Categotry Archives: The scented life


Random So What


Categories: The scented life, Tags:


Why is this photo here? Well, first because it is random, like this post. Second, because it is cool.

Why is this photo here? Well, first because it is random, like this post. Second, because it is cool.

Okay, by now you’ve noticed that with regards to my promise to return to regularly-scheduled programming with Scent Diary, I have backslid (backslidden? backslided?) into apathy once again.

My life is just not all that interesting these days, even to me. Maybe especially to me.

I am working on a review (Vagabond Prince Enchanted Forest) and a Throwdown (Jacomo Silences vs Silences edp Sublime), and Part III of the enormous Carnation Extravaganza. Really. Really, I am.

But I will share with you here some random meandering thoughts, in no particular order and of no particular logic:

I consider myself a pretty decent basic cook. I’m not the Barefoot Contessa, of course. But I make a mean cheesecake; my grilled trout is to die for; I’ve made delicious pizza from scratch. I make homemade cinnamon buns for Christmas morning. But when I ran across this “37 People Who Are Worse at Cooking than You” thing on a friend’s Facebook page, I had to check it out. Bookworm was with me. We laughed until our stomachs hurt.

I had a college friend who was famous for making toast using her desk lamp, and also for being ten minutes late whatever the occasion, always. She wore this horrible oriental perfume I hated hated hated – I think it was Estee Lauder Cinnabar – but I loved her. Still do. She is currently married to an Orthodox priest, who we also went to college with, and who possesses the talent of juggling, and mothering four terrific kids. Miss you, Suzanne, you total awesome wack job.

(Admit it, the image of a 6’4” bearded Orthodox priest named Father Mark juggling colored balls amuses you.)

early summer 2011 061My long-haired kitteh, Silvia, is not quite 20 years old. She doesn’t see well. She doesn’t hear well. I suspect that her feline brain isn’t quite firing on all cylinders anymore, because she will howl for food when there’s still some in her dish (what, it doesn’t COUNT if I put it in your bowl ten minutes ago?) and she has ceased to walk to the door when she wants out. She’ll stand over her dish and yowl instead, even when said dish is freshly anointed with canned food, and it’s only by trial and error that I figure out that outside is her real wish. Also, she’s never liked to be brushed, and she’s got mats in her longish fur that cannot be comfortable. Ideally she should be clipped at the vet’s, but the vet said that they’d have to give her anesthesia to do that, and they didn’t want to put her to sleep because of her age. So she’s matted and uncomfortable and I can’t fix it. Also, both Taz and Bookworm are allergic to her.

We’re getting new carpet. We did the lower stairs and the basement family room last year, and now we need to recarpet the master bedroom, the upper stairs, the hall and all the second floor bedrooms. It’ll be expensive, but I suppose 11 years is about all the wear you could reasonably get out of the cheaper stuff the builders put in originally.

I dig the Kindle I got for Christmas – a lot. However, it is a pain trying to find stuff in the Bible via Kindle. You know how you’re sitting in church and the pastor is working off, say, 1st Chronicles, and then he says, “Flip over to 1st Samuel-chapter-whatever for just a minute with me”? By the time I find 1st-Samuel-chapter-whatever on the Kindle, he’s on to somewhere else and I’m completely lost. It’s unwieldy. I have taken to lugging my pink-and-brown NIV Bible (no, really, it’s cute) with me and just wearing my prescription reading glasses instead. I can’t wear the drugstore readers, because when I switch from looking at the Bible on my lap to looking at the minister thirty feet away, I get nauseated. So, bifocals instead.


I miss Calvin & Hobbes so much.

I miss Calvin & Hobbes so much.

We’ve had what the meteorologists call “wintry mix” (snow, sleet, freezing rain) three times over the past three weeks, plus some miserable cold rain that nearly washed out our gravel road, but not enough snow to go sledding in. The kids are bummed. So am I.

I am not longing for spring. I am still longing for serious winter, and snow, and afternoons spent in front of a roaring fire. A roaring fire does not count if it is above freezing outside. The CEO thinks I’m crazy. In this way, and in this way alone, I miss the 1970s.

