Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Heart Christmas

Boy, Christmas can really get on top of you and hold you down like you're its bitch, can't it?  A bunch of people at work have out been dealing with various injuries/illnesses/family drama, and the dentist told me that stress-related tooth injuries make this is their busiest time of the year by far.  So far I am holding my own.  My shopping is finished, although I haven't wrapped anything, and two things haven't arrived in the mail yet.  My Christmas cards and stamps have been acquired, all but three cards have been sent out.  I put up our tabletop Christmas tree and lit my Christmas-scented Yankee Candles and pulled out my Christmas t-shirts (living in Florida, t-shirts make more sense than Christmas sweaters).

I'm trying to keep a close eye on my teeth/jaw,since I don't know if I am clenching my teeth in my sleep until it becomes a problem.  So far it's been fine.  I don't want to end up back at the dentist.  I also don't want a repeat of the really bad migraine I had last Christmas.

I love Christmas. I look forward to it all year, and when it's finally here I happily sing Christmas songs and bake cookies and curl ribbons and watch the tv specials from my childhood.  The tricky part is not getting stressed, especially over things that are made up or blown out of proportion by my own expectations.  Last year I got too stressed, and honestly now I don't even remember why.

Every year Mom asks me not to get her anything because she won't have any gifts for me, but I still take her a couple of things so we can open up presents in her apartment on Christmas Eve night.  Last year instead of making a family photo calendar I got her a calendar of Robert Tuckwiller's art, the landscape artist who lives right exactly where we are from.  Mom loved it, so I'm giving her the new one this year.  I have to admit, I got a second one for myself to hang up at my desk at work.  His beautiful paintings make me positively homesick.  I also got a great Black Friday deal on a digital photo frame for her.  When I received it, I wasn't thrilled with the resolution, but it seems to work just great and it's very easy, so I think I'll give it to her anyway.  I'm loading up a memory card with photos and hope to get some from my sister and my niece.

The little old lady who lives next door to us is in the hospital.  I'm not sure what's going on with her, but I like her; she's very sweet, and I hope she is okay.  It really does seem like practically everyone is having some kind of problem right now.

If you are stressy, please take a moment to enjoy this incredible video of Annie Lennox singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, from her new Christmas album.  It's truly beautiful.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Olive Juice

When I look back at that post a few weeks ago about how bad things were going to be at work, I just LAUGH.  I was worried about not knowing how to use the new systems!  I hadn't been trained enough, I feared!  OH NO!  Well, the sad reality is that many things with the new systems that went live mid-October are still not even working completely.  Lack of training has certainly taken a back seat in my giant mental bus of things to worry about.  Our department has been moved into the call center now, which is being taken apart piece by piece and moved to the new call center area, which is around half the size.  People keep coming back from the new area with wide eyes, saying, Well, it sure is going to be... tight.  Whatever.  We'll all deal with it.

Despite waking up with a slightly sore mouth most mornings, my teeth/jaw seem to be basically okay now.  At least, okay enough to wait until next month to go back to the dentist for more x-rays and to have a night guard made.  Ibuprofen and a heated pillow on my jaw for a few minutes before bed helps a lot.  I don't think I was being super paranoid to worry about the intense shooting nerve pain in my back tooth being from a cracked filling or a cracked tooth, but it inexplicably seems to have gone away now.  I will just assume I have regenerating tooth enamel or something.

This past Tuesday was the 10th anniversary of my first date with Greg, and we are planning to go out tonight to celebrate.  We considered a fancy restaurant, but decided instead to go to Rossi's, a casual Italian restaurant that we used to go to pretty frequently when we were first dating.  Since we moved it's farther away, so we don't go very often any more.  Rossi's is a family owned restaurant that's been in Orlando for decades, and it's filled with oil paintings done by the owner's mother.  They'll put green olives on pizza, and it's surprisingly hard to find a restaurant that does that.  Rossi's is like an old comfortable friend.

