Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Give me novocaine

My dentist is kind of a jokester: humming the “Jaws” theme song as he enters the room and telling stories with the hygienists. But he’s not joking when he says he’s going to fill my cavities without using novocaine. Surprisingly, it doesn’t hurt…much. Maybe because most of my cavities are shallow and small, stuck in little pits that caused my childhood dental experience to be pretty traumatic. But I’ve always been a fan of major pain medication. Gas me up, numb my mouth so much that I can’t properly drink from a straw for hours afterward. I don’t want to feel a thing. So last spring, immediately after Dr. Kahn announced that he’d fill my little cavity sans medication, I think my anxiety was more painful than the actual drilling. The same was true today when he filled two holes. There were moments when I thought it was going to hurt, when that cold, sharp pulse started its sprint to my brain. But then it retreated. And now that I’m sitting safely far away from the dental office, I’m telling myself how it really wasn’t that bad.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


That's MSU's football record so far this season, which, despite playing teams we were expected to beat, is still pretty impressive. A winning season has been rare the past few years, so maybe we're on the up-and-up? I watched Saturday's game against Notre Dame in the city at Blondie's, where the NY alumni club hosts watch parties for every game. I met up with Abbey, Adam, Sarah and Matt, with intentions to tailgate beforehand in Central Park. The weather forecasts looked great all week -- sunny, warm, and just a 2 percent chance of rain. Well, the clouds with that 2 percent must have centered right over us. As soon as we walked off the subway, the skies opened up, and we ran to the nearest corner store for an arsenal of umbrellas and ponchos. Getting soaked in spite of our rain gear, we decided to go to Blondie's early. The good side: as the first Spartans there, we got great seats (the place gets packed right around game time). The bad: This gave us a little too much time to drink beer, which left a pretty hefty tab at the end of the night. My friend Nate, who I haven't seen in at least two years, joined us later on. And the Spartans won, 31-14.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

School days

I'm in my third week of school now, but thanks to national and religious holidays, I've only had a few classes. I'm taking two classes this semester: One focuses on the critics and defenders of American democracy and the other is based on comparing U.S. policies with other industrialized countries. Both seem fairly interesting, even after working all day.

Stony Brook is a pretty school. It's smaller than I'm used to (about 22,000 students compared to MSU's 45,000), but a lot of people at my orientation were overwhelmed with its size. Being a fairly new university, the campus has a modern look to it, resembling something like Western Michigan University or Grand Valley. But for some reason, despite receiving some really high marks in national ratings lately, people don't seem overly excited to be there. As a girl in one of my classes put it: "It's cool to hate Stony Brook." I'm not sure why. Maybe because it's a commuter school. Maybe because the sports teams aren't very popular. Or maybe because no one really knows what a Seawolf (the mascot) is. I like it, though I'll always be an MSU girl at heart. My first few weeks have been nothing like my first days at Michigan State, where the fight song and school spirit were basically implanted in your brain. Although, I suppose I'm in a different playing field than the freshmen I drive past on my way to class. This is grad school. Part time. At night. There isn't much time for learning to love a new university.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hello again

It seems like every couple of months I emit a signal to people from the past, the once-, almost-, and never-weres. It must be some kind of subliminal message that says "Remember Kendra? You should text/email/myspace message her." Maybe I pop up in a dream here or there. Or maybe it's just pheromones. Whatever it is, it usually happens in two-day segments. Today is day two, and it's pretty weird.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Umm, I'm bleeding?

Since last December, I've donated blood every time the drive people come to the lab. Today was my third time. I usually get a little woozy when they pull out the needle, but today was bad. Like spots-over-the-eyes-and-the-room-is-humming bad. My nurse quickly noticed, and in one swift movement, he reclined my chair, elevated my feet and called for a cold compress. The one thing he forgot: the hole in my arm, where blood began to seep from in big drops. Is it actually considered "bleeding" if you're already giving blood? I'm not sure, but it freaked me out, and after staring at the growing drops for a couple seconds, I managed to say "Ummm, I'm bleeding?" Yes, like a question. Not sure why, that's just the way it came out in my hazy state. The nurse got the point, though. He bandaged me up, although left some of the dried blood in the crook of my arm, which I quickly cleaned up after a full recovery thanks to mini doughnuts and apple juice. Yuck. How does this bug me when I can stare at the blood-filled tubes or donation bag without any sort of reaction?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Carl and Marc

