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Note: The Board of Directors etc. etc. almost put the figurative and literal axe to this one. They stated it was pointless and salacious – a unique combination.  It was finally approved on the grounds there wasn’t anything else upon which to write.  –  Spo

It’s too hot to go out and I finished my paperwork yesterday so that leaves me with a Sunday without structure. I am had a peripatetic morning going about La Casa de Spo tidying things up and working on whatever projects were at eye level. My mode of operation is to start something until my mind wanders and off I go to the next one. Someone’s is the opposite viz. he sits still and finishes something once started.  Some of today’s projects are mundane (laundry) while others are more cosmic (takin photographs of the artwork for insurance). A few things are a bit silly, which is topic of today’s mindless entry. 

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I am slowly accumulating a freezer-full of round ice cubes*. They are white globes the size of small Christmas tree ornaments. Round ice is supposedly better at cooling down cocktails without adding too much water to the drink. They are also esthetically pleasing as they sit in their cylindrical glassware and float like a snowball.  I get two balls per day. One would have to be a dipsomaniac to consume that much booze so my balls once made go into a Ziploc bag in the freezer. I have nearly a dozen and more are continually on their way. 

Auntie Mame says olives take up too much room is such as small glass and that goes double for globe ice. As a substitute for conventional ice cubes they are a bust. I’ve learned the lesson not to put the an ice ball into the glass after the soda or water or iced tea is first added but do it the other way around. The first way results in a cannonball kerplunk plop often expelling most of the liquid from the glass onto the counter.

Besides a pleasure to look at globe ice makes for a good conversation piece “goodness what is in your drink there?”. Obviously there is no one around these days to show off my unconventional ice-ware. My balls must wait in the freezer like Walt Disney waiting their time. 

So that’s all what’s happening here on an indolent Sunday.  While rummaging about the drawers this morning I found the beginnings of Spo-shirt I started in February before it was pushed aside and forgotten in order to make Spo-masks. Besides, what fun is it to make a shirt and then have nowhere to go to show it off? I will complete the shirt in preparation for the happy day I can go out and about, sporting my new shirt and icy balls for all to see and admire.  

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*If ice cubes are round shaped are they still considered ‘cubes’? 

Thanks to my pillaging of the parental unit I have plenty of items for “Curious things around the house” entries.  Here’s one of them.

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In the childhood house in the corner of the basement is a bar with three 60s-style bar stools. I don’t remember my parents ever actually using the bar; it was a place to store things. On the shelf stands a glass mug in which are cocktail stirrers.  I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t there. Also I don’t recall Father ever saving any cocktail sticks to take home to add to the collection. I think they were all obtained prior to my arrival, collected in the late 50s and early 60s.  No one has ever actually used them or gone through them to see what they are – until now.

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First curious question is the mug itself: where did it come from? It is a heavy glass root beer mug probably obtained an A&W drive-in back when someone came out to serve you burgers with real utensils and mugs all on a tray attached to the side of the car. I suppose I am not old enough to have gone to one of these places – have you?

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Anyone remember playing the game ‘pick up sticks’ ?

It will take time to go through these items to figure out where they came from. Here are a few that immediately caught my eye:

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As a teen Father worked at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. This is where my parents met for she worked there as well.  It makes sense there are several swizzle sticks from The Island.

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My family has been in the Detroit area since the 6os; there are many sticks from Motor City hotels and clubs.

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I think this is the restaurant in which Jimmy Hoffa disappeared; my grandmother lived less than a mile away from the place.

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My parents were not travelers; I don’t remember any trips they took without the kids. They must have done some traveling as there are several swizzle sticks from now defunct airlines. Oh! Flying used to be fun and luxurious once upon a time! Can you imagine receiving something like these on today’s flights?

I don’t plan to have these lovelies sit idle; I plan on using them.

When I call Father today I will ask for the story behind the mug and the swizzle sticks. If I learn anything I will attach an addendum.

