Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

“It’s New Year’s Eve and hopes are high”

My hopes are not that high. We will be home tonight. Neither one of us wants to brave the Phoenix traffic. Arizona drivers are nasty but on NYE they must be even more hazardous.

So we are going to watch Sunset Boulevard and watch the ball drop in Times Square. This occurs at 10PM local time, so we can go to sleep afterwards if we want.

Such a decadent lifestyle we lead.

When we were children, we kids had a superstition that the last word of the old year should be “rabbit”. We got that off of an activity calendar. I only remember this as Brother #3 calls each year to ask if I am still doing that. Yes, I do.

Someone is from the South, and will prepare black eyed peas tomorrow. It is a new tradition for me. Bloggers from the South; do you do this as well?

Another ritual of Someone is to have all the Christmas decorations down by tonight. Can’t have them linger into the New Year it seems.

I purchased my new (handwritten) journal; a pale green journal with a dragonfly on the cover.

I make a dozen or more New Year’s resolutions as I find so much in me that I want to improve. Someone finds this strange that I make so many. Many of these are goals rather than personal growth/habit clean ups.
Last years’ list did not do so well, so there are plenty of carry overs into 2007.

Well, I am off to the annual read of “The Little Match Girl”.

Peace and Health in 2007 to the forty to fifty bloggers I met this year.

Prosperity for all, if that is possible.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Channeling Dr. Smith

I recently saw a snippet of a “Lost in Space” episode.
I forgot that Dr. Smith is such a raving queen.
Such shrieks! Such swishy hand gestures!
And the sarcastic remarks and bitchy complaints!

Dr. Smith, Witchipoo. Hoodoo (from Lidsville), and Bugs Bunny shaped my childhood.

Maybe in 2007 I should get in touch with my “inner-Dr. Smith”?

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Spo-fans know I like to grow vegetables, and heirloom tomatoes are my favorite.
If you are planning a garden next year, may I suggest you try some of these!

Matina or Stupice or Sophie’s Choice - these are my ‘early’ tomatoes.
Most early tomatoes are bred to put out soon but have no taste. These 3 have real tomato taste. Back in Michigan I had toms as early as June.

Anna Russian
Box Car Willie
German Red Strawberry

Choose one of these old fashioned ‘red’ tomatoes. More dear to me than rubies

Cherokee Purple – My favorite ‘purple’ tomato. Legend has it the Cherokee People developed it. This tomato has a purplish skin and a smoky taste. However, it doesn’t make a good sauce as the sauce is brown!

Opalka – best ‘paste’ tomato. Polish tomato shaped like a large hot pepper, it hardly has any seeds or juice. They are excellent for saucing.

Brandywine (Sudduth’s strain) My favorite ‘pink’ tomato, and one of the best tasting tomatoes I know. But get Sudduth’s strain as there are many cheap imitations. I suppose if you only had room for one tomato it would be this one. However, they don’t put out much fruit in erratic weather. So I put in a few plants to make certain of enough produce.

Reisentraube – a cherry tomato that puts out – a lot. Almost foolproof, the countless cherries have real tomato taste (unlike the nasty things in the supermarket).

Nebraska Wedding – My favorite orange tomato. I love the sound of its name too.
If you can’t get this one, try Kellogg’s Breakfast or Earl of Edgecombe.

Marizol Gold – a tomato that has gold/red/yellow and orange colouring throughout. Very pretty on a plate. Alternative; Hillbilly Potato Leaf.

Manyel – prettiest, bestest yellow tomato there is.

Green Zebra – small green and yellow striped toms with a bit of ‘zest’.

Noir de Crimee – my favorite ‘black’ tomato. It is really dark red with green jelly. I’ve heard it called the world’s ugliest best tasting tomato. (Sometimes it is called Black Krim)

Omar Lebanese – just for fun. This variety produces “Monster” size tomatoes! We’re talking several pounds. But they are also delicious.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some End of the Year (Spo) Reflections

I write my reflections mostly ahead of time, when there is a ‘No Show’. A “No Show” is a scheduled patient who does not appear – or call to cancel or explain. It happens frequently in medicine but perhaps more so in psychiatry as there is more ambivalence about seeing this sort of doctor. "No shows" evoke a positive emotion – they give me time to return calls/write ‘scripts or take a break. I am on salary, so I get paid if I see people or not.

I am glad 2006 is winding down. When I look back on 2006, it overall a fatiguing. I still write a diary. At the end of each year I read these journals to recap and remember the year. This year’s read evokes a ‘how dull’ reaction. Apart from some pleasant trips, the rest of the year (my daily life) wasn’t very interesting. Mostly it was work and the effects of long work hours. I try not to record a lot of details about work in my journal book – and I’ve put much of my philosophical writing into this blog rather. So the diary is sparse.

I arrive at the end of 2006 tired. I am also not in good shape. I used to be much better with exercise and yoga. Everything in Phoenix is a car trip and through lots of traffic – between the driving effort and the work hours, I’ve had less time to exercise. I need to do better in 2007 or I will be dead by 50.

