How to Not Be Bored.

No. 1 way to not be bored:

K I T T E N S.


I tried to get 9-week old Penelope to pose next to my favorite book of 2019 and this is how it went:

Sometimes when you are a kitten and you’ve been horsing around on the dinner bowl holder, you suddenly get the urge to catch 40 winks:

Then, when you’re all rested, it’s time to cavort with the sibs:

Pork Chop, the only boy kitten, is never, ever bored:


No. 2 way to not be bored:

A traditional backyard Maryland Crab Feast.

Even if you don’t like to eat crabs whole — whole crabs look too “animally” whereas a crab cake looks less like it should be scuttling across the floors of silent seas and more like something that goes well with a nice chardonnay — a traditional backyard Maryland Crab Feast with a bunch of Marylanders who always have plenty of white wine on hand is a swell way to keep boredom at bay.

P.S. I tried this last weekend and I was not bored for several days straight because, in addition to executing the No. 2 way to not be bored, I made a swift pivot to the No. 3 way to not be bored.

Which is:

Visit Mr. Fluffy.

From Maryland I moseyed next-door to Washington, D.C., which is where a certain rescue cat namely Mr. Fluffy (rescued from the mean streets of Long Island in 2017) now resides with his forever family.

In 2017 Mr. Fluffy was sick, scrawny, filthy, smelly, and bedraggled.

In 2019 he isn’t, in a big way.

This (above) is not Mr. Fluffy being bored. This is Mr. Fluffy being blasé. There’s a difference. Except if you are a cat, and then it’s just another word for “being a cat”.

Mr. Fluffy lives with world travelers who do such interesting stuff as write intellectual property policy papers on behalf of the lesser-known African countries and work within the system to alert Democratic senators to keep any more Trump judges off the bench, who also keep plenty of wine handy, so you never risk being bored any time you visit Mr. Fluffy.


No. 4 way to not be bored:

Read a book.

Good lord no, not that book.

The Story of Cutlery is a book that I thought would be with us to the end of days in the used-book store that I manage for the benefit of the local library but Lo, last week someone came in and bought it. I didn’t feel good about that. The Story of Cutlery is a book that un-ironically tests the outer limits of the publishing industry and challenges the book-lover’s belief that books are culturally relevant to a wide swath of readers, and having this book in stock is what made me feel that being the manager of a used-book store wasn’t a total waste of time, and was, rather, a whimsical and erudite part of my personality. But now it’s gone and I am bored.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people carry on about Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019) so I suppose I should read one of her books.  I understand that she’s a great writer and was, in person, supremely dignified and kind. So I will probably not be bored by The Bluest Eye or Beloved, I suppose, but I’m not looking forward to reading either because I fear it will be good for me.

However, it would make a nice change from the usual books with what I keep company.

This (above) came in last Tuesday. Nobody buys this book any more — the only interesting thing about it was the inscription, which I always check for before I throw any book away:

Is that it? Is that all the Scholarship Fund gave out? Or did they hide a check under the Albert Camus entry? [From The Fall: “The truth is that everyone’s bored. Hurrah then for funerals!”]

This is another inscription that also came in:

And this is the book that Abby’s admirer got her for the 22nd of December 1998 :

Abby might have been a wonderful human being but her friend thought she had a crap vocabulary or was just a tiny bit stupid, and wanted to help, is my guess.

Of course the person who donated this (below) was sure that there was a long line of people who were eager to get their hands on an old year book from a small liberal arts college in Yonkers with a C+ rated “party scene” whose 2019 graduates earned an average starting salary of $28,9000:

Sarah Lawrence has an acceptance rate of 53%:

Harvard has an acceptance rate of 5.3%. That decimal place is why parents bribe their kids’ way into Harvard, and not so much Sarah Lawrence.

And now I’ve run out of ways to not be bored and I am bored.

Oh, lordy, it is terrible being bored. At my age, being bored shows a sad lack of gumption. After all, I have many years experience of living on this planet and I’ve worked out a few ways to not be bored (see above) but on days when I’m not herding kittens, or in Maryland, or discussing how to abolish the electoral college with a nice pinot grigio on the side, I am bored. BORED.

A few years ago I took a test that was popular on line at the time, a test that answered the age-old question If You Were a Dog, What Kind of Dog Would You Be?

