Friday Miscellany: Smiles, and Strong Female Characters

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age. My dental implant is complete, and I'm smiling again!

Dental Implant: Done!

Finally! It’s taken a little over 9 months, but I finally have my “permanent” front tooth, and my smile back!

For those who may not have seen my earlier posts, here’s the story: when I was a kid, one of my permanent canine teeth didn’t come down where it should have. It had “gone rogue,” migrating toward the front of my mouth and damaging the root of one of my front teeth. (Oral surgery at age 13 removed the wayward canine tooth, and braces moved the remaining teeth forward to fill in the gap.) Fast forward 40 years…after looking at my x-rays my dentist was astounded that I’d held onto the front tooth as long as I had, but predicted I probably wouldn’t be able to keep it much longer.

I hung in there for another 8 years, until what was left of the root and surrounding bone began to separate, and the tooth became abscessed. (It wasn’t painful, as the nerve had been destroyed by the wandering canine tooth.) I had the front tooth pulled in August, had the implant placed in November, and received the go-ahead in late March to have the crown added. Since August, I’ve worn a removable temporary tooth that was on a retainer-like device. 😝 Last week I finally had the crown placed, and after a couple of minor adjustments, I’m thrilled with the final result.

I’m wearing NARS “Red Square” lip pencil above. Earrings here.

Strong Women, Complicated Characters…

Suranne Jones as Ann Lister in the series Gentleman Jack.

So first, let’s get Game of Thrones out of the way. This season has definitely had its high points (Arya!!!) but for the most part has felt rushed and sloppy (hello, Starbuck’s cup…) as they try to tie up SO MANY loose ends. Regarding Dany’s latest turn for the worse, I can’t say that I’m surprised (she always did have a Messianic bent), but I think they could have done a much better job with developing this aspect of her character so that this part of the arc makes more sense.

We’ve really been enjoying Gentleman Jack. It’s based on a true story and coded diaries of Anne Lister, who moved back to Halifax in 1832 to help revive her family estate. She’s whip smart, worldly, confident, and “prefers the ladies,” as one elderly relative puts it. She’s also more than a bit mercenary, setting her eye on a wealthy younger heiress whose fortunes could be helpful in her plans. Costumes are wonderful, as are scenes of the English countryside. The performances are superb, and the writing very witty and engaging.

We’ve watched the first couple episodes of Chernobyl, which is also compelling but in a more horrific way. Emily Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a nuclear physicist (composite character?) who in the second episode prevents the disaster from being much, much worse than it was. More on this one later.

I’m in between books…recommendations???

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  1. You look lovely, Susan! I have been recommending “A Gentleman in Moscow” to everyone I know. One of the best written books I have read recently. Amor Towles’ first book, “Rules of Civility” is a close second.

      1. I second these, as well as “Where the Crawdads Sing” and “Circe”. “Say Nothing” is very compelling non-fiction about the Irish Troubles. I listened to all while walking and commuting, and they are all beautifully narrated.

      2. A Gentleman in Moscow is my book of the Millennium! Another wonderful, thoughtful book is The Summer before the War by Helen Simonson.

  2. Susan you have a wonderful smile and it gives me encouragement for my own front tooth. I’m just starting the long implant process. They inserted the bone graft and I am now sporting a lovely ‘flipper’ tooth as they call it. The temporary looks pretty good but it has caused a slight lisp. Oh well – only another 12 weeks to go before I receive my permanent crown.

    As for GOT – I will be in morning after this Sunday’s final show. Gentlemen Jack is interesting – a strong lead, quick pace and wonderful locales.

  3. Teeth look great – and what is the secret of teeth being so white? Do you have them bleached? This remains a bit mysterious to those of us on the other side of the pond – there is teeth whitening in the UK but it seems so time consuming and not permanent – but how do all Americans have teeth so permanently white – what about coffee? Red wine? Do you get teeth done every year? Or is the pictured tuned 😉 ?

    1. Hi Lisabee,
      There are many ways to whiten teeth. Veneers, crowns , “ in office whitening”, “ at home whitening” .
      Yes, the in office whitening is expensive , the at home whitening less so. Veneers and crowns are “permanent” ( these will eventually need to be replaced at some future time- nothing is truly permanent ) and require no maintenance to maintain their colour. The in office and at home whitening will need to be maintained. Because teeth do stain from coffee , wine, etc. I prefer “ at home” . This means using either store bought trays which fit into your mouth and a whitening substance or you can have custom trays made in your dentist’s office and purchase the whitening substance there. I have an at home set up that includes a tray that attaches to a tiny light system and come with whitening gel . This fits into my mouth, I wear it for 10 minutes and I’m good to go. It does require maintenance of repeat usage . You can also use a “ whitening “ toothpaste or white strips which you can buy in the drug store. These will also need maintenance with repeat usage.
      Like eyes , skin and hair, your teeth are particular to your pigmentation. Rule of thumb , to look naturally white your teeth should not be whiter than the whites of your eyes.
      If you can find a dentist in your area who is affiliated with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and there are some in the UK , they can better explain the ins and outs of tooth whitening .
      Sorry this was such a long story. Hope it helps

      1. Thanks – yes it does – my dentist does offer the type of system you mention (at home) but it does seem like so much work. And I guess that’s what you are confirming – it takes lots of upkeep. It does look good though!

