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A pet peeve of mine is parking at the grocery store to discover some lazy lout has left their shopping cart in the middle of the lot rather than walking a few steps to put it properly back in the cart corral. Oh the frustration. I will grab said cart (for I will need one) and bring it into the store with me to do my shopping. Last night at the deli counter while waiting for Godot I looked down into my empty black cart to see the previous driver of had left behind (face down) their black covered cellphone. Being Midwestern I immediately felt sheepish someone would soon be running into the store in a swivet  and accuse me of stealing her phone.* I turned it over to see if I could possibly find a way to call someone (perhaps the last caller) and explain the situation and would you be so kind to try to contact the poor unfortunate soul their phone is at the deli?  That too evoked anxiety I would be seen as some sort of perv who purposely pinched the thing and is now taunting them for ransom. This neurosis was thwarted by necessity of needing a passcode to open up the phone so no such luck – a relief in a way.  In the end I decided Godot wasn’t coming and I really didn’t need cole slaw anyway so I toted said cart with its contraband over to ‘customer care’ where I explained the situation.  The young woman behind the counter didn’t laud me for my thoughtfulness but took the phone with a slight acknowledgment ‘that’s a bummer” and went on to whatever she was doing before I had so rudely interrupted her.

This is a classic case of calling the kettle black, for I am constantly misplacing my phone. In my case (pun intended) mine is enclosed in a bright fluorescent red plastic wrap that is easily spotted yards away which is the point. Apart from my hummingbird brain that tends to misplace all things not actually connected to my person I suspect there is an unconscious part of me that would dearly love to lose the beastly thing and be free of it.  However losing ones phone isn’t just an inconvenience but a major security risk. These things are full up with data and access to all sorts of things thieves are on the look out for.  One does not take the loss of the cellphone lightly.

I won’t know what became of the black cellphone. Did Mr. or Mrs. Loser run back into Albertsons only minutes after I left to ask (and receive) said lost object, or did they go on to a new life without? I like to think they returned and when they discovered some nice person had turned it in they thought a silent thanks and prayer for my wellbeing. Probably the customer service person would just hand it and the recipient would rush out without even a thank you. If I believed in karma I would hope my good Boy Scout move will somehow shower me with good luck. Fat chance of that. It is Friday morning as I type this; I am facing a work day from hell with seven count’em seven new patients. I will be spending all the weekend doing paperwork.  Let’s hope my lack of faith in karma is proved wrong and many of them are no-shows.

untitled

*I don’t have any real reason to assume it was a woman who had lost their phone. My limited experience with the dames suggests they misplace their phone more than the dudes. This is based on my patients who often leave in my office all sorts of items. Here’s who leaves behind their phones the most: women, the elderly, the anxious, and thems with co-pay problems.

From Ghoulies and Ghosties,
And long-leggity Beasties,
And all Things that go bump in the Night,
Good Lord deliver us.      –  Anonymous.

ghost1

 

That does it: no more news. Every time I have a look-see on line this evokes gummy panic and/or depression. Pandora’s Hope mentioned in my last entry has been squashed by the avalanche emanating from The Mountains of Ignorance.

 

Last night I woke from horrible dreams filled with hateful people trying to do me harm. Doesn’t take Freud to deduced this one: watching the news is causing PTSD-like nightmares.

Another matter interfering with my sleep is I am waking with horrible charley-horse cramps in my feet and my toes. They go back and forth between the left foot and the right. They are not sharp but an intense throbbing; it feels like something in my foot is contracting like a overwound clock. Oh the pain. Flexing my foot is of no lasting help. I have to leap out of bed and walk around stomping my foot as if  trying to flatten a very skittish cockroach. These middle-of-the-night stomps wake Harper and Someone who both wonder what the hell is going on. Oh the embarrassment.

We are in the transitional time of year here in Phoenix when going to bed is marred by the heat but by the time we wake it is cold outside. Windows are open and fans are a-blowing which helps a little beim schlafengehen but I wakes in the morning with the sensation of freezing. I am counting the days when it becomes hot enough to turn on the AC for more homogenous temperatures.

My bladder, normally the size of a large grapefruit, seems have shrunk to the size of a golf-ball. I am beginning to wake a few times in the night when I used to sleep through without need. Oh the nuisance.

