Eyeglasses and a mysterious person

America’s Best sent me a notice that it’s time for my eye exam. I hate eye exams. Family legend has it that I spilled gasoline in my eyes when I was five years old. Disregarding the obvious question about what a five-year-old me was doing pulling gasoline off a shelf, and what I thought I was going to do with it, the subsequent trauma was enough that it is completely buried in my psyche. I have no memory other than a severe distaste for eye exams, bordering on terror. The antagonist in my eye exam story is the little puff of air they shoot at the victim’s eyeball. Eye drops…forget it. Those are an impossibility. I have learned to ask the Optometrist if I can try to put them in myself but even then it’s a 50/50 proposition. Part of my brain says just do it, and the other part is telling one hand to grab the other and stop. The only two things that motivate me to enter this torture chamber are 1) our insurance pays for one per year and 2) I get new glasses.

America’s Best sent me this. Not sure who Hillary is but two tones are intriguing! I want to live on hipstreet too!

I didn’t always wear glasses. When I was a kid I did not, until about 6th grade. My sister got to wear the vogue, stylish cat glasses but they just didn’t look good on me. Instead, I opted for the brown tortoise shell, octagonal, heavy ones that looked SOOO MUCH better. Here is a picture of the happy siblings with our new puppy Socrates and new glasses.

Our parents insisted on using photo Christmas cards…note the styrofoam Santa instead of a wreath. It was the 60s you know!

A side note: I have always preferred fashion to function. I would figure out how to wear something (think 4” heels) to school even if I slid down the hallway like I was an Olympian bobsledder.  

Unfortunately, a friend had gotten similar glasses which truly did not factor into my decision. I never was a fashion follower, preferring to wear what I liked. I had a blue fuzzy sweater that stupid Ricky said made me look like Bigfoot but I didn’t care. And neither did I care that my friend had similar glasses even though she made it clear to the Trilby Elementary sixth grade that “I copied her”. Shoot, about seven other girls had the same glasses. Never mind, in another year I was off to junior high! And I had been introduced to the beauty of changing my appearance instantly!

In Junior High, I quickly took advantage and procured some wire rims for the hippie, John Denver loving me. I still stayed with the oversized frames, maybe trying to hide my face. I guess I was a little introverted.

Take me home….country roads….this was an Orchestra picture, hence the suit.

In high school, I went with slightly thinner wire rims. As you can see, the happy siblings minus one have entered teenage years. We were mad that we had to stand next to each other. You can’t see the glasses that well but they are there if you can get past the scowl.

When I was in college I went for a cool aviator look. This was my one experience with the glasses that darken when you go into the sun. It seemed like a good idea but when I walked into a building I stumbled around a little until they lightened again. It took forever which to me was about a minute. This technology may have improved since then and I escaped relatively unscathed not counting a few bruises from the drinking fountains I walked into. Luckily I was into Dr. Scholl’s footwear and not the heels. The aviators looked good and I didn’t care.

The 80s were all about big hair and big glasses in bright colors. I had two pair, one pink and one blue. I started taking off my glasses for photos, but they looked something like this.

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I also got married, cut my hair like Joan Jett, and had two babies. I’m not sure what happened to that decade but in the 90s I went back to the wire rims, this time black. Since then, I have had multiple fashion flip-flops in glasses…from wire to plastic to color to black. Here is a photo of the last 20 years or so, all my glasses in their various stages of vision and beauty assist.

Yes, I keep them all. I actually still do wear them all. It depends what else I am wearing. The thinner wire rims are more comfortable for outside but aren’t as strong for reading. The newer ones are plastic and hurt my nose but are stronger. I have two computer pair also (not pictured). The heavier, dark blue ones are for when I want to look intelligent. The white ones are the most recent but they hurt my ears. My favorites are the black and white ones but the finish is getting beat up. I never did go for contacts because…well the whole touching my eye thing freaked me out. Plus I need bifocals for reading. None of the glasses are perfect but the next pair will be!

I am excited to go to my appointment. The biggest reason is because they NO LONGER USE THE PUFF OF AIR!!!!!! They have some new machine that takes a picture of your eye. Much better! And I’ll get new glasses😊 Sign me up! What will they look like? I kind of like the two color picture in the America’s Best ad. I may try the darkening ones again! I’ll be sure to post a pic. Whatever they look like will be a nice mid-winter boost. Nobody will recognize me!

