I couldn’t bring him into the first place I stopped (the post office) and decided to leave him in the car for the second stop, too — fortunately it was cool and quite rainy, so the only thing I risked was him hollering at me for leaving him in the car (he’s got a point, I have to admit).
The second stop was County Line Nursery, one of two shops in southeastern PA that carries my stuff. I wanted to check on their inventory (they still have plenty, though I got a very nice consignment check from them) and to take some pictures of my products in their shop for the wholesale page. Alas, my camera was acting up and I didn’t get any while I was there.
It was working by the time I got to Java Good Day Cafe, though, and I got some nice pictures, and also stocked her up on soap and lip balms (since she’d sold out AGAIN).
I had lunch there, too — I almost never eat out, but I can’t resist at the cafe, and since I’ve usually got a pocketful of cash from sales I figure I might as well treat myself a little. This time I had an egg salad sandwich — no celery, which I hate — it had chopped-up roasted red peppers instead, and oh my GODS was that tasty. On a lovely buttery croissant, which did result in a certain amount of egg salad on the plate, but that’s the risk you take and I was perfectly willing to scoop up the last little bits with the spoon from my (also delightful) hot chocolate.
Lest this turn into a restaurant review (not an actual risk, as I haven’t got the patience), let’s get back to our roots: it really is all about the cat.
He took a bit of a wander around the shop…
(Courtesy of Ann, the proprietor, who hung onto his leash for me while I poked at my intermittently-cooperating camera…)
…but spent most of the visit comfortably ensconced in his stroller.
He’s really very fond of the thing, and that makes me a very happy catmomma.
…yes, it’s also been done by everyone else with a cat in a stroller. I still had to. HAD TO DO YOU HEAR ME. I WAS REQUIRED.
I’d been following the blog linked above — which belongs to a purebred, leash-trained, stroller-ridin’ Abyssinian named Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home and his person — for a while, and thinking vaguely that a stroller might make sense for Loiosh, especially when he gets tired and doesn’t want to walk, or it’s hot, or…all kinds of things, really. Wasn’t sure if he’d go for the idea, didn’t see a way to find out short of buying one and hoping, put the idea on a back burner and figured I’d deal with it later.
We went into the local pet food place a week or so ago to buy more of Chocolate’s special grain-free hypoallergenic food (the things I do for my cats, but he breaks out something awful otherwise) and right up front is a pair of pet strollers. So naturally I immediately stuck Loiosh in one of them.
He wasn’t entirely sure at first — I zipped it closed; otherwise he’d've jumped right back out — but after I pushed him around the store for a while, he decided it was Just Fine. It especially helped when the store dog came over and Loiosh realized that hey, he was taller than the dog! And also was driving a tank!
So this was obviously something I was going to have to buy for him. Equally obviously it was going to have to wait a bit; the RV still comes first, and since pet strollers average around $120 new, that would’ve been a substantial chunk of change.
Until I saw one on Craigslist yesterday for $20, and promptly drove down to Center City to buy it.
The immediate reaction was…unexpected.
Loiosh did eventually climb in, but it took him a while, and Chocolate (my shy boy, Mr. Camping What Are You Serious, my grumpy old man cat) spent much more time in it than Loiosh did.
He is NOT okay with the stroller moving while he’s in it, though, so taking Chocolate out for a stroll in the thing might be a long time coming.
Loiosh, on the other hand? Yeah, just like with anything else new. He loves it.
We went out for our first walk today.
He rode in it for a while, but then he got bored.
We walked for a bit. He had cranky ears for a while — I think the sound of the stroller rolling along with us annoyed him — but he got used to it.
It started raining, though, and he realized an important thing — the stroller has a roof!
It was a short trip, but I think he’s gonna wind up really liking the thing. It pushes pretty easily on pavement — not so much in the (fairly tall) grass at the park, but in short grass on level-ish ground I think it’ll do okay. It really increases our walking range (cats are built for speed, not endurance) and it’ll make it much easier to take him out when it’s warm and sunny and all he wants to do is lie in the shade.
