Court and Spark.

It’s like finding an early morning treasure when I come across Dennis, our recently-acquired feral freeloader, on the back patio when I go out to feed him at 6 o’clock in the morning — isn’t this a great way to start the day?:


And, sometimes, there’s other treasures out there, awaiting me:


You might remember that in last week’s blog post I demanded that the Universe send me a damn Blue Jay tail feather (for my collection). Well, later that same day, after sending my peevish request out into the infinite benevolent indifference, I was cleaning out my refrigerator and I smacked my head really hard and good against the corner of the freezer door handle, and it hurt like being jabbed with a hot pocker and smacked with a sledgehammer at the same time (I’m guessing) and is an injury that is only possible because I have this kind of out-of-style refrigerator:prod_2041918312

A bump on the head is how the English actress Natasha Richardson died (in 2009) and is what killed Michel de Montaigne’s brother (in 1569). So I took care to notice any symptoms of double vision or confusion the rest of the day until bedtime, at which time I warily laid myself down to sleep with the thought that if I don’t die during the night, I would most likely wake up the next morning and sincerely thank my lucky stars (and you well know that in my case, I do that literally; the “stars” being the Sun and Deneb Algedi).

And I did wake up the next morning, and the first thing I did do was promise the day that I would love it and treasure it. And then I forgot about it as I got out of bed and put Top Cat’s coffee on and fed the indoor cats and cleaned litter boxes and headed out to the back yard to give Dennis Whiskerbottoms his breakfast. And then came the small jolt of electricity when I saw the Blue Jay feather right at my tootsies.

Without meditation, without searching, even without being the least bit mindful of my endless quest for Blue Jay feathers and their purpose to remind me to pay astonished attention to life, there was my treasure, as if delivered right directly to me. I was reaching down to grab it into my chubby mitt when I remembered that such a momentous find needed to be photographed in situ:


I know it looks staged, but I can’t help it if the Universe is a tad ham-handed when it comes to depositing Her gifts at the feet of a wretch like me, and I promise that this is a true story:


And yeah, it’s a tail feather.

I KNOW! Life is like a dream! If, that is, you dream of Blue Jay feathers! Thank you, Blue Jays and Universe!

You know who else gives me dreams?


I have Taylor Swift to thank, from the bottom of my heart, every time I make a reservation or leave a message or make an appointment and I don’t have to spell my last name, S like Sam, W, I, F like Frank, T like Tom. And it would still end up as Smith or, most of the time during the 11-year run of the television show M*A*S*H, Swit.

Loretta Swit is a fine actress and exemplary animal rights and military veteran rights activist, but I don’t like her last name and I absolutely hated the inevitable “joke” whenever a stranger heard my name: Any relation to Hot Lips, ha ha?! I must have heard that “joke” thousand times in my 20s. No wonder I can’t stand people.

Taylor Swift is her generation’s Joni Mitchell, a brilliant singer/songwriter dream girl who is always ahead of fashion, and always has the hottest boyfriends. (If you don’t know Joni’s dating history, here’s partial list from back when these guys were the topper-most hot guys: James Taylor, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, and I think one or two of the Byrds.)

Until recently, Taylor Swift was the long-time girlfriend (15 months, which is almost a decade in famous pop star years) of a handsome, 32-year old  6’5″ multi-millionaire DJ and Scotsman named Calvin Harris:


They were such a cute couple. But they did break up and shortly after they went to splitsville, I began having infrequent but repetitive dreams that I was back in my 20s. That alone would be a most excellent reason for me to wish for 12 hours of sleep every night, but wait there’s more. In my dreams, there’s also a young man, courting me, with a fervor and sweetness that only happened once in my real 20s, back when a book shop co-worker confessed that he had a crush on me and thought I was so adorable that if I were a dog, I’d be a collie.

I dreamt of that same scenario last night, only this time the dog-allusive young man gave me a gift that I was able to inspect in detail, and then later remember in detail after I woke up. It was a necklace, a fine gold chain on which were strung white pearls alternating with polished rock crystal spheres of a very beautiful type. Namely, colorless rutilated quartz:


Photo from the internet, curtesy of

I guess you can tell that I am a certified gemologist (from waaaaay back); I hardly ever dream of jewelry but when I do, I tend to be very specific about the gems. But rutilated quartz? That’s a new one. I didn’t know I liked it enough to dream about it. (FYI: I can not think of a way to put pearls and rutilated quartz beads on a gold chain, since piercing the quartz would pretty much ruin the effect of the rutile inclusions.)

It was while I was pondering upon this jeweled necklace that I figured out why I was dreaming these weird happy dreams of dating.

It’s because I’ve been closely following Taylor Swift’s new romance with the elegant and sexy actor Tom Hiddleston because yes, I read the Daily every day so sue me.  Tom Hiddleston is 35 (9 years older than Taylor), 6’2″, from a very classy family, English with a Scottish father, Eton and Cambridge educated. They met at the 2016 Met Gala and, in my opinion, he fell for her like a ton of rutilated quartz and swept her off her feet as soon as she became available. I like her with him.


So I’ve been feeding my mind lots of Taylor Swift romance and my brain only hears the Swift part before it jumps to conclusions, i.e., that the Swift it knows best is the Swift who was once favorably compared to a collie, so I’m dreaming about my old romance when I was Taylor Swift’s age. I’m old enough to have been Taylor Swift’s kindergarten teacher. Should I feel creepy?

