Exploding Head Syndrome: Not the One Caused by Listening to Ted Cruz

Thurber_1932_01_30_0079499-1200                      “All right, have it your way—you heard a seal bark!”      

So, a few times in the last week I’ve been suddenly awakened from my peaceful slumber by what feels like a bomb going off in my head.

Hmm, no, that’s not entirely correct.  I should say it feels more like someone whupped me upside the head with a foam swimming pool noodle.  It didn’t hurt, but it sure got my attention in a hurry.

The first time it happened, I sat up and looked around, fully expecting to see some intruder in my boudoir.


The second time, I thought maybe my cat had jumped up on the bed and accidentally landed on my head.  He’s quite large and has a penchant for walking around the back of my pillow while stepping on my hair.


He was snoring away at the foot of the bed and I don’t think he could be faking that.  If he was, he’s pretty good at it.

It happened for a third time last night and my main reaction was “Okay, this is getting ridiculous.”  A quick search on Google for “the sensation of getting hit in the head while sleeping” turned up the very scientific term:  “Exploding Head Syndrome.”

Here’s a brief (very) description:

This creatively-named disorder occurs during the onset of deep sleep, when the person is suddenly startled awake by a sharp, loud noise. These noises range from cymbals crashing to explosives going off. To the person hearing them, the explosions seem to originate either from right next to the person’s head or inside the skull itself. There’s no pain involved, and no danger, either. Doctors don’t know what causes exploding head syndrome, but they do know that it isn’t associated with any serious illness.

Alrighty then.

At least we know there is no serious illness involved beyond erroneously perceiving the discharge of explosives in the vicinity of one’s auditory appendage.  Can’t be anything odd or anxiety-inducing about that, now can there?

There are a lot of posts on medical and pseudo-medical websites by people who are freaked out by this condition.  I found that some share some other auditory sleep occurrences that, now that I look back, I also have experienced during deep sleep or the time just before nodding off:  hearing my name called, hearing the doorbell or phone ring when none of those things actually happened.

I have noticed, though, that each time it occurred I was lying on my left side with my still somewhat plugged up right ear exposed.  If you recall, I’d had a galloping case of otitis media back in December, from which I’m still slowly crawling my way back to recovery.

My right ear seems to be the slacker of the two right now.

There is some thought on the Exploding Head websites that sudden changes in the middle ear might be linked to this phenomenon.

Otitis media—the gift that keeps on giving.

But why is my cat smirking?


Kelso is “Pet of the Week” for the Humane Society of the U.S.!

My little Chihuahua, Kelso, is having his fifteen minutes of fame after his photo was chosen as the “Pet of the Week” on the Humane Society of the United States’ website!

I had submitted his photo a couple of weeks ago and kind of forgot about it, but here he was in my inbox with the Humane Society’s weekly newsletter. The photo was taken at our local park, which he adores.  He has sniffed, peed and pooped his way through every square inch of the place—loving it all the way.

We adopted Kelso from our local SPCA shelter two years ago.  There’s just something about a Chihuahua!

Below is his “selfie” which I submitted to the weekly contest.

Click HERE to see the actual page on their website.

Now I suppose the next logical step is a reality TV show:  “Keeping Up with Kelso.”  At least I don’t have to worry about him making a sex tape.  He’s been neutered.



And You Thought Latin Was a Dead Language

mani pedi

I saw this cartoon on The New Yorker website today and had to laugh because I knew my high school Latin teacher, Mrs. Maruxa Cargill, would have appreciated it.  Our Latin II class was very small, maybe 10 students.  I adored Mrs. Cargill, a petite, classy intellectual originally from Argentina, who taught Spanish as well as Latin.  To bring the language alive for her students, every year she organized a Latin Banquet where we all dressed in togas, competed in games, and ate a lot of pizza.  Often in her classroom I was chosen to read aloud from “Winnie the Pooh” in English while she followed with the Latin version from her book “Winnie ille Pu.”  Fun times.

So it wasn’t too much of a reach (for me anyway) to connect this continuance of the famous phrase “veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) to another one—“rock, paper, scissors.”  And, of course, we come to the episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where Sheldon adds to it in the form of—“rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.”

