Category Archives: Informational


So over the last few months, I’ve been fighting off a recurring problem which I think impacts a large number of people. Some of you may have experienced this issue both at work and at home. At work, it is less frequent, but often makes people stop, look around, and wonder. At home at least you are in the privacy of your own home. I am of course talking about dieresis.

Dieresis is a problem that affects, on average, 873 million people per day…mostly Europeans. For those of us who are not European, and may be slightly concerned, I offer a translation. Dieresis is an umlaut. An umlaut you say? But I dreamed about one of those just last night! Those two precious little dots that appear above some but not all of the vowels in our language, causing a tightening of the mouth…a puckering if you will…to achieve perfect pronunciation.

Some of you possibly have lives and don’t dream about umlauts. Instead you may have day dreams of degree signs, affirmations of acutes, tirades about tildes, or dialogues about diphthongs. Some of you, a very small special some of you, may even be having an affair with a cedilla. But no matter which of these marvelous characters you ponder, they all serve the amazing purpose of turning words and sounds into the language that we speak every day. (Ponder that one for a moment.)

Most of us are pretty familiar with “special characters”. I’m not referring to Tinky Winky, or Binky Banky, or Plinky Plonky, or whatever the h*ll those creatures are called. I’m referring to those marvelous symbols that were not originally included in the 26 letter English alphabet. Perhaps you are familiar with the ampersand &, the at @, the pound # (or £ if you’re Region-2), the splat *, and the bang !. Those special characters do nothing to change the way a word sounds, but often represent words of their own (mostly because we are too lazy as a species to write “and” or “at” so someone developed the & and @). But having a language means that it must be adaptable. New words must be created on a regular basis to keep the discussions flowing. But how are we to create new words with only the 26 letters available to us?

There comes the true value and impact of the diacritical marks. Not only are the diacritical marks “special characters”, but they are “diacritical special characters”, DSC for short. DSC have allowed us to extend and expand the language to include words that may never have appeared. DSC allow us to change the pronunciation of a word, without changing the composite letters. DSC allow us to truly sound more pompous and pretentious than we ever could have been, unless we had been born in Europe. (*snaps to my European friends who sign away most of their rights once they become my friends*)

Many years ago while on a trip to Oregon I had a lovely dinner and social event with a group of work folks. I had traveled north to attend a leadership development class, and on the journey felt as though I should go amongst my people and drink. After a lovely dinner, the remaining group made our way to the local Chevy’s for margaritas. Chevy’s, being an authentic Spanish restaurant, offered us the opportunity to interact with people who speak somewhat differently than we do, and who natively make use of DSC in every-day language. I am of course talking about our friends in the south, our Spanish-Mexican-Or-Other-Spanish-Speaking-Country-Americans.

One such native speaker was our waitress/attendant/server/provider/food service professional. Her name, Consuèlla Maria Conchita Aloña Rodriguez Turner. I knew that this was a person I could ask a question that I had been waiting all my life to ask.

What on earth is a cedilla?

For those of you just joining us: Ç. It’s basically the letter C with a little curvy tail. Almost as though a comma and a C just got a little too close one night after several top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt. Honey, if I had a comma shoved in me, I’d pronounce things differently too. (sorry, I just channeled Queen Latìfa for a moment)

Much to my chagrin, CMCART had never heard of the cedilla. I don’t know whether it is because I pronounced it “seh-DEE-uh” or whether she was from an area that simply did not have this DSC as part of their dialect, but none the less, my question remained unanswered. [note: I later discovered that the cedilla is NOT part of the Spanish dialect at all, therefore, I was totally off-base in asking CMCART]

So what to do with all of these special characters? Well, once you’ve had a few TSMotRnS (top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt – honestly, if you would keep up with me I wouldn’t have to explain these things), the natural inclination is to start using DSC to make fun of people. And that we did. Thankfully, there were so few people sitting near us, we thought it easier to just make fun of ourselves by giving everyone their own special accented name.

I won’t go into the full detail of our naming scheme, but suffice it to say we made sure that everyone had at least one special character. To illustrate our most precious name, I will introduce Monte.

