there is no cure for curiosity
Rest in Peace, Your Highness
Her Royal Highness the Little Kitty
May 1994- January 7, 2013
We originally named her “Samantha, ” but she was so tiny that the name seemed a little too big for her. It became Lil Kidday from me and Litta Kitty from Dave, but a Samantha she was not. As she grew up, she earned the honorific of Her Royal Highness, and by the time we truly knew her, it seemed like nothing shorter would do.
She was the most perfectly put together creature I’ve ever seen. Her mother was shaped like a football with short legs and a little head. Her brother was huge with an over-long tail and gangly legs. Apparently all the genetic good stuff has been saved for LK, who was perfectly proportioned in every way. She looked elegant no matter how she situated herself, graceful no matter how she moved. Even in her last arthritis-stiffened days, she carried herself with style. When I first encountered the famous quote by the poet Jean Burden that says “A dog is prose. A cat is a poem.”, I wondered if somehow she had seen my little kitty.
Though she had never known a minute of unkindness, for most of her life she was highly suspicious of anyone but me. Even when safe on my lap, a sneeze or cough or a too loud word would cause her to take a flying leap away. She could make herself disappear so fast she made me wonder if she were magic, just like a black cat should be. Of course she was.
As she got older, she became less wary, but she never developed a sense of humor. She didn’t play with her prey, and you could lose a finger or toe playing “get the thing under the covers,” as she was always playing for keeps. When we lived in Asheville, she had a vendetta against the horrible kitty in the mirror, and she never ever forgave Grace or Piper for whooping up on her. They’d want to let bygones be bygones, but she’d have no part of it. She wouldn’t forget. Or forgive.
I think she was smarter than all the other cats we’ve had put together, and even this week she had devised new ways of getting up on things she could no longer leap onto. She was a master of manipulating me from the minute I laid eyes on her until she fell into unconsciousness Sunday morning.
I know she had a long, wonderful life. She spent summer afternoons in beds of sunlit catnip. She chased, and caught, birds, mice and bugs. She napped in sunny spots by the window during the day and slept tucked under her mommy’s jaw by night. In her old age as she grew thinner and tinier, she stayed safely inside, watching the world from her window perch on my desk or sleeping on my pajamas which I left on the bed for her every day. She never knew a moment of hunger or want, and she was loved completely from the tips of her ears to the end of her tail. She lived in paradise for over eighteen years.
But somehow that still doesn’t seem long enough for me. I love my little kitty. I miss my little kitty. I always will.
The Magical Tale of Vigorius Snap
I haven’t written on here for a while, but I have been going through some pictures on my Mac to work on a photo book, and I came across this one of the wee little snapping turtle we found last summer, just days before we left for our beach vacation.
I drove up the driveway with the boys in the car, and as I was pulling up to the garage, I was what looked to be a small gray blob in the driveway. Not a good sign. My fear was that I had inadvertently run over our resident toad Mr. Hopkins (whose international spy name is Monsieur Crapaud, should you run into him in France). But when I got out of the car to inspect said gray blob, I saw that instead it was a tiny snapping turtle, probably dropped by one of the many hawks that live in our woods. He was very dry and quite pitiful, yet when George wiggled his little foot (with a tenderness that made me love my George more than ever, if such a thing were even possible), we saw the tiniest indication that he was still alive.
We were in a hurry to get to the boys’ violin lesson, so we put him with some leaves in one of our assorted bug catcher/small creature containers, sprinkled him with water, and put him in the shade on the back deck. When we returned, he looked only slightly less dead. Then I pictured the snapping turtle Biggie used to bark at in our walks along Sugar Creek (she had issues with things in water and people on wheels). In this image, the turtle was swimming so gracefully and swiftly you would almost forget how muddy and rather unclean the water was. So we gathered up some dirt to make him a mud island, and added plenty of water (not too cold, not too hot), and let him decide where he wanted to be while we got our nets and went bug hunting for his dinner. After a successful bug hunt (if you need to catch bugs, I recommend assistance from little boys), we threw some bugs in with him for a snack and left him alone.
