Monday, March 30, 2009

I Don't Know.....

If you have been following me on any one of my various outlets, you will know that I have been dealing with a bum tooth for the past week. After dentists, endodondists, physicians and now periodontists it turns out I have a terrible infection that has inhabited my head for a number of years. Sort of funny... and not. The periodontist took a look under the hood today and discovered the infection.

"Has your eye been hurting?"

"Umm.... yeah."

After a little minor surgery and scraping around he definitively said the tooth was a goner and needed to be pulled. He was stymied by the extent of the infection. It was probably the result of a fracture about 27 years ago and would explain my long history of unexplained sinus infections.

As he was working on my tooth he kept up a patter that I knew was meant to distract me, but he said the big bad words: "I don't know why this happened." Now I can tell you I started crying in his chair, but I pretty much cry at anything. Some friends would describe me as big, bad Sarah but the truth is that emotions overwhelm me on occasion and the tears just leak out of my eyes. Just another reason, in a long list, not to wear eye makeup.

The words "I don't know" are scary to me because they are fraught with uncertainty. They mean anything could happen. My rampantly fertile mind had already spent the weekend imagining that I had a brain tumor. As I reclined in the doctor's chair I thought of my two little sisters who are dealing with all the "I don't knows" of cancer. I thought of my husband's death and the months of "will I make it?- I don't know" limbo that I lived in. My boyfriend's constant reminder that he has outlived many of the men men in his lineage by a decade is a huge "I don't know" for me.

In the big scheme of things the loss of some bone in my jaw and a tooth is hardly a body part to weep over. Perhaps it is just indicative of the inevitable slide towards decay & death. Perhaps it is a reminder that I don't have forever to leisurely accomplish what I want to in my life.

So, what do I want to accomplish? I don't know.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I had been dreaming of making homemade corn tortillas for a while. The boyfriend bought a tortilla press a few weeks ago so there was really nothing standing between me and my dream.

I had found a couple different recipes for tortillas. Some called for shortening and some didn't. I decided to try the recipe that came with the press to start: 2 cups masa harina, 1 1/3 cups water & 1 teaspoon salt. It doesn't get more basic than that.

After allowing the mixture to sit for 20 minutes we got to work pressing tortillas. You have a choice of using wax paper or plastic wrap to line the press. We tried wax paper first. It stuck terribly so we threw the whole shebang in the garbage. After a bit of cursing and straightening of plastic wrap we put the first ball of dough in the press and Presto! One corn tortilla! But I had neglected to properly center the ball of dough so it squeezed unevenly out the side of the press. Lesson learned.

We made the whole batch with varying degrees of success. I think a little shortening in the recipe would help it stick together a little better. I will try that next time. But I must say they were delicious even if they didn't stay together as well I would like. They have a nice tooth and are not overwhelmingly corn-y. We turned them into some delicious shrimp tacos.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shaved Puppy

Before and after puppy shots.

It is that time of year when I start thinking about getting Henry clipped. After a long winter's worth of hair growth he starts displaying mats under his ears and on his elbows. Everyone asks why I don't just brush him.... well, he screams like I am poking him with pins if I try. So mostly I just ignore his hair until it starts posing a health risk (matted fur, skin issues, hot spots).

I decided to try clipping him myself, which wasn't as terrible as I predicted for either Henry or me. He struggled but not mightily. I did a decent job with only a few stripes of too closely shaved fur.

After he is clipped everyone says how skinny he is- which he was before too, just less noticeably so. People also notice his spots and freckles. I love that his little body feels like velvet after he is clipped.

I love my little guy in all his guises.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Silver Linings

It has been a harrowing week. What started out as a pain in my jaw (What the hey! Have I been gnashing my teeth in my sleep again?) , began to look like an abscessed tooth. Definitely a problem to ignore! Finally giving in to the pain I visited my dentist who passed along the bad news that it might be two teeth that were abscessing. So depressing. In my mind I was already toting up the cost of two root canals and the possible replacement of one of the crowns which dated back to 1981.

Today I went to see my endodontist. He was incredibly thorough what with all the tapping, application of cold towelettes and X-rays. After a final placement of my head between my knees and the description of the pounding in my nose, he sent me along to my regular doctor. Diagnosis: sinus infection. This doesn't mean that I won't need a root canal in the future, but it may mean I have dodged this particular bullet.

But with this whole week of fitful sleep, massive doses of ibuprofen and numerous visits to anxiety producing dentists I did have a chance to brush up against one of my most favorite harbingers of Spring. While walking my precious pooch this evening I heard the "peent" of the Woodcocks. Their distinctive call fills up an hour when everything should be quiet- catching you by surprise. They thrill me in the classic sense of the word- I slow down, my hearing is sharpened, I quake just a little bit. I want so much to catch one in my hands just for a minute- to see what makes such a thrilling noise.

Sigh... Spring fills me up.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Artifice or Artificial

I think as a young girl I was not given the manual that everyone else gets on how to be a woman. My mother did not wear much make-up and probably qualified as a tomboy. I tromped along in her footsteps. At one point I picked up the habit of applying mascara-to piss off a particular boyfriend- but that was the extent of my beauty regime.

So I called a quorum of sisters for a night of beauty this past Friday. My sister Abby showed her skill in the eyebrow shaping department. She had already had a glass of Sangria and was now working on a Cosmopolitan. She also happens to be blind in one eye. Eventually she got both eyes done. It only hurt a little- mostly when she grabbed my forehead with the tweezers.

It was fun and I might be a little more beautiful.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Talking Dirty...

There is some dirt visible outside of a few of my windows. There are still large snowbanks and most of the yard is either covered in snow or knee-deep in water, but this dirt signals spring... and more importantly- gardening!

Every fall I think I have gotten my fill of gardening chores. But the (relatively) warm winds and birds screaming about their need to procreate make me long to get my hands into the dirt.

Soon this blog will return to its original focus of gardening... until I get my fill again.

God, I love talking dirty!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Conventional Thinking

Me and my personal bliss having a cuddle.

I have been reading Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss and he makes a very small/big point in one of his chapters. It is so small that you almost don't notice this sentence in the middle of a paragraph that is in the middle of a chapter in the middle of a very dense book:

"How could the Swiss be boring if they almost voted their military out of existence."

Really now?

Mr Weiner makes the point that the Swiss are so predictable that they couldn't possibly surprise or engage a worldly person such as himself. Yet they almost voted their military out of existence..... something that some of the more exciting and dynamic governments in the world have not thought of, let alone done.

So how do you reconcile such a rebellious act with a seemingly bourgeois and conventional society? Makes you think twice about all those librarians you might have pre-judged... Hmmmm?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I made this spoonbread for dinner last night. It was "tres magnifique!" Without having tasted it I can tell you that.... because it is the right amount of crunchy brown on top. My mother taught me, in cooking, that brown near to burnt is very desirable. It is especially desirable in:
chicken skin
turkey skin
mac & cheese
bread crusts
anything with cheese on top
creme brulee

I know many people were raised to to think that pale tops with flaccid skins were desirable in baked foods. I disagree- the exotic, crunchy, Mediterranean-complected casserole/dessert/baked good is where its at.