Last week a powerful storm with gusts of 70mph did a lot of damage, but it’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. It blew out the long summer heat and brought in the delightful temperatures of October.

Spo-fans know I am crackers for Hallowe’en; I am already searching for fabulous recipes for the annual Hallowe’en dinner. This year All Hallow’s Eve falls on a Friday. The Lovely Neighbor is in town this year to assure our block party is a fabulous one. I celebrate whole month, often putting out the ghosts and pumpkin decorations as early at October 10th.

This year I fancy putting together some sort of costume, although it shouldn’t be too outrageous for work or the block party.**  I suspect I will go with the usual Viking horns, for when else flit around town adorned so foolishly?

I want this year’s candy to be good, not just the usual bricolage bought at Costco.  The “A” candy will be some sort of extraordinary chocolate or gummy bear. No rubbish indeed!  Well, I have a whole month to dream and plan. Someone isn’t keen on Hallowe’en so I’ve learned to take charge and (if he isn’t showing interest) go ahead with what I want to do.

I’ve got to be prudent in one area: do not buy candy too ahead of time for we all know what happens. The candy mysteriously disappears and I can’t blame the key gnomes or cup fairies or halloween spooks.  Holidays have more than the usual amount of food and drink; I need to be watchful too about excessive halloween cooking. Making pumpkin-based baked items and bringing them to work is of no use for I end up eating things myself as everyone else is on a diet.

All the same, I want to make hallowe’en cookies, trail mix, and this cake:

 

If any one has a fabulous and festive Hallowe’en recipe please pass it along. 

 

** Imagine a new patient coming in for a long awaited appointment only to see Urs Truly dressed as Glinda the Good Witch.

Many years ago when I was in psychoanalysis I spent a lot of time examining my various attractions to characters from movies, stories, and literature.*

 

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Luna Lovegood from “The Harry Potter” books is coming up a lot recently in my thoughts and in my counsel with patients.  I thought I would write out some of my thoughts to solidify ‘why she’s popping up so much’.  She is touching on something archetypal.

For the Spo-fans who may not know who she is, she is friend of Mr. Potter’s whom he meets later in the series. It is no coincidence she makes her appearance when Harry is feeling isolated and people are turning against him. She is first seen as strange, for she has unorthodox and fantastical beliefs-  even by wizard standards. She is shunned and harassed by her peers who steal her shoes.**

Upon closer examination what makes her unsettling is she is direct and honest. She doesn’t sway to style or the collective beliefs and fears.’In  this lovely scene she counsels Harry about the danger of succumbing to the temptation to isolate himself :

 

She is a contemporary form of the  Jungian archetype of the ‘Honest Friend”. She is not ashamed of what she is or what she believes. She knows people find her quirky; she endures the ‘price of being different’.  I like Luna Lovegood as a representative of the Honesty archetype for she is neither perfect nor a conformist.  She calmly counsels The Ego (Harry) not to fear but to be true and most important:  do not be ashamed of what you believe.  It is the archetype that says ‘come out! ’ whether you are gay, or suffering from depression, or hiding who you are.

I see many Harry Potter-patient types who think no one is on their side. Like Harry they are stifled by Shadow (Lord Voldemort) into feeling bad and to stay down. I counsel patients what they are feeling is nothing shameful, and they should not to be afraid to ‘come out’ as it were.

So, when you are feeling isolated out of shame of something about yourself, channel Luna Lovegood. Come out and find the others. No one is alone.

 

* This was a major disappointment when I was in Freudian-based analysis. One is supposed to analyze dreams, but I seldom had any. It was a sign my case was hopeless. Later, in Jungian-based analysis, my approach was viewed as marvelous.

** This makes her barefoot and more connected to the earth than the others. Her bare-feet status makes her a ‘prophetess in the desert’.

I don’t mind Mondays, really. I suppose it’s due to the fact I am more or less content with who I am and what I do. I don’t wake on Monday with dysania and dread about going to work, for I genuinely like what I do. Once upon a time I saw in a movie an old man arise on a Monday morning, look in the mirror , and say “I thank thee Lord, for thou hast given me another Monday”.  I decided to adopt that approach. I may not be regular in my prayers, but I am on Mondays. As I drive to work with the sunrise to my left and the week ahead of me, I pause to heaven/the gods and say “I am grateful for having another Monday, another week – more life”.

