Musings From The Edge

"Not all those who wander are lost" - J.R.R Tolkien

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Strange Turn of Events

My wisdom teeth extractions have been postponed. My husband just came home and said that he had good news and bad news. He went in this morning to have a filling taken care of and in the midst of numbing his mouth, the dentist broke the needle (from the syringe) in my husband's mouth. Xrays were done and the dentist called an oral surgeon. Based on the position of the needle and on the words from the oral surgeon, the needle needs to be removed TODAY.

Of course there was no oral surgeon with an emergency appointment today so I offered my time slot from MY oral surgeon. We called the surgeon's office and they have graciously agreed to swap patients. Dan now has my appointment this afternoon to have the needle removed from his gum.

Dan said the dentist was nonapologetic and even had the gall to say that Dan had a large tongue and this most likely caused the needle break. He took no responsibility for the mishap.

The f$%er better pay for the procedure. We're going to look into that today.

Needless to say, Dan will be switching to a different dentist. I told him he should try my dentist.
Be thinking of my husband this afternoon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

And it was just a video!

I went in today to an oral surgeon for a consultation on having my wisdom teeth removed. I posted on my previous blog that I had chipped one of my wisdom teeth back in August (yes, that long ago.) I must confess that before August, it had been a looong time since I had seen a dentist. You see, I have dental anxiety...severe dental anxiety. I found a reasonably nice dentist who knew of my anxiety and he said that while the chipped tooth did not expose a nerve, the tooth would give me trouble down the road. He also told me (and showed me) that the enamel around my wisdom teeth was flaking off and again, I would have trouble down the road. He offered to yank those bad boys out for me. He told me he could numb me up and have it all done within 45 minutes. NO THANK YOU. Did he miss the part about me having anxiety? I don't want to be AWAKE during the procedure. Sheesh.

I politely declined but told him that I would have the teeth removed before my next cleaning. Well, that time has come and gone. I cancelled my cleaning last week and thought of my promise and since I don't want another stern lecture, I called the Oral Surgeon the dentist recommended. I had the option of either going in for the teeth extractions or having a consultation with the surgeon. I wanted to meet the surgeon first so if I didn't like him, I could find someone else.

Today was the day of the consultation. I sat in the office and filled out the appropriate paperwork before I was led into an xray room to watch an 11 minute video on wisdom teeth extraction. It wasn't a graphic video by any means, in fact it was just a video of an actor doctor sitting behind a desk looking into the camera reviewing the procedure, possible side effects of light anesthesia and post op side effects.

The first inkling of impending disaster came when the actor doctor was describing the potential side effects of the anesthesia. I began to feel slightly light headed. The feeling worsened quickly and to distract myself from the video, I began rooting through my purse, pulling out scraps of paper to throw in the trash can. But I couldn't concentrate on my task, all I could hear were the side effects listed: nausea, dizziness, vomiting, drowsiness. I broke out into a cold sweat when the post op discomforts were listed: bleeding, swelling, stiffness of the jaw, pain. I tried concentrating on my breathing, but the dizziness only worsened and when the actor doctor started talking about the possibility of dry socket, I placed my head between my legs and tried reasoning with my body. I had undergone surgery in the past. Back in 1998 I had a lump removed from my breast. I had light anesthesia during that procedure and it was no big deal. Why was I freaking out? No reason to freak out...stop trying to pass out! My vision began to waver when the actor doctor warned of the slight risk of nerve damage during the extractions. I sat on the floor rested my head on my legs, feeling foolish that my mind was not in control of my body.

The receptionist came in right when the video ended. She fussed over me and brought a cold pack and a technician. I told her how embarrassed I was over the fact that I almost fainted over a video. The receptionist crouched down and patted my back and told me that her daughter had the same problem of passing out. I told her of my dental anxiety and really, I wasn't like this most of the time. Both the technician and receptionist hauled me to my feet and ushered me into the next room to sit on a dental chair. Not long after they left, another technician came in and tilted the chair back, way back, until it felt like I was laying on the top of my head. She tried to take my mind off my embarrassment by asking me if I was married, commenting on how long she was married etc etc. After a few minutes she reversed the position of the chair and the doctor came in.

The doctor teased me a little bit, telling me that he wasn't sure he wanted to work on me because I was so scared. I laughed and told him I wouldn't be too difficult to deal with once I was knocked out. He looked at my teeth, reviewed my medical history, briefly touched on the procedure (as to not induce another near fainting episode) and told me to bring someone with me to take me home etc. He told me that impacted wisdom teeth were a more common occurrence and it was a good thing that all of my wisdom teeth were visible and in place. He assured me that the procedure would be easy and trouble free. (Yea, we'll see about that)

I'm due to have those wisdom teeth removed next Monday at 1pm.

