Cataract Surgery

Yup! I gathered up my courage and had the surgery. I know cataract surgery is a routine thing these days, but since I’ve already lost my hearing monkeying with my sight is scary. I fear becoming Helen Keller.  In that event, I asked my daughter, Mo, to off me. She’s a critical care nurse. She should know how to do it painlessly.  She refused.  Something about losing her license. Geez, her priorities are mixed up.

My vision has gotten so bad. I see huge smudges around lights and driving at night is terrifying. Yesterday was my first operation. They began with my left eye. Jim and I bundled up for the surgery center. They keep the place as cold as a meat locker.

We showed up at 8:00 a.m. Then we were on a conveyor belt leading from room to room to answer the same questions, have technicians peer into my eyes, and get drops to dilate my eye. Finally, at about 10, I was taken into a large room, put into a hospital chair, and hooked up to an IV. The room was crowded with other patients in similar chairs. I was allowed to keep my street clothes on but draped with a bright yellow flimsy gown and had a blue shower cap put on my head. My left hearing aid was removed. Nurse Jill put a post-it note on my chest stating, “HOH. Speak into the right ear.” No idea what HOH stood for.

House of Hope?
Hearing off, Hollar?
Hogs or Hounds?

Then the surgery was explained. I would see six bright lights. Then a single light. Somewhere in there, the laser would zap my eye. But I was given anesthesia so I don’t remember much.

By 11 a.m. it was all over. I was told to keep my eyes closed as much as possible for twenty-four hours. That wasn’t happening. Jim took me to lunch. I had bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese. Stellar. Then we went to Costco and bought giant size containers of stuff, finally home again.

I wasn’t allowed to read so watched some weird British movie about kids who were cloned. Their purpose was to be organ donors, giving up body parts until they eventually succumbed to death. It was slow and stupid, but I hung in there for the entire thing.

My left eye is seeing hula hoops of sparkles around lights. My sister had this surgery some time ago. She said those hula hoops last a while. In fact, when they finally left she missed her “circles.”  The circles are created because the lens I chose has concentric rings to allow for vision at different distances.  It’s called Symfony and it cost $3000 extra an eye. I’ll be eating Meow Mix in my old age, but I’ll have 20/20 vision!



Here is what I’ve learned. The sink and toilet in our bathroom are not almond color. They are white! My right eye still has its cataract and sees everything as kind of tea stained. But the left eye now sees color clearly. The orange pavers around our pool are, in fact, pink.

I was hoping to bring the cataract home in a jar like Mo kept her tonsils for show and tell. However, I was told the cataract liquefies when zapped with the laser. It’s sucked out and dumped into a container of water.

Last night we went to friends for birthday cake, then out to dinner. We sat outside. There were strings of party lights hanging over our heads. The hula hoops made the lights look like brilliant Slinkys.

The hospital just called to check on me. Yes, I’m fine. Yes, I miss my make-up. Yes, I’m putting my drops in every four hours. No, I didn’t keep my eyes closed for 24 hours. And guess what? My toilet is white.

Next surgery two weeks from yesterday. In the meantime, I tape a clear plastic eye patch over my left eye while sleeping. I just get more and more stunning at bedtime!


Somewhat related Blog Posts:

Ravishing, that’s me.

Show and Tell

Surgery…And that’s Good Because.

I’m deaf, and this is good because…..

P.S.  My brilliant son-in-law just informed me “HOH” means “hard of hearing.”  Duh.  Why didn’t I know that?


Rittenhouse Park, Silverbook, Newark Delaware.

Yesterday I found myself on Google Earth revisiting Newark, Delaware. I typed in my childhood address, 18 Minquel Drive, Silverbrook and there I was, floating over our old house.


We moved to Silverbrook when I was two, moved out, to Oaklands, at the beginning of seventh grade. That worked out great for me since most of my West Park Elementary School buddies were going to Central Junior High. But it stunk for my sister. She was beginning her Junior year of High School and was forced to leave her friends of a lifetime.

Mother professed the move was for school districts. However, I don’t buy it. Marilyn had done great at Christiana High. I wasn’t going to do great no matter where I went. I was a lazy student at best. The truth was Mom wanted a fancier home than the little Silverbrook split level.

