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It is not yet certain what is on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner. What is certain is I will use ‘some of the good china’ on which to serve it.

I don’t remember anymore how many patterns of china lurk in the cupboards at La Casa de Spo. All I know is we have heaps. The storage shelves are full up with the stuff. [1] When Someone and I moved in together, we each brought to the relationship our dinnerware. I had one; Someone had several. Whenever one of his female relations died it looks like he got their china. [2] There is his, mine, theirs – and ours. ‘Ours’ is a Spo(de) Christmas pattern which I drag out hohoho during the holiday season.

The Spo Spode-ware

I am of the generation (perhaps the last one) who believed having a sophisticated set of chinaware is a necessity. How else would one entertain twelve of your nearest and dearest on Sunday for family dinners or on Saturday night for those lavish gay dinner parties? Yeah, me neither. That sort of thing never happens. So the china sits, unused, in the cupboards, waiting for Godot. [3]

On the positive, we have lots of lovelies. Someone’s two main patterns are interchangeable to mix and match, while mine is a basic plate of bone white with a dark green border and a golden rim. Once upon a time I bought a soup tureen. It is as deep as Lake Michigan and quite splendid-looking, but it has never been used. Sometimes, out of whimsy, I fancy getting it out along with various other pieces, just to use them. Perhaps I could use the sugar bowl and cream set, or the salad plates. That would be fun – until I remember neither one of us uses cream or sugar and the fussy plates need to be washed by hand, which is tedious.

There is some sort of metaphor going on here. The everyday plates and cutlery- plain, white, and a bit chipped [4] do all the dirty work while the elegant stuff sits up high, unused and somewhat useless. I suppose we could get rid of it all, but who wants this sort of stuff nowadays? Goodwill has become snippety about donations of crystal, silver, and china. They could fill their bins with ours and others discards.

I haven’t yet mentioned the vast hoard of silverware we have, quite fancy with the initials of several dead relations engraved upon their handles. I’ve hidden it all away lest prowlers break in and steal it, but nowadays they go for electronics, not salad forks, and besides I’ve forgotten where I hid them. [5]

Admittedly it is fun to use the elegant items, these lofty but high-maintenance dishes. We may not be having an elegant meal [6] but it can be served elegantly – just this once. The other day I found a jar of mushroom gravy in the pantry. I don’t remember how it got there, or what it was supposed to be used for, but this would be a good economical food-push for next Thursday, lovingly served in a granny-ware gravy bowl.

I would love to hear from the Spo-fans about your china. Do you have some/any/lots? Do you use it and how often? Spo-fans of the female persuasion: how do your descendants feel about getting the family china someday?

[1] The cupboards in the living room area look like they are beginning to separate from the wall. Like global warming, we could do something about this before it is too late or we can wait until we have to, which may be too late. I imagine coming home some day to find them and their contents all over the living room floor, a horrible heap of broken china and glassware. One reason I don’t get on top of this pending disaster as there is a part of me that hopes for just that will happen.

[2] Someone once served dessert on his grandmother’s china to some business associates whom he had invited over for supper. His boss made the remark the gold-gilded flowery plates ‘looked quite granny’. It was less-than-tactful but it wasn’t wrong.

[3] Not too long ago an elderly relation of mine was bewildered her grandniece’s wedding wish list didn’t include ‘her pattern’. I pointed out the 20ish old young woman didn’t have any pattern as she doesn’t want any. Auntie was appalled. “Some day, all this will be yours!” say grandmothers to their granddaughter who probably cringe at the notion.

[4] Like my men.

[5] The Car Key Gnomes or the Cup Sprites have done a fine job here that even I can’t find the silverware. If I ever I find the stuff I plan on melting it down for the metal, while feeling horribly guilty in the process.

[6] It looks like dinner will be a simple bird with oh-so-practical mashed potatoes (we have spuds that need using) and some Brussel sprouts. I plan to make the sprouts kung-pao style. Food without spice is dull indeed.

