Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cheer Up!

After a miserable day spent suffering and recovering from the stomach flu, I walked into the bedroom to find this little scene. The small teddy bear (MRN's might I add-- a little souvenir from the Orient Express that he will kill me for revealing...) hugging my 34-year old lion that my grandmother gave me when I was born; and little owl and big giraffe lining up behind him for a hug. Especially touching was that MRN had to go around the house to collect these little treasures from different rooms (no, I'm not one to collect / keep stuffed animals... just the few you see here with particular sentimental value).

It did indeed cheer me up.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Newfound Love



The home renovation project continues, but there's definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. With the final big project finished (the office-- photos to come) now we're just doing all the little (annoying) jobs-- painting trim, touch-ups, organization, etc. Oh, don't get me wrong... there's still some construction to be had (the weird alcove over the stairs still needs shelves...), but for the most part, the major projects are done.

The Problem:
The LAST thing that needed to finished with the kitchen was the back of the cabinet unit that faced the living room. Since kitchen cabinets are meant to face walls, the backing is just hardboard. That means it's not easily painted (it takes multiple coats and still looks bad). Plus there were holes in multiple locations that are used to affix the cabinets to wall. So painting would only solve part of the problem. You see my dilemma.

The Solution:
After a year of pondering, I finally came up with the solution: Wallpaper. I found a great damask print from, of all places, B&Q (Home Depot's British brother) that complements our wall color. And in less than 30 minutes, we had the finished product. MRN finished it with iron-on edging and it looks like it was meant to be. Fantastic! (Not to mention, for my first time ever wallpapering-- and with a pattern that needed to be matched up no less on an uneven surface, I think I did a pretty admirable job).

It's a shame that my media cabinet blocks most of the wallpaper. But now (much to MRN's dismay) I'm actively looking around the house for somewhere else I can wallpaper!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Secret Camera

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My name is Inigo Montoya...

Everyone who grew up in the 80s knows The Princess Bride. The adventure, quirky story lines (Billy Crystal and Carol Kane, anyone? Who could have been funnier? Even Andre the Giant, may he RIP, who despite innate lack of acting ability, managed to shine), and of course, true love, made for a prototypical teenage following. Probably ranking up there with 80s love-angst-y films like "Say Anything," it's the story that combines adventure with the undeniable anthem of every little girl: fairy tale love where your prince crosses oceans, land and, well, swamps to fight for his one true love.

But, have you read the book?

I have-- it was my "treat" one finals term at Vassar. To ensure optimum focus and limit distractions, I used to motivate myself with a treat when I was studying or writing a paper. Sometimes it was getting to change the music (I would make myself listen to the same cd until a paper was written; I'd get to have an ice cream when I finished a chapter (or 10); got to read a "fun" book (rather than school book) when I finished a subject. One time it was reading The Princess Bride (which, if anyone is interested, IS in the Vassar library).

While for the most part the movie follows the storyline of the book, the author's voice is not as defined in the film. And he's (yes, it's a he) funny. He's jaded, and somewhat acerbic (which, I suppose, does comes across in some of his characters), and sarcastic. It's part of the funny. And he doesn't believe in love-- or, so he'd like you to think. He channels the more "realistic" emotionally scarred, cynical disbelief into certain characters while letting others believe, in ignorant bliss, that fairy tales do exist. Take this passage from the preface of the book, for example:

"...but to take the title words-- 'true love and high adventure'-- I believed in that once. I thought my life was going to follow that path. Prayed that it would. Obviously it didn't, but I don't think there's high adventure anymore. Nobody takes out a sword nowadays and cries, 'Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die!' And true love? You can forget about that too. I don't know if I love anything truly anymore beyond the porter house at Peter Luger's and the cheese enchilada at El Parador's (sorry about that Helen)."

Helen's his wife.

Of course there's a deeper meaning behind this whimsical tale-- and that's one of what happens to love-- and life-- when you grow up. When you're young and idealistic and you've never been in love and you don't know what it's all about, it's easy to believe that everything should be like a fairy tale. To paraphrase a wise friend, "...[new] love's like anything new-- it's exciting, all that discovery and unknown. But once you've fallen in love again... and again... it sort of becomes old hat... and it's not exciting anymore. It doesn't mean that you don't love the person... it's just a different, grown up-- err, more sustainable, love."


