Monday, Aug. 2: Statement Day at work again. It finally occurred to me today why so many of my Statement Days fall, so annoyingly, on Monday. If you have half a brain, you’ll figure it out without my explaining it to you: I work Monday-Friday. Every time the first of the month falls on a weekend, Statement Day by default is Monday. Not to mention that sometimes the first of the month falls on Monday anyway, so almost half the time, I’m sending out statements of account on evil Mondays. Which I’m hating recently anyway, because they underline to me that Yet Another Week has gone by, during which I have not worked more than a couple of hours on my novel.
Chilly again today, in the low 70s and cloudy. It’s a little piece of autumn in the summer of my discontent, if you will. I thought seriously of my fall scents this morning – of Mauboussin, Arpege and Tabac Aurea, among others – but I persevered with my sampling. SOTD: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, which Dear Daisy sent me, and which has languished in the to-test box for at least a couple of months. I was unduly influenced by Luca Turin’s review in Perfumes: The Guide, in which his disappointment at the bait-and-switch of the name is palpable. It’s actually one of the funnier reviews, once you realize that LT habitually gets rabid once teased with nonexistent gardenia. From PTG:
“This is a late-fifties formula (somewhere between a knockoff of Ma Griffe and Camay soap) found in a dumpster in Holzminden when Symrise decided to clear the archive. Would be perfect if the spray button said “sucker” each time you pressed it.”
Ouch. I do get his points, though: it’s definitely not gardenia, it’s definitely soapy, and it’s wildly expensive at something like $300 for 50ml. This morning, though, I read about six other blog reviews of CG, and every one of them says something like, “Well, it’s not very gardenia, and it is somewhat soapy, but it’s so pretty!” I concur. Not very gardenia, although there’s a hint of EL PCTG in there, but very much what I call a Scented Hanky sort of perfume: vaguely floral, friendly, inoffensive, feminine, and clean. Andy Taylor’s Aunt Bea would have worn something like CG along with her short white gloves to grocery shop at the Piggly Wiggly. Not that that’s bad or anything. I repeat myself, it’s really pretty. My mother, with her penchant for pretty, soapy florals, would dig this right down to the ground.
SOTE: Teo Cabanel Alahine, just a wee squidge on the inner elbow. Mmm.
Tuesday, Aug. 3: Warmer today, with temps in the low 80s, but cloudy. SOTD: a new one, Tauer Perfumes Carillon pour un Ange. I will probably review this soon, after I’ve worn it several times, but let me just say that if you love lily of the valley (I do) and missed out on the fabulous vintage Diorissimo (I did – my bottle’s a tester from 2006, very lovely but not the gorgeous thing it apparently used to be), lift your eyes in hope.
This afternoon, the boys and The CEO brought me another big load of ripe tomatoes, plus one green pepper and what seems to be the last of the squash. Then they brought me 21 ears of corn, telling me that there was certainly plenty left in the garden. I cooked some for dinner, and still have 15 ears left for blanching and freezing, when I get some more freezer bags tomorrow. I can’t help but gloat just a weensy bit. All we did was plant this stuff… granted, we planted it over the septic drainfield, so it’s getting plenty of water and nutrients from what soaks out through the pipes (don’t worry, no solids)… and keep the weeds down for awhile, and here we’ve got actual food on our hands. Food for now, food for later – such a great feeling.
SOTE: Guerlain L’Heure Bleue parfum, which is wonderfully anise-y when it’s hot. A dab only, please, else you will asphyxiate yourself. It’s rich.
