Things I’ve Learned This Week

Happy Christmas (well, nearly)!

We’ve all got two more sleeps before Christmas, and I would like to remind you that Father Christmas is STILL taking note of his naughty list, so don’t you think you can get away with swearing behind your mothers back, or blaming your brother/sister for breaking the window … OR blaming Grandma for that noise! (or the smell which followed it!).

On my own personal Naughty List is the name of one certain blogging site who, I think, must be doing some changes or updates or geeky gizmo stuff which has prevented me from working on this post yesterday and scheduling it to post in the early hours of this morning!  I tried again to bring this post to the blog here, at around 9.30 this morning, but each time I loaded the admin pages, the whole thing stalled and eventually the window closed down.  Everything else worked perfectly – I could get up any page on the web I asked it to – from Google to Amazon to an online newspaper site which is heavy on images and script (and adverts) and they all loaded perfectly.  But WordPress … wouldn’t.  So WordPress is currently on the Naughty List.  Hmmmpff!

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I’ve learned one or two things this week, and I’m here to share them with you.   Have you got your drink ready on the side?;  seatbelt on?;  suitcase packed and stored in the over-head locker?;  false teeth in the private cup to your left?  Ready?  Steady?  GO ….

This week I’ve learned that I shouldn’t give my dog – the beautiful Belly [on Legs], one of her Christmas Presents early.  I bought her an incredibly soft new blankey for her bed.  It’s vintage Christmas red on one side – looks and feels like the most expensive velvet known to man.  On the reverse is some sort of furry fleecy stuff which HAD to have been spun in Heaven I’m convinced that it’s the stuff which Angels must sleep on.

The whole blanket looks like I’ve stolen a throw from Father Christmas’s house!

I couldn’t wait to give it to Miss Belly [on legs] so I untied it from its red ribbon, and held it for her to sniff.   She got ridiculously excited . . .  so I unfolded it and draped it over her bed.  She sniffed ….  wagged her tail and jumped straight on.

Well, this obviously hissed Alf Capone (Used Furniture Dealer  –  and one of our 3 Cats)  off royally,  and to show his hissed offness he clambered all over The Belly until she got cross and got off her new blankey and came to tell me to make him stop it.  Sadly, Alf Capone (Used Furniture Dealer) by this time had snuggled himself into the blanket and when I mentioned his name (with a complaining whine to my voice) he gave me one of *those* looks which clearly said “You have NO chance of getting me off this blanket.  EVER

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Alf Capone snuggled down and pretending to be asleep on Belly’s new Christmas Blanket. tsk tsk.

The result of this was – the following day Mr. Cobs and I went back to the shop and bought two more of the blankeys.  Both of them in the same colour as this red one, so that none of our four legs  could tell the difference.  Now all the beds in the Living Room match, and they all look like I’ve mugged Santa.

Now comes a warning.

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Meet Sewchi.  (Say it like you’d say Sushi – the Japanese cooked vinegared rice dish, normally combined with other ingredients such as seafood,  vegetables,  etc.  Other rice dishes are available – as they say on TV here in the UK).

The above photograph tells you all you need to know about Sewchi.  She’s not my cat.  She belongs to Daughter No.2.  Well, no, to be really truthful, she actually belongs to Little Cobs (Grandson), son of Daughter No.2 and Son-in-law.  Sewchi was bought for Little Cobs, and he adores her.  He’ll freely tell you that Sewchi is his “bestest fwend”.  But, as the above photograph shows, Sewchi is a few sandwiches short of the full picnic.

 

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Little Cobs and his Cat.  Where ever he is, she is.  He loves her, and the feeling is entirely mutual.

Daughter No.2 has now proven what I’ve always suspected  . . .  she, like the cat, has a few screws missing.    Read on, dear reader. Read on.  For this is a story which must be told  . . .

No.2 is married to the handsome SiL, and they have miracle child, who most of you know by the name I call him:-  ‘Little Cobs‘.  She also has a dog and three cats.  I think she’s copying me, but if she’s going to copy anyone then I can’t think of a better person.  (yes, I really am joking).

She loves her animals and looks after them really well.  Tiny tidbits of treats now and again, lovely bedding, special beds, toys, etc.  They aren’t spoilt, but they’re very much loved.

