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Although the AC remains inoperable the house is not untenable with the drop in temperature. It still gets into the 90s but at night sees almost 60s. I can live with this; this feels almost chilly. The pool suddenly lost its warmth; a quick dip before bedtime feels quite refreshing with downright gelid.

I’ve tidied up the back porch to make it look like something you would want to sit in. I hope for cool night out of doors with a good book and a snort.

I’ve also managed to do all the laundry there is, iron the shirts, walk the dog twice, and attend to paperwork. It was ‘legs day’ at the gym, which made for sore thighs. Oh the pain. But it is a good pain I suppose.

Today was the first day on my new BP Rx. The dentist has the hypothesis my felodipine is causing inflammation of the gums. To test this theory, The Good Doctor sent in to pharmacy some lisinopril, which seems to be quite popular around here. The first dose I think it is causing havoc on my cognition as it feels like I’ve swallowed a box of benadryl.  No signs yet on any changes in my gums or blood pressure.

Brother #3 sent us bros a clip from “Oliver!” the song “Boy for sale”. I take it my 2yo nephew is being a difficult. Brother #2 was willing to exchange said nephew for Juno the wonder dog, but it was no deal.  Brother #2 also threatened to send to me via UPS the higher functioning nephews as they are eating him out of house and home. I am quite willing to accept relations so long as they do windows and they don’t text at the table. Apparently these concepts are utterly alien to Monsters #1 and #2 so they can stay put in MI along with the 2yo.  No word yet on the sale status of Warrior Queen or Princess Goddess.

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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

It’s official: Someone’s coworker made the phone call and our reservation is made. Urs Truly is going to check it off from his bucket list a ride in a hot air balloon.  I am excited and terrified.

Nearly every day at this time of year you can look out on to the desert and see several gaily coloured hot air balloons hovering on the horizon. They seem to be just floating there, serene and spectacular.  The bright bold colours are a marked contrast to the brown earth tones of the desert. I’ve longed to try one. I mentioned this at Someone’s work party. His coworker confessed she had the similar fancy. Now it is down for mid-October and there is no turning back.

I do not do well with heights. There is a part of me absolutely terrified to do this. Emerson says we should always do what we are afraid to do, and this is quite applicable to hot air balloon rides.  I am glad I am going with 5-6 others as I am less likely to cancel or go into hysterics.  Having a snort before departure may be helpful.  I am proud of myself for facing my fears to do this.

I haven’t been told yet what to wear or if we can choose the balloon pattern.  I want a balloon as colorful as one of my shirts.

I will keep Spo-fans posted on the details and the preparations leading up to the event. If anyone has been up in one, I am curious to hear if you liked it. I am grateful for any tips how to do it right without wetting yourself.

I don’t have time today to write a proper entry, so I thought I would share a prayer passed on to me by the late Alice Thomas Ellis, one of my favorite authors. It is a rather lengthy litany but well worth a read. In it, the subject is purging his/herself of the many sins and hurts received from others – and by the looks of it this is about everyone in the neighborhood.

I usually can’t get through it without breaking into giggles. It is nicknamed The Litany of Spite.

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Whenever I am unhappy I read it or a part and I invariably cheer up. It never fails to entertain the supper guests.  Everyone has their favorite section but I like the  section on the clergyman. I don’t know the author, but I am guessing it was a bitter pious old church woman or a bitchy queen.  I remember in Sunday school learning The Lord’s Prayer with its simple “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’.  I thought this a sensible and fair deal but it doesn’t hold for entertainment.

Forgiveness is a tricky and difficult endeavor. One of the first steps is the recognition we don’t really want to forgive; one of the last steps is letting go of negativity.  This clever litany looks good but is neither.

So that’s your entertainment this evening. I hope to have a proper post this weekend.

Meanwhile, I truly forgive my readers, who fail to leave comments, who don’t appreciate my artistry despite all I have to do. For the times they didn’t acknowledge they came by; for the times they didn’t praise me with lavish comments.  And for the times they didn’t share me in their links I forgive them.

Last week while doing an intake evaluation I had a sudden anagnorisis and for a second I had total clarity about life, the universe, and everything only to lose it when the patient across from me asked a question causing me to focus again and the theophany disappeared and now I can’t recall what it was. Just hate when that happens. The gods give you grace and when you weren’t paying attention long enough to scribble it down on a post-it it’s gone. I suppose the gods or angels or Board Members frequently come a-calling at my cranium but I don’t seem to hear the doorbell much. Tidbits from heaven are more readily noticed when one is quiet and sitting still and not listening to Youtube or podcasts.

