Sunday, March 31, 2013

Little effort … big dividend

A few entries back I wrote about an experience I had in a Dr’s waiting room … it was not too pleasant. I had just the opposite reaction recently and I want to share it with you.

I was in the very crowded waiting room at the UNC School of Dentistry. Even though I was early there were very few seats left and one of them was right next to me. I saw a very timid looking girl approach and then she asked in broken English if it would be OK to sit there.

Of course I said “yes” and then added, “you can help me solve this crossword puzzle I’m working on.” “Oh, no …” she said in a quivering voice “I no speak good English”. To which I replied, “That’s OK. Lots of the clues are way beyond me too.”

It broke the ice and after we laughed together she went on to tell me that she was very scared. She was from a small country in Africa and had met her American husband when he volunteered for a year in the local hospital there. Now he is a UNC student and was the one who had set up the appointment for her. She had never been to a dentist and it petrified her.

I was so happy to be able to tell her of my positive experience there and how the Dental students and their professors were very caring and warm people. I could actually see her relax a bit and it was just at that point that a young, female dental student came out and called her name. She jumped up to go join her but then she turned back and , with tears in her eyes, she gave me a big hug and said something in her native language.

I couldn’t decipher what she said but my heart heard it and I can feel it, even now, as I write this.




Wednesday, March 27, 2013


In 2010 I finally became a patient at the UNC School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This was not as easy as it sounds. After I applied I was sent an extensive questionnaire and then after I had that completed and sent back to them I had to wait to see if I would be one of the lucky ones chosen at their monthly drawing. (After three months if your name is not chosen you have to start the whole process over !!)

Luckily, in month #3 my name was chosen and the next step was a screening by one of the Dental professors in the program. This was very extensive and many xrays were taken in preparation for my treatment. I was very pleased to find that the consult and the 26 xrays totaled a cost of just $76.

Now I was ready to meet “my” dental student… who turned out to be Rob, a personable young man from Pennsylvania, in his 2nd year at UNC Dental.

…and now it is 2013 and Rob is about to graduate ! He has taken such good care of me, running the gamut from basic cleaning to fillings in his 2nd & 3rd years to his final treatment this past week. That was the application of a crown on a side tooth that was tricky to work with. He did his usual excellent work … but, by then, I would have expected nothing less …as would his professors who always praised his work.

I knew that becoming a patient at UNC Dental would save me money but I really had no idea how good that care would be. If you happen to read this, Rob, I wish you well and know that your future Dental office will be over flowing with grateful patients.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Remembering Mort, Pam and Maya’s Granny

When I started my blog in 2006 I had no idea that it would open so many doors.  I also had no idea how hard it would be to see some of those door close with sickness or death.  It's amazing how near we feel to each other with just words to bind us. 

One of the first commentors on my blog was a lovely man named Mort.  His blog entitled Octegenarion was chock full of his years as a journalist
I had no idea that he was well known in those circles until after he died at age 87. His obituary read in part: “Morton Reichek, a senior editor and senior writer for Business Week Magazine, died November 8, 2011. During his retirement, Reichek became one of the most prolific and well read "elderly bloggers," writing about politics, his childhood, Israel, and his war experiences. His blog was highlighted in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and AARP magazine.”

I knew Mort as a humble and warm man who would comment every once in awhile on something I’d written. I treasure those words that he wrote to me.

Another blogger who touched my heart was Pam from Vermont. I know that AC remembers her fondly too.

She was an artist who was valiantly figting ALS and we were along for the ride.  She wrote in her Mind Trips blog:  "I can no longer use the pastels, colored pencils and papers I so loved and now paint with the help of my computer to express the musings of my mind.  Every day is a fight to hold my disease in check, but each day is also a gift."
Pam and I had an email friendship as well and I had planned to visit her on my 2008 trip North but that was not to be.   Here is an example of her talent ... in picture and prose:

                                         “Oh freedom, take me without care …
                                                   My body soaring through the air .

                                           For longing feet perhaps the chance …
                                                  To revel in the joy of dance”

And finally I pay tribute to a retired teen counselor who lived in Juneau, Alaska. The name of her blog was Maya’s Granny and that’s how she was known to us.

I loved getting comments from her because she always “told it like it was”. As she wrote: “I stopped being a hippy before the word was in the common vocabulary and am as opinionated as they come.”
Her lively blog made me feel like I, too, was living on the side of a mountain and watching bald eagles circle below the window. She even had to yell before she opened her door in order to scare away bears ! Isn’t that wonderful?

These three one-of-a-kind friends came to me through my blog. Now where else would a dull, old lady from North Carolina meet such an array of fascinating people ? I think of them often and every once in awhile I look back on what they wrote.

