Callaghan and I went to the optometrist on Saturday, about a year overdue for eye exams. On my part, I’d been procrastinating because I knew I could no longer get away without hearing the word “bifocals.” Because in the last year and a half, my reliance on reading glasses ruined it for my distance glasses. My distance vision is now better without my current prescription, and that shocking realization finally landed me in the optometrist’s chair of bifocal doom.

My exam was uneventful. Callaghan was in the room, as I’d been in the room for his exam, and the optometrist joyfully shared her findings with him as she scrutinized my eyeballs.

“Look! She has a scar on this iris, an old one, probably from a chemical burn,” she said to him, thus divulging my unfortunate run-in with some caustic liquid in the Army motor pool of my first permanent party post in Germany back in 1988. I don’t remember what the liquid was. I just remember being rushed to the infirmary to get my eye rinsed out.

Callaghan stepped over to view my chemical burn eye scar through the microscope thing eye optometrists use to peer into your soul plus all of your past lives.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “It looks like a slug.”

Great. My husband saw a slug permanently etched onto my eyeball. Is nothing sacred? Thanks, optometrist lady.

But really, we loved her. She was awesome and hilarious, though she did, indeed, say “bifocals” to me. To us. Callaghan needs them, too! Haha!

Then we had the whole discussion about our options.

Bifocals are visible glasses within glasses. “Bifocals” is a euphemism for THE WEARER IS OLD.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a wuss about aging. I have nothing against being old enough to need bifocals. That word, though. Bifocals.

We also had an option to get “progressives,” which is a euphemism for THE WEARER IS OLD AND IN DENIAL. It’s where the eyeglass lens is invisibly sectioned off, with each section differing according to where you look. Multiple prescriptions can merge to create one-stop-shopping lenses that look like regular glasses.

The optometrist explained that with progressives, you get vision correction for distance, mid-range, and near. So does that make them trifocals, then? (Let’s not answer that.)

I’d mostly heard about progressives from people whose attempts to wear them met with failure. The glasses caused a headache, the glasses made them dizzy, and the glasses never behaved according to their programming. The wearer basically couldn’t see and felt crappy because of them. So the wearer gives up and either settles on bifocals, or uses two different pairs of glasses, as we’ve been doing.

Granted, I probably know many people who wear progressives successfully. I just never hear about those, thanks to the human tendency to enjoy telling negative stories more than positive ones. It’s hard to get something sensational out of good news.


Has a more enticing ring to it than:


Our progressive glasses are on order, and we should be receiving them within two weeks. My beloved reading glasses are about to get much less use.


Reading glasses

Reading glasses


Now read this post again while listening to Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” When Freddie sings, “I want to ride my bicycle/I want to ride my bike,” hear it as “I want to wear my bifocals/I want to have six eyes.”

What I’m Digging Right Now – February Favorites

Experimentation with my new camera (phone) has begun, so let’s do this!

Here are ten marvelous things that stood out in February:

1). My home office (v2)


My little corner of serenity, live chirping bird soundtrack included.

My little corner of serenity, live chirping bird soundtrack included.


About a week after Valentine’s Day, we rearranged the furniture in the living room/my former office, and the ripple effect resulted in my “office” (e.g. my desk) getting relocated to the bedroom. I love it. I’m tucked away in the corner, next to a big window with trees and active spring birds and the makeshift kitty window seat behind me. Bliss.


2). The iStage blackbox theatre on campus (Arizona State University).


The scenery in this responsive environment changes continuously.

The scenery in this responsive environment changes continuously.


I spent most of my days in February (and continuing) hanging out in this mysterious and literally magical black box with an incredible group of artists, emerging into the sun every once in a while to eat and run around. It’s like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and the surprising and creative ways my brain’s been challenged have stoked my interest and enthusiasm in a new world of art and thought.

This has been the most significant aspect of my life since February, but I can’t go into further detail about it right now. Soon!


3). Benefit Erase Paste.


This stuff works miracles. Not exaggerating.

This stuff works miracles. Not exaggerating.


Benefit makes this stuff. Now again, I’m not a beauty blogger, so I’m not even going to try to glamorize this product. I’m just going to tell it like it is. This is basically a thick, creamy spackle with salmon undertones that does wonders under the eyes. It’s pricey (probably the most expensive cosmetic item I’ve ever purchased), but the little jar is going to last for a long, long time, so not really. It’s completely worth it, in any case.


4). New chairs for kitties.


We could not have invented more perfect chairs for kitties if we wanted to.

We could not have invented more perfect chairs for kitties if we wanted to.


Chairs for kitties have been on our list since we moved back to Arizona, and we finally found the perfect ones at IKEA. These are structured on a small scale (I found them in the dining room furniture area, rather than with the living room stuff). The covers are removable, so they can be thrown in the laundry. Ronnie James and Nounours love them. Their lives are complete! Now we can all sit together when we’re watching movies and shows. Everyone has a place!


