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#19: take a photo of the tag you are given when leaving a coat in the cloakroom.

Someone, who works in the theatre, often tells tales of irate patrons demanding their checked-in items from the cloakroom be given over, even though they have lost their ticket. “My umbrella is the black one!” T#19 tip to slightly improve your life sounds quite sensible, especially if you are an A-1 Schlemihl as I am who regularly misplaces or loses things. I take photos of many important documents like my vaccine card and my dental insurance card. I also have photos of all my prescription bottles, lest I am called upon to recite my meds by rote. Mind! This security is counter-balanced by the fear of losing my cellphone with all these pretty pictures in it.* I solve this by putting between the phone and its case a card with my name/Someone’s phone number, and email address. ‘Be prepared’, say The Boy Scouts, and that goes double for hummingbird-brained types like Urs Truly.

While composing this essay, I had me a look-see at the photos in my cellphone. Curious! There are a few of these types of photos, otherwise the majority are memes or colourful abstracts good for wallpaper, which I change frequently. There is one photo of Harper, my dog, although it is an old one. There are no photos of people; no friends or family, and no photos taken on travel. Curious. I suppose this is because I know what they look like and I haven’t gone anywhere? **

Do you take photos of important documents and keep them in your phone?

What’s in your photos in your phone?

*All my cellphone cases haven been historically bright red or day-glow yellow, so they can be spotted across a room.

**Over the years I’ve become less interested in whipping out my cellphone to photograph every little fiddle-faddle. The other day I saw a video of Captain Jack Sparrow making an ingress onto a balcony in Disneyland to the roaring delight of the crowd below him. The entire audience were all holding up their phones, looking at them and not at Mr. Depp. I would have merely taken in the experience with my phone in my pocket.

What’s top of my mind: The fall of society. It sure feels like it anyway. I have a sad sense the religious right will stop at nothing now to turn the country into a theocracy (Protestant version). They will utilize the current economy and The Supreme Court decision to take over the country. My one comfort is knowing history shows these sorts of set ups seldom work in the long run.

Where I’ve been: Someone’s side of the walk-in closet. My side of the closet is well-organized with Spo-shirts on one rack, the long sleeved-shirts on another, and the suits and jackets on theirs. It is all tidy and tended by taxonomy – and there is little there I don’t actually wear. Someone’s side is not so organized; things hang where they will. He has heaps of things he hasn’t worn in ages. Bored with wearing the same things, I’ve been rummaging around on his side for something new.* There are bargains to be had! This is better than Goodwill! I’ve worn a few findings to work and I’ve received some nice compliments along the line of ‘hey, nice shirt”, that sort of thing. While he hasn’t worn these items in ages, Someone noticed right away I was wearing them (clever!). He’s glad they are being used, and he vows to clean out the rubbish items, some day.

Where I’m going: The Orpheum Theatre. Someone is an usher captain at The Orpheum Theatre, which on Sundays shows old movies on the big screen. Next month is “Frozen”, a movie I have never seen. I am curious to view this spectacle and discover what’s it all about. Picture it: Urs Truly sitting uncomfortable among hundreds of little girls all singing along to the songs. I will feel like a ‘virgin’ attending his first ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’.

What I’m watching: Foxes Afloat. I recently discovered these fellows on The Tube of Yous. They are charming chaps, well over four feet. I have always been a sucker for a Scots accent. Really, a Scotsman could read me the telephone book and my soul swoons.

What I’m reading: ‘How minds change’ by David Mcraney. Mr. Mcraney (the dear!) hosts the wonderful podcast “You are not that smart”. In it, he explores cognitive bias and the unconscious drives that influence our decision-making. He’s grown pessimistic as the research (to his dismay) shows logic and reason have little if any value in trying to get people to change their minds. It is easy to conclude it is impossible. In response, he wrote this book, based on further research, on what actually works for getting folks to change their minds. I just started the book, so I don’t know how good is the prognosis to the proposed techniques.