In order to better a habit, there are a few factors that should be considered. A habit is easier to nurture if it has some of the following. You don’t need all of these, but the more you have the better.

It is obvious

It is attractive

It is easy to do

and

It is satisfying.

Example: A few months ago I was trying to keep a log on some activities I wanted to track; the more I tracked them the better I would be at doing them. I was using a note I made on my iPhone. It wasn’t easy to maneuver around and I often made mistakes/wiping out the data. This was more frustrating than satisfying, and in time I gave it up. I now do the same monitoring using an app “Way of Life’. This is on my phone, it has a pleasant lay-out, and it is easy to do. When I record an activity as done, the app gives me a green bar stroke with a pleasant sound, which pleases me very much. I am doing a much better job recording – and doing – my daily tasks.

Another example: I keep my blood pressure cuff and my paper journal right next to my favorite chair. When I sit in it, I can easily reach out and pick them both up. When they were in drawers across the room they were out of sight and required ‘effort’ to get up and fetch them. This sounds quite lazy I know but I want results.

Conversely, to extinguish a bad habit, turn all this advice on its head and make the action/habit

invisible

unattractive

difficult to do

unsatisfying

What candy there is in the house has been removed from the candy dish, which was readily seen and assessable. The sweeties were moved to the depths of the freezer in the laundry room. I have to remember now they are there. I have to get up and walk to the laundy room and rummage through the frozen packages (ouch!) to get at them. As I munch M&Ms I conjure up disagreeable visions such as The Good Doctor frowning or my future self critical of my actions.

A patient of mine is curtailing his smokes. He had them placed in a drawer that requires his wife to open it for him; he’s learned too to have her take the car keys after 5PM so he can’t drive to the gas station.

I educate my patients to watch their words. The mentioned patient is to say to himself and others “I am not a smoker” rather than “I am trying to quit smoking”. By framing himself in this position, he sees himself differently. A ‘non-smoker” avoids casinos; A non-smoker on break doesn’t step outside with the smokers. When bored/frustrated a non-smoker does other things than smoking.

I try to do this myself. I say to myself throughout the day: “What would a healthy person do?”. This reminds me order better food like turning down fries for some vegetable), or go to the gym after work rather than just go home. After all, a healthy person gets in some daily exercise regardless of motivation.

People may not be easily able to give up a bad habit for the sake of their loved ones, but sometimes they will for their future selves. I sometimes envision myself three months from now, going to The Good Doctor, for blood work/weigh-in. My future self calls me to do him a favor and act right to make him proud.

While I dislike succumbing to peer pressure and to vanity, they come in handy to help shape behavior. It is not coincidence folks struggling with drugs, gambling, or alcohol are told to change the folks they hang out with. Being embarrassed by our habits is a useful ‘in’. Telling folks about your goal may evoke fears of judgment enough to do the right thing. For example, Someone and I don’t keep a tidy house, but if there are to be visitors, the house gets a throughout clean-over. I’ve considered inviting over friends or relations knowing this will get the house cleaned and repairs attended.

One final thought on habits. One must stop believing habits are impossible to change or something that holds sway over us. The more we practice, the more we achieve, the more likely good habits take hold and bad ones dissipate.

What’s top of my mind: Thanksgiving. It isn’t a question of what to do about it, but is there to be one. Someone has been strangely silent on the subject. I have an intuition neither one of us wants to cook – it is a lot of work for two people! – and we are both waiting for the other to confess they don’t want to make it so the other can agree. It may be conversation is merely delayed and not yet discussed: we are both busy being back at work and we haven’t had time to consider it. Still, we should make a decision soon as I imagine the shopping for such will be difficult. Do you ever not do Thanksgiving?

Where I’ve been: Nowhere. After a week away from home, I am at home and at the office. I have no other plans.

