Tuesday, November 12, 2013

12 Little Smiles

Nobody likes working on a Saturday.  It's not my favorite thing, cramps my weekend style. 
Recently I volunteered to work a Saturday, along with the majority of my coworkers.  Key word there is VOLUNTEERED.  It had to be one of the most rewarding "workdays" of my career.


Last November as I walked my daughter into school I was stopped by a teacher.  She knew I worked in the dental field.  She told me there was a child in her class in desperate need of dental care.  She said that he visited the nurse daily, had trouble eating, and remained mute for the majority of the day.  I was speechless.  As fate would have it the little boy walked by and the teacher stopped him.  She introduced him to me and said "Show Ava's mom your hurt tooth".  Oy.  I was lost on advice.  I knew what I was looking at was out of my ballpark.  This kid needed dental care, and in a bad way.  I knew who I could call, but I also knew that this kid needed more than what we were able to offer. 

So, what did I do?  I called Dr. Sindelar. On a Friday.  His day off.  At 8am.  And that's what started project "12 Little Smiles".  It took nearly a year for us to clear the time, work out the legal mumbo jumbo , find the kiddos who needed us the most, and make this happen. 

Three weeks ago we gathered in the wee hours of a Saturday morning.  Dr. Ewing,
Dr. Sindelar, Pam, Marcia, Linda, Jen, Leah, Katie, Megan, Jan, and myself.  We all had smiles on our faces and were eager to get started.  And then they began to file in.....one by one.  Every kid started out in hygiene and ended in restorative.  There were minimal tears, lots of smiles and a few moments that made me crack up.  My favorite was a kid in Dr. Sindelar's chair.  Linda was assisting, Katie was observing and he called me in.  This kid was a bit on the hyper side, but he was funny.  He was getting some cavities filled and it was injection time.  He was flipping and flopping like a fish.  I went over and took charge of the left arm and leg.  He apparently just wanted to dance.  By the time we were done I realized that was probably similar to what the priests in the Exorcist felt like.  You gotta love Dr. Sindelar.  The kid danced out of the chair and straight to the treasure chest.  Turned out he had a good time. 

I think we all had a good time that day.  Dr. Ewing has always said that there is nothing more valuable that we can give to our community than volunteering our time and our talent.  What a shock.....he was right.  There are 12 kids walking around with healthy mouths and a lot of eagerness to w0rk on good hygiene habits. 

"12 Little Smiles" part 2 is in the works for this February.  This time it's going to be a little different.  The first time I relied on school nurses from the Mehlville School District to select the children, this time we're relying on you.  Stay tuned for further details.  Who do you know that needs us? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Feel free to answer

There are so many things in the world that I just don't get. I thought maybe if I compiled all f my thoughts I could get some answers. So feel free friends.

#1. You know when you're watching a movie and somebody has a baby and it's covered in what appears to be like afterbirth or something?  Who would do that?  Like how much money would you have to be offered to cover your newborn baby in some crap for a movie?  That's disgusting.

#2. Ketchup + Mayo = Fancy Sauce. I'm not a mayo fan, in fact I hate it. Some how though the mixture of the two is amazing. Why has nobody bottled this?

#3. June from Honey BooBoo. I'm serious.....is she mentally handicapped?  Is she/the show a complete joke?  What a bunch of hoosiers. I'm embarrassed to be an American when I watch this show. (Ditto on Duck Dynasty)

#4. McDonald's chicken mcnuggets. Nasty shit. It's seriously disgusting. Google whats inside them. It's like some foam crap. It's not even meat. They don't deny it, yet people buy them for their children on a daily basis. Why?  Why?  Why?  My poor kids are denied access to mcnuggets/mcfullofshit.

#5. So Miranda had a baby with Steve and named him Brady. So after they ended up getting married did Miranda actually take Steve's last name?  Is Brady's name still Brady Hobbs or is it Brady Brady?
(If you don't know what I'm talking about then you missed a great piece of American television history).

