Monday, June 17, 2019


I'm in the midst of a stepping away of sorts.  Ever since I moved to Utah I've wrestled with the question and a definitive identifier of whether or not I need to be alone or with people.  Introversion? Extroversion? I think I have both needs, but I also think living in the city, I got used to living a certain way and, regardless of my own personal needs, it was a lifestyle and in this new place it was different.  So was being around people a need? Or just something i'd gotten used to?  I think both but that's always made it difficult for me find the answer i'm looking for. (We moved almost five years ago and in case you're skeptical, yes, I'm still adjusting to living here.)

So, recently I realized I'm really tired.  Tired of making things happen, tired of searching for the meaning in each and every thing or interaction.  Tired of organizing, hosting, planning, proposing. Tired of being afraid that if I'm in my house for a certain length of time, only bad things happen.   I spent the first couple of years here seeking outward. Of course I was very comfortable with all the inward business.  Being alone, knowing who I am or am trying to be.  Introspection. These are familiar places.  But the social aspect was a puzzle, and with a lot of confusing pieces.  Who, how, what exactly.  Another challenge was that I had left my tribe and adopted myself into another, but was there really a place for me here? Could I force anything to happen? Should I?

It's all very complicated but the answer I've come to of late, at least to that last question, is no.  I don't want to force it.  I'm tired and I need a break.  In all kinds of ways.  For example, I'm putting some distance between me and Facebook.  I realized I don't want to really know that much about my neighbors whereas when I first moved here I was desperate for that feeling of community and connectedness.

I really appreciate good friends but I've decided not to put so much pressure on myself to make things happen with them.  People are busy and life is complex, and so are friendships, for that matter.  I'm simplifying by removing any sense of obligation from my hands when I feel it doesn't procure for myself much reward.  I suppose you could call this the plight of the introvert- they love social interactions but it can be very draining, depending on the circumstance.  I've found that my required circumstances are quite particular these days.  I've always been very selfish in that, in general, if it doesn't benefit me, I mostly stay away. I'm not a pleaser, in other words, except for my own self. I try to be a giver, when I can, and I've learned a lot from self-sacrifice. But lately I guess I'm just garnering less and less pleasure from unnecessary things, so I'm rethinking my methods.

The other day at a family gathering, I sneezed and my sister-in-law hollered from across the way, "bless you!"  I told her that a few days before, I'd been outside and heard a neighbor sneeze. I'd been tempted to yell "bless you!" but refrained because that would reveal my presence and we agreed we like to do whatever we can to encourage, or at least not discourage neighbors from doing or saying anything that we might be able to overhear and find entertaining without their knowing.  I'm pretty sure everyone feels this way. You like to pretend no one can hear you and you hope they think we can't hear them.

As part of my self-prescribed isolation, I've been doing a lot of reading.  This winter was a doozy for me in that I think every last ounce of vitamin D in my body completely dried up.  The lack of sun was a problem. Also, the perpetual cold weather well into spring chilled me out to the max, like I found it difficult to just get WARM.  So my favorite thing to do these days is sit out in the mornings and read in the sun.  This morning I had plunged fairly deeply into an old favorite, The Hours by Michael Cunningham, which is so beautifully written, I have to retrain my brain to pause and feast on the words and consume them by piecemeal.   As I was reading about Virginia Woolf sitting down to write, I took in the following words:

At this moment there are infinite possibilities, whole hours ahead.  Her mind hums.  This morning she may penetrate the obfuscation, the clogged pipes, to reach the gold.  She can feel it inside her, an all but indescribable second self, or rather a parallel, purer self.  If she were religious, she would call it the soul. It is more than the sum of her intellect and her emotions, more than the sum of her experiences, though it runs like veins of brilliant metal through all three.  It is an inner faculty that recognizes the animating mysteries of the world because it is made of the same substance, and when she is very fortunate she is able to write directly through that faculty.  Writing in that state is the most profound satisfaction she knows, but her access to it comes and goes without warning.   She may pick up her pen and follow it with her hand as it moves across the paper; she may pick up her pen and find that she's merely herself, a woman in a housecoat holding a pen, afraid and uncertain, only mildly competent, with no idea about where to begin or what to write. 

I thought about me and about my life, what I'm doing and what I want.  I thought about this stepping away, wondering if there will every be a return or if I will continue down a different path entirely, as I continue to shift into this new lifestyle. Wondering if I've mostly only mentally stepped away, as opposed to physically.  I thought about how to reconcile my desire for isolation with my desire for adventure and stories. And I thought about Emily Dickinson with whom I've recently reconciled, as mentioned, and how she lived an isolated life with a few family members, perhaps a brother for a neighbor, and very few visitors. I thought, if she can live like that and still write good things, maybe so can I.

As I read my book and thought these thoughts, I could hear some children playing in a nearby fenced-in yard and their mother giving them instruction.  I pictured myself sitting there, hood pulled over my head to protect my neck from the sun, reading and thinking, invisible to my neighbors, my presence undisclosed to them.  I thought about my other neighbor who had sneezed and how I had enjoyed it, like I'd accidentally overheard some big secret.  I reveled in that delicious feeling of blameless eavesdropping, a super spy hidden to the whole world where no one would ever find me and I could sit in the sun and read my books and exist solely to do those two things.  And then I sneezed.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Hugs

When I was first married, I incorporated a lot of physical affection into my relationship. That sounds weird.  HUGS. I'm talking about hugging.  I got so used to having someone around to hug all the time that when I'd take solo trips to visit my family, I'd find myself having this automatic impulse to reach my arms out and needing a body to wrap them around. Which also sounds weird. But it's true. I felt a strong need to hug.  It was a little awkward being like "uhh.. I need a hug."  But fortunately my mom is a hugger and was happy to oblige.

Fast forward to now when Julian and I hug approximately 800 times a day. Basically whenever we pass each other.  A lot of the time a declaration of "I just can't stop hugging you!" or something like it accompanies.  Is it weird? Who knows.  Do I love it? Yes, I do. Also,  I read somewhere that a child needs four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth, whatever that means.  But if it's true, then Julian is not only surviving, he's thriving. He and I are both properly maintained, and growing exponentially.  Also I feel like I even more recently read that, specifically for teenagers, hugs should last at least 8 seconds.  This could get weird for some people.  It seems to far surpass the appropriate "hug break" moment and lingers into awkward territory.  I don't have a teenager so we'll see what happens but for now, the long, lingering hug is nooo problemo.   I love it and it is very good for me.  Plus Julian's entering that sweet spot height where he can just nestle into me and I don't have to bend over very much.  He's going to pass me by so fast, gosh dang.

