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The blizzard hit on Sunday, and I didn’t leave the house until Thursday. But I did spend some time watching the critters that act like they own my backyard (from the picture window in the den).

This backyard cardinal is for Teri, Barbara, Jacqueline, and everyone who doesn’t have cardinals in the backyard. (The lady cardinals are even flightier than the males – if they see your shadow they flit: phhhhhht. That’s why I don’t have a lady cardinal picture for you but I’m still trying.)

And for all you who have never actually seen with their own eyes cat tracks in the snow, this is what they look like:

And for those of you who have never tracked the elusive Northeastern Backyard Slouch Cat in the snow, here he is:

And this is the rare Long Island Monster Moocher Cat, migrating from his cubby in the basement to the back porch of the neighbor’s house where , if he can catch the neighbor lady’s eye, she will think he is cute and bring him a bowl of Fancy Feast (they are very wiley, those Long Island Monster Moocher Cats):

You never know what you’re going to see, looking out that picture window in the den:

New Year’s Eve! For me and Top Cat that means champagne and pizza, a fire in the livingroom [in the fireplace], and a movie — my sister gave me a DVD of The Secret World of Henry Orient that will be the prefect movie to watch — and bedtime around 10.

But we have something a little extra to celebrate this New Year’s Eve:

I xeroxed the finished manuscript of The Damn France Book today (57 black and white pages, 147 color pages, about $50.00 worth of xeroxing) and will deliver it to my editor on Jan. 3 . Unlike word-writers, who only have to print off a file copy of their ms., us word-and-picture writers have to make a whole “fake” book to submit to our editors, so I have to bind all my pages in a nice dummy so my ed. can see how I’ve designed all those verso/recto pages. Actually, the publishing contract originally called for the manuscript to be submitted on a CD, but I crossed that part out and wrote in a clause that explained that my ms. does not exist as a digital file so they better be happy with a good old paper version. Even if I knew how to submit a totally eletronic version of my manuscript I wouldn’t want to do it: my books, even in manuscript form, have to be read on paper.

(Yeah; editing me is so 1970s.)

So I’m welcoming in the new year as a chance to start some new projects, try out some new ventures, challenge myself to learn some new skills and take my work in new directions. And I do hope that everyone reading this is also going to use 2011 to take their lives and their work to the next level — whatever the next level is (I’ve heard a lot about it and I think I’d like to be there).

We’re in this together.

2011: To The Next Level And Beyond!


13 comments to Safari in the snow.

  • Happy New Year, Vivian!

    Can’t wait to see your new book.

    Nice pix out your window.


  • Sallyann

    I so want to take my life to the next level. I realized that I had so many learning and growing experiences in 2010. Now I want to use those experiences to move myself into places I have only dreamed of before.
    I am finishing up a writing class. And now have the confidence to take my writing to the next level. I will no longer say I would like to become a writer. Now I will say I AM a writer and give myself the time and energy to be just that.I am so glad that we will journey along together.

  • Rachel

    I am celebrating New Years by passing a kidney stone. I can HARDLY WAIT until I reach the next level on that one. But also have been doing some drawing and painting, inbetween. Wishing you and TC and all the Under Cs a lovely New Years and a great New Year. Hugs, Rachel

  • Joan/Jesse

    A very Happy New Year to all. I don’t have Cardinals in my back yard…they chose not to visit Las Vegas even tho’ this is the western “Times Square”, 300,000 visitors will freeze their fannies off, it will be 28F here tonight.

    We’re staying home and will watch TV until about 9 pm, then it’s beddy bye for this old couple.

    I found my beloved Abbysinian cat, Kitter Pye, dead in the living room early morning on the 19th of Dec. I’m still reeling from the shock and grief of losing this beloved cat…he was only 4 yrs old. All other cats have lived to very old ages. So this is a time to hope for finding another cat to welcome into our loving home.


  • Jen

    Vivian, congratulations on your finished manuscript! That’s very exciting and so much work. Enjoy any new creative directions you take this year!


  • Deborah

    A couple of years ago, I decided to pick a theme for the year rather than mess with resolutions. That first year, the theme was art — I bought an illustrated book about ceasing to roam; I bought colored pencils and sketch pads; I considered taking an online course in art journaling (and decided against it); I played with polymer clay and found that more rewarding than drawing.

    This year’s theme was ‘dogs’ with special focus on training them. I’d lined up a gig assisting a dog trainer, but all that was short-circuited on account of illness. I was thinking I’d really crapped out on the theme, but then along came A Small Furry Prayer and Rancho de Chihuahua, and the year ended with a flurry of dog stuff.

    For 2011, I’d chosen learning about economics with an emphasis on growing the nest egg, but now that I’ve seen this post, I’m thinking that maybe guerilla art involving nests would be more fun. Ultreya! Onward and upward.

  • Happy New Year Vivian and many thanks for the pleasure and enjoyment you have given me over the past year.
    I have been away and had some catching up to do so I have to tell you now that I was truly amazed by the superhuman effort you made to produce your lovely card! You deserve a gold star!

  • Barbara Lemme

    Happy 2011, Vivian. It is so exciting to know the France Book is on the way to the publishers and then into our hands. I can hardly wait.

  • Nadine

    To Joan/Jesse,

    My condolences for your loss of Kitter Pye.


  • Jeannie

    The Long Island Moocher looks very similar to the Columbia Basin Lounge Lizard. He has never met a lady he couldn’t sweet talk out of a few treats. Happy New Year and I am ready for “the moon and beyond”. Cheers

  • Love the cardinal. He must be very special to father eggs that are shiny and colorful like those. :-)

  • Hi Vivian. Congratulations on the finished manuscript. I sent you an e-mail a little while ago. Small world – the Teri I mentioned in it is one of your commenters.

  • Joan/Jesse

    Nadine: Thank you so much for the sweet thoughts about losing Kitter Pye…


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