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June 25, 2008

I guess yo’ lips weally aw impotant

Before this month, I hadn’t had a dental check up in an embarrassingly long time. My visits home while I was in college rarely coincided with my dentist office’s hours, and I’ve spent most of my post-college life without insurance. Facing another unknown span of time of being uninsured when I move to Portland, I figured the time was nigh for a cleaning.

As is to be expected, I had kind of a lot of work to be done… enough that required multiple visits. I returned to the office this morning to get fillings on the upper right and lower left sides of my mouth.

“Oh, Nugget..” sighed the dentist I’ve been seeing since I was 5 as he hunkered in beside my gaping maw. He injected each side of my gums with the longest needle I’ve seen in my life (though I was looking at it cross-eyed so I may have misjudged it). Tears streamed out of my eyes as he wedged the needle ever-deeper.

He left to give the Novocain some time to do its magic, and when he returned a few minutes later was disappointed to hear that only one side of my mouth was numb. He shot my left side with yet another needle-ful and set to work on my right side.

As I lay there, swallowing tooth dust and listening to the gurgling of his belly, the reporter in me couldn’t help but ponder what the life of his dentist was like. Was he judging me right now? Did he have a favorite procedure he was doing after lunch, the thought of which was getting him through the day? Have the prices of dental equipment stayed fairly steady throughout the years or have the companies conspired to artificially raise prices? Does he feel morally superior to orthodontists?

When he finished he asked how my left side was doing. It tingled a little, I told him, but it was nowhere near as dead as my right.

“Well,” he sighed. “I’m sorry, but that’s going to have to be where we end today. There’s a safe level of anesthetic I can give you and we’re bumping up against that. You’re going to have to come back.”

Crushed at the thought of having to return yet again, I got into my car and drove back to the office. I called my mom to tell her what happened, and it was then I realized the anesthetic had finally started to work.

“I’m hoving a weally hahd time talking and my wips feel funny,” I told Ma Nugget, who responded with gales of laughter. “The woost pawt is I’m weally, weally hungwy. I hope I don’ hafta do any innavoos. Oh cwap! I havta cawl Woger Weinawt!”

I got to the office and tried out a few words for Krupskaya, and the sound of my voice made me laugh so hard I started weeping. I called my brother, who told me I sounded like I’d had a brain injury, and my boyfriend, who told me I sounded like a stroke victim.

My next appointment is next Wednesday at 2. Give me a call afterwards if you’d like a sequel.

June 24, 2008

The most wonderful time of the year

I've always taken my birthday very, very seriously. It comes in the middle of summer, so for 20 glorious years I was able to do nothing but celebrate my coming into being. No school, no work, nothing but birthday festivities.

That changed the year I turned 21. I was the newly anointed freelance editor at my college newspaper, but the managing editor called me at 8:00 that morning requesting that I regress to my previous position: administration reporter. The person on that beat had set up our monthly interview with the university president for that morning, but had broken her leg and was unable to follow through on her commitment. "She broke her leg this very morning?" I asked incredulously. No, Boss Man told me. She broke it last week. "Did she at least prepare some questions? I've been out of the country for three weeks and I haven't been following the news... I usually take weeks to prepare for these interviews." No, Boss Man told me. "DOES SHE REALIZE IT'S MY BIRTHDAY?!?" I silently screamed in my head.

This year I'll also be at work, but thankfully the day will be full of the respect my birthday demands. Apparently five months on the job qualifies me for a goodbye party* with a cake made to my specifications.** After work I'll meet up with a gaggle of buddies at not one but two venues, and the celebration will continue Saturday with a get-together for all my TC friends.

I am quite confident everyone I encounter on a daily basis knows Thursday is my birthday (I may have been shouting that fact out in the newsroom at random), and thus the day can finally return to the status it has held for most of my life.

*last day is Friday
**no frosting

June 16, 2008

Curly Hair Classy finds a home

 border=In the past week I've happened upon two ponies in my house, gifts that my cruel family had bestowed upon me in lieu of a real, live breathing creature. The first was a pony-on-a-stick I received when I was nominated for Miss East (a title often mispronounced or misheard as "Miss Yeast" that was my high school's equivalent to Prom Queen). I bestowed that one upon Krupskaya's daughter, a girl I've never met but whom her mother makes beyond adorable in her blog.

Several in the office oohed and aahed over the creature (read: seethed with jealousy), so when I happened upon Curly Hair Classy I knew I had to be more egalitarian in my gifting. I know not when and under what circumstances I received this hunk of plastic, but allow me to regale you with her glory: she comes with three curlers, two styling barrettes, three pink curly hair extensions, styling glitter gel, a pink hair crimper and a (drum roll please) motorized styling wand.