One of the little ‘treats’ she gives her cats is Catnip. Catnip is another name for the herb Nepeta cataria  and  relative of oregano and spearmint.   Nepeta cataria is a pretty common plant, often found along highways.  HOWEVER ….  Don’t feed your cat any wild Nepeta cataria  which you might find along the side of the road, as it could contain an array of pesticides and very harmful chemicals.

There’s a substance in the make up of Catnip which it’s thought mimics a cat pheromone which binds to a cat’s olfactory receptors to produce catnip’s unique response.  The effects of catnip on pets range from arousal to euphoria,  and some cats drool and meow with pleasure.

 You can find more about Catnip  HERE.

No.2 was dishing out a tiny bit of catnip and turned around, forgetting that she’d left the lid off the catnip jar.  Using the photographs that Daughter No.2 took at the time, I’ll help tell the story of

What Happened the Day Sewchi Catnipped Herself!

Sewchi is a truly beautiful British Short-hair Cat with incredible fur of soft, smokey grey She really is a bit of a dopey sort of thing.  She behaves and re-acts to things in such comical ways, but her over-riding best character trait is that she’s an amazing friend to Little Cobs, and loves nothing more than to snuggle with him or sit by him while Little Cobs is playing.  However … like a lot of cats, she has a weakness for Catnip.

When she saw that the lid had been left off the Capnip jar she moseyed on over and ….

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. . .  stuck her head into the open jar, and took a looooong deeeeeep  sniff.  However, she couldn’t reach it with her nose,  or her tongue, so she tried another way . . .

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. . .  this gave her more success (as you can see by the bits on the floor) …  but it still wasn’t satisfactory to her.  So she ‘accidentally’  tipped the jar over.

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Ohh, she rolled in it, rubbing her cheeks, her head, her back … everywhere she could rub, she rubbed.  She was so much in pleasure land that eventually,  this happened  . . .

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See the pleasure in those paws?  She lay on her back, on a fluffy blanket,  and crashed into pleasureland.  Her feet were curled up all tight and she was so incredibly happy at that moment that nothing on earth could have upset her.  Nothing.  Mummy could have offered her fresh Salmon and she couldn’t have cared less.  She was the most ultimate H.A.P.P.Y.  she could ever have been.  A little later …. she slept it off, peacefully – if ever so slightly drunk.

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And now ... she’s looking forward to Father Christmas bringing her own supply of the stuff of her dreams ….  but Mummy doesn’t hold out any hope.  Mummy says that she’s going to be fully in charge of catnip in future.  Sewchi wishes you a very . . .

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So … let that be a warning to all you cat people out there.  Don’t expect your cat to be sensible about these things, because sensible doesn’t work when Catnip is involved.  😀  And I’ve learned that any Catnip toys I make for my own four leg family members will have to have very tough seams!

Oh … and it’s not just house cats or domesticated cats who like Catnip . . .

 

I’ve also learned this week:

US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.

If you have children or Grandchildren visiting or in your home coming up to Christmas day, there is a lovely Google Santa Tracker you can visit, both to track Santa’s progress and also some games to play and various bits and clicks, which you can find  HERE <— CLICK

NEARLY 60 million Christmas trees are grown each year in Europe.

THE word Christmas comes from the Old English “Cristes maesse” meaning “Christ’s Mass”.

KISSING under the mistletoe is thought to spring from Frigga, the Norse goddess of love, who was associated with the plant.

THE highest-grossing Christmas movie is 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which has raked in £175m so far.  And … as a little bit of extra information …  I’m actually watching this very film as I type this!

GOLD-wrapped chocolate coins commemorate St Nicholas who gave bags of gold coins to the poor.

THE first Christmas celebrated in Britain is thought to have been in York in 521AD.

Do we have a ‘Christmas spirit’ network in our brains?

A Danish study has identified what could be described as a “Christmas spirit” network in the brain.  The researchers recruited a group of people who celebrate Christmas, and a group who do not.  Using fMRI scans – which detect blood flow in the brain to identify which areas are activated – they investigated which parts of the subjects’ brains responded to be being shown Christmassy and non-Christmassy images. They found that certain areas of the brain were much more highly activated in the festive group than the control group when they were shown the former group of pictures.  The Christmas spirit network exists in the sensory motor cortex, pre-motor and primary motor cortex and the parietal lobule; these areas have been associated with spirituality and recognition of facial emotion, among other functions.

