Tag Archives: Scent Diary


Almost-Scent Diary, Aug. 4-17, 2014


Categories: Family, Scent Diary, Tags:

Photo from FarmGirlBloggers.  (I JUST NOW found out this site exists. Now must explore...)

Foggy August Morning in the Appalachians. Photo from FarmGirlBloggers.

As usual, when things get crazy, I neglect keeping up with the Scent Diary. Sorry. 🙂 But here’s a summary-type entry.  (Hey, I just NOW found out that the Farm Girl Bloggers site exists… must explore.)

As I mentioned in the post about the new dog, I’ve Been Busy. I had forgotten how much time a not-grown dog takes, not to mention the time it takes for a rescue dog to acclimate to a new situation. Bookworm came home from her internship in Louisiana last week, and there were all the school administrative things to take care of before school started, which it did last Friday. (That’s early for us, but the school board is trying an adjusted schedule so that the students who have standardized tests to pass before receiving credit for certain classes can take the tests before Christmas break, instead of having two weeks off and then coming back to take the tests unrefreshed. I hope it works, even though starting early is a huge pain in the behind.) And we all had dentist appointments.

So much stuff going on.

Taz is not taking band this year. I am sad, but it is his choice. He’ll be taking one semester of Information Technology and one of Technical Education instead.

This is a portion of the low brass section (t-bones, tubas, baritone horns) at band camp. That's Gaze there in the red shirt and gray shorts. Love these kids.  Photo by Stacey Utt.

This is a portion of the low brass section (t-bones, tubas, baritones) at band camp. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Gaze, on the other hand, will be busy with band all year, and particularly this fall with marching band. The band has already played – for the school administration’s Convocation service last week – and will be playing for the “benefit” scrimmage football game this coming Friday. (The Band Boosters are selling pizza and barbecue pork sandwiches at the game, so I won’t see them play.) Then there’s the Parent Preview Picnic, where the parents get to see the show as it currently is, on Thursday, just before The CEO leaves to take Bookworm back to school. And all of that is before the marching season proper begins, with the first official football game on August 30.

Bookworm has been transitioning from living on her own in an apartment to ten days at home, being babied (yeah, come on, cut me some slack on that. I missed her), and then packing up for another school year. I think she might be a bit apprehensive about declaring a major, but I know she’s looking forward to getting back to her friends on the Ultimate Frisbee team and the band. Classes this year might be less tough on her.

There is a middle school cross-country team this year, and Taz is participating on it. He gets on a bus at the middle school which takes him to the high school after the school day ends, so he can practice with the older kids. (I’m not sure Gaze is crazy about having his baby brother around, but he’s taking it with good grace.) Besides after-school practice, the team also goes to the New River Trail to do a long run on Sunday evenings. Yesterday, Gaze and his buddies and the coach and assistant coach ran about eleven and a half miles. Taz ran nine, himself. We’re very proud!

The CEO and Coach Sirak have laid out a cross-country course ranging from the adjoining airport property through our pasture fields, and our high school will be hosting at least one race there this fall. They’re excited about the Farm and Field 5000. It should be fun to watch, I think.

I need to take some new pix of this guy. He's cute.

I need to take some new pix of this guy. He’s so cute.

The dog’s name is no longer Gunnar, but Hunter, and he is starting to settle down. Except that he desperately desperately wants to meet the neighbors’ goats. Desperately. He throws his entire 38-pound body into his leash-harness, going low to the ground in order to get me to take him into their field. Goats, however, are pretty smart: they see him, and they retreat far away from the fence, eyeing him suspiciously the whole time. He also desperately wants to meet the wild rabbits living in the shop lot and the cows in the Pond Field, but the rabbits race away terrified and the cows ignore him. The other being he desperately wants to meet is the other neighbor’s dog, the one that attempted to attack Gaze in our shop lot several years ago, prompting her owner to install Invisible Fence. Hunter’s foster mom also had a large female German shepherd, so I imagine Hunter thinks that this German shepherd is his buddy. He’s wrong. Dakota would like nothing more than to rip him to shreds, and then me afterward, so I’m keeping him away from her.

He loves to chase tennis balls and the boys’ remote control cars. It’s hilarious. He also thinks it’s a “fun game” to growl at and play-bite anybody sitting on the downstairs couch, which it’s not. It really is not, and we’re trying to break him of that weird little habit. But he has learned his name, and he’s pretty good at “Sit,” “Come,” “Down,” and “Go Get It.” We’re still working on “Stay,” “Drop It,” and “Thank You for Alerting Us to Potential Intruders, but That’s Enough Barking Now because This Is a Friend.”

The weather has been oddly cool, in general, for early August. We had six straight days of rain last week – we needed it badly, and we got a good six weeks’ worth of our average rainfall in those six days. Now we’re back to cool foggy mornings followed by sticky, hot, humid afternoons and evenings, which is our normal August weather.

I have made a determination to try to wear more of my minis and decants, in order to use them up. Recently I’ve worn Leonard de Leonard, LeLong Pour Femme, Iris Poudre, Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil, Citizen Queen, Flowerhead, and a few others. I’ve also been testing some things I plan to review, and I want to discuss further my plan to Use It Up, Wear It Out. Obviously, I am having trouble writing recently. I hope to get back to it soon.

Whew. Once more into the breach, dear friends…



Scent Diary, July 28- Aug. 3, 2014


Categories: marching band, Scent Diary, Tags: ,

Monday, July 28 – Second day of band camp. Well, first full day. Weather could not be better – it’s cool and breezy, but sunny, and the kids are very comfortable. The new band director arrived today, and I think things will go well. He’s very quiet, but also very confident, and does not raise his voice to the students but gets across his intentions quite clearly. The show is coming together nicely already, and I have enjoyed hanging out with other band boosters under the tent, chatting away and handing out granola bars and Gatorades at snack time. SOTD: Byredo Flowerhead. I have to get this review written! Luckily, I do love tuberose.

PCHS T-bones, 2014. L-R: Jeremy, Lakin, Gaze, Alex, and James. Photo by Stacey Utt.

PCHS T-bones, 2014. L-R: Jeremy, Lakin, Gaze, Alex, and James. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Tuesday, July 29 – Gaze’s trombone section is doing well. The two sophomores – Gaze and Jeremy – are the oldest in the section, because Mr. Butler (band director at PCHS, 2002-13) felt that he didn’t have enough trombones to march them as a full section, and it was only as Gaze became old enough for high school that Mr. Butler relented and allowed the rising 9th graders to keep their trombones instead of trading them in for baritone horns (similar range, same mouthpiece, but with valves instead of the slide stops). Freshman James marched last year as an eighth grader; freshman Lakin is new to marching but is doing very well. Eighth-grader Alex, who also marched last year, can play just about anything, but is too small physically to manage a larger instrument like a tuba or baritone. I’m just waiting for him to get his growth spurt. The fun thing about band camp this year is that all five of the trombone moms have helped with camp already, so the T-bones have their own devoted cheering section.

I love getting to know the kids. I really do. SOTD: Patou Enjoy, which is reminding me strongly of Coco Mademoiselle but without the high-pitched screech that Coco Mlle has on my skin. More fruit, too. I don’t think I want any, but it’s a pleasant modern-chypre. Speaking of CM, one of the band booster moms wears it, and it is fully as nice on her as it is on my sister – a lovely woody floral thing with patchouli.

Wednesday, July 30 – Our minister called today to see if I could lead worship music on Sunday. EEP.  Funny, I would have been just fine with that if we used a piano (no, an electric keyboard is not the same) and sang out of a hymnal, but we don’t.  Our worship style is Contemporary Christian music, which I love but which I can’t play because I can’t read guitar chords. I read music notation.  And this is not to disparage in any way people who play by ear (hey, I sing harmony by ear) or who “only” play guitar chords. I’m actually sort of the exception among a lot of contemporary-style church musicians these days, for reading music while everybody else just does their thing based on something that looks like this:  G B F# G.  Can I play single notes? yep. Can I play chords based on that? Nope. The thing about it is, it’s like trying to read in one language and translate on the fly in another.  I can DO it, but not fast enough. It’s a little embarrassing.

Anyway, it was a pretty good day at band camp today. Very little drama. No injuries. Perfect weather (low-to-mid-70sF, generally sunny).  NICE.  SOTD: the girly-wirly LeLong Pour Femme. (Heh, you know, somebody commenting on Musette’s review of it on Perfume Posse calls the LLPF bottle “Flavor Flav in a leopard cape,” and that’s so spot-on that it cracks me up.)

Thursday, July 31 – Starting to wonder if Band Camp will EVER END, EVER. Gah. Also, miss my girl very badly. SOTD: Ines de la Fressange (1999 Calice Becker, not the 2006 Alberto Morillas, which HEY I finally snagged a sample of recently).

Nothing new on the doggie front this week.  Too busy with band camp.

Friday, Aug. 1 – It rained last night. The practice field is absolutely soaked – which sort of ruined the senior prank today. They came in early and pitched tents on the practice field, intending to roll out of the tents as the rest of the band came to the practice field and claim that they’d spent the night camping there. Instead, they all made their way back to the band room once a parent took pity on them and texted his kid that the director had decided not to come out and march outside this morning, so they’d better come inside.
(Reasonable on the part of the director – wet weather ruins woodwind pads and then they have to be replaced. Also, have you ever marched around, half the time backward, on wet grass? Let me just say, Bad Idea.)

Oh well. While the band was having sectionals, one of the drumline guys was goofing off and pretending to fall… only to have his jaw bang directly into the shin of another drumline guy, who was practicing a leg-swinging move that the drumline actually does incorporate into the show. So: Shane was goofing off, Logan wasn’t, but Shane got banged up enough to chip a tooth and develop a nasty bruise on his jaw. He went home. This seems to have been the only injury of the week, which is awesome! I can remember years when a band mom made an ER trip almost every day of the week…

SOTD: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine. Yum. I smell like a flower/banana smoothie.

Saturday, Aug. 2 – Everybody is exhausted. Well, I mean, Gaze and I are exhausted; Taz is not. Taz shouldn’t be exhausted, since he hasn’t done much all week except go to cross-country practice and do some basic cleaning in his room and practice his trumpet. And read books, of course, but for Taz that’s like breathing. 😉 Practiced music for church this morning, took recycling to the town center, and went to the grocery store, where they had cluster rose bouquets on special. I bought one: white long-stem roses, plus several stems of those small garden-type roses in a beautiful deep coral-pink-red color. Gorgeous. SOTD: Tableau de Parfums Miriam. So beautiful – aldehydes, sandalwood, some very deep quiet florals (rose and ylang in particular, though the jasmine and violet are there too) and that buzzy-fuzzy Ambrox stuff.

Young Kurt Russell, ca. 1970 or so.

Young Kurt Russell, ca. 1970 or so.

I think it’s going to rain; it’s been cloudy all day. Did some laundry, cleaned up the house, cooked steak for dinner and watched “Tombstone” with the boys. (If I’ve never mentioned my almost-forty-year-long crush on Kurt Russell, well… I blame Disney and their Sunday night movies that used to air when I was a little kid.) Ahhh, Kurt…

The CEO got home late from Denver.

