I see in the Cosmic Calendar I have a routine check up next week with The Good Doctor. Has it been another three months already? Zenosyne at its worst. It prompts me to call Uncle Albertsons to make an appointment for a flu shot. As an incentive you get a 10% off coupon for shopping. I try to save up the grocery list for just this sort of thing.

Last weekend I made pumpkin pie snickerdoodles. I read somewhere adding an extra yolk to the batter makes cookies more cake-like, so I did. Indeed they came out more like scones than cookies. Regardless they were eaten with relish. They were well-received; they were consumed in total at both offices. As Mr. Pepys wrote “And it pleased me very much”.

I bought my 2023 calendars for the offices. I often ask for these at Christmas but sometimes I don’t get them or stock is out obliging me to buy some that no one wanted.

Tomorrow starts the month of October with Halloween month. Some see it as a day but I do it as a season that starts spot-on 1 October. This weekend I get out some trimmings and make a list of what movies to watch. I have a few ‘scary’ books I’ve reserved for this month. Fun times!

Speaking of haunts, there’s been a Henrik sighting at La Casa de Spo! This is the first encounter in so long I had forgotten about him.* As is his wont I am walking about, going from the hallway to the bedroom when I hear a clear soft deep voice behind me say “Are you OK?” I almost dropped by glass of water and did a quick turnaround and of course no one is there. Harper on the bed (who is quite deaf now) even sat up to look past me into the hallway as if looking for Someone arriving right behind me. I was quite unsettled, then perturbed. I lectured Henrik severely to please announce your presence otherwise and there was nothing which I sense his feelings were hurt and he went to the west wing of the house to mope. Poor fellow. The archetypes and fantasies that keep lodgings in my house, mind, and blog aren’t exactly “A” list and lord knows many of them ‘ain’t got the smarts’ but they are mine, the dears, and they make my life colorful.

*I’m not certain what number this is of ‘Random Thoughts’. In hindsight I should not have used Roman numerals as I get confused. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections doesn’t like them either, the Romans being their sworn enemies. However they don’t get along with anyone most of the time so that’s not too remarkable.

**For Spo-fans new to the scene: La Casa de Spo has a ghost, whom I christened Henrik. As a haunt he is a disappointment. He doesn’t throw things or make the house drip toxic sludge or frighten the bejesus out of you. Rather he mopes around and creeps up on you from behind and gets on my nerves, like a gloomy old uncle you’ve taken in out of pity and obligation. He disappears for ages at a time.

I’ve worked for a private business for fifteen years. It was run by three people well over four feet until one of them retired and another one stepped down from ownership and the third one sold the place to The Overlords, making the place a part of a corporation.* In my daily work there have been no overt signs of change. It must be just like how the serfs felt whenever there was a revolution or dynasty turnover: the government changes but the mundane activities stay the same. Until now.

I don’t get it many businesslike emails, particularly from The Overlords, but I got one the other day saying I am overdue to attend compliance classes and if they’re not done by 30 September a vague but unsettling consequence will happen.**

I suppose annual online compliance courses are par for the course in corporate work, but they are new to Urs Truly. I had to first figure out first where I had to go. In my old-fashioned thinking I thought I would be in a classroom with a real teacher and classmates. It turns out these lectures are online and done in a slide-show presentation, each with a quiz to take requiring to you pass at 80%. After each course you attest you actually did the damn thing and then you get a certificate suitable for downloading and framing.

I found the videos a bit bewildering as most of them were about how it is not corporate policy to assault coworkers or tell business secrets to the press or snoop around in files that are none of your business. Do people really need to told it’s not nice to hit others and go poking about? I have nothing to compare these to (this being my first time) yet I sense the contents were common protocols that most companies have their minions see and sign off on on a regular basis. There wasn’t anything geared towards physician/patient care per se other than folks are not to give out patient information which I knew anyway.

There was a cartoon lecture on the morbid topic what to do if someone comes to work heavily armed and hell-bent on violence and what to do about it.***

The scientist in me wants to know if there is any supportive data on these online lectures of obvious items (obvious to me anyway) they actually ‘work’ viz. diminish hand-to-hand combat at the office. The cynic in me can’t help but wonder by signing an attestation I have seen the lectures if something goes wrong The Overlords aren’t liable.

