Archive for the ‘Family’ Category


Image from lorislighteddlites.com

Monday, Dec. 26: Busybusybusy, mostly cleaning up from Christmas. SOTD: Um… nothing. Forgot. (Forgot! That’s just crazy.)

Bookworm was packing up her stuff for the marching band’s trip to the Champs Sports Bowl in Florida, where they’ll join several other bands to provide the halftime show. They’re also going to see the Blue Man Group, eat dinner at Medieval Times, go to the Universal Studios themepark and Islands of Adventure, and march in the Mini Macy’s Day Parade at Universal, as well as attend the bowl game and play the halftime show. Fun trip – for them, anyway. (You could not pay me enough to induce me to go as a chaperone to 72 teenagers, but there are plenty of parents going, such that there is one parent for each group of four kids. Better them than me, I say.)

Curiosity and Primrose came over and spent much of the day here with us, the kids playing football out in the yard with their cousins. That was lovely. Bookworm and PETBoy went out on another of their mysterious outings in which they go to visit his mother’s grave, and then they came back to have dinner with us and watch a DVD on the new big-screen TV.

I did put on a bit of B&BW Dark Kiss lotion before bed, which I like very much but have to limit my access to since it’s become Bookworm’s default fragrance. Had to get up at 2:20 a.m. to take Bookworm to the high school; the band bus was scheduled to leave at 3:30. Aargh.

Tuesday, Dec. 27: Slept late. Who wouldn’t? Broken night, and rain in the morning… good sleeping weather, as they say around here. SOTD: Amouage Memoir Woman. I had been considering Bottega Veneta. I’m determined to finish this darn review, even though I keep getting stuck on it. Is it better to review something new and well-done I don’t particularly like, or to go back into my stash and talk about something that isn’t all over the other blogs? I think it depends. I think I should discuss Bottega Veneta and how nice it is to see a mainstream release that’s not mindless – and also why I don’t like it.

I have something of the same feeling about Prada Candy. Although I like it, it doesn’t induce rapture, and I don’t think I have much of interest to add to the discussion of it. I think perhaps instead of separate reviews, I may do a post on gourmand fragrances in general, with mini-reviews. I love writing mini-reviews anyway.

I packed up all the Christmas wrapping stuff and put it in the attic. I reuse gift bags and tissue paper and bows if at all possible, only throwing them away when they’re irretrievably battered. This approach is slightly greener than wrapping everything in paper and throwing it away when used, but then I’m not terribly green (as in environmentally conscious) except where it is economically sensible and/or convenient. I recycle, of course, which involves taking paper/plastics/aluminum to the town recycling center once a month, which is neither convenient nor economically sensible, but rather a civic duty, in my opinion. But I won’t go so far as to insist on wrapping everything in dish towels. I like gift bags.

Wednesday, Dec. 28: SOTD: Champagne de Bois. Gaze helped The CEO move a bunch of cows and then doctor them (anti-pest pour-on medication to get them through the winter without worms and lice, and the annual disease-preventing shot).

Watched part of “Men Who Stare At Goats” (George Clooney, Ewan MacGregor) with The CEO. We’ve seen it before, and it’s just So Bizarre that I couldn’t take it and went to bed. SOBedtime: Havana Vanille.

Thursday, Dec. 29: Frosty-cold. Happy 17th birthday to PETBoy! SOTD: Amouage Memoir Woman. I must have worn this thing six times by now, and I still can’t figure it out. It’s wackalicious.


PCHS marching band in Orlando, photo by Nicole Ward. Bookworm's fourth from the left in the front row, with her gloves tucked up in her left epaulet strap.

We watched the Champs Sports Bowl (Florida State vs. Notre Dame) to see if we could get a glimpse of Bookworm and the PCHS marching band, but no dice. I hate it that you never get to see the halftime show when you watch a televised football game – except for the Super Bowl, but that’s not my kinda halftime show. You know me: I like marching bands, not the Black Eyed Peas.

The CEO and boys took down the Christmas tree today, because it was starting to get a little crunchy. We left up the garland and the electric candles in the windows, as well as the nutcrackers, which I usually leave on display until the second week of January because I lurves them so much.

Read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and enjoyed it very much. A strange novel, but delightfully strange (like Memoir, perhaps). Detractors on Amazon’s review pages don’t seem to like it because it “doesn’t make sense,” but it’s fantasy, people, it’s not supposed to “make sense.” The story’s coherent; just because you can’t explain what happens in it doesn’t mean it’s worthless. I was reminded of the bizarre and inexplicable and wonderful things that happen in Roald Dahl’s delightful classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Have these people never read Dahl? Probably not. Or they excuse the fantastic elements by saying, “Oh, it’s a kids’ book.” In any case, the author mentions Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab on her acknowledgements page, and I found that delightful as well. I hope that doesn’t mean that I’ll have to go and snap up BPAL imps now, which I have been avoiding doing. It would be so much better to go and sniff those in person. If they’ve got a Night Circus sample, I might have to get it. I’m guessing it would have notes of caramel apple and bonfire and popcorn, maybe the candles from the Wishing Tree, or the roses from the Ice Garden…

Friday, Dec. 30: My little desk, the one I keep my laptop on? It’s walnut. Well, it smells like Memoir Woman. Not surprising, of course, since I’ve worn it several times this week, but nice.

We took delivery of a new young bull today. The CEO wants to call him Hamlet, because his ear tag says… well, you guess.

I kept forgetting to put on perfume today, mostly because Memoir has stuck to me, even through a shower. Also, I am easily distracted when everybody is home. Aargh. The kids start school again on Jan. 2, so I won’t have to keep running the dishwasher twice a day. I finally put on a bit of Liz Zorn Centennial not long before bedtime. Cozy.