Now in the original form this would be pronounced: Mahn-tee, with the accent on the first syllable. Obviously, this name needed some special characters, and with so many at our disposal here’s what we came up with… Möñté. Three special characters (o-umlaut, n-yay, and the l’accent acute), all in the same name…transforming Mahn-tee into Moon-Yehn-Tay. As you can clearly see, inclusion of special characters transformed this normally boring and bland name into something posh, debonair, and ear-catching. Imagine the looks you would get yelling across the cafe…”Moon-Yehn-Tay…over here!!” (So much better than Mahn-tee…don’t you agree? *snaps to Monte for his willingness to be temporarily portrayed as a boring/bland-named individual, because he’s not boring or bland at all*)

Alas, not everyone can have such a special name like Möñté. Most of you will go through life with mundane-as-molasses-Martin’s, bland-as-butter-Bonnie’s or routine-as-rain-Rhonda’s. But just think of the possibilities for your career, or your life, if you could be Mare-TEEN-yah, BOON-yeee, or Ro-HOON-day. Great Las Vegas Showgirl names…

This calls for Steak!

There’s really not much better than a good steak cooked to medium rare on the grill. Especially when paired with some pretty excellent veggies on the side. Here’s a recipe idea for your weekend BBQ…

First, get your steaks ready
First, get your steaks ready

First up – let’s get those steaks ready. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing salt and pepper and leaving the rest to the grill. Put on a nice shower of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and then rub it into the meat. Let that sit for about 15 minutes while you start working on the rest of the meal.

IMG_20140904_183719Up next – throw some green on the grill at the same time as the meat. I prefer asparagus because it grills so nicely and maintains a solid texture. All you need is a ziplock bag with a couple tablespoons of olive oil + salt and pepper.

And now on to the veggie stir fry…

Veggie Stir Fry in Cast Iron
Veggie Stir Fry in Cast Iron

I’m a big fan of using a large cast iron pan to get those veggies super awesome.

Start with your favourite oil (I used a blend of avocado oil and olive oil) and get it really hot. In goes the veggie mix. For this dinner I used: red potatoes, onion, orange/yellow/red peppers, bok choy, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and sage. (later we’ll add some yellow curry guacamole to the mix – but this is optional based on your preferences)

Get that goodness all cooked up so it looks like this…

IMG_20140904_185728The potatoes should be tender – test them with a fork to make sure they are done. This mixture is perfect as-is, but if you want an extra creamy dish, mix up a batch of guacamole using whatever recipe you prefer, then blend it with 1T yellow curry or more to taste. Mix that into the stir fry and this becomes the “bed” of your plate.

Now let’s put it all together!

IMG_20140904_190722Underneath pile your veggie stir fry, then layer on the grilled asparagus and the wonderfully grilled steak.

If you’re going to pair this with wine – I recommend a nice Argentine Malbec or a big bold Cab. Bon appetite!



Easy and Delicious Labour Day Burgers

A Delicious Labourger
A Delicious Labourger

Are you looking for an easy and delicious burger to celebrate Labour Day (or any other holiday, or any other weekend, or any other other day)? Well here it is – the Labourger. Quick, simple, and yummy (and it’s gluten-free)!

Here’s what you need…

  • 1lb ground beef
  • Salt / Pepper
  • 1t Fresh dill
  • 1T Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1T Lemon Juice (from half a lemon)
  • 3 strips of Applewood smoked bacon, cut in half
  • 6 large mushrooms
  • vegetable-based non-soy oil (avocado, olive, canola, etc.)

