Drat! The fridge is on the fritz. The main fridge itself looks to be running with its lights on and such but the temperature is barely cool.  Everything in the freezer had to be thrown away. We are eating what we can, and cooking some of it in order  to put into the laundry room freezer. Thing like the potato salad and cottage can not be trusted.

I phoned a few places only to learn the soonest someone can show is Tuesday so I fear nothing will last until then.  And I have just bought groceries! Oh the pain. It’s enough to drink me to drink but we haven’t any ice. 

Sometimes I consider making a little list of all the things around the house that want repair but I don’t ever do it as the list would be as long as my arm and the realization how much needs attention would make my eyes cross or tear up. I am certain Spo-fans have a similar sense that ‘everything seems to break down at once”.  As soon as you think you’ve gotten past the worst the carburetor bubbles over or the washing machine refuses to work.  It’s like they plot like an appliance Jonestown to all die at once. 

We have several types of repairmen coming in this week. We have our fingers crossed they will show on time and fix the problem right away without too much blood shed.  Fat chance of that.  One of us will have to stay home, waiting for Godot. Someone usually ends up doing this as a day’s loss of wages for him is not as bad as mine. I miss the opportunity to play “Repairman 3” but Someone assures me not once has any repairman looked like one of the fellows in the movies.

Our normal mode of operation is to ignore broken items as long as possible but a defunct refrigerator can’t be denied. As for the cost, well, there is no point in asking if the air is any good when there is nothing else to breathe.  

Such is the state of the union at La Casa de Spo.  I may run out to get some ice now. 

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Urs Truly is slowly plodding through Pepys Diary.* One of its charms is the old English spelling (ex: “My heade akes”). Another perk is the sudden reading of a word I do not recognize. Spo-fans know nothing floats my goat as much as fascinating words.  In February 1661 Sammy P. is ‘heartily glad to be eating again after a period of sickness in which I had nothing but posset-drink. ”  My eyes widened. I have never heard of a posset-drink. I had to look it up.

According to Wikipedia: 

A posset (also spelled poshote, poshotte) was a hot British drink made of milk curdled with wine or ale, often spiced, which was popular and used as a cold and flu remedy.

This doesn’t sound very good to me but I find it comforting to know people even then tried to do something/anything to help their colds. It made me think what are my own ‘posset-drinks’ , the tonics I drink to better my health -at least make me feel I am doing something for the flu-like feelings.  

Tea of course is my primo posset-drink, my panacea for all ills.  I like it hot, strong, and tannic – like my men. Sometimes I use some lemon in the iced tea. Milk is used on occasion in the hot stuff, but never to the point of curdling. 

For more severe colds and flu I drink Gatorade, on the logic (or hopeful thinking) its glucose and mineral do me good when I can’t drink and/or I am heaving ho.  I call it “The poor man’s IV”. Thanks to this long time association I can’t drink Gatorade without thinking I am coming down with something. 

When tea or tonics won’t work, or for more serious ailments, whisky is an excellent posset-drink.  It is also a prevention of toothache. Mark Twain claims he never had the toothache thanks to his night posset-drink of Old Crow. So there it is. 

For thems interested in trying a proper-no-rubbish posset-drink here is a recipe I found from a random Google search.  Buyer beware.

1⁄2 cup milk

1⁄2 teaspoon lemon peel, grated

1⁄4 cup sugar

1/⁄8 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg white

1⁄4 cup dark rum

1⁄4 cup brandy

Heat in a saucepan the milk, lemon peel, sugar, and almond extract. When it begins to scald, remove from heat. Beat egg white and add to the milk brew. Now add rum and brandy.  Serve hot.

I read once in JAMA a double-blind study whisky is the more efficacious.  

 

*I’m at March 1661 with ~ eight years to go.

In this post I process a tender side of soul normally not acknowledged  let alone written about it for all the world to see.  In a way it is an exercise in bravery.

