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Me Talk Pretty One Day: Book Review

Me Talk Pretty One Day book coverDefinitely, a book to save for a Book Bite Dessert!

I’m a huge fan of David Sedaris’ essays in the New York Times, but I hadn’t read any of his books until recently. I started with one of his earliest essay collections published in the year 2000, titled Me Talk Pretty One Day. I’m a huge fan of David Sedaris’ essays in the New York Times, but I hadn’t read any of his books until recently. I started with one of his earliest essay collections published in the year 2000, titled Me Talk Pretty One Day. Sedaris’s book is a compilation of essays separated into two parts, life before moving to Normandy, France, and life after. The title alone encompasses some of Sedaris’ struggles such as having a pronounced lisp as a child and living in France without speaking any French. Each essay shares a glimpse of growing up as David Sedaris whether navigating his family dynamic between riotous siblings and non-traditional parents (with very traditional roles), as well as his parents’ preference of an oversized Greyhound to any of their children.  A self-proclaimed Performing Artist without an artistic ability, Sedaris talks openly about using drugs and his life with his partner, Hugh, in which he is in awe.  Although heartbreaking at times, it is 288 pages of insight and hilarity, highlighting the author’s experiences which are raw, broken, and beautiful.

Foreign Objects

IMG_4060Most of my subjects revolve around walks I take with my pet Chiweenie, Zoey, around Oquirrh Lake, aka Daybreak Lake, and this post is no different. I am always surprised when I go to the lake, and although my route is largely the same, the scenery often baffles me.

Two weeks ago, I came across a turtle. I believe it is a pet shop turtle, one of two I’ve seen residing at the lake, with yellow stripes across its dark green shell and measuring eight inches in diameter. I saw this turtle as well as its much larger companion, sitting on two semi-submerged rocks. Each one had its neck stretched out in front and mouths wide open soaking up the sun. The turtle was off the path in the tall grasses. It was moving its two front arms forwards and back, digging down into the mud and I wondered if it was laying eggs?

A week later I bumped into a friend who pointed out a man riding his bicycle with a bright green parrot on his back. I have seen the man several times before, with his long strands of silver hair slicked back and his bird perched on his shoulder blade. A birdcage is mounted on the man’s handlebars and is covered with a hand towel. The first notice of the man is his voice. He talks in low, soft tones, answering questions that haven’t been asked. I haven’t heard his Parrot speak, but have witnessed it bouncing its head in agreement. I’ve even talked to the man before, he is nice and seems to find having full conversations with his pet as natural as riding a bike with a bird on his shoulder. Someday I’ll have courage enough to ask him if I can take his picture!

The first notice of the man is his voice. He talks in low, soft tones, answering questions that haven’t been asked. I haven’t heard his Parrot speak, but have witnessed it bouncing its head in agreement. I’ve even talked to the man before, he is nice and seems to find having full conversations with his pet as natural as riding a bike with a bird on his shoulder. Someday I’ll have courage enough to ask him if I can take his picture!

Last week, I had almost finished my route, seeing nothing unusual when something caught my attention—something was moving outside of the sidewalk. I pulled my dog over to get a better look and saw a tiny brown Lobster. A Lobster! In Utah?

A passerby noticed me studying something and came over to see what it was. She said the Daybreakers call them Crawfish and apparently they are new to the area. Crawdads, Crayfish, and Crawfish are all names for these freshwater crustaceans, and they’re known as great bait for fish like Bass and Trout in which Daybreak stocks varieties of. However, I’m unsure if small brown lobsters have also been thrown into the stocking mix.

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Because I have seen turtles, as well as fancy looking ducks with bouffant feathery crowns (very unlike the wild ones that flock here), I’ve concluded that the Crawfish was also a pet store buy and now inhabits the lake. It bothers me that this beautiful area is the dumping ground for unwanted pets. I think the most bizarre thing about my experience is having to remind people that when going on a walk around Daybreak Lake be sure to take your pet home with you—even if it means it hitching a ride on your back as you bike home!

The Eyes Have It

 

IMG_5237When I was thirty-seven-years-old, I was told I could no longer wear contact lenses. Not since the eighth grade had I slipped on a pair of eyeglasses during regular work or school hours, and I found myself at nearly forty, staring in the mirror, with the fuzzy-haired, white-pocked pimple-faced adolescent I remembered staring right back. Although many, many people can wear glasses and look fantastic doing it, I am not one of them.

