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Your Guts and Your Gums

We all have those doctor’s appointments we wish we could skip. Not many things make me cringe as much as going to the dentist. Even my annual lady’s appointment is a walk in the park compared to the dentist for me. My teeth are extremely sensitive and I just about nearly come up out of the chair when they try to clean my teeth and go poking around. The dentist is the worst doctor’s appointment ever – of course I say that before having had my first mammogram (coming up next month), so I reserve the right to change that statement at a later date.

I can take the optometrist poking me and blowing puffs of air in my eye – no problem. The gynecologist and his partner in crime, the speculum – piece of cake.  The endocrinologist sticking me with needles to get blood samples is fine. The cardiologist and those sticky EKG thingies…But put me in a dentist’s  chair and I freak out a bit. My mouth gets dry and my palms get sweaty.

And this morning I had my first dental appointment in many years (let’s not say just how long…). I had a bad feeling from the moment I walked in, but just that it was me being anxious. I got into the chair and told them to put me on the gas.

And then the bomb was dropped.

They didn’t have the gas. WHAT?!? What kind of dentist does not have the gas? The gas is the best part of the appointment and the only thing that keeps me in the chair and not running out of the office screaming.

This was not good news.  A dentist visit with no gas? Nothing to dull the pain of them poking, picking, pulling, pounding, sucking and pushing?? I tried to swallow but my mouth was too dry. My mind was racing and my heart was bouncing between my throat and my stomach. I knew I was in trouble when the technician looks at me and says, “When this hurts, just remember I am not being mean, it just may be uncomfortable. “

Excuse me? I laughed nervously and barely was able to say that that statement was not very re-assuring.

Why the heck would you say that to someone who is visible about to fall apart in the chair?????

After about 30 x-rays, chomping down on whatever-thing-that’s-way-too-big-for-my-mouth, it was time for the dentist. She steps in and I realized that I really had to pee.

After a brief discussion about how long it had been since my last visit (all of the sudden I felt very Catholic, and like I was saying how long it had been since confession). After a bit of poking she announced just how bad my teeth were and proceeded to try to sell me all kinds of procedures. Not just your garden variety root canal either…I mean the high dollar stuff. It’s been a while since my last visit, but I do know I have good teeth and do not need $25,000 worth of dental stuff. If they want patients to agree to such things, they really need to have the gas.

Needless to say I got out of there as fast as my non-nitrosed bum could go. I just had a bad feeling about it from the start, and when I checked them online  – which I should have done before hand – they were known for “selling” their services when not needed. They have many complaints against them.

And now…I have an appointment at a reputable dentist, who does sedation dentistry. I go in, I go to sleep, I wake up and it’s all done. Shame we can’t have all of our doctor’s appointments like that.

The moral of the story? Always trust your gut feeling, whether it’s about a dentist, a date, a job, a co-worker, whatever. Your guts are good to you. That little voice that warns you of those red flags…listen to it.

Now, excuse me while I pass the gas mask…

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The Lesson of Driving

I have been given the task of teaching my nephew how to drive.  Well actually, his grandmother (my Mom) taught him the basics, I just have to make sure he has expereince in traffic so he can get his liscense and not wreck when he starts driving. Sounds simple.

I am not sure how my parents managed to teach us how to drive and still have a liver left. My nephew has done very well, and yet by the time the lesson is over, the only thing I want to do is go to the liquer cabinet and pour something straight, forget the rocks.

Maybe it’s because it’s my new car that is being driven. Maybe because it’s my car. Maybe because I am old and drive like an old person. Maybe because I understand just how fragile life is and how in a second everything can change.  Maybe I need to drink before the driving lesson. But being the driving instructor scares the crap out of me.

The key to being a good and successful driving instructor is to let ever let the student know that you are scared. And no yelling. Ever. The last thing my nephew, or any young person learning to drive, needs is to hear me yelling “STOP!!’ or “TURN Here Now!!” The poor kind would have a heart attack and kill us both. I have found that a calm instructor makes a calm student.  And most of the time it is fine, as he is very good student. But in those moments when he does what all young drivers do…I take a deep breath, find something to hold onto, press my foot hard against the floor (like that makes him press the breaks faster??) close my eyes and say nothing. When we get home, that is the time to tell him, that the proper way to handle that next time.

I have to say that I am proud of him, driving now. We drove last night at dusk, in the rain, with quite a bit of traffic. He did good.

So we drive around the neighborhood. We go to the grocerystore and the post office. We drive to d whatever arrends need to be done. And at the end, he learns to drive, I enjoy and nice tall one and we both have a sense that we have accomplished something.

and that is what is important.

