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, December 31, 2017

Goodbye to 2017

When I was younger I did this
It's New Years Eve! Another year to say goodbye to and another one to look forward to. I see that it's already 2018 in Australia, according to my news feed, but we have a whole day to spend before the year is over. It's all a little bit arbitrary, isn't it? We decide these things and act as if they are written in stone, but they are just agreements we make with one another. Nevertheless, this year is soon to be behind me, and I'll make the mistake of writing down the wrong year for several days or weeks, before I get used to it.

It used to be when I wrote checks that I most often forgot the correct year, but I hardly write any at all any more, maybe a half dozen during an entire year, so I don't have to worry about that. It will only be paperwork when I write the year that I'll make the mistake. You know, getting used to -/-/18 as the date.

Wasn't it just the beginning of the millennium the other day? How is it possible that the years have flown by so quickly? We are almost two decades in, and our world has changed in many big and small ways. The smartphone revolution had not even begun in 2000 (it wasn't until 2007 that the first iPhone was released), nobody ever heard of Airbnb, for example, or Uber, or much else that we take for granted today. And look at how Amazon has changed our shopping habits, for example.

I just finished a quick search on the internet about the history of blogging, and I was surprised to learn how long it's actually been around. In the last twenty years, it's become a major social phenomenon. I've been blogging myself now for almost a decade, with it beginning as a way for me to keep myself entertained and stay in practice with writing after retirement. And yes, it's done the job quite well. I never for a moment imagined the community that would develop around blogging. Before I sat down to write my Sunday morning meditation, I checked out those who had posted while I slept. People who I will never lay eyes on have become as important to me as family members, and in some cases even more so.

One nice thing about the end of one year and the beginning of another is a chance to take stock of how much has (or hasn't) changed during our last revolution around the sun. The seasons come and go, three months at a time, and we move from chilly and frozen to hot and humid without actually noticing a daily change. The sunlight grows weak in the winter and bakes the ground in the summer. Same sun, different season. Up here just a bit south of the 49th parallel, our days are very short in the winter and long in the summer. From Wikipedia:
From a point on the ground at this latitude, the sun is above the horizon for 16 hours, 12 minutes during the summer solstice and 8 hours, 14 minutes during the winter solstice. This latitude also roughly corresponds to the minimum latitude in which astronomical twilight can last all night near the summer solstice.
I have consulted Wikipedia and Google's search engine a dozen times already while writing this post, and that is all a very recent development. When I pulled up the last article, I saw that Wikimedia is asking for donations to keep it going. Since I am a very frequent user, I donated in less than a minute. Since it's the last day of the year, it's fitting that it would be my final annual donation to a cause I care about. Yes, the world is changing right in front of our eyes!

Since it's also a perfect time for a short retrospective, I thought I'd share my favorite books and movies from the past year. To refresh my memory, I brought up the app my local library provides for me to look over the last year's history. In perusing it, I realized that this was the year I discovered David Baldacci, who writes gripping mystery novels. My sister had a book by him when I visited last year, and I've made my way through pretty much all of them. Frankly, I can't remember a thing about any of these books, so they are forgettable but very entertaining reads.

I also saw books that I enjoyed very much that had been recommended by bloggers whom I read regularly. One that caught my eye is Out to Pasture, a series of books written by a woman who wrote this as a first novel at the age of 85. I read every other one I could find and enjoyed them all very much. I also read Anne of Green Gables and the subsequent novel written at the turn of the nineteenth century, recently in the news, because of a new movie being made about the character. There are more in the series, but I'm in no hurry.

None of those books were purchased, since they are good for one read only. The ability to hear of a recommended book and simply pull up a new tab on my laptop and place a hold on a book, whether new or old, is really wonderful. I use it often when I'm reading blogs and someone tells me I should check out a book. In fact, I've got one I just checked out yesterday that someone told me about (I have no idea who) and came in this past week.

Movies are a little more difficult, since I don't have anything to remind me about my favorites this year, except for my faulty memory. In the past month I've seen a few I enjoyed, such as the wonderful Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill. He deserves to win an Oscar for this one. And I also saw The Shape of Water, a totally different kind of movie, a love story about a woman who falls in love with a fish creature. I loved it, but then again I have very eclectic tastes. Both links take you to Rotten Tomatoes, which tell you that other people have also enjoyed those two movies as well.

I could go on and on, but I'm not going to, since I have my day to begin after I finish up here. As I said in the beginning of this post, it's been a long time since I've celebrated New Years Eve with a party. I cannot manage to stay up that long any longer, even if I wanted to, and why would I? My nice warm bed beckons to me, and alcoholic parties no longer hold my interest. However, I had plenty of revelry in past years, enough to last me through the ones I have left.

Whatever you do with your last eve in the old year, I hope you stay safe and warm (or if you're in Australia, stay cool). Around here the temperatures will be chilly but reasonable, while they are saying in New York and other parts of the East Coast will have some extremely cold temperatures for the festivities. Brrr!

I will be getting up soon and starting my own last day of the year with my friends at the coffee shop, after having said Auld Lang Syne to my dear virtual friends here. Please stay safe and have the very best of the new year to come. Be sure to hug your dear ones to your heart, and remember those who have already gone before us. I wish you well until we meet again next week.


