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On Monday while stooping down to survey the contents in the back of the fridge I felt the familiar dreadful spasm coming from my psoas muscles. I knew in an awful instant what this portends: 2-3 days of intense back stiffness and pain.  Indeed, I’ve been hobbling about with a pained Jack Benny expression and a gait like Groucho Marx. Oh the pain. It’s an ill will that blows nobody good; at least I am getting back to regular stretching – the type I should be doing all along to prevent this sort of nuisance.

Under my bed lies a bright blue plastic sponge-rubber folding mat, the type useful for yoga and stretching. It was quite covered in dust bunnies and dog hair so you know it’s been a long time. I wiped it down, turned on some sonorous sounds** and off we go towards harmony and healing. It feels good to stretch; I always why on earth I don’t do this regularly.

My favorite stretch consists of lying on the back and turning my bent legs port to starboard and back again. Another salubrious stretch consists of laying on the floor with my backside up against the wall, legs up so the bottoms of the feet face up towards the ceiling. Then I slowly open to make a “V” to stretch those inner thighs tight as cable cords.

This would all be serene but for Harper Hound whose decided this must be quality playtime. She hovers over me like a coach but rather than giving me words of encouragement she licks my face and forehead. It is difficult to concentrate on meditative breathing and healing etc. with a slobbering tongue going across my closed eyelids.  It’s in her job description so I can’t complain.

After a good stretch and tongue-bath I next pull out the black foam-rubber rolling cylinder. This blessed device goes under my shoulders and I slowly roll it down the back to the bum. This is not as easy as it sounds as I have to not to fall off. In theory I am staying in place going back and forth but invariably I slowly proceed down the bedroom floor although I seldom get out into the hallway. The cylinder presses on those bellicose psoas muscles that tell me they don’t appreciate being pressed so.  The point of cylinder rolling is to break up fascia knots and turn my muscles from beef jerky back to filet mignon. Fat chance of that.

I hope twith regular rolling and stretching my lower back spasms will grow discouraged and leave me. Then I must be mindful and stretch and roll regularly. Perhaps I can become limber like a lad and open legs like the splits. This sounds a bit suggestive but you get my point.

Dw-Foam-Rolling-Lower-back

 

**Urs Truly has several ‘white noise’ settings which produce at the tap of an app lovely sounds of ocean waves, rain on a roof, or spring forest. My favorite is ‘Snowstorm in Chicago’ so you can imagine.

video-snapshot5  I had a half-baked erudite post on the topic of introversion vs. extroversion but then the allergy pill kicked in and it was getting a bit fuzzy on the screen so I dropped it. I woke this morning to a paroxysm of sneezes forcing me to take an Allegra during the daytime. It’s 5PM and I am a bit fuzzled.

The Lovely Neighbor is coming over for a simple supper, consisting of a crockpot concoction of chicken, cheese, chiles, and tomatoes all in the ubiquitous base of cream of mushroom soup. I will pour it over pasta, sprinkle on parsley, and call it supper. I sense TLN is not eating too well, what with being alone and packing up things for a pending house sale. I plan to feed her high calorie comfort food and a humble salad. She is bringing the bourbon. Between the booze and the antihistamine I should be cold as a mackerel and passed out by eight. In my youth I thought going to bed early on Saturday was a sign of serious social problems, but not anymore. I am happy to have reached the age where the night is for sleep.

Someone is working of course but he doesn’t do so tomorrow. We need to pinpoint down our summer plans (if any) in order to get time off far enough ahead of time to not cause too much upset at our jobs.  It doesn’t count as a ‘summer’ but there is a medical conference in September in New Orleans I very much would like to attend, provided it is not the same weekend of a hurricane. But that is months away.  Meanwhile there is summer to attend. I want as much time out of Phoenix as possible.

Aaron, the pool man (whose last name escapes me) is doing a splendid job at renovating the pool. The water looks limpid and there is no more morass on the bottom. The pool remains a worrisome shade of green but Aaron (clever fellow!) vows that will be soon gone. I have yet to meet the man; we communicate via texts and he shows up when I am not at home. This makes him a sort aquatic Santa Claus. I got into the pool today for a short period of time and it wasn’t too bad, the parts in the sunshine. It was a pleasure ‘to be’ in the cement pond, rather than moving around trying to tidy it up.

P.S. We had a lovely dinner,  TLN and I. We both judged the crockpot chicken spaghetti a success; we ate it with relish.  We also had pomegranate juleps. Needless to say I am wishing Spo-fans a good night and sweet dream of waterfalls and ice cream.. ..

man_covering_his_earsI’ve been thinking a lot lately about toxins. People used to be quite concerned about environmental pollution but nowadays there are more anxious about what goes into their food and drink. Sugar is looking more villainous by the day and its substitutes appear no better. These same people tend to be awfully fussy about their beliefs as to what is and isn’t injurious to their health. They abjure tap water but at the same time eat things loaded with chemicals.