Apparently it is now, and has been for some time, the basic rule to use only one space between sentences. This was not the case when I learned to type – yes, on an ACTUAL TYPEWRITER, back in the dark ages when I took a touch typing class at the community college one summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I am gradually retraining myself. It is not easy. Old dog. New trick.

Sometimes I forget stuff. Sometimes I forget lots of really important stuff. Like I forgot to check with the state corporation commission when we didn’t get a bill for the renewal for the farm LLC, and our LLC got canceled. (It can be renewed and we’re in the process of doing that, but this is a pain in the hind parts.) And too often I forget how much God loves me. I forget to be nice, I forget to love people, I forget especially to love the people who love me.

Another college friend of mine, someone I sang with in University Singers at UVa, has written a book about driving race cars. She’s got at least two art history books under her belt, and now this one, about challenging herself and learning new things, and how much fun it is to go really really fast around a racetrack. I think driving really fast as a pastime is certifiably insane, but I also think as a metaphor it’s something I need to learn. Think I’ll download Fast Girl: Don’t Brake Until You See the Face of God to my Kindle. Congrats, Ingrid.

I have been wearing lots of samples recently, particularly carnations. (Duh.) Have also been wearing Silences Sublime and various iterations of Chanel No. 19. Have also also been wearing comforting things like Mariella Burani, Iris Poudre, Shalimar Light, and Black Cashmere. As for Scent Diary, we’ll see what happens. If I feel like writing it, I will. If not? I’ll write something else. Things just unfold.



Carnations: underrated, or a waste of time?


Categories: carnation scents, The scented life, Tags: ,

Carnations, of course, have been around for ages.  They’ve been used in the US primarily for inexpensive, long-lasting bouquets, often dyed bizarre colors, frequently used in prom corsages.  I’ll be talking more in depth about them next week – history, meaning, symbolism, that sort of thing – but I wanted to discuss the flower in general today.

This one's rather pretty, I think - look at the diamante dewdrops! Nicer than the grocery store ones I wore...

This one’s rather pretty, I think – look at the diamante dewdrops! Nicer than the grocery store ones I wore…

When I was in high school in the Dark Ages, the coveted prom corsage was baby rosebuds, carnations being the thing your date would pick out for you if a) he was broke or b) he didn’t happen to be crazy about you.  (For the record, I’ve never minded dating guys who could only afford the carnations.)

st pat carnationAnd if you wanted flowers in strange colors – Tennessee orange, maybe, or St. Patrick’s Day green – you got carnations, because they can be dyed.

Other places in the world use carnations as funeral flowers. Red carnations were symbolic of Soviet government.

But  I think that in general, the carnation is a beautiful, forgotten flower. If you grow them yourself, you’re frequently rewarded with a delightfully spicy-fresh floral fragrance, exhilarating and lovely.  The ones you find in the florist case nowadays are rarely fragrant, having been bred for long life and long stems.  It’s sad.

pink garden carnationCarnation is the flower for January, and since that’s my birthday month, I was disposed to like them even before I realized how wonderful they smell.  I spent a good two months, a few years ago, trying to find “carnation perfume” via the Internet and failing completely.  I didn’t know then where to look, and I didn’t know that there were so many wonderful fragrances that smell of carnation.  Now, of course, I have a long list.

Next week I’ll be posting a guide to carnation fragrances (similar to my woefully un-updated Bouquet of Roses post), but I’d love to hear what you think about carnations in general now.



Best of 2012


Categories: That's Just My Opinion, The scented life, Tags:

Bookworm making drum major.

Gaze and his cousin Curiosity both making it to the Virginia National Geographic Bee.

Taz turning 12.

The Hunger Games novel series, which I read with Bookworm this year.

Our church (located half an hour’s drive away) spinning off a new church plant in our town.

Making progress on two novels.

The investment in bull semen (oh, honey, do not even ask me, seriously, do not, because you don’t want to know, you truly don’t) that paid off beyond what we expected.

As for perfume, however, I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Well, okay, I did enjoy L’Artisan’s Seville a L’Aube, and Denyse Beaulieu’s book detailing the fragrances inspiration and progress.  And the three Neela Vermeire scents – Bombay Bling, Mohur, and Trayee – are lovely, and I hope to review them soon even though everybody else has already done so.  Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk was not much my style but very nice; SSS Nostalgie suited me much better, and if I hadn’t won a bottle of  Tableau de Parfums Miriam last year I’d have wanted one of Nostalgie (the two are not twins, but share a vintage feeling and some very similar notes). Micallef Ylang in Gold (review forthcoming) is also very pleasant.  I haven’t reviewed Parfums de Nicolai Musc Intense, but that’s nice too.

