Tuesday, August 19, 2014

There are two jars of banana baby food in the fridge, and they have my name on it.

 I got my wisdom teeth pulled today and the procedure went pretty smoothly. I checked in at 2:15, acknowledged the palpable "dentist office smell," and right away began filling out the HIPA form and new client pages. I can't tell you the kind of unanticipated relief that comes with crossing off medical problems like congestive heart failure, lupus, and cancer. Health is one of those things that gets taken for granted and only appreciated when you get to plant a big X across the entire box to save time at the dentist's office. If I had the time, I would read through each of the maladies- their symptoms, prevalence, life expediencies..- and start a #icebucketchallange for each.

A consultation was in order. The dentist said the teeth were "impacted," professional jargon for half busted through- half concealed under gum and jawbone. He asked if I was planning on going under or getting locally anesthetized. If I chose to go under, we would have to come back for a later appointment on a day I had not eaten: I chose local. I could tough, it right? What percent goes under anyways? "95% of my clients," he said.


The needle for the Novocain was the worst part: I remember feeling really anxious, imploring with the nurse that I could move my mouth and would be able to feel everything once he started. She laughed. I didn't.

When he started all I could feel was pressure. Unlike his patients who go under with general anesthesia and want to be as far removed from the horrors of surgery as possible, I wanted to know everything and made him recite out loud as he completed each task.

"I am now scraping away the gum tissue."
"You'll feel a bit of pain."
"Some slight pressure to extract the tooth."
"Two stitches in, one more to go."

I asked if I could keep the teeth. He gave me a perplexed look, then wrapped them neatly in a sterile bag.(FYI, the tooth root really does look like those saber toothed x-ray images.)

The Dentist told my mom I was ,"A Trooper." I didn't get one of those free oral care bags- everyone secretly loves- stashed with floss and mouthwash and fun things that actually come in handy when the house runs out of toothpaste, or when you're in need of a new toothbrush right before Pesach.

Not allowed to play sports or do any physical activity, so I'm just sitting under my yellow quilt now feeling tired, hungry, and drool-ey. The only thing that could make me feel more like a baby is.......oh ya.

Gerber's Stage 4: Banana Creme Baby Food

Sunday, August 17, 2014

As anyone who knows me personally can attest, my stream of consciousness can be likened to the line of a heart rate monitor, never at rest, perpetually in motion. In my high school yearbook, someone wrote that I was "a profound thinker." I've known this person for years, and I laugh thinking how difficult it must have been for him to come up with a filtered synonym for spastically psychotic. 

 I am sorry to say I have not a single art-appreciative bone in my body. In the sense that I enjoy simultaneous stimulation of sound, touch, taste, and smell, it becomes personally difficult to appreciate a glacial piece of canvas. It's too bad I can't find meaning in da Vinci's Mona Lisa, nor maturely appreciate nude statues at the art museum. And don't even get me started on the Museum of contemporary Art. I mean- "Black Dot on Wall"- really?!?

Over the years, the only style that has resonated with me is Ink Dot Portraits. Being able to create a true to life facial portrait from varying colored dots to create shadows and depth, is awesome! The logic behind each dot representing  a larger purpose, that all of the world's creation is formed of obscure particles, is fascinating and humbling. The correct placement of only three dots determines whether the portrait bears a grimace or a grin. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this coming school year and about how each decision I choose will furrow a future path and plow a trail behind me. Sometimes I feel like I'm standing on circle 47 in one of my childhood picture books. There's a black line behind me, and I must choose to go to circle 48 or 53: choosing a destined path or deciding my own untold outcome. 

No one in this world has ever created a perfect connect-the-dots image of their life- no one has always chosen the right dot 100% of the time, and done everything true and right and what G-d or anyone else expected of him. As a kid, I used to love coloring books, and I remember feeling frustrated when the dog I tried connecting was missing an eyeball or a tail despite my concentration.

It's perspective I tell you, but if I had to choose, I'd rather live in an Ink Dot Portrait then a coloring book. I'd rather people interpret my blending dark spots as shadows and depth, than see my mistakes as a mutated tail, and push me further in the wrong direction. It's a more forgiving attitude to interpret yourself and others as having different degrees of black, white, and grey. I'm merely a beginner, but from the little I do know, isn't that the point of art?


Museum of Contemporary Art Admission Prices:

Adults (including Senior Citizens) and teens$25

Sunday, August 3, 2014

When bike-riding the city streets today I divided my thoughts equally between pondering the Rabbi's Shabbat sermon, and avoiding parked cars. They say there's no such thing as effective multi-tasking, but then again, I've also heard that you can't die while doing a mitzvah. So its really just a toss-up at this point.

Personally, it wasn't until after I spent a year in seminary, that I actually enjoyed staying inside during the Rabbi's speech. Growing up, "key lekach tov" was my cue to skedaddle lest I be too late and have to face one of those women who take it upon themselves to stand in front of the sanctuarary doors, not letting people in or out, until after the Rabbi  had finished. Now, I pick the seat with the best acoustics.

There was a bar mitzvah in shul yesterday: twin boys. One wore a simple black kippah, the other a black hat. I thought to myself how difficult it must be to be born an identical twin and  grow up with the pressure to somehow prove my novelty, determine my own identity.They seemed to be riding that wave. The Rabbi began his speech with a witty joke: "I have seen boys wear a kippah sruggah to make a statement and I've seen boys wear black hats to make a statement, but  never have I seen one wear a black hat to differentiantiate between twins." I smiled.

He spoke about how we don't eat chicken or drink grape juice over the nine days even though the Torah only mentions the prohibition of wine and meat on Tisha B'av. We- the Jewish people- extended it not just to Tisha B'av but to the day before Tisha B'av, which later grew to the week of Tisha B'av, and finally to the 9 days at which point we included all fowl and grape product to the ban. I never really understood why we make so many safegaurds, why every halacha  becomes ever expansive and exponentially ardous, yet the Rabbi put it simply: "It's because we have a mosque instead of a Beis Hamikdash."

It's unhealthy, and in my opinion self-destructive, for an individual to create extra stringencies for themselves (and even worse to impose those stringencies on others), yet I believe that small reminders like being extra careful what you watch or how you speak during these last few days, can truly make the difference. It's not about suffering, it's about mindfulness and using attention to detail  for growth.

 The Rabbi concluded by mediating on a final thought, "I wonder what kind of headgear Mashiach will be wearing." 

I don't know if it will be like the 13 year old kid in a kippah srugah, or a twin in a black hat, but I'd like to think that he can come wearing a bike helmet if he wanted to.