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The freezer in the kitchen is a large silver drawer located below the refrigerator. There is another freezer in the laundry room next to the washer and the dryer. That one is a large white square box with a flip-up top also with a pull out drawer down below. Both freezers are fairly capacious – so why on earth does it always feel like there is no room to put things away in the freezer? A quick systems analysis reveals several factors:

Ice cube trays. Presently there are several. There is a blue rubber six-pack type used to make large square cubes for the cocktails. There is also two plastic globe ‘cubes’ also for cocktails. A shallow green rubber tray makes ice cubes in the shape of palm trees, which is now filled with lemon juice for when one needs such for cooking. This week these are joined by yet another tray of three skull ice cubes now a-chilling for Halloween. Next to this lot is the large tub which holds the bourgeois everyday ice cubes. Small wonder there is space for much else.

Underneath are the many frozen food items which have fallen into the black hole that is the freezer. Things go in but then they are forgotten. 

The large freezer in the washroom is full up with Tupperware container no one remembers what’s in them as their frozen sides all look alike at least enough to make them indistinguishable from each other. These are lost underneath the boxes of frozen fish sticks and think crust pizzas. I think there is a turkey in there. 

The lower draw of the laundry room freeze if full from the two tubs for the ice cream maker which we use maybe once a year. 

This is madness and in need of a tidy-up.

The first to go are the ice cream tubs. 

The second task is to take inventory of half-used bags of frozen vegetables and work them into something. Perhaps I can persuade Someone to make a chicken pot pie with an emphasis on peas and carrots. 

Then comes the most important step: pull out the mystery containers one at a time and thaw them and eat them. This should be fun like one of those contests where you guess what day and time the car on the pond falls through the ice. 

Nothing new goes into the freezer now without labels including the date of entry. 

I am keeping the ice cube trays.

What’s in your freezer? Can you identify all the contents? Is there ‘turnover”?

 I still do not have anything profound to write so here are some random thoughts written in-between the no-shows.

Yesterday the weather changed. After six months of ardent heat and continuous AC the temperature plunged going from 37C down to 10C and below.  Now it is cold enough to keep the windows closed lest the gelid air seeps in and turns us into popsicle sticks. This morning I had to wear long pants and sweatshirt on our dog walks.* While I welcome the break in the heat it would have been nice to have a transition time. Hallowe’en will have a chilly note to it as it should be.

Speaking of Hallowe’en The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections sent out their usual end-of-October memo announcing they are keeping the gates of Heorot Johnsons closed this Saturday as they ‘don’t do Samhain’. There are a few reasons for this. First of all they are snobs: they look down on anything Celtic as low-brow and low-class. Another reason is they are stingy. They prefer that people give them treats and they dislike giving out anything. Superstition is the main matter. If there are ghosts and hob-thrusts* about that night they do not want their hallowed halls haunted. They have enough imaginary and mythical entities running about the place already. My doors will be quite open for the like. Like a democratic drawbridge I go down for everybody provided they first wipe their feet.

My bloodwork came back and it is amazingly good considering I haven’t had any exercise for six months and my diet isn’t stellar. Mark Twain once said frequent scotches make a great preventative of ailments. I think Mr. Twain said this. I strongly suspect most of the aphorisms contributed to Sam Clemens are bogus. Checking the internet is of course no use as it is as trusty as news sites on Facebook.

Getting back to the blood work for a moment ….. I am running a bit anemic again.  I should get back on the multivitamins designed for ‘working girls over fifty” as these sorts of supplements have iron in them. These tasty nostrums often contain funny sounding supplements to help with menopause symptoms of which I have only a few.

That woofy tech consultant at work did a diagnostic on my work computer. The office PC has been running slow lately and it is quite irksome. It turns out the problem is not a virus, or possession by hob-thrusts, or bad settings, or (worse) operation error. It is merely an old computer that is being asked to do too many things at once. He made the metaphor of trying to do too much work on a small desk top. I wrote The Bosses (both well over four feet) I want a new computer. One of them responded I will soon be asking for more gruel, but she would pass on the request to The House Manager. Fingers crossed.