On the positive, the budget for the year ended ‘in the black’ with some put away for retirement. I earned more this year than in the past years. I’ll have to calculate if my charity donations increased in proportion. When I have money fears, I tend to get cheap.

The end of the year brings in the seed catalogs. These make me excited and hopeful.
These brightly coloured photographs of flowers and vegetables evoke dreams of far off spring gardens. I don’t garden much any more (this being Arizona). But I try to do something. Hot peppers in pots, and container tomatoes. I may have to forgo the heirlooms for (ugh) hybrids developed for small pots and containers.

We were to go to Palm Springs for New Year’s Eve but our usual spot wanted a 5 day minimum stay. Stinko. So we are likely to stay home.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Famous Last Words - Past and Future

“It has all been very interesting!"
Lady Mary Wortley Montague.

"Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."
Oscar Wilde

When he was told the angels were waiting for him, Ethan Allen quipped, "Let 'em wait."

"I am so very happy,"
Gerard Manley Hopkins

"More light, more light."

Madame de Pompadour cried out to God, said "Wait a minute!" and rouged her cheeks red.

"I suppose I am turning into a god?"
The dying Emperor Vespasian

"Don't let it end like this. Tell 'em I said something."
Pancho Villa

Gertrude to Alice B.: "What is the answer?" [Silence] "In that case, what is the question?"

"If this is dying, I don't think much of it,"
Lytton Strachey

“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."
Edmund Kean

"It's been so long since I've had champagne."

Now, compose your own tentative dying words!
an example to inspire:

“Can I turn off the pager now?”
Ur-Spo (provisional)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas !!

Merry Christmas to all!

If I were able, here are the Christmas prizes I would give each of you today.

MEK at Bear in a Box - his own theatre and a new job.

The Persian at Becoming Visible –a new job tied up with a beau.

Dr. Benton Quest and Nick – all heating bills paid for

Morgan at Blog Eat Blog World – a trip to Cairo

Bunny at Bunny Lynn Boofy – a truckload of glitter

Heather at Butterfly in Disguise – a weekend alone at a spa resort

Captain Caveman – a plane ticket to the US to meet some of his fans (Florida or Arizona)

Steve at Chez Stephen – Chocolate for days

Mark at CityWoof – good health, and a six pack of real RUSH

Eileen at Cliffie’s Notes – a paid vacation to the Great Barrier Reef

Daniel at Dan in the Desert – a photo album for all those lovely shots.

Dan at DanNation – oh he has everything so a shopping spree at IKEA to see the aliens.

David at David’s Daily Drama – 2 front row tickets to the Diva concert of his choice

Will at DesignerBlog – dinner with Martin Katz and David Daniels

Steve and Chris at Devious Steve O– warm clothing and firewood for NH living

Jock at Dishonesty Honesty – he still needs a hug; that, and a new house in a different location, perhaps out of state/out of Arizona.

Robert at The Gay Spot
– good health

Doug at Gossemer Tapestry – a fen permanently cleared of buckthorn.

Lemuel at Greedy Maelstrom – a classroom full of bright students in 2007

Homer at Homer’ World – A trip to Crete to see the Bronze Age Ruins.

Pete at It’s Just Nothing – Something

Jason at Let’s Say You’re Right –a weekend at the Plaza in NYC for two

Tony at Life’s Colorful Brushstrokes – a Palm Springs Weekend with Youknowho

Greg at Life in a Day – a new book store

Foxy Stone and Lo– 100g bag of Margaret’s Hope 2nd growth Darjeeling Tea

Maddog in the City – A kingsize, titanic, unsinkable Molly Brown tank of Diet Cola, and towels in every colour of the rainbow.

Maggie at Maggie’s – A trip to Mexico right about now.

Joe at Mind of the Bear – some resolution in 2007.

Bigg at My Confessions – also some resolution in 2007.

Bruce at Not So Different – Something Different all right;

John at Open a Window – 2 weeks off to study for his boards

Andrew at The Other Andrew –A plane ticket to US to meet us all

Derek and Mike at Past, Present, and Future – another one who has everything, so how about a weekend for two in Alaska to see the Kodiak bears?

Michael at Pipedreams – a hot date

Scott at Purple Twinkie – real black licorice

Kelly at Rambling Stern View – a tripod for his digital camera

Rodger at Rodger Dodger – packets of heirloom seeds from

Scott and Buckaroo at Scott-O-Rama – another set who have everything, so a shopping spree at Nordstrum’s for these two.

Bruce at Senseless – a vacation to swim with the dolphins

Deanos at Some Call it Love – a weekend for two at the Plaza.

Joshua at Smiley – a rented convention resort to host a weekend of bloggers from GMR

Keith at Sorted Lives – crab legs for days and a beau

Brett at Spider’s Web – bread pudding for days and a beau for him too. (or a rental?)

Steve at Steve’s WhirlyWorld – a new job and a buyer for his condo.

Michael at Temporary Trouble Spots – an all expense paid week to Palm Springs in February.

