Thursday, May 31, 2007

Better.... Stronger... Faster

Two things about me as a child:
1) I loved me some "Bionic Woman"
2) I was a blind as a bat

I still am quite visually-challenged. For me, it is just a way of life. A thing that has always been. I don't remember a time when I didn't wear glasses. I can look back at pre-school pictures and see that I don't have them. But I don't actually have the memory of not wearing my heavy coke-bottle lenses in cheesy plastic frames.

My optometrist put me in contacts at age 8. Sure, that doesn't sound so remarkable NOW, but remember, this was the late 70's, and back then, such drastic measures were unheard of. (Not to mention, they put me in hard lenses. Not today's "rigid gas permeable" which are so much kinder to the eye). The idea was that the firm lenses would provide some resistance for the cornea, and perhaps retard the speed at which my growing young eyes were deteriorating. However, putting hard lenses into an eye is not the most comfortable feeling, and I was a child. Needless to say, I was not terribly regular about care and cleaning for my lenses and thus I inflicted upon myself any number of corneal abrasions, infections, corneal neovascularization and (my favorite) corneal ulcers (like herpes cold sores in your eyes... so pretty and so much fun!)

In my teen years, vanity won out and I began to utilize and care for my contacts much more. They became a part of every day routine: Wake, stagger to bathroom, reach for case, rub lens with cleaner, rinse off thoroughly (they aren't kidding about that), then put tiny pieces of plastic in eye. Proceed with day.

As I learned the appropriate sterilization and storage techniques, the amount of bodily damage decreased. However, the lens body count continued to mount. One contact actually "popped" and split while in my eye. A few have slipped off the iris & wedged themselves behind the upper eyelid. One contact was knocked out by the draft caused by a Frisbee speeding by my face. My childhood best friend washed another down the drain. One plummeted onto disgusting carpet at Chuck E. Cheese. One oversexed lens leaped out of my eye and into the lap of the boy on whom I was sitting during a 'tween flirting session. Imagine his joy when in my panic, I began pawing his crotch fervently. I'm still not sure he believed me when I said, "No, I'm just looking for my contact"

Because of the state and situation of my eyes and continuously degenerating vision, soft contacts or extended wear are not an option. So I resigned myself for a very long time to the fact that this was the way my optical life operated.

And then the buzz around LASIK began. Science and technology promised to fix and replace that which was no longer useful. With just a few moments of precise laser incisions, and a wham-bam-thank-you-mam recovery time, one might see clearly again.

At first, I resisted... unsure of long term effects and a bit cynical of all this 'new fangled science'. But the more I thought about it over the last year, the more intrigued I became. Of course, it doesn't help that in the last 16 months, my eyes have deteriorated severely again, and the contacts I bought in late '05 (as well as the 'back up' glasses I purchased this time last year) no longer correct me to 20/20. Additionally, my night vision has grown dangerously bad. Halos and glare keep me from focusing on the road, and reading street signs is just plain impossible.

So with my hope and hat in hand, I made an appointment with the local laser eye center. 60 minutes later, after multiple exams and painfully bright pictures of my retina, I was told.... No Go. That's right kids, my prescription is too extreme and my cornea is simply too thin to withstand the surgery. *sigh*

There is one option that might be available. Intraocular lenses (IOL)are tiny bits of plastic placed directly into the eye. As the doctor helpfully explained, a flap in the cornea is cut open and peeled back. The IOL is then attached BY CLAWS to the mid peripheral iris. Doesn't that sound like fun?

The surgery is more intensive than LASIK, requiring a full surgical suite and on-call anesthesiologist. The lenses must be custom made, requiring a number of weeks prep time. The surgery itself takes longer than a LASIK procedure. Recovery time is longer as well, taking as much as 3 - 5 days for full vision to return. Because of this, they only do one eye at a time. So add in an additional 2 weeks between your surgeries, during which time one eye is healing and the other is as crappy as you started with. yay.

Did I mention the implant attaches "by CLAWS"!?!

Did I mention that your very own Steve Austin eye will cost you 2 - 3x more than LASIK?


I didn't realize how much I wanted LASIK until I was told it wasn't an option. I didn't realize how tired I am of not being able to see, until it once again became the only way to be. And I didn't realize how really scared I am of eventually ending up without any vision at all.... until now.

Tag recently bought me a beautiful little digital camera, and I find myself carrying it with me at all times right now. It's like I want to capture every image that moves me and burn it on to my memory's retina.... so that further down the road, I can, if needed, flip through the photo album in my mind.

