The freezer in the kitchen is a large silver drawer located below the refrigerator. There is another freezer in the laundry room next to the washer and the dryer. That one is a large white square box with a flip-up top also with a pull out drawer down below. Both freezers are fairly capacious – so why on earth does it always feel like there is no room to put things away in the freezer? A quick systems analysis reveals several factors:

Ice cube trays. Presently there are several. There is a blue rubber six-pack type used to make large square cubes for the cocktails. There is also two plastic globe ‘cubes’ also for cocktails. A shallow green rubber tray makes ice cubes in the shape of palm trees, which is now filled with lemon juice for when one needs such for cooking. This week these are joined by yet another tray of three skull ice cubes now a-chilling for Halloween. Next to this lot is the large tub which holds the bourgeois everyday ice cubes. Small wonder there is space for much else.

Underneath are the many frozen food items which have fallen into the black hole that is the freezer. Things go in but then they are forgotten. 

The large freezer in the washroom is full up with Tupperware container no one remembers what’s in them as their frozen sides all look alike at least enough to make them indistinguishable from each other. These are lost underneath the boxes of frozen fish sticks and think crust pizzas. I think there is a turkey in there. 

The lower draw of the laundry room freeze if full from the two tubs for the ice cream maker which we use maybe once a year. 

This is madness and in need of a tidy-up.

The first to go are the ice cream tubs. 

The second task is to take inventory of half-used bags of frozen vegetables and work them into something. Perhaps I can persuade Someone to make a chicken pot pie with an emphasis on peas and carrots. 

Then comes the most important step: pull out the mystery containers one at a time and thaw them and eat them. This should be fun like one of those contests where you guess what day and time the car on the pond falls through the ice. 

Nothing new goes into the freezer now without labels including the date of entry. 

I am keeping the ice cube trays.

What’s in your freezer? Can you identify all the contents? Is there ‘turnover”?

 I still do not have anything profound to write so here are some random thoughts written in-between the no-shows.

Yesterday the weather changed. After six months of ardent heat and continuous AC the temperature plunged going from 37C down to 10C and below.  Now it is cold enough to keep the windows closed lest the gelid air seeps in and turns us into popsicle sticks. This morning I had to wear long pants and sweatshirt on our dog walks.* While I welcome the break in the heat it would have been nice to have a transition time. Hallowe’en will have a chilly note to it as it should be.

Speaking of Hallowe’en The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections sent out their usual end-of-October memo announcing they are keeping the gates of Heorot Johnsons closed this Saturday as they ‘don’t do Samhain’. There are a few reasons for this. First of all they are snobs: they look down on anything Celtic as low-brow and low-class. Another reason is they are stingy. They prefer that people give them treats and they dislike giving out anything. Superstition is the main matter. If there are ghosts and hob-thrusts* about that night they do not want their hallowed halls haunted. They have enough imaginary and mythical entities running about the place already. My doors will be quite open for the like. Like a democratic drawbridge I go down for everybody provided they first wipe their feet.

My bloodwork came back and it is amazingly good considering I haven’t had any exercise for six months and my diet isn’t stellar. Mark Twain once said frequent scotches make a great preventative of ailments. I think Mr. Twain said this. I strongly suspect most of the aphorisms contributed to Sam Clemens are bogus. Checking the internet is of course no use as it is as trusty as news sites on Facebook.

Getting back to the blood work for a moment ….. I am running a bit anemic again.  I should get back on the multivitamins designed for ‘working girls over fifty” as these sorts of supplements have iron in them. These tasty nostrums often contain funny sounding supplements to help with menopause symptoms of which I have only a few.

That woofy tech consultant at work did a diagnostic on my work computer. The office PC has been running slow lately and it is quite irksome. It turns out the problem is not a virus, or possession by hob-thrusts, or bad settings, or (worse) operation error. It is merely an old computer that is being asked to do too many things at once. He made the metaphor of trying to do too much work on a small desk top. I wrote The Bosses (both well over four feet) I want a new computer. One of them responded I will soon be asking for more gruel, but she would pass on the request to The House Manager. Fingers crossed.

 

 

*It was ghastly.

**A hob-thrust is variety of goblin in English folklore known for playing jokes and pranks. They often assist the servants with the morning matter – but in a state of nudity.  I tried to locate an image to place but I am at work.

This one was inspired and written after baking an apple cake that didn’t come out right.

Is there the culinary equivalent of a ‘green thumb’? More important: is there a ‘black thumb’ when it comes to cooking?  After months of at-home cooking I fear I am not a good cook. I hold on to hope I am an opsimath and not a lost cause. I keep my fingers crossed that people are not born to be bakers but with practice can become such.

