Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The letter X, it's phonetic trickery...

I've determined that the letter X is the most useless letter of the English alphabet. I have nothing against X. As a matter of fact, I like X…as a symbol. It's intriguing, mysterious,  and sometimes decorative; but I don't think it was ever really meant to be a letter.

I picture the letter X standing alone and crying in the Hooked on Phonics series. X is just a place holder for other sounds. For instance….

There's the "k" sound:
- example = ek-zample
- excellent = ek-se-llent
- box = bocks (like rocks, clocks, docks, mocks; you could probably even eliminate that silly "c")

...or the "z" sound:
xylophone = zylo-phone
Xerxes = Zerk-cees (this is a local ek-zample)

According to the dictionary, X can also have a "g" sound. It has no sound of its own and has the shortest section in the dictionary. It's a wonder non-native English speakers are actually able to learn this language at all.

I just feel sad for the letter X. I'm certain it didn't ask for this role in the English language. It was probably just hanging out on a map, minding its own business when someone thought, 'hey, we should make this part of the alphabet'. So now it sits between W and Y, stealing its sounds from some other letters further up the alphabet.

Phonetic trickery, that's what X is….phonetic trickery.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gambling with Mom and Dad

Alright, this isn't a real post either. Like yesterday, it's just another crazy dream.

In the dream I was visiting my folks at their snowbird home (somewhere warm). They decided to take me to this global marketplace that had this weird form of gambling where the gambler purchases colored tortilla chips and is allotted a gambling machine for a period of 10 - 12 hours.

When we got to this marketplace, this racially ambiguous man sold my folks these gold and green tortilla chips. There was only one gambling machine left for them to feed, because the other machine was being used by a non-native English speaker, who happened to be yelling emphatically in whatever language it was she spoke. The chip seller told us that she would be using that particular machine for the next 10 hours, so my folks took the other machine. Several other snow birders were turned away.

At first, I participated in feeding the tortilla chips into the machine; different colors went into different slots. I don't recall anybody winning a thing. After a couple of hours I said I was bored and wanted to go back to the house. My mother informed me that we had at least 6-hours of time left. We fought. 

I said, "why don't I just take the car back to the house and you can call me when you want to come home. I'll come get you". To which she replied, "do you even know how to get to the house"?  "Of course not, but if you would just stop playing that stupid game, you could drive me there yourself". She informed that she wasn't done and I would just have to wait. At that point, my alarm went off.

A couple of points here...first, my parents do not own a snowbird home; second, neither of them gamble. Third, I don't know what the hell is wrong with my brain. Is it my diet? My meds? Am I going insane? Maybe it's the sinus infection I've had for the past three months. Who knows?

I'd say sweet dreams again, but now I'm more inclined to say hope your dreams don't make you feel like you're going insane. Or…I could just change the context and definition for my meaning of sweet dreams. That seems easier. So in that case…

Sweet dreams!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fuego rojo

This doesn't count as a real post; it's just a crazy dream.

The other night I dreamed that I was 20 years younger and running from something. I don't know what I was running from. I just knew that I had to keep moving. Everything I owned was in the trunk of my red Fuego, which wasn't much, but it was in a black and purple duffel bag.

I met up with my lover. He was Latin (I don't know why that's important, but he had beautiful caramel skin and dark hair), and was very sweet and soft spoken.

Anyway, we had this long tearful goodbye. I left my beautiful Latin lover and drove away in my little red Fuego and was very sad, but I had to move on so whatever it was I was running from didn't catch up with me.

Sweet dreams!

P.S. I have roughly a million questions about where this dream came from, but have absolutely no answers. The only connection I can make is that my parents owned a red Fuego when I was a kid.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Midweek Meltdown

I'm not a hearty Minnesotan by any stretch of the imagination. There are days I question why I live here. I know there are many reasons, I just can't remember them right now because my brain is in the deep freeze along with the rest of this state.

One of the reasons I do live here is because we do have excellent physicians and medical care, and frankly I need it. I was a very healthy kid, but as an adult I've been falling apart a little at a time. Which, I suppose, is better than all at once.

This morning I had an appointment with my physiatrist (different than psychiatrist, look it up if you don't know) because I've been having searing hot, poker pain on the right side of my face, jaw, and temple that is not a migraine (but I get those as well) and is not related to a sinus infection. And when I say pain, I mean the type of pain that brings tears to your eyes and ibuprofen can't touch. Now granted, the pain isn't that intense everyday, but it certainly brings life to a grinding halt. I do tend to wait until things reach that critical level before seeking medical attention.

Well, the appointment was at 8:30 and the office is 8.6 miles away from my house. I've been there before for help in dealing with the two ruptured discs in my neck; a nice cervical epidural works most of the time. But I digress. It generally takes no longer than 15 minutes to get there. But today, I left the house 35 minutes before the appointment (you never know with winter weather). Unfortunately, Mother Nature had conspired against me and it took an hour and twenty minutes to get there (yes, that's 1 hour and 20 minutes), making me 40 minutes late, at which point they no longer had time to see me.