I'm sure you can relate. I was all angsty and devastated about love when I was young and blissfully ignorant about the ways of the world. I thrived on it. Who didn't? But I wonder if we ever truly grow out of it. I mean, we all subscribe to the idea of romance-- romantic comedies, date night, valentine's day... we still believe in romance, but just in a more grown up, realistic way, right? (or is that an oxymoron).

But maybe that's the great divide-- can there be high adventure and true love when, indeed, you're all grown up? And, more importantly, would you, as an adult, fight for your one true love?

Monday, September 14, 2009

End of Summer

It's definitely Autumn here, which isn't so bad seeing that it's my favorite season. Alas, we live firmly in an alternate suburbia (the best I can compare it to from an American perspective is housing project... and we are on our way to being slumlords), so there is none of the beautiful foliage (although, that doesn't really exist in all of its colorful glory outside of New England...) or chilly air (it's too damp) or sniffs of cinnamon, log fires and apples (okay, so perhaps I embellish just a tad...). In any case, being the lazy (or perhaps, overworked?) bum that I am, I'm completely repurposing (okay, stealing) an e-mail I wrote to my friend David, recapping our summer activities. What can I say? Why rewrite when there's perfectly decent prose that you've already written? Oh well...

Excerpt from e-mail sent on 12 September 2009:

"Time does fly... the summer went too fast; well, if you can call an English summer, summer. But we have had beautiful sunshine for an entire week, even though Autumn has firmly established itself (though, truth be told, it never seems to get much warmer than "Autumn" temperatures...). Fall is however, my favorite time of year. So rather than look a gift horse in the mouth (Fall AND sunshine?!), I am going to relish in what few nice days there are and spend the entire day doing nothing but being outside. Ah, small pleasures. My plans may however, may be thwarted by an industrious fiance who has a bee in his bonnet to do home improvement projects. Booo....

We did have a really nice summer of traveling-- I'm trying to take advantage of living in Europe and how ridiculously cheap it is to fly everywhere (aided, of course, by the once-again strong GBP). Mark often has to work weekends, so I've taken to little weekends away when I can-- Italy in April, Brussels in May (for business, but went a few days early). We met friends from the US in Amsterdam and then to Paris, my first trip to both--Amsterdam is a beautiful city, as is Paris (discounting the Parisians, that is). Oh, but French food and wine (and cheese!)-- divine. The last night in Paris while everyone was gorging themselves on pate and steak frites and red wine, I sampled sole meuniere and think it might have been just the best preparation of fish I've ever had. Most unfortunately two subsequent attempts at making it myself have gone awry (how hard could it be? There's only like 4 ingredients! But those pesky French; the seemingly simplest tasks are deceivingly complicated; not to mention that finding Dover sole, despite LIVING in England, not easy; and filleting a flat fish? Thankfully that was left to Mark-- who, needless to say, is now a bit suspicious when I start a sentence with, "So, I was thinking..."). In any case- a very fun Spring / Summer of traipsing around and NOT planning my wedding... I'll get to it eventually! :) Lots and lots of trips around England, some for work, others just fun (lucky to have some friends visit London this summer so got to explore with them and also get some "comfort" from familiar faces; I'm a bit homesick for friends and family and with working at home, living in the middle of nowhere and traveling so much, haven't found making friends as easy as it used to be. But, life's nothing if not an adventure-- and I'm dutifully plotting my next one."

Author's note: I did manage to get said 'industrious fiance' out of the house for a little jaunt around "Bronte Country" which is a mere 20 miles away (who knew?!? I need to break out my "Exploring Britain" book more often!). More on that in a future post...

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Ahhh, Paris. The food, the sights, the art. I was in heaven at the Louvre, and 8 hours were simply not enough. Lots and lots of photos for those who feel so compelled; for those who do not, a sampling of my favorites below.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Dempster and I had a little love affair with doors while traveling in Holland and France. Big doors, small doors, red doors, blue... If you're so inclined, you can check out more on my Flickr page...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Small Town UK

Despite my rather dubious surroundings, one thing I do love about this little town is the teeny tiny neighborhood post office on Coal Clough Lane. Sure, it's jam packed and smells a little; but it's visibly tidy (in a haphazard kind of way) and efficient if not a little slow in a lazy, small town manner. And despite the fact that I can't quite make out whether it's a post office or a bank (very few patrons seem to be there to post anything; but there is always a long line and money being exchanged. Here the post offices exchange foreign currency-- US, Euro and Turkish lira (yeah, I don't get that either), cash checks and even act as ATMs, as far as I can discern), I do find the experience amusing. Especially when the post office employees rather apologetically tell me how much it will cost to mail a package or letter [to the US]. Today, when mailing some packages to my nieces, the post lady very reluctantly told me the cost... she was afraid it would be too much. How nice is that?! You're lucky if you get a US post office employee to say HELLO when you approach the counter. So, there are some nice things to small towns. Now, if only I didn't have to weave around broken bottles and dog poop to get to Coal Clough Lane.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

