I Have a Headache

November 26, 2020 1 of 8

I might actually make it to eight posts today. Probably not, but who knows?

I was going to post about our upcoming socially distanced brunch, but I have a headache and that’s pretty much all I can think about. So. Headaches.

I have been having headaches for as long as I can remember in the sense that I can’t remember the first headache I ever had. I do remember my first migraine.

We were living in the house that we lived in from my birth to age 11 and suddenly my head started to hurt. At that point, the only painkiller I knew about was Aspergum. Mmm. Aspergum.

Okay, an aside about Aspergum. Aspergum was a gum that was, what’s the word, impregnated? I don’t think that’s the word I’m looking for, but we’ll stick with that.

Aspergum was a gum that was impregnated with, well, aspirin. My mom used to give it to me for sore throats, of which I had a bunch. I figured it was just for sore throats, so of course I wouldn’t think it would help with the headache. And since it’s aspirin, of course it would’ve helped.

The pain of that first migraine was *so* bad. I actually thought that I might have had a brain tumor. Sound and light hurt and so I went to my bedroom then lay there in the dark with my pillow over my head and hope it went away.

Just a bit of a brush with childhood trauma here. I wasn’t yet at the age where I hid out and so I did kind of expect my folks (we lived in a really small house and I am an only child) to notice that I was gone and ask where I went, but no one ever said anything.

I was already kind of feeling like I was getting lost in the shuffle, and this contributed to that feeling. I got the impression that my pain and illness didn’t matter to my parents and kind of internalized that.

Back to physical illness. Eventually the headache passed and I emerged. I don’t remember if if I had what I came to refer to as the “bruisey” feeling afterwards. It really is hard to describe. It’s like having bruises behind your eyes.

Anyway, I suffered from the headaches off and on for years and we eventually got a book that is kind of like a pre-internet Dr. Google. And, just like Dr. Google, everything is cancer.

I thought that my migraines might be migraines, but when I looked them up in the symptom book, it said that I would have nausea and vomiting when I had a migraine. (Put a sort of mental bookmark here; we’ll be back to it in a minute or two. Or ten.).

So, years passed. I would retreat into my bedroom, wondering if I really did have a brain tumor and my parents still never seemed to notice that I was gone.

We moved into another house and I started hiding in the semi-finished basement on a regular basis, watching the TV that used to be in parents’ bedroom and sitting/lying/reclining on the sofa that used to sit in the living room at our old house.

For my high school years, I went back to my folks’ living room because my grandfather was living in the basement. When he passed away in 1984, I went back to the basement.

During these years, I still hid in my bedroom during migraines, but my folks didn’t really notice because they were used to me not being right there in the living room with them.

When I was 21, I started dating Thomas. On one of our dates, he said something about having a migraine, but he didn’t, like, go away to throw up or anything. I asked how he could have migraines without nausea or vomiting and he seemed surprised. He explained that you don’t *always* throw up with migraines. I described these debilitating headaches that I’d had for, at this point, more than 10 years, and he armchair diagnosed me with migraines.

The next time I had a migraine, I gave it its correct name and my mom gave me this snarky accusation me of thinking that I could have caught them from Thomas.

I told her that I’d been having them since before I was 11 years old. This came as a total surprise to her. So, I guess she really never did notice when I retreated to my room to hide during my headaches.

At some point, I realized that aspirin, acetaminophen/paracetamol, etc. helped with the pain and so I retreated into my room less often.

I lost some time from changing majors and transferring schools, so at 21, I was heading into my junior year of college. I went away to school for my last year and a half and this is when I realized that I was a “weekend migraineur.” That is when you have the migraines once the pressure is off. I would go visit Thomas at his college and enjoying time with him and his friends (who were awesome) and would have a migraine during the weekend, like, every other time.

So, since I had an on-campus medical clinic right there (it literally was like, thee doors down from my dorm), I went to the on-campus medical clinic where I finally got an official diagnosis of migraines. I also got a prescription for Inderal to prevent them and Cafergot when they flared up anyhow.

