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Urs Truly is slowly plodding through Pepys Diary.* One of its charms is the old English spelling (ex: “My heade akes”). Another perk is the sudden reading of a word I do not recognize. Spo-fans know nothing floats my goat as much as fascinating words.  In February 1661 Sammy P. is ‘heartily glad to be eating again after a period of sickness in which I had nothing but posset-drink. ”  My eyes widened. I have never heard of a posset-drink. I had to look it up.

According to Wikipedia: 

A posset (also spelled poshote, poshotte) was a hot British drink made of milk curdled with wine or ale, often spiced, which was popular and used as a cold and flu remedy.

This doesn’t sound very good to me but I find it comforting to know people even then tried to do something/anything to help their colds. It made me think what are my own ‘posset-drinks’ , the tonics I drink to better my health -at least make me feel I am doing something for the flu-like feelings.  

Tea of course is my primo posset-drink, my panacea for all ills.  I like it hot, strong, and tannic – like my men. Sometimes I use some lemon in the iced tea. Milk is used on occasion in the hot stuff, but never to the point of curdling. 

For more severe colds and flu I drink Gatorade, on the logic (or hopeful thinking) its glucose and mineral do me good when I can’t drink and/or I am heaving ho.  I call it “The poor man’s IV”. Thanks to this long time association I can’t drink Gatorade without thinking I am coming down with something. 

When tea or tonics won’t work, or for more serious ailments, whisky is an excellent posset-drink.  It is also a prevention of toothache. Mark Twain claims he never had the toothache thanks to his night posset-drink of Old Crow. So there it is. 

For thems interested in trying a proper-no-rubbish posset-drink here is a recipe I found from a random Google search.  Buyer beware.

1⁄2 cup milk

1⁄2 teaspoon lemon peel, grated

1⁄4 cup sugar

1/⁄8 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg white

1⁄4 cup dark rum

1⁄4 cup brandy

Heat in a saucepan the milk, lemon peel, sugar, and almond extract. When it begins to scald, remove from heat. Beat egg white and add to the milk brew. Now add rum and brandy.  Serve hot.

I read once in JAMA a double-blind study whisky is the more efficacious.  

 

*I’m at March 1661 with ~ eight years to go.

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In this post I process a tender side of soul normally not acknowledged  let alone written about it for all the world to see.  In a way it is an exercise in bravery.

Pensive

In my 25+ years of being a shrink I’ve had amble time to learn all the components of my psyche warts and all. I know my strengths and I am in touch with my Shadow sides. Thanks to analysis and self-exploration I am cognizant which screws are loose and I’ve been able to tighten most of them. However there are some that aren’t going to tighten or go away.  It’s a wise man who knows where and what they are so as not to let them rule the roost. 

When I strip away rationale and self-delusions  and let myself see my dark and deficit sides, I realize I am not a brave man. When I am confronted with Wrong I am not one to roll up my sleeves and sally forth to fight for the Right in response. Rather I want to retreat and withdraw in to my own personal Diefenbunker. If danger threatens my ‘natural inclination’ is to crawl into a ball. It is no wonder I have long been attracted to hedgehogs.  The Child complex within my Psyche wants to find a strong Parental figure who will put his or her arms around me and assure me everything will be all right. Another Shadow side is Envy: I’ve long admired Warriors of both sexes. These are the brave ones who are not afraid to stand up to Hate, Ignorance, and Wrong. Oh how I would like to be like them.

This Shadow-Child Complex is more active than usual these days in response to the growing sensation I don’t feel safe.  Around me there is a lot of threatening energy, at work from some patients, in my daily encounters with others, in the nation with its nasty politics, and around the world. In reaction I feel The Child complex telling me to turn off the news and retreat into a closed-off world of books. It feels like cowardice of which I am ashamed. 

Being brave is not ‘feeling no fear’ but doing what’s right despite feeling fear. I wish I had more Warrior Energy to act accordingly.  When I can conjure enough libido to connect with The Warrior I am often bewildered what to do with it.  It feels like finally grasping The Sword of Gryffindor without the knowledge how to wield it. At times it all feels feckless. 

It helps me to think upon Warriors. These are the great men and women of history and literature who refused to be cowered. Despite threats to their welfare they didn’t back down. They comfort me; they stiffen my spine.

I point out the Ibsen quotation at the top of my blog – have you ever stopped to read it?  Being a Warrior and going forward is my daily struggle. I think I will always have it. These trying times test my mettle – will I do something rather than retreat?  I do not know. 

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Note – Today at work among the ‘no-shows’ I wrote a lovely entry (if I may say so). Alas I forgot to load it into WordPress.  Now at home, I can’t find something upon which to write.  Here is a entry I started writing last Memorial Day. I never completed it. I think I was avoiding it due to the content.  However, I need something to post, so I pulled it out, dusted it off, and pressed the publish button…..

