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Urs Truly


The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections

wish all Spo-fans near and wide

Happy Hallowe’en! 

So –

Halloween seems ready at the House of Spo. The outside of the house is lavishly decorated just enough to make the mean neighbors mad-jealous. This year’s “A” candy is “Chuckles” – remember them?  The “C” candy consists always two Smarties.

My month-long unshorn beard is sufficiently long and grizzled to pass off as A Board Member. Tomorrow I go to work dressed as such. I checked: there are no new patients to see.  Can you imagine?

I made devil’s food cupcakes and pumpkin spice snickerdoodles for the offices. I hope no one is on one of the diets that go about the place.  Cast not pearls before swine and that includes orthorexic administrative assistants.

I am still gathering together the names of Spo-fans who want a Tarot Reading on All Hallow’s eve. Any last minute requests?

The Halloween dinner has come together with the following menu:

Black Martinis     images

Mummy jalapeño poppers untitled.png

Pumpkin curry soup

Spooky Slaw salad

Broiled Flank steak (my traditional Hallwe’en supper).

And for small chocolate coon: leftover snickerdoodles, leftover candy, and cupcakes.

It is a tradition at the Spo-House to have ‘the last dip’ in the cement pond on All Hallow’s Eve.  This is to scare away the witches and ghosts. Certainly the shriek of going into the gelid waters is loud enough to scare most anything away.

I hope the long-absent Henrik the Ghost makes an appearance. I miss him.

Then I fall asleep, waiting for The Great Pumpkin to bring us toys. He hasn’t shown yet but there is always sincere hope he will this year.

Halloween Yoke



I’ve not cooked okra before. Mind! I grew up in the Midwest ; okra was as alien and exotic as baba ganoosh and just as unavailable. I don’t think I ever heard of okra until my college days. Happily I slowly discovered the haute cuisine of the cajuns and afterwards other lovely flavors of the U.S. South. This summer when I visited Charleston and Savannah I enjoyed several fine dishes, many with okra in them.

An entry on okra is a hazardous endeavor; I feel like a Polynesian writing about icebergs. I don’t know nothing about okra other than it seems never to be served by itself but as an ingredient in other dishes.  However The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections gave it the OK.*
Last August while in I was in Charleston waiting for the boat to take me to Fort Sumpter I tarried a little in the souvenir shop. It had several recipe books promising to capture the urtext of Southern cuisine. I came across a recipe called “Limping Susan”. It met the criteria of authenticity, easy to make – and it had okra.

Yesterday I finally got around to making the dish. I was thwarted by needing to actually purchase some okra. This is not as easy as it sounds as the local Arizona supermarkets are rich in peppers but not in okra. A few places didn’t have any and a few places ‘had never heard of it’.  I finally got some though, happy joy.

Okra pods have a slimy feeling to them. Perhaps I got some bad ones. I gave them a good wash and hoped for the best.

This dish is “Limping Susan”. It is a simple recipe consisting of frying chopped bacon strips with sliced okra. Next you add chicken broth and rice and some cajun spices and cook the concoction for twenty minutes. It is simple, tasty, and quick – like my men. Or my southern men, if I had any.

Susan turned out well, which was a surprise as I do not cook rice well. I was pleased this okra dish seemed ‘legit’; I thought of my August adventure and I felt quite ‘southern’. Almost. The local humidity is high of 10% so I know I am not in Savannah !


*They didn’t know what okra was. There are invariably suspicious of any vegetable. However an entry on okra was judged better than another post of ‘Walking the dog”. 

ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be getting out my wicked pack of cards on All Hallow”s eve and do a reading.  Spo-fans interested in a read about the ‘upcoming year’ : please leave a yes-please say-so in the comments. I will do them on 31 October. 

Oh what an adventure! 

Last night we drove north to meet up with some chums of Someone to do the sunrise balloon ride in Sedona. I was quite excited. I was also scared, of I dislike heights.  But the exhilaration surpassed the trepidation.  I got to finally do this bucket list item: ride a balloon!


Here is our basket. It held 16 people and the pilot. he 12 others were from all over and many had ridden balloons in other countries.  


The staff were all courteous and every one of them quite handsome. Here is one fine crewman, blowing hot air to inflate me and uplift my balloon. 


It takes a lot of hot air and blowing to get things up.  There were three balloons in total. 


There is nothing so quiet and peaceful as a balloon ride! There is only the occasional sound of the hot jets coming on to warm up the air.  This is one of our sister balloons as we ascended Sedona.  It is my favorite photo. 


Here is Urs Truly facing his fears. At first it was scary to be high up but this quickly passed.  By the way, the scraggly beard is ‘just right’ for Tuesday when I don sword and magic helmet and become one of The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections.  


“Is possible to see here view Sedona red rocks” –  over the shoulder of Someone.  


Here is Mark our pilot. He was well over four feet. He took us to 4,000 ft in so many ways. 


