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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.

It is 29C (lower 80sF). It feels lovely. I have the doors open to let in some ‘fresh air’ although this comes with some dust. As they say in ‘Game of Thrones’: “Allergies are coming”. I just started taking a daily allergy pill, starting with only a half tablet as the first week back on drugs always makes me walk around in a daze.  

I got a long-overdue haircut today; it feels good not to have the “Jack Nicolson look’ anymore. My grindled coif is nearly gray now, although I like the euphemism ‘silver’.  

Speaking of things long-overdue, I started cutting out the pieces for a new Spo-shirt. The last time I made was one January 2020 for a February debut in Palm Springs that did not happen. Last year I made masks rather – lots. I got out three yards of a verdure fabric with hibiscus flowers. I bought the stuff so long ago I don’t recall where or when. I fell out of love with it and never used it until now. I figured it would be good practice to recall how to sew a shirt. If it turns out OK I may put it up for a silent auction or a lottery among the Spo-fans.  Let’s’ see how turns out. Sometimes ‘meh’ fabrics turn out better than predicted. 

I tidied up the spice rack. It started as a search for the ingredients to make fines herbes. It ended up with me throwing out lots of things, many with expiration dates before 2014. One had on its bottom: ‘use before 2010’. I compacted the two half-full jars of paprika and the three half-empty jars of curry*. The spice rack is now approximately two-thirds of its occupancy. I never did make the fines herbes, for I need new ingredients. 

While I was tidying up the tarragon, Someone gave Harper a bath. She’s been smelling a bit gamey for sometime. She puts up with the bath part with unhappy dignity but afterwards enters into an elation during the rub down with towels. Then she runs around the house, pausing only to shake a bit,  sending dog hair everywhere. She is a happy dog status-post bath and treat. It reminds me of joke:

“My dog has no nose.”

“How does he smell?”

“Terrible!!”

 

 

 

*Not with each other, obviously. 

Someone got his second covid19 shot this morning; his appointment was at 430AM. We woke at 330 to drive to the stadium parking lot where shots are given in a drive-through. It went smoothly and the staff were most courteous. We were home by 530AM; today we are rawther tired. He’s taking a nap and I will take one too after this is posted. 

Before he retired to The Dragon Room, Someone finished our taxes. For the first time in decades we owe money. Father would be pleased. He believes getting a refund is a bad sign. “You gave the government a free loan!” he would say. We feel bad not because we owe taxes but we made more money in 2020 than in 2019. It feels bad almost guilty feeling, when so many people suffered in 2020.

Sunday is turning out to be the day to cook – new and adventuresome dishes. Around noon I made a chili with chocolate. There was some philosophical discussion over lunch whether this constituted ‘proper chili’ as it had beans in it. I suppose it was more ‘stone soup’ than chili as I put a lot of leftovers into the dish, including some carrots going bad. I didn’t care for the chocolate, which didn’t taste so ‘mole’ as a toll-house cookie that happened to fall into the pot. This evening I am making a sockeye salmon (no rubbish) baked in aluminum foil with a sauce*, prior to a few minutes under the broiler. 

Final Sunday Spo-bit:  there is a blue bucket at the bottom of the cement pond in the backyard. This weekend it’s been windy, so things blown into the pool isn’t surprising,  but where the bucket came from is anyone’s guess. The more important question is how to get it out. It is just out of reach so I may have to brave the cold and enter the pool for ‘first dip’ of the season – over a month ahead of usual. I think I will text Mr. Aaron, the pool man, could he be a muffin an extract it when he is here this Tuesday. He can keep it for all his troubles. For all I know it’s his. 

*Soy sauce; rice vinegar; honey; sriracha; chopped basil; chopped basil, ginger. 

Today I made my first ‘over-the-ear’ masks (3)  instead of my usual ones I tie about my head in the style of Jacob Marley. This sixteenth Japanese design is perfect for going to sushi restaurants – which I haven’t done since last March. 

