Scent Diary, Oct. 10-16, 2016

Monday, Oct. 10 – Jenny the donkey is settling right in – and no sheep jailbreaks since she got here. We moved the sheep from the shop lot right next to the house out into the large pond field pasture, in with the cows. (They could get out under the gate, but why would they want to? No grass on the road that runs next to it.)

The leaves have juuuuuust started to turn. YAY FALL!! SOTD is Cuir de Lancome, gorgeous almost-smoky floral leather.

Yeah, so I like candles... the Paddywax one is the black one right in front of the dried-flower arrangement.
Yeah, so I like candles… the Paddywax one is the black one right in front of the dried-flower arrangement.

Tuesday, Oct. 11 – I am still digging that Paddywax Pumpkin Spice candle, because it smells a lot like drinking a PSL coffee* while wearing Tabac Aurea. Yum.

*Er, not that I do that often. I’m actually not a big Starbucks fan: it’s too expensive for me. I’ve had a Pumpkin Spice Latte exactly three times in my life, and while it is delicious, it is also pretty much more dessert than beverage.

SOTD is beautiful Le Temps d’une Fete.  The weather is cloudy and chilly, and I needed some green-and-gold sunshine today.

Wednesday, Oct. 12 – Big day. Beeeeg, big day. Our cross-country team hosted a 12-school invitational meet, our first at the new course, and The CEO was just totally crazy right now with organizing stuff for it.

Varsity team with their trophy. L-R, that's Cade, Shaun on Gaze's back, Jake, Noah, Sam, and Ryan.
Varsity team with their trophy. L-R, that’s Cade, Shaun on Gaze’s back, Jake, Noah, Sam, and Ryan.

The meet turned out quite well, actually, no major problems. The closest thing to a hiccup we had was with some runners taking a much longer time than anticipated to finish, and I think most people understand how that can cause delays. Typically, high school female runners’ times will range from 19 minutes to just over 30 for a 5K distance, but we had a couple of runners take more than 45, and one almost 50. (For comparison, the slowest varsity male runner was just under 27 minutes.) As it turned out, our boys’ varsity, boys’ junior varsity, and girls’ JV teams won, and we had the first individual finisher in each race. On top of that, most of the coaches were pleased with the course and meet organization, so we hope they’ll come back again next year.

SOTD was Le Temps d’une Fete, with a little dab of DSH Chypre to amp up the base notes. Nice.

Thursday, Oct. 13 – Happy birthday to sweet Gaze! He’s 18 today. Can hardly believe it.

I made four batches of cupcakes for the band kids, since they would be playing in the Fire Parade this evening and boosters were providing food after school. SOTD was the friendly Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano. It’s a floral, but a creamy fruit-salady one. Nice.

Friday, Oct. 14 – Gray and chilly today, a real contrast to Wednesday’s absolutely-perfect autumn weather. I should have done laundry and hung it out on Wednesday, but was too busy, so today it’s all going into the dryer. 🙁 The weather is, however, wonderful for SSS Tabac Aurea, which I lurve, and The CEO smelled really fabulous in his sexxaay Halston Z-14.

Incidentally, a number of fragrance reviewers, mostly the guys who do Youtube videos, have called the current formula of Z-14 an abomination because it’s so different from the old stuff. They say it used to be chock-full of moss and patchouli and other good stuff now restricted (and expensive), and that now it smells mostly of cheap furniture-polish lemon oil and Big Red gum. I don’t want to call them crazy, because we allll know that reformulations have messed with so many of the classics. And I don’t want to call them whiny, because I certainly have complained about the changes to Le Temps d’une Fete (yeah, before it finally got the axe  🙁 ). BUT. I picked up a tester bottle for Z-14 in the summer of 2015, and spritzed it on a card… and my knees got weak. I was reduced to near-incoherence at how wonderful it was. Reader, I bought it on the spot. There’s cinnamon in there, but it only peeks out from the woods from time to time, and the citrus note is subdued. It smells like a Rainbath Intense EdP, and I love Rainbath. Shrug. I don’t care that it’s been messed with, I just know it smells great. If the old stuff smelled better than this, my knees had no chance.

Chaperoned the band to the football game… where we lost, to a local rival who has been so awful in prior years that they didn’t win a single game. Apparently they’ve got their stuff together this year.

Saturday, Oct. 15 – Even though we got home late (after 11 pm) last night, poor Gaze had to get up at 5:30 to get breakfast before he and Taz got to the high school to go to an all-day cross-country meet just south of Richmond. It’s a four-hour drive, and neither The CEO nor I felt compelled to go. SOTD was By Kilian Sweet Redemption, yummy candied orange blossom. (OB tends to go either sweet or soapy on me, and I much prefer the sweet version.) We cleaned up, and he watched college football, and I searched the internet for “upgrade bathroom mirror,” because the one in the powder room just off the kitchen is showing its age.

See the discoloration at the bottom of the mirror?
See the discoloration at the bottom of the mirror?

Most of the stuff in this house was builder grade to start with, which was fine with me at the time. Building a house is expensive, and I didn’t feel the need to ask for high-end finishes when we were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the entire house! I didn’t mind the cheapie mirrors put in with metal clips, and I didn’t mind the very basic faucets. Over time, I’ve managed to replace some of the towel bars and toilet paper holders, and paint most of the rooms, as well as replace some of the horrid baseline light fixtures. But now this mirror is losing its silvering, and like I say, it’s never been interesting. That’s about to change. Pics to come, as the project is complete.

james-milestat-2016-8th-jvThe boys got home after 10 pm, with the news that Gaze had run something similar to his previous times, and Taz finished 8th out of 297 runners in the JV race. He’s got a new 5K PR time of 18:20, as well.

Sunday, Oct. 16 – Taz came down with some kind of stomach bug last night, right after he showered. I felt so bad for him! And Gaze has been just run off his feet lately. We let them sleep and went to church without them. SOTD was Tauer Une Rose Chypree, from a large sample I’ve now had for… gosh, must be 7 years now, because I got this sample when the fragrance was new. It’s almost gone now, despite the number of times I’ve worn it; URC is sort of nuclear in its lasting power so I only wear a tiny bit at a time. It’s perfect at this time of year.

I mowed the grass, The CEO did laundry, Gaze did homework, and Taz recuperated. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, 68F, sunny, with the sky that stunning autumn blue. Sigh.

After I mowed, I had to shower – I’m allergic to grass, and my lawnblower blows bits of it everywhere, so I itch and itch until I shower it off. I used a small bottle of gel I picked up on a whim for $3 at TJ Maxx recently: The Body Shop Smoky Poppy. Now, I know that Smoky Poppy was supposed to be sort of an homage to YSL Opium, which you probably remember that I haaaaaate. And I didn’t like the fragrance spray when I tried it at the Duty Free shop, but the shower gel smells great and goes quite well with URC, if you were wondering. I was a little freaked out to find that not only is the bottle black, so is the gel! Oy. Creepy… but I do smell good. Gaze told me that when he hugged me good night.

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Scent Diary, Oct. 3-9, 2016

Blue Ridge Autumn
Blue Ridge Autumn

Monday, Oct. 3 – Another first Monday of the month, another band booster meeting… It’s finally gotten cooler, though I’m still spending the days in capri pants instead of long ones, and I only need a jacket or a sweater in the evening. A friend on Facebook was bemoaning the end of summer; I think she’s crazy. This is perfect weather. SOTD is Safari.

There was also a meeting for the Homecoming Court and their parents, to practice for the court’s introduction at halftime of the football game on Friday (which is in danger of being interrupted by nasty weather, courtesy of Hurricane Matthew). You wouldn’t think it would take 75 minutes to figure out where we’re supposed to walk and stand, would you? Sadly, it did.

Tuesday, Oct. 4 – Have been making icing decorations to place on cupcakes I plan to take to the cross-country meet tomorrow. It’s fun, but probably a waste of my time. SOTD is Mariella Burani.

Hunter-doggie had an exciting day, because the sheep escaped through the gate into the front yard. He really wanted to play with them! really really! I escorted them back into their lot and gave them some sweet feed, and got rewarded for my efforts by canine pouting. But I wanted to play with them, Mom! poutpout

Taz is 16!
Taz is 16!

Wednesday, Oct. 5 – Happy birthday to Taz! He’s 16 today. The boys’ team came in 3rd at the meet, with only one kid in the top 15 but everybody finishing with a decent time. The girls fared less well, except one who finished 9th. It’s a difficult course. The cupcakes went over well.

Weird fragsperience today: I pulled out a half-empty decant of Iris Poudre and spritzed it hastily on my way to the meet, and it smelled truly awful for the next hour before gradually returning to bearable. Up close, it smelled normal (a pale floral wrapped in a fluffy feather boa), but the waft! Remember that elderly lady who used to trail overspritzed White Diamonds behind her through the grocery store, and she smelled like a giant hotel-lobby flower arrangement accented with giant messy diapers? This was like Iris Poudre’s incontinent little purse-dog.

