Archive for March, 2017

Get to Your Eye Appointment!

March 31, 2017

Three years have passed since I got my last pair of glasses. I decided maybe it was time to visit the optometrist, have my vision checked, and consider getting new glasses. Of course in terms of pleasure or motivation, visiting the eye doc ranks second to say, getting a root canal. Short of walking around in a blur or in a constant corrective squint, suffering from double vision, or enduring stinging or throbbing eyeballs, who would willingly schedule a visit with the eye doc?

To begin with, there’s the mandatory ‘puff of air’ eye test where you plant your chin on a machine and position your eye a toothpick’s width away from the source of the pressurized puff, then hold your eye wide open to receive the spontaneous blast of air thrust directly onto your eyeball, startling you off your seat, first the left eyeball, and then, before you can gather your bearings, ‘Poof!’ the assault to the right eyeball. The puff of air holds the unique distinction of traumatizing nearly every civilized human being from early childhood through adulthood, a test you can’t get out of no matter the excuse, unless you have fallen into cardiac arrest, because the puff of air checks eye pressure. And then there’s the eye drops, which you can’t get out of either, however, if fast enough, you can slam your eyes shut so the drops hit sealed lids, sabotaging the drops’ ability to penetrate and dilate your pupils. (I learned this from one of our kids.)

They’ve come up with a new test, I learned at my visit this past week, involving a machine that measures your peripheral vision. Per the usual optical assessment machine, you set your chin in the fixed metal chin support and affix your eye on the vision field while holding a clicking device. Once you are in position the technician alerts you that the test has started. A feint blob of pale squiggly lines appears at random places and time intervals on the screen and every time you see it you hit the clicker. All set up and ready to go, I was suddenly afflicted with a nose itch so intense I wanted to yell “Abort!” and pull away to engage in a scratch-and-rub orgy with my left nostril. But the technician has already declared, “The test has started!” and I’m scrambling to get up to speed blurting out loud that I have a nose itch, to no avail. Blood pressure rises as I manage the distraction of the itch against the task of clicking at what I perceive to be the sight of this feint blob of squiggly lines popping up on the screen, sometimes not peripherally, but in the middle of the screen, hey isn’t this a peripheral vision test? Mind overload here. Need to scratch my nose!

I managed to pass the peripheral vision test while also confirming my inability to multitask with a nose itch. This same phenomenon occurs when I’m in the dentist chair. I can hardly hold my mouth open, coping with a nose itch. To my hygienist’s credit, she allows me at first signals of distress to raise upright from my dental cleaning position to scratch my nose. The nose itch phenomenon occurs nearly every time I get my teeth cleaned.

Have you ever considered the bedside manner of your optometrist? Exactly. No you haven’t. Your optician or optometrist is at the other end of the optical machine flipping incremental vision correction lenses or some such thing. The conversation goes like this:

Which is clearer, 1 or 2?
2?
3 or 4?
uh…
3 or 4?
I think 4
5 or 6?
5 … maybe
7 or 8?
8?
9 or 10? Tell me when they look the same
They look the same! (all the while wondering how much your answers have screwed up your glasses prescription and when you can be done so you can scratch your nose.)

I’m happy to report that after all was said and done the tests revealed relatively good news, that is, my long distance vision got a little worse, enough as to warrant a new pair of glasses, but hardly significant since I’ve been legally blind since grade school anyway. Since the biggest E on the sight chart is only readable to me without my glasses at 6 feet away, my distance vision appears to be about 20/800 meaning, without my glasses I can see at 20 feet what a normal 20/20 sighted person can see at 800 feet. Plus I have stage 1 cataracts that appear not to have worsened over the past three years, plus various peripheral specks and floaters and whatnot, ‘incident to age’.

So yeah, I got the drops. Two installments. I know my enormous black pupils probably weren’t bulging out of my eye sockets but my brain had me convinced they were. I tried to go trendy on my new frames, you know, large, round, dark purple or maybe dark red plastic frames like what Meryl Streep wears to the Oscars. Boy did they look ridiculous on me. Maybe I need the glittery gown, hairdo, stage, and jewels to complete the look.

But hey, driving home in those dark plastic disposable sunglasses you have to wear to protect your super-light-sensitive dilated pupils?

I was cruising down Hollywood Boulevard.

