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The Wheel of Time has many gears, and one if them turns weekly to get back to another mundane Monday morning. I see Mondays not as a downer, but as a blessing, for I am:

a) alive

b) in relative good health

c) employed

d) serene, for there is nothing especially unpredictable scheduled at work but ‘more of the same’ which I always manage to get through somehow.

e) drinking solar tea.

It is hard to think of cosmic or witty things upon which to write on a Monday. Here’s the morning brew…….

Today is Flag Day; it is also National Bourbon Day (or so I read online). 

We have a flag but we haven’t gotten around to erecting a pole upon which to fly it. The street over one from us has many homes that continuously fly the flag. They do this 24/7 or they hang their flags against their garage door. I have a vague recollection from my scouting days one is supposed to take down the flag at sunset as flying the flag at night was disrespectful.  As a boy, Father always flew the flag on Flag Day, although I think he did so out of vanity/peer pressure more than patriotism viz. what would the neighbors think if he didn’t.  I would like a flagpole, but I would like to fly various flags, including the ones from the USA, Canada, Arizona, Michigan, The Rainbow flag, and House Harkonnon. The HOA probably would object to all but the first, so no fun that.

That’s all for the flag; let’s move onto bourbon.  All bourbon is whisky but not all whisky is bourbon. To be a bourbon, the majority of the grain used in the mash must be corn; the majority of bourbon is made in the faraway Land of Kentucky. Although it is the official day to have some, I shan’t, as it’s too darned hot. We have entered the ‘burning season’ here in Arizona, with outside temperatures in the 40s (Celsius) and the inside ones not much cooler. If I am going to have the proverbial snort, I want one with massive amounts of ice.  It’s also Monday; not a day I usually indulge.

Speaking of Inndulge, yesterday Someone and I made a reservation for a Palm Springs holiday! It will be our first proper week-long holiday since 2019. I must contact chums known to enjoy the place and entice them to attend.

That’s all for Monday; my glass of tea is empty.

… I turn off all news apps as it all too much. It feels like they are in a cabal, with the agreed-upon goal to raise my blood pressure and cause despair and turn me to drink.

… I think to make myself a personal Kolinahr, but then I realize I wouldn’t be able to laugh at The Marx Brothers, so I don’t. Life without Groucho, Chico, and Harpo wouldn’t be worth it.

… The perfect late-night treat is a toasted bagel topped with anything on the shelf at eye level.

… Speaking of unnatural foodstuffs, sometimes I want the taste of umami so bad I will take a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (no rubbish), or soy sauce, or fermented black beans in sesame oil. Bliss.

… I realize for first time in my life I am in a pretty good position about working. My professional abilities are in high demand and this will only increase with time. If The Bosses or Medicare or The APA Secret Police should try any funny business, I can say I don’t like it and can simply retire. This feels very good viz. I am not trapped by the obligation to work.

… Viking horns (with or without the blond pigtails) are just the right thing to wear when feeling down in the dumps.

… The daily tsunami of podcasts that download into my phone becomes so strong I just erase them all and listen to none of them.

… Connie Boswell is the only singer I want to hear.

… I think am perfectly content with my lot in life

… A king-size-Titanic-unsinkable Molly Brown mixer (bright red, preferably) would make me even more content.

… I want to learn how to play auction or contract bridge (which is which I wonder?). This has challenges, especially finding three other people with whom to play. I sense the only folks interested in the game nowadays are little old ladies over eighty, already in clubs and ‘pros’ at the game. I would be seen as an interloper, and object of suspicion – I’d have enemies everywhere.

… My blogger buddies give me so much joy I want to write each one of them with a personal thank you that I am allowed to read them.

…The entry “Sometimes….” is whimsical, and sometimes it seems trite. When I get to this stage, I stop. 🙂

Patience above! It looks like I haven’t written a “Random thoughts” entry is over a year! Thanks to updates, I can’t find the last one to title it properly. Perhaps some dear Spo-fan can ascertain which number this is. “LCII” sounds right but be prepared to see the title change.

Between work and house preparation I’ve had no time to read blogs this week. It feels wrong to me to put out entries and not reciprocate with reading others. This evening I plan to do so after Someone and I go through the house for a final inspection prior to the arrival of The Other Michael tomorrow afternoon. I’ve gathered together The Cup Sprites, The Car Key Gnomes, and Henrik the Ghost (if he is listening) and I lectured them severely not to pull any shenanigans while the guest is here.

