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Whenever we go to Uncle Albertsons, Someone stops in the store to open an app and look for coupons. Someone regularly looks for coupons and his buying is influenced by what he finds.This drives me to distraction, for I am on a mission to buy what is planned and get out ASAP. When one is initially dating someone, one ought to ask some basic questions like are you a smoker/are you religious/which way to you vote/what do you find funny. ‘Do you clip coupons’ may be one to add to this list or crucial questions. I did not grow up in a ‘coupon-using’ household’ so I find the whole concept bewildering. To me, coupons seem suspect on two accounts:

A. They get you to buy things you weren’t wanting in the first place, now being bought on the grounds the coupon cuts the cost. For example, you are not intending to buy yellow gumdrops, but on the Albertsons app there is a coupon for 30% off, so you buy some.*

B. The money the manufacturer or store saves is passed onto others viz. Urs Truly, who doesn’t clip coupons.**

So far as I can tell, thems clipping coupons mostly do so to save money. Time is more valuable to than money for me, so the time used to browse the ads that regularly show in the post doesn’t seem worth few dollars the coupons may save me. Sometimes I am in the grocery checkout line behind a person (always a woman, I don’t see men with coupons) with a handful of clippings that accumulates to 5-10 dollars savings. I guess this could be an important savings for her budget. Sometimes this hypothesis is questioned after looking into her cart at the expensive imperial tidbits in she is purchasing. hohoho.

Another type of coupon-user is thems who feel good for paying less than others. In the early 90s, Robert the Roommate regularly bought a thick book of coupons for local restaurants and carry-out places. He did this not because he couldn’t afford to go out, nor was he originally planning to go to these places. With 15-20% off each purchase he felt good to do so. He called these coupon booklets “Jewish food stamps” and they often influenced what we would be eating on a weekend. ***

Apparently the process how store coupons work is a complicated time-consuming process I shan’t bore you with. It makes me wonder why on earth the maker of coupons bother, but I suppose ‘they work’ , otherwise why bother? Perhaps coupons are an overall ‘loss’ but not enough for thems who make them to scuttle the system. I know ‘anti-coupon’ types who feel their use supports a complicated exploitative system. I don’t follow the logic to this if anyone can help me out here.

Funny that while I never bother with using coupons, I enjoy delight in reading one of two blogs who regularly write about their use of coupons. These crafty dames obviously know how to work the system, clever girls they are! I wonder though do they start with wanting product “A” and go find the coupons for it, or they find a coupon for “A” and go buy “A” rather than “B”.

I will end this entry with an exception to my rule. Bloodbath and Beyond continually sends us coupons, which Someone collects in a drawer so when we want a kitchen gadget or something he scoops them up and applies all of them at checkout towards the purchase. I am grateful for this savings. I wonder how BBB manages to survive doing this sort of thing. Someone says they aren’t doing very well for this reason.

In the end coupons seem to be an intriguing combination of economics, psychology, and anthropology I find fascinating.

Do you use coupons?

Do you use them for things you wanted to buy or the other way around?

Does your Significant Other think you nuts for using or not using coupons?

*Based on a true story. Oh the pain.

**Pharmaceutical representatives are very big into providing coupons for their products. In theory the patient gets a free or heavily discounted first month. The process how they are activated and work sound even more complicated than the paper coupons process. I always have to hold my tongue not to say rather than coupons why not just lower the price to something reasonable for everybody?

***He assured me this was a very funny and acceptable expression at Temple. He made a comparison to Vics Vapor Rub as being called ‘A sacrament of the Lutheran church*. It still sounds awful and I would never use it. However, to this day when I use a coupon, I think of Robert, the dear !

I was recently reminded of a psychology teacher I once had who had her clients* dealing with anger to create a journal she called ‘the grudge book’. In it, the client writes out all the people towards whom they have unforgivable never forgotten hurts, which at the mere memory they clench their teeth and hands. The client is encouraged not to hold back but get it all out in a cathartic spew. The therapy mostly resides in the writer realizing how petty and absurd most of their grudges are. For the remaining grudges, it was the first step towards working on letting go or least learning to move on. Best yet, there would be forgiveness. “Why people don’t heal?” she liked to say, “They hold onto their wounds like merit badges, unwilling to let them go”  Apparently the acting of writing out the grudges was somewhat fun, but the afterwards process wasn’t something anyone really wanted to do. We all want the ones towards whom we hold grudges to suffer for their wrongs.  The grudge book was her means to get folks to heal. 

