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CNN informs me Gore Vidal died today. This makes me sad, for I enjoyed his works. His short essays were thoughtful; his historical fiction books delightful. Indeed he wrote my favorite book of all time : “Creation”

 

 

It is a historical fiction novel about Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of Zoroaster. At the end of his life, he is dictating his memoirs to his great nephew while they live in Athens at the time of Pericles.  In his life Cyrus saw the Great Persian Empire; in his travels he met The Buddha and Confucius.  The novel conveys the histories of these civilizations, and Mr. Vidal compares and contrasts these major religions.   Besides being informative, it has Mr. Vidal’s pithy sardonic wit. I reread it every five years or so, and never tire of it.  It is what I call a “Thumping Good Read”.

 

Here is an except of  (now blind) Cyrus dictating his memoirs:

 

“Quite true” said the pupil.  The young mason is called Socrates. Uncommonly ugly, according to Democritus, I hired him to repair the front wall of the house . He made such a botch of it that we now have a dozen new chinks through which the icy winds can whistle. As a result, I have been obliged to abandon the front room entirely. Socrates has offered to re-do the wall but I fear that if he so much as touches the house with his trowel, the whole mud edifice will fall down about our ears.  As as artisan, he is most disconcerting. In the midst of plastering a wall he is apt, suddenly, to freeze and stare straight ahead for minutes at a time, listening to some sort of private spirit. When I asked Socrates what sort of things the spirit told him, he simply laughed and said “My daimon likes to ask me questions’  This struck me as a highly unsatisfactory sort of spirit. But, I dare say, the lively Socrates is as highly unsatisfactory a sophist as he is a mason. 

 

It is about time I reread this wonderful book.  I will do so soon.

I thank you Mr. Vidal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about nibbles of the starchy kind, mostly because I am not allowing myself to have any of these delicacies. I don’t care for sweets, but I like starchy snacks, particularly if they are crunchy and salty.

Before we turned “PC” in our eating Someone and I used to buy saltines.  Peanut butter or margarine are the favorite toppings, and in a peak of whimsy, perhaps a sardine or two.  Saltine crackers with a glass of milk is my favorite bed time snack.

Goldfish crackers are truly most excellent, although the ‘servings per bag’ is laughable. The bag is the serving, as there are never any leftovers.  I like Cheddar Cheese goldfish the best.  As a child, I used to ‘cook’ them on top of a metal desk lamp.

Pretzels are good and perhaps the least offensive. Someone does not care for them. He also doesn’t care for toast, when I could eat a whole loaf. We both like Tortilla chips, which we call ‘Nasty Chips” given they are get an “N” for nutrition but jolly good fun nevertheless.  Just don’t eat them in bed, or Someone will be cross with you. I tell him I am used to dealing with crumbs in bed, but this doesn’t go over well. I never could tell a joke.

We don’t buy potato chips, greasy nasty things they are. However, if there is a party, you will find me making love to the chip bowl, especially if there is dip. I adore dip. French onion is my favorite, but I am not picky.

Someone makes popcorn, which he cooks in an air machine. This is not very satisfactory as it lacks the oily texture of stove top popped corn.

Crackers, pretzels, bread and toast, and (nasty) chips of any sort – how I miss them so ! But I hope in time to introduce some of these lovelies back into the house.

Do they still make Fritos ?

 

I made a video to show off my new one piece lace foundation garment. 

As is the often the case, my work demands (coupled with life-tasks) leave me little time for reading blogs, let alone writing an entry.  I am taking a break from my usual Saturday day long dictations and chart work, hoping to come up with some sort of idea for blogging.  Rather than providing me with something substantial upon which to write, The Muses are providing nothing better than a banausic chore list.  It is quite a roster of ‘honey-dos’ to tidy up, fix this, and why don’t you take out the garbage.  What I would like to do is lie on a floating mattress in the pool. But it looks like it may rain, and I couldn’t stay still knowing there is so much work to be done.

 

The house is unusually quiet for the TV and the iphones are both turned off, a rare event indeed.  I can hear the quiet clicking of the ceiling fan as it whirs around, combined with the soothing  tick-tock of Great Aunt Marion’s clock.  Harper seems to be having a fitful dream; she makes sudden jerks and tics as she lies in the middle of the bed. She is on her back, all four legs up and out in a rather un-lady like position.

