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PensiveThe whole philosophy of Hell (C.S. Lewis writes) is the recognition of the axiom one thing is not another. My good is your good and your good is yours. What gains another losses. “To be” means “to be in competition”.  A less theological spin captures this in the scientific observation we are primates who evolved from as an animal with pack-mentality and dominance. Thems on top want to stay there and do so through various means. I remember being in a history course in which the professor was reflecting on the many contributing factors to why on earth the Athenians with their desire for democracy created an empire. One astute patient raised her hand and replied: “Because they could”.  

This last week was full-up with thems on top/in power trying to push around thems below. I won’t bother repeating it here.  I want to ‘come out’ with my parallel experience I was having.

Some time now I’ve been struggling with a difficult patient (I shall call him/her ‘X”).  For a month now X has effected my life. I’ve lost sleep, waking up with nightmares about X; I’ve been depressed. Mostly I’ve felt trapped and isolated. X blames me for all sorts of things, repeating them to the point I was beginning to believe X’s views of me and what I had allegedly done/not done.  Last Friday – the same day of the Supreme Court shenanigans –  I went to my boss to process the case and get help. She pointed out I was in an abusive relationship, a sort of domestic violence. X was bullying me to get what X wanted on the threat of ‘reporting me’ if I didn’t, which makes me anxious to succumb to X’s demands.  She gave me advice what to do. At the end of the consultation she asked if I felt better. I did. Mostly I felt liberated as I had ‘came out”. Someone else knew now; I was no longer isolated.  I stood up to say somehting.  Chances are X will raise the ante and threaten more, hoping I will return to the status quo dynamic. I choose to be brave and stand my ground.  If Ford can do what she is doing, I can do likewise in my far less case. 

There will always be people in power who want to stay there and keep those below where they are. We are not destined to be merely a howling pack of primates without resource. It is hoped with our intelligence, reasoning, and dreams of fairness something can be done.  Please have the courage to find the determination never again to be ordered around this way. 

Unknown“What are you doing?” I hear Someone asking although this was done telepathically from the back of his brain while he sits watching TV.  What I am doing that looks suspect is I am going around the house wiping down things down with disinfection wipes. I admit this looks possibly barking mad but in my defense I can not remember when some of these things were last washed if ever. Every once in a while the medical journals remind me to remind patients about the high levels of contamination or household objects.  The social media does likewise although in a more alarmist oh-yuck style.  

Doorknobs and handles are especially noxious, full up with nasty wee-beasties just waiting to jump onto your fingers and crawl up into your mouth to devour you like John Hurt in Alien. Oh the horror. Computer keyboards are perhaps worse. So – once in a while (in our house, say every couple of years) it seems sensible to wash the door handles and light switches. I don’t know if it does much good but it is psychologically purging to do. 

“Chlorox-wipes” smell clean and capable of killing the worse of pathogens. They give me the sensation nothing can survive them and through them all surfaces they touch become sterile and safe for humanity – temporarily.  One can not completely get away from bacteria nor should one want to. All the same, the microwave handle and buttons – which haven’t had a proper wipe in ages – got a thorough purge and that’s that.  

Later this morning Someone and I will go out to breakfast. This involves opening the restaurant door which has been touched by countless of the Unwashed. Out of vanity I don’t bring along my plastic barrel of Cholox-wipes but I always wash my hands before eating; I never see anyone else doing this. 

That what doesn’t kill you makes you strong – unless it is E. coli or Salmonella which only just wears you done. 

Cricket-000016250543_Medium-800x675There is a cricket somewhere in kitchen. I have never seen him but I know he’s there. He chirps as crickets do. He appears every year about this time. I don’t know if it is the same cricket or one of its progeny.  The Google says crickets live at most 90 days, but I am not certain. It sure sounds like the same one to me. I’ve read in China crickets are considered lucky. I’ve also read in Arizona crickets attract scorpions like kids to a popsicle truck. I vote for the latter.

Regardless of the type of luck Gryllus assimilis brings the bug is quite boisterous. Worse, he makes his music at night. I’ve tried tracking him down but he goes mum. I suppose I should count my blessings there is only one of them. Imagine an orchestra of scorched crickets. Oh the horror.

Neither Harper nor Someone seem bothered by this nightly chirp chirp chirping. Perhaps they don’t hear it. It’s not fair.  I am the sole communicant for Henrik the Ghost and that’s bad enough but a phantom cricket drives me to distraction. 

As the hunt-and-kill approach is so far feckless I plan to put down traps or perhaps poisoned crumbs provided I deduce what the hell crickets eat. Sometimes at 2AM I consider a scorched earth policy and burn down the kitchen, but this seems extreme. Besides we just got the fridge fixed.  I suppose I will let him be for 90 days when he either dies or I stop hearing him. I like seasonal things; the annual autumnal arrival of Jiminy C. should be a comfort.

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For three or four days now I’ve been waiting for the Archetypes to deliver me some sort of inspiration upon which to write. Like Mr. Godot nothing is coming and I am not certain if any will arrive. This leaves me with not resource but to ramble. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections will not be pleased; they loathe “Random Thoughts” almost as much as “Walking the Dog” but what can I do.

