Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, If You Are a Trumper, A Nation of Violets Just Voted Against You.


“When we think back to two years ago, and we saw that puny inauguration, and it was followed by that massive women’s march, we wondered could that passion, that commitment, that energy be sustained for the marathon ahead of us? For two years? Well, now that two years has passed and that question has been answered with a resounding yes!”

Those are the Election Night words of  Adam Schiff, the man who was vowed to make life hell for Trump, newly re-elcted to Congress from California’s 28th congressional district . .

. . . the man who, riding the fabulous Blue Wave into the majority party in the US House of Representatives, will become the next Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. This, to me, is the best part of Tuesday’s victory, because Adam Schiff now has the power to protect Robert Mueller‘ and his FBI nvestigation into Trump’s collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign AND he has the power to subpoena the tax returns that Trump has been hiding for two years.

Even sweeter is the fact that Schiff takes over from that pustule, Devin Nunez, Trump’s most slobbering boot-licker in the House. Even more glorious is that Schiff has that killer instinct that most Democrats lack, and he will go after Trump, Trump spawn, and Trump enablers.

I love Adam Schiff.

As Dear Reader Margot Commented last week: We got a Deep House Cleaning and how.  I love all you Democrats who turned out to vote and dumped 26 Republicans from their House seats and gave America a fighting chance to not become a shit hole country. From the depths of my heart and soul, Thank You, my beloved fellow patriots.

And now, because I know you mostly come here for the kitty porn, here’s what the elation on Election Day liked like at my house:

That’s Taffy and Bibs, napping head-to-head, and that’s the neighbor’s cat, Dennis, whooping it up like the crazy Democratic cats they are. Dennis’s people work long hours so, as I am a work-from-home kind of girl, Dennis thinks I’m his day care provider. But look at those toes! How can you not want him to hang around?

The only reason I leave the house is to go to work at the used book store at our local library and for some unforeseen reason, business has been very slow this month. I worked six hours on Saturday and only made $15.00. I was SO BORED. So, what would you do if you were bored out of your mind and were  surrounded by books?

This is what I did:

I didn’t count the number of books I used so I can’t quantify this Book Tree other than to tell you that it is over 5 feet tall and it took me three hours to build. Thankfully, someone had, the day before, given us a huge donation of utter garbage, so I saved a lot of books from going into the landfill by putting them into this tree. Even the crappiest book looks OK if you take off its dust jacket. And when you get to the tippy top of your Book Tree, you have to use paperbacks and luckily, this garbage donation contained a lot of Danielle Steele mass market paperbacks — the ones with gold foil on the covers. Festive!

Dear Reader Alex (who is a comrade in the trenches of Library Used Book Store-dom): Wait until you see what this baby looks like when I put on the twinkle lights!

We got another strange donation of rather nice books this week. I say “strange” because the donor had an unusual habit of ripping out little book marks from the end papers of almost every book he read, like this:

This is an autographed copy of Ball Four by Jim Bouton. I showed this to one of our customers, who collects autographed copies of books, but he rejected it on the grounds that the condition was creepy and he wasn’t interested in baseball. I think that was a nice way of saying that he was too young to remember all the hullabaloo around Ball Four, or the career of Jim Bouton. Well, I remember…and I left the autograph in, and the book is for sale for $1.00.

Last week, Dear Reader Jeanie was concerned that our feral front stoop cat, Steve, would be provided for this Winter, so I want to show her, and all you D.R.’s, the latest upgrade to Steve’s quality of life:

His ultra-snuggy, heating-padded straw cubby under the eaves of our front stoop has a new overhang that will give him cover from blowing snow and blizzard conditions, and I couldn’t be happier. This overhang structure will save Steve from this:

Improper A-framage from 2017. Never Again.

(On a side note, to both Dear Readers Jeanie and Marilyn: I, too, never wanted to go to Death Valley. But Top Cat let me drag him to London two years ago, so to be fair I had to let him haul me out to the desert and let me tell you: it was wonderful.

The scenery is breath-taking, and a lot of it is easy to visit by car on a very nice paved road. People take their big-ass, monster 20-foot-long RVs all through and around Death Valley — and by “people”, I mean a German soccer team that unloaded an entire veranda and awning onto the rest area at Dante’s View and had themselves a fine old luncheon complete with a worrying amount of beer.)

