which I’d been saving to test when we got some springlike weather.  It’s finally here!  Verdict?  Meh.  I was hoping for lots of hyacinth, but didn’t get it, BdS was all rooty pale iris and something uncomfortably metallic.  Sigh.   SOTA: Ulric de Varens pour elle and Iris Poudre, for Fragrance Throwdown review.

Wednesday, Feb. 16: Weather’s warmer… spring is finally here, I think.  Of course, we’ll probably get snow next week, just to show me up.  SOTD:  Ulric de Varens pour elle, Iris Poudre (one on one wrist, one on the other).

Thursday, Feb. 17: SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.   After three weeks of missing my community chorus practices, due to either throat problems or kids not feeling well, I made it to rehearsal tonight.  Things are going better, but… I don’t know.  You’d think I’d be grateful for the opportunity to sing.  I suppose it’s just that we’ve got some new members who’ve never sung anything more difficult than four-part harmony out of the hymnal, and they’re struggling a little.  I try to help in my section, but it still feels like running in sand.  I’m wondering how many of the newbies will drop out next fall, when we’re scheduled to do Haydn’s “The Creation,” which is fun to sing but not in any way what I’d call advanced.  It’s even in English, for heaven’s sake.   (Oh well, I should just get over myself.)  Sleep Scent: Mariella Burani.  So comfortably pretty, and I will smell fabulous when I get up… too bad it’ll be shower time then.

Friday, Feb. 18:  According to Eddie’s thermometer, it’s 71F today.  Sure doesn’t feel like it, due to the clouds and stiff breeze – it felt warmer yesterday, at 58F and sunny.  SOTD: Caron Aimez-Moi, such a pretty scent.

Saturday, Feb. 19: Warm, sunny, and windy, in the mid-60s.  The CEO hung sheets out on the clothesline today (they smell great)!  SOTD:  Crown Bouquet.  I love that juicy-crunchy green stuff in the opening, all galbanum and marigold, before it subsides into the very quite white flowers.  Did the usual Saturday cleaning, and finished clearing out the unnecessary junk from the family room, in preparation for painting it.  So grateful for Goodwill, I tell you…

This room is downstairs, in the walk-out basement, and the part of it that’s underground has mildew spots on the walls.  (Ew.)  Washed walls with TSP today.  The walls have always been off-white, because that’s how they were when we moved in, and I’m sick of it.  The rest of the decor: cheapo industrial beige-ish carpet and hand-me-down brick-brown sofa and love seat, brown upholstered recliner, two wooden desks, the kids’ Art Cart, our computer and TV, and a very nice brick fireplace.  It’s a Man Cave, is what it really is.   We have already bought new carpet in an attractive bronze-brown shade, but it will be installed after I paint.

When I was discussing paint with The CEO, I mentioned how bored I am with the paint, and he suggested light blue.  (Yeah, I know, but the man would paint every room in the house blue if I’d let him.  He keeps trying to talk me into painting the dining room a deep Federal blue… which I’d consider if it were a separate room.  It isn’t.  It’s part of the kitchen-living room-dining area, and the walls are high, and the feel of the area is open.  The white walls are appropriate there.)

We’ve compromised on a blue-green shade that I think will be nice with the brick, cream moldings, and brown furniture (there’s no way we’ll be getting new furniture any time soon, with Bookworm gearing up for college in a few years).  The closest I can get to it here on my computer is Bondi Blue – more blue than turquoise, but enough green in it that it will contrast nicely with brown.  The shade we picked is a bit less intense than Bondi Blue, but very similar.  I sincerely hope it works out.   What else would work?  It’s too dark in that room for anything darker than a medium shade, and as I’ve said multiple times, I’m sick of off-white.  The CEO nixed any shade of green, having grown up in a house with interior walls painted in a couple of varying 1970s earth tones… Grrr.  Well, we’ll see.   It’s only paint, I can do it again if I need to.

