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 22, 2013

Christmas week

Our front porch
Often, when I arrive back home after my workout at the gym, I see this scene: Smart Guy standing outside watching for me. He knows when the bus will let me off, and that's pretty predictable. It was snowing a little when I took this picture. Usually he's got a cup of hot tea in his hands, but not this past Friday. You can also see the holiday wreath I recently purchased on the left side of the railing; it doesn't show up all that well, but it did get quite lovely with fresh snow on it.

Yesterday, after my usual Saturday walk with the ladies, I braved the crowds and went Christmas shopping for some last-minute items. I like to buy little edible treats for people I see every day but with whom I don't exchange gifts. It's just something to let them know I appreciate them. I was really amazed at how busy it is out there. I wouldn't even think of going near a mall, considering what a madhouse it was in the places I did visit. This is good news, I guess, for the merchants. Last weekend before a mid-week Christmas Day. I am not sure what I'll do on Christmas, other than talk with my sister in the middle of the day, and perhaps visit my other siblings in the same way. I just downloaded Skype onto my new Kindle, and this means I can talk with anybody who has a camera on their phone or laptop—if they have Skype on theirs, that is. Technology has changed everything: now that I can actually SEE people when I talk to them, I much prefer it.

Everything will be closed up tight on Christmas Day, which is as it should be. Except for needing a place to get my coffee, I'm happy that all the people who work in those 24-hour stores will be getting a break. Except for my caffeine fix!! We do have coffee and a coffeepot if we must make it ourselves, but I really enjoy espresso much more than coffee. One thing I learned when we moved here: people in the Pacific Northwest know their coffee. Most of it in the places that I frequent is also free trade and on the expensive side, but it helps me to know that the quality I receive has not ripped off the growers. I know I'm not making a huge impact in the world, but I do think it's important to know the origin of my food.

I'll most likely head out for a nice walk in a local park on Christmas, since I won't have any other options for exercise unless, again, I decide to lift some weights here at home. It's funny to realize what a social exerciser I am: I need company to enjoy working out, while others prefer to exercise alone. I wonder if that is because I'm an extrovert. Smart Guy is introverted, and he much prefers solitary activities, including exercise. Perhaps I'll get him to join me on Christmas Day, however. The weather looks like it will be overcast in the low 40s, but without any rain. A perfect day!

I've got a couple of new worries to occupy my mind: my youngest sister Fia just got home after having spent four days in the hospital with severe asthma. She is staying home from work while she's recovering. And my other sister PJ, who had a heart attack a few months ago, is making peace with the fact that she will be disabled for the rest of her life. Her husband has been updating me with text messages, and I've got my fingers crossed that the tests she just had done will show something—anything—positive. At least, he said, they didn't keep her in the hospital, so that's a plus.

Norma Jean and I have discussed our apparent addiction to exercise. We are similar in our desire to get a workout daily, but when I think of the fact that our parents didn't make it out of their sixties, and that we've got a younger sister who is already compromised by heart problems, it makes us more convinced that staying fit is our only option for staving off heart disease. It also helps to eat the right kind of foods, and we both do that most of the time.

It's not easy at this time of the year to keep sugar and wheat out of my diet. I do my best, but I am also not willing to rigidly control my food intake when I'm at a party or enjoying a fine meal. But those are the exceptions, while healthy food is the norm. Yesterday was the last day for the Farmers' Market, and I'll truly miss the kale we enjoy from Rabbit Fields Farm. Organic kale from the Food Cooperative will take its place in our diet, but it's not the same as eating locally grown food.

I will be thinking of my blogging family on Christmas, and giving thanks for our connection, as well as for my other family members. In my mind's eye, you will, one and all, be enjoying the holiday in whatever manner is best for you. If you have kids and grandkids, I know you will be seeing the holiday through their eyes. The rest of us will be enjoying the holiday in our own ways. Be well, and I'll be seeing you next Sunday when we meet here again. Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, DJan. Prayers for your ailing sisters. I think I am like you, because I much prefer to dance the hula in class rather than alone in my home. However, I tend to be introverted, not extroverted. I love solitude.

Deb Shucka said...

Happy Holidays, dear friend. I count you as one of the best gifts of my life, one that holds through the entire year. Wishing you joy and some magic along the way. Love to you.

Rian said...

Merry Christmas DJan. I love the pic of your porch and Smart Guy. I like seeing where my blogger friends spend their time. It helps to feel a part of their lives. Hope you have a wonderful quiet healthy Christmas!

Meryl Baer said...

I find, as I age, more friends and family with health problems. The ones that overcome them the fastest and/or have the fewest ailments are the persistently active ones. And the ones with the healthiest diet.

Merry Christmas!

Gigi said...

Merry Christmas, DJan!

Linda Myers said...

Ah, Merry Christmas to my good friend!

We leave tomorrow for Tucson, stopping for Christmas Eve in Oregon to have a feast with my son and granddaughters and Midnight Mass with an old Catholic friend. We drive all Christmas Day.

Linda Reeder said...

As you know, I am an introvert and a solitary exerciser. I had a lot of company this morning, though. It was so awful outside that I decided for the first time ever to be a mall walker. Southcenter is just a short drive from home and it's huge and all indoors. I got my 3.5 miles in amid holiday shoppers who were already going strong when I arrived at 8:30.
I understand your fears about heart disease. In my family it's crippling arthritis and deafness and blindness, and of course there is dementia in my maternal aunts. So staying active is important to me too. I wish I could be as disciplined as you are at eating only healthy food. I think I exercise so I can eat!
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. We'll be in touch via the internet.

Arkansas Patti said...

Aw, smart guy has you spoiled. Enjoy.
I can exercise either way but am more consistent if it is a group or even a shared activity. Others hold our feet to the fire.
Hope you have the Christmas that makes you happy and brings better health to your sisters. That would be a lovely present.

Red said...

Exercise! I'm with Smart Guy...always alone except for skating and I don't like it when people want to talk when i'm skating.
I hope your sisters find some solutions.
Have a great holiday. I'm still with out feeds going out. It will soon be fixed.

CiCi said...

Looking forward to reading what you did on Christmas, hope it was a splendid day for you and Smart Guy.

Friko said...

May you stay happily active ad healthy in the new year too.

I can quite understand how much exercise you need in your life; once started it’s hard to get out of the habit.

Sally Wessely said...

I'm sorry to hear of your siblings illnesses. I totally get your drive for fitness. I also am grateful for your commitment to it because you inspire me.

We are in Utah for Christmas. The air quality makes me long for home. Being with the kids makes it worth it.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

True Sadge thoughts! You're a gem, DJan.

Rita said...

I loved seeing Smart Guy waiting for you on your balcony! :)