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Going to the sleep doctor today for a follow-up consultation about my sleep apnea mask. Although I love the device–sleeping MUCH better, and having dreams that are better than the movies, except that I miss the buttered popcorn–I have two things to complain about:

  1. Wind. I say “wind” rather than “gas” because the problem is air going into my stomach as well as my lungs. Yes, I realize that this is TMI, but a mommy learns that, in order to be truly useful to her children, she has to say unladylike things sometimes. And I am MomGoth, after all.
  2. Sounds like wind. At the other end of the, er, spectrum, there’s a problem with tightness adjustment on the mask. Too tight, and it gives me a headache and makes my nose and cheekbone (the one that got walloped when I fell in that parking lot) sore. Too loose, and air leaks out around the edges. Sometimes it just blows air into my eyeball, and sometimes it hisses or makes that cartoon noise you get when you let air out of a balloon slowly. You know the one. Sounds like a whoopee cushion. Talk about unladylike!

But those are small things, really, considering how much better I feel, using it.

Another good thing: Our #1 daughter turned us on to this stuff called Fantastic World Foods Taco Filling, Quick Vegetarian Mix. You mix it up and use it like ground beef seasoned for tacos. I used it in a casserole and it was delicious! Last night, I used it on an Italian bread pizza and it was even better. Next try will be chili, or maybe chili mac.

Naturally, these dishes can be made with actual meat, seasoned for tacos or chili.


  • Italian bread with cheese on top (from deli)
  • Vegetarian taco filling
  • sliced olives
  • “Cajun” mirepoix (celery, green peppers, onions)
  • spaghetti sauce
  • Italian cheese blend
  • Anything else you like on pizza

Cut whatever length of bread you want and slice it in half. Toast the top under the broiler. Top with sauce, toppings, then cheese. Bake at 350F until the cheese melts.


  • cooked macaroni
  • Vegetarian taco filling
  • fresh or canned diced tomatoes or tomato sauce

Mix and heat. Add beans and/or cheese, if you like.

Well, that’s enough of that.


writing prompt: Give a character gas and send him/her out in public. Go on–it’ll be fun!

Here is a picture of me in a costume suggesting who I think I look like in my sleep apnea mask. NOW can you guess? HINT: If you have or know a child, particularly a little girl, of maybe between 3 and 7, you have a better chance of guessing. No, I don’t think I look like Barbie. Does Barbie have a hose coming out of her nose? Whaddya mean, “Firefighter Barbie does”? She does NOT!

Contest runs through end of February. Prize is one of my Hot Flashes on some kind of piece of merchandise.

The snow is almost gone. Warmer temps, rain, quite balmy. I love it! Only problem is, I can’t drive our car in the rain, because I busted the windshield wipers by trying to clear snow off the windows when it wasn’t really snow but ice. What a maroon. Charlie said, “Don’t turn on the windshield wipers when they’re iced up.” I’m like, “Yeah, I did it on purpose because I wanted to bust them. I’m funny that way. But you ain’t laughin’, though.”

Anyway, I’ll be borrowing Mom’s car, and hoping I don’t bust that up too badly. Maybe I could get a job in demolition.


writing prompt: What was your main character’s favorite toy when he/she was little?

Charlie’s Firefox is running fast enough for him again, so the opportunity has past for me to get high-speed. Just as well, really, although mine is still slow: I saw in the business section of the paper (I certainly DO read it–lots of good stuff in there) that Google is about to roll out super-high speed in selected markets. So I’m going to limp along with what I have until I see how that goes. How awful would it be to be locked into a two-year contract with pretty darn fast and then have super-zoom come along? Yeah, I know, “Beast in the Jungle”, but still….

I have an appointment today to go get fitted for my sleep mask. I sure hope it does as well as it did in the test. I’m sleeping more poorly every night since the sleepover at the clinic, snoring more and feeling sleepier and more irritable. YES, that’s my apnea. Like J in THREE MEN IN A BOAT, I feel quite vindicated. Everyone thought I was just lazy and bitchy, but now we find that I’m ill. I hope everyone who ever called me a lazy bitch feels properly ashamed of themselves.

As I told #4 daughter on the phone last night, I wrote about three words on my story last night. At this rate, I should be ready to submit it to the Sword and Sorceress anthology in about the year 3000.

Not lazy.



writing prompt: What is your main character waiting for? Create a character in a waiting situation.

I’m telling you what, after a night on the mask, I feel so energetic I’m actually THINKING ABOUT DOING HOUSEWORK!

Okay, so I went to the sleep clinic again last night to try out masks and pressures to treat my sleep apnea.

