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Urs Truly is going to be busy today making dinner and giving out treat to the beggars (may there be many!). Later on there are Tarot readings for the Spo-fans who signed up for such. Happy Hallowe’en to all and don’t fall off the broomstick like you did last year. Here’s some poems apropos for the evening. Spo.

The Little Ghost – E. Millay

I knew her for a little ghost
     That in my garden walked;
The wall is high—higher than most—
     And the green gate was locked.

And yet I did not think of that
     Till after she was gone—
I knew her by the broad white hat,
     All ruffled, she had on.

By the dear ruffles round her feet,
     By her small hands that hung
In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
     Her gown’s white folds among.

I watched to see if she would stay,
     What she would do—and oh!
She looked as if she liked the way
     I let my garden grow!

She bent above my favourite mint
     With conscious garden grace,
She smiled and smiled—there was no hint
     Of sadness in her face.

She held her gown on either side
     To let her slippers show,
And up the walk she went with pride,
     The way great ladies go.

And where the wall is built in new
     And is of ivy bare
She paused—then opened and passed through
     A gate that once was there.

The Haunted House

Not a window was broken

And the paint wasn’t peeling,

Not a porch step sagged–

Yet there was a feeling

That beyond the door

And into the hall

This was a house of

No one at all.

No one breathed
Nor laughed, nor ate

Nor said “I love,”

Nor said, “I hate.”

Yet something walked

Along the stair

Something that was

And wasn’t there.

And that is why weeds

On the path grow high,

And even the moon

Races fearfully by–

For something walks
Along the stair–

Something that is

And isn’t there.

The Listeners


‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,   

   Knocking on the moonlit door; 

And his horse in the silence champed the grasses   

   Of the forest’s ferny floor: 

And a bird flew up out of the turret,   

   Above the Traveller’s head: 

And he smote upon the door again a second time;   

   ‘Is there anybody there?’ he said. 

But no one descended to the Traveller;   

   No head from the leaf-fringed sill 

Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,   

   Where he stood perplexed and still. 

But only a host of phantom listeners   

   That dwelt in the lone house then 

Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight   

   To that voice from the world of men: 

Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,   

   That goes down to the empty hall, 

Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken   

   By the lonely Traveller’s call. 

And he felt in his heart their strangeness,   

   Their stillness answering his cry, 

While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,   

   ’Neath the starred and leafy sky; 

For he suddenly smote on the door, even   

   Louder, and lifted his head:— 

‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,   

   That I kept my word,’ he said. 

Never the least stir made the listeners,   

   Though every word he spake 

Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house   

   From the one man left awake: 

Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,   

   And the sound of iron on stone, 

And how the silence surged softly backward,   

   When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Whew! I got all the Hallowe’en trimmings up and the candy is ready too. The “A” list kids (good manners and costumes) get full-sized Chuckles. The “B” list gets Hallowe’en gumballs (10 in a roll). I have little plastic cauldrons tied with ribbons of orange and purple, filled with small-sized bits of things (including Kerrs) for the small beggars. There is a bucket of Smarties for the ill-mannered and any kids dressed as politicians. I used to give out the “C” candy to thems not in costume but I know now not all can afford this.

I’ve learned from experience making a full course Hallowe’en dinner (as is my wont) is a lot of work to do on the actual night, so I will do so this evening. Spooky slaw, flank steak, and pumpkin curry soup. For small chocolate cone I have skull cakes. There is usually plenty of leftovers, so they will be eaten on Monday along with some squid-ink pasta with sautéed orange and green peppers.

30 October is Devil’s night, or was. Once upon a time Devil’s Night was a big deal back in Detroit when I was growing up. We were good boys and never went out on “Mischief Night” as Father liked to call it. I have never liked the association of “the devil’ to Hallowe’en as it was a pagan holiday and Lucifer Morning Star need not be dragged into it. With that said I remember having three cliché heads of devils that lit up. I put them in the window on Devi’s Night to keep away kids thinking of soaping our windows.* Brother #2 and I would go out on patrol though looking for hooligans and signs of soap and toilet paper shenanigans. We went with our next door neighbor Mrs. Couk, who had a similar curiosity. As few times were were stopped by Police asking why were out, but the presence of an adult saved us from being arrested. Mercifully there was no shooting.