I suspect — I hope — that it was merely some juice caught in the sprayer and contaminated by air, or perhaps an adverse reaction to something on my skin. In either case, let us hope it never happens again, because GAH AWFUL.

pc-cupcakesThursday, Oct. 6 –  I tried hanging out some clothes to dry on the line, but it’s both overcast and chilly, so it’s not working. Dryer to the rescue. The sheep knocked the gate off its hinges AGAIN (that’s the fourth time in ten days), but since I can’t rehang a gate by myself, I propped it back up and buttressed it by shoving the cooler full of Gatorades from yesterday’s meet in front of it. It weighs about sixty pounds, so they could knock it over if they really gave it a concerted effort, but they’re sheep. I sincerely hope they’re not capable of concerted effort.

There's no discernible rose note in it, but Floral Romantique smells like these David Austin Juliet roses look.
There’s no discernible rose note in it, but Floral Romantique smells like these David Austin Juliet roses look.

SOTD is the last half-ml of a sample of Guerlain Elixir Charnel Floral Romantique, which I tried a couple of years ago and got rave reviews on. I had been considering getting a decant of it, if not a bottle, but it is riDONKulously pricey, so I zipped over to The Posh Peasant and picked up a large-ish sample to help me decide whether I really want that tester bottle from German eBay. I guess I don’t, but since the decant services recently closed out all their Guerlains, my only other option for getting any at all is a 3ml manufacturer sample also on eBay, for $25. Grrrrr.

I should try to find a dupe of this somewhere, because it is really nice on me, and it does have that wonderful your-skin-but-better quality. CEFR has gotten a long string of, “Come on, Guerlain, you should be producing better stuff than this nondescript mall-rat juice!” reviews from perfumistas, and I don’t want to argue with those, exactly… but it’s just so NICE. Sigh. Victoria at Bois de Jasmin called it an overpriced orange-blossom version of D&G Light Blue (I get tiare instead of OB, fyi); Olfactoria’s Travels said it was the most generic white floral to ever come from Guerlain; Perfume Shrine deemed it boring (see the comments).  Only Mark Behnke at CaFleureBon enjoyed it, calling it luminous. I don’t care. It “melts in” and smells lovely.

Finally closed the windows this evening, because it was 55F outside. Brr.

Gaze escorting Celie, who would be chosen Homecoming Queen just a few moments later. Photo by David Gravely.
Gaze escorting Celie, who would be chosen Homecoming Queen just a few moments later. Photo by David Gravely.

Friday, Oct. 7 – Wearing Iris Poudre again, and luckily the Nasty Waft seems to have worked itself out. It smells right, so probably there was just some juice caught in the sprayer, and air exposure decayed it. The decant is fine now.

It is raining. (Thanks a LOT, Hurricane Matthew. For the record, nobody invited you to Homecoming.) The Cougars won their football game, and the members of the Homecoming Court looked nice. It rained so much that my behind got soaked from water collecting on the concrete stands! Gah.

homecoming2016Saturday, Oct. 8 – No fragrance today. House cleaning instead. H. Matthew is sticking around and making a nuisance of himself, while all the ACC teams are practically swimming up and down the football fields. My brother and SIL who live in Florida lost power for about half a day, but the rain seems to have left them behind and hit farther north with a fury.

Gaze looks nice dressed up for the dance, doesn’t he? So does his lovely friend Cayla. From all accounts, everybody had a nice time. Man, Homecoming is a lot bigger deal than it used to be in the 80s – hardly anybody dressed up, if they bothered to go to the dance at all, and it was right after the football game anyway. I was usually too tired after doing band stuff all game, and just went home.

jenny-oct-9-2016Sunday, Oct. 9 – Michael, our farm guy, bought a donkey last night and brought her over this morning to hang out with Gaze’s sheep. Jenny will provide security for the sheep, in exchange for companionship and good pasture. Hunter is dying to meet her (not that he can escape the Invisible Fence to do so).

SOTD is Cuir de Lancome. I smell great!

Exciting baptism at church this morning, and then we had a joint birthday party for Taz and Gaze this evening with their grandparents. Since I made a gazillion cupcakes for Taz’s birthday on Wednesday, and will be making two gazillion this coming Thursday for Gaze’s birthday, we decided on chocolate satin pie instead of a birthday cake. Yummy!

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Scent Diary, Feb. 22-28, 2016

leather

 

It’s Leather Week!

And I’m sorry for the posting delay… I got locked out of the site and it took some days to reset everything, yada yada, so I’m late posting last week’s Diary.

Monday, Feb. 22 – Wet, cold and icky. I wouldn’t mind the precipitation if it were snow, but it’s rain. Very messy. Snowflake doesn’t seem to mind the wet (well, he’s got plenty of hay to lie on inside the stock trailer), but I think he’s lonely.

SOTD is, in conjunction with Leather Week at Now Smell This, Balmain Jolie Madame in extrait. Vintage extrait, of course, because they don’t make it anymore. I love this stuff.

Gaze did not go to the MACC match this evening; instead, he went to track practice and FFA public speaking practice. Taz went to the match, however, and he reported that the Social Studies team apparently relies on Gaze too much to answer questions – they lost. Boo.

Tuesday, Feb. 24 – Rain. Again. When you walk on the grass, water rises up around your feet.  SOTD was Ann Gerard Cuir de Nacre, very pretty glove leather with irisy florals. (I’m stocked up on Cuir de Lancome, though, and not sure why I should bother with any other leathers until it’s all gone.)

Still revising. Gah.

Wednesday, Feb. 25 – Mucky rain, bleargh ick ugh. It rained absolute buckets before lunch, so I was surprised to look out and see sunshine in the afternoon.

SOTD is Cuir de Lancome, and I got my car inspected and its oil changed this afternoon. This just in: Cuir de Lancome is really, really good.

Thursday, Feb. 26 – Chilly again. Wearing Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, from my teeny decant. This is such a comfortable leather scent – very gentleman’s-club (and I mean the English-gentleman type, not a strip club!).

Took Gaze to the eye doctor for his annual checkup… and surprise! His vision has actually improved since last year. In fact, it’s improved to the point that his corrected vision is 20/20 in the right eye, and 20/30 in the left. That’s within the acceptable standards for all three service academies. He wouldn’t be able to be a pilot (that requires perfect uncorrected vision), but I don’t think that’s his aim anyway. He’s very pleased.

Friday, Feb. 27Cuir de Lancome again. Not sorry. The only time I’ve been sorry I picked CdL was when I wore it to a community chorus concert when I was singing. It was spring, and the church hosting the concert had neglected to turn on its air conditioning, and all the windows were shut. It was quite, quite toasty at the front under the lights, shall we say, and even a light application of CdL was too much in close quarters.

Went to see a production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” at the high school. I hadn’t seen it in years, and had actually forgotten the plot. (I’ve read every Christie mystery at least once, and most of them numerous times, but not the plays. I’ve also seen “Witness for the Prosecution” once, but I think that’s a more complex plot.) The students did a lovely job with it.

Saturday, Feb. 28 – Warmish outside, very windy. I find these warm days in calendar-winter very disconcerting – and I haaaaated that warm December we had. Just hated it. I’m not getting good wear out of my heavier, cold-weather scents, and I can sense that I’m about to be ready for florals soon. SOTD was Safari, which works very well in this transitional weather.

Snowflake after a month of TLC and six pints of milk a day. He's really grown.
Snowflake after a month of TLC and six pints of milk a day. He’s really grown.

Snowflake went to the livestock market today. He’d already finished two bags of lamb milk substitute powder (at $20 a pop, yet!) and we’d started giving him calf milk replacer because we had that on hand. In any case, Gaze felt that it was time, and things went well: he brought $85 and went to a family from West Virginia who wanted a 4H show lamb for their kid. He’ll probably continue to get spoiled.

Sunday, Feb. 29 – Another warm day. Everybody at church was talking about how nice it was, and I kept my mouth shut. Thumper rule, Thumper rule. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. Ah, Plum, I’ve missed you.

 

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Random stuff, Feb. 1-8, 2016

Well, I lost the Scent Diary for last week (which I generally start as a Word document so I can add to it each day in the week), and then got stalled out on this week’s SD post due to general busy-ness. So you get another summing-up.

(“The Princess Bride” might just be my favorite movie of all time, y’all. Really.)

So it’s been cold and icky. Man, you know, winter rain is just horrible. Snow is nice, but winter rain is like the bitter tears of the earth. I’ve been testing samples, but I’ve also been wearing winter staples like Black Cashmere, Alahine, and Soivohle Centennial, as well as more year-round loves like Mariella Burani and Safari. I know, I keep wearing the same things over and over, but those are the ones I want. Shrug.

Incidentally, that text color I found for Centennial is the dusty dark peach color it really has in my mind, just the shade of an angora sweater I used to have in college.

