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I am back in the saddle as it were. Anne Marie and Debra (the dears!) did the job. The Krampus doesn’t sway for love or money but the threat of these two Warrior Women was enough to scare the living bejesus out of him to release me from my wicket basket. He gave me a sharp kick in the backside and told me get the heck out yesterday. 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections was not as enthused to see me as I hoped. In my brief absence they wasted no time in starting to redo The Board Room which now looks like a diner. I has a new orange and blue sign hanging outside the hall:

 “Heorot Johnson”  

Stipulation #24 in my contract says if I return from the dead 48 hours after a demise the contract continues.  Although TBDHSR grumbled some I think they were actually pleased to see me.  In the spirit of Yule I graciously conceded to let them keep up  the sign and retain the new name of the hall. In my munificence  they get to eat all the fried clams in the freezer.  

Grinch 4 copy.jpg

Urs Truly in the height of fashion for the party

Tonight is the annual office party.  I did not attend last year so I am happy to go this year. Yesterday The Bosses told me I am getting a nice monetary Christmas bonus. Better yet: they are raising my salary!  I am pleased as punch. Usually what they give me is a 100$ bill, which I immediately spend at the liquor store on a good bottle of booze (no rubbish) one I am too cheap to buy myself but with a Ben Franklin in my britches I get a wish whisky.  I research my purchase months ahead of time. This year is no exception. Funny how the mind works (my mind anyway).  I was glad of course for the bonus but I also felt a bit disappointed and perhaps alarmed I may not get the one-hundred dollar bill now. I was tactful not to ask if I was still getting it; I will find out tonight. bI suppose I still could go straight to Total Wine after the party as is my wont.  However it doesn’t feel as much ‘fun’ to merely put the purchase on a credit card.  

Another matter of mirth: half the time I run home with my treasured bottle and put it on the shelf and then I forget all about it. I think it was April or May I was rummaging through the shelves only to discover last years’ $100 Christmas bottle (a Highland Park 18yo) which I had never opened. It’s a good thing my hummingbird mind works as it does or I might develop a drinking problem. 

Good scotch isn’t fun to drink alone (Someone hates the stuff). I want a drinking companion with whom to share it. Spo-fans are invited to come by this holiday season for a snort. As a fabulous parting gift you will receive a bag of frozen clams.  We have heaps. 


The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections wishes to apologize to everyone in the nine worlds the writer this blog is alas absent and probably so for some time we fear it may be permanent last night The Krampus showed up at Das Spohaus and took the author away in a large wicker basket without leaving so much as a word of thanks we fear the worst to his whereabouts although we cannot say we are shocked nor surprised he’s been a naughty person a proper b-stard really in the eyes of some of us (especially thems who have both of theirs) the rumors we paid The Krampus to substitute him for Mistress Borghese and Travel Penguin is unfounded you must not believe Twitter posts recently generated by our cousins The 13 Yule lads also proper b-stards in our opinion again it serves the author right for writing about fictional Nordic beings.

We scrutinized the author’s contract it explicitly states in stipulation #367(a) by the order of the suzerain (hey that’s us) all blog entries written by its thralls and temporaries must be submitted ahead of time Spo has not done so we would have certainly forbade entries about our relations such was mentioned in yesterday’s entry (although we liked the bits about the flaming goat) so this is another not unjustified reason for Spo becoming Krampusfressen which does not mean we condone violence and rapine at least not without getting paid.

Readers of the blog referred to in stipulation #148 as ‘Spo-fans’ may be comforted to know if said author fails to return by next Thor’s day we declare him a rotten stinker and officially him dead as a doornail and cancel contracts and burn down the blog (again) to make room for something less rubbishy and more lucrative such as The Poetic Eddas or better a Honey Baked Ham outlet.

As we heading towards Krampusnacht I thought I would honor the dreadful night with an entry on Christmas demons.    hohoho



Halloween with its ghoulies and ghosties are never too far from the mind of Urs Truly and Christmas time is no exception. Yule was a pagan holiday before The Catholic Church came along and sanitized it all. Yule was chockfull of nasty beings who came out at this time of year.  I grew up in America with Santa Claus a nearly 100% munificent man. The worst Santa would do to the naughty was give them a lump of coal.  We had to invent the Grinch to fill our need for an anti-Clause. It turns out Northern Europe’s Father Christmases still regularly show up with sidekicks worthy of horror films.