Sunday, Aug. 3 – I was right, it rained last night. Back to our regular spot at the elementary school for church services today. Music went well, I thought. SOTD: Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, largely because apparently the last time I put on my white eyelet blouse I was wearing it. No matter, I love Iris Poudre, which is to me less of a dry, rooty iris thing than an aldehydes-and-benzoin thing. FLUFFY!



Scent Diary, July 21-27, 2014


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Monday, July 21 – Beautiful cool weather today. The CEO left on his usual summer trip to visit the places of business where his students are interning and marching band pre-camp (for rookies and section leaders) started today, so Gaze is at the high school. It’s just me and Taz in the house. I’m writing; he’s goofing off (Taz in his natural state, actually). We turned off the AC a couple of days ago because the weather was so cool, and it’s stayed off. It gets warm in the evenings; the thermometer in our bedroom says 78F in the house and 72 outside, but that’s still below my “I’m dying, turn on the AC!” threshold.

summer wildflowers, from Wikimedia Commons

summer wildflowers, from Wikimedia Commons

SOTD: Tested Tom Ford Shanghai Lily and rather enjoyed it, except for about ten minutes when it was cuminy BO. It spent a lot of time smelling something like a lightweight DK Black Cashmere, though, so I forgive it. It’s not worth Private Blend prices, if you ask me, but then I’m notoriously cheap.

My MIL left on Saturday to go to a conference for Bible teachers; she goes every summer. She’s going to go visit her daughter E in Northern Virginia, spend the rest of the week with E and K and her other grandchildren, Curiosity and Primrose. While she’s gone, I’m doing the evening feedings for her cat, a sleekly self-centered (ooh, aren’t they ALL?) feline named Fidel Catstro. He’s largely white, but has some gray markings, including a mustache on his face.  SOTE: testing Lush The Smell of Weather Turning. Wow: freakfest. At least for the first hour, after which it becomes actually wearable and comfortingly soft. Lots of tonka, I think.

Tuesday, July 22 – The day started off cool again, and I decided not to hang laundry out. Popped it in the dryer instead. SOTM: Magnolia Grandiflora Michel. This does not smell like magnolia. It’s got the lemony blossom, it has the creaminess, but it is so soapy that I am not enjoying it. “Soapy” on my skin (it was much better on paper) usually indicates orange blossom. I had high hopes, but I suppose now I shall have to test the new Frederic Malle Eau de Magnolia.

SOTA: Jacomo Silences PdT, a cool breeze on a day that is becoming uncomfortably warm and humid. Took the boys to the fair since this was the day when from 2-3pm there was no admission fee, and unlimited-rides wristbands were $3 off. Poor Gaze, who pushed himself yesterday by attending marching band pre-camp from 8-5 and then went to cross-country practice (without food!) from 6-7:40, said he did not feel like riding rides, so Taz went by himself. Gaze had the afternoon off from band, because the brass sections worked yesterday and the woodwinds are practicing today. We took a turn through the livestock barns (I like goats), checked on the results of the photography contest, and went home to have ice cream.

The CEO’s color landscape took first in the adult division. His black-and-white Yosemite pic was second in B&W landscape, and his picture of elks fighting in Yellowstone was also second in Animals. Gaze’s B&W landscape did not place in the high school division, but his color landscape was first, and his picture of buffaloes fighting second in Animals. His photo of fireworks was also second in Special Effects. Taz only entered one picture, a photo of a small Canadian town beneath a towering mountain, but it won first in color landscape in the middle school division. I think everyone was pleased.

goatsAbout twenty minutes after we got home, we found our neighbor’s goats in our yard, nibbling grass. I don’t mind them eating the grass down (my lawnmower needs a new battery, actually) but I’m afraid they might wander down the road onto the highway and get run over, or get lost, so we put them back into their field. I repeat, goats are cute. SOTE: Leonard de Leonard. Don’t know why, but I was craving this green-floral-chypre. There’s marigold in it, I think, and I sometimes get the itch for that bitter, aromatic floral note.

Wednesday, July 23 – Humid, hot day today. Taz and I did laundry and went through the clothes in his dresser, discarding the ones that are too small. He’s grown recently. SOTD: Byredo Flowerhead. I’ve been working on a review. We put the goats back into their pasture.

Thursday, July 24 – Gaze has been at band pre-camp all week; he says his trombone section only has one rookie, who is doing very very well. There are only five members of the section anyway: Gaze and Jeremy are sophomores who have each marched one year. James and Lakin are freshmen, and Alex is an 8th grader, but James and Alex marched last year so Lakin’s the only rookie. SOTD: Flowerhead again.

We put the goats back into their pasture and blocked the gate at the bottom six inches with two boards. That’s where the young goats have been getting out; goats can squeeze through incredibly small spaces. The CEO got home this evening. SOTE: Shalimar Light. For some reason I was craving it.

Friday, July 25 – Went to meet the possible doggie adoptee this evening; drove 55 miles to meet her. I am unsure that this is The One. She is larger than we had expected, and her foster mom was unable to confirm that she is indeed housebroken, as she’s been living outside for the past 8 months. A nice dog, but we don’t think that she’s the right one for us. SOTD: Ferre 20. I like aldehydes.

Saturday, July 26 – The usual Saturday cleaning deal. Dull. Replaced my lawnmower battery, which is a totally tedious task that involves acid and electric battery chargers.  SOTD: various samples.

Drumline at band camp. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Drumline at band camp. Photo by Stacey Utt.

Sunday, July 27 – Church at the lake again. We got rained on. Er, poured on. SOTD: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, yummy banana-ylang thing with cream. I know some people have trouble with the so-called animalic angle of “Amaranthigh” (which, inexplicably, has been discontinued!!), but it’s perfectly proper on me.

Band camp started this afternoon. More on that soon, as I’m quite sure you’re aware.



Scent Diary, July 14-20, 2014


Categories: Scent Diary, Tags:

Fourth of July at Glacier, Taz hitting Gaze with a snowball.  Photo by The CEO.

Fourth of July at Glacier, Taz hitting Gaze with a snowball. Photo by The CEO.

Monday, July 14 – Ugh. If Montana was too dry… well, then, Virginia is too humid! I’m never happy with summer. I’ve probably been sick of summer since I was in third grade and got chicken pox the first day of a week in which the temperature by the thermometer was 100 degrees Fahrenheit all week – and we didn’t have air conditioning. (Hardly anybody had it in the house then, though it was common for businesses to be air-conditioned. Hey – it was the 70s.) My sister and I both got chicken pox the same day, in fact, though my case seemed worse than hers, and hers was bad enough. We had spots on our scalp, under our hair, and Mom cut our hair very short to help with the itching. I even had spots inside my ears and mouth. I was miserable. We spent the week pretty much in the bathtub with colloidal oatmeal bath stuff in the cold water. We were itchy, spotty prunes.

(Incidentally, I am just waaaaaaiting for shingles to show up at some point. The CEO, who had a mild case of chicken pox, has already had shingles once. It was a small rash about the size of his palm, on his upper ribs. We didn’t know what it was until he developed a similar rash on his back, about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, when he described it as feeling not itchy but “on fire.” I remember saying, “I bet this has something to do with nerves – oh wait. Of course. Rash plus nerves, that’s shingles. Go see the doctor.” And sure enough, it was. Doctors will usually tell you that the more severe the case of chicken pox, the more likely you’ll get shingles as you age, which, GREAT. I’m probably going to want to die when I get it.

SOTD: Ralph Lauren Safari. Love the stuff. Took Taz to the orthodontist to see about his teeth; Dr. Vaughan says that the crowded teeth are about to come out, and the underbite may or may not be something that can be corrected with orthodontic treatment, so we’re on a six-month wait-and-see schedule for him.

Tuesday, July 15 – Gaze’s turn for a visit to Dr. Vaughan. He had the wires on his top teeth tightened and they’ll put the braces on his lower teeth next month. He seems to be doing okay with his braces, which has surprised me just a little. I would have thought he’d hate it, but apparently they’re common enough among his friends that nobody’s giving him a hard time about them. SOTD: DSH Pink Gardenia. Hmm… I know that at least a couple of bloggers really like this one, but it’s very sweet on me, very coconut/suntan oil. Beachy, sure, but for that I’d rather have Vamp a NY or de Nicolai Just une Reve.

I’ve been searching for another dog on Petfinder, which is sort of an online clearinghouse for pet shelters and rescues to post pictures and descriptions of the animals available for adoption. I don’t have anything specific against dog breeders, but since we are not interested in a particular breed and there are so many dogs out there without a home, adoption is the way we want to go. My criteria: Dog, preferably young, medium size (25-50 pounds or so), house trained.  No specific breed. We just want a dog who likes to cuddle and play, and I am of the opinion that we’ll know each other when we meet. I’ve contacted the caretakers of two dogs we liked the looks of on Petfinder; one of them I haven’t heard from at all, and the other sent me a lengthy adoption application that I had to fill out and have approved before we can even meet the dog. I turned it in on Saturday but have not heard back from them.

Wednesday, July 16 – SOTD: Jacomo Silences Eau de Parfum Sublime. It has been definitively decided that the new red Caravan, which looks just like the old red Caravan I called Eddie Van (for Eddie Van Halen), is not named Eddie II. Instead, he is Stevie Ray Van (in memoriam of the blues guitar player Stevie Ray Vaughan, of course). The CEO came up with that while we were on vacation, and I was resistant at first – but this evening, when I was taking Gaze and Taz to the park for cross-country practice, we actually saw Original Eddie Van! He caught my eye at a red light, and when I looked closer I recognized his dented bumper. “That’s Eddie,” I pointed out to Gaze. “Lots of red minivans,” he agreed. “No,” I insisted, “that’s really Eddie! Look! That’s his bumper!” Seeing Eddie so clean and well-maintained made me feel ridiculously happy, and at that point I felt that yeah, the new van could have his own name.

The CEO and Gaze are still editing the photos they took on vacation, but I’ll be posting some of them soon. They’re also getting a few of them printed and framed for entry into the photography division at the fair, which starts next week.

Thursday, July 17 – I cleaned out the closet under the stairs, which The CEO has been bugging me to do for a lonnnnnnng time. It took most of the day, but I was glad to have it done. Hauled all the old duffel bags/tote bags out, and the ancient sleeping bags we never use (now musty and mildew from storage); went through all the kid art and stashed the keepers in boxes. Got rid of some old computer accessory stuff.

SOTD: DSH Perfumes Reine des Fleurs, which is lovely but also quite familiar-smelling. It reminds me very much of Olympic Orchids Ballets Rouges, with something else in the base that reminds me of Soivohle Centennial. I’m not sure what that means, that suddenly everything is reminding me of something else, and dark rose fragrances are pretty common. Dunno. Will probably need to wear the two side by side. Reine des Fleurs was inspired by this piece of art, and I do get the relationship – bright rose on a dark background – but it’s also an all-natural fragrance, and it only sticks around on me for about 2 hours before subsiding into a skin scent. Grrr. I know proponents of natural/botanical fragrances feel that synthetics are bad for you, but with my scent-eating skin, botanical fragrances (with a very few exceptions) tend not to last long enough to bother with. I mean, really, I just have no patience with the short life and I don’t tend to have problems with synthetics, so why would I not rather have Ballets Rouges? (I do have it, actually. I finally broke down and bought a small bottle. Haven’t cracked it open, but I will.)

