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Remember last May when Top Cat and I went to the Orkney Islands (seen in blue off the north coast of Scotland) and how, for some reason, we got off on the wrong foot from Day One and could never get in sync for the 10 days we were traveling, which resulted in us bitching at each other for the entire time we were on the road? Oh, sure, it was hilarious when I wrote about it later, but living through it was terrible. It’s a form of torture, when you are forced to spend every waking minute with the person whose face makes you want to hit them with a chair.

I’d say that now, with so many of us in quarantine and house-bound 24/7 with our spouses, that you all have the potential to experience first-hand your very own hellish Orkney Island Scenario.

But I’ve been there and back, literally [round trip to/from Orkney without getting charged with manslaughter], so allow me to enlighten you on how to get through this hellish COVID Togetherness.

Tip #1: When your spouse insists on watching MSNBC on the TV while listening to a college radio station at the same time, be sure to say in a loud, clear voice: JESUS CHRIST TURN THAT SHIT OFF NOBODY THINKS THE WHITE STRIPES ARE COOL ANY MORE. The more clearly you communicate how crappy you think your spouse’s TV and musical tastes are, the better your chances that your spouse will just shut everything down and go sulk upstairs, leaving you alone in your well-deserved peace and quiet.

Tip #2: If your house was built before “open plan” became a thing, it doesn’t matter how many square feet you have, you and your spouse will be bumping into each other many times a day in the poorly designed “flow” of the place. Usually it’s the long, narrow hallway from the living room to the kitchen, which cannot accommodate two people at the same time yet it’s always where you both seem to end up about twice every fucking half-hour. When that happens, it’s good to remind your spouse FOR FUCK’S SAKE SOCIAL FUCKING DISTANCING, SOCIAL FUCKING DISTANCING! Make sure you say this loud enough so the neighbors can hear, so they will know how seriously you are taking your responsibility to keep our society safe and healthy.

Tip #3: In a confined space, you’ll be looking at your spouse a lot, which means that you’ll be seeing a lot that you wish you hadn’t seen. Be sure to criticize their slobby personal grooming (YO DUDE WHAT IS THAT SHIT ON YOUR FACE, TOOTHPASTE OR DROOL?) their disgusting snacking ( YOU DIP THAT APPLE INTO THE  MAYONNAISE JAR ONE MORE TIME  AND WE’RE GOING FULL-OUT FIGHT CLUB)   and their shitty new pandemic pastimes (STOP PLAYING TIC TAC TOE WITH THE CAT YOU KNOW THE CAT ALWAYS WINS) because they obviously can’t help themselves.

TIP #4: When your spouse looks at your phone over your shoulder and comments that Gee, you seem to have a lot of pictures of young K-Pop stars in tight jeans on your Twitter feed, now is the time to remind them that the last time they could fit into tight jeans was before these K-Pop stars were born, which can be very motivating. But just for good measure, you can also use your best “Screaming at a BTS concert” voice when you add: AND BACK THE FUCK UP, I HATE IT WHEN YOU BREATHE ON ME.

I hope these tips will be as helpful to you as they were to Top Cat and I when we went through our Orkney ordeal. We also drank a lot on that trip. Separately. He’d go to a pub and I’d settle in with a bottle of wine in the hotel room and we wouldn’t have to look at each other until the next morning. That helps too.

And speaking of Orkney…

…many of you have been wondering where in the world is The Stromness Rock?

(The rock that I found in the village of Stromness, Orkney, hidden in the  parking lot of a seafood shop that is part of a game the villagers were playing, where people find painted rocks, upload a photo on Facebook, and hide it for someone else to find. I contacted the person in charge and was given permission to take The Rock home to America with me, and the Dear Readers of this blog have been showing our Scottish Stone the sights (so far) of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington state, Oregon, and California.)

So, Where is The Rock? Here’s a hint:

Can you see our Scottish friend waving from the base of the flag pole?

The Rock arrived in the great Lone Star State just in time to be quarantined with Dear Reader Rachel and her husband Don. But The Rock is happy to get some of that great Texas sunshine and hang with the indigenous flora:

More species of cacti are found in Texas than in any other state. In fact, the Prickly Pear cactus is the state plant of Texas. Now, just because I wrote a book about gardens doesn’t mean that I know a damn thing about plants, so let’s just call the one (above) Stabby Sticks, and the one (below) Jazz Hands:

The Rock has never seen a cactus before, being from a northern latitude that makes “home” feel more like Anchorage, Alaska than Central Texas. If you have never seen a cactus in your life, your first impression of them is that they are extra-terrestrial, and it’s a good thing that The Rock is a huge sic-fi nerd and felt right at home with these creatures. Here’s The Rock relaxing, below, with the famous Texas Upside Down Splat cactus:

This is not a cactus:

This is Dudley, and he’s confused.

