This Emptor Should Have Caveated


Nov. 26: Ordered quilt online; multi-cat design; not  quilt in picture, and not cat either

Nov. 27: Received email confirmation; processing time 5-7 days; everything handmade and impeccably “sawn”; hoped quilt would be more impeccable than proofreading

Dec. 1, 4, 7, and 8: Received emails re more quilts available for order

Dec. 10: Received email re quilt finished, ready to ship, tracking number to follow

Dec. 10: Received email re discounts on six other quilts

Dec. 11: Received email re same discount on same six quilts

Dec. 12 – Jan. 17: Received no emails at all

Jan. 17: Emailed company re Where is my quilt/Did I miss an email with tracking number?; very polite

Jan. 18: Received email re Quilt is ready and on the way.

Jan. 24: Received quilt

Jan. 25: Put queen quilt on queen bed; quilt barely covered top of queen mattress; I kid you not

Jan 25: Measured queen quilt

Jan. 25: Pulled up company website to check dimensions of ordered queen quilt; website down until all quilts ordered before Christmas have been shipped

Jan. 26 – present: Considering options:

  • Email company re Did I receive double or twin quilt in error? and if so, I’ll send quilt back in exchange for queen quilt
  • Email company re I will send quilt back and await refund (and hope refund arrives before end of 2019)
  • Email company re I will send quilt back in exchange for king quilt (since queen might not be large enough either) and will send more  money as soon as I receive king quilt
  • Email company after website is back up and I know exact dimensions of queen quilt I ordered and have better idea of what more action to take
  • Email now re usual 30-day limit on returns
  • Email company re what I’m really thinking
  • Email re I’ll volunteer to help package and ship quilts ordered before Christmas (possibly necessitating a trip to China, where I suspect they’re made)
  • Rive my hair and wail like a banshee
  • Put quilt on dowel and hang on wall

It’s a silly quilt, cute in a kind of ugly way, but I finally decided I might as well adopt the title of Cat Lady and stick images of cats all over the house. And I thought Cat Gentleman would like cat quilt, since he adopted his title years ago. Quilt was supposed to be a Christmas present.

I ordered late and thus knew Santa Claus might not bring quilt on the First Day of Christmas, but I assumed the Magi would deliver it by Epiphany at the latest. Now I hope to get this thing straightened out before Pentecost.

Worst case scenario, the correct quilt will arrive in time for Advent. And I’ll give it to Cat Gentleman for Christmas.


Jonas Jonasson: The Accidental Further Adventures of the 100-Year-Old Man


I usually finish a book before sharing, but this one is such fun that even though I’ve read only six pages, I can’t wait. The Daily Express (UK) highly recommends it, too.


Background: One-hundred-year-old Allan Karlson and his younger friend, Julius Jonsson, bored with frittering away the millions they brought from Sweden in a suitcase, have become bored with frittering, when Allan acquires a contraption with a half-eaten apple on one side and a lit up screen on the other.


“Once the hundred-year-old man learned how the remarkable contraption worked, he no sooner woke for the day than he turned it on to see what had happened overnight. It was the minor delightful news that amused him most. Like the one about how a hundred doctors and nurses in Naples took turns signing each other in and out so no one had to work but everyone still got paid. Or the one about Romania, how so many government officials had had to be locked up for corruption that the country’s prisons were full. And how those officials who had yet to be arrested had a solution to the problem: legalize corruption so they would avoid the need to build more prisons.

” . . . At first Julius enjoyed the brief news updates . . . He was immediately delighted by the Romanian notion of making the illegal legal. Just think how much easier it would be as a petty thief in such a society.

“But Allan quickly disabused him of that thought, because if petty thievery were to become legal then the concept would cease to exist. . . .If swindling could no longer be considered a swindle, what was the point?

“Allan consoled him with the information that the Romanians had turned out to a man to protest against the politicians’ and officials’ plans. The average Romanian was not as philosophically inclined as those in power. He or she reasoned that those who stole should be locked up, no matter their title or position, and whether or not there was anywhere to lock them up.

“ . . . When the leading news story on the morning in question told him that it was twenty degrees warmer than usual at the North Pole, Allan wondered if that might be an option.

