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SIL #4 tested positive for covid on Thanksgiving Day’s Eve poor thing. She was to host at her house and be chief cook and bottle washer. Alas Babylon for the lot of them. T-day was canceled or delayed it is not certain which. No one sounded devastated by this. I think many were secretly relieved they didn’t have to help a full day making a meal that is consumed in a few minutes. Traditionally at Thanksgiving time, names are drawn over the pumpkin pie for the Spo-clan “Secret Santa”. This is a tradition I suspect many in my family would vote to do no more but being Midwesterners no one wants to be the one that instigates it. If they do dinner today I may hear by the end of the day we are doing it again. I am OK with this.

Spos far and wide* are pleased as Punch that yesterday The University of Michigan beat That-school-in-Columbus. Not only did they win, this happened in the dark heart of Ohio and done by a wide margin. This alliance of stars is rare as white buffalos so we take it when we can. There was much rejoicing – at least by the ones not sick with covid. I haven’t watched the game in decades as it is too nerve-racking to do so.

Rumor has it OSU has denied the outcome and will submit a lawsuit demanding a recount of the score as the game was stolen. 🙂

Thanks to a long weekend Sunday is bereft of there’s-work-to-be-done tasks. Someone and I need to figure out my insurance for 2023, the deadline being 2 December. Spo-fans may recall I missed last year’s deadline and I started the year in a gummy-panic facing a year sans insurance (that means without). You bet your knickers we’re not going to let this happen again. I have three Hobson choices to figure out which one is the least painful. I will have something not nothing. Fingers crossed.

Today I may get out some of the easier-to-find Christmas trimmings like the holiday tea-things and mugs and dinner napkins that sort of thing. I forgot Advent starts today and I am bereft of purple candles. Yesterday I wrote to Santa Bezos asking His Magnificence to send some toot suite. He or one of his minions wrote right back saying I must have patience and wait a few days. Ha! Remember when we had to wait weeks for something to arrive? The world didn’t seem to end for it.

That’s all the Sunday-Spo-bits there is I suppose. I lead a dull life. Today I plan on reading blogs and getting caught up with everyone’s shenanigans, hoping they are well and have a more interesting life than I have these days.

*The majority of them anyway. The branch of Spo who reside in Columbus aren’t so jolly.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store around 11AM to pick up a prescription and while there do some shopping. Normally I visit Uncle Albertsons before 8AM before the unwashed masses descend. I forgot it was the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Oh the horror. I tried to do the grocery list but I lost nerve halfway through and left with the list only half done. We need to return tomorrow to do the rest, including the turkey which I couldn’t get near to. Preferably we will go before 7AM.*

As you can see, Someone and I decided to make a turkey after all. We had some doubts but we both like Turkey soup so a proper bird is required. I made the Halloween supper so Someone can cook the bird as he pleases. It was two years ago I spent three days brining the turkey in a special brine and then I cooked it in an elaborate way only to have a bird that tasted like any other. This year it goes into the oven and that’s that. All this time and effort trying to make a juicy bird seems a waste of time as that is what gravy is for.

Speaking of Thanksgiving drama, on Friday last The Medical Assistant informed me I was working the Friday after Thanksgiving. This was news to me. For years the place is closed on that day and I have a four day weekend. Apparently when the place was bought by The Overlords, the day after Thanksgiving is NOT a day off, but no one told me. I am the only clinician scheduled to work that day, the rest all took the day off. By my working this means the staff will have to work. The MA put on quite the indirect speech act not directly coming out saying she is speaking on behalf of all if I cancel they get a day off. Canceling has some consequences. I would lose income if I do. I don’t have anything planned for that day. I know the 20 or so patients scheduled for Friday will have to be called to reschedule, generating howls resembling an orchestra of scorched cats. Normally the staff hate doing this sort of thing but they were a-ok this time just say the word. Twenty upset patients is bad but not as dire as six to seven upset staff members, so I voted to cancel. The minions now have the day off to go Black Friday shopping. I am the nice one.

I found a new unused T-shirt in the the gym parking lot the other day, so I took it home hoping it would be useful. It says MARINE on its back. When Someone found the shirt he questioned how I got it. Not wanting to believe I would be so low as to carry home clothes found in a parking lot he thinks I am playing seedy Scrabble games with a Sargent Somebody. Oh the pain. Turns out the T-shirt is of poor quality fabric and it is tight enough to show off my paunch with great focus so it went into the bag to give to Goodwill. I suspect Sargent Somebody dropped it on purchase as it is cheap goods.

