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
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