October 31st, 2006


Come & Get It!

So far I've had about five groups of trick or treaters. I am definitely ready for more. Lots of goodies await!


And five months ago tonight, yellowdoggrl and I had our Anti-Hurricane Party and created our shoebox altars as a talisman against the upcoming hurricane season. I have added bits and pieces to my altar through the long summer and fall. I have lit candles at different times to keep our mojo working. We have one month left. So I included the altar on my Halloween table tonight to honor the gentle season we have had so far and to let Mother Nature know that we do not take her for granted during the month of November.

A Brain Remapped

I had no idea this was going on with Scott Adams of Dilbert fame.

"As regular readers of my blog know, I lost my voice about 18 months ago. Permanently. It’s something exotic called Spasmodic Dysphonia. Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis. It happens to people in my age bracket.

I asked my doctor – a specialist for this condition – how many people have ever gotten better. Answer: zero. While there’s no cure, painful Botox injections through the front of the neck and into the vocal cords can stop the spasms for a few months. That weakens the muscles that otherwise spasm, but your voice is breathy and weak.

The weirdest part of this phenomenon is that speech is processed in different parts of the brain depending on the context. So people with this problem can often sing but they can’t talk. In my case I could do my normal professional speaking to large crowds but I could barely whisper and grunt off stage. And most people with this condition report they have the most trouble talking on the telephone or when there is background noise. I can speak normally alone, but not around others. That makes it sound like a social anxiety problem, but it’s really just a different context, because I could easily sing to those same people."