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, April 27, 2020

My life changed for 24 hours - Part 1

I was at vision therapy, doing a lot of exercises with a substitute vision therapist, C.

He had me doing exercises that vision therapist, A, does with me weekly. She puts prism glasses on my eyes.

[A photo of 2 pairs of black-framed Prism Glasses sitting side by side on a white surface; the glasses are very thick on one side and have normal thickness on the other side.] 
[Photo from the website:]

The spheres on the glasses rotate a full 360 degrees. And can be dialed in to a number on the top. I haven't studied what A does with it each time, But she has me put them on, walk around, do tasks, and then I take them off. She adjusts the dial / rotates the lenses to a different number, and has me do maybe the same task, maybe a different task.

Every time these glasses get put on me, the vision therapist says to me: "what changed?" Sometimes I say the room is tilting to the left. Sometimes, it tilts to the right. Sometimes the room looks like a giant smile, other times it looks like a giant frown. Sometimes it looks all squished - like a hall of mirrors at a carnival. The room changes drastically with prisms distorting the light. It's bizarre.

We do this probably for 15-20 minutes of each of my vision therapy visits.

Some of the prism glasses aren't as thick. I think those are sort of a beginner set of glasses. I think the point of those was to make sure I wouldn't get nauseous with the glasses changing what I see, so they were a weaker version.

Recently, she has put a very thick pair on me, and dialed them around to different settings. She is gradually getting me used to seeing things differently, and keeping me from getting nauseous while doing it! She is magic!!

Well, I had a substitute vision therapist at a recent appointment. And he put on the fat prism glasses on my face. He rotated them so that the room was completely squished on the right side! It was crazy!

I was walking with a wide berth to the right of me. I think the right of me was about 10 feet of room. But it looked like it was maybe 6 inches. I didn't want to run in to anything as I walked across the room (that was my task), so I went as far left as I felt I could go and not bother other patients and therapists in the room, and still not stub my toe on things or bump into the table or the file cabinet, and such. It was quite wonky.

I got to the other side of the room. I looked at a plant and the window at the edge of the room. I know the middle of the window is a straight metal piece. But the glasses made it look like a curved letter "C." My vision therapist had me trace the metal shape with my hand. "Does it feel curved?" I decided that it did feel curved. He said, "great! That means your brain is starting to trust what your eyes see!" It's bizarre when you know something is straight: up and down. Perpendicular to the floor. But it looks like a left-handed letter "C." and when you touch it, and follow the lines, you think your hand is curving like the letter "C" to follow the curve you're looking at. The whole thing feels psychedelic.

He took off the glasses and rotated them the other way. Now, the same side of the room was still just as squished, but I was approaching it from the other angle. So weird. Now it was the side of the room to the left of me. But previously, I had walked with that side of the room to the right of me. It was still squished and I gave it a wide berth.

After doing these things, he had me doing an exercise. I have decided this blog post is just about long enough, so I will share that exercise in the next blog post. Please look for it, because my brain and my eyes did something so remarkable, that I want to share it in its own post.

I can't wait for you to read next week's blog post! What happened for me was very exciting.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Peripheral Vision

So, if you take your hands and pretend to use them as a pair of binoculars, you greatly limit your peripheral vision. It's as if you're looking through a cardboard tube, or you've got a pair of 360 degree horse blinders on.
Public domain image from

That's how I see. It's also called "Tunneling." Interestingly enough, my older son told me recently that "Tunneling" is also now a video game terminology. Who knew?

I have walked around my entire life, seeing only what I could see through my glasses. I couldn't see anything around them. To see somewhere else, I have had to always turn my head and look directly at whatever it is. Like a bird does, come to think of it. Have you seen how birds constantly tilt their head to look at something specific? It's entertaining. It's probably not as entertaining when I do it.

Well, one thing my vision therapist has had me do, is try to widen my peripheral view. In an early blog post, I shared a game that was very colorful, with blocks. I had to stack the blocks in a certain way.

Another day, my vision therapist had me walk on a sidewalk next to street signs like " no parking" signs. I was to look straight ahead, but be aware of coming up to, passing, and moving beyond the street signs to my side. That was interesting!

Well, I have mentioned also in this blog that I walk dogs. In my area of the planet, it's been winter. Not a completely freezing and snowy winter, but definitely cold enough to wear a sweatshirt and keep the hood up.

In the past, for the rest of my life in fact, I have worn sweatshirts with the hood up to keep my head and ears warm. I never thought about it.

Last week, I kept having to shove the sweatshirt hood back off my forehead, because it was blocking my peripheral vision!!! This is MAJOR!

I am becoming more aware of things in my periphery! It's a wonder that I never saw these things before. And now, when my vision is blocked, I miss it.

As I am sitting here typing this blog post, I see the sliding doors to my left and outside, my deck. I am staring at the MacBook screen and typing, but I see to my right, the living room and chairs and couch and TV. Wow. My peripheral vision has definitely opened up these last few months, thanks to vision therapy. WOW.

