October 2017

There used to be a blog post here, that had a picture of Taffy being passive aggressive with Bibs:

And how I successfully froze a small quantity of Vouvray while speculating on the pros and cons of drinking wine fro breakfast:

And how Top Cat and I are heading out into the wilds of Long Island to search for a paintable Fall leaf:

But then it disappeared and I apologize to the Commentors who were kind enough to leave a thought or two, and to all you Dear Readers who are wondering why there is not new news from VivianWorld this week . . .

Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was 101 years, 4 months, and 26 days old when she died in 2002, a fact that was relevant to the blog post that the internet ate here.

. . . but I do not have the energy or the memory to re-create the Blog Post That Went Away.

 

Let’s meet back here on Friday and bring your watercolors and your patience. We’re going to watch paint dry!

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Leading with the cat story: You might recognize Mr. Fluffy (above), a cat I found in my backyard at the end of last Winter who now lives with his wonderful forever family in Washington, D.C. Well, this week I had to go to see my doctor, about getting that brain transplant I’ve always wanted (cross your fingers for a donor who thinks up smutty zombie novels so I can sell a million books and retire to a chateau in France), and as part of the pre-surgery evaluation I had to have my blood pressure taken. I like to impress people with my Zen-like blood pressure, because it’s so much easier than impressing people by actually doing something worthwhile out in the world.

So there I was, having this yearly physical while wearing a skimpy hospital gown in a freezing examination room, facing a horrifying drawing of blood at the end point of this doctor/patient tete-a-tete, and I had to get Zen ASAP. So I conjured up the most relaxing, happy image I have stored in my [current, soon-to-be-excised] brain. I envisioned, in detail, what it’s like to hold the darling Mr. Fluffy; the way he drops his head onto your shoulder, and wraps his floofy tail around your wrist, the way he purrs, and how you never want to let go of that big warm furry hunk of cattitude.

“118 over 80”, the doctor said. “Excellent!”

I love that cat.

Are you as excited as I am about the big holiday coming up this Saturday, October 14???  Me too!!!

October 14, 2017 will be the 951st anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, in which the French nobleman, William, Duke of Normandy, invaded England in 1066 and defeated the last Anglo-Saxon monarch, Harold II, bringing language and a class system and order to the island kingdom, yadda yadda yadda.

Most importantly, this grand event (called The Norman Conquest) produced the world’s most extraordinary work of art: The Bayeux Tapestry. This is the work of art that I made sure to include in my first illustrated travel memoir, When Wanderers Cease to Roam,  because I was not sure if the fates would permit me to publish a second book and I had to get it on record that if the planet is ever on the brink of doom and we have to choose the  one single artifact of our civilization to shoot up in a rocket in the hope that alien life will find it and understand what a fine species we humans used to be, it has to be The Bayeux Tapestry.

See: When Wanderers Cease to Roam, pages 154 and 155, for those of you reading along.

From When Wanderers Cease to Roam, in the chapter called: October is the Coyote Month.

I have loved the Tapestry since I discovered it when I was 10 years old and read about it in the August 1966 issue of The National Geographic. (I still have that copy, now a highly sought-after ephemera valued at $5.00, worth reading if only for the description of the old lace museum that used to house the Tapestry before it was installed in its current glitzy edifice, if you care about those things which most people don’t.)

I have been to Bayeux many times, and brought all my fiances that I didn’t marry and both my husbands to Bayeux to see this Tapestry, because Love Me, Love The Bayeux Tapestry is my No. 1 Rule of Life.

I have been inspired by the Tapestry because it has the impertinence to call itself a tapestry when it’s actually an embroidery  and because of the horses. I’m not a horsey gal, but I like the horses of Bayeux and have sewn my own versions of them many times (see tea bag for size ref):

I can show you ten more pieces like this, with horses running in the opposite direction too, but you get the drift.

And recently, due to the lack of my being able to think up some killer zombie novel with a strong female lead that will sell to Hollywood or HBO, I’ve been keeping myself busy by painting in acrylic, what else, the horses of Hastings (see tea bag for size ref):

Work In Progress. It needs more horses, and a few zombies.

To celebrate the 951st anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, I have bought the perfect present for the most recent husband who went to Bayeux with me:

This is a package of milk chocolate malt balls from England,  Artisan du Chocolate.

