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Spo-fans know one of my peeves is ‘Christmas too early’ – no hohohos before Thanksgiving Day thank you very much. However I am hypocritical when it comes to Halloween: I don’t mind seeing orange and black bricolage in the stores up in August.  In fact it lifts my spirits – pun intended – to see such. I hold the horses until 1 October then it’s haul out the hauntings much to the chagrin of Someone who has no interest in the holiday. This week my podcast subscriptions are already leaning towards spooky topics and things that go bump in the night. I’m pleased as punch.  It makes me feel like a kid again back when ghost stories and haunted houses filled me with delight – especially at this time of year.

Speaking of store stuff last weekend I had to go to Home Depot a few times for I kept buying the wrong items or not enough of some things.* Home Depot had lots of Halloween lawn ornaments. I am easily distracted by shiny objects especially with pumpkins in them; I was fascinated with this particular item:


As their heads bob up and down they say things one expects to hear from Halloween witches. In between the clichés what do I hear?:

“When she well three meet again in thunder lighting or in rain?

When the hurly-burly’s done when the battle’s lost and won!

I come graymalkin!  Paddock calls anon!”

Halloween lawn ornaments reciting Macbeth! This purchase is far more imperative than all the cleaning supplies in all the world. I took this photo and sent it to Someone for his approval.  Three guesses what he thought.  Every time I went back to the store they were waiting for me. This was Fate was it not?  Some sort of spell had been cast upon me. Someone – always the rationalist – suspects if I hadn’t been so distracted by such I would have come home with the Pine-Sol as indicated.

I did not buy the witches in the end. However October looks to have some more house chores and this will require more trips back to The Land of Orange Buckets. “Patience above!” I imagine myself saying to Someone “Look what followed me home! I guess they just sort of fell into the shopping cart or something”.

It’s worth a try. I am growing skilled at to returning things to the Home Deport refunds department.



*I suspect The Cup Sprites or The Car-key Gnomes or one of that crowd. Stirges.

I work three days a week in the Phoenix office while the other two are spent in Mesa. The two locations constantly send things back and forth to each other. Guess who is the messenger boy.* At the end of each work day the staff packs up papers, charts, and do-dads for Urs Truly to schlep home and bring tomorrow to the other place. Things are tranpsorted via a black file box. I christened this “The most difficult case”.

The Most Difficult Case and I have been attached and wandering about The Valley of the Sun for 15 years like Jacob Marley’s Ghost. About a month ago it became unhinged.**  We could see it was just a matter of time when the top comes completely off making The Most Difficult Case feckless.

They say the time to dig the well is before you are thirsty. I’ve been on the look out for a replacement before the clinic is obliged to get one.  Last weekend while killing time in Office Max (don’t ask) I found this lovely item:


Behold The Most Difficult Case II  !!!

It has some advantages over the old one: II is slightly larger than I which is good as besides patient charts and what-not I use TMDC to transport my dirty dishes and tea things.*** TMDC II doesn’t have a handle but a collapsable pull handle like a carry on case at the airport. It also has a combination locks for the hinges. The instructions warned me the makers are not responsible for remembering my custom-made combinations.  I picked the two area codes in the area – a precise if not too imaginary decision so staff will remember them.

The House Manager and the Boss Woman were pleased as punch with my purchase. I suspect they were silently relieved I did NOT purchase a Versace bag or last year’s Prada as I had threatening to do.

TMDC II is bit oh-so-practical dull but I plan to coif it up with some fabulous stickers.

Come back in six months it may be as bedecked as the Berlin Wall.


*No, I don’t get paid extra for this service. One time I forgot to bring things so the House Manager at the time asked one of the counselors if she would do so as she was headed that way. She took umbrage stating she couldn’t be bothered as she is a professional.

**Better it than I.

***Occasionally these spill out onto the papers and charts. Oh the embarrassment. No one dares tell me to cut this out though.

A few months ago patient “D” announced she was traveling to Sweden. I wished her safe journey and please say hello to Pippi Longstocking for me. She didn’t know who that was so I had to explain my joke. Pippi Longstocking is a little girl in a series of books written by Astrid Lindgren of Sweden. Her books are considered ‘classics’ not only in her home country but internationally as well. I told D she might come across the braided red-head on souvenir stuff; look out for her why don’t you. I was curious to see if and what D would find.  

Last week in D came in for an appointment; she had brought me something. D pulled from her purse a piece of paper looking like monopoly money. It was a Kronor, the currency of Sweden. She had found Astrid and Pippi all right – on the money!

Today I got the bill framed for my office. Astrid Lindgren and Pippi will be smiling down at me now while I work. 

Sweden! What a country!  It holds its artists and writers in such esteem it honors them on its currency! Small wonder Scandinavia is such as happy place!  

I am sitting on break from the Saturday “There’s work to be done” chores and wondering what to write. I am sipping a cup of tea as is my wont.  It dawned on me teapots would make a cheap and quick ‘Curious things around the house’ entry.

I don’t know how many teapots I own – ‘a lot’ comes to mind while ‘too many’ comes to Someone’s mind perhaps. They vary in size, shape, and how often I used – like my men.   Here’s a few to amuse:


This King-size-Titanic-unsinkable-Molly-Brown metal pot sits on the kitchen counter. It was purchased in Canada and carried home on the airplane where I worried it would be mistaken for a bomb. It is my most often used pot. It makes a lot of tea, most of which I cool down and store for iced tea purposes.



This little fellow is at the opposite end of the Universe of Teapots. It is used for ‘one cuppas” loose leaf tea, usually green.  It’s fine for an afternoon tea when I don’t want to be wired.



The Lovely Neighbor gave me this  she she moved away. It was her late Mother’s teapot. I don’t ever remember her using it. I suspect TLN was trying not to take it with her, so she gave it for my collection. As you can see it isn’t very practical as its top is rawther narrow, making it difficult to insert teabags ( no loose leaf here!) She traveled the world over so I thought I was getting something exotic from India perhaps. It turns out it’s from Pier 1 Imports made in China. I’d throw it out but for the guilt if I did.


This fine little pot is Polish-made. It is a gift from Canada. Laurent and Will (the dears!) gave it to me when we visited them in Ottawa. Such fabulous take-home prizes they give out !


This fine specimen is part of my Spo(de) china collection. It sits on a shelf,  wrapped in bubble plastic, waiting for those gay times when we entertain 8-12 for formal dinners and afterwards tea is served.  The pot comes with 8-12 cups and saucers and I can’t remember when last I used any of this. I’d give it all away but no one want this sort of stuff anymore.

Tell me about your teapots! How many and which is your favorite?

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.

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