Jungians see the Universe constantly trying to achieve balance. Yesterday’s entry with about the Demons of Ignorance. I create balance, today’s is about The Pillars of Wisdom. These are the archetypes of Strength.

Whenever I encounter the Demons of Ignorance and I feel weak or important it helps me to remember The Strong. These are the men and women who help me avoid succumbing to despair. Some of them are fictional; they come from movies and literature. Some are boisterous warriors and some are quiet rocks.  What they have in common is they give me courage. I have a whole household of them in the recesses of my pumpkin. I don’t always remember they are there, but they never fail to come to my aide when I call them. The Strong ones (who are friends or family) you would not recognize, but here are a few you will know:



Mrs. Moorehead




When I can’t focus on any of them I always have my ancestors. In “The Manticore” by Robertson Davies the main character David is trapped in a small tunnel deep underground. He is having a panic attack and he’s lost control of his bowels he is so frightened. Behind him his companion demands he conjure up his courage and move on. He can’t. She suggests he pray to his god, but then sarcastically remarks his type has no god. She tells him to think on his ancestors. So he remembers his great grandmother, who valiantly left Ireland barefoot and pregnant out of wedlock.  He imagines her bravely going around town gathering money for the boat ticket to Canada. The vision of this Strong woman gets him to move and out of the cave.

I too like to think upon my ancestors as courageous folk who first left Scandinavia for Normandy, then Normandy to England, and finally England for New England, each time daring fate and circumstance.

Despite it all – the news from Indiana, The NOM, ISIS, the nasties in Texas and Alabama, and The GOP I will stand tall and stalwart with my Strong ones.

They comfort me; they stiffen my spine.


This post is rather pugnacious, but I felt better to get it out of me. Come back tomorrow when I have something more jolly. 


I haven’t had time (or inspiration) to write lately, what with covering The Other Doctor. I had a few nice encounters at work this week when patients asked me for my expert opinion on this, that, or the other. They seemed grateful for my knowledge, which I try to be based on objective research, science, and data analysis. I got the impression they were actually going to follow my advice. Usually it is the other way around viz. people come in with convictions or what is true, and when I try to correct and educate I am told I am either a) wrong or b) in cahoots with (fill in the blank).

I’ve said it before: Ignorance drives me crazy. Not just ignorance but the firm conviction without willingness to change if given material to negate  assumptions. Worse is people proud of their ignorance. Am I remembering wrong? I think I recall a time when people wanted to learn as much as possible.  I don’t seem to run into too many of these types anymore.  Recently I learned Americans believe the following :

18% believe the earth is the centre of the universe and 25% believe the sun revolves around the earth. 

25% don’t believe Darwin’s theory has any truth to it. 

~ 30% of Americans believe climate change is from natural influences.

~ 33% believe sexual orientation is a choice. 

7% believe the 1969 moon landing didn’t happen. 

And maybe one in four suspect President Obama as the Antichrist.

And one in five think we gained independence from some country other than The United Kingdom. 

This all is particularly depressing for I hear Mr. Cruz has equivocated people who believe in global warming are no different than those who believe the earth is flat.

I am beginning to believe Mr. Cruz should be President; he is what this country deserves. Not that I would be here to witness this debacle, for I will have emigrated to New Zealand or have died of illness (from lack of health care) or have been stoned to death by those feeling I am destroying religious freedom.

Truth is never loud or glamorous. One can only hope it wins in the end.



Today at work Patient “A” conveyed while in a manic phase “A” shoplifted for the first time in “A”s life. In a hypomanic state, “A” took a shirt from a department store, was caught, and now has legal consequences. After “A” finished his/her narrative s/he asked if I had any questions.

Yes: Was s/he able to keep the shirt ?

Patient “B” announced s/he had found Jesus and consequentially no longer needs medications or psychiatric care, please close the case. As a parting gift “B” gave me a couple of Chick Publications comic booklets. I would have preferred B had given me the co-pay.

“C” reported he was taking a medication for over five years and it doesn’t do anything but it causes a lot of side effects so I proposed he stop it.  He thinks I’m a genius.

Today’s counseling was influenced by the poetess Mary Oliver, who said:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

This was surprisingly efficacious: at least two patients decided upon hearing this they will leave their marriages.

Several patients admired the purple Spo-shirt I wore to work today because my office with its southern exposure gets quite hot at this time of year. It seems whenever I dress down and chance the APA secrete police will show up and drag me away for failing to dress up to contemporary professional standards I get compliments rather.

It’s time to renew the license that allows me to prescribe controlled substances. The toad-suckers raised the price from 500$ to 731$. Skunks. What am I going to do, say ‘no”? I can understand 700$ but the 31$ part is a mystery.