The other thing I’ve been wearing frequently is Marc Jacobs Daisy. Now, look – Daisy is straight-up department-store let’s-not-offend-anybody uninspired. I acknowledge it. But it is also pretty and uncomplicated, and it just plain smells nice. It is, in fact, exactly the kind of thing that my female protagonist in the women’s fiction/romance novel I’m currently editing would wear. I like to wear fragrances that might suit my characters; I find it helps me keep their personalities firmly in mind while I’m writing.

The current plan is to self-publish this novel for Kindle/e-book, but I can’t tell you when that will be.  A matter of months, no doubt. I’ll be sure to share info for it here.

Snowflake the lamb is growing by, er, leaps and bounds. He’s so stinkin’ cute!

Mini-reviews coming soon, as I promised.

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Random stuff, Jan. 25-31, 2016

I had a whole week’s worth of Scent Diary somewhere and lost it, so I can’t call this post Scent Diary. Instead, it’s just a random collection of musings from the week, things I remember thinking about. Here ya go:

My pictures of depressing rain on our lovely snow didn't come out right, and frankly I have no time to mess about with a camera. So I stole this one from Tiny Farm Blog (thanks, TFB).
My pictures of depressing rain on our lovely snow didn’t come out right, and frankly I have no time to mess about with a camera. So I stole this one from Tiny Farm Blog (thanks, TFB).

After the snow, we’ve had some warm weather. The CEO is happy; Gaze is happy. I’m not. It’s been raining. I hate winter rain. If the atmosphere is going to shoot down wet stuff in winter, it should be cold enough to turn the moisture to snow, in my opinion. Bleargh.

Snowflake the lamb is thriving and getting bigger. He’s getting aggressive, too – every time I go into the laundry room, he’s following me around and nibbling at my jeans looking for milk. The lamb crop is up to 150%, which is nice. Gaze’s little flock includes six ewes, and all of them have now lambed. Two single ewe lambs, a set of girl twins, a set of boy twins (one of them was Snowflake), a set of mixed-gender twins*, and a ram lamb, born small and a little bit early but appearing to get along fine.

* I was concerned that the ewe lamb of this twin set might be a freemartin – that is, sterile – but apparently it’s only in cattle that the female twin of a male calf is unable to reproduce, due to the mixing of genetic material in the placenta. It can happen with sheep, goats, and pigs, but it is a rare occurrence. Cattle have twins at slightly lower than the rate in humans (1% for cows, 2% for women not using fertility drugs), and of those twin births, about a third are male-female pairs. 90-96% of female calves with male twins are sterile. Ewes, on the other hand, have twins at the same rate as they have singletons.

SL mag adI have tested a few more things this week, so look for a Mini-Review Roundup soon. However, I have mostly been wearing favorites and standbys: Teo Cabanel Alahine (pretty much the only amber I like… but I really love it), Ralph Lauren Safari (a greenie for cooler weather), Guerlain Shalimar Light (far less filthy than That Skank Shalimar, but still a little bit dirty) Donna Karan Black Cashmere (not black, rich russet brown), and By Kilian Sweet Redemption (pretty much the only orange blossom that doesn’t smell like soap on me – instead, it’s like orange blossom candy).

I miss Bookworm. But finally Taz decided to give The Dragonbone Chair another shot, and this time he made it through the slow opening and swallowed this 600-page book in about two days. I asked him what he thought of it, and he did not feel satisfied with the ending. “Is that it?” he wanted to know. “Seems unfinished.” I reminded him that he’d just finished the first – and shortest! – book of a trilogy, and there was plenty more action coming. He’s working on The Stone of Farewell now.

stone of farewellSpeaking of which, Bookworm and I have always made fun of the title font of this book, in which the T of “Stone” looks like a C if you catch a glimpse of it from a short distance away. So we call it The Scone of Farewell, AKA the Biscuit of Bye-bye, or even The Teacake of Toodle-oo if we are being exceptionally silly. But when I looked for an image of the book for this post, I checked Amazon and found that the cover has been updated with a less “fantasy novel” font. Oh well. Still a terrific, terrific fantasy series, and a cornerstone of modern fantasy lit. You can thank Tad Williams for laying a foundation on which the Game of Thrones series was laid, even if you think Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is dated and too-familiar. (You want to talk about pastiche? ERAGON. Eragon, while being an astonishingly good book series by a teenage author, seems to me like Paolini took every fantasy novel ever written to that point, threw them in a blender and hit Frappé. Frankly, the series bored me, and yes, I read all of it anyway.)

And I am working on revising an old novel for publication as a Kindle e-book. It’s scaring me to death… more on that later, too.

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Scent Diary, Jan. 11-17, 2016

Scent Diary’s been AWOL for far too long. Agreed?

Monday, Jan. 11 – Weather is windy and chilly, but sunny. It’s my birthday, and Bookworm took me to the new place in town for lunch. We shared potato skins topped with shredded beef, cheese, and fried onions, and then I chose a sandwich of sliced turkey and pepper jack with chipotle mayo on a toasted baguette while she had a mushroom swiss burger. Yummy.

MG Plum smells like this vibrant lantana looks.
MG Plum smells like this vibrant lantana looks.

SOTD is Mary Greenwell Plum, over some Juicy Couture body creme because the two smell startlingly alike, especially in the top and heart: a tangy-fruity white floral with rose that just makes me smile every time. The Juicy Couture in parfum and body creme diverges, in my opinion, from the more-commonly-worn EdP, which I find ridiculously Watermelon Bubblicious-y. You know, that highly artificial watermelon flavor? That’s all I can smell in JC edp, but the creme and the parfum skip the watermelon for citrus and green notes. JC never actually gets to its gourmandy basenotes on me, it’s all top/heart. Which is okay, because it’s so closely related to Plum and Plum has a lightweight modern-chypre base that I like very much.

No birthday party yet; the boys had a MACC (academic challenge team) match and then I had to attend a band booster meeting. Bookworm was on the MACC science team, so she enjoyed watching the meet. Gaze and Taz, however, are on the social studies team; Gaze is the geography expert and Taz specializes in 20th century Western history. Social Studies has been good for the past several years, and they did win convincingly tonight.

Tuesday, Jan. 12 – Warmer today. Wore RL Safari during the day and did some errands with Bookworm, in between loads of laundry.

The box for Ostara is simply gorgeous, with what seems to be a cut-paper applique. This photo from stephanielim.net.
The box for Ostara is simply gorgeous, with what seems to be a cut-paper applique. This photo from stephanielim.net.

Then my MIL brought fried chicken from the local grocery store deli for dinner. I made my own cake, which was fun although I couldn’t get the icing swirls to go where I wanted them to go (boooo). I did get to unwrap the deeply-discounted bottle of Penhaligon’s Ostara I had bought for The CEO to give me. It’s really nice stuff.

The highlight of the gifts, though, was the copy of The Dragonbone Chair which Taz picked out for the kids to give me. I had a copy, but it’s been read so often that its pages are falling out, so he thought I’d like a replacement. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’ll plug it again: if you like classic epic fantasy and don’t demand a fast pace, give this Tad Williams three-book series a try. There’s a lot of world-building and character introduction in the first, oh, 200 pages, but if you can slog through that, things pick up afterward. Taz is not naturally a thoughtful person, but I think he’s developing some sensitivity. Proud of him.

Gaze's lambWednesday, Jan. 13 – COLD again, windy and well below freezing. Gaze had to gather up his sheep and put them in the small lot near the hay barn, so that they could have access to shelter in this weather. He kept the one ewe lamb born last year, and he’s borrowed a ram, so there are seven sheep… and one lamb! Wish I had a picture, but they’re pretty far from the house (that’s the drawback of the hay barn) so I haven’t snuck out there with my camera. This is a shot of a lamb from last year. #sorrynotsorry

Ostara, though it’s ostensibly a spring floral, has enough heft to it that it hasn’t been overpowered by the cold. I’m getting a good deal more ylang in my bottle, as opposed to the manufacturer spray sample I had used up. I’ve heard some complaints about the white musk in the drydown, but I don’t smell a lot on me; it just sort of tails off into a quiet woody thing. (Maybe I’m anosmic… no, I did get a whiff of it in my sample spray, but very little in this bottle. The base here reminds me a little bit of the drydown of Chamade, actually, though less vanillic. It smells a bit like Amaranthine… hmm…) It actually smells yellow.

Thursday, Jan. 14 – It’s far less cold than yesterday. SOTD is Mariella Burani.

Bookworm is packing to go back to school. I’m not looking forward to being the only person in the house that’s lacking a Y chromosome… sigh. Also, I just miss her when she’s gone. We did some errands, like picking her car up from the garage; it needed a current inspection sticker, and it was burning a good deal of oil on its trip home last month, so we had the local garage check it out. It needed its head gaskets replaced (!!! $$$!! ouch) and a tie rod end.

