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, July 10, 2011

A mixed bag

Peggy took this picture of me on Thursday while we were on our regular Trailblazers hike. I like it for several reasons, the first of which is it looks like me these days. My hair is getting very white, and my face is clean of any makeup. The expression tells the story of how I've been feeling this week, along with the title of this post: a mixed bag.

The last two Thursdays we have driven up the road to the Mt. Baker wilderness area, leaving Bellingham's sunshine behind and ascending into the clouds. Although it makes for nice cool hiking weather, there have been little to no views. I miss seeing my beautiful mountains. I did get to see them last Tuesday, since it was sunny and four of us took off for a new trail. Our big problem this year is the snow. You can't get anywhere above 4,000 feet without walking on snow, and several of our favorite hikes will be inaccessible all season long.

It was beautiful here on the Fourth. Being retired, I find that holidays no longer carry the excitement I felt when I had a day off from work. The buses don't run, the Y is closed, and my entire day's schedule is thrown off. There was no reason to get up at my normal time, but I did anyway, sitting up in bed and reading my blogs while drinking my tea. I buried myself in a book for most of the day and spent some time with Smart Guy. Other than that, I simply waited for life to return to normal. The fireworks went on and on, and I didn't get to sleep until very late. I watched from the window as they exploded over the bay, until I got tired of the noise.

Wednesday I spent hours in the dentist's chair getting prepped for another crown. I don't know when I became so anxious when having dental work, but I dreaded it and was tense the entire time. Olivia (my dentist) told me that next time, if I have someone drive me there and pick me up, she will give me a prescription for valium, so that I can relax a little and not be such a wreck. That made me feel better, although she offered nitrous oxide right then if I was willing to pay $50/hour for it. I declined. Just the possibility of having some relief made me feel better.

The day that the above picture was taken, I was suffering from discomfort as the new temporary crown, put in place the day before, needed adjustment. It was impossible to tell while I had all that novocain in me, but I knew that it wasn't right and that the office would be closed on Friday. Reconciled to the pain, I figured it would be next week before I could get it adjusted. However, on the way back down from the hike, once we reached cellphone reception (there is none in the wilderness area), I called to find that if I could get there by 4:00pm, they could see me. It was 3:00 in the afternoon, and I made it there with minutes to spare. Olivia was waiting for me, and with just a quick adjustment, all the pain went away! What a difference just a tiny little bump made in my mood! Olivia thanked ME for coming in. I walked out of her office feeling much better.

Yesterday was a really good day, which I wrote about here in my other blog, and today we will head down to Snohomish to play in the air with my friends. That's why this week has been such a mixed bag. I have spent a bit of time on iChat with Norma Jean, who is finally getting her life together. She leaves on Wednesday in her brand-new car for a three-day trip to Michigan, where she will spend some time with her son. This is her first new car since she graduated from high school, and it is one she wished to buy for years, a Mini Cooper. Pete wasn't a fan of small cars. It makes me happy to see her stepping into her own life, one that has a quite different flavor without him. She's through the hardest times, I suspect.

And now I sit in my bed, propped up as usual with my laptop, listening to the young flicker pounding away on the suet feeder and the rooster across the way that starts crowing at first light and doesn't stop for hours. The sound doesn't bother me, as it blends well with that of all the birds in the trees that serenade the dawn.

It's definitely the beginning of an interesting mid-July summer's day. I hope your Sunday is a good one, and I'll be back in a week.


Linda Hoye said...

I hope your Sunday is a good one too. Glad your dentist was able to alleviate your discomfort with the temporary crown.

Teresa Evangeline said...

This post has a nice peaceful air to it, despite the dental work. :) You are such a beautiful woman. Some people have a good feeling to them even though only seen in images. You're one of them.

I'm glad to know Norma Jean is coming into her own and has found a fun way to travel.

Rita said...

You look beautiful to me. :)
So glad you got in so that you didn't have to suffer the whole long weekend!

Anonymous said...

What struck me about your post were:

*the fireworks (I heard nothing on July 4) and

*the rooster crowing (lol - nothing like that in my neck of the woods).

Strange, because I live in Hawaii and one would think those sounds would be prevalent here. I suppose they are in certain areas, but not where I live.

Ah, well, DJan, I am so glad your sister is moving on with her own life. Great she finally has the car of her dreams and is spending time with her son. Can't get any better than that!

CiCi said...

I hope you pass your camera to your hiking buddies more often so we can see pictures of you on the hikes. I would not know by looking at your face that you were in any discomfort with a temporary crown. Personally, I like the color of your hair. I have temporarily stopped coloring my hair, have it cut very short, and will have one more hair cut to go to see what my natural color is. I hope it is as nice as yours is.

Going to the dentist is not something most people would choose to do. Myself, I won't go unless it is an emergency. I have not been to a dentist in six years and two years ago I lost a crown. Some day it will bother me enough that I will have to get it repaired. My choice would be to pull what tooth is left. That would make it two teeth missing on the bottom left. Do you have all your teeth?

