Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Growing up, I had a lot of aunts. My mother had nine sisters, and was the baby of her family. My father had six sisters.

(My Aunt Mary Theresa (on right) with her best friend Mary Frances. Date unknown)

Aunt Mary T. lived in Detroit. When I was five, I was sent to live with her for some months while my father was ill with cancer. She was one of my favorite aunts, very young at heart, warm and loving. She would brush my hair every morning and put a drop of Vol De Nuit or Shalimar on my wrist. She'd pin a flower on my coat, and buy corsages for herself on a whim. We remained close until she passed away when I was sixteen.

Having so many nice aunts meant I was given many half-full bottles of perfume, bubble bath, and scores of dainty handkerchiefs. Some of my aunts began traveling and had a drawer full of hotel stationery and pens to give me whenever I visited. For some reason, none of my sisters were interested in any of these little "pre-owned" gifts.They'd usually finagle a cash gift so they could go to a movie and get away from "those people." I could understand that, but my aunts fascinated me the way the Samoans fascinated Margaret Mead. I couldn't get enough of them.

It seemed like once my maternal aunts had shed their husbands they were much happier people. Maybe a little quirky at times, but I enjoyed visits with them and studied how they lived. In some ways they were so old fashioned. They'd dress "to the nines" to go out for a quart of milk. But they did look good and could walk for miles in high heels. It was obvious they did not care how the rest of the world was behaving. They had a wide variety of friends and weren't judgemental. They'd say you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. They never dwelled on old hurts, and told me to take everything with a grain of salt.

Most of them have passed away, but I will never forget all the things they gave me. Not just the material things, like the old suitcase with Idlewild Airport tags still attached, packed with treasures, but all of the insight I got from just listening to them and watching them. They had excellent manners in public and only used bad language in the car -- I discovered that they knew every single bad word that existed. They sometimes had amusing stories to tell, or would share an adult joke with me. They laughed about terrible or embarrassing things that had happened to them years before, had wartime stories of working at the bomber plant or in Woolworths, proudly giving their paychecks to their mother, meeting boys at the dancehall. They often had me laughing and admiring their resilience. Auld Lang Syne... times long past.

Friday, December 28, 2007


They are taking me back to the VET in January, to have my teeth pulled. I just found out that I have lost a pound, which concerned the veterinarian, and me, a lot.

(When you only weigh seven pounds, life is tough enough, but now I weigh six pounds and things are tougher.)

It has been hard for me to eat, because I have very bad teeth, and Dennis hasn't helped in that area, either. He makes me nervous and even stops me while I'm trying to eat. Apparently, once the teeth are gone I will be able to eat delicious soups and mushy foods, which will be prepared for me by top chefs.
(If I survive the tooth pulling, that is.)

If I don't survive, I am not sure what will happen to my blog.

Just letting you know.

--I've heard newborn babies wailin' like a mournin' dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love.
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
"Come in," she said,
"I'll give you shelter from the storm."--Bob Dylan

Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
Yes a capital "T"
And that stands for Toothless.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bob Dylan and Kate Moss

Music and perfumery have much in common. Certain scents affect us just as certain songs do. The perfumer takes individual notes, and forms octaves as he goes about preparing blends. To create the perfect bouquet, every note must be brought to a certain strength, so that no individual note drowns out the rest. This is referred to as a chord, where notes harmonize in a pleasing way. The perfumer works at an organ where ingredients are arranged in tiers (also known as scales) of scent. It may take a perfumer years to create a symphony. The perfumer, like the composing musician, pours his heart and soul into his work. It is a labor of love and should be appreciated even if the music doesn't inspire you personally. What is this thing called creativity? Not everyone loves Mahler, but then many people find his music to be...just right. It is one thing to say "Mahler just doesn't do anything for me." It is quite another to say "People are crazy to like Mahler!"

Kate Moss worked with a perfumer to create her own fragrance. Some people expected it to have an off-kilter, dark, or "Bad Girl" side to it. I haven't tried it yet, but have heard it is a very nice, wearable perfume. Maybe her individual song is sweeter than we suppose it is. Or sweeter than the tabloids want it to be.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bob Dylan's Artwork

Man on Bridge by Bob Dylan.