Saturday, Dec. 31: Warm today, in the low 50s. Fed the calf, cleaned the house. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. The day’s mail contained a package from France (squee!), with a sample package of some of the L’Oeuvre Noire scents and all three of the Arabian Nights scents, because I had “liked” the By Kilian page on Facebook way back in October when they were offering this sample set. I’d been thinking about Sweet Redemption, so I nabbed that one right out of the package and spritzed it on. Whoa. Full review coming up (and I mean that this time, not like with Prada Candy and Bottega Veneta, which I really should review but can’t seem to find the enthusiasm for).

Bookworm came home this evening! So glad to see my girl; I missed her. Her brothers would say they didn’t miss her at all, but I notice they were pretty huggy with her.

Sunday, Jan. 1: Happy New Year! Church today, followed by the removal of most of the Christmas decorations, our New Year’d Day family tradition. SOTD: Sweet Redemption again.

My parents came by for a visit and took us all out for dinner, and that was lovely. SOTE: Mary Greenwell Plum. You know, I went back over the past year’s Scent Diaries and counted up the number of times I wore fragrances, and Plum was the thing I wore most often. (Duh, right?) The fragrance next on the frequency list was Alahine, and I wore Plum twice as often as I wore Alahine!

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"A Warm Glowing Red" from freewallpapers4desktop.com. The last of our leaves have finally gone brown and left the trees this week.

Monday,  Nov. 21:  Warm today, into the upper 60s, but cloudy, with rain off and on. Got my turkey breast out of the freezer and into the fridge to thaw for cooking on Thursday morning.  SOTD: Bath & Body Works Velvet Tuberose hand cream, with a weensy spritz of DelRae Amoureuse on top.

SOTEvening: Mary Greenwell Plum.  Off to the high school for the end-of-marching-band-season potluck dinner, followed by the Parents’ Meeting for Winter Sports.  I cannot imagine what the coaches have to tell us this time that’s different from what they had to tell us at the Parents’ Meeting for Fall Sports two and a half months ago.   I can’t believe I’m missing the video from the Wake Forest band competition, which I couldn’t go to, for this stupid sports meeting.  Usually The CEO does the track stuff and I do the band stuff, but he’s off at the School Board meeting.

(Answer to “what’s new?”: nuthin’ much, except for the disturbing fact that the Indoor Track team will not be allowed to run inside the school on wet or cold days because the maintenance guys are supposed to be cleaning the new tile floor.  Yeah.  That’s a good reason to kick 38 kids out into the snow, right?  They can’t use the gym because the basketball teams are practicing in it, and the football field house is primarily a weight room and not suited to running.  The industrial arts building is better physically suited to a practice facility, particularly for sprinters.  However, it houses a daycare that lets out at 5:30 pm, and school officials don’t want 180-pound sprinters barrelling down halls that could contain toddlers… they’ll have to find a solution, and soon.)

Daily NaNoWriMo word count is 2528, with a cumulative total of 41,178.  Scent of Bedtime is Alahine again.

Tuesday, Nov. 22:    Warm but rainy again.  Poor Gaze got sick last night; looks like he’s got the 24-hour crud that hit Taz and Bookworm last week.  SOTD: Parfumerie Generale Praline de Santal.  (Nice.  I like.)

The CEO and I went to the benefit program at the high school, in which the choir sang, the drama department presented a one-act play, and the band played.  It was nice.  SOTE: Amouage Lyric Woman.  It rained ugly all night.

Daily NaNo wordcount 2879, for a cumulative total of 44,057. 

Wednesday, Nov. 23:  Kids out of school.  Rain cleared off during the morning.  Windy and chilly but not miserable.  I hope the track team had a place to practice! SOTD: Smell Bent One, which I still like very much and should wear more frequently. 

Gaze helped me make scalloped apples, a Thanksgiving tradition for us.  Yeah, yeah, we made them early, but the bags of apples on the counter were getting in the way.  I’ll try to post a recipe later – it’s kind of a pain, because my recipe came from my mom, and goes something like, “use all the apples you have, add as much sugar and cornstarch and lemon juice as you think it needs, cook until it looks right.”  So there’s actually nothing written down, and I’ll have to write it down myself and check it for accuracy.

Daily NaNo wordcount 1749, for a cumulative total of 45,806.

Thursday, Nov. 24, Thanksgiving:  Clear, lovely day with sunshine.  The CEO went out early this morning to move a bull back out of a field full of cows where he ought not to be, and found a cow dead for no apparent reason.  She wasn’t old, she hadn’t recently had a calf, she hadn’t been obviously sick, she wasn’t dehydrated, she hadn’t gotten her feet up the hill. (Weird, huh? If a cow lies down on a hill the wrong way, having feet up at a higher level than her head, it messes up her digestion so that  she begins to bloat, and then she can’t breathe.  That happens occasionally.)  We’re postulating a pregnancy that went wrong, but without an autopsy there’s no way to know.  SOTMorning:  Si Lolita, for no other reason than it’s pretty and the mini was close at hand.

Made spiced cider and cooked a turkey breast.  Added a snap to Bookworm’s new purple blouse (for modesty, her idea) and ironed it; then she went off with PETBoy to his grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving lunch.  Made gravy.  Heated up the scalloped apples that Gaze helped me make yesterday.  The rest of us went over to The CEO’s mother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  His sister E, brother-in-law K, sister J, and E & K’s kids – Curiosity and Primrose – were there, and Bookworm and PETBoy came and joined us for their Thanksgiving: The Sequel.

SOTD: Organza Indecence.  I considered Jeux de Peau, Champagne de Bois, and Alahine, but decided OI would be just right.  Also thought of that sample of Ambre Sultan, but I was leery of trying something so new before going to spend time with people who are not perfumistas.

Daily NaNo wordcount 2802, for a cumulative total of 48,608.  (However, the OpenOffice wordcount tends to be pretty inflated.  I’ll bet that NaNoWriMo says it’s only about 47K.) 

