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, May 25, 2020

My World Changed for 24 Hours - Part 4

When I got home and had a chance to just lie down in my bed and stare up at the ceiling, my ceiling was also 3D. 

Now, our ceilings have that 1970s popcorn look to them. I pretend they look like daisies so I don't see it as ugly like I would if it was just the stipple effect with no pattern.

Well, so usually, the ceiling looks like it's well above my head. I guess we have 8 feet ceilings, though we haven't measured them. My 6 feet tall kids can reach them, but I can't. So I am guessing they are about 8 feet tall ceilings.

Usually, I know a ceiling is there but I don't pay much attention to it.

This whole idea reminds me of a scene in the movie "Blast from the Past" with Alicia Silverstone and Brendan Fraser. 

[Photo of Eve (Alicia Silverstone) and Adam (Brendan Fraser) sitting on a couch, sipping champagne and eating sushi) from]

Brendan Fraser plays a character named "Adam" in the movie, and he has just shown up at Alicia's (Eve's) house. Adam is in a room with Eve's roommate, Troy. Adam looks up at the ceiling and tells Troy, "You have nice ceilings."

Troy says, "You like ceilings?" and has a perplexed look on his face.

Adam says, "Not particularly." He looks happy as he says it. It is just an amusing little scene in the movie. If you haven't seen that movie, see it. It's such a fun movie.

Back to my own ceilings. ... Well, my bed is standard height. I looked up at the ceiling and I felt like it was 3 feet away from me. I felt as if the ceiling was going to crush me. It was a bizarre feeling: to have cognitive dissonance about my ceiling.

Cognitive dissonance is something that means "two opposite thoughts held at the same time in your head." I know that the ceiling won't crush me. I know it's not falling. I know it's not just 3 feet away from me. But it looks like it's falling on me and that if I stand up, I will bump my head on it.

It was scary, and part of me said that I wanted to move RIGHT THEN - to a place with cathedral ceilings. It's very bizarre when you feel like your home is going to crush you.

Maybe I am in a movie kind of mood, but now I am remembering the scene from Star Wars: A New Hope, when the walls of the trash compactor threaten the heros of the movie.

I tried rolling over, I tried looking at a farther part of the ceiling. The whole thing was just really weird and a bit unnerving. I wasn't a fan.

Eventually, I went to sleep.

I woke up the next morning and could still see in 3D!

I took dogs on walks and enjoyed the new spring blossoms on the trees. It was interesting knowing when to dodge tree limbs rather than walk right into them, like I usually have in the past. I was grateful for that new skill!

About mid-afternoon, my eyes got very tired and felt like the muscles had been working too hard, and my eyes slipped back to normal. I was back to seeing the way I normally see.

The next day, I tried aligning my eyes again, to see if I could do the 3D thing again. The muscles in my eyes hurt when I tried. They had been overworked and needed a rest.

I thought perhaps that the next week at Vision Therapy, we would do the same thing and I would be able to get the magic 3D vision back, but we didn't.

My usual therapist, A, was there, and she is so gentle and calm with me. Her entire objective with me is to help me feel safe. She is exceptionally good at it. She is progressing slowly with me. It occurred to me that I just wasn't ready yet to see in 3D, since it made me feel like my house was crushing me.

Ever since seeing 3D, I have noticed that ceilings now have an arc look to them. They used to be a straight line to me, left to right. But now the ceiling line above me, in front of me (where it meets the wall right in front of me) is raised in a gentle arc. If I look to the left or the right, the arc goes down. The part where the ceiling has a corner on the left, the ceiling arcs down to the left. The part where the ceiling has a corner on the right, the ceiling arcs down to the right.

I asked a friend if this is what they see, too. "Do ceilings have an arc look to them? Or do they just look straight?" and my friend said that perhaps I am just perceiving space differently now. I think that's completely true. I am definitely perceiving space differently now.

Case in point - I can now park my car straight. Just in time to not be driving anywhere anymore thanks to Covid-19. I guess that's what "they" call "irony." Who? I don't know. Just "they."