Skydiving in Eloy, AZ

March 18, 2017

We just got back from a whirlwind trip to the Phoenix area in Arizona. David’s sister Pauline lives in Chandler, just south of Phoenix. Another sister, Margaret, just moved in a few blocks away. Three other Caraher siblings joined them last week for a mini family reunion. Three of the original 11 Caraher siblings have passed. Last week, five of the remaining eight siblings in the Caraher clan posed for a family photo on Pauline’s patio in Chandler, Az …

The Caraher’s, March 9, 2017, from l-r: David, Paul, Pauline, Margaret, Tom

Twenty years separate the youngest (Paul) from the oldest (Pauline). While we were taking photos a roadrunner zipped by on the golf path behind Pauline’s patio:

Roadrunner, run!

So what to do on a 3-day visit around Phoenix? Visit the new aquarium that opened last Labor Day weekend up in Scottsdale? Uh, maybe find something closer…

How about a morning hike up South Mountain! We hit the trail mid-morning:

David and Pauline

The landscape offers an abundance of phallic symbols with no possibility of shade.

A few plants were in bloom. It’s either too early or too dry for the cacti to bloom? Some were starting to …

Our eyes are watching you

Or maybe they just opened a pair of eyes to keep a watch on passing tourists.

David’s older brother Tom suggested the best idea for how to spend our day – drive 40 miles south to Eloy, Arizona and watch the skydivers! I have to say, watching others jump out of planes at 13,000 feet and skydiving to the ground sounds much more fun to me than jumping out of a plane myself.

We have arrived at the Eloy airport singing “Eloy’s a-comin’! (a la Three Dog Night) Well, you better hide your heart, your loving heart …

As soon as I get out of the car I’m captivated immediately by skydivers dropping from the sky.

I took a photo…

Okay so photos really don’t capture it. I took a video.

Skydivers are dropping like down from a giant May tree.

Hold off on taking video, Jody. There’s a viewing area right by the landing field! David says.

Entering the park now…

Entering the viewing area, Paul and Margaret ahead

There’s no entrance fee. Bleachers are set up for spectators right alongside the skydivers’ landing field. Are you ready for some close up video? Now you can live the skydiving spectator experience right alongside me. Turn up your sound for my videos!

We are barely settled when a group of skydivers comes flying in … one right after the other. Here we go…

Each skydiver has to collect his parachute quickly and get off the field!

There’s at least two planes in the air and another taking off.

You watch the plane till it goes out of sight, then look way up and see one hovering way high. But you can’t see the skydivers till their parachutes have opened up. They jump out in groups of six and land, one behind the other. They are all obviously seasoned experienced jumpers, evidenced by their ability to glean every airborne moment out of the experience as they gracefully land:

You can hear the friction in the air as they sail past you, parallel to the ground.

Some skydivers drop so fast you wonder how they avoid a hard collision with the earth…

Meanwhile, another plane takes off

While another flatbed trailer load of skydivers heads to the tarmac…

Here you see a photo of tandem skydiving, for novices.

Tandem skydiving

You know, for any ordinary Joe Blow who would like to jump out of a plane, you can hook on to the back of a professional and fly tandem. David was off investigating this experience as soon as we arrived. He seriously wanted to jump out of a plane today, having already done a solo jump here in Idaho Falls for his 30th birthday, uh, how many years ago was that??? Why not today?!! … Because, he found out, the process would take up to 4-6 hours, given the waiting list and training required.

Me? This video explains it all:

That’s me talking with Paul, with Megan’s and my very brave shadows at the end…

Here’s one last video I took

It marvels me how they avoid landing collisions.

So after the parachuters run off the landing field they head to this shelter about 100 feet away to fold and repack their parachutes. I took a photo.

Hey, what’s one more video?…

I posed a question to one buff, young, bearded jumper who had just repacked his parachute: How many times have you skydived? His answer: You mean today or in my lifetime? Lifetime, I said. Uh, about 6,000…

Anyway, if you visit the Phoenix area in Arizona you might want to check out the skydiving at Eloy. Of course, just a walk around the neighborhood where you are visiting, is fun too. We took a walk in Pauline’s neighborhood, the Sun Lakes retirement community. The front yards are great – laid with rock, landscaped with native plants and cacti.

Birds peck out space for their nests in the saguaro cacti.

Got your eye on me, do you?

Why do I always get the feeling that nature is watching me?