Exchanging Christmas cards could be a form of social-climbing

Far from being an act of generosity, exchange of Christmas cards is sometimes used as an opportunity for social-climbing, as people are more likely to reciprocate card-giving with people they are interested in scoring points with. Previous research has shown that people reciprocate card-giving even with complete strangers. A study conducted in 2000 at West Texas A&M University took this a step further, arranging the exchange of nearly 600 Christmas cards between strangers of different social classes. They found that perception of high status increased the likelihood of a sender getting a response, and the effect was even more pronounced among low-income receivers of the cards. High-status strangers – such as doctors, lawyers and CEOs – received responses for 1 in every 5 cards they sent, with few recipients so much as asking about their identity.

Candy canes used to be “pure white”

Few things say Christmas more than those sugary sticks of red and white deliciousness. There was a time, however, when they weren’t red and white.(Although we imagine they were still pretty tasty.) The familiar Christmas treats started popping up around the 17th century as Europeans started using trees to celebrate the Christian holiday season and made special foods to decorate them with. Candy canes first appeared around 1670 when a cathedral choirmaster would hand out the all-white confections to children to keep them occupied during Christmas mass. While no one knows exactly who gave candy canes their stripes, one (unproven) theory has it that the “J” shape was once meant to stand for Jesus and the three stripes represent the Holy Trinity. (Red is meant to represent the blood of Christ).  Chew over that the next time you bite into a candy cane!
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Mr. Cobs taught me something this week which I didn’t know before and I wondered if you knew this … so I’m including it so that you can quote this over Christmas, and everyone will knocked out by how clever you are.  Not Christmas themed, but ….
Do you know where the ‘sleep tight’ bit came from when you say  “Night night. Sleep tight”?
It derives from the fact that they used to use ropes on beds to support mattresses.  And the tighter the rope, the more comfortable the sleep.  Hence … Night Night,  Sleep Tight.
I’d never heard that before!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A few jokes to tell once you’ve had your Christmas Day Sherry …
Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Wayne
Wayne who?
Wayne in a manger…!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Oakham
Oakham who?
Oakham all ye faithful…!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Knock Knock
Who’s there!
Anna!
Anna who?
Anna partridge in a pear tree.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Igloo
Igloo who?
Igloo Suzie like I knew Suzie!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Q: Whats the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet?
A: The Christmas alphabet has Noel.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Q: What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
A: Claustrophobic.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
What do you call an obnoxious reindeer?
RUDEolph.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Q: What do you call an elf who sings?   . . . . .
A: a wrapper!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Why are Christmas trees so fond of the past?
Because the present’s beneath them.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Why does Santa Claus go down the chimney on Christmas Eve?
Because it soot’s him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
and finally . . .
What do reindeer hang on their Christmas trees?

Horn-aments!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All that is left for me to do now is . . . .   wish you a very happy Christmas.  May Peace fill your home and love fill your heart.  Presents are just such a lovely way of someone showing they love you enough to go to the trouble of shopping with you on their mind.  However, the very greatest gift someone can give you is their time, for in giving their time, they are giving you themselves.  So just because someone might not spend money to say I love and care about you,  if they’re giving you their time, even if it’s just to stop and have a few friendly words at the front gate, then that’s a show of their respect and admiration for you, because, right now it’s a busy time of year, so if they spare a few of their minutes to share with you, then I think that’s the most wonderful, caring gift.

If I could send you a gift, I would send you a box of 365 rolled up little notes and quotes.  One for each day of the coming year.  Each note/quote would be designed to make you smile as you read it.  For I would love to know that I could make you smile even on those days when a smile is the last thing you think you can muster.

Sending you the happiest of Christmas Wishes.  Be good to each other.

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Meet Alf Capone – one of my Craft Room companions.

Mr. A in the grass

About three years ago Mr. Cobs and I were talked into having a kitten by our (grown up and married)  daughter.  She knew someone who was desperately trying to find homes for kittens and we agreed that we’d have one.

We chose the most adorable little black and white bit of fun and mischief, got her home, and within about three hours we knew we’d made a mistake.  We shouldn’t have just had one kitten.  We should have had two.  She needed a little playmate.  We were fine, but we weren’t kittens.  She’d come from a big ‘brood’ of kittens and we felt so mean taking her away from them all.  It was decided.  We contacted the lady and asked if we could have another kitten.

So back we went the next day to pick up the tiniest little black boy kitten;  huge big blue eyes which melted my heart and the tiniest little white diamond on his chest.  Ohhh, he was SO adorable that there should be a law against being that cute.

