Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

John Deere 4440 and round baler, seen behind the Morning Glory Vine That Ate the Porch

Monday, Sept. 12: Another beautiful day. I finally finished sewing the ribbon trim to Bookworm’s Homecoming dress, yay! She’s going to be so lovely in it. SOTMorning: a test sample of Sonoma Scent Studio’s upcoming scent which goes by the working name of “Classic.” It was gorgeously floral for some time, and then went all celery-vetiverish and vanilla. I’m betting it’s me, because on paper it is stunningly sandalwoody.

SOTE: Le Temps d’une Fete, beautiful. Attended Band Booster meeting… SO MUCH WORK goes into what happens on the field at the football game; most people have no idea. (Okay, to be fair, I have no idea what the football parents of the Touchdown Club do – they probably do fundraisers, too, and help haul around the equipment. But the football team is better funded, that much I know.)

Update: Oops, misjudged the strap length on one side. Must fix. Also, the shoes she liked two weeks ago no longer suit her: too unstable, and they’re going to rub her pinky toes. Arrrrrrgh. Really, she just needs practice walking in heels! I started wearing heels to church when I was, oh, 11 or 12, and was awkward in them for awhile, but I wanted to learn. She doesn’t want to practice, and she thinks the problem is in the shoes. They aren’t even high heels – they’re 1 ¾” tall, and they’re on the chunky side, somewhere between “kitten” and “court” heels.

Tuesday, Sept. 13: SOTD: Vintage Balmain Jolie Madame extrait. I’m spoiling myself. This vtg extrait is both incredibly floral and incredibly leathery, and completely ladylike in an unpowdery way. Also retesting SSS “Classic” on the back of my hand. No celery today, yippee.

SOTEvening: Cuir de Lancome.

Did a little sniffery with Taz before dinner, and gave him several so-called masculine scents to sniff, trying to find out his preferences. He’s got a birthday coming up in a few weeks (as does Gaze, 8 days later). C&S No. 88 he didn’t like; nor did he like DSH Lucky Clover. He said Acqua di Gio and Dior Homme Sport were just “okay,” and he did not like Hermes Bel Ami and YSL M7 at all. What did he like? Shalimar Light and Chanel Egoiste. Wonder if I could find an Egoiste smell-alike for him… there’s no way I’m buying a Chanel for an 11-year-old! Maybe I could search Fragrantica for a woody-spicy fragrance that isn’t expensive. Hmm.

Wednesday, Sept. 14: Mowed grass. There won’t be too many more times to do that; the growth has already slowed quite a bit. SOTD: Champagne de Bois.

Thursday, Sept. 15: Cool front moving in! SOTD: Coty Chypre on wrists, and DSH Chypre on inner forearms. Lovely stuff. Finished hemming Bookworm’s new jeans. After her conniption fit ther other day about her Homecoming shoes, I bought a different batch of shoes for her to try. She likes one pair that has heels a trifle lower, and thinks she might choose them instead of the other pair. I like them both, and although I think the first pair is slightly prettier, I’m not the one wearing them… sigh. I should be glad she’s in any heels at all.

(Thank goodness for Zappos and OnlineShoes! She has teeny feet, and nobody in this area carries size 5 for women. Any size 5s I can find locally – and there aren’t many! – tend to be little-girl shoes. Luckily, she takes a size 6 in running shoes, or we’d be in trouble there too.)

Community Chorus rehearsal went pretty well. SOTEvening: Caron Parfum Sacre, lovely cozy stuff.


PCHS tubas rockin' it to "Hey, Baby," at the football game, photo by Nicole Ward

Friday, Sept. 16: Did some bookkeeping stuff and laundry and a bit of cleaning, since I’m planning to be gone all afternoon Saturday. SOTD: SSS Champagne de Bois. Also, got called in as a substitute band chaperone for the away football game tonight, so I was gone from 3 pm to past midnight. (And we lost, 38-28. Ow. The football team is now 0 for 4. The band, OTOH, was great.)