Friday, Nov. 25:  Went to validate my wordcount at NaNo, and I (oopsie!) included the whole document, not just the stuff written in November.  The official total wordcount is 57,209 per NaNo (58,569 by OpenOffice’s overly generous count).  I won’t consider myself a “winner” unless I can get 60,000 before the end of the month, because I wrote 9920 words in July.   I certainly think it’s doable.

Clear and cold today.  My nephew Curiosity spent the night, and all three boys have been building forts and shooting each other with Nerf guns all morning.  Primrose wanted to come over and play, but Bookworm is out with her dad and Jeff, moving a group of cattle from the Morgan place back home for the winter, and Primrose doesn’t want to be here until there’s more estrogen in the house.  Not that she put it that way… but she’s a very girly little girl, completely uninterested in Nerf guns or forts.  (As an eleven-year-old, I’d probably have picked up a Nerf gun myself.  Sadly, I was six years older than the oldest of my cousins, and always a bit left out of cousin play.)

SOTD:  testing Rose Kashmirie again.  Still a no, I think, or at least a not for me.   Daily NaNo wordcount 41, for a cumulative total of 48,649.

Saturday, Nov. 26:  Lovely weather!  Cousins over for a visit in the morning, then a bit of housecleaning and off to my parents for Late Thanksgiving and my dad’s birthday.    SOTD: Tableau de Parfums Miriam.   (Poor PETBoy.  He went with us, largely because Bookworm asked him to, and I think he was bored out of his skull.)  It was lovely to see my brother and his wife, and their darling little boy Chopper D, who is – gasp! – no longer a baby.  He’s two and talking and completely fascinated with blue cars and watches.  He, um, “borrowed” Bookworm’s watch and wore it all afternoon.  No, it did not fall off: he’s big for his age, and she’s small.

Daily NaNo wordcount 0, for a cumulative total of 48,649.   (Except that when I verified my wordcount at NaNoWriMo, the stuff I’ve written this month has been folded into the 9920 words that I wrote in July, so it thinks I’ve “won.”  I WILL get to 50K written this month.  It’s coming up fast.)

Sunday, Nov. 27:  Cloudy and windy again.  The CEO preached at a small Presbyterian church (once pastored by his dad’s first cousin, now down to about 22 members, mostly elderly) today.  Bookworm went to chuch with PETBoy, and the boys and I went to the later (11 am) service at our church today.  Advent started this Sunday, which was a surprise to me.  I’d stopped being in the habit of Advent, once we left our previous church for our current one, but looks like it’s back.  Which is sort of nice.  An advent wreath is a nice tradition – but I admit that I got sick of only singing Advent hymns for a month, because there are only about six of them, and there are alllll these dozens and dozens of lovely Christmas hymns that weren’t getting sung at all, except on Christmas Eve, and then only the first verse.  There are whole generations of young Presbyterians growing up without learning the beautiful second and third verses of Joy to the World, for example.

Also, I am SO, SO not ready for the Christmas stuff.  Not yet. My Christmas things will start getting hauled out gradually, beginning with the nutcracker collection the first weekend in December, the Nativity set, electric candles and a door wreath the second weekend, followed by a tree on the third weekend.  And it will all come down on New Year’s Day, because that’s the way I roll. I know that the town administrations in the area have had decorations up for two weeks, and I know the official “Christmas season” has already begun, but I don’t like this whole let’s-celebrate-for-six-weeks-and-buy-lots-of-stuff thing.  I just don’t like it.  Now get off my lawn!

I realize that my “let’s sing Christmas carols now” and “let’s not decorate yet” preferences may seem idealistically opposed, but they make sense to me.   Okay.  OVER it.  Shutting up now. 

SOTD: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chypree.  I don’t know whether my sample has gone off, or what: there seems mostly the ambergris-heavy Tauerade in this, where once I remember lots of dark rose and spices.  I mean, it still smells good.  It just smells different than I remember.  SOTEvening: Caron Parfum Sacre.

Daily NaNo wordcount 1248, for a cumulative total of 49,897Almost there…  if I’d been able to stay awake last night, I’d be there already.

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Veterans’ Day, 2011
To my dad, who served in the US Navy in peacetime
To my brother-in-law Bob, who served in the US Army in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and returned this past January from a stint in Afghanistan
To my friend Army Lt. Terry Plunk, who died clearing landmines in the Gulf War
To all those who gave their lives for their country
To all those who served
To all those who are serving now
To all those who will serve in the future
And to their families
My deep and heartfelt thanks.

 Photo is Arlington National Cemetery, by RuthannOC at flickr

(This is a recap of a post from Veteran’s Day, 2009.  It’s still true.)

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Sorry for the late posting today (Oct. 31): CEO arranged for an ag lab class to take place at our farm today, so the students could work cattle and give them shots and so forth. Instead of him taking the boys to school, I took them, and then took some school-board-candidate paperwork to the courthouse for him, and then did the weekly grocery shopping. Then I helped move about 15-20 cow-calf pairs out of the Seven Acre Field into the Barn Lot, so I got started on my day at 11:15 am, instead of at 8 am.  Due to the day’s busy-ness, I’ll probably post review of Tableau de Parfums Miriam on Tuesday, Nov. 1.


Tableau de Parfums Miriam, image from Now Smell This. (Review pending.)

Monday, Oct.24: Nice weather today. Poor Gaze forgot that today was an “A” day. He took his trombone to school today instead of his clean gym suit, and had to borrow shorts from the gym teacher. Don’t ask me how the teachers keep up with this alternating A and B schedule – it must drive them nuts. Academic classes are the same schedule every day, but other classes alternate, so that he has gym on A days and band on B days, except that he has band every Friday. Yeah, it’s weird. The high school is weirder: it has a “block” schedule on the semester system, four blocks in a regular class day for each semester, so that students can actually take eight classes over a school year, instead of the seven-classes-every-day schedule that I had in high school, way back in the dark ages. And Governor’s School starts early, so that Bookworm only misses first block at the high school and about ten minutes of second block, which for her is band class.

