Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy, Happy Birthday, Nellie!

Dear Reader -  Today is Nellie's first birthday!
It's hard to believe that she's only been with us for these few, short months - she feels so much a part of our lives here at biblion and Casa J&C.

We're celebrating the day with a little "sale" in her honor - giving an extra 5% off to anyone who spends $21 or more!

Here's the first picture I ever saw of Nellie (she was Penelope then - safe in the arms of her breeder, Candice Kane):

Her eyes turned out to be just as compelling in person, if not more so - and, as you may remember, it was her eyes that brought her to us, as mentioned in my first mention of her back in June (what kind of insanity makes a newly-minted retailer decide to get a puppy just before the resort summer hits, and then to save that darn kitten to boot? - ah well! - Nellie and Spot have become the best of friends, wreaking havoc on our household [and especially the other cats {yes, I'm in danger of being dubbed a crazy cat lady, gone beyond my two-cat minimum - I've decided that because Miss C and Nellie are part of the equation, we haven't tipped the scales, yet}]).

She has turned out to be an awesomely awesome shop dog, save for her tendency to bark (okay, she yaps, it's embarrassing really; we try to tell her that nobody likes a yappy dog - that it's simply unattractive - to no avail) at other dogs. Here's a shot that I took of her with my iPhone to share with one of my card reps the other day. She spends most of the day sleeping under my desk, coming out to greet the guests who want to be greeted:

So, stop by if you can and join us in wishing Nellie a happy, yappy birthday!

Celebratorily yours  - Jenny

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A worthy reason to get back up on that blogging pony, sister!

Dear Reader -  I've missed you. And I feel like my life's awash in a sea of biblion stories that're just aching for a place to funnel 'em.

But what's brought me here today is the 10th anniversary of the start of our War in Afghanistan, an action precipitated by the attacks less than a month before and followed up a couple years later with the Iraq War.

Right about the time of the art show this summer I received an email from a local author named Terri Clifton:
Hello. My name is Terri Clifton and I am contacting you about the book A Random Soldier.
My son Chad was a 2003 graduate of Cape Henlopen High School. He joined the Marine Corps that summer and went to Iraq in 2004. Before he left he made me promise to tell his story if he didn't make it home. Chad was killed in action in February 2005.
I wrote and self published his book, but have only in the past year regained the energy it takes to attempt to bring the book forth. It is available at Browseabout but I stumbled across your store (while having dinner with my husband at Agave) and wondered if you would be at all interested. Both Chad and the book are easily googled.
Thank you for your time,

I totally remembered her son. biblion's Memorial Day commemoration included pictures and brief bios on all of the men and women from Delaware who'd been lost in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Chad's strikingly youthful face was hard to forget:

I also remembered how the young people at our church were devastated the day that we heard of his death.

Terri and I eventually connected after the fray of the art show, and I immediately began carrying her book (it's worth noting that Terri is not selling her book for profit - she's just looking to cover her self-publishing expenses - to that end, biblion isn't profiting from it either). As Terri'd mentioned, she hadn't yet put much energy into marketing the book, for understandable reasons, and I began noodling on how we could do more to get Chad's story out than simply having it out in the midst of our shop.

And then it hit me, the tenth anniversary of September 11th was coming up and, of course, the Afghan War started shortly after. Sure enough, I went to Google it and found that October 7 was the date. Given that the "drumbeat" of 9/11 anniversary coverage was already audible this summer, I expected that the media'd have a field day with the war. As such, I thought that a low-key reading by Terri would be a nice counter-point to all of the Sturm und Drang of the politicized coverage on the 24/7 news networks.

Boy, did I turn out to be wrong.

At first I thought that the fact that I wasn't hearing anything about the anniversary was because I'm watching/listening to the news so infrequently these days, caught up in the Sturm und Drang of the happy fray of my own little life. But then I started doing Google searches and found virtually no mention among the major news outlets. Thousands of lives lost, tens of thousands of lives shattered, and no words.

But enough of my dismay . . .

Terri agreed that doing a reading on that date seemed apropos, so we put it on the schedule:

Friday, October 7
6:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 8
10:00 a.m. to Noon
Meet and Greet with the Author

What I love about Terri's book is that it gives the reader a direct, unfiltered, and unapologetic perspective on one soldier's experience of war - and likewise some sense for what it was like for his family and friends. Since I didn't have any personal experience with war myself, having no friends or family who'd served, I found Chad's words and Terri's reflections truly enlightening and compelling. And from what I've seen at biblion, those who have served or been part of military families have had a different experience with the book, often finding it to be a bridge of understanding between the service members and their stateside families. I also love that there's absolutely no political agenda in it - no romantic war-related ideals, no anti-war drumbeats. It's just about a young soldier and the people whom he loved:

So it you have a pocket of time on Friday evening or Saturday morning, come on down and mark the day with us at biblion. We'd love to see you.  - Jen

P.S. I've had an issue with getting the word out about this earlier in the Cape Gazette (got the wrong deadline from a new guy, per Bernadette), so I'd appreciate anything you all can do to help folks know about this - I think that Terri's words could be a real help to many families as they live the realities of war.

