May 2008

Today I got a card in the mail from dentist Andy’s office. It says “Welcome” in the front and the inside is printed “Welcome to our office! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your recent visit to our office. We look forward to serving you again.” It is personally signed by everyone in the office — the receptionists, hygienists, the assistants, and of course Dr. Andy with a personal word of “Welcome!” written above his name. Paperclipped to the inside of the card is a credit card sized plastic pack of dental floss, on which is printed the dental offices’ business information. It just leaves a nice (squeaky clean) taste in a patient’s mouth.

I also received in the same bundle of mail a letter from the first scammer dental office. Sure the form letter thanks me for my recent trip to their office, that’s the first sentence. The rest of the page-long typed letter is about how I could “benefit from learning more about the various services provided by an Oral Surgeon,” which they defined as someone “specializing in tooth removal and jaw disorders.” I don’t have a jaw disorder! Then they urge me to schedule an appointment with their Oral Surgeon. Along with the letter they sent…not free dental floss but a brochure that tells me why I should get my wisdom teeth surgically removed. (Last week they also sent me an email cleverly giving me the top 10 reasons why I should let them remove my wisdom teeth, and the first reason was something about how even if wisdom teeth are healthy and not problematic, removing them would help prevent future problems that may occur on wisdom teeth. Well under THAT logic, why don’t I just get ALL my teeth pulled to prevent ALL future cavities?) The stupid thing is that this brochure is printed by the American Dental Association and not by this office, and it goes over different types of problematic wisdom teeth with diagrams, and I DON’T HAVE ANY OF THOSE ISSUES!

I hate the scammer dental office.

I got some good news in the mail today. The IRS sent me notice that I’m getting the full stimulus payment amount, $600, which means I paid a lot of taxes to qualify, BUT still didn’t make enough income to be exempted from the full amount. I’m a true middle-class-er. I’ll bet college roommie/bridesmaid Diana doesn’t even qualify for a dollar of it because of her brilliant career. Lucky girl. 🙂

Driving home after work today, I heard a caller on the radio complain that his current wife’s tax refund (maybe he meant stimulus payment) was being held hostage by the IRS. Apparently, this dude has a 9-year-old kid with his ex, and the ex lives in NorCal so she has full custody, and he’s paying $700/mo toward child support which he’ll have to pay for the next 9 years. He said that he owed some backpay for child support early on. Because of his prior debts, he and his current wife file their income taxes separately and the wife is entitled to a refund but the IRS refuses to give it to her because of his owed back support and they want to give his wife’s refund to the ex to cover the backpay. The wife is so pissed off about this that she wants to get a divorce to prevent her personal money going to pay his ex.

I never thought I’d relate to something like that. Poor current wife.

Last nite during dinner at my parents’ house, my mom looked at me and asked, “Are you gonna lose weight before your wedding?” Geesh, there’s no hiding any new fat cells from Mom. I told her I know I’d gained a little recently. She scolded me to stop weight lifting so I don’t thicken up any more. I said annoyed, “Yeah okay, I’ll be a skinny fat girl instead of a fit girl.” (Dwaine, by the way, hates skinny-fat girls. You know, the chicks who have tiny measurements and who fit in a size 0, but jiggle everywhere and have no tone or shape cuz it’s just fat wrapped around bone? If I’m gonna be thick, I’d rather be a fit-looking thick.)

And then I wondered…is all the trendy frozen yogurt that I’m eating on a regular basis making me fat? I must’ve gone every day this past weekend. A new favorite at YogurtLand is the peanut butter froyo. I think I’d be pretty devastated if I had to cut the yogurt out of my life.

It’s hard to wonder anything for long when my mom starts lightly smacking my upper arm, making critical comments on my arm girth due to what she considers excessive muscle. And then the next thing I knew, she started doing some Tai Chi moves she’d learned from her new Tai Chi recreation classes, saying she’s now built up some strength too and can beat me up. I wasn’t even going to entertain that thought. Silly mommy.

