Friday, June 30, 2006

Panic on Pikes Peak

Last weekend, after we did the obligatory family get together, Someone suggested that we ‘drive up Pike’s Peak”. I thought this would be a gentle trip up the base of the slope, to some scenic elevation ¼ ways up.
It turns out Pike’s Peak is over 14,000 feet, and you can drive all the way to the top. Someone wanted to do just that.
I began to have doubts around 7,000 ft. It was cloudy, so we could not see the top; if I could see I would have feigned illness or done something drastic to turn around the rental car. Assuringly, there were signs of civilization; a souvenir stand was nearby and plenty of cars were going up. More important, plenty of cars were coming down and they did not look too bad off.
In the shop were two T shirts for sale; one says “Real Men don’t need guard rails” and the other “I survived the drive down”. Another said ‘got oxygen?” but this did not worry me so much as the first two.
Near the timberline we lost the paved road. Indeed there are no guard rails; I hadn’t realized how comforting those little strips of metal can be. The road zigzags and ascends at a fast clip. Around every corner comes large cars coming down. Being the passenger, I was next to the edge, looking down 12,000 feet. Then the fog hits. Or was it clouds? Even Someone was shaken. We could not turn around (lest a descending car appear out of nowhere and hit us). We didn’t desire to go forward. Thank goodness for Rangers! One showed up and assured us that just around the curve is clear sky. And he was right – we could see the road again but we could also see we were on the edge of a very tall cliff. The ascent took what felt like hours. Above the timberline it is desolate. Then – oh joy! The top! It felt like the top of the world. What do we find there(besides it was snowing)? A group of Amish - and another souvenir stand. How did the Amish get up here? Must have been the train, which apparently takes you up the backside of the mountain without any drama. We took this photo and started the descent.
Low gear is a must; it requires a lot of breaking. By the time we got halfway down, the lower parts no longer seemed so scary. There is another ranger to inspect our brakes to see if we were too hot. He was looking at the wrong things.

So I can say now I have been to the top of Pike’s Peak. I have a mug to show for it. And a magnet for the fridge - a bear of course.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Apology on my blogging ignorance

Boy do I feel a horse's rear end!
Every day I look for comments, hoping somebody is reading my entries .
Being quite new to blogs, I only today discovered the 'moderate comments' section. After stumbling into it, a truckload of comments appeared, like a pay off at a slot machine.
Thank you all, and I am sorry that I did not see them sooner.

My only excuse is I don't know what I am doing!

Zafu and Zabuton

No, those are not the names of aliens from Outer Space.
They are a meditation mat and seat. I recently got the courage to buy a set.
Mine are dark blue.

For many years people have encouraged me to take up meditation. I am fully aware of its benefits and virtues, so I've never been wary of it. It is a major challenge for me. Sitting still and doing nothing/thinking nothing is antithesis to my ADHD wiring - which is exactly why I want to try it. I could use the balance. I know to go slow/short and not be discouraged by the flood of 'you should be doing something else' thoughts.

I've attempted many interests that burst and fizzle; I hope this one sticks.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Father Figure

This is my father. He is 70 years old today.
Happy Birthday! And Congratulations!
He is a fortunate man. He remains in love with his wife, my mother. He is pleased with his children and children-in-laws; he adores his grandchildren. Happy as a clam at high tide, he is more busy now in retirement than I have ever known him. His health and finances are good enough to allow him to travel. And he travels all the time. I never know where he is. Usually he is off on some quest to ride a train or find a WWII airplane. When he is at home he has a speed boat to chase the freighters on Lake St. Clair. I foolishly introduced him to Ebay a few years ago. Now he is spending the inheritance buying German model trains. What a happy man.

For his birthday he wanted nothing, which is apt.

He has everything – of importance.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


This is a photo of Someone. He is my partner of nearly ten years. He is camera shy, so getting him to pause for the above photo is a rare event. Oh! Watch out! A bear in the woods!
In my blog I call him “Someone” rather than his name in order to protect him.

