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 28, 2014

The year in review

One of the very best parts of writing a blog, other than the fellowship with my followers, is having a way to recall the past. It's like an online journal in that respect. I have written 155 posts on my other blog so far in 2014, and just thinking back about the year, I'm sure much of what I don't remember can be brought back by reviewing the year through my posts. The ones I write here on Sunday mornings are usually much more contemplative, so I will skip them.

I just went through the posts I wrote in January 2014, and I found that much of what is going on today is the same as a year ago: hiking every Thursday with the Senior Trailblazers, walking every Saturday morning with the Fairhaven walking group, and attending the aerobics classes at the Y four days a week. January was not much different than this December, with a few changes. When I looked at the pictures of our hikes, Amy was with us and now she's unable to join us because of health problems. She held the Christmas party anyway, but she said she's not likely to be able to join us any more and won't be having the party next year. There were several other former hikers at the party, and it made me realize that I need to be thankful for every single day that I can continue to enjoy the beautiful outdoors with good friends.

In February I traveled to Florida to be with my sister Norma Jean in the sunshine, but it was cut short by the death of another sister, PJ, who lived in Texas. We both traveled there for the celebration of her life, and then I flew home, catching a bad cold in the process. I missed a hike and walk, instead staying home and being miserable. I'd forgotten it was in February that I caught that cold. If you had asked me, I would have said I hadn't had one all year. That just shows how unreliable my memory is.

By the time March rolled around, signs of spring were popping up all over the place, and I began to prepare my garden for the season. In April I traveled again, this time to southern California where I participated in a skydiving camp and was part of a new record, the largest number of women skydivers  over the age of sixty in a formation together (9). It was a great time, and for once I didn't catch a cold. I had traveled first class because of a $300 credit that Alaska Air gave me to compensate for delayed travel the previous fall, and I needed to use it within a year's time. I also got my first garden starts into the ground during April, and it turned out to be the best year yet for the garden.

May and June were wonderful months spent in the outdoors, with my garden coming along wonderfully. Our hikes into the High Country, my favorites, were attempted a time or two, finding ourselves turned back by snow, as we expected. So nice to go back and be reminded about the wonderful summer season we enjoyed together. July and August had little to remark upon, either, other than being able to skydive on the weekends and spending the weeks doing what I always do in the summer months. Nothing stands out in the next several months as well. My life just kept on cruising along right up to the present day.

The only glitches I see in the past year are ones that I well remember anyway: the trouble I started having with my right heel, which continues to this day. It started in mid-July as an annoyance and now I've grown used to it, but it's not gone and bothers me still. If it were something that kept me from my activities, I'd have gone to the doctor by now. I don't know about you, but I find that going to a doctor with a complaint like this usually ends up with me knowing little more than I did before. And it costs me a fair amount every time I visit him, so until it gets worse, I'll just keep icing it and paying attention. I did go to my doctor about a sticky eye problem, and all he did was send me off for a CT scan of my head. Nothing there, he said with a smile, and I take care of the eye with over-the-counter eye drops. Hummpfh! Why bother? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have a doctor to see when I really need one.

So, in looking back over the past year, I can see that it's been a good one, other than having lost my sister. I spend every other Wednesday in a video chat with my sister Norma Jean, keeping our connection current. She's doing well, too, with her son living with her and doing a lot of the cooking, which she enjoys. He's got a full-time job now but still continues to prepare much of their meals. Norma Jean is really a lady of leisure! Golfing, swimming and walking in the Florida sunshine.

When my mother was in the same situation as we are now, she wasn't very happy. I realize from my own experience that it was caused by her isolation from close friends and not making a successful transition from married life to being a widow with grown children. Her days were spent reading and watching TV, with occasional visits from us. I've found a real community here in Bellingham, but it has come from joining exercise groups, mainly, and it's expanded from there. My coffee shop crowd has become like family to me, and I can honestly say I don't feel isolated or lonely at all. Of course, I'm also not a widow, as I have my partner to share my life, and that makes a huge difference. Although we live together, we each follow our own pursuits. No being joined at the hip for us!

He's sleeping quietly beside me now, as I finish the last of my tea and look forward to the day ahead. I'll go visit John in the nursing home where he's recovering from having received two bionic knees last Monday. He'll probably be there for a month or so until he can get around on his own. Right now, less than a week later, he can get himself out of bed and, using the walker, get to the bathroom on his own. That is simply amazing to me. I've got my fingers crossed that he'll have a full recovery.

Another non-contemplative post. I hope you'll hang in there until I again feel the need to dig down deep into my thought processes. These days, when I look there, nothing seems to pop up to be weeded, but I'm sure it'll come around again. Just like the garden, there's always something that needs tending, if I pay attention to it. Be well, my dear readers, until next Sunday. It will be a new year!


Linda Reeder said...

It seems that I know your life almost as well as you do. Regular blogging does that. We share more virtually than we often do with flesh and blood friends.
I haven't gone back to review my year, although Facebook did it for me, and with a bit of editing, it wasn't a bad review in Facebook photos. I did remove the one of me in the hospital, oxygen still plugged into my nose, right after my back surgery! And of course I write an annual Christmas letter, so I guess I have reviewed the year. It was good one!
Thanks for sharing Sunday morning with me. Will it snow tonight?