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yeah, that’s me. for real. I’m feeling it!

Chester and I went to Lakeshore Reservation for a walk. We were the only ones in the (very cold) park with the wind blowing off the lake. We weren’t there long. Someone pulled in the parking lot with us but didn’t get out of the car. Being a former investigator, I noted the license plate and suspiciously kept checking back mostly to see if they had a dog. It could be Jack the Ripper and I’d still want to talk to them about their dog. The license plate had FLZ so I thought they might have one. (a dog, not flz) We walked around but I was a little hesitant to go deep into the woods with Michael Myers waiting in his car. Plus, if Chester decides he is cold I can’t exactly carry him back.

It was sooo cold!
The woods are lovely, dark and deep…nah, not today.

I feel pretty safe with Chester. He may be kind of a dork but he’s big and can look threatening, at least from a distance if you ignore the tail wag. He wasn’t cooperating with Operation Mean Dog though. He kept sniffing the grass, peeing on the trees, and causing me to stop and wait. This interrupted my confident kick-ass stride designed to let people know I mean business. I learned it while substitute teaching. I used to wear very loud heals and walk forcefully on the tile floor of the hall so the kids would hear me coming and settle. Other than the previously mentioned propensity to bobsled, it worked! If I fell I would have tried to slide into the classroom like I was sliding into second base. That would have been impressive, especially if I poked one of the kids with a heel.

Come on, isn’t this every teacher’s dream?

When we got done sniffing up to the lake and back the person was still in the car. At that point I thought he/she was just a lot smarter than me and Chester. You can look at the lake and not go outside. We were freezing. The sight of Chester pulling me to the car was probably amusing and must have dissuaded Freddy Krueger from his oh-so-likely chainsaw massacre because we never did see hide nor hair of a person.  

I tried to get some nice pics of Chester looking at the lake, but he wasn’t interested in the lake. So, I tried to get a selfie with him. This is what happened. Oh well…who doesn’t love a good dog snoot picture? I think his drool froze into icicles.

Have a good week!!

Chester’s wild and crazy night

While Chester does love snow, he’s not so fond of the cold. My husband and I are perfectly happy to sit in front of the fireplace and binge “Law and Order” but I think Chester is a little bored. His day consists of lying on the couch and watching for squirrels. Lately even the squirrels have been binging “Law and Order” in their nests (they have a mini tv and peanuts), so Chester has been relegated to watching birds. Here is his usual routine, and keep in mind it takes him about 5 minutes to do the whole thing.

First, he notices the bird. It takes some time to decide whether to do anything about it: get up vs go back to sleep. Get up vs sleep. Up vs sleep…About half the time he decides to get up.

Second step is to start to lift that overweight body up. I know the feeling, Chester. He could still turn back. Turn back, Chester!

His third step is the point of no return. He stands with his front half off and his back half on the couch for seriously 2-3 minutes. He stretches his front half then very slowly lowers his back half to the floor, one foot at a time.

He then stands at the door and stares at the bird. Does he go out? Nah. He lies down on the floor in front of the door. The bird flies away and he feels he has done his duty, so he gets back up on the couch and falls asleep again.

Now this is mellow fellow is why we adopted a “senior” dog; he was five years old when we got him. But this is not the energetic pup that the kennel said “never stops moving” and his laziness probably contributes to his weight gain. It’s too cold for long walks although we do make the effort. He walks a little, poops, then turns around and pulls us toward home. Then gets a biscuit and falls asleep.

Yesterday I had to go to the pet store for cat food, drop off stuff at Goodwill, and get an iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I took Chester with me. He was a good boy at the pet store (meaning he didn’t pee on the merchandise) until we reached the cash register. Just like the candy at the grocery stores right at kid level, there are bones and rawhides at dog snoot level. He grabbed a rawhide for the road. I didn’t realize it until the cashier said, “Can he have that?” He carried it out to the car. He then got a donut hole at the Dunkin Donuts drive through. “Can your puppy have a treat?” I gave an extra dollar to the tip jar. While this is a nice diversion for Chester, the real treat was yet to come.

