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, November 4, 2012

Time change musings

Taken from the front walkway
My first week of having been summoned for jury duty was a no-show. I called last Sunday night and was informed that my juror number would not be needed that day and to call back the next night. When I called on Monday, the recorded message said that those who were serving on a jury should follow their judge's instructions, and the rest of us should call back the next day for further instructions. On Tuesday, we were all excused until our second week. I'll call tonight to find out what might happen this coming week.

I was a little disappointed that I didn't even need to report for an orientation session. I suspect that one or two juries were seated last Monday. They apparently summon many more possible jurors than they will need here in Washington state. I'm actually hoping that I will at least get to see the inside of the courthouse this coming week. However, if I get seated on a jury, hopefully it will not keep me from visiting my family in Texas over Thanksgiving. We'll see what happens.

The time change last night has caused me to wake earlier than I wanted. I really tried to stay in bed longer, but I wasn't all that successful. I lay in bed an extra half hour and then finally got up to make my morning tea and check all our radio-controlled clocks to see if they made the change. One of them needed batteries, since it didn't "catch" the change. Once I put in new batteries, it only took a few minutes for everything to show up properly in the display. I love atomic clocks!

When I wrote last week's post, my sister was traveling to the East Coast to be with her daughter Allison and granddaughter Lexie. In Arlington the winds and rain were not severe, but they lost power for half a day. They were all prepared for the eventuality, and everything returned to normal quickly on that part of the East Coast. The only problem I had is that some of my video chats with Norma Jean have been put on hold. I'll talk to her tomorrow before she heads back home on Tuesday. She had already voted in Florida before she left, so she'll be reunited with her sweet little dog (who she misses terribly) and her life will also return to normal for a little more than a week, before she also flies to Texas for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward very much to visiting my siblings, but I am not at all excited about air travel. Once upon a time it was fun, but these days I find it extremely taxing. Security lines, removing shoes, liquids in small containers... and then being crammed into a small seat for several hours with the inevitable screaming infant nearby.

In less than a month I will begin my eighth decade of life. More and more often I am reminded of my age. It's not only the aches and pains in my body, but the fact that memories of my youth belong to a period that no longer exists. I love the series "Mad Men" set in the 1960s because I wore those shirtwaist dresses and remember when people smoked everywhere. I was one of them. I smoked at my desk in the office, with my fancy cigarette lighter and ashtray part of my everyday life. The click of the lighter when I flicked it open, the faint smell of lighter fluid as it sprang into a flame. And the sensation of taking a long drag on a newly lighted cigarette.

I gave up cigarettes when I was in my early thirties, because it became obvious to me that I was unhealthy and overweight and needed to change my ways. Not long after I quit smoking, I started to exercise regularly, taking up running for many years, and then hiking up several of the Colorado mountains. Exercise became part of my life just as firmly as cigarettes had once been. That first moment when I stepped out the front door with a brand spanking new pair of running shoes is imprinted in my memory as the beginning of a sea change.

And now as I am turning seventy,  I can walk faster and more vigorously than I could fifty years ago. Because of positive life decisions made in my youth, the journey into the future continues to be bright.

17 comments:

CiCi said...

Jury duty is a waiting game, isn't it? I hope you get on a jury soon.

Your family Thanksgiving is a gift of love for all of you. Not many people travel far to be with family for holidays like Thanksgiving any longer. Not like it used to be. Sounds like I am saying "in the good old days", doesn't it?

Your decision to be healthy and live a smoke free life with plenty of exercise has paid off for you. I agree with you that your change in habits back then has led to your being strong, active, and beautiful now.

Whitney Lee said...

I hope that whatever happens with jury selection you get to head to Texas for Thanksgiving. I understand the reluctance to fly. As I've mentioned before, I grew up around the airline and have navigated airports from the youngest of ages. When I got married I gave up some of my flight privileges and haven't really missed them. Flying is such a hassle, so much hurry up and wait, that it's not at all a pleasant experience.

I'm glad your niece (and great niece), not to mention your sister, weathered the storm well. We were prepared for the worst here but got nothing but mild wind and rain.

My husband and I were talking about smoking just the other night. I gave up smoking when I was pregnant with my daughter, nearly 6 years ago now. There are times I still miss it, and you described it perfectly. That initial drag was great, but I'm glad I stopped. For several years now I've been hoping my husband would quit. He has stopped using cigarettes and has moved on to the personal vaporizer. It still gives him the nicotine but eliminates the tar and some of the other carcinogens. Plus it doesn't stink. I'll be happy when he's done with that, too, but thankful he's at least headed in a healthier direction.