"Beauty, unaccompanied by virtue, is as a flower without perfume."
-- French Proverb

(The photo and review of L'Heure Bleue that was here was lost/ will re-post it at a later date)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Greeks Bearing Gifts

Perfumes were just as important in the ancient world as they are today. Some of the ancient rituals remain with us. The gift of perfume was, is and always will be a romantic one. we have many ancient cultures to thank for the gift of perfume, including the Greeks.

I read in the news that a 4000 year old perfume factory in Greece was discovered by archaeologists a few years ago. The 42,300-square-foot space, was possibly buried due to an earthquake, but is unusually well-preserved. The lab made perfumes and cosmetics and had a large storage facility for raw materials and finished products. This perfume factory would have employed as many as 60 individuals on a regular basis. The perfumes were made through the extended process of steeping of the spices and other raw materials in water and oil. Below is a news photo taken from an museum exhibit of containers and tools found at the site.

Ancient warriors honored the dead, even their enemies--by having the bodies of those killed in battle removed to a place where they could be perfumed and anointed before their own people could arrange burial or placement on a funeral pyre. The ancient custom of putting flowers at a gravesite was all about giving a perfumed gift to the dead, a mark of respect.

In ancient life, only wealthy women could afford heavy commercial blends of perfumes. Everyday scents were light fragrances, mostly simple combinations that anyone could make at home.

One ancient yet extensive perfume guide was written by Theophrastus. (Born in 370 B.C.)
He wrote detailed reviews, made recommendations, discussed ingredients, and gave his opinions (the best place to get bitter almond scents, and who blended the best apple scent, for example) and was much quoted on the use of perfumes.

Ange Ou Demon by Givenchy starts off with headnotes of saffron, herbs and citrus, but soon mellows into a warm heart of ylang ylang, orchid, iris butter and spices. The almondy base of woods, tonka, and vanilla makes it a scent that reminds me fleetingly of both Castelbajac and Hypnotic Poison. It is a mysterious dual scent that is thankfully more angelic than it is demonic.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Decorative Cats

We have solved the "decorating dilemma" of what to display in these little cabinet nooks. Looks like matching blue cat beds might be the way to go.

It's very important to have many little places to nap, that way you can get up from one nap, and get some exercise by walking into another room for your next nap.

Remember, cats aren't just for decoration--they also keep evil spirits away, and give the place a touch of glam.

(I can tell by his expression that Dennis is hatching a plan.)

Portable Hair Dryer Girl put the stockings up today. I checked mine right away! (It was empty.) She explained I have to wait a few more days. Dennis ignored the stockings, which I found suspicious.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sacred Time

Time alone is sacred. It allows us to think creatively and relax.

"Precious memories, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul.
In the stillness of the midnight,
Precious sacred scenes unfold."
--Bob Dylan

Parfum Sacre by Caron is an excellent meditation scent which stays close to the skin. Soft, a little sweet, a little hint of incense, light.

If we are at peace with ourselves, we can get along better with others. Even Dennis, after spending some time alone, can be friendly and calm. He was able to share the sunshine for almost twelve minutes without attacking anyone. (Dennis (left) has poor social skills.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Maurice Roucel

"My greatest pleasure is when something appeals to and satisfies all of my senses. I am a multisensory person. I love music, love to eat and drink well, love beautiful fabrics and textures, and of course I love scents more than anything else. I think if I had to do without any of my senses, I could probably give up the ability to see most easily – although, wait, what am I saying? I love seeing beautiful landscapes, beautiful people and especially beautiful women!"
---Perfumer Maurice Roucel

Maurice is known for his famous creamy magnolia note. His masterpieces include:
24 Faubourg by Hermes (A Classic that was Princess Diana's favorite for the last few years of her life)
L'Instant by Guerlain (Romantic)
Insolence by Guerlain (Radiant)
Envy by Gucci: (Exhilarating)

"Smell that sweet magnolia blooming..."
---Bob Dylan

What pleasures awaken each of your senses?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tangled Up In Bobs

I forget which country this 'Bob' is from, but he is just one of hundreds of singers who have been called "The Bob Dylan" of their country. We have a quite a few American Bobs, too. Singer songwriter Beck said he was very honored to be called "The Slacker Bob Dylan." They may cover a few Dylan songs, but they are not "tribute" artists or impersonators. They are talented individuals following their own path.

Christy Moore, often called the Irish Bob Dylan, is very talented and has written many great songs. There is a video link at right, of Christy. Worth a listen!