 

I tried changing my mindset. I bought a pair of bejeweled Versace’s, thinking, these aren’t regular eyeglasses, these are Versace’s! But still, across every reflecting surface looking back at me was the girl with bad skin, the one who wouldn’t grow into her front teeth until she was at least twenty.

With a mixture of desperation and conviction, I knew that something else could be done. I started looking into LASIK eye surgery. The price, in general, wasn’t too bad—though my husband had hoped I would want to keep the money and save for a breast augmentation instead. When I said, “Nope, I’m getting my eyes done,” after the initial let down, I swear I heard him humming Danny Boy somewhere in the basement, Brian was on board.

I visited every conceivable eye facility possible, even a sketchy one in the Holiday area that could have been the back of a Semi-truck, which convinced me to aim a bit higher—someplace without the guarantee of partial blindness and perpetual pink-eye afterward.

I went to Hoopes Vision in Draper. It was a beautiful place, all glass and lunar lighting, plush couches, and sparkling chandeliers. I was given an eye exam and had my eyes dilated for the third time in two days, and was led to a consolation room to wait. A man in a white lab coat and receding hairline strode into the room like he owned the place, which he actually did. He was Dr. Phillip C. Hoopes, Sr. the head honcho of Hoopes Vision.

He hadn’t even sat down when I asked him about a discount. He withdrew his outstretch hand, threw his pen across the room, and yelled, “You want a discount? You’ll get discounted surgery!” and then he stomped out. I sat for a while, scared, feeling very, very confused and guilty that I had even asked about a deal.

Soon, a second man entered, also in a lab coat, only he didn’t walk in like he owned the place, more like he simply worked there—which was the case. He asked me what happened. I gave him the play-by-play and apologized. He sighed then said, “Yeah, Dr. Hoopes Sr. does that.”

The man went over what all the others had told me, that because of thin corneas, I wasn’t a good candidate for LASIK and should consider PRK instead. PRK stands for Photorefractive Keratectomy in which the cornea is actually scrapped off completely, and a new one grows back in its place. It’s the preferred surgery for Fighter Pilots—who am I to argue with Top Gun?

When I was told that it would, in fact, be Dr. Hoopes Sr. who would do my procedure, I decided to take my cheap eyes someplace else. I went to the Eye Institute of Utah, who didn’t offer the same glittering pizzazz but did offer me a student discount first thing! Nice! By the way, I should note that Hoopes Vision does offer discounts, now.

Anyway, on the day of the surgery, I arrived early in the morning. I was given a green apple Jolly Rancher and washed it down with a Valium. In the middle of the surgical room, I laid back on a recliner. Each of my eyes was given eye drops, and both the top and bottom lids were taped wide open. While one eye was being worked on, the other was tucked under what looked to be the scoop part of a black plastic spoon.

I sat, staring at the ceiling as a small gardening hoe-like tool the size of a toothpick then glided over the surface of my eye cutting hoe-like slices as it went.

The procedure was quick—I still had the sour apple as well as the Valium bitter aftertaste on my tongue when it was over. I was fitted with protective lenses to keep air from my exposed nerve endings, plus a set of light-blocking goggles and was sent home.

“It’ll feel like sand is in your eyes,” I was told before and after the surgery. I hadn’t realized what that meant at the time:

See, when sand blows into your eyes, it stings. Tears well up until that piece of broken-down granite is either dissolved or flooded out. But, what happens if tears aren’t produced, your eyes are glued open, and your face is then dragged side to side, forward and back across a sandy beach? Horrible, horrible, eyes-scooped-out-by-a-melon-baller-then-dosed-with-lemon-juice-knuckles-gouged-on-a-cheese-grater type of pain!

I didn’t sleep. Any hint of light was like a shard of glass carving into my ocular cavity and painkillers were as helpful as taking Tic-Tacs for a hysterectomy.

At two o’clock in the morning after going three days without sleep, Brian took me back to the Eye Institute where the on-call doctor, a Reese Whitherspoon doppelganger who was mad we woke her, met us. She checked each eye and discovered my protective lenses were too small and were acting like a vice on my eyeballs. She switched out the lenses. Immediately, the puncturing pain subsided, and I went home. I slept.