Regarding mainstream releases – well, I liked Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb. And I liked L’eau de Chloe.

I went overboard anticipating Serge Lutens‘ new gardenia, Une Voix Noire, and jumped in on a split of it, only to find that while I think it’s good (and yeah, that’s another one I need to review), it does not really speak to me, much less sing in a sultry nightclub voice.  And I am STILL slavering over the idea of an updated Jacomo Silences, but apparently it is only sold in a few locations in the US and nobody seems to have samples, so I have not smelled it yet.  Arrrgh.

(Jacomo, I’m DYING here.  Seriously: work on your US distribution, please.  Please. And think about packaging up some samples, willya? I mean, c’mon, even Lutens does that. Amouage does that.)

On the other hand, I did have some wonderful scented experiences.  I enjoyed Alyssa Harad’s wonderful book, Coming to My Senses (oh, great, there’s ANOTHER thing I have neglected to review).  And I explored two genres of fragrances that I’d previously only dabbled in and declared “Not Me” – incense and orange blossom – and found them to be “Sometimes Me.”

I have decided that I will not focus on the disappointments and tragedies and frustrations of 2012; I will merely be glad to see it go as I wish everyone an enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

So long, 2012. Don’t let the screen door hit you in the butt on the way out, okay?



Help out one of our favorite fume bloggers!


Categories: Blog housecleaning, The scented life, Tags: , , , ,

Another terrific perfume-related project is getting off the ground, and you can help!

Barbara Herman of the wonderful blog Yesterday’s Perfume is writing a book.  About, you guessed it, perfume, to be called Scent and Subversion: A Century of Provocative Perfume (via Lyon Press, due out fall of 2013).  And she’s raising money through Indiegogo.  And you can help.

Barbara’s fundraising page introduces her book in more detail, and offers some fun perks for donators (you don’t have to accept them, but who wouldn’t want a vial of vintage goodies?).  Briefly, her book will present some beautiful vintage ads, discuss perfume in the context of culture and gender studies, and interview modern perfumers.

Go check out some of her writing on Yesterday’s Perfume, if you’re not already familiar with it.  It’s well worth reading, even if you have nothing but disdain for scent from another era.  (She might just change your mind!) 

THERE ARE ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT.  The goal’s almost reached, but every little bit counts, of course, so check it out and consider helping to get this book published.  As for me, I might go gloat over my vintage miniatures and reread some of Barbara’s reviews…



The Intervention Perfumes


Categories: The scented life, Tags: , ,

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that this is your Scented Life these days: you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, and when you read Coming to My Senses: Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride by Alyssa Harad, you identified with every bit of her journey into perfumista-dom, and you now own enough perfume to scent yourself until you’re 211 years old, should you live that long.

And your friends and family have seen your perfume collection, and their eyes got round and they looked at each other in consternation and started talking about that TV show, “Hoarders.” 

And when people ask you about your “number,” you fudge it.  You come up with reasons not to count the backup bottles of vintage Emeraude, for example, or the old bottle of Victoria’s Secret Pink that you never wear anymore, or the decants, or the miniatures you bought in a lot on eBay, because, c’mon, they don’t matter, they were on deep discount or they were birthday presents or they’re not in the current rotation or you need them for reference.

Let’s just say.  For the sake of argument.

Family Arguments
So then your family members and friends stage an intervention.  They say things like:

“We’ve noticed that you seem to have a lot of perfume.”

“We’ve noticed that you often have difficulty choosing a perfume for the day.  In fact, we’re sometimes late because you couldn’t decide which one you wanted to wear.”

“We’ve noticed that you sometimes get cravings for a particular scent in the middle of the day, so you wash off what  you have on and put on something else.”

“And it’s time to stop.  You need to downsize.”

Nooooooooo! you scream.  No, I need all these perfumes. I need them all, they’re all different and I love them all and I want to be able to complement any mood, any weather, any occasion.  I need them!

