Friday, September 28, 2007

Dentist Cubed

Bee Gees Song of the Day: I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You

Well, the preacher turned to me
and he smiled.
He said, "Come and walk with me,
come and walk one more mile."

Am not having a lot of luck at the dentist.

Today, visit three, I expected my shiny new crowns to be introduced to their new home. I had a sneaking suspicion that Dr. would also want to extract that wisdom tooth he’d been eying since my first visit. I had prepared my defense.

You see, if you’ve been following my aural drama, you might remember that I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with being pain free after my dental visits of late. My first visit required the re-cementing of my other crown. After my visit, I berated myself for the big baby I was, tried to tough it out as the pain kept getting worse. Gums were swollen, warm, and sensitive. My work colleagues expressed concern because of the upcoming Labor Day long weekend, and urged me to call the doctor to get a prescription called in for the infection and the pain.

On Saturday, I had to go to Confession. I deliberately waited to take my 800mg of motrin for several hours so that Father couldn’t recognize my voice. “Bleeh me fahdah, foh ah hab sihn. Eh haz beeh sicks weex sihn mah las cuhfeshoh.”

I was a mess.

Visit two, alluded to briefly two weeks ago, was my dual root canal. Three hours in the chair. 8:30 am – 11:30 am. I was not competent for the rest of the day; the pain was all-consuming. I called in to work to alert them that I would not be in, I went to the store, filled the prescriptions for the pain meds, and lay down on the couch for the remainder of the day, nursing my wounds. I wisely stayed ahead of the pain for the rest of the weekend, stopped taking the more powerful stuff after a day and ate soft things until I could tolerate chewing. It was all good.

So we come to today. As I suspected, Dr. Dentist wanted not only to insert the crowns, but extract my wisdom tooth. Nope. My sons are coming down to visit me and since Dr. has an 0 for 2 record with me, I wasn’t going to willingly deal with any pain over the weekend.

“Can I schedule another visit? I have family coming in.”

“Sure sure, but it’s nothing to pull, that’s going to come right out. It’s no problem.” Not taking a chance doc…I said in my head. He proceeded take out the temporary crowns. Which hurt, surprisingly. “That tooth is sensitive, Dr.”

“Well it should be! HAHAHAHAHAHA! There are nerves in there! Heheheheh”

See, I thought that when one got a root canal, all the roots were drilled out in a pulpy mess. Looking at myself in the mirror during hour 2, solidified that assumption; there was blood and junk everywhere. I was puzzled, but starting to feel ignorant in the Land of Toothy so I didn’t say anything.

I should have.

Maybe sometimes they leave bits of nerve in, maybe? I don’t know. Any dentists out there care to weigh in? I trust, I trust. Surely he must know what he’s doing. I’m locked in this chair, I have to trust the man. He won’t kill me. I’ll get over it. I won the battle for my wisdom tooth, didn’t I?

So we begin. Permanent crown #1 is shoved into the gaping gum hole. Ew. Feels big. He’s a doctor, he knows what he’s doing, he just has to shove more. Here comes permanent crown #2 pressed into action. They don’t fit. Out they come. In comes a drill. He’s drilling my existing enamel. No pain in gum hole #1. Good, good. AHHHHHHHHHHHH. PAIN IN 2! PAIN IN 2! PAIN IN 2!

“Sorry sorry.” He keeps drilling. I’m gripping the arms of the chair, my heart starts racing, I start sweating. Don't they give Novocaine for this? My breathing becomes shallowed. Crowns violate my gum holes again. “Bite.” Eff. Even I can tell they are freakishly big. WTF?

Not. The. Effing. Drill. Again.

More filing of my nervy tooth hole #2. My body arches slightly. “Sorry sorry”. He stops. He starts filing down (what I have been told are called) the opposing teeth; the bottom teeth. He is taking what little good enamel I have left in my mouth and is sanding it down. Sure, hell, eff, I don’t need that. Just give me some muthereffing drugs now you effing wad of…., I shriek in my head, as I cling to the hope that it won’t be much longer.

More shoving. More biting on some magic piece of plastic. More filing of good enamel. He’s staying away from nerve hole #2 now. More shoving. More biting. It still feels mammoth in my gum but I no longer care. More opposing teeth drilling. It fits, the bite feels funny, just let me go let me go let me go. Cement was applied, I bite once more on an antiseptic tasting piece of gauze. “Back in five minutes,” toots the glib little eff.

I’m clammy by this time and shaking just a little. I try to focus on a magazine. A very very nice hygienist comes in, “Do you want a motrin?” “No, I have some in my purse from last time, thanks.” Of course, I didn’t quite articulate that as nicely in the chair as that reads. “OK” She looked a little sad. She was there when my body had arched.

