Every Now and Then I Need Proof.

Every now and then I need proof that I am still the universe’s favorite person.

Dear Reader Jeanie left a comment a few weeks ago about the Blue Jays of Michigan being very stingy with their molting feathers, resulting in the sad fact that she has never had the joy of finding a Blue Jay feather in the grass on a Summer day. So I ascended to my treasury in the north wing of the manor and unlocked my vault and withdrew three Blue Jay feathers from my vast collection — two tail feathers and a primary covert wing feather —  and sent them off to her. 

Why three feathers? No special reason other than I’m human and the human brain seem to have an affinity for things that come in three’s. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…past, present, future…un, deux, trois… 

So the next day, after I had sent those three feathers off to the wilds of Michigan, I was walking down our street early in the morning and, in the space of a few minutes, three beautiful Blue Jay feathers presented themselves to me, one after the other:

So that there is all the proof I need to remember that the universe is looking out for me, just me in particular, because it loves me and wants me to be happy.

About a week later I was doing my run about two miles from my house and I was remembering my Blue Jay feather obsession and my recent luck finding three in one day and I got to thinking that it was strange that I’ve only found Blue Jay feathers close to my house. “I wonder”, I said to myself, “if  the world is actually lousy with Blue Jay feathers all over the place but I only perceive them in the places close to home where I am accustomed to seeing them.” And no sooner had that thought taken shape in my mind when I glanced over at a tree to my left and there, in its shade, was this:

I’m going to start holding World Peace in my mind and see if the universe can’t make that happen for me, its favorite person.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, let’s talk about ice cube trays. For a long time I have disliked the ice cube trays that are currently engaged in the task of providing us with cooling solids for our adult beverages so last week, when my self-esteem was at an all-time high because of all the positive reinforcement I’ve been getting from the universe, I spent five minutes googling Best Ice Cube Tray and reading the reviews and I bought us some new ice cube trays. The ice cube trays arrived via UPS on Friday and the ice cubes they make are really swell.

I know you’re really happy for me and this sudden improvement in my quality of life but wait, there’s more. These ice cube trays think so highly of themselves that they came with a User Manual:

If you want to mildly amuse yourself, imagine that you’re the guy in charge of writing the User Manual for other items in your house. Wash cloths: For best results use with soap and water, but not in that order.  Spoons: Good for soup, steak not so much.  Flip flops: They go on your FEET, OK? Your FEET.  Pencils: Step one, apply pointy end to paper. Step two, push.

You know who would end a User Manual for an ice cube tray?  My cat Bibs. Bibs is seriously a moron. He’s been our cat for 16 years and he still hasn’t figured out the we are not going to kill him. He’ll let us scratch his chin, but get any closer and he’s terrified. He also hasn’t figured out that Taffy is not that crazy about him even though he never lets Taffy out of his sight. Here they are, in typical Bibs-pain-in-the-ass-style napping together on the breakfast patio:




Now for the watercolor idea I have that I teased last week. I have not picked up a paint brush since I finished the last of the Stromness Rock pet portraits, and I miss those blog posts where we all got together and watched paint dry. So, if you would like to gift a friend a pet portrait for Hannukah or mas or Kwaanza or Choesoek or Solstice, whatever, here’s your chance. I will paint it. We all like watching paint dry, right? 

Pet bunny, pet tarantula, or pet miniature goat are all OK. But let’s say you want to gift someone with a portrait of their beach house; I could do one of those. Dead poet portrait? I’ve done Gerard Manley Hopkins; I’m sure I could do any of the Romantics.  Still life with tea cup? Sure. Still life with dead poet? Even better. Give me subject matter, Dear Readers, and let’s get to watercoloring.

Are you in?


OK, now it’s time for the news.

Trump, speaking last Sunday, July 11, on “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” on the Fox News Channel, said the Capitol rioters of Jan. 6 were patriots, that some of them were unjustly arrested and jailed, and that a woman who was shot and killed by law enforcement during the insurrection was a great hero.“The crowd was unbelievable and I mentioned the word ‘love,’ the love in the air, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said of his rally on the Ellipse. Speaking about those who rioted at the Capitol, Trump said: “These were peaceful people, these were great people.”

