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WQW #17: What’s That Smell?

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Welcome back, WQWers

I hope you all who celebrate it had a great Mother’s Day and are enjoying great weather. Vince and I enjoyed a trip to California to visit his son and girlfriend and several close friends. It’s good to be back home again with all of you.

I Smell Something Fishy Here

Relaxing on a teal bench, Manny sniffs the air.

Today’s title, “What’s that smell?” comes from Vince’s response when he opened the refrigerator door when we got back. I wasn’t going to use it, but Terri Webster Schrandt and I had a good laugh about it, so there it is.

aqua fish platter
Aqua fish platter in a store window
smelly sea lion enjoying the pier in a fishing town

“I think about how smells are personal. Not only can a smell trigger memories, each of us can smell something different from the same object as each of our brains interpret those smells differently.” Beach Walk Reflections


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#WQW # – Topic: Sense of Smell

Definition smell: (Oxford Language Dictionary)

  • the faculty or power of perceiving odors or scents by means of the organs in the nose.
  • perceive or detect the odor or scent of (something).
  • emit an odor or scent of a specified kind.

The Underrated Sense – Smell

Many of you have had COVID or know someone who has. The most unique symptoms were the loss of the senses of taste and smell. That unique characteristic separated COVID from all other flues, and even if you felt just a little off, you knew…

California orange tree in blossom

So how did that feel? Does a person still have allergies if they can’t smell? What did you miss most about not being able to smell? Did anyone think, “Oh well, at least it wasn’t my eyes that didn’t work.?”

Writers have many uses for the sense of smell. Here are three but you may have others.

  • Metaphors:  “You can dress up greed, but you can’t stop the stench.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough
  • Similes: “The despair of solitary confinement settled over him like the smell of rot.” Charli Mills from May Story Chat “As Far As a Former Prisoner Can Go”
  • Reviving Memories: “Poignant memories. Oranges were our rarity in the 1940s. I always ate the peel because I didn’t know when I would get another” Derrick Knight 
  • Evoking Fear: “But a smell shivered him awake. It was a scent as old as the world. It was a hundred aromas of a thousand places. It was the tang of pine needles. It was the musk of sex. It was the muscular rot of mushrooms. ― Stephen M. Irwin, The Dead Path

For More Ideas about the Sense of Smell

Other Challenges that Inspired WQW # 17

My Choices for This Week

Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in ours. And the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than ours.

Phoenix Veterinary Center
Dog at work sniffing new smells at the beach

Some things you might miss if you had no sense of smell

  • A lilac bush blooming in your garden
  • Oranges or orange blossoms in the spring
  • A sizzling steak
  • Cake or bread right out of the oven
  • Salty ocean breeze
  • The 1960s morning smell of Old Spice after your grandfather shaved

Good Smells

Yes, aqua/teal/turquoise is my favorite color. How lucky was I that Terri chose that theme for Sunday Stills? No, I didn’t pressure her!

Bad Smells

Some things you might not miss if you lost your sense of smell.

“The sense of smell transports me across Time on the wind like a feather that gently falls until it catapults laterally through a memory before drifting out of sight.” SNAPSHOTS IN CURSIVE  

  • a pungent mess made by a cat, dog, baby, or another family member.
  • Overpowering perfume in an elevator, doctor’s office, car, or train
  • A skunk anywhere
  • Opening the door of a refrigerator that needs cleaning
  • Three-day old sweat
  • Oranges that have been hidden under a child’s bed for weeks
  • Nail polish and polish remover or worse yet the application of new acrylic nails
  • The strong aroma of coal and oil burning in the firebox of a working steam locomotive.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge subject of straight lines is one of my favorite and fits this smelly challenge amazingly well.

Things that might not smell at all

  • Electric versus steam engine trains Pennsylvania Railroad 4935 is a preserved electric locomotive. It is one of sixteen remaining Pennsylvania Railroad class GG1 locomotives, and one of two at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Wikipedia

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer


Now it’s your turn.

Tell us about your sense of smell. Is it strong or weak? Thanks so much for stopping by and having fun with quotes.

