Through New Lenses…

It’s a poor worker who blames his tools, but I have slacked off on the blog because I am still trying to accustom myself to a new pair of bifocals.  After insurance, I paid $15 for new Skechers bifocals at the Ohio State University College of Optometry.  Each new pair of bifocals requires adjustment, and learning new habits about where to look, how to align your eyes with your target (horizon, screen, page), and I’m still learning.  It’ll be next winter before I can go in for another eye exam, so I’m making the most of it.

Last Monday night, Susie arrived home from Romania.  She and the others were exhausted, jet-lagged, but very happy to be back.  It took most of the rest of the week for Susie to get back onto Eastern Daylight Savings Time (two nights in a row, she was in bed by 9 p.m., but still up before 6:30 or 7 a.m.).  She went through the laborious process of loading her pictures (both still and video) from her Nikon to her laptop, and from there to her Facebook page.  (There were some 800 pictures, of which she posted at least 300.)  She told me she had written three journal entries for the whole 10 days she was in Eastern Europe.  Part of me wondered why she wasn’t writing pages every night, but I also understand what a friend once wrote to me, apologizing for not having written: “I’ve been living life so much I haven’t had time to write about it.”

Susie is adamant that she never wants to eat rye bread again as long as she lives.  It seems that rye bread is a staple of the Romanian diet.

I am pleased that there were no crises with any of the travelers.  On the morning Susie arrived in Romania, I did get a text message asking for a PIN number.  (Instead of exchanging currency, like I did for the Costa Rica trip, I bought Susie a $150 prepaid Visa card, since the Hungarian and Romanian currencies are so erratic.)  I texted her back two possible numbers, and offered to send her money by Western Union if they didn’t work.  (As it turned out, the card did not operate with a PIN.  She was able to buy most things–clothes, tea, munchies, etc.)

Susie was the first one of the travelers down the concourse at Port Columbus, and I took this picture of her after the welcome-home hugs and kisses:

Susie upon her return to the U.S. at Port Columbus International Airport (CMH), Monday night, June 17, 2013.

I put Susie a little more at ease when I told her that we can stand down from “red alert” about my aortic aneurysm.  While she was in Romania, I went to see a vascular surgeon at the Ross Heart Hospital on the Ohio State campus.  The worst part, as always, was the time on the treadmill for the stress test.  I am proud that I managed to stay on it for over 7½ minutes, and achieve the 180+ beats per minute that the technicians wanted.  In previous stress tests, I’ve had to bow out either from exhaustion or from pain in my joints.

The vascular surgeon has said I do not need to see him again until November.  At that time, he will check the aneurysm again and see whether it has dilated any further–once it reaches 5.5 or 6 cm, then it will be time to plan surgery.  In the meantime, I am on Coreg (for blood pressure) and Lipitor (for cholesterol), one each morning.  I have tried to ride the trike more; earlier this month I rode from Franklinton through Victorian Village, Olde Towne East, and back across the Scioto to Franklinton, a distance of almost nine miles.  My knees were sore at the end, but my stamina was mostly intact.

Right after telling me he would see me in November, the doctor ordered an ultrasound echocardiogram, to be done immediately.  This took almost an hour, and the technician scanned my heart from every possible angle, and my shirt was stuck to me with conducting gel for the rest of the afternoon.  Apparently, he didn’t find anything radically amiss, because his office didn’t call me to say, “Come in sooner.”

This weekend was Pride weekend in Columbus.  It’s the third largest gay pride celebration in the U.S., behind San Francisco and New York, and Goodale Park and downtown Columbus was electric with activity and pageantry.  Susie and I wandered the vendors’ and food stands in Goodale Park Friday night, when everyone was at their best.  (Since it was evening, it got cooler, and it was before everyone would be dehydrated and exhausted from Saturday’s march.)

Yesterday morning, Susie and I went downtown and wandered around the many groups (churches, political parties, and businesses) represented in the parade, until Susie found some of her friends from the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, the only organization in Ohio solely dedicated to LGBTQ youth.  Susie has visited their facility on N. High St. fairly frequently, and came home laughing and full of anecdotes after a Friday evening laser tag activity they sponsored.

I was not going to participate in the parade, but I took a position on High St. with my camera.  I shot some video as well, such as when the parade rounded the corner from W. Broad onto High St., and the insane rantings of a street preacher with a sandwich board and a bullhorn.

But there was only one picture I had to take.  I waited for Kaleidoscope’s banner to appear, and they came, shortly after banners from the King Avenue United Methodist Church and the church a block west of me, the Maynard Avenue United Methodist Church.  And I almost dropped my camera in surprise.

Susie, who vowed that she would hijack a ride on a float (as opposed to walking the 1.2 miles from City Hall to Goodale Park), was just ahead of the Kaleidoscope banner, and she was carrying the Pride flag.  She was naïve enough to assume I would not immortalize the moment with my camera:

Susie on W. Broad St., flag-bearer for Kaleidoscope Youth Center.

Susie apparently did not object too much to my picture-taking, because one of the flag-bearing pictures became her Facebook profile picture later in the afternoon.  Classmates of hers from The Charles School have posted to compliment her and to “like” the picture.