Sometimes I read something about the craft of writing that really changes the way I think of writing, and this wonderful post did that:  Sean Ferrell - Pathetic Email.  Here's a short exempt that does not do justice to the full amazing insight:  "... anyone who tries to hollow out a part of themselves so that they can give a home to people who don't exist in a physical sense but exist in a very hard and uncomfortable emotional sense. It's not easy giving them a home, a safe place to be themselves, and it will often destroy us in the process. I think it's supposed to. After completing a book you won't be the person you were before trying to write it, not if you've done it right. There's real fear in that... You're supposed to be scared."   Go read the whole thing, and possibly you'll be as inspired as I was.  One person left the comment: "This is the best post in the history of ever". 

FYI:  My blog entry title is from the idea that mouthing "olive juice" looks to someone lip-reading like "I love you".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thursday, December 6, 2001

Ten years ago today...

I was looking forward to going on a date with this guy.  I knew him because we were in the same circle of friends, and the week before we'd ended up spending a while talking at a friend's birthday party, and we'd kind of hit it off.  I came home and IMed a friend, asking if he was still dating this scary chick I'd heard about, she said:  No, he's not.  Hmmm, I thought. Then the guy and I saw each other online and had our own IM conversation, which led to a phone coversation, which led to him asking me out on a date.  He was cute, and smart, and funny.  He was also 8 years younger than me:  I was 35, he was 27.

My two cats and I lived in a one bedroom apartment on the third floor.  Running slightly late, I got out of the shower and, still naked, started to comb out and blow dry my hair in the steamy bathroom.

I thought I heard a noise.  I turned off the hair dryer and listened:  silence.  I looked at the clock, it wasn't even 6:30, and he was supposed to pick me up at 7.  I turned the hair dryer back on and bent over at the waist, blow-drying my long hair upside down to maximize volume.

I thought I heard a noise again.  I turned the hair dryer back off, and listened. This time I clearly heard a knock on my door.

Oh my god, don't tell me this guy is more than a half hour early!  Who does that?  I already don't like him.  I ran out of the steamy bathroom and frantically tried to pull on jeans and a shirt.  My jeans didn't want to go on, because my skin was all steamy from the shower.  Ugh, ugh.

I ran to the door, and there's no one there.  Good grief, I thought, it must not have been him after all.   I slammed the door, went back to the bathroom and turned my hairdryer back on.

Again, I thought I heard a noise.  I stomped to the front door and flung it open.  There he stood, looking at me with my hair all wild from being upside down, and my shirt on askew.

"You're early!"  I barked at him.

"Oh, sorry," he said, smiling at me.  "I'll go wait in my car."

I rolled my eyes.  "No, you can sit here on the couch and make friends with my cats.  But I'm not going to be ready until 7!"

"Okay."  He sat.  The cats eyed him warily.

Twenty-five minutes later I emerged from the bedroom, this time with actual underwear on beneath my clothes, and found him with one cat on his lap and the other lying next to him on the couch.  Who can stay mad at a guy who makes friends with your cats?

We went to the Orlando Museum of Art for their Third Thursday event and had a great time walking around talking about art.  Then we went downtown and had pizza at a little cafe, and walked around Lake Eola.  I was surprised by how comfortable I felt with him; I am uncomfortable around everybody, so this was unprecedented.  We walked and talked, and I forgot that he was 8 years younger than I.  He made me laugh, and better still he laughed at all my weird sarcastic jokes.  I noticed how blue his eyes were.

Then he drove me back to my apartment, and still enjoying the warm Florida December evening, we decided to walk around my giant apartment complex.  We walked around the three big ponds and the two pools, under the sidewalk lights, and talked more, and held hands.

It was one of those nights described in romantic books that you think are not real until you have one of those nights yourself.  We wanted to find out everything about each other, and we couldn't listen fast enough.  I told him about my childhood in Virginia and being shy and making art, he told me about his childhood in Florida and his time in the military and making music.  We sat on my couch and drank Coke and petted cats and told each other about all our previous relationships and jobs and hopes and fears.

And then we noticed the sun was coming up.  Even after being together for more than 10 hours, I hated to see him go.  He gave me a little kiss at the door and left.

In retrospect, I think we both fell in love at least a little that night, even though it was nearly three weeks before we'd actually say the words to each other.  Today, 10 years later, I love him so much.

Even though, as it turns out, he is ALWAYS early.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Doggies and Kitties ≥ People

I love this.  One of my friends posted it on Facebook, and boy, is this ever ME.

