Friday, December 15, 2017

General Leia Organa

Friday, December 1, 2017

I Had LASIK Surgery And I Feel Fine!

If you are considering having LASIK surgery, don't watch any of the videos about it. Seriously. They will only scare you and make things worse. Find a good optometrist and see who they recommend for the surgery. I have been waiting for the right opportunity for YEARS, and it finally happened for me. You will get screened multiple times to make sure you are an appropriate candidate for this surgery. LASIK reshapes the OUTER surface of the eye, so if you have to wear reading glasses because your little ciliary muscle (located deeper in the eye) is more than ~40 years old, LASIK will not help you. Your well-trained optometrist can help explain this. 
   My eyesight has been at least 20/200 for most of my life, and I felt like a cripple without my glasses or contacts. It would literally be unsafe for me to drive a car, even in a dire emergency, if I ever lost my glasses or contacts. This is no way to live. 
   My brother had the surgery done a few years ago, and he was very pleased with the results. He convinced me that it did not hurt, so I decided to go ahead and jump off that cliff! 
   I had my procedure done at the TLC Laser Eye Surgery Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. I could not have been more impressed with how the entire staff treated me. On surgery day, I went in by myself, and I was scared. I kept picturing the main male character from "Ghost in the Shell," and wondering if someone would be able to make mechanical eyes for me if something went horribly wrong. 
Would people still date me if I ended up looking like Batou from "Ghost in the Shell?"

   I dealt with several different people the morning of my surgery. One girl helped me start the paperwork. Another girl scanned my eyes to get my exact cornea topography. One of the doctors talked to me about the LASIK procedure and answered my questions about the monovision option (where you purposely correct one eye for far-sightedness, but leave the other near-sighted. This makes me feel crazy just typing this.) I decided my goal for the surgery would be to try and fix both of my crippled eyes to have the best far vision possible. The lady doctor assured me this was a great choice for me.
   The male doctor who would be conducting my surgery came in and told me some useful information. He said there would be quite a lot of pressure put on my eyes during the procedure, and it would actually help if I opened my mouth. "Like in a silent scream?" I asked, opening my mouth. His eyes widened and he said, "Wow. That's a big one." I laughed, even though I was kind of terrified I was about to be permanently blinded by some freak laser mishap. I told the doctor that I was kind of a spaz, and that I was convinced I would move my eyes during the procedure and mess everything up. He assured me that wouldn't happen because the laser "tracks your eye." He said the laser would automatically stop if the tracking became too far off field, and he could also stop the laser at any time. He was very warm and charismatic, which was a little depressing because I was wearing a hairnet and absolutely no make-up. (You also cannot wear make-up for the entire week after LASIK surgery. Ugh.) He told me to look at the green light during the surgery, so I kept repeating, "Green light, green light, green light" so I wouldn't forget. He told me he would tell me what to do when I got into the surgical room, and he instructed me to go ahead and put a valium on my tongue. I was very happy to do this, and I was even happier when it kicked in a few minutes later. 
   After the valium fog hit me (thank GOD) I was escorted into the surgical room. I slid back onto the table and inched my head into some kind of cradle as instructed. A lady put numbing drops in my eyes, and I told her I had read a blog about a man who said his drops didn't fully numb one of his eyes and he could feel the pain of the laser in that eye. She asked if I wanted another drop, and I said, "If there are no side effects, then YES please." She gave me an extra drop in each eye, and for that reason I will always love that woman. (I could not see her face clearly and I have no idea who she is. But this is a true love story.) A man put a squeezy-ball thing in my right hand, which I held with a death grip, and he asked me if I wanted a blanket. I said, "Um, YES. Thank you." 
   Things moved very quickly. The table automatically moved me from underneath one laser to the next. Something was placed over one eye and pressed down, and my vision went black. I could feel quite a bit of pressure on my left eye, but it did not hurt at all. When the pressure ring came down on my right eye (or whatever the hell it was. It felt like a ring pushing around the edge of my eyeball), it felt like it wasn't placed quite evenly and there was too much pressure at the top of my eye. I almost said, "Let's try that one again!" but the squeezy-ball man started counting down from 10 seconds and I knew I could tolerate it for that long. The laser part was very blurry, and I saw a bunch of uniformly distributed tiny little blurry red lights that were moving, and there was a group of green lights in the center of the red lights. I remembered I was supposed to look at the green light, so I tried to do that. I could not find an accurate picture of what these blurry little lights looked like to me, but the one below is somewhat similar to what I saw. 