A pharmaceutical representative came today for a luncheon. He brought in a plate of sandwiches and he talked about his product which is indicated for adult binge eating. The Other Doctor and the counselors were not in today, so he had an audience of one, Urs Truly. There was something ironic about hearing about a Rx to curtail binge eating while snarfing down several sandwiches.

white noise app At the moment I am sitting listening to waves of the pacific ocean waves breaking on a regular basis onto the shore. It is very soothing and peaceful, and it is much better than the rain storm I heard an hour ago. Both sounds are emanating from a speaker which is connected to my iPhone via “bluetooth”; I have an app for white noise.

I am very fond of the sounds of nature and this app seems to have most of my favorites: country field, wooden boat rolling on the water, babbling brooks, and campfire, along with the breaking wave and thunderstorm (my favorites).

The app has several choices I find odd. For them’s who wants them, there are urban options such as “vacuum cleaner”, “washing machine”, “city traffic”, and (of all things!) “crowded subway”. There are also abstract sounds in colours ranging from white to green to brown.  For those who fancy such, combinations are available. I’ve made one titled ‘Desert night’ which has a soft wind, a cracking ampfire, and some coyote howls.

Someone and I seldom fall asleep at the same time, but when we do we both desire ‘something to hear’ but disagree on what. Someone prefers the voice; plays or lectures have him out within five minutes. In contrast he finds white noise unsettling it evokes insomnia. Someone uses the TV to induce sleep while I can’t fall asleep in front of a TV to save my life.  We agree real silence is not good and something must be making noise, whether it’s Henry V (works swifter than Ambien) or “Gentle forest rain” (a combination of frogs, babbling brook, and raindrops).

I am most grateful for my white noise app for I miss water in all its forms. Running water, rain, and ocean waves sooth me like nothing else. I wish somebody would capture ‘snowstorm’. This displaced midwesterner would pay dearly for it.

Walking the dog

It is Bach’s birthday today so I listened to a few of his cantatas. “Widerstehe doch der Sunde” is my favorite and for fun I listened to “The Coffee Cantata” and had a cuppa with it. As a consequence I became shaky and restless. The Solution?: Go for a dog walk. Harper is always grateful for that.

Widerstehe doch die Hunde.

The veterinarian told Someone Harper she must lose 2-4lb so dog-walks are paramount. *  More walks please and make them longer and more frequent.  Walking the dog is more pleasant what with the sun coming up early enough to make the morning strolls not entirely in the dark. It’s warmer too; sweatpants and shirts are no longer required.  All too soon it will be bright even as we wake and too hot to go out after twilight.

Harper tends to ‘lead the way’ these days for I let her direct which way to go, which is usually always towards the park. Sometimes I  take lead and take her in the opposite direction.  This often evokes a forceful tug at crucial corners to go back home, as if she decided if it isn’t my way then screw you we are going home. Bitch.

I have some new bells and whistles on my iPhone 6+ which tell me how many steps I take, how many ‘stairs’ I have climbed, and a lovely emergency button to press if I develop apoplexy and somebody needs to know my medical history.  There is also a bossy-boots who informs me I’ve paused and how about getting going. This is annoying to say the least, especially with a pooch who walks rubato not andante.  I should leave the dang phone at home I suppose. More embarrassing than dropping dead and having my phone reveal my medical matters are the text messages and visited websites done along the walk.

* Someone was told to lay off giving her treats from the dinner table. And I don’t mean Someone.

The almanac informs me the change in length of daylight went from less than twelve hours of light to more than twelve hours locally on March 18th. The same almanac also tells me the vernal equinox happens today, 20 March at 345PM, local time. I can’t envision how the local day=night ratio happens earlier than the sun actually crossing the equator, but there it is. There is a lot about astronomy and physics I find inscrutable, especially when it comes to relatively and space-time.  Quantum mechanics is another hellacious topic for my humming-bird brain to grasp. Happily, there a lots of lovely lectures on Youtube on these topics. I may not always grasp their nuances but I usually get the “gist”, just enough to make witty remarks at cocktail parties if someone should ask me my opinion on quantum entanglements or dark matter. I can’t recall all the names the moons of Jupiter which I think have multiplied since I last tried to memorize them. So far, nobody has approached me on these topics. It could be I am not invited to the right cocktail parties.

I struggle with a lot of other lofty topics, including economics, technology, and politics. I feel obliged at least make a go at them, on the noble grounds of diminishing ignorance or making another stab at those cocktail parties.

When I am invited at all to cocktail parties the conversation always seems more about pop culture celebrities and/or who is dating whom. These are topics even more ineffable than wormholes and no prettier.

