I Think I Need A Bigger Tin Foil Hat


People are reading my mind and stealing my thoughts. I’m looking at you, Walt Disney, and don’t give me that innocent look, New York Times.

Remember when two…three?…weeks ago I posted a photo of my highly staged work habitat which included a desk topped with my prized possession, a stuffed owl?


Forget that owl — Dear Reader Janet B. has eagle eyes and spotted the other bird of a feather here…the Grey Goose!

Dear Reader Marg-o was right: I call that owl Archimedes because of a whole thing I have for the animated Disney movie about the legend of King Arthur that came out in 1963.



I used to take a lot of pride in my connoisseur taste for this movie, a rather obscure entry in the Disney oeuvre, called The Sword in the Stone. Well, now neither I nor Marg-o can bask in our expertise of cartoon owls named for ancient Greek polymaths because last week I learned that Disney is in pre-production for a live-action film version of — you guessed it: The Damn Sword in the Damn Stone.

When the Sword in the Stone comes out in 2018 and is a huge hit, I just want you all to remember that I was alluding to it way back when I wasn’t moaning the fact that the film hadn’t been made 10 years earlier when  Joseph Gordon-Levitt was still young enough to get away with playing a teenaged Arthur, which he’d have been perfect for.


Yes, he’s the kid from the TV show Third Rock From the Sun. I love this actor.

On a similar note, I know that my “I Want To Kill My Husband Diet” (ha ha — thank you to Dear Reader Patricia for that branding idea) of last week didn’t go viral, but a New York Times essay on the same-ish subject did. Ada Calhoun wrote a Modern Love column called The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give (you can read it here) which was printed in the Sunday, July 16 edition of the paper.


Illustration by the excellent Brian Rea

I think the piece is mis-titled, but that was probably an editor’s decision, not the writer’s.

Ada Calhoun is a very good writer, I just want to make that clear. The essay is beautifully structured, and the pacing of her sentences is like the patter and chorus of a great show tune. This lightens up the tone of her piece, the subject of which is that there are times when you loathe the spouse you dearly love, and which “lightness” is my main objection to the article.

I think that there is nothing that brings out the deepest, darkest, and most dire urges more than the blips of hatred that accentuate a long term relationship. As Dear Reader Felicia commented, there are times when you want to make your spouse a taxidermy project. As Whoopie Goldberg said, when Sharon Stone was being ridiculed for giving her husband the birthday gift of a one-on-one encounter with the Komodo Dragon in the San Francisco Zoo (which bit Mr. Stone and sent the hubby to the hospital): “Who hasn’t wanted to put their husband in a small cage with a Komodo Dragon?”


P.S. This is where I was last weekend, in a far away country where I had no access to my blog and could not release the Comments of my Dear Readers until Monday. Thank you all for persevering.

Just because some people are uncomfortable with the word “hate” doesn’t mean that they don’t know exactly what “hate” feels like, and don’t have those feelings every once in a while for the person they love the very most in all the world. It happens! And then it goes away! So let’s just be honest about it!

Also, after I posted last week’s diet tip ( the “I Want To Kill My Husband Diet”,  thanks again to Dear Reader Patricia) I fact-checked with my own dear Top Cat. And yes, there are times when he can’t stand the sight of me, either. And I’m OK with that.

Anyhoo. Last week I got the proofs of the Damn Garden Book — entirely in e-form. Not a scrap of paper in the whole last-chance correcting process! As has often been said of myself, the thing looks good when it’s all cleaned up. And I ditched my old Author Photo:


For this one:

DGB Author pic

Yes, the bags under my eyes have been photoshopped out. But I left the crow’s feet and the blotchy skin tone in. Because I’m at least 80% for real!

And, lastly, the mystery of the two Chinese language versions of Le Road Trip has been solved. The first version…


…is titled A Journey to France. The second version….


…has been re-marketed and re-titled as Old Love Honeymoon. Ha! See those two geezers standing on that green text box? That’s me and my own, old, dearly un-hated Top Cat!

And, lastly, before I punch out my Writer On The Loose time card for the day, I’ve begun to keep a list of the most beautiful words in the world. So far, the top spot goes to:



(Thanks, Vivki A.)

As for the most beautiful American word, well, that’s a no-brainer. It’s:


And the word bucket always makes me laugh.

Dear Readers, may buckets of un-hate fill your weekend with, well, whatever it is that makes you as happy as an old love honeymoon.




