Random Sunday: End of August

By March

Monday is the first day of the rest of my life – school is back in session, woo-hoo!  This afternoon (Sunday) we had the twins’ eighth birthday party.  It was 12 – 14 kids from the neighborhood, forced to stay outdoors in their bathing suits and armed with large squirtguns on a hot, sunny day.  I think it was a resounding success, from the perspective that there were no broken bones or internal injuries that I know of, and nobody was sobbing hysterically when his/her parent arrived.  I admit things were a little more Lord of the Flies than was strictly necessary, but it was still fun.  We did it old school – there were two homemade cakes, one decorated with gummi worms (Hecate) and one with gummi sharks (Buckethead) sinking themselves into the icing, and plenty of lemonade and ice cream.  Oh, and nobody threw up.  That’s good, right?

In the last week we’ve been to the Agricultural Fair, where all the 4-H kids who are left in this area come to show their livestock, and to HersheyPark.  The ag fair is so amazing, some of you can laugh away but it’s a world I know nothing about.  They have all their prize-winning pies and hens and etc.  It’s the only way my kids get to see anything like farm animals.  The smells are interesting and diverse.   The goat shed is really … goat-y, way more ripe than sheep or pigs.  The chicken shack – sorry, poultry barn – doesn’t smell so great either.  I petted an angora rabbit, and a Brahmin cow-thing the size of a minivan, and there were pig races and barbeque and fried chicken and kegs of Bud and homemade slaw, courtesy of the Baptist church ladies.

HersheyPark was Diva and Enigma, just for the day.  I’ve been going to HersheyPark since I was a little kid, and taking my own kids there is special to me, riding those rides and eating nasty things like giant slushees and fries and cotton candy and funnel cakes and – this year – a deep-fried Reese’s peanut butter cup, because it was on the menu at the funnel cake place (they dip it in funnel cake batter) and I sort of had to order it, didn’t I?  Taking the cheesy fake “factory” tour at the beginning, just outside the entrance, which we love.  And we rode and swung and screamed like crazy and laughed and mocked each other and somewhere in there for a few hours I got to feel that free feeling – the way I remember.  What it felt like to be a kid, that kind of joyful place where it’s all about the next five minutes.  Somebody did barf on one of the rides, but it wasn’t us.  HersheyPark smells like hot pavement and chlorine and fried food and pond water and sunscreen and cocoa hulls.

Unsurprisingly, there has been very little perfume this week, although I did enjoy reading everyone’s arguments and counter-arguments on my “perfume as art” post last Wednesday, particularly the back-and-forth about whether perfume has a “function” and whether/how that’s different than food.   I do agree that perfume types tend to be sensualists in other areas of their lives, maybe food or music.   And I appreciated the thoughtful comments about the kinds of information you’re interested in regarding perfume, and what’s less interesting or useful.  In the words of Quinncreative, “And if I find a good story behind the perfume, I’ll certainly try it, but not just because the advertisement assures me it’s made from gnome tears stirred by a broomstraw once owned by Serge Lutens.”  LOL, Quinn.  I dunno, I might order up a sample pronto if Serge promised gnome tears (a scenario that is no more improbable or obscure than a few actual SL press releases.)

And now … well, I’m kind of beat.  I’m washing clothes from a camping trip, this room smells powerfully of bonfire in the best way.  I don’t know if it’s that smell, or the fact that the heat broke a little, or maybe that the kids are heading to school, but I’ve had this cheerful feeling in my heart that fall is just around the corner.

image: that’s our fried Reese’s peanut-butter cup.  It looked sort of a like a soft-shell crab on the plate, which made it extra scary to bite into.

  • Masha says:

    OK, March, it’s time to change the name of this blog. Perfume is only one of many diverse topics now, and when colonoscopies and deep fried candy are the blog subjects, it really can’t be named the “Perfume Posse” anymore, can it? That’s just wrong. So here’s my idea for the new name:


    I think it works, and it’s accurate! A great place to read musings about a plethora of stuff that makes up our lives. What do you think?

  • cathleen56 says:

    You would also love the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival — it’s the first full weekend in May every year, it has lots of sheep competitions, a sheepdog competition, a lamb sausage stand (yes! they are the world’s most useful animal), and best of all, it’s free. No rides, no junky souvenir booths.

    • March says:

      … you say rides and junky souvenir booths like it’s a bad thing.

      But it does sound fun. What’s not to love about a lamb? Especially on the grill?