5). The optometrist’s office epic clerical error.


Callaghan's new name. Bwahaha!!

Callaghan’s new name. Bwahaha!!


I about died when I saw Callaghan’s eyeglass prescription, which we went to pick up a couple of weeks ago… this was from the exam he had back in 2011, before we moved to France.

The person who prepared the prescription spelled his first name “Chilipte,” which is unequivocally the most brilliant butchering of “Philippe” I ever saw, AND they gave him my last name, haha! HAI, my name is CHILIPTE GARBOUSHIAN. I posted this picture on Facebook, and as a result, Callaghan now has several new nicknames, as suggested by my helpful friends: Chili, Chipotle and Chili Pete.


6). House of Cards, season two (T.V.)




Once again, House of Cards blew our minds; Kevin Spacey’s performance was stunning.


7). The Following, season two (T.V.)




I knew it! I knew it! (no spoilers)


8). Trader Joe’s Creamy & Smooth Mediterranean hummus.





Hummus is a simple thing to make, but simple doesn’t always mean easy. I find the process of transforming the hardy chickpeas to a smooth, creamy paste to be somewhat arduous, so my feeling is, why do it when Trader Joe’s has this delectable preparation ready to go at all times? Hummus is an instant gratification thing for me, I guess. They even put pine nuts and olive oil and herbs on top. So pretty. So delicious! We eat it with blue corn tortilla chips, baby carrots and Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita bread.


9). Ronnie James’ and Nounours’ snack pick of the month: Feline Greenies Dental Treats in Catnip flavor.


Kitties LOVE these.

Kitties LOVE these.


The boys wanted to contribute to the list! They learned to identify this little bag of catnip-flavored treats immediately. It’s their new addiction. It’s like… pot brownies for kitties.


10). Blunt signage.


They make sure you read this while you're sitting on the can.

They make sure you read this while you’re sitting on the can.


The signs everywhere I go continue to crack me up. This one is posted in a toilet stall in one of ASU’s older buildings.

And we’re already a week into March, and hey, today is my brother’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Bro!!


Yesterday was my optometrist appointment at the V.A.


My eyes en route to the V.A. eye doctor.

My eyes en route to the V.A. eye doctor.


First, the doctor consulted my chart to check my age. Then looked at me suspiciously, but smiling.

“I have to ask you this,” he prefaced carefully. “Do you ever notice that you have a hard time seeing close print when you’re wearing your glasses for distance?”

“Sometimes, yes,” I answered truthfully, giggling. I knew where he was going, and I couldn’t contain my mirth. At last! I’ll be 45 in two months, and I’ve finally reached the crossroads of life with “BIFOCALS” pointing one way and “READING GLASSES” the other. SO EXCITED.

I’m not even being sarcastic. This might sound weird, but I’ve been eagerly anticipating aging-related far-sightedness since my 30’s, when I started noticing reading glasses in interesting, artsy styles and colors displayed in the drugstores. Before Callaghan and I left France, I made sure to pick up a couple of pairs so when the time came I’d be all set with some cute French ones.


Reading glasses from the Pharmacie du Vercors in Bourg-de-Péage, one of the villages close to where we lived in France.

Reading glasses from the Pharmacie du Vercors in Bourg-de-Péage, one of the villages close to where we lived in France.


I keep the black pair on my desk, and the hot pink and black ones in my purse. Recently, I’ve actually had occasion to bust them out to read the ultra-fine-print on food packaging ingredients lists at the store. (I read the ingredients on absolutely everything. Funny how food manufacturers often make it deliberately difficult with their microscopic fonts.)

“We’ll find out in a minute,” he reassured me as he slid over to the equipment. At the end of the exam, he was still grinning. We’d whiled away the time bantering about this and that, and he’d dilated my eyes and pronounced them healthy.

“Okay,” he said. “Now we have a little decision to make!” He explained that I could get bifocals if I wanted to, but I don’t really need them right now, and once you get bifocals, you can never go back, and that might be a good reason for me to wait another year. If I wait another year, I could easily deal with the mild far-sightedness I’ve got going on at the moment. I don’t wear my glasses all the time, anyway. My prescription is very light.

“In any case, I’d say you can get away with another year,” he concluded. “But it’s really up to you, since you’re so borderline. You can get bifocals when you’re 46….” He paused. I was cracking up.

“We make them without lines now.”

“I think I’ll pass on the bifocals this year. I have some cute reading glasses from France that I want to use.”

“Do you have them with you? Let me see these French reading glasses!”

I extracted the glasses from my bag and put them on.

“Oh they ARE cute!” the doctor said.

I left after ordering a pair of normal glasses with tortoiseshell frames in a modified cat-eye. The V.A. has quite an impressive selection! They look nothing like BCGs.