Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Even though I’m between assignments at the moment I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been. When I’m working full-time I do nothing but work, and everything else falls apart. Laundry and dishes pile up; dog and cat hair turn into furry tumbleweed on the floor; resumes, books, magazines, and receipts are strewn everywhere and cover every flat surface.
Now that I have the luxury to decompress, I find a gazillion things to do. I often wonder how women ever get anything done. It boggles my mind to see women juggle work, family, household chores, and all the other things women do.
Sometimes when I see a mom at the supermarket with an infant strapped on her chest, a kid in tow, a toddler on a stroller, bags of groceries hanging from both arms and stroller handles, bags piled on top of the toddler, I shake my head in wonderment. And Sarah Palin thinks she can do all that and be VP? Well, I guess if you a have a staff that you can fire at will, then anything is possible.
I’m starting a series of posts that I’m calling Anecdotal Woman about women I’ve met along the way who have left an impression on me (good, bad or indifferent). They will all be called Maya because Maya means illusion. The illusion is that of separation. But the truth is there is only One of us. Your triumph is my triumph. Your failure is mine. Your joy is my joy; your sorrow, mine.
There but for the Grace of God go I.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
noun (German): A malicious satisfaction
obtained from the misfortunes of others.
Forgive me, God. I thought I was above all this. I thought my heart was filled with nothing but compassion. Last Friday I watched The McLaughlin Group (like I always do), and the pugnacious host John McLaughlin ticked off the declining fortunes of some famous billionaires and fallen CEO’s. I could not help but chuckle with guilt-free glee.
From the transcript:
Henry Paulson, former CEO, Goldman Sachs, current secretary of the Treasury, from $809 million to $523 million.
Daniel Mudd, former CEO, Fannie Mae, $26 million to $476,000.
Richard Syron, former CEO, Freddie Mac, $11 million to
Martin Sullivan, AIG, $3.2 million to $173,000.
John Thain, Merrill Lynch, $28 million to $16 million.
Richard Fuld Jr., Lehman Brothers, $827 million to $2.3
John Mack, Morgan Stanley, $225 million to $80 million.
Charles Prince, Citigroup, $89 million to $33 million.
And get this -- James Cayne, Bear Stearns, $1.1 billion --
that's "b" as in "boy," billion -- to $61 million.
And get this -- Maurice Greenberg, AIG, $1.25 billion -- that's
"b" as in "boy," billion -- to $50 million.
How ticklishly delicious to imagine the misfortune of those greedy assholes! How fun it is to type "greedy assholes" without moral misgivings!
As the German proverb goes:
“To feel envy is human;
to savor schadenfreude is devilish!”
Cartoons courtesy of The New Yorker
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Out of loyalty to the company who just axed you -- mind you! -- you put the best spin on the situation, not just as a face saving mechanism and for your own psychic wellness, but just as much for those candidates you’ve ushered into the pipeline of the hiring process. It’s an ethical dilemma.
His email was quite a surprise because just the week before this recruiter friend gave me a shout out – “Hey! Know any scientists with skeletal muscle biology experience?”
Now this. News of his lay-off. I guess it was inevitable. Even before the NYSE opened on Monday morning the cable news channels were already abuzz with the crash of Lehman Bros., the imminent buy-out of Merrill Lynch, and the looming failure of AIG. Employees with bankers’ boxes packed with their personal belongings where shown leaving the building at midnight. Needless to say, Elvis left the building in a golden parachute.
600,000 out of a job in the last eight months alone! I’m not even included in that statistic because I haven’t applied for unemployment. How many more are out there like me, holding off on EDD, with faith in God and the eternal flame of optimism in their hearts that the next gig is just around the corner? What’s the real unemployment number? I got two weeks severance for a job well done, taxed at 25%. Whoop-tee-doo. Carly Fiorina got $42 mil for a job badly botched. I was finding work for people; Ms. Piggy in lipstick was offshoring them.
My inner sense of justice tells me that the Church of Greed and the worship of the Almighty Dollar are on the wane. I pray fervently that this financial Armageddon drives the atheists out of my foxhole.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I had a vision during my early morning meditation today. In the same way that Hillary Clinton backed away with grace and class to nominate Barack by acclamation, I saw Joe Biden abdicate his VP slot to Hillary for the highest good of taking back the White House.
Why not? It would truly be a revolution, and it seems that that is what’s needed now to storm the Bastille and free the American people from the ravages of the last 8 years. “Enough!” would be the battle cry.