  • Linda says:

    Hi March (and others!)
    Just thought I’d post about the new Gorilla Perfumes from Lush – don’t know if they’re in the US yet. I think they will be interesting… I’d actually gone out to buy ‘Grey Vetiver’ and ended up coming home with ‘The Smell of Freedom’. Noticeably oudh-y…

  • Disteza says:

    Another DC venue for farm animals and back-breaking chores is Claude Moore Colonial Farm. It’s in McLean, and the Market Fair will be 10/16 and 10/17. We get a fair number of people who have never seen a live turkey, or even a fire before. I’ve had to corral children who don’t understand that the turkeys and geese can and will hurt you, cuz they don’t exactly like to be petted like puppies. Even worse, there was a woman trying to take close-up pictures of the candle wax (which is a tallow/beeswax combo, verrry hot), WHILE IT WAS BUBBLING IN THE POT. Things like that make you wonder about people…. :-?

    • March says:

      It hurts me to write this, but I have no trouble imagining people’s stupidity. There was an article recently in the NYTimes (?) about the advent of cel phones in national parks and now people call the emergency number in the Grand Canyon because their ice melted in their coolers, and can someone send a cab? People die there every year from dehydration, falling, etc. People die here every year right next to the giant signs in 7 languages that say DANGEROUS UNDERTOW DO NOT WADE — 33 PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN THIS SPOT.

      • Musette says:

        Holy Mother Mary – the cooler/cab story (do NOT tell me if it is not true. I WANT IT TO BE TRUE! =))

        xo >-)

        ps. folks wading in undertow is truly stupid but also truly understandable when you think about it. People unused to the sea equate danger with DEEP Water. ‘what could possibly happen to somebody in waist-high water?’ they think…because they simply cannot comprehend the possibility.

        • March says:

          Man, I don’t know. If I saw a sign that said YO PEOPLE DROWN HERE ALL THE TIME …. written in my native tongue … I wouldn’t do it, I swear. And many of these people don’t even know how to swim.

          I bet the rangers want to strangle them. Srsly one of them was, our water tastes funny.

          • Musette says:

            Yes, but March does NOT = Stupid.

            I wouldn’t do it either.

            But……I can think of somebody….uh, somewhere around here :”> 8-| who jes’ miiiight….

            folks act strange, indeed, when they don’t perceive danger – even as it is rearing up, cobra-like, ready to bite them in their tender parts.

            xo >-)

      • Erin T says:

        This reminds me of touring in mountainous rural Greece (maybe this happens in other parts of the Mediterranean or Europe, too?) and we kept seeing these little decorated boxes on poles by the roadsides. They were shrines, for people who had died from MVAs at that spot. Our driver was very competent, but very Greek, and he would go roaring at *five-shrine corners* overlooking vertiginous cliffs and my mom would make this little shriek. I closed my eyes every time, because I intend to die blind. You think that some family would forego the shrine expense and maintenance and buy a streetlamp to light the area or a barrier OF ANY KIND to skirt the twisty mountain turns.

        • March says:

          Hey! How the heck are you! Are you getting any sleep? No, your solution sounds far too logical and thus does not apply. I have not been to Greece. Yet. But I have not given up.

  • Rappleyea says:

    “…but I’ve had this cheerful feeling in my heart that fall is just around the corner.”

    Even though we’re still in the 90’s and humid, I felt the same thing this weekend! Ain’t it great?!?

    I’d never ever even heard of deep fried Oreos until our computer tech person recently commented that they fried EVERYTHING! (They’re from Eastern Ky. – need I say more?) She went on to say “even Oreos” and how good they were. I was green at that point.

    But I’m the oldest of six and we grew up with “old school” birthday parties, and consequently, so have all my nieces and nephews. There is nothing more fun, and even all these years later, I can remember my birthday cakes from each year. So a big happy birthday (and I know it was) to your twins.

    I love your slice of life posts probably more than the perfume posts. :x

    • March says:

      Kids LOVE our parties. It’s so exotic to them — oooooh, we come to your HOUSE!? We play games and hide and seek and …. someone MADE your cake at home? I swear most of those kids have never seen a homemade cake.

      There was an article this weekend about our County Fair, where, apparently, you can get anything fried. The one that makes me smile is fried ice cream.

  • Francesca says:

    Happy Birthday to the twins! I can’t believe they’re 8 already. I think they were about 4 when I started reading the Posse.

    I totally thought that thing in the picture was a crab.

    • March says:

      Yeah, a crab with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce.


      I wasn’t sure I was really going to bite into it. I made the girls go first. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t something I’d want to eat again, and I LOVE funnel cake once a year.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Goodness, I’m glad you told us what the photo was. I was imagining all sorts of scary things (not that a fried peanut-butter chocolate thingy isn’t scary anyway of course).

