Friday, February 29, 2008

Orchids, orchids, everywhere!

Originally uploaded by annm&mikeb
Ann, Julian and I went with our colleague, Carol, to the botanical garden today to see the orchid exhibits. There were a LOT of orchids. Some plain looking, some ugly, but most of them exotic and gorgeous. There were many that didn't even look like orchids at all. It is amazing how many species of orchids exist, with an estimated 20% still uncategorized. This exhibit doesn't even scratch the surface. Many of the displays, were award-winning hybrids on loan from professional botanists.

Julian definitely enjoyed it. He seemed facinated by everything and was on his best behaviour during the entire experience, finally falling asleep at the end of the tour. I wonder if this will become a permanent memory that he vaguely recollects when he is older.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Almost Crawling. . .

Originally uploaded by annm&mikeb
. . . but not quite. I thought for sure Julian was going crawl for the first time last night. He was up very late, several hours past his normal bedtime, the night before last, without fussing, just trying to crawl. He is working both of his knees together, but can't seem to put enough force on them to actually push himself up off the ground. At best, he can creep forward a little bit.

What he is really good at is rolling. So it seems when he gets frustrated enough with the inability to crawl, he just drops to the floor and rolls to where he wants to be. He's innovative, that's for sure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

No more glasses!

I just had Lasik surgery on Monday. What fun that was! The procedure was very fast, only a few seconds. I chose to have the Intralase "all laser Lasik" procedure. That just means that they user a laser, rather than a blade, to create the "corneal flap." The idea of a blade cutting my eye was too much to bear, and the doctor recommended the procedure based on how thick my corneas were so I didn't want to take any chances.

The only problems during the procedure were that first, when I was under the Intralase laser having my corneas cut, I did not have enough numbing drops in my eyes. The doctor told me after that I might be resistant, like some people are resistant to novacain. The difference is, when the dentist gives you novacain, you know if your mouth is numb or not, and can ask for more. You can't really tell if your eye is numb, until someone starts cutting it, at which point, it is too late. Let me tell you, having a sharp, stinging pain in your eyeball makes you want to shut yours eyes tight, and jerk your head away, but there were sufficient restraints in place to prevent that. Luckily, the process took only about 15 seconds. When I told the doctor what happened, he freaked out a little, and dumped about a half a bottle of numbing drops in my left eye "just to be sure." I didn't feel a thing. The second problem was also related to the intralase, because it had to be performed on a different laser, I had to get up and move from one table to another. Try doing that after your eye has just been cut into. It isn't easy. I would have rather have layed down at one laser, had the procedure done from start to finish, then got up with perfect vision, but instead I had to deal with a few seconds of disorientation as I maneuvered around the room.

But the good news is, I now have 20/20 vision (which may get even better), without glasses. I was in a lot of pain for the first 6 hours after surgery, which I tried somewhat successfully to sleep through (the car ride home was probably the worst part of it all), but after that, everything seems to be fine. I have some halos around lights, which makes things like the television and computer monitor blurry (so I just turn down the brightness) and I have some light sensitivity and have to wear sunglasses, but hey, they are fashionable sunglasses, which I have never been able to wear before. These effects should wear off in another week, then it will be a carefree, glasses free life for me.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ski Trip

iPhone 016
Originally uploaded by annm&mikeb
I decided that since I haven't been skiing in 5 years, I didn't want another year to go by. Seeing that it was my buddy Andy's birthday, I decided to take him to the resort of his choice. Andy I used to ski at least once a year when we were younger, but always in small Pennsylvania ski resorts, like Liberty or White Tail. The last time I went skiing, however, was at Whistler/Blackcomb, which was five days of intense skiing on one of the largest, if not the largest, ski resort in North America. I know nothing within driving distance of DC, much less on the east coast, is going to compare to that, but I thought there might be something in West Virginia that was halfway decent. Andy had been to Canaan Valley, and remembered it as being one of the larger resorts in the area, so that's what we settled on.

We left Friday afternoon from Andy's cabin in Luray and drove for just under 4 hours to arrive at the resort in time for dinner. The plan was to get there, have dinner, hang out the bar and enjoy the resort entertainment the night before skiing. Then get up the next day, ski all day and drive home. We didn't plan that very well. First of all, the resort was much smaller than I anticipated. As a matter of fact, there was a single ski lodge, surrounded by hotel rooms. The lodge had one restaurant, and a "lounge" that wasn't much of a bar at all, and absolutely no entertainment. It turns out that Canaan Valley is a very family oriented place, which is great for families, but doesn't offer much for two guys in their mid-thirties who now have nothing to do for the rest of the evening. There were busloads of teenagers from various church youth groups arriving, as well as families with small children, but that was it. The funny thing is, we ended up making friends with the only other thirty-something couple there at the lounge who had no kids with them (they left them at home) and it turns out the guy is a friend of one of my co-workers in Dallas. Small world.

Skiing the next day was fun because it has been so long, but overall, was probably the worst conditions I have ever been in. Most of the trails were closed, and considering how small the mountain was, that left only two slopes for us to use. One beginner slope and one intermediate. Both were either slush or ice, and I even skied on grass a couple of times. Visibility was non-existant with some very thick fog present, which ultimately cut our trip short.

Still, I'm glad I went. I needed the practice so I can go back to one of the bigger resorts and enjoy it to its fullest.