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Oh the horror! I just posted an entry replete with photographs and then when I went to edit it the contents disappeared like one a Samantha Steven’s relations. Now I am too peeved to try to recreate it right now. Perhaps later.

This morning feels like Christmas for me, but the sort when you wake up excited about getting that pony or cha-cha heels (black ones) but you are not certain if it is actually going to happen.

For four years I’ve been dealing with folks with depression and anxiety who resemble women trapped in a domestic violence relationship with a brute. I am curious to see if my patients will feel the same relief PTSD-types feel when the perpetrator is finally removed.  Better people than I have written about the vile actions of the past four years so I won’t say any more. It is hoped the nation isn’t so degenerate it is beyond repair. Let us hope so.

In the future if I ever refer to that loser wannabe- dictator, I will use the sobriquet “Florida Man”.

Speaking of healing, I finally started exercising. Other than dog-walks I’ve done nothing for a year and I am quite out of shape. I started yesterday with a quick walk around the block and did some pushups and then some abdominal actions using a small wheel.  It isn’t much but it is a start. I hope to do something daily and hopefully by summer I will feel less of a ticking time-bomb for a coronary.

Someone works for the city of Phoenix, so he qualifies for the vaccine, lucky fellow. He gets his first shot in a few weeks. Arizona seems to have made a mess of things. The elderly/snowbirds have been clamoring for shots, and their howls resemble an orchestra of scorched cats. I sense it will be many months before my turn arises.

I will be working nonstop today so I will miss the swearing in but I am looking forward to the headlines “President Biden”. Wednesday – or Wotan’s day as The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections calls it, is the busiest day of the week. I am amazed how many Scandinavians speak English and so well. TBDHSR does a fair job in their enunciation (thems with most of their teeth do the best) but they can’t seem to get the names of modern days of the week right.  The tongue-tied dears declared today a holiday.  Heorot Hall is bedecked with party trimmings and fresh heads of road kill for what they are calling ‘The inauguration ball”.  If your invitation got lost in the carrier raven post, don’t feel bad. After reading my latest entries The Munificent Board composed a smorgasbord Jello-molds, pasta salads of suspicious substances, rats on toast, and rotten oranges. I have to be more careful what I write here.

 

I am back at work and life returns to its usual predictive self – temporarily. Who knows what sudden surprises await. I used to dislike surprises until I changed my thinking process to see them as the norm not the exception. Life IS the surprises; the obstacles are the path, not what gets in the way of the path. Some ancient grumpy dude* who talked too much said so and better than I but I get the gist as I hope you do as well.

There is nothing like a Monday after a few days off to make a pile of ‘to do’ things at work as high, mostly prescription renewals. By the end of the day they will be all done. Also by the end of the day I will have started my new at-home exercise programme. I’ve been boggled down initiating such as I’ve been wanting to establish what to do/what is right. In my tendency to want the ‘proper’ work out I am doing nothing Like the approach towards obstacles, I am changing this too: I will start something/anything and build on it through trial and error until I achieve a workable work out.  I was hoping to get a vaccine to return to the gym but it looks like things are bungled and who knows if/when I can get my shots.

While I was away Someone put away the Christmas tree and trimmings and the house has a bleakness to it worthy of January. The god Janus is a hard-noser; he (or is it they?) requests a month of meager meals meant for a monk. This starts this week as well as the exercise. Normally I am inspired by the anticipation of a February trip to Palm Springs, but this is not likely to happen.  Rather than a week off next month for gaiety and indolent living (cocktails included) we will probably shampoo the rugs which are in desperate need of cleaning. There’s a lot of other tasks that need doing about the place; I should make a list and get some things done.

I came back from Michigan with a small glass case so old I cannot remember when or how I got it. In it were a bunch of knick-knacks dating back to the 70s. Presently they are all enclosed in bubble-wrap so I don’t remember what they are. It will make a good “Curious things around the house” entry provided there isn’t anything embarrassing. I wonder what they are. Mercifully most of my memory of the 70s has been expunged. As a former child once said “It was hell”.  I will keep you posted.

 

*Seneca perhaps, or one of that crowd.

Greetings from Michigan, Land of Perpetual Snow and Ice.  

I was dreading the necessary airport experience but this went OK. There was only one @hole: a man a few rows up from me, wearing a Trump cap (no surprise) kept dropping his mask every time the airline attendant turned away after tell him to wear it. Curious, he spoke with a Russian accent. He seemed smug – until we landed. The attempted coup happened while we were in flight. As we picked up our luggage he didn’t look so jolly then.  May he and his sort get their comeuppance.    

