Tag Archives: milliners

Eclectic and/or Eccentric

I like to think of myself as the former, though am becoming the latter. We moved a lot when I was a kid. I learned to save a few things, cookbooks, silk scarves from Dad from Ferragamo, trinkets from his travels.

My great Aunt O was married to a man who made Canadian pea meal bacon (wet-cured pork loin) braised in beer. Auntie O gave me one of his cookbooks, Larousse Gastronomique, before she died. Twenty years later I cannot open it because it reeks of cigarette smoke.

My Aunt L received a desk from her estate, charred with cigarette smoke for 40 years. My aunts cleaned it up and it is Chippendale, authentic, and gorgeous. I prefer more modern or rustic furnishings. They have the right home for it.

Different am I, not just left-handed. Great Aunt O was a milliner who flew to Paris every year to choose hats for the chic and trendy in Montreal. Very high end. Sometimes a special client would come in for a $500 hat (this is the 60’s so compare that to a Prada bag) and wear it to an event then return it the next day without the tag. She accepted the hat and gave it to me at age five, as she knew it had been worn and could not be re-sold.

I was wearing a $500 red Dior cloche with pigtail at age five. I hated it. The kids always made fun of me anyway for living up in the hills in a great house and a view they could only imagine, and taking the half-bus (the retard bus, they called it) to school. I wore boots because it snowed up there earlier than it did in the village below.

No, I have never been The Grinch. I have always been the fairy who somehow makes the world better. Education, art, theater. I’ll have to talk about philosophy in another post. Age-old wisdom, soc and psych. I took the first training class co-sponsored by Red Cross and the Humane Society of the US.

Yes, dogs and cats are in my sights as well. We’ve an old dog who is sleeping a lot. I would like to get a stethoscope, as advised in my class kit many years ago. If fairy dust has any meaning, may she live a while longer. Live long and prosper. Dee




My husband says he’s allergic to Christmas trees, so for the past 11 years I’ve hung a wreath on the front door. Yesterday I purchased this year’s wreath, which looks quite like last year’s, fir branches with a bow and three pine cones.

We are currently living in a high-rise and share this floor with six neighbors, five since one pro athlete left after not making the Series.

I hung the wreath on one of those newfangled “doesn’t hurt the wall” hangers and picked out a few ornaments, some of which I hadn’t seen in 20 years, and got ready to hang them.

Our dog Zoe, who’ll be nine next month, was at my feet as always. She loves to go in the car when the weather cooperates but I often walk to the grocery store and she doesn’t come along because leaving her outside, she loves people and other dogs so much she could run off or go home with anyone, tail a-wagging.

Instead of going in and out, I propped open the door with old, dead UPS battery, placed the ornaments on the kitchen counter and decorated with holiday glee. There were the rocky mountains ornaments, a bear on a sled (mine), moose on a rainbow trout (hubby’s) and teeny handmade mitten (Zoe’s). Two hand-painted tag board ornaments from an event I created to help children 20 years ago. A reindeer in an apron with a tray of cookies, and a copper pan (mine, of course). And let’s not forget the Texas snowman with a lasso and cowboy hat.

I figured Zoe would be out in the hall sniffing around and greeting people. She didn’t leave the house. I didn’t even say “stay.” She just sat there and watched me like “what’s this crazy woman up to now?”

Reminds me of my dear old dog who died 11 years ago. I adopted her at age two after she’d been abused by a deputy sheriff and left at a shelter I volunteered at, for an entire year until even they threatened to euthanize her as a danger to herself, men and children. She had a home that day, for ten years. For a month, even though I had visited her weekly for a year, she thought I would kick her when I walked toward her. A few weeks of challenging her and I could run at her and jump over her without a cringe or even a blink. Just a look that said “what’s this crazy woman up to now?”

We were inseparable until the day she died, and I carry with me a teddy bear with her ashes under a felt heart and lace and tiny beads a dear milliner friend made for me, also a collage she made. They are both given a special place wherever we live. Zoe got hold of the bear one day. A friend who was helping us move asked if it was OK to let her tear up a stuffed animal. I said that they were old and I’d done multiple “surgeries” on all of them, if it eased her moving tensions, fine.

Then I asked her “which one?” She said, it’s this huge brown teddy bear with a red felt heart. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So stay, little one, and know you’ll be close to my heart forever as well. I may be able to take you to the grocery store now because you are forever by my side, unless someone says “squirrel.” Cheers and enjoy the holiday season. Dee

p.s. to Zoe, your ashes will probably be in a black, indestructable Kong! Yes, many years from now, little one.