Saturday, January 30, 2021

Double Vision


Although I personally did not start the issues with my eyes with double vision, it is a common symptom of possibly having cataracts. Before I developed cataracts, I really did not have the knowledge that I wish I had known before my diagnosis. I now am learning as I go. Better late than never.

First of all, we all have heard of those around us who have the surgery and feel wonderful afterwards. I always mistakenly thought that it usually happened to the elderly. Let me tell you right now...I am not elderly. At least I don't consider myself elderly.

My yearly eye doctor appointment has always been a part of my life. My previous year's visit, he mentioned that he saw just a "touch" of the start of cataracts. He also said that he has seen that start last for ten years before anything needs to be done on many patients. It turns out that he saw the same thing in my husband's eyes. When we went in this year, Steve passed through with flying colors. Me? Not so much. I knew that I was not seeing clearly and simply thought that my prescription needed to be adjusted some. However, when my eye doctor showed me the vision that he could take me to compared to what I have now - it was still blurry and not great. That was what the cataract was doing to my vision. He said he could get the change that he just showed me in my glasses or I could get cataract surgery in order to take the cloudiness away. My response was to let me think about it.

Really, to tell the truth, when I got in the car and all the way home I held it in and then burst out in tears as we pulled in the driveway. By talking it out with my husband and daughter, and getting over the shock, I decided that it was not a bad thing. Talking to friends who have had it done gave me hope that the surgery was easy and I would be so happy to see clearly again. Possibly without glasses. Since I have worn glasses and contacts since I was 12, this was a great incentive.

I did a little research and found out that a cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye. It begins when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. Usually, it develops slowly and eventually interferes with your vision. I also continued to read that you may end up with cataracts in both eyes but they don't always form at the same time. Also they are common in older people, with over half of people in the United States having undergone cataract surgery by the time they are 80. Really? I am not near 80.

Some of the symptoms were there for me such as the blurry vision, feeling as if I needed a new prescription lens, night vision bothering me, and sensitivity to glare. I always wear sunglasses, as this is not a new symptom. The sun really bothers my eyes. Also, never have I enjoyed driving at night. The other symptoms that can happen are seeing double, halos surrounding lights, tinting of the eyes and colors fading.

Also, I did not have a totally cloudy eye visible to myself or anyone looking at my eyes. Cataracts can be extremely debilitating that can cause major problems in someone's life. They do not happen to everyone. It is usually through aging (there is that word again) and is a discoloration of the eye lens which alerts the person to their condition. Unless you are like me and simply clueless. Just believing that all I needed was a new pair of glasses. 

Some people think they can delay the eventual surgery by wearing sunglasses and not smoking. Yes, in my research some of the possible causes of cataracts are smoking, diabetes, radiation therapy, long term use of steroids, other eye conditions and eye trauma. I did go through radiation therapy for breast cancer, but who knows if that helped spur my catartacts on? And, I know smoking is not good for you but I for one am sick and tired of smoking being the cause of a hang nail to a heart attack. If doctors would just not blame smoking on everything, then I believe more people would quit if the medical industry stuck to the big reasons to not smoke. When I see 80 plus year old women smoking with no side effects and then hear of a 40 year old who died of lung cancer who never smoked, it throws up questions to be answered. 

I do know that radiation therapy and certain hormonal drugs that were prescribed to me caused havoc on my body after my cancer surgery. There are different kinds of cataracts from nuclear cataracts, secondary cataracts, trauma cataracts, posterior cataracts, radiation cataracts, congenital cataracts (infants), and cortical cataracts. I suppose it really does not matter (except to the surgeon) which kind you develop. Something needs to be done.

What is most important is having your doctor perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for cataracts and to assess your vision at different distances and tonometry to measure your eye pressure.

Surgery is most definitely recommended when cataracts prevent you from going about your daily activities such as reading and driving. Surgery to remove a cataract is generally very safe and has a high success rate. Most people can go home the same day as their surgery with a driver. 

I can say that the day of the surgery I was better than the next day. I felt a bit of grittiness in my eye on Day 2, which the doctor told me that my dry eye syndrome had a lot to do with that. He was encouraging in letting me know that should go away soon. Plus, sleeping for one week with the plastic cover over my eye was doing a number on my sleep pattern. Luckily, I am able to take a nap to catch up some. One week! I can do this. The other issue, and I am just being honest...four weeks with no eye make-up is a big dot deal for me. So I suppose it is good that we are in a stay home safe mode for Covid. When we do go pick up groceries or drive through pharmacy, I wear my dark sunglasses.  

