Wednesday, January 31, 2007

10th Year Anniversary

Today is our 10th year anniversary. I met Someone ten years ago when we were both staying at the same B&B in Key West. I was there for my annual holiday; he was there for the first time. We met at social hour. One could say it was a Broadway musical that made the ‘click’. I voiced a fondness for “The Secret Garden”. He recently was in a production of it.
(Since some Spo-fans are smart alecks - he was the Gardener, not Mary Lennox).

I could write all sorts of things about our relationship, but what comes to mind as I write this is the amazement. Has it been 10 years? Didn’t we just meet? More incredible is he bothers to hang in with me. My ADD wiring wasn’t a really a ‘disorder’ until I started to live with another. Bad traits of blurting, the inattention, the difficulty to sit still/finish things around the house all drive him bats. A major mistake is to ask a question only to realize ‘he had said that five minutes ago’. It hurts his feelings so. So there are times I wonder why he bothers to hang around someone like me, or at least without Ritalin.

We aren’t doing much for the day – we will eat out. In two days we go to Costa Rica and we shelled out a lot of $$$ to buy the year’s airplane tickets now. So our ‘gifts’ to each other is the commitment towards the future, expressed in these plans.

I don’t talk about the ups and downs of my relationship on my blog. He likes his privacy – and my family reads this blog. But I am grateful that he is with me. Life without him would feel empty.
I hope that there are 10 years more and then some.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nasty Food MEME

1.Your oddest craving?
Olives stuffed with jalapenos.
2. The forbidden food?
No veal.
3. A dish that makes you queasy?
Cheesecake; it gets me quite nauseated.
4. Your least favorite food vegetable?
5. Your worst cooking disaster?
Once I tried to make a ‘daffodil bundt cake. It looked, smelled and tasted bad.
6. A Cooking exercise you don’t do well?
To this day I can’t make rice properly. It never turns out right.
7. Food that arouses the most suspicion?
Twinkies; what exactly is in them?
8. A drink you used to drink but no more?
Whole milk; I don’t do skim milk much either
9. Least favorite fast food chain?
Long John Silver’s; always makes me sick.
10. When in doubt, eat….
Boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
11. A restaurant faux pas that would get you to speak up?
Cold food that is supposed to be hot.
12. Is there something spoiled in the fridge right now?
A cucumber is looking rather pruny with some white fuzz at one end.
13. Food you can’t buy as your spouse/partner won’t allow it in the house
Mayonnaise. He is quite adverse to even its mention.
14. Food your spouse/partner likes that you don’t like.
Chocolate mint ice cream.
15. Your least favorite type of cuisine?
I am not fond of Mandarin Chinese food; too bland
16. I food you hated as a child but now love?
Lots! Tomatoes being the biggest hate to love transformation.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Quotation for writers.

The other day was the birthday of Virginia Woolf.
She said:

"So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery."

Seemed apt for blogging.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Devine Joke

Recently I was reminded that God has a sense of humor.
I saw in consultation an 18yo woman, brought in (quite against her wishes) by her father, who was very concerned that she had something the matter. Turns out she had some mild bipolar depression, but the real explanation of ‘what is the matter’ wouldn’t have gone over too well. They were concrete people, so my attempt to explain the dynamics would have fallen flat. I thought I would share them with you.

After the consultation I felt absolutely rotten. When emotions hit like this it is always a good sign in a shrink to sit up/pay attention as to what went on there. And I figured it out. I was the victim of subtle psychology. The father, humble simple living man, devout in his religion not mine, was making me feel miserable that I was doing well/had money and I did not have his lot or views of life.
I remember a teacher calling it the Revenge of the Underdog; you are not allowed to kick a hurting dog but it is OK for him to bite you.
He had his conviction of belief, but at the price of a joyless, know-nothing else attitude towards life. He had a sort of minimum wage from God, and in return gave up all the joys of life – joys God also made I must add.

Where is God’s joke in this? God gave him a daughter who wants the maximum. She wants to travel, go to school, see countries and explore new ideas. She has talent to write and to make music. Father wants her content with his crust of bread living; she is keen to attend Life’s banquet. Yes, she was mess (history of mood swings, street living, drugs etc.) but her path in Life will be to go forward, not back to the little world of married/at home/homeschooling 5 children like her father wants her to be.

I’ll try to get her mood swings down to a dull roar, and get her to stop heroin. After that her Great Work begins.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My Water Pitcher

I wanted to post this pitcher I created.