But then, it wasn’t like I was helping myself today, anyway. I’d planned on hitting the gym both during lunch AND after work, but since we were in the midst of a trial when on my first day back today, of course we worked into lunch and then there was no time left for the gym. So instead, for lunch I ate a giant slice of chocolate cake my court reporter had saved for me from my judge’s birthday last Friday. And then Gym Trainee and I drove to a nearby discount store where I purchased the glassware for my wedding centerpieces. At least it was a productive lunch. I balanced out the chocolate cake with a powdered donut after work that was left over from the morning. =P Work was really WAY too productive without the internet to entertain myself with. I kept staring at my email inbox willing people to write me so that I could at least carry on an email conversation with friends. Wish me luck for hitting the gym after my 7pm Homeowners Association meeting tonite!

Friday was my last day of vacation. Mr. W took that day off, too. He picked me up Thursday evening and said, “Tomorrow we’re going to the beach. Should be nice weather.” I’ll bet, it’s been in the 90s UP the last few days! When I left Andy’s practice on Thursday late afternoon, my car informed me it was a scorching 103 outside in Pasadena! Ick. Friday morning, as I donned the bikini, Mr. W informed me that the beach we’re going to is the San Onofre nude beach. He’d been wanting to go since our campout with the jujitsu people.
I declined, I protested, I argued, I refused!
Mr. W could not be deterred.
So I thought, okay, he wants to roam around nekkid letting his junk flop in the cool ocean breeze, but I can take advantage of the fact that it’s “clothing optional” and opt to wear clothing. Depending on how I feel when I get there, I MAY even drop the top.
We hiked down a steep decline to get from the parking area to the beach, and after we hit sand, we turned left and walked way past the last lifeguard tower. We expected to see a posted sign, but instead, the only sign that we had now arrived was a roundish older man with no tanlines walking toward us with a li’l furry sumthin’ sumthin’ bobbing under his robust belly. “I think we found it,” I said.
“Oh really? You think this is it?” an oblivious Mr. W squinted into the sun and sand.
“Yeah. I do,” I said, pointedly and yet cleverly nonchalantly nodding at the guy 100 feet away.
Mr. W and I walked the length of the rather small area, then came back to a spot he liked, and he pushed his umbrella into the sand, laid out the large beach towel, pulled a container of cut watermelon out of his pack, and stripped down. I meekly removed my tanktop and skirt and sat around in my triangle bikini top and modest boy short cut bikini bottom. Mr. W proceeded to spray himself with sunblock, and then asked me to help get the spots where the sun don’t shine but apparently will shine loud and bright today! I did as I was told, then he offered to put sunblock on me. I’m paranoid of odd tanlines when I have to be in a strapless dress in a few months, so I handed him my rub-on sunblock lotion. He told me to lay on my stomach, and he got my back. I think he told me to get the bikini straps out of the way, so I may have untied them in the back, I don’t remember. But I KNOW that he pulled down my shorts a little to get my lower back and in mid-sunblock-application, he slickly just ripped my shorts off. I couldn’t exactly stand up and run after the shorts, so my brain just detached and went to my happy place — I was on my couch in my living room watching TV, Dodo napping on his back near me. Mr. W thought me strange to not be mentally HERE right NOW to enjoy the warm sun, ocean breeze, waves lapping, out in the open nekkid.
Over time, I peeked around. It was 90% men, and the two or three women there were there with their boyfriends or husbands. Most of the people there were alone, and simply stretched out on their loungers or beach blankets napping in the sun, turning over occasionally to ensure an even tan. Most of these people were older rather furry men. There was absolutely nothing lewd going on. I see more impropriety at regular clothed beaches. Mr. W and I were probably the most borderline inappropriate what with our usual cuddling and his playful slaps on my bare butt and all. I thought I was checked out a few times by men, but can’t be sure whether they were checking me out or the hot muscle-clad Mr. W. Given the reputation of nude beaches, I’d say probably Mr. W. We’d occasionally see a nekkid jogger run by the water edge, or nekkid men walk from one edge of the beach to the other looking straight ahead or at the shoreline. There was one youngish guy in his 20s who looked around a bit by the shoreline, and he was definitely kicking his schlong around with each step. He seemed a bit attention-whorish, but I can’t imagine that the “gift” he was making sure everyone saw could be comfortable inside pants. Poor guy.
We left in a few hours, after Mr. W got to play in the water nekkid and I got to watch a nekkid dog play catch with a ball thrown by his nekkid owners in the water. We stayed in the beach areas for awhile, checking out a few houses we were interested in among 3 beach cities (Mr. W’s financing got approved Thursday! Yay!).
I can’t tell if I got a tan or not, since my usual telltale sign is how dramatic the contrast between tanned and untanned areas are, and obviously I didn’t have any new white blocks.