In just two weeks from my left eye operated on, I will have my right eye done. I can honestly say that I can't wait. Yesterday when I woke from my nap and opened my eyes, I was amazed that out of my left eye I was seeing so clearly. It really was a huge difference in what I was seeing out of my right which is most definitely still blurry. So the good news is, cataract surgery is a pretty simple process that has very few risks, and it has enormous benefits including eliminating the symptoms of cataracts that lowered my quality of life in the first place.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Pitch With Passion


There has been so much going on, not only in the world, but here in the United States. I started thinking about how the women in the limelight got to where they did. What helped to guide me in that direction were many events that led up to the 2021 Inauguration. Of course, it goes back way before that, yet this is where I want to start.

The fact that we now have our first woman vice president is a long time coming. If you go back to Kamala Harris childhood it was all in the building of her character.

 She believed she could, so she did. 

During this Inauguration there was a woman who demonstrates her own self worth with confidence, and that would be Dr. Jill Biden, the President's wife. She has no intention riding on the coattails of her husband but intends to continue in her teaching profession, as well as taking care of the responsibilities of being the First Lady.

She believed she could, so she did.

On this same day there was a young woman who walked with confidence and spoke eloquently when she shared her poetry with the world at the microphone. Her name is Amanda Gorman and we will be hearing a lot from her, of that I am quite sure.  Her poem brought tears to many eyes. It was a visual telling of her poem. 

She believed she could, so she did.

These three women all in one day gave so much hope that America would rise up and be strong again. It will take a lot of work but together we can do it. 

There are so many women who came before these three and so I would like to share a few as a reminder of strong capable women who are in the limelight frequently and talk about how they pitch with passion and confidence.

This is not a political blog. It is a blog on how women can pitch with passion to get where they want to go. First of all they have to demonstrate confidence. They figure out their why, what their vision is and how they will achieve it. When opportunity knocks they are there telling the concise story with enthusiasm. 

They share hope and promise and a positivity that is built on their self-confidence. Once you start believing in yourself magic starts to happen. It is the most beautiful thing that a woman can wear. Self-confidence is a super power that no one can take away.

This is not just for women who are in the news. It is for the special health care workers, the teachers, the grocery store workers and so many others who care and go above and beyond with their self-confidence that they can do it and make a difference by how they accomplish their jobs.

Tell me I can't and I will show you I can is their motto.

Sunday, January 17, 2021




The telephone is most definitely something that we all need and use. What we don't need is some yahoo calling us at all hours either a live person or a recorded message, some of which try to trick you into believing that they are a real human. Some days at my house are worse than others. Yesterday, we set a record of 15 telemarketers or robocalls in one day. There are some things that you can do that may help reduce some of these nuisance calls.

 In researching some about this topic, I learned a few tricks myself. First of all be sure that you are registered in the DO NOT CALL REGISTRY. You can find out by going on the Federal Trade Commission website. It will ask you to put your number in and then they will send you an e mail about whether you are verified and in the system. At my house we have two cell phones and one land line phone. I am trying desperately to get rid of the landline phone but we are a democracy in this house and the other person is not ready to give it up. So meanwhile it stays until we can come to an agreement about it.

Even with being verified that all of our phones are on the List, we still get way too many calls. The FTC has given some suggestions of what to do if you receive these annoying calls.

~    File a complaint with the FTC, which does require you to write the time and day, name of the company and the number they used to call you. You can report the call on their website or by calling their number 888-382-1222. The DO NOT CALL list does not take care of political calls, charitable calls, debt collectors, or surveys. But most definitely when they say that are from the IRS, Social Security, Microsoft Windows or a company that you do not do business with they are trying to scam information from you. Be sure to report these if you are trying to stop these predators. 

~    Never answer yes if they ask if they are speaking to Miss ______. These are professional scammers and they can take that recording of you saying yes and place it in an audio claiming you said yes to purchasing whatever they were selling.

~    Also never press numbers. They may say press 1 if you want to talk to someone about this call or press 2 to be removed from their call list. If you press anything, you will be on their permanent cycle of calls. Possibly it would send you to some live person who speaks with a heavy accent and always has the name of Bob or Harry and wants all kind of private financial information in order to help you. 

~    Next it is suggested that you just don't answer the phone if it is a number that you do not recognize or hang up before they get two words out of their mouth. I usually need to answer due to calls from service technicians calling to tell me they are on their way, or a doctor's office or a business using a private number. I have chosen to just hang up on the ones I do not know. If they are a real human, which is not always easy to tell, order them to never call again and tell them that you are reporting them. I have a good friend who has a loud ear piercing whistle that she blows into the phone. 

~    There are some apps, which are free, that may help. Your cell phone company may be able to assist you in finding the right one for you. There is a free app that seems to work well called nomorobo. It has caught a few spam risk calls and I just don't answer them. Then  I go in my cell recent calls and block that number. They just keep getting new numbers all the time.

Sharing this frustration with friends helps all of us to vent and I have discovered some creative ways to have fun with these people who insist on invading our privacy. Why not turn the table on them and make it a game. 