We also had to hit the DMV for a valid registration, because I had renewed it online but we hadn’t received the updated copy and the 2016 stickers for the license plate. I know people love to hate on the DMV… but I have to say, I’ve never had any extended wait times or poor service at ours. It might be because it’s a small office, but I give my local DMV workers kudos. We hit the door at 11:10 a.m., took a number from the check-in station, and were called to the first of the four service desks before we’d even sat down.

Watched the Kenneth Branagh-Emma Thompson noir thriller “Dead Again” (trailer here) with Bookworm after dinner, while the boys were at another MACC match. I do love “Dead Again,” especially for Robin Williams’ scene-stealing, disbarred psychiatrist, who dispenses advice from the meat cooler of the Hispanic grocery store he’s now working in. And for Andy Garcia’s sexy, chain-smoking reporter, who “misses the war.” (I wonder if Ken or Emma ever watch this thing and get a pang; they were married at the time it was filmed, and the attraction shows, but only a few years later, he left her for Helena Bonham-Carter.)

Fri., Jan. 15 – Chilly again. No SOTD; instead, I tested several samples.

Bookworm left to go back to Yale. She called around noon, to tell me that the car was making funny noises and she was concerned. We called the local garage; they put her in contact with a garage close to where she was (somewhere in PA). Turns out the car needed its alternator belt replaced, yikes. They got it fixed and she made it back to her dorm room by 11 pm – several hours late, but safe.

Sat., Jan. 16 – Spent the day cleaning and doing laundry, so I was commando all day. Tired. My ankle where I have a cracked bone (stress fracture) really hurt from all the up-and-down-stairs hustle. The CEO made it safely back to LA, and from there back to Dulles. He went to his sister’s house to spend the night.

The CEO's Virginia Tech Wintermester class, at Arthur's Pass on South Island.
The CEO’s Virginia Tech Wintermester class, at Arthur’s Pass on South Island. The focus of the study abroad was on international agricultural trade, and where better to study it than New Zealand?

Sun., Jan. 17 – I was expecting The CEO to show up around lunchtime, assuming his body clock didn’t get completely bollixed up and he slept too long. However, he came in at quarter to seven in the morning SURPRISE!!! He managed to go to church with us and have lunch before collapsing into a good long nap.

SOTD was Ostara again, and I am increasingly puzzled by the resemblance to Amaranthine. Now this is not bizarre in itself; these two are both from Penhaligon’s. Also, I have begun to notice that many of Bertrand Duchaufour’s creations have a certain indefinable something in common. When I was testing Ostara this past summer, it seemed similar in feel to Neela Vermeire Pichola. But I really should get out my manufacturer spray sample of Ostara and compare it to the bottle, which I bought considerably discounted. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps there was a compounding incident at Penhaligon’s and somebody decided to add the little bit of Amaranthine that might be leftover (it was discontinued this past year, I think) to the Ostara mix, so when someone noticed, the company decided to shove that batch of bottles off to a discount site. No factual basis for this guess, of course, but I’m exceedingly puzzled. Will report back on the wrist-to-wrist, sample vs. bottle test.

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Scent Diary, March 8-15, 2015

Monday, Mar. 9 – Our internet is wonky. In, out, in, out… slllllooooooowwwww. It’s driving me crazy. Also? I’m sick. I have fever chills. My stomach is vaguely unsettled, but mostly it’s the fever symptoms that are making me feel so bad. The CEO left this morning to take some of his Ag students to the Governor’s conference on agriculture and trade, in Richmond. He’ll be back tomorrow.

Remember a few weeks ago when I was whining about the modern version of Tuvache Jungle Gardenia being thin and watery, and Jeffrey Dame offered me a fresh sample to try? Well, the “fresh sample” turned out to be a full bottle. Wasn’t that lovely of him? (Oh dear, now I have a moral conundrum as to what to do with it.)

The new stuff goes by Tuvache Gardenia, and I sprayed a bit on my wrist this morning before taking Taz to school. It’s not thin. No. It is a proper, thick, heady, bleu-cheesy gardenia. I could wish for a few more green notes to it, but basically this is a narcotic floral in the best sense. Wow. Stuck around all day, smelled great.

By evening, I was freezing, and I sprayed some Amouage Memoir Woman to help me sleep.

Tuesday, Mar. 10 – I feel awful. Spent the day curled up under the quilt, huffing my soothing Esprit d’Oscar.  Such a shame that was discontinued – those “makeup” fragrances got popular all of a sudden, and then the trend moved on to something else. Of course, the celebuscents are still sugary-frooty-musky-dumb floral, and (unbelievably) they’re still selling. Oh, for the days when “celebrity fragrance” meant Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds! Or Deneuve.

Actually, let me back up a bit on White Diamonds. You know how yesterday I wore Tuvache Gardenia, and then put on some Memoir at night? Well, bits of both got onto my Yale hoodie sleeve, and now my hoodie smells like a big bouquet smeared with, um… okay, I’ll say it. Feces. You talk about indolic, baby. WHOA.

There is an older woman who sometimes shops for groceries where I shop, and she typically wears enough White Diamonds that you could follow her scent trail throughout the store. Eep. Well, on her, the indolic bits of White Diamonds come to the fore, so that it smells like this big gorgeous hotel-lobby bouquet of flowers… right next to a whole bucketload of filthy used cloth diapers. All the excretions, plus GIGANTIC FLOWERS… if you apply too much White Diamonds, apparently, it gets this noxious cast. And the combination of Tuvache Gardenia and Memoir Woman produces this wonderful/horrible juxtaposition of flowers and toilet as well.

So, please consider yourself warned. I am putting this poor sweatshirt into the laundry forthwith.

Daffodils and tulips coming up in the front yard. Can't wait for the blooms!
Daffodils and tulips coming up in the front yard. Can’t wait for the blooms!

Wednesday, Mar. 11Le Temps d’une Fete, Le Temps d’une Fete!! Spring is on its way, I can feel it, and I’m so happy to be able to switch out my winter fragrances for the early-spring ones. Every time I open the hatbox to choose, I feel bad for the ones I haven’t chosen. Sigh.

I think I’m getting over the fever. My stomach is in rebellion, though – which could be due to the diet I had planned to start on Monday and put off until today.

Thursday, Mar. 12 – I still feel bad. I’m continuing to have digestive issues with this new diet (South Beach), and I hope things settle out soon. I feel fairly sure that having had my gallbladder removed in 2002 has a good deal to do with the way that I’m processing all this increased dietary fiber. Gah. But the scale is down several pounds, so I don’t want to give up too soon.

I’m testing things today, with several things up and down my arms. Fun.

Friday, Mar. 13 – This is the last day of The CEO’s spring break at Virginia Tech. I hope he’s had a relaxing week. SOTMorning was Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, for Now Smell This’ weekly Friday challenge; this week it was “wear something old-school niche, preferably released before 2010.” Iris Poudre I love anyway, and it was released in 2003, if I remember correctly.

By the afternoon IP was slowing down, and I added a dab or two of Annick Goutal Heure Exquise, which would also have fit the bill for the NST Friday challenge, and played nicely with the dregs of IP because of the iris and musk present in both.

And Bookworm is home! So glad we have her for a week.

2 pi r in our kitchen (cherry and chocolate)
2 pi r in our kitchen (cherry and chocolate)

Saturday, Mar. 14 – Hey, it’s Pi Day! So, of course, we made pie. Two pies. Or, as it amused The CEO to say, “2?r in our kitchen.” (Sorry. I’ll wait while you shake off the awfulness of the pun.)

It is so nice to have Bookworm home. I miss her when she’s gone. Looks like she’ll be in New Haven this summer, serving as a residential advisor in Yale’s summer-program dorms. She’ll get free room and board, plus tuition for one summer class.

SOTD is Chamade. Because, duh, Chamade. I love the way this thing turns from chilly to warm. I’m thrilled to break out all the greenies in my wardrobe.

Sunday, Mar. 15 – The grass is starting to green up outside, which is exciting. It’s funny, you know – the seasons change in largely the same way every year, and yet it always thrills me to see the change.

SOTD was Deneuve, which seemed a little more animalic than I remember it. There was the green and the hyacinth, the spring flowers, but also some really dirty musk that was prominent to my nose today. It wound up being a little much for church, to be honest, and after we got home I spritzed a bit of Le Temps d’une Fete over top. That one isn’t spectacularly clean, either, but it’s clean-er. And I love it.

My sister and her son are visiting while he’s out of school for spring break. They spent the week seeing family, and touring many of Virginia’s historical sites – Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, the state Capitol building in Richmond (designed by Thomas Jefferson, of course), Yorktown, Monticello. I think Doodlebug enjoyed it very much, and of course we loved seeing them. Texas is far.

 

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Scent Diary, Feb 16-23, 2015

I sort of accidentally overwrote my Scent Diary for Feb. 9-15. Whoops. Nothing much happened anyway – the kids were out of school due to frigid temperatures (there are places in the county where students have to wait for a very early bus that they have to walk half a mile or more to reach). We did a TON of laundry, and basically got back into the swing of things after our San Antonio trip.

