Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lord Banjo's Royal Bash

Mum threw a fantastic party to celebrate the release of our first book, and I must say I had a blast.  You just can’t believe how many oohs and ahhs and belly rubs I got.  Well, actually, if you know anything about me at all, you probably can believe the attention I got. After all, the Royal Pooch is hugely popular.

Mum has joked that folks would be more interested in me than they were her, and you know what?  She was right.  We even caught one person on camera saying, “We didn’t come to see Kathy, we came to see Lord Banjo!” Proof positive, I’d say, that I’ve won the popularity contest.

If you’ve any doubts about my popularity, you need only look at the photos of my fans throwing their arms around my neck or kneeling at my paws as the gaze adoringly at me. My loyal subjects even came bearing gifts!  That’s right; I received a purple beach towel for the royal yacht plus several squeaky toys. One cute little boy brought his toys to share with me.

You will recall that the Royal Seamstress made me a purple velvet robe and golden crown. Were they able to see me dressed in my new royal clothes, I’m convinced my Great Pyrenees ancestors would be proud.  The Royal Mum wore a tiara, and even the Royal Dad donned a purple robe, so the entire family looked spiffy that day—except, of course, Princess Puddin’.  

My feline sister wasn’t invited to the party, and I’m quite sure she’d have thrown a little fit had we tried to dress her up. Do you think the term hissy fit comes from kitty behavior?  Puddin’ is a sweet girl, but she throws a spectacular fit when Mum brushes her. On those occasions, the entire neighborhood knows the Princess is not happy!  I can only imagine how the fur would fly if Mum attempted to dress her in a tiny purple cape.

Me? I love my new duds and wish Mum would let me wear them more often.  She insists they’re only for special occasions, though. The rest of the time I must make do with the sporty bandanas the Royal Groomer gives me. No matter, I look handsome in those too.

Since the party, it’s been awfully quiet at the Royal Abode, and I’m getting only my usual belly rubs from Dad and a few foot rubs from Mum when I recline beneath her writing desk.  Mum informs me the royal robe won’t come back out until our next book signing, a few months hence. I think she should get on the stick and fill my schedule with weekly appearances. How else will I get the respect and belly rubs I’m due?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blame it on the eclipse

I’m blaming my rambling on the eclipse. On August 21, entire swaths of the nation were caught up in eclipse fever, and Georgia and the Carolinas were part of the mania.
Did you have friends who traveled for the viewing? One Atlanta couple texted us Monday that they had stopped far short of their preferred destination after going 51 miles in two hours, so I was just as happy that the Clampetts, as my husband refers to us, shared our one pair of eclipse glasses and watched the phenomenon from our driveway.

If an eclipse can cause large parts of the population to take leave of their senses and sit in traffic for hours on end, perhaps it can cause my brain to hopscotch around. The idea of writing about music was triggered when I heard mention of Bonnie Tyler. I’d read she’d be singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at some point during the eclipse, but it didn’t sink in until a local pop station snarkily said, “Bonnie Tyler will be culturally relevant again for the first time in thirty years.”  Can it have been that long?
I heard that comment right after enjoying a new song.  Yes, me, a new song. I’ve since discovered it was “Something Just Like This,” but as is typical for me, I couldn’t catch all the lyrics as I was driving down the road.  What first caught my attention was the mention of Achilles and Hercules, and those names made me think of the Crash Test Dummies hit from the 90s, “Superman’s Song.” From there, my mind jumped to “I’m Not Crazy; I’m Just a Little Unwell.” And voila, I’d moved into the current century.

After sharing my music tastes a few weeks back in my newspaper column, I felt compelled to alert the media, or at least my readers, that I do listen to newer music on occasion. I only listen to the radio when I’m in the car running errands, so I don’t hear new music often.

I’m also a button puncher and move between NPR and several music stations.  That’s how I heard “Something Just Like This.” Via button punching, I stumble across both old and new songs that resonate with me. 

