During a visit with Brother #2 his very high-energy dog kept knocking things off the coffee table with her nonstop tail. “This is why we can’t have nice things” he said as he picked up knocked-over objects. Once upon a time Brother #3 said essentially the same thing as his two kids were running around the place doing what kids do. I do not have children and Harper has a tame temperament one;  in theory I could have a lot of nice things. When I look around La Casa de Spo everything seems in need of repair or replacement.  No nice things in view.

“This is why we can’t have nice things” is a useful phrase applicable to tedious situations the result of a bureaucrat’s beadledom or somebody’s shenanigans. Last week an insurance company sent a seven page fax basically saying a prescription I wrote was denied. Seven pages! It was full up with cover-their-butts stuff and how to repeal instructions more complicated than income tax forms. Airports are riddled with rules and regulations done in response to some sort of nonsense resulting in things no good for anyone. Apparently some airline wants to now charge for any sort of carry-on item in response to thems who were bringing on board their entire entourage of luggage. We can not eat peanuts on board lest there is an allergy up front but we have to sit next to ‘emotional support animals” regardless of allergies or aversion to cats.*

“This is why we can’t have nice things” applies to the office kitchens, especially the refrigerators. No one polices these things and everyone forgets what they put there so both kitchens are full up with plastic grocery bags containing goodness-knows-what.

Perhaps it is futile trying to strive for nice things. The second law of thermodynamics combines with human frailty to make a doom more ominous than Ignorance and Want.  The universe is telling me to let go and join The Lotus Eaters of less than luxurious and logical living.  All the same I plan to keep in touch with my inner-Archibald Tuttle to try to get and keep some nice things or at least keep the AC working as it were.

 

*The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections reading this entry sent feedback it looks like I went off on a tangential tirade against airplane travel and I should get back on topic.  Another example of ‘this is why we can’t have nice things” is know-it-all editors fearful of any sort of outrage leashed against composition in the comments.

Thursday last my father texted me. This was extraordinary as he has never me before. At first I thought it was some scam or a brother perhaps pulling me leg but it really was Father. After playing twenty questions with him via text I learned Brother #3 got him a new phone to replace the antiquated ‘flip’ phone which he never used anyway. Now that my parents are sort of dependent on a cellphone at their new place they might as well use one under the careful supervision of Brother #3. I asked Father if he wanted to join the text group consisting of his progeny.  To my surprise he declined. He explained he doesn’t plan on texting much and he likes the phone off more than on to keep away the outside world.*

I admit I am envious. My phone is also my pager so it stays on and nearby even as I sleep lest there is a work matter.  I am continually drawn to it whenever it chirps, buzzes, and rings and even when it is silent just to see what’s there.  As mentioned I am in a few ‘text groups’. These suddenly start and everyone joins in with little if any taking turns until it all drops off as quick as it had appeared. 

My godfather doesn’t have a cellphone; the only means to get hold of him is to call his house and hope he’s home. Someone knows a woman who  doesn’t have a cellphone or email either and she’s proud of such. I can never determine if these types are blessed or downright inconsiderate.  Both are old people so these types are not likely to last.

The worse case scenario justifying my 24/7 phone is not likely to happen. The pager system seldom calls and when it does it is usually ‘no emergency’ certainly nothing that couldn’t wait awhile for me to respond to it. People seem to demand the immediate return of their calls and texts but this doesn’t mean it has to be done. 

I think I will practice putting away the phone this week; I will check in on it less often. Anything less than ‘continually’ is a good first step.  I wonder if I will feel better for it. 

 

cellphone-addiction

 

*Last month when they were living alone it was important to have a phone. Now they live at the assisted center: help is a mere push of a button away.  