I’ve started a diet I’ve christened “The Most Austere Diet”. By combining it with more regular exercise I can lose some weight to get back into my dress trousers – none fitting me well these days.  I started  with cutting out everything I like to eat. Please don’t feed me buns and things. After two or three days of this I am as crabby as a fishmonger. I think this maybe sugar/carbs withdrawal. Regardless of the etiology I’m no fun to be around. I’ve cautioned Someone not to touch me lest he be turned to salt.

Speaking of diet, the state of the union and the news are so horrid and depressing I turned them all off. GOP shenanigans, Hair Furor, and bad weather – I have a enough news for a while.

In contrast to cutting back crap I am searching the on-line candy stores for Halloween inspiration. My goal: make little bags of the most exquisite sweets for the trick-or-treaters [suffer, Martha!]  I have to refrain myself not to buy things too early lest someone or someones  eat them and I have to run out at the last minute to buy common rubbishy fun-size stuff. Oh the embarrassment! There goes my good reputation of having the best on the block.  So far I have Atomic Balls, Ice Mints, Green Jolly Ranchers, and Dad’s root beer barrels. If anyone has a favorite hard candy, I am open to suggestions.

And speaking of Halloween, I am also putting together a list of scary horror movies to watch in the next month. There are some classics I haven’t seen in ages (Dracula) and some I have never seen (Hocus Pocus).  My friend Eileen – queen of the “B” movies – highly recommends “Werewolves on Wheels”, so I went to Youtube for a look-see. Go have a look yourself. No, it’s OK. I’ll wait…..

It may move to the top of the list.

I am back at work; the day starts in thirty minutes. Looking ahead, my work week looks jam-packed and slightly double-booked. I will no doubt get a folder of ‘to do’ papers this morning. Thus is the price of going away for a week.

Despite it all I plan to start a mid-day meditation. Every day at 3PM I have in my schedule a 15 minute slot with nothing scheduled. This blessed time allows me to ‘catch up’ with whatever needs doing.  However starting today – regardless of what needs doing – I will close the door and for five minute I will merely sit, eyes closed, and clear my head if possible.
There is a lot of valid evidence to support daily ‘meditation’ is good for body and soul.  Meditation is one of the five spokes in the wheel of well-being, of which I have written.  It is time to practice what I preach.  Five minutes isn’t much but it is a start. Like exercise, doing something is better than nothing.  I am curious to see what it does for me. I will settle on feeling less stressed by 5PM.

What is meditation and how to do it looks intimidating. First there is all the rubbish associated with meditation. I went on Facebook to ask my pals what they recommend. I received an avalanche of advice. Happily it mostly distills down to sitting still and trying to concentrate on my breathing – that sounds easy enough. Apparently my hummingbird mind will rebel and inundate me with things needing doing and with pokes to get back to work there’s work to be done. I read this is natural and I should try not fight it and force my mind to ‘go blank’ but let it all happen like waves on a lighthouse.

In order not to forget about it, I have my phone set to remind me at 3PM to turn it all off, including the iphone telling me to turn it all off.

I suspect it will take time to get it into a routine; I suspect it will be no good for awhile. Finally, I suspect I won’t see ‘results’ for some time, but I can wait. I may not be focused much but I am patient.

Spo-fans who meditate are welcome to leave words of advice and how you do it. Thanks.

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Last night my dreams were composed of scenes made with people from book ‘The Game of Thrones’. This isn’t surprising as I started reading the book. Last week on holiday I brought along my kindle. In it was the book. I would be an easy read done in chapters. I started reading GOT a year ago but stopped as I couldn’t keep account of the characters.

Thems who know me saw it as ‘just right for me” viz. alternative worlds with imbroglios and magical items. Everyone told me to read and/or watch the series. Pressed with something popular I tend to balk. When something is popular I don’t jump into it. Someone points out I don’t jump into it right away but look at it later, sometimes years later. Game of Thrones is a good example. I missed the TV series. However it was impossible to dodge the conversations and images on line. As a consequence I see the actors when I read the chapters. 

So far the book is a bit page 71. The style isn’t too complicated. For an alternative world they tend to eat similar to our own. They have lemons, garlic, and pepper – even tea.  Where are they getting this stuff I wonder?  The erratic weather seasons makes me wonder about the planet’s rotation around its star(s). Perhaps like Santa Claus getting to everyones houses in one night it’s best not to think about it too much. I am doing no better this time keeping the characters apart but vow to get through this first book.  I plan to press on. I admit it is a bit of a page turner. I want to know what happens to Blondie and the Barbarian. I know enough of the plot to wait to see certain whiny characters get their comeuppance. 

On the other hand I got plenty of other books to read rather than this rubbish.  I tend to do ‘all or nothing’ in a book series and I haven’t asked the sensible question if GOT is ‘done’ or the author is still putting out new tomes. I may become lazy and switch to the show if they are available. 

