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 7, 2010

Extra hour day

Today it will seem like I get to have an extra hour, since Daylight Saving Time ended this morning. It's funny how my mind works: there is no difference in the length of the day, but it seems like it. Now in the mornings it will be light out when I walk to the bus, and dark earlier. Here in Bellingham, the sun will set at 4:40pm, and by the end of December it will be dark before 4:00.

I have been asked by many of my friends here if the darkness bothers me. It seems that many people really suffer from the short days, long nights, and often-rainy winter weather. I'm not sure if I will one day feel that pain, but so far, I've enjoyed the warm cozy long evenings and have taken up knitting. Of course, my computer and the feeling of connectivity through my news blogs and the more than sixty-odd blogs I follow from all over the world certainly help. Through the internet, I read about the adventures of my virtual friends, most of whom are older, like me, with the occasional young mother whose children I love to read about and who fill another need. At the coffee shop four days a week, I visit with Leo, who I have watched grow from a baby to a toddler. He comes over to me with his latest book and plops it in my lap. He's beginning to talk now and knows my name. It means so much to me to see his beautiful, bright little face smile at me when he sees me.

The last few days I've woken from sleep with a positive attitude. I don't know what causes it exactly, because sometimes I wake with a pervasive sadness. It helps to remember that whatever feeling I have today is fleeting. It gets better, or it gets worse. I wonder if my age has anything to do with it. When I was a young woman, I couldn't ever feel that my situation would change; it felt permanent. Maybe this is one benefit of getting older: your perspective becomes larger, more expansive, and more forgiving of the human condition. It also becomes more precious, since I know that the length of my life is mostly behind me, and the years ahead are limited. That's okay.

I went to the endodontist this past week to get a root canal, since the crown I got in June has not settled down. My dentist had given me a referral, so I decided to have an expert assess the situation. His prognosis is that, for now, it's not necessary. He told me what to watch for, and said it may not ever stop sending me a twinge of shock now and then when eating or drinking. I also learned that 25-40% of all crowns will eventually need root canals, and as one ages, that percentage continues to increase. Things wear out, and our teeth are not immune. I remember when I was little, almost every person who was my present my age had dentures, and now it's not very common at all.

That reminds me of a woman I met when I was on a trek in the Peruvian Andes. My friend Marla and I were on a week-long trek into the mountains, and we followed a donkey trail to a little village named Colcabamba that our guidebook said was a good place to replenish our supplies. Well, nothing came into that village except by burro, so we were oddities indeed, two women arriving by foot. We were taken in by a wonderful Quechua matriarch, given a place to sleep and food for our journey. The woman and I had some common language: we both spoke some Spanish. I learned that we were the same age, 38. But she looked ancient, and when she smiled, she had only three or four teeth that showed, and all of them were dark and rotten. No endodontists here. No dentists, either. The Quechua chew coca leaves like we use coffee, and they also chew them with lime to release the active ingredients in the leaf. This wreaks havoc on their teeth. So even at a relatively young age, my friend in the Andes was not going to keep her teeth. But I will never forget her. I wonder if she is still alive, thirty years later.

I followed the mid-term elections closely this week, and I was so pleased that Senator Murray here in Washington won re-election. It was touch and go for awhile, and I had braced myself for the worst. Although the Democrats took it on the chin, I did my small part and voted for my local Dems. The health care bill was touted at the main reason we lost the House, but for my part, I am glad they passed it, even with all the political carnage it cost us. We only had a small window of opportunity, and what was passed was so weakened by compromise it hardly resembled the public option I hoped they would pass. But the foot is in the door, and I don't believe it is possible to repeal it. I hope it will be strengthened as the years go by, for the sake of my young friends, like little one-year-old Leo, who deserves to have affordable, accessible health care when he gets sick.

Well, that's the state of my world here on November 7, the day I get an extra hour. What's going on in your little place in the vast Universe?


Linda Reeder said...

