I’ll take a sleeping pill, please

Yesterday was a mess.



Here is a bunch of two and three hour bits of fitful sleep. (As in full of fits, not as in would-be-fit-as-a-fiddle-if-you-got-one-of-these). Here is a generic ambien induced straight eight hours of maybe-snoring-maybe-muttering-but-I-didn’t-gain-consciousness-so-I-don’t-care.

Having seen the two, I will take B any day.

Stuff happened. As I told Sela, “The how-does-all-this-work is a crazy state of being, isn’t it? I keep getting sideswiped by how not automatic simple things are.” (That was this morning. Not sure that I could have formed that coherent a sentence yesterday).

The nonautomatic-ness of walking and standing takes quite a bit of brain energy. Again, the disconnect between body and head. The muscles are fine. I am not a frail thing. In fact, my mom would probably describe me as “healthy”. This means I could stand to lose a few pounds. (Hi, mom. So glad you are still here to take care of me).

The lack of sleep was enough to take me back several days to really awkward. (I am now throwing in an aside just because there seem to be a lot of parentheticals here).

I was exhausted on the ride back from the grocery store. Wegmans had been a crazy ordeal of sensation. Leaned heavily on the cart for support. Got the pretzel rolls though. (OMG, delicious, and dairy free so they won’t kill my chauffeur/friend). “Why am I like this?”, a frustrated dump.

Cody says, “I dunno, maybe it’s because you had a stroke?”

I keep forgetting. It hasn’t been two weeks even. Probably should chill. Maybe remember that I really am not back. Not really.

creme brulee

Connor requested creme brulee for his birthday dessert.

Crazy simple, really.

Simmer 1 quart of heavy cream plus flavoring (in this case 1 tablespoon vanilla) to just boiling. Turn off and let rest.

In the meantime, whisk 6 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar (I used brown)

Slowly add cream to egg and sugar mixture, stirring all the while.

Divide among ramekins, or in my case a whole bunch of coffee cups set in a water bath that goes half way up the side.

Bake at 325 for an hour

The fun part is after it has waited a bit, place a teaspoon of granulated sugar (or more if you like crackling through a lollipop), and torch it so the sugar melts.

I have had earl grey, ginger, orange, and a variety of other creme brulees. I am sure it’s just a matter of introducing the flavor into the cream. I am going to see about adding cardamom and ginger to the cream and freshly ground cardamom to the granulated sugar – just for Erin Milano…oh and lactade for the both of us. (The hell with lactose intolerance).



brain dump and how I need to sleep

Told my kids (the students that is) that part of the creative process was not to edit. Just put it alll down. It will likely be crap. That’s okay.

woke up at three in the morning, my head buzzing. It does that. Alcohol over a dinner celebrating that I exist was not enough to make me sleep through the night, no matter how delicious mixmaster Tim can make it. It’s Ambien or alcohol. Tonight it’ll be Ambien. I feel the difference. It’s like I backslid.

That buzz…Just a brain dump for later writings…

  • How is your worry my problem
  • on empathy and fail blog and why I don’t go there
  • words come from the left brain, but my right brain keeps wanting to make sound and pictures (see letters on writing by Ogilvy and EB White)
  • HCI is so much more than a mouse, and how important is emotive design
  • all media needs a grounding in its predecessor and digital games are still games, fuck electronics and bits. That I draw on a computer has nothing to do with the quality of what I make. It’s that I draw.
  • am I responsible to teach other people that everything is the small stuff? that physical trauma is not a big deal
  • that depression is no joke and was harder than any of this was
  • the the brain is crazy in a marvelous way

And this was my three am. Oh…and Connor is fourteen. And my children are wonderful young men.

it didn’t happen



Past tense conditional

  • could have
  • should have
  • would have

then there would be a past tense verb.

But what’s weird is that there would be a past tense verb (she whispers, “died”) that never happened.

Conjugation is such an odd thing. That there could even be a past tense for a non-occurrence. Future conditional is also an oddity. Conditional may just be a waste of thought. It is imperfect anyhoo.

a receding blotch

Superstitiously, I look at the fading bruise on my arm. It doesn’t hurt at all. It looks pretty bad.

This is a metaphor for all of it.

After each soporific round, I’m better able to navigate from one end of the room to the other. After each round I look at that bruise and see it diminish just a bit.

When it is gone, I’ll be able to walk again without thinking.

The yellow is gone. The blue isn’t so much. The angry purple is fading. I am sure I am getting better.

in defense of facebook (or why I am not an asshole)

So Jezebel posted “The More Facebook Friends You Have, the Bigger Asshole You Are“. Granted, she quotes a study regarding a small number of college students who happen to show narcissistic tendencies. She clearly hates narcissists. She possibly hates young people. Probably hates facebook. That’s a lot of generous qualifiers to give someone who made a sweeping title that would suggest I am an asshole.