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89 replies »

  1. this was a fun read. Yes, I think the loss of smell during covid taught us the importance of smell. I missed the smell of chocolate chip cookies in the oven. I was concerned about not smelling some things, like cleaning products. And the funny one was I was nominated to change the smelly diapers since it didn’t matter to my nose.

    I am glad I can appreciate the smells of flowers again ( I love Lilacs) , and food, and one “bad smell” I actually love is the smell of nail polish as it reminds me of my daughter when she was young and always changing her color.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It would be so sad not to smell chocolate chip cookies. I can understand your concern about not smelling cleaning products, although I don’t make a practice of sticking my nose in the bottle. LOL. Not smelling diapers would be a blessing. That smell gags me. On that positive note, I’ll say, “Have a great weekend, Donna.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Marsha, I just made a list of favorite fragrances over on Terri’s blog, so I’ll share a few detestable ones here. The house after cooking broccoli, cauliflower, or onions, day-old wet clothes, gym rats, (those two sometimes go together??) old sneakers, old dogs, old people, (just the ones taking glucosamine or garlic pills) dirty hair, burnt anything, mold, cigarettes, and bad breath! Now I can’t get old people smells out of my head. Time to light a candle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m laughing so hard at this comment, Suzanne. I’d better check my breath. I just had some Gruere chese and crackers for a snack. I remember the smell of old people’s houses so well from my childhood. It wasn’t a good smell. Better throw open my door again and shiver because the wind is a little chilly.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Not too terribly but he has a stronger sense of smell than I do – at least for some things. His sister stayed in our house. If it had been unbearable, she would have found it and sent it packing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great photos! I love your collection of smells–some made me laugh! I didn’t mind losing my sense of smell for three weeks at the time because my old dog was pretty smelly. What I did mind was also losing the sense of taste. That was a bummer. My daughter and I still can’t smell some things properly–coffee still smells weird to us (and it’s been since Jan 2021).

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awful, Dawn. Did you read Terri’s Sunday Stills? She has the same problem. It’s interesting that you have the same thing that smells weird to you both. I hope it comes back. Coffee smells so good, 🙂 Thanks for your compliment and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read that smell is one of our strongest triggers to memory … and my sense of smell is inordinately acute (for better or for worse). I am thinking particularly for when I am in the kitchen – because of I am vegetarian and the rest of my family isn’t, cooking for them is typically seasoned by smell. It seems to work most of the time!

    P/S I love the image of Manny relaxing on the bench!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve realized and thought a lot more about smell than usual researching and writing this post! I don’t think my sense of smell is that well developed. Manny said thanks for the nice compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great olfactory post, Marsha! So good to see Manny!!

    You mentioned lilacs. I love the smell of lilacs. I had a large bush in my backyard. I wish I could have brought it with me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear that! Or maybe I should say I smell that. I looked for several minutes (way too many) for a picture of my lilac bush that we had in California. I found it and the only picture I found had the bush behind a large fence. It wasn’t super attractive, so reluctantly, I gave it up. But I’m glad you had one, too. The smell is unbeatable.


  6. You are so right to focus on the sense of smell. We have a euphorbia just outside our front door which has a strong scent of honey – especially in the evenings. On the other hand my most lasting memory of an unpleasant stench is from 60 years ago – I had been taken ill at my then girlfriends family home and was given my now younger sister-in-law’s bedroom. After a day or two my nostrils caused me to open the drawer of her bedside cabinet where I found a bird she had put in a box to rescue it and forgotten about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Derrick, what a story. I hate to say, but I am laughing out loud. Sad for the bird and sad for you, but a hilarious story if you like smelly humor. Thanks for letting me share your commet, Derrick. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi – fun post topic!
    Wow – and like how you connected to Frank’s post and others –

    Also – glad To see the reminder to read study chat – will be there in a few days to take my time and enjoy it –

    And quick question/comment regarding what you referred to as simile for Charlie’s example – hmmmm – it didn’t feel like simile to me? My definition is that simile is “figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with like' oras’)”
    Hmmmm – still
    Chewing on it.
    But doesn’t really matter and the post flow took us on an adventure

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have it exactly right. “The despair of solitary confinement settled over him like the smell of rot.” The word LIKE the smell makes it a simile rather than a metaphor. I love how you get so involved and precise, Yvette.