Anonymous said...

Wow, you sure do sound happy, Djan. If only all of us could lead your lifestyle.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Okay I will be your helper I think you have plantar fasciitis

Of course you won't give up hiking...but with some orthotic inserts maybe it will be better.

Savannah has it...as does my son in law. They have been encouraged to never go barefoot.
Good year in review...I could have told you that you got that cold on the airplane!! Good to hear that your eye drops help that dry eye problem...next time you are at your eye doc ask him what he suggests...you should be due for an eye check up soon.
Heck what are friends for anyway...Happy New Year! :)

Elephant's Child said...

Happy New Year my wise, energetic, giving friend. I love the way that you live your life to the full - and find it inspirational.
Thank you for being yourself.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I enjoyed reading this post. Since meeting you in the blogosphere I have been following you on Eye on the Edge, which I’ve found to be a real pleasure, enjoying your Sunday morning contemplations, often on parts of life that I find fascinating. I do know that you have another blog and don’t really have a good excuse for not following you there, as well, but I suppose it boils down to having just a certain amount of time for this hobby and I so enjoy your weekly blog and I want to give it quality time on this end … thinking it over … and trying to give you a response worthy of the effort you put into your writing. I hope you understand. I wonder if you have experienced this in blogging … as you get into the hobby and more people find your blog, and follow it, and leave comments … I feel obligated to acknowledge their comments and return the favor. I don’t really know what to call it, but it is a sort of imperceptible change that occurs, but very slowly you will notice you are spending more of your time with the blog. I’m not saying it’s a negative thing, but just something to be aware of. So, to make a long story longer, I just want to say thanks for giving me the review of your year via a review of your other blog. I agree 100% with you about a blog becoming a journal. I want mine to be that and need to be mindful of including more current events so I can look back later and see more than just what is in my collection of old paper items. It does sound like you had a good year, and, with a couple of health issues, which we all seem to encounter, you had a lot of good times. So, congratulations on another good year. Wishing you the same in 2015. Thank you DJan, as always, for your comments on my blog. John

Gigi said...

Happy New Year, my friend!

Arkansas Patti said...

Blogs are our journals aren't they? They let us know where we have been and sometimes let us know when we need to step it up a bit. At least it does for me.
I still think you ought to see a podiatrist for that heel. Mine made me some orthodics which I am religious about using and I have been pain free for years.
Happy New Year friend.

Red said...

This is interesting that you go back and review all your posts and find some things you have forgotten. You give me a good idea. I'll take a look at my posts. Sometimes I see a post heading pop up and I'll think, "What was that all about?"
Have a great 2015!

Glenda Beall said...

Blogging means so much to me, as well, and I enjoy seeing which of my posts are still read. The one most often on the popular list is the one on How Do You Want to be Remembered. Almost every day it is on the most read list.
Your blog is always thought provoking and interesting. The years flash past so fast, I have to go back to my calendar for notes when I want to remember what happened this year. Have a wonderful 2015, my friend, and stay well.

Linda Myers said...

I remember most of the year you blogged about!

I agree the blog is a community with the community and also a journal. At the end of each year I have my blog posts gathered and printed on blog2print.com. Like the story of the years of my life right there on my coffee table.

Rita said...

I honestly haven't gone back over my blogs. I might have to skim them this year. I know there will be things I forgot or can't remember when they happened--LOL! Even seeing how much Ian has grown in six months. Every year is good. Some years are just a lot gooder--ROFL! ;) Happy New Year, my friend!! So glad to know you.

The Furry Gnome said...

Sounds like you had a pretty good year, and have life well balanced out. Hope it continues like that for many years yet! Your hike reports are always one of my 3 or 4 favourite blog posts to read, and your Sunday musings are an inspiration!

amanda said...

How fast the year has flown!
Agreed.. The fellowship and the documentation of the time and thoughts that continue to slip quickly into the past are the best things about blogging!
Warm wishes to you as we head into a brand new year, DJan.
And thinking good thoughts for that darn heel! (One of my sisters has had chronic severe heel pain this past year.. She is finally doctoring for it and trying a few things. If she finds a fix I'll be sure to let you know.)

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I think community is very important and I am have a bit of an issue but today's tech makes it easier to reach out with video chats and texts daily. I helps.
glad you find this post insightful for yourself too.
Happy New Year

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Happy New Year to you and Smart Guy. Hope 2015 is a great one for you. John

Sally Wessely said...

You found a wonderful community that really suits you when you settled in Bellingham. I find myself thinking of how I can build a deeper community where I live. That is a goal for the coming year that I have set for myself. Hiking and walking groups abound in the Springs, I just need to find one now that I am feeling better with my heart. I think the person to person connectivity it what keeps a person healthy, happy, and functioning at higher levels as one ages. You prove my point in the way you live your life. We were meant to live in and be a part of community.

troutbirder said...

As usual you've made me think about my own situation. Isolation is indeed a problem. For my spouse with a medical condition that inevitably leads to that and me who idea of fun often includes it. Now there needs to be a turn in my path somehow.....