Did you have/had ‘Devil’s Night” where you live?

I mentioned in an earlier blog entry it’s time to haul out the heavy comforter. I’ve looked in all the usual places and it’s nowhere to be found. I cannot imagine we would throw it out, and the house has limited space for such so what the hell? I am all for getting a new one – along with a new mattress too. The current ones are quite old and not even the right size for the bedframe we inherited when The Lovely Neighbor moved away. Rumor has it mattresses accumulate a lot of weight in dander and nasty wee-beasties to lose one’s appetite to think on it. Buying mattresses is a tiresome task. I hear tell one can do this sort of thing on line where some nice fellows (hopefully well over four feet) show up at your doorstep with new ones and better yet haul away the old ones.

Speaking of fellows at the door, yesterday the doorbell rang, sending negative emotions through me like a Pavlov reaction. No one rings doorbells any more, at least no one I want to see. Those sorts text me they have arrived. I looked through the peep hole to see a couple of men, on the young side, and well over four feet. I think they were soliciting votes and not religion. They looked too old and not dressed right for Mormons. I realized I was in T-shirt and Jack Weldon boxers (the official attire for home alone on Saturday) so I thought it tactless to open the door and say “won’t you come in my dears, I’ve been expecting you!” so I didn’t.

Finally …. Spo-fan MarkB (the dear!) who dwells in the faraway kingdom of Nevada sent me a parcel full up with Hallowe’en treats and nibbles, including this treasure:

Proper sugar-coated rats from Tewkesbury! I shall eat them with relish!

Thank you MarkB!

*Fat chance of that.

Note: this is a mawkish piece of no importance, a piece of prose for fancy. Folks looking for profound insights will be disappointed, as will impudent Board of Directors looking for action. Spo

When I was a lad I grew up on a cul-de-sac shaped like a needle with a large ‘eye’. Back then the street, which was called Fair Court, was lined with elm trees. From my perspective they were tall as sequoias and together made a gothic roof of leaves shading the street, giving it a slight cut-off-from-the world feel. The next street over, to the south, off of Mack Ave., was its sister street, Ford Court. It too was lined with trees of elm and oak. On Hallowe’en both streets took on an enchanted forest-like ambience which thrilled me to no end. On Hallowe’en I would first make the rounds of the homes on Fair Court where everybody knew me, and then it was off to Ford Court, where I knew only The Barches. Ford Court I recall had older and oddly-shaped homes which gave the street a more foreboding look. To get from one street to the other meant cutting through the municipal park at the end of each street’s ‘eye’. It was not lit at night. Can you imagine the scary delight of going through a dark forest-like park on Hallowe’en, not knowing what may be lurking around each elm? “Something is following us!” one of us would shout and we would shriek and run to the sidewalk entrance onto Ford Court, safe from spirits in Sweeny Park.

At the end of the eye of Ford Court, located among some oak trees, stood a small house with a stone stairway porch step leading up to the front door. With its “A”-shape frame it wasn’t like the others houses. It was a witches’ house, no doubt about it. Jeff Barch told us Fair Court kids nobody every came there and nobody was ever seen leaving the driveway thus confirming our assumptions it was enchanted by a witch. Some of the younger kids casted doubt on this hypothesis as there werent any gingerbread children in the front yard but we older and wiser kids knew better. This was a ploy. The painted iron jockey at the end of the driveway with its outstretched arm holding a ring was once was a little black child who foolishly wandered onto the property and was transformed and forced to stand guard as a warning to others to stay away.*

The sensible approach to stay away from The Witch House was discarded on All Hallow’s Eve. Who better to trick-or-treat with than a real honest-to-goodness witch? We took precautions though. We would go the porch steps never alone but two by two while others stood guard at the bottom of the steps ready to holler a warning if there were signs of green hands reaching out from the door or up from the top step. Oh the horror.