All the same, it is jolly good fun ‘light reading’ and admittedly goes quicker than my other book I am reading: Pepys Diary. It goes oh so slow. I am only at May 1664 and years to go. I just hope my psyche doesn’t start melting GOT with PD in my dreamwork. Can you imagine?  

“And so to bed. Where are my dragons?”

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Spo-fans are roaring for more. So here’s more……

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Fundy Bay – low tide

 

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Fundy Bay – High tide

 

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The fine wines of  Nova Scotia.  Baco Noir is my favorite.

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A Nova Scotia Norm type. He is a dear and well over four feet.

It’s tedious having to hear about other people’s vacations and seeing their photos is worse, so I shan’t do either. While we wait in the Toronto Airport* for our flight home I thought I would scribble some things I learned on this week’s holiday.

#1 – It’s possible  for two to live out of a carry-on bag for a week. Really, it can be done! Who knew? There was no “Spo-shirt de jour” but no one seemed disappointed nor were there complaints about seeing Urs Truly in same clothes day in and day out.  Even my mini-dopp kit sufficed.  This is indeed marvelous news. I don’t know if I will do so again but it is nice to know it’s possible.

#2 – Canadian history seems to be mostly about conflict. French vs. British; British vs. Natives; Canada vs. The States etc. there is no end to it. The latest score seems to have the French ahead with the Brits trailing and the Natives far behind both. There is a good bet the Natives will comeback in the fourth quarter. 

#3 – I eat better when traveling abroad. At home food is mere fuel and dull as plainsong.  In Nova Scotia and PEI we ate fabulous seafood dishes served with lovely local wines. One doesn’t get this sort of cuisine back home in the desert. Oh well, it’s back to the rubbish for me with everything covered in hot sauce. 

#4 – Roundabouts maybe more safe, less expensive, and more ‘green’ than intersections with stoplights but try telling this to Someone. 

#5 – There is nothing like a good dose of being away to make one appreciate his or hers own bed. I am looking forward to sleeping in mine as much as possible this weekend. 

#6 – One can travel to Canada and not go to Tim Hortons.  Try to tell as many people as you can in town.

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*Far more tedious than other people’s photos is going through Toronto airport customs. Oh the pain.  

 

“He imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.”  – The Dead, Jame Joyce. 

Greetings from Nova Scotia! It’s been a whirlwind of travel and sight-seeing.  While we wait for breakfast at Wednesdays’ B&B I thought to get in this entry. 

In Halifax there is a citadel that has been used throughout the wars. There was a WWI exhibit. I was keen to see it as I am currently reading “All quiet on the western front”.  Outside the main walls of the fort they erected a WWI exhibit. I walked around its narrow claustrophobic maze  – void of puddles, stink, and vermin – and wondered.  The exhibitors wrote on the boards of the trench the names of the men who had died in the war. I have not been to the Vietnam memorial in DC but I imagine it it similar.  As wars go WWI has dropped in ratings. It was once somewhat glamorous but now it is seen as mostly horrible. 

I randomly picked out a name of one of the dead, a private named William Elderkin. What was he like before he enlisted? What were his dreams of after the war? Does he has descendants? Does he have any memory other than a name on a list of the those who died in the war?  

I don’t think most of us want to live forever as we would like to be remembered. History is mostly composed of people who lived, died, and passed into obscurity. We last a little while in the memory of those who knew us until they pass away.  We hope someone –  anyone – will remember us as a means of some sort of immortality.

When I get home I plan to research Pvt. William Elderkin. I hope to find something to give his simple epitaph some human story.  Perhaps so long as I live I will remember him and give him something more than a mention written in magic marker on a temporary exhibit. 

Due to the limitations of our luggage I have not bought many souvenirs on my trip. William Elderkin was something I wasn’t looking for but glad to have.  

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Across the street from our airbnb is a candy shoppe. The sign says it specializes in ‘Retro-candy”. Nothing takes one back to childhood as candy – or sweeties as I like to call them.  Alas, the store was a bit of a page 71. The young saleslady didn’t inspire confidence; we ended up playing a sugar-coated version of Monty Python’s “Cheese shop sketch”.  I rattled off the names of many of my childhood favorites only to have her look at me as if she had never heard of them – which is likely true.  Happily it wasn’t a total bust. I managed to come out of the shop with a handful of “Assorted Charms”. I have not had any in over thirty years. When I spotted them in the store my eyes lit of with the radiance of a brilliant sunrise. They were exactly as I remembered them. 

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The list of now-defunct unobtainable Spo-sweets is as long as a licorice whip.* Does anyone remember bottle caps or candy cigarettes? Last year Chuckles was a big hit at the Spo House as the ‘A” candy. I love them so – I hadn’t had them in decades. 

Speaking of All Hallows Eve I am damned determined this year to give out Kerr’s Halloween Kisses. I’ve never had this retro-candy so it will be both nostalgic and new/adventuresome.  It also provides something special – my reputation as the ‘best candy on the block’ is on line.  This candy is mostly reviled online as vile. In contrast there is a sizable shout it is the best. I suppose this makes it the Donald Trump of sweets. I just hope no one soaps my windows. 

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*My bag of NECCO wafers is gone. I have saved one roll for Christmas.

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