Imitation, in this sense, is often more inspiration than trying to actually copy something. It is not artificial to want to be a bit like someone you greatly admire.

There are so many designer perfume "reproductions" out there that claim to 'pay homage' to the original scent.
Here we have a bottle of Chanel Chance, which is popular with refined young ladies.

Here is the reproduction scent, which is supposed to smell just like the Chanel. It is called "Pure Luck", and a big bottle of the stuff retails for less than five dollars.

(They used to call them "Copycat" Fragrances until we cats got it together and protested. Now all you human companion types know it isn't politically correct.)

(Photo Credits: The Bob Dylans, Christy Moore Fan Page, Chanel, Perfume Reproductions)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Delices de Cartier

It snowed slightly as you can see by this photo taken at noon today.
Delices de Cartier-- A Kirsch like scent, boozy with a tart cherry that mellows. Very nice long dry down.
Head Notes: Morello (tart) Cherry, Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Violet
Heart Notes:Freesia, Orange blossom, Jasmine, White Peach
Base Notes :Amber, Musk, Tonka, Sandalwood

Kirschwasser is a German Liqueur, a very refined cherry~ not sweet.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chedwick in Manhattan

Caption Contest--
Write a brief essay/ poem /haiku... to go with the photo above.
Click photo to enlarge.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Guerlain Genealogy Mystery

You will find samples of rare (and/or expensive) perfumes and send them to meee.

I saw this and thought: what if people with special needs started wearing red hats? The very next day I saw a dozen older ladies out on the street wearing red hats! They were proud to call attention to the fact that they are special. They called themselves members of The Red Hat Society. I'm sure they would let Todd join their group.

Hmmm... why are there no women in the Guerlain genealogy?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Un Parfum De Gossamer

I saw this old poster and thought it would be a good way to advertise a scent called...Un Parfum De Gossamer.

I like Gossamer, and found out yesterday that he was created by Tex Avery, whose work I have long admired. Last winter I found a tiny plastic Gossamer doll in a parking lot. It looked like it came out of a gumball machine. I brought it home and put it on a shelf in the kitchen. One day I caught Dennis playing with it and took it away from him, but he had already bitten Gossamer's hands off.

I have a very clear memory of the first time I saw Gossamer. He was chasing Bugs Bunny around a laboratory, as the mad scientist wanted to experiment on Bugs. The mentally challenged Gossamer and the evil mad scientist were characters I'd never seen before and I was hoping they would not kill Bugs Bunny. I was sitting on an oriental rug directly in front of the TV set (as close as I could get to the set without actually hugging it.) This was in an apartment that we moved out of just after I turned four. Being so young, and alone in the room, I was paralyzed by the scariness of Gossamer. I couldn't stop watching.

Can't help thinking of the big red guy when I hear "Just One of Those Things"

...It was just one of those nights
Just one of those fabulous flights
A trip to the moon on gossamer wings
Just one of those things....

A classic that Frank Sinatra made famous-- a song about a brief love affair.
I prefer the Ella Fitzgerald version, though.

When my blog was in its infancy, I wrote a post about Gossamer
( January 10th,2007 )

He can also be found in the Dreamscape post
( July 2, 2007 )

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Soft and Cuddly

Dennis wanted me to post this pic, which he feels shows his softer side.

I look at this picture and assume he is gouging one of the bear's eyes out. This bear was named Susannah, but Dennis saw the news report about a British teacher who named a teddy bear Mohammed and got into big trouble, so Dennis renamed his bear Jesus.

He is waiting for the controversy to begin.

And speaking of soft and cuddly--we have Liv Tyler here for Givenchy.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how good Very Irresistible Parfum smelled--I would like a bottle. (Christmas is coming, so who knows?) This scent is loaded with roses, including the very sensual centifolia. Roses are in both the head and heart notes on this one.

'After the shower
among the drenched roses
the bird thrashing in the bath.'
--Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Garbo's Perfume

She was amazing, puzzling, provocative...

Always seductively perfumed.

Garbo once said: "Movies! We weren't making movies, but perfumes."

Growing up in Sweden Greta Gustafsson loved playing in the snow and experimenting with cosmetics and perfumes. She was very close to her father, who died when she was fourteen. Forced to go to work, the teenaged Greta had jobs that included sweeping up at a barber shop, selling scented soaps, and selling cigars and cigarettes. She remained close to her family all of her life.

