Friday, April 27, 2012

Brain Freeze... literally

No query responses this week either. I love when they tell you "don't call or email if you haven't heard from us" and yet they don't send even an automated response that they have even received your email query in the first place! Ugh! It can be so frustrating! OK that was my rant for the day... I'm over it and calm again. Ahhhh.

38 weeks and ready to pop! Everything just feels like a chore now... washing clothes, going up and down the stairs, even bending over to pick something up off of the floor (or put socks on) requires some forethought. I can't stand too long because it gets painful and I can't sit too long for the same reason. Is this my body?! I know. I know. I'm ranting again! OK that's over.

I went in for my weekly appointment and all is well. The baby has moved out of position (head down) but that's normal my daughter did the same thing and then she moved back into position before I delivered.

With my daughter I delivered drug free. No epidural. No induction. It was just me, the baby, my husband, sister, mom, nurses and doc. We did pretty well even though I know my mom and doctor didn't think I could do it. I have to tell you it is one of the most empowering feelings I have ever felt. One of my nurses told me that she had been in obstetrics for 20 years and she could count on one hand the mothers she cared for who went drug free. It was funny because towards the end when it got really painful all the nurses were like a cheering section saying things like "You can do it!" and "You're almost there!"  I know they probably say those things all of the time but I think they really wanted me to stick to my plan. My doctor (who is wonderful by the way) was skeptical (but supportive) probably because he had heard so many women say they didn't want drugs and then they caved at the last minute. But I know when it was all over he was really happy with how things went. With this pregnancy he has been a lot more supportive since he knows I mean business! LOL!

My husband always knew I could do it. He was there through the last 3 years of my graduate work and he attended my Ph.D. dissertation defense. And although all of that seems irrelevant to having a baby... he saw me go through the wringer at that time and accomplish one of the most difficult things I had ever set out to do. So he knew I had it in me. It just took the good old "pressure cooker" to bring it out!

All and all I'm happy with my decision (since I lived through it) and I plan to have a drug free birth with this baby too. It helps having already been through it but it doesn't make the whole idea any less scary.

My daughter had her 1 year check-up with the doctor this week and all is well with her! Her doctor was very happy with her growth and progress. She walked from me to my husband for the doctor which shocked both my husband and I. Usually she won't leave me for anyone but it was like she knew she had to perform and she did what she had to do. It was very sweet and I know my husband felt good knowing that she left me for him... finally!

And here's a bit of science we all can relate to... Brain Freeze (and yes, it seems that is the technical term for it).

Brain freeze as we all know occurs when we are eating or drinking something very cold or frozen like a Slurpee or ice cream. Suddenly you stop drinking or eating and you rub your head feeling the pulsating pain and cursing yourself for allowing it to happen.

Researchers were able to map the what happens using brain imaging instruments. It turns out that the pain is caused by the anterior cerebral artery one of the two main arteries that supply blood to the brain. Because the brain must always be working it is highly regulated by the body including its temperature. Eating or drinking something very cold can cause the temperature to drop. This triggers a rush of warm blood into the brain to bring the temperature back to normal. Hence the sudden and painful "Brain Freeze". It goes away after a minute or so but you have to appreciate the quick response of the body and the protection of one of your most vital organs.

I know what your thinking... why exactly would anyone spend grant money on this type of research?

To answer your question... The reason this is such an important discovery is that it allows scientists to examine what occurs in the brain during these short and easily induced episodes. This research can then be applied to more important and painful problems like migraine headaches. Migraines usually occur without warning and can be crippling.

Well that's all for this week! I hope we all learned something! :)

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Friday, April 20, 2012

All Eyes On You

Hello Everyone!

I want to be as realistic with blogging as possible and let's face it I can barely post once per week let alone twice. So I'm going to change up my scheduling to once per week with new posts appearing on Fridays. I apologize if this inconveniences anyone but I'm pretty sure once I have my second child life is just going to get more hectic. I figure I may as well nip this in the bud now especially since it's all still very new.

I have not received any feedback on queries in the last week but I'm sure just my mentioning will anger the query gods and I will get my rejections soon! LOL! I'm taking it all in stride. I've decided to hold off on writing this month. I really want to focus on building my platform as a writer. And with my daughter, pregnancy, April challenge and everything else life has thrown at me I just don't have the time or energy to start a new novel. But don't despair I have been jotting down ideas as they come to me so I haven't stopped writing just slowed down some.

The April Platform Building Challenge from the My Name Is Not Bob Blogsite has us writing a blogpost today. So thank goodness for that at least I can stay on track for this Friday! The challenge is in day 19 and I am behind on days 15 & 18 mostly because I haven't been feeling that well due to allergies & my pregnancy.

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and everything is progressing well. I am in week 37 (or 34) as of today! That means baby is full term and I will deliver soon (hopefully)!

Since I have been slacking in the science department the last few posts I am making a point to add it in to this blog...

A bionic eye? That's what they're calling it. That's right! Look out 6 million Dollar man, we're on our way!

The Monash Vision Group in Australia is a multi-disciplinary group made up of computer scientists, engineers and medical researchers. The group has mounted a camera on a pair of glasses. The camera can view images and send them to a chip that is surgically implanted in the brain. The chip has 650 electrodes as thin as a human hair. At this point the eye will produce low resolution black and white images. Which is a stepping stone to the future of visual implants.

This type of device is targeted at people who once had normal vision but because of disease (retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration) or trauma to the eye can no longer see. These people are the focus (no pun intended) because they were able to see at one point in their lives and therefore it's easier to get feedback on what they can see using the device. Based on this research, future devices may be able to help people who were born blind as well as for other brain impairments.

