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Last year when we cleared out our parent’s house (1976-2020) we took trinkets of our time therein. Hardly anyone took anything of value or bulk. What we wanted were mawkish things, to remind us of our youth. As an example, I took the avocado green plastic butter dish; it makes me think of our kitchen back in Grosse Pointe Woods.

I also took was Father’s collection of Christmas music recorded on cassette tape. Every Christmas morning he recorded off the radio their morning programme of carols. We heard these while eating Christmas breakfast and opening our prizes. Curiously, I don’t recall him every playing them after they were made. The next year he merely made another. Eventually he stopped doing this, apparently having lost interest in doing so, or there was no more room in the cassette tape holder (remember those?). The recordings were crudely made that he didn’t bother to edit them. Most of them start in the middle of a tune already in progress. Last year I got a cassette player that allowed me to hear them. They hadn’t been played in nearly two decades.

I was curious to hear what was there. The tunes are ‘background’ style of familiar carols. There are a lot of violins. Once in awhile there are vocals, mostly Johnny Mathis or one of that crowd. What I didn’t remember is the music stops once in awhile for the radio host to announce “This is WJR (or) this is WFMT in Detroit). There are also commercials. I think I like these better than the music. They sound ’80s’ and ’90s’ and have a quaint quality to them.

I plan on playing these ancient recordings as background music next month while I do things about the house. They may not be ‘quality’, but they remind me of Christmases long long ago, like an ornament made from paper and Elmer’s glue you made in grade school that your parents put on the tree every year next to the proper ornaments.

Cassette tapes are ephemeral; they do not last. Over time the recordings fade. Often they ‘warp’ or become a snarl. A part of me thinks I should translate them to the computer but

a) it will take a long time

and

b) it probably doesn’t matter.

In the long run the memory of these tapes is more important than their contents, which are admittedly a bit cheesy. Maybe I will save a few of them, particularly the ones with some vocals. After all, nothing sounds quite like Christmas than Mr. Mathis singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, followed by an ad for a Detroit business now defunct.

Picture it: Someone and I walk in the door at Einstein Brothers on Saturday morning. The sales people look at us coming in and start putting together his breakfast sandwich consisting of sliced ham on an asiago bagel, no cheese. They wait for me to approach the counter as I always order something different than what I had last time. This is illustrative of our approach to things: Someone is quite regular in his ways and I look for novelty. “What do you have that is new and adventuresome?” I like to say to the bartender or waiter. When we go out anywhere, I know what he will order, often doing so for him while he is parking the car or in the loo. So which way is better? He scores 100% on being satisfied. I often get bombs and disappointments.

I’m sure it isn’t a shock to know as we age we become less likely to try unfamiliar things. When young, we see everything as a curiosity, something to experience. This boldness starts to drop off by our 30s. I hear tell if people haven’t had sushi by 35 years old, chances are slim they will ever try it. There is an evolutionary element to this: we need to find out early what is good/not good for us and stick with the familiar, to live long enough to have offspring. Now we are living longer way past our 30s, and the choices are now almost limitless as to what we can drink, eat, hear, see, and experience. Becoming set in our ways in our 30s means for sixty more years we aren’t going to be open to new things. Father, now in his 80s, has scores of CDs; now he listens to maybe twelve at most, over and over. On the other hand, Brother #3 finds it easy to cook for him, as he wants the same meals.

Thems who are regular in their ways and thems who seek novelty are like introverts vs. extroverts: both find each other’s mode of operation odd if not appalling. Poor Someone. Here’s another area if he had asked a few logical questions when we met he wouldn’t be saddled with somebody who is always looking for new and adventuresome recipes rather than a routine like Monday hot dish and Tuesday taco day, that sort of thing.

The downside to my approach is there is an element of discontent to seeking novelty. This pursuit can be endless and often comes with disappointment. On the positive, I’ve tried many things and I hope to experience as many as possible. My inner-Auntie-Mame is pleased. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to end up like Father eating grilled cheese sandwiches and soup every day for lunch. On the other hand, he’s content, and often I am not – so who’s the wiser?

