Since I was about 9 or 10 years old my vision has changed every year but one. In 4th grade my teacher moved me, row by row, until I was unhappily front and center in the classroom, practically under the blackboard. Finally the next year my doctor convinced my mother I did really need these glasses, and I was incredulous at the sight of each individual leaf on the summer-adorned trees. For a good number of those years I was able to wear contact lenses. I remember my father telling me one tearful frustrating afternoon when I’d come home from school having been called four-eyes so many times I nearly forgot my own name about these small glass disks that could be placed directly on your eyes. No glasses. And you could see like your vision was fine.

I wanted them. Now.

By the time my eye doctor felt I was capable of being responsible for them it was 5 years later. I was thrilled. No one told me if you got an invisible speck of dust in your eye it would feel as though a poisoned dart had been stuck in there. I soon learned how to wash the thing in my mouth and mercifully never got some horrible bacterial disease from this not good practice. I was careful with them, too. I only lost two in all those years. One in a swimming pool and one ice skating (actually a fellow skater did somehow find my blue-tinted lens on the blue-white ice). But sadly in my 50s I became too old to wear them. I could no longer stand the stabbing pain of dust particles, and the last day I wore them one slid off the eye itself and lodged in the corner of my now age-dry eye to the point where I thought I might have to go to the emergency room to get it off. I didn’t.

So now it is quite an event, buying a new pair of eyeglasses. No more taking the prescription, picking out frames and a week or so later picking the finished eyeglasses up. No… there are anti-glare coatings, graduated shading depending on how much sunlight they are exposed to. And different types of lenses altogether– Nikon even makes them. So even though my sales person was the nicest lady I did turn down her best efforts at selling me all these extra things. To compensate though I learned she is 10 years older than her husband and he better not retire before she does. I learned she had just recovered from flu and assured her that I had gotten a flu shot for this year. We spoke at great length of this flu bug that has been going around to the point where I began to feel flu-like symptoms from the power of suggestion. She promised me that she would fit my eyeglasses when I returned, and did I know that even though they tell you it is a week to 10 days they usually are back within a few days?

Mine took the full week before they came in. And no, the very nice lady was off that day, but another equally nice lady was happy to fit them for me and send me happily on my way, clear sighted.

At least my doctor removed the bifocal lenses. I never could see through it anyway.



My Dad lived to be 95 years old. Growing up in Colorado he was pretty active. Horses, ice hockey, mountain climbing. He’d had an accident when he was about 16 with a bad fall from a mountain. He lay at the foot of this mountain for about a day until his father came looking for him. His doctor there told him it was just badly bruised, prescribed bed rest but when nothing got better his father took him to Mayo Clinic. They found a smashed hip which they replaced, yet Dad for the rest of his life walked with a slight limp.

So when he was 93 or so he became what some call infirm, but he never got old. His doctor sketched out several exercises to keep him ambulatory, more or less active.

He almost never did these.

I would take him to his check ups. Doctor would ask if he was doing his exercises. “Oh, my yes,” he’d say. I, sitting behind him where doctor could imperceptibly look at me, would be frantically shaking my head, “no”. So his doctor who was quite fond of Dad, most everyone was, would ratchet up his insistence, in a gentle way, and Dad would agree whole-heartedly. But just like drinking his 6-8 glasses of water, it was whatever he chose to do.

He lived on his own terms, good or bad.

So when I had my 60th birthday a year ago I decided 20 years of running most mornings was enough and gave myself permission to stop. Maybe husky-mix rescue dog Lily was relieved, she seemed to enjoy our 3-4 mile-a-day runs. I decided to be kind to my knees. They’d served me well for so long, why risk pressing my luck?

So now Lily and terrier-mix rescue dog Lulu and I walk at a nature preserve here nearly everyday where they can go off-leash and it is a pleasant hour or so walk through 2-plus miles of mostly shaded trails. But sometimes I wonder if it is enough.

In warmer months I also ride my bike 5-10 miles a day but recently I have (in the occasional times I actually watch any television at all) noticed a commercial for a new stationary bike. One that simulates mountain biking (which I have never done), beach biking, and cycling in general. This ad is really tempting. A svelte young woman (who later turns out to actually even be a mom when her husband and child appear as she gently blots glistening dots of perspiration from her brow) in a picturesque glass-enclosed exercise room pumps away on this bike, listening to the digital “coach” encourage her up the grueling digital hills. This thing looks and seems so wonderful, I can almost see muscles forming at her calves, watch her arms as they white-knuckle the handle bars flex as she vigorously pumps.

Yes, I think, I should have something like this.

Never mind that the cost is in the thousands. Or that my day does not have the flexibility to venture forth on these precipitous digital rides. Where would I put this thing? Marketing is clever. We watch these commercials, forgetting we do not have a house like this with a glass-walled 200-square-foot room in which to house the bike. I’d have to build on an addition to my house. Then I’d need to tangle with my HOA and I make it a point never to interact with my HOA. Besides which I do not have any extra space where I could add on anything, certainly not an exercise room.