Friday, July 18 – Coolish day, which is nice – only up into the low 80s F. Gaze is off to Leadership Day with the other section leaders at marching band; hope that goes well.

Took a LOAD of stuff to Goodwill/trash/recycling, and cleaned the house in preparation for the kids from Bright Futures Atlanta to come visit tomorrow. SOTM: “An Impression Of” Marc Jacobs Daisy, from the cheapie versions they have at Walgreens. I love Daisy, it’s sort of a guilty pleasure, and I sometimes wish (sometimes) that I had more of it than a dabber mini, no matter how cute the mini is. The El Cheapo version doesn’t have that fruity topnote (on me, the real thing is two minutes of strawberry and ten of citrus) and zips through its generic white florals to plain musk, all in about an hour, so I can’t recommend it, not even for $18/50ml – but it isn’t awful.

SOTE: DSH Perfumes Scent of Hope, which is purported to be a recreation of Iris Gris. I’ve never smelled Iris Gris, and I’m not a huge iris fan, but Everybody Says Iris Gris is Stunning, so I’m testing this. It is rather wildly expensive, even in samples, but it is extrait strength, and you do get a FULL 1ml, not a short one, for your $23 (no added cost for shipping on a sample-only order) when you order it from the DSH website. I’m not loving it. That probably has a lot to do with it being primarily iris – it’s not that I mind iris, but I tend to find iris-focused fragrances a little… (ssshhh) boring. That probably says a lot about me, that I find iris boring and Daisy delightful to wear, but HEY. I yam what I yam. Not sorry.

Saturday, July 19 – More cleaning in the morning, but it was so wet (thank God for the rain, it’s been so dry here lately!) that the BFA leaders, Phillip and Gail, wanted to put off the visit until tomorrow. I did some straightening, took a shower, wrote a little, did some more straightening… no fragrance until after supper. I probably should have tested something new, but the rain impelled me to pick Jolie Madame extrait. Mmmmmm. It’s “Old Lady” in the best of ways – an old lady who could kick your butt. Like Granny in the Looney Tunes cartoons, the one that owns Tweety Bird, you know her: long black dress, gray hair in a bun, round glasses, little mincing steps, and a stunning facility with a shotgun. (Incidentally, I’ve been reading The Wettest County in the World, a semi-fictional account of the moonshining/whisky-running Bondurant Boys in Franklin County, Virginia, in the early 1930s. The book, written by a grandson of one of the Boys, was made into a movie called “Lawless,” starring My Boyfriend Tom Hardy… who says of his presentation of independent, stubborn, nearly-invincible, violent, steel-knuckle-toting Forrest Bondurant that he was inspired by Looney Tunes’ Granny – maternal and protective of those in his care, but unaffectionate to them and utterly ruthless to those who oppose him. It’s a horribly violent movie, and filmed in Georgia* to boot, so if you give it a pass I won’t be offended. I’ll never watch it again, after renting it from the library once. It’s not a bad movie, but it is horribly, horribly violent, and even TH can’t redeem it for me.)

Yet another gratuitous Tom Hardy photo... because I CAN, that's why. This is TH as Forrest Bondurant in the movie "Lawless."

Yet another gratuitous Tom Hardy photo… because I CAN, that’s why. This is TH as Forrest Bondurant in the movie “Lawless.”

*There’s nothing wrong with Georgia in itself. But if you’re filming a movie about mountain people, it might be good to film it in the mountains, ya think? It is not as if there were no places in Franklin County that aren’t still rural enough to pass for 1930s towns. Trust me. I live about 60 miles from the place, and grew up even closer.

Sunday, July 20 – The CEO was filling in for the minister at a very small Presbyterian church this morning, so we all went with him rather than to the lake to worship with our church. He’s still a commissioned Presbyterian lay pastor, even though we are no longer members of the Presbyterian Church, and will occasionally fill in (“supply” as the Presbyterians call it) for some of the smaller churches in the area, the ones that don’t have a regular pastor. This church has about 10-12 people show up on Sunday mornings, and I sometimes wonder how it can be worth it for them when there are three other Presbyterian churches (and probably two dozen churches of other denominations) within driving distance. Today, besides the four of us, there were only seven people in the pews. I played the piano – stick a hymnal in front of me and I’m usually decent, even with no practice – so at least there was music. SOTM: Frederic Malle Iris Poudre. So pretty… I never wear it without thinking the word “fluffy.”

Still have not heard back from the Radford Pound Pals, despite my sending an email asking if they received my application and wondering when they would have an answer. I specifically said that there was no rush, but that I wanted to know when I could expect to hear back from them.  I mean, when you apply for a job, typically they’ll tell you when you’ll hear from them. From these people? Nothing.  I know, I know, it’s a volunteer organization and people offer their time. But how hard is it to reply to an email saying, “Yes, we got your application, and typically it takes two weeks (or a month, or whatever) for us to process one.”?  Hmm?  Or even, “The dog you’re interested in may not be available because we’re talking adoption with another family. How about this one instead?” Instead, NOTHIN’.

However, I found another possible dog on Petfinder last night and sent an inquiry, expecting not to hear anything for several days, but I got a reply this morning. This rescue operation is two counties over, about 45 minutes’ drive, but I’m hoping that this dog might work out. We’ll see.

The Bright Futures Atlanta kids and staff came over this afternoon for a hayride, and apparently had a blast. It got warm and sunny about the time they got here, and the Iris Poudre was largely faded, so I spritzed a goodly amount of Moschino Funny! for its sunny citrus-rose. Phillip, one of the directors, drove the black Ford Ranger we use as a farm pickup (we call him Walker, for “Walker, Texas Ranger”) and Gaze drove the Gator, and The CEO drove the tractor with hay wagon attached. When they came back, they devoured 72 brownies plus six gallons of homemade lemonade, which always gives me a kick. They’re great kids.



Scent Diary, July 9-13, 2014

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Fireworks over Whitefish Lake, MT, 7/4/14. Photo courtesy The CEO.

Fireworks over Whitefish Lake, MT, 7/4/14. Photo courtesy The CEO.

Wednesday, July 9 – Gaze headed off this morning with the church youth group. He’ll be gone for five days, at church camp in North Carolina. Poor baby, we barely had time to get his laundry clean so he’d had something to wear. Had to restock the fridge, since I had left barely anything in it, other than condiments. It was nice to sleep in our own beds last night… but don’t you hate coming back from vacation, to face all the stuff you have to do at home? We’d turned the AC off and opened the windows just a crack, so the house was still hot when we got home. And it’s been super-dry here, very little rain, and the grass is crunchy. Also, I forgot to ask someone to water the hanging baskets on the porch, so they were almost dead EEP. SOTD: Ralph Lauren Safari. I don’t know why, but I’m almost addicted to this stuff lately. Was longing for it while on vacation.

Thursday, July 10 – The CEO is sifting through his photos to find something suitable for entering in the county fair’s photography contest. He took a lot of photos… Of course he’s not happy with what’s been done on the farm while we’ve been gone, but then he never is. Nobody else gets as much done as he could (or as much as he expects to get done), and there’s all that equipment to be fixed too. Tractors need a lot of maintenance.

The last time we took a “family” vacation that was longer than a weekend was four years ago, when we went to South Carolina. We took Bookworm on the Big College Tour trip two summers ago, but didn’t take the boys with us. And last summer she went to Europe for ten days with a school group. But other than that, it’s been a long time. We had hoped she could come join us for the last few days, but her work schedule, and the hoops she’d have had to jump through to get to an airport, prevented it. Wish she could have gone.  SOTD: Cristina Bertrand #3.

Friday, July 11 –We cleaned up the house a little, Taz and me, and had The CEO’s mom come over to have dinner and see the photos. I think she was a little disappointed not to see Gaze, but pleased that he was getting to go to camp. Dinner: grilled marinated chicken, rice, rolls, asparagus and steamed green beans, plus brownies for dessert. SOTD (after cleaning up): YSL Paris. It’s so nice.

Saturday, July 12 – More cleaning up today. I suggested a Redbox movie, but The CEO was not thrilled by the selection so we didn’t. Eh. SOTD: More Ralph Lauren Safari, which I find sort of delicious.

Sunday, July 13 – Our church is hosting the regular worship services at Claytor Lake this month. This is a state park, with a large dam-created lake on the New River, and it boasts plenty of fishing, boating, watersports, camping and hiking. There’s a tradition of Sunday morning worship at 9 am at the lake’s gazebo, and our church is serving there the month of July. So how often do you get to have church wearing shorts, sitting in lawn chairs, with a terrific view of the lake? Awesome. SOTM: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, a summer staple for me.

Gaze returned with the youth group from church camp this afternoon. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to be there to pick him up. Instead, The CEO and I attended the funeral of the father of a good friend. Bob Lilly was an educator, a musician, a family man, but most of all he was a man who knew how to enjoy life. I’m going to tell you about his biggest brush with fame, and some of the stories his son Bobby has told about it over the years.

Ever see “Dirty Dancing” – the 1987 original? The film was largely filmed at Mountain Lake Hotel and Resort, in Pembroke, Virginia, and most of the extras were local. Mr. Lilly’s daughter Terri and a friend wanted to audition at the call for extras, so he took them and then found himself a folding chair and waited, people-watching. He was soon approached by a casting agent presenting him with a clipboard and a pen. “We’d like for you to fill this information sheet out,” she told him.

“Oh, no, that’s okay, I’m not here to audition. I just brought my daughter.”

“You don’t understand. We want you to fill this out.” And just like that, Mr. Lilly became an extra in the movie. (Bobby suggests that they knew a character when they saw one.)

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve met Mr. Lilly. He’s the smiling guy in the blue shirt and tweed cap standing next to Baby during the dance lesson in the gazebo, early in the movie. When the cast of extras were rehearsing dances, one of the directorial staff separated the people who could dance from the people who couldn’t, and herded the dancers off to another room while the non-dancers stayed involved with the dance instructors. Mr. Lilly got the staff person’s attention and suggested that they were taking the wrong group of people. “No, no,” he was assured. “No, this is what we want.”

The instructor then had the non-dancers run through the steps again, and the staff started culling the group. Like this: “You and you, sit down over here. Okay, now you and you and you two, find a seat. Good, now you sit down please.” It went that way until the group still on the floor was following the instructor pretty well. Those people got to take a break and sit down.

Still from "Dirty Dancing"

Still from “Dirty Dancing”

And then what happened is that they brought the principals, the real actors, in and had them learn the steps with the people who had been culled out for lack of dancing skill. Somebody placed Mr. Lilly right next to Baby (Jennifer Grey) – and it’s his foot she steps on during the dance lesson. I’m told that particular scene was filmed in one take. So there’s Bobby’s dad, immortalized in celluloid, wearing golf shorts and black sneakers and a goofy grin – having a fabulous time, as usual.