I don’t know how efficacious was this technique. I never wrote one myself. Perhaps I ought to, for I still hold grudges.  They fall into the common category of ‘folks who got away with it” viz. they did bad things – sometimes very bad – and there was no comeuppance, no ‘karma’ or godhead to strike them down for their sins.  There aren’t many, I suppose, but they pop up like an acidic burp from time to time to burn and sour my palate.  It would be an interesting exercise to scribble out my grudges and see what happens.  Hopefully I don’t turn into something monstrous.**

The Book of Faces has been inundating me with video advertisements for T-shirts.  The ads have in common two men looking half my age, one chastising his bro-pal for looking so sorry in that routine T-shirt. The new tops (gals have support bras; guys has these shirts” he exclaims) show off the shoulders and enhance the upper arms and help hide that ‘dad bod’.  Usually these ads end with the now properly bedecked man going off to the gym, looking happy that his peers won’t be judging him for what he has on. 

When I go to the gym I wear the most dingy of outfits. I am there to work out, not walk down a runway. I can assure you not once have I ever worried that the T-shirt I am wearing makes me look fat or it doesn’t show off my deltoids.  It is safe to say no man is looking at me while I work out, other than as something he doesn’t want to look like when he is ‘that old’.  True, the more-serious weight lifters wear skimpy tank tops to show off their physique, but I’ve never felt the desire to approach them to say ‘I love your top, where did you get it? It looks so good on you!’  

Perhaps if these unendliche ads on FB pay off with the youngsters I will soon be the only man at the gym in a regular fuddy-duddy shirt, getting looks of scorn and condemnation. If they do I can add them to ‘The Grudge Book’ as a separate chapter. 

*Counselors have clients; physicians have patients. 

**In C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Screwtape Letters’ senior devil while writing his nephew become increasingly wrathful to the point he transforms into a large centipede. Mr. Screwtape reflects this outer-transformation of his inner self is not a punishment from God but derives from ‘The Life force”, something Satan would worship if he didn’t worshipped anything other than himself. 

Note: This entry I started a week or so ago but I didn’t get very far with it; I meant to expand it someday. It’s a busy Friday; I am up to my oxters at work. I decided to post this ‘as is” so there is something up for the day. The suzerains for whom I work have me under a contractual obligation to put out, as it were. Spo.

For someone who has spent thirty years in psychology and how people work, it is a mystery why I am still bewildered by the behaviors of others. This isn’t literally true: I can always surmise the likely reasons to explain what I see. What’s missing of course is the person’s thoughts and history that contributes to their actions. It would be indecorous and ill-mannered of me to approach a stranger with some shenanigan and inquire why are they doing that. I do this for a living anyway and I am not wanting more work as it were. All the same, the scientist in me so wants to interview certain types:

Men in the locker-room who dress/undress underneath their towels. This phenomenon has increased in time. It often looks comic: some burly dude with a large towel wrapped around his waist and thighs, trying not to fall over, as he wiggles his undergarments off or up as the case may be. I am dying to him ‘why’. My best guess is thems doing the towel routine are ashamed of their bodies, or fear their genitalia are deficit. I see this more in younger men than in the oldsters, and more in Hispanic men than the whites. There are a lot of LDS members in these parts. Does anyone know if they are instructed not to be exposed? I am not one to use the sauna but I see men going in and out of them and they are nearly always fully clothed. Saunas attire (I recall) were nude affairs or towels-around-the-waist protocols. Same questions arise about the sauna – why?

Spo-fans of the male persuasion: to you see this at your gyms a well?

Women laughing whenever men say something. Correct me if I’m wrong but I sense women reflexively laugh at even the slightest feeble joke the men make. The men-folk don’t to this as often or readily. Having grown up without sisters there is a part of me that wonders if mothers instruct their daughters to always laugh at what a man might say to them. Perhaps it is something picked up unconsciously somewhere around puberty.

