Sunday, October 18, 2009

Seeing More Clearly and a Picture Perfect Day

David Crowder, In the End ...Mp3 or Wma

I've been struggling to see things as I should at work for longer than I care to admit and no, I'm not inferring that I'm now agreeing with FAA management. I'm talking about my vision. When I was 43 my vision began to suffer the affects of Presbyopia to the point that I could no longer read a newspaper without holding it at a ridiculous length; something longer than my arms would allow for. I got my first pair of progressive lenses/glasses soon after. Previous generations called them bifocals. Mine were actually trifocals with no lines to distinguish the varying strengths. Over the years I've had my prescription strengthened a number of times and I could tell I was due again, or in this case, overdue.

Being an instructor at work requires me to position myself several feet from the radar scope (behind my trainee) where, depending on the size of the data-tags (their size varies with a controller's preference) it can require extra effort on my part to see them clearly. I was noticing this more so in the last few weeks and so I took advantage of Thursday's lousy weather to make an appointment for an eye exam. It just so happens that Tammy's sister, Theresa, works in the lab at a local eyeglass shop and she personally ground the lenses for me. I know they're done right. I was told they'd take a week to process but Theresa called yesterday afternoon to let me know that they were ready. I'm wearing them as I type this and yes, they feel very nice and stronger than what I've been using.

My riding has been very hit and miss lately; mostly miss. I headed out Friday in mid 40's weather under partly sunny skies with little wind. It was a beautiful day to be out. I'd planned to do a quick 30 mile loop but when it came time to make the turn north on to County Road 11 my second thoughts took over and I pressed on to the east while putting together in my head an entirely different route than what I'd intended to ride, one that would take most of the afternoon. I continued east and picked up Highway 3 and rode that north toward St Paul.

I took advantage of a nice draft for a couple miles behind a tractor as he made his way through West St Paul along what would be the busiest stretch of traffic I'd encounter all day. There's no shoulder here so I was fine with tucking in behind him and following in his wake. My only concern was reacting soon enough to any potholes that were being obscured.

I considered going across the Minnesota River into downtown St Paul and over to Minneapolis but I opted for the less traveled route along the south side of the river. Before too long I was making my way along the river bottoms in Eagan and considering extending my ride into Prior Lake. It didn't take much consideration...Prior Lake it would be.

Somewhere along the way clouds took over and I spent the last ten miles in a light drizzle. I arrived home with 63 miles total and a very satisfied feeling in my legs. I really needed that.

Rachel finally got together with Laurie and Dave Phillips Saturday morning for her senior photo session. Dave is also an air traffic controller who I recently mentioned in my blog for his help with our garage project. His wife is a photographer and it was decided years ago that she would be the one to take Rachel's senior photos when the time came. It dawned on me one day last week that Ritter Farm Park (where we've been walking the pups) would maybe make for some nice scenery for her photos so Laurie and Dave met us there. The three of them went about taking photos while I walked the pups.

After the park they drove into Minneapolis for some photos at Minnehaha Falls and Ford Dam; talk about going the extra mile.  They spent nearly five hours together.  We were concerned that the weather wasn't going to cooperate and she was running out of time to have them taken. In the end it was definitely worth the wait.

Here's a link to a few photos I took of her while at the park.

And here's some video of the pups at the park from Friday and Saturday.

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