Twilight Time

Have you ever been waking up in the morning and hear the phone ring, then become fully awake and realize you just imagined it? If so, you may have experienced an auditory hypnagogic hallucination.

In August of 2015, Dr. Laurence Knott of the UK wrote:  “Hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations are visual, tactile, auditory, or other sensory events, usually brief but occasionally prolonged, that occur at the transition from wakefulness to sleep (hypnagogic) or from sleep to wakefulness (hypnopompic). The phenomenon is thought to have been first described by the Dutch physician Isbrand Van Diemerbroeck in 1664.[1] The person may hear sounds that are not there and see visual hallucinations. These visual and auditory images are very vivid and may be bizarre or disturbing.”

And Wikipedia describe it this way:     “Hypnagogia is the experience of the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep in humans: the hypnagogic state of consciousness, during the onset of sleep. Mental phenomena that occur during this “threshold consciousness” phase include lucid thought, lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.” As you can see, there are several other “conditions” mentioned, that I don’t have the time to explore here.

I love what is sometimes called the “twilight time” as I drift off to sleep, and frequently have little vignettes play out before my eyes. Rather than thinking of it as a medical condition to be “treated”, I often wish they would last longer.

Do you experience any sort of hallucinations upon waking or falling asleep?


The deadline for renewing our State psychology licenses looms large this week. Husband and I sent in all our papers and fees for renewal a couple of weeks ago.  Imagine Husband’s surprise yesterday when he received two  notifications from “Google ” telling him that he had better renew his license immediately, along with a link to do so.

I am happy to report that Husband didn’t fall for this apparent phishing attempt.  He had already received confirmation from  our Psychology Board office that everything was in order, and that any communication from the Board was directly from the Board, not from Google.  I contacted the Board office to report this scam attempt.

It amazes me how clever scammers are. It also surprises me how easy it is to fool people. Our State Government IT office sends State employees fake emails at work to try to teach us to spot suspicious communications, and a special button to click to report an email as either fake or suspicious.  It is pretty easy to spot them, I think.  Our agency IT guy told me, though, that 50% of the fake emails are actually opened by staff who don’t suspect a thing or are too trusting.  That is a big concern given how devastating it would be to have our system, with all our clients’ confidential information hacked or compromised.

I hope none of my fellow psychologists are duped by these phishers.  It is an anxious time around the renewal period, and anxiety makes it hard to be wise sometimes.

What are your experiences with scammers or hackers?  How do you keep yourself safe?

Slogging Through

In a comment yesterday, Renee mentioned slogging through War & Peace and being glad she had seen a film version first.  So now I have to tell MY War & Peace story.

I worked in the book industry for many years, in the now defunct B.Dalton chain. Back then (and I assume now as well) publishers did not want to pay to have mass market printing (small paperbacks) returned to them.  It was cheaper to reprint than to pay for the shipping.  In order to return mass markets we stripped the front covers off the books and sent those to the publisher for return credit.  The strips (books with their covers stripped) were then disposed of at the individual stores.

Although strips were routinely destroyed, it was a perk of working at the bookstore that you were allowed to take strips home for free, as long as you didn’t get caught selling them or even giving them away. For many years, most of the books I read were coverless.  Once when really purging the shelves, we ended up with strips of several classics, including a few copies of War & Peace.  I took one home that day and after a few months, put it in the bathroom with my various magazines for casual bathroom reading.  Since the strip was never going to go on my bookshelf, after every 10-20 pages, I would rip off the pages I’d finished and toss them.

It took me almost a year to read War & Peace this way and as the year went by, the book got skinnier and skinnier!

What reading material do YOU have in the bathroom?

Book or Movie?

When I work on the eggs, I need my background noise to be something that doesn’t distract me. I choose TV or movies that I know well, so that I can listen to them but not be tempted to look up too often.  This past weekend that meant binge-watching the made-for-TV Perry Mason movies that were showing on the Decades channel.

I love Raymond Burr and the Perry Mason character so it was pleasant to see many of the movies again. As I watched them back to back, I began to think about the films versus the books by Earle Stanley Gardner.  The original Perry Mason series in the 50s and 60s were based on the books, but the made-for-TV movies were pure fiction.

If a movie is made of a book, I usually try to read the book first – I like to know what the author wrote (vs. what a director wants me to see) and have my own pictures in my head before I end up at the cinema. Every now and then this strategy goes awry. When The Martian was coming out on the big screen, I knew that Matt Damon was the star so when I read the book, I did have him in my mind’s eye.  However, the book is SO good that I have no intention of ever seeing the movie; I don’t want my inner vision spoiled. I wish I had done this a few other times (Shining Through by Susan Isaacs – do yourself a favor and skip the movie). I never went to see The Desolation of Smaug and I probably won’t be going to see A Wrinkle in Time.

What’s your favorite book to movie?


I am an only child.  When I was younger, I cringed when I said that to people, as I invariably would hear the same phrase “Oh, you must be spoiled”.  It always made me want to apologize.

Spoiled, to me, brings up images of the nasty girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I think that people can be spoiled in good and not so good ways, and I have tried to spoil my children and the people I love in good ways.

Our daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving. We haven’t seen her for six months.  Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday, and she has great expectations for her trip home.   Every year we “spoil” her by letting her plan the Thanksgiving meal.  She has old favorites, and likes to try new things as well. She doesn’t help prepare the food, but leaves it to us.  This year she has requested French bread, an apple crisp for desert,  cranberry salsa, a basic turkey dressing, butternut squash casserole,  mashed potatoes, a simple turkey that is covered in cheese cloth and basted with herb butter, and, of course, green bean casserole.  She also wants cranberry mimosas.

Daughter has also asked that she gets a down comforter on her bed, and has other favorite food requests for the 10 days she is home.  I think this is a very good way to spoil her.

How do you spoil the people you love?


Spiralize – A Verb Whether We Like It Or Not

I often feel like I own every kitchen toy possible. Then I get another catalog in the mail or see an ad on the internet.  My latest acquisition is a spiralizer.  Dreadful if completely accurate name.

It has 3 different blades so you get 3 different widths of spirals and you can use it on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (zucchini, onion, potato, pears, apples, carrots, beets). Pretty much if you can stick it onto the machine, you can probably makes spirals.  Before I bought it I checked out several books from the library to see what kinds of dishes could be prepared – ended up purchasing two cookbooks as well (and yes, I did get rid of two old cookbooks when the new ones arrived).

Of course, the day I had time to mess with it, I didn’t want to go shopping so I just made up a recipe using ingredients I already had in the house.

Sherrilee’s First Spiralized Chilied Potatoes
1 large yellow onion, spiralized
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and spiralized
2 T. butter
1 can of Chili Beans
1 can of tomatoes w/ chiles
1 pouch of Taco sauce
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
2 c. shredded pepper jack cheese

Saute onions in butter until translucent in oven-proof skillet. Add potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes until they get soft.  Add beans, tomatoes, taco sauce and spicing to taste.  Top w/ cheese and heat in 350° F oven for about 15 minutes until cheese gets nice and melty.

YA loved it. Good recipe for a cold, rainy weekend even if I feel badly for participating in “verbing”!

What new verb do you detest?


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