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Handheld Devices

As I entered the Apple store, I expected my iPhone to light up and start vibrating. I had this vision of all the devices there welcoming my 6+ back to the Mother Ship, communicating with it a la the Furbies of the late 90’s. All was silent though and as I walked through the brightly lit space, I saw with my impaired vision the outline of heads bowed over phones, tablets and watches, the humans working together to diagnose and treat electronic extensions of flesh and blood.

Like it or not, we are as attached to our technology as we were to our stuffed animals once upon a time. Most of us take our devices to bed and reach for them as soon as we wake up, even in those middle of the night when biology calls. Not nearly as soft and cuddly, we keep our electronics perpetually clasped in the same hand that once held a bear’s paw or a bunny’s ear.

It suddenly made sense to me in that shopping mall. Our iPhones belong to their counterparts no more than the doll we found under the Christmas tree still belonged to Santa. Once you have your first tea party or send your inaugural text, you become an inseparable pair. The robots may take over the world someday, but if and when they do, I plan to be holding mine in my hand.

 

Spring In My Steps

I hate working out. Hate it. I don’t derive the euphoria that you hear about, but I do it 5-6 days a week because I know it’s good for me physically.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I have been having a hard time emotionally since the beginning of the year. I’ve been fragile and stuck, unable to right= myself. I’ve also had a chronic foot injury and the conditions of winter in Pennsylvania to contend with. Many miles were logged on the bike in my bedroom during the cold, gray, icy months, my usual neighborhood power walk on the shelf until nicer weather and a third cortisone injection was administered. But the temperatures were perfection last week, the sky bright and blue, the foot pain free after its recent shot.

Time to walk.

As I headed up a long, steep hill soon after leaving my house, I felt stronger than I have in months both physically and mentally. Music fueled my every step and I was introduced to flickers of excitement about my future for the first time since last fall. Unexpected things are always happening to my body, consistently rare and strange. Could it be that I have suddenly acquired endorphins?

As I rounded the last corner of my route and headed for home, I suspected it was more of a spring cleaning situation: fresh air, clearing out of the cobwebs and the junk. Birdsong had replaced the drone of our heater, my dry winter skin was now warmed by the sun and moist with sweat, my sneakers confidently made contact with clear sidewalks covered in ice only weeks ago. I tend to dislike when people say that the nicer weather will change how we feel because I am mostly in my house compared to they who are out in the world much more than I am. And yet I definitely uncovered something new on that walk: the old me. I never get the high, but on one beautiful April day, there was an “I” in my workout.

 

We Were Quite A Pair

“Scuff your shoes when you go out.”

You have been gone 6 years, 10 months and 0 days and although I still find it incredibly difficult to think about you for more than a few minutes, you are with me in everything I do. As soon as my new shoes hit the first cement step off our wooden porch, your voice instructed me as it has since my shiny white Mary Jane’s were buckled for my debut as a flower girl in a neighbor’s wedding. You didn’t want me to slip and hurt myself on the pristine soles and you reminded me of this practice with each new pair until I moved into my own place at 23. Nike, we bought a lot of shoes together over the years during our shopping trips!

Though you are gone from my sight and my touch, all that you taught me remains. I know how to lessen my chance of falling, but more importantly, because of you, I know how to pick myself up when I do.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you and miss you with every step I take.

 

Look At It This Way

I woke up blind without warning at 47, at the point where getting older had started to change the way I looked at life. It was a double-whammy of sorts but in retrospect, what better time to have your world turned upside down than when you have just begun to stand on your head?

 

Self Serve

If you could easily obtain one of the following, which would you choose? Which one do you need more than the others?

Love
Forgiveness
Faith
Patience
Freedom
Peace
Strength
Inspiration
Understanding
Confidence
Healing

We are all struggling with something. I certainly am. As I look over the list to consider what I most require, I realize that it is ever-changing. Yesterday I was desperate for strength, today patience. I can’t predict what my supply and demand will be tomorrow but I do know this. Whatever it turns out to be, I’m going to have to get it myself. Sure, we receive support from others, but no one but us can provide them for us. The only place to look is inside yourself, the most difficult spot of them all anytime, but when you are desperate for relief, turning inward for the result is like doing a google search with most of the keys missing.