Someone is a good person; very thoughtful and gentle. He has many attributes, but as he is dubious to be exposed so on line, I shall avoid too many details.
His only negative trait are his driving manners. He gets cross with other drivers and uses all sorts of language that I normally never hear from him. Other than that he has no major deficits. He is my honeybear. I am glad to have Someone with whom to go through life.

We met in Key West. I was on the usual yearly winter holiday at my favorite B&B, Big Ruby’s. The place has a social hour every day at 6PM. It is nice way for mingling and meeting the other men staying there. Someone was down on a business meeting with his bank. He had escaped his colleagues to stay here for a few nights.
He ended up getting me.
Perhaps if he had asked a few logical questions when he met me, he would have put a healthy distance between himself and some one with ADHD, always moves about, worries about everything, and gets sick at movies (he loves all movies). But now it is too late. In my family we mate for life, like pigeons.

So from time to time you may see him in photos or hear about our interactions.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blog Addiction?

I think blogging is becoming a problem.
I recognize a lot of similar behaviors and emotions to when I first got AOL. There were chat rooms to visit. I recall spending far too much time on line, going to chat rooms, anxious that I had missed something. Then it was chat rooms; now it is blogs. I find it challenging to focus on my work. I am eager to get back on line to the blogs, either to write my own or read others’. I eagerly check and recheck -many times a day - to see if someone left a comment on my entries. (oh! somebody reads my blog after all!) I am impatient to see new entries on dozen blogs that interest me. I continually edit and putz on my profile.
All this is at the expense of other activities such as gardening, music, yoga, and reading. I notice sleep hours are down too. Even as I write this entry, I am at work – ought to be doing something else –but am too eager to write out my thoughts on how I am blowing off things in order to write…..
I trust this is some sort of initial ‘rush’ that will normalize in time. It took a few months with AOL chat rooms. Over time I stopped going. I suppose chat rooms still happen, but I don’t know where/how.
I hope my enthusiasm for writing and reading blogs doesn’t fall by the wayside though; it only needs to normalize so I can eat and sleep properly thank you. I wonder how others manage their lives with their blogs? I suppose people have a time for writing each day – or do they merely write on the spur of the moment? In time I will find out time management from the ‘sages’ as I get to know them better.

Is there such a group as “BA”, Bloggers Anonymous?
“Hi, my name is Michael” (apparently in blog-land the name Michael seems a safe bet).Then after the meeting I try not to run home to turn it into the day’s entry.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Family Tree

I am coming home from my family reunion on my father’s side. My great grandfather had 5 children; their descendents gather every few years to swap stories and add their kids’ names to the growing family tree.
I am fortunate to have not only a large family but one that gets along. There are no major fights: no one is nasty or estranged. We like each other; I like to be with them. How many families can say that?
My family is known to sire mostly boys, so there are a lot of branches with my last name. Ours is a well researched family. I am the 12th generation of my line to be in North America. At an early age we learn that Deacon William came from England in 1635. The chain goes as follows;
William < Samuel < Joseph < James < Nathaniel. It was Nathaniel who fought in the Revolutionary War. He then went westward, to Michigan, where this branch lived for the next 200 years;
Nathaniel < James < James A. < Edward J. < Klebar < Edward G. < Thomas, my father.
And then there is I, #12 of the line. Although I do not have children, my brother is doing the duty at passing on the family name; the 2 nephews are generation #13. They are already getting the genealogy spiel.

Although my family is well researched, I am dubious about some of the early stories. They are full of virtuous acts, heroism, and pious acts. Even as a boy I smelled a rat. Someone surely cleaned up the history books. What I wanted to know was the ‘dirt’. I sense the more interesting bits have been lost or whitewashed. I only know of 2 notorious members; one strikes me as a psychopathic killer. He was a big name in a certain religious sect; I get treated like a celebrity when I mention my last name around members of this sect.
Which makes me a sort of imposter. After all, one can not choose ones ancestors.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

In the Garden of The Gods

I am in Colorado Springs for a family reunion. Here is a photo of some of the red rocks at “Garden of the Gods”.
Curious that in this area well known for conservative right wing religion (Focus on the Family just down the road) this park is named after a pantheon. I wonder which Gods they are. Another example of enantiodromia making life balanced.
There is something numinous about being around mighty rocks millions of years old. Perhaps because my last name starts with ‘rock’ that I have been attuned to rock and stone all my life. I feel good around them.
I hiked around and felt the presence of the place. It was good to see clouds and the threat of rain. Also pleasing were the signs warning us of nearby black bears.