It's true - a few weeks ago I went on one of my last grocery shopping trips before quarantining myself for what I think is now 6 weeks or more. (I have lost track.) And I got out of the car. I felt like perhaps my car was in the space differently, so I walked around my car and looked at it from all the angles.

This was the first time I have noticed that I parked myself perfectly in a parking spot. I wasn't 4 feet from the front, and I wasn't crooked from the side. A first! I am 40+ years old (creeping up on 50) and I have now parked straight maybe 3 times total.

I am definitely starting to perceive space in new ways.

Monday, May 18, 2020

My World Changed for 24 Hours - Part 3

[A cartoon photo courtesy of the Bitmoji app, of Jodi with short blonde hair and a floral shorts and tank top outfit on, lounging underneath a large daisy.] 
Mother Nature looks like she is in 3D!

I guess life got in the way again and I never got around to publishing part 3 to the "My World Changed for 24 Hours" set of blog posts.

So, here it is. Thank you for understanding that it's a few weeks late. Maybe in a week or two, I will go back and fix the date .... if I remember. To put it where it belongs (that blank week where nothing got published.)

Well, driving home from Vision Therapy the day I saw in 3D for the first time was quite an experience. Before I started driving, though, I think I sat in my car for about 2 hours. I just needed to get a little used to what my eyes were seeing before I could get on the road and start driving.

I sat and stared at the trees in front of my car, and the building under construction with its blue siding, across the way.

It reminded me of the first time I got glasses - I could see every leaf on the trees across the street from my house. I could make out every grass blade. It's quite a thing when your whole world is blurry and that's all you know. Then, one day, you get a pair of glasses & you can make out the leaves on trees!

This was kind of like that. Only, it was my EYES doing the work and not my glasses.

I could make out every tree branch and how they were in relation to me. "That one veers off to the left, that one veers off to the right. That one is coming right at me! Woah - it really is!"

I finally decided it was probably time to drive home, so I cautiously drove. It was one of those days when it probably would have been a better idea to have someone drive me. But I am not blessed to have someone who can drive me the 40 minutes or so each way to vision therapy. Oh, well.

I knew that if anything came in front of me, I would be more sensitive to it, rather than less sensitive, because everything looked closer than it usually does.

I drove on the side street then a Main Street and merged onto a highway to get home. There is always traffic on that highway, and I just stayed in the right lane. There is always construction and a LOT of cars on that highway, so we weren't going particularly fast. Whew!

At one point, I got off the highway and went to a store. I think Walmart to see if they had a quilt I have been needing. Driving through the parking lot on the way to Walmart, no one was near me. No one behind me, nothing. Then a car pulled in front of me and I slowed down to let it cross.

The car that came out of nowhere behind me honked. I looked again at the car in front of me. I had thought it was maybe 12 feet in front of me. I had completely misjudged it. (I may or may not have mentioned it on this blog, but I cannot measure space at all. Someone will say, "oh, it's about 100 yards that way." or they might say, "it's a quarter of a mile up the road." I can't tell that sort of thing by looking. I can't. I can't see depth and I can't estimate distance. There are things we aren't good at in life. It doesn't make us weak or a bad person. It' just something we can't do. I can't measure distance. At all.

Well, the car I had paused to let drive in front of me was not the 12 feet or so in front of me like I thought s/he was. It was probably 90 feet in front of me.

No wonder the car that came out of no where from behind me honked. Haha!

I pulled forward gradually and cautiously and the car behind me turned in to another lane to drive toward the store. Fine by me.

Well, later that night, I took a dog for a walk. It's my job. I walk dogs for folks who can't walk their dog, for whatever reason.

I picked up the dog like usual and we went for a little late-night stroll. We walked around his cul-de-sac. I was marveling at the trees in his block. They were amazing and so beautiful! I felt like I had never seen trees before!! I couldn't stop staring at these trees.

Now, I am a tree planter. I have had the privilege of planting trees all over Washington, DC with a fine organization called Casey Trees.

