When Is Too Old For Hangovers?

The Winter Solstice on December 22 was rained out this year here on the shores of the Long Island Sound, but Christmas Eve was spectacular!


So Top Cat and I did our annual Praising of the Light champagne and sun set watching ceremony on December 24,  and it was 72 degrees, which is why even though I am three weeks away from my 60th birthday, I am wearing my go-to T-shirt on this wintery eve!


Yes, it was warm, but cloudy — that’s the sun, glowing from within that dense stratocumulus, above — and we did not expect much…but as the twilight fell at approx. 4:31 pm, this happened:


And then this happened:


(Above, the Manhattan skyline is to the far left, and that’s New Rochelle at center-right.)


And there it goes, the light from our own gorgeous star departing from our skies on its way to Cleveland, and Sioux Falls, and Coeur d’Aline, and Tacoma. There goes the sun, Welcome in the Winter Light!


While I have your attention, I feel obliged to tell you one last short tale from my trip to France two weeks ago, and it’s about the space-tree (see above) on display at Galleries lafayette (the famous department store in Paris):


Yesterday I found a newsletter (of sorts, above) from my visit to the shop while I was unpacking my haul of ephemera from my journey, you know, the usual assortment of ticket stubs, museum pamphlets, cafe coasters, phone numbers of gents met in cafes, etc., that one tends to accumulate whilst vagabonding. And yes, we already know that the Galleries went with a [weird] Christmas From Another Planet theme this year…but we did not know that there were robots involved:



This stuff is printed in light gray ink so I did the best I could to enhance it so you can read it — and because I know my mother is going to complain that the print is too small to read I’m going to repeat that you can click onto the photo itself to get an enlarged (full screen) version…you might have to click twice depending on whatever elves are in charge of your computer machine, not that I think this is actually worth reading, but I take my obligations as your Paris corespondent seriously so I must let you choose to read, or not read:


How about we nominate this as the Worst Christmas Story Ever?

Now, as I mentioned above, my 60th birthday is happening in three weeks, on Jan. 16.

I am bracing myself. Birthdays that end in Zero are always a challenge to one’s identity, but this one is walloping me. Of course my dear Top Cat has something special planned, which may or may not include a tiger, so even the whiff of big cat-titude almost makes it worth it, this shedding of old/youngness for young/oldness. But we will have to wait until The Day to be sure.

In the meantime, this is how I am welcoming in this new phase of Vivianness:


I am ditching my ratty, falling apart, 15-year old address book for this:


I’ve been putting off this task for several years, but I came across this spiffy book at Barnes and Nobel and finally the time was NOW.

15 years ago, I was not married to Top Cat (or to anybody). I was not living on Long Island, I was not writing books, and I was years away from picking up a paint brush! I did not have a computer or a saving account, and I was still drinking martinis.  Of the ten cats that were living with me at the time, there is only one left — dear little Coco, who is rather frail these days and spends most of her life snoozing on her special heating pad bed.

Ah, there are so many memories in an old address book. The names of editors I used to write for, back when newspapers and magazines paid for writing…that fling in London whose name I never would have remembered…Stephen King’s home address (?)…”Mr. Lucky” in New Orleans (nice Indian guy who ran a great souvenir shop on Decatur Street)…the lady who runs the Penguin Encounter program at Mystic Aquarium…


…a list of places to meet English guys (above), which (as my note says), I got on April 1, 2002 when I went to the British Consul to sign the condolence book on the event of the death of the Queen Mother. (I did like the Queen Mother and all but hey, life is for the living, as they say, and to the 2002 version of me, English guys made life worth living.) The Red Lion is still going strong, and it looks like NW3 closed shortly after I checked it out, and the Sporting Club closed in 2005.

There’s also the card from the guy who ran a sky diving business:


I have obliterated all identifying info because I just Googled this guy and I don’t want to blab any more about him because of  an unfortunate incident involving the death of two skydivers in 2010 — he was a good guy, and gave me his home contact, and I used to be the kind of person who thought I’d go sky diving one day.

(Part of me is thinking that in 2000, I was 45 years old…isn’t that kind of old to be bar hopping with Brits and thinking about jumping out of planes when you couldn’t even stand to look out the windows when you were at Windows on the World in the old North Trade Tower…ohhhhhhhh….right….that’s gone, too…..)

Oh well, so much for maturity: For now I am holding onto the contact info of three people who, as I reach the sagacious age of 60,  I may or may not want to still get even with.

I don’t think I’ll ever remember why I needed the phone and address for the Ferret Rescue of Westchester, but isn’t running into that kind of thing exactly why updating a very old address book is such a nostalgic and annoying thing to do?

