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August blue shirt with ‘Jerold Bear’ to match

Today is 1 August, Lammas Day, the first day of the pagan season of autumn. I see August/September/October as a trilogy, counting down to Hallowe’en, my favorite. August is associated with the color blue, blue as the sky. In commemoration of the day I put outside in front of the house my turquoise-colored rock. Someone asked me to take in the orange one from July, for the two rocks together, orange and blue, looked like a Flintstones-version of Howards Johnsons. He’s no fun; he falls right over. 

It is also my maternal grandfather’s birthday; on 1 August I always have a dry martini in his memory, for it was his favorite. At the moment a dry martini does not sound at all appealing, but by day’s end I plan to have one. 

One of my recent ‘good morning’ memes was photo of an egg in an egg cup. This led to a fancy of getting one. Norm (the dear!) has heaps. I picked out a set and now it’s on its way. I watched The Tube of Yous some videos on how-to-make-a-perfect-soft-boiled-egg. In one of them, a strange metallic ball-bearing device was used to make a perfect circle cap upon the top of the egg. It has the amazing name of Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher.* 

You place it on top of the egg and drop the ball like New Years Eve and lo! cap off!

I wrote Mr. Bezo this morning to send me one without fail and charge it please, thank you very much. I added to the amazon request a bag of jelly babies, which I plan to eat with relish when Someone and I watch Dr. Who. 

Speaking of things in the post, Debra (the dear!) sent me a splendid little cookbook for my Bundt cake. Not only does it have recipes for cakes, but also for gelatin-based salads and main course items. Last night at the dinner table I read out loud some of the recipes to Someone for possible future use.  He was open to most of the cakes but was along the adage sooner he’d eat rats at Tewkesbury than chopped vegetables suspended in an amalgam of mayo and Jello. I will stick with the cakes until he can be swayed to reason. 

My ‘flour of the month’ club as I call it recently sent me a lovely bag of rye flour, oraganic ancient grains, ground by 3rd-generation Amish farmers (all vegetarians) at 3AM by the light of a full moon and kind to trees and dolphin safe.  This is unfortunate timing as Someone and I have delayed our follow-up appointments with our physicians to better our diet and our waistlines in August. We did badly in July and must atone for our negligence. I think I will still make some bread on the rationale I haven’t made a successful loaf yet and I am damned determined to have one. If a success I may wrap it and put it in the freezer, out of sight and thought, for September. 

*Eierschalle: egg shell; sollbruchstellen: set breaking point ; Verursacher: Someone/thing that causes something to happen.  Get it right !

I looked up the ‘dog days of summer’ to remember when the are are, and found out they are now, which doesn’t surprise me. Mid/late July through mid-late August always seemed to me a quiet, hot, slow-moving time. It actually rained here in Phoenix, and a strong downpour it was, causing gummy-panic in drivers who operated similar to Southerners in a two-inch snow fall. Overnight all the ocotillos put out green leaves so for a little while things look lush.

Someone works all day today, so I have a day of solitude. I used to prescribe such to patients: a day of alone-time with quiet. This was once considered an excellent tonic. Nowadays, youngsters find this concept horrible – a day with no music? no cellphones? no texting? shudder. Older types long for such, but find it nearly impossible to find ‘quiet down time’, more’s the pity. Today I plan on making a bundt cake, and ironing the shirts and such. We have a pile to rival Fafner’s hoard. This is hardly a thing of interest to blog upon but I am looking forward to it. The definition of introversion is easy: “where do you go to recharge?”. If the answer is ‘into myself, quietly, at home’ then you are an introvert.

I’ve become the patron of the arts. More specific, I am supporting several artistes via Some of my favorite podcasts do what they do as a labor of love; I like to support quality work. Amazingly, all of them send me personal thanks and sometimes gifts for my contributions. A donation of 20$ seems a genuine bargain to keep these guys afloat. At the end of this I list the links to some of my favorites; perhaps you would like them too.

As a treat I bought me a basket of blueberries. This is the ultimate summer eating, along with corn on the cob and watermelon. I plan to have some every night this week. I will have so much antioxidants in me I can feel my arteries soften at the mention.

I think later today I will make a few phone calls to folks I haven’t heard from in ages. Funny how this once-upon-a-time mundane matter is now looked upon as intruding onto another’s time. One can almost here the other end wondering if there is something the matter that I am calling. “Did I catch you at a bad time?” I always ask upon identifying myself.