This kept them mostly under control until my wedding. I had long since gotten used to the Inderal keeping them under control, so I stopped filling the Cafergot. I got a migraine right after we came back from our honeymoon and just couldn’t eat. I’d had a gastrointestinal virus just before my wedding, which led me to being so hungry on my wedding day, I ate my dinner and my maid of honor’s (she didn’t like it and was going to throw it away anyhow). I ate fine on my honeymoon, but when the migraine finally hit, I had my one and only experience of nausea and vomiting from a migraine.

In the years since my wedding, they discovered that a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen/paracetmol, and caffeine (sold as Excedrin Migraine) will stop a migraine. Retail is stressful enough that I don’t have that many migraines anymore, and generic Excedrin Migraine takes care of the ones I have pretty well.

I do still get the occasional regular headache, and I still take the generic Excedrin Migraine for that, because, well, it’s not like there’s any specialty medication in there, and this helps me use up my generic Excedrin Migraine before it expires. If I reserved it just for real migraines I’d probably be throwing away nearly full bottles all of the time.

Have I read any books in which the main character gets migraines? I actually think I have, but can’t remember what book it was. I’m sure I’ll find it again during my intensive reread to update my Goodreads account.

So it looks like another Gratuitous Amazon Link for now. So. Discworld or Nancy Drew. Let’s find out. Discworld it is. Today we introduce probably the most popular (or second after the witches, maybe?) character set in the series, the City Watch, in Guards! Guards!

What Are We Having for Dinner Tonight?

November 25, 2020 1 of 8

Alex and I had Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

The story was a little more complex than that. Today is the day before US Thanksgiving and my store was kind of a mess. Things were relatively calm in the pharmacy, but outside the pharmacy? Eek.

So I took a quick break to get some dessert for tomorrow (more on that, well, tomorrow). My coworker rang me up so that I could avoid the lines. However, as I was leaving the store, I realized that I didn’t know what we were going to have for dinner tonight.

I figured that I could pick up one thing really fast and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. I So I swung through the frozen foods department and I remembered that I have two Michael Angelo’s frozen dinners — baked ziti with meatballs and chicken piccata.

So when I came home, I suggested that to Alex, who still feels under the weather. He wasn’t crazy about that idea, so in desperation, I suggested Macaroni and Cheese. He liked that idea, so that’s what we had.

Alex is going to move out in another week or so, and so soon my “What Am I Having for Dinner Tonight” posts will be returning to going through my cookbooks.

For our Gratuitous Amazon Link, let’s see what we have: Eric, by Terry Pratchett. This is the 9th Discworld book and it features Rincewind.

My Goodreads Account

November 22,2020 2 of 8

It seems like I shouldn’t need a Gratuitous Amazon Link this time. I mean, this post is about books. My Amazon link should be organic. I’ve already done all of these books that I’ve mentioned, though. Well, this blog isn’t chronological, so let’s just use the first book that I mention in this post even if it is a repeat.

I really need to get my walking in for today. But first, reading and writing. No ‘rithmetic. Sorry.

Anyway, I finished another couple of books recently, leading my currently reading list to be 22 books. I think we started at, like, 35?

My favorite of the statistics . . . things at Goodreads is the Books by Publication Year. It’s a scatter plot graph with dots at the intersection of the date read and the year published. Of course, with the way I read, there’s no real trend, but it’s cool to look at anyhow. I haven’t reread any classic literature in the time I’ve had this account, because the oldest book there is The Hidden Staircase. I wonder why that is. I mean, shouldn’t the oldest be the oldest Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock? I wonder if I somehow picked the wrong edition. I’ll have to look into that.

But as of this month, I have a, like, vertical line of blue dots where I’ve reread all of my Ms. Marvel and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics and also my Avatar: the Last Airbender books. I wish I could specify a date range on that graph so that I can see this month (or even just this year) more clearly.

