Saturday, February 28, 2009

Escape Plan

We've all had those days when things go unbelievably wrong. Unbelievably, inconceivably, everything just goes awry.

What to do?


Stay home for three days?

Go out and have a good time with friends, regardless?

Get a pedicure?

Cut your hair?

Get an intense workout from the gym?

Work your ass off?

Read your favorite book?

Go shopping?

Talk to someone on the phone for 6 hours?

Surf the internet?

Play with your baby?

Go out with someone else?

Hit a pillow?

Throw a tantrum?

Watch a Brad Pitt movie?

Listen to U2?

Been there, done ALL that.

Doesn't change the fact that we still have to deal with the problem for it to go away.

So just do it. Deal with it. Finish it.

Chalk it up to experience.

And forget about it.

Smile, people! Lighten up! Don't take it so seriously!

Life is not about where you are, or where you're going. It's about the ride!
Bumps and potholes, air pockets and big waves, are part of it!

So just suck it up and brace yourself for that bad turbulence, the humongous traffic, the sea-sickness over troubled waters.

"This, too, shall pass."

We may not see how rough the travel ahead might be.
But we can certainly be better prepared next time: if not how to deal with the road ahead, how to pick ourselves up after a crash landing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Control Freak-ing Out

Recently, I have had the grand privilege of teeter-tottering on the line dividing the sane from those who are not.

Okay, I may be exaggerating. Just a little bit.

It's just one of those times when I lost my cool.

Which, for me, is BAD.


First, let me orient you to MY take on what losing one's cool means.

Losing your cool, for me, is not the equivalent of losing your temper. When you lose your temper, sure, you've lost your cool. But you can lose your cool without even getting just a tad bit irritated. You can lose your cool when you're happy, sad, frightened, embarrassed, surprised, enamored--name a human emotion, and that's a venue where you can lose your cool.

Second, losing your cool is NOT the exact opposite of being stoic. When you're stoic, you are indifferent and unaffected by emotion. I believe that it is possible to fully, entirely, and satisfactorily express how you feel without losing your cool.

Third, the operational definition of "cool" is relative. My idea of "cool" might be completely different from the next person's. What may be cool for you may not be cool for me, and vice versa. When I jump up and down for joy in a public place, or laugh hysterically at a stupid joke, others might think I've lost it. For me, it's cool to express how you feel, as I have earlier said, so in my world, I'm still "cool" even if the world thinks I'm crazy to have to hug the parking attendant because I found an empty slot on the lot.

Lastly, losing one's cool is like showing the public a flash of mortality underneath that divine exterior. When someone's lost their cool, they become vulnerable fledglings, weaponless warriors, susceptible individuals who can be preyed upon by anyone and anything, weaklings rendered at the mercy of those who are stronger and more powerful, like paraplegics being thrown without life vests into the deep, murky waters of the sea!

Wow. I never thought losing one's cool could be such a big deal for me.

Now that I think about it, what IS the big deal anyway?

Is there something wrong with letting people in on the big secret that hey, I'm human and I can only go so far as to control myself, but enough is enough and I just have to let everyone know that I can't take it anymore and I just have to explode and express myself in a way that isn't cool, not even for me?

Is there something wrong with giving evidence to my humanity?

Well, thinking about it NOW, after all is said and done, and nothing can really be done about anything anymore anyway:

No. There's no big deal about losing my cool.

I have LOADS of cool!

No matter how much "cool" I lose, I have tons more where that came from!

Now THAT's cool.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Isn't it funny how life throws you a curve ball, right when you least expect it, and you don't have your wits about you to know whether you should catch it or duck?

Here I am, minding my own business, when BAM!

I neither caught it nor ducked.

I just stood there and allowed the curve ball to hit me.

I thought I was already way past these curve-ball phases in life.

I keep telling myself, curve ball after curve ball, that that was the last one EVER to catch me unaware. Next time, I say, I'll be alive, awake, and alert enough to see these curve balls coming. I'll prepare myself with a bat to hit that curve ball out to center field, or a mitt to catch it on the fly, or a helmet so I can protect myself from being hit where it hurts.

But apparently, as the universe would have it, these curve-ball life phases can neither be outgrown nor avoided. And they can never be predicted.

Each and every single time, I get hit.

For some reason, I am neither awake nor alert, and I have no idea where my bat, mitt or helmet was at that instant when that curve ball hits me.

I'm just always left to ice away my bruises and recuperate from the aftermath of the trauma that is getting hit by the curve ball of life.

And all is well again. Until the next curve ball hits.

And I realize: I may not always have my bat, mitt, nor helmet ready. But it seems I know exactly how to find my ice bag to help relieve my bruises. I know where to lie down so my head won't spin so much. I know exactly which cabinet to look in to get my pain medications.

I know how to recover. Without even thinking about it.

And so it goes.

Life throws you curve balls. But only if you know how to play the game.

Don't want to get hit? Sit the inning out and watch the game from the dugout.

But you're sure to miss out on a LOT.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Murphy's Law

Last weekend, I cooked for about 15 people to celebrate 3 birthdays. It was actually pot luck, but my contribution was to be the only one that's home-cooked on the table, so there's some pressure. That and the fact that people actually asked for that-dish-I-make-that-they-like-so-much-but-they-can't-remember-the-last-time-they-ate-it pasta dish. I also decided to make dessert.

The pasta is a cinch to make. So is dessert. Before I started doing anything, I already had my game plan squarely in my head, because I was already planning for this for the past 3 days. I visualized myself doing everything seamlessly, from the marketing and groceries, to the food preparation, to the cooking, and to the final presentation. I saw myself with about 2 hours to spare for fixing the table, the place, and myself up before everyone arrives. It was hardly a challenge.