Native America, Bears, and Rock; I am in my elements today. I felt charged.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Family Reunion

Hohoho! I am making more and more progress! I learned how to take photos with a digital camera today! Here I am in Colorado, at a family reunion. Now, everything is 'blog potential".
More to follow on the experience here...

I get by with a little help from my friends

We recently had both Mother’s and Father’s Day. I want a recognized Friend’s Day. I see it as a day to cards and gifts acknowledging that they are important. Too often this goes without saying. I am blessed to have a whole bunch of special people to whom I go when I am vexed, cracking up, or need help moving the furniture..
This blog is to acknowledge a subspecies (more taxonomy!) of friends who gave me Unexpected Things I never knew I wanted or needed.
In no order at all<

George – my adopted Godfather, to whom I can always turn.

Doug – who taught me the differences between moths, skippers, and butterflies. Now I actually ‘see’ butterflies. If they existed before I never noticed. I see them everywhere now, especially the Swallowtails.

Eileen – who keeps me up to date on Godzilla, B movies, and history books along the general topic of “How X changed the world”

Michael Guy– who not only told me about blogs but encouraged me to try it out; this is jolly good fun Michael!

Marc – my pen pal of 20 years, whom I have yet to meet in person but I know as well as anyone.

Dale and Martin – who show me it is possible to hang in there with another person.

Jerrold – who taught me how to sew.
If you had asked me a few years ago if I would be interested in sewing I would have laughed. Now, I have an ongoing hobby of making Hawaiian shirts. (I hope to get some of my work up on this blog soon).

Mark – my ‘big brother’, who helped me grow up and out.

Rita AKA Sweetie Darling – for teaching me how to make pasta sauce. We squash the toms with our hands like true Italians.

Shon – gardening guru and guide to all that is green

And of course, that Scott, who introduces me to many wonderful things, such as antique malls, Patsy Kline, old cookbooks, and cats. He stops at nothing. .

Thursday, June 22, 2006

# 50

This is my 50th blog entry!
My blog attempt started last February. Now there are pictures, both from the Web and from my own collection. The various entries range from reflections on what I do for a living to what I am pondering or experiencing.
Going from ignorance of blogging to seeing others’blogs is humbling. Some fellows have been doing this for years, and have lavish sites. I surmise that every topic imaginable has been written out. I am regularly going back to 7-8 blogs whose set up and writings appeal to me (or have nice photos). Apparently most bloggers know everyone else, comment and read everyone else. It does make the Web seem ‘web like’.
My future projects are to decorate the blog with more photos and links and other attractive bits like I see in other blogs. Perhaps it is time to make my writings it a bit more fabulous and less pensive. What I will write about/where it is going is up for grabs. I am open to suggestions as to what the readers of Spo want to know from me!

Meanwhile, there are lists to all back upon to do.

I make lists the way others do Sudoku. List making is also a coping skill. My ADHD wired mind has troubles remembering things, so putting things on paper in list form creates Cosmos from Chaos. It is fun to ask my patients with ADD ‘how to you remember things, do you rely on lists?”. Their eyes widen and wonder how on earth did I know. Lists are also a convenient way of telling others my tastes and preferences. I hope in return I get lists back from others.

So I celebrate the 50th – with a list

5 Really good children’s books to reread as an adult
1) The Phantom Tollbooth
2) The Mouse and his Child
3) Alice in Wonderland
4) Peter Pan (the original, not some Disney watered down version)
5) Where the Wild Things Are

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rainbow Flag

Bloggers are doing a "copy and paste" of the above photo. Please pass it on.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Summer Solstice

It is the solstice. Folks are dancing around Stonehenge; the sun is rising around 5AM in the Kingdom of Spo: The Weather Channel is counting down the hours/minutes/seconds to the exact moment, like New Year's Eve. (what does one do when it 'hits'?)
Every day is sunny and over 100 degrees.

