March 30, 2005

Where There is Smoke There is Barbecue

One thing led to another and we ended up getting around to making dinner kinda late this evening. When I checked the clock it was 11:00 p.m., more or less. We had decided in advance to barbecue hamburgers (free-range Australian beef marinated with Drew's Roasted Garlic and Peppercorn dressing... mmm yummy.) As we live in a five-story apartment building we do our grilling downstairs, usually on the brick planters that flank either side of the main entrance. We've never had a problem with doing that before and, as far as we know, neither have any of the other tenants who have done the same.

We were just getting the grill started and there was good amount of smoke. Out of sheer boredom I was watching the traffic on the hill in front of the building. We can see relatively easily what is down there but it is a little harder for the people driving on the hill to see up where we were. I noted a fire truck passing by. I figured to myself that someone in the condos next door must have died or something like that.

Then, the fire truck came a little ways back down the hill. There were some doors opened on the truck and eventually a fireman climbed out. He shined a flashlight up the hill trying to cast the beam onto us. He must not have been able to see us very well because he changed his position and once more the light danced around us. By this point I was laughing my ass off, all the while trying to push myself neatly out of view. Andrew stood there waving the spatula around calmly as ever.

Then the fireman called up to us, "Hey, are you barbecuing up there?" Andrew walked over to the edge of the hill, where they could see one another better, and replied, "Yes, we are barbecuing." The the fireman hollared back, "I - can't - hear - you!"

Andrew repeated his response and the fireman informed us that, "You need to move your grill at least twenty feet away from the building." Um, ok. Andrew locked the lid on tight, put on the oven mitts, and relocated it to the parking lot, since twenty feet from where we were would have put us mid-way down the hill. (Andrew: Yes, I looked it up. (It's the very last section on the page, titled "8- Location requirements.") No, they were wrong. It's 15 feet. Though they did have the best of intentions.)

After we moved the grill the firetruck made its way back down the hill, leaving us to our two-person tailgate party. So, here we are, grilling behind our Dodge Neon by penlight. I couldn't stop laughing at how incredibly funny the whole scenario was. I think the burgers came out just fine. I've yet to eat anything because I just had to write this entry and preserve this story for posterity. (Andrew: I've eaten, and they came out wonderfully.)

-- CrystalShiloh @ 12:18 AM

March 26, 2005

My Migraine Headaches

I remember having my first migraine when I was just five years old. Of course, I didn't know what to call them back then. I would sometimes get these intense headaches that ended with me throwing up when my brother and I would make the long trek back to our grandfather's house on foot from our elementary school. My mother was convinced that it was heat stroke and so she made me wear a trucker hat to keep the blazing Florida sun off my head. I hated being seen in it and it didn't do me much good. I continued to have migraines all throughout elementary school and junior high.

I happened to have a one of my headaches while I was hanging out over at a friend's house. Her mother asked me what was wrong, I told her, and she said it sounded like I was describing a migraine. I explained that my mother had long told me that it was heat stroke. She considered that for a moment and disagreed. She confided with me that she was also afflicted with this type of headache, too. She taught me how to ease the symptoms by either squeezing the pressure point located deep in the web between the thumb and index finger or running really hot water over it. Doing that helped a little, but throwing up was still the only thing that could make the migraine completely go away. It was enough for me to have a fitting name for my headaches and I relayed the information to my mother who didn't think it was possible for me to be having migraines. She said that she *has* migraines and that there was no way that I could be having them, too. I was so certain that if I could only convince her that she would take me to a doctor and he would in turn, prescribe something to make my migraines go away. That never happened.

For whatever reason, my migraines came with less frequency during the time I was in high school. Sometime after graduation I went through a partiularly stressful period when I was living on my own with two roommates. I had quit my job and didn't have another one lined up. I had a migraine that lasted a full two weeks. I got to a point where I just couldn't take it anymore and I went to a free walk-in clinic that was in close proximity to my apartment. The doctor I saw confirmed that I was and had all along been experiencing migraines and gave me some Imitrex. The drug would only work for me if I took it within twenty minutes after seeing an initial aura. I continued to have migraines intermittently, but I soon ran out of my supply of Imitrex.

For a time I didn't have very many migraines. Then they abruptly started back up in the fall of 2003, my second year at George Mason. I was under tremendous pressure at the time. I was taking 15 credits and it was midterms. One migraine last nearly a whole weekend. I had to do something to get rid of it so I could complete a take-home exam and study for my others. I went to a walk-in clinic where I received an injection of Imitrix. I remember that the doctor was rather upset that I didn't already have a neurologist I could see about this problem. She wrote out prescriptions for a very limited supply of Imitrex, a pill for the accompanying nausea, and an antidepressant (Pamelor, aka Nortriptyline). I couldn't understand why she thought I should be taking an antidepressant. At the time, I did not associate stress as being a precursor for my migraines. The doctor also provided me with the name and number of a neurologist that I was to make an appointment with and obtain prescriptions for further medicine from. I did so, and I have been on Pamelor ever since. I experience stress quite differently now.

