Trying To Be One of Those People.

One of the beings in this photo is responsible for breaking a lot of dishes last month. Hint: It’s not Taffy, and it’s not Lickety.

I’m taking Dear Reader and Commentor Patricia’s advice: Lead with the cats.

Last month I went out of town for a weekend and while I was away there happened a dishwashing incident  which depleted our inventory by three dinner plates, one salad bowl, and one drinking glass.

Our previous inventory of dinner plates served us well, five in total, being that there are only two of us in the house who use plates for dinner. But now, because of the infamous dishwashing incident, we were down to two dinner plates in total, and we soon discovered that being a two-plate family did not really suit our lifestyle of opulence and luxury. I needed to shop for new plates.

Note to Top Cat: Please get a bigger lap. Your current lap does not meet my requirements. From: Lickety, on the edge of the couch.

My original set of five dinner plates was what was left of a mis-matched collection of bits that I’d found in thrift shops in the past 20 years so, at first, I was all excited about shopping for new dinner plates. For I have changed since my thrift shop days and  it turns out that I now rather like the housewares section of Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Nordstrom’s, and I love Home Goods.

But in the hours I spent wandering amongst the brand-new china I never saw anything that I liked more than my old favorites, the ones that were in pieces in the local landfill. Those were the dinner plates I wanted. My old, lost, done-for dinner plates, of which I only ever had three that matched anyway. So I turned to the internet.

BTW, the more I type the word “plate”, the stranger that word feels in my brain. Plate. It’s not a pretty word at all, is it?  Any hoo. . .

. . . of course we all know that you can find ANYTHING on the internet, so after 15 minutes of browsing, I hit the Checkout button and lo, a mere four days later, a huge box was deposited on my doorstep:

Here’s where things get a little weird because here is where I discuss an internet thing that you might not have heard of. It’s called Unboxing. It’s a thing, especially on YouTube, where people watch other people unwrap, or unbox, some new item from its factory-sealed packaging. Millions of people watch people unbox stuff, and the best unboxers have followings that earn them big bucks in this strange, bizarre internet economy. Why do I bother writing books when I could unbox instead?

So for today, let’s consider ourselves to be part of this weird cult and let’s unbox, with the added attraction that, at the end, I will reveal the most perfect plates from which to fork up your dinner.

This unboxing experience comes to you thanks to a fabulous site,, that will find the old stuff that matches the old stuff in your cupboards.

While we unbox (let’s face it, this really only works in video) let us think back upon the events in Las Vegas, which still bother me and, I’m sure, haunt you Dear Readers as well. The best we can do for each other is to do as was advised by Ms. Moon at  Bless Our Hearts:

Let’s try to be one of those people who remind others that this world is not all bad.

I think that’s the sanest thing I’ve heard in all the words that have been spoken and written about the great loss of life in Nevada, and is why I’m unboxing dinner plates and queuing up lots more cat photos for you all today. I’m trying to be one of those people.

Are you ready?

Ta-da: These are, in my expert opinion, the best dinner plates ever designed by mankind except for the Wedgwood that we only use for Thanksgiving because we don’t deserve to use it every day:

I looked closely at the stocking labels and yeah, that seemed about  right:

The word “snot” always makes me laugh.

For the record, SNOTETY stands for Studio Nova Terrace Twist, Yellow. Apparently these plates also come in red, white, and gray. But yellow is the best. only had 7 of these yellow plates and I bought them all. In my original collection I only had three of them. Now I have 8 and I feel rich. (It doesn’t take much.) They were $7.99 per plate and I also found out from that my plates came out in the long lost year of — wait for it — 1987. I love the idea of having the ’80s on my table.

Here’s how good my favorite breakfast looks on these ’80s plates:

Toasted ciabatta bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pink Tibetan salt. Because I’m fancy.

The  only down side to this life-enhancing unboxing experience is that the plates came with a crap load of packaging:

Sorry about that, world.

I promise to re-use every bit of paper and styrofoam.

Since this blog post is all about making the world a better place, here’s a picture that is sure to make most of you Dear Readers happy although, unlike unboxing, there is no known name for this thing, which I will call: This Is My Kitchen, But That Is Not My Cat:

Top Cat and I came home one evening to find Dennis, our next door neighbor’s cat, in the kitchen. He had hopped in for breakfast that morning and I forgot that e was in the house and he forgot to leave. I am saying right here and now that finding your neighbor’s cat sitting in your kitchen like he owns the place should be a thing. A huge thing.

See that small pot on the stove? That is my Tea Kettle of Perfection. I got it about six months ago and it has made me happy every day, sometimes twice a day.

Yes, it’s just a regular one quart Calphalon pot, but it’s the best tea kettle I’ll ever have because, for one, I like a tea kettle that I can clean inside of.  For two, it has a glass lid so I can see when the water is boiling, which I just get a kick out of. And for three, it has a nice rubber-coated handle so I can lift the lid easily and not get my fingers steamed off.