Sally Wessely said...

Smiling through the pain: this is you. My first impression of the photo was seeing a woman who was at peace at where she is in life because she is showing us her face and hair as it is without makeup and hair coloring. Of course, I could not be objective because I know this is who you are. Then I read you had a toothache. I was then struck how this also is who you are. You are not deterred by the pain that gnaws within while you are focused on accomplishing what you set out to do. Being one who takes care of things that need to taken care of, you made that call and took care of the pain so you could resume daily living without being distracted.

Gigi said...

It sounds like you have a wonderful dentist - a good dentist is worth their weight in gold. It took me a while (and some pain) to find one.

You are beautiful and strong woman - that's what I see when I look at that picture. I also see what I've come to know as well, a good friend with a wonderful and giving soul.

Have a great week!

SquirrelQueen said...

You have an amazing dentist to have gotten in on a Friday afternoon, glad you didn't have to suffer through the pain over the weekend.

It's great to hear that your sister is getting on with her life.

Red said...

I always tell people that since I'm retired I never get holidays anymore. I get a strange look but it's exactly as you say, " Holidays sort of louse up your day." If we keep to a strict routine we can get many things done.
Is your mountain snow too soft to walk in? Here we can usually stay on top of the snow and it's not bad walking. We sink in two or three inches.

Donna B. said...

I have been wondering the same thing...I used to work in the dental field as an assistant and office manager...so I suppose my uneasiness is "knowing too much"...but I noticed I get very tense in the dental chair now adays...even for a cleaning...much worse than I have ever been. After losing my bridge, and having two empty spaces on my lower right side of my mouth...I worry about the other bridge on my lower left side... maybe I am waiting for it to go...then have implants on both sides...but we would have to take out a loan for a visit like that!!!

Anonymous said...

Such a great dentist you had to correct the problem so quickly. I once heard a dentist tell his receptionist who was trying to squeeze someone in, "No one ever died of a toothache." Hang on to your dentist. By the way, you hide pain well.
Seeing you in a jacket in July looks almost unreal but wonderful. Very jealous here in the 100+ temps.
Arkansas Patti

Trish said...

This post has in interesting feel to it - you describe a mixed bag very well! I agree with Arkansas Patti - hold on to that dentist!

Nancy said...

I know what you mean about dental work. I really hate going now. Maybe it's because our teeth get more sensitive as we age. I love your white hair!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Your hair is fabulous! You seem to glow with good health, even when in pain. Most of my weeks lately have been a mixed bag. Nothing terrible, just a bit of sadness that comes and goes, mixed with everyday life and several bits of wonderful fun. I just read your last couple of posts about loss, and I realized that my dad's death has caused me to miss my Mom, who died 31 years ago. Thank you for your deep and honest posts, because they always enrich those of us lucky enough to read them.

Stella Jones said...

I'm sorry you had all that discomfort at the dentist. I think they make a meal of it over there, from what I have heard or read. I must say that the ones I've had (8) now, have all been trouble free from start to finish. Perhaps I've just been lucky. It takes two trips to the same dentist, one to prepare and one to fit. The same man does all of it and usually plays some classical music while it's going on. It's all I can do not to fall asleep.
I love that picture of you. You look very pretty with your white hair (wish mine was white) and lovely smile. Very contented.

Anonymous said...

Life is a mixed bag, isn't it. And yet you had some good results - dental help to ease the pain, a quick fix at that! Your sister is coming through her loss and showing strength. Snow is keeping you out of the high country, but you have great walking trails near where you live, friends and exercise opportunities and farmer's markets and that dear little boy at coffee every morning. It'd say that bag has some pretty good stuff in it. And it's all there because YOU put it there.
Linda Reeder

Robert the Skeptic said...

That's funny your comments about holidays... we didn't buy fireworks or watch the city display. We griped that the noise was eating into our bed time. Is this what I have to look forward to in old age??? [sigh]

Friko said...

okay, a mixed bag, but that's life.
On the whole, I think you are a very composed lady; life has knocked you about a bit but you have kicked back and have come to a quiet understanding of yourself and those around you.

It's not too bad, is it?

Here's hoping it stays that way.

Sandi said...

It's a pleasure to read your blog! I thank you for reading mine, and spurring me on to try and figure out a bit more on how to update my profile, which I'll do at some point today.
You live in one of my all-time favorite cities! Our daughter is in Bellingham, having graduated last March from Western, and will begin her Master in Secondary Ed this fall. She's working this summer, in order to stay up there!
I, too, love to hike, which is what forced me to get the knee replacement, I couldn't go downhill anymore. (:
I'm going to thoroughly enjoy keeping up with you via your blog!

Far Side of Fifty said...

It is good to read about Norma..you don't mention her very often. I wonder how she is getting along with the two dogs. Adventurous!! I can imagine the smile on her face getting that little car out on the open road.

Isn't it curious how such a little thing like a tooth can wreck our mood for an entire day. I am the same way:)