Progressive Lenses – A Rant

glasses  Be prepared, this is a rant I just need to get off my chest.  I had my biannual eye exam and due to having  a hard time reading and being tired of whipping readers on and off my face at work all the time, I decided to get glasses.  The eye doctor said, “So you’ll need progressives, then.”  Note:  I don’t need glasses for distance at all, I’m farsighted.  But what do I know? I’ve never had prescription lenses before so away I go.

I tried on lots of frames and fell in mostly like with the ones above and bought them to have my brand spanking new progressive lenses put into them.  When I get the glasses, first thing I’m told is not to wear them driving….ok,  this is a problem because one of my issue areas is driving someplace and having to look at directions…need glasses to see the directions, but not to drive.  Thought these would eliminate the whole “driving with readers on the end of my nose so I can look at the directions again at traffic lights, but still see to drive.”  But ok moving on..

So, I take the glasses and leave, about $300 poorer.  Get home and start trying to wear them…no freaking peripheral vision at all…like being in a tunnel.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe I just have to get used to them, I try to keep wearing them.  Head rushes when I move my eyes, hmmmm.   Then I try to read…yeah that didn’t work well either.  I read very quickly and I was always reading into a blurry zone.  If I read the first word in a line the last word is blurry.  ARGHHHHHH!

So, then I get the bright idea that maybe the reader part of the lens isn’t strong enough and that is why everything is blurry.  Call up the eye doctor and get an appointment to have them looked at again.  Meanwhile, back to my cheapo readers.

Go back to eye doctor, he does all his hemming and hawing, trying to find a way that it is me that is the problem.  First, he says I am not wearing them close enough to my eyes and pushes them so far up my nose that my eyelashes are getting stuck on the glasses…no, I can’t really wear glasses that way and guess what I told the optician that when he did the order for the lenses and he marked out the levels for the long, mid and close prescriptions based on where I wear my glasses.

Then, he tried to act like I was trying to read through the wrong part of the lens.  He kept lifting them to sit up higher, “That is better now isn’t it…isn’t it…?”  “No, it is exactly the same, I know where to look through the lens for reading.”

Then he blames that I didn’t buy wire frames, “If you bought wire frames we could adjust the nose pieces and raise it up. We can’t do anything with plastic frames.”

“Didn’t we just go through the whole, they don’t need to be higher…oh, yeah that is right, we did.”  Blank stare

I explained the problems again..basically said that is the nature of progressives…After I explained that the reading was really an issue for me as it is a big part of my life…”Well, if you are going to read 800 pages of Game of Thrones a night, you will need to wear readers.  That is all there is to it.”


So I try again…on to a different problem.  I’m a teacher, in an urban, low SES crime ridden area.  Peripheral vision is kind of important.  Kids have to get the impression that you have eyes in the back of your head. (in teacher’s college the technical term we were actual taught back in the dark ages was  “with-it-ness” and is a key component of successful classroom management)  I use my peripheral vision ALL THE F*CKING TIME.  Working with one kid at his desk, my eye is tracking Joe Cool on the other side of the room, who is trying to get his phone out to text under his desk.  Then I turn even more away from Joe Cool and calmly say out loud, “Joe Cool put your phone away unless you want to give it to me.” Joe Cool jumps, scrambles to put the phone away, staring at the back of my head, wondering how the f*ck I just did that.  Peripheral vision – vital.  Eye doctor’s response, “You have to get used to turning your head, not your eyes.”

OK, then.  Guess that just clears up everything, right?

Anyway, I left went home did some online research.  Found many others complaining of the same problems with progressives and from what research I did seems like I probably should have had bifocals instead with just the clear top and reader bottom.  This hindsight is not really helpful seeing I spent $300 on these glasses so I won’t be buying any new ones for a while.

Just a note to eye doctors and opticians:  Maybe ask about people’s life styles, what is important to them, when recommending corrections.

End rant.