I heard that work re-set all their internet access such that when I return on Monday, I will not be able to get online at all for anything. Damn it! That means fewer posts like this one above. I made it extra-juicy just as a last hurrah thing for you guys. =) Of course certain friends like MOH Vicky are squirming and wincing at the detail.

I had another great dental visit today! See, what Andy did this time was —

Just kidding. I’m not gonna write ANOTHER dentist post. Truth is, I’m feeling something embarrassment-like that in my 2 weeks of vacation, I went to a dentist THREE TIMES, four if you count the morning I returned to the 1st (scammer) dentist to pick up my x-rays from the day before. Who takes vacations like this?!

Sitting in Andy’s dental chair the past 2 days did get me thinking, though. I’ve got some crazy-successful friends. These are people I grew up with, and we were all along the same path when we were younger. For example, I went to elementary, junior high and/or high school with MOH Vicky, dentist Andy, godbro Jim, friend Lily. Dentist Andy, godbro Jim, roommate/bridesmaid Diana and I attended the same college. (Go Bruins!) And then I veered off and got into the court system job that I have now, while MOH Vicky attended USC Pharmacy School, bridesmaid Diana attended UC Berkeley Law School and dentist Andy attended NYU Dental School, friend Lily attended Medical School at UC Riverside and UCLA. Now, I’m STILL in the same dead-end low-prestige court system job, Andy now has a thriving dental practice in Pasadena, Vicky is a high-paid pharmacist with company car and expense accounts, Diana is an Intellectual Property attorney in a prestigious NorCal Law Firm, Lily is a medical doctor specializing in radiology, and Jim went on to found Formula Drift car racing. Somehow, racing shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of ’em, I sat down and wiggled my butt into the ground comfortably before reaching the finish line, making my own personal finish perhaps prematurely.

But do I regret anything? Given the chance, would I go back to grad school? No. I’m just complacent, I guess, and I’m actually fine with where I am. I guess my personal achievements are just gonna have to be things that are not dollar-sign or prestige oriented. Like, my day-to-day happiness is pretty high. I’m pretty content with who I am and have become. I’m proud of my interpersonal relationships. I tend to be respected among my colleagues and friends. There’s gotta be a reason why my accomplished friends still treat me like an equal, still come to me for advice, still go above and beyond (typically) in their support of me when I’m in need. Maybe I’ve chosen for my friendship circle wonderful people who don’t forget “us little people” when they get successful. But I’d like to think that it’s cuz professional accomplishments aside, I’m a great entertaining person who writes a great blog, goshdarnit.

I just watched a news story about a local 10 year old boy attending college.
He is AMAZINGLY cute. His mom’s a Chinese immigrant with a masters degree in Business and his dad’s white, a college professor.
It’s already rough that the UCs have increased their fees something like 84% since 2000, but imagine having to pay that 8 years earlier than planned. Of course that saves you more $ in the long run.
They asked him where he wants to do his grad school education, and he said he’s considering Harvard, MIT, and Cal Tech among others. When they asked him what his preference is, he said, “The one that offers me the best scholarship.” He is SO Chinese.

