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What’s top of my mind: Travel arrangements. So many people to visit and so little time to do so! Visiting Father remains the priority; I need to get in a few trips including late July while Brother #3 et. al. go on holiday. I have lots of desire to travel, mostly to visits chums many whom are well over four feet. Here’s some places to go and people to see:

A couple of conferences – hopefully in towns where I can meet up with people (Penguin and Hamster; Raven and Vic/Jeff; Tim and Larry – to name a few):

Santa Fe for the opera and Utah for the Shakespeare festival.

Chicago for a fundraiser and see The Personal Financier (who is also well over four feet).

Palm Springs again to see Fearsome Beard and anyone else who wants to show.

Getting any trips accomplished will that some effort and now is the time to do so.

Where I’ve been: Beating about the bush. The backyard has two rawther large bushes of ? species that have become messy and overrunning the sidewalk, so a few weeks ago on Sundays I started hacking away at them. There is a lot of dead branches too, which I am slowly pruning. The bushes are looking less shaggy but also are a fraction of their original size. There is a part of me that thinks it best to prune them way back and let’em start from scratch. It feels pleasant to be doing some gardening again.

Where I’m going:  The Princess Bride. The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra occasionally does a gimmick where they show a movie while the orchestra plays the music. This Friday they are doing ‘The princess bride”. I have never seen this movie. For usual concerts The PSO is lucky to get an auditorium that half full but this show is sold out for all three shows. I am just as curious to see who is the audience. I hear tell thems who like this movie are quite devoted, like Rocky Horror picture show fanatics.

Have you seen this movie?

What I’m watching: Great Expectations – maybe. I am a big fan of Charles D, so I was eager to see the latest rendition of “Great Expectations” on Hulu. I reread the book last year so the story was fresh in my mind. Oh the horror. Thems in charge of this version are taking great liberties with the characters, adding all sorts of shenanigans not in the book. In this production Pip’s sister is a dominatrix and Miss Havisham is an opium addict and a panderer. It feels like the director thinks the story itself won’t hold attention unless he makes it somewhat lurid. I kept commenting out loud ‘that’s not in the book’ enough for Someone to question our continuation of watching it and he’s not wrong. I may see one more chapter before pulling the plug.

What I’m reading: Old science fiction. On the ‘to-read’ shelf for many years is a used 1950s paperback of science fiction. Whenever I open a book I stick my nose into it for a whiff. This one elicited an an instant euphoria of memory before my frontal lobes connected the dots what it was. I purchased this one in an used bookstore in Key West FL – how many years ago I wonder? The smell brought back memories of the dusty slightly damp bookstore and all that was Key West in its glory. In side the book in red ink is the bookstore’s bookmark with its address on Truman St. So far the book isn’t very good, in fact it’s a bit cheesy and dated – real 50s stuff, but the touch and smell of the thing is remarkable and marvelous to me.

What I’m listening to:  St. Clements choir. During the Lenten season I listen to more quiet/spiritual music. St. Clements Choir does a fine job with Old Dead Nuns tunes:

What I’m eating: KFC. Sometimes we go to Uncle Albertsons for ‘chicken and sides’ but Someone has been lately disappointed with him as when we do go we get the dried remnants. The other day he proposed he go get a bucket of chicken at KFC. Patience above! We haven’t had KFC in so long I don’t remember when. He came home with enough chicken and sides to feed us for several days. I thought the chicken sort of tasteless and the coating soggy. Was KFC better in my youth I wonder, or have I grown picky in age?

Who needs a good slap: Whoever ate all the sweets in the office candy dish. Every so often I buy a bag of sweets for the candy dish located at the check-out window at the PHX office. On Monday last I brought in a bag of milk chocolate eggs, individually wrapped in pastel colored foil. By noon the whole bag was nearly gone; only a few remained. This is a puzzle as I only a few folks at most actually came to the office that morning. I suspect one of the patients went away with more than the implied ‘one per customer” portion.

On my 1-5 scale, I give the greedy-guts one slap.

Who gets a fist bump: Mr. Bezos’ minions. The evil empire that is Amazon has its faults but sometimes I am most grateful they are there. Last weekend I brought home the office coffee pot to wash (as is my wont) but I broke it (which is not my wont). Asking The House Manager to replace it through the proper channels would take time and that means no coffee at the PHX office for awhile. The howl of sharpened famine for this loss echoes through the kingdom of hell down to the very throne itself. I wrote Mr. Bezos on Saturday to send me a replacement pot and lo! it was there on my doorstep by Sunday afternoon. At work no one is the wiser.

What I’m planning:  A freezer cleanse. There are several Tupperware containers of ‘mystery items’. I am taking them out one at a time to thaw in the fridge for a look-see. What’s coming out of the deep freeze isn’t looking that appetizing so it is all going down the disposal. It’s a waste of time and effort. At least it frees up space in the freezer and some Tupperware containers. Next time something goes in it gets a label and used in a timely manner.