    2. Mostly they will be porcelain crowns or veneers to be so evenly and permanently white, in addition to straight and well proportioned. Hard to get such a result with just whitening as teeth will only lighten so much with bleaching.

    3. Hi LisaBee, for me it was veneers, which I had done a few years ago. In my mid-40’s, I began losing enamel on my teeth (runs in my family) so my dentist at that time added resin bonding. But that only lasted about a decade or so before it started cracking/chipping. My current dentist recommended the veneers as a longer-lasting solution, and was also able to correct some crookedness/shifting. It was an investment, but I’m pleased with the results.

      1. Same for me with the enamel, did the bonding a couple of years ago. I have become a tooth grinder and have successfully succeeded in making my two front teeth about half the size they used to be! Looking into veneers for those right now, when I look at photos even a few years ago it’s quite shocking, my smile is so not toothy!

    4. I first started whitening when I lived in London, my dentist suggested it in the late 90’s. It is a constant upkeep, I brush immediately after red wine, that’s the worst, or rinse with water. I have had the molds made a few times since my originals, my dog keeps eating them. You can buy the whitening gel from your dentist and use them once a week or so. Or use those Crest Whitestrips, some people swear by them.

  4. “Girl at War: A Novel” About the civil war in Croatia in the 90’s. Loved the writing and storytelling.

    1. Yes, The Weight of Ink was fascinating historical fiction as well as a reminder of what women and minorities have endured through the ages.

  5. I can hardly believe the timing of your post! I too had a childhood problem (a snowmobile accident) that damaged my front tooth requiring a crown. My dentist noticed a shadow around the root (again not painful because of the previous damage!) and said it should be pulled. I just had the tooth pulled this week and I’m wearing my temporary flipper.
    Your crown looks great! I only hope mine goes as well.

  6. My book recommendation is “Where the Crawdads Sing.” I’m still thinking about the story a week after finishing the book. My Book Club read it this past month. We all loved it.

    1. Great book. I heard the audio version borrowed from my library and listened on the Kindle app. The narrator did such an amazing job with the characters’ voices. This book will surely become a classic.

  7. Gorgeous smile! I just finished Judy Picoult’s “Small Great Things” and loved it! Would be a great book club read.

  8. Canadian author Louise Penny and her series about Inspector Gamache of the Quebec police – 15 sp far. Hard to put down!

    1. I enjoy Louise Penny also. They are kind of dark with the murder mysteries, but also light hearted at the same time.

    2. I will happily “third” this recommendation! Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books are just so satisfying. The eastern Canadian setting and the yummy descriptions of meals are only a couple of the reasons I love them.

  9. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow and Where the Crawdads Sing. Lovely, lovely novels. For some unbelievable-but-true non-fiction, I recommend Red Notice, Educated, and Bad Blood. I listen to books as I hike with my dogs. We had some l-o-n-g hikes because I couldn’t stop listening to these three!

  10. I highly recommend The Chernobyl Podcast with NPR’s Peter Sagal and series creator Craig Mazin as a companion to the show. Craig discusses some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, what is real and what has been dramatized for TV (e.g., the men volunteering to open the sluice gates was not as portrayed in the show, but it was important to Craig that each of their names was mentioned), and who is real vs. who is composite (Emily Watson’s nuclear physicist is a composite). Also cool insights, like how many of the crew lived through Chernobyl in Eastern Europe and a short interview with Stellan Skarsgaard about his memories of Chernobyl living in Sweden at the time of the accident.

    The podcast is so compelling, both from a historical perspective and just learning how decisions are made on a film production of this nature. It really brings the series to life for me.

  11. I have to say you do have lovely teeth. Your dentist has done a great job and you look after them.

  12. Susan, your teeth and your smile are perfect! Congratulations. I know you’re glad to have all that out of the way. Onward. 🙂

  13. Having always loved such strong fictional female characters like Jane Eyre, I’m also on the hunt for well researched biographies of women.
    Queen of Fashion:What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber ( not what you would expect & the research/documentation is incredible)
    Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun ( favourite painter of Marie Antoinette) by Katharine Baetjer
    Fiction-based biographical books:
    The Fountain of St James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund ( revolves around Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun )
    Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel

  14. I’m in the middle of Where the Crawdads Sing and am loving it. Louise Penny is another favorite. She makes me want to pack my bags and move to Three Pines. Too bad it’s fictional. Thanks for asking this question as I’ll be looking for my next read soon and now have some great suggestions.