This morning I let Classy graze on my desk while I emailed my coworkers with their mission. To win Classy, and make the child of their choice unendingly joyous, they had to email me a limerick by no later than 5 p.m. My father, an esteemed publisher of countless books of poetry, would be the judge to assure impartiality. Here are some of my favorites:

While many seek ponies to ride 'em,
I can't seem to stay astride 'em.
But ponies-on-a-stick
May just do the trick.
Falling off will just hurt my pride then.

An unhappy couple wondered what to do
They talked and talked until blue
They got a divorce
Fought over custody of Classy the Horse
But poor Classy was turned into glue

The poor pink pony walks a life of shame
Nobody wants her but who is to blame?
She's pretty 'n pink
But [Nugget] sure thinks
Curly Hair Classy's quite lame.

There once was a girl on a pony
She said, "My saddle's quite tony."
The horse took a dip
The girl took a flip
Then she wished the ground weren't so stony

I once owned a pony named Princess,
I got her through childish insistence.
Fat, sassy and brown,
She once wore a crown,
Then tossed it off quite a good distance.

Pa Nugget deemed the last one a winner, saying, "I think it's the best written example of a limerick. That first couplet, that's a real gem."

And a day of pony poetry fun was had by all...

June 15, 2008

Overheard in Duluth

An overweight man, in the lobby of the movie theater:

"The polar ice caps on Mars are melting. They gonna blame that on man, too?"

June 13, 2008

Sights, sounds and experiences of the day

A coworker, in response to my new haircut: "BAM! Kazam! Shablam!"


Another coworker and I compete in a bubble blowing contest with what I have found to be the ultimate bubble blowing gum: citrusmint Orbitz. I think I win, but it's hard to say because we never seem to be looking at each other at the bubble's pinnacle. We sit too far apart to make muffled yells while wildly gesturing at our mouths.


I investigate a building a superior has told me holds a magic shop, an occultist and a faith healer. It is carpeted in turquoise, velvety-looking stuff and is decorated as a creepy bed and breakfast might be. I investigate the doors on the lower two levels, but most seem to be home to family counselors and therapists. I hear one therapy session behind a closed door: "So am I supposed to take the initiative and invite her to dance? Or is she supposed to sense my desire and approach me?" The second floor's ceiling is slanted like there are stairs above it. I try the door leading to them and find it unlocked. Maybe that's where the witch lives...


A girl who looks no older than 17 talking on her cell on the sidewalk: "You had your baby yet? No? What the (tr)uck?? (Tr)ucking push the sucker out! My babies were all at least a week before their due date. You're two days past yours! Well... let me know when you pop."


A man at my temple: "You're getting so famous."


My sister on the car ride home, in response to a conversation about what a good wedding song would be: "Mine would probably be, 'Jessie's mom/Has got it goin' on.'"

As promised


June 10, 2008


Oh my BFG. One of the ladies at Curves made a diorama of our workout room. It has these two mini Barbie-like dolls and a Jasmine figurine with limbs splayed in awkward positions atop cardboard squares meant to represent our cardio stations. This lady glued carpet to the floor of her display, and taped pictures of exercise equipment to the walls. I meant to get a picture of it after my workout last night but forgot. I just wanted you to know that something really, really good is coming.

June 5, 2008

Odd person #5: Conspiracies

I was interviewing a self-described ultra-conservative for a story I’m working on. We started off innocently enough, discussing her difficulty getting behind John McCain—he’s too liberal—and different vice presidential candidates he could choose that would make him a sure deal for her.

Then, at what I thought was the end of our conversation, after I’d delivered my courtesy, “Thank you for taking the time to talk to me; I appreciate your comments,” she wanted to go off the record.

What she’s really worried about, she said, was an alliance between America, Canada and Mexico that would make us one country with one currency: the Amerro. It would be run by a small group of powerful men and women who fly all over the world and whose aim is world domination. She taught the book of Revelation last year, she said, and it all made sense. She needed this part of the conversation to be off the record because she didn’t want people to find out about it and get frightened, she said.

When she finished she asked me to repeat my last name. “Oh! Is your mom [Ma Nugg]?” she asked. “I know her from [Ma Nugg’s place of work]. I’m very impressed with what she does for the Holocaust.” (Ma Nugg organizes an annual Holocaust memorial lecture.) “I just LOVE the Jews! I’m very pro-Israel.”