One Last Kauai Sunrise

March 5, 2017

“Move on from Kauai already!” you say. “You’ve been back from your trip more than month!” I know, I know. So which would you choose, more photos of ‘Idaho’s seemingly endless winter so far’, or this:

Kauai sunrise, January 26, 2017

Kauai sunrise, January 26, 2017

A Princeville, Kauai sunrise! We took a walk along the Princeville golf course later that morning, after a thunderstorm waned into a Kauai mist

Followed by a rainbow.

January 26, 11:02 am

January 26, 11:02 am

We had several blustery days. I enjoyed the sound and movement of the wind through the towering palms

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You can be there too, imagine yourself standing next to me, in this video

A couple more photos to share… this tree on Ke’e beach near the Kalalau Trail

Warning to tourists- “Hanging your clothes on this might tip it over”

How does it stay up? Its root system appears to be completely above ground. Shouldn’t they post warning signs for tourists? “Do not nap under tree.”

The Kauai garden spider – I didn’t see as many on this trip as usual, but who nowadays ever sees a garden spider?

Top view of the spider first, then a view of its yellow underbelly:

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Farmer’s market produce provides fabulous organic garden-to-table ingredients for our personal chef, Victor:

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And a marvelous spread for breakfast – Mango, pineapple, rambutan! Rambutan? Yes, those red hairy balls.

red hairy balls are rambutan

red hairy balls are rambutan

Here, Eric will model them for you:

Such a handsome human specimen

Such a handsome human specimen

Okay so the photo is a bit of brain overload. Where do you focus? On the red hairy balls, the astronaut kitty floating in outer space, or what Eric might be concealing in his mouth?

Did I mention we bought several delicious organic grapefruit?

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I modeled those:

The worlds most luscious boobs

The world’s most luscious boobs

I cherished this moment to showcase my boobs, the sheer size, voluptuousness, form, erectness! I couldn’t have imagined myself with such a set even in my wildest, most unfathomable dreams.

My moment was quickly out shadowed by Eric sporting his swimsuit on the back patio.

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Okay, Eric, so the pineapples might be tolerable. Please warn me the next time you plan to take a swim. I’ll meet you when you’re in the pool. Although who can’t admire your physique?

Is that a chest implant?

Is that a chest implant?

A physique shaped by decades of hauling antique furniture to and from your store, delivering to customers and singlehandedly loading and unloading truckloads of antique furniture to and from weekend furniture shows across the west.

Okay, so vacation is about over. One last shot of the Kauai landscape, as the sun is about to set …

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and several more shots of rum in our last round of Mai Tais at the airport in Lihue before we board our plane

January 28, 10:20 pm - David buys the last round

January 28, 10:20 pm – David buys the last round

You know, to help us sleep on the 6-hour red-eye.

12 noon Sunday, January 29 – Flying over Utah now, nearing our descent into Salt Lake City.

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Salt Lake City is under a blanket of smog held in by a temperature inversion

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We’ve hit the road toward home – It’s a 3-hour drive from Salt Lake through northern Utah …

I:50 PM - near Brigham City

I:50 PM – near Brigham City

into southeast Idaho… Here we are near Downey, Idaho, about 3PM, Sunday, January 29:

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Oh joy! We’re home now. I see the plows have been through the neighborhood.

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And the people we hired to shovel our driveway did their job too

Driveway is shoveled!

Driveway is shoveled!

We have cleared the sidewalk to the street.

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Megan stayed back home in Idaho with companions, instead of going with us to Kauai. She kept us abreast of news from home, in particular, this one issue, through text messaging:

“Hi Mom. Titan and Einstein are in the back yard again. Rudy keeps barking”

To enlighten you, here’s the photos I took of the situation we met in our back yard upon our return home:

Better situation with a winter garden than a summer garden, however, Rudy seems to know better...

Better situation with a winter garden than a summer garden, however, Rudy seems to know better…

Rudy is fond of Titan

Rudy is fond of Titan

Rudy hot foots it back to the house

Rudy hot foots it back to the house

Here you see the source of the problem: David’s last fix for the hole in the fence along our back yard held up about, uh, two days?:

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He engineered another fix right away. The snow’s been so deep in the back yard, I didn’t take a close look at it till yesterday –

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Huh. So is that going to suffice as the permanent fix? Come spring I could set some vibrant blooming flower pots around it, – heck, submit a photo of this unique yard art/floral arrangement for publication in House and Garden Magazine.

BTW – Which neighbor is responsible for repairing or replacing a fence establishing the boundary for both properties? Should I get an opinion from Mexico on this?