In medieval times* people explained nightmares and cramps to malevolent fairies, ghosts, and succubi. I wouldn’t mind mid-night interruptions if they were caused by a visting handsome incubi but no such luck. Rather than call in an exorcist I need to limit my fluids after 7PM, do some stretches before retiring, and no BBC/CNN. It would also help if Harper didn’t wake me in the night in an urgent need to go outside to stand in the backyard just to stare at nothing.

 

*Overall a more friendly period.

 

I recently reheard the story of Pandora. For thems unfamiliar with this Greek myth it is a tale ultimately about keeping hope despite sorrow.  Zeus is honked off at the mortals for having power and fire and basically just for being generally happy so he designs a guaranteed disaster to wreck havoc. He creates the woman Pandora and gives her for a wedding present a jar *  – and tells her under no circumstances never to open it. She’s curious, she opens it, and all the woes of the world fly out. Mankind is forever plagued with war, death and disease, turmoil, and strip malls. However, at the bottom of the jar is one other thing: Hope. Some god (curiously, never named) but Hope in the jar out of pity for mankind so they wouldn’t despair. Despite the woes of the world there is always hope goes the tale.

One of my professors in my residency programme taught us never remove a patient’s hope. Even with the dying provide hope to help make their departure better, less uncomfortable and more meaningful.

I have lots of patients who feel hopeless. Sometimes they present their hopelessness as a sort of challenge like a gauntlet thrown down: “Find some way why I should hope my lot will ne any better”. Sometimes all the hope I can have for them is to somehow alleviate chronic suffering to feel and function a bit better.  I am daily tried by this axiom.  Presently I have a handful of patients for whom I have nothing more to offer or to give them. They still keep coming to see me despite ,my recommendations to go elsewhere (hoping they will find someone who can think of something). You would think they would take this commonsense and logical advice: why stay when someone one can’t help you. There are many reasons why they stay with me, but one of these is hope: they still hope I can do something. To ‘give up’ and go away succumbs to the awful realization I have no hope for them.

The opposite of feeling happy is not feeling sad nor is it feeling angry. When you feel sad or angry you still give a damn about something. The actual opposite of happiness is hopelessness: the emotional conclusion things will never be better or different.

There has been a rise in the rates of depression and suicides and drug abuse in the world (particularly in the USA) correlated to the sense of hopelessness. The still voice of Hope is more readily shouted down these days by the legion of woes emanating from the jar of Pandora. The challenge is to discriminate what looks hopeless but isn’t so from the things that are unfixable. Finding Hope in every situation is becoming harder to do for me.

 

*If you are like me you grew up hearing this tale as Pandora’s box, not a jar.  It turns out the Greek word for jar got misinterpreted as box.  The up to date versions of this myth are reusing the word jar. Also in the original myth Pandora is not an innocent done in by her human curiosity. She was purposely designed by the gods as something malevolent to do Zeus’ biding.

I recently read genetics is only ~ 25% of what makes a long-liver from a short-timer. Thems who live to be 100 don’t do so just because they have ‘good genes’. This is good news for folks who want to make such a goal. It turns out the key(s) to achieving 100 gets down to five factors. Happily four of them aren’t too difficult to do if you are determined to do so.*

First of all let’s get rid of the rubbish, the things 100 year old folks did NOT use towards seeing your one hundredth birthday cake:

Complicated/zany diets

Mega doses of vitamins

Supplements

Antioxidants

Goop advice

Going to the gym

Money

Abstinence from alcohol

‘Success’ in life

The world’s communities with lots of 100-year-olds members were interviewed and they consistently don’t do anything of these things.  What a blessing to know!

Here be the five: 

1] Be active.  None of these folks went to the gym or ran marathons.  Rather they had active lives. Their work kept them moving. They walked to places; they took the stairs. 

Advice #1 – take the stairs, park further away and walk a bit to the store. Get up and move lots. Get in a daily dose of thirty minutes of action. 

