Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cat nap

There's something so peaceful about sleeping cats and sleeping babies. It makes you feel more relaxed just looking at them.

Like most cats, Abby has first one favorite napping place and then another. On these hot summer afternoons, she likes to chill out in a nice cool porcelain sink.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A warm-weather day

That long-awaited first warm weekend finally arrived in south Jersey. Friday I took a walk in Sea Isle City, where the beach was quiet and the air was clean and crisp.

Here and there on the beach were a few hardy souls, warmly dressed but stretched out on the sand or dozing in their beach chairs. I wanted to take their pictures, but couldn't bear to disturb them since they looked so peaceful there.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crazy old ladies

A Yahoo group I recently joined is sponsoring an Earth Day charm swap, where the charms have to be made of something that otherwise would be thrown away. One of the participants made hers with items she's been picking up in parking lots and throwing in a jar, like old bottle caps that have been run over and are flat and rusty. She calls it her 'roadkill jar.'

I had to laugh because I have a roadkill jar, too. I just never called it that.

I love the whole found-object/altered art thing. But sometimes I think we are all turning into crazy old ladies, picking up junk off the sidewalk and trying to transform it into treasure.

When I was a kid, we used to walk to church from my aunt's house a couple blocks away. On one corner, there was a big brick house and, next to the curb, a big maple tree. The old lady who lived in the house used to pick up bits and pieces of interesting trash -- a feather, a shiny gum wrapper, a piece of colored paper or a snippet of string -- and stick them in the crevices of the bark of the tree. My cousin and I were fascinated and always looked to see what new items had been added. We never saw the woman, but we were sure she was a crazy old lady.

Now I think she was probably just ahead of her time. Just another artist making something interesting from other people's discards. And generously sharing it with anyone who happened to pass by.

I think of that old lady every time I pick up a bluejay feather on my way to the mailbox, or a rusty old bottle cap in the mall parking lot.

Maybe she wasn't so crazy after all.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Making stuff

Now that I'm retired, all my friends keep asking me the same question: "What have you been doing?" As if they can't imagine how I'm filling all those empty hours.

I usually have the same answer: "Making stuff."

It's my sort-of, almost, kind of part-time job. I do know people who actually make a living from making stuff. And I know how they do it. They work at it. All the time. They are ALWAYS making stuff. And when they're not making stuff, they're selling what they've made. And when they're not making or selling, they are dreaming up new stuff to make.

I approach it a little differently. I like to make things, but -- even though I'm retired -- I have other important things to do. I have to watch HGTV. I have to watch it a lot. OK, I've seen the one where the couple in Cincinnati picks house no. 3, but it can't hurt to watch it again. And I have to feed the cat and empty the dishwasher. But first I have to go get the mail and skim the newspaper. And before I can go get the mail, I have to take a shower and get dressed. And check my e-mail. And while I'm on the computer, I'll do the daily Sudoku puzzle and the daily Quiddler. By then it's lunchtime, and, well, you get the idea.

I'm a procrastinator; I'll admit it. Sometimes I'm amazed I get anything done at all.

I wish I could get up in the morning and get dressed and go to the craft room and work there all day and, at the end of the day, pile up all the things I've made. But that's not me. I feel pretty good if I can get in a couple of hours of work in a day. And if the pile of things I've made is more of a molehill than a mountain, well, at least I got a little bit done.

I am retired, after all.

This blogging business

It seems to me the hardest thing about creating a blog is deciding what to name it. I call my little craft business Blue Moon Crafts, a name I chose probably 10 years ago, too long ago to bother changing it now. But I guess it wasn't very original; other people have used it, too, and they all seem to get there first. So when I opened an etsy store, the name was already taken. (I went with And when I tried, just now, to start a blog, the name was already taken.

So what to call it? I thought about some variations on the moony theme but finally hit on Just Abby and Me. Abby's my cat, a gray and rust female tabby, and it is just Abby and me these days since Pete, our "significant other," died of a heart attack in September after a lengthy battle with diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.

That's Abby in a crock on our front porch in a portrait taken by Pete last summer. It's one of my favorites because it shows a lot of her personality. You cat lovers will know what I mean.

After Pete died, one of my friends said in an email, "I worry about just you and Abby there all alone."

I wrote back that we weren't alone. We had each other. I told her that a couple of days earlier we were sitting out on the deck in the sun, me in one chair reading and Abby dozing in the other chair. After a while, she woke up, hopped down, went into the yard and came back a few minutes later with a mouse she had caught.

"So you don't need to worry about Abby and me," I told my friend. "She's good company ... and she even gets her own meals."