Yesterday I made an apple cake – my ‘first’. It was a flop: it came out with its middle hardly cooked. After every flop I do a systems analysis of what went wrong. I used the wrong pan indicated in the recipe and the apples perhaps were not ‘cooking types’.  I suspect I can make a better one. My rice and bread attempts are still not ‘good’ but they are improving. One problem I have is I like to try new things rather than stick with old favorites. It’s like always playing the piano with new pieces rather than sticking with the same etude until it is right.

Poor Someone. When I plop down a dinner and start to list a catalog of short comings about the dish his Midwestern upbringing kicks in to try to say something along the line of ‘oh no it’s fine as it is’ but often he cannot do this. 

Recently I wrote about my friend Rita and her list of accomplishments she was damned determine to do.  Cooking remains on my list.  Probably to Someone’s chagrin I insist on doing most of the cooking nowadays as how else am I to improve?  

I have mixed feelings about cooking shows and YouTube videos on ‘how to make X” as my “X” never comes out as well. Last week I made butternut squash cordon bleu. The ones on ‘Foodwish’ looked lovely while mine looked like it had been left out on the counter too long. Someone thought it tasty enough though. I made mental notes to use less salt and cook the squash a bit longer.  It is another work in progress. 

Perhaps cooking like Life is a journey not a destination.  While I am seldom satisfied by my endeavors it is fun to keep trying.  

 

Spo-fans! It is that time of year when Urs Truly gets out his Wicked Pack of Cards and does readings on All Hallow’s Eve. This year’s reads should be especially poignant as there will be a full moon and it is a Saturday so I won’t feel rushed.  So – if you want insight about your life/the universe/and everything please say so in the comment section. I will do them 31 October and report back the findings thereafter. 

 

Since I am on the topic, here is what is planned for the All Hallow’s Eve feast:

Black Martinis

Pumpkin soup with Gruyere served in little pumpkins 

Broiled flank steak

Black linguine with orange and red peppers

Vampire Wine

Skull cakes (red) 

Candy corn cocktails  – made with pineapple juice and vodka distilled with candy corn A.K.A. The devil’s earwax. 

 

The neighborhoods are quite decorated this year, as if people are expecting trick-or-treaters. Later today I plan to start putting together the Ghost Bags of candies for Beggar’s Night.

The children with good costumes and manners will get an additional Chuckles for their endeavors. 

The sullen and politically-bent get a single smartie. 

Otherwise there is little to report. I lead a dull life. I got all my paperwork done that was some job. I promise to write something interesting when I actually have something interesting upon which to write. 

I apologize to Spo-fans and the blogging community for my lack of rent attendance in the mysteries. Once again, I am up to my oxters with work. The Bosses decided I wasn’t working enough so they filled my dance card with as many new patients as possible. I often believe this is not possible as by now I’ve seen everyone in the valley. The new patients haven’t been difficult but each one generates a note that requires careful composition. It looks to be another groovy weekend of getting caught up.

This morning I did my bloodwork for my upcoming appointment with The Good Doctor which is scheduled for next week. I haven’t had any exercise in six months so I suspect my lipid profile will be awful. Happily this is salvageable like a sinking ship with much freight to throw overboard.  I will be pleased as Punch to report my blood pressure is in control. My device has a draconian definition of hypertension as it tells me my blood pressure is ‘elevated’ with SBPs ranging between 120-130 and the DBPs at 59-75. They used to be 200/110.  When I went to medical school 120/80 was considered normal.  Let Le Omron think what it will; a SBP of 123 bloody marvelous thank you very much.

This weekend between charting I hope to put up the rest of the All Hallow’s Eve decorations and organize the 10/31 dinner. Normally Someone and I go out on Saturday night to ‘pub night’. It just reopened after six months hiatus. We went last weekend and felt comfortable enough to return – only to find they had canceled “Broadway night” and now show disco videos or – gasp – political channels.  Oh the horror. While consuming boulevardiers I want to hear Judy Garland not CNN.

That’s about all I can think of at the moment.
I promise to put out something soon – no rubbish. 

.  

He’s back!  Henrik the ghost has returned !

Newer Spo-fans will need an explanation. There is a lugubrious ghost that periodically haunts the east side of La Casa de Spo. Henrik (for that is his name) is not a malevolent spirit but a bit of a downer who creeps about and gets on people’s nerves – my nerves anyway. Someone has never encountered him..*  He disappears for long periods and I think he’s gone for good  only to return without warning (Henrik not Someone).

Last week while working from home I heard a mild commotion in the kitchen. I walked in to find Harper looking vexed and there was a discarded brown paper sack sitting in the middle of the floor.  Half an hour later I returned to freshen my cup of tea I found this basket sitting on the counter:



I hadn’t put it there and a quick call to Someone confirmed he hadn’t either. There are several baskets sitting above on top of the cupboards. True enough!  There was a gap like a fallen out tooth. Someone the rationalist figured the basket had just fallen down onto the counter. Now I ask you: how the hell can a basket suddenly fall like that? No baskets have fallen in 15 years.  I remember now hearing a couple of sad moans the day before. When I went into the other room to ask Someone if he has called me or was in trouble he denied he had made a sound.