My husband had ordered a Bark Box for Chester for Christmas. It contained the infamous Bumble toy I admired in a previous post. What he didn’t realize is that it is one of those monthly subscriptions that you have to cancel. I hate those. He went to war with Bark Box but alas (or yippee, depending who you ask) the box was already en route. It arrived last night.

Chester was happily and peacefully gnawing on his large bone when John opened the box. He pulled out a fuzzy purple thing and squeaked it.  Instantly Chester jumped up and stood laser focused. He pawed at John and sat, gave paw, and lay down (the extent of his tricks) in about 3 seconds. John gave him the fuzzy purple thing (a slipper we figured out) and the Chester party began. He chewed and ran around with it, squeaking it constantly for the next hour. We couldn’t hear “Law and Order” because this thing was so loud. I do mean loud, and if you’ve ever heard a loud squeaky toy nonstop for literally an hour, you understand. He took a break for a few minutes halfway through to get one or two of the treats they sent then bounced back and forth inside and outside a few times. If you can picture someone who is “the life of the party” with a party hat, arms in the air, blowing one of those noise blower things and screaming “Woo hoo”, you can picture Chester.

Don’t even think about taking this bunny!

After a couple hours the purple fuzzy slipper was demolished. He had torn it to bits and found the plastic squeaker. He ran around squeaking the squeaker, then chewed it and spit the remnants on the floor. I love finding pieces of it when I walk barefoot to get coffee…Since the fuzzy slipper was now retired to the pile of has-been bunnies, he turned his attention to destroying the box itself.

The bumble still reigns. He is eating the new bunny.
We are leaving this for further shredding later tonight. He can do better.

Chester didn’t calm down for a good while. My husband commented that the fuzzy slipper was like catnip for cats, and he was probably high. Finally he crashed in the middle of his mess. When he went to bed he left the clean up for me.

The aftermath of hurricane Chester

This morning Chester was back to his place on the couch watching birds. I think despite the party hangover it did him good. He seems more energetic. It’s not so cold today and most of the snow melted. He has been outside chasing squirrels and staring at the trees desperately praying that a squirrel will fall out and land at his feet.

Oh please please please…

We do have one more toy that I hid next to the refrigerator. In Cleveland we’re guaranteed to have another cold spell. For now though it’s good to have him back to his ornery self!

Have a good week!

Chester’s Christmas 2021

Well all I can say is that hell probably froze over during the last week. This will be the Christmas that keeps on giving since the grandkids and I tested positive for COVID on Christmas Eve. Yes, I was vaxxed, boosted, and masked. Go figure. The positive was that it’s just like a bad cold, no worse, and we had Christmas Eve outside around a campfire. I was bemoaning the lack of snow but it turned out to be a good thing. For once Cleveland weather cooperated! (One example of hell freezing over!) We had a very nice visit, maybe one of my favorites. Kind of like the “whos” in Whoville. We didn’t clasp hands and sing (I sang “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” a few times) but we exchanged gifts and enjoyed the time together.

Christmas eve

Unfortunately when I got home I was in a hurry to go to the bathroom and dropped my phone in the toilet. Ewww, yes I did reach in and retrieve it. I dried it off and it worked! No harm done to the phone! I, on the other hand, cringe whenever I touch it. It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode and I think I will have to get a new phone.

On Christmas Eve I got a stuffed hippopotamus which is adorable. I set it on the table next to me. We watched “White Christmas” while marveling that a barn could turn into a huge stage instantly. Chester stared at the hippo with focused intent.

I said “no” several times but he was convinced that the hippo was a bunny and should be eaten. His snoot got closer and closer to the hippo. I knew his restraint wouldn’t last forever so I put the hippo in a bedroom and shut the door. Next thing we knew, we heard a crash in the kitchen. Chester had pulled a plate of cookies off the counter. I had made about 700 cookies the day before I tested positive. I couldn’t give them to anyone with a clear conscience. Who would eat them? If they knew that is…. No, even I couldn’t stoop that low. Here, have a plate of cookies and by the way I have COVID. But I did not expect Chester to knock over the Apricot pockets. I think he was mad about the hippo. He ate a few before we got them picked up. Silver lining? I probably didn’t need to eat 700 cookies anyway. Probably.