Germany has the Krampus a sort of devil character who drags brats down to hell if he doesn’t first eat or flog them to death.  St. Nick of The Netherlands has Black Tom or six to eight black men who whip the kids if they are rotten. France has another ‘whipping man’ who I believe is a renegade priest.  Frau Perchta may be my favorite: she tramps around Eastern Europe and tears out the innards of the insolent and stuffs their bloody empty abdomens with straw and garbage.  Fun times. 

cat .jpg

Some Christmas creatures prefer to work solo without the company of a jolly old elf.  In Sweden The Tomte is a 3ft tall gnome and he’s usually very helpful around the house unless you forget to give him porridge with butter on Christmas eve then he goes psycho and kills the livestock and rips out the cable TV. 

My favorite is The Yule Cat. This ferocious feline lives in Iceland . He eats the poor sods who don’t have a new clothing by Christmas time. I think this reasonable. 

If bodily injury and murder isn’t your cup of egg nog I suggest you check out the wild and crazy tale that is The Yule Goat of Sweden. Every year some small town in north of Uppsula builds a large goat and every year people try to burn it down. In the past fifty years said goat has survived being torched only fifteen times.  As the authorities try to prevent its demise the arsonists get more clever at doing the deed, seeing success like a writer who covets the Duke of Edinburgh award.  My favorite demise is the story of  band of men dressed as Santa Claus and some gingerbread men who danced about The Yule Goat for the entertainment of the tourists only to suddenly turn around and shoot flaming arrows into its backside instantly turning it into a capric flambeux and run run as fast as you can you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread arsonist.  Clause and his cronies were never apprehended. 


Yule Goat – looking well


Yule Goat – looking not so well. 

This year’s favorites are The 13 Yule Lads who also live in Iceland. They are like the 7 dwarfs but there are more of them and all degenerate. Like an advent calendar from hell a new one shows up each day at Christmas and wracks ruin. How can they help it with names such as “Candle Eater” and “Sausage Stealer” and “Door Slammer’?   They are related to The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections via their mother, a foul ogress not good to see at Christmas either. 


So my Spo-fans please be good this season or you may face something worse than a lump of coal in your stocking. You may be switched, beaten, drawn and quartered, torched, or become cat chow. 

Happy Holidays! 




Happy Thanksgiving!

Spo-fans know I am home alone today. I am having a splendid time thank you. I am Introvert: nothing charges my batteries more than being withdrawn into the inner compartments of my mind.  I’ve had a some lovely phone calls and Facetime encounters with friends and family.

I cleaned up my blog roster today. It saddens me to delete the ones inactive. As is often the case, the writers just stopped writing without any explanation or closure.You get to know someone then they disappear. . It always makes me feel like I’ve been ghosted.  On the positive, I am pleased as punch to add new reads and blogger buddies to the list.  I hope I haven’t forgotten anybody. I am certain to realize my mistakes in a few days. 

Today I am making a sort of thanksgiving dinner from a recipe given to me by one of the blogger buddies. I can not remember who gave it to me.  I feel bad about this as I won’t be able to give her (I thinks it’s a she) feedback and gratitude. The dish is potatoes, turkey, and bacon in chicken gravy.  This being Southwest I put in a tin of green chiles.  Nothing tastes good anymore without some heat. 


Someone comes home from work about seven. He made some ‘sides’ for his at-work potluck. If there are any left he will bring them home and we will have them with our crock pot turkey. One of these dishes certain to return is ambrosia salad, something I had never heard of until I met him. He states this dish is a ‘southern thing’, a delicacy made for the holidays.  Ambrosia salad is more or less chopped fruit in a creamy binder. It is what’s for dessert here today at Das SpohausApparently Someone’s recipe (which is his mother’s) is the proper no-rubbish Ambrosia salad and do not question this. I went on line to research the recipe. Talk about falling down a rabbit hole! Not only are there countless variations everyone is quite dogmatic theirs is the best and except no substitutes. All of them sound slightly sickly but I am a mere Northerner and don’t know any better.

My Thanksgiving tradition isn’t gloppy fruit cocktail in coconut; my ‘small chocolate cone’ is cheese – Edam cheese to be precise.  This week I bought me a small block of the stuff to have with tonight’s special scotch. Cheese and whiskey! I am quite thankful. 



