Archive for September, 2010

I’m going through a funny period right now when my thoughts seem to ramble far and wide.  The medication?  Maybe.  At any rate, I had several that don’t merit a whole post on their own, so I thought I’d wrangle them all up, like a herd of livestock, and throw them out here just for the heck of it.


I was having a bad morning the other day, thinking about what might happen if my eyes don’t go back to normal, when I suddenly remembered  my friend, Shirley, with whom I worked for twenty-some-odd years.  Whenever we would start to get mad about something or someone was upsetting us, she’d grab my arm and say, very earnestly, “Star!  We can’t be thinking like this!  This is the devil’s doing.  He wants us to be full of fear and anger and if we let it happen, he wins!”  Well, to be honest, I had never thought about it quite like that before, but it made a strange kind of sense, (if you can go with the idea that the devil is always right there, tempting you.)  And I can certainly buy into that idea.  So I’m going to try this as a new strategy.  Whenever I start sliding down into that hole that leads to depression, I’m going to yell, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”  Sure, I might raise some eyebrows at Target, but if it will get my eyes healed faster, it will be totally worth it!


Well, I watched one of the new shows I told you about, “Bluebloods” on Friday and, sure enough, I must have put the hex on it! Here I was all cuddled in, ready to have some Tom Selleck time and enjoy a new drama in the process and…blah.  I can’t exactly pinpoint why it didn’t grab me, other than the fact that the characters seemed like cardboard figures to me.  Instead of believing all these people were a family, I was more aware that they were all actors playing roles.  That’s not good.  And Tom?  He was so stiff and had his hair cut so short that he kept reminding me of a buffalo stuffed into a police uniform.  I mean, I still like him and all and he would make a perfectly nice buffalo, but it was disappointing.  I’ll probably give it one more shot this week.


I’ve been looking at my eyes a lot.  One of the symptoms of Grave’s Disease is that in some people it causes their eyes to protrude.  You know, it gives them a bug-eyed look.  Well, my doctor says that my eyes aren’t doing that, a fact for which I’m grateful.  But they DO seem to be a bit bigger and a bit stare-y to me.  You know, like I’m kind of staring off, not quite like a zombie, but a tad too close for comfort.  So the other afternoon I was watching one of the shows my friend Charles taped for me, “Warehouse 13,” and I noticed that one of the main characters, Myka, has kind of big stare-y eyes, too.

The more I watched the show, the more similarity I noticed between her eyes and mine.  So, it actually made me feel a wee bit better, just in case my eyes are always going to be this way. 

Then I was watching “The Mentalist,” and noticed that Robin Tunney also has one eye that looks the same, kind of open and stare-y.

I don’t know, I guess it just makes me feel a little less conspicuous.  But, let this be a warning to you.  If you happen to see me, you’d better close your eyes, otherwise you night become a part of my study!


And finally, the weather is quickly turning and Fall is really here at last.  We’ve had some nights in the 40’s and 50’s.  And the other day I was eating breakfast and it dawned on me that my sandal-wearing days are numbered.  Yikes.  I’ve worn nothing but sandals since May!  I just hope that my poor little feet can remember how to live in a dark, confined, closed-up shoe again.  I may have to take them for therapy!  Little piggy therapy.


Okay, that’s all for now.  Happy last day of September!  If you have any crazy thoughts you want to share with me, feel free!  The asylum is officially open.


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Here’s how it goes.  I wake up at about 4:15 a.m. and for a few moments, just stay still, luxuriating in the cool breezes coming in my open bedroom windows.  And then I open my eyes, glance toward the television on the chest of drawers at the end of the room and see everything…double.  Again.  And a little something dies inside me each time.

The endocrinologist I saw gave me powerful steroid pills which he estimated should clear up the double vision by the end of two weeks.  That was last Thursday.  And everything is the same. He did add that if the medicine didn’t work, then I’d probably have to have surgery on my eye muscles.  But he felt pretty confident it would work.  It hasn’t.