Urs Truly is also suspicious as to what goes into his craw. I am trained to think like a scientist; I don’t want to succumb to pseudo-science or mass hysteria. I regularly read food labels for hidden sources of sugar and salt and funny sounding words more apt for a chemistry lab.

Someone and I are eating more ‘real food’ which is brought to us by the good folks at “Blue Apron”. We are often too tired or too lazy to shop and cook otherwise. It is nice to eat proper food in good portions; already our waistlines are diminishing from eating less rubbish from take-out joints.

Just as important, I am careful with what I watch and listen. I think news sites can be as detrimental to my health as too much saturated fat. I’ve put myself on a ‘media diet’ of careful portion control.  I’ve eliminated a few ‘toxic’ podcasts that seem to be designed to raise my blood pressure from all the outrages therein.*

So far I haven’t seen concrete evidence body and soul are better for abjuring aspartame and Huffington Post headlines, but it feels virtuous to do so. Next step: curtail the fusillade of advertisements that pop up like dandelions onto my Life’s lawn – if possible. The task sounds daunting if not feckless.

Perhaps I should just get me a bag of gummi-bears and go watch CNN.

 

*Fox News is a curious phenomenon. So far as I can tell its main job is to make up stuff and provide outrageous emotional ‘news’ to its viewers to get them rattled to get them into continuous viewing. I’ve never heard of a Fox News-watcher saying ‘Oh, I had to turn it off, it was all too much”.  It makes me wonder if thems who watch Fox are impervious to stress or are they on the quick road to a heart attack.

The last entry and its comments got me thinking more about card games. No one seems to play them much anymore, more’s the pity. I never got the needed knack for the strategy necessary to be any good at them. Nevertheless I thought card games fun. Someone and I only rarely play at cards as he nearly always wins. I daresay it isn’t much fun for him. It’s like throwing darts into Jello there are no good hits.

Back in Michigan when we had friends we sometimes met with a couple who enjoyed Euchre. This game made my eyes cross as to the rules. The worse element of Euchre was 1/2 or 3/4 through the game the other three fellows would throw down their cards as they could all see who would get what without needing to play out the hands.

Cribbage was my metier, although I don’t remember the rules now. I remember it needed counting 15-1 and 15-2 and the pegs would leap over each other. What I most remember about cribbage is the term ‘being skunked’ which I have expanded to many situations.  Grandmother (the high priestess of cribbage) called Jacks “J-boys” which is another term I use liberally and not just at cards.

The official card game in the House of Spo is Spite and Malice. This is a sort of solitaire game played against a component. It has the element of blocking the other’s moves for the sheer pleasure to do so, hence the game’s name. This is another card game Someone beats me by a country mile, so what pleasure I get from playing it is derived at how many pins I can stick him as I go down in defeat.

I have a vague recall of playing Hearts. All my brothers play poker which is something I never got into, probably because everyone was so serious about it. I play cards ‘for fun’ which is anathema.

UnknownI remember from history class Winston Churchill played Bezique. Every time I reconsider learning how to play it I remember Bezique requires several decks and it has more score-keeping rules than the IRS tax form. I know no one who plays the game so I shouldn’t waste time learning. It would be like learning Basque and having none to speak with.

In a pinch I can tell fortunes with cards.

Our card packs come from Grand Canyon Park. They are illustrated by the local faun and have with the photos the genus/species names and fun facts. I’ve got to remember not to read these out loud as we play, as it gives away what I am holding.

Someday I may write about Uno and Sushi Go! which are most invidious.

More’s the pity.

Twice in one day I heard someone say “more’s the pity”. They were regretting something that is no more. It got me thinking to what I would say ‘more’s the pity’ when describing a by-gone day or pastime.

Here’s a few……

Gas station service. I have vague memories of a nice man (or several) coming out to our car to pump my gas and wipe windows, even offer to check my oil. Besides the sense of being serviced, we didn’t have to touch anything, especially the pump handle, probably one of the most nasty things imaginable.

Airplane meals. My memory is probably remembering things better than they were. I am certain the food wasn’t too large or exquisite but it was part of the deal and gave me something to do.  I remember too asking for a deck of playing cards to pass the time and being given one gratis to keep as a souvenir of the flight. I think I still have a UA pack.

Raw treats. Whether cookie dough or brownie batter, there was always a little left in the mixing bowl for scraping with a spatula and feeding it to the kiddies. We did not die of salmonella. I wonder if eggs then weren’t so nasty. Once in a while mother gave us a marble-sized raw beef as she made the patties.   What were we thinking, my niblings wonder. They also abhor drinking the notion we drank out of the garden hose, which once upon considered one of summer’s greatest pleasures.