 

There are no plans for the evening; I suspect I will get the charts done and most of the chores completed.  Perhaps I will return to the books I was reading in Alaska.  There is always fabric to cut and sew. Canada is only two weeks away, and I can’t go in last year’s Spos, can I?  What would Harper (two legged one) say ?

It is fascinating what elicits comments.  Some entries I read (and write) receive no comments, while little blurbs or impromptu thoughts of no importance can release a torrent of comments. Blog-land is a source of mystery and surprise.

 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections is forever counting beans (and splitting hairs) about what type of entries brings in comments. They recently gave me a report on the subject; a tiresome booklet without pictures and there was not an exciting page in it.   But I can not deny there are ‘blogger bombs’; topics that consistently meet with polite silence:

 

Poetry.  

Newer Spo-fans don’t remember I used to post poems. Only a few people would leave comments (and some of them I dare say are just being polite).  Too bad, for I rather liked the poems.  I’ve fancied publishing a “Spo Poems” compilation but TBDHSPR won’t have it.

 

Random Thoughts.

Perhaps they are too tangential; perhaps they are uninteresting. Perhaps my Random Thoughts Cheerleader is a turn off. Whatever: these entries get little reaction.

 

 

 

Shirts

The Board politely requests I quit posting shirts on the grounds I’ve made dozens of them and no one wants to see another and how will be ever advertising and the photos aren’t very good anyway.

 

I am in the process of writing a firm but polite rebuttal to The Board that this is my blog dammit and I can post all the poetry, shirts, and random thoughts I wish. The point of blogging is my artistic expression, and not to rake in the chips. This won’t go over well. No doubt the cacophony at the next board meeting will resemble an orchestra of scorched cats. But I will stand my ground.

And if push comes to shove, I will don my most hideous Spo-shirt and recite Vogon poetry.

 

 

The Personal Trainer told me I have to exercise forty minutes a day so every morning I get up early to go for a walk.  I bring along Harper. She quickly caught on I am no longer waking to immediately go to work, so she is now excited to see me rise. I already sense I am being trained to wake up prior to the alarm.

At this time of the year the early morning is the best time for dog walks. By 8AM Phoenix quickly becomes too hot and humid. Indeed, the concrete in 105 degree heat becomes hazardous for dog pads.  At 530AM is light enough for relatively pleasant stroll.

It is a good idea on paper, trying to kill two birds with one stone by walking twice a day AND getting the dog her exercise, but Harper is not interested in quick ambulation.  She likes to stop and smell all the posts and bushes. She doesn’t respond to commands as well as she used to do. I sense a sort of snippy ‘No, I want to stay here!’ attitude.  All the same, she loves her walks, especially the park. The park by our house consists of an open field irregularly shaped, surrounded by a sidewalk.  If the coast is clear, I let Harper off her lease so she can run circles.   Meanwhile I can pick up the pace and make some circles around park, making sure I don’t get too engrossed in the iphone, lest I loose track of Harper, or (worse yet) trip over something.

I haven’t had many profound thoughts during these early morning walks.  Being clever before breakfast is terribly tedious and should be avoided, at least until tea.  Evening walks are better for contemplating Life, The Universe, and Everything.  Sometimes there are young men at the park shooting hoops. They are a heartwarming spectacle. Sometimes there are ‘urban youth’ surrounding a few cars and mostly with their noses to their phones, texting ‘hell for leather’ as my Uncle Milo used to say.

It is too early to tell if these twice a day twenty minute jaunts have translated into any loss of weight. Harper is pleased in the rise of activity, and I suppose I am as well.

Soon the light and the temperature will start to fade, and the walks won’t be so steamy.

Just as I feel trim enough to walk shirtless, I will need to keep it on for warmth’s sake.

Whisky is ruining my health. What I mean by this is I am staying up to watch educational videos on Youtube about the stuff.  I’ve discovered a wonderful fellow, “Ralfy” by name, who teaches and reviews whisky, scotch, and bourbon. He both knowledgeable and entertaining – a sort of Dame Edna from Edinburgh.

I am thoroughly bewitched by his Scottish accent and woofy demeanor. As a consequence, when I should be sleeping I am staying up listening to whiskey reviews and drooling at the fellow.  I am not too alert in the day time, and serves me right.  If a patient reported such awful sleeping habits, I would crown him.