The Christmas season is approaching. This time of year is always a challenge: does one go for tradition or novelty? I say if you can’t have tradition, have an adventure. What we will do this year at Christmas is yet to be determined.

Part of my Journey (and psychology) is constant striving towards individualism and growth. Will I be up to it in what time I have left? Next year I hope to spend my sixtieth birthday with chums who live in an island known for their seafood, particularly oysters. I’ve never had an oyster, fearing the hazards of raw foodstuffs. For that momentous occasion I’m planning on ordering just that. This may disappointing or a disagreeable, and if vibrio is present could mean a trip to the P.E.I. hospital for a birthday prize curtesy of Canadian national health care. At some point one one has to step out of one’s comfort zone and taking risks. I hope I don’t ever stop doing so.

Are you staunch in your ways? Are you one to try ‘today’s special?” Do tell in the comments.

Do I dare? Do I want to?

The only downside of a four-day holiday is the days get blurred. Friday felt like a Saturday and yesterday felt like a Sunday. Today is proper Sunday. I know this because I backup the laptop on Sundays and I write Sunday Spo-bits.

Father and my various brothers are pleased as Punch our alma mater beat at football the-school-that-shan’t-be-named. Father pointed out it’s nice to have this every 15 years as a treat. The win made me smile too for the neighbor down the street always puts out a large silver and red “O” flag on this weekend so I can see it. He hasn’t taken it down. Perhaps he’s going to claim the game was stolen like the Maricopa County presidential election and demand a recount. 

Speaking of the neighbors, Harper and I witnessed on our walks many are already putting up their outside Christmas decorations. There is a synagogue near our place; every Saturday the sidewalks are full of men dressed in black trousers and black hats and white shirts, leading their children to service. It was a somewhat macabre spectacle to see them walking past the goyim putting up inflatable Santas and such. It is yet to be determined if La Casa de Spo will be decked with luminarias and lights. Most years we don’t, as we don’t have time. I think the neighbors think we are Jewish for this reason.*

Another sign of the season comes from the house on the corner, the one with the lemon tree in its backyard. The tree has already begun to drop large ripe lemons onto the public sidewalk. On our strolls, Harper and I have scooped up a few to bring home. I plan to drink local lemon in my water for awhile.  On the Tube of Yous, there are videos lauding lemon water as doing all sort of things like cleansing fatty liver and improving the complexion. There are also a few videos saying this is all rubbish. I happen to like lemon in my water (not in my tea) so if this helps me keep hydrated, so be it. I know that’s good for my health. 

I did some cooking this weekend, trying to come up with clever ways to use leftover turkey. I made stone soup, using what foodstuffs were at hand. It turned out OK. I also have heaps. Most of it went into the freezer. This time I had the sense to label the containers. I also tried cooking an onion in the oven, having seen this also on The Tube of Yous. It serves as a substitute for baked potatoes, something I should be avoiding. My first attempt turned out so-so; next time I try this I need to leave the onion in longer or use smaller onions. 

So that’s all the Spo-bits that’s fit to print. Tune in this week for more regular entries and that matter about the Krampus ornament that I found. 

*Either that, or we are liberal tree-hugging commie-atheists who want their children to get vaccines and sing the national anthem in Spanish. And from Ann Arbor, MI too!

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections occasionally sends me lists to read and quizzes to take; they know I like them. They don’t always disclose where they get them, or ‘why this one’.* They recently sent one titled:

‘Highly confident people avoid these 14 behaviors.’

I wonder if this is an indirect speech act on their parts. Perhaps they are prodding me to do better, to be more highly confident. Whatever their reasons, I thought it would be fun to go through it with you and see how well I do. Let’s have some fun, shall we?  

1 – They don’t seek attention.  I have ADD (attention deficit disorder), not CDD (center of attention deficit disorder), so this one’s a cinch.  

Yes

2 – They refuse to make excuses.  I suppose I got this one down too. When at fault or something goes wrong I like to list the factors that contributed to the mess, but these are to explain out loud to help point me to the right direction what to do about a bungle. 

Yes

3 – They aren’t defensive. I’ve learned when somebody (usually a patient with a personality disorder) elicits in me the emotion to go on the defensive, I try to recognize it right away, pause, and not go there. 

