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The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections sent a less-than-kindly email asking me to knock off the Hallowe’en stuff for a while. The Board does not celebrate Hallowe’en; they see it as Celtic codswallop, an object of suspicion, a front for some uprising. Best thing to do with Celts (I am told) is take away their fun-size Snickers bars and decapitate them.* This doesn’t give me much to write on unfortunately. These days when my mind isn’t on spooks and such it is ruminating on mundane matters such as finishing the taxes and doing the dishes. This is hardly worth blogging about.

At the office my minions – nowadays referred to as Thing 1 and Thing 2 -continue to make me feel as old as the Celts (the ones with heads). I made reference to Noel Coward whom neither has heard. I explained he was sort of Madonna’s grandfather. There is Noel who begat Judy who begat Madonna who begat Gaga who …. I don’t know whom she begat. I suspect lots. Thing 1 and Thing 2 told me about someone but she sounded as alien to me as Noel Coward is to them. Patience above! I am old!  Both Things seem to have the sniffles; one is getting over a bad cold and the other is coming down with one.

I’m not feeling so good myself the result of too much work and not enough chocolate ice cream. A more mundane explanation is my blood pressure remains sky-high and all the HTN Rx hardly put a dent in it. Happily there is progress. My readings have dropped from dangerously to worrisome high. By Monday if things aren’t better I am making the medical decision to reuse the Rx that actually works and gums be damned. The dentist won’t be pleased but I would rather have dentures than a stroke.

This morning starts another season of  The “Live from the Met” opera series. We are seeing ‘Turandot’. For thems unfamiliar with this fairy tale opera I will try to do it justice:

A Chinese princess with big hats and men issues is nasty to her suitors. Meanwhile cliche Charlie Chan characters run around on stage. She beheads a few people as she’s basically a bitch but the hero manages answer her riddles and ‘win’ her over and they melt into a puddle from love or something. The composer died three quarters into the opera and so may we.  Nessum Dorma everyone.

 

 

*With the Gauls they take a more lenient approach: just set fires to all public buildings and take what runs out.

I haven’t done a ‘sometimes’ entry in a while. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections hates them but the Spo-fans seem to like them, so here goes another…

Sometimes……

… I want to call in sick even though I am not sick just to have a day off unplanned that I can waste doing absolutely nothing to advance myself or the household.

… Goldfish crackers make a good meal replacement – better than Ensure.

… I wish people would text/email me rather I initiating them.

…. I watch the same Youtube videos over and over.

…. Harper heaves a deep sigh that rattles me; it makes me realize she’s ten years old now and on the decline.

… I want to quit medicine. It’s not that I am burned out, it’s just that I’ve been doing the same job for thirty years.

…  A patient actually stops to say ‘Thank you you saved me life” – it makes my day.

… Going into the walk-in closet and closing the door and sitting in the darkness is an excellent way to escape the world. It is a sort of deprivation tank without the water.

…I want to try cannabis to see what all the fuss is about – but I dare not.

… Coyotes howl in the distance outside my house; it is spooky, sad, and comforting all at the same time.

… I see a sunrise or sunset that floods me with a marvelous satisfaction I could die tomorrow knowing I’ve beheld a marvelous story.

… Someone needs to be told to do something as his telepathic powers to intuit what I want him to do have gone rusty over the years.

… Sometimes I need to stop everything and figure out if I have mislaid things like the wallet,  the keys, my pillbox, and my telephone.  Come to think of it this is not a ‘sometimes’ endeavor. This is an all times activity.

 

 

 

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After work today I drive to San Diego to attend a medical conference. I am pow-wowing for four days with my fellow wizards on the latest in head-shrinking. Someone was to go with me but plans have changed; he will be staying home.* This is a disappointment for I dislike being alone in hotels. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. I will have 5-6 hours of solo driving. I am looking forward to my podcasts and having Spo-reflection on life, universe, and everything.

The flipside of the convention is ersatz spa-time. Sans Someone I suspect I will be doing a convalescing up in my hotel room – catching up on reading and sleep. I am bringing a few drams of scotch with me so I may have a small snort in the evening. This sounds delicious.

