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I remember the time (I think it was in my 30s) when I became ‘uncool’.  I realized rather than wanting to go out at 11PM and hits the bars I was preferring to stay home and get some sleep. I am now in my mid-50s and am showing signs I am becoming ‘an old man’. 

This morning at the gym I was outraged to see half-consumed bottles of water lying about the locker room and in the rubbish bin. I gathered them up all the time muttering how irresponsible kids are these days. I poured them out and brought the empties home for recycling.

Last Friday we went after work to our favorite watering hole to discover they had made the place ‘more hip’ by bringing in a DJ.  The cacophony coming from the speakers prompted me to tell the bartenders it’s way too loud in here and I hope they would reconsider this. I remember Father used to announce in noisy restaurants we had to leave it was too much for him. As a boy I was horrified; now I know exactly how he feels.

I am beginning to need a bit more time when using the loo. There is a sensation of being only 4/5 empty after I think I am done. I have work a bit to void the remaining fifth. Oh the nuisance. 

I am no longer know the latest singers, songs, fashions, and video games, and nor do I care.

I haven’t decided if these creeping signs of age are heralds of Ragnorak or blessed maturity and wisdom. I feel bad about the longer than usual recovery time I require between workouts, but I don’t really regret knowing the tunes said DJ is blaring. Not that I could hear the lyrics anyway.  It is hoped the weather cools soon to allow outside sitting to be away from the damn noise and them kids below 40. 

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Ok Spo-fans listen up. I am going to give you free advice on how to achieve mental and physical wellbeing. This is the best way I know to live well and happy if not as long as possible.  People pay me big bucks for this stuff so take notice.

The treatment of mental illness and the promotion mental health are like two sides of the same coin. Western Medicine tends to focus on the ‘heads’ side of the nickel: symptom alleviation. This is important but for total health you need to polish the other side of the coin as it were: enhancement of wellness. 

There are five things you ought to do. Happily they are free, not difficult , and they don’t need any fancy equipment or have complicated formulas. For thems who are skeptical or want ‘evidence-based’ medicine I am glad to say there is scientific evidence to back each on of them up. Some of you will read this and think “Duh, just a lot of common sense”, True, but isn’t it assuring to find out the research supports them as legitimate and efficacious?  

So here are five things with the most ‘potency’ to help with mental and physical well being.  They are nicknamed ‘The five pillars”.  I write a ‘prescription’ for you. More maybe better but this is the minimal dose is enough to do some good. 

MENSS is the acronym. 

Mindfulness  This is not woo-woo. This is serious salubrious treatment. I won’t bore you with all the data (of which there is plenty). Taking time off in the day to clear your head does lots of lovely things to our souls and cells. 

Rx: Meditate, pray, tai-chi etc. Just sitting still work. Do this for 15 minutes. Do this daily. 

Exercise – when we move, all sorts of good things happen to our bodies.  Doing something does a lot and is better than nothing. 

Rx:  Go for a walk x 3o minutes; do daily. Try to make this regular viz. in the morning before going to work or right after dinner. This is even better when done with somebody. 

Nutrition – Shocking I know but eating properis correlated to less general inflammation in the body and makes the wee-beasties in our bowels happy. When they are happy we do better. 

Rx:  No easy prescription here but it boils down to eat proper food, small portions, mostly plants.  You know what’s good for you. Cut out the crap. 

Social Connection – More and more data supports our monkey brains need social intercourse. Loneliness turns out to be 2x worse on our mortality than obesity. Social connection occurs while talking to someone on the phone or gabbing over drinks/a game/a task.

Rx:  15 minutes daily interaction with others. On-line social media does not count.  You need proper ‘in the flesh’ interactions. 

Sleep – Despite our desires to do as much as possible in 24 hours our antediluvian brains and bodies need sleep. We play a hazardous game to give up sleep for another hour on-line Scrabble. 

Rx: Cut out activities in the evening for the sake of sleep and not the other way around.  Look up sleep hygiene and do them. 

So there you have it. Make a daily check list and ask yourself each day have I tried to get my daily allowance of Meditation, Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, and Socialization.

 

Every morning when I wake up to the slight amazement I haven’t died I try to remember to stop and say a slight prayer of thanksgiving to anyone who may be listening and pause to reflect I am on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference. Or so I say. Some mornings I merely wake with the sensation the day will be 24 hours of morass and gunge, the type that suggests I shouldn’t have bothered.   This holiday weekend looks to be more of the latter philosophy. It was a rough work week; I have a lot of chart work to do. I don’t recall what Someone is doing this weekend but I hope he’s away working. I won’t be much fun.