Last weekend our bear club Bears of the West hosted a fund raiser. It was at a store where you buy finished bits of pottery and paint them with glaze. Some of the proceeds went to ‘One in Ten’ which is a gay youth service centre here in Phoenix. It was a fun evening.
I purchased a plain pitcher and got five types of glaze – light blue, dark blue, purple, pink and green. These colours are a combination I learned from a psychic I visited once upon a time in New Orleans. She said my aura was deficit in these colours and I should surround myself with more of them. Well, I don’t know about that, but I do happen to like this colour combination. One of my homemade shirts has these 5 hues and it makes me feel good to wear it, so perhaps she was accurate.
Rather than painting pictures, I took rough pieces of sea sponge and dabbed the colours onto the pitcher. Someone decorated a plate.
I am pleased at how it turned out. The pitcher has a ‘cool’ feeling to it, just right for holding ice water.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Last Night's Travels through the Universe

Last evening I ‘made rounds’ on my blog reads. I visit ~ 50 on a regular basis. I try to look at them every day. I don’t always leave comment, particularly if time is limited. It cheers me to see new postings, particularly if the blogger isn’t one to post often. I usually read in the evening. Being on the west coast that often means I am ‘last in line’ to drop a comment at the more popular sites.

Last night Wednesday I did a foolish thing. I had an iced tea with my dinner. This broke one of my rules which is ‘no caffeine after 3PM”. I was wide awake at 1130PM and there was no sleep in sight. I was going to be up for awhile.
Four unexpected hours gave me an opportunity to read new blogs. I felt like Santa Claus, going from house to house while everyone was asleep. I left some comments– these writers who do not know me will be surprised to see me I suppose.
I first started with ‘friends of friends’, the blog names I keep seeing in the majority of links or comments of mutual friends. Some of these were very talented: some were cute as a bug: a few are very popular – one fellow seemed to average 20-30 comments per entry.
Then I got lost. I played a little game with myself. I would go to A, find a link there to a new person B, who would link to C, and so on. As each blog seemed to have a dozen or more links there was no lack of variability.
The further I traveled, the fewer names were recognized. My blogger buddies are kind to list me in their links, but as I wandered away Spo-Reflections was no longer mentioned.
I was in unfamiliar territory. They did not know me and I didn’t know them.

The journey gave me a sense of awe. I truly appreciated the ‘web’ of the WWW. I envision a huge three dimensional model with each person linked to his or her links and so on, in a large criss-crossed mesh with no boundaries. In an infinite universe, every point is the centre.
The Catholic Church believes in a concept called The Communion of Saints, where the Saints of heaven are all connected and interacting with each other. I wonder if our little blogging world is a taste of such.

Like a child who has gone too far away, I longed to be back in the familiar and comfortable. On my way home I was surprised to find one or two other ‘usuals’ were up and posting early this morning. I left a ‘first comment’ of the day, and finally got into bed. Part of sleeping well is the having a sense of peace, that things are well enough for you to go to sleep. Knowing 50 people (at least) out there who know and care about me lulled me to sleep.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Today’s entry is to rave a bit. So if I shock or offend I apologize ahead of time. I try not to be ugly or bitchy in these entries (lest I get phone calls from home). But it is therapeutic to get things expressed.

Rave 1#) Pills.
When did we become a nation so needy for pills? People want pills for this and that and they want more and more of them. Anything goes wrong in their life and they call me for more medications. I make sure my patients know that there are usually non medicine options to their treatment, or at least adjuncts. Few ever take these alternatives; fewer seem to clean up their habits/lives that contribute so much to their conditions.

On a different note, I am sick of taking my own medicines. But I would be a hypocrite to stop them.

Rave #2) Patients.
How do they expect me to help them when they continue to drink and smoke pot? I don’t have overt issues with alcohol or pot per se but I don’t have issues with sugar either – until you have diabetes. If you have complaints of lack of motivation, depression, no concentration, apathy and loss of sex drive – and smoke daily pot – I can’t fix you.
Dammit, they call it ‘dope’ not ‘smart’.

Rave #3) Politics.
I’m not going to even start.

Rave #4) Premiums.
Recently my liability insurance sent me a letter that had at least four incorrect statements therein. The main zinger was ‘you owe us 7000 dollars’ After a rollercoaster day of emotions it was finally cleared up that they were wrong but you would think that the insurance company would know what the hell they are insuring for in the first place. Bastards.

