27 February 2009

Dog Days... of Painting!

img 008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I 'met' this wonderful artist, Terry Stanley, via one of my Twitter followers and am really excited about her upcoming project, The Dog Days of Painting.

As of today, she's still accepting submissions, so if you have photos of your dogs that you'd like to see immortalized in paint, email them to her! (See her blog for specifics.) I've submitted pics of Suki, Tara, and Henry -- so I'll be watching over the next year to see if they are lucky enough to be a chosen subject. I'd love to see all three of them painted, but in all honestly, it's Henry's portrait I'd love the most. It's 7+ months since we said good-bye to him and I still miss him.

Anyhow, if you're a dog lover or know a dog lover - spread the word. I can't wait to see all the dogs Terry is going to paint.

16 February 2009

Let's Get Physical

Sorry if you've got Olivia Newton John's song running through your head now... I actually heard it on the radio the other day and groaned. I used to like ONJ, but some of her later stuff was c-r-a-p.

Anyhow, after 4 weeks of inactivity, I went back to the gym today. Initially I though I'd go early this morning to the Centergy class, but I was a slacker and didn't get out the door until early evening, making a yoga class. It was fabulous to get back. I was a bit worried about being 'out of shape' and not able to twist and move my body in some of the yoga poses, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did. Some poses were easy-peasy and others were challenging, but not impossible. Even the balancing poses weren't difficult -- but then it wasn't a difficult pose to begin with.

I did learn that my favorite Friday morning yoga instructor has left. The women who told me weren't sure if it was a permanent thing or if she would be back in due time. So I tried tonight's class and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the instructor. The class was quite crowded, but I'll work this class into my routine. Plus, the Sunday morning yoga class is back -- I enjoyed that one as well, so I'll check out the new instructor this Sunday and determine if I will work that into my workout schedule as well.

I put on 4+ pounds this past week - I was not being honest with myself about what I was eating. I'm back on the wagon again and tracking everything. Even today, I made a few not-so-great choices, but I accounted for them. (No more boxes of Girl Scout cookies, no matter how good they taste.) I will be packing a 'for later' bag to take with me to the office which I hope will keep me from searching out less healthy choices to snack on.

Between eating smartly and getting back to the gym on a regular basis, I hope to reverse this weight gain. We leave for Jamaica in four weeks -- I'd love to be down another 5-10 lbs by then, or at the very least, not gain anymore. I'm ready to get away from the cold -- looking forward to sun and surf.

13 February 2009

Crown Me

I've always hated going to the dentist -- for me, having someone poke around my mouth with their instruments of torture is the last thing I want to do. Honestly, I think I'd rather have a gallbladder attack again.

I've been through the revolving door of dentists -- when I find one I like, our insurance changes and s/he isn't on new plan. *sigh* So I ended up with a local dentist who Mark went to and let him torture me in 1001 different ways.

In August/September 2007, I had an old crown removed and replaced with a new one. The old one had been there for 15+ years but had to come off because it had cracked. I went through the whole process - scrape, scrape, drill, drill, make the mold, put on the temporary crown, wait for the permanent crown come in, remove temp crown, scrape, scrape, drill, drill, put on the permanent crown. This whole process took about 4 weeks and even though I had insurance, the damn thing still cost me nearly $600 when all was said and done.

Fast forward to early September 2008 and while I'm eating lunch, I feel a strange sensation - like a tooth was completely exposed. I spit out my crown - realizing it's the one that was put on about a year ago. I call up the dentist and explain the situation (as well as the fact that I no longer have dental insurance) and am told to come in that evening. I go in, the crown is re-cemented and I'm charged out the ying-yang for what took all of 5 minutes (10 tops). I didn't expect to pay the amount I did; especially as the dentist had put that crown on only a year ago. Even the hygienist/receptionist was somewhat appalled at the charge. This wasn't my first unpleasant experience with this dentist and I told her right then and there that neither me or my husband would be back.

Now we're in 2009 - we have dental insurance again thanks to my husband. As I'm eating lunch yesterday (pancakes, if you must know) I feel that strange sensation again. I spit into my palm and what do I see - the damn crown. Again. At this point I know I'm not going back to the original dentist, but I haven't been to a new one since. I have an appointment for next Friday with a new dentist, so I give their office a call. I'm told to call on Friday (today) morning to see if they can squeeze me in.