Where I’m going: Back to the gym. After a few weeks off, it is back to my exercise routine. I’m one of those unfortunates who misses only a few days of exercise and it seems to make everything go back to ‘Day 1″ as it were. I cannot just pick up where I left off, worse luck. It feels like I am forever restarting a regimen.

What I’m watching: A virtual fire. Oh! How I miss having a proper fireplace, especially time of the year! There are virtual fires on The Tube of Yous, and some of them go on for hours. How nice! I often have one on in the office in the background as I am writing or dictating notes. It gives me comfort to hear and see the crackling wood. Do you have a fireplace? Do you use it often?

What I’m reading: One last waltz. I’ve enjoyed Mr. Mordden’s short story collections, so I thought it might be fun to read one of his novels. The story is about three Irish brothers, whose stories parallels the legend of The King at Tara who had three sons: the warrior, the mason, and the poet. So far it’s a good read. I am not familiar with Irish family dynamics, so I don’t know how accurate are some of (awful) things Irish fathers to do their sons or what Irish brothers do to each other. Some of the dynamics are downright nasty. I want to keep reading and find out how it ends. That’s a good sign of a good book.

What I’m listening to: Our Fake History Podcast. This historian from Toronto does a sensational job debunking historical legends. The latest episode was on Eleanor of Aquitaine. She wasn’t the floozy sometimes portrayed in history. She is often seen as a licentious and dissolute, all based on hearsay. In contrast, her husband Henry II was brazenly unfaithful with many bastard children, yet history merely shrugs at his shenanigans. Double standards – again.

What I’m eating: Not much. I am trying to eat better for health’s sake and for the sake of my next blood work. Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury than go on medication for diabetes. The sad part of this is food isn’t seen now as a pleasure, but a hazard, with concerns of calories and harm. A source of pleasure has transformed into a careful chore.

Who needs a good slap: Father. All Spos have ship clocks with brassy sonorous chimes that announce the hours and half hours. These ancient timepieces often go bust, and getting them repaired or replaced is expensive and tedious. Father’s ship clock has been inoperable for some time, so my brothers and I decided to get him a new one as a Christmas prize. Then Brother #4 found one online. Apparently this is all Father talks about now, sometimes in an excited way, but mostly fretting about price and delivery. This is driving his kids to distraction, especially Brother #3 who lives with him. In the texts of the siblings, B#3 says unless this clock arrives pronto, he is going to turn to drink or murder, he hasn’t decided which. Poor papa. In his defense, he doesn’t have much else to think about.

I give Father one slap ( on a 1-5 scale).

What I’m planning: A Christmas shirt. I need another Spo-shirt like a trephination but the one holiday shirt I have kept is getting a bit ‘old’. I don’t want to have Santa see me in last year’s ensemble! A few months ago I bought three yards of fabric with a pattern suitable for hohoho-ing. I don’t remember what is the pattern. Actually I don’t remember where I stashed the fabric, so the first step is locating the thing. If I start this now, I may have it finished in time to prevent The Yule Cat from eating me on Christmas Eve.

What’s making me smile: Why is this always the most difficult W to wonder about? When I think hard, I recall Harper is what’s making me smile. She came home from her week-long visit at PetSmart and ran straight to the backyard, then back inside where she ran about the house before leaping up onto the bed and ‘doing the doggie dance’, which consists of rolling about on her back, flipping about like a fish out of water. She is a happy Harper to be home. It makes me smile to see her so.

I have good habits but I also have a few bad ones I want gone – or at least dropped down to a minimum of harm. Patients often come to me with complaints of having habits they know are not good for them. How to break this habit, they ask. I thought I would write about this as I am trying to form a plan how to address my creeping up bad lab work. The Good Doctor told me to do something about this, but he didn’t say what to do. I think he assumed I know what to do. I suppose I know about habits a bit more than the usual Joe, but it is worthwhile to review it.