The lecture on not accepting gifts, bribes, tickets to shows, etc. was the only one that pricked up my ears as it seemed to say icks-nay on the pharm rep lunches providing meals or (worse) their periodic drop off of imperial tidbits at the office. Several times the lecturers said if there is any suspicious behaviors I should report it to the corporation’s equivalent of The APA secret police.

I am nearly done with the mandatory five lectures; I have two to go. One of them I haven’t passed at 80% as I can never remember if I should call The Judea Peoples Front or The People’s Front of Judea when shenanigans are suspected. The Overlords Inc. stand for integrity and cooperation and respect for all you can ask them yourself.

Where you work are you required to watch or attend lectures on ethics and protocol?

* Their headquarters I recall is in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, so maybe by now The Overlords have been blown away to Oz or Orlando or even South Carolina.

**They should consult with The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections on these requests. They are blunt, clear, and succinct in what they want and when they want it done by and what bodily parts will be pierced if not done.

***Barricade yourself in and if this doesn’t work, run. Try to tell as many people as you can in town.

What’s top of my mind: End of the year matters. October, November, and December always seem more busy compared to the previous trios and thus need more planning ahead of time. I want each month to be on its own but they tend to blur into one long ninety days. I want to focus on Hallowe’en first and not fret about Thanksgiving or Christmas until then, but some things need to be done sooner the better. There are the holidays to plan and times-off to request. I don’t want to be caught like last year trying to shop/do too much in December.


Where I’ve been: The Garage. Where I live the homes have no basements so folks keep things either in a rented storage locker or in the garage. When garage doors are open on the street you can see who does what. The garage at La Casa de Spo is cluttered and full up with discards that are still useable. A garage sale has been proposed for over a decade but the conclusion is the the moon will go blue with cold before this happens. When I can I am in there separating the sheep from the goats as it were into what goes into the rubbish and what goes to Good Will. Some of the neighbors have tidy garages with cars and not much else. How nice that would be.


Where I’m going: ‘A delicate balance’ by Edward Albee. Someone announced the other day we have tickets to see this play this week. He reminds me we have seen this play before, but I don’t remember. I have seen countless plays in my life. Alas, Babylon! I remember only the tip of the iceberg number of them. I suppose I saw ‘A delicate balance’ at The Stratford Festival or The Shaw Festival (they do that). I have a vague memory characters in Mr. Albee’s dramas say lots of clever things and do odd things that don’t make much sense.

Anyone seen this play?


What I’m watching: Hurricane Ian. I’ve written on this already: I have a fascination with hurricanes. With politics and leadership the way they are in Florida, I am curious to see what the governor and the residents do in reaction to Ian. Will people not do the right things merely because they are told to do so? Will preparation be merely to pray away the storm? There is a nasty part of me that wishes to see destruction, particularly to certain parts and residences in Florida. Has anyone proclaimed Ian is G-d’s will on Florida for evil-doings done therein?


What I’m reading: ‘Sons and lovers’ – D. H. Lawrence. After finishing a few short ‘light’ reads, I am proceeding with Mr. Harchick’s (the high school English literature teacher) list of ‘thumping good reads”. I’ve read 13 out of 19 of them. The next one is Mr. Lawrence’s lofty tome. Wish me luck; this looks a long one.

What I’m listening to: The king in the carpark. This week I heard a podcast summarizing the history of how Richard III of England was found buried beneath a parking lot. I learned they found the bones in the first attempt, based on deciding to dig under an “R” (for Rex) which actually meant “reserved”. It turns out he had scoliosis so the famed ‘humpback’ wasn’t wrong. From the soil analysis, R3 had worms, poor devil, but that was probably common back then. Fascinating too is there were ructions where to next bury him. I learned he ended up in Leicester Cathedral on the grounds anybody exhumed in a dig is to be buried in consecrated ground within the diocese where the remains were located. This leaves only one English monarch whose whereabouts aren’t known: Henry I.* I hope someone goes looking for him.


