Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cantata for Three Chainsaws

And even though I know it's just for today, and it's necessary, I'm worried. Scamp, our backyard rabbit is losing some of his hiding places. The birds are nowhere to be seen, and the squirrels have vamoosed for parts unknown.

It's the angry snarl of contrapuntal chainsaws that rips the air in our back yard this morning. Yes, we knew it was coming – they are clearing underbrush and small trees from the borders of the stream that runs through the area and eventually feeds into the Little Patuxent River and then to the Chesapeake Bay. They have to install some water control system and it will be better for all of us when it's done. Last year they met with homeowners and we walked the area as they explained what would be done and why. It all makes good sense. But oh, the noise!

Inside the house, Kira is hiding beneath my feet, and Pipsqueak has retired to the front of the house away from the noise. The robin parents who have been faithfully flying feeding missions to their nest under our deck are having trouble finding the right rafter to land on. Who knew that sound would disturb their directional system so? But after a few misdirections, they seem to have adapted and their two bobble-headed babies have their squirmy breakfasts.

I can see from my desk that three agile young men are clambering about, and already I have a clearer view of the townhomes behind us. Not that I want it, but there it is. I trust that they know what they are doing and will take only the necessary brush and trees away. But just in case, I'm keeping an eye on two of my favorite trees. And when they leave this afternoon, I'll be looking for Scamp and the squirrels who entertain Kira and me as we work.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Whole Cat & Caboodle

Do you have previous lives? I mean the kind that many of us who have been around for mumbledy-four years have…where you've had a different career, a different focus, and put your heart and soul into a venture for a while?

For me that was Cat & Caboodle. For once I was ahead of the game, but I should have waited a few years. What I did was start a business to sell handcrafted items for cat lovers. There were no imports, no manufactured pieces – everything was hand made by a skilled American artisan. I found people who made jewelry, pottery, fiber art, and stained glass (that last one was me.) Had I waited for the Internet, I could have set up a site, had great photographs of the pieces, and reached thousands of people.

But it was 1993 and I didn't wait. Instead I created a newsletter/catalog. I wrote the copy, used scissors and rubber cement to paste up a master, trundled to the local print shop, had the issues printed on recycled paper, got a bulk-mailing permit, addressed and bundled each issue, and schlepped them to the post office. Whew! It was fun and exhilarating…and not profitable.

So after a while, Cat & Caboodle wound down. But the dream persisted of going back to it one day. And so when I started collecting domain names (doesn't everyone own several dozen???), I also bought and as well as the .net versions of them both.

And that was it, until…

A few weeks ago I had a phone call from a delightful lady in Washington State. She had a question for me: was I interested in selling the Cat & Caboodle domain names? Hmmm. Had to think about that. I still love cats, still love fine handcrafts. But did I still want to make that a business? Honestly…yes, I would like to make it a business. But was there any chance of that happening? No. Now that I write full time, and have started a publishing company, there is exactly zero chance of me going back into handcrafts.

So yes, I would sell the domain name, and yes, we came to an agreement. In the process, I've met a new friend, and I see a name that I treasure put to good and loving use. Cat & Caboodle lives on as Cat and, The Cat Lover's Gift Shop. Take a look…if you love cats, she has something you won't be able to resist.