shirts-clothesline-26395548Once upon a time I announced I fancied setting up a clothesline. Someone gave me an incredulous look I have seen only a few times in my life: once when I thought of dying my hair platinum blonde and another time when I considered taking up Morris dancing.  “A clothesline!?” he asked, what for? We have a very efficacious dryer within walking distance. I explained I’ve read clothes hung out to dry on a clothesline have an amazing smell. In the arid air our undies would dry oh so quickly, we would save on electricity, and sniffing our Mack Weldons will elicit euphoria no dryer can do. I’ve also read there is a quiet satisfaction from hanging up clothes and standing back to admire one’s industry. What’s not to love?

I don’t know Someone’s equivalent of ‘Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury’ but this may be close. He quickly played the HOA trump card: a clothesline was probably illegal. Besides, the dust and pollutants of the Phoenix Valley air would leave a light dusting on the clothes, spoiling any hopes for a ‘fresh air’ redolence.

He may be right. He usually is. I sense what is really the matter is the perception of what a clothesline symbolizes, based on a difference of backgrounds. For me, a clothesline with sheets and shirts flapping in the breeze sounds charming while for Someone this awful vision conjures up an image of poor folks who can’t afford a dryer. The neighbors will think us no better than Clampetts. With a clothesline you might as well have chickens and a rusty broken car in the front yard.

All the same a clothesline sounds jolly good fun. When we go swimming I drape my towel and trunks on the back of a patio chair to dry and this work fine, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction like a line of clothes flapping in the breeze like nautical flags.  Alas, I am not going to find out. I suppose if Someone should go away on a long errand I could put one a line on the sly. I would insist on proper wooden clothespins for the total clothesline experience. To complete the scene imagine Urs Truly in bunny slippers and hair curlers. It could happen. Just don’t tell Someone.


The time between mid-August and Labor Day is a tedious time indeed. There ain’t nothing happening. I can feel the inchoation of the ‘Fall melancholy’, worse luck, so I am not motivated to rouse myself up to do things. There was a thunderstorm last night and more is predicted today, which is cheering. Rain and thunder invariably cheer me up.

The classic Jungian definition of depression is the retreat of libido (psychic energy) into the unconscious to prevent one from running amok doing bad things so one will hopefully ‘go inwards’ as it were to examine what’s the matter. I think it a lovely idea to stay home on this rainy day to meditate and avoid CNN.  Alas, the Adult-Complex compelled The Ego to go to work as I am hired to do so.

I have a full day of “returning” patient, most of them well over four feet. I don’t see too many rock-and-rollers on the roster, but one never knows.  The well ones sometime come in in a crisis and the Zorgenkinder come in serene (for once).  They keep me on my toes and out of my melancholic mood.

After work today I will go to the gym and start a new workout regime. I hope this cheers me up some. I need to be careful for I have not lifted weights in ages. Most of the gym members are young men well-built and with brown hair, while Urs Truly looks (and feels) like a very old out-of-shape grizzle-puss.

It’s Tuesday morning; there’s work to be done. I will spend sometime today trying to dream up something erudite or entertaining for a proper blog-post tomorrow – provided I haven’t hurt myself doing barbell squats.


OK my mustelids, time for some amusement. Here’s a list of things either Spo or Someone does/likes to do. Match up each activity to the right person.

The Spo-fan with the most correct entries gets a month of Mellaril.

** Answers tomorrow – or so**

8/22/16 updates: I put a (*) next to the ones that are mine.

1 – Puts away groceries as they come out of the sack.

*2 -Puts away groceries first by putting all the pantry items together, the refrigerator items in another group, and the freezer items in a third. Then they are put away – much to the disapproval of the other.

*3 – Listens to the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale”.

4 – Listens to the podcast “Pop Culture Happy Hour”. 

5 – Irons all the trousers for only he does them properly.

*6- Goes to the gym.

7 – Answers the phone rather than let the machine ‘screen calls’. 

8 -Likes wearing tuxedos.

*9 -Likes anchovies.

10 -Doesn’t empty the lint trap as often as the other one thinks he should. 

*11- Harper likes to lick his forehead and only his.

12 – Makes chicken pot pies

*13 – Makes a marvelous manhattan.

14 – He orders all the airplane tickets when we travel.

*15 – Washes the car by hand.

16- No that’s not right, he washes the car at the carwash. 

17 – Dislikes -no, execrates – the tune “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies. 

*18 -He still can’t spell the word ‘calendar’ despite the other one constantly reminding him how to do it.  (even when I typed this out, spell-check told me I had it wrong).

*19 – Gets motion sickness at the movies.

*20 – Adores the opera”Peter Grimes” (and the other loathes it) 


Mustelids (for thems unfamiliar with the lot) are long sleek furry critters. They are a happy furry family, consisting of ferrets, weasels, otters, and such.*

I have known many in my life, both the four-legged and the two-legged varieties.

I once kissed a skunk. While visiting a national park I met a ranger who had a ‘pet skunk’; tourists could get their photo taken holding it. As I leaned down “Violet’ reached up and gave me a lick. Since then I have been kissed by a several more skunks and not so sweet.

