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Today is the first day of electronic medical records. I am writing this entry in piecemeal, among the appointments and no-shows. This is rather hazardous as I am not particularly good at multi-tasking (overall an overrated activity).  I also have to be careful not to write something destined for “Spo-Reflections” but is cut and pasted into someone’s progress note and vice versa.
One thing the bosses didn’t mention in orientation is the protocol for being on-line while working.  Being connected to EMR throughout the day allows me continual access to the internet. In theory I can jump between work and non-work activities such as reading the news, Facebook and ‘surfing for babes” as a colleague once eloquently put it.  I imagine listening to a patient who thinks I am typing away in his chart when in fact I am commenting on blogs.

These all sounds like no-nos.

It may be academic as it will be difficult enough trying to learn and maneuver this first week of EMR, let alone reading CNN at the same time.

I suspect in time I will grow customary – and bold – to the temptation to play while at work.

Anyone with any experience on this?



When I was in junior high school I fancied becoming an artist. I especially liked coloured pencils.  Only a few of my works survive; the rest were sold, lost, or discarded.

I drew these owls for Aunt Ruth, as a birthday present. Owls have always been and remain wonderful birds for me. I think I was 15 years old when these were done. I did not see them again for ten years. After Aunt Ruth died, her son gave them back. They were kept in a trunk and moved wherever I went. A few years ago I found them again. I took them to work, where they now hang in my office.  I see them Monday through Friday. They remind me of Aunt Ruth, and the ‘road not taken” viz. becoming an artist.


A few months ago I found a box of pencils, which call out ‘use us!” whenever I open the desk drawer.  I haven’t drawn anything in decades – I wonder if I still can? In one of those nebulous ‘somedays’ I should get some paper from an art store and give them a try.

I woke at 4AM this morning to a charley horse. I’ve been getting them a lot lately. Usually they happen in my left foot and toes, a severe spasm cramp that makes me leap from bed and pantomime putting out a cigarette butt with my heel. I’ve been getting them in my right foot at well. Between foot spasms and allergies from hell (the itchy eyes are the worst of it) I am not going to sleep any further. I might as well get up, make a pot of tea, and start my Saturday.

My weekends are normally consumed with homework, but this one is especially bad for Monday next we go to Electronic Medical Records (EMR).  I will go into work today for several hours of preparation. I have a terrible intuition despite my efforts to be as prepared as possible I can not prevent the chaos of Monday morning.  Nobody will quite know how things work; the proclivity will be to just keep using the old paper system. No doubt in time things will be ironed out and we will wonder how on earth did we manage without EMR, but that is small comfort this weekend. It is rather depressing having yet another weekend consumed with work.

Whenever work is busy, other areas of my life are neglected: stretching, exercise, reading, blogging etc. It seems ages since I’ve read any blogs. I had a great work out on Tuesday (I bench-pressed 185lb and felt rather butch) but I’ve done nothing since.

Not that I would enjoy anything if I had the time. I don’t know what’s worse; the allergies or the medications to treat them.  The later makes me walk around in a stupor and causes me to drop syllables as if I’ve had a stroke.  I suspect a new patient from Friday won’t return, for I continually yawned throughout the interview.

The tea* is brewed, which is a blessing. I will have a cup or two and get cracking on my notes and dictation. Later I will go into work to set up EMR and practice writing notes and sending Valium Rx electronically. I may save a tab or two for me.


*Glenburn 2nd flush Darjeeling. The leaves are getting old but it remains delicious.

We are pleased as punch to have as guests my fellow-bloggers Mark and Rodger, who arrived today from the far off kingdom of Portland.  Rodger has been there from the get-go when I started blogging in 2006. We’ve been reading each other’s works for 6 years. Can you imagine? I got to know Mark later on. Mark is the more active blogger.  They are both well over four feet.

It is a curious paradox to meet people “I know’ yet are technically strangers. Mark and Rodger have sent us homemade jams and pickles. We hear about them through mutual bloggers – yet never seen them face to face until tonight.

As soon as we met, it felt like old friends united rather than strangers types.  We had a lovely supper, and later drinks poolside. The weather cooperated: it is clear and cool (upper 70s, but this is heaven after a week of over 100).

Tomorrow they leave to visit other mutual blogger buddies, Homer and Evan. Mark and Rodger have never been to Flagstaff, so we recommended they stay at The Starlight Pines B&B, which gives them an opportunity to meet Richard and Michael, the owners.

Once again I am grateful for blogging for letting me meet so many neat people: men and women, far and wide, young and old, gay and straight. I am honored to be part of this great network.
I hope to as many more bloggers I can.