 

2] Take time to chill. On the other hand they did not work themselves to death, double tasks or freaked out over a wasted minute. They all had some sort of ‘down time’ each day to take a siesta, have a tea break, gab whatever. They also got enough sleep, valuing  sleeping time over getting one more thing done.  Their vacations were the type for sitting and reading and talking – not running amok trying to do a lot and see all the sights.

Advice #2 – Take some time off each day to unwind in meditation, prayer, whatever. And turn off the techie things to get some sleep.  Forgoing sleep from ‘fear of missing out’ is bad bad bad. 

 

3] Eat right and eat less.  These sages never did silly diets; they had a dietary lifestyle. They did not stuff themselves; they would eat just enough to start feeling full and then they would stop. They ate little meat (not none!) and what they ate is mostly plants.  Nobody abjured butter or booze or bread; they just ate little amounts. They also spent time to eat – and with others. No drive-through dining here.  

Advice #3.  Common sense eating (type and amount) consumed slowly with friends and family is the best diet there is. 
4] Belong to something.  The 100 years folks did not live alone or in a vacuum. They lived in communities that helped each other out and tended to each other’s welfare.  They had privacy and personal times but they also ‘us’ times and places. 

Advice #4.  This is the one of the five that is most difficult to remedy. Somehow you need to be part of a family, a community, a church, or a club. Don’t do Life alone. 

 

5] Meaning. “What am I waking up for?” sort of questions. None of them lived cosmic or fabulous or infamous lives, but their lives had meaning. This was in their work or their art, or what they do for their family, friends. 

Advice #5. Make meaning in your life. I can not tell you how I can only tell you it is vital. 

There. Long life isn’t complicated or bedazzling. The list isn’t in line with todays’ society belief it is fame, power, and money that will get us long and happy life. 

Even it you don’t live to 100 you are likely to live well. 

100-Year-Old-Birthday-Cake.jpg

*It is a fair question whether or not making it to 100 years old is a good goal. This is not the point of today’s entry. 

Greetings from Flagstaff, Land of Pines.

I am still waiting for The Muses or somebody like them to send me inspiration to get me out of this dearth of entries. I figured if I was by myself of a weekend this would give opportunity for something.  No such luck. 

I am finding this weekend by myself to be quite nice.  Sitting lonesome in restaurants hasn’t been too bad as I always have a book and my Kindle with me.  It has been a fascinating experiment to sit among restaurant goers who are in couples.  People seem to have the supposition I am too engrossed in my reading to hear them; they make no effort to carry on conversations in discreet tones.  As a consequence I’ve overheard several  humdingers some of them far more fascinating than what I am trying to read. 

Male/female couples have a tendency for the man to talk to the woman in what sounds like bossy-boots mansplaining.  I wonder why the women don’t speak up but they don’t. They merely nod their heads while saying ‘hmmm’ which makes me wonder if they are only pretending to listen. What conversations I have overheard haven’t been interesting, particularly the politics. At lunch over a bowel of ramen soup while reading Pepys diary (now there’s a combo!) I heard a gentleman explaining Captain Bone Spurs cleverness about the Chinese while said gentleman’s presumed wife looked like she was ready to drop dead into her dragon roll.  He ended with his prediction (conviction) two weeks after Herr Furor leaves office Melania will file for divorce mark his words.  If she does she’s a sensible woman but this doesn’t strike me as supportive of cleverness of Orange Blossom to have a third (or is it a fourth?) marriage fail. 

Last night at an Italian place while eating eggplant parmesan (disappointing again!)  I overheard another couple discussing whether or not to divorce or merely separate.  A few times the mister sent out signals he would be OK to have a mistress. Either his indirect speech acts weren’t registering with her or she was completely ignoring them.*  I wanted to lean over and say “God’s death are you two playing tennis? Just say you want an open marriage and is that OK to try?” 

Two men eating together have boring conversations as all they ever talk about is business or sports. In contrast two women to themselves talk about their woes.  At one meal (breakfast) I had one set of each on both sides of me so it was hard to focus on my eggs and my reading.  To their credit the men seemed to gotten some things done while the women ended breakfast without resolution what to do with their irksome mates. 

Today I may be bold as to not have a book with me at lunch to see if my neighbors keep quiet or talk less.  

the-essential-guide-to-dining-alone

 

*Which is why we use indirect speech acts: it gives folks the ability not to have direct conversations that would be possibly damage.