Seriously, why not? I’m just a laid-off worker from a sleepy town in Northern California. I don’t know the arcane and archaic rules of the DNC, but what’s to prevent Joe Biden from stepping down on his own? Debbie Wasserman Shultz can make a hasty nomination for Hillary as VP and Nancy Pelosi can just as quickly gavel it to order.
Imagine this – Hillary Clinton debating Sarah Palin on foreign policy, national security, universal health care, the economy, jobs, stem cell research, choice, and so on. Sarah would Palin comparison. Indeed, the hottest governor would most certainly melt from the heat. Why play phony lipstick politics when we can have the real deal? This would stare sexism down, give women a real choice, and truly make this election herstoric.
“Change is coming, change is coming, change is coming,” wags McCain. I bet this is one change he would not have seen coming.
Let’s shake things up one more time. Step down, Joe… Step up, Hillary!
Monday, August 18, 2008
I haven’t posted in a while. Life has been too full, too hectic, too fast, quickly wheezing by. Every time I remember to write, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have to sift through in my own mind to find that which is blog-worthy.
Last Saturday I accomplished so much in just one day that I felt I had to memorialize the moment. That night I sat in front of my laptop but the deluge of ideas quickly overtook me. I slumped back in my chair, exhaled and released the urge to write. It was the path of least resistance. Sitting and sifting would’ve been the harder thing to do.
I have deep respect for authors, literary and otherwise. I now understand the absolute discipline and drive to do the dang and dirty deed. Incidentally, when I was growing up my parents, who were both writers, never seemed to lift a finger and appeared to my young eyes like people of leisure. I never saw them sweat over a typewriter. To write a book is still my absolute, ultimate goal, and I know someday I will. I cannot escape the on switch in my genes. In the meantime, living day-to-day is the book I write in invisible ink.
Yesterday our guest speaker Rev. Robert Collins spoke about moments worth remembering – moments of joy, moments of sorrow, moments of consequence and impact, moments of limbo and nothingness.
Rev. Robert reminded us that summer is nearing its end. He invited us to observe more closely how a leaf just gently detaches from the tree at the end of its season, and ever so slowly and gracefully drifts with the wind without resistance, softly falling and landing wherever fate takes it.
Two weeks ago I was given notice that the economic slowdown had taken its toll on my company and five of us were being let go at the end of the month. There was soft mention of project re-assignment but no cigars.
My first thought was, “Oh, no.” I felt the physical reaction of my gut turning inside out. I just moved into a new house two months ago, and there are inescapable recurring bills, necessary expenses and unforeseen emergencies. A lay-off now couldn’t have come at the worst time. As a recruiter, if companies are slowing down and hiring is frozen, what need is there for my expertise?
But looking back on my life, no matter how difficult and seemingly crushing certain circumstances have been, I’ve always come out stronger, wiser, whole and at peace.
I may be feeling a little resistance about giving up my job and holding on to the "safety" in it, but the metaphor of the falling leaf reminds me that God, the forces and resources of the universe – call it what you will -- are present in this circumstance. I have learned that one end is merely the beginning of another. I have learned to roll with the punches, to gently blow in the wind, so to speak, and I know there is nothing to fear in the landing.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen.” – Hebrews 11:1
Monday, July 28, 2008
It was a food fest of mega-proportions! 10 tons of beef, 4 tons of pasta, 2 ½ tons of garlic...
...4 tons of calamari, 2 tons of scampi...
...Pollo y mas pollo…
Garlic ice cream, anyone?
Pyro chefs at the cook fest...
Shop until you drop! How 'bout some garlic haberdashery?
What’s a California fair without the tie dye?
And what about a tat?
It’s not just the garlic roasting… at temperatures nearing triple digits, we need rain!
That's it! Time to call it a day...
Saturday, July 26, 2008
While I was looking around, a tall, fairly good-looking, athletic guy in tan jeans and faded t-shirt came over and asked, “Are you finding everything alright?”
“Yes,” I answered, adding enthusiastically, “I love your selection! Are you the manager?”
“No, I’m the owner.”
“Wow! You’re so lucky! I’ve always fantasized about having my own nursery!”
“No!” he protested good-naturedly. “This isn’t luck! I work damn hard,” he declared with pride.
“Oh, I know. But luck comes to those who work hard,” I said in a tone meant to honor his hard work.
“Luck comes to people in casinos. This is pure hard work,” he said with a tone oozing with pride and a palpable passion for plants.
“I’m so jealous of you! This is the kind of hard work I wouldn’t mind doing.”
