Confessions of a Woolling Freak

Today, I decided to visit my unfinished blogs that have been sitting in the Draft section (my arbitrary junk pile) for quite some time. There are several drafts from my trip to England that I need to complete and add to my repertoire. I especially like this blog for reasons I’m not sure of, but I just do. For 30 days in the UK, I was captivated by the sheep that were plenty and everywhere, which brings me to this blog.

During my stay in England, I had a plethora of questions concerning the beasts of the fields. Everywhere I went there were sheep grazing. I did a little research and learned that just a few years ago there was 23.1 million sheep and 55.62 million citizens in England. I am certain the numbers are much higher now and the sheep aren’t going anywhere. But it gives you a little idea of the sheepizenship there. It did not take me long to fall in love with the woolly wonders.

This photo was taken at a very old lodge I stayed in there in Wales.

Travelling around, I always found myself amazed at the sheep in the moorlands or countryside, I suppose they call those specific sheep, lowland breeds, but the ones that held my attention and left me scratching my head were the ones grazing on the steep mountainside. How did those sheep climb such dangerous and steep terrain and, how did they maintain their stability while grazing? I mean, from a distance it looks as if they have two legs shorter than the others and it made me nervous thinking they were going to fall off the side of the mountain. The photos below were taken in Wales at a hotel I stayed in, Gwesty Tynycornel . You can get an idea how steep those mountians really are.

I was also fascinated at the flock or herd of sheep (I suppose it’s a preference what you call it) that often blocked traffic in some areas. If you asked this American, she would call it a mob of wool with their own road rules perhaps having a flocking good time. But this is when patience becomes a virtue. There is no horn blowing, nor yelling at the little darlings. You just sit and wait for the sheep to get across the road. Sometimes, they hurried along, other times they stop and stare at you and they dare not be unobserved.

I confess, I rolled down my window and tried to have a conversation with a sheep in the road and it seemed by her stare that she was not best pleased by my American southern accent and her snuffling snort was proof of that matter. As I cowered back into my seat, I noticed the fluffy beast continued to stare at me until the rest of her gang came baa-ing past her not giving a second thought to my presence in their midst but simply ignoring me in their hurried task of getting to the other side. She decided to follow suit and I was thrilled she did.

However, among these woolIy wonders I took notice that many sheep had marks on their fleeces and I learned later that those painted smit marks were to identify the sheep and who they belonged to whether it be the one herding or his neighbor. Now don’t get bent out of shape thinking the farmers are using harmful paints or chemicals, it is a mixture of pigment and the grease from whale oil that helps make the mixture stick to the fleece. I enjoyed watching these beautiful creatures grazing and stopping traffic on a whim. It’s funny how they just sit there and stare at you with a quirky smile across their cute little faces, and it’s knee-slapping funny when they deposit a fresh load of sheep doo-doo still keeping eye contact as if to be offering a unique souvenir.

If you ever visit the UK you too will find yourself amazed by the nature of these adorable beasts and I bet you too will pull the car over to the side of the road to snap some photos. Of course we have sheep here in the States, but for some odd reason, you notice them more in another country as if you have never seen them before.

Smile, Say cheese

It’s okay if I can’t find myself today. Somewhere along the way I’m sure I’ll be around and just maybe then I can join up with myself and get things done. Yes it’s true, I’m having a moment. Vicious hair wars, online classes and two cats who demand my attention especially when I begin to write. But there is one thing that has me puzzled and seemingly everyone is making fun of it, I have a lisp!

Do you see anything abnormal about my smile other than my uneven and crooked teeth? This photo was taken yesterday evening right after fitting my invisible aligners on my teeth. Can’t see them can you?

You see, I have committed six months of my life to wearing invisible aligners. I’m all in and confined to all the joys that come with wearing these wonderful trays that feel like plastic vampire teeth. However, I just started my journey yesterday evening and have already faced a challenge of commitment, stamina and self confidence. Self confidence because of the lisp. According to the instructions, the lisp will disappear in a few days. I am almost certain, that this journey is going to seem like a hundred years but I keep reminding myself the payoff is huge and perfectly straight teeth is my goal.

This is a customized program and you wear these aligners for a prescribed time. What really sold me on this plan is the fact there is no hassle of an orthodontist’s office visit every month or the reality of extremely high prices. When I was younger in my early thirties, I wore braces. I suffered with raw gums and had to wear wax quite often to help keep the pain at bay. I had to put up with the dreaded call naming such as, train tracks and metal mouth. I had worn my braces for three years when the Orthodontist just disappeared. My family dentist who referred him, had no idea what happened. But as fate would have it, and over four thousand dollars later, I had to have them removed because no other orthodontist worked with those particular bands of metal. I had another year and a half to go to finish out my term but because of the disappearing orthodontist I had to find one who worked with the types of metal in my mouth. I was fortunate to have found an orthodontist who could take them off with a hefty price tag of $300.00 not to mention that I would have to start over if I wanted to continue straightening my teeth. To me, it was all about the money with these professionals and there was no way I was going to start over and still to this day, no one has a clue as to what happened to my orthodontist who vanished from the face of this planet.