You Know It's Time to Move

When your neighbor leans out her window and calls down that we can use her husband's sharp object disposal container (that he uses for his insulin syringes) if we were to find any used needles in the yard of the house down the street that we were cleaning out (we bought it a few months ago and people had been using it as a makeshift garbage dump for nearly a year). We had, in fact, paid a professional waste company to do the majority of the clean up last week for that very reason... today we were putting a new gate in the back (because the hoodies at some point had burned the old one down).

Well, it was a nice offer, I suppose...

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Click on the photo to check out more pics from Amsterdam. Next stop: Paris!

Come Visit Me!

...said the subject line of an email from my sister. Followed by text reading, "a message from Makena" and these:

And then I cried. :(

Friday, August 28, 2009


It's not just the house that has been benefiting from a makeover-- but much loved furniture has as well! In my trek across the ocean last year, I did bring a few pieces of furniture that had particular sentimental value-- a media cabinet (my first "real"-- translation: non-IKEA purchase), a beautiful drop leaf table that I inherited from Jen and Eddie (that has been rebuilt, but still needs to be refinished), and a club chair.

Of the three, it's the club chair that I am most sentimental about-- maybe because I've had it the longest (almost ten years??). It was gifted by my dear friend, Lynn, and it was one of her furniture purchases early in her marriage (in the 70s?). Originally a pair, it changed hands and moved a few times-- from NYC to Boston to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, back to NYC, to Chicago and now England. It even spent some time in a frat house at Franklin and Marshall when it was in Lynn's son's possession. Needless to say, this old dear has seen a lot of action.

I love Lynn, so I love the chair-- plus it was the most comfortable chair-- the kind where you just sink into the cushions. But despite the comfort, it had definitely had seen better days-- the Campbell tartan pattern upholstery was frayed and worn at the arms and legs; it had a slip cover that was stained and didn't quite fit (somewhere a cushion cover was lost, so I had to improvise), and the frame was a bit creaky after many years of use.

So, I decided it was time for some new upholstery. We found a local upholsterer-- Roberts & Sumner, who are FANTASTIC! Amazing guys-- friendly, accommodating (they came to the house to take a look at the chair, bring fabric samples, give an estimate) and just the best to work with. When I finally decided on a fabric (after agonizing for weeks-- traditional or contemporary? solid or patterned? floral or stripe?), they came to pick up the chair and the reconstruction began.

They really liked the chair and said that they got a lot of compliments on it because of the unique shape of the frame and deep seat. When they removed the original fabric, they found very nice wooden feet (that were previously fabric-covered) that they refinished and stained and left uncovered. They reinforced the frame and replaced the springs in the base of the chair; and the old foam from the cushions were replaced. Removable covers were fitted (so we can wash them) and there was even enough fabric left over for a bolster cushion. It looks like a brand new chair-- it practically is!!

But can you BELIEVE that I forgot to take "before" photos?!? I was able to dig up one from a photo of my apartment in Chicago-- with the slip cover; but it doesn't do the makeover justice. But several friends and family will recognize the overhaul having sat in this chair many-a-time. Most significantly, LYNN! :)

(The pattern is actually blue, but it looks more grey in the photos; it picks up the light blue in the oriental rug we have... i do like to mix complementary fabrics and textures / modern and traditional...).

Friday, July 03, 2009

Going to the Mountain


So were the sage words of the founder of Islam, Francis Bacon and countless other scholars and academics no doubt (in concept at least).

Everyday is still a new experience in England-- whether it's figuring out what people are saying (I will likely forever be challenged by accent and slang), what certain foods are (yes, it doesn't seem like it would be that challenging, but believe me, it is) or trying to determine why they play the same episode of Friends about five times a day... and sometimes multiple times in a week! (I've given up). In general, I've found I've been able to compromise and find alternatives-- whether it is to food (no sushi? more grilled cooked fish and musubi... thankfully i'm able to get ume and nori; although ume has to be ordered); clothes & shoes (compromise: don't buy clothes anymore; instead have funneled my shopping compulsion into things for the home and iTunes downloads... to the positive impact on my wallet, might I add); country-living (more planning outings on the weekend; dinner at least one night of the week in the city-- coinciding with one of my travel days; spending the night "in the city" be it downtown Birmingham or London, once a week).