Wednesday, Aug. 4: HOT again, upper 90s and humid. SOTMorning: vintage Lubin Gin Fizz edc, a sample from a generous fumie friend. I expected to dig it. I expected the standard nail-polishy top one typically gets from old aldehyde-bergamot openings. What I got was My Grandmother’s Nasty Old Gone-Wrong Perfume, the one that should have been chucked in 1958 after getting sun-toasted on the dresser. She was still wearing it in 1975, kid you not. Bleargh. I stood the Gin Fizz as long as I could – about two hours, as it continued to get more and more dusty/powdery – and then had to wash. I usually like vintage stuff; I generally have a fairly sturdy tolerance for the off notes. Not this time, I’m afraid. SOTAfternoon: I picked Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’eau to take my mind off. It was up to the task – super green, with an sour herbal twang, followed by rose. Nice. It doesn’t exactly thrill me, but it’s very pleasant.
Packaged up 25 ears of corn for the freezer. Canned another 7 quarts of tomatoes. Made a batch of fresh Salsa Cruda con Maiz for the fridge, and the tomatoes that didn’t make it into the canner load made a lovely pint of tomato juice, which The CEO loves. Whew. Food prep over, kitchen cleaned up, I spritzed a bit of Mariella Burani and collapsed on the couch with the phone, so I could talk to my sister.
Thursday, Aug. 5: Weather just like yesterday, punishingly hot – so hot that the sky seems bleached and wan. I don’t know if the sky gets like this anywhere else (I’ve never noticed, not having traveled outside the southeast US at this time of year), but I’ve known from childhood that a sky this pale usually presages a thunderstorm. Just yesterday I was buying green peppers at the farm stand, because our plants never produced anything, and the woman working there was telling me that she’d just moved to the area last year from Missouri, and she missed the summer storms they’d get. “You could sit and watch them as if were fireworks,” she said. True, we don’t get those, or at least not often: the mountains tend to break up storms, scattering their moisture and preventing them from making really big thunderheads. We usually just get the rain.
About half an hour after I wrote that, we did have a short but intense thundershower. Hayley, our beagle-lab mix, headed for the shelter of The CEO’s desk in the family room, and no amount of coaxing could convince her to leave it until the thunder stopped, poor baby.
SOTMorning: DSH Perfumes Rose Vert, which I’ve mentioned before as one of the loveliest “green roses” I’ve ever smelled. It’s not the galbanum green of Silences, or the mossy-chypre green of L’Arte di Gucci, or the snap-bean green of L’Ombre dans l’Eau. It’s both a vivid and a gentle green – grassy-herbal, like lemongrass and basil and mint and meadow. The rose note, too, is both vivid and gentle. Nothing in this fragrance demands your attention, but you notice it all the same. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz typically does a beautiful job with rose scents, and this is my favorite of her roses. (Beach Roses is pretty, too: rose, salt, herbs, a bit of wood.)
SOTEvening: Another DSH rose scent, Arabian Rose. This one, an oil, is a favorite of Daisy’s – or of her daughter’s, I can’t remember which – but it’s not grabbing me: it’s a fairly straight-up rose soliflore, and perhaps a wee bit screechy, as sometimes happens with this type of scent. (Best non-screechy rose soliflore, IMO? SSS Velvet Rose, hands down.).
Friday, Aug. 6: Hot again. The air is hazy with heat. The mountains that will be a clear greenish blue come October are now only dimly visible: blue-gray, almost formless, like dreams of mountains. SOTD: Serge Lutens La Myrrhe. I love it. It was calling to me.
I got home from work and found The CEO standing on a pallet balanced on the hay forks of one of the tractors, which was sitting right next to the house. Over the noise of the tractor, I could hear him yelling to Jeff the hired guy, “Okay, take me up higher.” What the heck? Then I realized that he’d decided to scrub the mildew off the side of the house, and because you can’t balance a ladder on the slope at this place in the yard, he’d decided to get up there some other way. This was it. “I hope you called Mr. Mills at Farm Bureau and made sure your life insurance is paid up,” I yelled to him. “It’s okay, I know what I’m doing!” he yelled back, and picked up the sponge. I had to go inside – couldn’t watch, too nervous. You may be pleased to know that he’s fine and the house looks great. (I wish he wouldn’t do stuff like that. But that’s a little like wishing he didn’t have any testosterone, which would be an extremely stupid wish if you ask me.)