Hanuman at Tiger by the Tale –a dinner with Shah Rukh Kahn, or psychiatric papers to commit Mumsy to Belleville (you choose Haunuman; Sophie’s Choice!).

Wenchy at WenchyStar – all vet expenses paid for in 2007

Joel at Would I? – a boyfriend just like one in his photos.

Ynager65 – horseshoe sandwiches for days

And for everyone and anyone I forgot peace in 2007.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Grinch Meme

In the true Grinch fashion, I stole this from a Who named Doug!

1. What do you hate most about Christmas? Shopping for presents. And getting them in time to get them into the post in time for Christmas delivery.
2. What is your least favorite piece of Christmas music?
That would be the ‘Christmas Song’ – Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….
This modern ditty, so slow and non-PC should be buried.

3. Your least favorite Christmas decoration?
Aluminum shiny strands of Christmas garlands.

4. Your least favorite Christmas treat?
Egg Nog. It is way too rich and sweet for my taste.

5. What traditional Christmas food OTHER THAN FRUITCAKE (too easy) is best sent down the garbage disposal?
How ironic! Normally I would vote for my mother’s green bean casserole. But you know, I am going to make it this year as I miss being at home for Christmas.

6. Which animated Christmas TV special leaves you wanting to rip the wallpaper off of the walls?
The SECOND Charlie Brown Christmas Special. A cheap attempt at capitalizing on the success of the original one.

7. What was you least favorite Christmas gift ever?
I recall gloves when I was 8 not going over too well.

8. What is your least favorite Christmas activity?
Untangling and putting up Christmas lights.

9. Who on your Christmas gift list is the hardest to shop for?
My Father. Not only does he have everything/wants nothing, whenever he gets an inkling of an idea, he announces it – and then a week later goes buys it himself. Bum.

10. How would you spend this time of year if you weren’t caught up in all of the holiday madness?
I would like a weekend in some secluded winter spa, lots of snow outside, and lots of hot water inside – with masseurs with strong hands to rub my limbs and apply hot stones to my back.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

It is the Winter Solstice; the darkest time of the year. My ancestors (all coming from northern climates) would celebrate this time with fires and lights, to welcome the return of the Sun. Springtime is around the corner and new life. Just as it is the darkest; the light returns.
I like the Winter Solstice. I light a few candles, and I think.
I think my last entry upset and worried some when I said 2006 was overall a bad year. I think I was having a bad day and ruminating on the World's Woes too much.
Rodger at RodgetDodger recently reminded me in a few comments that life ain't too bad. Thank you Rodger and others toofor reminding me that 2006 was the year I fell down the rabbit hole into that fabulous Wonderland of Blogging. I have enjoyed it a great deal. I have grown fond of my fellow bloggers, men and woman. I very much look forward to reading them each day. I laugh at their jokes. I get sad when they hurt. While I have never met or talked to any of them (so far) I consider them friends. I am thankful for all of you.
So these are good thoughts on this darkest of days. I welcome the Sun and a 'new year' with hopes of growing friendships. Who knows, I may meet one or two of you!

Please stop by on Christmas; I will have virtual Christmas 'prizes' for everyone.

27 Things about Spo

1. I stutter when I get to excited or have too many thoughts I want to say simultaneously.
2. I am 5ft 10.5 inches tall. That’s for the bean counters who want to know how really tall I am.
3. My favorite living composer is Arvo Part.
4. I have a Haida Bent Box. It will some day contain my ashes.
5. Remembering the date I went ‘on line’ is easy. I dialed up to see that Princess Diana died in a car accident. I thought it was a joke.
6. I have not been to 6 States; Vermont, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
7. Guilty comfort food oh so delicious but oh so nasty < Ramen Noodles.
8. I was harassed throughout grade, junior and into high school. Two of the bullies are now dead from reckless living. The other is an alcoholic. I earn six figures.
9. Lunch is a lonely time. The majority of them I eat alone, so I read a lot.
10. In 2007 I hope to go to Costa Rica, Oshkosh Wisconsin, a family reunion, and the annual trek to Canada.
11. Someone would like his own pet, so a puppy may arrive next year.
12. My father is a ‘boat nerd’. This means he adores and watches the freighters going up and down the Great Lakes. We kids knew how to identify freighters rather than cars.
13. At family get togethers, we often look at old slides from the 60s to 80s. Half of them are photos of freighters.
14. My mother is an amateur singer. She is an Alto. She does not like pieces by Francis Poulenc. I do.
15. Speaking of Poulenc, my favorite opera is “Dialogues of the Carmelites”. The ending is one of the most dramatic and moving things in music/on stage.
16. My favorite vintage Diva is Ethel Waters.
17. My favorite vintage group is The Boswell Sisters. (especially Connie)
18. My nephew was born on 4/23, which is Shakespeare’s birthday. So I tend to give him books and literature for his birthday. He’s was the only 6yo I know who could quote Macbeth.
19. The woman who inspired me into going to medicine was my pediatrician. I am very certain she was a dyke.
20. I want very much to see the great Aztec Calendar that is in the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, but I am too fearful to travel to Mexico City.
21. I collect rubber stamps.
22. At family reunions I am the only one who can explain the ‘first cousin/second cousin/first cousin once removed etc.” connections. This is clear for me; no one else gets it.
23. I am avoiding reading “The Pickwick Papers” as it is the last major work of Dickens I have yet to read. After that there is no more.
24. I miss planting daffodils in the fall. I love daffodils in the spring time.
25. We turned on the heat yesterday. Our Midwest blood is thick enough still to delay the Arizona furnace this late.
26. Speaking of Arizona, Phoenix has the nastiest drivers I have ever seen, and I have been to Boston.
27. 2006 overall was not a good year. I hope 2007 is better.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cheap Christmas Trash