Henrik hasn’t been heard from in ages and there’s no rhyme nor reason to his comings and goings.  Wherever he goes it doesn’t improve his disposition; I sense he’s as droopy as always. I’ve tried to bring his spirits up to no avail. Like Eeyore one simply accepts him as a mope. 

Beggars can’t be choosers and it’s better to have a some ghost than none at all. At least he doesn’t move my things about where I can’t find them. All I ask is he doesn’t knock about in the kitchen any more it’s hard enough to keep things tidy as it is with The Cup Fairies in high gear moving about the tea things and measuring cups (their latest passion).  I will keep you posted if there is are any more shenanigans.

 

*Someone also doesn’t take truck with The Cup Fairies, The Car Key Gnomes, Jenny Greenteeth in the backyard pool, etc. He’s no fun; he falls right over.

Every day in October I draw a single tarot card for a meditation. This morning I drew The Fool. In most decks The Fool looks like a Court Jester or a vacuous youth about to walk off a cliff. In the Halloween deck The Fool is a clown. Urs Truly doesn’t like clowns. Even as a boy I didn’t find them funny but they gave me creeps. Apparently many feel likewise. There are scores of papers on the wherefores of the dislike of clowns or the anxiety they elicit. It wasn’t too long ago the U.S.A. was in a ‘clown craze’  combining good-old Yankee paranoia of the other with collective childhood clown-based traumas into a mass hysteria about seeing direful clowns out and about after children and white women. The clown craze died out and was replaced by illegal aliens but the legitimate clowns were left with a bad reputation from which they aren’t likely to recover.

I feel sorry for the poor sods. I once had a patient who was a clown. He took his ‘art’ (as he called it) quite seriously. He lamented his unemployment (no one would hire him) and his fear to go out of doors ‘in face’ lest half dozen housewives call the cops on him. I was glad he never showed up dressed as a clown or asked me to look at his profile on line as it would be ticklish to dodge the truth I find clowns creepy.

I wonder what today will be like under the auspices of The Fool A.K.A. as The Clown. Usually this card means folly or unconventionality or both. Perhaps the card portends one of my new patients will have a lot of ‘clown’ energy to him/her.

Funny it think this Halloween I am likely to get kiddies dressed in violent and bloody costumes but not as clowns – that’s too scary and tasteless.

Someone wanted to sleep in this morning so he spent the night in the Dragon room* as Harper and I wake every morning at 5AM for our morning dog-walk. We tried to keep quiet until he woke a few hours later. I made tea and got in my blog reads early. As Mr. Pepys liked to say: “And it pleased it very much”. 

This week’s reprobate agenda is Halloween decorating and cooking. I don’t put all up at once but slowly put out the trimmings. Yesterday I hung plastic pumpkins and little black cauldrons in the ocotillo in the front yard. I am pleased to see many neighbors have also put up some outside decorations. Perhaps this is a good sign the kids will be begging this year. I sure hope so as I have heaps of treats. This year I hand out ‘ghost bags’ of various sweets for the hoi polloi hobgoblins and Chuckles as the “A” candy for the really good (and polite) beggars. **

My late mother always made gingerbread cookies at Christmas time but sometimes she made some at Halloween. This year in her memory I am making some ghosts and pumpkins. Usually I bring the cookies to work where all oh and aw and admire my industry. This year this isn’t happening so I will make only a modest amount. I plan to put them in the freezer with the Chuckles underneath the Tupperware containers of frozen what-ever to avoid temptation until All Hallows Eve. 

Last night I made my first batch of Pizza skulls; they were fair. The dough was too thick and there wasn’t enough goodies therein. All the same we ate them with relish. 

For the Halloween dinner I want to make black linguini with orange peppers and squash. This requires squid ink fettuccine and it has been a task to locate some. I finally found it at AJ’s fine foods. Talk about imperial tidbits!  Everything they sell in swanky. Does anyone shop there for regular food or just for gourmet items like squid ink fettuccine? 

Somewhere I put the flank steaks I planned to marinate and grill as my traditional Halloween dinner.  I hope they are in the freezer. Now I daren’t check as I will come away with a fistfuls of lemonheads and root beer barrels. I suppose I could just return to AJ’s to get a new steak. Their price for the squid ink fettuccine was outrageous so the mind boggles at the cost of meat from grass-fed heirloom heifers raised by third generations of Japanese farmers. 

