O Christmas List

Although I am in my 50s (early!) I am still asked to provide a Christmas list each year. As much as I protest that I am a GROWN WOMAN, I must admit it does bring back the days of the Sears catalog*, flipping through every toy page, initially wanting everything but then being drawn over and over again to just a few special items. I think this is one of the first times we are faced with overwhelming options and asked to make a decision as to what we want most. If the cereal aisle is our training wheels, the request for our Christmas list is the shiny new 10-speed bike.

They say you never really feel like an adult until your parents are gone. This is never more evident than when you are asked for your Christmas list and you see something in AARP magazine to put on that list. But if you remember that feeling of making your wish list when you were a child, you can bet that your mom and dad remember all the late Christmas nights hurriedly wrapping presents after you’ve gone to bed, putting together doll houses and bicycles with insufficient instructions and parts strewn everywhere, trying to curse quietly, carving reindeer teeth marks into carrots (an exercise to be repeated at Easter) and eating Santa’s cookies and drinking his milk. And they remember being woken up at the crack of dawn after only a few hours of sleep, protesting because they know it’s all part of the tradition of Christmas morning, but inside they are just as excited as you, for you.

Now, as an adult, I know that it’s so much more fun to give than to receive. But if my receiving still gives mom and dad joy, I will gladly be a kid again. But I draw the line at pajamas with feet in them.


*  For those of you NOT receiving AARP magazine, Sears catalog’s annual Wish Book edition was like Amazon in paper form. 


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Blind Date

Today is the four-year anniversary of my vision loss. As much as I am keeping extra busy today and trying not to think about it, it’s at the forefront of my mind. I was wondering to myself this morning why it is that dates have so much power over us? The good ones – birthdays, weddings, holidays – we are taught to celebrate but I don’t remember ever receiving guidance on what to do on the dates marking a death or other devastating event. Like all things we experience in life, everyone reacts differently: some are able to give the month and the number on the calender no attention while others acknowledge it in their own way. For instance, since my mother’s death, I begin her birthday with a cup of coffee, in the “MOM” mug I kept for her in my home, while sitting in her beach chair in my back yard.

I wouldn’t even know how to recognize November 28th and maybe that’s the problem. On one optic nerve, that day four years ago I could see nothing and now I have some vision. Yet on the other optic nerve, on November 26, 2012 I was fully sighted and driving home from work. That would be the last time I would be behind the wheel. And although I am grateful I don’t live in complete darkness, my most prevalent thought and feeling is of the first 47 years of my life when I had it all.

There doesn’t seem to be a way around these milestone markers and like every one of our days we get through it the only way we can: with the love and support of others, doing the best we can, making someone’s own day better and being kind to ourselves. Although these intensified twenty-four-hour-periods cannot be considered or compared to the other days in a lifetime, I promise you and myself the day after is.

On this date in my history, my life changed forever. No matter what happens from here on in, this date will be forever an exceptionally significant imprint on my timeline. Whether it stays in the top three, ironically, remains to be seen.


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Black Friday Is The New Valentine’s Day

This is the first Black Friday in 25 years that my husband hasn’t gone to work. It’s a standing joke between us – or is it? – that I always want him working or anywhere other than home. Before you judge me, ask anyone my age and if they say they prefer to have their spouse home I guarantee she is lying.

We ventured out today to a quaint shopping village to go in a few specific stores and then get the heck out of there before the crowds converged. We did our business and were about to leave when I pulled my immortal beloved over to a bench. Moving in real close to hm, taking his hand, I asked, “What am I doing right now?” He replied that he didn’t know and shifting closer to him and stroking his face with my free hand, telling him to look into my eyes, I said, “This is called ‘You’ll-Never-Take-Black-Friday-Off-Again.” We were both laughing and I could barely get the words out. People were walking by and I wasn’t keeping my voice down. I asked him if he loved me and rested my head on his chest. We were both still chuckling as I commented that anyone walking by wouldn’t think we’d been together a quarter of a century.