Linda Myers said...

We'll be flying to Kenai, Alaska for Thanksgiving. When I'm heading to the airport, I think of it as a journey to something good and try hard not to take the inconvenience personally.

I quit smoking 20 years ago, but every now and then a puff or two still sounds like a good idea. Problem is, it wouldn't be just one or two - and I have family who died of smoking-related illnesses.

I see it's not raining at the moment, so I may lace up my own walking shoes and head out into the neighborhood.

Linda Reeder said...

No Thanksgiving travel for me, but my family will be flying away to Colorado. We get Christmas.
I never smoked. I over ate. Exercise has become an important part of my life.
I was up and down and awake too early because I am having back trouble again which is causing my leg to lock up and hurt all night. Getting old is not fun, but neither is the alternative.
Aside from that, which is tainting my attitude at the moment, my life is wonderful.
Once again I enjoyed your Sunday morning contemplation.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I quit smoking when I was 29 or 30, because I kept having bronchitis and eventually came to believe the surgeon general's warnings. I never smoked a lot, but people would notice and compliment me on my "graceful hands." Decided that wasn't a good enough trade-off! (I also remember my first time stepping out in new running shoes, but I didn't stick with it the way you did.!

Trish said...

Traveling used to be fun. You got served a hot meal and your knees weren't jammed up against your chin and there weren't any long lines for security. There wasn't any security at all. Hard to believe that world is gone.

Gigi said...

I swear two minutes before I clicked over here I was just cursing the time change. I find it harder and harder to adjust each year.

As for jury selection, I think they call far more people than they need simply because so many people don't even bother to show up or respond. It's kind of sad actually. I know jury duty can be a pain and an inconvenience, but it is our civic responsibility.

gigihawaii said...

Aloha, Djan. I am typing this in India and have thought of your many arduous hikes. I sure wish I had your stamina. I have not decided whether to go on another hike today, it will be a game day decision.

Red said...

Well, just keep on with those life changing practices. Smoking? Yes I'm guilty too. Quit when I was bout 26.

Jury duty? Yes, here they call about 100 people to choose from to make up one jury. However, you can go to the courthouse and watch a trial any day.

Bragger said...

A fellow former smoker - something ELSE we have in common. :) I see people smoking now (especially women, call me sexist) and can't believe I used to do that. I hope I am as spry and healthy as you are when I am seventy.

Retired English Teacher said...

I loved how this post was like a newsy update of your week.

Never more than an occasional smoker with my sorority sisters in college, I quit smoking cold turkey when I met my first husband who hated being around smokers. I just wish I would have taken up running. My knees hurt me even when I was young. I've always been a walker and a hiker until the last year. I hope to get back to it all soon.

Jackie said...

You certainly don't look as though you are approaching your eighth decade of life. Looking great...and I'm always happy to read your blogs. You can write...such talent you have.

Friko said...

I’ve never sat on a jury. You need to be a national of the country you live in to become one.

As for turning 70, how different can it be from turning any other age? Just don’t let it worry you, it’s only a random number, after all. I promise you there is life after 70; I know plenty of 70 year olds who are younger than many 40 year olds.

I agree, air travel is a great nuisance and I really don’t want to have to do it ever again.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, your journey continues to be bright and my admiration for you continues to grow. Peace.

CrazyCris said...

Very happy to hear the family weathered the storm ok DJan! Seems like Virginia made it through fine... one of my cousins was complaining she didn't get to use the generator she had bought! :p

I hope you get to be part of an interesting jury soon, but not if it keeps you from a family Thanksgiving! Family get-togethers aren't that frequent and are such wonderful events... I hope you can make it! In my family we've only celebrated Thanksgiving rather sporadically since we came to live on this side of the pond. It's harder to do when it's not a holiday, and now with the family in different countries my dad doesn't feel like doing the whole shebang.

Bravo to you for quitting smoking so early! I hope one day my mom finally quits. She's done it 4-5 times, never lasted longer than a year. *sigh*

troutbirder said...

I like your optimism. Way to go DJan...

dkzody said...

Time passes so quickly, doesn't it? Where did all those years go? I was just 30. Your activity and attitude will take you far in this next decade. Go out and LIVE.