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Nick Curran Posts

Unswell Season

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The snow this year is driving me nuts. This is from the first of this season’s two “20-year” snowfalls, back when it was cool. Back when it could still possibly look pretty.

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Mine!

Mine!

Sharing is not really my strong suit, so I was excited when Ryan sent me this link to Ben & Jerry’s Pint Lock. A few shipping days later, and my ice cream stopped mysteriously disappearing.

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After

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It was a great trip. Fantastic weather, really good snow, no injuries, and my favorite part about Big Sky: no lift lines. The interns, as Ryan dubbed them, did really well. As predicted, I certainly had my work cut out for me just trying to keep up.

We got a lot of fun pictures too. Mine are here; Ryan’s are here. My favorite has to be this shot by Ryan. On the afternoon of the last day, we split up for a while. The boys headed to the terrain park while Ryan and I rode a couple blues we hadn’t seen yet. Our timing was perfect, because our next lift ride took us right over the park while Ben was making his run. He hit the C-box perfectly, and we were able to snap off some aerial photos. This all happened without any coordination.

I already can’t wait to go back, and the interns will be more than welcome when they’re ready for their true apprenticeship.

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Before

Riding 2

I’ve always loved this picture, taken of my brothers Ben and Joe before their first snowboarding lesson. The total lack of enthusiasm on Joe’s face kills me. In 2003, I had the pleasure of teaching them how to ride. It was a struggle at first, but by the end of the day, they were both riding, turning, and stopping on their own, carving up the blues at Afton Alps. They’ve both become good riders, and I’m proud to have been a part of that.

Six years later, I feel very lucky to be able to bring them along to Big Sky this weekend. It’ll be their first exposure to real mountain snowboarding. I’m sure this time it’ll be me who struggles to keep up, and I’m hoping they’ll teach me a trick or two. My FS 270 needs work. This time, I’m assured that they’re very excited, and I hope to post a successful “After” picture soon.

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PRK: Day 780

I had PRK surgery done two years ago, and my vision has been fantastic. I’ve generally been pretty comfortable, but every once in a while I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and my eyelids will be stuck to my eyes. Opening them quickly before I realize this is then very painful.

It happened again early Sunday morning and my right eye still stings today. I saw Dr. Croissant (his real name), and he explained that it’s not uncommon and nothing to worry about. I have a “recurrent abrasion.” My eyes are dry, and small areas of my cornea are not totally healed since the PRK procedure; this is normal. The dryness makes my lids stick to those healing parts of the cornea and then pull them off. I’ll be using a salve at night for a while to keep the eyes lubricated until they full heal.

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Summer

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This sporadic blogger feels the need to post something, despite any specific news. So summer’s been going well. Our patio and grill have seen a lot of use with some thanks to Christin & Lyric and the Kesslers. Maeby’s been keeping us active, and both the dog and I are a few pounds lighter for it. I’ve been having a lot of fun with my new toy, my reading list, new things to study, and some old-school gaming.

My camera has been getting a lot of work as well, but a lot of that still sits on my computer awaiting “post-processing,” otherwise known as deleting, deleting, deleting, cropping, sharpening, and “I’m Feeling Lucky.” So when I finally get through that, there will be photos to enjoy of our continuing summer adventures, including grilling with the Bears, Minnesota wine country, and fun times at Lake Kjostad.

We also recently decided to take a long weekend in San Francisco. I’m excited to see it for the first time. If anyone has any travel tips for us, let me know.

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Touch ’em All, Bryce!

Bryce's First Home Run!

This will forever be one of my favorite shots, and I’ll never forget it. I arrived late to watch my nephew Bryce’s first game of a local tournament. A few minutes later, I noticed he was on deck. I decided to warm up my camera with a couple of shots. I was in position just as he stepped up to the plate. He took a big swing at the first pitch, and I took a single shot of that.

I looked up to see where the ball was going, and noticed it was going pretty far. Back, back, back… just over the fence…

Bryce’s First Home Run!

It was so cool! Later on, with two outs and down 3-2 in the final inning, Bryce demonstrated great skill in another play by stealing home and clearly beating the tag to tie the game. Unfortunately the fix was in, as the so-called umpire made a terrible call, ending the game.

We know the truth, Bryce! Congrats on an awesome game!