This Monday and this week both look to be rather mundane. I lead a dull life, but there is a quiet satisfaction to it. Today, like most Mondays, after work I will go take some exercise. I’ll come home, eat supper, walk the Harper dog, and do homework/telephone calls prior to one or two hours of ‘free time’ when I might watch Youtube lectures, and read some blogs or a chapter of a book. This is hardly the madcap lifestyle or reprobate living people imagine I lead, but it  suffices and I am content.  Life’s meaning may not be about power or joy, but contentment.

It is 745AM. I have my cup of tea (Irish Breakfast); the first of the patients are coming in. It’s lovely weather – high today about 90 and low in the lower 60s. As my teacher of scotch, Ralfy, would say “There it is”.  He also says “lovely” often. These succinct statements summarize it sweetly.

 

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3bears

 

A Spo-fan suggested Urs Truly write something outrageous or scandalous so the blog is censored and ‘banned’. His hypothesis: if Spo-Reflections was officially banned by conservative school boards my traffic would increase.

It’s a tempting proposal. It would be a simple task to qualify for censorship. The quickest path to being banned is writing something for children or young adults that has any of the following:

Bad language

Premarital sex

Ideas that expand their thinking outside the yoke of custom and convention.

 

In someways I’ve qualified for censorship many times throughout the years; I’m disappointed there aren’t protests. I’ve written about:

 

Tarot cards (satanism)

Trafficking with mythical women’s groups (paganism which is the same as satanism and even worse feminism)

Sewing (an abomination in multiple ways, according to Leviticus)

Vikings (Eurocentrism)

and

Selfies (bad taste)

 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections is no stranger to censorship. The irony! This is based on their fears of ‘ loss of ratings’. Yet if I write something racy blog-traffic would bellow if I dropped a bomb – or my pants.

Then there is the APA secret police who feel I shouldn’t be writing anything at all lest I disgrace the good name of psychiatry.

Oh there is no end of people looking over my shoulder to see if I do anything outrageous. I guess I shall stick to G-rated humor and innuendos so subtle they fly under the pilose noses of The Board, The APA, and The GOP if they are monitoring my dastardly attempts  to promote the gay lifestyle.**

Alas, I am likely to disappointment, for I lead a dull life.  My depraved and reprobate lifestyle consists this weekend of doing papers and house projects –  hardly the thing of banned books.

Perhaps I can stick with provocative blog-entry titles like the one surmounting this entry. This should get a rise out of someone.

It certainly gets a spike in the number of visitors.

 

** Or is it popery? I forget what they are against these days. Most likely everything to do with human life: sex, drinking, eating meat, and helping the poor.

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It is ‘Banned Books Week’.

Being a ferocious book reader, nothing gets Urs Truly more angry than the notion of a book banned by someone or some group. Happily, banning a book often backfires: the book gets read more for the ban. Sometimes this is done out of protest of the ban; sometimes out of interest to find out what all the fuss is about.*  When I hear “X” has been banned by some library or school or organization I want to be first in line to buy “X” and read it.  I suppose there are more important injustices in life but banned books are not just about being unable to read “Harry Potter”; it is about mind control. With  books I take the Mae West approach**: if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it.

Right now there are several lists floating around internet and FB listing banned books past and present and why they were/are banned. They make me laugh and cry at the same time. “The Lorax’ has been banned as derogatory towards the lumbar industry. “Winnie the Pooh”: talking animals are offensive to God. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is offensive to Christians.

My favorite: “Fahrenheit 451” has been banned for having bad words and being too depressing.

I am pleased to read these lists and see I have read most of them. Curiously I remember reading them as a child and NOT turning into a degenerate as the banners claim would happen if innocent children are exposed to such monstrosities as “The Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein. What I remember was developing a fondness for poetry and wanting more of t – and a sense the book-banners were a bunch of stupid illiterates clods.

In my study is a poster titled “Hot Books”. It has  nearly twenty books, all burned to cinders. They have in common all have been banned at one point in history.  How many of these have you read?

The Odyssey

Confucius Analects

The Bible

The Devine Comedy

The works of Martin Luther

The papers of Galileo 

Richard II by William Shakespeare

Descartes Metaphysical Meditations

Gulliver’s Travels

Letters of Voltaire

The Scarlet Letter

The adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Salome by Oscar Wilde

Ulysses by James Joyce

The Origin of Species

Tropic of Cancer

The Catcher in the Rye

Portney’s Complaint

The Satanic Verses

 

These books are all ‘for adults’. The real battles to ban books  are about children’s books in schools and public library.It gets down to who will control the minds of children.

This week I recommend you read a banned book. It will be good for your mind and soul.

 

I read banned books

 

 

*It will be a very sorry state  indeed when banning a book is met not with protest but with indifference due to people no longer reading books. I dread this awful day.