18 Minquel Drive backed up to Rittenhouse Park. We could walk through our yard, slip into the neighbor’s yard and access the gate into the park. We spent entire days playing there. In this day and age, few mothers would feel safe allowing that.

Summer found us hopping from one moss slick stone to another, criss crossing the Christina River. The dappled sunlight played on the water. Sometimes we were Indians. Others we were tiny people living on a giants head. The tall trees were his hair, fallen leaves his dandruff. No memory of what the creek was. Sweat, perhaps?

We found blacksnakes. We saw but didn’t pick, jack-in-the-pulpits. Lisa McClendon told me plucking those wasn’t legal. Who knows. Sometimes we waded in the shallows grabbing water beetles.


In the winter we put on our skates, and atop weak ankles, we slid around on ice until our feet were numb. We’d hear the ice crack and realize perhaps we shouldn’t go any closer to the warning sound.

No parent ever came looking for us. We were usually gone all day. No one wondered if we were floating face down in the middle of the river. We weren’t. It was a delicious time and place to be a kid.

The next door neighbor girl, Kathy, was Marilyn’s age. They set up a pulley system with parallel strings wrapping two nails in each of their bedroom windows. They would attach little notes and tug them back and forth over Kathy’s large side yard.

When I was about seven, our family took a cross-country trip to Disneyland. There we were able to ride in small motorized cars. Daddy adored cars. One Sunday afternoon at dinner (dinner was a big meal after church about one in the afternoon, later, about six, supper was something light.) while they were eating real food and I was eating cream cheese with a spoon, Daddy suddenly spoke up.

“Girls, I’ve been thinking of building something for you.” In a monotone, he asked, “Would you like a small playhouse in the backyard?” Then he continued, but his voice was suddenly enthusiastic, “Or a little car? A real car with a motor? You could drive it through the neighborhood! Visit friends! Zoom here and there!”

Naturally, given the zealous introduction, we picked the car. Daddy built it out of wood. A two-seater. The upholstery was a vinyl tablecloth tacked over foam. It had a lawnmower engine. The steering wheel was a baby buggy tire. We pulled a cord to start the motor and pressed a lever to a spark plug to stop it.  I think he painted it the same color blue as my bedroom.  It topped out at about three miles an hour.

We named it The Little Car.

The Little Car was the envy of all the other kids. At first, we drove in the streets until neighbors complained. After that, it was sidewalks only.
Daddy put a hook on the back so we could attach a wagon and give friends rides.

The only spanking I ever got was when I stubbornly refused to let anyone ride in the wagon. My Little Car. My wagon. Get lost. Daddy was furious. My butt was still red at bathtime. When mom saw it, she got quite angry with him. (Curious, she oversaw my baths as if I might drown, but she let us run amok by a river all day, no worries.)

Yesterday I “drove” all around Silverbrook via Google Earth. Rode down Minquel, took a right on Lenape Lane. Paused to look at friends homes. The Hiltons, Catalina’s, Winky somebody’s, Patnovic’s. At the end of Lenape, I turned left and drove out of the ‘hood over to Art Lane and the Tew’s house. I spent a lot of time at the Tews. They had a laundry shoot we could crawl through going from first to the second floor.

Then I turned around and headed back to 18 Minquel Drive. It was a fantastic trip down memory lane.

Mother and Daddy kept The Little Car. When Matthew came along I took him riding all around Oaklands, the neighborhood we had moved to in seventh grade. By then The Little Car was red. Daddy installed a seat belt–one of his old leather belts. If we were gone too long, Daddy would climb into the car and search to make sure we hadn’t broken down.

Later, when we had Mo, the kids would take turns having car rides. By that point, Matt drove with me as the passenger. Mother still had the car after Daddy died. We were living in Chicago. One year she called to ask if she could give it to a friend for their grandkids. My first reaction was, “No way. My Little Car!” (yes, greedy Alice probably deserved another spanking.)

Then I relented. It was just sitting there, unused, front and center in their garage. The Little Car was meant to give magic to kids.

I wonder if she still exists?

I wonder if kids are ever allowed to play freely in Rittenhouse Park these days? I’m so glad I was.

Somewhat related Blog Posts:

Destination Disneyland!