What goes up, must come down. Our landing was so soft and gentle it was almost a disappointment. There was no drama no terror, just a soft plop.  Here is a photo of another set of handsome hands who were waiting to take down the balloon and deflate it into its box.

Afterwards we had nibbles and champagne.

I heartily recommend a balloon ride. It was amazing ! 


When I was a boy, whenever my parents went away on holiday, they always made certain everybody knew where to find the will and papers for funeral arrangements and property etc. This ritual was never morbid but Midwest-sensible. It was based on a great-aunt Eloise who went on a word cruise. She didn’t return and no one knew what to do about it viz. her funeral arrangements and her property.  Mother wasn’t going to let happen. She would hug us and say she would see us in a week – and don’t forget Mr. Tonkin  the attorney has the keys to the strong box in which lays the will and accounts information,  you know just in case. Happily we never had to act on their Boy Scout maneuver.

I think of this ritual as I pack to go to Sedona after work tomorrow.  We go for a hot air balloon ride on Saturday. Mind! I am certain hot air balloon rides are quite safe and millions have taken through them without dying.  However one can never tell.

Alas, it is too late to make a will. Besides, I die in a sudden drop freak accident Someone goes with me.  Harper will be stranded at PetSmart so I better leave telephone numbers Brothers 2, 3, and probably 4 just to be on the safe side.

I suppose I should call my parents in an indirect speech act to say this may be our last conversation and where is our own strong box lies (Wells Fargo).  Perhaps I should rather send out an email t titled “Just in Case” with vital numbers etc.

I suppose I should bundle up the embarrassing bits like the journals and the objects in the lower drawer in a box and label it all “Please don’t open but just throw out”.  Oh the embarrassment.

It all sounds a lot of fuss. I will  keep my fingers crossed that I come back safe and sound.

I shall post plenty of pictures of this bucket list adventure upon my return.

It Spo-reflections suddenly stops without explanation… I do apologize and say so long it was good to know you.  Damn that Eloise!

OfficeI came to work today to discover someone new sitting at the receptionist window. She wasn’t too much of a surprise, for I had seen her sitting with the other receptionist last week for what looked like ‘training’.  As usual, no one tells me these things. I had to introduce myself. Yes, she was hired as ‘new staff’, apparently to help with billing and here and there as well.

I’ve lost track of the all the receptionists the clinic has seen over the years. I am never privy to ‘why’ one suddenly disappears and is replaced. Being curious (and nosy) I want to know ‘why’ – were they dissatisfied or had they found better jobs or did the bosses deem them busts. Asking the existing staff is no use. They either do not know or are discreet to demur the reason.

Pharmaceutical representatives are even more transient. Worse, they tend to look alike. I ask ‘Jill” how she is doing and “Jill” responds no she is “Jane”, the replacement.  I feel like Sir Galahad at the Castle Anthrax.  Another challenge is they sometimes represent one company and then another.

The counselors are work are less likely to flip like houses. Many of them work in the other branches of the clinic, where I am not. I knew of  a“Cheryl” but never met her – only to hear a few months ago “Cheryl” had moved on.

People come and go so quickly here.

Then there is Urs Truly. I took this job in 2005 and I’ve been here ever since. In the movie “Young Victoria”  the young monarch is walking and talking with her aunt about the prime minister.  Auntie reminds her: “Prime ministers come and prime ministers go – you stay” – and she did for over sixty years.   It’s good to be queen. 🙂


Sunday while I was having my hypertension-induced migraine I failed to notice the visitor ticker turned 1,500,000. There’s been a million and a half visits to my blog?  Unbelievable. I am honored so. Thank you all.

A special thanks to Warrior Queen and Old Lurker who account for most of them 🙂

insanity I started writing a well-written and entertaining Spo-reflection on eggs. I was halfway through it when it dawned on me to search my blog and there it was: I had more or less written the same entry in 2013.  Memory is a queer thing:  I can compose the same piece after four years but I can’t remember doing it?

I received a few emails about my comment ‘Never trust trout’. This bewildered some Spo-fans who wanted to know ‘why’. I forget where I got this axiom but it seems right; it has never let me down.  Don’t question me.

Insanity This week at work I had the tedious task of seeing three new patients I intuited won’t be returning. I caught them abusing their tranquilizers via the CPSMP (Controlled prescription substances monitoring program).  Example: Dicky Purdy is filling a prescription for 3 x day Xanax (90 tablets/month) – but every 3 weeks. I asked him how often does he take actually his xanax. Oh, he reports, maybe 1-3 day, adding there are 1-2 days per week he doesn’t take any.  When I bring up the discrepancy between his statement and the CSPMP he started to backpedal.  He gave a possible reasonable explanation his memory was faulty. However the penny had dropped: he sees I watch this sort of stuff,and I won’t be prescribing the ‘fun drugs’ other than on time.  They won’t be coming back but will find another doctor who is less watchful.  Meanwhile I have all the paperwork to do. What a bore.