It is the time of year to play Mendelssohn’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream, have popsicles, eat watermelon (after the fourth of July of course) and see the summer movies. As a rule they are not of great quality but they are fun. I am looking forward to the new ‘Pirate’ movie.

Summer reading begins; for me this is old science fiction, usually purchased for a few dollars in old used book stores last winter. They have vintage covers and smell like old paper. Despite being about the future, they read like the 50s and 60s novels they are. They induce feelings of nostalgia.

We will go to Colorado to attend a family reunion.
We go Santa Fe to hear the opera.
August sees the annual trek to Stratford; this year we will get to the Shaw Festival as well.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Origin of Spo

The naming of plants started in the Garden; one of the first jobs therein. Putting botanicals in some sort of order has always been of great psychological importance to human beings. I majored in biology as it appealed to my need to makes lists and put this and that with others of its ilk. Nowadays the sorting of plants, bugs, and animals is done via DNA; in my college days it was based on form and similarities. Several things got put together that should not have; pandas and bears for example. It remains interesting; I still want to know the genus and species and varieties of every plant I grow.

I just finished reading the “Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin. Ever since it came out, people have made a lot of fuss about what he said – or allegedly said. I thought it best to go to the source. Nothing supports an argument like “did you read it yourself? No? Well I have, and ….”.

“The Origin of Species” is 650 pages long. The contents are basic biology 101, but the read felt more like history. It had a historical form to its writing; Victorian (Translation; very wordy). Novels from this period tax my ADHD mind and I wanted to skip ahead to get to the point; but I persevered. It took months to go from cover to cover.

The word ‘evolution’ appears 3 times in 650 pages, and all three times are in the context of mankind selectively breeding new lines of pigeons. The rest is about natural selection. He states a few times that he feels his work and the “Creator” are compatible and complimentary:

”I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of any one. It is satisfactory, as showing how transient such impressions are, to remember that the greatest discovery ever made by man, namely, the law of gravity, was also attacked as subversive. A celebrated author and divine has written to me that 'he has gradually learnt to see that it is as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that He required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of His laws."


Meanwhile, there is an unidentified plant growing in the backyard. I am not at familiar with the flora of the area, so I am unable to give it its proper name.

So I will call it Nero. The cats are named Tiberius and Claudius, it seems apt.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Ur-Spo Hotel and Resort

I’ve been wondering what sort of place I would be if I were a hotel

-I think I would be a ‘no children, no pets’ place; not that I dislike either, but they can be a bit of nuisance to watch and clean up after. Also, I envision fabulous décor that Junior or Puss may not appreciate or leave unblemished.
-I would have a spa; nice things that they are. Quiet music, masseurs and being pampered are all good things for the traveler. Touch is under utilized in this country.
-Fountains are must. I love the sound of water gurgling over stones or dripping into a pool.
-I would be rather cozy/small and without much tech -No restaurant; but a concierge that is fabulous, excited to help, and knows all the places (and dirt).
-A large lobby with plenty of large comfortable chairs in secluded corners, for reading.
-And finally – Staff that really knows how to service you, and a hot pot of tea available 24/7.

If this doesn't pan out, I will settle on being the Plaza.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ur-Spo My Own Self

Yes! I not only figured out how to clip a photograph, I was able to paste it onto this blog!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On My Office Wall

As you leave my office, at eye level is a framed New Yorker cartoon. A man, his wife, the son, and apparently the grandmother are lined up in a row confronting a wary young girl. He says<
“Bad news –we’re all out of our minds. You’re going to have to be the lone healthy person in this family”.
The girl looks shocked at the realization of her ‘black sheep’ status. But there is also some relief in her face, some ‘ah! They have finally admitted it!” It makes me smile.

Another framed cartoon (from the Chicago Reader) is by Lynda Barry, titled “That Certain Monster”. In four steps it conveniently summarizes a basic Jungian psychology concept, the overpowering of the ego by a complex. I am no longer in Evanston Illinois amongst Jungians; no one out here ‘gets it’, but I like it as a memory of my analytical days.