Growing up in a college town was good because…

Going to Church

My Lifelong Love Affair with Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Grove Point Girl Scout Camp and an enema



A Scary Halloween Image

I was digging through my art closet and stumbled across these drawings I did years ago. Just in time for Halloween.

There was a long period when I would draw pieces and parts, scan the drawings, drop them into Photoshop and manipulate the artwork. You see that little spider flying off standing Pumpkin Witches hat? That’s the same spider flying with her on her broom.

Somewhere in my big old computer, there is a treasure trove of similar drawings. I did fairies for a while. Fat fairies. How did they hold their tubby bodies aloft?  I remember one was named Peony duPigginpont.  She wore a yellow tutu and had flowers on her head.

A girlfriend, Judy, and I wrote a counting book called Monkey Ballet. I spent months coloring monkeys. Maybe tomorrow I’ll light up the ancient not Mac computer (I forget what it’s called) and see what else is living in there.

Now for your Halloween viewing pleasure, I present Pumpkin Witch and her green-eyed cat, Blackie.  Spooky, huh?



Aren’t these beauties graceful?



The Chihuahua Bites Again

Sunday evening we went to St. Petersburg hooked up with friends Doug and Charki. We went to dinner at the Old Northeast Tavern, followed by an absolutely hilarious political romp at the Palladium Theater titled Orange is the New Barack.




Doug and Charki live in a darling old home that they have been fixing up for the past two years. It’s so cute it was made House of the Month for October.

Their home is like TJ Maxx, never the same place twice.

Charki’s wheels never stop turning. Doug is a master woodworker and any idea she tosses him he can build.
And she rearranges furniture constantly. If you were blind in their house your life would be at risk on a weekly basis.

Not us. Jim and I plop our furniture down the day we move into a place, and there it stays until the day we move out. However, Monday I started to think maybe shuffling some furniture around might be a good idea.

I suggested to Jim that we tackle our back patio. Shove the long dining table down to the other end of the screened in porch. Drag the seating area to the center of the space.

He hated the idea, stating every item is ideally placed to take advantage of the four spinning ceiling fans. He mostly didn’t want to do it because he was deep into his morning chores. Sudoku and the daily crossword puzzle. But as he knows, I’m a dog with a bone once I get a notion. His nickname for me is “the chihuahua.”

So he hauled his honey-buns outta’ the chair and helped me. However, when I suggested we put the rectangular dining table on an angle, he refused. Then he left for golf whereupon I angled it by myself.

When he got home, he suggested we call the police because someone had broken into our backyard and moved the table. Now he has to admit he likes it.




Our next big dinner party will be Thanksgiving on the porch. Dinner for fourteen. Eating Thanksgiving outdoors still strikes us as strange, but it’s strange in a terrific way.  So far I’ve purchased tablecloths and salt and pepper shakers.  Next stop Walmart for a six-foot-long folding table to put at the end of the rectangular one.   Which will require shoving furniture around once more.  I’ll wait until November to drop that bit of information.


Somewhat related blog posts:

Moving. You can’t always get what you want. But we got what we needed.

Our Impulsive Move to Florida

Surgery…And that’s Good Because.

I’m having cataract surgery. Left eye tomorrow, right eye the following week. This means no eye makeup for several weeks. Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass positive thinking suggestion is to take a situation you don’t like and making it affirmative by adding, “and that’s good because” after the sentence.

In this case, “I can’t wear eye makeup for over two weeks, and that’s good because I’ll hunker down and read some really good books.”

I have been wearing eye makeup since tenth grade. Each morning I sat at the kitchen table, opened my little white leatherette box with the mirror in the lid, and there in the northern light I applied my war-paint.

When the task was complete mom would say, “Now you need to sign your chin.” Then she’d try to coax me into eating breakfast. I was a terribly picky eater. She would often make me “egg-nog”, which was essentially a chocolate milkshake with a raw egg beaten in. Yes, I was allowed ice cream for breakfast. Yes, I was spoiled.

Ha, another memory of her spoiling us.  When we were younger each morning she would extract the comic page from the newspaper and carefully cut it in half.  The top section had Dick Tracy.  Marilyn liked that part.  On the bottom half was Little Lulu, my favorite.  In retrospect, she probably did that to keep the peace.  Then she could drink her coffee and smoke her Kent without us bickering.

