Friday, April 30, 2010

Try not to be too jealous of how I spend my Friday nights

I don't know how to fold a fitted sheet. How I have manage to be almost 45 years old without mastering this, I am not sure, but there it is.

Tonight, trying to get a jump on my weekend chores by throwing in a few loads of laundry, I've been wrestling, quite literally, with queen-sized fitted sheets. The flat sheets and pillow cases have easily been folded into tidy rectangles, and then there's the fitted one sitting next to them -- a cottony lump without corners, without true folds. Just -- there.

I found myself thinking, "I'm sure there's a method to this or an easier way or something. I wish someone could just show me."

And then -- it occurred to me. Al Gore's internet! And YouTube specifically! Someone *would* show me, in a manner of speaking.

I am apparently not alone in the "how the heck to you fold one of these things, anyway?" category. There were quite a few how-to videos on the subject. I liked this one, mostly because the man's accent sounds like home to me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In which I learn what my name would be if I were a panda

Scene: Afternoon in the office. I am working through my voicemails, setting up appointments and generally trying to dig out after a morning spent in committee and an afternoon on the floor. I am on the phone with a constituent, a former school teacher who's coming to Sacramento and wants to meet to discuss education issues.

Me: So, I'll see you Wednesday at 11 here in Room 5080.

Constituent: Thank you, Nora Lynn. I'll just send you an email to confirm. What's your last name?

Me: Lynn.

Constituent: Lynn is your last name?

Me: It is.

Constituent: Your name is Nora Lynn Lynn?

Me: ... [I can feel the giggles starting in the back of my throat. Must... maintain... composure... ]

Constituent: Hello?

Me: Sorry. *choked voice* No. My first name is Nora and my last name is Lynn.

Constituent: Oh. Oh, I see. I bet you get that all the time.

Me: Actually, no. Not really.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Hey, so, it turns out...

... that there are people who don't take handfuls of Advil every day.

... that some people come home after a long day at work and do chores and cook dinner rather than collapsing on the couch in tears.

... pretty regularly, most people actually go to bed at night -- and sleep. For hours and hours at a stretch and wake up in the morning feeling better than they did the night before. Like, rested.

... that when Northern California is blessed with its typically gorgeous springtime weather, not everyone hisses at the sunshine like a vampire because it makes glare that sneaks around even enormous sunglasses and hurts.

... that there are people for whom pain is not a constant daily reality. Some of these people may be made, um, pudgy and a little more spaced out than usual by the multiple daily preventative medications they take to get this way (and all of which is made possible as all things are by His will and mercy and the constant prayers and concern of friends).

It turns out there are these people.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is it wrong that I think this is kind of cool?

From the "um, what?" category, Eric directs us to the story of a British woman who, after a particularly bad migraine, began spontaneously speaking with "a Chinese accent."

Via Sky News:
Sarah Colwill, a 35-year-old British woman, is now speaking, somewhat inexplicably, with a Chinese accent after suffering an extreme migraine, according to reports in the UK press.

Doctors suspect Colwill has Foreign Accent Syndrome, a rare condition which damages the part of the brain that controls speech and word formation. There are only 60 recorded cases of the condition.

While the syndrome may sound absurd - Colwill herself admits that she found it amusing at first - it can be extremely frustrating for its victims.

"I spoke to my stepdaughter on the phone from hospital and she didn't recognize who I was. She said I sounded Chinese. Since then, I have had my friends hanging up on me because they think I'm a hoax caller," Colwill said.

"The first few weeks of the accent was quite funny but to think I am stuck with this Chinese accent is getting me down. My voice has started to annoy me now. It is not my voice," added Colwill.

"It's in our ears," says Professor Sophie Scott, from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, tells The Guardian. "Speech may be altered in terms of timing, intonation, and tongue placement, so that is perceived as sounding foreign."

Colwill is now receiving treatment for the syndrome.

And of course there's video, albeit shaky and with relatively poor sound. She's been getting treatment for a bit, but I don't hear whatever it is she and the doctors think she has, Chinese-accent-wise:

If I were in this spot and started speaking in, say, an Australian accent, I'm not sure I would get treatment for it. I would probably put on a Crocodile Dundee costume and go with it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Report from the Valley of the Dolls

For those of you following the odyssey of my migraines and efforts to find a successful treatment regimen (and, really, it's all so very interesting, how could you not be?), here's the latest after an appointment with my doctor yesterday.

In the first place, it was a group appointment -- she scheduled patients with like ailments to come in all at the same time. We met in a conference room at the professional building where her office is, wore name tags and, one by one, told the doctor our concerns or symptoms. Other patients would chime in with strategies or alternative experiences or non sequiturs or what have you. It was... interesting.