Chester was lucky that Santa had already left the North Pole when he pulled his cookie shenanigans. Chester received three bunnies this year. He got a red elf/Santa with a big head, a Rudolph, and a white “Bumble” head that looked like a furry softball. He handled the elf pretty quickly. Rudolph took longer to shred. The winner by far is the Bumble! Bumble squeaks with a high pitched shrill scream. It is round and there are no limbs to grab or bite into. He nibbled a little fur to get a toothhold but to no avail. We had been playing “got your bunny” for a few days and while slimy, the Bumble survived. I came down to see this…

It’s as if the Bumble is in the big time wrestling ring having vanquished his stuffed foes. He is looking for round 4 with Chester. Chester is not afraid!

Got your bunny!

On day 4 the Bumble crumbled. Chester pulled out the stuffing to find another toy inside! He revealed a red rubber type ball. Yes, hell almost froze over…4 days is a record for stuffed bunny annihilation.

Another successful Christmas for Chester

Another hopefully successful gift was the orthopedic cat bowl.

Our cat Milo sneezes and vomits frequently due to his cleft palate. He gets a lot of air and water where it shouldn’t be. If this can slow down the vomiting I’ll be happy. When I went to sleep on Christmas Eve Milo threw up on me. Nothing like a warm, wet, smelly spot that seeps through to your leg. Just one more nail in the 2021 Christmas coffin of events. But he can’t help it and he loves me as evidenced by the aforementioned incident.

The cats also got massaging combs. Amazingly they love them! Zeus usually runs when he sees the brush, and he sat still for me to comb him. It’s getting warmer and warmer in hell….

On Christmas we went for a walk in the park. It was warm and nice. I took some pictures of the winter view and Chester sniffed up and down the trail.

When we got home, having been revitalized by nature, I was sitting next to him and looked over…there was a tick crawling on my arm. I guess it was because we haven’t had a lot of cold weather. But really??? I almost lost my positive spirit. I have no silver lining for ticks. It was just one though, and then there were none.

This Christmas was not a Hallmark Christmas but it was our Christmas. Our chickens continue to blaze in the front yard and the Styrofoam Santa rules the family room. Chester is enjoying chasing the FIVE squirrels that I put peanuts out for who seem to think they can open the peanut bucket themselves.  We did get a coating of snow the day after Christmas so I think the fates are finished with their tantrums and are apologizing. I think 2021 wanted to get in all of the last remnants of suckiness that it could but now we can move on. Sometimes you have to let the flowers arrange themselves.

Have a wonderful week and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas

Tomorrow is Christmas. No, not a white Christmas. My NY kids aren’t coming back to Ohio due to COVID. Events are questionable and many cancelled. The local kids and grandkids are going to test for COVID in a bit to see if they can come over. But that will use up all their tests. It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode…is whatever sniffle, cough, or headache testworthy? Sheesh. Bad news is heard on every front–many people are working through grief and struggles. But it’s Christmas nonetheless.

In case you missed it. His 30 seconds of cooperation for the promise of Santa goodies.

Since it may help to know that some things remain the same, Chester seems in fine spirits, chasing squirrels and keeping the hawk away. I was baking cookies when he was outside. He stays out for a long time, and we often can’t get him in even by shaking the Milkbones. So I decided to go about my business. Wrong choice, dog mom. I heard him bark and this is the face I saw at the door.

The marks that look like icicles on him are not…they are snoot marks on the door. You’d think I was killing him.

Of course he has gifts coming…a special box purchased by my husband without my knowledge. He’s a softie. The kitties do too, just what they wanted I’m sure, a new comb, a toy, and some treats. This is what we do for Christmas, spoil the pets.

The Milk Bone box and can of cat food are empty. He took them off the counter and is hoarding them.

Spoiling pets is the one thing we can do no matter what the outside world throws at us. It’s all about paring down the rest of it. Christmas celebrating doesn’t have to be on one particular day…in fact most religious scholars think Jesus’ birth was not on December 25th. Shoot, alot of people have been celebrating since Halloween. We will postpone our visits and gift exchanging. Not sure about the tree. I’d like to leave it up until they come but in a week or two it may a little ragged.

