Saturday, October 27, 2012

No longer just a 'possibility' of progress...

In my last post I mentioned finally seeing a good Endocrinologist.  One who, at our first meeting, based on my history alone said "I'll be stunned if it isn't CAH."

Monday October 22nd came and found me once again sitting down with my new Endo after tests she ordered. I was a nervous wreck, the night before I was in the shower sobbing, and then on the phone with my sister terrified that the tests would come back negative. I mean really, who in their right mind wishes they were going to be officially diagnosed with a birth defect? But that's just what I was hoping. Negative results would mean that I didn't have CAH and we'd be back to "I have no idea what is wrong with you."  Lynne did a wonderful job of helping me calm down, and reminded me that it wasn't just my Endo that thought it was CAH as Lynne and I had spent time researching it and comparing notes with my life.

The fear however was still there.  All my life I was so used to hearing things from doctors like "Well given everything you've been living with, I'm stunned you're even alive.  But we have no idea what's wrong with you."  I was terrified Monday was going to bring another "Well clearly you have health issues, but we still have no idea what's wrong with you."

I really need not have worried, because my new Endo, well she was not the least bit stunned. I do in fact have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CA) and have had it since birth.  Thus Congenital.  So Monday, after a lifetime of suffering, I started on treatment for it.  One of the many crushing symptoms of it was an inability to sleep in any way that was really healthy.  It was this, and the weight problems I have that finally had me at the Endo's since my primary care had no clue.  She's a wonderful doctor, but the most recent in a long line of Doctors that had marveled at the fact that I was alive at all.  She suggested the new Endo.  I owe that woman a big hug at the very least.

So, I started on new meds Monday.  Wednesday night I went to bed, still not having noticed a difference in my sleep behavior hoping it would change soon.  Nine hours later I awoke to the sun shining in my bedroom and no idea what had happened.  Nine hours of solid sleep was a miracle for me. A major one! Had a spot of breakfast and my morning meds (which include the new ones for CAH) and then took a 45 minute nap!  Not content, and worried this was a fluke, I went to bed Thursday night, hoping the new sleep would last. I woke up once for breakfast and pills and again took a short nap.  Almost 12 hours of sleep waking up briefly only once. Friday night, went to sleep, rose for breakfast and pills and then back to sleep.  10 hours last night.

God willing it shall continue!  And as I understand things, it should.

There are other signs that I will not bore you with that also indicate real progress here.  So it's not longer a 'possibility' of progress here, it is actual progress. And I shall be eternally grateful for the change this diagnosis, and treatment has brought to my life.  My whole life I've been waiting for this.  The new treatment however will do nothing to change my salt issues, so I'm still going to be consuming staggering amounts of salt.  I can live with that!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A possibility of progress. . .

I finally managed to get to a new Endo this month.  My GP has wanted me to go now for years. But it's just not been something I was able to handle financially, or emotionally.

In July, I reached the point where I felt confident this was something I could manage all the way around, and my own research had led me to some conclusions that could explain so much about my life, my medical history, and health issues I've been dealing with, many of them for my entire life.

Irony of ironies, having only just found my way to the information myself, sitting down with an Endo and describing all the minor, but life long issues we've never fully been able to deal with, she said "I'll be stunned if it isn't CAH."  I didn't lead her to it, just told her what I've been dealing with for so long. To hear her reach the same conclusion without even suggesting it, well it was at once empowering as it was frightening.

CAH is Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.  Over simplified, it means, that at some point during pregnancy, something didn't quite go right, and I was born with a messed up body.  Depending on it's severity, it can kill outright, usually within the first few weeks of life, or leave one with a lifetime of problems.

You can figure out which one I got.