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Ride On

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Finally got back on my snowboard for the first time in two years. Failing a real trip our west, Anthony and I spent last weekend tearing up Lutsen. I have low expectations of “the mountain” after my previous adventures there. I’ve been there at least three other times, during which I experienced mind-numbing cold (highs of -20), incredible warmth (for December – lows in the 40s), and pea-soup-thick fog (couldn’t see 30 feet in front of you).

As a result, I’ve never been able to experience what Lutsen has to offer. This trip was totally different. The snow was decent (although far from wonderful), and the weather was amazing. Not a cloud in the sky, no fog, no wind, and perfect temperatures – always between 12 and 15.

So it was nice to learn that one can actually have a good ride. There are lots of decent runs, and they’re just long enough to make it worth it. The lifts are slow, but the lift lines are quite short (especially if you can ride on a weekday). We were pleasantly sore after each day. Unfortunately, it felt like a good warm up for a trip to the Wasatch or Rockies, and it really made me miss snowboarding. The day after our trip I was just sad without it.

Incidentally, if you’re ever in Lutsen or near Grand Marais, I highly recommend dining at the Birch Terrace Supper Club. Delicious!

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The Cute Reflex

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I finally had a photo listed in Flickr’s Explore section. I really enjoy photography and am occasionally proud of my work, so it’s nice to get recognized for it.

That’s what’s so cool about Flickr, it gives your friends and family a chance to see and comment on your photographs while at the same time offering a community to share it with and learn from as well. I check Explore daily to see what other Flickr users are posting.

What do I think got me listed there? My amazing technique? Hardly. The quality of the picture? No. I do think it’s a good photo but I’ve posted better. I’m sure the answer, much to my chagrin, is that it’s of a puppy. People just love pictures of cute things… something I learned it from the master.

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Man Law #1

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Tim and I had lunch plans yesterday with a third party who we’ll call “Terrence.” That morning, we were informed by “Terrence” that he would not be able to attend said lunch because he needed to fit a haircut appointment in to his schedule.

We were nothing short of appalled. How is it that we are a lower priority than his hairdresser? I felt violated. In hopes of validating our pain, we sought an impartial perspective.

Ryan came through with a very wise Man Law: “Haircuts fit in around your schedule, not vice versa.”

Thank you, Ryan. Turns out that “Terrence” had several other legitimate reasons for skipping lunch; it just wasn’t a good day for him. Not sure why he picked the worse reason possible to tell us. My friends (and I) are ruthless hyenas. Melt some plastic or slightly overcook a pancake, and you’ll hear about it for the rest of your life. I’m guessing this will come up again too.

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PRK: Day 47

Just had a follow up with the eye doctor. I’m 20/10 in both eyes! I can read the bottom line on the eye chart, and the Dr. Croissant said after his examination, “I can’t tell you even had anything done.” Simply amazing.

My only side effects lately are moderate dryness in the evenings. It feels like I sort of want to take my contacts out. Easily remedied with a drop.

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PRK: Day 17

I saw the doctor on Friday morning (Day 14), where he found everything to be in very good shape. I was seeing 20/20 in both eyes, with slightly better vision in the left eye (the second one I had done). He did find a small amount of residual astigmatism in both eyes, which he expected would heal away over time.

My vision since Friday has improved further, and I’m just seeing great. Just looking around my cubicle, text I couldn’t read then I can now make out, and I’m talking about small print from a distance. The first weekend since both surgeries was great! I really love my new vision.

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PRK: Day 13

Since Tuesday, I’ve noticed slow improvements in my left eye and little if any improvement in the right. Certainly the left eye is much more comfortable that it was. It’s still a bit dilated, but I don’t need shades in normal light. I’m seeing pretty well with my right eye, and I’m getting there with my left.

Even without further improvements, I have to say that I’d do it all over. Yes, the PRK procedure is initially a bit traumatic and the recovery process is somewhat painful, certainly uncomfortable, and nervously uncertain. But for the first time in my life, I can see well. I wake up in the morning with vision as good as it was in my contacts*, without the discomfort they brought or the bother of my glasses. It’s really a great feeling.

*But not as good it was in my glasses, which was remarkably good. I might improve to near that, which would be awesome, but as it stands I’m pleased.

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PRK: Day 11

Day 11 for my right eye is day 4 for my left eye, and in that regard my experience with the left seems very similar to that with the right. Like the right, yesterday was not painful, but there was significant discomfort and itching. Also like with the right, today it’s gone, and my vision in the left has improved significantly from yesterday.