I've had a few experiences lately where I was standing with a friend, words were exchanged (not "words," just words) and a hug window seemed to open for me and I took it by saying, "let's hug."  It felt right.  I feel the hug announcement is totally acceptable and might even be appreciated for the reluctant hugger.  It could have come in handy for me, i'll tell you. But it's an invitation and keeps me in the practice of hugging even if I'm not naturally inclined to go hugging whomever I interact with throughout my day. I don't hug everyone and the hugging window is brief and subtle, and can easily go unnoticed. But I think it's an important skill to hone and habit to perpetuate.  And I'll just keep practicing at home with a squirt who fortunately, like me, just can't get enough. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Important Things

The other day I was reading aloud to Sean from the Reader's Digest (naturally) and came to an article listing useless facts.  "We'll see," I said to myself.  Sure enough, I came across one that I found VITAL to know.  It is thus:

Apparently, the 3 longest words you can type with your left hand are:


At which Sean loudly scoffed was a waste of time and space and he was worse for knowing it. I, in turn, scoffed even louder and harder that that was because he didn't type using home row and didn't understand! He would never understand!  Also, because he's a lefty, he's probably just jealous and bitter. Finally something just for him and he can't even participate in it.

So let's all go ahead and try it.

tesseradecade--fun! I stumbled a bit.
aftercataracts- whew, that's a workout.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Someone's Day

It wasn't until I had a child that I realized motherhood wasn't really for me. When Julian was born,  all the instincts that came with this new embarkment, though present, felt foreign and not naturally me. I felt imposed upon, like I had been rewired, reprogrammed, all of a sudden. Like I just been informed I wasn't a human after all but a robot, now controlled by a tiny unassuming master. Let's see you come to terms with that new bit of info.  My body felt unfamiliar and began new functions automatically.  Could this be an upgrade? It didn't feel like it. I still wasn't super happy about realizing I wasn't who I thought.  Nothing felt normal, felt right.

The early years were rough and I realize now they were straight up traumatic. That's the funny thing about trauma. You never know it's trauma when you're in the middle of it. I had a baby with a lot of needs and was alone to meet them most of the time.  I remember someone asking me early on how I felt about being a mother. I considered it and said, "it's alright." That was the best I could do.  Because it definitely had its moments.  But I always wondered when I would feel like a mother.  It certainly wasn't when I was pregnant.  This freakish event felt so completely surreal the entire time and though I enjoyed the novelty and miraculous nature of it, I loathed the feeling of being overtaken by some tiny alien, never knowing what new mystery would reveal itself on any given day, the growing discomfort, the looming, inextinguishable fear that accompanies the unknown.  I struggled with it and, given my past experiences, wouldn't even allow myself to believe that anything viable would come of this, something to "mother."  Inconceivable. In no way was this possible, nor was tomorrow guaranteed, a lesson I have applied to my general outlook on life.  (Heck, on the same day I found out I was pregnant, I also convinced myself it was ectopic and all for naught) Preparing for it felt idiotic because I had no idea what to expect, but more than that, it just didn't feel real that this would be, in any way, a permanent fixture in my life.  So "nesting" was definitely not in the forefront (or back) of my mind at any time in my pregnancy. It made no sense to me. Sean read the books on pregnancy and breastfeeding, not me. He shopped for the supplies a baby might need and I came along, very reluctantly. It was all I could do to remain zen and cope and come to terms with it all. All I could do. So when people would refer to me as a "mama" I thought, that's funny, but no. I just have this protuberance in me that seems to be growing.  That bit of knowledge was all I could handle at the time.

It definitely wasn't in the hospital when I saw him for the first time. In fact, it took me a long time to even want to.  Is this normal for a mother? I am not sure.  During labor, I gratefully took meds and when the time came, my body pushed and I helped. He was small and taken away to be cleaned and wrapped and Sean kept asking me if I wanted to see him. "Not yet,"  I said, because grappling with the fact that something living had just come out of me was all I could handle at the time. I'm still not over it.

I didn't recognize him when I saw him. I admired him and marveled at him, but I couldn't connect him to anything other than a baby who they all told me I was to take home now.  In no way did I feel like a mother when I took him to the breastfeeding class but, as I think I've mentioned, when I looked down at him, small and sweet, I do remember thinking what an amazingly lifelike doll they had given me for this class I was apparently to take.  The technology these days, I'll tell ya. Do I remember anything else from that class? Of course not.

The instincts came in that I should be taking care of this thing, while simultaneously suffering some post-birth issues. Having expelled the master, my body then turned on me with a vengeance. To this day I untrustingly do all I can do to appease it, to just make it happy for one more day. I learned that it doesn't, actually, work for me, but the other way around.  I saw a new doctor 3 days postpartum and several times thereafter.  I was on drugs, had a week's help from my mother, bless her, and another week's help from Sean, bless him, and then my survival and that of a tiny one was left entirely in my hands.

The following weeks, months, and years were one great repeated cycle of learning and coping.  Learning how to do a thing and then having to unlearn it or adjust the learning to fit a new need.  As I said, the instincts came in but they weren't from me.    Often I would look at Sean and say, "who is this? How did he get here?"  We would joke about our new roommate taking up more than his share of the room, the rent. My friends would talk about not remembering life before kids but I did. I remembered it very well. Because this new change, though earth-shattering, was temporary. I knew it. I felt it. And I had learned to appreciate my life before when I had had it, so yes, I could remember it very well indeed.

I would hear the way other women would talk about motherhood, their attitudes and experiences. Some I shared and related to but I could never shake the feeling I harbored of being a reluctant mother.  It's how I identified myself.  Yes, I'm in this situation same as you, but it was never really supposed to happen this way, and certainly not one designed with me in mind.  And that has carried on to this very day, and I've never really met anyone who seems to feel as I do. I noticed I was a little bit different from other moms around me. They didn't speak of it the same way I did. I realized it may all have been more traumatic for me, not because of anything new or different on the part of the wee one, but because of who and what I am.  Or maybe I'm just someone who's willing to admit that though we're taught that we're supposed to love it, maybe I just don't, really. Perhaps for me, it was more about the job to do, rather than the role to fill. Having Julian grow was fantastic. Each year was better than the last.  I enjoyed him being small and chubby and adorable because he was very much those things. Watching him learn to talk and [at long last] walk.  Being there for every new thing, every thing at all.  But they were also brutal, those early years, and I said a happy sayonara to each one. 