Mr. A as a baby

We got him into the house and his little girl sister instantly jumped on him and battered him with play.  Mr Cobs and I both agreed that we reckoned the young lady was going to be the boss out of the two of them.

We weren’t ‘new’ pet owners.  We already had two dogs, and one very elderly cat (whose now 20 years old).  So looking after little rascals wasn’t in the least bit of a surprise.  We knew what we were letting ourselves in for.

But …. we didn’t quite reckon on Alf.  OrAlf Capone;  to give him the full, respectful name he requires.

(I call him ‘Alfie Pops’  – but don’t let him know I told you because I fear that he will tell me I’m dead to him if anyone else knows about this affectionate monica I’ve bestowed upon his head).  :o)

Photograph taken by my lovely neighbour, who's way better at capturing a photograph of this almost all black chap than I am.

Photograph taken by my lovely neighbour, who’s way better at capturing a photograph of this almost all black chap than I am.

 Now I’d like to think that Alf Capone Esquire is more James Bond  (cue Live and Let Die music in the background) – because he is so sleek.  So dashing.  So, SO handsome, and he truly looks like he’s wearing a tuxedo.  The white diamond on his chest simply looks like a pure white shirt, beneath his black tuxedo jacket.  However, I’ve never seen a Bond film where James attempts to assassinate his sister whenever he’s ready for dinner and none is being served at the exact time he requires it.  (more about this distinguishing character  ‘trait’ in a moment)

I’m not saying that any mafioso would assassinate his sister – however … we are dealing with the Cat Mafia here and so I think the rules are very different.

I absolutely love this fascinating creature to the moon and back (plus tax) and he tickles the heck out of me with some of the things he does, and has done, in the time since we’ve had him.

I’m rather ashamed to tell you this but  well,  …  Mr. Alf is a kleptomaniac.  He’s stolen things  from other people’s houses;  cat toys, food – corn on the cob, a fried egg,  and even bread rolls which, by the look of the contents, came from someone’s barbecue.  He’s delivered looong lengths of silicon sealant at my feet which he’s obviously freshly pulled out from goodness knows where;  a sock;  a tiny rubber bouncy ball,  and … oh,  an assortment of other weird and odd stolen things.    Along with the usual cat ‘gifts’ of birds (both alive and those he’s personally ‘delivered’ to the Rainbow Bridge) and mice (those are more often than not alive and running at speed when he drops them, with me chasing after them, squealing: “eek, eeeeeek,  EEEEEK!” as I try to catch the darn things but stop him from catching them again – sigh).

But his most favourite thing to do is to accompany me to the craft room, where he sleeps either under one of my desks, on a big, soft red with white spots comfy cushion, which my (now passed on) eldest dog used to sleep on, or he will curl up on one of the chairs pushed under the table at the back of the craft room, and sleep there for as long as I’m crafting.

If I haven’t gone to my crafty hidey hole when he feels I should have, he will come into the living room where I’m sat and, standing on his two back paws, he’ll put his front paws on my knees and tap me gently, over and over, until I look at him, and I can clearly see the ‘nag nag nag’ in his eyes, asking me to “C’mon….  get a move on, I’m waiting!”  LOL.

However …. in the house, when he gets tired, …. aw, that’s when he becomes a baby again.  He loves the blankets we have for our dog (she likes to clamber under the blankets and put herself to bed).  Mr. Alf loves these blankets too,  so much so, that they’ve become his version of a childs ‘blanky’.  He HAS to have a few minutes with the blanky before he’ll go to bed.

You see …. he likes to suck on the fluffy side of them.  Yes – you read that correctly.

We’ve tried to stop him – to no avail.  We’re aware how bad it is and I won’t bother to tell you how worried I am that he might be taking bits of fluff into his system.  (I have checked these blankets and haven’t found any bare patches, or parts where it looks like bits are missing).

Alf Capone 3

The photo above shows you how he drapes himself over the edge of the dogs wicker bed, and once he’s got the blanket in just the right place, he begins to pad, pad, pad it, – just like he would have done to his mummy’s tummy when he was a kitten and wanted to feed – and then he’ll begin to suck it.  Audibly.  Noisy little slurpy, sucking noises.  I kid ye not dear reader.  This is really embarrassing when we have visitors and he does it, because it’s quite loud. 

