03 August 2015

Ears what's happenin'

It is unfrickinbelievable how a tiny feature can do so much for the whole.  Take for example the Eustachian Tube.  It's that canal that funnels the moisture away from your inner ear, behind your eardrum, extending behind your jaw hinge, and emptying into your throat.  It regulated and equalizes the air pressure so that your eardrum can vibrate and you can hear the things you do.  That's a pretty big damn deal.  If something goes wrong with the Eustachian Tube, like it gets clogged up and can't drain effectively, you might not be able to hear as well; you might get really dizzy because the air pressure has changed.  You might even say that your sense of equilibrium is impacted.  nodding solemnly. 'tis true.

So just how big is that Eustachian Tube?  Well in an average full grown adult, that very important yet simple devise {it's a TUBE} is shorter than the word "eustachion".  The tube itself is about an inch and a half long.

1.4"

28 July 2015

Whiny cry~baby and stabby ice~picks

I have a whole new appreciation for cranky babies with ear infections.  And for the parents who try valiantly to soothe them.  Most ear infections I've had itch, a few drops relieve that and within a day or two, amoxicillian is doing its job and I'm a much happier camper.

But, this current infection is painful.  Yesterday, I felt the pressure mounting in my ear, but no itch.  This morning, when I woke, the pressure in my ear was so great that my hearing's diminished from the ear drum being too taunt to receive sound waves that cause healthy membranes to vibrate.

I cannot close my jaw on my right side, too swollen and tender.  So after my appt in Tupelo this morning, when we returned to Starkville, I asked Jerry to take me to the afterhours clinic.

The pressure had built so much so that it was becoming painful.  The right side of my face was feeling a tad warm.  The tale~tail itch of infection was beginning to make my throat sore.

I talked with the practitioner a bit about exactly what is happening and why.  I pointed out that my right ear has had frequent infections over the past year, with last month's strep throat being the most recent flair up of pressure in my right ear.  The treatment today is the same as the treatment last month.

I'm fantasizing about long slender ice picks piercing my eardrum and providing some much needed relief of pressure.  I know that isn't the answer, but there is a slim chance that it might be.  Right?

23 July 2015

More family doings

This past weekend, my Jerry and I traveled to PA for the Blass Family Reunion, an annual event that is celebrated by various offspring of the seventeen Blass siblings of the early twentieth century.  My maternal grandmother was second oldest, with my great aunt Lena being her older sister.

My grandmother had five children, my mother was the youngest by five years and she was the only girl.  Of those five children, one still lives; Larry is 73 and not in the best of health.  So it was really good to see him for a bit.

One of the original Blass siblings still lives, at age 91, Ethyl is fairly active and gets around quite well.  Flo is the spouse of one of the Blass siblings, she celebrated her 90th birthday this spring.  The reunion was held at what had been her house, now her grandson's.

My Jerry, me, and Chiquita
Blass Family Reunion
PA, July 2015
Although Jerry and I had our TearDrop camper with us, we stayed in the house.  Becky and Allen were so very gracious and welcoming.  Our three lil girls were spoiled and indulged much.  Sophie appointed herself monitor and sounded the alarm when vehicles trundled up the drive, nevermind that she was new and those arriving were not.  Libby had great fun with all the farm animals, she would most likely have been quite content if we "forgot" to load her into the car for the thousand mile return trip.  Even Chiquita got over her trembles and let some children pet her.

There were cousins and their kids and grandkids that made it down from Rochester, NY.  I've not seen them for thirty years or more!  If not for FaceBook, I probably wouldn't have recognized them at all...well, yes, I would have; the boys are Everts, through and through!

It certainly was a trip down memory lane, some folks telling stories of shared memories.  There was food there that I've not had since I left PA twenty years ago.  Wet bottom shoo fly pie was an extra special treat.

I thought lots of mom, often.  Folks talked with me some about her, and also her mom.  My grandmother died of heart disease, at age 64.  Mom died of heart disease as well, at age 67.

Altho I knew these things before, it really was an eye opener to realize how heavy I am, how limited in mobility I've become, how hard it has become to do simple activities, and how out of breath I am ~~ disproportionately so for the amount of effort it should take.

Dum Dums, childhood in a sweet marble of flavor

When I was a child, the banks handed out lollipops in the drive~thru for the children in the car.  Sometimes those were the flat ones in clear cellophane; but usually, they were Dum~Dums.

Dum dums are lil round pops that are just the right size for a child.  Or even an adult who wants a marble sized zap of sugar and flavor.

Root beer was my favorite, altho butterscotch ran a close second.  I think those are two of the oldest flavors, tho there were other original flavors that have also stood the test of time.

I don't remember ever buying a dum~dum.  I never turned in the wrappers for rebates.  But I always inspect the waxed paper, flattening it, as tho this time, I might save it.