Yes

4 – They don’t avoid conflict. This one is a bit of a bust. I avoid conflict. I have to be mindful of this one and try not to do so. Conflict can be productive and educational. Easy choices = hard life; Hard choices = easy life. Conflict done properly shows both parties are bigger than the issue at hand.  We are complex solid people, more than the issue at hand.

No

5 – They don’t hide behind indecision. Agreed. I stand next to it. 

Yes

6 – They’re not downtrodden by feedback. Negative feedback still stings me, it cannot be denied. Even when I no the negative feedback, it bugs me – perhaps more when it is bogus. I am no longer downtrodden by it, so it has improved. 

No

7 – They don’t feel they’re in competition with others. I realized at an early age whenever I competed with anyone on anything I lost so I learned quickly not to bother. The paradox of this defeatist-neurosis is now I seldom feel envy, jealousy, or discontent. 

Yes 

8 – They’re no afraid to take a stand.  I would say so. I point out I am even willing to move my stand if someone shows me intelligently I am wrong.**

Yes

9 – They don’t shy from failure and setbacks. Thanks to stoicism I see all sucky setbacks as coming with a lesson and potential growth. I also expect failures and setbacks rather than retain a silly hope there won’t be any.  ‘The Obstacle is the way.’

Yes

10 – They don’t pummel themselves with negative self-talk. Whenever I hear my inner-negative self-talk complex trying to pummel me, I recognize it is and I tell it it’s not the boss of me, and imagine putting a pie in its puss.

Yes, with whipped cream

11- They don’t spread negative energy. I try not do so, but sometimes I do, especially after I eat radishes.

Mixed

12 -They don’t only talk only about themselves. I am worse. I talk about ‘fun facts’ and trivia, which bores the pants off others.

Technically Yes

13- They don’t do the easy thing by doing everything. This one I don’t understand. Have you ever tried doing everything? It isn’t easy at all. I am often doing everything; it is rawther exhausting.

No

14 – They don’t require permission to act.  True, unless the play is not yet in the public domain. 

And yes I said yes I will Yes

So the score is ~ 11 out of 14, provided I avoid eating radishes. I continue working on allowing conflict and not shrinking from criticism.  I shall strive to do only some things and make them good and not all things as ‘so-so’.  

Play along if you fancy doing so. 

When I looked for a photo of a ‘highly confident man’ this fellow came up. I bet he eats no radishes.

*Cosmopolitan magazine, probably. 

**Fat chance of that these days.

I feel fortunate to have had many warm memories of Thanksgiving. In my youth we would travel north to my maternal grandparent’s home, where there we had a family dinner with Mother’s brother’s family. In my memory Thanksgiving morning seemed to start always with Grandfather going out into the snow (for it always snowed on Thanksgiving) to fill the bird feeders, while I sat inside, watching him out the window, while I eating toast with cinnamon sugar. To this day, I think of him and Thanksgiving whenever I have cinnamon toast. At the other end of the day, Grandfather, with the desserts always had a large spherical edam cheese, wrapped in red wax, imported from Holland (The Netherlands, not Holland Michigan). He didn’t cut it into sections but sliced it horizontally, across the Arctic circle, scooping out chunks of golden flesh like an exotic pumpkin. This was done using a specialized spoon. I still buy a slab of edam cheese to go with the meal. Someone prefers whipped cream, not cheese, with the pumpkin pie. He dislikes the spray can stuff. Rather, he he whips some up himself from heavy cream bought for the occasion.

As a boy I watched the Macy’s parade but now as a man living on Pacific Time I haven’t seen it in years. I enjoyed the pre-parade more than the parade itself. The men-folk in my family watched the Lions game on TV, which Father called ‘the annual loss of the Pussycats”. No Thanksgiving was complete without Uncle David and Father lamenting the debacle of the Lions game.

After my grandparents died, we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Mother made grasshopper pie as well as a pumpkin one.Most of us took a slice of both (edam cheese on the side). Brother #3 and I developed a tradition to brew a pot of oolong tea to go along with the desserts, rather than nasty coffee everyone else wanted. To this day when I have oolong I think of him.