For some time there’s been a creeping circumference to my middle section. I weighed myself this morning: 80 kilos. Oh the embarrassment. This isn’t as bad as I feared but it isn’t good either. I’ve made some goals:

  1. Return to 76 kilos

2. Fit back into my dress trousers – none fit at the present.

3. Go to Palm Springs next March and get in the pool without feeling horrible about it.

My waistline has slowly expanded over time from many factors until things have gone too far and I am officially BMI-impaired – sort of like the fall of Rome. There is nothing drastic to do. I merely have to watch what I eat and go to the gym more regularly.  My downfall (sticking with the Rome simile) is I’ve slowly let in the barbarians only to wake up one morning to realize they have taken over. That’s the dart! Eliminate the nickel and dime imperial tid-bits and hope this takes care of things.

After the golden age of civilization has passed people long for the ‘good old days’ but history shows there is no going back. I hope this is where the Pax Romana metaphor ceases its use. I don’t have to be model thin; I want to fit back into my pants – and look good out of them.

The data is mixed which approach has the better success rate: continually telling others about your weight and diet – or keeping mum about the whole thing. The former has the disadvantage few if anyone wants to hear about another’s attempts at losing weight. The latter has the problem it deprives one of good blogging material when the mind is a blank.

The Most Austere Diet (MAD) commences. All of Rome rejoices.  It is ixnay on the treats found in the office kitchens and there will be no more late night snacks. Time for more salads and less drive-through rubbish – and no booze for a while. I had plenty last weekend in Palm Springs so that shouldn’t be too difficult. Please don’t feed me buns and things and avoid curried snacks.



Patience above! I haven’t written in a long while! I started this entry a few days ago and have tried to complete it three or four times. It was written first in the future tense and now it is in the present.   

I have just risen from a failed attempt at taking a nap. Someone falls asleep at the drop of a hat but my hummingbird brain says otherwise. On the positive I have time to write.

Someone and I are in Palm Springs for a weekend getaway. As is often the case some wicked fairy cast its evil spell last week making my work quite ponderous just prior to departure. It was long, hellish, and draining – like my men. In our salad days Palm Springs were times of mayhem and spills of activity.  What we are doing this time around is more or less nothing. This is what old dudes do when they go to Palm Springs. I am presently at poolside observing over the top of the laptop two Sweden dudes sweating in the sunshine, turning over regularly with the assistance of an alarm clock. 

In our defense we are doing a lot of ‘new things’ this weekend. Rather than staying at our usual inn we are at at a new one. It is a bit page 71 i.e. a disappointment. It’s not a bad place just not an exciting one – not worth writing about.  Rather than the usual watering holes we are barhopping to some new places and tonight we try a new restaurant. Good for us! It is so easy to fall into the rut of ‘same old’ especially as one ages. 

It is lovely to sit outdoors poolside with a book and an iced tea knowing there is nothing that wants doing and you could do anything or nothing. It must be just how retirement feels. Palm Springs is loaded with retirees. Coming here always makes me wonder about my own retirement: when and where it shall be. Fat chance of that ever happening. The factors against it are legion. It is not worth writing about either.  However for the next 24 hours I have a break for it all and it feels quite nice. After I post this indolent entry I will try again at a nap – or maybe not. Who knows what next happens. Perhaps I may be asked the Swedish fellows to join them in a discussion about Astrid Lindgren.  That is as likely as the possibility of my retirement. 🙂 


Our weekend abode – minus Swedish gents. 

It’s Sunday night. I vowed I would not write an another entry until I had made rounds on all my blog-reads. I’ve not read them in a week. Now that I’ve caught up I can write guilt-free on whatever comes to mind. 

As is the often the case my mind’s a blank. 

The weekend was nonstop ‘there’s work to be done’ chores. In my defense I got nearly all of them done. The Hallowe’en trimmings are boxed up and away (finally!) and the kitchen floor is swept and mopped.

I had one bit of adventure: I got my teeth whitened. For some time I’ve been conscious of the coloration of my choppers. They resemble old ivory piano keys. Oh the embarrassment. As a consequence I smile less and less with each passing year. Whether Someone is a dear or he’s just tired of hearing about it he bought me an appointment with some snotty spa to go get my teeth whitened.  So Saturday afternoon I brushed my teeth looked in the mirror at my yellow monstrosities for one last time and braved the 101 to drive to the faraway Kingdom of Scottsdale. 

