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 21, 2014

Winter solstice

Still lots to buy on the last day of the Farmers' Market yesterday
It was a little poignant to see the last Farmers' Market of the year close yesterday. I didn't have anything particular to buy, as I've finally finished all the small bits of shopping I do every year. Without any kids to buy for, and staying home from visiting family, I only buy a few things for Smart Guy and a few things for myself. I ended up with a pair of earrings from my favorite jewelry vendor yesterday. They feel festive, so I'll probably end up wearing them every day during the coming week. I do give gift certificates to the three children in the apartment complex, but that hardly qualifies as shopping.

Today marks the Winter Solstice (3:03pm PST) in the Northern Hemisphere, the shortest day of the year. The sun doesn't rise here until 8:00am and sets at 4:15pm. That's only eight hours and fifteen minutes of sunlight, that is IF it's not continuing to rain all day long. Yesterday we had a half-inch of rain on top of the half-inch we got the day before. It's soggy out there, not to mention warm. We've been having a really warm spell and all the snow that fell in the mountains has melted under the rain. The ski areas are not happy, since Christmas break is usually a big money maker for them. Mt. Baker usually has lots of snow by this time. It's an odd weather year over the entire country.

One nice thing about keeping a blog is being able to go back and look at the same time in previous years. We got just a small dusting of snow last year, but it wasn't until February, so it's not unusual for us to be deprived of a white Christmas. They'll have more of it than they want on the East Coast, it seems. I'll take this scenario, thank you very much. But rain? We've had plenty of it, it goes with the territory.

Have you ever heard the phrase "right as rain"? I was thinking about it the other day and wondered where it came from. I found this information on The Word Detective, which gives a humorous explanation for different idioms. I read the entire thing and learned that it's been around in print since the late 19th century, meaning "everything is great." I would think that unless you have too much of it all at once as they did in California last week, rain brings all kinds of good things, including rainbows. I am now the proud owner of four different raincoats and a rain poncho, rain pants, and a waterproof cover for my pack. The only time I find rain to be problematic these days is if it's cold and windy and blowing the rain sideways. Then it's definitely time to spend some time inside.

You may have noticed by now that I'm rambling a little, with nothing much on my mind to mull over and write about as I usually do on Sunday mornings. Of course, everything else is just as usual: partner asleep next to me, my tea within reach, and plenty of quiet time before the day begins. Last week was emotional and I needed to write about that, but this week is calm. And Christmas Day comes on a Thursday this year, meaning there will be no more Senior Trailblazer hikes until next year! We also won't go on New Years Day, but I'll have a nice celebration with the Fairhaven walkers that day, so I will get some exercise. The gym is also closed both days. Sigh.

I realize that I am very much a creature of habit, and that is only getting more pronounced during my years in retirement. Some of my readers have commented on it, usually with humor, but it's funny that I didn't realize that about myself. I always thought I was a spontaneous person, wanting little to do with routines and familiarity. Boy, how untrue that is! I realize now that I really really need things not to change too much every day, or it causes me to get stressed out. It's probably that as I've gotten older, I need to conserve my energy and spend it in ways that I prefer, since it's no longer boundless. By early evening after dinner, I'm ready to settle in and am almost embarrassed at how early I will sometimes go to bed. There are times when I'm in bed four or five hours before my Other Half! But he's a night owl and I'm an early bird: he gets much of his sleep while I'm writing (like right now). It works just fine for the two of us. I will sometimes wake in the middle of the night and reach over, realizing that I was so fast asleep when he came to bed that I didn't wake up at all. It's always reassuring to know that he's there.

On Christmas Day, we will have a really nice dinner together, with salmon from my fisherman friend Gene, some winter squash and a hearty salad. It's a change from the usual steamed veggies that we eat almost every day, but I've realized that my usual diet has kept me healthy. Last week I went to two parties in one day, and I ended up eating way more sugar than usual. I figured that since I had eaten a good deal of excellent foods, eating a couple of the desserts wouldn't hurt me much. Boy, was I wrong about that! By the time we left, I felt horrible, a stomach ache and felt downright ill. It didn't go away quickly, either. All the next day I felt like I had been on a bender, with no energy or appetite and just feeling miserable. Of course I went to the gym and worked out anyway, which made me feel somewhat better, but it wasn't until after a good dinner of steamed veggies and rice that I began to feel normal again.