What I’m eating: Salmon. And lots of it. We have two meal kits services and I try to keep on top of them, carefully selecting for each week there is a fish dish, a meat dish, and a vegetarian dish. Somehow I got three out of the last six kits with salmon. I very much like salmon but this too much. Happily the fish is prepared in different ways. I am improving my salmon-cooking skills to make a crispy skin and a not too-done-nor-dry interior.


Who needs a good slap: The Family Circus.** I have never cared for this comic. As a boy I thought is mawkish and repetitive. I figured it would fade away as most comics do in time. I recently discovered not only is TFC still going but it remains one of the most popular comics ever. I had a look-see and it’s just the same: ‘cute’ One line remarks said by three children still the same age they were in the 70s. Why on earth is this comic popular? I suppose it is because it is ‘cute’ not deep nor thoughtful – and it’s predictable/the same. Many folks like things to be this way.

On my 1-5 scale I give The Family Circus one slap.


Who gets the fist bump: Bill at the gym. At the gym I often see the same folks. No one actually introduces themselves it seems but we all see each other. There is one fellow I regularly see there, a good-looking dude well over four feet, who reminds me of a friend I had long time ago who is dead. After countless times seeing each other I was brave and approached him to say I admired his diligence for his always here. He laughed and said likewise. He told me his name was Bill. We had some phatic interactions both saying ‘nice to meet you”. He then reached out and gave me a fist bump. I cannot remember when last received such. I was the first time I have had physical contact with another in a long time. This felt nice and I felt good for having reached out..


What I’m planning: Another trip to Michigan. Brother #3 kindly requests I take a round with Father at the end of the year after Christmas so he and family can go skiing. I ring in the new year with Father. This means I have to get tickets, a possible rental car, and find some winter clothes.


What’s making me smile: The arrival of October. Hot puppies! I am one of ‘those people’ who sees Hallowe’en not as a day but a lifestyle to do for a month. I have thirty-one days of Hallowe’en movies and treats and such. My ‘good morning’ memes will be apropos and the podcast subscriptions are sure to have lots of scary stories and history lectures.

Do you do Hallowe’en and when do you start?

*H1 reigned 1100-1135. He was probably well over four feet but not by much.

**This one is petty. It is based on a preference and not on any awful person or doing. Sometimes I just want to slap someone or something simply because it is saccharine.

C.S. Lewis wrote Heaven is a place ‘what is not music is silence” while Hell is ‘The Kingdom of noise”. The devils hope in the end to shout down the quiet sonorous truths of Heaven. Mr. Lewis has a good point. Noise pollution and nasty types hollering lies at the top of their lungs are abundant these days. One can almost smell the stink of sulfur.

I was listening to a podcast the other day about sounds and noises are associated with serenity and which ones are associated with agitation. “Misophonia” is a term about people becoming readily angry or upset upon hearing certain sounds. Urs Truly doesn’t have this – or so he thought – until the podcast talked about something called ‘autonomous sensory meridian response’ or ‘ASMR’. I’ve never heard of such a thing and I wish to high heaven I hadn’t. ASMR is the sound of someone whispering rather than talking. Apparently a percentage of people who hear such feel all warm and fuzzy inside; they are quite soothed by such. There is a whole cult-like following on The Tube of Yous where millions tune in to hear someone fold towels or tidy up while whispering. The podcast went on to report while most people are not reactive to ASMR there a few find it annoying. Indeed there is a percentage who bristle misophonia-like to the sound of whispering.

I am not a violent person. So far as I remember I have never hit anyone. I was amazed and shocked within five seconds of hearing ASMR-like whispering my emotions explode like a piece of machinery that has been given one once of pressure too much and I want to reach through the screen and slap the whisperer into next week. What a reaction! And so quick and angrily! Part of me is fascinated but this and another part is horrified knowing how noxious this is for me.

I am wracking my memory Freud-like trying to recall if there was any childhood trauma that had whispering to it to make this so. No such luck. ASMR (whether good or bad reaction) seems to touch on nerves yet to be understood. Thems with misophonia have a hard time avoiding the sounds that make them bristle. Happily I can avoid my nemesis as no one around me whispers, ever. Heaven and Hell neither contain any whispering so I am OK no matter where I go, provided the demons don’t whisper things through all eternity.