The Rock has a very strong Scottish accent, and Cò am balach math? sounds more like a hedgehog gurgling with Dr. Pepper than Who’s a good boy? in Scots. Relax, Dudley. Everyone knows who’s a good boy. (It’s you, Dudley. It’s always you. You’re the only dog in the house.)

Some people say that Texas ladies are the epitome of southern beauty. . .

LeeAnn and What’s Her Name from the Real Housewives of Dallas

. . . and some people say that they look as if they’ve barely managed to survive an explosion in a make up factory, but the point is that Texas ladies are glamorous. The Rock was clearly out-classed when it came to hanging out with the locals:

Texans are some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever find here win these United States, and they tried to make The Rock feel accepted as one of them. . .

. . . but the truth is that The Rock has logged about 7,000 miles on this road trip so far and is beginning to look a bit worn out:

SO GUESS WHAT HAPPENED!

The Rock got a facelift!

I’m insanely jealous. The Rock got a facelift before I got mine and it’s a sad day when a Scottish stone gets an update while I’m still stuck with the same face I’ve been dragging around since George McGovern ran for president. The Rock is SO PLEASED with the result of its makeover that it shines, as if it were lit from within, below, in this field of Texas Blue Bonnets:

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. I’ll be googling the COVID timeline, looking for information for when it’s OK to have elective surgery again, but you all, please ignore me and go binge watch Crash Landing Into You on Netflix. It’s very funny, as funny as North Korea gets.

Our regularly scheduled Fuck Trump post is in a separate post  this week, immediately following this looooong public service announcement. I wanted to give you a chance to get up and go make a cup of tea before you dive into Part Two.

Enjoy.

 

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Well, let’s start with the press conference held on March 22, when NBC reporter Peter Alexander posed this question:

Peter Alexander responds:

Jon Zal pointed out something important about this exchange:

P.S. Jon Zal is a writer and former U.S. Army Military Police K-9 Handler. Originally from Boston, he now resides in the Philadelphia area. He blogs at JonZal.com.

And that’s all you need to know about Der Drumpf is leading us to winning so much over this flu-like “nothing” that we’re all going to be so tired of winning when this is over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In late February, I went to Florida on a packed plane that included several babies, including one who screamed the whole time and I wanted to punch the mother for bringing an infant with ear problems ON A PLANE.

Four days later I came back from Florida on a plane that was 3/4 full and the only baby was waaaaay in the back.

The next week, I went to Los Angeles on a plane that was half empty and had NO BABIES and I gave the guy sitting next to me a hand sanitizer wipe and we became such good friends (who didn’t talk to one another the whole 6 hours YAY) that he offered me the Ghiradelli chocolate that came with our lunch. Five days later, I came home from Los Angeles with Top Cat on a plane that was 3/4 empty, had no babies or old people on it, and everyone was keeping themselves to themselves and maintaining their distance even during the scrum to de-plane.

I’ll say one thing about this plague. It’s given me some outstandingly pleasant travel experiences.

Last week I had every intention to blog about my LA trip and show you what I had for lunch in Koreatown:

When the waitress set the table I had to google “Why did I get scissors with my spicy noodles in a Korean restaurant?”

I also had a story about an epic instance of mansplaining during an Uber ride, and how it poured rain for four of the five days I was there prompting me to spend an entire day in our rental apartment doing nothing but watching 4th-century BC costume drama porn a Chinese historical drama on my iPad not talking to anyone and no one talking to me IT WAS HEAVEN, and etc.

But now that things have got bad, it seems poor taste to make light of the hardships that our hard-working fellow citizens and our nation are going through. . .

. . . so let’s dive right in:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My gym is closed so I’m improvising daily workouts here at home but lordy, I miss my gym buddies who are always there to recommend ways to fine-tune my weight-lifting program and to tell me that I have such pretty hair. My Korean lessons have shifted from our weekly get-togethers on 32nd Street to on-line streaming and I miss the jokes that are only funny when you’re in a classroom with 10 other people who get it when someone mutters, “Oh, right, the Joseon dynasty.” I can’t play with my BFF because she has lung cancer and has to avoid people even more than she usually does so, when it comes to day-drinking and thinking up ways to not act my age, I’m on my own now.

French Quarter Fest has been cancelled, so there goes the annual trip to New Orleans that Top Cat and I take every April.