She watched me as I gathered my things. Before I left, she bid me a cheery farewell, and was holding 800 mgs of motrin and a glass of water in her hand. “Here we have lots of extras.” God Bless her. I think she knew.

It was all business after that with Dr. Dentist; an urging for me to get that back tooth extracted. A tooth, which mind you, has been quite broken for 12 years and hasn’t caused me a day’s worth of trouble. “You don’t want to swell up again. Heheheheheh.”

Eff stick. It wasn’t the effing wisdom tooth the last time you effing crap hole.

Oh my. I might have to go to confession again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Bee Gees Song of the Day: I Started a Joke

I started a joke, which started the whole world crying,
But I didnt see that the joke was on me, oh no.
I started to cry, which started the whole world laughing,
Oh, if Id only seen that the joke was on me.

Some days, it’s just hard to get up.

I don’t know if I’m exhibiting signs of depression or if it’s my age, but I just can’t sleep well lately.

I’m pretty sure it’s my age. Sigh* I've been knocking off between 8pm and 9pm, and waking up between 3am and 5am. Mostly at 3:30 am. I'm pretty much up for the day.

I'm feeling better now than I did when I woke up. I received an email from a friend who lives on the other side of the world – HER work day was nearly ended. At 5am, I was bitter. Mine was just starting, and not particularly well.

Parenthetically, I’m never sure if I should be jealous of the fact that she lives in a time zone that is 13 hours ahead of mine. For example, when she goes to work on Monday morning, I have my pajamas on and I’m just settling in to watch “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with my daughter on Sunday night.

But her weekend comes before mine. It all evens out I suppose.

My cheerful Filipina friend sent me a perky email. I could only respond to her cheeriness with "uhnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn". It was as articulate as I could be. There are days I wish I drank caffeine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


This has moved me like little else. Never underestimate someone by their look of their innocence. Ever.

You should hear him sing REM's "Love Hurts" in Italian.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More Jang Hyuk and a Movie

Bee Gees Song of the Day: Run to Me

Run to me whenever you're lonely. (to love me)
Run to me if you need a shoulder
Now and then, you need someone older,
so darling, you run to me.

Earlier this month, I reviewed "Thank You", a Korean Drama full of romance and pathos. I liked it a lot at the time and gave it a 92 on the scorecard.

Since then, I spent some time in the dentist's chair and have had a couple of pretty painful days and while recuperating, decided to re-watch this series. It was showing on AZN and the translation was better than my dvds. I was captivated by Jang Hyuk all over again.

I found and watched one of his earlier series, "Bright Girl's Success Story". Unfortunately, I was so
disappointed, I'm not even going to review it. The most notable thing was it had a Love Angle of 6 - what do you call a shape with 6 sides? I don't even know. It's the math.

Anyway, I will say that in the two and a half years Jang was in the mandatory Korean military he matured...and nicely. I don't know if he took his critics to heart, but his acting is infinitely more refined and moving in TY. I'm planning on watching a few of his movies - "Windstruck" and "Volcano High" just to continue my comparison. It won't hurt if I get a beefcake shot out of it either. :)

I don't know how popular his singing is in Korea, but I watched two of his music videos and found them entertaining. He's got a wonderful searing look...very intense and focused. You just want a guy to look at you like that.

Hyuk Hyuk (as my friend and I call him) is currently filming a movie with Fann Wong (HA! Of "Heroes in Black" fame...she's been in much more mainstream stuff - like "Shanghai Nights") called "Dance of the Dragon". Am looking forward to it.

I also re-watched "The Lakehouse". I just love that movie. When I realized that it was a remake of a 2000 Korean movie called "Il Mare", I had to see the Korean version. "Il Mare" was more beautifully and artistically filmed than "The Lakehouse", but "The Lakehouse" had a better payoff in the end. I love the tension between Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. At the end of "Il Mare" our male protagonist meets his love before she knows who he is, has her letters in his hand and asks her indulgence in believing a magical tale.

I prefer the hot kiss at the end of "The Lakehouse".

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Dentist

Bee Gees Song of the Day: I Could Not Love You More

Here you are, owner of my heart
Just the way that love should be
And there is something I must say to you
If you promise to believe
That it's you I'm living for
And I could not love you more

Went to the dentist today. nnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Six x-rays, 5 other patients, 4 shots of Novocaine, 3 hours in the chair, 2 root canals, 1 temporary crown, and $0 in copays for ibuprofen and vicodin. I don't feel witty enough to make any sort of partridge in a pear tree reference.