The Spo-fans of the female persuasion please instruct me if this has some truth to it or is it all rubbish.

Folks who buy lottery tickets and cigarettes and the same time. OK, I know this is about selective bias towards risk. Thems buying tickets and smokes are hoping to win the lottery despite abysmal odds while hoping they will not ‘win’ at the safe bet of developing respiratory and heart disease. In my hypothetical interview with them I would ask if they haven’t connected the dots or have they already done so but are denying it in favor of wishful thinking. We all do this viz. pick and choose risks. Cognitive dissidence is more apparent when two risks are presented at the same time, making it more difficult to suppress the facts.

Note: this one puzzled The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. They couldn’t conclude if I wrote it while upset or angry or ‘just trying to be funny again’. I told them I am always trying to be funny, but no, I wasn’t upset or angry. Perhaps I was a bit peckish, particularly for seafood. Spo.

This week The Bosses sent an email telling us the business has been sold. The He-boss is going into sweet semi-retirement after decades of running the show. The She-boss will still do some management.* We are told the new owner(s) is a conglomeration of mental health clinics, thus making the place a sort of like a chain restaurant, like Red Lobster, without the cheddar biscuits . I have christened the owners The Overlords and their headquarters resides in Florida., I get the dubious new title of “Florida Man”.

I have never been through a buyout, so I don’t know what to expect. Human nature being what it is, the staff (including myself) are curious and/or anxious about ‘what happens”. Will it literally be ‘business as usual’ or will there be major changes, like uniforms with lobster bibs.

The Persian Empire (I recall) did a good job with its hegemony by taking over but not really changing things. They didn’t demand the population change their religion or goings-on or even their rulers. So long as the taxes came their way Darius the Great et. al. didn’t fuss with the status quo. The email conveys The Overloards will be taking this approach and there will be no changes, but who can say what will happen, in time? Then again, changes happen anyway in time, so it is comparing apples to apples.

A couple of counselors have approached me asking if I was staying.** Quitting hadn’t crossed my mind. If The Overlords change things to my displeasure I would retire or leave; I don’t know of any out-of-work shrinks. I’m curious to see is if supervision and work modalities change. Brother #2 and SIL #3 both physicians often grumble administrators and know-it-alls constantly tell them what to do and how to work. Happily I don’t have that. The Bosses have always taken a laissez-faire approach with me doing my job. Will the new ones make me wait on more tables, as it were? Time will tell.

My first emotional reaction to reading the news was ‘Well, maybe somebody will finally hang up the paintings”. Around the place are lots of wall hangings, all piled up, that the owners haven’t gotten around to either hang up or throw out. There is also a lot of old office equipment needing a clear out. It gives the place a sort of still moving into look. These are superficial cosmetic concerns I know, but it would make the place look more attractive. Perhaps some nice scenes of lighthouses and lobster traps would be nice.

The Overlords soon arrive from faraway Florida to shake hands as it were. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in their meetings with the therapists and the clerical staff! I can imagine these get-togethers resembling an orchestra of scorched cats with their anxiety towards ‘Will I keep my job (clerics)?’ and ‘Will you be telling me how to work (therapists)?”. The Overlords don’t have a meeting set up me, which is curious. Perhaps they think it better not to poke me. In a way, it’s a disappointment. I hear tell they are bringing lunch, maybe fried shrimp.

With all of this I am taking the ‘not to be worrying approach’. If I am turned into a sort-of Reb Lobster waiter mental health provider (oh, how I hate that word!) I can pack up and go elsewhere. When I do, I am taking with me all the wall hangings with me. After all, they are mine; I hung them up when I got tired of looking at blank walls.

*Both are well over four feet if you were wondering.

**They didn’t convey if they were seeking a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer.

What’s top of my mind: Blood work. This morning before work I go get my seasonal blood draw to check on the lipids, glucose, and whatever else The Good Doctor wants to look at. The last batch of blood work was not good. I told TGD this was the results of twelve months of at-home indolent living. Let me ‘work on this’ prior to changing any meds. He agreed, so I am on tenterhooks to see if I did enough to reverse this trend. I will find out next week at the appointment how it went.

