Monday, September 17, 2012

Last Supper

I don't remember the exact moment when I noticed I freakishly grew an underbite. I do, however, remember having braces from 4th-8th grade. I remember crying when they installed metal spacers in my mouth and the orthodontist's assistant telling me to "buck up." I remember facing new and bizarre rubberband configurations each month when my bite started going the wrong way. And I remember being so diligent about wearing my post-braces retainers that I was often rifling through garbage cans in the cafeteria after they'd been accidentally chucked.

But this was all irrelevant. I mean, okay, teenage orthodontia shaped who I am as a person today, I'm sure, but someone could've just punched me in the mouth instead and it would've had essentially the same effect.

I am part of a select and very exclusive group of people with an awesome genetic disorder that causes our lower jaws to just keep on growing after pretty much everything else on our person has stopped. This means I didn't have an underbite as a child, but slowly grew one in late adolescence. Not knowing this at the time, I would lay in bed at night and practice trying to push my lower chin back in hopes that this would reverse my growing idiot mouth. This was very Judy Blume of me, I know.

A few years ago, I began my journey to get corrective jaw surgery. While some see it as a cosmetic procedure, my dentist informed me (casually, obviously while his hands were in my mouth) that if I elected to NOT have the surgery, I would "lose all of my teeth by the time I'm 40" because I'm using the wrong parts of my teeth to chew. SURGERY IT IS! I also get a lot of snapping and tightness in my jaws - some mornings, after a particularly aggressive night of grinding (teeth), I can only open my mouth a few inches and it sounds like angry rubberbands. Again, surgery seemed like the right choice. However, as I started to figure out the process, I got really scared - mostly of having braces again. Because adult braces at 40 are cool and brave and fun - a real "you go, girl" moment. But braces at 23 is all, "you're going to love prom!" Especially when you work with high schoolers at a Caribou.

I actually hung up on the woman who was scheduling my appointment to get braces. That might be the rudest thing I've ever done.

But after a few more years of a smile I'm not happy with and really painful jaw creepiness, I came to terms with the fact that physically pushing my jaw back before I go to bed isn't working very well. Braces went back on. The same orthodontist's assistant put in my spacers (but I was braver this time). And my surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, September 19.


This is a fairly common surgery - it is called oral maxillofacial lefort 1. Or some combination of those words. Because my underbite is not categorized as extreme and because they avoid moving the lower jaw if possible, they are actually moving my top jaw (or, rather, mouth parts?) forward. They will cut the bone above my teeth, slide it all forward, and reattach it with some metal fasteners. BORF. 

There are still a lot of things I don't know, but I do know this:
- I'll be on a six week liquid diet. This is a silver lining because at this point, the only way you could really stop me from eating is to sew my mouth shut. How convenient.
- I'll be on a soft food diet for a year or so. 
- The majority of swelling will take about a month to go down. 
- I'm not sure if I'll have my jaw wired shut or if they'll be using rubberbands to keep it fastened. Either way, sounds thrilling.

I've watched a lot of (hilarious) YouTube videos, mostly made by teenage girls who use Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" as background music, and it seems patients are universally happy with the results. Everyone says they are glad they did it. I hope I'm not the exception. 

I'll be posting some before, during and after photos/videos on here, mostly just to track my progress so I can really see how my face changes. 

From my underbitey heart,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Dreamed a Dream...

Don't worry, I'm not going to describe my dreams here. I'm not that person. I might, if prompted, recall a dream in person from time to time...obviously on the keen lookout for social cues, like body language and eye contact that screams, "STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR DREAM, NO ONE CARES." But since that's harder to convey on a blog (check out the comments section!), I'll avoid.

These past few mornings, I've been struggling. First, with trying to shake that disorienting and sickening feeling from a particularly disturbing and realistic nightmare, but mostly with the responsibility that befalls anyone who dreams about someone they know: do you tell that person?

Of course, there's a gray area. What was the content of the dream? Was it funny? Would it be funny to them? Are there extra implications for announcing that the person popped into your subconscious? Then, there's all the extra baggage with dreams. What do they really mean? What is your brain trying to tell you about your life? Are you foretelling the future? Do you want to have sex with me? Blech.

