Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Field Lines Feature: Book Blogging

In response to this post, my longtime blog friend spants agreed to participate in a stress-free, low commitment, minimally structured, very low-key book club. I mentioned that I missed my book club in Tampa. I missed reading books I might not normally read and I especially missed exchanging thoughts and opinions of books. spants is an avid reader herself and agreed to read anything that wasn't "chick lit" and preferably something that "doesn't suck". So here goes.

In honor of the recently deceased John Updike, we have chosen Rabbit, Run, one of his most critically acclaimed novels and first in the Rabbit series. I will be posting my thoughts on the book sometime during the last week of April. I'm note sure if spants will be making her own post for it, or just posting her opinions here. Either way, it should prove to be an interesting experiment. Fellow bloggers, feel free to post your own opinions of the book on your own blog or here if you feel moved to do so. Readers and lurkers are encouraged to participate as well to whatever extent they are comfortable. I'm excited to read this book, but more excited to have a lively discussion in about a month!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Off Easy

Ahem. Now that I have your attention, I'd like to talk about the dentist.

When I was little, I went to the dentist as often as I was supposed to. I was terrified of getting cavities, though I ended up with a few here and there. I had braces for eighth grade and though we weren't poor, my parents made it clear that with the money being spent on my teeth, they should be a source of pride for me and something to take good care of. But as I got deeper into my studies in college, I started going to the dentist less often than I should. I'm not sure when the last time I went to my childhood dentist in Minnesota was, but after I moved to Florida, things got a lot worse.

As a grad student I didn't have dental insurance. I never brought it up, but I'm sure if I had wanted to go, my parents would be more than happy to help with the cost. When Dean and I got married and I was put on his insurance, dental was covered. But by that time, my anxiety had gotten the best of me. It had been several years since I had been in for an exam. My friends were experiencing similar issues, after graduating going to the dentist for a deserved tongue-lashing and ending up needing root canals, deep cleanings, tissue grafts, you name it. A couple times my parents asked me if I'd seen a dentist lately and I blew them off. Even though I now had dental insurance, I was imagining still needing thousands of dollars of work to make up for at least seven or eight years of lapsed cleanings and check ups. I didn't exactly neglect my teeth, I still flossed several times a week and brushed at least twice a day. But my sweet tooth is worrisome, to say the least.

The more time went on, the more dentist anxiety I got. When I started the job I have now, I opted for dental insurance swearing I'd use it to get caught up on dental work, but I just kept finding excuses not to make an appointment. Then about six weeks ago I bit into an apple and my permanent retainer that went across the inside of my bottom teeth popped off, leaving behind shards of cement that grazed my tongue almost constantly. Great. Not only did I need to see a dentist, but my orthodonture was out of whack and I couldn't tell by peering in my mouth if my tooth actually chipped when the cement was yanked off. I was a mess.

So I contacted the only person native to Providence that I trust. My landlord. Okay, I know that's a little sad, but as I mentioned most grad students don't see dentists regularly, and my landlord also works for my University so I knew we had the same insurance. I told her I needed the name of a good, friendly dentist that would go easy on me. She told me about Dr. A, whose motto is "We cater to cowards". It sounded good enough, but when I went on the website, quite honestly, the guy looked like a total tool. The website showed him with his family and they all had super white teeth and were wearing all white clothes and looked like they should have been in a Mormon cult. But I trusted my landlady and she is the type to follow up on this sort of stuff and I didn't want to explain that I didn't see her dentist because he looked like a Mormon.

Turns out I was completely wrong. The toolish looking family on the internet were just models and the dentist himself is an older gentleman who seemed genuinely interested in me, my life, Dean's life and my sordid dental history. He even asked me about my feelings on the Minnesota Senate race and whole-heartedly respected my opinion despite the fact the waiting room was showing Fox News. Regarding my teeth, I blatantly lied and told him it had been approximately five years since my last exam, set of x-rays, and cleaning. He told me my teeth looked fantastic for five years (recall it's probably been closer to eight years), offered to scrape off the cement on my front teeth and found one lonely cavity. Otherwise everything is normal.