I remember the first time I thought I felt something like a mother.  He was a couple of months old and in some discomfort.  Like a nature observer who lives and breathes a certain wildlife species, I only noticed the discomfort because I was able to compare those moments to the other 1439 minutes of the day that he and I had been in one another's presence and sense something was different, wrong.  He hadn't pooped in a while, something I'd learned was very normal with newborns, and seemed to be hurting, as anyone would.  Determined to do something about it, I laid him down on a diaper on a towel on my bed in some dim lamplight, gave him some gas meds, and held his knees up so his bum was sort of in the air.  I'm telling you this because the moments I have felt like a mother are so few in my mind, it's worth mentioning. At least the first.   And you know what? It worked. He pooped. I did it.  We did it.  I had accomplished something and was overjoyed that it seemed beneficial that I was to be the one taking care of this tiny one, that it mattered that it was me. 

I taught him a lot of things, but so would any adult put in charge of a small person.  I loved him the more I got to know him but he also punished me for being his mother, because I knew him best, because he was most comfortable with me, because I was his designated caregiver.  I recognized that that was what happened with kids and their moms, that this was a thing, but I really resented it at times.  Through it all, I appreciated his existence, never taking any of it for granted, as ill-suited for it as I was. He is an anomaly, a creature of coincidence, and I still can't believe he's here. 

These days, I reflect on our time together, watching our relationship take shape and deepen.  Our love is strong and he and I dote on each other daily, accompanied by several long and intense hugs.  I embrace him whenever he's near and I smell him and squeeze him, poke his dimples, and note his ever-changing height, every time. Because I still don't understand where he came from, how he got here, and I can't shake the feeling that he isn't truly mine.  I can't stop wondering when this kid's real mom is going to come and pick him up. I often say things like this to him and he exasperatingly replies, "YOU are my real mom. YOU are."  I enjoy it. But me? Mother? No, I don't even know what that means.  Long term babysitter? Yes, absolutely.  Motherhood is a drag and I am no good at it,  but I am an AWESOME babysitter.  An amazing babysitter. I give him fun things, tell him stories, teach him tricks and give him a bed at night, all while I wait and wonder. 

If I don't feel like a mom now that he's 9.75, I'm not sure I ever will.  Designated caregiver, interim babysitter. Steward, guardian, safekeeper? I like all of these things. Friend, sister, instructor, companion, these I understand. Perhaps at times my role is as monitor, a witness. That my purpose in relation to him is to simply watch him grow and see for myself what it's like, the spectacle of life, and that it does, indeed, seem to always find a way. I can get on board with that. Scientist! Every day a new experiment, a new theory postulated. Yes.

But mother? Never. It's a task, a role too great, one designed for failure. It is just too hard. I am utterly beguiled by it. The term is fraught with unattainable, illusory expectation and insurmountable pressure, dictated by presumption and preconception. I subscribe to none of it.   In fact, were I to answer again that question I was asked early on, i might say, "How do I feel about motherhood? Actually, I kind of hate it.  But, I LOVE him."

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Lava Hot Springs

Once upon a time when I was a kid, we went to a family reunion to Lava Hot Springs, ID. I don't remember much, just a few details but it mostly feels like a weird dream. I don't know how we got there, what exactly was there, and how it fit in with the rest of the universe.  So it's stayed still and stranded in my mind, like a tiny misfit creature uncategorized.

I even went a few years ago, just stopped to soak in some hot springs for a few, and the details of that are just as hazy.  Maybe I need to get my memory checked? Well, anyway, Julian and I recently went over our spring break and it was basically the greatest little trip ever.  I know I say that about everything but it would appear these little mini-trips just keep getting better.

I discovered something.  I don't have a bunch of kids or even more than one so it's easy for me to give my full attention to my child. I don't have to schedule my time or attention and the only time Julian is competing for it is when the whole whopping three of us are all in the car together and Julian has to wait a few minutes while Sean and I are in the middle of a conversation.  It's hilarious when Julian mentions being impatient about it.  In fact, today I asked if he wanted to go on a boring errand with me, mostly as a joke because I know he hates it. But he said, "Can we talk on the way there?"  "What? Of course."  "Great, let's go!" Haha! Because the kid loves car conversation and we live in an alternate universe where this is our reality, people. 

Oh, back to what I discovered. So in spite of our perhaps unusual circumstance, going on a trip with just the two of us was markedly different, and awesome. I highly recommend it if you can swing it.  I felt like I got to know and see him in a new light even though I thought I had him figured out pretty well.  The jokes were incessant, he was killing me the entire time, he was fun, thoughtful, game for anything, and it was so fun to go to this chill place with no schedule or plans and see where the day or the one main road in the whole town took us.    We had such a great time. But I think I finally spent some good cognitive time there in Lava, and locked down what makes it unique and a little bit surreal:

1. It's tiny. Population 400 or something. It has one main street with rentals and shops and hot pools and old structures lining the place.

2. It's old. It was a sort of resort town in the early 1900's, particularly when they got the rail built in the 19-teens. In fact, I think our hotel was built in 1918. That feels legit. Also, except for a few updates, they seem to have attempted to maintain its old timey vibe which made it extra trippy. A place out of time, I would describe.  Some might call it "run down" but there are truly old structures there and either they gave up the maintenance long ago or just decided to rebrand it as "historic."  Whatever it is, it's working.

3. It's secluded.  The drive there was bizarre in that you drive off the beaten path for a while and just as you're wondering if you're going to have to park and hike to it, you're there.  This little corner pocket of a town.

4. The hot pools are unusual, at least to me. Most "resorts" are summer places but I'm not so sure that's the peak season at Lava.   On our trip, it was still quite wintry there, just right for a scalding hot pool. Misty weather with temps in the 50's.  Perfect.  Since I freeze even at the mere thought of being cold, this was great for me. All pools should be 102 degrees.   It seemed that there were several shops that weren't up and running but we made our own fun and it was glorious to sit in the pool and watch the sun set behind billowy dark clouds and snowy mountains. 

As usual, I kept a trip log, mostly of Julian quotes. I also took some pictures. So you're getting both. Let us proceed:

Our hotel, as mentioned, was quaint, cozy, and old. There was a huge radiator (not working) in our room which made me super happy. Julian had trouble opening the bathroom door so he needed help exiting.  Later on I was ready to go and a dialogue took place that made me giggle:
JEN: Hey, let's go.

JULIAN: Ok, one sec. I need to use the bathroom.  Be sure you're ready to rescue me when I can't open the door."   

His quick, dry delivery gets me every time.

In the office they had a soda vending machine from the 40's which made me even happier: 

Somehow I had no cash and no coins on me so one of our trip goals was scouring the town for loose change for that machine. Man, I love old timey things.

They had a tiny museum there which was quirky and run by two little old ladies. I have no pics but it was perfect for the place, informative and weird, and it requires a shout-out.

