Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dental Damn!

This morning was my first experience at the dentist's office in a long time. I hate to say it, but probably about 8 years. This long time absence stemmed from a litany of botched and traumatic dental experiences both in childhood and adulthood which I won't bore you with here. I had also recently spoke with my Mother about her well known fear of dentists and she related her experiences. Apparently, she was worked on once by a drunk dentist. That seems appalling in this day and age, but remember, it was probably 30 or 40 years ago, in rural Canada. Also, my mom had a bad experience with laughing gas, whether she was allergic or just over gassed is unknown, but she ended up beating up the dentist. hehe. I would have like to have seen that.

Anyways, back to this dentist uses nitrous oxide or laughing gas to chill you out as well as the usual Novocaine. I was pretty happy to find that out as anything to lesson my anxiety is a good thing. I cautioned her as to my mom's previous reaction and she set it on low. Nowadays, you can't screw up the mixture as its all regulated for safety reasons ensuring you get sufficient oxygen into your lungs as well as the nitrous. I was breathing in the nitrous and was feeling pretty good, laughing, making jokes, etc until I started to feel dizzy. It came about rather quickly and I told her that we should turn it down. So she turned the mixture down from a low 2.5 to a lower 1.5.

I continued to breathe in the gas, enjoying the lessening of the anxiety and the feeling of "I just don't care how much drilling you do" until all of a sudden I felt a little dizzy again, then really dizzy, then I started drifting away, my mouth felt like it wasn't a part of my face and I got very confused. As I started to black out I think a little panic set in and I pulled off the nitrous mask. I couldn't understand where my mouth was and I was about a breath away from passing out. The passing out feeling dissipated but I was very dizzy, bordering on nauseous. I thought to myself, it would be bad to throw up in a dental dam right? Fortunately, she took all the crap off my face that I don't remember her putting on. I guess I had a bite guard in and I totally don't remember that going on. It took about 15 minutes for me to get back to feeling normal again. We left the gas off for the rest of the procedure. This was a very frightening experience and frankly, I have no idea how I will make it through any more procedures.

Hours later: my jaw hurts like a son of a bitch and now my teeth are starting to ache. Oh joy. I love when the Novocaine wears off........

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Long Weekend of Homework

Wow, I've had a long weekend of learning, studying, quizzing and teaching not to mention the frustration that goes along with it all. This weekend we babysat Dena's niece and nephew, Jack and Ruby. We were instructed that Ruby had Math homework to do and Jack had to study for his History Midterms. They are in Grades 5 and 6 respectively. I had no idea what we'd gotten ourselves into.

Saturday I spent 2 hours teaching Ruby the concepts of dividing or multiplying to get the missing denominator or numerator in a fraction. The concept is called Equivalent Fractions. The concept is that if you have 8/10 = n/5 where n is some number that you have to figure out. In this case, the answer is 4.
8/10 = 4/5 <-- These are equivalent fractions
Seems simple, eh, just wait until you have to explain it to a 10 year old. Thank god we only had to do the even numbered problems. After all that was over Ruby informed me that she had another section of homework, she proceeded to read the first question and said "I know how to do this" and shooed me off. I sighed in relief and left the room. She presented me with the homework later for me to check, it was all wrong. I hated to deliver that news as I knew she'd blow up. She ended up crying in the bedroom. Before she went to sleep I explained to her that sometimes we just have to practice things and try and try until we get things right and then I promised her we'd work on the wrong section tomorrow. This stopped the tears and she went to sleep.

Sunday we spent another 90 minutes on the concept of Greatest Common Factor (GCF) and Simplest Form. I have to admit, I had to look up GCF on the internet in order to understand how and why they are teaching it. Simplest Form is easy, I cannot remember what they called it in my day but it's basically just reducing a fraction to its lowest.

Example: 4/8 reduces to 1/4.
1/4 is it's simplest form.

Greatest Common Factor is doing a factor tree and finding the common factor between the numerator and the denominator and figuring out which is the greatest. You then use the GCF to divide and get the simplest form of the fraction. Example, 30/50 -- it's greatest common factor is 10. You divide the numerator and the denominator by 10 and you get 3/5. 3/5 is equivalent to 30/50 but it is in its simplest form as 3/5. These are examples are simple and I'm putting in that way so that the 30 somethings, 40 somethings, etc will understand what I'm talking about. It's been a loooonnnnnnggggg time since we learned this stuff.

