Life is Hard When You Don’t Have your Favorite Tea Cup

Horrors. This week I broke my favorite tea cup:


Well, truth to tell, I actually “broke” it several months, maybe a year, ago. I chipped it during dish washing:


And just last week it finally decided to start leaking. Woe, woe, woe is I.  For now, I’m using my second favorite tea cup:


Speaking of cats…

This is Lickety, giving his brother Taffy a quick spit-and-polish:

But it’s un-cat like to stay awake for long:


Good thing Taffy doesn’t mind sharing his second favorite blankie:


Taffy also doesn’t seem to mind sharing his sofa with his arch enemy, Bibs, the outside cat who, after three years of training has finally learned how to come inside when we hold the back door open for him:




And now for a few pictures of cute tootsies:




That last cat (above) is not mine. She’s not even American. This is a photo of a shop cat that my sister recently sent me from Argentina. What you can’t see is that she is wearing a pink ribbon whilst she poses in a stall in an antiques/thrift market. A pink neck ribbon! How Cuuuuuuuute. My sister sends cat pix from all over the world. And here is where I make another brilliant segue.

I try to stay on top of my emails. Every day I try to delete them as I answer/act on them as they come in, so imagine my surprise when I noticed last week that I had 4,909 emails sitting in my In Box. As I went thru them carefully, I found way too many that had been long buried in the pile-up. One email that I found was dated Oct. 29, 2014, from my sister, the world-roving cat photographer, mentioning that she was going to Kyrgyzstan for a week (she’s an intellectual property/copyright/customs lawyer/consultant specializing in second world countries in addition to being a world-roving cat photographer).

Yes, Kyrgyzstan. And I ever knew anything about it! Which is to say that if you have emailed me in the past 1 1/2 years and I have not responded, please accept my mille pardons. It’s nothing personal! It’s Yahoo Mail screwing with my In Box email scrolls, marking unread emails as “Read”! Really! I answer every single email I get, which is a dandy system as long as I get emails that don’t skip from my In Box right into the “Read” (past tense) file. I am still catching up — and I will respond to all your kind notes.

In other news, this week the cherry blossoms are giving it up to gravity:


While what may or may not be a Paulownia is still in bloom:


The picture of the may-or-may-not tree is from a recent outing to the village of Princeton, New Jersey, where Top Cat and I stopped for lunch two Sundays ago. It seems that there’s a rather beautiful and old university there, and the streets were packed with parents and alumni in town for a tradition that the kids call the Spring Lawn Party.


The various Eating Clubs associated with the university were each hosting a party, on their lawn. You had to be a Princeton student or grad to buy the wristband that lets you roam from lawn party to lawn party.


I never thought that I’d ever say this about 1%ers, but they were all very cute.

Princeton lawn party 2015

Princeton lawn party 2015

Princeton lawn party 2015

Princeton lawn party 2015

Well, despite this post, I must say that my “book-done lifestyle” so far has been ever so busy and interesting. I’m shopping for a new tea cup, I’m catching up on my emails, I’m driving to Princeton for lunch, and I’m meeting up with a Real Housewife of New York.

Oh, did I forget to tell you that?


That’s a longish story that I’ll have to tell you next week. But here’s a sneak preview: Yes! I’m applying to be a Real Housewife of Long Island!

Because I have such an interesting life and all.


Stay tuned.

28 Comments, RSS

  1. Patricia

    What? You don’t wear platform stilletos. You can’t possibly be a “Real Housewife”. You have talent … and lots of cats. “Real Housewives” have little yippy dogs that fit in their giant size purses. Do you EVEN have a giant size purse or little yippy dog? Thought not.

    Go back to painting triscuit size watercolors and spoiling your plethora of cats. I am not even sure how many cats you have … but in Taffy’s opinion, way too many.

    • Vivian

      Not to worry, when the cameras are rolling for the Real Housewife of L.I., there will be nary a whisker to be seen. My cats pull the Cheshire act whenever someone comes to the house, especially when cat-lovers who want to see the herd drop by. They are what you’d call “people adverse”.

      Ha! Taffy is Prom King around here, the most popular cat in the cradle. He loves lording over us all, but he particularly enjoys putting poor Bibs in his place. A look, a feint, a half-stalk will do.

  2. Deborah S.Farrell

    I’m pretty sure that is a redbud, not a pawlonia. You never fail to entertain and amaze — Real Housewives?! I’ve never seen it, but I would watch it if you were on. Sorry about the favorite mug. Broken china art is warranted.

  3. janet b.

    i believe the tree pictured is an EASTERN REDBUD. they’re being planted along highways (so glad for that) and when in bloom (which is way too short) are a most amazing and beautiful color. love the photos of the kitties. and your final montage of triscuits is really lovely.