On Thanksgiving day, Greg and I took my homemade pumpkin pie (and Cool Whip) to his Dad's house for lunch, and we hung out with his father, his stepmother and her siblings, his sisters and their various husbands and children.  We ate ham and turkey and stuffing and all the typical Thanksgiving stuff.  After stuffing ourselves Greg and I went out to the backyard to meet his little sister Kayla's dog Capone.  Capone is a lovely and high-spirited young German Shepherd dog.  He fetched a ball for us, liked having his ears scratched, and is prone to jumping up on people -- I sadly had to deflect him due to his muddy paws. 

Then we took more pumpkin pie (and Cool Whip) to Greg's sister's (on his mother's side) house, where we hung out with his sister Ashley and her husband and two sons, Greg's mother and aunts.  They have had two sweet little Chihuahua dogs, and they recently adopted a mixed breed dog who is at least partly Dachshund, and a little black Labrador puppy.  I spent some time petting the little black Lab, who has an adorable puppy tummy, and playing with the Dachshund's long silky ears.  At one point I was on the couch and both Chihuahuas hopped up on me and curled up on my lap.  They're so little they both fit.  *happy sigh*

On the way to Ashley's house we stopped at the shop of one of Greg's clients.  A little sweet black and white kitty lives there and Greg is friends with her, and since she's mostly an outdoor cat, he was hoping she might be hanging around.  When we pulled up, she stood up from her sleepy spot in the sun and started meowing at us, as though she'd been waiting.  She was the friendliest cat, I picked her up and cuddled her and she just purred and purred.

The highlight of our Thanksgiving day was clearly the animals.  It's true, Greg and I are both very thankful for dogs and cats...  Sometimes more than people, particularly relatives.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

They Rocked My Teeth Out

They caught no fish, since the wind was too strong it wasn't safe to go out on the bay.  Bummer for Judas Priest.  They still kept their word about the tickets, but when we got to the venue they turned out to be VIP tickets, which meant tickets in the VIP section.  Which was right by all the other non-VIP sections, although more centrally located.  So we got to see Thin Lizzy (best known for their biggest hit in 1976, The Boys Are Back In Town), Black Label Society (best known for being the band of Zakk Wylde, the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne), and Judas Priest, best known for being awesome.

One interesting thing about Judas Priest:  in 1990 the band was accused of causing a fan's suicide by subliminally including the message "Do it" in one of their songs.  Rob Halford responded by stating that if they were going to include a subliminal message in their music it would be counterproductive to encourage fans to kill themselves, they'd rather have a message encouraging the fans to buy more records. The lawsuit ended up being dismissed.

Anyway, there were no backstage passes, no meet and greet with the band, just pretty good seats and a very good concert.  Judas Priest had the flaming pyro effects, the black leather outfits, and they really rocked.

For the past few days my teeth have been hurting, a lot, especially in the morning, and especially on the right side.  Yesterday I woke up with a swollen right jaw and pretty intense pain, and managed to get an emergency appointment with my dentist.  They took x-rays and poked around and said that I am not exactly grinding my teeth in my sleep, but I am clenching my jaw in my sleep, to the point where it's causing problems.  (Since my surgery to correct my deformed upper jaw when I was 17, I still have a bite that's just slightly off, my teeth only meeting on the right side, in the back.)  He ground away part of my teeth on the right side, just enough to change where my teeth were hitting, and said that should fix it for now but I need to come in next month to get night guards made.

I managed to still go to the heavy metal concert last night without getting a headache, which I am going to consider a Christmas miracle.

But today I still have pain, I still have swelling, and the ibuprofen and moist heat he prescribed don't seem to be helping.

Of course with my lame-ass dentophobia I am positive that something terrible is happening in my mouth and they just didn't see it yesterday.  Part of my brain knows that even if that is the case and I have to go back in to have some sort of procedure done, I'll survive and it'll be no big deal really.  But the loudest part of my brain is convinced that this will mean a ton of money (right before Christmas), a ton of pain, a ton of vacation time from work that I can't afford to lose, and just lots of agony in general.

I'm just hoping I wake up tomorrow and it's at least better...