Yes, a flash picture of salt.
One of the biggest indicators of this has been a series of jokes with my family and friends, and instructions from my childhood doctor.  You see most people need to watch their salt intake to prevent them from getting too much and risking health problems.  A fairly normal, healthy diet and you'll get just enough salt to do fine.  For my whole life, I've had to consume frankly astonishing amounts of salt.  Even to this day I'm refilling the salt shaker on the table once a month or so, and I'm the only one that lives here.  So to the right of course is more than a pound of salt, and in most houses this will last more than a year. In my house, I go through three pounds a year at least.  If I don't, I get sick.  My blood work shows as being off, which of course in the worst case, means dehydration and IVs.  This is just not exactly normal. It's the variant of CAH known as "Salt Wasting" and the one that usually kills in the first weeks of life.  Simply put, it means I go through salt way quicker than most people, and have to constantly replenish it. My childhood doctor told my parents that "for whatever reason" my body goes through salt much quicker and that not only was it okay for me eat lots of it, that I actually should.  And of course nothing crazier for parents to see than their child hit a salt craving and watch as I'd just pour salt into my hand and lick it up.  Over time, that hasn't changed at all.  Though now when I get hit with a salt craving, I'll dive into a jar of dill pickles and not come out until it's empty, juice and all.

Tomorrow early I'll be checking into the hospital as the spend time running tests on my blood. It promises to be great fun, if you like being stuck with needles as the take blood out of you, and inject stuff in.

Once they release me, a few weeks later, I'll have the results and another meeting with the Endo.

She's assured me, that if this diagnosis is correct and confirmed, it's treatable and I can live a normal healthy life.  But the upside to all this is that many of the health issues that I'm taking meds for, well they probably won't need medication before to long, and I'll be able to shed weight again with proper diet and exercise.  Which in the last seven some years hasn't been working.  I'll be thrilled to get rid of this extra weight, and be taking less meds.  But eventually it's going to mean buying new clothes, but fitting back into my old jeans.  I look forward to that part.  So there's a possibility of progress on the wind, and of course major health benefits, including but not limited to being able to sleep through the night for the first time in years.  That will be awesome!

Since the meeting with the Endo I've been running the stages of grief. And just in time for my day with the leeches (kidding folks) I've made some kind of peace with it I think.  This is a battle in one form or another I've been fighting most of my life and my father in particular always chalked it up to me being crazy, which meant more head doctors than time with someone who could really help.  Yes, without question CAH causes moodiness, depression and plenty of other problems as your body tried to keep you going as your electrolyte levels and hormones swing madly. But it doesn't mean you're crazy. Feeling like I've spent my life fighting a monster that really was under the bed that everyone said was all in my head?  Well it's depressing and feels like a life, not exactly wasted, but stolen from me once again.  Thus the stages of grief.

In the end, it's not what was, or could have been that really engages me here, it's a possibility of progress.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The smell remembers when . . .

Imagery can be a powerful thing.  It's central to many kinds of relaxation techniques including guided visualizations and meditations.  But sometimes it can yield breathtaking surprises when least expected.

Scents, those tiny air born clusters of atoms can trigger relaxation, even memories.  Think of how you feel when you're at the beach, imagine the way it sounds, close your eyes and picture in your minds eye the way it looks, and now that awesome smell you associate with the beach.

If you had any success with this brief exercise in guided visualization, the beach you felt, heart, saw and smelled is a specific beach that you have been to and enjoyed.  You've also accomplished a well known stress busting means of relaxation. Congratulations!  If you didn't don't feel bad, that was a really quick, simple example. Usually there is more involved.

If you didn't, or have never been to a beach to visualize (oh the horror!) then try visualizing everything about a special place that you know well.  See how that works? How that feels? Even smells associated with the place?

In our often hectic life, we can be surprised by a sight, sound, or smell that makes us think of somewhere else far away.  Guided visualization techniques not withstanding, I'm sure each of you reading this has experienced something like that.  Specific places often have a complex mixture of cues that remind us of a specific place.  It's the nature of memory.  So just as no two types of flowers smell the same, different beaches have their own complex signature. Beaches not withstanding, think of the difference between the way the air smells in the fall, and in the summer time. Two very different scents yes?