And now the news is telling me that porn industry actresses make $15K to $20K a month. Dude. If I’m not a child prodigy (haha, waaaay too late for that) and not doing porn, I guess I’m just doomed to be a mediocre blogger writing about dental visits.

I have to say that when I started blogging, I did not foresee the day that I would write an entire long post about a visit to the dentist. But here I am, writing my second dental post of the week. I think I’m just really boring right now. Sorry.

When I was a little girl, I would flip through Best Department Store catalogs frothing at the mouth for the toy section. Then, looking at all the pictures of all the great toys, I’d imagine which toy I’d select if a fairy godmother appeared and told me I can have any toy on a page, and then I’d imagine how I’d play with the toy and make my neighbors and cousins jealous. Sometimes I’d accidentally land on a furniture or bedding section while searching for the toy section, and I’d make a face and quickly turn past those photos, thinking, “Who’d LOOK at this stuff?!” I could not imagine that I would one day not only love going through Bed, Bath & Beyond flyers getting decorating ideas and wistfully wishing for various expensive furnishing items in them, but I’d share my oral cavity events with strangers on the internet.

I had a phenomenal dental visit today! I mean, sure I got two teeth drilled and filled and I had to pay out-of-pocket since my insurance is no good there and I had to drive 30+ miles back in rush-hour traffic resting my weight on the brakes on the unmoving freeway while trying not to accidentally chew off my numb right cheek, BUT Andy is an amazing dentist! I’ve never had such a painless dental visit, and that includes the last visit to the other dentist last week when I had no work done; her x-ray card cut painful slashes in my gums. After thoroughly examining my teeth, gums, lymph glands and mouth (for oral cancer, and did you guys know the STD HPV causes 20% of oral cancer?! I read that on a pamphlet while I was waiting), Andy was shocked at how horrible my last dental experience was; she not only wanted to charge outrageous prices for unnecessary upgraded work (some of which materials Andy said he wouldn’t even put in his own mouth without further field tests, and definitely wouldn’t put in his grinding chewing molar surfaces because the material wouldn’t hold up so you’d have to go back to get them redone when they crack, paying for them again), but missed necessary fixes like cracked fillings. She also wanted to charge for 3 surfaces on a cavity that was only 1 surface. And after checking each tooth pocket, Andy said, “And she wanted to give you that $240 deep cleaning? That would’ve been a scam! You have such shallow tooth pockets and you don’t have bad plaque buildup, you only need a regular cleaning.” As for the wisdom teeth the other dentist insisted on having surgically removed? “Your wisdom teeth are fine. They’re fully crowned, in good condition, and there’s plenty of room in your mouth for them.” What about the undescended wisdom tooth sitting in my sinus cavity that the other dentist wanted to dig out? Andy was still of his original opinion: “I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole.” Andy’s touch was strong but surprisingly full of finesse; you can tell he takes pride in his work and connects with his patients. He kept checking on me to make sure I was still comfortable (which I always was, much to my own surprise).

So to compare apples to apples, the other dentist’s treatment plan for me (which doesn’t address the wisdom teeth): $6785 total, insurance will cover all but $3555.
Andy’s treatment plan for me, WITHOUT insurance helping me out: $1328 total.

HELL-o. I’m never going back to that other dental scam office. Anyone in SoCal need a good dentist? I’ll send you Andy’s way.

P.S. I’m going back tomorrow get my teeth cleaning (since I have this week off and we didn’t get around to that today). I canceled the bridal gown fitting/alteration I’d scheduled for tomorrow while I was at the dentist’s. The alteration manager I spoke to INSISTED I needed alterations and measurements to be done NOW and would only postpone it to the first week of June, saying that they need 2 months to make alterations. What the heck? And even if they DO need 2 full months, they were getting 3 with the beginning of June. Oh, whatever. I’m gonna insist that they don’t alter anything but the hemline, then.