SOTD: Tableau des Parfums Miriam. Wow. Just… wow, with a halo of sweet contemplative nostalgia. I have been concerned about PETBoy, who’s had such a rough week missing his mother. Spent a good part of the morning just praying for him, because that’s all that’s within my reach right now. He’s still so shy with me.

SOTEvening: DSH Pandora again. It’s so well done, and so luxurious and layered that I am embarrassed to not like it. (I didn’t swoon over Vert pour Madame, either, and I still don’t know why. With Pandora I know why I don’t like it.)

Tuesday, Oct. 25: Another nice clear day in the high 60s. The CEO took off this afternoon for a meeting in Chicago, with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Nominating Committee. The organization is actually based in Denver, but Chicago turned out to be more central for the people on the committee, especially since most of them were going to have to fly through Chicago to get to Denver anyway. SOTMorning: DSH Pandora, writing a review and giving it another shot. (Nope. Just not my style. Shades of Opium and Youth Dew, my Most Hated Perfumes, in the drydown.) SOTAfternoon: testing SL Vitriol d’Oeillet, which I rather like but cannot imagine actually buying.

Bookworm says PETBoy is better today. He told her that he didn’t want her to worry about him, because then that makes him worry about her. (Gah, men. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.) She told him she’d try not to worry, but he couldn’t stop her caring about him and he’d have to get used to that – so I think they’re okay.

Oh, and that full bottle of Miriam that I won on NST’s drawing? Showed up today. Squeeeee!! Beautiful, beautiful packaging. Lovely bottle. You already know that I love what’s in it, too.

Gaze and Taz, Halloween 2010

Wednesday, Oct. 26: Another gorgeous day! Wore Miriam in the morning and tested SL Chene in the afternoon. I like Chene. If someone sent me a bottle, I’d wear it (and dole out decants to people I like, just to share it around). Again, it’s another one I don’t need to buy. This is in direct contrast to La Myrrhe, which I had to have or die in the attempt, and I treat every milliliter like gold.

The boys got home from school and immediately went back outside to play football. Taz bumped his head and came in wailing (the kid’s addicted to drama), but I convinced him he was going to be okay and he could play a little more if he wanted. He did want. They smelled so great when they came in – that little-boy-outside smell I love so much, and which seems to go away as they get close to puberty. Ahhhh, little boys.

Bedtime scent: Alahine. I love, love Alahine.

Thursday, Oct. 27: Cloudy and chilly today, dry leaves all over the ground. If it were raining, it would be a perfect day for Lancome Climat; if it were windy, I’d want the vintage Magie Noire. As it is, I am testing Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier on one hand and Penhaligon’s Elixiron the other. Neither one is a success. The FdC is citrusy musk, all screechy, and Elixir is rose-geranium-spice-patchouli, a potpourri smell as P:TG says. I tested Elixir because Brian at ISTIA loves it and I adore his brief review of it. I don’t hate it, but is most definitely cinnamon spice potpourri, complete with wood chips.

SOTEvening: JHaG Citizen Queen. Ramping up for NaNoWriMo and trying to get some things done around the house beforehand. The CEO got home late tonight.

Friday, Oct. 28: Happy birthday to The CEO!! Chilly, cloudy, windy, rainy day. Bleargh. SOTD: Tableau de Parfums Miriam. The CEO had some interesting comments about it, and I’ll be sure to add them to my review.

Gaze, The CEO and I worked the concession stand at tonight’s football game. We were cold but dry. It’s Senior Night and 8th-grade Band Night (the 8th graders are invited to sit with the high school marching band in the stands; the high school kids are usually as excited as the younger ones, since it’s a chance to show off how much fun they have in band). Not so much fun tonight, though: pouring down rain. The band came down to the stadium with woodwinds in cases, played the national anthem and the pregame stuff for the football team, then played a couple of stands tunes, and vamoosed for drier places in the second quarter. Bookworm went straight home and jumped in the shower, poor baby. The rest of us left as the third quarter started, since there were hardly any fans left (the score was PCHS 28, BHS 0 at halftime) and it’s tough to sell concessions to people who just want to go home. Nice to see the football team win for once. SOTEvening: SSS Champagne de Bois.

Saturday, Oct. 29: Weather nasty in the morning, but it cleared up by mid-morning. Bookworm left with the band to go to an all-day competition. I took Gaze’s birthday jeans to the mall to exchange them for the right ones, and of course took the opportunity to go sniffing. Stopped by Bath & Body Works for some Dark Kiss body cream for Bookworm. (It’s yummy stuff – a woody-vanilla with plum and dark berries, in the same vein as Hanae Mori Butterfly but slightly less sweet. The vampire-themed name is stoopid, but it smells great.) Sniffed several newer scents there – Paris Amour, Be Enchanted, and Men’s Classic are all dreadful, although the packaging for Be Enchanted is completely adorable.


PCHS band in competition 10/22/11, photo by Nicole Ward. It was quite late in the day at performance time, so the shadows look cool, but apparently on-field visibility was poor. That's Bookworm there in the front-right with her saxophone, Tristen to her right. I can name every kid in this photo, even the ones you can only see a piece of, Band Mom that I am!

