Posts Tagged ‘glasses’

I Need To Make An Amends

March 18, 2016

Actually I need to fill out an amended tax form.

“You’re making an amends to yourself,” he told me, leaning into the table and looking at me with his bright eyes.


I had not even thought of it like that.

In fact, up until yesterday I hadn’t told anyone what was going on.

In the crazy.

In the head.

All by itself, the I’m not worthy drum still tries to sound a rhythm.

Fortunately, I told on myself yesterday and that opened me up to being able to find some recourse around a tax penalty I received for not having health insurance.

Because that’s what our country does to its people who can’t afford insurance, they slap you on the wrist and kick you when you’re down–like giving a homeless person a ticket for loitering.

And I understand it to a point, it’s to help prod people into having some sort of coverage, but I think about all the people that are getting screwed because they are neither here nor there.

I make just enough money now that next year I am going to have cover all my health insurance through a private insurance plan.

No more Healthy San Francisco for me.

Not that they have covered my grossest costs regarding health care–my glasses–but they certainly had me covered when I had my scooter accident and I had to go to the ER.

A visit that could have cost me thousands of dollars but in the end was  a $100 co-pay.

So whatever, I figured, when the penalty was leveed on my taxes that there was nothing I could do about it and that was just the cost of doing business.

That is until oh, around the 24th or 25th of last month when I received an interesting piece of paperwork from Kaiser Permanente–the provider that Healthy SF has me paired with–it was my IRS 1095-B form.

In lay man terms.

It was my out for the tax penalty.

Dear Carmen ______________

The affordable Care ACT (ACA) requires taxpayers to prove they had health coverage in 2015 when they file their taxes for 2015.  The enclosed IRS Form 1095-B reports proof of coverage.

Well fuck me.

I paid that fine.

It was taken out of my tax refund.

It was about $850.

That’s a nice little chunk of money I want back.

Especially since, well, that’s going to cover my new glasses, both pairs.

Well, not quite, but it’s damn close and what’s funny.

I wasn’t going to do anything about it.

I just sort of chalked it up to I made a mistake and now I’m going to pay for it and next year, well, now I know and I won’t make that mistake again.

Except well.

Dang it.


That’s a little bit of money.

That’s more than I make after taxes for a week’s worth of work.

That’s a ticket to Maui and back.

Plus some.


Well, I fucked up, so I have to pay for the price.

I stuck the papers in my little file in and let it go.


Well, it sort of stuck.

And yesterday when I told my friend it was a relief to let it out.

It sort of took the starch out of it.

It had been weighing on my mind and although I kept telling myself I was ok with it, I obviously was not.

“Why don’t you call the IRS?”  My friend asked over the phone.




Like actually call the IRS?

Are you nuts?



Maybe that’s not a bad place to start.

“I’m sure there is something you can do, you should call, if you owed them $850, you know they’d be calling you.” She concluded.

True that.

So this morning I climbed into my big girl pants and I opened my laptop, after doing my morning routine, I logged onto the IRS website.

And wouldn’t you fucking know it!

There’s a tab that says: “make a mistake on your filed taxes?”



I’m not the only one who fucks up.

In fact, there are so many folks that mess up filing their taxes there is a form that they have so that you can fix your mistakes.

How freaking easy is that?

I was a bit chagrinned.

But also really grateful that I didn’t keep this to myself.

The fear is idiotic, but it was there and it was also an old way of living, a way of being that doesn’t work for me, that I get punished when I do something wrong, that I am a bad girl.

You know sometimes I am a bad girl.


But not in this case.


In this case I made a mistake and I filled out my taxes and filed them to the best of my ability.

I used the information that I had and I made a decision.

So the decision was incorrect.

The thing about mistakes is that I’m not going to be punished, there is no need to be pilloried, I can just be a human and try to fix it.


To the best of my ability with the information I have.

I have the form to amend my taxes and I have the form that proves I had health coverage that is adequate for me to prove to the federal government that I was complying with the Affordable Care Act.


This again.


I am acting the grown up.

I am growing up.

Grateful I also got transparent with my person at the cafe tonight.

