Life, Near-Death and Chanel No 18

Oh, Posse….

It has been such a rollercoaster ride these past few weeks; I think (pray) we’re coming out of it but it has exhausted me to the point where I had to take a couple of days and just Sleep, lest I drop stone-dead.  Barbarians at the Gate, folks buying canoes while the floor is on fire, holes opening up in the ground beneath my feet (literally.  we have a small sinkhole in the side garden that is just freaky – apparently a lot of the old homesteads around here have former cistern runs and, 50 yrs later, those runs are collapsing and lawns, shrubs, bulbs disappear into these holes, like that hysterical scene in 2012 (which hysterical scene?  they were ALL hysterical)……you know, the one where all of Santa Monica is heaving up and out into the ocean, with planes slamming into newly-formed mountains and billions of tons of fiery earth slithers into the Pacific…yet the sky maintains its serene, hazy, Southern California blue……… it’s just weird like that.

Life is Uncertain.  El O.   He’s fine.  But talk about …well, talk about serendipity. And the Universe cutting us a break.  When it comes to helmets I’m a Snell Head.  99.9%, El O so isn’t  into helmets and when he does, he usually wears some stupid novelty helmet that will probably cause more harm than good.  Late for a 7hr ride to some stupid rally, he couldn’t find his stupid helmet so he grabbed MY helmet.  My. Snell-approved. Helmet.  When he went down, at 50mph, he was wearing that helmet.  He is fine.  He owes me a helmet.  May I just say how freaking grateful I am that I’m not getting reimbursed via his life insurance policy?   I now get why people say ‘if you died I would be so mad I would KILL you!’.  LOL!  He’s fine.  And so am I. But it was a scary reminder to live every moment.

So it’s been weird.  So I’ll bet you think I’m going to beg off with some lame-o excuse about NO PERFUME REVIEW.  And you just might be right…except…I’ve been experimenting in the Chanel Box.  And I have fallen in love with  Chanel Les Exclusifs No. 18.   I confess to not having known a thing about this one – I got a decant as a gift and I actually thought it was mislabeled (18, 19 – easy enough to do).  Finally got around to trying it and..well, yes.  I fooled around and fell in love.  Evanescent as the rest of the Exclusifs line, nonetheless it has this oddly haunting, vaguely fatty green quality to it that stays in my olfactory senses long after the actual scent is gone.  ‘Fatty Green’ sounds pretty gross but…it’s like the cucumber oil that so slightly emanates from the best, crispest pickles.  And speaking of pickles…it’s got that very faint pickle-y tinge to the rosy, floral heart that keeps it interesting.   For a minute I thought it resembled my other favorite, 1932 – then I realized I was mis-smelling: it’s way less cologne-y than ’32 – No 18  is a distant, nodding cousin to Chanel No 5 perfume (for the oil) that’s been spilled on a wooden picnic table where someone made a halfhearted attempt to wipe up spilled pickle juice.  Sounds insane.  Sounds awful.  I assure you, it’s not.  I thought this would be one of those ‘try it so you can talk about it’ – and instead, it’s turned into a scent I’ve reached for every night for the past week.    I can’t afford the luxury of an evanescent scent but if I were a rich man (deedledeedledum)  I would buy this just to scent my sheets and curtains…and me!  

Oooh!  What I Just Read and LOVED:  “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple.   She wrote for ‘Ellen’ and ‘Arrested Development’.  I thought it was going to be hipster-ironic and silly.  Heh.  Read it.

And go try some No 18.   It’s really lovely!

  • shaney says:

    I am so happy to hear he is okay!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  • maggiecat says:

    My husband and I also ride…he used to skip his helmet at times, but I convinced him that while I look very good in black, that we had just found each other rather late in life and it would be a shame to mess it up. He’s very good about it now… Take care and enjoy your Chanel!

  • Brittney says:

    I’m so happy to hear he is okay. Thank goodness. God Bless all of you! I love the way you write. You do a fantastic job at describing Chanel No 18. I love the way you used the words “fatty green”. You are too much. Great post, like always.

