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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

root canal, anyone?

I've always thought of myself as one of the few blessed people who have no dental issues. I visit the dentist twice a year to get my teeth cleaned and cross one line on my to do list. But this last weekend the evil dental karma kicked in and for the first time in my life I experienced a real tooth ache. After a few hours of shock and denial, I put myself on pain killers and tried to figure out what to do next.

I ate mashed potatoes from powder and ripe bananas when I felt dizzy with hunger, because I couldn't chew anything without feeling like half of my head was going to fall off my face. I washed my mouth with salt water. I flossed. I slept. I tried not to overdose on painkiller. In short, I was terrified. Words like "root canal," "infection," "emergency," and the worst of all "dentist" floated in my skull, which became very noticeable after years of carrying it around without ever realizing it was there.

On Monday I made an appointment to see my dentist.

And then, as I was getting into my car, my brain did a really interesting thing. It stopped sending me pain messages. I beat on my achy tooth, I pressed on my cheek, I felt the tooth with my tongue. No pain. None whatsoever. Uh-ha, I thought to myself, I am not buying this. This must be a strange brain trick and whatever weird thing is going on in my head, it must be explainable. But I am not canceling my appointment, no matter what weird acrobatics my crazy brain is doing.

So I went, even though there was no pain anywhere. I was just hoping the dreaded root canal would not happen. Because root canals happen to other people. Like death. And cancer. And tsunamis. And tornadoes. I have a simple life that does not entail root canals. Fillings yes, whitening, maybe; but root canal is a disaster of mega proportion that simple people like me just can't face.

The dentist came with his assistant and after numbing my mouth with something, he gave me two shots to anesthetize the area. I hyperventilated so bad while he stuck the needle in my mouth, that I thought I was going to faint. Just don't say the words "root canal," because I will pass out. That was all I could think.

He said he was going to let the anesthetic kick in and come back in a while. That was good news. I really needed a break. After he left, I decided to get my mind off the dreaded root canal with a book I brought with me. The classical music that was playing outside was not doing much for my nerves.

So I opened the book and started reading where I left off. It took me a couple of minutes to notice what I was reading. It was a description of an execution. And not just any execution. It was an assembly line execution by hanging of Nazi war criminals. Can somebody please explain this to me? All I was trying to do was get my mind off the root canal and calm down. It didn't need to go that far. Nazis and executions and nooses and trapdoors. And they were executing women there, too. I am not making this up. You can check the book, The return of the dancing master, page 6.

I put down the book and leaned back, trying to quiet my mind. The dentist came back and started drilling. Now everyone knows the horror of the drilling sound, right? He was digging and drilling, and his hands were in my mouth, and his assistant, who was also a guy (meaning big hands), had one of his hands in my mouth with the air blower thingy and the saliva sucking thingy and the holocaust that was going on in my mouth was beyond horrific.

And all I could do was think: "Thank god for anesthesia, thank god for anesthesia, thank god for anesthesia, thank god for anesthesia, ..."

And then I realized that I was thanking god, and I don't believe in god. If there was a god, there wouldn't have been tooth ache in the world and everybody's teeth would have been perfect. So I decided to thank mankind instead, and started chanting in my head: "Thanks mankind for anesthesia, thanks mankind for anesthesia, thanks mankind for anesthesia, thanks mankind for anesthesia..."

And then again a thought came to my mind. I should think humankind because what if a woman invented anesthesia? That would be unfair. So I diverted to "thanks humankind, thanks humankind for anesthesia..." but that was too long and so outlandishly politically correct that I got annoyed at myself, so I said screw this and went back to god: "thank god for anesthesia, thank god for anesthesia.."

By the end of my internal negotiation with my utterly insane brain, the dentist announced that it was all over and that I would get a phone call when my crown was ready.

"Did I have a root canal?" I asked.

"Nope," he said.



"Everything is still there?"

"Yup," he said. "I'll see you in a couple of weeks."

Halleluiah. Thank god for dentists.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Obama's AIPAC address

I have to admit that watching Obama give a speech to AIPAC today took the edge off my tooth ache. All the pain killers I've been taking since Friday night didn't begin to ease the pain as much as Obama's words. I can't wait to see how this no-drama-queen guy, this super rational brain will force the Israelis and the Palestinians to figure out a solution to their conflict. I have a feeling he would pull something out of his hat, sooner or later.

Anyone who heard Obama's Middle East policy speech on Thursday could hear that he said something to the effect of pre-1967-war borders with land swaps bla bla bla. And those who didn't hear well, could have easily found the transcript of that speech. I definitely heard him say "land swap" on Thursday. And I am sure I was not the only one who heard that.

But not Netanyahu. He had to blow a fuse and flail hysterically as if he were the smartest guy in the room: 1967, 1967, that's not the borders we can accept. As if what Obama had said was big news. Those "mutually agreed swaps" Obama referred to were already discussed in Camp David 2000 between Clinton, Barak, and Arafat. Just read the book Gili Sher, who was one of the Israeli negotiators, wrote. The name of the book is במרחק נגיעה. I have an author signed copy if you can't find it on Amazon. (I couldn't). And if you can't find that one, read Dennis Ross's account of Camp David. It tells the same story, only in English.

Anyway, watching Obama speak to that crowd was like watching the State of the Union, only better. Because it was all about stuff I care about, but without any Republican yelling "you lie." (I don't think AIPACers are crazy enough to scream at him, yet).

There were two revealing moments in the speech, the first when he reassured the audience that "the commitment of the United State to the security of Israel is iron clad." The applaud lasted 20 seconds! And the second time was when he reminded the audience of something he had said last year: "Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate, and efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.” These lines were followed by seventeen seconds of applaud, whistles and shouts. Though the camera did not pan on the audience I could feel that people were jumping off their seats in excitement.

