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‘Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and receipts for all major purchases.’ Bridger Winegar.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

itsoverIt’s done . . . the last of my Christmas shopping . . .

Pressies are wrapped, tagged and ready to be distributed (please don’t let me have forgotten anyone because I really don’t think I could face having to go back to the shops again today . . . )  The fridge is full of yummy food and drink (‘we elves like to stick to the four main food groups’) and I can’t think of a single thing I still have to do.  Sigh.  I might even go and have a little nap . . .

Christmas I am ready for you.  Bring it on . . .

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From my family to yours—have a happy and safe Christmas everyone.
XX

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Don’t give me books for Christmas; I already have a book.’ Jean Harlow.

15days“Only 15 Sleeps to Christmas” the sign outside one of our local shops shrieked at me as I walked past today.  Oh good grief!  That means I should probably have posted the family’s gifts off to England weeks ago.  Now they might get them in time for Easter next year (if they’re lucky).  Sigh.

candy-caneIt’s no good . . . I really do have to ‘get with the programme’.  It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about how quickly Christmas is closing in on me, because I have.  (How could anyone not—with the constant bombardment of Christmas shopping and food catalogues, bouncing elves and those incessant Jingle-Bell ditties which have been playing in every supermarket and boutique since early November . . . how those poor shop assistants do not go into complete meltdown and start poking candy canes into customers’ eyes long before Christmas Day arrives is beyond me . . . )

listHowever . . . as I was saying . . . I have (honestly) been giving some thought to the holiday season—albeit possibly only in the deep, dark recesses of my mind—and I do distinctly remember thinking about putting a Christmas List together way back in September . . . and then again in October . . .  and then reminding myself again in November that Christmas wasn’t all that far away . . .

What I try to do, of course, is buy potential Christmas gifts for friends and family throughout the year, wherever and whenever I see them—because I want to choose something a person will really, really like, rather than a last minute rushed ‘Oh my gosh this will do’ sort of present.  So when I see the perfect gift I buy it, put it aside, and by the time Christmas comes around I am then (hopefully) well ahead of the game. This makes perfect sense to me.

elephant-never-forgets2What doesn’t make so much sense, however, is that I always seem to pack these lovely purchases away and store them ‘somewhere safe’—and then promptly forget all about them!  Not only that, but when I do eventually come across them again (often after Christmas is long gone) I have usually forgotten who I bought them for in the first place, because, apparently, I also think my memory is good enough not to warrant the attachment of a quick post-it note with a name on it . . .

15 days.  Mmmmmm.  That’s okay.  I can do this.  There’s still plenty of time left to get everything done.  All I need is a plan . . .

mary_chris_mess_1500905So—from this weekend I am going to make a determined effort to ‘get into the spirit’ of it all.  I am going to drag out my Christmas decorations (kicking and screaming from their dusty boxes) and shooz up the house.  The girls will love that.  (Oh Oh. Thinking of the girls has just made me remember—Cinder is coming to stay this weekend.  Remember Cinder—the now six-month old cavoodle puppy who stayed with us back in September? She is a darling girl but there is such a thing as tempting fate.  A boisterous puppy, tinsel, and sparkly balls?  I mean . . .  what could possibly go wrong . . . )

I am also going to scour the house for buried treasures as there are bound to be all sorts of surprises hidden in the unlikeliest of places.  I might even score a couple of nice little pressies for myself . . . you know . . .  if earlier purchases are no longer needed, or inappropriate, or might look better on me . . .

christmas-foodThen I am going to finalise my ‘List’ (after I have started it of course).  I’ll wrap and tag what I found during my treasure hunt, decide on what I still need to buy (online shopping here I come) and then . . . if we are talking about getting into the Christmas Spirit—I might just have to finish the weekend off with a nice bottle of something red, along with an assortment of Christmas yummies (which I have been studiously avoiding until now but which really do need to be taste-tested before I could possibly send them out as gifts . . . I’m a good friend like that . . . )  

stressAnd then it will be Monday.

12 sleeps to Christmas.

No worries.

I have a plan.

She’ll be right . . .

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘If I ever had twins, I’d use one for parts.’ Steven Wright.

dead fishNot long ago I bought my girls new collars.  Their old ones were getting very old and faded and (due in no small part to Mabel’s penchant for finding scummy dead fish to roll in) a tad smelly too.  Besides, every little girl deserves something new and pretty from time to time—although, with my girls, how long it will stay new and pretty, is anybody’s guess . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I mentioned their new collars to my friend Pam, her first reaction was to gasp, ‘I hope you got them the same colours as last time!’  Pam has known Mabel and Maude since they were babies but even after six years she still has trouble telling them apart, especially when they are moving at speed (which, granted, is most of the time.)  Personally, I can’t quite see where the confusion lies.  As you can see from this photo—the girls are nothing alike . . .

Seriously though, Mabel and Maude are not twins, nor are they even from the same litter, but if you do not take into account their personalities (in which they are almost polar opposites) I admit they are similar enough that if you saw them separately you might easily assume you had seen the same dog twice.  I wonder if the term ‘doppelgänger‘ can be applied to dogs?