Speaking of calling people, I should call Father too. I brought back to Arizona with me one if his T-shirts, a long sleeve flannel shirt, and a brown washcloth. I also have Brother #3’s phone charger cord. Neither of them seem anxious for me to pop them in the post ASAP, so I will hold onto them until my next jaunt east, which should be early October to see the fall colours.


Wise Hypocrite

Your brain on facts

Our Fake History

I painted another emotional pet rock. This one is an angry red, to match my eyes. The previous ones, yellow and blue, have already faded in the intensity of the Arizona sunshine. I brought them in for another coat. Yikes! They were so hot, I got a mild burn!

I dropped an ice cube in the laundry room and when I tidied up the spill with a washcloth, I was shocked by the dirt that came up with the water. This prompted me to sweep and mop all floors. Oh the horror; they were quite schumtzig. It was hard work, but I get to start the week with the quiet satisfaction the floors are bereft of dirt and dog hair. There was enough of the latter to make Harper a puppy companion.

Tonight I make Bulgarian beef stew, a recipe from my accordion file of clippings I got from the food magazines. I don’t know what makes it Bulgarian; I am not familiar with their culture or cuisine. The recipe involves a lot of garlic, paprika, and 5-10 bay leaves. I told Someone I was off to Uncle Albertons to get some bay leaves, as the ones in pantry were past their prime. He heard me say “Bailey’s” and questioned why I needed so many.

Speaking of booze buying, the wine refrigerator here at La Casa de Spo is bereft of table wine. Everything I have is top-notch high-quality stuff, reserved for special meals and company that never happen. I like basic sippers for every day consumption. Someone declined my invitation to accompany me to Total Wine. This is foolish of him as left alone in a wine store I come home with far more than l planned. I was on the hunt for ‘inexpensive good stuff’. I came home with twelve bottles of the biggest collection of “Summer rain” white wine one can imagine.* The staff recommendation tags assured me although these were dirt cheap they not to pass over; they were good. I think the cheapest I bought was five dollars.** If too nasty I can use them in my cooking.

Someone doesn’t like red wines (they give him headaches), so a bottle of that sort is for myself. After I drink a few glasses over a few days they go off and I loose interest, resulting in waste. I am going to try box wine as a hopeful means to have me some Cab without throwing out half the bottle. The salesman, who was well over four feet, assured his boxed wines are decent, tasty, and a good bargain – like my men. I will have a glass with my Bulgarian goulash this evening and see.

Finally: Spo-fans may be keen to know I have started ‘The Budget Project’. I started with understanding I need to figure out where our money comes from, and some categories of expenses (food, mortgage, liquor, etc.) Someone and I don’t have fixed monthly incomes; they vary by how much we work. It feels a good first step. I just hope I don’t find anything shocking or scandalous.

The week ahead looks like more of my usual. I think some folks have this Friday off, but not I.

*Summer rain: A product you buy you think was carefully selected for your tastes when it fact it was the item the salesperson had determined ahead of time to sell the next customer, regardless.

**Double Dog Dare. Fingers crossed.

I dropped my phone and now it’s broken; I cannot make or receive texts or phone calls. As I have no landline, I’ve unwillingly become one of those luddites or oldsters who ‘don’t have a phone’. I told folks on Facebook and I sent an email to Brother #3 to ‘spread the word’ so people won’t worry I’ve been abducted by aliens again. Life without a phone! This is both nerve-wracking and liberating. I’d be willing to go without for awhile, but I need one for work for receiving passcodes to write prescriptions.

Have you ever gone without a phone?

Some demon placed into my head a hankering for Blue Moon ice cream, something I haven’t had since I was ten years old. I tried explaining the color and taste to Someone, who had never heard of such a thing. “What does it taste like?” he asked me. “Like Blue Moon ice cream!” I told him. My search online (prior to dropping the phone) conveys Blue Moon this is mostly a Midwestern delicacy. I have to wait until I travel to Michigan next month to find some.

Have you ever had Blue Moon ice cream?

Today is Father’s Day. When Someone returns home from work this evening we will call papa on his phone and wish him a happy day. Father’s Day was never a big deal in The House of Spo. There were never any dinners or prizes. He likes phone calls and that’s that. This week he received the sad news his eyesight is not going to improve. He sounded resigned to such, saying he is glad this happens at 84 and not at 64. Good for him.

Is Father’s Day a big to-do in your family?

