cats

*******When I first learned that my blog was being attacked by an IP in Lativa I was insulted. Weren’t Latvians supposed to be cool? Didn’t they all wear Grateful Dead T-shirts to the medal ceremony when they won the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Seoul?

Nope. That was Lithuania. 

So, anyway, somebody in Latvia has been bombarding my blog site for a few weeks, hundreds of times a day, trying to get “in” so, on Friday, WordPress had to lock my blog for its own protection until I updated the software. So I did and for now, the problem is solved. For now. I’m sure the Latvians are updating their malware as we speak.

So, in the future, if you can’t find me here, assume that it’s because of Latvians. 

And now for our regularly-schedule visit.*******

The COVID pandemic turns one year old on March 11 and I still haven’t processed how much life has changed, and how it will ever be normal again. Lordy, it’s been a tough year.

However, on the good side, Ruch Limbaugh died and is still dead.

 

I was in California on March 11, 2020, when I heard that the World Health Organization had declared that the spread of the corona virus had become a global pandemic, and I thought, Well, shit, I hope it will be over by the time I go see BTS  in May.

I got a lot of things wrong in 2020, but the one thing that I got right was when, in January, I predicted that 2020 was going to be the Year of BTS. I figured that if I, who had not been much interested in pop music for a decade and certainly was not into music made by Koreans had become a fan, then it meant that no one was safe from these guys.

And it turns out that in 2020, BTS became the best-selling musicians in the world. Here’s the BBC:

Billboard:

Forbes:

It’s the first time that non-English-speaking performers have topped the list, which for example usually looks like this:

This is a big deal. Because it’s Korea, of all places, and if you think racism isn’t a factor in repressing the careers of Asian artists, all you have to do is look at this tweet from a Forbes music journalist:

Hugh McIntyre is only in his 30s.  I’ve been around since 1956, so I’m not shocked at all about  how stupid people can be. 

I’m bringing you this update on current musical trends because I want you all, Dear Readers, to be up on the latest in pop culture and its attendant shift in the nexus of contemporary civilization. Also, this Sunday night you can watch the Grammies to see what happens when BTS is the first Asian group to be up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. It will be historic.

You might be signing up for Korean lessons some day soon.

Also, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time on the internet lately, looking at photos of Corgis and reading Corgi blogs. 

I’ve been around since 1956 and I’ve never had a Corgi. I think I might need a Corgi in my life. Does anyone know, first hand, if they are good with cats?

OK, so now all of you are caught up with the news here in VivianWorld. Let’s see what’s been going on outside of Corgis and BTS, shall we?

 

 

*** I had to look this up. It’s true that Kanye West sells items like this with holes in them, what he calls “ripped homeless sweaters”, but they only cost $2,243. And a retailer who sells these things has assured us that they are worth every penny:

Yeah, it’s all pretty funny.

But this isn’t:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how Donald Trump, who is still banned by Twitter, tries to tweet, and this is what he really put out:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, how’s the insurrection thing going?

Remember her?

She’s got a new scam going:

 

 

 

I got news for all those fuck-wad “patriots” who rioted at the Capitol on January 6, 2021:

 

 

That includes those terrorists who are posing as Republicans in congress:

Lauren Bobert is the asshole who represents Colorado’s Third congressional district. 

 

That’s the news for now. 

And now, to get us in the weekend mood:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been around since 1956, so I find this funny:

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. If there are Latvians getting you down in the dumps, remember the wisdom of the Trash Pandas:

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you, Dear Readers, for your condolences last week regarding the loss of my BFF. It’s still hard to understand that I will never see her again, or that we’ll ever get together again to kill a bottle of pinot on a Sunday afternoon, or head to our fave Japanese restaurant in the middle of the week for our fave spicy tuna sandwiches and mean girl chit chat, etc. After I published my last book and was feeling very bored with life and myself, it was Renee’s idea that we enroll at the local community college for ASL classes, and then it was her idea that we take over the second hand book store for the local library and raise a ton of money. I can’t stand ballet, but I’d listen to her go into raptures about her latest outings at the ABT, and she wasn’t into K-Pop but she’d hear me out on why BTS deserved to be my Korean husbands. She was a great BFF. The fact that she is gone from my life forever takes my breath away.

Ah well. There is no escaping the pain of life. The best we can do is not let it drive us crazy, right?

And this week, my gift from the universe was this sweet girl:

This is Juno, who lives with Dear Reader Gali in Massachusetts, who hosted the Scottish Stromness Rock on the beginning of its 8,000-mile journey around the United States and showed off the sights of the birthplace of the American Revolution (1776 version).