For some time I’ve been meaning to take ten minutes from my evening activities to sit still/do nothing and see what comes to me. I am a democratic drawbridge that goes down for anyone but there doesn’t seem to be any traffic.

Asking heaven for insights and clarity isn’t as jolly as it sounds. Anyone who has read the prophets and saints knows they seldom receive anything they really want. Rather you are told to drop everything and do things you are not  all comfortable to do. Consulting the oracle is quite unsettling.

I remember from the Old Testament some one (Amos?) who was quite content with his mundane life when The Lord decided to com a-calling.  When he realized what he what he was being told to do he tried to hide out in a barrel or something, hoping it would all blow over. Nowadays theophanies are more subtle and more readily drowned out by the Kingdom of Noise what happens in our heads and in our headphones.

All the same, I would be curious to rehear what The Answer was. I suppose I could call the patient back in. I won’t worry about it; my experience with Truth is if you missed it or ran away it tends to come back until you ‘get it’. Perhaps it is on Youtube or in my podcasts, which would be ironic if not convenient.  I will keep you posted for any revelations.

Urs Truly is in New Orleans at a medical conference, pow-wowing with his fellow wizards learning new things to become the best shrink possible.  Sitting still and listening to lectures x 3 days is not an easy task. Alas the pharmaceutical booths are not giving out free samples of Ritalin, more’s the pity.  It also doesn’t help The Muses or The Graces or some of that crowd is flooding me with inspiration. Bitches have bad timing and/or a wry sense of humor. I should be focused but my brain is bouncing about blog bits.   When the conference is concluded I may write a bullet-point highlight for Spo-fans of mental health tips.

The first conference is about opiate and canniboid receptors in our brains and why is it we like to take drugs rather than eat broccoli.  Apparently our monkey brains have certain buttons that light up like a christmas tree when pushed with smokes, gin, doughnuts, or that pick up from Scruff.  Our hard-wiring responds to greasy goods and intoxicants.  The “Just say no” approach hasn’t a chance against millennia of evolution. Oh the pain.  Happily, wiring is not destiny; we can do something about it rather than always pulling through the Dunkin Doughnuts or Beer Stop on the ‘what the hell” approach.  I should know more by lecture’s end.

Updates! Bottom line headlines! 

It turns out there are some actual uses of marijuana as treatment in Medicine, but it is not what everyone thinks or wants, but there is something not nothing (as I was trained). 

Inflammation plays a major role in mental illness. Inflammation is probably the key factor in treating depression/anxiety etc. 

Mindful meditation can increase endogenous pain relief so well if you give a opiate-blocker to someone trained in such their pain will return.

Sugar looks to be the worst evil for our well-being. Avoid it at all costs

Opiates can actually cause pain; opiate-based medication can worsen chronic pain especially in fibromyalgia, arthritis, and lower back pain. 

Taking care of you microbiota (the wee-beasties in your bowels) may be the most important ‘job’ you have to manage physical and mental well being. 

There are 5 simple things you can do to make your health so much better – they are easy to do, measurable and have science to support them all.

More anon. 

Never trust trust.

Practical Parsimony (the dear!) suggested I expand on my 37 1/2 thing about myself list which is a truly most excellent idea. One of 37.5 is my parents have been married for 50 years but they just celebrated year #57, so the list is 7 years old.  It could you a face lift and tuck.  I plan to add to the original list new imperial tidbits but first here’s some updates on things you are dying to know.

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So far as I can tell I am still descended from English/German/Dutch and Canadian stock and both family lines have been in North America for over 12 generations. Recent genealogy has dug up no skeletons to say otherwise.

I remain the oldest of four brothers but I now have six niblings. Six seems enough and quite the family to provide for at christmas time.

As for health: Alas, I am still trying to flatten my stomach. My  blood pressure and cholesterol are in check but the ADHD isn’t and that seems to be worsening with each year. Someone, driven to distraction, will likely divorce me over it and get a new spouse one who listens and sits still.

Tea and whisky remain at the top of the list of Urs Truly’s favorite libations, although coffee quickly climbed into the top ten and seems to be staying there.

I haven’t collected any recent artwork; my nickels go to house repairs. Oh the pain.

I was shocked to discover my soulmate Liebchen Gustav Mahler and I are not 100 years apart. This is so disappointing I think I will continue to say it is one hundred as no one will stop to do the math to question it.

I still haven’t smoked anything or hit anyone but I know of several heads I would like to knock together.