We managed to struggle through all of this and during this process I learned how important the foundation of math is. This would have been so much easier for Ruby had she known her multiplication tables. Even 2 x anything was a challenge. When I asked her repeatedly what the common factors of 14 are, it was a 5 minute process to figure it out, even when she was asked over multiple days. If she had the basic foundation of the multiplication tables down then it would be a simple process to determine that the common factors of 14 are 2 and 7. Simple, 2 x 7 = 14.

Well, I have to go now as I have to quiz Jack on Chapters 1 through 3 in his history book for his midterm. First, I have to learn it myself because you can't really ask questions about something you know nothing about. What is culture change? Shit, I don't know, I mean I know, but I don't. Explain the local and global effects of deforestation. I have to make sure I don't miss anything or tell him the wrong thing as I would be doing him a disservice and teaching him wrong. The pressure!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday Jackie!

Sorry for the lateness of this......but sometimes our busy lives just get in the way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire and Hair

Driving into Los Angeles from up north Sunday afternoon was a little surreal. Coming down the 101 I could see the plumes of smoke and slowly broad daylight turned to night. It was almost as if the day glowed yellow. An odd color to be sure. With the acrid smell of smoke in the air and the hauntingly clear freeways I emerged from the Camarillo pass down into Woodland Hills and clear, blue sky. The fires here were north of where I was and West (in Malibu) so the sky overhead was clear.

Sunday night and Monday morning it was incredibly dry with a relative humidity of about 5 %. Now that's dry. Today it's hovering around 15 % in the city and 10 - 12% out by the fires. I'm thirsty all the time. There's a layer of ash on the car as well but certainly not to the extent of co-workers and friends that live in and near the burn areas. Check out this blog for promised pictures tomorrow.


I accompanied Dena to Rudy's for a haircut. Dena has been going to this garage style buzz and trim place for awhile now as its $ 21 for a "style", and I use that term loosely. Originally I had just wanted to accompany her and hang out but since we had to wait an hour and I needed a trim anyway I decided to get one. The stylist that Dena uses was booked but she suggested Natasha. Natasha, a tall, skinny, pink haired, harsh looking woman comes out from the back and she looks pissed. Apparently she was eating dinner and not in the mood to cut my hair. As I settled into the chair my mind screamed, "Get up!!! Get up and leave now!!" I ignored my intuition as I do most of the time and stayed put. A woman's intuition is a foolish thing to ignore and a vital piece of our existance. Why I continue to ignore mine I'll never know, but my logical side talks me out of listening to it more times than not.

I'm very used to having someone cut my hair with some sort of style in mind. I knew it was going to be bad when she said she was going to take about half an inch off. Then after I had very little hair left she said she was going to texture it. Then it was like she was taking another half an inch off. So I have no style and very little hair. Nice.......I'm never, ever going back to Rudy's. There is a reason why a real hair stylist charges $ 75! I've now taken to calling myself "cue ball".

Friday, October 19, 2007

Toilet Paper Usage

Dena and I have argued since we moved in together about the quantity of toilet paper I use. This weekend with my Lake Naciemento scrapbooking home girls (a bunch of straight wild women who turn into wild women when the are away from their husbands) we discussed this topic and how several of their mates complain about it as well. So we all decided to do a test. We all "pulled" our regular allotment of TP and compared who uses how much. The results are.....

Of 7 women 3 are "green" where they only use 5 squares, one using 7 squares. The other 4 are between 8 and 11 squares with the average being 9.

Some basic history of Toilet Paper

The first known use of toilet paper per se (as opposed to leaves, etc) is 6th century AD in China.

I love this quote below:

The 16th century French satirical writer François Rabelais in his series of novels Gargantua and Pantagruel, discussing the various ways of cleansing oneself at the toilet, wrote that: "He who uses paper on his filthy bum, will always find his ballocks lined with scum", proposing that the soft feathers on the back of a live goose provide an optimum cleansing medium.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


What does stress do to you? I've got so many things going on currently in my life that my stress level is astronomical. I'm not sure how I'm even handling it frankly, I think it helps that in the last 45 days I've taken 2 weeks vacation. I'm pretty sure that's whats saving me from a heart attack or a comatose mental breakdown.