Last year I sang along to “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink.  Google tells me it came out in 2012, though it seemed to be on every station in 2016. The male artist on the song sounded familiar, and it turns out he’s Nate Rues of the band Fun. Fun’s hits are just plain catchy: “Some Nights,” “Carry On,” and “We Are Young.” Are my music tastes sounding a tad more modern yet?

I hear a good mix of old-time rock ‘n roll along with newer artists like Adele, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Mechan Trainor, and even Justin Bieber.  I was surprised I liked “My Mama Don’t Like You” since it’s a Justin Bieber song, and I’m predisposed to dislike him. Mechan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” is also among my newer favorites.  I consider a 2015 song new, don’t you?

Phew! I feel as though I’ve been punching buttons in my brain just as I do on my car radio, and I’m amazed I was able to trace all the leaps back to the beginning—Bonnie Tyler.  To be honest, I can’t blame my rambling thoughts on the eclipse; my brain works this way all the time.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Princess Puddin's Pet Parent Training Tips

Everyone knows you can train a dog, but not a kitty.  We kitties, though, can sure train our pet parents. I suspect some of us are better at this than others, so for my fellow kitties who may struggle with getting their pet parents in line, I’d like to provide some tried and true tips.

Today’s lesson covers how to train pet parents on proper feeding procedures. Yes, they don’t just come already knowing what to do.  Success in getting food when, where, and how one wants it, requires the kitty to perfect the art of speaking and of turning up her nose.
  • To get attention by speaking, the kitty must meow loudly as soon as the pet parent goes anywhere near the kitchen.
  •  And, if the pet parent doesn’t go near the kitchen when the kitty is hungry, then the kitty must meow wherever she is and keep looking back at the pet parent while prancing towards the kitchen.
  • Kitties must stand by the kitty bowl and meow especially plaintively once the pet parent hits the kitchen, even when food is already in the dish because the food is very often not to the kitty’s liking. 

The next step in training on proper feeding procedures is for the kitty to artfully turn up her cute kitty nose to indicate the food is unacceptable.  There are several factors that can cause food to be unacceptable.
  • Food has been in the bowl for over 60 seconds.
  • Food is not properly fluffed.
  • Kitty wants milk, not food.
  • Kitty wants food, not milk.
  • Kitty only thought food was a good idea and has changed her mind.
  • Kitty is distracted by the water bowl, a noise, the dog, or the pet parent turning its attention to anything other than the kitty.

 How does one artfully turn up a cute kitty nose? There are several techniques:
  • Sit or stand near the kitty bowl and stare at it.
  • Sit or stand near the kitty bowl and stare at the pet parent.
  • Add meowing to the stand or sit step as appropriate.
  • Sniff the food and look up at the pet parent accusingly.
  • Sniff the food and with an appropriate touch of disdain, walk at least two feet away and lie down.
  • By all means, do not touch the food.

Well trained pet parents will respond by continually fluffing up the wet food or washing the food from the kitty bowl to replace it with milk or whatever else the kitty desires until food satisfaction is achieved. Having a dog in the house is especially helpful when training pet parents on proper feeding procedures. 

My fellow kitties may ask, “How on earth can having a dog be helpful?” The answer is simple: dogs like kitty food and loving pet parents won’t want their dog to eat it. Because kitty food is not healthy for dogs, pet parents will rush to pick up, fluff up, or change out the kitty food to prevent the dog from scarfing it down. 
Puddin's delicately drinking
water from the dog bowl
 And, believe me, if you have a big dog like Lord Banjo, food can be scarfed down with one swipe of the tongue. That boy loves to eat my food—or anyone else’s for that matter—and he can lie near my bowl and scarf down food without ever lifting his head.  I consider that behavior the height of laziness, as I always gracefully stand when I eat.  I have trained Lord Banjo in other ways, but I haven’t been completely successful in the food arena as of yet.  This guide is about pet parent training, though, so we’ll leave doggie training for another day.

Meanwhile, I do hope my fellow kitties find these tips helpful, as I’m already hard at work on Lesson Two.

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