How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Sunshine of My Life

 In December, 2017, I was blessed to become the mommy of the sweetest being of all time. 

She was only 8 weeks old. We named her Lady Bella Luna. She was a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the sweetest, kindest disposition of all time. 

She was beautiful beyond all belief. And she loved to meet everyone, go everywhere, look at and explore everything. I took her to my therapist’s office and my therapist said Bella explored everything more with her eyes than with her nose. 

Bella’s favorite things were: 

Sitting in my lap to snuggle or nap

Sitting in my younger son’s lap to snuggle or nap

Eating her dried chicken treat at the end of the day

Every time I left the house, whether it was to get the mail at the end of the driveway, or go to a doctor’s appointment, Bella would wait by a window and watch for me. When I got home, she would go from being a long puppy to a squish puppy. She squished her body into the tiniest, chubbiest it would go and waggle her whole body to greet me with such exuberance. 

I got a doctor’s note depicting her as my emotional support animal due to my Complex PTSD diagnosis. She went with me to therapy appointments, shopping (though not for groceries), medical appointments, to the Town Hall, and even to be at outdoor seating in restaurants. We went to the beach together and recently we went canoeing together with her wearing her brand new life vest that fit her perfectly. She loved every minute of every adventure we went on. 

She accompanied me on the plane many times to the middle of the country where I have friends and family. She was a good traveler. Road trips or plane trips, she was just happy to be with me, wherever we were going. 

She came into my life when I was feeling very down and completely unloved. I needed someone to be happy when I came home from work, and Bella was the charm that did it. She was always so happy to see me come home. Bella made me feel completely loved. When I was sad, depressed, frustrated, she would just sit and look at me and wait for me to put her in my lap to pet her. 

I loved the way she rolled over to let me pet her tummy. Sometimes it felt so good to her, she would start to roll over on her side a little from a dreamy happy place. Then she would perk up and roll back onto her back and just jut out her little paws and legs a bit farther to say, “this is my tummy! This is what you should be petting!” 

I loved her all the time and with every fiber of my being. So did my son. I used to say, “I am her person, and he is her other person.” We had so many cute nicknames for her and we just loved on her every opportunity we could. And we had a lot of opportunities - I homeschooled him so we were both home basically all the time, every day. 

I moved in April to a home with a yard. I didn’t have much of a yard in the previous home, but I have a lovely yard here, up in the Shenandoah Mountains. Bella spent countless hours outside in our yard. We had a groundhog and rabbits and deer here. So many birds, mice, bugs, cicadas, frogs, lightning bugs. They all visit regularly and Bella would chase what she could. It was so much fun to see her chase a rabbit (who got away) last week. 

In April, I was able to move out of a very bad situation that I have not talked about (and will not be talking about) on this blog. I finally was able to get a place of my own. It’s a wonderful home up in the mountains and I am finding my inner soul, my inner Jodi again. Bella was my one constant. My boys are here every other week, but Bella was with me these 5 months. It was just Bella and Jodi. She was here for me, loving on me and doing small things all day long to make me smile and feel loved and loving. She loved me unconditionally. 

I am grief-stricken to say that over the weekend, Bella developed a serious infection. I took her to the emergency vet and she was already dealing with pancreatitis. Her tiny little body couldn’t handle both things. And she died there, at the vet. 

She would have been 4 next month. 

Her tiny little body couldn’t contain her enormous heart, energy, love, excitement and exuberance for life. She had too much joy and love for life and for us and her little body couldn’t handle it all. 

To say I am broken hearted is the biggest understatement of all time. I feel as if a part of my core identity has been ripped from me. My son and I are holding onto each other, comforting each other as we both spontaneously burst into tears. “She should BE here.” “It’s not fair.” “She was so cute!” 

We have taken to writing in a nice journal, everything we can think of about Bella. We have written pages and pages. 

My whole world has toppled over. My home feels so empty without the little ray of sunshine running around doing her daily antics and being silly and cute and fun and loving. She watched me all day long, no matter what I was doing. She just wanted to love me all day and I wanted to just pet and love her all day too.



She is gone. My sweet Bella Baby is gone. I miss her terribly. My heart is rend in pieces. I don’t know that I can take anymore loss, ever again. This one hurts like I can’t even begin to think to describe. She was way too young. 

