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wood cat


incidents and accidents, hints and allegations

autumn, stained glass, Tiffany
Kate kate_nepveu
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However-long in Review

I don't really know how long it's been since I've done a life update, and so I will probably forget a boatload of stuff. On the other hand, if I've forgotten it, it probably wasn't that important.

Probably the most consequential news is my jaw. I grind and clench my teeth in my sleep. The bad effects of this on my teeth are mostly taken care of by a hard plastic guard, but the bad effects on my jaw . . . are bad and have been getting steadily worse. My dentist diagnosed teeth alignment problems as the cause, saying that my jaws were moving around at night to try and get my teeth to fit together, and and sent me to an orthodontist, who recommended not just braces (which I was fairly resigned to) but surgery ("mandibular osteotomy": description and animation). Which was REALLY not what I wanted to hear.

Fortunately, the orthodontist sent me to a specialist in orofacial pain, who said orthodontists : fixing teeth alignment :: hammer : nail, and actually my problem was that I was a giant stressball. That is, normal people's jaws aren't clenched in their sleep, so if my jaws weren't coming together at night, it wouldn't matter how my teeth were aligned. (Which, put like that, made sense. I mean, I know what Chad's face looks like when he's asleep.) Which was good news, of course, but I was much less happy to hear it than I should have been. Chad put his finger on it: "On one hand, you don't need your jaw sawn apart; but on the other hand, this is all your fault."

Anyway, I've gotten over the bruising of my feelings, helped in part by my parents telling me that I've been grinding my teeth since pre-school, and even I can't blame myself for that. The treatment is really helping, and it's all non-invasive and reversible: ice for the jaw joint; heat, stretches, and muscle relaxants for the associated muscles (I'll be glad when I can ditch the drugs, because I don't enjoy feeling a couple hours short on sleep all the time); and relaxation therapy, which is not "here's how to mentally cope with stress" but "here's how to really relax all your muscles and even maybe trick yourself into not grinding your teeth at night"—which last frankly sounds like magic to me, but apparently it can work. I haven't been doing it long enough to know whether it'll work for me. (The final treatment component is a better mouthguard, which is forthcoming.)

Moral: consult specialists, especially when drastic remedies are suggested!

In other news, a friend from high school is getting married, so I've been back to Massachusetts for the shower & a bachelorette day (lunch and a spa visit. A facial is nice and all, but a massage—on a heated table—that's just bliss). If only I'd waited another week to write this, I could add the wedding to the list . . .

A while ago (err, end of April, which does put a lower limit on how long it's been since I did one of these), I was in NYC for work on a Friday, so we stayed over an extra night on our dime. We had a very lovely dinner with the Nielsen Haydens, and visited the Met on the way out. The new Greek and Roman galleries were more interesting than I expected, mostly thanks to the neat Roman wall paintings. The exhibit on Louis Comfort Tiffany's country estate has concluded, but I recommend seeing Venice and the Islamic World before it closes on July 8, because it was really excellent, full of informative and gorgeous stuff.

And I was absurdly happy to see that there was another offering of pennies at the same Ganesha statute as the last time I was there.

Anyway, the visit made me realize that I wanted a camera of my own. We have a quite good one, but it's too big for me to just toss in my purse when I go to museums, and there were a lot of things I'd have taken pictures of if I could. I have one picked out, but I'm not going to say what it is to discourage Chad from just buying it for my birthday. => (I think it's too expensive for a single-person gift and am somewhat uncouthly wanting money as gifts instead, which I can then aggregate into said camera.)

As for more recent stuff, I'm kind of behind on a lot of stuff I need to do this summer. There's reading all the Hugo [*] and Campbell nominees before it's time to vote, and re-reading the Harry Potter series before the seventh book comes out, and learning at least a little Japanese ("But I don't wanna, that's work," my subconscious whines), and getting all the logistics squared away (like what we're doing about the dog . . . ).

[*] Does anyone else use Palm's eReader and want the short fiction as nice marked-up files, complete with italics etc.? Minus the two stories only released as PDFs, that is.

And (not that it will help with getting stuff done) there will be Readercon. Woo!

Finally because I am getting tired, we saw Ocean's Thirteen today. Much better than the second, not as good as the first because it didn't have much up its sleeve, but generally a fluffy piece of amusement. Except for the bit that was awful, which I'm sure all of you can guess what I thought that was. I'm trying not to think about it because the rest was fun.

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I nearly fell asleep, I was so relaxed.

Perhaps you might like to consider finding a place locally which does such things and seeing if having one on a regular basis helps with that stress thing. I just found us one which is only a mile or so away and it has really made a big difference.


I did see an RN/licensed massage therapist, who gave me stretches and said that my non-face muscles were really in pretty good shape. And I really don't think I'm under very much stress, just that it goes straight to my jaw. Nevertheless, if I don't make good progress in relaxation therapy, I may well do that--I'm reluctant to do it now because I don't want to set up the idea in my head that being that relaxed is something that's done to me.

Some sort of self-hypnosis and visualization regime might help in that respect. A few years back, a friend sent me to a seminar for the Silva Method. I used the techniques I learned to help get my migraines (which are pretty much all triggered by stress) back under control.