What I’m listening to: Salome (the finale). For thems unfamiliar with this opera, this is ninety minutes of chromatic euphoric music sung by totally awful people accumulating to the awful ending where Salome sings in a psychotic euphoria to the head of John the Baptist her ecstasy she has finally achieved her desire: to kiss him. Ach, ich habe deinen Mund gekusst! It is totally disgusting, it’s morbid, and it’s set to the most marvelous music. **

What I’m eating: Toast. After making a decent loaf I must consume it before it goes dry or becomes moldy. I put half of it in the freezer and the rest is for toast. Buttered toast remains one of the best snacks ever. I have a jar of Marmite. I schmear some on toast and I eat it with relish. I’ve not had Vegemite (worse luck!): I wonder how they compare.

Have you had Marmite? Vegemite? Which is better? Or rather you would eat rats at Tewkesbury?

Who needs a good slap: The Trump minions on the Supreme Court. All they want is to serve their abhorrent master. Now they will now stop at nothing.

On my 1-5 scale I give The Supreme Court members (the nasty ones) 5 slaps. Each.

What I’m planning: More cookies. My first attempt at making cookies in the Mix-master was ‘mixed’ as they were funny-looking but tasted OK. I will try another type this weekend. I am catching on to make these bad boys on Sunday night so they are transported to the office on Monday morning before too many are consumed at home. Speaking of Mr. Mcraney, for awhile he would end his podcasts with a cookie recipe. They are exquisite, nuanced, and seldom-made, like my men. I plan on making one of these lovelies.

What’s making me smile: JOMO. I recently learned the acronym JOMO: The Joy Of Missing Out. It is the opposite of FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out. Wanting to be in the know, to part of the tribe, and not ‘left out’ is a primal emotion of mankind; it is one of the reasons why we tend to return to news/online/social outlets even when we know it’s not good for us or is a waste of time. There is a lot of good that comes from learning to say ‘no’ to things and to others, and this includes JOMO. For a week I’ve not been on Facebook and it feels quite nice thank you. I don’t feel I am missing out on something , other than drama, ads that line the pockets of Mark Z. , and cat memes. It makes me smile to have quiet time to make cookies, read books. and listen to bat-sh-t sopranos rolling around on stage with severed heads, singing. 🙂

*After all, there’s nothing like a new frock to brighten up your day.

**I thought to add a link to a version of this heartwarming spectacle, but The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections thought them too unsettling. So you can imagine.

First of all I want thank the folks who wrote supportive comments to yesterday’s lugubrious post. I almost didn’t post it. Things are tough. We aren’t allowed to pick the times we live in; we are only given the choice to rise to the occasion or to succumb. I hope do the right thing.

Today is Father’s birthday; he is 86. Brothers #1-4 have been texting back and forth trying to come up with some sort of prize for the occasion. Being blind, we can’t give him books and he has all the audio-books he needs for a lifetime. “No prizes!” he states (sounding like his mother) “I just want phone calls from my sons”. I hope Brother #3 and #4 and family will get together and grill something scrumptious and everyone has a good snort in his honor. I know I will.

I made my first loaf of bread In the Spo-fan Memorial Mix-master.* For kneading, it beats my hand-work by by a country mile. It was the best loaf I’ve made so far and I was pleased as Punch. I grade it at a B+/A-. I didn’t bake it long enough, and I think I should ‘knead’ it longer next time. My next loaf should be an ‘A”. After I get the hang of white I will try rye or ‘egg’ or something.

Going to the gym is discouraging. I try to go and do something every day but something always manages to get in the way. Last week it was car troubles. I am going a few times a week rather, which is better than not going at all. Whenever there are missed days, it feels like I am ‘starting over at the beginning’. How soon my strength leaves me! I would like to get some muscle on me but at most it feels like the best I can do is keep from losing more. At nearly sixty years old, this may be all I can do. Alas, Babylon! I fear I will never become one of Fearsome Beard’s pin-ups. I used to worry the fellows at the gym were all looking at me in contempt but I realize this is not so. They don’t look at me at all; they think I’m hopeless. ho ho ho.

It has been a long while since I made a Spo-shirt; I can’t remember when. I’ve been wondering about the the ‘why’ of this. It’s mostly because I have sunk all my sewing energy into making masks and I have plenty of Spo-shirts already. I don’t need more. Many don’t fit anymore, worse luck, but I don’t want to give them to Goodwill. I wonder would it cheer me up to make a new one (XL this time). After all there’s nothing like a new frock to brighten up your day. At home in the drawer there are two rolls of cotton fabric from which to choose: #1 is white with black abstract black strokes, it resembles a Jackson Pollack painting. #2 is a fabric of U of M maize and blue “Ms” I bought for an alumnus who changed his mind he thought it too gaudy to wear to a parking lot pregame party.* I may make both into shirts and keep one of them, putting the other one up for raffle.