After the pies and the cheese were served and the libations were poured, we did the family gift exchange programme. The adults would draw names to find out which relation was your Secret Santa at Christmas, taking note to ask your Secret Santa’s mate to provide you some ideas.

And THEN we’d do something I liked best of all!

Every Spo down in Spo-ville, the tall and the small,

Would gather together, the fireplace, roaring

They’d crash by the fire, and the Spos would start snoring!

Happy Thanksgiving to Spo-fans far and near.

I am thankful to have you.

What’s top of my mind: Thanksgiving. We are going to have a Thanksgiving dinner. It will be a modest supper, just the two of us. We purchased a modest turkey breast along with a small bag of sprouts, just enough for two people. I will mash a few potatoes and there is a jar of gravy for all of it. Normally Someone makes a couple of pies, but with neither one of us supposed to consuming sugar he will make only one. We will each have a token slice and that’s about it. It is enough; I am glad to be having something.


Where I’ve been: The liquor store. Someone needed a bottle of Fireball whisky * for a birthday prize for a co-worker if his. It is also Nouveau Beaujolais season. We like a Gewürztraminer with our turkey dinner. So it was off to Total Wine to get these three items. Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury than enter a liquor store prior to Thanksgiving but I hoped by going near closing time it would not be so hectic. At 7PM it wasn’t bad at all. But there was only one crate of Nouveau left! Normally they have a display of many bottles! I bought two bottles, which is enough.


Where I’m going: The post office. A few years ago I made a Spo-shirt that alas doesn’t fit. The shirt has been hanging in the closest, waiting for an owner. In Palm Springs I met a new friend (thanks to ‘Frog’-endeavors) who will receive the shirt. This means I have to go to the post office this weekend to mail it. Going to the post office right after Thanksgiving is worse than a pre-Thanksgiving visit to the liquor store. I plan on bringing my Kindle and good set of headphones to block out the almost certain orchestra of scorched cats that is a long line of cranky customers at the post office.


What I’m watching: Two men in a bath tub. I was recently learned of a series on The Tube of Yous, made by a Damon L. Jacobs, who interviews celebrities in the gay community. The gimmick is both Mr. Jacobs and thems he interviews are in a bathtub. I am not 100% certain this is sincere, or even if the bathtub is real (it looks like a prop). I’m also uncertain if I will continue watching. The guests often talk about their struggles and their body issues, but all of them are hotties (as is Mr. Jacobs). Hearing these well-built guys talk about their subjective short-comings seems a bit bogus. The series resembles a road accident: I want to not look, but I do anyway.


What I’m reading: To be determined. Last night when I should have been trying to sleep I stayed up to finish ‘One Last Waltz’ by Ethan Mordden. The novel gave me the emotions I love having when reading a book: I felt sad to seeing its end, and when I got to the last page I felt the emotion of having read a marvelous story. Well done! Would all reads ended like that! Now, what next to read? There is no lack of options on the ‘to read’ shelf. I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately, so perhaps some non-fiction may do. Say, do you know why the librarian slipped and broke her hip? She was in the non-friction section!


What I’m listening to: Do you want to take a walk. Annette Hanshaw was a singer, I think she mostly sang in the first third of the 20th century. She had some dreamy, whimsical songs, which are fun to hear from time to time. Those were happier times. “Would you like to take a walk?” is a sweet sonorous tune, although I’ve often wondered about the lyrics; they seem slightly suggestive.


What I’m eating: Baba ganoush. The other day I ordered wraps from ‘Pita Jungle’ and I asked if they had baba ganoush. They sometimes don’t have such. This time the answer was ‘yes’ so I ordered a small serving. For thems not familiar with this delicacy, Baba G is like hummus but made with eggplant, not chickpeas. I like eggplant and I like saying ‘baba ganoush!” out loud. I also like to think the stuff is better nutritionally than is hummus, being made from a vegetable, but this is probable wishful thinking. Do you like eggplant?