Here’s what you do…

  1. Cut three strips of bacon in half and get them nice and crispy in a frying pan. Do not drain off the bacon fat. Set cooked bacon aside.
  2. Clean and slice mushrooms and saute in a small pan with 1T avocado oil / olive oil / your preferred oil. Half-way through add a splash (2T) of the bacon fat and finish the saute. Drain completely and put mushrooms in a small bowl.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, salt, pepper, 1T yellow curry powder, 1t minced fresh dill (option: use fennel instead of dill). Mix well and form into patties (this can make up to four nice sized burgers). Throw these on your outdoor grill until cooked to medium. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Slice 1 large tomato in thick slices. Layer on a small plate.
  5. Smash 1 large avocado into a small bowl. Add salt / pepper / lemon juice. If your avocado is not completely ripe, add to a food processor with some avocado oil and blend quickly but keep a chunky texture.
  6. Put everything on the table and stack as pictured. Burger, avocado, tomato, bacon, mushrooms. Optional: add a few pieces of lettuce underneath the burger.

Enjoy your delicious gluten-free Labourger, and don’t forget to pair it with a crisp white summer wine. I recommend my favourite white wine, Barton & Guestier’s Vouvray.

Misadventures at the 2014 CA State Fair

2014 was my eighth consecutive year going to the fair (based on my photo archives), and the downhill trend unfortunately continues. I had really high hopes for this year, but when even the hot tub section has phoned it in, you know you’re in for a doozy.

Starting outside the main gate at 10am, we were greeted by a “Jesus Saves” booth and a man wearing a hard hat yelling at us about Jesus, and that people were going to hell. Seriously. I’m all for free speech, but I don’t expect to be screamed at upon arriving at the State Fair for a day of fun. I won’t share any pictures of this guy who was not representative of anything good, gracious, or kind.

Entrance to the Midway
Entrance to the Midway

Entering the fair we were met with the expected vista. The midway to the right (please let it be good this year), the irritating “stand here and let me take your picture” people, and the two golden bears that served as portals to the muscle car display.

Golden Fair Bears
Golden Fair Bears

The booth to get our unlimited ride wristbands wasn’t open yet, so we ventured off to the main exhibit building to see the arts, crafts, and otherwise. Below us, the water area was dammed off on one side and dry on the other side – not sure why there was water in it at all since we’re in a drought. But back to the exhibit building – This is generally one of the areas I enjoy the most, especially the fun and engaging kids art room.

Intel Folsom, in Lego
Intel Folsom, in Lego

So much creativity in this space, from textile arts to sculpture to photography to watercolour to an incredibly detailed lego sculpture of the Intel Folsom campus.

I was especially entertained by the little armed security LEGO man out front of FM3…especially since one of my closest friends is the site security manager, and she doesn’t carry a gun :-).

Kids ArtThere were a lot of fun things to look at in the kids art exhibit, including this masterpiece of delight. I’m always impressed with what young people can do – and glad that there continue to be arts programs both in school and outside of school that promote this type of creativity.

Next building over we found a kids relaxation zone. There was really nothing here except some seating areas, and a little kids theatre where I assume they put on shows during the day so that parents could have a break from their rambunctious kids.

The Tin ManThe most interesting part of this room was the tin man (that you couldn’t even take your picture with because he was blocked off).

Moving on…the bird, rabbit, guinea pig building. Half of what it used to be. There was an entire section of empty cages this year – we joked that it was the invisible rabbit exhibit. But we didn’t laugh. It was sad.

Ooooh Girl
Ooooh Girl

Moving on we were met with some very creative industrial designs – ranging from wood picnic tables to some pretty fabulous fabulousness.

At this point, seeing a Vulcan mannequin with flared wrists was the highlight of the fair.

On to the next building.

Sugar Rush! Candy Crush! Wonka! Gobstopper! Gumball! Fireball! Jelly Bean! Jawbreaker!

Candy Mountain
Candy Mountain

Any guesses? Yep it was the candy pavilion, filled with retro gumball machines, Willy Wonka Golden Tickets, Jelly Bean artwork, and a store where you could buy all manner of sugary treats to keep your kids going for the rest of the day.

Retro Gumball Machines
Retro Gumball Machines
Starry Jelly Bean Night
Starry Jelly Bean Night

So many wonderful delights to see in this room, but alas, the smell of sugar was getting me jittery and it was time to move on to the fine arts.

