A Dental Messiah At Last


I plan to write to the Vatican very soon to ask Pope Francis to canonize the endodontist (above) who was finally able to do my root canal. He has it all: microscopic equipment, great chair side manner and loads of numbing meds! Dr. Jeffery Linden (AKA Dentist #6) and I chatted about comparative religions while waiting for numbness to come. He was raised Catholic, which is where my Pope idea came from. Like me, he finds all religions fascinating – particularly Buddhism. A cute dude with a drill who assiduously practices the Zen of root canals? That’s my kinda guy.

My Office Staff is the Cat’s Meow

Office staff

I have the best office staff on Earth. The cats love everything I write, never whine about money and show up on time. As paperweights, they’re awesome — though it’s easier to pull papers out from under Tuna. He’s not as fat as Dreamsicle. While they can’t yet answer my phone, they’re good at knocking it off the base. Cat hair on my router? It’s kinda artsy. On occasion, I hear mewings about joining the CWA (Cat Workers of America). Sure, I say. As long as you’re willing to claw back your dues each month to pay for the Iams.

Round Trips Can Be Trippy


Surviving the big hair and small minds marking my four days in Dallas, I anticipated a smooth flight home with a short layover in Peoria. Something malfunctioned as we were set to take off. Back again to the terminal, squashing, forever, any hope I might have of getting my connecting flight. No worries. American gave me a priority seat directly to O’Hare. Sure, it was leaving from a concourse at the other end of Texas, but I made it and even arrived home within half an hour of my original time. Whew. Mad Men’s on tonight. I need to be here!

Lone Star Etiquette

When I visit Texas, I leave my political sensibilities home. From the moment I hit DFW, I go into Sphinx mode to survive time in a society convinced that Obama is a socialist, gun ban freak. I’m good at looking nonplussed while chatting up Rick Perry types. Opinions? I don’t pack any, so there’s no way to bait me. There I sit, smiling and present so I can jump in when the conversation turns to mainstream topics. Wine helps. Tequila, too. I recommend both when visiting – to help the Texas economy, just in case the state needs cash to secede.

The Ryan Chronicles

I get caught up with youngest grandchild, Ryan, while in Dallas. He’s a gorgeous kid with a wild imagination. When his father said no to 3D movie tickets, Ryan told pals his dad could only afford tickets for the 2D version. Last week, he topped himself: after receiving a $36 check from his other grandma for making the honor roll, Ryan decided the sum was too paltry. He added a zero and took the check to the bank. He’s currently under house arrest. He turns 9 in July. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with as a teenager.




I Flew Grandpa Air!

There’s no chance my friend Sheryl would have boarded my flight to Dallas this morning. Not only was I sequestered within a small jet’s tail, but the flight attendant back there was older than me. Picture an SLN Conehead wearing thick, black-rimmed coke bottle glasses, suspenders holding up pants and a locked and loaded pocket protector missing only a protractor. Gramps left the heavy lifting to younger cabin attendants (Arthritis? Gout?), but deigned to help with the beverage service. Thankfully, we had no problems aloft, as I wouldn’t want to be told to grab my ankles with him in charge.


Hidden Agendas: Gifts That Keep on Giving

David's birthday

My son sent me a plane ticket for Dallas so I could be on hand to celebrate his birthday. But, I know him — having changed his diapers, put up with his childhood tantrums and found his hidden pot stash inside Harry, the stuffed hippo he favored as a child. Nope. He wants me to meet the latest girlfriend. Frankly, I’d love to see him get married, but I don’t dare admit it — any more than he’ll admit the reason for the plane ticket. So, we – and our hidden agendas – will all be on hand to celebrate.

Lilies of the Lobby

cats and lilies

I’ve killed so many plants over my lifetime, I’m sure the USDA has my photo hanging next to the agricultural world’s Bin Ladins. Now, I face the ultimate conundrum: somebody abandoned an Easter lily in the lobby and while I’m no plant whisperer, I doubt it can survive with low-watt florescent sconces to encourage its growth. Take it in? I just learned that lilies are dangerous to cats and I certainly can’t count on Tuna not to commit lilicide. My choices are: A) Leave the lily. B) Take in the lily; fence it in and hope. C) Get a life.

Dental Wars (Part Deux)

kid calling dentist

As a teen, I hated dentists so much, I developed a reputation for ditching appointments, even after adults dropped me off and watched me walk into the office. I wasn’t as bad as friend Audrey’s niece – Mary Beth slashed her parent’s tires once when she didn’t want to have her teeth drilled — but I was still bad. Now, as I face the prospect of yet another endodontist (#5) to tackle the illusive root canal, I feel like a kid again. I don’t want to go. But I can’t ditch the appointment since I’m writing the checks these days.

If It’s Boston, It Must be Moscow

Bosnian mayor

A woman wearing a hijab was attacked in Boston just days after the recent bombing. The young mom and practicing physician, who emigrated from Syria to escape that nation’s turmoil, was assaulted as she walked down the street. Anti-Muslim sentiments are once again being driven by nimrods like Glenn Beck. He’s busy pointing fingers at innocents who happen to have dark skin or wear head coverings. I’m reminded of the Communist scare of the 50s when folks were accused of being spies simply for uttering an offhand comment about Russia. It was no more tolerable now than it was then.