Where I’ve been: On the floor. I’ve neglected my stretches done before bedtime, and it shows. My lower back is sending out cranky messages to be more mindful to keep doing this nightly ritual. Stretching feels marvelous, yet it remains challenging to do regularly as when I think about doing some this is just when I would rather just get into bed with a book. My favorite position is butt up against the wall, legs up, with arms out back. Lovely.

This is not Urs Truly but Mr. Getty, who is demonstrating the position.

Where I’m going: Trader Joes. About this time of year I go to Trader Joe’s (ugh) to get a cannister of his Pumpkin Spiced Coffee for the MESA office. Years ago I did this as a joke, which turned into an annual event, now looked forward to by the office staff. I feel like an autumnal Easter Bunny. I do not like Trader Joes as the aisles are quite cramped and loaded with “Scottsdale matrons” on cellphones. Oh the pain. **

This is Mr. Ramsay

What I’m watching: 50 tips for cooking by Gordon Ramsay. Mr. Ramsay (on The Tube of Yous) knows his onions and he provides sage advice on cooking, doing so while hopping about and talking faster than he chops his onions. One of his tips made me sit up: Mr. Ramsay adds olive oil to the boiling water for pasta to prevent the noodles from sticking. I thought this was a no-no. He mentions chopping garlic with a pinch of salt added to make the process easier. Mr. Ramsay speaks as fast as he moves, so I have to keep backing up the video to catch what is whizzing by. Do you add olive oil to the boiling pasta?

What I’m reading: ‘Clozapine and the risk of neutropenia’. Clozapine is a medication quite extraordinary that it helps in cases of refractory bipolar depression and schizophrenia. Unfortunately the wonder drug comes with a risk of neutropenia, which means the white blood cells can drop low, making folks prone to infection. Before one prescribes the stuff, patients have to be registered with at the Clozapine website and they require frequent blood draws. The Captains of Clozapine recently decided to upgrade the protocol, so if I want to prescribe the stuff I have to read the updates and take the refresher test etc. It is all rawther tedious, and there is a part of me that wants to say ‘screw it’ and tell any patients wanting and willing to try it, they must go find another shrink.

This is Mr. Uematsu; not to be confused with Mr. Ramsay.

What I’m listening to: Nobuo Uematsu. My dental hygienist, whom Someone would describe as a ‘bouncy type”, recommended to me the music of this composer, so I am checking it out on The Tube of Yous. So far so good; I like his work.

What I’m eating: McDonalds. Normally I don’t eat this sort of rubbish, but going to Mickey Ds is my traditional post-fast blood draw happy meal. After fasting for nearly 36 hours I am ready to eat snake. Two Egg McMuffin is my drug of choice, which I eat with relish. If I wait long enough to get to the office, I douse’m in hot sauce.

Who needs a good slap: The folks at Medscape. Medscape is supposed to be a reliable source for all news medical. Lately the headlines in their oh-so-frequent emails are alarmist sensational types normally associates with click bait. Indeed, to go to the links one is immediately faced with pop-ups about medications. Medscape also sends me frequent invitations to take surveys, promising Amazon gift-cards if I do so. I have yet to get through one of these surveys before I lose interest or I am disqualified.

I give Medscape 3 slaps (on a 1-5 scale).

What I’m planning: Spiced Apple Bourbon. Every year about now I make a concoction on the stove consisting of cut apples, apple juice, some water, a cinnamon stick, and some spices. After boiling, I let it cool and then poor it into a glass jar along with a vanilla bean and a good amount of bourbon*. I put it in the fridge for a few days, shaking the jar from time to time to mix it all. Then it is all put through a strainer. The spice-infused bourbon is poured over ice and topped with ginger ale. It tastes like autumn.

What’s making me smile: Funny this W is always the hardest for me to figure out. What is making me smile these days? I suppose Mythical Beasts Maps are what’s making me smile. Brother #2 send these from time to time. Each is of a country with its local legends and cryptids. Most of the time I don’t know them, and I have fun researching what they are and their stories. Here’s the latest one, from France:

Hey Spo-fans living in France! Have you run into any of these characters?