“You seem addicted.”

I can stop anytime I want to, you say.  I can.  No problem.  I’m just enjoying myself.  I’m not addicted.

Then they get tough.  “We’re going to go through your cabinet.  You can choose a dozen perfumes to keep, and everything else is going away.  We’ll find good homes for them, don’t worry about that, but you need to decide which ones you want to keep.”

Nooooooo!  I want them all!

“Stop behaving like a child.  We know what’s best for you.”

“You will still have perfume!  You can keep a dozen bottles.”

“Maybe we should make it fifteen.”

Yes!  Or, or twenty!  Or maybe twenty-five.  I need to change with the seasons, don’t forget that.  And some of these things are dressy, and some of them are best worn with jeans, and some —

“Yeah, we get it.  Pick twelve.”

Twenty.  I need twenty.

“No, twelve is enough.”

But what if I fall in love with something new?  I could, you know.  Very easily.  They’re making new and fabulous things all the time.  In fact, Uncle Serge is planning a new gardenia —

“If you want a new bottle, you must either finish one, give one away, or sell one.  We are very serious about this.”

And when you bow to the strictures your loved ones place upon you, you pick twelve.

Seems like most perfume bloggers visit and revisit this topic from time to time: the Desert Island Frags.  As in, Which are the ten perfumes you would prefer not to live without?  Which ten do you love the most?  Which ten would you sell a kidney, or a first-born child, for?  (See this recent post at Olfactoria’s Travels to see readers come out of the woodwork to share their favorites.) I’ve always been a little annoyed with the “desert island” idea – very few of my favorites would do well in tropical heat – but I have a list, of course.  Everybody has a list. 

And of course, somebody always says, “I couldn’t do just ten, I had to bump it to twelve.”  Or fifteen, or twenty, or fifty…  And somebody else says, “Well, that’s my list for THIS week, but it’ll change without warning.”

Mine changes, too.  But this is what it looks like at the moment, in no particular order:

Vintage Coty Emeraude parfum de toilette

Teo Cabanel Alahine

Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete

Mary Greenwell Plum

Serge Lutens La Myrrhe

Guerlain Shalimar Light

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower (of which I only have a decant, of course)

Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea

Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet

Vintage Chanel No. 19 eau de toilette 

Cuir de Lancome


There, that’s twelve.  And I’m annoyed at leaving Jacomo Silences, Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, and Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur off the list, but there you go – you cannot have everything.  Give me another thirty seconds and I’ll have got this list to twenty cannot-do-withouts… F Malle Iris Poudre, Tableau de Parfums Miriam, Guerlain Chamade, Chanel No. 5 parfum, Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka. 

There, that’s twenty.  And I could keep going, but you get the idea, don’t you?  And why on earth would I want a “signature scent” now?  It would be like wearing the same clothes day in and day out.  (I know, some people do that.  Some people do fine wearing a uniform and don’t miss picking a sweater by the color and the weather. Whatever floats your boat, I say, but it doesn’t float mine.)

So: which bottles do you keep?  Which do you reluctantly place in the “Goodwill Donations” box or offer to fumehead friends?



Scent Diary, July 30 – August 5, 2012


Categories: marching band, Scent Diary, The scented life, Uncategorized, Tags: ,

Sorry for delay!  Laptop was wonky.

Monday, July 30: Took the boys for their annual eye appointments. Gaze’s vision has changed only a little, but Taz’s has improved considerably. They both need new glasses, so we stopped by Wendy’s for fast food and then by Wal-Mart, which I’ve found to have a good/cheap eyeglass service (Consumer Reports agrees with me, by the way, if you want to look it up). Gaze ate a burger called Son of Baconator – I think it’s two patties, with bacon. No cheese, because he hates cheese – one of these days I’ll make sure to have his DNA checked, since both The CEO and I love cheese! – but extra bacon. Gaze loooooves bacon SOTD: Silences. Wonderful stuff. Gaze started Official Football Practices for the middle school team this evening… all 92 pounds of him, sigh. Because of the eye appointments, I missed helping with band camp today. Thunderstorms this evening.

Pirate deck at Club Earl

The marching band show this year is called “Mutiny!” and includes the Introit from Mozart’s Requiem, snippets of soundtrack from various “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, and other songs called “Swashbuckler” and “Water.”