The fact that we never saw the witch was a relief and a disappointment. That crafty crone would set outside her door a dummy, dressed as a gypsy (as they were called then) sitting on a lawn chair, holding a wicker basket with a sign attached. The front porch light was green or purple, never white as the other neighbors had on their porches – more proof of sinister shenanigans. The outfit didn’t vary but the sign did. It always had an ersatz spell, written in large loopy handwriting, along the lines of:

Here’s some sweets

For the needy

Please take one

Don’t be greedy

So far as I remember no one ever violated the rule to take only one treat. What would happen if you dared to take more was something unimaginable. The mannequin would come to life and grab the greedy child, caught red-handed as it were, and drag the misfortunate one into her house for a fiendish feast. Perhaps the villain would run off feeling smug with four or five three musketeers only to suddenly be turned into one of those ‘jockey’ fellows or worse a black squirrel, which were ubiquitous.**

For ambience her A-shaped home with the dark light and dummy could not be beat. However, what The Witch of Ford Court provided wasn’t anything special. It was mostly ‘fun-sized’ Snickers or Dots, or Mounds (ugh); it was a disappointment. You would think a serious sorceress would put out something special, not what the mortal neighbors provided from their conventional homes with their no-stairs porches.

I didn’t bother to keep an eye out in my plastic pumpkin which treat was the witch treat. I figured if I ate hers and turned into a toad everyone would know who did it and storm her house as they do in the black-and-white horror movies and burn her at the stake, which would be one of the flag poles the two courts had in their ‘eye’. Happily this never happened and every Hallowe’en she put out the dummy with her basket of treats.

The elm trees are all gone now, dead from Dutch elm disease and replaced with small non-shading Japanese maples, making the two courts ordinary and exposed, typical suburban types. All the residents of my youth on Fair Court and Ford Court are either dead or moved away. I haven’t been back to them of the connecting park in decades. I have no need to see Fair Court again, preferring my memories to the actual places. There is a part of me that would like to return to Ford Court and go up those concrete steps again to The Witch House and knock on her door. I imagine it slowly opening revealing The Witch who was really the mannequin, dressed in her gypsy attire. “Come in! Come in!” she would say “I’ve been waiting all these years! How I’ve longed to see you!” and I would go in – finally – for tea and fun-sized treats and stay a spell.

Just be on the look out for a new (white) iron lawn jockey or a bewildered-looking black squirrel.

*Later in life I would see the same statue on the driveways of others in suburbia and realized this wasn’t magic but racism.

**Andrew C. who lived at the end of Fair Court told us kids black squirrels were that way due to black magic. The witch turned children into black squirrels and if none were around the witch she created them out of brown squirrels. Father told us black squirrels came from Canada, but we didn’t believe him. How on earth could a squirrel swim the Detroit River? Andrew’s theory made more sense.

Always be willing to miss the next train.

I was tempted to skip this one as I didn’t identify with it or agree. I imagine the writer of these one hundred tidbits of advice lives in an area where trains are an integral part of life. I am told folks in the Northeast part of the nation are mindful about train schedules, for missing one – especially the last one – can have dire consequences. When I lived in Chicago the “L” system of trains was an important means of transportation for me but if I missed one another one was soon to follow. It was common for thems in the Windy City to listen carefully for an approaching train to dash up the stairs in order to catch it. I did similar. I suppose this is where ‘willing to miss the next train” applies viz. not going into a gummy panic and a mad rush but to walk slowly and calmly and if you miss it, what the hell, you pulled out a book and read a bit for the next one. Being not at your destination quite as planned is of no consequence – or is it? What if you are late to an appointment or the start of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, famous for slamming its doors on the latecomers.

Getting away from the literal meaning of #28, walking, not running, to things isn’t a bad way to do things. We are obsessed with not wasting Time. It’s a good idea in principle not to rush and be OK at miss something on the grounds a) it isn’t that bad and b) it’s better on the blood pressure. There is a bit of relief not to run up those proverbial “L” steps with the others anxious about missing that particular train.*

I suppose if I depended on trains to get me into the city by a certain time I would be mindful to leave with plenty of time to spare in case I miss the train. I am one to always bring along a book for those times of waiting. In the bad old days before cellphones sometimes thems who missed their train could commiserate and strike up a phatic conversation to pass the time. Alas, Babylon! Most folks nowadays in a similar situation get out and stare at the cellphones, which gives me some fun to watch them as they are obvious to my nosy staring.