Rave #5) Plants
In our recent Arizona cold spell most of the outside shrubs and plants died of cold and frost.

Rave #6) Penguins.
The one on the television just exploded. Frightful mess.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Spo-Reflections on a Tuesday Night

Yikes I have a truckload of notes to write tonight. I’ll have just enough time to eat some supper, go for a walk, do my paperwork and go to sleep – only to wake up and do it all over again. I recall a Japanese film about a couple who live at the bottom of a sandy pit. Every day they have to evacuate the fallen sand that fell the previous night. Over and over repetition. So much of life is like that; the daily routine of the same.

So there is not much time to write this evening.

I recommend you go to Temporary Trouble Spots. Michael Guy recently posted an interview on a podcast. It was good to hear, not only to hear his cheer voice again but to here his thoughtful exploration on what blogging means to him. It is inspirational to keep writing.

It reminded me that one of the main reasons for starting my blog last February was a desire to write. I did not know what I would write, but I wanted to write something. So it did. The photos and the links/comments came later. Months later, people were actually reading my scribbles - and coming back too. Friendships blossomed: now I seem to be in a network of writers from all over, and all sizes/shapes and sexes.

As year #2 approaches next month, I hope to do more essay writing, and less recording of daily doings recording. But we shall see. I don’t have a “Hari Selden plan” for this. In the style of traditional psychoanalysis, free association and expansion lead in time to Truth. What needs to come out will come out; no need to hurry it along.

May your sleep be sound this night. With dreams of fish and turtles from the deep sea

Monday, January 22, 2007

Spo-Reflections this Monday Night.

I have reached a dry spell: I don’t feel anything creative or thoughtful to write these days.
Perhaps I am merely distracted with work and preparations to get out of the country in two weeks’ time. Perhaps the Muses went to Central America a few weeks ahead of me.
Let’s hope the Fates went to Ohio rather than Costa Rica.

Yesterday for the first time it snowed in Phoenix!! It didn’t last long but it was snow – a wet heavy type (when you have lived in Michigan you can discriminate snow types like some discriminate fine coffee). It did not stick. It seemed apt for St. Agnes Day, traditionally the coldest month of the year.
Alas, the frost killed the potted pepper plants. Oh well. Time to grow new ones anyway. The tomato seeds germinated but the pepper seeds (so far) have not germinate.

Someone and I started walking this year. When we don’t get to the gym we go for a half hour walk after supper around the neighborhood. I enjoy these walks. My great aunt did this and lived well into her 90s. Walking is excellent for both mind and body.

We had a small Weather Channel Party to await Doug at Gossemer Tapestry's interview.
Doug, you were fabulous! Next time you get Jim Cantorri as the clown who interviewed thought butterflies 'mammals"?? You handled that well!

In the next four weeks all sorts of events occur; we have our 10th year anniversary, we go to Costa Rica, my blog turns 1 years old in early February. I am also scoping out Wordpress as so many people give + feedback on it. I am still figuring out how it works, prior to making a leap.

Claudius the cat is getting old. He sleeps a lot more, seems less active. I wonder if he has a sort of bereavement depression since Tiberius died last September. I wonder if he is lonely.

Now I have paperwork to do. Then I will stretch and read blogs.

Sleep well all; and dream of waterfalls and chocolate ice cream.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Some Sextets

Operas I never tire of hearing

La Boheme (still lovely after all these years)
Dialogues of the Carmelites (my favorite; the finale alone is worth going)
Die Walkure (another one with an awesome ending)
Peter Grimes (I don’t care what Someone says, it is brilliant)
Salome (such nasty fun)
Der Rosenkavalier (such fabulousness)

Operas I Want to Hear Again

Queen of Spades
Lady MacBeth of Minsk
The Macropolous Case
Der Meistersinger
The Pearl Fishers

Operas I Really Want to Hear (but have not yet)

Der Freishutz
Die Frau Ohne Schatten
Billy Budd
The Handmaid’s Tale
Nixon in China
Don Carlos

Operas I can do without, I’ve had my fill thank you.

Barber of Seville (too many notes)
Hansel and Gretel (enough of the food fights in modern kitchen settings)
Marriage of Figaro (this one needs a rest)
Pelleas et Melisande (I swear nothing happens in this opera)
Carmen (too many bad productions. In the Arizona Opera production Don Jose shot her in the back as she walked away).
Any opera company doing Sweeney Todd (doesn’t seem to work).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Eve of St. Agnes

Tomorrow Sunday is St. Agnes Day.
Tradition is: young maidens on the Eve of St. Agnes will dream of their future husband.

