Saturday, January 19, 2013


This week my topic is fixations and by this I mean behavioural fixations or fixated thinking patterns. For instance, in my own case I can get into fanatical sessions with Monkey (pictured left and below), either biting him over and over again to make him squeak or licking him repeatedly. A common problem for humans, I believe, is waking at 3am with circling thoughts - about work, or money, or someone they care about or don't like at all - and they can't get back to sleep. Here are some suggestions to help you break that repetitive behaviour or thinking:

1)  Imagine you're a style guru for your own or a friend's pet (dog, cat, hamster - anything you like). Picture how you would dress that pet for, say, a night at the opera.

2)  Give yourself five minutes to make a quick pencil sketch of one of your favourite foods (a banana or a custard cream, for instance) and then reward yourself by eating it.

3)  Relax your whole body and concentrate your mind. Visualise yourself in a terrible situation - maybe someone's handing round a box of cakes but they've all gone by the time they get to you; or you're being forced to have a bath - and maintain this state for several minutes. Now open your eyes! It hasn't really happened and you're safe in bed. You'll fall asleep immediately.

I hope you find one or all of these coping strategies helpful. Let me know by leaving a comment!

[I know Monkey isn't real but it is odd how often he falls naturally into attitudes of despair.]
Finally, I have been asked by my friend Samantha, a non-speaking chocolate standard poodle, to flag up the issue of 'Favourite Foods' that I feature on this blog and explain that they are not suitable for normal dogs. I'm rather different, as you will find out if you read Moira Waugh's novel, SMALL WHITE DOG, [I expect she will finish writing it soon]. So it's okay for me to eat biscuits, cakes, scones and jam, chips, toast and so on.

Favourite Idea of the Week
Handmade Valentine cards and the album
Love Songs For Everyone But Especially Uke by Kara Square [HERE]


  1. Wait a sec, Tony. What do you mean Monkey isn't real? Please don't shatter my last illusion. I've heard him talk! And he told me a story last night when I couldn't get to sleep. Enjoyed your weekly installment.

  2. Hello again, Mr Mark. I must say I don't like shattering anyone's illusions and dreams, particularly harmless ones, and I agree that Monkey is very lifelike (and also satisfyingly floppy when 'playing dead') but he really is only made of synthetic fibres. Perhaps you'd like to book a few sessions with me? I'm sure I can help you.

    With friendship and respect

    Tony Russell

  3. Great valuable tips, Tony. Next week I would appreciate of you could tackle the strange syndrome of waking up 20 min's before the alarmclock goes off feeling perfectly rested and then when the alarm clock rings 20 min's later you're totally knocked-out. Has it got something to do with your relatives Pavlov's dogs? Has my mind learned to be tired when the clock rings although I was perfectly awake prior to the signal? Eager to know.

    PS. Has anyone of the readers tried those modern alarm clocks that gives off a light that shines brighter and brighter until you wake up? Are they any good?

  4. I am pleased you are back for more, Mr T, and thank you for your interesting comment. Perhaps you are a very independent person, if not a pack leader then someone who dislikes being told what to do, and that's what your alarm clock is doing. When you wake of your own accord you feel perfectly all right; when your alarm clock 'demands' that you wake up, you resent it. I understand that. I love my freedom too.

    I hope someone can answer your question about the brightly shining alarm clock. I would be tempted to bury my head in my blanket and ignore it!

    With warmest friendship and tail wags

    Tony Russell

  5. Wonderful photos of you and Monkey! Thank you for sharing this advice. When vexed with the issue of not being able to sleep, I usually picture cats jumping over me... over and over and over... (kinda like sheep jumping, but cuter). I like your first suggestion a lot- I'm going to try that next time. (Hilariously splendid example by Tina!)

    Thank you so much for sharing my album with your kind readers. You, Moira, and Mark are extremely generous with your support. I do hope you enjoy the Valentines and tunes!

    @Timberman- I haven't tried that type of alarm either... and now I'm quite curious as well!

    1. Hello my dear friend Ms Kara. I hope you will let me know what outfit you invented for Ms Murmur when she went to the opera. I imagine she had a box and smoked salmon in the interval.

      I wanted to share your album and Valentine cards with visitors to the blog because young songs and cards make me feel happy and stimulated; and I want my visitors to share in those feelings too.

      Timberman's always got something interesting to say. I want to visit him in Stockholm. He lives near a chocolate shop. And of course I want to see him as well.

      With warmest affection

      Tony Russell