Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Living with Old Age - Mom's New Glasses

So off we went to the eye doctor again. Macular Degeneration requires a steroid injection and it's painful to watch. My 93-year mother does not hesitate to let you know she doesn't like it either. 

"Ooh, ooh," she moaned. 

Dr. H hesitated, needle injector in hand. This was the first eye and he still had to do the second eye. He glanced at me thankfully, sending the silent message that if anything goes wrong.... You're here to help, right

Yep, I pray every time doc, I nodded.

Her ophthalmologist looks to be in his early thirties, and Mom sometimes questions if he is too young to know what he is doing. Not having studied ophthalmology before in school, I can only assume the certification credentials I see on the wall of his office are real. I assure her he knows what he's doing,  but we often go round and round. I guess---to be fair---I might question things too if someone was shooting a needle in my eye. I went online and did a search just in case, but the method checked out. And the goal is to keep her from going blind.  

So then, Mom smiled at Dr. H ever so slightly. "Don't mind me. I'm okay." 

Dr. H and I both sighed in relief.  This was her six-week visit. The goal is to spread treatments out to as much as three months apart. We are now on the seven-week schedule. Meanwhile, Mom has not been able to see well at all. She's been using over the counter readers, making do, because her past prescriptions no longer work and her most recent prescription glasses (I found out) were lost. 

We were also under the impression we had to wait for her eyes to settle down before filling a new prescription, but Dr. H thought we could go ahead and order glasses, so off we went to the optician next door where we spent the next two hours trying on glasses and debating what would work for her. Although Dr. H had recommended single-lens readers, we opted for a no-line bifocal with distance on top since we could exchange within 30 days at no charge if they didn't work. 

So....The big day arrived. 

Mom looked into the mirror with her new glasses on and was horrified. "I can't see. The words are all jumbled. Are you sure this is the right prescription?" The frustrated optician tried everything and finally suggested we see the doctor again to verify the prescription. She made an appointment for the following week.

"Well, he should have got it right," Mom mumbled as we left. As we drove back to her apartment, Mom informed me that the frames were wrong too. "They are not the glasses I ordered." 

Surprised, I was certain they were the frames she'd ordered, but she wouldn't hear it. As we drove, her theory morphed. She was almost certain the prescription had been mixed up with her friend's prescription, as her friend had ordered new glasses too. We went back and forth. I told her we'd fix whatever the problem was. 

A week passed and we had to cancel. Mom was diagnosed with early pneumonia and I was sick too with some kind of virus. Another week passed and we finally returned. Turns out, Macular degeneration was bad enough in one eye to prevent the kind of focus a no line bifocal required. Mom decided to go for two pairs of glasses instead. One for distance, one for reading. It's not the most convenient solution, but reading is important to her and the distance correction made a huge difference. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

As for ordering the wrong frames, she blames me now. So be it, I accept the blame. After all, my eyes are better than hers and it's simply not worth arguing over.  

Living with old age and learning as I go. Keeping a sense of humor and remembering how blessed we are to still have her with us. And God willing......I'll be there someday myself. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Happy Earth Day, Hello from the Trenches - Still Celebrating the Small Things

Chrysanthemum in a pot
A nice message (below) for Earth Day from Jane Goodall! We have quail on our property. Did you know that the males and females mate for life? About 90 percent of bird species in general are monogamous. Hubby and I enjoy watching the mamas and papas, their head plumes bobbing away in rhythm as they scurry about with their tiny chicks  in tow. So-so cute. One of these days I hope to catch a photo. They move fast when they see me.

I love nature, don't you? I love watching all it has to offer, the honeybees enjoying my crab tree blooms, the robins listening for worms in the ground, the occasional crow (did you know they are as smart as a seven-year-old?), and on and on. I write a garden column for our small newspaper and found myself thinking the other day that aphids have a right to eat too. Ha-ha-ha. I know, I know, but this is how my mind works. 