I called this morning and I'm told to come in at 10:30 AM. I'm greeted warmly by the receptionist and fill out the necessary paperwork. I wait for a short period and am called back. The hygienist is warm and bubbly and we talk about the incident. I was able to pop the crown back in place, but it's loose and neither of us can get it off. The dentist comes in and with a little bit of effort the crown comes off and he gets a look at my tooth. First thing he says, "not a lot of tooth left there..." so he orders some x-rays of the tooth. While it's not affecting the nerve (yet!), he checks to make sure there's no decay (scrape, scrape, drill, drill) and all's well. Yea!

He re-affixes the crown and tells me that they're going to submit to the insurance company to find out if they'll pay for a new crown since this is less than 5 years old. However, if I do need a new crown, I'm gonna have to go for a crown lengthening procedure. I had this done about 5 years ago for a crown on the other side of my mouth -- it's basically reshaping the gum line to expose more tooth so a crown has more to grab on to. It's not exactly fun, but I've not had a single issue with that crown. (Different dentist than the one who put this wonky one on...)

To say I don't like dentists is an understatement, but I think I've got a bit of a crush on this one. He's got a great chairside manner -- very reassuring (which is good for a gal like me who gets pretty worked up over even a cleaning) -- and he's pretty easy on the eyes. The office staff was wonderful too -- I think I might like this practice very much.

So now I wait to see if the insurance will pay for a new crown (if needed) and/or root canal (if needed). But if this crown stays on he won't do anything as long as there's no decay underneath and as long as I have no pain. As of today, it's good. I go back next Friday for a cleaning and full set of x-rays. Honestly, I've had my share of doctors/dentists/x-rays/lab work in the past two months to last me a lifetime.

I'm still quite upset about the shoddy work that the first dentist did -- even he noted there wasn't much tooth but never did he mention a crown lenghtening. In hindsight, I wonder if I had had that done if this crown would have been secure? But I guess there's no use in wondering about it now. I'll wait and see if this holds this time around - if not, we'll see what it'll cost me to have a new one put on. Glad I tossed a nice chunk of money into my Flex Spending Account -- between surgery and a crown, I might wipe it out before the end of March.

03 February 2009

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

A group of ‘historical fiction buffs and I have made a reading challenge for 2009. Each participant will read a book that fit into each of the categories below.

I’ve put my (tentative) book selection below the description if I’ve made one, but there’s a few that remain TBD. If anyone has any suggestions (baring in mind that I’m a historical fiction junkie and have read a lot of HF novels), leave a comment for me.

  1. Read a book of Historical Fiction that is written about a "new to you" time period, person, or location.
    Daughter of the Sun - Barbara Wood
    (FINISHED 28 Jan 2009)

  2. Read a book of Historical Fiction set in your region.
    City of God Beverly Swerling
    (FINISHED 19 Jan 2009)

  3. Read a book of Historical Fiction that has been on your shelf for at least a year. If you don't have a year-old book, read one of the books you have had the longest.
    TBD - most likely some Plaidy book that Ive had forever.

  4. Read a book of Historical Fiction from a "new to you" author.
    The Dark Lantern - Gerri Brightwell
    (FINISHED 02 Mar 2009)

  5. Read a book of Historical Fiction with the word "murder" in the title.
    Murder in Montparnasse - Kerry Greenwood
    (FINISHED 10 Jan 2009)

  6. Solve a crime! Read one Historical Mystery.
    Mark of the Lion - Suzanne Arruda
    (FINISHED 26 Jan 2009)

  7. Be a patron of the arts! Read one book about a famous work of art, music, or the theatre.
    With Violets - Elizabeth Robards
    (FINISHED - 02 Mar 2009)

  8. Viva La Revolution! Read one Historical Fiction book about a revolution, set in the location of your choice.
    The Kitchen Boy - Robert Alexander
    (FINISHED - 16 Feb 2009)

  9. Off with her head! Read one book of Historical Fiction that has a headless lady on the cover.
    To Hold the Crown
    Jean Plaidy
    (FINISHED 03 Feb 2009)

  10. Feed your brain! Read one non-fiction history book. The topic is up to you.
    TBD - am considering The Lost, but I've got some reservations about reading that thanks to a certain friend's review. If that fails, there's some non-fiction books about Anne Boleyn that I've not read yet.
I'm halfway through the challenge of reading 10 books and it's only the beginning of February. I don't suppose being laid up for 10 days post-surgery had anything to do with that, eh? (Honestly, probably not -- I read about the same amount I would have if I didn't have surgery.)