Meniere’s Monday – A bit of blah

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Today is definitely not a good ear day for me. Buzzing, fullness, pressure, eyes burning, headache, distortion, and…wait for it…dizziness. Woo-hoo.

Yeah – it feels like this…

I am praying that all of these symptoms are a result of being gone for the weekend (in a higher altitude) and not a precursor to an attack. I don’t have time for an attack. Nor the patience.

So this is it. Short. Simple. Not sweet.

Until tomorrow…

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The Thursday Three – A culinary treat

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This has been a strange week. If I were Bill or Ted in an excellent adventure, I might even say that, “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.” Is it sad that I enjoyed that movie? I digress…

The dark clouds brewing in the Tulsa sky cast a pallor of portent on the day. Since I am traveling to Arkansas with my bestie tomorrow to visit my parental units,  I am praying for clear skies. Even though we need the rain. I simply want it to wait until I’m done driving. Just sayin’.

I have learned crazy things this week by listening, watching, reading, and praying. Sometimes by osmosis. But only when I’m in an alternate universe where things like that are the norm. Heh.

This week, some interesting culinary tidbits for you. My hubby-wubs was a chef at one point in his career, and I have learned a lot from him about cooking. Not that I do much. I’m a simple gal. A Pop-Tart and a glass of milk and I am good to go. But he uses every pot and pan in the house. Cooking is a production. So I watch. Mostly.

I read this week that beetles taste like apples – I’m not sure if they are more like a Granny Smith or a Red Delicious. I prefer a nice Gala.

This? Or…
This??

Also, wasps – stinger and all – taste like pine nuts. I’m thinking I could save money on my pesto recipe since I have a wasp metropolis in my backyard. Might have a bit of a bite to it, though. Sorry. Had to do it.

Will Augment Special Pesto (W.A.S.P.)

Finally, worms offer the essence of fried bacon. Mmm… Scrambled eggs and worms. Gulp. These are the only kind of worms I’m willing to consider…

I offered to make a nice beetle, wasp, worm salad last night but hubby-wubs declined. What’s that about?

Next time you are running low on grub, head out to the garden and rustle up some critters. Then let me know if you liked it.

Space – The New "Writing" Frontier

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I read a great blog post today on The Writerly Life called Finding Your Writer’s Space. Check it out. Go on…

Blair’s post made me think about several things:

The space I devote to writing
The time I devote to writing
The distractions that keep me from writing

I visited a new church this past Sunday (shhhh…don’t tell Alex!) and the pastor discussed 1 Corinthians 7:25-39. Something Paul said really hit home…and has been haunting me ever since Pastor Mark said it out loud: “I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” 1 Corinthians 7:35 NLT

As few distractions as possible? Did Paul have any idea what it would be like to live in a world of cell phones, TV, the Internet, blogging, Facebook, 60-hour work weeks, traffic, etc… Everything is a distraction to me these days. My laundry. Dishes in the sink. A new book. An old friend. Squeaks.

After the sermon, I was in a daze. Have been since then. What are my distractions? Are they keeping me from serving the Lord to the best of my ability? Try answering those for yourself. Not easy.

Most of you know I have been working on a Young Adult novel. The tides have changed and now I have to write it. God is urging me to share my main character’s story. So writing her story is a way for me to serve. But that means I actually have to sit down. Write. Not fuss. Not dilly dally.

My writing space at home is a combination home office and library. It is not ideal. PLUS, I have another furry distraction.

Wish I could be that happy about MY belly…

But I’m done making excuses. It’s time to write. I’m not going to think about the mess in the closet or the pile of laundry. Those things can wait.

If I had magic lamp with a genie, this would be the best writing space on the planet – It’s Laurie Halse Anderson’s Writing Cottage. Me = jealous.

So…ask yourself:
What are my distractions?
What is my ideal writing space?
What am I going to do to eliminate the distractions and write?

Meniere’s Monday – A bit of history

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It’s Monday. Yes – the dreaded beginning of the work week. No fear, gang. We can get through this.