Fine Art SculptureThis is one of the exhibits I most look forward to every year – because many of the names are recognizable from the KVIE Art Auction. The collection on display this year was sad – not because of the art, but because it was half of what it used to be. There was grand art in here – beautiful paintings, sculptures, and photography – but I’m used to a room FULL of art, and this had entirely too much white space.

I don’t know if fewer artists submitted works this year, or fewer were curated in, but we were in and out of the room in half the time it usually takes. Really disappointing.

Fabulous Textiles
Fabulous Textiles

We rounded out our visit to the exhibition center with a trip through the textile art, which you can see was just full of fabulousness (as it always is). Ladies in their quilting circles were busy at work at new creations – and it’s always a joy watching them hard at work on a beautiful quilt.

Leaving the exhibition center we made our way back to the midway to get our ride wristbands. The attendant at the booth neither spoke or looked at me the entire time, even when I said “Hello” and “Thank You!” – I guess she couldn’t be bothered to stop staring at her cell phone. As a result, she smeared a red stamp all over my wrist – I looked like a stuck pig (and by the way I saw zero pigs this year, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

Next we made our way to the counties exhibits. I was shocked to see the display at the entrance, which I will now present in a series of increasingly sad photographs.

Welcome to Sacramento
Welcome to Sacramento
Where our plants have no water
Where our plants have no water

And our picnic tables are torn apart, with dead centerpieces

And our picnic tables are torn apart, with dead centerpieces

Shocking display. I can’t believe that a ripped up table cloth was ever put into the display, and that someone wasn’t at least giving these plants water. If there’s enough water to have the big fountain running outside, there’s enough water to make sure your Sacramento display isn’t DEAD.

The Farm
The Farm

Moving outside we stopped by The Farm. Generally there’s a lot going on here including newly birthed pigs, tons of livestock for kids to enjoy, thousands of fish in tanks, and a massive plant display. This year, not so much.

Kid's Tractor Pull
Kid’s Tractor Pull

Not only was the flower display half of what it used to be, we saw no livestock exhibits, and the kids area was completely empty with no sign of attention.

Spud Ranch
Spud Ranch

Back we went to the front of the fair to see what sort of food offerings we might enjoy. We browsed an assortment of potato dishes, and quickly passed by anything deep fried (which was 90% of the food court).

Rap Battle
Rap Battle

A loud and completely unorganized rap battle was on the stage – judging by the looks on the faces in the crowd, no one understood what was going on.

We grabbed some lunch (bbq sandwich / polish sausage) and made our way to the midway, hoping that this year perhaps the facilities would be in better condition and actually functional.

I have to say I was impressed that the funhouses this year actually had power. The floor discs turned, the air blowers blew, the slides slid, and the barrels rolled. Compared to last year a marked improvement in the quality of the rides – not the volume, but the quality.

The Big Coaster
The Big Coaster

I will give special mention to the big coaster at the fair – which in the past has required special tickets to ride, but this year accepted the unlimited ride wristband. We rode, we screamed, we smiled.

Bear with Salmon
Bear with Salmon

Next we saw the much talked about, and much photographed and shared on social media, wooden bear with fish sculpture. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions here. Personally I’m impressed that this artisan can see the sculpture inside the wood and carve it out. Very talented, especially with a chainsaw.

Finally, we made our way to the livestock building – filled with goats and cattle. I was disappointed not to see any baby pigs again this year. It’s a highlight to see the baby pigs and then go have BBQ.

Alas, some beautiful goats in this building, including these that reminded me of the aliens from Star Wars who live on Kamino. There’s a family resemblance here.

Kamino Goat
Kamino Goat
Kamino Alien (image from the movie)
Kamino Alien (image from the movie)
Happy Cow
Happy Cow

The cows were massive, and absolutely adorable as they licked their own noses and generally stood around pooping.

Note: I bring up the subject of poop because there was a scat display in one of the buildings, featuring poop from a variety of woodland and farm animals. Great educational opportunity for your kids.