MollyJuly2016Molly, on the other hand, really does have a twin, Holly, who now lives on the other side of town.  Molly and Holly (I know, I know—but they already had their names when they came to us) lived together for the first 5 years of their lives before coming to their new homes.  They have only met once in the last four years, and although they showed very little interest in each other, Holly’s mum and I were very much struck again by how alike they still are, not only in their looks, but also in their temperaments, habits and funny little quirks.  (They both do the same funny little ‘ballerina’ stretches, one leg at a time.)

thing1I have always been a little bit fascinated by twins, although I am not really sure why.  Perhaps because I don’t actually know any.  (Human ones that is.  At least I don’t think I do.  Perhaps I do and am just not aware of it.)  Anyway, there is a good chance that in the future that may change, as it appears there are more twins being born into the world now than ever before.  But while I find the idea of twins really interesting, doppelgängers are a whole different story. Mythology and folklore from almost every nation on earth going back thousands of years assures us that everyone on earth has a doppelgänger. This means that somewhere else in the world there is a perfect duplicate of me, with my mum’s eyes, my dad’s nose (yeah, thanks for that Dad) and that funny little piece of hair that sticks up in the front and will never do exactly what I want it to do . . .

(Some people believe we have at least seven doubles. Go to ‘twin strangers‘ and check it out—seriously freaky.)

As yet I have never come face to face with my own doppelgänger, which is probably just as well as I am not entirely sure how I would react.  Would I like me if I met me?  (More importantly, would I like what I was wearing?)  Would I even recognise myself if I knew it wasn’t really me?  And if I did recognise myself, would I stop and say helloor would I just turn and run screaming from the building?  (The latter is actually entirely possible.   Invasion of the Body Snatchers springs immediately to mind.)

In my defence, there is real precedent for being slightly trepidatious about meeting your own doppelgänger.  (Apart from watching too many science fiction movies I mean.  But what am I saying—there can be no such thing as watching too many sci-fi movies . . .)

 kermits evil twin1Although nowadays we tend to think of a doppelgänger as simply someone who looks very like someone else, originally it referred to a wraith that cast no shadow, had no reflection and was a exact replica of a living person.   These apparitions were exceedingly malicious and haunted their innocent counterparts while causing dismay and confusion among their friends and relatives. (Does the term ‘evil twin’ ring any bells?  Perhaps this was the twin Steven Wright was willing to use for ‘parts’.)  

Anyway, twins, doppelgängers, clones, spirit doubles—call them what you will, I don’t think I will be going in search of my own any time soon and if I come across her by accident—well, I’ll deal with that when it happens.

purple collarI have been thinking thoughjust to be on the safe sideperhaps I should buy myself something new (and pretty) to carry on me or wear all the time (like Maudie’s purple collar—yes, of course I got her the same colour as last time—she is still ‘Mauve Maude’).  Something that uniquely identifies me as me, so that if the ‘other me’ appears unexpectedly and starts behaving badly my friends will immediately know it is not the ‘real’ me.  (There’s logic in there somewhere.)  Besides, any excuse to shop, right?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘My grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.’ (Henny Youngman)

I always thought that would be me, eighty years old and still not wearing glasses (please note I am saying nothing about the bottle!) but it was not to be.

I can almost pin-point the exact moment I realised I could not actually see as much as I thought I could.  I was in the supermarket.  I had picked up a packet of something and found myself struggling to read the tiny print on the side.  In annoyance (‘why the hell would anyone print anything that small??’) I picked up a pair of those $5 reading glasses I always used to look right past, put them on and, lo and behold, I could read the small print.  ‘Mmmmm—think I’ll just drop a pair of those into the shopping basket right now.’

The following Sunday I fished them out of my bag to see if they would make any difference to reading the weekend papers, and quickly realised how much I had previously been skimming over (which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing by the way.  Has the news always been that awful?  Maybe I’ll continue to skim over the nasty bits and go straight to the funny pages—or—here’s a thought—I could just not wear glasses. . . )

Anyway, the truth is I had never really given a lot of thought to the logistics of wearing glasses before.  Things certainly appear clearer while I am wearing them but I have also given myself quite a fright once or twice by looking in the mirror while I had them on—or forgotten that I had them on when I was not actually reading and finding myself tripping over anything further than a book’s length away. As kids we used to laugh at Dad when he would come indoors from a cold and frosty outside and his glasses would immediately fog up and leave him blind and blundering about the kitchen.  As an adult that image still makes me smile, but the reality—not so much.  Drinking a cup of tea while reading the paper has suddenly become two distinctly separate issues.  Then, of course, there is the constant putting on and taking off and putting on again—while always seeming to manage to leave them off in a room at the other end of the building from where I need them now.

I am being a bit dramatic I know as I still only need them for reading and I daresay I will get the hang of it but—still a bit annoying.  I have had my eyes tested now (properly—not just tried on more of the x1.5 and x2 readers at the chemist) and have been reliably informed that there are no nasty underlying issues, it is just ‘natural deterioration with age’.  Thank you SO much for that.  If I had been wearing glasses when the optometrist told me that I would have taken great delight in glaring scathingly across the top of them and giving him SUCH a look!

On the plus side (apart from actually being able to read anything of course) there is now one new thing to shop for.  Yay!  And, even better—you can shop for your new glasses on-line.  All you need is your prescription and a couple of hours of playtime.  You can even load a photo of yourself onto the website and ‘try’ the different frames on your face—it’s a real hoot (and a terrific time-waster but the fun of it easily makes up for that).

So now I have a brand spanking new pair of specs which I am very happy with, purchased online for a really reasonable price and delivered straight to my door.  I am now thinking perhaps I really need a second pair—you know, just in case.  I have just seen another pair on the same site that I really, really, like, and honestly, it’s bit of a no-brainer  as far as I can see—wearing the same pair of glasses every day is a bit like wearing the same pair of shoes every day.  Don’t you agree?

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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