I have a new cellphone; it has more capacity than The Tardis.  I am able to download nearly all the music in my iTunes library.  As a consequence I am hearing tunes I’ve not heard in ages. While sitting on a porch swing minding my own business my phone played a song* that made me sit right up. I can not remember the last time I heard it. The tune instantly brought me back to the time and location when/where I first heard it.  The flashback caused me to tear up. Now why was that?  Being who I am I have been sitting for a while trying to understand from whence this emotion derives. The elected memory was a good one. I recall it was a birthday weekend. We lived in Michigan at the time; we had driven to Toronto to see the sights.

It seems to be a simple explanation: I am twenty years older to the time when the CD was first played. Hearing it again made me feel old. Mr. Groban’s tune hadn’t aged but I sure have.  Now I know better than to dwell on the past and mourn so-called losses of youth. I must stay in the past and make the present meaningful for the future. 

Tearing up over a tune was surprising, annoying, and frankly a bit embarrassing. However it was the emotion that came up. I can thank Mr. Groban for poking me in a tender area I didn’t know was there. 

Pensive

 

*Josh Groban “Classical” album from 2001; the song: “All Luce Del Sole”. 

For some time I’ve been meaning to write a king-sized-titanic-unsinkable-molly-brown entry chock-full of Attic wit and ending (if all goes well) in raptures for my readers. Unfortunately this entry is not one of them. What is on my mind is the kitchen sink, more specifically the disposal. It is acting awfully kind of queer as of late when it acts anything at all. The mercurial disposal is connected to something resembling a PC mouse; it sits on the floor beneath the sink among the boxes of dishwasher soap and Brillo pads. When it detects water it starts chirping like a wounded chicken. This woeful warning woke us last night to alert us to a small stream was springing forth from under the sink.  Someone has a theory the dishwasher gets backed up if the disposal is clogged. I am instructed to always run the disposal for a while prior to starting the dishwasher. I hope this takes care of the problem.

The loading and unloading of the dishwasher is a Sisyphus endeavor for we (I) am forever generating cups and neither one of us are good with ‘pan economy’. When we make a meal we use all the pots and pans in Christendom. Someone is much better at loading items into the dishwasher in a precise compact order. He takes mild umbrage at my poor packing skills which I admit is based on the ‘this looks like it may fit here’ approach. Alas his critique is not so intense he has banned me from loading the machine entirely.* In general he loads the dishwasher and I unload it.** However I leave the clean plastic Tupperware containers for Someone to put away, as I merely have to open the drawer to the container cabinet and the lids and boxes all go into disarray.  No doubt there is some wicked fairy involved, up to no good that’s certain and cahoots with the Cup Fairies and the Car Key Gnomes.

Another area of disharmony in the House of Spo is what utensils go in the ‘gadget drawer’ and which go into the container on the stove top. The latter is reserved for the wooden spoons and spatulas – they are on the ‘A” list – but there is room for some other items. What constitutes the “B” list and worthy for inclusion has never been settled. It is not uncommon for Urs Truly to be summoned to the kitchen with complaints where did you put the metal tongs. The answer is always in the gadget drawer why don’t you look there followed by a corrective remonstrance they go in the container.  I sometimes wonder if the dating apps with their ‘vital questions’ of religion, gender, and smoking preferences should include ‘what do you like to put into the kitchen counter container’ and ‘how well you load the dishwasher’.  For us it is too late.  Someone should have asked a few logical questions when he met me. Meanwhile we have the dishwasher puddle to deal with.

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*Brother #4 tells me his wife has repeatedly shown him how to properly load the dishwasher to no avail. He is no longer allowed to do so. I’ve often wondered if he didn’t do this on purpose, the dirty shriver.

**Does this make me a ‘top’ or a bottom”?

We have just returned from a weekend holiday to Lake Havasu AZ, where the London Bridge is located. It was rawther fun walking across this bridge, touching the stones and imagining the generations of British citizens who have walked over it between 1831-1963.*

It’s Sunday afternoon. The laundry to going. There is a slight melancholy feeling in the air, the sort one feels after returning from a holiday and/or on Sunday evenings knowing the work week is waiting. It’s funny to feel ‘sad’ on Sunday afternoons for it they are one of the few times when I don’t feel the urge to do anything.  I wish it were more ‘zen’ than the sense of merely counting down the hours until bed time. This has always been so going back to grade school where Monday’s approach tainted Sunday just enough to make it moody. I suppose it will always be so until and if I retire when Monday is no longer equivocal to obligation.

We pick Harper up from the kennel in a few hours; she is always blithe to come home. Usually she goes right to sleep as if she’s been up all weekend (partying? the noise of the kennel?) I may join her in her Sunday siesta rather than go poking around the house looking for something to do. When in doubt get horizontal –  especially if it is next to a warm and furry four-foot friend. 