As I pulled in shortly before 8:00 pm, the parking lot was dark, but I wasn’t apprehensive this time. I’m a rapid nester: Since I’d been here once before, I felt comfortable coming back.

Well, maybe. That long deserted hall is not very jolly. Still, what could I expect–hula boys? It’s a sleep clinic, not a dream clinic.

I took a picture of the monitors–one for me and one for the other patient.

The tech last time was nice, but the one this time was REALLY nice! She didn’t make coffee until the patients were asleep, and she offered us some when we got up. She also offered snacks. Just packaged peanut butter or cheese crackers, but she offered.

She also said I could stay up and watch television. Nothing was on I wanted to see, and I was so sleepy after a day without caffeine that I couldn’t have stayed awake past 10, but she didn’t tell me I had to go to bed whether I wanted to or not. Boy, that other tech was a mean mommie!

So she wired me up like last time, and then she brought in the mask I’d said was the least intolerable last time. I asked her to take a picture for the blog. She said, “Smile!” and I did my best, but it’s hard to smile with a piece of foam squishing down against your upper lip. When she saw my monkey drawers, she said, “Oh, monkeys! The other lady has frogs, so it’s a great night!” You gotta love a tech with that attitude. I bonded. I really did.

It was part of her job to mess around with the pressure level, to see how I responded to them so the doctor can prescribe the setting for my machine. So I would go to sleep breathing one way and wake up breathing another way. I kept waking up with my mouth “cotton-dry”, as Charlie says. She said that’s because one’s jaw goes slack during REM sleep, and the air that was pushing into my nose was pushing back out through my open mouth. She offered to put a chin strap on me, but that was at least one strap too many. It was stepping over the line from “funny-looking” and heading deep into “scaring the cats” territory. So she tried me on the “full-face mask”. It isn’t really full-face, it’s nose-and-mouth, and I really liked it. I didn’t get a picture in it, but I’ll have Charlie take a picture when I get my own. I think I’ll put a Hello Kitty sticker on it, maybe.

Anyway, I woke up with a bit of a caffeine-withdrawal headache, but the tech made me some coffee and gave me some peanut butter crackers.

Now here’s what they don’t tell you, children. I had read about it in the material they put beside your bed, so I was prepared. Now you’ll be prepared, too.

The machine blows what? — Air.
The larynx is next to what? — The esophagus.
The esophagus is part of what? — The digestive system.
So air that leaks into the esophagus makes you do what? — The answer starts with “f”, and it isn’t nearly as much fun as the “f” word you first thought of.

And so, as I stepped into the dawn, I thought that, considering that side effect–if “side” is the direction I want to reference–and considering my energy level, I could totally be a super-hero today! Look! Just above the tree-line! Is it–YES! It’s The Apneac!!

Zoom! Zoom!

writing prompt: Give a character an unusually great night’s sleep.

I go back to the jolly old sleep clinic tonight to see what kind of sleep mask I need to wear. Bleh. I don’t know if I’ll be doing this with wires or without wires. Without, I hope. At least it isn’t Monday. There were tears before bedtime at my first visit, when they told me I couldn’t stay up and watch Castle.

So no caffeine for me today, and no popcorn tonight. No reading with Mom. On the upside, I get to collect information and experience, and that’s always a good thing.

#4 daughter and I have a list of occupations and one of places to meet, for use in writing. So there’s a new one for each list: Occupation–sleep technician. Places to meet–sleep clinic.

It’s all grist for the mill, children–all grist for the mill.


writing prompt: A championship wrassler and a bookseller meet at a sleep clinic.

I’m very pleased with and proud of my new web site. I’m re-doing my blog, too, having put a lot of the content onto the pro site. I looked at a lot of sites and decided to go on and take the plunge and put up a site that showcases my published work. If nothing else, it will encourage me to try to get more work published because I’ll get sick of looking at the same damn thing all the time whenever I check the site to make sure it hasn’t been hacked for someone’s amusement.

Went to the doctor yesterday and was told I’m a prime candidate for sleep apnea. I kind of hope I don’t get elected, though. I have to go to the sleep clinic this coming week and get hooked up to wires and then monitored while I sleep. It doesn’t sound altogether too restful, if you want to know the truth, but they assure me I will sleep. I’m supposed to wear something comfortable to sleep in, so I hope they have no objection to monkey drawers, because that’s what I’m wearing.

The doctor advised me to limit my driving until after I have the test, so I’m glad the test is so soon. No caffeine that day, which means NO CHOCOLATE as well as NO COFFEE, so boo-hoo for me.

Another adventure. Oh boy.


writing prompt: Is your character a professional or does he/she know a professional? Does this professional have a web site? Why or why not?


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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