Friday, March 30, 2012

3-30-12 Puye

The Puye Cliff Dwellings have been carved into the Jemez Mountains for more than a millennia.

Here, in 1974, we had them to ourselves, to climb and explore. At the base you could sift through the sand and find bits of ancient pottery shards by handful.

The Cerro Grande Fire in 2000 destroyed much of the Santa Clara canyon and closed the cliffs for almost 10 years.

They've reopened, but now you are on a guided tour, for $20 or $30 dollars, and I'm guessing you don't get the run of the place. 

(steps worn into the rock)

3-29-12 early spring morning

3-30-12 Katy lite

After we got home from the eye doctor and were generally stuck doing something we didn't need to see very well to do for the next couple of hours, I got the bright idea, hey! let's shave the dog!

Once a year at springtime we shave Katy's winter übercoat off, which generally results in us being shocked at how much thinner she appears. That is the thickest thing in the world and it has be a scientific marvel as insulation. I'd kept putting it off, sure we would be getting a late snow blast, but, like washing the car, if it happens, it's going to happen after she's shaved.

One would think it might be helpful to see during this procedure, but the hard truth of the matter is, for the first hour, you are blindly throwing those shears with no guard against a wall of hair, with the motor getting hotter and hotter in your hand until you have to stop and survey the damage. It's the next day, with the detail work, that you should probably be able to see for.

The work in progress (with Evan very nervously watching to see if he was next):

3-30-12 the one about the eye doctor

Sammi and I had eye doctor appointments yesterday afternoon. I knew, having put them off for the past two years, I was going to have to give in and have my eyes dilated, which kills the ability to work for several hours afterwards as you can't see a thing up close. It wasn't the best timing, since it's month end and the craziest week of the month and I had to work until 10:00 last night to catch up. But Sam is on Spring Break and has been getting headaches behind her right eye, and I'd rather get us both in at the same time, so away we went.

The nice thing about co-appointments is they take you back together, put you in the same room, and generally get through a bit faster toggling between the two of you doing tests and waiting for the drops to work, etc. They have these fancy super imaging machines that get great interior pictures of your eyes for early warning signs of all kinds of eye issues. Of course, it's new technology so insurance doesn't cover it, but for $39 you can pay out of pocket to see much more than the older tests. Since I kind of like to see, we sprang for the tests.

One thing they always do is the numbing agent, which makes me feel like I've got a chia pet growing on the front of my eyeballs. Or, as I call them, furry eyes. The doctor laughed and said, "No one has ever quite described it like that!" to which Sammi replied, "You really should have become a writer" Wow. No time like the middle of an eye-numbing procedure in a dimly lit room to have an existential crisis foisted upon you by your sixteen year old daughter. At least I could dab my eyes without drawing attention.

I also got to see Sammi's cataracts, which was pretty cool. When she was two weeks old, our pediatrician was doing his typical exam and stopped with the lights in her eyes and said, "Huh!" Now, she's all of 5 pounds, so I don't want to hear "huh!" It appears he's seeing cataracts right in the center of her vision and wants us to see a specialist. I spend the next two weeks wondering if my baby will go blind. And then I'm at the pediatric ophthalmologist in Temple who examines my month old and says "Huh!"  But as it turns out, it's one of those things every eye doctor she's ever seen says "huh!"  because it's just really rare. They don't grow, they don't affect her vision, they just formed there when she was forming and are good fodder for eye doctor conversation. So the doc set up the magnification viewer for me yesterday when Sam's eyes were wide open dilated and I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. It just felt right to say, "Huh!" It looks like a snowflake, crystallized and tiny in the center of a sea of black.

The other plus about a co-appointment is that you can laugh at one another while the other one is in the chair and check each others answers about whether you got every line letter right. Sam did pretty well with her right eye on the first test, but once they were dilated and the muscles couldn't overcompensate, it was much weaker at seeing things up close. While we both agreed she could totally bring the monocle back into style, they don't seem to stock a lot of cute monocles for sale.

So, in the end, she went with these, which you can't see very well, because I couldn't see very well and took a crappy picture, but they're purple with rhinestones on the sides and are about as hipster as you can get. I still want to see what a hipster monocle design would look like.

After I had the helpful lady read everything to me because I could see a thing, they let us go and we marveled that people are routinely released functionally blind to drive home. We didn't even get cardboard sunglasses! So I actually put my car sunglasses on, kept for extreme sunlight emergencies, and this definitely qualified. At one stop light we started giggling, both of us with one eye completely closed, the other just a slit. If anyone had bothered to glance over, they've have been sure we were high.

Nope, just our eyes, which makes us look like Homer Simpson licking toads.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3-28-12 Signal Mountain Lodge at Jackson Lake

I now have hundreds of scanned slides to photoshop, numbers 4 and 5 above are still awaiting scratch removal, as you can tell. But this little set is too pretty not to share as is. 
Monday, March 26, 2012

3-26-12 the fire as of 6:00 tonight

3-26-12 once upon a time, in field of bluebonnets

I am 10
and it is Spring
and the highway flashes by, 
with my head pressed against the cool glass, 
waiting out the interminable, 
always for a child, interminable, car ride
to visit Aunt Dot.

The air conditioning blowing from the side vents of the car
is so bitingly cold and fresh,
I amuse myself by blowing my hot, impatient breath against the glass
and drawing smiley faces in the quickly dissipating fog.

Through that disappearing mist, colors begin to flash 
among the green along the highway:
blues, whites, reds, and yellows.
It's as though the undulating pastures have been painted 
in large, beautiful swathes of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes
just to entertain me.

I do not know yet that my eyesight is fading.

I do not realize that I am learning to see the world 
through impressionist eyes, as fuzzy, intermingled, unsharpened colors.

I cannot see the individual flowers, 
only the large incoherent shapes they make amid the green.

It is still breath-taking.

I am 20, 
now double the life lived 
from that first memory of bluebonnet fields.
I lounge among them, careful to find a spot of only green
 in between patches of blue,
careful to avoid the mounds of fire ants, 
lying in wait for any disturbance.
It is hot, and the grass is itchy.
But the flowers are so beautiful, crisp, individual.

I can see clearly now, or so I think. 

Life lies ahead, certain and sure,
in the way it only can for someone who is 20.

I am 40 now, or still close enough, now double the life lived
from that sun-bathed day in Spring.

I do not lounge among the bluebonnets, 
nor do I see them quite so clearly,
except in memory,
where they will always remain,
like life,
a beautiful, fleeting impression.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3-24-12 Colorado Springs

busy beautiful day, captions added when I can keep my eyes open!