You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2021.

What’s top of my mindAnnual enrollment of benefits. Oh the pain. This always puts me in mood. Every year about this time I get a Hobson’s choice of keeping what I have (lousy) or picking another plan (just as lousy). Keeping what I have is easy enough but each year I pay more and get less. Everyone bitches about this but when real change is proposed everyone becomes scared and keeps the lousy system we have and the cycle repeats.

Where I’ve been –  Under the washer machine. The laundry room has some sort a sinister pull that numerous items get sucked underneath or behind the washer machine. Among the dust bunnies (big a Buicks) there are numerous coins, shirt collar tabs, and a single bright red sock. This is a disappointment, as I am missing a black one. While the washer acts like a dragon sitting on top of a treasure hoard, the dryer folds time and space in order to send objects to Narnia or someplace similar. For the moment both diabolical devices are sitting on cleaned and dust-free surfaces.

Where I’m going – AZ teeth whitening. It’s been over a year since Someone and I went to have our knashers whitened. Regular tea consumption makes mine look like old ivory. It will take the extra-strength chemicals to get them cleaned. It is a pleasant experience though, lounging in an easy chair, listening to music, while youngsters (early 20s perhaps) attend to me.

What I’m watching A day in Pompeii (a very bad one). The Tube of Yous sends me constant invitations to watch things it thinks I will find interesting. I was recently linked to see a reenactment Mount Vesuvius wiping out Pompeii. Why is it we (I) are mesmerized by natural disasters wiping out mankind? I suppose it is a mixture of Schadenfreude and a some feelings about the hubris of man that Mother Nature brings us down so readily. Maybe it’s just jolly good fun to see things blow up.

What I’m reading –   Opera News. This month’s edition has in it a photo of a friend of mine, a prominent accompanist to some major operatic singers. I hadn’t heard from Martin in ages, so I sent him an email telling him I was thinking of him. He answered right back and was delighted to hear from me. He lives in Michigan; I hope on one of my trips to town we can meet and have sushi, his favorite.

What I’m listening to Petula Clark. The other day while listening to the ’60s’ station on Sirius I heard “Downtown” which I haven’t thought of in decades. Turns out in my iPhone/library I have Ms. Clark’s ‘greatest hits’ album. Funny how my phone carries stuff I don’t know about. Someone tells me she is still alive, is this possible?

What I’m eatingLeftover stew. My attempt at Bulgarian stew was a flop. The meat chunks were tough, and the gravy was like water. For all the spices I added, it tasted bland. What a page 71, and after all that effort too. Alas, Babylon! I have heaps of leftovers which I am am too Midwestern to put down the wastepipe. So I am eating the leftovers as I can. It hasn’t improved with age either.

Who I’m paying attention to –  The post. I am out of shirt labels; I used the last one up making the Christmas shirt. I found the original order form and ordered some new ones on line. I will have plenty for awhile. Speaking of the post, we got a cheque in the mail the other day for a substantial amount of money. Apparently it is a refund or a correction from our recent refinancing – to our favor. This would be a ‘hot puppies!” moment but we are suspicious someone is going to call/write to say this is a mistake and give it back.

What I’m planning A Moscow Mule tasting event. Someone and I are checking out canned cocktails to see if they are any good. What a concept! You open the can, pour and serve. Some of these seem silly as it is easy enough already to make a gin and tonic – and we have better ingredients. Same for margaritas. However, Moscow Mules require work and muddling and several ingredients, so an easy-pour MM makes some sense. I bought two brands, each with four petit cans. This weekend I will pour one of each and see if a) we can tell the difference b) which is preferable and c) is it worth buying again. Someone likes Moscow mules, but he doesn’t like copper/metal cups. He gets his in a glass.

What’s making me smile – Taking inspiration from “Pop Culture Happy Hour”, I thought to add this W. What is making me smile this week is this photo taken by SIL #3:

Papa’s birthday was 28 June; he is 85 years old. Princess-Goddess made him a pan cake (yellow). She is to his left and Warrior-Queen and Posthumous Thomas are on his right. What a happy birthday this was for him. 🙂

Yesterday I wrote on some tips on a better life from the perspective of psychology. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Doing things ‘right’ to start with is far more important. 

