eye zap omgwtf

Specs, eye exams and other such interesting things.

Although I'm surprised it took this long, Haku finally got hold of my glasses. He managed to gnaw off part of the frame--one of the nose rests, thankfully hidden and easily filed down--and mangle an earpiece before I wrested them away. Of course, I promptly dropped them and stepped on them in my clumsy attempt at simultaneous specs retrieval and dog wrangling, officially jacking them up worse. Had they been fully plastic, I would've wrecked them for sure, but the sides are metal and I managed to bend them back into a semi-wearable shape... as long as you overlook the fact that I have to keep straightening them on the bridge of my nose, one side constantly creeping up and making them askew.

An eye exam was grossly overdue anyway, so I found a proper eye doctor here in the city, as per the requirements of my insurance. No one-hour lens grinder for me, no sir! In my ignorance of true, office-based eye-doctoring, I didn't realise there was another type of glaucoma test that doesn't involve a puff of air to the cornea, either! Drops in the eyes are no big deal, and there's nothing particularly freaky about staring into a bright blue light... except I remember thinking at the time that it almost seemed like the instrument was touching me. I discounted that--since I felt nothing--right up until I saw Dr. O wipe off the tonometer, and now that I have done my research, I know that yes, the instrument manually checked my eyeball pressure. Aiyee! The whole idea of anything touching my eyeball makes me paranoid with dread that an earthquake is going to happen while it's being done and gouge out my eye, or a maniac is going to break into the exam room and startle the doc and he'll bump the machine and it will gouge out my eye, or the machine will malfunction and the instrument will press too hard and... I think you see where I'm going with this (pun intended). Ignorance really is bliss in this case--I would prefer to simply enjoy the lack of air puff without worrying about things poking my cornea and possibly blinding me in a freak accident.

Thank you, my penchant for research, for this wonderful gift of something new about which to be neurotic!

Anyway, these are the new specs, but in black instead of purple, and the little flower silhouettes on the earpieces are white. I am totally in love with them and their cat's eye shapeliness! And if I am any judge when my vision is wacked out due to exam eyedrops to the point that I can't read regular typeface and every headlight, taillight and streetlight on the trip home has a big corona around it, they look pretty spiffy on me.

Am I correct in the notion that lenses ground off in a lab somewhere and mailed to me in a week or two are more accurate than lenses dashed off in an hour in an assembly-line, LensCrafters-style setting? I remember hearing that somewhere, but I don't know if it's true or just snobbery. In any case, I will have them soon. Dr. O says I will be amazed at the difference, too... they're two levels stronger than my current pair, with which I am definitely not seeing 20/20. I am of course delighted to know my myopia is progressively worsening, but I'm not exactly surprised. Every member of my immediate family wears corrective lenses; eventually I'm sure I'll be rocking blended trifocals like my mother. And so it goes.
daria in the theatre

The Secret Life of Bees.

I've just finished reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I tend to do a lot of my reading in public places... I meandered through Berendt's Savannah during slow times at the polling place on Election Day, during my languid dinner breaks at restaurants, that sort of thing. I'm not sure I could count the number of times someone came up to me and asked if I'd seen the movie... and I haven't. I likely will, but I usually prefer to read the book first.

The Secret Life of Bees is an exception. It's not that I didn't want to read the novel, it's that I ended up going to this film on a whim, mainly to spend time with my sister. That last part didn't work out exactly as planned, but we did see the movie together tonight at the charming Allen Theatre.

Let me say first that I don't normally watch anything that could be termed a "chick flick." Usually I put things like braindead romantic comedies in that category, but heartwrenching, dramatic tearjerkers like this one also tend to qualify. I probably wouldn't have watched this on my own, but I don't regret it. It's best classified as a Southern faery tale for some of its more unrealistic moments, but there is definitely a vein of darkness. The ugliness of Southern race relations in 1964 is always there in the background, but the heart of the story is warm, sweet and even a little treacly at times.

