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I apologize I’ve been up to my oxters in work work work. I haven’t had time to write or reciprocate with blog visits. I will get caught up anon this weekend. Meanwhile here’s a bit of impromptu: I hope it entertains. 

For the longest time I’ve had a swarm of thought-gnats flitting about my mind,  none of them I can catch to create a proper blog entry. More’s the pity for I am itching to write something wonderful. Alas, The Muses et. al. are away in the Bahamas on one of those last minute too-good-to-pass up discount cruise offers.

Is it too early to think about Hallowe’en? Apparently Joanne (of Joanne’s Fabrics) doesn’t think so. Last weekend when I went to the store to get some buttons I saw the staff (well over four feet) setting up items and fabrics apropos for October. Normally I don’t get excited about All Hallow’s Eve until mid-August but this heartwarming spectacle set off something in me that wants something to look forward.  Monday last Someone set up the  king-size-titanic-unsinkable-molly-brown bed. As I lay in bed staring up at the bare iron canopy frame they seem to call to me to wrap them with garlands of plastic fall leaves – now.  I hate Christmas things before Thanksgiving so I refrain myself from pumpkins and such until after Labor Day. Maybe.

I like having things to look forward; I dot each month with events for which I quiver with antici .. pation! Not this weekend but the one afterwards I go to Santa Fe for the opera, chiles, and real simulated Indian jewelry. This feels like ‘forever’ but it is nice to know it will eventually happen. I am already preparing a ghost-bag for the road trip.

Someone says I should be more in the present, but that’s just work and hot humid days.  Phooey to the dog days of summer. Not even Harper seems interested in the here and now.

I skim website news headlines during patient appointments when a they start repeating for the umpteenth time the chip is on their shoulder that still bothers them after all these years. 

The only thing worthwhile to do is snuggle up with the snoozing dog.

I take a swig from the BacOs jar to get a euphoric rush of unami. Oh the embarrassment.

The GOP voter registration stratagems start to make sense until I remember the ultimate reason they make these modest proposals is to block people from voting Democrat.

Like “Groundhog day” I fall asleep listening to the same recording hoping someday I will actually hear it to its end. As Rocky says to Bullwinkle: “But that trick never works”

Random texts are sent to various Spo-fans and relations to keep them on their toes. It is rawther exhausting being people’s guiding conscious.

I pepper my food before tasting it. After all almost everything tastes better with pepper. 

Going into hysterics is the only proper response in a situation.  Examples: scorpions in the utensil drawer, rattle noises coming from the garage, and statements by Ann Coulter.

I stop listening to a podcast or reading a book even if I am amore than halfway through. I don’t have time anymore to complete things for completion’s sake if they are boring me. 

The lint trap becomes quite clogged. Someone in the house doesn’t clean it between loads. I won’t  say who lest he reads this.

I have to turn off the media if Hair Furor is talking.*

I am envious of other bloggers who seem to have happier lives than my own.

“People of Walmart” photos makes me smile even when I feel guilt about being there. 

I buy something at the store thinking we are out of it only to find out we have plenty already at home.

When I feel out of control I put things in order. 

Eating rats in Tewksbury doesn’t sound too bad.

Retirement is seen as something that will never happen.

Books on the ‘To read’ shelf evoke so much guilt in me for never getting to them I give them away rather.

I mix up German and Spanish.  Meine Tia gehe nach la Casa.



*Better make this one all times.


It’s Saturday morning and I have as many chores as a Latina mother. *  Despite the intent I seem ensconced in my chair. I suspect I could waste away the day sipping tea and staring at screens in an insolent coma.  I daresay it is the heat. We’ve had blazing temperatures for four weeks and now the humidity is starting to make going out of doors even more unbearable.  The dog days of summer indeed. It has sapped everyone’s strength. Tasks like ironing and hobbies like sewing seem too hot to do.

All the same there’s work to be done.  Here are few projects de jour:

I must conclude a few summer shirts to get them to their recipients in time before the summer ends. It may be perpetual Spo-shirt weather here but not so in Canada and elsewhere.  Someone is gone for the day so the TV is off. I sew better in silence.  Strike while the iron is hot – which is apropos given the prediction of 105F.