A good life! People do all sorts of things hoping their actions or foodstuffs will result in a long and happy life. Sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists – and the health industry – have scoured the earth in pursuit of this goal. My eyes cross when I imagine all the money spent on supplements and exercise programs. So what really works? What makes not only a long life but a happy life? There are a handful of societies that seem to ‘have it’ and when they are examined and compared to each other, a few things keep turning up. I’m going disappoint you, there is no fountain of youth or herb or antioxidant. Happily the things that do make long and healthy life are achievable. They are not magical nor spectacular but they quiet almost ho-hum mundane things. But they work.

Diet – what we eat has a strong correlation to long and happy/healthy living. What these cultures eat is quite various but they have this in common: it is nearly all plant based, with little to no meat. (the more meat you eat, the less vegetables you consume). And they do portion control. They don’t gorge. Indeed many have independently reached the same conclusion to stop eating when you are becoming full and not when you feel crapulous.

“Exercise”– none of the long-livers go the gym or take Orange Theory classes, or lift weights. What they are thought is ‘active’. They are moving and doing things. The point here is to keep busy – move. Walk more and sit less. Take the stairs and park away from the entrance.

Downshift – these folks do not try to ‘do all’ or ‘be all’. They let go. They have down time rather than keeping busy. they take siestas, they go on vacations. They have day of rests when nothing is done but sitting and talking with others.

Eating better, moving more, and doing less are things we can easily do better. The next correlates are harder to achieve but no less important.

Belong – Thems who feel good about their lives have a sense of belonging. They are members of a community they know and rely on. I will use my late mother as an example. She felt good about being part of her family, her church, her group of friends, and the neighborhood too. She had no interest in learning about the internet as she had social networks of flesh and blood and love.

Meaning – This may be the hardest of the attributes to achieve. To have a good life your life needs to have meaning – meaning for you. This may be as simple as being someone’s significant other, or to your children, or to others in your community. It may be more cosmic like serving your nation or mankind. If you don’t have meaning, make this happen. Somehow.

In Part 3 of this series, I will tell you about my ‘prescription’ I sometimes write for patients to do.

I thought I would write some essays on how to have a better life. I am doing this primarily to organize my thoughts on the topic.  If Spo-fans find it interesting and/or instructive so be it. Most of you are intelligent types, well over four feet, not really needing this sort of thing I suppose, but maybe a few wanderers will drop by and pick up a stone to put in their pocket on their Journey and be better for it.

An interviewer was talking to C.G. Jung about his psychological theories. As Jung disclosed his ideas, the interviews apparently became annoyed at what he was hearing to the point of saying to Herr Doctor that in his opinion, Jungian psychology was just common sense in wrapped in shrink-talk.  Jung reportedly laughed heartily and replied something along the line if a psychology didn’t have common sense at its core, what good was it? 

I do not subscribe much to the notion of ‘Imposter syndrome’ [1] but I get tickles of this throughout my workday as I give out ‘common sense’ advice that is received as Sage Wisdom.  Mind! Many folks are missing ‘common sense” and are in sore need of hearing some. [2] and it is my job to try to set them straight.  Here are some of my favorites:

Give up your need to be liked.

Stop multi-tasking.

Let go of your desire for perfection.

Give up toxic people.

Stop saying ‘yes’ to things that don’t support your goals or do you harm.

Give up your need to control everything.

Mostly I try to get folks to give up unhealthy lifestyles (more on this next time).

It still amazes me whenever I tell one of these chestnuts to someone they have a numinous reaction as if struck by divine revelation. Glad to help.  Most of the time people ‘know this already’ as their loved ones have been telling them this sort of stuff for some time. As some old shrink said, intellectual insight cures ignorance, not neurosis. My job is more often about how to translate insight into action, and what gets in the way.

