Love this post from my fun friend Mara!

Mara Eastern

I was looking to shoot pictures of autumn landscape for the entire autumn. It was never going to happen. The autumn weather started, but the darn leaves clung to their native trees like a cat lady clings to her cats and refused to sail to the ground picturesquely. Then the leaves finally turned into autumn colours, but I could only suspect rather than see because of the onset of permanent impenetrable mist. When the mist lifted weeks later, the leaves were gone. Bastards. Bemoaning my bad luck, cosmic irony, existential malaise and other smart-sounding annoyances, I went shooting outdoors one of these colourless overcast days anyway.

As a person who suffers from unbearable cold even at the height of summer, it was imperative that I wrap myself up properly for the expedition. I have a set of winter clothes put aside specially for the purpose of rolling on the ground…

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The view outside my eyeballs is no different than it was before Thursday, December 11, 2014. It’s the same overcast sky. The same brown, lifeless trees. The same Christmas décor looking strangely out of place with no snow on the ground. People come and go about their business, oblivious to what has changed for ME since that day. The traffic on Fleur Drive and University Avenue and I-35 still chugs along, its vehicle’s inhabitants on their way to jobs, homes, shopping malls and other obligations and passions of life.

Make no mistake though. Something HAS changed, at least in my own little world. The sights all around me are amazing, utterly amazing. It’s true that what has changed, for me, is more a consequence of my yearning for convenience, for want of a kinship with those who’ve never known (and therefore perhaps have always just taken it for granted) what it’s like to see without an apparatus of visual aid of any kind.

Having Lasik surgery – on eyes with 20/200 and 20/400 vision – was a decision made after much deliberation, caution, exuberance and a mix of both anticipation and apprehension. Twice during the procedure, fascinating in its own right, I was tempted to ask the nurse to hold my hand. The somber reality of what might, of what could go wrong was ever present but still I went through with it. My fears were, I’m certain, not unlike what anyone else who’s had the surgery has experienced. For some reason, that comforted me and made it easier to forge ahead.

Now, my eyes are healing from the process. I’m taking all the necessary precautions, putting the drops in at the prescribed intervals, wearing the plastic shields while I sleep, taking care to keep hard, airborne objects and elbows from striking or even a stray finger intent on rubbing or scratching too close for comfort. Family, friends and work colleagues will have to deal with seeing me without makeup for the next two weeks (a scary proposition, indeed!) They may have to also put up with the occasional, spontaneous tears such as what I’ve experienced since the surgery. I think I cried at least four or five times within 24 hours of the procedure. The beauty, the reality of being able to see, unaided, continues to amaze me.

It’s overwhelming to think – even now as I look up from my laptop – to look out at the Starbucks parking lot and realize that I am able to SEE all of this without glasses which I’ve worn since third grade, without contact lenses which I’ve worn for more than thirty years. My vision is as crisp and clear as it ever was. Indeed, on my follow up exam the morning after the procedure, I was told I’m now seeing 20/20. Incredible. How fortunate I am to be able to see – and this was true even before Lasik! – this magnificent, wonderful world I live in, the world all around me

Several years ago, I tired of trying to hang every single one of the dozens of small red and gold twinkle bulbs on our Christmas tree. Rather than keeping them stored in boxes and bins I decided to display them in seasonal baskets. Much, much easier and provides splashes of holiday color and cheer throughout the house!

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Educating oneself is a lifelong process. Unfortunately, some of us don’t learn as quickly as others that circle within our orbits. Apart from formal coursework, done at the university or collegiate level, there is the learning that occurs as a consequence of having lived.

Hard lessons of life, often related to matters both of the heart and the wallet, are seldom sought after curriculums; they are, however, for better or worse, those that leave the most lasting impressions.

We late bloomers are often reluctant, resistant, fool-hardy, naïve or otherwise clueless to what life is trying to teach us and not every classroom environment yields results. So many wasted years. If I could go back in time (to ponder such a thing, I know, is a monumental waste of energy), I would put more passion and enthusiasm toward being a better mother and living a healthier life – and making better financial choices. The time, money and tears that I frittered away on toxic relationships drained what meager resources I did have at my disposal and only served to damage my own sense of self-worth. I suppose some of those lessons were ultimately learned at last – just not in a timely enough fashion.

Painful as it is to dwell on our own past mistakes and to harbor regrets over what might have been, it’s even more difficult to bear witness to those that we care about while they continue to struggle and fail to pay attention (as we once failed to do as well) in The Classroom of Life. How to respond? What to say? What CAN one do other than to just offer support and alternative paths if pressed for help or if asked for our opinion? The crucial point, is it not? If one’s advice is not sought, it’s difficult to sit still and say nothing, other than to perhaps describe lessons learned from our own pasts and hope that a connection might be made. Aside from inserting ourselves when we observe truly self-destructive behavior, all we can do is offer love and encouragement. Seeing someone suffering and grieving is heart-breaking especially when there is light at the end if only one would steer toward a different tunnel and detour from the path currently taken.

But then that is how the lesson is more stridently learned. To shield those that we care for from these lessons in life would be to deny them the opportunity to grow and develop in ways that only their own experiences and methods of coping can provide.

Life. You are one tough governess.

One last re-blog of one of my very first posts to celebrate six months of A Sawyer’s Daughter.

With apologies to Leslie Gore, it’s my party and I’ll post if I want to., post if I want to, post if I want to…

A Sawyer's Daughter

To describe something as ferocious conjures up a jungle image of a lion, doesn’t it?  Perhaps a tiger.  Maybe even a bear.  It’s a word you might use in discussing one’s appetite, sexual desire, ambition, a bad case of chiggers or the Santa Ana winds.

It’s often associated with the young.  As in those for whom youth is wasted.  Or a brave soldier in battle surviving against all odds.  Cancer that ravages a body is said to be ferocious in its assault.  It is lean.  It is strong.  It is determined.

Ferocity is a characteristic that’s hard to maintain but when its how I live my life in regard to the love I feel for my husband and my son (and truth be told the loving care that I should apply toward myself as well) it is these moments when I feel incredible, heady, alive.  To observe a robin angling for…

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