The first tree I got to plant was by the ape enclosure area at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, DC. The group I planted that tree with decided we would name it "Jane," after Jane Goodall. I visit that tree every time I visit the zoo. I love trees.

But I felt as if I had never seen a tree before this night, walking this dog. They were truly magical. The dog was so patient with me as I marveled at all the beauty surrounding us. He and I have spent countless afternoons and evenings standing next to those same trees, and yet I acted as if I had never seen them before. It really was quite astonishing.

I feel like this blog post is also getting to be too long, so I will need to go to Part 4 with this topic. I haven't even mentioned at all what it was like to enter my own house and look around, with this newfound 3D eyesight.

See you all next week. Stay home. Stay safe. Wear a mask - cotton + flannel. Wear gloves. Wash them as if they were your hands. Wash your hands too.

Monday, May 11, 2020


Well, I have an unusual blog post for now. I have been self-quarantining for I think about 6+ weeks now. I started before President Trump was taking it seriously. No, that's not a dig at the President. It's just a fact. I took it seriously based on the advice of a friend of mine.

This is a shout out to my friend and a few of his links:

My friend is Shane Odom of Miscellaneous Oddiments. He and his wife make bubble wands for the Maryland Renaissance Festival. They also make leather masks and use the scraps from the eye holes of the masks to make delightful leaf-shaped earrings of all kinds. They also make Yule season ornaments. And Shane cuts out the most intricate snowflakes I have ever seen, with themes taken from Mother Nature.

Shane posted something early on in the Covid-19 theme talking about how folks will need to self-isolate and how he had already begun to self-isolate. I immediately started wearing gloves and started using my hand sanitizer. I rarely used hand sanitizer, and now I was using it regularly.

Anyway, soon I learned about needing masks, and I began to try to find a pattern that my boys and I could sew together. I homeschool my boys, so I figured a class or 5 about sewing was in the works. It took way too long for me to find a pattern, but we did, eventually.

My older son cuts out the cloth and batting. He and I shared the work of sewing. My younger son hasn't yet seemed interested in the project. But we will get there eventually. I wish I had some buttons, I would teach them both how to sew a button. Before they leave my home, I want them to learn some basic sewing skills. One thing I pride myself on is making that back or inside as beautiful as the outside. I believe this is something I may have read in the book series, "Little House on the Prairie," but Laura Ingalls Wilder. Or, I may have read it in "Gone with the Wind," by Margaret Mitchell.

I believe Steve Jobs must have had this same ethic, because I hear the inside of the Apple products are just as beautiful as the outside is.

Apparently, I love to digress. I hope you will forgive me. My ADHD runs away with my thoughts sometimes, and I have to reel in my train of thought.

Well, that cute movie and its "Train of Thought" got me distracted completely and now I can't remember what I was typing about.

Oh yes, Covid-19 and masks.

So, I guess what I want to say is: I hope you're self isolating. I hope if you're out and about that you are wearing a mask. The best masks are a layer of cotton with a layer of flannel. One layer of loosely-woven cotton won't do a thing. Please do more than that. Ask a friend to make you a mask, or order from this person (she is the friend of a friend) --

I had a routine of how I did things when I was still going out and about before I chose to self-quarantine completely. Here is my pattern. I am sure you have yours. But just in case this might help someone, here is what I have been doing:

My gloves are all assigned certain tasks. I was walking 3 different dogs, so I had 3 different pairs of gloves. Each set of gloves was assigned only to that one dog. And, yes, I washed them. I also hand-sanitized them. But I will get to that part.

I also had one more pair for when I went grocery shopping. Only for grocery shopping and nothing else.

So, I would get out of my car, open the back to my car to reveal my various sets of gloves all laid out. Then with my bare hands, I would reach to my door knob inside the car and hit the lock-button to lock the car. Then I would get out my mask, sitting on the dashboard of my car. I would put on my mask, and shut the car door with probably my elbow or my hip.

Then, I would walk to the back of the car, select the appropriate pair of gloves, and put them on.

When I got back to the car, I would slide off just one glove and open the hatch back. (So as not to contaminate the back hatch of my car with my gloved hand and whatever it picked up.)

