Thinking Of Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

You all know Dennis, the cat from next door who, most mornings and afternoons, hunkers down in my house because he thinks that we are his Kitty Day Care providers?

This is Dennis in my dining room this past Tuesday morning:

Dennis is a cool cat, but he is not cool with me hovering near him with a camera. If I get too close, he skedaddles, makes himself scarce, vanishes like he’s from Cheshire. I was starting to think that getting the photo I want would be impossible because I have long been stalking him to get a good photo of him in lounging mode (above) but finally, this past Tuesday morning, I got what we lunatic cat stalkers call The Money Shot:

This (above) is Dennis’s back right foot, which I have long wanted to show you all because Dennis has the most adorable tootsies, as you can now see. Dennis’s toes make me happy.

This past Tuesday morning must have been my lucky day because I also got another photo that I thought would be impossible:

These are the Blue Jays who love the dry cat food that I put out on the den patio with the birdseed every morning. Blue Jays are bossy and brave in addition to being beautiful, but getting them to pose together is like herding cats because as soon as they can see me at the picture window in the den they tend to bugger off like they were Cardinals (Cardinals being the chickens of the song birds).  But last Tuesday morning I bagged 5 of them!

Blue Jays make me very happy. I must have Blue Jays in my life.

You might have heard that this past Tuesday morning it was bitter cold here on the north shore of Long Island. Temperatures were in the single digits and, with wind chill and all, conditions were arctic and the governor warned all New Yorkers to stay inside or else your eyeballs would freeze instantly it you ventured outside for a split second.

So this is Taffy, doing his thing in his favorite patch of dirt on the coldest day:

His eyeballs are just fine, thank you. And Thank You, Dear Readers and Commenters, for your concern over Taffy’s limp last week. The vet did not find any wound or any broken bones in his front leg, but she did feel some muscle damage which, taken into account with two small, healing head wounds, made her conclude that Our Boy had been in a battle and had over-extended himself. Did you know the a cat has 6 muscles in his foreleg? Taffy has blown out one, or all six, of them. They will heal, but in the meantime they are going to be tender and he should stay out of fights.

But the reason we all love Taffy so much is because he is so much more than a fighter. You all remember that last week his mama cat, Candy, came home from the vet, having been knocked out so the doctor could pull an in-grown claw from the pad of one of her front toes? It was the first time that I have ever handled her in the ten years we have known each other, the first time she’d been put in a carrier, the first time she’s seen a vet. It was a very stressful day for the poor kitty.

Well, as you can imagine, Candy was pretty wrung out and shaken from the experience, so she curled up on her bed in the living room to recuperate.

So this is what her dear boy did:

Taffy is impossibly sweet.

Last week I showed you the plan for my latest Book Art:

Illustration from Where The Wild Things Are, written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, 1963.

I do not know how I failed to correctly assess the impossibility of doing this scene. You have to make five trees, each one with different leaves, with all those limbs, and all those limbs intertwining, with all those limbs coming out at the correct angles so you can hang the critters correctly.

Nope. I did not see any of that coming. No wonder it’s taken me almost two weeks and it’s still not done. But I’ll show you the Work-in-Progress:

And this is where I made fake arms so I could glue the paws of the critters onto the tree limbs:

And here are the different ways I made tree leaves:

The Palm Tree was, by far, the most fun tree to make.

Next week I will show you the finished forest, with all the ground vegetation that is shown (or hinted at) in the original illustration. Does anyone want to see a short step-by-step photo essay of The Making Of The Impossible Thing?

But wait, there’s more, because my life is just too exciting to stop here.

We got in a strange donation at the used book store that I co-manage, and this is just one of the strange books that was part of this strange donation:

Can you guess what this book is? No? Then let me show you:

Printed in 1932 by Simon and Schuster.

This book, much like Where The Wild Thigsxare, is also illustrated by the author.

But Mr. Van Loos is a strange guy:

I do not know why Mr. Van Loos needed to express the Ile de France (the part of France that contains Paris) in the form of saucers, but he did, and now you’ve seen it, too.

And then there’s this:

I don’t know how well this shows up if you are reading this blog on a phone, but this is a portrait of Ireland (?) and the text above it is a very patronizing take on the Irish people, and their love of fairies.

For a geographer, Mr. Van Loos was an extraordinarily lousy cartographer. Here’s his map of Europe:

And this, this (below), is just weird:

The North Pole. Of Asteroid B-612, that is.

Why would someone write such a book? Why would anyone publish such a book? And why on Earth would anyone buy such a book??

I don’t know if I love this book, or if it gives me the creeps.

I can’t think straight because this has been another exhausting week in America and I can’t tell if this is the beginning of the end for our union, or if it’s the end of the beginning of the end of our republic. There is no where to go from here but dissolution of the United States, so the Blue States can unify in liberal democracy and the Red States can unite in their racist, misogynist, and evangelical delusions.

I just hope that ,when the time comes, no shots will be fired.

But let’s not dwell on this unpleasantness.

Because no matter what goes on in Washington, no matter how many MAGA hats the jerk-face future Kavanaughs from Covington wear, no matter how long the government stays shut down, this is what I come home to:

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones.


10 Comments, RSS

  1. You got the money shot. (A zoom helps — or sneaking up on a sleeper in your socks!) Wonderful tooties.

    And wonderful book art today. I love that book and can’t wait to see the finished piece. And yes, step by step would make me happy!