P.S.S. I thought I'd find a way to work Chad's dad into my stream of consciousness-ness above, but the flow took another path. That being as it is, I still wanted to share Rich's incredible work with you - seeing that he has two such creative and extraordinary parents speaks to how much we've lost in losing Chad, too. Rich is a nationally-know wildlife painter:

You can see more of his work here at

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lament of the Resort Retailer (Erstwhile) Blogger

Dear Reader -  A month! It's been a bl___y month since I was here last [she exclaims with the requisite level of incredulity]!

I thought at the first of the summer that it was just my initial adjusting to juggling home, charity, and shop commitments that was my blogging stumbling block, but now I see that the stumbling has not ended, nor do I see an end in sight.

It makes me sorta sad, 'cause I do love sharing stories (oh, and heaven knows, dear Reader, we've had more than our fair share of 'em at little biblion this summer!), but I have to resign myself to the realities of the laws of physics (my dear grandfather, Fred, born in 1900, went to catch the train to college in a buckboard wagon - he eventually made it from Sedalia, Missouri, to Baldwin, Kansas, where he graduated with a degree in physics from Baker - he always said, "Everybody needs a little 'fuzzicks.'"). I cannot do everything. Balls must drop. And I must be content with standing here and watching them lying on the ground. I'm thinking that Grandpa and Grandma would understand much more than my childlike perceptions of them would guess:

The good news is that even while I sit here, rather ineffectual as a blogger, the world does move on. And we have been having a spectacularly lovely summer here at biblion. The magic that happened last February hasn't stopped. And folks keep finding us - from all corners of the world.

This week we received a call from Dan Shortridge of the Wilmington News Journal (since Delaware's so tiny, the NJ is kinda like a state paper, though we have some awesome local papers - like our own, independent Cape Gazette, which has been awesome to us). He was pulling together a story about the used book market and spent some time chatting with me - and then he sent his photographer, Jen, down to take a few shots of the shop (which, before she arrived as chock full of regulars and visitors, the last of whom cleared out as she opened the door - and, as soon as she left, as she predicted, the shop filled up again!). They were sweet enough to run a picture of biblion on the front page of yesterday's edition and to include some great quotes from our guests to lead the article. It was super kind of them. Very happy.

So I'm off now to gather up a few books to fill in the shelves, yadda, yadda, yadda. As Miss C said in a  dreamy voice yesterday, "I just love the shape of our life!"

Contentedly  - Jenny

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Love of My Life

Dear Reader -  After Miss C, our houseful of pets (by the way, our home for Spot fell through - they had lots of love to give, but they also had lots of houseguests coming between now and August who're allergic to cats - if you know of someone who could provide an appropriate home for her, just let me know), and now little biblion, the love of my life for the past five years has been St. Peter's Art Show:

This year marks the show's 45th anniversary, and I've had the privileged of chairing the event for the past five years. Always held on the first Saturday of July, St. Peter's is a mainstay of the Lewes Independence Day festivities.

I love it. It's the perfect blend of small town charm with some really wonderful, "big city" fine art and fine crafts. And everybody and their brother's dog from St. Peter's pitches in to help make it happen.

We have a great mix of stellar local talent and other artists who travel from as far away as New England and Florida to be a part, with 140 total exhibitors:

In addition to the four blocks of artists, the show also boasts a featured artists' raffle (this year it's Judy Hagen, Peter Saenger, and Kim Klabe, each of whom have donated gorgeous pieces), a fantastic silent auction (to which our artists have donated around 100 items), and our Famous Turkey Salad Croissant luncheon (for which Connie Miller has been making the salad since 1983, following in the footsteps of her mother):

There's even a fun jazz combo from D.C., a children's art project (sponsored by Rehoboth Art & Framing), and face painting by Karen Letonoff:

So if you have a bit of time tomorrow between 9 and 4, stop by and join the fun! We'd love to see you there! (Don't forget - there's free parking down at Sheild's Elementary and the old Lewes School, with a free shuttle running all day, provided by Prudential Gallo!). It's a happy dance kinda day!  - Jenny

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spot: A long story long

Dear Reader -  Well, it's been an interesting week, with a wee bit of extra texture to add to the girl-starting-new-business-while-running-old-one-and-gearing-up-for-the-large-special-event-that-she-runs energy!