Try to figure out the new rules for prescribing tranquilizers. The opioid hysteria is spilling over into other controlled substances. On 1 October there will be new rules about prescribing valium, xanax, and the like.  If the new laws are as draconian as those for pain pills, I sense many primary care physicians will start refusing to prescribe such and the aftermath will be a surge of (angry) patients now obliged to see a psychiatrist to get their klonopin. Oh the pain.

Iron shirts iron trousers iron everything in the house with wrinkles.

Fold the clean clothes now piled up in a mound to rival Fafner’s hoard.

Change the passwords. I have successfully bungled all my passwords into word salad that I can’t get into anything anymore.

And what would be a Saturday without dictation?  I had a few new patients yesterday whose evaluations need completion.  Do I sound like a wicked old screw when I mention one of them was quite handsome?  I hope I took adequate notes as I was a bit bedazzled.


*I work several Latinas who all tell me their mothers would rouse them up every Saturday for tidy up. Whenever I tell them I plan to do likewise this Saturday they laugh and say I sound like la madre. Well.

Leaked emails are all the rage these days. In the spirit of the times I  thought I would post some emails before the NYT beats me to it. After all there is nothing so disconcerting as waking up to find your personal life is the lead of the news.


Sven – My dear Urspo when I told you not to fill your blog with rubbish about your work I meant of course not to write about pills and procedures. What the readers want it filth. Tell them about the patients’ lurid and licentious sex lives. You can make it up, they won’t know.

Bjorn – I have a suggestion. Abjure your habit of using semi-colons. No one uses them; periods work just as well.

Helga “Pippi” Long-stocking – Mein Liebchen! Would you be a Mensch and send me the recipe for ‘Muffins Without Peer’?  I have several bunches of bad bananas and the boys won’t touch them. Danke. On the topic of food.. I  hear you are about to produce a cookbook? What talents you have! I wonder if it is too late to include my famous reindeer casserole. You remember it from Yule parties. It is always a hit and I remember you ate it with relish.  Tchuss!

Snorri Sturlson the 23rd – Ok buster, I’ve traced the cups of half consumed beverages cluttering up the board room to Urs Truly. As they are filled with nasty brown liquids made from dry leaves this could only be yours. J’accuse! as the Gauls say. Tidy this up as soon as possible and I don’t want to hear any more excuses including the one about the cup fairies. They don’t exist.

Slater-Wotan – Say, I got a great idea for the blog. Why don’t you write an entry “Bloggers I’d like to f-ck”?  The stats would soar and the comments would be interesting and besides no one is interested anymore in Walking the Dog.

Oscar ‘Bunny’ Jarl – Spo-man if you are done with the baku would you please pop it in the post?  I hope you haven’t spoiled it too much.

Walter Cnut Fafner– We all want to know when the hell are you going to change your blog’s format. It’s been ten years of the same-old same-old background. After all there is nothing like a new tunic to brighten up your day. I’ve talked with the others and they agree with me you should do something, anything – at least colour the background or use runes.  Just do something. The place looks like a discard.  Why can’t you be more like Mitchell is Moving?

Herbert – Jeg nekter å skrive i lav-brow engelsk. Jeg tror kanskje det er på tide å skrive mer om den engelske spise gnagere som ruller og svømme ned gresskledde åser.


The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections once sent me a list of no-no times to write an entry. They strongly advised I don’t ever write under any of the following conditions:

Sunday evenings.

The eve of going back to work after a holiday.

Temperatures over 40 C

Having ate too much / feeling crapulous. 

The Norns are visiting and giving me ‘inspiration’. 

Alas, all five provisos have come together this evening like an evil conjunction of planets; I am down in the dumps and disconsolate.

This last weekend for my birthday I had a nice time in Flagstaff, where it was cool and rainy.  There were sounds of passing trains and nearby ravens in the pines. It was lovely seeing Brother #2 and family. Tomorrow I return to the banality of work and hot days etc.