18 Comments, RSS

    • Vivian

      Thanks, Leslie.
      Not a *beautiful* word, but excellent in its own way. Let’s put that one in a new list, of Words That Are Fun to Say.

  1. Mary

    Glad you explained the ” kill your husband” idea.
    You always speak highly of him, so I knew it was DRAMA.
    Hey; you were competing with an OWL being on your desk, on your blog.
    You had to do/say something outrageous.

    A day in the country! How I wish…. sounds wonderful. The doggie is pretty, also.

  2. Casey

    Cat in a tiny tin hat: PRICELESS!

    You’re right that Kilimanjaro is a beautiful word. I looked it up to impress everyone with my translation of the name from its original African language but the truth is that no one knows how the mountain got that name since it is not a word or compound from any local dialect. The most likely story is that the name is a transliteration of a word that was misheard when a European explorer pointed to the big mountain and asked a local resident, What’s that?

    Thankfully that European had a good ear, not for language but for the best way to mix nonsense syllables!

  3. Alicia

    Are you sure the new Chinese version isn’t called Old Hot Love Honeymoon?

    And wow, you cut off a lot of hair. And it looks good!

  4. Patricia

    Thank you for the mention in your blog. And you have my permission to copyright the phrase and make a fortune so you can go on entertaining us with delightful posts without the need to grind your fingers to the bone creating delightful charming books to buy.
    Um, just remembered you can’t copyright a title. Carry on slaving over triscuit sized paintings. We need them.

  5. ann

    Love the cat in the hat with the patient look.

    I also liked the title “old love honeymoon.” My parents are 88 and 91. I went on a recent cruise with them and learned so much from them about how to love each other in old age. They are always holding hands and continually try to outdo the other with acts of kindness. There is something to be said for old love.

  6. TheOtherBev

    I **love** the Cat in the Hat.

    Nice. (Never knew it was made out of tin foil.)

    As a long-married woman of heart and mind, I couldn’t agree with you more. The only reason that I have on occasion hated my husband with every fibre of my being is because I love him so much. As the poets say, Love Is Strange.

    And yeah…that was a big chop you did going from long to short (hair do). You wear it well.

    • Vivian

      Yes, truly; indifference is the death of love. Thanks for the compliment! My inspiration was Kaley Couko, the actress who plays Penny on The Big Bang. She got her hair cut short and she looked so cute that I thought…. I’m what you call, now, “on trend”. Ha!

  7. Joan

    Is there an ongoing contest for the most beautiful words in the world & in America? Is there a Vivian triscuit for the prize?

    I still haven’t figured out what Top Cat did that made you so want to disembowl or have him drawn & quartered.

    I have been married to my second husband for 44 years, 8 yrs to the first so I’ve been married more than half my life. I have been so angry that I divorced the first one, but never had a reason to want to shred my present one. Our main point of disagreement is the yard and what’s planted, cut down, removed, etc. I made up my mind to let it go, let him do all the damage he wants, I don’t want to hold that kind of resentment inside me as it’s poison to my body and soul. The used to be much gnashing of teeth, tears, spit flinging rage filled arguments about the damn garden, now I just leave it alone. Told him: Do not ask me about this yard as long as you live, I don’t want to hear it, think about it, have anything to do with it. It works for me.

    The link to the article didn’t work for me. Dang. I hate navigating the NYT page, it’s a PITA, or I would look it up.

    • Vivian

      Interesting idea for a Triscuit give-away…a word more beautiful than “Kilimanjaro”.

      I feel your pain. Top Cat likes to tinker in the yard, too; he just loves to cut things down. The only bits of greenery that I love with a passion are our hydrangeas, which got “trimmed” in 2012 and are only now, this year, in bloom once again.

  8. Linda June

    Loved your blog today! Have you considered the word “onion?” I think it’s hilarious.

    I need to whip out my English grammar book to see whether the question mark goes inside or outside a quote in this instance. Inside if the whole sentence is a quote? or outside if just the quoted part is a question? My brain is being taxed as I write this.

    Anyway, I’m eagerly looking forward to the publication of your Garden Book!!!

    • Vivian

      One of the reason that I don’t write fiction is because of the punctuation. I believe the question mark goes inside the quotations, even when you are “quoting” something, and it just looks all wrong to me. And forget about it when the talk gets even more complicated (“He said, ‘Oh, no!’ and I sent, “Oh, yes!'” kind of thing.

      No, thank you.

  9. Giggling at the tin foil cap and thinking Ms. Lizzie might have to give that one a try, given that it looks so in vogue!

    Old Love Honeymoon? Really? Ouch!

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