I’m pretty sure that BTS is going to have to cancel their American tour (April 25 – June 6), for which I have tickets for both nights when they are at Giants Stadium May 23 and 24. Getting those tickets through Ticketmaster via a special platform open only to pre-registered ARMY (BTS fans) (to avoid scalpers) was an ordeal that one of my fellow ARMYs likened to “The Hunger Games”. In 1974 I once stood on line for five hours to get tickets to see Elton John at the Philadelphia Spectrum; getting BTS tickets was far worse. I’m really upset about this.

The upside is that, so far, the neighborhood has been very village-y, like the time Super Storm Sandy came to town and knocked out power for six days. People are actually out on the back streets, taking walks, TOGETHER. Even through social distancing, people say Hi when you pass, because we know that we are all in this together. I was in the parking lot of our local Total Wine store, loading the car with eight bottles of vodka and a case of pino grigio, I made eye contact with the woman doing the same in the SUV parked next to me and she smiled and said, “Well, at least we got the important stuff done!”

This morning I made an early morning run to the grocery store to stock up on junk food — on my previous visits I had been too focused on getting a supply of ground turkey, canned beans, rice, and tabasco sauce — and I tipped the cashier $10 and thanked her for being there.

THANK THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP THE GROCERY STORES OPEN!

During this time of sheltering in place, I have hours of Chinese and Korean TV to watch, I have a foreign language to learn, I have sooooo many emails to return, and sooooo much Twitter to catch up on every day. All I have to do to be an adult these days is stay home and not talk to anyone, ever. I think I can be really good at this.If not for the fact that this pandemic will be economically catastrophic to so many people and institutions, and profoundly alter our society in ways we can’t even anticipate yet, this could be the happiest time of my life.

 

Or, if you have a dog:

 

And if being cooped up with your family starts to fray your nerves, here’s some advise:

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be back next week for sure, now that certain functions of my computer are operating again and I can’t stand the guilt when I don’t show up for our regularly-scheduled chats.

And, oh yeah, Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Readers: Last week’s blog post is still up (immediately following this important announcement), but first I have to tell you that this week’s Fuck Trump-A-Thon will be postponed until Saturday, March 14.

I’m doing something fun on Friday the 13th and wanted to let you know that I won’t have sobered up until Saturday morning.

See you!

 

 

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After last week’s rant against capri pants I feel that, as a renowned fashion blogger, I owe you fine Readers some sincere advise about good taste.

This is a Must Have for those of you who want to show the world your  style-consciousness:

You can get this on Amazon for $16.99. It comes in 10 colors (I got mine in black, because I always go classic) and can be worn by any human being who has a heart and a few brain cells. (P.S. That’s not me in the photo. I’ll post a pic of me when I find the charger to my camera.)

I wouldn’t wear this T-shirt to Costco or when I volunteer to read stories to children at the library, but it might come in handy on Election Day (a mere 269 days away).

Another thing I forgot to tell you about Florida was that the plane home from Southwest International Airport to JFK was deliciously roomy due to the fact that 1/3 of the seats were empty. Four days later, when Top Cat flew to San Fransisco, he told me that his flight was half full. I think the COVID-19 virus panic is starting to show its upside. I have to take a trip later this month and I’m hoping to have the plane all to myself.

 

 

 

 

For the past five weeks I’ve been schlepping into Manhattan every Saturday afternoon to hang out in Koreatown and I feel great. There is no panic on 32nd Street.

I’m going to Koreantown to take my Korean language beginner class with emphasis on learning to read the written form of it and the book we are using is called Korean Made Easy which is annoying because, as is true of every thing that promises to make losing weight, finding enlightenment, or earning $100,00 in your spare time EASY, it is a lie.

Very few things in life are really, truly EASY and learning a foreign language isn’t one of them. I don’t need to be sold on a new adventure with the pitch that it will be EASY and it’s embarrassing that we live in a culture that makes those kinds of promises. I don’t mind it if something will be hard, I’m willing to make sacrifices and dig in and do the work, except for dentistry. I really wish there was an easy way to keep your teeth looking good in your 60s but it seems that can’t be done without a LOT of work.

I’ve been spending some quality time with my dentist lately and even though all I have to do is sit still for 40 minutes at a time, it’s the hardest thing I’ve done in the past decade or so because for some reason, my dentist insists that I remain conscious during our sessions so, good-bye dreams of a propofol snooze and waking up with beautiful teeth.

Thank you, modern dentistry and Mr and Mrs Kim of Deagu, South Korea, for this.