School and work holiday parties. Whether Hallowe’en or Christmas these shin dings were lavish affairs in which no one seemed outraged or oppressed.  Nowadays if there any parties at all they are bowdlerized generic ‘season’ matters, often without booze lest the host/boss/teacher be blamed for DUIs.  I especially miss the Hallowe’en parties as one could dress up.

Contract Bridge. My grandmother (the high priestess of the game) refused to teach me how to play the game, fearing I would forsake school and all nourishment in order to play 24/7 until I died of exhaustion or something. She needn’t have bothered; no one plays bridge anymore. In my youth my parents were in several bridge clubs at work, church, and around the neighborhood. Bridge was the social glue that bound us together. I enjoyed helping out my parent’s hosting by being the servant, running around pouring coffee (from the great olive-green percolator that no one uses anymore either) and replenishing the bowls of nuts and sweets and gathering coats as I may.  I got to see the neighbors too and my parents could show off how brilliant Urs Truly was at wit and politeness (while I stole sweets from the candy dishes).   I would still love to learn but knowing no one who does makes this about as useful as learning how to disco.

Spo-fans are invited to leave in the comment section their own “more’s the pity’ items for fun and profit.

This week Someone interviews “Aaron the pool man” for the probable hire to maintain our pool. Unless Mr. A is outrageously expensive or unhinged in character he’s already hired in my eyes. The Lovely Neighbor and another couple on the street use him, so he comes with a good reputation.

I continually struggle between self-sufficiency and relying on others to do things for me. I prefer the former.  Alas, maintaining a gunge-free cement pond is a task most ponderous, and (so far) one I am not doing. Neither od us has the time to do it properly.  Last year in the summer heat the pool quickly went from limpid-blue to swamp-green suitable for filming “The Creature from the Black Lagoon II”. We spent a lot of energy – and money – without success. Worse, we never enjoyed the pool but only worked on it.

Unlike Hair Furor, Someone drained the swamp last month and the pool with replenished with fresh aqua frio.  Stinko. Already the heavy pollen of the spring is turning the pristine waters a suspicious green, suggesting “Creature III” is in the making.

Last weekend I spent most of Sunday (the day of rest, reportedly) trying to remove the duff from the bottom of the pool. The vacuum cleaner came undone; I was obliged to take the ‘first dip of the season’ to retrieve it. I had just enough Michigan blood in me to keep me conscious. [1] Enough is enough.  I made the executive decision we shall contact Mr. Aaron.

I hope Mr. A is willing to take on our aquatic Aegean stables.  The sand trap needs replacement as does the pool light. [2] For now I will settle with pool water comfortable enough to enter without the feeling I’m an ingredient in an organic soup.

P.S. I wrote the above a few days ago; Mr. Aaron (whose last name escapes me) showed up last night. He was late (not a good sign) but seemed competent (says Someone).  He started right away, practicing his art, adding some sort of chemicals and eliciting the gods of clean water. It all sounds promising.  I look forward to a season of carefree green-less evening dips.

P.P.S Someone says Mr. Aaron didn’t have the cliché physique seen in the “Pool Boys” genera of porn.  He paused, thought, and added “But I might like him”, which is a pretty safe bet. Any fellow who expunges algae sounds handsome in my book.

underwater

[1] Part plasma, part anti-freeze, and part beluga blood.

[2] Last year I did not dare go into the pool at night as it was not lit. There is nothing so creepy as swimming in a dark pool, sensing something evil is lurking below like Grendel’s mother, ready to pull me down to an ignominious end.

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I recently wrote some hum-dinger entries but they went a-missing. I’ve looked in all the computers at work and at home but there is nary a sign of them. My ability to misplace things is notorious but this is the first time I’ve misplaced entries. Perhaps there is a new sort of fairy in my life: some nefarious imp erases things after I save them.   I suspect nargles.  Worse, I can’t remember the contents.  That’s the trouble with Goddess-Group Inc. They leave no paper trail to review when my mind snaps a tether.  I can either wait for a new theophany or put out an impromptu. This is one of the latter. I’ve learned on-the -wing writing often gives Spo-fans the most entertainment.

There is nothing much (if anything) planned for the month of April. In my youth I would see this as horrible; at fifty I am quite glad. Last weekend I felt the quiet satisfaction one gets from completing the ironing and having no laundry – temporarily. I have a long list of ‘work to be done’ chores to do. I’ve neglected my exercise; it is time to return to the gym. I seem to be forever doing this. Something gets in the way for regular attendance so I am always starting over again.

