That La Kid

wishin' an' hopin'!


I haven’t been 226 since November 26, 2008.  And that’s from a graph where the numbers were sneaking back up.  By May 2009 I was 233 and by August 2010 I was 252.

My lowest weight in the past 5 years was 215 (Sept. 2008), and I thought I was hot shiiiiit.


That’s me on the right.

Basically, this means I only have 11 lbs. to lose before I start feeling human again, feeling pretty.

I am continuing my C25K, which is a training program for running a 5k, and last night I was really running for a little bit.  Not just jogging, but really running.  It’s crazy, after not doing it for a couple few weeks, I was able to get right back into it.  I just picked right up where I left off.  Music helps a lot.  Not having Tom with me actually helps a lot, too, because I race home as fast as I can to be with him.


I’ve been 228-229 for so long, since September 24!  I’m so excited to see a new number on the scale!  Woo hoo!

That’s 9.36% of my total body weight GONE.

In one of my favorite movies, “Hungry for Change,” they say, “you can get 10 lbs. off your body with sheer force, but you’re going to have to pay it back with interest.”  I’m sure the running helps, but I hope changing to a healthy diet will make most of the difference in the long run.  Diets don’t work.  Revolutionizing my life is working.  Getting mad as hell and deciding that I’m not going to take it anymore has made the difference.  Yesterday I had 3 smoothies which consist of kale, berries and pineapple.  I also had couscous, which is basically pasta, tomatoes with basil and feta cheese, a couple of handfuls of peanut M&Ms, a Taco Bell burrito and a slice of chocolate cake.  I’m not depriving myself, but I’m adding so much healthy living that it’s starting to crowd out the crap.

The goal is under 200 lbs. by Christmas.  I wanted to be 215 by Halloween, and 205 by Thanksgiving.  It’s going to be super tough.  I’d be pretty content at less than 200 by Christmas.  The broader goal is 164 by next July.  And since I’ve gone this far in spelling out my goals, if I am still 164 or less by July 2015, then I get the most elaborate Disney World vacation that money can buy, possibly with a vow renewal ceremony so that I can have pictures in a wedding dress without looking like I ate the entire wedding cake by myself.

Our Wedding 2006

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a change in me

A weird thing happened yesterday while I was singing in the shower.

Well wait, let me back up a bit.  When I got pregnant, my nose became very swollen and my voice got real deep.  I did a little research and tried to mention it to Dr. Wolanski.  This article describes my symptoms exactly and is what I believe that I had.  It’s all over my head, but, as the article mentions, once Bruce came into the world, the symptoms began to subside.

Fast-forward to present day.  My voice never did fully recover from pregnancy.  I can’t tell you how disheartening that has been.  I miss singing with the Disney Princesses.  I look at Bruce and just think, “well, I guess my new Gaston voice was worth it.”  I have always had pretty severe symptoms of what I believe is undiagnosed PCOS: facial hair, abnormal cycles, acne.  I’m 30, why do I still have acne?  I had even felt similar pain to that which I encountered that fateful Black Friday in 2011, but much less severe.  We were at Disney World in 2003.  I just could not get the crampiness to go away and was uncomfortable in every position.  In hindsight, I was playing with fire and should have gone to see a doctor.

Tom and I have taken a whole-body approach to health.  Maybe I could take a hormone to combat what I assume is high levels of testosterone that are producing many of these symptoms.  Or!  Maybe I could feed my body a diet of living, healthy, leafy deep green vegetables.  Maybe I can shrink the fat cells that (I assume) are producing some of the excess hormones that are doing this to me.  I believe Coca-Cola fed Mr. Nasty.  (You know, like the way Hexxus feeds on toxins and poisons in “Ferngully.”)  I believe my body wants to heal itself.  I believe my cells are slowly becoming more alive as I embrace the food that God gave us.


While I was in the shower yesterday, I got a little frog in my throat while I was singing (badly).  I couldn’t seem to clear it.  I just kept singing (badly).  It felt different.  It sounded different.  Hmm, I wondered…  I tried an oldie but a goodie and suddenly I was singing (badly) along with songs that I haven’t been able to sing (at all) for a couple of years.