Since I have chosen to use Monday as the day to update my Meniere’s condition, I thought this might be a good time to let you know a bit about the hard-to-explain, difficult-to-diagnose, ridiculous-to-treat, all-consuming, unpredicatable disease named after a French doctor, Prosper Meniere. In the late 1800s he concluded that vertigo stems from issues in the inner ear. Essentially, the inner ear produces excessive amounts of fluid, causing a host of annoying symptoms. Since Dr. Meniere’s initial discovery, doctors, scientists, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies have tried – without success – to treat this disease.

One of the biggest issues with treating Meniere’s is that it affects each individual differently. Some people experience mild symptoms while others suffer daily and have to relinquish anything resembling a normal lifestyle – including driving. Imagine a dizzy person on the road… Not pretty.

What are the symptoms, you ask? (I’m assuming, of course, that you asked…)
1. Dizziness: This happens if I stand too quickly, turn my head in a certain way, see flashing lights or flickers, get too hot, am in a crowded space, ride as a passenger, fly in an airplane (as opposed to using my own wings), am in high altitudes, exercise vigorously, have a cold, or sit/stand too high.
2. Ringing in the ears: Mine is intermittent and ranges from a high-pitched squeal to a guttural train sound. I get this more frequently at night or when my ears are full.
3. Hearing loss: This fluctuates and is annoying. Some days, I can hear just fine. Other days are dreadful and I can’t hear a thing. Then there are the days when things are too loud. I carry ear plugs, have a hard time listening to music in the car, can’t sit in noisy restaurants, and have issues with loud voices. BUT – I use the closed captioning on my TV and prefer texting to talking on the phone because I can’t understand the words.
     a. Distortion: This is a byproduct of the hearing loss. To me it sounds like everything comes through a busted speaker. Think Charlie Brown’s teacher buzzing in your ear.

     b. Autophony: Another byproduct. This one is loads of fun. It’s when the sound of my own voice bothers me. OR – even better – when I can hear my heart beat or my breathing sounds extremely loud. This symptom alone has kept me from singing – something I have been doing since childhood.
4. Fullness and pressure in the ears: This is constant for me. I always feel like I need to pop my ears but can’t. This, too, adds to the hearing loss. If I switch sides when sleeping, I can actually hear the fluid dripping from one ear to the other.
5. Migraines: Yep. You guessed it. Headaches are dessert. I get them. Not often. But when I do, I need to sleep.

Two years ago, an audiologist diagnosed me with severe Meniere’s in BOTH ears. I am taking this thing one day at a time. My prayer is that I can share my experiences so that others with this disease know they are not alone, and those who know someone with the disease will begin to understand what it’s like.

The Thursday Three

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So it’s a little late in the day to post my Thursday Three, but I’m a working woman. And I’m doing a Beth Moore Bible study with my friend. God, friends, and work. THEN blog.

This has been a fruitful week for me on the learning front. Interesting things percolate and simmer in the knowledge-sphere, enticing me, tantalizing me, zombifying me. My friend Flea did something very evil. “Really evil. Like so evil, that you would say it was E-VEEL, like it’s the FRU-ETS of the DEV-EEL. E-VEEL.” She told me to Stumble. It’s bad enough that I have Meniere’s Disease and stumble involuntarily, but NOW she expects me to Stumble voluntarily.

Consider this a warning. Creating a StumpleUpon account will evaporate hours in your day like an afternoon sprinkler on a Tulsa summer lawn. I arm myself with a mantra: “Six Stumbles. That’s it.” Two hours later, the mantra cackles at my lack of willpower.

In honor of the Thursday Three, here are three things I learned this week while stumbling:

1. While sitting in my inglenook, praying for petrichor, I listened to the susurrous purr of Squeaks and the ceiling fan. Squeaks is my talisman. Some would say I am just an ailurophile – a crazy one at that – but I know she has brought me luck.

Like my purty words? Visit this site to learn the “100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language”.

2. I stumbled onto another fantastic site. Especially for bibliophiles. It’s called GoodReads. Visit it soon. One of my favorite features is the ability to search for author quotes. I stumbled upon a page of C.S. Lewis quotes.

Here’s the quote: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Think about that. Let it sink in. Now breathe.

