Posts Tagged ‘Scent Diary’

Montane Birch Forests in Torkilstoten (winter), by ArildV, from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, Jan. 2: Back to school! I managed to stifle my evil laughter as I dropped off the slaves (children) at school today. We put away the rest of the Christmas decorations, and I worked on a post or two. It is very cold and windy, with a high temperature of 30F, wind chill making it feel like 22F. Brrrrr. I did go get the boys from the bus stop, which is half a mile from the house. Hope the track team is running inside today.

No single SOTD today – I’m testing several things, including By Kilian Love (don’t be shy), DSH Marzipan, and a few other things I can’t remember now. Oh, yes – Amouage Honour Woman and SL Fourreau Noir.

We’ve had snow, starting at about 5pm and going through the evening, with about an inch of accumulation. I’m sure school will be delayed tomorrow. SOBedtime: DSH Chypre, which goes well with the wild wind outside and the warm covers on my bed.

Tuesday, Jan. 3: Woke up to two inches of snow and the snuggly leftover amber base of Chypre. The county schools went on two hours delay, which meant that Governor’s School was canceled, so poor Bookworm was able to get another couple of hours of sleep. It’s the dry, granular kind of snow, though, so although temperatures are in the low 20sF, the wind will blow most of it away as the day goes on.

SOTD: By Kilian Back to Black. It’s lovely rich honey-gingerbread tobacco for awhile, and then it goes cherry-Play-doh heliotropin. No.

I’m struggling a little bit with working on a novel set in a sticky Virginia summer, while snow swirls around outside and my windchimes are gonging away. (I love my windchimes – they’re large and tuned to a pentatonic scale, so that they are pleasant to listen to, not tinkly like the cheap ones.)

SOTEvening: Givenchy Organza Indecence. Yummy stuff. I made Joe Chicken for dinner (see recipe here), and then we watched Virginia Tech play Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. It was a nerve-wracking evening. (VT wuz robbed! Danny Coale caught that TD pass in bounds!)

Wednesday, Jan. 4: As predicted, the snow has mostly blown away. Temps are in the upper teens, though, and the wind chill factor makes it feel like 7 below zero. (Brrrrr!) SOTD: Carnal Flower. Omigosh, it’s so amazing. I only have a small decant which I treasure.

I’m working on porting my blog over from WordPress.com to webhostinghub.com. You’d think that it would be as easy as it was when I moved from Google Blogger (www.musesinwoodenshoes.blogspot.com) to WordPress’ blog host (https://museinwoodenshoes.wordpress.com) – but it isn’t. Arrrrgh! The new site actually exists now.

Thursday, Jan. 5: Frosty in the a.m., warmer by noon. I got a perm and my hair stinks, but it’s the price of beauty… SOTD: Amouage Honour Woman. First community chorus rehearsal of the new semester; we’re doing Haydn’s The Creation, which is early baroque stuff. Probably more interesting for us than for our audience, and although I love singing Bach and Handel, Haydn’s a little… well, obvious. He’s like early 50s rock-n-roll as compared to, say, Springsteen – the form was simpler when he was writing, so he hits you over the head with the classical approximation of “three chords and a bridge.” Oh well. SOTEvening: more Honour Woman.

Friday, Jan. 6: After dropping the boys off, I got drafted by The CEO to help move some cow-calf pairs from the Seven-Acre Field into the Barn Lot, because today’s weather was going to be nice, with temps in the upper 50sF and he needed to give them pour-on dewormers and their annual vaccinations. So I helped some and got yelled at a lot (“Bring ’em up! Don’t let those get past you! Go faster!”), and The CEO and Jeff worked 80 pairs today while I wrote a (quasi-) review of Amouage Honour Woman. Exhausting.

SOTMorning: Honour Woman. This was, obviously, before I had to go outside and chase cows. SOTAfternoon, post-shower: By Kilian Love and Tears, which smells very nice but bores me silly. Not a big jasmine fan. SOTEvening, right wrist: Anne Pliska, which strikes me as being something like Organza Indecence on steroids.

We indulged ourselves, and ate Little Caesar’s pizza for dinner tonight, along with green beans and salad. Yum.

Saturday, Jan. 7: Warm weather like yesterday. The CEO headed off with Gaze and Cory (who lives in the mobile home on the farm and sometimes helps us on weekends) to get up a cow-calf pair and treat them for a health problem. Bookworm left early this morning for an indoor track meet. I kept Cory’s little boy, Ty, who’s two. Taz helped keep Ty occupied, so the normal Saturday housecleaning took awhile. SOTD: Anne Pliska vs. Organza Indecence throwdown.

Sunday, Jan. 8: Weather still nice. SOTD: Sweet Redemption. The CEO and Gaze are deeply, deeply into playoff football, while Taz keeps clamoring to watch his new Harry Potter DVDs… Bookworm is off to church with PETBoy, and then spending the day with him. I think he’s even cooking lunch for her and his family today.

Still working on the new site and whipping it into shape. Just uploaded a new header photo taken with The CEO’s new camera, and it looks pretty good. The ads will not appear right away, but I’ve gotten the posts transferred and the blogroll rewritten.

If you know of any well-written, consistently-maintained blogs that I’ve missed, please do let me know! There are several I’ve added recently, and I dropped a few that are not being maintained, while leaving a few that have no new posts but which are so well-written that I still enjoy consulting them. (I really miss Rita of The Left Coast Nose – she might be my Evil Scent Twin as well as my ideological opposite, but I appreciate her passion and her personal investment in her blog, and while she’s in… Bolivia?… her sniffery blog is lying fallow. Perhaps she’ll take it up again at some point.)

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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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Scent Diary, Dec. 5-11, 2011


My nutcracker collection. Can anybody guess which one is my favorite? Hint: it's the oldest one in the ranks. I think I was 17 or 18 when my grandmother gave him to me.

Monday, Dec. 5: Arrgh. Tired. Grocery shopping and some running errands today. SOTD: Tabac Aurea, very lightly spritzed. I once put three spritzes on – neck and both wrists – and about died. Way too strong.

Every time I try to sit down and write on my NaNo novel, I can’t get anything done. I think maybe I just need to set it aside and do Christmas stuff and pick it up again in the new year. It needs some time to perk.

