I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sometimes the magic works

Forest in July
I am a bit flummoxed about what I might write about this morning, since last week's Sunday post turned out to be such a big hit. I realize now that I cannot repeat it, and after spending a good long while rummaging through my pictures, wondering what to start this post with, I ran across this one, and it brought back to me all those wonderful hikes in the High Country that I've made with my friends over the years. I could be wrong, but I believe this is the trail to Church Mountain.

When we first moved here in 2008, I never expected to find such a great group of friends, people I've now known over the last dozen years, people who have become kindred spirits as well as fellow hiking partners. Although many who were there in 2008 are no longer hiking, that's to be expected when you are in a group of senior citizens. Fortunately, I am still able to join them on most hikes. There are a few I will probably not do again, ones that challenged me even a decade ago and now don't hold much interest for me. But I can still enjoy most of them, even if they seem harder than they once did. Life goes on.

My friend Lily is still in Guatemala with her ailing mother, and she will return early next month, if all goes well. Getting her back across the border should not be a problem, since she has a green card and a job waiting for her, but you just never know these days. In the back of my mind, there is a little worry that our government will find some reason not to let her back in. And although she has been here long enough to apply for citizenship, it has become prohibitively expensive: you need thousands of dollars that may or may not help. It was not always this hard.

And then there's my friend John. He finished all the tests his doctors ordered to see if his aggressive prostate cancer has spread. He sees his doctor to find out the results on Wednesday, which just happens to be the eve of his eightieth birthday. Some of his friends are gathering on Thursday, and as of now we don't know whether it will be to celebrate good news or not. At least the biopsy was able to catch the disease early, before any symptoms developed. I've got my fingers crossed.

Caring about friends and family is a side effect of loving them so much and hoping for the best. But to be truthful, the older I get, the more we suffer from the debilities of age and infirmity. It's part of life, and the only way to avoid suffering along with them is just not to care so much. That is one coping mechanism that I haven't seemed to master, and I'm not sure I even want to. Distractions are helpful, though; yesterday I curled up in my easy chair with a good book, and when I finished it, I streamed a movie on my laptop. Turning on the TV was a mistake, since there was nothing on but the Nevada caucus and the interminable talking heads. Sigh.

It's really raining outside right now; I can hear the rain drumming on the roof, and the wind blowing as well. We had several fabulous days of full sun and mild temperatures, but that is over for the moment. We expect plenty of rain today. Good thing I've got all the right rain gear for the weather, since I'll be heading out to the coffee shop as usual but will work out indoors, if at all. Sunday is usually my day off from trying to get my 10,000+ steps. I am such a creature of habit, though, if I don't at least walk around for a short bit, I feel like I'm cheating.

See? I told you I am uninspired this morning. There is nothing pressing in my life that I haven't already mentioned, and I don't have any wonderful stories to lift me up out of the moment. This is where I usually open a new tab and go looking for some relevant quote, but I cannot even do that, since I don't seem to have any focus. I even keep changing the title of the post, looking for the right one for the moment.

On that note, Chief Dan George played the part of Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man, a 1970 film that I have seen a few times and really enjoyed. There is a scene in the movie where Old Lodge Skins decides it's time to die.
Back at the Cheyenne camp, Jack accompanies Old Lodge Skins to a nearby hill, the Indian burial ground, where the old man, dressed in full chief's regalia, has declared "It is a good day to die," and decides to end his life with dignity. He offers his spirit to the Great Spirit, and lies down at his spot at the Indian Burial Ground to wait for death. Instead, it begins to rain. Old Lodge Skins is revealed to still be alive, and says, "Well, sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't." They return to his lodge to have dinner.
 That is as good as I'm able to do this morning, and it seems a fitting ending for this post. Yes, it's a bit on the lame side, but that's what you get this morning. I'm looking forward to having more to tell you next week, but until then, I always have to take this moment to give thanks for the great life I am able to enjoy right now in this moment, with you along with me on the journey. My dear partner still sleeps next to me, and I hope he will have a wonderful day, as well as you, dear reader. Until next week, I wish you all good things.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Love is in the air


Rose quartz
I've certainly seen a lot of pink like this color around the past week, Valentine's week. Friday was the actual day, but it bled out into the surrounding days with all the beautiful flowers in the stores, the boxes of candy begging you to buy them (which I didn't), the lovely color bringing smiles to my face.