We talked as we walked, and as we did so, he stroked the leaves of his plants fondly and called out their names – Australian Tree Fern, Canna, Coleus, Hosta, Pennisetum…
Finally, he asked, “Can I help you find something in particular?”
I told him I was looking for horsetail for my little pond area, bamboo for my Zen garden, and some sedum with variegated leaves. He pointed me over to the area where they were and said, “Well, I’ll leave you alone. I’m sure you don’t want to be bothered.”
“Oh, you can bother me. I like people who know their stuff.”
He followed close behind me, poking the back of my upper arm with his finger. When I turned around with a quizzical look, he said, “I’m bothering you. That’s what children do when they want to bother you. They poke you with a finger non-stop.”
When he mentioned the word “children”, I thought of my girlfriend in the car and I lit up with the thought, “Oh, my God! I should introduce them!” My girlfriend -- let’s call her Lakisha -- loves kids. I decided to play cupid.
“Come with me,” I said waving him forcefully to the front of the nursery. “I want you to meet my girlfriend. She’s in my car.”
Surprisingly, and without hesitation, he followed me to the curb and headed straight towards my girlfriend, who was singing along with Stevie Wonder on the cranked up radio. He started poking her shoulder with his finger through the open passenger window.
I was a few feet away and could see them laughing together. They looked good together, like a cute couple with sparks flying. They exchanged a few words and then he excused himself to attend to a new customer.
I walked over to my girlfriend and before I could say anything, she said, ‘Girl, who’s the brotha? I been lookin’ at him since you pulled up to the store. He’s damn fine!”
I told her he was the owner, and she said, “What’s his name?” When I shrugged she quickly ordered me to “Go back in there and find out my future husband’s name!”
The nursery manager was busy with another customer so I picked up my selection, paid up, and we left. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, Lakisha called out in a flirty fashion, “Heh-hey,” making it sound like a two-syllabic word. “B’bye! Peace!”
The nursery manager smiled and waved us off.
I was as excited for Lakisha as I was for myself. This could work out, I thought. Of course I had no idea if he was married or not, but Lakisha wasn’t worried. She found him hot, he knew where he spent his time seven days a week, and she thought he was good “husband material.” She joked that she wouldn’t mind being a Valle-ho’.
“Well, Lakisha!” I chirped happily. “He might just turn you on to gardening! It’s tru-ly ve-ry soul-satisfying to put something in the ground and watch it grow!”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m sure it is…” Lakisha agreed.
“It’s a very creative activity…”
“Did you find out his name?”
“We can go back tomorrow and pretend I need more plants. You can come in to the store with me, and you can tell him we’re looking for a specimen plant, like a cotinus coggygria…”
“Say what?” Lakisha exclaimed. “No, sistah, I’ll say to him, ‘Um, what do you call that thing you stick in the ground… ummm… the thing with roots… and it’s green…?”
I glanced at Lakisha to see if she was teasing me like she usually does.
She caught my eye and said, “Men like women who play dumb, you know. They like it when they know more than you.”
I jammed my foot on the brake and snarked, "Oh, really, Lakisha?”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-- Marianne Williamson
*Painting of "Women In Red" by Wolfredo Alicdan
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Mayita came to visit me this past spring and stayed for a couple of months. While she was here we reminisced and relived old times. One night we listened to the songs Papa and Mommy used to play on the “hi-fi” and 8-track cassette. Such technological dinosaurs! One of the songs we both remembered as background music during our childhood was “Sabor A Mi.” We looked for it in youtube and played it over and over. I just pulled it up again and you entered my mind.
I find it amazing that you’re still such an important and vivid figure in my life’s continuing, unfolding story. Maybe it’s because our relationship is tinged with such bittersweet memories that I find it hard to delete you completely. Every now and then you pop up and I’m compelled to say hello.
Sabor a mi.
Monday, July 7, 2008
-- Rene Descartes
Western Philosophy bored me. I couldn’t get the point of all the speculating, cogitating, reflecting, wondering, debating and philosophizing about existing and being. I existed, and was sure I existed, so I didn’t think I didn’t exist. I daydreamed during class.
Growing up I used to look up at the clouds and imagine Jupiter with his characteristic beard lording it over us mortals here on earth. I imagined Jason with the Golden Fleece slung over his shoulder. Just last night, on the flight down to Newport Beach from Oakland, the marine fog was so thick I imagined it was peppermint cotton candy ready for picking, pulling apart, and melting on my tongue. When a mountain high enough poked through the clouds I imagined it was the hump of Nessie the Monster breaking through the frozen waters of Loch Ness.