Here is the lion's share of the texture:

Miss C and I have named her Spot. Why?

When I was driving back from (the awesome) Canterbury Used Furniture in Felton with my new filing cabinets last Sunday, I was cutting over Fourth Street between New Road and Burton, heading through a little stretch of woods. A bit of movement drew my eyes to the right, and there I saw a tiny black spot hopping into the dense undergrowth:

A kitten! A kitten that appeared to be all alone!

I quickly pulled over, put on my hazards, and went to peer into the woods. Sure enough, there she was. Not a minute later, a Lewes PD car stopped by to ask if I was okay, I explained that I'd just seen a little kitten, thinking maybe the fellas'd help me find her, but they just nodded and went on their way.

As the kitty had hunkered down in the brush, looking pretty darn terrified and not the least bit interested in my heeere-kitty-kitty-kitties, I decided not to lumber after her into the woods, sensing that that'd be counter-productive. As I crouched at the edge of the woods, a few more cars slowed as they passed, some folks warily asking me, "are you okay?" I explained about the kitten, watching her sink further into the woods with each encounter.

I then decided that food might be the key. So I told her I'd be back, hopped back in my Pilot, and headed around the corner to get some food at the house. I dumped all my stuff in the entryway, grabbed an old plastic Chinese takeout container, filled it with some of Midnight (Miss C's kitty that Santa told her to rescue in first grade) and Sinai's (the "transitional object" that Miss C's dad and I rescued in 1993 or 4 [I can never remember]) food. I headed back over, shook the food bowl while reciting my heeere-kitty-kitty-kitties, and the placed it at the edge of the woods.

I proceeded to plop onto the sidewalk, keeping my distance and giving Spot some calm space and time to approach the bowl. I sat there for awhile, fielding the inevitable "are you okays?" that came my way. And then I glanced up and saw what appeared to be someone walking their little Yorkshire Terrier straight down the sidewalk in our direction.

"Crap!" I thought. "That's not gonna help get this kitty outta the woods at all!"

But then I did a double-take and realized, while I initially hadn't seen the dog-walker, I assumed they were obscured behind one of the trees along the sidewalk:

But in that double-take I realized: that darn dog was walking down the sidewalk all alone! I looked over at the kitten, creeping toward the food bowl, I looked over at the dog, blithely walking our way. "Really?" was the only thing that went through my little head. Utter dismay.

I hopped up and headed for the pooch, immediately motivating it to pull a u-turn and head back down the other side of the street. I moved quickly down the street after it, trying not to send it in to an all-out freak-out mode by running madly. I did however, start to flag down the cars heading towards us, not wanting them to squish the little doggy. The first car stopped and the woman in the passenger seat hopped out.

"I have no idea who's dog this is," I cried out. "Oh my gosh!" she replied. We proceeded to corral the dog, and she grabbed her. "We're just on our way back to D.C.," she said. So, of course, I took the dog, glancing wistfully back toward the cat, wondering what in the heck I was gonna do. I asked a few other folks out for walks if they knew the dog, to no avail. Then I pushed the food bowl a little further into the brush, so that a passing dog wouldn't get at it, and the dog and I hopped into the car.

The "what the heck am I gonna do" thought went through my head again, as I knew that my vet's office wouldn't be open to check if the dog was microchipped. Then it hit me: we keep an extra kennel at the shop for Nellie, so I decided to head there. I stepped on the gas and drove in that direction, swerving around one of the out-for-a-walk ladies that I'd seen earlier who was stopped chatting on the side of the road with a passing pickup truck.

And when I was about make the next turn it dawned on me: "I bet those people were asking her about the dog!" I swung back around and gunned it back to the woman, swerving over to the side of the road and asking her, "Were those people looking for the dog?" (the dog snugly tucked under my left arm). She said, "Yes! I just sent them back to where I saw you last!"

Off I went, the dog and I driving like mad women after the truck. We finally managed to get their attention. I hopped out the car, running up to ask them, "Is this your dog?" "Yes!" the man cried! "Her name is Precious!"

The man's name was George, and, being a very kind man, he immediately wanted to help me with the kitty. I was a little concerned, remembering how she cowered with each additional visitor, and, sure enough, she kept sinking deeper and deeper into the woods. I tried for quite awhile, and then I mentioned maybe giving it a break. George had a super suggestion: just leave a little food for the kitty, in the hope that it'd return for more. So I shook a few kibbles out into the lid of the container and took off for home, realizing that Miss C'd probably be pretty worried by now. I'd been gone a long time, and my cell phone was sitting in the entryway being of no use.