The Fog Has Lifted

It settled down like an unwelcome uninvited fog. It started about three weeks ago and stayed, thick, heavy tangible and low.  It felt awful. It left a residue. And now, slowly, it has lifted, leaving behind clear skies and fresh air. It was a bit of a funk. And everyone goes through the funk a bit, even when we have the best or most perfect lives.

In reality, there is no reason to be blue – my father is doing much better, my sister has a great job, my nephew is going back to school in a few weeks, I have a new car that I love, a wonderful man I am dating, I have wonderful friends and life, in general, is good.

But I was sluggish, just wanted to sleep, I even cried quite a bit. I just felt…Bleh.

And sometimes that’s how it goes. Even happy people get the blues sometimes. Even those, who seem to have everything in order have bad days…even bad weeks.

So how do you get out of the Bleh’s? I don’t rightly know. Some people get super social, some get super introverted and just want to be left alone. Some people throw themselves into work, others go hiking, biking, workout, work in a shop, go shopping or just drink. What do I do? A combination. Sometimes I like to be left alone, take a quiet walk. Sometimes I want to be around my friends and enjoy their stories and laughter. Other times I want to just put my head down and work, sometimes I have a drink (or three) and sometimes I want to be held.

All of this has helped me get out of Blahville. These things a long with a new experience. I worked in a workshop this past weekend with the man I am dating. We built shelves for his home. We went and got the wood, then I watched as he methodically measured and cut the pieces with the saws and power tools. I helped as much as I could, but I was entranced by the method of creating something out of noting but a few pieces of wood. After helping him, I was assigned my tasks – to sand and to stain.

So I took the sander as I was instructed, and I concentrated on nothing else but the wood, the sanding, feeling of the machine in my hands and the texture. It was slow, purposeful and planned. Then there was the staining. I had never stained before. So the trick is to get all the stain on evenly…with no finger prints or darker stains. That may not sound like a big deal, but to a clumsy Pinktank like me…it can be a bit of a challenge. Actually, I am not sure which I am most proud of – the fact that i did a great stain job, or the fact that I managed to NOT trip, fall, stumble, foible, wobble, dribble, drop, spill or break anything in the shop. That in itself took great effort and concentration.

But I great stain job I did accomplish. And as I was staining, it came to me, that in everything there is a methods, there is a process and we must be patient and allow life to takes it’s time, dry and develop. And it came to me also, that I am in this place in life. I am used to running, doing, working and accomplishing. Now is the time to let the methods of life unfold. To let the processes take place. And to just let it happen as it will.

It is amazing how much stress and pressure that can take off a person.

You have to have patience. Work hard, play hard, love hard. But know when to take a step back and let life unfold on its own.

Admit It

Ok I admit it. I have a bit of writer block.Those are two ugly words. especially for a writer. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about really, it’s that I kind of get the feeling that I have written about it all before. What do I have to say that is new? fresh? Inspiring? Hmmmm.

I could write about painting my nails tonight and how great it is to be a girl. How we get to have all the fun. Maybe I could write about buying a new car, and how it is easier than I thought it would be. I really did think I was going to have to go through a Spanish style inquisition requiring detailed explanations about  my credit, income, tax returns, my pets names, blood type, shoe size, the secret recipe that makes my meatloaf to die for good (I will never tell!). Or how I have become one of those people who obsesses about their car, washes it all the time and parks in the furthest parking spot. (I have not resorted to taking up two spaces…but it’s not Christmas at the mall yet either).

Maybe I could write about what it is like to be a writer and search for corporate contracts. How to deal with contracting agencies, how to be a contractor, how to send out a ridiculous amount of resumes and such per day. How to stay focused and not get discouraged or terrified when thinking about bills (alcohol helps. So does yoga. Oh wait, I don’t do yoga…)

Or maybe a nice piece on housecleaning – how I am scared to look under my bed and the fact that the dust bunnies are at war with the hair balls from the cats. Or how about the fact that I am fostering cats for a wonderful animal rescue? Maybe the fact that I am swimmingly happy and enjoying the wonderfulness of a romance that makes my knees weak?

There is always writing about what to do in the rain, how to build an arc, the importance of taking swimming lessons (along with explaining why it is perfectly normal for a woman to have 10 pairs of black pumps – because we NEED them). I recently organized my shoes. That was a huge undertaking. I could always write about living with my sister…and the many laughs we have (who would have thought we could get along for this long and not kill each other??).

And then there’s politics! Nothing gets people talking more than voicing your political opinion. Gun control, Bengazi, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, Fast and the Furious scandal, the $100 million vacation scandal, healthcare, {fill in the name of the latest scandal here}.