Pensive

I think I am a nice person but there is someone I treat rather beastly. Sometimes my actions towards him borders on abuse. I act in all sorts of selfish ways that hurt him. I steal from him too. Many of my exploitations cause him physical and mental anguish. I know what I am doing (or not doing) is inimical but I don’t care. Who is this poor unfortunate soul? It is my future Self. My present Self eats badly, neglects sleep and exercise, and spends money in ways someday I will look back and feel bad why I was so negligent and nasty.
We’re all wired to think and act in the now not in the future and to choose otherwise is a bitch. Our inner-monkey eats the food now rather than abstain or save it for who knows if there will be a tomorrow. Getting people ‘motivated’ to delay gratification or abjure for later payoffs is nearly impossible.
Here is what I’ve learned to do. I try to remember my future-Self at my mercy hoping I will do right. Sometimes this succeeds and I can be charitable towards him. Whenever I tempted to snarf down a big bag of nasty chips I stop and think towards my future-self. I see him two months hence at Palm Springs taking off his shirt and feeling bad about his looks and wishing my January- self had done him a solid. Another example: I find it tiresome to take out the rubbish Tuesday night after I get home from work. I want to go straight in and right to bed – I can do it in the morning. However I really hate waking early on Wednesday mornings to get the bins to the curb in time for collection. So I haul out the garbage Tuesday night while thinking of my Wednesday self. My Wednesday-self drives off that morning saying a silent thank you through time and space toward my Tuesday -self for doing this favor for me.
If I am to have many and well future-selves they require health and finances and time. When I remember them this way and act accordingly in the here and now they may be well.

It works for me.

Ratatouille-remy3

I see by The Cosmic Calendar The Year of the Rat is coming. I don’t know what this entails exactly but I am OK with rats. This would be an easy subject on which to scribble out an essay but I first checked with The You Know Who that reminded me I’ve already written on rats and Spo-fans are not wanting repeats let alone rats so go write about the electric fence or something. I started to say I’d sooner eat rats at Tewkesbury than write about the security system but they connected the dots before I got too far into the idiom. They bopped me on the head and out of Heorot Johnsons went I. Oh the pain.

insanity

This morning I woke to the harmonious sounds of ‘Exotic music’ viz. tunes recorded in the early 60s for Tiki lounges and luaus. I didn’t know the kitschy genera existed until I began reading yesterday’s book on the history of Tiki cocktails. Someone wasn’t too pleased to hear such sonorous songs at 5AM. I haven’t told him yet my next step is to find some vintage Tiki cocktail glasses. Perhaps the book is evil and I should put a wooden stake through it and bury the demonic tome where no one will find it.

Insanity
I see by the pesky ads on Facebook The Super Bowl is coming. I looked it up: it is not this weekend as I presumed but Sunday 2 February. Try to tell as many people as you can in town. I suppose someone must care about this spectacle although in my immediate cricle of friends and acquaintances I found not one who cared tuppence. This is probably an example of cognitive bias but I like to think I am in the majority who think The Super Bowl is of no importance.

Insanity

The weekend is coming. I say this in the same voice tone as thems at Game of Thrones who say ‘winter is coming’.  Someone works nonstop on weekends now so I get lonely on these two days. They’ve become mundane affairs, full-up with housework, paperwork, tending the dog, and other ho-hum endeavors.  It isn’t clear what  ‘I ought to be doing” but there it is.  At my age the night is for sleep and the weekends for catching up. I lead a dull life. I suppose I could go out and set fire to some public building or roll down grass hills but both seem tiresome and it is too cold outside for the latter.  I should get cracking on making a new Spo-shirt as ‘Palm Springs in coming’ as well as the weekend with its twelve month rat parade.

 

book_sippin-safari-10th-ann

Like Don Quixote I’ve gone a bit balmy after reading some books and now I am on a mission. My affliction started after hearing a podcast about Tiki drinks. The interviewee a Mr. Berry has a book (along with vintage recipes) on the topic.

Tiki drinks consist of colorful sweet ingredients prettily presented in fabulous containers surmounted by fruit and gay umbrellas. They are the drag-queens of libations – so different from the butch stuff Urs Truly prefers.  Perhaps I am finally getting in touch with my she-identity.  History and elements of camp combined with exotic ingredients with inventors whose recipes they keep jealous as Joan  combine just right for Urs Truly.  I could not buy the book fast enough; it arrived yesterday.

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This is as good a time as any to confess I cannot remember if I’ve ever had a Tiki drink.  On paper they don’t sound appealing viz. full up with sweet things and juices. I suspect I’ve had a few in my life but in hindsight they were insipid things made from pre-mixes and nasty fluorescent additives. I want a proper Tiki drink no rubbish. If I can’t get one readily outside of a proper Tiki bar (now rare as hens teeth) I guess I will have to make my own.

Proper Tiki drinks have a) very silly names and b) lots of ingredients. They sound a lot of work to gather up the fresh fruits and juice’em and locate the proper rums. Mr. Berry admits these recipes are stellar but they not ideal to do in a busy bar/restaurant where time and turnover trump complexity and quality (like my men). They are mostly iced drinks to cool one down on a hot humid tropical day – not good timing at the moment this being January.