He added: “Too much spirit and faith and love, there was such love at that rally, you had over a million people,” inflating the size of his rally crowd. (Fact check: the permit for the rally stated that the organizers of the “Save America Rally” expected only 10,000 people; press coverage from the day says that there were “thousands”.)

Referring to his remarks to the crowd before they stormed the Capitol as “a very mild-mannered speech,” Trump also suggested that the blame for any violence that day could be placed on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats because they didn’t take the potential for violence seriously.

“They are the ones that were responsible,” he said.

Trump went on to praise Babbitt, a California-based Air Force veteran and conspiracy theorist  as an “innocent, wonderful, incredible woman.”  He then, without a shred of evidence, stated that Babbitt, who was shot by a member of the U.S. Capitol Police while storming Congress, was instead killed by the “head of security” for a top Democrat. “I will tell you they know who shot Ashli Babbitt,” Trump said, claiming the person’s identity is being protected, but the truth is “going to come out.” 


Let’s check in with some of those “great” people at Trump’s insurrection. 

This one is my Traitor of the Week:

Pauline Bauer, a Pennsylvania pizzeria owner, is accused of multiple counts of violent entry, disruptive conduct, and obstruction of Congress after she allegedly broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Prosecutors allege that Bauer tried organizing buses to transport people to D.C. for a rally that preceded the riot, and that while in the Capitol rotunda she was recorded on video telling a police officer to “bring Nancy Pelosi out here now… we want to hang that fucking bitch”

But in what experts describe as an inadvisable legal strategy, Bauer has demanded to represent herself in court, appeared to threaten a court clerk with prison time, and declared herself a “self-governed individual” with special legal privileges and has filed court documents claiming to be a divinely empowered entity immune from laws.

As a divinely empowered entity, Bauer does not simply appear in court, as she clarified during a June 11 proceeding via Zoom. “I am here by special divine appearance, a living soul,” she told a judge that day, while stating that she did not want an attorney.

“I do not stand under the law,” she said. “Under Genesis 1, God gave man dominion over the law.”

In a document filed last week, Bauer listed herself as a “flesh and blood person” along with a series of strange alternative spellings of her name in a document that she (incorrectly) claimed freed her from some government control.

Sovereign citizens will often refer to themselves as “flesh and blood’ people because they have this longstanding belief that the government has created artificial versions of them for various nefarious purposes. 

In another new filling, Bauer offered a document that “serves as Proof that my living DNA existed on this Land before there was a UNITED STATES of America or Any STATE Thereof.” The attached document was a family tree showing what Bauer said were ancestors born in Virginia and Pennsylvania before 1776. Even if accurate, this has no bearing on U.S. law.



Excerpts from a new book coming out about the Trump  administration, called “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.” One tidbit that got a lot of attention was about Army Mark General Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who you might remember was the guy in camouflage who went to Lafayette Square for Trump’s bible-toting photo-opt last year during the George Floyd protests:

Miller later apologized on TV and to the press, for his participation in the event because it was a political stunt and the American military does not do politics.

Well. This same General Milley, according to this new book, in the final months of Trump’s one term in office, was strategizing with other White House personnel  how to guard against a coup attempt by Trump or those around him.

 Trump, in a lengthy, insult-laden statement lashing out at Milley over a variety of grievances, said he “never threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our Government.”

Yes, it’s true, it’s not a nightmare, THIS guy used to be the president.



I only have the energy to deal with one asshole Republican at a time, so all I can do about the rest of them is hope that I get the chance one day to spit on their grave.

And here’s a Trump footnote:



You know, I think this might be the future of the USA:










Jesus Christ, will you look at the time. 

Have a great weekend, everyone. Keep your eyes and heart open for the Blue Jay feather of happiness to appear in your life and if there aren’t ay Blue Jays where you live, then keep alive for those little moments that are mood-altering, mind-bending, and magic-making. Or just enjoy a stonking big G&T with your cat. Same thing. 