Israel has been around for over 60 years and Jews still need to get validation from the president of the United State that Israel has a right to exist. Show me another country whose citizens need this type of reassurance. It is really amazing that after 60 years saturated with full-blown wars, countless military operations (justified and unjustified), terror attacks, scuds, kassam rockets, long range missiles, short range katyushas, unilateral withdrawals, iron dome, road blocks, cease fires, unruly settlers, Jewish underground, peace agreements, failed negotiations, chemical and nuclear threats, left-wing government, right-wing government, technological and scientific breakthroughs, social experimentation, economic meltdowns and recoveries, Israel still has to fight for legitimacy. I think this is the only country in the world whose citizens still fight for acknowledgment from the world: Please look at us, we exist, give us a break already.

And then I thought: all those Israel haters who believe that the Jews conspire to rule the world (and Congress) and the media with the evil AIPAC are probably seething as they watch Obama "selling off" to the Jews.

If they only knew...

Oh, on second thought, happy belated birthday Israel.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My blog was one year old, yesterday

I didn't write as much as I planned. But I'm still writing, once in a while. And you, my dear reader, are still coming back.


I love seeing you coming back. I recognize you in my spying program that shows me who drops in and for how long. Some of you sneak a pick and then leave me a thumb up on my facebook page. Some leave a message. I love reading your messages, even if you don't always agree with me.

As you see, I write about different things. I am really into politics and can't stop commenting on stuff, mostly the stuff that irritates me. Like stupidity, ignorance, GOPism, and now the new item on the list, the so-called Arab Spring. Those of you who see my comments on facebook may have seen my latest; that the Arab spring is giving me a bad case of allergies, because this is what spring does to me. It makes me sneeze.

I was happy to see the Egyptians go out to the square, but now when I read about clashes between Muslims and Coptics in Egypt I am reminded that change comes slowly to the Middle East. It comes kicking and screaming in the form of fires, fists and bullets.

Then the Palestinians start "protesting" their Nakba and I think to myself, "same ol' same ol'" like we don't see thru it; that it is such a nice diversion from the real Nakba that is going on in Syria.

And that the Palestinians are buying into their eternal "protest."
Man, these people just can't see the light.

Now I sound like a real Israeli. I guess there is a limit to my open-mindedness, sometimes.

Luckily, I am not all about politics. You probably read some of my adventures in online dating, speaking with an accent, and motherhood. For example, my introduction to Korean everything. That's been a curios ride that I am still enduring every day. But that's also what I called "the joy of having a kid," in one of my earlier posts.

I wrote 62 posts in my first year. That's an average of 5 posts per month. Not sure what it means.

Those of you who drop in once in a while, keep on dropping in. Leave a comment if you feel like saying something. Some of you have asked me to write about a specific topic, and I like that. Let me know if you wish to read my perspective on something. I will always try to keep it as "Other" as I can.

thank you. shukran. 감사합니다 .

تشحر. obrigada. gracias.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

5 things I'm grateful for on this Mother's Day

1. When I got into my car this morning it started on the first try. After years of driving all kinds of disasters I am still enjoying the daily miracle of hearing my car starting without emitting any scary noises that indicate something has gone terribly wrong under the hood and it's going to cost me an arms and a leg to fix it.

2. Driving on Highway 1 and seeing the sprinklers at work in the artichoke fields. Nothing makes my heart sing like the sight of sprinklers shooting water arrows into the air. Eliya asks me why I get all excited when I see sprinklers, and I say, They remind me of the landscape of my childhood, and then I realize that she knows what I mean because she had seen the landscape of my childhood during her last spring break. When I cross over to Highway 101 the hills are bright green and thousands of tiny yellow and pink flowers cover the slopes along the highway. The skies are heavy with fat gray clouds heading towards the mountains in the east, yet, the air is warm and clear.

3. Hearing my daughter saying "happy mother's day, Ima," as she gets into my car, smiling, knowing how happy her greeting makes me. And then she lets me kiss her on the cheek. I know she lets me do it because no one is around to see this very embarrassing show of affection.

4. Being able to buy my daughter her dream laptop. The salesman is surprised that I choose Mother's Day to do it. A friend texts me, concerned that I misunderstand what Mother's Day is all about. And I think to myself, sure I understand. Mother's Day is about empowering the mother in me, so I choose to use my power to make my own decision and lavish on my daughter. Be extravagant and indulge in my mothering today. I don't want breakfast in bed. Only when I'm sick I eat in bed. And I certainly don't feel sick today.

5. Having the audacity to bake. I don't bake. But there is a graveyard of bananas in my freezer and they are begging to be used for something, and by now I already know that no matter how many fruit shakes I might make, I will never be able to use them all. So I find a recipe for banana bread online, and I mix all the ingredients in a bowl and fill the baking pan and put it in the oven.

If my banana bread comes out well when I take it out of the oven, I will have something to be grateful for tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden...What else?

I was going to write about the royal wedding which almost went under my radar, but then Osama was killed and all hell broke loose, so I have to postpone my cynical comments to another day.

It is not like I know anything no one else knows, but I had an interesting conversation with an unlikely observer and the emerging theory which I haven't seen anywhere in the blogosphere is this: "Of course the Pakistanis knew he was there and of course they knew when the Americans came to kill him. But for their own sake they have to pretend that they knew nothing and keep themselves out of the picture, otherwise they would have to deal with even more suicide bombings and more insurgency in their towns. And the top dogs will have to really look over their shoulders all the time."

So my question was: They prefer to be called incompetents and/or liars than face the music of the TPG, i.e. Taliban Propelled Granade?

The answer up till now is yes.

So maybe the story is that Obama's people are protecting the Pakistani government from the wrath of Osama's followers.

We'll probably never know.