Tuesday, July 24 – A little cooler today, which is good because we’ve got band camp the rest of the week. In the past, band camp has been “away,” either at a college campus or something like a church camp site, but for the past two years has been held at our high school, on the band practice field, for financial reasons. That is, we’re saving money for band trips rather than spending it on band camp housing and meals; the kids sleep at home, of course, and because of the lunch program through the school, lunch is provided. (When I was in marching band, eons ago, we always did band camp at our high school as well. However, instead of a nice grassy practice field, we marched ON THE ASPHALT PARKING LOT. In AUGUST. These kids don’t know how lucky they are – we only got onto actual grass for two hours on the very last day of band camp, after the football players went home.) Continue reading →



Announcing a Change, and Coming Attractions


Categories: Blog housecleaning, That's Just My Opinion, The scented life, Tags: ,

Paramount Theater Marquee

Regular readers will probably already have noticed that my posting pace has slowed down, from 4-5 posts a week to about two. Partly this is because it’s summer: the kids are home, there’s lots to do, yada yada… Mostly, though, this is because I’m working on a story and a novel, and my thoughts are going in the direction of my nonblog creative writing.

Oh, I’m still wearing perfume and reading books! And I do keep the blog in mind throughout the week. But other things are calling me, and because this blog has always been an outlet for writing, I don’t feel guilty about changing the format here from time to time.

For the moment, I plan to continue with at least two weekly posts. One of those will, of course, be Scent Diary. The other post will be either a Mini-Review Roundup, a full-fledged perfume review, a Fragrance Throwdown, or a book review. There may also be a rant or a Random Thought Explosion in the mix as well. I’m not going away, and the blog will be updated, but not as frequently as I’ve done in the past. I hope you’ll stick around.

Posts I am currently working on and that will be published in the coming weeks include the following:

Perfume Review: Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk

Mini-Review Roundup: Opus Oils Burlesque Collection, plus Dirty Sexy Wilde and Dapper

Mini-Review Roundup: Neela Vermeire Bombay Bling, Trayee, and Mohur (if I FIND my Mohur sample, that is)

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: Dior Poison

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: JPG Fragile

Tuberose Series Perfume Review: Versace Blonde parfum

Perfume Review: Vintage Muse de Coty

Book Review: Mockingjay (part 3 of The Hunger Games trilogy), by Suzanne Collins

Book Review: The Selection, by Kiera Cass

Book Review: Coming to my Senses, on Perfume, Pleasure, and Becoming an Unlikely Bride, by Alyssa Harad

(Okay, I’ll come clean: I’ve only started writing three, no, four, of these. The others I’m still taking notes on and deciding where the review will go. But STILL. They’re IN THE WORKS. I PROMISE.)

I’m also still working on/revamping “Bright as Day,” and starting to take notes and make plans for a fictional book based on an incident in my late grandmother’s life. It’s a fascinating story, really, and I’m probably going to be in hot water with my mother when she realizes what the book’s about – because it’s a family secret that I didn’t find out until I was in my twenties and some of the parties involved were already deceased. By now, of course, most of the family members have died, and the only ones left are my mother and two cousins.

The big issue here is, how many details of the debacle will I have to change? Which facts are necessary to the story, and which can I fudge? Which facts should I fudge, to make it more dramatic? More to the point, my most frustrating struggle with the story is that my narrator isn’t speaking to me yet.

Yet. She will, though. I just have to be patient. I don’t, in fact, know which of the four major female characters will be my narrator, or whether they’ll take turns. I’ve got to go into my box of family photos and stare at people for awhile to see if anybody will start to talk.



Miss Zola’s Candy Jar: discovering what’s in your sample stash


Categories: The scented life, Tags: ,

candy jar

Okay, so the morning I’m writing this, I’m looking for a particular sample I know I have on hand because a friend sent it to me. I know she did. I know I have it in my possession. It’s here. So where is it??

In the plastic craft box with dividers? Nope.

In the tiny stenciled willow basket on the nightstand? No.

In the carved red box made in Poland that Mom gave me for Christmas? Don’t see it.

In the pink depression-glass bowl on the dresser? Nuh-uh.