We were both always avid readers.  Her friends thought mom made a mistake allowing us to read comic books, but she figured, “They are reading.  Let them read what they love and they will read for a lifetime.”

In hopes of finding good new books, I checked out Then, list in hand, I headed to our local library. It’s small, but they had four of the ones I was hoping to find.

I began Mitchner’s The Novel this morning, but now intend to put it aside in favor of these. Three out of four are due back in two weeks.  Think I’ll start with Emily Culliton’s The Misfortune of Marion Palm.  


Other somewhat related blog posts:

My Lifelong Love Affair with Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Day Two of Manifesting my new reality

Sixty-Five! And this is good because….

I’m deaf, and this is good because…..

Circling the Sun


Going to Church

Positive thinking, Shel Silverstein, and my marvelous Book Club.



Ravishing, that’s me.

I think I have sleep apnea. I frequently wake up choking. It’s horrible and scary. My physician brother-in-law suggests I see my doctor. But that’s not happening anytime soon since I have cataract surgery on Wednesday. Which means no make-up for several weeks. Which means hiding in the house.

I’m a redhead. Redheads have NO color. Each night I smear my face with Albolene cream, wipe with tissues, then rinse it straight down the drain. I go from a person with eyelashes to Casper the Friendly Ghost in five minutes.

Since the doctor has to wait, I went to Amazon and bought a very flattering chin strap intended to hold my mouth shut all night.


It’s a good thing I landed a man years ago! I’ll walk you through my night time routine.

First, the Albolene, tissues, and rinsing. Next, I put on my Mishri outfit. Mishri is our darling eight-year-old granddaughter. When she was three or four, she was only allowed to choose her clothing on Sundays. Her style sense tended toward plaids with prints, dresses over pants, possibly backward stuff. You get the picture.

My Mishri outfits are sloppy cotton PJ bottoms worn with old print cotton dresses. Not a good look, but very comfy.

Then, it’s on to brushing and flossing. After that, I shove my brux appliance into my mouth. That’s intended to keep me from grinding my teeth.


Lastly on with the beautiful black chin strap. In spite of washing it several times it still bleeds dark blue ink all over my pillowcase. I wake in the morning with grooves in my cheeks and a blue smear under my chin.

Poor old Jimmy didn’t know what he’d hooked up with back in 2005! That was pre-chin-strap, brux, and Mishri clothes. In the early years I dolled myself up in Victoria’s Secret slinky nighties and robes. But hey, he fooled me too. He cooked, leading me to believe he was skilled in the kitchen. Not!

Poor guy.  He can’t walk out on me now. No prenup, so he’s stuck with Casper, brux, chin-strap and all.

Somewhat related posts:

My no-good-very-bad High School boyfriend.

Dating at Fifty



We do a lot of reading around here. Our house is as quiet as a tomb. Not that I’ve ever hung out in a tomb. Possibly tombs are a cacophony of screeching bats and rattling bones.

Right now the only sound in this crypt is the dripping of rain into the pool. At least the only sound I can identify. Being deaf limits my ability to figure out what I’m hearing. And it’s getting worse. The good news is I’m not Helen Keller quite yet. I can still (sort of) see and still (sort of) hear.

Back to reading. Jim continues to read each and every word in Gone with The Wind. He’s such an overachiever. In the time he’s plodded along with Scarlet I’ve devoured our book club choice, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, followed by Ken Follett’s A Column of Fire, then I chewed through Susanna Kaysen’s Cambridge.




The books fall outta’ my head darn near the minute I finish the last page. I can recall the general gist of them, but not all the details. Good thing I don’t have to do book reports.

Cambridge is still fresh since I completed it within the last fifteen minutes. The memoir begins with our narrator, Susanna, as a second grader, hauled from her beloved home in Cambridge, MA to detested London. Following London, her intellectual Harvard professor father takes work in Italy as well as a year in Greece.

Author Susanna Kaysen does an excellent job of drawing the visual of a miserable, crabby kid. She feels different and simply wants to go back to Cambridge. We stay with Susanna until she is about to enter 7th grade.