When we checked on him a few hours later, we had to dig him out of the mud. He emerged quite vigorous and just about as pissed off as a snapping turtle, albeit a tiny one, should be. In light of his magical recovery, I decided he should have a wizarding name, and thus dubbed him Vigorius Snap (successfully overriding George’s suggestion to name him “Turtle-y”). The next day, Dave and the boys marched him back to the creek with strict instructions not to fraternize with hawks. I hope he made it.
Naturayarte: Inicio http://t.co/aV0gVdXU
Photo: The Life and Times of My Front Teeth Since I’ve been whining like a baby about my latest dental… http://t.co/exTyJ9pi
Photo: The Life and Times of My Front Teeth Since I’ve been whining like a baby about my latest dental… http://t.co/exTyJ9pi
The Life and Times of My Front Teeth
Since I’ve been whining like a baby about my latest dental adventures on Facebook, I’ve had several people ask me, to put it politely, “what the #*? happened” to my face, teeth, mouth, what have you. Not to belabor it, but since I have been talking about it, I’ll write this to explain it. It is long, but since this has been an almost constant problem for me, it kind of explains why I sound like such a whiner about it, when I really do usually roll with the punches. If you just want the latest, skip to the last paragraphs.
When I was five, I fell face first on our fireplace hearth. My main and unrelenting memory of this is seeing my fat little palms in front of me covered in bright red blood. Unluckily for me, my front teeth had come in early (much like my son’s George’s have) and they were, well, wrecked. The ends of them chipped off leaving them pointy, so I looked somewhat like a vampire until after my braces came off at 13. (This explains why I am rarely smiling in childhood photos. I wasn’t unhappy, just self-conscious.)
I had the horrific experience with braces, head-gear etc. and at the end of it, my orthodontist just filed off the pointy parts, leaving me with front teeth even with the teeth on either side. Which is okay, but my dentist has since told me this is more like a “masculine” mouth. In any case, after all that, I still didn’t have the smile I wanted, but I didn’t look like a horror show either. That came later. And then again. Yay!
When I was 16 or so, the area above my front teeth became swollen and painful. After a trip to the dentist and a periodontist we learned that I had a double abscess in the roots of my front teeth. The roots had been damaged by the fireplace incident and had finally let us know just how angry they were about the whole thing. So, then I had root canals, which removes the dead roots. At that time, the periodontist advised that we get caps for the front teeth, but my mom opted not to do that for whatever reason. I remember this pretty clearly because the periodontist told me to try to convince her to allow him to cap my teeth. But it didn’t happen so …
A year later, my front teeth started turning gray. Yes, like a dead person’s teeth. (See, I promised you some horror!) Back to the periodontist we go, and he advises caps again. We don’t get caps, again. Instead my teeth are bleached from the inside out. Which is more permanent, but makes the teeth brittle. (You see where this is going … .)
So now I’m 25 and carrying a box into the house I am living in in Arlington, Virginia while I am working at my first grown-up job. I bump my teeth the tiniest bit with the box (it’s wasn’t hard, I swear!) and I get a huge chip in my front tooth. Shit.
So I go to the HMO dentist I have from my very own health insurance, who tells me I need caps. Which I already knew. So I finally get a little cash of my own and it goes directly into my mouth. Except the teeth are so fragile from the bleaching that they don’t hold the caps so well. After some horrifying incidents where my caps would just come out (on a first date, at a German beer festival, while talking to my boss - See, I promised more horror!), the dentist puts a metal pin in the most troublesome one. Finally the cap stays, but the tooth never feels, how shall I say it, stable.