I don’t know where he will be November 24th next year but I’m pretty sure today’s Public Display of Affection will give him pause. There’s no better way to put some distance between you and your man than pulling him close for all the world to see.


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The Ouch Pouch*

Apparently now I am spontaneously exploding as a wound appeared out of nowhere on my body a few weeks ago. Some in my inner circle may infer it’s the evil coming out but I am happy to report that a medical professional was abl e to diagnose it as something identifiable in a lab.

The alien, as I referred to it, required coverage and so I got out the bandage bin. There is a bin for almost everything in my house, the better to be obsessively organized with, my dear. The standard Band-Aids were in there but I was surprised to see various sized gauze pads and tape, as well as large adhesive bandages made for giants. Neither my husband nor I have had injuries or procedures requiring anything but a normal Band-Aid or cast and I almost expected to see some plaster powder in the container as well.

Ive seen enough Hoarders shows to know that people can accumulate an excessive amount of stuff, but by the looks of my turn-a-kit, my husband and I are accidents waiting to happen. But we’re not. We just lose our vision and go into congestive heart failure overnight with no warning. Accidents? No. Happenings? Yes. But it turns out that I’m accidentally prepared for dressing a lot more than a turkey.



* After spending hours trying to rhyme an appropriate word with “bin” or “container”, I decided to go with pouch, hoping you will understand. 


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Keep Calm And Carry Yourself

My husband loves to grocery shop and when I had my sight I was more than happy to let him go on his own. Since my vision loss, we go together on the weekend. I usually push the cart while he stands staring at the shelves waiting for the product on our list to do a perfect swan-dive right into our cart. Please note this is but a SLIGHT  exaggeration for the sake of this post.

For certain items that I am easily able to find I take the cart and go get them and we meet up in one of the side aisles. Sometimes I will walk from aisle to aisle looking for him. He is most often adorned in Seahawks’ swag but I am unable to see that unless he is standing right in front of me and the logo is large.

I realized something this past weekend: that I am able to identify him by how he carries himself. Even if he is just standing, willing our cart to fill with the items on our list via Acapulco shelf-diving, I can recognize his posture. And if he’s walking at a distance from me I can tell it’s him a lot closer than trying to see his face or clothing. I don’t see most colors; my world is more dark than light with pops of certain shades of blue. So really I only have his carriage and movement to go by and no one is more surprised than me that this is a thing. How you hold yourself and move is as much an identifier as your voice, apparel and face.

We think of body language as nonverbal cues that give our true feelings away, for example: arms crossed indicating defensiveness and lack of eye contact shows that we aren’t telling the truth. And our physicality when our guards are down is as unique and recognizable as a fingerprint. For someone who hasn’t seen the lines on her own hands in four years, the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts and, yes, I am quoting Aristotle. A man who never searched for his spouse in a grocery store


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Life Is A No-Fault Condition

When another person does something to us, they are held accountable. If it’s a criminal offense, legal steps can be taken. In issues that are moral, we hope that the person does the right thing. And we also should do the same.

But what about the times that life does you wrong? Other than mixing up a big ole pitcher of lemonade, we don’t have many options. And what if we don’t like the yellow beverage or don’t have the energy, strength or financial means to turn the lemons into their liquid form? Or write a song and make a music video which I only now remember has been done but I’m going to forge ahead while assuring you I have not heard or watched, respectively.

Life can and does lob things at us like grenades coming over the wall. Most of the time they land right at our feet and explode. If you survive the attack, and some of us do not, every day can be difficult, every day can be fraught with seemingly insurmountable challenges to do the very simplest of things. We may remain alive but have to live a very different life than we had been. And how you turn that into a fruity drink can be extremely difficult to figure out, even when you want to.

There will be no financial retribution, no lump sum awarded for damages incurred. Life isn’t going to say it’s sorry. And that is a very large, painful pill to swallow. Perhaps that’s reason enough to make lemonade.


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