10 December 2007

The Real Reason For The Season

OK, people, forget the Christmas presents, the shopping, the cookies, the ornaments, the gift cards, the fruitcake, and the grouchy children and in-laws.

Christmas is about none of these things. It's about snow days.

It's time for the seasonal equivalent of Russian Roulette.

Those of you who grew up in the public school system will recall dusty memories of waking up, and groggily looking out the window at a fresh blanket of snow. As you rubbed the sleep goobers out of your eyes, you groaned with an inward sense of dread that it was going to be hell trying to drive to school with this on the roads...or hell riding the bus, if that was the case. Suddenly, that slow tingly delicious sense of realization crept over your entire body...school might be cancelled! You rushed to the TV or radio and found the local station. The newscaster would slowly roll through the cancellations and postponements...usually in alphabetical order. To this day, you never knew how you managed to keep from ripping the knobs off the appliances as the reporter droned on...and wondering all the while, who really did give a crap about the cancelled spaghetti supper at the First United Methodist Church of Christ??

Your happiness rested on one monumental decision. Would the superintendent have mercy? You knew in the blink of an eye your day could be absolutely ruined. Nerves jangled as you awaited that announcement. And finally, that moment of bliss...of utter contentment..of sheer, unadulterated joy. School was canceled. A whole day off! Nothing to do but whatever your little heart desired. Glorious!

So, I'm still in public education. And this whole emotional roller coaster of school cancellations is still there. And it's about ten times better. I freaking love it.

05 December 2007

The Root Of All Evil?

Money. Cash. Or at least, Pink Floyd said so.

Today, I feel like discussing Money and...Religion.


I was sitting in church about three weeks ago, and the sermon was titled "Tithing or Not?" When I saw that in our bulletin, my interest was piqued. See, I had just recently begun attending church regularly (like within the last year), because it had taken me forever (seems like) to get over my church phobia. For whatever reason that I could never quite place, my distaste for organized religion had spread to various other areas of my life. In my late teens and early 20's, I didn't give God much of a thought...I was too busy trying to just live my life. So I went on happily living my atheist lifestyle, until I realized that I could be spiritual without being religious. A major breakthrough, let me tell you.

So, anyway, after some meandering here and there, we've become members of a Quaker church here in town. Everyone's very welcoming and there is a definite "church family" feel. Imagine my trepidation then, upon learning that week's sermon about tithing. Would this be one of those hypocritical sermons that would leave a bad taste in my mouth and turn me away from the church again?

Well, yes and no. I understand that the church is somewhat of a business. They have bills to pay, causes to support etc, and the main source of income is what the parishioners provide. And yet, it is this dependence on money that I find so damn irritating. Petty squabbles arise because a committee wants to cover pews, replace windows, or send a youth group on missionary trip...and what do we need? Money. All this reliance on money.

Reminds me of another wonderful thing about being Pagan. No church, no ties to money. I can easily step outside and bask in the light of a full moon...and there's my church. Walk out in the rain, crunch through fall leaves, get a sunburn at the pool - that's my church. And I don't have to pay for it.

12 November 2007

Kenny Rogers Rediscovered

I first became familiar with this silver-maned crooner in the early to mid 80's. See, my parents were (are) country music fans...and I'm talking Country-Western. I'm talking Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, etc., etc. I'm now talking about the crap now about sexy tractors (WTF is that about?).

Anyway, I've tried to deny my heritage. For the longest time, I've tried to cover up my CW past by listening to the likes of Tori Amos, NKOTB, and Paula Abdul.

Well, it's all caught up with me. It first started about four weeks ago when I got the Netflix itch to watch "Coward of the County" based on Rogers' song, because I remembered that flick when I was a kid. Well, from there, it's blossomed into a full-fledged rediscovery. And not only that, but Brent got caught in the Kenny undertow, too.

In fact, he just purchased the CD "21 Number Ones: Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits". And the songs are awesome...I mean, we've got:

- Lady
- Lucille
- The Gambler
- Islands in the Stream
- She Believes in Me

and on and on and on. The only bummer: No "Reuben James".