For most of her life she had no pets, liked a spotless home, ate simple food, and although she gave generous gifts and collected art, Garbo was always very careful with money.

She had a small collection of *Lucien Lelong perfumes, but these may have been gifts, as she was one of his fashion clients. Her dressing table was loaded with perfume bottles, inluding scents from Balmain and Guerlain.

Both L'Heure Bleue and Vent Vert have been listed as her favorite scents, so we know she liked romantic florals--but she probably had a dozen favorites.

Garbo was shy and reticent. She would withdraw, feeling she was misunderstood. While her fans overwhelmed her, there were always people constantly criticising her, who just had to write that she wasn't very talented, or she was crazy. She knew people felt they had to make negative remarks about her, saying they simply did not like her.

They hated her voice, her accent, and some made ratty remarks about her sexuality. She was an open, honest person who learned the hard way not to talk. She started to feel she was not wording things right, and blamed herself.

I think Greta and Bob would have gotten along very well--They would have shared a lot.

Garbo often traveled to County Donegal in Ireland to walk the remote areas surrounding Glenveigh Castle. Dylan removes himself to a place with a very similar romantic yet isolated feel--the Scottish Highlands.

Vent Vert
Headnotes of herbs and gardenia
heart of rose, jasmine, lily of the valley
in a base of vanilla and sandalwood

L'Heure Bleue

Headnotes of herbs and bergamot
heart of rose, carnation, violet
in an iris vanilla base

both are fresh floral evening scents.

*(I wrote about Lucien Lelong on August 14, 2007)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rumeur by Lanvin

Do you have problems with cats taking your charge cards and shopping online?
Do you feel this is wrong, but you don't know what to do once your cat has memorized the account number?

~Never leave your wallet where a cat can get it. High up in a kitchen cupboard? (They can find it.) Inside your coat pocket in a closet? (They have secretly mastered the doorknob principle and will go and get it while you are sleeping.)

~Hope that they don't spend too much and that they buy something for you ... something you wanted.

~Try and talk to your cat about budgeting. Most cats are willing to pretend to listen.

Rumeur by Lanvin

I was given a generous sample of Rumeur by my friend Kali. At first it didn't impress-- not much but a sort of citrus fruity headnote. It took a while to warm up into a gorgeous rich magnolia scent. The original Rumeur was too floral for me, but perfumer Francis Kurkdjian's reformulation makes the lilac and magnolia notes work well together. For a warm scent it is very clean and fresh. It lasted about 7 hours, drying down into its pleasant musk base. It smells like fresh spring air, probably due to the lilac note. I'd certainly like a bottle of it. (Photo of perfume: Lord & Taylor)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dennis vs. Chedwick

I am small and don't complain all that much.

(Please excuse me while I complain about Dennis.)
Dennis is large and never stops complaining or asking for things. His mouth is open in almost every picture because he is always whining about something or yelling at somebody. The food is never quite right, it is too hot in summer and too cold in winter, someone 'looked' at him, someone else ignored him, he demanded Ugg boots and got them! He goes through the trash like a dog!

Dennis hisses at me for no reason. He disrupts my naps. Does anyone disrupt his naps? No, they don't. (Personally, I am thrilled when he naps.)

I wanted to post these photos so people wouldn't confuse me with Dennis, even though I look nothing like him. You may or may not remember Dennis from The Hermes Bel Ami Cologne fiasco a few months ago.

Dennis and I are about the same age...I think he took steroids or something.

Dennis can be a real bully--especially when he's hopped up on catnip as he is in this picture--that's me inside the hatbox. That's Dennis with some leftover catnip in the foregound. How does Dennis get through life? He manipulates people--he can be soooo lovely dovey when he wants to snuggle with Portable Hair Dryer Girl.

Dennis wants to muscle in on my blog. Dennis is very muscular, so I am letting him. Plus Portable Hair Dryer Girl is sympathetic towards him for reasons unfathomable. So you may see more of Dennis in future posts.

Dennis vs. Chedwick...and the winner is: Dennis! (sigh)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snow Update

Today's snow cannot be classified as 'winning' snowfall. The contest is still on.

What languages do you speak?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bob Dylan & Tina Turner

I hereby declare this a lazy weekend.
Just for lounging around, reading, listening to music, blogging...

...and wearing perfume, of course.