One bright sunny morning upon awakening, I decided on a whim to call and inquire about those invisible aligners that so many are raving about. I made an appointment for a free consultation which was really what got me in that office and I was impressed with the staff and their ability to get to know me as a person rather than a patient. After being called back, they explained in thorough detail what my visit would entail. They took photos of my teeth then asked me what my goal was to achieve what I wanted to achieve for a better smile. Then they took my impressions by having me bite down on a pliable mouth piece rather than that messy gook they put in your mouth for the metal braces. They then explained how I could pay for my investment which there were two options. Pay $250.00 down and $85.00 a month or pay the full price of $2,280.00 which is very reasonable considering I had paid over $4,000.00 for braces that I didn’t get to wear full term.

After choosing my payment plan which was the monthly payments, they gave me a cute little carry-all bag with dental floss, lip balm that is absolutely the best in my opinion for dry lips. Then there was a nice treat, a complete whitening system with an LED light and lightening gel to whiten your teeth. Needless to say, I came home and did my first whitening session. I noticed a difference right afterwards. My whitening kit also included USB cables to fit a tablet, iPad and cell phone which is what you plug the LED light into and you only use for five minutes per session.

It took four weeks for my impressions to be made and shipped to me. They came packaged in a nice case with enough trays to last me six months. Each individually wrapped set of trays is marked and stored nice and neat inside the box. you do not pull out all of your aligners, just the next set in line that’s already organized for you. I love the system used here. It’s very convenient without a fuss or stress and I get to change out my trays myself rather than having to make appointment with an orthodontist. How great is that?

Inside this wonderful purple case is a lifetime supply of confidence and once you start the system, you begin transforming your smile.

Also inside this purple case are a few other items that you will need throughout your journey. You get more lip balm that looks like a little rubber ball that is not too bulky to fit inside your purse or pocket. You get a smile stretcher that you will use to take photos for your 90-day check-ins with your Smile Direct doctor. Everything is done digitally without leaving your home. There are aligner tools such as an outie tool that helps you pull your trays off for brushing and flossing your teeth, eating and drinking fluids other than cool water. You can drink cool water with your aligners in but hot drinks can mess up your aligners. There are the Chewies. These things are very helpful for biting down on and pushing your aligners in further for a better fit. However, for me, they gag me and I do wish that Smile Direct would work on the Chewies to make them a little more tolerable. You get the bright on which is free premium whitening that will help you achieve your brightest smile and this stuff works great. Can you tell the difference below? The photo on left was made before I started whitening, the second one was made yesterday with the clear aligners on.

Take a look at my case…

If you are interested in upgrading your smile, contact me and I’ll hook you up. I will get a discount for referring you and you will also get a nice hefty discount and a few prizes if you decide to join as well. I love the convenience of doing everything right here in the comfort of my home after my consultation which is the only time I will need to visit my Smile Direct doctor. The rest of my journey is done digitally with a cell phone. After my six months and perfect smile, I will need to purchase a retainer to wear at night while sleeping to maintain my smile. It’s not free and I really think Smile Direct needs to change that and include the retainer in the set price. Other than that, I am on day two of wearing aligners and I had no problems last night sleeping in them and they feel a little more comfortable than yesterday. The lisp is improving and should be gone in a couple of days and another perk to wearing these aligners is you don’t eat much or snack. I will blog my progress once a month until the end. So smile and say cheese!

Ode To Taco Bell

My family and I travel a lot and there are times when a drive-thru is necessary especially late at night when those munchy cravings begin. In the past six months we have chosen Taco Bell on three different occasions to keep those belly rumblings to a minimum.

Photo from internet

Now I realize there has been a ton of scandalous history with their ingredients including salmonella outbreaks that affected 10 states. Then there was the recall of taco shells that had been processed with a genetically-altered corn seed. I’m not sure about you, but contaminated genetically modified anything should be enough to completely shut down a food business. Have you taken a look at the ingredients that goes into their delicious foods? I must confess, I have not until recently. After checking out their bean burrito ingredients, I realized that in their burrito the TBHQ is a carcinogenic gas. It is an additive with a reputation. I suppose you want the real name which is one I cannot and refuse to try to pronounce, but here you go. Tertiary butylhydroquinone. Enjoy yourself on this one.

Found on the internet

But this ingredient is also found in snack crackers, noodles fast and frozen foods but you will also find this same ingredient in paints and varnishes and some skin care products which raises my eyebrows. However, this blog isn’t about TBHQ or other additive ingredients, I just happened to think about it and decided to throw it in there and I will also make mention that this particular ingredient has landed on the DO NOT CONSUME list in a lot of diets.