As for me and the coming snow, I might take Dear Reader Rachel’s suggestion and investigate those Heat Holder socks she mentioned last week in her Comment. Keeping one’s ankles warm in a stylish way (no sweat pants!) is a real challenge here in the Northeast of America. . . or in Austria, for that matter. Dear Reader from Australia Kirra is prepping for her first WINTER in the northern hemisphere, in Salzburg, which for the record is further north than  Montreal, Canada. Brrrrrrrrrrr. Can any Australian actually fathom a real Winter?

Kirra, honey, I fear that you do’t know what you are in for. It’s the darkness, and the cold, and the lifelessness that gets to you in ways that are insidious, devious, and pernicious.

To combat the Seasonal Affective Disorder that is a way of life for all of us north of the 40th latitude in the New World, I recommend getting a SAD Therapy Light. Mine is very portable:

It emits a light that contains the complete spectrum of color that Winter sunlight lacks, and it makes the lizard part of your brain happy. I put mine on the side of my desk so that the light comes at me at an angle, in my peripheral vision.

If that doesn’t work, you can always fall back on the folk remedy of copious amounts of booze to lift the spirits.

Or you can take up watercolor and paint Summer flowers to escape reality! this is my segue to answering Dear Reader Leslie’s question about my Giverny book:

It is still in manuscript phase because I am still tinkering with it. the centenary of Claude Monet’s death will happen in 2026 and I’m thinking that that would be a dandy time to come out with an odd little illustrated book about his garden. I will have more time to do that now that I have completed my 10th and final castle for the Book Art exhibit next month.

Would you like to see the 10th and final castle for my Book Art exhibit?

This is it:

It’s my Kate Spade Blank Book Castle (I really must concentrate on getting better names for these things):

I know what you’re thinking. It needs more snowy stuff. I’m on it.

Steve: Thanks for the laugh last week. Top Cat loves your rationale for getting rid of the reference desk in our library, in this age of the all-powerful Google. A cash bar could be an outstanding revenue stream!

I’m a little wrung out today, my Dear Ones, having been on pins and needles and nervous energy these past two years. We did good this election Day, and now I think I will go take me a long, long nap and dream of a President bro O’Rourke.

Have a great weekend, everyone.





10 Comments, RSS

  1. By 2026 I could be dead. Just sayin’… hope that the book comes out sooner because I need a Vivian fix. I can only re-read the others so many times. (Well, actually, re-reading Vivian books is no chore! I’m nearly through with my annual month-by-month read of “Wanderers.”) Still… after seeing the mega-Monets in Paris, I long for the Vivian version.

    Thanks for showing Steve’s snazzy chateau, a nice mix of modern plexi and rustic straw. The house-beautiful for cats. I am relieved. Much better than last year’s home, though any at all would be a plus for most ferals. The heating pad is such a great idea.

    Loving the castle and the tree and Australia and most of all loving that Michigan finally outsted the no-good, do-nothing Mike Bishop and turned over a 20-year Republican House seat to a wonderful Dem woman whom I am convinced could do good things for us. We went back to blue with our female governor, AG, Sec of State. Thrilled about the House. Worried about the Senate especially after yesterday’s shenanigans. A lot can happen in the lame duck session. I envision Bob Mueller writing a new version of his report every night in case he has to turn it over before he’d officially be done. (cc: Bob Woodward.) I’m with you on Schiff. He’s a good guy and a tough one. Writing too much. This is what happens when I get up too early in the morning.

    • Leslie

      Dear Jeanie,I’m with you on at least two counts.
      One: I’d rather not wait 8 (eight!) years to hold the darling Giverny book in my aging hands. I picture myself in my own garden, with the Giverny book in hand, and a refreshing Proseco on a convenient table. Doesn’t that sound nice?
      Two: the monthly reading from “When Waderers Cease to Roam.” I wondered if other readers did the same, and now I know at least one does.
      Three, of course, is “A New Hope” (Star Was Episode IV) in our non-fiction allegory of good vs. evil. Is it inevitable that truth and justice prevail? Stay tuned. Peace, Leslie

  2. Oh, I love the book tree — can’t wait for the lights! I wish we could do that with the crap books people donate to our library’s used book room. We have enough Danielle Steel, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, and James Patterson tomes to build an entire forest of Christmas trees.

