Tabitha, in her natural environment

January 13, 2013
Naturally, cats make nests in sweatshirts that don't belong to them.

Naturally, cats make nests in sweatshirts that don’t belong to them.

Tabitha is reclining on a sweatshirt that reads “I’m here. Now what are your other two wishes.” I thought the saying hilarious, especially considering my natural temperament.  It fits her personality so much more than mine, however. Whereas I leaned towards the ironic, Tabitha means every word of it!

I’m about to have lunch – leftover chicken from dinner last night, although that makes no difference. She will come running if I’m having lettuce. I wonder how long it will take her to get downstairs.


Fitting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together

December 17, 2012

This morning, around 6 AM, both my dogs joined me in bed. The way they lined up alongside me, one curled from knee to feet and the others stretching from knee to shoulder, reminded me of the trick where the magician saws the lady in half. If you looked quickly, there appeared to be only one dog.

As we all jockeyed for position, I noticed that I was holding my arm at an unnatural position so I wouldn’t encroach on the personal space of one of the dogs. As my arm began to cramp, I thought “THIS IS MY BED!!”

Then I turned on my side so we could all fit together comfortably.

Pictures from the past two weeks

May 24, 2012

Flowers are popping out all over our development. Most of the rhododendrons are a fuscia pink but then you come around the corner and one bush has the most delicate pink flowers. I love this color!

A few weeks ago, we noticed that a morning dove had made a nest in the bushes outside our kitchen window. She placed the nest very well because there were days you couldn’t really tell if she was in it or not. Then, the other day, Helen said she was pretty sure the babies had hatched.

You can only see one here with the mom but there were two little chicks in the nest. However, they didn’t stay long. This morning, they were gone. I’m so glad I got a picture before they left.

While she was sitting on the eggs, another baby bird fell out of a nest close by. We left him alone knowing that his mom wouldn’t help him if we touched him, but he didn’t make it through the night. I wonder if the morning dove was tempted to go help him, but couldn’t leave her nest? Do birds feel the need to come to someone’s aid like humans do?

Dru doesn’t go into the full corgi position very often which is too bad because I love it when she lies this way. She brought me her buddah ball and wanted me to throw it for her. The fact that I had just gotten out of the shower was of little consequence to her. I was present and should therefore be playing with her!

Picture compliments of my sister-in-law

And then everything stops while I admire the rolls on my nephew’s legs! And the smile.

These are the nursemaids who sat vigil over the baby birds. That’s Tabitha on the left and Dudley on the right and the bush below is where the nest was. It reminds me very much of another older cat taking the baby under his wing, only we won’t go there because I’m at work and I can’t cry here.

I am repurposing my mouse candle holder as a staff for making bracelets that I’ve volunteered to make for Red Bank’s Girls Night Out event. A mother came into the store and was showing it to her daughter calling him the mouse king from the Nutcracker. I never thought of him coming from the Nutcracker. To me, he’s the crown prince from a far off land, not necessarily attached to any one piece of literature. My imagination is a bit more active than many other people’s.


April 18, 2012

Books are always one of the last things to be unpacked and when they are, very often they are just stacked around the apartment until we get them in order. I like to put my books on the shelves in alphabetical order by author, because I tend to get attached to particular authors and want to see all the books I have by them. Also, I have a bad habit of forgetting that I have a book and wind up buying another copy. At least, if I have a spot for each author, I can see that I’ve duplicated and either pass it on to a family member or trade it in on

Yesterday, we finally faced the books piled up in Helen’s room. Since there are several hundred of them, this was a monumental task. Especially since I get wound up in the books and it takes much longer than it should. However, yesterday I stayed focused until I found my copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My grandmother gave it to me when I was a child.

It amazes me the feelings I get just from seeing her handwriting.

Yesterday, there was a warm sun and a cooling breeze and suddenly, Wolf Hill Park was the perfect place to be, especially with these two.

Wide open spaces to run and jump and chase butterfly shadows? There is nothing better in life.

Monday, Helen & I went to see The Hunger Games in an actual movie theater, in the middle of the afternoon. How decadent was that?? I think it’s the first time we’ve been to the movies in two + years, what with the store and all. That is just so …. sad. I liked the book very much and I thought they did a very good job with the movie. There was just one glaring difference that I objected to – an announcement made during the game. Also, it was a slight shock to the senses to hear how loud they had the sound system, which makes me sound old and cranky. Awesome:)


April 15, 2012

Last night, we watched the movie Hanna. According to IMDB, this movie is about “a 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

It is an interesting idea and Saoirse Ronan is amazing as Hanna. However, we spent the night trying to figure out a) how Cate Blanchett, who is usually spectacular, was allowed to keep that god-awful American accent – why not just let her be British? and b) which actress played the false Marissa. It was Michelle Dockery, otherwise known as Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey, which we both agreed, we’d much rather be watching.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

April 14, 2012

The Passage by Justin Cronin is one of my Christmas books. I read about it last year and my brother loved it, so I was looking forward to  losing myself in a good book. It’s very well written and I am getting lost, but man, this book is scaring the crap out of me. It’s purely fictional, containing more than a few vampires, and for some unknown reason, I dread going to sleep at night. My imagination goes into overdrive and I’m having the weirdest dreams. The other night I woke up at 3:30 AM, jolted out of a sound sleep, sure that someone was pounding on our front door. The fact that the dogs weren’t barking was the only clue it happened in my dream. (Unless the vampires got them first???)