See the source image

As for the actual Christmas? I feel a little weird wishing you a Merry Christmas if the Merry means partying and visits and celebrating. So maybe this year I’ll wish you a gentle Christmas. A peaceful, quiet, Christmas with at least a moment where you are touched by something special. It may only be a moment this year. But that’s OK, we’ll take it! That’s all we need.

Chester hopes his doggie friends have this kind of Christmas and dream of good things like bunnies and squirrels and treats!

The best Christmas contest ever and the squirrel threat…

They say a mother can pick out her baby’s cry from all others. That may be why at 6:30am I woke to Chester barking. It sounded like he was outside. I thought my husband would let him in but the barking continued with urgency. I got up to see if he was OK. My husband was at the door looking at him…out in the yard with a squirrel up the tree. Why on God’s green earth the stupid squirrels have to get up at 6:30am is beyond me.  I was mortified that the neighbors might think we left him out and were bad dog owners or that he would wake them. My husband went to make coffee and didn’t care one bit about the neighbors. He sat down to watch the news while I tried to get the hound in. I shook the Milk Bone box and called to him with excitement. I tried yelling “Kong, kong” over and over. Nope. The squirrel just sat in the tree clucking at Chester. Chester jumped up and down in the mud barking. Did I mention the whole yard is mud? From November to March. I went onto the deck with cat treats but finally went in, figuring that the vision of me in my pajamas yelling “Kong, kong, biscuit” would disturb the neighbors more than him barking.

What we didn’t learn until later is that those squirrels better up their game. They outsmart Chester easily and with glee, but recently we looked outside and saw a more significant threat.

Our new friend the hawk

This hawk has shown up before. My sister the naturalist says “you can tell by the relatively broad tail that this is a Red-tailed Hawk.  They are our largest of Ohio resident buteo (mammal-eating) hawks, so I am not surprised that you commented on its size when we talked on the phone!  The females are regularly larger than the males, so this is likely a female. Your squirrels better watch out! 😊” Oh no! Now I have to worry about the stupid squirrels!

We are having high winds here in Cleveland. My sister gets a certain pleasure from thinking about my little solar powered chickens being fine in the wind while the inflatables blow around the neighborhood. I take no pleasure in my neighbor’s misfortune, but I did take quite a bit of pleasure in the video of the bear attacking the inflatable reindeer. If you look up bear attacking reindeer inflatable you too can live vicariously through the bear. At this point, I’m right on the very thin line of love and hate regarding Christmas. One push and I’m rooting for the bear. That’s when the alcohol needs to come out.

See the source image

I wanted to take this opportunity to share what is one of our family’s favorite Christmas contests ever. It is destined to go down in Whitmer High School history. You see, my father was a high school English teacher for probably 30 years. The principal decided it would be a great idea and spread the holiday spirit if the teachers competed in a door decorating contest. My dad was all in.

My father was a fisherman. He had a mounted huge fish hanging on the wall of the garage. We kids thought it was weird but matter of factly lived with it, for the most part ignoring it. We ignored it for about 15 years when it made its grand appearance on the door of my father’s classroom. He had replaced the eye with a red light to give nod to Christmas. I’m not sure if he cleaned it up otherwise, but it was placed on a festive display of green and red shiny paper on the door of a high school classroom. The red light glowed as if a demon fish came out of the deep shiny green paper to leap into the pages of the English textbook. The ants in the room marched out to view the display of creativity and wonder.

The door did not win. The committee walked by but didn’t stop. My father was rather dismayed after all the hard work he put in with the eye and all. We just shook our heads and went about our day to day school trials, and the fish regained its place in the garage, albeit with a red eye. Ultimately I’m not sure what happened to the fish. It probably disintegrated to scales and cobwebs. But like a Christmas tree, it had its moment of glory. In our minds, our father won.

I don’t have a picture of the fish, regrettably. But here’s the next best thing. Chester was such a good boy to leave his antlers on for two minutes. That’s one minute and 30 seconds more than last year!

The reason for this cooperation is this:

Hang in there! Have a good week!