As I've mentioned before, I'm a Stargate franchise fan. I've watched pretty much every episode and movie (except Universe) repeatedly for my own enjoyment.  I've had many dreams where I've been involved with the program, at the SGC, on Atlantis, or on the various ships they have, working with the amazing people there.  I've been through the gate many, many times, but will always remember my first time so clearly.  The Gate system is also involved in some of my meditations.  Specifically one particular planet that I travel to often.  So often I have an apartment there. My apartment is a few short blocks from a glorious beach that I go to quite often to relax.  For me the experiences, and the memories they are tied to, are no less real than places I've been to on earth.  Like a Star trek: Next generation era holodeck, my mind fills in all the details, ones I don't often notice but are etched into my memories with or without my notice.

Before I go any further, let me mention I've not yet been, in this lifetime, anywhere near the Mediterranean Sea on earth. Never spent time at any beach on the Med so I have no scent linked memories that go with it.

My beach on 427 (P4C-427) however is etched indelibly into my heart and mind in ways I'd even not expected. It is a wonderful place and I can often be found sitting there meditating at all hours of the day and night. It brings me great peace. Often when I'm meditating here on earth, in my mind I first go to my beach on 427 and do my sitting there.  So even though I've not fully explored the area, there are scents drifting on the breeze that cannot be missed or mistaken.

I tend, here on earth to eschew scented products most of the time. The chemicals and such they use hardly ever get the smell right.  Which is part of why I'm fond of incense.  It's made of more natural materials.  So imagine my surprise when I bought a bottle of Dawn that was labeled as Mediterranean Lavender and promptly forgot about it until the one I had open was finished.

When I finally did open it and start using it I stopped what I was doing completely stunned.  That was my beach the scent they had put into the soap.  It honestly surprised me so much I had to stop and read the label since I'd forgotten what I'd bought.  honestly I'd not even looked at the label when I got it, I picked it simply because it was purple.  No, I'm not kidding.  But it smells just like my beach on a completely different planet.  That really caught me up short.

I'm reminded of the Trisha Yearwood song "The Song Remembers When."  In it she sings about how a song on the radio can bring back a rush of memories.  I so get that, and it's a common theme, so much so that there are other songs that say basically the same thing in different ways.

In this case however "The Smell Remembers When."  And I have a new dish soap that I'll keep on buying. If only because it makes me think of my other home, far from here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm Sorry . . .

I am imperfect, flawed, a soul walking my own road to the great path. I walk with kindness, compassion, empathy and honesty. I share things from my own pasts to let people know they are not alone. I have lived, died, been rebirthed of my own ashes and that's just in this trip. I am Buddhist person, a mystical being of light made flesh, I am old, I am young, I share freely not to force my beliefs or experiences on you but to let you know I hear what your heart says even as words may fail us both. If my existence or attempts to temper suffering with kindness and stories from my past, or my future, offend you, please be honest, or simply unfriend me. Do not wait until you are angry, fearful and suffering to lash out at me suddenly. Walk in the light, with me, or without, but do not presume to inflict your limitations on my existence because I am not you. I'm sorry I'm not you now if that offends you, but I have been there before. I walk my path based on my perceptions of what is, not based on yours. I am sorry if this makes anyone uncomfortable.

All roads lead to the great path. Many cross. Fair day my friends.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Calogrenant Week 4, August 6, 2012

If you've not been there yet, clicking on the image above will take you directly to the Calogrenant website.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Simply Priceless. You really want to watch this one. Will Frey and Austin Zenhder are famous. Infamous even.
Just a question... When did wanting to see small businesses have a fighting chance against bloated multinationals and wanting to see that ordinary people have a living wage and a place to live and enough to eat and not have to fear that an illness will beggar them become socialism? And if that is socialism, what's so horrible about it? - Gillian Cameron

Monday, July 23, 2012

Calogrenant Week 2, July 23, 2012

Victimizing the victims - instead of the perpetrators . . .

