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 14, 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

From Astronomy Picture of the Day
My goodness, that's pretty! I woke this morning wondering what I would write about here on this rainy day in the middle of February. Several things competed for dominance in my mind, but then I saw this picture on Astronomy Picture of the Day and I knew I had found my lead-in picture.

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.

* * *

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.


Tabor said...

What a lovely video. Would it be that all people find this kind of devotion and love at least once in their life if not for over 50 years. I think it was brave of you to admit your trial and error marriages, and wonderful that you now feel very solid in this current relationship. My brother lives in Boulder and he and his wife of maybe 20 years (he was a very late bloomer) have a regular routine. I think Boulder encourages that among people.

Marie Smith said...

My husband of almost forty years is a person of routine as well so I understand what that is like. Me, not so much, but I can live with it because I am more flexible, though not physically. You have found a balance in your lives that works for you both which is what is important in marriage I think.

The video is great. We have had same sex marriage in Canada for a long time now. I always look to my granddaughters who have learned that there are no boundaries to love/marriage and that families are people who love each other, not just the traditional family structure. It will be a different world some day in the not too distant future.

Linda Myers said...

Sweet video.

The comfort of routine - my husband Art is always at the table, reading the paper and working his puzzles, as I check out email and Facebook and the online news. On this quiet Sunday we will do a little project together outside until the Tucson heat drives us indoors. I love the routine.

And I have a great traveling companion! The memories we share are priceless.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We have a Border Collie, we may not do things at the same time everyday...but he knows the order in which they are done. This is our 49 th Valentines day together. Happy Valentines Day to you:)

Rian said...

DJan, it is an incredible rift down the middle of our country. Perhaps it's time for a 3rd party to come in... as with this 50/50 split, nothing gets done (or it takes forever to fight it out). Sometimes I wonder if it was inevitable that we would one day end up with this (almost) 50/50 split. The old saying, " a country divided against itself... " keeps popping up in my mind. I hope reason will prevail sooner or later.

And I'm so glad that your move to the west coast worked out so well for you. It seems like you have created a really wonderful retirement routine. And we love sharing it with you. I may never get to physically hike those trails, but I can do it virtually with you and your friends through your posts. Happy Valentines!

Elephant's Child said...

Love that video. And the photo.
And that you have found a home and a life with SG which works for you.
The skinny one and I have been together for 37 years now. We often irritate each other but also always love each other. And I am a routine freak. I need it.

Anonymous said...

It's good that you and your husband have a routine that satisfies both of you. Your lifestyle is different from mine, but I enjoy reading about it anyway. Cheers!

Arkansas Patti said...

Congrats on 23 years and I am so happy you have found the perfect fit. Happy Valentine's day to you both.
Hearing how the Reps plan to stall and bottleneck the selection of a replacement made me sick also. Kind of feel sorry for who ever wins this election. Being surrounded by brick walls can't be fun.

Gigi said...

I love that you called your other marriages "warm ups." They were meant to be at the time, which lead you to Smart Guy. Happy Valentine's, you lovebirds you.

Have a wonderful week, my friend.

Sally Wessely said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you and Smart Guy! I hope your day has been a good one.

I wish you still lived in Boulder. Then, I could see you more often. Hopefully, I will see you again soon. Hugs.

Red said...

Well, try being a neighbor to that rift right down the middle. We worry that things have gone too far to return to sanity. I hope I'm wrong. It's very satisfying to realize and know that you have found a solid relationship. What a day to talk about it!

Glenda Council Beall said...

DJan, I love this post as usual. The video made me tear up. I shared it with some people who will love it.
It has been seven years since I celebrated Valentine's Day with my beloved. But I had a nice day anyway.I am so happy you have such a wonderful relationship with your smart guy. Enjoy it every single day.
I agree this political mess is just too much. Why change the rules this year as to having the sitting president appoint the next judge on the Supreme Court. But all this means is more controversy among unreasonable people. I think I really like the Justices far more than the people in Congress or any of the political candidates running for president.
Have a wonderful week. I look forward to next Sunday's post.

Rita said...

I worry about this country, too. It's always scary when people can't see beyond their own noses. The country seems to have lost perspective--too busy fighting to see the forest for the trees, I guess. Even my sister and I had to limit our conversation topics decades ago because I am a tree-hugging liberal and she is a staunch conservative who probably cheered/joined the tea party people and thinks the gays are going straight to hell. "I'm not judging, God is" and the whole shebang. We had to compromise to be able to get along and enjoy each others company. I focus on her good qualities and I think she does the same with me. In Washington they seem to have lost the ability to find a middle ground and that really worries me.

Loved the video! But then I am a staunch believer in love...wherever we can find it. I am so glad you and Smart Guy found each other!! Life is good! Love is good! *hugs* :)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Today being President’s Day, and a holiday, my spouse is home from work and has been sitting here while I was reading your post. After I viewed the video she asked me to replay it for her … she was sitting off to the side and could hear but not watch. We both love that video! Thank you for sharing it. Congratulations to you and Smart Guy celebrating your 23rd Valentine’s Day! Enjoyed the post, as always, and one more thing … What a perfect photo to start your post! Wishing you a fine week ahead!

Linda Reeder said...

I can't think of any greater blessing than to be able to enter into old age together with one's life partner and soul mate. We are both fortunate.
I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into your partnership.

peppylady (Dora) said...

Stop in from Annie.
I too watch PBS and Downton Abby.
Well any president has the right to appoint the supreme court justices. Reagan in his last tern appointed Justice Kennedy.

I don't talk politics all the time. One of my friends went college in Bellingham.

Coffee is on

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Honestly, DJan, when you write like this, I see a book.I don't care if it's a memoir or fiction, but you've got the story that makes books.Write it in your head when you hike. Write it when you sip wine in the evening. Write it when you watch a sunset. Just write it.

Barb said...

Soulmates - I think we search for them, and we're lucky if we find them. I think every long term partnership holds together partly on (flexible) routines. It's comforting when you aren't the only one going with the flow.