#6. Liking things on FB. Ok this one really drives me insane. Quit with the cures for cancer, going to Disney World, if I get 10,000 likes she'll marry me, I can get a dog if you like this. For the love of a god......stop!  Obviously this doesn't work, it clogs my newsfeed. Not to mention that it just sounds stupid.

#7. Hatred for the Kardashians. This is a particularly sore subject in my house. Nick despises the Kardashians. I don't know why people hate them so much. Frankly I think some of them are closet Kardashian watchers. Let me just point out that they have the highest ratings on E!  Obviously somebody's watching them. I don't recall them ever claiming to be talented. A large television audience became intrigued with them and made them famous.
(Just for the record I'm a Khloe fan)

#8. Pajamas in public. If you do this.....I don't understand you. I'm not talking yoga pants here. I'm talking obvious nighttime attire. It is NOT ok, it's just hoosier.

#9.  Celebrity endorsed products. I can 100% guarantee you that Sarah Jessica Parker isn't dying her hair with Garnier Nutrisse. Kate Hudson isn't slapping Almay all over her face. Drew Barrymore isn't painting her face with Cover Girl. It just isn't happening. Do consumers really think so?

#10. Murderers. Ugh.....I'm scared of them. Sometimes I wonder if I've unknowingly befriended one. You know like gave them some change at the gas station because they were short, or started a conversation while waiting in line at the store. I secretly always wonder if their a cannibal and ewwwwww eat people. Maybe my mind wandering goes too far.

#11. Languages. Why the hell are there so many and who was in charge of making them up?  Who invented the alphabet and figured out all those sounds and then not only remembered them but taught them to other people.  That seems like a big Project. The world would be easier if we could have narrowed it down to two or three.

#12. David Blane....mind freak. This guy boggles my mind. How does he do the things he's done?  If you don't know who he is I recommend googling him.

I'd appreciate some answers if you have them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The hey buddy story

I've felt like an ass several times in my life, but this....top 5.
This blog is totally for my BF Carrie. She tells this story every chance she gets.

When Lauren was little we went to Suson Park all the time.  One Friday afternoon while walking back to our car I noticed a bus loading a group of mentally challenged adults. Now being the observant person that I am AND concerned member of the community I noticed a man standing a short distance from the bus. The leader of the group was getting ready to close the door, but she was forgetting this one guy. All I could think about was my cousin Clark who is mentally challenged and hoped that someone would point out to him that he was about to miss his ride. He would have in clue how to get help to find his way home. This poor guy was about to be left behind. Without hesitation I approached the man and said (this is the quote that haunts me)..."hey buddy!  I think your ride is leaving without you". He slowly looked up at me from staring at the ground (which he had been doing the entire time) and said "um I'm not with those people". Ooooooo mah gawd. Boom went the dynamite.....not mentally challenged. Not in the least. Huge ass. Foot in mouth. Shoe leather tastes good. Son of a bitch. WTF?  Way to go idiot....way. to. go.

So that's the "Hey Buddy" story. Anytime someone that knows the story and hears me say "buddy" they crack up. Hey buddy.....what the hell Nichole?  And that's why I stopped being nice.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Final countdown