St. Agnes Day is traditionally the coldest day of the year.
In theory it is supposed to get warmer now with each day.

It certainly has been ‘cold’ here, what with temperatures dropping down into the lower 30s even into the upper 20s – in Phoenix. It only gets into the lower 60s now. And it rained! Making everything seem chilled and damp.

Today is the day I traditionally read the poem “The Eve of St. Agnes” by Keats.
It is a long poem but very lovely. I remember my high school English teacher reading this out loud to us.
The poem is too long to reproduce here, but here is the link for those interested;

Here’s looking forward to some warmer/brighter days.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Alphabet MEME for Hanuman

A- is for Aardvark, because it’s the law!
B- Best Friend? Scott
C- Cake or Pie? Fresh Fruit rather for me.
D- Drink of Choice? Tea, hot or cold, green/red/black/white or oolong. OOXX
E- Essential Item? Teapot
F- is always for Fabulous of course.
G- Gummi Bears or
Worms? I Love the Gummi Bears!
H- is for Hanuman (the dear!), who asked me to do this MEME.
I- Indulgence? Haven’t bought one of these in years.
J- Jury Duty. I try every time to get on one but with my credentials I am dropped like a hot potato.
K. Kids? None
L- Life is incomplete without? Art - and Macaroni and Cheese.
M- Marriage Date? Perhaps, now we are going to have the 10th year anniversary?
N- Number of Siblings? 3 brothers, each well over four feet.
O- Oranges or apples? For what? eating? Or juicing? I choose oranges.
P- Phobias/Fears? Tarantulas, being sued, nuclear holocausts, Mormons.
Q- Favorite Quote? An orchestra of scorched cats.
R- Reason to Smile? I dodged a $7,000 insurance premium this week!
S- is for Spo. It has been one of my favorite nonsense words for years, so long now I don’t recall where it originates.
T- is for Tarantulas with big, nasty pointy teeth.
U- is for
Ur, meaning the primordial state of something.
V-Vegetable you hate? Cauliflower. I don’t like the stuff.
W- Worst habit? Blurting. Although I quickly grasp what others are saying, I get impatient to respond. A major faux pas at home, by the way.
X- X-Rays you’ve had? Lungs and teeth.
Y- Your favorite food? Indian.
Z- Zodiac? Cancer. In Chinese, I am a ‘Tiger”.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How Does That Make You Feel?

This is entry #250!!
I haven’t done a “How Does That Make You Feel? Thursday” in a while. So here's one...

Said by a patient this week -

“If you don’t help me find happiness, you haven’t done your job and I shouldn’t have to pay you.
But if you don’t charge me, that will make me happy, so then you’ll have done your job and I should pay you.”

How does that make you feel?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Another Apology

The BBC would like to extend another apology on behalf of the auther of the last entry. It was meant to be funny, and tongue in cheek, and with no merit of truth. In his attempt to be clever Dr. Ur-Spo suggested outrageous things like naked airplane passengers, murders at volcanos, and unfounded incredible neurotic anxieties. Even the photos are inaccurate; the mosquito is a cadfly and the spider is a cartoon. So once again Blogger has removed his brain for cleaning and discipline.

The only truths in the spo-reflection were a small concern about arachnids with big nasty pointed teeth and that Doug is indeed a smarty pants.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Terrible Ts of Travel

In 2 weeks we board a plane to Costa Rica. I have never traveled to Latin America but I’ve read Joseph Conrad so I know what happens there. I thought if I would write out my fears.

Fear #1) The Transport issue.
This is a very long flight. The Fates, always with a sense of humor, have us on the same plane as the traveling companions coming from Chicago. That means a very long flight with Doug and his partner the AKA the Wild one. The former is apt to talk about cheese; the later is apt to run up and down the aisle naked, drink, and raise all sorts of hell.
Note to self; bring plenty of Valium and pepper spray.

Fear #2) The Tongue issue.
I am working like mad to learn Spanish. I can recognize and understand a lot I hear but I can barely ask for the time of day, let along more complicated expressions like "Please remove the spider monkey get in my hotel room". The language handicap also leaves me at the mercy of Doug. Not only is he the only one of us with fluency in Spanish but he’s a smarty pants.
Note to self; Plans to push Doug into a volcano if he’s naughty are thwarted by his necessity to tell us how to get home. Stinko.