In the end it will be worth it, but meantime I can’t decide if modern dentistry is a miracle that saves us from an old age of hideous toothlessness, or if it’s just medieval barbarity with 21st century tools.  I’m doing it the hard way, one tortuous thousand bucks at a time, and the sad thing is that I’m usually in so much discomfort when we finish that I can’t even tolerate a glass of wine as my just reward. Warm water mixed with honey is my drink of choice lately. No wonder I’ve been in a bad mood since Ground Hog Day.

I want to thank all of you — Christine, Tracy, Megan, Angel, Margaret, Steve, Carol, Mae, Karen, Marilyn, Megan, Casey, Jeanie, Kirra, and Maryanne in SC — for your kind words about Lickety. It’s been a month and I still get those jarring reality checks when I remember that Lickety won’t be showing up for breakfast any more.  Or  this:

 

 

in memory of a Really Good Cat, this week’s installment of our regularly scheduled Resist-A-Thon is dedicated to Lickety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Have yourselves a wine cooler for me.

 

 

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There is nothing worse than going to Florida in February and spending a few days sitting outside on a balcony with a glass of wine and a good book in a warm sea breeze while watching a spectacular sun set on the Gulf of Mexico, and then coming back home to the north shore of Long Island and it’s still February, and you’re on the north shore, of Long Island, where it’s 29 degrees and everything in your backyard is dead, including Likety. I’m not in a good mood toady.

Weather in Florida is like a work of art, if you like works of art that are gorgeous, monumental, dramatic, and awe-inspiring. I LOVE the weather in Florida in February. There’s only one problem about the lovely weather in Florida. It’s in Florida.

Two words why I detest Florida: Capri Pants.

Just because they’re named after a beautiful Mediterranean island where billionaires like to park their yachts DOES NOT MEAN that you look like a billion bucks wearing them. Capri pants were invented by a Prussian dressmaker in 1948, to be worn by a new kind of human being that was created in the post-war years — teenagers. These days, no teenager would be caught dead in  Capri pants.

That’s because these days, capri pants are worn by every white-haired, fat-assed retiree in Florida, the kind who flock to Perkin’s Pancake House for the 4:30PM early bird dinners on Free Pie Mondays.

I get it. I get that Capri pants are supposed to be “fun”. They cover more than shorts, so you don’t have to expose your sad wrinkled knees, and they are shorter than regular pants, like cut-offs for the elderly. Woo hoo! Capri pants mean that you’re a free bird, a party animal, a pie-eater ready to rave ’til the six o’clock news comes on!

Some people don’t mind getting old, and giving up, and wearing Capri pants. But I’m not one of those people.

No, I want to avoid people who give Getting Old a bad name so I will not move to Florida full-time, but I do like a dose of it during February.

The only good thing about my comeback to the north shore of Long Island yesterday was the  movie that I watched on the two-hour flight back to New York. I can’t say enough good things about JoJo Rabbit.DO NOT WATCH to official trailer for the movie on YouTube — it gives away the plot twists.

Jo Jo is a ten-year-old Nazi and his best friend is Adolf Hitler, and it’s a comedy. I know it sounds deadly, but that’s all you need to know about this film going in. That’s about all I knew, but I was trapped on a plane so I gave it a chance. and I AM SO GLAD I DID!!

The movie was written and directed by a 44-year old native of New Zealand, Taika Waititi, whose birth name is Taika David Cohen.  His mother is Jewish and his father is Maori, and  Waititi calls himself a “Polynesian Jew”, in case you’re wondering why a Kiwi is telling a holocaust story.

Waititi also play Hitler in the movie, for which he won an Oscar this year for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I think Jo Jo Rabbit should have won Best Picture. It was one of the nine nominees this year, but Parasite won, and as hot as I am for anything Korean these days, I wasn’t crazy about Parasite and now I’m totally infatuated with Jo Jo Rabbit. I want to take Top Cat to see it just so I can see it again.

Go see it, even if you have to fly Delta from RSW to JFK to do it.

You will thank me.

And now for our regularly scheduled programming.

Fuck Trump.

 

This is absolutely true. Trump said this Feb 21, 2020 at a rally in Colorado Springs, CO. And the crowd cheered.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. Don’t do what I do:

 

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This is my favorite picture of me with the things that make me happy here on the north shore of Long Island: our backyard in Summer, a glass of wine, a newly-found Blue Jay feather, and Lickety.

Dear Ones, you knew you’d have to read these words sooner or later:

Lickety died, here at home, on Sunday, Feb. 9. He’s buried in a spot just behind the chairs in this photo.

On Saturday morning, Feb. 8, Lickety had a seizure under the dining room table.  We wrapped our sweet boy in a blankie and went straight to the vet’s office. It was 9:30am. We were ready to say good-bye, but Lickety wasn’t having it. While the vet examined him, Lickety roused himself and seemed more alert than he’d been in days. He paced the floor, stalking the examination room as if looking for an escape.