Cheap Christmas Trash!
I heard this expression first in a play. I forget the title of the play, but it was about a set of sisters in the South. One kept using this expression to comment on another, in reference to the other’s liberal sexuality (i.e. she was a tramp).
She was “cheap Christmas trash”.

This expression gives me a chuckle. It has an oxymoronic feeling to it, as I try hard to make Christmas and its decorations neither cheap or trashy.
However, we used to have an aluminum Christmas tree stand with green and red votive candles. I thought it sweet. Someone definitely put it in category of “Cheap Christmas Trash”. He was glad when it finally cracked.
We have some old plastic ornaments that every year do not get put on the tree – perhaps they count for CTT. But at the moment we don’t seem to have CTT out.

Is Christmas really Christmas without some kitsch?

I need a chuckle and a smile today – please tell me about

A. Your favorite piece of Cheap Christmas Trash
B. What you do with it each year
C. Is it a source of friction in your household?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Ghosts

Ghost of Christmas Past
My favorite TV special was “Rudolph”
My favorite carol was “Deck the Halls”
My favorite decoration was a wreath.
My favorite Christmas food was gingerbread cookies
We would go on an annual trek to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth Michigan. An unwritten Michigan law requires all State Citizens to go there once a year around Christmas time for chicken dinner and shopping.
My family once put out beer and pretzels for Santa. Feedback was he was pleased for the difference. I recall putting out some carrots for the reindeer too.
The childhood tree had big screw in bulbs. The bulbs were kept in an old KFC bucket in the basement.
There was a strict rule of ‘how early’ we kids could get up and descend on the loot. My brothers often woke at 5AM and tried to pass the time with board games until the ‘hour’.
Our Christmas stockings were made from some sort of Woman’s magazine pattern. I still have mine.
The Christmas season began with the church’s annual potluck dinner and Christmas workshop. The later is where you made handmade ornaments. My mother tells me her the church still does this, 40 years later.
Once, in my childhood, we looked up from Christmas tree decorating to see Santa Claus peeping in! My brother and I went into hysterics.

Ghost of Christmas Present
My favorite TV special is the “Grinch”.
My favorite carol is “In the Bleak Midwinter”.
My favorite decoration is holly leaves.
We have a large, silver, Pottery Barn reindeer candelabra. It has 10 little globe candles to go on the antlers. I light it only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I miss having a real wood burning fireplace.
Someone likes to go to the movies on Christmas day – new concept for me.
This year I play ‘midnight mass’ bell choir at 4PM. We go next door to the neighbors for Christmas eve dinner.

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
My favorite TV special will be Project Runway Xmas
My favorite carol will be Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
My favorite Christmas food will be Snowman Peeps.
My favorite decoration will be cheap Christmas trash.
I hope next year to be home in Michigan for Christmas.
Santa Claus will give me what I really want hohoho.
(remember these are shadows of what Christmas may be only; I read that somewhere).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The King, The Warrior, The Magician, and The Lover

In my last entry on Jungian psychology I talked of complexes. Most folks are familiar with Freud’s Oedipus Complex. Freud thought is universal and central to human development. Jung thought it only one of countless complexes. He thought there are far more primal and universal and important ones to be in touch with and resonate.

Four Complexes especially appealing to the male Psyche are the King, the Warrior, the Magician and the Lover. These 4 are important to both male and female psyches, but I will focus on the male versions. It is hoped a man is in touch with and has healthy relations with these four ‘fellows within him’. Mind! There is no such thing as a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ Complex. They all have good and bad elements. Any one of them too weak or with too much power/libido is hazardous.
If they ally with the Shadow of our psyches they can be terrible.

The King
The King is the Ruler, the part of you that has mastery of life and realm. He makes the decisions (based on council) and runs the state. And he takes the brunt went things are bad. A man with good King elements rules out of respect, not out of fear. A man with bad King? Well, we all know these types. You see them in tyrannical bosses, in weak presidents manipulated by others, and in tyrants who do not care for the kingdom’s well being but only in his own power and needs.

Good Kings; Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, Captain Picard in Star Trek The Next Generation, Abraham Lincoln (although he had a good dose of Magician to him as well)
Bad Kings; Idi Amin, Henry VIII. I think George W. Bush has a lot of bad King to him.

