What to Expect This Week

From The Daily Kos:

Wednesday Commander-in-Chief Obama announces T-minus one week and counting until Operation Jade Helm 15, his plan to invade Texas and make it our 51st state. But it’s a secret so don’t tell anybody in Texas.

Alcoa releases its latest earnings report. As usual, their most reliable area of growth is the tinfoil hat sector.



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?


Always the Bridesmaid…

Well, I didn’t win the New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest….again.  But I do want to thank all the folks who took the time to vote for me.  Muchisimas gracias to all.  If the third time comes around, maybe it will be the charm.  Now I’m going to go and softly bang my head against the wall…

LOLcat Pic 23-1


Dogs Have Masters, Cats Have Staff

From the “Things We’ve Always Known But Refused To Believe” files:

Excerpt from New York Magazine:

“A new study from the University of Tokyo found that when researchers played voice recordings of a cat’s name being called by its owner, the feline subject displayed recognition, i.e., reacting to the familiar voice by “moving their heads and ears to locate the sound,” but then remained totally unresponsive — they didn’t meow or move toward the voice or anything. They just sat there, withholding love.

The study, published in the journal of Animal Cognition, reasons that cats haven’t been domesticated to respond to human command. But we know the heartbreaking truth: Love your cat, love it well, but never expect it to really care about you unless you put it on one of those weird harness leashes and force it to be more like a dog.”





More Pfun…

I went to the park again yesterday after my yoga class and communed with the black kitty that hangs out there by the grape arbor.  I gave her some cheese from my Subway veggie delite sandwich and I think she’s my friend for life now.

Here are a couple of photos I took using the Paper Artist app again.  One is the chameleon-like lizard called an Anole that was putting on a territorial display on one of the posts that supports the arbor.  He was puffing out his dewlap on the front of his neck and performing push-ups.  Or…maybe he was courting me.

It could happen…

Park1 (2)

Park2 (2)


Park3 (2)



Farewell to My Muse

A little over ten days ago, my beautiful Himalayan cat, Neferkitty, suddenly became ill in the evening and died by the early morning hours of the following day.

She had shown no signs of an impending illness.  Always a quirky cat, she would pick a different spot to sleep every few days; sometimes behind my computer screen, or under the bed, or wherever suited her fancy of the moment.

So when she started sleeping on the tile floor behind my bathroom door, I didn’t think much of it.

But when I saw her wobbling, unable to keep her hind legs underneath her, I knew she was in trouble.  Of course, the vet’s office had been closed for hours, so I could only pray she would hold on until morning.  But as the night wore on, I knew that wouldn’t happen.

I spent the hours from 11:00 until 2:15 lying next to her on my bed, petting her and telling her how beautiful she was and how much I loved her.  Then, she took her last breath.  I listened to her chest as her heart slowed down, became erratic and finally was stilled.

I had never known a more affectionate cat.  Some would say demanding.  You could pet her all day until her hide became raw and that wouldn’t be enough attention.

Neferkitty epitomized feline beauty too, which, I’m convinced, was her undoing.  Himalayan and Persian cats have been bred and inbred to create their particular characteristics, such as the flat face and shortened nose.

But they also have a tendency for genetic conditions like cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure.  My guess?  That’s what finally caught up with her at the age of approximately ten years.  I don’t know for sure.  All I know is, I felt bereft.

We still had Culvey, our other inside cat whom we had rescued from a culvert in the road at the age of six months.  Our old Toy Fox Terrier, Spunky, had shuffled up them Golden Stairs back in January at the age of sixteen.

Culvey is a great cat, but not uber-affectionate and I really missed that.  After about a week of living with the huge void left by Neferkitty’s passing, I decided maybe I should go to our local SPCA (a no-kill shelter) and check out their cats.

I went back a couple of times and, although I spent time with some very deserving kitties, none of them struck the chord in my heart Neferkitty did.

After Spunky died, my husband and I both said “No more dogs!” because we’d certainly had our share over 36 years of marriage.  Almost all of them either came from shelters or had been dumped off on our property, taken in by us, and given a loving home.  We always said there must be an invisible sign outside our place saying:  “Suckers for Dogs Live Here.”

But, cats are much easier to take care of, what with their independent nature (not to mention their litter box skills.)

Culvey had been visibly depressed with both of his housemates now gone, and I think he secretly enjoyed having Spunky around to watch and stalk.  So, I thought “Hmm, maybe another Chihuahua…”   I never imagined I’d own one of those bug-eyed critters, but we’ve had three of them.  They’re just personality kids, with a capital “P.”

Enter Kelso.

When I saw him at the shelter, all the other little dogs showed off by leaping and barking, but Kelso, a blonde long-haired Chihuahua,  just rolled over in his doggie bed and offered up his belly for a rub.

He had me at “Herroh.”

I still get teary-eyed when I think about all the love Neferkitty gave me and how much I miss her beautiful self, but I know Kelso needs me as much as I need him.

And the void has become a little less deep.

One of many artist trading cards Neferkitty inspired.

Kelso on his first day home.