I lead a dull life. This week’s highlight was a parcel of new underwear in the post. I tend to wear out my undergarments all at once so when it is time to get new ones I buy them in bulk. Several shorts arrived in the post this morning. They are made of some sort of fabric claiming they won’t crunch up in the crotch (hate when that happens). They are in gay colors of orange, blue, red, and some sort of green with a descriptive adjective connected to it.  With hope these lovelies will last several years.

Labor Day weekend may be all work and no play, just three days of Urs Truly sitting around in his [new] underwear and dictating notes, but it portends the arrival of fall. I say good riddance to summer which seemed hotter than usual. I hear from oldsters they grow less tolerable of the Arizona heat with each passing year, whether due to a growing sensitivity to temperature or global warming.  I look forward to going full-throttle about Halloween this year, in order to cheer myself up during the approaching fall melancholia I get about now.

It’s about 2pm; I wrote this during a blessed ‘no-show’ appointment. I am up to my oxters in work but I needed a break to do something anything than work.  Tonight after work Someone picks me up and we go to the happy hour for a drink or maybe two.  There I can forget about life and work for a while, and reflect on the day if I had any of those slight changes that would make all the difference. I smell olives.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections found yesterday’s entry amusing particularly to read the comments. They thought it funny Spo-fans all seem to use soap more often than not.*  TBDHSR may not be good at smelling themselves but they do have a good nose for opportunity. They think I should do more “Urspo does this/that/or the other” entries. They sent a few modest proposals:

Urspo picks his nose

Urspo set fires to some public buildings

Urspo pokes around in Someone’s side of the closet and tries to figure out when this was last worn.

There was even a proposed entry ‘Urspo swaps wives for the weekend’ which both scurrilous and a bit balmy. It makes me wonder if they even bother to read my entries. The blog-board is a pragmatic bunch: they like fancy titles and comments and ratings. They would sell their own grandmothers for a flood of comments.

Having been trained as a Jungian analyst I think of my Psyche as composed of Ego-CEO trying to manage a cosmic collection of complexes, some of them rather boisterous and eager to take over and become the Ego-CEO. How ironic the inner recesses of my pumpkin has as parallel a blog with these slubberdegullions.  Like complexes you can’t get rid of them but have to live with them – like St. Galen and the bear – except my bear is a bunch of boisterous unwashed barbarians. I will bring this up at the next board meeting. I always ask to sit near an open window.

TBDHSR

*The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections are not ones to use soap themselves. Once in a while one of them is found floundering in a fjord but this is usually because they were thrown in and not for the purpose of bathing.

In the bathroom closet is a brass bowl full up with little cakes of soap. They are irregular shaped from once or twice use; they are wrapped in torn off bits of toilet paper or Kleenex. These are the remnants of cakes collected from countless hotel bathrooms. At the end of a hotel stay, as I make rounds doing  a last check for left-behind objects, I wrap up the gently used soap cakes and take them with me.  I see it a terrible waste otherwise.  As a consequence I don’t think I’ve bought soap from a grocery store in years. As soon as the cakes are used up, some other trip with a hotel stay happens to replenish my supply. 

I am not fussy about soap. I don’t take truck in fancy types. These little cakes, usually white or beige, seem sufficient for getting off the grime. I am one to try to compact soap remnants into a Frankenstein-like cake so as to not waste the slivers.  

Once in a while a hotel provides no bars but liquid body wash. Sometimes at Christmas time I get a bottle of such.  They do the job but  they don’t supply the satisfaction of lathering up a cake while rubbing it up and down your contours. There is an amusement to recall that old chestnut of a joke while bending over to retrieve dropped soap. One doesn’t get this mirth from shower gel. 

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I said I am satisfied with basic soap but that’s not entirely true. I am a sucker for brightly coloured cakes with fancy stripes and patterns. They usually come with exotic names and aromas. Nothing brightens up the morning ablutions  as seeing among the grayness of bathing tools a brilliant green or blue cake redolent of ‘ocean’ or ‘mint’. They are usually made by hippie-types and sold at street fairs. Someone doesn’t like aromatic soap. If he just walks into a soap store this evokes headaches in the man so he stays out while I go in and stick bars up my nose. 

Someday during a travel drought I will run out of both types of soap and I will be forced to buy some at Albertson’s. I suppose I will get Irish Spring if they still make any. I recall from the television commercials if you use Irish Spring you feel as if you are showering outdoors with a dirty Irishman. This is worth the price of all the soap in all the Marriotts that ever ever was. 