My cheek is swollen, my lips are puffy, my gums certainly feel strange, and I'm waiting to see if there is any pain once the meds wear off. I'm hoping its manageable.

It will be interesting to see how I do on my all day Marian retreat tomorrow.

Today's visit was {relatively} painless. A few uncomfortable moments - like the first 3 shots of Novocaine, lots of numbification juice drizzled into my mouth. "Cah I wihs gis aw?" "Of course, you may rinse that out, go right ahead." I hadn't had breakfast and the sour taste of the Novocaine overwhelmed. I started to gag. Dontthrowupdonthrowupdonthrowup. I didn't. Phew.

Don't get me wrong; the doctor and his staff were really top notch. 11 years ago when I had to get another double root canal - same teeth, different side of my mouth - it took 4 visits, and hours sitting in a chair listening to the little fella talk about NPR and the X-Files. I'm not a fan of NPR, and he clearly was not the XFiles aficionado that I was, so our talks were not that robust.

The hygienist today was great fun to talk with; we waxed on about the relative merits of Phil Collins on his own versus his work with Genesis, Sting and the evolution of his craft over time, Owen Wilson, Halle Barry, Rosie O'Donnell, Barbara Walters, Ellen Degeneres, Bruce Willis, Britney Spears, XM Satellite radio, and scented face wipes. They have little towelettes brimming with lemony goodness now, were you aware? Makes wiping all the blood spatter off your face remarkably pleasant.

I go back in 2 weeks and have my permanent crown installed. Visit three will afford me the untold delights of experiencing wisdom tooth extraction for the first time. My hygienist had given me homework ~ I'm to watch the movie "Perfect Strangers" with Halle Barry and Bruce Willis. I will be tested. I may require her to watch "My Name Is Kim Sam Soon" - my favorite k-drama series of all time. It's not an even trade, but I think I deserve some recompense.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Singing in the Rain

I heard this song twice this week and decided Dame Fate demanded I post.

I smile when I see this dance number. And I don't know what makes me smile more ~ the sheer joy in the beauty of the art, the fact that Gene Kelly was a competitive perfectionist sonovabi*tch and you would never know it from this clip, or that it reminds me of when I was four years old running out in the rain in a little red bikini with big white buttons, screaming with my cousins and my siblings their first visit of the summer at our Gramma's house.

In the end, it doesn't matter. The song and the dance and the memories make me happy.


Bee Gees Song of the Day: Words

in everlasting words
and dedicate them all to me
And I
will give you all my life
I'm here if you should call to me
You think
That I don't even mean
A single word I say
It's only Words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away.
Ahhhhh, and here they are. Ladies and Gentlemen...the Bee Gees. For anyone too young to know, Barry is in blue and is singing. Barry's the one with the flipped up collar and the cravat-like tie...and if it was meant to make middle aged women wonder what he looked like with nothing but the tie on? It's working. He's beautiful.

Ohh, look, here's our Maurice sporting a lovely green polyester leisure suit while Robin sits at the piano in his red glory grinning goofiliciously into the camera. No. No one gives a shite about the other 2 guys.

I don't care. It's the Bee Gees. And I was four years old when this was filmed. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where I Was

I lived near Albany, NY at the time and I was alone at work in our little two-office suite. My colleagues had traveled the evening before to Buffalo, NY for a client event. I remember getting an email from a list that I was on that said one of the Twin Towers had been hit. I went downstairs to the little Deli to see what happened. There were a few people milling around looking for the news. Dotty had it on NBC, I can still hear Katie Couric and Matt Lauer reporting and the video feed just rolling over and over and over showing the first plane hitting while sense was trying to be made.

And then the second one hit. This was no accident.

I ran back upstairs and called my cousin who worked in D.C. I reached her immediately. Since no one was sure what was going on, we kept it short; she was ok, her family was OK. We were all ok. After the airplane hit the Pentagon, she called me again to assure me that the whole family was safe.

I called my Mom to let her know that her brother, Don, was not in harm’s way at all. I remember hearing the relief in her voice. Then I said “Happy Birthday Mom”. We both laughed a little; still tense, not knowing. All the reports coming in of other planes that could not be accounted for, other potential hijackings. Then Flight 93 hit that field in Pennsylvania, and I read on line the speculation.