 

 

*It was ghastly.

**A hob-thrust is variety of goblin in English folklore known for playing jokes and pranks. They often assist the servants with the morning matter – but in a state of nudity.  I tried to locate an image to place but I am at work.

Spo-fans! It is that time of year when Urs Truly gets out his Wicked Pack of Cards and does readings on All Hallow’s Eve. This year’s reads should be especially poignant as there will be a full moon and it is a Saturday so I won’t feel rushed.  So – if you want insight about your life/the universe/and everything please say so in the comment section. I will do them 31 October and report back the findings thereafter. 

 

Since I am on the topic, here is what is planned for the All Hallow’s Eve feast:

Black Martinis

Pumpkin soup with Gruyere served in little pumpkins 

Broiled flank steak

Black linguine with orange and red peppers

Vampire Wine

Skull cakes (red) 

Candy corn cocktails  – made with pineapple juice and vodka distilled with candy corn A.K.A. The devil’s earwax. 

 

The neighborhoods are quite decorated this year, as if people are expecting trick-or-treaters. Later today I plan to start putting together the Ghost Bags of candies for Beggar’s Night.

The children with good costumes and manners will get an additional Chuckles for their endeavors. 

The sullen and politically-bent get a single smartie. 

Otherwise there is little to report. I lead a dull life. I got all my paperwork done that was some job. I promise to write something interesting when I actually have something interesting upon which to write. 

I apologize to Spo-fans and the blogging community for my lack of rent attendance in the mysteries. Once again, I am up to my oxters with work. The Bosses decided I wasn’t working enough so they filled my dance card with as many new patients as possible. I often believe this is not possible as by now I’ve seen everyone in the valley. The new patients haven’t been difficult but each one generates a note that requires careful composition. It looks to be another groovy weekend of getting caught up.

This morning I did my bloodwork for my upcoming appointment with The Good Doctor which is scheduled for next week. I haven’t had any exercise in six months so I suspect my lipid profile will be awful. Happily this is salvageable like a sinking ship with much freight to throw overboard.  I will be pleased as Punch to report my blood pressure is in control. My device has a draconian definition of hypertension as it tells me my blood pressure is ‘elevated’ with SBPs ranging between 120-130 and the DBPs at 59-75. They used to be 200/110.  When I went to medical school 120/80 was considered normal.  Let Le Omron think what it will; a SBP of 123 bloody marvelous thank you very much.

This weekend between charting I hope to put up the rest of the All Hallow’s Eve decorations and organize the 10/31 dinner. Normally Someone and I go out on Saturday night to ‘pub night’. It just reopened after six months hiatus. We went last weekend and felt comfortable enough to return – only to find they had canceled “Broadway night” and now show disco videos or – gasp – political channels.  Oh the horror. While consuming boulevardiers I want to hear Judy Garland not CNN.

That’s about all I can think of at the moment.
I promise to put out something soon – no rubbish. 

.  

He’s back!  Henrik the ghost has returned !

Newer Spo-fans will need an explanation. There is a lugubrious ghost that periodically haunts the east side of La Casa de Spo. Henrik (for that is his name) is not a malevolent spirit but a bit of a downer who creeps about and gets on people’s nerves – my nerves anyway. Someone has never encountered him..*  He disappears for long periods and I think he’s gone for good  only to return without warning (Henrik not Someone).

Last week while working from home I heard a mild commotion in the kitchen. I walked in to find Harper looking vexed and there was a discarded brown paper sack sitting in the middle of the floor.  Half an hour later I returned to freshen my cup of tea I found this basket sitting on the counter:



I hadn’t put it there and a quick call to Someone confirmed he hadn’t either. There are several baskets sitting above on top of the cupboards. True enough!  There was a gap like a fallen out tooth. Someone the rationalist figured the basket had just fallen down onto the counter. Now I ask you: how the hell can a basket suddenly fall like that? No baskets have fallen in 15 years.  I remember now hearing a couple of sad moans the day before. When I went into the other room to ask Someone if he has called me or was in trouble he denied he had made a sound.