The only excitement of the retreat is an audience with Fearsome Beard. He and his spouse Ken (the dear!) will have supper with me on Friday night. I am looking forward to seeing these fine fellows, both well over four feet.

Another perk of my four-day-long not-at-work shenanigan is I should have time to write proper blog entries more regular and (better yet) read others.

More anon after I get to San Diego…….

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*Someone will be home-alone waiting for the repairman or somebody like him. There is also the problem of the Hello Fresh parcel we forgot to cancel. Imagine coming home after four days to find a rotted box of foodstuffs at the doorstep !

It’s Monday morning and I am at the office. I can’t start work as the electronic health care record program is being difficult.* Someone in Seattle (where it is located) is asleep at the switch. Perhaps they haven’t had their Seattle’s Best Coffee. Without access to the charts I can’t do anything so here I sit like Gogo waiting for Godot. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. At least I have some time to write an entry.

Spo-fans know I keep a paper journal in which I write down significant happenings for future reference. I always write something Sunday night. Lately I am going a week between entries as there is nothing of importance to record. I lead of dull life. I wrote in yesterday’s entry we changed the fluorescent lights in the garage. This involved two trips to Home Depot as I bought the wrong bulbs the first time.** We also changed the AC air filters. The old ones had a fine layer of gray detritus and dog hair suggesting this was far overdue. We can breathe easier now and we can see where we are going when we park the cars. Life is good I suppose but hardly worthwhile to record in a journal. It seems each year less gets recorded in these tomes. Next year I should buy a smaller journal as they are mostly ending up as blank sheets. Either that or ‘get a life”. There is nothing interesting noted for the rest of the month either.

Next month should be more jolly. It starts with a medical conference junket to the faraway kingdom of San Diego. It gives me something to look forward to. I have an audience with the great and powerful Fearsome Beard which is better than all the meetings in all the world. We shall have a simple supper; I promise not to feed him buns and things.

 

*One of my thralls has arrived to work. He believes the situation is due to inclement weather. “When it rains and cools down” he states “this affects the system.” This sounds somewhat daft but as I have no better explanation I can’t say nothing against it.

**I stick to the story I bought the right ones the first time but some maleficent spirit transformed them into an overhead light fixture while we drove home. Curiously when I went back to explain the bungle the ‘return line’ was 4x longer than the check-out line. It makes you think.

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I am presently reading “Agnes Grey” by Anne Bronte.*  Spo-fans know I enjoy 19th century novels. Literature from that time is beautiful prose but they are not ‘easy reads’. Even I must admit they can be plodding and wordy. I want to reach into these Victorian novels once in a while and shake the characters by their waistcoats in order to get them to their point. I am not proposing we return to the grandiloquent lexicon of the 1800s but I would like more details in our present-day 21st century conversations. Typing encourages us to choose short simple words over stylish ones. I try what I can. When I text I try to use full expressive sentences. People seem a bit surprised and perhaps a bit peeved at my superannuated way of writing. 

I have a friend who frequently patronizes Grindr. So far as I can tell he and his fellow conversationalists converse in succinct communications seldom over one or two words long and often using emojis in lieu of words. Goodness knows how they manage. Said friend seems to do quite well on the app. He scores often so his use of words (or lack thereof) is exceptional.   

Needless to say I would be a flop. My insistence on the use of proper eloquent grammar and conversation prior to photos would be looked upon as an object of suspicion, an interloper, or perhaps just out of my mind.  

“Hi”

“Greetings and salutations!”

“How r u”

“I am implacable as November weather, gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun.”

“U lookin”  – he then sends me certain photos before I even respond. I reply:

“Oh kind sir! A thousand blessing be upon thee. O rapture! Oh that I should encounter the golden dawn and live to see such pulchritude!”

If he hasn’t blocked me by now he sends hieroglyphs in reference to my physical features.

“U host?”

“Alas I am not able to act as boniface on this illustrious day of our chance encounter.

“?”

