“Hit The Road, Jack” is My Happy Dance.

I want to smooch this face!

Thank you, Dear Reader Alexandra from Seattle, for sending me this pic of Truman, the long-haired dachshund/part cat, on his browse through the University of Washington’s University Book Store. Truman does not like to be parted from his beloved couch, which is in the living room of the house he never wants to leave, and he absolutely refuses to put mileage on his own little feets, so he must be strolled in his special Truman-mobile when it’s time for the dreaded “fresh air” outing. On this day, Truman had his human stroller him to UDub (Go Huskies) for some meaningful shopping at the city’s favorite book store, which no doubt included a stop at the book store cafe for some meaningful coffee, which is totally a thing.

The GoAaF is a staff pick!

I have had a most excellent week here in VivianWorld, starting with getting pics of a long haired dachshund giving the GoAaF his best Look of Awe, and continuing with me coming across a New York Times article about the celebrated chef and restaurateur Wylie Desfrene, one of those Day In The Life Of things.

Wylie Desfrene, celebrated chef and restaurateur, was quoted by the reporter from the New York Times as being the kind person who tries to have at least “two meaningful coffee experiences a day”.

Please note: There is no “N” in restaurateur — he’s a restorer of the human spirit via food, not a restaurant-er, which is the history of the word “restaurant”, BTW, which only gets its “N” because it was one of those gerund or participle things before it became a noun. You’re welcome.

We’re here to erudite you, whether you want it or not.

After reading that NYT article, I spent the day feeling bad that I’ve never required daily meaningfulness from my hot beverage because I’m such a pathetically shallow and dim-witted person. I’m too stupid to drink meaningfully because, basically, I’m dead inside, just like every other ordinary, negligible person who lives and dies in utter anonymity. I was feeling very bad about being just me.

And then I thought, Whoa. Telling a New York Times reporter that you seek two meaningful coffee experiences a day is exactly what you should tell a New York Times reporter, whether or not you have any earthly idea of what a meaningful coffee experience is because, truthfully, no one does. But it sounds pretty damn deep. Makes you go, HuhWylie Desfrene is a genius!

So, New York Times, if you’re reading this, I not just your average travel memoirist! I’m a dream cartographer, a cataloger of whimsies. I also like to go on long car rides with enlightening red beans and rice.

True story: I went to two funerals last week and, driving home on I-95 from the one in Washington D.C., Top Cat and I pulled over in Delaware (I was starving and desperate) and got a Popeye’s red beans and rice. Now, you know that I consider myself a connoisseur of red beans and rice, and that it’s my go-to entree when I am in New Orleans, where I’ve shoveled it in tasted it in its high and low iterations (that is, in various restaurants with, and without, starched white cloth napkins) . . . and Popeye’s red beans and rice IS AWESOME.

I am, right now, promising myself to take myself to Popeye’s as soon as I finish blogging.

P.S. Just got back from Popeye’s. I got the large side for $3.99 and it was deliriously good. Oh man, I am stuffed to the gills. Now, back to the blog:

Going to two funerals in one week gives you a lot to thing about. The main take-away for me is, I must write my own obit (I already have my cause of death picked out). If you want to see just how bad an amateur obit can be, read the paid-for obits in the NYT. Those things aren’t cheap, and they stink.

Fun fact: When my dear uncle Rolly died two years ago I wrote his obit that was published in the paid-for section of New York Times which a total stranger re-published on his blog because, he wrote, it sounded like Rolly was a guy he would have liked to have known — and that’s what an obit should do. If you, Dear Readers, clamor to know more about my obituary-writing experience and my snot-nosed Helpful Hints for Writing an Obituary That Doesn’t Stink, I will be happy to go into it in detail in a future blog.

Funerals, Popeye’s, food for thought, dachshunds — so many favorite things, could the week get any better???

Oh, yes, it can, and it did:

Finally, at long last, on May 16, 2017, I got to turn off my electric blankie. Finally, at long last, Spring dragged its hoary butt into what the TV people call “Seasonal Temperatures”. Lickety (above) likes going outside about as much as certain long haired dachshunds but there he was, sprawling on the patio like he’s just drunken half a dozen un-meaningful margaritas. That’s it! Your first 80-degree day of the year is intoxicating! Heat — glorious sun-baked warmth, star-sent lightness of being, dazzling brightness of skin-kissing light — heat makes you a sluggish, simple-minded, drunk! Wait. Is that what explains Florida?

All that, and der Drumpf’s getting his ass handed to him on an FBI platter made this one of the best damn weeks of my life.

Russian Imperial Porcelain

Russian Imperial Porcelain. It’s an FBI platter made of Russian Imperial Porcelain. Get it?