Diabetes runs in my family, and that's basically why my sister PJ died last February at the age of 63. From the reaction I have to concentrated sugar, I have no doubt that if I ate a normal American diet of processed foods and little to no fresh veggies, I'd have it by now. Something about the pancreas and insulin uptake, I guess. Whatever it is, I'm once again reminded that staying on the straight and narrow food path is a much better idea for me. The cost is too great, and now even the thought of that pecan pie that tasted so good when I ate it is unpleasant. And fortunately for me, I have a husband who makes sure I always have good food to eat already prepared. Yes, I am definitely a lucky person, and I give thanks for him and my life every day.

I've got to finish this up and go answer a FaceTime chat with a friend, who wants to talk. I told him he could call me any time after 6:45 and he just rang. He lives alone and will be having double knee replacement surgery first thing tomorrow. I am anxious for him, and want to be there in whatever way I can. Listening to him is one thing I know how to do. So I'm going to get out of bed and start my day with my post written and virtually hold John's hand. Until next week, dear friends, have a wonderful Christmas holiday!


The Furry Gnome said...

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Always enjoy reading your Sunday posts.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Without getting into the more complex issues in life you have still published an excellent post this morning. You are so right about blogging and how it gives a reference to the past. Your mention of Christmas weather makes me think I need to do a little better job of including some weather info in my blog. This made me wonder if I could do a Google search for a topic in my blog and found, yes, I can do that … I searched for “snow” and found all those old posts … neat! [You will probably already know this, but just in case, to search your blog go to Google and type in the following … site:eyeontheedge.blogspot.com … one space … and then the word to search for.] I enjoyed the info about The Word Detective. What a great site … I’m adding a bookmark for it. Thank you for sharing your blog and for all those kind comments you leave on mine. Wishing you and Smart Guy a wonderful Christmas. John

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you have such a strong reaction to sugar. I wonder what causes that. But if diabetes runs in your family, then I can see why you want to prevent that from happening to you. I am glad you know what is good for you and what is not.

Linda Reeder said...

I'm feeling the effects this morning of overindulging on holiday food last night.
Eating sugar when you haven't had any for a long time can be a shock to the system. Just as you like routine, so do our bodies.
We got up late this morning after a restless night. I see that it isn't raining! Hurray!
It's good that you had nothing deep on your mind this morning. Hopefully that means you are at peace for the moment.

Elephant's Child said...

I am a lover of routine myself. 'Stick in the mud' which you get too much of, and we don't see often enough.
My partner is a spring out of bed at the crack of noon person. I am often in bed five or six hours before him, and up eight or nine hours earlier.
Love you contacting your friend, and being a reassuring voice.

Arkansas Patti said...

As the saying goes "There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." You definitely have appropriate clothing.
Interesting about your sugar reaction. I use to be a grease-aholic and since I quit, if I indulge, I really get sick. Our bodies are pretty smart if we listen.

Red said...

Merry Christmas to you and Smart Guy. Your day is quiet like ours. Your food is better than ours as we still eat some pretty fancy stuff. I also used to think I rolled with the punches. To be honest I think I'm quite set in my ways now.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Yes us old folk get set in our ways. I do sometimes too...I like all my "stuff orderly. This week everything will be out of place and quiet will be no longer...but then it will be really quiet when they all go back home. We made a grocery store mega trip today...those teenagers go through lots of food.
Merry Christmas to you and Smart Guy, I bet that Salmon is wonderful:)

Rita said...

Have a wonderful Christmas!! Glad to hear it was just a pleasant, calm Sunday morning this week. Your schedule won't be back until 2015. Hope your friend's surgery goes well and I'm glad you are there for him. :)

Haddock said...

Would like to attend a farmer's market one day.