|From Astronomy Picture of the Day|
Yesterday the stakes changed in the political election, big time, when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep. Now every one of my news sources is screaming about the fight ahead to keep Obama from appointing another liberal justice to replace the very conservative Scalia. It's enough to make me want to hide under the covers until it's all over. Just when I thought I could handle it all, the incredible rift right down the middle of my country has been exposed in all its horror. It's like a trainwreck I cannot look away from. Hopefully reason will prevail, but nothing I've seen so far gives me any cause for optimism. I'll watch the PBS News Hour, Downton Abbey, and avert my eyes from the rest of TV for awhile.
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When SG and I decided to move away from Boulder in 2008, we didn't know where we really wanted to live except that it was already decided that it would be somewhere on the west coast. Sometimes people are really surprised to find that we moved from a sunny climate like Boulder's to the wet Pacific Northwest. But as the years have gone by, I realize how supremely lucky we have been to find this spot in Bellingham to live out our retirement years. It's eight years on, and although we only thought we'd be here for awhile as we explored the area to find the exact right place, we've never seen any reason to be elsewhere. For us, it's perfect.
Facebook is wonderful for me, because I can still virtually visit all my old friends in Boulder and see how they're getting on. I now have many local friends, too, so it's possible for me to be connected to the past and the present at the same time. When I first moved to Boulder in 1974 it was a very different place than the one we left in 2008. Time moves on and small, incremental changes are unnoticed until something reminds me of how much I've changed, and how different the city has become. A new Facebook friend showed a picture of himself at what was once my favorite restaurant in Boulder, and I recognized it immediately. Memories came flooding back, and I was glad to discover that it is still in operation. I was there on its opening day many years ago.
We don't go out to eat together much any more; it's not that the choices for places to dine in Bellingham are fewer, but we've changed. We don't need as much food as we once did, and we made a conscious decision to find other ways to celebrate special occasions other than eating out. It's more important to both of us to be healthy and find ways to keep our aging bodies fit than it is to eat more than we need. And as we all know, eating out always results in leaving a restaurant having eaten more than we would have at home. These days we go for a walk or watch a movie together, and it's working quite well. We still find ways to celebrate without food being the centerpiece.
And we are still each other's Valentine's. My life is complete because I have a wonderful partner who thinks about what I need and like and doesn't even have to ask any more. As time goes by, I realize that I lucked out this final time around the marriage carousel. My first ones were just warmups. It's hard to believe that we've been together now for 23 years. That means we've been together for almost twice as long as all three of my previous marriages added together! No wonder I get such a sense of satisfaction about our partnership; it's probably going to last.
As much as anything is going to last, that is. The nature of life is change, and that reminds me how important it is to be grateful for today and to stop and take stock of who I am today, where we are today, and how much there is to appreciate in our daily lives. After I finish this post, I'll climb out of bed and do my morning exercises before heading down to the coffee shop for my usual latte. By that time my partner will probably still be sleeping in bed. Our habit is that I awake earlier than he does, so I get my cup of tea and laptop and come back to bed to read or write posts while he snoozes, probably comforted by the familiar sounds as much as I am by the sound of his gentle breathing.
When I return from the coffee shop, he's up and around and has started his day. We spend some time together, talking about various things and perhaps even making a plan for the rest of the day. It's Sunday, so the day is a bit more fluid than the weekdays. Even though I no longer go to work, I have a routine that is quite fulfilling for me. I am one of those people who really appreciates having a routine that varies little from day to day. Other people like more options in their daily lives, and that's fine. It's just not my cup of tea.
Ah. Speaking of cups of tea, mine is empty, the post is almost finished, and I found a short little video that ties together the first and last parts. It's a two-minute celebration of love.