Overall, I don’t regret having PRK. Five years later I still have nearly 20/20 vision, and as an added bonus my husband Brian got a joke out of it. When asked why I had eye surgery he chimes in saying, “she wanted to make her eyes bigger” and laughs.

 

 

 

 

Dragon Teeth: Book Review

Dragon Teeth Book CoverFor my latest Book Bite review, Michael Crichton’s newest release isn’t much to snack on. It is, however, a Historical Fiction called Dragon Teeth. Set in the late 1800’s across the still very wild frontier of the West, William Johnson, a spoiled Yale student, goes on an expedition to look for dinosaur bones. Little does he know what awaits him: a journey across dangerous and warring territories between Native Americans and the US Calvary, as well as hardened mining towns filled with prostitutes, gamblers, and gunslingers. On top of all this Johnson gets involved in a personal war between two prominent Paleontologists willing to kill in the name of Science.

Although highly researched, I found the story boring. It felt like a list of true events gathered and crammed into a single character’s experience. The Protagonist, William Johnson himself is a collection of misfortunes, sheer dumb luck, whining astonishments, and stupidity. At one point Johnson is afraid for his life and the safety of his precious fossils and refuses Wyatt Earp’s (yep, the Wyatt Earp) protection because he didn’t like how Earp went about it the night before (not having drawn his weapon). Time and time again Johnson is duped and burgled yet learns nothing about being street smart (even if those roads are unpaved and filled with tumbleweeds)! By the final pages, I wasn’t rooting for Johnson’s triumph but rather for the book to come to an end.

The most fascinated thing about this book is that Michael Crichton died in 2008 and his publisher released Dragon Teeth in May of 2017. It was also intriguing the historical reality of the two fighting Paleontologists by the names of Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh who are prominent in the story.

Overall, I wouldn’t say the 320 paged book isn’t amusing, only that Dragon Teeth isn’t entertaining for anyone who isn’t an extreme history buff—which, unfortunately, I am not.

Doorbell Ditched

This morning, leaving with Zoey for her after breakfast walk, we went through the front door, which we haven’t done for over a month. Usually, after driving my son to football summer camp, I park at the lake and Zoey, and I walk it. Today, however, the camp was canceled, and we left through the front door.

The sun was out, the birds were flying, and lawn sprinklers had turned off and dropped back into their holding positions in the grass. As I turned toward the door lock, I noticed a smudge of red across my illuminated doorbell. I leaned in to examine it.

I could see the scarlet raised sections of a fingerprint and the middle that was thinned due to the pressure put on it as someone pressed down. What is that? Paint? Blood?!

A list of who could have left the print came to mind.

My daughter had gone—she was my first thought as she is an amazing painter. Perhaps it was her painted pointer finger impression? My husband rarely uses the front door and is meticulous and would know whether or not he had red smudges on his fingers—he would have used his elbow if he didn’t have his house keys on him.

That left my son, my son who leaves greasy prints on every surface of my house. My son who is tall enough that when he touches the stairwell with orange Cheetos-dusted digits, I have to pull out my stepladder to rub them out. My son, who at that moment, basking in the canceled practice, was sound asleep. So I left, deciding to deal with it when I got back.

As I strolled along the path leading to DayBreak, it occurred to me that our house hasn’t received its regular volume of carpet cleaning, solar paneling, and ant killing salespeople. We haven’t put out a No Soliciting sign. On most sales attempts I simply don’t answer the door during working hours. Besides, Zoey goes crazy at the chiming of a visitor, it’s enough to put off an unwanted sales pitch—but maybe we’ve inadvertently come up with another dissuasion; red paint or plasma.

Zoey and I finished our walk, and I remembered the crimson mark once more. As we entered the house, my son was awake, and I asked him about it.

“Oh yeah. Remember that fundraiser for Scout Camp?”

I did. The scout group went around the neighborhood trading cash for painting house numbers on street curbs.

“It’s from that,” he said. “I couldn’t get it off.”

I had to use an Exacto knife to chip the red paint off the doorbell—Zoey wailed each time I pushed too hard and sounded the alarm that someone had arrived. But now that I’ve restored the doorbell have I also restored the return of window washers and weed killer-killers? Have I opened up my porch to the endless pestering of passerby’s, now that there’s no mark that Jackson Pollock or Ted Bundy live at my home address? Yeah, probably. Hmm…maybe I should open up a can of paint or a vein?