Tic toc, tic toc......3 days until this overdue eye surgery takes place.
I have such a strange excitement, nervous, anxious, scared range of emotion. I'm not nervous about the surgery part....maybe just the end result.
I know people are curious as to what happened but are afraid to ask. Well except for little kids, they always ask. So here's the deal :).  I have a condition called Ptosis. If you stop and take a close look at people you'd be amazed how may people have some form of this diagnosis. Mine however is exaggerated. It hasn't always been this way. I don't see evidence of it in childhood pictures (ok maybe slight, but nothing anyone else would notice). Ptosis can become pronounced for various reasons. Mine happens to be from head trauma. In 1994 I was in a car accident that wasn't life threatening but semi serious. I had a blow to the right side of my head. The blow was actually the passenger side door and the mirror slicing a 4" gash in my head. I also still have slivers of glass in my right forearm. It actually feels kinda cool. Mostly I forget that it's there. I've forgotten the sting of the ER dr stapling my head back together without anesthetic. Yes....NO anesthetic. See, I am one tough beotch :).
I've never driven a car more than 50 ft without a seatbelt since that day. I learned my lesson early in the driving game. I'd only had my license for 4 short months.  The blow to my head caused damage to the levator muscle which controls the function of the eyelid muscle. It can worsen over time. No doubt mine has gotten worse. I started seeing various ophthalmologists and visual science doctors at Washington University in 2004. This game played on for years. Monitoring and documentation had to take place. Every attempt for insurance to pay resulted in disappointment. I didn't have a spare $10,000 laying around. They wanted to call my case "cosmetic". Fast forward 9 years later. My BF Carrie had a patient in her chair who recently underwent the surgery I'd wanted. Of course she called me over and we discussed it and I made an appointment with Dr. Gabriela Espinoza at The Anheuser-Busch Eye Institute. We have a standing date this Tuesday, April 23rd. While I may be just another surgery she does during her career, she will have a profound role in my outlook on life. My appearance bothers me beyond your comprehension. You'll find very few photographs of me with my children, and when you do I have sunglasses on, my head tilted or just plain half of my face cut off. I hate looking in the mirror. I've watched the YouTube video of the surgical procedure countless times. I'm ready. Not even the most gruesome videos of whats about to happen phases me at this point. I don't care. The restriction of contacts and makeup for weeks?  I couldn't careless. I'll admit the thought of laying on my back for several days isn't appealing. I don't sit still well. It is what it is. And I can't wait until its over!

Monday, January 14, 2013

I left my heart in San Francisco

I can't believe I never took the time to blog about San Francisco. I can't believe it was almost 3 months ago. The fantastic doctors I work for rewarded us with this trip in appreciation of hard work. Now this trip wasn't all playtime, we attended the ADA. One fun packed week surrounded by thousands of dental professionals. I'll spare you all of the knowledge I accumulated and just stick to the fun

We departed on Wednesday, October 17th. Dr. Sindelar loaded us up and drove through the pouring down rain to Lambert. We listened to the ball game while en route and were completely psyched to be on our way to San Fran to whip the Giants ass. We checked our bags and settled into the bar to grab a drink while waiting to board our flight and BOOM Nelly. Yup...Nelly and his posse were heading out to Bora Bora or something. Jealous. Anyway.....as fate would have it my assigned seat was smack next to Carrie. Now Carrie and I are BF's and also a wee bit of trouble when together. Yes!  The poor guy sitting next to us soon fell asleep. How could he not be amused by us?  We were in possession of "Tom on a stick". (Dr. Ewing was absent from the trip). We propped Tom on a stick next to the guy and snapped a few pictures, watched Step Brothers and napped a bit. That was a loooong 4 hours. In the pitch dark suddenly the bay became visible and reality hit that after a year of planning we were finally in California. We got separated getting off the plane but thankfully Jeff was waiting for us holding a sign that said "hot chicks". That caused a great deal of laughter. After what seemed an eternity  the bus driver/hotel guy finally picked us up. Nothing like flying down an unfamiliar freeway at 70mph with a guy who doesn't speak clear English.  Oh but he was capable of texting while driving. Oy. Point...we arrived at the Westin in one piece.  It was close to midnight before we were checked in but we were wide awake. Several of us drug ourselves across the street to a pub for a beverage. I stuck around for a bit but took my tired self back to the hotel around 2....roommate less. Carrie (yes, my roomie) stayed a bit longer. I unpacked all of my things and put them away neatly. My roommate?  She lived out of her suitcase for the next 6 days.
It's obvious the two of us have our similarities and differences....this is only a bit of a reason why I love her. AND cleaned up after her : )

Lets move on....this could be a long blog kids.