Fear #3) The Typhoid issue.
Between my love for history and my medical training I know of all sorts of tropical nasties just waiting our arrival. Has anything really changed since Panama workers were wiped out en masse? The readings on Costa Rica history all start with explorers and settlements that “did not survive due to the tropical diseases”. Unless the government banned mosquitoes, what happened to all the Dengue and Yellow fevers?
Then there is the water/fresh food concerns of picking up some unwelcome wee beastie. I may not eat for a week.
Note to self; get Someone to taste test everything first.

Fear #4) The Terrorist issue.
Scoff and snicker as you may, our party of six is going not too far from the Nicaragua border. Now that whatshisface is back in power there, will there be a fresh flow of Sandinistas in the northern hills of Costa Rica? Will we get special tour rates for an invasion?
Note to self; don’t mention the “R” word in Costa Rica (Reagan).

Fear #5) The Tarantula issue.
Bastards. These walking pestilences still give me the willies. I have improved that if I encounter one out of doors I will not have a heart attack but only run, screaming like a girl. However, I know they smell fear and I won’t be at all surprised to discover they are plotting something even as I type this.
Note to self; bring duct tape to seal off the room.


Fear #6) The Tea Issue.
I am going to a country that is best known for its coffee. Where will I get a decent cup of tea?
Note to self; take your medication now.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Curious Things Around the House #6

This is a painting titled ‘Woman holding Flowers”
It was painted by a patient when I was just out of residency. She gave it as payment for her treatment. She had schizophrenia. She was trying very hard not only to keep the voice down in her head but to live as an artist. It was her passion, although at the time I knew her it was not her livelihood. She worked in a restaurant washing dishes.
If you look long enough you can see the outline of a person holding what looks like brown eyed Susans (Rudbekia). There are two small dots for eyes; the yellow streaks at the top are the hair.
Above and behind the eyes next to the bit of turquoise, is a plastic gem glued into the canvas. I believe it is where the woman’s soul is supposed to originate.

Someone does not like this painting, but I am rather fond of it.

I’ve often wondered what happened to her; where is she now and how is she doing. That is the trouble of ex patients. They don’t drop you notes 5-10 years later to tell you how they are, and I can not go looking for them. I only hope that what encounter I had with them made some sort of positive difference in their lives.
Her gift of art remains long after the others who merely paid their bill with money.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Random Thoughts IX

Yesterday the Gay Rodeo was in town. Someone and I volunteered to man the Bears of the West Booth for 2 hours. I wanted to look good for the club, so I got out my cowboy hat (from my two-stepping days), a cowhide shirt, tight jeans, and black boots. Apparently the 'good impression' worked a bit too well. No one signed up to join but I was cruised by several people. A few gave me their cards. A fellow from Utah was rather fresh- right in front of Someone- which made Someone a bit cross.
This morning at breakfast, while wearing a rather nondescript shirt, our young waitress commented how good I looked. "You get hit on by everyone" Someone said.

So I am getting in touch with "my inner-Musetta" it seems.

I've not been to a rodeo before (in contrast to Someone, who kept quoting something from "Mommie Dearest"). It was not well attended. I suspect because it is cold here. "Cold" means 40 degrees or less. (5 degrees for my Candian chums). While I may hear snickering from those in Montana or Michigan or Canada, this is very cold for Arizona and we are chilly.

My tomato seeds are germinating, but no pepper seeds so far; this makes sense as it is only a week since they were planted.

Joshua of Smiley fame sent me an invite to join Wordpress (the dear!). If I can figure out how to translate this blog over without a massive loss of data I will do so.

We made our holiday plans for 2007. (so far) they consist of going to Oshkosh WI, Western Michigan, at least one trip to Chicago, 2x to various parts of Ontario, Santa Fe, and of course Costa Rica. The later is less than 3 weeks away.
Doug at Gossemer Tapestry
is the ringleader of that circus. All I have to do is show up.

Well it is paperwork time and laundry. Later I will get on line and check in with my 40-50 blogger buddies.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

1 Y K

Partially to learn more computer skills, and partially out of curiosity, I put up a 'counter' on my blog on 3 January.

Ten days later, I have hit 1000.
100 hits/day?! as Joel woud say.

Quite a difference from last spring, when I got one reader/month!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Things One Finds in Costa Rica

3 weeks from now we go on our annual winter holiday. Normally we go to Big Ruby’s, a bed and breakfast, in Key West. I’ve been going there every year since 1990. It is where I met Someone. It is where I met many a fine fellow.