I stepped in the house and told her all about it. She, of course, wanted to come and see. We gave it a few minutes, and then we headed back over: Miss C watching from the car, so as not to further spook the kitty, and me with my food-shaking and my heeere-kitty-kitty-kitties on the sidewalk. We tried a couple more times to no avail, and then we went home to feed our pets and hang out for a bit.

At 9:00 I headed over to the shop to close'er up (at some point in the earlier process, I don't even remember when now, I also ran over to the shop to get the extra kennel, thinking we could put the kitty in it, if we caught her - Grace was already there for her shift, so I told her about the kitten, and then I ran into the our beneficent landlord, Mr. Ted, at his liquor store [I felt that the occasion warranted a glass of something interesting] - he said that he might know someone who'd be interested in her [to my great relief]).

I sent Grace home, since she was feeling a little punk, and I had folks 'till 10:00, so I didn't get back to the woods to check on the kitty 'till pretty late. I called and called. No sign of kitty. I climbed back into my car, pointed it toward home and stopped dead as I saw the little black spot, hopping at the edge of the brush - I tried calling her again, she meowed in reply, but she stayed put. I finally gave up for the night.

Monday morning I woke up to pouring rain. My first thought: Oh no! The kitten! I grabbed the little dish of food and headed over straight away. I got soaked through, calling out my kitty-kitty-kitties, and fielding a few "are you okays?" No sign of the kitten  - no sightings, no meows, nothing. A woman walked by, asking if I was okay, and when she heard about the kitten being out all night said, "You live in this neighborhood, right? And you know how many foxes we have?" Images of little tufts of black fur being left behind on the floor of the woods came to mind. I was crushed, thinking that I may have given up on her too quickly the night before. But I couldn't dwell on the possibility: it was a work day, and I had to head back home to get Nellie and myself ready.

When the clock struck 5:00, I dropped Nellie home and headed back. What did I find? A little spot curled in a ball next to the little food bowl! I brought the new food out to her, shaking it gently and trying to coax her further out of the woods. She made it all the way to the bowl a few times, but she was far too wary to let me get anywhere near her, basically inhaling the kibble just a quickly as she could.

I heard a car pull up behind me - a husband and wife on their way out to dinner with friends. We chatted for a couple about the kitten, and then the woman said that she had a no-kill trap. She said she'd get it to me on Tuesday, to which I said, "Thank you! But I'm kinda concerned about the foxes . . ." She replied, "We'll be right back."

Her name was Jackie, and she brought a little wire cage/trap, some newspaper to line it, and a can of food to entice her in. It didn't take but a minute or two for the trap to do its job. And the poor little kitty was terrified. I quickly snatched her up and popped it in the car with me. She looked at me with fear and accusation in her eyes - she'd just started to sorta trust me, and I'd completely betrayed her. I took her back home, got her situated with food and water and a litter box in a spare bath.

As you can see from this picture, dear Reader, it didn't take Spot long to learn to trust me and Miss C again:

She was particularly magical with Miss C as she removed over 20 ticks from her little skin-and-bones frame. The poor little thing. She just lay there, still as a stone, purring away, letting Miss C do away with one tick after another.

I came to learn that Jackie was actually the person that Ted had in mind for the kitty, since she's a leader in the active cat rescue movement in Lewes. She has provided us with milk for the kitty, as well as her worm medication, and an offer to "fix" her at next to no cost and provide her shots. Jackie's been a Godsend. She also told us a series of horror stories of folks who've abused cats (some intentionally, some unwittingly), cautioning us to be very careful about finding her a new home.

We're looking - figuring that her right home will find us soon (Miss C's conditions are the she get to visit Spot and be her catsitter). Until then, we love Spot. Truly  - Jen

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All a'twitter

Dear Reader -  When I created a facebook account for little biblion, I created a Twitter account, too. Now, I had no earthly clue what the heck I'd do with said account. So there it's been sitting, gathering a few kind "followers," who've had nothing to follow!

But then an idea dawned: We get fun books in from time to time, and I can use Twitter to let the virtual universe know about them. So here I am in the wake of my first Twitter posting (sorry, I just can't bring myself to call it a "tweet"), feeling all a'twitter myself:

(Dear Reader, it's worth noting that I posted for the first time a day or so ago - and I started this blog then, too, but I ran into problems with the illustrative pictures that I took on my darn iPhone . . . oh, and we had a little kitty cat incident that I'll tell you about later. Ah well!)

The books that I wrote my 140 characters about yesterday were from the estate of our friend, Frank Sanna. Frank was the kindest of souls. He fought in WWII and was one of the many who made good use of the GI Bill upon his return. He learned to sew - expertly. And as the years progressed, Frank constantly found ways to use his extraordinary skill to serve and to give back to others.