Bionics remain, in my world at least, just a piece of science fiction, suitable for vintage TV.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Haiku for Tag

...who is currently on a businesstrip in San Antonio

It is hard to wake
Next to your empty pillow
Grey gloomy mourning

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Each little Slug here, cutting a rug here..

Ah, the joy of a holiday weekend. A rare occassion when, despite having two different jobs, I still manage to have at least a 2 days off IN A ROW.

Tag and I decided to go to the Long Beach "Aquarium of the Pacific" for one of those glorious days. Although it was slammed with folks who had the same idea, we still enjoyed every moment. From petting the sharks and rays in the touch tanks, to watching a touching 5 min movie on the majesty of all excited and amazed us.

I love the Ocean. I love water. I love the idea that there are wild and wonderful creatures down there, so strange and exotic. I love that there is still so much unexplored. So much of our living waters and their resident denizens remain a mystery, and I hope they continue to be so for many years to come.

This lemony beastie was one of my favorites.... look how he's acutally holding himself in place, between the rock and the coral. Like a tiny Samson, pushing at the pillars of the temple, save for that look of bored resignation on his face.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Masks

The weekend has been busy and it's nearly 9:30 on Sunday night before I finally get a peek at the Sunday Scribbling prompt for the week.

Synchronicity being the funny thing that it is.... I notice this prompt as we are watching "Labyrinth", in preparation for "Labyrinth of Jareth", the annual masquerade ball which I attend each year.

Watching this movie when I was young, all I wanted to do was disappear inside of it. Travel its various terrains and meet its random denizens. How wonderful and amazing that someone else had a similar thought, so much so that they manifested the event. Of course, like all such celebrations, the labyrinth has morphed and become its own entity.

Costume is required (or at least formal wear with a mask.) "Elaborate costumes" are recommended. And believe me, it is very clear that some folks work on their outfits all year long and make quite the showing. While some creatures are straight out of the movie, others are a wide variety of goblins, pirates, and fairies.

In the room, packed full of masked beings and living fantasies, one can completely lose oneself. Drop into the dance, listen to the bands, watch the shows, and disappear into another world, unrealted to reality. Masks and costumes have a built-in freedom that releases us from the mundane and opens a door to what we wish would be.

For beautiful masks and other such artistry, be sure to check out the pictures from years past.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh you Clever Corporate Bastards

Is it not enough for you that I worship at the shrine of your beloved soda?

Now you invite me to the Coke Side of Life, and tempt me with your frivolous and arty "coke creator" program, sucking mindless moments from me as I design my very own Coke poster...


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Morning After

Day 1 - Post Detox, wherein the world attempts to return back to "normal"

Our dietary journey has ended (although many of the healthy habits will be retained). It was both challenging and insightful. I was thrilled to imbibe in my first cup of coffee this morning, but didn't need my usual amount of sugar. Lunch was tofu chili, but there was freedom in it because I knew that if I'd wanted to, I could have had meat in there instead. A world of new culinary options has opened up to me, and while I will return to my omnivore ways... I intend to continue my love affair with our Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.

However, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of it, one discovery leaps to mind as most important.

I am not an alcoholic.

I apologize if that comes off somewhat tongue in cheek, because it is not meant that way. It is in fact a very solid and relief-filled statement. Many a time in my life, my addictive personality has leaned towards one vice or another as a form of escape. I've shared the company of several alcoholics (recovering and otherwise) in both my romantic and platonic relationships, enough times to make me wonder at the "birds of a feather" phenomena. And there are definite periods of my life wherein my own behaviors and tendencies scared me (like the 10 months I kept a bottle of vodka under the driver's seat of the car, for lunch breaks.) Therefore, the concept of going 30 days without alcohol seemed absolutely daunting. In practice though, abstaining was surprisingly easy.

Sure, there were bad days, stressful situations, & maudlin moods, to which my first instinctive response was "If only I had a glass of wine..." But then I would remind myself that it wasn't an option, and the urge would pass.

Let me repeat that.... the urge would pass. It didn't haunt me. It didn't keep me up at night. It didn't keep me from going to work, or dealing with unpleasantness. It would just fade away, like most of the other cravings (and faster than some.)

We have a bottle of red in the house even as I type, but it never occurred to me to open it prematurely. It was bought for that celebratory glass at the end of the road, and that's what it is waiting for still. (T minus 5 hours, and counting)

And when that long awaited moment comes, I will toast to willpower, to strength I didn't know I had, and to a future of better health and wiser coping mechanisms.