  • hongkongmom says:

    Glad to hear your man is ok. It kind of freaks me out to hear this story. Once we saw an eighteen year old guy, fly quite a distance from his motorbike which somebody had knocked into. His body was un marked, but he died instantly. could never ever go on a motorcycle ever again after that. Life has dealt a lot of things over here too…but G-d only gives us the packages we can deal with…and in the end, we get stronger and closer. Sometimes a 3 day sleep is much needed…. 18 is amazing…has a different feel than all the others..fresh, green, bright, youthful, longlasting and there is nothing else like it. My CEO bought it for our 18th wedding anni:) Have been wearing jo malone red roses bath oil with the pomegranite noir through some sweltering days in HK…perfect balance of ..the majesty and freshness of the rose, the coolness of the incense and the slightly sour, fruity pomegranite smell….Wishing you only good from now on

  • Tom says:

    I’m glad to read that El O is undamaged! My brother rode motorcycles and would not do so without wearing full leathers and a helmet. He was an EMT and saw what could happen to people who didn’t.

    Personally, the only bike I get on is stationary and in an air conditioned gym. I will only do four wheels, thanks.

  • ewewhojane says:

    Clearly we have a connection… I love 1932, every time I smell it on my shirts I smile and think how uplifting it is. I just finished Where’d you go Bernadette? and while I laughed my way through it I also keep bringing it up in conversation and I think it raises so many important questions about our lives today. I am relying on 1932 to get me through a little perfume buying hiatus while I save money to travel to my daughter’s music auditions all next winter!

  • Lisa D says:

    Anita, so glad El O is unharmed! I’d say he owes you a helmet, AND some No. 18….. 🙂

  • poodle says:

    I’m very happy to hear he’s okay. Don’t take this the wrong way but I really hope you have an incredibly boring summer. You’ve had more than enough excitement lately. I also hope that if things do continue to be exciting for you I hope they are in a good way and there are no mechanical malfunctions or sinkholes involved.

    • My angel, I feel like someone has sent me that Chinese curse: “may you live in interesting times”. Remember that Fantasy Summer post? Well MY fantasy summer involves no one coming to my door, unless it’s Fedex with a box or a letter with a check in it, no one calling, unless it’s to say ‘hey, wanna go stay at my beach mansion for a week? (the one in Something’s Gotta Give will do just fine) …and everyone remaining hale, hearty and in good simoleans and fine fettle.

      If I left anything out, fill it in for me, willya? I’mo go take a nap! LOL!


  • rosiegreen says:

    So glad El O is undamaged, I hope you will now have some peaceful time to enjoy together. I like your description of #18, will put it on my list to try sometime.

  • Dina C. says:

    Yikes! So sorry to hear about El O’s accident, but very glad to know he’s okay. Super scary stuff. And the sink hole thing is just so weird and bizarre, like out of science fiction. I’m sending you long-distance hugs and hope that everything turns around from here on out for you all. Whoever said, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy?”

    Chanel is my all-time favorite house, but I haven’t tried No. 18 yet. I love green scents, and even the “pickle juice” description doesn’t put me off, so maybe I need to make this a priority and check this out when I can smell again. Meanwhile, I’m nursing a cold and reading more Georgette Heyer this week. 🙂

  • Beth says:

    Wow, sounds like a lot of stress at your place. Hope it all calms down soon. So glad El O is ok, what a scare!

    Perfume really does take us out of that a bit. I know for me, wearing Guerlain’s SDV today was a hug I needed during a stressful week. But I am growing to love love love the Chanels. I haven’t tried 18 or 19, so those are both firmly on my test list along with Beige, 28 la Pausa and a few of the others. I have a decant of 31 Rue Cambon, Bois de Iles and Coromandel which I am draining quickly. There’s something about those Chanels that seem to work with my business suit and make me feel up to meetings with upset customers.

    Best of luck in getting some downtime!

    • Beige came close for me. Then the musk kicked in. Alas. 18 has an almost-perfect balance of everything. That slight muskiness works here, where it didn’t work in Beige – at least not for me.


      • Beth says:

        Hmmm, interesting. I don’t really ever think of Chanel + musk. I’m really interested to try the rest of their line now!

  • Holy crap, that’s scary! I’m glad El O is ok. Good thing he was wearing your helmet!

    I’ve only tried a couple of the Exclusifs, and I haven’t tried No. 18. Next time I’m by the Chanel boutique I’ll have to pop in and give it a sniff.