And so now, I was just browsing through iTunes and came across this gem: "70's Country". OMG!!

We're talking:

- Rhinestone Cowboy
- Convoy
- Take this Job and Shove It
- Rose Garden
- Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
- Coal Miner's Daughter
- If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me?

AND MORE!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just can't believe I may possibly be reverting to music from my childhood. Next thing I know, I'll be watching reruns of "The Waltons".

G'night, John Boy!

10 November 2007

How's This For Serendipity?


My mom and I (avec two of the three kids) were having lunch at Wendy's this morning. I was having the small chili and side salad. It was good.

This elderly lady, her husband, and I guess, a sister or friend, sat in the booth behind us...I saw her glance over at us once. My initial thought was, "Oh great, another old person who wishes they could enjoy their lunch in peace without the commotion of small children." She said nothing, so I kept on eating. Her husband then goes the counter to order and that's when she turns around and says, "I'm so sorry to interrupt you..."

"...but is your last name S*****?"

I said that it was and she then tells me that she was my kindergarten teacher. Of course, the moment she says it, I recognize her. She's definitely older, but I recognize her. She then comments that I probably don't remember her name, and I said, "Yes, you were Miss Castel when I had you, then you became Mrs. Bollinger." She then goes on to tell me that she thinks of me often and has brought up my name in many conversations.

You see, I was basically a child prodigy.

I went off to kindy in the fall of 1980, knowing how to read and read well. My mom told me it was because I watched so many episodes of the game show 'Password'.

Mrs. B says right there during lunch that she never had to teach me to read, because I already knew it. She also comments that she's brought me up in her conversations with others, especially when they rave about a youngster who was an early reader. She's able to counter with "Yes, well, I once had a kindergartener come to my class able to read!" She also asks my daughter if she's "just like her Mom, able to read in kindergarten."

So, we chitchat for a few more minutes...and she looks delighted when I tell her I'm now an English teacher.

All in all, about a five minute exchange. But it really made my day...maybe even my year. Usually, it's the students who are touched by the teachers...how wonderful to be the student who has touched a teacher.

01 October 2007

Glorious October

This is one of my favorite months ever! When I was growing up, I never really knew why, but for some reason, the changing season, the cooler air, brilliant foliage, and just that undescribable descent in winter and dormancy seemed to set my heart and spirit in motion.

Of course, I know now my embracing of fall was just the germination of my pagan roots.

The last week and a half has been excellent, weather-wise. Cool mornings, warm afternoon, cool evenings. Sunny and blue skies. Gentle breeze lifts the leaves up and down, and some flutter to the earth.

It's the season of orange, woodsmoke, cut grass, pumpkins, and rain.

And while autumn is definitely a visual and olfactory feast, it's also that time of year where I feel motivated to reflect on "things on the inside"...being indoor house projects or things on the inside of me.

I feel like this month is the deep breath before we are all plunged into the crazy chaos that is the winter holidays.

Oh yes, I also get paid today. Whooohooo!

14 September 2007

Keepin' It Domestic

So, I have not written all week, because, frankly, there hasn't been much to say.

Simply put, I'm living the quintessential middle-class dream right now.

For example, I have cooked supper for my family every single night this week, complete with a side dish of vegetables. In addition, I have packed the same thing for my lunch every day this week: jello, pudding, yogurt, fruit, carrots. As a treat, let's not forget the one side trip to McDonald's this week for a kiddie cone (1 WW point). I have also made a one trip to the grocery store this week to purchase the following: ziploc sandwich bags, dishwasher detergent, and paper plates. I have taken my children to and from the following activities: football practice and gymnastics. I have gone to bed every night around 9:30 and gotten up around 6:00. Not to mention, I spent roughly one hour at my daughter's gymnastics practice gossiping about the latest hoopla at church.

This is all in addition to my career, in which I have walked somewhere in the vicinity of three miles, called two parents on the phone, emailed two parents, sent notes home to ten parents, graded about 90 reading journals, and touched an innumerable number of lives.