“I plead you be not equitable. I long to be thy creature. Dub me not the fallen angel whom thou cast hence only because I want  – nay reverence thee. Envy of thy features! This makes me reprobate. Oh sir I am ardent for your passions. Make me happy and I shall be most grateful and versatile.  No drugs. ”

“WTF”

(At this point I become disconsolate.)

“Begone! I will not converse with you! There can be no community between thee and me. Cursed be this day (abhorred devil!)  in which you sent me a woof! You have left me no power to consider whether I am just to you or not. Relieve me of the sight of your detested form!”

” 😦 ” 

Wistfully I type:

“Thus I will depart you my most woeful companion. Thus I take from thee a sight which you abhor. God speed you!’

He types for me to be fruitful and multiply – but not in those words. 

charles-dickens-english-author-sheila-terry.jpg

 

*She was a sister to Emily and Charlotte Bronte. The whole family of Brontes were writers and artists. Alas they all died young – of consumption or alcoholism or love or something. 

Scandal at Spo-reflections!

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections has been blocking comments and influencing the entries! Several Spo-fans (some of them well over four feet) brought this to my attention the other day and an investigation was initiated. Dirty-doings going on indeed! Several comments were found hidden away in the “SPAM” folder. Looking under the chairs and poking about in the rubbish bins revealed even worse shenanigans. Utensils and iphone charge-cords that went a-missing last Monday were discovered as was a pile of unpaid bills no one has opened in ages.*  It is not clear if this was a cabal or careless neglect. Executive decision-making based on careful forethought is not their métier. Either way they don’t ever admit error. The silverware is back in the kitchen drawers and I was given the OK to write whatever I want for a while.** It is hard to write a serious blog when you have a bunch of mythical truculent toddler-types to tend to.

One of my new year’s resolutions is to make a monthly new soup or stew. My cellphone just reminded me it is time to pick one for September. Soups and stews seem better in the autumn than other times of the year. This is especially true with chili. I have many memories of autumn tailgate parties of crockpot lovelies served in bowls* or on open-faced hamburger buns.  I’ve learned if I make a stew or a chili rather than a soup Someone is more likely to eat it, which is good as I tend to make enough to feed an emerging new nation.  So – I plan to make a stew this month. There are no lack of recipes. Indeed! My cookbooks and accordion file are full up with such. I could make a daily stew and not run out of recipes.

I like my stews hearty, savory, and meaty – like my men. I am not a big meat eater but I tend to favor the chilies and stews with beef.  One beef-based stew recipe has beer in it, specifically stout. This sounds delicious but Someone won’t touch it so I may just try an Irish or Brunswick stew – whatever they are. One stew comes from Morocco and another comes from Ethiopia. They look exquisite but both call for certain spices unavailable at Albertson’s. What the heck is ground fenugreek anyway?  Indian stews are spicy and have the advantage the spices are obtainable. Alas I can never make them as ‘hot’ as I get them in the restaurants.

One drawback is context. Hot aromatic steaming stew simmering for hours on the stove top is better paired with crisp cool nights of autumn – it’s only just dipping below 40C here. I will try my best.

Someone likes corned bread. Another way to get him to eat my food is to make something compatible with cornbread. I prefer noodles. I’ve been saving some heavy-duty red wines for just the right dinner and I can think of no better arrangement than stew and red wine – or a heavy beer if I am going ‘more casual”  Yes, this sounds very good. I am looking forward to a Saturday night stewing.

Spo-fans who happen to have fabulous-beyond-words recipes for stews: please send me such in an email or leave such in the comments.

Irish-Stew-1

 

*This is a more pragmatic explanation for why the electricity was cut off than the story given to me last week. Thor was angry at me for my last entry. In defense of the Board Members: none of these lummoxes can read past the second grade except Sven who only likes to read Ibsen or one of that crowd and can’t be bothered by bills.