Thunderstorms, a good back scratch, hot water, and noodles remain some of life’s greatest pleasures, as is rolling down grass hills. Alas, none of them are much around anymore in my life more’s the pity except the hot water, which remains lovely for tea and such.

I remain well over four feet but not as tall as I used to be. My tessitura has gone from husky to hoarse and there is hair growing out of my ears. Oh the embarrassment.

Blogger buddies remain the best thing about blogging.

I still can’t operate the home entertainment system nor do I want to

I still stammer and stutter and I can do this in German as well. I am learning Spanish which really brings out the stammer.

I’ve seen a tea plantation but not Ireland or the northern lights.

And I can’t spell calendar.

Finally – the picture that surmounts this entry was taken over seven years ago and I haven’t changed a bit.

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I am conducting an experiment on myself. I am seeing how long I can go between cellphone use. On my iphone is an app that records the length of time I am on the phone and how many pickups have occurred. The preliminary data is ominous:

  1. A lot of my time is spent looking at the thing – 6-8 hours per day.
  2. I have so many pickups I qualify as a babysitter a disconsolate two year old.

Oh the embarrassment.

I like to imagine myself cognizant and clever but my cellphone consumption makes me feel a chump. I’m ready for my “You are not so smart” podcast interview.

So I have it off or dark; it sits next to me at work. I see the phone lying there, taunting me to come look at it. Don’t you want to see the latest Trump-shenanigan? Facebook has some new posts, come see come see!   It reminds me of the poem  “Goblin Market”  :

“Morning and evening

Maids heard the goblins cry:

“Come buy our orchard fruits,

Come buy, come buy!”

The phone periodically sends out pings and other siren-song noises to alert me ‘something is here” hoping I will drop everything (as is my wont)to find out what just arrived.  It makes me aware how I have let technology train me to jump when called.   Well I am onto it and will resist and abjure. I am allowing myself an every two hour check in to make sure the world is spinning despite my absence.

I don’t do drugs but I sense my uncomfortable awareness and longing for a look is no different than someone trying to give up smoking or such. The suspense is killing me; I wonder how long it will last.

In theory if I limit my use and not check continually this freed-up time will make me a better person and be less stressed and live longer and the whales will all be saved -or so I hope. Mostly I want to be in control of it and not the other way around.

After I achieve this virtuous goal I think I will eliminate some of the phone apps, starting with the app that records the length of time I am on the phone and how many pickups have occurred.  There is some delicious irony to that, no?

Quick – is there a poet in the house? I am driven to distraction trying to remember the name of the author and/or title of a certain poem. I have only one line to connect me to it, something about mother telling me what matters at a funeral not what you said but that you showed – but I doubt I have the words right.  Oh the pain.  Using The Google isn’t any help for it is a case or garbage in gets garbage out.  Typing in the words “Poem” and “Mother taught me” generates a myriad of close-enough-no-cigar poems (most of poor quality, written on Mother’s day). I suppose I should let it go so when I least expect it the actual poet/title/lines will suddenly pop into my Gulliver.

My memory lapse also happens with bits of lyrics to songs, but this is usually not a problem for long. Someone easily identifies song bits for me, sometimes coming up with the title of the tune even as I struggle to explain what it is I am trying to remember. Opera arias and show tunes are conveniently covered by a coterie of consultants (curiously, most are named Will). Alas, I don’t know of any Spo-fans who are expertise in poetry.

When I was a boy it was considered clever if not high-class to have a handful of poems memorized for sudden recitals (upon request) but these requests never came and I’ve lost the key to safety deposit box in my brain labelled “Poems: memorized”. Even the poetry books on the office shelf are a challenge to remember what poems are in which tome.

I should start writing down Spo-poems and favorites in some sort of work document for easy retrieval. This exercise may jostle my memory to recall how to recite a few of them – other than Mr. Eliot’s Guide to Practical Cats poems.  Spo-fans are welcome to leave in the comment his or her ‘favorite poem’ title(s) for me to look up and read. Who knows, maybe someone knows the poem about “what mother taught me” (author begins with a “B”).

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I am bereft of anything worthwhile on which to compose, so here are three random thoughts. I hope they amuse you. I look forward to something more substantial showing up soon. 

 

insanity My parents soon celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. It amazes me how can two people stay together for any length of time let alone sixty years. I’m supposed to be an expert in relationship dynamics (having gone to shrink school) but it still bewilders me how on earth anyone pulls it off. Perhaps by mostly staying out of each other’s way.  On the other hand Someone hasn’t booted me out after twenty years so there it is. I must be doing something right.