Henrik hasn’t been heard from in ages and there’s no rhyme nor reason to his comings and goings.  Wherever he goes it doesn’t improve his disposition; I sense he’s as droopy as always. I’ve tried to bring his spirits up to no avail. Like Eeyore one simply accepts him as a mope. 

Beggars can’t be choosers and it’s better to have a some ghost than none at all. At least he doesn’t move my things about where I can’t find them. All I ask is he doesn’t knock about in the kitchen any more it’s hard enough to keep things tidy as it is with The Cup Fairies in high gear moving about the tea things and measuring cups (their latest passion).  I will keep you posted if there is are any more shenanigans.

 

*Someone also doesn’t take truck with The Cup Fairies, The Car Key Gnomes, Jenny Greenteeth in the backyard pool, etc. He’s no fun; he falls right over.

Someone wanted to sleep in this morning so he spent the night in the Dragon room* as Harper and I wake every morning at 5AM for our morning dog-walk. We tried to keep quiet until he woke a few hours later. I made tea and got in my blog reads early. As Mr. Pepys liked to say: “And it pleased it very much”. 

This week’s reprobate agenda is Halloween decorating and cooking. I don’t put all up at once but slowly put out the trimmings. Yesterday I hung plastic pumpkins and little black cauldrons in the ocotillo in the front yard. I am pleased to see many neighbors have also put up some outside decorations. Perhaps this is a good sign the kids will be begging this year. I sure hope so as I have heaps of treats. This year I hand out ‘ghost bags’ of various sweets for the hoi polloi hobgoblins and Chuckles as the “A” candy for the really good (and polite) beggars. **

My late mother always made gingerbread cookies at Christmas time but sometimes she made some at Halloween. This year in her memory I am making some ghosts and pumpkins. Usually I bring the cookies to work where all oh and aw and admire my industry. This year this isn’t happening so I will make only a modest amount. I plan to put them in the freezer with the Chuckles underneath the Tupperware containers of frozen what-ever to avoid temptation until All Hallows Eve. 

Last night I made my first batch of Pizza skulls; they were fair. The dough was too thick and there wasn’t enough goodies therein. All the same we ate them with relish. 

For the Halloween dinner I want to make black linguini with orange peppers and squash. This requires squid ink fettuccine and it has been a task to locate some. I finally found it at AJ’s fine foods. Talk about imperial tidbits!  Everything they sell in swanky. Does anyone shop there for regular food or just for gourmet items like squid ink fettuccine? 

Somewhere I put the flank steaks I planned to marinate and grill as my traditional Halloween dinner.  I hope they are in the freezer. Now I daren’t check as I will come away with a fistfuls of lemonheads and root beer barrels. I suppose I could just return to AJ’s to get a new steak. Their price for the squid ink fettuccine was outrageous so the mind boggles at the cost of meat from grass-fed heirloom heifers raised by third generations of Japanese farmers. 

 

*’The Dragon room’ is named so as the previous owners had in that room a large mural of two dragons eating apples. It was a sort of Adam and Eve Durer print done with dragons. It’s painted over now and we have a pewter dragon in there, sitting on the cupboard, to keep the name going.  

 

**Kids dressed in political costumes will get a ‘Charlie Young helping’ of a single Smartie.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections did not like the last entry. They care not for esoteric things like life goals, bucket lists, personal growth, or personal hygiene for that matter. So long as they have enough Danegeld to keep hygge at Heorot Johnsons and some leftover to finance the occasional ballum rancum they are a contented bunch of bezerkers. They have a point. Food and good cheer and the company of others surpasses all else. If one of them should pass I suspect they would regret nothing.