4 May is the birthday of my late mother; it is the first birthday without her. I am trying to get hold of Father to see how he is faring. Nearly a year after her death (June 2020) he still gets tearful when he speaks of her. He misses her so.

4 May is also ‘Stars Wars Day’, something I’ve had to explain to Mother a few times why people are walking around in Star Wars attire on her birthday. She never got the pun reference.

It is Day #3 of the yellow stone still out front. So far so good. I am already eyeing the other rocks in the yard for future projects. BadNoteB (the dear!) sent me a sensational photo of colorful rocks and Robzilla (who is well over four feel) suggested I make a henge – brilliant! I will keep you posted as ‘The Spohenge’ evolves.

Tomorrow is my appointment with The Good Doctor, whom I haven’t seen in over a year. I am looking forward to seeing him – face to face too! I already know what is my bloodwork.* All is stellar with one glaring exception: the A1C is slightly elevated for the first time ever. I wonder if we get into a fracas over what’s to be done about this. (He: metformin; I: get back to the gym after twelve months sitting on my backside).

Final random thought is about kosher salt. One of my cooking teachers ersatz boyfriends on YouTube explained the salt itself is not kosher but it is a type that is used to make things kosher. A better title on the box would be ‘koshering salt”. What makes it different – and why I should be using it – is ‘kosher salt” is large and chunky and more easy to handle (like my men), These attributes make it easier to work with and gauge. Table salt in contrast is too small and it is hard to visualize in the cooking process. Try to tell as many people as you can in town.

*On-line publications of labs sort of takes all the fun out of it. I remember a time when waiting for The Good Doctor to come in to announce what the tests shown. Nowadays I am tempted to cancel the appointment knowing I am going to be told to ‘keep doing what you’re doing” but TGD would be cross if I did that. I know I would be with my own patients.

A couple of Spo-fans who are well over four feet recently wrote to wonder whatever happened to The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections. These rapinigous rascals were last located lodging at the JW Marriott after that tragic fire that was Heorot Johnsons. I had forgotten all about them, being distracted with my houseguests. I called the resort. A man at the information desk informed me they had checked-out. Using a different voice I called back and this time I was told they had been ejected weeks ago after some shenanigans involving forming pyramids in the swimming pool. The staff person went on to tell me the pool filtration system is shut down, clogged with excessive hair, and they are looking for The Board to pursue legal damages and did I know them. I tried to explain who they are and he became rude so I hung up.

The new hall* under construction promises to be quite opulent with real wooden floors instead of dirt ones and with WIFI. In their emails to me The Board is keeping mum to their present whereabouts, but I’ve connected the dots: they are at their time-share in Alfheim. I hope The Light Elves locked up the liquor; they are mean drunks.

Speaking of rundown mead halls, Someone is refinancing the house. Someone was pleased as Punch to read the appraisal report: the house was appraised at about the same prices as we bought it. We moved to AZ in 2005 just at the peak of the housing frenzy, only to buy a house and watch its worth plummet like a paralyzed peregrine. We were ‘upside down” for many years. I was rather shocked by this good news and wondered if the appraiser knew about all the dilapidated and dysfunctional house parts in need of repair. With all that wants fixing, the house resembles Heorot Johnsons without its charms. While La Casa de Spo lacks a functional outdoor water and lighting system, it makes up in ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night and sprites that move about the cups and car keys. **

Someone calculates when the two mortgages combine into one we will have a substantial amount of extra money per month to buy gummy-bears or outside lighting or a new car or an exorcist whatever we think is most needed. I think the first lot of loot should go towards helping build Heorot Johnsons II – at least the part that is to be my new office. I would like a window that opens and indoor plumbing. Perhaps I should take some of the money to pay the repair bill that is/was the JW Marriott pool.

*It will be called “Heorot Johnsons II”, a precise if not too imaginative name.

**Between the exterior and the interior there is no need to decorate at Hallowe’en.

What’s top of my mind – putting the house back together today after the visitors depart. The beds need stripping and towels want to be laundered – the usual things one does after guests depart.  Brother #4 et. al. had a nice time I reckon. 