British Isles Friday & Acorn TV

 This is a meme hosted by Joy Weese Moll found here.  I really find it a nostalgic meme for me as someone who spent her early childhood and later periods as well in Britain with my family and whose mother is British, but now is living in New Jersey.

My entry for this is based on my absolutely favorite TV channel.  I have  a roku and stream my TV, the number one reason being that I watch a ton of Acorn TV.    It is without a doubt the best source for British TV here in the US.  They have fantastic customer service and are quickly responsive to any issues that arise and the shows…an amazing assortment of great TV to watch.

Here are just a few shows I watch on Acorn:

Midsomer Murders  Wonderful detective mystery series, multiple seasons worth of shows, great characters, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

Pie in the Sky  Starring the amazing Richard Griffiths RIP.  Wonderful show for cozy mystery lovers.

Jack Taylor  Based on the great books by Ken Bruen, this is a darker, grittier detective show.

Blue Murder A single working mother detective.  A great character and well done cases in a more police procedural style.

Prime Suspect  Helen Mirren, enough said.

Dirk Gently A quirky different kind of detective show, fans of the American show Psych will really like this.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries  The incomparable Miss Phrynee Fisher based on the series of books by Kerry Greenwood.  Great books which were very well adapted for TV.

And there are so many more, not all mysteries either.  Mysteries are just my particular favorite in books and TV shows.  There are historical dramas, documentaries and comedies as well.  Acorn TV is a great place to get a little piece of Britain, even sitting on your couch in New Jersey.

Library Loot

wpid-IMAG0484.jpg Picked up some mysteries today, not everything was in but these were.

Mind’s Eye by Hakan Nesser now translated into English #1 in An Inspector Van Vetteren Mystery series.

Cambridge Blue by Alison Bruce F#1 in the A DC Gary Goodhew Mystery Series.

Voices by Arnaldur Indridason.  This is the third in the Reykjavik Murder Series translated into English, however it is the 5th in the series…another victim if TOOS (Translated Out of Order Syndrome).  I read the first two that were translated and they were great!

Haunted Ground by Erin Hart.  Say this one advertised on Goodreads and it really intrigued me. Sounds reminiscent of Elly Griffiths or Ann Cleeves, both of whom I really like.

A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie is the first in a series featuring Det. Supt Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James.  Another recommendation from Goodreads that sounds promising.



Readers’ Workouts

  This is a meme hosted by Joy’s Book Blog found here.

Had a minor setback in the form of some bursitis in my hip that flared up.  It really was okay with walking, but it stopped me from doing yoga last week and this weekend.  Now we have a ton of snow, so I am not sure how much exercising I will get done, other than snow shoveling.

Hopefully by Thursday the snow will be gone (or at least done) then I can get back outside to the track. Failing that it will have to be the treadmill at the gym.  Also, planning on getting back to yoga this week.

Still loving my fitbit!  I am really surprised I haven’t lost it or washed it yet :).  I am going to make an effort to do more with the food logs this week, so I can track calories in vs. expended.

Hope everyone else is doing well and keeping moving!

PS  I am thinking about a new tattoo – a quote from Rachel Joyce:

“If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, it stands to reason that I’m going to get there. I’ve begun to think we sit far more than we’re supposed to.” He smiled. “Why else would we have feet?”

We have been having big tattoo discussions in my house this week…both my daughters want another tattoo.

Reader’s Workouts

  This is a meme hosted by Joy’s Book Blog found here.  

I received a Fitbit One for Christmas from my daughter and I have to say that it really is a great tool as far as awareness goes.  I haven’t really gotten into inputting food or activities into it, but just the fact that I can see in general how active or inactive I have been at at a moment’s notice is great.  After all:



My current goals are 10,000 steps per day and 30 minutes of high level activity.  We had a  couple really cold, icy days that I didn’t meet my goal, but I am getting there now.  I am looking forward to upping my activity levels with this tool. 

This works for me because if I don’t feel like making it to the track or gym, I look on the display and see that I am nowhere near my goal and it pushes me to go.