Saturday, Sept. 17: Cleaned house – well, to be honest, I gave it “a lick and a promise,” as my grandmother always called any half-hearted attempt. After lunch, I dropped Bookworm off at school for marching band quick rehearsal before they left for their competition. The CEO managed to score two tickets to the Virginia Tech football game, and it was Taz’ turn to go, so those two headed off for the game while Gaze and I went to my parents’ house. He stayed to watch the game on TV with my dad (another VT alumnus), while Mom and I went to watch the band competition, which was being hosted by my own high school. SOTD: SSS Champagne de Bois, still on my band shirt from last night, with a tiny layering of Tabac Aurea as well. Nice.

It was actually tough to be there at my old school, hearing cadences played, and not marching. I don’t miss high school much. But I miss marching band. I had terrific friends there, even better maybe than my choir friends or youth group friends. And I always loved cadence; it still makes my blood itch and my feet want to move.

Bookworm’s school did very well. The show was the cleanest I’ve seen it performed yet. This competition is early in the season and designed as a clinic – i.e., for the purpose of providing bands with judging and constructive criticism to help shape the rest of the competition season. We were gratified to notice that PCHS received the highest score of the day, a quarter of a point better than that really big band from North Carolina. I’m so proud.

Sunday, Sept. 18: Since we didn’t actually take a family vacation this summer, we’d promised the boys that we’d take them to the amusement park (Carowinds, on the border between North and South Carolina, about two hours’ drive away). Today shaped up to be really great for it: temps in the 70s, mostly cloudy. Very comfortable weather, and the park isn’t crowded in the fall, so you can ride pretty much anything you want, with very little waiting in line. PETBoy went with us, and honestly, deserved a gold star or two for hanging with Bookworm, who is a roller coaster fiend. I like roller coasters myself, but there are a couple that I don’t enjoy at this park. PETBoy rode them with her, and even rode once with Taz, just so I could sit out the wooden coaster that gives me a headache. SOTD: Balenciaga Paris, which is quite nice: violet leaf, violet, comfortable tonka-musk drydown. I’ll probably use up my sample (thanks, Undina!) and enjoy it, and never give it another thought.

Got home very late and gratefully collapsed into the sheets wearing Shalimar Light.

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Monday, July 25: Considerably cooler than the weekend, thank-you-Lord! Rained buckets at lunch time, and I had to haul the clothes in off the line. SOTD: Throwdown between Ferre by Ferre and Gianfranco Ferre. Winner will be pitted against F Malle Iris Poudre and possibly against Ferre 20.

Bookworm’s “pre-camp” band camp week started today. As a section leader, she’s involved in teaching rookies the fundamentals of marching. She said it went fairly well. SOTE: Balenciaga Paris.

Lon Chaney's Phantom, photo from Wikimedia Commons

Watched a DVD of The Phantom of the Opera on my ‘puter. I’ve long been fascinated by the story, probably after seeing a portion of the 1929 movie starring Lon Chaney as the Phantom. I’ve read the novel (translated from French) and am familiar with the music, but have never managed to see the theatrical production, so it was great to finally get the chance to see the movie. I have a lot to say about it, and I may wind up doing a separate Phantom post.

Tuesday, July 26: Temps in the high 80s today, but only slightly less miserable. Bleargh. SOTD: Ferre aldehydics again – Ferre by Ferre, and Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre (edt). The boys weeded the front walk, while Bookworm was off to band pre-camp today. The CEO repaired a tractor – I don’t know what was wrong with it, I didn’t want to know! Waited for the Verizon technicians to come and fix the buzz on my landline, which has been there for three years and has gotten ridiculously worse in recent months. It was supposed to be repaired two summers ago when they moved our line from the top of the house to underground, but it didn’t help. Today, the repair guys didn’t even show. And when I called to find out the status, the first CS guy I talked to (in India, judging by his accent) was super-nice, but the American woman in dispatch that he transferred me to was a total witch. I hate Verizon.