This year we forgo Key West to go to the Big Ruby’s B&B in Costa Rica.

So in 3 weeks we get on a plane and fly to San Jose, not Miami.

This will be a new experience for me. Being a biologist/botanist by training (and traveling companions being who they are) I bought a book to check out the flora and the fauna. Here are some fun facts;

Costa Rica has 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

It has 1,250 species of butterflies.

850 species of birds, more than Canada and USA combined.

It has 6 species of wild cats.

70 species of bats.

1.400 species of epiphytes. (epiphytes are orchids you sillies)

The geology has active volcanos. We will take a day trip to the most active one and go hiking.

We will also be on the look-out for howler monkeys, kinkajous, and whatever beasties are lurking in the jungles.

17 More Things About Spo

1. When you are cute, Spider writes all about you.
2. I dislike cheesecake. It induces nausea.
3. An expression that makes me smile every time I use it is comparing a noisy group to “An orchestra of scorched cats”.
4. Another one I like to say - “Sooner I’d eat rats in Tewkesbury than….”
5. I still have no understanding how to operate the 4-5 control panels that go with HAL, the entertainment centre in our house. Worse, Someone’s real name is Dave.
6. I have never changed the oil on my car myself.
7. One of my ex-patients is now on the radio, and well known. It makes me happy to hear his voice; that he is doing OK.
8. Recently a patient came in prior to his 2 year deployment overseas. He needed his depression as ship-shape as possible prior to going. He informs me half his people are on medications for depression. Wow.
9. I have 14% body fat. Gnash your jealous teeth!
10. I have 30 Hawaiian shirts in my closet. Over half are homemade.
11. Last month Target had a tree ornament consisting of 2 red cardinals in a nest. Any bird watcher knows that red cardinals are male, and 2 male cardinals would never nest together – so they must be queer birds indeed. We purchased it of course.
12. Speaking of birds, my favorite family of birds are the Owls. I love owls. They call to me.
13. I do not have triskaidekaphobia.
14. Someone and I did our annual ‘where would we like to go this year?” roster. We came up with 10 vacations to take in 2007. Now we have to be more realistic as to time/money/work away, and widdle them down to 4 weeks worth.
15. Melinda’s makes my favorite hot sauces. They are vegetable based so they have more flavor, less like ‘vinegar with mashed peppers’.
16. Drivers who smoke and throw their butts out the window – oh this burns my bacon worse than being cut off.
17. Since 2003 I get continuing medical education courses via audio CDs. 2 arrive each month. I have heard over 100 lectures this way.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Shadow

I am happy to get positive feedback from Spo-fans that not only are the “Jung” entries understandable they are enjoyable. People want more. I am pleased to do so; it keeps me on top of my training to write about them.
I miss teaching and this fills some need of mine.
Last “Jung 101” was about the Archetypes. The one I want to write about today is an important one, called the Shadow.

The Shadow in the inferior/uncivilized base qualities which stand in compensation/balance to the Ego. It is ‘the thing a person has no wish to be’. It is a wild and tameless energy, but not inherently ‘evil’; it is evil when not allowed conscious connection/space in the psyche. Remember, there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ or a ‘good’ archetype. But being out of touch with the Shadow is particularly dangerous. One can not exorcise the Shadow (or any complex/archetype); one had to own up to it.

The question is not ‘do I have a Shadow?” it is “Where is my Shadow today?”

We’ve all known people possessed by Shadow. An easy and contemporary example is Darth Vader, a man possessed by the “Dark Side of the Force”. Star Wars is full of Mythos and classic Jungian psychology, which probably accounts for lots of Star War’s allure. (All those archetypes running around on screen!).

A basic rule in psychology is; What we don’t incorporate into our psyches or process consciously we project out onto others. The Shadow is particularly prone to projection, as few are wise enough to own up to it. So we readily put it onto others.
“I don’t have a problem, but he sure does!”.
One sees projection in nasty people focusing on others’ faults.
The ‘brighter’ one tries to be i.e Shadow-less, the greater the projection.