The week ahead doesn’t look to have anything good or bad but more of the same: work, exercise, read, write, and a few new podcasts.  I lead a dull life – but not a bad one. We enter the heat of summer where the daily temperatures readily hit 40C and above.  There isn’t an urge to do anything but estivate. Such is Sunday in the Southwest in the Summer.  

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*We also went to a local goodwill store for the local hospice; we bought four and five dollar shirts that are the height of fashion. We also went to a local distillery where they make a rum using agave syrup.  Jolly good fun !

I am trying to learn Spanish – again. This is my third attempt. It isn’t going well; I suppose I am not going about it the right way. However, I am determined to learn it even it takes a decade. There is a difference in this third attempt, one I hope makes success: my attitude.

One of the troubles of growing up ‘white’ is the worry no matter how cognizant I am for Shadow elements in my Psyche they pop up in subtle ways. Although it was never said out loud while I was growing up there was a prejudice towards the Spanish language. Public Opinion opined learning French was amusing and German was OK somehow (probably because it was Germanic, not Romance), but not Spanish.  Another ‘axiom’ was Americans don’t learn other languages; people coming here are supposed to learn proper English. Spanish was the language of ‘outsiders’, ‘lower class types’, and (later on) ‘invaders’.  The only ones who needed to know Spanish were social workers and those who had to interact with the menials. Oh the embarrassment of all this rubbish.  Never mind most countries have several official languages and their citizens often speak two or more languages and no one overthrows the country like invading Mongols.

I live in the Southwest where Spanish isn’t just a language but a incendiary symbol. Many not only refuse to learn Spanish lest they ‘succumb to the enemy” but try to stifle its use, sometimes in blunt and nasty ways.* I am pleased I am able to see my childhood prejudices and rise above them. I now see learning Spanish (or any language) as entering into a culture with history and with linguistics of nuance and delight.

If successful I can boost knowing four languages: English, German, ASL, and Spanish.

Now if only I can wrap my tongue around all those damn Spanish past tenses. Que feo.

 

Spo-fans: what languages can you speak? Do you hear anti-Spanish talk in your part of the world?

 

*Someone once worked in a polling station (as the token Democrat) with an elderly white woman (representing the GOP). She remonstrated the ballots were in English and Spanish. She complained her tax dollars had to pay for this and it just encourages the illegals to vote. He tactfully pointed out a) only certified citizens can vote and b) ballots are available in many languages if requested. This enlightenment merely elicited in the doyenne ‘this is bullshit”.

I continuously struggle with my relationship with food and my relationship, which I consider not good and perhaps toxic. Every year I make the same New Year’s resolution to better my eating habits and every year it falls flat.  Food must be watched continually as it easily wanders off, loses orbit, and falls back into sordid ways without my conscious diligence.

My main problem is how quickly I eat. I tend to gobble food sometimes as fast as possible. I often feel  I have just inhaled my meal. This inimical habit is the result of 25 years working in the field of medicine, where there is always a sense urgency to get through meals as quickly as possible in order to get back to work which is piling up in my dallying. Presently my allotted time for eating lunch is thirty minutes, which is often shortened from work impediments. Even breakfast and dinner are tainted; they too have a sense of urgency to get going/back to work/start the homework/walk the dog. Hurry! There aren’t enough hours in the day ! Slow eating is wasting time!

My other matter is my attitude towards food. I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure; The Personal Trainer wants me to eat a precise diet with everything weighed and recorded. Rather than seeing something as good/not good to eat, I evaluate it for content like a suspicious customs agent. What’s in this? How many calories does it have? How much carbs and is there enough protein? Have I met my sodium allowance yet? Have I had enough fat calories already today?  Foods feels potentially inimical or ‘not allowed’.  This turns food into the concept of mere fuel.  Even when I let up and eat something merely for the taste or the pleasure of the thing (say, a small chocolate cone) it leaves me with a sense of guilt for which I have to make amends.

Needless to say, eating is no fun. Given its overall negativity I’d rather just not eat at all thank you very much.

I recently reviewed a treatise on the food comparing the eating habits in France to that here in America. I read the French tend to eat slowly and for pick their dishes for pleasure, not caring too much about ‘what’s in it’. Curiously France doesn’t do that much better than Americans when it comes to mortality/disease. This can be interpreted in a two ways:

For all America’s concern about proper nutrition it doesn’t do much good.

For all of France’s lack of vigilance to fat/calories etc. they don’t do much worse.

How nice it would be to have a leisurely meal chosen for the sheer delight of its content! I sometimes get this on vacation-holidays but even then I have to remember to slow the heck down. “You must have liked it sir, you just inhaled it!”