SOTE: Santa Maria Novella Melograno. I do enjoy aldehydes in the summer, and although I’ve tested this one before, I wanted to retest and see if my initial impression held. It did: Melograno is like… gosh… like the aldehydes in my mother’s No. 5 got together with my father’s Old Spice talcum powder, and made a baby. (Theoretically, I would assume this would be me, but it’s so not. I suppose it could be my brother, but any fragrance designed to evoke my brother would probably have to include essence of Cheetos.)
Saturday, Aug. 7: A little cooler today, in the low 90s. I took Taz with me to a family reunion, while Bookworm and Gaze went with their dad to a church festival thingy. Taz actually helped me pick out my scent today:
Me: “How about this one?” (Glancing over my summer bottles and skipping over anything that could possible be deemed “difficult,” then holding up Ines de la Fressange for him to sniff.)
Taz: “Ehhhhhh. I guess it’s okay. Maybe.”
Me: “Try another – this one?” (Mariella Burani.)
Me: “I know there was one of these you really liked… hmm… was it a decant? I can’t remember. How about this?” (Rose d’Ete.)
Taz: “Not that one.”
Me: “I wish I could remember which one you said was nice. This one?” (Haute Couture.)
Taz: “I like that. Wear that, it’s good.”
Me: “Wow, you never say anything’s good. Guess I’ll wear that one, then. Thanks!”
So, SOTD was Hanae Mori Haute Couture, and it was just fine for the weather and the casual afternoon. It only occurred to me later that the one he had liked earlier was DelRae Coup de Foudre.
The food was good, but the reunion itself was boring. Honestly, since the members of the older generation have either left us behind or become ill, these get-togethers haven’t been any fun at all. The greatest hilarity always seemed to arise from the table where the older cousins were sitting together and reminiscing, or just telling jokes. No more. Within the last couple of years, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, two cousins died, and the two more cousins developed medical problems and no longer travel. Mawmaw Nell’s sister, whom I always called Big Aunt Doris to distinguish her from my father’s sister, died last year. (She would always insist, with a smile, “No, honey, I’m your Great Aunt Doris, and you can tell Nell I said so!”) I miss her. I miss my grandmother, too – she’s still living, but she’s not herself.
In the evening, Taz and I met up with the rest of the family, plus two kids that are friends of Gaze and Taz, for a minor league baseball game. It was a nice evening – The CEO spent some time explaining what was going on to Kadie and Isaac, and I think they enjoyed it better once they had a better understanding of the game.
SOBedtime: Shalimar Light again. I so enjoy it in the evenings.
Sunday, Aug. 8: Packed Bookworm off to band camp this morning – she’ll be back next Friday. Seems like she’s been gone half the summer. And she missed out on spending a week with her grandparents this summer, too.
SOTD: L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse. I’m coming around to this a bit more. I still have to grit my teeth through the opening, and then it’s lovely. (Why will I put up with half an hour of Nasty – nail polish remover, swimming pool, and maple syrup – when I put on Victoria’s Secret Victoria, but complain about 20 minutes of mildew in NdT? Dunno.)
Canned another 6 quarts of tomatoes this evening, and froze another 24 ears of corn. I have probably another 6 quarts’ worth of tomatoes that’ll be ripe on Tuesday, as well – but I’m completely out of quart jars, so maybe I’ll freeze them in freezer containers instead. Less work? Dunno. My mom says cooked tomatoes freeze well, although she must have started doing that after I moved out on my own. She always canned when I was young. Also, I love the metallic thwop of a jar’s vacuum seal closing.
Top image is another one of parfumgott’s terrific pictures at Flickr. The second one was taken by my sister; it’s odd to see Nell not smiling in it, but I don’t think she was feeling well that evening (Christmas dinner with the whole family, 2006). Big Doris looks great, though.