Now, there's a lot of stuff in there various people object to for various reasons, but when it comes to learning how to medidate and relax, the Silva Method is wonderful. In fact, they've got a specific exercise called the Long Relax that takes about 20 minutes and leaves you feeling just wonderful -- and it specifically starts in the head/jaw and works on all the common stress storage points.

If you want to check into it, I'd see if your library system has one of the various Silva CD-ROMs sets. Silva Ultramind, in particular, has a good copy of the Long Relax exercise. I'm not sure if you'll be at all interested in the rest of it.

I _am_ seeing a psychologist for the relaxation therapy; I may not have made that clear.

My apologies; I was responding to your "I don't want to set up the idea in my head that being that relaxed is something that's done to me" comment. Not knowing exactly what your relaxation therapy entails, my intent was to offer information about a technique that helped me deal with stress-induced muscle tension as a potential complement to your formal courses of treatment. If I came across otherwise, then please forgive me.

Nope, that's okay. It's just that I don't want to mix approaches.

I saw the Thirteen today too, and I agree with your analysis.

Except for the bit that was awful, which I'm sure all of you can guess what I thought that was.

I can't. I have a few guesses, but I'm not sure. Which bit? (If you don't want to put spoilers in the comments, just email me, I guess; I'm really curious.)


nowrpgyl uhzvyvngvat gur bayl srznyr znva punenpgre ol znxvat ure ybfr nyy ure fzneg pbzcrgrapr bire jvyqyl-vanccebcevngr frkhny nggenpgvba

Gotcha. Thanks.

Out of curiosity, was that one of your guesses?

It didn't come to mind, but in retrospect it should have.

(Continuing ROT13...)

Zl svefg thrff jnf gur "guvf vfa'g gurve svtug" ovg nobhg Grff naq Vfnory, zl frpbaq jnf na nfcrpg bs gur cbegenlny bs gur inevbhf Nfvna tnzoyref.

V qvqa'g guvax bs gung, V guvax, orpnhfr nf zhpu bs n zvffgrc nf gur fprar/fpranevb vf va ergebfcrpg, V jnf rawblvat Ryyra Onexva guebjvat urefrys vagb gur cneg rabhtu gung V qvqa'g abgvpr ng gur gvzr.

Ah, the first I knew was for external reasons, and the entirety of the second was present for so little time that if there was anything objectionable, I missed it.

the first I knew was for external reasons


the entirety of the second was present for so little time that if there was anything objectionable, I missed it.

I felt that way too, but I've been known to miss things, period.

Though, there was another thing that was nagging at me since I saw it on-screen (and laughed, I admit), and it only came clear this morning:

abg bayl jrer gubfr cbbe oebja zrkvpnaf fb qhzo gung gurl arrqrq n juvgr thl gb gryy gurz gung gurl jrer orvat rkcybvgrq, gurl jrer fb qhzo gung gurl znqr nyy gung shff bire n gval nzbhag!

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Teeth: I assure you, that was just about my reaction when the orthodontist's staff showed me a very similar one.

Camera: guess all you like.

Some time in my late 20s, early 30s, I was diagnosed as a grinder. One thing that I noticed is that I ground my teeth when I was awake too. Once conscious of that, I quit grinding during the day. I apparently quit at night too, because I no longer woke up with a sore jaw. I also stopped getting sinus headaches. So it is possible to do it, unless I was misdiagnosed.

Good to hear. (I don't when I'm awake, or someone would have realized I was still doing it a lot sooner.)

I'm given to understand that the wear marks on teeth are very distinctive, so it seems unlikely that you were misdiagnosed.

Ow on the jaw; I hope the treatment works for you.

I do use eReader, and would be quite grateful for preformatted award nominees. My username @ LJ works.

Thanks, and done.

Good luck with the jaw! I'm glad that noninvasive remedies exist, and I hope they work. I've been chewing my nails and fiddling with rough spots since I was in pre-school. Though nail-biting is terrible for one's incisors, I hadn't appreciated till reading this post how (relatively) mild its damage is, compared to related habits.

eReader-format copies of the nominees would be a very fine thing to have, though I'm not eligible to vote--if it'd still be okay. (username @ lj works for me, too.) Thanks.

I bite my nails, too, though that's relatively under control at the moment (every few weeks, not every few days). Maybe knowing that it's bad for my teeth will help--since more teeth problems is the last thing I need!

I don't see why not, since the web sites the stories are posted on aren't asking for Worldcon membership numbers; so, done.

My mom grinds her teeth and wears a mouth guard. I don't, apparently - the only time I did was one week about ten years ago, and the main symptom was an awful headache centered on my temples that was resistant to all drugs but one, whose name escapes me now. I figured out that it was from my teeth when I realized that tensing my jaw as if grinding led to flashes of greater pain in my temples. I stopped after a week, though, and I don't know why I haven't done it since.

Deep breathing involves no talent for meditation or anything magical at all: it simply triggers a physiological response in the brainstem, causing your body to relax. So just keep practicing it. I can be very, very helpful, or so I've found. It's useful for stress at other times too - once your body and brain have learned to associate relaxation with the breathing, a few deep breaths may be enough to trigger the relaxation response when you're stressed - for example, before giving a talk or having an interview.

Good luck!