I am loving the daylight and the sun in my window this morning. The sky is clearing, st least for now, and so is my mood. I awoke feeling down, but the light has helped. I guess I am sort of one of those people who misses the light during the dark months.
I too was hanging in there for Patty. And after calm ing down a bit since Tuesday, I'm gaining a more positive perspective of just what the election resultys will mean. There will be more political stagnation, but the jobs situation will only straighten itself out over time, and the President's commission on employment will report out in January, after which we can hopefully take some more positive steps. People will discover that their angry tea party candidates didn't have the answers either.
We're instructiong our financial advisor to put our small investment portfilio in more secure bonds, and pretty much get out of the market, so we can keep what we have. We are prepared to be our son's safety net until such time as he can get full time employment again.
We have purchased out season tickets for the Sounders for next year, and Jake's too. Then we bought our plane tickets for the three of us to Colorado for Christmas. We are Paying for a new window in Jill's house. All of that adds up to a chunk of chjange, so Merry Christmas, to us. All I really need to shop for is the kids. I wish I could hold to that!
The Seahawks play this afternoon, and the Sounders will either end their season this evening or advance to the next round of the playoffs. We'll be watching, in full gear.
NOw It's time to go out and get the newspaper, skim it, and then go outside and take advantage of the clear weather.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, as usual, Jan.

Good luck with that tooth. Not too long ago, I had to have a molar pulled. That molar had already gotten a root canal, but the tooth later became unstable and loose.

After extraction, I did not have enough molars to chew on, so I decided to have a dental implant. Cost me $1600 for the implant and $1600 for the crown, but oh so worth it. No regrets.

Take care of your teeth. Dentures are a poor substitute. But implants do feel like real teeth.

PeterDeMan said...

Glad to read about your tooth. Because of the way my BiPap machine dries my mouth out it's a breeding ground for cavities as saliva kills bacteria and not much there during the night. As to health care, I agree, don't think they can repeal it but, grab your socks; read this morning how the Cons will just simply deny funding to almost all areas of the bill; effectively rendering it moot. Ya just gotta love this greatest country in the world. Uh-huh!

Stella Jones said...

Our times of dark and light seem similar to yours D-Jan, although we are even further north. We put our clocks back on 30th October so Larry and I had to accommodate an even greater time difference for a few more days. I like the dark evenings. I love the cosy fireside, knitting, reading, sewing and drinking Ovaltine. I do not like the dark mornings AT ALL.
Sorry your tooth is playing up. Another lady on here is having the same trouble. Sometimes I think it would be better to lose the teeth rather than prolonging the agony. If your friend is still alive, she won't have any teeth left to worry her, I'm sure.
Never a day goes by when I'm not thankful for the health service over here in England. It is wonderful. However, it is not as good as it used to be. I'm old enough to notice the difference. There are just too many people and too many old people and the system is struggling to cope. There are not enough younger people working to support the ever increasing older agers. It is an ever increasing problem.
Blessings, Star

Linda Myers said...

I had a crown in February, and then a root canal, and I can still feel the tooth, though it's not painful. I've replaced the nightguard I wear to prevent nighttime clenching, but I guess it's just one of the benefits of having lived to age 62.

We're still somewhat on Italy time, so I woke up this morning at 3:30 instead of 4:30! Finally got up and got busy. By a couple of days from now I should be enjoying the increased light in the morning.

Leave a Legacy said...

Hi DJ,
I always love reading this blog. Our weather is very similar to yours and I feel exactly as you do about the cozy nights, knitting and blogging. I like the winter because I find I have more free time in the evenings for these things. In the summer I'm outside a lot and it's harder to fit in all the activities I enjoy.
What are you knitting right now? Would love to see some pictures.
Good luck with your tooth.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Here's a basic difference between you and me: you see it as one more hour in the day while I see it as one more hour of sleep. Either way it's good, right?

gayle said...

Getting dark around 4pm .....that sounds so strange to me. When I was younger I use to like daylight savings time the best..now I'm not sure which I like. They both have their pros and cons

#1Nana said...