It made me a little uncomfortable, too... the Magical Negro device is here in the form of mystical August, Queen Latifah's character. August was also a nanny to Dakota Fanning's character Lily's mother, a bone of contention between August and her sister June (Alicia Keys). This made me uncomfortable for a strongly personal reason--my mother, born in 1950 in Mississippi, was taken care of when she was young by a black nanny, too, and she insisted upon coming to help my mother take care of me when I was born twenty-seven years later. Nora still refers to my mother and me as her "white babies," and I recall going to visit her after we'd moved up north... a few of her grandkids left her house in disgust, waiting across the street in a park until we'd gone.

My white liberal guilt and distaste at one-dimensional stereotyping aside, it's kind of amazing to watch a movie set right after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act, to see Rosaleen beaten for trying to register to vote, and to think that forty-four years later, Barack Obama is our President-Elect. Plot aside, character development (or lack thereof) aside, this movie made me feel bad at times, made me cry often more than any film I can remember, but eventually left me feeling good about how far we've come and hopeful about the next forty-four years. That's more than I expected.
great pumpkin

Autumn night.

Autumn is my favourite season, and part of what I like about it is the thrill of something darker and colder to come. The wind slides down alleyways and gusts out unexpectedly, lifting scarves and sending leaves to rasp and whirl as if in surprise or fright. Indian corn is tied with twine and tacked to doorframes, pumpkins and gourds huddle on stoops and porches and melted light spills from windows to pool on dark sidewalks. Winter whispers, and something in people answers with totems and symbols and wards.

Walking home from the laundromat tonight, I left the warm smells of soap and clean cotton behind me and, even in the city, caught a hint of woodsmoke on the air. I was halfway down the old, uneven brick sidewalk when I heard the whoops and cheers spill out of the corner bar and into the night... Philadelphia won the World Series. Car horns started honking... in my narrow street, tucked away from the main thoroughfares, I heard them call and answer, like animals seeking one another in a forest. Autumn adds a touch of the wild, the pagan, the primeval, you know--even to baseball.

I came home just in time to take the pumpkin pies from the oven. I love almost everything about pumpkin pie... the aroma is so sweet and spicy, the colour is so rich and seasonal, the texture is richly creamy but still firm. I simply do not like the taste of pumpkin, so my pies are flavoured with giving, as well, and what feels better than that? I am so tense about everything--changes in my personal life, the stress, ugliness and negativity of these final days before the election--that I need to steal small comforts where I can find them.

It's these autumn nights that draw something mystical from the marrow of my bones... a strong dose of fox medicine. Sometimes I wish there were magic enough in the world that I could change my shape and run on fleet fox feet for a while underneath a huge and yellow harvest moon.

Sometimes, in fall, something in me wants to run.
snoopy toast

The Puppy Diaries, Day Two.

Dear Diary,

Today I learned that I can howl! That's pretty cool, although the humans don't seem as impressed.

I hate being inside my exercise pen, but I also hate being outside my exercise pen when I want the things that are inside my exercise pen. I only want to get in there to eat or drink or gnaw on my toys or whatever, I don't want to stay in there. Why is this so hard for the humans to understand? (Howling helps their comprehension.)

Just now I went outside for the forty millionth time today, but it was totally a fake out! I just wanted to check my doggie pee-mail at the tree outside and try to eat a couple of sticks. Then a car came and I had to hide between the bosomed one's feet again. Also I briefly spazzed about the collar and lead, but it just seemed like the right time.

All of that was exhausting, so I passed out on the living room floor in mid-chew, with a little bit of sock edge still inside my mouth. I'll finish chewing it later, when I wake up.

Haku the puppy

P.S. - The bosomed human keeps putting this silver thing in my face that flashes lights at me...
snoopy toast

The Puppy Diaries: First Day Home.

Dear Diary,

Today I was sleeping peacefully under a piece of irrigation equipment when some human I've smelled before carried me off. My mom was barking a little about it, but we got into a big moving box of some kind and lots of trees and houses and smells moved past really quick-like. Mostly I just snuggled against a comfy bosom the whole time, which was pretty okay.