Beyond his family and the love of his life, Donald, Frank's great love was movies. And when Donald brought Frank's books in, he told me how Frank and his friends would pour over their reference books for hours, comparing notes and sharing stories about the films that they loved. It's been a joy to watch others get a kick out of his books, too.

Thank you, Frank - thank you, Donald. Tweetlee-deet to you!  - Jenny

P.S. And can you find what film this tune's been in?

P.S.S. If you wanna see the books we're posting about we're @BiblionBooks (or at least I think that's how we're supposed to say it!).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thank you, Delaware Today!

Dear Reader -  A couple months back, Miss C and I got the most amazing surprise: Delaware Today's critics chose little biblion as the best bookstore downstate (but we couldn't say anything 'till the BoD issue was released):
Given that we'd only been open a month or so, we were pretty shocked, as our thank you note to them attests:

26 April 2011

Maria Hess
Delaware Today
3301 Lancaster Pike, Suite 5-C
Wilmington, DE  19805

Dear Ms. Hess:

By golly! Did you and your colleagues at Delaware Today send Miss C__ and me into a state of utter shock and delight! We couldn’t be more tickled with your choosing little biblion as Delaware’s Best Bookstore Downstate. Thank you!

I picked up your letter late on a Friday – cracked it open, fully expecting some sort of ad sales pitch. I sat in the shop and looked at it without comprehension for several minutes, thinking it had to be some sort of playful joke from one of my well-meaning friends – then, finally processing the “by our critics” designation, understanding began to dawn. I, of course, knew that I couldn’t run out to the streets of Lewes, running willy-nilly, waving the letter and madly heralding our good news, but I did want to tell my daughter, the aforementioned Miss C__.

I wiggled at my desk, impatiently counting the few minutes left ‘till five, being gracious (on the outside) to the guests who happened in just before closing. Then, wishing them a happy evening, I locked up the shop and hustled home to Miss C___. I handed her the letter without (miraculously) giving anything away – she, too, went through the multiple stages of disbelief and joy. Then we did a little happy dance together.

Really, Ms. Hess, you and your Delaware Today friends made our day/month/year! What a gift for a new business!
I’m not fully understanding how the event in July works, but, as you’ve just seen, I’m a little slow on the uptake. I’ll give your office a call to discuss.

Thanks again for your kindness!

With warmest wishes for the best “best” edition ever,

Jen Mason,

We're so touched and gratified by the acknowledgement of our little shop - from our Delaware Today friends and from  you, dear Reader. Thanks so much for supporting us in our beginnings!

Fondly  - Jen, Miss C, and, of course, Nellie

P.S. And, since Tony was Miss C's and my first happy dance favorite back in her infant days, here's a little happy dance music for the occasion!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Random, if belated, musings and newsings from an errant blogger

Dear Reader -  Okay, I confess that I let myself get totally daunted by the technical issues with my little blog, and I didn't have any girl-starting-new-business energy to spare for taking on the little bytes that were messin' with my mojo. I have now taken the somewhat drastic step of deleting everything I'd attempted to draft, in the hope that clearing the decks'll be the ticket to erradicating whatever it was that kept crashing my doggone blog!

So here's what we've missed sharing while we've been in the midst. . .

1. The press has come to visit - multiple times. Henry Evans from the Cape Gazette wrote a stellar introductory article about us, and then followed up with a great article about the Royal Hoopla here at the shop:

Henry's awesome - a compelling writer and a truly fun, funny, intelligent, and interesting person to boot! He found us with the help of Lewes's leading historian, Hazel Brittingham:

Hazel and Henry are worthy of blog postings of their own. Hazel knows everyone and everything about Lewes. She kindly stopped in one day to bring me the Historical Society's writeup on our building, and she loved the shop so much that she asked Henry to do a story about us.

Part of what connects here to biblion is the building itself, since she and her husband owned the little restaurant called Britt's back in the 50s that we chatted about in January. Her ties to the place even pre-date that experience, quite literally, as her date to her prom was one of the Coast Guard fellows who ate in the commissary housed in our shop during the war. Henry came and ended up sticking around for a couple hours on his first visit, chatting with me for a bit and then losing himself in biblion's cards (he's since been back to check out the books, too).

We also got a visit from Delaware Today, who featured us in their "what's new at the beach" edition (which was super nice!). Keith Mosher, their photographer (and a compelling blogger himself), hung out with us for a couple hours, too - though his time was all focused on his art:

Keith's picture that DT ended up featuring had delicious color, gorgeous line, light, and composition:
Then it was Baltimore Style Magazine who stopped by for their "what's new" edition as well:

Their photographer, Kirsten Beckerman, and Senior Editor Laura Wexler had a blast with us, getting some great shots and picking out a couple cards. I haven't gotten to see the magazine, yet, but it was fun to see us featured on their home page!