I don’t dislike my work but lately I feel it a drag. I do the same thing really, day in and day out. I see new patients; I see returns. I handle crisis and phone calls; I write prescription refills. At 5PM work will end and I will go to the gym and for forty minutes on the elliptical machine – which is what happens every Monday. Driving home I will listen to lectures and podcasts. After supper I will do my homework and read something and then go to bed.

Life feels an adventureless tale.

It would help me having something to look forward. I need to check for certainty but I believe my annual trek to Santa Fe is at the end of the month. Knowing this will give me a small smile of anticipation.  But I think Life needs more than some pleasant trips.  I feel I need a shakeup of some sorts. A major one.

Most likely things won’t be so dismal after a good night’s sleep back in my bed and my altitude headache/fatigue dissipate.

The Child complex wants Mother to call and tell me everything is going to be all right.

I want a flesh and blood friend with whom to have a pot of tea.

Writing this was helpful. I may not print it, if only to appease The Board from going into hysterics.


insanityWednesday has started off with a series of bungles that need immediate attention. I am supposed to have this Friday off but I am horrified to see I am booked solid from 745AM to 5PM. Either I forgot to request this day off or The House Manager didn’t pass on the announcement to the scheduling staff.  While I figure out who to blame The Wonder Receptionist needs to call twenty-five people to tell them their flight’s been canceled. I feel sorry for the new ones who have been waiting some time to meet me.  Oh the pain.

InsanityYesterday while trying to tidy-up around the internet I managed to mess up my passwords now I can’t get into anywhere. I am seriously thinking of going back to the ‘one password to rule them all’ approach rather than the dozen individual passwords I can’t remember. Oh the embarrassment.

My birthday prize to myself is purchased: a bottle of Knob’s Hill bourbon and a bag of Jalapeno potato chips. The latter is sitting on the cupboard daring me to wait until Friday. I shall have willpower although I may still ask Someone to hide it somewhere where I won’t be tempted.  Oh the joy.

Speaking of prizes, yesterday I decided to throw out the coffee beans I received at insanityChristmas time. I am not an expert on grinding beans but I daresay after seven months they aren’t any good. Yesterday I bought a bag of pre- ground coffee. I have a discriminating palate for tea but not for coffee; coffee tastes like coffee, especially after I dump Stevia and milk into it.* I think write Mr. Trudeau and ask him to send me a bag of Tim Hortons coffee. Better yet I will contact the handsome hombres at The Receiver Coffee Company on PEI and ask them send me some of theirs. Meanwhile I do with Dunkin Donuts, which is what Father uses, which is another example of how we turn into our parents. Oh the horror.



*One exception: Starbucks. I can tell the difference with this one. SB coffee tastes like someone extinguished a burning stick in it.

I don’t usually covet material matters. Indeed, I am trying to get rid of things, not accumulate more. I also like to think myself not a greedy person.  With that said my birthday is coming up. Birthdays conjure up The Child complex who has strict rules about the proper form for the celebration of holidays and birthdays.  Ask any child (including my inner one) what does one do on ones birthday and the top answer is ‘Birthday presents”.

This Friday I go to Flagstaff to join Brother #2 and family for a weekend. We will have a fine meal. This is quite fine/enough birthday for The Ego who recognizes my age as 55yo (oh the pain!) but The Child Complex thinks this is certainly NOT a proper birthday – for it lacks Birthday Prizes. As I can’t count on my relations to provide a pony, I will have to get a few concrete prizes myself to appease the poor little lad so keen on propiety.

As it is a road trip, The(birthday) Child will get some goodies seen purchased at gas stations. Gummi Bears and slushy drinks that turn the tongue blue should appease the kid – for a while. Pringles are nice as they can be snarfed down without getting ones fingers greasy. Afterwards the empty cylinder makes for a fun ersatz Punch & Judy bat to swat Someone on the leg.*

I will probably buy some tunes from Itunes if I can ever remember my password.

We are staying at the fabulous Starlight Pines B&B so I hope my chum and boniface Richard ‘puts out’ as it were with some sort of sweet with a candle on it. It’s a mawkish desire but nothing beats blowing out a candle to make a wish on one’s birthday to sooth even the most demanding Child Complex on the proper celebration of birthdays.