Sunday, Feb. 20:  Warm again.  SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum, which could probably be a signature scent for me if I still believed in that concept…  Covered the mildewed walls with KILZ (gah, paint stinks, even the low-odor stuff).  I. Am. Tired.  And must paint tomorrow…

Top image is from Gojira at Fragrantica.  Puffy shirt image from Wikipedia,  paint chips image from


Scent Diary, Feb. 7-13, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


Scent Diary, Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2011

Monday, Jan. 31: Bookworm’s off at the District Indoor Track meet this evening. She did well, but one person can’t carry a whole relay team, so they didn’t make the regionals.

SOTD: Roja Dove Scandal. This is the fragrance described by Tania Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide as “enormously rude.” My experience? Um… no. Definitely not. Granted, I am dabbing from a sample, but after putting on my customary dab amount and barely being able to smell it, I added quite a bit more. Still quiet. Also, it’s supposedly “rose tuberose” – two great smells that smell great together – but all I’m getting here is a big ball o’ soapy orange blossom. It’s not customary for me to have to search for tuberose, but I’m doing it here. Wonder if even this has been reformulated?

In fact, I think I’m going to quote the entire P:TG review, as it’s A) rather funny and B) the complete opposite of what I’m getting out of Scandal. Here goes (along with my customary admonishment to just go spend the $15 at Amazon and get a copy of The Guide in paperback, already!):

Scandal (Roja Dove), *** rose tuberose $$$$

Here is the Fracas tuberose perfume taken to the absolute limit, made preposterously intense by way of a liqueur-like rose streaked through with apricot and raspberry. It is enormously rude and will cause everyone sitting next to you to push his plate away after one bite and to lean back while talking to you as if you’ve clutched him in a tango. Good materials, very competently done, but frightening. TS”

I’ll say it again: Um, no. Not even close. (How come this was described as “frightening” and Insolence edp as “masterpiece”? Huh? Somebody explain that one to me. I’m still quaking in my boots from Insolence.) So am I anosmic? Or have I just been smacked by the OB stick?

SOTAfternoon/evening: Leonard de Leonard, which is a big 80s floral chypre, with that imposing sweet-sour balance of oakmoss and amber, all rococo with rose and carnation and… ylang, I think. Hard to tell which florals are in there, actually, it’s so layered. LdL reminds me vaguely of Prince Matchabelli Cachet, which I owned a bottle of and wore far less frequently than I did Chloe. This is pretty.

Tuesday, Feb. 1: Statement Day! And The CEO set off for the National Cattlemen’s Association conference in Denver. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.

The CEO finally called, late at night, to tell me that he had made it to Denver just fine, and that it was 15 degrees F below 0 and windy there, and that he was going to get to his hotel and stay there.

Wednesday, Feb. 2: It rained all night. This morning, it’s in the low 50s, sunny and quite windy. I feel bad for the Chicagoians in their blizzard… the last time we had a blizzard, it was March of 1993, with tons of snow and raging winds, and the drifts got quite scary. The CEO had to go and stay at his uncle’s house and try to take care of the spring calves, and I didn’t see him for three days. It was cold – ice formed on the inside of the windows of our house in town!

SOTD: Alahine. Which smells just fine now, no weird topnotes like last week when I was complaining about it. I really think that some leftover spray from the last time I used that bottle had gotten air-exposed and damaged, and two or three good spritzes has now cleared out the gone-off bit. Whew. I was getting worried about it.

SOTAfternoon, on top of Alahine: a drop of Versace Blonde parfum. I’m not disposed to like Versace fragrances really, but this is actually quite nice. Well, it’s nice if you love Big White Floral Bombs, as I do. Must review. I’m probably wafting something fierce, what with the four sprays of Alahine and the Blonde.

Thursday, Feb. 3: Extremely windy today, high temps in the mid-40s. SOTD: Amouage Ubar, lovely rich lemon+white flowers+rich civetty sandalwood base.

Friday, Feb. 4: Sunshine! SOTMorning: Parfumerie Generale Brulure de Rose, a swap sample courtesy of Bonkers About Perfume (thanks, V!). I do love me some rose. I’d also recently realized that my favorite lipstick line, Milani*, smells like rose and vanilla; Bookworm says it’s milk chocolate. Brulure de Rose was very nice for about two hours, and then it started slipping into chocolate-milk-mix territory, so it’s not for me. I did manage not to scrub, but I couldn’t wait to get home and put on the fragrance that Brulure de Rose made me long to wear: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille. Which I really enjoyed this past summer, while finding it just a bit too-too for warm weather (here’s my review), but I notice I haven’t actually worn it since then. That was a mistake. It’s a beautiful desert (dessert?) sunset of a fragrance.