We walked up and down the main street just looking around and chatting and laughing. At one point we stopped for ice cream at the ice cream shop.

JULIAN: I have big questions for ice cream places.

JEN: Like what?

JULIAN: Like, 'what keeps you from losing your mind and pulling off the refrigerator thing and diving into the ice cream?'        

"I have big questions."-- {squint eyes, huge smile}

Along our walk, Julian pointed to a bottle shoved into a pile of dirty snow.

JULIAN: Oh nooo, there's a bottle in there. :( :(   Wait, what is this?

JEN: It's old dirty snow.

JULIAN: What? I thought it was a rock! *begins kicking snow pile* That's for tricking me!

did we even get the bottle out? i'm not sure.
Totem poles:

bottle caps
JULIAN: Hey, is that another totem pole?
JEN: What? No, it's just a dead--wait--
JULIAN: No it isn't, there's stuff carved there!
(I think there was a bear on the other side.)

JEN: How'd you get to be so funny? Who taught you that?"

JULIAN: I'm self-taught. But it's hard coming up with jokes all the time.

JEN: Boy, I get that.

There are rental places all along the main street for pretty cheap. Just saying. If you need a quick weird getaway. It would be a fun place to go with friends and be like, "well, we're here, now."  But Julian and I brought games and spent some quality downtime in our room, too.  Movies, games, candy. It's sort of fun when there aren't a million things to do. Takes the pressure off, you know.
JEN: I keep sending Dad stuff we're doing.

JULIAN: I know. Every time I say something funny I notice you pausing to take it down.

"Take it down"?? xD (-- old school emoticon)

The food was fair. Homestyle food, I suppose. The pizza at the pizza place was abhorrent. But don't listen to me, uber-snob.  However, for breakfast one day after I'd ordered half the menu because I like a variety, I re-discovered marble rye and I AM OBSESSED.  Add that to my ever-increasing list of old person foods I now love.  I ate every slice with jam.

rye toast and oatmeal, hash browns with gross poached eggs.
Why do I keep ordering poached eggs at these places?

JULIAN: I am FULL. I ate like a whale. Well, actually whales eat kind of neatly. I ate like a ravenous lion. 

JEN: Whales eat neatly?

JULIAN: Yeah, they kind of glide through the water, waiting for the krill or whatever to enter their teeth.

JEN: Yeah, you don't really eat that way.

JULIAN: Yeah, I don't walk through the air, waiting for food to hit me in the face.

Hahaha.  The beautiful thing about his humor is he continues the joke to make it the funniest possible. He carries out the ridiculous scenario to provide the funny visual, like I was hoping he would.  The best joke is a complete joke and he gets it, he just gets it.

Over dinner one night we had a debate about whether a particular pepper was a jalapeno or a banana pepper. Julian was certain it was a jalapeno and i said nay. Turns out we were both wrong, it was a pepperoncini, which apparently everyone calls a peppercini, and we learned something about peppers that day. Then we dared each other to eat it with hot sauce, which I accepted and it was fine, just fine.

We were there for two days. On the first day we found the weeeeirdest hot pools. Not a soul was in sight so I wasn't even sure they were in use. They looked like ancient ruins the Greeks might have soaked and philosophized in.  But no, people were in them later and we joined them.  I snapped some pics:

the kiddie pool?

no cavorting. This pool was the coldest out of them and too chilly for me.

hot pool with an even hotter one next to it.
There was a fixture in the pool, maybe a spout for the water, like a fountain burbling, and the water it was pouring into the pool was BOILING.  Julian was laughing and making fun of my self-interrupted observations and crazed, hot-water induced slurred speech:
JULIAN: Oof, that is hot
JEN: Oh, my gosh, that is BURN YOU hot. Oh look, stairs.

Easily distracted. Sitting in these temps makes you feel like a super relaxed frog slowly cooking to death and not caring about it. We were so slothfully subdued. At one point a group of people walked by and one person dropped a sweatshirt. They didn't notice but I did but I was powerless to do anything about it.  I think I may have pointed and gurgled something.  A while later they returned and they were luckily within the range of my sleepy voice and I said,

"Oh hey, one of you dropped something over there."

PERSON: Oh, is that yours, Brad?

JEN: I saw it happen but couldn't get out of the pool... (trailing off. feeling the need to explain myself, with this lame explanation)

THEM: ha ha ok, well thank you.

JEN: Sure thing. I'm glad you came back, ha ha.  ... because I was never going to follow you.
There are newer pools at the other end of the main street and we hit those up the next day. They were HOOTTTTT. Julian was pretty heated through by then but I was good. But we could never handle the hottest pools.

Like I said, we made our own fun. At one point Julian exclaimed, "Hey, let's go to the hardware store!" which made me laugh because the hardware store is the least fun place I can think of, but there really wasn't much to do. But we went in anyway, looking for nothing, which made it fun. We entered and the man in charge greeted us and asked us if we were looking for anything and I said, "Nope, just browsing... as one does in the hardware store..."   I guess it's just the last place in my world I would go just to browse. "Ooo, toilet seats!"

Ooo, knobs and handles!

We passed the copper couplings.
JULIAN: I got my finger stuck in one of these once.  I was crying for like an hour.

JEN: I dare you to put your finger in it.

JULIAN: Wha-NO! I was crying for AN HOUR.

I wanted to hike up to the "L" on the mountain but it was pretty steep and still snowy and muddy. Also I coudn't actually see the L bc of the snow.  We tried to hike but kept sliding all around so we bailed and went for a walk along some kind of bank. It was there that I realized just how much I love moss, which is a lot:

JULIAN: I need to earn some money. I want to go on a cruise... just my cat and I.

Julian had tried to wrap himself in his blankets and declared himself a burrito but I said "oh that's not a burrito, THIS is a burrito:"

Our hotel was near the mountain where the ol' train would come multiple times a day, one of them being early morning (woohoo).  Every time, we would sing, "she'll be comin' around the mountain when she comes" because I'm pretty sure that's the actual train that song was based on.

And that basically sums up our little jaunt. Will I be back to Lava? Oh yes I will. There is also a zipline excursion there that Julian and I need to try as well as floating down the river.

On our way home we stopped at the Hill Aerospace Museum which was frickin AMAZING.  I had never been and I was dying.  So many planes and flying things! I was completely overwhelmed. It was awe-inspiring, truly. Ex-military pilots were there to answer questions. We got to go inside a rescue-mission helicopter and I was just stunned. I asked the gentleman there, a pilot in Vietnam, "so... what..can you tell us?" I wanted to hear all the stories.  I didn't grab a picture but there were early fliers too. Julian had just done a report on the Wright Brothers so yay for that.