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In my 25+ years of being a shrink I’ve had amble time to learn all the components of my psyche warts and all. I know my strengths and I am in touch with my Shadow sides. Thanks to analysis and self-exploration I am cognizant which screws are loose and I’ve been able to tighten most of them. However there are some that aren’t going to tighten or go away.  It’s a wise man who knows where and what they are so as not to let them rule the roost. 

When I strip away rationale and self-delusions  and let myself see my dark and deficit sides, I realize I am not a brave man. When I am confronted with Wrong I am not one to roll up my sleeves and sally forth to fight for the Right in response. Rather I want to retreat and withdraw in to my own personal Diefenbunker. If danger threatens my ‘natural inclination’ is to crawl into a ball. It is no wonder I have long been attracted to hedgehogs.  The Child complex within my Psyche wants to find a strong Parental figure who will put his or her arms around me and assure me everything will be all right. Another Shadow side is Envy: I’ve long admired Warriors of both sexes. These are the brave ones who are not afraid to stand up to Hate, Ignorance, and Wrong. Oh how I would like to be like them.

This Shadow-Child Complex is more active than usual these days in response to the growing sensation I don’t feel safe.  Around me there is a lot of threatening energy, at work from some patients, in my daily encounters with others, in the nation with its nasty politics, and around the world. In reaction I feel The Child complex telling me to turn off the news and retreat into a closed-off world of books. It feels like cowardice of which I am ashamed. 

Being brave is not ‘feeling no fear’ but doing what’s right despite feeling fear. I wish I had more Warrior Energy to act accordingly.  When I can conjure enough libido to connect with The Warrior I am often bewildered what to do with it.  It feels like finally grasping The Sword of Gryffindor without the knowledge how to wield it. At times it all feels feckless. 

It helps me to think upon Warriors. These are the great men and women of history and literature who refused to be cowered. Despite threats to their welfare they didn’t back down. They comfort me; they stiffen my spine.

I point out the Ibsen quotation at the top of my blog – have you ever stopped to read it?  Being a Warrior and going forward is my daily struggle. I think I will always have it. These trying times test my mettle – will I do something rather than retreat?  I do not know. 

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I wish I had something zany and fascinating to report but I don’t. I lead a dull life – which has had its ichor sucked out of it thanks to work. The Other Doctor and the Nurse Practioner both went on holiday, leaving Urs Truly to put out all fires and wait tables.  Needless to say I haven’t had time to do much of anything let alone read or write blogs.  I wanted Spo-fans to know I was still alive. Also, The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections threatened bodily harm if I don’t ‘put out something right now”.   They have all the patience of a boiling tea-kettle.

Here’s all the news that’s fit to print – precise if not too imaginative.

The Monsoon season started, which brings in frequent rains (good) and humidity (bad).

Speaking of water, the reverse osmosis water filter repairman comes in a week. Meanwhile we are drinking tap water when we drink water at all. I’ve learned to chill a pitcher of it to make it more palatable (for the only ice we have is brought in from convenience stores).

I have yet to open any of the birthday bottles of booze (no time!) but I did start nibbling at the birthday cheese. Last night for small chocolate cone we had Roquefort cheese. I don’t believe I’ve ever had any until now. It was fantastic. It was complex, pungent, and bursting with umami – like my men.  Indulging in proper food makes me realize how uninteresting and tasteless is my usual fodder eaten on a daily basis.  This weekend I try the Red Leicester.  Hot puppies!

I am up to the year 1661 in Mr. Pepys’ diary. Reading between the discreet references I’ve concluded he was rather lecherous with the maid-servants.  It is a fun read, but it reminds me when I am on death’s door I need to discard my own decades of diaries lest there is talk after I am gone.

This weekend I get my shoes shined. The black ones.

 

Walking the dog

A storm blew through The Valley of the Sun yesterday. It was a whopper. The sky went so dark it made the street lights turn on. The downpour was intense; there was massive flooding and storm damage. On the positive side, temperatures dropped from 40C down to 25C. On the negative, the humidity went from 5-10% up to 70-80%. Oh the pain. It feels like Savannah.  This is the background for today’s Walking the Dog post.