But the one thing that I haven't been able to find a solution to? Mexican food.

I grew up in Southern California-- Los Angeles to be exact. There Spanish is the dominant language and there are actually more Mexican-Americans than Americans. "So What?" you ask? That means kick-ass Mexican food.

And by kick ass I don't mean chain restaurants like Chipotle (although, do love me some Chipotle) or El Torito. I mean authentic, little hole-in-the-wall places that are sometimes hygienically questionable but you know abuela or perhaps tio (or tia, hijos/as o otra) are cooking recipes passed down for generations... EXCELLENTE.

And that is one of the HUGE gaps that I can't seem to fill. There's a Mexican chain called "Chiquitos" here... that is barely palatable... and not the least authentic (despite its claim). But other than that? You can barely buy ingredients (ummm... taco seasoning suspiciously tastes like curry...). So if the mountain ain't coming to Mohammed...

I've raised my chicken enchilada game to the next level and have experimented with making it taste "more authentic." I still haven't attempted to make my own sauce (I need a weekend for that), but I've been playing with the chicken mixture and think I've come up with a perfect blend thanks to some google sleuthing and piecing together bits and pieces from various places (including my friend McKay's recipe, whose this is originally based on!). Instead of grilling the chicken and cutting into chunks, I wanted to shred the chicken and make it really moist.. hence the new recipe, below. It actually is much easier than grilling (because you just let it sit on the stove) and the prep time is pretty quick. I'm still tweaking, so I'll let you know how it goes... and I'll let you know when I attempt sauces!

Hapa Shredded Chicken Enchiladas
Makes 8 Enchiladas; Extra "stuffing" can be sprinkled on top before the cheese mixture

You'll need:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 a medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed (I usually use 3, but I love garlic)
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 small, or 1/2 large bell pepper (any color-- but I like yellow or green for color), sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded (get the goo outta there) and diced
  • 1 large (16 oz) can of Enchilada sauce
  • Tortillas (i use flour, but you can use corn or whole wheat; note that whole wheat tends to be a little sweeter so you may need to counter with additional salt... it also for some reason is a little soggier... my experience shows that flour works best)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Taco seasoning packet
  • Hot sauce (optional; 1-2 tsp, or more depending on heat tolerance-- I like "Cholula" which is a Mexican hot sauce that you can actually get here-- it's available in most US grocery stores; one of these days I'll attempt my friend Alberto's grandmother's hot sauce which is AMAZING)
  • Shredded cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, mozzarella-- really, whatever you like; in America they also have those Mexican seasoned shredded cheese packets which I found works well; but if you don't have it, I just mix a little of the taco seasoning with the shredded cheese-- same idea)

(chicken mixture before enchilada assembly)


  • Place chicken breasts in a pot
  • Add 1/2 onion, smashed garlic and salt
  • Add water, just enough to cover top of chicken
  • Bring to a slow boil; Once boiling, reduce to simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, covered
  • Once cooked, transfer chicken to bowl or other dish and place in refrigerator to cool (really for as long as you want... just want to make it cool enough to handle). I usually scoop in as much of the onion and garlic from the broth as I can-- it makes it extra tasty.
  • Retain broth
  • Once cooled, shred chicken (with hands) or with two forks (if using forks, you don't really need to cool)-- for the Hawaiian readers of this blog, think kalua
  • Melt butter in frying pan (or wok) and add bell peppers, tomato, remaining onion and diced garlic; saute until veggies are soft (you can use olive oil, but come on-- there's not much better than butter. if you use olive oil, about tbsp is enough)
  • Add chicken, taco seasoning (if using taco seasoning for cheese, retain 1/4), and 1/2 cup broth
  • Simmer 10 min to reduce liquid
  • If you're using hot sauce, add to chicken and veggie mixture. I usually add about 1 tbsp or more (I like it hot!)
  • Cook until warm
Now it's time to assemble your enchiladas!
  • Take one tortilla and add a few large spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in the center (be sure not to overstuff-- they'll be harder to seal).
  • Sprinkle a little cheese over mixture (retaining enough to sprinkle over all the enchiladas once assembled)
  • Fold ends toward center and roll the tortilla to close
  • Place in 13x9 baking pan
  • Repeat until you have used all of the chicken mixture (or you run out of space), arranging enchiladas in baking pan
  • Once assembled, pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas (you may not need the whole can-- it depends how "saucy" you want them)
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese over the entire mixture
  • Place in oven at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling).
(Before the oven)

(The final product*)

*if you like cilantro (I don't-- but wish I did for aesthetic purposes), you can finely chop and sprinkle cilantro over the top-- it would make it very pretty). Stay tuned for a good side to this meal in the next edition of: Going to the Mountain.