This makes a lovely birthday < food, good cheer, family, no Phoenix heat, and a couple of childlike indulgences to mark the day.

Later that night as a transitional object from Child to Ego, I will have a large bag of jalapeno Kettle chips with Knob Hill bourbon oh what a lovely snack combination. This beats ice cream and cake by a country mile.



*This is usually good for one whap only. The shows ends abruptly.

imagesI recently heard a podcast about peanuts. I found it most fascinating. This humble ‘nut’ started as something suitable only for animal-feed or the dregs of humanity. The peanut worked its way up as a cheap convenient protein source, only to explode into a stable of US kitchens. We all grew up eating peanut butter; it was ubiquitous in our school lunches.

Peanuts and peanut butter has lost its luster. Choosy mothers no longer choose JIF but something else entirely. They are skeptical of peanut butter’s calories, hydrogenated oils, and the lurking dreaded peanut allergy.

Like a lot of foodstuffs that became blasé in time the peanut is making a comeback via a reinvention. It is following in the footsteps of beer going from mass-produced rubbish towards ‘microbrews’ style butters and gourmet types.

The vast majority of peanut butter in the supermarket is made from ‘runner peanuts’, a peanut without complexity. The podcast hosts rounded up some of the imperial tidbit peanut butters and found them marvelous. They were complex, tasty, and remarkable, like my men.  They were particularly ga-ga over Koeze PB, made from a genera of peanuts called Virginia Peanuts.

Urs truly doesn’t eat much peanut butter given its calories, but let’s face facts: there is nothing more delicious than peanut butter on crackers with a glass of milk. If I am going to have some it might as well be ‘proper’ peanut butter. I ordered some online from Zingermans (the dears!) then I went off to Albertsons to buy me a typical jar as a control (Skippy) for my own double blind taste test.*


Behold the Butters !

Koeze PB had only two ingredients: Virginia peanuts and salt.

Skippy has peanuts, sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, and salt.

First of all I could taste a difference, which was nice. There is no point shelling out extra money if there isn’t any taste difference.

PB #1 was sweet and perhaps more complex with some slight bitter undertones.  It felt smoother on the tongue.

PB #2 was less sweet and in an odd way it tasted ‘more like peanuts’.  It had a simpler taste.

On crackers the nuances were not as obvious as when they were sampled via a spoonful.

Turns out #1 is Skippy and #2 is Koeze

This makes sense. Skippy has sugar and Koeze is merely ground up peanuts.  Add a bit of snob appeal and some PC views about staying away from sugar and additives and you get Koeze as the winner.

I had a slight ‘put off’ in the initial Koeze tasting as I am used to Skippy so Koeze didn’t taste ‘like peanut butter’ should. I know of a man who ate canned green beans all his life only to taste fresh beans properly steamed and he found them ‘not right’.

Spo-fans are urged to try some if they can.


Behold the battle of the butters; Someone is trying the crunchy one. 


*Sponsored by The NIMH and conducted by Someone.

I am up to my oxters in podcast subscriptions.  I consume podcasts in the same way some people can’t curtail their consumption of sugar.  I need to become more discriminatory in what I hear for it is not humanly possible to listen all I want. There is not enough time in the week to keep up with them all.  I now have two dozen.  Nevertheless they are jolly good fun and I love them so.

Here is an update of some recent podcasts I am finding remarkable and entertaining. They are worthwhile to pass on to Spo-fans.



You are not so smart

This is becoming quite a favorite of mine. The host discusses psychological topics of how we get bamboozled into believing things such as con artists,  advertising, and the placebo effect.  At the end of each episode he has (as a bonus) a cookie recipe. These scrumptious yummies are worth the wait until the end.



Science Solved it

The podcast team travel around like Scooby-do in the Mystery van to take on things mysterious in order to explain them through science. They set it up each episode like a mystery tale. The scientific explanations at the end are never a let down but more intriguing than the mumbo-jumbo surrounding the matter.


fake history

Our Fake History

This is another podcast for sorting fact from rubbish.  He takes on historical legends or common misconceptions about history and tells you what really happened.