Thursday was day 1 of seminars. I learned so much I can't even remember it. Fast forward to Thursday night. We went to Top of the Mark. Me, Jen, Katie, Megan took a little longer to get ready so we missed the rest of the groups departure. Tried to flag down a taxi with no luck. So what else were we to do but hop in a limo. Meh...$50 for less than a mile. Whatever. Top of the Mark was ok. Carrie loved it. It was all 40's music and dancing. Not so much my style but it was interesting. Not really, but I was there. Anywho. We stepped outside and got our very first view of the city. Wow!  The street was lined with those fun houses and big hills in every direction. Now that's what I thought San Francisco would look like. Next stop....the Tonga Room. Pretty fun. Carrie asked a guy in a kilt if he was wearing underwear and really pissed him off. So funny. Everyone was tired so they headed back but Carrie, Justine and I decided to find, yes find, our way back on foot. Maybe this was a slightly stupid move, but we sure had fun. I think we stopped every 9 feet to tell a story. I'm pretty sure the mile walk took a good 90 minutes. Made it back and it was bedtime

Friday was full of more classes.  Carrie and I oddly had the same 3-1/2 hour break between morning and afternoon sessions. Adventure time. We hit a little pizza joint upon suggestion of a friend and it was yummo. We were off to explore. Two BF's in a strange city. After wandering around we found ourselves in the Bart Station. No clue where we were or where we wanted to go. We decided we
wanted to find the bay. We met a local cameraman named Richard and he pointed us in the right direction. We wandered through the Financial District, an outdoor market and all the way to the bay. This is where Carrie should take over. Now I have a fear of birds so much to my surprise and
shock/fear/panic I was under the attack of seagulls. SOB they're everywhere and those bastards were
headed right at me. It was a little embarrassing. Carrie tried to con me over by her, I panicked. Those
suckers were like flying turkeys. I screamed, I think I cried, people were looking at me. Thank God I made it out of there in one piece. They had me pegged. Bastards. Somehow we made it back in time for the afternoon session. After class we headed to the hotel restaurant and watched the Card whop some Giants ass. That was the first time we got dirty looks from the San Franners. We were not welcomed with open arms. Kiss it. There was a fire pit in the courtyard. That's when we had our first run in with the crazy local lawyer. I'm pretty sure he was trashed. He was giving us life advice. Wow....thanks. We were planning on going to Haight and Ashbury but he told me that if I went there at that time of night we'd get attacked and end up buying crack or something.  Instead we walked up the street and bought nail polish and fake eyelashes (Carrie's idea and never used them).

Saturday wrapped up the ADA. Now we were in total party mode. By this time Dr. Sindelars wife, Janna, had arrived so we were super excited to hit the town. We had a fabulous dinner at. After that we headed over to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. I was sooooo excited to get there because my long lost friends from high school were meeting us. I hadn't seen Veronica and Heather Trout for years. We had a great time catching up. Well catching up as well as you can on a dance floor with a live band.  We parted ways and headed to the next adventure. I'm not going to name the gang who went, well except for Jen. She's key in this story. I can't remember the specific name of the neighborhood we were in (I want to say meat packing but that's just not right). We went to a bar named Does Your Mother Know".   This was a fantastic gay bar. In my younger years I visited many gay bars with friends so nothing I saw was very shocking. Nothing was shocking, but maybe a little scary. Jen and I stuck together like glue on our way to the bathroom. I think a few ladies wanted to take us home. What's that saying "if you can't beat em, join em"? Jen and I were officially lesbians for the next hour. In attempt to not be separated we shared a bathroom stall. Oy. No more comments on this evening. It was fun. Enough said.

Sunday....funday.  We started off the morning with Bloody Marys and a private tour to Muir Woods and Sonoma Vally.  Muir Woods was unbelievable.  End in point...big ass trees.  Next stop was Sonoma.  Pretty fun.  Toured two wineries.  The first one we went to we were on information overload.  This guy felt the need to tell us every little detail AND walk a shit ton of places.  Oy.  The second one was way more relaxed but myself personally, I was done with the wine.  We got back to the hotel, changed clothes and headed off to China Town and grabbed a bite to eat. 