Ironically I haven’t had much scotch, whiskey or bourbon, but I sure can identify the labels and tell you the data.  Someone often calls me “Dr. Smartypants who reads a lot of books” and learning about brown booze is no exception.  Last weekend I was running around Total Wine photographing bottles and their price tags.  Sometimes I can be quite dense; I was pleased I recognized the labels of several fancy bottles, yet I hadn’t connected the dots J&B and Cutty Sark are scotch. Who knew? I’ve only seen the labels all my life.

I am all ready for my trip to Canada next month viz. the types of Canadian whiskey I want to (finally) try.  My list included Alberta Premium, Forty Creek, Collingwood, and White Owl (no rubbish indeed!).

Yesterday at the bar (or pub as I call now call it) I tried the house scotch “100 Pipers”, which dear Ralfy hasn’t gotten around to in his video reviews.**  Like a pro, I held it up to my nose and smelled it three times, explaining to Someone all about the subtle aromas until he told me to knock it off and quit playing around and just drink the damn thing.

With his help I’ve organized a list of ‘Things to Try’, which is now a very long list indeed.  Some of the stuff is unbelievably expensive (who knew scotch was so popular?), so I better not go through the list too quickly, or I will be broke or a drunkard in no time.

**It was fair.

I read a Men’s Magazine article this morning at breakfast titled “50 Manly Thing to do Before you Die”. Most of the ideas were comical, such as “Make your own bow and arrow and use it to catch dinner.” or “Bench Press an RV”.  One goal made me pause as I put another spoon of oatmeal into my mouth**.  This one was “Use your facial hair as a deadly weapon.”

I doubt I will “Work out while skydiving” or “ Do 250 sit-ups while throwing hatchets” but I have nasty facial hair.  In my bow-tie club, they advise “certain weaves should not be used if you have a wicked beard”.  That’s me !

Some fellows when you kiss them have whiskers soft, warm, and remarkable. Mine are like dead grass.  I have naturally curly hair; my whiskers are no exception. My Mother, who does not like my beard, admitted once kissing me is like kissing a Brillo pad.  I used to rub lotion into my whiskers, which softened things up, but I felt like a wet dog.

I don’t recall any fellow wincing and turning away saying ‘Ooh, that smarts!”  I hope the resemblance of my chin to a stiff brush would be more titillating than not, but I am not sure. It would be foolish to stop in the middle of a snog and ask if that was irritating.

Perhaps I should do an experiment (double blind) and go out and kiss as many men as possible. I will survey who cringes and who does not.

Spo-fans: Do you like kissing a fellow with whiskers, and does the length or texture make a difference?  My chiny chin chin wants to know!

**Eating oatmeal was not on the Manly List. 

This is my first attempt !  It is rather jiggly, but hey it’s impromptu!

I am thinking of taking up again the panpipes, or tuning the piano and tickling the ivories.  I also contemplate finishing the quilted bedspread I started but lost interest in completing. That’s the trouble with ADD wiring: when you have brains like a hummingbird, you tend to initiate things with gusto only to loose interest or be distracted by shiny objects and things don’t get completed.
It saddens me to think on the number of hobbies and projects that have fallen by the way side. Here is an impromptu list:

 

BBQ sauces

Coloured pencil drawing

Quilting

Rubber stamp collecting

Playing the piano and/or the panpipes

Reading 

Finishing a revision of The Timeless Lands of Erehwon

Yoga

Seeing all of several TV series (Dark Shadows, Mad Men, and Star Trek, to name a few).

Gardening

Rolling down Grass Hills 

 

Somehow I have to get these worked into my life again, but I don’t know how.  It’s not that I grew bored or disenchanted with the dozens of defunct hobbies and interests; I get excited to learn new ones. There just isn’t enough time to do them all.  It’s hard enough as it is to do the daily tasks of living.   It is rather frustrating.

 

Happily, blogging and sewing shirts haven’t dissipated.

 

Here are my brainstorm solutions:

 

Retire now

Warp time and space to make a 30 hour day (or the need of only 4 hours of sleep)

Give up some things to make room

Shorten the list

Take Ritalin

 

I think I will stop now and go work on a shirt.

** Coming Soon!**

Urspo makes a video tour of the house !

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