Do you bristle at certain sounds?

What does whispering evoke in you?

I was amazed and perhaps a little envious when I learned the niblings are well-versed in international cuisine. I grew up eating ‘Midwest” meals; I never had anything more exotic than Chinese take out* until I went to college. The nieces and nephews, sophistos that they are, eat all sorts of things. I was on the phone with Princess-Goddess the other day when she told me the dishes she and her classmates are going to try to make this autumn. She listed things from Mexico, Thailand, Italy, China, and (of all things!) Ethiopia.** I asked her if anyone was going to make anything French. She paused as if I just said a nonsense word and asked me what’s that. I explained France has a cuisine of its own and once upon a time French cooking was all the rage, the ‘top’ as it were. I even tried to describe coq au vin. She is a good person and I could hear her squirming on the other end of the phone trying to find some nice way to say sooner she’d eat rats at Tewkesbury.

It illustrates a point. Around where I live are restaurants of almost every type of cuisine except French. I guess that sort of food isn’t in favor anymore. Not only isn’t it ate but it’s forgotten. Around these parts, ‘Pan-pacific” foods – along with Mexican – are what people like. Spicy, not savory, is the taste. A few years ago I asked and got at Christmas a copy of Julia Child’s seminal cookbook. I am ashamed to admit I’ve never used it. It sits on the shelf, unopened. The dishes look daunting, complicated and time-consuming and frankly none too exciting. Then there is the matter of getting the ingredients. Indian and Mexican cooking calls for some oddities not found on the shelves at Uncle Albertsons but there are many fine local stores that sell such.

After said telephone call I went on line and searched for “French restaurants in Phoenix”. There are some, it turns out. Curiously, they are all have $$$-$$$$ ratings on TripAdvisor, suggesting French cooking is expensive and/or there is no such thing as a family-owned hole-in-the-wall place serving this sort. More curious: at 7PM on Saturday a few were closed. The top one is ‘Vincents’, which boasts ‘serving fine french cuisine for 35 years’. I hoped to find French classic dishes on the menu but no such luck. What came up is ‘duck tamale with anaheim chile and raisins’ and ‘smoked salmon quesadilla with horseradish cream’ – I don’t remember these in Ms. Child’s cookbook.

It seems I must travel to France if I am ever going to experience proper French food. I wonder if I am hankering for something that doesn’t anymore exist, even in France. For all I know they’ve given up on intricate elegant savory dishes for pad thai and the like. Even if I should find a restaurant that serves souffl├ęs and ratatouille I would probably be kicked out when I ask for hot sauce. Oh the embarrassment.

Do you have a French restaurant near you?

Do you ever make French cuisine?

*Cantonese style, with no sense of ‘heat’ to it. Oh the horror.

**In Ann Arbor MI there is an Ethiopian place where they serve the food on a large thin wheel of bread. You tear off bread bits to use as pinchers to pick up the food. Jolly good fun and oh so tasty.

I was reading a book the other night when a piece of paper fell out. I had just turned the page, when hey! a small square leapt out as if it was part of a ‘3-D’ children’s book. It fluttered down like an aged butterfly onto my chest. The paper smelled like old paper and ink, like the book it had been. The book I suspect hasn’t been opened since the 70s, when I last read it. The next day I did a search on DuckDuckGo to see if Mr. Ritchie and his company are still with us. Alas, Babylon! No such luck. I typed in the address and got a photo of a large stainless steel building. My intuition is Mr. Ritchie and Company with its trophies and gavels (?) are long gone for. There’s no written records or memories of him – until now.

Things falling out of old books is not a common phenomena but when it happens it feels thrilling. It must be like just how an archeologist feels when he digs and finally finds something wonderful. The last time this happened to me, it was a ladies church cook book (circa the 50s) that delivered onto me a folded piece of paper with a recipe:

I suppose the writer, Thelma, is also the creator of the recipe. I wonder who she was and why the recipe didn’t get extracted before the cookbook was given away. Chances are she died, and her heirs, cleaning out the house, packed up the cookbooks without first thumbing through them looking for things.*

I have a friend who ran a B&B. He tells me people often left their books behind, and they invariably would tell him ‘just keep it’ when he called them about it. He also tells me he regularly thumbed through the tomes prior to hauling them to the used bookstore, hoping to find money. It’s amazing how common it is to use a single or a fiver as a bookmark. Other things he has found:

A piece of beef jerky

A condom

Countless business cards

A shoelace

A candy bar wrapper, written in French.