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I look at my day’s roster of patients coming in and I wonder how on earth am I going to do anything to make a difference to anybody.

My desire for a flat stomach is overrun by my desire for a cheese toast.

I check in on Facebook to see if anyone liked my entry.

I check in on Twitter and wonder why on earth I bother to continue with it.

Eating out after the symphony is more enjoyable than the symphony itself.

I wonder if I will live long enough to retire.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is all that’s wanted for dinner.

I bring in any stray carts I happen to encounter on my way from the parking lot to the grocery store.

The siren-call of the cellphone’s time-sucking activities keeps me up long past my bedtime.

Harper wants out merely because I am sitting down.

I want to people to send me a random text just to say they are thinking of me.

I get a glimmer of hope  the white racist mob boss running the White House will finally do something for Congress to stand up to him.

Kleenex boxes make very nice hats.

I want a weekend of gray nonstop rain so I can stay indoors and read all day long (tea included).

I can spell calendar without spellcheck.

I want an Aviation cocktail.

Note: I thought this a marvelous post. TBDHSR thought is boring. Still, it ain’t no “Curious things about the house” entry.

I am sitting in the brown easy chair, typing away on my laptop, drinking tea from a white mug with its blue “Charleston Tea Plantation” writing. I remember where, when, and why every one of these items was purchased. I see across the room sitting on a table stand a small sculpture of an owl which my cousin made and gave me when she and her gal pals came to visit me when I lived in Chicago in the early 90s.  These items I think are the exception that most of what I have has no history.  Waiting this morning for the kettle to boil I cleaned the kitchen sink. I paused for a moment to wonder about the blue plastic dishpan. For the umpteenth time I had rinsed it out with warm sudsy water and left it turned over on the stainless steel Crate and Barrel wire rack. I stopped to consider where and when the tub was purchased. Can’t remember. It’s one of the many mundane things about the house that ‘have always been there’. It looks in good shape and I daresay it will it will survive me when somehow someone else will use and clean it in the exact same way. 

There is a woman in Japan who leads some sort of cleanliness cult whose philosophy is house things should be either bring you joy or be useful. Anything else should be discarded as clutter. More than useless, they bring your spirits down.  A quick emotional poll of Spo-things seems to fall into the categories 20% Joy, 40% useful, and 60% rubbish.* Someone seems pleased I recently took over taking out the trash on Tuesdays but it’s my devious way to slowly discard things from the 60% category.  Thanks to careful selection he hasn’t noticed anything has gone missing. However at this slow rate it will be the year 3888 before mission accomplished and I don’t know how I can sneak out the larger objects like the otiose Hammond organ. Time to call The Junkman or someone like him. I can do this one night this week when Someone is ushering. Chances are he will come home exhausted go right to bed and not even notice half the furniture is gone. 

 

*Yes I know that doesn’t add up. Please don’t write in. 

Pensive

It seems it’s been a long while since I’ve dropped by my blog-reads to see what’s up with my fellow writers. This evokes guilt. I think it only proper manners if I want people to come by for a look-see at my scribblings I should reciprocate. This afternoon I plan to put down the there’s-work-to-be-done tasks and go make rounds and find out what’s happening.  Apologizes to the Spo-fans who have blogs. I am looking forward to you. 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I am contrary to my beliefs and actions. This morning at the gym I paraded around wearing my new headphones, oblivious to my surroundings, lost in my podcasts. How long have I silently disapproved of my gym mates absorbed in their phones? I recently caught myself silently lauding some right-wing hate group’s social media site being shut down, yet I get livid at the notion of government or popular censorship. Today over breakfast Someone described a couple of Trumpsters he met at work who live in their own little world cocooned by people who agree with their beliefs; last time I looked my blogs and FB friends all have the same political bent as myself. 

This worries me viz. being a hypocrite. Perhaps I am just being human with my Shadow side slipping back into the pilot seat while my Ego was busy looking elsewhere. I don’t know what bothers me more: being ‘no different than they’ or being asleep at the switch.  Oh well, either way I am more conscious of it now and more able to do something about it. 

I shall be a bit more thoughtful now before I cheer the shutdown of platforms even when I find them hateful. I will be a bit more careful before I snicker at thems with opposite beliefs.  As for the headphones, well, I will take the ‘if you can’t beat’em join’em’ approach. Lost in music and lecture was rather pleasant – and no one wants to talk to me at the gym anyway. 