Speaking of bucket lists and the like, I once had a friend who didn’t have a bucket list but something she called ‘the weed list”. The definition of a weed varies but the one used most is a plant growing somewhere you don’t want it to be. I add ‘and it is damned determined to stay there”.  On Rita’s weed list were the projects she wanted to accomplish that despite her attempts they never got done.  I remember one of these was playing a certain Chopin nocturne* without error. Some people after a few failed attempts at something would cross the item(s) off as ‘not going to happen’. Not Rita. Like purslane in a vegetable garden she was damned determined to stay at something until was mastered and done. The more she failed the more determined she became. I admired her resolution although at times I thought she was jousting windmills. It is a fine line at times.

If I were to do similar, here are a few things on my “weed list”.

Baking bread. 

To this day all my attempts at making a proper loaf have come up short in some way or another. They don’t rise or they come out crumbly impossible to cut into slices. I suppose if I had some experienced baker next to me to show me how to do it right and slap me about the head when I bungle I might succeed. My last attempt is the closest one yet so I have hopes this weed list will be someday struck off. I made a loaf of rye that actually has flavor and a crust that doesn’t crumble when I slice it.  It’s heavy though, perhaps from a lack of kneading or not enough time in the oven who knows.

Making rice

In a way this is worse than the bread goal as I’ve tried countless times in many ways and it always comes out goopy or under-cooked or both.  A few years back Someone gave me a rice cooker for Christmas. It works well but the minimum it makes would feed all of Singapore. I think to practice a few times a week making rice to get the ‘feel’ of the pot and the grains etc. until it comes out right – like a Chopin nocturne.

Spades

Someone and I keep track of our card games who wins and loses. Most of the time we are about equal but not with spades. In that game I am batting zero. I don’t seem to have the knack for knowing how many trumps to bid.  Sometimes I suspect Someone purposely plays a bit poorly so I am not too wiped out. I am not as bad with whist so that game is not on the weed list.

A flat stomach

I suppose this one should be crossed off the ‘weed list’ as something not going to happen – especially if I intend to practice making bread and rice. It would help too if I stopped with the nibbles while losing at Spades.

 

Spo-fans: what is on your ‘weed list’? What are you determined to do despite it all?

 

*C# minor number 20. It’s lovely. Go have a look-see on YouTube why don’t you.

As my late Uncle Ed said I lead I dull life. I did manage to make a decent loaf of bread my first semi-success at such. It is a loaf of rye with caraway seeds. It’s a bit dense but this one has flavor and a decent crust. I know I can improve this in the next round. I like bread, especially if it is homemade with proper butter no rubbish.  I use an Irish butter as it tastes good. 

Speaking of cooking I am cooking chicken soup. I found an easy but recipe that requires roasting a whole chicken prior to putting it in the pot and simmering it with vegetables for 3.5 hours. Many of the Youtube comments recommend substituting roasting a chicken with a rotisserie type from Costco. We often have such birds, and after they get picked over a lot seems to be wasted. A 3/4 consumed carcass is presently simmering to see if this works. 

 

I made some Halloween masks as why not. I am the only one nowadays who wears homemade tied-about-the-head masks; everyone else wears over-the-ear types.  I wonder if someone will tell me I cannot come into their store as I am not wearing a proper mask.  

The best bit I save for last. I got a surprise in the post: a box of Kerr’s Halloween candy from Canada!  Glen and James (the dears!) sent me some – again. I didn’t ask for any (although I thought of getting some). These two fine fellows both well over four feet are going along the line of me annually sending out popcorn to the niblings (I wrote about this a few entries back).  Thank you gents, for it made my holiday! I plan on putting some into the ghost bags of sweets I will make for the beggars on All Hallow’s Eve but most I will eat myself.  Someone doesn’t care of them which makes more for me! 🙂 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections kindly requests I do not write too many “Halloween entries’ this month; after fourteen years of writing about the holiday they are sick of the stuff.* I replied this doesn’t give me much to write about does it. They replied they will consult The Fates (or somebody like them) for nifty notions and meanwhile I can write about the kitchen gadgets or something.