Mage said...

How very nice to read you this morning. Your words are a great way to start off the last day of the old year. Yes, books. As part of my retirement volunteer job as the ACS Discovery shop booklady down here, I'm getting to know many new authors. I'd gotten stuck in my reading. Now my mind is a bit loser in it's thinking.

May you have a wonderful year.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Happy New Year, DJan!

Tabor said...

You always have such cogent thoughts so early in the morning. My head is filled with steamy coffee and that is about it! Happy New Year and look forward to more blogging in 2018.

Marie Smith said...

With tear in eyes, I wish you happy day and Happy New Uear, dear Jan.

Gigi said...

Yes, I agree David Baldacci is an entertaining writer. I haven't read one of his in a while, I may have to go find one.

I'm with you - I'll be in bed long before midnight. I figure the new year will come whether I'm up to greet it or not.

Happy New Year, DJan!

Elephant's Child said...

A very, very Happy and Healthy New Year to you dear DJan. The year found her way in here without me waiting up for her. She knows the way - and has a key.
Can I add to your reading list? A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman - or indeed anything else he has written.

DJan said...

Thank you for reminding me of Backman, EC. I read all his books (they are all wonderful) and did write a post about A Man Called Ove:: eyeontheedge.blogspot.com/2016/06/bouquets-of-gratitude.html

Far Side of Fifty said...

No party here either...although I talked with a cousin today who said come on over for the big party tonight just he and his wife...I asked what time would the party get over 9PM...he said since it is new Years it might go to 10.
We are really really cold -33 this morning. Uffda. I went out for a bit with Chance this afternoon when it was -14...I might be getting cabin fever:0
Thank you for being such a good blogging friend, I appreciate you and your friendship! I wish you and your Smart Guy the very best in 2018. :)

Linda Reeder said...

I don't party, but I do stay up. We have reserved seats at the Southcenter IMAX to see Star Wars, The Last Jedi at 7:45 this evening, and then we will return home to watch the fireworks at the Needle on TV, and hear the noise makers in our own neighborhood.
I had a productive morning, picking up a few groceries, helping Tom with a job at Jill's house, going for a three mile walk and doing my floor exercises. Now I am trying to urge the Seahawks to a victory, but at the half it doesn't look good. I am sitting in sunshine inside my house though, and that's a good thing.
Happy New year!

Bonnie said...

Happy New Year DJan! May 2018 bring you and your loved ones many happy days, lots of long hikes in your beautiful countryside and the knowledge that there are many of us that appreciate you!

Linda Myers said...

I love your Sunday posts!

I am sitting inside, with the screen door open and computer in my lap, enjoying the Arizona sun and hearing my neighbors' voices across the street.

And I am remembering the lunch you and I enjoyed together in October. That was before your cataract surgeries, remember? How things change!

Hilary said...

Happy New Year!!! Hope your new eyes are fantastic!!! It is cold in NY, and we are holed up by the fire....no revelry for us!!

Red said...

You keep extremely active with a wide variety of activities. As a result you keep very well in body and mind. Some how or other we were allowed to survive after some years of parties. 53 years ago tonight I took my wife out on our first date! Much happiness and success to you and smart Guy in 2018.

The Furry Gnome said...

Hope you have a wonderful 2018 DJan!

Anonymous said...


Arkansas Patti said...

The new year all ready started before I got here. Know you are going to have a splendid one, especially with your new vision.
I quit ringing in the new year party wise when I quit drinking. Wild partying is nothing you want to see sober:)
Enjoy 2018 Djan and all the promise it holds.

Rita said...

Happy New Year's Day! And so it begins.
I am always amazed by how much you read and all the movies you see at the theater besides all the hiking, walking, yoga, and coffee klatching you do every day. You are an inspiration to me and I always pay attention to your movie and book recommendations (even if I can't read as much anymore). May this be a good and kind year for all of us. :)

Dee said...

Dear DJan, I wish you well as well. I haven't seen any movies this year but hope to see the Churchill one this coming week. As to books, I've read many and sundry mysteries but my favorite of the year is a book written for children, probably ages 10 to 14. It's called "Redwall" and reminds me so much of "Watership Down," which was my favorite book many years ago. I hope you continue being gracious to yourself. You are dear to so many of us. Peace.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Out year was filled with many family events and travels. We stay up and even put on party hats after a simple dinner when we stay at home like this year. We have bubble fruit juice to sip from a chanpagne glass as we no longer have alcohol in our home. Hubby got himself sober a week before I headed to UK in June 2016 leaving him in charge of Buudy while I helped with our first grandchild. I am so glad he has maintained this. This coming June the next baby will hopefully arrive safely but I have no idea if I will make another trip. Time will tell.
Have a safe and healthy year filled with the joy all brings to you.

Rhapsody Phoenix said...

Blessings and happy new year.
All the best for 2018. I wish you health, happiness, love and bone deep joy.

I have been blogging for a while.....i enjoy it, though i have fallen off a bit.

Shweta Shah said...
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