Tuesday....our last day in San Francisco. We ventured out early to catch a boat to Alcatraz. I was super excited to see it. I love the paranormal and thought we'd go looking for spirits. We were in a guided tour. The group got split up and Carrie and I ended up in the back of the line with the "stroller" group. Screw that. We wandered off and did the self guided tour. Turns out this was a smart move. It was so cool. I have some of the pics up on FB. Carrie tried to force me into Cell Block D. Now this cell block is famous for paranormal activity. While we didn't see anything while we were there our photos proved different. I have a picture of Carrie in a cell and very plainly you can make out a face next to her. Freaky. We departed the island, strolled down the Warf (another seagull attack), a homeless man jumped out at Pam and scared her half to death and had lunch at Scoama's. after lunch everyone went in separate directions....well except Carrie and I. We seemed to always be in the same direction. Strange. Now this has to be the highlight of our trip. Carrie waited and waited and waited to go to Haight and Ashbury. Now Haight Ashbury was home of the hippie movement/summer of love. There's all different sights to see in this neighborhood. So on the cable car we went and Haight and Ashbury is where we landed. Definitely some sights to see. Carrie was headed straight toward "Loved to Death". This is an oddity that is also host to a reality show. As fate would have it we walked directly into a filming. We stood in the corner, didn't say a word and the director acknowledged us and let us stay. We literally stood 10 feet away from a guy who swallowed floss, took a knife and sliced his stomach open and pulled the floss out. It happened, it was real, we saw it with our own eyes. No pictures allowed, but I'm sneaky. Again they're on FB. We stood so still and quiet that after about 45 minutes for the first time I turned around and to my horror I had been leaning up against an embalming table. If I could have screamed I would have. And then I realized I was surrounded by glass cases with Barbie dolls in them. Normal right? Not....because the Barbies heads were removed and replaced with bird heads. Ugh! And that concluded our adventure of Haight and Ashbury. Back to the cable car we went. While waiting we were stuck outside some bar that was blaring the ball game. We were losing...and badly. Do you know what it's like to be in the playoffs in a city you're not loved in and watching Yadi get up to bat and have to bite your tongue so you don't yell "Yadi! Yadi! Yadi,"? It's sad. It's so, so sad. Eventually the cable car came, we jumped on at at the suggestion of an old friend we headed over to 18th and Mission. We found ourselves in the Casanova Lounge. And as suspected the ballgame was blaring. We were getting our asses handed to us. The busboy approached us, as it was apparently obvious we were from St. Louis, and ushered us over to the corner. I can't remember his name, but he was super sweet. There was a small crowd from the Midwest in the anterior of the lounge. That was where Red October came to an end. I swear to you....I turned to Carrie and asked if the game was over. She laughed and said it ended like 5 minutes earlier. Like 4 cars honked their horns and the city went back into normal activity. Nobody there was worthy of the "Go crazy folks, Go crazy!". Whatever.... We stumbled to the pizza place next door, ordered a mean slice of cheese and sunk into a booth. Not 10 minutes later in rolled the Doc, Janna and Jen. They'd just returned from the game. Jeff said he was almost glad that we didn't win due to the harassment during the game. Anyway we all finished our pizza and piled into a cab and headed back to the hotel. I'm still not sure why the 3 of them traveled all the way across town to where we were, but I suspect the doc just wanted to make sure we got back safely. (yup....he's just that nice of a guy). 

*Most valuable lesson of the trip.....Carrie and I could travel the world together.

Tuesday we bid farewell to San Fran.  It had been fun, but it was time to go home.  The 4 hour plane ride home seemed to go by quickly.  We landed at Lambert well after dark.  As I made my way through the airport I suddenly heard what I'd missed for days.  The sweetest little voice yelled out "momma!" and Ava ran for me full speed ahead.  My family was waiting....apparently I was missed : )