It’s nice to be accountable to someone and to someone who is not going to judge me.

We read a big chapter and talked about acceptance being the answer to all my problems and how focusing on the problem only makes it bigger, but the more I focus on the solution, well, that problem just takes care of itself.

Thank God for solution.


So, so grateful that I don’t have to do this alone.

I got a spiritual solution for your desperate aim.

And tomorrow is Friday.


So nice to be making it through the week and being accountable and showing up and also amending my behavior when and where it is appropriate with love and guidance that comes from outside myself.

What a gift, this life.


To be so constantly.





You See Me Better

February 17, 2015

Than I see me.

It’s really true.

I don’t see myself well.

I don’t see how others see me, either, but when I take the time to ask, I get some real nice surprises.

I went downtown today in the afternoon, I had today off, it’s a holiday yo.  And I did some shopping.

My first stop was Optical Underground at Sutter and Grant.

I have been noticing that I need new glasses.

My prescription hasn’t changed that much in the past few years, but as I explained to a ladybug tonight over tea, we’re sensitive people, and my equilibrium has been a little off and I have noticed myself doing the old lady squint a couple of times recently.

I knew I would have today off so I contacted my ophthalmologist, because I wasn’t going to spend a couple hundred or more on the frames at her place, way out of my range, and I had them e-mail my prescription to me.

I took myself to Optical Underground instead, they have the frames they have in the store, nothing more, mostly overstocks or last season, or if they get a hold of the frames from a store that has closed, they’ll scoop them up.

I got my current pair of frames there.

I was not as overwhelmed as I was the first time I went in a few years back, I hadn’t worn glasses at that point in over a decade, since the laser surgery on my eyes, and I couldn’t figure out what frames to buy.

Plus I was really cash strapped and a friend had announced she would help me out with the new frames.

I was abashed to have to ask for help, but knew I had to accept.

That’s how it is so often in my life.

I don’t want to ask for help, but I have to.

Sometimes, yes I know I’m being dramatic, it really is a matter of life and death.

When I went in with my friend the first time she and I wandered around the store for a while then asked the sales clerk to help us pick frames.

“She just got a job at a hipster bike shop in the Mission, she needs hipster glasses,” my friend told the sales girl.

“I’m not a hipster!” I laughed.

Even though I occasionally drink coffee like one and yes, I do ride a one speed flip-flop hub steel frame bike (but really, no true, self-effacing hipster would ride a navy blue frame with rockstar glitter sparkle top coat and purple and silver rims and a flower embossed saddle.  A hipster would have a raw steel frame with a clear coat over it and silver components with a black Brooks saddle and wheel locks), I’m really not a hipster.

My ex called me a “hippiester” once, an amalgamation of hippie and hipster.

I bristled at that.

I laughed too.

There’s some granola in my roll, I don’t doubt it.

But I’m not a hippie either.

I am just myself.

Fabulous me.

The sales girl at Optical Underground looked at my friend, smiled, and said “I know exactly which ones she should try on,” and retrieved a pair from the glass shelf.

They were it.

I knew in the blink of an eye.

As soon as I tried them on, they were perfect.

I did try on a few other pairs, but it was obvious, the first frames were it, and I acquiesced to my friend paying for them.

Grateful then.

Grateful now.

To have the friends I have.

And I thought about that experience as I wandered around the shop not finding anything I liked or that looked good on my face.

The sales clerk today told me my current frames were in great condition and I could just get the new lenses and they would pop them into my frames, but it would take a week.

I wasn’t keen on the idea.

I don’t actually need my glasses to drive, I was able to pass the DMV eye test without wearing them, but I feel a lot better with them on and I notice that, especially with all the writing and reading I do, that I can get headaches from eye strain.

But after going through and trying on ten pairs and not liking anything I saw, I was beginning to think I may have to.


Well, duh, ask for help genius.

That’s what the sales girl is there for, to help the customer.

I went up to her, showed her the one pair that I liked, but not as much as I liked the ones that I am wearing, and asked for help.

She looked at my face and dashed off, returning shortly with a tray with six frames on them.

The third pair she had picked were it.