Then I went to Belk’s for some department-store sniffery. Tried Estee Lauder White Linen on my skin again, and it was not awful on me this time. I don’t know why – it’s the first time I have not thought it sour and mildewy. Also tried Estee, which was a resounding disaster. (How to put this? Bluntly, it smells like urine, and I mean that in the most literal sense. ) Sniffed Private Collection from the bottle, and it is lovely but not so on me. Beautiful I never liked, and still don’t, but I couldn’t say why. Tried Sensuous Nudeon the other arm and found it inoffensive, though I don’t enjoy it – sweet and musky and blah. I sniffed Rihanna Reb’l Fleur, Taylor Swift Wonderstruck, and Justin Bieber SOMEDAY, all of which were sugary fruit salad and I declined to put any of them on my skin. (Shockingly, the Biebs’ fragrance might be the least sugary of the bunch.) Also accidentally got some Calvin Klein Obsession for Men on me when I stood too close to an enthusiastically-spritzing guy – and you know what? It’s not awful, either. I don’t want it, but it’s not stomach-turning like the women’s version.

Came home and reflected that there is nothing at the mall that smells nearly as good, as solid, as emotional as Miriam. (Okay, Chanel No. 5 is wonderful, though I didn’t request the tester for a spritz. My point stands: nothing I smelled today was wonderful, or even very good.)

Sunday, Oct. 30: Another sunny day in the 40s. Bookworm got in very late (around 2 am!) from yesterday’s band competition, so she went to church with PETBoy while we went to our church’s 9 am service. SOTMorning: Chanel Bois des Iles, beautiful but gone in three hours, even with several spritzes. Sigh. Then I got busy and forgot to put anything else on, so I was mostly scentless for the rest of the day.

Got Taz’ Halloween costume together for him – he’ll be a Viking again. He took the curtain rod that Gaze used as a spear last year and added cardboard, duct tape, and aluminum foil to create an “axe.” (It looks more like a halberd, but I’m not quibbling at this point.)

Celebrated The CEO’s birthday this evening with roast chicken, stuffing, gravy, rolls, green beans, corn on the cob, berries, and Boston cream pie. My mother-in-law, B, and PETBoy came over for dinner as well – we had a nice time. Among The CEO’s gifts was a mini bottle of Comme des Garcons 2 Man, so he smelled very good.

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I am excited about this one.   Unfortunately, my Internet access time is short since The CEO is working from home today.  Tomorrow, I’ll be gone to a marching band competition. 

Look for the review on Monday afternoon, Oct. 31.

Also, I wish The CEO a very, very happy birthday, with many more to come.

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Monday, Oct.10: Beautiful day!! The CEO’s sister E graciously agreed to drive our Chinese weekend visitors to the DC area on her way home; she took Dr. Men to Dulles Airport, and Bill to the Metro station. SOTD: Le Labo Aldehyde 44. Which, although I am annoyed no end by Le Labo’s pretentiousness, is actually pretty decent smellies, all smooth and confident.

Attended a really long Band Boosters meeting in the evening – our high school is hosting the VBODA marching band assessment & competition for the Western region of Virginia next Saturday, and of course there are serious logistics to be worked out for this sort of thing. Not to mention that there are three band events going on this week.

Tuesday, Oct. 11: Rainy today. (Poor Bookworm got wet at marching band practice this afternoon.) Did the grocery shopping and five loads of laundry, as well as making dinner: taco salad and corn, with fruit. SOTD: Amouage Ubar, the reissue. The original was a bit too woody and not floral enough for me, and the modern stuff is so… thick, so lemony-flowery-civetty-sexy. It’s wonderful.

Wednesday, Oct. 5: Rain in the morning, clearing up in the afternoon. Did some online shopping for birthdays, and wrote some, and did some laundry. Took a shower late in the afternoon, and only then did I grab a fragrance: Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau. Which is, lemme tell ya, pret-ty weird. It’s wearable-weird, but still: weird. I think I like it, though it is a little strange, smelling like burnt-sugar pastries.

Thursday, Oct. 6: Happy 13th birthday to Gaze! Got a haircut and did some shopping. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete. Bought birthday presents for Sunday’s brother-birthday-party, and replaced my crappy brown mules with some very nice brown leather shooties, on clearance at the shoe store. Also replaced my worn, elderly brown faux-croc tote purse with a similar one I found at TJ Maxx. Bought two super-cheapies there: a 50ml bottle of Azzaro pour Homme, and a 30ml bottle of Britney Spears Circus Fantasy.

(Yeah, what was I thinking? It was $8, and I’d heard it was the best of the Fantasy flankers, but still. Bad decision. It smells like cardboard dipped in orange soda – not as sweet as the other Fantasys, still pretty sugary. But I didn’t know that beforehand, because my TJ Maxx has taken to locking their boxes of perfume up in individual plastic cases that must be unlocked at checkout. There was also a huge gift box of True Religion, 50ml edt and shower gel for $30, that I almost bought because I know that PETBoy wears it, and that Bookworm thinks it smells great. It does smell good. I might see if Bookworm would like to give it as a Christmas/birthday gift, since PETBoy’s birthday is right after Christmas.)

Azzaro pour Homme – a four-star fragrance in P:TG – was $10, and I figured it was a pretty good deal for something that’s supposedly a classic. I didn’t remember much other than “4-stars” about it, so it was interesting to open the box and spritz away. The first thing that happens is that the lavender lifts a huge hammer and does its darndest to try to kill me with it. If you can make it through that stage (it was hard for me because lavender hates my guts, but I dug deep and did not scrub), it’s pretty good as a classic masculine fragrance. I had thought it might be suitable for Gaze, but he’s not ready for it. It’s very 70s, and to my nose, kinda sexy, the lavender notwithstanding. It’s very nice: lavender, moss, tons of coumarin and amber, essentially glorified shaving cream. Which I don’t want to wear, but would smell happily on a guy. It’s too old for Gaze, I’m afraid. He’ll have to pick out something else. (I’d suggest True Religion, but it would probably be too freaky for Bookworm’s younger brother to start smelling like her boyfriend.)