It takes very little to spin me off into daydream land. When I read a profound and pithy quote my mind starts to scramble the words to make up my own. When I want creative inspiration all I have to do is open a page in a picture book or magazine and it would immediately spark my own creative juices flowing.
My favorite thing is to stare into space and let the ideas just start flowing. Then when I stare into space long enough, I realize it isn’t me doing the thinking anymore, some “thing” else is thinking for me.
Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now, states quite strongly that the greatest fallacy in western thought is Descartes’ assertion of “I think, therefore I am.” Tolle gives an example of a crazy person walking down the street talking to himself. That crazy person would be just like any one of us, with a mind constantly chattering, except that the crazy person is thinking out loud.
And yet, the crazy person’s thoughts do not make him who he is. With or without those crazy thoughts, his essence is still pure Spirit.
I got an email from a girlfriend recently who was in the midst of a psychotic break. Her email was a meaningless inedible word salad of a call to revolt and threats to kill politicians, sprinkled generously with crackling cuss words. Her psychosis does not make her who she is. I know who she is. She is pure in Spirit.
I’m thinking… and so am I.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
In My Garden of Infinite Possibilities
Spread out remaining lava rock around existing plantings
Divide Mexican sage and plant around existing plantings
Divide society garlic and plant around existing plantings
Create garden vignettes around existing plantings ala freestanding container plantings
Order 1 cu. yd. planting mix/topsoil
Around Phlomis fruticosa:
Burgundy coral bells
lime green heather or ipomea or variegated sedum
In Garden of Gratitude
Plant iris on base of roses
Dig up umbrella plant and transplant behind bench
Transfer fan palm to large clay pot for loggia
Transfer fan palm to red glazed Asian pot for dining room
Create Garden of Well-Being
Plant Japanese blood grass around edge of water feature
Divide calla lilies and plant around water feature
Plant sago palm
Buy horsetail plant
Buy Irish moss groundcover
In Zen Garden
Cover ground with landscape fabric
Put up reed fencing
Cover ground with pea gravel
(Order 1 cu. yd. of pea gravel)
Plant bamboo along fence
Create burbling fountain in oriental pot
Paint clay pots talavera style
Start mosaic projects (mosaic bird bath)
Give Arnold a bath
Pack for travel
Take before and after photos
Pick up prescription
Get dresser and chest of drawers from storage
Order tray of lumpia for Sunday brunch
Cycle 2 of Weight Loss for Idiots
Do expense report
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
In a peaceful oak tree-studded hillside near downtown Lafayette, CA, lies an impromptu reminder of war.
"Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man has a right to kill me because he lives on the other side of the river, and because his ruler has a quarrel with mine, although I have none with him?"
-- Blaise Pascal
"I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war."
-- George Bush
"There's a graveyard in northern France where all the dead boys from D-Day are buried. The white crosses reach from one horizon to the other. I remember looking it over and thinking it was a forest of graves. But the rows were like this, dizzying, diagonal, perfectly straight, so after all it wasn't a forest but an orchard of graves. Nothing to do with nature, unless you count human nature."
-- Barbara Kingsolver
"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
-- Hermann Goering
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."
-- Dwight Eisenhower
"All we are saying is give peace a chance."
-- The Beatles
"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy."
-- St. Francis of Assisi
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Rev. Ray Anderson, our guest Minister, gave a profoundly personal and engaging sermon this past Sunday. I can’t help but refer to these talks as sermons, a relic from my old ways. In a new day, a new earth, and a new consciousness, these talks are more like “shares”, a sharing of divinely-inspired aha moments, spiritual eurekas or enlightened realizations. There is always a refreshing absence of “Thou Shalt Nots” in these talks, an acknowledgment that whatever missteps we’ve taken, mistakes we’ve made, or sins (Self-Inflicted Nonsense) we’ve committed, it’s all a part of our life’s journey.
The title of his talk was “Remembering Who I Am.”
The philosophy that Rev. Anderson espouses is that our essence is divine. All of us – not just popes and priests, saints and sinners – but all of us, whether we realize it or not, are borne of divinity.
There is no bone of contention there. The bone that supports the framework of all spiritual traditions is that there is an Invisible Power back of all things, underneath all, in all, through all. It is this Invisible Power -- most often called God, sometimes Father-Mother-God, this “No Thing” (in Buddhism) -- that created us. As a creation of this Invisible Power, we are a part of it, animated by it.