Chuck E. Cheese was a childhood favorite of mine. And lucky for me and Jesse, my dad loved the place, too. My mom would sit on the sidelines, guarding our pizza as the three of us ran around with our pockets full of tokens, playing the games we thought might give out the most Chuck E. tickets. To a kid, those tickets were like gold. And because it probably took an average kid about $20 to accumulate 100 of them (for what might get you a small carnival-style stuffed animal), they were pretty valuable to parents, too. Candy, T-shirts, Chinese finger traps, we came home with all of that. But you know one thing that definitely wasn't a prize option? Grillz. That's right, grillz, those bling-blingin' jewels for your teeth. As we wandered around the NYC Dave & Busters ticket redemption area, however, there they were, shining from inside their glass display cases. From then on, there was no question. We needed them. Well, we needed them for Carl and Marc, our visitors for the weekend. The outcome: see below.

All of these...

For these...
Nelly would be proud. So yes, D&B was part of our NY/NJ visit with Carl and Marc. Not something I'd normally recommend in the middle of the NYC entertainment mecca, but it turned out to be one of the weekend highlights. Other adventures: a visit to Canal Street, where Abbey and I bought "Tiffany" necklaces, Carl and Marc bought matches designer shades and Adam just stood on the sidewalk, looking like an undercover cop. Of course, we ate at Burritoville...a hit, again. And later, we headed back to Hoboken for dinner and drinks. (Sidenote: Michigan lost again!)

On Sunday, after finally getting up, we drove back out east, eating at another of my favorites, Hummus World. Next, we made a quick, but efficient, visit to the wineries. Efficient, because we still managed to do numerous tastings and "sip" two bottles of wine.

After a quick stop at Stony Brook and breakfast, I dropped the boys back at LaGuardia on Monday. I expect to see some creative Halloween costumes that incorporate their new metal gear.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I’ve marked two more states off my places-to-visit map: Connecticut and Massachusetts. The first (CT) doesn’t really count because, exempting McDonald’s, we didn’t stop there on our Labor Day trip to Boston. But just like I count Kentucky, Georgia, and other drive-though states passed on numerous family trips to Florida, Connecticut will remain shaded in on my mental map. I took the Port Jeff ferry to Bridgeport after work on Friday, where Abbey and Adam picked me up on their way to Bean Town. The ferry ride was so much better than sitting in what I’m sure was bumper-to-bumper traffic on the GWB, and probably cheaper once you add together the tolls and gas money. Surprisingly, traffic for the rest of the trip up the coast wasn’t too bad. A few hours later, we knew we’d reached Boston when a fuel truck decorated with huge green shamrock images passed us on the street.

We stayed with Abbey’s cousin, Andrea, for the weekend in her apartment in Brookline – just a short T-ride away from the city. On Saturday, we took a tour of the Sam Adam’s R&D facility, which included free beer and some cool tidbits from our guide. We had dinner that night with Andrea’s friends in the north end – Boston’s Italian section of town that’s lined with restaurants, pastry shops, and lots of hungry people. The highlight of the day, however, happened in Michigan. U-M lost 34-32 to Appalachian State in what is being called “the biggest upset in college football history.” Adam was battling a cold for most of the weekend, but watching the continuous replays of the Wolverines’ failure (and knowing that MSU won its first game) was enough to help him rally for the night. Unfortunately, he was shot for the rest of the weekend. You know Adam’s sick when he forgoes the bar for the couch.

On Sunday, we drove north to a beach in Gloucester, which is exactly how I’d pictured New England: quaint (and not so quaint) houses sitting on rocky jutts in the ocean. I fried my back and legs. And although my skin has finally stopped hurting, it’s beginning to peel in ugly shreds.

On Monday, we ate lunch at an outdoor cafĂ© on Newbury Street, followed by desert at one of Abbey’s favorites, JP Licks. Now I have the itch to explore more of the east coast.