I'm sure, in almost all situations, it's best to let it go. Nothing is really gained from reaching out to someone to say, "Hey! You were in my dream last night! We rode out a tiny tornado in an old Volkswagon van together, then you found a centipede in your mouth but you weren't upset about it, and then a penguin with one leg and a British accent appeared and guided us to safety....hope you're having a good day!" Nope. Nothing gained but a weird look or noticeable silence in Gchat.

But that doesn't mean you won't do it. You will. Becuase it feels like you had some kind of shared experience with the other person, and you need to follow up and check in, but here's the thing - YOU DIDN'T - unless you're having some kind of weird twin dreams, and if that's the case, I suppose there's the argument to share every dream you have ever. In 99.9% (not a real science percentage) of dreams, you are alone with your disturbing and effed up thoughts, projecting people you know or don't know in settings that really symbolize some crazy shit you're dealing with. Alone.

Then, there are the sexy dreams. In most circumstances, I would really hope you don't tell the other person. It's almost as awkward as actually having sex with them. Sometimes, if you're particularly socially retarded, you just can't help yourself. It comes out as a slightly crazed, extra winky, "You were in my dream last night...", followed by some eyebrow action (if you're a cartoon character). I've been on the receiving end of such a's worse. You don't know the details, you don't want to know the details, you're just left with that, hanging in the air like a particularly unflattering pair of panties on a clothesline.

The very worst is if your stupid brain can't completely distinguish whether or not it maybe actually did happen. I recently had a dream (OR WAS IT) in which a friend I haven't spoken to in awhile told me she was pregnant. I had decided to let this one go and not let her in on my subconscious because it definitely fell into the whole "what if dreams tell the future" category. And while that's mostly ridiculous, you don't want to freak out your "I can take the pill at any time of the day and it still counts" friend. But then...THEN! I started to wonder. Was it a dream? Or was it REAL LIFE? Uh-oh. Suddenly, I needed to scour Facebook for hints of preggernouncements. And take my pill. I do enough awkward social tip-toeing when I'm awake. She's not pregnant. I eventually asked. It didn't go well.

I guess it's all in the gray area. It's up to personal discretion and tactful delivery. Always casual. Or? Keep it to yourself.
Unless it's extra heartwarming or ridiculously hilarious...that person is probably better off not knowing what they were up to in your head in the middle of the night. You don't even really want to know.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Turn You On, You Turn Me On (To Knowledge)

Disclaimer: If this makes me a nerd, then there are a lot of nerds out there that are not owning up to their nerddom - and in that case, if everyone's a nerd, aren't we all really...normal? Scratch that, not just normal, but actually really, really cool? Good thing it doesn't matter and we should all stop obsessing about what other people think of us all the freakin' time, anyway.

Ahem. Moving on. A lot of couples have jealousy issues and become irrationally (or sometimes, rationally) wary of their partner's close friends. The only thing in my life that The Boy needs to worry about is The History Channel. Because we are in throes of something pretty deep and passionate, and pretty much anytime I'm not with The Boy, you better believe I'm snuggled in with this hot lil' number.

I feel I should broaden to fully explain, because The History Channel v.2.0 is not what I'm talking about. As you may now, THC (not the substance in weed - history produces a different high) has undergone some changes. And I'm trying to be a supportive companion, but we're just not fully on the same page anymore. You know what I'm talking about: "American Pickers." "Ice Road Truckers." THC, you are not TLC. And that's a good thing. So stop trying to include this "original programming" in your already gloriously resplendent lineup. And if I channel-surf upon your regal little "H" in the bottom corner of the screen sharing space with Larry the Cable Guy one more time...we need to Talk

Gimme what I want - computer-generated maps, weird old professors in sweater-vests and reenactments! Oh, the reenactments you provide me at 3am are so titillating. Why yes, I would like to watch a bullet zip across a Virginia battlefield, p.o.v. style, to meet the collarbone of a strapping young Confederate soldier. What's that? It's time to analyze how the musket bullet exploded through bone inside the body? Time for more computer graphics? Bring. It. On.

And it's not just war documentaries that get me going, becuase let's be honest, sometimes the facts and figures are a bit too much. I'm not really feeling the whole "military strategy" thing. But simply balance that out with some sociocultural trends and personal anecdotes and we are open for business. What about dinosaurs, you ask? Any dinosaurs/sciency space documentaries count as sociocultural because there weren't people around to talk about. So I give them a thumbs up.