As a starter point, I tell my patients and myself we are wired for immediate feedback, whether positive or negative. Something immediately gratifying suggests ‘hey, do this again’, or it is immediately noxious to suggest ‘don’t do that again please’. This worked in the savannah hundreds of thousands of years ago, but it isn’t so helpful nowadays. My ancestors’ brains weren’t designed for delayed gratification or investing in long term benefits such as studying to go to medical school, or investing money for retirement. As Shel Silverstein wrote:

Ma say eat broccoli, cereal and carrots.

But God gave us tasteys for maple ice cream.

Oh the horror.

Patients often have the complaint of having no motivation to do things they ought to do. I tell them to develop a good habit or to get a project done, first give up two notions:

a) by having ‘willpower’ this will solve the problem

and

b) you need motivation to start.

Let start with a recent common problem I heard from a patient. Dicky Purdy has a den, full-up with unread mail and taxes to do; the room is a dump. It pains him to even go in and look at it all. We procrastinate as it means facing something difficult, painful, or embarrassing. Let’s call a spade a spade: cleaning up a mess isn’t a fun thing to do, and there is no immediate reward to do it. In contrast, going to the kitchen to eat ice cream does have an immediate reward (which he does).

For the den project, start with something ridiculously simple. I told Mr. Purdy he is to start by forgoing the goal of ‘clean out the den’. He is to start with the following: every day, regularly, at 10AM, he is to go into the room and do something/anything for five minutes. That is the project, not clean the den. In those 5 minutes he can push papers, organize a bit, pick up a piece of mail and open it. His wife can be used as an ally to prompt and remind him when the iPhone rings at 0AM to do it. After five minutes if he wants to keep going, have at it. He tends to go to his iPhone to avoid things, so he will use an app like ‘Way of Life’, to mark his daily “I did this”. This little ding of dopamine of accomplishment, done daily over time, will slowly nibble away at the den. As his feeling of accomplishment grows in time, he will find this no-fun task becoming lass noxious/less avoidant, and lo! motivation may or not develop. Regardless of the motivation he is getting this done. Perhaps he will link his 5 minute work to a sort of reward. Maybe Mr. P will attach another good habit to this, say at 11AM is when he and his wife go for a walk prior to luncheon.

I will write again on habits at a later time and date.

By the time this entry is posted, Someone and I will be easing on down the road, whizzing our way back to The Land of Perpetual Sunshine. It was a good trip.

Highlight of the week: seven days of no sense of urgency to do anything. Indeed, this was written Saturday night and I am lounging in my room rather than whooping it up in town, because this is want I want to do. 

Low point of the week: Patience above! I feel I’ve gained 5-10lb eating all what I did. The food was fabulous but not as all what I am supposed to be eating. Today I return to more austere living and diet. 

What could have been better: the room. This one is somewhat petty. Our room #46 is smaller than we are used to having and the AC ran frigid with a funny high-pitched noise. I wanted to sleep with the door ajar, but Someone feared this would be misinterpreted as an invitation for others to drop in for conversation or something at 3AM.  Because of the temperature, I didn’t sleep as well as I had hoped. I look forward to sleeping in my own bed this evening, with my dog.

Surprise of the week: The room had a bidet. I have never used one before. I will spare you the details, other than to say the first trials to operate it made quite the mess of things. We agreed this is sort of contraption is worthwhile to install at home.  Do you have one?

An unexpected encounter: when staying at a joint like this, you run into many folks with whom you have pleasant chit-chat and social intercourse but then they leave and that is the end of that. Once in a while one meets one or two fellows with whom you click and these may in time develop into friendships. I met a couple from Texas who have potential to stay in touch and see what happens. It would be nice if it happens. 

Palm Springs reflections:  I was pleased as Punch to see many of my usual haunts still in operation. On the negative prices were quite high for everything. We could have saved money by eating out less and at less expensive places.  I was sad to see many places downtown are vacant and the city is full up with homeless folks. 

Biggest disappointment:  Sherman’s discontinued serving kippers for breakfast. 

Biggest relief: last Thursday our car died. Someone called AAA, who responded within twenty minutes. A nice young man diagnosed the problem: dead battery, and sold us a new one.  It wasa relief it wasn’t something worse.