I know this is how we grow but I would have no problem downloading “Inspiration” from Amazon like a Kindle book or picking up “Confidence” at the grocery store along with milk and bread. I’m pretty every single one of the above words would be found in the ice cream aisle. I’d sure risk the brain freeze, how about you?

 

My Spirit Animal

Piper went through a lot in his first six years, at one point he was part of a family with three other parrots, then surrendered to a bird rescue caring for over 200 birds. He was hatched in Florida and lived in New Jersey and New York, and these are just the locations we know about. 

As is to be expected, there was an adjustment period for all of us when he adopted my husband and I and, quite honestly, it took more time than I expected for trust to be gained. But as with all healing and recovery, it took as long as it took and could not be rushed. 

Piper has been with us now longer than he hasn’t and has us trained to his whim and his will. Yesterday, he bit me. The chomp was not the chomp of years ago when he was unsure of yet another new environment and unfamiliar people. I was insisting he “step up” onto my finger and, well, he didn’t want to. In his defense, I surprised him and sometimes his flight or bite instinct causes a lunge. I should know better than to have startled him. After all, our relationship is a two-way perch.

Piper is sweet and cuddly. He will sit on my finger or shoulder for long periods of time, preening his feathers or my hair, purring contentedly, eyes heavy with sleep. But he is also a spitfire; his spirit has not been broken by the upheavals of his life. As he perched on my hand only seconds after the nip, cleaning himself, I admired his spunk. He is, for all intents and purposes, who he always was, with the soft edges only love and security can bring about.

I have been struggling emotionally these last few months, feeling unmoored and sad for the majority of 2019. My therapist, friends and husband have been there for me, offering support and understanding. And with the minor sting of a beak, I had a major realization. If I am looking for an inspiring example of strength and resilience, I need not look further than my stinging finger.

 

 

*** Photo credit: Auntie D

 

Location, Location

My husband and I watch House Hunters International together and always try to guess which house the buyers will choose of the three they are shown. In a recent episode, the husband wanted the property on Mars, the wife preferring the one on Venus. My Martian and I were in agreement that one of them was going to have to compromise in a big way but our perspective on how that would occur pspeaks volumes.

My husband: “He may cave.”

Me: “She may bend him to her will.”

In real estate and relationships, it’s all about where you’re coming from.

 

Four Score, Seven Years And Two Great-Uncles Ago

I recently discovered that my great-great-grandfather served in the Civil War and although he was not at Gettysburg, his brother was. My two-times-great-uncle’s name is listed on a plaque affixed to the base of the Pennsylvania monument located on the Gettysburg battlefield, along with his regiment and all the men from the state who fought there in those early days of July 1863.

Road trip.

My husband and I went to Gettysburg, and as my finger traced the letters of my relative’s name, I felt like I was on an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? I teared up, I felt proud and as I had been doing all day since we arrived at the National Park, I imagined what it was like for him and the other 165,000+ men on the very ground where I stood. One of the most surprising things I learned that day was that the fighting went on in the dark, soldiers shooting and stabbing at each other blindly, the north and the south indistinguishable.

It was a beautiful day after a long winter and cars were continually pulling to the side of the road, their passengers getting out and climbing the steps to take a closer look at the impressive structure. As I slowly walked past the 34,530 names listed on the bronze tablets, I realized if the other visitors had an ancestor who fought here, their soldier had survived the horrific battle. If they hadn’t, there would be no future generations on their family tree. I have always loved history and in that moment, it came alive for me in a new way. Our country was forever changed in all the ways that only a war can, and I’m not referring to the outcome, who won, who lost. If you are reading this, your great-great direct lineage made it through all the struggles and strife that grew this country. And that is pretty sobering to comprehend.

In the coming weeks I will visit the graves of my great-great-grandfather and his brother. I will pay my respects, think about the days and nights they spent fighting for my life, and leave a small American flag by their headstones. And the pointer finger of my right hand will once again follow the letters of their names, with great revereance, appreciation and yes, love, for two men I never met but got to know on a battlefield called Gettysburg.

 

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