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Once he’s had his blanky time, he then gets himself into position to sleep …. by making sure that he drapes himself half on the bed, and half off.  (see the above photograph).   Doesn’t matter which of the numerous beds we have dotted about our little cottage, – he has a choice of:-  two wicker beds with comfy cushions; a large, rigid plastic bed with a big squishy cushion inside; a firmly padded tartan with matching cushion cat bed, or two lovely, roses printed Cath Kidston pet beds – he makes sure that he drapes himself in such a way that at the very least one whole leg is draped outside the bed.  We have no idea why he has to sleep this way, but I’m figuring that it must be a Cat Mafia thing.  One foot always ready to pounce while the other three are sleeping. 

However  … when hungry, that’s when this adorable little monster becomes the naughty little devil and gets a telling off.  If we take just a nano second too long in dishing up his hearts desire, he will turn his annoyance at being made to wait, into a reason for his killer instinct to show up and he will attempt to kill his sister, so as to get us into action pronto.

He chases her around our cottage: – up the hallway at breakneck speed and back down again; over the high-backed chair in the living room (with claws out, which makes it sound like he’s ripping the fabric), over the sofa, both the back and the seat parts, into and around the conservatory, up the 5 feet tall cat scratching post/bed/climbing frame combination, and,  eventually , if the door’s left open,  he’ll harem scarem through the bedroom, at a gazillion miles an hour – which he KNOWS he’s not allowed to do – over the bed, onto the windowsill – disturbing the curtains and making the lovely little yacht I have on the sill there rock back and forth.  If by chance he manages to actually catch his sister, he’ll make her squeal by grabbing her by the scruff of her neck – which gets him a real old telling off, – which in turn makes him sulk on the sofa until he finally gets what he wants …. dinner, in his favourite dish.  (Please God don’t anyone give him the wrong dish!)

He can be a troublesome bug to our dog too.  He major time loves our dog (‘Maybees’ – say it sort of singy songy and you’ll see how it sounds.  lol) sooooo much, that he wants to love her and love her and love her.  He rubs his chubby little cheeks around her face, scent marking her and making her ‘his’.  He cleans her ears for her with his raspy tongue, which tickles her and makes her shake her head so violently that I think it’s going to fly off one day.  He clambers onto her bed and snuggles up to her – which drives her nuts and she pleads with me to get him off.  Ohhh he loves Maybees soooo much that it’s pitiful to watch.  Maybees does love him too.  But she just wishes that he’d leave her alone to snore when she’s asleep and not climb all over her, trying to wake her up.

But he’s adorable.  For all his funny things, annoying things, rascal ways … we all love him to pieces.  My Daughter and Son-in-Law have both said that they’d have him in a heartbeat.  He’s just brilliant.

And … when he finally finds a spot and settles down ….  he’s just the little boy he always was when we first brought him home.

Alf Capone 2

He’s just my Alfie Pops.  Soft, with fur like you’ve never felt before.  Thick, deep and luxurious.  Sweet natured (really – most of the time).  A little baby who loves ice cream,  drinking chocolate (I dip my finger into it and he licks it off my finger) and scrambled egg.  His favourite treats are cheesy puffed cat crunchies,  which I keep in a little glass jar and shake them when it’s time to come home and stop playing outside in the woods.  He’s a beautiful, massively heavy, big (much much bigger than he looks in these photographs) gorgeous, sweet thing and I love him to pieces.  And no, dearest daughter, if you’re reading, I’m not going to give him to you … but I’ll share him with you when you visit.

Before signing off ….  I know this isn’t one of my usual crafty posts and I know I’ve been Missing In Action for a couple of weeks (or so), and my blogs been very quiet.  I had to have some surgery.  I found some lumps about four weeks or so ago and the surgeon said that rather than simply take a little biopsy and wait to see what turned up, he felt it would be more prudent to remove all the lumps and, hopefully, all the surrounding cells, and then get a biopsy done on all that tissue.  He doesn’t think there’s anything to be worried about but I won’t get any results quite yet.   I’m not worrying until there’s something to worry about, because that’s just a waste of days and the older I get, the faster the days seem to go, so I’m not about to waste even one day worrying when I’ve got so much crafting to do!

Normal service will be resumed ASAP, as I get back to my crafty stuff.  However …  I will continue to introduce you to the fur babies I have here, who accompany me to my craft room, so that you paint a picture of who’s under the desk with me as I craft.  :o)

Thank you so much for coming to have a read.  I love that you visit to share a few minutes with me.  Thank you. 

Have a wonderful, happy, blessed day!

Cobs siggy sml

… and Alf Capone, of course!

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