* Yes, drugstore lipstick. So sue me. My personal philsophy is that life is too short to spend the big bucks on something like makeup, which is why this isn’t a beauty/perfume blog. I do love lipsticks, and I probably own about nine of them, but they’re not emotionally significant to me the way scent is. Anyway, Milani’s colors suit me. Neither very-warm colors like brick or coral or peach, nor very-cool colors like bubblegum pink or plum or blue-red, look good at all on me. I need a medium-intensity warm pink or a tomato red, mostly blotted off, and Milani’s formulae work well because they tend to be thick and emollient without sliding off my lips easily.

Saturday, Feb. 5: Cleaned up the house. Took down some shelves in the family room and went through all the books, in preparation for finally getting this room painted. SOTD: SSS Velvet Rose, just a weensy bit, with a dab of modern Dior Poison edt on top. This combo is a lot like I expected Roja Dove Scandal to be: rose and tuberose duking it out, “preposterously intense” and “enormously rude.” Bookworm took one sniff at a distance of five feet from me, wrinkled her nose, looked horrified, and spent most of the day in her room. (I know, she’s a teenager, and might have chosen to be in her room anyway. She blamed the smell of me, though.)

The CEO got back very late, in the wee hours, from his Denver conference. Apparently the last leg of the journey was quite rough – either due to turbulence or a ridiculously incompetent pilot – and he was still shaking off queasiness after an hour’s drive home from the airport. He was very glad to be home, and I was very glad for him to be home.

Sunday, Feb. 6: Sunny and rather warm for this SuperBowl day. Wore Puredistance Antonia to church, enjoyed it. Reactions within the family were mixed, though. It was largely gone after lunch, so I put on some Mary Greenwell Plum. (squee!)

It’s difficult to know who to root for in the SuperBowl: I hate Ben Roethlisberger and his inability to keep his hands, and other body parts, off young women. But my brother is a rabid Pittsburgh fan, stemming from the days when the Pirates’ farm team was located in our hometown, so I can’t hate the Steelers. I don’t have any real reason to like the Packers, either.

(I do mean that my baby brother is a rabid Pittsburgh fan, too: he actually makes the effort to follow the Pirates and the Penguins, as well as the Steelers. This would be easier for him if he lived in Pennsylvania, but he doesn’t. He just perseveres. Within hours of birth, my nephew – known on this blog as Choppers D – was sporting a Terrible Towel in his bassinet. See photo at left… poor kid, but he seems to show no ill effects to date.)

Oh, well. This is the one day out of the year I cook labor-intensive junk food like chicken wings and pigs-in-a-blanket. We’ll be eating fun food, no matter how the game goes.

Top image is from the collection of nanano at Fragrantica.  I’m not a fan of Miss Dior Cherie, but the photo is so attractive and lighthearted that I thought it was adorable.  Second image, of my sweet nephew, from my brother.


Scent Diary, Jan. 10-16, 2010

Monday, Jan. 10: Ugh. Dreadful day, I don’t even want to discuss it. SOTMorning: I Profumo di Firenze Gardenia Royale, with an eye to reviewing it for the Tuberose Series. I don’t know that I’m going to manage it, unless I do a three-fer set of quickie reviews, or something. There’s not much to say about this thing, except that it starts out with the purplest, grape Kool-Aid-iest accord I’ve smelled since Poison, only more grapey. Ugh.

Meant to put something else on in the afternoon, but just did not manage to find either time or inspiration. I said, I don’t want to talk about it. Grr. Ugh. Finally went to bed (late, with a sore throat) wearing some Alahine.

Tuesday, Jan. 11: Well, I’m officially older today. (Is this what was bugging me yesterday? Today getting older seems fine.) Anyway, SOTD is La Myrrhe. Gorgeous. I do get why people call it “cold,” but to me it is like sunrise on snow, all pink and gold on white, sparkling.