Before the phone went kaputt I was listening to a podcast on The Taiping Rebellion. Do you know of this historical event? Hong Xiuquan, a young man in China in the mid-19th century, had a nervous breakdown after his fourth failure at passing exams to become a civil servant. In his upset he started having dreams and beliefs he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. He would lead China into a heavenly kingdom on earth, with all the usual sumptuary laws against everything human: eating, drinking, having sex, you name it. The Manchus who were in charge were a bit peeved at this notion, and the resulting fourteen year long civil war ended in 30-50 million people dead. Since my iphone died before I could hear Part 3, I don’t know what happened to Mr. Hong.*

Have you ever slaughtered an entire town in the name of religion?

Today’s final Spo-bit is about the summer solstice. This occurs today local time 830PM. It means there will be less sunshine every day until December 20th and I say good riddance. We have way too much sunshine as it is. When I visit Michigan next month I want a week of nonstop rain, preferably with thunderstorms. I want to sit on the patio porch with Papa while eating blue moon ice cream. Being blind, he doesn’t have a phone and perhaps neither will I. This sounds not bad at all.

How’s the weather where you are?

*I went to The Wiki and had a look-see: he ends badly.

It’s rawther hot, hitting highs between 40 and 47C. Above 42C it doesn’t matter; it is just bloody hot and the mantra ‘it’s a dry heat’ is of no comfort. Mad dogs and Englishman go out in the mid-day sun but not I, not if I can help it. Even the pool isn’t much help given the blazing sunshine; one tans in five minutes.

Sunday is ‘slow cooker day’ at La Casa de Spo. It is sometimes a challenge to find something Someone will like. Today I am doing chicken tikka masala. I like Indian cuisine, the spicier the better. Some say tikka masala is not proper Indian food, along the line chop suey is not proper Chinese cuisine. I like tikka anyway and it makes for good leftovers eating.

Last Friday The Bosses fired the two most recent incarnations of The Best Medical Recipients. People come and go so quickly here. Keeping the post filled is more difficult than that of Professor of defense against the dark arts at Hogwarts. I understand why one of the incarnations was let go, but not the other. She came to me last Friday in tears to say she was going – now – and she wanted to say I was the best doctor she’s ever worked with as I was so nice (to her and others). I will miss that one. I wonder who will be working on Monday. I’ve learned not to get too fond of them as they don’t stay, usually sacked.

Spo-fans know I enjoy finding fancy and fustian words. I recently learned of the word ‘spuddle”. It is a verb, apparently from the 1600s, which means to work ineffectively; to be extremely busy whilst achieving nothing. What a word! It needs a revival. Try using it in an email today.

Now I must walk the dog. In ardent weather, walks must be done very early in the morning and again after the sun sets as the pavement is too hot for old paws. I don’t care much for it either. Happily there is plenty of solar tea at hand. In this weather it cooks in only a few hours.

It’s now hot enough (40C) to haut out the large glass mason jar from behind the Tupperware and make solar tea. I use Irish Breakfast as this brand doesn’t get bitter sitting in the ardent Arizona sun. A batch lasts about a week, just in time to make another.

It’s also time to make a fresh batch of one of my favorite summer libations: Windex. Add a slice of lemon and a fluorescent pink swizzle stick and Bob’s your uncle it’s summer time. I keep a pre-made batch (minus the 7-UP) in the fridge, in a glass bottle.

A few weeks ago I bought a T-shirt with a design made by my niece Princess-Goddess. It arrived yesterday. Today I go to the gym dressed in the height of work-out fashion, which is a purple pink-winged monster with nasty big pointy teeth.

This morning we went to my favorite breakfast diner, the first time going in fourteen months. I had the ‘sun devil skillet’ with the obligatory salsa and hot sauce. It’s a rare dish that doesn’t get either southwestern condiment added to it.

This afternoon I need to fill out FMLA forms and LOA (leave of absence) papers. This always makes me grumpy. No matter what I write, the insurance companies and employers will reject them. Afterwards, the patients become upset as the companies/employer tells them it is my fault when it fact what they do is stall and stall until the patients (unpaid for not working) become desperate and return to work regardless of their capabilities. The insurance companies/employers then point this out the patients didn’t really didn’t need time off as they have returned to work.

Now I am in a bad mood.

I am reading a book all about the moon. Chapter 8 is about the history of the moon in astrology. I know my sun sign, which is Cancer*, but I didn’t know there was a moon sign too. I just checked on line at one of those ‘calculate your moon sign’ websites to learn my moon sign is Virgo. A second opinion on another site said the same. I don’t know what that means yet, other than I now have a lot more cookies following me around the internet.

