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There will be four of us next week in Canada. Someone and I will meet up with Laurent and Will in Halifax. [1]  As I write the are driving down from PEI so we don’t have to rent a car. L has emailed me a few times to be mindful of ‘packing light’ considering the capacity of the car trunk.

I do not like to consider ‘packing light” but I have braced the challenge to do so. [2]

Thanks to my Boy Scout training and Midwest upbringing I tend to pack far more than is needed for emergencies. There is also an element of being cheap to my packing half the medicine cabinet:  I would rather schlepp along my own things than  run out to purchase things as needed.  As a consequence my typical suitcase resembles an old-fashioned  passenger trunk  even for weekends jaunts. There is usually a Spo-shirt for each day of travel and enough socks, camesitas, and underwear to cover the worst of situations.

Not so this time.

Tonight and tomorrow morning (probably right up to the time of departure to the airport) I will be trying to pack as much as possible into on carry-on case. I hope no one objects to seeing me in the same shirt day in and day out [3]. I tend to spill a lot so I hope some of the hotels we will visit  have Laundromats or large utilitarian sinks. I will pack dark-patterned clothing so stains won’t show so readily. I will limit myself to one pair of oh-so-practical shoes. I see it all as a challenge like a writer after The Duke of Edinburgh award.

Normally on holiday trips I ‘leave room’ in my bags for souvenir purchases alas but not this time. I will either forgo or send things via Post Canada.  Happily one can get most anything at Amazon these days, including local cheese and liquor, although that seems to take away the joy of local shopping.

I am not worried about the ghost bag, as that can sit in my lap for the duration of the road trip.

Where is a Mary Poppins carpet bag when you need one?

[1] Fine fellows both and each well over four feet.

[2] I’ve received threats if I fail to pack proper I am likely to ride on top of the car like whats-his-name in “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” which sounds rather jolly good fun.

[3] “I just love that shirt; I never tire of seeing it”.

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Pensive

I wish I had something to write upon but I don’t. Between work overload and a heaping dose of ‘The Fall Melancholia’ I’ve had little motivation and less time to blog or do anything. What energy I’ve got this week is channeled into mere day to day surviving. 

This hopefully changes on Saturday when I fly to Nova Scotia (Land of Tides) and Prince Edward Island (Land of Anne of Green Gables) for a weeklong holiday. I am looking forward to this getaway for many reasons but mostly as it will be peaceful. Usually my vacations are well researched and planned but not this one. I am not in charge of getting there. I didn’t make the reservations nor did I establish the itinerary. I have the non-anxious luxury to just ‘show up’ and not fret the plan. What a treat! What a delight!  look forward to seeing my chums and getting on the road.  It will be a proper vacation in the original sense of the word viz. ‘vacate’. The phone will be turned off; on-line social media sites will be shunned. I am not certain if I will even blog. If this happens Spo-reflections may have a week’s hiatus – it’s first break in years. I’ve been tired and The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections could use a break too. 

I hope to return feeling replenished.  I could use such.  I will probably post tomorrow and Saturday and then what?  

Please stand by; I hope you will be patient and wait for me.  

I’ve had a rather busy difficult week although I take solace it hasn’t been as vexing as Hair Furor’s. If you haven’t heard there’s a book out this week along with an op-ed entry at the New York Times that are upsetting his usual implacable composure. If their contents are true it seems to confirm the concern the current president is more than a little nuts.  As one of my favorite memes says:  “Not sure if funny or sad”. I will be curious to see if his henchmen A.K.A. The GOP says something or just keeps mum as usual.

Today at work there is a luncheon baby shower for one of the secretaries. I have never been to a baby shower so I haven’t a clue what happens. When I was a boy the men-folk were never invited to such soirees. Indeed,  it was considered bad luck for thems with Y chromosomes to be even nearby. I recall both sexes were OK with this discrimination. For propriety sake I may have to make an obligatory appearance. I just hope my presence doesn’t turn the food bad or (worse) induce her labor. The poor thing is due anytime and she looks like she’s swallowed a hoppity-hop.  Perhaps she would be grateful if I pushed her over the edge and be done with it. Now there’s a nice shower gift.

