To Appreciate The Beauty of a Snowflake, Is It Really Necessary To Stand Out In The Cold?

I should have suspected something was up when the cats decided to do this:

They rarely hang out together, these four, but there they were, yesterday morning, hunkered down in the den. Usually the boys (Bibs, Taffy, and Lickety — the black cat is my beautiful girl Cindy) are outside at this time of day, patrolling the perimeter of the property to keep the neighbor cat, Dennis, on his own side of the fence.

At noon I took a break from my work (see items 5, 6, 8, and 9 on my To Do List in my blog post Preparation and Dread: Winter is Coming) and went upstairs to watch the episode of Survivors that I DVR’d the night before. After seeing how Christian and his fellow Davids outsmarted the Goliath team and voted John off — yay!) I fell asleep for two hours, and when I woke up this was happening all over the north shore of Long Island:

It’s still FALL, for christ sake. The trees still have a lot of leaves on them, leaves that have not fallen off yet (hence the season’s name, which is FALL, and not EMPTY SOUL CHILLING WINTER).

This is the Japanese maple in the front yard, which is still at peak FALL color:

This is a picture of the rose bush on the property of my neighbor (Dennis’s family). . . those bits of red peeping through the snow are roses, still in bloom:

It’s unusual to have a WINTER storm that the TV undersells. The forecast called for 1 inch of snow, from 1 pm – 3 pm, turning to rain. No big deal. No hysteria. I did not even bother to go out and buy a Champagne-O-Meter because I did not heed the warning of my cat herd to batten down the hatches for A Big One.

So I had to improvise.

I bring you, Dear Readers, my first-ever Vodka-O-Meter:

Which I stuck into the snow in my backyard at 4 pm:

I tried to get a photo of Steve in his spiffy Winter-proof cubby by the front stoop, but he did not cooperate. This is the best I could do:

Steve and his Dinner Bowl.

Meanwhile, The Boys (Bibs, Taffy, and Lickety) had a little romp outside in the flakes and came inside to diner like this:

Speaking of the beauty of snow-laden trees. . .

. . . I had to see whether my snowflake paper trees could hold their own against the real thing:

You might remember this Blank Book castle from :

This wonky tree in the background (on the right in this photo). . .

. . . bothered me so much tat I chopped it down and made a better, straighter tree:

I invented a much easier way to make these snow flake trees, and I am happy to show you all about it next Friday.

But this Friday I have to show you something that I found at a Salvation Army Thrift Store recently:

The book store that I co-manage for the benefit of our local library needs a tall, narrow book case, so I’ve been haunting the thrift shops lately, which is how I found this amazing thing, and as soon as I saw it for sale I knew that it, and I, were destined to be in a loving and obsessively possessive relationship.

The Salvation Army had tagged it as a piece of furniture, an “Accent Table”, and I’m happy to use it as such, but I think it must have been some kind of stage prop for a theater production of The Borrowers. It was priced at $34.99, and I am surprised that it lasted 7 days before I came along and grabbed it. I mean, who wouldn’t want this pile of giant books in their life??

I am still gloating that this “accent table” is mine, all mine. I just love it. Top Cat doesn’t care for it.

I hope it fits into the display case when all my paper castles go on exhibit on Dec. 1.

In other exciting Book Store news, we got a load of children’ books donated last week. The donation was So-So, with the usual percentages of 80% dreck and 20% good stuff. Among the 80% dreck was this:

If you think it looks bad on the outside, get a load of what it looks like on the inside:

Why? Why? Why would someone off-load this kind of crap onto us? Why would someone think that anyone in the world would want a book this beat up and trashy?? Are there children anywhere in this world who would receive this book and not understand what an insult it is to them, as human beings, to be handed this kind of garbage??

I might be heading towards Book Store Burn Out. I spend a lot of time and back-breaking effort throwing out other people’s rubbish and I’m getting tired of it.

A day’s work at the Book Store. Three large cartons and two garbage bags, with their TRASH labels on them so the custodian knows that it’s OK to heave them. Do you see that bag full of Cliff Notes? (The yellow bits; for those who do’t know Cliff Notes, they are condensed versions of classic literature that kids who don’t want to bother reading the actual book, or doing the actual thinking, can buy and read in a hour and get a summary of plot and themes — they are cheat sheets for lazy students.) I told the caller specifically that WE DO NOT WANT CLIFF NOTES, but she dropped them off any way. There were 31 Cliff Notes. I made a list before I threw them out.

And then we got in a donation of a variety of author-autographed books that redeemed the situation entirely, and I am once again a happy Used Book Store Manager.

OH, and the snow last night was every bit as bad as you might have heard. In the evening I drove to the train station to pick up Top Cat. It usually takes 12 minutes. Last night it took an hour.  I was petrified, as if I have never driven a car in snow before — I had never seen it get this bad! No streets were plowed, the snow was heavy and wet, cars were spinning out of control, and the trees were doubly burdened with leaves covered in sleet and snow and were falling down all over the place, cutting off power for some neighborhoods in our village.

This snow storm in November caught us all by surprise, in the very worst way.

Lucky for me that I had a Vodka-O-Meter handy.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone. I am grateful to all of you Dear Readers (some of you who have been stopping by for many years now) who come here and make this a warm and cozy corner of the internet.

Thank you.