Anyone else care to stay at the S&S B&B?**


**The Spo and Someone Bed and Breakfast.

I am pleased as punch and honored so for Tony to have the shirt. It is in Australia!!!  I have never been there, but now the shirt is.

It goes to next to be among the Californian typewriters

The end is in sight Cubby! 

Yesterday someone used the “F” word at me.

The context: I received a message on Scruff from someone who didn’t show his face (bad sign) but said “hi”. Being a polite Midwesterner I replied back ‘hello and how are you’. He immediately responded with photos of various parts of his body. He wanted to know if I was ‘hosting’ or “traveling”. Not familiar with these terms I asked him explain what that means. After he enlightened me, I replied I was neither; I was at work.  He became annoyed at this, and texted why I was leading him on.  I didn’t state the obvious –  he was the one who immediately dropped his pants in the conversation AND if he read my profile it says my partner and I are looking for friends (not hook ups).  I forget what I actually said next, something apologetic I suppose. Then came his response:


I decided not to touch the tar baby: I closed the conversation.*

Gay people have different emotional reactions to the “F” word. Some find it as horrific as the “N” word; others use it themselves with their friends.  I’ve heard youngsters use the “F” word and defend its use as NOT meaning gay but just something negative like “that movie was so faggy.”**

Last time I recall being called a fag was ~ 2000 by a psychotic patient in State hospital. He was angry he couldn’t go out to smoke. I discount this as he was crazy as a loon.   I remember in the late 90s being held hostage by a very nasty aggressive taxi driver who wouldn’t slow down when I asked him to do so. I gave him no tip; he called me a faggot after I got out of the cab.

I remember being called a fag when I was in junior high school; it stung and hurt then. Now the “F” word evokes in me only contempt for the user viz. a sign of low intelligence and/or immaturity. Miss Manners implores proper gentlemen do not return rudeness with rudeness. This is called ‘shaming them’ or ‘not stooping’ or ‘setting a good example’ – poor weapons I know. Whenever I am called a faggot, I try to channel my inner Gregory Peck from “To Kill a Mockingbird”; he humiliated Mr. White Trash by NOT hitting him after he spat in his face.  What a scene. What balls.

I do have one retaliative weapon; I get to say “That’s Doctor Faggot to you”.

I am curious to hear how Spo-fans do when someone uses the “F” word at or around them.  Do you use it yourself, in jest?

*I found it curious he used the “F” word. It implies he was not gay but a straight man on line looking for sexual hook ups. If so, who is the bigger fag: me with a male partner or him showing his John Thomas on line and asking ‘your place or mine”?  


**I don’t buy this.

Over the weekend I had Facetime with blogger buddy Ron T. We discussed genealogy and his project to put as much of his family history on-line, for posterity sake.  Our conversation got me thinking about the internet as a means for preservation of family memories.


I am fortunate I come from a well researched family viz. it is traced back many generations. There are amateur genealogists on both sides of the family tree. When you are born a Spo, you almost get a owner’s manual of the family history, complete with pictures and tree lines.  There is no need to research anyone; we got it all.  Happily, there is someone in every generation who gets the genealogy bug, so the ‘torch’ is passed on. My grandfather’s sister was delighted I was interested in such matters (she tried to get my uncle into this, but he showed no interest).  I don’t know yet who will be interested in the next Spo-generation.

But what if there isn’t a next generation of interest?  Right now the nieces and nephews are young, and naturally have no interest in things past or their roots. Like Ron, I sense a dead end. He puts his research on line for none of his relations old or young show interest. He hopes there will be later generations who will be interested. I know from experience this is probably so.  Only a few months ago a great niece contacted my father, out of the blue, hoping to learn more about her grandparents and great grandparents.  He was happy to oblige her.

It is my experience it is the gay men and the elderly aunts who are the most interested in preserving family legacies. I think some of this is because we often don’t have direct descendants. We want to be remembered. So much dies with us, and what is left is often a hodgepodge of things without sense. It is like looking through a keyhole in a room; some things are directly in focus, some things are just noticeable; and there is much we can not see.

In the book “I, Claudius”, The aged emperor tells he is writing his memoirs for posterity and ‘not for these fools in Rome’ (meaning the present folks). He will put the memoir in a box and leave it for Fate to deliver it to those later generations.  I too blog somewhat to leave behind a memoir so I am not just another Spo in the long list of branches that did not produce fruit. Like a lot of memoirs, it will have a lot of me, but not all of me. And like Claudius, I wonder who will find this, years from now.