** Once upon a time a religious group remonstrated Mae West’s radio show, saying it was filthy.  Asked to comment, Mae replied “Well, they could have turned it off”.

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I can feel some fall melancholy coming on; a mild glumness as if some minor dementor is flitting around and bringing down my mood. So far this doesn’t feel major or problematic. It’s more like a mild sore on the brain.

When this happens the anodyne is to have things for which to look forward. It is time to fill up my dance card as much as possible. Now is the time to inchoate ‘autumn rituals’ particularly planning All Hallow’s Eve. This year Hallowe’en is on a Friday and The Lovely Neighbor is going to be in town; she will revive the block party. It promises to be quite a frolic.  It’s time for me to get out the trimmings and start working on the annual Hallowe’en dinner.  These manic defenses are always good to keep me busy and not get too into the doldrums of fall melancholy.

I’ve made my first batch of infused bourbon. This consists of carmelizing chopped apples in apple juice and brown sugar, then adding cloves and cinnamon sticks, and topping the cooled concoction with bourbon*.  Let this sit in the fridge for a few days, strain, and add some ginger ale – voila!  I think it’s lovely but Someone found it disagreeable. Someone doesn’t like whisky or bourbon.  It is not the grounds for separation.

We got a room for a Palm Springs in November! I always enjoy going to PS. Chums DougT and Leon AKA The Wild One will be there; I hope Fearsome Beard will drive in and grace us with his presence (or at least his whiskers). This may require coaxing and/or bribery, and if these don’t work, blackmail. **

Prior to Hallowe’en weekend Someone has us scheduled to go to several concerts. They range from operas (live and HD) to Ms. Susan Boyle (the dear!). I would like to stay awake; I need to avoid alcohol and heavy meals prior to kick-off.  Espresso and/or Nuvigil may be taken.

* For once I DO want ‘rubbish”. There is no point using $$ liquor infusion-based cocktails. I had purchase some. I felt a bit sheepish standing in the express lane late Saturday night with a bottle of “Ten High” and nothing else. I could read the Albertson’s check-out lady’s mind: “Wino!”

** I don’t really have any ‘dirt’ on the fellow, but I’ve learned if I make things up they usually turn out to be true.

Once again I wrote a truly most brilliant blog entry, full of theophanies and Attic wit – but I forgot on my work computer at the office. Spo-fans will have to settle for this impromptu scribble, which is about breakfast and ticks. 

Both were parts of my day. Other than that they don’t have anything in common. I strongly advise not eating ticks for breakfast (or any other meal) and I advise even more not having ticks eat you for breakfast.

scrambled-eggsIf I lifted weights the evening before, I have a breakfast of 1-3 scrambled eggs with egg whites. Having grown up with high cholesterol and a ‘low cholesterol diet’ eggs for breakfast was folly. However on a regular diet of eggs my cholesterol has plummeted from highs in the300s down to the 150s. This is another example of what The Firesign Theater calls “Everything you know if wrong”. Perhaps my HDLs etc. have improved because I consume the jentacular scramble with a serving of oatmeal, mixed with teff and bran flakes (for extra protein and fiber). To wash it all down, I have a nice hot cup of tea – or iced tea – depending on the season. Eggs & oatmeal & tea may not be the breakfast of champions but it beats hands-down the cardboard-tasting bowl of cold cereal.

Tick_cartoonI earned a myriad of brownie-points this week when I advised a patient with a new-onset aversion to beef to get checked for the probability she recently had a tick bite.**  I recalled one of the 800+ species of the brutes has a bite that evokes a meat allergy. In Monty Python, Tim the Enchanter warns of the killer rabbit who has nasty big pointy teeth,but ticks are worse. The bastards lurk about on twigs and things,  literally waiting for you to come by so they can latch on to you. Their pincer bites are designed to hold fast and not let go. Worse of all,they carry a plethora of horrible tick-born illnesses.  Look it up: I am not making this up you know.

 

Ectoparasites, especially the blood-suckers**, drive me bonkers. As I type I still feel itchy from the mosquito hoard which dive-bombed me the other day while waking the dog. Happily I’ve never had a tick bite and I don’t intend to get one. I know some fellows who love to go ‘sky-clad’ as it were when camping or hiking in order to feel free and get back to nature. “Getting back to nature” means exposure to way bugs and diseases. Count me out. When I go hiking I go in heavy boots, socks, and slacks.

There is plenty of time for nudism indoors, away from ticks and their dastardly ways.

Unless there are bedbugs.