In yoga, our instructor read us a short parable at the beginning of the class. It was about someone walking along a sidewalk and seeing what looked to be a piece of rose quartz. So pretty! She stopped to pick it up and realized that it didn't feel right: it was too light and spongy, and then she realized it was just a piece of styrofoam litter. She dropped it, disgusted that it was not what she thought it was.

Nothing in the piece of detritus had changed, only her perception of it.When she thought it was something of value, she wanted it. But when she realized what it was, she dismissed it. How much our perception of things can change in just the twinkling of an eye. It got me to thinking about how I can change my own situation just by looking at it differently. When I'm getting ready to go outdoors and walk in the rain, I can be happy that I have all the right gear, or I can grouse about the endless precipitation.

It's the same for my physical situation: I can be happy that I am able to walk briskly, no matter the weather, or I can focus on that pesky ankle that hurts if I move it the wrong way. When I look in the mirror, I can see only the wrinkles and grey hair, or I can see a vibrant and healthy old lady. I can transform everything with a smile and a quick attitude adjustment. It helps to have friends and family to laugh with, and share humorous and uplifting stories with each other. Perception is everything.

My friend John is a good lesson for me. Yesterday at the coffee shop, I asked him about his brothers who both had developed prostate cancer and survived. What treatment did they choose, I asked. He doesn't know, he never asked them. Tomorrow John sees the urologist to make some decisions about treatment of his moderately aggressive cancer. Frankly, I cannot get my head around his cavalier approach, but it must be working for him. He isn't worried and doesn't seem very concerned. (I didn't tell him I researched it all and had my opinions about what he should do. Why mess with his perception that everything will be fine?)

Or maybe it's all an act. Perhaps he's really worried and being a typical male, doesn't want to get into it. He knows I care about him and perhaps he's thinking he's protecting me. I am continually amazed at how much he means to me, this coffee shop buddy who has become a dear friend, not just any old acquaintance, but a true friend. When I think of my first impression of him, that he was probably just an old redneck truck driver with nothing much going on upstairs, I feel myself blush with embarrassment at how wrong I was. He hasn't changed, but I have. I feel real affection when I look at him these days. And I'm worried for him.

Yesterday, when I was checking out Facebook, I saw that another friend had posted something from a website called Fractal Enlightenment. It really resonated with me, and so of course I joined up. Here's the wonderful story that she shared:

Kafka (1883–1924), who never married and had no children, was strolling through Steglitz Park in Berlin, when he chanced upon a young girl crying her eyes out because she had lost her favorite doll. She and Kafka looked for the doll without success. Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would look again.

The next day, when they still had not found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter "written" by the doll that said, “Please do not cry. I have gone on a trip to see the world. I'm going to write to you about my adventures."

Thus began a story that continued to the end of Kafka’s life.

When they would meet, Kafka read aloud his carefully composed letters of adventures and conversations about the beloved doll, which the girl found enchanting. Finally, Kafka read her a letter of the story that brought the doll back to Berlin, and he then gave her a doll he had purchased. “This does not look at all like my doll," she said. Kafka handed her another letter that explained, “My trips, they have changed me." The girl hugged the new doll and took it home with her. A year later, Kafka died.

Many years later, the now grown-up girl found a letter tucked into an unnoticed crevice in the doll. The tiny letter, signed by Kafka, said, “Everything you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end, love will return in a different way."

