Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Dental Visits

One of my favorite chapters of ZigZagStraight has to do with Wylie's first dental visit. A couple weeks ago, Wylie and I had dueling dental appointments. Mine--a routine crown replacement--was on Monday, Wylie's was on Tuesday. (I have to shout out, I go to one of the most respected dentists in the Loma Linda & Redlands areas. He is the dentist of dentists. Seriously. I highly recommend him). My dentist drew first: "Hmmm...well, uh...Jill...there's just not enough good tooth left for me to build a crown..." Next came words like "peridontist", "root canal", and then finaly "implant". And, with that last shot, I was down for oral surgery in two days. Until then, a steady diet of nothing--the temporary crown was hanging on through sheer force of my will--and motrin 24 hours a day. (I did receive excellent care under the careful precision of Dr. Zalsman in Redlands). Yes, #19 is no longer. And, in its place some bone from a dearly departed. My titanium root will be installed in a couple months. I am robot.

That was all on the Monday before Wylie's visit the next day to his dentist.

Now, if you didn't link to the previous post part deux of the duel will not really resonate with you, but for those of you who recall...

I pick up Wylie from school and begin the drive to Dr. Jiminez . We had a very positive experience there for the boys' cleanings. Wylie knew about the appointment so there was no surprises here. However, as we drove over anxiety began to leak out of Wylie like Niagra Falls.

"I'm not getting a shot, right?"


"It's not going to hurt me, right?"


"They're not going to make me smell anything, right?"

"Um...well, " I had to be honest. The doctor and I had agreed to use nitrous to help Wylie relax for the appointment. This revelation sends Wylie into full-panic mode. Campbell does his best to encourage him. This only increases the water pressure. I keep saying "You'll have to ask Dr. Jiminez, Wylie, do you trust him?" More water.

By the time we got to the office, the falls had dried up and Wylie presented himself stoically. The capable assistant invited "mom" to come back with Wylie, but I deferred to him. He said he was fine with just he and the doctor.

Out in the waiting room, Campbell did his homework sitting in the stump of an old tree and I immersed myself in a short novel under the watchful eyes of forest critters (Dr. Jiminez's office is fashioned after the 100 Acre wood). I tried to avoid all references to time so as to remain calm, cool, collected, detached.

A very short 45 mintues later, the capable assistant comes out with a briefing:

"He did great, Mom. Four fillings done and he did just fine. No tears or resistance. We had The Secret of Nimh playing on the screen and he was completely engrossed. Even told Doctor to move out of the way one time. He didn't want to get up because the movie wasn't over. Just so you know...he did tell us after that it was incredibly painful for him and that he was screaming in his mind." Because the staff had only seen Wylie once before, she didn't know how to take this declaration. I assured her it was quite normal for Wylie and they had succeeded where others had failed.

Soon after, Wylie comes out with a triumphant, yet somewhat nitrous-y grin. He never heard a word the assistant said about the visit. We all walk out to the car.

Campbell asks: "So, Wylie how did you do?"

Wylie: "It was so painful. I was screaming in my mind. But, The Secret of Nimh was on and the doctor couldn't hear it. I can eat in 30 minutes. Can we go to Blockbuster and rent Secret of Nimh and then to McDonalds, Mom? It will be 30 minutes then."

We drove into the sunset. Campbell looked at me through the rearview mirror, shook his head and rolled his eyes. Wylie was lost somewhere between his first and tenth nugget only 29 minutes away. As for me? I shook my head, too, except that made my mouth hurt and reminded me of my impending dental drama. With the entire left side of my bite shut down, 800 mg of motrin coursing through my veins and an empty stomach, I was pretty close to those Niagra Falls myself. But, looking over at my brave son, I decided to smile in my mind instead.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What's in a Name?

Like this blog name for example?


There's a lot of zig zag going on at the Harris Ranch right now. Who knew that title would be at once descriptive and prophetic? This is a place-holder entry for future blogs on:
  • Wylie & I: dueling dental drama
  • 8/10 of a mile
  • Jehovah Jireh
  • Band mania

Wait for it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The New Diary (of a Non-Wimpy Kid)

We are 11 days out from the adventure of middle school for Wylie and Campbell. Coincidentally, the movie "Diary of A Wimpy Kid" came out on DvD this week. We watched it and it is well-done, laugh-outloud funny.