Thank You, venerable laws of karma;

Thank You, ye olde petards of irresistible hoist;

Thank You, sweet delicious Told You So’s.

For the first time since November 9th 2016, I can’t get enough of the news. Every breaking story out of Washington D. C. fills me with hope and joy, and an urge to dance my face off. Happy, happy, happy days are here again.

Before I go, I want to give you something in appreciation of all you Dear Readers. Last week I put up some watercolors of irises, and judging by the comments there are a number of Dear Readers who are going to be doing some iris painting of their own. So, for those of you who could use some itty bitty help in that department, I’m giving you my iris drawings:

You can see that I made changes on this second pic after I’d done the drawing; and I’d originally drawn it facing the other way so I flipped the image (turned over the tracing paper to use it on the back side) before I pencilled it onto the watercolor stock.

Have a great weekend, all you Wonder Ones, and may all your dancing be in hope in joy.


11 Comments, RSS

  1. Megan May 19, 2017 @ 4:37 am

    Your post made a fabulous end to a Friday here in Aus. Rain at last and a glorious lunch on the coast in a tiny cafe with a small but wonderful menu, driving home through Kangaroo Valley in the mist and we saw kangaroos too. First day of rain to speak of this autumn, so far the cat has been baking himself on the outdoor table, it may get down to 13C during the day but hot hot hot in the sun on a clear blue cloudless autumnal day. Love to see a cat sunbathing. I am sorry you had two funerals in a week, very sad however I think you should post Uncle Rolly’s obituary it sounds worth reading. Thanks for the iris drawings. Glad you had a good week and hope it continues to improve.

  2. Kirra May 19, 2017 @ 4:46 am

    It’s dinner time here and those red beans and rice look tasty! I am actually coming to visit USA in July for the first time so maybe I’ll look out for this Popeye place (as a vegetarian I’m on the look out for good food).

    If anyone has any advice on what to do I’m going to New York, Boston and Ann Arbor (where my cousin now lives). Please post a reply if you do!

    I think you would write a great obit. Don’t think I’ll need any tips for writing one soon…..but you never know.

    Enjoy the warm weather everyone! We’re heading towards winter here in Australia but we’re still getting some sunny and warm weather so can’t complain yet!

  3. Michelle May 19, 2017 @ 9:03 am

    What a terrific week! The only thing that could make it better would be to find a blue jay feather. Wait – is that one over there?!

  4. jeanie May 19, 2017 @ 9:04 am

    Oh, I’m glad you wrote the obit. I love good obits. I have a file of a couple of my favorites (I doubt your uncle’s is there as I don’t think I have any from the NYT). I’m planning on writing my own, too. In fact, I usually do it in the car on the way home from the funeral, along with talk with Rick about party favors (everyone who comes has to take home at least one Christmas ornament and one book) and video or picture boards. Need to do those myself if that’s even what they do when I go. I’m NOT trusting that to other people. Good grief, they’re grieving, they shouldn’t have to be pasting pictures on foam core. Or editing video.

    It’s been the best week for news (considering that after recent months, “best” has a lower bar, I guess.) Still, I’ll take it. I’m a news junkie these days. It changes so fast, I have to be. Fingers crossed…now if he just doesn’t alienate the allies on his travels this week.

    Loving sweet Lickety and the irises. I have to go back to your other post. I read it but was flying and didn’t comment! Irises remind me of my Aunt Iris, so they’re special.

    And to Kirra about Ann Arbor (about an hour from Lansing where I am) — if you want to email jeanie@wkar.org and share some of the kinds of things you like, I’d be glad to send you my recommendations! There are some wonderful art-related places in the area, good restaurants (your cousin probably knows all those), boatloads of used bookstores if you’re carrying back books to Australia, beautiful botanical garden, great music… Happy to share!

  5. Alex MacKenzie May 19, 2017 @ 9:54 am

    Truman is sitting on top of the sofa staring out the window even as I type this comment, completely ignoring me and my efforts to show him your post and his photo. I, at least, am thrilled to see him here and delighted that Truman’s appreciation of proper bookstore display cheered your week.

    We are finally getting warmth and sunshine here in Seattle as well, and I may be forced to take him out for a stroll.

    Thank you for the iris drawings–I look forward to testing them out!

  6. Judy Jennings May 19, 2017 @ 4:05 pm

    Loved your irises, Vivian. Fascinates me the way they seem to be “see-through.” I did one years back while trying out watercolor PENCILS and that transparency wasn’t there.
    Beth just went home after two weeks here. Seems we ended up discussing “the news” every day. (Sad that HE has been taking up so much of our brain space. Agree with Jeanie and hope that HE doesn’t do something overseas that could be problematic. You are so right, Karma Karma Karma.)
    Do please let us see the obit that you wrote. I want Beth to do mine. She’ll make me sound better than I am!