My analytical professors are going to roll over in their graves with what I am about to write.  Most of the time finding the unconscious event from your past that correlates to the present problem ion order to free up symptoms is often waste of time. This sort of insight-oriented analysis is like an exquisite wrench in my psychiatric toolbox: very useful at times but most of what I do is tighten or loosen screws. Even when you connect the dots that your fear of rejection stems from the time when you were six years old and mother didn’t give you enough brownies because you came home from school one day with muddy clothes does NOT translate into action. [3]  

When there is an avalanche in your backyard, rather than trying to figure out which stone caused it, focus on what you need to do to remove the mess.  

Back to Jung for a moment. His psychology is more about ‘going forward’ than the classic Freudian approach of ‘looking to the past”, which is why being a Jungian is more practical despite all its Dungeons & Dragons components. [4] Most of mental illness stems from or is made worse by dysfunctional actions and choices. Common sense can help, and sometimes a lot, thank goodness.

[1] Jungians already have such in their lexicon; it is called ‘The Personae’. The Personae is what we present to the world. It is part of our psychology, but it is not Ego, The Ego is ‘who we really are”.  Please do not confuse the two. People (especially the menfolk) get wrapped up as what we are is who we are. Bad idea, that.

[2] I shouldn’t be perturbed by this. After all, the lack of common sense keeps me gainfully employed. Hohoho.

[3] I have a vague memory of a comedian doing a sketch in which she plays a new-age type therapist who cures everyone in their first appointment (much to her dismay) when she tells them what childhood matter is causing their problem. They light up and their trouble instantly melts away, and they skidoo.

[4] And it’s more fun.

I painted another emotional pet rock. This one is an angry red, to match my eyes. The previous ones, yellow and blue, have already faded in the intensity of the Arizona sunshine. I brought them in for another coat. Yikes! They were so hot, I got a mild burn!

I dropped an ice cube in the laundry room and when I tidied up the spill with a washcloth, I was shocked by the dirt that came up with the water. This prompted me to sweep and mop all floors. Oh the horror; they were quite schumtzig. It was hard work, but I get to start the week with the quiet satisfaction the floors are bereft of dirt and dog hair. There was enough of the latter to make Harper a puppy companion.

Tonight I make Bulgarian beef stew, a recipe from my accordion file of clippings I got from the food magazines. I don’t know what makes it Bulgarian; I am not familiar with their culture or cuisine. The recipe involves a lot of garlic, paprika, and 5-10 bay leaves. I told Someone I was off to Uncle Albertons to get some bay leaves, as the ones in pantry were past their prime. He heard me say “Bailey’s” and questioned why I needed so many.

Speaking of booze buying, the wine refrigerator here at La Casa de Spo is bereft of table wine. Everything I have is top-notch high-quality stuff, reserved for special meals and company that never happen. I like basic sippers for every day consumption. Someone declined my invitation to accompany me to Total Wine. This is foolish of him as left alone in a wine store I come home with far more than l planned. I was on the hunt for ‘inexpensive good stuff’. I came home with twelve bottles of the biggest collection of “Summer rain” white wine one can imagine.* The staff recommendation tags assured me although these were dirt cheap they not to pass over; they were good. I think the cheapest I bought was five dollars.** If too nasty I can use them in my cooking.

Someone doesn’t like red wines (they give him headaches), so a bottle of that sort is for myself. After I drink a few glasses over a few days they go off and I loose interest, resulting in waste. I am going to try box wine as a hopeful means to have me some Cab without throwing out half the bottle. The salesman, who was well over four feet, assured his boxed wines are decent, tasty, and a good bargain – like my men. I will have a glass with my Bulgarian goulash this evening and see.

Finally: Spo-fans may be keen to know I have started ‘The Budget Project’. I started with understanding I need to figure out where our money comes from, and some categories of expenses (food, mortgage, liquor, etc.) Someone and I don’t have fixed monthly incomes; they vary by how much we work. It feels a good first step. I just hope I don’t find anything shocking or scandalous.

The week ahead looks like more of my usual. I think some folks have this Friday off, but not I.

*Summer rain: A product you buy you think was carefully selected for your tastes when it fact it was the item the salesperson had determined ahead of time to sell the next customer, regardless.