One final Sunday Spo-bit:

Brother #2 called me while he was traveling from Wisconsin (Land of Cheese) to Michigan (Land of Perpetual Snow and Ice). He explained he was down to a single lane behind a snow plow with terrible sight from all the white, the dreaded ‘lake effect snow”. It is hard to imagine there is snow as I look out the window at the bright sunny sky with highs 22C. Sometimes I fancy moving back in the Midwest then I hear something like this and I am not sure. I hope he gets there safe and sound. Apparently it took 3-4 hours more than usual. I hope Brother #3 has a good snort of scotch for him.

Are you living with snow in your neck of the woods?

Alas Babylon! My first and only attempt at wearing said T-shirt didn’t make me look like this Marine.

*The irony is I didn’t get the prescription. The unfamiliar pharmacist didn’t speak much English and explained in a quite-anxious state she was covering and she didn’t have some sort of ID password to get into things etc. I told her I would come back tomorrow as my presence only made her worse.

I woke this morning at 5AM (as is my wont) and made a hot beverage (which is also my wont) to do the ironing to warm me up. By the time Someone woke I had the laundry and ironing done, my paperwork completed, and the more urgent household tasks accomplished. It is a very nice feeling to get things done and out of the way thus freeing up a Sunday for … gasp…. leisure. I think I will continue with the project of putting all the Cooks Illustrated recipes into my database for easy finding, the recipes I vow to make someday but never do.

Speaking of food, Someone is going to work Thanksgiving weekend (which is his wont) so it’s another Thanksgiving we won’t be doing. We seldom have one. It’s only the two of us and he works late and all that cooking for a few bites of things. One of our meal-kit subscriptions offers a simple T-giving supper so perhaps we may have some turkey after all. That would be nice. I don’t miss the noise and calories that goes with a family get-together but I would like some turkey and gravy.

Someone doesn’t work today so he wants to go to a movie. He loves movies and he isn’t picky what he sees. I am very picky so we don’t do often to his disappointment. We are seeing some animal story about a black panther which i hope doesn’t have too many quick camera shots as I get motion sickness easily at these soirees.

Yesterday I found my one pair of heavy cotton socks which pleases me very much. Most of the time I walk barefoot but the cold tiles around these times is a bit chilly. I also found some flannel boxer shorts which much be very old as it is the sort of thing I wore back in Michigan in 2005. Lovely.

That’s all the bits thats fits to print. I hope you have a good Sunday.

Patience above! Hallowe’en is a week away and there’s work to be done!

This will be the first year I don’t send barrels of Hallowe’en-themed popcorn to all the niblings. The company I was using (The Popcorn Factory) has bungled the orders somehow enough times in the row to give up. Also, their prices are insane for what is basically a few cups of popcorn kernels. I wonder if the niblings will miss it; will I get calls from any of them wondering what happened and they miss it. I doubt it.

Yesterday was the first opera of the new season of ‘Live from the Met HD’. The diva who sang the part of Medea did a kick-butt job, not only with voice but all her gyrations crawling around on the floor. Jolly good fun it was. At supper we watched “Halloweentown’ which was “Disney” from beginning to end. I enjoyed it. It starred Debbie Reynolds. I happened to sit next to her when Someone and I went to hear a live-on-stage-contractual-obligation performance by Carrie Fisher. Someone (to my right) whispered who she was but I did not feign to speak to her. I suppose she sits next to a lot of people who end up asking her stupid questions so I kept mum.

I made gingerbread dough to make ghost cookies for the office. Oh how easy it was to make the dough in my Kitchen-Aid! It’s one of those cases when you do it a new way you wonder how on earth did you manage beforehand. Today I will make the cookies and this evening I frost’em. I hope these go over better than did the cupcakes.

Today I am going for a much needed haircut. My hair is quickly turning from brindled to silver to white. There is a part of me that fancies getting a dye-job, a color out of a bowl of Froot-Loops. A few years ago I used some cheap spray for a Hallowe’en costume and the damned stuff didn’t quite leave by Thanksgiving.

I added another rock to my backpack which pleased me very much to do so.

I think I will take a long nap this afternoon and get my rest for Lord’s sake. I could do with a lie-down. When in doubt; get horizontal. Someone is working a matinee this day, so it should be a quiet afternoon to do so. I lead a dull life, but that is what Sunday afternoons should be.

Finally: at this time every year I get out my Wicked Pack of Cards (AKA The Tarot) and do readings on All Hallows Eve. If Spo-fans would like a general reading for the next twelve months, please say so in the comments. I will put your name down, read’em on 31 October, and send you the results via email.