Thank you for reading and I hope your life is going very well and you are finding places of peace and happiness in your life. I hope to find some peace and happiness at some point again in the future, too. I will have to do it completely alone this time. I mistakenly thought I was alone during the recent dark patch in my life, but I was wrong. I had Bella by my side the whole time. I don’t anymore. Now I have things like laundry and dishes and dust bunnies. Bella’s toys and Bella’s fur.

I have gone through more than my fair share of things in this life, so with that in mind, I know I will get through this too. I hope you will forgive me if the blog takes an even slower pace from here on out for a bit of time until I get my feet under me again. 

Slowing Down

Since I stopped going to vision therapy, I am finding I have fewer things to blog about regularly. I am not posting every Monday like I used to. 

I think I will start going to every other Monday now for posting. I will also be posting my dad’s articles because he was a cool writer and I want more people to see his writings. My intention with these is to post the first Monday of every month with these. I just need to sit down and type them in. I’ll get to it. 

Thank you for understanding. 

What topics would you like to see me cover? Would you like more about dissociation? Visual memory? Night vision? Vision exercises? Let me know. Thank you!

Please comment below. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Baking and Visual Memory

I made cookies tonight with my kids. I haven’t made those in a long time. This time, we were cheating, frankly, because we used premade cookie dough from (click here to get a free box!). I didn’t have to follow a recipe. 

I used to make chocolate chip cookies with local duck eggs from the farmer’s market. I would take a fresh batch of cookies and trade them for a dozen duck eggs. The farmer loved my cookies and I loved the local eggs. I swear those eggs made my cookies better!

I keep side-tracking myself; I keep going on tangents and changing the subject. 

When I learned I had no visual memory, I learned simultaneously that visual memory is a THING. Like, people can read a recipe and remember parts of it for a few minutes. Or they can read a paragraph in a book and remember what they read. I dont have that, so I have to commit things to memory by working hard at it. 

I look at a recipe. Let’s say it says, “add 1/4th tsp of salt and 3/4 cup of flour.” I go get the measuring spoon. Then I go back to the recipe, “ok, it wants salt,” I say to myself and go get the salt. Then I go back to the recipe, measuring spoons in hand, salt next to it, and have to look at the measurement again, find the spoon, triple check to make sure I have the right one, and the pour in the salt. Before I put it in the bowl, I will even check again to make sure I am doing it right. 

All those years, growing up, being told I couldn’t follow a recipe (it completely perplexed both of my moms, and yes, I have 2 moms. One of my moms is a former restaurant chef), has made me learn to check, check, check, triple check. By the time I pour in the carefully measured salt, I have completely forgotten that I even glimpsed anything about flour. So that starts all over. 

I am constantly amazed at a recipe that says, “10 minutes prep time.” Because it takes me an hour, easily. I don’t even read how much prep time is on a recipe anyway. It doesn't apply to me. I guess it will take as long as it takes. 

As I pulled tonight’s cookies out of the oven, I remembered that my KitchenAid mixer has the Hershey chocolate chip cookie recipe on there. I taped it on the mixer years ago when I made them regularly, so I wouldn’t have to constantly go hunting for the recipe. 

I was thinking tonight how I used to love making those. The cool thing about making the same recipe over and over is that after a while, I begin to build a muscle memory of the things to get out, where they are, what to pour in to what container to measure … and it feels like a good feeling to have accomplished those things. 

I think I would like to start baking those cookies again. I would like to teach my boys how to make chocolate chip cookies. My boys have been learning how to cook with me thanks to My sons can now finely mince garlic using my fancy Santuko knife. They can do all kinds of cool things now thanks to those recipes. We are now thinking we no longer need the crutch of Dinnerly and will be breaking out on our own, doing recipes we find in the wild. 

All of this reminds me of my Once Upon a Time recipe blog that has sat dormant now for … quite a while. Here is my favorite Bread Maker recipe. I bought a bread maker for $8 at the local second hand shop. I liked making bread so much and my boys ate it so fast, I bought another one so I can bake 2 loaves at a time. Here is my favorite Rosemary Bread recipe from my blog: 

Also on my recipe blog, I have a whole category on my recipe blog for Christmas Cookies:

If you enjoyed my blog post, will you please post a comment? Thank you so much; I would sincerely appreciate comments. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Park the Car
So I have talked on this blog about how I struggle to park straight. I got some matchbox cars and cut out some office supply paper and made myself a make-shift parking lot to show you what I am talking about. Most of the time I park, I park like the green car, above. I am inside all the lines, towards the back of the spot, and slightly crooked. 