Medical schools have unofficial azoths, a remedy for all ills. My uncle’s school’s motto was ‘ more exercise”. My school’s panacea was ‘push fluids”. As a remedy this isn’t a bad idea. [1]  This wasn’t news to me for I have always been one to drink fluids. Perhaps this is because I am a water sign no one has ever needed to remind me to drink water. [2]  I’ve always been the first in line at the drinking fountain.

When I travel I like to ask the locals ‘how is your water?”  People are usually hot or cold on the subject. They either boost their water is the best there is or they wouldn’t be caught dead drinking it.

As a boy I was surrounded by the Great Lakes, which has plenty of water – and good tasting too thank you. It still is my favorite. Last week when I was home I drank nearly nonstop.  How refreshing it was to drink water right from the tap.

The irony is I now live in a roasting desert. In the dry ardent heat one can easily become dehydrated. Getting enough water – and proper water at that – is always on my mind.  Phoenix water has a slightly funny taste to it; if you use it to make tea or coffee there is a slight oily film on top of the cooled beverage.  That ain’t good.  In these parts I drink filtered water whenever I can.

I drink tea in the morning and change over to aqua by afternoon, drinking most of my intake in the evening as that is when I am the most thirsty. Unfortunately this often mars my sleep. It doesn’t help that after I wake in the night for a trip to the loo before I return to bed I take a swig from the water glass I keep on the vanity each night for such endeavors. This only worsens the problem of course but the mouth dries out quickly and needs something to wet the whistle. [3]

I am not a big fan of bottled water; I think it a ripoff and probably not good for the environment (given the plastic). With that said I confess I like Evian.  It has a slight ‘rock’ taste which I enjoy.  Worse – I like Fiji water. I feel guilt whenever I have some thinking I am depriving third-wordlers of their local water so Yuppies like me can indulge in the delusion there was a mountain between me and the last man who drank it. So I don’t indulge often.

 

[1] Other than heart failure. Don’t try this at home kids.

[2] Cancer the giant black-hole of emotional needs.

[3] Water signs like myself (with Mercury in Virgo) are always making sure everyone is hydrated. Someone doesn’t like water much so I have to be forever diligent to make sure he drinks enough. He seldom complains of feeling bad lest I pounce telling to go drink some water. His liquid of choice is “Diet Coke Diet Pepsi whatever”.  Not the same!!

 

 

Note: This entry went back and forth a few times between Urs Truly and TBDHSR. They couldn’t quite figure out a) was it serious and b) is it funny. They wanted me to open with an explanation ‘this is a joke’. I told them a) Spo-fans can figure it out themselves and b) nothing ruins humor quite so much as telling your audience what they are about to read is funny.  In the end they allowed the entry to be printed on the grounds it was relatively harmless and it had nothing to do with Walking the Dog.  Spo.

 

According to the Cosmic Calendar that hangs in the laundry room we’ve entered again the time of Virgo.* I once went in New Orleans to a fortune teller who did my horoscope. In my natal chart the planet Mercury is in ‘The house of Virgo”.  Apparently this fateful alliance portends despite being a Cancer my dark side is dominated by “Virgo energy” viz. an insatiable desire towards self-improvement – and in others. I don’t recall the rest of the horoscope but this bit, for I think this was spot-on.  Apparently thems who are Virgos (or like me have Mercury where he shouldn’t) are picky and (I daresay) critical about loose-ends out of order ‘B+’ attitudes.

My (non-Virgo) partner** and loved ones and I tend to see my zodiacal trait from an entirely different perspective. When I make critical observations about untidiness, disorder, or poor proficiency, I am not trying to make them feel bad. I think they are fine – but wouldn’t they want to be cleaner, tidier, and better? If you just change this or that you a little (or a lot) things could be perfect ! What I am providing is product improvement but what they hear is I think them lazy, slattern, and slow. ‘Tis a pity for I am genuinely trying to improve things and make everyone better.

“Wouldn’t you like to improve things?” is often met with a “No, not really”. *** Thems in my life who just sit quietly watching TV while all around them are tidy-up projects they could be doing also don’t appreciate my Virgo tendencies.  Poor Someone. While he drives I have to be wiping down or polishing the dashboard or doing something/anything to improve my lot in life. While watching a movie I fold laundry, sew buttons, or organize photos on my laptop.

Pragmatics who don’t belief in horoscopes can attribute all of this not to the stars but genetics. Last time I looked over 75% of my background is Swiss-German, the most orderly timely people on the planet. I may drive my loved ones crazy but go have a look-see at my side of the closet.

*August 20 to September 20 or something.

**Someone is a Sagittarius. I like Sanitarians. You can trust them.

***At work I’m the one constantly trying to improve the office forms and electronic records. The bosses don’t find this especially welcome.

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