A ten dollar gift certificate to some seedy adult store in Tennessee.

A baby’s sock (pink)

Half-completed divorce papers

My most unusual find for a bookmark was a brief letter threatening “Joe” if he doesn’t return with the beanies babies by Sunday the writer will call the attorneys and ‘sue his ass to hell’.** I sometimes wonder what happened to Joe and the purloined beanies. I hope Mr. Joe came to his senses if just to know in the speculative crash that was to follow he didn’t loose money AND to jail.

Getting back to Mr. Ritchie and his business pamphlet, when I find something like this I usually remove whatever bookmark I am presently using (I have heaps) and use the one found until the end of the book. When completed, I put the bookmark back to the front of the book, so the next bloke who gets it may use it too. This way Mr. Ritchie’s legacy lives on.

What do you use as a bookmark? Have you ever found something in a book?

*I have yet to make Thelma’s rolls. It is on the list of things to someday try.

**The succinct letter (unsigned) was found in my recently purchased copy of Pepys diary. I used it as a bookmark for the many months I slogged through that lofty tome. So far as I can remember, it’s still in there.

Set limits for your apps.

This one has a merit. We are all guilty of being on some app for awhile, only to realize vast times have gone by without us realizing it. This isn’t itself ‘bad’ but let’s be honest. Most of the time we don’t come off of hours on Facebook or Tick-tock or one of that crowd with the feeling we’ve spent quality time and feel jolly for doing so. Rather there is a sense of regret and having ‘wasted time’. Indeed there is often a sense of being swindled. What comes to mind is Gerda in Mr. Anderson’s tale “The Snow Queen” who gets enchanted to stay a short while with a two-faced witch until Gerda connects the dots she’s been enchanted and breaks away to get back on her journey.*

Apps are consciously designed to keep us going; they are both clever and diabolical to do so. People are connecting the dots on this stratagem and are trying to curb time on their apps. Fat chance of that. Few have the conscious wherewithal to take the Mae West approach ‘they could have turned it off.”** Rather than trying to attempt so-called ‘willpower’ it is best to put impediments and limitations on app use. For example: taking them off your phone or putting them not on the front page but in a file that requires some scrolling and opening to get at them. Turning off notifications is another good thing to de-sensitize oneself to respond to signals to go have a look-see.

The full recommendation of #26 includes setting a time limit on your app use. It suggests using some setting on the iPhone to tell you parental-like to turn off the TV and outside and play now. Urs Truly has on his iPhone an alarm that goes off at 9:30 PM telling him to knock it off and put down the phone and go do your stretches and read a book for pending sleep’s sake. Sometimes I actually do this, but not often.

Time-sucking apps may be best dealt with by eliminating them from the phone entirely. When it comes to endless needy cellphones, more efficacious than the advice of Mae West is the Voice of Binky:

It’s a bit harsh but it works.

*The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections wished me to expurgate this literary reference on the grounds it was tangential and got in the way of the point. Indeed, they drew a parallel I was more or less doing the same thing viz. keeping my audience away from the topic at hand. Oops.

**One more reference before The-You-Know-Who come after me. Mae West (the dear!) once had a raunchy radio programme. Sumptuary types called to complain about the contents. When the press asked Ms. West about this, she replied “Well, they could have turned it off”.

The dog walks are slowing down sad to say. Harper does little nowadays but sleep. She is deaf and her eyesight is not very good so she isn’t aware of the usual cues that get her going for a walk. Most of the time I have to fetch her to let her know it’s time for a walk. Seeing the lease would get her up quickly to an excited dash to the door. Now she slowly rises, if she rises at all. Sometimes she would rather sleep.

The days are cooler and darker, which is good for the paws, but not for the vision. Our dog walks have become short, more ‘to the point’ as it were, and often she aborts them. She will stop, look up at me, and turn around as if to say she’s had a enough. Usually this is because she wants that post-peripatetic treat. I think she now just wants to go back to bed.