Wednesday, Jan. 12: Snow last night – not much, about an inch, but still enough to scare our new superintendent of schools into canceling school today. I know there are remote places in the county that the buses can’t negotiate easily when the weather’s bad, but an inch of snow? Whatever happened to the bus “snow routes” of my childhood? Where’s this guy from, Atlanta?

And speaking of Atlanta, The CEO’s flight from Greensboro, NC to Denver was canceled today because of delays in Atlanta. Before he left, he’d checked to see that the Greensboro airport was open and allowing flights to depart, and the website said it was, but he didn’t actually call to see if his particular flight would be on time. So he drove two hours, only to find out that the backlog of flights in and out of Atlanta had led to the cancellation of his flight. The nice people at Delta said they could get him out of Greensboro at 5am Thursday morning, routed through Philadelphia and landing in Denver at 10:30am, but that would have meant he’d miss half the conference (National Cattlemen’s Association), so he bagged it and drove home.

Darn. I thought I’d be in charge of the remote control while he was gone.

SOTD: Smell Bent One. I have not been at all interested in investigating new stuff recently; I’m wanting to wear everything I already own. It’s good to want what you’ve got, I suppose, however difficult that makes reviewing things.

Good news, though: my 2009 NaNoNovel, the one I didn’t finish because I ran into a roadblock on how to do part of the story 20 years before the current time? I think I’ve figured it out. It’ll take some serious reworking, and some very serious slashing, but the story will definitely be better for it. Now, the next issue is finding time to do it…

Thursday, Jan. 13: Cold. SOTD: Prada No.2 Oeillet Parfum, which is gorgeous for twenty minutes (fresh carnation, with a hint of almond underneath) and bitter-soapy for ten minutes (a la Caron Bellodgia, a total disaster for me), then just very nicely floral (clove, rose, carnation, ylang) for a couple of hours. All this is followed by a dry, powdery base that smells like a dead ringer for my dad’s Shower to Shower talc. Urgh. At least it’s quiet at that point.

I took pictures of my miniature collection. The photo up top there is the close-up of the entire thing, except that Coty La Rose Jacqueminot was in my purse, and I forgot, so it’s not pictured. I’ll probably stick the more detailed photos up with future Scent Diary posts. Can I just say? It’s scary. And it’s my fault. And I need to cull the blasted thing, “references” be darned.  And, no, they don’t all live out on top of the dresser. Current-season decants and minis live in the shabby-chic, easily-accessible hatboxes on my dresser; vintage, reference, and out-of-season decants and minis – and full bottles, too – all live in (get this for trashy) empty plastic dishwashing-detergent-pack boxes inside the cabinet.

SOTE: Mariella Burani, because I missed her. There’s enough “clean” musk in MB that if you hate clean musk, MB’s not going to be for you, but there’s also enough of that lovely smooth benzoin-tonka base that this scent isn’t all cheapo laundry smell, either. The drydown reminds me quite a bit of F Malle Iris Poudre – or a less-oleaginous Dior New Look 1947.

Friday, Jan. 14: SOTD: Givenchy Ysatis, from a mini described as “vintage,” but since I got it slightly-used on ebay (i.e., dirt cheap) last winter, I don’t know how vintage it is. It’s certainly quite… dirty, so it might actually be vintage.

I got bad on ebay again: a mini of Ferre by Ferre, one of Bill Blass Classic parfum (I blame Barbara of Yesterday’s Perfume), and one of Omar Sharif pour femme, which I’d never heard of, but the notes sound lovely – heavy on the tuberose, of course – and it’s old enough that I think I can expect at least 1980’s-quality ingredients. I checked around, and you can buy larger bottles for just under, say, your average Kenzo price, so I’m hopeful.

I had actually tried to buy the Ferre by Ferre a few weeks ago, based on the picture associated with the ebay item, but what showed up was the newer but confusingly-named Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre (puhlease, GF, will you exercise just a little more imagination in naming your fragrances?!). When I sent a message to the seller to complain and ask how I should send it back, the reply was, “Oh, we’re sorry. Hey, just keep it and we’ll refund your money.” Really nice of them. The newer Ferre scent I’ve sampled and found it pleasant – I seem to remember it as being quite an interesting fruity-floral-oriental, with pineapple and melon in the topnotes, but nothing as icky as those notes would seem to indicate.