More Clues in the Mystery of What Language I’m Going to Specialize In

November 25, 2020 1 of 8

With “clues” and “mystery” in the title, I think I may have done too many Nancy Drew books for my Gratuitous Amazon Links. However, for good or ill, we’ve still got dozens of Nancy Drew books to go.

I’m thinking that the language I’m going to focus on for my modern languages degree is less likely to be Vietnamese than Czech. I did the Pimsleur conversational Czech and now I’m doing Pimsleur Vietnamese I. Czech came to me much more easily than Vietnamese, despite my having less exposure to the language prior to starting.

Of course, Vietnamese is a much harder language for an English speaker to learn. Looking at the Defense Language Institute site, my guess is that Czech is a Level III language and Vietnamese is Level IV.

The Pimsleur course says that if you are getting about 80% of the questions right, you’re ready to move on, and I am taking a *very* generous interpretation of “80%.” I’m still bumping up against that problem where the pause to figure out and say the sentence is too short and so I’m pretty sure that I would’ve come up with the right sentence in 80% of the cases. I really should be doing each lesson *three* times, but . . . .

I was only going to see what was left of my Rosetta Stone Vietnamese really quickly before the end of the month, when the language for my apps will change to Italian and I’ll go back to ChinesePod in the car, but this is so frustrating that I’m not sure whether to give up or to try to figure out how to fit the Vietnamese in around the Italian and Chinese.

Back when I was playing Pokemon Go harder than I am now, I spent more than 45 minutes a day in my car driving to gyms and raids. I could easily fit a daily Pimsleur lesson and at least one ChinesePod lesson in in that time, but now I’m in the car for a Pimsleur lesson and about five minutes of Spanish radio. That extra five minutes isn’t long enough for even one ChinesePod lesson.

If only I’d thought of Vietnamese back at the beginning of October. I could’ve done each lesson three times and still knocked out 20 of them.

I know I could do my Pimsleur, like, in my bedroom or something, but I’d find it awkward to sit there speaking very bad Vietnamese by myself in my room. If I could count on my cat to sit there and let me practice on him for half an hour a day, it might be doable.

And Vietnamese would be so useful for me right now. I have a bunch of Vietnamese patients and their grasp of English is okay, but it would be nice if I could meet them in the middle a little.

Oh, well. It’s 5:30 am and there’s not much Vietnamese I can do right now anyhow. I’ll sleep on it and see what I can come up with.

Our Gratuitous Amazon Link today is. I don’t even know. My Goodreads page was set on trying to find books that I’m reading right now so that I can add them to my currently reading page. Give my computer just a minute to catch up to us. Okay. Our Gratuitous Amazon Link for today is The Mystery at Lilac Inn, by Carolyn Keene.

Alex Has a Fever

November 23, 2020 1 of 8

Alex felt better yesterday. He came home from work and went to bed.

Then, when I came home from work, I thought he’d be at work, but when I came home, he was (still?) in bed. I asked him if he missed work today and apparently he had the day off.

After I woke him up, he said that he was going to go to a friend’s house and so he got up to get ready and took his temperature. It was, like, 101. He tried again and got more 100+ temperatures.

The Texas MedClinic chain has a 15-minute test, so we checked out the closest 24-hour clinic and found that the walk-in wait was only 30 minutes. We attempted to make an appointment for him to get tested, but every time we tried, it told us to try a different time, but never let us choose anything but 7:30, which was the time that it said there were no openings.

We headed out to just go ahead and wait, but when we got in, the lady at the reception desk said that they weren’t taking any more walk-in COVID tests tonight because the wait was 5 hours. Then she told us to make an appointment online. And we told her that it hadn’t worked.

We also told her that the website said that the wait was only 30 minutes, and she said that she couldn’t do anything about that. So Alex made an appointment for 6:45 in the morning (which has a $100 fee for after-hours services) and we got some decongestant at the supermarket across the street. After we got home, he went for a jog and I had dinner (I offered to heat something up for both of us, but he said that he doesn’t have much of an appetite).