I understand, I really do, but when you're in pain, the drive is a bitch, you're stressed about work in general, and you're going to be charged $50.00 because you didn't call 24 hours in advance to say you weren't going to be able to make it because the roads were beyond bad and people were spinning out and crashing, not being able to be seen might just cause a meltdown…

I politely rescheduled and walked out of the office (seething) debating whether to drive the remaining 50 miles to work or drive the 8.6 miles back home. I figured either option was a lose-lose situation (based on weather and traffic). The only bright spot is that my role in the company is very mobile and I can work from anywhere with an internet connection. I chose to drive the 8.6 miles home and not the 50 miles to the plant, but before I did that I left a voicemail for my boss explaining the situation.

Now I don't recall exactly what I said as I explained the situation to him, but he called me back laughing about the voicemail. When I said, "well, I don't remember exactly what I said, I was having a meltdown". He responded by saying…"that's how you have a meltdown? That's funny. I'll have to play it back for you sometime, it's really funny".

On a positive note, it was a productive day. I do tend to get more done at home than at the office (no interruptions), and I was warm.

Here's hoping tomorrow's drive is better…although I am not going to hold my breath.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why are there so many orange M&Ms?

I have a few OCD issues and they get worse when I am stressed. My need to clean, sort, and organize transports me to a whole other realm.

I don't understand why there are so many orange M&Ms. What is the purpose of this imbalance in color? Is it some kind of secretive plot? A marketing ploy?

In a "large" bag of M&Ms it seems that orange is the predominant color. Now, I don't know if this is true for all "large" bags of M&Ms or just the one I purchased. I'm certainly not about to make the financial investment necessary to develop a statistically relevant sampling plan, but I am curious.

…and don't think that I'm not stressed out by the fact that the red M&Ms had to go into a different type of container (see below). All of the other little containers that match the ones for the yellow, orange, brown, green, and blue M&Ms are full of spaghetti sauce in the freezer. I actually considered thawing some sauce just for the container. I opened and closed the freezer multiple times (three) before I decided that that would be going just a little too far; but I don't know, I reserve the right to change my mind about that.

I eat M&Ms in a specific color order, starting with yellow. I don't eat like yellow; so they need to be eaten first. Then I eat the orange M&Ms. I am not a big fan of the orange ones either, so I'm a little distressed about the number of orange M&Ms in this bag. I am going to be eating orange M&Ms for many days. Ugh. You might be thinking that I could just ignore them, skip over them, pretend they aren't there, but that isn't how it works.

I suppose I could bring them to work and encourage others to eat the orange M&Ms, but then I would have to explain why I have a container with just orange M&Ms in it…and that would make me sound a bit nuts. Don't you think?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Parental love, Target, and butter...

This post is only funny at the beginning, and that's questionable.

First, a conversation with my dad...
Dad: "I'd be proud of you even if you were a bag lady".
Me: "Thanks. Please remember that when I have a psychotic break and move into a box on my neighbor's lawn".

Second, using a list to shop...
These were things on my list (yes, I had a list; handwritten) for Target (yes, I still shop there):
- probiotic
- toilet paper
- aluminum foil
- AA batteries
- butter
- almonds

What I left Target with:
- Sea Salt Almond Caramel Granola Bites
- Hershey's Milk Chocolate Nuggets with Toffee and Almonds

There is no substitute for butter. People try to tell themselves that there is, and that "this spread" tastes just as good. They lie; and I love butter, which is one of the reasons I was disappointed that I forgot to buy it.

Third, a medical tale…
In September of 2012, I became very ill with a gastrointestinal illness, the cause of which was never identified. There was only speculation, but no scientific proof. I went from 112 pounds to 96 pounds in a short period of time. The illness mimicked Crohn's disease and persisted at varying intensities for over a year. I had every test known to man and woman and they were all negative. I saw specialists and sub-specialists. The final diagnosis was IBS, which I think is what gets assigned to functional disorders when nothing else seems to fit.

The GI sub-specialist I saw recommended I start taking a drug which FDA has pulled from the market due to it's negative side effects, which include adhesions, bowel obstructions, the need for transfusions, and of course, death. Needless to say I did NOT elect to sign the waiver acknowledging that I accepted the risks associated with this medication and chose to seek alternative treatment.

Alternative Treatment...
I have been working with a nutritionist and it has radically altered the way I eat, although I admit I am not successful all of the time. The process started with charting what I ate daily, times I ate, and how I felt (both physically and emotionally). She determined that I was eating way too many fruits and vegetables and not enough grains, proteins, or fat. Who knew a person could eat too many fruits and vegetables? I am sure plenty of people know that. When the nutritionist saw my chart, she said, "wow, thats a lot of fiber". Well, we all know what fiber can do for you.

Anyway, this process has challenged my conditioned way of thinking about food, and believe or not, it has been so incredibly difficult to cut back on the fruit and veggies and replace them with grains and proteins. Mostly because I have an addiction to mangoes, pineapple, pomegranate seeds, dried apricots and dried cherries.

As I've said, I'm not always successful at meeting my daily meal plan, but the changes I have made have truly helped to restore my digestive health, without the use of a very serious drug.

Let food be thy medicine. Way to go Hippocrates.


Peace out...