The Magician
The Magician is the Magus, the Shaman, the part of you with creativity, intuition and the ability to see beyond the logic. He does not rule (being too busy learning life’s secrets) but advises the King and others. Merlin was by King Arthur’s side to give good council. Men in touch with the Magician make good scientists, teachers, doctors, therapists, and pastors. They can be mysterious and a bit fearsome as they know the secrets. A good magician is the guru you trust; the bad magician is the charlatan, the quack who hoodwinks and betrays you.

Good Magician; Einstein, Pasteur. Bad Magician; The leaders of Enron

The Warrior
This is the one who fights for the right, knows when not to back down and when not to fight. Of the 4 Complexes, people have the hardest time with him. Often people want him gone, or reduced or chained up. But where would we be without our Warriors? They make the world better. Bad Warriors are the mindless Soldiers who pillage and rape and kill without reason. Bad Warriors of the male gender can not tolerate or allow the Warrior in Woman. Warriors are not brutes, Many great Warriors were not violent or ‘macho’ men either.

Good Warrior; Martin Luther King, Gandhi, some AIDS activists I knew.
Bad Warrior; religious extremists of many types who must eradicate others not like them.

The Lover
He is the one in tune with the sensual world. He is in touch with the Erotic and with Creation. Those in tune with the Lover make good poets, writers, artists and musicians, not just good sex partners. They make human life lovely and intercourse (social and sexual) numinous. Gay men are usually far more in tune with the Lover than straight men. But the ‘negative’ side is seen when the Lover is “trying to be the King’. When this happens, mindless, anonymous never ending affairs and exploits ensue, and no work gets down/the house falls apart, the bills don’t get paid.
Good Lover; Any great artist, poet, or creator of things marvelous.
Bad Lover; My example Casanova. While he seduced countless women, they were all empty exploits that left no Love behind. I recall a play in which he dies and goes to hell and the Devil commands him to wear a Clown suit for eternity. He is rebuffed; after all, he was Europe’s greatest lover! So the Devil allows him to get out of it if the Don can identify one of his exploits. He fails but when he learns that one of them really loved him, he decides he was a fool, and takes the suit.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How Your Mind Works

Every once in a while I thought I would throw out some Jungian psychology.
I was trained in a variety of analytical schools of theory, but in the end I went with the Jungians. This is not only to introduce people to Jungian psychology but to keep me in touch with my training.
Carl Gustav Jung (for those who don’t know of him) was a Swiss doctor who trained under Freud. He was considered Freud’s ‘heir apparent’. Their fallout has been the stuff of countless papers and books. To summarize their differences; Jung was an introvert. He saw more to man than the sexual instinct. He also developed a theory about a unconscious beyond the Personal Unconscious, called the Collective. (more on the Collective some other time). Freud and Jung went separate ways: Jung founded his own school of psychology.

It was Jung, not Freud who was really into ‘complexes’; a Complex is a complicated mixture of instincts, personal conscious and unconscious material, with a bit of the mentioned Collective Unconscious.

The human mind (goes the theory) works a bit like this; the Ego is the CEO of a board meeting. Around the table sit all the complexes that make your psyche. In a well mind, the complexes all have their say but it is the Ego that makes the executive decisions. in Pathology, a Complex or Two tries to take over and become the CEO. It decides it will be the Ego. If the Ego is strong enough it will rebuke -
Example: Joan in Mommie Dearest at the Pepsi Meeting “Don’t F*k with me fellas!!”
However, it is common for a Complex to 'get in the driver's seat' and try to run the whole show.

The word ‘shrink’ derives from the analytical process to deflate swollen complexes back into perspective. The Ego can not exorcise them; only shrink them to their appropriate size and space. And overall one doesn’t want the complexes to sit mum. Makes for a dull mechanical life; an adventureless tale.

There are a lot of complexes, and I will write about some of the more pertinent ones in other ‘lectures’.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How Does That Make You Feel?

This “How Does That Make You Feel?” is about Las Vegas, which I call Lost Vegas.
This weekend is Someone’s birthday. We are driving to Lost Vegas. It is our first time to drive there, but if Steve at WhirlyWorld can do it, so can we.

As the weekend is all about the birthday boy we are going to a casino resort, of which he is fond. Someone likes to gamble, and he is very good at it – not that he always wins but he allots so much money for it; money he considers the ‘money to play’ for the pleasure it derives. If he wins, great! If he looses, well, that’s the amount he chose for the entertainment of gambling. I don’t gamble as I am a sore loser. I just know there is some one at security laughing at my loss and saying ‘sucker!”.

We have a friend who lives there (he works at the Wynne). We’ll see his house and his neighborhood, so we’ll see more than just the strip.

We will see “Ka” by Cirque de Soliel. We like Cirque. We very much enjoyed “O”; we did not care for Zoomanity; a couple of topless tarts swimming in a large champagne glass does not float our boat. We hope Ka is better.

I don’t gamble but I enjoy watching people gamble and Lost Vegas is chock full of entertaining people and not just on stage.