I am a survivor of Sexual Assault, which in most states in a first degree felony.  My now late husband used power, privilege and money every step of the way to fight from having the light of truth shined on his miserable soul. At every turn he used the courts against me to keep me from having any real closure or protection from his ongoing actions.  Six some odd years ago he died while fighting our divorce. He was found in contempt of court repeatedly for violations of retraining orders, failure to appear and continuing to stalk me. He didn't even get a slap on the wrist.  His death was the only closure I got.  I had to find out about it second hand.  My lawyer who'd been notified by the court that the divorce was dismissed because Earl died didn't bother to contact me. A Friend called to let me know when she heard from one of my husband's friends that he had died.

I've often said rapists and sexual predators should be put to death.  But you know, I'm not completely sure about that anymore, because frankly, Earl got off easy and "escaped" for now, the consequences of his actions.

Regrettably, we live in a rape culture.  Where rapists, and sexual predators are protected while their victims continue to get victimized.

Recently a young woman in Kentucky was sexually assaulted and had pictures of her assault spread to the four winds BY THE two men that committed the assault.  It took a year to get the matter into court, and rather than fighting the charges and getting a real sentence, they made a plea arrangement with the court to get what amounts to a slap on the wrist. Outraged, she tweeted their names and what had happened.

So guess who is likely to wind up in jail? The victim!

Savannah Dietrich, 17-Year-Old Sexual Assault Victim, Faces Charge For Naming Attackers

Once again the victim being victimized instead of the perpetrators.  So I did some digging, and managed to catch more of the information and most importantly, the names and pictures of the two CONVICTED SEX OFFENDERS that attacked Savannah.

First up we have Austin Zehnder of Kentucky:

Austin Zehnder - Convicted Of First Degree Sexual Assault, A Felony.
Don't you just love those eyes? That winning smile? The hardened chiseled features? Ruggedly handsome or lifelong sociopath.  My money is on the later.

Next up we have Will Frey III also of Kentucky:

Will Frey III - Convicted Of First Degree Sexual Assault, A Felony.
Another award winning specimen of humanity here.  These men Sexually Assaulted Savannah in Kentucky and posted PICTURES of the act electronically. They violated a young woman without her consent for their own deviant needs and BRAGGED about it to friends and online.  They were convicted of First Degree Sexual Assault, A FELONY and given a slap on the wrist while Savannah, rightfully upset and violated may go to jail for letting the world know who these men are?  By a FEMALE judge no less.

Once again, Victimizing the victims instead of the perpetrators. Way to go America.  Savannah, we are your sisters and we stand with you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Calogrenant begins!

My dear friend, brilliant artist, and talented story teller Gillian Cameron of Mythcongeniality has undertaken a new weekly comic set in an around Camelot.  Having been a big fan of anything to do with the old Legend, and or stories based around it, Calogrenant gives us a whole new twist on one of the Knights of King Arthur's round table.  So with great pleasure, I give you the first two pages of this young Knight's adventure.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Now this is what I call progress!

Today, while running errands, I came through an intersection that I'd not really paid attention to in a while.  Or it could be the new glasses giving me a different enough view of the world that I'm seeing more.  Or it could be all the meditation and being instead of doing.  It could be all of the above.

Or it could just be that it's Friday the thirteenth?

Whatever the case may be, I noticed something different about the intersection.  Something changed, new, missing.

Here is the intersection a year ago:

The above image was taken from Google Maps which still shows the Taco Bell Restaurant clearly there. This is from the Galbraith side of the space.  When I moved here in 2008, that's the way the corner looked right up until last year when Taco Bell closed.  When I saw that it had closed I kinda groaned. We all know about urban sprawl.  The obsession with paving over and building on every bit of property till there's nothing natural left. Here's the intersection from the Winton road side:

Today however was a very different story.  The restaurant, parking, blacktop, the blight, was gone and in it's place, grass and trees!  I'm thrilled and amazed.  Progress, in the right direction!  I mean really, planting grass, trees, and shrubs?  Holy Hannah!!!  This is something to cheer about in my book.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Given that my last "profile" picture was taken I think last year - maybe - I decided that a fresh one was in order.  That and of course the fact that I'm now rockin the librarian look, I figured what the heck right?