Someone regularly tests for covid19 and his recent test last week was again negative. When he tests negative, I suppose I am negative too. There is some erroneous presumption to this way of thinking. He gets his vaccine in early February.

Yesterday I made my first-ever marmalade. It was some job. I followed the recipe, but my intuition tells me this is didn’t literally gel. I find out soon. I should get some English muffins as there is nothing in the house upon which to spread such. The back up plan is if  failed-spread is runny it will be used as a topping for ice cream. 

Last weekend I did such as good job cleaning the master bedroom and bathroom it inspired me to tackle the formal living room. I dislike this room as we never use it. It is reserved for ‘formal entertaining’ for our gentleman callers. Like going to sushi restaurants, this never happens. Even when we had chums over we all congregated in the kitchen anway. The formal living room and its contents is a conglomerate of dust-collectors. It seems every time we’ve bought a house there have been too many rooms, some we never used. Next time I want to get a place with ‘just enough rooms’. 

I recently heard a story I thought I would share. A friend of Socrates went to The Oracle at Delphi and asked “Is there a man wiser than Socrates?“. Instead of getting the usual cryptic reply he was told “No”. When told this, this friend was amazed by the answer. Socrates spent his whole life emphasizing he knows nothing; we can’t know anything for certain. He investigated what The Oracle meant. What he came up with was other men know nothing, but the don’t know they know nothing. Socrates on the other hand knows nothing, but he knows he knows nothing -and that’s not nothing. So maybe that’s what made him wiser than others.     hohoho. 

*Made from grapefruit, of which I have plenty.

I woke up this morning ‘still here’; the Krampus did not haul we away in the night. In some ways this is a disappointment. Perhaps I will do better with The 13 Yule Lads who start showing up the evening of the twelfth. I prefer seeing Iceland to Austria anyway. 

The kitchen and pantry got a thorough cleaning this morning, after a sufficient waiting period to see if the mouse I trapped and released last week hadn’t found its way back. I love the smell of Pine-Sol in the morning. Later today I will probably ruin it all in my next attempt at making rye bread. It would be nice to have both a tidy kitchen and a decent loaf but this may not be humanely possible. 

I didn’t get a call from the Krampus last night but I did get one from Father called. He never calls in the evening as he is on EST and he goes to bed early. At first I was alarmed but instantly relieved to hear a cheery upbeat affect. Why the call? After a few days of ‘GI troubles’ he finally had relief thanks to the advice I had given him that afternoon to take a certain over-the-counter combination of softeners. Curious he didn’t ask Brother #2 the radiologist or SIL #3 the ER physician A.K.A ‘the real doctors in the house” what to do about the matter. My prescription worked; he was calling to thank me and tell me the good news. Pretty good for a psychiatrist! It was good to hear him cheerful about something after weeks of gloom. 

Sundays seem to be all about tidy-up and cleaning things out. As I write this the washer and dryer are going allegro non troppo. It still bewilders me how two O.B.s* generate so much laundry. The washer machine has taken to traveling. It starts next to the dryer but ends up at a 45-degree angle a foot or so away.  Someone the Rationalist thinks I am overloading the machine but I sense the Maytag is bewitched and it is trying to escape.  Someone didn’t call my bluff to take over all laundry duties so this constant backwards and forwards dance is likely to continue. 

Next step in La Casa de Spo cleanse is to get out the stepladder and change the air filters in the ceiling. We recently turned on the heat so I want clean filters to match. While he (Someone) is up there I want to change some lightbulbs.

How many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Answer: none – I get Someone to do this. 

Later: Someone did a fine job with the changing of the filters and the lightbulb. The filters were quite schumtzig. The old ones were quite gray and opaque in contrast to the new white ‘clear’ ones. I will sleep better knowing this is done. As for the lightbulb – I see the hallway needs sweeping. This stuff never ends.

 

*Old Bachelors. Since we are married I should stop referring to ourselves as ‘O.B.s’ but it is a long time habit and I like saying it. 