**Cook's note: taco seasoning can be VERY salty; so I usually only use about 3/4 of the packet or less; I don't usually cook with a lot of salt, so that may just be me. But between that and the enchilada sauce, beware of salt!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Thanks to Lynn for this one!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Argument of a Not So Classic Beauty

So, there's this ongoing debate that goes something like this:

"It's inconsiderate when your partner changes their appearance; like gains a ton of weight. It's selfish."

"What do you mean? People gain weight when they get older; or they could have a medical condition; metabolism changes, women also gain weight differently than men, and vice versa. It doesn't mean they're selfish-- it means they're aging."

And so on, so so forth.

One time it was prompted by a super skinny man walking down the street holding the hand of a not so skinny woman, followed by a comment about the woman probably not being that size when they initially got together. And then all hell broke loose.

It's not the way it sounds-- of course medical conditions and extenuating circumstances don't play into the debate. But regardless, it always ruffles my feathers. Is it simply about looking at the whole men vs. women / venus mars thing another way? The debate is based on the theory that men are typically physically stimulated while women are emotionally stimulated. But I can't get past the superficial part of it. Because, do you really fall in love with the way someone looks? Is that a fundamental difference between men and women?

I get the whole, "You can't judge looks across the room" argument. Sure-- there's always some sort of physical attraction that draws you to someone initially. But for something sustainable, there has to be more. Maybe it's because I've never really fallen in love with traditionally "good looking" men-- by societal standards, I suppose. To me, they're really cute... but I've always been attracted to intelligence, humor, talent, personality. Once, when asked what my type was (likely in the period of my life that I refer to as the "lean" dating years), my sister quipped, "Dork." I loved that-- because to me, dorks are the smart, interesting ones. And I like the smart interesting ones. And lord knows I'm no classic beauty-- pretty average in fact; not fat, not thin; an interesting mix of features courtesy of my caucasian father and hawaiian / chinese / korean mother... but beautiful? Not so much.

Besides; personalities are constant (for the most part)... it's who you are. What you look like changes-- your hair gets gray, you get shorter, a little rounder around the edges... you get frown lines and laugh lines and your hair thins. There's a great quote that I've always remembered-- I can't remember the source, but it goes something like this:

"It's a wonderful thing as time goes by-- to be with someone who looks into your face when you've gotten old and still sees what you think you look like."

Everyone should be so blessed.

Because even if you're not traditionally beautiful, I don't think most people think they're ugly (at least I hope they don't). To me, everyone has beauty in them. I know it sounds cheesy, but I really believe that. To me, beauty is so much more than what someone looks like. It's kindness, it's compassion; it's intelligence, it's being able to make people laugh. Beauty doesn't last forever. But the other stuff does. At least a lifetime.

But maybe this is the argument of a not so classic beauty.

Friday, June 12, 2009


So, I'm waaaaaayyy delayed in posting the rest of the photos from my Italy trip-- but, what better time than today? Let me just say that I love Florence. LOVE. I always thought of Florence as the equivalent of Chicago and Rome the equivalent of NYC. Florence is beautiful, and small (so fully walkable), generally clean (a feat for a city that is so overrun by touristas) and the BEST? it's a city known for paper. Paper you say? Yes-- my great passion. It's known for leather too, but that's not as interesting to me (although I did buy a beautiful bag...). There's also the gelato... oh, gelato. I could eat that three times a day... if it weren't for the homemade pasta. It's a carb-phobic person's nighhtmare (thankfully I'm not).

I first went to Florence with my dear friend K, all of 8 (or 9??) years ago. She was on a whirlwind trip of Europe, meeting friends in different countries before heading to business school (I got Italy, Switzerland and Austria). It was one of the best trips I've taken. She's a wonderful travel companion, we love most of the same things; she's so fun, organized, adventurous; and, loves paper AND gelato, that it made for the perfect trip. So it was a little bittersweet to be there without her, but it also brought back a lot of memories of our trip.