What’s making me smile: My industry. I used to write in my journal only on the days I thought there was something noteworthy to record. In these past few years since covid times, there is often hardly anything to write, which makes for thin journals. It’s sort of bleak looking. I decided to write something, anything on a daily basis even if it is just my thoughts. According to the “Way of Life” app today I hit 500 days in a row for writing. Good for me! The contents aren’t often much, but I’ve done it.

What’s top of my mind: My digestive system. Monday night was a hellish endeavor of upper and lower turmoil for which I am slowly recovering. I still don’t know what happened. The most likely explanation is food poisoning – but what? Someone wasn’t sick, so it wasn’t the tuna casserole. I suspect it was the salmon/rice lunch on Monday brought in by the pharm rep – maybe. I hope it was food poisoning as that is nasty but temporary.

Where I’ve been: Back to the gym. After a week of a cold/cough and another week away on holiday it felt good to be back in the gym lifting things and trying to look less dumpy. Alas, Babylon, I only got in two days before my GI system put this on hold – again. The Personal Trainer wants me to be regular, but Life continually puts up impediments. It’s like a curse. I hope by tomorrow I can return. I am doing a few odd-looking exercises (such as The Bird Dog) that must look comical from a distance. Happily no one is looking at me, so I am never embarrassed.

Where I’m going:  An office picnic. My workplace is having a picnic this weekend; this is the first office get-together in many years. There used to be annual holiday parties but that stopped during covid times. Where I work people are not ‘chummy’ or social; they work individually and keep their own hours. I am curious to see how this goes, for in a social event like a picnic the usual work boundaries and hierarchies become blurred and leads to awkwardness. Some staff I never see as they work in different setting/hours than myself. I will look a fool not knowing who they are. I don’t plan on faking it. I will ask for names directly.

What I’m watching: Payette Forward. On the Tube of Yous are a couple of fellows, both named David (each one cuter than the other) post videos about cellphone settings and safety. They provide tips on what to turn off and on to stop miscreants and nosies from following you around or using your data (without you knowing it) for sale. It gives me a smug satisfaction to turn off these options. Here is a sample:

What I’m reading:  Whisky Advocate. Patience above! I brought the latest issues to Palm Springs but I failed to read them. For thems unfamiliar with the magazine, it is a colorful magazine about .. wait for it…. whisky! I am always amazed at the prices of some of the bottles. Mostly I read it for the ads, which are always stunning and give suggestions what to try sometime. There is a humor column in the back; I always read that first.

What I’m listening to:  Pink Martini. I went last Friday to a splendid concert by a group called ‘Pink Martini’. What marvelous music! I was impressed the band sang in so many languages. The Tube of Yous (the meanies) wouldn’t let me link to some songs, so here are some names of tunes I especially liked. Look them up why don’t you?

Donde estas, Yolanda? Ou est ma tete? Amado Mio And then your’s gone

What I’m eating: Precious little. When I get sick I don’t want to eat or drink anything. This drives Someone nuts, who feels I should push fluids and eat. We aren’t good a caretaking each other when we are sick; neither one wants to follow the directions or advice of the other.

Who needs a good slap: The ad generator on The Book of Faces. FB is becoming less posts and more ads – phooey to that. Curiously the ads are all alike these days: young men modeling sexy pants and shirts or T-shirts. Sooner I’d eat rats in Tewkesbury than buy something off of FB, but what AI device thinks I am interested in trousers designed for a 20yo? I suppose I can click on the ad and tell them ‘no more’ but I think this may cause more harm than good. On the other hand the lads jumping about in their tight jeans or camisetas isn’t awful-looking. All the same I am there to hear from my friends, not see ads.

On my 1-5 scale I give FB two slaps.

What I’m planning: A trip to Chicago. DougT has a ‘butterfly ball’ every May. He plans to retire soon, so this will be his ‘last’, and he asked us to join his table. We will stay downtown with The Other Michael, who is a dear to host us. While in town we will meet with our ML fellow, Mr. Mahoney, to hear what he has to say about our savings and investments.*

What’s making me smile:  Craig the IT man. The computer/technology fellow at work is a interesting fellow, well over four week. He is what is referred to as a ‘bear’, and quite the handsome chappie. He seems just right for working with computers as he comes to life in front of a computer and not so good with phatic interactions or social skills. I thought he had gone, as I haven’t seen him in years. Lo! He was in the other day doing something. Whatever he was doing didn’t go well in my office for my office computer no longer can sign on to the internet, worse luck. Taking the ‘good’ approach, this means Mr. Craig will have to visit more until it is repaired.

*No good that’s certain.

What’s top of my mind: My breathing. I’m sad to say I am still having respiratory problems, consisting of post nasal drip and wet coughs, which echo throughout the valley. Sometimes it makes me short winded and tired out. I hoped getting out of the pollution of Phoenix would have helped but it hasn’t.

Where I’ve been: The Shag Store. Yes, I went and purchased a cocktail glasses mentioned in yesterday’s post. They are so unnecessary as I have lots of glasses at home and these are going to be fussy to maintain, probably only used for ‘special occasions’ and guests that never happen. All the same, it feels good to have them. I look forward to making something special and using them. Someday.