Where I’ve been – to the dentist. My back molar chipped a few months ago, leaving a slightly sharp ridge that continually draws my tongue to it. I had it capped and now it feels smooth. I don’t know what my tongue will do now, when it’s bored. I hope it doesn’t turn to food – particularly hard candy. Root beer barrels are what got me into that mess to start with. 

Where I’m going – Back to the gym. Maybe I will wait 14 days post 5 April when I got my 2nd vaccine. I still will wear my mask and gloves*. I look forward to getting back to some sort of exercise. 

What I’m watching – Brother #4 was keen on watching some sort of “Vikings” series, which looks to me a lot like “Game of Thrones”. While I am all for shouting and burning down public buildings I can pass on the Sven-style soap-opera aspects. I don’t think I will watch the rest of it. 

What I’m reading – I just started “The faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home”, which was written (they say) by the good folks at “Welcome to Night Vale” podcast. ’Night Vale” has been one of my favorites for years. Occasionally they write a novel about one of the characters who lives in the remarkable town that is Night Vale. I was going to read “Peter the great”, but so soon after reading Tolstoy I need a break from Russian shenanigans. Mr. P. Great will have to wait. 

What I’m listening to – Tom Jones. Traveling to and from the ghost town last weekend, SIL #4 played his hits. Someone knew every song after hearing only a few notes. Most of his tunes I didn’t know but but I recognized a few of them. Mr. Jones has a sort of sing-song-y Welsh prosody, which reminds me of Dylan Thomas if the latter read his works in E-flat. 

What I’m eating – A mixed grill. Brother #4 is proud of his grilling skills and he does a good job. I hauled out the Weber and he went to town. We’ve had grilled salmon and T-bone steaks. Harper got her first taste at a T-bone. She loved it so. I may get another for her sake for she ate it with relish. 

Who I’m paying attention to – Matthew Gaetz. Mind! I don’t have the details on this one, so I don’t know what’s really going on. What I do know: he’s another politician caught in a sexual scandal. In the old days or if you are a Democrat you get impeached and pressured to resign. I am curious to see if Mr. Gaetz will test the Trump approach viz. express no shame and wear the badge proudly, as it will be admired and dismissed. Many miscreants under the Trump administration did this, and it worked very well. Will he able to pull this out without Trump in charge?  Will his colleagues turn on him? It is an interesting situation to watch.

What I’m planning – Making bread – again. I’m going with the useful delusion it is practice and better resources that is needed rather than I’m no good at this.  I got me some fresh flour and yeast and I will try again this weekend to make a decent loaf. 

*For all their obsession with their looks, gym-goers are pigs. I never see them washing their hands nor keeping on their masks.  They don’t shower either. I almost sense they are fearful to have their bodies seen this way.

What’s top of my mind – Getting my licenses renewed, for several of them expire today. There is no legitimate reason they have to be renewed every two years as is required other than the villains in charge know I have no choice. The license that allows me to prescribe medicines costs 900$; the APA membership is 800$. Stirges. 

Where I’ve been – Last weekend I went to Home Depot. An employee spontaneously approached me to ask if I wanted help. She led me about the store in my scavenger hunt for items, and afterwards thanked me for coming in. I was so touched by this proper service I sent an email to the store manager to tell her how good I was treated. I hope this trickles down to said employee. 

Where I’m going – Next Monday I get vaccine #2 (Pfizer) and the following Tuesday I go to the dentist for a new filling for the back molar. 

What I’m watching – Last weekend we initiated “Sunday night with Dr. Who”. Someone is very fond of Mr. Tenant, so we started with the transformation of The Ninth doctor into The Tenth Doctor. I was briefly thought about starting with The Fourth Doctor, but I did not have any Jelly Babies. 

What I’m reading – “Guards, Guards!” by Terry Prachett. This jolly good read is part of the Discworld series, which take place on a flat earth disc resting on top of four elephants who are standing on a cosmic space turtle.  He peppers his parodies of fantasy novels with thoughtful prose such as: 

‘Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom? ‘

What I’m listening to –The podcast “Ologies with Alie Ward”.  She is a fantastic. This week she is interviewing a science fellow on the topic of eggs; last week it was about cicadas.  