2. We've added to our biblion family, bringing on Grace and Zac and Linda, allowing us to expand our hours to 10 to 9 daily for the summer season - yippee! The evening crowds have really been fun, sometimes keeping us here 'till closer to 10 with their browsing and reading and giggling at our shelves. We love that. Truly, dear Reader, it is beyond gratifying to see individual after individual have a meaningful experience here - it's nice to know that it wasn't just some passing magic that first weekend, but a true reflection of what little biblion has turned out to be.

3. And our final, very special addition to the biblion family is our shop dog, Nellie. Here's a picture of her with her breeder (one of the few pics that shows her kind eyes):
Nellie was originally pegged to be a show dog for her breeder, Candace Kane of Besitos Havanese; but as Nellie matured, it turned out that her eyes were not dark enough for the breed standard and her front legs bowed slightly, so she was free to come and be with us! Hooray for us!
We really wanted a shop dog, and we'd originally intended to rescue one - but then we thought of our guests with allergies and how tiny our shop is, and we decided that we really had to go for one of the non-shedding, hypoallergenic breeds. Having always lived with big dogs, I figured we'd get a big dog - but all of the non-shedding options needed a lot more exercise than we booksellers could reliably provide.

Then we started to get visits from other Havanese (named for Havana, reflecting their Cuban origins, where they were originally bred to herd chickens - yes, Nellie is a herding dog - a fact which proved quite helpful to Miss C when one of those middle school mean-girl-wanna-bes tried to diss on Nellie by calling her a mere lap dog - to which Miss C was able to reply, "No! She's a herding dog!"), and, man, were they awesome little dogs. Very mellow, very obedient, very connected to their families. And Nellie has proven to be the same. She's a super shop dog, and I'm sure that I'll end up indulging in book dog stories for you from time to time!

Well, I've blathered on here for quite awhile, and I've had NO ghosts in the machine! Looks like we're back in the blogging saddle, dear Reader!

And here's a little Gene Autry to celebrate:
And a little Steven Tyler for the joy of stark contrast:
Glad to be back, dear Reader!  - Jenny

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Windows on the World

Dear Reader -  I promise (promise, promise!) that I haven't been a terribly neglectful blogger. I've been an ill-fated one. Every time I've had the time to come here and to start writing to you about our happenings, something funky's happening with Google's Blogspot (like the day that it couldn't load at all, or the day that it couldn't save/post anything that I'd written, etc.). For the last several days it's had me stymied completely, errorring out when auto-saving while I'm trying (repeatedly!) to load a picture.

Now, I'm certain that this is not the brand of entertainment or information that you were seeking when you choose to visit our little blog, so I'm working on a solution. One suggestion that another blogger made to work around the auto-save was to publish first and edit later - so that's what we're gonna attempt. I'm going to publish my little whine session here, and then add in the remainder of my Windows on the World post. We'll see where that gets us, if anywhere!

Wish me luck!  - Jenny

P.S. The post involves this gentleman (the only picture that seems to have escaped the grasp of my auto-save errors!):

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Royal Hoopla Restrospective

Dear Reader -  Well, the Lewes Royal Wedding extravaganza turned out to be one of those quintessential small town events that makes this one awesome. People had a blast playing with us throughout the day and taking advantage of the many ways to be a part of the festivities.

People paraded through the shop in their best hats and tiaras throughout the day, and the streets outside were filled with the charming "clip-clop" sound of the carriage-pulling ponies:

A whole passel of folks showed up for Lewes' own "royal wedding," officiated by our Mayor Jim Ford and organized by the folks at P.U.P.S. One of the grooms (Peludo, who is a regular guest here at biblion) and his bride stopped by the shop on their way to the park for the festivities:

I was thrilled (thrilled! thrilled!) with our own little corner of the hoopla. Since we didn't know what we were doing 'till that very week, we weren't part of the day's program - as such, I confess that I was beginning to wonder if folks'd find us in the midst of it all.

But they did! Over 40 people (based on the number of Champagne flutes lining the bookshelves) joined us to toast the wedding and the wonderful Margaret Caufield with a glass of Cava, and then we all proceeded to be entranced by her charming and informative self.

Margaret brought a wide cross-section of her royal memorabilia collection, including commemorative china, postcards, jewelry, and teatowels (thank you to Teri for taking a few pictures!):

Henry Evans from the Cape Gazette remained under her spell for a spell afterward, getting an awesome interview that appears in the Cape Life section of this Friday's edition (I'll link to it once it's posted on the Gazette's website).