 

*’The Dragon room’ is named so as the previous owners had in that room a large mural of two dragons eating apples. It was a sort of Adam and Eve Durer print done with dragons. It’s painted over now and we have a pewter dragon in there, sitting on the cupboard, to keep the name going.  

 

**Kids dressed in political costumes will get a ‘Charlie Young helping’ of a single Smartie.

Right after I wrote that entry on procrastination I did so for a couple of days. In my defense I’ve been up to my oxters with work. The Bosses, horrified there were some open spots on my roster this week, put any Tom, Dick, or Stanley they could find onto my dance card. Thanks guys.

On the topic of procrastination:  In the home office on the counter top to my right sits a manticore upon a Sia Christmas CD. A few days ago Someone finally downloaded it (the CD not the manticore) into the home computer just in time for the pending holidays. The manticore looks odd without its usual platform and I am tempted to place a coaster underneath it for the sake of decorum. There is no lack of coasters from which to choose. One would think we are a couple of dipsomaniacs as there is a set of such in every room. This is to counteract The Cup Fairies who tend to leave cups all over.

The set in the office consists of four square coasters of a photo of Ron T, Someone, and I at a blogger convention. We are dressed in civil war uniforms. As coasters go they are a bit of a bust, as the condensed water from the drinks sits on them rather than be absorbed. They are more decorative than useful – the coasters, not Ron T and Someone.

The bedroom coasters are round cardboard items from Pappadeux Restaurant, which specialized in creole food from New Orleans. We used to go there with The Lovely Neighbor and her mother.  I don’t think the place is open anymore, another victim of covid19.

In the drawer with the decks of playing cards is a set of bierdeckels which I collected on a trip through Germany and Austria back in the 80s. They don’t lie flat anymore having absorbed countless drinks’ moisture.  I suspect if I did some research I could recreate my journey durch Deutschland as breweries were ‘local’. You drank this bier in this town and some other type in the next.

There are a few coasters from “The Red Hawk” bar and grill in Ann Arbor – I wonder if is still around? * I don’t remember the details of the place other than it used to be a bookstore. I miss living in Ann Arbor; it was a fine town full of the arts and activities and no frothing-at-the-mouth right-wing types. Having a brew (beer or iced tea) resting on a Red Hawk coaster brings it all back.

I inherited from Mother four clay coasters decorated with pink hibiscus flowers. I don’t recall her ever using them. When it comes to absorbency they beat the Ron T/Someone/Urs Truly coasters by a country mile but they don’t go so well with office. Perhaps I will use them to make a little throne for the manticore. I hope he isn’t allergic to pollen.

*I just looked – yes !

I recently made reference about a loose screw in my psyche that was in need of tightening. A Spo-fan (who is well over four feet) asked me to expand on this topic. Patience above! This sounds like my first analyst!  I shall do so.

There is a terrible triumvirate in the penetralia of my pumpkin. It is an unholy trinity consisting of a Protestant Midwest upbringing on top of my genetics that is 75% Swiss-German (the most on-time orderly people on the planet) in a three-way with my humming-bird brain that doesn’t sit still. This causes great angst for time-management without waste. Indolence is looked upon with suspicion “I ought to be doing something right now”.*  Oh the horror.

The 21st century with its mania for time-management has not been kind to my neurosis. I’ve seen in society a creeping emphasis on wasting no time (AKA ‘time management’) and efficiency (AKA as multi-tasking).  There are countless podcasts, YouTube videos, and books on the subject, all dealing with the so-called problem of procrastination – the horror of thems who want ‘success in life”.*

Before we all die of karoshi it would be good to rescue the words indolence, down-time, and procrastination from their perdition and make them good words again.  When people are not doing anything they feel guilty and anxious; if they are procrastinating they must be depressed, lazy, a failure, or they have ADD and in need of medication.**

It is difficult to reclaim words from their present associations and definitions back to what they were. I would start with ‘not getting things’ done and ‘not doing something’ as NOT synonymous with procrastination.

There are some positive things about procrastination.

1- when I catch myself procrastinating over X I ask myself is X really important. “Who needs it” sometimes turns a should-project into a discarded one.

2 – The brain gets a lot of good ideas when it isn’t being busy. Lots of genius moments and inspirations have come when the mind is quiet.  The Muses get in easier with a quiet mind. “Be still and know that I am G-d” has a similar notion to it.

3 – It’s jolly nice to sit and do nothing.  So piss off.

 

*This is a modern notion which our ancestors would find repellent. The measuring tape of success has bee inverted. The more busy you are and less time you have = success in life. It wasn’t that long ago having a lot of time on your hands was a sign of success, wealth, and power. This meant others were doing the work for your. You had gobs of time for leisure, hobbies, social chit-chat and the like.

**This is true sometimes but not as much as people fear. ‘Pathology’ is another association with the word. Not everyone who procrastinates is ill.

 

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