The stress is caused by this company merger, new boss, doing multiple jobs, changing everything to do with my job (i.e. health plan, dental, 401k, etc) all the unknowns of this merger. Almost everyday I have stomach issues, often I'm angry and irritable, and I'm definitely not sleeping well and I'm definitely drinking more alcohol. I go to bed exhausted and wake up exhausted. And the aniety dreams! Wow. What am I going to do about it? Who knows? I find that going to the gym helps quite a bit however, I'm working so hard and long that there is often no time for the gym. It seems like an endless cycle that I'm becoming concerned about. For now, I'll just hang in there and hope. We have to have hope right?

Symptoms & Warning Signs of Job Stress
While the causes can be something other than job stress, here are the most common symptoms and early warning signs of job stress and burnout:
Low morale
Physical problems (headaches, stomach problems)

hmmm, I have 99% of those things......perhaps I should try the last one -- absenteeism......

Monday, October 15, 2007

My UCLA computer class

I'm taking this Linux computer geeky class at UCLA this fall semester. I felt that with the company merger happening and all the rule and expense changes, I should capitalize on the lax old rules before they change. So I took the class. I'm a firm believer that opportunity rarely knocks and when it does it knocks very softly.

The Unix/Linux class is Intermediate and it's taught by a JPL rocket scientist who I'm pretty sure is on about 10 cups of high test Starbucks by the time he comes to teach. He talks very fast, gives us very complicated Linux commands and I am finding it incredibly stimulating. The other night I went to class exhausted and came out wired, excited and wide awake. Nothing like a little brain candy to wake up all the synapses, eh. I'm hoping this class will help me prepare for my Linux certification but who knows if I'll have any time to study to prepare as we are so busy that I'm already working 12 hours a day. Thank god I had some vacations planned or I'd be hosed and burnt out already. The stress of the merger alone is really affecting me. There is so much going on, we're splitting off, getting new benefits, changing benefits, changing bosses, it's just way too much change to happen all at once.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's Crazy Out Here

These are just random thoughts.
You know what's cool -- losing 20 pounds lets you fit into the small 737 seats a whole lot better. Flying is actually sort of comfortable, well, as comfortable as flying nowadays can be.

Also, my sister was at LAX flying home with her family last Sunday and she told me about this TSA agent making a mother take a baby's bib off. I thought, hmmm, must have been some snotty TSA agent. Well, last Tuesday I went thru Burbank airport, I was wearing a t-shirt with a nice collared shirt over it, open, aka not buttoned. They searched me after I went thru security because I had lose fitting clothing. What a bunch of bullshit.

I'm exhausted, want to know what I did this week? Monday, worked like a dog, about 14 hours. Tuesday, took a 7:00a Southwest flight out of Burbank airport for PHX, worked 14 hours a day while I was there and flew home tonight in time for my Linux computer class at UCLA. Where I'm sitting now, until 10:00pm. Great. Think I'm tired yet? Well, how about Friday's agenda? Early morning flight from Burbank to PHX, work all day, fly home on 6:30p flight, and then....pass out.

Sounds like fun eh

Thursday, October 04, 2007

DisneyLand Day 2

19,800 steps on my pedometer later (for one day) and Disneyland is done. Wow. That's a lot of steps. Disneyland has a theme this year, "a million dreams". Well, Grace's dreams certainly came true on this trip with a 100% success rate in seeing princesses and a pretty much 90% success rate in meeting them. The only princess she didn't personally meet at least once was Tinkerbell but I don't think Tink really attends any events per se. She's like a night princess I think. However, during the parade, Tinkerbell was high up on her float waving to everyone with her wand and Grace was waving her little Tinkerbell stuffed doll up at her, Tinkerbell saw Grace, smiled, waved and put her hands over her mouth in a true "pleased" princess posed. Grace was thrilled. We're all dog tired but had a great time with even the adults getting on some rides. The haunted mansion was decked out for "Nightmare before Christmas" and it was awesome! I've never seen it in that state. Bye for now

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Heart to Heart Chats.....

Grace has a heart to heart chat with various Disney Princesses. The highlight of her day, I can assure you! I'm pretty sure they were solving the world's problems. Good thing, they need solving.