Tuesday, Dec. 6: Rain, off and on. Wearing a tiny bit of Carnal Flower in the morning, and then later, testing Bottega Veneta (for review).

The CEO took Taz off to the 4-H Dramatic Reading contest for the county elementary schools. He read from My Father’s Dragon (great book!) and did well, but not well enough to go on to Regionals. Bookworm and I went to Gaze’s Christmas band concert, and that went very well, too.

Wednesday, Dec. 7: Rain, all day. Did some laundry, put out some Christmas decorations, went over to my aunt’s house to pick up a few linens from my late grandmother’s stash, since her townhouse has been sold. SOTD: Prada Candy (also for review).

Thursday, Dec. 8: Clear and cold. SOTMorning: Bottega Veneta again.

Another shocking occurrence at Virginia Tech today: a man shot a campus police officer while the officer was doing routine traffic stops, then ran elsewhere on the campus and eventually shot himself. While the incident was being investigated, and while it was unclear whether the second body was that of the shooter, the university was in lockdown. It was a stressful afternoon for both The CEO, who is one of the Emergency Coordinators for the building where he teaches, and for me, because I’d been expecting him home for lunch.

No one other than the officer and the shooter were hurt, but good grief, that was well past enough, wasn’t it? It’s so strange that Blacksburg, which is still in so many ways a small and friendly town even when full of 24,000 students, should harbor such violence.

SOTAfternoon: Teo Cabanel Alahine, a lovely comforting thing for the ugly day. Also tried a wee bit of By Kilian Rose Oud on the back of one hand, and it’s very nice as well.

Went to a band parent informational meeting concerning the band’s trip to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando later in the month, then zipped off to chorus rehearsal. Our concerts will be Sunday afternoon and Monday evening.

Friday, Dec. 9: Clear and cold again in the morning, with afternoon highs at 50F. I did a bit of laundry and wrapped a few gifts with Gaze, who was home sick. No scent until late in the afternoon, and then I went looking for a sample of Soivohle (Liz Zorn) Quan Yin. Couldn’t find that, so I went for Frederic Malle Noir Epices. Mmmm.


Cows in the Twenty Acre Field behind the house. The old farrowing shed is now used to shelter orphaned calves; we call it The Guest House.

The CEO sold two full trailer loads (approximately 120 yearling calves) to a feedlot in Iowa today. He was very, very pleased, because the steers weighed 830 pounds on average and the heifers averaged out at about 765 pounds – they’re not too fat, but they are big and growing well, and should therefore be worth more than The CEO had figured them to be.

I made an absolutely beautiful apple pie. We ate half of it.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Bookworm’s off to an indoor track meet (all day). The rest of us cleaned up and wrapped presents and got a few more Christmas decorations out. I really like to do it a little bit at a time. Next weekend we’ll put up our tree. I also did quite a bit of online shopping, and I’m closer to being finished with the shopping tasks.

Bookworm ran well in the 1000 meters (a middle distance), with a personal record of 3:27, and also a PR in the 3200m (about 2 miles) of 12:37. Yay!

SOTD: SL Arabie, which I found interesting but uncomfortably foody until very late into the drydown, when I suddenly picked up a hint of myrrh, which I like very much.

Sunday, Dec. 11: Frosty. Made biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast, wrote checks to cover the honoraria for our community chorus instrumental accompanists, and got dressed for the concert.

Since there was a request repeated for singers to not wear perfume the day of the concert, I cheated: cotton ball spritzed with Iris Poudre, dropped down into my, um, brassiere. I could smell it, but just barely, and I doubt it bothered anyone.

The concert went fairly well, except for that one song where we went flat and I could hear it going but one person can’t do much to bring the pitch up. (One person, like one bad apple in a barrel, can bring the choir down.) Aargh. We had several instruments beside our usual piano/organ accompaniment: a harp, a guitar and a string bass, an additional piano, tubular bells, and a brass quartet from the high school band. This group included PETBoy, who did a beautiful job as usual, as did the rest of the kids.

Went on to church at 5:30, which is an awkward time if you ask me. Nobody wants dinner before we leave, and the service goes until 7, and we take 40 minutes to get home, and then the earliest you can eat is about 8:00 pm, which is a time when we’re usually getting kids into a pre-bedtime shower. Aargh.

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Perfume convention in Holland by parfumgott at Flickr.

Monday, Nov. 28: Uhhhh… what did I do on Monday? Lots of stuff, I remember, because The CEO and I were preparing to go to the Virginia Farm Bureau convention in Norfolk. I wrote a very little (mostly bad, filler dialogue, that I told Bookworm was fluff, and she agreed with me so we must be right). Did some laundry, packed bags, that sort of thing… the rest is a blur. SOTD: uhh…. hmm… oh, heck. I just can’t remember. I’m writing this on Wednesday morning, having failed to update the Diary on Monday, so who knows?

You realize, of course, that all the time I could be lying. And you’d never know.

Ahem. I’m not.

Daily NaNoWriMo wordcount: 1983. Total cumulative wordcount: 51,880. I probably need another fifteen hundred words just to make sure I’m over the top. Remember that thing about the NaNoWriMo word counter being considerably less generous than the Open Office one? Last time I checked, the document (including the July stuff) was counted by Open Office at 55,233. NaNo said 53,139.

Tuesday, Nov. 29: Rain. Dropped kids off at school, drove to Norfolk. (That’s about a six hour drive, peeps. It’s pretty far to drive from the west side of Virginia to the east side, and we’re not even as far west as you can get! I know, we’re no Texas, but still. Virginia is wider east-to-west than the North Island of New Zealand is long, north to south.) SOTD: Amouage Lyric Woman. Wrote a little bit in the car, but my laptop battery has the stamina of an 80-year-old playing soccer, so that quickly became a non-option for spending time.