I can’t make up my mind about Lost Vegas. It is either marvelous or a nightmare or both. I suspect a casino resembles the first level of Hell, with its bright lights, noise, smoke, crowds and even more noise.
I have been to Lost Vegas two times; the 1st time I stayed at The Bellagio, and the 2nd time at Mandelay Bay. This 3rd time (for the experience) we will try The Luxor ( I will think of Morgen at Blog Eat Blog World).

A trip to Lost Vegas - “How Does That Make You Feel?”

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Letter to My Patients

This one was written after a very long and frustrating day……

To my patients –

-I try very hard to be on time and keep on schedule. I know what it is like to wait hours and hours for a doctor appointment, so I try to be prompt. I know your time is as valuable as mine.
So, please be yourself on time. If you are very late, please remember the policy is to reschedule you; we are not a ‘drop in clinic’. If you are slightly late you expect to be seen as you are here – and you want your full time. Naturally if you need more time in your appointment I won’t cut you off. However, this makes the next patient have to wait for their appointment. So the day gets thrown off. And if delays due to other people’s emergencies don’t evoke empathy, merely ire, please schedule your appointments first thing in the morning before the day’s matters occur.

-I have 900 people on file. I don’t remember all your names/faces and all your information off the top of my head. (Trade secret; if your doctor can instantly remember you and your case that is usually a bad sign). Please don’t be insulted that I have to check your chart for details or ask you on matters you think I ‘should know’.

-Alas, the clinic doesn’t leave me space in the day to take phone calls. I think I do a very good job at returning phone calls. But I often have to return the morning calls at lunch time and the afternoon calls in the early evening. Please take this into account when you are pissed that I did not call you back within the hour of your phone call on what primary care doctor can I recommend. Urgent matters I call back right away by the way.

-I believe that you are responsible for the recommended changes in your treatment. When you come in and report you are still doing crack or drinking on your meds or not taking your meds or still doing the behaviors that makes so much grief, please don’t be too surprised that your ‘meds are not working’.

-When you come in to talk about ‘life issues’ I listen/make a few suggestions but these are matters that are best processed in regular appointments with a therapist. Often you want to deal with ‘life matters’ by opting to take a pill. For life issues, this usually doesn’t work well. Prozac won’t solve your parent/child conflict; Wellbutrin won't cure your unhappy marriage. You tell me you can’t find make the time to talk to someone/can’t afford therapy but when I add up the co-pays on your meds and many office visits for ‘med checks’ this looks equivalent to talking to someone on a regular basis.
P.S. I’ve done some arithmetic. If you lay off the 100 dollar/week drug habit you can afford a therapist.

- I am out of touch with several other branches of Medicine, so don’t be shocked and alarmed I don’t know the difference between your two options for knee surgery, or which medicine for high blood pressure you are considering has the least amount of side effects. And I can’t explain what another doctor meant or is doing. Ask that doctor for clarification.

-Finally I am not God, or your Parent, or a Magician, although a part of you wants me to be these things (and I have to be watchful that the reciprocal part in me that wants to take on those roles does not overcome). I am a human being who makes mistakes. I can be tired, sick, and even at times not very bright. Please give me some slack if your appointment was canceled due to me having the flu or a death in the family.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Random Thoughts VIII

The artificial tree is up, and its lights work, but it remains half ‘spread’ and the other half looking like it just came out of the box for the first time – which is true. We’ve been concentrating on the lights outside to do the inside work. How odd to see tree half out of its box…..

Speaking of lights, we re-wired the outside spectacle and did not blow a fuse last night. We were pleased.

Thank goodness for the internet and catalogs from which I do most of my Christmas shopping these days. I still have to find prizes for the four nieces and nephews. Someone and I are on a budget for each other and I am half way done with that list.

And now for some James Joyce like prose;
I am playing the Christmas CDs each year I tend to get one more but Someone tried to put a stop to that but I’ll fix your wagon you want Christmas music I'll give you Christmas music Partridge Family Christmas CD there we are (or Donny and Marie) and Yes I said Yes I will Yes.
As I am also found of Dickens, I naturally read A Christmas Carol. Charles would be a bit annoyed to know this is his most popular work. There is more “ghost story” than seen in the TV and movie versions.

My favorite ‘new’ tradition is Dylan Thomas “A child’s Christmas in Wales”.
My favorite ‘old’ tradition is “Eloise at Christmastime” by Kay Thompson.

Would someone send us some snow?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nasty Christmas Lights

We have just finished putting up the Christmas lights.

We remain a couple.

Nothing is so irksome and removes the holiday spirit as putting up Christmas lights.