One big change that I noticed was the city was MUCH more crowded. And mostly with Americans. I was there around the same time I went almost 10 years ago, but there was definitely a more, almost Disneyland, vibe. I heard American accents more than Italian, which I have to say was disappointing. Every vendor spoke English which, while easier, made Italy lose some of its charm. All said, it lost a bit of the magic of the first trip, but I still loved it. There's something magical and romantic about Italy-- I don't know if it's the light or the art, but I can't wait to go back. Next time with MRN!

(K-- there's a special photo for you...see if you can pick it out!)

Heidi Montag Poses for Playboy


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

He vs She: The Gym

So, we've joined the gym-- and on day 11 of gym duty (meaning going to the gym every morning at 7 am... pause... YAY ME!!) and in the 10 days, let me just note, I have GAINED 3 pounds (WTF) but my favorite jeans no longer fit (need a belt). But beyond that, it's been absolutely enlightening going to the gym with a boy vs a girlfriend. Let me summarize:

1. Boys are competitive; they like to brag about how many calories they've burned and weights they've lifted. I don't know about you, but I'm more concerned about the TIME I'm doing cardio. Maybe it's 6 of one, half dozen of another (GCC-- are you SO impressed I got that one right?!? I've been practicing!!), but the fact that I can do 75 minutes of cardio vs his 30 means that I am the winner.

2. Boys take FOREVER. It's a big dramatic demonstration of waiting 5+ minutes between "reps" on the various weight machines. Girls? Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. Get the work out done. Cardio? check. Weight machines? check. Free weights? check. Boys? Cardio? okaaaay.... wait around for 5 minutes.... Weight machines?... okay.... sit there for about 10 minutes between very dramatic breathing and flexing of lungs and muscles...

and so it goes.

I can get my whole work out done in 75 minutes. Cardio, weights, abs. On weekends I allow myself "fun time" in that I get to do the rowing machine, extending my workout to 90 minutes. But can I stomach THE BOY workout? am I going to have to extend my workout to 120 to accommodate?! Blaaaaahhhh... NEED SOME GIRLFRIENDS!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Right Now

Things I love:
- It's still light at 9 pm
- It's light a 5 am
- Traffic-free highways
- Friendly taxi drivers
- mango and passion fruit innocent smoothies
- ibuprofen with codeine

Things I hate:
- people who don't know how to queue
- getting patted down at airport security (seriously-- we may as well
walk through naked at this point)
- seeing this side of 3 am
- getting mocked for my tea preferences (so what if I like vanilla
syrup in my tea?)
- did I mention getting up at 3 am?

Posted from my iPhone

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shout out to my "Designer Dentist"

Designer because Dr. Anesko saved me from a world of hurt caused by shady dentist #1 (yes, I should have listened to my gut that told me there was something wrong with a dental practice being the basement of a Sears that didn't have a consistent water supply. But in my defense, they were a preferred provider as listed on my insurance company's website); restored my confidence in the profession; have really nice offices and state-of-the-art technology (digital x-rays, anyone?) on Michigan Avenue; AND, given recent UK dental experiences, reinforced that there is a lot to be desired about socialized medicine (so attention people who want to do away with the current US health system-- while there are certainly major flaws that need to be sorted, there's no one single solution to make it all better; it has to be some kind of collaboration between public and private. Not to mention, socialized medicine does not translate to FREE health care; it translates to equal access. You still pay for it through the tax system-- and take it from someone who's currently seeing a more than 20% of her salary going to health care services that I use infrequently at best. It's no fun. But, as per usual, I digress...).

I've blogged about my dentist in the past, but in light of recent unhappy events (including teeth that are still sore), have been fondly remembering the great customer experience at Water Tower Dental Care. Not only are they completely patient-focused, they're also so genuinely nice and actually care about your well-being. Not to mention they're state-of-the art and inspire complete confidence.

One of the things that struck me right from the beginning is that it's not just a business for them-- they're committed to patients and giving back to both the community they serve AND to those less fortunate around the world. The first month I visited they were offering teeth whitening services but 100% of your payment went to a local children's charity that provided free dental services to underprivileged children. In fact, I wrote the check directly to the charity and got to claim it on my taxes that year. They also do missionary trips to provide free dental services in areas of the world where dentistry is not up to par. I mean, how cool are they?

So, just a shout out to my friends at WTDC-- I miss you guys! And to all my Chicago friends (or even people just passing through Chicago!), go see them! You won't be sorry.

Sunday, May 10, 2009