More deadly is when a whole people/culture ‘decide’ to project their communal Shadow onto another group. When I was in school, the classic example to illustrate this was Europe in the 30s/40s, projecting its Shadow onto the Jews and trying to eliminate this ‘evil’. In American history, the Shadow has been projected first onto the Native Americans (oh, those devilish Indians! said my Puritan forefathers as they were being nasty to each other). Then, onto the British, then North with the South (and vice versa), the Chinese in the West, the Irish in the East, Japs in the 40s, Commies in the 50s, Negroes in the 60s. There is no lack of examples.
Nowadays, the GLBT community, the Mexicans (at least where I live) and Muslims are the recipient of Amercia’s projected Shadow by conservative and religious groups, leaving the projecter spotless and sinless. In its anxiety, the USA seems to be doing a lot of Shadow projection rather than owning up to its’ dark side.
I’ve wondered if the world doesn’t consider us a laughingstock with our projections.

So be mindful of the Shadow. As a conscious part of your Psyche it provides energy and zest. As an unconscious conspirator with other archetypes, it means Ruin.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

OK, here it is again.

For those Spo-Fans clamoring for a photo of the hat and me,
here it is!
Jack Radcliffe I am not.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Curious Things Around the House #5

This is part of my Pacific Northwest art collection. It was made by a Pacific Northwest Native American, of the Haida Clan. Its purpose is to keep off the rains of the Pacific Northwest. It was made by a contemporary artist. NW Pacific rain hat are decorated with totem animals.
Mine has Orca, or Killer Whale, on both sides in a mirror image.

It is a collector’s item so it will never see a drop of rain!

On rare occasion (out of whimsy) I put it on, and try to imagine what it would be like to live in what is now called Queen Charlotte Island of B.C.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Farm Report

Today I planted my hot pepper and tomato seeds.

10 Hot Peppers < Cyklon, Fatalii, Fresno, Habenero, Lemon Drop, Peruvian Purple, Jalapeno, Santa Fe Grande, Aji Amarillo, and Red Cap Mushroom.

3 Dozen Tomatoes < Aker's West Virginia, Noir de Crimee, Great White, Heidi, Omar's Lebanese, Green Zebra, Hellfrucht, Manyel, Marmande, Black Prince, Golden Monarch, Zogola, Nebraska Wedding, Mule Team, Box Car Willie, German Red Strawberry, Black Plum, Druzba, Riesentraube, Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Anna Russian, Brandywine, Kellogg's Breakfast, Stupice, Cherokee Purple, and Opalka.

That sounds a lot, but I doubt it will all grow. I am taking a risk. I am using old seeds and things collected from past years. It is an experiment to see what germinates and what I get.

Nothing thrills as planting seeds!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Advice is Sought

At the end of the month, Someone and I will have our 10th year anniversary.
10 years! Can you imagine? I am amazed he has put up with me, let alone for 10 years!

I would like to give him something special that day – but I can’t think what.
What he deserves is a medal.

So, does any one have any ideas as to what would be appropriate, nice, special or fabulous?


Friday, January 05, 2007


The BBC would like to apologize to every one in the world on behalf of the author of this blog. Ur-Spo has been posting entries far too serious as of late what with talks of Archetypes and Spo-reflections and other intellectual postings of depth that are far, far too serious so last night Blogger had his brain removed.

We suggest you use this time to make silly noises, leave nonsensical comments, throw pies in the faces of your coworkers, and cruise the web for pictures of Jack Radcliffe.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Archetypes

What is an Archetype?

Oh Oh. I am getting into difficult waters which always true when you try to explain or talk about the Archetype in Jungian psychology. Like light, when you try to explain ‘what it is’ it gets complicated. You can sense them and see their effects but never know them directly. So to describe them in blunt words is challenging.
Let me start with a metaphor to my difficulty; Anna Russell’s narrative of Wagner’s Ring Cycle of Wagner. She is spot on accurate in describing the basic principles of this 20 hour saga – yet in its comic simplicity it conveys nothing of the splendor/complexity or numinous. Trying to put Jungian terms into simple language for others to understand runs the risk of making it sound absurd or silly. But I will try my best.

In his travels and studies Jung saw in every culture (past and present) basic human draws to things, certain types of people and universal objects.
Examples: the mother, the father, the ruler, and the shaman.
Examples of things; the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and Water and Fire.
Through time and evolution of both the brain and culture, we are ‘wired’ to be emotional towards many things. He called universal connection the Collective Unconscious. At the heart of any Complex is something called The Archetype.

Archetypes are inherited innate and a priori modes of perception, linked to instincts, which regulate our perception. They are primordial ideas, common to all mankind, and they express only through Archetypal images. They are charged with emotion and function autonomously from the unconscious. Works of Art, Myths, and Symbols get us in touch with Archetypes.