*Can you imagine?

*The Kitchen-Aid. I have a vague memory of some relation referring to all stirring appliances as mix-masters. Mix-master is a bit more fun to say too. The bread recipe was given by Lori (the dear!) and made in the Kitchen-Aid donated by another Spo-fan (also a dear!). There is lots of love going into my baking.

Note: this one was written when I was in a very dark mood. My inner-Mrs. Danvers was being quite vocal. Not to be worrying; I am writing to purge and not state truisms. All the same, thems looking for a happy witty entry should come back later. Spo

Whenever I cannot think upon something to write, I go to the ‘posts’ setting to look at the half-written essays I have started but either became bored with or couldn’t find a direction how to finish. Sunday night, when I was looking for something to write, I pulled up 4-5 essays, which were not so half-written as half-baked. “How dull” I thought, reading each them. So I flushed them to pull up a fresh page and start with scratch.

As Blobby sometimes says: “I got nothing” .

Actually I have a lot on my mind but I am choosing not to write about it. I apologize that is cryptic and teasing, but whenever I get into state of despair, my mode of operation is to withdraw into a hole and close the door and lock myself inside. This is somewhat to save myself from the toxicity and cruelty that is my fellow man, and partially to spare others from my vitriol and wormwood. Don’t look directly me or you will turn to salt.

In my life I’ve had more armageddons than teeth; I recognize one when it happens to me. The fact I’ve managed to survive all of them is small comfort as these latest ones seem headed towards no recovery. Funny how thirty years old was I frightened of dying, and now that I am nearly sixty I feel there is little point to going on further. It seems futile. Why keep up my health and putting away towards retirement when you feel there is no future? What do you do when you struggle every day to survive, only to discover you have but what you are living in is awful?

This is a depressing entry. Normally this sort of bilge stays below deck or is written down in my paper journal and not displayed in public for all the world to read and become down in response.

Whenever I feel anxious and bitter, there is a part of me (call it my inner child) that wants some strong parent-like figure to take me in their arms and assure me everything will be OK. Things are not OK and no one is going to do this. Winston Churchill, who was no stranger to depression, said something along the line ;when you wake up and realize you are in hell you keep walking until you are no longer so’. What is take from this is keep going through the motions of living. It isn’t any comfort but it is the right thing to do.

I debated a few times whether or not to press the publish button on this bad boy. Sometimes it is better to write but not publish. The Norns who displayed this one say publish and be damned. So I did.

The other day while chopping garlic I realized I have allowed myself to succumb to ‘food-shaming’. I was making a quick uncomplicated supper and I wanted some garlic flavoring. A few chopped bits from already-processed cloves in oil from the glass jar in the fridge would have done OK. Alas, I don’t have such anymore. Countless cooking videos and top chefs have told me what’s in the glass jars is rubbish and you’re a bad cook if you use any. Apart from its inferior taste* their issue with garlic in a jar conflicts with how a proper cook would do: you should know how to chop garlic and do it right too. To this day I am not very good at chopping things, and every time I chop things (especially garlic) I feel an invisible panel of Gordon Ramseys are frowning at me. Someone is a little tired of eating dinner while I critique my cooking, pointing out to him this isn’t cooked long enough or this lacks nuance etc.

Growing up in the Midwest, folks didn’t go look at food this way. Something was ‘good’ or it wasn’t. I wanted (and still do want) to be a good cook. Good cooking done well is a joy. However I’ve gone over to the dark side of cooking ‘the right way’. Mr. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who wrote a book based on scientific research towards the best way to cook things, admits his cookbook has been shanghaied by folks (mostly men) battling it out over the right way to grill steaks, fry eggs, etc. Oh the horror. He states folks have missed the point. There should be joy of cooking and individual variations based on preferences.

Yes, sometimes dinner at La Casa de Spo is a box of M&C mixed with whatever items are at hand.** This is convenient and dammit it tastes good thank you very much. Not all cooking has to be TikTok stellar or made with organic ingredients hand-picked at 3AM by third generation organic Amish farmers. I need to get over the shame felt from making hamburger hot dish rather than coq au vin (from real capon).