I haven’t written in a while, a combination of having no time and no ideas. I recently saw an episode of “Sandman’ about a nasty man, a writer, who holds hostage one of The Muses, forcing her to give him inspiration and ideas.* My Muses et. al. pop in as they please like Darrin’s family-in-law, and they’ve all been away, worse luck. This leaves boring old me and my mundane matters, which (I am often told) bores the brains out of the Spo-fans. I decided to write something, anything, partially to keep up the discipline and partially to fulfill the contractual obligation to do so.

I started taking my walks with a backpack filled with rocks. I feel quite butch doing this. I started with small stones I can easily unload, lest I give myself a stroke. The hardest thing is getting the thing on, so I am working on ways to do so, such as backing up on it while it sits on the high counter.

Many of my favorite podcasts are about history. One of them tackles British cooking and right now some expert is discussing the history of something called Yorkshire pudding, which is not toad-in-the-hole which sounds unappetizing, but what do I know. The two talkers seem fussy what makes a proper Yorkshire, arguing about what drippings to use etc. The woman uses the word ‘studgy” a lot, which doesn’t sound good. I need to look this up.** I’ve never had a Yorkshire pudding (good or bad) but I am keen to try one, provided I get a proper one, no rubbish type.

Yesterday I made my annual “Halloween trail mix” for the offices. This year’s ingredients included Cheez-it crackers, square pretzels, Reeses pieces, yogurt-covered raisins, and several scoops of Brach’s ‘autumn mix’. Later on I realized I forgot to add the Count Chocula cereal and now it’s too late.*** I don’t eat cold cereal and Someone (who does) won’t touch it so what to do? This week is ‘large trash items pick up’ and many have old shelves and such out by the curb for the dustman or someone like him. A few have put out knick-knacks that others are picking over, a sort of neighborhood exchange. I am half-tempted to put out the cereal box hoping someone will take it, but I suspect it will be an object of suspicion so I won’t.

Last week’s appointment with The Good Doctor went well with only one exception: I have some glucose in the urine. I wondered how is this possible as my blood glucose is 90 (good). He didn’t have an answer so we are talking the long time medical trick of ‘wait and watch’ when we don’t know what it is or what to do about it, sometimes referred to as ‘The Voltaire approach’ who said the art of medicine is the careful craft of entertaining the patient while the body heals itself. It seems sensible.

Finally . . . . .

Sunday evenings in October is ‘move night’ at La Casa de Spo. I have a few favorites to see again and a few ‘classics’ yet to be viewed. I include some nonsense so tonight we see “Werewolves on wheels” something a friend into ‘B-movies’ highly recommends as ‘has to been seen”. Wish me luck.

*He gets his comeuppance.

**It means:

  1. Dull, unimaginative, and commonplace. synonymdull.
  2. Old-fashioned and stuffy.
  3. Indigestible and starchy; heavy.

***Perhaps it is just as well. I remember last year making some with the cereal and people picked out the pretzels etc. leaving the cereal bits behind. Stirges.

Patience above! I am in the grips of abdominal abminale. Oh the pain. It must be something I ate although we can’t figure out what that may have been, since we more or less ate the same things since Friday evening. Regardless of the etiology it’s a no-fun time arriving Saturday night (in the middle of a play, no less!).. Taking the Christian Scientist approach I have told the bug it is only error and tried to un-see it. Unfortunately it refuses to un-see me. It shows no signs of letting up even after reading “The Scientific statement of being.’ I guess it is no use but to just wait it out. Avoid curried snacks – and everything else for that matter. I have fasting blood work to do tomorrow morning before work, so it’s an ill wind that blow nobody good.

Yesterday before the storm I got out some of the Halloween trimmings. The outside lights are changed from white to orange. I found my spooky whimsical masks made in October 2020. Good thing I kept them! The Halloween advent tree is out with two ornaments hung so far. So begins the season.

I am quite behind in my blog reads for which I am contrite. As I am not going anywhere today (all trips canceled)* I should have plenty of time to catch up on them.

Tune in tomorrow for something more substantial to read why dotcha.

*I just remembered: I have a 2pm appointment for a flu shot. I will go out and get that at least.