Top Cat does not like milk chocolate malt balls even though these are very nice in that they have an extra-thick coating of chocolate. So I will give this package to him empty, and he will love it.

You see, Top Cat is a package designer and printer and he loves good examples of extraordinary design.

This package is made from one single piece of paper. It is scored and folded in a very complicated way to make this geometric sphere made of triangular and square faces which I wish I knew the name of. It is really good packaging. It is the Queen of boxes.

If you were captivated by my un-boxing demonstration in last Wednesday’s blog post, you will find this next picture fascinating:

I have just un-boxed air, which is a first in the annals of un-boxing.

In 2014 there was a woman who made $4.9 MILLION dollars by recording herself un-boxing Disney toys and then uploading the videos to YouTube.

I would never have thought of hitting it rich by un-boxing Disney toys. I really need a new brain.

Here’s your Friday dose of Lickety:

He’s still napping in strange, new places. He hs never gone onto the kitchen table before and right after I snapped this pic, he redecorated by shoving all those books (behind him) onto the floor.

Have a great 951st anniversary of the Battle of Hastings everyone.

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One of the beings in this photo is responsible for breaking a lot of dishes last month. Hint: It’s not Taffy, and it’s not Lickety.

I’m taking Dear Reader and Commentor Patricia’s advice: Lead with the cats.

Last month I went out of town for a weekend and while I was away there happened a dishwashing incident  which depleted our inventory by three dinner plates, one salad bowl, and one drinking glass.

Our previous inventory of dinner plates served us well, five in total, being that there are only two of us in the house who use plates for dinner. But now, because of the infamous dishwashing incident, we were down to two dinner plates in total, and we soon discovered that being a two-plate family did not really suit our lifestyle of opulence and luxury. I needed to shop for new plates.

Note to Top Cat: Please get a bigger lap. Your current lap does not meet my requirements. From: Lickety, on the edge of the couch.

My original set of five dinner plates was what was left of a mis-matched collection of bits that I’d found in thrift shops in the past 20 years so, at first, I was all excited about shopping for new dinner plates. For I have changed since my thrift shop days and  it turns out that I now rather like the housewares section of Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Nordstrom’s, and I love Home Goods.

But in the hours I spent wandering amongst the brand-new china I never saw anything that I liked more than my old favorites, the ones that were in pieces in the local landfill. Those were the dinner plates I wanted. My old, lost, done-for dinner plates, of which I only ever had three that matched anyway. So I turned to the internet.

BTW, the more I type the word “plate”, the stranger that word feels in my brain. Plate. It’s not a pretty word at all, is it?  Any hoo. . .

. . . of course we all know that you can find ANYTHING on the internet, so after 15 minutes of browsing, I hit the Checkout button and lo, a mere four days later, a huge box was deposited on my doorstep:

Here’s where things get a little weird because here is where I discuss an internet thing that you might not have heard of. It’s called Unboxing. It’s a thing, especially on YouTube, where people watch other people unwrap, or unbox, some new item from its factory-sealed packaging. Millions of people watch people unbox stuff, and the best unboxers have followings that earn them big bucks in this strange, bizarre internet economy. Why do I bother writing books when I could unbox instead?

So for today, let’s consider ourselves to be part of this weird cult and let’s unbox, with the added attraction that, at the end, I will reveal the most perfect plates from which to fork up your dinner.

This unboxing experience comes to you thanks to a fabulous site, replacements.com, that will find the old stuff that matches the old stuff in your cupboards.

While we unbox (let’s face it, this really only works in video) let us think back upon the events in Las Vegas, which still bother me and, I’m sure, haunt you Dear Readers as well. The best we can do for each other is to do as was advised by Ms. Moon at  Bless Our Hearts:

Let’s try to be one of those people who remind others that this world is not all bad.

I think that’s the sanest thing I’ve heard in all the words that have been spoken and written about the great loss of life in Nevada, and is why I’m unboxing dinner plates and queuing up lots more cat photos for you all today. I’m trying to be one of those people.

Are you ready?

Ta-da: These are, in my expert opinion, the best dinner plates ever designed by mankind except for the Wedgwood that we only use for Thanksgiving because we don’t deserve to use it every day:

I looked closely at the stocking labels and yeah, that seemed about  right:

The word “snot” always makes me laugh.