Once upon a time I enjoyed playing the piano. The last time I had lessons my teacher was into proper position and hand placement. I felt I was being prepared for a concert at Hill Auditorium. He wasn’t wrong to focus on technique, but it took all the fun of playing and I stopped lessons and the piano too. I don’t want cooking to follow the same route.

In time my chopping, sautéing, and such will improve with practice and experience. Getting better knives and pans should help. While I journey I must remember this is supposed to be fun and not my entry on The British Bake off.

*They aren’t wrong. Freshly-chopped garlic tastes better than what’s in the jar. This isn’t the point.

**Usually made with tuna, this is called “Tuna Hemingway”.

Spo-fans (the dears!) occasionally send emails inquiring towards matters I’ve written about but I didn’t follow-through. This makes me think of the novel “Moll Flanders”. For thems unfamiliar with this lofty tome, it is the ‘biography’ of woman who goes through life in a series of shenanigans for which the author* drops the ball as to what happened in the previous situations, like her several spouses and her children. Life is like that though; we dance through it with a lot of unfinished business, for which we often don’t see their conclusions. All the same, here’s some updates I hope this post assuages some angst and slakes interests.

Bread: This weekend I plan to make me a basic loaf using the mix-master. I found an oh-so-simple recipe that doesn’t look to too many variables that could bungle. I will be content to get the ‘hang of it’ to make the second loaf the decent one.

Wine: I did not go to Total Wine. A Spo-fan (the dear!) suggested I get ‘box wine’. Sensible fellow! Sensible solution! The box-stuff lasts long and I can have a wee-dropy as needed. It isn’t great quality, but it suffices. These box-types come in various albeit non-descript flavors like ‘Pino Grigio’ and “Cab Sauv” and the not yet dared tried ‘Table Blend White”. Can you imagine?

Car: The mechanic chappie at Chapman Hyundai told us our oil leak originated from a faulty oil plug that was placed in the recent trip to Jiffy Lube. We are quite upset by this. Someone plans to write JL for possible compensation, on the grounds ‘no harm asking’. The car repair bill was ~$1300, of which only a fraction was the oil matter. Most of it was long overdue ‘100K mile maintenance matters’, which would have been less expensive if we had done these things spread out through time. At least it’s all done and lord willing we are good for awhile.

Nursery rhyme: A while back I wrote about a picture in a children’s book of a nursery rhyme that had been haunting me. It is now my wallpaper on the office computer where I see it regularly to do some ‘desensitization” from it. It is turning into a rather sweet thing. Good.

WordPress followers: My ‘one thousand followers’ has been pruned to a modest 360 with more to go. Patience above! There were over 500 that were links to not to real people but to business sites and extinct blogs, and some led to nowhere. I do hope I haven’t thrown out any babies with the bathwater. WordPress says the unfollowed just won’t get an announcement I have posted, that’s all. If they are keen they can sign up again as new followers.

  • If I accidently eliminated you I am sorry and please sign on again.

The Overlords: Last week I received a surprising email from the bosses (or someone like them) announcing an upcoming meeting to go over their provisional plans to open up a third office which will include space for ketamine treatment. These notions were supported by The Other Psychiatrist, the one who announced he is leaving next month. I figured with Urs Truly being the sole shrink again this project would be scuttled. I am quite curious to hear what the plans will be. Lunch will be provided.

Harper: Several have asked about her, bless you all. She sleeps more and walks slower and she doesn’t jump up much anymore. Someone thinks she is getting deaf. Every day we hold her still to administer her eye drops. Lately she’s been vomiting up her supper, poor thing. It’s sad to see a loved-on decline.

Cup Sprites and other La Casa de Spo haunts: The Cup Sprites are busy as usual but nowadays they are more active moving about Someone’s glasses, not mine. There hasn’t been a ‘Henrik sighting’ in months. Jenny Greenteeth is lying low and probably peeved at our recent endeavor to drain the pool to replenish it with fresh water. I don’t dare swim at night lest she is planning some outrage.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections: Several Spo-fans seem smitten by my mythical bosses and want to know all their latest. Up to no good that’s certain. Now that summer has returned to The Time of Legends and the midnight sun makes it nearly always light out, all the doors and windows of Heorot Johnson II are let open to let in some fresh air. Good thing too. The inner halls were beginning to smell like the backend of a basilisk.** The Board haven’t sent any recent vague but menacing emails so that’s a good sign they are pleased as Punch with my prose. On the feast day of my nativity (in a few weeks) they are giving me a big bag of gummy-bears and some buffalo wing-style Great Lake Potato Chips. The dears.

