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Ratatouille-remy3

I see by The Cosmic Calendar The Year of the Rat is coming. I don’t know what this entails exactly but I am OK with rats. This would be an easy subject on which to scribble out an essay but I first checked with The You Know Who that reminded me I’ve already written on rats and Spo-fans are not wanting repeats let alone rats so go write about the electric fence or something. I started to say I’d sooner eat rats at Tewkesbury than write about the security system but they connected the dots before I got too far into the idiom. They bopped me on the head and out of Heorot Johnsons went I. Oh the pain.

insanity

This morning I woke to the harmonious sounds of ‘Exotic music’ viz. tunes recorded in the early 60s for Tiki lounges and luaus. I didn’t know the kitschy genera existed until I began reading yesterday’s book on the history of Tiki cocktails. Someone wasn’t too pleased to hear such sonorous songs at 5AM. I haven’t told him yet my next step is to find some vintage Tiki cocktail glasses. Perhaps the book is evil and I should put a wooden stake through it and bury the demonic tome where no one will find it.

Insanity
I see by the pesky ads on Facebook The Super Bowl is coming. I looked it up: it is not this weekend as I presumed but Sunday 2 February. Try to tell as many people as you can in town. I suppose someone must care about this spectacle although in my immediate cricle of friends and acquaintances I found not one who cared tuppence. This is probably an example of cognitive bias but I like to think I am in the majority who think The Super Bowl is of no importance.

Insanity

The weekend is coming. I say this in the same voice tone as thems at Game of Thrones who say ‘winter is coming’.  Someone works nonstop on weekends now so I get lonely on these two days. They’ve become mundane affairs, full-up with housework, paperwork, tending the dog, and other ho-hum endeavors.  It isn’t clear what  ‘I ought to be doing” but there it is.  At my age the night is for sleep and the weekends for catching up. I lead a dull life. I suppose I could go out and set fire to some public building or roll down grass hills but both seem tiresome and it is too cold outside for the latter.  I should get cracking on making a new Spo-shirt as ‘Palm Springs in coming’ as well as the weekend with its twelve month rat parade.

 

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Like Don Quixote I’ve gone a bit balmy after reading some books and now I am on a mission. My affliction started after hearing a podcast about Tiki drinks. The interviewee a Mr. Berry has a book (along with vintage recipes) on the topic.

Tiki drinks consist of colorful sweet ingredients prettily presented in fabulous containers surmounted by fruit and gay umbrellas. They are the drag-queens of libations – so different from the butch stuff Urs Truly prefers.  Perhaps I am finally getting in touch with my she-identity.  History and elements of camp combined with exotic ingredients with inventors whose recipes they keep jealous as Joan  combine just right for Urs Truly.  I could not buy the book fast enough; it arrived yesterday.

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This is as good a time as any to confess I cannot remember if I’ve ever had a Tiki drink.  On paper they don’t sound appealing viz. full up with sweet things and juices. I suspect I’ve had a few in my life but in hindsight they were insipid things made from pre-mixes and nasty fluorescent additives. I want a proper Tiki drink no rubbish. If I can’t get one readily outside of a proper Tiki bar (now rare as hens teeth) I guess I will have to make my own.

Proper Tiki drinks have a) very silly names and b) lots of ingredients. They sound a lot of work to gather up the fresh fruits and juice’em and locate the proper rums. Mr. Berry admits these recipes are stellar but they not ideal to do in a busy bar/restaurant where time and turnover trump complexity and quality (like my men). They are mostly iced drinks to cool one down on a hot humid tropical day – not good timing at the moment this being January.

I will read the book now for its history and colorful photos and take notes which drinks to make this summer. Perhaps I will start with The Scorpion as it sounds apropos and not too difficult:

  • 1 1/2 bottles (750ml each) rum (Brugal Anejo Rum is recommended)
  • 2 ounces ​gin
  • 2 ounces ​brandy
  • 1/2 bottle ​(750ml) white wine
  • 16 ounces ​lemon juice
  • 8 ounces ​orange juice
  • 8 ounces ​orgeat syrup
  • 2 sprigs ​fresh mint
  • Garnish with gardenias or edible flowers, orange and lemon slices and any nasty scorpions found in the utensil drawer.

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Finally ! After a week of misery the jaw pain is subsiding and I can open my mouth (barely) to try to chew something. This morning at the dentist she was pleased as punch at the progress.  The antibiotics are concluded; I can once again take up such delicacies like Aviation and Boulevardier cocktails.  It will be quite the happy hour indeed today after work.  Incidentally today in 1919 the 18th amendment was passed prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol to make us God-fearing sober Protestants. *

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. Thanks to pain and non-eating I’ve managed to lose ~ 3-4 kilos since New Year’s Day. I still can’t quite fit back into my dress slacks but I’m getting there.