Last year when my humble workplace was sold to The Overlords there were changes made and one of them is annual reviews are now a thing. I haven’t had one since my state hospital job twenty-three years ago. It involves going on-line to their website to read and sign off on it. I did so yesterday. I forget what the categories were exactly but I was pleased as Punch I got mostly “Os (Outstanding)” and “Es (Excellent)”. The worst one was an “S (Satisfactory)” but that was in ‘Congeniality’ which is not what the women in my family aspire to anyway.*

Speaking of family, last night I needed some cheering up so I made a four-ingredient chicken and rice Midwest hot dish. You put the chicken in, sprinkle on top a package of onion dip mix, then 1 cup of rice, and add a diluted can of cream of mushroom soup, cover and bake and Bob’s your uncle. I felt like I was ten years old again at a family dinner get-together. Mine was zany that I added some tinned mushroom pieces to mine. This is what passes for brazen nowadays.

Speaking of work, last week I made pumpkin spice coffee for thems at work, trying to collaborate with the colleagues. I used a pumpkin spice blend that I made from a recipe I found on the internet. Oh the horror. Normally praised for my coffee, this went over like a lead balloon.** The howl of disgruntled coffee drinkers echoed down to Hell to the very throne itself. Yesterday I went to Uncle Albertsons to get some proper pumpkin spice coffee, which was Starbucks and bought at no small expense I may add. I hope this is met with better reception. Cast not pearls before swine, and that include impudent coffee drinkers.

This week is the last week of The Medical Assistant’s two week-long holiday. There’s nothing like being left alone for a man to appreciate his administrative assistant. I’m doing extra hours to do the work she normally does. She didn’t schedule any charm-rep lunches for the time she would be away, and I keep forgetting to bring something to work. Yesterday at Uncle Albertsons I loaded up on frozen entrees; I need to remember to bring them to work.

On the home front: all the bedding and laundry is done – temporarily. Today I hope to do very little other than read books and blogs and walk dogs. I may make some cookies for work to go along with the new and improved coffee. Hopefully this raises my annual review goal a bit.

*The one area that could use some coiffing was ‘collaborating with colleagues’. Since I am the only shrink there this, this is a difficult task.

**I am nearly always the first one to the office, so I make the coffee for folks as they come in. I am Coffee-Master. Apparently I make the best coffee can you imagine? I suppose the key includes rinsing out the paper filter so it doesn’t give a papery taste to the beverage, and adding a dash of salt to the grounds to cut any bitterness. I grind beans while others buy pre-ground rubbish-type coffee. You do a good job and it becomes yours for life. In the annual review I didn’t see an “O” for Outstanding coffee.

Yesterday I watch a video on various ways to cook an egg. I like them over easy (like my men). The teacher showed how to flip it over in the pan. After instruction I gave it a try and lo! I did it! On my first try too! I was quite surprised and pleased as Punch. This mawkish achievement gave me a nice feeling of satisfaction. Next step: making an omelet, which is something else I have never tried.

A salesperson at work is trying to convince me to sign up for some sort of do-it-yourself testing the I usually farm out to a psychologist or a neurologist. Learning to do my own testing and getting patients to do it (on line) sounds a lot of effort. I’m getting to the age I don’t feel the need to learn fancy new techniques to do my job. I can’t get the salesperson to provide any research papers (other than their own) that shows doing this sort of thing actually improves patient care. I should just straight out tell him I’m not interested but we have yet another meeting next week. It must be tough being a salesman; it isn’t a job I would want to do.

I have a couple of friends who love to travel. They have the time and energy (and the money apparently) to indulge in this past time. Presently they are posting nonstop on Facebook all their sightseeing in Southern Africa. They look to be having themselves a ball, and good for them. I find I am now avoiding their posts as The Goddess Envy has come around to shake me up a bit. She whispers I have neither the resources or the time to do likewise. She’s not wrong but I don’t need her to remind me.

Yesterday I was ‘home alone’ as is the wont on a Saturday. Nobody called and nobody ever came, as they say in “Sunset Boulevard”. I kept down the amount of music and podcasts so it was a very quiet day. Usually this feels serene but it all felt unsettling. There was a sensation no one knew I was here and if I should trip over the dog and die no one would find me. A case of Kodokushi (孤独死) or lonely death if ever there was one. It gave me the willies.

I need a haircut so I will put myself down for appointment this afternoon at Supercuts. The place resembles a McDonald’s how people get in and out so. Oh to have a proper barber who leans me back and gives me a shave as well! Presently I look like The Wild man from Borneo, but I hope a haircut and a shave (done myself, worse luck) will make me presentable for Monday. Every time I go for a cut I see the bottles on the wall and fancy having my hair dyed just once some color found in Froot Loops. Fluorescent blue or green sounds jolly good fun but I would shock the patients and the APA Secret Police (already fed up with of my shenanigans) would arrest me and haul me away. This prompts a memory of reading pamphlet on the college dormitory bulletin board that said:

“Have you been abducted by aliens but are too embarrassed to say so because they didn’t subject you to a humiliating exam but they gave you a haircut and a complete makeover and fear no one will believe you? “

Aliens or the APA are welcome today so I don’t have another unsettling solitude.