*Daniel Defoe.

**Worse than their fronts, if you can imagine.

Don’t be weird about how to stack the dishwasher.

Patience above! Where to begin with this one?

The adage of the one hundred is to slightly improve your life. At first glance how one stacks the dishwasher doesn’t seem greatly correlated to this goal. But let’s look closer. Putting the wrong things in the Maytag, or in the wrong way, can lead to disaster (trust me on this), so learning what proper stacking (and what to wash by hand) can improve domestic life. The word ‘weird’ implies something more about how to stack the dishwasher. If you live alone or with someone with a laissez-faire approach to dishes then it doesn’t much matter how ‘weird’ are your stacking skills. The trouble arises if you live with another who either knows better or (worse) knows the way to stack. Woe onto you if you do it wrong. I am interpreting #18 as the sensible advice to find out from your Significant Other how they want you to stack the dishwasher and do it, thus slightly improving your life.

Another solution to avoid being weird about stacking the dishwater is the delegate all dishwashing stacking responsibilities to your S.O. or someone like them.

At La Casa de Spo Someone is far better at stacking dishes than Urs Truly. Many times I have entered the kitchen to see him rearranging what I have already put in. I put things in as they become dirty. Someone, who is expert at packing, prefers to let pans and dishes accumulate in the sink until there is enough to fill the dishwasher via one thoughtfully-planned stack-job. He hasn’t gone so far as to banish me from stacking the dishes at all, worse luck. If I had patience I would let him do it his way, but I can’t abide seeing dirty dishes in the sink piled high as Fafner’s hoard. Mercifully there has been no blows or savagery over the situation.

Spo-fans:

Who stacks the dishes in your house?

Who does it better?

Has anyone threatened murder or divorce if the other dares to do it wrong?

Last week I came home to discover sitting on my doorstep a large cardboard box. My first response was Hello Fresh or Blue Apron sent us another meal kit by mistake. Upon inspection this was not so. Perhaps Someone had ordered me a birthday prize but that’s two weeks away. However, the address was addressed to “Spo”, something Someone has never called me. Patience above! It was quite heavy! I felt like Milo getting a package to take him to ‘The Lands Beyond’. I opened it, but it wasn’t a phantom tollbooth. This is what it was:

Lord love us! A king-sized-titanic-unsinkable-Molly-Brown Kitchen-aid mixer! Complete with a cookbook! My soul swoons. This is better than all the tollbooths in all the worlds. A Spo-fan who is well over four feet and several stages above and beyond dear sent it to me.*** An excerpt from what he writes:

Dear Spo,

The Muses keep reminding me how much you’ve been kneading the enclosed surprise….so finally, you have no excuse for not presenting the most luscious buns in Phoenix! …….. The large ‘instruction guide’ by Bernard Clayton was selected for its encyclopedic scope that should keep you, Someone, The Board of Directors and all the Tewksbury rats satisfied in future journeys through the fascinating world of breads….. ”

I have long wanted one of these, but every time we think of getting one, some unexpected financial matter arises and becomes precedent.* So it never happened. Now, thanks to the benevolence of this Spo-fan the world of baking opens up to me.

First I called SIL #3 to get instruction what are the use of the three attachments. I am pleased as Punch to know the white hook is for making bread dough which is my main wish.** I figured I better start with something more simple, like cookies. I have no lack of recipes to try, so I got out one and gave it a go. I was trembling with joy to have all ready, and flip the switch and – nothing. I feared it was broken, but it turns out I hadn’t plugged it in.

As a mixer of ingredients The Kitchen-aid surpasses Someone by a country mile but it is not a threat in the kitchen. Au contraire, he’s delighted with it as I am. Over the weekend I made ‘wife cookies’ (recipe upon request). Alas, Babylon! They did not turn out well. They were kind of gooey puddles with browned edges. As there were so many variables it is hard to pinpoint down what went wrong, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t the Kitchen-Aid. Oh well, as Ernest Hemingway famously wrote:

“All first drafts are sh-t”

The Medical Assistant tells me I can bring all my baking experiments to work as while they look queer they were tasty.