A broader interpretation of today’s tip is an acceptance of something that is lost, an unfortunate situation one now has to deal with, regardless of its unfairness or your expectations. I’ve missed the proverbial next train many times in my life. #28 supports Mr. Jagger’s philosophy you can’t always get what you want but but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.

*Just walk up on the far right to avoid being trampled by the angry/anxious ones flying up on the left side.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections sent an email last night with a request to ‘knock off the Halloween’ for a few days, as they are rawther tired of it. I point out while it is Halloween for them all the time (more of less) the holiday only comes once a year for me and now is the time to let loose with the black cats. Those Nordic Einsteins didn’t give me any ideas for an alternative, so I am on my own at the moment.

It’s cooled off, thank goodness, enough to open some doors and let in what’s referred to as ‘fresh air’. It feels fresher anyway after several months of hermetically sealed AC stuff. Unfortunately open doors also bring in the allergens that I can no longer breathe at night due to severe nasal congestion. Having an open door (at least until bedtime) allows Harper to go in and out as she pleases, which she does several times an hour nowadays. I think she does this out of boredom. I would like to leave the door open/screen locked while sleeping but Someone won’t have it. He is fearful miscreants will sneak in in the night while we sleep and murder us in our beds. By morning the temperatures have dropped to nearly 10C (50F) making for a chilly morning especially when walking barefoot on the bathroom tile. It’s time to haul out the portable heater, which I like to turn on first thing during my morning ablutions. The space heater is years if not decades old and it doesn’t put out much heat anymore.* The sound is comforting and that warms me up in a way.

My offices which are hot as an oven for six months have gone from ardent to gelid. I am back in long-sleeved shirts which allows me to wear my bow ties again. I have a few apropos for that holiday-that-shall-not-be-named. It feels odd though to have a closed shirt and neckwear after months of loose clothing.

This weekend when I get down the last of the holiday trimmings I should find where I put the comforter/bedspread. I hope we haven’t thrown it out. Presently on the bed there is only a sheet and a light blanket, which was enough. Having these two items also makes for easy laundry; a comforter is less so. Harper doesn’t have as much padding she used to, so a proper comforter will keep her warm as well.

A cold room with no donzerly light makes waking up a challenge. I tend to lie there trying to convince myself to leave the warm comfort of the bed to go into the cold dark world or at least the bathroom. One way around this is to wait for Someone to get up and turn on the shower etc. thus warming the room for me, which is an old Brooklyn trick my roommate from college showed me. I am still Master of the Dog Walks in the morning; soon I will have to don a jacket or sweatshirt for such endeavors. Harper doesn’t want to get up/go out either, probably for the same reasons I don’t. Alas, it is necessary we both rise from our beds to do The Right Thing etc.

There were no black cats harmed in this essay.

*Neither do I.

What’s top of my mind: Hallowe’en of course. The decorations are nearly all up and the candy (A through C class) is safe in the freezer away from six-handed monsters* and their ilk. The menus are planned and the wicked pack of cards are shuffled. Jolly good fun! Attendance has been done in the past few years; I hope this year we get more beggars. I’m ready.

Where I’ve been: Safeway. Uncle Albertson often doesn’t have something I want. This is usually along the line of an imperial tid-bit or an atypical ingredient for a recipe. Across from the gym where I work out is a Safeway. It is located in a not-too-elite neighborhood. Yet whenever I go there for something they always have what I need. Talk about judging a book by its cover! Someone has a theory the reason I can always get these atypicals is the usual patrons of this store aren’t ones to buy those sorts of items, so they are there. It’s an interesting theory.