Last night while I was trying to tackle a ponderous pile of paperwork The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections raided Das Spo-Haus and threatened me at mace-point to put out an entry or Helga will have my yarbles for ear-rings. They were not moved to clemency by my explanations I am up to my oxters with work matters and I have nothing to write besides (The Muses being in Cleveland). I am to write something/anything by Friday morning and that’s that. They then left taking with them several bottles of liquor* and a few of the more shiny knickknacks.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which makes me think of beginnings and ends for it was this weekend when we moved to Arizona in 2005. Someone is working all weekend and won’t be home at all. Rather than do the home alone thing and mope I am going north to  to stay at friend Richard’s B&B. This will be my last time doing so, for he has sold the place. I am saddened at this loss; I’ve been going there regularly for over ten years. It is likely we will never see each other again nor keep in contact after he moves.  It all touches upon the ephemeral of life. Ah well. As Mr. Gilbert says in his poem “The lost hotels of Paris”:

But it’s the having not the keeping that is the treasure.

Ends are also beginnings. This morning among the junk email I saw something I haven’t seen in years. The Writer’s Almanac sent me its daily entry. I used to read this until it stopped what seems an eternity ago when Mr. Keillor got involved in some sort of scandal. I immediately went to the podcasts to see if that too was back. Hot puppies! It was! – and apparently having done so for some months. This morning while driving to work (another horribly overbooked day) it was lovely listening to his familiar voice tell whose birthday it is today in history, followed by a poem. It’s like an old friend you haven’t seen in ages suddenly reappearing and you finding out he’s quite all right and hasn’t really changed.

When I drive to Flagstaff tomorrow for my last time staying with Richard I will listen to the  back entries of The Writers Almanac while contemplating poems about beginnings, endings, and – in some cases – returns. This is good stuff to consider as another year of living in Phoenix commences.

journeys

 

 

*The joke’s on them as they took the cheap stuff which is kept at eye level in the liquor cabinet. The good stuff was down below.

richard_wagner_1909755Richard Wagner’s birthday is this Wednesday. For Spo-fans unfamiliar with this composer, the more you know about him the less you like him. He was so self-centered he makes Donald Trump look good. He used people and he was horrid to everyone. On top of it all he was a racist and anti-Semitic. Hitler adored him. It is hard to believe (or stomach) this louse of a person managed to make some of the most marvelous music ever made. He was certainly not the only awful man who made good art he was arguably the one of the worst – or the worst. I think so anyway. So – how do I manage my love for his music? *

We do terrible things. It is easy to focus on our Shadow elements. We forget we are also capable of marvelous things, which are often expressed through Art in all its forms. This is particularly so for music. Sometimes I sit at the symphony, feeling sorrowful by all the ills of the world, but I listen to the divine music emanating from stage and I find solace. Art does that. Art comforts me in the axiom despite ourselves we can create beauty. Herr Wagner is not unique; he is merely the extreme example of all of us and what we have. What belongs to Art belongs to all men. We cringe at the artist yet rise by his or her creation. 

In the end I just can’t hate him as he has enriched my life so much. He helps me remember not to focus on the Shadow but on the Light. 

Viking horns

 

*I know many Jewish art patrons who won’t attend any operas or symphonies doing Wagner. In Israel Wagner is not played at all. In Bayreuth Germany at the Wagner Festival they play nothing but Wagner. As a Jungian I like the notion a place that is ‘all Wagner” is balanced with a place that is ‘no Wagner”. 

Pensive

I’ve not been a good blogger lately – both as a write and as a reader. I’ve made repeated promises to myself to be more regular at keeping up with my blogger buddies only to realize once again it’s Sunday night and I’ve failed to do so. Then I try to cram in all my reads, getting caught up as it were. This often results in eye fatigue and quick skims and not proper reads at all. It’s been a long and exhausting week and weekend. It’s 6PM: I few minutes ago I sat down to what feels like an insurmountable amount of entries to read, only to encounter a post at Bailey’s Buddy.  Jay Simser hasn’t posted in ages. The entry was an announcement from his nephew that Jay had died. This news was quite sad and upsetting; now I don’t want to read or do anything. I just want to go to sleep. I won’t of course as it means just waking up and starting another week. 