Shaving a Cow
Shaving a Cow

And then it was time to leave. The final picture I took was of a cow being shaved – because I thought the skin colour was really striking, and because it was fun watching it react to being shaved. I don’t know if it’s normal to see the rib cage like that, but none of these animals looked malnourished. I was more worried that farm boy was going to get a swift kick.

And with that the adventure was over…or was it?

We headed off to the main gate to leave, and guess who was still there yelling at people and telling them they were going to hell? Yep, Mr. Jesus Saves with his hard hat was having a very loud argument with a Muslim. Apparently he didn’t understand that “As-salamu alaykum” means “Peace be with you” and he thought the poor guy was a godless terrorist.

We stood there for a few minutes watching more people walk buy and join the yelling match, until we just had to get away from it all. Not a great way to start our day at the fair, or end it.

All in all, another sad offering. I had such high hopes that things were turning around for the better, but alas, this may be my last trip to the fair for a while.

Let’s Eat Hair

A hairball weighing 1kg (2lb) was found in the stomach of an Argentine girl who cannot stop eating her hair.
A hairball weighing 1kg (2lb) was found in the stomach of an Argentine girl who cannot stop eating her hair.

This girl likes her hair.

She likes it so much that she eats it.

That’s right. She eats her hair, and not just a little bit, a LOTTA bit. Like 2lb’s of it.

Apparently this is a REAL disease, as opposed to one of those silly made-up ones. This one is called trichophagia. And yes – it’s the compulsive eating of hair.

This one is really hard to wrap my head around. Literally. I don’t have enough hair to even reach it with my mouth…that’s the benefit of having short hair – I can’t have trichophagia in the classic sense.

Now, I suppose I could cut my hair off and then eat it, but what’s the fun of eating hair that’s no longer attached to your head? I mean, if you can’t put it into a ponytail and then suck on it in your mouth, why bother eating it. Once you cut the hair off it’s not part of your body anymore – it would be like clipping your nails and THEN eating them, vs. chewing them off directly into your mouth. Who does that?

Nobody does that.

Incidentally, if you eat your own fingernails it’s considered self-cannibalism, but if you eat your own hair it’s trichophagia. I guess hair eating is so exclusive that it gets its very own disorder named after it. I like that. It feels like something I’d want because it’s exclusive. Who doesn’t want to be exclusive and unique, just like everyone else?

Anyway – these are the things that are important today. There is no other news to speak of – so enjoy the hair eating. You’re welcome.

Beware the Hemicrania

I get headaches all the time. Not those little baby headaches that lazy people get so they can call in sick or leave early because they don’t like the project they are on and can just as easily browse the web from home as they can from work. I’m talking about the king of headaches. The Alpha and Omega of headaches. The great, I AM headache. I am of course speaking of the migraine.

The Book of Webster defines migraine as:
Main Entry: mi•graine
Pronunciation: ‘mI-“grAn, British often ‘mE-
Function: noun
Etymology: French, modification of Late Latin hemicrania pain in one side of the head, from Greek hEmikrania, from hEmi- hemi- + kranion cranium
Date: 15th century
1 : a condition marked by recurrent severe headache often with nausea and vomiting
2 : an episode or attack of migraine
– mi•grain•ous /-“grA-n&s/ adjective

I, however, define a migraine as: shoot me up with crystal meth, throw me to the ground, stomp on my neck with stiletto pumps (which look great when worn with a bathing suit because they help slenderize your hips *snaps to Ellen*), while Metallica plays through seven Infinity speakers attached to my ears (one extra on the left side), and a two year old boy digs out both of my eyes using a rusted fork, while a Shetland pony is kicking my ass, kind of headache.

In days of Olde when Knights were bold if a limb hurt bad enough, say a left arm that became gangrenous, you just cut it off, sewed up the hole, and went on living. Such a method would be a bit life-prohibitive in dealing with a migraine. Clearly we see that the most evident solution to a problem may not always be the most effective.

I know someone who says that she has migraines every day. She loves to pretend she has a migraine just so she doesn’t have to go to work. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the land of make believe, I like to pretend something good. Like that I’m wearing a huge black cape with tall black boots, and a sassy black top hat, and I’m in New Orleans in the middle of an Anne Rice novel. I’m the vampire Jejune, consort to Lestat and Louis, leader of a vast empire of vampires, feeding on all the insanely boring and tasteless people of the world.