Where I’m going: “Hocus Pocus”. Friday evening The Phoenix Symphony forgoes it usual repertoire of classical music to play the music for the movie “Hocus Pocus” (in E-flat). Ticket holders are encouraged to dress in costume. For once I may not nod off during the performance. I fancy attending in my Viking helmet and tunic on the grounds when else can I do this. There may be talk at the restaurant afterwards.

What I’m watching: “Dracula”. I finally saw this iconic film the other day and I found it Page 71 (Spo-slang for ‘a major disappointment). The movie lacked suspense that you are told right away he’s a vampire. Mr. Stoker’s seminal book beats the movie by a Transylvanian mile for set up and suspense even though we all know he’s a vampire from the get go.

What I’m reading: “Men at arms”. This is another book in the “Discworld series”. As always, Mr. Pratchett’s prose makes me laugh at loud:

The Ramkins were more highly bred than a hilltop bakery, whereas Corporal Nobbs had been disqualified from the human race for shoving.’

What I’m listening to: Der Vampyr, by Heinrich August Marschner. I read an article in “Opera News’ on Herr Marschner, one of those composers who was in this time quite popular but Time itself hasn’t been kind to his legacy. Until this week I had never heard of the man or of his work. “Der Vampyr” is a German Romantic opera quite fun and apropos for the week.

What I’m eating: Flank steak. Flank steak is the official dinner at La Casa de Spo on All Hallows Eve. I’ve written about it before. I am grateful for Mrs. Safeway for having some. I shall serve it with spooky slaw and eat it with relish.

Who needs a good slap: Office staff and coworkers. I worked and slaved over a hot stove cooking up Hallowe’en treats like cupcakes and gingerbread cookies (at no small expense thank you very much). These treats weren’t much eaten, and no one stopped by my office to say thank you. Folks here are all on diets or abjuring sugar or avoiding carbs or eating only organic etc. Cast not pearls before swine and that includes orthorexic co-workers. ho ho ho

On my 1-5 scale, I give thems at the office one slap each.

Who gets the fist bump: Nobody. I haven’t had any recent personal encounters with any good-deed-doers and I haven’t been on-line much to hear about heroes and the like. There are a few fellows at the gym who are well over four feet and well-built to boot with whom I would like to bump fists but I ‘keep it sweet’ as Spos like to say – not that any of them have been worthy of a fist bump either. Stirges.

What I’m planning: Tarot card readings. Every year on All Hallows Eve I get out Urspo’s Pack of Wicked Cards and do a reading for my next twelve months. I read them for friends as well. Last Sunday several Spo-fans raised their hands to say they would live a reading, so I will do theirs too.

If you would like a reading and you haven’t yet said yet in the comments, it’s not too late to request such.

What’s making me smile: “I am hope.” Urs Truly regularly experiences the emotion of despair. I have to continuously watch this emotion lest it take over my mentality. In the Netflix series “Sandman” Sandman, A.K.A. Dream descends into Hell to retrieve a stolen object of his being held by a demon. The ruler of Hell, Lucifer Morningstar, won’t just give it to him but challenges Dream to a sort of wizards duel (with very high stakes). They take turns changing themselves into things in order to destroy each other. Lucifer progresses from a wolf to a viper to pestilence then to a super nova, and finally to the end of the universe. ‘I am anti-life, the beast of judgment, the dark at the end of everything”. Lucifer gloats over the fallen Dream and smirks some, saying there are no more moves as ‘what can survive the anti-life?” Lord Morpheus slowly rises, and says

“I.. am……Hope”

The lights come on illuminating Hell and music surges. He stands erect and with a quiet triumph he asks Morningstar: “Well Light-bringer, it’s your move. What is it that kills hope?”

Sometimes when feeling despair I go to The Tube of Yous and watch this scene. It gives me courage; it makes me smile.

*A six-handed monster while fleeting

Joined some boys who were out trick-or-treating

But when he reached for the candies

With all of his handies

Everyone shouted ‘that’s cheating!”

I finally threw out my ponderous collection of “The green journal”, which is the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association. It has a dark verdant cover like that of a pine tree. It is the psychiatric equivalent to JAMA or The Lancet or The New England Journal of Medicine.* After I receive and read one I put it on a shelf at work at work to use as reference, but mostly for decorating. Patients see and associate them with knowledge. Truth be told I never open them and after quickly after skimming one ita contents are forgotten. The articles are very complicated, difficult to read, and most important hardly ever applicable to patient care. Here’s an example:

Aberrant developmental patterns of gamma-band response and long-range communication disruption in youths with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

Another factor about these journals is they become quickly obsolete. Articles become outdated after a few years.

I feel sheepish throwing them out. Thirty years of Medicine has ingrained in me a large ‘should statement’ about the importance of journals. This is what one does to stay abreast of the news and be a good physician. The dirty secret is medical journals are obsolete and a case of the Emperor’s new clothes. If I need something I go online. I get my news and updates from apps, lectures, and audio-lectures. Reading ten-page journal articles – who has time for that? I bet in any lecture hall if you got folks to be honest nearly everyone would raise his or her hand to confessing they don’t read them either.

There are so many journals. Urs Truly subscribes to a half dozen, and the ones I read are the ‘fun ones’ that are short, practical, and easy to digest – like my men. I skim through the JAMA headlines at bed time to get the ‘gist’ of what’s happening in Medicine In General and other what’s happening in other specialties, knowing I don’t need to know the latest is surgery or pulmonology or the newest protocol how to work up hematuria.**

Some of this is being ‘old man’ thinking. It feels like sticking with LPs or CDs when it isn’t how things are done anymore. However most of my reluctance is letting go of ancient lofty ‘should statement” to admit I don’t read journals and that’s OK, I am not a bad doctor for doing so.

With this relief I have to figure out what to put on the newly emptied shelves at the office. Once upon a time medical textbooks served similar signals of study and sagacity. Medical textbooks are even less read nowadays than medical journals.*** Perhaps I will fill up space with rocks and tasteful art pieces. No books or journals in the office may be off-setting to the oldsters but the young ones won’t care. And there is less clutter, which pleases me very much.

*All very lofty and prestigious journals indeed. If you get your paper published in any of these you are a on the “A” list of Medicine.

**Blood in the urine.

***About five years ago or more I bought the 22nd edition of Cecil Textbook of Medicine, traditionally the Bible of Internal Medicine. I cannot recall the last time I opened it. It sits next to the PDR which I believe they stopped publishing after decades, not unlike the Telephone Book.

Patience above! Hallowe’en is a week away and there’s work to be done!

This will be the first year I don’t send barrels of Hallowe’en-themed popcorn to all the niblings. The company I was using (The Popcorn Factory) has bungled the orders somehow enough times in the row to give up. Also, their prices are insane for what is basically a few cups of popcorn kernels. I wonder if the niblings will miss it; will I get calls from any of them wondering what happened and they miss it. I doubt it.

Yesterday was the first opera of the new season of ‘Live from the Met HD’. The diva who sang the part of Medea did a kick-butt job, not only with voice but all her gyrations crawling around on the floor. Jolly good fun it was. At supper we watched “Halloweentown’ which was “Disney” from beginning to end. I enjoyed it. It starred Debbie Reynolds. I happened to sit next to her when Someone and I went to hear a live-on-stage-contractual-obligation performance by Carrie Fisher. Someone (to my right) whispered who she was but I did not feign to speak to her. I suppose she sits next to a lot of people who end up asking her stupid questions so I kept mum.

I made gingerbread dough to make ghost cookies for the office. Oh how easy it was to make the dough in my Kitchen-Aid! It’s one of those cases when you do it a new way you wonder how on earth did you manage beforehand. Today I will make the cookies and this evening I frost’em. I hope these go over better than did the cupcakes.

Today I am going for a much needed haircut. My hair is quickly turning from brindled to silver to white. There is a part of me that fancies getting a dye-job, a color out of a bowl of Froot-Loops. A few years ago I used some cheap spray for a Hallowe’en costume and the damned stuff didn’t quite leave by Thanksgiving.

I added another rock to my backpack which pleased me very much to do so.

I think I will take a long nap this afternoon and get my rest for Lord’s sake. I could do with a lie-down. When in doubt; get horizontal. Someone is working a matinee this day, so it should be a quiet afternoon to do so. I lead a dull life, but that is what Sunday afternoons should be.

Finally: at this time every year I get out my Wicked Pack of Cards (AKA The Tarot) and do readings on All Hallows Eve. If Spo-fans would like a general reading for the next twelve months, please say so in the comments. I will put your name down, read’em on 31 October, and send you the results via email.

I can never determine whether or not I am a ‘writer’. Some of the problem stems from the definition. If you mean ‘someone who picks up a pencil and writes things’ then yes, I am a writer. If you mean ‘someone who makes his or her living by writing things” then I am not. My definition (which is as good as any I suppose, at least good enough for me) is “someone who feels a passion to scribble out sentences and stories and ideas’ then I am spot-on a writer thank you very much.

The itch to scribble stuff doesn’t seem to be a family Spo trait. None of my brothers tell me the niblings seem interested in such. In their defense I didn’t develop the desire until my 40s but then I always kept a diary from the get-go.

Writing as hobby allows me to not feel awful when I am unable to write due to time restraints. Sometimes I worry when there isn’t anything to write. But then something comes along and I am reprieved. In a hiatus there is a part of me that doesn’t want to make the Spo-fans wait. Having someone/anyone read my scribblings is a great happiness for me; it makes me smile to find comments that confirm someone found what I wrote worthwhile.

I would hate to feel obliged to ‘put out’ as it were for a deadline. There is that contractual obligation in the contract with the You-Know-Who I put out regularly or The Erl-King gets my eyeballs for earrings.

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite writers and persons Ursula K. LeGuin. She said about writing as a profession:

“I am going to be rather hard-nosed and say that if you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you’re writing. And, if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn’t flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work.”

It’s one thing to put up with a difficult job but a difficult hobby makes little sense. Happily my writing remains a hobby, and a fun one to boot. So it continues, eyeballs intact, until it looses interest and meaning.

This hasn’t happened since 2006 so its demise doesn’t seem eminent.

This desultory piece was started yesterday at work during a rare moment of ‘nothing to do”. The patient who was down for an evaluation was a ‘no-show’. This gave me blessed time to catch up with notes and prescriptions, the consequence was it left me with nothing that wanted doing. This is a rare thing, having ‘nothing to do’. It doesn’t last of course, but it nice while it hanged together.

Do you got any ‘down time’ at work?

My neighborhood likes to decorate early for the holidays; Christmas things go up on Thanksgiving afternoon. Hallowe’en is a month-long spectacle for me and I thought I was exceptional on this approach, so I was surprised to see some neighbors with their treat-or-treat trimmings already up. And mine aren’t up yet! Dear me this will never do! This weekend I haul out the hauntings. In front of La Casa de Spo is a large ocotillo. I hang little plastic pumpkins off of each branch and it is a heart-warming spectacle. Last year I bought orange lights in a November sale; I’m eager to see if they survived the heat in the garage and get them up.

How goes Hallowe’en decorations in your area?

I haven’t made a soup in a while. I used t make a new one on a regular basis, especially in autumn. A friend recently sent me a simple recipe for minestrone, which is type of soup that is a favorite of mine. This weekend I will make me some and eat it with relish. Someone doesn’t care of soup, so I usually end up making too much.

Made any soup lately?

I see on the Cosmic Calendar tonight there are tickets for the ballet. I don’t remember which one it is or where. I better find out pronto and if Someone has the tickets. Despite several years of attendance I remain a superficial admirer of the art. It is pretty but it seems all the same moves more or less. I divide ballet into two rough categories: 1) old fashioned ones with women in tutus and the men in tights and jackets that don’t cover their front or backsides, dancing in lines 2) ‘modern’ ones which seem to have no patterns to them but Fosse-like gyrations. The latter has the advantage the men-folk are often bare-chested and the music more interesting. Indeed there are many a modern piece where I become mesmerized by the music and forget to look what’s happening on stage.

Do you attend the ballet?

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October 2022

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018