Today (Lord willing) Brother #4 drives me to the airport and I am on my way back to AZ. 

Funny how four days of tending to Father flew by fast. The days fly when nothing really happens.

Princess-Goddess wanted to make a cake using marshmallows. I introduced her to the concept of a ‘double boiler’, something she had never heard of nor does SIL #3 have in the house. I sounded quite the ‘Gordon Ramsey’ in my teaching and received the compliment ‘you sure know how to cook better than dad does”. Go figure. 

Speaking of gay-uncle goings-on, I bought the niblings each a bag of locally-made sweeties. Their father told me they can do with a small bag to share but screw that I’m the uncle so they got big ones. 

Dogs are always on the wrong side of every door, the chickens are never on the right side of fence, and cats get into everything and they stop at nothing. 

After a week of having afternoon naps while Father took his, it will be difficult to not have them anymore. The ability to take a nap seems correlated with freedom.

I played a card game called “chameleon” with the niblings. I never quite caught on to the point of it. I had enough sense to let them win but the consequence of this charitable action is they think less of their brilliant uncle as being ‘slow of study’ as we like to say. 

Brother #2 had a shift with Father just before I arrived. He brought from Wisconsin a lot of lovely cheeses, which were ate with relish.  No more cheese for a while thank you. 

A final Spo-thought for Sunday: I got a proper Midwest thunderstorm! Unfortunately it arrived around 3AM which woke me up and my brain felt obliged to stay awake to listen to it. I think to sleep on the flight home, provided I am not next to a restless seat mate. 

Yesterday I had a list of errands to run, and I stopped by Einstein Brothers first to get a bagel sandwich.* The local one suddenly closed for no explanation other than ‘temporarily closed for now”. I was glad to see it open again. The place and staff were all the same so ‘why’ it shut for a few weeks is a mystery, one they didn’t disclose. The bagels tasted the same. Someday I will experience a real proper bagel and know what I am missing.

Next stop was Petsmart. While buying dog food at the pet store I spied a young woman in the collar/leash aisle trying on a collar. I didn’t ask if she was trying it on for size for her pooch or it herself. When I lived in Chicago I knew a woman who abjured all sorts of activities as degrading to women but thought nothing of being led on a leash by her partner up and down Halsted St. I hope she gets the one with the break away bit lest she get caught on something.

Speaking of dog-things, the cobbler store where I go is located now next to a doggie-day care center. His shoppe is a small one and one can hear all the dogs barking through the walls. Imagine having to work in such an environment. My two pairs have new heels and were shined lovely. I have four pairs of black shoes, all near the end of their use. I despise buying shoes; I tend to go in and ask for a replacement for the ones I am wearing when I was walking in. With any luck I am in/out in less than 15 minutes.

I picked up a shirt at a place erroneously named “Organic dry cleaners”. There is nothing organic about the place. The garments come in the usual nasty plastic covers and they serve cold water in plastic bottles. Most of the time the doors are wide open, allowing the AC to seep out into the ardent Arizona heat. They allow you to return hangers, which is nice.

On the way home I stopped by Home Depot to get some ‘shock’ for the cement pond. If there is any doubt people are stupid one only has to drive to HD and try parking and maneuvering the aisles hoping to find one small item and get out without ructions or accidents. Mercifully there was no shooting.

I also bought some new masks. They are quite colorful and Someone should be able to easily spot me in a store when I get lost.

Happily today Sunday I have no need to go out at all, other than the gym. Yesterday was ‘weights’ so today is half hour on the elliptical or something like it. Speaking of masks, although there is a surge of covid (again) there are few masks seen at the gym. I keep waiting for someone to come up to me and question my wearing one. The poor sod is going to get a mouthful of guilt-evoking sentences, carefully researched and rehearsed, guaranteed to make them wish they hadn’t botherer.

This afternoon I plan on making something in the Kitchen-Aid, to be determined. Let’s see of anyone at work says thank you.

*Technically I stopped by the gas station first, as the car was ‘running on fumes’ as it were. I tend to fill up whenever it drops below 1/4 tank. In contrast Someone drives until the car nearly runs out of gas. This is another question one ought to ask a potential date/partner: how long will you go before going to the gas station? With me it is too late.

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