    • Vivian

      EASTERN redbud! Thank you! There are a lot of trees in Paris that bloom in May with the same color fleurs — I will have to show pix on the next post — but much taller and fuller, and what I learned about them is that asking passer-by locals if they can tell you the name of that beautiful purple tree really annoys them. Everyone I asked said Je ne sais pas before I figured out that they might know the tree’s name but were in no mood to tell me. Vivian Swift Helpful Hint: Paris passers-by dislike small talk with strangers, except if you are asking about their dogs.

  4. Maryanne in SC

    RHOLI, really?

    You’d be the smart, funny (sane) one with a fantastic backstory, a counterbalance to the stilettos. #wantthis. (Why, yes I *am* shallow.)
    Please do this. Life is all about new experiences.
    Yours, vicariously.

    • Vivian

      Why, thank you for the vote of confidence. I will be sure to add what you said when I pitch Real Housewives of Long Island to Andy Cohen. Andy’s a sweet gut and I’m sure he feels the need to atone for Princesses of Long Island which, if you never saw it during the Summer of 2013, you missed out on real Long Island/Great Neck cult-cha…on second thought, maybe it’s us Long Islanders who need to atone to all of America for the princessy girls that are bred here on these shores.

  5. oh my, too much of good things; cats, bethenny and housewives, yee haw! your tree looks like a redbud from afar, not a paulowina which is a giant different shade flower, yep i am a garden gal and could have written your damn garden book, just not illustrated it 😉

    i have always wondered who would want to be a housewife, to invite all the angst, your humor would be welcomed, but can your marriage stand it 😉

    • Vivian

      Quiet Life, you are so correct. It must be the paulownia that is so prevalent in Paris, not the purple redbud that populates our Eastern provinces. I too have wondered who the hell would want to be a Real Housewife. But then I studied the situation, and it seemed that all you really have to know to be a Housewife is how to stir the pot, and pot-stirring is my favorite thing in life. Also, I can be a hot mess at a moment’s notice.

  6. Alicia

    Cuuuuuuuuuuute kitties. LOVE the cat from Argentina, she knows she’s loved (look at that sweet smile). Your sister is a very good photographer!

    So that’s what the 1 percent look like before they pillage the middle class. Hmmmm… but you know what they say about the young. Even baby crocodiles are cute.

    My guilty pleasure are all the Real Housewieves shows, but I think you have to be stupid to be a candidate, and that’s your problem, Vivian. You are too smart. Unless Bravo is going with a writer/illustrator cast, in which case go for it! Start flinging bottles of champagne at any one giving you “shade”. (Thank you, Housewives of Atlanta, for hipping me to that lingo.)

    • Vivian

      Thank you, Alicia — my sister is a GREAT photographer. She’s been to 100 countries in the world, all the continents except Antarctica (unless I missed that email, too) and she always finds the best cats to photograph…or they find her. I bet the word is out on the world wide kitty mind meld to look their most adorable when she comes to town. Or village, citadel, encampment, or hamlet.

  7. Joan

    I’ll believe it when I see it! Maybe. I can’t believe you’ll be one of the Long Island Housewives TV show. Hope you’re practicing being up on stilts (stilettos ) wearing lots of jewelry and spandex, acting like a bitch, getting a boob job. I think you’re WAY too smart for that. Stick to your day job: books and illustrations, cat photographer/lover, champagne drinker.

    • Vivian

      The real reason I want to be a Real Housewife is to prove wrong the old saying:

      Many have tried, but no one has found a way to drink for a living.

      I think Bravo has found a way to make it happen, and I want to be on that magic carpet ride.

  8. VivianFan

    Vivian, I was at a workshop you gave on Long Island recently. I usually don’t leave comments on blogs b/c I am shy, but I had to tell you that your energy and enthusiasm about living a creative life no matter how better it would be for your mental health to work at Dunkin Donuts, makes me want to Go For It, as you said. I will, I will. And I will also enjoy every donut, just like you said. Thank you. And I think you would make an excellent real housewife.

    • Vivian

      Thank you, I’m so glad that something I said made sense to your own quest for a creative life. I should say that I do try to lower expectations of how wonderful it is to be committed to your creativity, because an artful life comes with its own stresses, but I’m happy to know that in the end you still felt as if I’d opened the door for you. I wish I could send you a dozen glazed donuts to fuel your quest.

  9. Sorry about the broken cup!
    Love bookstore kitties. We love an old used bookstore in Boston that has a huge resident cat. That lucky kitty has a big pillow in the window so he can people-watch or sleep in the sun.