Is there a Halloween- equivalent to “We need a little Christmas?”. My fall melancholia is kicking in and  I could use some cheering up that only comes from orange and black trimmings.  A little voice inside me says “but Auntie Mame, it’s only one week past Labor Day now!” to which I retort but we need a little Halloween right this very minute, pumpkins in the window etc.  This year I surmise there will be more than usual Halloween outrage from the fundies so I want to respond with more and earlier bats and spiders.

In less than two weeks we go to Nova Scotia to see our pals and see the sights. Relations between Canada and The States are rather strained at the moment and I wonder if we will be ‘welcome”. I could assuage fears and stave off attacks by wearing some sort of left-wing political button on my overcoat that broadcasts my bleeding-liberal tendencies or perhaps I can pretend I am German. I just hope there is no shooting.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections found yesterday’s entry amusing particularly to read the comments. They thought it funny Spo-fans all seem to use soap more often than not.*  TBDHSR may not be good at smelling themselves but they do have a good nose for opportunity. They think I should do more “Urspo does this/that/or the other” entries. They sent a few modest proposals:

Urspo picks his nose

Urspo set fires to some public buildings

Urspo pokes around in Someone’s side of the closet and tries to figure out when this was last worn.

There was even a proposed entry ‘Urspo swaps wives for the weekend’ which both scurrilous and a bit balmy. It makes me wonder if they even bother to read my entries. The blog-board is a pragmatic bunch: they like fancy titles and comments and ratings. They would sell their own grandmothers for a flood of comments.

Having been trained as a Jungian analyst I think of my Psyche as composed of Ego-CEO trying to manage a cosmic collection of complexes, some of them rather boisterous and eager to take over and become the Ego-CEO. How ironic the inner recesses of my pumpkin has as parallel a blog with these slubberdegullions.  Like complexes you can’t get rid of them but have to live with them – like St. Galen and the bear – except my bear is a bunch of boisterous unwashed barbarians. I will bring this up at the next board meeting. I always ask to sit near an open window.

TBDHSR

*The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections are not ones to use soap themselves. Once in a while one of them is found floundering in a fjord but this is usually because they were thrown in and not for the purpose of bathing.

I look at my day’s roster of patients coming in and I wonder how on earth am I going to do anything to make a difference to anybody.

My desire for a flat stomach is overrun by my desire for a cheese toast.

I check in on Facebook to see if anyone liked my entry.

I check in on Twitter and wonder why on earth I bother to continue with it.

Eating out after the symphony is more enjoyable than the symphony itself.

I wonder if I will live long enough to retire.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is all that’s wanted for dinner.

I bring in any stray carts I happen to encounter on my way from the parking lot to the grocery store.

The siren-call of the cellphone’s time-sucking activities keeps me up long past my bedtime.

Harper wants out merely because I am sitting down.

I want to people to send me a random text just to say they are thinking of me.

I get a glimmer of hope  the white racist mob boss running the White House will finally do something for Congress to stand up to him.

Kleenex boxes make very nice hats.

I want a weekend of gray nonstop rain so I can stay indoors and read all day long (tea included).

I can spell calendar without spellcheck.

I want an Aviation cocktail.

Medical schools have unofficial azoths, a remedy for all ills. My uncle’s school’s motto was ‘ more exercise”. My school’s panacea was ‘push fluids”. As a remedy this isn’t a bad idea. [1]  This wasn’t news to me for I have always been one to drink fluids. Perhaps this is because I am a water sign no one has ever needed to remind me to drink water. [2]  I’ve always been the first in line at the drinking fountain.

When I travel I like to ask the locals ‘how is your water?”  People are usually hot or cold on the subject. They either boost their water is the best there is or they wouldn’t be caught dead drinking it.

As a boy I was surrounded by the Great Lakes, which has plenty of water – and good tasting too thank you. It still is my favorite. Last week when I was home I drank nearly nonstop.  How refreshing it was to drink water right from the tap.

The irony is I now live in a roasting desert. In the dry ardent heat one can easily become dehydrated. Getting enough water – and proper water at that – is always on my mind.  Phoenix water has a slightly funny taste to it; if you use it to make tea or coffee there is a slight oily film on top of the cooled beverage.  That ain’t good.  In these parts I drink filtered water whenever I can.