I’m really hoping to get Chocolate used to it, too — as it is, even though he’s actually pretty okay about the leash these days, I can’t take him out, because of his flea allergy. But if he’s in the stroller and off the ground, he should be pretty safe from them. And once we’re all living in the RV, there will be times I need to take Chocolate places along with me and Loiosh, if only because sometimes it’ll just get too hot in the RV…
I haven’t done a project log in aaaaaages…partly because I haven’t blogged in ages, but that’s just what life has been like and more about that later.
I was expecting that late spring and early summer would be event after event, just like last year. This…has not been the case. There are fewer events to go to than usual (I blame the economy), I haven’t wanted to stray far from home (my car is getting pretty iffy), and on top of everything else I had two events in a row cancelled out from under me. One of them being a pretty big one, over Memorial Day weekend.
So there I was, all caught up on production, everything else under control, all ready for the big event…and instead I had four days all to myself, with nothing hanging fire on the todo list.
I’ll admit I thought about just taking the damn weekend off and doing a whole lot of napping. (I did, in fact, take a couple of naps; they’re rarely a bad idea.) But I’ve a whole long list of changes and upgrades I’d like to make to my booth, and I thought, well, unexpected time, let’s do this.
So I did.
(You can click on any of the pics to see the bigger version.)
It might surprise some of you, considering you seem to find some of my item descriptions to be pretty good, that I actually hate the vast majority of them. HATE WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS.
I’ve tried over the years to get better at writing the things — after all, y’all can’t smell my stuff online, so I have to lure you in somehow. No matter what I’ve done, though, they feel stilted and clumsy and…well, market-speak-ey. Kinda like my awful old slogan which I am SO GLAD to be rid of.
I think I’m finally getting the hang of them, though, in the hours and hours I’ve spent working on the website in the past month or two. In amidst the tag-fixing and the picture-redoing and the making-sure-the-ingredients-are-listed-right-AGAIN(-ing?) I also took some time to fix the SEO — for those of you who don’t know what that is, it helps search engines find me, and also it determines what shows up in the Google search. Witness here:
These used to be…honestly I don’t even remember what they used to be, other than ‘laden with keywords’ and also ‘clunky and way too long’. But now I’m happy with them; they’re short, snappy, and smartassed, and the latter, especially, is much more me than some variant on Natural, handmade, shea butter soap with the refreshing scents of peppermint and orange. Only they were mostly even worse than that.
I’m gearing up to start rewriting the actual item descriptions soon — probably this week, unless my brain shuts off again; always possible — and I think possibly, maybe, this time I’ll manage to make them not suck. I have already forbidden myself from using the words ‘luxury’, ‘moisturizing’, and ‘refreshing’, and any variants thereof. And any time I catch myself thinking Can’t say that, it’ll piss someone off* I’m just gonna keep typing because anyone who’s not happy with the way I write…well, they’re not so much my Right People, are they?
* UNLESS I say something ignorant and privileged, in which case y’all are welcome to call my ass on it, and I’ll change it. But if you’re gonna get het up just because I said ‘ass’, we’re probably best off admiring each other from a distance**.
** Admiring each other from a distance: Phrase stolen without shame from one of my favourite blogs. Fair warning: There’s cussing. Also, funny. Also, frightening amounts of cleaning.
So it’s been a bazillion years since I’ve actually blogged, so here’s something I wrote up last summer and then got…distracted. Eight months later I’m flailing at my long-abandoned blog and came across this in draft form, and then bawled my eyes out rereading the thing, so here it is in (almost) virginal form.
To jump ahead in the story, as well I ought, since it’s now March?
I wasn’t afraid.
For the first time ever on that site — the first time ever among those people — I WASN’T AFRAID.
And that changed everything.
So anyways. The week before the event was teh suck. I had (unsurprisingly) pushed myself the hell too hard, doing so many events in a row, and I was out, I was OUT, brain made of cream cheese and aching body curling in on itself in that ‘major depressive incident imminent, abort, abort!’ sequence I’ve gotten to be so familiar with. So I took it the hell easy, read, goofed online, slept LOTS, did really nothing that I didn’t ABSOLUTELY have to. And just hoped I could hold it off until I got some time for a real break.