Next to it is a print from Alice in Wonderland. Alice is talking to the Cheshire Cat.
This poster silhouettes my patients as they sit and tell me their matters. I don’t know if any stop to read it or get the connection <
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where--“ said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you are sure to do that,” said the Cat, “If only you walk long enough”

Next to it, a photocopy of the first page of the children’s book “The Pokey Little Puppy”.
It is signed by my analytical teacher from U of Chicago, as an award for being initially skeptical about ‘psychology’ only to go further than the Freud wanna-bes in my class.

These aren’t as important as the diplomas, but they are always up in my office.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Plague of Demons

Once upon a time, being possessed by demons was an acceptable psychiatric condition. It isn’t used anymore; it is not mentioned in the DSM IV. Even the few cases I have encountered of people insisting they are possessed by the devil were poo-pooed even by the priests. These sorts first go to church, where they are told to see a psychiatrist right away.
Rather than exorcism they get Risperdal, which is less glamorous and causes tremors and weight gain.
I’ve been thinking a lot about demons. I imagine there’s a rather large flock of them over Arizona, causing red state people to do foolish things, politicians to be stupid, and inspire AM talk show hosts. Mostly these demons interrupt life and make things generally difficult. Road rage, political splitting, and crazy drug/gun laws– these are all the labors of demons.
Demons like cell phones, and encourage their use everywhere and anywhere to further contribute to the Kingdom of Noise.
People who dismiss the concept of demonic interference are either blessed or not paying attention. There is a sniff of sulphur in the bad air over Phoenix. Even as I write this blog the Father of Lies has sent a demon to torment Tiberius the cat into fits of vomiting onto the newly cleaned floor.
I am going to have a word with St. Michael, my patron saint, to guard us against all wickedness and snares of the devil.

For you scoffers, I say beware and watch your cell phones.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Warrior Women

At the Flagstaff pride event were the usual stalls of clubs, organizations, and people wishing to sell me things. There were no lack of T-shirts. One stall was run by all women, with T shirts by women, for other women. One of their shirts had on it Gandhi, stating ‘Another Skinhead for Change”. My favorite was “I do not plan to tip toe quietly to my grave only to say I arrived safe and sound”.

In summary, the T shirts suggested questioning authority, not taking things as so, and standing up for what you believe.

They were a comfort- the women, I mean. It always cheers me to see strong women. If anyone is going to save the world and kick the appropriate butts it are these Warrior Queens. I miss my strong women. Without our lady personal trainer I am slacking off and going to pot. At the Pride event, while other men were drinking or cruising or dancing, we two went looking for a Warrior Woman in the field of law. Meanwhile we founder without female guidance.

But all is not too lost. We live next door to two strong women, a mother and daughter set, who are the street’s cheerleaders, den mothers, and gossip central. The dears! They always come over to check on the cats, water the plants and tell us the news. They include us in all the their holiday dos. They see us a great improvements over the beastly family of four who used to live here.

Now if I can only find an handywoman for the leaky faucets.

Hurrah for Alberto!

The first tropical storm has formed; am I the only oddball who finds this exciting?

I look forward to the hurricane season in the same way other men look forward to opening day of baseball. Who are my players; what does the year promise; where are the guesses of likely hits? Even the Weather Channel moves into gear for these high holy days of hurricane coverage.
I have covered some of the psychology of weather tracking in previous blogs, so I won’t repeat that. I want to point out while the excitement is goofy, I am not a hypocrite about it. In contrast, I can see the meteorologists on TWC trying to suppress delight and convey shock and concern rather. But I know they are just as excited as the audience to see a big one.

I wonder if there is unconscious Protestantism happening here; the wicked will be smitten some how by Nature’s wrath. I do not buy this when Pat Robertson or one his ilk suggest God purposely did this and that to teach a lesson, so I don’t hold to the idea that the Gulf Coast is wicked per se.
Perhaps it is more a Northern revenge rather. I’ve heard a lifetime of people down South gloat about how warm it is, no snow, no gray skies etc. There are also ‘snowbirds’ who depart every winter leaving us poor sods left up north to live it out. So perhaps hurricane season appeals to a sense of Justice and balance. There is no safe place; everyplace has their faults. Even I have traded snow/gray for intense heat and sun.