  • rosarita says:

    Oh, darlin’. Hugs, hugs, hugs. I’m so glad you are both alright.

    I have a sample of 18 who knows where; have to try it & see if I get pickles.

    • A,

      I wasn’t there (I was at home – I hate rallies) but can you imagine? I know it happens to folks every day – that terrible knock on the door. But…I’m just so grateful I didn’t have to answer that knock.

      lmk on the pickles. I kinda likes it, meself!!! xoxoA

      • rosarita says:

        I got that you weren’t there with him….just meant “alright” in the sense that you survived that horrendous tidal wave of emotion that floods through a person when you almost lose someone you love, and yet want to throttle. It will take some time to fully recover. xxx

        • Yeah, I know what you mean. That’s what I meant about that ‘knock on the door’. Lord. I don’t know how people survive that – but survive it they do, albeit in a lot of pain and grief. We are being very, very kind to each other right now. Which is very, very nice.


  • eldarwen22 says:

    It always amazes me on how people drive. Nobody can get off those stupid cell phones, use turn signals and go the speed limit. Always seems to be that the speed limit is just a suggestion. Every time there is some sort of crisis, it’s Chanel no. 22 or Epic for my security blanket. I guess that I will have to add no. 18 to my cart then.

    • You’ll have to lmk what you think of it. Fwiw, this was mechanical failure, not another driver. Something snapped in the frame (gasp!) and then……? HIS FREAKING HANDLEBARS SLIPPED! which meant he had not forward stability. He is a very, very experienced rider and tends to not panic so he was able to steer the blasted thing off the freeway, and onto the grassy verge with his knees.

      I could’ve done that, too. But there would’ve been pukin’ all over the gas tank and the seat would’ve been soaking wet! LOL!

  • Tiara says:

    18 with a tang/twang, pickle juice vibe doesn’t sound so great but I do love ambrette for the most part. However, since I am not a rich person I’m not sure I even want to try it, fall in love, and then have regrets.

    I’m wondering…did this episode change El O’s view on helmets? Will he always wear one from now on?

  • Sherri says:

    Anita, I am so, so glad El O is alright! What a harrowing week! You sure do need and deserve a few days solid sleep to reboot , physically and esp. emotionally. Hugs to you! xoxo

    P.S. I can’t wear the Chanels, but agree No. 18 is one of the prettiest!

    • Musette says:

      Thank you! I am, too! Getting launched off a motorcycle at 50mph (or any mph, for that ) is very harrowing. He’s fine – but still a bit shaky. It takes a bit of time to recover, emotionally. I think he’s fine with the ‘back on the horse’ thing, since he was able to ride it back for the remaining 300miles! But once he got home and showered and the shock and adrenaline wore off….but I think he’s going to be just fine.

      Your Chanel is my Caron. Gorgeous House. Just not for me!


  • karin says:

    Oh Anita!!! So happy to hear El O is OK! Hoping he ditches that excuse for a helmet and gets a decent one now. Guess God wants him around a bit longer, eh? Yay. 🙂

    Also hoping you get some boring days, weeks when nothing much happens and you have a chance to breathe! Last fall I wanted to stop the world and get off! Felt like there was a boot fixed firmly in my back, pushing, pushing, pushing. All I can do is fall on my knees and say, HELP!!! Things did get better, but geez. I don’t want to go through that type of stress again.

    And sink hole??? Whaaaaaa??? That’s just crazy! I saw a story a few months ago where a guy was swallowed up when a whole room of his house went under. As you say, WEIRD!

    Scent twins yesterday!!!! That No 18 is definitely an odd one. I love it, though! Similar to the way I love Dzing! It makes me go “hmmmm…,” in a good way. 😉

    • Musette says:

      I’m glad you’re out of that, too! I’m eagerly awaiting the release from the Chinese curse ‘may you live in interesting times’…and while that release unfolds I employ Winston Churchill’s axiom “If you’re going through Hell, keep going”. He orta know! LOL!

      I’m wearing No 18 again today (it’s a gorgeous 65F) with a green dress. I feel like a forest nymph, albeit a 4000-lb forest nymph. But there are no scales in the forest! 😀 xoxo

  • jilliecat says:

    Just wanted to wish you well after this “interesting” time that you have been experiencing. It’s strange how the magic of perfume can sometimes make everything feel so much better. There’s no doubt that your guardian angels were looking after you that day. And maybe El O will get himself a good helmet at the same time he replaces yours!