Other follow-up from last week: I did make contact with the Cat Lady three streets over and she graciously gave permission to TNR her crew of feral freeloaders, so: YAY! Master trapper Susan has captured 9 of these guys so far, including the very sick one that we were out worried about.


Three Desperados (out of 15)

And as for Steve, well, he’s still Steve on our front stone wall, sleeping off a two-course dinner of Friskie’s Turkey & Giblets pâté and more Friskie’s Turkey and Giblets pâté, and dreaming of a three-course dessert of Friskie’s anything:


And, without segue, here are pictures from my little village on July 4th, Independence Day, America’s 240th birthday:





And, for obvious reasons, my favorite:

P1080282Sweet dreams, everyone.



9 Comments, RSS

  1. Gosh being banged on the head has brought about many merry thoughts!
    Do hope you are in recovery mode?
    Steve is a winner – were he only human he would be good boyfriend material.
    Ah Loretta Swit
    in 1976, when we lived in Hollywood, she came into the gallery where I worked and was charming indeed.
    I suffer a bit from the same last name dance when I’m being Mrs. Schmid
    They always put a T on.
    Warmest summer greetings.

  2. Love the houses in your town:)

    Lucky feather!
    If you want to see more of Tom H he is in Wallender season 1 and 2..and The Night Manager (more recent and important role..)
    Take care:)

  3. Marg-o

    Thank you for this, in a week of such bad news (Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Dallas). I am so happy I came here to get a reality check, or else I think I would spend the whole day in despair. First it was seeing Dennis, looking so satisfied with life; then it was that magical blue jay feather delivered, as you say, right where you could not help but stumble upon it; and then it was STEVE, who I agree with Elizabeth is excellent boyfriend material; and then it’s the lesson on rutile quartz (who knew??? not me!!); and then the fun story about your Taylor Swift-inflected dreams…I could go on. congratulations on capturing those fierce ferals ha ha, and I did enjoy the amble around your town. That last photo: WOOF and wine, my two favorite things.

    Mercy. Thank you for this brightness. THANK YOU.

  4. Deborah

    Bravo! On connecting with the cat lady three streets over! Victory! I knew it would all come to a sweet resolution. I’m so glad she was relieved to receive some help. How wonderful YOU are there to help this poor soul. You are her God-send. Grace wins again! I know you will continue to do what you can to care for this cat lady’s tribe of orange and white munchkins. Like I said … Bravo!!

    Sorry about your whack on the head …. Ugh, I hate it what that happens! But it looks like you are getting whacked on the head continually in other ways – you know, like with blue feather blessings, and fine new-comers to share your life and love, like Steve, in his elegant tuxedo, and Dennis, with his wonder furry whisker-bottom. Who needs all those two-legged romancers (as those stepping out with Taylor Swift), who are more often than not, arrogant, self-absorbed, and lacking in the faithfulness department? When you can be adored by beasts as free and wild as feral cats? Taylor Swift is, indeed, a lovely female … But I bet you a hundred pounds of cat chow, she couldn’t lure the likes of Steve and Dennis into her world to save her life. Your beautiful life is so far more interesting and meaningful than poor Taylor’s … We have to pity the poor girl really. Right?

    Well, thanks for the warning about old refrigerators, because mine is a twin of yours. I will definitely be watching for a sudden ambush from a rebellious freezer door from now on. And thanks for the happy news about the kitties three streets over. And of course, thank you for the lovely pics of your neighborhood on Independence Day, and always, dear Vivian, thank you for sharing your life with us.

    Happy Trails!

  5. I have that refrigerator. Except mine is covered with photos and appointment reminders and recipes but I recognize the basics. I feel your pain. And your joy! I’m so glad about the blue jay tail feather! Truly worth celebrating!

    Good TNR news and Yay for Dennis and Steve! Both handsome man-cats! And neutered, I suspect — if not now, soon! All this and a quartz lesson and a glimpse of my favorite Henry V (or was it IV?) Is there no end to that man’s talents?

    I have to spell Croope over and over to everyone, too. I just finished a book by Neil Gaiman where the bad guy was Mr. Croup and it was an uncomfortable read. I saw Loretta Swit in “Mame” long before she was Hot Lips. She’s been branded with that forever…

  6. ann

    I’ve never seen rutilated quartz and enjoyed your picture of it.

    One of my favorite gems is snowflake obsidian.

    I also love shiny black obsidian.

    Congrats on your tail feather.

    The little things in life can make you so smile and you did that for me.

  7. Oh to hear the happy voice of morning awakening! Thank you. Enjoyed the walk around your neighbourhood tooooo! But I am in a mind to think your ‘Dennis’ may have brought you that blue jay feather….(he needn’t know; just between you and I) and the blue jay was willing to let him rejoice that morning, allowing him one tail feather from a possible grab..only one, and only just because Dennis needed to share it with you.

    Sorry about your noggin though.

  8. Your tail feather was indeed your reward for doing good kitty deeds. Glad those cats will be taken care of.
    Thank you for another Steve picture! Love that little guy!

  9. “infinite benevolent indifference” – that about sums it up ! We’re on our own to gather tail feathers, rescue kitties, and drool at the very thought of Tom Hiddleston.

    Love the pictures of the town all decked out for the 4th.

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