Her habits have altered. Normally I can predict where she will go, and have bag at-the-ready. Now she sort of slows down he gait, stoops a bit, and lets out a series of dumps while still walking. This is a nuisance as scraping the sidewalk still leaves spots I’m certain not appreciated by the neighbors.

At times I feel she only goes on walks to appease me; left to her druthers she wouldn’t go. Happily there are times she cues me with her eyes she wants to go for a walk. I always honor this, hoping she will keep this going. Her preference now is to go into the back yard – more out of boredom than necessity. Like the Rum Tum Tugger she is always on the wrong side of every door. It is distracting and annoying to be continually getting up from my armchair to allow this, but I am glad she can signal so her wants.*

I knew these walks would one day come to an end. I am going to miss them. Until them I will take them when they happen until they are no more.

*In the cooler months the screen door can stay open she can come and go as she pleases.

What’s top of my mind: The Elantra. A few weeks ago the engine light came on, signaling doom and a large mechanical bill. I immediately rang the dealership who were very nice but didn’t have any openings until 20 September. I drove about on tenterhooks, fearful the engine would suddenly shut down or explode. Then a few days ago the light went out on its own, how mysterious. I kept the appointment. The good news is all faults found are addressed and repaired. The bad news: the 1700$ bill. Oh the pain. There goes any hopes for travel plans this year. I haven’t yet heard if the repairs were just normal old-car wear and tear or the results of driving for two weeks with the engine light on.


Where I’ve been: The pharmacy to get my covid-19 booster. Last weekend I got my booster shot. I think this makes #4 or #5 I forget. I get one every time the MDs say to do so. As usual, I felt nothing afterwards but a sore arm. Besides feeling good for doing the right thing, I got a grocery shopping coupon good for 10% off , which I used to fill up the freezer with good-to-eat meaty treats.


Where I’m going: The Ballet. Someone told me the other day we have tickets this Thursday for the ballet. It’s the season again. I am looking forward to it. I don’t recall what we are seeing, probably one of those ‘story book’ productions. I have a good ear for the opera and the symphony but when it comes to ballet I am a dillenente who appreciates it at a superficial level. Ballet is pretty but it all sort of looks the same. Even the dancers blur to be identical in looks. I wonder if anyone will be wearing a mask other than Urs Truly.

Mr Brown (the dear!) Please don’t feed him buns and things.

What I’m watching: Lost in the Pond. Mr. Brown is a fine fellow from England and is well over four feet. His schtick is playing the bewildered Briton living in the Midwest and comparing life there to here. He has a droll sense of humor. In his latest video he talks about words from his youth that Americans don’t use, such as argy-bargy, brolly, cheeky, cling-film, flyover, peckish, and queueing up. I like the sound of cling-film; I want to use it sometime.


What I’m reading: Emails sent from friends. Nearly all emails I get are rubbish types. This has recently changed. I’m beginning to receive regular correspondences from friends who have taken time to write out their thoughts and happenings. It feels like the old days when I delivered letters in the post and not just bills and junk mail which is now the wont. I read these emails slowly and carefully and I attempt to return each one to let them know what I thought of their contents. What a delight it is to see one in the inbox among the spam and phishing attempts.


What I’m listening to: Old tunes about autumn. Around Labor Day I pull out the playlist of tunes suitable to autumn: “Autumn Leaves”; “Autumn Serenade”; “It’s Autumn” – those sort of ditties. They are like Christmas carols for the fall. My parents played them on the combination TV and stereo system with the record player on the right and the albums on the left side of the bulbous grey glass television screen (remember them?). Fall tunes have some of melancholy to them, as summer has ended and winter approaches. Back then the falls were cool and crisp and full of yellow leaves from the majestic elm trees that lined our street.


What I’m eating: A brownie. It’s been nearly a month since I ate anything sweet. The Boss made a tray of brownies, marbled with peanut butter. I felt it politic to have one, which I did and I ate it with relish. It was very good, especially with that hot cup of sugarless coffee to balance it off. After a hiatus from sweets the sudden surge of sucrose was quite intense and slightly unpleasant; my taste buds deregulated down a bit. It was a nice treat.