Then we went to the middle school football game. Our county high school has two feeder middle schools, known as DMS and PMS (please, no jokes. Please. I’ve heard them all.) My kids go/have gone/will go to DMS, who – I couldn’t believe it – won the game handily. The middle school bands were playing at the game, and the high school band members came in and divided up by their middle school background, Bookworm coming over to the DMS side to play a few tunes in the stands, just a row below Gaze and the other low brass instruments. I couldn’t manage to get a really good picture of the two of them together.

The CEO stuck his head into this shot, but both Bookworm (facing backward to talk to the tenor sax player behind her) and Gaze (blue shirt, trombone, blond hair) are visible in the background. Also, a weensy bit of Taz' hair there to the right. Sigh.

At halftime, the high school band performed their show on the field, and then left to march in the local Fire Safety Awareness Week Parade. (It’s locally known as “the Fire Parade,” which makes it sound a lot more interesting than it usually is since nothing, in fact, does catch on fire. Though we did actually have the KKK enter a float one year. I don’t think they found a lot of support, and they haven’t been back, thank goodness.) Right after the game, the skies opened up as we were taking Gaze to Shoney’s for a birthday dinner, and the high school band got absolutely soaked.

Friday, Oct. 7: Posted the Serge Lutens article. Took some stuff to Goodwill. Made dinner early and left at 3 pm to chaperone the marching band at the away game. SOTAfternoon: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano – nice, but not really up to the chilly temperatures. Or the heartbreaker football game: our team lost their seventh game of the season, this time by two points. Grrrrr. Too, the band’s uniform capes have not recovered from the previous night’s soaking. They look terribly crumpled.

Saturday, Oct. 8: Cleaned house in the morning. Saw Bookworm off to take the PSAT; she and PETBoy and some other test-taking friends were going to grab some lunch right afterward and then go back to the high school for a pre-marching band-competition runthrough. Lovely weather today: sunny but very, very windy.

Gaze went to a birthday party this afternoon; The CEO went out to canvass neighborhoods in our school district and hand out his School Board candidate handbills; Taz and I did laundry. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome. I have never been unhappy with the choice of CdL, barring that time I wore it to a chorus concert in which I was singing, in May, when temperatures reached the upper 70s and the custodian had forgotten to turn on the air conditioning. It was lovely today – soft and dry, floral but austere.

The band uniforms are still a bit soggy, and they don’t smell good. This bodes ill, in my mind, for the Really Big Competition coming up next Saturday, but there isn’t time to gather up the uniforms and get them dry-cleaned before Friday’s football game. Nor is there enough money: because the football team is so dreadful this year (and because county residents are accustomed to their being good), game attendance is down. This means that concession sales are way down, and the band boosters haven’t earned anything close to the amount they budgeted to receive for football game food sales. Arrrrgh. What are we going to do?

The upshot of today’s competition was that PCHS placed second in their size class (AAA, 50-75 members, a medium-size band), and second overall. Bookworm said she had not felt that the show went well, and she was surprised at the results. She got home at midnight and talked to me for half an hour, which was awfully nice. I feel like I hardly see her these days.

Sunday, Oct. 9: Another gorgeous day: sunny, temps in the low 70s, breezy but not windy like yesterday. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome again, so lovely. Exciting stuff at church today: six baby dedications and four baptisms – and our worship leader Cody Davenport has just released a CD. We went to the 9:00 service, but Bookworm slept in and went to church at 10:45 with PETBoy.

The CEO to me, when we got home from church at 11:00: “Her truck’s still here. [He] must have come by and picked her up.”

Me: “He does that.”

The CEO: “That’s a lot of running for him, especially in that big truck of his. It must get terrible gas mileage. Why doesn’t she just meet him at church? It’s not like they didn’t spend sixteen hours together yesterday.”

Me: “I think it’s part of his expectation of being an old-fashioned gentleman. Guy picks up the girl and holds doors for her and buys her lunch and stuff. I guess it’s worth it to him to blow fifteen minutes and a little bit of gas to come over here and pick her up, just so they can have an extra fifteen minutes to talk in the truck on the way to church. And then of course he’ll take her home, too. Completely smitten. It’s so cute.”

The CEO: “I used to do that for my girlfriend.”

Me: (snort) “Must have been when you were in high school.”

We didn’t date in high school. We knew each other and were friends, but didn’t date until after college, and after The CEO had finished his master’s degree. When we started dating, he was living with his parents here in P. County and starting his farming career, and I was working full-time and living in an apartment in Roanoke, an hour’s drive away. Our phone bills were enormous, but there wasn’t any “drive 15 minutes out of his way to see me” extra, because every time we saw each other was “out of his way”.

Held birthday celebration for Gaze and Taz, with their grandparents and chocolate cake. Yum. SOTEvening: Parfums de Rosine Poussiere de Rose. This is like Feminite du Bois plus a lotta rose, and I like it very much, especially in the drydown.

Top image is from Miniature Perfume Shoppe (a nice source for vintage stuff, especially).

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I’m still working on The Big Dish on Uncle Serge.  Can’t wait to post it; it should be up by noon Eastern Standard Daylight Time on Friday (whoops, I still can’t get used to this extended Daylight Savings time in the fall, and I think it goes on past the time that it’s really useful).  If you’ve got something to say about Serge Lutens – good, bad, indifferent – please do me the wonderful great favor of participating in the poll and sharing some thoughts about the fragrance line.  Thanks so much!

Happy birthday to my darling Gaze!  He’s thirteen today, and so we have another teenager in the house.  I am so proud of him.  I do not know a sweeter person on the face of the earth.

Gaze, The CEO, and Taz in our front yard. All three of "my boys" have birthdays this month. Photo by Mary Stafford.

This afternoon, the two area middle schools that feed into our county high school play football against each other.  They’ll play on the high school’s field, and both middle school bands are performing, as well as the high school band.  I’m looking forward to hearing Bookworm and Gaze play (saxophone and trombone, respectively).