Wednesday, July 27: Hot again, mowed the grass. Made a sour cream pound cake from a recipe that I found for my sister. SOTMorning: Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre (edp this time, and it’s different from the edt). Waited for the phone company to come fix the buzz on the line; they didn’t show. SOTEvening: Amoureuse. Yum. I’m still missing the green notes that should be there, but the honey and cardamom almost make up for that.

Thursday, July 28: Waited again for the phone company to come fix the buzz on the line; they didn’t show. Jerks. They did call to say that they’d be in the area tomorrow… yeah, right. Look, I scheduled the appointment a week in advance. Why did I have the option to pick Tuesday if it was really going to be Friday, or even later? Total jerks.

SOTD: Balenciaga Paris (thanks for the sample, Undina!) Update: just received a call from the Verizon technician, saying he’d be here to fix our phone some time this afternoon; he mentioned that he had just gotten the assignment ticket this morning and he was surprised to see the scheduled date of 7/26 on it. Not his fault – I knew Verizon’s Customer Service was totally full of it.

Okay, so now the phone is fixed… but we can’t connect to the internet. I know these two are related. We have DSL through the phone company, and it was fine until the technician showed up, and not-fine since. Waiting for internet service. SOTE: gorgeous, fluffy Iris Poudre. Still not getting the Ferre resemblance.

Friday, July 29: Hot and humid, in the mid-90s. I hate summer. SOTD: Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre edp. I like it, it’s nice, it reminds me quite a bit of Ferre 20, but it still doesn’t call Iris Poudre to mind much. I don’t know where people are getting this from…

The CEO and I went out to dinner at Applebee’s and picked up “Lincoln Lawyer” from the Redbox on the way home. An enjoyable movie, with more of a twisty-turny plot than I had thought it would be. The CEO was thinking that the premise might make for a pretty good drama series: sleazy colorful LA lawyer has a straight-arrow Assistant DA ex-wife with whom he’s still friendly, sleazy colorful PI’s with whom he works, and sleazy colorful clients you know are guilty but still wind up rooting for. It would a fun show to watch, I think. However, I’m not sure that anybody would have the budget to produce it – it needs real scriptwriters.

After that we weren’t quite ready to go to bed, so we watched the ending of some youthful modernized-period-drama thing called “Virgin Territory” on TV. Cheesy dialogue, starring Hayden Christiansen (I swear, he must be wearing guyliner) and Mischa Barton, two of the worst actors evah… the twenty minutes of it that we watched were amusing in a so-bad-you-have-to-laugh way, although I don’t think I could have stood much more of it. SOTEvening: Ferre 20. I’m getting’ my aldehydie groove back, I think.

Saturday, July 30: Yet another mizzerble hot day, 88F at 10am and humid enough that we’re wondering if the clothes we hung out on the line to dry actually will. The Verizon guys are supposed to come by and fix our DSL connectivity problem this afternoon…

and the technician guy actually did show up and fix the problem. Of course, now The CEO is using the internet a lot, getting ready to go to his National Cattlemen’s meeting in Orlando on Monday. SOTD: Le Temps d’une Fete.

It poured buckets for about two hours this evening. SOBedtime: DSH Chypre.

Sunday, July 31: More hot-and-humid. Went to a picnic/cookout with friends from church this afternoon, and then came home just before a massive thunderstorm. It’s still humid, but the temperatures dropped about 15 degrees F, which is good – Bookworm has the first bit of Band Camp this evening from 5pm to 8pm. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum.

Apparently, two kids were overcome with heat this evening and had to sit under the tent with cold wet towels for twenty minutes until they cooled off, but it turns out that they hadn’t hydrated well. The chaperones will be insisting on that this week. SOBedtime: Cuir de Lancome.

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Part of my mini collection

Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day): Happy birthday, Bookworm! 16 today.

Hot and hectic… I rushed around a lot and cooked a lot for the birthday dinner and had about six things go wrong, and it took foreeeeeeverrrrr… Dinner was pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions, with salad and rolls, and the birthday girl chose red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and vanilla bean ice cream. It was good – but who on earth wants pot roast in 88F weather?? SOTD: Lauren by Ralph Lauren, vintage used bottle via ebay. This is “80s week” for some perfumista friends on Facebook, and although Lauren was released in 1978, it smells like the 80s to me. I had college friends who wore Lauren, and if I tell you that I graduated from college in 1990, you can do the math there.