In the other plastic craft box? Yes, finally. And now I’m going to have to update that review of Ferre scents I posted last summer, because when I wrote it I didn’t have this other sample, and it changes everything. Well, it changes some things, anyway. Looks like I’m going to have to write an addendum. Grr.

And now I am thinking about samples: I have many. Probably too many. It’s quite possible that some of you are reading about my sample collection and thinking, Wow, that’s a lotta samples... and some of you are thinking, Oh, is that all she has? Thing is, I hardly ever completely finish a sample, unless I am convinced that I love it and I need a decant. Or a bottle. I like to keep things around for reference, though I noticed on my recent rampage through the sample storage that some of my “reference” vials are empty. They are the ones I had only left a drop or so in, and it may have been silly for me to keep them. Continue reading →



Picking Noses


Categories: The scented life, Tags: ,

Okay.  Maybe that was a bad choice of title, and/or photo.  I was just thinking that perfumers themselves are now becoming part of the marketing for the perfumes they compose, and I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. 

I have noticed recently that the perfumer who seems most busy these days, and whose perfumes are nearly always greeted with excitement by perfumistas, is Bertrand Duchaufour.  M. Duchaufour has not created his own brand, the way several other “noses” have in the last decade or so (Mark Buxton, Francis Kurkdjian), but scents composed by him do seem to have a signature feeling or structure.

I also notice that a number of bloggers seem to have favorite perfumers.  I’m not sure I do, which is interesting.   I do well with my favorite indies Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio, but I don’t love every one of their compositions.  Ditto Andy Tauer (when a Tauer is right for me it’s outstanding; when it’s not, it’s a disaster). Continue reading →



And death shall have no dominion


Categories: The scented life, Tags: , ,

Easter Lilies

Man that is born of woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up and is cut down like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow. In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord? (Book of Common Prayer) Hear John Rutter’s haunting setting of this text, from his Requiem, here (video about six minutes).

Spring is always hard on me. Most of the major disappointments and betrayals in my life have come in the spring. I think of those I’ve loved and lost, and I’ve lost most of those in the spring, too: my grandmother whom I called Bambaw, my friend Terry Plunk, my father-in-law. In April of 2007, an emotionally ill, disturbed student at Virginia Tech decided it would be a suitable vengeance to take out as many people as possible before ending his own life; thirty-three people died that day, including the shooter. Last April, PETBoy’s mother Leslie, who had graduated high school with The CEO, died after a short illness that hadn’t seemed all that serious at first.

And this place is beautiful in the spring. The grass is plentiful and soothing to the eye, a deep emerald green, plush and lush and bouncy. Dogwoods and wild cherry trees and redbuds and apple trees are all blooming, white and pink and purple against all that green. It is glorious, and it is in enormous contrast to the losses I feel, and it hurts.

Spring always makes me think of dreams that failed. Every mistake I ever made, every wish that wasn’t granted, every hope unfulfilled, they all come back to me in the spring. I said to someone recently, on her post about the death/rebirth cycle that colors her spring, that I always grieve over the lost things, that one of the bittersweet aspects of giving birth is trading the imagined baby for the real one: the one that could have been a million things now just is. And however wonderful the real one is (and my babies are truly wonderful) – well, I hate giving up the box of possibility.

One of those boxes of possibility is forever shut: my daughter Bookworm’s friend Cameron died yesterday.

He had been on the track team last year and the year before, but this year he’d gotten a job instead. He was on the way there after school on Wednesday, headed north on the interstate highway that runs close by our town and the surrounding ones.  The cause of the accident remains unclear, though speed and alcohol were not involved: he ran off the left side of the road up an embankment, hit a tree, and flipped the car. He was not wearing his seat belt.  Traffic was backed up for over six miles, for about two hours following the accident.

Cameron was a senior, involved in drama, on the MACC (academic competition) team, threw shotput and discus on the track team. He was a Boy Scout – in the best sense, I mean, not a goody-goody but a genuinely good and friendly kid. He was tall, with long arms and an open face. He and Bookworm used to kid each other about being the “long and short” of the track team – Cameron being the “long,” of course. They were on the MACC team together. Bookworm, who’s something of an introvert and who doesn’t claim a large number of close friends, counted him one of that number.