Where I’m going:  Fisherman’s market and grill. We have one night left so we had to narrow down which place to eat in for our last supper in town. Fisherman’s M&G has the advantage of having a greasy fry of fish and chips in large quantities – a yummy treat before returning to my usual austere diet.

What I’m watching: Nothing. I am purposely not going on line to look at the news. No doubt there is drama but damned if I want to see it while on vacation.

What I’m reading:  Soul Music. I am on the sixteenth novel of the “Discworld series”. I keep thinking I will lose interest in the series but I haven’t yet. They are fun reading.

What I’m listening to: FM 106.5. When was the last time you listened to FM radio? It’s been awhile for me. 106.5 is a local station playing tunes from the 80s and the 90s which seem apropos for Palm Springs.

What I’m eating: Imperial tid-bits from Zingermans. Three fancy cheeses arrived and we will have them with crackers and cocktails on Wednesday afternoon. They came in a well-made refrigerated package, which will be handy to take leftovers home tomorrow. We buy sandwich stuff for our lunches, and we always have leftovers. I am glad not to have to throw them out.

Who needs a good slap: Some of the resort attendees. There is a group here of eight fellows who have gathered for a ‘same time next year’ reunion. This is a common phenomenon at a resort. This bunch is a bit boisterous and they make no discretion when using cannabis (which is legal here) and they tend to hog the best chairs and the hot tub. There is an unwritten custom here at Inndulge to socialize some with all staying at the resort – and this bunch isn’t doing so. It makes one feel a bit ‘left out’.

I just reread this – my goodness it sounds like high school.

On my 1-5 scale, I give one slap.

Who gets a fist bump: The Staff at Inndulge. They do a fine job as keeping the place clean the grounds kept and the breakfast and happy hour items well-stocked. It is no wonder we like coming back here.

What I’m planning:  Going home. It’s been cloudy and a bit rainy/cool in the past few days. Between the weather and my respiratory system I am ready to go home. I look forward to seeing my dog and being in my own bed.

What’s making me smile:  Having had this break. It consisted mostly of reading, eating (and drinking), and sleeping. It felt good to do so. I should do this more often. I was away six days (two days were travel) which was enough. I prefer short frequent breaks so it was enough.

What’s top of my mind: My gnashers. This Wednesday afternoon I return to The Good Dentist to get my two permanent crowns placed – and I do hope they are permanent. The temporary ones came off soon after they were placed. Lord willing, this concludes my very expensive dental ordeal.

Where I’ve been: The tarot deck drawer. I collect tarot decks; I have about a dozen. I want to take one with me on holiday this weekend. The collection resides in individual boxes – many not used in years and they are quite dusty. I cleaned them using a damp cloth and now I will figure out which lucky deck goes with me to California. I suppose it will be the Crow’s Magic deck (pictured above) for it doesn’t have a box and needs one.

Where I’m going:  Palm Springs! Or so I hope. Someone and I are still under the weather with frequent coughing and congestion. It would be sensible to cancel and stay home to recuperate. I suspect if we go it will not a wild weekend of ballum rancum but convalescence by the pool, drinking Dayquil not daiquiris. Oh the pain.

What I’m watching: The Weather apps. I am rawther tired of cold temperatures and morning darkness. I want some sunshine and warmer days – especially in Palm Springs. I looks like there will be some highs there this weekend around 27C which is pleasant. The traveling companions from Illinois will find that balmy – except Leon the Larger. The matchstick man loses heat from his extremities as an enormous clip. It’s hard to feel warm seeing him bundled up like an Inuit.

What I’m reading: A trauma-informed approach to substance use disorders. The lecturer is going to approach substance use as a symptoms of trauma history and attempts to relieve the emotions of such. I get 2 CME credits for doing it. The treatment for folks with a substance abuse problem is a hot mess. The honest truth is few really want to treat substance abuse, as on the whole they are difficult patient types requiring a lot of different resources – and the resources to do so are woefully inadequate. The United States still sees thems with a drug or alcohol problem as morally deficient and I ain’t paying for it as it is their fault.

What I’m listening to: Why economies rise and fall. I am woefully ignorant of Economics which strikes me as a bunch of hocus-pocus and soft soap at times worse then psychology but hey what do I know so this is the point of doing the lecture. The professor sounds to know his stuff, but is talking more ‘philosophy’ of economics rather than the nuts and bolts. It confirms what I and many others have intuitively deduced the ‘invisible hand’ of economy is rubbish given all the unfairness built into the system.

What I’m eating: Who Hash. Who hash is the catch-all phrase of lumping as many leftovers into clever casseroles etc. in an attempt to eat out the fridge in anticipation of being away for a week. It’s no fun to come home to find nasty things growing in the fridgerator.

Who needs a good slap: Certain governors. This is just too painful and upsetting to expand upon.

On my 1-5 scale, I give fascist politicians – and the people who support them – five slaps.