**Double Dog Dare. Fingers crossed.

I made a shirt.

This one was a commission by Good Mr. Glenn, who hosts a Christmas podcast. If you haven’t heard it, I very much recommend it. He does a charming job telling about Christmas eats and traditions.

This one came out OK. It has a few minor hiccups as all my shirts have, but only a few minor ones; overall it is a fine job. The fabric was a tad heavy, but I think is will be a good thing. Glenn lives in Canada. Short-sleeve Spo-shirts aren’t too insulated.

It is six months to Christmas. Some folks do something called ‘Christmas in July’. As a boy, I was horrified at the notion. Holidays had strict rules. One didn’t do Halloween in spring or Easter the autumn. I am not clear what one does for Christmas in July, if there is anything different about it other than all the trimmings come out albeit six months too early.

Do you do Christmas in July?

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections is pleased as Punch to see recent entries have received comments and dialogue. Nothing makes them happier. *  This puts me under pressure to ‘put out’ as it were. Unfortunately, The Muses, The Norns, and The Fates scrammed town to beat the heat, leaving me bereft of clever amusing ideas upon which to compose.  Happily, Pipistrello, (the dear!) was the substitute inspiring deity. She provided me the notion to write about the kitchen pantry. This was written on the fly, an exercise in writing. I hope you like it. Just think of a truculent TBDHSR coming after Urs Truly with pincers and Anta Bryant CDs.

La Casa de Spo has a modest food pantry, consisting of a closet in the corner of the kitchen. In it, are white painted shelves, on the left and on the right as you enter. There is just enough space to stand inside although I would not feel comfortable to close the door behind me.

On the top shelves sit my cookbook collection. The books are slightly out of reach so a step-stool is required to get to them. From below I look up at them to read their titles. They are more admired than used. Indeed, seeing them evokes pangs of guilt from their disuse. It’s easier to look on line than to get out the stepstool and pull down a few books and rummage through them for a recipe. Space on the shelves is limited.  Periodically I purge them and donate a few to the book store, particularly the ones I cannot remember when they were last consulted.  Most of the tomes have paper post-its sticking out of their tops, marking the pages of those recipes I vowed someday to make.

Below the Cookbook shelf, on the right, is The Shelf of the Ingredients: sugar, baking soda, and bags of flour clamped shut with large red clips to keep them from spilling open. On the far right, against the panty wall, stand Someone’s boxes of cereal.** These are kept from falling over onto the baking ingredients by a rather disagreeable-looking statue of a gnome. He has an evil leer and he stands with his waistcoat wide open, on a pedestal that says ‘Say hello to my little friend!”  I don’t know where Someone got this monstrosity. I put the nasty thing in the pantry closet, hopefully out of sight and out of mind. If guests want cereal, I fetch it myself.

Let’s drop down to the lowest shelves, the ones above the floor. These house the booze bottles. On the left (for I am left-handed) lies my whisky collection; on the right is the other stuff.  They are on the two lower shelves as the have a bit more space between them and the upper berths for bigger bottles, If they should fall there is a less chance of breaking. Oh the horror.

Going up now, 2nd floor: Doggie things. Above the whisky is a cardboard box containing Harper’s treats and dental sticks, along with her medications and a toothbrush.  She knows this. When she senses I am going toward the pantry she is there, quick as a quarter-note, waiting to see if I will ‘put out’, as it were.***

On the floor is a large bag of dried dog food and whatever boxes of soda pop Someone bought that week. He buys what is on sale and these oblong boxes with their shiny aluminum cans stand upright like the towers of the World Trade center, which is apt, as they fall over. If there are a lot of these, there is not much room to walk into the pantry.

The middle shelves of this culinary Yggdrasil hold the foodstuffs, the pasta boxes, glass bottles of pasta sauce, and the tins of this, that, and the other.  My scientific training and Swiss/German genetics combine to be in a forever war with the foodstuffs, trying to put them into taxonomic order label out, but to no avail.  I have a hunch there are a genus of goblins (related to the Car Key Gnomes and Cup Sprites) who come out at night and rearrange things so that I can’t find anything and (worse!) push products to the back so they are forgotten causing me I run out and buy more only to discover I already got one. Oh the embarrassment.