Turns out, I am a chow chow.

Standoffish, not good with small children, bossy, below-average “listener”, judgmental, quiet, and a teeny bit vindictive.

That’s the dog.

Except for the vindictive part. That’s all me. But I digress.

So, I asked the internet, How Can I Not Bore a Chow Chow?, my thinking being that the answer might be useful in overcoming my own bored chow chow soul.

Here’s what chow chows like to do: They like to hunt, they like to herd, and they like running through tunnels.

So I’m heading out to the Lincoln Tunnel for a little jog, and if I bag some small game along the way, well then, I’ll be in a great mood to blog all about it next week.

Until then, have a great weekend, Dear Readers.

And as always, Dear Ones, let’s Keep Hope Alive.


Until that blessed day:








10 Comments, RSS

  1. Your cat and kitten pics may convert me from a not-cat person into a cat person, or at least a cat photo person. However, I am not with you on the history of cutlery. I enjoyed Bee Wilson’s book “Consider the Fork,” and was interested in some displays of illustrated books on how to set a table that I once saw at a history library.

    I hope you get over being bored.

    best… mae at

  2. Rachel Scott

    Sorry you are bored……even tho I have a 1000 things (ok, at least a hundred) things I could/should be doing, I also get bored. However, I have no kittens to keep me interested…altho I would like to reach though the computer and borrow yours for a few hours. At what age are kittens pretty well housebroken? Just wondering….our puppies took FOREVER it seemed.
    The History of Cutlery….what did it sell for? I could have used the illustrations in some of my card-making, even tho I have a difficult time cutting up books. Your book creations are wonderful.
    When do you think the rock will start it’s journey? I haven’t heard from you about sending my address.
    I am looking forward to seeing what other will do when it reaches them.

    • Vivian

      Awesome! And that’s not just me being slangy…this artist is awe-inspiring. That film is beautifully done, and watching him cut out a feather was magic. Incredible!

      And of course I can’t help but become obsessed. I would love to know what kind of paper he uses — probably some hand-made rarity from a 90-year old paper maker in Japan. I also want to know what kind of glue he uses.

      Oh, thank you so much for this. I need to learn everything about Calvin Nicholls.

  3. Kittens! Always a good thing.

    Whole crabs, not so much. I’m with you on a crab cake being the preferred option.

    “The Story of Cutlery” looks just quirky enough to be potentially interesting. It also looks quite old. Maybe it has collectible value?

    Who the heck would inscribe a thesaurus?!

    And finally, I wonder if Arjun realizes his yearbook has gone missing.

  4. Casey


    I don’t think you are bored, Vivian, you have too many interesting things going on for you to be bored. Even though you say you are bored, I bet your day is twice as interesting as most people’s. Passive aggressive thesaurus? A book about cutlery? Your own chow chow nature? That’s enough to keep me interested in coming back here every week. Even your boredom is more interesting than most of the blogs that are out there.

    I laughed out loud at the thought of you jogging through Lincoln Tunnel!

    And yes, it will come to pass that celebrations will break out world wide when Trump is sent packing. VOTE!

  5. As we work at not being bored, we can only hope he walks out of the big white house and never returns!!!
    Kittens, crab feasts, and a good book definitely help with ridding ourselves of boredom.

  6. Susan

    The kittens are precious. I’d want to keep them all! The crab fest looks fabulous. Being a fan, it is hard to find fresh crab. The best lately for me was at Legal Seafood. Good chunks of crab. Nicely prepared. Gun violence is a very big problem in the USA. This is proven yet again. Sad.

  7. Kirra

    I like no.1 the best, your kittens are so cute and look very entertaining! I then vote for white wine and reading a good book, no crab for me.

    All the best for keeping the boredom at bay, your used bookshop stories are maybe more fun for us to read about in curated form than in real life?

    Thanks for sharing the best of social media politics as well, it always gives me a more positive outlook after reading them all.

  8. Oh, Penelope looks like Lizzie Before I Knew Her. She’ll grow up to be a beauty, I can tell! They really are fun, those kittens. Love the posing and the yawn. Don’t you LOVE it when you catch the yarn? I know that was in NO way a book review! (That one looks so good — got to add it to the list.) Oh, I do love your life in the bookshop! No yearbooks, please!

    Crab dinner sounds great. All good. Now I’m hungry.

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