We got to our hotel at 2:30 pm and the room wasn’t ready. “Check back after 4 o’clock,” the desk clerk said. We went in to our district caucus at 3:30. When we came out of that meeting at 4:30, the room still wasn’t ready. “Check back with us in half an hour,” she said. It wasn’t ready at 5:15, either. “Go ahead and give me your credit card number for incidentals, and we’ll call your cell phone when it’s ready.” We went in to dinner at 6:00, and The CEO’s phone buzzed at 6:10. The room was ready… we weren’t. (Dinner was lovely: steamed green beans, mashed red potatoes, chicken breast in a delicious rosemary-paprika sauce, a frisee salad and a dessert bar thing including a chocolate fountain that The CEO and I skipped in order to go claim our room.) We did finally check in at about 8:00 pm, and were treated to some lovely Boursin and crackers and Chardonnay as an apology for the delay. Yum. We felt much better. Scent of Bedtime: Tableau de Parfums Miriam.

Daily NaNoWriMo wordcount: 1431. Total cumulative wordcount 53,311. That does push me over the top – Yay, I’m a Winnah!

Wednesday, Nov. 30: The rain cleared up, and we had nice weather here in Norfolk. (Locals, I’m told, say Naw-fock.) I’m supposed to be filling in for an absent voting delegate in the policy sessions, but The CEO says there’s nothing controversial up for discussion this year, and no significant board elections, and I think he felt guilty at not telling me that Stuart was not going to be here, so I’m writing instead of sitting in the meetings. Woohoo. I still have two crucial scenes to write, so the novel isn’t quote – FINISHED – unquote. Still, I knocked out 50K of pretty decent stuff this month, and I’m proud of me. SOTD: Chanel 31 Rue Cambon. It makes me feel rich. And nice.

After lunch (spring green salad with raspberry vinaigrette, pork loin roast with mustard sauce, roast potatoes, and steamed vegetables, with some rather dry orange-coconut cake), I WENT SHOPPING.

YES, I DID. It was a novelty to me, Dear Readers. I thought possibly I might spend my birthday Macy’s gift card at the shopping center that’s two blocks’ walk from our hotel, but they don’t have a Macy’s. They have H&M, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, and just about every other store that you could possibly ever ever want – lingerie, clothing, shoes, books, toys, housewares, bath products, you name it.

Yes, I am aware that those of you with access to this kind of mall are now laughing at me. But really, it’s so exciting! My local mall is skimpy. The mall in my parents’ hometown is a little better, but nothing like this one. I managed not to hyperventilate with happiness. I bought Christmas gifts for each person in my family – sale items, of course.

And then, Dear Readers, I SNIFFED NORDSTROM. Met a lovely and helpful SA named Edie, who tells me that Dec. 3 is a special fragrance sale day, where most fragrances at Nordstrom will sell at regular price, but a full-size fragrance purchase will also get you the body product(s) and/or miniature size included, and that if I want to call her and order by phone, there wouldn’t be any shipping charge. I have perfumista friends who do this all the time (cough Dear Daisy cough), so I knew it was possible, but this is the first time a sales associate has ever offered this sort of thing to me. Edie* made me samples of Prada Candy and Bottega Veneta, and tossed in a few other manufacturer samples as well, and she gave me her card. I loved Prada Candy on a paper strip, found Chanel No. 19 Poudre disappointing (I’m sure you’re not surprised), and thought that Tom Ford Violet Blonde smelled like Smarties, at least in the topnotes – i.e. not my thing. Bottega Veneta is very nice, but Cuir de Lancome is kicking its butt all over the playground for now.

* If you don’t have a delightful Nordstrom SA of your own and you want Delightful Edie’s phone number, send me an email and I’ll give it to you.

The Eastern Seaboard counties usually host a “crab legs and cocktails” reception at this conference every year, and the last night’s dinner usually features either prime rib or some kind of steak. Tonight? Salad with blue cheese dressing, more mashed red potatoes, and roasted asparagus. Steak, undercooked for my taste – although I prefer steak to prime rib, which tends to give me the willies with all that fat on it. The crab legs were faaaaabulous, though. (I wonder why the hotels always give us so much meat on our plates. The chicken breast on Tuesday was just right, but three slices of pork for today’s lunch was about two slices too much. And I couldn’t have eaten all this steak even if I hadn’t chowed down on crab legs.)

SOTEvening: Lolita Lempicka. I liked it when the nice Roman guy spritzed me last spring, and I like it from the sample that Delightful Edie gave me too. At the same time, it seems a lot like Caron Aimez-Moi on steroids, so I suppose I don’t really “need” any.

Thursday, Dec. 1: Clear weather. Oddly, it seems that it will be colder here on the coast than at home in the mountains – usually it’s the other way around. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. Drove home today. Also testing Bottega Veneta. I might need to employ the spritz-until-wet technique in order to experience it properly, because it is very subtle in this cold dry weather.

The evening was very cold and clear at home, around freezing. I had to miss seeing the band march in the P— Christmas parade because I had community chorus practice, which went pretty well. Bookworm said she had enough clothes on to stay warm.

And someone at chorus complained about people wearing perfume during performances, so I can’t do that anymore – even light things that I could barely smell. Sigh. Still, the complaint is of an “it makes my throat burn” nature, so I suppose I can’t quibble too much.

Friday, Dec. 2: Clear and cold again. SOTD: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. Which I kinda sorta like, but am not in love with despite all the perfumistas enraptured with it. The Serge I keep wanting to wear again is Jeux de Peau, which has surprised me. (And of course La Myrrhe, which was absolute true love at first sniff.)

Saturday, Dec. 3: Another clear-and-cold. We went to the D— Christmas parade to see Bookworm march with her Santa hat and ribbon-decorated saxophone. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many entries in the parade: the marching band, a deputation from the VFW post, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Kazim Shriners, the Ruritans, the Brothers in Arms Harley-Davidson club, two area church floats, the 4H club, an environmental club, a local horse club, the mayor and town council members, and the volunteer fire department (on the ladder trucks, of course).

SOTMorning: Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque. Taz hated it, Gaze liked it, The CEO said it was nice but girly. (Girly??) Taz: I hate that. It smells like… decaying steel! Gaze: Steel doesn’t decay, you dummy. If it smelled metallic that would be a good description, but it isn’t metallic at all. Me, to Gaze: So what does it smell like to you? Gaze: Syrup. Wood, maybe. Is there… um, musk in there too? It’s kind of… dirty. Like the cattle working pens. Me (delighted): Yes! It’s pretty dirty. And there’s a lot of tobacco. Gaze: Tobacco?? That perfume does not smell like cigarettes. Me: Nope. It smells like pipe tobacco. Unburned tobacco smells nice, sort of like gingerbread. Gaze: Oh. Well, that [FT] does smell sort of sweet. Yeah, I can see “gingerbread.”