So, if he comes out positive for COVID (we’re pretty sure he won’t; it’s probably just a cold or the flu), then I will call in late and go get a test myself at around 8 am. Then we’ll see how it goes from there.

For our Gratuitous Amazon Link, we’ve reached the point where I was going back and forth between Discworld and Nancy Drew books. So, today is Book 5 of the Nancy Drew series, The Secret of Shadow Ranch.

Alex Has a Cough

November 22, 2020 4 of 8

At, like, three this morning, Alex woke me up and said that he had a cough and he was a little queasy and that he wanted me to see if I had anything for it. I had something for the nausea (diphenhydramine) but no cough suppressant.

Later, when he got up for work, he took his temperature a bunch of times and it came up 98 (36.7 Celsius) every time. He still had the cough, so he put on an extra-thick mask and went to work.

He’s still at work, so I guess he passed the screening.

He’s going to get a COVID test tonight and we’ll see how it goes.

I went out and bought a bunch of imperishable groceries (tuna, cereal, nuts, little plastic bowls of fruit, etc.) and also some cough suppressant just in case he does have it.

And if he does have it, then guess who needs to get a COVID test tomorrow?

Wish me luck.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. We’re still on the Discworld series. I don’t know if we ever see these characters again, so let’s call this one a standalone. Pyramids, by Terry Pratchett.

I’ve Been Up Since 6 am

November 24, 2020 1 of 8

I know. Lots of people get up at 6 am. However, my day job starts, at the earliest, at 8:30 am (and 11 am at the latest right now, though that may change after COVID ends). Since it takes me 1.5 hours to get ready for work and get to work, that means that I’m used to getting up at maybe 7 am (and frequently later).

I was awakened by Alex, who was working on his intake paperwork for the COVID test. Turns out he needed information on the guarantor (that’s me) that he didn’t know, like my social security number. Then, since he figured he’d go to work it it wasn’t COVID, he asked me to take my shower then, too, so that he could take his shower when he got home.

I did try to go back to bed after that, but with my hair wet, it was hard to relax. Plus, by the time I got out of the shower, it was nearly 7 and I had to be up at 7:30.

Alex came home just about 7:30, and it turns out that he does not have COVID, but he is sick. It’s probably a cold or something. The common cold is actually way more transmissible than COVID. It’s just seems less dangerous since our ancestors who weren’t able to fight off the common cold died out millennia ago. With COVID, we’re basically watching what happened when the first common cold virus hit the first human population, only they didn’t have the medical technology to increase the possibility that they would survive the virus.

Not that I’m saying that dying from COVID is positive or inevitable, or good for our DNA, or anything. Who knows who we would be today if it weren’t for that first cold virus. Maybe one of the people who died had an aptitude for math or science and would have given us a cure for cancer by now. Imagine your biggest bully. It could be a classmate, a member of your church, or even a relative. Maybe that bully’s great-great-great . . . grandparent was considering reproducing with someone who would have given that bully a sense of empathy? Maybe everyone would ultimately have carried that empathy gene and we’d live in a kinder, more just, world.

Or maybe the people who died were just people, with the hopes and dreams that anyone had back then — food, shelter, creativity, music, spirituality — and, much like in For Whom the Bell Tolls, their deaths diminished their community.

Anyway, back to something like the point. Since Alex works with the public, the doctor said that he should stay home from work for a couple of days. He’s feeling better, but he doesn’t know if he’s still contagious, so he’ll be home again tomorrow. He’s off Thanksgiving as well. He’ll be eating two Thanksgiving meals: breakfast with us and dinner with the group he’s getting a house with after that.

It seems that a non-gratuitous Amazon Link would be a poetry book that has For Whom the Bell Tolls in it, but I haven’t read any books like that. So, I guess it’s gratuitous again. We’re still careening madly between Discworld and Nancy Drew. Let’s see what we get today. We have Wyrd Sisters, the second book featuring the witches — Granny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax, and Magrat Garlick.