P.P.S. The alteration manager reminded me to bring everything I’m gonna wear under the dress, so I took the opportunity to ask her whether I REALLY need a bustier. She sounded abhorred I’d even question that. “Of COURSE you do! Have you SEEN the effects of what a bustier does?” Of course I did. It pushes my fat to runneth over. But I told her we’ll talk about it at my appointment.

Today I picked up jujitsu buddy Josh at his house and drove to Long Beach, where we had lunch at Tokyo Wako. Josh is my wedding photographer and over lunch, we discussed wedding day scheduling and strategy. He’s such a gentleman; despite the fact that he was out there for me, he wouldn’t let me pay for my misoyaki sea bass and even paid me an immediate compliment that I seemed a lot slimmer than when he’d last seen me (which I think was at his graduation from Orange County Sheriff’s Academy last year).

After lunch we fulfilled our purpose for the meeting: he scoped out the wedding venue for the first time. We strolled around the grounds as he took a bunch of test shots, taking mental and photographic note of where he’d like to have people pose for group photos and where to set up for the best over-water bridge shots. He also took a few of me to check for lighting and positioning at the garden. I was surprised when I saw some of the photos on his digital display — I hadn’t seen my face and cheeks look that round in a loooong time. Might I be bloated from PMS? *squeezing boobs* No…I’m not sore at the key spot(s). Crap. Maybe the once-a-week gym time has caught up with me. My left wrist seems 90% recovered so I should be able to hit the weights again more regularly. The wedding isn’t for almost 4 months so that’s enough time to drop some inches.

BUT, I have an appointment to get my wedding gown alterations on Thursday. I’d thought that setting up an appointment this long before the wedding would be counterproductive, cuz who knows what size I’d actually be in 4 months. But when I picked up my dress last Thursday, that’s the day the alterations department said was appropriate. Having gone with Mr. W’s niece to her alteration in Vegas over the weekend and seen how her size changed between the time she bought the dress in January and now (a month before the wedding), I’m thinking this 4 month thing is way premature. Maybe they just want me to alter it for a second time closer to the wedding so they make money off the dress twice after its purchase. I’m going to cancel or postpone that appointment.

Out of curiosity, though, I tried the dress on for the first time tonight. It fit comfortably and almost loosely without the bustier, but the bustier somehow causes a fat roll effect above the dress. Sure the bustier enhances cleavage by lifting my chest, but it also lifts other things, like the fat on my back. Gross. And it’s uncomfortable and hot, and makes the dress fit tighter. What the heck; I thought the form-fitting restrictive undergarments are supposed to make my measurements smaller, not thicker. Is there some kind of rule that says I have to wear a bustier under my white bridal gown?

My bathroom scale’s been out of battery for months now so I don’t know what I weigh or what my body fat percentage is, but I’m afraid to find out anyway. I’m terrified that I’m gonna go thru a pudge period right when I have to be photographed for an high exposure major life event that’s gonna bring about many witnesses. My body tends to have some crazy momentum when it starts to gain weight, and is reluctant to reverse the cycle to lose weight again, so I’m gonna hit the gym on the regular starting tonight and double up on cardio. Josh reminded me today that when he first met me, I used to hit the weights at lunch, go back for cardio after work, run 6-8 miles every other evening, and go to jujitsu on the nights I wasn’t running.

Friday night Mr. W’s gamer bro, bro’s wife, Mr. W and I caught a musical impersonation brothers-sister act in the Las Vegas Hilton, “The Scintas.” Probably the most interesting thing about the evening is that that when the cocktail chick came around to take drink orders, I decided to order the Brain Hemorrhage shot, which I’d always wanted to make/enjoyed making but never tasted. I like all 3 ingredients: Baileys – yum; peach schnapps – yum; grenadine – yum. Together…curdled Baileys chunks I had to chew? Does not inspire a repeat performance in my mouth. When the waitress brought our drinks, she handed me my shot and said, “The bartender enjoyed making this so much he made you like 3 drinks’ worth for the price of 1!” After placing the standard shot in front of me, she put a rocks glass FULL of the stuff down in front of me, too. That Asian can’t-waste-food gene made me chew up the whole drink. Never again.