So the question that still haunts me is – could the medicine still work?  This double vision thing is a rarer complication of Grave’s Disease and the doctor’s nurse told me I was their only patient who has it.  So maybe when the doctor said two weeks, it wasn’t based on certainty, but rather a ballpark estimate.  This is the theory I would rather believe, in order to keep my little flame of hope burning.  After all, I’m sure there was no way my eye muscles could have known that Thursday was their deadline to shape up and fly right.  There’s no little calendar back there behind my eyeballs.  Maybe little by little the medicine is indeed diminishing the inflammation but it will take longer than two weeks to undo the damage.  Like three weeks.  Or  (God help me!) four.

And when (or if)  it happens, I probably won’t wake up like Snow White after the Prince kissed her and be miraculously cured.  I’m thinking the change will come in tiny, almost imperceptible increments.  That is, IF there is a chance this medicine could still work.

I don’t mean to sound like some self-absorbed whiner.  I’m perfectly aware that there are millions of people worse off than I am.  And I pray for them every day and if I could help them, I would.  But I don’t seem able to even help myself.  That’s the problem.  This thing is totally out of my hands.

Unless it happens to you, you can’t imagine what a burden it is to keep seeing two of everything.  Driving with one side of my sunglasses blacked out is horrible and I have to be ultra-vigilant to make sure I’m seeing everything I need to.  I can’t even relax when watching TV.  I keep trying to find that elusive angle at which to hold my head so that I don’t see two screens.  My eyes are everything to me and to fight this battle every single day is so exhausting.  I try not to give in to tears, but sometimes I just can’t help it.  And, if it doesn’t go away…  Well, lets just not go there right now, shall we?

Today marks the ninth week of this nightmare.  I’ve lost weight and some afternoons I feel so tired that I could just drop.  Right now, if I was given one wish, I wouldn’t choose to win the lottery or be famous or even to find true love.

I’d just choose to be normal again.

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On Cloud Patrol #18

I went on Cloud Patrol yesterday, after not having had any luck for a while, and was happy to see a few things finally shaping up there in the sky.  This certainly is not my best selection, but it will get us all back into practice again.

I’ll start with a simple, easy one.  Coming from your left is an alligator (or is it a crocodile?)   He’s kind of stylistic, but, you should be able to see his long nose, then be able to locate his eye.  See him?

If that one was a problem, this one is even easier.  It’s an Elephant Man.  It’s kind of hard to miss that trunk curling up!  It’s funny, but I can make out a smile on his face, even though it appears there is a hatchet sticking out of the top of his head!  Some people are just born with a good attitude!

This third one is kind of scary.  It’s an evil crazy wicked cloud monster. You can tell he’s insane.  His right eye is high up there on the right and his left is kind of squinty.  But there’s no doubt about that malicious smile.  His guy definitely wants to get you into a fog bank and then make you disappear.  Who puts these things up in the sky, anyway?  If you see one of these guys, look away quickly!

And for my finale, I have your traditional Halloween witch.  I couldn’t believe it when I looked up and saw her so clearly.  There she is, flying behind the trees.  She has the trademark long pointy nose and tall hat.  You can see both of her eyes (and she even has eyebrows!)  And she looks none too happy.  You’ve got to remember, I don’t create these things.  I was just gazing up into the sky and there’s this full-blown witch trucking across the sky!  She’s very cool, isn’t she?

Well, that’s all I have for you today, but I have a feeling, now that Fall is on the way, that we’ll be seeing a lot more.  Let me know if you saw them all and which one is your favorite.  And meanwhile, like I always say, “Keep your eyes on the skies!”

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Well, as life would have it, I’m still dealing with the double-vision and praying that eventually the steroids I’m on will kick in and let me see normally again.  This process sounds so simple and yet it can be so frustrating that I want to climb the walls.  THUS, I figured it was real good time to do another “Five Good Things” piece.  Focus on the positive, so to speak.  So, here we go…

1. Good Deeds – In a “me-me-me” world, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are good people out there.  And, in my case, I’m lucky that a lot of those good people happen to be my friends.  When Home Depot lowered their price on an 8-foot stepladder I wanted, my first impulse was to run right out and get it, until I measured my little car, Jilly.  No way could she handle it.  She just wasn’t long enough.  But, when I mentioned my dilemma to my friend, Iris, she didn’t hesitate to volunteer her Blazer, even though it meant going out of her way.  This is the kind of thing I’m talking about.  And then there was the giant box I found in my mailbox from my friend, Charles.  It was filled with tapes of cable shows he had recorded for me, but I had been unable to pick up.  He taped the shows.  He went to the Post Office.  He paid the postage, all for me.  It is such a great feeling when you know someone is really thinking about you and caring. Good deeds speak volumes.