I will take a snow storm over Katrina any day; Midwest is February may be a different matter.

More Random Thoughts

It is the middle of June, and life isn’t very interesting.

My work week consists of long hours of going in early, seeing difficult patients and problems, coming home and doing paperwork. If there is some leftover time, I stretch or read or write. I know where I am going to be each day of this week. There is going to be no change in the ongoing weather – hot, bright, sunny. Each day more or less feels like the previous, only for the fact I work in a different clinic on Wednesdays and Fridays.

I have not heard much news from family and friends, who are apparently sucked up into their work as much as I. As there are no new friends in the land of Spo, I rely on the old ones more and more. As a bunch they are good people. But none are good at phoning, writing or sending emails. A few write blogs, so I can peep at them for what that is worth.

It is annoying that the two hopes for the month of July fall simultaneously on the same weekend, so I had to choose the one already paid for. Nuts.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

On Top of Things

We went to Flagstaff this weekend.

Northern Arizona reminds me a bit of Northern Michigan, i.e. the forests. It was nice to see birch and fir trees. It was lovely to sleep with the window open and require a jacket at night time.

We stayed at a B&B whose building seemed to combine my grandparent’s house with the one I owned in Chicago. There was an air to it that induced euphoria, at ease, and nostalgia. Now that I have stayed in a few B&Bs, I fancy at times quitting the day job and opening one. It is a lot of work, but I suspect no harder than medicine. Less hand to hand combat too.

We took a ski lift ride up to 11,500 feet, next to Mt. Humphreys. Mt. Humphreys is 12,623 feet tall, and the highest point in Arizona. So we were on top of the world – or at least on top of Arizona. From the top we could see north to the North side edge of the Grand Canyon.

That afternoon, we were volunteers at the Pride beverage counter. I have never been a waiter, so it was a first for me –trying to hear the orders over the music, running around grabbing beers, trying not to run into the fellow volunteers doing the same thing. Just as I got the hang of what is Bud, Bud Light, and Bud Select, I was relieved of my shift.

I hope to return to Flagstaff soon. There is an observatory there, where they discovered Pluto. I would like to go back in the winter time, to see some snow.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Everyone has music that transports him or her to a time and memory. These bits of music are the ‘where were you when you first heard X” ,and the “I was in this place, when I heard X for the first time”. They are never planned or anticipated. Converging factors of emotions, the moment, people, etc. come together like a perfect storm with a song or a piece of music. This puts the tune permanently into a special spot (some would say the heart; psychiatrists would say the limbic system).
It is a convenient ice breaker to ask a person what sort of music he is fond. Later, when you are closer, you can find out about these numinous songs, albums, or CDs. Often the music isn’t that important. It is the matter of being ‘in the right place at the right time’.
I have several. To hear them again and again brings me back to some time or state of being. When I feel disconnected or out of sorts, they can be soothing tonics. Here’s a few;

The Hello, Dolly! Soundtrack – My grandfather would play this 8 track tape as he steered the cabin cruiser out of Grand River harbor onto Lake Michigan. The overture is associated with the start of endless summers of adventures. Back then, Lake Michigan could have been the Pacific Ocean it seemed so vast and uncharted

Watermark - Enya. I was in Key West for my first time, I was in my 20s. I was young and the world and adulthood was before me; life was going to be so exciting.
This album was played a lot as background at the bed and breakfast. It takes me back to a magical week of joy and hope. I can still hear my B and B host talking to us over drinks at night, about glorious times past, and what it is like to live your life with someone.

I’d Like to teach the World to Sing by the New Seekers. I thought my parents rather sophisticated to have it – we didn’t know anyone with long hair like the four on the back cover. My brother and I would make rock and roll bands with our teddy bears, who would lip synch and play the drums to these tunes. Once when I came home in tears from a terrible day at school, my mother consoled me while “So Glad you are a child of mine” in the background.

Rigoletto – this recording finally ‘clicked on’ the opera gene. I stopped hearing foreigners screeching; I heard a beautiful splendid tragic story only music could convey.