I am attending to Father and his needs. He’s grateful for my being here but he tends to become impatient with my attempts to figure out how to do things. He’s quick to say ‘oh let’s get Bill (Brother #3) to do this”.  This is NOT the goal but to give B#3 a much-needed break. Yesterday I drove Father to his dentist appointment without disaster. Yesterday was the closing of the family house of forty-four years. He was greatly relieved to have done both. While helping him find his papers (for he is blind) I found my original birth-certificate. Mother said I was found under a cabbage leaf. My whole life is based on a lie. 

Brother #3 et. al. have nine chickens and I am up to my oxters in fresh eggs. Every morning I fry me a few and serve them with toast made from bread from the local bakery. This is the breakfast of the gods, or at least the demi-gods. 

There are no lack of dogs to sleep with. I took this darling photo and sent it to Someone, who texted back Harper says I am a slut and not welcome back home/she’s changed the locks, so I must stay in the gray January of the Midwest and roost with the chickens. I don’t know where I will fit in the literal pecking order but I sense I am low-one on the totem pole as it were. At least I have fresh eggs. 

Today is Boxing Day, which has always amused and puzzled me as no one really knows how it started or what to do really or even why it is named so. Boxing Day 2020 has the distinction of having the dinner I planned for Christmas Eve: planked salmon; Brussel sprouts with bacon in a maple/mustard sauce; rose potatoes; hummers for small chocolate cone.

For Christmas I asked for a tape cassette-to-computer device, which Someone believed he purchased, but it turned out to be a CD-to-computer device rather. He insists we go this morning to Best Buy to exchange it. Going to any store the day after Christmas sounds almost as bad as Black Friday shopping. I suppose while we are out and about I should stop by Barnes & Noble for the annual purchases of calendars and a blank journal.  This week calendars are cheap; they are practically giving them away. As for blank journals, the pickings get slimmer with every passing year. Apparently few folks write in longhand anymore. 

After the store-stops I plan on making molasses cookies. I’ve never made molasses cookies. Like the dinner the cookies were postponed to quieter times. I feel overdosed on sugar and the last thing I need is more, but dammit it’s Christmas and I’ve been planning these cookies for months. Cook Illustrated assures me their recipe* is the proper recipe and my soul will swoon with the results. Since I have no reference this may not be so obvious. 

*Cooks Illustrated spends an entire page explaining their trial and error attempts to get these sorts of cookie just right. The recipe has the most precise instructions to mixing sequences and times. One gets the notion if these are not precisely followed it will be a disaster and Mary Berry and all the angels will weep at your lackluster cookies. Oh the horror. 

Thank you all for your kind words and support left in the comments of my last entry. Father is despondent and Brother #3 is wiped out but Brother #4 has come over to help, what a relief. Curious that his sons, not his daughter-in-laws, are doing all the dirty work; most of the time it’s the women-folk who do the drudgery even with the in-laws. 

Spo-fans may recall I received an advent calendar consisting of daily drams of a hot sauce. Day #4 “Silver bells” and Day #5 “Mistletoe” (based on banana peppers) are temporarily delayed as my GI system is still in the grip of Day #3 “Frosty’s fire starter”. Oh the pain.

Speaking of the fifth of December today is ‘Krampusnacht’ in Austria the its whereabouts. The Krampus is the demon companion of St. Nicholas. He takes away the naughty and the liars in his wicker basket. I suspect Mr. Krampus will be quite busy this year given all the miscreants of 2020. It is not clear what happens to thems hauled away. They are eaten or dragged down to hell or taught accordion lessons. Odds are I may not be hear tomorrow myself so stay tuned if Spo-reflections suddenly shuts down. 

I ordered a Yule Log this morning from Uncle Albertsons for Christmas Eve. Mother always had a birthday cake for Christmas Eve for Baby Jesus. I’ve longed to make a Yule Log of my own but frankly it’s a lot of work and Someone will take only a ‘no thank you” helping so phooey to all the fuss. It’s better to get one already made. 

Speaking of Christmas eats, last night I reread Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Dinner”. For thems not familiar with this story, it is a sort of ‘A Christmas Carol Lite” that was written in his early years. It’s a fun read especially if you are rawther tired of reading ‘A Christmas Carol’ for the umpteenth time.  It has no ghosts but it has a lot of tasty-sounding foodstuffs. 

One last bit before I get up to fold clothes and clean the kitchen and other reprobate activities of the times: We went to Kobalt bar on Thursday to see our favorite bartender my future ex-wife Kat. We wore our maskies which were real horror-show. I wore my Grinch mask and had me a Grinch cocktail, which consists of an apple martini with a maraschino cherry. I plan to make a batch this evening to welcome the Krampus. I think he and The Grinch are related on the maternal side or perhaps through their distant cousin the current vice-president. 