Tuesday, May 31: Can May really be gone already?? Guess so. It’s 91F today. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and it smells like grass and honeysuckle and locust blossoms outside. I hung out six loads of laundry, and it all got dry. SOTD: Yves St Laurent Paris, vintage mini via ebay. Boy, this thing is a humongous floral bomb. I like humongous floral bombs (you were not in doubt of this, were you?). The CEO has been waiting for pretty weather for weeks, and now that we’ve got sunshine, he’s makin’ hay.

We went to the band banquet this evening. Bookworm has been selected as one of next year’s section leaders for the alto saxes, and I’m proud of her. (Warning: Mom Bragging coming. Skip if this bugs you.) She started out on clarinet in 6th grade, but in 8th grade switched to saxophone because the only sax player in her grade moved away. Since then she’s also played bass clarinet in concert band. As a freshman, her section leader asked if she could march with a tenor sax because the band was short on tenors, so she tried it – but since she’s 5’1” on a tall day, the tenor kept hitting her in the knees. That didn’t work, obviously. This year, her 10th grade, she’s done the following: marching band, cross country, indoor track, concert band, outdoor track, and MACC Science (an academic competition). She’s maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school, and was selected to attend the magnet school for math and science next year. She’s done right good, I think. Also, she is terrific, and her dimples are sooooo cute I have to pinch her cheeks every now and then.

Oh, and we’ve got good news and bad news: The bad news is that one of the calves died for no apparent reason. The good news is that Sampson, the twin calf abandoned by his mama that we’ve been bottle-feeding, now has a new mama.

Wednesday, June 1: The 80s Scent Week just came to a screeching halt. I wore [Karl Lagerfeld] Chloe for a little while today, until it just got Too Hot. Too Darn Hot, people. I was outside most of the day, weeding and planting and mowing and hanging out laundry, and I have a headache and I want to cut my arm off. Gah. Washed. Contemplated some of the other scents on my potential list and couldn’t see trying any of them.

The CEO says that he’ll only have time to make two cuttings of hay this summer, instead of the usual three, because he’s mowing so late. The trade-off is that the hay’s very thick for a first cutting; I suppose all that rain was good for something.

Went to Gaze’s 6th grade awards assembly at school today. (You don’t mind if I brag just a little bit about him, do you? If you do mind, just go ahead and skip to the next paragraph.) He’s a good kid, and I’m very proud of him: Academic Achievement Award Silver Seal (GPA between 3.75 and 3.99), 20+ Accelerated Reader Quizzes Passed, and National Physical Fitness Award. He played the trombone in band this year and joined the track team as a distance runner, and is a terrific, likeable kid with a penchant for puns. Also, he has beautiful eyes.

Thursday, June 2: 80s Scent Week is back on, with Revillon Turbulences parfum. This one was released in 1981, and I bought a boxed mini for about $8 from parfum1 or one of those online places, because Fragrantica calls it an aldehydic floral. Had not yet worn it. As of today, I have, and I’m puzzled at the aldehydic part of the description: if aldehydes are there, they’ve decomposed into total baby powder. This is unusual, because my experience with older aldehydic perfumes with wonky topnotes is that they go to acetone (nail polish remover), not to powder. It’s nice. Not exciting, and I can’t see myself wearing it much, but nice. I think I might pass it on to my mom.

The CEO came home at lunch and tried to wheedle me into learning how to run the tractor with the rake, so I could rake hay for him before he baled it. I didn’t want to. I demurred on the same grounds with which The CEO himself, as a teenager, refused to learn how to milk cows (at one point, his dad and uncle were running a dairy as well as the beef cows): he knew that once he knew how to milk, he’d have to do it. I don’t want to become the backup tractor person if Jeff gets sick.