    Glad our boy Taffy doesn’t have anything too awful, although it might be hard to keep a good fighting cat down. Hopefully he has the sense not to push it. Love the pic with Candy. Good boy, Taf! Keep away from Mom’s blue jays! Cat food, huh? Well, I’m going to have to try that!

    Well, I’m not sure why anyone would write, buy or publish that weird geography book (it is a little creepy) but it’s pretty obvious why someone donated it!

    I’m trying to channel my inner Vivian and paint this week while reveling in the arrest of Roger Stone and periodic reading of “Fear” because I got it free at a book club exchange. Since we already know much of it, it is a pretty fast read! Keep cozy out there.

  2. Carol

    I am loving your book creation …each one seems to exceed the one before. Very clever trees on this one.

    You have a cat paradise! Dennis knows a good thing when he sees it. Why not join your indoor cat colony where it’s warm & cozy?
    Taffy, you are the best boy taking care of your mom.

    I found a blue jay feather this week 🙂 We feed them peanuts in the shell. They love them!

  3. Patricia

    So glad you got the blue jays feeding photo; you needed it. And I needed to see your “in progress Wild Things”. I’ll read it step by step or just final reveal; anyway you present it.
    We also had a day care kitty; Jack from across the alley. Every morning he’d hop over the fence and trot up to our back door for a kitty treat and a very long nap in his favorite chair. They had small kids at home. If we would have set up a litter box and a food bowl he would have moved in. But since we were moving soon ourselves to a small apartment, we opted to just enjoy him part time.

  4. Kirra

    Your couch of cats is very comforting, and the photos of Dennis’s paw and the blue jays are great, a nice way for me to start my weekend. Good to see kind Taffy is on the mend too.

    Your Wild Things creation is amazing, I love all the different trees! Mr Van Loos seems pretty loopy, the Ile de France drawing cracks me up I can’t take anything else seriously. Maybe it was a modern form of geography at the time that never really took off for some reason.

    Remember USA and the UK are having a competition to see who can screw up their country the most, with ‘no deal’ Brexit and crazy Trump it’s neck and neck craziness….. it’s hard to watch let alone live through it.

  5. Casey

    Oh, Dennis, have you dipped your toes in whipped cream?

    That’s quite a photo of that flock of blue jays. Did you know that a group of blue jays is called a “party”? Isn’t that GREAT??

    I also love the Wild Things piece. How do you manage to cut out those tiny claws? You must use cuticle scissors and get a good night’s sleep before you attempt such a thing. I want to see the step by step, please.

    It’s been a great news week, in the end. Nancy Pelosi knows how to call Trump’s bluff and it’s a wonderful thing to see. I will NOT watch his state of the union speech because it’s only going to be full of lies and brags. But the feds are closing in, they are closing in, and I’ve got the champagne ready.

  6. My father had a book by Hendrik Willem Van Loon on his shelves. It might have been “The Story of Mankind.” I remember all the spines of my father’s books, but I don’t think I ever read them. I must have been too busy with Nancy Drew or something.

    I think Van Loon was pretty famous — a lot of his books are still available on and he’s very google-able from which I learned that he was the first Newberry Award Winner (fwiw). Also, I hate to be contradictory but that map of the North Pole looks ok to me. I can recognize Norway and the Svalbard archipelago (the closest I’ve been to the pole). Just a bit cartoony.

    best… mae at

  7. Leslie

    Dear Vivian, I vote for “love that book” of Mr. Van Loon. Why? Because I think it is evidence that we live in a free society. People can share their impressions and whimsy. You don’t have to pay attention, but if you do, you gain insight into the gallimaufry of thought our species has the capacity to produce. I used to think that the printed word was necessarily excellent authoritative truth. The years have taught me that this is not so. For example, the first use of Gutenberg’s press were to manufacture “indulgences” which could be purchased for backstage passes into heaven. Anyway, I love the eccentricity of your find. I mean, what about those adorable fairy books? How can we readers be sure we’re getting accurate info re: fairy folk?
    Your work-in-progress is brilliant. Given your attention to detail, I can understand why you might find Mr. Van Loon’s interpretive style questionable. (Do you think that is a nom de plume?) The wild rumpus scene always struck me as noisy and theatrical, with the blue sky backlit as the wild things swing from limb to limb. Great job on the leaves, especially the round one with negative space. Bravo!!

  8. Becky

    I love what you done so far on Where the Wild Things Are and can not wait to see the finished piece. This book could also be a tale of what is going on in our dear United States. I’m waiting for all the orange jumpsuits to be handed out to those treasonous shits yet to be arrested. So glad Pelosi stood her ground….it takes a woman??
    Love all the kitty stories and pictures. So glad that Taffy’s issue isn’t anything worse. So sweet that Candy knew to be a comfort. And the blue jay picture is a marvel.
    We survived round one of the frigid temperatures here in Pa……getting ready for round two. I am tired of layering up to walk the dog.
    Let’s hope Stone likes prison because regardless of how innocent he thinks he is that is where he is headed.
    Here’s to everyone staying warm for the next freeze

  9. What a sweet Dennis, especially to love his mama; but also to let you take his picture. I do love sweet paws and noses.
    Where the Wild Thing artwork is amazing. You inspire me to think outside the box.
    And Yes, I can only hope our country recovers and the red caps go away.

  10. Megan

    Dennis is too gorgeous and I do love little kitty tootsies. I am allowed to hold hands but don’t touch the back paws! Glad that Taffy is fine and hopefully he will remember the pain and not fight next time. Nice to see him curled up with his mummy, hope she is much recovered too.

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