So the vet tested Lickety with a bowl of special high-calorie food, which Lickety gobbled down and asked for more. This made the vet think that Lickety was pretty perky and had more time left, and he advised us to take our boy home. He assured us that Lickety was not in pain, but warned us that “It’s going to be roller coaster, but he might have another month left.”

We bought a month’s supply of special food and took him home.

Lickety never ate another morsel of the stuff. On Saturday night he had another seizure, and was knocked out for about an hour. The vet explained that old, sick cats take a while to recover from these neural events but we shouldn’t panic, that eventually Lickety would come back to “normal”. So we put a blanket over him and waited, and he did come back, to almost “normal”.

However, he looked weak on Sunday morning, even though he joined the other cats for breakfast, as usual (although he didn’t eat), and he sat on my lap, as usual, while top Cat and I read the Sunday paper.

After lunch, while Lickety was walking out of the living room, he fell down and couldn’t get up. It didn’t look like another seizure; it looked like Lickety was simply running out of energy. I sat with him until he got the strength to pick himself up, and he wobbled into the den.

That’s when Lickety settled in under the coffee table there, and went to sleep.

In the late afternoon, he woke up all of a sudden and had a rather big seizure, and this time he didn’t come back to anything near “normal”. He seemed to be in a daze, his breathing was fast and shallow, his eyes staring at something that was not in the room. I laid him down on a fluffy blanket that he liked and put him back under the coffee table. I was lying down on the floor next to him, stroking his head, talking to him, telling him that we loved him, and that it was OK to go.

After a few hours, he jerked awake, raised his head a little, drew himself in as if he were curling up to go to sleep, and exhaled. His body went limp in my hands, and he was dead. It was 7:32 PM.

I don’t recommend this kind of home death for every cat. Death is hard, and slow. But with Lickety, I didn’t rush him to the emergency vet when we knew he was dying on Sunday because he had convinced me that he did not want to spend his last moments of life in a hospital, having made such a show of being a strong kitty at the vet’s office and hoodwinking us into taking him home.

I believe that this is the death that Lickety wanted. I’ve had a lot of cats, and I’ve seen cats die in many ways, from heart attacks in the living room to dropping dead under my kitchen table to the preferred last visit to the vet, to stuff you don’t want to know about. And you all, I know,  have a sense about what your beloved animal companions need and want at the end of their lives. So, I’m trusting my instinct on this.

Death is such a huge thing that even when a small, frail kitty dies, it rips a huge hole in reality. We had a dead cat in our den, and the whole house seemed off its axis. Top Cat and I were numb, too numb to cry, so we covered our dear boy with a linen napkin and made martinis. And then we made some more martinis.

We buried him the next morning.

This is one of the reasons that I love Twitter. This (above) came up in the tl at just the right time.

So, as you know, life goes on. And on. And on.

When I die, I want people to be absolutely miserable for about 24 hours, and then I want them to remember me and laugh. Really big laughs.

So:

 

And, oh yeah: Fuck Trump.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

XXOO

 

 

 

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Thank you for checking back, Dear Readers. Our boiler is fixed but now it’s Saturday and I have a date with some Korean pastries and ginger honey tea this afternoon so I must run, but here’s your weekly newsfeed.

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Dear Readers —

Today’s blog will be late due to our boiler being broken and it’s too damn cold in the house to type. The guys are here fixing things now, but I’m heading out to a friend’s warm house to play with kittens and concoct a pitcher of Sangria to go along with all the cuteness.

Check back later tonight, or tomorrow morning. I’ll be back when the ice on the inside of our den windows melts.

Vivian

 

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My bad mood started on January 17, 2017.

 

Now that the gas giant who calls himself POTUS has been given free rein by the Republicans to make America the  kind of shithole country that actually deserves to have Trump as president, it looks to me as if we are well and truly fucked.

And since the goddam Democrats can’t even run a dinky caucus right, it looks to me as if Trump will cruise to another term.

I hope this is the end of fucking Iowa, who claims that they deserve to go first in the primaries because their citizens are so above-average in political awareness, such as this:

So she asked if she could change her caucus vote. Because even though she supported him, she did not know he was gay and she didn’t want “that” in the White House. My other complaint is: Shit, girl: how can you go out in public without even combing your hair??

 

I’m in a bad mood. I might be in a better mood tomorrow and I might post the story I was planing on telling today, but then again, if Trump is still president when I wake up tomorrow I might just say fuck it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone.

BTW, can anybody from Australia explain this to me, please?:

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