I may not know what I’m talking about, but I’m going to pretend that the amount of weight I’ve lost so far is already affecting me in positive ways.  I’m just going to assume this whole thing is slowly but surely beginning to impact my health.

I used to belt this out in the car, and Tom would say, “Dang! You sang the ass off that song!”  I’m not back to that level, but it’s really nice to be able to sing it, period:

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so glad that you asked!

Okay, here’s my essay, I’ve been looking for an excuse to post this for a long time, anyway:

Sorry the pictures are so crappy.  I was too excited to wait and take them in better lighting.

I am decorating my house as much like an Imagineer as I can.  As it turns out, it’s kind of like a muggle attempting wizardry, but anyway…. I looooove Disney.  Odds are you already know that.  So, without offending the Mickey fanatic decorators in the audience, red, black and yellow and Mickey silhouettes don’t do anything for me.  It’s kind of too obvious.  Where’s the subtlety in that?  The art?  The true fandom?  I love Mickey, don’t get me wrong.  But that’s so one-dimensional.

You know what I love?  Fort Wilderness.   Tom and I went right after we got pregnant and it was magical.

My dining room is probably my favorite room in the house, themed around Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.  The previous owners of our house used sticks from their yard as curtain rods in the dining room, with burlap draperies.  We didn’t notice until the day that we got the keys.  We both looked at it, and at each other and thought, “Gee, what can we do with that?”  Fort Wilderness.  It was difficult to not include Frontierland, or even Wilderness Lodge, but to limit the room specifically to Fort Wilderness.  I’m a stickler for authenticity.  Fort Wilderness, to me, is Daniel Boone, and early east coast forts built around the Revolutionary War, just as we new Americans began to venture westward.  Frontierland conveys more of a Wild Wild West theme to me, a post-Civil War/Gold Rush era, and Wilderness Lodge pays homage to the great lodges of the Northwest and in my opinion brings us basically into the 20th century.  I could have done a lot with geysers, National Parks and totem poles, but I decided to stay true to Fort Wilderness, specifically.

There’s not much to go on in the world of Imagineering Fort Wilderness.  So my design is based primarily on personal experience.  For the record, I don’t have enough horse stuff.  Let me just clear the air and get that out of the way right now.  The Tri-Circle-D Ranch is a big part of the Fort.  I need to incorporate the horses in some capacity at some point.

But for now…

The first installation in the Fort Wilderness dining room was the black Mickey icon chandelier.  Didn’t I say I wasn’t into mouse-ear silhouettes everywhere?  I did say that, didn’t I?  Well, I’ve made and exception in the form of Mickey’s head over my dining room table.  I bought the chandelier at a Disney Character Outlet (in Woodbridge, VA I think) before I even had a house because I knew I had to have it.  It’s very versatile.  It went with the house in Virginia, and it works here in the Fort.  I want to get a Mickey Mouse cast iron trivet to go with it, but we’re still a work in progress.

Mickey Chandelier


The centerpiece of the room is the table.  We found a gorgeous table at Nadeau.  It’s huge!  It seats at least 8.

Nadeau table


We knew we wanted a bar to store wine and a buffet to store entertainment ware (punch bowl, chip/dip plates, etc.).  I happened upon the Verona Bar and Verona Buffet at World Market.  I did some research and discovered their annual dining room sale, so we waited several weeks and bought them at a discount.  On top of that, we caught a store Grand Opening not too far from us for even deeper savings.

World Market Verona Buffet

The table, bar and buffet were easy.  We met and fell in love immediately.  Seating has been difficult.  We knew we wanted benches.  Where do you eat when you’re camping?  At a picnic table.  We bought benches to match the bar and buffet, and would you believe it, they are exactly ONE INCH too long to fit under the table.  We went ahead and set them up so we’d have something for Bruce’s party, but the search continues.

But I digress.  I’m getting away from what I wanted to be the meat and potatoes here, Fort Wilderness.

It’s nice to be an artist.  It’s not necessary to pull off a decently designed space, but it helps.  I wanted something that deliberately brought my campsite into the dining room, so I created a casual charcoal sketch on newsprint and framed it in a rich wooden frame that I found at Michael’s.