Who gets a fist bump: Spo-fans. Many Spo-fans and Good Morning meme texting types wished me well and a hope of mending soon. Thank you all.

What I’m planning: Cheese. A Palm Spring tradition of mine is ordering imperial curds and whey tid-bits from Zingerman’s who ships them to Palm Springs for nibbling at cocktail hour. DougT and I settled on a bleu cheese English Stilton and something from Uplands Cheese and a gouda from WI that the sweet-talking saleslady suggested I get when the goat cheese was not feasible. They are expensive but worth it. As Father likes to say, you don’t go on vacation to save money.

What’s making me smile: Poetry for Neanderthals. I bought a game for Palm Springs. It looks fun. The goal is to get your teammates to identify a word on a picked card. The speaker can only use one-syllable words. If you slip and use a word with two or more syllables, a member of the opponent team hits you with the inflatable ‘NO” stick. Jolly good fun!

What’s top of my mind: My molars. The two temporary crowns have both shattered and come off and the permanent ones are arrive 8 March. For a week I have to avoid chewing on the starboard side. I hope there isn’t damage in the situation to thwart the procedure. I am tired of dental work; it never seems to end.

Where I’ve been: On the floor at the gym. The Personal Trainer has me on the floor doing all sorts of shenanigans. These include ‘Prone Y raise’ and “Bird Dogs’ which look good in the videos but oh the embarrassment when I try them. Like they say in The Firesign Theatre’ he’s no fun he falls right over. I hope in time these improve that I don’t resemble wobbly table that wants to fall on its side whenever you try to stand it up. The mats at the gym are suspect as dirtier than the floor; I wonder how often they are wiped down. I use a towel for sanitary reasons and make my fall overs more cushioned.

Where I’m going: Goodwill (or something like it). That does it. At home in the master closet on top of the shelves are several large plastic garbage bags of stuffed with used clothes destined for giveaway. We never get around to taking inventory for the itemization for tax deduction. They keep piling up and now resemble the sacks of The Grinch going up the side of Mr. Crumpit in order to dump it. I want them gone; I will forgo the tax write-off for a piece of mind and clean shelves.

What I’m watching:  The ports and rivers of The Great Lakes. I try to call my father every day and this often ends with him asking ‘what’s on the lakes”. I go to the Tube of Yous to describe to him as best I can what the weather is like and whether there are any boats to see. We start at the Bluewater Bridge and proceed to The Soo locks, The Dossin Museum on the Detroit River, and end in Charlevoix Michigan. On occasion I check out the Duluth harbor. It is jarring to be in quiet sunny Arizona only to see back home it is roaring winter February conditions. Needless to say there are no boats anywhere but he enjoys me looking for him. A few days ago there was a massive snowstorm in Duluth and the camera is now out of service or frozen over or both. We have a bet going who can name the date when the first boat is sighted on the lakes.

What I’m reading:  The Little Black book of Lent 2023. Ever Lent I get this small book that gives each day a bit of history on the left page and on the right page is a passage from The New Testament (this year it’s Matthew) and a few meditative-type questions about it. It’s less then 5 minutes to read; a nice daily reflection for me.

What I’m listening to: Old Dead Nuns. During the Lenten season I play a lot of medieval church music which is mostly sung by monks, nuns, and thems of that crowd. Someone lumps all this sort of music into the category “old dead nuns”. Hildegard von Bingen is a prominent player as is Tomas Luis de Victoria. There is also some Arvo Part , although Mr. Part is alive last time I looked. He only sounds like old dead nuns.

What I’m eating: Bucatini. When I allow myself the luxury of pasta, I like proper types no rubbish. Bucatini is one of my favorites. It has a tubular shape with a hole running down its inside, resembling a fat straw. It is better than spaghetti for its feel on the tooth. On the downside it is harder to maneuver on the fork and it tends to make messes in the process.

Who needs a good slap: Mr. Z. of The Book of Faces. Mind! I am not certain of the facts on this. Apparently Mr. Z. wants to charge for certain services on The Book of Faces, some which ought to be guarantees, not paid-for services. I go on FB less and less now as it is full of ads and I don’t see friends’ posts as much – which is the point of it all. I know of no youngsters wanting to join FB and I imagine oldsters like myself not wanting or willing to pay for it now, so this maneuver sounds stupid. If it gets down to having to pay, I will quit the wretched thing.

On my 1-5 scale, I give Mark Z. three slaps for being a stirge.

Who gets a fist bump: Brother #3. Last Christmas Brother #3 gave each of us a whisky advent calendar. He’s arranged for some zoom meetings that we drink these together, one at a time. It’s been fun sipping vials with the brothers trying to figure out what each vial may be and whether or not we like it. All four of us like the brown stuff and #3 and #4 are good at ‘Name that booze’. Thems who drink whisky like to doing so in social setting with others so inclined. Jolly good fun! We has twenty more to do. This may take months to accomplish.

What I’m planning: A pedicure. I am taking the advice of the Spo-fans to get my toe nails properly clipped and attended to so they won’t look nasty when I walk around barefoot or in sandals.