I was expecting a dentist office setting. What it looked liked was a beauty salon – ritzy one in which I had no business being there. The receptionist and most of the waiting patients looked like they had just whipped through puberty. I immediately felt eighty years old and disheveled as Mr. Nicholson of ‘The Shining’. I was assigned my very own personal consultant whose name escapes me but I will call her Wendy the Whitener. Ms. W.W. was of uncertain age as she had had ‘work done’ and lots of it – teeth, lips, eyes and nose. I explained this was my first time and I hoped she could do something to help me. She instructed me to show her my teeth. I think she was sort of taken aback as she exclaimed this job would require the special extra-strength dose of polish or peroxide or ‘Summer Rain’ – and several appointments. This wasn’t going to be a one-stop job.  I was a bit disappointed but not all surprised. Fifty years of continuous tea consumption isn’t going to wash out in one sitting. 

To my disappointment the whitening room wasn’t a cozy office like a massage but a communal room full-up with massage chairs in which people recline with ultra-violent lamps aimed at their kissers. The room was dark and the radio was loud.  She placed me in one of these chairs and inserted into my pie-hole a vice-like device resembling a speculum used for pelvic exams.  I was to keep my mouth open for twenty minutes and not move. It all had a bit of “A Clockwork Orange” feeling to it. Someone (the dear!) warned me to bring headphones so I could listen to podcasts while I lay there like a bleached whale.  I thought I would become anxious gagging on drool but it was actually sort of pleasant – or would have been but for her assistant. This bouncy young man continually stopped by to ‘check on me’ to ascertain the sinister light device was properly aimed at my buckies. 

After what seemed an hour Ms. Wendy Whitener deemed the ‘operation’ a huge success. While my teeth are far from ‘celebrity white” they are less yellow than they were. I am pleased. I am supposed to go back for Rounds #2 and #3 until they are as white as Moby Dick or I run out of money whichever comes first. 

Curious! Now that my teeth looking more like a man of forty perhaps I should get some nice hairdresser to take out the gray and another nice youngster to work on the Spo-bags until my eyes. I could be young and beautiful again! I wonder if the Scottsdale spa has anything for a fat ass?


No this is not me, but it sure looks like the lad who assisted me.

I hum to myself as I move about minding my business. I cannot whistle and my singing is worse so that leaves humming. It probably isn’t too good either but it’ doesn’t require great talent or even being in key. My boss tells me she hears me humming when I am in the office kitchen while making my tea and she thinks it pleasant.

My repertoire is not vast; I have about half dozen tunes. They are often mere scrap bits. Seldom do I start ‘at the beginning’ but jump in where I fancy. I might start in the middle of the song. Sometimes I just hum a few bars before moving onto a new ditty. The process mimics my hummingbird brain.

“The Ghost of John” is fun to hum although as it is in a minor key. Most tunes are in major to reflect merriment. I sometimes hum this one as a sort of charm against fear.  As Mrs. Anna says:

While shivering in my shoes
I strike a careless pose
And whistle a happy tune
And no one ever knows I’m afraid

The result of this deception
Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people
I fear I fool myself as well.

“La chi darem la mano” is a happier hum. For thems who don’t know their Mozart this is an aria from “Don Giovanni” . It has a sweet simple melody without a crazy range or rhythm. It is just enough for walking without thought.

My humming doesn’t have a broad range; its tessitura is rawhter limited. I can’t seem to hum the high notes. “With one look” from “Sunset Boulevard” serves nicely until the end of the tune when I have to change keys. By then then I’ve lost interest any and have changed to some other ditty.

Loreena McKennit has a song called “Lullaby” that is quite charming and soothing to hum as it is a lullaby which are designed to calm a vexed child. They are simple, repetitive, and soothing – like my men.

I like to hum about two or three lines of some baroque tune written by Vivaldi or one of that crowd. By now I cannot remember the composer or title let alone the lyrics. I would love to know as I would like to finish the piece.

The final hum I’m willing to admit to is the Disney tune “A dream is a wish your heart makes”. I have to be careful with this one as it’s sweet bouncing melody causes me to flit about Cinderella-like. I may pass one on the streets of Palm Springs but nowhere else lest there is talk.