Fort Wilderness Campsite Sketch


Did you know in “The American Adventure” at Epcot, they only use the technology of the time to display various periods throughout American history?  For example, we don’t see photographs until the Civil War era.  Prior to that the story is told via paintings.  (I guess Audio-Animatronics count as real people.)  I tried to adhere to this rule in my post-Revolutionary War fort, but I broke my own rule with a photo that I took of Reception Outpost.

Reception Outpost


On the other side of my charcoal sketch is another work of art that I created.  I thought pioneers venturing out into the wilderness might return with sketches and descriptions of newly discovered flora and fauna (and Merriweather! Wait…).  Bearing that in mind, I drew a picture of the Dusky Seaside Sparrow.  This tragic character is extinct as of 1987, and the last known living Dusky resided at Discovery Island on Bay Lake.  His legacy lives on in my dining room.

Dusky Seaside Sparrow


When I was researching Fort Wilderness, I found one image.

Fort Wilderness Train


So I was tickled to have received this for my birthday:

Train Print


I’m sure it’s actually Frontierland, and I’m aware that rail travel came much later than my assumed Fort era,  but I’m willing to let that slide because it’s so similar to the image of the Fort Wilderness train (which was decommissioned and turned into ticket booths at Pleasure Island).  The lush greens could really go either way.  It’s not like it’s a Big Thunder print.

Here are some other little touches from around the room:

Fort Wilderness Dining Room


I’m still on the hunt for a hand-woven Native American table runner, so if you know anybody…

And here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the whole shebang, my pretty subtle Disney Dining Room:

Fort Wilderness Dining Room

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Happy Birthday, Brucey Lee!


On Friday night, we picked up Uncle Glenn at the airport and went and had Pho at Doan’s.  Mommy and Daddy are really into Pho these days.  You ate several bean sprouts.  You tend to eat whatever we eat, but soup is tough.

Lindsay and her friend (who has been DYING to hang out with you) showed up first, around 9.  You cried when Lindsay tried to hold you, but got along just fine with Erica, a complete stranger.  For the entire weekend, Erica referred to herself as your wife.  Everybody loves you, son.  You’re just so sweet and funny and charming.  At one point, I walked into your room and you were sitting in the Lay-Z-Boy with Erica.  Just sitting there.  Cool as a cucumber.  I was jealous, because it seems like I always have to wrangle you to sit quietly with me.

Gran, Grandpa and Uncle Haley got in next.  I am not sure when, maybe 10:30?  Grandpa was hungry.  Daddy, Good Glenn and Uncle Haley ran to Wendy’s and Taco Bell.  They were all eating at our awesome new dining room table when Great Aunt Debby, Courtney, Kelly and Desteny arrived around midnight.


We didn’t hang out for very long.  It was late, so we set up the beds and went to sleep.  I feel like we put in a movie, but I don’t remember what it was.  Uncle Glenn slept in the airplane room, Gran and Grandpa slept in the guest room downstairs.  Debby, Kelly, Courtney and Desteny slept in the family room and Lindsay, Erica, and Uncle Haley slept in front of the tv in the Bonus Room.

On Saturday we woke up fairly early.  Daddy went and picked up your balloons.  We set out food.  We ordered 7 Pizza Hut pizzas for lunch.  We had 3 cheese, 2 thin crust pepperoni, 1 supreme and 1 veggie.  That accompanied pretzels, corn dogs, a veggie platter, chips, salsa, cheese, hummus, pesto dip, popcorn, cotton candy, circus peanuts, colorful lollipops direct from Walt Disney World, animal crackers, caramel apples, peanuts and M&Ms.  It was quite a spread.

One of the real hits of the party was a mini-fridge that we decorated to match our Storybook Circus theme.  Daddy brought home from work over a year ago.  The sides are covered with big NOS decals, so Mommy’s cousin Kelly and Desteny cut out white stars and glued them to red poster board, then we taped that to the side of the fridge to cover the NOS.  We also removed the backlit NOS title piece on the front and replaced it with a much cuter logo.  It was awesome!