So I made a batch of homemade insecticide, with Dawn soap, vegetable oil and water. It repels aphids and other insects, but I doubt if it kills them. I'll need to spray the infestation at least a couple more times. My poor snow ball bush was covered. 

But on to the real purpose of this blog....recording my writing journey. You already know about my novel The Shells of Mersing and the long, long road to publishing it. If you haven't had to chance to read, you can find it at Evernight Teen for 25% off this weekend. I urge you to take a look. I am so grateful to this publisher for taking a chance on me. There are many other books there too in different genres. Mine is an adventure mystery, a sailing journey, a sweet romance. 

Our small sailboat, Duet. Friday Harbor, WA

You've seen me in the A-Z April Challenge. I do hope that is going well for everyone. I noticed a huge number didn't participate last year. That said, I will always be grateful for this wonderful blog hop. It got me thinking about topics I had always wanted to explore. People still come to my blog to the read the A-Z posts. 

Learn something new

Dare to be yourself

I've been gardening and thinking about working on a sequel to my novel as I work. Gardening is normally great inspiration for me, as there is time to think, but my novel has been on hold since December when my mother moved into a retirement home. My focus has been on her needs, but I'm trying hard to get back to a more productive writing schedule.  
In this together
How has your writing journey been going? 
Let me know in your comments. 


Yep, still Celebrating!

Friday, March 16, 2018

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills: Book Review

This Adventure Ends
Author: Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, 2016
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age level: 15 up, Young Adult
Pages: 308

Sloane Finch is not sure what to expect when she moves with her family from New York to Florida her senior year. She’s never been all that close with kids in school, except for maybe in elementary school. Besides, her life is plenty full—voice lessons for one, and maybe music school next year. There is also her father’s “fic” to read. Dad, publicly known as Everett Finch, is a popular literary romance writer. Sloane reviews his work faithfully, even in his current writer’s slump. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad have urged her to make new friends.

To Sloane’s surprise, her sharp-witted and sassy personality quickly wins over a group of friends who adore her honest, frank manner. Among them are Vera and Gabe, the Fuller twins, who have been grieving over the death of their talented artist mother. It doesn’t help that they have a new twenty-something stepmom to boot. When Sloane learns from Gabe that one of their mother’s paintings had been mistakenly sold, it only seems right to locate the art. She gets another friend to help, determined to surprise the twins with the lost painting.

Problems develop, however, including marital strife between Sloane’s parents, which test her overall trust in relationships. Life is no longer tied up neat and securely like her dad’s fiction. Friendship and love in the real world do not come with guarantees. Being more open with her friends and accepting their love is hard at first, but a happy outcome follows with the budding romance between Sloane and Gabe. She has never been kissed by a boy before, not once, although that is about to change. The story itself is slow to develop, as Mills sets up characters, but the intelligent and witty dialog make This Adventure Ends enjoyable to read.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Secret Agent Training Manual by Elizabeth Singer Hunt: Book Review

The Secret Agent Training ManualThe Secret Agent Training Manual
Elizabeth Singer Hunt
Illustrated by Brian Williamson 

Publisher: Weinstein Books, 2017
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl

Age level: 8-12, Middle Grade
Pages: 94

Learn how to make and decode top secret messages in this nonfiction companion workbook specially designed for the series Secret Agents Jack and Max Stalwart. Readers learn over twenty-five spy techniques on how to keep secret messages private. They then can send coded messages to a friend or “fellow spy.” After learning the methods, readers are challenged to test their skills at the end. The history of cryptography is also described, going as far back as ancient Greece thousands of years ago. For example, Herodotus is known to have used special code to warn his people that the Persian army was fast approaching. Drawings and plenty of fill-in boxes are used throughout the manual to work out presented problems. Readers can write on the pages as they learn, as paper is workbook quality, comparable to a coloring book. A glossary and resources are included, as well as answer keys for workbook exercises.