Dogs & Christmas Trees

When I was a little girl I remember being horrified when I heard my grandma Hilda was not putting up a regular Christmas tree one year.  Everyone, I believed, needed a festively decorated tree up for Christmas. Grandma explained it was simply too much work. I wanted to put up a tree for her.

This year it will be the third year we haven’t had a regular Christmas tree in our home—just the one in the photo, which really doesn’t count. It sits in the corner on a table, while my extensive ornament collection remains boxed in my closet.  The reason for no tree this year—the puppies and the fact, it will just be hubby and Mom for Christmas.

They aren’t exactly puppies anymore—last year Danny was not quite six months at Christmas, and Lily was about four months old. But hubby thinks they are probably too rambunctious for a tree, especially for Lily with her resource guarding issue we’re trying to deal with. I cringe to think what she would do if she snagged an ornament hook.

This morning I was drinking my coffee and thinking of our past Christmas trees. That first year out of three we didn’t have a tree was back in 2008—the year Lady came into our home. She wasn’t even as old as Lily on that first Christmas. It was also the first year that at least one of our kids didn’t come home for Christmas. Both our son and daughter married in 2008.

The second time without a tree was last year, and this will be the third year. As I sipped my coffee this morning and thought of those treeless years, my mind wandered back to Don’s and my first Christmas as a married couple, living in our first apartment, and our first dog, Pepper, who we rescued. Literally rescued—she was a pup wandering confused and hungry on the street and no one claimed her. She was with us 18 years.

That first Christmas together, Don and I never considered not having a tree, despite the fact we left Pepper alone in our apartment for hours while we went to work. What were we thinking? But, we were young.

As it turned out, Pepper never seemed to bother a single ornament—or the tree—or so, we thought.

In our early years together, our Christmas trees would include a strand with popcorn and fresh cranberries. The string would be a short row of popcorn, one cranberry, more popcorn, one cranberry, and so on.

One evening, while sipping eggnog or some other Christmas beverage, I was sitting on the sofa in our small apartment admiring our lovely tree. Back in those days, we didn’t have artificial trees—they were real pine trees.  I looked admiringly at the tree when something peculiar caught my attention.

That long strand of popcorn and cranberry, wrapped festively around our little tree was sorely missing one thing—popcorn.  It was simply: several inches of string, a cranberry, several inches of string, a cranberry, and so on.

Our little Pepper had meticulously nibbled off every bit of popcorn from the string—without pulling down the tree or even the string from the branches. 

Such a clever dog. That is her in the photo.

News for the Coulson Family Saga!

I am thrilled to announce the Coulson Family Saga—which I wrote under my Anna J. McIntyre pen name, will be released in audiobook format in 2020, by Dreamscape Media.

The Coulson Family Saga includes five books: Coulson’s WifeCoulson’s CrucibleCoulson’s LessonsCoulson’s Secret, and Coulson’s Reckoning. It tells the multigenerational story of the Coulson Family, beginning in the early 1900s and bringing us to current times.

Exploring Instagram

Since my last book—The Ghost and the Christmas Spirit—came out, I’ve been tending to the “business” side of this writing gig—which has included listening to a variety of author topic podcasts while I work on the computer. 

When listening to discussions on social media the advice is varied—social media is a must for writers—it is a time sucker—some authors have success without social media—in this current time you need social media—this is the new thing—that is out dated—blah blah blah…

The fact is, when it comes to using social media, my adult kids and eldest nephew have been the biggest influences when it comes to me joining new platforms.

The first social media I joined was My Space. Remember My Space? I think it is still out there. Our son got us to join, and just when I got comfortable with that platform, our eldest nephew announced he was bailing on My Space and joining Facebook. Didn’t we all want to join him? We did.

Unlike other social media platforms, where I might use both of them, I didn’t keep using My Space, and I don’t know anyone who did.

According to my Instagram information, I originally joined that platform in 2012. To be honest, I have no recollection of doing that. I assume it was a matter of signing up for an app on my phone and never using it. According to my account, I never logged in during 2012—and since then, I have only logged into the account less than twenty times.

It was our son—the same one who got us to join My Space—who kept telling me we needed to start using Instagram.  I finally switched over to a business account this last April, but I’ve only been getting used to the platform the last couple of months.

I’m still a novice and I will admit I am always startled when I receive a private message from some guy I don’t know that just says “Hello” or “Hello beautiful”….umm what is that about? And then when I don’t respond they send a snarky private message. So what is the Instagram protocol for that sort of thing? I don’t mind answering questions about my books in private message, but I have neither the interest or the time to start getting chummy with strange men online. Although, it does give me some interesting ideas for future books.

And speaking of books, I am thrilled to share I’ve been getting some wonderful feedback on The Ghost and the Christmas Spirit. I love that it has already touched so many readers in how I hoped it would.

Happy December all—maybe I will see you on Instagram! But be gentle with me, I am new!