Baby says "Sorry," as she steps on Mr. Lilly's foot. Still from the movie.

Baby says “Sorry,” as she steps on Mr. Lilly’s foot. Still from the movie.

“Dirty Dancing,” despite its silly movie ending (oh please), is a favorite, and we’ll usually make time to watch it when it comes on, but I’ll point out that it is fairly peculiar to see a movie filmed in a place you know. In the first scene, Baby and her family are driving down what’s labeled “New York Thruway,” but those of us from around here are prone to saying, “Oh, no, it’s not – that’s Rt. 460 West outta Blacksburg.” We always repeat Baby’s memorable doofus line, “I carried a watermelon.” And we always commemorate the dance lesson in the gazebo by yelling, “That’s Bobby’s dad’s foot!” I expect we’ll still do that.

SOTE was Chanel No. 5, vintage parfum. A fitting tribute.




Scent Diary, June 27-July 8, 2014, and a mini-review of Dior Cuir Cannage


Categories: Scent Diary, The scented life, Tags: , ,

Friday, June 27 – Spent much of the day rushing around, trying to clean up/pack/get stuff done before the trip. Picked up Gaze from his last day of Camp Cougar (the month-long summer enrichment class which serves as a substitute for PE class), rushed him home to get the last bits of packing done, and headed out for a relative’s house that’s close to Reagan National Airport in DC. SOTD: Kelly Caleche EdP, the citrus helping to wake me up during the 4-hour drive.

Saturday, June 28 – Up at five, ate cereal, went to the airport. It was the first commercial flight ever for my two boys, and Taz in particular was thrilled with takeoff. Gaze had nothing good to say about the airport in Newark (our connecting flight to Bozeman left from there): it was dirty, it smelled, it was ugly, why in the world would anybody LIVE in Newark?? He is a confirmed country boy, I confess. SOTD: DelRae Wit, for its pretty, good-humored, mood-lifting qualities. Got into Bozeman around noon Mountain Time, had lunch at The CEO’s conference, and then spent the afternoon touring the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.

I love museums. This one, though probably meant for kids, was a good one! Most of the dinosaur specimens that have been discovered for study actually came from Montana, and the museum had a wealth of fascinating skeletons and artifacts. Loved it!

Yellowstone Lake, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Yellowstone Lake, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Sunday, June 29 – Yellowstone National Park! SOTD was two good spritzes of Dior Cuir Cannage, but it was very quiet and gone early. We drove east from Bozeman into Wyoming and entered the park at the north gate. First stop was Mammoth Hot Springs, which are pretty cool with built-up layers of minerals like stalactites and ledges. Then we ate a quick lunch and went south toward the center of the park. Took numerous short walks to see cool stuff that’s just off the road – waterfalls, geysers, more hot springs, and lots of wildlife. My favorite spot of the day was Gibbon Falls, but Yellowstone Lake is pretty too.

Saw a small herd of buffalo and one of elk, but they were far away. Then drove up through Dunnraven Pass, where there was plenty of snow on the mountains. Saw a black bear and her two cubs, and The CEO saw a grizzly bear.

Monday, June 30 – Weather has been cool and pleasant, but The CEO and I got sunburned a bit today. Or maybe windburned, because it was quite windy as well as being sunny. SOTD was Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano, which is a pleasant, creamy floral with a bit of fruit. Cheerful thing. We saw lots of cool stuff, from more geysers and mud geysers and more hot springs, to more waterfalls… and more wildlife! There was a solitary male bison, a big one, and then a small herd of elk with young males fighting – and then an enormous herd of buffalo, bulls and cows and yearlings and calves all together, maybe close to a thousand animals (as The CEO says, he knows how to count grazing animals). They were stretched across the road and along it, no fear of cars or people whatsoever.

Wow. Made my trip.

Tuesday, July 1 – Another gorgeous day, temperatures in the mid-70s and sunny. The CEO and Gaze have been taking pictures at every pull-off area; they’re fascinated with the Grand Teton Mountains. Remember when The CEO went to the Canadian Rockies a couple of years ago? Came home with like a bazillion pictures of mountains and lakes? That’s what he especially likes.  The mountains up close are really gorgeous. At the same time, people who live around here must long and long for summer. At home? I dread it. It’s like trying to breathe through wet wool (and it doesn’t even get REALLY humid in the mountains the way it does in Richmond, or worse, DC). The air is very, very dry here.

Grand Tetons with wildflowers. Photo courtesy The CEO.

Grand Tetons with wildflowers. Photo courtesy The CEO.

Here’s the Cuir Cannage (preliminary) mini-review, set off in another color in case that’s all you really wanted to read! The Cuir Cannage is pretty much gone after an hour, except for a very attractive drydown. I’m guessing it will wear better in humid Virginia – we’ll have to see. It does open up with a refreshing citrus note that smells a lot like a Chanel to me. (By “a Chanel,” I mean the classic Chanel cologne, or No. 5 Eau Premiere, or the opening of 31 Rue Cambon. Could refer to the delightful opening of 1932, too.) From there it becomes more floral, with jasmine and ylang apparent and also a small touch of rose. Quite powdery in a face-powder iris and makeup rose-violet sort of way. And then it goes very… hmm… pursey. Not exactly like Cuir de Lancome, which I adore, but the leather is quite apparent. It’s also very ladylike. I kept having to check – now this DOES say “Dior,” right? Yep. Regular readers will know that I absolutely hate and despise Chanel’s leather scent, the iconic Cuir de Russie. (To me, it’s a dead ringer for our cattle working pens, very dusty, with a medicinal and iodic sort of angle that does not cancel out the raw animal hide. Basically, it smells like fear. Bleah.) But this Dior smells all Chanely to me, more Chanely than the actual Chanel, isn’t that weird? The leather sticks around for about an hour, or at least it does here in Wyoming, all the time shrinking down closer and closer to the skin. After that, it slides into a very comfortable and attractive leather/benzoin skin scent, and that sticks around for a good twelve hours, even if I can only smell it if I huff hard. I love this drydown. In fact, I like the whole thing very much, and the only thing I’d wish for would be more sillage. It could use a bit of oomph.

What I do like about this area is the fascinating wildlife. We’ve seen elk and antelope here, and the remains of an early-1900s Amish farm settlement. I’ve noticed that the park service seems uninterested (unwilling?) to keep up old structures in these national parks, and so these historic buildings – labeled as points of interest BY the park service – are falling down. Which seems silly to me, but then I’m accustomed to the park service keeping up far older buildings as at Jamestown.

Wednesday, July 2 – Another pretty day. Still sunny, but less hot than yesterday. The CEO and I are rather burned (I sunscreened, he didn’t). I suppose the increased elevation is the difference. A driving day; we are headed north to Glacier. SOTD is Il Tuo Tulipano again. When we arrived in Kalispell, rather late for dinner, we saw on the Glacier park website that the Going-to-the-Sun Road is now open, as of 8:30 pm, for travel. Which is wonderful, because we were going to have to negotiate the park without it if they weren’t able to get it open.

Thursday, July 3 – Glacier National Park is without question the single most stunning scenic location I have ever seen. It beats out Hawaii and New Zealand and Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, and the also-stunning New River Gorge valley in West Virginia. Majestic! We hiked to see waterfalls; we saw glaciers and mountains and lakes and streams. We were a little surprised not to see any wildlife. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. The major road through the park is called Going-to-the-Sun Road, and portions of it are actually closed due to snowfall a good portion of the year – but they officially opened it at 8:30 pm on July 2, so the first day it was completely open for through traffic was today.

Taz meets Deer, trail near Baring Falls, Glacier. Photo courtesy of The CEO.

Taz meets Deer, trail near Baring Falls, Glacier. Photo courtesy of The CEO.

Friday, July 4 – Independence Day in a National Park… with snowballs! Logan Pass at Glacier had plenty of snow, enough for Taz and Gaze to indulge in a little sibling rivalry. Went on a lovely walk to see Red Rock Falls, one of the many beautiful waterfalls caused by snowmelt here at Glacier. Then The CEO and the boys went on another walk around one of the lakes, and another hike up to see another waterfall, while I had a nap in the car. SOTD: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano. We saw a grizzly bear in a meadow near the road, and then when we were eating lunch at a picnic area, a young male elk wandered through the campground, munching away on grass and vegetation.

On the way back to the hotel we went to the Fourth of July celebration in the next town over, where they were having fireworks on Whitefish Lake. It turned out to be one of the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen, second only to fireworks in Washington, DC. For one thing, there’s no ban on fireworks here in Montana like there is in Virginia, so there were numerous individuals around the lake setting off their own large fireworks and the general effect was very full and fun. (I’m guessing it was actually sort of dangerous, but hey. You only live once, right?) The official Whitefish town fireworks were shot off from a barge out in the lake, which was really cool. About halfway through, a kid sitting behind us noted out loud, ‘Hey, the barge is on fire.” We dismissed that, because all the way through the fireworks the kid had been saying things like, “We’re under attack!” and “It’s like cannon fire!” But at some point we noticed that he was right: the barge was on fire. And by the time the fireworks were over, the barge was not just on fire, it was burning fiercely, putting out a ton of black smoke. It was sort of horribly beautiful, fire on the lake. They did get the fire put out, but that was an exciting evening.

Saturday, July 5 – We drove through Glacier again and took in another hike, this one to a lovely waterfall. Also surprised a young doe deer on the trail; Taz was able to walk within four feet of her. All the advice is to leave wild animals alone, but she seemed very calm, and eventually walked on to another grazing area. We came out the other side of Glacier and drove to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. It was an experience for the kids to enter another country. Thank goodness, US-born children under 16, traveling with both parents, are allowed to use certified birth certificates instead of applying for passports. The Canada portion of the trip was added on rather late in the trip planning, so there would not have been time for us to get Gaze and Taz passports and we would have to have skipped Waterton.

This was more Walking Around Lakes. I am getting sick of lakes, honestly. We did stop at one point where a small swift creek ran near a picnic area, and Taz and I stepped into the creek. Just so you know, creeks fed by glaciers are, you guessed it, frigid. Even with flip-flops on, our feet were freezing. However, when The CEO made noises about taking another hike to go see some more waterfalls, I convinced him to let me and Taz stay near a different creek and play in the water. Which we did, and which we both enjoyed very much. When we came out of the water, there was a small (not full-grown) black bear near the parking lot, flipping rocks over and munching grubs. There was a rather large extended-family group of Indian people there at the same time we were, and one of the older men kept getting closer and closer to the bear with his smart phone, taking video. He made me nervous, frankly. And about that time, The CEO and Gaze showed up with their telephoto lenses and took some good shots.

Later that evening we saw a male deer with a nice rack grazing. Drove through a small bison preserve and saw a small herd, 8-10 animals, and also two predator animals that might have been either gray wolves or coyotes. Exciting! The wildlife has been the best part of the trip, for me. SOTD: Kelly Caleche edp.