This weekend I plan on making a loaf of bread with it. Chances are it won’t turn out well either, but I need practice.

I am as happy as a clam at high tide.

Thank you dear man who sent it to me. I will think of you every time I use it.


*This week alone: $1200: car repairs; $1200 dentistry; $500 medical license renewal (Stirges); $500 plane ticket to see Father in August. Oh the pain.

**It also serves for playing pirates AKA Captain Hook.

***He gave me permission to write about this but it was not clear if he wished to remain anonymous.

What’s top of my mind: The Elantra. I worked from home yesterday as the car was dripping oil onto the garage floor and I would not risk driving about town. “Tim” from AAA came by around four to drag it away to the new Hyundai dealership (new to us anyway) for its appointment. I hope it’s as simple as a leaky or faulty do-hickey that just needs replacement or tightening. Visits to the mechanic are never inexpensive, so there goes out more money. Working from home felt 2020. Harper liked it; she figured I was home for her sake.

Where I’ve been: The Cookbook shelf. On the top shelves of the food pantry sits my collection of cookbooks. I have a love-hate relationship with them. I love them as some of them are my favorite books, full up with memories of times and kitchen past. On the other hand, they all seem to whimper whenever I go in the pantry as if to plead to take me down and use me, which I never do these days. I suppose I should get rid of the ones I never use/will use but I don’t have the heart.

Where I’m going:  Total Wine. The wine-fridge is bereft of ‘table wine”; all it has is fancy and expensive bottles, which we are saving for ‘special occasions’ that never happen. What we need – what I want rather – is some ‘cheap whites for summer sipping’, preferably until ten dollars. Anyone can buy expensive stuff if you have the money, but what’s really fun is finding good-enough wines as bargain prices. Thems who work at Total Wine have little signs of some of the offerings.These are along the line of “Pam recommends” with a few words from Pam on how she likes it so. These may be the equivalent of ‘summer rain’ perfume, but I hope they are sincere. I usually come back from the place with a cardboard box of a dozen roses and whites, for around 100$.

Do you have any good inexpensive recommendations for wine?

What I’m watching:  Letterkenny. Someone loves this show, but I can’t make up my mind. The writing is clever and the actors deliver their lines that beat an Edward Albee play. Most of the time these lines go whizzing by like rockets with Canadian lingo for which I haven’t a clue. I find all characters disturbing and they make me wonder how on earth anything gets accomplished in this macabre Lake Woebegone-like town. We watch episodes at supper time.

What I’m reading:   The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. A book with all sorts of fancy fustian words; what more can I ask for? Here’s an example:

looseleft [adj.] feeling a sense of loss upon finishing a good book , sensing the weight of the back cover locking away the lives of characters you’ve gotten to know so well.

What I’m listening to:  Attila. A couple I know who are quite experienced in classical music (one worked for the Cleveland Symphony) had me over to take away as many CDs as I wished. They weren’t playing them anymore. What I took were mostly operas I’ve been too cheap to buy but wouldn’t mind having a copy of. One of them is Verdi’s “Attila”. It’s about … wait for it…. Attila The Hun. For thems not familiar with opera, if I asked you to conjure up clichés about them, almost all stereotypes fit nicely into this cheesy endeavor. It isn’t performed much anymore compared to Mr. Verdi’s later works, which are better and more likely to get butts in the seats. Still, there is a camp element to “Attila” that makes it jolly good fun. I’ve seen it once or twice and I just hate it when directors try to make it serious or worse set it in some contemporary setting ‘up. What’s called for are captive maidens in fur bikinis and dudes with oh-so-not-politically-correct Charlie Chan mustaches.

What I’m eating:  Salmon. During a rare time when we went grocery shopping separately, I brought home a large bag of frozen salmon filets while Someone purchased a large bag of salmon burgers. We are up to our oxters in salmon. Happily we like the stuff, so we aren’t too sick of it yet. Salmon gets into most everything these days, including scrambled eggs and on top of vegetarian rice bowls. I prefer filets to the burgers as once upon a time I got very sick soon after eating one of the latter. I daresay it was the mayo-based condiment and not the salmon burger. Regardless, I can’t help but retch a little when having one.