Also, The CEO seems to be concerned that I spend my time at home doing pointless tasks, since I left my paying job. He should be concerned that I’m spending enough time working on my writing, but he is obsessed with efficiency, and with packing every single moment with work. He gets like this in the summers. It’s almost like when he’s not working at the university, he thinks he’s bleeding money. True, the farm does spend money in the summers – there’s labor, and fertilizer costs, and animal meds, and baler twine and fuel for tractors and trucks, and not a lot of money coming in. But that’s why we have the cushion in the bank. Typically, he’ll get just a couple of big checks a year, when he sells yearling calves at the livestock market. Stretch the gross income, minimize the outgo, and whatever you have left over, well, that’s how much you made, and you never know how much you have left over until you finish the year.

This afternoon, Taz came home with a freshly-tie-dyed tee shirt that he just handed over to me to wash. “Here, Mom. Fix it.” (Good grief. Am I the maid-of-all-work, or the magician?) It’s come out looking pretty good, though.

SOTAfternoon: Retesting Laurie Erickson’s new “summer scent” for Sonoma Scent Studio, two versions (B and C). Last time, I preferred C; this time C is too incensey-woody and B is nicer. Weather might be playing a part here.

Friday, June 3: Last day of school. (Now, to plan the summer so that nobody kills anybody else…) It’s less hot and humid than the rest of the week has been, but still good hay weather, with temps in the mid-80s. Considered the big 80s fragrance Sand & Sable: no can do, too sticky outside.  80s Week is back off.

Chauffeured The CEO and helper Corey to a field today, and went out to lunch with The CEO after he finished baling one field. Our local gathering place has been the recently-opened Tha Dawg House, open for breakfast and lunch, with traditional Southern-style breakfasts (biscuits and all the accompaniments, such as sausage, sausage gravy, bacon, eggs, cheese, ham, grits, etc.) as well as burgers and hot dogs with homemade chili. Not the most romantic place, but it was nice.

Finally got round to testing Maison Martin Margiele Untitled. I had been enticed by the green notes but scared off my someone’s mention of an ashtray note. As it turned out, I found the fragrance a very pleasant smell – green, quiet, calm, reflective – but not what I would call a Proper Perfume. I might like to smell it in my house. Oh, well.

SOTEvening: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, gorgeous creamy tuberose fragrance. Ahhhh.

Saturday, June 4: Mid-80s again today, beautiful haymaking weather. In consequence I spent a good part of the day ferrying various people to and from various hayfields. Bookworm ran the rake under The CEO’s supervision, and field reports state that she did an excellent job. Still too hot for big 80s scents, so the SOTAfternoon was Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Ete, my answer to cologne wearers who cannot figure out what I do wear in hot weather – either that, or Moschino Funny!, or Annick Goutal Petite Cherie.

My parents happened to be coming through town, and suggested they take one or more grandchildren with them for a week of “Camp Nana,” but Bookworm is going to be busy this week with marching band leadership activities and with taking a math placement test at the community college for next year’s classes at the Governor’s School for Science and Math. (Good news: college credit in high school. And since it’s through a VA community college, these credits must be accepted at any Virginia college. They’re also accepted at many other colleges. The bad news: Classes start at 7:10 a.m., in the morning. I’ll be dragging her out of bed by her hair, poor baby…)

Sunday, June 5: Another not-too-hot day in which I considered several 80s scents, including the floral chypre Leonard de Leonard, and rejected them. Went with Mary Greenwell Plum.

Took cantaloupe to the church cookout (yum!), then took Bookworm to the University Mall to pick up a new pair of running shoes for her. After the sales guy (a runner himself) watched her jog around the store, he pronounced her an overpronator with a normal foot arch, and brought her six pairs of shoes to try on. She wound up with the same kind of shoe she bought last December. “It just feels right,” she said.

In the afternoon, Bookworm and I helped The CEO move a bunch* of cows with older calves from the Back Side Near Weston’s House field through the Back Side field, into the Whittaker Woods field, and from there into the Seven-Acre Field, in preparation for their receiving an anti-pest topical medicine (similar to Frontline for dogs, it keeps off the flies, fleas, and ticks) and other vaccinations tomorrow. This ought to be the last bunch that hasn’t yet had this treatment this season.