There is another issue that Taco Bell needs to tackle. Usually, there are five or six of us in the same vehicle when going through the drive-thru. Each one orders their preference or whatever their tummies are craving. When ordering from the menu, the orders are combo’s and are suppose to come in a box or a bag of their own. Instead, Taco Bell employees puts everything unmarked in one big bag making it impossible to distribute among the family. We have to open each item and physically touch the food to open up a taco or something to make sure the special ordered item is going to the correct person such as someone who doesn’t want tomatoes. Three different times this has happened. I always get the same thing, two hard tacos and a chalupa. My food has been handled by someone sitting in the front seat trying to get the right food to each family member. This is a problem!

Photo from the internet

We have called corporate office three times complaining of the horrible service and inability to pack each order separately. Each time we have gone through the drive through, there was always food missing and its a battle trying to explain to the employees they left out orders. They make you feel like you’re dishonest trying to get more food. My family and I have made a vow to stop eating at Taco Bell or going through the drive-thru. We will make our own food and bypass the risk of their contaminants. Time to wake up to the reality of fast food dangers anyway and get back to healthy eating even when travelling. It may not be convenient, but it is the convenience that has made us sick….

Your Highness, How May I Assist Your Drama Today?

Is there an Actors Union that is responsible for people who live to be dramatic? I have met some drama queens and kings through the years, but a year ago, I met the mother of all crown holders and she lives and breathes drama as if it is her life mission. Being dramatic is something you would expect from young school-aged kids not adults. There is never a notice of her outbreak except the minute she walks in the room and starts with, “so apparently.” Not only do those two words alert you of a headache to come, but her tone raises 100 decimals with determination that the entire block is going to hear her over-the-top, over-rated, over-emotional acute drama breaking news. I find it quite humorous of the capability she has to create drama out of pretty much anything and absolutely nothing and keeping my rolled eyes to myself is impossible. Sometimes I just want to scream out loudly, “sell the crown and use the money to get some counseling.”

As for me, when I hear, “so apparently,” I instantly try to gain immunity and grab my earbuds and quickly insert them finding anything on my phone to listen to other than words spewing through the atmosphere with no substance especially the very uclassy language suitable for toilet flushing. Not only is she loud and obnoxious, but entirely animated in a very comical, theatrical way. Her eyes move from one person to the next making sure they are listening and if there is one who isn’t which is usually me, then she gets louder and more obtrusive demanding my ears. Her hands are constantly flailing through the air as if she were swatting flies or thrashing about swimming through thick clouds. This is where I take a deep breath slowly exhaling simply because I am worn out from the busyness of her tales. I understand she has difficulty “letting go” of the negative thoughts and emotions but the complaints of her stress and headaches? I want to write her a prescription for a very powerful “shut-the -heck-up” medication and call it a day, better yet I would really love to de-throne her and call it check-mate! But after catching my breath and observing her act, I have come to my own conclusions of what makes an individual worthy of wearing a drama queen crown.

I have learned my silence is key and you know the saying, “sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.” Oh how I wish those with a little more expression of every emotion under the sun would adhere to that mantra and keep their drama to a minimum. But you can’t have drama with just a whimper now can you? You go big! During yesterday’s drama session, the mother queen raged about her stalker who is an employee and every now and then he pops up out of nowhere, maybe just doing his job but to hear her tell the story you would think this guy was a hard core criminal and on America’s Most Wanted. I kept the buds out of my ears to hear this particular story because I did have a stalker a few years ago who broke into my house and put a red rose on my bed, so I wanted to offer her advice but I think it was more less a guy infatuated with her and was not stalking her at all. I broke my silence.

As she was telling the entire room of people how he was dangerous and harassing her on the job I asked why didn’t she report him to upper management? She didn’t answer but shook her head as if frustrated I asked the question. Then she belted out he was blowing her phone up, I questioned again asking how did he get her number? She claimed he didn’t have her number that they were friends on Facebook and they were messaging in messenger. I asked her why hasn’t she blocked him from Facebook. Again, she did not answer the question but became very angry. I’m not sure if her anger was directed at me or herself. But I was holding the mirror to her face so-to-speak to reflect a reality check on her end more less tying to dial down the drama.

To be in the presence of the mother queen and all her theatrics and drama fueled energy while over playing every situation is entirely draining in every sense of the word. By debunking her tales and holding the mirror to her face in hopes of shining some light on being responsible for her life and accountable for the problems she overly creates, it would seem she would take the refection for what it’s worth and turn her theatrics into action and go shine her crown and put it away. Instead, she has an entitlement to attention and carries around a permanent megaphone and she’s not afraid to use it. Oh well, rather than knocking off her crown which is how most of us feel here, we will just continue to try to insert “responsibility for behavior” in hopes she will finally realize just because she’s the drama queen doesn’t mean she will be treated like royalty…