I move to Charlotte and have a little more cash, and no dental insurance, but I find a great dentist, who tells me that the root of the troublesome tooth is broken and it needs to go. So I have to have a FRONT TOOTH removed. Like Mammy Yokum from Lil Abner. You can imagine my joy. So he sent me to a cosmetic dentist …
… who pulls the tooth (actually he told me he was aghast at how easily it came loose. He gasped. I heard him. Again, horror.) But he builds me a beautiful bridge from my front tooth to the right tooth on the other side of the right tooth. Since he and his boss decide to write a paper about it, they give me a veneer on a tooth on the other side of the bridge so it would all look good. And it did look beautiful. Finally I had the smile I wanted. Except …
The boss cosmetic dentist looked at the picture they took and thought the gum on one side looked slightly uneven. Neither I nor the dentist who had done the work thought so, and my gums don’t show when I smiled so I wasn’t worried about it. But he had a handy-dandy new instrument he wanted to use and used it to do something to that gum. Well, now it was slightly uneven, but not so anyone who wasn’t inspecting me would notice. He actually offered to do the whole thing again, but I had a feeling to leave well enough alone.
So now I had beautiful, albeit supremely expensive, teeth and all was right with the world. Until I got pregnant, and the gum around the bridge got infected, as high hormonal levels can do that. But after the boys were born, the infection didn’t get better. Not with antibiotics, not with a WaterPik, not with diligent brushing, flossing and mouthwashing. My current dentist attributed the problem to the work of the handy-dandy tool that had taken that little part of my gum because a certain amount of gum is needed between tooth and bone. Ah, another problem. But at this point, fixing that would be very expensive, and I now had twins, a mortgage, cars, childcare, you name it. So basically I put off dealing with it as long as I could.
Which brings us to November 2011, when I received an e-mail from my Flexible Spending Account administrator telling me that I actually had over $3000 left in my FSA. And my dentist had been urging me to fix the gum for health reasons so I went to the periodontist who is working with my dentist to fix my front teeth once and for all, with implants and caps.
Because of the missing root and puny root of my front incisors, I didn’t have enough bone to have implants, so last week I had what was left of my left front tooth extracted and bone grafts done to give us something to put implants into. That has to heal for several months, then I will get implants. Then the implants have to heal for several months, then I will get caps. Then, I am told I will look exactly like Angelina Jolie, except without the tattoos and multitudes of children. (My own kids are better looking than hers already, in my obviously objective opinion.)
But now I look like Gollum and I don’t like it, and I am at least 6 months out from being done. But the good thing about all this is that I am now absolutely loving that law degree I hated getting, because if I didn’t have the money to do this the correct and expensive way, I’d be dealing with replacing bridges and infected gums for the rest of my life.
By the way, the above picture has nothing to do with teeth, but it is actually the ONLY one I could find that has me smiling where I show my teeth, which is very telling, dontcha think? Thanks to my friend Cate for taking it. As a bonus, it demonstrates how good-looking my boys are. Take that, Angelina.
RT @TelegraphPics: Incredibly intricate and realistic paper sculptures by Calvin Nicholls. http://is.gd/An9HFB
Here is the current wildlife we have spotted or encountered this week:
Birds: Green Heron, Great Egret (this one spent time very close to us on the dock!), Snowy Egret, Oyster Catcher, Least Tern, Common Tern, Herring Gull, Laughing Gull, swallow, mockingbird, sparrow
Crabs: horseshoe crab (very exciting find!) blue crab, lady crab, ghost crab, sand fiddler crab, water hermit crab
Eastern stingray (scary!), a skate’s egg case, and many many Eastern mud snails
Jellies: cabbage head jellyfish, comb jelly, Portuguese Man’O War (very scary!)
Fish: summer flounder (yum!), menhaden, silver-sided minnows, croaker, and countless really HUGE fishes in Dave’s imagination
Boys: two waterlogged 10 year olds, mostly domesticated, but given to wild behavior in marine environments. Very attractive, and will pose for photos if supplied with Doritos