Monday, January 10, 2011

Cranial Nerve I the title of this blog is nerdy, I know...and I thought about "Scent of a Woman" (but I knew I would be writing more than just that... and then I thought about just "Smell" or "Scent"...but both sounded a little I went nerdy (yes, I am one of those people who knows all the cranial nerves, what they do and how to test for them). If you can think of a better name though...throw one out.

Why am I writing about the olfactory nerve?

well, I have always had a pretty keen sense of smell (I would like to compare myself to Guster from Psych -those of you who love this show as much as I do know what I mean.

Isn't it funny the way a smell will take you right back to a place and time or person.
Kind of like a song remembers when...well, the smell remembers when.

Certain smells you miss or are afraid of losing.... I have heard of people not washing personal items of a loved one lost. And I get it. I can smell Daddy on the pillow beside me, even when he is not is quite comforting.

Any time I smell patchouli...I think of my pal Justin. A bearded, folk band friend. Not only did he always smell of patchouli and tobacco...but when I smell those things, it takes me right back to my little duplex on Boone...sitting in that old green chair I got at the Goodwill. I would drink my tea and he'd smoke a pipe and play the guitar and we'd talk about whatever....
My favorite patchouli story is when he held the door open for two sweet old ladies...One of the little old women said to him: "Young man, you stink.".

Ahhh, Justin, I miss you my friend.

My least favorite smells paper plants and sulfur. Tuna fish and boiled eggs (although yummy). And I cannot stand the smell of those stores in the know, Abercrombie, and Hollister...places that I can hardly stand to walk past for fear of having an asthma attack (and I don't even have asthma).
I guess now I am really showing my age, right?

As much as I love smell, I buy scentless and clear detergents, fragrant free lotions and household cleaners. I like to think I am raising my kids in a more natural holistic home. Plus, my hubby IS asthmatic and so I stopped burning incense years ago. night, 2006. We had our wedding at a beautiful bed and breakfast...we had our first night as a married couple in the little guest cottage. It was quaint and lovely. A bed with crochet type coverlet. Fine china and a big tub in the corner. Smells: cedar, potpourri, and some sort of Clorox powder. One of these smells put my groom into a fit of asthma. In the excitement of the hour, he had forgotten to bring an we took a drive at 4 am on our wedding night to find an all night pharmacy. He lived!!! we can look back and laugh....hilarious..... the smell remembers when.

That brings us to some of my favorite smells....I love the smell of garlic and onion cooking...and vanilla, coffee, oatmeal raisin cookies, bacon, fresh bread, cinnamon rolls...those scents make my mouth water.

Oh, and who doesn't love to stick their nose deep within a wine glass and inhale?

I grew up with horses and I love the smell of barns....leather saddles, boots, manure, fresh cut hay, feed rooms, and horses themselves smell so wonderful to me.

I also love the smell of puppy breath. This will sound crazy, but I even kind of like the sweet sour smell of breast milk poops. Or anything baby for that matter. Baby powder, Baby lotion, Baby breath, Baby feet.

The smells of children. Rain boots, maple syrup, grassy, salty, sweaty...that stinky child smell is by far my favorite.
Clean or dirty, I can be found several times a day with my nose nuzzled deep into one of my child's heads...and if you listen closely, you will hear me memorizing everything I can about their smell at that moment.

My dogs, when not farting, have a very comforting dog smell.

Speaking of farts, one of my college friends told me that she felt comforted by the smell of her own farts....hahahah...I still laugh out loud when I think of that. Reminds me a bit of Superstar (please tell me everyone reading this understands that reference)!!!

My cousin visited my office recently and immediately said it had a hospital like alcohol pads, hand sanitizer. The smell of clean...ahh...the smells of work.

I always know I am close to my hometown because I start smelling fresh bread from the Pepperidge farm plant. Who had the fabulous idea of placing a Pepperidge farm right next to the exit for L-town? It makes getting off the interstate and turning for home feel comfortable. Ahhh...the smells of home.

Fall has always been my favorite season, because you can smell fall in the air. People start using their fireplaces, chopping wood, sharpening pencils, brewing stews, chili and coffee.

Summer has its inhaling moments as well...fresh cut grass, meat grilling, blueberry muffins, chlorine, soil, thunderstorms and sun tan lotion.

I have never had a personal scent, the way some women define themselves with perfumes. I haven't worn perfume in as long as I can remember. In my field of work, my patients are sick enough without me putting them into a fit of dry heaves because I wanted to define myself with smell.

Someone recently told me I smelled like the beach. I wasn't sure what to make of that...he said it was a compliment...but that burned tanning bed smell was all that came to mind. yuck.

Seinfeld's Kramer wanted to market a beach maybe it was a compliment...

So, What is my scent? (imagine me pretending I am a wine and trying to detect all the flavors): coconut, mint, tea tree oil, Noxzema, cinnamon, urine, baby spit, garlic, onions...
I wonder what my pillow smells like when I am gone?

What are your favorite smells?

That olfactory nerve is a wonderful thing!!!

....tune in next week for cranial nerve VIII.....


  1. My favorite scents are coffee (especially Highlander Grogg), food-scented candles, new clothes, new cars, newborn babies, my grandma's house, freshly laundered sheets (love fabric softener). Smells I hate - hotels, shoe departments, diaper pails, most perfume, paper whites.

  2. I spent my whole night frying my brain with everything there is to know about cranial nerve II. THEN I opened up your blog to read something light and nice, and I read the title and nearly went into that fit of dry heaves. Then I proceeded to read it, and now I'm going to bed with a smile, and burying my nose in the pillows, and the heads of my kids. (Hubby's away on business, so everyone's in mommy's bed!) thanks, honey!

  3. Favorites: Coffee, Johnson's Baby Lotion, Fresh Cut Grass, Horse Barns, Old Spice, Irish Spring, Warm Bread, Cookies baking, Vanilla, Cinnamon, New Car Interiors, New Doll Hair, Red Wine, the Ocean. . .

    Not-So-Favorites (smells that make me gag): Dipsy Dumpsters, Dog Potty, Dog Breath, B.O., Butcher shops, Roadkill, Formaldehyde. . .

    Great post!

  4. One more not-so-favorite--cigarette smoke!