Here I am on my Sunday morning, with a new subscription to enjoy every day, and a post almost finished. I'm feeling pretty fortunate to have so much love surrounding me, and my dear partner sleeping quietly next to me. I'm sending him lots of love, encircling him with my love and respect. I'm glad to be able to sit in front of my computer every Sunday morning and open up to the universe and let it flow through me. I am also sending love and gratitude your way, too, can you feel it? Until we meet here again next week, I am hoping that you will have a loved-filled wonderful period ahead. Be well until then.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Friends of my heart

Fearsome foursome
This picture was taken (a group selfie) on Christmas Day when the coffee shop was closed. They are some of my dearest friends now, and sometimes I wonder just how it all happened. I've known Gene the longest, him of the Santa beard. He was at the coffee shop when I first went there almost a dozen years ago now. Lily and John I've known for a lesser amount of time, but they are just as precious to me. These are friends of my heart, family in almost every way.

Lily has been going through an exceptionally hard time in her life. She left this week to travel home to Guatemala to be with her mother, who faces an uncertain future. Her mother survived esophageal cancer twelve years ago, and now it's returned after all this time. Her mother doesn't want to go through another bout of treatment. Lily took leave from her job and spent a long day of three separate flights to get there. She should have arrived yesterday, but I haven't heard from her yet.

Gene drove her to the airport in Vancouver, Canada, because the flights are much cheaper from there, versus Seattle, even though she flew on an American carrier. Gene was willing to get up at 4:00am and head across the border to get her to the airport. I offered, but Lily knew I have never been to that airport before, and she worried I might get lost. Better to have Gene do it, since he's very familiar with the area. Gene turned up at the coffee shop before 8:00am, and he said they had no problems crossing the border. I do hope she will have no problem on the return, since she only has a green card and being from Central America these days, there is no guarantee that they will let her back in.

Last week John had a biopsy of his prostate, since his PSA numbers had recently spiked. He told me the doctor called him in the evening to tell him the bad news: he does have prostate cancer. His father died of the disease in his fifties, and both of his younger brothers have developed it. Apparently there are different severities of the cancer, and he has a more aggressive form of it, so he will need some sort of treatment. I was very upset by the news, but he took it in stride. I think I slept more poorly worrying about him than he did! Not that worry ever makes anything better, but some of us can't help it. I'm a world class worrier.
That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. —Chinese Proverb
Yeah, right. I've got nests in my nests. I've struggled with worry, trying to find ways to cope with it, but so far I've been unsuccessful. I think if you let yourself love freely, you care very much about the lives of your friends and family. And as we get older, things happen to each of us that must be dealt with. It's the way life works, and the only way I've found not to worry is not to let myself care and look away from the difficulties they face. But that is a lonely and hard path to follow, I find. It's better just to let the nests build up in my hair. And keep my hair cut short.

What surprises me the most is that these people have become so dear to me, and they were just people hanging out at the coffee shop along with me. Gene brought John there one day, because he knew that John was lonely and needed some companionship. I didn't like John at all when I first met him, because he had the look of a conservative old redneck farmer, and I judged him. I could not have been more wrong in my assessment, and I've learned that looks can be deceiving. John is thoughtful, intellectually curious, and even more of a liberal than I am! And I've been the recipient of his kindness many, many times. I count him as one my favorite people. So I'll worry about him until we get this disease under control.

Lily is the only one of the group who is still in her working years. She is also going through a divorce, which will be finalized when she returns. She has the final court date in early March, and we'll celebrate when it happens. Lily used to live in our apartment complex, but now she's across town from me, so I don't see her as often as I once did, but we get together at least once a week. She goes on the Saturday morning walks with the ladies, and then she and I go out to breakfast afterwards. I already miss her presence and look forward to her eventual return. She's got a lot to deal with right now, so I won't bother her with my worries. I'll just keep them to myself for now.

For the moment (and really, that is all we have), things seem to be going pretty well at home with my dear partner. Yesterday we let go of our Verizon account for our iPhones and went to Consumer Cellular. There are a few glitches, but so far it seems to be working pretty well. I am happy that our phone bill will be reduced significantly, and that our coverage will increase. SG did all the research ahead of time, so we had all the passwords and account numbers to facilitate the process when we went to the store to purchase new SIM cards for our current phones. The tech person did all the work for us, which was really helpful. I didn't even know you could do that without buying new phones. But then again, I'm just not very tech-savvy.