12 Comments, RSS

  1. Francie Link

    Oh, yes, Vivian!
    I’ll send a post card. Jot me an e-mail and I’ll send you my address.
    Francie….a Blue girl living in a very red state (sigh)
    P.S. I LIVE for your Friday postings!

  2. Maryanne in the Blue Ridge

    Vivian, you KNOW I’m all-in for the post card campaign. Would it be okay if I sent my own postcards? Instead of, or in addition to the WTC postcard? Standing by, stamps already in hand . . .

    Ready for a G&T with the neighborhood cats and it’s not even 1:00 pm. Oh well, let’s consider we’re in London.


  3. Barbara Ann

    What’s my favorite day of the week? Friday…it’s Vivian Day! Yes the Universe is sending you messages via blue jay feathers. You are one of the chosen. Seriously, that is way too many feather coincidences.

    Happy that watercolors are back. Since we are in the middle of summer how about one of a backyard with hammock, trees, vegetable garden, hollyhocks oh and a large G&T on a side table. Or maybe just a hammock and G&T.

    Postcard idea is great! Would love to send one. If you have any left.

    Thanks for a great Friday!

  4. Susie

    Is that the correct address….I’ll send my own postcard. Wisconsin gave you Paul Ryan and Ron Johnson. I owe ya one.

  5. Kirra

    You are very nice sending three blue jay feathers to Jeanie, and then the universe paying you back again. We have lots of colourful birds here in Australia so aren’t missing out.

    I would be interested to see your ice cube trays, I did some research myself a few years ago to buy some new ones which are good, but I don’t think they came with a manual!

    I like the idea of painting a G&T and hammock, or a teapot and teacup (milk jug, sugar pot optional). But also love all the pet paintings, though I don’t have one myself to share a photo of.

    These Trump people are just delusional, it’s so important to reply to their lies with the actual facts, or more people will believe it just because they say it. (That statement from Trump is terribly written, how was he the president!?) I would totally send a postcard if I was in the US.

    I make Saturdays my Vivian Swift blog days and they always help start the weekend off nicely, thanks for writing them!

  6. That’s very cool about the blue jay feathers! The universe is definitely speaking to you!

    That Bauer woman sounds like a basket case. I bet she doesn’t pay taxes either because she’s a “sovereign citizen.”

    I had no idea Billy Baldwin was dabbling in political messaging, just like his brothers. So I guess he and Alec are Democrats, but where did Stephen come from? Isn’t he evangelical?!

  7. Nothing — absolutely nothing — makes me happier in your blog than to see Taffy and Bibs sunning and sleeping side by side! Perhaps Taffy’s arch enemy bit is an act! Certainly there is a bit of a love story gong on there!

    And the other thing that makes me happy in your blog is your wonderful painting. I learn so much from you and your work makes me so, SO happy. So, I’m glad this is back on the agenda!

    And another thing that makes me happy is surprise mail! Oh, Vivian — when I arrived home to your envelope with three fine feathers, I was just whooping (tweeting — no, not tweeting!) with joy! They are in such perfect condition. They may well get a frame (so I won’t be making art with them as such, but they ARE art!). Your jays are far more cooperative than mine, though they do entertain me by hanging on the bench and branches where I can see them! Thank you so much!

    Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  8. PS — if there are any postcards left, please add me to the queue and I’m happy to send it from Michigan. In fact, if you have two, I’ll send one from Gaylord and one from Lansing. (Up here in the north, you see plenty of Trumpety things — last night we were behind a big black truck with a flag and loads of stickers — how he sees out the back windshield was a bit of a discussion topic!)

    And I’m always ready for a G&T!

  9. I bet Jeanie loved receiving blue bird feathers. I don’t think I see them around me either. You are one lucky girl.
    Trump and his cronies are just disgusting. If we put him in prison we wouldn’t have to pay the secret service.
    My brother has COVID and my sister (non-vaccinated) says it can’t be COVID. I told her that her family was going to miss her if she gets it.
    The rich are also disgusting. What they could do if they turned their money into helping others. It would be amazing.

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