We also included our "Book of Best Wishes" for the happy couple, giving visitors a chance to sign and to add a note, sharing their own sentiments for William and Kate:

This festive couple even grabbed a photo of themselves in the midst with it to help remember the day:

These two awesome ladies, Jill and Elle, signed the book as soon as they came in, and then, after roaming the shop for a bit, one of them (I think it was Elle) remembered that the last time they'd signed such a book was about a decade ago when they were visiting a tea shop up in New Castle County where the owners had a book of condolence for Diana. Poignant:

Elle and Jill were among the several playful guests who also added their "Royal Wedding Guest" names to our list (I learned of the guest name device from my friend Derek - your name starts with Lord or Lady, with one of your grandparent's names for your first name, your first pet's name as your last, and then "of" the street where you grew up). Here are some of alter-egos from Miss C and me and our guests:
- Lady Lucy Midnight of Melody Court (Miss C)
- Lady Florence Spooky of Angelina (yours truly)
- Lord Brian Lindsay of Edgewater Estates
- Lady Mary Midnight of Saratoga
- Lady Concetta Thumper of Maplewood
- Dame (an outlier, here!) Ethel Pepper of Moylan
- Lady Ethel Bayee of Sypherd
- Lord Frederick Duke of Tarlton
- Lady Cynthia Smith Jennett Snowy of Mickley
- Lord & Lady Moxie Van Pierce of Glendora
- Lady Lucy Ayers Buff of The Strand
- Lady Asha Parvati Beanie of Old Spring Lane
- Lord Nicholas Near Feldman of St. Peter's
- Lady Adelaide Beck Cuddles of Shawnee Road

It was fun. Truly  - Jenny

P.S. Had to include another wedding song - this time from a few of Miss C's and my favorite Brits:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some Bits of Royal Whimsy & Hoopla

Dear Reader -  As you may remember from my In Search Of . . . post, we'd been on the lookout for somebody fun to speak at biblion, adding a few juicy historical bits to the royal wedding hoopla in Lewes this coming Friday (I, personally, dear Reader don't feel any deep connection to the royal wedding, but I'm all in when there's hoopla to be had - and throw in a dash of whimsy, and I'm over the moon). Despite the kind efforts of my friends and my own steady footwork, we were getting nowhere with finding a candidate. And while there was part of my little brain that had this sneaking suspicion  that it'd all work out in the end, I began working to find other ways for little biblion to contribute to the festivities:

I was leaning on the counter at the Rehoboth Beach post office on Tuesday, watching Miss C fill out her passport application with her dad (they're taking a trip to Venice this summer - how cool is that?), when my friend Peggy (who'd been the most dogged in trying to come up with a speaker for us) sent me this text: "Idea!! Royal wedding fun for biblion!"

My "do tell" reply got a call back, and Peggy proceeded to tell me her awesome idea of having a card for Lewes to sign at biblion that we can then send to Kate & William. How perfect was that? I made a couple of adjustments (made it a "Book of Best Wishes" to sign rather than a big card and am adding a small, hand-lettered card with best wishes from the people of Lewes with a lovely print of an original painting by Lewes artist Jean Doran). We put the book out late yesterday, and we'll keep it up 'till it's filled over the next few days.

But the story doesn't end there! A few hours later that same day, Peg texted again: "Gasp! A possible speaker for you. The mother of an acquaintance - look at today's News Journal local/leisure section. No kidding. The woman is going to be in Lewes for the great event." Sure enough, I went to the News Journal's website, and there she was, replete with video!

Turns out that Margaret's daughter Sarah is a friend of Peggy's from the lawyerly side of her life. The three of us connected on a conference call Wednesday morning to see if this could work with schedules, etc., and then I had a chance to chat with Margaret for a bit. She was lovely (. . . and fun . . .  and funny!), and we agreed that a wedding-toast-fueled, Noontime casual conversation in our little shop was just the ticket to round out her royal wedding visit to Lewes.

So come and join us, dear Reader, for a wee bit of Royal Whimsy in the midst of Lewes' Hoopla!

We're gathering at Noon on Friday for a wedding toast and a casual conversation with Margaret Caufield. Margaret was born in Nottinghamshire and moved to the United States in 1967. She has been a serious collector of royal memorabilia for 40-odd years and has a wealth of juicy bits and stories to share about the royals and their history. As you well know, biblion is tiny, so come early to be part of the fun!

And even if you can't make it for Margaret, be sure to sign the Book of Best Wishes, which we'll send as a gift from the people of Lewes to the happy couple!