Yes, I suppose those, and many more things, could be topics of writing.

And yet, nothing seems to strike my fancy. No wise words to impart.

But sometimes that is what happens when we go and go and go in life. At some point, we must rest and refill. We must take pause and take a moment before we have anything to give to the world. Sometimes we must hide away. Call it writers block, or taking a break, or being an introvert, or…whatever you like. But sometimes it is necessary to just breathe…in…and….out. To relax. To have nothing to do. But live life.

And so tonight I sit, at the computer typing. But ony after I have enjoyed my favorite TV show, some coffee, watching lighting dance across the sky. Only after spending time with my family and pets, and catching up with friends. And only after living and breathing. Yes, life is refilling me, nurturing my soul and gently rocking to sleep, dreaming of that which I can write. Later.

Adventures in Travel

When you are a clumsy girl, you have many adventures while traveling. Not just normal, fun, coll adventures that often come with traveling. The kind of adventures that make you laugh later, because they are “sitcom moments,” those moments you know cannot really be happening in your own life, because they only happen on TV sitcoms.

Traveling to one of my best friends weddings was no exception. Getting to the plane was not a problem, getting ont he plane however, proved to be a little more difficult.  It all started when I got to the Atlanta airport and the security line was stretched out way past the normal security area into the atrium. Those who are familiar with the airport here no it is huge, so for the line to be stretched out that far is quite significant. Over an hour to get through security because TSA was short staffed.

Meanwhile, another of my best friends who was already at the gate was frantically texting em – where are ? They are boarding the plane, how much longer?

After the 75 minutes it took to get through security, I ran to the tram that takes you to the concourse. Just a tip: When you take your shoes off in the airport tram, you get a lot of strange looks. But I was on a mission. The doors to the flight were closing at 1:50. It was 1:46. I have 4 minutes to make it to the gate and on the flight.

When the door to the tram opened, I was an Olympic runner ready to win the gold. My shoes were off, my roller bag behind me in my right hand, my purse firmly in my left. I shot out of the tram with the speed only Superman could comprehend. I ran as fast as I could down the long hallway leading to the concourse gate. Then I looked up only to realize that I was going the wrong way, away from the gate I needed.

Frantically I turned around. If the story ended there, it would be funny enough, but what followed is truly a sitcom moment for the ages.

I ran as fast as I could the other way, toward the gate. I had quite a bit of distance to make up, and only 2 minutes to get there to the plane for take off. So I ran, just life Flock of Seagulls (80’s song reference) as fast as I could. And I realized just how out of shape I am.

Have you ever been running and had your legs start moving faster than the rest of you? Well that is what happened to me. It happened in slow motion, as most of my falls do. I could feel my legs moving faster, feel my body start pitching forward as I desperately tried to correct it. It was no use. Down I went, flailing limbs going everywhere.

But it was not just a fall, no, it was a slide. I was going so fast, that the fall did not stop when I was down. I could have slid right into home base. My knees hit first, then my stomach, then my hands. As I slid, my bracelet dug into the palm of my hand. A huge bruise was already starting to form on my knees. Thank goodness the dress for the wedding was a long one.

When I finally stopped sliding, my bag was about 7 feet behind me, my watch that had been slung off, was 3 feet in front of me. I got up, looked around to see if anyone saw me, and to my great relief, there was no one around. Again, this is substantial, because for the first time in my life, there was not a super hot, body from the Greek gods man around seeing my display of clumsiness.

Once up the sprint continued. Finally at the gate counter, I just about collapsed and was trying to speak when the gentleman looked at me and said very matter of factly – “You’re too late. They already closed to door.”

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My jaw dropped and had I been able to speak instead of panting for breath, I would have said something charming to make him open the door. 5 minutes later, when I caught my breath and could speak, the moment had passed. During that time, the man who was there in front of me was yelling that they closed to door to the plane in his face, and about 23 other people who had been stuck in security were now at the counter, yelling and very upset because the door was closed and they would not open it for them either.

The relief that washed over me when I realized at least I was not the only one who was missing the flight, quickly disappeared when the airport staff told all of us that no, they still would not open the doors. it was not a good moment.

The situation continued for about 30 minutes, with more calls to customer service being called each minute. The things that was the most infuriating was that the plane was supposed to take off at 2pm…it was 2:20, and the flight had not left. the plane was right there, at the gate, not moving, not leaving, and they still would not open the door to let 25 passengers on. Many were screaming at ucstopmer service from their phones. I walked away, and got on the phone to customer service my self.