Dum dums have been around over sixty years.  Lots of kids have eaten these treats over years and I suspect that a few adults have had more than their fair share too!

I think next time I'm at the bank, I'll ask for one.

14 July 2015

Math Thinking

When I was a first semester college freshman, over 25 yrs ago {shuddup}, I enrolled in college calculus.  I was the ONLY freshman in that class.  And I was one of TWO students in the class of forty who was taking the class for the very first time.  That means that 38 upperclassman in that class had gotten a D or lower, or dropped/withdrawn from the class mid-semester the first time around.  I have many, many stories from that class; and it was one of the two classes that I did repeat in my undergraduate years.  Thankfully, I was able to take it from a different professor the second time around, who realized that not all of us who have to take the class are mathematically inclined.  So he focused lots on the theory behind the formulas and the practical applications, so we were able to understand more of what we were doing and why.

Because I needed to take more mathematical classes in order to fulfill my liberal education requirements, and because I could not take a "lower" math that normally would be taught before calculus {such as algebra or geometry}, I was severely limited on what options were realistically available.  However, I was able to take "math thinking", a course which focused on those very things that I could understand and find interesting.

I loved that class.  In fact, most of the math that I use now comes from my understanding of principles taught in that class, oh so long ago; so that even if I cannot remember formulas, I remember the theory behind them~~and that is really what matters the most anyway.

Which brings me to the picture of dominoes seen here...

In this set of dominoes, we have double blanks on up to double fifteens.  That's sixteen of each type of domino; but there are not 256 tiles {16x16}~because there is only ONE domino that has two pips and eight pips.  So you cannot count that same domino twice, once in the twos and once in the eights; there is only one.  If you count that domino in the twos, then you cannot count it again in the eights.  So that is why I have sixteen dominoes under the row of fifteen pips, fifteen dominoes under the row of fourteen pips, fourteen dominoes under the row of thirteen pips, and so on.

It's like when you learn your times tables.  If you are learning your sixes, you already know what one times six is, two times six, three times six, four times six, five times six...because you learned those when you learned your ones, twos, threes, fours, and fives.  That's why the times table on the back of composition notebooks had an angled diminishing graph that looked like the picture you see here.

So how many dominoes are in a set that includes double fifteens?   136.  {16+15+14+...+1  or plug in the formula that involves something like {{N{N-1}}/2}+N, where N is the number of double dominoes}

Hope that makes sense and that I phrased it all correctly.

13 July 2015

Family doings

My husband's mother turned eighty in March and my husband turned sixty in April; so we'd told all five adult children to save their pennies to get home to Mississippi sometime in 2015 for the Summer Shindig.  We weren't sure when we were going to do it, til a few months ago, earlier this spring; we decided July sounds fine.

Now that Jerry's retired from MSU, it worked nicely to include that as another reason for celebrating.  So we called upon Jerry's youngest son's in~laws and their pig roasting abilities to make this fun food festivity even more fun and festive.  Then, we decided that one pig wouldn't do; nope!  We went the route of two.

PawPaw and Savvy sharing cool treats on a hot day, July 2015
Next thing you know, we were asking these people, those people, this person over here, that person over there, and that person was asking this person and before you know it, we had quite the guest list, potential guests, and gee~we~sure~wish~we~could~buts.  So we'd nailed down a date, but not really a time, because who knows when pigs are done roasting?  The pig roaster, that's who.  And we had to wait til the pig roaster could eye the pigs, and that wasn't going to happen until Thursday, with Saturday being the event.

Til we decided that, yes, we'd still do that...but, let's roast the wild boar on Friday because there was way more than enough people already here already {and by "here", I mean the house, yes, but also in town, because our house only has so many rooms, and so many rooms do fill up when there are five adult kids, and their families, and the other folks and so forth and so on, ya see?}.  So we roasted one pig Friday and one Saturday, and by "we" I mean "not me" {thank you, oh so much, Jesus, Chris, Jerry Wayne, and Jerry}.  Janet and Jennifer cooked black beans and yellow rice.  And I made gallons of sweetened teas {ginger~lemon, apple cinnamon, watermelon, and chai} and veggie salad that makes everyone who tries it goes "soooooo good".  Jerry roasted corn on the cob and sliced up watermelon.

So feasting went on for a couple days.  When Sunday rolled around, most everyone packed up and left, and we took stock.  We all had a blast and am glad that folks came out and enjoyed themselves.  We have a lil of this and a lil of that in the fridge, some black beans in the freezer, but most of the food got eaten, which is good, because that's the purpose of the food.

We have a few more stories, a few good pictures, and a toddler's onesie with pink stars on a white background.  Mostly tho, we've good memories and good friends.  Thanks for helping to make this a great Summer Shindig.


05 July 2015

Good Sleep, good mood, creative goodness

I got some of the best sleep I've had in years this morning.  Not sure why, and that's important, cuz I'd love to replicate the conditions that contributed to the restive sleep, so I can have more and More and MORE.  I'm a sleep slut that way.

