Snapshots: Dogs and Eye Glasses


We’re at Big Bear Mountain and my daughter is tubing down a big hill with my grandsons, holding the 3 year old in her lap.  She tires out, brings the baby to me (he's three), takes off to attend to the other kids who are having the time of their lives. California kids don't see much snow.

My charge, the little guy, is very interested in the dogs. It seems that many people vacation with their dogs.

We methodically check out every animal, ask the owners if their dogs bite, if it’s okay to pet them. All of them tell us that their pets love people and don’t bite, and the little guy has the run of the place, determines that the huskies are the best. There are two, a grey and a brown.

It seems to me that of the entire throng at this public resort, the dog owners are the most confident, the friendliest people on the hill. Not that everyone else isn't confident and friendly. There just seems to be something about having a dog.  People feel good when they are showing off their dogs.

This is only a long weekend trip, and within minutes, it seems, I'm passing along the California byways, on my way to the airport to go home.  They don't have these where I come from, mountains and hills.

Although we have nice skies sometimes and less smog.

An elderly woman in dark glasses is alone at the airport gate, leaning on her walker. She has one of those white canes that shouts: visually impaired. I look down, and at her feet is a toy poodle, what we used to call a seeing-eye dog, her eyes. This pup is better groomed than any of the dogs we petted at the toboggan hill, and probably more tuned in, more alert, maybe even snippy.  My grandson would have liked her regardless.


I’ve been fighting a cough the last few weeks, can't seem to ever quite heat up  It doesn't help having missed both good snow falls in Chicago (travel for work), meaning I haven't had any exercise, can't work out the kinks.  

I quit downhill skiing years ago, finding myself half-way down a mountain, flat on my back, looking up at the sky and the trees, no idea where my second ski might be. That was enough for me.  But FD still likes to zig zag down a mountain if he can, and he takes our daughter.  Meanwhile, I don't mind catching up on the movies, sitting close to a fire indoors.

And it's Oscars month, you know.


My family in Los Angeles are in the business, meaning they are privy to DVDs, films nominated for Academy Awards.  The Descendants is up for best picture.

In my book it didn't hold a candle to The Artist, which I saw at the theater with a couple of friends.  One of us loved The Artist (me), another very much liked it, and the third didn't like it at all.  A patient asked me, "Have you seen The Artist?" Yes.  "How was it?"  What can I say?  "I saw it with a couple of friends, the only one who loved it was me. Don't go by me if it will cost you ten bucks a ticket."

But let's talk about The Descendants.  The film starts with a boat accident and the obligatory family psychodrama follows toute de suite.  FD turns to me, whispers, “This is going to be like work for you.  Sure you don't want to come ski with us?”

We're good.  But of course, he’s right.  It is a little too much like work for me to really enjoy this film.   (Spoilers coming up, will try to keep them to a minimum).

Father of two (George Clooney) admits he played understudy as a parent for seventeen years.  Now he'll play the role of single dad to two very disturbed, very angry daughters.  Scottie (Amara Miller, wonderful) is ten; Alexandra (Shailene Woodley, fabulous) is in her late teens.  Both are rebellious.

I resent having to work, but am intrigued by the girls, if a little tired of watching George Clooney in every single scene. He morphs into a wonderful parent, very patient for the most part, gentle but assertive. The way he either bristles or doesn’t bristle is the thing to watch in this movie. As a social skills how-to, it works, and in the end, you know, this is Hollywood.


It’s pretty exciting, getting new glasses, and those of us who do it only every 11 years or so, can’t wait for the day they are ready.  It’s so exciting that you almost want to forgo the anti-glare feature to save time, but you know you’re being ridiculous, so you order that, wait out the week.

Then you wear them and hope other people will like them, assume that your significant other will not have a violent reaction.  Then lo and behold, he does!

FD freaks! He hates them! What do you do when you love something, but your partner hates that something, and it is something he will be seeing every day, and will likely comment upon, if not every day, then often.

He tells me, “You’re beautiful. Except for . . .” and his voice trails off.

It becomes a joke. "How do you like my new boots? I got them for 75% off."

“Great, but. . .”

My glasses. Yes. I get it.

I tell him that I can buy a second pair, that he can join me and he can pick them out, but he just mumbles something that sounds like, Too late.

Psychologically, this is a fabulous mind game. How much do we have to care about what our partners like?

Half the time I could wear a green sock and a red sock and FD wouldn’t bat an eye. All of a sudden, he cares. I guess the face is different than the ankles. Some of us will marry for a face, a face alone.

I tell him, “But darling, you know, when you factor in the anti-glare, plus the progressives (bifocal lines are gone), my eyes are easier to find.  We can look into each others eyes. These are superior lenses, even if you hate the frame, the lenses alone should sell you.  This could be a romantic situation.”

It's not working.