For the record, as of this writing, I have 963 friends. I can honestly say I know them all. They are friends from decades ago; they are former and current students from where I profess; they are members of the deaf community which I served as an interpreter; they are colleagues, peers, people I have met online through social media and games.

May I make a few suggestions?

Facebook is not merely inhabited by the young. Facebook is not merely inhabited by narcissists. That there is no correlation to the number of friends one has to the quality of interaction the friend-haver has. That social media enables behaviors already inherent in individuals and affords the possibility of amplifying some; but also has the benefit of ameliorating others. That teenagers and twenty somethings and thirty somethings and any othersomethings have different concerns. That people of all ages write on occasion. Sometimes people write crap, ie. the post to which I am responding.

That social media – facebook specifically – is not any more inherently good or evil than a telephone or a hammer.

I recently had a very positive experience with facebook and my horde of friends. The very condensed version is this…I went to the hospital with what turned out to be a stroke. I was armed with my smartphone. I posted the happenings on facebook intermittently throughout the day – ostensibly to keep my friends and family informed of what was going on. No matter where my friends lay on that circle (Inner or periphery), the outpouring of love and concern and help to me was tangible evidence of what is otherwise ethereal connectedness. I got words in return. On my end, the posts were an important function of my status. This was real status, as in this-is-what-is-occurring-now. That I had a means of broadcasting that information for whom the information was meaningful was exactly what this tool does best.

I have no pithy end line. Just wanted to counter the demonization of a something that happened to be invaluable to me when I needed it. Excuse me as I give my condolences to a friend who lost his dog. Excuse me as I offer congratulations to someone who graduated ten years ago and is now a proud father across the sea.

Like Food for Pinay

…as opposed to Pinoy …as opposed to “Like Water for Chocolate“…for any of those who don’t get any of these references, nvm.

Clearly, mom is here. Breakfast of tocino and rice. Yesterday was champorado and bacon. In the fridge are containers of adobo, sinigang, and tinola. I’m good for at least a week.

We measure time in meals.

That being said, bite it Matthew Kampschmidt. My cholesterol is 94! You who nay-sayed my pork filled cooking. Despite that love of bacon and pork; despite being filipina; I have been on a Mediterranean diet.

On a side note, walking is taking less effort today. The wizard staff of +10 wisdom to all party members that I got from Steve and was named by Claude has given way to a sweet lighter weight wooden cane from Katie via Tona.

I have an entire post on the sleeping pill prescription, but that is another day. Suffice to say I got more than three hours of continuous sleep, and I didn’t do anything stupid while sleeping. Mom made sure by sleeping at the foot of my bed.


and here is where we get technical


Not just pretty cool.

I might be taking an umbrella to my heart.

So here is the diagnosis…

A Hole in the Heart – Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

When a person has stroke or transient ischemic stroke (TIA) “out of the blue” with no obvious risk factors, doctors often check to see if the event was caused by a “hole” in the heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO)? About 1 in 5 Americans has a PFO. Many don’t know it until a medical condition like a stroke or TIA occurs. PFOs often have no symptoms but they may increase your risk for stroke and TIA. Many PFO-related strokes are called cryptogenic, meaning they have no apparent cause.

The doctor explained that blood does not really care for turbulence. If one were to take a bowl of blood and a whisk, and scrambled it, it would make clots just for giggles…because that’s how blood rolls.

Turns out, if blood squirted across a juncture in the heart through a hole, there may be quite a bit of turbulence. A clot might form, and the next stop after that particular section of heart happens to be the brain.

I have this hole. How big? Dunno. For that I get another echocardiogram, but this time from behind the heart via a camera down the esophagus. Weird, huh? But also kinda fantastic in a Fantastic Voyage way.

If the hole is teeny, then I take aspirin the rest of my life and that takes care of it. If it is a little bigger then teeny I get to have “an umbrella” put in there to seal the hole. It was a pretty cool description and much more apropos than “a balloon”. The echocardiogram/ultrasound lady told me about the above animation when I told her I was an animator. No kidding. It really is lovely. AND CLEAR.

If I get the umbrella, it’s an outpatient procedure. I go in, they insert the thing via a wire through a vein. I think I will buy myself a tropical dress for the occasion.

conversation with the Bootzer

Evan Mast by Elaine Oyzon-Mast

“Tita Weez? How come you go to the right?”

“Evan? Is that you?…I had a problem in my brain and it made me go right. But I can go straight now. And left. I can go left and right.”

“Can you go up and down?”

“That’s actually kinda hard. But I can go left and right and up and down.”


Then he hangs up the phone.