Note to self for future trips

Pack fewer games.

Pack heavier clothing.

Bring a cooler.

Avoid curried snacks.

Today’s entry isn’t too brilliant as I am somewhat under a cloud this morning. One contribution to my stuporous state is I haven’t had my tea. The other: Zyrtec or something like it was taken last night a tad later than scheduled. The main reason probably is I had a few libations last night, mostly Tiki drinks, served with bits of pineapple and fro-fro umbrellas.* I am not exactly hungover as feeling a bit of a zombie myself. We soon depart for breakfast, where I hope caffeine and some hash browns will assist me back to the land of the living.

Today is our last day on holiday and there is debate what to do about it. Half of me wants to review my list of ‘things to do’ and get them accomplished. The other half of me wants to simply lie in a lounge chair like a beached whale until supper time. I suspect both side will have some sort of compromise. If the great decision of the day is whether to get up or sit still this sounds lovely.

One ‘to do’ item is buying an inexpensive styrofoam container to schlepp home the unconsumed groceries we bought this week. The 4-5 hour drive home through the desert with sliced cheese and cold cuts would fare better if they were kept on ice. The theory was to buy things on Monday to make oh-so-practical sandwiches by poolside and we ended up eating at cafes on Palm Canyon Drive. This is poor planning indeed but in the end much more fun.

The great philosophical decision of the day is whether or not to return to The Shag Store and buy these splendid glasses. I certainly don’t ‘need’ them; we have lots of glassware already and I don’t need more. I could wish Santa Claus brings me them at Christmastime but the jolly old elf cannot be relied upon anymore and to be frank I haven’t been particularly good this year. So, if I am to have them, I have go buy them myself. Their Siren-song is calling me from downtown even as I write this.

Spo-fans are invited to leave in the comments why leaving town without them would be unwise/why I deserve them/they are a must-buy-or-perish item.

*Auntie Mame says pineapple chunks and such take up too much room in such as small glass.

A week away from Life (or what I call mine) has given me some insight into work in general and the dark side of “being busy”. Having a series of seven nothing-scheduled days has first and foremost given me a sense I’ve been swindled. Time and quiet should not be luxury items, but as necessary as Vitamin C. I come from Puritan stock, a no-nonsense cult who perverted work into a virtue, evidently forgetting God invented it as a punishment. A few years ago I made the conscious decision to choose time over money on the grounds I can always make more money. Lately I haven’t held up to this vow. I’ve allowed Work to distract me from this wise decision; being off work has shaken me back into my right senses. It’s like being the designated driver at the bar: when you aren’t drinking you see drunkenness more clearly than thems inebriated. Alas, Babylon! The advice I have to offer these Type-A Busy Back-soon types is as unwelcome as the advice to a drunken man: lay off the suds why dontcha.

I’ve connected the dots: so much of my busyness in my life serves as a sort of existential assurance against emptiness. This needs to be remembered and addressed when I return to Phoenix. On the positive, I’ve given up the need to appear busy as a bent status symbol of important and no longer prescribe to this so-called badge of honor.

I wrote this on Thursday night for posting on Friday. It is cocktail hour, when folks together to chat and to socialize. Normally I would be there trying very hard to ‘network’ and get people to like me enough to at least talk with me.*  I am quite at ease abandoning this should-statement for typing with the Muses in full throttle, my fingers whizzing up and down the keyboard.  Perhaps I will go drink and schmooze and perhaps I won’t. I will merely post this and read a book. Idleness is health, and not a sign of deficit. Nice. 

*Some wicked fairy appeared at my birth and placed a curse upon me that I would never be the center of attention at any soiree, but a hanger-on.  I don’t know what I did to receive this hex, but the curse has never been broken.

Someone suggested I write ‘the truth for once”, but for the sake of entertainment I have allowed myself one or two small evocations.

Patience above!