Unfortunately, some people like to pretend bad things, so that others will feel sympathy for them, bake cakes for them, send flowers to them, or let them go home early. I, however, am not a pretender when it comes to migraines. I can’t even imagine how someone could pretend to be exploding and imploding at the same time (if they can they should be in Cirque du Soleil, because that takes true talent).

My style of migraine, which some people also refer to as a cluster headache (because they cluster themselves together for a few months, then go on sabbatical, then come back for more), occurs on the left side of my head. It starts as a dull throbbing, more of a tease-ache, that tells me if I don’t get medicated soon, I’m going to regret it.

It then unfolds, like a bad novel. Multiple characters, subplots, climaxes, dénouements, it spreads its tendrils out across the left side of my face (the migraine, not the bad novel), snaking its way into my left eye, my left eardrum, and my left temple.

Sounds become muffled as my ear drum begins to pound to the beat of a symphony gone awry. My vision becomes blurry as my eyes tear, trying to wash out the invading menace (not Dennis, the migraine).

My face flushes as if I’ve just heard the naughtiest joke ever told. Streaks of heat shoot through my temple causing veins and arteries to rise to the surface, pulsing and throbbing to the beat of my heart. And then, the pain hits.

The pain is not unlike what Cary Elwes went through in The Princess Bride, when he was subjected to the pain amplifier down in the pit of despair. (if you haven’t realized by now, I am the master of obscure analogies)

Once the pain begins, there really is no way to stop it. I am down for the count. My left eye continues to tear, and becomes increasingly bloodshot, as if I’ve been on an all night drinking binge (though apparently only drinking from the left side of my mouth). My left cheek starts to alternately tense and relax, finally slacking into a downward flow as if a stroke has rendered it useless. (Although, since the right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain, one would think my right cheek would collapse, but migraines break all the rules.)

The blood vessels in my temple strain against the pressure as my heart continues to send blood to the side of the brain that really doesn’t need any more pressure.

And then, the vice is turned. I find myself laying face down, head between huge metal plates attached to screws. Slowly those screws are turning and the plates are moving closer and closer to each other, with my head still between them. I start to feel the pressure building. I’m like a roast inside a pressure cooker. The flames are on high, and the steam is flying out of the whistle so fast it’s gone supersonic. Dogs in the neighborhood start howling and barking as I get closer and closer to blowing my top.

Suddenly, the metal plates are gone. The dull ache has returned. It feels like a torn fingernail, that pulses and throbs, again to the beat of my tell tale heart. The throbbing that won’t go away, but stabs at my senses over and over. And then, the nausea hits.

I rarely throw up (except for a Cadbury Cream Egg incident, which I’ll bring up at Easter). Even after a night of heavy alcohol consumption (which is usually only on a day ending in “ay”) I never throw up. I was actually born with the anti-hangover gene. While technically a recessive gene, not unlike the gene for green eyes, blonde hair, or hitchhikers thumb, the anti-hangover gene was quite the envy of my college aged friends. Unfortunately, migraine is an “e” word (despite the fact that it starts with an M, if you turn the M sideways it resembles an E enough to be considered e-ville), and breaks all those rules, including rules that are genetically encoded in my body.

I’m not sure who came up with the term dry heaves, but whoever they are, they should be locked away in Azkaban (snaps to Harry Potter) for all eternity. Just hearing those two words, dry heaves, is enough to send one running to the nearest restroom. Rarely are my heaves dry. (note: those readers with delicate or weak stomachs are advised that the next section contains vivid and graphic language)

Dry heaves would indicate that absolutely nothing comes out in the process more clinically described as reverse peristalsis (and just to point out how much of a nerd I am, I didn’t even have to look that one up. It’s part of my daily vocabulary). For those who have not incorporated this…

Main Entry: peri•stal•sis
Pronunciation: “per-&-‘stol-s&s, -‘stäl-, -‘stal-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural peri•stal•ses /-“sEz/
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek peristaltikos peristaltic
Date: 1859
: successive waves of involuntary contraction passing along the walls of a hollow muscular structure (as the esophagus or intestine) and forcing the contents onward

Unfortunately, for me, there is nothing dry about a migraine heave.