Sunday, July 6 – I am sick of Walking Around Lakes. I let the boys go off to Walk Around Lakes at Waterton while I stayed in the hotel to do laundry. That turned out well. I walked around a bit, and went to the grocery store to pick up a few more snacks, and wrote some. SOTD: DelRae Wit again. The CEO enjoyed the hotel hot tub. As it turned out, the highlight of the trip back to Waterton was seeing a small herd of mountain goats. As it turned out, we saw nearly all of the varieties of wildlife that live in these national parks: moose, bison, grizzly bear, black bear, elk, antelope, mountain goat, deer, and wolves. Didn’t see a beaver, or any bighorn sheep, but I’m not disappointed.

Bison bull in Yellowstone, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Bison bull in Yellowstone, photo courtesy of The CEO.

Monday, July 7 – Drove south into Montana again, back into the US of A. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. Stopped in Helena to have a look at the capital building, which is attractive and neoclassical. The CEO really enjoyed seeing the farm scenery and driving the more open, uncrowded roads in this area. Saw an electric pole with an enormous bird’s nest atop it, complete with enormous bird; The CEO thought it was a bald eagle at first, but after seeing it through his telephoto lens he decided it was an osprey instead.  Mexican food for dinner and a swimming pool at the hotel near Bozeman.

Tuesday, July 8 – up at 4 am to make a 5:50 flight to Denver. Denver to Chicago O’Hare, Chicago to Reagan National, Reagan to the DC Metro, Metro train to Vienna, VA, where we met the cousin who was looking after our vehicle for us. THEN (soaking wet because we came out of the Metro into literal buckets of rain): we drove four and a half from Northern Virginia to Roanoke, to pick up The CEO (who had a different travel itinerary since he initially traveled for his NACTA conference in Bozeman) at the airport there. Then an hour drive home. Air travel is a wonderful thing, truly it is, but all the same we got home at 1:15 am Eastern time (two hours ahead of Mountain time), which means I had been up and moving for nearly 23 hours by then. AAARRGGGGHHH.

SOTD: started off with nothing because I didn’t have time, but at Chicago, I hit the Duty Free and sniffed things. I love doing that, but the only thing I really wanted to spritz there was Marc Jacobs Daisy. Say what you like, but you’re not going to talk me out of liking Daisy! O’Hare smells like nothing, basically, unless you are standing near a food establishment. Even the Duty Free smells antiseptic; probably they don’t get many people spraying perfume in there the way people spritz it in, say, Philly (the last American Duty Free I entered). However, the entire corridor outside the Wolfgang Puck restaurant smelled so deliciously of fresh basil that I took deep breaths of it every time I went past.

And then the rain-wet pavement outside the Metro was a pure delight: wet, green-silver, ultimate freshness. I hope it rains at home soon.

Be on the lookout for more photos from the Montana trip! Gaze and The CEO, between them, took close to 2500 shots. They’ve cut it down quite a bit since editing, but so many of them were wonderful and I’ll be sharing some of their work soon.



Scent Diary Summary, most of May 2014


Categories: Family, farm, Scent Diary, Seasonal picks, Tags: , , ,

Scent Diary, Summarized, May 7 through June 3, 2014

I have not been keeping a good diary recently. It has been pretty busy here, with attending end-of-school activities and planning for some summer ones, so I’ve only got some “here’s what’s going on around the place these days” notes.
As for the house and yard, they look pretty good. We’ve been getting some good rain interspersed with sunny days, so the grass is thick and green and the trees are beautifully full of leaves. The fruit trees are leafed out well, and there are even baby apples on one of the trees – I think it’s the Gala. I got the annuals (pink zinnias and those tall Mexican orange marigolds) planted in the front bed, and the hanging baskets (pink and red geraniums and hot pink vinca) up on the porch, too.

The peony bush we planted near sweet Hayley-dog’s grave seems to be thriving. We all miss our doggie. It’s the little things, you know? Like I’ll be getting home in the evening and thinking, “Look at the time, it’s Food the Dog O’Clock – oh, wait. No, it’s not. Sigh.” Or we miss the thumping tail on the landing in the morning, or we don’t hear barking when someone pulls up in the driveway… We miss the canine affection, too.

We do want another dog, but not yet. Probably by the end of the summer we’ll start looking; I’ve already been looking online at the animal shelters to see what’s available right now. There are a few dogs close by but nothing that automatically jumps out to me to say, “I’m your new dog!” We have set some criteria: House-trained (that one’s non-negotiable). Not a puppy, and not a senior dog (I don’t think we could stand to lose another one within a couple of years). Medium size, between 25 and 45 pounds – Hayley was on the upper end of that range. Not a yapper. MAN, I hate a yappy dog. Barking is one thing, but a high-pitched constant yap? NO. Absolutely not. We’re flexible on breed; we’d probably rather not have a purebred dog, but we wouldn’t turn a shelter or rescue dog down if we had a connection to one that happened to be a purebred.

We decided last year when Silvia died that we would not get another cat; Taz is allergic to them. While we wouldn’t get rid of a cat (particularly an elderly one) for that reason, it’s enough of one that we felt we wouldn’t add a cat back to the household.

We do need to pull out that dogwood tree in the front yard that struggled for a few years and then finally gave up the ghost last summer. It’s the middle one in a row of five, so I think it would look odd to put in something else there, but that means getting as much of the old root system out as we can since the dogwoods are at least eight years old. I also lost one of my Knockout roses over the winter. One of them was pretty stressed by Japanese beetle attack, and didn’t survive the cold. The other one? Looks great. Go figure. I did buy another Knockout – the standard color one, instead of the pink it will replace, but I think they’ll look nice together.

It ended yesterday. Graduation for the high school was actually last Friday, because that date was set early. However, due to some late bad weather, the superintendent was forced to add a couple of days of school for everyone not graduating. I notice that the high school parking lot was pretty empty Monday and Tuesday, though, so I bet a lot of kids just skipped those last few days.

Gaze had a good year both academically and with regard to extracurriculars. He was selected as trombone section leader for next season’s marching band, and was also voted “Outstanding Trombone Player” and “Outstanding Rookie” by his peers. I was very proud. He’s only a rising sophomore, but the band had a run of several years with no trombone section marching – I think because Mr. Butler, our previous director, didn’t want to have only a few trombone players. He opted to have those few switch to baritone horn, which has a similar range, instead. There was no trombone section all the years Bookworm was in band. But now there is – and that means that Gaze is one of the oldest players in that section. I think he’ll do fine as he’s very responsible. In any case, his FFA team was successful, his academic challenge team (social studies) was the champion, and he was a member of successful cross-country and track teams as well. Also, this year he’s grown several inches.

I must say, it’s awfully nice to look at the mantel shelf and see Gaze’s Outstanding Rookie trophy right next to Bookworm’s.  We never expected that, and there for awhile Gaze was pretty insistent that he wasn’t going to march, that was Bookworm’s thing, he didn’t want to put that much work into it… Well. He thinks he made the right choice now.

Taz struggled to some degree academically this year. Partly that was due to his lack of interest in organization, and partly that might have been due to his having to face some challenges that neither his brother or sister faced. It’s a good thing that his school now offers Algebra I for those 7th graders who might benefit (that was not available for Bookworm in middle school) and an online language course (not available for either Bookworm or Gaze), but it’s the first time he’s ever had to really put some effort into school, and, well, in a lot of cases he just didn’t. He pulled several B’s this year. However, he ran track, and came in second to a very accomplished player in the school’s chess club tournament. He’s grown too – Bookworm might have half an inch, or maybe even less, on him now.  The CEO and I were (pleasantly) surprised to find, at Taz’ 7th grade award ceremony, that he’d been voted “Most Attentive Boy” by his peers.  All I can say is, they sure don’t live here.  Good to know that he pays attention in class, though!

Bookworm herself had a good year as well. She would tell you that she wasn’t happy with her grades, but The CEO and I were fine with them. I think her current GPA is approximately 3.65, somewhere around there. She seems to have decided that she will be majoring in chemistry, and I think she’s on the right track. When your college freshman kid complains about Spanish and Calculus, but says that Chemistry is “easy” and “fun” – and comes home talking excitedly about all the “cool things” they did in class and lab? Well, that’s a good indicator that she may have found her niche. She got plugged in with Yale Students for Christ, which is the campus branch of Cru (which used to be known as Campus Crusade) and a church she likes in New Haven. She loved playing with Yale Precision Marching Band for football, basketball and hockey, and she had a total blast with her buddies on the ultimate Frisbee team.

Bookworm, we just heard yesterday, will be doing a summer internship in Louisiana, for a paper mill there. She’ll be assisting one (maybe more) of the chemical engineers at the plant in conducting efficiency testing on some of the equipment used, and hopefully will be able to either assist in a research paper or present her own. I’m a little bit nervous about her being 14 hours away for eight weeks, but I think it’s a terrific opportunity. She’s really excited about the possibilities. She leaves on Sunday.

It’s hay season. Ergo, it’s busy. Not just with racing the weather, either – The CEO has spent a lot of time fixing tractors that got through the winter fine. Haymaking seems to put more demand on them, and since almost all of our tractors are approximately my age, they need a lot of maintenance. Bookworm and Gaze have been helping Jeff work some cattle (treating them with dewormer, giving them their shots and ear tags and the like).

The cows look good. There’s lots of grass.

Gaze will be attending Camp Cougar this summer, which is an intensive four-week physical education course that can take the place of PE during the school year. Drivers’ Education class time is included, as well as a ropes course at the nearby Boy Scout camp, white-water rafting, caving, and some other fun activities. However, if you miss any part of any day – you can’t receive academic credit for the course, so he’ll be BUSY.

Then, of course, there will be summer band practices which he will need to attend. And pre-camp (for section leaders and rookie marchers). And band camp itself. ACK.

The CEO has to go to Denver for another National Cattlemen’s Association meeting, so this summer we will be joining him there in Montana to do a little exploring at Yellowstone and Glacier. That ought to be fun. We made plans before we knew about Bookworm’s internship, but we might be able to change her flight ticket and allow her to join us for at least part of the trip, assuming that she could get a few days off around July 4th.

I’ll be keeping Taz as busy as possible.

I have been wearing my spring scents and testing some new things, but just yesterday I got out some of my summer-only fragrances. Things that went INTO the bedside cabinet: DelRae Amoureuse, Chanel No. 19 EdP, Jacomo Silences PdT, Deneuve, Guerlain Chamade, Penhaligon’s Violetta, Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet, DSH White Lilac, L’Arte di Gucci EdP, vintage Jolie Madame parfum, Amouage Memoir Woman, Ralph Lauren Safari, and my vintage Emeraude PdT. I’ve been rather addicted to Safari recently, by the way – it is a warm green as opposed to a cool green like No. 19 or Silences.