Running Ads on This Site

November 29, 2020 1 of (probably) 1

I’m going to post this immediately rather than scheduling it for later.

Out of curiosity, I looked at Google AdSense again and apparently I haven’t lost that account. So I’m now trying to figure out how to get AdSense ads to run here.

Maybe I will make some money on this site someday . . .

Our Gratuitous Amazon Link for today is Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett, the 12th Discworld book and one that features the Witches.

There Was Something I Was Supposed to Do Today

November 22, 2020 3 of 8

I was going to go and pick up bagels, I know that. I was supposed to go walking, I know that, too.

Oh! I was going to go to Michaels (I keep forgetting that there’s no apostrophe in “Michaels.”) to get epoxy resin. I thought about stopping last night, but I was tired. Evelyn and I took the dogs to the Pearl for Pokemon Go Community Day.

I wonder if I can get resin at my store?

And the answer to that is “no.” Just Bondo. I guess I’ll have to go to Michaels.

You see, there’s a project that I’ve been sitting on for, oh, two years now? And I thought that my fails would make blog content. Maybe not good blog content, but blog content nonetheless.

Well, I haven’t really *sat* on it. Let me explain.

When I lost Foxy (and when I say “lost,” I’m not just avoiding saying “had her put down,” we had to put her down because of ‘doggie dementia,’ so she was gone before I had that done), I promised myself that I would make a pendant out of her fur and a copy of the tag from her harness. The tag would be there largely so that the pendant could find its way back to me. It will have my phone number on it.

Then I’d wear the pendant when I traveled, so that she would be with me in spirit. She loved traveling and meeting new people. Kinda like me.

I then spent two years trying to find a mold that would be big enough for the tag, which is fairly large. I think I’ve found it. I’m going to get a silicone baking pan, possibly cupcakes or muffins and see if the tag fits in it.

So once I have that, I’ll be ready to start making little round pieces of resin that are full of bubbles while I figure out how to remove the bubbles preparatory to making the actual pendant.

But first I need the materials.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. I realized that with the Discworld books, I maybe should label them with which set of characters are central to the story. There are people, for example, who avoid the Rincewind books or just read the City Guard books, etc. Today we have the fifth book, Sourcery, which features Rincewind.

I Just Had the Weirdest Dream

November 22, 2020 1 of 8

Now, of course, that’s a bit of hyperbole. I always say that all of my dreams are the weirdest dream. I guess if I had a normal dream, it’d *that* would be the weirdest dream.

Anyway, I dreamed that somehow I ended up parking my car on the top floor of an administration building of a university. My dream didn’t specify that it was a private university at all, let alone a Roman Catholic one, but all of the administrators’ plaques and certificates and things all had “Sister (name)” on them.

It must’ve been very early in the morning, because no one was actually in the office and so I walked down to the ground floor so that I could get out of the building and there were some employees there. When I explained what had happened, one of them asked me to go back up and drive my car down right then, because if I wait until later, the building would be occupied and it might be dangerous to drive my car out of the building with all of those people around.

After that, my brain made up a storyline about college, Pokemon Go, driving, and a fictionalized, in-my-brain-0nly version of the suburbs I grew up in (where they were less suburban and more small-city-esque). I think I’ve dreamed about the small-city version of those suburbs before, but maybe that was just an impression I got within that dream.

I don’t normally try to analyze my dreams. Sometimes the meaning will be perfectly clear and I’ll be, like, “I’m still mourning my mom” or “I’m worried about work,” etc. I didn’t get a real read on what this meant aside from maybe looking forward to the day when I can afford that modern languages degree that I want.

Okay, it’s 4:00 am and I don’t have to be anywhere today, so I’m going back to bed for another six hours or so. Talk to you later.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. Still Discworld. Sorry about how abrupt these links are, but really, it’s a huge, world-spanning social commentary/humor/fantasy series. There’s not much to say about each individual book. Book 4 of the Discworld series: Mort, by Terry Pratchett.