As we become more and more conscious of this fundamental Truth, then we cease living as humans with only occasional glimmers of our own God-beingness, and begin to live more like fully-aware spiritual beings with only fleeting moments of human difficulties.
Not to be airy-fairy, of course. As our Muslim brothers like to say,
but tie the camels down.”
Rev. Anderson shared his story about the death of his daughter, an all-too human event, this past Valentine’s Day. According to the Reverend, his daughter’s quick and untimely transition from the physical realm to the “other side” was cause for grief and profound loss, but it also presents an opportunity for him to develop a different kind of relationship with his daughter on another, deeper level – the spiritual level.
I was in rapt attention listening to Rev. Anderson when my seatmate at church started weeping. Her mother had just died the month before and the talk broke her. I hugged her close as her tears ran down my shoulder and soaked my arm.
I don’t know why the talk didn’t break me. Instead it fortified me. This Sunday was the 29th death anniversary of my father who I love and miss with every breath of my life. I don’t know if time has healed the wound. But somewhere over the years I had learned to develop a relationship with my father beyond death.
When I need help and cry at night, I cry out for my father. I cry out for my mother, too. They made manifest to me all that I believe now to be God qualities – unconditional love, generosity, joy, compassion, creativity, courage, power, abundance, prosperity, forgiveness, faith and mercy. They gave me everything I ever needed and wanted during their lifetime, and I feel blessed and grateful. Even now, when they are no longer in this physical plane, they are present in me. In my heart they will always be, my Indwelling Father-Mother-God, beyond mere flesh and blood. My deeply felt connection with them is the springboard for my conviction of our spiritual essence.
“The personal life deeply lived
always expands into truths
-- Anais Nin
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I recently helped my bestfriend and soul sistah Donna “Medi” Tate start her blog, The Conscious Village.
Medi is all about kids. Her life’s passion and fascination is child development. Every moment of her life is spent thinking about how to make children’s lives better – not in the grand gesture of an attention-grabbing, limelight-hugging politico, but more in the quiet, behind-the-scenes inner-city activist. She is a saint.
I’m not going to steal her thunder here but know that she has majestic and magnificent plans to improve the lives of kids. Her grand mission statement and the reveal of her vision is coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
I know I have regular readers, and accidental ones. I invite you all to bless The Conscious Village with your presence. Let us congratulate and encourage Donna “Medi” Tate for her ego-less dedication and wish her the very best in the pursuit and unfoldment of her sacred purpose, passion and plans.
As her favorite child advocate & role model Marian Wright Edelman likes to say,
"If we don't stand up for children,
then we don't stand for much."
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I have a vivid, indelible memory of watching my mother painting this still life of her perfume bottles.
I can still see the canvas resting on the easel and Mommy working the palette knife thickly with cobalt blue and white oil paints.
Even as a mature woman it is impossible for me to give up the term of endearment "Mommy." When I first came to the States, it used to shock me to hear
some people address their mothers "Mother." It seemed so impersonal, detached, unloving, unpleasant and rude. I guess it all depends on the emotions and memories you attach with your mother. I no longer have those judgments. I now feel a sense of amusement about it.
I don't remember how old I was but young enough, I guess, for this snapshot in time to leave a lingering good feel. It feels like love, a feeling that blossoms into joy, and gives me a sense of comfort, home, belonging, security, wonder, awe, and peace. Such lasting influence! Cobalt blue bottles always get me.
Blue and white is the backdrop of my childhood. I remember window shopping one day, many years after leaving home, and seeing our family china displayed in the window of a home decor store. I burst out in tears. It was a feeling of pure nostalgia.
I remember restful Sunday afternoons with Mommy pouring thick Spanish chocolate into demitasse cups for us to enjoy some quiet time together. It was a graceful and charmed life being under my parents’ care. In the busy-ness of daily living and the challenges of growing up and getting older, I hold fast to my “anchor” memories, memories that keep me securely tethered to home, family and love.
Hold fast to your anchor memories,memories that tether you
To the Truth of
Home, Family andLove.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
“All manifestation of life is from
-- Ernest Holmes
In living from day-to-day, I face challenges and come across obstacles big and small. If God were living my day-to-day life, God would merely raise His sights, move aside the challenges, step over the obstacles and move forward, always growing, forever expanding, creating infinite possibilities for greater and greater good.
Nothing is an obstacle in God’s eyes. Aligned with Spirit, I merely lift my sights and look beyond the transgression, to the invisible good that is yet unseen by my physical eyes. With the same ease and grace that God created our manifest universe, so I shall co-create my own new universe.