Things that came OUT of the cabinet and into the hatbox on the dresser: Ines de la Fressange (the first one), Hermes Kelly Caleche EdP, YSL Paris Pont des Amours, Donna Karan Gold EdP, Hanae Mori Haute Couture, Cristina Bertrand #3, Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl, Moschino Funny!, Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, and DSH La Fete Nouvelle. The current rotation also includes Le Temps d’une Fete, Ferre 20, and Mary Greenwell Plum, as well as my vintage Chanel No. 19 EdT, because those only go into the cabinet in the winter. I’ve also got decants of DelRae Wit, Chanel 1932, and Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipo for summer use.

I have a whole set of 7 Oriza L. LeGrand fragrances still to review as well.

And, oh yeah, I still hate purple.

What’s in your seasonal rotation, if you have one? I know you blokes and sheilas Down Under are heading into winter…



Scent Diary, April 28-May 6, 2014


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redbudMonday, Apr. 28 – End of the month approaching. And my clematis is putting up leaves, this is good. SOTD: Crown Bouquet.

Tuesday, Apr. 29 – New minivan. Well, new to me… it belonged to my parents, but they bought a brand new one and offered their old one to us. It’s four years newer and has the automatic doors and liftgate, but it’s the same color.

Really need to get the weeds out of the front flower garden. It’s bad… but it’s raining. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.

Wednesday, Apr. 30 – More rain. Chilly. Gaze was supposed to have a track meet today, but they canceled it due to the rain. SOTD: Safari. I am wearing the heck out of Safari lately, because it is both green and warm. Chamade and Le Temps d’une Fete are green and warm, too, as opposed to, say, Chanel No. 19 and Silences, which are green and cool. The redbuds are beautiful, and we have six baby calves gallivanting about the 20 Acre Field behind the house.

Thursday, May 1– SOTD is Diorissimo. (I always feel like I have to explain about my Diorissimo… it’s not VINTAGE vintage. It’s a 2006 tester bottle, and there was a significant change to the formula in, I think, 2008, though of course there had been several changes all along. The current version I don’t like at all – it is screechy and borderline unpleasant.) Can’t believe it’s May already. Seems like spring has rushed toward us this year, unlike last year when the weather lingered in a limbo-like cold-and-wet holding pattern.

Friday, May 2 – Got insurance on the new van, which I would like to continue calling Eddie Van since it’s the same color, and which The CEO wants to call Val Van because the license plate starts with VAL. He says, “No, it’s perfect, because Eddie Van Halen was actually married to Valerie Bertinelli!” I blow raspberries all over that. It doesn’t feel like a girl van to me. Nope. I think it’s Eddie II. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete, because I can.

Took Old Eddie down to the Wal-Mart parking lot and put a For Sale sign in his window before parking it at the lower end of the lot. Got two phone calls about it within four hours.

Have been sleeping in a veil of YSL Paris Pont des Amours all week. Just so nice and powdery and rosy, very comfortable for sleep.

Saturday, May 3 – Wal-Mart called and said that they don’t allow people to sell cars in its parking lot, and would we please move the van. I apologized and said we would. It will be easy, because the second person that called last night came to look at it and drive it this morning, and they want it. YAY.

Went to the Cosmopolitan Track Meet in Roanoke to see Gaze run, and then I took Taz with me to see my parents this afternoon. My grandmother died in 2006, and my mom is STILL trying to get rid of furniture and just stuff that belonged to her… Mom is trying to figure out how best to divest herself of the 100 or so ceramic bird figurines that Bambaw left behind, as well as old jewelry, china, and glass dishes, and where I would either take it to an eBay reseller or simply haul it all off to Goodwill, she doesn’t want to do that. She feels that the 40% fee that the reseller would charge is too much, whereas I’m thinking that’s worth it to a) get rid of the stuff that Mom wouldn’t keep anyway and b) not have to deal with all the details of taking pictures and listing and selling and packing and shipping. GAH.

Gaze didn’t run very well today. He doesn’t seem to do well when we come watch him. It wasn’t bad, but he’d been hoping to PR today and he was about 2 seconds slower than his best time. SOTD: Kelly Caleche EdP. Nice and light for warm weather, though it was rather breezy today.

Sunday, May 4 – Nice spring weather here. I took the boys to church with me, while The CEO preached at one of the small Presbyterian churches nearby. (Nice that they like to go to our church.) After that, I packed up the van with all the spare boxes/plastic totes/duffel bags and drove north seven hours on I-81, the first part of the trip to pick up Bookworm from school. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete.

Spring has progressed much less farther in the mountains of PA than it has here. Hardly anything is blooming.

Monday, May 5 – Gorgeous weather here in Connecticut! Drove from just north of Scranton to New Haven, and was sort of cursing my GPS for sending me via I-95. We started calling it Miss Direction (it has a woman’s voice) as a joke. I swear, just a joke!! But lately it’s been an appropriate name. GAH. However. It’s cool and sunny and breezy: perfect weather for packing up college kid stuff and hauling it down two flights of stairs and then down the street and across two city streets (waiting for the light to change both ways, going and coming). Gah. Also, I lost my Fitbit. Don’t know where it slipped off and fell, but it is gone baby gone. Bummer.

SOTD: Chanel No. 19 EdP. Bookworm insisted on taking me into the courtyard of Pierson College to show me a blooming shrub that smelled lovely. I think it’s daphne… little white-and-pink flowers, small leathery leaves. If it isn’t daphne, I don’t know what it is. I pulled out my DelRae Wit to let her smell, and we both agreed that Wit doesn’t smell like this particular bush…. Hmmm.

Miss Direction sent us BACK via I-95, which made us go a good 30 miles too far south for my (unchangeable) hotel reservations to be helpful. We wound up having to backtrack going north, and probably drove an extra 60-70 miles this trip. GAH.

Dinner was nice, though, before The CEO got on the phone and went, YOU ARE WHERE????? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST GO TO HAZLETON????

Tuesday, May 6 – Cloudier in the morning, not quite as sparkling and lovely a day. Tired after the drive, but fine. Glad to be home. SOTD: DelRae Wit, which although it doesn’t smell like that particular blooming bush, is really wonderful.




Scent Diary, April 21-27, 2014


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Monday, Apr. 21 – The boys had today off for Easter break, so we drove up to the Roanoke area to hike out to McAfee’s Knob. I’d done this hike years (well, decades) ago, when my church youth group went there, and I didn’t remember it being so strenuous. But then, there wasn’t so much of me at the time, and I was in much better shape. Most of the hike was nice, but by the end I was sort of miserable. We didn’t take enough water, and we forgot to take bug spray. The midges were awful.

I had some pics I wanted to add to this post, but I keep getting “HTTP ERROR” from WordPress. I’ll go ahead and post this, but try to add the images again later.

The hike is about 7.6 miles round trip from the parking lot (old data used to say it was 7.2 miles, but distances have been relabeled after checking with GPS), which is a long hike when you’re only used to walking a couple of miles at a time – especially since a good third of the trail is UPHILL.  View was lovely, though.

No fragrance until after we got home and I had a shower, and by then I wanted something soothing. SOTE: Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete.

Tuesday, Apr. 22 – I am stiff. Mostly in the hip area; I am clearly not doing enough walking on an incline! Other than that, though, I don’t have any lingering ill-effects from that long hike. I enjoyed it. The CEO and I used to do a lot of hiking on trips early in our marriage, and I confess that I hadn’t realized how much he missed having me along. I don’t really care much about the hiking, myself, and to be honest he is nearly always more interested in getting to a destination than in the journey there. He likes to take grand pictures of sweeping landscapes (have I mentioned how many times we stopped for him to get snapshots of snow-covered mountains in New Zealand?) and I like to wander around in town, looking at houses and markets, people and museums, and wondering what it would be like to live there.

SOTD: Parfums d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite, which is my idea of a Fruity Floral Done Right.

Wednesday, Apr. 23 – We have plenty of calves out in the field behind the house, but so far nothing that we need to bottle-feed. Which is good; they do far better when they stay with their mamas. The redbuds are in bloom, and I just discovered some double daffodils that I’d planted last year and promptly forgotten all about. They’re gorgeous.

SOTD: Crown Bouquet. Sigh. Love it. It’s one of those I can only wear in spring.

Thursday, Apr. 24 – SOTD: Ralph Lauren Safari. Rather haylike – in that it’s all green up top, and has the sweetness of drying grass later. So pretty. Started to mow the lawn, but the belt pulling the blades is stretched out and close to breaking, and I had to finally give up.

Friday, Apr. 25 – Bookworm had two final exams today – an oral exam in her Spanish class, and a practical exam in her Chemistry lab. She says they went fine. I’m a little surprised that there haven’t been any reports of dinners, parties, receptions, whatever… I remember the close of college days being marked by those for me, particularly at UVa. SOTD: DSH White Lilac (oil format). Lovely stuff.

The construction guys finished the mantelpiece, too! It looks wonderful – it was cut from a walnut tree that grew on the farm, and made to resemble the old-fashioned mantels placed in houses built when you needed a fireplace for winter heat. (Side note: it bugs the heck out of me that people misspell mantel. A mantle is a cloak or covering; a mantel is a construct located around a fireplace. Completely different items. Grrr.)

I’ve been wearing my YSL Paris Pont des Amours (one of the many Printemps Limited Editions) to sleep in several times this week, because it’s quiet and powdery and soft.

Saturday, Apr. 25 – NEW CARPET! Not fancy stuff; it’s indoor/outdoor for the laundry room, but I like it. The laundry room is finished, and I’m so happy. Also: two new bulls.

two new bulls

“Hellooooooo, ladies!” (Photo and caption by The CEO.)

The CEO fixed the belt on the lawnmower, and Gaze mowed what I didn’t get done the other day. Yard looks nice; very green. All six of our fruit trees (two pears, four apples) that we planted last spring are leafing out, and two of the apple trees have blossoms on them.

My SIL E and her daughter, Primrose, were visiting this weekend; they came over with The CEO’s mother and we all had dinner together. Pretty cool to see them. SOTE: Penhaligon’s Violetta.

Sunday, Apr. 26 – Gorgeous weather – a little cool in the morning, but sunny and comfortable the rest of the day. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.

Wild elderberry bloom.

Wild elderberry bloom.

Went for a good walk after dinner, and noticed all kinds of blooming smells: the neighbors’ lilacs coming into bud, black locust blossoms, apple blossoms, and many shrubs with clumps of tiny white blossoms on them. I am not sure what they are – they grow wild on the side of the road and they smell wonderful, but if you cut them and put them in water the stems droop (even if you crush the woody stems first). They might be wild elderberries, but I confess I’ve never noticed berries on these bushes in the fall, so I’m not sure.

Hooked up the new CD player… it works fine. SOTE: Tommy Girl. It’s a sharper, “cleaner” version of Rose d’Ete; clearly the Rosine has more naturals in it, and lacks both the tea note and the citrusy laser-focus aspect. I like both.




Scent Diary, April 14-20, 2014

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Monday, Apr. 14 – Mailed the tax return, did errands. Borrrrring. SOTD, that “greenest of green flower gardens,” Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet. Such a lovely gentle fragrance (once you get over that galbanum/marigold slap!), and so fresh in a way that has nothing to do with laundry detergent or shower gel.

daffodils and hyacinths

Okay, it really is spring now.