I was shocked.

They were fabulous.

I mean, fuck, I would not have picked the frames either.


They’re really hipster’y.


I can’t escape it.

And they’re colored.

I was not expecting to end up buying a pair of frames with any color, but the frames fit my face perfect and the colors, a kind of forest green and redwood brown, were super flattering to my skin tone.

I didn’t think twice, I said these are it and I will take them.

I had to laugh when I saw the price tag, $179, I was not expecting that either, most of the frames in the store are around $50-$75, of course they were–I’m great at picking the most expensive thing around (turns out the frames are this “season” as well, which explains the look, a store had just gone out of business and Optical Underground scored all their current stock).

The entire reason I had gone to Optical Underground was because all the frames at my ophthalmologists were too expensive.

Adding the lenses and tax, my total came to $277.

But, as I picked up the frames again and put them on, it was so obvious they were mine, I didn’t bat an eye.

I whipped out the debit card and paid for them.

And I was so grateful that I could, that I have the money to do so, and when I thought about how my friend had bought my last pair, well the bigger price tag really was negated.

I’ll have a new set of glasses to see with in one week.

Grateful that I get to still ask for help.

Grateful that others see me better than I see myself.

Funny how that works.

Wonderful too.

That Was Unbearable

August 10, 2014

It was like getting fucked up.

Without getting the fucked up part.

I mean, I could not have predicted this morning that you would find me in a smoke shop on Divisadero and Haight this afternoon fumbling around the sunglasses looking for something to take the glare off my eyes.

I haven’t been that frantic for sunglasses since early morning raids made on the Shell Station across the street from the End Up years ago to shade my eyes from the suns rays and the moon’s philandering.

It was horrid.

I felt high, but I was not high.

There was too much light in the day and the day being overcast actually made it worse.

I found this out this evening when the light started to fail and it was getting easier for me to maneuver about.

I had my eyes dilated today.

I went into the optometrist appointment excited for the prospect of getting contact lenses for the playa.

Contact lenses, fyi, that did not end up happening.

It turns out that I have an astigmatism in both my eyes, slightly worse in my left eye than in my right, and that means that contact lenses are a challenge to fit to my eyes and when the doc found out that I was only getting them for Burning Man she actually advised me against them.

She told me that the kind of astigmatism I have is poorly treated with contact lenses.  That I would actually see less well with the contacts than with my glasses.

She ran all the tests and said she would see if she could find a proper prescription in stock, which there was not much of, also, apparently, I have an atypical astigmatism, I don’t think I was hearing a lot of the speak, just getting my brain wrapped around the idea that glasses are now truly it for me, that I was not going to be wearing contact lenses at Burning Man or ever again.

“Well, we do have the prescription, but it may not feel very good, I’m going to have you try it out and run some more tests,” she said as I followed her out to wash my hands and insert the contacts in my eyes.

I was surprised at how easily it all came back to me.

I haven’t worn contacts in over twelve years since I had the laser surgery in 2002, but it was like riding a bike, I remembered where to pull down on my lid and intuitively knew that the lenses were right side up and not upside down.

I got both in quite fast and saw immediately what she meant.

The contact couldn’t fully correct my vision, in fact my vision became worse wearing the contacts then with my glasses on.  It turned out that my eyesight was as good with the contacts as they were without.

Meaning that the correction was so negligible that I would have as much sight as if I was just without my glasses, therefore idiotic to bother getting contacts if they couldn’t correct up to my glasses prescription.

It was too much and I said so and no point in getting the contacts.


The doctor said, well as long as you’re here let’s do a full exam and see how your eye health is in general since you haven’t been in for two years.


That means dilating your eyes she said.


Had I known.

I would have said, fuck no.

I did not notice it at first, I mean I was busy getting lights flashed in my eyes and following light beams with my eyes and staring at small letters and numbers and what not.

But I noticed it as soon as I walked outside.

It was like getting walloped in the face.

I couldn’t stand the glare of the light, just day light, and that made no sense to me, as it wasn’t even bright out, it was overcast all day long and foggy and grey.

But it was horror in my head.

