We have just returned from a weekend holiday to Lake Havasu AZ, where the London Bridge is located. It was rawther fun walking across this bridge, touching the stones and imagining the generations of British citizens who have walked over it between 1831-1963.*

It’s Sunday afternoon. The laundry to going. There is a slight melancholy feeling in the air, the sort one feels after returning from a holiday and/or on Sunday evenings knowing the work week is waiting. It’s funny to feel ‘sad’ on Sunday afternoons for it they are one of the few times when I don’t feel the urge to do anything.  I wish it were more ‘zen’ than the sense of merely counting down the hours until bed time. This has always been so going back to grade school where Monday’s approach tainted Sunday just enough to make it moody. I suppose it will always be so until and if I retire when Monday is no longer equivocal to obligation.

We pick Harper up from the kennel in a few hours; she is always blithe to come home. Usually she goes right to sleep as if she’s been up all weekend (partying? the noise of the kennel?) I may join her in her Sunday siesta rather than go poking around the house looking for something to do. When in doubt get horizontal –  especially if it is next to a warm and furry four-foot friend. 

The week ahead doesn’t look to have anything good or bad but more of the same: work, exercise, read, write, and a few new podcasts.  I lead a dull life – but not a bad one. We enter the heat of summer where the daily temperatures readily hit 40C and above.  There isn’t an urge to do anything but estivate. Such is Sunday in the Southwest in the Summer.  



*We also went to a local goodwill store for the local hospice; we bought four and five dollar shirts that are the height of fashion. We also went to a local distillery where they make a rum using agave syrup.  Jolly good fun !


Yesterday morning at work the (female) staff called me to the waiting room. They were sorely vexed; they wanted me to come as soon as possible. I figured someone in the lobby was having a medical emergency. It turned out to be a cockroach as big as a Buick. I was being called upon to kill it. Gregor Samsa was not cooperating in a quick but painful death but kept flying and racing about. My combat skills were marred by the ladies in the waiting room  who added to the donnybrook a chorus of shrieks and advice. Eventually GS came to a boom-squish ending and I was seen as the hero.

It made me recall a time when I was leading a psychotherapy group in which the members began discussing gender roles. Someone asked if there anything anymore that is gender specific no matter how enlightened we are. A woman raised her hand and said “It’s the man’s job to kill the bug”.

Despite living in the 21st century, one does not have to scratch deep to find the Archaic. The killing of bugs indeed seems to be the man’s job – as is changing the flat tire. I can’t imagine any man allowing his good Lady wife to change the flat tire along the highway while he stands idly nearby while the cars roll by and see this spectacle. Talk about the influence of Public Opinion! Another ingrained ‘man’s job’ I don’t see going out of fashion time anytime soon is the notion of ‘women and children first’ in a disaster.

It gets down to the ‘reality’ the man is more expendable than the woman; after he’s sired some kids he’s more or less useless unless there is danger, whether from sinking ships or fetid 3 inch long cockroaches.

Men can take some comfort knowing at times of dirty work they are still wanted – nay, required – to rise to the occasion and save the day.

When I was a boy one of my favorite games was “Masterpiece”. It was a board game based upon the same principles as ‘Monopoly’. The difference is  in this one you buy paintings instead of houses and hotels.  There were twenty-four paintings in total. After countless plays I grew quite familiar found of them, although I never learned all their titles. Later in life I realized they all reside The Art Institute of Chicago. * I don’t know if the game was purposely trying to get one to ‘appreciate art” but it worked for me.  Thanks to ‘Masterpiece’ I developed a lifelong appreciation of art museums. I still enjoy learning about art, especially of which I am not familiar.

I recently did on-line research to locate the twenty-four paintings to (finally learn their names and their painters.

Just for the fun of it, I present to you some of the paintings from Masterpiece – along with docent narratives I made at ten years old. I hope I don’t give Laurent chest pains.


This painting is titled “Madame Green Face”.  There is a lot of ugly people in this painting but it’s so cool. 


This guy doesn’t know how to paint portraits it’s all jumbles.


I could do this one.


And this one too but it’s prettier.


This is real painting. I don’t know why people don’t paint stuff like this anymore.


This is soooo cool! I just love it!


We have something like this hanging at home in our living room. Mother says it is a ‘Monet’. I think Monet is French for the style of painting which is dabbing and not drawing straight lines. I was disappointed to find out our Monet isn’t real but a copy. I think I will get Mother a real Monet for Christmas this year. 