Well, that's what's been on my mind this past week. A rather eventful one, but really not unusual for someone of my advanced years. As I get older, I find myself being more and more grateful for the life we've created for ourselves in our retirement. We have friends who care about us, and as we move through the weeks and months without any major health concerns of our own, I am indeed filled with love and gratitude for all our blessings. The ability to write, read, ponder and share, are all things I take for granted most of the time. It's important to stop and look around, taking stock of my wonderful life, and say THANK YOU to the Powers That Be for it all. Until we meet again next week, I wish you, my dear readers, all good things. Be well.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Revolutions

Trekking across snowfield
This picture was taken four-and-a-half years ago. It's hard for me to realize how many more revolutions around the sun have occurred since we headed back that June day, after having made it to Excelsior Pass. By the time we get back up there, it will be five full revolutions, five years ago.

What has changed during those five years? For one thing, I've gotten older but am still hanging in there with my exercise routine. That day, Linda and Ward were celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary, meaning that this coming June it will be 55 years! (That's Linda at the end of the long line.) I've worn out a few pairs of hiking boots since then, and am considering whether it's time for another pair. Some people think you should replace your boots annually, but I find that about three years of use is about right.

Today is Groundhog Day, meaning that we are halfway between the first official day of winter and the first day of spring. We are gaining three minutes of daylight with each passing day, and after today we will be closer to spring than to the dark days of winter. When I leave the house in the mornings before sunrise, there is now some faint light in the sky, rather than pitch darkness. And we are finally through January, one of the wettest months I remember since moving here twelve years ago. I think today is one of the first days without rain in the forecast; there are puddles everywhere, with the saturated ground unable to absorb any more water.

Since I always try to see all the nominated movies before the Academy Awards ceremony, which this year will be early, next Sunday in fact, I've fallen behind in my movie viewing. Yesterday I rented Rocketman, a musical about the life of Elton John, and still this morning several of the songs are rolling around in my head. "Your Song" just won't let go, and "how wonderful life is while you're in the world" and the tune is still reverberating in my mind as I write this. I didn't realize that song was one of his first big hits, written in 1970, since it seems so relevant today, fifty years later. Anyway, I really enjoyed the movie and think the actor who plays Elton did a great job, although he wasn't nominated. Elton has been sober for 29 years now, which I didn't realize until I saw the remarks at the end of the movie.

There are a few movies that I guess I just won't be able to see before the ceremony, but if there are a few outliers that end up winning, those movies will be brought back to the local theaters. It amazes me that it's already time for the Oscars. In previous years they were held in March, so early February does seem a bit unusual. I will be watching, at least the first part, since I can't stay awake much past 8:00pm these days, and they always run into overtime. The winners are always on the front page of my local news the next morning, so it isn't like I won't know the results almost immediately.

What else has changed in the past five years? Well, we are gearing up for another national election, which sure seemed to roll around fast. Of course, four years isn't all that long a period of time, is it? I guess it depends on how you look at it. When I was a young woman, it seemed to be an interminable length of time, but now it seems like time has been accelerated so much that the march of the seasons is like a revolving door. No sooner do we get to winter than spring is right around the corner. In fact, primroses and daffodils are peeking up through the ground already! It seems way too early, but it really is right on time. It's only my perception that has fallen behind. It's already Groundhog Day.

I like Sundays. They always start the same way, with me getting up to make a cup of tea, open my laptop and begin the process of writing this post. Sometimes it really does seem like a mystery, since I have no idea what might be coming out, and I've begun to realize that it's part of the process of getting from Point A to Point B: just plop those fingers on the keys and starting moving them. When I went to bed last night, I thought I might be writing about the phenomenon of shame, since the movie triggered some old memories that relate to it. But that's not what happened. Instead, I got caught in the revolutions of the seasons, revolving doors, annual awards shows, and more.

