Week 7/20

This past week felt very busy. I’m not sure I got a lot done but it certainly felt like there was a lot going on. Maybe the stuff that was going on was just going on inside my head.

This week I was thinking about:

Little things you can do to make your life better. Like flossing your teeth or using those inter-dental brushes to remove food gunk from the gaps between your teeth. It takes only a little extra time, but cumulatively has a big effect on the health of your teeth.

I’v been thinking about it because this week I had a dentist appointment. I think I was actually due to go in November but I’ve been putting it off because I was so busy back then, and also, who looks forward to the dentist? It’s easier to put it off. But January came and was nearly over and I still I had the dental appointment reminder hanging over me so I gave myself a stern talking to and made my appointment for February. Valentine’s Day in fact. And it was a good choice – I made my appointment late in the day so I had to leave work early. So there was my reward for something I didn’t want to do.

I had my teeth straightened a few years ago so I made a lot of visits to the dentist then. I think I was there every two weeks or something for quick checks on how the process was going. I got to know the woman at reception quite well. Let’s call her Annamaria (not her real name). But that was – What? – two years ago now? So it surprised me when I arrived for my appointment on Friday and she said, “Hi Michelle, how are you?” It could be that she was just looking at the appointment schedule when I arrived so guessed my name. Or maybe she remembered me. And if she remembers me, there is another little positive reinforcement into me going to the dentist. They know my name. It feels like I matter to them.

My first part of the appointment was with the hygienist. I’ll call her Tammy. I’ve seen Tammy several times now. She is also friendly – as friendly as you can be when holding some form of dental equipment in your hand. She always bullies me in a kind way about flossing and using inter-dental brushes. When I’m due for a dentist visit I always up my dental hygiene regime in the weeks beforehand, but I am also trying to be better overall. She said I was doing well but very little bit extra helps.

During the part where she used the drill-like thing to get the hard plaque off my teeth, I tried an old form of meditation to relax and not tense up. I count my way backwards through the alphabet. This is a good meditation because it focuses me my mind on something that doesn’t require a lot of thought and helps avoid my thoughts drifting off.

After Tammy I popped in to the dentist. This was a new dentist for me as my last dentist left. And literally it was like a pop-in visit as I was in the chair for about five minutes. She wasn’t too worried about the tooth my previous dentist highlighted (“Let’s keep an eye on it but no action”). And she didn’t mention anything about removing the old fillings my previous dentist said was something that might come up in the future. So after a few minutes in the chair and some chat about Valentine’s Day (neither she nor I were going out – we both shuddered at the idea) I was done, and onto the weekend.

Plants in my garden: I have planned to do some garden refurbishment this year. Bringing in new plants, taking out old ones. But the thing about taking out some old plants is that technically there is nothing wrong with them. They are growing and healthy. They just don’t bring me joy.

I know there must be some people out there who just say, “No, I don’t like it, it’s got to go, hand me the saw/axe/shovel and I’ll get rid of it.” But I struggle with this approach. And there are two plants that are giving me a moral conundrum.

  1. The bottlebrush (Callistemon). It’s an Australian bush, and when it flowers with it’s bright red brush flowers, it looks amazing and reminds me of “home”. But that’s two weeks of the year. The rest of the time it’s grey-green and droops over the lawn and whenever I go near it, it scratches me with its spiky leaves. So I don’t love it. It’s got to go. But it is a healthy happy bush apart from me not liking it.
  2. The spotted laurel (Aucuba japonica). This was once one of a pair that sat on opposite sides of the yard. They were meant to spread and provide a kind of privacy screen or separation for the back of the yard where we like to sit. And they did quite well, until one year one of them died. The second one nearly died and I only brought it back with severe pruning and a great deal of care. But now? Several years have gone by and this plant is still an awkward shape after I had to cut it right back to save it from dying. It’s grown back scraggly and I don’t like the look of it. I want it gone. But I nursed it back to health. I put that time into caring for it. And now I want to get rid of it.

What to do? What would you do?

Title for my book: I’ve finally come up with a title after much deep thought. But I won’t share it with you yet. The book itself is still only 17,000 words. I need to get cracking and get more words down and stop getting distracted by other projects or Netflix.

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