 

insanity I came to work today to discover my once capacious office now has a dry wall cutting the room down to 2/3 its original size. The original wall hasn’t been demolished so the 1/3 remains open. The bosses hired a nurse practioner who starts next week; they are turning my office and its neighbor into three offices so she has some space of her own. I dislike her already. I shouldn’t be too shocked or surprised about my incredible shrinking office. I was told on Day #1 this was the plan, but after two years it sort of slipped my mind.  A few bold patients asked me what is going to happen to the long narrow third part of my office . I told it is being transformed into an oubliette for difficult patients who don’t take the medicines properly or pay their bills.

insanity Spo-fans know Urs Truly has a long time fascination for storms especially hurricanes. I know Hurricane Irma is no good, but my inner 6 year old is squealing with anticipation of where she may land and the destruction it will bring.  When were were  growing up all my brothers took delight in making cities out of LEGO or building blocks only to release the giant mutant gerbils onto the suspecting Fisher-Price people population or bomb them to smithereens with airplanes filled with Lincoln logs. All little boys seem keen on death and destruction. I don’t know if little girls feel similar about blowing things up. Meanwhile I hear all of Florida is trying to move north into Georgia, poor souls.  I read Mr. Limbaugh feels Irma is just a ‘liberal hoax’. I hope she plows smack-dap into his house and takes away his roof. This is not nice of me to imagine I know but there it is.

Verschlimmbesserung (n.) German: An intended improvement that actually ends up making something worse. 

Oh those zany Germans! They have the most marvelous words! Leaving well enough alone is like not pressing the already lit elevator button. One just can’t resist. I suppose it is human nature* to not leave things alone but to tinker and poke about hoping to improve on the original only to make a mess of things.  For your edification and entertainment, here’s a few examples of Spo-verschlimmbesserungen.

The Dry Martini.  This classy cocktail consists of gin, vermouth (no rubbish please) and a cocktail onion or olive. There. That’s it. It is simple, eloquent, and tasty – like my men – or was, until people figured it had to be ‘improved upon’.  Alas, one can’t readily go to a bar and ask for proper martini with the assumption the bartender knows what they are doing. Alas, alas, you are asked do you want gin, vodka, or some other spirit. Then there are an array of colorful add-ons that have no business being there. Dry Manhattans are not too close behind in my catalog of complaints about corrupted cocktails.

Opera preludes.  This music was made to evoke a mood state in the listener prior to the curtain going up. The audience is to sit and use their imaginations to set the tone in time for the first scene.  “Never stage the overture” was a sensible rule until modern producers figured the audience would be either bored sitting there without something to see or they needed ‘help’ to understand what the music is about. More often than not one sees a dreadful tableau or an assortment of shenanigans that merely distract from listening to the music. This is the last thing Verdi, Mozart, and that crowd were trying to accomplish in the prelude. Sometimes I just sit there and close my eyes. Sometimes I actually wake to see the opera.

Hotel clocks. The average hotel patron wants three things from a clock: tell the time; play some music; wake me up at a time of my choice. A few simple on/off knobs etc. did nicely.  Last time I was in a hotel room the clock had more options on it than seen in a 747 cockpit. I could not even figure out how to correct the time. I ended up just using my watch.

Coffee. I don’t often buy any but when I do I cringe at the order counter as I view the myriad of options. My eyes cross when I overhear regular patrons of SB ask for a triple, venti, soy, no foam latte or something of that ilk. Urs Truly when he orders is looked upon as an object of suspicion.  Imagine the following:

Yes sir can I help you?

Yes I want a cup of coffee

(Long pause as if I just asked for a dead rat) What sort of coffee?

Just a cup of coffee… er… small.

(Another pregnant pause as the barista contemplates if they should call the manager)  Do you want that tall? 

No, just a plain small cup please

Nothing in it?

(Sensing we are recreating Monty Python’s Cheese shop sketch) No, I am fine with a plain cup.

Which coffee do you want plain?

(Sensing madness coming on) Oh, the house blend.

Shall I leave room for cream or sugar?

(Biting my tongue not to be snarky about the sottish sugar)

No, that will not be necessary. 

Oh OK then.

Small wonder I drink tea.

I could give some other examples of simple things bloated or altered to the point of Kabelsalat but it just depresses me.

Spo-fans are invited to leave in the comment section their personal favorite Verschlimmbesserung – provided you don’t mention medical insurance forms. 

 

*Especially if you are a Virgo.

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