So I guess it’s huffing along the local rural roads outside my subdivision, and enjoying the sun-dappled walks in the nature preserve.

I’ll take that.



I am a clutter queen.

In my last move I listed my house “For Sale By Owner (FSBO)”. I cleaned out pots, pans, clothes, shoes, stuff I’d collected over the years positive I’d need it “someday” which never came, dog toys, kitchen gadgets,towels, beach stuff, even furniture. Then I cleaned stuff out again when I decided not to list my house myself and put everything back.

And again when I listed with a realtor.

Somehow I realized after only living in this next house for two years I still have too much stuff. So I am going through everything again. I had no idea how much wrapping paper, bows, boxes, ribbons, tape, little to-from gift cards, gift bags and decorations I had. So now it’s all been gone through and reorganized. And some of it disposed of.

I have clothes that I wore when I worked but have not worn in more than 10 years. Suits, blouses, shoes (again, and I don’t have that female inclination), dresses, jackets, at least five overcoats. So I found a place to donate these for people trying to get back into the workforce, or just need to stay warm.

Going through the bathrooms I found I have a 3-year supply of toilet tissue (how can you hide an 18-roll jumbo pack of Charmin??), eleven nail clippers (you can never have too many of those), and enough shampoo and conditioner of all sorts to keep a girls’ volley ball team’s hair clean for a year.

I found holiday platters I have not used in years, little fingertip towels on those circle holders on stands I never use, vases, suitcases, earmuffs still in their original packaging.

There must have been an incredible sale on dish soaps and dishwasher soaps because I probably won’t live long enough to use all of it. I counted 19 rolls of Viva paper towels, and that’s what I found the first time through.

For a while I thought collecting unusual baskets and copper tea kettles and chafing dishes was cool to put on top of the cabinetry in the kitchen. The dust is so thick on them now I can’t use them so I’ll try to find a way to clean them (maybe take them in the backyard and turn the hose on them).

I found even in my bookcases several comprehensive volumes of Shakespeare’s works, Mark Twain’s and Oscar Wilde. Probably only need one of those. Then there were those years I thought I’d use herbs for everything, so out went the herb remedy books (thankfully nobody died), and the Good for You/Bad for You food books, all of which are more than 15 years old. Surely there are differing opinions on this by now. Medical people are constantly switching sides for whether eggs are good and if margarine will truly kill you.

I prefer butter anyway.

So you’d think I’d have all this new found space in my house. Not so. I don’t know where all these things are coming from but the closets, cupboards, pantry and garage are still chock-full. I know someone who swears that her towels multiply all by themselves in the linen closet.

Don’t think that’d be true for those nail clippers though…



I think our little area on coastal NC just had the entirety of blahness for January and February all rolled up in one day. Today.

For almost a whole week the eastern side of the US has braced for a bad winter storm. Even told us to expect some snow. We were very excited. Even people who’ve lived here all their lives speak of how rare snow is in these parts. Instead we got plenty of rain.

Just as the temperature hit that magic number that turns rain to snow, it stopped.

There is a dusting, I can barely see rescue dogs Lily and Lulu’s pawprints in it. But just cold. We walked to the mailbox and when we came back in the house I wondered if my thumbs would thaw out. The wind chill makes it colder (about 5), so there is no point in even going outside!

But the waiting for something that never happened combined with the lead-gray skies, the cold air, this day was one of the longest winter days I can remember. I went through some dresser drawers, boxes in my closet to clean them out and pass time. Only one short hour. Finally now the daylight is waning. The skies will clear overnight so not even a chance of waking to a surprise blanket of sparkling, frozen white in the morning.

All over the state here friends are boasting, “We got 5 inches, it’s still falling!” Pictures on facebook, dogs playing, peaceful scenes of old, gray barns against a backdrop of pure white. It’s beautiful!

Just not here.

Sometimes I wonder if disappointment increases the lack of whatever it was you had hoped for, that thing so dreamily anticipated that never happened. I suppose it does. Me? Just makes me sleepy. So around 2:30 this afternoon when I could see the dusting was all I’d get today I fell asleep into the soundest, most delicious nap I can remember. Mostly naps make me just cranky. Or hungry. Or convinced I’d missed something important, a feeling that takes hours to shake.

Nope. This nap was apparently just what I needed. Not that I have lost a lot of sleep lately, or stayed awake agonizing over things, or just been a night owl. It was a 30-minute restoration where Lulu curled up by me on the sofa, Lily slept on the rug next to us. I even dreamed. Weird dream, but resolved, I think.

Hope your day, snowy or not, was a lovely Saturday.