There are other researchers out there that are trying a different method of stimulating the eye using chemical drug delivery. That is when an implant that contains drugs will release the drugs over time to stimulate the receptors of the eye allowing the person to see. This research is very important as its success will make possible implantable chemical drug delivery devices for neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's just to name a few.

This research is near and dear to me as it was the focus of my graduate research work. I tested new and classic biomaterials for use in implants such as this one. The research is ground-breaking and the broad potential use, as you can see is very exciting.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Query, Query quite Contrery? :P

Ok because of the "April Platform Challenge" that I am involved in I have to post to my blog today. I know it's an off day but I do what I am told! LOL!

Since my post on Monday I have received yet another rejection to my query letter. So that means 4 rejections out of 11 so far and that I have to send a few more out. I have not received any feedback on my submissions which is disappointing but I must press on!

My daughter's 1st birthday party was a success! It was Minnie Mouse themed and all of my family was able to make it. Which was great! Something about a party with 38 people and it being "just family" is pretty awesome! She made out like a bandit with birthday gifts too! She wouldn't touch the smash cake that was made special for her. She doesn't like to touch stuff that is messy. LOL! Good for me right?!

My pregnancy is progressing very nicely but my due date is a mystery. It's a long story but according to my ultrasound I am 3 weeks ahead of where I should be according to traditional calculations. So like my doctor told me "The day you go into labor... that will be your due date." So we wait. We don't know the sex of the baby and we don't want to. It was a fun surprise with our daughter especially with everyone saying it was a boy. Everyone has a different way of seeing the gender too. "oh you're carrying high? It's a girl" or "You look so good so it has to be a boy because a girl will steal your beauty." It's funny to hear all of the opinions based on absolutely nothing but a hunch.

I will post science stuff tomorrow, for my usual post. I found something interesting to me as it was very much like the research I was involved in for my graduate work.

If you are a writer and have sent or are preparing to send out query letters to agents or publishers please check out this piece by Chuck Wendig, I cannot recommend it enough. The language is a little rough but the content is right on. The link is to yesterday's post to my blog... another challenge task April 11 post.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

1 is a magic number!

Hello again! Well the query gods have smiled down upon me for the last week and I have not received any rejections. I haven't received anything so "no news is good news" right? :P

I have two new ideas for novels and would like to start on at least one of them but I am wondering if I should continue with the second book in the series that I started. The first book is the one I have sent out into the query world.

I am currently involved in the My Name Is Not Bob "April Platform Challenge". Each person is encouraged and coached in creating an online platform to better market themselves as writers. We are currently on Day 9 and I have so far created a Twitter account, updated my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and linked my blog to my accounts. It has been a fun ride so far and I am looking forward to all the progress and education about social media I will have! I really am learning a lot about myself which is always important. And I'm making new friends with similar interests in the process. That is always good for morale and assistance along the sometimes lonely road of the writer. I will post more about what we're doing as we go along!

Per the comments I received about my blog... I will try and post at least every Monday and Friday for those who choose to follow. Thank you for the insight and the interest!

Anyway as far as the family goes... My daughter turned 1 last week. It was also Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers! I'm a big fan and have only missed the last two Opening Day festivities downtown due to being pregnant. I made her cake which I am proud to say even with 1 missing main ingredient didn't turn out too bad. She and my husband really liked it and that was all that mattered to me!

I'm in my 36th week of my pregnancy. I have a doc appointment tomorrow to check my progress. Everything seems good and normal so I'm sure tomorrow's appointment will be routine. It is getting more difficult to do things that we take advantage of like bending over and sometimes even walking. This kid feels like all knees and elbows and let me tell you it doesn't tickle!

Yesterday was Easter and we got to spend time with both my husband's side of the family and mine (a lot of driving). It was really nice to see everyone and how all the kids are growing. Today is my daughter's 1st birthday party at my mom's house hosted by my sister. After all the Easter stuff my daughter got I can't even imagine what they could have bought for her birthday! My house is becoming one big playpen!

OK enough for now. I will hit the science stuff next time! Talk to you soon!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eye Invasion

Well since my last post I've received another rejection letter from an agent. So far I have sent to 9 agents and received 2 rejections. The response time is anywhere from 2-6 weeks so I'm sure the other rejection letters will come in a timely manner. :P

I have made a few changes to the novel since sending out my queries but it shouldn't make that big of a difference.

In the meantime I'm working on a "Platform Challenge" through the month of April. Hopefully this will help me build a platform as a writer and create a following. This will be essential for selling books once someone has the good sense to represent the novel. ;)

As for my daughter well she has cut her first 2 teeth and has decided to try the "walking thing". My husband and I couldn't be more thrilled. It is bittersweet, with her first birthday fast approaching. The time seems to have flown by and it just seems faster with each passing day. She is definitely the sunshine in our lives.

In my pregnancy, all is well! This is the part where feeling crappy is par for the course but it will pass soon enough and we will have grown our little family by one! And barring any craziness and colic it will all be worth it! :)

This one will have to go into the technology category... but consider eye tracking devices in your computers and cell phones that will read your thoughts.

The way you read a sentence how your eye lingers on a word or even in in a split-second you reread a word. That is all taken in and calculated to find out what it is you are thinking. Apple has already applied for a patent. The devices will have a front facing camera so that they can catch the quick and usually undetectable movements of the eye.

And all for what? You ask. All in the name of advertising... well at first I'm sure but who knows after that.

Granted that this technology will probably not be available for another few years but it certainly is going to change the game for a lot of people and their internet use. Privacy issues are headed for a major breech!

Well boys and girls this is one of the ways where science and technology can go from amazing and helpful to downright scary and intruding!