Saturday was designated to be “Gaming All-Nighter Day” at gamer bro’s house. The two men gamed on the Wii, then they gamed on PS3, then bro’s daughter (who’s getting married in June) and I went to her 4pm bridal dress fitting and alterations appointment since I had a little experience with wedding planning now and knew the right questions to ask and knew how to help her in/out of her dress. After we got back, we, along with gamer bro’s wife and gamer bro’s daughter’s fiance sat around and waited for the two men to stop playing so that we could go eat. They would not stop for a long time until finally Mr. W just stood and abandoned the neverending game. We had the mandatory Chicago-style pizza at their usual joint and gamer bro encouraged us girls to go see a movie, the later the better, so the guys can play more games. While the daughter’s fiance left to tend to his night shift, the brothers went back to gamer bro’s house to resume their gaming and the three of us women hit up Starbucks to kill time before our 10:05p movie. Man, they had conversations I could never imagine having with my own mother! There are just some things I wouldn’t want my mom to know about me, and details I never want to know about my dad’s marriage with my mom. But it was cool these two women are so close that they’re girlfriends on top of being mother-daughter, and that they felt comfortable enough around me to draw me into their very personal conversation topics. I was touched. The movie we saw was “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” I chuckled through a lot of it despite the three drunk girls making noise at the end of our row (the daughter was so annoyed at them and at smelling their alcohol down the row that she got an employee to come do something about them. He told them to put their alcohol away and they did — for half an hour. Luckily for us they all left early.). When we got back to gamer bro’s house, it was 12:30a, the guys were in the midst of a trivia-type game on PS3, and we didn’t make it out of there until 1:30a, 4.5 hours past Mr. W’s normal bedtime. He was all riled up from the game playing, however, and since he commented on what great weather the wee hour provided, I suggested we sit on the front porch swing awhile and enjoy each others’ company alone, something we hadn’t had all weekend. In the midst of what I considered a GREAT discussion in which Mr. W was listing all the the things he loved about me and how I enrich his life (hee hee), the light in the office room behind us went on so we went inside his parents’ house, where we were staying. Turned out Mr. W’s dad was still up and wanted to show us photos of the rocker brother in the tux we’d brought along for him for our wedding. Rocker brother had been by their parents’ house that day while we were at gamer brother’s place. The jacket was too big but everything else fit, so we brought the jacket back with us to exchange.

Sunday, we got up early and went with Mr. W’s parents to a really cool-looking casino, where we met up with rocker brother for a Mother’s Day breakfast. This casino was attached to a giant multi-story Turner’s Outdoorsman store and had a huuuuuuge salt water aquarium in the center with tons of blue tangs, yellow tangs, stingrays, tiger sharks, and other ocean fish. There was even a separate high fish tank on the wall with jellyfish illuminated with color-changing neon lights. Mr. W and I left for home after a politically-charged breakfast discussion which I thoroughly enjoyed (made me like rocker brother more cuz we’re totally eye-to-eye on a lot of issues), making sure to stop by the outlet jewelry store with my $305 cashback and coupon for my better-than-free wedding band. They actually gave me money back. I ended up buying an Alexandrite and white gold pendant & chain for my mom and a silver heart locket for my grandma for Mother’s Day, so they still made money off me.

We got back to my house around 4:30p, regrouped and I spent some quality time with my Dodo boy, and took off to meet my parents and grandma for an early Mother’s Day dinner at a Chinese seafood restaurant. The dinner started off a little rough as everyone’s indecision and lack of opinion over what to order ticked my mom off, but all the jewelry cheered her right up. Now I have to figure out how to top presents like that next month for Father’s Day. I’m already gonna start off that weekend behind as we’ll be in Vegas again that weekend, this time for gamer bro’s daughter’s wedding.

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