Lagophthalmos – Why Toby Sometimes 吠

Many moons ago, I developed an eye problem so severe that I could barely see at all.  It were as if I had a sheet of waxed paper held right next to my eye.  I was able to see light and a little color but precious little else.  A visit to an eye specialist yielded the diagnosis of “We’re not sure what’s wrong, but here are some drops.  Maybe your eyes will get better.”   It took many long months, but eventually my eyes healed and my vision returned to what it usually is.

For six months or so, though, I was at a total loss what to do with myself.  I couldn’t watch TV.  I couldn’t read or use nascent computer technology.  (This happened decades ago.)  I couldn’t go for a walk or even read a book.

In desperation, I scoured my bookshelf for something that I might be able to read.  What I came up with was a Chinese textbook that I always meant to study but never got around to.

New characters were a full inch tall, and if I leaned close, I could make them out.  Out of desperation because I had nothing else to read, I learned to read Chinese.

I really enjoyed what I was doing and kept it up for three additional textbooks.  Based on the series I used, though, my vocabulary mostly consists of knowing how to talk about students studying literature at such-and-such university.

Anyway, that is why Toby sometimes barks in Chinese.

And as for the eye problem?  Years later the same thing happened again.  After three visits and two specialists they figured out that I sleep with my eyes open.  Uni 1

My boys were embarrassed to be seen with me while I was dealing with this problem.  They claimed I looked like the Unibomber.


Oil painting of Westie puppy.

Don’t forget to place your orders for Christmas pet pictures early.  (It will give me plenty of time to work and to allow the paint to dry.)  For more information about ordering, visit L Bowmn Studios.



  1. Oh, what a scary and rough time. 😦
    I’m so so SO glad your eyes healed. 🙂 And it is so wonderful you found something you could do during that time. Wow, to learn another language is always a plus! I admire that you learned Chinese! Bravo!
    (((HUGS))), PATS and RUBS!!! 🙂
    PS…I’m sure The Boys never embarrassed you!
    😉 😉 😀 😀 😛 😛

  2. That photo on the bottom makes you look like a fly. Giant eyeballs. I like your “Yellow River” series but I think the waves one is more Japanese than Chinese as it hearkens to the ukiyo-e works of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” c1831. I’m not sure what to make of fat, little piggy Toby except he looks like the image used on pastries during Chinese Lunar New Year. I learned a new word – Lagophthalmos. Up til now I always thought it was either stink eye or hairy eye ball that dried up your eyes. 吠 right back at ya.

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