To be honest, this thing smells like animal butt covered in caramel to me, which is sort of freaky and unsettling until whatever that animalic note is – it smells like a really filthy musk to me, or possibly a honey note gone pervo – calms down.

Cleaned the house. Then we went to my grandmother Nell’s townhouse to pick up some of the last bits of furniture left before the new owner moves in. I miss her. Weird to look at her furniture and think, this is the tangible stuff that’s left behind. SOTAfternoon: Amouage Memoir Woman. I was expecting it to be dry and animalic and smoky and weird… but it isn’t. It’s lovely. Piney frankincense, I think, and a sweet leathery note. Very comfortable, actually. I didn’t check the notes list, so I don’t know for sure, and I was busy enough hauling furniture to not notice the whole development.

The CEO watched Virginia Tech‘s football team get their butts handed to them (again!) by Clemson. After all the snide things he’s had to say about the University ofVirginia‘s football team this season, I can only say: HA! Howdja like them apples? (Three guesses as to where each one of us went to college, and the first two don’t count. I get my revenge for his team being better at football where I can. For example, I bought Gaze a jacket recently, and it’s UVa BLUE AND ORANGE, not VT maroon and orange. So there. I don’t mind being petty now and again.)

Sunday, Dec. 4: Frosty this morning, warm in the afternoon. The calves were dotted all over the field this morning, lying down while their mamas grazed. No SOTM. This month, our church is having evening services only, which is weird but sort of nice. Put out my collection of nutcrackers, which all have Teutonic names like Heinrich and Wolfgang and Karl. Because it amuses me, that’s why.

Bookworm is swimming in the vasty sea of homework-and-upcoming-exams, and barely keeping her desperate little blonde head above it*, so PETBoy went to church all by his lonesome this morning, and then joined us in the afternoon for our church services. It’s the only time, outside of school and marching band activities, that they’ve seen each other all week. Poor sweeties. Bookworm says I’m way too concerned. (* All A’s so far, even in the college-level classes, but she gets so stressed.)

SOTAfternoon: I Profumi di Firenze Tuberosa d’Autonno. I liked this before, but today it was too sweet to start and then disappeared too fast. Huh. SOTEvening: Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, which I was fully expecting to hate, given its reputation for sweaty orange blossom. For one thing, this OB isn’t doing its usual boring soapy impression. In fact, I think there must be a buncha jasmine and tuberose in there too. For another, it may be that I am not very sensitive to cumin. The famously-raunchy, cuminy Amaranthigh (Penhaligon’s Amaranthine) is so innocuous on me that I wear it to church.

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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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Image from Wallpapers etc.

Monday,  Nov. 14:  Sunny and warm, in the low 60s.  SOTD: SSS “Classic” tester, Nov. 3 version.  Reminds me quite a bit of Tableau de Parfums Miriam (which I’ve said before), except that Classic’s heart is more mimosa-rose and the base has some oakmoss and patchouli.   Classic is more… well, classic, (duh) with that vaguely chypre base.  Miriam is so tender and nostalgic, in a different kind of way.

A pretty good NaNo day:  Daily word count is 3119, with a cumulative total of 26,114.

Tuesday, Nov. 15:  Rain. And half the denizens of this household have a cold.  (The observant among you will note that “half the denizens” works out to two-and-a-half people, or if we’re counting pets as well, that makes three-and-a-half living beings.  However, if we take the two pets and make them equal to one person, which PETA would certainly chastise me for doing, then that makes three denizens of the household with a cold, and that happens to be the case: Taz, Bookworm and I are sniffling, sneezing, and snotty-nosed.  ‘Tain’t no fun.  I’m tellin’ ya.)

SOTD: Nothing.  Nada.  I got busy and I forgot, and by the time I remembered, I didn’t want to waste time on sampling something, but samples were all that were handy to the desk on which I write, and although I would probably have benefited from a brief jog over to the dresser where I keep most of my in-season bottles and decants, all of five feet away, I couldn’t be bothered.  Because then, my dears, I would have had to have chosen something, and I was getting my main characters Day and Meredith out of a potential scrape with the obviously-drunk and possibly-dangerous meth-head redneck Jackson brothers, and it was taking all of my attention.  I had no attention to spare for perfuming myself with licquored-up Jacksons on the loose, because their mama’s people is Cecils and Odells from Little Creek, and don’t nobody mess with them ‘thout a shotgun. 

Clearly I am overusing my dash key today.  No matter: Daily NaNo wordcount 2888, for a cumulative total of 29,002.  I did choose a bedtime fragrance: Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita.  I like a good peppery floriental; too bad this one has such lousy staying power.

Wednesday, Nov. 16:  Taz woke me up last night with the thrilling news that he had vomited, and a little bit got on his pillow but he made it to the bathroom for the rest.  Oh, joy.  I was so tired that I told him to just pull his comforter onto the floor and sleep there, and I’d clean up later.  By morning, he was feeling better and said he was hungry, and the bed wasn’t that icky, so I wasn’t worried about him.  But then Bookworm called me from school, telling me that she’d thrown up too and would I please come get her?  So they were both home today, and I held off on scent so that should any of us be stricken by more nausea, at least I wouldn’t ruin a fragrance with bad associations.    Later in the afternoon, I chose Prada Infusion d’Iris, which is so light and pleasant that I figured it would survive any such attack.  But there was none.

Daily NaNo wordcount 1207, for a cumulative total of 30,209.

Thursday, Nov. 17:  Cold.  Rainy. Everybody feeling better and back at school. Meant to wear L’Arte di Gucci today, but got distracted.  SOTD: Parfumerie Generale Aomassai, which is gorgeous and rich and roasted-smelling for ten minutes, after which it smells like a very nice masculine oriental.  Overall, I’m disappointed that it isn’t earthshaking, but it is pleasant.  Trying not to get sick today; took a two-hour nap in the afternoon. 

