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Pensive

Note: I wrote this entry mostly as an exercise to help me focus into consciousness a set of emotions on a topic that is bothering me. This process of expanding the subconscious is called ‘amplification”. It doesn’t make for a comical or interesting entry.  Spo-fans and cranky Board Members have been warned. 🙂

 

I like to talk about The Journey, which is the Jungian archetype about ones passing through life. It highlights the elements of Self-growth and development for the time one has between cradle and grave. Sometimes I am am talking out of my other end on the topic for I don’t any clue what is my Journey.

Mind! There is no written script on what constitutes The Journey. There is nothing preordained. Indeed, having thought out yours like a AAA triptych is not Journey at all. What makes the gods laugh most is when you tell them your plans. By definition, The Journey is what you encounter when you remain open to what may happen. Frodo Baggins said it best “I will take the ring though I do not know the way”.

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All the same, I want some sort of guidance. The Cheshire Cat’s assurance if I walk long enough I will get somewhere is at times no comfort.

So what’s missing? The answer: future goals. I pepper the months of each year with events and things to look forward. These include the traditional holidays, away-from-home seminars, and vacations. In contrast there is nothing in the bigger picture such as what I want to accomplish by 60 or 70 or where I want to retire (if I should achieve such) or even what do I want out of life.

Spo-fans know I inherited from The Lovely Neighbor several stacks of cooking magazines which I am slowly rummaging for recipes. I tear out the interesting looking ones and tuck them away for a nebulous ‘some day’. I recently got all of them out from the accordion file and I sorted them into categories. There are scores of them, ranging from appetizers to vegetable dishes. My first emotional response at surveying the piles on the dining room table is even if I were to start right now I could not make all of them in my lifetime. So, when am I going to make them? Is this my future goal, my Journey?  If so it is it seems a bit mawkish and uninspiring. The point here is these piles tickle that itch to have more Purpose and to refine The Journey. I don’t know yet what to do but I sense I need to do something.

Maybe that’s what the Cheshire Cat is assuring me: not what is The Journey but which steps to take first.

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Yesterday I walked in the locker room where I heard a man talking loudly to another. I walked around the corner only to discover he wasn’t talking to anyone there but with someone via a device. He didn’t stop with my approach; he continued his dialogue as if I wasn’t there. Standing next to him I couldn’t help but overhear; he didn’t tone down his voice. He was talking about lizard people. As I could only hear his side of the conversation it was not clear if he was trying to educate only or persuade his listener there is a race of lizard type people infiltrating the world governments. Normally when I encounter a man talking to himself about such rubbish I prescribe depot antipsychotic medication but he didn’t sound schizophrenic but barking mad.
When I got home I looked up ‘lizard people’ only to find this is a theory held by many. And what a theory it is! Apparently many politicians are lizards in disguise. Many crowned heads are implicated including Hair Furor. The notion Mr. Trump is actually a disguised alien, hell-bent on our downfall, has some logic to it. I may become a believer.

The lizard people conspiracy websites are somewhat vague what you are  supposed to do if discover your mayor, president, prime minister etc. is a reptilian alien. There isn’t much advice on how to effectively approach a government official and tear at his face to reveal green scales underneath sponge rubber.

The reasons to impeach Trump now seem rather tame compared to the hypothesis he is a Slitheen from beyond the Oort Cloud.

Tomorrow I am going to start to be on the look out for tell-tale signs The Current President has lizard-like attributes. I would write my congressman about it but he’s probably a lizard too. Oh the pain.

Capture

Do any Spo-fans have reptilian aliens as their governmental representative?

This week’s calendar reminds me on Friday Someone and I leave for our annual August holiday. Normally we take a long week to travel to Canada but this year we go to South Carolina (Charleston) and Georgia (Savannah). Up until now I’ve not been too excited as it was all rather abstract.  However, a bit of snooping around on the internet has raised my hopes.

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This trip crosses off a few of my Bucket list items. First: I can say I’ve been to South Carolina, which is one of 5-6 states of the union I have not visited. Second: I get to visit a tea plantation. I figured I would have to travel to India or China to do this one, but it turns out North America’s only tea plantation is located in South Carolina. I don’t know if it is a ‘proper’ plantation (or if the tea is any good) but hey they have real Camellia sinensis so that counts. Third: I see a Fort Sumter.

sumter

We planned this trip months ago. We did not consciously do so but we will be in Charleston the day of the eclipse. Hot puppies! If the weather cooperates we will have a front row seat!*

I think it terribly tedious to bore ones friends and relations with too my photos and details about ones travels but I plan to do so this time. Other than these three or four hopes** I don’t have any pre-expectations. It is a proper adventure holiday with no plans and make-it-up-as-we-go-along.  And I get all the shrimp I can eat. What’s not to like about that?