Who needs a good slap: The Overlords
. Ever since my bosses sold the joint to a conglomerate, I’ve been wondering when the new Overlords will make their presence known by making some changes. Last week I got two forms that look like standard stuff given to all employees at their establishment. One form asks for my ‘areas of interest’, not ‘areas of expertise’. I took this literally, and circled what I like to do/treat rather than what I am experienced doing. ** The second form is more ominous. It asks for a copy of my drivers license, my Medicare/Medicaid/AZ license numbers and others. What a tedious treasure hunt this will be. I hope the house manager knows these things. I am dubious to give them my drivers license. Does anyone know if this is legal/standard of care? They also want my CV. I don’t have a CV; I’ve never needed one. I wonder if I will get fired for not providing such. Someone says I should quit whining and write one, particularly if I do get sacked for being a CV-less smart-alec about the whole thing.

On a 1-5 scale, I give The Overlords three slaps.


What I’m planning: Prizes for Someone. Now that Thanksgiving is here, I can turn my thoughts towards the next two holidays: Christmas and Someone’s birthday [not in that order]. I haven’t a clue what to do for a birthday prize this year, let alone Christmas. Someone is one of those odd-ducks who doesn’t celebrate birthdays; he never wants lavish prizes or parties or even eating out. Poor fellow! If only he had asked a few logical questions when he met me. I love celebrating birthdays, and this means prizes. I usually get him electronic gadgets; these are often hit or miss. What to do?


What’s making me smile: Stained glass ornaments. Whenever I visit Michigan, Brother #3 presses me to take home items from our parent’s closed house, which are piled up in boxes in his basement. Last time we gathered the brothers and I divided up our late Mother’s stained glass collection. She had heaps. She would hang them on the kitchen window, rotating them, apropos for the season. Whenever one did dishes one looked out the kitchen window into the backyard through a pastiche of colored glass. I got some of the Christmas ones. This weekend I will hang them on my kitchen window, as she did, and remember her and Christmases long time ago.

*Oh the horror.

**I’ve learned from experience the listed areas I do/don’t doesn’t greatly discriminate the type of cases I end up seeing. People just want a shrink and I’m like a democratic drawbridge, going down for everybody.

I ask all new patients do they have a support network, such as family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors they can talk to. I press further: do they have any they can actually confide with. Sometimes with the men-folk (who are less apt than women to have a close same-sex friend) “Do you have someone you could call in the night when in trouble?” That answer is often ‘no”. Often I hear patients aren’t so depressed and they are lonely; if they had a few friends their depression would be so much better. They don’t need Prozac, they need a pal. They nearly always agree with this hypothesis but are quick to ask ‘so how do I do make such a friend?” Good question. Even before covid19 we were dealing with a ‘friend problem’. There is a lot of data that supports friends do us and society a lot of good. Unfortunately, many modern matters impede us to keep old friends, and worse, make new ones. Covid19 makes this challenge even more ponderous than it already is, worse luck. Fortunately for us, making friends isn’t impossible nor does it require special skills. It is like an old hobby you haven’t done in a long while; after you pick it back up and practice, it gets easier.

With that said, it ain’t easy, especially with the covid19 factor.

First of all you have to talk to people. The first conversation is felt by many to be the hardest. We fear saying hello to our prodromal friends A.K.A strangers due to two fears: there is the fear of being seen as a threat and the fear of being rejected. Most of us have been trained not to talk to strangers and see them as objects of suspicion. Studies show this is not true: strangers like being talked to. When asked after a chat “did you like that stranger saying hi and talking to you?” the answer is nearly 100% yes. People are generally glad at being addressed.

We often misinterpret a nonresponse or a hesitation to our greetings/openers as rejection, when in fact most of the time the recipient is merely momentarily confused, not knowing what to do, so they keep mum. When interacting with a prodromal friend, ask something about them, using a concrete opener the future friend will hear unambiguously. “Oh what a great hat/shoes/dog/purse you’ve got there. I’ve been searching for something like it. Where did you get it? At a gathering, you talk about the game/the music. A party always has the host as a common denominator: “So how do you know so-and-so?” These types of opening lines are clear and deemed safe. If someone truly doesn’t want to talk to you, they will give a short nondescript reply and then you move on.