Monday, Feb. 16 – Cold. Snowing. Yay!! This is the first time all winter we’ve had serious snow. SOTD is Soivohle Centennial, for warmth, because it’s blusterous and in the single digits temperature-wise. The CEO has canceled his morning classes.

sledding feb 2015Tuesday, Feb. 17 – It was fairly warm today, in the low 30s, and the boys went out to play in the snow. It’s too powdery to be good sledding snow, but they were having some success building a snow fort with our neighbor, seven-year-old Zach.

One more of Gaze’s ewes lambed, but the lamb had a fairly serious birth defect and was either stillborn or died shortly after its umbilical cord was torn. It was sad. SOTD was Parfum Sacre, wonderful cozy rose-incense-vanilla.

Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Back to cold temperatures, and school is still out, but The CEO went off to Va Tech today. I worked on some sewing and laundry. SOTD was vintage Emeraude parfum de toilette, mmmmm. Took the boys in for their dental cleanings; took Gaze to get a haircut.

Thursday, Feb. 19 – Chilly weather. The dog is HAVING A TOTAL BLAST in the snow, by the way. He loves it.  Took Gaze for his orthodontist checkup, and did some grocery shopping. Worked on farm books stuff.  SOTD was Memoir Woman, because I love it so.

Friday, Feb. 20 – Really COLD again today. It was 3F when I got up at 7:15. Brr. SOTM: testing Uzac Satin Doll and Caron Pour Une Femme, both modern chypre things a little too light for this weather. SOTA: Escada Margaretha Ley, yummy ylang/white floral/coconut tropical thing that packs some serrrrrrious sillage. This is a good thing when it’s 6F by 1 pm. Go big or go ho-

Oh. Wait. I AM home. Never mind. I’m going big anyway.

Saturday, Feb. 21 – Started out by testing Bogue Maai, which has been described as a chypre Amazon on a panther. Did I get that? Um, nope. We were supposed to get snow, turning to sleet, later on today but it started early. Ugh. Fire in the fireplace, cleaning up the house.

Taz left the C volume of the encyclopedia out on the dining table, and I was about to fuss at him for it when it occurred to me: hey. My kid still reads the encyclopedia. I can’t really complain too much about it. (Yes, he knows how to Google. But there’s no computer in the kitchen/DR area. Or in the kids’ bedrooms, either.)

George (1024x768)New lamb today! This one’s another boy, and he seems to be doing just fine. So now we have Precious, Sweetie, and George, and they are JUST SO CUTE. We might keep Precious, so far the only ewe lamb, but I expect the other two will go on off to market. I’m deliberately not thinking about it. SOTE was Shalimar Light.

Watched “Patton” with The CEO and the boys this evening, and crocheted some on Bookworm’s afghan. I’d never seen it, and I don’t think it was meant to be a funny film, but I spent about half the time cracking up at something Patton just said. The man was an egotistical nutcase/genius, and the utter temerity of his unfiltered comments were just… well, I kept thinking to myself, No way did he really just say that! IMDB, however, reports that a lot of Patton’s dialogue was watered down from his real-life commentary. HOO boy.

Sunday, Feb. 22 – Nasty weather this morning. No church today due to icy conditions. It’s much warmer today than yesterday (from about 8F to 53F) and the driveway was clear by afternoon, but this morning we weren’t going anywhere. Ugh. SOTD was Chypre d’Amboise (a cheapie eBay find), followed by Soivohle Centennial. Made two more mobcaps for the community chorus Broadway concert this spring; our director wants most of the chorus dressed as extras from Les Miserables. Taz shoveled the driveway for us and did such a good job.

After church small group/youth group this evening, we went to the Chinese buffet place for dinner. I really don’t recommend being the last diners at a buffet – the selection is bad and the food condition not stellar (dried out/greasy). The hostess did tell me that if we wanted anything specifically, to just ask her and they’d make it, but at that stage we just wanted to eat what was there and not wait on anything else. The tea was good, though.

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Scent Diary, San Antonio trip, Feb. 2-8, 2015

Monday, Feb. 2 – Spent the day getting ready for a mini-vacation; The CEO is going to the National Cattlemen’s Convention in San Antonio, TX this week, and I decided to tag along with him. The boys will be staying at home by themselves, which ought to be an experience for them. It’s that more than anything that has me a little stressed. However, I think they’ll be all right. There’s plenty of food in the fridge and pantry, and they know how to take care of the dog. They can do laundry if necessary, and since Gaze got his driver’s license last month, we’re set for transportation to school.* My sweet MIL is going to come over and let the dog out for a bathroom break in the middle of the day so he’s not desperate.

*Sure, they could ride the school bus. However, there’s not that much point in getting up half an hour earlier and driving them half a mile to meet it (or getting them up 45 minutes early and making them walk half a mile to the bus stop. Particularly since they’ve both got after-school activities, and since Taz has that “zero period” Latin class at the middle school, he needs to be there before the bus could get him there.

Got the van inspected. I noticed on Saturday that not only had I missed the expiration date on the inspection sticker, I had missed it for THREE MONTHS. Yep. It should have been done by the end of November. I can’t really say why I didn’t notice, except possibly because this van, Stevie Ray Van, is exactly the same color and model as our old van, Eddie Van (Halen), but three years newer. Anyway, Eddie’s last inspection was in July, and I think the experience of driving Stevie Ray every day is so similar that I just forgot to look up at the windshield to check. WHOOPS. In any case, he’s inspected now.

new hair feb. 2Also got my hair done. Cut and color with highlights; I’ve never had my hair professionally colored, and I like the way it looks.

Then Band Booster meeting, where I took notes as Secretary. Made dinner, packed up, made the boys an exhaustive list of instructions and tips and people to call if they needed help.

SOTD was testing DSH Perfumes Jacinthe de Sapphir from the Brilliant Collection. I loved the top and heart notes, which were indeed sparkling and lively, but eventually the fragrance took a note toward the balsamic and I’m Just Not Into That. Shame, really. There was a moment where it reminded me a great deal of a floral chypre done with hyacinth… a tiny bit like Deneuve.

Tuesday, Feb. 3 – Got the boys off to school and then The CEO and I took off for Johnson City, TN, to meet with our investment advisor about some investment opportunities. Then ran off to see some young heifers that The CEO had made plans to buy when they got old enough. They’re old enough now and we’ll be taking delivery of them next week, and he just wanted to check that they were doing okay, which they were. SOTD was Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, the more floral version of the soft vegetal/floral leather. The bottle was right there on my dresser as I was rushing out the door. I briefly considered a small vial of Fracas in the car, but decided that I really did not want to antagonize fellow travelers.

Then off to the Tri-Cities airport to hop a connecting flight to Charlotte and from there to San Antonio. (For some reason, it was cheaper for us to fly a two-leg flight out of Tri-Cities than to drive to Charlotte and fly directly out of there. Weird, huh? Don’t ask ME to explain airline economic decisions. I don’t geddit.) We had some delicious barbecue at Northwood Farms in the airport. For airport food that had vegetables but didn’t require an hour to eat and $50 a head, it was really a good choice.

Sitting on a plane making its descent toward San Antonio, it occurs to me that I really should have packed some Deneuve or some No. 19. Those would have been great. Alas, I did not pack either – I don’t have a decant of Deneuve and probably shouldn’t have risked my small parfum bottle anyway, but I do have a couple of decants and two vintage minis of No. 19 edt, more’s the pity. What I did bring? Decants of Iris Poudre and Dior Cuir Cannage, as well as DelRae Wit and Mary Greenwell Plum. I always have Iris Poudre in my purse because it’s so versatile and comfortable (well, for me anyway). I also brought several samples that I’ve been meaning to test. We’ll see how I do with those.

I stopped into The Body Shop in the airport as well, mostly to try the rose body butter that replaced Moroccan Rose (which was wonderful, and incidentally which I have loved layering with Chanel No. 19 and with Jacomo Silences). It’s called Atlas Mountain Rose, and it’s so faint it might as well not be there. Shame on them. (The website shows new rose body products called Wild Rose, but the Charlotte kiosk didn’t have them.)

we dont dial 911Wednesday, Feb. 4 – After The CEO’s morning interview in the selection process for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Operating Committee**, he was free to explore with me. We went first to the Alamo, which is RIGHT DOWNTOWN. It’s incredible. Very well-preserved and maintained, and the National Park Service has created a nice little museum there that explains its historical significance. Of course it is surrounded by every tourist trap in existence: Alamo t-shirts, shot glasses, trolley or double-decker bus rides, ice cream, souvenir beer steins, Texas flags, metal signs depicting crossed pistols and the legend “We Don’t Call 911,” cheapie straw cowboy hats and t-shirts exhorting people to “Save a horse, ride a cowboy.”