Well, I say I “got bad,” but the whole haul cost about $26. I’ll call that my birthday present, along with my fur hat. Oh, and my hat came too: it’s kewwwl. Very 1960s. Feels nice to the touch. Looks cute. (Unfortunately, it does expose my ears, but I’ll make that sacrifice. I have plenty of scarves, after all.)

Saturday, Jan. 15: The CEO is sick with some sort of digestive-system bug, and I’m trying to keep everyone else, including myself, away from him. Urgh.

I just looked out the window to see two of our neighbor’s seven steer calves in a head-butting brawl. They’re yearlings, so they’re essentially teenagers, with the accompanying teenage behavior. One of the white ones ran at the tan one, and the tan one didn’t back off, so they butted heads and circled around, and butted heads and circled around again, and darned if it wasn’t just like high school: two guys start doing that Threatening Shoulder Thing at each other, somebody yells, “Fight in the cafeteria!” and everybody else comes running to see. After several head butts, the tan calf finally turned his tail and ran away several yards, and all the calves milled around under the trees for a minute, and then Tan Calf ran toward the opposite end of the field, and all the others followed him too. Exactly like teenage boys, if you ask me.

SOTD: Nothing. I got busy, the day just slipped by… oh well. I’m not exactly scent-deprived. I can smell Ysatis from the little bottle on my dresser. (Next question, where’s my Ubar decant?)

Sunday, Jan. 16: Drove to my parents’ house after church for a birthday lunch (roast chicken, stuffed potatoes, green beans and brussels sprouts, scalloped apples, popcorn shrimp, and birthday cake, yum), where my sister made mock of my nose.

Mom gave me a Bath & Body Works hand soap – she knows I like them in the kitchen – and I popped it open to smell. “Huh,” I said. “I thought this was Lime Basil, but it smells like there’s coconut in there.”

A scoffed. “No, that’s their Coconut Lime Verbena.” She took the soap and sniffed it herself. “I just smell lime.”

Well, definitely lime,” I agreed. “And I like Coconut Lime Verbena, but this doesn’t smell like that one. Wait a minute, they’ve changed the name – now it’s called Fresh Lime Basil. They probably changed the formula, too. I knew it smelled different, less herbal than it used to.”

Mom (long accustomed to stopping sibling arguments, bless her) took the soap from A and proceeded to read us the list of ingredients, long chemical names and all, and lo and behold, coconut oil.   HA. I’m not crazy.  Vindication is sweet.

SOTD: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine. Some of you did not believe me when I told you that I wear this stuff to church, but there it is: I wear this stuff to church. Not one hint or intimation of skank on me (though there are things I wear that come right out and yell SKANK, forget hinting at it – Bal a Versailles and Citizen Queen, I’m looking at you).


Scent Diary, Jan. 3 – 9, 2011

Monday, Jan 3: Chilly again this morning. (Or have I just forgotten what it’s like in the morning, having been lazy and not arisen before 8am at any point over the last two weeks, while the children have been out of school?) In any case, brrr. Forgot to scent myself, in the rush to get out the door and drop the kids off at their respective schools on my way to work – and I had cleaned out my purse recently, so I didn’t even have any samples on hand.

Statement Day at work again. I hate Statement Day.

SOTEvening: Amouage Lyric Woman. Gorgeous stuff. Gaze’s comment was, after walking past me, “Hey, are you wearing perfume? That’s nice. It’s… woody, right? And vanilla. And something smoky – or is that the fireplace?” I let him sniff up close. “I like it. It’s… sort of weird. Not flowery. But I like it. A guy could wear that.” I told him there was rose in it, and he gave me the skeptical face. “No, really – rose. Imagine what cooked rose would smell like,” I said. He sniffed again. “Oh. That. It’s nice.”

The CEO and our offspring are right now glued to the TV, where they are watching Stanford whomp up on Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. This is Not Good… and then, after halftime, it got Worse. ‘Nuff said, I think.