My days have left me with little time or energy for creativity.  My paper journal has hardly any entries in this year as there is little importance to record. I’ve been blogging for many years; I recognize a lull when it happens. I need not fear. I have to wait and something will come to me. 

Getting back to the guilt about reading, I think it’s best I don’t try to read everything in one or two sittings. I may try reading 5-6 posts per day:  Travel Penguin Tuesdays and Mitchell is Moving Mondays – that sort of thing. Don’t tell my bosses but perhaps I can read at work while waiting for the no-shows or somebody like them. 

I really like reading blogs and knowing what people are up to, otherwise something like Jay’s passing happens while I am away doing tedious daily-dos.  

With that apology I won’t read this evening I reckon but do some stretches. My back has grown progressively stiff and my ROM (range of motion) is diminishing.

Let’s see how the week proceeds. 

Hoatmeal

I will miss you Jay Simser. 

insanity  Patience above! It’s been days since my last blog-entry! The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections returned this morning having been away for a week visiting relations in Svartalfheim. They are livid at the lack of entries and are withholding my souvenir* until I put out as it were. I’ve postponed all Saturday morning there’s-work-to-be-done chores lest I have my wrists smashed. 

It’s been a tough week. Sometimes work rattles me and last week did so. I encountered more than usual sorrow.  A man’s teenaged child died in a car wreck; a woman came home from a trip to find her spouse had packed up her belongings and put them outside and changed the locks. A patient with long time battle with depression was just getting better only to announce she now has cancer. As if often the case I wonder what on earth am I to do.

Insanity

I grew a tomato!  Finally!  On the negative it was only as big as a cherry tomato and it was consumed quick as quarter-note. All that work for one bite. Alas, it didn’t have much taste, probably from the terrior of the land which is nasty desert stuff. 

spritecup

The Cup Sprites have increased their activity as demonstrated by the more-than-average half-consumed beverages popping up around Das Spo-Haus.  Someone has politely asked me to cut it out as if I had any say on the subject. Duckduckgo isn’t much help when it comes to research on how to exorcise attention-deficit-disorder like fairy-folk. I found a recipe of parsley, sage, rosemary, and methylphenidate; it sounds worth a try. 

This evening we attend the ballet which will be outdoors at the Botanical Desert Gardens. It gives me the heebie-jeebies seeing bare legs doing Croisé among the cacti. Someone and I are still suffering from allergies so we plan on taking Zyrtec or something  prior to going. No doubt we will be asleep in no time so I needn’t worry about sneezing or dancers falling onto the opuntia. 

OK, I promise to write a proper entry tomorrow. 

 

 

*Probably a T-shirt (wrong size as usual) or a herring. 

I listen to podcasts about astronomy and I work in field dealing with human nature. My soul swoons at the mysteries of these ineffable entities. Of the two, human nature is far easier to explain; the mysteries of the universe are unfathomable. Only a fraction of the universe is visible measureable mass and light. The majority is something we can’t see or locate. Astronomers know it’s there as the total mass is not enough to account for the laws of physics. Either the laws of physics are wrong (perhaps) or something is missing(more likely). This dark and mysterious stuff is called ‘dark matter’ and it’s anyone’s guess what it is.  The universe is full up of cosmic questions; they make me feel small and insignificant.  I am not shocked or saddened by these revelations. I learned pretty quick in life as early as grade school how it is to feel small and insignificant so the verification of these truisms by the time I got to college was not at all a shock as it was to my peers who thought themselves the centre of the universe up until then.

Another bitter pill to swallow is we are probably alone in the universe (sorry sci-fi fans). Unless ‘they’ are purposely covering up their tracks there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of other beings. We only have ourselves which is of no comfort considering we generally don’t like each other.

The notion of a mostly dark and nothing0filled universe devoid of company could quickly lead to nihilism or depression but for me this is a sort of comfort. It helps me put things in perspective and not to waste time with the likes of seeing something outrageous on Twitter and wanting to to write an angry retort. Cosmic truths help me let go of the trivial claptrap that is society and social media to focus on my brief time in said universe to make Life what I will it to be.

 

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