Here are a few pictures and I won't go into it but it was seriously the coolest. I am still thinking about it. Also, Julian and I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about the Memphis Belle Flying Fortress, a B-17 bomber. I'm pretty sure we saw one at the museum and it was nuts to see it in action in the documentary. Actual footage of an actual 1941(?) mission to Germany. Say what? It's short and has a Disney-esque vibe of the times. Check it out. 
yay bombs :|

Being so close to these great winged machines (some are just monsters) and reading about
them honestly made me be like, how is it possible that humans can fly? {cry face}
Also I felt quite a surge of patriotism which is, frankly, unusual for me.


Monday, April 29, 2019

Why Color Discernment Matters

When I was a teenager, my sister and I would play a game with the Big Box of crayons- you know, the giant box with multiple tiers holding 96 crayons,  that was almost as fun to look at as to use.  And she would select three crayons of similar colors, color with them, then tell me the names of each one and my job was to assign the correct color to the corresponding crayon.  Buttercup, Mellow Yellow, Goldenrod.   Turns out, I was surprisingly good at this.  This has never really benefited me in any real way other than in mundane moments when I'm able to discern a little bit better, which still isn't saying much because poor Sean struggles with the colors and I'm often staring at him like, really? you can't see that's red? Aww.  It's a bit of a bummer and makes me sad for him.

Since I like knowing the arbitrary names of things and acquiring useless skills, this is one I've always been proud of and value for no real reason... until a recent experience.  Several days ago, Julian's teacher sent an email out to parents saying there was a royal blue hooded jacket in their midst that two boys thought was theirs and she was asking for our help to figure out to whom it belonged.  I remember thinking it'd be nice if I could see a pic, but since she said "royal" I brushed it off, for we do not own any royal blue jackets. 

Fast forward to this morning when Julian told me, "Parker* and I were fighting over my jacket the other day. We both thought it belonged to us and the teacher wouldn't give it to me and I had to go to recess with no jacket.  But his jacket has a plastic zipper and mine's metal."   I remembered the aforementioned email and I said, "that was about YOUR jacket? She emailed us! But I didn't think it was yours."  

Although it was unnecessary, I then did an image search of royal blue vs. navy blue and I'll just let you be the judge-- even though I know I'm right--so actually, I'll just watch you come to the same conclusion I did.   You can't just throw around color names willy nilly when jacket ownership is on the line.   The good news is eventually they got it sorted out and Julian got his jacket back. The bad news is his teacher doesn't know her colors.  :( 

royal                                       navy

Also, as I sit here looking at these colors, navy has never really done it for me and I like royal even less.  But I realized there is an in-between color that ROCKS.  What is it, you ask? Care to venture a guess??

If you said COBALT, you are correct. It's awesome! And I would say, a combo of the two.
Go, cobalt!


*name changed

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Easter Things

The highlights of this year's Easter include:

- a couple of egg hunts. 

- praying really hard for spring. 
- pulling out all our million kits and having an egg dying blitz.
- going to church and not hearing one talk on Easter and also a really bizarre musical number which I will describe further. 
- discussing at length the difference between hope and faith and coming up with many possible conclusions but no one definitive answer.
- having a chocolate tasting with friends who appreciate the finer things.
- having Easter dinner a la Sean with these same friends and a glorious time with them. 

So it was announced that the choir would sing O Savior Thou Who Wearest a Crown and I was like, oh great! pulling out the big guns. < -- sounds sarcastic but is not. What I consider to be the official anthem of Easter, this is not for the faint of heart. Sean and I had our own special experience with this, if you'll recall.   But then what the choir actually sang was the words to the song to the music of If You Could Hie to Kolob, an interesting hymn in the book, yet resulting in a completely different song. I leaned over to Sean and said, "like... i like kolob, it's a nice song, but are we not going to get to hear the other music at all??"  I felt a little cheated.  Sean didn't quite get what I was saying, perhaps because he didn't hear me. Then a few minutes later he independently leaned over to me and said, "Kolob is a good song. A solid 8.8/10. But what you've done is replaced a 10/10 song and that is just wrong."  It made me laugh and we were both kind of like, why? Just... why? :(

So because I felt like it was inaccurately titled, I came up with a list of my own titles which I feel are a better representation of this completely unnecessary abomination mashup: 

- O Savior Thou Who Hies to Kolob
- If You Could Wearest a Crown

- If You Could Wearest a Crown to Kolob
- O Savior Thou Who Wearest a Crown to Kolob
- If You Could Hie to Wearest a Crown

And let us all remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should. Anyway, we came home and put on the real song and played it on repeat at least a dozen times.

Here are a few pictures to represent the Easter season 2019:

First, Julian at the piano. There isn't anything particularly Eastery about this other than he's doing AMAZINGLY these days, working vigorously at his recital songs with nary a complaint, and if that isn't a miracle, then maybe I don't believe in miracles.

"Hey, sounds great"
"Thanks. I'm determined."

Easter cats:

It took me a minute to remember the details of this next picture but I was sure glad when i did.  Sean had been dapperly mashing the potatoes when something went awry and he had a potatotastrophe...potato-splosion... potato bomb explode in his face. You can see bits of potato here and there. Julian and I took great joy in this.
extra large size for the readers

Our kitten is so weird. Also, she will always be a kitten.

"Want to see something super scary?"
"Yes, I d--YAAAGGHHH! No I don't! Put it away!!"


 I organized a little neighborhood egg hunt like that from my youth and some neighbors really pulled out all the stops. I don't remember what this style of decorating is called but I'm a big, big fan:

Here are my best eggs from our dying blitz. Not as impressive as above but I was pleased. Especially with this first one that I initially dotted with a sponge in purple dye and it looked really bad and gross, but I dropped it in a cup of dye and saved it in the end: 

Easter time is a time for chemistry and eggsperiments. I used to make these doodles all the time in Jr. High/High School. I'm glad I could resurrect them:

We had some friends over to dye eggs as well as a neighbor kid who came to play with Julian. It always amuses me when the friend comes over when we're doing something Julian isn't interested in but the friend totally is. It gives me a good kid replacement, doing crafts and whatnot with someone who will.  I try not to accidentally call the kid "Julian." 