    When I was very young and naïve, I used to wonder what happened to numbers 1 to 4 at Chanel, and now I’m thinking about the same for 6 to 17! I know … I’m daft. I would love to smell that 18; sounds perfect for the summer.

    • Musette says:

      My search engine capables are down right now (going in for diagnostics tonight – this thing is a hot mess) but the Chanel book(s) cover most of the numbers, if only in passing. There were scores of them including, if memory serves me, one in the 60s? (62? 64?)

      Alas, no. El O is …well, no. And he has a good helmet, though possibly not Snell-approved. He just grabbed mine because he’s El O. And because the Universe seems to be uninterested in destroying me this summer – it just wants to torment me in little bytes! LOL! xox

  • Portia says:

    LOVE to you and the crew. Thank GODS for Stack Hats.
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      I want to beat him to death at least once a day, as you well know 😀 – but the thought of him being irreparably harmed…or dead…makes my stomach clench. xoxoxoA

  • Chanel No. 18 is one of my favorite, favorite fragrances. I recently did a massive purge (I’m about to move and didn’t want the fragrances sitting in storage over summer), but No. 18 was one of four scents that remain. It never fails to make me feel bubbly and happy, as if I were a Fitzgerald character being pampered with pearls, rice powder, and silk. I’m so glad to hear it getting some attention.

    I hope it puts a spring in your step during what seems a challenging time. xoCatherine

    • Musette says:

      I was going to wish you a smooth move – but that sounds weird, dunnit? LOL! Oooh! I totally get the rice powder! It does have that feel, which is what I get when I wear No 5. That fizzy, ‘polished’ feel. xoxoA

  • Ann says:

    Oh, dear! Bless both of your hearts! So happy that he is all right. I think him grabbing your helmet definitely qualifies as a hand of God moment. Hope things will continue to look up for you. You’ve had so much on you that things should be making a complete 180 by now, as the universe rights itself. BTW, it’s so funny that you’ve written about No. 18. I recently revisited it myself. Don’t get pickle juice but it is lovely with an unusual twang/tang to it, so to speak. Hang in there! Big hugs to you …

    • Musette says:

      I think it’s the ambrette (which I neglected to mention in the actual review, go figure) that gives it that unusual twang/tang (i love that description, btw). And I’m glad he’s okay, too. Just because I envision choking him to death at least twice a day doesn’t mean I want him hurt – or dead. LOL! Irrational Me!


  • Liz K says:

    Goodness! Glad he is ok. A helmet saved my mother’s life when some jerk towing a trailer tried to scare her off the road on her bicycle and didn’t correct properly to keep the trailer on the road. I wouldn’t have had the last 15 years with her if she hadn’t been wearing it. Helmets are important folks. You never know when there is gravel ahead, a squirrel ready to run into your spokes, or some dick with a chip on his shoulder driving a big truck ready to take you out. Being a careful rider doesn’t always cut it. I will now step down from my soapbox. Sorry.
    On a happier and less preachy note, the No. 18 sounds quite nice. Fatty green with pickle sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    • Musette says:

      I’m pro-choice (as I am in mostly all sane adult decision-making, as long as folks understand and accept the consequences of their choices) – but I’m totally into helmets. 6-7 yrs ago I laid my bike down in a skid (avoiding a pickup that blew a stop sign) and hit my head on a curb. I was going less than 5mph and I was a block from my house. Paramedics treated me for basic ‘ow’ – Buddha (the paramedic) said, had I not been wearing my Snell they would’ve had me either on life support or in a body bag.

      I’m SO glad your mom……..whew! and ‘jerk’ isn’t quite the word I would’ve used 🙂 You are commended on your restraint. xoxo

      • Liz K says:

        Jerk is just what I call him on the outside. It was a hit and run and they never charged him as the truck and trailer were “stolen” when they tracked him down. I figure he must suffer. It can’t be that great to be the kind of person who leaves someone dying on the side of the road. If an EMT hadn’t been the next car along it wouldn’t have ended well. Anyhoo…sharing the story still helps to blow off some rage. Thanks.