Currently, I am trying for 30 minutes of jogging 5 days per week and 1 hour of yoga 4 days per week. I found a great local studio that I am enjoying right now.   I prefer running outside but I am using an elliptical when the weather doesn’t cooperate.    

I am interested in hearing about other reader’s workouts.


Merry Christmas!!

Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas and enjoying themselves!  My oldest daughter leaves to stay with family in England tonight (Christmas flights were pretty cheap) and so we are sort of rushing through our Christmas day.

Food today will be all appetizers – to accommodate the flurry of packing and last minute laundry.

  • Drunken Devils on Horseback
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Chips and Dip
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip 
  • Pate
  • Cheese & Crackers
  • Fruit bowl
  • Endive with Creme Fraiche and Caviar

My daughters each bought me perfect presents, one bought me a Fitbit that I had been coveting and the other bought me a mug from Starbucks that entitles me to free drinks for all of January <3.  Awesome!



Weekend Cooking with…Woman and Home

wkendcookingThis is a meme hosted by BethFishReads to be found here.  Yesterday I made what was called a casserole – Beef, Mushroom & Thyme Casserole to be exact, but it was more what I would call (and maybe I’m dating myself here so I haven’t heard the term in years) an oven stew.

The recipe is one that I clipped to my Evernote recipe book from Woman and Home Magazine’s recipes.  This is another online resource that I use quite a bit for recipes.

The full recipe is found here.  It had a wonderful layering of flavors, red wine, beef stock, sherry, onions, thyme, garlic, tomato puree  and… yes, anchovies.  When cooked like this anchovies provided a depth of flavor without being fishy at all.  I suppose you could substitute anchovy paste.  I used beef chuck and cut it into pretty decent sized chunks, maybe 2 inch by 1 or 1-1/2.  I did this rather than use any of  the pre-cut “beef stew meat” because:

  1. I could control the quality of the meat…what exactly is beef stew meat??
  2. Due to the long cooking time 3 1/2 hours plus, I wanted the cubes big so that they did not get tough or alternatively break down

I also substituted baby bellas for chestnut mushrooms because I have never found them here.


Picture courtesy of Woman and Home, my own attempts at food photography have been sadly lacking.  Mine came out looking very similar with the exception of just a little less liquid.  I think you can see why I would call it a stew more than a casserole.  I served it with smashed red skinned potatoes.

Good reliable recipe, that has the added bonus of tasting even better the second day when the flavors have really melded.

Hope everyone else has had a wonderful time cooking (and eating) this weekend!  Off to read other posts.

Weekend Cooking

wkendcookingThe is a meme hosted by BethFishReads found here.

I spent most of this weekend fighting off some stupid cold, ugh.  In between, I did manage to fit in a visit to Soonja’s, a local Korean restaurant where I had amazing Gobdol bibimbap, which is a Korean rice, veggie, and in my case chicken dish served sizzling in a stone bowl.   The high heat means that when you douse it with some soy sauce it caramelizes with the rice and is just amazing. Excellent restaurant to visit if you are ever in the Princeton, New Jersey area.  They also make amazing sushi.

I did spend a few minutes and threw together a chocolate rum cake with a recipe from Trisha Ashley found here.  It was super easy to throw together, baked beautifully but was just okay as far as rum cakes go.  I like that moist, dense effect for a rum cake and this was just more like a regular bundt cake.  It did make a nice treat with coffee for breakfast though.

Tonight, I’m just making a tray of roasted root veg and a stuffed pork loin. I cannot get enough of root vegetables this time of year.  Super easy to make, just cut them into uniform sizes, toss with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper and some rosemary and roast in a hot oven until done.  I just butterflied the pork loin with a mixed dried fruit stuffing and then roasted for about an hour and a half. Pretty low key, quick dinner.