As mustelids go, weasels are long, devious, and tricky, like my men. I’ve dated a few weasels, so I know one when I see one. Someone used to have a boss whom I christened ‘The Sleazy Weasel’. He was well over four feet which is rather large for a weasel.

I come from a family of Wolverines; one of them married a Badger. These two types of mustelids tend to quarrel and become quite fractious during football season.



I am rather fond of Otters, who are lean, furry, cute, and like to hold hands.

Ferrets, skunks, and weasels used to be found congregated in dens such as on Halsted St. in Chicago. Nowadays they are more scattered. They are likely found on line using apps. They are fond of chicken.

If you are interested in locating a mustelid, Wikipedia describe mustelid for you:

“They are typically with short legs, round ears, and thick fur. Most of them are solitary, nocturnal; they have anal scent glands that produce a strong-smelling secretion used for sexual signaling. “

So act accordingly.

Personally I am sticking with bears.


*This includes the honey badger but he don’t care.

There must be some tsetse flies among the mosquitos for all I want to do this week is sleep. Last night I nodded off about 8PM and this morning I overslept, only to struggle all day to stay awake at work. Several mugs of nasty coffee could not keep me alert. It’s again 8PM and I am dropping as I type. Normally I go along with what my body says it needs but the mind does not want to rest.  I got into bed only to discover Harper got sick on the bedspread. How tiresome. I’m too tired to change the bed so I stripped it and plan to sleep wrapped up burrito-like in a blanket. Someone is ushering this evening and won’t be home until 10PM, so I can beat him to bed and fall asleep before his snoring thwarts my attempts. Harper, sensing she is in trouble, has crept into her cage, into the proverbial doghouse as it were. I have the bed all to myself, able to spread out like a Sanskrit swatiskta. An hour ago I had a tiny snort as nightcap which is the coup de grace as it were. I should be orbiting the moons of Jupiter in no time. And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Harper 16


Lately I’ve had an evil urge to ransack the house and throw everything out. Who needs all these things, especially the items I know darned well I won’t ever use again. The list is legion: old books, board games, kitchen gadgets – even an ice scraper for the windshield. The Salvation Army could fill their bins on my clothes discards.  Out in the garage are countless nuts, bolts, and tools in no taxonomic order to the point nothing can be found even if I wanted something.

The easiest way to purge the Aegean stables is to toss it all in the trash, but this rankles my Midwest aversion for waste. A lot of the items are OK, ‘gently used’ and merely unwanted. When I lived in Chicago the solution was simple: you put anything out in the alley and within half an hour someone comes by to claim it. Thanks to the HOA we don’t have such around here, worse luck.  Another garage sale may be the answer although they take some time and energy to arrange.

Once upon a time I announced to my family I wish someone would come and take it all away. Brother #4 responded by removing my stereo system. It was too late to explain I didn’t mean that so much as the several sets of china and boxes of blivets.

Perhaps what I should focus upon is what creeps into the house, and I don’t mean the scorpions. Every time something comes in an indoor item will be ejected.

I once had a patient who burned the house down rather than packing everything up prior to a move. She explained this was a quicker and more practical way to start over. Sensible woman.



IMG_3953I lead a dull life these days. Nothing interesting is happening until the end of October when I attend a medical conference in Texas. I have never been to Texas other than a drive through the top part on my way to New Mexico.* What I see in the news and by the Texans I have met I have a hypothesis everyone in Texas is a bit barmy. I don’t know if San Antonio captures the Ur-text of the place, but I am keen to find out. At least it is something of which to look forward.

There was a bit of excitement the other day via the post. Some vague but menacing governmental agency sent us a terse letter informing us the license sticker on the 2001 Honda Accord expired in June and we had better do something about this toot suite lest we are arrested and put into a gulag. I was a bit disturbed by this but Someone promises to fix this today. I hope he is not arrested on the way to the Motor Vehicle Centre.

Along with the ominous letter from the vague but menacing governmental agency there was a check for some consultation work I did in June. My jaw dropped at the amount. Hot puppies! I earned more in two day’s work than my day job gives me in a fortnight. I wish to sit down with Someone and figure out what to do with this windfall of wealth.  Someone the rationalist suggests we give the entire check over to The Good Investor at Merrill Lynch.  In contrast I can think of a long list of house repairs in desperate need of repair.

The icemaker is on the fritz and doing strange things indeed. It isn’t producing ice but dripping water down the inside of the fridge, creating ice tombs on the boxes of frozen vegetables. It takes a hammer to dislodge them from their ice-jacket. Worse luck, some of the water is seeping out onto the floor, making puddles and drowning the scorpions.

I am slowly rereading my blog looking for typos and dangling modifiers prior to publishing it on paper. It is a ponderous task for I have ten years to read and edit all made worse I keep forgetting where I left off. I have some post-its to remind me where I was but then I lose the post-its. It is a wonder how on earth I keep anything in order these days. Perhaps it is good I lead a dull life. Too much going on may make me a candidate for Texan citizenship.


*I slept through it all.