What I’m eating – Russian Chicken. I found the recipe in my paternal grandmother’s recipe collection. It consists of mixing Russian dressing, a package of dried onion soup mix, and apricot jam. Pour the trinity over 3-4 chicken breasts or thighs or whatever suits your people, and bake it at 350 for up to an hour until chicken is cooked. Serve with rice.  Father has no memory of his mother making this, so perhaps it was one on those ‘some day try’ recipes that seem to exist in everyone’s recipe card collection.

Who I’m paying attention to –  Ivar Gunnarsson on YouTube. He went out the the volcano that recently erupted on Iceland to take some video. He is a dear. Please don’t feed him Þorramatur and things.

What I’m planning – a final clean up of the place, prior to the arrival of the relations from Michigan. Floors need sweeping and mopping and bathrooms need a make over. There are a few items probably best to put away for the duration of the visit, starting with the statue in the foyer of “Hercules and Cacus”.  For the sake of propriety I will not post a picture but Spo-fans can look it up if they are curious. 

Tending an elderly parent and managing a menagerie of pets while running a household is rawther exhausting – must be just what a housewife experiences on a regular basis. I’ve come to the conclusion chickens are dumb as dirt and  impossible to retrieve once they are let out in the backyard. I worried something will attack them, but Brother and SIL #3 take a laissez-faire approach to the fate of chickens out in the yard. If all nine come back that’s good; of only eight return, well… there it is.  I get two eggs per day for my chicken-sitting salary, which is enough to fry ‘in the Spanish-style’ and eat with toast. It is enough.

Today Brother #2 unpacked several boxes of Father’s books and four garbage bags of my late mother’s garments.  Father is blind, so it was curious to read out titles and listen to what he wanted to keep and what went back in the boxes. I did not question the reason to keep any books; I sensed he likes them as mementos. I would read out a title for ‘stay or toss’ and get in response a few sentences about the book in question and what it was about etc. He has a good memory as they are nearly all about planes, trains, or freighters and with nearly identical titles. He’s kept no other types of books.  

Mother’s clothing was mostly T-shirts and such, already picked over by the daughter-in-laws. I saved the hangers for Father’s new closet, and for myself a piece of costume jewelry that was pinned to a coat. I do not recall Mother ever wearing this brooch (or the coat for that matter) but it is a nice souvenir of our industry.  Brother #3 will be pleased as Punch to come home to see Father’s digs all set up and the boxes gone.  

Brother #4 et. al. is coming over soon for the evening and we will order out (again), this time for grilled whitefish, which is a lovely fish native to the Great Lakes. He is bringing over some whisky/bourbon he picked up on a business trip to Tennessee. All Spos enjoy their whisky and they like to sit around sipping such and giving opinions about it as if it were the British Bake-off, talking over each other while no one is actually listening. Jolly good fun! 

Tomorrow Father has more medical tests to attend. It seems he is continually going to doctor appointments and such.  Brother #3 et. al. is up north skiing, hopefully enjoying his break from all of this, but he keeps texting to see if we are remembering to do things. I think he is missing the camaraderie but then he is quite happy we are doing all his work and he can sleep through the night for once. 

What’s top of my mind – the concept of tipping. I just gave a generous tip, despite the service was very bad about getting the cheque. I was in a cheerful mood about traveling, and the waiter was cheerful. He was cute. I had a pleasurable read during the meal. I wanted to get out ASAP, so I paid cash with a big tip rather than waiting for the change.  It made me think how tipping has almost nothing to do with service; it is about the moods and beliefs of the customer. 

Where I’ve been – Through TSA. It was the quickest most effortless experience I’ve had in ages. It turned out the TSA person is a patient of mine.  I guess they assumed I am not carrying contraband. 

Where I’m going – To Michigan, Land of Perpetual Snow and Ice, to see Father. Brother #2 promises to pick me up on his drive in from Wisconsin, Land of Cheap Cheese and Butter. He is bringing cheese curds from the obligatory stop in at Mars Cheese Castle. I hope they squeak. 

What I’m watching – Nothing right now, but after I post this, I plan to read a book and people watch. While everyone has their heads down/noses in their phones I stare at the pretty ones and imagine what they are like. This qualifies me as a ‘wicked old screw” but behind a book no one notices.  I have remember to turn the page from time to time for appearance sake. 

What I’m reading – Whisky Advocate. The recent edition came in the post last night. I am reading about the whiskies from The Nordic countries. There is a one from Iceland that uses sheep dung in lieu of peat for a smoky-type libation. Can you imagine?  I want this. 