And with that, another post has been written. I just looked up the lyrics for that song, and I would like to give you my favorite stanza. Here it is:
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world
That is how I feel about my blogging community. I am just so happy that we are all sharing this time together, and that you know that my gratitude for your presence in the world is boundless. Until we meet again next week (Oscars Sunday!), I hope you will have a wonderful and fruitful week. Be well until then.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Love, loss, and laughter

Lake Padden in late January
Yesterday we ladies met at Lake Padden to take our two laps around together in the rain. I think the last several weeks we've dealt with either snow and cold weather, or rain and warmth. We haven't seen much of the sun lately, but I much prefer the warm weather to the ice and harsh winds. You can see we had low clouds and a little rain, but mostly it was pretty darn perfect.

I noticed that my friend Linda did not have her dog with her, and I learned that she had to put Riley to sleep this past week, as his liver cancer had progressed far enough to cause him to be in a lot of pain and with no further treatment possible. I loved that dog, too, and grieve for his loss. It seems like many of us are going through similar difficulties. A blogging friend just lost her brother-in-law to a quick cancer death, too, and she is grieving along with her sister. I have several other blogging friends who are dealing with loss, both of their own health, or with loved ones leaving us behind.

It's part of life. If you love (and we all do), you must sometimes be the one holding the memories of happier times, and sometimes it's us ourselves dealing with our own losses of health and mobility. The older I get, I keep thinking it will get easier, but it doesn't. We wish we could stay young, vibrant and healthy forever. It doesn't work that way. We wish our loved ones would never suffer, and that in a perfect world, none of us would ever die. But then there would be no room for the new ones, and all of life would be stagnant and much less precious. We all must join the progression from birth to death, living our own unique dashes (the time between these events) in the most authentic ways we can.

No one who has lived long enough to have gray hair and wrinkles has escaped the struggle of trying to find a way to both let go of our loved ones and holding on to our precious memories. The hole in our lives will eventually ease up, but we can never journey back to the same place we were before. The interesting thing about it all is that we still find ways to love as fully as ever, maybe even more so, because we have been reminded that these moments we have are priceless and only exist for a short while. I intend to make the most of every minute of every day, and that means taking stock every once in awhile and looking for the little nuggets of life that sustain me.
I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can. —Linda Ellerbee
Yes, that's one of my favorite ways to cope with life's ups and downs: laughter. When I'm feeling really down, I know that if I can find the humor in the situation or in anything at all, I'll feel better. A good book that takes me outside of myself, or a funny movie that gives me a belly laugh or two, is a balm to my spirit. And it's not even cheating, since laughing and crying are definitely preferable to shutting down and feeling nothing.

One thing I have learned is that whatever I might be experiencing right now won't last all that long. Whether it's being hungry, or being too full, that will change before too long. Whether it's being sad and angry, or being filled with mirth, these are all transient emotions that will change over short periods of time. That makes me feel a bit better when that old familiar squeeze of sadness touches my heart. I know that I will also be feeling its expansion in love and happiness before too long. It's sort of like the weather: wait awhile and it will change.

I am no stranger to either loss or abundance. Like most of us, the times I crave the most are those when I have my loved ones surrounding me, and we are all laughing together. Those periods in life that I can recall with immense fondness, even when those loved ones who have moved on, these memories are priceless treasures that I will enjoy for as long as I live. If this were my last day, I realize that I have been given so much that I could hardly ask for more in this life.

And with that, dear friends, I realize that I've written another early Sunday morning meditation that I hope will leave you with some joy. Remember that whatever you are going through right now, it's part of being a whole person, and that tomorrow will be different. And don't forget to give thanks for the ones you love, for they are always with you in your hearts. My dear partner sleeps quietly next to me, my tea is gone, and the coffee shop beckons. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things. Be well.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Mid-January reflections

Our walking group yesterday
I've been walking with this group for years now, and yesterday's walk was the smallest turnout I've seen in all our various weather configurations. Nobody wanted to go out and walk around on the snow-covered trails. We've walked in a downpour, on slippery sidewalks, in windstorms, and even occasionally under sunny skies. But yesterday only seven of us showed up. Cindy sent around an email changing our venue from the downtown area to the trails behind Barkley Haggen's grocery store. We walked from there to Whatcom Falls and turned around. Not a long walk, but it had plenty of icy patches. It's a lot of work to walk on snow, but nobody fell, not even me!