Spo-fans are invited to tell me in the comments if they hum and what do they hum and what do they recommend I try.

I apologize for not being on line (writing or reading). I am up to my oxters in work/paperwork. Another factor is I can not find my laptop.  The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections burned down the boardroom on “Bonfire Night”. They moved out the furniture including my laptop and now they can’t find anything – including my Mac. Oh the pain. Worse, the Guy Fawkes celebration got a tad out of hand with half the village catching fire. They thought this jolly good fun at the time but now they are homeless. Thralls Inc. has yet to start building Heorot #332*.

As a consequence I am dictating this entry to my administrative assistant** prior to the commencement of the work day.

Speaking of squalor Casa de Spo is not looking too good either. I’ve had no time to pack up the Halloween trimmings which lay strewn about the place waiting for Godot to put it all away. It sort of resembles one of those ‘hoarder houses” in which piles of old newspapers and what-not are strewn about the place making mazes in which the recipients have to maneuver. I guess it all has to wait until weekend, which is already piled up figuratively speaking with paperwork and chart dictations. I do hope Someone hasn’t scheduled us to go to theatre or anything fun as there is mucho work to be done. I lead a dull life. I hope that…… I have lost my train of thought please read back to me the last sentence oh yes don’t forget to edit this part out. New paragraph. No that’s a command not the start of the sentence.

Speaking of Halloween stuff there is a considerable amount of leftovers. I buy sweets  if left behind I am likely to eat myself. My worst fears are realized: there is a full box of Chuckles. I entombed them at the bottom of the freezer and gathered up piles of laundry to place on top of it but little luck so far avoiding the siren song of sweets. Thing #1 to whom I am dictating this asks me to bring them to work for the patients to eat. You are a funny guy just keep writing no that’s not to be part of the narrative look when I am dictating I will give you a sign I am dictating and do this sign when I am not. No this one. Stop that.

(here the manuscript changes hand)

In the heat of composition Dr. Spo said ‘Patience above!” and made universal cutting sign across his throat indicating I was to stop or he’s about to commit suicide.  I guess he will write more later.

Signed, for Urs Truly,

Thing #1




*This incarnation number is a rough guess at most; records burn up on a regular basis.

**What one calls these types is a bit ticklish. I sense ‘secretary’ is considered wrong these days. I’ve never been fond of ‘administrative assistant” (too many syllables).  I use Thing #1 and Thing #2 or My Thralls.

I apologize for no entry; I’ve gone a few days without one and that’s not like me. I guess The Graces et. al. flew away with the Halloween witches as I’ve had nary an inkling what to write. Meanwhile I’ve been busy taking down the trimmings. It’s some job.  I spent Saturday emailing the Spo-fans who requested Halloween tarot card readings; hopefully you got yours. Tell me if you didn’t! 

It is apropos I have nothing to write as November is a rather empty month. Back in the Midwest Novembers were gray skies and brown leafless trees. Nothing happened – although there was the anticipation of Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays.  I live in Arizona: the skies are perpetually sunny and palms evergreen. It might as well be April. I don’t have the anticipation of Thanksgiving anymore either. I haven’t had one in ages (Someone always works that day). On the positive this gives me a break from the countdown and revelry of the past month. I can concentrate on getting back into the gym and austere eating.  Both are in desperate need. 

I woke this morning next to Harper who was not in her usual ‘curl’ position but on her back, legs up and spread out. I reached over to pat her on her belly. She liked this as her tail wagged a bit and she gyrated back and forth like a freshly-caught fish.  It is an amazing thing when you think of it: exposing your most vulnerable part to another trusting your relationship is fiduciary you won’t get hurt by doing so.*

I lead a dull life. Today I need to finish boxing up the skeletons, spirits, and haunts and complete my dictations.  Several shirts need ironing. It won’t be all There’s-work-to-be-done chores however.  We have a matinee today of Southwest Shakespeare production of “MacBeth”.**  I never tired of seeing it – provided I do ‘see it’. The chances of staying awake in a dark warm theatre at 2PM are slim. I hope the three weird sisters provide me with writing inspiration where the three Graces have failed me.   



* One does not do similar to the sleeping Someone. Patting him on his belly elicits a withdrawal and complaints this is an alleged criticism on his BMI status.  

**It ends badly.

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