It's going to be a long week.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What books have you read?

I got this meme from Ms Teacher

Look at the list of books below.
* Bold the ones you’ve read
* Italicize the ones you want to read
* Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
* If you are reading this, tag, you’re it!
**If there are any books on this list that I didn't italicize and you think I should read, let me know in comments! Also, what other books do you think belong on this list and why?

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMavrier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

I would also add that I've read and enjoyed Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I tend to read mostly fantasy books, I especially enjoy the books written by Margaret Weis. I also recommend any books by Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neill Gear. They are an archeaologist/anthropologist team that write about ancient American Indian tribes in a fictional setting. I suppose they are considered historical fiction writers.

Tell me what you have read!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Last Straw?

As much as I hate to say this, I think it's time to look for another job. The cons of this place are beginning to outweigh the benefits and the atmosphere is beginning to drag me down. Shall I elaborate?

Mr and Mrs Boss are generally nice people and in fact, I really like Mrs Boss. We are very much alike and I cherish the times we work together. Her husband however, is a different story. The husband and wife team push salesmanship...they really want us to be out there on the floor pushing the merchandise to make that extra sale. I've noticed that Mr Boss is a pushy salesman almost to the point of being obnoxious and he expects his employees to be the same way. Over the last year he has criticized the way I handle the customers, telling me that I'm not "leading" the customer, I'm allowing the customer to lead me around the store. He has told me that I need to take command and show them what they should buy. Personally, I have a problem with this. If the customer knows what they want, why should I push something on them? I will suggest products, but if they say no, I will not persist. If the customer doesn't know what they want, then I will be a little more insistent with the products, especially if I sense that he/she is open-minded to my sales pitch.

Mr Boss has a problem with the fact that I do not persist over any customer objections to suggested products. He has told me that I cave too easily and I need to have a sales pitch in mind. Have I mentioned the fact that Mr Boss used to be a car salesman? (No offense to any car salesman readers out there) I have tried to alter my sales pitch and even have been pushy but it seems nothing is good enough for this man. He has continued to criticize, sometimes in a rather nasty fashion, my sales technique. I don't engage in conversation with this man. He is a hot head and easily raises his voice to any opposing dialogue. So I keep my mouth shut and TRY to tune him out while he rants on about what a poor salesperson I am.

There were 2 incidents that I had with him this week that have proved to be the proverbial last straw. On Tuesday a gentleman came in to buy 2 bags of seed. Right now we're having a seed sale and there is an additional price break if you buy 4 bags of seed. I pointed this out to the gentleman and the man said no thank you. I reminded him that there was only 1 week left to the seed sale and he could take advantage of our seed storage program (you buy as much seed as you like and keep the rest in storage. It works like a bank...we get fresh seed in once a week so the bags aren't' the same and they're always fresh) and store those extra 2 bags. He firmly persisted with his answer and I obliged and checked the man out.

Mr Boss was on me as soon as the man left the store. Again with the "you cave too easily" blah blah blah. Then he told me that I need to make the customer feel stupid for not wanting to save money when they didn't want to buy the additional bags of seed. WHAT? First of all, I will NOT purposely make someone feel stupid. Why degrade another human being? I've often been on the end of that chain and it is not pleasant. I grew up with my father telling me I wasn't smart enough or good enough and that has STUCK with me...I struggle with those feelings of inadequacy to this very day. I have been in THERAPY for those feelings. So as you can imagine, this struck a big nerve with me. And then I looked at him and realized this man would do just about anything for the extra money. An extra 20 bucks essentially.

To prove his point he went through his sales pitch later that day with another man who only wanted to buy 2 bags of seed instead of the 4 bags of seed. He sounded like a jackass. He pushed the seed and said that he wished he could buy gas or milk when it was on sale and store it the same way you can store seed in our boutique. The man clearly was not interested and I could tell he wasn't listening to Mr Boss' sales pitch.

Yesterday Mr Boss really blew his top at me. A man came in and wanted to buy a bird feeder. He knew what he wanted so I showed him all the feeders. At the end the man mentioned in an offhanded way the fact that he bought seed at the hardware store. I showed him our seed and told him that our seed doesn't have the grain fillers in it etc and the man left. Mr Boss was PISSED at me for not showing him the seed earlier. Again he told me that I was letting the customer lead me around instead of me taking command.