I went to an art market and saw these interesting things. One is an artwork by a man who pressed and framed real, dried vegetables. He had peas, mushrooms, carrots, etc.  Here are some carrots. He was super pleased with himself as I would be were I to show my artwork at an art market:

 I love eggs so I was naturally drawn to this but I couldn't get past the fact that whoever cracked these eggs dropped the shells in with their yolks and just left them there. I mean... what:

Annual egg hunt at my parents'.  Here is just a handful of grandkids. Julian was super stressed because my sister always hides a golden egg and the finder gets a prize.  We told him to pretend the golden egg didn't exist and he said if he did find it he'd let someone else have it, two things that did NOT occur:  He found the egg and could not give it up in the end. Here they are: 

ready, set, go!

Getting a clue to find the well-hidden golden egg:

Easter dinner plating. Sean's menu:  lamb chops, ham, twice baked potatoes (one with shredded cheddar, one with goat cheese), carrot ribbons, asparagus, and fruit salad I don't have a picture of but he cut watermelons and pineapples into cubes the size of blueberries, so everything would match.

Oh, don't forget the parlsey pesto, aka gremolata, for the lamb. It was crazy.

Lastly, I snapped some pics of Julian in a completely empty church parking lot. This kid is just too cute.

To close, I found a new poem to add to my collection. I spotted a blip of it on a greeting card I bought and looked up the complete version. It's by Emily Dickinson and I liked it, especially since hope was a major theme of our Easter this year.  To celebrate Easter and mine and Emily's recent reconciliation, here it is:

 Image result for hope is the thing with feathers

Monday, April 15, 2019

Reluctant Spring

Well, spring broke.  It's broken. A cold April is the worst kind of joke. The other day I texted a friend, "why is spring so reluctant? It's like it doesn't trust itself."   Even spring doesn't really believe it's spring. It's been rainy, snowy, and cold for several days in a row. My birthday is at the end of the month and I know it'll finally figure things out but just about this time every year I remind Sean (and myself, and the universe, who is hopefully listening), "You know, I once had a pool party for my birthday."  A POOL PARTY. Because it was warm enough. So you know, I feel just a little bit wronged when it's mid-April and it can't even manage to make it to the 60's. Grrrrr. I believe in you, spring! You just have to believe in yourself.

That said, this deplorable misbehavior does create some interesting imagery. The grass has begun to grow and is kind of insanely green, from all this precipitation. People have begun mowing lawns and everything. Not us though, and our lawn is a freakin' rain forest right now because I'm still in the mindset of winter, when yardwork becomes an non-word in my vocab. Utterly meaningless.  But it's sooo vibrantly green and with that + the few flowers that have popped up (in other people's yards) + these great snowy mountains standing aloft, it's like a brand new color palette that I am just not used to seeing.  I guess that's what snow in spring always is and it's not the first time it's been this way. Still, it's strange. 

So I'm a little bit transfixed, but mostly just perturbed.  Imagine those two expressions simultaneously on my face.  Actually you don't have to. I tried to see if I could portray both and I think I pulled it off ok.  It was hard though: *

transfixed + perturbed

Well, to inspire spring to come and to remind it of itself, I present that old classic poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay, by my good pal Robert Frost. I've blogged about this before but I am re-posting because it's not just a sad thing, like Julian thinks (he still refuses to listen to it, btw) and it's just so nice. I always thought it was sort of a commentary on beautiful things and how they're fleeting, but I realized it's really a poem about spring:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Spring is not a destination, it’s a thoroughfare. Its transitory essence is like a sunrise. Beautiful, shocking. Gone. It's elusive because it was never meant to last. It’s the earth being re-born and like birth, it’s a beginning--a traumatic, violent celebration trumpeting the song of things to come, but not really of itself. 

Hope always comes into the forefront of my mind at this time of year. It's a tune almost forgotten and one of which we all need reminding. Frost's (his name is extra appropriate now) poem speaks to the tragic impermanence of beauty but lest I forget, it’s also cyclical. It's slow to arrive, dragging its heels,  but when it does, it's repetitively fleeting, a fly-by glimpse of reminders of hope I’ve luckily been witness to before, and (fingers crossed) will again, if it could just remember the song. 

*I've scoured my blog but have found nothing on what I was sure I've mentioned already. It's one of my favorite games I made up with my friend who's an actor. It's called Mixed Emotions and you have someone call out two emotions or expressions, like "nauseous + excited" or "bored + suspicious" and you have to show both of them simultaneously. It's mostly stupid but also very funny watching as you depict one emotion and then another, trying to retain a bit of both.  It's also very challenging. Try it with your friends today! 

Friday, April 12, 2019

At the Dentist

 I recently went to the dentist for a checkup. I've been going every six months for the past couple of years, something I never used to do but a) they have a really fun hygienist who makes it almost worthwhile and b) I'm getting old and decrepit and more aware of my own mortality. It used to be that I'd go to the dentist and be a bit more audible in my feelings of disdain.  This is a place where I think I actually, honest-to-goodness regress a little bit. It's my childhood dentist (probably a mistake) and I just really hated it. I had a lot of cavities as a kid and the shots and drilling were tear-inducingly painful and the gas made me feel so out of it and it took me a while before I even learned I had the option of having it or not. So I finally opted out probably as a teen which made it marginally better.

These days I try to mostly remain silent. Go to my zen place.  When I went a couple of weeks ago I learned that my favorite hygienist, I think her name was Judy, was no longer working there. I was in the middle of debating whether or not to just cut and run when I found myself already in the chair and reclining so I thought I'd better just go on and get it over with.  The new hygienist was nice but quiet and I like someone interesting, entertaining, and engaging. Chatty. I like a chatty hygienist. Someone who will distract me from the horribleness and who has that special gift of being able to carry on a conversation basically one-sided but make you feel like you're an equal part of it as well.  Judy had that.  Judy was good at that. Sniff. I miss her so much.

When I was lying back, this new hygienist (this is now my least favorite word to type) kept asking me if the head rest or whatever was ok and she'd ask me if I was comfortable. Like she went on and on. I said something like, "what? it's fine, whatever you need to do your thing...."  Like, c'mon, let's get the show on the road. She said, "I just want you to be comfortable!" and I said, "Well, I'm at the dentist, so...."

She then did her thing, dentist did his thing, and I learned I have a cavity, the first in a couple of years. RATS.  That old feeling of doom and dread filled me and I felt compelled to take a selfie to depict my feelings: 


I scheduled to come in the following week to fill in my one measly cavity. That day came and so did I, dutifully, back to the ol' dentist chair with questionable head rest (as if anyone even gives the thing one tiny thought), and remained mostly quiet for the duration of the procedure.  Before he began, Dr. Dentist asked me if I wanted the nitrous but before I could answer, he caught himself and said, "oh wait, no, you don't like it, do you?"  As if it struck him as a bit unusual. I said, "oh, no, i don't. "  I think someone even asked me why and I said, "Oh, I hate the feeling I get when I'm on it. That out-of-body feeling. And, well, it's already a bit of a nightmare, so...I don't really want to add to it..."  trailing off.  Just very straightforward. Nobody laughed, but it made me laugh, my attempts to remain stoic and enduring even though the hate is very much alive. It was my plain honest answer. I also think i lose whatever filter I have in real life when I'm at the dentist, truth be told. 