The first challenge of making friends is you have to be around people. These days this is no easy task. I often recommend going to activity-based get-togethers like church or a class (in-person types) or a walking group. What these have in common is you are going to something that holds your interest and the others there are similarly inclined. Even if you end up makin no friends, you haven’t wasted your time; you’ve done something enjoyable – and you were around people, which is beneficial in itself.

The second challenge to making friends is this takes time and effort. It is like learning to play an instrument; it needs regular practice. My nephew Posthumous Thomas told me about a friend he made last month by being on a swing next to another boy. The boy said to my nephew “Do you want to be my friend?” PT replied yes, and off they went. Were is that easy for us! I think I read it takes over a dozen or more interactions before adult acquaintances realize they’ve become friends.

The third challenge: friendships have to be regularly nurtured. This is not a passive endeavor; you will have to work at this. What I mean by work is being regularly in touch with friends via calls, texts, and better yet is actual get-togethers.

Here is another factor, not often talked about, but I think important. In many friendships there is a “Frog and Toad” dynamic. “Frog’ is the one in the relationship who is the instigator for getting together, while “Toad” is the friend who is passive at initiating reach-outs. I hear complaints from the “Frogs” that they are doing all the work: “I’m the one making all the effort!” they remonstrate, ‘I do all the calling and inviting Toad out!”. I point out whenever they do reach out, “Toad” is always glad to hear from them, and doesn’t say no. If “Toad” didn’t value the relationship, he would decline. Toad is glad to be with you, and when together the relationship is more balanced compared to who started it. For better or worse, some folks are ‘Frogs’ and some are ‘Toads’. Learn which one you are and be OK with it. Many a nice friendship is spoiled when Frog and Toad expect the other to be more like them.*

Don’t think I have mastered these matters. I must consciously strive to maintain my friends and work to to make new ones. It is easier to declare it all ‘too much’ and succumb to staying home staring at my iPhone.

Having a friend – or making a new one – can be a lot of work that often requires some courage but it is well worth it.

Are you more Frog or Toad?

*Someone and I are different types: I am a Frog and Someone is a Toad. In our network of acquaintances, he finds it irksome we are the ones ‘always doing the investigating’. I have less issue with this. I realized early if I waited, Toad-like, for friends to call, I would get very few invites to anything. Yes, it would be nice if others reciprocated more often than they do, but I know they don’t decline when we call them, nor to they disvalue our friendship.

Yesterday Sunday was a funny day that Someone took the car to go to work and I was ‘home alone’ from morning until late at night. I spent the day tidying up, cleaning and doing all the laundry. The clean shirts were all ironed and put away for once. It was a very productive day. Normally I wouldn’t mind such a day, nay, I enjoy would enjoy it, but by 7PM the silence was effecting my nerves. I realized I hadn’t uttered a word all day or spoken to anyone. No one called and nobody was seen. I cannot remember when I last felt alone like this. I tried calling a few folks and I sent out some emails, but there were no responders.

Quiet and isolation (on top of a relatively cleaned household) is probably good for the soul (mine anyway) but I couldn’t shake the feeling of discomfort. From the office I could hear great-aunt Marion’s clock ticking away the time, and every half hour the ship clock chimed its bells, announcing another thirty minutes of life had gone by. I thought to myself, if I were to die right now, no one would know. It was a curious slightly unsettling sensation.

I wrote this on Sunday night in this quiet still state of being. Someone probably came home after I went to bed, which I did soon do after I finished writing this and scheduled it for a Monday morning posting. He probably slept in The Dragon Room, where he goes to be by himself after a long upsetting workday, so I won’t see him until Monday morning.

Tomorrow (which is Monday) I will go to work and be around people all day; it will be ‘life as usual’. Sunday will seem a dream, and not exactly a good one. Funny how we often want peace and quiet and getting away from the others, yet when we do it isn’t as calming as one imagines it to be.