So when the channel itself fails to meet my expectations (i.e. "Pawn Stars"), there's always Netflix Watch Instantly, which provides me with endless THC documentaries at any time of day (or, most typically, night). This is especially dangerous because when do I stop?! The answer is never. OR when I accidentally fall asleep to something traumatic like Auschwitz death camps, have disturbing nightmares merging my dysfucntional psyche and Ken Burns, and end up kicking my laptop off my bed in the night. Either/or.

So the next time I bust out some awesome facts (how many swings of the hammer did it take to build the Transcontinental Railroad? 2 million!), be gentle. Share a fact of your own, because I know other people watch THC. If we all come out about our open relationships with the network, we can add to our shared human experience. Or...I can just feel more socially appropriate. Either/or.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clinging to Business Casual

What has happened in the past 2 1/2 months? So much, and yet so little. I'm sorry I've neglected this little guy...that's pretty poor form as a blogger.

Well, here I am again, with a June-relevant topic to discuss - summer professional wear. Can we ever win? The answer is no. Also, chances are good you'll probably spend at least a portion of the day publicly, uncontrollably sweating.*

I recently acquired a summer job in an office where I have my own little fake walls in neutral tones with access to things like Wite-Out (a true sign of an official desk job - and by the by, the product has gotten fancier). I quickly realized that it is not appropriate to cycle various "dressy" tees with the same pair of completely worn out navy cords that are literally on their last thread. Seriously. If I bend over, censor bars are necessary.

So a shopping trip was in order. It ended at Land's End for many reasons, including the fact that "fun summer capris" at any given location don't fit over my calves. My calves did NOT make the cut in this spring's fashion trends. They're sad about it. Also, Land's End had some sales. I haven't been there since my mom made me purchase a monogrammed backpack for first grade after my kindergarten, fun-time, pink plastic backpack wasn't "durable enough." I also spent much of my elementary days wearing long stretchy skirts and turtlenecks from the L'sE. Rough times. I wasn't expecting much this time around, either.

But hey now! I scored some cute dresses that, at the time, I deemed work-appropriate. Mostly becuase it was L'sE. Mostly because they don't really have a permit to sell shnazzy going-out dresses. So I purchased three neutral-toned dresses to pair with coordinating cardigans. It all felt so right - I was practically scheduling meetings through Outlook Express and heating up Lean Cuisines in the dressing room.

It has only gone downhill from there. Dress 1, Day 1: The Boy and I went out for breakfast and he informed me he could see my boob. Congrats to him, but I had to hop in my car and face my male bosses. It's not my fault there's a boobage sitch when wrapping is involved! How did I know a slightly different bra would make such a sexy difference?!

Dress 2, Day 2: This stretchy little number accentuated my waist panty lines. How sensual. My hips looked like they were vibrating when I walked. How do I know? After briefly noticing this may be a problem, I practiced walking in the bathroom mirror. Ignorance is bliss.

And now, Dress 3, Day 3: Another amusing morning for The Boy, when we first discovered that I couldn't bend over or sit in it. Then, I realized all of my cardigans have a differnet neckline than said dress (easy to overlook, but apparently a big deal) so now I'm rocking sleeveless?! That's how you know things really went south. Thank God for the belt. That's the only thing holding it all together. ...Literally.

So what am I wearing tomorrow? The cords. Turns out that's the least obscene of all and I really shouldn't deviate from what I know. I'd say that if I didn't have to "shop on a budget" or "had more time" I would be able to do the whole summeryadorablesmellinglikefresianaturally thing, but we all know these are just excuses. Too bad Wite-Out doesn't work on fashion.

*Don't act like it doesn't happen to you all the time. I see your upper lip, and I raise you a hairline.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

If you can eat it there, you probably can't eat it anywhere (else)

It's funny to me that New York City seems to have a universal and symbolic appeal, while people have their own very individual experiences are relationship with the city. How can one place be summed up with all of the vastly different neighborhoods, cultures and landmarks? Having a "New York State of Mind" could mean everything from dreaming about Broadway to listening to a hipster rap group on the Lower East Side to stroller-pushing in Park Slope. And more. Oh, so much more.