In all, bet that less than 20% of the names and numbers in my old address book made it into my new one.So, Yay! I have lots of room for new friends! And isn’t that something to get happy about? No matter how old you are?

This is both a rhetorical question, and a moral to the story of The Old and the New Address Book. Because I am writing this post on New Year’s Eve Day and I think that having a new address book, cleared of all old business (mostly), ready for filling up with all kinds of new amigos and idiocies, seems like a good mindset to have for 2016.

Happy, happy, happy New Year to you all, my Dear Readers and Friends.

13 Comments, RSS

  1. Margaret

    I want to thank you for all the pleasure your blog has bought me over the past year.

    DO NOT WORRY ABOUT BRING 60! I passed that milestone a long while back and life just got better and better!

    A Happy Newe Year to you and yours xx

  2. ann

    Happy New Year to you and yours. Its been quite warm down here in the south especially on Christmas day. I really liked your Christmas Eve pictures of the sunset. I see many of them since my 30 minute drive to work views many open fields lately planted with onions. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I did this..and it was amazing how many less were in the new book..and if I did it again..then less would appear..people move..people change..our own life changes..Christmas Eve had the same sunset here..and almost 70F in the day..but so windy we lost power until 4 AM Christmas day.I started a new address book..but for all Internet addresses and passwords..that book grows..~
    Hard to believe you were not painting 15 years ago.
    60’s no different than 59.
    From 61 soon to be 62.
    Happy New Year!
    PS Stephan King may have several homes..I don’t know..but I do know he is said to live in Florida in a spot I love..

  4. Mary

    You’re never too old for hangovers. However, I do not speak from experience. I am 78, I drink nothing but Martinis, and have never had one—yet.
    The Dear “Queen Mum”–as they referred to her in UK. probably died of pickled insides, as I understand she had a Gin a day. I stand in good company.

    How can you look so good at 60? SIXTY ????? nooooo.
    Happy New Year to all of us who read your wonderful blog every week. Keep ’em coming! (Blogs, of course)

  5. janet b.

    happy new year to you & top cat & the furry friends. i’m SO happy to see you with a new “old-fashioned” address book in this digital age. at 63, no matter how “techie” i try to be, i cannot relinquish my need for important data being ON PAPER.

  6. Casey

    Thank you for being here on New Year’s Day! Great way for me to start a new ear with a trip from Long Island Sound to Paris to a world where the towers still stand. Makes me want to rush out and buy a new address book just to see what I’ve forgotten in the past decade, but I’m sure there aren’t any English flings or key divers in there. But there might be a ferret or two.

  7. Patricia

    Hmm, maybe I should dig out my old and rather ratty address book and trip down memory lane? These days I keep addresses online but it lacks the romance of firmly crossing out an ex boyfriend (well, since I’ve been married 31 years, not many of those still in the book, crossed out or not).

    But I don’t have anything cool like ferret rescue or sky diving which I absolutely know I’m never going to do. Zip lining which is firmly tethered to earth at both ends is as dare devil as I get at age sixtysix.

    Sixty is nothing, just another year of adventures. Go grab them.

  8. LadyZena

    THIS IS SO FUNNY! I got your France book for christmas and now I have discovered your blog and I have a whole new YOU to read !! Thank you, and thank you to my dear husband for knowing me so well that he knew I would find in you a kindred spirit. LOVE!!!

  9. What a good way to start the new year clearing out old notebook-diaries.
    I have two here I’ve been trying to divest myself of all week…
    I open it and a page is titled,
    ‘Bonbons of Paris’
    Who can throw at away?
    HAPPY 2016!

  10. Leslie

    Dearest Vivian, You are the only Vivian Iknow. I am 67, and have found the sixties a very excellent time of life. Maturity and a kind of dignity that allows me to wear Capri leggings with a minidress and feel appropriately dressed. Retirement may be a non-issue for you in current line of work, but social security checks and Medicare are nice perks for us exalted senior citizens. I really think 80 is the new 60. Sixty is pretty much more of the same. I wish you and Top Cat, and all the other cats, a glorious 2016. Keep up the good work. For what it’s worth, I follow you faithfully. Peace and love…

  11. Happy New Year Vivian! And soon to be happy new decade. I love your reflections from the address book. It puts getting older when you embrace each year, as you seem to do, in perspective, no? Each year you’ve acquired new acquaintances, new loves, new experiences, new capabilities.

    No reason that should stop with the clicking of the clock to 60. At 60 you have Top cat and three, yes three!!! published books. Amazing how much you’ve done, and no reason to think you’ve crossed the finish line yet.

    Happy New Year and an early Happy Birthday!,

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