Tuesday, Apr. 15 – Tax Day turned out to be very strange in terms of weather. It was supposed to be 60F today, which is cooler than we’ve been getting lately, but we also got lots of wind and… oh yes… SLEET. Gah. SOTD was Tauer Eau d’Epices, probably more appropriate than I had guessed it would be. Rather nice.

SOTE: Houbigant Oranger en Fleurs. Such pretty jasmine in this, and not a single bit of soap from its orange blossom! I sort of love it. And at the same time, it’s not wildly innovative. It’s just Really Really Good. Probably not going to buy it, but I like it very much. I put it on late in the afternoon, forgetting that there’s a woman in our church small group who doesn’t like white florals. Oops. (Sorry, Debbie, I’ll try to remember next time.)

Wednesday, Apr. 16 – Another chilly day, but at least with no precipitation. This is the sixth anniversary of the multiple shootings at Virginia Tech, and it’s always a very difficult day for The CEO. I am glad that he was not caught up in it, as the building where he teaches was at the time (since then a student advising center has been built in the intervening space) the closest academic building to the dorm where the first shootings took place. Quiet little Blacksburg, where people don’t always lock their car doors when they go to the grocery store, is the last place we’d have expected to be touched by such an event. The pain lingers.

SOTD: Chamade parfum de toilette from my decant, because I needed both its chilly green opening and its warm powdery drydown.

Thursday, Apr. 17 – Sunny in the morning. SOTD: Chanel No. 19 EdT, the vintage with the leather.

Chilly weather in the evening again. Gaze had a track meet at a local high school – I was surprised that they’d moved it to Thursday, because when Bookworm was running, this particular meet was always the same day that her high school was holding the big spring formal dance. She’d rush home from All-American Relays, jump in the shower, and wind up going to prom with damp hair (in contrast to the girls who spend all day getting ready, from mani-pedis to having their hair and makeup done at the salon). The CEO went to this meet, and as it turned out, brought Gaze home right after he ran – not well. It was 11:40 before they got home, having left there at quarter after 11… Odd that they tried to pack this large, crowded meet into the hours after school, when in the past it’s taken them all day to run it.

"Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan"

“Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan”

SOTE: since No. 19 had put me in the mood, I wore Jolie Madame extrait, all proper violets, greenery and leather. Watched “Back to the Future” with Taz, and he loved it. His favorite scene was this one, in which Marty convinces his father, George, to ask Lorraine to the school dance by appearing in George’s bedroom in the middle of the night, wearing a radiation suit and torturing George with loud Van Halen music through the earphones of Marty’s Walkman until George agrees. (Don’t remember? Well, see, Marty… oh, just go watch the movie. Or the YouTube clip here.)

Friday, Apr. 18 – Warmer and sunnier than the rest of the week. The boys are out of school for Easter. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome.

Saturday, Apr. 19 – The laundry room is finished! It looks so wonderful. Twelve years we’ve been living here, and it is nice to finally have insulated walls and heat in there. The CEO spent most of the morning fixing it up and putting his home maintenance items back in place in there. We’re even going to get carpet in there, too – not wall to wall, but indoor/outdoor carpet that should be able to absorb anything he brings in the door, whether it’s an orphan calf or clothes stained with mud, manure, or hydraulic fluid. (He claims he’s better at laundry than I am, and although I don’t agree that the way he does laundry is always the way it should be done, I don’t argue. The clothes are clean.) Photos to come, once it is completely finished with carpet and everything back in place.

SOTD: Parfums DelRae Wit. We drove to Roanoke to choose the carpet and pick up the new(ish) minivan, which The CEO wants to call “Val.” I don’t like it. The drive was lovely, though, with all the leaves coming out spring green and all the redbuds and dogwoods blooming.

Sunday, Apr. 20 – Cloudy this morning, but not very cold. SOTD: Donna Karan Gold, of course, for lilies. Our church doesn’t really decorate for Easter, as we meet in a school, and I still miss Easter lilies, but I had my Gold.

Mountain Lake Hotel

Mountain Lake Hotel

My father has been ill with pneumonia for some time, and my parents were really not up to celebrating today. The CEO’s mother made plans with two of my aunts and some other assorted friends-and-relations, as A.A. Milne would call them, to have dinner at the nearby Mountain Lake Hotel. You might recognize the inn; a large chunk of the movie “Dirty Dancing” was filmed there, and although the lake has, since filming, almost completely dried up (leading to the discovery of the bones of a man who drowned while canoeing on the lake in 1921) and then begun to refill.

We had a couple of friends, two younger guys we go to church with, come over and have Easter dinner with us. That was a delight. I Facebook-messaged with Bookworm, my sister, and my brother, and allowed Gaze to use my computer to purchase an AirSoft rifle, and made plans to go hiking at McAfee’s Knob tomorrow, since the boys and The CEO are all out of school until Tuesday.



Scent Diary, April 7-13, 2014


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Monday, Apr. 7 – Surprisingly chilly for April – we’d turned off the heat and opened the windows already, but had to correct that today.  Did some errands (I always shop for groceries on Monday) and the like, and ironed some clothes. SOTD: Guerlain Chamade from my weird fake-tortoiseshell 70s EdT bottle. The topnotes on it are a little wonky – decaying aldehydes – but after 7-10 minutes it’s so beautiful, green to yellow to cream. Sigh.  Respritzed after supper.

The CEO forgot to tell me that the construction guys he arranged to finish our laundry room were going to start this week, so I was surprised when they showed up today. “Oh, um… a contract? Uh… I don’t know where it is. But yes, I can write you a check for supplies… sure…” We have been in this house eleven years, and had never finished the laundry room. It was insulated on the inner walls, but not dry-walled, and the rest of the walls were cinder block. Unheated, and with the dog scratching at the wooden doorframe all the time, the outer door didn’t fit securely, and doing laundry in January got to be a very very chilly proposition. I’m going to be thrilled to have it done.

Tuesday, Apr. 8 – Beautiful weather. Warm, and it got quite toasty in the living room by 7pm when we had Bible study.  SOTD: a buncha samples. I had to diagram where I put what, with this “tattoo pen” I have.  Been thinking of Bookworm a lot because this is midterm week, and she’s a little stressed. I miss my girlie. Especially when the spring bulbs are blooming and all of a sudden things are so green outside that it looks like Ireland.

Brendan MACC

Gaze mugging outside the School Board office with his award. He looks so much like his late grandfather.

Gaze’s Social Studies academic challenge team was honored by the School Board this evening (before our small group met, thank goodness!) for their undefeated regular season and their tournament win. They did narrowly lose one match, in the East Semi-final, to the team that came in a distant second in the overall tournament, but I think it’s pretty clear that these kids were champs all the way through.

Wednesday, Apr. 9 – another warm day, but with rain. Wrote all day, except for going for a walk. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome. Gosh, Cuir is so nice. Essence of Nice Leather Purse, with makeup powder and some flowers.

Thursday, Apr. 10 – Lovely cool day. Did some errands, wrote, and then picked up Gaze at the high school. SOTD: a sample of Roja Dove Fetish, which reminds me a bit of several other green florals (No. 19, Le Temps d’une Fete, Chamade). Not sure whether this is the EdP or the extrait, since it’s a hand-written label. I’ll have to ask the friend who sent it.  It’s very nice, and at the same time I wouldn’t pay Roja prices for it, not even the EdP (his extrait bottles are running about $460/50ml, which I call ridiculously extravagant).

Gaze and I went to catch the middle-school track meet, or at least part of it. There are two middle schools in the county (they used to be the two high schools, before the combined county high school was built in 1974), and this meet was just the two of them. They went very fast, and poor Taz ran the 1600m (mile) rather slowly, then had to run the 800m not five minutes after. He put some effort into the 800, and did pretty well. I can tell, though, that he can go much faster, but the track team at DMS is big and there really isn’t enough experienced running coaching to get much out of these kids. There were two kids in the mile – an 8th grader from DMS and a 7th grader from PMS – who both beat Gaze’s mile time, so Gaze was pretty excited about that and invited both of them to consider running track and cross-country at the high school.

Then, our final chorus rehearsal before the concert this weekend. Crazy rehearsal – one of the tenor soloists is sick and seriously not in good voice, and our director was all over the place with little pieces of this and that we needed to go over. All the same, there were some moments when we were making real music, and it was lovely. Sigh. SOTE: Le Temps d’une Fete.

Friday, Apr. 11 – SOTD is Tauer Eau d’Epices again. This is fairly wintery, and at the same time not too heavy – a relatively transparent spicy-woody thing. It’s centered around orange blossom (which usually kills me) and the usual Tauerade, but unlike the similar Orange Star, I liked it when I first tried it and I still do. (Orange Star nearly killed me, with the Tang Dust Effect. GAH.) Will be formally reviewing soon.

Because of the track meet tomorrow, Gaze actually came home early on the bus today. Nice to see him in daylight. J  The guys working on the laundry room put the washer and drier back into commission so we could do laundry over the weekend. They’re making progress in there – the drywall is up.

Saturday, Apr. 12 – Busy day! Beautiful sunny, breezy weather, though cooler than we’ve been having.  Sirak and Gaze went off to an invitational meet in Bristol today and The CEO followed so that he could bring Gaze home after he’d run his events. After he left, he called the house in the middle of the usual Saturday cleanup to insist that I take Taz to a Native American festival taking place in a local park. So we did some basic cleaning, and then Taz and I went. I’ve been to something like this before, and perhaps if we had had time to stay all day it would have been better, but mostly it was vendors and dancers, and a very small gathering. The ones I’ve been to were much larger, where there was dancing taking place all the time (different shifts of people) in one location, and demonstrations of various things (storytelling, weapons-making, crafts) in others.  We were a little disappointed, though the dancing we saw was interesting. (Aztecs. The powwows I’ve been to were focused on more local tribes.)

Also, I could tell that I might burn even through my sunscreen, which I was not keen to do. So we grabbed milkshakes and went home.  SOTD: the brand-new-to-me partial bottle of Ralph Lauren Safari via eBay for CHEAP. I had tried it before from a mini parfum bottle and did not like it – it started out with some wonderful galbanum and moss, but then got way sweet. This bottle was actually advertised as being cologne strength, and I have a friend who claims that the cologne was far drier than either the parfum or the EdP, so I bought it. However, now that I see the bottle in the glass, so to speak, it’s eau de parfum. Reminds me to some degree of Deneuve.

Did some laundry and then The CEO was back with Gaze. We left for Salem, to see a Red Sox game. It was the first home game of the season, and I was thrilled to find that the regular catcher for the Salem Sox is Really Really Cute. I have a weakness for catchers and their mighty thighs… and the game hasn’t been the same for me since Boston catcher Jason Varitek retired a few years ago.  The CEO was thrilled to go take a picture with the World Series trophy, which is making the rounds of all the Red Sox minor league affiliates.  After the fourth inning, we were starving, and the Sox were losing to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. (Yes. One more reason to love Minor League Baseball is the wacky team names… I still miss the Winston-Salem Warthogs.)  So we went out for pizza/calzones at an Italian place. Yum.