And now it is Friday. The culmination of the entire week, in which I will celebrate the coming weekend by taking my family to eat at Subway, getting Spencer and Brent's haircuts, and going to the first home high school football game of the year.

Three cheers for prosaicness!!!

09 September 2007

The Weekend in Pictures

La! Imagine my surprise after being out for the weekend to find four Blogstream comments! Completely unwarranted! And I, not updating my blog in four days!


Thanks to everyone who stopped by with their greetings and to wish me a happy weekend. You're all lovely.

So, we went camping this weekend (yes, again). This time we went a State Park called Ledges...near Ames. Brent and I are Iowa State University alums, so this is our old stomping grounds. Naturally, we came up to catch the football, which turned out to be an embarrassing waste - but no matter.

The best part was this park. It was BEAUTIFUL. We had gorgeous weather, yes, but this park is awesome. Bluffs and trails and nature and quiet. Due to an unfortunate, unplanned tumble in an flooded creek, we did not traverse all the trails available, but there are plans to return. Again and again.

Let's see the pictures, shall we?

This first one's the spectacular scenery. Notice the tiny figure in yellow. That's Brent and he is completely dwarfed (to the thousandth power) by the bluffs.

Here's another scenery pic. Bluffs and trails. Trails and bluffs.

This one is definitely going to get made into holiday greeting cards at Walmart this year!

This is Elliot splashing right through the flooded bridge. Soaked jeans but what fun!

Out of the five of us, only Brent and Kirby were the ones to lose their balance and fall in the creek. You can't really tell it on Brent, but Kirbs definitely has that sodden dog-left-in-the-rain look.


27 August 2007

A Little Pagan Gem

Ahahaaaaa! Found this little something-something in my stack of papers. It was written by one of the elders of the coven I was part of in Minnesota. We chanted it during a midsummer ritual when we consecrated our new circle space. For some reason, it is a very powerful piece for me. In fact, I may use parts of it tomorrow night at my private full moon observance.

We are the children of the Earth. We search for beauty in all things. We grow nearer to the Divine. We nurture abundance and bounty.

We are the children of the Air. We search for creativity, intellect, and awareness. We grow nearer to the Divine. We nurture education and communication.

We are the children of Fire. We search for courage, desire, and strength. We grow nearer to the Divine. We nurture passion and change.

We are the children of Water. We search for emotions and the hidden. We grow nearer to the Divine. We nurture cleansing and reason.

We are the children of Light. We search for all that is good. We grow nearer to the Divine. We nurture all that is living and growing.

We are the children of the Dark. We search for discernment. We grow nearer to the Divine. We nurture all that is resting and dormant.

We are the children of the Divine. We are blessed.

15 August 2007

New Financial Plan

Let us veer away from the recently negative, sad, and infuriating chain of events and turn to a decent bit of communication that happened between my husband and I in the last few days.

This conversation occurred as we were driving home from Minnesota this last Monday. It was about finances. Brent still makes a corporate salary, I have my Masters and make a respectable salary (for a teacher), and we live in SE Iowa, where the cost of living is much lower. Needless to say, we live very comfortably, and are able to enjoy just about anything we like...which leads to a smidgen of reckless spending. We're not thousands in debt or anything like that, but we make several trips to Walmart during the week or we make frequent ATM cash withdrawals. Now, I haven't had to hock my wedding ring, but it's a concern.

So, we came up with a plan on Monday's drive. We had nothing else to do anyway!

The Nelsons' Solid Financial Plan

1. An ATM cash withdrawal of $100 will be made once a week. H gets $40, B gets $40, and $20 goes to the "money drawer."

2. All purchases are made in cash; the only exceptions are groceries, gas, and bills - these will be put on credit card (all others are cash).

3. Credit card usage should be limited as much as possible to the weekends.

4. Nelson family is allowed one credit-card-restaurant trip per week. Any other dining out is paid in cash.

5. Money is not taken from "money drawer" unless the other person is consulted.

6. Money from "money drawer" is used only when $40 allowance is gone, and then only for necessary household purchases.

7. Online purchases must come from weekly allowances, which is then put into a separate "Online Purchase" envelope. This money is then recycled into next week's allowance (under $100) or deposited in bank (over $100).