The 2011-12 PCHS saxophone section, goofing off for the camera: Marta, Anna, Michael, Bookworm, Grey, Rebecca, Gage, Tristen, Jessi and Ben. Great kids. Photo by Nicole Ward.

Taz, now 11, is now consuming fiction books by gulps and swallows (the way his sister does, and the way I do).  In the past 8 days, he’s read four Ranger’s Apprentice novels.

And I have decided that I’m going to “cheat” on my NaNoWriMo experience this year and continue working on an existing novel rather than starting from scratch.  You’re not s’posed to do that.  The idea is that starting fresh allows you to just write freely and creatively without getting caught up in making what you’re writing fit with what you’ve already written.  But my problem is never writing freely and creatively, it’s getting that kick in the pants to make me really work on refining what I’ve got and patching holes.  So I’m going to use NaNoWriMo November to make progress on the story currently known as “Good Enough Is Perfect.”  Woo-hoo, I’m gonna be a NaNoRebel!!

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Monday, Oct. 3: Cloudy and chilly. Gaze’s fever last night kept him out of school today, but he is feeling better and playing Wii Golf. SOTMorning: SSS “classic” tester version, not yet available. It’s not playing nicely with me – a celery-like note has raised its ugly head. I hope Laurie tweaks it such that I can wear it, but it’s much much nicer on paper, so maybe it’s just my skin.

SOTD: Le Labo Aldehydes 44, reviewed for the “An AldeHo Dishes” series. Bought groceries. Finished cleaning Taz’ room in preparation for painting, then spackled the walls. (What has that kid been doing in his room, to put so many dents in his walls?!) Started to tape the baseboards and mouldings.

Tuesday, Oct. 4: Took Gaze to the doctor because of his continued sore throat and mouth sores. He has a virus which could be foot, hand, and mouth disease, but since he’s only got a few of the symptoms, it might not be that. In any case, he’s contagious and supposed to stay home from school at least until Thursday.

Taped Taz’ walls and began to paint. I talked him into a slightly softer deep green, and I hope the ivy green we settled on will be easier to complement with bed linens and curtains than that screaming John Deere green. SOTD, after finishing two walls: vintage Coty Emeraude parfum de toilette. Lovely stuff, I should wear it more often.

Taz at The Homeplace

Wednesday, Oct. 5: Happy birthday to Taz!! Eleven years with my beautiful “surprise present.” Love you, sweetie. Happy second birthday to my darling nephew Chopper D, as well! (This is Birthday Month for the Museinwoodenshoes Boys – father and sons, all of them October boys. Gaze will turn 13 next week, and The CEO will turn, um… 39… in the last few days of the month.)

Made four batches of brownies: three for a fundraiser bake sale for the marching band, and one for Taz to take to school for a treat tomorrow. SOTD: Le Labo Aldehyde 44 again. Also, had to go to the middle school and pick up Gaze’s classwork.

Painted Taz’ bedroom. Dinner, as requested by the birthday boy: chicken strips, curly fries, green beans and mandarin oranges, with red velvet cake for dessert. SOTEvening: Mary Greenwell Plum. Ah, Plum, how I’ve missed you!

Thursday, Oct. 6: Beautiful day. Finished the paint touch-ups in Taz’ bedroom – I’d thought I was finished, but the morning light revealed way too many white speckles where the green paint lacked full coverage. SOTD: Sushi Imperiale, which has that shaving-cream amber I hate so much. Dang. (Anybody want a slightly-used 5ml decant?)

Went to sleep in about six spritzes of the lovely, calm Mariella Burani. Yum.

Friday, Oct. 7: Foggy morning. It’s Fall Break at Virginia Tech, so The CEO is home doing stuff around the house along with me, getting ready for our two Chinese Eisenhower Fellows who’ll be visiting us this weekend. SOTMorning: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.

I’m hoping to get things in good enough shape so that we can go to the football game tonight. I need another marching band fix (Lord knows the game isn’t going to be any fun to watch and the team will be 0 and 6 by the end of it).

Mowed grass, cleaned bathrooms, did six loads of laundry. House not bad.

(Uh, yeah, my prediction was correct: bad game. PCHS Football has now lost their sixth game in a row. Watched my favorite band do a good job, though. SOTEvening: SSS Tabac Aurea.)

Saturday, Oct. 8: Cleaned house. House pretty good (though not perfect). SOTD, on the theory that Asians are less comfortable with heavy scents: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano. As this goes on, it gets less fruity-floral and more creamy-almondy, though, so not exactly as “light” as I remembered it.

Bookworm came in 6th of 55 runners in her cross-country race today. The CEO’s sister E is visiting her mom this weekend, along with my adorable niece and nephew Primrose and Curiosity. Our Chinese visitors, “Bill” and Dr. Men, are really pleasant (which I expected)! I hope they enjoy being here. Gaze did a great job taking them around the farm on the Gator, and showing them tractors and hay bales and cows.

Dinner was honey-soy glazed salmon, green beans, pineapple, and rice.

Sunday, Oct. 9: Foggy morning. Since Bookworm had to be home early in the afternoon to lead a cross-country practice, she went to church with PETBoy (again!) instead of going with the rest of us. Cereal for breakfast so we could leave by 8:30. We went to church, dropped by the Virginia Tech campus, and then drove to Catawba for lunch at The Homeplace, a restaurant located in an old farmhouse, which is famous for its southern-style food served “homestyle.” It does not take reservations, so you have to get your name on the list when you get there and just wait. (And wait. It’s very popular on Sundays.) We ate country ham, fried chicken, pinto beans, mashed potatoes and chicken gravy, green beans with ham hock, fried apples, cole slaw, and biscuits, with peach cobbler a la mode for dessert. Discovered that Bill and Dr. Men do not like sweetened iced tea.

SOTMorning: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. I suspect that it was my perfume making our visitors sneeze in the van, so I didn’t put any more on while they were here.