Feeling lousy last week gave me the rationale to buy a book. Someone will be furious. You could fill a small-town library with the books we have at home waiting to be read. We ( meaning I ) don’t need another. When confronted by the purchase I will think quickly and explain it was better than ordering a pizza. More likely he won’t even notice the additional leaf floated down onto the top of the raked pile now high as Fafner’s hoard and just as precious.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections asks me to ask The Spo-fans if anyone would be interested in joining them. Slater-Wotan has gone missing for some time now and they fear it may be permanent.**  They put up a ‘help wanted’ ad on Craig’s List but were quite disappointed. The below photo is of the first round of applicants – none of got past the initial interviewing process poor sods.

Thems interested should have typing skills and strong teeth.

No Monks no Danes no Rubbish.

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Applicants status (left to right, front row) :

1 – Sword through the ribs.

2 – Impaled.

3 – Badly wounded / ran away.

4 –  Sword through the bowels.

5 – Decapitated.

6 – Wet himself.

7 – Only uses a ‘Mac’.

 

*This ended badly.

**I think they are being hasty here. He often goes a-Viking disappearing for months at a time but he manages to find his way home. TBDHSR contracted each other after six months gone one is declared quite dead. It used to be a Teutonic tontine but this was stopped when the bloodshed became too much even by Bezerker standards.

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To my surprise I start the year weighing the same (80 kilos) as I did on the firsts of January 2019 and 2018. On the negative my dress trousers presently don’t fit suggesting The S.S. Urspo has shifted its cargo and not in a good way. I did a lousy job last year doing The Most Austere Diet. This year (at least for now) I am taking the advice of SIL #3 to try intermittent fasting.  The concept is easy enough:  I don’t eat for a long period of time say 12 to 18 hours, and then for a few hours I eat what I will.  Intermittent fasting has at its core the commonsense notion of not eating between meals to allow the body to deplete its stores of glucose and glycogen and (hopefully) catabolize some abdominal adipose tissue of which I have plenty. 

Someone and I exchanged a few sweets at Christmas time; I’ve put them all in the freezer under things to thwart easy-access and gratification. I got several lovely bottles of whisky and scotch which are now considered no-nos at least for now.  

The notion I am off the nibbles is of small comfort for I feel miserable. The stomach rumblings I can tolerate but the slight lightheaded feeling and the mild lack of focus are unpleasant. I suspect I am also a tad touchy. SIL #3 assures me this is understandable and to hang in there. 

When my innards howl at the sharpened famine that echoes down to my very core and I hear the siren-song of frozen bagels (oh the pain!) I go to the blog spot  ‘Fearsome Beard’ and look at the flat-stomach gents and this stiffens my spine as it were to avoid wickedness and abjure pasta leftovers.  Keeping busy also helps distract my mind away from the munchies.  

So far (day #5) I am a good boy and exercising regular and eating less (and less bad things) all in the hopes this helps me lose belly fat. I haven’t yet made up my mind whether or not to write about it from time to time. Would that be helpful or harmful towards my goal of getting back into my dress slacks by spring. As they say on Game of Thrones ‘Palm Springs is coming’ *; I want to feel good about myself.  

Let’s see how long this lasts before I succumb or turn into a total bitch. 

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*The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections tells me this is not quite the right quote but it will do. By the way they see depriving oneself of food utter nonsense especially when it is within arms reach. I just turned down their invitation to the annual January pot-luck. It is definitely not ‘low-cal’ although it would satisfy thems doing the paleo diet as it is mostly joints and sausages of mystery meat and not much else. 

Here at La Casa de Spo the new year started as usual: Someone worked last night until 1030PM, he came home and went straight to sleep. I tried to stay up to toast the new year with a good snort of scotch but I could not do it.  Seeing the ball drop in Times Square at 10PM local time feels like ‘midnight’ for me. I fell asleep about 11PM.  I said “Rabbit” as the last word of the old year and it was the first word of the new.

rabbit 

I suppose I should write out my new year resolutions – which ones I met in 2019* and which ones I’m making in 2020** but I don’t feel up to it. Our local watering hole has a hangover breakfast today but I didn’t go as you are supposed to show up dressed in your jammies and I sleep in dog-eared boxers and T-shirt.  I’ve done a lot of opprobrious things in public but parading around in last years Derek Roses isn’t one of them. Besides  where does one put one’s wallet and car keys?

This afternoon I plan to read my 2019 journal to remind me what happened. I can’t remember anything at the moment other than last month’s trip to Michigan. Indeed the past decade seems a blur of work and sleep and not much else. I must have done something worthwhile in ten year’s time but I worry not so. 

Someone insists we eat black-eyed peas today. I forget what happens if we don’t – all the angels in heaven weep or kittens die en masse I suppose.  It seems a silly superstition but it beats shooting pistols at midnight. 