It gives comfort to know a part of us may live on in this way.

It’s been hot here in Phoenix; we had our first weekend of 100 degrees temperatures.  The air is still, so the house doesn’t cool down at night despite the ceiling fans.  It makes for poor sleeping. Someone is sleeping sound this Sunday morning, cold as a mackerel, on the couch. There is evidence he took one of the sleeping pills I brought home from the pharm rep. The Rx is designed to take in the middle of the night if you should wake up at 3AM and you can’t go back to sleep. I am curious to hear what he thinks of it – if  he wakes up.

Hot temps inspire little activity. It is “Pride weekend” and yet I have done nothing about it.  I feel some guilt, but the idea of waking around in bright 100 degree sunshine doesn’t sound fun. I spent Pride Saturday doing paper work and today I should watch the videos in preparing me for electronic medical records. Such reprobate living.

I tried to get into the pool yesterday, but got as far as my ankles. It’s beastly unfair the air is roasting hot yet the water is icy cold.  The pool needs at least a week of  > 100 degrees days to warm up enough be comfortable to enter, let alone stay in it.

I made my first ‘sun tea’.   In the Arizona heat, keeping irriguous is a constant challenge and water gets boring, so iced tea is a nice alternative.  I will be sipping something all day long.

It looks like we get a break from the heat in a few days – highs only in the mid 70s. It will be  just in time for my Portland guests to arrive and not wither away in this intensely hot clear Arizona weather.  I hope they have a pleasant time. I am looking forward to meeting them.


For some time The Other Doctor at the clinic has been encouraging me to try a local tea shoppe. I was dubious for I am satisfied with my usual dealer, who lives in Canada. But I recently ran out of the ‘good stuff’; I decided to check them out and hold an inspection. I like supporting local merchants and it would save me a fortune in shipping and handling, not to mention the credit card fee for trafficking in foreign currency.


I was impressed with the place. They had my all-time favorite Darjeeling  “Margaret’s Hope” so I was immediately at ease. The young lady conveyed a knowledge of her wares. She wasn’t promoting “Summer Rain”. She had enough tins to satisfy my desire and for quality (no rubbish).  I purchased a few favorites, and some things new and adventuresome:


The pouch in the above photo is NOT cocaine thank you very much but loose black – from Columbia of all places! It wasn’t that expensive and it should make a good ‘sun tea’ when Yunnan is not available (they had some but it was $$$).



I splurged on some Gyokuro, which is a very fine (as in small leaves) green tea from Japan. It is far more costly than Sencha (another Japanese leaf), but what the hell we live once. Although it is expensive, only a teaspoon is needed for a pot, so my 50g stash should last a long while.


I am going to try some Rukeri Green, which is from Rwanda, another region I was not aware grew tea. It had a pleasant aroma and looks to be just as good (and cheaper) than the Chinese bilge I’ve been consuming nowadays.


Out of whimsy I got some Genmaicha which is a lesser grade green leaf with roasted rice bits and – wait for it – popcorn!  It makes a toasty/nutty cup, always good for supper invite conversation.


So all is well in the world, or at least mine. At night if I am feeling blue I can go to the tea shelf and run my fingers over the bags and paraphernalia and feel like Fafner on top of his golden hoard.

I’ve been in a gloomy mood, the result of a conglomerate of happenings.  I just learned Jonathan Frid is dead. I think at some level I didn’t think he could die.  This news made me have two simultaneous and contradictory thoughts: “Oh, what a pity!” and “I thought he was dead already”.  Then there is North Korea, which makes me want to move to New Zealand and crawl into a hole. This weekend is “Pride” Weekend here in Phoenix. I will spend the weekend doing – what else? – homework. Today at the clinic we meet with the hand holders to hear how we go to electronic medical records. I have the terrible intuition the one hour orientation  is going to be quite insufficient to transform us from paper to paper-less in 10 days. I have to remind myself this is my boss’s responsibility and not mine. They’ve hired a reputable firm who has done metamorphosis before; they know what they are doing – or so I hope. Then there is tea; I am fresh out of any good stuff and it may take a week or more to get some proper tea from the dealer in Canada. Meanwhile all I have is some rubbish in bags and a bit if Chinese green which carries no ummph.  The car ‘maintenance required’ light is again beginning to flicker. These ‘routine check ups’ always end up going towards some sort of mega-repair. The 2001 Honda Accord better not need major surgery again, or we may have to bite the bullet and get a new car. Our tax return is coming soon (Lord willing) so we will have the money but it does abort my visions of sugarplums and Palm Springs weekends.  Skunks.

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April 2012

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