*Because this “bunch” is merely a subset of the entire group of cattle we own, it isn’t a herd. “Herd” tends to imply “the whole group.” But generally, our cows are separated out as to their stage on the reproductive cycle. This bunch was cows with calves who were born last fall.

After all that chasing cattle around the field, we watched “The King’s Speech.” I was dubious about it, first because of the swearing in it, and second because of Colin Firth, who is a fine actor but who for some unknown reason usually gives me the total willies. Bookworm assured me that she’d heard far worse swearing at school (probably true), and other than the swearing, there was nothing objectionable in the film. And Colin did not give me the creeps. I’ve never understood my aversion to him anyway, so the lack of aversion is just as baffling. SOTEvening: Ines de la Fressange (the Calice Becker one from 1999).

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Iwo Jima Memorial, photo from Life magazine

In memory of those who gave their lives in service to their country, and in honor of those who served…

Today I remember Army 1st Lt. Terry L. Plunk. “Killed on February 25, 1991, while clearing mines at As-Salam Airfield, Kuwait. Graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. Lt. Plunk was the equivalent of the valedictorian at his graduation and the top CE graduate for 1988 at VMI.”  [courtesy of jenerette.com]  Terry graduated two years ahead of me in high school, and a nicer guy there never was.  Valedictorian, wrestler, yearbook staff, class president, Prom King, all that – and still he managed to notice the quiet kids, the ones outside the popular circle, and give them a smile and a kind word.  Before heading off to duty, Terry told his worried mother, “I know it’s dangerous.  But Mom, if I die over there, I’ll be in Jesus’ arms before my body hits the ground.”  Thanks for your service, Terry, and for the smiles.  I’ll see you again.

I honor my dad, who served as supplymaster aboard a destroyer tender in the Navy in the early 1960s.  He ws stationed at Portsmouth, VA, and his ship never went any farther than Florida; at the time, the Atlantic Fleet was not deployed.

I honor my brother-in-law Bob, who served  in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and who has recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

My deep thanks to the veterans, and those currently serving in our armed forces. 

Bookworm, May 2011, holding the Girls' Track team district trophy

Sixteen years ago on this day, I held Bookworm for the first time.  I’ve always been very proud of her, but never more so than now.  She is a fine young lady, and I thank God for her every day.  Sweetheart, my butterfly girl, I love you.  Happy birthday!


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Posting delays.

Sorry I’ve been mostly AWOL this week.  I have spent a lot of time at the rehab center with my father-in-law as he nears the end of his life.  And the routine goes on as usual, too: kids to get to school, laundry to be washed, meals to be cooked… and everybody is sad.

I will plan on posting something on Sunday (thank goodness for the scheduled publishing option).  Next week we’ll try to get to the mini-reviews from the prize draw, as well as reviews of two of the new Jean Desprez fragrance variations.

If you were one of the prize draw winners, and you have a brief review of two to three sentences for me (or more.  I’ll take more!), please email me.  I tried to send out email requests, but Gmail has been weird lately and I’m not sure they went through.  I’d like to have them by Wednesday, but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule, of course.  THANKS.

Everybody take care.

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In Progress:

  • The Malta-Rome travelogue, complete with pictures
  • Fragrance Throwdown: vintage Coty L’Origan vs. Guerlain L’Heure Bleue parfum
  • Review: Xerjoff Elle
  • Updates to the Huge List of Green Scents
  • And…
  • The 2010 tax return – which I’m sure nobody is really interested in hearing about, but which must be finished before I get seriously into posting…

I also owe several people emails.  Sorry for my laxity (laxness? no, must be laxity.  I’m even too lax to go look that up).  I promise, I will get back to you.

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Back Home!

Will be posting soon with pictures and comments about what we saw and did and ate and smelled… but right now, there’s a mountain of laundry to do.  Ciao until later – and thanks for all the good wishes!

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