“Julius stuffed fried noodles into his mouth, finished chewing, then said he didn’t think the North Pole was the right place for him and Allan. Especially not if the ice was about to melt. Julius caught a cold whenever his feet got wet. And there were polar bears, and all Julius knew about polar bears was that they seemed to get out on the wrong side of the bed every morning from birth onward. At least the snakes on Bali were shy.

“Allan said it was no wonder that a polar bear might lose its temper given that the ground was melting beneath its feet. If things were about to go down the tubes, that bear probably ought to stroll to solid ground while it had time. Canada, in that case, because the United States had a new president again–had Allan already mentioned this to Julius? And by golly, this new guy wouldn’t allow just anyone over the border.

“Yes, Julius had heard of Trump. That was his name. The polar bear may have been white, but it was a foreigner first and foremost. So it shouldn’t get its hopes up.”


Jonas Jonasson, The Accidental Further Adventures of the 100-Year-Old Man. New York: William Morrow, 2018.

Sequel to The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

Mark Twain’s Mother: What We Have in Common–They Followed Us Home


Some people scorn a cat and think it not an essential;
but the Clemens tribe are not of these.

~ quoted in “UC’s Bancroft Library celebrating Mark Twain,” San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 2, 2008


That sort of interference in behalf of abused animals was a common thing with her [Twain’s mother] all her life; and her manner must have been without offense and her good intent transparent, for she always carried her point and also won the courtesy and often the friendly applause of the adversary. All the race of dumb animals had a friend in her. By some subtle sign the homeless, hunted, bedraggled and disreputable cat recognized her at a glance as the born refuge and champion of his sort–and followed her home. His instinct was right, he was as welcome as the prodigal son. We had nineteen cats at one time, in 1845. And there wasn’t one in the lot that had any character, not one that had any merit, except the cheap and tawdry merit of being unfortunate. They were a vast burden to us all–including my mother–but they were out of luck and that was enough; they had to stay. However, better these than no pets at all; children must have pets and we were not allowed to have caged ones. An imprisoned creature was out of the question–my mother would not have a rat to be restrained of its liberty.

~ Mark Twain, The Autobiography of Mark Twain


I’ve posted some of these quotations before. For the record, I like dogs, too. But at the moment, I’m sitting under a sleeping cat–and holding the laptop at a most uncomfortable angle–so cats are on my mind. So is Mark Twain. And I might as well get them out of my system.


A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat –may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?

 ~ Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson


He would call (the cats) to “come up” on the chair, and they would all jump up on the seat. He would tell them to “go to sleep,” and instantly the group were all fast asleep, remaining so until he called “Wide awake!” when in a twinkling up would go their ears and wide open their eyes.

~ Anonymous article titled “The Funniest Writer on Earth. Some Anecdotes about Mark Twain,” The Rambler, Dec. 24, 1898.


A cat is more intelligent than people believe, and can be taught any crime.

~ Notebook, 1895


Sour Mash never cared for these things. She had many noble and engaging qualities, but at bottom she was not refined, and cared little or nothing for theology and the arts.

~ from the Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2


“Other Christians is always worrying about other people’s opinions, but Sour Mash don’t give a damn.”

~ Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013), p. 216. Dictated 3 September 1906.


That cat will write her autograph all over your leg if you let her.”

from memoirs of Clemens’ secretary Mary Howden which were published in New York Herald, December 13, 1925


I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.

~ quoted in Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field, Fisher


Twain owned up to 19 cats at one time, writes Livius Drusus for Mental Floss, “all of whom he loved and respected far beyond whatever he may have felt about people. His cats all bore fantastical titles, among them: Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal and Pestilence, writes Drusus.

Throughout his life, when Twain travelled he would rent cats to take the place of his left-behind companions. “The most famous cat-renting episode occurred in Dublin, New Hampshire, in 1906,” writes Mack Hitch for New England Today. “Twain biographer Albert Bigelow Paine was there when the author rented three kittens for the summer. One he named Sackcloth. The other two were identical and went under the joint name of Ashes.” Why rent, you ask? He couldn’t travel with the cats, so he’d rent them and then leave behind money to help cover their care during all nine of their lives.

~ “Mark Twain Liked Cats Better Than People: Who Wouldn’t?” Kat Escher,


When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.

~ “An Incident,” Who Is Mark Twain?”