After a week of below-normal temperatures and all this snow, things are gradually returning to normal. Yesterday it got all the way up to above freezing, and today should see much of the remaining snow melt away. At least I can drive around now without fear of hitting any ice and losing control of my car. When I lived in Colorado I learned to drive in these conditions, but I'm older now and much less confident behind the wheel driving in snow and ice.

And so many of my usual activities have been curtailed because of the weather. On Thursday, the Senior Center was closed and some intrepid hikers showed up anyway. One of the hiking groups canceled, and the other (ours) decided to hike around the Lake Padden upper trails. I decided just to make it home and stay inside, since the driving was still not good on side roads. I've had all the winter weather I need for the season.

Today my friend Judy and I will head to our local theater to see 1917. Neither of us are anxious to see this movie, another war film. And as many historical buffs know, this was one of the most awful wars ever. But the movie has garnered so many Oscar nominations that we will go anyway and decide how we feel about it. Yesterday I streamed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and watched it at home. I enjoyed it very much, and the performances by Leonardo diCaprio and Brad Pitt were wonderful. They have both earned well deserved nominations.

A few weeks ago we saw Little Women, which I truly enjoyed and, so far of the ones I've seen, would pick it as the best picture of the year. The premise is slightly changed from all the previous versions, and the performances are stellar. I don't understand why Greta Gerwig, the writer and director, was not nominated for awards, I really don't. I've read that it's partly politics; women are not supposed to be good at this sort of thing. Whatever. It is a delight and I highly recommend it. The period costumes are incredible, too.

It was a week of interrupted plans, but I still found plenty to enjoy. These days you can stay in your own cozy little abode and find lots of interesting diversions. I have read a couple of books and streamed some episodes of Star Trek on my iPad, and occasionally even turned on the TV and watched the news. I remember when it was impossible to stay up to date without watching TV, but now it's an afterthought. My laptop brings me plenty of news programs, and I can choose to read and watch what I am most interested in. I pay for access to so many national newspapers that I cannot keep up. It's sure an interesting time to be alive.

It was only a few weeks ago that the only thing I could think about was the condition of my back, especially the sciatic nerve that caused me to walk around like an old person with a bad back. Today I am still an old person, but the aches and pains of my back are completely gone. I credit my acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, and yoga for that wonderful state of affairs. I know that whatever difficulties I face in the future will benefit from these practitioners, too. Although I am still grappling with the fact of birthdays coming around way too often, I know that for my age I'm doing just fine. Soon it will be time for my annual wellness visit, and I'm hoping that the numbers in my blood draws will not show anything untoward. But you never know: it's important to visit the doctor now and then, even if you're healthy.

When I think back over my long life and reminisce about all that I once did and no longer even miss, such as my skydiving years, or my career that I left behind more than a decade ago, I am really quite amazed that I've found so much pleasure in making my own routines. My friends and family sustain me in many ways, too. Writing my posts every week also help to keep me engaged and mentally sharp. This morning I had absolutely no idea where I'd be traveling in these musings, but somehow or other I've managed to eke out some semblance of a blog post here. I like to write, but actually I like to read other people's writings even more. The blogosphere is filled with interesting people, and I visit some of them daily, too. What a full life! Where did I ever find the time to fit in a job?

Part of it is that I've slowed down and begun the process of letting go of extraneous aspects of life, and now I can just sit back in my easy chair and ponder just what I want to do with my remaining time on this beautiful planet. One thing I know I will never stop doing: realizing my great good fortune and being grateful for all that I am able to appreciate and enjoy. I am guided by those who are also traveling this path with me, and learning how to find gratitude in everyday little pleasures.

It's way more fun to think about the good stuff than to be a grumpy old curmudgeon. We all have some of those people in our lives, and it's probably a good idea to simply smile and maybe even commiserate for awhile. But not for long; I'll be looking for people who are in love with life to hang around with. Just like any virus can be contagious, so can the benign virus of love. I'll spend my days spreading that virus, I hope.