      • Okay – I see the like now but it really doesn’t feel simile still –
        Just to me at least – and maybe because I expect simile to be shorter and the one you have was rathe dense and just didn’t feel simile – or maybe their is something else going on with that sentence for me…
        Thanks for the nice reply and it does have me looking forward to CM’s story chat


    • That’s a pungent one! I was trying to get that smell across with my first pictures. I actually like the smell of a fishing town but not rotton fish. Fish are potent even when they are fresh.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Two years ago, we bought a brand new refrigerator in early autumn. Then in November, we headed to Arizona for the winter. We were getting ready to head back to Fargo for our summer when one of the neighbors mentioned a strong smell in our condo hallway that they couldn’t find.
    I asked my daughter who lives in Fargo to stop by and check on our unit. Sure enough, that brand new refrigerator had failed and the small amount of meat in the freezer was rotting. The smell was so strong that we had to have professionals in hazmat suits come and remove the fridge and its contents.
    The refrigerator was replaced in warranty with an additional allowance for the spoiled food, but we were still out the $500 it cost to have the fridge and its contents removed, disposed of, and have the place properly “aired out.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • John- was it Samsung? They seem to
      Make the worst appliances ever – I just took a photo of six repaired (brand new) washing machines and the two different sets we had were JUNK – and not cheap

      Not sure if they make refrigerators and I guess their phones are so-so- but we will never buy the Samsung brand again-

      And that is quite a story!

      Liked by 2 people

      • It was an LG refrigerator. Replacement seems OK.
        We had good luck with our first Samsung washer and dryer, then we bought a pair for our house in Arizona. Those were more expensive and were really junky. I’ve since replaced the Samsungs with Maytag (U.S. made). They are working fine and still made in the USA.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thanks John – we had bad luck with a high end Maytag appliance – growing up That was a great brand but not anymore
          The best Appliances we ever owned were from sears – the Kenmore line!
          LG seems to be okay but I think the government needs to get involved abiut Samsung imported appliances –

          The reason I took the photo this last time because it is the third time I have seen a line of Samsung applicants so repaired and on clearance –

          And getting back to the smell from your brown fridge – such a great story for Marsha’s topic here!
          Someone might have thought it was a body – lol
          Or I have seen too many detective shows ??

          Liked by 2 people

  9. I think being able to smell is useful so you don’t eat rotten food or not clean up a dead rodent in the wall. That aside, I’m fond of flowers and bakeries. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel, you are so funny. How do you clean up a dead rodent in the wall? The ones that I have had (and I have had several when we lived in a mobile home in the country in Oregon). Rather than tear down the wall, we lived with it for a while until the smell died down. Luckily mice are small and the smell doesn’t last too long. It’s a different matter if you find one in your silverwear drawer. YIKES! That brought a scream from me! And yes, it smelled terrible. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Whenever I cook the traditional corned beef and cabbage for my husband for St. Patrick’s day, I have to put the crockpot out in the garage so the whole house doesn’t get smelly from the cabbage. I only cook this once a year, not because its smells but because it is very salty and fatty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, cabbage isn’t one of my favorite smells either. I should do that when I cook broccoli, but I cook it so often. As long as I put it in the refrigerator right away, it’s ok. But I have forgotten because I left it in the pan to cool before putting it away. That’s not fun to come home to. LOL


  11. Hahaha, oh you did it! I will definitely not use that title this Sunday, Marsha! I would have been surprised if there wasn’t something smelly in the fridge when you got home, LOL! It’s inevitable. Great shots of the teal and I love how you incorporated everything. The teal fish platter is quite pretty! Count me as one of those lucky would who lost my senses of taste and smell due to covid in 2020. Still plagues me to some degree. I’ll describe it more in my post. Glad you are back with WQW and thanks, as always for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person




Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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