Finally it cleared up, and I picked up Bookworm at school and took her to the courthouse to get her official driver’s license.  In Virginia, you’re still required to go before a judge (usually in a group hearing), and hear about your responsibilities as a driver, how driving is a privilege and not a right, and that if you are still a minor, your parents still control whether you can possess that license or not.  You also hear about the risks of driving, the biggest reasons for accidents in drivers under 21 (inexperience, distraction, speeding, impairment due to drugs/alcohol), and that recently-increased legal penalties for delinquent behavior such as alcohol possession or truancy can affect your driver’s license.  It’s a sobering discourse, followed by the ceremonial presentation of the license to the new driver’s parent.  In any case, I held Bookworm’s freedom there in my hot little hand for all of four minutes before recognizing out loud that she’s mature and trustworthy, and handing it over to her with a reminder that I didn’t go through 28 hours of labor with her and sixteen years of parenting, just to have all that good work ruined by her death in a vehicle, so be careful  with it.

Had a good community chorus rehearsal.  Wore Alahine to bed.  Yum.

Grr.  Having NaNo difficulties… every time I sit down to write something, it comes out STUPID.  Lousy 146 word count today, cumulative count 30,355.   Not behind yet, but I am puzzled by the reason for the setback.  What did I do wrong?  Why aren’t my characters telling me what’s going on?  They should be.  I have all sort of plot and character-development ideas… though I know for a fact that I am avoiding writing an action climax.  Maybe that’s it; they know I’m being a total chicken about the car crash night and they resent me.

Friday, Nov. 18:  The CEO comes home tonight, yay!  Bookworm has a date. Got to do a little cleaning-straightening and think up something nice for dinner.  It’s very cold and clear outside, and nearly all of our beautiful fall leaves are on the ground, but it smells nice: a bit of woodsmoke in the air, some damp decaying leaves, and the odor of frost over large areas of grass.  Drinking Pumpkin Spice Chai tea, yum.  Burning Pumpkin Spice candles, too – it’s become a NaNoWriMo ritual almost.

SOTD: Tauer Une Rose Chypree.  Totally not what my character would wear, but no matter. I’m digging it.  I don’t think fragrance cognitive disconnect is behind my recent word blockage… I don’t think so. I wasn’t writing any better with the Infusion d’Iris on instead.  SOBedtime: Alahine again.  I love Alahine.  (And you know? It plays nicely with URC.)

Daily NaNo wordcount 4689, for a cumulative total of 35,224.  Woo-hoo! 

Saturday, Nov. 19:  Cleaned house, took recyclables to the county collection place, bought another two gallons of milk, yada yada… SOTD: Guerlain Idylle edt.  It’s lighter and less patchouli-heavy than the edp, with some lily of the valley on top of the rose and jasmineand I like it a lot more.  It does have patchouli, that “clean” version that perfumistas love to hate on, but that kind seems to bother me less than the other.  It is somewhat… hm… higher-pitched than a lot of patchoulis, but the entire edt version of Idylle is fairly high-pitched, and I rather like it.

Daily NaNo wordcount 1480, for a cumulative total of 36,704.  SOTE: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.  (How come the pretty, floral edt version of Black Orchid got discontinued and the shrieking, dirt-and-cucumbers original edp version didn’t? I don’t know either.)

Sunday, Nov. 20:   Cloudy but warmer, with temps in the mid-50s.  Early church (good music, sermon on the Widow’s Mite).  SOTMorning: nothing except the remains of Voile de Fleur on my red sweater. Managed to cut down the remaining salvia and the dead foliage, made a huuuuge dish of faux Beef Stroganoff for lunch.  Football on TV for the males in the house.  That’s not to say that the females of the house don’t partake: I prefer my football live, though I’ll watch a game or two if I have nothing better to do.  Bookworm likes football, too, but PETBoy ate lunch with us, and then they spent some time talking (talking, ha!) standing outside near his truck before she had to come in and do the rest of her homework.

SOTAfternoon: Honore des Pres Vamp a NY.  I’m now getting that bubble gum note that some people talk about with it.  It’s borderline Way Too Trashy, but on me that’s gone in about half an hour, and since I never hated it the way I do certain topnotes (cough cough Tubereuse Criminelle cough), I do love the Vamp again once it’s into the tuberose-and-vanilla heart that I think of as its main character.

Daily NaNo wordcount 1480 1946 , for a cumulative total of 36, 704 38,650.  (oops, didn’t update properly).

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Frost on Leaves, image from faculty.virginia.edu

Monday, Nov. 7: Sunny and chilly today; it feels like November. SOTMorning: started out by testing Prada No. 6 Tubereuse, from their discontinued soliflore parfum line. Didn’t like it. There’s a buncha orange blossom in there, and it’s very soapy on me, not to mention short-lived. I was still craving tuberose when it wore off after an hour (yes, only an hour), but the “amber spice” candle I had been burning while writing for NaNoWriMo had its effect on me, too, so guess what I went for? Vamp a NY. Yummy.

I’m having some cognitive dissonance, because my main character would never ever wear something like Vamp.

Daily NaNo total: 1772, for a cumulative total of 13,592. (ahead of schedule).

Tuesday, Nov. 8: Election Day. Since The CEO is running for School Board in our district, he and his mother and I split up the three precincts and each covered one, handing out postcard-size information sheets on his qualifications, in case he’d missed getting handbills to some voters. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. As it turned out, he did win, with about 69% of the votes in each precinct. It was a loooooong day.

Nothing written for NaNoWriMo today, as expected. Total still at 13,592, not behind.

Wednesday, Nov. 9: Romped on the NaNo writing today! So busy that I barely even remembered to wear perfume at all, and then I tried the new tester version of “Classic” from Sonoma Scent Studio. The last time I wore it, it seemed more complex than it does now, but it also had an unpleasant celery-like material in it (which seems to be an item usually classified as “jasmine”). I like it much better now. It has a little hit of aldehydes, some rose and jasmine and mimosa, and a lovely sandalwood-vanilla base with a hint of myrrh. It is interestingly similar to Tableau de Parfums Miriam, but with noticeable differences.

Daily NaNo total: 3834, for a cumulative total of 17,426. Now a couple of thousand words ahead of schedule, yay!

Thursday, Nov. 10: Another heavy writing day. Stayed home all day, pretty much did nothing but write and fold a few loads of laundry. Then I had a little nap (yay, nap!). I didn’t even notice the weather. SOTD: Prada Infusion d’Iris.