ADDENDUM:  Father informs me these sticks were his father’s – my paternal grandfather. Grandfather Spo traveled as he was a lobbyist; it was he who saved the swizzle sticks. After he died, Father took them and added some of his own.  There are 111 total. Father says he would be delighted to hear about each one to remember their tales and tell me about them. We have a date tomorrow to do just that.

 

After yesterday’s delve into macaroni salad The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections has asked me to lay off writing about food for awhile. I was told to stick to less invidious topics like politics. This is a surprise as they  like a good fight especially if things end in murders and carnage. Perhaps they just don’t want any blood or mayonnaise spilled on the recently cleaned rugs of Heorot Johnsons.  Sooner I’d eat rats at Tewkesbury than write a political entry especially if it means dragging The Supreme Dimwit on stage.  This doesn’t give me much to talk about but some Spo-fans wanted to know if there were any updates about the parent’s house. So here it goes.

 

This weekend two maybe three of the brothers will meet at 563 * with Urs Truly joining via zoom or FaceTime in order to go from room to room looking for items to take.  We each found a list given to us by Mother with inventory what is what. Fascinating! Like a Venn diagram the contents of the lists overlap but not entirely. Each one has some items not on the others and a few that overlap have contradictory data. Perhaps this makes them not so much a Venn diagram but The Four Gospels in which some but not have Our Savior doing different things. Needless to say this is causing confusion and making it more difficult to discard things. On one brother’s list the seemingly nondescript cradle in which Mother keeps her childhood dolls is down as been used for babies going back five generations. Damn. Now it goes off the ‘easily discarded’ list onto the ‘better save this one’ although no one is expecting a baby anytime soon.

That innocuous oriental-style winter coat hanging in the upstairs closet one brother was ready to give to Salvation Army? My list tells me is a great-great-great aunt brought it back from Peking after her missionary trip was canceled due to a fracas known as The Boxer Rebellion:

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Peking winter coat  

I fear we are not going to get of anything if every son’s list suggests everything is precious and/or valuable.

Another challenge is when we all happen upon something that makes everyone turn towards me with ‘this is yours do you want it?” I would like to be prepared with an ahead-of-time answer but this may not be possible. I should take the art I have done and I would should take some of the cookbooks but I am still on the fence about the baby grand piano. I have a few more days to figure it all out.    

 

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A Spo original pencil sketch. “Lighthouse #4” in a series.  circa 1980

 

*’563′ is the unofficial name for my parent’s house. It is a precise if not too imaginative name for it is the address. 

Norm P. (the dear!) has a collectible shop in the faraway land of Nova Scotia.  He regularly posts  some of his lovely things on Facebook. A few weeks ago he posted a photo of a snack bowl that made me sit up straight. It was a ‘must-have-or-perish’ item.  I bought it.

First

Hot puppies !  There is nothing like something good in the post !

Second

First layer is off !

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Oh Oh! It’s ‘attack of the packing peanuts’ ! 

These little villains get out and go everywhere. They  ‘stick’ to everything especially if ones arms are hirsute. They are a necessary evil for packing.

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The next layer of the oh-so-practical packing is newspaper. I get to read what’s happening in the faraway kingdom of Nova Scotia, which turns out not much.

N.S. is rawther laid back. I missed a sale I would have liked.

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Life’s fantastic when in plastic.

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Ta da!  A five-section snack dish for bridge or ‘game’ night!  It has no ‘Made in China” or professional stamp on its bottom so I think it is handmade. I would love to know its story.  The tessellated centre bowl looks to hold a whole bag of ‘bridge mix’ chocolate covered raisins or whatever suits your people.

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Alas Babylon ! I can’t invite over chums for games to show off my treasure.  I will try this weekend to entice Someone away from his TV to play cards etc. I will set out ‘bait’ in the form of five types of nibbles. 

What shall I fill them with? 

The Spo-fan with the best list wins a month’s worth of valium (5mg). 

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:

witches

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:

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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 !

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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.

 

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

 

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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.  

 

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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. 

 

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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:

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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. 

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