On an upper corner on the left are The Cook Illustrated magazines; in the lower corner on the right are two plastic bins: one for the onions and potatoes, and the other for grocery bags. The one with the spuds is beginning to sprout and the onions are looking a wee withered. The white bags full up are ballooning outwards, looking like sails conceived with the wonton wind.  Someone is out of soda pop towers, so it is off to Uncle Albertsons tomorrow with the white plastic bags in tow. Presently the canned goods all turned to face out, lest I buy more tins of tuna, which we don’t need. 

Does anyone want some cookbooks? I have heaps. The gnome is gratis.

*Other than setting fires to public buildings and alcohol.

**I do not care for cereal unless it is Frosted Flakes, which I don’t eat anymore, as they are nasty.

***I often do.

I want to write about what something I encounter everyday at work. At odds are my desire to help others and the danger of trying to do so. I suspect many Spo-fans are nerdy types, but not all of them, so let me start this entry with an explanation.*

In ‘Star Trek’ there is something called ‘The Prime Directive’. It is a law about not interfering with others. It resembles a parent knowing their child is struggling and you want to rush in and fix things, but you know you ought to let the child ‘do it on its own’. The Prime Directive applies particularly to civilizations below certain thresholds of technological, scientific, and cultural development; it prevents Starships from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals onto them. Captain Picard explains this nicely to Dr. Crusher, who wants to help a suffering people but he won’t allow it:

When I entered Medicine, like most young doctors I was excited but naïf about people wanting to be better. In Jungian psychology (which is my way of shrinking heads) there is the presumption people want – nay – even should work on the Individuation process, an incorporation of the conscious and the unconscious (both types) towards self-actualization. I thought everyone was capable of doing so and all wanting to do this. After all, I do.

It turns out very few people really want to grow this way. Most folks are content to ‘just be”. If they have enough money and some things they feel happy. They are not interested in becoming higher-conscious beings or striving towards self awareness. Many don’t know this is even possible.

It is also true for many patients about their health. They say they want to be better, but their actions (or inactions) show this isn’t really so. Then there are the types who state they ‘can’t get better”, yet this not technically true.

This gets back to The Prime Directive. As Captain Picard says in the YouTube clip, when I try to help unwilling people, when I show them the way up and out, this can cause hurt, even disaster. I cannot drag folks out of their psychological cages even when I see the door is open or the cell is locked from within. This does more harm than good. Through experience I now quickly pick up if the patient in front of me is not willing or wanting to be better. I don’t poke about trying to shake up dysfunctional but stable – even coveted – dynamics.

I still find this sad. Have your ever been with another person, in a relationship perhaps, and you say to him/her ” I want to grow. I want to go on a Journey, and I want you to go along with me, us together” – only to be told in someway, no thank you. Alas, it is almost near impossible to respond with” OK, I will stay here with you not go on.” Once the sleeper wakes, that person cannot go back to sleep. They are obliged to go on, leaving the other behind.

A less psychological name for this sort of psychotherapy is called ‘maintenance’ therapy. I try to keep these types cases stable/not worse, but I don’t try to improve them. Like a waiter, I have to remember they are the customer and what the want to order or willing to pay is up to them, not myself. ‘I recommend the fish of the day, it’s excellent!” “Nah, just give me a hot dog, with ketchup”

Once in awhile someone comes in to the office who really wants to get better, not just improve their symptoms, but really grow. Only then can I reach out to help them out of their cage and get them on their Journey. These sorts give me a great satisfaction of true healing.

*This is sometimes referred to a “Spo-plaining”.

What’s top of my mindThe arrival of the new iPhone cover. Spo-fans may recall I had to buy a new phone when I dropped the old one. The new one, with its thin and shiny metal cover, is as slippery as catfish in Vaseline. It seems determined to join its predecessor on the floor. I’ve already near dropped it a few times. Someone (who does these sort of things for me) contacted Mr. Bezo who is sending me a iPhone 11 cover. It is made of sponge rubber or something, bright red – to match my eyes. This way I can spot it from across a crowded room as well as protect it from my bungling.