I drink tea in the morning and change over to aqua by afternoon, drinking most of my intake in the evening as that is when I am the most thirsty. Unfortunately this often mars my sleep. It doesn’t help that after I wake in the night for a trip to the loo before I return to bed I take a swig from the water glass I keep on the vanity each night for such endeavors. This only worsens the problem of course but the mouth dries out quickly and needs something to wet the whistle. [3]

I am not a big fan of bottled water; I think it a ripoff and probably not good for the environment (given the plastic). With that said I confess I like Evian.  It has a slight ‘rock’ taste which I enjoy.  Worse – I like Fiji water. I feel guilt whenever I have some thinking I am depriving third-wordlers of their local water so Yuppies like me can indulge in the delusion there was a mountain between me and the last man who drank it. So I don’t indulge often.

 

[1] Other than heart failure. Don’t try this at home kids.

[2] Cancer the giant black-hole of emotional needs.

[3] Water signs like myself (with Mercury in Virgo) are always making sure everyone is hydrated. Someone doesn’t like water much so I have to be forever diligent to make sure he drinks enough. He seldom complains of feeling bad lest I pounce telling to go drink some water. His liquid of choice is “Diet Coke Diet Pepsi whatever”.  Not the same!!

 

 

Greetings from Michigan Land of Perpetual Humidity. It’s been a pleasant trip. I’ve been to a wedding and I’ve seen the relations. Mostly I’ve slept – 12 hours at a time. Something about ‘being home’ with no next-day matters to attends allows me to snooze. “What I did on my vacation” entries can be boring; here is a list of highlights:

I’ve reached the age where humidity makes me knees ache.

Cubanos are more boisterous at Hispanic weddings than the Mexicanos.  I am told they got more animated after I left. This there a correlation? 

I challenged the niblings if they could forgo their phones and laptops for an hour I’d take them to Disneyland. No one made it.

15 Spos (and 3 dogs) in a house make more noise than 200 Hispanics at a wedding (including the music). 

Not only are the nephews well over four feet, Nephew #1 is 6ft 1; Nephew #2 is 6ft 3. They eat like goats and are thin as reeds. Stirges. 

My childhood barbershop still gives the best haircuts though the rates have gone up. 

There is nothing more lovely than a boat ride with the brothers, a dip in Lake St. Clair, followed by small chocolate cone.

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Grand Traverse Bay makes awful whisky.  

Brother #4 has turned into a excellent griller. Just ask him. 

The parents have even more crap in the basement than last time. Oh the pain. 

It is both amazing and horrifying how much I have turned into my father in looks, mannerisms, and expression. 

My parents still have my first attempt at painting (junior high school). It hangs in the family room for all to see. Oh the embarrassment. 

IMG_0245

In a few days Someone and I fly home to Michigan to attend a family wedding. Brother #4 married a woman previously married to un Cubano. She had two children by him, my (step) niece C and (step) nephew V.  My parents incorporated them into The House of Spo without prejudice. V is marrying  Z who comes from Mexico City.  Their wedding guests will be approximately half Cuban and half Mexican.  I’ve never been to a Hispanic wedding; all the ones I’ve ever attended consisted of insipid Midwestern WASPs and Catholics, known for the reserved composure. I am told V and Z’s nuptials will be quite jolly and muy divertido. I wish my Spanish lessons were more advanced as I suspect my English speaking WASP family is going to be in the minority at this soiree.  Oh well. I suppose I can sit back and watch what’s happening and see if I can understand anything what’s being said.

I am not usually a vain person but when it comes to wedding gifts I buy big. I worry if I give some humdrum middle-budget item the recipients will think I am either cheap or not doing well as a physician. “He’s a doctor, and all he gave was……” that sort of talk. When I was in my early 20s I used to give tool boxes chock-full of nuts and bolts with hammers, nails, screwdrivers, etc.  People were initially taken aback but I can’t tell you how often I got feedback from newlyweds telling me how useful my gift is. They may not often use the good china but the hammer and wrenches continually come in handy.  Nowadays I can’t pull off this gift, more’s the pity.

I recall their registration did not consist of the usual things such as silverware, china, and kitchen gadgets. Either they already got this sort of stuff or they don’t want’em. Perhaps their desire for techie-stuff is a “Latino thing” – or a sign they are in their early 20s. I think in the end Someone and I got them a moss-covered three handled family gredunza. I hope they like it.