What’s making me smile: “A little priest.” For thems unfamiliar with this ditty, in the musical “Sweeny Todd” Mr. Todd and his accomplice Mrs. Lovett sing a morbid farcical ditty on it would be like to make meat pies out of the various types of customers Mr. Todd murders. The jokes and rhymes are clever and the tune never ceases to make me smile.


What’s top of my mind: Ash Wednesday. It’s been years since I went to mass, but I still carry on Lenten practices such as reading a daily meditation until Easter. I abstain from meat and on Fridays in Lent. Ash Wednesday is supposed to be a day for reflection that someday we will die and become ashes. I think this thought every day so today isn’t special that way.

Where I’ve been: The Good Doctor. Yesterday’s seasonal check up went OK; my labs are good enough. My kidneys are functioning so I don’t need no stinkin nephrology consul, the glucose remains still within normal range (no metformin for me!). The viral load was again zero and the T-cells number was good – again. I’m told to keep up my oh-so-sensible habits of self-care. See you in another three months.

Where I’m going:  The DWS store (or something like it). This weekend I want to get some sandals for my upcoming trip to Palm Springs. I need to pay attention to the style lest my toenails are exposed and must get them properly trimmed and presentable. Of course I could wear socks but I hear tell this is a major fashion faux pas. Maybe a trip to the pedicure place is needed; I visited them once upon a time. It will be my second time.

What I’m watching:  Caroline Myss’ ‘The power of the archetypes”. A teacher of mine from the past is now on the Tube of Yous giving lectures on various archetypes and how they manifest in people’s lives. Jolly good fun and just what I like.

What I’m reading:  The wind in the willows. I’ve not read this one, so I got a copy from the used bookstore (two dollars I recall). So far I’m not into it It is a whimsical tale of various creatures doing oh-so-British past times like having tea and talking about the weather. I just started it so let’s see if there is a plot other than pleasant banter.

What I’m listening to: “The Sea”. This album consists of songs about the sea, written by Schubert, Faure, and thems of that type. Some of songs (set to piano) are rawther jaunty. All the same when it comes to sea songs I prefer chanties. Here’s one I like a lot:

What I’m eating: Chicken and sides. When we are too busy or lazy to cook, an easy out is to drop by the deli counter at Uncle Albertsons to get a meal of chicken and sides. The chicken (eight pieces) is fried or baked you take your pick. We get chips too if they look decent. If they look picked over, there is mustard potato salad. I like cole slaw while Someone likes baked beans.

Who needs a good slap: The censors of ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory.’ It’s come to my attention someone has tampered with this book. They edit the so-called upsetting words lest young readers take offense. This is another form of book censorship. While it ain’t as bad as banning the book it still falls under the umbrella of censorship. If you don’t like a book or don’t like your child reading it then don’t. Do not ban the book or expunge it of things you don’t like about it.

On my 1-5 scale, one slap – better make the two slaps, lest this starts a terrible trend of rewriting books on the grounds you don’t like it.

Who gets a fist bump: Anyone standing up to the rubbish spewing out of the month of Marjorie Taylor Greene. This awful person never opens her mouth without first calculating how much damage it will do. I can’t stand the sight of her smug face. It’s nice some GOP members are brave enough to criticize her lunacy.

What I’m planning: A chin-up. In grade school there was a chin-up bar in the gym with a bulletin board next to it titled “Ten chins on this bar will make you a star”. The board was covered with paper stars with my classmates’ names on them. Some had achieved chin ups numbered into the dozens. Not Urs Truly. I recall I could never do one. I still think upon that bar and the humiliation. I want to do a chin up – ten of them preferably. I don’t know if this even possible. I will start with doing just one if I can.

What’s making me smile: Blobby. Blobby (the dear!) sometimes ends comments and texts with about That School in the State South of Michigan. They are clever and and make me smile. A recent one made for the only smile I had that day.

What’s top of my mind: My cough. Two weeks ago Someone brought a bug home and we were both quite sick for awhile. We are OK now but for lingering coughs. These come on quick and create paroxysms intense coughing. For a while his was worse than mine but I seem to be coming back in the last quarter to win the game. I am bloody well sick and tired of coughing. Nothing to be done but wait. I feel fine otherwise.

Where I’ve been:  The Precious. Someone’s Honda convertible A,K.A. The Precious hasn’t had a proper cleaning in ages. While Someone was away I brought out The Hoover to the garage and gave the sordid thing a good vacuuming and a wipe down. The car drives low to the ground and is very difficult for me to get in and out of it. It’s definitely a younger man’s car that way. I wish he would sell it for an oh-so-practical four-seater with seats at proper altitudes. A perk for cleaning the car was I found under the passenger seat among the debris my WWI safety goggles that I wear when I am a passenger. Jolly good fun.