Where I’ve been – Starbucks. Oh the horror. It is was first one I’ve entered in years. I got me a small coffee and within half an hour my heart was doing the flip-flops. No more Starbucks, ever!

Where I’m going –  Car wash. Every Saturday we go to DuckDuckGo the local carwash, where we have a monthly subscription. In the desert there is a continuous sprinkling of dust and cars get quickly coated. After a quick drive-through we vacuum the car for bits of things and I wipe down the insides of the doors with towels I remember to bring with us. These always come out dirty, which makes me wonder how the dirt gets inside. Then again dust gets into everything here so I should not be shocked.

What I’m watchingDr. Who. When it comes to television, Someone and I do not have the same tastes, but we both enjoy Dr. Who. We are presently slogging our way through The Doctor in David Tennent form. The episodes are silly but jolly good fun. I do my ironing while we watch Dr. Who.

What I’m reading –  The Psychiatric Times. You may have heard there is a new medication out for Alzheimer’s. There is a lot of brouhaha about this drug and how it came to be approved after it was rejected as ineffective. The general consensus: the FDA allowed it onto the market although it has no proven benefit and at a frightful cost. It is bad science – done under pressure to give folks something/anything to have hopes on, provided of course you can pay for it. I empathize with the folks desperate for something to try and do. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want my relations to try it – not at that price.

What I’m listening to –  Savor. This podcast is all about food. “The food chicks” as I call them are doing the history of the tootsie roll. I am not a great fan of these sweets. Although I don’t turn them down there were always bottom of the barrel/last things ate in my loot of Halloween candy loot, which is bad, as they become hard as hockey pucks in time.

Spo-fans: do you like Tootsie Rolls?

What I’m eatingKing Ranch Casserole. This dish is the love-child of The Midwest and The Southwest. Poblanos, onions, jalapenos and tortillas etc. are combined with canned cream of this, that, and the other, and baked into a hot-dish, served with salsa. The ingredients vary. Next time I plan to use hard tortillas not the soft ones, although I fear this maybe just nachos. This is not lo-cal cuisine, but it is delicious, and a nice way of using up old chicken.

Who I’m paying attention to – The painters next door. The HOA sent us a letter of complaints our house needs repainting. They aren’t entirely wrong: the green highlight color is faded. The houses on our street are painted in shades of brown of a uniform ugliness although no two are alike. We had ours painted a creamy white with green highlights. There was talk – even harsh words from the neighbors on this choice. We pointed out these colors were HOA approved. Alas, they are no longer approved, so we will probably have to become another brown liver-colored monstrosity. Stirges. So far no one has complained about the brightly-painted rocks I’ve put out front.

What I’m planning – A budget. In my bachelor days I regularly did a budget. I wanted to make sure money wasn’t slipping through my fingers or I was unconsciously spending badly. We don”t have a budget. This leaves me with the paradoxical emotions of feeling we can afford anything and we are in dire straits. I would prefer a mutually created budget but I am willing to do it on my own.I don’t really know how to do a budget; this is mostly driven by the sense one ought to have one. While I don’t know what to do exactly, I want to start doing something. On the journey I will figure out what are the goals and what needs doing.

Do you do a budget? Do you do it with your significant other?

Parnassus (the dear!) inspired me to write about background noise.

My life is full up with background noise – both the outer and the inner kind. The outer stuff is more likely to drive me to distraction but it often more manageable than the hummingbird thoughts flitting about my brain. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me define terms. “Background noise” for me is sound that isn’t the main matter but something added, ‘in the back’ of the matter at hand. With noise pollution being what it is, one would think there is enough background noise already and we don’t need more. Background noise beyond one’s control is the worst. I am forever finding ways to avoid this sort. As I type this I hear the TV blaring away in the other side of the house and it distracting me from my composition.*