Here are a few of the responses that I have been told about:

1.    Ms. Miles will be happy to speak to you. Her billing rate is $500 an hour. If you'll give me your credit card number now, I'll book a time slot just for you. 'click'

2.  What are you wearing ? 'click'

3.   So sorry. I am busy now but give me your number and I can call you back. 'click' 

4.    You are so lucky. You are the hundredth caller today. You win a special prize. Hold on for 30 minutes and I'll go get it for you. 'click'

5.    I just had a great session with my shrink and I'm dying to share this breakthrough I had. 'click'

6.    Hey, great timing. I need you to settle an argument between my husband and me. 'click'

7.    I am so glad you called. I just finished memorizing the Gettysburg Address. Can I try it out on you? 'click'

8.    I'm working on jokes for my next Toastmaster's meeting. Knock knock! 'click'

9.    I just got my online certification in astrology. Tell me your birthday and I'll give you your horoscope for the day. 'click'

10.   Oh, I thought you were my ride. Can you Uber a car for me? 'click'

11.   Sheriff's Department, how may I help you? 'click'

12    My puppy has been doing the cutest things all morning. Give me your number and I will text you his pictures. 'click'

I will leave you with the lyrics of this great song that Jeff Lynne sang in ELO. Maybe thinking about some good music will help the feeling of frustration we get from all of the unwanted scammers. 

Doo da wop doo bee doo da wop do lang

Telephone Line

"Hello, how are you?
Have you been alright through all those lonely,
lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights?"
That's what I'd say, I'd tell you ev'rything
if you pick up that telephone, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hey, How you feelin'?
Are you still the same, don't you realize the things we did,
we did were all for real, not a dream.
I just can't believe they've all faded out of view, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, oo.
Doo da wop, doo bee doo da wop, do wah doo lang.
Blue days, black nights, doo wah doo lang.
I look into the sky, The love you need ain't gonna see you through,
And I wonder why the little things you planned ain't comin' true.
Oh, oh, telephone line, Give me some time, I'm living in twilight.
Oh, oh, telephone line, Give me some time, I'm living in twilight.
O. K. so no one's answering,
Well, can't you just let it ring a little longer,
longer, longer oh, I'll just sit tight,
Through shadows of the night let it ring forever more, oh, hoh hoh hoh.
Doo da wop, doo bee doo da wop, do wah doo lang
Blue days, black nights, doo wah doo lang
Doo da wop, doo bee doo da wop, do wah doo lang


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Expectations at the Beauty Shop


 In a magazine devoted to Southern recipes, vacations, gardening, clothing, etc., the movie Steel Magnolias came to my mind. Especially the character, Truvy, played by Dolly Pardon. It brought back so many memories of going to the beauty shop with my Grandmother and sometimes my Mom. My Grandmother went weekly. My Mom was more of a DIY and this meant even taking care of my hairstyles. I can't tell you how many stinky perms she gave me sitting in our kitchen. Or even bangs cut unevenly and way too short to be in fashion. I much preferred to go to the beauty shop with my Grandmother. I felt so grown up.

So much was going on there at the shampoo bowls or hair dryers. The ladies were all using this time to not only get their hair styled but to catch up with all of the latest gossip. It seems as if a hairdresser is along the lines of a bartender. We share everything with them. They hear it all. Probably more than they care to.

There are some things that have no regional barriers. Going to the hairdresser is one of them. Miss Manners even can tell us what is socially acceptable while at your  salon.

According to her etiquette, you can never be too prepared, or too polite. 

~  Hairdressers' time is valuable. Try not to cancel at the last minute unless there is an emergency. If you are truly sick then by all means do stay home with your germs. Just let them know as soon as possible.

~  No need to trash talk your former hairstylist. Make polite conversation. Make the conversation with your stylist, not someone on your cell phone. Your stylist may have to answer their phone to schedule appointments and take cancellations. As a good client, you can get your phone out when you are waiting for processing to be done.

~  It helps if you do bring a picture or two of what you would like your hair to look like. Be reasonable. If you have thick wavy hair, listen to your stylist about what your hair can realistically do. And to say, "Surprise me!" is definitely not what a stylist wants to hear. Give them some clue of what length, color, or style that you want.

~  Kids are better left at home. Unless you have a perfect little angel who will sit still, stay quiet and read or work on their tablet keep them at home. (I have rarely witnessed this.)

~  Let's not forget to tip. It is the right thing to do. Also, there is no room for negotiating the price of the service that you are having done. They have set prices based on what they must pay for the shampoo, colors, gloves, and so other many costs involved that it would just be tacky to come out and ask for a discount. Oh, and a nice little holiday gift is always appreciated.