He said "We sell fucking seed in our store. That's half of our fucking business and you let him walk out of the store without buying seed or giving him a sample. Again you let him lead you around."

I was almost in tears. But I held it together. I know this issue is about him. It's not my problem that he's a jerk. I'm not responsible for his feelings, I'm only responsible for my own feelings. Mr Boss is a bully and somewhere in him there must be an insecure person, perhaps a person who is afraid of failure. But that does not excuse his behavior. You may not like my sales pitch, but you must see that I am trying and I can't believe you just talked to me in that fashion.

I walk my path of integrity...if a customer says no and doesn't want something that I try to push, I will respect their feelings and not continually push the goods and I will NOT purposely make someone feel stupid.

And besides, I thought the store was about setting a positive atmosphere. Interacting with the customers, educating them and making them smile. Chances are if they have a positive experience, they will return. I may make a small sale today, but that person will return at a later date to buy more and perhaps consistently return.

I almost quit right there on the spot on Friday but the thought of not seeing my co-workers and even Mrs Boss made me stop. That's what's going to be hard. I really enjoy my co-workers and Mrs. Boss. Granted, I don't work with these 3 people very often, because about 90%of my time is with Mr Boss, but I cherish the time spent with my colleagues. The hours and flexibility are also a BIG bonus.

But I just can't take him anymore. How do you not let someone get to you? It's getting increasingly difficult. And what if I go on to another job and it's worse? And am I ever going to find that job where I can put my degree to work? A job that matches my passion for the birds and the environment?


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday 13

Thirteen Things about CHICKADEE

1) Saturday night before I went to brush my teeth, I discovered a piece of lettuce on my front tooth. How long was that there? I had lettuce both at lunch AND dinner. Why did anyone not say anything to me? I WORKED on Saturday too and the thought of me grinning stupidly with that lettuce out there in the open the whole time was embarrassing.

2) Even more embarrassing then when I went to the Post Office on Friday and had a panty liner flop out on the counter in front of the clerk when I pulled my wallet out of my purse.

3) Olivia is in love with my little tube of chapstick. If it’s within paw’s reach, it’s off the table and in her mouth. She drops it and bats it around before picking it up again and carrying it off someplace to play with. I’ve found it in my shoe, under the table, near the couch…

4) I’ve been buying the Cinnamon Dolce Latte’s from Starbucks…they are sooo good. But I don’t know the correct pronunciation of Dolce. Initially I was pronouncing it “Dol-say”. I’ve heard clerks say “Dol-chey” and “Dol-say” as well. I’ve stopped saying it all together and just ask for the Cinnamon Latte. But which is the correct pronunciation? Dol-chey or Dol-say?

5) I don’t want to give too much away in case there are some Heroes fans that didn’t get to watch Monday’s show, but can you believe the ending? I didn’t see that ONE coming. I’m eagerly anticipating next week’s episode. What will Claire’s dad have to say for himself? And I think Matt is walking the thin line between good and evil.

6) The birds are beginning to sing again and that means spring is right around the corner! That also means that I need to start listening to my birdsong CD again. A good deal of birdwatching involves being able to identify birds by their song.

7) Mr. and Mrs. Boss are going to use one of my photographs for the next monthly flyer that go out to the customers. Granted, the flyer is only going out to a small number of folks in the city, but MY picture will be in that ad!

8) Here in my city, the GMC/Chevrolet/Saturn conglomerate has been airing a “President’s Day” car commercial that I absolutely hate. I HATE it. The commercial is aired at least twice a commercial run (so if the TV station has commercials every 10 minutes, that’s at least 10 times that commercial is on the air in a given hour??? Is that math correct???) from 7 – 10pm. I thought that once President’s Day was over, the commercials would end. WRONG. They’re still airing that commercial. I just about have a fit and fall over myself muting the TV when it comes on.

9) Can someone either email me or tell me in the comments section how to do the blogrolling thing? I’m having a difficult time posting my favorite blogs on my blog. And pictures…how do you post pictures in between paragraphs? When I’ve tried to download pictures, blogger only allows me to place the pictures at the head of the entry, or the end. Help!

10) I’m thinking about dying my hair. I’ve been thinking about it for the last 6 months or so because I’m going prematurely gray…well, silver. Almost 2/3 of my hair is now silver and it’s disheartening. I’m only 33!