Yeah, my nightlight’s staying on for a while!

I Really Need to Get Better at This Blogging Thing ….

April 12, 2012

I keep meaning to come back to this blog and I have started posts over and over and then life keeps intruding. Which equals a bazillion draft posts and nothing posted. So, I have promised myself that this post will be published come hell or high-water. Therefore, if I break off mid-sentence, you will understand.

The past year has been busy for our family. Helen and I opened our store.

My brother eloped.

(Photo courtesy of the wedding photographer – link to follow)

My sister got married.

I gained a cat.

We lost a cat.

My brother had a baby! (Well, technically, my sister in law had the baby, but we give him credit anyway!)

(Picture courtesy of my brother)

I became one of those crazy aunts that whip their phones out at the slightest provocation to show off pictures of my nephew.

Really, how can you not?

(Picture courtesy of my brother)

Helen and I moved house, which was stressful.

We’re finally getting to the end of unpacking and everyone’s starting to settle in.

Spike and Drusilla are adjusting well. They don’t have a backyard anymore but they do get to spend a lot more time with us. And there are lots of walks and visits to the dog park and games of tennis ball, so I think they’ll survive.

In August, we had a minor earthquake and a hurricane hit New Jersey within a week of each other. Earthquakes are practically unheard of here on the east coast and I didn’t realize what had happened until I checked Twitter. I just got a little dizzy. Hurricanes are more prevalent and this one brought quite a bit of flooding, including putting our entire first floor under water.

And through it all, I’ve read a few books

(a portion of the books I’ve finished over the past year)

It’s going to be interesting to see what the next year brings!

How many cats before I become the crazy cat lady?

July 29, 2011

Do you remember that routine Rodney Dangerfield used to do about not getting any respect? My cats give me no respect what-so-ever! They wait until I am done cleaning out their box before they use it and then, they don’t have the decency to cover up their messes, as “the help” is there to do it for them.

And if four weren’t enough, we’ve gone and added a fifth to the family!

Tabitha at 3 weeks

Meet Tabitha Stanley (we’re still not 100% sure if she’s a male or a female yet, but we’re going with female for now). She was abandoned by her mother in the garden and we heard her screaming in the rain. She’s had a healthy set of lungs on her since the moment we met her.

Tabitha at 4 weeks

Since we had to bottle feed her, she has been spending days at the store with us. Not surprisingly, she has collected quite a following, especially with the people who work in the stores around us.

Tabitha at 4 weeks

We have daily visitors who open the door, inform us that they are not here to buy anything, and then ask whether the queen is receiving.

Tabitha at 5 weeks

She is now on kitten food and has been proclaimed healthy by the vet. She will have her tests for Feline Aids & Feline Leukemia done at 12 weeks, however everything else is going splendidly!

Tabitha at 6 weeks

The dogs love her and act as her knight errants, coming to get us if she starts crying. Very often, she will lose us and meow. Once she catches sight of us, she comes running and pats our feet to make sure we know where she is.

Tabitha at 7 weeks

Andrew & Dudley (2 of the other cats) are so good with her, playing and teaching her all manner of things. George puts up with her like the crusty old gentleman he is. And Gretel wants nothing to do with her. She was the same way with Dudley when he was that age. It’s almost as if she’s letting us know that when we had her spayed, we took out the maternal instinct as well.

Tabitha at 8 weeks

Tabitha is now 8 weeks old and she loves to play among the stuffed animals in the store. When she gets really tired, she will crash behind them and it’s always fun to see how terrified we can get before we find her.

Right now, she is trading pats for little bites of chicken. She will pat Helen’s hand, ever so gently, and then wait for Helen to share her salad.

Tabitha now

She is an absolute love and perfect for our store!

It takes all kinds, I guess.

June 8, 2011

A patron and her friend come into the store, pushing  infants in  strollers, comparing their children’s diseases. Evidently, if your child is completely healthy, you did it wrong. Nothing says chic & “in-the-now” more than a hard to pronounce, even harder to understand illness. And if your doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong with your child, then you’ve really made it.

Anyway, this woman comes in and says “Tell me what I’m looking at!”

Me: Ha Ha … oh wait – you’re serious.

Customer: What’s your gimmick? Your catch? And I mean that in the  best way.

Me: Of course you do.

So I explained about our stuffed animals, the organic lines and the non-organic ones, the jewelry and ceramics, etc. She nodded knowingly, and left without buying anything.

Helen says I should have told her that they were all sleeping and we had to be very careful not to wake them because you DO NOT want to mess with a cranky stuffed animal. I just wanted to ban them for stupidity.


What’s new with you?

April 28, 2011

A lot has happened here since I last posted.  I quit my boring but steady office job for the uncertain life of self-employment. My sister Helen and I made the decision to open a retail store, found and rejected several locations before settling on the right one, and then did all the work (mostly painting) getting it ready to open without hiring any outside help. Oh, and we opened the doors two weeks after we quit our jobs. We could never have done it so quickly without the help of my parents and my brothers, especially my mother who was there with us until 11:00 the night before we opened, getting everything on the shelves. You can see before and after pictures at our store blog. As a matter of fact, since my life now mostly revolves around Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals, I will be spending the majority of my time writing there. Please check in and see what we are doing. It won’t only be about inventory, etc. Why, today alone, I recount the exciting tale of an intrepid computer, a bottle of diet coke, and a flailing elbow. I assure you, while there are twists and turns, it ends well.