This entry will be something I’ve not done before: an ongoing add-on entry, when every few hours (when there is something to say) I will come back and add to it.

7AM – The turkey is sealed in a bag, bathing in its brine bath. It looks like it is ready to burst. Someone made the sensible suggestion I put it in a large bowl lest this happens. Fingers are crossed it holds out until 1PM.

8AM – I boiled the shrimp for pre-supper hors d’oeuvres and I made the kung pao sauce for the Brussel sprouts. Someone is Pie-master; he is making the pumpkin pies. I thought to supervise using my newly-learned cooking critiques but these were not well-received. I was told to buzz off / get out of the kitchen and go write a blog or something. Mercifully there was no shooting.

9AM – I finally found the roasting pan, a small detail I forgot to provide. I’ve decided today we shall use the good china, of which we have plenty. I think we have four or five sets each large enough to feed a family of fourteen, none have seen daylight in years. There may be savagery in the decision which set to use. Wish me luck.

1020PM – Yikes! I forgot to make the cranberry relish! It is supposed to chill in the fridge for a few hours. Mother made two types: a ground berry concoction made with sugar and orange bits and a homogenous maroon gelatinous version from a tin. I forget who in the family preferred which but there were always the two. I made the former, dividing the batches into two versions: one with white sugar, and the other with brown. Let’s see if there is a difference.

The brine has leaked from the bag into the fridge down to the vegetable drawer. Oh the pain.

12PM – On Thanksgiving should one eat lunch or skip it? I thought the latter but Someone (who was hungry) brought home some grocery store sushi. We ate with relish. It seemed just enough to stay our stomachs until dinner, which may be as early at 4PM and as late as 7PM depending on how quickly the bird cooks. As I ate a California roll dipped in wasabi with soy sauce and drank my tea I thought how spicy and foreign is lunch compared to dinner which will be seasoned by the fine herbs of the Midwest salt and pepper.

2PM – I have nothing to compare it to but the drained turkey out of its brine looks water-logged. The legs seem ready to fall off, so they had to be bound. I am too old to remember knots from my Boy Scouts days and too inexperienced in bondage to get help there, but I digress. The cavity was filled with ‘aromatics’ and all was put into a 500F oven x 30 minutes to give it a browned/hopefully not scorched look prior to dropping the temperature to 350F and coving the breast meat with a tinfoil cover resembling an aegis from a bad Wagner opera production. In the process of oiling the bird I fear I’ve managed to coat every surface of la cocina de Casa de Spo with Salmonella. Let’s hope the 500F x 30 minutes kills off the wee-beasties on the carcass.

5PM – Last week I bought a new cooking thermometer as I didn’t trust the old one. Then I could not remember which is the new one, So I inserted both; they came out with the same temperature. I can not tell by looking if it is any good/done. The bird seems darker than the ones I’ve seen before; I am anxious to cut into it and see. Is it overdone or underdone? Will it be flavorful? Such suspense! Meanwhile the sweet potato soufflé’s and the Kung Pao Brussels are a-cooking; time to hope in the shower and put on a clean shirt so I look presentable at table. 

 

6PM – A triumph! A triumph!  The breast meat was quite moist and had good flavor. The brining process and tin foil hat did good I guess. Someone remarked another factor was we bought a more expensive bird than usual but I want to think it was my industry that made the difference.  I almost didn’t use any gravy as it was good enough without any. The Kung pao sprouts and the hot crock stuffing were good too.  

I finish the day with my head held high. 

I am thankful for many things and this includes you the Spo-fans.  OXOX

 

The topic of cooking has become a prominent feature this month at La Casa de Spo. Someone likes to binge-watch television shows and his latest is the British Bake-off. For thems unfamiliar with this show it consists of contestant cooks who have a limited time to create cakes and such for judgment by a woman named Mary. The show is so British it makes me squirm and Mary is the most frightening thing I’ve encountered in ages. Someone tells me the point of the show is not to learn how to bake which baffles me but then I’ve never been a fan of watching people being humiliated for failing.

While Someone is watching Mary critiquing the pasty I am in the other room watching The Great Courses video lectures “Culinary skills”. I’ve longed to take some sort of cooking course to learn the basics such as how to use knives properly and which pan is best to use for sauté. Normally Someone does most of the cooking but I’ve pushed him out of the kitchen for me to practice what I learned in the lessons.

I am pleased as Punch to report my chopping skills have greatly improved especially since I sharpened the knives something not done in years if ever.