I had to literally shade my eyes with my hand and look down.

I stumbled to the 71 Noriega bus stop and scrambled to find a seat.

I sat down and out of habit took out my notebook to write down what I had spent at the doctor’s office and found I could not focus my eyes enough to see my check book.

I started to panic a little.

How long was this going to last?

I got off the bus at Divisadero and Haight Street to catch the 24 up to Noe Valley.

I couldn’t read what the NextBus app was saying on my phone, I realized I couldn’t read the texts on my phone either or see the number of the calls that had come in while I was looking at tiny letters on an off white screen in a darkened room.


I looked up at the monitor on the bus stop and saw that I had a half an hour to wait.

I couldn’t handle it.

I tried to sit.

I tried to stand.

I couldn’t see for shit.

I looked across the street, squinted, and saw sunglasses in the window of a smoke shop.

I made my way over to the store and for the first time in nine years set foot in a smoke shop.

I spun the racks and pulled out a pair of aviator glasses.

I tried them on.

The immediate relief was so profound I almost cried out, “thank you God.”

I paid for them and I am sure I was not the first person in the store that day to buy a pair of sunglasses as the dude rang me up and took a look at my dilated eyes.

I pulled the weird shaped paper sunglasses out of my purse as I reached for my wallet,  the optometrist had given me them saying I may want them, and asked the clerk to chuck them for me.

I am not sure why I had to tell him that I had just been at the eye doctor, but I had to.

It was the truth.

But, man, it just made me sound like I was high, high, high.

I chuckled and actually did enjoy some of the afternoon walking up Divisadero waiting for the bus, ducking into a few shops and not taking off my sunglasses.

I felt momentarily fabulous and cool.

Although it was bizarre to shop at Whole Foods later on when I did make it up to Noe Valley, I couldn’t read the labels of things and stood in front of a cold case trying to make out the price on a package of organic chicken breasts, I tried to read the label with the sunglasses on, then off, then on again, then I laughed and just put the fucking chicken in my basket.

I was getting stared at.

Crazy lady in the chicken aisle.


Just one with an irregular astigmatism in both eyes and a cheap pair of drugstore sunglasses to hide those pupils.

I swear.


I am not high.

So the next time I think someone’s tweaking in the grocery store or riding the bus.

I am just going to tell myself.

They just got out of an eye doctor’s appointment.

That’s all.


I See You

July 27, 2014

Or I would like to see you.

Without the aid of my glasses.

I have decided that I am all ready for Burning Man–wet wipes, Sigg water bottle, Mason jar with handle and sealed top with straw in extra-large size, socks, boots, homemade (like I made it) fascinators, hand salve (for gifting hand rubs, I give a good one, come look me up), sunblock, coconut body lotion, crinoline in my playa box, playa cruiser (American Cyclery has her and she should be ready this week for pick up), makeup, tank tops, bras, underpants, tights, fuzzy pink sweater for cold nights, bandanas, utility belt read, goggles ready–I mean, I really got it all.

If you don’t see food, water, the ticket to the event itself, transportation to and from, it’s because, thankfully, those things are a part of my ask for working the event.

But what I have flirted with before and think I am going to do after just checking a few sites online in a quick search, is contact lenses.

I wear glasses.

My sight is not too bad.

The glasses are because, in the parlance of the ophthalmologist, “you’re getting old.”

Thanks man.

I had laser surgery on my eyes back in 2002.

I had been legally blind and I went to having perfect 20/20 vision in both eyes within a matter of minutes.

In fact, they told me later that one of my eyes may have been corrected to better than 20/20.

The world lit up.

I was blown away by how clear and concise everything was.

When I was first diagnosed with needing glasses I was in the 5th grade.  I had needed them before, absolutely know it, I had problems seeing what was on the chalk board in school, so I always sat up front.

I think most of my classmates thought I was a brown noser, teacher’s pet, by the time I was in third grade.

Not so much.

Although I often did get along quite well with my teachers.

It was because I couldn’t see what was on the board.

I did not know that this was not normal.

I faked the eye exam in elementary school.

I never once had a school nurse figure it out, until after I was in the fifth grade.