So as I'm sitting here working away on the computer I thought it was time. To the right, the result. Untouched, unprocessed, and without make-up of any kind is me in natural light. I'm sitting in front of a nice large window that looks out over sky and trees.  So the light was good for a shot.  On the wall, boring stuff like a calendar, a map of the Little Miami Scenic Trail that runs through Ohio, a place I enjoy riding now and then, and a reminder for workouts.  Namely that if you can sing while working out, you're not working hard enough.  Something a friend told me when I was giving thought to upgrading my heart rate monitor.  So there you have it. Short post, new picture, and a smile.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Lucid Dreaming meets Quantum Jumping . . .

So if you go snuffling about on the web you can find all sorts of bits and pieces on the concepts of both Lucid Dreaming and Quantum Jumping.  I will let you chose to chase those down if you are of a mind and just close over what they are.

Lucid dreaming in short is the ability to direct dreams. Instead of being an observer taken by the dream where your subconcious mind would take you, one is an active participant, and is offered the chance to go in dream space where you wish.

Quantum Jumping simply put is quite literally surfing the multiverse for other nows, thens, and whens.  Everything that possibly can exist, does exist, somewhere and time is just an illusion.

Often I have dreams that are either Lucid in nature, or Quantum in nature, last night was the first time the two meshed quite unexpectedly and seamlessly.

I found myself standing next to Jumper One, in the parking lot of Catherine's Confections in Great Barrington Massachusetts.  A place I know and love, but do not often get to, especially these days when I'm over a thousand miles from there.  In any case, I'm standing there, the day is wonderful and I don't have a bag with me.  I could either go in, get some of their fudge, or head on out to other places.  In fact I realized I was stopping there as I was taking the back way to Stockbridge to go hunting for a church that I'm not sure I've lost. That's a topic for another post.  So in any case, I of course chose to go inside to get some fudge.

What happened next was fascinating to say the least.

My sister P, who passed from this world into the next four years ago looked up from behind the counter, smiled and said "Hey Sis" as she was helping another customer.  A flood of memories opened themselves to me and I remembered that in this part of time space, her life, and mine, had gone very differently and she was obviously still alive.  "D" she hollered over her shoulder "Customer" and said I'll be with you in a bit.

So this really good looking guy walks out of the back room, gives me a smile I'd know anywhere, and says "Can I help you Ms?"  The stunned look on my face wasn't missed by my sister who gave me a wink and a smile as she finished ringing up her customer.

Looking around for Alan Funt, or one of those "I get that all the time" cameras I stammered "Dillon McDermot, as I live and breath, what are YOU doing here?"

Shock, then a blank look on his face, then a "Yes I am, how did you know my name? I'm new here, P just hired me."

My sister also surprised said "Dillon, I'd like you to meet my sister Sam, but I guess you two already know each other?"

Looking at both of them I manage "This is a joke right?" Then it hits me, no, no joke, my sister is still alive so anything is possible and I'm somewhere else.  Here he's not the famous actor, here he's not known to some as the guy that managed to do a respectable job of following in Jimmy Stewart's shoes.  Here he's just a guy working at a Confectionery.  I pause for dramatic effect, decide to share some of what his life became somewhere else.  He looks at me like I'm crazy and says "What the hell am I doing here then? Are you kidding me? How can this be possible if I'm working here and hardly anyone knows me?" Then as an aside to my sister "Sorry P, it's nothing personal, I appreciate the job, but I've always wondered what my life could be if I wasn't so ... normal?"

She looks at Dillon and says "D, my sister is special, she's always known things and sometimes she shares. Life could be very different in other places and times and she can see them all. Years ago, she saw what life could be, warned us, told our family what was going to happen. If I, we'd not listened, I'd be four years dead now.  You're looking at a woman that died four years ago somewhere else. I'd be lying if I said I understood it, but my sister is like my Mom, some kind of magical being or something.  I learned years ago to just roll with it. Maybe you two should talk more, see what she can tell you about you somewhere else. Maybe you could get out of here, have a different life. It's all up to you. But I know if that my sister knows you, and shares things that may seem incredible, you might want to listen.  For now, she's my sister and we're going to have some lunch."