 

*Alas the forecast doesn’t portend success. It looks to be a good chance of rain each day of our visit, with obscene dew points. Oh the disappointment.

**Charleston appears to have some lovely local distilleries so that may be the fifth horse of my apocalypse.

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I don’t have much to report, so here’s a new set of fabulous words Urs Truly is trying to get to land and stick to his lexicon flypaper.

 

Brummagem – (adj.) cheap, showy, or counterfeit.

Cadge  – (v.) to ask for get something to which one is not strictly entitled

Chicanery – (n.) The use of trickery to achieve a political, financial, or legal purpose.

Euphonious – (adj.) pleasing to the ear.

Harridan – (n.) a strict, bossy, or belligerent woman.

Noisome – (adj.) having an extremely offensive smell.

Prolix – (adj.)  Using or containing too many words; tediously lengthy.

Sapiosexual – (n.) a person who finds intelligence to be sexually attractive.

Sequacious – (adj.) lacking independence or originality of thought.

Tetchy – (adj.) bad-tempered and irritable.

 

BONUS ADD ON <<<

A Gowpen is the cup formed by putting your hands together to make a bowl.  A Yepsen is the amount you can hold in your Gowpen.

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I am beginning to doubt my self-perception I am not a vain person. The 2016 Elanta gets a tune-up today, so Someone gave me the other car to drive to work. I’ve just parked the 2001 Honda Accord next to The Other Doctor’s bright red shiny new Porsche and I feel like white-trash. I look down at my ten-year-old mouse pad to see it is quite frayed around the edges. The cuffs on my khaki pants, quite dog-eared and thread-bare, suddenly seem a problem. I look like a tatterdemalion. Oh the pain.

In our house we tend to hold onto things as long as possible before replacement. This means we have lots of worn-down far from stellar (but still functioning) things such as the 270,000 miles Honda with its scratches and dents and a closet-full of undergarments stained and hole-y. When does parsimonious Midwest virtue translate into being a tightwad?  Do patients look at my jalopy, compare it to the Porsche, and deduce The Other Doctor must be better?

Perhaps in the end we are not so much penny-wise Midwesterners but cheap. Someone doesn’t give a darn the Honda looks long in the tooth. He is content it keeps running and we don’t have to shell out money for a new car. Replacing my Dockers because the cuffs have some rough edges and loose threads strikes me as wasteful.

At the other end of the spectrum are the folks who regularly replace their possessions at the first sign of a blemish. And then there are thems who replace things not because the car, the shirt or what have you is torn or looks bad but because – gasp – they simply want a new one. I don’t think I have ever done that. Will the gods who dwell in faraway Michigan strike me down for vanity and extravagance?

I think this weekend I will be so bold as to put away the trousers with too many frayed cuffs and indelible spots. The Honda is a lost cause until it needs a repair so costly as to make it not worthwhile. I’ve been hoping for that for ten years with no signs of such. Like the rocks at Stonehenge nothing knocks it down.

Spo-fans – How soon do you replace things? What is the decision point to do so? I am particularly interested in the Spo-fan Warrior Queens (A.K.A. the ladies) when do you replace your clothing ?

When The Lovely Neighbor moved away she left behind a computer monitor the size of an IMAX screen. Alas I couldn’t use it at either of my offices for it blocks my view of patients (and everything else). I gave it to The Wonder Receptionist who loves it so. Apparently she has poor vision and this large screen is superior to the previous one. She is pleased as punch.  If she is happy the clinic is happy.

Office

Rumor has it the bosses hired a nurse practioner so there will be three pill pushers on the premises. Let’s see if she shows. Hiring a third prescriber has been a challenge; at the last minute the change their minds and don’t show up. My experience with psychiatric RNs is not good but I am going to keep a neutral opinion on this new one. The past ones often lauded ‘they are just as good as the doctor’ but when they were faced with a challenge they told the patients ‘Oh, I am just a nurse you need to see a doctor’ and give them to me.

