Sunday, October 30, 2011


I have been experiencing the phantom smell of smoke, on and off, for a few months now. Does anyone know what this means? My internet searches suggest seizures, schizophrenia, sinusitis, a damaged olfactory sense, so many other things. But I feel the same as I always have. Well, not quite the same. I have a cotton wool head at this moment. I'm sick with a cold, as are my husband and my daughter. We are all coughing and sniffling in unison. We joke that we are the sicklets. But I'm ready for us all to be better, the phantom cigar smoke to be gone, my limbs to swivel effortlessly, with no jarring spike of pain if I put down a leg without minding how I place it. This latest hip pain began the day of my cousin's funeral. I think it might be physical guilt at not having returned his call the week before he died. Somewhere he is laughing at this mischief. Let him laugh. That's the view from my kitchen window while it rained yesterday morning, before the snow fluttered down. I love being inside my house when it rains. I never get tired of this view.


  1. Angella, in the late 70's, my Mom kept saying that she smelled smoke in our apartment. Two days later, the attached unit caught on fire.
    I find it interesting that you think of your cousin because of your own guilt. I would think the same way.

  2. What a gorgeous view. And I don't know anything about that phantom cigar smoke smell but it's kind of odd and a little worrisome and hope you feel better soon.

  3. After my father died I would sometimes smell his pipe tobacco in a house that I bought eight years after his death. It was in the same location on the stairs and I smelled it during a period of high stress in my life. I always felt as if he was with me somehow then.

    On a practical note, I once smelled the faintest whiff of something burning and even after a careful search all around the house, I could not locate a cause. I went through it once more before bed and got down on the floor where I thought the smell was the strongest near an electrical outlet and saw the faintest, and I do mean faintest, wisp of smoke coming from the cord of an old lamp that had been in the family for years. It was the light overhead from the floor lamp in question that helped me see it. I couldn't see it in the daylight and I think the lowered light helped. Good luck finding your smoke source.

    A last thought ... I really enjoy your blog and reading about your lovely family. The post about your husband was very touching the other day and one of my favorites.

  4. Well, if there is no "real" reason to smell the smoke, I remind you that for the Pagans (Kathleen assures me of this) this is the time of between-times. The curtain may lift. I don't know.

  5. Dearest Angella, my first thought was a more ethereal, spiritual one. I sometimes catch different scents wafting through the air and then someone I love will immediately come to mind, living or transitioned. I welcome the reminders. That being my first inclination, I would mention it at your next doctor's appt. just to be sure because there are medical conditions that can cause this, as you already know. Is it possible that you have a neighbor who likes to smoke the occasional cigar? Giftsofthejourney's story about the burning cord was also frightening. I wonder if you should call someone at the Fire dept. and ask them for some hints about locating a possible source of trouble. Who know, maybe they would even come out and check around for you. Much better to rule out the practical sources before settling on the one that I would truly like to believe:)

    As far as your hip goes, emotional pain definitely translates into physical pain. I know that some components of my chronic illness relate to ignored emotions from the past, but that does not mean that the physical pain is not real. It's just that sometimes, it has no other way to express itself. Grief can settle into the bones. Try not to be too hard on yourself about not returning your cousin's call. We all can claim guilt to getting too busy to return a phone call and sometimes, things do happen:( Still, I understand your sadness...

    Your view is lovely! I would never tire of it, either. We are very blessed, aren't we, friend?

    So much love.

  6. I, too, sometimes smell strange odors. My children think I'm nuts and that there's something wrong with my nose. I hope that's all it is for you -- just one of those weird things that no one can explain. I find it interesting that your emotional pain manifests itself in physical pain -- and completely understandable. I'm not sure why that mind/body thing continues to be questioned --

  7. It's entirely possible that you really do smell smoke! Could it be from one of your neighbors? I guess others in your family would smell it too, though.

  8. Dear Angella, I hope that your collective colds all improve quickly and that you are soon smelling roses. Perhaps the smoke you smell is real, a whiff or linger? I have an insanely perceptive nose which drives my family crazy (No, I wasn't smoking, mum. I had coffee witha friend who has a housemate who smokes ... and so on).

    Beautiful view from your window (trees!) and I am taken with your teapot.

    The hip pain and the sensitive nose - imagine you are interprting a dream - what are the allegories behind the allegories? Or are they simply what they are?

    Hope you find peace soon.

    Isabel x

  9. A few theories: I started smelling a burnt smell, and losing my sense of taste last year, and added it to my sucks to be menopausal list. It comes and goes, but I notice it more at night.

    A few weeks ago, I smelled smoke and went outside and really smelled smoke, but noone was burning. Turned out to be rampant wildfires a few states away from here. So strange.

    I have too many aches and pains that come and go, and these days I just steel myself and go to bed hoping to feel different the next day. Eventually I do. Growing older is not the adventure I had imagined.

    I love the view out your window too. It makes me happy to look at it.

  10. beautiful view! i LOVE being inside when it rains too!

  11. Maybe something's not right with the wiring (in the house not your head!)? Worth a look-see anyway. You do have a lovely view from that window. I'd spent hours looking out of it if I lived there which would be far better time spent that messing about on Facebook!

  12. great window shot...i believe it's the smell of burning feathers you've got to worry about.
    feel better soon.

  13. Poor sicklets. :( At least your misery has good company.

    That's odd about the smell. Do you smell it in many different places, or only at home?

    What a lovely view. I hope the scaffolding is down and the view from all your windows is unimpeded now.

  14. As a lapsed Catholic and a sort of everything-neo-Pagan-Buddhist type person, I second what Ms. Moon said about the veil lifting. This time of year is always so ruffled, odd, unsettled...

    I'm envious of the view out your window...and thank you for sharing your corner of the world. xo

  15. checking in, friend. heading your way tomorrow for a very quick visit...i am suffused in waves of NYC nostalgia...
    i hope all is well.