The silly old Board thinks kitchen gadgets is a tame topic but this can be a ticklish topic. In a cis-household the lady usually reigns supreme en la cocina and the mister better not upset her system.  In contrast put two men (gay ones at that) and roles and boundaries become blurred and more savage.

The kitchen at La Casa de Spo has two drawers of do-hickeys. I’ve divided their contents into ‘Things with handles” and “Things sans handles” (that means without). Someone does not share my enthusiasm for culinary taxonomy. For example, the green plastic cylinder gadget used to remove skins off the garlic cloves continually shows up among the ladles and kitchen scissors and have to put it back in their proper drawer. Measuring spoons admittedly have handles but this is straw-splitting.  To complicate things on the stove-top stands a container filled up with wooden spoons and tongs.  Someone sticks things into this modest container the same way the Japanese subway staff handle the trains during rush hour. I perpetually pull things out and put them in the ‘Things with handles” drawer only for Someone to be vexed over ‘not finding anything’.  Although this hasn’t yet led to murders and suicides this sort of thing borders on savagery.

On the counter top was an ice cream machine which gets used once every two years. I recently put it away and placed the coffee machine as this gadget is actually used from time to time. Someone would sooner eat rats at Tewkesbury than drink coffee so in his eyes this is not home improvement. The red ice cream maker looked ‘nice’ while the coffee machine lacks élan.

Unable to convince the other of their aberrant ways we take a quiet approach of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ Most of the time we just move things back and forth where each feels things ought to be and when we cannot find something ‘in their right place’ we immediately know where to look to locate the lost ladle.

Although I valiantly try to keep the gadgets in their proper drawers I’ve given up loading the dishwasher. Someone may not know which drawer should hold the grater but he is a wiz at packing things and I readily defer to him to deal with the dirty dishes.  The axiom ‘choose your battles’ holds true particularly when it comes to the dishwasher and probably applies to the Tupperware containers too.

* This is a bowdlerized rendition of the actual email which was quite truculent and contained graphic details of what will happen to my nether parts if I disobey. They wrote they would sooner eat quokkas at Queensland than read another “Halloween memory’ entry. Coming from Nordic stock as they do they are skeptical of anything Celtic.

I am attempting to grow avocado trees from seed on the logic of ‘why not?’. One of my blogger buddies is doing this; she inspired me to try it myself. Three pits are now suspended over mason jars filled with water. They are held up by toothpicks with their bottoms just touching the water surface. It’s about ten days out: so far I don’t see much action. One of them seems to have a little teat that wasn’t there last time I looked so perhaps I am impatient. I’ve not done this before so I don’t know the timeline on these matters. It is hoped at least one of them makes it to the become tall enough to produce fruit. This is probably not worth my while as Uncle Albertsons has heaps. They run out of toilet paper and sanitary wipes but there is no lack of avocados. I think they come from Mexico some time of the year and from California the other times. A pile of them is what you first see when you walk into the store; it is as high as Fafner’s hoard and usually next to a pile of (nasty hothouse) tomatoes.

I am also trying to grow some palms. The established trees and bushes have pullulated aplenty and there are lots of seeds about the place the size and shape of M&Ms the peanut sort. This is another ‘why bother’ as palms are ubiquitous; one can buy them at Home Depot for next to nothing. In pinch one can dig up the small ones that are everywhere.

Succulents are cheeky things determined like weeds to be every where but where they are wanted.  In the front yard a small cactus of unknown species (and origin) has burst forth I should dig it up and move it before it gets too ponderous. The opuntia found growing on the rooftop is now transported to a clay pot on the back porch and seems content in its new abode.

The backyard prickly pear is out of control. It outgrew its rectangular container years ago and became so menacing it had to be hauled out of harms way. Its prickers are small and quite painful and almost impossible to extract from flesh or clothing.  To be rid of it I thought to set it on fire as the yard men won’t touch it to haul it away to wherever place one takes reprobate landscaping.  It would be nice to plant the avocado trees in the yard if they should survive to do so.  Surrounded by carnivorous cacti  I sense they won’t stand a chance.

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