How did the food stop from going bad ? I guess the painter had to paint real quick. 


This one was painted by a woman! I didn’t know they had women painters!


People painted different back then.


This one looks like a photograph.


We have a picture of John the Baptist too, but ours got more trimmings.


This one is another way cool awesome painting although it looks scary too.


Landscapes are boring.


*Oh to go back to Chicago and spend an day at the AIC in a scavenger hunt to see all 24 in real life ! Yes I must do this and soon.

Here is a little list of impossible matters. Despite time and trial I can’t do them.  Some are embarrassments; most are mere resignations of matters never to be.  I’m sure certain Spo-fans will write telling me to ‘keep trying’ but alas it is feckless.  


Operate the TV entertainment system.

Throw a ball.

Understand ‘violence as entertainment”. 

See a spider without going into hysterics. 

Make a decent onion soup. 

Remember the difference between Linda Ronstadt and Pat Benatar. 

Hit a high C. 

Roll my tongue.

Eat rats a Tewkesbury 

Eat just one potato chip

Eat in peace without Harper begging for something. 

Properly spell without spell-check < chandelier; medieval; calendar; prejudice.

Sit through Die Walkure without falling asleep at least once. 

Vote Republican.

Drink coconut-based cocktails.

Remember where I last put my keys.

Smoke more than one cigar at a time.

Go fifteen minutes without checking my cellphone.

Finish reading “Stranger in strange land” 

Remember the day Brother #4’s birthday. 

Feel it isn’t my fault when I don’t hear from someone in a long while. 

Drive a stick-shift.

Sit still.

Understand the rules of football. 

Remember who won of The Thirty Years War. 

Listen to “Don’t Stop Believing”.

I am trying to learn Spanish – again. This is my third attempt. It isn’t going well; I suppose I am not going about it the right way. However, I am determined to learn it even it takes a decade. There is a difference in this third attempt, one I hope makes success: my attitude.

One of the troubles of growing up ‘white’ is the worry no matter how cognizant I am for Shadow elements in my Psyche they pop up in subtle ways. Although it was never said out loud while I was growing up there was a prejudice towards the Spanish language. Public Opinion opined learning French was amusing and German was OK somehow (probably because it was Germanic, not Romance), but not Spanish.  Another ‘axiom’ was Americans don’t learn other languages; people coming here are supposed to learn proper English. Spanish was the language of ‘outsiders’, ‘lower class types’, and (later on) ‘invaders’.  The only ones who needed to know Spanish were social workers and those who had to interact with the menials. Oh the embarrassment of all this rubbish.  Never mind most countries have several official languages and their citizens often speak two or more languages and no one overthrows the country like invading Mongols.

I live in the Southwest where Spanish isn’t just a language but a incendiary symbol. Many not only refuse to learn Spanish lest they ‘succumb to the enemy” but try to stifle its use, sometimes in blunt and nasty ways.* I am pleased I am able to see my childhood prejudices and rise above them. I now see learning Spanish (or any language) as entering into a culture with history and with linguistics of nuance and delight.

If successful I can boost knowing four languages: English, German, ASL, and Spanish.

Now if only I can wrap my tongue around all those damn Spanish past tenses. Que feo.


Spo-fans: what languages can you speak? Do you hear anti-Spanish talk in your part of the world?


*Someone once worked in a polling station (as the token Democrat) with an elderly white woman (representing the GOP). She remonstrated the ballots were in English and Spanish. She complained her tax dollars had to pay for this and it just encourages the illegals to vote. He tactfully pointed out a) only certified citizens can vote and b) ballots are available in many languages if requested. This enlightenment merely elicited in the doyenne ‘this is bullshit”.


After my last entry, I figured I needed some calming down; let’s have a bit of fun in this one. I haven’t posted a ‘words’ entry much to the delight of certain Board Members (who find them boring as all get-out).

Here’s some juicy ones I’ve been sucking on for a while; they are apropos for the times:

Apoplectic – overcomes with anger; extremely indignant

Cachinnate – to laugh loudly, immoderately, with sense this is irritating to others.

Expergefacotor – something that wakes you up.

Imprecation – a curse – a nasty one at that

Kakistocracy – a system of government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous people.

Karoshi  – death from working too much.

Roue – a man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure (or) a connoisseur of rolling down grass hills.

Spurious – not genuine, authentic, or true; counterfeit.