The occurance for my migraines has thus been greatly reduced. In the last year and a half I have had just two. Earlier this afternoon I experienced one of them. At the first sign of the impending migraine, I took two Esgic Plus pills and when I failed to see immediate results I used one of my new Imitrex nasal sprays. My doctor had suggested I switch to that form of the medicine at my last check up. He said that I would see faster results with it. I think he was right about that. However, he did not warn me that the medicine would drain down the back of my sinuses and I would get some into my mouth. I can only describe the taste by saying it was similar to what I imagine Tilex as tasting like. Drinking copious amounts of water helped wash it down my throat.

If you think you might be experiencing migraines you don't have to suffer. I wrote this entry to emphasize the importance of seeking the assistance of a trained neurologist.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 04:30 PM

March 02, 2005

Caperucita Roja

The following is my third writing assignment for Spanish. The instructions for this one were using the past tenses, describe a historical event, or narrate the plot of a movie or short story. Please do not write about yourself. I chose to write my own version of "Little Red Riding Hood" where in the end, the wolf regurgitatates both granny and Red. I'm that sure my professor will be somewhat amused. Oh, and I was only supposed to write 50-100 words total - I ended up with 463 because I wanted the additional practice and to complete my story. This is the most that I have ever written in a single paper in Spanish.

Érase una vez una niña llamada Caperucita Roja. Ella siempre atendía a su mamá. Un día, la madre le pidió que llevara una canasta, llena de comida, a su abuela que vivía en el bosque. La vieja estaba enferma por un largo tiempo y sus comidas favoritas aliviaban algo de su sufrimiento. La hija se alegraba de que pudiera dar una mano. Por eso salió para la casa de su abuela. Mientras caminaba por el bosque, un lobo la impidió. El lobo le preguntó “¿Dónde vas?” y Caperucita Roja respondió “Voy a la casa de mi abuela para darle esta canasta.” (Un total de 101 palabras y continuará puramente por la práctica...)

Entonces el lobo le preguntó “¿Dónde está la casa de tu abuela?” y ella le dio la dirección para llegar hasta la casa. El lobo le dijo “Cuídate. Adiós por ahora.” A pesar de su duda que lo viera otra vez, Caperucita Roja le dijo “Adiós por ahora” también y salió otra vez para la casa de su abuela. Mientras tanto, el lobo corría rápidamente para adelantarse a ella. Llegó a la casa antes de ella y golpeó en la puerta. La vieja le preguntó “¿Quién es?” y el lobo respondió “Soy Caperucita Roja, su nieta, y estoy aquí para darte una canasta llena de tus comidas favoritas.” La abuela respondió “Entra, mi amor.” Y así el lobo entró en la casa. Cuando ella lo vio comenzó a gritar. Él la comió entera y escupió su camisón. Después de que se puso el camisón y se acostó en la cama, Caperucita Roja golpeó en la puerta. El lobo le preguntó “¿Quién es?” y la niña respondió “Soy Caperucita Roja, su nieta, y estoy aquí para darte una canasta llena de tus comidas favoritas.” El lobo respondió “Entra, mi amor.” Y así ella entró en la casa. Cuando ella lo reconoció como el lobo no comenzó a gritar sino se mantenía serena y guardaba distancia. El lobo la dijo “Ven más cerca.” La niña cuidadosa dio un paso adelante y le dijo “¡Ah, qué ojos grandes tienes, abuela!” Él respondió “Para verte mejor.” y repitió “Ven más cerca.” La niña dio un paso adelante otra vez y le dijo “¡Ah qué orejas grandes tienes, abuela!” Él respondió “Para oírte mejor.” y repitió “Ven más cerca.” La niña dio un paso adelante otra vez y le dijo “¡Ah, qué nariz grande y larga tienes, abuela!” Él respondió “Para olerte mejor.” y repitió “Ven más cerca.” La niña dio un paso adelante otra vez y le dijo “¡Ah, qué dientes afilados tienes, abuela!” Él respondió “¡Para comerte mejor!” y entonces la comió entera. Desafortunadamente, para el lobo, no había espacio en su estómago para ella y por eso las vomitó a la abuela y su nieta.
Colorín colorado,
este cuento se ha acabado.
(Para su información, este es un total de 361 palabras adicionales.)

-- CrystalShiloh @ 09:07 PM