  7. Felicia May 19, 2017 @ 6:26 pm

    OK your fall leaves have always been over the top gorgeous but the iris. Oh my god the iris! It’s been busy here with my own funerals and sick beds to attend to and I missed last week’s post. Death and serious illness has this lovely way of waking us up to the beauty that is all around us….but seriously, those iris?!

    I have questions about the tracing paper. Does this give you a chance to test your compositions out? Why not just draw directly on your paper? Can you show us some samples of how and why you use the tracing paper?

    It was 80+ degrees here in the heartland, until today when we couldn’t even eek out a 50 degree day. Which is OK by me because it’s giving me a chance to catch my breath. Because, in addition to funerals, I’ve been attending to my garden and this cool weather slows everything down. Death makes us notice the fleeting nature of this special season.

    I’ve always been a bit of a political junkie, but I have to say that I’ve been laughing since the inauguration (secretly because you know I live in Trump Land) because a) I have a fundamental belief in democracy triumphing over all obstacles and because b)every day is like a skit from SNL. I agree the Trumpster kicked the entertainment value into high gear this week. Imagine what he’ll do next week on series of international stages….ok that might be a bit embarrassing, but when you let the crazy old uncle out of the closet for the holidays what can you do?

    Cataloguer of whimsy, not only can you paint beautifully, but you can turn a phrase that catches at the imagination. Happy Friday Vivian and everyone else!

  8. Barbara Marie Lee May 19, 2017 @ 6:28 pm

    The Karma train has indeed left the station and while I am not yet ready to begin dancing for joy, the popcorn is popped, buttered and ready to eat.

  9. Mo May 20, 2017 @ 12:00 am

    hi Vivian … i would LOVE to read your thoughts on writing obits. i recently have been giving thought to writing my own, just for the fun of it. years ago, too many to count but let’s round it to half a century, i wrote my own obit for a journalism class. great fun, makes you think about how you want to be remembered. i’m sure 50 years hence has added some really really interesting fodder to the equation, lol. plus i’ve written several obits for friends and family, and it’s quite the rewarding experience to not only write them and flesh out the subject, but to also see them actually published. so absolutely, please, please share your thoughts.

    ps: can you share the obit you you wrote for your uncle Rolly? would love to read it. thanks!


  10. Deborah Hatt May 22, 2017 @ 11:21 am

    I’m so glad you had such a wonderfully blessed week! And yes, those couple of days of summer temps were absolutely perfectly heavenly.

    I love red beans and rice too! Our best place around here is a privately owned Mexican restaurant called Fiesta Ranchera. OH. MY. GOODNESS. they make the most perfectly seasoned, mouth-watering rice and beans ever! It’s making me crazy just thinking of them now!

    My mom is an avid Genealogy researcher, and she has taught me how very important a well-written obituary is to future generations. Many times she has been faced with puzzling gaps in the information about an ancestor, and then, Voila! She manages to dig up (no pun intended) their obit from a long-forgotten library archives, and all she needed to know was there before her eyes! So, obituaries are important – especially in this day and age, when so many people opt to cremate. It is unfortunate, many people are cremated and their families do not bury the ashes and place a headstone. Without a headstone, there is not a “place” to go and “remember” – a special place to leave tokens of love and sorrow – and even more importantly, no place for future generations to go and trace their ancestors. Genealogy people use headstones extensively in their research efforts, taking pictures of them as proof for their claims. Obituaries are just as, and even more important. They serve as a historical touch-stone, giving testimony of a person’s life. So, I definitely agree: Obituaries are vital, and should be viewed as a historical document – the last poignant statement of a person’s life. I’m sure you did right by your Uncle Rolly, and I’m sure your entire family appreciated it.

    Lickety looks exactly like I do while sitting in my lounge chair outside. I always have grand ideas of reading or sketching, but ultimately I lean back, close my eyes, and drift away across the sunny fields to dreamland. He definitely has it down to a science! Love that pose and facial expression.

    Happy Trails, Dear Vivian. Have another blessed week.

  11. Fan in Vermont May 25, 2017 @ 9:19 am

    Regarding dancing with joy. I consider doing the dance, and then I think about the views of the guy who would replace der Drumpf, and the dance instinct fades. We’ll get similarly cruddy policy, but from someone who does not present as a nut-job so is harder to oust. Clearly to get out of this funk I need to spend more time with agoraphobic dachshunds.

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