The dentist was speedy and i even thanked him when it was all over, because I am actually grateful that there are weirdos in the world who choose this kind of profession. Someone's got to do it, right?  So we should probably be thanking them even though we all hate them. Like, just because I want to punch you doesn't mean I'm not grateful. It's a weird relationship. 

Today I took Julian to the dentist.  After he brushed and flossed, I watched him give his last will and testament "to my cats-- all of my possessions. To my mom, all my love."  (sucker, Dad) Watching Julian at the dentist these past few years has been interesting, entertaining, and downright remarkable.  Also a bit heartbreaking. What it is is me seeing myself, as a child, in the dentist's chair.  And I swear to you I worked SO HARD at not poisoning his tender mind, knowing my extreme bias and past trauma. Like, why would I? Why would I make it worse than it already is? But alas, through the years with each passing visit, he discovered the nightmare all on his own and watching him is hard because I feel the same way. Still. All of the things he hates, I hate too.  I see him reject watching a movie because that would only add to the out of it, nightmare feeling.  I see him wanting to know exactly what they'll do so it's not some big mystery.  I see him vent ALL his feelings when they ask questions.  "How you doin', Julian?"  "Not good."  "No? Why not?"  I'm always amused when they seem to forget what going to the dentist is like.  Because I'm HERE, dummy.  Ok, maybe dummy is harsh.   Once again, I am silent for almost the entire stay. I sit nearby to observe and support when needed.  I laugh also when called upon, because he is still funny.  But it's mostly just super sad because kid has serious anxiety about it. I see him breathing hard and fast in the waiting room.  He's pale.  Like, it's so real for him. And for me.  It does break my heart.

Judy once told me the reason she became a hygienist was to face her fear, which is the only reason that makes sense to me.  She hated it so bad when she was young-- like, really bad-- so she decided to try to make it good for other people.  What an angel.  Sniff.  The hygienist today was young and also (unsolicited, i might add--it's like they feel like they have to explain themselves. And they kind of do) explained why he was a dental assistant. He was really interested in orthodontics so he's getting his foot in the door, learning the ropes, making connections this way.  Also makes sense, I guess.  But I am amused at listening to people in these professions like it's a confessional.

But there is a lot of trauma involved. The last time we were there, Julian freaked and would NOT let Dr. Dentist check his teeth and scrape off the gunk.  He cried and cried was just a total mess. I got to the point of openly bribing him with all sorts of things which I am not inclined to do, all to no avail, of course.  This was not about getting things.  It was truly a nightmare and it lasted foreeeeveerrrrr.  Finally he allowed the dentist to scrape if he could lay his head in my lap and i hold him. Aaahhh so traumatic. *shudder*

But this time was so much better.  I prepped him the best I could and told him, "I can't tell you it's fine. I can't tell you it's no big deal. It doesn't FEEL like it's no big deal. And it doesn't feel fine. I know this.  But I do know it will be over and that you can endure it.  And it's worth it if it prevents you from having problems later. This is all stuff I tell myself EVERY TIME I GO."   I also reminded him that immediately after letting the doc scrape his teeth and finish up, he was elated and said, "I could do that all day!"  This was helpful to remember. I also told him under no circumstances are we doing that EVER AGAIN, what happened last time. It just wasn't an option.  He understood, in spite of his feelings, bless him. Happily, he had no cavities and felt the sweet bliss only the weight of having the dentist visit over + having no cavities can bring. I'm feeling it too, vicariously. That feeling lasts for days for me.  Days.

Some time ago, I came across this article written by a dentist and initially felt the need to personally defend myself and the rest of the human race. But, I will do my best to be fair with my honesty, understanding that when all is said and done, going to the dentist is a good thing to do. It's still the unbelievably worst.  Also, I know there are people out there who have never had a problem with the dentist. It's been easy, they've never been in pain, what's the problem? I do not understand this.   In fact, I had a friend recently who had some dental issues, maybe cavities when she's never had one in her life {straight eyes and mouth emoji} and she told me she GETS IT NOW.  She gets the trauma.  Yeah, you do.  Of course you do. You think people are making this up? Ugh.

So, the article. I will be posting the article here with my rebuttals, but if you'd like to, click here to read.

Ten Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too

#10 Bad manners

The first thing you say when you sit down in my chair is, “I hate the dentist.” Really?!? Did your parents teach you any manners? Did they ever teach you that it is impolite to tell someone you hate them the moment you greet them? What I really want to say back is, “aww, I hate you too.”

Please do. Since you don't seem to understand, I'll explain: What that is is someone in the throes of fear and anxiety.  I'm sorry if I forget my manners. I'm about to be the most vulnerable a person can be. Letting you inside my mouth. Well, upon second thought, second most vulnerable.

#9 Oral Hygiene Basics

You come to your appointment, and it’s obvious you haven’t brushed your teeth in days. I’ve had some people with great hygiene come in and apologize because they’ve just eaten lunch and couldn’t brush. This is not what I’m talking about. I mean food and thick plaque everywhere. After 10 years of seeing blood and rotten teeth and some really nasty things, this is still the 1 thing that makes me dry heave. You know when you come to us that we have to be in your mouth. Would you clean your home before having company? Additionally, I have spent hours literally bending over backwards repairing your teeth. Could you at least pretend that you are caring for the work that I have struggled to complete for you?

That is really gross. I always brush and floss before I come, mostly to avoid any dental shaming but also because I'm trying to be considerate and make my stay as short as possible.  That said, YOU CHOSE THIS PROFESSION. It's so inherently disgusting, I think it can universally be agreed upon. Soooo... crapping on your own doorstep? as the old saying goes.

#8 Billing

After we have spent hours of meticulously repairing your teeth, you complain about the bill. Would you walk out of the grocery store with a bag full of groceries and expect not to pay? I’ve just helped you to continue to smile and eat comfortably, two pretty valuable things that help your quality of life.

I have no real comments about this. Everything costs.  And lots of things cost big. Dentist is no different and I really do want to smile and eat comfortably. But also, i have complained about the grocery bill before like, "whoa! Whoopsy daisy." Because... I'm a human? And humans complain about bills?