Yesterday Friday felt like Saturday as we did many Saturday chores. As a consequence this morning feels like a Sunday when I try to do little or nothing. Sunday is my day to write non-sequitur Spo-bits so here it is a day early.  Spo

Yesterday I made stock from the carcass which seemed to go OK but this morning I took it out of the fridge to skim off the fat the whole thing was a gelatinous mass, a sort of ‘fatberg”. Disgusting. I wonder what went wrong. Maybe it’s possible to warm it and melt it back into liquid form but my first thought is to toss the nasty looking thing as an experiment gone wrong. 

We have a lot of leftover meat which will be made into a stew and a pot pie.  Today is cooking such. 

Many homes in the neighborhood have already put up Christmas lights. A block away from me on another street is a house notorious for its over-the-top decorations that light up the district like a Carnival Cruise ship. Yesterday on our dog walk we saw the owner outside still setting things up suggesting this year’s spectacle should be more foudroyant than usual if that is possible. I wonder what his immediate neighbors think of it.

My outside decorations pale by comparison to the whorehouse productions surrounding me. Last night the two white lights on either side of the garage door were exchanged for green and red. I made sure the green one was on the starboard side as one leaves port A.K.A. the garage. We haven’t put out lights in years; if I can them (and they work) I may put up some strands. Nothing mars the Christmas spirit more than trying to untangle Christmas lights. Bah Humbug. 

Who knew masks would still be needed by year’s end?  It is a tragedy this is so. It is an ill wind that blows nobody good; it gives me an out to get out remnants of Christmas fabric and make me some masks apropos of the Christmas season. 

The one with the stars comes from fabric I used to make the Christmas tree skirt. 

I love holly and now I get to wear some. 

The blue mask was made from a runner made fifteen years ago when I was learning how to sew and it didn’t turn out so good.  I wonder if anyone will call me a snowflake when I wear it. 

The Grinch mask was made from the fabric used to make a Spo-shirt so now I have mask and shirt to match.  It is my favorite of the four. 

 

 

*Fat chance of that.  I should go into the office for a few hours, as is my wont on Saturday mornings, to do some paperwork. 

The Mouse in the House remains at large. Yesterday we bought some ‘humane’ traps but so far no luck. At one point we had the thing boxed behind a bookshelf with Someone on the one side and Urs Truly on the other playing the proverbial game of cat and mouse but we lost. Someone thinks it not a mouse but something else, a small rat perhaps. I know it’s a mouse. Imagine if you will us on other sides of the bookshelf giving each other updates:

“I just saw the mouse. It’s headed your way now”

“I don’t think it’s a mouse I think it’s a small rat”

“It’s a mouse – oh! he’s back I almost got him!
“Don’t make sudden moves, sent it back my way. It don’t think it’s a mouse”

“It’s a mouse” 

etc. 

On Saturday morning we went early to Uncle Albertsons to get our foodstuffs for Thanksgiving. I was anxious the place would resemble The Fall of Saigon but at 8AM it was not bad. Uncle A wasn’t short on anything on my list. I was shocked and dismayed to see once again all the TP was gone. I almost wept with the dismay; can we never learn anything or are we doomed to forever repeat folly?* Someone and I did not succumb to this lunacy last spring and we won’t this time.  We should have plenty of tissue until the next Loony-Tunes episode.

Last night Someone ushered an outdoor Arizona Opera showing of an opera.** This is the first public gathering I have attended since March.  It resembled a small sports stadium with astroturf. I sat on my chair in my ‘pod’ for one, a healthy distance from the others, wearing my mask at all times.

Speaking of masks I am pleased to see nearly everybody in the store and out and about are wearing them. By now everybody has the over-the-ears store-bought surgical masks but I continue with the homemade tie-it-yourself types. Today I got out some Christmas-themed fabric to make some more masks.  Alas that this drags that I need some!  These four will be of holly, snowflakes, Christmas stars, and The Grinch. 