It was great day. It was cool seeing P healthy, happy and living a life she wouldn't have otherwise ever had. Possibly the best part from my perspective is we'd stayed best of friends, the trauma and pain of our lives never cost us our relationship, or her - both of us - our lives.  It was kinda cool. After lunch with my sister I had lunch (again) with Dillon and I encouraged him to take charge of his life. Rekindle his dream of acting. It was really nice. Got to spread the hope around some. Even shared with him the hit series he stared in, what it was about, some highlights, the whole nine yards.

Dreams teach, but they also give us the chance to spread our wings and fly.  Typically in Quantum Jumping, one finds out about their own life and how they can make it better, different.  They get to share information about themselves.  In this one, I was all at once me, and the alternate me that I'd been, was being in that part of time and space. I decided to stay a few days in town with my sister, it was time well spent.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Two very different experiences...

Today I went for my second eye exam this year. Mainly because it was required and free, and because to be honest I had issues with the last one.

So let's take a short trip in the way back machine here shall we?

In the first week of March I went for an eye exam at Lenscrafters.  Mainly because that's where I've always gone over the years.  The difference this time of course was the fact that I really needed to go because even I could tell my eyes weren't what they once were.  In fact for me they were a dramatic change from what they used to be.  Six years ago I had better than perfect eyes, and could see things at much greater distances than say the average person with 20/20 vision.  That was then, this is now.

My exam at Lenscrafters honestly felt rushed.  And while they did indeed have a pair of glasses ready in about an hour, and they did make a marked difference in what I could see, they weren't quite there.  I'd gone in because my right eye was much changed, and frankly made driving uncomfortable.  Thus my decision to have them checked.  The rushed exam, and the single vision plain glasses that were better than my eyes, but still cost a small fortune and didn't have things like Transitions lenses, or nonglare/nonreflective coating, mainly because I couldn't afford them.

This left me doing research into where else one could get glasses that didn't require taking out a loan. Especially given that the ones I got from Lenscrafters were on special just plain, that a single pair with the options I needed would be over $600.  That's just crazy!

So I found my way to America's Best the home of two pair of glasses for $70 dollars if I just wanted plain glasses, and that includes an eye exam free.  Today I went in for my exam and to pick out frames.

Before I go further, it's also important for me to mention that men terrify me. Perhaps not as much as spiders or clowns, but I'd say they are still in the top five. In fact being that most clowns are guys, and often vice versa, I'd say they were tied.  I'm sorry, that's just how I feel.  Now the guy at Lenscrafters was cute, friendly and well behaved. But I felt rushed, and him calling out numbers and flipping settings on the machine like it was a race didn't much help.

Today was very different. A male tech by the name of Mike got some of the preliminaries out of the way, and then he had me sit in the big chair and wait for the doctor.  In comes Adrienne. Nice grey slacks, beautiful blouse, great shoes. Very well put together, looking calm, cool and professional.  She was great, listened to my concerns, my experience with Lenscrafters, and really gave me an eye exam.  Did a bunch of things the guy at Lenscrafters didn't do, confirmed that yes, the prescription from Lenscrafters would have helped, but not as much as it could, and additionally checked things that they didn't over at Lensecrafters, like for astigmatism, and that my eyes needed prism lenses, because they point inward toward each other.  Took a bunch longer, and she said that for whatever reasons she couldn't get the right one corrected as well as the left, and had no idea why. Which is not to say that the correction we did settle on wasn't much better, because it was.  I then went and picked out two pair of frames.  One a pair that would go with anything, they didn't have a midnight blue, so I went with black metal, the others are much more expressive and fun.  They are a bright pair that's a cross between purple and electric hot pink.  Really lovely. So me.  I mean I have clothes these are going to go well with, and accessorize the color scheme of my bike quite well.  In fact, come to think of it, they are about the same color as the accents on my bike frame.