*For this I do use rubbish-type bourbon. There is no point in using fancy-pants quality stuff for this recipe.

**I sort of cheat by making the office coffee using cheap stuff with an added teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the grounds. This would work but clever-dicks at the office have noticed the lack of Mr. Joe’s tin, so they know I am up to no good.

I started writing (as is my wont) ‘to see what comes out’ only to discover nothing was coming out – at least nothing of importance or of interest. I didn’t have anything profound or witty to write; there are no amazing goings-on. I thought to delete it all but decided not to. A bad day at the gym is better than not going to the gym at all, and I suppose this applies to writing.* Not all scribbles will be stellar.

I am rawther tired of the heat. Highs remain in the 40s (C) and the night walks remain stifling. No fun this. You could bake an egg in the closed garage with its southern exposure. The house is bedecked with autumn decorations but it still feels like summer. This is the Arizonian equivalence to late February in the Midwest: you are bloody sick of waiting for the season to change.

This Wednesday morning I go get my seasonal bloodwork done to monitor a borderline elevated glucose level, so I’ve been extra careful with my eating this week, hoping to dodge again the pre-diabetes diagnosis. Being on a more austere diet doesn’t help the cantankerous moods that arise from a hot September.

Even work seems a bit dull. It is mostly ‘med checks’ which are long-timers doing well, obliged to come in from time to time to tell me they are still well and what they are doing remains good. Of course this is a good thing, but it is not especially interesting. As my dance card is getting full, I don’t see many new ones these days; newbies keep me on my toes. There is a pharm rep lunch this week Wednesday but I don’t remember what they will be flogging.

For folks who keep up with this sort of stuff, I’ve put a perfectly good chair and IV pole out by the curb and no one has taken them. Someone took the broken lawn umbrella. Can you imagine? I’ve put outside another painted rock. This one is two-colored (how daring!) of dark blue and bright yellow. I hope the HOA don’t have any Spartans on their board.

A final Tuesday tidbit of no importance: I ordered butterscotch sweeties for the Phoenix office candy dish. Given the heat and the circumstances, candies must be individually wrapped and not the sort that easily melts. I add to the candy criteria “something I don’t particularly care for” so I don’t end up eating them myself. I’ve never been a big butterscotch fan, and I don’t know anyone who is – which makes me wonder why the flavor endures.

Tune in tomorrow maybe I will have something better to post.

*I went on line to get a quote and was comforted to find my mentor Flannery O’Conner as saying: “Not writing is a good deal worse than writing.”

Robzilla (the dear!) provided me a marvelous meme for a Monday. It is titled ‘mood check’; it is based on some rings from The Lantern Corps. I don’t know who they are but The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections looked them up in ‘The Observers Book of Mythical Organizations’ and assures they are ‘legit’ no rubbish types.  Spo.

Rage: Rage is Anger combined with Impotence. I’m angry but I feel I cannot do anything about it. Think of King Lear, naked, howling in the rainstorm and the injustices done to him by his daughters. I feel great rage at Ignorance in all its malicious forms. Ignorance shouts louder than Truth and it seems to be winning. The approach to rage is not to succumb. The trick is to not focus on what you cannot do, but what you can do. This turns Rage into Action. ‘Do what you can’ I tell myself when feel rage.

Avarice: The intense emotion of wanting more than one has already rests upon a feeling of deprivation. Avarice is the shape our unneeds take when feeling desperate. Feeling gratitude helps assuage the howl of sharpened famine that emanates from emptiness. My material needs are OK at the moment, so I am not feeling avarice so much as frivolous. I would like a new car and a new chair for the office, but I can do with what I have.

Fear: There is lots to fear these days of course. My challenge is not to be fearless but to learn from my fears what they are trying to tell me. Courage is the act of doing, despite the fear. I am not a courageous fellow, but every time I face my fears and do the right thing I feel a Superman. 