This was NOT to be the case.

That fateful morning, everyone who's supposed to help with the grocery shopping and other errands was either sick or had an emergency to attend to, there was no parking at the wet market, 3 trips had to be made to the supermarket for "additional ingredients," people had to wait about 30 minutes for my pasta to be served, and the dessert, although yummy, didn't quite make it and died on the plate due to lack of refrigeration.

Everyone had a GREAT time, they all loved the pasta, they can't get over how yummy the dessert was, even if it looked more like porridge than anything else--and there I was, trying hard not to wail and sleep, smiling but dazed, smelling like garlic and bananas.

Everything that could go wrong DID go wrong. But that won't stop anyone from enjoying good food & great company.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What the @#$! is Crown Lengthening?!?

So here I am, still thinking of what to do about my tooth.

I quickly replayed the horrible monologue of the also-a-dentist husband of my regular dentist, and the words "crown lengthening procedure" flashed back ominously.

What the @#&! is a crown lengthening procedure?!?

According to a dentist friend (whom I don't go to--you don't let your friends look inside your mouths, right?), crown lengthening is a procedure which involves the removal of gum tissue, bone or both to expose a tooth more. It is usually done when a tooth needs to be restored, but there isn't enough tooth above the gum line to support a filling or a crown. It can also be done to treat a "gummy smile."



Crown lengthening is done by a periodontist under local anesthesia. The periodontist makes incisions to flap the gums away from the tooth, exposing the tooth's roots. If necessary, the periodontist may remove some bone to expose more of the tooth using a combination of chisel- and drill-like instruments.



Monday, February 18, 2008

Going To The Dentist

Remember how I chipped my tooth a while back?

I went to the dentist to have my molar checked and it seems the problem was bigger than I thought.

After an x-ray was taken of my tooth, it became apparent that not only did I chip my molar but I actually FRACTURED it, and the fracture line went BELOW the gum line this time.

This means that replacing the tooth now would be a more complicated and MORE EXPENSIVE process, because another post would be needed, and I would have to undergo oral surgery before the posts, and eventually the replacement tooth, can be put in place.


I asked my dentist, "So can you just give me a cleaning for now?"

So she proceeds to annihilate the eons worth of tartar and calcular deposits around each tooth.

While she was killing me softly with my mouth open and immobile, she was discussing with me how the oral surgery would go, how it was kind of complicated, how she could do this procedure, but she'd rather just refer me to the more able hands of her also-a-dentist husband.

So I just nod, right? I mean, what CAN I say? She has her hands halfway in my mouth.

So when she got to my upper teeth, she proceeds to tell me that it's true what they say, you lose one tooth for every child that you bear; that after her first child, she herself underwent a root canal procedure, which her very able husband performed, not to worry about her husband, and her husband will come in to take a look at the tooth after she's done.

All I could think of was: So dentists have teeth problems too?!

When she was finished, her husband DID come in, sat down, clucked, and said, "We have to do a crown lengthening procedure because we can't put posts on what remains of that molar."

I said, "So how much would that cost?"

And they gave me a ballpark figure, including the replacement tooth and everything else.

And I said, "OK, thanks, I'll think about it."

And that's what I did.

And that's what I'm still doing up to now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Something Came in the Mail Today...

Last week, a box from overseas arrived, filled to the brim with lots of goodies. It was sent October of last year in time for Christmas, but obviously, thanks to the ever-reliable postal system (ever-reliably SLOW & LATE, that is), it arrived just after Valentine's Day.

The box was opened and it smelled like apples and brand new leather shoes.

Everything was individually wrapped in plastic bags and labeled with yellow Post-Its. The lotion and shampoo bottles were wrapped in Scotch Tape like there was no tomorrow so as to prevent spillage; the soap was packaged in bricks of 20s; the chocolates were placed in Ziplock bags that were Scotch-Taped and again wrapped in another plastic bag that was wrapped with packaging tape; all the crew neck shirts had a city's name on it; the toys were all identical and all came in packs of 5 or 6; there were about 23 packs of tube socks and about 14 packs of underwear; there were high quality, leather and rubber shoes that were brand new and fit no one; there were dozens of perfumes, lipsticks, and makeup, all in their mini, trial-size versions; and of course, there was the letter from the relative who sent the box, complete with instructions, which things are for whom (as if the labels weren't enough), and the "we hope everybody's OK" added as an after-thought.

During the handing out of goodies, it easily becomes apparent who the "leaders" (most of the time they are self-appointed) of the family are: the loud uncle, the overbearing aunt, the cousin who just graduated from med school; they usually have the honor of reading out the names on the Post-Its and the others are relegated to arranging the goodies into piles according to the families they belong to. Then there are those that are left to putting the goodies in the piles into plastic bags and labeling them for doling out. All this time, the kids are just itching to find out what they got.

In the midst of all the adrenaline, it's nice to see that beneath the mad scramble for the hand-outs of a more fortunate kin, is the experience of FAMILY.

The opening of the box is made into a family event, a reunion where potluck lunch is served, EVERYONE is present (perhaps for fear that they be given the stuff that no one wants if they're not there for first dibs), there's a grand production number out of cutting open the packaging tapes...

On the one hand, it's all sad & silly, really. It is, after all, a shameless display of materialism.

But on the other, the box is JUST AN EXCUSE TO GET TOGETHER AS FAMILY.

We can always get these things for ourselves. But it's not always that we have our entire family with us to share the joy of receiving.