I will also toast Tag, as I couldn't have done this without him. *mwah* Thanks babe!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Long Awaited

...wherein I reveal the joy I've had for the last 2 1/2 weeks.

I did it! I'd been wanting to for years, and I finally did it (corporate office be damned!)

It's just hard to be pouty when your mirror shows Pretty in Pink.

Note to Parents: Before you go off on what a ridiculous form of expression you may or may not believe this to be... please let me remind you that it is neither a new tattoo nor a new piercing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Small Work Rant

Look, I am not a tiny or fragile girl. I have upper body strength, more than most women in my office (thank you pole climbing). However, there are those sturdier and more equipped than I. There are also MEN on this floor. In fact the lordgodking quarterback, Mr. Fitness (aka my boss) is prone to show off his "guns" or tell us what he can bench or lift.

So why is it that 4 out of every 5 days .... I am the ONLY ONE replacing the 5-gallon jug on the water cooler!?!?!

I see people take their cups up to the spout, and when nothing comes out, they look up, see the empty jug and walk away. These same people later come running like a cat who hears the can opener, when I make that recognizable glug-glug-glug of a new jug pouring into the resevoir.

Seriously people... it's not that hard.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Second Chance

The jingle of the visitor bell was as stereotypical as the musty smell of the little curiosity shop. The thought humored Doreen as she entered the dimly lit store. Despite its cramped quarters, the shop felt like a safe haven from the haggard and hurried streets of the city. Furthermore, it was the sort of place where no one came looking for anything or anyone in particular, and as she was busy hiding from her wreck of a life, “Second Chance Curiosities” seemed a perfect place to spend an afternoon…. Or at least the next 15 minutes.

As she was wont to do, she dragged her hand along the surfaces of items nearby, feeling the rough covers of old books or the crisp synthetic quality of baby doll hair past its prime. The shelves were uncharacteristically dust-free, and she appreciated the care the owner showed in displaying his wares, however dismal they appeared. Leather cracked around the spine of what looked to be a weather-beaten journal, and Doreen longed to read the pages. Picking up the book, she closed her eyes and held it to her chest, breathing in the stale warm smell of old pages and imagining what treasures it might hold

“Memoirs of a Civil War Soldier,” a voice whispered.

Doreen looked around startled to be caught in such reverie, but found no one. She caught movement in the corner of her eye, and did a double take, only to see a small grey spider scurry across the edge of a wooden shelf.

“Hello?” No response came

After a moment of silence, when it seemed that she really was quite alone, she brushed off the disturbance and tried to go about her browsing. She set the book on the table without much more thought and continued down the row.

At the back of the shop, past a splendid display of rusty shields and ancient masks, Doreen stopped in awe at the vast array of snow globes spread along 3 tall bookcases. Everything else in the store had been dust-free and tidy, but these shelves and their inhabitants glowed as if they were polished hourly. In each miniature glass planet, a blizzard whirled around tiny monuments and their petite patrons. Some were recognizable, like the Eiffel Tower, or St. Basil’s. Others seemed tribal or aboriginal in nature. A small handful seemed celestial or downright alien. Despite this assortment, Doreen found herself drawn to one that was terribly mundane. In the swirling snow sat a figure alone. The tiny woman was brightly dressed against her colorless backdrop, and her posture and facial expression embodied a passionless calm.

“That one is called ‘Blank Slate’.”

Doreen almost dropped the glass orb at the sound of the voice. However, this time when she looked up, she found she was not eerily alone anymore. A small bespectacled man with slate grey hair and mustache had appeared at her side. Doreen was frightened and embarrassed to have not heard him approach and tried to cover this with a note of irritation.

“You shouldn’t sneak up on people so,” she stated. “At least not when they are holding glass.” She added a small laugh to soften her words, as she realized that she was being unnecessarily rude to someone who was, no doubt, the owner of the establishment in which she was currently a guest. The gentleman simply smiled.

An awkward moment of silence passed between them, making Doreen suddenly uncomfortable in these dimly lit cramped quarters. Still, she wasn’t ready to let go of the globe in her hands, so she fumbled over words until she managed to ask, “Is this for sale? I mean, how much is this? I want to buy it. I mean, I … might be willing to buy it… if the price is not too high.”