Tuesday, Jan. 4: It was supposed to be sunny and in the mid-40s today, but it didn’t turn out that way. Instead, it was cloudy and only in the low 30s. SOTD: Parfumerie Generale Ilang Ivohibe. I should try more PGs, they’re good. Tuberose Couture was very good (though nothing touches Carnal Flower for tuberose, IMO). Iris Taizo/Orientale was very good too, and (again IMO) totally kicked the uber-pricey L’Artisan LE Iris Pallida in its pricey, unavailable butt. I’ve been wanting to try Rose Brulure and Aomassai for some time, too. Ilang Ivohibe is quite nice, all comfortable jammy ylang and vanilla for a couple of hours before making a final descent via that “amber” material that reads as shaving cream on me. It’s not just my nose, either. I stuck my wrist in front of all the males in this household, and their first comment was, “Vanilla,” and their second one was, “No, wait. Shaving cream.”

See? See? I’m not crazy.

SOTA was SSS Champagne de Bois. I’ve been waiting for the SSS website to come back online with things other than samples – I want a 5ml purse spray of CdB at least. Also, I’m getting really excited about Laurie’s new scents-in-progress: the white floral and the vintage-inspired one.

Wednesday, Jan. 5: Annoying day. Cold. SOTD: Dior New Look 1947 again, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything in my review. (Nope, it’s pretty dull, IMO.)

Thursday, Jan. 6: I meant to start back with testing various tuberose concoctions – samples mostly amassed last winter when I started the Tuberose Series reviews – so I picked up three out of my little box and took them to work: Creed Tubereuse Indiana, AG Gardenia Passion, which I have worn before and liked but never reviewed, and Il Profumo Gardenia Royale, which I’ve also worn before and liked but never reviewed. However, when it came right down to putting something on skin, I just rebelled. Nope, I said. No, I want Mary Greenwell Plum. Grabbed that decant out of my purse and spritzed away. It’s got white flowers in there, but also some other stuff going on too, and the tangy fruits and soft chypre angle just seemed right.

Tonight we started up the second semester’s practice for our community choir. Coming off a pretty decent concert (okay, okay, decent for a small-town volunteer group, anyway) of Vivaldi’s Gloria and some other middlebrow music, we picked up several new members, several of which are ditching the local Sweet Adelines to join us. Which is pretty gutsy of them. I’m not dissing the Adelines’ musical talent, but they do a very, very different style of music, much more oriented to popular music of the past, not your standard straight-up choral style. I mean, we have a lot of fun at practice, but our director’s something of a martinet: screw up in a dress rehearsal, or, God forbid, a concert, and you get the evil eye. (Maybe she reserves that for people who know better than to screw up? I don’t know.)

In other news: The CEO stepped in for a colleague who left the university suddenly last summer (got married and moved to be with her husband), for which he was told he’d be compensated $5000 to teach one class in the Agricultural and Applied Economics Department. When that cash didn’t show up in his pay packet at the end of the year, he went asking some questions, and it turns out that AgAppEcon did not have the budget to pay him cash. Instead, AgAppEcon transferred $5K to Agricultural Technology for “professional development,” and that money can only be used to reimburse The CEO, or someone else in AgTech, for continuing education, or a seminar, or something. He could buy new equipment, but of course that would remain property of Virginia Tech. Worse, he has to go and do whatever-it-is before June! He can’t apply the cash to a doctorate in the future.

And just as I was beginning to be appalled at this situation, The CEO told me he’d come up with a solution: He had found an international interdisciplinary seminar on Malta, held during Spring Break. And he intended to make plans to take me with him. Since most expenses would be borne by “his” $5K professional-development money, we’d only have to pay for my airfare and possibly some meals. He figures he’ll come out ahead, since he won’t have to pay taxes on cash income. Huh. I think he’s got a devious mind, but if it gets me to Malta, I might not complain. We’d have to fly into Italy to get there, so we might even stay in Rome a few days.

Quick, somebody tell me what the perfume shop landscape in Rome is like. And whether I’d need some Italian phrases, or if I need to just point and grunt and wave my credit card.