2) People who are good at what they do. I truly admire craftsmanship of all kinds.  I just finished watching the first season of “Master Chef.”  This is a show where people from all different occupations – construction workers, doctors, IT specialists, waitresses, etc., compete for the title of “Master Chef,” a cash prize and a chance to publish their own cookbook.  If you knew me, you’d think it was weird that I watched this.  I hate gourmet food and wouldn’t have eaten one dish they fixed (except maybe the desserts.)  I don’t cook gourmet style anything.  And I could never be called a “foodie” under any circumstances.  And yet, I was fascinated by these people.  The passion and expertise they exhibited in every dish they created was a joy to watch.  It is very satisfying for me to see people doing something they love and doing it so well. I was mesmerized.

3. Pure sleep. This is not the kind of sleep where you toss and turn.  Nor is it the “get up in the middle of the night to pee” kind of sleep.  This is the kind of sleep where you literally “switch off” from the world for the entire night and don’t awaken until the morning.  We all need this kind of sleep now and then, but it’s hard to come by.

4) Cinnamon.  This is the flavor of my childhood.  It conjures up faded memories of my real mother and strong ones of my Grammy making cobblers and pies and cookies.  Cinnamon makes almost anything a little better, even chili!  In my little universe cinnamon = comfort food.

5)  Patience. This is a good thing, but not necessarily a fun thing.  When someone I’m waiting for is late, I can be patient.  When I’m looking forward to something in the future, being patient is almost part of the anticipation.  But, when I’m waiting to get well again (like now,) it’s much more difficult.  I’ve been working on it, and I can be patient for a good long time.  But, I keep slamming into moments when my patience starts to run really thin and all I want to do is yell and scream and cry and hit things! I want to throw myself onto the floor like a five-year old and throw a major tantrum!  But you know what good that does?  Absolutely no good. No, patience is a good thing.  I must be patient.  I must be patient.  I must be patient.

So there are my five good things and this is me patiently signing off,

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A Belated Blogaversary

Star, Simplified is two years old!  Well, technically she turned two on September 12th, but who’s counting?  It’s funny, when I started this blog in 2008, it was on the advice of my friend, Iris, who thought I needed a place to vent about some pretty upsetting and maddening things that were going on in my family.  And it did help to write them down, since my whole career had involved writing down emotions. It helped me clear my mind and heart.

But, oh how this little blog has grown!  When I look over all the posts of the past year, it’s hard to pinpoint one subject matter.  Sure, I still have my serious times, grappling with getting older (Seeking My Self Esteem) and trying to cope with being hurt (In Search of a Grown-up Playmate and My Fade-Away Friend.)

But then, hey!  There was my entrance into the world of tattoos (The Tattooed People) and my very own birthday tattoo that I got to chronicle.

And there has been plenty of goofy stuff, too, like my everlasting war with moles, my regular rants to those who are annoying me, and my endless Bits and Pieces to pick up the slack.

And then there are always Nature pieces, as well.  I have done 17 “On Cloud Patrol’s” and various pieces about birds and cats and bunnies and insects.  And I try to cover the changing seasons, too, as in Tracking Winter.

This past year I also started reviewing movies and TV shows, such as my “Farewell to the Fishers” after I finished “Six Feet Under.”

Also, I started my column “Ten Good Things,” which morphed into “Five Good Things,” which has been a good wake-up call for me to remember that no matter what is going on, we always have good things in our lives if we just keep our eyes open.

This was the year when I interviewed my dear friend, Iris, on her 71st birthday and introduced you to Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which I absolutely love.

So, all in all, it has been a pretty interesting and fulfilling year, at least for me.  You notice I didn’t bring up my medical double-vision junk, but maybe I should, because not only has this blog given me a place to vent my fears, but it has shown me how many wonderful readers and blogging friends I have.  Your comments and support have touched my heart and meant the world to me.  It only takes a moment to leave a comment, but boy, some of your comments have stayed with me a whole lot longer.