Great, Great Aunt Sara Beth and Joyce came around 1.  Chris Mason from Daddy’s work brought his family.  Matt and Kim Cavanaugh, Daddy’s high school friends, came.  At about 1 o’clock, Grandpa and Uncle Glenn went to the airport to get Daddy’s cousin, Phillip.  The biggest and most awesome surprise was that Mommy’s cousin Erika and your Great Great Aunt Jean drove all the way from Maryland!  That’s an 8 hour trip!

You got SOOOOO many presents!  Everybody loves you so much.

I bought your shorts on Etsy.  They were custom made.  Although I ordered a size 12 months, I’m sure they’ll fit you well into your preschool days.  I asked the lady to send a scrap of fabric so that I could make you a bow-tie.  It all came together beautifully.  You wore a ring master’s top hat as well.

Mommy missed Uncle Haley’s birthday last week, so we gave her lots of presents as well.  You needed help opening your presents, but had no problem helping Uncle Haley unwrap hers.

Mommy wanted beautiful portraits of you smashing cake all over your face.  Unfortunately, you were only interested in picking the sprinkles off one by one.

On Saturday night, Daddy took Uncle Glenn and Phillip to Uptown Charlotte to walk around, then they went to Mac’s Speedshop for the best bbq in town.  Meanwhile, Gran, Grandpa, Mommy, Auntie Cray Kaye, Erica, and Uncle Haley stayed home with you and had Barnaby’s pizza (from our February trip to Chicago) for dinner.  We played Whonu for hours.  Your grandpa got really into it.

Sunday was a lazy day, but that’s okay because we were all together.  We did a lot of lounging around.  Mommy and Uncle Haley played Disney Infinity on the Wii.  Daddy did wushu with Uncle Glenn and Phillip.  Lindsay and Erica left pretty early, but Mommy and Gran caught up with them at WalMart.  We had dinner at Nothing But Noodles before Gran, Grandpa and Uncle Haley left for Charlottesville.

On Monday, Daddy took Phillip to the airport, then Daddy, Uncle Glenn and Mommy took you to Killington’s in Huntersville.  We stopped by Joe Gibbs racing on the way to the airport to pick up “Ahnay.”  The Las arrived at about 8, and we went and had Pho and Doan’s again.  “Ahdah” drove Jerry’s parents and Tony’s parents down from Maryland.  Uncle Saule and Aunt T came in on Tuesday.  Oh, Tuesday…

We started at Dim Sum.  We had picked Wan Fu for your birthday dinner, but Ahdah wanted to go to a place that served Dim Sum because they’re more Cantonese.  We made a reservation for Dim Sum on Tuesday night.  Ahdah also wanted Dim Sum for brunch, so we went there after your Great Uncle Larry got in from BWI.  You were super tired after brunch, so Mommy and Uncle Glenn took you home for a nap while Daddy showed your Great Aunts and Uncles around.  They went to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, then Joe Gibbs racing.  Jerry’s dad got hungry, so Daddy took them to Vietnam Grille where they got all buddy-buddy with the owner.  Throughout Daddy’s Charlotte Adventure, he was texting Mommy a changing agenda.  They decided not to go to Dim Sum for dinner.  First they were thinking Tin Tin Buffet, then finally they got around to Wan Fu, Mommy’s first and original choice.

Before dinner, we took lots of pictures at home with lucky money, or lai see.  We ate in the private back room at Wan Fu.  It was nice.  You ate long noodles for your birthday for a long life.  We had a whole fish, Mongolian beef, pineapple fried rice, shrimp and other good stuff.  Mommy say between you and Uncle Glenn.  At dinner, somebody said that it was good, but not as good as Mei Wah.  Ahdah said that’s because he makes the food at Mei Wah too good!  

We came after dinner and had cake at our house and you got more lai see.  You cut the cake with Ahdah.  It was pretty cute.  Actually, Tuesday morning Ahdah held you for what I think was the first time.  He seemed pretty comfortable picking you up and playing with you.  He did it a couple of times throughout the day.  Uncle Larry kept saying that you were “such a friendly guy!”  You get along well with almost everyone that you meet.  All your great aunts took turns holding you.  They all thought Jasmine was so good, too.  She didn’t bark unless we asked her to, and was very sweet to everyone.  I was impressed that they were impressed.