Sequacious – (of a person) lacking independence or originality of thought.

Stelliferous – filled with stars; starry.

Thrall – a person in bondage; a slave.


Trump –  (British slang)  A fart. Not just any type but a loud and fetid one.


While I have scores of relations, Someone has only one, his niece. When we lived in the Midwest we saw her at times; I tried to keep a rapport for Someone’s sake. I liked her and she seemed to like us.  She now lives in WI with her conservative father. Overall the decades she has grown more conservative in her views, adopting the dogma of that branch politics. She frequently does sequacious Facebook posts, the usual diatribes about pro-gun/anti-abortion/pro-Trump matters. When she does one of these I just don’t comment. When she posts something about herself I ‘like’ it to keep in touch, for I want to keep some sort of contact.

Recently she posted a link about the fellow who recently won a case to refuse making a wedding cake for a male couple.  The posted video was how glorious this is for the (so-called) Christian being upheld his religious rights not to do business with the depraved and immoral couple. Shocked, I wrote the comment ‘I wonder what you feel about Someone and I”.  She didn’t write a personal reply but posted something that looks copied/pasted from somewhere along the line homosexuality is a sin up there with sorcery but Jesus saves sinners if they repent. She ended with she loved us; she didn’t say she is changing her views on the supreme court decision.  

Someone and I waited a day until our emotions subsided so we wouldn’t make rash decisions, but we decided to unfriend her. Someone went so far as to block her.

This is my first time ever cutting off contact with a relation.

I’ve always believed it is better to stay in touch with thems who disagree with me than walk away. If I kissed off all the people with whom I had friction I wouldn’t have anyone left. It is better to be a living example of someone/thing somebody disagrees with, so they have a human side of their opposition. Dialogue is better than none.  Martin Luther did a terrible thing in my opinion with his decision what to do with thems he disagreed with his opponents: he labeled them anti-Christ. You don’t dialogue with the anti-Christ; you don’t think they have some things wrong and some right. Rather, you cut them off as degenerate beyond redemption, something to shun.  

The decision to block Someone’s niece was not a happy feeling. It saddens me to see Someone lose his only relation. All the same, if she can’t see how that couple ‘could have been us”,  if she sees our relationship as sin and depravity I can’t see how she still ‘loves us’. I don’t buy the ‘love the sinner/hate the sin’ argument.  I think this is a self-delusion to pretend hatred is alright. In psychology this is called ‘splitting of affect’ and it is not a healthy thing. 

What really saddens me we live in a country where hatred and discrimination are cloaked in religious rationale. It fills me with despair to see how this is becoming more and more the norm. 

In my decision to block the niece I feel I’ve failed at being patient and forgiving. I feel angry and bitter. 
No matter how tough I think I am getting, it still hurts. 

Walking the dog

Dog walks are particularly exciting on Saturday for two reasons: they tend to be longer in duration,and Someone often comes along. Harper is never happier than having Lord Two Foot take us out together. Alas, this morning we had the rare event that it was raining. Harper is more sensitive than the Wicked witch of the west when it comes to water. Her enthusiasm to get out the door and get going quickly dropped like an egg soufflé. It was a gentle rain, hardly a downpour but it marred the joy the morning’s ablutions. She  frequently paused to shake off the raindrops. Normally she is trying to get somewhere as fast as possible but she quickly turned of ‘The corner of abortive walks’ to let me know she was not having this. We went around the block and were back at home quick as a quarter note. Such a disappointment. She did get in a long pee, which is good, as getting her out of doors today will be difficult so long as the rains continue.

When we first got our dog we were told she was part retriever so be mindful she might have a fondness for the pool thus creating a drowning hazard. Fat chance of that. She avoids the pool like the plague. Once in a while Someone will get her to step in for a quick rinse and cool off but she always looks like she is going towards her slaughter. Baths are not much better. She puts up with them with a quiet dignity only for the sake of a good shake afterwards and the towel rub (she likes that) and the reward of a treat.

Rains do not last long in the desert; they quickly pass and what moisture there is is quickly absorbed by the xeric environs.  Harper and I  will try going out again later this afternoon. She will like that although the plethora of scents may be down by the petrichor.  All the same I have never known her not to say ‘no’ to a dog-walk other than during a downpour. She is a sensible dog that way.

I continuously struggle with my relationship with food and my relationship, which I consider not good and perhaps toxic. Every year I make the same New Year’s resolution to better my eating habits and every year it falls flat.  Food must be watched continually as it easily wanders off, loses orbit, and falls back into sordid ways without my conscious diligence.