From there, we went to the little downtown shop the hotel concierge recommended we visit to find The CEO a pair of boots. It’s called the Paris Hattery, and it sells genuine Stetsons as well as some other high-end hats, not just cowboy hats, and a nice selection of boots. It’s been in existence since 1917, a family business; the granddaughter of the original owner helped fit The CEO for his boots and told some family stories. The Hattery has fitted a number of country/western singers, including Johnny Cash and Dwight Yoakam, for hats, and several actors, including the casts of Lonesome Dove (Tommy Lee Jones!!) and Gunsmoke. They’ve even found hats for other celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal and Christian Louboutin, and if you can remember seeing a picture of Pope John Paul II in his white Stetson hat – well, that came from Paris Hattery too.

Then we went to visit La Villita, the “little village,” which is an arts community sponsored by the city of San Antonio. We didn’t buy anything, but came away with an appreciation of what it takes to make that kind of community successful, after a good conversation with artist Henry Cardenas (see some of his artwork here). We grabbed lunch and had a text conversation with Bookworm, who had been concerned about her physics exam. SOTD was Iris Poudre, yum.

mission san joseAfter that, we took a city bus several miles to visit one of the five missions begun by the Catholic Church in Spain in the mid- to late 1700s, in order to convert the Indians of what was at that time Mexico. One of those missions was the Alamo; however, it was abandoned by the Church and became a fort and supply facility. We didn’t have time to visit Mission Concepción, but we enjoyed Mission San Jose and found it very interesting. The church in particular was small but pretty.

It’s a nice city, fairly clean, and peopled by some of the friendliest, most helpful folks I’ve ever met. We ran into a couple of people whose job it seems to be to keep downtown clean and steer visitors in the right direction; they wear official vests and park ranger type hats, and they don’t hesitate to walk up to you and ask, “Hi, how are you? Can I direct you anywhere or help you find anything?”
That’s their job, and they’re good at doing it with genuine smiles and welcoming attitudes. However, the attitudes and smiles spilled over to just about all the locals we met, including wait staff and locals taking the city bus home from jobs and shopping. The bus drivers and other passengers made sure we got off on the right stop, and even suggested other places for us to see while we were visiting. It felt like real concern, and I won’t hesitate to come back to San Antonio.

We went to dinner on the Riverwalk. It was late, and it took a long time to find a place that was still seating dinner customers after 9 pm, but we had some good Tex-Mex. SOTE was Mary Greenwell Plum.

beef-its-whats-for-dinner** Don’t even ask me. There’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and then there’s CBB, which is a separate organization tasked with oversight of the Beef Checkoff Fund. It’s the CBB which is directly responsible for all those “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” ads, and for the expenditure of the $1 assessed on each head of cattle sold anywhere in the US, for the purpose of marketing and lobbying for this agricultural product. Incidentally, if you want some legitimate nutrition facts about beef or information about the industry, this website is a great place to go.

Thursday, Feb. 5 – Early on, The CEO and I went to have breakfast at Denny’s across from our hotel, and then walked several blocks to the The CEO had meetings most of the day, and so I was able to explore the city on my own to some degree. I walked around the Riverwalk, around the convention center, then into the mall. Found a really lovely sterling silver ring with what the jeweler was calling “pink coral” and which looks like enamel to me. It’s pretty either way, and not expensive.

Had some really delicious dinner at The Granary: pork and beef brisket barbecue, and the best baked beans I’ve ever had, plus some appetizers and such. Met some really lovely people – some other members of the CBB and spouses, two people who work for the beef ad campaign, a gentleman who works for MICA (Meat Importers Council of America). Shared a bottle of wonderful Riesling, too. Go ahead, call me unsophisticated, but I like Riesling very much.

SOTD was Cuir Cannage. It was very light in the chilly weather, for some reason. Native San Antonians keep complaining, “It’s so cold!” but it’s barely lower than 45F. The rain sprinkles and wind do make it feel colder, though.

Friday, Feb. 6 – Got up early(ish), and went down to the lobby to pick up my rental car. It was a little Kia Rio, a real change from the Caravan, but okay to drive. I was surprised that it had as much power as it did; it handled the Texas interstate speed limits, ranging from 55 in a construction zone to 75 on some long straight stretches, just fine.

Incidentally, either Mapquest for Android sucks or I can’t read Texas road signs. Or both, maybe. 🙂 I got lost to a minor degree, going to see my sister A at Fort Hood. Wound up going about 10-15 minutes’ drive out of the way – not awful, but enough so that I came into town from the wrong direction.

We had lunch together and then went to her on-base house for the rest of the day. My BIL came home early – his work schedule over the last couple of weeks has consisted of making early-morning formation at… 7 am, I think, and then working until mid-afternoon, followed by a few hours of rest before he goes back to the motor pool where he’s assigned until 10:30 or 11 pm. But he was released early from work yesterday, and I’m sure he enjoyed being home and relaxing without the need to go back in. SOTD was DelRae Wit, so pretty.

My nephew was proud to show me his room and, then, how to play “The Battle for Middle Earth” on Xbox. He’s such a sweetheart, and so cute.

Got back late to the hotel, around 11:30 pm. It would have been sooner, except that I got off the interstate to put a few gallons of gas in the car and wound up stuck behind a disabled vehicle, THEN stuck in traffic when police, fire and rescue vehicles rushed out responding to an emergency.

riverwalk
The Riverwalk

Saturday, Feb. 7 – I have really enjoyed San Antonio – although to be fair I think I might not have enjoyed it quite so much during its hot, humid summer weather. It’s a city with a great deal of interesting history, and the downtown area in particular is very nice. The Riverwalk is enjoyable, but I also enjoyed walking outside the touristy area. In any case, it’s a very friendly and pleasant town.
Sometimes I wonder what air travel might have been like in the 1960s, when it was a great luxury and airlines went out of their way to pamper passengers. As I write, I’ve got my laptop open on my tray table and The CEO has his head leaned over on my shoulder (for some reason, probably the pressure in my head and ears from the high altitude, I can never sleep on a plane). SOTD is DelRae Wit, which I love a little bit more every time I wear it. I’ll work on this decant for now, because I have so much perfume on my hands, but I truly wouldn’t turn down a bottle of Wit. It’s a fresh floral in the nicest of veins.

We will definitely miss Gaze’s concert at Regional Band, unfortunately. It is just Not Going to Happen that we will be able to make it back to Bristol by 6 pm. However, my parents and The CEO’s mom, as well as Taz, are going to attend. I’m so glad of that.

victorian afghan and fireSunday, Feb. 8 – I’ve been working on a twin-size afghan for Bookworm since shortly before Christmas. It’s a fluffy thing in super-bulky chenille yarn, very soft and plushy. I hope it holds up to use. It’s an interesting variegated yarn, in colors that I think of as being very Victorian: raspberry-sherbet pink, deep plum, brown, and olive green.

Glad to be home, but I’m exhausted. SOTD is L’Arte di Gucci, big loud beautiful rose chypre. Wonderful stuff.

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Scent Diary Summary, late January 2015

I’ll be getting back to the “BWF by flower” series soon. Meanwhile, this is an update as to what’s goin’ down.

stone-fireplace-lit-roaring-fire-11630129We’ve had some cold and some inclement weather, but nothing serious. The big snows of two years ago haven’t hit us (yet), and the sleds are still in storage. We’ve had some lovely fires in the fireplace, and lots of mulled cider and hot chocolate, anyway. I’ve tried some new teas, but nothing I want to talk about.

I have pretty much given up Pandora for Spotify. Both of them have ads, but I like being able to vet a playlist and delete items I don’t like from it instead of waiting for whatever is coming up next, like the radio. That said, sometimes I want to listen to something new, and Pandora’s good for that.

This is Kat, Maya, Bookworm and Sophia. The Facebook caption for this one says "On Fridays we wear plaid."
This is Kat, Maya, Bookworm and Sophia. The Facebook caption for this one says “On Fridays we wear plaid.”

Bookworm seems to be doing okay after the difficult semester she had in the fall. Yale and Harvard played their second non-conference “extra” game at Madison Square Garden the weekend before classes started, and Bookworm enjoyed playing with the pep band for it. I am no longer getting texts from her that discuss food she misses, or at least not on a regular basis. Her Facebook page is dotted with pictures of her with her suitemates and Ultimate Frisbee teammates and her bandmates, having fun.

Gaze just got his driver’s license. Oy. He does well with the driving, actually – it’s just everybody ELSE that I worry over. That’s my baby, y’all. Drive carefully and don’t hit him! As soon as we can shift some vehicles around, he’ll be driving himself, and perhaps his younger brother, to school. That’ll be helpful, especially since most of the time they’re both at indoor track practice after school. On Wednesdays Gaze has MACC (academic challenge) practice, and Thursday afternoons Taz has chess club.

My new phone!
My new phone!

Bookworm and Gaze and I now have smartphones (although Gaze’s and mine are prepaid, I admit). I’m still figuring out how to use mine… and it sucks power like nobody’s business, so I probably need to adjust some setting or other. Taz got my old full-keyboard phone (he’d better not lose it like he lost the other two!). The CEO is considering upgrading his slider, since we have started to feel like we’re stuck in the last century. No, we don’t NEEEEEEEED smartphones. We don’t NEEEEEEEEED to stream digital media to our TV. But we also don’t need to be our parents and shun technology just because we can get by without it.

On a related note, I got so sick of our internet going out multiple times over the past week, that I called Verizon tech support twice. After following their directions and buying new ethernet lines/new splitters for DSL, and resetting my modem FOURTEEN TIMES in an 18-hour period, I finally told them to just send me a new modem and we’ll see if that fixes the problem. (I bet it won’t. Every time it rains, water gets in on the main phone line in the area and causes our phone, as well as our neighbors’, to go staticky and awkward. Verizon says they’re meeting a minimum standard of service and they don’t have to fix it, and everybody’s going to cell phones anyway so it’s not financially feasible.) BUT. I’ll give it a shot. We don’t have FiOS out here in the sticks.

balcony flowchartIs it wrong that I am totally amused by this?

I have been wearing the heck out of all my white florals. I almost used up my sample of Fracas (and let me tell you, that sucker is NUCLEAR). Have also been wearing some animalic things like Soivohle Centennial and Amouage Memoir Woman, and some other scents I only wear in the winter, like my beloved golden Alahine.  Today I’m wearing Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea. Yum.

IMG_0187
Gaze said I shouldn’t name them, but I couldn’t resist. That’s Sweetie on the left, about an hour after he was born, and Precious on the right. SO CUTE.

OH! I totally forgot to mention Gaze’s FFA project sheep! Two of the five of them have lambed, and we have theeee most precious and darling little critters running around in the shop lot now. They are absolutely the cutest animals I have ever seen, ever ever.

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Scent Diary, Christmas week 2014

HNY 2015Actually… looks like the last time I wrote any sort of Scent Diary entry was four months ago. It is hopelessly out of date, and I include it here simply for reference.

Monday, Aug. 18 – First full day of school this year – it was a two-hour early release last Friday. Taz almost forgot his lunch, and Gaze forgot his trombone. I had to take it to him.

RAIN. Super rain. All-day rain. It was like the weather on Venus in that Ray Bradbury story, “All Summer in a Day.” (Which, do not read it if you are a) concerned about the scientific feasibility of constant rain on Venus, or b) emotionally sensitive. It will annoy the crap out of you Sheldon Cooper types who have to have all the facts right or the story doesn’t count, in the first case. And it will flat break your heart in the latter case. Oh, but Bradbury is such a genius of the short story.)

SOTD is Ralph Lauren Safari. Again. Man, I could get addicted to this stuff. Fragrantica calls it a Floral Green, but elsewhere I’ve seen it described as a green chypre. Don’t care. I suspect that its style was, well, out of style when it was introduced in the early 1990s: too perfumey. Too green, too loud, too far removed from the smell of “clean” in the days of cKOne and L’eau d’Issey. Not that it’s a dirty perfume exactly; it’s not Joy or Bal a Versailles by any means, but neither does it smell like Windex.
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Wednesday, Dec. 24 – The CEO’s sister J has been visiting. We went to the Christmas Eve service at the church where my mother-in-law attends, and ran into one of my aunts along with my cousin and her husband, so that was lovely too. SOTD was Prince Matchabelli Potpourri, a wonderfully clovey carnation-woods scent (long discontinued, of course – I paid $12 for a full 1 oz bottle via eBay), with a spritz of Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka for the evening.

I notice that my newish bottle of Vanille Tonka is missing its spritely, delightful lime opening. The lime’s still there, but it’s very subdued and there’s more of a root-beer feeling to the scent now. This is not bad, exactly, but I really adored that lime+spice thing. Sigh.

Was up late, but I managed to finish  not only my MIL’s chenille hat but also Bookworm’s Minion Hat. It is ADORABLE. (Here’s a link to the pattern, in case you would like to make it.)

Thursday, Dec. 25 – a quiet Christmas. The kids slept late, we slept late, and it has been so warm that there was no reason for The CEO to go out and have to feed cattle, so we dove into stockings first, and then had breakfast, and then opened presents. No scented gifts for me this year. (Which is okay. To a large degree I feel satisfied with my current collection, though I would of course love a bottle of Iris Poudre. I’ve gotten through a 5ml decant and I have two partial 10ml decants I’m still working on. The only thing that worries me is the impending purchase of Frederic Malle by Estee Lauder… Lauder owns Jo Malone as of Jan 1, 2015, in case you didn’t know that… I would hate for IP to be irrevocably changed because I love it.)

Bookworm loved her crocheted hat! She knew I was making her one… but when she opened her package she kept repeating, “It’s a MINION! It’s a MINION!” and didn’t take it off all day. Success, I proclaim.

We had a lovely dinner with The CEO’s mother and both his sisters, as well as his sister E’s husband and their kids. Very nice. SOTD was Teo Cabanel Alahine, because it smells like joy and Christmas to me, and it’s become tradition over the past five years to wear Alahine on Christmas.

Friday, Dec. 26 – We spent the morning of Boxing Day at home, straightening up a bit, before heading on to my parents’ house for Christmas Part II. I wore Alahine again, of course, because that is My Christmas Perfume, Period. I love Alahine so much. We had a nice time with family – a nice meal, an excellent time Skyping with my sister. My father recently replaced his 10-year-old Sebring with a Jeep crossover vehicle which seems rather sporty for him… in any case, he gave us the Sebring for one of the kids to use. I think he’d intended it for Gaze, who will be eligible for his driver’s license next month, but we decided that it might make more sense for Bookworm to drive it back and forth to Connecticut. Even with the $400 garage fee charged by the university, and the gas for it, it might be cheaper than airline flights! We’re still waffling on its name. Sebastian? Sabrina? Seabiscuit?* And Gaze, in any case, wants to drive the Ranger, which is way more “manly” than the Sebring.

*Yes, we are those annoying people who name their cars. Cameron (The CEO’s Camry, which is blue) and Stevie Ray Van (my Caravan, which is red) and Walker (the Ranger, which is black) refuse to share the driveway with an unnamed vehicle. 😉

Saturday, Dec. 27 – sunny day, temperatures in the 50s. Niece and nephew came over before the Virginia Tech – Cincinnati bowl game and hung out, and then The CEO’s mom and sisters and brother-in-law came over to watch the game. (My mother-in-law doesn’t have ESPN. In fact, she doesn’t have cable. Nor does she have internet access, or a computer, or even a touch-tone phone. She does have a cell phone, but only turns it on when she’s away from home and wants to ask someone a question. On the other hand, she seems to be getting along just fine.) So we did the basic house clean-up super-fast, and then settled in with some pizza to watch the Hokies trounce the Bearcats. SOTD was Caron Parfum Sacré, reapplied before dinner back over at the MIL’s house.  VT won the game, btw. Everyone was happy.

We have now determined that Gaze is a couple of inches taller than his same-age cousin Curiosity, Taz is now just a hair under my 5’4” height, and the cousin that’s Taz’s age, Primrose, is maybe half an inch taller than Bookworm. Everybody’s been growing except Bookworm, and she finally seems to have accepted that she’s just going to be a peanut. She did comment to me, however, that her friends have told her that she seems like a bigger person than her actual size – possibly because of her confidence and her grown-woman speaking voice.

By the way, I still don’t know why none of the Carons have captured my heart. True, the classic ones seem to have been reformulated badly, but even the vintage-ish stuff I’ve tried has seemed flat and dull to me. I did like Aimez-Moi, which was a more modern composition, but to be honest I never wore it so I traded it off to someone who loves it. Have I been influenced by the lukewarm reactions of Perfumes: The Guide? Perhaps. But I think it’s more likely that I simply don’t have an affinity for the style. I expected to find Narcisse Noir interesting, but the current stuff is way more orange blossom than narcissus, sort of a little girl’s yellow dotted-swiss dress, and the vintage sample I tried was so boring that I kept checking to see that the sample service hadn’t given me Narcisse Blanc by mistake. Tabac Blond is a wack combination of sweet, oily and musty, and Nuit de Noel is all that plus moss. The lovely Blacknall of A Perfume Blog sent me a sample of Or et Noir, which is said to be the precursor of Parfum Sacre, and I found that one difficult to wear, as its first hour or so is a sour, insistent rose soliflore before it relaxes into a beautiful soft ambery, mossy-woods drydown. (I suspect that it’s geranium I dislike so much in the rose scents that go sour on me.) Now, I do like Poivre, very much.