This is where a Southern Accent comes in handy. I calmly explained what happened and that they were going to get a lot of angry calls because so many were left off the plane, that had not left yet. My particular situation was that my best friend was getting married on the morning and could they PLEASE help me get on any flight that could get me there. – Oh and BTW, I overheard someone say that they worked for CNN and were calling this into the news. So just FYI, they might want to inform someone before it was on the national news. The lady asked if she could put me on hold while she talked to her supervisor.

A few minutes later they opened the door and let us all on the flight.

I had a nice stiff drink on the flight. Sitcom moments and adventures in travel. Somehow, I never to seem to leave home without them.

All in the Family

My house has been taken over by my family. And cats.  It’s like a whirlwind/tornado when my family comes to visit. It’s not like in the movies, where you open the doors and there are calm, sweet hugs and kisses. There are hugs and kisses yes, but then there is the unloading. The unloading of the van is like a race, it must be fun fast and furious, before anyone sits down or catches up. While this may not seem like anything substantial, it is quite the event because my parents pack for just in case – of a nuclear war, of a famine, of a mass communication outage or power failure.

There will be many coolers worth of food (they feel bad for making me cook and provide sustenance, so they bring a lot of their own). Meats, breads, cheeses, wine, filtered water, fruits, vegetables and a whole smorgasbord of home made, home cooked yummy goodness. Even fresh canned treasures from their own garden. There is more food than can possibly be imagined, and my mother immediately starts organize the treasure on the cupboard, refrigerator and freezer with such precision, talent and concentration, one can only stand back in awe and watch the master at work.

Next will be all of Dad’s electronics. My father is a professional engineer, and truly believes that having every gadget known to man-kind is a must. And so he travels with the Garmin, his laptop and several things I have no clue as to their purpose, but they have a lot of chords. And parts. And little lights. And sometimes they make noise. I try not to go near where ever his treasure of electronics are, as I am a clumsy disaster waiting to happen, especially after a few glasses of wine.

All the bedding is next. Blankets, sheets and more pillows than anyone should be legally allowed to own. There is no shortage of pillows at my house, however, they like their own and want to make sure they are comfortable sleeping. Don’t you hate it when you sleep at someone else’s house, and it’s not YOUR pillow? And you can’t get comfortable. And it smells different. And then you wake up the next day with a sore neck? Smart people travel with their own pillows.

My wonderful parents also always bring lots of things for me . And the house, or garden, the laundry, the garage, or just because you might find a way to use it, stuff. It’s like Christmas, but better because you didn’t have to spend any money on gifts. Or wondering what to get people who already have everything. (Monogrammed golf shirt? Dad doesn’t play golf. That new fangled, gotta have it, only available for a limited time, can’t find in stores, so call now and get free steak knives too, kitchen gadget? Mom already has it.  A nose hair trimmer? Now, that’s just tacky).

After all of this, two very small, almost dainty, overnight bags are unloaded, containing toiletries on clothes. NO matter how long they are gone, a weekend or a month, somehow everything they will use, wear or need fits in those little bags. I swear they have no bottom, like going to see David Copperfield and he pulls a 10 foot pole out of a two-inch hat? Yes, just like that. It really is amazing to see everything they fit into those bags.

After everything is unloaded, organized and put in the proper place, everyone sits down and starts to catch up. Coffee is poured (unless it’s after 5, then it’s wine). There is laughter and smiles, teasing and oh so much love. we talk, tell of our latest adventures, whether in the garden or across the world and have good family time. Yes, it’s good to have family come visit.

Gardenening by the Light of the Moon, and Wine

They were in thee little pots, green and leafy, some of them already loaded down with blooms. And they needed to be planted. My sister has quite a green thumb, a gene I did not inherit. Everything I seem to try to grow ends up brown and withering, each leaf falling slowly one by one. Painful to see really.

Down here in the south it gets quite hot during they day, even now in the early spring. It is mid April and already the temperature has hit 80. So my sister and I, and her green thumb, went out to plant by the moonlight. We got the little pots of plants, our garden tools, two wine glasses and two bottles of wine. And we, two sisters, planted a garden by the moonlight.

She told me where to put the plants so that they would grow in the garden. She told me how to plant them, how deep, how to water them, and what to plant them with and next to. We dug in the dirt, talked, laughed, dug, sang, drank and planted. Two girls out in the moonlight. If our neighbors happened to see us, they would have laughed and thought we were crazy. But we had so much fun, and the result is a beautiful garden, great memories and the making of a…home.

Wine glass in the pots

Wine glass in the pots

Planted wine glass in the garden

Planted wine glass in the garden