Where I’m going:  The Good Dentist – again. This Friday I have an appointment to hopefully finalize the project of putting a new tooth on the upper port side of my mouth. There’s been a gap there since 2020. How odd it will feel to no longer have a space for my tongue to go, which it does all the ding dong day. While at the appointment I hope to get a crown on the lower starboard side thus ending my The Knashers Project

Urs Truly basking in the sunrise before the start of the shenanigans

What I’m watching:  The sunrise. I arrive at the PHX office before the sunrise, so as I sit preparing my work day I get to see it. Soon (but not soon enough) it will rise before I get seated. I face east; the sun is slowly rising more to the left; last Monday it past the telephone pole on the horizon – a certain sign of spring is on its way. Sometimes I play the prelude to “Das Reingold” or Yanni’s “After the sunrise”. There is nothing like the brilliance of a radiant sunrise to install hope and the feeling no matter what happens today I will do well enough,

What I’m reading:  Pincher Martin. This is a novel by William Golding of the “Lord of the flies” fame. I have a list of ‘must read’ literature from my high school teacher and Pincher Martin is one of them. So far I’ve read 17 out of 23.

Have you read Pincher Martin?

What I’m listening to:  Buddha-Bar music. I am not certain how to describe this genera of music. It’s sort of new-age music for millennials. Usually without words, it is background music with some ‘hip’ to it, the type you might hear in a bar while sipping cocktails over conversation. It conjures up a vision of having chums over, lounging about the pool in Palm Springs.

What I’m eating: Better, apparently. Thanks to prudent living viz. little to no sugar and minimal booze and ixnay on the fried stuff I’ve lost 2-3 kilos since 1 January. Good for me! I purposely got my blood work done on Monday to allow for yesterday’s Valentines Day sweets and pizza party at work (which I bought).

Who needs a good slap: The diamond league at Duolingo. If you do well enough at Duolingo, the language learning app, you are advanced in league status. Recently I was promoted to diamond league, the top league. Good for me! I’ve noticed thems in the diamond league aren’t so interested in learning Spanish but besting the others in the number of ‘points’ earned. These cut throats may be cheating with bots or translation devices as the points they do in a day seem not humanely possible. Perhaps they have a lot of time on their hands, or they are native speakers. I find I am now doing lessons not so much to learn Spanish as to keep up with the Perezes as it were. This is stupid. I should give myself permission to drop down to the obsidian league as it’s no fun where I am and it defeats the point of learning.

On my 1-5 scale, I give thems in the diamond league dos bofetadas

Who gets a fist bump: Nobody. I couldn’t think of anyone. 😦

What I’m planning:  Painting the house. Last weekend (between coughs) we sat down to pick the two colors to paint La Casa de Spo. The dreary options were all brown earth tones. We found a combination with enough contrast that wasn’t too much like the houses around us. Brown is my least favorite color after gray; nearly everything around me in this state is brown, especially in the heat of summer. Blech.

What’s making me smile: Sharpened pencils. I’ve sunk this low that the pleasure of grinding a blunt pencil in a sharpener to create a new sharp point gives me quite a smile. Along with the sound and sight of a sharpened pencil is the redolence of freshly scraped cedar, with a whiff of carbon and paint. Just don’t stick them up your nose too far.

Blackwing 602 Palominos – my favorite.

Today’s Wednesday’s Ws is dedicated to Lisa Loring, who played Wednesday Addams in the TV series. She died earlier this week. The character has evolved over time and her Journey is a fascinating one, worth a blog entry some day.

What’s top of my mind: my relationship. I met Someone on 31 January 1997 – that’s 26 years ago. Can you imagine? The fact he’s stuck around despite my many faults is amazing; the fact how any two people can stay together this long is amazing. Let’s hope he doesn’t give up on me.

Where I’ve been: The weight rooms – when I can. Lately the two gyms where I go have seen a surge of new faces in the common category of young Hispanic men in their 20s (or younger) in groups of 4-5. They tend to all converge on a machine or bench. So far as I can tell they mostly stand around and gab or look at their cellphones – a lot more than actually working out. I wonder if they are members of a sports team or perhaps they are in a chorus. They look too thin for the one and too awkward for the other. Either way I wish they would scram as they get in my way says the old man.

Where I’m going:  The Hyundai dealership and The Phoenix Symphony. Now there’s a couple! The Elantra needs some sort of ‘time for a tune up’ based on miles (I forget which) and the Symphony is playing some Mendelssohn.

What I’m watching:  Scotland, PA. What a hoot! This version of “Macbeth” set in a small town in the Midwest in the 70s. The McBeths kill off their boss Duncan, the owner of Duncan’s diner, and make it their own. What a hoot! The 70s clothes and music is worth the price of admission.

What I’m reading:  The mystery of the singing serpent. This is another mystery in the “Alfred Hitchcock and the three investigators” series. What’s charming about these tomes is the villains are always apprehended and sent to jail and all is well. Mercifully there is no shooting.

What I’m listening to: ‘Let’s play Hnefatafl.‘ The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections gave me at Yule a Viking chess set and I’ve yet to learn how to play it. On The Tube of Yous a couple of chappies (who sort of look like board members) show how it’s done. The goal is to get the king (the tall fellow in the middle) out to one of the corners without being captured. Jolly good fun! I hope I can get Someone (or somebody like him) to play it with me. I’m not going to try a game with The-You-Know-Who as they play for high stakes like livestock or ring fingers.