In our neighborhood, the neighbors put up lights the day after Thanksgiving. And they put up lots. Nothing subtle in our neighborhood. Someone is far more neurotic about 'what will the neighbors think?" so the our 'dark' house on the block was making him anxious. So, out came the lights.
Naturally, the precise way I put the lights away last year was to no avail. I wonder if there is some evil Christmas Elf (or Gnome) whose job it is to tangle these things into knots. This task of untangling is the nadir of the holiday. Then there is the unpleasant discovery of which ones are no longer light up. Three of the four strands of the "better" lights (purchased at Bronner's, no less!) are half out each. I was for putting up less lights. Rather, we drove all over town to find the replacements and more.
Then comes the ladder, the mixmatched orders to each other, and the spats about what should go where/I don't care you make the decision. By the end of it we are both rather cross and ready to strangle each other with the cords we could not untangle.
But it is all up. Then comes the 'hook up'. We have two outside outlets so the massive amounts of fabulous is going through two holes.
Tonight we turn it on and see how good or hideous it is.

Now I need a nap.
I'll catch up on my blog reads this evening when I can focus my eyes.......

Sunday Morning (Spo) Reflections

My best friend moved to rural Wisconsin. Whenever I call him he badgers me to move there (after all, it is the Badger state). We should close down Arizona and move to Wisconsin and start ‘Chapter Two” of life. He is clever that he puts out all the right baits. There will be seasons again and acres of cheap land next door to grow organic vegetables. We could set up a Bed and Breakfast (how about the name “Bachelor Boys Bed and Breakfast”?). I would be closer to Chicago, friends, and family. Oh, the list goes on.
And, I could even practice medicine as a solo practice again. On my terms.
It all sounds attractive. Peter Pan take me away!

Being of Midwest conservative stock, I have always taken the ‘safe’ routes. I went to college rather than traveling the world. I went to medical school rather than some alternative jobs that I fancied. I took a comfortable State job rather than going into psychoanalysis. I work for others rather than figuring out how to make it on my own.

I admire people in life and literature who have the courage to say "The present situation is not acceptable. It will not to continue. I will move on." They make changes, even if it means walking into the unknown without security. I have never done that apart from coming out. (which was liberating beyond words).
Most of these courageous people had nasty knocks on the way, but many go onto fulfilling their Self.

I fear I will turn into “Randy” rather. Randy was a friend who wasn’t happy in his 20 year old job. He ground his teeth on the way to work, and ground his teeth on the way home each Friday, knowing it would start up again on Monday. He came alive and was happy in other things. But he would never make the changes to make the other things ‘his life’. Why not? Security. He wanted a sure income and the familiar. So far as I know he is still there – either depressed or heading for a heart attack.

I suspect something will change in the land of Spo in 2007. Someone is not happy with his job and is looking for a change. This will mean another move for us.
Perhaps ‘Chapter Two” will be so?

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Weird MEME

I’ve been tagged to be weird by Dr. Benton Quest
I always do what a doctor tells me to do.

1 – all water has to be recycled, either down the drain or on the ground; never trapped in a bottle going to the dump.
2 – while I am very comfortable in a naked situation (spa, club, beach etc.) I don’t wear short pants as I am vain about my legs.
3 – certain CDs are played on certain days/seasons. Jethro Tull is an ‘autumn’ CD; some Inuit chants are for January; Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas is for Christmas Eve Day.
You get the picture.
4 – photos of tarantulas send me into a panic/phobic attack.
5 – blood and gore while working in an ER doesn’t faze me; but I can’t watch it on screen in a movie.

6 – My brain has a direct connection with Eartha Kitt Ms. Kitt likes to channel through me to sing songs not in her usual repetoire. Spontaneous Eartha Kitt singing drives Someone nuts.

Office Party Obligation

Warning; this is a kvetch entry…

I am going to an office Christmas party this weekend.
I am not looking forward to this.

From a psychiatric point of view, the “Holidays” should be banned like asbestos. Both are hazardous to mental/physical health. Between November and early January I deal mostly with people depressed or unhappy about their situations at this time of year. It is a very busy and stressful time in my field. A ‘good Christmas’ means no one kills themselves.

In times past I have weaseled out of most of these office events by conveniently scheduling concerts or away trips on the proposed night. But this year I goofed; the tickets for “Doubt”are on the 8th, not the 9th as I thought. I had no excuse when asked by the bosses would I come.

Working relationships get a bit confused and giddy in social gatherings, particularly if cocktails are involved. It’s even worse with a bunch of people trained to observe and analyze what is being said and not said. We are supposed to ‘let our hair down’ some but I’ve seen the consequences of the fools who did. Not pretty. I still remember the drunken resident schmoozing with the Head of the Department in the University of Chicago Department Office Party. The horror.

Don’t poop where you eat.

Perhaps I am merely embarrassed that after a year working here I still don’t know people’s names. I don’t see or interact with staff other than the receptionists (these too come and go. Just as I get to know their names they rotate/move on). I suspect I will look foolish as I introduce Someone to the woman whose office is next to mine and say ‘I forgot your name, could you tell me again?”.

By not wanting to go, perhaps I am acting out some resentment towards the clinic. I have never worked so hard as at this place. The Burger King pace and the long hours made 2006 a weary year. Spending my free time with the clinic doesn’t sound appealing.

Ah well, stiff upper lip and try to make the best of it......