Open the back hatch, use the hand sanitizer on them, and put them in their proper place in the lineup of gloves.

Opening that back hatch would unlock my car. So now I could, with no gloves on my hand, open my car door, take off my mask, put it on the dashboard, and sanitize my hands again. Then I would shut the door.

It was a whole routine. I haven't had to do this in weeks, so I may have missed a step in there. But believe me, I had thought it out and was being as careful as possible.

I am considered to be in the "High Risk" category because of my heart problems. I asked my doctor about this. My doctor first said that basically everyone is considered "high risk" now, but yes, my heart problems especially put me in that category. This is one of the reasons why I took it so seriously, wore gloves, had a habit of how to do this, and self-isolated quickly.

The last time I went out to walk the dogs was the first day I wore the mask. My heart started beating rapidly for no reason. I was just walking around the home of someone whose dog I walk. I got the dog's water dish and was washing it in her sink. My heart started beating rapidly and I couldn't breathe. The mask impeded my breathing even further and I felt like I was about to suffocate.

I had to take my mask off in her house and do my best to leash up her dog so I could get us outside so I could pant and try to breathe and calm down my heart.

The whole experience was very scary for me, and I have been home ever since that dog walk. I am not sure what to do when I need to go out and about again and still wear a mask. I don't know if the proper N95 masks are more easy to breathe with. I wonder if any of them will be available by the time it becomes necessary for me to be out in public again?

So, I wrote this post to let you know that I, too, and self-quarantined. I am isolated. I am watching Netflix and movies. I am learning to be creative and cook from the pantry. My dog and I are taking things easy, and so are the boys. We are just trying to get through these difficult days and doing our best, the best we can, during this time.

I hope you all are doing what you can do to get through this extraordinary time, too.

I will leave you with this photo that I'm not particularly a fan of, but it's of me wearing the mask I sewed. My son picked out the beautiful fabric for my mask. An odd thing happens when you take a selfie and you're wearing a mask - you realize it doesn't matter if you smile or not.

I have vision issues and the sun was most definitely in my eyes when I took this shot. I wasn't smiling. I was squinting at the camera to make sure it was aimed correctly. Haha.


Monday, May 4, 2020

My life changed for 24 hours - Part 2

Last week, I wrote about wearing stronger Prism glasses. I wrote about how the glasses distort the room. I wrote about how my brain is starting to trust what my eyes see.

I want to quickly mention that my usual Vision Therapist, A, has had me hold a stick - maybe like a bamboo rain stick - and has changed the prism glasses on me and asked me, "does it feel straight or curved?" She has done this for weeks now.

Each time my brain, my eyes and my brain again FIGHT to figure out the answer. I know it's straight. Or do I? Have I ever seen this particular stick with my glasses off? Is it straight? I don't know!

I touch it and wonder. I always answer, "I don't know." I think one time I said, "I think it's curved." And she was so happy about that, but didn't elaborate. Like I said, I think they do things here to help me but don't always want to tell me exactly what they're doing - so the help will flow out organically and on its own timeline, rather than trying to force results by "cheating" and telling me what I'm supposed to think and feel about something.

Well, so after I completely walked across the room (as told in the previous blog post) twice, with the distortion glasses on, my vision therapist, C, put 3D glasses on me. Over my own pair of glasses. He put two traffic cones on the floor - one on either side of me. These are standard size, standard height, traffic cones.

[A photo of 2 orange and white striped traffic cones against a white background.]

In front of me, he put a white pole with a magnet holding up a 3D image of a donut shape.

[A slightly 3D photo of a wide circle that has wide blue stripes with narrow white stripes.]

The donut shape is actually printed on two translucent sheets of plastic. The two sheets of plastic can be widened and narrowed, to change how the 3D image of the donut appears. Is it behind the cards? Is it in front of the cards? Is it 3 feet from you? Is it 12 feet from you? It's a nifty piece of simple technology to be able to create this illusion.