   At some point, I felt the male doctor (Dr. Penick) tape back my eyelids, and this was actually kind of pleasant and nothing like the Clockwork Orange imagery burned into my head. His movements were calm and smooth. The material he used felt flexible and lubricated, and there was nothing uncomfortable about it. I heard the squeezy-ball man counting down seconds again, and I concentrated on the green lights as best I could. I swear the whole thing was over in less than a minute. The only part that was really unpleasant was the pressure ring on my right eye. It hurt at the top of my eye for maybe a split second or two, but the same procedure did not hurt my left eye at all. I don't know why there was a difference. Squeezy-ball man helped me get up and he sat me in a chair in the dark hallway. "You did great," he said. I could not believe it was over so quickly, and I said, "You know, that wasn't quite as good as a massage, but it wasn't bad." Without hesitation, he replied, "For a little more [money], we could probably do that for you." 
   I was escorted to another dark room while I waited for my friend to come pick me up. I was told I had about "ten minutes" before the eye-numbing drops would wear off, and I was scared because I have zero pain tolerance. I took an ibuprofen to ward off any upcoming suffering. 
   My friend came in, and I asked him to look at my eyes. He said they looked a little bloodshot. I donned the sunglasses I was told to wear and I very carefully walked outside and got in my friend's car. I was told to go to sleep as soon as possible. I was still wide awake about an hour after the surgery, and my eyes were really starting to bother me by then. They felt itchy and scratchy, and I put in some of the lubricating drops I was given. That helped, and I put on the protective plastic goggles I was instructed to sleep in for the next week. I fell asleep for a couple of hours, and when I awoke, I was not feeling any pain at all. 
   That's it! My vision was a little cloudy, but I could already see SO MUCH MORE CLEARLY than I could right before the surgery. This was truly a life-changing event, and if you decide to do this, this will likely become very obvious to you just shortly after the procedure. 
   I put the two medicated drops in my eyes every five hours or so (these are the prescription drops you have to get before the day of your surgery.) When I went back to the surgery center the next morning, my vision was tested by my squeezy-ball blanket friend. Even with my slightly cloudy right eye, I had 20/25 vision. WOW. Just WOW. I told the man I was worried about ending up like Batou, and he said he usually hears people tell stories about the girl from "Final Destination", where her laser surgery goes wrong and burns a hole through her head. 
            I had a much better experience than Olivia from "Final Destination."

   The lady doctor (Dr. Watson) came in and talked to me, and I told her how impressed I was with the entire staff at TLC in Little Rock. She answered all of my questions, and she even gave me the before-and-after images of my cornea topography maps. 
   I understand that I still have a lot of healing left to do, and I must not rub my eyes for at least a week. I am not looking forward to sleeping in the plastic goggles for the next week, but I AM looking forward to living my life without being handicapped by poor eyesight. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Felicette, First Cat In Space, Will Finally Get Memorial Statue

How wonderful that the Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a statue for Felicette, the first cat in space, was successful! Felicette was reported to have launched and returned to Earth alive on October 18, 1963, which sounds much more humane than what happened to Laika, the first dog in space. There were no plans to return Laika back home, and she is reported to have perished from heat and stress a few hours after reaching orbit on November 3, 1957. Felicette was launched by the French, and Laika was sent up by the Russians. 
Felicette, first cat in space

Laika, first living creature and first dog in space

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lady Astronaut

I found "The Lady Astronaut" on Etsy. It is a beautiful piece of digital art created by Crystal Graziano of Los Angeles. It. Is. GORGEOUS!!!!

Friday, October 27, 2017

We Are Being Visited

   The object, called A/2017 U1, was first detected by a researcher at the University of Hawaii. It is moving at approximately 50,000 mph and was still 15 million miles away from Earth at its closest range on October 14.  NASA claims this may be the first time an interstellar object has been observed traveling through our solar system, and it is clearly on its way out. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dedication To All The Racists, Homophobes, and Haters of The World


   After a horrible weekend in the U.S., I don't have many words to share. Our political leadership is worse than a joke; it is destructive and self-serving. Violence is escalating and young people are getting injured or killed. There's no need for this. 
   This video is my protest. So THANK YOU to the people who made it! 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Lady And Her Cat Astronaut

Another fantastic piece of space art by Daniel Freeman of Kaleidoclasm Art. In space, there is no up or down. Few animals make better pets than a cat. Plus their small size would make them ideal companions for a space colony. Not sure how well the catsuit would work, though. ;) 
This was happily commissioned by Jennifer Lewter.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Did You Notice The Fantastic Library In "Hellboy"?