The current crop of pharmaceutical representatives has arrived. They come and go so quickly here. It looks like the pharmaceutical companies haven’t done their research well as this lot doesn’t have any particularly handsome ones of the sort Fearsome Beard would post on his blog as “Beard of the day”. The 401K man recently came to visit, bringing with him a companion. They weren’t bad on the eye. Alas I have no legitimate excuse to have him back for a private examination of my mutual funds.

After years of threats from the Boss-man he vows it is really going to happen viz. his plan to knock down my office wall to divide the room into two. This will allegedly happen when I am away later this month. I don’t mind really. My office is quite capacious and I prefer a more cozy setting. I retain the better half, the one with the windows and the view.

The Mesa office refrigerator remains messy and cluttered with leftovers long forgotten and other things hard to identify. The users are 95% female; I thought women were more fastidious than men.  My Swiss-German genetics wants me to clean it all out and perhaps I will.

 

I am signed up to attend two conferences: I go to New Orleans in September and in December I go to Lost Vegas.  Normally I attend medical conferences on my own but this time Someone will go with me to both . I am pleased as punch that he will do so.  Some people like traveling alone but I do not. I prefer the company of others.

Medical conferences can be lonely trips. After the afternoon lectures adjourn there is nothing much more to do. Left to myself I end up staying in the hotel rather than poking about the town. I eat better with a travel companion. I eat out of a fast food places rather than pay to sit down alone in a restaurant.  Imagine going to New Orleans and eating chain-food fodder!  With Someone at my side I can plan on a few proper dinners – and they are tax deductible!

Medical conferences usually happen in swanky cities and resorts as the doctors usually travel with their spouses. A bedazzling city gives these intrepid mates things to do and see while their doc-mates pow-wow with their fellow wizards learning the latest.  Someone jokes as a doctor’s wife his job is to sit poolside wearing expensive jewelry. Most of the time he gets a bored waiting for my seminars to end, so he often doesn’t want to go on these shing-dings. I daresay he prefers staying home in the peace and quiet of my absence.

Another perk of my Sancho Panza escorting me to the psych-congress is libations. When I travel alone I find it creepy to go to a bar to sit and read a book and drink alone.  He’s also more clever than I at arranging the rental car or shuttle and getting luggage there and back again without mishap.

There are some disadvantages to traveling with ones mate. I will be trapped in a hotel room with the TV; at home I can go into the other room.  Someone likes evening entertainments such as Lost Vegas shows when I often feel too tired to go out. After all it is a school night for me.

Alone in a hotel room, a stranger in a strange land in a resort city my mind is a recipe to stray towards wickedness. Having Someone at my side keeps me virtuous.  I won’t go out at night an prowl and bring back to my hotel room any nasty chips.

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My cookbook arrived; I am a published cook!

Over the years I’ve developed a preference for several dishes that I tend to make over and over. These recipes are scattered through my cookbook collection or are written down on index cards passed onto me by deceased aunts. Some of the recipes are on food-stained loose pieces of paper. Curious I can’t seem to memorize the recipes but I remember where they are located. For examples: Mother’s gingerbread is written on a fading index card while the marinade for flank steak is in The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and my favorite BBQ chicken recipe rests in The Ruby Ann Boxcar’s Trailer Home Cookbook. You get the picture.

Over the years I’ve tried to to put them all into one tome for easy reference. My first attempt (pre-internet) was a blank book in which I wrote them all out by long-hand. The second was done via word processor and printed onto 8.5 x 11 paper and put into a folder.

This third (and hopefully last) incarnation was done via an online ‘Create your own cookbook’ website.  And here is it is. I am pleased as punch.

There is nothing memorable about these recipes. The book is a gallimaufrey of comfort foods and family favorites. My favorite cocktails are all included as are varieties for the bread machine. One chapter is solely for my favorite BBQ sauces.  This all is hardly gourmet. However each recipe is a joy for me. I am glad to have them all between the same coversheets.

This was a labor of love; it took a lot of work. I had to enter each recipe making sure the ingredients and directions were just so. I kept adding new recipes and (worse) I kept editing them for typos and word choice.  There were so many versions the website told me they were going to cancel me if I didn’t settle down and finish the damn thing.

I got two recipes from my paternal grandmother; both are in the cookbook. This weekend I will make one of them: Hamburger Soup. It is simple, nourishing, and tasty – like my men.