I knew my kids were safe; and ascertained that my work colleagues were ok. They couldn’t fly home and somehow they found a car, stuffed to the brim with people wanting to get home and started driving. When I got home, all I could do was watch the news, watching the different angles of the towers being hit, the smoke along the skyline from the view at the Statue of Liberty. The kids asked me if we were going to be ok. I may have breached some critical parental etiquette, but I said, “I don’t know.” I did assure them that no matter what happened, we would be together. Must have made them feel better because they all went off in their own directions to play – ride bicycles outside, play some online video game, go to their friend’s house. My attempts to keep them with me, to teach them that they were involved in a monumental act of terrorism that they would remember the rest of their lives, well, didn’t quite hit home.

Maybe that meant I did a good job with them; that they felt safe and secure and they didn’t need to focus on the horror. Uhhh, no. More like, they were kids, not grasping the import. Moving on to something more fun and interesting. God Bless them. To be that young again.

I stayed up all night, fitful bouts of slumber. I cried a lot. The images of people jumping from the buildings, dust covered New Yorkers running in terror. Firefighters and policemen doing whatever they could. I just kept crying at it all.

I was affected, certainly, but not as much as some. I didn’t lose anyone. I will never forget that horrible silence outside. Birds don’t chirp so much in September; the hum of the bugs outside seemed to simply punctuate the silence in the air. Like when your refrigerator motor shuts off; you don’t hear the noise until you can’t hear it anymore.

Time moves forward; there is work to do, bills to pay, divorces to finalize. Life is always stronger than death and people forget that they got on their knees and prayed, that they hugged their kids, or that politicians stood on steps and sang together – even Hillary, though she looked none too pleased about it.

I hope I don’t forget what was most important to me that day. It wasn’t work, or the bills. It was my children, my family and my God. I should let all of them know again today, like I did six years ago, that I love them.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Little Lacie of the Enormous Brain

Bee Gees Song of the Day: Alive

I ain't lost and I ain't searching.
But then you know me very well.
And I can't change the wind and make it blow the other way.
I'm a fool and I can tell .

My friend Lacie has this ginormous brain; so big, it oozes out of her skull. Lacie is this teeny four-foot-something “Tixan” (Texan for the right-speaking people of the world) and I tower over her at 5’2”. My first signal that she wasn’t quite right was within hours of meeting her eight years ago and she commented on my “Tinnis shews” (Sneakers, again for the right-speaking people).

I joke, but my friend has a condition called a chiari. Simply put, as I said, she has a bit o’brain sticking out from the bottom of her skull. She made me aware of it almost as soon as she was diagnosed. I’ve seen pictures and she has allowed me inside her year-long struggle with the progression of her condition, the fights with her insurance company, and the requirements that she get second, third and fourth opinions from hot-winded upstate New York neurosurgeons who think their name is spelled g-o-d. Jerks.

She’s facing brain surgery, if the scum-sucking bottom-dwelling pieces of sh*t at her insurance company will approve it already. Eff-sticks. Give me a phone, and get me the address to the New York State Attorney General, the Albany Times Union, and the NYS Insurance Department. A strongly worded letter will be sent to the Insurance Company Eff Sticks (and I work in the industry, can you imagine??) with cc’s to everyone that matters.

Lace won’t let me.

Interesting the individuals we meet on our path. Eight years ago, after cruelly mocking her twang and posting a vocabulary lesson outside my cube, we found out we both had an inordinate affection for the X-Files and soon discovered that we were kindred souls. Lace came to my house and saw dead people, I went to hers and hung out. (Dead people apparently shun me, though my house was teeming with them, they chose not to reveal themselves to me.)

When I went through one of the most difficult periods of my life ~ my separation and subsequent divorce ~ I tried, but was unsuccessful at keeping my anguish in. I didn’t say a whole lot in the office, and without a word, every few days or so, a beautiful biblical passage would wind up on my desk before I got in the office in the morning. Lacie knew I was in pain, wasn’t going to intrude, but she was there with her unspoken support. It was invaluable. In her uniquely beautiful and creative way, she made me collages, printed out pictures of Duchovny, made cards; anything to make me smile and let me know she loved me.

I live 400 miles away now, but it doesn’t stop us. We chat nearly every day. I rejoice with her on her good days and pray for her on her bad days. I’ve taken her to task for running/jogging/walking when her doctors have told her to cease and desist, but I encourage her freedom of spirit at the same time. She knows my most obsessive secrets and she delights in them. She’ll tell me I’m weird, but she makes it sound like a good thing.

She has even taken my dvds of “Emperor of the Sea” with Song Il Guk and hopes to watch it some day. That’s my definition of friend, right there.

