On With The Show, This Is It.

There were no robo-calls from the governor warning us to stay off the roads, the local TV news station did not break into my Judge Judy viewing time with dire forecasts of dangerous weather, and the cats did  not haul in extra firewood or stock up on macaroni and cheese in case our power was knocked out. So when I woke up on Saturday morning and discovered that had been blanketed with five inches of snow on the ground, I was totally unprepared. This had snuck up on me.

The huge holly bush in front of Steve’s cubby took the brunt of the storm. Steve stayed dry and cozy.

We called a Snow Day at the used book store because we didn’t feel like shoveling our cars out in 20-degree weather and I spent the day drinking tea and toasting a loaf of ciabatta. Not the whole loaf all at once. Every two hours I cut a ladylike slice and slathered various toppings onto it, from plain salty butter to spicy hummus, with peanut butter and melted cheese and butter-and-marmalade in between. I could eat nothing but toast for the rest of my life.

Saturday turned out to be a warm and sunny day so most of the snow had melted by Sunday afternoon, and that’s when came dire robo-warnings from the governor, the TV news casters losing their minds in panic forecasts, and the cats hauling in extra firewood and looking up Top Cat’s best recipe for macaroni and cheese. We were going to get it again, and this time it was going to be BIG, the BIG blizzard such as we, so far, have not suffered through here on the north shore of Long Island.

I went to the grocery store to stock up on essentials, and the Food Emporium was packed with lots of other people similarly preparing for disaster. This is when I thought to myself, “At times like this, I must remember to wear my wedding rings.” This thought came to me as I was standing on line at the checkout counter and the lady in front of me, no Spring Chicken herself, with a cart full of milk, bread, meat, green vegetables, fruit, etc., turned to look at me and said, “Ma’am, you can go before me.”

WTF?? She called me Ma’am! And she had to be, at least, within shouting range of 60!  WHO DOES THAT?? As if  I were some object of pity. . .

. . . And as far as I could reckon, the only difference between she and I was that she had a cart full of “family” food while  I was standing there holding 10 cans of cat food and a bag of Cheetos, and no wedding ring. As if I were a single cat lady who was going to die alone and whose body would not be found until the neighbors realized it had been weeks since anyone had seen me out in my front yard yelling at the kids to stay off my grass. I was slightly mortified, but I took her up on her offer. I hate waiting in line at the grocery store on a good day, and this was not a good day.

Ad, by the way, I actually was “single” for a few days last week when Top Cat went to San Fransisco. I only eat Cheetos when he’s not around and I am missing him like crazy. He bought me some cute socks while he was on the Left Coast.

So, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday March 3, the cats and I set the Champagne-O-Meter out in the back yard and settled in for a snowy Sunday night:

First, it rained:

At dusk the flakes began to fall:

By dawn, the world was transformed and I was seriously considering putting left-over Cheetos on my toast for breakfast:

Call me a Romantic, but seeing a bottle of Champagne that looks like this (below) makes me fall in love (with alcohol):

For those of you who are not dipsomaniacs, there is a less boozy way to gauge the snow fall, something I call the Hutch-O-Meter.

Here’s the old rabbit hutch in my backyard on Sunday afternoon:

Here’s the old rabbit hutch in my backyard on Monday morning:

That’s enough about the weather and how easy it is to get on my Shit List (see: DO NOT EVER CALL ME MA’AM).

Not to blow my own horn, but I have been very busy, and very effective, raising money this past year for my local library. Between the stellar earnings from the book store that I co-manage, and the money I have coaxed out of various corporate and private sponsors for this miniature golf event I cooked up, I have raised $17,800 for the library through my volunteer time and effort.

To publicize the mini golf event to be held on April 6, I  get the display case in the library lobby (the same one that showed off my book art/paper castles in December) for the month of March. I am going to hang a big banner that lists all our corporate sponsors, and I’m going to put in my new Book Art (I call it,  Miniature Miniature Golf) to drum up excitement for the event.

You have not seen the new Book Art in its finished form, so here is the installation (they go together in pairs). NO. 1:

All the bears: Corduroy, Paddington, Pooh, and Baloo.

NO. 2 . All the bunnies — Velveteen Rabbit, Thumper, Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, and The White Rabbit — with the crew from The Wind in the Willows:

The next pair I call Here Be Dragons:

That’s the big green dragon from the Inheritance series of YA novels; that’s the kid and his dog from Dragons Love Tacos; there’s Arthur the Aardvark, and the two girls from the cover of Where The Sidewalk Ends (looking forlornly at their golf ball, which has fallen into the cave below).

And beasts and ogres:

I’m so happy that there is a new How To Tame Your Dragon movie out this year!

The final twosome begins with Bilbo Baggins sitting outside his hobbit hole:

And this is the grand finale to the Miniature Miniature Golf saga, a scene of anarchy with cats:

You can’t see The Giving Tree very clearly, so here’s what is going down on that side of the scene:

It’s a golf club. The Giving Tree is giving a golf club.