The Princess Pooch does not like water. She jumps over the smallest of puddles and she walks around the large ones. Today’s morning dog walk was an obstacle course of water spots and down branches. She was not a happy pup. Normally she pulls me down the street but today she walked next to me with the trepidation of a single woman walking at night down the street of a nefarious neighborhood. Both of us turned up our noises as we stepped outside into the humid air.  Neither one of us are used to taking in moisture through our lungs. Oh the pain.

While we dodged the mesquite branches and the horrible horrible puddles Harper Hound was checking out the local sniffs. She has her favorite posts; the bushes she regularly visits act like a canine Facebook. I think she was vexed to find most websites were down; they had been washed away in the deluge.  Poor thing.

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In the disarray we were comforted to see Mrs. Oliver, the great horned owl. She was perched on the streetlight, keeping vigil. What a relief to know she wasn’t swept away in the rainstorm.

It’s monsoon season in PHX, which means everyday for a while there is a small chance of sudden afternoon rainstorms – just when we go for our PM strolls. It is impossible to reason with a dog it is not nice to go out. One has to resort to going through the ritual of putting on the leash and going out – only for H to realize it is wet and nasty. She turns around in a change of mind.  It’s amazing what we do for our dogs. They drive us crazy because they know they can.

First of all, I want to thank everybody for birthday greetings from yesterday. I am continually grateful at the outpouring of warm wishes and salutations I receive. 

It’s been hot; the temperatures have regularly been 40-45C*. The AC is going allergo no troppo yet it isn’t enough to keep the house cool. I don’t want to go out or do anything. Someone is due home from work soon and he will probably just sleep in front of the TV all afternoon. 

I may just take his lead and estivate, falling asleep under a few books. Anything to avoid going out of doors. The house is relatively clean and the laundry is done so there isn’t much ‘work to be done’ tasks. What there is feels too hot to bother with. 

Someone gave me a rawther unusual birthday prize of ice molds shaped as skulls.  These are splendid not only for everyday sipping but for Halloween cocktails.  There is a bit of grim humor is there not to serve guests a shot of whisky in which is bopping a skull- cube.**  Due to last week’s dripping under the kitchen sink, the reverse osmosis machine is off. As as consequence we have no filtered drinking water. I don’t mind drinking tap water but I miss ice. The ice machine gets its water from the osmosis machine. I suspect I will be making a lot of skull-cubes this week until we get the osmosis repair man or somebody like him. Someone also gave me some splendid stainless steel cocktail picks so perhaps I can solve the water crisis and use skulls and picks in frequent libations.  Better make that a double.  

*In Fahrenheit this is just too damn hot. 

**Someone said he almost got me the ‘tiki gods’ ice mold instead, but he thought I would like the skulls more.  He is correct.

Here are some Spo-thoughts on the feast day of my nativity.

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One should not sweat the small stuff. However this is harder to do when you grow old. Once upon a time you were that let-it-slide dude then you are that old guy yelling at the kids to get off your lawn.  I may roll my eyes when Someone takes umbrage and shouts at the youngsters who don’t stop at the nearby stop sign interaction, but I am no better. Here’s a list of things that burn my beets and make the younger ones wonder who spit in my Geritol.  

Lazy good-for-nothings who don’t return their grocery carts but leave them al l over the parking lot. 

Thems who plough through the flashing red lights at the highway entries.  In my day red meant stop. 

Sluggards who throw recyclables into the rubbish. Worse, they don’t first drain the bottles. I’ve been known to fish these out of the trash and empty the contents before putting them in the proper bins. Must I do everything around here? 

Young man, when a lady arrives at the table you stand up!

Rude boys on apps who suddenly stop conversing without so much a “I have to go now good-bye”.  

When I give you a gift it is good manners to call or write an email of thanks. I’ve given up on proper thank-you notes. 

Poor eye contact and lackluster handshakes when meeting another gentleman.  Who raised these kids I wonder? 

For those in the service industry: the proper way to address me is “Doctor”, “Mister”, or “Sir”. “Pal”, “Buddy”, and my first name are right-out.  Oh the pain. 