So, dear friends, until next week when we meet again, I hope you will spread that virus and find plenty in your life to be grateful for. I have my dear partner sleeping next to me, softly snoring, my tea is long gone, and the coffee shop and my pals there are calling to me. Please take these days ahead to look on the good side of life; it's there for all of us, I know it is. I wish you all good things.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A change in the weather

Rain is easily dealt with
Today we are under a winter storm warning, with extremely cold air coming down from British Columbia, and lots of wind to go along with it. Right now, however, the situation is pretty normal, with rain and relatively mild temperatures. That is all supposed to change this afternoon. We've got not only cold and wind on the way, but it looks like our familiar rain will turn to snow.

I know that many of my blog family has been dealing with situations much worse than what we've got ahead for the next few days, but we are quite spoiled, with the usual Pacific Northwest mild temperatures in retreat and subfreezing temperatures expected for the highs every day. Yikes! My friend Judy and I are heading off to the theater to see Little Women at noon. If the forecasts are correct, we'll come out of the theater to a much different world than when we enter.

We try to see all the movies and performances that are likely to be nominated for Oscars, and there are quite a few that we haven't seen yet. Some are available for streaming and not in the theaters: I've already seen The Irishman and Marriage Story online and have a few more to see that way. The world is definitely changing, and I suspect that every year there will be more and more movies available right away for streaming, rather than needing to head to a theater. It's a little sad, in a way, because I really enjoy the community experience.

But there's no stopping progress, the changes that are coming every day, every week, and every year. Maybe it's because I've seen so much change already during my lifetime that I have become a happy traveler through these upheavals. Well, maybe not "happy" to see what is happening around the world today, but reconciled to the world under my feet no longer feeling quite so solid. I often use books and movies to distract myself from the world situation, and I have a daily routine that comforts me and keeps me busy.

That is not to say that I am not engaged with current politics, but there is just so much I can tolerate before it begins to drag me down, which does no good for anybody, especially me. My yoga classes have begun again after the holiday break, and they help a lot. It's interesting that I have purchased all the necessary props for me to have a daily practice here at home, but I just can't seem to do it without the impetus of a class, with a teacher and fellow students. Maybe one day that will change, but for now I have two classes a week that I look forward to.

My back problems have receded, with help from the talented bodywork professionals that I have discovered over the years. I actually have days when I have little to no discomfort anywhere. I went on a nine-mile hike last Thursday, and although I was exhausted at the end of the day, I was pleased that my knees and back held up passably well. Today is my rest day, where I don't try to reach my usual step goal of 10,000 (although sometimes I do inadvertently), so I won't be heading to the gym or yoga studio, just to the movies with Judy. That, of course, is after my excursion to the coffee shop, which does so much more than just give me a chance to ingest caffeine; I also interact with the staff and my coffee shop friends. The same people show up and sit in the same spots we usually inhabit, giving the beginning of my day a reassuring shape. I do hope this community will continue for a long time to come.

Once this cold snap passes, we should return to our usual winter fare of rain, with snow piling up in the mountains and leaving us alone here at sea level. I am not looking forward to the need for plenty of warm weather gear, and I just remembered that I have run out of Hot Hands and need to order some more. (I just clicked over to Amazon and ordered some.) These are invaluable for our winter hikes. Some people also use toe warmers along with hand warmers. These ingenious little packages last for up to ten hours and are nice to place in pockets or even inside mittens to keep us warm and toasty. Although they only are good for one use, that one use makes all the difference. One more item I don't think I want to go without.

Well, it's about time for me to think about making my way to the coffee shop. I'll pull out my down jacket, warm gloves, hat, and muffler to wrap around my neck. I hope I enjoy the movie this afternoon, since I've heard mixed reviews from friends who have already seen it. And then, once I'm home, I'll hunker down with a good book and hope the change in the weather will come and go quickly. Tomorrow I'll be riding the bus and not taking a chance on driving, so that someone else will be at the wheel.

My beloved lies here next to me, not asleep at the moment but on his way back to slumberland, while I make my way up and out of bed. Tea is gone, my willingness to brave the weather gearing up and catapulting me into the day ahead. I do hope that you, my dear friends, will stay safe and comfortable until we meet again next week. Be well until then.