Tony (the dear!) doesn’t write as often as I wish him to do but when he does it is always well done and worth the waiting. He recently posted an essay “I used to think” in which he discusses philosophies and alleged truisms now discarded for something else or better.

It got me thinking (his posts do that) about what I used to think. The list is legion. As the Firesign Theatre used to say: “Everything you know is wrong”.  I would feel betrayed when one of my axiomatic beliefs was exposed as a sham, as if I had been deluded by a con artist. Nowadays when an apodictic thought falls flat I smile a bit as if I suddenly solved a crossword puzzle clue that had evaded me.

I used to think good people will be rewarded and bad people will be punished.  I learned this in Sunday school. Nowadays people are less likely to believe in a palpable god as in a nebulous ‘karma’ that will right all wrongs.  I almost think the opposite occurs viz. the more crap one gets in life is a sure sign you are doing well.

I used to think it important not to waste a single minute of the day but to be continuously busy doing meaningful jobs and productive tidy-ups and self-improvements.


I used to think Jessye Norman was the best.

I used to think every ten years I would quit my job and move to another place to have a life time of various careers in various locations.

I used to think the only successful and meaningful relationship is a monogamous until-death-do-you-part marriage.

I used to think if I was being emotional or irrational or illogical people would think I was a bad psychiatrist.


I used to think the best movie ever was “Fantasia.”*

I used to think if I read and commented on every blog I visited they would reciprocate in kind.

I used to think I would live a long life. I am not so certain now I will and I wonder if I really want to.

I used to think I don’t deserve to be in the weight room with the ‘real men’.

I used to think everybody likes to learn and grow like I do.


I used to think beards were disgusting.

I used to think I would be a paleontologist or an astronomer or an organist or a graphic illustrator for Disney or a pediatrician or a cardiologist.

I used think it OK to bite my nails


I used to think the Republican party best represented my welfare; I would always vote GOP.





*It’s still pretty good but hardly the best movie ever.

Walking the dog

Harper doesn’t seem worse for the wear for having been cooped up in a kennel for a week. She is always glad to go home. We have returned to our (near) daily dog walks. My brain is still on Atlantic Time; I wake a 4AM bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Harper is keen to go on walks at any time of the day, so off we go.
August in Phoenix is the worse month for it is both hot and humid; our morning walks are not very comfortable nor are they long. Harper sometimes calls it quits by making sudden U-turns and back home we go. Some mornings I barely have time to hear The Writer’s Almanac on podcast.
At the conclusion of dog-walks Harper wants – nay demands – a treat. Doggie treats fall into two categories: the snack-food equivalent of nasty chips or healthy tidbits designed for her teeth. After morning strolls I give the latter, called dental-stix. These are not refused but not as coveted as the pup-er-oni rods. Go figure.

Someone rarely comes along on our matutinal strolls. Harper is always happy for his coming along. As he pauses to lock the front door she jumps up on him to push him along. “Give him the boots!” I shout at her, as I stand waiting at the end of the driveway. Someone is more disciplined than I at making her pause and sit at every street crossing.

I am looking forward to cooler days when we can stroll longer and faster without the sense of wanting to get back home into the AC.

“A very mad frolic this evening. Set the house on fire three times and broke Mr. Dream’s leg….got drunk and committed a number of foolish actions.”

  19 November 1776 – Nicholas Cresswell, a British traveler in the North American Colonies.

Video Snapshot

The pantry is overflowing with booze. There is myriad of liquors consisting of my whiskey/scotch/bourbon collection; a few examples of various spirits such as gin, vodka, and rum; a bricolage of mixers and cordials, most nearly full having been bought for an experimental cocktail never repeated.

I have a nagging sensation I should do something about the situation. Drinking them is the obvious answer. Perhaps I should make a late new year’s resolution to have a nightly “snort” (as Father likes to call his cocktails). This approach is somewhat unsettling. My inner midwestern Protestant sees this as a slippery slope to dipsomania. Someone has no desire to clear the cupboard and I don’t care about drinking alone.  Besides, I just made a austere vow to cut down on calories; a daily dram is detrimental to losing some kilos

IMG_4287At least I should stop buying more of the stuff. I remind myself at home there are four unopened bottles of bourbon and I don’t need a fifth (hohoho). Alas, while touring a PEI winery I purchased a bottle of Bagaço, on the rationalization I had to buy something for the sake of the tour manager (the owner’s wife) and I don’t have one. Someone won’t be touching the stuff, so I fear this Portuguese potation joins the others unopened or barely touched.

Someone and I don’t know enough people to have a ‘help us drain the pantry’ party, which may be a blessing for that sounds inimical if downright dangerous.

I may channel grandmother Spo who insisted – nay, demanded – two drinks daily prior to dinner. Later in life I worried she had a drinking problem until I was old enough to sample the libations. They were as feeble as a cup of china tea and were weak as water that happened to have a splash of sheep-dip.  I surmise that type of nightly dissipation isn’t too harmful. However by my arithmetic it will take decades to vacate the pantry of its occupants.

If any Spo-fans want to visit for a generous rounder you are most welcome to do so. Just don’t burn down the house nor break no legs.

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