And here it is:


Kiss Me, I’m 18% Irish!

Several months ago, I popped for a DNA ethnicity test kit from Ancestry.com.  Because I’m basically a cheap person, not trashy cheap, but fiscally, I waited until the cost had gone below $100 to do it.  I think it was money well-spent.  I thought I knew where many of my ancestors had come from, but it still was a bit of a surprise when I got the results.

It turns out I’m quite the mish-mash of “European-ness.”

25% Western Europe—which mainly translates into France, a whole lotta Dutch, and Germany.

21% Finnish/Western Russia—this was a shock because my maternal great-grandparents emigrated from Norway.  I did some research and found that, ethnically anyway, they were related to Finns who had migrated across Sweden because of their “slash and burn” agricultural style, finally coming to rest in the Hedmark region of Norway near the Swedish border in the early 1600’s.  Could have knocked me over with a feather.

18% Irish—I’m still researching this one.  I’ve found a few ancestors from Ireland, but the jury is still out.

12% Great Britain—This includes ancestors from Wales and a few from Scotland.

12% Scandinavia—A lot of people who have British DNA also have some from Scandinavia.  It appears that the plundering Vikings also liked to settle down and start families after a long day of rampaging and pillaging.

10% Iberian Peninsula—This is the real head-scratcher.  This area could also incorporate parts of France, besides just Spain and Portugal, so that would make sense in my genealogical paper trail.  At any rate, I say “Olé!”

And then there are trace amounts (1%) each of Eastern Europe and Italy/Greece.


This whole thing re-energized me in my ancestor research and resulted in finding out I had many Dutch ancestors who were the first settlers of New Amsterdam, which is now New York City.  There even was an on-going lawsuit for years by descendants of one of those families (of Anneke Jans) who claimed they were the true owners of Manhattan and wanted restitution for what was rightfully theirs.  The judges in the case said there were too many people involved (millions of descendants) to render any kind of do-able compensation and the matter was dropped.

Gee, I had my heart set on moving into The Plaza.




Ladybug Haiku


I was at the park yesterday, walking my little long-haired Chihuahua, Kelso, when I spied this ladybug.  It had found shelter in a crevice in a stone block that makes up part of the wall surrounding the park.  For our part of Texas, we’ve had a pretty cold winter (yeah, I hear you folks in the Northeast laughing) and some insects, like the ladybugs, will seek out any little spot they can find to help them over-winter until warmer weather comes along.

I thought she looked so snug that she deserved her own Haiku to commemorate her determination.

Ladybug holds tight

Winter shakes her head and laughs

Spring waits patiently.


Clap and Trade

From The Daily Kos (written by Bill from Portland, Maine):

An Open Letter from Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) 


Dear Americans,

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I’m proud to submit my long-term plan for dealing with one of the most pressing issues of our time: what to do about the environment. As a leader in the modern-day conservative movement, I realize the precious responsibility I have to take bold, decisive action. To that end, I have developed a solution that brings me great joy and satisfaction.

It’s called Clap and Trade, and it’s a simple two-part policy.

Step 1: Clap Everybody who is concerned about the environment should take five minutes a week to clap. Clap loudly. Clap forcefully. Clap until you feel the palms of your hands sting. You can clap in public or in private. You can clap alone or with others. Just clap your heart out once a week and all the so-called global warming will disappear, I’m told.

Step 2: Trade Here’s how it works. We trade wind turbines for fracking stations. We trade solar arrays for drilling rigs in national parks and along the coasts. We trade emissions standards for no emissions standards. We trade vegetables for cows. We trade the EPA headquarters for a popsicle stand. (Popsicles are cold, so that should be comforting to you worrywarts.) We trade electric cars for good old-fashioned gas guzzlers. And we trade train tracks for above-ground pipelines. The list is longer, but that’s the gist. We’ll also trade lots of things for coal.

As you can see, Clap and Trade is a simple, straightforward, effective solution that will put America back on the path to the kind of environment we deserve. Namely, the kind humanity can suck the life out of for money and leave the cleanup to the kids.

Happy snowball tossing and God Bless,


P.S. Don’t forget that clapping thing. Seriously. They tell me it works.