We had a car matter yesterday, resulting in me driving Someone to work. While he was doing his morning ablutions I went out to Uncle Albertsons to do the Thanksgiving Day shopping. I was having some worry there wouldn’t be much left, given the hearsay tales of shortages. My worries were for naught. He had heaps. I bought a turkey breast. There were bags of brussels, just enough for two servings. There wasn’t any pasta for turkey noodle soup – the shelves were empty – but there are heaps at home. After I dropped Someone off at his job, I stopped by the gym. There, I sprained my back – again. Oh the pain. Today I am walking around like Groucho Marx. I should go driving again today, as the Elantra has a heater in the seat that hits the lower back. I never use it but for these times. Yesterday was a queer one, for I more or less slept all day, only waking when the phone rang. In between naps I ironed countless shirts. I lead a dull life. At least the shirts are done. Temporarily.

A Spo-fan recently wrote to ask if The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections is a collection of archetypes in the Jungian model of Ego and Complexes, something I have written about in the past. Patience above! I haven’t actually thought of this before. This is worth an entry to explore if TBDHSR are an example of what’s called the ‘five band’ archetype/trope. Stay tuned.

Will (the dear!) educated me today is “Stir up Sunday”. It is a figurative stirring, of hope, prior to Advent. The onset of Advent does not elicit hope in me as much as anxiety, along the line of hells-bells! Christmas is coming! I need to get cracking! It is also a literal stir of the Christmas pudding. I like me a pudding, but I won’t have one this year. Someone doesn’t care for such, and making a Christmas pudding for one person (me is a lot of work. In addition, I should not be eating that sort of stuff anyway.

It looks to be a relatively quiet Sunday. There’s work to be done such as the floors, which are quite nasty, but my back may prohibit this and all activities. Someone is working again today but we got the car matter fixed so he can have the car. I will be ‘home alone’ sans vehicle (that means without) spending the day drinking salubrious cups of tea. This probably won’t help my stiff backside, but it doesn’t do any harm. I will do some reading, including blogs, and explore that question about the Board members. I hope they cooperate. They are highly suspicious of talk therapy in any form preferring catharsis to sublimation of their hang ups.

Yesterday Friday morning Someone announced we have tickets for symphony that evening. I think it was two years ago when we last went. They closed down their season last year; last time I heard there was only talk about reopening this year. Apparently they have done so. I had mixed feelings about this. I happen to know through Someone’s work the politics to reopen the symphony resembled an orchestra of scorched cats. The symphony ushers are volunteers, many of them ‘anti-vaxxers’ and/or ‘anti-masks” and the symphony (I believe) requires all who work there to be vaccinated and wear masks. I wasn’t so concerned of contagion – I would be wearing my mask throughout – but to interact with the others (ushers or otherwise) evokes some reservation. The worry is a bit moot: on any given Friday night the hall is only 1/3 to 1/2 full, and these are mostly in the front.* I sit in the back, sometimes with wide open spaces around me. It turns out there was almost 15 feet between the next patron and I; everyone was in masks.

It felt funny to go out on Fridays again. I was curious to see how different the experience would be. Would there be refreshments sold? Would there be social distancing? Would there be ructions over thems defiant to the rules? Some of the ushers recognized me behind my mask and seemed genuinely happy to see me.

The ticket said “Midori returns!” which sounded nice. I like Midori with a swig of peach schnapps, vodka, and perhaps a little orange juice. It turns out it was not that sort of Midori, worse luck. Midori isn’t a cocktail but a violinist. She played some Korngold, in a mask. The orchestra was also masked. They played Brahms #4 in the second act. I think everyone did well. As is my wont, after a full day of work that started at 430AM I was in a hypnogogic state throughout. Mercifully there was no shooting.

Afterwards we went to our usual post-symphony bar. The hostess also remembered us and did a nice job finding us a table. After supper we drove home, tired, but feeling some sense of normalcy.

* I think this is called the ‘first-class’ phenomena. I am told on luxury ships, second-class cabins and less expensive options sell/not sell, depending on the economy. Regardless of the economy, the first class cabins always sell out. The rich always manage to have money. Curiously, the front part of the symphony, the expensive seats, probably have prescribers with the demographics of older and richer folks, who are not as likely to want/do vaccines and masks, and more likely to flaunt their influence on the orchestra and its protocols.

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