For the record, SNOTETY stands for Studio Nova Terrace Twist, Yellow. Apparently these plates also come in red, white, and gray. But yellow is the best.

Replacements.com only had 7 of these yellow plates and I bought them all. In my original collection I only had three of them. Now I have 8 and I feel rich. (It doesn’t take much.) They were $7.99 per plate and I also found out from Replacements.com that my plates came out in the long lost year of — wait for it — 1987. I love the idea of having the ’80s on my table.

Here’s how good my favorite breakfast looks on these ’80s plates:

Toasted ciabatta bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pink Tibetan salt. Because I’m fancy.

The  only down side to this life-enhancing unboxing experience is that the plates came with a crap load of packaging:

Sorry about that, world.

I promise to re-use every bit of paper and styrofoam.

Since this blog post is all about making the world a better place, here’s a picture that is sure to make most of you Dear Readers happy although, unlike unboxing, there is no known name for this thing, which I will call: This Is My Kitchen, But That Is Not My Cat:

Top Cat and I came home one evening to find Dennis, our next door neighbor’s cat, in the kitchen. He had hopped in for breakfast that morning and I forgot that e was in the house and he forgot to leave. I am saying right here and now that finding your neighbor’s cat sitting in your kitchen like he owns the place should be a thing. A huge thing.

See that small pot on the stove? That is my Tea Kettle of Perfection. I got it about six months ago and it has made me happy every day, sometimes twice a day.

Yes, it’s just a regular one quart Calphalon pot, but it’s the best tea kettle I’ll ever have because, for one, I like a tea kettle that I can clean inside of.  For two, it has a glass lid so I can see when the water is boiling, which I just get a kick out of. And for three, it has a nice rubber-coated handle so I can lift the lid easily and not get my fingers steamed off.

For a person who thinks the word “snot” is hilarious, I have very connoisseur taste in tea pots, n’est-ce pas? 

And now for keeping the promise I made before the unhappiness in Las Vegas happened. This is how you can get your own happy daily flower from Claude Monet’s own garden in Giverny . . .

. . . in the form of a lovely desk calendar, photographed by Giverny resident and Monet garden tour guide Ariane Cauderlier.

The Monet’s garden calendar is on good, heavy paper stock, nice and glossy, very luxurious. Because it is a perpetual calendar, it can be used over and over, for many years to come, and it is only sold in Giverny.  It’s very easy to buy one for everyone you know because Ariane accepts payment by Paypal, and the French government charges minimal postage to send this anywhere in the world because, as an artifact of French culture, this calendar is shipped under special, very inexpensive, government rates. The total cost, postage included, is 26 US dollars or 22.50 euros.  France wants you to have this calendar!

You can contact Ariane at Giverny News and brush up on your French while you’re at it. (Ariane speaks and writes perfect English, and a few other languages as well. But not Strine.)

This is today’s photo from Giverny, of Claude Monet’s dining room, by Ariane (on her blog, Giverny News). Please note the plate in the center of the table, under the vase. Look familiar?

And as another treat, Ariane sent me more cat photos from Claude Monet’s world famous garden in Giverny for your viewing pleasure. Please meet Eden, the dear heart who reigned over the Clos Normand until last Winter, when she crossed the rainbow bridge:

Eden in Eden:

Todays’s special Wednesday post was brought to you by my favorite flower of all:

The Cosmo.

I am glad that through all the chaos and noise, that you, Dear Reader, have found your way to this gentle corner of the cosmos where teapots, Giverny cats, perpetual flowers, and 1980s dinner plates are a thing.

And because I haven’t said it in a while, der Drumpf is still a huge, slimy, steaming piece of shit who makes the world a terrible place with every utterance from his pig-eyed face and every Tweet from his short, fat, worm-like fingers.

See you back here on Friday.

xoxo

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October 1, last Sunday, was a day that I’d been looking forward to since July, when Top Cat got us the tickets to see my long-time main Number One Rock and Roll crush, Paul Weller, who was opening his North American tour right here on the beautiful North Shore of Long Island:

Ah, what can I say about Paul Weller that you don’t already know? The Daily Telegraph explains: “Apart from David Bowie, it’s hard to think of any British solo artist who’s had as varied, long-lasting, and determinedly forward-looking a career.” Paul Weller is touring in support of his 25th studio album, called A Kind Revolution.