That's it. We've done detailed budgets before and it became a bookkeeping nightmare. This way, we only have a certain amount of money, but how we spend it is irrelevant. It hopefully will also make us think about our purchases and think ahead to things we REALLY want or need.

21 July 2007

The Monster I've Created

Hmmmm....parenting dilemma #125: Equal treatment of all children.

This morning, Brent took Spencer and Kirby to the Y for basketball camp. This was from 8:30-Noon. That left Elliot and I to run errands.

Now...we've been trying to potty-train Elliot. So, everytime he uses the toilet by himself, he gets a sticker on his chart. When the chart is full, he gets a treat. The chart has about twenty spots on it, and if he pees in his underwear, I cross out a sticker and he needs to make up for it. Anyway, it's been a big deal, and he's had his eye on a Go, Diego, Go backpack at Walmart.

Which we finally got to get for him today! Yay Elliot! Potty Prince!

Back to the story. When I picked the kids up, Spencer told me how he had trouble keeping his shoes on during play. They're the zip-up kind, and they actually functioned as his gym shoes during the last year. Needless to say, between gym class and regular wear this summer, they're pretty shot. So, we went to the shoe store to buy new shoes for him.

Guess who's upset because she gets nothing special??? Kirby. Elliot got the backpack and Spencer gets new shoes. She didn't talk to me all through lunch and had tears in her eyes whenever she'd look at me.

My first reaction was to tell her: Look, sometimes you get things and the boys don't. That's how it goes sometimes. What I snippily wanted to add, but didn't was: Sometimes you're more special on some days than others. Get over it. But then, I started to feel bad for her - WTF??

After I said my above piece, I went ahead and ignored the silent tantrum, and eventually she did get over it, but it got me thinking. Have I been so worried about making sure my kids all get the same stuff, that now they expect things when they don't need or deserve it? Christmas is a good example. In the past, we've always tried to spend the same amount of $$$ on the kids. Well, the older they've gotten, the trickier that's become. But, they're still young enough to raise a fuss when one child has more presents than the other...so we buy a couple of "filler" presents for the child who's got the least to alleviate the problem. Soon, the belief prevailed that if "she got something at Walmart, I should get something too." Yuck. I'm raising greedy little yard gnomes!

06 July 2007

Europeans Got Some Things Right

In my recent European wanderings, I've discovered there are a lot of things I like about Greek people and their way. Some things are European in general, and some are specifically Greek.

First of all, I really dig their tiled bathrooms. I know we have those in America too, but I liked them better in Europe. I want to redo my shower now.

Brent and I both really liked their money. Euros are cool. It's nice having a 1 and a 2 Euro coin. And they're pretty.

Finally, and this was a biggie. Several people in our tour group were concerned with all the doings at JFK, Glasgow, and Heathrow airports and asked the tour director if she foresaw any trouble on our flights home. The TD looked blank for a moment, and then she replied that Greeks don't worry much about those kind of things. There's no point in it, and if something is going to happen, there's not much she can do to stop it. Basically, her point was that Greeks, in general, don't work themselves up about things that are beyond their control.

And I thought - now there's what our country missing!

It's not that Europe is lazy or hands-off or don't think about the big picture. They aren't. But, in America, we always seem to be worried about something. We do have a tendency to sweat the small stuff.

Also, I liked how Greeks are towards their parents. Our TD told us they don't ship their parents off to nursing homes or assisted living apartments. They bring them home or find them a place really close to their house (like next door). I just found that refreshing. And, they don't celebrate birthdays so much as celebrate their "Name Day." In Greece, anyway, most children are named after a saint, and that's the day they celebrate more. It's not so much about parties and presents, but about reflecting on how you've lived your life, and just celebrating life in general.

I don't know if this is all a Europe thing, or a Greek thing, but some of their attitudes struck a chord with me. I was doing an internal "Right On!" many times during this trip. We'll see if I can work these European attitudes into my own daily living.

04 July 2007

Greece Trip Highlights

Yes, we are back in the motherland. The kids came back this morning, and we are all happy household again.