When my son was learning to drive recently, he was being taught by both me, and by his dad. His dad is apparently quite picky about the way his son parks. He wanted him square with everything. And my son laughed to me one time, saying how differently we both teach him. My feeling is, “as long as you’re inside all the lines, you’re good.” 

I did, initially, also tell him that he would receive better parking instructions from his dad than from me. I tend to opt for a spot in the parking lot where there are 3 more more available spots near each other, so I don’t have to worry about parking. I don’t mind parking father and then walking farther. I figure it’s better than hitting a car because of my vision issues, and then having to deal with all of that hassle — both for me and for the other car’s driver!

I had a whole blog post planned out in my head, and I took something like 15 photos of these cars parked in various ways. But this one photo is apparently worth 1,000 words, because I find I am done with this blog post!

For a while there, I was able to park straight, but I am no longer parking straight, and I park the way the green car does, in this photo. I will keep working at it. Maybe some day I will figure it all out again, and park straight again. We shall see!

Monday, August 2, 2021

The things we teach kids

 by Stuart Crump Jr.

“Daddy, what does ‘O-F’ mean?” My daughter asked.

You see, she’s learning to read. In kindergarten, no less. When I was a kid we didn’t learn to read until first grade. Indeed, I went to school with a kid named Johnny who never learned how to read at all. Rudolph Flesch wrote a book about him. 

“Hug?” I replied, hoping to change the subject.

“What does O-F spell” she repeated.

“Of,” I replied. 

I HAD HOPED that they wouldn’t start teaching reading until first grade. I was looking forward to at least one more year of peace and quiet. 

“Daddy, what does O-F-F spell?” 

What in the dickens do these teachers think they’re doing, teaching kids to read at age five-and-a-half? Shouldn’t youngsters be spending more time watching television? Like adults do? 

“What?” I mumbled.

“What does O-F-F spell?” 

“Off,” I said, “as in ‘How do I ever turn you off?’”

“You can’t turn me off,” she said, “I’m not a television.” 

BENJAMIN Franklin wrote something in his autobiography about how he learned to read when he was about three years old. But then, what else was there for kids to do in those days? Donnie and Marie hadn’t even learned to skate back then. 

“What does O’F’F’F spell,” she asked, putting an extra emphasis on the last “F.” 

“Let me see that book,” I said.

“It’s not a book. I’m writing a letter and I wanted to know what I wrote.” 

“Who’s the letter to?” 

“Grandma and Grandpa.” 

“Why don’t you send it to them and let them read it? It isn’t nice for me to read other people’s mail.” 

She tried again. “What does O-F-F-F spell? Three F’s.” 

“Oooooooof,” I said, pretending someone had just slugged me in the stomach. She thought that was funny and laughed very hard. That’s what I like about kids. They laugh at my jokes. Sometimes. 

I WAS READING a study the other day that said children shouldn’t be encouraged to read too soon. Sometimes it isn’t good for them. It makes them smarter than their parents before they reach eight years old. I agree with that study. 

“What does O-F-F-F-F spell?”

“How many F’s did you say?”


“Four F means you’re not fit for military duty.”

“Daddy, tell the TRUTH,” she said, mimicking me perfectly.

At least it felt good to be able to come up with an original joke she hadn’t heard. It’s usually the other way around. 

For example, the other week she asked me, “What time is it when an elephant sits on a chair?”

Now what kind of question is that? I took a wild guess. “Time for the circus to start?” 

“Time to get a new chair.” 

Broke me up, too.

SO I THOUGHT I’d try one. She started it, after all.

“Okay, what’s black and white and red all over?” 

“A zebra that fell in the ketchup.” 

It wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for. She probably read it in a book somewhere. Certainly not in a newspaper. We don’t put jokes like that in the newspaper. So I turned to her and asked, “Where’d you ever get a dumb answer like that?”

“You told me,” was her reply.

Guess who turned red all over. Not the zebra. 