How much do I love Paul Weller? In my 40s, I flew to London for a weekend just to see his two shows at the Royal Albert Hall, back when I was a freelance journalist and pretty much broke all the time; I jumped onstage during the encore and danced, which made blowing my entire monthly budget totally worth it.

For this show on the beautiful Sunday evening in 2017, Top Cat had paid extra $$ for seats in the civilized section on the mezzanine but I chose to stand in the pit for two hours, right in front of the stage, where I could feast my eyes and ears upon my alternate universe third husband, at such an awkward angle that the pain in the neck still ached four days later. Totally Worth It. It was a fabulous concert.

When Paul banged out the first chords of My Ever-changing Moods, I heard a guy next to me exclaim to his girlfriend that he’s never heard Paul do that in concert so I yelled to him, “Me neither! And I’ve seen him 9 times!!” The guy gave me a high five and we both were as giddy as teenagers as Paul laid into a song that means the best time in my life in the 1980s to me:

Daylight turns to moonlight, and I’m at my best

Praising the way it all works, and gazing upon the rest

I used to wonder when I would stop hanging out in grungy concert halls, when I’d refrain from jumping up and down in the mosh pit when the band played my favorite song, or at what age I would desist in screaming for More! More! More! Well, the time for me to stop having fun wasn’t last Sunday.

The most hilarious moment in the Weller experience came early, when Top Cat and I were entering the building on the way to the concert hall. We had to pass through metal detectors, which I thought was a bit ridiculously gangsta for a venue that holds about 2500 people, for a show where the average age of the concert-goers was 55. The really funny part came when Top Cat was held up by Security, and a guy with metal detecting wand was quizzing my dear sweet husband over the Swiss Army knife in his pocket. I tried to get a souvenir photo of my trouble-making  Top Cat with his arms and legs spread eagle, but I wasn’t quite fast enough. All I got was a snap of Top Cat getting the All Clear:

So we gained entry, the concert happened, and we left at 11:30 with our ears ringing the way they do after you abuse them with music played at the same decibels level as a jet engine. It was late when we went to bed, righteously exhausted, so we did not hear the news about the shooting at a Las Vegas concert until the next morning.

I don’t know who Jason Aldean, the headliner at that festival in Las Vegas, is, but I’ve read that he’s a Country singer with a slew of Number One hits, with lots of fans who, like me on Sunday October 1, had been looking forward to this special night for a long while, who were dancing their hearts out and singing along with their favorite songs, and who were pretty stinking happy to be with a whole lot of other people who liked the same kind of good time.

They say that the shooter doesn’t fit the profile of a mass murderer. They say that because the shooter was a rich white guy the same age as my Top Cat. I wish the security at the Mandalay was as suspicious of older white guys as they were on the north shore of Long Island.

A mouthpiece for the the Fox News/Far Right said that, in America, going to a concert means you must assume the risk of ending up as one of 58 dead or 489 wounded because “that’s the price of freedom“.

We can bloviate all we want, but we all know that nothing will change. We all know that this is the America we live in now.

After all these years, there is nothing left to say.

The 58 souls we lost in Las Vegas deserve better, but so did all the other hundreds who have lost their lives going to college, going to elementary school, going to high school, going out dancing, going to work, because that’s the price of freedom.

Virginia Tech

Sandy Hook   

Pulse Nightclub

Fort Hood

San Bernardino

Columbine

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This is not the post that I wanted to write this week. When we get together, you and me, Dear Readers, every Friday, I like our time together to be about the grandeur that is every day life, the small, stand alone moments that literature pretends doesn’t take up 99% of being alive: doing laundry, crossing off items on the daily To Do List, running to get the camera because the cats are doing something really cute, going through the mail, watching the clock until it’s 5 o’clock and you can pour a glass of wine without feeling like you’re a degenerate, trying to find something to wear that makes you look 5 pounds thinner, making tea, looking out the window, wishing you were in London, thinking about 5 o’clock, etc.

So please join me for a rare mid-week post on Wednesday, October 11, so we can catch up on the mountainous molehills that I had planned on writing about. There will be cats.

Have a safe weekend, everyone.

xoxo

 

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