I apologize for telling you about the trip for the first couple days, then leaving off abruptly, but we were on the cruise ship, and the ship's two (slow) computers were monopolized by teenagers.

So, instead of trying to backlog ten days' worth of adventure, I'll pack it into a concise list of highlights (and lowlights, as the case may be).

1. The sheer joy of finding out we were bumped to the first-class section for the Philly-Athens leg of the plane trip.

2. Looking like uncouth cretins when we asked the flight attendant how much we had to pay for mimosas in the first-class section.

3. Walking through the Propylaia (entrance) and catching my first glimpse of the Parthenon.

4. Not knowing how to turn lights on in European hotel rooms for the first few hours of the trip.

5. Brent running in the ancient stadium at Delphi in 119 degree weather.

6. Doing all of our walking trips in the hottest weather Greece has seen in 100 years.

7. Standing at the northern end of the ancient Olympic ruins, feeling the utmost awe of the "ancientness" of it all, and hating Theodosius whoever for destroying it all because the ceremonies and rituals of the ancient Olympics didn't jive with Christianity.

8. Watching and filming Brent and three other people from our tour group running a race in the ancient Olympic stadium. (No, he did not win, and yes, it was still insanely, dangerously hot.)

9. Feeling extremely tuned into Homer's world of "The Iliad" as I stepped through the Lion's Gate at the ruins of Mycenae.

10. Delivering the first few lines from Homer's "The Odyssey" in the acoustically amazing ancient theater at Epidaurus. ("Sing in me, O Muse...)

11. The amazing dark blue color of the Aegean Sea sailing aboard the Ruby.

12. Unlimited buffet on the Lido deck.

13. Full Moon Saturday on the Aegean Sea. Freakin' gorgeous.

14. Mykonos's whitewashed houses, cozy streetways, and hanging-out-to-dry octopus.

15. Eating fried squid in a cafe on the beach, watching the sunset on Mykonos.

16. Doing the beach thing on Rhodes. Water is clear, beach is rocky. Sun is hot, breeze is cool. Wish you were here.

17. Many boobs on beach in #16 (not mine).

18. Taking a scenic bus tour of Rhodes, and seeing the absolutely breathtaking view of a beach that was two different shades of blue. Light turquoise at the shallow end, dark sapphire as it got deeper.

19. Visiting the place where St. John received a vision from God and wrote the Book of Revelation...on a Sunday...in the middle of a service going on in the chapel right next to the grotto. Yes, uncomfortable, but inspirational.

20. Sitting with other tour members on the outdoor latrines in the city of ancient Ephesus in Turkey.

21. The ancient city of Ephesus itselt.

22. Bargaining with a leather seller in Kusadasi, Turkey...and walking out with two sweet name-brand leather purses and a wallet for Brent for 75 Euro ($90-100).

23. Watching crazy Athenian drivers and motorbike riders with a death wish from the safety of the tour bus.

24. Being there amid hundreds, thousands of years of history. Feeling that sublime feeling of being a microscopic little speck in the universe, realizing I am just a drop in the ocean of this planet as I stand among rocks that have been standing for thousands of years, and will probably be there a thousand more.

25. Knowing I'll be back to the Greek Islands, most definitely. Someday, anyway. I've got to get a boob lift first so I can fit in with the beachgoers on Rhodes.

Tune in tomorrow for my thoughts on the European ways.

27 June 2007

Greece: Day Three

It was 104 degrees here yesterday, and after spending the entire morning on a beautifully scenic bus ride, we toured the ruins of the temple and oracle at ancient Delphi. As I'm sure you all know, a long, long time ago, Delphi was a special sanctuary for the Greek god, Apollo, god of the sun. People would come from all over the country to ask the oracle (a woman) a question about the future. That was after leaving sacrifices and offerings for Apollo, natch.

We visited the ancient temple and oracle site today, and then we took a LONG UPHILL walk to the Stadium, where the athletes would participate in special races, called the Pythian Games. Brent decided to be crazy and run the whole length of the stadium, which I got on video. Let's not forget, it's over 100 degrees, we've just monumentally exerted ourselves on this huge walk, and then Brent decides to RUN the 100 yards. I'm actually surprised I didn't have to administer CPR...which I probably would have enjoyed.