Speaking of shirts, I’ve promised several; it’s time to get cracking or I will miss some self-imposed deadlines. On Sunday last I began working on one for Laurent when I cut my finger on the rollerblade. I took it as a sign I ought not to continue, particularly as the bright red contrasts with the light blue/white stripes in the fabric. My index fingertip is healed but every time I press on it it lets me know there was a cut there. It’s curious to realize how often my index finger is utilized. I do hope it heals soon and the nargles return my entries. In the dull month of April I could use some inspiration.

 

The recent meeting of The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections resembled an orchestra of scorched cats. They often do, but this one was particularly boisterous. The Board’s ‘chief complaint” was “an inconsistency of content” viz. one day I write erudite self-reflections only to follow up with comical rubbish. I am allegedly flitting about like a hummingbird and should ‘settle down’ (as it were) on a consistent ambience or prose.  I asked ‘which one” and this caused a crescendo of arguing, enough to adjourn the meeting early due to the many wounded and the lack of Tim-bits.  I guess I can post as my weathercock whims will take me.

Someone works all weekend at some sort of final four basketball nonsense. Based on his description of the festivities it’s no-way-Jose I am going downtown into the debacle. I’ve canceled Saturday night’s concert. Besides, I’ve had enough Beethoven #9 to last me a life time. The Spo-list of ‘Work to be done” is as long as a winter night in Moscow. The house is in desperate need of tidy-up and I am behind on my hobbies. I shall be quite the home-girl just not so stylish.

Tonight is the last night of a three part seminar on the history of American opera. It’s been jolly good fun and they provide cheese and crackers. The wine isn’t so good but the speaker is pleasant eye candy. He is enthusiastic about the topic and he seems genuinely interested in my questions which I try to keep intelligent. The other members of the audience are mostly asking questions either to show off their knowledge or whatever happened to Baby Jane inquiries. Tonight there is some discussion if Hamilton is the most important opera of the 21st century or even if it is an opera at all.  People actually come to blows over this sort of stuff. Oh the tedium. See you all at the next revival of “Figaro’s Wake”.

Last weekend when I was home visiting the folks I found an essay I wrote sometime in my youth. Perhaps it was in the early years of grade school. The treatise is titled “What I think of myself”. I suppose it was my first attempt at self-examination and introspection. I don’t know why Mother saved it but I’m glad she did for the composition gives me a look-see at how I thought about myself.

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Now what on earth did I mean by seeing myself as “a little pill”?  In dictionary.com the definition of a pill (besides the obvious) is something unpleasant that has to be endured or a tiresomely disagreeable person. Dear me dear me. I sense I am still somewhat a pill; others would be the better judge than I on this one.

I still try to be kind to animals and people, especially the mustelids.

I am pleased to report whenever I learn something I still ‘stak’ with it – especially to prescriptive grammar and proper spelling.

For the list of character traits: I think I kept being kind, nice, funny, helpful, not mean, happy, and smart – at least most of the time.  I didn’t turn out oppatames or hanson, as these features don’t exist. I surmise I meant was optimistic and handsome which I shall grade as ‘fell short of expectations’.

The emotional post-script seems tangential and simply not true. While I never participated in Devil’s Night I was fascinated and excited by the event. The word ‘hate’ is highlighted; this reflects a bit of hysterical rancor, often seen in those who “protest too much” or turn out late in life to be drama queens. I am saying nothing more on the matter.

I got a ‘very good’ grade for it, though if I had been my teacher I would have written some words and critique on the essay’s poor spelling, inconsistent use of punctuation, and rambling sentence structure. Perhaps I would have added a small comment about listing merely the positives without any negatives.

Maybe it is good thing I didn’t become a grade school teacher.

A Spo-fan or two occasionally ask about ‘loose ends” viz. I bring up things and there is no follow-up or resolution. Life is like that I tell them. However, as I am obliging as a democratic drawbridge, going down for everybody, here are a few loose ends tied up.

The GI upset/food poisoning is passing, leaving me with a sense of fatigue and need for sleep. Yesterday I went right home from work to bed. I don’t remember a thing, not even when Someone came home.

The agave is located on the far west side of the front yard, looking like it has always been there. No signs of movement in the night. It is too soon to relax but I am hopeful.

The mystery author in my Mother’s story about great-grandfather isn’t Walt Whitman but a fellow named Eugene Field. There is a collection of his work, including a handwritten note and poem. These must be valuable; I should find out if there is a Eugen Fields Society who may want them.

I’ve had no tornado dreams as of late.

I’ve had no time to work on my recipe book, or updating my blog entries prior to publishing.

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I’ve smoked no opium.

I’ve sucked no toads.

I remain well over four feet.

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