I am so grateful to have the team I do, helping me with my vision. It's amazing how much more my world is opening up thanks to several months of therapy. I still have several more months to go.

It's so nice being able to see more than only what I see through my eyeglasses!

Public domain photo. A pair of backlit glasses frame a sunset. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Reach for the Stars

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Ok, well, my brain actually never shuts off.

One thing I have been thinking about (am constantly thinking about) is how much I miss my dad. I think about him every day. I think about him often. And I would just like to indulge my own emotions here and share some tidbits about my dad.

[A photo of my dad and me. He is wearing a yoyo t-shirt. Photo from October, 2014]

My dad was Stuart Crump Jr., also known as: "Professor Yo-Yo." He lived in the Washington, DC area his whole life. He would say "I'm the only Yoyo in Washington who knows what he's doing."

My dad entertained audiences at The White House for the Easter Egg Roll. Many years he did that. My dad entertained at The White House for the 4th of July event on the White House Lawn; an event for staffers. One year, after the war in Iraq known first as Desert Shield, then changed to Desert Storm, the soldiers came home in a big parade. My dad and I marched in a parade, doing yoyo tricks, to welcome home the soldiers from Iraq.

My dad entertained at countless schools, birthday parties, Bar Mitzvah's... he taught yoyo classes annually at the International Juggler's Festival in Las Vegas. He competed in countless yoyo contests, winning many in his age group over the years and over the various age groups.

My dad's entire goal in life was to bring happiness and joy to people around him. My dad inspired hope for a happy future. My dad, I feel, embodied kindness and hope to the nth degree. I believe that everyone he met, considered him to be a friend of theirs. I believe my dad felt absolutely the same way about them.

My dad was a single dad of me until I was 8. Then he married my step-mom. They had 3 boys together who are all a lot younger than I am. I feel like they are my full-blooded brothers. I love them all. My dad was so proud of all of them.

My dad was a Boy Scout. My dad never made Eagle. My dad said, "if I ever have a son, I want him to be an Eagle Scout." Guess what. All 3 of his sons became Eagle Scouts. All 3 of them can also wield a yoyo with panache.

My dad left a legacy behind him of yoyos. He was awarded the first trophy for a Lifetime Achievement Award from the yoyo community. It is housed in the American Yo-Yo Association museum in Chico, California. My brother who lives out there visited it a few weeks ago and sent me the photo of the trophy with our dad's name on it. I am so grateful that my dad's legacy lives on in various ways.

In addition to being a delightful entertainer, my dad was a prolific writer.

He wrote for his school yearbook in high school. One of the years, they made their yearbook into a record / an LP. A vinyl record. To be played on a turntable / a record player.

My dad took countless sports photographs. Every day since 7th grade he carried a camera with him. He always hoped to see a UFO some day. He wanted to be sure to have his camera with him when he saw it. The only day he didn't carry his camera was the day he married my step-mom.

Many of my dad's sports photographs won awards. Many were in the school yearbooks for high school and his college - Brown University. Many were in local papers.

One photo my dad took was of a Brown University student who did a prank. President Johnson was riding in a motorcade, visiting Providence, Rhode Island. My dad went and saw the parade, and snapped a photo of the President in the motorcade.

After he developed the photo, he realized that one of the guys on the car was a Brown University student. The kid was dressed in a suit and tie, same as the bodyguards. At some point in the parade, the kid just ran out from the crowd and hopped on the car like he belonged there. Yikes! My dad got a photo of that. I believe it ran in the local paper of the day. Quite the scandal of the day!

Another photo my dad took was of a student doing the long jump at a track meet, and as his arms went up and over his head, the framed a United States Flag over head quite nicely. My dad planned the shot and sat there. He waited all day to capture that photo.

My dad called that photo, "Reach for the Stars." It was one of his favorite photos he ever took. It's really neat looking. That photo is in my book, "Mere Creativity." You can purchase it on

So, with my dad's yoyo shows, one of the things he always said at the end of every yoyo show was, he would do a "Shoot the Moon" yoyo trick. It's a dangerous trick that brings the yoyo very close to your face. My dad had a scar between his eyes from a red Duncan Butterfly yoyo that he used when he was learning the trick. He would do the trick, "Shoot the Moon," and say, "Reach for the Moon, because if you miss, you'll wind up among the stars."

My dad wrote so many books on yo-yoing. He also wrote books on other topics too, but I will share those in a future post or 5. Probably more than 5. Knowing me. I have a lot to share about my dad, and folks like learning about him.

You can find many of my dad's books on too:

I have been wondering recently what vision issues my dad had. I know he had near-sightedness. I know when I was a girl, that he would close his eyes and say, "I'm resting my eyes."

I know his prescription was much stronger than mine is. I know he had cataract surgery when he got older. I wonder if he also had spatial issues like I do, or other vision issues. I know he respected that I had vision issues. I will write about that in the next blog post.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little about my dad. I have more to share, but this blog post is way long at this point, so it's time to close.

As any good stage person would say: "Always leave them wanting more!"

And, as my dad would say: "Just say 'YO!'"

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...