What I’m eating: Grapefruit. Hot puppies! It’s that time of year! All the citrus trees in the neighborhood put out at the same time and everyone has massive amounts of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Sacks of the stuff are set out curbside for anyone to please take some. Lovely Grapefruit! These are my favorite and there are heaps. I will eat one every day until they are gone. They do a number on my blood pressure medication so I can cut back the dose for a while.

Who needs a good slap: GOP politicians. I realize this is low hanging fruit for there is no end to their nasty moves. The one presently burning my bacon is proposed legislature to forbid drag queens to be around/in the sight of children. This being done on the usual hysteria ‘save our children” emotions but it is really about mind control and suppression. I give them credit: this approach always works. There is zero evidence of men in drag molesting or abducting children. There is no legislature addressing real threats to children like white men with guns.

On my 1-5 scale, I give these sorts 4 slaps; for thems who believe this rubbish,5 slaps. Learn your history people! This is how tyrants take over!

Who gets a fist bump: My Good Morning Meme mates. Many of them (the dears!) are returning my near-daily good morning memes with memes of their own or with a photo from their neck of the woods. Sometimes they write a bit what’s happening in their lives that day. It makes my morning bright to hear from them.

What I’m planning:  Several appointments. In February I see The Good Dentist and The Good Doctor. Hector, Lord of Yards, is scheduled to trim the trees and sweep up the scorpions. Someone is in negotiations with a Mr. J. Pollack to paint the exterior of La Casa de Spo before the HOA does something to rival The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections in a losing game of Hnefatafl. Oh the horror.

What’s making me smile: My stomach and my backside. It’s only four weeks with The Personal Trainer but I am already seeing some progress. I am down 1.5 kilos in weight. My stomach is flattening and yesterday I saw some outline of the rectus abdominus muscles. My backside is becoming callipygian. I am pleased as Punch. Take that young Hispanic men in their 20s!

What’s top of my mind: Exercise. I am back under the tutelage of The Personal Trainer. I do well with structure and discipline. As soon as I vow to get regular some wicked fairy pops up to thwart my attempts. After two weeks of false hopes and quiet gyms they are no packed with new year resolution types hogging the dumbbells and getting in the way. Stirges. Despite these impediments I am down a few kilos from the first of the month. Good.

Where I’ve been: Richardsons. This is a local restaurant to take the out-of-towners for the ambience and food captures the urtext of the Southwest. Travel Penguin and I had a good chinwag over enchiladas and margaritas, no rubbish types.

Where I’m going:  Home Depot. Another wicked fairy it thwarting my attempts to get to the Land of Orange Buckets to get some new filters. The ladder has been standing in the front hall since Christmas time waiting for us to replace the air filters. I hope to get there by this weekend. I don’t suppose Mr. Bezos can send some to us. He sends everything else doesn’t he?

What I’m watching: The temperatures. Patience above! It keeps nearly hitting 0 C making for gelid mornings and almost-as-cold offices. I got out a sweater which is helpful. I wear the same one so people at office will think I am fooling around after work.

What I’m reading:  Russian fairy tales. More fairies! The ones in The Yellow Fairy Book are rawther nasty that they severely punish bad girls who are all ugly that’s how you know they are bad. Funny how in this day and age it’s usually the beautiful ones who turn out to be the evil ones.

What I’m listening to:  The seashore. I miss being by water, mostly to hear the waves. I found a few seashore videos on The Tube of Yous and I put them on at work in the background to suggest we are not too far from the shore. I was playing ‘winter storms’ but this made the already chilled room feel colder.

What I’m eating: Asada burritos. This is my lunch of choice nowadays. They are high in protein and low in carbs and I eat them with relish and lots of lovely hot sauce.

Who needs a good slap: Thems on the 101 who drive quickly up behind me urging me to speed up despite me being in the far right land and going 5mph over the speed limit already who flash their lights and pass me in a rage to go around me as they drive off going at least 20mph over the speed limit.

On my 1-5 scale I give 3 slaps and a chill pill, wrapped in a cold cut.

Who gets a fist bump: The manager at Filibertos. I ordered an asada burrito only to be given a beans and rice burrito, which I didn’t find until I had taken a large bite out of it. When he called for me to pick up my real order I explained the error and my too-late-to-return-it status. He gave me the asada one anyway, which I will eat with relish on Thursday.

What I’m planning: Getting the monkey pox vaccine. I’ve delayed getting mine on the grounds of not really needing such and letting folks who need more than I be first in line as it were. With Palm Springs holiday in March I best now get mine.

What’s making me smile: Giving pills to Harper. Harper recently had a good check up other than she’s licking away the fur in one area which the vet thought may be a rash, so we are giving her some anti-itching pills. We’ve figured out how: first give her a rolled up cold cut sans pill (that means without) that sets the scene and then give her another one that has rolled up in it the pill. By the time she’s figured she’s been duped it’s too late to spit it out. Seeing her face go from euphoria to puzzlement to slight disgust brings out a smile and then a Harper hug.

