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A nose for these things...

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When I was a kid, before the country was converted to the metric system, milk was sold in gallon jugs.

My mother would bring a fresh one home and occasionally the *milk guzzler* in the household (me) would open a new jug, stop dead in my tracks and refuse to drink it.

I'd swear it was going sour and go without milk until a new jug was in the fridge.

My mother thought I was being ridiculous because it tasted fine to her ~ until she realized that each and ever jug of milk I refused *turned* sour within 3 days and it was poured down the drain.

I have always been the *milk canary* in our household because my sense of smell and taste really IS that sensitive.

Growing older I was told my palette would peak and then become less sensitive but....somewhere along the way I'd read about sommeliers and how their taste is at it's prime from their 40s through 50s. While I remained skeptical I am now forced to accept the fact that I'm in for a long, annoying decade.

If the badly designed/located drip pan under the fridge is getting funky I can smell it about THREE WEEKS before it starts to affect the family and I need to pull the unit out of it's spot, remove the back panel and start the long process of cleaning the thing with vinigar.

If my eldest spritzes a perfume on herself behind closed doors at the other end of the house, on another floor ~ I know in about 2 seconds.

The other night I was sitting on the couch watching tv with the husband and suddenly sat up, rigid and sniffing the air like a dog. Teh Bob asked me if I was okay and I nodded...but sat uneasily because I'd smelt something chemical and floral float by and the teenagers were both out. After a moment my brain classified it and at the next commercial I bolted upstairs to my sons' bedroom.

Opening his bedroom door I saw that he was asleep and on the floor in the middle of the room was a can of Febreeze....(I didn't buy it, the teens did)

Yesterday my eldest apologized as we wandered around the fabric store, for still reeking of the roasted garlic she'd indulged in THREE DAYS earlier. I could smell it coming off her body in WAVES when she walked by me and she said her boyfriend couldn't understand what I was talking about because he couldn't smell it at all.

Did I mention I can smell myself and avoid certain foods because it turns me off and I just can't get away from my own skin??

I was reminded of this when I walked by a tree in full bloom this morning at 6 a.m., and was hit by an overpowering cloying floral fragrance. It was strong but not nearly as bad as something that I smell when I walk past another house in the opposite direction ~ an odd smell that is like a whiff of ozone but could just be the undernote of some plant's blossom that I now find irriating. Assuming the source is natural. When it's not then I'm in trouble. Heavy duty cleaners in places like schools, hospitals and public swimming pools almost bring me to my knees. When my mouth feels as though I'm sucking on iron....it's never a good thing.

Artifical fragrances trigger headaches and my nose runs like a faucet was turned on full..the daughters have learned to not spritz till they leave the building and NEVER if they are being driven someplace by myself, because I HAVE forced them to open their windows all the way in the middle of the winter. The irony is that I burn several sticks of Japanese incense a day. It's simple enough to conclude that naturally occuring ingredients/scents are better for us than the chemical soup we insist on swimming in and the growing number of people with scent sensitivities is a reflection of that fact.

I have to chuckle a bit when I consider that I rank the smell of horse manure on a breeze across a pasture or in a barn as much more pleasing than most any perfume on the market ~ I can smell the hay in it which makes it very sweet compared to that of omnivores like pigs and chickens, with their confined lifestyles and highly concentrated grain and additive laden food sources. When most people wrinkle their noses I breath deep and smile.

It's no wonder that the Japanese find Westerners rancid. We eat like pigs.

Yesterday ~ as I winced at my eldest's sour garlic scent, I was interested in the fact that she could no longer smell her stinky rose reek, but she'd be able to do so for the first two days. I wondered if she's on the same track as myself. Will her sense of smell continue to improve as she ages?

Later in the day the other teen was complaining about the BURN of salt in her organic Bran Flakes. The cereal was already low in salt but it was still too much for her. I picked up two types of whole grain cereal for her that contained NO added sodium and she is finally satisfied. I have to mention that while I cook with small amounts of salt, there is never a salt shaker on my table.

....and for breakfast I have freshly steamed rice ~ plain, every morning. Yes I do like the flavour of rice as a matter of fact. So does my son.

Speaking of which, at the same time I was purchasing the cereal, I picked up some fresh salmon and told the Japanese fish monger that I wanted it with the skin on since my son loves the grey layer (of fat) between the skin and the flesh. She stared at me in surprise before exclaiming that he has a very good sense of taste ~ JUST like the Japanese. *0__0!!!

....sorry kids. Your genetics are showing.
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