Then there is a the background noise I make myself. I seem incapable of stretching or exercising or driving without something playing in the background. Mind! I would probably do these tasks better if I focused on them without the background noise. I make no silly claims I can multi-task. Far from it. I like having music on when driving or filling out forms or prescriptions but the type of music must be of a certain type. Classical music is right out, as it immediately brings me attention to it to ‘hear’ it. Podcasts telling a story or teaching something are also make bad background noise. I’ve learned not to prepare a meal while listening to podcasts as I don’t pay attention to either the podcast or the meal directions and the podcast is wasted and the dinner is marred. New music is also bad as I am drawn to it. What makes ‘good’ background noise is new age music (no melody) or very familiar tunes I won’t focus on but the sound is soothing.

The inner background noise is my bigger challenge. As for background noise outside of my ears, one can always take the Mae West approach. ** It is not so easy for my hummingbird brain to stop flitting about with its nonstop buzzing. I hear that with practice, meditation can calm this down. Spo-fans who meditate: tell me if this is so. I tired meditation a few times and I failed miserably as my mind immediately went into a gummy panic and began setting off noise enough to cover for one of history’s more bloody battles.

I think the goal of self-inflicted outside background noise is to soothe me via sonorous familiar and/or dull sounds and tunes while getting my mind to focus on anything but its inner turmoil.

A better solution is to turn off as much outside racket and try again to calm the inner noise. It is time to drain the hummingbird feeder in my mind so the petulant birdies get discouraged and leave me. Meanwhile, I will go ask Someone to please turn down “The Big Bang” it’s a bit loud there’s a good fellow.

It isn’t much I suppose but it is a start.

*I got up and closed the doors. This helped.

**Ms. West was once asked to comment on the complaints from some listeners about her raunchy radio show which was played on Sundays. “Well,” she replied, “they could have turned it off.”

Replacing the busted iPhone was an easy process really. The perky saleslady, who looked to be about seventeen, did a very good good at setting me up with a new phone in the “11” series, all shiny and new, and bright red to match my eyes. Unfortunately, something was wrong with the iCloud or the home computer, so I’ve lost all my photos and memes – worse luck. I have a some things backed up in the laptop, so I can piece a lot back together in time.

From Saturday night until Sunday evening when the new phone started working, I was bereft of a phone. It was a funny feeling. I had a young woman referred to me after she had a massive panic attack while hiking in the mountains with her friends. For the first time in her life she could not use her phone. She didn’t like my assurance people throughout time have done this sort of thing for spiritual and health sake – what she found horrid. I thought of her in these past 24 hours. Someone went to work, so I was not only home alone but cut off from others. It was quiet – very. It was somewhat unsettling. As I worked about the house in silence I could not remember the last time people were not able to get hold of me and vice versa. I could quickly going to liking this and not getting a phone -who needs the news and podcasts and social media sites? I got enough to last me a lifetime.

Driving around town today prior to my appointment at the Apple Store, I could not remember a time when the phone wasn’t playing music, podcasts, or medical lectures, or audio-books. Driving in silence was more uncomfortable than silence at home. Lo! The car has a radio! AM and FM! Do these things still exist and does anyone still listen to such?

Radio it turns out hasn’t changed any since I last tuned in decades ago. It was Sunday; the AM stations still play gospel music and fire-and-brimstone preaching. FM still has yackety-yack-yack DJS – even the tunes they were playing were the same one from my past. Someone listens to Sirius FM, so I turned that on and found a station titled “The 60s” and had a groovy far-out time hearing the likes of The Turtles and The Rolling Stones. As Pepys would say: “And it pleased me very much”.

I had to get a phone for work as this is how the spread-out staff gets hold of me, as does the pager service. An app generates passcode numbers for me to write prescriptions. If it weren’t for work I was nearly ready to cancel my appointment at the Apple Store and go native. But I did not. I think I will do more quiet time in the car and the home. I think it will do me good.

*While waiting for The Apple Gods to bestow their blessings onto my new phone, I asked her how long she had been working for Apple. “Ten years!” she grinned. I never feel so old as when in an Apple Store conversing with the salespeople, who all looked like they were born yesterday.

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June 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018