Daily NaNo total: 2957, for a cumulative total of 20,383.

Friday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day: Went to a Veterans Day program at Gaze’s school, and it was very moving. The school’s former “resource officer” – a law enforcement officer that spends time at the school, building relationships with the kids and preventing problems as much as possible – has moved on to full time sheriff duty, but becaus he served in the US Navy in peacetime, spoke to the 8th graders about his experiences in the military. The industrial arts teacher, who’s been there a long time and even taught The CEO when he attended, spoke to the kids about his service in the infantry in Vietnam. He was fairly circumspect, but that was a horrific time, and I think the students ended up with a greater appreciation for the sacrifices of military veterans. The band played two pieces, very well, and the choir sang the national anthem and one other song, passably.

I expected to attend a NaNoWriMo write-in this morning, but either I mistook the date (possible) or it’s been moved to Monday. Then The CEO took me out to lunch as thanks for helping at the polls, and that was lovely. SOTD: Cuir de Lancome.

Had been planning to go to what is probably going to be the final football game of the season. I still can’t believe the high school team made the playoffs with a 1 win – 9 loss record (I can’t ‘splain it, it has something to do with a point scheme). But it’s cold and windy out, and I feel sure we’ll lose tonight, and the band is going to play in the stands but not wear uniforms and not present their halftime show, so I sent Bookworm off with hats and gloves and Hot Hands and sweatshirts, with extras to share, and a firm instruction to Stay As Warm As Possible, I Mean It, Don’t Get Sick, Your Mama Loves You.

Daily NaNo total: 483, for a cumulative total of 20,866. Still a little ahead, even though my characters shut up at the end of a scene and wouldn’t talk to me anymore.

Saturday, Nov. 12: Cleaned house. I think Bookworm is sick – she’s been coughing all day. After yesterday’s cold and windy weather, today is beautiful! In the low 60s, blue skies, a little bit of a breeze. Went to my late grandmother’s townhouse to look at some furniture my aunts wondered if I’d like to have, since the house has been sold and everything has to be removed very soon. As it turns out, I don’t have room for that enormous table, but I did take a space heater and a Pyrex dish in a size I use. The big roadblock with dispersing Nell’s things is the stacks and stacks of quilting materials. While I was there, Aunt Doris and Aunt Cindy suddenly discovered more boxes of the stuff that they hadn’t realized was there, and there was unison wailing from the spare bedroom. SOTD: Tableau de Parfums Miriam. I smelled wonderful.

Struggling with NaNoWriMo today: I don’t think my main characters liked the last scene I wrote, which took their relationship to a more involved level, perhaps too quickly. I’m not sure what to do – I don’t want to remove the whole scene, but I might have to stick another one in before it, just to bridge the emotional distance between this one and the previous romantic (sort of) scene. Meanwhile, I just let them have the day off while I ponder. I’m tired. Daily NaNo total: 0, for a cumulative total of 20,866. Still on track, if I write some Sunday.

Sunday, Nov. 13: Chilly and cloudy, in the high 50s. PETBoy went with us to church, and then afterward came back and watched The Princess Bride with us, since he’d never seen it. I’m not sure he enjoyed it as much as we do (Prince Humperdinck: “That may be the first time anyone has ever dared insult me.” Westley: “It won’t be the last, you warthog-faced buffoon.”), but we had a nice afternoon. SOTD: Caron Parfum Sacre, lovely stuff.

Heard Taz playing by himself upstairs, banging on the pot-lid Viking shield from his Halloween costume, and humming “Hail to the Chief.” I don’t know what one has to do with the other, but it was funny.

Daily NaNo total: 2129, for a cumulative total of 22,995. Still on pace.  My characters are talking to me again.  This is crucial.

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Scent Diary, Oct. 17-23, 2011

Monday, Oct.17: Beautiful weather today. Cleaned out the fridge and packed up a few things for Goodwill; changed sheets on the guest bed. Did some planning for NaNoWriMo, which starts next month. I’ve decided: I’m gonna be a NaNo Rebel this year: I’ll be working on a previously-begun work instead of starting from scratch like you’re s’posed to do. The purists will tell you that the idea is to write a novel in one month – but let’s be honest here, hardly any novel is only 50,000 words long. And even if you get the entire plot into 50K, it’ll be so bare bones as to be hardly worth reading. So nyah nyah and so there: just because I’ve already got 9K done on “Bright as Day,” that doesn’t mean my 50K of work in November won’t count. Phlpphhbbllbh!

The mail brought many goodies: a few samples, including one of SL Vitriol d’Oeillet, from lovely Tammy (thank you, Tammy!), a large sample of DSH Pandora I won in the draw at This Blog Really Stinks (thanks, Jen and Dawn!), a 5ml split of Tableau des Parfums Miriam (thanks, Celina!), an order of empty sample vials I’m splitting with some friends, a 2.5ml spray of SSS Jour Ensoleille, and two samples of raw materials, both lactones, that Laurie Erickson at SSS sent me because I was trying to figure out the celery note in her “classic” scent tester (thanks, Laurie! BTW, it’s definitely not either of these). I put a spritz of Pandora on one arm – lovely, and wow, can that thing ever run with vintage Miss Dior parfum! – and one of Miriam on the other. I love Miriam, but then I thought I probably would. The sandalwood in it is To. Die. For. Review coming this week  the week of 10/24.

Tuesday, Oct. 18: Rainy morning, dry afternoon. SOTD: TdP Miriam, which is just as beautiful as it was yesterday. Registered for NaNoWriMo, where it quickly became apparent to me that I am officially a Rebel this year, since instead of starting from scratch, I’ll be writing at least 50K words on “Bright as Day,” which I began working on this past summer. I’ve only got… lessee, about 9400 words written on it, and lots of story left to tell. But for NaNo, you’re supposed to start fresh… so I’m rebelling. I suppose that means I can’t “win.” Grr.

Bookworm tells me that there were spats in the trumpet section at band practice today. Section leader Cooper was out sick, and PETBoy, the other section leader, had gone back to the band room to get something for the director, and two separate arguments broke out among the remaining seven trumpet players. This bodes ill for the upcoming competition.  There was also a tiff in the saxophone section, but it seems to have been a misunderstanding/miscommunication, and has cleared up now with no hard feelings.