I better give an example.
Let’s use the Father Archetype.
When you relate to your father, you relate not only to the physical man who is your father (in all his good and bad) but you come in contact with The Father - what the Father means throughout history/society and in your culture.
For those who know Tarot, the Card “The Emperor” in an archetypal image of The Father and all He can be, both good and bad. You recognize him/feel him maybe sometimes without conscious thought. The Card accesses the Archetype and its paternal energy, or libido as Jung called psychic energy. Jungian psychoanalysis is a exploration first of the personal, but also of the Collective. It is about how to you relate/connect to the Archetypes.

There are many Archetypes, some more ubiquitous and powerful than others.
Some famous ones are the Shadow, the Anima, the Trickster, The Self. I’ll write about some of these in later “Jung 101” entries.
Archetypes are universal but the people/symbols we use to get in touch with them change over time. The Western mind often – but not always – identifies with the Greek Mythos. But any culture’s Gods and Figures do fine. Mercury = Loki= Spider = Raven = Trickster.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Blogs that are no more

The Muses still away on their holiday visit with the Fates. They are skiing in Colorado but the Furies snowed them in (bitches).
So I am left without inspiration. I am drawing a blank.

Long time friends of Spo know 2006 was my first year at blogging. I ‘met’ dozens of people. I discover more all the time. It is thrilling. I seem to be growing friendships with dozens of far-flung correspondents.

The flip side to this positive process is the half dozen bloggers in 2006 who have gone away. I suppose blogging is like any other hobby; people’s interests in it wax and wane.
I appreciated that a few explained their departure – it left me with some closure and no worry they were abducted by aliens. And a few came back to my delight; apparently ‘refreshed’ and ready to do more.

Still, a few of them have simply disappeared without explanation. Would you believe my feelings are hurt? It is like starting to read a novel that seemed good – only to have it yanked away. There is a feeling of loss. I go back to these stopped blogs and check from time to time, to see if they came back. I get to know some one – only to have them go away without a word. In a ‘real world’ social setting, my Midwest upbringing immediately would go to ‘did I do something wrong?” There is nothing like a blank slate on which to project fantasies, probably mostly untrue (but the truth is not disclosed).

Still, I hope that the 5-6 bloggers that seem ‘gone’ do come back in 2007.

For I did like to read them.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Spo Resolutions

My goodness I came up with gobs of New Year’s Resolutions!
Many were leftovers from 2006 – resolutions that did not quite warrant as ‘met’.

Here are a few of them –
1 I’m leaving this one blank lest my mother read this.
2 I need to return to exercising 3x a week, even if it means a half hour walk
3 I want to gain some bulk, especially in the legs; so it is hit the gym time.
4 I promise Someone that I will not leave shoes and half consumed glasses sitting around the house.
5 I also promise Someone not to ‘talk’ to each other when we are on the other sides of the house. I am a bit hard of hearing, and the shouts back and forth of ‘what?” and clarification are not efficacious to communication.
6 Both the piano and the pan pipes want practice.
7 No more Ramen Noodles or nasty Chips!
8 Drink more red wine.
9 Meet at least one blogger in person.
10 Continue to squirrel away each month some money to the SEP.
11 Take a cooking class.
12 Redecorate the guest room (it still has the previous owner’s children’s murals on the wall).
13 Attend an opera that I have never heard before (Santa Fe Opera may be the answer for this one).
14 Daily stretches
15 Try to entertain/host some sort of social do each month, even if it means having a chum or a couple over for a simple dinner.

If all goes well, I should be musical, studly, limber, and in touch more with my inner-Martha Stewart, by 2008!

Monday, January 01, 2007

January Shirt

It is a new month – and a new year!
May it be a good one for all of us.
January’s shirt is my Yellow Shirt. I made it specifically for my upcoming trip to Costa Rica. I call it the ‘3 Bs” shirts – Boys, Butterflies, and Bears – as it has some of each on the yoke. I like the colour yellow; it is a very cheerful colour.

January is usually the month when I start to organize the seed catalogs and put together a garden. Now that I live in Arizona, I start my garden now. This year I am using collected seeds from previous years. I am taking a chance to see if anything germinates. I will limit my garden to peppers (sweet and hot) and tomatoes.

I do a ‘year’s spread’ of the Tarot; one card/month. I now have enough decks to pull one card for each month.
The Tarot Card of the month of January is the Strength card. And just in time; I am not feeling too strong these days so I will focus on what strengths I have.

I look forward to a year of blogging, and hearing how everyone else’s year goes.