    1. Oh but Three Pines does exist! It is based on the village of North Hatley, P.Q. in the lovely Cantons d’est or Eastern Townships.The beautiful Manoir Hovey was chosen as a vacation spot by Hilary Clinton because she is a huge fan of the books. Ms. Penney occasionally does popular workshops at the Manoir discussing her mysteries. The Eastern townships are directly north of Vermont. North Hatley is a short drive from the border and was once the summer playground of several wealthy American families from the south.( hence the gorgeous mansions) They abandoned the northern states as vacation spots after the civil war, the story goes that as the private train cars rumbled through those northeastern states the owners ordered the blinds be put down!! My husband and I often go to North Hatley, the exquisite meals, accommodation and service at the Manoir ( itself built by a Southern tycoon)are so worth it…and you might just see Gamache in the village!

      1. Yes, I have friends in Sherbrooke (the largest city in the region, with two universities and much larger than Burlington, Vermont, though the two are similar) and with one of my best friends in the world have cycled from there to North Hatley, stopping at a charming café for lunch.

        Didn’t the Manoir burn down? Has it been rebuilt?

  15. I would recommend reading “The Monk of Mokha” by Dave Eggers. “Women Rowing North by Mary Piper is another one. If you are into uplifting “Thought-a-Day” type of works, “The Art of Simple Living by Sunmyo Masuno –a Zen monk was quite enjoyable too. By the way, your teeth look great! Cheers.

  16. Thanks for the heads up about Gentleman Jack. Turns out it starts tomorrow here in Sydney and as I’d not heard about it prior to your post, it would have gone unnoticed. Sally Wainwright is the show’s creator and I’ve really enjoyed her previous productions, including Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax. Gentleman Jack sounds quite different to her earlier work!

  17. The Black Count by Tom Reiss is an excellent book about the father of Alexander Dumas. The father was the son of a white planter and a black slave who became a general in Napoleon’s army. The author did some amazing research in order to write this biography. I could not put it down.

    1. Thanks for this review! Bought it months ago, but have not read it yet! Will probably be my next read!

  18. My book group recently read “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and we all enjoyed it and had a great discussion.

    1. Is a fabulous book, I live near Glasgow and the parts it is set in are so perfectly described as are the way the people speak/behave – she has it absolutely right (I can say that as an outsider who has a close friend from Clydebank ). She also worked at a local bookshop whilst writing it – they were so proud and fond of her they decorated the place top to bottom with the book, it has been lovely to see how happy they are for her

      1. Is Clydebank the same as Clydeside? I have a close friend from the latter. Now he is highly educated and speaks utterly standard English with a Scottish accent, but he tells tales of the privation and harsh lives in that area.

  19. Thank goodness that all that dental business is over! What a ‘to do’, you poor thing…and now you look better than ever Ms Smiley Femme!

  20. You look fantastic, I wish my teeth were anywhere as good as yours. I don’t know if it’s your thing but inspired by the current Van Gogh exhibition at the Tate, I am reading and thoroughly enjoying The Yellow House by Martin Gayford – “Van Gogh, Gauguin and nine turbulent weeks in Arles” normally when I recommend a book my friends ask what the h£ll is wrong with me and why would I read that???? So I understand if it’s not your thing

  21. I can recommend Ornament and Silence – Essays on Women’s Lives from Edith Wharton to Germaine Greer by Kennedy Fraser. Wonderful and moving. It’s a oldie but I found a copy online at Thrift Books, a resource well worth knowing about.

  22. I just finished “The Cassandra” by Sharma Shields. It is about a woman who worked at Hanford in south central Washington state. Plutonium was made there for the bombs used on Japan. She has visions. I drove by Hanford as a young girl but never knew the history. A great book.

  23. I just finished reading “Clementine The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill” by Sonia Purnell.
    I”m looking forward to reading her new book “A Woman of No Importance – the Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II”. Both are non-fiction.

  24. GREAT smile!!! I have FOUR dental implants…result of grinding 🙁 I religiously wear a night guard now.
    I just finished “Beneath A Scarlet Sky” and “Where The Crawdads Sing.”
    Mary Ann

  25. I just finished The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. I would also recommend The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.
    I ‘ve read Beaneath A Scarlet Sky and Where the Crawdads Sing, both great.
    I normally don’t have HBO but subscribed for GOT, however I found Gentelmen James (after only one episode watched) quirky, funny and beautifuly done. A lot of people are also talking about Barry on HBO.
    Meryl Streep is cast in the second season of Big Little Lies starting in June which makes me want to watch it.

  26. Running Home by Katie Arnold. A compelling memoir that drew me in so completely, I forgot about time and place.