That’s about all the Spo-bits that’s fit to print. I am overdue to check on my blogger buddies; this is on the agenda this evening. See you soon.

*Cancer: a giant blackhole of endless emotional needs.

Between allergies and the medications to treat them, I am worthless. I spent the majority of Saturday in bed. When I was not reading, I was snoozing. I am not one to dream yet I had several humdingers, most of them unpleasant. I guess I needed a day of rest – and a day of doing nothing. There is a part of me that felt a bum for such indolence, but the rest of me thought it scrumptious. Today I will do a few things, but otherwise the weekend was two days of leisurely nothing. When did you last do that?*

For a week I am deleting the Facebook app from my iPhone. I am curious to see what this does for me. My hypothesis is I will have lots more time. If this works well I may start eliminating other apps, turning my iPhone more like a proper phone and not a time-sucking entertainment center. 

Today I go back to the gym, hopefully on a regular basis. I’ve tried a few times but I didn’t feel OK to stay. Now that I’ve been vaccinated, I feel the risk/benefit ratio has shifted towards the lack of exercise being more detrimental to my health than contagion. All the same I plan on keeping my mask on. Indeed I plan on wearing one for some time into the future. History shows whenever an epidemic starts to slow down, people drop their guard and there is a surge of sickness. I wonder if rude people will tell me to remove my mask. If they do I am prepared with a set of responses calculated to do the most damage. This is a egregious violation of the Miss Manners’ advice never to return rudeness with rudeness, but I won’t be rude per. I will simply say something to make them feel scared and awful. 🙂

I am thinking of starting a category of Spo-reflections called: “Everything you know is Wrong”.  This is a reference to The Firesign Theatre’s parody on UFOs and conspiracy theories. In it, I will discuss a so-called truism and how it is more complex than I realized. I will try a few out and see if the Spo-fans care for it. 

One final Sunday Spo-bit: this morning during the dog walk another rock followed me home. It looks to be of igneous origin and it was standing in the middle of the wash. Rationalists would say a rainstorm must have washed it down into it, but there was no signs of such to support the hypothesis. The rock was standing there as if purposely placed for me to pick it up. I will paint this one red, Jungle Red, one coat or two. 

*I woke this morning to find Someone had slept in The Blue Room. He declined our usual Sunday ablutions of Einstein Brothers, Albertsons, and car wash, for he too had a bad night of allergies and was zonked on Rx.  

I am on my union-approved water break from La Casa de Spo spring cleaning. We have our first guest since 2019 coming this week* and we are scouring the house of dust, pollen, dog hair, and dead scorpions prior to his arrival. The washer and dryer are going allegro non troppo. Someone is washing all the windows and Urs Truly is in charge of the dusting. Despite double doses of Zyrtec I am sneezing my schnoz off. I am not the strongest of fellows, but my sneezes have the force and velocity of a category 5 hurricane. It is 10AM. We’ve been up since 6 (before the heat of the sunshine mars the window cleaning). By 2PM we’ll be cold as mackerels but well satisfied in our industry.

Sunday is ‘Dr. Who night’ when we watch an episode or two. I am a late-comer to ‘Dr. Who’. It is great nonsense but admittedly jolly good fun. We finished Dr. #9 and are going through #10. I am glad they are subtitled; when the actors start talking excitedly they are hard for this Yankee lad from the Midwest to understand what they are saying. For a fellow from an ancient faraway planet The Doctor sounds like he comes from Lancashire. Zygons are easier to understand at times.

Last night I prepared as sockeye salmon by pouring on a marinade and wrapping it up in aluminum foil and cooking it for twenty minutes, followed by five minutes under the broiler. I am learning how to use my automatic thermometer. Although I followed the recipe, my meter showed the inside temperature was already too high. True enough, I thought the fish was overcooked, a disappointment. Next time I will know to cook for only a fraction of the time in the recipe. This is a consistent problem with my oven: whatever the recipe time is I should do only a fraction as the dish ends up overcooked. I’ve learned rather to go by vision, tasting, and of course what my cooking thermometer tells me when things are properly cooked.

I end the Sunday Spo-bits with a trip to Joanne’s to buy me some hobby paints for the paint-the-rocks project. I also need more elastic bandage to convert the old masks to the trendy ‘over the ears’ style. I need to use more elastic as Someone says the first batch I converted are too small for his face: the ties pull his ears forward, giving him a ‘gerbil look’. I think this looks quite darling. I refrained from commenting about him having ‘a big mouth’, but I will add a few more inches to the bands.

