Friday, December 15, 2017

The Saga of the Boots

It all started with a plan to spend Christmas in the snow. We decided to visit Whitefish, Montana, a ski town just outside Glacier National Park that's been named one of “America’s 50 Prettiest Winter Towns” by USNews and one of the “Ten Best Ski Towns” in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice poll.

I don’t ski, and I live in Georgia with little to no need for cold weather gear. While my husband bemoaned the fact that he’d only recently given away his ski pants, I’d never owned any. On my one ski trip to Beech Mountain in the 70’s, I was such an abysmal skier, that I never tried the sport again.   I have a warm winter dress coat suitable for business travel to New York and Chicago, but not for activities like dog sledding.

Though I figured I wouldn’t get much use out of a cold weather wardrobe, I knew I needed to shop for a few basics. We planned this trip far enough in advance that I was able to take advantage of spring catalog sales to get long underwear and a fur-trimmed quilted coat. Serious shopping for a few more key items began in the fall.

Wool sweaters started arriving in the mail; ski pants were available at a local sporting goods store, and warm boots were next on the list. Yes, I have lots of boots, including a black fleece-lined pair that comes out every year to wear in the few inches of snow we get.  They’re warm but not comfortable enough for all-day wear plus I wanted to take two pairs of boots on the trip. Thus started the great boot hunt. I ordered two pairs from Amazon. The first pair seemed promising style-wise but perhaps a tad big and likely not warm enough.  While waiting for the second pair to arrive, I hit the mall.

There I found a pair of short boots, good for warmth but still not perfect. Time was awastin’, so I brought them home in case I couldn’t find anything better. Next, I headed to DSW, where I discovered a perfectly adorable pair of fleece-lined lace-up boots. Now, I had three pairs of new boots at home. The next day, the final pair arrived from Amazon. They weren’t especially warm, but they fit like a dream and were good looking to boot! I was beginning to feel like Cinderella trying on boots instead of glass slippers.

Decision Time
It was decision time. Could I make do with only one new pair? Could I use the old black ones for dog sledding and the new lace-up pair for dinners out and touring the town of Whitefish? Perhaps I needed the last pair from Amazon even if they didn’t travel to Montana.

All it took was my husband’s observation that what I had were two different kinds of boots, and I might need both. Decision made. I am now the proud owner of two new pairs of boots: one fashionable fleece-lined pair for my trip and colder days at home, and another slightly more practical pair to wear with jeans and leggings throughout fall and winter.  Of course, I may have to enlarge our closet to house my growing collection of boots, but that’s a worry for another day.

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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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