Then we walked back down and visited a museum with all kinds of statues and relics from the Temple at Delphi. After that, we went to see a temple nearby dedicated to the goddess Athena and the gym where the athletes would practice their skills. It was all very awesome, and there were times that I was able to imagine people and activities of long years past taking place here. But...it was so hot that at times it was hard to focus and enjoy.

So then, we came back to the hotel, very hot and exhausted, so we went swimming. Had supper, did a little souvenir shopping, and went to bed. We're so old.

Also, on our three-hour bus trip from Athens to Delphi this morning, we stopped at a rest area, and I bought a copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." In Greek! We won't be able to read it, but it will look cool!

Today, we're off to ancient Olympia to see where they held the ancient Olympic Games. Brent will probably run in the stadium again


25 June 2007

Athens, Greece: Day One and Two

All right! Here we are! Our flight on Saturday went very smooth, transfers were good, and we even got our luggage and a taxi relatively quickly after touching down. It's a little overwhelming, as everything is in Greek, but there's plenty of English on signs and stuff. Also, many of the shop owners know English...but we are trying to speak a little too. We have used 'parakalo' (please) and 'efkharisto' (thank you).

It's pretty hot here. In the 90s/100s. We had the afternoon yesterday to ourselves, so we walked around an area of town called "Plaka" which is known for its shopping. The streets are small and crammed with stores left and right (no cars in this area). Parts of the city are dirty, though, and we've seen a few beggars, etc. There was also a flea market going on here too, which Brent and I passed through quickly...most of it's junk from people's garages. Makes me think of some Saturday mornings here.

The hotel is nice, except Brent and I couldn't figure out how to turn the lights on. We called down to the front desk and asked how to do it. Very humbling. Turns out you put your card in a card reader right by the door and leave it there...that's what keeps the lights on. Also, the shower head is one of those funky European deals that blasts the water out really hard and peels your skin off. Although, yours truly did figure out the trick to it this morning. Skin is completely intact.

So....day two...still really hot here. High of 109 yesterday. About the same today. We are sweating through clothes like crazy and taking two showers a day. This morning, we started with a bus tour of Athens, then a walking tour of the Acropolis. There were a lot of people and rocks...not to mention the Parthenon - huge temple for Athena. But it was still very awe-inspiring. I really don't even have the words to describe it.

Then we went to the National Archaeological Museum. We saw lots of sculptures and vases dating 400-500 B.C. As soon as I finish here, we're going to try to squeeze in a trip to the Turkish Baths. Tonight we get a fancy dinner and to see some Greek folk dancing.

We start a three-day bus tour tomorrow, and computer access will prolly be limited. We'll be seeing Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Napflio before heading out to do some island-hopping for another three days. So until then...see ya.

25 February 2007

Memo From The Goddess

To: All my children
From: The Goddess/Mother Nature
Re: Latest Storm Equals Personal Growth

So after this weekend's ice storm/flurry fall, I am acutely aware of the "memos" Mother Nature sends us.

1. We drove around town today, and it seriously looks like a tornadoey, war-torn zone. Tree branches and limbs everywhere, on cars, houses. Power lines askew, roads blocked. And yet, it's brutal, but its her way of pruning. It's her way of clearing out the dead flora to make room for new growth. It's her destructive, yet efficient way to keep this planet working for us.

2. And naturally, it is her way of reminding us who exactly is in charge. We think we have it all figured out with our 401Ks, Roth IRAs, on-time car payments, cupboard full of groceries, cool little iPods, cell phones, video games, etc. etc. etc. But then she sends a crippling ice storm, causing power outages, and now we are without all of the aforementioned gadgets and even necessities like electricity and heat. It is all Mother Nature reminding us what life really is, pared down.

It's time and family and survival.

She strips us of all those encumbrances to see if we sink or swim. It's the same as with the trees. She "prunes" us of the old junk, which is our dependency on modern-day stuff and our attitude that we know everything, and tries to make us remember the things that will allow us to grow (change in attitudes, etc.)