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Every evening before I retire I put out next day’s attire. This way I don’t have think about which top goes with which socks etc. all in the wee hours of the morning before I’ve had any tea.  I pack three ensembles:

1 – 5AM dog walk attire

2 – Clothes for the office

3  – Gym clothes for the gym bag.

I am not a fashion plate; I tend to buy the same things over and over and wear them out until I begin resemble a charity case.  My clothes are neither expensive nor fashionable. Wearing the same thing day in and day out has a sort of ‘uniform’ to it – and it doesn’t require much thinking.
Dog walk attire is hardly the height of fashion. The tatterdemalion look suffices for no one sees me in the dark at this hour. Indeed, most of the time dog walk-ware is merely a continuation of what I wore to bed last night. For propriety sake I stop to put on some trousers.  If last night’s slumber-ware is too gamey I change in the morning in to a fresh T-shirt and undergarment. In the closet there is a shelf for ‘gently used’ attire worn for the shorter walks. These can be worn a few times before putting them into the Biz-bag.

For work it is always the same choice between ‘proper doctor garb’ and Spo-ware. The former consists of a pressed white shirt, (bow)tie, and dress slacks. The latter consists of khaki pants and a Spo-shirt. I used to worry about wearing bright Hawaiian-style shirts to work viz. the APA Secret Police coming to arrest me for failing to dress to contemporary professional standards but after 15 year this hasn’t happened. My bosses don’t seem to give a damn and the patients like it. In summer my office feels like an Easy-bake oven so dressing down is more comfortable. I tend to keep the more ‘wild’ shirts at home lest I am seeing a new patient that day who might have apoplexy at the sight of a shrink in kelly green and cherry red looking ready for the beach.

Gym clothes depend on what I plan to do that day. I look loathsome in a tank top so T-shirts are essential, but not too tight.  Mine come in a variety of bold colors in contrast to all the other men who dress in black, gray, black, or black.  While I am not for bringing back the short-shorts from the 70s (oh the embarrassment!) I am tired of the pantaloons-style shorts that go down past the knee making an ersatz dress.  This is a good as time as any I seem to be the only person at the gym who wears a sweatband anymore.  I find these essential for any sort of aerobic activity. I guess the other men are too cool to sweat.

I have to be a bit indecorous now: the subject of undergarments. Walking the dog or using the elliptical necessitates some sort of snug and supportive attire lest I get what Father calls “Bellman’s curse” (oh the pain).  At the office I am a 100% boxer man. At the gym if I am lifting weights I keep’em on – except if squats are on the agenda. Once upon a time this fashion-faux-pas led to great embarrassment and near arrest.

I have a patient who tells me she routinely visited at night by ghosts. She doesn’t seem psychotic or delusional, and she is sees me for her ADHD – not for an exorcism so I don’t inquire into this much. In the appointments she tells me what’s been happening since her last appointment and this includes whose recently visited. “I was talking to my mother last night…” that sort of thing. 

I seldom remember my dreams and what I do recall never have ghosts in them. I wouldn’t mind a visit from my dead relations (well some of them anyway) but either they don’t exist or they aren’t interested.  It might be a bit awkward if they did for I am now at an age when I am older than some of them when they died.  I am now old enough to be Grandfather’s older brother. Then there would be all the explanations. I sleep with my cellphone at the ready lest I am paged.  Conversations with my great uncle Milo (who died in the 70s I recall) would probably be blighted by having to explanation things like cellphones, the internet, and Donald Trump.*  If there is enough time to get through these sort of talks and around to how they are doing and where are they are the next set of awkward conversations  would be how did I turn out and where is my wife and who is that man next to you etc. 

Maybe the reason no ghosts (kin or otherwise) disturb Urs Truly’s slumbers is I’m boring and they are away conversing with our more interesting relations. I was never the centre of attention at parties so why would it be any different for the dead?  

After I kick the bucket I think I would like drop in on my loved one’s descendants. I would be curious if they remember or have heard of me. If I should predate Someone I’d like to have a look-see at who has taken my place – hopefully someone who allows him a TV in the bedroom. 

ghost1

*I can imagine these things would be hard to believe. 

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