It should have gotten red flagged when I was in fourth grade, but it slipped by my teacher, who couldn’t understand at the time what was happening to me.

I had failed my team at a math competition at a school tournament in a neighboring district.  I couldn’t read the questions, they weren’t on paper in front of my face, where I could peer down at them, my nose literally to the paper (my nose was always in a book–buried, not because I was trying to escape, although there is truth to that as well, but because I couldn’t see the letters on the page if held at a normal distance), no, those questions were on overheads on screens in a gym auditorium.

I cried the entire time in frustration, little leaky tears of anger.

I remember writing down the answer to the questions as follows: “I can’t see the questions on the board.”

No one thought to ask me if that was true.

I just got back a test with all red marks on it.

I lost the meet for my team because I got them all wrong.


No wonder I am not a fan of math.

Too much pressure.

My mom tells the story that I was found out when I got hit by a car on my bicycle as I was crossing through an intersection, I said, to explain the car hitting me, that I hadn’t seen it coming.

There is some truth to that, I thought it was making a turn and it was not.

I overestimated how fast it was going and the direction and in a way, sure, I didn’t see it coming.

This did not prompt the eye exam.

My mom did not hurry out and send me to the eye doctor.

Although I won’t soon forget my mom running, bare foot, in grey sweatpants and a green short sleeve t-shirt, her arms pumping as she sprinted down the sidewalk, to me in the cross walk to make sure I was ok.

I don’t think I had a scratch and was horribly embarrassed and thought the whole thing my fault but was afraid to say anything.

No, it was a smart new nurse at Lake View Elementary school that caught me in a lie about the exam.

She was administering the standard test and I don’t know what it was or why, but I hadn’t memorized it fast enough.

I would listen to the answers of the children in front of me while the bored nurse pointed out the letters descending on the eye chart and then wave through the next child.

This nurse saw me stumble or pause, or I don’t know, maybe she figured out I was repeating back verbatim what I had just heard.

Whatever the case, she stopped the exam and pulled out a new card, one I had never seen before, literally and figuratively, and I failed with shining colors.

She immediately contacted my family and told my mom I had to go get an eye exam immediately.

I don’t remember much except the dialating  of my eyes feeling really weird.

I also remember the doctor telling me I was going to get to wear glasses.

The other thing I remember, ugh, my soon to be stepfather helping to pick out the frames, the cheapest ones they had, big oversized plastic clear frames with bits of colored confetti floating in the stems.


But I was so happy to see.

I was amazed.

I had been missing so much!

I vowed when I was old enough and had enough money I would get contacts.

And I did, sophomore year of high school.

I never looked back, never wore my glasses again, except right in the morning to go to the bathroom and put in my contacts and last thing at night when I took out my contacts.

Then the laser surgery when I was 29.

Then when I was 39 I had to get glasses.

It was just after Burning Man and I had no idea what I had been missing.

But I was missing a bit, and last year was my first year on playa wearing regular glasses.

Regular glasses sort of suck, is the experience I had.

They get dusty and sweaty and smeary.

So, perhaps there is one more thing I can do before I head out.

Grab a quick eye exam, get a few weeks worth of disposable contacts and the only glasses I will need for the playa will be sunglasses.

I like to be seen.

But I also like to see.

And you know, there’s usually some good stuff to see out there in Black Rock City.

I’ll be there in three weeks.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Mama Needs A New Pair of Glasses

November 18, 2011

I just got home from my Kaiser optometry appointment.  I need glasses.


Never say never by the way, as in, “I’ll never wear glasses again!”  Because, guess what, yes, you will.

Joan just assured me that glasses were sexy.

I am going to take her word for it.

I did not see sexy peering back at me from the mirror.  I saw myself, age 12 with the hideous huge plastic frames that hid all of my eyebrows and were clear, except where speckled with bits of pink and iridescent green flecks of embedded “glitter” in the frames.  They truly must have been the ugliest things I have ever seen.  They certainly were cheap.  They were one of six pairs that I got to choose from.

What choice is there when they all look like ass?  Not much in my opinion.