Vier Letzte Lieder – sung by Jessye Norman. One morning I woke up at the home of one of my most dear friend. After a significant night, I woke to hear him playing this album. I sat right up; I was transported. I realized I was OK as I was. When I go deaf, this is the last piece of music I wish to hear, the song Beim Schlafengehen.

Tell me some of yours.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Thunder without Rain

Last night some thunderclouds rolled in, creating some lightning.
Today it is windy and cloudy and there is a sense of a storm.
I am elated.
Thunderstorms and bad weather push a (perverse) button to turn on a cheerful mood.
Some inclement weather is a nice change from the endless blue sunshine here in the kingdom of Spo.
I’m told these late spring storms are all clouds and lightning but no rain. Robertson Davies wrote an essay on “Thunder without Rain’, apparently based on a T.S. Eliot poem (anyone know it?). It is a nice expression; to have all of heaven’s wrath without the benefits of rainwater. A sort of opposite to the expression having your cake and eating it too.
I hope that my readers dont' have too much ‘thunder without rain’ in their present lives.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


When growing up, June was my favorite month. It was bright, but not too hot. It looked and smelled like summer should but before that season got too old, hot, and humid. The summer concerts would play out of doors. It was warm enough to go to the pools or lakes. It suggested a few months of ‘summer’ ahead with all its plans – or lack thereof. In childhood June and summer seemed endless.
Now I live in Arizona, and June’s attributes are out of control. Being the only state that does not do daylight savings time, the sun rises about 430AM – and me with it. It is somewhat a good thing as it is also hot here in June; usually over 100 degrees, it has been over 110 already. What outside activities are possible are done in the early morning hours before the temperature and the sun get too high.
But in ironic compensation, the summer again seems endless. We stay indoors mostly and when we go out of doors it is to jump in backyard pool.
This weekend we go to Northern Arizona, which is quite a different region in the land of Spo. When I drove through it last year, it reminded me of northern Michigan. I am curious to see their version of June.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Muses out to lunch (with the Fates)

For some time I have been waiting for one of the Muses to inspire or slap me across the head with a topic. The Muses may be resting. I have had a near daily put out for a while; perhaps they prefer an occasional ‘orgy’ to a nightly routine.

I recall an analysand patient of mine who was a writer. He defended his writing not as a means to work through his neurosis but as a necessity. He had to write, he felt he had little choice in the matter. This seemed reasonable, so I did not work against it. Artists express themselves not because they want to but because they have to; they would go to pieces if disallowed their art.
I have the ‘urge’ to write, so that is a good sign. I hope it is a sign of artistryand not just some passing emotion. I hope I don’t lack talent. In the words of Ms. Wagner “that would be like a perfectionist who can’t get anything right”.
I recently was cheered on and up by a professional writer, whose work I admire. I got enough courage to send her an email message of “I like your work and thank you etc”. I mentioned I am trying to write. She replied. It was short (I suspect she gets lots of email like mine) but it was supportive. “Yeah, go to it!” was the response.

Not much but I feel both honored and encouraged. Now for a topic or two……...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

My first attempt at adding a photo

I am proud of my efforts; my first attempt at putting a photo up worked!
This is my grandfather. He too had a fondness for the bowtie.

Some Random Thoughts

It is one of those days when I doubt everyone’s sanity. It is to be expected that in my field of work one is bound to see a lot of loose screws – and loose cannons. I’ve had a handful of patients taking their pills like M & Ms. Some I caught getting multiple prescriptions from different docs. It is curious that it is always the Xanax that fell down the sink – never the blood pressure medicine. After 15 years in this field, poor judgment still puzzles and amazes.
Out and about in the public realm there are more and more folks either woefully under-dosed or not adhering to treatment.

