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Someone started his new job this week. It has a lot of advantages over the previous job. We are both excited and hopeful it is an improvement in job satisfaction for him. The down side of this new job is it involves a lot of travel. He likes to travel, and he does well on business trips, so this in itself isn’t too bad. At an earlier time in our relationship he did this for a previous job in Michigan, so it is not novel either. He will be ‘on the road’ a great deal in the next year. I hope we don’t get too lonely for each other.

madness.jpgIt makes me think about Solitude. Some people loathe being by themselves. I rather enjoy it. Introverted people like me feel at home with(in) themselves. Even at an early age I recall looking forward to the weekends, not to do a lot of social things but to be by myself. I like the quiet of solitude. In the noise of 21st century, having little or no noise around me feels therapeutic. I play less background music nowadays.

Solitude is a time for reading, writing, or merely thinking. I like to think. My brain tends to dart around like a hummingbird: giving it free reign is jolly good fun. My favorite places to do this are the back porch or sitting in the hot tub, looking up at the stars.  Stargazing is a marvelous time to be thoughtful.

I will miss him when he is away.

Meanwhile, I can practice my meditation and stretches and tackle that pile of books.

And, as Mary Haine’s mother says, “It is marvelous to be able to spread out in bed like a swastika”.


I first found Kelly at Stern Point of View last year at this time. I found his flag and posted it. Ever since, I regularly visit his blog. He has a new photo for Pride 2007. Pass it on.

My family tree is well researched. I come from ‘long lines’. Like every family we have our black sheep and embarrassments. My paternal side has two notorious members. Here is one of them. orinporter.jpg Here is a portrait of this notorious ancestor. At 6 years old I saw his photograph in the family books. Even then I thought he looked crazy and dangerous. As my genealogist aunt did not like to talk about him I sensed he was someone even she could not white wash. He went west with the Mormons. From the Mormon point of view he is a warrior hero who helped them forge their way to Utah.

My own family stories suggest he was crazy as an outhouse rat, and he went bezerk when given carte blanche to kill. He is allegedly to have said “I did not kill anyone who didn’t deserve killing’ or words to that effect.

Crazy assassin or hero-warrior; it depends on your point of view (and on which side of the gun you end up).

Brother #4 used to work in toxic clean up. When the Feds bust up a meth lab, they call his team to haul away the materials. One time he was sent to Salt Lake City. Apparently he was very busy in Salt Lake City – there is or was a lot of meth cooking in Utah.

I mentioned to #4 he may get questioned about his connection to this man when he introduces himself. I explained our connection with this cousin. He poo-pooed it at first. A few weeks later he called to tell me wherever he went in Salt Lake City people immediately asked him if he was related to this man. When #4 said ‘yes’ he was taken around as a celebrity; pictures were taken, questions were asked etc.

Brother #4 felt a bit foolish, as after all one can not choose ones ancestors.

After awhile he got tired of the attention and avoided using the last name.

So that is the story of “Uncle Orin”.

There is one more black sheep in our family, and a famous artist to boot, but more of them some other day.

Will at Designer Blog tagged me to write five reasons why write about the topics in my blog. As is his wont, he gets me thinking about all sorts of things. Right now it is toward “Why I blog”. In the MEME, I am asked to list 5 reasons why/what I blog about. I’ve turned it into a sort essay.

I started to blog for few reasons. I wanted a new hobby. I wanted to learncomputer skills (a few years before I took up sewing to learn how to make a shirt; perhaps blogging would teach me some tech-savvy). The month before I started, Michael at Temporary Trouble Spots conveyed it was a fine outlet and a pleasure for him. Perhaps I would meet people. I’ve had an itch to write for some time. So all of this seemed to point towards taking it up.

That was nearly a year and a half ago.

Since then my blog has evolved into things and areas I never knew existed let along thought of doing.

Why I continue to blog?

1) I enjoy writing out my thoughts. Whether I am trying to be thoughtful or merely silly or mawkish, the pleasure of typing out my thoughts remains as vibrant as it ever was. I feel in a tiny way part of the world of writers. I write because I feel I need to. That seems to be at the heart of all writers.