Well, that’s it.  Wow.  A whole year.  I can’t believe it.  We wanted you so bad for so long, and now, here you are.  Alive and well.  Alive and, well, pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

I love you, little baby boy.  Don’t grow up too fast.


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too much


I remember not too long ago when A 20oz. Coke may or may not have been enough soda to quench my thirst. Now, I’m devoted to a healthy lifestyle. It’s not like, “No, I can’t drink soda anymore,” but “hmm, 8oz. of sugary goodness is quite enough.” It’s weird. My body WANTS to eat and live and be healthy.

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adventure is out there

I’m so excited about this that I’m downright giddy.

I’ve been cooking it up since Bruce’s first trip to Disney World in December. I have no idea how many times I’ve been to Disney World. I wanted to commemorate and remember each of Bruce’s trips. When he’s 10, I want him to be able to say, “I’ve been exactly — times.”

Pictures are great, and we take a picture of Bruce on Gaston’s chair each time. But you know, pictures are hard to display in large quantities. It’ll be tough to have something cute but unfinished or not full. Not to mention, at any moment Disney could pull Gaston’s chair. It may be a while, but they could decide to refurbish Gaston’s Tavern anytime. What happens when we have 38 pictures of him in one spot then the spot disappears? Plus, we don’t make it to Magic Kingdom, or any one spot, every trip.

At any rate, here’s a shameless picture of the most adorable kid in the village sitting in Gaston’s chair. Awwww.


So, I need something that will never be inaccessible. I need something that will be as cute on his first trip as it is on his 50th trip. Whatever it is, one has to look as good as one hundred.

I started looking at creative guest books. I kept coming back to a tree with thumbprint leaves. How can I Disnify this idea?



Pretty self-explanatory. I drew Carl and Ellie’s house. We add a balloon for each trip as soon as we get back, using Bruce’s fingerprint. Whether the trip is 1 day or 10, it gets one balloon. It’s been sitting on my desk in pieces since December, but last night I decided that I’m tired of having so many projects up in the air (HAAAAAA, no pun intended). I bought a frame and painted the background. The balloons and house are gingerly glued to the background so that if I do run out of space, eventually, I can pull it all apart and glue it onto a new bigger background.

I am so ecstatic! It’s so cute!


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i’m into labels


This is on a bag of Lays. Really? Farm-fresh, huh? No preservatives or artificial flavors AND Gluten free?!

It must be healthy!

Just the fact that they went there irritates the crap out of me. People fall for it, I’m sure. And if potato chips, notoriously associated with fat and lazy couch potatoes, can say that much, then what does that say about everything else in the grocery store?!

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So close to being out of the 230s forever.  So close.  232.2.  The dress I wore to Erika’s wedding is big on me.  It’s not potato sack big, but it’s definitely, “hmm, this isn’t as flattering as I recall” big.  The dress that I wore to my parents’ wedding (MY PARENTS’ WEDDING!!!!) is also a little on the roomy side.  It fits, and I’m wearing it to a wedding this weekend.  It’s comfortable, not huge.  However, the dress that I wore to Will and Jamie’s wedding fits, and it didn’t always.  Woot!

omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomg… this is happening.

That’s just diet.  (Not dieting.  Not temporarily restricting my calories, but deciding to change what I habitually eat as a person, and what we eat as a family, to food instead of “food products.”)  Imagine if I had also been running all this week.

Tom is on day 3 of a 3 day juice fast.  We checked his blood pressure last night and it is alarmingly high.  I am hoping that if he can lose about 25 lbs. it will start to work itself out.  But I don’t know, his dad is in the ideal bodyweight range and he has high blood pressure.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
― Hippocrates

Did you know that while the weight limit of a bouncy castle is 800 lbs, it’s limited to 160 lbs per individual?  I’d like to be able to bounce in a bouncy castle someday.

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ermagherd! strerss!