The irony is I really do appreciate the nuance and quality of good food and drink. One of life’s great pleasures is a gathering of friends over a good meal, one that doesn’t need chowing down as fast as possible. I know what rubbish is yet it is often what’s on my plate.

Any Spo-fans with similar challenges?  Do you eat too fast? Is food merely ‘fuel’? Is it a source of joy or a drudge? 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections was pleased as Punch at the number of comments on my last entry.  In their most recent telegram they suggested I get sick again real soon and add if possible a brush with mortality.  They are sincere as they sent along with their  “get sick soon” correspondence a flea-bitten dead rat.  The dears. 

Someone surprised me yesterday with a phone call the other day. He only calls to ‘discuss business’ when texting isn’t good enough. He had a modest proposal: we have a free weekend at the end of the month so why don’t we take an impromptu holiday. We could drive to Lake Havasu, AZ and go see London Bridge, which is something I have long wanted to do. My first thought was to ask if he was joking but I thought better not look a gift horse in the mouth and my heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. 

I can’t remember when we last had an impromptu trip to anywhere – it may be we have never had one.  Our getaways are always planned way in advance and nothing is left to chance. Where we stay and what we do/where we eat are prepared ahead of time;  nothing is left to chance. I’ve longed to just ‘wing it’ viz. get into the car and drive –  drive anywhere, and when we get tired start looking for The Three Fates hotel.  How lovely. 

I am fairly certain we (Someone) will research the route, the hotel, and the restaurants and I will look into the sights and the history or the place. All the same, just knowing we did something on a sudden whim is heartwarming.  Perhaps there I will something impromptu like jump off London Bridge provided I am not going to be arrested and have a impromptu albeit disagreeable journey to the local jail and what not. 

Unknown

I’ve been waiting for some time for some sort of great thought to enter my ears or crawl out from the deep unconscious of my pumpkin. No such luck. It may be my orifices from the neck up are too congested from allergies to allow traffic. They struggle just to let in air.  June seems to be a month of not much going on. My dance card is empty and the cosmic calendar is a blank. I can focus on the mundane things like reading, exercise, and sorting through the books for the ones I can give to the library.

July through October shall be a different matter. I finally cornered Someone to sit down and solidify some weekend excursions, a family wedding, and (happy joy!) a week’s holiday in Canada (Nova Scotia and PEI). Dry times like this month feel less dull when I know there are things for which to look ahead.

Brother #3 tells me Princess-Goddess and Nephew #4 have summers jam-packed and fun-filled; every day seems to be chock-full of activities. He anticipates a lot of running around getting them to and from their activities. This sounds to me like an awful way for the kiddies to spend their summer. I have the vague memory my childhood summers were unstructured with the everyday challenge to figure out what to do. We made it up as we went along and we were often bored. However this produced two delightful consequences:

summers seemed endless

I had plenty of time to imagine.

I don’t envy today’s munchkins whose summers seem more like those of over-worked adults.  It is another part of the bent status symbol ‘busy = importance”.   I don’t know if schools still do the ‘What did I do last summer” writing exercise, but I was secretly thrilled at some level to write ‘Nothing really’.  It is fascinating irony I now face a month of ‘nothing really’ only to feel it as something stagnant to get through.  I will enjoy my future summer travels but they will leave me with the sense that summer just flew by.   It makes one think.

Solitude 1

 

On the whole I prefer hot tea to iced (and either to coffee), for the former has more complexity and the ritual of brewing it is a delight.  However hot beverages are not appetizing in the Southwest summer season.

My weather app shows the temperature will hit 40C (104F) for the first time today. That means it’s time to make my first batch of sun tea. Someone always says the same thing each year when I haul out the glass jar in which I make it: solar tea isn’t ‘safe’ as the temperatures reportedly don’t get high enough to do away with whatever it is that makes it inimical.  In turn I point out he eats raw fish and I proceed.  

I’ve learned over the years not to use quality tea for its nuances are not brought out.  On the other hand, quisquillious tea bags are also a mistake for rubbish tea makes bitter, strong, and one-dimensional solar tea.*

I generally use Barry’s Irish breakfast tea (four bags) for it makes a strong but not too astringent solar brew. It is also rather pretty to watch the sun shine through the glassware, as the water slowly goes from clear to warm, gold, and remarkable. 

One jar usually lasts about a week. Solar tea loses its lustre if kept in the refrigerator for too long, but there is small chance of that happening. 

In contrast to Someone’s warning tea in itself is supposed to have all sorts of salubrious properties, so I think I am doing my health some good for my daily glass. It certainly is one Life’s pleasures – or at least mine.  

Welcome Summer. I am happy for it with my tall sweaty glass of tea, kissed by the sun. 

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*Like my men. 

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