Wednesday, Oct. 19: Rain just about all day. (Rats – I was going to mow today.)

SOTMorning: SL Vitriol d’Oeillet. It’s perfectly nice, but not exciting, and not much like a fresh carnation either. Not that it ever promised to be a fresh carnation, but I was disappointed that it was so much more pepper-and-woods than flowers. It’s reminiscent of Old Spice, actually, so much so that I thought I was smelling my dad, ca. 1976, while wearing Vd’O. Old Spice doesn’t smell nearly as good as it used to, I notice. But I think I’d rather have Old Spice than Vd’O, at Lutensian prices. SOTAfternoon: Vivienne Westwood Naughty Alice, which is sort of a cross between Annick Goutal La Violette and the (lovely) benzoin-musk base of Mariella Burani. It’s very pretty and not naughty at all. Gaze had a sniff and said, “That’s nice. It’s very floral, isn’ t it?” Yep.

Then I let Gaze smell a bunch of things I’d gotten as samples or minis from Fragrancenet the other day, without telling him what he was smelling, other than that they were all either specifically marketed to men or designated unisex: Blue Sugar (“Ew. That smells sugary.”), Acqua di Parma Profumo (“It’s… fruity. But not dumb. I like it. It reminds me of something, I can’t remember what.”), Comme des Garcons 2 Man (“Ha, ha! It smells like… a store. You know? Like the furniture store where we got our mattresses last year.”), and Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight in Paris (“This is nice. Smells like cologne. And… leather, maybe?”). Gaze has a very good nose! I sent him away with the Midnight in Paris mini after putting a drop on his wrist, him saying that it didn’t smell anything like he would imagine midnight in Paris to smell like.

Thursday, Oct. 20: Um… gosh. What DID I do? I wrote some, I know that. Did some laundry. SOTD: Liz Zorn Historical Chypre. Went to community chorus practice, after missing two weeks in a row (middle school football game last week, kid sick the week before).

Friday, Oct. 21: Nice weather. Dropped the boys off at school, did some banking, went by the Walgreen’s for a pharmacy item. I had hoped to sniff that blackberry-vanilla-leather thing that Kevin reviewed at NST this week, Keith Urban Phoenix. I’m not a huge KU fan, but I’m not opposed to him in principle. Walgreen’s did not have a tester for Phoenix, but they did have a long line of testers available: Beyonce Heat, Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds, Faith Hill, McGraw, Usher Black, and… something else masculine I can’t remember. Tested Faith Hill on one wrist and McGrawon the other: Faith Hill is not-bad in the waft four inches above my hand, but completely hideous close up, a chemical spill of something that pretends to be lily of the valley and magnolia, but isn’t. McGraw is more successful, an old-fashioned fougere with a tiny hint of leather (not enough, IMO), perfectly pleasant but forgettable. Honestly, Old Spice is far more distinctive.

Baked three pans of brownies for the band bake sale, cut them and bagged them individually. Went over to my late grandmother’s house and moved a perfectly fine, unwanted couch and two chairs to our house, and then spent the afternoon moving furniture around in here. Looks different, but nicer. And now, I see, I really must paint the living/dining/kitchen area. The walls look horrible. SOTD: Jacomo Silences, which was wonderful today, all green and crisp and sweet.

Was supposed to have chaperoned the band at tonight’s football game, but given that there are several kids sick or recovering, and the big competition is tomorrow, the director decided to give them the night off. They had a quick practice, and then skipped off home. Bookworm pulled into the driveway at 5:30, an unheard-of early time for her. She was in bed at 8:30, poor tired baby.

Saturday, Oct. 22: Weather absolutely gorgeous – sunny and breezy, with temperatures in the middle 60s. Spent all day at the marching band festival. SOTD: Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka, an early perfume love of mine that remains my “happy” choice for cooler weather. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a brief description: tangy lime, carnations, spice, a hint of creamy vanilla, and a dry, smoky, piney frankincense. Wonderful stuff.

The high school cross-country team, which includes Bookworm and three other band kids, ran at the district meet this morning before coming to the band competition. Bookworm did not have a good race, coming in 21st or 22nd (we’re still not sure) despite working hard; The CEO told me she threw up as soon as she crossed the finish line. Her time was 87 seconds faster than the last time she ran on this particular course, but our sports district happens to have the most cut-throat competition in the state for long-distance running, and the pace is very fast.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the band kids – maybe the dissension in the ranks earlier in the week took a toll, or maybe they worked hard all morning and by performance time they’d exhausted all their adrenaline, but the show was… flat. In terms of marching, the technical skills were not bad, and the music sounded fine, but there wasn’t any fire to the performance. It wasn’t exciting. I knew that they wouldn’t be given that all-important “Superior” score, and they weren’t. They received “Excellent.” This is like getting a B grade when you wanted an A.   I am unaccountably bummed.  Also, I am pretty worried about PETBoy, who seems to be having a rough week. He looks grim, not his usual expression.

Sunday, Oct. 23: Another lovely day weatherwise.  PETBoy went with us to church but was remarkably silent. I think he’s going through a period of missing his mother badly. (In case you missed the story, she died very suddenly last spring.)

SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. Gosh, I love this. Our church’s worship leader has released a CD, and it’s terrific, so I’ll put in a plug for Cody Davenport. Go buy his worship CD.

Image  of perfume collection is from user fpih at Fragrantica.

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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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PCHS band in competition Saturday. Alto Sax-playing Bookworm is standing on the 40-yard line, second person back.

Monday, Sept. 26: Cloudy and windy. Dropped the boys off at school, Bookworm having driven herself (argh, my baby is driving!) in the Ranger earlier this morning. Did the grocery shopping, and on the way managed to spritz a bit of Lady Stetson, which Tania Sanchez praises pretty highly in P:TG. I think I’ll do an aldehydes review series. Seems that I’ve already reviewed a buncha aldehydies, and I own minis or decants of a buncha others, so getting review material should be a snap.