When I was working the switch to daylight savings time was my favorite day of the year...a chance to get caught up on sleep with an extra hour and then, until my body adjusted, wake up at the regular time, but feel like I'd had extra sleep. now that I'm retired, it doesn't really matter. I'm not looking forward to the cold and dark of winter, but it rained last night and I did like the sound of rain on the window as I snuggled deep in my comforter.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I get cranky..no maybe that should be crankier with the time change..just that hour throws my body into a strange mood..when to eat..when to sleep..I hate the dark and the short days.. It was too dark tonight at 5:15 to take an outdoor photo..I think that sucks.
I keep busy in the evenings..working on stuff..my photos..my blogs and reading...and watching a little TV. Some nights we get together with the neighbors and play cards, especially in the winter. We watch Hockey on the weekends! Well Far Guy watches..I keep one ear or eye tuned while doing other "stuff."
I think all the politicans are bums..but you probably knew that..I think that the two party system is archaic and that eight years is plenty for anyone to serve their country..if they don't have it done in eight..they are just treading water and not working for the people. Hope and change isn't working so well..talk is cheap but it takes money to buy groceries:)
Oh I hate root canals too..I have had two this year..I must be ageing in double time:(

SquirrelQueen said...

I guess it's all relative but I had never thought about the days here being all that short even in December. Living in Anchorage the winters meant going to work in the dark and coming home in the same. By December there will be only five hours of daylight in that area, farther north it gets even shorter. Perhaps that's why I'm not bothered by it so much here.

Norma Jean said...

The end of daylight savings time doesn't really matter anymore, now that I am not working. Just a change.

I am profoundly depressed over the elections. I find myself having nightmares about what is about to happen. I have vowed NOT to get involved in politics anymore. I have decided to read books and totally ignore whatever is happening. As long as they leave my Medicare and Social Security basically alone it won't make a difference to me.

Donna B. said...

We are in CA visiting family, so I barely notice the time change. My grandsons get us up at the crack of dawn and we are too busy playing to notice when it grows dark. My eight year old grandson has taken up chess. We started a game tonight and were completely enveloped in our game... All of a sudden it was time for him to brush his teeth and go to bed!

Last March I had a loose bridge. When the dentist was removing it to recement it, the anchor tooth had a previous root canal, and it broke off at the gum line. He told me it would have to be pulled. I got a second opinion and the other dentist agreed to pull it. I went back to the original dentist and had it pulled. He suggested an implant or a four unit bridge.

His fees were way too high, so I have been searching for a new dentist with better fees and good reputation. I may have found a good dentist, but he referred me to an Endodontist to do the implant, because the ridge of my mouth, where the two teeth are missing, is too narrow. I see the Endodontist on Thursday, after we return from California..

I refuse to have a four unit bridge because he would have to drill down two perfectly good teeth to attach the bridge to it. I also have a root canal on the other anchor tooth, which is a molar. I think if I can't have an implant at a reasonable fee, I will resolve to live with a two tooth gap on my lower right side!

I am diligent in taking calcium supplements to keep my teeth and bones strong. We will soon see what we shall see....

Robert the Skeptic said...

I slept through my extra hour and missed it entirely.

CiCi said...

It is encouraging on the days you wake in good spirits, isn't it? Now that I am recovered at least spiritually and emotionally from the the move, I am waking in a better place than ever. I can only hope it continues.

Nancy said...

Great post, DJan. I am very grateful for my teeth, despite having to go in every three months for cleaning. Dentures would not be my choice ever, especially after working for a dentist who did full mouth extractions for dentures. :-(

Mel said...

I hope your tooth has settled down. My last crown ached and twinged for over a month, but it has settled down and I'm relieved to avoid a root canal. I tend to get very antsy in the winter months, with so much darkness combined with wind and cold. I take Vitamin D and sit in whatever patch of sun I can find to keep my spirits up. I will try to think positive like you this winter, enjoying the dark evenings for reading, fires, internet surfing. Maybe I need to learn to knit!
I never know where my moods are going to take me either, but I try very hard to appreciate the happiness when it is here, and endure the dark moods until they pass. I feel much more adrift and less constant than I did in my 30's and 40's, and I'm hoping to pass through these narrows into a more stable and comfortable 50's soon. This getting old business is very complicated and unnerving. I read that the worst ages for most women are the late 40's to early 50's and that it does get better. I sure hope so!
You have so many fascinating stories to share, I'm always amazed at your adventures, and your positive outlook. Thanks for giving me some needed perspective!