Who needs a good slap: There are no lack of deplorable politicians who have not honor nor integrity. However, I want to avoid these as too easy, too obvious, and slapping them feels like ‘stooping’ to their level of degeneracy. I will go with The Texas Republican Party which is reported to me to have adopted the horseshit belief homosexuality is an ‘abhorrent lifestyle choice’. Must we go over this again that people don’t choose their sexual orientation? The GOP makes up what the want to believe and shouts it long enough to make a lie a truth.

On a 1-5 scale, I give the Texas GOP five slaps.

What I’m planning:  Fondue. I have a Crate & Barrel fondue pot with 6-8 long slender two-pronged forks. am fond of fondue and it’s a pity the pot is not used often. Someone doesn’t care for such. However, in a few weeks it will be my birthday. I was deprived a P.E.I lobster dinner, so my consolation will be a fondue. I get to figure out which vegetables and imperial tid-bits to use for dipping (Someone is allergic to shrimp) as well as the fondue itself. Jolly good fun!

Do you have a fondue pot? Do you ever use it?

What’s making me smile:  My blogger buddies and the Spo-fans. I was woebegone in last week’s Ws. Afterwards, comments came from folks never heard from before, long time lurkers and silent Spo-fans all thanking me for my scribbles. Later that week, while making ’rounds’ on blogs, a few mentioned me in their entries, saying similar. This is better than all the gummi-bears in Germany and all the rats at Tewkesbury. This is what makes me smile. Whenever I need a grin, I think of you all.

I know a fellow nicknamed Jocko*; he has a habit to exclaim out loud the word ‘good !’ after everything that happens to him. He will do this even in the face of bad news or a bungle. By immediate focusing on ‘good’ he reports he can find something good, some lesson, some asset in the worst of situations. He doesn’t deny the bad – often that’s pretty obvious – this ritual helps him find something positive so that the event is not 100% misery. The plane is delayed? Good. He has time to read. The plan didn’t work? Good. Jocko and his team can learn something from it.

I’ve been trying to practice this to see if it is any good. Yesterday the Elantra was discovered to be dripping oil onto the garage floor; this may be why the oil light has been on for some time. The usual shop tells us there are no appointments available until the end of July. I had Monday off; I had a lot of fun activities planned which all included driving. At first reaction there was nothing at all ‘good’ about this, not by a long shot. I imagined Mr. Jocko would have to work very very hard to extract good from this disaster.

“Good” I exclaimed. I had to open up the hood and remember how to check the oil. I hadn’t been in there ever; it was quite dirty. I gave it a clean-up and I felt good to do so. When the mechanic lifts the bonnet he may be impressed. I checked the oil (low) and filled it with some oil we had on hand (good), and felt good for my industry. “Good” I exclaimed: this happened on my day off. Imagine if I had driven to work, leaking oil, only to have the car break down, unable to drive home. As for the day-off plans? “Good” I had an opportunity to stay home and go through all my ‘watch later’ YouTube cooking lectures, which I did. ‘Good’ we are obliged to go to another service shoppe; perhaps it will be a better experience than our usual one. ‘Good’ I got to call into work to explain I have no wheels and thus can’t get to MESA (a 45-minute drive) so I can stay put and work from home ala 2020.

I see how this approach makes one focus on the advantages and the problem solving benefits. I teach something like this to my patients, the ones who have a habit to immediate go to negative/the worse-case scenario in everything they think and do. “Oh, yeah?” they say, ‘how about …’ bringing up scenarios to defeat the approach.

I too find the ‘good’ approach challenging in the midst of politics, violence, war, and all the other matters afoot these days. I remind myself the practice isn’t to negate the gravity of things, merely not to fixate on them. Certainly we tend to turn into the things we practice. I could use less OMG this is a disaster/gloom complaining in my character.

Someone is organizing a AAA tow truck to haul the drippy thing to the dealership for its appointment on Thursday. Good. I don’t have to worry about this. I can do my day’s work and focus on my job. I will be home today when The Pool Man arrives. Good. I can ask him about the pool light device; can he fix it? I would like not to swim in the dark no more.

Good.

Let us hope so, anyway.

*He is well over four feet.

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