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Aunt Peg

I’ve been to Michigan and back again.
I was home for a funeral. My great Aunt Margaret “Peg” died this week. She was 96.

A remarkable woman! She did not take any medication in her life. She wasn’t ‘against them’ – she simply did not need any! Her blood pressure, cholesterol, and thyroid functions were good; her joints were OK; she wasn’t in pain. She merely died of ‘old age’.
She was the youngest of 5 children, my grandfather being #3 of 5.
Aunt Peg was the family genealogist. She was proud of our roots, which she traced back to 1630 to England and beyond. (Like Prior Walter in "Angels of America", we are a long descended WASP family from New England and England). When I showed interest, she was thrilled to share it with me. So we two were the keeper of the family history records.
Our only quibble was she liked the good, noble heroic deeds of our ancestors. I liked the dirt and scandals.

I had forgotten she was a professional model in her youth. During the 1930s and 40s she had photographs in national magazines like LIFE. I’ve seen a few; she is stunning. She resembled Norma Sherrer. Aunt Peg kept her looks too. Lucky woman.

We laid her to rest in Oakland County in Michigan – in a cemetery where the last 7 generations of my ancestors lie buried. She is buried near John R (who came to Michigan in 1780), and his descendants John A. , Edward J. , Klebar, Edward G. and Edward G.
Edwards G was my grandfather; my father is Thomas R.– and then there is I. I am generation #12.

She was the last of that "10th generation". Now my parents are in the ‘oldest generation’ and I am in the middle generation.

I will miss her.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Spo Recess

I have to fly to Michigan today for a family matter; I'll be back this weekend. See you then.

Meanwhile, here is a rather interesting photo on which to speculate.

Monday, December 04, 2006


This will be my first year with an artificial tree.

When we lived in Michigan we had 2 trees, sometimes chopped down by ourselves, but usually purchased in a snowy white garden lot. The fresh trees and the sprigs made the house smell lovely. I was in charge of keeping the trees watered. After the holidays I always chopped up the trees for wood. It was a good system.

I recall maybe 20 years ago or so my mother proposing that we get an artificial tree. You would have thought she was proposing roasting children. The Horror! So it never happened. Actually, we four boys had a little artificial tree. It was very old, small, poorly made, and assembled in 5 minutes. We kids set it up in the basement for our homemade ornaments from church school projects.
That was what artificial tree meant to me < small, cheesy and not at all like the real thing.
I’ll have the real thing thank you.

Then we moved to Arizona.

We were told early on about the difficulty with having a real tree here. They are dry to begin with, and quickly go bad. Last year we were determined to get a real one. We waited until the last minute. I worked real hard at keeping it watered. It came down about 2 days after Christmas (I like a tree up for New Years’ Eve). It was a lot of effort, and left me tired.
So right after last years’ Christmas, we bought a fake tree in one of those after Christmas sales. It has been sitting unopened for a year in its box, in the garage, waiting for its debut. It hasn’t seen light since some one in China packed it up.

I am not sure of this. There is a Trojan Horse element of a nonspecific sort that leaves me dubious. I’d be lying though if I said I was going to miss the cutting/sweeping of pine bits and the daily waterings.
We set it up this weekend.
So, does anyone have an artificial tree, and are there any ‘tips’ to them?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Psychological Test & Survey

You have seen “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” countless time, no?

The gay allegories and subtexts in this childhood Christmas special have been discussed many times, and by writers and bloggers more clever than I.
Joel Perry wrote a hilarious critique on the show.

Still, the Herbie as ‘dentist’ and Rudolph’s (hidden) red nose can’t be beat.
Even at 8yo I had a ‘Gee, I know just how you feel” emotional reaction to Rudolf and Herbie.

OK, then -

Are you Herbie the Elf *?

Or Yukon Cornelius ?
*see comments section

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Christmas Jingle

Santa's Whisker's Need No Trimmin'

'Kisses Bears and Not the Wimmin.

Friday, December 01, 2006

December Shirt

It is December. Today is AIDS day. One of my first patients was “Oscar”. Oscar died of AIDS. He was the first of many.

This is the “Bamboo” shirt, made from fabric found in Key West. It is from my ‘early’ period (when I was still learning how to use a sewing machine).

It is the month of Someone’s birthday. Being close to Christmas it makes it even more tough to think of a birthday prize for him. In recent years I have given gadgets, like ipods and fancy watches. I can’t think of anything so far. Anyone have any suggestions?

It is getting cold here in Arizona – down below freezing in the evening time. The news is treating it like the arrival of a hurricane. We have yet to turn on the heat but we will in a few days if this keeps up.
We haven’t put up the Christmas decorations yet; haven’t had the time. But the Christmas CDs are playing – I have a few I like for the ‘early part’ of the season. I reserve a few for more around the Christmas week.
I haven’t done any Christmas shopping – time to get cracking.

The Tarot Card for the month is The Chariot – and none too soon! The Chariot means success and victory through hard work - and mastery of the balance of light and darkness.