I was mentally transported to my youthful years. Not so much second grade, but I distinctly remember feeling like an outsider from 4th grade on. I had red hair, was plump, loathed school except for art class, had slightly yellow teeth and weird cat eye glasses. Worst of all I had a speech impediment that made me sound like Donald Duck. I said my “S’s” out of the sides of my back teeth.

Mr. McVey, my fourth-grade teacher, managed to get me into the speech class. My impediment wasn’t considered horrible compared to the other kids in class. At first, the over-worked speech teacher tried to keep me out. But Mr. McVey went to church with my parents. He liked them. Maybe he liked me. He insisted I’d be made fun of in high school unless I resolved the problem. I learned all of that much later.

All I knew at the time was I detested speech class. I had to carry a particular blue folder with a giant S on the front. In the folder were magazine cut-out’s of all things starting with “S”. Spaghetti. Snakes. Silly Putty. Salad. Soup.

I was pulled out of class weekly, lugging my blue folder and feeling intensely embarrassed as classmates watched me go. I don’t remember the speech teachers name. What I do recall is he had silver crutches with rings that wrapped around his arms. Probably he’d had polio.

I sat in a small school chair and read my “S” words aloud. I had to practice at home which drove my sister, Marilyn, to the brink of madness.

Eventually, I got it. Now my “S’s” come out of my front touching teeth. I used to do my sloppy “S’s” just for fun sometimes. Mother hated that. She was afraid I’d revert back to Donald Duck, forgetting everything I’d learned.

Now I have to figure out what to read next. Our next book club read is Agatha Christie’s, And Then There Were None. I ordered it on Amazon a couple of hours ago. But can’t read it until closer to our meeting. All the words will dribble out of my brain like so much water through a sieve.

Other entries regarding books and reading

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Circling the Sun

Positive thinking, Shel Silverstein, and my marvelous Book Club.

Enough outta’ me. Drunko-Bunco is tonight. Time to fill the flask.



I had this created at an Etsy site.  It’s seen better days.


Las Vegas

Such a horrifying tragedy. When is our government going to do something about gun control? There are those who suggest that evil people will always find ways to purchase guns. Possibly. But maybe fewer would locate firearms if lawmakers made it more difficult.  And why does the law allow for one person to purchase an arsenal?

I believed after Sandy Hook things would doubtless change. But no.  All those innocent children mowed down. Disconsolate families left to mourn for a lifetime.

It’s unfathomable.

What madness causes a human being to pick up a semi-automatic weapon and open fire on his fellow man? Why does anyone need to own a semi-automatic weapon? That is an honest question. If someone can give me a reasonable answer, I’d be interested to hear it.

I pray for the families whose lives are forever changed. Their loved ones went out to enjoy an evening of relaxation, music, interaction with friends. Then, in a moment of chaos, everything became tragic.

It’s soul-crushing.


Jim, a Vietnam Veteran, wanted to watch Ken Burns recent documentary about that thirty years long sad war. I sat with him, marveling at the footage of men walking single file through the jungle. The interviews with both the Vietnamese and American soldiers were fascinating. And heart-wrenching.

I commented to Jim he was fortunate not to have been drafted into the Marines. He said he dodged that bullet by one person. The guy in front of him in line ended up a Marine draftee.

While watching the documentary I asked him many questions about his experiences.

Did he ever see anyone die? Yes, shortly after arriving. The soldiers were killed and wounded by the friendly fire of helicopter gunship. Later, one beautiful day while marching through a stream, Jim glanced down and at his feet was a dead Asian, floating on his back.  He is unsure if he killed anyone.  They fired their rifles frequently, but the jungle was so dense it wasn’t possible to see what they were shooting at.  The rifles were semi-automatic.  Each time they shot ten to twelve bullets were discharged.

Was he exposed to Agent Orange? Yes, everyone was. I didn’t realize that. Fortunately, so far he hasn’t experienced any illnesses due to the exposure. Our neighbor has had several bouts of cancer from it.

Did many men get malaria?  Not that he knew.  All soldiers had to take daily malaria pills.  He did end up in a hospital with a kidney stone, air-lifted away in a helicopter loaded with wounded on stretchers.

Was he scared?  “OF COURSE,” he said with a you-gotta’-be-kidding-me laugh.