My task was to look at this 3D donut (which takes me a few moments - I have to move my eyeballs until I can discern the 3D image, instead of 2 images, side by side... it takes me a few moments, but I can do it. it's possible that I can do this more quickly now than when I first started going to therapy! Very exciting!)

Well, then I was to keep looking at the donut and walk to my left, around the cone to my left, and circle it, then walk to the other cone (originally to my right), around it the other way. Essentially, my feet were making an infinity symbol around the traffic cones.

My task was to continue walking in this fashion, around the cones, as I continued to stare at the 3D donut vision.

I did this a bunch of times -- walking between and around the cones, staring at the donut, keeping it as a 3D image in view.

After a bit of time, my vision therapist said, "You're doing a LOT of work here." Funny, it didn't actually FEEL like a lot of work.

But he explained to me that the view of the 3D image kept changing in perspective to where I was. I had to hold it as a 3D image - which meant that my eyes were keeping focused on a moving target, and continuing to work together as the target moved, and keep it as a 3D image. Wow! He was right! My eyes WERE doing a lot of work!

He decided, "that's probably enough work for today." I swear these vision therapists are trained to see when their client / patient is tired and worn down from work. I don't usually feel worn down, but they are kind and tell me to take breaks. They can see I am tired.

He and I went and sat down at the table to close out my session.

I looked at him. He was writing notes and then he looked at me.

I realized - this man was sitting across a table from me, maybe 3 feet away from me. And - WOAH:

The WALL behind him was FAR BEHIND HIM!

This was a MIRACLE for me. I was seeing in 3D for the first time ever in my whole life. I could see the negative space as it looked like air, in between him and the wall behind him.

I know I am repeating myself here - but - It was a miracle!

I told him: "I can see you, so close to me, and that wall behind you is REALLY FAR behind you!"

The surprise on my face was probably very clear, and he knew that I was seeing in 3D for the first time. He felt so close to me, I felt like I had to scoot my chair back. My personal space felt invaded, though I have sat across that table from him and from other vision therapists before.

WOW. I scooted back my chair and he and I just continued to gently look at each other. I looked at the wall behind him, the window in the wall. I looked at the other vision therapist, D, behind vision therapist C. I mean, it was super crazy.

He told me to be gentle with myself as I walked out of the room. he told me to take my time before I walked to my car. He told me to be careful before I got in the car to drive home. "Take your time, just be careful."

I walked to the waiting room. The hallway was LONG. The ceiling was CLOSE. I finally got to the busier than usual waiting room. A lot was going on. Dr. Davis was meeting a new patient - a little girl. He is so funny. He asked her, "did you bring both of your eyeballs with you today?" And she giggled and hugged him.

Another vision therapist, M, was explaining something to the parent of a teen boy who I often see in vision therapy with me. I tried what she said and it was crazy cool. I will type THAT in another post ....

I sat there and stared at the ceiling, the walls, the people in the room. There was a military man in uniform there. I looked at his boots. Everything was new and in 3D for me. I was in complete shock. This was a complete shock to my system.

I couldn't take the (very nice) ruckus in the waiting room anymore, so I gently got up from my chair and went out the front door. There are trees outside and holy cow, they had limbs coming towards me! I could see the parking lot, the tree across the parking lot, and the building way off in the distance. It was all in 3D.

I walked so slowly to my car. Everything was different. My entire world had changed!

Driving home was interesting. I kept slowing down for things. I thought they were way closer to me than they actually were. It reminded me how I have been parking 3 feet farther away from where I intend to park. My eyes must have already been starting to make this leap to 3D vision, but it was subtle and I didn't see it clearly until after this exercise with the traffic cones.

There is so much I want to share and type, and yet, the blog posts are too long already.

I may have to do a part 3 to this blog post. My whole world changed for nearly 24 hours, and I have only shared about an hour of it with you.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please leave me some comments. I love comments and feedback.

I haven't yet figured out why the comments turn off after a few weeks on the blog. I want them to always work, but I haven't figured that out yet. I'll get there. To misquote Bob Dylan: "My world, it is a'changing."

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