Thursday (which is today I am told) my traveling companions declared is a day for ‘lying about the pool”.* I am all for such endeavors especially if this means no hiking today. We did a lot of that yesterday and I am rawther exhausted. We are presently around a table, waiting for breakfast which is continental and a bit late. Someone, The Other Michael, and DougT are playing and chattering about a game on their phones called “Spelling bee” from the New York Times. Then there is Urs Truly typing quietly like the eye of a hurricane.

Todays’ sordid agenda is a combination of books, puzzles, and dips in the cement pond. This is what happens when you allow queer-folk to marry; dissolute living of the worse sort ensues. Rumor has it the day shall be a hot one, so apply sunscreen and afterwards lovely lotions, which Spo-fans (the dears!) suggested yesterday. Lugging the laptop about the pool is a bit hazardous as spills and drops are likely, especially if ones hands are Neutrogena-covered.

Spo-fans seem intrigued by Room #34. Wicked old screws! I sense thems in the room have checked out. As the chief of police and moral exemplar, I will be on the look out today for which room may take its place as the new den of iniquity. You want that sort of stuff you go to Old Sands down the road.

As is the case at breakfast, the knights of the round table are wondering where to go for lunch. One proposal is Bongo Johnnies, which moved locations since were we were here last. It is diner-joint, good for burgers and club sandwiches, that sort of thing. Several of us did a double take the other day while driving there is a Shakey’s Pizza joint. I have never heard of this haute cuisine eatery butt thems in the car are waxing nostalgia for such and want to go and revisit their youth as it were. Neither place sounds ‘good nutrition’ but this is dismissed as ‘we are on holiday and we can eat what we like”. Tonight’s dinner is TBA. No doubt we will negotiate such at lunch, over our sandwiches or our pizzas.

While writing this dribble, the staff-men (who are well over four feet) have put out the morning spread of buns and things, and my three table-fellows have completed today’s Spelling Bee. I don’t know who ‘won’, if there is a winner. DougT left to find Leon the Larger, who sensibly slept in. The sun, now up, is already quite warm.

If there is anything worthwhile to post, I will take notes and report on such tomorrow.

*DougT, sitting on my left, exclaimed the pool is ten feet deep and that’s a lie about the pool”.

Yikes! I almost forgot! Today is Wednesday !

What’s top of my mind: My room key.  As soon as I am handed the key to my room* I put on it a large attachment that is seen from afar perhaps even by satellite. All the room keys are on identical nondescript black squares and they are easily lost and confused with others (oh the embarrassment). My way, I can locate mine without too much trouble. This is no guarantee however, and where it is now is anyone’s guess. I hope to find it soon, as I want to get into my room to fetch the tea things.

Where is my key?

Where I’ve been: To the zoo.  Yesterday we went to a local ‘living desert’ combination botanical gardens/zoo/tourist trap to see the animals. I don’t remember much of it as I accidentally took my allergy pill at noon rather than night time. I was falling asleep whenever we paused to see the exhibits. Oh the embarrassment. 

Where I’m going:  Hiking. DougT found us a relatively easy hike (Leon the Larger doesn’t do stairs anymore). We will drive east this morning into the mountains and go for a 1-2 hour-long hike. One thing I forgot to pack is sunscreen but the place has plenty. 

Who needs a good slap: Nobody for once. Can you imagine? Here is Palm Springs Covid19 vaccination cards are enforced and if a place asks for yours and if you don’t have one they don’t serve you or at least not indoors. Not once have I seen someone bellow about this, complaining their constitutional rights are being violated. There is a rule people are following rather than dismissing because they don’t agree with it.

What I’m watching: Room #34.  The resort’s rooms all open up onto the common pool area. Sitting by poolside one can see people coming and going all day and night. There’s dirty doings going on in #34. Someone is up to no good, that’s certain. I am in charge of morale on this trip so I am watching for shenanigans.  