Willpower: A word and concept I am forever telling my patients to give up. This nonspecific emotion constantly causes shame and guilt in thems who try to use ‘willpower’ and fail. When I admit to myself I don’t have any (and good riddance) I paradoxically better my chances to succeed by working with my frailties and knowing my shortcomings. Willpower is worth a blog entry some day.

Hope: I don’t have the type of hope that sees the future knee-deep in buttercups and daisies.  The Stoics’ definition of Hope is not that things work out OK but despite what happens we will get by somehow.

Compassion: I try to constantly keep conscious of this in order to do the right thing.  This must be done even with the most loathsome of folks and the least liked of patients. I have to find something, anything about them for which I can plug my compassion into them in order to have any hope of being of use to them. It isn’t easy and it must be done constantly.  If I cannot elicit any compassion I need to get the patient someone else.

Love: There are many types of love of course. A sort of Love is the type I have for my Spo-fans and Blogger-buddies.  You are dears, all of you. 

Patience above! This meme isn’t anything at all what I meant it to be as I copied and pasted the outline.  

I got most of my weekend chores done yesterday, leaving today relatively open for leisure. I still have some things to do, including ironing the co-called no-iron trousers. I sometimes think this is a waste of time as no one looks at that sort of thing, or so I suppose. Most of the time I am on ‘zoom’ and could be in cargo shorts for all that matters. I now associate ironing with ‘Dr. Who’; while I watch The Doctor running around doing Doctor-shenanigans I press the shirts and iron the napkins.

Someone has to work today. “Home alone” time is a good time to work on a Spo-shirt. I found a whimsical pattern of pumpkins and black cats. If I start cutting now I will get it done in time for All Hallows Eve. Speaking of Halloween, yesterday I was supposed to be going to the barbers but there was an hour-long wait, so I made a sudden stop at Depot de Home and bought several strands of lights in orange and purple. I will try again today – minus the impulse buying.

I totally forgot that 10 September is the birthday of the nephew, Posthumous Thomas. He already has a room-full of LEGO and a basement with even more, so who knows what to get him. I will get him a birthday card and perhaps insert in some cash. As a boy when I received a birthday card in the post my first emotional response was to wonder if there was a dollar or better yet a 5-dollar bill in it – and I was disappointed when there wasn’t any. Once somebody sent me a 3-dollar bill, on which there was a fellow resembling Freddie Mercury. I am all for having a genuine 3-dollar bill, perhaps with President Buchannan on it. It could happen.

Final Sunday Spo-bit (for four is a good enough number for bits): Tomorrow is ‘bulk trash’ day and the neighbors have been begun hauling to the curb various large broken things like wicker furniture and busted chests of drawers. When I lived in Chicago there was no need for a bulk trash day as one only had to put anything out into the alley and it would be gone quick as a quarter note. It was almost a challenge to see how bad something would be to have it not whisked away by a pack rat. Today I am putting out a broken shade umbrella and anything else that is bugging me at the moment. Let’s see what happens.

Behold the intrepid Crockpot de La Casa de Spo !

La Casa de Spo has only one crockpot, which is enough I suppose. It was Someone’s before we met. I think he got it when he was at college. It looks to be from the 70s, given its brown and yellow tones. It is simultaneously too big and too small for my needs. It is too small that every recipe I try to make is always too much volume to fit into its brown bucket, but too big as no matter what I make it is always too much.

Today I am making beef barley soup – or stew, depending how ‘soupy’ it comes out. Like a lifeboat with only so many seats in it, I have to modify the contents of the recipes to make things fit. You can run a divining rod over the results and not find the original recipe. The recipe/guidelines I am doing today calls for letting it sit at low volume for eight hours. I trust Ms. Crocker knows what she is doing for that seems a long time. I am in no rush today so there it is.

My late Mother had a crockpot decades younger than the one we have. I remember hers was white, with two sides, and it was deep as Lake Michigan. One could cook for a whole household, which she did. I wish I had taken it, although what two OBs* need with such a device is beyond belief.