I’m so glad I’ve joined the blogging world … their words (and yours) enrich my life daily.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My U.S. trip to Denmark …

In 1952 my sister and her Danish born husband were living in Ventura, California and my friend Gayle and I spent the summer with them. It was our College break and we’d saved enough money to be able to take a Greyhound bus from Boston to get there.

We were very low on funds so we were happy to get jobs as waitresses at the Pierpont Inn, a posh restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The tips were good and we managed to save up enough for a plane ticket home and to visit a few special places.

One of those places was the small town of Solvang (“Little Denmark”) established in 1911 by Danish immigrants. This picturesque city is set against gently sloping hills and is dedicated to the architecture, crafts and values of their ancestors.

My sister and her husband were our guides to this lovely town and it gave him a chance to speak his native language, which, of course, was Danish. They were also thrilled to introduce us to their favorite bakery and its special treats, such as Aebleskivers, a waffle-like delicacy pictured here:

I though maybe I could find a picture on the internet of the original Bakery that we visited but none of the ones shown there were in existence in 1952. However, since they all look pretty much alike I chose this one, Olsen’s Bakery.

My memory of that day is that it was a delightful way to visit Denmark while still remaining on our own continent. A lot less expensive too !!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

“The Doctor will see you shortly…”

…and, of course he will; but, in the meantime you get stuck in the waiting room !
Not the healthiest or happiest place in town but it can be an amusing place too, as it was for me recently.

I had a routine appointment and was waiting for my name to be called. There were about 12 of us there and I remember being thankful that no one was on their cell phone. I don’t know about you but I can’t stand listening to those one-sided conversations that, inevitably, reveal more than I want to hear.

All of a sudden a loud noise penetrated the air. It sounded just like an old time train whistle and most of us nearly jumped out of our skins, not to mention our chairs, until we realized it was the ring tone on someone’s cell phone. When it was apparent that we were not going to be run over by a locomotive we broke into nervous giggles and I thought we would settle back into our sedate and quiet group.

WRONG !! That cell phone ring broke the ice and not only did we hear all about the answerer’s innermost problems but it seemed that the flood gates were open for everyone else. By the time my name was called I could tell you the medical, financial and marital problems of just about everyone in the room !

Monday, March 11, 2013


Disney’s “Oz, the Great and Powerful” is not the type of film that I would ordinarily go to see but, at the request of my granddaughter we made it a family affair and I’m glad I was included.

The film is touted as “a spiritual prequel to L. Frank Baum's 1900 introductory novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and indirectly to the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz” and is another fanciful escape from Kansas.

It was in a 3D format at our theater and the elaborate scenes were enhanced even more because of that. I thought the narrative was weak but that could have been due to my comparison with the original Oz movie that was awash with memorable lines.

As the title implies this movie concentrates on Oz, who in this version is a small-time circus magician with a dubious sense of right and wrong and an ego to match. He is transported from Kansas to the enchanted land of Oz where he meets a myriad of challenges and finally (to no ones amazement !) triumphs as the savior they’ve all awaited.

I have viewed The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland at least 30 times since it previewed in 1939 and it is one of my all time favorite movies.

I would not put “Oz, the Great and Powerful” in that category but it did provide a few hours of harmless fun. If you see it be sure to give me your feedback.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

This little shed …

… is much more than just a place where my son keeps his gardening utensils…although it serves that purpose too!

His home is on two acres of land that he’s lovingly tended for the past eight years. This has really become an avocation for him and he loves it. He is constantly experimenting and adding new flora as it hits his fancy.

It seems that every time I visit him he’s changed a location or added something new. Since so many of the plants are ones that he may never have heard of before, or might be a new variety of an old familiar one it could be hard to keep up with it all … but not for Matt !

He’s implemented this great way to keep it all straight and he calls it his reference library. It’s a compilation of all the seed packets and product tags of the items he’s bought over the years and he‘s posted them on the inside of the shed door.

Isn’t that clever ? It looks like he will run out of room in a season or so; but I’m sure he’ll think up something new by then !

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Beautiful in any season …

It was wonderful to have my brother-in-law from Massachusetts visit with me this week. If my sister Peg had lived just a few more weeks they would have been married for 60 years !! That is practically unheard of in this day and age but they were devoted to each other and it was beautiful to observe.

He has kept himself in good physical condition and attributes a lot of that to staying active and taking daily walks. Knowing this I decided to take him to one of our local attractions. It’s the magnificent horticultural garden at our Community College. Of course it’s the wrong season if you’re expecting a show of color but it was a very pleasant walk anyway, as these pictures portray.

These adorable children welcome you as you approach the garden and there is another sweet child frolicking in the woods, as seen in the second picture. The rest of the photos are self explanatory … so, start down the path and ENJOY !