A Different Year


We’re less than 24-hours out. The start of a new year, a new beginning, a chance to do things over, better or different. And, boy will it be differen for me. I will begin 2022 without Piper.

Since October 2008, she has been my constant companion. Although she shared the limelight with her brother Cooper until March of 2014, she ruled the roost from the very day we brought her home.

She was the feistiest of the litter and her personality pulled me to her like a magnet. I wanted to name her Palin (appropriate for the times) but was outvoted by my husband (at the time). He thought it was too controversial. So, I named her Piper. Little did he realize, Piper was Palin’s daughter’s name. Guess, I got the last laugh.

Piper was bossy, sassy, and pranced around like a princess. She knew when I felt low or sick and stuck to me like glue. She was there when my husband left, through three moves, and every illness I faced. When we moved into our new home, she guarded the corner like it was her own special place in the world. Our neighbors knew her well.

Her favorite places were perched on the top of my sofa, or the pillow wrapped around my head every night.

When I returned to work to help out with Covid, Piper sulked. She didn’t like me being away. Janet, Bill & Missy, her surrogate family, and next-door neighbors were gracious enough to take her into their home on the days I worked. Piper loved them and they, her. Those days of walking with Missy and lying next to Janet or Bill brought joy to her life and I’m forever grateful. You can check out Janet’s tribute here, Piper.

On December the 20th, Piper became very ill. She was in excruciating pain from massive tumors that seemed to appear from nowhere. She had been with me through every joyous and hard moment in my life over the last thirteen years. Now, it was my turn. I could not help – except to let her go; anything less would have been selfish. It was heartbreaking. I loved her. She’d been there for me. The least I could do was be there for her.

Just like when I had to say goodbye to her brother, Cooper, I wrapped my arms around her and told her all the things she meant to me, how much I loved her, and all the things I would miss. Then, I sang to her – “You are my Sunshine.”

Piper brought so much joy to my life and to those around her. She took her job, being my sidekick, protector, and partner in crime seriously and along the way, taught me a few life lessons.

She taught me loyalty, the power of touch or a snuggle, the joy of a walk even when you didn’t feel like it, and the importance of making connections.

Piper, in the short time we lived in this neighborhood, left her mark. For a week after her passing, I couldn’t go to the door without finding a flower arrangement, gift, cards, or other expressions of sympathy. The whole neighbor felt her loss.

I pray when my time comes, my presence will have such an impact and legacy.

Christmas was different this year. We missed Piper, a favorite time of year for her. There will be many more occasions we pause and remember our girl. Our fur babies are family and a gift from God. I’m grateful for all the love and memories of the last thirteen years. I am confident she is running through the fields next to Cooper and have no doubt, they will one day run to meet me with their tails wagging and bunches of kisses.

Here’s a look back at Piper being Piper.

Making Connections


It isn’t news to anyone, the last year and a half has been trying, isolating, confusing, and damn right depressing. We’ve had to acquiesce, adjust, change … whatever – pick a verb – to a different way of life.

I’m not here to discuss the pros, cons, or any of the contradictions, theories, or suppositions about where we all now find ourselves, but to talk about a few observations.

People are crying out for connections.

It’s funny after turning into a society that has forgotten how to read facial expressions and largely communicates through text & emojis, we find ourselves craving to see each other and have a real conversation.

The masks, whatever you believe about their merits have robbed us of the very things we took for granted. They obscure the most important part of us in which we communicate – our facial expressions, a smile, a grimace, a frown, or a look of pleasure.

Suddenly, I find myself focusing on the eyes – the window to the soul as they say. I listen harder because words are muffled behind masks. I watch for a furrowed brow, brimming, squinted, or narrowed eyes. I listen to the tone of their voice. Is it pitched, low, loving, angered, or just tired?

I’ve become an active listener. We all have out of necessity.

On occasion, I meet someone without a mask. I don’t rush to judgment or ask about their vaccination status. I’m not afraid but thrilled to see a face and 99% of the time, a smiling face, eager to converse greets me back. I smile and speak and they respond. There’s an openness, a hunger to connect and we do.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a stranger in an elevator, on the street, in a store, or a nail salon – I feel an immediate connection. Sometimes, it’s brief and sometimes it stretches into minutes or hours. It’s as if neither of us wants it to end. It’s been so long, but we’re paying attention now. We’re looking for those opportunities. We’re really listening; not twiddling with our phones, or distracted. We’re hanging on to that moment of human-to-human connection as if by a thread.

These are difficult times, but we need each other. We need to connect, look each other in the eye, focus on the words we exchange, the stories we share, and cherish every connection.

We are not each other’s adversaries. We don’t all march to the same tune, but we are all the same and our connections make the world a better place.

We’re all in this together. Don’t ride it out in fear or alone. You’re not alone. We’re all right here, ready and eager to make connections.



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