The German and Spanish lessons are progressing but I tend to mix up the two languages, particularly when I can’t think of a word in one language. My brain fills in with the word from the other language.  It is sort of like eating a bratwurst mit queso und salsa (sin cebolla). Viel SpaB and mas rico.

I recently spoke with the Lovely Neighbor (in Virginia) who wanted to know of the across the street neighbors are having their ‘alternative’ block party this year. I don’t know as I was not invited. I suspect they are. However, my house is definitely the most fabulous on the street. She thinks I should give out really super good candy on the proviso the beggars skip the block party or (better yet) soap their windows.  According to Fractured Fairy Tales ‘there is a little witch in all of us girls” and this is even more so at Halloween with The Lovely Neighbor – and Urs Truly.



My highly anticipated dental appointment (long overdue) was canceled after the resident (who is well over four feet) took my blood pressure and exclaimed it was over 160/90. We tried a few weasel ways to bring it down (short of a snort)  but the dastardly diastolic declined to dissipate. Worse, my DDS in-training doesn’t have an opening until December. An afternoon wasted.

In hindsight the high blood pressure explains a lot in my health these past four weeks: yesterday’s migraine; my general malaise; the ongoing low grade headaches. They have been active every since my long time HTN Rx was changed four weeks ago. Ironically it was the same dentist who suggested I do so. On the positive, my long time gum inflammation cleared right up away and I could breathe out of my left nostril for the first time in years. I was pleased as punch.  On the negative my blood pressure is dangerously elevated.  I was fortunate I didn’t have a stroke running around with such pressure.

The Good Doctor will be upset to hear on my own I doubled the lisinopril dose today to see if ‘more is better’.  I see TGD on 31 October. As it is Halloween I will dressed as a member of The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. I hope he realizes he will be talking to a patient heavily armed.

If this self-adjustment is a bust I may just go back to the old medicine. I bleed whenever I brush my teeth on it but at least I don’t pop a piston.

Until the blood pressure goes down I should forgo lifting weights or start running as I’ve been planning to do. I should avoid stress in any form particularly bad tea, termagants, and CNN headlines.  Alas alas it is too late to cancel this weekend’s balloon ride. If I stroke out from the excitement or the altitude they can just toss me over the side for a Sedona sky-clad bon-voyage.

I will keep you posted if I have any sudden change in vision or loss of arm motion.

BONUS: If you don’t know your blood pressure, please get it checked. It is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. 

Also, did you know in order to take a proper blood pressure reading one needs to do over ten things?  – And almost NOBODY does them all/right ! Urs Truly does, which is pretty good for not being a real doctor.  

My Sunday was spoiled by a migraine headache. I was surprised as I haven’t had one in years. I never had any in life, until 2000 or so when I had a week of them. They disappeared and I had none until yesterday. The headache had the usual symptoms or pain with light and sound sensitivity and some nausea.  Tylenol and Motrin hardly touched it. I had so much I wanted to do that day but it was all curtailed by the nasty headache.

Yesterday’s migraine was not as sharp as the ones I had in ~2000 but it was enough to completely ruin the day. I spent all of Sunday trying to find a comfortable position (with little success). The doctor/scientist in me kept trying to figure out ‘why’ it happened. There were many possible contributing factors. The dirty secret of Medicine is often when something happens and the patient and physician try to figure out the etiology the answer more often than not is there is no clear reason ‘why this is happening’.  It’s a disappointment for everyone likes a clear simple answer of cause and effect.  Better to just work on ‘what to do about it”.

Alas there wasn’t much I could do but close all the drapes and crawl into a ball. It felt a day lost. I couldn’t do any of the Sunday plans, including bake pumpkin spice snicker doodles.

Today I feel weak but not in pain. Having a sour headache raises my empathy level for my patients who have them. One of my patients told me his migraines can last a week long. Yikes. I should count my blessings I get a mine every ten years apparently.

‘Tis the season hohoho to put up the Hallowe’en trimmings!



Don we now our gay apparel. The ocotillo gets covered in plastic pumpkins. Every year I lose a few to the winds or to  pumpkin-pinchers. Don’t worry: they make more. 


Mr. Bookwus dons a witch hat. It makes him even more scary than usual.


Starting 1 October I start hanging a daily ornament on the dead oak tree.  It is my Advent Calendar for All Hallow’s Eve. 



Here’s an attempt at arts and crafts. I painted a small clay pot white, orange, and yellow.  I stuck in a candle and filled up the space with candy corn. I made two of them.  

I replace the candy every year. 


Us Truly has a disdain for spiders along the line as Indiana Jones’ aversion to snakes.  These lovely tea candle holders are fun without evoking arachnophobia. 



Behold Harper, always alert and ready, to model the bed.  On Labor Day I bedecked the beams with garlands of autumn leaves. I didn’t add orange lights  this month as scheduled, for they give Someone headaches.



I am preparing a costume to wear on 31 October. I will be at work, my doctor’s appointment, and later that day for handing out the trick-or-treats. I am going as a Board Director Here at Spo-reflections.  



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October 2017

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018