And there’s Alice, holding a flag with the time and date of the library’s mini golf event:

I hope that these little scenes would encourage people to linger at the display case, burn the play date into their minds, and entice them to come back to the library and pay $5.00 per person to play golf.

Miniature Miniature Golf will be on view at the Bryant Library from March 10 to April 7.

I’m publishing this blog post on Thursday afternoon and it’s been so frigid this week that all the snow has now frozen into a solid land iceberg. On Sunday the weather will be in the 50s and it will be rainy — San Fransisco weather — and I hope all the snow and ice will be washed away.

I have found some interesting things in the donation bags at the used book store this week, and I plan to do a whole blog post about them next week, but here’s one little tidbit to tide you over:

Before there was an Air Force, there was an Army Air Forces, and this is a diploma from the huge facility on Miami Beach, Florida at the beginning of the war. Clark Gable trained here. The Army was in desperate need of administrative officers and they took men as old as 45. During the way, 30,000 men were graduated from Miami Beach. The graduates performed ground duties that would free up the guys who flew the planes from any responsibilities that might keep them from flying bombing missions.

Lucky for us, one of our volunteers knows the guy who dropped off the donation that contained this diploma, so we have notified him to come get this  artifact.  I found the diploma between the pages of a big heavy coffee table book called The Age of Suleyman The Magnificent, 416 pages published by Harry Abrams.

I have been wondering about the filing system in use, in which a WWII Army Air Force diploma from 1942 is filed into a book about the longest-reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1987.

I dislike Ottoman art, so at first I put this book in the “Kill” file; but then I had a second thought and retrieved it. I put a $2 price on it and maybe it will find it’s perfect reader, some day, out there.

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. It can’t stay mean and cold forever, so let’s just grit our teeth and get through the next three weeks.



22 Comments, RSS

  1. Megan

    Ah Vivian you mock me, as I sit here roasting in this furnace, with your snow and rain… what I would do for a nice fall of snow in my garden, Clive has not yet experienced snow and I feel he needs to, he may have a differing opinion. Clive likes to sleep on the top of the big black barbecue, I keep checking on him to make sure he hasn’t burst into flames. Note: the barbecue is unused and closed but it is enamelled metal and black and very good at being extremely hot without a fire being lit in it. I am sorry you were called ma’am, a term thankfully not used in this country… I just think you need to thank your lucky stars to be allowed to jump the queue. I never judge people with 90% pet food in their shopping trolley, they are probably more loved and happy than the non pet people.

    • Vivian

      I have totally forgotten what it is like to feel the brunt of a Summer sun. I have no physical memory of heat, only an ever-present longing for warmth and light. But I hope the photos of my snow-clad champagne brings a bit of cool mental relief.

      If you met the Queen, wouldn’t you have to call her Ma’am? I think I saw that in a movie. Royalty is the only reason a Brit or a Commonwealther would trot out that old honorific.

  2. Judy Jennings

    Oh, Vivian, you have really outdone yourself in this post. Those displays are wonderful and I so love your trees. There are a couple I’d like to climb up into with a book and just sit. Actually I wish I could go inside and live in the bears’ tree (wonderful knothole). I’ve always had those fantasies of shrinking and living in some animal homes in a tree or stump. Do you know the Brambly Hedge series? That’s my ideal, and here you are feeding the dream. Your settings are just amazing. You’re talent is amazing. ? Judy

    • Vivian

      Making the castles and the trees has been a most wonderful way to avoid my writing. I have loved doing them, but now that I have no book art projects on the horizon I have gone back to taking notes on life as I know it, and I have to build up the muscles again to do the heavy work — that is, literally, I have to build the muscles I use in writing things down on paper with a pen. My notebooks take ups LOT less room in the house then the book art does, and I am running out of storage space for the castles (they are now in the dining room, lined up in boxes on the floor). I have to put these castles on tour!

      I agree that the trees are very inviting, even to me. I wish someone would commission me to make a forest of them.

  3. Leslie

    Dear Vivian, which is more annoying, “Ma’am” or “young lady?” I do not feel flattered by being patronized, young whippersnapper!
    On a brighter note, your miniature golf book art is truly fantastic. Congratulations! Your use of color is a perfect balance, and the wit sublime. Can we have a poster?

    • Vivian

      Oh, so right! I had to tell Top Cat to knock it off with the “young lady” and “young man”. It IS patronizing and too “cute”.

      Oh, what a splendid idea, to make a poster out of one of the golfing scenes. I just learned how to go that with a scanner and a template from Staples. I am so tempted!

  4. Mary Brickman

    Vivian: A good blog today. ( Friday) I didn’t know you could see it early.( Thursday)
    Your presentation for the book store and the April Golfing Day will be a nice prospect for urban dwellers, not far from the Hub of the Universe. ( Manhattan).
    Tell me where to get the bread you mentioned. I LOVE bread and toast. Is it Italian? French? German?…. dunno.
    Enjoy the weather, and kitties, or course.