Sunday, Dec. 28 – a gray morning. Niece and nephew came over and played with our kids; I took a nap. We all went to church in the evening (our church, which normally meets at a local school on Sunday mornings, uses the sanctuary of another local church on Sunday evenings in the month of December) with my mother-in-law, as well as E and K, Primrose and Curiosity. Leftovers for dinner and football on TV… rain outside. SOTD: Organza Indecence, so cozy.

Monday, Dec. 29 – RAIN. Bleargh. A quiet day. SOTD was Shalimar Light. My first bottle of it (after the 5ml mini) is half gone; luckily I have one more stashed away. Best Lemon/Dirty-Vanilla EVAH. Made a batch of Nell’s Boiled Custard (YUM)!

Tuesday, Dec. 30 – The CEO’s laptop, or at least its screen, died last night and all attempts to revive it have failed so far. This is the Horrible! Clicky! Computer that I hate and despise because its “enter” key noise is so, well, offensively clicky that I literally cannot bear to be in the same room with it, so I am ambivalent about the matter. I’m sorry he’ll have to deal with the annoyance of a nonfunctioning computer, but maybe Virginia Tech will give him a new laptop that’s quieter.

Incidentally, over the month of November I found out that I have misophonia. That is, there is a name for the irrational feelings of rage/frustration one feels when hearing certain (generally soft and repetitive) noises. There is a NAME FOR IT, PEOPLE!! I am not (entirely) crazy! Gum chewing/popping… chewing sounds in general… the sound of toe/fingernails being clipped… that blasted clicky computer… gah. I have to leave the room. I cannot stand to sit in front of people who are innocently, but ANNOYINGLY, crunching popcorn at the movie theater. It is with the greatest difficulty that I restrain myself from turning around and killing them utterly dead. But at least I am not craaaaazy, even if very few people believe me about the soft-noise rage.

Yesterday’s rain turned to snow overnight, and we woke to a light dusting of the white stuff outside, though it isn’t particularly cold. SOTD: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. Mmmm, white florals.

Wednesday, Dec. 31 – Glad to see 2014 go, for some reason. The CEO and Gaze have been watching college football bowl games most of the day, and I’ve been writing some, and doing a few year-end errands. My new Tracfone Android phone arrived today but is not completely functional yet; Taz will be getting my old phone when my new one works. Hope he doesn’t lose this one as he did his first phone and his second (a castoff from his brother); I’ve been fond of that phone.

The Christmas decorations come down tomorrow. Three weeks of those are about all I can manage, though I have friends who enjoy having theirs up for nearly two months. I can’t do it. I don’t mind leaving my nutcrackers out into the second week of January, but the tree has to go, and the garland and lights on the porch railing do too. Incidentally, the whole my-Christmas-tree-is-trying-to-kill-me thing seems to have been confined to the Canaan fir varietal. We had another Fraser fir this year and I’ve had no problems. And it was lovely, too.

SOTD is Memoir Woman. Mmmmmmmmm. I got an order from Beauty Encounter today – a candle that was on clearance/sale, plus a few samples and some mini shower gels. And my new crockpot, ordered from Amazon with my gift card, came today too! Yay! Delicious ham for dinner, and I’ve got an El Cheapo bottle of pink moscato (HEY! Don’t judge me!) in the fridge for The CEO and I to share at midnight.

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful, fragrant 2015!

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Labor Day, 2014

Happy Labor Day to my fellow Americans!

I have, again, sorely neglected to keep my Scent Diary up to date, so you’re getting a summary.  That’s The Way It Is. (Heavy sigh.)

outlanderI’ve been watching “Outlander” on Starz.  I’ve loved the books ever since I picked up the first one in the series (which now stands at eight books, with at least one more in the works), in 1995. It was a good fat book, and it seemed to involve Scotland and a romance, so I figured it might be good reading material for what I was doing at the time. Namely, sitting on the couch and nursing my first baby. Bookworm did not have a good handle on this breastfeeding thing – and neither did I, to be honest. Besides that, she was a small six-pound baby and wanted to nurse every two hours around the clock.

Let me repeat that: around the clock. Every two hours. Without fail.   So I was spending something like 10 hours a day parked in one spot. I needed stuff to read.  And I was quickly engrossed in the story of Claire, a WWII nurse suddenly transported back 200 years in time, without a way to get home, forced to escape the perverted interest of an army captain by way of marrying a young Scotsman.

Ah, Jamie Fraser… if you can find me a woman who’s read the books and not fallen for Jamie Fraser, I’ll tell you that she is either a newlywed or has no heart.

Taz at Grand Tetons, a selfie using his dad's camera and tripod.
Taz at Grand Tetons, a selfie using his dad’s camera and tripod.

I’ve sampled a few new things, as well as a few fragrances new to me. More about that coming, but here’s the list: Carven Le Parfum, Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant, and Dame Perfumery Pear, Waterlily and Amber.  I have re-explored Monyette Paris (oil format) and Robert Piguet Fracas, plus Sonoma Scent Studio Yin & Ylang.

What I would love to know is, why can’t I find a manufacturer sample of the rereleased Carven Ma Griffe? I read somewhere that it was considered a “soft” launch, not much fanfare… but NO samples?  Perhaps this is a US problem only, and there are at least testers available in multiple places in Europe. I did once buy a mini of the vintage stuff on eBay, but it was truly spoilt so I still don’t know how it was meant to smell.  I’m very interested in smelling the new, anyway.

Bookworm with her sax.
Bookworm with her sax. Photo by YPMB Photogs.

Bookworm went back to school on the 23rd. She seems to have settled in just fine. She’s in a suite with four other girls – Kat, Maya, Sophia, and her roommate, Ring – and practices for the Yale Precision Marching Band have already started.  (Ring is Chinese, and that’s her English-language use-name because apparently her Chinese name is difficult for Americans to pronounce.)

Gaze is a sophomore in high school, and Taz is an eighth-grader.  They’re out of school today for the holiday, and so is Bookworm, for that matter, but Virginia Tech held classes today, so The CEO is teaching today.  We’re going to a potluck meal with my extended family for lunch today, and when we get home, I intend to rearrange my perfume cabinet. There are some bottles in there that I’m not wearing, and I want to organize them and prepare them for sale on eBay. Never done that before, so that will be a new experience.

(Perhaps I shall offer them for sale here first? Think I will. Don’t expect any hidden gems, though.  It’ll be mostly mainstream stuff – no 1930s Vol de Nuit or anything like that.  I probably will slough off my two purchases of 1980s Coty Chypre, however. That is tough to find. I just don’t love it, not the way I adore the really vintage stuff. In any case, I will take pictures and post things for sale here, and leave that post up for a week or ten days, after which everything goes straight to listing on eBay.  I’m sorry to say that I will only be shipping within the US; attempts to mail out of the country have gone very badly for me. Paypal only.)

Gaze with his trombone.
Gaze with his trombone. Photo by Stacey Utt.

The high school had their first football game Friday. We lost 28-8. Miserable.  The band did well, though.  Weather’s been odd for August – very wet, continuing the rain that marked the last half of July.  Just in the last week or so, it’s been hot and humid, which is more like our usual August. I hate August.  And last week, the cross-country team hosted a scrimmage against a school from a neighboring county. The course was laid out over land that we own or rent, and it’s an extremely tough one: hills and varying surfaces (paved road, gravel road, grass).  Finishing times were  slow, and although that must have been partly because the course was so new that no one had run it before (except Gaze, who’d run it once) and partly because the temperatures were brutally hot.  We did not exactly cover ourselves with glory, but we had all of our boys finish, including the two middle-school boys, Noah and Taz.

 

The dog is driving me crazy. It’s like living with a toddler.  Out! In! Out! In! Investigate the goats! Bark at nonexistent threats!  Attempt to steal food and eat inappropriate things like quarters and pieces of plastic! On the other hand, he’s sweet. And he hasn’t really destroyed anything… much.  Except three shoes, one of his leashes, several used tissues, a plastic bag, one of The CEO’s socks that he bit a hole in, one of Taz’ socks that he bit the heel completely out of, his plastic Frisbee, and half a pan of cinnamon rolls he snagged off the counter (I don’t want to know what acrobatic feats he accomplished to even reach the pan).  I can’t watch him every single second! Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom!

Hunter is spoiled rotten!
Hunter is spoiled rotten!

Fragrances I’ve been wearing recently: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, Mary Greenwell Plum, Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil, LeLong pour Femme, Chanel 1932 edt, Guerlain Vega, Dame Perfumery Black Flower Mexican Vanilla, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour Femme, Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete, and Ralph Lauren Safari.  I even pulled out Amouage Memoir Woman for a bedtime spritz last night. (It was lovely.)  I’ve been trying to wear decants, and I’m going to try to continue that focus into the future.

I purchased two inexpensive blind buys off eBay recently: Lucienne von Doz Lucienne, and a nearly-anonymous vintage thing in a vaguely Avon bottle, called Chypre d’Amboise and labeled Paris. I haven’t worn it yet. I’ll report on Lucienne soon as well.

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