Not surprisingly, Wylie is a big fan of this author and this series.

I cannot know now if Wylie's experiences in a couple weeks will mirror Greg and Rowley's, but one thing is certain: there will be stuff to write about.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Calling C.S. Lewis

I profess faith in God and in his son, Jesus. This defines many of the boundaries and templates of my life and my perspective. Having just celebrated Easter--the Super Bowl of Christian tradition some might say--it is especially troubling to me that I am having such a difficult time witnessing the end of my friend's life after a long battle with cancer.

It's difficult for me to even articulate my difficulty.

I don't think it's anger about the injustice of her struggles with a buffet of chemotherapies.
I don't think it's frustration about the cycle of hope and despair I've seen her go through.
I don't think it's sorrow for the days she will not have ahead.

Although all of these things are catalogued in my emotions, these are not the root causes of my own pathos.

I think it's fear.

And, if I am fearful about my friend's transition from this side of eternity to the other side, what does that imply about my own inevitable transition?

C.S. Lewis said, "Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret?  There are better things ahead than any we leave behind."

The first time I read those words I believed them, I think.

But, these past two days give me pause.

One good quote deserves another, so here's another:  

I would rather be ashes than dust!  I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than should be stifled by dry-rot.  I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet.  The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.  I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.  I shall use my time.  (Jack London)


I am all for living and not simply prolonging. But, I wonder why I am seemingly unconvinced about the better things ahead just now.

I'm calling C.S. Lewis.  I'm using a spiritual shout-out on Christianity Cash-Cab.  I don't know the answer and time is running out.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Was that for the wicked or the weary?

A group of us are learning about life's healing choices and we read a verse from the bible where Jesus says:

"Come to me, all who are burdened and weary, and you will find rest for your souls."

What does that mean?

What does it mean for my soul to rest? In our culture, we never really rest. How can we rest when we are perpetually reachable via text? How can we rest when multiple tasks are tackled with the greatest of ease through technology? Instead of lightening our load this efficiency in tasking has weighed us down. I don't believe anyone truly rests anymore.

But, maybe that's not the kind of rest Jesus was describing.

When I put my feet up, my body rests temporarily. What do I have to put up for my soul to rest?

One common definition explains that if something rests it's in a position such that its weight is supported. Am I in position such that my soul--the weight of my soul--is supported? As I consider this question, my mind wanders to the image of a mother cradling a baby while it sleeps. We envy this position; we boast sometimes about "sleeping like a baby". Babies sleep quite well nestled against a parents' soft, warm skin where the entire weight of the child is supported by loving, secure arms. How long has it been since my body or soul has known rest like that?

Maybe the question is not what do I have to put up for my soul to rest.

Maybe the question is what do I have to take down?

Jesus said "Come to me."

What is in my way today?


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Silence is Golden

...or at least...bronze-ish.

It is rare (exceedingly so) that I am ever alone in my home. Sometimes I fantasize about it...(cut to: birthday party for 13 "tweens" last weekend), but it's always in an idealized way. If I were "alone" I would (completely renovate the spare bedroom, replant the garden, spring clean those nasty kitchen cupboards, finish the 12 books I've started reading, write a symphony, scrapbook...ha!) If the idealized version is to manifest it requires more planning and preparation.

I found myself alone in my home because:

a) 15 year old is at camp this weekend
b) 45 year old is on the east coast this weekend
c) 12 year old is at auntie's house (last minute invite)
d) 12 year old is at auntie's house (last minute invite)

Here is the list of what I've done so far:

a) watched two mediocre movies
b) consumed 3/4ths of an individual Brando from Gourmet Pizza Shoppe
c) went to bed without brushing my teeth
d) woke up at 9:30 & currently drinking coffee with cinnamon toast

I'm not proud of myself. But, even as I write this long overdue next blog entry, the silence emphasizes what is so true about my life: I covet the quiet but thrive in the noise.

Off to polish the silver...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010...Where to Begin?

I'm going to take Vizzini's advice and go back to the beginning...

Among other priority adjustments in the new year, I am committed to reading through the bible this year. Youversion.com (link to the right) has 20 different ways to read through the bible. I've chosen the chronological guide. This will take me through in daily readings roughly the way the events described unfolded in histroy. Exciting.

Truth transforms from the inside out. What better way to begin 2010...transformed every day.