More importantly, as she faces an enemy that would make me want to shrink inside myself (not the insurance company, but you can insert that here if you like, the stinking *&^% $#@!+* pond scum), she meets it head on with a strength, courage and profession of faith that astounds me. She stumbles, but gets back up. She sees hope in all things and rejoices. She feels comforted and strengthened in her weakness.

I am humbled by her in every way. I just wish I could do more.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Geek

Bee Gees Song of the Day: Emotion

It's just emotion that's taken me over
Tied up in sorrow, lost in my soul
The last halcyon days at the beach were as the others before it. The air was warm, the days filled with sun, cards were played, waves were ridden, sand offended.

What did I learn? I learned that ocean water stings your eyes and throat and makes you feel sick if you accidentally swallow it. I learned that breaking into a house is easy and that teenagers are very resourceful in its execution. I realized that, lovely as an ocean-front cottage is, that I’m more a lake house person. I’d far rather hear birds in the morning and the gentle lap of water than the unrelenting and omni-present crashing of waves on the surf. Mostly, though, I learned that for me, vacation is wherever my children are. They are my heaven and I am happiest when I am with them.

Ahhhh, but everyone learned lessons at the beach this year. My companions learned something about me, though I suspect they already knew it.

I’m a geek.

I think I keep that side of my personality in check pretty well. I simply have a variety of interests and am conversant on many topics. That’s what I tell myself, anyway. I might not be able to dazzle anyone with my politics, but I can make a few intelligent remarks on occasion. I read the headlines and can hold my own. I don’t know art, but I know what I like. On some subjects though, I realize I can be annoying with my in depth knowledge and I work hard to be subtle on those topics.

But when alcohol has been introduced in nearly infinite abundance, one’s social monitor can become skewed.

The first instance happened Monday evening. The night of a thousand sangrias. We were playing “Scene It!” and the question to the opposing team was, “What was the official title of the fourth episode of Star Wars?”

“They get all the EASY questions.” I grumbled. But when they hadn’t answered it in seven seconds, I realized that they didn’t know it. Fools. FOOLS! I mocked them for their ignorance. Like Glenn Close in “The Natural” I stood up, certain the light of knowledge was shining through me, the amazing “Lady in White” come to shed the warmth of her wisdom on the cold, damp misery of the damned. Time ran out. I could hear a host of God’s angels singing behind me as I announced, “A New Hope!” I sat down. We didn’t move forward on the game board with my brilliance (I rarely do on the game board of life either), but I was secure in the fact that I was amazing. Yes, I noted the eye rolls. The whispered comments; the sneers.

The ignorant are so sad.

The evening wasn’t over though. No no, not by a long shot. Later in the game, the opposing team was unfortunate enough to draw yet another Star Wars question. I lit up. “What planet did Luke go to to see Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back”?”

I stood up again. The opposing team groaned. Everyone groaned. Hell, I think even the angels were tired of my obnoxious behavior. I waited to see if time would run out…it did. I not only knew the answer, I quoted Luke, “That’s right R2. We’re going to the Dagobah system.”

Senator Palpatine, Endor, “Dantooine, they’re on Dantooine”, “I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board”, Mos Eisley, Biggs, womp rats back home. Go ahead, ask me a question.

Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Lost, the Zodiac serial killer…I have been immersed. I can frighten you with my knowledge of XPhilia. These things don’t often come up in conversation, but when they do, well, let’s just say I know a little bit. But I had not achieved my crowning glory. No, not yet.

It was the final night of vacation; the last hurrah. Cranium was introduced to the crowd. Four teams were chosen. Happily, this evening, my recreational beverage consumption was quite conservative. I was calm, coherent and perfectly sober. My team mates were my cousins Kathryn and Daniel.

We were fortunate right out of the gate to enjoy a series of questions that we answered quickly and accurately. I only state fact when I tell you that in no time, we were up in the “cranium” working on a win. But harsh Dame Experience has taught me true; nothing is secure in this world. I’ve been in the brain first too many times and still lost. We could not be smug.

Another team made it to the cranium. The race was on. We had one category to go; Data Head. I hate the data head questions. Too much like math. We missed twice. To come so close, the searing pain of competition burned in my gut. How could I face myself tomorrow, how could we lose when we had been so far ahead?

It was our turn to go. The question was pulled from that awful red box of hateful hateful data. It was multiple choice. Colleen read, “Name the language shown below.”

It was my moment of glory. The sweet music of success played in a crescendo all about me. My team turned to me. As if in slow motion, I took the card from Colleen’s hand. Meg looked over Colleen's shoulder, shriveled inside herself and walked away. She knew. She knew the game was over. My obsession of the last ten months had finally paid off.

It was Korean.

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