The benefit of all this roasting was the house warmed up nicely:)

In other foodie type news, I am going to a demonstration tomorrow night at Williams-Sonoma for deep frying Turkey.  I don’t think it is something I would do, but it will be interesting to see.  I am picturing a result that requires fire trucks, but I hope not!


Weekend Cooking




This is a meme hosted by BethFishReads found here.

So far this weekend, we been celebrating some of the autumn flavors, apple, root vegetables, and cider.

For Friday night, I made  BBC Goodfood’s Slow-braised pork shoulder with parsnips and cider and smashed red-skinned potatoes.  The recipe can be found here.  I use the BBC Goodfood‘s site for many recipes and usually find success. I also occasionally pick up the magazine.

This was a perfect autumn dish, the slow braise infused the meat and veg with the apple cider flavor.  I used Angry Orchard traditional dry cider in the recipe.  I gave up doing my own food photography, this image is from BBC Goodfood’s website.

Today, I picked up some root veg: swede (rutabaga), carrots, and parsnips.  I also had half of a head of red cabbage in the fridge that needed using up.   I love all the autumn flavors.   The meal I put together from all this was:

  • Chicken roasted in the oven
  • Tossed the root veg in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven
  • Chopped the red cabbage, thinly sliced a red onion, peeled and sliced a couple apples I found in the fridge and then added 2 tablespoons of whole berry cranberry sauce.  Sweated the onion and apple and then added everything else to the pan, popped the lid on, and let it cook slowly.

Lovely dinner with a bottle of red, probably should have been white, but I prefer red:)



The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell


I finally received this in the mail from worldofbooks, one of Amazon’s vendors.  I read a lot of British women writers and they can be hard to get here in the US.   I subscribe to the UK version of Good Housekeeping magazine and Woman and Home and always scan the book reviews first and add many of them to my TBR list, then I am disappointed when I can’t get the books here easily :(.  Ordering them from the UK, costs a fortune in postage…or so I thought.  When I tweeted about this, Jill Mansell responded and told me about Book Depository UK, so I am definitely going to try them!

I finished The One You Really Want….could be closer than you think last night and loved it! There were several characters, but the main female protagonists  were Nancy, Carmen and Rose.  The women were each well developed with their own personalities and their own concerns throughout the book.  I really enjoyed the multiple story lines throughout the book especially because they were all written to seem important and I cared about each of them.  Sometimes when I read book with multiple characters with their own story lines, there are one that takes precedence or the others just have that feel of not being as well done as the main one (then if it is segregated by chapter I end up just skimming certain chapters).  Definitely not the case here, I connected with all of them.  This was probably because the characters had that quality of seeming like real people, people you might actually meet in your community.

The book is well written and ties together the multiple story lines in the end.  Not to give anything away, but there is a happy ending, which after the week I had at work I really needed!

Recommended read for readers of ….hmmm, now what do we call it.  I just attended the Romance Writer’s Symposium in Princeton last week and this was the issue discussed.  Kay Mussell spoke and discussed the importance of referring to Romances, as Romantic Novels as a matter of gaining some respect for the writers of  romantic fiction.  All the genre fiction related to women’s writing was really put on the table.  Discussions included how marketing drives  this categorizing of books.  Romance and chick lit are seen as pejorative categories, but then other arguments were raised that women’s fiction was for “literary fiction” and then there was a debate about that.  Jennifer Crusie spoke, as did Eloisa James.  Both spoke with a great deal of candor about the publishing industry and the business of writing and selling books.  It has really made me think about how I classify books.

Maybe I’m dating myself but when I grew up there were not that many categories.  You had non-fiction and fiction.  Then, fiction had mystery, romance, adventure and THE CLASSICS, always referred to with that tone of awe.  So, as a school kid basically the first three were the things you wanted to read and the other one was the stuff you had to read.  As was said in the symposium, and I can’t remember who said it  (must take better notes next time), romance is the category that supports financially all the other categories.  Romance books sales allow people like Jonathon Franzen to first get published.

I highly recommend Jill Mansell’s The One You Really Want for readers of good books.