For a person who thinks the word “snot” is hilarious, I have very connoisseur taste in tea pots, n’est-ce pas? 

And now for keeping the promise I made before the unhappiness in Las Vegas happened. This is how you can get your own happy daily flower from Claude Monet’s own garden in Giverny . . .

. . . in the form of a lovely desk calendar, photographed by Giverny resident and Monet garden tour guide Ariane Cauderlier.

The Monet’s garden calendar is on good, heavy paper stock, nice and glossy, very luxurious. Because it is a perpetual calendar, it can be used over and over, for many years to come, and it is only sold in Giverny.  It’s very easy to buy one for everyone you know because Ariane accepts payment by Paypal, and the French government charges minimal postage to send this anywhere in the world because, as an artifact of French culture, this calendar is shipped under special, very inexpensive, government rates. The total cost, postage included, is 26 US dollars or 22.50 euros.  France wants you to have this calendar!

You can contact Ariane at Giverny News and brush up on your French while you’re at it. (Ariane speaks and writes perfect English, and a few other languages as well. But not Strine.)

This is today’s photo from Giverny, of Claude Monet’s dining room, by Ariane (on her blog, Giverny News). Please note the plate in the center of the table, under the vase. Look familiar?

And as another treat, Ariane sent me more cat photos from Claude Monet’s world famous garden in Giverny for your viewing pleasure. Please meet Eden, the dear heart who reigned over the Clos Normand until last Winter, when she crossed the rainbow bridge:

Eden in Eden:

Todays’s special Wednesday post was brought to you by my favorite flower of all:

The Cosmo.

I am glad that through all the chaos and noise, that you, Dear Reader, have found your way to this gentle corner of the cosmos where teapots, Giverny cats, perpetual flowers, and 1980s dinner plates are a thing.

And because I haven’t said it in a while, der Drumpf is still a huge, slimy, steaming piece of shit who makes the world a terrible place with every utterance from his pig-eyed face and every Tweet from his short, fat, worm-like fingers.

See you back here on Friday.


28 Comments, RSS

  1. Elizabeth Schmid October 11, 2017 @ 6:24 am

    The plates are splendid!
    Well done persevering. I’m very particular about plates – only bone china for me
    and made in Germany….
    Hoping to see you soon.

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:35 am

      I’m that particular about tea cups: only bone china…but I prefer English, for literary reasons. I’ve never read a German book in which a character makes tea, but maybe that’s my ignorance. Good Google project.

  2. jeanie October 11, 2017 @ 8:19 am

    Well, no wonder you wanted to replace what you had — those are wonderful. Yellow and blue together, my fave combo (you don’t say that too loudly in East Lansing since they are the colors of the Spartan rivals down the way. Ask me if I care.) I love I’m sort of a dish junkie and my favorites are the old ones picked up at estate sales or secondhand/antique shops. Many have chips or wear. Doesn’t matter. They have a story and a life and a past. I may not know it but I make up wonderful stories!

    I love Dennis’attitude. And that Giverny calendar and the wonderful cat photos because what’s not to love about Eden.

    Rainy and gloomy here today but it feels warm and sunny at this moment. Nice to see you on a Wednesday too!

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:34 am

      The Spartans have a very good color sense. Monet’s dining room is all yellow, and his kitchen is all blue, so the yellow/blue thing has a great pedigree.

      Yo owls love Denis. He as a lot in common with the Marmalade Gypsy.

  3. Monique October 11, 2017 @ 8:45 am

    If you lived next door you would have extra dishes that could break and you would not could always have your new ones..I bought a box of dishes.. a whole set for 6….plus a set for 3..and 3 fondue plates for $2.00 last week.I kid you not.For everything.
    I fell in love with dishes in Provence at a market and left them there..
    Still kicking myself.
    Little things make me feel rich too:) Although to truly would be being rich..

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:32 am

      $2.00 Canadian? Good lord, that is the best deal of all time. I know very well the pain of that particular Traveler’s regret, but imagine how nervous you’d be every time you used those Provence dishes, frightened of breaking one? (I’m big on finding the Upside to everything.)

  4. Casey October 11, 2017 @ 10:06 am

    I might think that Eden was the luckiest cat in the world but looking at Taffy and Lickety they seem pretty lucky too. My lord those cats look huge.

    Definitely, finding your neighbor’s cat giving you the Cheshire smile should be a “thing”.

    Ms. Moon is very wise and thank you for those words to live by.

    bye for now. I have to go back and look at those pictures of Eden so I can wish I were diving into a flower bed in Giverny.

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:30 am

      Get Ariane’s calendar! Dive into Monet’s garden every day!