What I’m reading: Several books. When on holiday I like to read a bit of this book for awhile, then put it down to read some of another. I started three this week: “Tool for Titans, which is a collection of philosophical sayings. I also started a Ethan Morrden novel. For light reading I downloaded the latest book in the “Discworld” series: “Reaper man”. Jolly good fun! 

This is my childhood nickname !

What I’m listening to:  Others.  I have no time/desire this week to hear podcasts. Rather I hear the tales of the travelers, who they are and where they come from. They talk about what restaurants they’ve tried and vacation destinations they recommend, and who’s been in Room #34. 

What I’m eating: Lots. One of the joys of being on holiday is eating out. We’ve been going to our favorite places, which happily are still in business. We worried most about the family-owned Italian place located in a strip mall. Happy Joy! It is still operating but the place is ‘take-out only’ these days. This may be due to lack of staff to wait tables than covid19 matters.

Who I’m paying attention to: My skin. Between the sunshine and the pool/tub chemicals my skin is beginning to resemble that of Grandma Moses. I went to Ralph’s pretty good grocery to purchase some lotion. Patience above! There are so many to choose from it makes my eyes cross! Does anyone have any suggestions? 

What I’m planning: A card party. I brought along several games and I would like to play some. Other than that, there are no plans at all. I cannot remember a vacation with so lack a structure to it. It feels quite nice not to have an itinerary.  It feels like a proper vacation this way.

With that said, I plan today or tomorrow afternoon to I catch up on blogs. I miss you guys. Really. I hope all is well in your world.

What’s making me smile:  Tiki drinks: Zombies, Mai Tais, and Scorpions – oh my!. It was March 2020 when I made a study of the history of Tiki drinks, which I planned trying some when we went to Palm Springs that month. Covid19 shut all that down. It is November 2021; last night or so we finally got to The Tonga Lounge and had these legendary drinks. They tasted like a victory.  🙂

*Room #46, which is in the back. Not my first choice to be there but it was the only one available. I remember it as it is age when I am in Palm Springs.

I tend to become thoughtful when I am in Palm Springs. The place is hardly an ashram but there it is. I suppose this stems from being away from the daily grind. This gives me time to reflect. That, and encountering folks who hail from far and near with stories to tell, wayfarers on The Journey, whose ends I will never know. They discuss at breakfast and at happy hour their plans of travel and retirement. It makes me think of where I am going and what I am not doing. Many an ill-fated journey has started with taking no steps. 

This morning I started a book that was on my ‘to read’ shelf for some years. It isn’t the best sort of book to bring by poolside as it is a lofty tome the size of a small carrying case. It is a collection of ‘tools’ given in interviews by ‘successful’ types conveying tidbits of knowledge so one can go and do likewise. Bopping about the book, I came to a story about Siddhartha, a monk, who explained he had three assets:

He could think. He could sort out thoughts from emotions to make the right decisions.

He could wait. He had patience for long term outcomes. 

He could fast. He was able to endure times of little and endure difficulties. 

I thought these commendable and they seemed enough for me I may not need to read the rest of the book. I could do well enough for keeping cognizant of these three items. 

I have two out of three down.

I believe I am a good thinker, considering all the conscious and unconscious matters that go into a situation. Nothing is taken at manifest level; all is analyzed for complexity.  I certainly can wait. All my achievements past and present are the results of waiting, sometimes years, for pay off.  Easy choices; hard life. Hard choices, easy life. 

What I flop at is the fasting. Right now there are many difficulties in my life that cannot be assuaged easily or readily. I need to practice at fasting, whether in a concrete way like the diet I am supposed to be doing or in times of uncertainty and pending doom. If I get ready then I will be ready. 

Fasting seems a funny thing to consider when on holiday, a time of taking pleasure and ‘loosening up’ as it were. It feels a paradox to abstain from things when surrounded by nonstop resources. It would funny too for a week’s holiday not to be revelry but ashram-like in the end.  Maybe once taking no steps is the start of a good-fated Journey.   Fascinating.  

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