2) I write about my specialty in medicine. This is somewhat as I am proud of my work. Some of this is to help me cope with the often overwhelming aspects of medicine and psychiatry in the 21st century. I took an oath to help and educate others about keeping healthy. Writing about mental health serves in a broad way to fill that promise. I am not in academics, so I do not have residents or students to teach. I like teaching. Writing ‘shrink 101’ topics seems to fulfill this longing to teach others. As I am not practicing Jungian psychology at this point in my life, writing out basic Jungian ideas keeps my knowledge from going rusty.

3) I blog as I feel honored to be a member of the blogging community. What an amazing thing to be a group of diverse men and women who (most) have never met each other yet check in with each other, give support, and share their lives’ joys and sorrows. I feel a member of a ‘tribe’, and that is as important as nourishment and water.

4) I write because it combines my desire for history with the need to document goings what is happening. I am a history buff and I know the value of recording events. Even the trivial could some day be important to me or someone who needs to know something from time ago.

5) And yes, I admit it, I write because I like to talk about myself while someone else does the damn listening. I have a healthy element of show off. The clown element in me needs a stage on which to perform. The applause given from time to time is wonderful!

Another look at what I do for a living.

Memorial Day weekend 2005 is when we moved from Michigan (Land of Perpetual Snow and Ice) to Arizona (Land of Heat). 

I can only imagine what it must have been like for early pioneers to move west to Arizona before highways and AC and Wendy’s at every other exit. Our move to Arizona was not as romantic, but it had some charms. There were some parallels to the ‘wagons of yore’. I had all sorts of visions of what the west/Arizona would be like (in contrast to what it would turn out to be). I brought along my precious possessions, some of them did not make it; some of them were discarded along the way. I wore a gingham dress and Someone played the banjo. We were not attacked by Native Americans, which was a disappointment. They did try to lure us into casinos a lot.

We had a rented minivan for belongings that did not go into the moving van (which was going into storage for some months).  Someone is a whiz at organizing trips; he had our route figured out and how far we were to drive each day. The reservations were made for each night. I was Map-master. My job was to make sure he was driving the right route.  Someone drives.
We had the two cats then, one black and one white. Their contrasts once again showed up on the trip. Tiberius wanted to crawl onto the dashboard, under feet, stick his snout out the window “Mabel, look there’s a cat acting like a dog next to us!” Claudius was a bitch, stayed in his cage. He did not stop hollowing until he realized it was futile around day #2.

I had all the houseplants – and several homegrown heirloom tomatoes that I did not want to leave behind.

The drive itself was rather pleasant. Thanks to Mr. Ipod we had plenty of music. I also rented several books on CD, including Moby Dick. (Ever read Moby Dick? It has some of the most blatant homoeroticism I have ever encountered. It is in the first few chapters if you are interested).

Day #1 We drove from Michigan, through Chicago, down Illinois to St. Louis. This was familiar grounds for us, as Someone had kin in Southern Illinois. We barely made it through St. Louis rush hour traffic to get to the destination west of town. I remember eating at a Pizza Hut in the Ozarks, with visions of the movie Deliverance. I felt ‘out of familiar territory’.

Day #2 Through Missouri through Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle to Tucumcari, New Mexico.  Tucumcari seems to exist only for people to stop overnight. It must have been interesting when Route 66 was going, but it looked deserted apart from the several strip mall type hotels off the major exit. It had a depressive air to it. By now we were getting cabin fever. I recall smuggling in the cats into the hotel for a night, only to have Claudius start howling again at 3AM.

Day #3 from NM to Phoenix. Northern Arizona is quite different from Southern Arizona, and the descent down I-17 felt like falling down the rabbit hole. We arrived just in time for the usual 100 degrees plus weather.

We were to live in a rental for a month prior to locating a house in the craze that was the housing market of 2005. A story in itself.

By the way, New Mexico is lovely, and so was some of Missouri but we were in a rush to get to Arizona. The dull spots were southern Illinois and Texas – both flat and without detail.

If it were not for the price of gasoline, I would love to do this route again, giving some time to see the side trips we did not see.

I found this old photograph today. It was taken at a “Come as your Mother’ party.