With full coatings, including Transitions lenses, non glare, uv, extra scratch resistant, and a one year warranty for full replacement and the extra 15 dollars for eye health exam, all total 300 dollars instead of the 200 I paid for the basic bottom of the line pair at Lenscrafters on 50% sale.  Since I returned the Lenscrafters ones, that 200 went to the two pair I got today.  They don't do them in house in an hour, so I have to wait seven days for them to come in, but hey, that's okay by me.

So Lenscrafters was rushed and didn't quite do me any favors while costing me 245 some odd dollars including the exam that was rushed.  America's Best, was a much better eye exam that looked for things and took steps to find the right correction for me that was really going to work. And I left with two pair of glasses that will really work, and let me ride, automatically adjusting for light and the glare of on coming head lights, and corrects the astigmatism.  I quite approve!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Women of a certain age . . .

. . . have to deal with changes.  It's a study in in impermanence, this whole ageing thing, really it is.  Over the last year or so I've noticed that my once perfect, no, better than perfect, eyesight has moved toward the average for my age?  It's particularly noticeable when cycling and driving. For the most part it's only really my non-dominant eye, and it's not significant, but enough to be annoying.

So in March, after not having had an eye exam in six years, I went to Lenscrafters figuring I knew them and had always had my eyes checked there.  Plus six years ago I dropped a big chunk of money on nonprescription sunglasses there.  You know, scratch resistant, non glare, uv coated, transition lenses in a nice Ray Ban metal frame.  So I thought if I was going to need a prescription, that I'd be able to get new lenses for the frames I already had.

Had the eye exam done, and no big shock, my right eye needed correction just as I thought, the slight surprise was that my left eye could do with a very minor bit of correction too.  So, that done I set about having new glasses made.  After a song and a dance about how they couldn't really do anything with my existing frames I had to pick new ones.  Strike one right there.  I got measured, fitted, found nice frames that brought out my green eyes, and then got the price tag.  One pair of glasses again was going to be several hundreds of dollars with the non glare, uv, scratch resistant, transition lenses.  Damn!!! And that was with a 50% off sale that was going to be ending shortly. If I waited until I could afford the options I wanted, the sale would have been over and the price would have been close to seven hundred dollars for one pair of glasses.  Double damn, so I settled on plain lenses in the frames and figured I'd have to get some clip on sunglasses for them or something like that. Strike TWO!!!

An hour and  $245 dollars later I had new glasses. The first pair of corrective lenses I've ever needed. Lovely. $210 for the glasses, $35 for the exam.

Riding and driving were of course different, "better."  Not having transitions lenses a real pain in the tush. Driving at night, quite the pain because of the reflections and glare of oncoming traffic. Sure, I could see "better" but there were some serious issues with just plain lenses. So I started looking at my options, online. You know, doing some serious research as I got used to having and wearing glasses.  I also started to notice that while much improved, my right eye, was still not quite as good as my non corrected left eye. Corrected, my left eye was even better.  So there was a distinct imbalance there that I thought shouldn't be. It became clear through March and April that we'd rushed my eye exam and that my right eye prescription still needed work. Damn! Triple Damn even. Strike THREE!!!

My research last night culminated with finding multiple less expensive options for glasses including a place on line that would give, with a proper prescription, the first pair of glasses free for single vision plain lenses.  FREE!!! For the options I want on the free pair, another $130 dollars.  America's Best, two pair of single vision plain lenses starting at $69 with a free eye exam. So I drove over there today to look at frames and see if I'd be able to find anything I could live with, and to price the option I wanted. To get all everything I want, that I had on the non prescription glasses, a total of $280 dollars. For TWO pair.  WITH a free eye exam.

So today, while still within the 90 day return policy at Lenscrafters, I did just that. Returned the glasses and had the $210 dollars credited back to my account.  Wednesday of next week, I'll head over to America's Best, have another eye exam, and place my order for two new sets of glasses with all the options.  While at America's best today I looked at the selection of frames and found some wonderful looking ones, so that's not a concern. in fact one set of frames I picked out are Amethyst.  Oh such a happy thing.  So I'll get those, and another pair of midnight blue ones, and that way I'll have two pair of glasses, with all the coatings and transitions lenses.  Mind you I don't spend that much time in the sun in general, but I do get some, and the transitions make a big difference. As does the non glare and UV coatings. Especially the non glare, which makes a big difference at night, and one doesn't have to experience distracting reflections from the lenses while doing other things even during the day.