I had a very happy birthday week.  When I left Charlotte and headed towards Charlottesville for Labor Day, my weight was at an all-time low of 232.8.  (Well, all-time so far in this new weight loss journey.  Obviously, I’ve been that weight before.)  I got on the scale at my Dad’s house at some point at it said 239.something.  I assumed it was wrong.  I was feeling like I must be 230 when I weighed in the last time at his house at 237.  When I got home, I was still around 236.  Today, I am 235.  Man.  Three pounds.  Do you know how hard it was to get to 232?  Tom brought up a valid point, that I’m forever out of the 240s.  I remember dancing between 238 and 241 and hating myself.  I tell you what, 232-235 doesn’t feel much better.

I read somewhere that when our ancestors felt the stress of famine, or winter, or a big sabertooth tiger, they would eat as part of their body’s reaction.  Nowadays, we have different stresses.  No famine.  (That’s for sure.)  Things like deadlines affect our bodies much like the sabertooth, and our subconscious is like, “Ah! Stress! We may not survive! Pack on calories! Survive! Survive! Survive!”

I’m sure you think it’s bullcrap.  I did.  Until today.  Today, I am stressing and I just want to eat.  I had a lot of cake over the past 3 days, but now the cake is gone.  So, hopefully we can get back on track.  I feel so stressed.  The house is a wreck.  I MUST finish some illustrations and I’m just not feeling motivated.  I’ve got to find time to jog at some point.  It’s Wednesday!  I haven’t jogged at all this week!  We bought a piece of furniture from World Market and the doors don’t close the way they’re supposed to.  I spent a whole day putting it together, all for the final piece, the door, to not fit properly.  I wasted a whole day that I should have spent illustrating!

There’s nothing to do about that now but sigh and move on.  I have to take the thing back to World Market, because I’m not keeping a messed up one, and probably put another one together.  I guess that doesn’t have to happen today, or even this week.  So, I need to let that go.

I also can’t find my very expensive Nikon.  I thought it was in the truck for a long time.  Then, I assumed I took it to Easter in Virginia, but I didn’t have it to take pictures.  I never had that “AH!” moment when I realized that I left it in a cab or something.  We had it when we went to get Bruce’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny.  That’s the last time I remember having it.  I hope beyond hope that it’s at my parents’ house, but no one has seen it.  I’m devastated.  The loss keeps me up at night and the sleep depravation = more stress.

My plan is to be 225 by Bruce’s party on 9/28.  215 by Halloween would be nice.  205 by Thanksgiving would feel spectacular.  And while we’re setting goals, lets see what we can do about being under 200 by Christmas, 195 to be specific.

I’m going to see if I can get the scale down to 229 by Sunday.  I just have to lose the pounds I accidentally put back on with cake and then 3 more.  I already feel things starting to settle back down.  I ate out for lunch today with my Great Aunt Sara Beth, so there’s no reason for me to go out and have a big sit-down meal.  A few smoothies should do the trick, fill me with healthy veggies, and motivate me to stay motivated.

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I just watched a very depressing documentary. You’d think it would have been uplifting. It was about curing cancer with the Gerson Method. Something about the tone of the whole thing just bummed me out.

Anyway… they mentioned fillings and how toxic those silver fillings are. It got me thinking. I have fillings. They’re composite fillings, so they’re white. They match my teeth  and they’re not toxic like a mercury filling, but I still get a bad feeling when I think of them. They’re supposedly more expensive than a traditional filling, and that’s okay, because I think they’re safer. What bugs me is that I think my dentist was a little eager. I didn’t think to get a second opinion. He had the latest and greatest technology. He was super nice.

Similarly, Haley’s dentist told her she had cavities. She got scared. She didn’t have them filled and eventually found a new dentist who said that everything was perfectly fine. No cavities. No filling necessary. He said the previous diagnosis was bullcrap. Her fear defaulted to a second opinion. The first dentist she saw used some kind of density scanner something or other. Well hey, that’s what my dentist used…

Even writing this, I’m, like, so upset about it I think I just have to stop and hope you’re getting my drift.

How do I know for certain that my dentist wasn’t just trying to pay for his fancy new office? He also stuck that hook in my tooth, and it stuck, and he said, “that’s the way we used to check for cavities.” Is that confirmation of an actual cavity? Did he did holes in my teeth for no reason? Fillings aren’t going to last my lifetime, and theoretically, my originals may have, sans holes of course. So now I’m going to have to get new fillings every decade? Is that what’s happening?

Makes me sick.

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