I’m not so old yet or so curmudgeonly to correct your grammar in public, but when I say “Thank you’ and you reply with ‘No problem (instead of ‘You’re welcome)  I may say “I wasn’t aware it was”.

What old person rants do you do my dears?

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Stinko! As I wound the ship’s clock I heard the dreaded ‘snap’ within announcing the winding coil has snapped. The clock still tells the time but it no longer can chime the hours and half hours. This is quite a downer for Urs Truly. There are few clock- repairmen left and thems who are still open have a long waiting list. It is not unheard of to have to wait six months or more for a simple repair job – if he can repair it at all.  Oh the pain.

Stinko indeed. 

I grew up with ships clocks.  For thems unfamiliar with such timepieces, they have brass chimes, referred to as ‘bells’.  An odd number of bells chime on the half hour; the hours get an even number of chimes. Eight bells announces 12, 4, and 8 for AM and PM. Beloved eight bells traditionally herald the end of a sailor’s four hour work shift.  1230, 430 and 830 start the cycle again with one bell. Over the next four hours the chimes increase to eight bells.  One doesn’t have to be near a clock to know the time. The bells strike and you sit up slightly and count – and you get the time. *

I’ve heard ship clock chimes all my life.  Whenever they strike I get a little smile of serenity.  Sometimes in response I say out loud “I love my ship’s clock!” in a sort of prayer of gratitude.

All my brothers have one, as does Father. Mine was purchased in an antique store in Key West, Florida, back in my salad days of the late 90s.  Goodness knows how old it is. I’ve lost count how many times something has gone bad with it and I’ve had to shell out mega-bucks to get it repaired.  I suspect the money poured into it would pay for several new clocks and then some. **  

Like a favorite car or shirt, I don’t want to give it up. By now it just may be too expensive to have it repaired. I have to face facts it is ‘eight bells’ for my beloved ship’s clock. I suppose I can ask Santa for a new one but I will probably one sooner – if not soon as possible. I would greatly miss the every thirty chimes that elicit warm memories and give me comfort.  

*There is a ‘challenge’ here. Example: if you hear 7 bells, it is either 1130 or 330 or 730. One can usually deduce if it is AM or PM and which of the three times is right. 🙂 

**My clock must be regularly wound with a turn key. There are two key holes: one  for the chimes and another for the clock itself.  The new ones are battery run. This makes sense but I will sorely miss the routine of regular winding. 

Note: this is one of my darkest entries.

In the musical “1776”, before they sign The Declaration of Independence, John Hancock says:

 “Very well. We are about to brave the storm in a skiff made of paper, and how it will end – God only knows.” 

‘1776’ doesn’t end with a upbeat celebratory song but with an ominous dissonant chord. It seems to say “Will this remarkable experiment in democracy succeed?” On the eve of The Glorious Forth I do not feel good about the country. There is a growing ugliness in the land; there is no willingness for civil dialogue or compromise.  Oh how we hate each other.

My memory may be marred but it seems to me I was born into a country of people, and now it has become a kennel of mad dogs.  The USA has degenerated from a republic into an oligarchy in league with a kakistocracy.  Once upon a time I think we admired reason, science, and manners; now these virtues are anathema.  Indeed no virtue seems wanted anymore. If the Ghost of Jacob Marley should happen to haunt the powers in charge they would laugh at his lamentation the common welfare, charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence are the true business of man.

It is easy to blame Hair Furor but I see him as a personified rash that has erupted out of the sickness that is The States. Jung once said “Every country gets the foreigners it deserves”. Perhaps we ‘deserve’ Trump for our choosing Darkness to Light.*

So what do I do in my current mental state on this national day of celebration?  I don’t think I want to pretend we are one family family and rubbish united we stand. I stop to remember not everyone gained their independence on 4 July, 1776 and I don’t see anyone gaining freedoms any time soon.  

I am pessimistic; we have devolved and I fear there is no turning back.

 

*Some argue Trump wasn’t picked per se but usurped through Russian influences. If this were proven true I don’t the spineless Congressman would even speak up to say that’s bad. 

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