Someone advises me if I am going to launch my turkey endeavor I should start today by pulling out the bird from the freezer. I am looking forward to trying this. Part of yesterday’s shopping was thinking ahead to how to use the leftovers. I might make a turkey casserole or soup. Perhaps I will make both as I suspect we will have a lot of leftovers provided I don’t ruin it. 

 

 

*History says hell no. 

**The opera was Hansel and Gretel. The production was awful. Act II was more or less a food fight taking place in an industrial-type kitchen. The witch was sung by a man in drag. After she/he turns into gingerbread the spectacle ends in a sparagmos. It was rawther unusual. 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections thinks I write about food too much.  They suggest I change the subject, lest somebody mistake me for ‘Food Wishes’. I find their request puzzling as eating is one of their favorite past times when they aren’t drinking or sleeping or bossing me about. Perhaps their objection is about the gourmet element of these entries. Nordic cuisine is not known for its finesse. Their basic approach to cooking is to put the meat on a spit and cook it over fire until done. Sometimes some vegetables creep on to the menu but not often and these are usually boiled to extinction. 

I now possess several ‘new’ boxes of CDs of classical music, most of them full-length operas. Last week a couple I know texted me last they were getting rid of all their CDs and would I like any of them. I said yes; I went over to see them after work. They had heaps. While I going through their collection they hovered over me imploring me to take as many as I could carry. If I waffled on one they encouraged me to go for it. In the end I took a few more than I wanted so as not to disappoint.  It’s been ages since I bought a CD or any music for that matter.  I will download these lovelies into the iTunes on the home PC and transfer them to my phone. My own collection of CDs sits unused in a large storage bin in The Blue Room. Does anyone want to come over and take some?  I have heaps. 

I write this Spo-bit on break from my housecleaning. Like my cooking somebody has always done this for me and much better than I. So far I’ve tided up the master bedroom/bathroom/closet* and some of the garage too. I am rawther exhausted. La Casa de Spo now resembles poor Solomon Grundy that only the east wing is clean. The west side may have to wait until next weekend. 

Later today I am going to make “Soup of the Month” which is Hungarian Beef Stew, a recipe I got from Cook’s Illustrated. It looks a hearty dish the type one wants on a cold grey November day. However today is quite sunny and warm enough to have the windows open but what the hell.  Maybe I will skip cooking and just eat whatever is on the shelf at eye level which saves time and besides I’m not supposed to write about food I just remembered lest I am put on a spit and put over flames until done. 

*I don’t recall when this was last done but from the piles of dog hair I’m guessing a very long time ago either that or Harper sheds more than I realize.

Alas Babylon! Last night we only got twenty-six beggars; normally we get between 50-100. I was glad we got some and not none. However there is a lot of candy leftover. I am half-tempted to freeze it for next year. Anybody interested in a shipment of free sweets? We’ve got heaps. 

For thems who requested Tarot readings I will send them out to you this week via your email. *

The Hallowe’en festivities concluded with the ‘last dip’ into the cement pond.  I do this in the dark, tempting fate that Jenny Greenteeth (or somebody like her) will pull me to my doom but there was no worry last night the icy water made for a fast in/out quick as a quarter-note . Mrs. G had no time to make a grab. 

I am presently on my union-mandated fifteen minute water break from taking down the Hallowe’en trimmings. It’s hot work. Things went up slowly over four weeks, so putting it away and quickly too is rawther exhausting. 

November has no plans. Someone usually works Thanksgiving weekend but this year that ain’t happening. We can have a ‘proper’ Thanksgiving for once although it would be ‘for two’. I think we should order meals-to-go but he insists on cooking. After spending all of yesterday putting together a Hallowe’en dinner** he is welcome to it.

 

 

*My own reading was pleasant. It portends twelve months of mundane events without too much ‘drama’. I can live with that.  The card for the month of November is the 9 cups, which portends happiness and getting what you long to have. Fingers crossed this is a reference to national politics and not a discrete reference to a red-headed lumberjack. 

**It went well thank you. The squid-ink linguine was quite black while the black martinis were not. 

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