Then when I got up, I was chipper.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed.  In a swellagain mood!  No headache, that helped, I'm sure.  No extra body heaviness drag, that was huge, most likely.  But it wasn't just the absence of negative stuff; it was the presence of positive stuff too.

So after I ate my banana and took my meds, finishing up my strep antibiotic today, yea!; I did the sudoku that my husband always sets aside for me on Sunday.  And we were listening to an 80s channel, so I doodled because the first song I really heard was "I aint got noBODY, no BODY, noBODY cares for me".  In my mind, I saw this drunk bum in an oversized suit, sort of shuffling along in a jazz hand sort of way, in time with the song.  So I sketched it out fast.

The next song was Bobby Brown's repetitive drone, I want, I want, I want.  So quickly I did that.  I woman sitting on a chair, in profile, with her arm draped over the back.

That's when I realized I don't get to the point of drawing the head of my lil sketches.

So I made a point on the next one to START with the head.  Duran Duran's "Girls on Film".  In my mind I was seeing very 80s big hair with dangling earrings and such.  Whatcha think?




Still no face.  And obviously my camera skills are way lacking.

I left the room for a few minutes and when I came back, the lyrics "when the bullet hits the bone" were belted and so I drew a leg.  Not sure why.  Don't care for the clownish disproportionate shoe.  But here it is.

But there wasn't much time to reflect on that before that short couple few minutes' worth of song was over and "We Don't Need Another Hero" came on.

My first thought was of the hero~character from yesterday's Twice Upon a Time.  The curlicue hair swirl with the gleaming oversized teeth that sparkled in a huge smile captured the character just right.  But that wasn't what I focused on.

I started with the cape.  Then the arms akimbo, and the leg in a spradle straddled stance.  And of course, the obligatory "S" emblazoned on the chest.

Still no head, but that's ok.  We don't focus on the head of heros.  We tend to focus on their brawn, not their brains.  suuuuuuuuuuuuuper.



30 June 2015

Gifts that keep on giving, or not.

Pretty sure I mentioned it before, but it won't hurt to do so again...

My brain is going to Harvard.  I figure, some part of me should go, and I doubt I'll do so in this lifetime.  So, I've made arrangements for my brain to go to Harvard after I die.

Your brain can go too!  Why?  Well, Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center {Brain Bank} collects and studies the neurobiological differences between "normal" {no neurological, no neuropsychiatric disorders}, individuals with neurological &/or neuropsychiatric disorders, and familial individuals' brains too.   It's the largest repository of brains and brain tissue, used for study for determining what sort of differences there might be between various types of brains, with hopes that the more that we learn about the brain, the more we can help treat various disorders and diseases.

So say you're all enthusiastically supportive and ya wanna do this too.  Here are a few things you might want to know that may help to facilitate the collection process.  First off, be sure this is what you want.  Read up on the material and fill out the forms, send them in, and be sure that you've discussed your wishes with those around you.

Your body and brain becomes the property of your estate upon death.  This usually means that the next of kin becomes the owner of the body, although there are certain state and federal laws you {they} must abide by.  So regardless of YOUR wishes, if your next of kin {or whomever is the executor of your estate} is not hip to them, they might not be carried out.  So be sure to talk with your peeps, dude.

It's a good idea to have all the pertinent info, especially contact numbers, handy.  I've a list that I, my husband, and a few others keep in their wallets.  It has that contact number on it, along with the steps to be taken, along with a list of my current medications.  It's all typed out, clearly.

It's hard enough to deal with a loved one's dying and death, so make it easier on everyone involved by having all the steps right there, within reach to refer to, printed out.  Donation of organs, tissues, bodies, and BRAINS is a time~sensitive issue and must occur within hours of death, in most cases.  In some cases, minutes.  Usually doctors, coroners, and organizations are involved, so take care of as much of what you can, beforehand.

Also, be sure that your estate is NOT responsible for the cost, unless that is a non~issue.  For me, I'd like my body to go to the University of Tennessee's "Body Farm" in Knoxville~~BUT, that's not going to happen, because they have a policy that states that your estate incurs the cost of transportation of your body to their location {unless you died within a hundred miles of their facility}.  There are all sorts of laws regarding interstate body transfer, and it's expensive.  So I'd rather not fuss with that.

Instead, I do have the University Hospital, in Jackson, Mississippi listed as the recipient of my body sans brain.  They prefer whole body donation, however, they can use partials for educational, medical, research purposes.  If my brain isn't harvested by Harvard, then whole body donation is an option for cadaver classes {Gross Anatomy}.

And there are other options as well, such as organ and tissue donation, as well as bone donation.  Or perhaps no donation would be acceptable, depending on circumstances of death.  In which case, cremation is my wish.

Lots to think on, so make plans now, for then.