If ever there was a week then I needed to spend time with a Golden Retriever, it was this week.

I am glad that she is the final Stromness Pet Portrait because it will take all the technical expertise I have amassed during this project for me to paint her. Not because she poses any particular compositional of painterly challenge. It’s because she’s a Golden Retriever. It’s like trying to paint Jesus. If you now what I mean.

For my Golden Retriever Hue, I began mixing paints with a base of Chinese White (for technical reasons — because it makes it easier to manipulate the paint with a Chinese White base, not because I needed that white)and added several browns and yellows to match Juno’s golden-cinnamon color:

Eyes first,as usual:

I think it’s funny to have a pair of eyes popping out of a blank shet of paper.

These were the most complicated eyes I have painted so far:

Juno appears to be wearing eye-liner, and I have to get it j u s t r i g h t.

And now for the boopable nose:

 

 

 

 

I am fond of bleeds:

 

 

 

 

And here is where I had to stop, because I ran out of time. This is by far the most painstaking pet portrait I have done yet, and I don’t want to push it. I will continue to paint this tomorrow, when I am re-freshed and can get all of Juno’s nuances.

Also because I haven’t got her quite right yet, and I have some tweaking to do. Rescues are my super power, though, so we’ll be back next week with a “Wrong Juno And How I Made It Right” 100% Juno portrait.

Until then, let’s take a look back at this past week, and marvel how we all managed to live through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. I looked this (above) up. It actually says that women should be quiet IN CHURCH. That’s all. It’s OK to raise hell everywhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. It’s only 18 more days, not even three weeks, until all this will be over. Imagine how the whole world will celebrate when Trump gets slaughtered in 50 states and the Republicans are returned to their rightful status as the minority party in the Senate on Nov. 3, oh, just imagine that, and be happy. The world will break your heart in a thousand ways every day, but not on November 3, no.

(James Carville was the political strategist who engineered Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 victories, so he knows. He KNOWS.)

I only have three more times that I can say this about a President who is not a lame duck:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, Boy, that Vivian sure can wrap a hutch.

There was rain in the forecast for Sunday ,  a chilly early Fall rain. Panic!  I had to rush out and get the  hutch rain-proofed for my backyard cats!  First, I insulated the walls and floor with down-filled sleeping blankets that I got from the thrift sotre ($5 each! What a bargain! )

The I wrapped three big-ass tarps wrapped around it, giving it eight layers of tarp.

The rain started right on schedule, around 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon. At first, Taffy and Lickety thought that their hutch was just a fancy stationery umbrella.

But then Taffy figured it out (that’s the tip of his tail you see, there, disappearing through the hutch doorway).

And then Lickety got a clue.

After a while, the mama cat Candy wandered by, took a look at her boys up in the hutch, and decided to find her own perch out of the rain.

Yeah. She sat out the rain in the rhododendron tree. Sigh. When I checked up on her later, she’d left the tree and had gone to her cubbie in the garage, so I could stop worrying about her spending the afternoon in the rhododendron tree.

It rained heavily ALL AFTERNOON, and into the night. It was still raining when I woke  up in the middle of the night and heard rain  and began to worry. I hoped that all my little feral cats were all tucked up in a dry, warm, cozy place. So that’s why I was out in the backyard at 3:22 this AM to check up on my herd:

That’s Taffy, Lickety, and Oscar from next door, high and dry.

I really should have made that hutch big enough so I could crawl in and curl up in the middle of all that purring.

Read more

August is my favorite month of the year: lush, steamy, poignant. It’s also my favorite chapter — because it’s the chapter where I let my Cat Lady self  have free range. In Pawsylvania, as it turns out.

(For those of you reading along , turn to page 124 in When Wanderers Cease to Roam; but if you’re like me and can’t be bothered to put down your cup of tea to go dig up some book you forgot about a long time ago, don’t worry. There won’t be a quiz at the end of this post.)

When people say that my book has a lot of cats in it I have to laugh. Believe me, I held back on the cats big time; in my opinion, I show great restraint in the cat department: I went through every chapter and edited out pages of cat stuff. What’s left is the bare bones of my cat-centric pea brain…except for the August chapter. In August, I decided to fess up about the micro-nation that I inhabited, in the alley behind my apartment house, with my cats Woody and Louie.