**Provided it is not “Walking the dog”.

***I still associate maize or blue as the proper color for bowls and plate on which to serve chili  and Sloppy Joes.

 

Writing when you have nothing to write seems a bit balmy. I’ve heard many great writers recommend doing this as a means of keeping ‘in the habit’ and being open for inspiration. Unfortunately none of my usual inspirational archetypes seem open to such. I am Gogo waiting for Godot. Having a blank mind open for what may come up is the cornerstone of the psychoanalytical the process so I shouldn’t be too skeptical about typing away hoping something takes over my fingers and produces great prose. This makes the keyboard a sort of Ouija board. Let’s see what happens.

I remember trying free-association for the first time when I was in a Freudian-based analysis. Sitting across from the silent shrink silently while he smoked did not inspire me to free-associate however. Rather I clammed up feeling put on the spot.  My hummingbird mind was preoccupied with getting back to work and mundane worries which was not what he was after. I daresay I was a disappointment to him. Freudians have a tendency to lump not talking or ‘wrong’ conversations into the common category of ‘resistance to treatment’ and wonder why you are not cooperating.  In hindsight this sounds rather sinister doesn’t it?  I suppose I did speak up in time; I don’t remember much of our time together other than he wouldn’t stop smoking even at my request He merely interpreted as another resistance to the Father Figure AKA Oedipal complex.  My less than stellar interpretation was the request he not smoke in our session was based on common sense courtesy and besides that I was paying him big bucks to tighten my lose screws and breathing in his tobacco smoke was impeding my process.  I also remember him saying I was a ‘love slave’ to my mother’s desires which was bad I suppose. Later I learned he had died of lung cancer so who was the worse slave to what is debatable.

Funny how this free associated blog entry ended up back on the couch at The Psychoanalytical Institute of Chicago. I just had a look-see yes it is still there. I wonder how it is thriving. In the 70s/80s the libidinous lyceum was quite prominent back when psychoanalysis was ‘the’ psychiatric treatment. I wonder if the current members smoke in their sessions.  Who can say.  Looking at their portrait pictures I don’t see anyone I fancy being their love-slave, so I guess that means I was cured of that neurosis after all.

psychiatry-couch2

It’s hard to get into celebrating the seasons when you live in eternal summer. This weekend I put up the autumn decorations. The bed posts are wound with maple leaves and kitchen vase contains orange and yellow flowers. Recreating fall in the southwest is a bit of a bust as it remains nearly 40C outside and sunny and the AC runs continuously. with no signs of stopping until Halloween. The climate doesn’t cooperate but the stars are not fooled. I see the winter constellations coming up in the east when we go out on 5AM dog walks – a certain sign of approaching winter.  In a few weeks Captain Equinox makes his twice a year debut and takes the sun away. Good riddance to it I say. 

Last week a perfect storm came together at work resulting in Urs Truly having a massive panic attack and going into male hysterics. Pushing the panic button always makes me feel like a failure as I am supposed to be above these things but  there it is. Sometimes (says Someone) the only right solution is to scream and run like a 6yo girl. My two bosses were supportive (after all they are therapists) and I he fires are out I think but let’s see what the week brings. I have to remind myself one of the reasons I transferred to psychiatry was cardiology was rather predictive and dull. 

Nephew #2 went off to college last weekend and Cousin Tim’s daughter got hitched to her long time gal-pal. I remember when these kids were toddlers. I plan to write #2 Nephew a thoughtful avuncular letter making sure I put some cash in with the letter as that is always appreciated. Speaking of time passing my progenitors celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary this month. Can you imagine? I’ve come to the conclusion most people shouldn’t stay with the same person for more than ten years* lest there are murders and suicide but my family stays happily hitched like pigeons or Catholics. I feel sorry for Someone but it is too late now and he’s just going to have to resign himself I am going to bounce around until I drop. 

 

 

*Five years when I am being really cynical. 