What I’m listening to – Two women sitting not to far from me, discussing their ailments. Curious how women-folk can talk so matter-of-fact about their matters to each other and out in public. I have never heard a man do so, let along with another man. 

What I’m eating – Airport equivalent of a bacon and egg croissant with reheated frozen potato bits.  Covid has certainly hit the cuisine at the airports. 

Who I’m paying attention to – my fellow travelers. I am on the look-out for miscreants in masks below the nose to avoid them. 

What I’m planning – Meals. I am in charge for the next four days feeding the old man and Brother #3’s cats, dogs, and birds.  I hope I don’t mix up the menu or there will be ructions.  

What’s top of my mind – Picking out some new fabric, the right one for the occasion of my return to shirt making. This is something I have not done in over a year. I’ve been making masks rather. I hope soon I can go somewhere to wear it, as a debut to returning to Life. Palm Springs, perhaps. 

Where I’ve been – Nowhere. That’s the point of isolation.  I went to work from the office yesterday for a change. 

Where I’m going – To get my vaccine! I go for #1 next Monday. I am glad to go; I was OK to wait my turn.

What I’m watching  – On YouTube, excerpts from ‘Star Trek: the next generation”, specifically bits about Guinan.  Sometimes I need to remember how to listen to people, really listen to them. She is a good teacher for this. 

What I’m reading –  I am reaching page 800 of 900 of ‘Anna Karenina’. It is not going well for her. I am also rereading “Spoon River Anthology”, about 5 entries at a time. Please read “George Gray” to follow up with yesterdays’ entry. 

What I’m listening to – the podcast “Strong Songs” in which the podcaster analyzes iconic songs and why they are great. This week he is doing “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush. She is a goddess; do not dare to question this. 

What I’m eating – too much, that’s certain. I’m trying to avoid eating between dinner and noon time, and eating not too much for lunch. However I am eating too much at dinner and (more important) after dinner. This can’t be good.  I need to limit the amount of food I eat not just the when. 

Who I’m paying attention to – An ex-blogger buddy/now FB friend* Andrew of “The Other Andrew” is in hospital in Australia for all sorts of problems. He posts regularly on what’s happening to him. He gets dozens and dozens of comments with any update. I am glad to see him surrounded by Love. 

What I’m planning – a trip to Michigan. Next week I go to tend Father to give Brother #3 a break. It will be after my first shot, so I feel a bit more ‘safe to travel’ but I won’t drop down my guard. 


What’s top of my mind –  Someone got me an appointment for my first covid19 vaccination. Last night the state of AZ opened up to ‘thems 55+”. Hey, that’s’ me! I go on Monday 15 March. 

Where I’ve been –  nowhere. I haven’t gone anywhere in the past week other than work and the grocery store. 

Where I’m going –  this weekend I plan to go to the hardware store to get more ‘hooks’ for the cork board in the garage.  About a month ago I connected the dots I could hang up cords and tools rather than have them lying about in boxes and drawers. Who knew? Now I want to hang everything.  The board is nearly full but there’s room for more. 

What I’m watching  – Adam Ragusea on YouTube. He does a cooking channel. He’s entertaining and the recipes are good. Last night I made my first ever risotto, using his suggestions and recipe. It was delicious – and my first time making such!  

What I’m reading –  I started “Your Brain on Facts” a book version of the podcast with the same name. This is one of my favorite podcasts. Moxie provides fun facts on a topic in a fun-filled way.   

What I’m listening to – I am slowly going through all of Mozart’s works. It is a bucket list of mine to hear them all.  Presently I am at K. 32; there are over 600 in total. Happily his first works are small potatoes.  The challenge is not their lengths but me stopping everything to actually listen to them.   

What I’m eating – A half-consumed carton of egg whites. We purchased it to make pisco sours. Now I am trying to use this up in whatever dishes will accommodate such, which is not many. I’ve been eating a lot of scrambled types this week. Today I am making turkey meatballs and rice  – sans eggs.  

Who I’m paying attention to – several avocado pits I am trying to turn into plants. So far only one has succeeded. There are 2-3 candidates on the kitchen shelf contemplating whether or not to germinate. 

What I’m planning –  no good that’s for certain. 

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August 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018