I lived in Manhattan for the better part of four years while I studied at NYU. Of course, I had a preconceived notion of what life in the city would be like, and it is an understatement to say I was enthusiastically planning a lifelong love affair with the Big Apple. While in the end I decided to to just casually date NY and marry Mr. Nice Guy Minnesota (we're very happy together), a recent trip back to my not-so-old stomping grounds gave me a chance to hit up my favorite parts of the city again. And in true Emily fashion...there is a food theme.

I think the only time I've ever turned down macaroni and cheese was the day after I watched my friend borf it up, propellor-style, on the tire swing in first grade. My carb-n-cheese world expanded with the introduction of S'MAC. Located on 12th between 1st and 2nd, this little orange haven provides several types of delectable mac and cheesies. My favorite is the cheeseburger mac, but if you're feeling even more adventurous, they create regionally-inspired variations like French and Cajun. You can get pretty fancy. Also, it comes in an individual skillet so you can fully appreciate the delicious baked taste. Feeling like a snack? Try the Nosh size. One size up is Mega Munch, which is the perfect amount to say "I'm never going to finish this" and then actually finish it. It's okay, we all do it. Mmm cheese....!!!

Frozen yogurt is everywhere. You're probably within 100 feet of fro-yo right now and you don't even realize it. A lot of it is awful and will send you flailing for the tender embrace of ice cream, but some of it is great - and made even better with delicious toppings. Pinkberry purveyors starting popping up in NY my sophomore year, and a large cup of the good stuff sometimes even became a meal replacement for me and my ladyfriends (we all make choices). On this recent trip, I discovered they have expanded their flavors to include chocolate, lychee, green tea and pomegranate, adding to their standard original (still my favorite). Toppings available include fresh fruit, nuts, granola, chocolate shavings - all pretty expected - but they also add enticing and unique options like Fruity Pebbles and Cap'n Crunch to the mix. It may be simple, but it makes for an excellent snack or dessert...or, if it's been one of those days, a suitable lunch.

Rice pudding has come a long way from Kozy Shack in your grandma's fridge. This dessert locale in SoHo is my dad's favorite treat spot in the city, and it's definitely one of my top places to indulge. Sure, you could just stick with original rice pudding, but with flavors like rocky road, almond, raspberry and dulce de leche...why would you? The decor is funky and sassy (although I don't need their big signs to remind me that I'm not in "diet country"), and you get to walk away with not only a ridiculously large portion of rice pudding, but a unique plastic container and spoon. I knew my former roommate and I would have a good year together when, upon moving in, I discovered she contributed about seven of these Rice to Riches spoons to our silverware drawer.

Despite everything you know about me, I actually don't really encourage the regular consumption of street food. While I have many friends who eat halal food daily from a cart or sink their teeth into hot dogs from a vendor, I've never been too keen on eating from a contraption that unfolded on the sidewalk that morning. My exception, however, is a big one: Nuts 4 Nuts. There are many times when I have followed the smell of honey-roasted goodness, avoiding near-misses with cabs and pedestrians and keeping an eye on the horizon for that familiar orange umbrella that will lead me to the lil' nut cart below. Okay, so I boycotted for awhile when the price went up from $1 to $1.50 (now you're going to make me dig for quarters??), but that didn't last long. A great mid-day snack, the little bag is best when warm and fresh.

I pride myself on happy hour knowledge of my favorite Minneapolis spots. I sort of thought that a truly good happy hour (at least one involving real food) didn't exist in New York, like coupons and Perkins. That is, until I discovered Cafetasia. With two locations, I still prefer the one on the NYU "campus", although it can get very busy. This Thai restaurant already has a great menu, but, between noon and 7pm EVERY DAY, you can get...wait for it...a tiny appetizer (try gyoza), a meal (love the chicken pad thai) and a drink (including a draught Stella!) for $10. Ten dollars. And despite the deal, you're not sitting under fluorescent lights looking at a picture menu in a hard plastic booth. The atmosphere is trendy, hip, dark and with candles (a true indication that something classy is going on). Seven happy hours of Thai goodness per day. I wish the whole establishment could fit in my carry-on back to Mpls.