I am going to limit my exposure to CNN and the newspapers, as the titles and issues either evoke depression or urges to run off to Canada. The letters to the editor can be amusing if they did not evoke the two gamines under the cloak of The Ghost of Christmas Present.
In Jungian psychology, it is not a question of does one have a “Shadow”. It is a question of where yours is. For those not conscious, they project their Shadow elements outwards – onto others. Well, there is a lot of that going around. The politicians are the worse. Given this age of phone tapping and listening in (all in the name of protecting my privacy and safety) I am hesitant to point fingers and complain about certain people in office, lest my blog (or worse I) disappear. I pity the poor federal flunky who listens in on my phone calls, which are mostly from patients in panic mode or begging for more Ritalin. Everyone is uncivil. Others are not only the ‘other’ but down right demonic. It makes me cross and demoralized. I can only hope that what goes around/comes around and the boobs running the country are hoist on their own petard.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I can never decide whether or not I am stupid. I daresay it takes a kind of cleverness to get through medical school and pass specialty boards. But my shrewdness in medical matters is undone by my stupidity in other aspects of life. To wit < How does the entertainment centre work – we shelled out good money to have a new screen, outdoor speakers, and a system installed to manage it all. On the counter sit 5 remote control panels; I do not know how to use any of them. I constantly rely on Someone to show me how to turn on the Weather Channel or my music (and since neither do much for him he is in no great hurry to instruct).

How does the computer camera work – my brother gave me some sort of video camera that allows others to see me ‘live’ on the internet, in lieu of long distance phone calls. Family and friends as far away as Japan badger me to get it up and going. I have been avoiding it partially as I don’t know. The main reason is I am afraid that if I touch it the computer will crash.

How the car runs – I took out some books on this so as not to sound a rube at the car repair appointments. None of this has sunk in. I can tell you how the ascending reticular nerves transport what neurotransmitters to which parts of the brain, but not how the engine makes the wheels go round.

How to iron a shirt – I mean crisp and proper. Mine would rate a B+ on the best of days.

How to grill meat – as we possess a built-in gas grill the size of desk, I am putting it to use. My attempts with chops and piggies range from charred black to undercooked – or both. I haven’t approached beef.
A book on the topic of grilling was recently purchased. It is simultaneously fabulous and butch. I have more hopes for this than with the technical devices.

If anyone has tips on these matters, I am open to suggestions.

Friday, June 02, 2006


My mother is a very poor liar. I’ve seen her try to lie twice in my lifetime. Both times she stammered and looked obviously guilty. I’ve wondered if the ability to pull off a lie (or not) has a genetic component, as I haven’t had much success at it. Besides the moral disapproval, it is so hard to get it right.
I hope some body can help me out on this, but I vaguely recall a movie in which an actress (Bette Davis?) plays twins. When one drowns the other assumes the role of the deceased. It was tiring watching her attempting to remember which one she was. Recently I thought of this when I did something similar. The phone rang; it was a telemarketer. He asked if I was who I am and I said no I was his friend. Then I tried to cover for myself. Then I took a message for myself. I was asked when I would be home. By then I was losing my grasp of my identity. Afterwards I worried. I fretted not only about being a liar but the possible consequences. Since I sounded devious, he could have presumed I was a burglar and called the police. He may have leapt to the conclusion since I was away Someone was taking advantage of the situation to have over a stranger and our reputation would be in tatters. This would also make me look a fool.
I now regret I embarked on such a web of pretense. I should have been clean right up front with the telemarketer to go screw himself.
It is often unpleasant to be honest but it does save trouble in the end.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ten of Swords

Every year in January I do a “reading for the year” with one of my many decks of cards. This gives me 12 cards, one per month, on which to reflect.

This year “June” came up with the 10 of Swords. Not a good sign.

For those who don’t know, the 10 of Swords is one nasty looking card. There is a dead man on the ground with 10 swords stuck in his back. Although all cards are supposed to have both positive and negative aspects, even I have a hard time coming up with a positive spin for this one. The one possibility is the dark storm cloud on the card’s horizon seems to be lifting – a sign perhaps that some awful thing is vanquished and passing?
While I hold to the philosophy that these cards are helpful for internal reflection and we ultimately make our destiny etc, I have the willies. I’ve been dreading June’s arrival. Is something terrible about to happen? As in anyone’s life, I have a list of potential problems that could at any time erupt. Perhaps one of these dormant volcanoes will erupt soon.
Or, is it a warning - do not succumb to depression and despair.
I tread with caution.