*Spo-fans may remember that Brother #4 et. al. who came to visit last month. That was family, not ‘guests’. Clever-dicks who want to split straws should write their remonstrances to and see what that gets you.

Patience above! We spent all of yesterday tidying up the house in anticipation of a visit from Brother #4 et. al. this Thursday. While Someone shampooed all the rugs I moved the back porch furniture out into the yard to give all a thorough cleaning and dusting. Who can say when the carpets were last cleaned and was last October when I last minded the patio furniture? Oh the horror. It was some job; it took all day. Last night before crashing I sat outside in the now-cleaned porch area and felt good about my industry. 

I am starting each day now with the expressions “Amor fati” and “Momento Mori”.  Amor fati is Latin “love of one’s fate”.* It is an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life including loss and suffering as something that can be embraced to teach something. Even bad things can have meaning derived from then. 

Memento mori  is Latin for for ‘remember that you [have to] die’.  This keeps me on my toes and don’t delay the good things and put ‘drama’ into perspective. 

They make a curious couple these two, almost a paradox: I embrace the day with all it has as I think upon my mortally. 

I brought back from Michigan a black metal recipe box which I thought was my mother’s but upon careful inspection the contents are her mother’s. Most of the recipes were not worth keeping – a disappointment –  or my mother had passed them onto me already. Curious! Grandmother wrote her recipes or pasted newspaper clippings on the back of whatever pieces of paper were at hand. One was a stylish card requesting an RSVP for a wedding reception. It turns out it was for my parent’s wedding; Father recognized it right away when I read it to him. I will keep this card although the recipe on its back – for baked beans! – is of no value. 

Today we have to put back all the furniture we moved about for shampooing the rugs. As the main bed was piled up we slept in the guest room A.K.A. The Dragon Room, with its quaint queen-size bed. We both like space in a bed, preferring a radius of 300 miles between me and the next one, so it was rather snug, especially when you add a pooch that is not used to sleeping in The Dragon Room. The night resembled the Indi-Pakastani border as to which nation claims the no-man’s land in the middle. I daresay we will sleep soundly tonight when the proper bed is back in place. 

*Latin-scholars and clever-dicks are welcome to correct me if needed. 

Sunday seems to be the day when I make rounds on all my blog reads. Every Sunday as I read and catch up with my fellow-bloggers I vow to not fall behind but read more regular, only to reach another Sunday. 

Arizona doesn’t do no stinkin’ Daylight Savings time, but I had to do my twice a year ritual remembering which time zone now gels with Arizona Standard Time. Father told me today he is ‘three hours ahead’, which makes me realize for the next six months we are on “California time”. Would we were in Palm Springs to do so! 

We had nice weather for awhile, then it turned windy and rainy and cloudy. “Alaska weather”I call that. Today it is sunny but no warmer than 14C. 

Last night I made a Detroit-style pizza; it was my second attempt at doing so. I was pleased as Punch it was superior to the first. I made notes on the first attempt and these proved positive to improve the dish. Someone agreed; he ate his pieces with relish.  What still needs improvement is the dough. I’ve not had any great success at making dough or bread. This makes my desire for a mixer even more so. There are lots of things around La Casa de Spo that need money thrown at it before buying a mixer, so I was surprised that Someone thinks this a good idea. What a lovely thought to have a mixer! Anybody have one? Do your use yours? 

Tomorrow I get my first of two vaccines. I forget what sort I to receive, but it is not possible to forget I have an appointment as I’ve received a strafe of emails reminding me I do. They are worse than emails from ‘The Great Courses’ announcing yet another sale. 

Speaking of forgetting things, it looks like work forgot to close down my appointment scheduled for this Wed-Friday this when I go to Michigan. This may be my fault viz. I forgot to tell them. Regardless, tomorrow morning right away Thing 1 and Thing 2 need to make the calls. The howl of canceled patients will resemble an orchestra of scorched cats. I feel bad about this. I told the staff in my email of contrition to explain I have to attend to my fathers’ surgery, scheduled for Thursday (true) so this may assuage some anger. 

This weekend I am making a Spo-shirt that is

a) turning out well and

b) not to my liking.

That happens. I buy some fabric only to grow disenchanted with it. I thought to practice on it to remember how to make a shirt, but it is better than I figured it would be. When completed, I think I will post it on Facebook (and here as well) to collect names of thems who would like it, place the names in a Viking helmet,  and pull out a name and give it away.   Stay tuned.

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August 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018