The humans have a den in a very weird place--up a whole bunch of stairs from a busy street that is full of smells that greatly interest me and loud sounds I dislike. All the humans outside want to touch me, and it's very exhausting. Mostly I slept today--on bosom and on clothing that smelled like that bosom.

The humans put something around my neck that I don't understand. Here I am, sitting patiently next to them after peeing on the noisy street, and the thing tugs at my neck! So I cry. Every time. (That means they pick me up, and THAT means bosom.)

Also I met a large dog who scared me, and I had to hide between the human's feet. Mostly I am scared of everything right now, including the grey thing that walks up to my pen to hiss at me and stalks away.

And I am sleepy again.

Good night.

Signed, Haku the puppy
out to sea

Endings and beginnings.

Tonight we stood by grandma's deathbed and talked about these things as she listened to our conversations flow and eddy around her. A distant cousin has had a new baby. A close cousin has just received closure at the trial of her lover's murderer. The pastor who performed my grandpa's funeral has since died. Grandma's only living sister, in a nursing home with dementia, recognised her when last she visited--"that's my sister, Mim!"

She'd told the doctors that she has tired of the fight, and there is a new lightness and frail finality to her countenance now... a look of relief. Everything is arranged, everything is paid for. Now there is nothing but the waiting; we are past the point of no return. It's okay to stand around and hold her hand and talk about the way the world will spin in her absence--she wants to hear us talk a little about the old times, but she seems comforted by this talk of other passages from existence out of it again, and babies brought into being, just starting their lives.

She is sure of where she will wake up, as sure as a person can be, and she drifts while we talk and joke and hug and wipe our eyes. We've not completely disintegrated as a family--she has brought us together again, at least one more time.

Three times, she told me how glad she was that I had come.

Every time she drifted, I wondered if I'd said the last thing I would say to her. She is a different person, this sudden new old Mim I don't entirely recognise... and it's not because her body has changed.

I stood at the end of her bed and I watched the LCD at her feet monitor her ever-decreasing weight. This death is like disappearing... I imagine her evaporating slowly and neatly into nothing, blinking out of existence like a black hole.

Goodbye, Grandma. Hawking radiation may always remind me of this ending, but I'll also have a lot of happy memories. I hope you sleep well--you do look so tired.
a bold plan

In a prison made of origami paper? You know what to do!

I try to explain my brilliant plan for sleeping sometime within the next twenty-four hours:

"I'll sleep while I do laundry at Kat's house. You guys can just pile the warm clothing on me--I'll fold my way out!"

Hey, I think it's a great plan... and folding your way out has lots of applications.

Caught inside a bowl of batter with the contents of an egg? Fold your way out!
Surrounded by a menacing army of cloth napkins? Fold your way out!
Been dealt a crappy poker hand? Fold your way out!

...I'll stop now.

Stop it, already!

It's presidential campaign primary season, of course, so much of the idle chatter here and there is turning political. I know someone from New York state who absolutely adores Hillary Clinton, and (without knowing my own leanings), she accused women who do not support Ms. Clinton as being biased against the whole idea of a female president, either consciously or because of ingrained cultural sexism.

I had to speak up, because this is probably the gazillionth time I've heard someone say this or something similar. I'm not a Hillary supporter, and yet I feel it's high time we had a female president... just not her, thanks. And that's not to say I'd definitely vote for any other candidate based upon her gender, either, mind you. I think telling people they need to vote for Hillary because she is a woman is just as sexist as telling people they shouldn't vote for her because she is a woman. In both cases, you are basing your vote not on her qualifications or positions, but upon her gender.

Likewise, I feel it is racist to base support for Barack Obama on his race alone, just as racist as it is to make that your reason for not supporting him.

Vote however you like, support whomever you like. But don't tell me that because we both have vaginas, I should support Hillary Clinton. That makes as much damn sense as telling me I should vote for Rudy Giuliani because he and I both have elbows.