SOTAfternoon: Divine L’Ame Soeur. Either it’s giving me a headache, or my sinuses are getting really bad… hard to tell. I don’t usually have aldehydic headaches, and I know my sinuses are blocked up. (I can still smell things at the moment. However, that will probably change tomorrow. The usual ragweed allergy progression is that my throat gets sore first from drainage, then my sinuses get blocked, then snot runs down my nose for three days, and it may or may not clear up.)

I kissed Taz at bedtime and realized he was running a fever. Gave him some ibuprofen and told him not to get up in the morning.

Tuesday, Sept. 27: Taz was feeling better today, so we cleaned out his closet of numerous boxes of outgrown clothes I’d been saving for my nephew… who now lives in Texas. I don’t suppose it’s worth shipping hand-me-downs, so out they went, to the Goodwill collection box.

Too busy for a SOTD (how often does that happen? not very), but the SOTEvening is Parfums DelRae Amoureuse. Yum.

I had been planning of getting some photo prints made of Bookworm and PETBoy at Homecoming – especially for The CEO’s mother, who doesn’t have a computer I can email them to – but Bookworm came home from band practice with a framed 8×10 of the two of them. Supposedly, PETBoy’s dad accidentally ordered one print too many, but this smacks of planning to me. It’s only Tuesday. Not that I’m annoyed; in fact, I think it was pretty thoughtful. So: a thoughtful, organized, and generous gesture? Yep, that was definitely PETBoy’s idea.  What a sweetie.

Wednesday, Sept. 28: SOTMorning: Vintage Robert Piguet Baghari eau de cologne on one wrist, modern Baghari eau de parfum on the other. Each one only lasted about 2.5 hours, even spritzed wet. Arrrrgh. Was going to review these for the AldeHo series, but I’m just not. The vintage is more face-powdery and the modern more woody, and that’s all I have to say about them. The rest of the day was taken up with laundry and generously-spritzed PdN Le Temps d’une Fete.

Thursday, Sept. 29: Beautiful weather today!! Gorgeous, in the mid-70s, sunny. Wore Chanel 31 Rue Cambon to the awards assembly at the high school this morning. Really nice to see a goodly percentage, about 40%, of the band kids honored for academic achievements (3.6 or above GPA, no grade below a B).  Mowed the grass this afternoon, and then put on some more 31RC.

Friday, Sept. 30: The kids are out of school for a “faculty development day.” (Small rant: why don’t they do these during the summer? I’m fine with paying the teachers for these continued-education seminars, and I’m glad such things are available to them, but I wish these classes were not scheduled during the regular school year. The breaks already existing for teacher workdays and parent-teacher conferences are hard enough on working parents.)

We’re still cleaning out Taz’ cluttered room in preparation for painting it. He wants green, John Deere green in honor of the farm tractors, despite not having any curtains or bed linens that would look well with that color. Grrrr. SOTD: Sonoma Scent Studio “Classic” tester. I wore this last week and didn’t like it, and then once again and did. Didn’t like it again today: celery and vanilla and jasmine. Made me queasy.

Did some normal-Saturday cleaning ahead of time. SOTEvening: Parfum Sacre.

Saturday, Oct. 1: Finished the Saturday cleaning and helped Taz get the little bits-o’-stuff that were hiding behind pieces of furniture (tiny Legos, broken crayons, torn tissues, etc.) into the trash. Then fed everyone lunch. Bookworm and I went to the high school and got on a bus to go to a marching band competition. Three and a half hours’ ride each way… arrrgh. Cold and windy today, with rain showers. I chose Givenchy Organza Indecence as the SOTD. Yum.

PCHS band in competition, Oct. 1. Wide shot showing the military photo props being turned forward.

The PCHS band scored fairly well, though it was hard for me to judge how well it went since I was on the field, steadying one of our show props against the wind.  (A word about the show: it’s called “American Faces,” and features music ranging from the folk song “Simple Gifts” to “American Elegy,” with bits of “The Star-Spangled Banner” scattered through the medley.  The props depict four former band members who are currently serving in the armed services; we’ve got their band photos next to their military photos.)

A closer shot of the props. That's my hand there at the right side of Alex' band photo, and my (wet) jeans-clad legs underneath.

It was cold enough to give most of the brass and woodwinds tuning problems. This might not have mattered so much, except that we have sideline percussion instruments such as marimbas, and they are not as affected by temperature, so the contrast between the sideline percussion and the rest of the instruments was pretty bad. However, it’s not a thing that can be controlled, and I think the judges took this factor into account. It was approximately 42F when we hit the field, and it only got colder from that point, especially after it started, yes, raining.

PETBoy's trumpet solo.

(Poor PETBoy’s lips were actually purple with cold. I saw them.) And then, the host high school band boosters’ concession stand ran out of the delicious-smelling grilled burgers and hot dogs we’d been tantalized by all afternoon, while getting ready to take the field and then while we were putting away the equipment. So we headed home at 9:45 pm, all of us cold, wet, tired, and hungry, but carrying a “Superior” rating and several awards. Bookworm and I got home after 1 am, made ourselves a couple of quickie quesadillas to stave off starvation, and went to bed.

Sunday, Oct. 2: At breakfast, outside temperatures were 39F/4C, chilly enough to encourage The CEO to finally turn on the heat in the house! (European readers are probably laughing at me right now.) The CEO and the boys and I got up early, ate cereal and went to the 9:00 am church service, leaving poor exhausted Bookworm to sleep a little later and go to a 10:45 am service at PETBoy’s church. SOTMorning was Rose Kashmirie, which reminds me of a raspier Tocade. Tocade is already plenty raspy-smoky for me, and I don’t think I could wear RK often.

When PETBoy brought her home, he stayed and ate Breakfast for Lunch with us (bacon, scrambled eggs, blueberry muffins, and blackberries). High temps for the day were in the mid-50sF – that’s 13C for you metric-minded – and it did finally become rather pleasant though still windy. Gaze and Taz got in a fight following a game of one-on-one football in the front yard, which ended in name-calling and stomping into the house.  Sigh.

My throat is sore.  So is Gaze’s, and he’s running a fever, poor baby.  SOTAfternoon: ultra-comfy Shalimar Light.

All band photos by Band Booster President Extraordinaire Nicole Ward, proud mother of a tuba player.  Photo of PETBoy and Bookworm by The CEO.

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