And Friday came, and I hit the wall where I couldn’t pretend anymore that this was just another event, just Event #5 Of Eight In A Row What Are You Thinking. This was Eisental, this was home, this was the people I’d left without goodbyes, abandoned, run away from, fled — the prodigal son returneth, and the bible story is really nice but pretty often the prodigal son returneth to a kick in the ass and a ‘and stay out’. And despite knowing these people, despite all my logic and rational mind could say, I still believed one of the last of the many lies I’d heard way back when, and knew I wouldn’t be welcomed back.
Which is why I was pretending so hard. Because these people. These people. For all that Caer Galen became home, for all that I miss my wild, city-state, monkey-dancin barony, I’m still from Eisental, Eisenstadt, bad German accents and cannons, a great ape swinging knuckles on the ground and picking things up with my feet.
I missed them terribly, and I wanted to go home, and you know that line.
So I got up and packed up and screwed around and piddled with other things and somehow got on the road when I’d planned to despite my best efforts, and my hands knew how to guide the car to the site, and my feet knew every pothole in the road, and Wicked Girls came on the radio just as I got within sight and finished up just as I was parking, and I knew that it was all gonna be okay.
And somehow it was. I was greeted with hugs and immediate attempts to catch me up on five years’ gossip (most of which I handily avoided). I was fed (also hollered at for not telling folks I was hungry). I was invited to enough parties that even if I’d only had half a drink at each, I’d've only made it to half of them. Walking through site, the scent was right, the trees were right, my feet knew every root and ankle-breaking hole in the dark, the story tree drew me within its embrace just as it always had. It was RIGHT, in a way that nowhere else has been right in a long, long time. Too long.
Eisental status mentis est. No matter where I travel now, I know that Eisental is home.
As Caer Galen is home, because Caer Galen status mentis est. I have, it seems, a dual citizenship, and despite East vs. Outlands, barony vs. shire, my two homes have so much in common — more than just me, and now Loiosh — that I can comfortably live in both.
It’s a good feeling. I haven’t had community, true community, since I left Caer Galen, and damn near two years is a long time for even an outcaste nomad like me to be without a pack.
It doesn’t make me want to sink my roots here again, mind you. I’m not…a roots-sinking sort of person. But it’s a place where I can settle for a bit; it’s a perch, a place to stop the wheels from rolling for a time. It’s a camp where I’m welcome, a place to pitch my tent.
It’s good to be home.
After all those years, it’s good to be home…and not afraid.
This isn’t as out-of-the-blue as that; it’s been coming for probably a year, and it’s part of the reason why the Great Anticipated Relabeling has taken so damn long. I didn’t want to have to relabel everything twice, and this had to happen.
See, it’s the Om Shanti part. I’m not Indian, I’m not Hindu; I don’t even do yoga. I got to feeling like I’d set my booth up in someone else’s front yard to sell my stuff, and I wasn’t even giving them a cut of what I was making. I felt, long story short, like I was taking something that was someone else’s. It wasn’t right.
…and then of course I spent seven or eight months flailing around trying to figure out the PERFECT NAME. I’m really pleased with what I wound up with, though — The Vagabond Tabby — it’s got a lot of both me and my VP of Marketing in it, and a lot of looking ahead to us getting ourselves on the road.
Things will catch up to the new name a little slowly. The new labels are done (as witness above), but I’m still working on taking new pictures of everything (they’re going up little by little; some of you may have seen them already.). The new web address is waiting on my webgeek, who has had a bit of a life explosion recently, but it’s coming soon. New business cards will happen sometime after I’ve gotten all the pictures taken.
It’ll all get done when it gets done. It’ll be the Slowest Business Launch Ever! And I’m pretty okay with that. After all, I’m not in a hurry.
Not everyone does. I get that. They mess up your schedule. You had That Customer who couldn’t make up their mind what they wanted. Someone’s always asking for the exact thing you hate doing. It’s just not your thing.
But I love em. Whether it’s as simple as making a big bottle of one of my bath or massage oils (just sent out that order yesterday) or making a version of my kyphi soap, but with clove instead of cinnamon (that one went out last week) — I love playing with scents and exfoliants and carrier oils to make you just exactly what you want.
