Monday, October 31, 2011

No Halloween Treats Here...

There are no ghosts or goblins where I live and there haven't been for the decade or so that I've resided here. I've saved a small fortune on candy and all things caramelized. I take a small amount of pride in sparing teeth and fillings the opportunity to become emergencies, both dentally and financially. I get my teeth cleaned every three months, thus avoiding excessive plaque, tartar and cavities and I brush with a recommended electric model toothbrush twice daily. My dentist loves me...

In spite of these wonderful things, a look in my mouth reveals a childhood spent catering to a sweet tooth and often ignoring maternal admonitions to brush and floss until it was too late and She Who Was Not Obeyed dragged me to the dentist, swearing under her breath about the bill that inevitably followed. All of my molars contain fillings that are at least 45 years old, making me a slip of a thing when they were put in, a testament to my love of halloween candy, biscuits, cakes, tarts, pies and any other delectably sugary treats. This is not to say, however, that I acquired any regard for dentists. Quite the opposite, a situation sadly sealed when one of them drilled for a filling without any anesthetic, leaving me as a howling ten-year-old convinced that all dentists were sadists.

It wasn't until my mid thirties, after my front teeth were damaged in an accident and needed bonding that I began to consider the health and cosmetics of my mouth. Like many, I put off dentist visits and having no insurance to cover those bills made it easy to rationalize my behavior. It wasn't until a second accident occurred that a friend suggested I see his dentist for some damage control. That singular event changed my perspective forever.

This dentist has been a godsend. He listened rather than lectured and carefully explained his plan of care. Additionally, he never acted as though his patients deserved punishment for their dental faux pas. He and his staff spent time educating me about my mouth, teeth, and gums and re-iterated the value of preventing problems as well as suggesting things that I could use or do on my own to resolve dental issues particular to me. I went in today for a cleaning and came away with two crowns. Expensive, but a needed investment after all the childhood halloween candy and now worn fillings which resulted.

Unlike the dentists of my childhood, my dentist of almost fifteen years inspires trust and the confidence to maintain my oral health.

Now, as I sit here remembering the candy sprees of Halloween's past as well as the fillings that followed them, I thank my lucky stars and a certain friend...

Until Next Time...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Long Way To Go Yet...

According to my wonderful stylist, I need at least fourteen inches of flowing tresses for a donation to Locks of Love. That means hair past my elbows. As you can see from today's appointment, I've a long way to grow yet. I'm not sure I'll have the patience, but I'm giving it my best. The current length is the longest my hair has been since my undergraduate days.   Locks of Love takes clean hair donations of ten inches or more and fabricates hair pieces for children and adults who've lost hair due to a variety of medical conditions. These do not fall off during sports or swimming and can be worn all the time. My
 mother lost her hair during chemotherapy, a traumatic experience. Though it was growing in again when she passed away, she shared her disdain for losing it and the fact that it did not feel or look the same when it grew back. I hope this donation will eliminate the trauma of hair loss for someone...

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where I Was Today...

Does this sculpture resemble DNA? According to the guide at the Morsani Center, that is what it is supposed to be...It was created by Art students at the University near my home. It is certainly eye-catching. According to the dermatologist, I have great skin, and I do not have to see him until next October unless something changes.

Where were you today?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If You Want A Job Done Correctly...

It has been a long two weeks...

Between doctor visits, home exercises and trips to an increasingly cold swimming pool to try and maintain the pain-free status finally achieved in September, I've been catching up on all sorts of things, from paperwork to sleep to a re-configuration of my bedroom closet so that I can now reach my clothing from a seated position when necessary. You've no idea what a nuisance it is not to be able to reach blouses, trousers, suits, robes and other items when dressing for the day or hanging up newly-laundered things. A woman friend who enjoys doing small projects looked at the unused and ill-conceived space in my closet and offered to re-configure the shelving, drawers and area used for hanging clothing. She did something the previous installer had not and used a stud finder to correctly position shelves and brackets so that I no longer worry about anything falling down. It took about three hours once we had the necessary hardware and she even patched the holes. My longtime handy man could not have done better and in fact, turned his nose up at this job.  This same woman friend also took me to the hospital for treatment of a cat bite and thrifting for some needed clothing. She is a jewel. The injury has healed and I can now type without wanting to wince.

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Virtual Book Club Seeks New Members

The long defunct Virtual Book Club seeks new members and a second life. For anyone who likes to read, this is an ideal way to meet new people and discover books one might not otherwise encounter. Anyone interested can leave a comment here. Thanks.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Reflections...What Would You Change?

Someone asked me recently whether there was anything about my life  that I would change. Short of a snappy comeback meant to intrigue, this is not a question I can answer easily or adequately in two minutes or less.

Regular readers to this blog know that the last couple of years have been life-altering. I have had to adapt to living the larger portion of my life from a chair. Number one on my list would be stronger enforcement of access and accessibility standards in public places. Number two would be better transportation options for persons with disabilities. We do have a paratransit service here, but some cities actually run the service 24/7, making it easier for those who can to work or take part in community life. I would point out that a job or regular participation in one's community are not luxuries. These are vital economic and psychological functions.

On a more personal note, I've seen more friends loose jobs to downsizing. The crash of housing markets which were once highly inflated have left people "upside down" as they pay more in mortgage balances than these properties are worth while others can barely keep the rent covered. Admittedly, this is not my maternal grandparents' Depression, but a malaise that appears farther reaching with consequences many are apparently at a loss to understand.

I am not optimistic that things will somehow shift, returning us to more affluent circumstances. I do, however, believe that all of us had better learn to live within current limits because it does not appear that those limitations, from clueless self serving politicians to corporate bosses and bean counters, are not going anywhere.

What this means in practical terms to me is a lot of "no," as in no television, no cable bill, no car or car insurance, no far-flung holidays or travel, no high priced entertainment, no clothing budget, no job, no big phone bills, no expensive flat renovations to make my small piece of home more wheelchair friendly.
I am fortunate that the little suburban box I inhabit is paid off, though the monthly maintenance fees continue to climb. While I am not elderly, I now must live on a fixed income and worry about the future of Social Security. This isn't the life I aspired to, nor is it one most highly educated professionals, a group which includes me and most of those with whom I associate, would find themselves living but for factors largely beyond our control.

That said, there are still many things for which I am grateful: Educating myself by reading every book on personal finance for women in my local library, finding the right people when a particular problem needs seeing to, hearing from my congress person, my cats, friends and friends of friends, cookbooks since I eat in more often than out, bloggers from around the globe, and strangers on the bus who pass along tidbits of information about community events or resources, the drivers who get me where I need to go and my favourite cabby as well as librarian friends and colleagues. These I would not change for all the money on the planet.

Until Next Time...