Vive la Hoopla!  - Jen

P.S. And here's a reprise of King Floyd that's perfection for the occasion:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Dear Reader -  I apologize. I've been a bad blogger - or non-blogger, as the case may be.

I confess that I have been in a bit of a funk. It's not that things haven't been fabulous - they have. Little biblion is happy as a clam. We had our grand-ish opening on April Fool's Day, when Miss C and I didn't cut the ribbon (the Lewes CofC are very good stewards of their resources!):
(Though our Beneficent Landlord, Mr. Ted [just left of me], who also serves on Lewes' City Council, let Miss C cut a sliver off the end with the gianormous scissors.)

The after-party turned out lovely, thanks to the amazing talents of my friends Lorraine and Gary Papp, former pastry and executive chefs of the Buttery, who chose to simplify their lives and start a catering firm called the Essential Chef and Lorraine's delectable cake-baking enterprise, Beach Baker Cakes. Here's a video of Gary from his other life, teaching kids (dig the groovy tunage):

I dunno what Miss C and I would have done without their help. Lorraine was a wonder, making our tiny shop into a gorgeous feast for all of the kind-hearted friends who showed up, despite my funk-driven (I'll get back to that, I promise!) belated invitations! Our dear friend Preston (who's standing right behind us in the Chamber photo) was a blessing as our tireless bartender, and our friends Tim and Ingrid helped us wrap it all up at the end.

There were some amazing treats from our neighbors, Cafe Azafran (who provided some to-die-for tapas), R&L Liquor (who provided the yummy Cava and a tasty Malbec), and Lewes Bake Shop (who provided Miss C's favorite lemon bars). Amy of the latter is featured in this fun video promoing the town's upcoming celebration of the Royal Wedding (I'm sorry, dear Reader, but those who know these folks will find this beyond funny - Go Karen! Our new Queen Mother!):

The crowning jewel still shines today, in Mayumi's lovely floral arrangement:

The shop is now open seven days a week, thanks to the help of our friend Ingrid, who used to manage a bookstore and has very generously agreed to help us out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The only shot of Ingrid that I have is in profile, as she and her husband, Tim, check our friend Dean in at Taste the Fruit of the Vine last September (Ingrid's an amazing person and a perfect fit with biblion's vibe - we're so happy that she's able to hang with us a bit!):

As I said, happy as a clam.

So back to that funk.

I knew this was coming, but I've kept trying to turn to the side in the hopes of deflecting its impact a bit. But then my friends Britt and Cliff walked into the shop, and the full force came rushing back as I knew there were others in the world for whom this date would have a certain, heavy impossibility to it.

You see, dear Reader, our dear Caroline died just a year ago on this day (she was Britt's mother and Cliff's wife). Caroline had beaten the crap outta cancer two times in a row and had thrown in an impressive fight with heart disease in the midst, but the cancer caught up with her a couple of years ago, coming back with a vengeance just before her 70th birthday:

It was one of those it-kinda-feels-like-it-might-be-the-last-one moments, and in the spirit of keeping it as fun as we darn-well could, our friend Lynda threw a tea party for her (I, of course, brought the hats):

Then Miss C and I hit the streets in Reho, getting birthday wishes from the masses. Here's a sampling:

It was awesomely fun, but, looking back on it, I feel so sad: while I'd hoped against hope that it wasn't true, Caroline never made it to 71.

Caroline and I fell in love in choir at St. Peter's. We found each other in the alto section and found kindred spirits with equally twisted senses of humor. We then found ourselves giggling in the corners of the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) meetings, and then in our EfM (Education for Ministry) seminar.

I didn't have to grow to love Caroline, I loved her instantly, and I treasured her friendship among the favorites of my life. What made it special was the stunning openness and honesty that we shared - something about the way we resonated together made it okay to share some of the deepest aspects of our selves (particularly our failures and shortcomings) with ease. We were able to be share the fullness of our humanity. And having lost my mom when I was in my 20s, my friendship with Caroline was a true gift. I always felt deeply loved, understood, and appreciated.

Which, I suppose, is why I felt so grateful and honored when she asked for my help last winter/spring as she moved toward death. I'm not sure if I was able to do much, ultimately, but I know that I was able to be there with her - and I know that that was good - for her and for her husband and family. Remembering those days tonight - the rawness of it, the stunning beauty, the tenderness of so many relationships drawing to a close - I am overcome. I miss her terribly, dear Reader.

So here's to Caroline. I went and bought a bottle of the last glass of wine we shared, a nice Italian Prosecco, and I poured myself a glass and raised it as I sat down to write to you. I'm certain that she's raising one with us:

Rest in peace, my beautiful friend.  - (a now de-funkified) Jenny

P.S. Appropriately, from In My Tribe:
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