The Great Cat: Cats in History, Art and Literature


Mark Twain and His Cats–10 Pictures

Benjamin Bunny, My Hero

Packing up treasures, I came across Benjamin Bunny hiding in the corner of a china closet. I was surprised, because Benjamin Bunny doesn’t usually hide.

My mother gave me Benjamin for Christmas after she heard me extol his virtues. (I was nearly forty at the time.) Benjamin is brave and bold. While Peter Rabbit is still recovering from the cold he contracted from hiding in a water can in Mr. McGregor’s garden, his cousin Benjamin convinces him they should return to the garden to retrieve Peter’s clothes, which are now worn by Mr. McGregor’s scarecrow.

Peter’s clothes have shrunk because they were out in the rain overnight. Benjamin tries on the scarecrow’s tam-o’-shanter. It’s too big, but he wears it anyway.

Peter is nervous. He keeps hearing things and wants to go home, but Benjamin insists on filling Peter’s pocket handkerchief with onions to take to his Aunt (who doesn’t know they’ve gone back to the garden, of course). Then he eats some lettuce. On the way to the garden gate, they run into a cat lying in the sun.

They hide themselves and the onions under a basket. The cat strolls over and sniffs the basket. Then she jumps upon it and lies down. She stays for five hours.

What happens next I’ll leave to my dear readers to discover for themselves. Suffice it to say things get worse before they get better.

I’ve always loved Peter Rabbit, but there’s a special place in my heart for Benjamin Bunny. He’s a scamp. Knowing full well what happened to Peter in Mr. McGregor’s garden–losing his clothes and almost becoming the main ingredient in a rabbit pie–he convinces Peter to go back. And he risks not only his own neck, but the wrath of his Aunt and his father and his mother and . . .

I admire Benjamin Bunny. He’s what I am not. I don’t have the nerve to visit Mr. McGregor’s garden. Never had it.

And I don’t have the nerve to dress with style. That tam-o’-shanter is just to die for.


Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, complete with the original illustrations, appears at Project Gutenberg.


The backdrop in the photo above is one of several kitty blankets owned by the Davises. It’s not a good backdrop, but it was close at hand, and I didn’t want to search for something better.


A detailed–and interesting–article about copyright as it applies to The Tale of Peter Rabbit and other Beatrix Potter works appears at the LibraryLaw blog. The publisher, Frederick Warne & Co Ltd, has been to court several times arguing that it holds copyright to the books and that the illustrations are trademarked. Decisions have generally gone against Warne–but it’s complicated. I didn’t see a date on the article (although I might have just missed it); the latest comment reads 2009. Since then, the law might have changed.


Every scrap of content on the Internet should display a date in big font where it jumps out at readers. That’s my opinion, and I’m right.

Simone de Beauvoir: “The Subject Is Irritating, Especially for Women”

I hesitated a long time before writing a book on woman. The subject is irritating, especially for women; and it is not new. Enough ink has flowed over the quarrel about feminism; it is now almost over: let’s not talk about it anymore.

Simone de Beauvoir in 1967 by Moshe Milner, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Via Wikipedia.

Yet it is still being talked about. And the volumes of idiocies churned out over this past century do not seem to have clarified the problem. Besides, is there a problem? And what is it? Are there even women? True, the theory of the eternal feminine still has its followers; they whisper, “Even in Russia, women are still very much women”; but other well-informed people–and also at times those same ones–lament, “Woman is losing herself, woman is lost.” It is hard to know any longer if women still exist if they will always exist, if there should be women at all, what place they hold in this world, what place they should hold. “Where are the women?” asked a short-lived magazine recently. But first, what is a woman? “Tota mulier in utero: she is a womb,” some say. Yet speaking of certain women, the experts proclaim, “They are not women,” even though they have a uterus like the others. Everyone agrees there are females in the human species; today, as in the past, they make up about half of humanity; and yet we are told that “femininity is in jeopardy”; we are urged, “Be women, stay women, become women.” So not every female human being is necessarily a woman; she must take part in this mysterious and endangered reality known as femininity. Is femininity secreted by the ovaries? Is it enshrined in a Platonic heaven? Is a frilly petticoat enough to bring it down to earth? Although some women zealously strive to embody it, the model has never been patented. It is typically described in vague and shimmering terms borrowed from a clairvoyant’s vocabulary. . . .