Because we did not have a Christmas at home Someone and I exchange our Christmas prizes today. I thought of waiting for Epiphany but decided not to wait.  Someone is getting a sequined hot/cold sinus mask to replace the wretched wet washcloths he brings to bed when he has frontal lobe headaches. I also got him some jolly palm tree-shaped ice cube trays and cocktail identification tags in the shape of Speedo-boys.  The markers are whimsical but I question their practicality. I hope they don’t readily fall off the rims or worse into the wine. I hate to think one could choke on these fellows while swallow ing.  There is a something suggestive here but I shan’t go there today. 

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* Few actually.

** Most are to be carry overs from 2019. 

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I woke up early (EST) this Sunday morning before the niblings arise to write some sort of blog entry; there has been no time otherwise. My week ‘home’ is drawing to its end. Someone and I fly back to PHX this afternoon.  It’s been a whirlwind week of activities, most of it consisting of driving Mother to and from places in a wheelchair-assessable van rented for the occasion. We moved my parents who are settling down in their new abode, a cozy three room apartment at an assisted nursing centre. We kids are relieved to know Father doesn’t have to drive anymore and Mother has help at the press of a button. 

It’s been exhausting. I am quite ready to go home and do little to nothing at all. I dread to think what The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections have been doing in my absence. Up to no good that’s certain.

I have lots of adventures upon which to blog if the spirit moves me – but not this morning.  This is just a little note to assure Spo-fans I haven’t dropped out or dropped dead.  Lord-willing I get home tonight and waded through a week’s worth of work backlog I will return to our usual program.

Mother Spo had a good Christmas. We had a wheelchair-friendly rental van to get her to and from the center assisted living to go to Brother #3’s abode as she felt up to it. She had ‘all her chicks’ and as a surprise her brother showed up as well.  In one of these many transports Father Spo said out loud: “Susan we have the best boys in the world”. It  has been the most impromptu chaotic and exhausting Christmas ever but she’s happy and that’s that. 

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Speaking of chicks I am learning all about the caring of chickens. Yesterday we had leftovers at breakfast; I was told to feed them to the chickens including the eggs. Talk about recycling! As I gave them the eggs they had laid only a few hours ago it brought up that cosmic question which came first the chicken or the egg…..

Today we go to the chicken feed store which I am told is actually patronized by local farmers. My soul swoons to consider I will soon be rubbing elbows with big butch types seen in Paul Bunyan movies and COLT magazines.  Someone – always the Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote – senses where this all may be going. He has made it quite clear under no circumstances are we going to raise chickens when we return home. I will have to settle for a cap with a large rooster on it that says “I raise cocks for a living”. 

Now that the ordeal of helping Santa achieve Christmas and thwarting off the the 13 Yule Lads and The Yule Cat* is past us I turn to moving things from home to their new place. It is fascinating and a bit frustrating to figure out what they want/don’t want. The other days I hauled – wait for it – frozen canisters of orange juice concentrate. I questioned why on earth did we drive an hour for this or all things. Father explained he can’t get this brand where he now lives. Father is beginning to divvy up which kid will get what when they sell the place. We haven’t the heart to tell him none of us want anything, particularly the collections of knick-knacks. “Some day all of this shall be yours!” Father thinks I should have the portrait of great-grandfather Klebar Spo. The painting is the size of a highway billboard and its stare has given me the heebie-jeebies since my youth.  It would be a sad consolation prize for the chickens.  I will settle for the cock hat. 

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The chicken coop needs fresh straw today. 

 

*My niblings were fascinated and perturbed to hear about the necessity to get new clothes at Christmas lest they are devoured by The Yule Cat.  The SILs were upset with me for having scared the Dickens out of their cherubs but now they all realize their kids are now want clothes at Christmas rather than toys.  I didn’t charge anything for the service.

This is a short one; hopefully it will bring a smile…..

I am at Casa de Brother #3 known for its many animals. Brother #3 Jacob Marley-like warned me if I did not close my bedroom door I would be visited by three spirits in the night. I said Bah Humbug and went to sleep. Beim Schlafengehen I was awakened by a visitor:

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“Are you the spirits whose visit was foretold to me?” I asked.

“I am” she purred.

“Who are you?”
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
“Long past?”
“No, long past supper. Can you open a tin of tuna?”

We went on a magical night’s journey. The Spirit showed me many things including mice.

This morning I was awoken by another night time traveler:

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“Rise!” said the spirit “and get to know me better man!”