I finally saw "Hellboy" (because I love Guillermo del Toro and I want to see all his movies!) and I want this library. I know the tank on the right is for the fish guy, but it would still be appreciated as a tank for regular fish.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What A Beautiful Fish!

This gorgeous longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis, was caught in Arkansas by my friend Dillon Williams this past June. This is a freshwater fish, although it looks exotic enough to be from saltwater. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mars Greenhouse

Mars greenhouse, as imagined by artist
Daniel Freeman of Kaleidoclasm Art.
Commissioned by Jennifer Lewter.

   It may not be possible to have a functional greenhouse on Mars. The Martian dust storms, which can last for months, may be too much of an interference with the already less-than-what-Earth-gets amount of sunlight reaching the Red Planet. But it is hard not to imagine, mon cheri. I dream of greenhouses on Mars. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!!!

   Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Today, I visited my favorite winery in Altus, Arkansas, and I met an interesting pair of twin ladies from Alabama. They had driven to Oklahoma to see their mom for Mother's Day, and they just happened to stop by that same winery on their way home to Alabama. They tried many different wines, and between sips they chatted with me about their kids. One of the ladies openly discussed her daughter's mental health problems and her temporary stay in a mental institute. There was a time in my younger life when I would have been horrified and probably repulsed to hear this, but now I know better. These ladies loved this girl, and they saw no reason to hide her faults. She was on their minds, so they talked about her. I told the ladies I saw an interview with Michelle Obama recently, and in the interview Mrs. Obama commented that our kids "are ALL we have." I knew what she meant. Our children are the future. They are important. We should do everything we can to ensure their health and survival. 
   Both ladies looked at me with screwed-up faces. "What about US?" one of them said. The winery owner (who is my friend) looked over at me with her face kind of screwed-up as well. "That's not really true," she said. Her opinion holds a lot of water, err, wine, since she is a successful business owner AND she has two children of her own. Important take-aways from smart, tough women who know better: DRINK MORE WINE and YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR CHILDREN! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

America Has A New Hero

Sally Yates finally testified before a Senate subcommittee on May 8, 2017. This was the third time a date had been set for her to share her concerns about the disgraced Michael Flynn, who served as National Security Advisor under Donald Trump for just 24 days before being forced to resign. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, also testified. Yates and Clapper declined to share many details that they claimed were "classified," but it was clear that Yates believed Flynn was compromised by the Russians. She repeatedly stated that it appeared he had lied to Vice President Pence, and Pence was then sharing false information with the American public. Clapper stated boldly that the Russians had successfully interfered with our 2016 Presidential election, and that they would certainly try to manipulate our future elections. What remains unclear, however, is why it took the Trump administration 18 days to get rid of Flynn after Yates had delivered repeated warnings of his potential to be blackmailed by the Russians. 
"You don't want your National Security Advisor compromised by the Russians," she said. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Just a thought

Now that we know everything that comes out of Trump's mouth is hogwash, I would really like to hear Hillary's perspective on how things are going for the United States. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

   2016 was the year we were promised a female President and we were talking about colonizing Mars. (FINALLY, on both accounts!) It was, in many ways, a very forward-thinking year. But things didn't go as planned. And so many famous people died, including our beloved Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). And when her Mom (Debbie Reynolds) died the next day, it seemed like things couldn't get any sadder. 
   2017 promises lots of drama with the election of Donald Trump, the most non-forward-thinking Presidential candidate of 2016.  (Actually, you could probably call him the most non-THINKING candidate of 2016.) How the &#$% did this happen?!
   While I am appalled and distraught, I do think we will be able to tell any young person who dreams of running for office that, YES, it is quite possible for ANYONE to become President of the United States of America! 
   I absolutely loved the purple two-toned suit that Hillary wore during her concession speech. Others have commented that the color purple was symbolic for unity of America by blending blue for the Democrats and red for the Republicans. I personally thought it was just a beautiful suit!  Some days later on Twitter, Hillary was pictured with fantastic hair, minimal make-up, and purple nails. I actually went out and bought purple nail polish because it reminded me of the beautiful suit Hillary wore during her very classy concession speech. Make no mistake, this woman is TOUGH! 
Hillary Clinton holds it together during her painful concession speech. 

Hillary sporting purple nails. Is this the new power color for women?

Edited January 4, 2017. I had to add more purple!