#7 “Urgencies”

I tell you that you have a cavity and you need a filling, and you wait months or even years to get the necessary work done. Eventually the tooth starts hurting. Two weeks of pain go by, and you call me on a Saturday night while I am at dinner with friends because your tooth that needed a filling a year ago and that started hurting 2 weeks ago is suddenly an emergency.

I'm disturbed by how this dentist clearly doesn't believe these patients and thinks they're solely trying to ruin her dinner. This is madness.  Yes, they should have filled the cavity a long time ago buuuut pain is pain, man.  And yeah, that is just good clean denial.  Again, people who have DPTSD don't think very rationally. Also, don't think I don't know dentists charge whatever they want when they sense it's an emergency. This happened to a friend of mine and really, it was an exorbitant amount just to unlock the doors.

#6 Complaining

You come to me so I can help you, but you make it hard for me to do a good job. You wince and make faces when it’s not hurting. Oh, really? Please tell me more about what I'm feeling. The idea that I’m hurting you makes me just as uncomfortable and stressed as you are. Really? Just as comfortable and stressed? Yes, let's compare. Also, again, you chose this. If it hurts, please tell me, and I can help you with that. But if it’s because you don’t like the whole experience, you are only causing me to work in undesirable conditions, making it harder to do my best. And when you push your tongue in the way, or you don’t open wide enough, it makes it physically impossible to get my work done. Don’t you want it to be easy for me to do the best job for you?

Wow. Ok. Again, I am surprised I have to explain this, but the person is not consciously doing those things. "Here's what I'll do, I'll sabotage the dentist! I'll put my tongue in the way!"  No. It's just so awful, it's a natural reaction. Understand this. Forget not your sensitivity, your patience. Also, as a child, my dentist was always surprised by how much "pain" i was "allegedly" "in." But I think he believed me in the end. But I think i just had a low threshold for the tooth pain or something, I don't know.  I was always like, yeah, whattaya think?? I'm not making this up. But maybe it was different for other people.  That would certainly make me feel less wimpy. Or this was just in the old days and he was still trying to figure out proper medication doses.

#5 Blaming someone else

You call and say, “my tooth didn’t hurt before you worked on it.” You came to me with a cavity. I did not put it there. You did. I am simply fixing a rotten hole that was in your tooth. To do so, I must use a tiny drill to cut the rot out of your tooth. If I took a drill, cut a hole in your femur bone, and then filled it in with a foreign material, don’t you think it might be sore for a while? Same concept.

I will blame dentists for all of my bodily pains/life problems.  I feel completely fine doing so.

#4 Those @#$% X-rays

When we try to take an x-ray, you won’t bite down on it. We have to do this to see what is going on with your tooth. Without knowing the problem, we can’t properly treat you. I know, in some cases some people really can’t do it; but some people could and won’t just suck it up for 15 seconds. I’ve had x-rays too, and they hurt and dig into my gums, but I just do it.

Wow, I'm really starting to have real hate feelings for this person, instead of general hate I hold for all dentists.   Listen- nobody explains anything to you when you go to the dentist. They don't know how much pressure to use. As a child they tell you all sorts of silly nonsense (or not-- my dentist told me nothing, ever. They all just began) and as you grow up it's all one big mystery. I didn't go often enough during my 20's to really figure anything out and there was just so much pain and trauma there.  I decree that before each visit, each patient should be be given a briefing on all the events that will transpire.  Or a laminated piece of paper to read as a refresher, with illustrations and diagrams.  I would appreciate that.  I know Julian would appreciate that.  So they're not doing it on purpose if they don't bite down hard enough. They just didn't go to dental x-ray school.

#3 The “jokes”

You tell me that you bought my car for me after having a crown done. Contrary to how it seems, you actually didn’t buy me a car. You bought yourself a crown. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education, and have spent hours making this crown fit precisely in your mouth, so maybe you helped me make a portion of a student loan payment. But you certainly didn’t buy my car.

This is stupid and I hate you.

Also this is funny because my dentist used to tell terrible jokes and I was always like, boooo just get on with it.  Today, Julian's dentist was fine. I liked him ok and he seemed to have confidence (this is another thing I'm noticing lately. I always prefer the hygienist or medical assistants or radiology technicians to the actual MD in charge. They're always so shifty and uncomfortable. But that's a topic for another day probably).  He started by asking us if we had any weekend plans. Julian and I looked at each other, at peak anxiety, and I said, "Uhh.. I think we're just trying to get through this."  So he continued, "well, my wife bought us tickets to Fit Con." And that provided enough entertaining follow up conversation for the rest of the visit. I tried to ask as many questions as I could without openly ridiculing but I did say (again, minimal filter environment) "huh... that sounds super weird," with a quiet nod from the hygienist.  But my opinions on gym culture are another topic for another day.

#2 On appointments

You no-show an appointment or cancel last-minute. Some things are unavoidable, but when it’s because your hairdresser got a last-minute cancellation and you had to take that appointment instead, this is just rude. Not only am I unable to fill the 2 hours of my schedule that I reserved specifically for you, but someone else who wanted to get in had to wait 2 weeks for his/her appointment. And on that note, when you have the first appointment of the day, and you show up late for your appointment, I am late for every other patient the rest of the day.

Cry me a freakin' river. 

#1 Denial

When I tell you that you grind your teeth, you deny it, as if I am accusing you of having a horrible disease or being a baby murderer. It’s not that bad to be a tooth grinder. I’m just pointing something out and maybe offering a way to prevent more problems in the future. This observation is concluded from signs or symptoms that are based on real science, not myth.

And along those lines… bonus #11. You tell me a diagnosis I make is simply wrong without listening to me. If you know so much, why are you coming to me? You do the filling or root canal yourself. You obviously don’t need me.

Sigh. Let us all once again emphasize the importance of bedside manner. Having a little sensitivity. Listening to patients. Because I've definitely felt dental shamed plenty of times-- "Ohh, looks like you hate that tooth!" (actual statement said to me)  Ohh looks like I'm going to punch you IN THE THROAT. I CAN DO IT, I'M IN A GOOD POSITION HERE.   So just be frank, be real, get to the point, and stop being so judgy.  "So what i'm seeing is teeth that look like this. This could be due to this or that but I'm wondering, do you grind your teeth? This is super common."  Like, treat me like a person. Why is it so hard?


In conclusion to all of this, I'm beginning to think this dentist's patients might hate her because she's just a terrible person, so my advice is, don't do that. Don't be that way. If you're a lame human, you will probably make for a lame dentist. Another possible conclusion: All dentists are human-hating robots, because no real human would ever want to do anything like this, no offense to my cousin Rob who is probably a super nice robot dentist. I mean, his name is Rob. C'mon. (shoutout, Rob!)