    A LI Housewife??!! I’ve never watched, but pretty sure by the commercials those dames aren’t shopping at thrift stores, creating amazing Tr@*#cuits, or writing books. I’m waiting for details on this new adventure.

    • Vivian

      Deb, if by the end of this Friday’s post I have not convinced you what a great Housewife I could be, than I will retire the idea and take up something less brain damaging. Promise.

  10. ann

    You have such a talent for noticing details. I always enjoy your posts. I liked the foreign kitty in the antique store with such a sweet attitude. Reminded me of my cat Fee’.

    • Vivian

      What that cute kitty in the Argentine curio shop means to me is that you can find your people (cat people) any where in the world. It’s reassuring to know that we all have so much in common. I might not like your politics or your hair style but if you can talk Cat, you are my kind of human.

  11. Megan

    Oh I hate breaking china, especially a favourite piece. Hopefully you will find another favourite… I do like your second favourite one though. Do tell what is a 1%er? I am unfamiliar with the Real Housewives, however I have to say that the photograph show does not represent a person, in my humble opinion, who does house work… however I would not miss the opportunity to see it if you were on it! That Argentine cat is super cute, what a blissful look on her face, ‘oh my the paparazzi get you everywhere, this is my best angle…’ Love the photos of your cats, my cat is hopefully on the road to recovery from hyperthyroidism and has a routine of sleeping on each bed and sofa throughout the day, it’s a hard road but all those things have to have orange cat hear left on them in turn. You gotta love cats, funny creatures. Great blog always brings a smile to my face.

    • Vivian

      Occupy Wall Street made famous the fact that the average annual income of the top 1 percent of the population is $717,000, compared to the average income of the rest of the population, which is around $51,000. The real disparity between Americans isn’t in income, however, but in net value: The 1 percent are worth about $8.4 million, or 70 times the worth of the lower classes. One percent of Americans control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, and that might be a conservative estimate.

      We Are The 99% was the slogan of the Occupy movement, which failed to roust 99.9% of the 99% to action. Oh well.

      I’m sending thought loads of love to our resident ginger bundle of purring fur. Yes, isn’t it wonderful the way they coat the furniture for us, so that we’ll have mementoes where ever we go?

  12. Mary

    Real Housewives? Really? ….Come on, you’re kidding.
    Don’t they come in your house and put lights and microphones all over, and 20 people running around?
    YOU would do that to your kitties?
    It took three years for Bibs to come in. You’d never see him again.

    Never saw the show; just read about it on TMZ.

    Congratulations on completing three years of hard work on the Damn Garden Book. Keep telling us when it will be out. I’ll put my order in at Barnes & Noble

    • Vivian

      Yes, I’m kidding. Sort of. But in case anyone ever thinks that watching a writer sit in front of a computer all would make for eye-popping TV entertainment, I want to prepare a full personality profile of what I get up to when I am not slaving over the mot juste.

      The Damn Garden Book will be out Spring of 2016, which doesn’t feel all that far away. We only have to get through 50 seconds of Summer and a million days of Winter until publishing season for Garden and Horticultural books. Those things do have a season, did you know?

  13. Laura

    The broken tea cup is a sign that YOUR art is to be on future tea cups. What would you paint on a tea cup?

    A sister! Reflecting on sisterhood is so complex. Do share more about your sisterhood, (what’s comfortable and appropriate, of course). I couldn’t imagine growing up as Vivian’s sister. What would her perspective be about growing up with you as her sister? I think a program about the Vivian Sisterhood would be more interesting than Real Housewives’.

    About RHOLI – what, exactly, would Top Cat’s role be in this show?

    • Vivian

      Ooooo, I never thought of looking for a Sign in my broken tea cup! I LIKE it! Hmmmm….what would I paint on a tea cup? Hmmmmm…..

      OH, dear Laura, you are so right about the can-of-worminess of sisterhood. I actually have three sisters; two younger and one identical mirror-image twin (she’s right handed and I’m left handed). Oh, lordy. From what I’ve been told, growing up as my sister is something that I have to regularly atone for. They occasionally read my blog, and they are free to Comment, but it’s not likely that any of them will, for various reasons of preference for keeping a low on-line profile and can’t stand my guts-ness.

  14. So glad you didn’t close comments yet! I love all your cat photos — it’s fun to see your feline family!

    I’ve avoided the Real Housewife shows like the plague but boy, I’d like to see you in there! Talk about contrast! You go, girl!

    • Vivian

      Wouldn’t that be great, if there was a Real House Cats of America on TV? I swear I would watch a cat sleep in a cute pose in real time.

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