Wednesday, November 29, 2017

LIVE | LOVE | GIVE for the Holidays

Holiday Happenings
If your household is anything like ours, you’re busily decorating, shopping, and baking. ‘Tis also the busy season for book signings, and Lord Banjo has happily been booked solid.

Speaking of the Royal Pooch, he's tickled pink that a pre-teen reviewer describes Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch not only as a "great book about a silly dog" but also as "perfect for a read aloud to a child between 1st and 3rd grades." He's a bit miffed at being called silly but happy to hear that kids like his story too.
Holiday Offer
Our books are available on our website and Amazon, but if you would like signed copies, only The Ink Penn Elves can ship those. We also have a few tee shirts left. To place your order, contact the Elves at inkpenn119@gmail.comThe Elves will donate $1 to the Humane Society of the United States for every book they ship through December 31st.
Help the Humane Society Today
Did you know that only 1% of readers review the books they read? Or that a review can be as simple as “I liked it?” To encourage our readers to post an Amazon review, the Ink Penn Elves will also donate $1 to the Humane Society of the United States for every review received by December 31st. Just think: you’ll make our hearts sing, and you’ll support a worthy cause. Click Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch and/or The Ink Penn; scroll to the bottom of the page; see Customer Reviews; and click “Write a Customer Review.”  Lord Banjo, Princess Puddin', the Royal Mum, and our less fortunate furry friends appreciate your support.

Click here to see additional gift ideas. You'll find gifts for foodies, readers, and animal lovers plus two that benefit nonprofits -- Dress for Success and the UGA Veterinary Hospital.   
We Wish You the Happiest of Holidays!
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I need a little Christmas

Here’s how it started. First, I smiled when a friend emailed just past Halloween that she’d like to have a few girls over for cocktails but needed to apologize and warn us that her Christmas decorations were already up. Then, my husband and I were driving down the street and saw a yard with two lovely, lighted reindeer standing next to a huge pumpkin.  I commented, “I know the stores already have their holiday decorations up, but this is quite possibly the earliest I’ve seen a yard decorated.” It was November 7th.
Next, I laughed when I saw a Facebook cartoon depicting a turkey proclaiming that November belongs to turkeys—not elves—and got a kick out of an indignant letter to Miss Manners in the Sunday paper.  The writer wanted Miss Manners to back her up in declaring that decorating for Christmas this early is just plain wrong.  Wisely, Miss Manners said it was not for her nor the reader to make that decision.

There I sat, someone who’s never decorated until after Thanksgiving, suddenly considering joining the early decorating contingent. Ever since I’d received the email from my friend, the urge to decorate had been growing, and my spontaneous search for a Santa hat only made it worse. I wanted to take a holiday photo to send out and had to drag out all my decorations in search of the hat.  I never did find the hat, but I did find myself thinking, “Gee, these boxes are spread all over the guest room now, so why not commence decorating?”

The only thing holding me back was knowing the housekeepers were coming the next week, and I always prefer to decorate a clean house.  After they left, however, all bets were off. 

Because we finally succumbed to getting an artificial tree a few years ago, keeping a tree alive for six weeks wasn’t an issue. I was having a hard time coming up with a good reason not to go for it.  After all, I’m like a child when it comes to Christmas. I love the decorations, the baking, and especially the music. 

Fortunately for my husband,  when I play my collection of Christmas CDs in my office all day long for weeks on end, he doesn’t have to hear them. In years past, he’s had to listen to them at least on Saturday and Sunday mornings with his coffee and newspaper. He’d still have to do that, except that our ancient stereo bit the dust this year. That means I can no longer pile five CDs in the CD player and put them on repeat. 

I have loads of “Christmas music with no words,” as my sister calls it—Mannheim Steamroller, Windham Hill, George Winston—and can easily listen to those peaceful sounds nonstop.  Of course, I also have plenty of traditional Christmas collections with Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, and even Perry Como. 

It was thinking of the music that did it. I could hear the song “I need a little Christmas”  playing in my head, except the words were, “I need a little magic, a little joy, a little counterbalance to the nightly news.”  And that, my friends, is how it came to pass that our tree went up November 14th

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Princess Puddin's search for snuggle spots

When the weather begins to cool here in Hotlanta, the door to the screened porch stays open most of the day, and I stay out there watching the birds.  That means when it’s time to close up for the evening, my parents must check to be sure I’m not out there snoozing. Heaven forbid Princess Puddin’ spend a night on the porch. When they don’t find me there or in one of my usual indoor spots, the great Puddin’ search begins.

Last week I bamboozled them when I decided to look for cold weather snuggle spots in the great room. When the temps are warm, I can be found in plain sight stretched out on the wood floor or atop Mum's recliner, where I can swish my tail across her face while I look out the front door. For cooler temps, I need new spots.

If the mood strikes, I may recline on one of the couches, and I may even curl up in one of the kitty beds perfectly positioned in the middle of each one. Frankly, I much prefer to lie between the kitty bed and the couch pillows, though Mum is never happy with that scenario. “Puddin’,” she fusses as she picks me up and places me in a round fleece bed, “Why can’t you get in your bed?” She doesn’t seem to understand the attraction of lying on a clean couch cushion, and she’s none too pleased when I hop right back onto the couch.

I know all about couches and kitty beds, so I did my Goldilocks act to find additional snuggle spots. Mum says a girl can never have too many shoes; I say a kitty can never have too many snuggle spots. 

The first one I tried was a kitty size basket next to the hearth. I spent lots of time there last winter when the wood burning stove was going. It’s nice and toasty, and it’s ideally positioned so I can lift my head to see Mum, Dad, and Lord Banjo. When I know that all is well, I drop my pretty kitty face back into snooze position for another few hours, unless of course I notice someone head for the kitchen or deduce that Mum is going to her office, where the kitty treats are hidden.

Once I determined that snuggle spot was still in good shape, I found a new perch in a basket of comfy throws hidden at the end of a couch.  It took Mum a while to find me, I guess because I’ve never before settled there. Mum doesn't give up easily, though, so my new spot was soon discovered. I’ve gone back to it a few times, but I’m not yet sure it’s a keeper. 

Next up was the large metal log holder on the hearth.  For some reason, it's decorated with rabbits on its side.  "Why rabbits?" I've asked, but I've yet to get an answer. "Mum," I've meowed, "It would be way better to have kitties on it, or even dogs," but again--no response.

The large oval container is usually filled with lumpy, uncomfortable logs, so I've never tried it out. Right now, it’s filled with newspapers and some fun brown packing paper. I do love packing paper, especially the big twisted pieces that come in the Amazon boxes that seem to arrive daily. When a box full of twisted paper stays in the kitchen a few days, I burrow deep into it and purr. Other times, I take to shredding the paper with my kitty teeth.  Bet you didn’t know that shredding paper is one of my many talents.
Mum's Lap

It turns out the log holder is not a good hiding spot because it shakes, rattles, and rolls when I climb in, and Mum hears the metal against the stone hearth. Okay, Okay, it doesn't really roll. No matter, it’s hard to sneak into a snuggle spot when it’s noisy. Still, it was fun to try it out, and I got to shred lots of paper. 

For now, I've deemed my two comfy baskets, my kitty beds, and Mum and Dad’s laps the best cold weather choices. But a gal can always change her mind, right?

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