  5. Casey October 11, 2017 @ 10:08 am

    And last but not least, what you said about Drumpf. that should definitely, definitely be a “thing”.

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:29 am

      Most definitely a “thing”.

  6. Citizen Reader October 11, 2017 @ 12:17 pm

    I was very excited to come visit on a Wednesday, and I was not disappointed. Much kitties, much flowers, much cheerful yellow plates, much fun. Thank you!

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:29 am

      It’s always good to have you visit, CR.

  7. Beth October 11, 2017 @ 4:17 pm

    That’s not my cat is kinda’ a thing aka I don’t own a cat:


    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:24 am

      This link is WONDERFUL. Little did I know! Makes me think cats are even weirder than I ever knew!

  8. Barbara October 11, 2017 @ 4:46 pm

    Thank you! Just what I needed.

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:29 am

      You are always welcome, and welcomed.

  9. Kirra October 11, 2017 @ 7:14 pm

    Thank you for this great mid week blog Vivian, it really did lift my spirits which were a bit low. How awesome that you could find replacement plates on the internet, the same as the originals! Love the quote, cats and flowers of Giverny. You’re right France wants me to have that calendar!

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:28 am

      I’m sorry to hear that you were feeling blue — but Summer is on its way! Long days, warm nights, the trees full of fat koala bears — and the Yes will win. Things will get better.

  10. Marilyn October 11, 2017 @ 9:41 pm

    OK, I loved your unboxing and so glad you now have 8 plates. Oh such luxury!!! Love the cats, Monet, and flowers too. And then to end on a high note. Yes, he still is a “piece of shit”. Thanks!

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:27 am

      We all could use a lot more Monet, flowers, and kitties in our lives.

  11. Marg-o October 12, 2017 @ 7:45 am

    I now have a weird desire to watch unboxing videos on YouTube.

    My dream would be to sit in the sun on a bench in Monet’s garden with Eden and a cup of tea while we watched you paint the Clos Normand.

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:26 am

      I like your day dream. Can I borrow it?

  12. Becky October 12, 2017 @ 10:22 am

    This post was a visual feast for the eyes and heart….thank you.
    The daily news is soul wrenching. I debated about sharing this but I think the message is too strong. I follow Susan Branch’s blog. It is usually about cozy homey stuff and her travels to England and places in the states. But recently she posted an informative post. It is not radical or hateful but a strong message in how we need to stay informed. If anyone is curious it is the one dated September 19, 2017 waiting for hurricane Jose. Thank you for indulging me in this sharing.
    P.S. Top Cat definitely needs a bigger lap! Lickety always makes me smile.

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:56 am

      Thank you,Becky, I did look up that Susan Branch post. In the end, it is indeed a fairly non-hysterical bit of political advocacy and I don’t have any arguments about her conclusions regarding the corrosive effect that money has on our political system. But “staying informed” is precisely the problem: many who watch Fox News think they are “staying informed”, many who read Breitbart are equally convinced they are “staying informed”. Der Drumpff and Fox continually undermine legitimate news sources by calling them “fake news”, which strengthens the apparent validity of the dubious and outright false info that Breitbart and Fox spew. It is rather easy for the average American to do independent fact checking, but not many average Americans will bother…average Americans such as Susan Branch.

      And I have no respect for Susan Branch, admitting that she was 40 and “not much of a voter” before she saw Ross Perot on TV and All Was Revealed. Men and women have died, and continue to die, to ensure that the average American citizen has the civic rights that Susan Branch couldn’t be bothered to take responsibility for. We all know people like that, I know people like that, and I think they are lazy, shameful, and not worth the time of day.

  13. Bunny October 12, 2017 @ 2:56 pm

    How uplifting, and you’re going to give us a two-fer this week? Even more uplifting!
    Re the plates, and various other things you have brought to mind. The simple things in life, can bring great joy, so always be on the lookout.

    And lastly, Re: our President, I don’t know why you always seem to mince your words, why not just come out and tell us, your dearest readers, what you REALLY think.

    • Vivian October 16, 2017 @ 11:26 am

      My true thoughts about our presidential predicament are even filthier.

  14. Patricia October 23, 2017 @ 3:24 pm

    You lead with the cats! No one ever takes my advice (or at least no one who is my husband and should heed my every utterance). So I’m quite full of myself right now. Rather like Taffy.

    Have you read “Pride, Prejudice and Zombies”? Perhaps that might give you some much needed assistance in crafting a best seller zombie novel with a strong female lead. Re-imagine “Emma” with zombies… with Emma herself a zombie fighter. Northanger Abby is already quite gothic … perhaps vampires instead?

    Maybe I better dial it down a bit with the advice.

  15. Ariane June 16, 2018 @ 1:27 pm

    Merci, Vivian. Je lis cela maintenant seulement. C’est vraiment adorable de ta part.

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