Like the idea of bath oil, but allergic to grapeseed oil? I can make you a bottle with olive oil instead. Lusting after a cilantro lime body scrub? Heck, I’ve done that before. Fell in love with bath salts that I don’t make any more? Just let me know. I’ll get you set right up.
You’ll get exactly what you were lusting after. And I’m gonna love every minute of it.
Originally published in my email newsletter, August 7.
I’m a Wicked Girl because I quit a stable (if awful) job to go and follow my passion.
I’m a Wicked Girl because, a few years before that, I got out of a marriage that didn’t work any more, one that gave me a place to live, food to eat, and money to spend — but was killing my soul – and struck out on my own.
I’m a Wicked Girl because I’ve stopped doing work that doesn’t feed my soul. Because I’ve rejected the stability and predictability of 9-5 for going to bed when I’m tired, getting up when I’m rested, and letting the money come when it will…because I’m doing what I love, and that’s worth more than a million kagillion bucks.
I’m a Wicked Girl because, in a few months, I’m gonna leave behind the idea of even having a stable address or a home that stays in one place, and strike out in an RV, living on the road, travelling as I please.
What makes you a Wicked Girl?
Originally published in my email newsletter, May 22.
Thank you for buying food that I can feed my cats, gas for my car, popcorn for my nightly snack. Thank you for paying to replace that belt that squeaked every time I started my car, for the medications for Emily’s autoimmune disorder, for the special food Chocolate needs to eat. Thank you.
Thank you for paying me to play with scents, to layer oils until the texture is just right, to mix salts and test and mix salts and test and mix salts and test until the bath salts are PERFECT. Thank you for giving me ideas for soaps, and then buying them (by the truckload).
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my money, and live my life, in the way that I want, rather than in working a soulless job for someone else, whiling away the hours unti lthe weekend, until retirement, resenting every moment.
Thank you for helping me put the life into my living.
Originally published in my email newsletter, July 17.
I’ve always been a fan of taking the back ways — but one who almost never actually does so. Back in the mists of time, that was because I was involved with someone who always felt like he had to be in a hurry (and, as a result, was always late and/or forgetting something); more recently, out of habit, or guilt, or the (unfortunate) feeling of being in a hurry, myself.
The idea’s stuck with me, though. It’s one of the reasons I want to take to the road full-time as soon as I can manage it. I’ve taken a few spectacular side-trips (the one to the Grand Canyon was partocularly memorable) but most of the time I find myself thinking ‘I’ll take that little side road…just as soon as I have the RV. But not yet.‘ And then hurrying along the main roads, taking the quickest way to wherever I’m going.
I broke out of that thinking a few days ago*, though, on the way home from an event in western Maryland. I was taking the fastest way home — I68 to 70 to 81 to 83 to the Turnpike — and happened upon US 11. Which, as I know from other adventures, parallels I81 for nearly all of 81′s length, but in a much more charming, roundabout fashion.
‘But what about all the stuff you need to do when you get home?’ asks my traitor mind. Except that, tired as I am after a weekend event, I know I won’t do much more than pull the meltable stuff out of the car, stand under the shower until I’m clean-ish, and catch up on email.
‘You’re so tired…you’ve got to get home as quick as you can, before you fall asleep!’ Only it’s the highway that makes me drowsy, all the long featureless miles of it.
‘You can’t afford all the gas to go home the long way!’ But avoiding the turnpike also avoids several dollars in tolls. And…aren’t there things more important than a few bucks worth of gas, anyway? Hit reply, and tell me all about it.
Traitor mind vanquished, I proceeded up Route 11, and thence to Route 30, through Amish country, Gettysburg, and right past Dutch Wonderland, a real gem of backroads Pennsylvania kitch. I got home an hour later than I would have otherwise…and had a lovely time. I’ll be doing this again.
How do you take a little time from your busy life, and take the slow way home? How could you add a little of this to your life?
* Originally published in my email newsletter June 6, so ‘a couple months ago’ now…