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It’s the end of the year and I am doing major tidy-up this weekend. 2019 may be The Year of the Pig in some parts of the world, but The Cosmic Calendar decrees here in The House of Spo it shall be The Year of No Clutter –  and it starts now.  Here are a few photos that never got to into a blog entry in 2018. Before tossing them out with some moldy humidifiers I thought to put them into one inane blog post to appease The Contract of Obligation per The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections. Not to be worrying: a proper post is on its way tomorrow.



This is the infamous 70$ fruitcake. It was very good; we ate it with relish. There you go Old Lurker! I did not forget! 



This is Princess-Goddess and Warrior-Queen tripping down the aisle at Nephew-in-law’s wedding. They are NOT well over four feet but probably will be.  



We have a few humidifiers; none of them are usable. Even if I should find filters for them they look a little sinister what with black spots inside them all. It is probably better to toss’em and replace them all with one shiny mold-less new one – with a large box of filters. 



Here is the Spo-house Christmas tree hohoho. It looks more or less like every year’s tree.  

I leave you with this philosophical tid-bit:


Greetings from Palm Springs, Land of Retirees.  Urs Truly is here for a weekend of reading, resting, and so forth. I am staying at Desert Paradise Warm Sands – my first time – for my usual abode Inndulge was booked.   


This is the view from outside my door. 

The rooms here are named after divas. They have:  July Garland room; Madonna; Lucille Ball; Joan Crawford (rumored to be haunted) etc.  I am in the Bette Midler Suite.


Behold the painting over the queen-sized bed.

Can you imagine trying to sleep etc. under her?  Rumor has it one needs to turn her around lest gentleman callers are distracted.  

Leon the Larger 

Leon A.K.A The Wild One and DougT are at next door with the “A” listers. They are both well over four feet. L is constantly cold. While the others are walking around sky-clad he’s bundled burrito-style shivering.  


There is no such thing as a side pasta – boo ! 

We had dinner last night at a local family Italian restaurant. I am always eager for a good eggplant parmesan. It is a hard dish to do properly. Alas, it was soggy – page 71!  Oh well. The company and good cheer (and two glasses of chianti) made up for the meal. 


The dears at the resort have The Holy Book in the dresser drawer lest there is a crisis and one needs to quote Job or something.  Several scenes in Judges are applicable for some of the shenanigans that go on around here – or so I am told.  Urs Truly – party animal that he is – fell asleep around 8PM. I lead a dull life. 

I am driven to distraction; nothing I write pleases The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections. My recent beg-a-thon entry brought in lots of money (thanks to the munificence of Spo-fans) but the relatively sparse number of comments it generates made TBDHSR moody. Podcast boyfriends entry was worse.  Although The Board has a healthy respect for sea-monsters and haunted houses they thought those entries histrionic. I asked them using my best Katherine Hepburn voice  “All right then, shatter me, what DO you want?”  They suggested I write ‘something sweet’.   So here’s something sweet……

I have put together a pastiche of sweets for the beggars on All Hallow’s Eve. After careful planning – and thanks to the munificence of certain Canadian Spo-fans (the dears!) – I  have just the right types of sweeties. They are a careful collection of hard candies and chews. Some are familiar; some are exotic.[1]  They range in size, shape, and color. 





Dubble Bubble bubble gum

Red Atomic Jawbreakers

Mackintosh chews


Hersey’s kisses

Kerr’s molasses candy

Blue Ice cubes

Green Jolly Ranchers

Brown Root Beer Barrels. 

 “Original Halloween Kiss” [2]


The next step: put one of each sweetie into a plastic black cauldron. It was some job.  I listened to ghost stories and a podcast on werewolves, so it was pleasant packing. On a good night we get nearly 100 trick or treaters; on a bad Halloween we get only 50. I made 96 cauldrons.  Fingers crossed now ! There are some leftovers including some “Coffin Crisps” which wouldn’t fit.  I can pass them out to thems who turn up their noses at my handiwork. [3]

I hope they stand out as something other than another fun size snickers bar.  I am curious to see if my industry is greeted with glee or is looked upon as a disappointment or an object of suspicion.  Do children leave Yelp reviews for Halloween stops?

The beauty of my plan is if there are leftovers they can be passed on to the candy bowls at the office. Goodness knows what to do with any leftover cauldrons. Save them for next year I suppose.


After each cauldrons is packed I tied on a orange or purple ribbon for a  foudroyant touch.  Suffer Martha !

Then I muttered a magic spell  over them:

“Boil and bubble, 

Dance a jig,

If you eat all these, you’re a polka-dot pig!”


[1] If you want to call Kerr’s Candy ‘exotic’. Certainly no local child has ever had one.  I have the intuition the younger kids may turn up their noses at such a strange and exotic candy. I hope I am not casting pearls before swine with this one. Happily I have a full sack of them leftover for my selfish self. 

[2] I can’t quite determine their flavor; they don’t taste like anything I’ve ever had. Spo-fans familiar with this item are encouraged to write in and tell me what they are.

[3] Someone is rather fond of these; I daresay none will make it to 31 October.

A little while ago certain Spo-fans showed interest in my artwork. When I was in junior high school/high school I fancied becoming an artist or a graphic illustrator for Walt Disney.  I took some art courses; I think I became decent. Back in the early 70s when I was learning how to paint, Mother got my first attempts framed. They have been hanging in their house ever since. 

Oh the pain.

Every time I visit home I am perturbed by all the mistakes in them. Over the decades it seems I see more and more of them.  Mind! Most artists are embarrassed by their early works.  I have to remind myself I was maybe 15 years old at the time and it was my first time at painting .


This is my first attempt at a still life. I gathered up a pastiche of nautical knick-knacks and gave it a try. Some of the items I still have.
What bugs me:  the strong shadows and the lack of true perspective.



This is a freighter I painted for my father who is a ‘boat nerd’. The boat is real – I forget what boat I used as a model.  I put his name on it; he is pleased as punch.  I was very pleased with how the freight turned out. I had a photo to go from to this made things easy. 

What bugs me:  the waves are far tempestuous. The boat looks like it is plodding through a hurricane; this makes the clouds wrong for that sort of wind. 



I wanted to capture a foggy day at seaside. I remember enjoying painting the sea gulls. 

What bugs me: The still gray of the mist looks not so calm as depressing. I think it would have been better if the gray was more homogenous. 



This one was a study at trying to paint a sunset. The lighthouse was an exercise in shadow and lighting.  

What bugs me: The lighthouse shadow is wrong! This is so obvious to me now it pains me to look at it.  Given its angle, the sun must sinking less than a mile away.  Oh the embarrassment! This is another one I painted for Father. As far as I can tell he has never noticed this glaring error of angle. Either that or he is too discreet to tell me.  Regardless he loves it so. 

Oh well.  The important points to remember are these four paintings were early attempts and I learned as I went along. If they make my parents happy then that’s the point.  It supports the age-old axiom there is no accounting for taste. 

I am happy I kept my day job.  🙂

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.

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.


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.  


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. 



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.  


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.


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.


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.


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.



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

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