These things usually come in ‘threes’ so I wonder what sort of spirit shows this evening. I am told the third is more mercurial than the first two and will show on its own time.  I suppose this means the pooch – or in a pinch perhaps one of the chickens?  There are enough fowl here to fill the roles of six geese a-laying, three french hens AND two turtle doves but this mixes the metaphors too much. 🙂

 

Yesterday at the gym I encountered once again the curious phenomena of a man dressing and undressing his lower half while wrapped in a towel.  It is no easy task dropping ones drawers and hoisting up workout shorts or vice versa; men doing so nearly fall over as they struggle to keep the towel on.  I see this a lot. I am dying to ask these guys why they do this.  I assume this is body shame or it is a Mormon thing.* Any Spo-fans know of the LDS church forbids nudity? Spo-fans of the female persuasion: do the dames do likewise in your locker rooms?  I am no Adonis but then again I am not so ashamed of my physique I feel obliged to hide it from others. I tend to strip off everything first and be temporarily sky-clad prior to putting on the next attire. Indeed the old guys walk around the locker room naked apparently not caring tuppence and they are nothing to look at.

Mother continues to decline. I was to fly home next week to arrange a ‘last Christmas’ at home but it looks like I am going to be part of a move. She isn’t progressing in physical therapy at the center; she is not going to function to return home. Brother #3 is scrambling to find her/them an assisted living arrangement where she can get someone to help her up and about. He is a good son; he is looking for a place nearby where #3 and #4 live so they can pop in often to mind them. She is being interviewed with the place today. Who knows what happens next week when I get there, or where I will be staying or what will be happening. 

Today is Someone’s birthday. He is one of those types who doesn’t care to whoop it up on his birthday. I plan to make him a nice dinner using one of the M&C recipes from yesterday’s entry – thank you all.  He seemed to like the soapstone dish sponge holder. 

There’s been another change of staff at work. Thing #2 suddenly quit last week without even saying good-bye. My feelings were hurt. I would have liked a farewell and perhaps an exchange of it was nice working with each other. His replacement is being trained and should start soon. Thing #1 had to ‘do all’ last week which was rawther exhausting. 

Today Sunday should be the last of the Christmas shopping. It is at this time of the season I begin to panic about what to get the niblings. Yesterday I texted the SILs please give me some ideas or the kids get noise-making toys the type that drove the Grinch to distraction.  Mercifully they assured me they can get something for me and pay them back. This ascertains the munchkins will get something they actually want and I don’t have to take Valium. 

I brave the malls today to finish finding a few Someone wish-items. Apparently the shops aren’t as bad as they used to be as most shop on line these days. I will be grateful for that. 

 

 

*Another theory: they are anxious others in the locker room are looking at them in a lustful way.  It is not a pleasant thought.  I confess though if this is the case then I do not feel sorry for them. Women have to put up with this sort of thing all the time by the ones now uncomfortable they are being seen in the same way.

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I am back in the saddle as it were. Anne Marie and Debra (the dears!) did the job. The Krampus doesn’t sway for love or money but the threat of these two Warrior Women was enough to scare the living bejesus out of him to release me from my wicket basket. He gave me a sharp kick in the backside and told me get the heck out yesterday. 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections was not as enthused to see me as I hoped. In my brief absence they wasted no time in starting to redo The Board Room which now looks like a diner. I has a new orange and blue sign hanging outside the hall:

 “Heorot Johnson”  

Stipulation #24 in my contract says if I return from the dead 48 hours after a demise the contract continues.  Although TBDHSR grumbled some I think they were actually pleased to see me.  In the spirit of Yule I graciously conceded to let them keep up  the sign and retain the new name of the hall. In my munificence  they get to eat all the fried clams in the freezer.  

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Urs Truly in the height of fashion for the party

Tonight is the annual office party.  I did not attend last year so I am happy to go this year. Yesterday The Bosses told me I am getting a nice monetary Christmas bonus. Better yet: they are raising my salary!  I am pleased as punch. Usually what they give me is a 100$ bill, which I immediately spend at the liquor store on a good bottle of booze (no rubbish) one I am too cheap to buy myself but with a Ben Franklin in my britches I get a wish whisky.  I research my purchase months ahead of time. This year is no exception. Funny how the mind works (my mind anyway).  I was glad of course for the bonus but I also felt a bit disappointed and perhaps alarmed I may not get the one-hundred dollar bill now. I was tactful not to ask if I was still getting it; I will find out tonight. bI suppose I still could go straight to Total Wine after the party as is my wont.  However it doesn’t feel as much ‘fun’ to merely put the purchase on a credit card.  

Another matter of mirth: half the time I run home with my treasured bottle and put it on the shelf and then I forget all about it. I think it was April or May I was rummaging through the shelves only to discover last years’ $100 Christmas bottle (a Highland Park 18yo) which I had never opened. It’s a good thing my hummingbird mind works as it does or I might develop a drinking problem. 

Good scotch isn’t fun to drink alone (Someone hates the stuff). I want a drinking companion with whom to share it. Spo-fans are invited to come by this holiday season for a snort. As a fabulous parting gift you will receive a bag of frozen clams.  We have heaps. 

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