Who needs a good slap: The head shop next door. The office space next to my MESA office has been under construction for some time and it wasn’t clear what it would become. The stank of the renovations seeped into our office at times, causing breathing problems and once we shut down from the fumes. It turns out it is a cannabis dispensary. We can smell someone smoking weed coming from their place. I have an old bias against having these sorts for neighbors as thems that sell drugs can attract crime and ne’er-do-wells. I will work on these bad assumptions but the smell of pot in our office is not nice. I feel sorry for the daycare center on the other side of the CBD shop. Imagine how their business may be effected by the same smell seeping into their kiddy areas.

On my 1-5 scale, I give the new neighbors three slaps. Sell your product but no smoking during working hours.

Who gets a fist bump: The Fates. Someone’s boss has been away on holiday for some weeks, creating more work and extra-long days for him, poor fellow. Monday last as he dressed for work he wistfully said ‘there are two more weeks to go’. That very day, lo! His boss suddenly showed up unannounced stating she was back to work; she felt it was ‘just time to come home’ or something. He takes tomorrow off and he will probably sleep all day. Thank you, ladies.


What I’m planning: Nothing. This is the W for which I cannot find an answer this week. It’s a little early to plan Hallowe’en happenings and there is nothing needing planning at home or at work for awhile. Life looks to be mundane doings.


What’s making me smile: Brown paper packages tied up with strings. Last weekend I wrote to Mr. Bezos to send me some cheer-me-up items toot suite and charge it please thank you very much. I will get the 2023 office calendar (Inuit art) along with some imperial tidbits like hot sauce from Barbados and bucatini noodles from Italy (no rubbish). I also ordered some sauces from Africa, their names escape me. For good measure I threw in a few orders of plastic pumpkins as one can never have enough. I also asked the good fellows (I think they are human) at The Spring-Heeled Jack Coffee Company to send me ‘from the dark heart of Ohio’ some diabolical coffee beans.

Having something to look forward to arriving in the post is a nice feeling that makes me smile.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections say my latest entries have too much ‘shrink stuff” and not enough shouting and throwing of projectiles. They’re not wrong but then again if I did the later they would be remonstrating I should lay off the hand axes and write something serious for Odin’s sake. There is no pleasing them really. This makes me wonder what happened to my hand ax. I remember buying it when visiting a medieval torture museum in Germany.* It came as a set with a rod with heavy metal ball the size of lemon on the end of a chain. The ball had spikes all over it like a sea urchin. I brought both weapons home in my carry-on luggage can you imagine? I suspect one of my brothers used them during a Dungeons and Dragons game and forgot to bring them home.

I like to go shopping for things when on holiday. I don’t take many photos but I make a point to buy some knickknacks to remind me of the trip. Mugs are always a good choice as they are labeled such and they are used often. As I write this I am sipping from my ‘Receiver Coffee Company’ coffee mug, which I purchased when visiting chums on Prince Edward Island. Seeing it makes me remember my visit there and all that happened. I used to buy fabric to make a shirt to commemorate the trip but local fabric stores have become rarities, worse luck.

The accumulation of bricolage gets tedious after awhile as to where to put all these items. Discarding them is difficult as it feels like throwing out a memory. I am now more careful towards what I purchase as a keepsake. Small things are better, like buttons or jewelry items; these work nicely. T-shirts are not good things as they wear out or I outgrow them (just hate that). I used to collect interesting-looking rocks but after a while I can’t tell which rock went with what trip.

I probably should give up this system for I have enough mugs to fill a diner and I don’t need more ‘dust collectors’ as Grandmother Angela used to call such items on the shelf. I could try taking photos but I know from experience I never look at them. Perhaps I am at the age I now can just go somewhere and appreciate the experience without having to find a figurine to hold the memory for me. That feels ephemeral but isn’t that Life anyway?

Does anyone need some mugs? I have heaps.

When you go on a trip, do you take photos? Buy souvenirs? Do you come home with precious items or a suitcase full of dirty duds rather?

*I’m not kidding or exaggerating.

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