I am feeling sheepish and a tad guilty too:  I can’t find the bone I gave to Harper. She was shamelessly hovering me at dinner as I nibbled on some leftovers from labor day. I remember reading somewhere dogs shouldn’t be given bones as something bad happens, but the rib bone was large and I wasn’t going to have a moment of peace otherwise. As is her wont she took the bone and ran off to chew it in the other room. I figured I would find the picked-cleaned bone later on but no such luck. I’ve looked everywhere. I daresay she ate the whole thing which is unsettling to imagine how she did this.  I’ve been watching her for signs of indigestion but she seems happy in her post-prandial state. I do all the dog walking so I see what comes out and this looks the usual and not at all ‘boney’.  Someone asked me not to give her any more bones, which is sensible but more’s the pity. Dogs have been chewing bones for eons without dire consequences; it’s what dogs do don’t they?  

My two male work assistants, whom I have christened Mr. Lucas and Mr. Humphries, seem to be working out.* I’ve learned the best way to communicate with them is through texting.  This seems a bit silly as we have a perfectly good inter-office telephone system and the EMR has a ‘reminders’ email. Thems in their 20s seem to prefer this to human to human eye contact so there it is. Mr. Lucas (my medical assistant) is very thoughtful in his selection of menu items when we need to order food for pharm-rep luncheons or boss-meetings – so we are eating better too. We plan to make the place quite jolly at Halloween.

I saw the Good Doctor this week. He was pleased my blood pressure has dropped from ‘hypertensive crisis’ down to  a merely ‘bad’ 140/90. He’s throwing a third Rx at this, a beta blocker I believe. I hope it works. All these HTN Rx are filling up my pill boxes. My daily case isn’t capacious so I’m discarding the OTC co-Q10 to make room.  I feel sheepish here too as I’ve been taking this snake-oil product for decades . I forgot why the doctor recommended it but I know no good study to support taking it  – and it is bloody expensive.  The beta blocker costs peanuts in comparison. I think I will use the savings to buy something delicious but don’t tell the dog.  

 

3bears

 

*I thought to use the simile of “Ab Fab” and referring to them as “Bubble 1” and “Bubble 2” but that makes me Edina Monsoon – no thank you to that. 

I’ve been waiting a while for The Muses or somebody like them to give me inspiration for a blog entry. No such luck.  My usual mode of operation is to wait patiently like Penelope but The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections will have none of that. They play the role of The Suitors in my personal Odyssey; they are demanding an entry now or they burn down La Casa de Spo and the garage. So here’s the equivalent of undoing the weaving while I wait for Odysseus or somebody like him.*

Looking back on the summer of 2019 I conclude it was a bit of a bust. As a boy I looked forward to endless summers; now I count the days until they pass. This morning I realized this weekend is Labor Day.  There are no plans but the usual lot of house chores and paperwork. I lead a dull life. Perhaps I will go to the stores and have a look-see at the autumn and Halloween items for sale; this invariably cheers me up.

Here’s a little story to cheer you up perhaps; it is about a good deed doing good:

A few weekends ago one of the bartenders at our favorite watering hole asked me to write an on-line review.  I obliged with the following:

My favorite watering hole.
I return to ‘X’ time and time again, preferring it to the others. There are many good reasons. The traditional cocktails are made well. However the bar staff are quick to create concoctions for the curious. The marvelous bartenders and waitstaff consistently provide excellent service and they make me feel welcome. K and R (the dears!) are especially stellar. They even know how to make a proper boulevardier! The management is lucky to have them.  Excellent drinks provided with good friendly service in a fabulous ambience – isn’t this the bottom line for a bar? I give ‘X’ five stars.

Last weekend when we went for show tunes night** K presented me with two recently purchased bottles of crème de violette and luxardo cherry liquor. These are the esoteric but vital ingredients to make The Aviation, one of my favorites. I’ve been harping on them for some time.  “X’ now can make all my favorites and I don’t have to go to “H” (their competition).  It’s the same principle as Santa Claus: ask and they bring you things.

It’s a small matter what I did. It’s nice to see it’s still the little things that make Life more pleasant and worthwhile.  Go thou and do likewise.

 

 

*Spo-fans who aren’t getting this should read Homer.

*Last weekend at the grocery store the Halloween candy already up on the shelves. Oh the horror

***I think I will write an entry some day about this dreamy and enchanted place where all the wait staff are dears and well over four feet.

 

 

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