What’s top of my mind: Finances. Patience above! The list of expenses is growing like a desert weed after some rainfall. There is my dental doings ($) and the annual professional dues ($$) and the house to paint ($$$) and a roof leak too (don’t even want to know). In the past in similar times of money concerns we’ve thought of stopping the monthly contributions to retirement but this never needs to happen. It is hoped this bout of high bills will be like the others. We thought of but didn’t cancel the March trip to Palm Springs.

Where I’ve been: The gray bins in the garage. Now that I have access again it’s been fun discovering what’s in them. I’ve found four cellphones I believe they are over 15 years old. They only served to make phone calls. Oh, but those were happier times! Also discovered among the hodgepodge of nails and loose screws were nearly a half dozen rolls of black carpenters tape. Apparently we keep buy a new roll whenever we need one. So far no money or valuables fond, worse luck!

Where I’m going:  ACE Hardware (or something like it). Last weekend when we took down the Christmas trimmings I kept the ladder up in anticipation of changing the air filters, which are located in the ceiling. Ours are 20x30x. The current ones are probably quite overdue for a change. I need to make a note somewhere at eye level to remind me when I last changed them. I stupidly wrote the date on the filters but as they are up in the ceiling I can’t see them. Oh the embarrassment.

What I’m watching: The temperatures. January 21st is St. Agnes Day traditionally the coldest day of the year. This weekend we will see near freezing temperatures. A frost warning in Phoenix is received in the same composure as someone in the South being told an inch of snow is predicted in other words mass hysteria. People don’t make runs on the stores but they pull out canvas sheets and blankets to cover the shrubs and put white Styrofoam cups on the tips of the cacti. Once the cement pond got a thin sheet of ice. It didn’t last but it made good for a good Facebook post.

What I’m reading: “The hidden folk of Iceland” If the author is to be believed Iceland is full up with elves and fairies and thems that say otherwise don’t see the facts. She makes a sort of selection bias argument to their existence and takes the ‘prove I am wrong” approach to the matter. I would love if elves and fairies existed but I fear anyone in Iceland who says they believe in elves is trying to sell you something.

What I’m listening to:  CME courses. I made a new years resolution to listen to Continuing Medical Education lecture every two weeks. I just heard the first one of the year; it was on the management of benzodiazepines. The lecturer more or less said thems who take Xanax and Valium etc. are bad off and thems who prescribe them are bad. The next one is on the treatment of PTSD and I hope it isn’t as judgmental or as alarmist.

What I’m eating: Cottage Cheese. This is my POC (protein of choice) for some extra amino acids for my work outs. It’s assessible, quick to consume, and not too expensive like my men. I remember Mother eating the stuff although she did it to lose weight while I hope to gain some. Usually I have hard-boiled eggs, which I eat with relish, but eggs are too expensive nowadays.

Who needs a good slap: The State medical boards. I mistakenly blamed The Overlords for nixing phone or video appointments with patients who are out of state, even if they are just happens to be not home at the time of the appointment. This is the medical boards decree viz. no seeing patients in states where you don’t have a license. You guessed it, it’s about money not concerns of patient welfare. If you want that sort of thing, pay the state where the patient is mega-bucks to do so.

On my 1-5 scale, I give three slaps for Arizona and four slaps for out of state boards.

Who gets a fist bump: Princess-Goddess. After I got back from Michigan I found in my briefcase a small handwritten note. It was from Princess-Goddess. It said:

“Thank you uncle Spo for taking care of my pets while I was away”

I almost broke down in tears. I sent an email to Brother and SIL #3 and told them they have a marvelous daughter and they done good raising her.

What I’m planning:  A meeting with Travel Penguin. Hot puppies! Travel Penguin (the dear!) is coming to town. I feel a bit bad for him as he arrives just as the temperatures drop to near freezing. It will be marvelous to seeing him and getting some good eats and proper bourbon no rubbish types. Whisky is no fun unless there are others who are silly for the stuff as you are. I look forward to a gossip’s feast with the fellow.

What’s making me smile: My good morning Meme recipients. Most mornings I send a ‘GOOD MORNING” meme to some of my family and friends to let them know I am thinking of them.* These are not designed to get a response per se but some of the recipients respond with a text ‘good morning’ and others respond with a photo or a meme of their own. I smile to see such clever and ribald responses** One of them, a fellow named Mark, who no longer blogs (worse luck!) but is well over four feet always returns my meme with I am making a GM meme that never fails to make me guffaw.

*Who is on the the ‘good morning’ meme list is anyone’s guess to the ‘why’. I didn’t consciously make it one way or another. If I sense someone likes them I continue. Only a few have had the bravery to tell to knock it off – good for them!

**Some of the good morning club members are notorious for sending memes or photos ‘NSFW” as it were. I am mindful where I read these. All pals are clever but many of them are downright naughty.

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March 2023

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018