Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's Tidbits or Nothing, I'm Afraid.

So tidbits it is!

(Glancing over my list of topics, I see that they tend toward the negative. Sorry about that. I'll save the non-negative for last, and you can just skip ahead, if you like.)

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Boring details about jaw pain & sniffles to follow.
You may want to skip down one section...

You try not to complain too much about little things (Hey, who's that I hear stifling a snicker?!), because you know there are people who have real, serious problems, and sooner or later you'll likely experience some of them, too, but lately if it's not one (little) thing, it's another. Just as the pain in my right jaw/neck was finally fading away (but not quite all gone), I was hit by a sudden bout of very distracting sneezing and sniffling, Saturday night. That night was the worst of it, but I'm still a little more tickle-nosed/sneezy than normal. It doesn't seem to be a cold-- no sore throat, coughing, or fever. Every now and then, for the past couple of years, at least, I've had these "suddenly sneezy" experiences, which usually last only a day or two. I've sometimes wondered if I'm developing allergies. I never suffered from them as a child (as far as I can recall), but I think I've read that it's possible to develop them at any time. (Joy.)

P.S. I started this entry Monday, when the jaw pain was finally gone (after about a week). Tuesday morning, as I chewed my first spoonful of cereal, I heard that weird "crunch crunch crunch" sound in the right side of my jaw again-- the same thing I heard within a day or so of the onset of my last experience of jaw pain. (And it wasn't just the sound of the cereal crunching. (g)) I hope this isn't going to become a never-ending cycle of jaw weirdness, because it's really not much fun. And I'm not even one of those people who constantly chew gum! What am I supposed to do? Cut back on eating and talking? ;o) (I probably could cut back on some of the eating... But a healthier diet would likely involve even more chewing than I currently do. How many times is it that we're supposed to chew each mouthful? Twenty- or thirty-something times?)

...Well, that's enough health junk. You know how I hate medical/health junk. (Oh, you didn't? Well, now you do.)

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We've been trying to get rid of something I grew up calling "sugar ants" (but which apparently are not sugar ants, since those don't live in the US). They've been in our kitchen for a long time, but until recently, they stayed in one spot away from the food. There weren't a lot of them, and they didn't appear to be hurting anything, so after "home remedy" solutions failed, I just threw up my hands and decided to learn to live with them. Recently, however, they showed up in our pantry, and that is not ok. Donald bought some bait poison, which we've been leaving out for several days. I can't tell whether or not it's working. Sometimes there are no ants in sight, but then (like last night, for instance) there are suddenly quite a few of them gathered around the "bait plates" again. I guess I'll keep replacing the bait and hope that it just takes a while to get them all.

Incidentally, it irritates me that (as I learned when researching ant deterrents online) so many people assume that if you have ants in the house, it's because you're living in a pig sty. I'll admit that I'm nowhere near the best housekeeper in the world, but it's impossible to live a meaningful life and keep the kitchen free of the minute amount of crumbs and food residue that it takes to keep a few ants alive. Even a dishwasher would be a big no-no unless you ran it immediately each time you dirtied a dish-- or thoroughly washed the dishes before leaving them on the rack (in which case why bother with the dishwasher at all?).

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The terrible news of that jet that "disappeared" over the Atlantic has reminded me of all the horrific things I've ever imagined about flying-- what those last few minutes would be like. I'm glad we have no plans to fly this summer. Not that it's any less safe this summer than it ever is, but... well, I never really want to fly. It's like taking a nasty-tasting medicine-- it has to be done, sometimes, but if it didn't, I'd happily spend the rest of my life on solid ground, where I belong.

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Last night, I woke at three-something a.m. from an awful dream. Someone I loved had died. (Apparently I'm too superstitious to give names...) I've dreamed before that people I care about have died, but I can't recall dreaming that about this particular person, until last night. The strange part was that until I woke up, it wasn't completely devastating. We were sad (though I have no idea why it was happening, we had warning, even to the point of discussing cremation/burial options), but it was something we both simply accepted with unnatural calmness. It wasn't until I was awake that I felt myself on the verge of tears-- when logically I should've been reassured that it was only a nightmare.

Last night, I turned over, tried to shake off unreasonable anxiety, and was soon back in the world of dreams (this time something about video games, a tornado-- an especially popular item in my jukebox o' dreams-- and the cast of That 70s Show), but it's not always that easy. Somehow, things always seem at their worst when I wake at 3 in the morning. L.M. Montgomery (one of my favorite authors) tended to write about the horrors of lying awake at 3 a.m.-- and I've seen references to that hour from time to time, elsewhere. I'm not sure why, but when I wake up around 3 a.m., I rarely feel good about myself or life in general. Worries that are manageable at other hours seem to crowd around me, smothering and insurmountable. Falling back asleep can sometimes be difficult-- but once I do, I'm generally back to my usual self in the morning. I suspect that there is something to this business about 3 a.m. being a cursed hour-- much worse than mere midnight. Of course, the "curse" is probably linked to our physiology-- biochemical reactions or something equally scientifically mysterious-- and the fact that we aren't thinking very clearly when we wake at that hour.

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This weekend, Donald went up and replaced the shingles that were blown off our roof in March. We had been just keeping it patched with tar paper in anticipation of possibly having it professionally repaired, but after having it inspected and talking it over, Donald decided that he could replace the shingles himself.

It's good to have something a little more permanent than tar paper done, at least. Some of what the roofer we consulted with told us (suggesting that certain parts of the original job possibly hadn't been done properly) still makes me a little uneasy, but (rap wood again!) that roof saw us through Hurricane Ivan. Besides, even if we'd had a professional do it, we wouldn't have replaced the whole roof, and I know Donald put more care into the patch than the average roofer would have.

Here's to no more hurricanes or roof-damaging squalls for twenty years, at least! ;o)

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We taught Trixie a couple new tricks, a few days ago. She already knew "sit" and "down". (Well, in theory. Sometimes she still seems to be confused about why it's necessary to get into the "sit" position when she's already "down". I guess I can't blame her. It doesn't make much sense...) Next, we added "roll over" and "speak". I wondered, while teaching her to speak, whether we'd regret it. So far, she's been pretty good. Of course, she sometimes barks during "trick sessions" just on the off chance that we'll reward her, but I think that will decrease as she becomes better at differentiating between commands. Still, maybe her next trick will be learning how to use an "inside voice".

Let's close with this very no-frills video of Trixie demonstrating her tricks:

Trixie's Tricks from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.