3. I love popcorn. It’s a weakness. Microwave popcorn = BAD. Popcorn on the stove in my grandma’s Magnalite pan with REAL butter, sea salt, and lots of napkins = GOOD. Dang. Now I want some. Where was I? Oh yes. Popcorn. Interesting fact: Pilgrims ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving dinner. 


Hmm… Perhaps…

Forget the turkey! Let’s have some popcorn.

Mmmm. Popcorn. And Stumbling.

Of Thievery and Memes

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I stole this meme from my good friend Flea. She, of course, stole it from someone else who I am sure stole it, too.

We are all just a bunch of thieves – the crazy Band of Bloggers. Steal away. You know you wanna!

With this Meme I will ask you 5 question which could be book related or not so we can get to know each other better! The only rule is you can’t use the same answer twice!

1. What new book coming out soon do you plan to buy?
2. What upcoming book are you dying to read?
3. What series is a must read for you?
4. What new author have you found so far in 2011?
5. What little known author are you a fan of?
My answers (via Squeaks, of course!):
1 and 2. I have a slight problem. Books for me are like potato chips for most people. I can’t buy just one. 
For SURE I want Steven JamesThe Queen (pre-sale right now). It’s the 4th book in the Patrick Bowers series and I am hooked. I am always anxiously awaiting Lee Child‘s newest Jack Reacher book, The Affair (also on pre-order). Finally, I will be running to buy Flesh and Bones, the newest Temperance Brennan book in the Kathy Reichs series. Patience isn’t my best virtue either, so pray I make it until August and September…

3. Yikes. Seriously!? Jonathan Kellerman‘s Alex Delaware series, see all three in #1 and 2, John Sandford‘s Lucas Davenport series, that snarky P.I. Isabel Spellman of Lisa Lutz‘s Spellman series, and I really enjoy Harlan Coben‘s Myron Bolitar series. 

4. I have discovered some phenomenal writers in 2011. I loved Nancy Rue‘s The Reluctant Prophet and can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I had the opportunity to meet her and learn from her at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. She is an amazing person and fantastic writer. My good friend Flea also introduced me to some Christian writers: Dee Henderson, Kristen Heitzmann, and Liz Curtis Higgs

5. Little known author? Hmm…Gabriela Mistral. She was a Chilean poet. Diane Wakoski. Phenomenal poet. I also love Chitra Divakaruni. She entices you with her words. Her novels AND poems are excellent. 

Your turn. Steal from me. Put it on your blog or just share the questions with friends. You never know what you will learn.

Meniere’s Monday

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It’s Monday and that means it’s time for an update on the Meniere’s Disease.

Last week proved to be a “good” week. I use the word “good” loosely as my barometer of good has changed since getting the “Severe Meniere’s Disease in BOTH Ears” diagnosis two years ago. Good for me means pressure in the ears, issues with hearing – either I can’t hear or things are too loud, and no dizzy spells.

I woke up last Thursday with my right ear completely closed. I tapped the side of my face and couldn’t even feel my finger. It was an odd sensation. Not quite numbness. A little like being swollen. Friday – after sleeping all night on my left side – the fluid switched to my left ear. Hey – I’m all about balance. No double standards for these ears.

I have a new tool in my Meniere’s-fighting arsenal.

Definitely NOT high fashion but VERY useful in fighting nausea!

I feel a bit like Wonder Woman when I wear them. Only not as cool. Or awesome. But the Sea Bands work. They are cheap, come in a variety of colors (even fun ones for kids), and aid in the suppression of nausea. Initially, I assume they were intended for travelers. Now, however, pregnant women wear them to prevent morning sickness, and cancer patients use them for all the dreadful nausea associated with chemo. Crazy, huh?

They are simple to use, come with a nifty carrying case, and are washable. I highly recommend these for anyone experiencing nausea from any affliction. Now…if I could just find some cool gold cuffs to stop the dizziness (and bullets…mwahahaha), then I could be the Meniere’s Maven. Yes. I like the sound of that.

You inventors out there get crackin’.

Until we meet again. Or I write again. Whichever comes first.