My main problem is how quickly I eat. I tend to gobble food sometimes as fast as possible. I often feel  I have just inhaled my meal. This inimical habit is the result of 25 years working in the field of medicine, where there is always a sense urgency to get through meals as quickly as possible in order to get back to work which is piling up in my dallying. Presently my allotted time for eating lunch is thirty minutes, which is often shortened from work impediments. Even breakfast and dinner are tainted; they too have a sense of urgency to get going/back to work/start the homework/walk the dog. Hurry! There aren’t enough hours in the day ! Slow eating is wasting time!

My other matter is my attitude towards food. I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure; The Personal Trainer wants me to eat a precise diet with everything weighed and recorded. Rather than seeing something as good/not good to eat, I evaluate it for content like a suspicious customs agent. What’s in this? How many calories does it have? How much carbs and is there enough protein? Have I met my sodium allowance yet? Have I had enough fat calories already today?  Foods feels potentially inimical or ‘not allowed’.  This turns food into the concept of mere fuel.  Even when I let up and eat something merely for the taste or the pleasure of the thing (say, a small chocolate cone) it leaves me with a sense of guilt for which I have to make amends.

Needless to say, eating is no fun. Given its overall negativity I’d rather just not eat at all thank you very much.

I recently reviewed a treatise on the food comparing the eating habits in France to that here in America. I read the French tend to eat slowly and for pick their dishes for pleasure, not caring too much about ‘what’s in it’. Curiously France doesn’t do that much better than Americans when it comes to mortality/disease. This can be interpreted in a two ways:

For all America’s concern about proper nutrition it doesn’t do much good.

For all of France’s lack of vigilance to fat/calories etc. they don’t do much worse.

How nice it would be to have a leisurely meal chosen for the sheer delight of its content! I sometimes get this on vacation-holidays but even then I have to remember to slow the heck down. “You must have liked it sir, you just inhaled it!”

The irony is I really do appreciate the nuance and quality of good food and drink. One of life’s great pleasures is a gathering of friends over a good meal, one that doesn’t need chowing down as fast as possible. I know what rubbish is yet it is often what’s on my plate.

Any Spo-fans with similar challenges?  Do you eat too fast? Is food merely ‘fuel’? Is it a source of joy or a drudge? 

thTwice now I’ve started scribbling out entries in-between the ‘no-shows’ at work. Alas, I forget to upload them, thus making them unreachable later one when I am at home. One is on my changing attitude towards learning Spanish, and the other is a treatise on my bad eating habits. In hindsight I may have unconsciously acted out I am tired of talking about myself. Blogs are supposed to be first and foremost an on-line journal of contemplations (hence my blog’s title) but hey I like  Spo-fans. This Thursday morning I am back at work (at the Mesa office) with a half-hour to go before starting time. Rather than doing some ‘prior-auths’ I thought to write something – anything. Alas! The Muses are quiet and the Skanks all have hangovers – no help there. The Fates are away no doubt planning some outrage. Nothing to be done. This leaves me with nothing upon which to write other than what may be right in front of my eyes – which is a bottle of PowerAde Zero.

Thems unfamiliar with Powerade this is an alternative to Gatorade. Coke makes one and Pepsi makes the other – don’t ask me which is which. I don’t drink either on a regular basis, but I drink Gatorade when sick as it makes a relatively cheap “IV fluid”. About a month ago I pointed out to Someone Powerade is sugar-free and probably less inimical to our health than sugary G. He’s not one to drink water, preferring diet sodas.  I came from a medical school where pushing fluids was the panacea of all ills, so I worry about keeping us hydrated in the hot Phoenix summers. Now we have bottles for days. They seem to be everywhere around the house, usually in half-consumed bottles or in tall glasses loaded with ice. On the positive we are drinking more fluids. On the negative I wonder if we are doing ourselves injury consuming all these artificial colours and substitute sugars.  I confess the bottles are pretty, and they turn my tongue fun colors. Sometimes out of whimsy Someone adds some soda pop to them, while I prefer a jigger of snort (vodka or rum).  I suppose that defeats the purpose but it does add some zest.

By the way, I can never remember the word “Powerade” so I call the stuff “Prempro”. This isn’t nice but there it is.

Tomorrow I am back to the Phoenix office and promise to put up a proper post.

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