After she’d gotten home from the track meet last night and we’d hugged and I’d told her how sorry I was, while she was eating a late dinner, she looked at me and said, “I just… it doesn’t seem… I mean, I saw him today. He said hello to me in the hall like he always does.” She sighed. “Did, I mean.” Afterward, I heard her crying in the shower.

I’m sad, too. I’m sad for her, and I’m sad for that close-knit troop of Boy Scouts, most of whom are also band members: Dakota, Justin, Kalep, James, Cody. I’m grieving for his parents. You go through nineteen years of doing what’s right for your kid, from taking those prenatal vitamins to caring for a tiny tyrant on very little sleep, from learning to tell a toddler “No,” and meaning it, to getting him on the school bus, from packing lunches to buying three sets of school clothes in eight months as he grows six inches, from making sure the braces are cared for properly to making sure the SAT fees are paid… you do all those things, and then suddenly what you have is not a healthy intelligent good son about to graduate high school and go to college, not a warm living kid in your house and eating all your food and hugging you good night, but only photographs and fingerpaint art and a Scout uniform. An empty bed, an empty room. A box of possibility, forever closed. Cameron could have been a million things, and now he isn’t any of them. We keep forgetting how breakable people are.  My heart hurts.

It’s three days before Easter.

I can’t stop thinking about that Tony Campolo video (about six minutes) where he’s quoting the minister of his church, amazed that the guy got so much out of a repeated five-word phrase in his Holy Week sermon: “It’s Friday… but Sunday’s comin’!”

It’s technically Thursday today, but it is really Friday. It is a dark, dark day, a day in which the good son is dead and your heart hurts and you don’t know what’s wrong with this ruined sad world and hope seems far out of reach.

But Sunday’s comin’. I know. Sunday’s comin’.



Top 20 Bestselling Women’s Fragrances in the US, 2011: Wrap-up


Categories: Mini reviews, That's Just My Opinion, The scented life

Stacked perfume

I’m still surprised that I managed to test all of the Top 20 Bestselling Fragrances for Women in the US in 2011. I’m usually doing a hit-or-miss sort of testing, just the scents that appeal to me, or whatever I can scrape acquaintance with.  (To read previous posts on the subject, click these links: description of original review project, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.) To wrap up, I have some comments on the State of the Mall and fragrances you can find there, specifically relating to the Top 20 US.

The only fragrances on the bestseller list that I’d wear for myself would be Chanel No. 5 and Prada Candy, or possibly Chance Eau Fraiche or Light Blue in hot weather. The Lauder fragrances (except Youth Dew) tend to smell wonderful to me for about two hours, after which they work my Last. Freakin’. Nerve, and I must scrub them or vomit. It’s not them, it’s me.  Knowing and Beautiful would probably be on my personal list if they didn’t do that Lauder Evil Basenote Thing.  Sure, I’ve now found that I can wear the Lauders on fabric, but with all the perfume I have, I just don’t feel the need to do that. 

I do notice that for all the perfumista hatred directed at way too many insipid fruity floral fragrances, there aren’t that many fruity florals on the list. J’Adore, Chance Eau Tendre, and Romance would be the only ones I’d put in that category, and they’re not awful. There are some fruit-bomb sort of things, like the Taylor and Justin fragrances, and the berry-candy-patchouli freakiness of Angel, and a certain number of clean-smelling fragrances like Light Blue, Happy, and Cashmere Mist (and possibly Sensuous Nude, though I would argue that SN is more discreet than “clean”). Continue reading →



No review today.


Categories: Applause, Family, The scented life

m-118 ~totcupcakes~

I’ll be spending the day with Gaze, my mother-in-law B, my nephew Curiosity, and my sister-in-law E, at the Virginia Geography Bee, and wearing Mary Greenwell Plum.  Gaze and Curiosity are participating in the competition – congrats and good luck to them!

(In other news, Gaze is suddenly a quarter of an inch taller than his older sister, and she’s pretty ticked about it.  Which makes him even happier.)

Wishing everyone a fun and fragrant weekend, as March goes out (like a lamb, we hope).  See you on Monday for Scent Diary, and look for some more mini-reviews of Serge Lutens fragrances next week.

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