The left is still really dilated though. I’m trying to work without my sunglasses on, but it’s not easy. My vision out of my right is great, at least 20/20, and I’ve only had slight dryness, which I expect is partly due to the fact that I have to use it more while the left eye stays shut.

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PRK: Day 10

After a long weekend of sitting in the dark and nursing my occasionally painful left eye, I’m back at work. At my follow up this morning, my right eye could read the 20/20 line – a marked improvement over last Friday! My left eye, which could read the 20/25 line on Saturday, could read very little today. This sort of fluctuation is normal as the outer layer of the cornea heals and changes, and I’m constantly tearing from that eye as well, further blurring my vision.

The contact is out, and like with the last eye, the doctor seems pleased and all appears to be healing per normal.

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PRK: Day 8

The left eye surgery went about the same as the right, which is to say it went well. The pain and discomfort, while quite sharp for a moment yesterday afternoon, hasn’t been as bad as the first time around, but I think that is at least partly due to the fact that I’m managing it better (thank you, Vicodin). And let’s just say that the blackout cellular shades I put up in the spring are really paying off. It’s 70 and sunny outside, but in here it’s nearly pitch dark.

The follow up this morning went well too, and the doc says everything looks fine. Vision in the left eye was at 20/25, slightly better even than the right eye. Lighting and tearing are a factor as well as fluctuations due to the healing process, so at this point it’s certainly not as good as my right, which has been healing for a week.

The right eye is doing nicely as well, if nothing else reading and computing is much easier than two days ago.

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PRK: Day 7

Not much improvement today. I’m on the way to my left eye surgery as I type. More tomorrow.

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PRK: Day 6

Not much improvement today, although my computer screen does seem a bit easier to read. Still not great, but I feel like I can work using only my right eye all day, where as yesterday I used my left eye with my glasses on. At any rate, I’m confident enough to go through with tomorrow’s surgery on my left eye instead of delaying it a week, which had been a possibility.

So I guess that is a significant milestone: for the first time ever, I’m working without glasses in reasonable comfort. Wearing contacts at work had always driven me crazy from dryness.

Wish me luck at tomorrow’s surgery!

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PRK: Day 5

I’ve noticed a subtle but important improvement in my vision today: I can read my computer monitor from a normal distance. This doesn’t mean I can read it well or with the sort of clarity I get with my glasses, but it’s definitely an improvement over yesterday. Assuming linear improvement each day, I should be ready for my left eye surgery on Friday. Fingers crossed!

Also notable: I’ve had practically no pain or discomfort in my right eye in the past day. To be honest, it has felt better than the as yet uncorrected left eye, which makes little sense. Perhaps because the left is still doing most of the work and the right is closed more often. At any rate, it’s great, because I was worried I’d have severely dry eyes with this.

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PRK: Day 4

Major milestone last night! At Spanish class, I was able to read the board from the back of the room without my glasses. I haven’t been able to do that since junior high! Amazing. I’ve noticed that I can read a lot of things with my healing right eye that I can’t even tell exist with the other eye. The ability to read my computer screen is markedly better than yesterday. There is still a lot of healing to go though. I’m not near ideal vision yet, and there is quite a bit of haloing around bright lights at night. All seems to be going well and as expected with the PRK healing process.

Another thing: much less discomfort and itching than even yesterday, at least so far.

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PRK: Day 3

Back at work today. I was able to drive to the doctor today without much problem. It was not necessarily comfortable though. The morning was very sunny, which my constantly-dilated right eye does not like. I’m also driving with somewhat compromised vision. It’s glasses on (and therefore perfect vision) in my left eye with my right eye shut, which compromised depth perception. Or sunglasses on, uncorrected left eye, and improving right eye. This gives me better depth perception and seems to yield the safest driving. My doctor agrees (and also confirms that I have driving-legal vision).

He took the contact out this morning, which did not provide the big gasping relief I thought it might. In fact, for most of the morning afterward, my eye hurt worse than it had in the last day or so. That tapered off, and after my noon eye drop cocktail, I’m feeling as good as ever.

I have noticeably improved vision in my right eye, but nowhere near the end goal. Dr. Croissant is happy with the progress, and things look to be on track for my left eye surgery on Friday.

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