And – if you live in Arizona – there is the occasional scorpion.

One can not win.

 

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*She was impressed – “Wow” (I am paraphrasing) I didn’t know psychiatrists knew anything about medicine !”

 

** The fancy word for consuming blood as a food source is hematophagy.  This is extremely nasty no matter how you approach it.

hal_9000_by_ali_radicali-d4f2l2wUrs Truly feels swamped; I’ve had lots of homework to do. This was made worse by the home monitor giving up the ghost so I could not ‘dictate at home’ for the past few days. This piled up work-to-be-done as high as Fafner’s hoarde. Someone spent the past couple of days ‘scouting’ for a replacement. The new one is larger (a good thing) and it has a lot of bells & whistles (a bad thing in my opinion). It allows one to work on several things at once. I can simultaneously dictate, listen to music, and surf the internet. Some dastard at Dell dreamt up this awful thing thinking it would be ‘cool’. Just the notion of four screens at once makes my hummingbird-mind go into palpitations. My cerebrum has a safety device that when it feels threatened by multi-tasking it tells my corpus callosum to disconnect the brain hemispheres and shut down all higher functions except breathing and a thirst for a nice hot cup of tea.

The one thing I need – or want – is the monitor to cooperate with the dictation programme so I can finish my homework. So far no such luck. Someone has tried every combination of plugs-to-cords to no avail. I went to the office on Saturday and worked all day while he talked to vacuous ‘customer service’ people first at Dell, then at Best Buy, and finally at Radio-Shak. He thinks it is ‘right now’; I will try later today.

I have no love for technology and this inconvenience has not helped. I suppose it is folly on my part to hope computers would be intuitive and straight-forward. The Onion has this spot-on.

Provided I get my charts done, I hope I can do something else in what remains of the weekend. I have a shirt to sew. I want to put up some autumn trimmings. I need to get to the gym. Every September I make some infused bourbon for autumn cocktails; time to shop for apples, spices, and a cheap bottle of booze. And – I haven’t read blogs in a week.

If you see some comments today take it as a good sign the monitor is working, the homework is done, and my cerebrum remains whole.

I need to turn off all forms of media news for awhile. Thanks to CNN, Huff, Yahoo, and the like I’m continuously inundated by international and national news of such abhorrence and gloom it is effecting my health. The ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach is perhaps cowardly but I am going to take to drinking or have a stroke if I keep trying to process and make sense of the world’s myriad crisis. It seems everything is going to hell in a hand basket. I could take the Peter Pan approach or crawl into a Hobbit Hole but this is not realistic. I should develop a thicker ‘skin’ but I am more like a tuning fork or (worse) a sponge; my boundaries can be bad this way.  And it’s not like the problems are conveniently ‘over there’ in the Middle East, Ukraine, or North Korea; there is ample amounts of pessimistic and zany news right here in the good ole USA.*

It’s late, I’m tired, and I raving. It’s only 9PM and I am ready to crawl into bed. There I will try to fall asleep hoping there is no atomic bomb, terrorist attack, or other man-made debacle in which to wake up and think twice and crawl back under the covers.

 

*These might be worse in some ways. The State of Arizona and the American Senate are more likely to have me in an internment camp than foreign governments.

The computer monitor is being difficult. A few days ago the Dell in the office started flickering; in the middle of doing something the screen goes black. At first it was a nuisance; now the flickers are so often and lengthy they render any work on the main computer impossible without going into a seizure. I can’t dictate my homework. This frees up the evening to sew,read,or blog (which is lovely) but there will be hell to pay for not keeping up. We need to get a new monitor – quickly. My gym time has been thwarted for two days in a row. Yesterday I went to the LA Fitness on Camelback, which was so crowded it was impossible to get to the weights and I could not stay. Today, the warning light in the Elantra came on informing me a tire was flat. I did not see a puncture; I filled all four tires with some air but this didn’t turn off the warning light. Nervous that I may come out of the gym to a flat, I drove home while the driving was good. I see tomorrow morning if the light was right or wrong. The car will need to go to the repair shop, either for a faulty light or a flat, an inconvenience either way. Last night while walking the dog we were inundated by mosquitos. I dare say the recent rains/floods brought them on. My calves are covered with bites which itch like hell and prevent both concentration and sleep. The list goes on and on. I will again attempt to attend the gym; I wonder what the demons of sloth have in store to block me going for the third time. Not to be worrying. These are inconveniences, not problems. I’ve had real problems and these are not one of them. Robert Fulghum said it best. One of life’s better coping mechanisms is knowing the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.

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