So. In no particular order:
  • I am not alone with the nut sensitivity. Nearly everyone there also gets nut triggered migraines. And chocolate triggered ones. And weather triggered ones. And flashing-light triggered ones. And, based on what they shared, I'm going to avoid a few other apparently common triggers and see if I notice any improvement -- hot dogs, luncheon meat, bacon (no!), wine (how will I console myself over the lack of bacon?!), and a few others.
  • I've battled insomnia my whole life, and Lynnie noticed that my sleeplessness seems to go hand-in-hand with migraines. The doctor prescribed Ambien for me, figuring that even if there's no direct connection with my headaches, I really should be sleeping. Every day.
  • The doctor also switched around one of the preventative medicines I take. I start that tonight, since the pharmacist indicated it might make me dizzy and I also wanted to be sure the other medicine was completely out of my system.
  • And I got a prescription for an anti-nausea medication. Both the migraines and some of the intervention drugs for them make me really barfy. Hopefully this will help me keep down fluids at least when I have a headache.
We (the doctor and I, not the collective) also decided that if these changes don't make a significant improvement in the frequency and intensity of the headaches, then I am off to a neurologist. Which is nice in a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel sort of way but also kind of scary.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New favorite thing: buckwheat pillow

I am a little weird about sleeping.

I've fought insomnia most of my life, even as a small child, which has left me sort of oddly controlling about details of my sleeping environment. The temperature of the room has to be just so; sheets and blankets have to have a certain weight to them, be layered just exactly right. And the pillows I sleep with have been chosen very carefully. Add to all this my migraines, which generally cause me to take to my bed at some point -- bedding is important is all I'm saying.

For nearly 10 years, I've slept on a TempurPedic pillow, and I really didn't think there was anything better, at least for me. It provided great support, even though I sleep on my side, and when I'm in pain from a headache, it was comfortable.

But one day a couple of months ago, I was trolling Al Gore's internet, checking in on the various message boards I like. On one of them that usually hosts conversations about shoes and makeup and whatnot was a post titled "Magical Pillow." This person had just slept her first night on a buckwheat pillow and couldn't say enough wonderful things about it. It was supportive, dissipated heat well so its surface stayed cool, and it was easy to smush into the perfect shape regardless of her sleeping position. She reported having the best night's sleep she'd had in years.

I was skeptical. I mean, I remember the old Sobakawa pillows from a while back -- undersized and sold over the TV. No way could something like that be good. But then I clicked over to a migraine message board board, and what did I see? Another post by a completely different person titled "Magical Pillow." This woman, who is just as weird as I am about bedding and whatnot since she too takes to her bed with headaches, had just had just had her first night with a buckwheat pillow. She too raved about the quality of sleep, the ability of the pillow to conform nicely without being too soft or too hard. She went on and on.

So, of course I bought one. I mean, I'd stand on my head and eat raisins if someone told me it'd help my headaches and/or improve my sleep. It wasn't cheap at $55, but good down pillows run at least that much, and if it turned out not to be all that, I'd just return it.

But oh my gosh -- wow. It is amazing, basically. I mean, it is just a pillow, not a cure for cancer or anything so it can only be so good, but from the first night I slept on it, I could tell it was the right choice for me. Firm, but able to be manipulated to support my head as I flopped around in my sleep. The buckwheat hulls do provide a much cooler surface so I spend less time flipping my pillow over during the night. And when I take to my bed with a migraine, it supports my head nicely without being too firm. And since it's heaver than a down pillow, it stays in place on my bed even when I'm wallowing in my sleep and/or from the medicine, so I don't wake up to find it on the floor.

It may actually be a magical pillow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Opening Day!

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter fail

It takes a lot to surprise or disgust me anymore, particularly when it comes to how low many seeker-sensitive megachurches will stoop to separate lost sheep from their money, but this pretty much left me speechless: there's a church in Corpus Christi, Texas, celebrating Easter by -- wait for it -- giving away sports cars and flat screen TVs.

Sixteen cars, 15 flat-screen televisions, furniture sets and other prizes are lined up at Bay Area Fellowship Church and ready to be claimed by anyone who attends the church's Easter services on Sunday.
Though the church of some 7,000 weekly attendees has regularly flexed its creative muscles to draw the unchurched, the upcoming "Ultimate Giveaway" is like no other outreach it has ever attempted.
Pastor Bil Cornelius, who made the game show analogy, admits it's a bit "outrageous." But he sees it as "an opportunity to share Christ with people who may never go to a church for any reason," he told The Christian Post.
And then there's this:

I don't mean to pick on this one church, because goodness knows there's a lot of similar nonsense going on out there. But there are so many things wrong with this, both for this body in Corpus Christi and others of its ilk -- that a church would make its focus cash and prizes rather than the sovereignty of God. That church is akin to a slot machine -- show up and you could win an Audi! That on the weekend Christians acknowledge the price paid for their sin -- the death of God's Son on a cross -- this is what this church is choosing to do, at best eclipsing and at worst ignoring the cost of our sin as well as the primacy of the gospel.

I now have another item on my prayer list for this Resurrection Weekend -- that the publicity and outcry this church's antics have garnered will be used by God for His purposes and not the world's; that the unchurched sheep who find their way to these services will be given supernatural grace and godly insight to look past the snake oil and mercenary tactics to, in spite of all efforts to the contrary, acknowledge their sins against a holy and all-powerful God, know that Jesus Christ died to spare them (and me) from His wrath, and turn their lives and will over to Him; and that the elders and pastor of this church would chose the narrow gate in the future and feed their flock on the meat of God's Word.