Again the grey haired man smiled. “They are very special to me,” he said, nodding his head towards the globes. “I’m not one to easily part with something so….” His pause was longer than needed and his eyes met hers with a jolt that chilled her. His smile grew larger. “But for a young lady who needs a ‘Blank Slate’, I can make a deal.”

He turned and shuffled towards an antique cash register. His legs were rickety, and his skin seemed tissue thin. Aging had taken its toll, but Doreen guessed that he wasn’t a very handsome man in his youth either. He had a bit of a greasy peddler feel to him, like an old time salesman, or the carney barker who calls you to the view the Freak tent. He seemed as much an old oddity as the items he sold, only he was in much more disrepair. Still, he was going to make her a deal (or so he said), and so Doreen put her disrespectful thoughts aside and followed him to the counter.

A bit of haggling and $20 later, Doreen found herself carrying home her new treasure, wrapped in paper and plastic. The globe drew her in, and she wanted very much to see it up close again. She waited until she was safely seated on the subway train before she began to unwrap it. Holding it in two hands, she was mesmerized by the tiny woman and all her vast possibilities.

“A blank slate…. A clean slate… a second chance,” Doreen murmured to herself as if the words would conjure such a state for herself. She locked eyes with the petite figure and wished with all her might that it might be her. 7 years ago, she’d moved to this city, desperate to run from her mistakes and shame. 7 years she’d spent fighting demons and stuffing regrets. 7 years, and all she had to show for it was a dismal job that barely covered rent on the one room apartment she’d spent 7 years hiding in. Her list of failures in love and life was overwhelmingly long, and she’d found it easier to wallow in mediocrity than it was to just forgive and move on. 7 years that brought her face to face with the fact that the old adage was true, “Wherever you go, there you are.” And here she was- on a subway, bleary-eyed with tears, wishing she were that calm little woman in the white-out world of her blank slate.

The subway was oddly quiet, and so Doreen didn’t notice when she missed her stop. She didn’t notice the people who got on or off. She was nearly invisible, in her back corner of the train, focused on her little glass world. She felt herself slipping away, imagining endlessly what she might do were she that woman in the globe. She pulled her thin sweater tighter around her, and snuggled tighter into a ball as she felt the temperature drop, but her gaze never waivered from the face in the snow. Harder and harder she wished and wanted. More and more she dropped into that place of possibility. Real life seemed to fade from her thoughts as she dreamed and hoped and desired and irrationally craved the life of that calm figure in the whirling snow. The glass grew foggy with her warm moist breath as the truth of the subway drifted further and further away. Her fevered prayers for a blank slate erased the hard lines of reality until everything else vanished. And then Doreen simply disappeared as well.

No one remembered the small girl on the subway that night. At least, they wouldn’t have if any one had asked. But when the conductor did a walk through at the end of his shift, and found the lone snow globe in the corner seat of the last row of the last car, he didn’t question. He merely assumed that someone had carelessly forgotten; their lives too full of other matters of consequence. He tucked it under one uniformed arm, and walked off to clock out.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The jingle of the bell as she opened the door was just like a spooky scene from a movie, Annie thought as she dipped into the tiny curiosity shop, and Annie loved movies. She loved all things having to do with escape. Her job was dreary and monotonous, the heat outside unbearable, and her lunch time walk had found her wandering in search of a midday vacation. She felt like a soul possessed by the singular urge to ‘get away from it all’, and that craving for something new had led her feet to the tiny store she’d not noticed before. A twinkle caught her eye as light reflected on some glass at the back of the store, and intrigued, Annie walked towards what seemed to be a shelf full of glass orbs.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I've had so much on my mind, and such the urge to write, but the laptop never seems to be nearby when I'm feeling eloquent... and the time I do spend on a computer (work) is wasted on scheduling and SAP. So instead of several eloquent posts, each dedicated to a single event - you get a bullet point list to summarize the flurry of activity.