I went as a Queen.


bbqsauce.jpgFriends of Spo may recall that I am in pursuit of the ultimate BBQ sauce. Every summer I get out another bunch of recipes and try them. The irony remains after dozens of attempts, the best and my favorite is the first one I tried.  I have modified it over time. Recently we got a bottle of sauce with the cute name “Bone Sucking Sauce’. It was delicious. Someone loved it. Being a bit experienced now, I figured out the key elements in the ‘secret ingredients’ and added some of them to my own reigning king of sauces. Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend –

Ur-Spo BBQ Sauce 2007

2 cups ketchup (I use Hunts)

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2T molasses

2 T Dijon style mustard

1 T chili powder

1.5 T Tabasco sauce

Real horseradish to taste, ~ 1 heaping tablespoon for Someone

½ t fresh ground pepper

1 t liquid smoke

Mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for half an hour.

For Heat < increase the hot sauce (I like it hot!).

For Tang < increase the Worcestershire.

For Sweet < increase the Molasses.

Keeps well in the refrigerator (the sauce, not Someone).

cassettetape.jpgI bought a program that allows me to copy old cassette tapes into the laptop, for cleaning and burning onto a CD. Afterwards, they are transferred into the main computer and downloaded into Mr. Ipod.This is a convoluted journey but it works.

Listening to these tapes as they go into the laptop brings back many memories. Some of these cassettes must be 20 years old. I remember having made them from vinyl records in the 80s. I may not remember what I ate for dinner last night but  I remember every note of a song I have not heard in 20 years.

Some of these tapes were gifts from chums who thought I might like them. I suppose these are what you call a ‘mix tape’. I very much doubt that the givers would remember giving these tapes, but I sure remember. Funny how some mawkish item becomes not only a cherished item but a sort of ‘photograph’ for a friendship.
Here are few of my tapes.

South Pacifc – was my first cassette tape, given at Christmas with my first tape recorder. (A young boy wants a Broadway soundtrack for Christmas; what does that tell you?). I must have been about 10 years old. I can still see the Christmas tree it was under. I felt so sophisticated to have such a cool piece of technology.

A Jethro Tull Sampler – made by a college roommate Jon. He was a fan; I grew to like the band as well. Made from various albums, the tape conjures up college days and my first concert ever – going to hear Jethro Tull at Pine Knob. They did “Broadsword and the Beast”.

Scott Tunes – the Best Friend made this tape of old vintage songs and off beat humorous tunes. Ever hear the song “She knows her onions?” It makes me think back my life in Chicago and our friendship and the various trips up to Wisconsin to see his family.

A Christmas Sampler – I made this tape by taking one carol from every album in the house. There were plenty. I estimate this tape was made in the early 80s, as it contains some tunes from 8 track cassettes (you younger ones, go ask your parents). Hearing it brings back memories of childhood holidays.

Dubliners –  used to rent books from ‘Books on Tape’. A reader by the pen name David Case was extraordinary; his readings of Dickens are brilliant. This recording of these Joyce short story masterpieces moved me so much I never sent them back. (Yes I paid for them).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – I got these records (again kids go ask your parents) from the college library. To this day this dreamy quiet reading is guaranteed to put me to sleep by the time Oberon starts “I know a bank …” m A parallel: the fairies put the Queen of the Fairies to sleep while they all put me to sleep.

Back in Michigan (Land of Perpetual Snow and Ice), the middle of May was an exciting time for weather watching and gardening. There was the occasional hint of approaching summer. The hot weather seeds likes melons and eggplant were started. One could open a window at times. Then there were the Midwest thunderstorms I adore, a sort of theatre event that approaches from the west.

Here in Arizona, May brings on different matters – it is over 100 degrees every day now. The AC comes on; we go into ‘cabin mode’ for 5 months. The sun rises early and it is intense. Plants start to wither; they need daily watering. It is getting too hot to sit on the back porch, even with the fan going. On the positive, the unheated pool is warming up to the point I can get in and stay. We had a cool spring so the ‘first dip’ in the unheated pool was delayed this year.

I am looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend as NOTHING is planned. We may go to Bisbee or some other day trip if the mood suits us.But the ‘plan’ is lounging by poolside, reading a stack of books, with cold drinks. This routine will only be interrupted by food preparation; I want to use this time to try some new recipes.

This ‘sitting still’ is going to be a major challenge as

a) I don’t sit still well and

b) Being at home conjures up things that want attention.

I’ll do my best.

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May 2007

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018