Bookworm playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Bookworm playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Bookworm is with the Yale Ultimate Frisbee team at Hofstra University this weekend, having lots of fun. She was particularly happy to hear that I have a new Catcher Crush. 😉

Sunday, Apr. 13 – Darkish and cloudy in the morning; SOTD for church was Safari again. I am doing fine with this EdP. True, it is rather sweet, but in a soft haylike way (I’m reminded of the wonderful drying-grass character of DSH Perfumes La Fete Nouvelle) instead of an ambery one.  Lovely and comfortable. The CEO likes it. Gaze says it’s “okay” and it made him think of my mother, which I’m not really getting because it doesn’t smell like any of her usual fragrances.  

Community Chorus concert today (the second one will be tomorrow evening, in a different location). It went well. There were, as always, a few mixups, but no serious flaws and it sounded quite nice. Gaze mowed the grass while I was at the concert, yay! He offered. Also, he is as of today eligible to obtain his learner’s permit from the DMV… now I just have to find an afternoon when he is free to go to the office with me.

I was tired, all day, and didn’t feel much like cooking, so I went with some frozen Chinese stuff – beef and broccoli, chicken potstickers, rice, veggies – while The CEO took the boys to church youth group.  Early to bed.



Scent Diary, Mar. 31 – April 6, 2014


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Daphne odora

Daphne odora

Monday, Mar. 31 – Gorgeous weather today! Springy and sunny… some breeze… so nice.  Testing Oriza L. LeGrand Deja le Printemps, which is purportedly a green floral. It’s not. More about that soon.  Also testing the brand-new thing from Parfums DelRae, a floral based on the flowering shrub daphne odora, called Wit. Wit is gorgeous. Wit nearly made me cry.  More about that soon, too, but there’s a persistent yet gentle lemony cast to the flowers here, and particularly in the early stages, it reminds me quite a bit of the floral overlay of my favorite Le Temps d’une Fete. The drydown is considerably different – no woods/moss/patchouli in Wit, which is simply light musk with a touch of vanilla. (It’s the kind of musk that tends to disappear into skin on me, not the aggressively “clean” laundry type.) But the jasmine/narcissus heart shares some DNA with LTdF. I need some Wit.

Parfums DelRae is very much a hit-or-miss house with me. I like the brand’s aesthetic and philosophy, and I love it that DelRae Roth didn’t bring out a huge collection to start with, but the company seems to focus on fragrances that mean a great deal to its founder. Several of the DelRaes I don’t like – Emotionnelle is garbagey melon, Bois de Paradis’ citrusy top notes smell like turpentine on me (I’m not kidding. My grandmother painted china, and she used turps all the time. I know whereof I speak.).  Some of them I like but they’re too soft – Coup del Foudre is unbelievably lovely for two hours, and then shrinks down to a skin scent, no matter how much I ply the spray-until-wet technique. Mythique, too, is really wonderful, a leather/iris scent with the gentle fuzziness of apricot skin, but it’s barely noticeable until I’m snorking my wrist into my nostrils. I still have not tried Debut as it is focused on linden (which tends to smell like toilet cleaner on my skin), and Eau Illuminee is a cologne. I don’t do cologne. I have not tried, nor am I interested in, Panache. I do love Amoureuse very much. On me, it sings.

Tuesday, April 1 – April Fools’ Day. I’d been worried that Taz would pull something mean on me, but he didn’t.  Beautiful weather again today, too – with the windows closed, it got up to 74F inside the house toward the end of the day, and I had to open a window. Tested two more Oriza L LeGrand scents today: Horizon, and Jardins d’Armide. Hated both of them, for different reasons. Dreadful.

Got out the spring/Easter décor items, including Easter baskets, today – except Bookworm’s. I miss her. I am going to miss seeing her at Easter.

Also, was working on the novel, using the Write or Die app (which I love, in general), but about the time I got to 5700 words, it failed to save. I can’t find that stuff ANYWHERE on my laptop.  GAHHHHH. The WoD website does state that some people are having trouble with the save function – I’ve used it several times, but hadn’t had any problems before now. Am DYING of frustration.

Taz had a middle school track meet this evening, and got home past ten pm. They didn’t even stay for the entire meet – for some reason, this particular meet is always so large and so (apparently) disorganized, with four middle schools involved, that in the past the students haven’t gotten home until nearly midnight. This year they left early.  Taz only ran one event, and his time was slower than usual: he ran a 7:33 mile (1600m). His fastest time so far has been 7:14. He was disappointed to not get to run the 3200m.

Wednesday, April 2 – another gorgeous day. Hung the laundry on the clothesline to dry (ahh, the smell of line-dried clothes). This morning I tested Esther P Queen of Persia, which might be my favorite of the Esther P’s. All the same, it is nothing particularly special. 

SOTA is Jolie Madame extrait, the only version I really like. The EdT is too sharp for me, but the extrait is so beautifully floral atop the leather and moss. They haven’t made the extrait in a couple of decades now, so if you find it it’s de facto vintage, and it’s gorgeous. Bonus: those funky catercorner Balmain extrait bottles.

Thursday, April 3 – I really have to get the fans out of the attic. By 7 pm it’s 76 degrees in the house, even with the heat off and the windows open, and it stays that way until past midnight. Gah. Can’t sleep in that.  Tested the last Esther P, L’eau d’Emma – which is nice cologne, but you know me and cologne (yawn).

Mailed Bookworm a box with the stuff she left at home after Spring Break, plus a few things for Easter: her Bible, a book, some clothes, a towel, candy… and a cute little stuffed bunny. Eleven pounds worth, eep.  SOTA was Le Temps d’une Fete again, because I love it.

Community Chorus rehearsal was very up-and-down this evening; parts of it were very good, and parts of it were really awful. This would happen within one piece, the veering from good to bad, and that’s atypical for us – usually we’ve either got a piece down or we don’t. I have no idea what’s going on.

Daffodils-HyacinthsFriday, April 4 – gosh, it’s pretty out! Not too hot, but sunny and breezy. My daffodils and hyacinths are blooming.  Side note: I usually buy potted hyacinths in bloom, and then plant them after the blooms die, but when they bloom in the ground, they are neither as tall nor as heavily laden with florets as they were, grown in a pot. Wonder if I’m supposed to be fertilizing them or something.

SOTD: Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs EdP. I snagged a mini bottle labeled as “vintage” off eBay, cheap, and I think it must be at least early 90s. The top notes have gone a little funky – I think this may have had a touch of aldehydes, and of course they, like citrus, are the first to decay – but within ten minutes, it’s the smell I remember. My mother used to wear this, in the late 70s and early 80s, and the way I remember it smelling was “relentlessly clean.” That, I am convinced, is the reason my mom wore it. (Donna/Flora, over at Perfume-Smellin’ Things, counts this fragrance as a favorite and has stashes of bath oil and parfum as well as the more readily-available EdT. The EdP was discontinued at some point in the 90s, if I remember correctly. Donna says that the parfum is richer and less high-pitched.) In any case, it’s a soft white floral highlighted with steely hyacinth, muguet, and lily, with honeysuckle, jasmine, and orange blossom keeping the scent from getting too acerbic. The basenotes are very soft, powdered woods.  Lasting power from this vintage mini is very good, sticking around for a good eight hours on me.

Saturday, April 5 – it rained last night, and it’s considerably cooler, though sunny and breezy, today. Which is probably all to the good, because of two big local events taking place today. First, there is the Color Me Cameron Fun Run, being held in downtown Pulaski. It’s the second annual running of this event honoring a friend of Bookworm’s, Cameron Fitzwater, who was killed in a car accident just two months before graduation. I remember him quite well, as he was a jumper on the track team and a student at the Governor’s School. He was a year older than Bookworm, but they’d gotten to be friends since they were at one point the tallest and the shortest members of the track team, respectively. Cameron was a Boy Scout, and a genuinely delightful person. His mother organized the Color Run (in which participants of the 5K run/walk are pelted with powdered color) as a way to remember him with joy and to fund scholarships given in his name. Bookworm, of course, could not run this year, and Gaze was busy with the other local event, but some members of our church ran, and Taz ran too.  Sirak, the track coach, and many of the runners from the high school track team participated as well. Taz didn’t get as color-pelted as SOME people did… here he is with some people from our church.

That's Taz just to the right of the stroller. Photo by Dave Farris.

That’s Taz just to the right of the stroller. Photo by Dave Farris.

The CEO and Gaze, however, were involved with the other event which was the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. This was a small Civil War battle that took place about two miles north of our farm, on May 9, 1964. The celebration date for the reenactment was moved from the actual date because the battle at Spotsylvania Court House also took place on that date. That was a much larger battle, very close to Washington, DC, and involved Generals Lee, Grant, and Meade. “Our” little battle, though it was proportionately one of the very bloodiest of the war, concerned lesser officers and many fewer men, and was the only one that took place in Virginia west of the Shenandoah Valley.  

Union cannon firing. Photo by The CEO.

Union cannon firing. Photo by The CEO.

I could talk about the Civil War and why it still interests Southerners for… well… weeks, probably. But for now, let me just say that one does not have to admire the moral stances of the Confederates to find their doings significant. Briefly, this was history. It took place right here. Members of my family and The CEO’s family were directly involved in it, and that makes a huge difference. My mother’s great-uncle served as part of the Pulaski Home Guard in this battle, leaving home with a Revolutionary-War-era smoothbore musket and a powder horn, and without the benefit of shoes, to defend his home. As for The CEO’s family involvement, the old homeplace (his great-aunts lived there until the early 1970s, and the house still stands) served as a hospital for Confederate officers, and the women of the family served as nurses.  I won’t tell the story again – see this post if you want to read it – but it really is a fascinating story.

Reenactment of the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain. Photo by The CEO.

Reenactment of the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. Photo by The CEO.

The reenactment, headed by the 24th Virginia Rifles and the 1st Stuart Artillery, took place for the first time ever on a part of the actual battlefield. It was the first time I’d ever been to a reenactment, as well. I had been a little bit leery, to be honest, of people who focus so much on the Civil War, to the point of spending weekends dressed up in period clothes, sleeping in tents, firing reproduction weapons… but seeing it gave me chills. To people accustomed to modern war – automatic weapons, guided missiles, firing from a long distance – it was a shock to see how close the combatants got to each other. And indeed, in this particular battle, when weapons failed, there was very close hand-to-hand fighting, leading to heavy casualties. The Union side, numbering about 6100 troops, lost 688 men (approximately 11%). The Confederate strength ran about 2400 men, including Home Guard as well as regular Army, lost 538 (23%).

We met some really lovely people at the reenactment, and I’m hoping the event will take place there again. SOTD was Chanel No. 19 EdP.

Sunday, April 6 – I got sunburned yesterday. Really sunburned, and I feel awful. I even stayed home from church and did a bit of laundry and took a nap. Ugh.  SOTD: nothin’. Nada. Didn’t wear a THING until bedtime, and by then I wanted the coziness of Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, which is a beautiful tuberose-ylang-and-cream fragrance, with a dark thread running through its base.

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