Someone is bicycling.* He does this in the early morning hours before it gets too hot. Last weekend I joined him; it was the first time I’ve been on a bicycle in maybe ten years.

The expression ‘It’s like riding a bicycle’ is not valid – at least not for Urs Truly. Since the last time I surmounted my bicycle it has developed more gears than I recall it having. I needed instruction how to use the brakes and gears; I was told not to change gears when not peddling – or is it the other way around?

Bicycle rides in my childhood were pleasant leisurely endeavors consisting of frequent stops to chat with the neighbors who happened to be outside.  No one wore helmets. We fell at times but no one was terribly injured. I remember Brother #3 being in a add-on seat the type nobody would approve or use these days. But we survived and we had fun. Bicycle rides nowadays seem to be all about going as fast as possible to get to some undisclosed place, more’s the pity.  I rather like the notion of a slow sightseeing cycle-tour but I fear these went out with banana seats.

I slowed Someone down as I wasn’t used to things. We live in an area with some slopes. He constantly called out to change gears or keep pedaling and don’t pump the brakes too much. The latter I was doing often.

Alas there wasn’t much to see. Even at 8AM in the morning it is quite hot and there is no one outdoors in their yards to stop and chat with. There was not much to see.  Our sub-division consists of monotonous brown-painted homes. Even if there were sights to see or neighbors to meet I was too busy trying not to fall over.

The first time is the worst they say. I am certain I will do better and become at ease with experience. In time I will no doubt figure out the gears and perhaps even get the helmet to stay on proper.  If bicycling becomes a regular past time I may invest in some accessories such as a tin bell and streamers for the handles.

cycling-cartoon

 

*I avoid the word ‘cycling’ as it conjures up rapid bipolar mood swings. I have enough of that sort in my life already.

 

Travel Penguin (the dear!) often posts entries asking for a reply which I don’t do in a comment but as an entry here at Spo-Reflections.  Last week he wrote about things he doesn’t ‘get” viz. bewildering human behavior that make his eyes cross in incomprehension. I am not bewildered often thanks to training in psychology; I can usually figure things out why people do what the do.  When in doubt, people behave without thinking, or to avoid perceived pain/danger, or because of their mother. * Nevertheless despite my best efforts some things remain unexplainable. Here’s ten of them for your amusement.

Straw man mentality  –  Perhaps due to my dabbling in science and rhetoric whenever I hear a made statement with a proposed conclusion my first impulse is to question the causality, and not except it as true.  Apparently few think this way, at least in this country.

Drinking hot beverages to cool down –  madness! I suppose this is an example of having no choice in a matter so pretending the outcome is what you wanted is a delusional comfort.

Violence as entertainment – I know the biological and psychological theories why we are attracted to fights and brutality but it don’t do no good. Gladiator fights or shoot-em-up movies – they are all the same to me.

Justin Bieber – self explanatory.

Someone’s mania for rubber ducks – Dr. Fisher, psychoanalyst, said it best: there is no accounting for taste.

What we will or will not buy – people take great umbrage if the price of gas or bananas go a certain way but then think nothing of buying overpriced bottles of water.

Patient preferences – I often hear from patients they are skeptical to take evil pharmaceuticals but think nothing of buying crap off the sleep laced with god-only knows what or they buy non regulated supplements of which they don’t know the ingredients.  Patients are awfully picky what they will put in their bodies – and it still bewilders me the logic -or lack thereof.

Eating raw fish – I’ve studied parasites; I know what happens.

JWs (Jehovah Witnesses) – I may be wrong on this (and I hope I am) but don’t the JWs believe only a finite number of people go to heaven? I would think by now that’s been met. So why bother?  I would soon change religion to one that had more hope to it. And they don’t do no holidays.

Modern art – yes I’m one of those types who walks through the art museum into the galleries with the helicopter crashes, the blood-heads, and the canvases with one paint stroke on them and wonder what on earth is going on here.

Well that’s my ten.

Here is the thing I find the most bewildering; it is the thing I most don’t get –

Wasting life – I loved to learn and grow at an early age. I see all of life as a growing experience.  Apparently not many agree.  They go through the motions of mundane living, content to watch TV and play video games. Forty years later, in retirement, they are still watching TV until they die.

They don’t seem unhappy – nay, they look content.

A life without meaning or Journey is perhaps the thing I don’t get most.

 

*Freudian reference which turns out not usually true. A better explanation is our desire for attention.

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