    • Vivian

      Ciabatta bread is baked in one of our local grocery stores. It’s Italian, but not like the Italian bread you use for garlic bread. It’s more like a fat baguette. I’m are it’s a speciality item, but if you can find an Italian grocery you might be able to buy it there.

  5. Hopefully someone will be very happy that you saved that diploma. I have diplomas from several now-deceased ancestors. I must admit I sometimes wonder why I’m saving them, but they’re often beautiful and it seems a shame to throw them away.

    As for “ma’am,” I’m sure the woman was simply trying to be nice because she had so much food and you had so little. But yeah, I can see how you’d balk at the word. I once stopped a woman on the New York subway who’d dropped her scarf — I called her “ma’am,” and she was probably about 25! I felt completely stupid afterwards but it just came out that way. I blame my Southern upbringing.

    Fabulous art, as always!

    • Vivian

      If you said Ma’am in a southern accent, you would be forgiven. The southern accent works like a charm in acts of extreme courtesy.

  6. Margot

    Those golfing bunnies are a marvel.
    That book sells on Biblio.com for $10-30, but I’m sure you know your own local market.
    Fortunately it’s available from my local public library!

    • Vivian

      I think the book you were looking at is a hardback and mine is paperback. I think it goes for $6 in paperback, and we can’t get that at my used book store, so I’ll be lucky to get $2. If you want it I can take a mail order!

  7. Kirra

    Your miniature miniature golf art is amazing!! Congratulations! I hope you get lots of people to the mini golf fundraiser. I think anyone should be pissed being called ma’am, it’s just a bit patronising. Your toast eating day sounds great, and your champagne-o-meter is lovely. Hope you, Top Cat and the cats survive the cold okay.

    • Vivian

      Yes, that’s it exactly — patronizing. Although I did have to laugh a bit at myself, being as I was holding all that cat food and one bag of Cheetos.

      Worse — far far worse — than the cold is Daylight Savings Time. We are back to our pre-dawn awakenings, getting ready for work in the dark again and I am very unhappy about it. I need light. Time to get my Light Therapy box out again.

  8. Casey

    Here’s an idea. Why hot have a grand opening of the Miniature Miniature Golf show with free snow chilled ice cold champagne served with a donation form for your fund raiser??? Everybody is a lot more generous once they’ve had a glass or two of the good stuff and then seeing your art work puts everyone in such good mood that they all go, Hell yeah, I’ll donate $100 for the golfing kiddies!

    The Miniature Miniature Golf is behind glass, isn’t the right? Because if they were out in the open I would want to hug Thumper and Hobbs and play with Toothless.

    (Have you seen the new How to Train Your Dragon? It is spectacular.)

    • Vivian

      I’ll serve champagne all day until I get everyone to pony up $500, and then I’d pay for their Uber ride home. I DID see the new How to Train Your Dragon and it’s psychedelic and wonderful.

  9. Sharon jayne

    I was called”sir”one time by someone aproching from the back. Think I would have appreciated a ma’am at that point. I did change my hair style after that

    • Vivian

      Did you grow your hair longer? I’ve been growing out a bad hair cut (actually, three bad haircuts in a row) since 2017 and it’s getting to the point where I have to make a decision. Try again for a cute bob, or just settle for a trim? Maybe get some bangs? This is important stuff.

      • Sharon jayne

        Yes, isn’t it always about the hair. I did grow it out for a while. Now I’m with you. What to do long or short.i can’t remember when I last had a good haircut and if i like the cut they never seem to do the same style a second time

  10. That Steve is soooo cute sitting his little plexiglas house. And the rabbit hutch with cats! What lucky cats you have. And definitely not going to say “Ma’am”, I don’t like it either. Your book art always, always delights me.

  11. I, too, hate to be called ma’am, despite my age (it’s 63). And for some reason, every checker at the market just has to ask, as I pile the catfood cans on the treadmill, “How many cats do you HAVE?” (Only two, but they eat a lot. AND I don’t want to come here every single day, not that it’s any of your business.) Your miniature scenes are FANTASTIC. Have you considered auctioning those off at the mini-golf tournament event to raise extra dough? I’ll bet you’d be surprised how much people would pony up. I have only one small suggestion: Please have the Giving Tree beat that nasty little boy with his golf club, or at the very least drop it on his head! I don’t know what Silverstein was thinking when he wrote that horrid book, but it would give me great satisfaction if that poor tree got some of her own back.

  12. I would be stuck in place looking at all the details of your wonderful book art when set in its cabinets. I wouldn’t move. I don’t think I’d seen the cat one,. just parts — I love it (of course). And your photography is exquisite. Well done, you! These are treasure.

    Loving Steve in his hutch and the champagnometer which by now I hope is a thing of the past but those of us who live in places as we do don’t relax till May. April 6 — coming soon!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *