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It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. Last month during our ‘no working fridge’ phase (oh the pain!) we bought a small refrigerator to tide us over until we figured out what to do. Happily the big fridge is repaired and we are back in business. Praise the gods – or at last the demi-gods.*

Now the little icebox is as obsolete as a temp agent; we wondered what to do with it. Taking it back to Lowe’s and pretending it was faulty would be a lie. I thought of using it as a sort-of liquor cabinet, given the high temps of AZ are not good for booze, but we already have a wine fridge, so that ain’t good. Today we brought it to my office, where it now proudly stands next to the tea things as shown below. It makes the room feel a bit like a college dorm.

There is a perfectly good fridge just down the hall in the community kitchen, so I feel a bit silly to have such. I am not certain what to put into it. I suppose I can stock The Frigidaire with beverages and fruit snacks.** The Personal Trainer wants me to ‘eat something before working out’ so this may be the means to oblige him. Perhaps I can fill it full with tiny bottles of water so when patients are thirsty I can give them something to quench their thirst. After all, I went to a medical school where the panacea of all ills was to push fluids.

It would be jolly good fun to keep a jar of Luxardo cherries with a bottle of vermouth (no rubbish) for impromptu Manhattans after those more difficult appointments, but I think not. Imagine the looks of the bosses and the APA Secret Police should they discover such was on the premises! I will stick with protein drinks and Vernors and Evian (my favorite) and leave the Buffalo Trace at home.

 

* It is not clear which god/goddess in the Greek Pantheon is in charge of refrigerators perhaps because they didn’t have such things in their day. The Norse Pantheon may fair better; one of the nine realms must have someone in charge of keeping things cool, although one could argue the entire realm is one frozen icebox in no need of refrigeration.

**I had a colleague in Seattle who kept bottles of wine in his office fridge. I never asked what he did with them.

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First of all, I want to thank everybody for birthday greetings from yesterday. I am continually grateful at the outpouring of warm wishes and salutations I receive. 

It’s been hot; the temperatures have regularly been 40-45C*. The AC is going allergo no troppo yet it isn’t enough to keep the house cool. I don’t want to go out or do anything. Someone is due home from work soon and he will probably just sleep in front of the TV all afternoon. 

I may just take his lead and estivate, falling asleep under a few books. Anything to avoid going out of doors. The house is relatively clean and the laundry is done so there isn’t much ‘work to be done’ tasks. What there is feels too hot to bother with. 

Someone gave me a rawther unusual birthday prize of ice molds shaped as skulls.  These are splendid not only for everyday sipping but for Halloween cocktails.  There is a bit of grim humor is there not to serve guests a shot of whisky in which is bopping a skull- cube.**  Due to last week’s dripping under the kitchen sink, the reverse osmosis machine is off. As as consequence we have no filtered drinking water. I don’t mind drinking tap water but I miss ice. The ice machine gets its water from the osmosis machine. I suspect I will be making a lot of skull-cubes this week until we get the osmosis repair man or somebody like him. Someone also gave me some splendid stainless steel cocktail picks so perhaps I can solve the water crisis and use skulls and picks in frequent libations.  Better make that a double.  

*In Fahrenheit this is just too damn hot. 

**Someone said he almost got me the ‘tiki gods’ ice mold instead, but he thought I would like the skulls more.  He is correct.

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In my life I’ve had many tea pots. Some are useful and some are less utilitarian as they are whimsy.  The one in the photo is my ‘work pot”. I keep it at the office; it is used nearly every day. I remember where I bought it. It was in my “Ann Arbor days” circa 2000-2005.  I go through a lot of tea pots for they either wear off or break. I remember thinking at the time of the purchase this nondescript beige pot will be good for a few years at most.  13-18 years later the intrepid pot takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I sure got my money’s worth.

It has fine cracks in it. “It’s had the course” as Father says about old and worn-out objects. I keep waiting for it to fall apart in my hands or shatter when I next pour hot water into it.* I’ve been anticipating its demise for years; ‘Old beige’ seems to show no signs of shattering despite its cracks. Perhaps they are merely ‘age wrinkles”.  There is a part of me that wishes it would hurry up and expire so I can justify getting a new one. I suppose I could throw it out now but my Protestant roots forbid me discard anything still functional. 

Old beige perseveres. It keeps putting out my daily brewskis of Irish breakfast, green, and 2nd growth Darjeeling  (no rubbish).   There is nothing deep or erudite about it. It’s old and cracked but a good one.  

 

*I tend to stand back a bit every time I pour the kettle water into it, lest I am suddenly covered in hot scalding water,  bringing new meaning to the expression “please join me in a nice hot cup of tea”. 

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!  Curious Things reaches fifty !!

So what would be apropos for such an austere occasion?  Let’s had a look around and see what is curious…….

My office opens out onto a balcony. Sometimes I open it up to let in some air. However the swinging glass door is prone to swing in and out if there is a breeze. What’s to do?  

I have this lovely red stiletto show, made of plastic. It looks like something a hobbit might wear to her prom.  

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Most of the time it lies by the closed patio door. Many patients it is a real shoe that is missing its fellow. They often stare and ask what on earth it is doing there. I explain it is not my last year’s Prada but my intrepid doorstop. 

 

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As a doorstop it beats the dreary brown triangular models by a country mile. I love it so.  No doubt there is talk behind my back but to my face they find it amusing.  

Laugher , after all, is the best medicine.  

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Jolly good fun !

 

Straw-splitters may take umbrage with today’s ‘Curious Things around the house” as these are not literally around my house but at the resort.  There are two bronze statues at Inndulge; they sit on either side of the grounds with the pool between them. I’ve discovered they have names: Milo and Pablo.  They are both well over four feet. Indeed! if they were to suddenly get up and stand straight I suspect they would be at least seven feet tall.  Definitely ‘leaders’ in two-stepping.

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Mr. Milo looks towards the pool as if he is supervising what is happening therein or perhaps he is being a Peeping Tom of sorts. Around here everyone is more or less looking at everyone else but Milo is doing it more obvious. He is situated by the pool ladder that leads into the deep end, so he comes in handy to hang ones towel and cap upon. I doubt this is his purpose but he doesn’t seem to mind. I was pleased as Punch to discover his name is Milo, for this is a long time family name. Indeed, in bagel shops and such I call myself Milo for more ready identification purposes.

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Mr. Pablo looks towards the front entrance as if he is keeping guard of the goings-on who is coming in and out of the resort. If only he could talk! He looks a bit cold sitting there without a stitch on, legs up as if he is trying to keep warm. He isn’t as visible  as Milo.  While Milo has a peaceful look to him, Mr. Pablo seems to be more serious as if to assure one he is never asleep at the switch.

I need to investigate who was the artist and why she/he made these two lads. The boniface tells me M and P were real life young men – cousins actually. – but he didn’t know anything else. This being the place it is, I wonder if the modern Michaelangelo had any sort of congress with the two models. Artists have a reputation for shady doings etc. I would like to know too if they were commissioned work or the works just happened to be found in a Palm Springs yard sale.

For discretion’s sake I did not shoot photos taken from particular angles lest WordPress declare my site a perversion. Both fellows have enormous feet and similarly proportioned nether regions. One wonders if that was done on purpose for the place.

Most guests here like the lads although a few have said Milo and Pablo give them heebie-geebies, particularly Milo with his never-ending vigilance. These guys should count their blessings they are not staying at the resort next door, where every room is named after a diva and has a large framed photo of such on the wall. That owner get  complaints of visitors getting the creeps with the likes of Doris Day and Barbara Streisand looking down on their shenanigans.

I probably shouldn’t write this one, as I will come across as a big baby. However the Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections felt it would be a jackpot for comments. Skunks. 

I never outgrew the magical belief children have about stuffed animals being ‘real’. Teddy bears and their ilk are not inanimate toys but have souls. A lost or or discarded stuffed animal experiences fear and sorry like an abandoned pet. Even now as I type this I feel my inner-Child starting to blubber at the sadness of it.

Once upon a time the office in Mesa where I work used to be a ‘floater’ type that different people used.  One day, many years ago, I came in to work to find a blue bear sitting on the floor. It must have been forgotten by some patient’s child the other day. I immediately felt the separation anxiety the child and bear must be experiencing. Several counselors used the office; none could recall a patient or child having left behind said bear. I put him* on the shelf in plain view and then I waited, hoping the patient would return in a week and reclaim him.

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That was nearly ten years ago if a day. Mr. Blue Bear has sit on my shelf all this time. He watches me work. On occasion patients bring their children into their appointments and the kids pick up the bear and play with him. Today a ill young girl drooled on him in her play, which made me realize he hasn’t ever been washed. Tonight I took him home, removed his shirt for separate washing (lest the colors run), set the washer for ‘delicate’, and gave him a good wash.

He came out fresh and clean but on close examination I realized Mr. Blue Bear is actually  a dog. How could I be so unobservant? Stuffed dogs get me even more emotional as they make me think of pooches locked away in shelters.

He also has never had a name. Shame on me. I will sleep on this and wake in the morning and give him one. Then it is back to the Mesa office he goes. He is my work companion; he is my secretary. By now the original owner is probably in his or her adolescence and the blue dog has been long forgotten.

He is my blue dog now; I am getting tearful at the joy of our finding each other.

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*The sex of stuffed animals is seldom clear. I call him a male as he wears a polo shirt.

I apologize for being away. I can not remember when I was so busy. Working in mental health is hard enough around the holidays, but having everyone’s insurance change in a fortnight is quite ponderous to prepare for.  Yikes! It is 22 December and we are finally getting around to putting up the trimmings. Someone got out the tree only today.  I am taking a break from decorating to hydrate and write a post.

While looking for the Christmas Baku I found these coasters. I had forgotten all about them.

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This coaster allows the recipient to say those magical iconic words: “Are we all lit?”

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Leave it to MikWright to have the best photos captions. 

 

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This one is in rawther poor taste. A friend who has bipolar moods gave it to me. She states it is the best description of manic-depression she has ever read, and I must have it for my office. Fat chance of that. 

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Indeed! Suffer Barbara!

 

And here’s a bonus photo. While pulling out the Radko christmas china I discovered in the bowls a little gift:

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Bah Humbug. 

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Across from my office desk over the chairs in which the the patients sit hangs a print of Benjamin West’s painting “The death of General Wolfe”. The poor fellow is in the perpetual state of dying while thems around him are forever lugubrious at his passing. It’s a very quiet scene despite the background suggesting  a photo taken during the (very) active Battle of Montreal.  I was told by Larry Muffin (who knows these things) the fellows on his right are a symbolic set of mourners consisting of a Canadian, a Yankee, and a Native American all in lamentation of Wolfe’s passing.  The Native American is obvious; the American is identified by his fancy leggings and green coat – apparently the height of fashion for Yankees at the time.

It’s a lovely painting but it’s all rubbish. This painting was commissioned long after W’s demise; goodness knows how it really happened.  To top it off , I’m told several of the people in the painting weren’t even at The battle of Montreal. They wanted ‘in’, sort of like early photo app editing.  Talk about your fake news!  I suppose I should have smelled a rat early on in art history class when I first learned of it, given the Native American fellow there, looking quite out of place in a battle.  I wonder if there were any Indians at The Battle of Montreal anyway?

While I feel hoodwinked to realize what I thought was ‘fact’ is nothing but a fake, the painting remains a favorite. It brings up the ongoing notion of art and truth, what is subjective vs. objective truth. People know – and like –  Richard III as portrayed by Shakespeare and not how he was in real life. * What little I know of Mr. Wolfe reveals he wasn’t that nice or that great, but he was in the right place at the right time. Getting shot may have been the best thing for him and his reputation.

Oh, well. As the Pope once said: “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like”.

 

*In life he was probably quite nasty but not THAT bad.

 

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My cookbook arrived; I am a published cook!

Over the years I’ve developed a preference for several dishes that I tend to make over and over. These recipes are scattered through my cookbook collection or are written down on index cards passed onto me by deceased aunts. Some of the recipes are on food-stained loose pieces of paper. Curious I can’t seem to memorize the recipes but I remember where they are located. For examples: Mother’s gingerbread is written on a fading index card while the marinade for flank steak is in The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and my favorite BBQ chicken recipe rests in The Ruby Ann Boxcar’s Trailer Home Cookbook. You get the picture.

Over the years I’ve tried to to put them all into one tome for easy reference. My first attempt (pre-internet) was a blank book in which I wrote them all out by long-hand. The second was done via word processor and printed onto 8.5 x 11 paper and put into a folder.

This third (and hopefully last) incarnation was done via an online ‘Create your own cookbook’ website.  And here is it is. I am pleased as punch.

There is nothing memorable about these recipes. The book is a gallimaufrey of comfort foods and family favorites. My favorite cocktails are all included as are varieties for the bread machine. One chapter is solely for my favorite BBQ sauces.  This all is hardly gourmet. However each recipe is a joy for me. I am glad to have them all between the same coversheets.

This was a labor of love; it took a lot of work. I had to enter each recipe making sure the ingredients and directions were just so. I kept adding new recipes and (worse) I kept editing them for typos and word choice.  There were so many versions the website told me they were going to cancel me if I didn’t settle down and finish the damn thing.

I got two recipes from my paternal grandmother; both are in the cookbook. This weekend I will make one of them: Hamburger Soup. It is simple, nourishing, and tasty – like my men.

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In my office sitting on the counter among my tea things lies a bowl most curious, made from the shell of a large oyster*. For some queer reason the artist put onto shiny shell the head of a rawther sinister-looking goblin. A large pink stone – probably quartz – is attached at the other to serve as a counterweight. I purchased it at an art fair many decades ago. The Goblin bowl holds packets of sugar, stevia, and other sweeteners for the tea.

The malevolent gaze of the goblin doesn’t exactly make the sweets look inviting. It makes me recall a poem by Christina Rossetti **  The dark ditty warns two young innocents to avoid hobnobbing with the hobgoblins and to avoid fairies in general:

“We must not look at goblin men, 

We must not buy their fruits: 

Who knows upon what soil they fed 

Their hungry thirsty roots?” 

In this day and age artificial sweeteners – even sugar itself – demonized as probable poisons my goblin bowl seems apropos in its offering of suspicious sweeties.

Despite decades of use, I don’t seem to have been bewitched by the boggarts, nor have I sprouted green pointed ears. It could be I’ve been relatively saved via lack of use: I don’t often put these toxins in my tea.

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Alas, I’ve never been spirited away by The Goblin King, worse luck. 

I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of ‘Being away with the fairies’ but that’s all. 🙂

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*Or something in the mollusk family.

**Spo-fans may find it interesting she also wrote “In the bleak mid-winter”, one of my favorite Christmas carols.

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