I will read the book now for its history and colorful photos and take notes which drinks to make this summer. Perhaps I will start with The Scorpion as it sounds apropos and not too difficult:

  • 1 1/2 bottles (750ml each) rum (Brugal Anejo Rum is recommended)
  • 2 ounces ​gin
  • 2 ounces ​brandy
  • 1/2 bottle ​(750ml) white wine
  • 16 ounces ​lemon juice
  • 8 ounces ​orange juice
  • 8 ounces ​orgeat syrup
  • 2 sprigs ​fresh mint
  • Garnish with gardenias or edible flowers, orange and lemon slices and any nasty scorpions found in the utensil drawer.

scopr

Oh the pain. The laptop had an alleged ‘upgrade’ last week the consequences being I can no longer log into work nor leave comments on certain blogs. The humidifier’s light is glowing an angry red to suggest my attempt to fix it has failed. Someone’s garage door opener won’t work.* My mind shudders at the growing number of La Casa de Spo items that want desperate attention and needs of repair. The last straw was the sewing machine whose light went out in the middle of a delicate stitch.

I am not a handy man. I’ve learned it is better to hire someone who knows what they are doing than trying to repair things myself. This costs time and money and a bit of pride I cannot deduce on my own how to change a sewing machine lightbulb.**

When something goes kaput at our place our usual approach is to just go without it. Every repair seems to always require an awful lot of time, energy, and money. This lazy solution of non-repair may ‘work’ for an inoperable fireplace but not so for the dishwasher. One of us (usually Someone as he loses less money to take off work) must contact the proper authorities and thus stay home all for the mercurial arrival of the repairman or somebody like him. Less tedious is finding time to get the defunct item to the repair store and hope for the best.

Despite my fondness for making lists I’ve avoided making a “Things to repair” list lest I realize how bad off it all is. Emerson said to always do the thing you are afraid to do so I shall face my fears and get it going.  Best case scenario: hiring some nice local handsome handyman to get it all done for me. Someone will be appalled but he will be able to get into the garage again.

 

OIP

 

*He calls me just before his arrives home to ask me to open the garage door for him. If I am asleep or I miss such requests he has to come in via the front door, go to the garage and open it from the inside and go back out to bring in The Precious. An awful lot of fuss.

**How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: none. This is done by the good folks at Joanne Fabrics.

Spo-fans want Harper photos and Urs Truly has listened. Here’s a typical dog-walk done via photos.  This entry is dedicated to Blobby and Shep. 

 

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Harper waiting impatiently for me to finish my paperwork for our morning walk. 

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The anticipation is high; tails are a-wagging to get going. 

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Which way to go today? 

 

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Harper is not one to heel. She pulls me town the lane. Goodness knows why we are always in such a rush.  

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Engrossed in a good sniff.

Sometimes I have to pull her away or we will be here all morning.  

 

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Harper can be quite butch; sometimes she lifts leg rather than squat. 

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Home. After all there is no place like it. 

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All walks end with a treat. It’s the law.

Perhaps this and not the walk itself is the source of her excitement. 

 

Walking the dog

Ideally a week consists of fourteen walks composed of two walks per day: one at 5AM and the other after dinner or when I get home from work. Last week was a ‘low’ of only four walks given my dental ordeal. Now that I am mending this week we are aiming for fourteen.

Weekend walks in winter are the best for they are done in the day time. The sun is up allowing us to safely stroll the paths normally abjured in the early dark hours of the week days. It is warmer then as well; I don’t feel an urgency to get out and back as soon as possible.

Harper loves these longer explorations as she gets to visit shrubs and lightposts she hasn’t inspected since last week end. It amazes me how she sticks her snout onto these objects and inhales like a crack addict. What does she smell there that is so euphoric? Other dogs I suspect. She sometimes contributes to these community message boards before pulling me down the lane to the next stop.

Someone seldom if ever goes on these strolls. When we return I give him ‘the report’ consisting of the weather, any extraordinary happens, but mostly her activities and the characteristics of her eliminations. If the reports convey anything but a normal number and volume of poops I am criticized for giving the dog too many treats and/or table scraps. Harper eats the same food day in and day out – unless of course her clack-dish is empty and we both think she hasn’t been fed yet when in fact she has. This results in a double serving which she eats with relish. Harper cannot be trusted on the matter; she puts on quite the show of appearing half-dead from starvation hoping to get something.