Dinner has become a sort of British bake-off spin-off as I plop down the plates and then start my own critical analysis of the cooking. I have Mary beat by a country mile. “The potatoes are overdone” and “there is too much pepper” and ‘the meat is a bit dry” adding notes to myself how to improve things. I also comment or condemn the quality of the ingredients vowing next time to get a better.

You would think Someone would find this as entertaining as the BBC show but I sense he would rather just eat in peace and silence. His broad sweeping assurance ‘everything is OK’ holds no weight. Time will tell if he is grateful or regrets ever bringing The British Bake Off into the house if I am to become Chef-master with impeccable standards and precise demands like Mary. Perhaps he does not dare complain. After all, I am the one holding the knife, which is sharpened and held properly, this one a Santoku knife, which is good for chopping vegetables and impudent spouses who dare enter my kitchen go watch TV or something until dinner is ready.

I am feeling okay this morning – nay, good! – for I am feeling more my usual self and I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me when I got to the office. Christmas came early I got what I wanted. No, it was not a pony, it was a new office computer. It replaces the old one which I remember was nearly ten years old. Apparently when I called in sick Mr. M the IT man (the dear!) used the opportunity to come in and install it. For speed the new computer beats the old jalopy by a country mile. My goodness! I can dictate properly and I do not have to wait to see if it is actually going to work! This makes my job so much easier and less frustrating.

It is a good feeling to have for a Monday morning, especially after a bout of ill health and the election outcome. I wore a bow tie to work – first neckwear I have donned in many months.

It cooled down last night and there was some rain as well, giving the place a sense of a proper November. When I lived in the Midwest, November was associated with gray skies and brown trees and cold winds. It was not depressing, for there was anticipation of Thanksgiving and pending holidays.

There is nothing profound about the state I am presently experiencing. Contentment is like a good cup of tea: nothing exciting or mind-blowing, merely warm and calm and lovely. Perhaps they don’t occur as often as I want but when they do I am grateful for them.

 

I came to the Phoenix office today.  No patients come in so the place is strangely quiet. I haven’t gone online other than for work purposes. Funny how things are peaceful when you turn everything off. I don’t know if I am being a coward or quite sensible to not watch the news. The question is somewhat academic as I won’t have time today to do anything but work.

I don’t play music when I am working from home; La Casa de Spo is also strangely quiet. Nobody calls and nobody visits. Under these circumstances and settings It feels like I am the only person in the world. Even the dog walks have no interactions other than seeing passing cars.

It would be quite easy to disappear into the woodwork and become a type of Southwest Hikikomori. This will be even more tempting to do if the election goes terrible. I must be mindful.

Later – I can’t seem to piece this one together what with work and matters on my mind. I will post this impromptu as half-baked and call it done. My work ends at 5PM. I plan to go home, crawl under the covers and not sleep until Someone tells me the news.

Urs Truly is up to his oxters today with All Hallows Eve preparations.

I wish you all a Happy Hallowe’en!

For thems out and about tonight please where your masks and don’t fall off the broomstick like you did last year.

Here are some jolly poems apropos for the day.

 

The Kilkenny Cats

There wanst was two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they quarreled and they fit,
They scratch’d and they bit,
Till, barrin’ their nails,
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there warnt any.

 

The Haunted House

Not a window was broken

And the paint wasn’t peeling,

Not a porch step sagged–

Yet there was a feeling


That beyond the door

And into the hall

This was a house of

No one at all.


No one breathed
Nor laughed, nor ate

Nor said “I love,”

Nor said, “I hate.”

Yet something walked

Along the stair

Something that was

And wasn’t there.

And that is why weeds

On the path grow high,

And even the moon

Races fearfully by–


For something walks
Along the stair–

Something that is

And isn’t there.

A six-handed monster while fleeting –

Joined some boys who were out trick-or-treating

When he reached for the candies

With all of his handies

Everyone shouted “That’s cheating!”

It isn’t the cough
That carries you off;

It’s the coffin 
They carry you off in.

 

Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite

All are on their rounds to-night,—

   In the wan moon’s silver ray

   Thrives their helter-skelter play.

Fond of cellar, barn, or stack

True unto the almanac,

   They present to credulous eyes

   Strange hobgoblin mysteries.

Cabbage-stumps—straws wet with dew—

Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,

   And a mirror for some lass

   Show what wonders come to pass.

Doors they move, and gates they hide

Mischiefs that on moonbeams ride

   Are their deeds,—and, by their spells,

   Love records its oracles.

Don’t we all, of long ago

By the ruddy fireplace glow,

   In the kitchen and the hall,

   Those queer, coof-like pranks recall?

Every shadows were they then—

But to-night they come again;

   Were we once more but sixteen

   Precious would be Hallowe’en.

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