Please excuse me as I pour myself a snort and cocktail party be damned.


I woke this morning around 3AM to a sound simultaneously soothing and unsettling. It took a second for my consciousness to catch up to my emotions. It was raining.  The positive feelings were mixed with the unsettled novelty of it, for it hasn’t rained in the night in many months.  The sensible part of the brain suggested I go back to sleep, but the emotional part wished to stay up to enjoy the sonorous solemnity.

It’s a pity I live in the desert, for rainy days provide me comfort and peace.  I think there is nothing more seraphic than the smell of petrichor and the drumming of raindrops on the rooftop.  Rainy days appeal to the introvert. They give one the permission to stay put and don’t go out. These are the days for hot cups of tea and good books, followed by the most blissful of events: a rainy day nap.  Even as I type this I feel a peaceful lull trying to lower my eyelids.

Rainy days needn’t be all indolence; there are always the ‘rainy projects’. These tasks are usually not strenuous, but mawkish or thoughtful, like organizing the photos files, or writing some letters, or tidying up a closet.

There is less noise on rainy days, so as not to interrupt the atmospheric concert of pitter-patter. TV and Youtube videos are verboten. If there is any music to be played it is something soft and pensive like Native American flutes.

The best rain is continuous and light, without much wind – perhaps just enough to stroke the wind chimes so they provides a low-grade ostinato to the rain chorus.  Meals on a rainy day are simple and hot, such as soup and a sandwich – grilled cheese preferably, for the warmth of rainy day food compliments the mild chill of the damp.

The reality is I am at my office, and my work-day begins soon. I will be indoors out of sight or sound of the weather, cut off from the rain.  Chances are the rain will stop and by day’s end the sky will be clear as crystal and we won’t have rain again until the summer.  But the memory of rain will have soaked into my heart if not my skin. Perhaps on a hot sunny day with too much work to do I can turn on the virtual rainy day that is now in my soul.

3/21/15 Update: I just learned of a lovely word:


n. the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm, listening to waves of rain pattering against the roof like an argument upstairs, whose muffled words are unintelligible but whose crackling release of built-up tension you understand perfectly.


“Nothing is to be feared, but understood.”   Marie Curie

A lot the stress in our lives stems from what we believe, especially the things we believe which are incorrect.  This bias is based on the evolutionary necessity to be alert to real stressors (predators and nasty things).  Alas, the brain (not at all discriminate in its reactions) tends to see the bills on an equal basis as an attacking tiger. We are wired to see everything first as a potential threat.  Lately I’ve been doing a lot more counseling on getting people to see their partner not as a dangerous animal and speak up asking for something they want. It’s hard enough to ask strangers or bosses for our wants. Curiously a lot of people have more trouble speaking with their spouse and loved one. You’d think in relationships, allegedly based on love and intimacy,it would have no problems with asserting our needs.

Asking for things is even more ticklish when it comes to sex.* I am going here on the double axiom  a) regular sexual activity is healthy  and b) those who have sex as an integral part of their relationship shouldn’t have hang ups about it.

I continuously hope nothing is so scary I can’t be talked about.   Let’s say you want to discuss with your partner on this topic you find important yet scary.**

First, you tell your partner you want to talk about something, and is this a good time to do it.  If not, set a time, or keep trying until time is made.  At the time of the meeting,  before you say anything,  tell your partner your fears.  You fear by opening up on this matter you will get hurt, or feelings will be hurt, or they will become upset or see it wrong or it would lead to rejection etc.   After this, you list what you hope the outcome will be, such as openness to try the matter or assurance things are OK or sex will become more often and/or various etc.   After these two speeches, then you bring up the topic for discussion.

Happily almost always the ‘worst case scenario” people dread dose not happen.  Perhaps there isnt much success at first, but the exercise gets a foot in the doorway to keep talking on this and any topic.  Certainly many patients come back to me with the dismal news their partner refused to talk or went into hysterics.  We examine it as a worrisome sign of the health of the relationship – sometimes wondering why are they staying with such a partner.

In my professional opinion sex in relationship should be loving, intimate, healthy – and frequent and jolly good fun to boot.  It’s a pity that the topic remains so difficult for so many.



*At least with my patients. I surmise this is applicable to Spo-fans and people in general, not just to Spo-patients.


** By the way, after decades of doing this stuff, I’ve found the four usual sexual issues are:

Not having enough or any sex.

Wanting to try something new about sex.

Wanting to try an open relationship (seen mostly in gay male couples though).

Shame about something (usually body image).