Louie:

Woody:

Micro-nations  are actual political units, inventions (usually crack pot in nature) of sovereignty defined by the United Nations as:

small, self-declared state-like entities existing in real or imagined space which do not meet any international criteria for statehood.

I fell in love with the idea of micro-nations because I believe that we all, each of us, live in micro-nations of our own creating, whether it’s made from a family, a church group, a cause, a secret longing, an especially intense inner life, a sport, a hobby, a crush, a  joyous desire to carve a personal niche in the vast indifference of time. My particular micro-nation happens to have existed one memorable Summer, and then it was gone.

It was August 1995, and me and my 15-year old cat Woody had been joined the previous Fall and Winter by a stray cat I called Louie. Of course I’d had him neutered and vaccinated, but I could not turn Louie into a house cat: I had to let him out every night and dayor else he’d tear up my apartment and howl as if I were skinning him alive. That’s how I got into the habit of taking my first cup of tea of the day outside into the back alley — I was out there to check up on Louie. And then Woody started coming along to keep me company.

So we’d by out there, in the alley, every morning at dawn (my favorite time of the August day), in the dim light and shadows and bright freshness, before the village woke up and before the heat of the day. It was tranquil, noiseless, cool, private, and safe. I was reading MFK Fisher for the first  time, so as I’d sit in the alley sipping my tea (sweet, black, with a drop of vanilla extract) I’d also be lost in Ms. Fisher’s world (France, between the wars; tangerines and doomed love). No wonder I can never re-read her books with anything close to the same sensory thrill; I miss the scent of asphalt and dew, the landscape of silence and mystery from being in the alley at sunrise with my cats.

That was my Pawsylvania, that back alley. Or, more exactly, Pawsylvania was a time  (not a place) when there was no one else in my world except me and two doofus cats (each nosing around on their own adventures  — usually in the inexplicable patch of corn that someone grew at the end of the alley that one Summer — but never straying too far from my company) and my own thoughts (some borrowed from MFK Fisher, some made up of my own dread and hopes. Nothing I dreaded was as bad as I thought it would be, and everything I hoped for turned out much better than I’d imagined. The usual story, in other words.).

For fun, and page count, I elaborated (in my book) on my idea of Pawslyvania; made a passport, issued stamps and visas like any other self-respecting micro-nation. But I hope that didn’t obscure my point. That there’s a Pawsylvania in everyone’s back alley, a realm of time to which only you hold the citizenship, passport, and reality.

For comparison, here’s Pawsylvania in Winter (that’s Woody in the lower left corner):

August: it’s its own micro-nation. Catch it while you can.

(This post is dedicated to August. You know who you are.)

Read more

P1010422

“See? See? Those damn Twilight vampires aren’t the only ones who sparkle in the daylight.”

P1010409

“It’s not so bad being between a rock and a hard place as long as you have a nice big butt for a cushion.”

P1010482

In the future, every cat will be famous for fifteen minutes on YouTube.”

P1010488

“I’m only coming to your Thanksgiving dinner if you promise there won’t be any drama that I can’t get in on.”

P1010489

“Dear Diary: Fell asleep in my tuxedo again, woke up with a raging hangover. In other words, still lovin’ the bachelor pad lifestyle!!!”

Read more

aSummer cats

Robert Frost, of course,  wrote that it was the fog that “comes on little cat feet”.  But at my house,  one day last Summer, JOY came in on little cat  feet.

Scrum:aSummer cats 001

Nose count: Taffy, Lickety, and Butterboy with Mom Cat.aSummer cats 002

Nap time:aSummer cats 003

Family Dinner (that’s Dad Cat — Blackie —  in back):aSummer cats 004

Catching grasshoppers:aSummer cats 005

Taffy with a toy mousie:aSummer cats 006

This is my favorite picture: — Lickety eating a late afternoon snack, Butter taking a snooze, and Taffy in mid-air, flipping a toy mousie:aSummer cats 007

Cat v. Cardinal.  Tha cardinal won.

aSummer cats 008

Want more?

It’s 40 degrees and rainy today on the Long Island Sound. All the Hobos were accounted for, tucked into their little cubbies, keeping warm and dry…but I could use a little reminder of Summer.  You too?

Enjoy.

aSummer cats 001

aSummer cats 002

aSummer cats 003

aSummer cats 004

aSummer cats 005

aSummer cats 006

 

aSummer cats 007

See these little faces? They look at me with such trust; “Does Summer ever end?” they want to know.

“Yeah,” I tell them. “Too soon.”

Read more