So yeah, as a woman of a certain age that now needs glasses, at least I'm not having to spend almost seven hundred dollars for a single pair that do what I want and need.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

It's like coming home ...

P4C-427 Great Room Sketch
Despite there being so much wrong with it, I'm honestly thrilled with this little sketch of mine, because it is recognizably a room I wasn't standing in at the time.  It's part illustration, part "story board" sketch and part getting back into the swing of something that left my life a long, long time ago.  Art. Or I should say something I left behind me that I'm just now welcoming back?

Even more interesting is that this was a huge leap for me, from paper and implements of drawing, to a tablet computer and taking art to a whole new place for me. When last I was near art school, I could "see" in my minds eye, the day when one could just draw directly onto a computer screen like it was paper, and that is exactly what this is.  That day I envisioned more than two decades ago is now as real and present as my keyboard while I type this.  Mind you all those years ago when I "saw" that day in my minds eye?  Folks told me I was crazy.  Whose crazy now I wonder?

For those of whom have never been to this room, while there is everything wrong with this drawing, at the same time it is still recognizably a room, drawn by a human hand. My hand.  It is still clearly a representation of a place, with a sense of space, depth and substance, not just mindless squiggles on paper.  It is clearly something drawn by hand, not painted with a mouse on a screen.

For me, it's new freedom.  For me it's growth, and evolution of a medium without taking away what makes me an artist.  It's just another tool of expression.  That it is all virtual, inside a computer stored as electrons?  That doesn't both me near as much as even I'd have thought, or at all.  In fact, it's a certain amount of additional freedom.  Because I know that should I choose to do so, I could print this onto paper, or velum, or whatever media I can put through a printer.  So I don't need to spend lots of money and room on art supplies I cannot realistically justify right now.

For me, this means despite not having really drawn anything in more than 2 decades, I've not lost the hand or the eye for it.  Sure I'm rusty, but I can still render something I can see in my minds eye into something real, solid, and easy to share with you.  For me, this is a first step back to skills and feelings I'd left so far in my past as to almost having been forgotten.  So this is me, picking up something I'd thought lost to me decades ago.  For me this is exactly like a home coming of sorts.  On more than one level.  This is a room I know well.  A room I've been to many times.  A second home for me, far from the troubles of this tiny little world.

This sketch is of a room I've been to many times.  A safe place, a home, a haven by the sea.  Through the double doors is a balcony and deck that looks out over a sea. Off to the left is a bedroom, my bedroom, with closets and a bathroom, also on the left is a largish open, welcoming kitchen.  To the right, another set of doors out to a larger deck area, and another bedroom and bathroom.  Behind me the front door.  Many an hour I've spent on that deck beyond the doors eating fruit, drinking tea, and watching the sunset into the sea.  This is a place of light, love, warmth and "old world charm" like it might be somewhere on the coast of Italy.

So this is a sketch, drawn by my hand, of a place that feels like, and is, a home.  And being able to once again share with you what my eyes alone have seen?  Well that's a homecoming of a different sort.  I have more than one of my sisters to thank for this post, and the confluence of thought that brings me too it.  But that's for another day me thinks.  For now, this is about home, my home, my heart.  About finding once again something I thought I'd lost.  It's said you can never go home again, but this experience makes me see this is simply not so.  It has been said "home is where the heart is."  My heart in this moment is weaving together different bits of things to share this room you'll probably never stand in, via my ability to freeze moments in time in my minds eye, and then put them on paper.

So it's very much like coming home.  Because despite the fact that the last time I drew anything was more than a dozen years before I'd set foot in the room pictured, I get to share it with you quickly now.  This room?  It's my Polonia, my Bramasole made manifest.  It's a place of my heart.  That I can make it real and share with you is the promise of a light still shining.  It's very now, and very Zen.  It's like coming home ... for me!