Jim was a skinny twenty-one-year-old. He weighed only one-hundred-and-thirty. The backpack he lugged was about fifty pounds.

Jim says he had hair when he put his helmet on in spring of ’68.  When he removed the helmet a year later his hair was gone.


When he first arrived, Jim was stationed at I Corps, the northernmost military region next to the DMZ. He was trained as a mortarman. Later he moved to III Corps, the densely populated, fertile military area between Saigon and the Highlands. While there he met a Vietnamese guy who was selling parrots. Jim bought one, named it Bluebeard and fed it raisins and nuts. He left the bird with a friend when he traveled to Hong Kong for his second R and R. The first had been Hawaii. When he got back he learned the bird had been run over by a Jeep while walking on the road.

Shortly thereafter Jim was lucky enough to be stationed in the rear, working as a General’s waiter.  He spent his last two months there.  The Army offered him the opportunity to extend his time in Vietnam for one month.  In exchange, the Army would forgive him the last seven months of his term.  Jim chose to go home.  For the remaining time, he was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Jim went to Vietnam on May 24th of 1968, arrived home on May 24th of 1969. His son, Jason, calls every year on that date to wish his Dad a happy DROS day.  Jim has no idea why the going home day is called DROS by the service.  Internet search netted no info.

Unlike so many soldiers, Jim never suffered PTSD. He said, “One day I was on the Vietnam channel, the next I was tuned to Oak Park, Illinois.” He didn’t even tell his family he was coming home. The house was locked when he arrived. He went to his little brother’s school and shocked him by walking into the classroom looking for a key.

I was in High School while he was in Asia. Later, my freshman year of college, I marched in a protest march. But only because I had a crush on the boy organizing it.  I wore a peace sign necklace, bell bottoms, and Earth shoes.

I’m proud of Jim’s service. He still has his dress uniform, as well as his rumpled everyday jacket.

The blue braid signifies he was in the infantry.



20171001_170010.jpgThe Bronze Star Medal (the one with red, white, and blue ribbon) is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight.

Like the Bronze Star, the Air Medal (the one with the Eagle on it) can be awarded for both valor and meritorious achievement or service. The Air Medal is awarded only for circumstances involving participation in aerial flight.

The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is awarded to infantrymen and Special Forces soldiers in the rank of colonel and below, who fought in active ground combat while assigned as members of either an infantry, ranger or Special Forces unit.

The CIB badge is the one Jim is most proud of.  That’s the silver and blue oval with a rifle on it.  It recognizes the inherent sacrifices of all infantrymen, and that, in comparison to all other military occupational specialties, infantrymen face the greatest risk of being wounded or killed in action.

Due to the GI Bill, he was able to go to college.  They even paid for his two master’s degrees.

I’m blessed Jim came home safe and sound.  He’s a wonderful partner and a true gift in my life.

It worked again today!

I’m becoming more and more convinced that all this positive thinking stuff works!

Here is today’s experience. I went to Yoga and for the last fifteen minutes, we lay on our mats, meditating. I breathe in white light and breathe out sparkles. The sparkles float into the air and tap into all the optimistic power of the Universe.

After yoga, I hauled my sweaty self home. (I never would have imagined yoga is a sweat-inducing business.) Bronson greeted me joyfully. After loving on him for a bit I went to the computer. Checked out Gmail. My only emails are from zulily, Chase Bank, and Capital One. When did people stop emailing? Then I snooped around CNN news and finally opened Facebook.

Lo and Behold my friend Judy sent me an FB link to best-selling author Judy Blume’s new Master Class. I adore Judy Blume.  One of my favorite books is The Pain and the Great One.


All my positive thinking manifested a class offered by one of my favorite kids’ authors! See? There are no accidents.

I plunked down $90, gathered all my coloring equipment and planned to spend the afternoon coloring while at “school.”


It turns out the class doesn’t begin until January. So I’ve put the pencils and coloring bookmark away.

Instead, I’ll sit on my broad backside and read Ken Follett’s A Column of Fire. Jimmy bought it at Costco, but he’s still picking his way through Gone with the Wind, so I pilfered it. Jim reads very slowly which gives me plenty of time to finish. Recently I asked him, “Do you read every word?”  He replied, “Of course. What do you do? Skip every other one?”  Possibly.