This little guy was my only purpose when I got out of the hospital six years ago, finding myself blind without warning. Driving, my career, my ability to do just about everything as I always did was gone. Three months into his adoption from a bird rescue, Piper needed a full-time mommy and I needed even a part-time reason to get up in the morning.
What is your purpose? Your family, your profession, your art, helping your community to thrive? Maybe you’re still searching for your purpose; it’s not always easy to find. It comes in many different forms, including 100 grams covered in feathers. But the one thing that is always the same: we must have it. It fuels and fulfills us. Without it, we are lost, consumed by hopelessness and darkness, even if you’re eyesight is 20/20.
I have found new purpose in the last six years, but Piper is still a priority, of course. We may need each other a little less now, but our love and bond is so much more than I could have ever imagined. Don’t ever stop looking for your purpose. It may even find you. And if you’re really, really lucky, it will arrive into your life three months before you will so desperately need it.
Photo credit: Auntie D
Today is six years since I woke up blind.
Today is one year since I flew to Germany,
my return to air travel after five years.
Today I celebrate the anniversary of my trip to Europe,
not my fall into darkness.
“It’s not always easy to see the glass half full.
But if you keep filling it, and drinking it,
you’ve already made your choice.”
—- Sister Rain
My intent on this site is to post original content but sometimes I am compelled to share something I’ve learned. Today is one of those days.
Thyroid cancer has doubled since the 1970s according to a segment on Dr. Oz’s show; click here to read the full article. But since you’re visiting me, you are probably expecting my usual nonsense. So let me sum it up for you.
The thyroid gland is very sensitive to radiation.
When you go to the dentist and get x-rays, or for your mammogram, request a thyroid shield/guard. How many times have they put that heavy lead apron on you in the dental chair and not velcroed it behind your neck so that your windpipe, where your thyroid is located, is covered? Although much lower and safer amounts of radiation are used today, there is enough medical professional speculation about these diagnostic tests and treatments and their correlation to the growing number of thyroid cancer occurrences to remind us all to protect this gland while protecting our choppers, our breasts and our life.
Again, this is my takeaway. I encourage you to spend a few more minutes reading the full article here. And I’ll see you and your healthy thyroid on Wednesday. Thyroid shield suggested but not required.
I make my nana’s recipe for filling. She never wrote it down, of course, but I learned by watching and helping her from the time I was a little girl. The first step is setting bread out to get stale for a few days prior to the Big Day. We were going to be away this year leading up to the food preparation, so how was I going to get the slices crispy? Our excursion was a road trip to Canton, Ohio with our nephew and I decided to take three loaves of bread with us. On Monday I took them out of their plastic bags and put them into a large brown bag in the trunk to get stale.
I like to cook and am pretty good at it. I owe that to two people: my mom and my nana. My mom hated to cook but passed on her love of reading to me when I was a very small child and it remains a passion of mine to this day. I stand by my fervent belief that if you can read, you can cook. My nana loved cooking and weeks spent with her when on summer vacation were filled with hours and hours in the kitchen. I will never win Top Chef and everyone’s a football fan on Thanksgiving. But how many people can say their filling has been in the (parking lot of the) Pro Football Hall of Fame?
As I arrived at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on an ugly, grey-skied day, I made myself focus on who I was there to remember, who I was there to honor. Our car had been experiencing difficulties the entire four hundred mile road trip and it had just failed to start as we left one area of the property set aside in this giant field. Now at the Visitor Center and about to view the site where lives were lost, I was angry with not the radiator but myself. An automobile does not compare to people being killed. Of course I know this. But I am a flawed human being. I worry about things that I should not. I wondered if the roles were reversed, would any of the crew or passengers on that United airplane be at this sacred place distracted by job, financial or family issues as they took in the vastness and former nothingness prior to the devastation of that September morning.
As I made my way down the walkway that lies directly beneath the 757’s flight path before the crash, the four-wheeled vehicle was forgotten. I will never know what those 44 souls would be carrying with them had they been there to pay their respects. And I hope and pray that I will never know if I would be as brave as they on a beautiful blue-skied day.
“When your life is turned upside down,
somehow the rest of the world
remains rooted and upright.
You must fight to find a way
to stand tall again.
And then the real work begins
as you learn
to see that world
with new eyes.”
—- Sister Rain
Piper, our rescue parrot, is the most independent being I have ever met. Since we adopted him six years ago, I have tried to get him to allow me to cup him in my hands and hold him to my chest as I was able to do with our first bird. This guy’s not having it.
He loves to cuddle in other ways though. He will perch on my shoulder then sidestep towards my neck until he is pressed up against me, often buried in my hair. There is no way to tell where he begins and I end. Any chores I had planned must wait; I will not be the one to break contact with this warm feathered soul.
I love when Piper plays and causes his very special brand of mayhem, his spirit strong and unique. I even love it when he ignores me when I want him to step up onto my finger. He knows his own mind and feels safe and secure enough to act on it. But when he follows his heart, mine damn near explodes.
Congressman-Elect and former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw tells us what veterans still need. Instead of saying, “Thank you for your service”, he suggests we say “never forget.” “We will never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present, and never forget those we lost on 9/11.”
The calendar shows it was a few days ago, but never forget that every day is Vererans Day.
My husband and I were watching football at a bar in New York City yesterday and I thought how much fun our nephew who is 13 would have had. Obviously, the bouncer at the door would feel differently as would the state of New York but it was such a fun atmosphere I wished there was some way he could join us next time. Unless we wait eight years, it’s not happening.
As adults we can go anywhere. We have that right and the privilege. The past few weeks I have begun to stretch my wings, the way our parrot, Piper, does after a nap. I suppose in a way I have been asleep. My sudden loss of sight took my independence and ability to do what I want, or so I thought. Really, though, it was my damaged optic nerves sending this message to my brain. Of course there is much more to it than that: the emotional and physical play a part as much as the mental. And I am still finding my way. But I am an adult woman living in the greatest country in the world. I am free.
Please don’t let anything stop you from living a life of adventure, whatever that is to you. Men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, dads and moms have sacrificed so much for us, their fellow Americans. Don’t let them down. Or yourself.
Thank you to all who have served.
My closest friends and I share everything, from the minutia of our day to larger issues we are facing at home or at the office. As I read articles this morning about the most recent shooting at the bar in California, I thought about the fact that we don’t really talk about these tragedies. We may mention to each other how horrific they are but we don’t go much further. We’re all well-informed women, all proudly voting this week, interested in world events beyond Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. And yet we have discussed the royal couple much more often than we have the devastating loss of life at the hands of madmen.
Taking a look at myself, I questioned if I just don’t care? The definitive answer is I care. A lot. Have I stuck my head in the sand, taking an “if it doesn’t happen to me or to people I love, it’s not my problem” attitude? I have not. I hope you know me from this blog; I would be honest if that were the case no matter how that would make me look. So what then?
We have gone through so much together, the compassionate, smart women I share my life with: loss of loved ones, divorce, illness, financial struggles, events that rocked us to our cores. But the senseless killing of people just like us is apparently the one thing we simply cannot put voice to. We are all wives, mothers and daughters, all unable to not imagine the phone ringing with the unimaginable news. When physical pain is so severe you can’t cry out, you know you’re in dire straits. We are sharing these terrifying acts. Our silence is not a declaration of apathy. It is a profound hurt screamed silently between us.