This morning’s report was a good one:  the weather was good and there were no shootings. Harper’s business were well-formed and of normal amount and she had a very good time snorting the sidewalk. We didn’t see anyone or anything which is surprising as it is Saturday. Right after walks Harper Hound gets on to my side of the bed for her post-walk morning nap as if utterly exhausted. Perhaps she is merely content, happy for having walked and peed and pooped and sniffed and ate breakfast. It’s a dog’s life. This evening will be Walk #14 both of us pleased as punch we’ve had a good week of walks.

Finally ! After a week of misery the jaw pain is subsiding and I can open my mouth (barely) to try to chew something. This morning at the dentist she was pleased as punch at the progress.  The antibiotics are concluded; I can once again take up such delicacies like Aviation and Boulevardier cocktails.  It will be quite the happy hour indeed today after work.  Incidentally today in 1919 the 18th amendment was passed prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol to make us God-fearing sober Protestants. *

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. Thanks to pain and non-eating I’ve managed to lose ~ 3-4 kilos since New Year’s Day. I still can’t quite fit back into my dress slacks but I’m getting there.

Feeling lousy last week gave me the rationale to buy a book. Someone will be furious. You could fill a small-town library with the books we have at home waiting to be read. We ( meaning I ) don’t need another. When confronted by the purchase I will think quickly and explain it was better than ordering a pizza. More likely he won’t even notice the additional leaf floated down onto the top of the raked pile now high as Fafner’s hoard and just as precious.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections asks me to ask The Spo-fans if anyone would be interested in joining them. Slater-Wotan has gone missing for some time now and they fear it may be permanent.**  They put up a ‘help wanted’ ad on Craig’s List but were quite disappointed. The below photo is of the first round of applicants – none of got past the initial interviewing process poor sods.

Thems interested should have typing skills and strong teeth.

No Monks no Danes no Rubbish.

80736834_10220024882841387_7270379909770379264_o

Applicants status (left to right, front row) :

1 – Sword through the ribs.

2 – Impaled.

3 – Badly wounded / ran away.

4 –  Sword through the bowels.

5 – Decapitated.

6 – Wet himself.

7 – Only uses a ‘Mac’.

 

*This ended badly.

**I think they are being hasty here. He often goes a-Viking disappearing for months at a time but he manages to find his way home. TBDHSR contracted each other after six months gone one is declared quite dead. It used to be a Teutonic tontine but this was stopped when the bloodshed became too much even by Bezerker standards.

This piece was inspired by (of all things!) through sewing.  Palm Springs coming in March; I became anxious to make a new shirt. I imagined wearing it to the resort and all turning their heads to see and admire it. I had some angst about getting one or two done in time lest I make an ingress without ‘anything new’ and showing up in (gasp) last year’s ensemble. Then my anxiety was assuaged by the realization no one at the resort will be looking at me and none in my party will give a damn if my shirt is new or not. From that I composed this –

It was in my internship when I learned no one cares. It was a difficult year but when I look back on those sorrowful twelve months the worst part was this awful anagnorosis. For the first time in my life I was doing badly, I was struggling, and I wasn’t doing a good job – and the powers that be didn’t try to help or show sympathy but got rid of me. They did not care about my welfare. It was my first time I had experiencing this. All through my life I had been surrounded by family and friends and teachers who did care allowing me the charming illusion life would be like this. Looking back I was quite naif if downright foolish to think this. Going to professional school delayed a truism most others learn earlier in life: no one cares.

When we are out and about no one is minding us let alone concerned about our well-being.  Think on the folks who are not able to find work or pay their bills. The poor, the lonely, the homeless – most of these we dismiss as not our problem.

When we realize no one cares this leads to a depression or disillusionment with elements of bewilderment perhaps even betrayal. If the illusion wasn’t too long or profound to begin with this falling apart isn’t too bad. Regardless of when and how our trains arrive at the same station: if we are lucky we may have some family, friends or loved ones who care for us but that’s all.

If we look closely growing pains have an element of comfort to them. It is no coincidence in the Myth of Pandora along with all the world’s woes is the faint glimmer of hope. If no one cares about us then it doesn’t matter what we do/are – we can stop worrying what others think about us as they don’t. We are released from the awful yoke of custom and convention. This is sometimes called The Spotlight effect”: we walk around worrying what others are thinking about us; we avoid going to parties as ‘everyone will be looking at me’ with my so-called faults. We may have some deficits and disproportionate bodies (and last year’s Spo-shirts) but no one cares. What a comfort. The Golden Child departs with it goes Vanity. We don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations or views for no one cares. And that isn’t as horrible as it was once thought to be.

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