11) I finished reading The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Overall it was a good book, but it seemed like Mme Ramotswe solved her cases too easily and quickly. But I got the impression that this was the introductory book meant to acquaint you with the main characters. I’m going to give book two a shot.

12) I have discovered the crunchy goodness of Grape Nut Os cereal. It is so crunchy but sooo good!

13) As with my last several 13 memes, please continue to keep my friend’s husband in your thoughts who is serving our country in Iraq right now. My friend was interviewed by a US senator yesterday on the effects that deployment has on spouses. Maybe she’ll stop by and leave a comment on some of the specifics of that interview!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maps and the horror of Mountain Mint

I volunteered at Nature Center A today (I'm designating the Nature Centers as A and B now) and the lesson plan was on reading maps, interpreting and creating map legends, identifying natural and man-made features on a map from the key and getting acquainted with the cardinal directions. Each group was given an aerial photo/map and a drawn map of the site and each leader was to help the kids identify landmarks on the map etc.

The afternoon session consisted of 16 lively second grade kids. During the introduction, Mrs. S (one of the staff teachers at the nature center) asked the kids what a map was used for and she received a few interesting responses.

One boy quickly responded "You can make a boat out of the map."

Followed by another that shouted "And an airplane! You can make an airplane."

And yet another boy thoughtfully replied "You can fold the map up and put it in the recycling bin."

Not quite the answers that Mrs. S had in mind. But once we got back on track, the kids quickly caught on. I had a smart group of kids. One of the boys proved to be excellent at finding our location by examining the position of landmarks on the map and the little girl in my group was good at determining the direction we were facing by using the compass.

At the beginning of the trip, the little girl asked if we were going to find the mountain mint that grew in the prairie. Mountain mint is a popular plant with all of the kids that come to the nature center. When crushed, the leaves and flowers emit a minty fragrance and most of the kids enjoy smelling the plant. I agreed that once we entered the prairie, we would find some Mountain Mint.

We spent some time in the woods before hitting the prairie and when I mentioned that we were going to look for the Mountain Mint, Boy A exclaimed "Mountain Mint! Oh I HATE that stuff."

Boy B agreed and then the little girl said that she hated Mountain Mint too. Sigh...peer pressure at work in my group. I had a feeling Boy A didn't really hate Mountain Mint and just enjoyed being dramatic so I persisted and found a small patch of mountain mint. Everyone plucked a piece of the plant.

Boy A rubbed his mountain mint and exclaimed "Oh, this smells awful! The horror of mountain mint!"

I rolled my eyes and said "Wow, you can really smell that mint. Doesn't that smell good?"

Boy B and the Girl smiled and ohhed and ahhed and held on to their mountain mint and even picked another bunch of the tiny flowers. We continued on the trail and Boy A periodically would burst into "The horror of mountain mint!"

Boy A found another patch of Moutain mint. He plucked it and smelled it, again exclaiming "The horror of mountain mint! The horror!"

I lightly flicked him on the top of his head and said "I think you just like to say 'The horror of mountain mint'."

He began to grin and quickly turned away so that I wouldn't see that smile. I remained silent while he continued on with his tirade of "The horror of mountain mint!".

I didn't mention that I saw his grin, nor did I point out the fact that he was still holding and smelling that horrendous mountain mint.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Flowers and memories

My mom and I went to the Botanical Garden on Sunday and I took an unexpected stroll down memory lane when we entered the Mediterranean House. This small building was filled with blooming camellia trees, impatiens and olive trees. My grandma had 2 large camellia bushes in her backyard and I went back in time as I touched the red and pink satiny flowers.

I thought of the weekends spent at her house, of the chicken dinners she made especially for us, the scrambled eggs for breakfast, the orange sherbert she kept in the freezer and the green candy dish that she kept filled in the pantry. I remembered the times my sister and I played in the toy trunk found in basement. The basement itself was a treasure trove of forgotten household items, books and storage trunks. Up in the dining room there was a large cabinet and one drawer was stocked with coloring books, paper, pencils and crayons. I remember sitting at the dining room table drawing and coloring in those books.

We slept in a spare room that served as grandma's sewing room. She had stacks of yarn on a table and a recliner sat in front of that table. Each time she tucked us in, she would sit in that chair in the dark until we fell asleep.

She was a sweet woman and a great grandma. She died of colon cancer when I was 14 and I was heartbroken over her death. I still think of her often and wish that I could have gotten to know her better, especially now that I'm older. But I have pictures, memories and some of her things. And it's nice when something as simple as a flower can bring up unexpected memories.