Tonight, truthfully, did not feel much different.  When asked what style I was interested in, what popped out?


And guess what?

It did not matter that they were cheap, my card was still declined.

Direct deposit sucks.  I don’t like not having cash on hand.  I do not, Sam I am.

Fuck me man.

This week has just been kicking me around.

I did not cry, although I sort of wilted.  I wanted, very earnestly to put my head down on the table and just lay there for a while.  I then explained to the person assisting me that I had just started a new job and the direct deposit took between two and three days.  It was put “in” on the fifteenth, so there should be money in my account tomorrow.  The guy was very sweet and took an impression of my card and I am to call him in the morning after verifying there being money in my account.

I had noticed, about a month ago that there is a slight disconnect in my depth perception when I have been writing in the morning.  I have also noticed it every once in a while when glancing down on my bike.  It is eery and disconcerting.  I ignored it for a while, then I got a bunch of headaches last week.

Stress?  Weird eye crap?  What?



I had laser surgery done ten years ago and apparently not all of my astigmatism was addressed at that time.  Fifteen years ago they did not even have the technology to address it at all.  Of course, my eye doctor tonight told me, I may not have even had it at that time.  But that as I was near-sighted it may have just developed over the years and it’s just now that I’m noticing it.

Plus, I have been working at a computer for a few weeks now.  You need sharp eyes to be a nanny, but it’s a different kind of sight than what I have been using since I started working at the bike shop.

The nice thing about the visit was that the doctor’s visit was actually covered by my insurance.  Although the glasses part was not. At least I did not have to pay a co-pay to add insult to injury.  My eye doc also wants me to come back in and get my eyes dilated so that he can just check a few other things.  I was honest and let him know my insurance coverage ends December 1st.

I got an appointment for November 30th.

I will have to take a half day at work.  I won’t be able to look at a computer screen for about six hours.   Which negated my idea of taking the first possible appointment in the morning and going directly to work there after.  So, I have a three pm appointment for the 30th.  I hope they don’t find anything else funky going on, I won’t be going back.

Time to investigate Healthy San Francisco.

I have cancelled my health insurance.  I called PG & E today and shut off the service to the apartment today.  I opened the doors to the humility restaurant and asked if they had reservations for one for the rest of my life.


I know there’s a reason for all this and I am just going to keep going.  I had this moment today when I was riding my bike to work and bitching in my head about how hard I work and when am I going to get a break and yada yada yada, and it sort of hit me from out of the blue, I don’t have any one else to take care of.  Really, nobody but me.

I don’t have a partner, I don’t have children.  Yeah, I have some cats, but if worst came to worst they go to the SPCA and some body else takes care of them.  It would not be fun to say good-bye, but ultimately, I am the only thing I am responsible to.  I asked myself what the problem was?

Ah, I have ideas about where I should be at this point in my life.  I ‘should’ have a career, a car, a partner, a house, a fill in the blank.

What I have got–health, humor, self-reliance, amazing friends, community, fellowship, and gobs and gobs and heaps of love.  I know I am loved.

Like flat-out, I know that.  I have a job because I am loved.  I was taken out to a scrumptious meal yesterday because I am loved.  I am hugged every day.


How many people get that?

I have a really awesome and fulfilling life.  I get to write, daily, twice daily, soon to be three times daily and maybe sooner rather than never, I’ll get to write all the time.

That may be a wish I regret making later, but the idea of being able to write all the time, that is sexy.  I get to write.  I get to fill my heart and my soul every day with something that I adore, that defines me, delineates me, and fulfills me.  I don’t have to be wildly successful, I do it for me when the day is done, it is always for me (although, you know, I love it that you are reading this, and I think about you fondly while I write, yes, I do, don’t get bashful!).

How many people live lives like that?  I have made time in my life to allow for this fulfillment.  I get up earlier than I need to before I go to work to write.  And it’s what I do every night before I go to bed.  I write.  That is success, no matter whether my bank card gets declined or I get to wear new glasses, that is success.

I am happy.

I am joyous.

I am free.

And Joan is right, glasses are sexy.

I am sexy as fuck.

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