  • First of all, HAPPY WEDDING DAY to Slackmistress & Be The Boy. Their Detective Agency is finally "official" (and, I actually had time to watch it on the live webcast. She looked beautiful.)
  • Speaking of blissful couples, Tag and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday. *grin* Well, actually we're celebrating it tonight, with a couple of tickets to the Loreena McKennitt concert.
  • The Griffith Park fire- yes, Tag and I and the kitties are ok, as is our domicile. However, we were far closer that I ever want to be to another raging inferno. My breath caught in my throat as I stood on our street corner, watching an endless stream of cars of the evacuated citizens who lived a mere 2 -3 blocks north of us. The skies were never dark that night. They glowed deep red, or bright orange, depending on the fire's intensity. We slept to the overpowering sound of constant helicopters as news crews kept watch all night. And we awoke at 4am coughing, finding our bedroom filled with smoke. (We have no air conditioning, and so we have open windows and fans. Not great for breathing when 800 acres are burning less than a mile away). Thanks to a diligent and tireless firefighting force, the Zoo and several other landmarks were saved. Sadly there was still a great loss of wilderness and wildlife. The cause is still not officially released, but a "badly burned person of interest" was being treated for burns on his chest and arms. According to his story, he fell asleep while smoking. I'm working on tempering my outrage towards him, so instead of beating him about his burned torso, I'm just going to post today's PSA image:

*image courtesy of The Fireman. He so rocks!

  • Lastly, this link was sent to me earlier today. That's right ladies... a shoe sale whose proceeds go to charity. Now you can dress those tootsies in your favorite designers GUILT-FREE!

That's it for today my dears.... Tag is here, and so I'm headed out the door and off to our evening events.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Ocean

When I was young, I had many dreams that occurred like memories of another life. They had no action to them, and they repeated themselves over time. It's like hoving over a snapshot.... only I could feel the emotions of the moment. This writing comes from one of those dreams.
She stood on the weathered dock like a ghost, pale grey and lifeless. Her long skirts hung with the weight of multiple layers of wool and petticoats, sodden with unrelenting rain. Only the crisp blue of her eyes seemed alive, constantly scanning the endless horizon of swirling water.

Some called her “The Watcher”, others “The Widow,” though never the latter when she was nearby. Even the slightest inference that he wouldn’t return was met with glaring blue steel from those vivid eyes. Death was not an option in her world. Just endless waiting for the proper conclusion.

Wild winds whipped stray pieces of hair about her face, lashing her skin with cold, wet wisps that had escaped her untidy bun. Around her shoulders was a tattered crocheted shawl that provided no protection or solace from the storm. And yet, she seemed unaware of the squall around her. She just stood, stone still against a large wooden post, and stared out to sea.

The Nor’easters had come early this year. Late enough in the season that wise and wealthy crews had finished their haul and come in… but early enough to catch small fishing boats who had stayed too long. Unlucky were those working class men whose livelihood depended on their haul. Some had returned. But a few remained asea, above and below the waves.

One long pale hand, cold and wet, reached up as if with a life of its own, to the locket she wore. Old beaten metal full of hope, she clutched it whenever her thoughts were darkest. Day after day now, she’d watched ships larger and stronger than his, come limping home, battered from the gale. She was dockside when the dawn broke, and still at her post when it slipped below the horizon again, but still no word had come. No sign. No affirmation. Just raging waters and bleak barren skies.

Her petite lips moved, whispering prayers to any who would listen. To God, that he might protect him. To Poseidon, that he might return him. To Davy Jones, that he might reject him from a water grave and send him back to the surface. And in her blackest moments, though she would admit it to no one, she would pray to the Sirens, that they might recognize a good man, and care for him if they could not send him back.

Time became meaningless. Aging, pointless. The universe had frozen in this moment….. eternally waiting, praying, searching. And bit by bit, she is eroding, like the shores and pier pilings, her hopes dashed on the rocks in endless waves.
*picture from this website

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Unexpected Turn of Events

Detox: Day 18

Clearly all this healthy eating has caused an egregious misfire of the synapses of my brain...

For I found myself thinking just now, "Oooh, wow... this tofu patty is really yummy today."

P.S. The sauteed asparagus was friggin fantastic too.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Detox: day 16

That's right folks, I've now passed the half-way mark on the 30 day detox.

16 days with no fast food
16 days with no alcohol (!!?!?!)
16 days without my beloved Coca-Cola

It's fascinating to see the mind break down without its comforting numb haze caused by saturated fats and sugars. I'd like to say I've had an epiphany. I'd like to say that the cravings have gone away. But I'd be lying. 16 days without has only made me 16 days cranky.

I long to sink my teeth into a hot searing piece of meat. Don't get me wrong, I love our friend the cow. I love their eyelashes and the sounds they make. I love their velvet noses, and the softness of their tongues as they lick the side of my face. I love that there's a spot on a calf's chin that, when I scratch it just right, causes him to flop his head heavily into my hands with a sigh. I also happen to love a high-quality cut of beef, with horseradish and worchester sauce on the side.

I am an addict, to be sure.