~  When all is said and done, if you aren't happy then speak up. It is possible that something could be fixed immediately. If you get home and can't control your hair then make a call within the week to see if you can schedule a touch-up appointment to fix the problem. Sometimes after a fresh cut, you need a chance at home to try to fix it your way. If that does not is best to call your stylist. One thing that is not a proper thing to do is to "ghost" your stylist. They have feelings too. Just let them know that you are trying someone new that may be able to try something new with your hair. End it with no hard feelings.

It can all work out.

The next time you visit your stylist remember Truvy's saying, "Smile! It increases your face value." Plus it makes for a happier experience. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Out With the Old, In With the New!

 Out With the Old, In With the New!

After having a year like no other we have experienced, the same words ring true, "Out with the old and in with the new." Only this year, most of us are holding out hope for a more positive year in all aspects of our lives. A vaccine is being distributed in a respectful way, prioritizing front line workers, people who have assisted living, and people over 75 years of age. 

People do not seem to listen to the warnings of the experts, mainly because there are so many leaders across our country who think they know much more than science can explain, yet they do not have a degree in science or medicine. So our country just keeps growing with the number of cases and deaths. There has been racial unrest along with feelings of hopelessness, in some cases not being able to see our loved ones and travel to them. 

I must repeat myself: out with the old and in with the new. We will soon have new leadership and a time to work on the healing of our country. To me, it is done one person at a time. It will take all of us. Sometimes, it will mean that we must at least agree to disagree. Moving on in a positive way, one filled with gratitudes and finding what brings us joy is how we will succeed. 

On the calendar at the top of this page notice that it has a 'To Do: Make Resolutions.' I stopped doing this a few years ago. I read a great little book that explained it to me in a language that I could totally understand. Resolutions can be overwhelming. They are to me. However, picking a word for the year to help me work on whatever it is that I wish to work on for myself to grow as a human being speaks to me. The word must resonate within me in many different areas of my life; somethings I want to build on within my everyday life.

To be able to pick your own word of the year, I will share how I go about picking my word. It helps me so much in bringing in the new year with a new outlook. I always make a list of words that reflect on the past year and what I really want to achieve. The typical answer that was always given from Miss America finalists was that they wished to save the world, or they wanted world peace...yada, yada, yada. 

Yes, we all want that. One person can wish that, however it takes all of us, or at least a majority of us to work together to make things happen. So bring it down to a smaller scale and consider the parts of our own mindset that we would like to improve upon. This means to focus on where we would like to be 12 months from now. When I make my list of possible words, usually I keep returning to one in particular, time and time again. That becomes My Word. I hold this to be a promise to myself that will help guide me as my mantra to achieve whatever I want in my life.  Just to give you an example some of my former words were 'Believe, Joy, Connect, Change.' 

My word this year is, "IMAGINE."

When I think about the good news that happened in 2020, just to imagine what can happen when there is not so much 'stuff' going on that focuses on negativity.  

I know that I am not just speaking for myself, we all have had to find creative ways to live through what our world was experiencing. Just to name a few let's think about how we all mostly benefited from learning more technical skills. Zoom meetings and Face Times and Video Chat...this was to be able to stay in touch with those that we love. No, it is not the same as actually being together but we at least had that. Families grew closer, at least most of them. If you were staying safe at home then coming together as a family was important. Cooking together, playing games and watching movies together. Taking walks or short distance drives to get out of the house. There is only so much quarantining one can do. 

Restaurants that came up with creative ideas for curbside/take out business flourished. Almost everyone that I know who has tested positive for COVID ate out in restaurants or went to see live music. Even with masks, scientists tell us this is the worse place one can be. They did suggest eating outside, so many restaurants did take heed and set up domes/tents/bubbles to keep everyone in the open air and at a table in a covered bubble with only their small family and friends group did fair better. 

The other good news is that more people voted in this presidential election than any other. More people gave to good causes, lots of virtual concerts and new movies coming out on streaming devices. Creative masks were made, I mean, if I have to wear one then it may as well be a statement mask. Those that could manage, worked from home. It was safer. Schools were safer also. People set up home offices and took care of their jobs on their laptops, as well as helping kids that were at home via zoom and their teachers. 

Virtual tours or art museums took place...and zoom meetings and webinars set up by local book stores for readers to meet their favorite authors. All virtually of course. 

I think that when I chose my word from last year as BELIEVE, I had no idea what I would be setting myself up for. Yet, it worked. I also found several podcasts and a marvelous motivator named Nataly Kogan. I can honestly say that she allowed me to see that much of what I believed to be true was indeed true and it so much validated my thoughts. The other things that she taught me was that I could paint. Yes, even me. I used to call myself the stick figure queen. No longer! I find that painting changes my whole outlook. There is no good - there is no bad. Just believe in yourself. Tell that brain of yours to stop being so dramatic. You are in charge and it is YOUR choice to be happy or sad.