So, I guess we should embrace all these opportunities for learning that the Goddess provides us for us. Easier said than done, no doubt about that.

09 February 2007


OK, in the space-time continuum of my world, the above is true. So there.

Update on my teeth.

I scheduled (and went to) an ortho appointment for last Thursday, because every single dentist I've ever had advises it. I can't say I'm too thrilled about more intensive work on my teeth, since I can barely withstand the cleaning, but, you know, whatever.

The ortho actually tells me that I do not have a dental emergency, which is kinda the opposite I expected to hear. Forever and ever, I've heard "you've got some crowding" or "did you know you still have one of your baby teeth?" or "you might want to think about jaw surgery and braces." I've known for a long time that I have a bad open bite (teeth don't meet in middle).

So, now, here's the guy that tells me he sees no abnormal wear and tear on my molars, which I assume would look like crap since they've done most of my chewing work for my adult life. He doesn't tell me that I absolutely must have dental work done...right now. Instead, he says, "It's up to you. I can't say you'll be fine for the rest of your life, but you might be. Your teeth might be fine until you die."

So, the ball's in my court. Do I want nice, straight, fully functional teeth? If so, am I really willing to endure two to three years of orthodontia and oral surgery? Ortho said I'd have 18 months of braces and then the surgery and recovery beyond that. Freaks me out a little to think about the surgery, but then again, so does the thought of my teeth rotting and falling (or being pulled) out. Also, should I just get it done now while I'm young enough to recover somewhat adequately or hope and pray that I'm not seventy-some years old when I gotta go have mouth surgery?

Ugh. Too many things to think about. My brain hurts already.

I just don't know. I never had braces as a kid, although I definitely needed them. My folks never had the money, and now that I do, I'm balking. I've lived with my teeth as is for the last couple of decades, and they've done their job. I certainly don't have one of those smiles where everyone cringes and wonders when I'm going to get my teeth fixed. But yet, I'd like to have straight teeth. I'd like to have my own teeth for as long as possible. The "worst case scenario" is still very cloudy...what's the worst that could happen if I do nothing?

Although, if I do this whole mouth-fixing rigamarole, maybe it'll stop my recurring teeth nightmares.

Sincerely. I'm not making that up. I have occasional nightmares where my teeth are being violently wrenched from my mouth. I never know who's doing it, but I always feel the tremendous pain, and see the blood. And I never fail to wake up in a sweat.

10 January 2007

Child Development Expert Needed

I have a really weird story to tell. Well, not really weird, I guess. I mean, I definitely can't rank it with alien sightings ans such...but in my corner of the universe...definitely bizarre stuff.

So, I'm home with Elliot yesterday. I have a sore throat and he'd slept horribly the night before, had a temp, and was drooling like Pavlov's dog. So he stayed home too. (BTW, he's two and a half). He wanted to watch Ice Age in the morning, so we did, me laying on the couch, he laying on top of me. A rather nice maternal picture I've got going.

If you haven't seen Ice Age, there's this bit of a tearjerker part where the mammoth and sloth return the baby to his dad. Of course, the father is happy and it's a jubilant reunion moment. The mammoth and sloth turn to leave and the baby makes noises to them, so they return back to say goodbye.

I'm laying there, pretty content, when I hear this big shaky sigh/breath go up from Elliot. When I look at him, there are tears leaking out of his eyes! WTF? Usually, when Elliot cries, it's accompanied by a blood-curdling scream. So I ask him why he's crying. Now, I'm not sure I expect an answer...but he started talking and articulating long before our other two did, so I figure he'll tell me "tummy hurt" or "want milk" or something. He never was able to tell me why he's crying.

Now, naturally, I'd like to think he is precociously sensitive. But, I don't even know if that's possible. I mean, can a 2 1/2 year old respond in such a way to external stimuli? Can he watch a movie and emotionally respond to it? It just doesn't seem feasible to me.

It certainly was weird, I'll tell you. I felt like I'd watched him grow right before my eyes.