Friday, Jan. 7: Chilly. SOTD: Fifi Chachnil, which has been described to me as “girly.” Well, maybe it is, but if so, Fifi is a bad, bad girl. She starts off a little like Shalimar, all lemon and rose and vanilla powder, and then this sweet tobacco-leather thing comes in, like Fifi has been doing a raunchy mattress dance with a guy wearing English Leather. Dries down to Shaving Cream Amber, but for awhile it’s pretty sexy. I wasn’t embarrassed wearing it to work, because dabbed from the vial it’s not all that loud and I doubt I was scandalizing anyone but myself. Whooee…

Hey, it’s snowing. Little dry-ish flakes, coming straight down, with no wind. Huh. Wonder if it’s going to settle in, or just do what I call “spitting snow.”

Saturday, Jan. 8: It snowed a long time, but it was those little dry flakes, and it got windy, so the snow blew around a lot and not much stayed on the ground. The CEO came in from feeding cows this morning and glared out the window, muttering something about not knowing if he needed to put chains on the tractor or not.

SOTD: Tauer Eau d’Epices. This reminds me quite a bit of Orange Star, but without the Tang Dust (orange) and Soap (orange blossom) bits. I like it. I don’t need any, but it’s nice.

Bookworm’s indoor track meet went well – she came in fifth in the 3200 meters, earning points for her team, behind her teammate Grace, who came in third. She apparently had to fight for space, too: she passed a girl at the fourth turn on one lap, and then the competitor wanted her space back, and threw an elbow at Bookworm. (“Throwing an elbow” is using your natural arm movement while running to make or maintain personal space on the track by jostling another runner. The CEO tells me this is pretty standard practice, which I didn’t know. I was a swimmer. Swimmers stay in their own lanes.) So Bookworm threw an elbow in return, keeping the other girl from taking the inside lane back, and the two of them duked it out for a little while, until the other girl stumbled at some point and Bookworm took off and left her behind. The 3200m was the last event to finish, so she and Grace were last onto the bus, to be greeted with cheers and clapping for her toughness.

I’m so proud of her. She’s The Little Engine That Could, five-foot-nothin’ of grit and baling twine. (And dimples.)

Sunday, Jan. 9: It was 6°F when we got up at 7:30 this morning. That is darn cold, at least for here. But Gaze says, “There comes a point when you can’t tell the difference between ‘cold’ and ‘colder.’”

SOTMorning: Montale White Aoud. I have worn this sample before and was on the fence about it. I still am. I like the initial medicinal note, I like the rose, I like the woody vanilla. What I don’t like is that balsam-y Opium note that shows up after a couple of hours, before it finally leaves you floating in a cloud of sweet vanilla.

I haven’t tried many Montales; they’re hard for me to access and not many of them seem to appeal on the basis of notes. I have, however tried Oud Queen Roses and Aoud Roses Petals. And yes, the names are awkward. Why the different spellings of oud? Why the relentless plurals? I liked the rose oud ones but found them relentlessly rosy, with only a few moments of nice bandaid-y stuff in the beginning. Montale strikes me as being a relentless sort of house, judging by what other people have said about it, in terms of a “thisiswhatweDOhere, take it or leave it” mentality. For what it’s worth, I had a slight preference for Queen Roses. But I already have SSS Velvet Roses, so I consider my collection complete on the straightforward armful of roses type of scent.

(I quite like the bandaid-type oud accord, to be honest. Rubber and medicine? Cool, count me in. Balsams? No thanks, count me out. There’s just no telling about taste, is there?)

SOTAfternoon, as I’m helping Taz with his salt dough map of Virginia – topographical, delineated by geographical region and labeled with rivers, bodies of water, and several cities, with inset maps of Native American tribes and agricultural products by region – Le Labo for Anthropologie Poudre d’Orient. Hmm. No opinion yet, although early reports mention New-Barbie smell and, of all things, cucumbers. Later reports mention that this is a Heck, No choice.

Taz used to play with Bookworm’s Barbies: he would make them jump off the piano stool into the area-rug “ocean,” and then make his toy shark eat them, with sadistic glee apparent as he voiced the Barbies’ shrieks of alarm followed by drowning sounds. (If he weren’t such a gentle kid in real life, I’d worry about him.)

Photo of perfume collection from true68 at Fragrantica. Aren’t those Merveilles bottles pretty?  Mae West photo from  Image of Virginia’s Indian tribes from Virginia’s First People site.