11 Comments, RSS

  1. Oh, I would have snapped up that “accent table” in a New York minute!! I’ve been looking for one — you can buy them new with glass tops for $150-200. What a great find.

    It’s definitely too early for that much snow. I sure hope you don’t run out of improvised-o-meters before the end of the month.

    I adore your snowflakes cats!

  2. Megan

    Oh my, well we should always heed the felines. They know lots of things, they are in tune with nature. I love them all curled up together, second only to them covered in a light coat of snow flakes. How marvellous. I took my cat Mr Jolly out in the snow once, he was NOT IMPRESSED, and made a dash for the door. We rarely get snow, used to be every two years now just once a decade if we are lucky. Here we are desiccating rather too rapidly, but still people tell me there is no such thing as global warming. The cold comes with global warming too… but it is all too depressing to think about when you can watch cats sleeping and eating and being just gorgeous. Sorry to hear that you have been plunged into winter, I would swap places with you… Funny to see Dennis so many times in your house if the cats are hell bent on keeping him on his side of the fence, he is cute. Keep warm and I am sure more temperate autumnal weather will return, fingers crossed.

  3. If anyone brings in 31 CLASSIC COMICS (which are condensed versions of classic literature and which I used to read voraciously) DO NOT THROW THEM OUT,! Probably worth a million bucks..The early snow is shocking and does not bode well for Winter 2018. Bon(ne) chance. Paris rarely gets snow but the chill has hit. I thought Thanksgiving arrives the 28th? Cannot keep up and I am snowed under with annoying Xmas preparations hither and thither here ;((

  4. Yikes. I have stopped complaining about our measly two inches or so of snow. You’re right — underselling weather is rarely done on the news. Hope you can huddle in this weekend and join the fur-gang in mellowness.

    That table was a great score! And yes, why DO people do that with donations? I’m sure the same thing happens at Salvation Army or Goodwill or whatever. Holey underwear and one sock with no match? Ugh.

    Loving the kitties today! Keep cozy.

  5. Casey

    Oh yes, this is one of the warmest and coziest corners of the internet. Especially on a Snow day. I’ve seen horrendous news reports about people being stuck in their cars from Connecticut to New Jersey for 8, 10 hours on Thursday. And a number of schools couldn’t even get their kids on buses, so they set the night in the gym!! What a huge screw up!

    I had a good laugh at your Vodka-O-Meter. Yum……snow-chilled voddy.

    Just a note, this is the second comment I have left for you on this post. My first comment disappeared into the ether. Is WordPress having a delayed reaction to Winter Storm Avery?

    Ugh. One storm down, how many ore to go ?? ?

  6. Kirra

    Sorry about the early winter snow. That sounds pretty crazy driving with leaves and snow everywhere. I like your accent table, good find. Hope you find a bookcase for the shop too. It must be a bit depressing sorting through peoples junk books when you volunteer at a second hand bookshop because you like books. I agree the Dr Seuss dictionary is disturbing.

    Apparently we might get snow in Salzburg next week but now I am concerned that:
    1. I don’t have cats to show me when it’s going to snow.
    2. I need to buy champagne so I can do my own champagne-o-meter but I don’t want another student to take it when I leave it outside.

    I will hope for the best, but like you I’m happy for the snow to come later in December.

  7. Well, I admire the cats for making a go of it and getting outside, despite that freakish snow. I think Olga would balk in the doorway. And I totally GET IT about the book donations. We’ve stopped accepting donations in our library because they’re often such garbage. I must admit that I have occasionally given questionable things to the thrift stores, because I don’t really know their criteria for keeping things or where they may be able to move them on — but it makes me crazy to receive other people’s trash. Is there no market for “The Mind of Adolf Hitler,” or that book about (ironically) Jewish heroes?

  8. Becky

    I have just been catching up, and in the meantime the Democrats did it … finally the creep will be held accountable as well as his cohorts in crime. It hasn’t stopped his idiotic comments on the tragedy in California or the insensitivity towards victims in Pgh. How can anyone be so lacking in compassionate.
    Locally We survived the ice and snow even though some parts of pa. Lost power. Animals are in tune to nature and can sense impending weather…..although my pup slept through all warning signs…..after our walks lots of paw snowballs in the house which results in wet socks if you miss any with the towel.
    Love the pictures of the cats hunkering down.
    Wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving however you celebrate it.

  9. Linda June

    Thank you, Vivian, for another warm-hearted, informative, and enjoyable blog post. Your stint at the library makes for interesting reading and gives me chuckles. I can’t imagine having snow this early, but it does happen. Here in the Northwest it’s just cold but beautiful. Both mountain ranges are showing just a tiny bit of snow, and Mount Rainier and Mount Baker are snow capped and glorious as usual.

  10. Marg-o

    I get sleepy looking at how much your kitties seem to be enjoying a nice winter doze. I want to be a cat. But first I want a nap.

    Your snowflake paper tree in the real snow…yep. Looks authentic to me. I too would have pounced on that book stand. It would go perfectly in my reading nook.

  11. Leslie

    Dear Vivian, I am thankful for you and for the blog you write so faithfully. And I am thankful for the Mueller Investigation. Excelsior! Snowstorm driving in Massachusetts is what brought us to Florida. Please be careful out there. Beautiful but treacherous. The perfect time to stay home and catch up on good reads and Netflix, create fabulous art, and appreciate kitties. Peace be with you.

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