This is my Second Coming:
Discovering The I Am.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
But I feel like letting go
I got a sweet invitation, a mandate of ecstasy
I feel like letting go
If I can let go heaven's at hand
It's such a sweet invitation, a mandate of ecstasy
And deep within God loves us so
"I Feel Like Letting Go" from the CD In The Land Of I Am
Music and Lyrics by Rickie Byars & Michael Beckwith
Photo of Medi Tate
My Bestfriend & Soul Sistah
Friday, March 14, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
On Sunday night I broke my front tooth on a rock hard baguette. I had root canal done on it almost a decade ago so it was very brittle. In fact, my tooth was held together by a titanium pin. My dentist, Dr. Ron Ashley, mended it so well that you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with it. Well, titanium or not, it was no match for a baguette. What’s worse, the other half of my tooth fell down the drain.
Needless to say, when I ran to the bathroom and saw my broken smile in the mirror I became almost hysterical! I was frantic and panicked! I had moved out of the area and it had been years since I went to see Dr. Ashley. I didn’t even know if I still had his number. And the timing couldn’t have been worse. I’m about to begin a new job on Wednesday. Auggggggggggggh!
I googled “Ron Ashley DDS San Francisco CA”. It was still the same address and phone number. I dialed it but to my horror, the voice on the outgoing message was the voice and name of a young-sounding Chinese woman. I hung up. I checked the number again. I re-dialed. It was still the voice and outgoing message of Dr. Wong.
At the end of her outgoing message, she said, “If you’re trying to reach Dr. Ashley, he has retired. If you have a dental emergency, please call…” and she rattled off a number beginning with (650), a South San Francisco prefix. Auugggggggggggh! Dr. Ashley lives in Marin, area code (415).
It’s traumatic enough changing hairdressers, changing dentists is a life crisis! I dialed the emergency phone number and Dr. Wong answered. By this time it was past 10 PM.
Sobbing, I said, “Dr. Wong, please forgive me for calling you at this late hour. I was a patient of Dr. Ashley’s. I called his number but got you instead. I broke my tooth and I’m starting a new job. Please, please help me!”
“Don’t worry,” she said, calmly and cheerfully. “I can fix it. I treat Dr. Ashley’s former patients. He retired. Do you have the broken tooth?”
I told her that I did, but when I went to rinse it, it fell down the drain. I heard her suppress a chuckle. “Don’t worry, I can fix it. Can you come first thing tomorrow?”
“YES! THANK YOU! Are you still in the same building?”
“No, I moved to Commercial Street, in one of the small alleys above California and Montgomery. Dr. Ashley’s lease was too expensive.”
“YAY! I’ll be there. Thank you so much, Dr. Wong! Thank you, thank you!” Who wants to go around with a missing front tooth, right?
BART, the bay area’s rapid transit system, would be overcrowded in the morning, and I didn’t want to risk seeing or being seen by anyone I knew so I decided I would take the ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco. It's a leisurely one hour “cruise” with tour-like views of San Francisco and San Pablo bay.
Even though I set out at the crack of dawn, it promised to be a sparkling Monday morning. I pulled on a pair of old jeans, a turtleneck and a pea coat, grabbed my hair in a ponytail, donned a baseball cap low over my forehead, hid behind oversized knock-off Chanel sunglasses, and to ensure even greater unapproachability, wrapped my face in a pashmina shawl burka-style.
I took the 7 AM ferry and the regular morning commuters were either drinking coffee and reading the morning paper, or napping, sneaking in one additional hour of sleep before work. I decided to lower my burka and snapped a few shots.
When I walked into the dental office and saw that it was the same Dr. Wong who had laser-whitened my teeth 10 years ago, and saw Yana, the Russian woman who had been such an amazingly skillful dental assistant back then, I was absolutely ecstatic. We revisited old times and chatted happily during the long procedure. Whenever I could get a word in -- thanks to that suction thingy -- I’d chirp that I was the happiest dental patient in the world. I left Dr. Wong’s clinic skipping and jumping, minus the accoutrements of camouflage. Vanity, woman is thy name.
Freed from my burka and cosmetic cares, I whipped out my camera and played tourist.
and leapin' lads mirror my giddy joy!
As my bestfriend and soul sistah Medi Tate likes to sing:
I am so blessed,
I am so thankful for all I have!
I am so blessed,
I am so blessed,
I am so thankful for all I have!