~ Simone de Beauvoir, Introduction to The Second Sex, 1949



A Blogging Thing: My List of Uncompleted Resolutions

So Magaly Guerrero posts,

“So, my Wicked Luvs, for our first week of doing this blogging thing with each other in 2019, I invite you to include 1 or 3 (even 13) of the New Year’s Resolutions you have made year after year after year… but have never truly completed.”

A couple of years ago I resolved to stop jumping into blogging challenges. But I didn’t resolve anything about blogging things, so here’s my list of never truly completed New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Lose weight. [This isn’t completely uncompleted. I’ve lost a lot of weight since I was thirteen.]
  2. Maintain weight loss. [This isn’t completely uncompleted either. I’ve maintained a lot of weight losses. Some longer than others. The last two nonmaintenances weren’t my fault. In the first instance, I was told I had to gain it back to stay sane. In the second instance, an undiagnosed something fueled the gain, and boy, am I unhappy with the person who considered me a hysterical middle-aged woman who just needed to exercise when I told him I couldn’t walk a mile without becoming exhausted. And unhappy with myself for letting him get away with it for so long.]

Okay. Enough of the self-serving public unburdening. Maybe I’ll resolve to stop that.

Here are my uncompleted resolutions, some more uncompleted than others.

  1. Give up television. [For years, I watched nothing but the British comedies, Law and Order, and Masterpiece Theatre. Then I gave up the latter two. Then a new channel that carried the Jack Benny Show in the mornings appeared, and I started watching that. Somehow other programs crept in, mostly horrible ones from the ’70s. I gave them up but then another new station appeared– this HD-TV thing has much to answer for–and I found the original Law and Order again. Then I gave David a subscription to Netflix, and guess who watched it, and he gave me a subscription to Acorn, and I watched it, and then we got a Roku thingy and I discovered Youtube carries more old shows plus Frederica von Stade singing “Song to the Moon.” And “The Flower Duet.” It’s a slippery slope.]
  2. Clean up this mess. [I’ve done that periodically but have no talent for keeping things straight. The main obstacle is that it gets worse before it gets better, and before it gets better, I find another project. Furthermore, I’ve been told I have no executive function, and is that ever true. But hope springs eternal, so I’m again in the process of tidying–I’m on a break even as I type–but this time the worse won’t stick around, because I’m divesting myself of china and crystal and most of my mother’s lovely things that I don’t use. The majority is already packed. A great-niece and -nephew, bless them, are taking the china. Service for twelve plus serving pieces. When I was a child, we used it every Sunday, and when the Waller family gathered for Thanksgiving or Christmas, almost everything was on the dining room (extra leaved) table. But David and I, preferring dishes that like the dishwasher and don’t break so easily, have let it lie fallow for too long. The sideboard and one of the china closets are going to other members of the family. Bless them. I’m keeping only a few special pieces. Some of this stuff dates from my parents’ marriage in the early ’40s. Some has been around for four or five generations. You just don’t sell or take such treasures to the Salvation Army without replacing them with a load of guilt.]
  3. Learn Spanish. [I learned Spanish for fourteen semester hours in college but had no one to speak with and so ended up with an excellent accent and a few phrases. (¿Qué hora es? ¿Como está usted? Me llamo Kathy. ¿Como se llama?) Early in our relationship, David offered to speak with me–he has a master’s in Spanish and roamed around Mexico with ease when it was safe to roam–but I was afraid with my limited memory of the preterito, not to mention the pluscuamperfecto, we’d never get to know each other. I haven’t given up hope, but the continuing ed. class in beginning español always fall on days I’m already busy.]
  4. Be brief. [I’ve already spent over 600 words on this, and I don’t think that’s the kind of list Magaly has in mind, but if it’s a list of uncompleted resolutions . . .]

Because 2019 is still an infant, I include this year’s resolution:

The cup is already broken.

No pressure. No striving for perfection. No guilt over uncompleteness.

I didn’t post on January 1, so I don’t have to post every day. I ate Wheat Thins I didn’t need and didn’t want. I haven’t finished packing the treasures.

The year is already broken.

Broaden the smile and the picture applies. Perfectly.


The resolutions go 1, 3, 5, 7 because I wanted to double space, and WordPress lists don’t do that.


Images of cup and dragon from licensed under CC0
Cup and measuring tape by ahgomaaz
Dragon by GraphicMama-team

Image of china, Gotham by Haviland, by me.