    Speaking of trees…I departed the land of nonstop evergreens (western WA state) after 40 years to return to the arid, sagebrush-covered shrub-steppe country of southeastern WA state (where I grew up), and I am LOVING IT. I had the winter blues every year on the west side, but am hoping for better things here — it’s colder, but the SUN is shining and the sky is BLUE.

    Speaking of blue, HOORAH FOR THE BLUE WAVE!!! Fingers crossed for a tsunami in 2020.

  3. Tami

    I’m a huge new fan of you and your work. After reading When Travellers I went back to the earliest blog post I could find (2012) and have been reading forward. First, thank you for the much needed hilarity. I live in the DC area and my husband works for the government so we live this nightmare 24/7. Second, I recently started watercolors and your tutorials are excellent. Third, how did you end up becoming a gemologist and end up at Christie’s? Thank you so much for writing and creating. Finally, is there a way to sign up to receive your posts automatically?

    • Vivian

      Hi Tami! Welcome to my corner of the internet! You do’t know how happy it makes me to know that my watercolor tutorials are useful, and I hope you are painting yourself into many mental vacations from der Dumpster fire.Thank you for your question, because I think I’ll blog about my “career path” soon. It’s very accidental and I wonder if everyone can look back and see how many of life’s decisive choices were made on very flimsy and happenstance basis. If I had servants I would have one dedicated to being my IT guy, but I do not so I have no idea how to sign up for my blog but I’m here every Friday. See you here!

  4. I’m glad the “reference bar” idea is a hit! Speaking of Devin Nunez, did you see that his maniac California colleague Dana Rohrabacher is in danger of losing his seat? The race is so close it can’t yet be called. And of course, Florida is crazytown right now. Anything could happen!

    I love your book tree, and your castle is AMAZING! I can’t imagine why someone would rip pages out of their books to serve as bookmarks. Truly bewildering behavior.

  5. Kirra

    Thanks for the lamp advice Vivian, I will look for one here when winter strikes. I really do not know how I will go with the cold and the dark for more than a month, it will be an experiment. However I am going to Paris for four days at the start of January, which I’m pretty happy about even if it is cold and dark! I love the map of the world, I didn’t know it was a cat playing with Australia! Your cats are very cute, as usual.

    It’s interesting to hear a bit more about the politics that will make a difference, Schiff sounds like he will get stuff done. I hope all the New Democratic politicians can do some good.

    I also like your book tree and castle book, you are impressive with what you get done when you’re bored! I too would love to see you Monet book soon, I think it looks great so far and love the small size.

  6. Casey

    I want a book tree.

    I want to live in a blank book castle surrounded by those fabulous snowflake trees.

    I want Steve.

    I want Taffy, bibs, and Dennis too.

    I want a copy of your Monet’s Garden book.

    I don’t have the self control to only read one chapter at a time of When Wanderers Cease to Roam, I gobble it up in one sitting, starting with cups of tea for January to March, that becomes white wine around May, with a break to search for blue jay feathers in June, with a glass of champagne in July (for obvious reasons), and then I watch the sun set in August and I put on a fluffy sweater and fuzzy slippers and play Sinatra in the background while I ease into the Fall and Winter, ending with a candle lighting before I close the covers and wish for snow on a moon-lit December night.

  7. So glad Steve will have a cozy home for winter. He is one lucky cat.
    I must say, though I was thrilled the Dem’s took over the house, I still want more. I really won’t be happy until that despicable man is gone. I’m sorry, but I have never hated like I hate him. It is so wrong that he is even in that position.
    Now I do dream of your wonderful book castles and this one wins the prize. It is quite wonderful. It almost wants to make me try my hand at it, but afraid I don’t have the patience.
    Your cats are all so lucky to have you watching out for them.
    Love the book tree too.

  8. Patricia

    We’ve been in Arizona for the past 17 days watching the Sinema / McSally Senate drama day by day. Nail biter big time. Thankfully McSally conceded before we flew home to soggy green Seattle. (I’m missing the day after day after day brilliant sunshine and technicolor blue skies. And the stunning red rocks of Sedona)

    I love watching the House count climb! And now the Rs are talking about “cooperation” and “bi-partisan”. Didn’t know they even knew how to spell those words …

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