Gaze, Bill, The CEO, and Dr Men playing football at The Homeplace

We came home and met E, Primrose and Curiosity, and then everyone except E and me went out to play touch football in the front yard. This occasioned explanations from Gaze as to how to play quarterback, and from Curiosity as to how to block. There was a lot of laughing.

I made dinner: roast beef, gravy, broccoli-cheddar rice, steamed broccoli, peas, and mixed berries, with red velvet cake (the remains of Taz’ birthday cake) for dessert. The last time we hosted an Eisenhower Fellow, a lovely Chinese lady brought us some fancy green tea, so we drank a lot of that over the weekend. I have finally figured out that green tea is meant to be made with water considerably cooler than boiling. The CEO’s mom joined us for dinner, and it was a very enjoyable evening.

Bookworm talked to Bill about her expanded-curriculum classes at the Governor’s School and about her future plans (nebulous right now), while Taz regaled Dr. Men with some Virginia history. Then The CEO and Bill started talking about investments; I listened and cleaned up the kitchen.

Bonus day, Monday, Oct. 10: Made a proper breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon as well as orange slices. The CEO took the boys to school while I packed roast beef sandwiches for our guests and E and her kids, since E graciously agreed to drive Dr. Men and Bill to Dulles, which is within twenty minutes’ drive of her house and she was going that way today in any case.

It was a lovely weekend.

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Autumn image from webdesignledger.com

We will have company over the weekend.

International company.

This isn’t the first time we’ve hosted people from another country, and it isn’t the first time we’ve hosted two people at the same time.   This weekend, we’ll have two guys from China staying with us.

They’re Eisenhower Fellows, visiting the US for a 4-5 week stay and meeting people, making professional connections and seeing how Americans live.  These two particular guys work for the Chinese government, and because they’d requested to spend some time “in the country,” they’ll stay with us over the weekend, between their official meetings in New York/Washington, DC on Friday and in DC/Boston on Tuesday.

The CEO was the US Eisenhower Fellow for Agriculture in 2007; he did his six-week study in Australia and New Zealand, on international beef markets.  I was able to join him for three weeks – about five days at the tag end of his time in Australia, when we visited a sheep and cattle station in New South Wales and spent a few days in Sydney.  We were actually able to have dinner with some relatives-by-marriage in Sydney, and enjoyed that very much.  Kind of a complicated relationship: The CEO’s sister E is married to his college roommate K.  All of K’s grandparents were born in China, so he’s 100% ethnic Chinese, and he’s got family strung from New Jersey to San Francisco and other places around the world, including an aunt in Sydney.  She herself was born in the US, and then met a Thai-born Chinese guy at the University of Maryland, married him, and moved to Australia.  (It was amusing to meet K’s cousin, who looks strikingly like him, and hear this Chinese guy speaking with an Australian accent!  It’s probably just as odd to our Chinese visitors to see someone who looks like home, but talks like an American…)

I really enjoyed our trip to New Zealand, and I’d love to go back.  In fact, if we ever decided to live somewhere other than the US, I’d be pushing for Wellington, or somewhere near it.  The CEO had done his master’s degree at Massey University in New Zealand, and it was nice to be able to see where he’d spent those two years in Palmerston North.  New Zealand is very beautiful, with amazing geography, and I loved every minute there.  We’ve got loads of photos somewhere…

Since returning from The CEO’s Fellowship, we’ve hosted several international Fellows.  First, a lovely couple from Nigeria, a doctor and her husband, who owns a pharmaceutical company – Olanike and Biodun.  Then Somkiat from Thailand who is a political adviser in an independent think tank, and Dong Qing, who teaches at a high-level educational facility in China.  And Erik, from Brazil, who is CFO of a large company that provides electricity to the nation.  (Erik had never eaten chicken gravy until we took him to The Homeplace.  He loved it.  Called it “sauce”- which, I suppose, it technically is.)

Erik-from-Brazil took this photo of our family at Mabry Mill a couple of years ago.

I do like having people visit; I just wish we could pick a different weekend.  With one son’s birthday on the 5th and one on the 13th, we usually try to have a family birthday party for the two of them on the weekend in between.  Eisenhower Fellowships complicates that.  US Fellows can pick the time of year that suits them to make their trips (The CEO left for Australia in early July, and I joined him on the 26th, and we were home by the second week of August), but Fellows visiting the US are here during specified times of the year, October or April, so that they can meet each other. 

And this weekend, we’ll have Honghua, who is a university think tank professor of Chinese-American studies economic relations, and “Bill,” who runs the Chinese equivalent of the Social Security Administration investment fund, staying with us.  We’ll let them putter around on the farm, see some cows, maybe ride on the tractor.  We’ll probably take them for a meal at The Homeplace restaurant, which specializes in Southern food served homestyle: sweet iced tea, fried chicken, country ham, mashed potatoes and fried apples and green beans and biscuits, yum.  And then The CEO is planning to take them to Monticello on the way to catch their flights at Dulles on Monday.  So I’ll be busy, probably with no time to post reviews or Scent Diary until next Monday night or Tuesday, but look for something then.

Have a great weekend!

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Brain Fail…

Update:  Please note that there will be a new review posted here on Friday by noon Eastern Daylight Time.   Things are a little busy around here… 

I meant to have another “An AldeHo Dishes” review for posting today.  I don’t have it.  I’ve been wearing Baghari, vintage and modern, and I have so little to say about it that there’s no point in even trying.  Also, I’m trying to get Taz’ room cleaned and in ready-to-paint condition, and I’m working on a difficult scene in the novel.

So I’m going to move on to another fragrance… Le Temps d’une Fete is calling me… and share another photo of my daughter and her sweetie in their Homecoming finery.  (It should be apparent why his nom de blog is Pretty Eyed Trumpet Boy.)

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