So what is the take home message from this long, rambling post about my teeth? The point is that once it had been a little while since I was due for a cleaning, I freaked out and waited an addition 6-7 years to go to a dentist. And all that worry was for nothing. And with good dental insurance, all I paid for during the whole ordeal was the upgrade from silver to tooth-colored filling. That upgrade was my own personal reward to myself for brushing and flossing enough to only have one cavity in eight years. And if anyone needs a dentist in the Providence area, I have a recommendation for you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Deano and the Dirty Thirty

Deano turns 30 today. Just between you and me, he is not handling it gracefully. But since I am not far behind, I will not comment on behavior lest I match him or one-up him in a few months.

One of the things that has been a wonderful outcome of the move is that we have grown even closer. I didn't really think it was possible until we were deep in the trenches of job hunting and the very real prospect of giving up hopes and dreams. Putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to standing by those we love. Even when it means leaving behind your job, friends, and tropical weather.

So for those reasons, I am reminded all the more of Dean's 21st birthday - his first birthday with me as a girlfriend. On Deano's 21st birthday, I met his family for the first time. They drove onto campus to take him out to lunch and to meet his girlfriend (me), which was getting serious enough to warrant parental meetings. His parents were outgoing and friendly, as usual. His brother, then only ten years old was scared out of his normal rambunctiousness and was rather subdued. I can imagine him thinking, "so she is the reason Deano doesn't come home so often on the weekends." Little did he know I'd also be the reason Dean moved away from Minnesota. I've always felt pretty bad about this. But I also anxiously await the day Kent falls in love and all of this instantly makes sense. After lunch, we all went back to Dean's apartment where I got to witness my first display of Dean watching college basketball with his dad. If that didn't scare me away, nothing would.

It was long after the family left, over a sack of White Castles and his first legal six pack of Miller Lites that I gave Deano his birthday presents. I honestly don't remember what any of them were but one. After the presents were opened and we had snuggled back in on the couch, I told him I loved him for the very first time. I had my head against his chest and could her his heart speed up as I said it. I waited a few moments and looked up at him and he was staring at me, a little shocked. And then he told me he loved me too.

I've told him I love him every single day since then, even far away of only by text message or email. When love is new, it never feels like it can get any better, but it does. It grows more full-bodied, more complex like an aged wine. And definitely more delicious. Happy birthday, darling.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"Beware of people who dislike cats"
~Irish Proverb

Now go drink some green beer and adopt some kittehs!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Attention Deficit Blogging or Bloggy Bits in Bullet Form

See? I couldn't even decide on a post title. I have not been able to concentrate in bloggy land lately. I think I have a post to write, then I lose it, or I don't have time to sit and type it. But mostly, they just never develop. They are like little blog tadpoles that swim around in my head but fail to get up on land and crawl. Here's a small sampling of what I've been thinking about.

  • I've lived nearly 30 years and just noticed recently after writing a mail to my boss that typing too fast or slipping on the keys MAY result in me typing my name Nastalie. I think that's awesome and am considering going by Dr. Nastalie next time I need a moniker for something.

  • Speaking of needing a moniker for one more thing, I sorta want to start twittering but don't want to jump on a huge bandwagon AFTER super lame people like Newt Gingrich have started. Now it's resistance based on principle but am not sure how long I can hold out.

  • Providence. I don't even know where to start with that one.

  • I am having an unhealthy love affair with Chinese food, which is threatening to erase the 30 pounds I lost over the last year and a half. I doesn't help that I work with mostly Chinese people who bring Chinese food for lunch everyday and the owner of a local Chinese restaurant parks a food truck thirty feet outside my office every single day at noon.

  • I feel like I should be dressing more like a grown up and wearing makeup but my job really doesn't let me. I bought a bunch of new clothes several weeks back and haven't worn any to work because I'm scared to ruin them with chemicals. And I don't wear them around the house, which pretty much leaves Saturday nights or running errands. Lame. I really hope I'm not reduced to still dressing like a college student 5 years from now.

  • I wish I could be BFF with Rachel Maddow.

  • Does anyone want to read the same book as me and discuss it? Just kidding. Sort of. I really miss my book club. I can't find one here and besides it took me four months to finish the last book I read.

  • Why can't I just get it together and blog regularly and keep in contact with family and friends? Why can't I concentrate on one thing?

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind. A whole lot of nothing. For those of you who tune in for the cat stuff (and those of you who barely tolerate it) here's another picture. These two having been palling around lately, they share an obsession for food, and strangely, the humidifier.