I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in me but I have an appetence  of all things Irish.* Today is St. Patrick’s Day and  I plan to do the following:

Wear green – I will don my St. Patrick’s Day bowtie. Silly plastic kelly green hats are right out – I am not a leprechaun. I may be whimsical and wear some green beads, provided it doesn’t look too much like Mardi Gras.

james-joyce-portrait-painting-bigRead – Yeats and/or Joyce. They are two of my favorite authors. And Yes I said yes I will Yes




Play Irish music. I don’t care much for the frenzied tunes or ‘bar songs”. Rather I like Irish ballads and soulful melodies like Brian Boru’s march.


Listen to some Irish history. Irish history is rather painful. Let’s just say in the history of The British Empire this is not one of its best endeavors.


picture-irish-famineEat something Irish. No corned beef and cabbage! I used to work with a resident from Dublin. She says back in Ireland no one eats such rubbish. Proper food for St. Patrick’s day is roast lamb and potatoes. I may skip the lamb but tonight I might have a spud or two.



Drink. Dammit, it is St. Patrick’s Day. After all these Irish intellectual endeavor there should be some drinking. NO GREEN BEER. Tollamore Dew whisky and nothing less, thank you very much.


Kiss Someone. After all he has some Irish in him.


Here is Someone playing the traditional Irish bombarde.


Fall asleep listening to a Beckett play. Probably “Waiting for Godot.”

Nothing to be done. I am beginning to come around to that opinion.




* I have a long time fantasy of kissing a bonafide redheaded Irishman for good luck etc. If you know this man (or somebody like him) will you please introduce us?  No palaver.


Many people say ‘Clothes aren’t important to me” but they are kidding themselves. Every morning when we dress we do so with some thought in the process. We dress in order to want others to admire us, or respect us, or interact in a certain way exhibited by the ‘uniform’. Sometimes it is the opposite we desire. The chosen clothing is not to seek out but to hide or tell others to leave us alone.

Perhaps 99% of my lifetime of clothes has no meaning to them. I wear them, the wear out, I rid of them and get some thing new. However, throughout my life certain items of clothing have stayed in my memory as remarkable for their meaning.

In the back of the closet hangs a faded white short-sleeved shirt vittate with thin stripes of red, blue, green, and yellow. I remember buying this shirt in the late 80s at a now defunct men’s store named “Mallards”. I had recently moved to Chicago to start my internship and my adult life. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. The decades of countless washings have faded it, and it is a bit dog-eared around the sleeves and collar. There are no specific memories to this shirt other than it has made it to the present with me. We both survived a journey of great highs and lows.

When I graduated residency in1992 it marked finally finished school. I was 30 years old and I was going to get my first real job. I went to Neiman-Marcus to purchase a suit, and not just any suit, but a white linen suit. I had more than graduation on my mind. I surmised it would be the suit in which I would someday be buried. I wore the suit from time to time at summer parties and every year on my birthday. As I aged and changed physique (sometimes for the better, sometimes not) the suit required continual alterations and tailoring.  Eventually it went out of style. By then I learned how to sew and I now want to be buried in one of my shirts. I don’t recall when I gave the suit away. It does not matter for it had served its purpose.

On top of the closet shelf stands a pair of black boots. I don’t recall where I bought them but I did so sometime in the 90s for country dancing lessons.  In those boots I have danced and been in contests (with some silver medals I might mention). I also went in them down the yellow brick road into leather and cowboy bars. It had been so long since I last wore boots I can’t remember. I tried them on the other day. The leather is cracked and they don’t fit anymore. I no longer dance nor do I go to leather bars (alas).  Perhaps like the shoes I have outgrown something once important is now not so. They are not a survival memory like the Mallard shirt so they ought to be disposed of like the cream-coloured suit, but there they stand.

A closet ‘sock’ drawer is full of bowties rather. Each has its memory and association. The choice to wear any bow tie (or not) has importance in my life.

The blog world is mourning the late Wayne “Cajun”. Spo-fans may recall I made him a shirt. He chose and sent me the orange and yellow butterfly fabric, so I believe he liked it. What I don’t know is whether he actually wore it.  When I heard of his death I had a selfish desire: I wanted that shirt back. I had the terrible intuition his things were going to be dumped en masse at Goodwill where the shirt would cease to have memory or meaning as clothes do once they are separated from their owners. Happily Ron T.  was able to contact Wayne’s housekeeper in time. She was just about to take away his clothes to the Salvation Army. When the Cajun shirt returns it arrives with the everlasting attached memory of The Cajun. It may be the one of the most important shirts I have ever made. Perhaps I will hang it next to the “Mallards” shirt and not wear it. I don’t know.

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