    Glad the party went well. I couldn’t imagine holding a children’s party these days with all the rabid competition. Over here, certainly, I understand that if you don’t come up with Oscar-worthy goody bags you are considered an unfit mother in certain circles! Like Musette, I remember parties when I was a tot, with frilly dresses and hair ribbons and jellies…..

    • March says:

      Uh, yeah, they dropped that down in front of us and I went, oh! I was kind of startled. It did look like a soft-shell crab dusted with powdered sugar and chocolate. Yummy. /:)

      In general, parties here involve the whole class and some $$$$$ rental place (gymnastics, rock climbing, bowling, video games, etc.) and you have to drive 45 mins to get there. No thanks. Almost all these kids could walk here, and the goody bag was the nice squirtgun. And I hired my teen and her friend to wrangle them! She should advertise, I know there are parents here who would pay good money for that service.

      • Musette says:

        I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more and more Old School parties, as people continue to cut back on Totally Nonessentials – and ….watch! Old School will become the new It thing to do! Maybe it already has? I’m seeing it touted in commercials for (insurance? something?) where they are sort of ‘teaching’ people how to reconnect with their families and friends through simple things.

        Of course, out here, nobody does anything status. They have FAMILY parties (maybe some kids from class – since everybody’s related it’s a safe bet)….the town park is always packed on the weekends with 30-50 people at each picnic area – it’s their version of a ‘destination’ party! And the kids seem to have a perfectly good time.

        xo >-)

        • March says:

          The economy has certainly cut into the fancy parties around here. (Also: twins with birthdays in late August = really bad planning in terms of inviting kids from their classes.) And I wonder how many folks actually have enough family in the immediate area any more to host a family party bigger than their own household … 😕 used to see that at parks in New Mexico all the time.

    • Yeah, I thought that freaky plate had something to do with the smell in the goat barn, too. I was expecting a segue to the new Kilian.

      Happy birthday to the twins and congratulations for letting them live long enough to get into the next grade. Life is good. Unless it’s not. And PB holds the world together, even when the kids leave home. It is very hard to cry when your tongue is stuck to the roof of your mouth with peanut butter.

  • tmp00 says:

    I don’t in general like the idea of deep-fried candy bars even if Nigella Lawson likes them. I also just have a thing about chocolate and peanut butter together that borders on irrational; love them separate, but together? Yak.

    • March says:

      Wait … you eschew chocolate and pb together? Honey, it’s a natural, forget the deep frying. Le Sigh. No Snickers? Reese’s cups? Those buckeyes that the little old ladies at church make for bake sales?

  • Tara says:

    Old school parties are the best!! The kids have the most fun and are not over supervised. It’s great!! I had the same kind of party for my son’s elementary school moving up. Wiffle ball, volleyball, water balloons fights and some tye-dye tee-shirts. It was sooo much fun. Although, at our party there was one injury, but at least no one threw up!!

    March, have you ever tried fried Oreos? We recently saw them at Universal Theme Park in Orlando, but were to intimated to try them. But we did have a funnel cake…gross, but total yummage!!

    • March says:

      I really want to try an Oreo! I don’t know why, other than it’s the only commercial cookie I like. And I love funnel cakes, but only once or twice a year and split with two other people.

      Yes, more of those old fashioned parties recently. It’s always been about going to a theme place in our area.

  • Musette says:

    I love the idea of an Old School kid birthday party! I have this photo from my 7th or 8th birthday – my mom is standing next to me (dining room table decked out in birthday regalia and – gasp! – a double-tiered cake, like a wedding cake! with a ballerina on top! I remember wanting a wedding-style cake SO BAD – and she made one!!!

    My mom has a waist and cat-eye glasses and a Chesterfield hanging from her lipsticked mouth. I’m wearing the perfect yellow chiffon party dress, with triple flounces and puffy sleeves (we’re talking 1963 or so). And big yellow ribbons in my hair. Bliss!


    Happy Birthday to the Twins!

    xoxoxo >-)

    • Musette says:

      ps. that thing looks terrifying!


      XO 😀


      • March says:

        I’ve always wanted a deep-fried oreo for some reason. The PB cup really did come out of the fryer looking like an alien — the tendrils of batter drip off and are fried — shudder. It tasted okay (hey, pb, fried batter and chocolate) but not something I’d drive back there for, yknow? Funnel cakes, OTOH … :”>

    • March says:

      Thanks! We survived! It was pretty hilarious. Now they’re downstairs gearing up for school. They are almost excited as mom is.