3 Things I’ve Already Learned at My New Job

not sure if smart

My new job — is it still a “new” one if I’ve made it to the second month? — comes with a whole new vocabulary: CAD/CAM. Cone-beamGutta-percha. And edentulous, which I saw first in a headline and thought it was a play on the name of the woman pictured. (It wasn’t; it means “having no teeth.”) I keep going in to my boss’s office and asking, “Is this a stupid question?” before I hit “send” on emails to dental professionals.

But then again, one of my “stupid?” questions stumped the reps of a company that supplies dental instruments: While demonstrating a scaler made of a new, supersharp material, they mentioned that when these tools are being cleaned and sterilized, they shouldn’t be in the same batch as traditional stainless-steel tools, “because of the risk of a galvanic reaction between the materials.”

I looked down at the tool and pointed at the handle, which is book-ended by the sharp, curved points: “What’s this made of?” I asked, thinking it then must be some amazing white gold, or titanium.  “Stainless steel,” they said.

“So the handle … doesn’t … touch … the ends … somehow?” I asked, perplexed.

It does. Nobody brought that up before. They said they’d get back to me about what that means for the recommendations.

So, emboldened by that, I bring you: 3 more things I’ve already learned thanks to editing dental magazines.

1. Not everyone loses their primary teeth.

Parents shouldn’t be all, “Well, no problem with this one getting a cavity — it’ll fall out soon and be replaced by a permanent tooth.” A baby tooth only falls out if there’s a permanent tooth underneath ready to replace it, which is why it’s important to take care of baby teeth, too … just in case.

2. Fluoride toothpaste isn’t as essential as you might think.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening teeth and remineralizing areas where bacteria have created acid. (Fluoride is a mineral, after all.) But systemic fluoride, consumed through food and fluoridated water, does most of the work, and topical fluoride really just bolsters the effect of the fluoride in your system. The physical process of tooth brushing is what removes the plaque from teeth, not the fluoride in your toothpaste. Plus, when you think about it, how long is that paste in really in contact with your teeth? Two minutes is the recommended length of time to brush, but few people reach that, and then they rinse … with water or, like me, a mouthwash. (They call them “mouth rinses” now — look at the label! — because the “cleaning” implication of the word wash was writing checks that the products couldn’t cash.)

The ADA still recommends using a fluoride toothpaste — and fluoridated mouth rinse — because it can’t hurt to have that booster in place. But now I don’t feel as bad about wanting to occasionally swap in some Marvis toothpastes — cinnamon mint! jasmine mint! even licorice!

3. Don’t try to eat at work.

Two main reasons for that:

(1) Because all you can think about is brushing and flossing right after.

And …

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Goodbye, old job. Hello, new one

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My stuff, boxed and ready to take home.
I even got a commemorative magazine cover!

I started a new job this month.

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Clearing Kitchen Counter Clutter

Click the image to go to the post on Delta Faucet’s “Inspired Living” site.

A few months ago, I came home and thought we’d been burgled.

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Letterpress holiday card 2015: He’s making a list …


It’s funny because it’s true.

The 2015 letterpress holiday card is done!

This year, though, I didn’t rely on what Phoenix Print Studios had in reserves as far as typefaces and artwork go. I laid out the card in InDesign, and shipped the file to Boxcar Press to have two polymer plates made — one for the text, the other for the list-making lady. (The illustration came from Fotosearch.) I did rely on Cindy and Gary at PPS to concoct the right mix of printing inks, to match the colors I wanted for a vintage-y vibe. That light green, for example, is actually a combination of lime, blue and transparent inks.

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Checking In: Viceroy New York


We happened to be in New York during Fashion Week, when thousands of fashion folk flock to town and jack up hotel rates to insane levels. So I was delighted that I was able to score a room at Viceroy New York. I was particularly keen to check out this spot because I knew that the general manager had moved over from Royalton, so I hoped that I would love this new property just as much.

The room

And I did love it. Super sleek, with clever storage that made me think of a cabin on an opulent ocean liner. In my room, which looked like the photo above, the Illy espresso maker was in the cabinet to the left of the bed above the Beats music player, the safe was hidden in a drawer to the right, and the fold-out ironing board was stashed behind a tall mirror cabinet door. I had enough closet space (and hangers) for four days’ worth of clothing—and I hang up even my T-shirts and jeans when I get in a hotel room. (But I also repurpose shirts and pants on different days of trips to save space in my luggage, so take that into consideration.)

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New York: Dinner at Bea, and “Fun Home” on Broadway


While we were walking to dinner Sunday night, the art director I was with pointed at the lineup of theater marquees and said, “That would make a good photo!” (She was right.)

I got back from another trip to New York City on Thurday night. My brain is apparently having trouble figuring out time and space associated with the trip, because Friday at work I was telling someone how I was there “last week” until I stopped and had to correct myself: “No, I’ve been home for less than 24 hours.”

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A more poetic life

The other day I found an old notebook — the 6×9 spiral-bound steno kind, green-tinted and Gregg ruled. All but a few pages had been summarily ripped out—cleanly, of course, with no paper detritus clogging up the spiral—so I was curious to see what made it worth saving.

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On the first page, I’d scribbled down a William Carlos Williams poem.

There were the roses, in the rain.
Don’t cut them, I pleaded. They won’t last, she said.
But they’re so beautiful where they are.
Agh, we were all beautiful once, she said
and cut them and gave them to me in my hand.

I read lots of magazines nowadays. Not so many books … and almost no poetry. I’ve held on to the anthologies that were required reading while I was an English lit major, but haven’t often revisited the pages or sought out new/different work. Which is a shame, because my favorite pieces pack a wallop despite their brevity.

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

In just 16 words, Margaret Atwood conjures the vision of a perfectly matched couple—and shreds it by clarifying her terms.

I bookmarked “You Fit Into Me” during my breakup with Trainer Brian, alongside other acidic pieces like “Mock Orange” by Louise Glück.

“We were made fools of.
And the scent of mock orange
drifts through the window.

How can I rest?
How can I be content
when there is still
that odor in the world?”

But poetry is just as effective and enjoyable during happier scenarios. Back in the 6th century BC, the Greek lyric poet Ibycus described that moment when you see someone you’re smitten by:

I swear his mere approach makes me tremble
like an old champion chariot horse, as he
draws a swift cart unwillingly to the race.

I held on to that steno notebook, which has inspired me to figure out a method for compiling and collecting my favorite poems in one place—and likely in print, not just online. For now, I’m headed to Changing Hands Bookstore to find something new to enjoy.

WHAT SAM WORE: 7/12/15
shirt071215 shorts071215 shoe102613
The shirt: V-neck T-shirt from Uniqlo, New York.
The shorts: It looks like camo print, but it’s actually clouds and birds!
Above-the-knee cotton shorts by Michael Bastian, from Uniqlo.
The shoes: L.A. Runner sneakers by Adidas, from Sports Authority.