Sure, there is a trusty Starbucks on every corner, but for truly good, organic and delicious coffee, plus a warm atmosphere, Think is the place to go. With a few locations in Greenwich Village and one near Union Square, you can find an alternative when there's no seating available (which happens somewhat frequently). If you do find a chair to camp out in for awhile, it's a great place to people-watch and sip a Spanish latte (espresso, milk and a shot of sweetened condensed milk - yum!). Aside from being a traditional, environmentally-aware coffee shop, Think quite literally sells the best bagels I've ever had in my life ever EVER. However, they are guaranteed to be sold out by 10am. This fact alone propelled me out of bed to make it early classes on many a winter morning.

New York is chock-full of bakeries, and while I know that many are absolutely fantastic, there is only one Levain. This super-small, basement bakery is snuggled in the Upper West Side and while I love their's all about the cookies. They keep it simple with four flavors - chocolate chip walnut (fave), chocolate chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter and oatmeal raisin. For $4 each, it's everything you ever loved about a cookie. Crunchy/chewy outside, warm and soft middle that's just close enough to doughy to make it perfect. My friends and I have a tradition of buying a carton of milk to share at the next door deli and then heading to nearby Central Park to enjoy our cookies and milk while mocking first dates in rowboats. To each his own. It's so much cookie, you might not finish it all at once, but remembering late at night that you have leftover cookie morsels is an excellent experience.

No, I'm not going to talk about cupcakes, because I'm over them. Everyone sells their own versions now that are pretty much the same, and I don't find it cute anymore. BUT navigating the Village's nonsensical street "grid" is totally worth it for what I believe Magnolia does best: banana pudding. It's actually more like banana-infused whipped cream with chunks of banana and Nilla wafers to add some texture, and like two teaspoons of pure joy and a pinch of uncontrollable happiness. You could accuse me of exaggerating, but then I'd know you've never had this dessert-of-gods and should just shut your pudding hole. Required refrigeration is the only thing that has stopped me from stuffing my purse full and bringing it all back home.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


How much do we love Redbox? THIIIIIIIIS much! Aside from occasionally having to wait to rent/return or having to spend just enough time in a McDonald's to leave smelling like a McNugget without actually eating one, it ain't a bad system.

The other day, I was forced to patiently wait behind a man pondering his rental options. This rather thuggish and gangsta-esque looking dude ending up choosing "He's Just Not That Into You", and while the wait was annoying, it definitely made my afternoon. I picture him in a bubble bath, drinking a Skinny Girl raspber-ita and contemplating the last third date he went on. Is it weird to say I think we bonded a bit? ....yes? Okay.

Because it's only a dollar (and eight cents, which sometimes matters to my sad, sad bank account), I can justify almost any movie selection - especially when left to my own devices. Occasionally, The Boy will have some input, but sometimes I just show up at his place and say, "Look what I got!" and that's that. This led to a few less-than-ideal movie nights in the past week.

The first one, "Dinner With Schmucks", was just disturbing and made me sad, and I'm not going to say any more about it.

BUT my other choice was...drumroll please..."Life As We Know It." Or, as it might as well be called, "A RomCom As We Know It...And Have Seen Millions of Times...But Yet We Still Might Tear Up At a Few Predictable Spots."

If you're not familiar, this is the Katherine Heigl/Josh Duhamel love connection involving a baby willed to them by their unfortunately dead friends. Of course, they start off highly incompatible and end up falling head over heels for each other (obviously), despite not dealing with any of the issues that plagued their forced relationship before, plus some baby humor. Yes, you've seen it before when it was "Knocked Up," and you've seen the template hundreds of times.

The Boy (getting a headache from rolling his eyes so much) finally asked how I, being a scriptwriter, could watch such a paint-by-number, predictable movie. And while I agree that it was pretty routine, there's something nice about that. Not every movie is "Inception." Sometimes a romcom can get me through the night.

And that's why these movies are so popular. It's nice to know that the attractive couple is going to fight, but then they'll realize they are perfect for each other, and then an outside conflict will break them up again, and then they'll be together forever at the very end. Sure. Works for me.

Don't get me wrong, this is by no means my favorite genre of movie, and I don't go out of my way to pay over $1.08 to see them. But what is wrong with wrapping yourself in the soothing snuggie of predictability every once in a blue moon? Nothing.

At least The Boy got to see Katherine Heigl's boobs, albeit clothed.