Sometimes I think to ask Santa for a new king-size-titanic-unsinkable-Molly-Brown crockpot (no rubbish types) but The Someone Crockpot takes a licking and keeps on ticking and shows no signs of letting up. Its heavy brown ceramic bucket shows no signs of cracking, despite subconscious attempts to drop it and be done with it.

My favorite recipes are the lazy ones where you chops things up and open some tins and dump it all in and Bob’s your uncle and wait. Many crockpot recipes require browning things first on the stovetop in a skillet, which seems to defeat the point of a crockpot. Might as well just continue cooking everything in the pan and be ready in a fraction of the time it takes to use the crockpot.

There is something serene about a pot of vittles slowly cooking all the day, filling the house with warmth and redolence of something scrumptious. This works better in the autumn and the winter months. Indeed I think of crockpot cooking as a seasonal thing, which is probably why I got it out this morning. It is also a good way to use up leftovers, which I christen “Stone Soup”. These can be hit and miss depending on the ingredients. Alas, Babylon! The good ones cannot be repeated easily. I should write things down.

Just don’t lift the lid to peek in during the eight hours or others in the house will sense this from rooms away and shout out Joan Crawford-like imprecations not to do so, ever.

*Old Bachelors

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections was pleased as Punch with the outcome of yesterday’s entry. As a group, they are not one to ‘talk about their feelings’ or use reason to solve conflict but go immediately to slapping and fisticuffs to settle differences. By the way, The Board Directors etc. oblige all visitors to Heorot Johnsons II to wear masks and leave their weapons at the door before entering. While fearless in fights they are easily spooked by contagion.

As I type this, it is raining – through the sound system. Emanating from the Logitech speakers is the sonorous sound of continual rainfall with the occasional thunder in the distance. I love this sort of thing. Outside is it perpetual sunshine without a cloud in the sky – and this is likely to remain so for many weeks. Many people move to Arizona for just this reason. I would be quite content to live in a rainforest. My ancient Nordic/English genetics must make me feel at home with inclement weather, for rainy days invariably cheer me up and make me feel good. Snow and blizzards do the same thing. If by some chance I manage to make it to retirement, I want to live in a place with seasons that include rainy springs and blizzard-like winters. Proper storms, no rubbish types.

A different interpretation of my feeling good to hear rain and see snow it these are the sounds of nature, and I don’t hear that sort of thing often anymore. In AZ it is nearly impossible to open a window so one hears only the hum of the AC and the din of an office. There are a brief lovely times in the early spring and late autumn where the temperatures are just right to open the windows at home to let in some noise. At night I hear the coyotes howl, which is nice to hear.

I sometimes wonder how much of our woes and stress would lessen if we had more access to Nature. For 300,000 years (give or take a few years) we’ve been in constant contact with Nature. We were enmeshed. Now, many of us are cut off from Nature. It is something we see on screens. This must do something bad to our psyches, to be out of touch with such.

There is a fellow in mythology named Antaeus. His strength came from being in contact with the ground. Mr. Hercules defeated Mr. Antaeus by lifting him off the ground, depriving him of his connection to his strength, and thus crushing him in a bear-like hug. Do not try this at home.

Apparently Hercules crushing Antaeus is a popular sculpture.
I posted this example as it has a scotch.
Why the stationary is there is a mystery.

Mr. Antaeus’ connection to Nature for strength makes the point we need to be likewise. I try whenever possible to open windows and walk without shoes. Hikes into the wilderness ought to be done on a regular basis. Heck, the Japanese are actually prescribed this activity. It is called Shirin-yoku, or “forest bathing”. It is not merely the walking exercise or the removal of ones self from the grind that works. The phytochemicals and sounds one get into our lungs and up our noses press all sorts of buttons in the brain that correlate with wellness.

Easier said than done. Here, it is so hot most of the year one must do this sort of thing early in the morning, before the sun rises. Certainly our dog walks ‘count’ as Harper gets a lot of good things up her nose. In future trips (whenever they are feasible) I think to go to less cities and to more parks. I need to get my inner-Antaeus firmly ensconced into the land.

Spo-fans: tell me where you go for a walk in the woods as it were. Have you forests? Seashores? Parks? How often do you go? And, do you leave the phone behind?

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September 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018