Thanks for sticking with me.  I’ll try to make the next year even better.

Love you guys,

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Playing Tag

In an attempt to get my mind off my eye problems, sweet Jen at Just Add Water, Silly, has tagged me with a meme requiring answers in certain categories.   Now normally, I would sit down and think long and hard about all the answers before writing.  But I’ve decided this time to just answer them “on the fly.”  So, hang on, no telling what will be revealed here!

4 Things In My Purse

– A calendar.
– A make-up bag (never leave home without it!)
– A checkbook (still haven’t made the leap to debit cards yet.)
-Hand sanitizer.

4 Things In My Desk

-Printer ink cartridges (I always keep a spare set on hand!)
-Rubber Cement  (I love rubber cement!)

4 Favorite Things in my Bedroom

-The tulip triptych on the wall next to my bed.
-My mist fountain
-My flat-screen TV
-Two gigantic brass stars over my bed

4 Things I always Wanted To Do (But Haven’t Yet.)

-Be in a play.
-Be a television star
-Publish a novel
-Go on an African safari

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much At The Moment

-The moment I open my eyes in the morning before my vision goes double.  (Because I think I’ve been healed.)
-Cool breezes whispering through my open windows.
-A big pot of chili I made.
-My Kindle.

4 Songs I Can’t Get Out of My Head

-The “Dexter” theme song.
-The Kindle commercial song “Silver moons and paper dreams, Faded maps and shiny things…”  LOVE IT!
-Whenever I hear that one “Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning…”  HATE IT!  My sisters used to sing it to torture me.
-The “Six Feet Under” theme song.

4 Things You Don’t Know About Me

-I’m a bit scared of big dogs and hate any dog licking me.
-I don’t drink alcohol.  (I used to like wine, but turned allergic.)  To be honest, I don’t miss it.
-I have a very vivid fantasy life – VERY!
-I read over 100 books a year.  (Books are my “safe place.”)

Well, that’s it!  I did it!  At this point I’m supposed to “tag” four more people.  But, here’s another thing about me – I’m always afraid to do that because I know that there are many bloggers out there who hate this kind of thing.  So, any bloggers reading this who’d like to be tagged, you’re IT!  Feel free to do this on your blog.  Any of you readers without blogs, I’d love for you to take one or two of the categories and answer them in the “comments” section.  Come on!  It will be fun!   It’s good exercise for your brain!  And whose brain doesn’t need exercise?

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Since the weather has finally cooled down, I have been spending as much time as possible outside, just drinking it up.  And it isn’t unusual for me to step out on my balcony for small periods of time all throughout the day, just to monitor what’s going on in nature.  So, a day or so ago, I was out leaning on the balcony rail when I looked over at my neighbor’s rail and saw…Rodney.

Don’t ask me how I knew that was his name.  I just did.  I sort of have special powers that way.  I can look at something and just know its name.  That came in very handy in my greeting card career when I was called upon to bestow names on all sorts of stuffed animals, dolls, places and things.  But actually, it wasn’t because I had a special talent in making up names.  It’s  because I have been naming things my whole life – dolls, cars, places, situations.  It’s what I do.  I think everything deserves a name.  But I digress.

So anyway, I stood there and Rodney stood there and we both just watched the trees.  At one point I gently eased into the house for my camera and was surprised that he was still there, communing with nature, when I returned.  The first picture he forgave, but the second pissed him off.

“Are you looking at ME?”

He’s just so cool-looking that I couldn’t help myself.  And then, as I watched, I saw him working himself up.  First the feathers got ruffled…

And then he just sort of lost his mind and started walking around screaming. I kept telling him to calm down, but he totally ignored me.   He was making some pretty disparaging remarks about humans, let me tell you!   And the language!  I don’t know where he learned his manners, but I actually asked him, “Do you kiss your mama with that beak?”  Sheesh!

So anyway, after his little temper tantrum, he gave me one hard look and then flew away.  And all because I was just sharing the view with him!   And besides, I wasn’t the ONLY one watching him…

This guy never took his eyes off him the whole time, and yet I’M the one who got yelled at!

Nature can be cruel.

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