Not all my faves are about psychology, history, or science; this one is about food. The lady-hosts take on topics like cheese, coffee, peanuts, spice, etc. to give you the history of such item and how it came to be.   It makes my mouth water.



This one is a bit of fun and nonsense. A married couple talks about the history of medicine such as TB, blood letting, and other zany things we used to do for medicine.  Their first episode is about trephination.  Oh the pain.  She’s the physician and straight man; he’s the comic sidekick layman.  They recently did a serious episode on the h/o ‘gay conversion’ which was not at all funny but it was most fascinating.

And finally, as a treat –


Inner Sanctum 

Last time I was in Michigan visiting the parents I told Father about podcasts and how they were similar to old time radio series. He was interested in finding his favorites programs like The Lone Ranger and The Bickersons. He introduced me to a long ago radio program favorite of his called The Inner Sanctum. It ran from 1941-1952. It’s a murder drama. It has marvelous sound effects; it gives me the creeps. How fascinating to hear how the writers and producers work with the ‘limitations’ of radio to make an effective and scary story.  The episodes open with a very creaky door slowly opening and inviting you into the Inner Sanctum. Just don’t listen to them at night.


If Spo-fans know of marvelous podcasts, please pass them on to me!

Zombie idea is a quaint descriptive term in Medicine that describes a belief proven wrong but ghost-like it keeps coming back. These ideas refuse to die despite repetitive evidence to show they should be buried and rest in peace. They are like the old man in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who doesn’t want to go on the cart. Unfortunately they are not so easily whacked on the head and be rid of. Some zombie ideas are benign like Vitamin C cures the common cold; some are detrimental like vaccinations cause autism; some are almost amusing such as I am being paid by pharmaceutical industries to push pills.* Perhaps like dandelions zombie ideas can’t be eradicated but merely kept in check when they arise again.

In my personal life I have my own zombie beliefs. Like bad pennies they keep coming back. Happily they are more readily identified no matter what disguise they try to use.   Here’s five to amuse.

I will eat those leftovers.

I hate throwing out food and I am usually guilt-ridden to do so. So I ask the waiter to box up the remains for ‘later’ – which never comes. This also applies to meals cooked at home. After a few days of painful eyecontact with the containers they are tossed out (usually by Someone).  He recognizes this zombie idea usually before I do.  Still there is a slim chance I may eat the leftovers…..

Jalapenos etc.

This zombie idea applies to ‘hot’ ingredients in general. I love them s. Alas, they are not quiet passengers in the Tunnel of Love boat tour that is my digestive system. They rock the boat and shout all the way, making me vow to lay off them. Sometimes this works for up to two weeks between repeats.

Someone will take care of that without me asking.

It’s time to put a big tombstone over this zombie idea. After twenty year of attempts with telepathy have failed to arouse him to spontaneously get up to tidy up or do something or attend to my wants. I have to ask. I guess I am too much a Cancer, who tend to the zombie idea if they truly love us they would know what it is we want and to ask for it diminishes its worth.

Hang on to this; someday I may need this.

I am happy to report this zombie idea is improving. I am more often than not throwing out the brickabracks and paper bags and old books. Next step is larger items like the fondue set, the cookbooks, and all those T-shirts saved for when I am more thin. Yeah, right.

Better buy “X” as I don’t believe we have any.

Picture it: we are walking down an aisle at Albertson’s. I come into contact with the jars of pasta sauce. Like a bull before a flashing cape incarnadine, I say out loud “I think we are out of pasta sauce, we better get some”. Historically I would – only to discover we have 6-8 jars at home.  My exorcism prayer when this zombie idea arises is : “when in doubt, don’t buy it”.  Someone often speaks up before the thoughts are even put into words. “No, we don’t need any pasta sauce”.  He is a dear. Come to think of it, isn’t that a form of telepathy? May be I shouldn’t abandon hope…….


*I am guaranteed at least one email/comment on this along the line “Oh yes they do, you don’t know what you are talking about!” which dovetails into the third mentioned medical belief.

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