Trying to beat the impending snow, I headed out for my daily walk earlier than usual, as cars and school busses made their own morning treks. Bundled up like the Unabomber, constantly blowing my ever-running nose, eyes trained down on a sidewalk I can barely see, I found myself at the intersection near our elementary school. As I approached, I recognized the figure of the crossing guard who has stood sentry there for over twenty years. I reached a gloved hand into my tied hoodie hood and removed an ear pad to say hello.
“Good morning”, he said, and I replied in kind, keeping my pace. “You’re a diehard”, he observed, as the weather conditions deteriorated by the minute. “You’re one to talk”, I laughed. “I’m just trying to get it done.” I wished him a good day, replaced my headphone and continued on, thinking about him. For many years on my way to work I drove by him at his post and in the interest of full disclosure, on several occasions he signaled for me to slow down, even though I was not breaking any laws or putting any child at risk. Annoyed by his actions at the time, I assured myself his position had gone to his head. But there he is, still after all this time, in every kind of temperature and precipitation, keeping my neighbor’s children safe. It was miserable out in the elements and this was one day for me compared to thousands for him. No longer in my warm car with the delicious fragrance of hot, fresh coffee coming from my cup holder, my perspective was a whole lot different. The next time our paths cross, I’ll be the one making the gesture: a handshake.
On a rare night out for dinner, my husband and I found a place to sit in the restaurant’s lobby while we waited for a table. My husband reached towards the ottoman across from us and handed me a menu.
He handed me a menu.
To look at.
I can’t see to read a menu.
Honestly, my first reaction was WHAT THE . . . My second thought was WHAT THE . . . I looked at him and he at me, his eyes wide, and shook his head. We both were a little in shock. And although I knew it was completely innocent, I was hurt. I could not conceive how that had just happened.
We haven’t spoken about it but I have mulled it over. When I am with my friends they will sometimes forget my sight limitations and point something out to me to look at. They don’t think about it because to them I am the person they have always known, regardless of my visual acuity. And although no one has walked my journey with me more than my husband, it is the same for him. I’m still the woman he has spent over half his life with. We have added a lot of a la carte items to our menu over the years, but In the end, all the favorites from the beginning remain. And that’s what he sees when he looks at me.
I don’t need a menu. I’ll have what I’m having.
Piper is a good eater but only when it comes to his birdie food: his blends of dried fruits and nuts and his oh so important pellets which provide him with critical nutrients. Since the day we brought him home from the rescue I chopped up fresh greens and made him the favorites of our cockatiel who had passed away a few years before. Piper would have none of it. Offering him anything made him back up as far away as possible from both me and the “poison” produce he seemed to think it was. Looking at his reaction would have you calling PETA.
Over the last five years I have continued to attempt to entice him to try different foods to no avail. I have researched suggestions online on techniques to encourage my picky Piper to sample new options, including letting him see me eat and act out an Oscar worthy performance of most delicious tasting morsel ever. I have discussed ideas with his avian vet but he still cannot escape from the scary treats fast enough.
And so when he uncharacteristically shows interest in a snack that would not be considered the healthiest choice, I let him explore. Low-salt potato chips and popcorn capture his attention.The reason I allow it? Gateway food. If he understands our various introductions aren’t out to get him he may be more inclined to be adventurous with the choices we want him to have for variety and his best health. He doesn’t even eat the popcorn but shreds it like a toy. Headway.
It took time for Piper and I to form the bond we have now. Patience on both our parts served us well and I will keep dishing it out along with the menu he needs. Until he successfully expands his belly’s horizons, I’m all for him playing with his food.
“I’m not sure how much more I can take but I’m sure I’m going to find out.”
— Sister Rain
Writing this blog, I am constantly on the hunt for material. Sometimes it’s an obvious idea but in other instances I find myself mining for a nugget hidden deep, waiting for discovery. I never stop searching and my husband and friends often recognize a viable gem when we are together and will point them out to me. I definitely appreciate the help; it’s exhausting to always be on the lookout for that undefinable something.
But after all these years, I wouldn’t know how to shut my inkling radar or the process of immediately vetting the strength and possibility of the unearthing. I guess that’s the thing about our passions; they are all-consuming, our blessing and our curse. But to be without the thing that gives us life once we have found it is impossible to imagine.
I have often thought I should wear a miner’s headlamp since my vision loss, since the flashlight on my iPhone, which I use often, requires holding with one hand. But in a way, I picture myself in one everyday, aiding in the detection of the raw stones I will attempt to polish and post. It makes my head hurt sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I passionately hope you know exactly what I mean.
After a difficult challenge my friend and I were discussing the next tough task coming our way. “We did what we did. We can do it.”, she said.
That’s the great thing about accomplishments. They give you the strength and confidence to take on the next thing life throws at you.
And it’s the great thing about friends too.
What we believe about death shapes how we live our life. Whether we believe that when it’s over it’s over, that we will reunite with our loved ones for eternity or be reincarnated heavily influences our conduct and decisions every day.
But does what we think about life have this same impact on our behavior? Do we even have beliefs about life like we do about death? At fifty-two all I know for sure is that life goes on. And isn’t that ironic to this conversation?
Big questions for a Monday, I know. But I had a dream this morning about an old friend
who passed away several years ago and I woke up wondering where he is now. We never discussed death nor does it come up much if at all with any of the people in my life. But we do talk life . . . to death.
He can’t drive me but I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.
Over the past week, I have had disastrous results after updating two different applications. As my friend J will quote me, “I love me some technology” comes out of my mouth and fingers often. I always have been a fan and the accessibility and connection to the world that my devices provide me since my vision loss has been life-changing. But these updates are painful and frustrating. More than a learning curve, there is s learning cliff, from which a fatal fall could occur at any moment.
These changes are difficult for all of us to adjust to but there is an extra degree of challenge when sight is impaired and you are used to the old format, look and features of what is really an extension of you. We can’t stop the upgrades and once they occur, we are forced to live with them.
The experiences we have in our lives are like the updates to our technology. New developments take place in our lives every minute, ever-changing what we knew a heartbeat ago to be true. Hundreds of minor alterations each day, major redesigns in the blink of an eye. We are left to learn, adapt, function, master and teach. Or we go back to the manual typewriter and exist in the past.
I liked the past. I loved playing with my mom’s manual typewriter when I was growing up. I was perfectly happy with my iPhone yesterday before I did the update last night. After months of work creating the look I wanted for this blog I was preparing to promote it to the world. But then some updates took its appearance back two years. And I loved my life before 2012 when my mom was alive and I could see properly. It is incredibly difficult to move forward and have to do things in a completely new way and maybe even have to return to the beginning. I have cried and cursed and been totally devastated by updates. We all have. But technology isn’t going anywhere and neither are we until our ultimate update comes up. Which leaves us to figure it out. Best to take it a little at a time, go at your own pace, give yourself a break when you need it, ask for help and use all the bad feelings to propel you forward. And I can tell you without question: the cursing helps. A lot.
From Instagram of Carrie Green, Founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, @iamcarriegreen.