This article originally ran under “Crump’s Corner” in The Princeton Packet newspaper. I was 5 1/2 years old at the time, as the article alludes to me having just started Kindergarten. I hand typed this from the file my dad kept, but unlike most of what he kept, there is no date on when the article first ran. 

Things My Dad Taught Me - and The World

[ This is a black and white photo of Stu Crump AKA “Professor Yo-Yo” wielding a Yoyo doing the trick, “Forward Pass,” at the White House Press Room in Washington, D.C. ]

I have previously mentioned that my dad, Stu Crump AKA “Professor Yo-Yo,” died after battling Parkinson’s Disease for over 20 years. I shared the closest thing he had to an obituary, a wonderful tribute made about him on 

My dad had vision issues, as I do. And so did my grandpa (who also recently died, after having just turned 100 years old). I think about both of them a lot. I have memories of my grandpa putting in his contact lenses every morning. He was a long time volunteer for his local chapter of The Lion’s Club. I think he volunteered with them from the 1960s through his death in 2021. 

I have memories of my dad “resting his eyes.” His eyes, like mine, got tired, and he would sit up in a comfy chair, and close them to rest them. 

My dad viewed the world differently from the vast majority of people “out there.” My dad taught the world that they all need a cellphone. People laughed at my dad. “Why would anyone need a cellphone when there is a pay phone on every corner?” “Cellphones give you cancer in the brain!” Dad persisted. He worked hard to teach cellphone companies how to market cellphones and get around consumers saying “I don’t want one, I don’t need one.” 

Let’s see if it worked - are you reading this from a cellphone? If so, smile and thank my dad, would you? His name is Stu Crump. Grammatically, I should say “was,” but he is still alive in my heart. So I am saying “is.” I hope you will be okay with my poetic or blog-etic license to choose the verb I want to, in regards to my own dad. 

I had everyone, at my dad’s memorial service, hold up their cellphone to honor him. In the audience was only one person that I know who didn’t have one. She told me about it later. She said, “why would I need a cellphone when everyone around me has one?” I thought that was funny and ironic. And: she’s right. She is no slave to cellphones. Her husband once told me: “she is the most ‘letter-writing’ person I have ever known.” Seems to me she connects with people in the good old-fashioned way of letter writing. How real and wonderful. That is an art that is being lost. 

In the words of Mark Twain (one of my dad’s favorite authors) - “But I digress.” 

So, my dad was a writer, as I am. He taught me everything he could. He was a single dad for the first 8 years of my life. We hung out and did stuff. He read his newspaper. He took me camping and to Boy Scout jamborees. He took me to basketball games and hockey games. He was the small town newspaper reporter, editor and photographer. He knew everyone in town. Wherever we went, he would introduce me to people. “Hey, Sam, this is my daughter, Jodi.” “Beth, come meet my daughter, Jodi.” He knew all the random people in every parking lot and at every playground. He was friends with all of them. 

So, as I am sorting out my life and my possessions, post-move, I have come across a lot of his writings. I want to honor his work. And I am choosing to add a new avenue to my own blog

My dad’s weekly column called “Crump’s Corner.” It ran in the Princeton Packet in New Jersey. I will also add other things he has written, as I find them. It is my intention to run one of his columns every month on the first Monday of each month, so long as my ADHD and disorganization doesn’t get in my way. 

I also have plans for at least one of his books. I am trying to figure out the marketing on that. If you know anything about marketing a book, please contact me; I would like to bend your ear. 

I hope you’re already on my How I See Things Facebook page. I invite you to also become a fan of the page I set up to honor my dad on Facebook: 

I just love the way my dad viewed the world, and I want to share it with all of my readers, too. He saw the world in unique ways and taught me to do that, too. And to me, sharing his work fits with the theme of my blog. 

I will be sharing the column in a blog post, all on its own. I hope you enjoy them. I hope you will read them, laugh a bit (the are clever and funny and sometimes quite wise) and comment. 

I hope you’re having a very nice summer. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Vision and Athletic Skill

This blog post is dedicated to all the Olympians, whether they have competed in the past, will compete in the future, are competing in this year's games, or have arrived and for whatever reason, found themselves fully trained and ready and then not able to compete. They have a skill that I can only equate to a Super Hero's agility, ability, strength and fortitude. 

Flickering Eyesight

So, I have known for a long time that my eyes don’t work together. It has taken me almost 50 years to be able to describe what I see to peop...