Let us consider for a moment, bile. Bile is a yellow or greenish viscid alkaline fluid produced in the liver, that aids in the emulsification and absorption of fats. I would assume that people who have had their liver removed for some reason would not be subject to dry heaves. I, on the other hand (or on the same hand – I am really not sure why you have to switch hands), have my liver, and get to have what I’d like to refer to as bile heaves. Sounds a lot better than dry heaves doesn’t it?

When my stomach and esophagus start to work in reverse, out comes the bile. A yucky, gooey, not dissimilar to Ghostbusters slime, comes spraying out of my body. The bitter e-ville sensation washes across my taste buds, causing me to heave again. (note: the taste buds have the ability to sense salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami – bile most likely falling into the sour and bitter category) (and that’s umami, not unagi for all you sushi fans who might get confused)

Quickly I down a glass of water, because when I was younger, I was told that throwing up water was better than a dry heave, and old habits are hard to break. The only benefit to drinking water during a period of nausea is that now you have something to mix with the bile before it comes back up.

Personally, if I know that whatever I drink is going to come right back up, I want it to be something that tastes good, or at least can mask the taste of the bile. My choice is rum. Not the nasty Bacardi gold rum, or the little bunny foo-foo Malibu rum that is so sweet I could throw it up even if I didn’t have a migraine…I’m talking about the Lieutenant Commander of rums, no, the Captain of rums. Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. Not only is this rum so crisp and refreshing that it can be shot or served on the rocks without a mixer, but it has the ability to overpower the bile, and eliminate any bitter taste of green digestive enzyme. The side benefit to using rum over water, is that you get a nice healthy buzz while you remain crouched over the toilet.

Soon the nausea passes and I feel like my body has expended the last remaining ounce of energy left. I’m not unlike the battery on my laptop, that is like a poor player that struts and frets its hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. At this point I either collapse on the bathroom floor, or somehow stagger my way back to my bed or my desk (in the event I am at work during this brutal attack, in which case you may be wondering where I keep my rum, but that’s really not any of your concern right now), and lay my head down and close my eyes.

The tears start to stream down my face, as my body can simply withstand no more. I lay there panting like a rabid mongrel dog from a Stephen King novel (obviously Cujo), with small drips of saliva (another digestive enzyme but not one that is produced in the liver, nor one that is green) trickling down my dead left cheek. Obviously, I have my head left side down, otherwise the saliva would be defying gravity to flow down my left cheek, and despite the fact that saliva is a very cool enzyme, it’s not cool enough to break the laws of physics (I cannot change the laws of physics captain!).

Co-workers walk by with wide eyes and puzzled looks on their faces, as they see a little puddle of saliva and residual bile from my earlier heaving episode, wondering if they should call for help, or bring me a towel (because at Delta, it’s laid out like that).

As I continue to sit, and drool, and silently moan in pain (I’m once again screaming lonely in my nightmare), I realize that now the enzymes (including some leftover rum) are beginning to drip onto my polyester slacks (don’t ask why I’m wearing polyester…perhaps I became a flight attendant in my spare time, who knows).

Unfortunately, because polyester is made from multiple esters, and esters being any of a class of often fragrant compounds that can be represented by the formula RCOOR and that are usually formed by the reaction between an acid and an alcohol with elimination of water, I am in the position of having digestive enzymes reacting with acids and alcohols, and a terrible burning sensation ensues on my thigh. (ok, very obscure, I know, but you’ve read this far and haven’t stopped, so I’m trying to see how much I can get away with)

I glance over at the clock and see that’s it’s 8:05am. I lift my head up, send an email to the team, and tell them I’m going home with a headache. Thankfully they all have my address and know where to send the flowers and cake.