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, January 4, 2015

Much has changed in our lives

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Tomorrow I'll get up at my usual time and follow my morning routine until it comes time to walk out the door to catch the bus. Instead, I'll drive a couple of miles to the Bellingham Cordata bus station and leave my car. I'll take the Bolt Bus to Seattle for the day, to visit someone I haven't seen in decades. She was once upon a time my stepdaughter; I was married to her father for several years during the early 1970s. I think. It's been so long ago now that I'm not at all sure of dates, but when I try to figure out a timeline, it comes up around then. It doesn't matter: we will have a wonderful reunion, and one thing we've decided to do together is to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. Yes, that is a glass structure outside the museum, and the link will take you to the website to learn more about it.

If you ever have a chance to see it, I've been told it's spectacular and not to be missed. I don't travel to Seattle often, and never if I have to drive myself, but there are so many other options to get there. The Bolt Bus will arrive around a mile away from where she and her husband are staying, so I'll either take the light rail or perhaps walk if the weather isn't too rainy. Since I'll miss my morning workout, I'll probably walk so that I'll feel more like myself for the day. You regular readers know how much I dislike any break to my daily routine. Unless it's really important, and this definitely is.

I was a young woman living and working in Michigan when I met her father, who came to attend a year-long internship at the Mott Inter-University Clinical Preparation Program, where I worked. We fell in love, and when he left to return to California, I went with him. Of course, there are a lot of details I'm leaving out, which I wrote about here, way back in 2009 when I first started this blog. Just re-reading what I wrote back then brought back enough painful memories for me, and I really want to think about the future, not look back. We will do some of that together tomorrow, but I suspect we won't dwell on the really difficult days but instead will remember the good times we had as a family. She was a young teen back then, just beginning her adult life.

And I was also young, although I was right around thirty or maybe a little younger, I'm not sure. I did see her once again in the 1980s, in Boulder when I was attending a music concert. A young woman screamed my name and was crying as she threw her arms around me. It was her! She had been attending the concert also and saw me as I was standing in the aisle. She was in Boulder for some reason or other (I'll find out what she remembers) and we then spent a day together afterwards, when I met her boyfriend who is now her husband. He's attending a conference in Seattle, and she knew I lived nearby and sent me a message on Facebook wondering if we could get together. That was a few months ago, and it's happening tomorrow. We haven't talked on the phone yet, since messaging and texting has allowed us to make all our arrangements for the day. She suggested the Chihuly museum, and I've been wanting to see it and now I will, thanks to her.

Because she is fairly active on Facebook, I can look at her pictures and know how she is living her life. She looks pretty much the same, although older, and she can also look at my pictures and see that my hair is white and what I look like these days, too. The entire internet phenomenon has occurred since we last lived together, when nobody had ever heard of a website or a smartphone. Now they are as much a part of my life as breathing. And here I am, writing about all this on my laptop before dawn on a blog that will be reaching myriad places in the blogosphere as soon as I publish it!

The connections that have been created by the World Wide Web astound me, when I sit here and think about it. Since I started to write this a short while ago, I have searched online for the website of the Chihuly Glass Museum and found out how to get there, how much it will cost, and a little background (it's only been around since 2012). Then I went looking for a link to the Mott Intern Program and sure enough, there was plenty about it and how it's evolved since 1970. When I began to think about my years with her father, I knew that I had written about it on this blog, so I searched internally for the post, and there it was. And just a few minutes ago I wanted to be sure I was using the word "myriad" correctly, so I clicked on the Dictionary app on my desktop.

But even with all these amazing connections, the one that I could never have predicted and is the most important of all, is the community of bloggers. Although this is a virtual community, it is no less important and significant than those other social networks I have created in my daily life. Five fellow bloggers and I have also started getting together in the flesh once a year in October, thanks to one of us who is a champion organizer. We've done this three years in a row, and now it's a tradition, something we all look forward to. All because of blogging.

I feel a strong connection to many who comment here and tell me of their lives. I always visit the website if they are someone I don't recognize, and if I also feel a connection, I begin to follow them. I use The Old Reader to keep track of who has posted since I last checked. I think I follow around a hundred blogs, and fortunately for me, not everyone posts daily, or even weekly. The posting habits of my favorite bloggers varies, but I certainly see them as an important part of my community life, agonizing over their illnesses and tragedies, and celebrating with them over their triumphs and happy events. Just this morning one of my blogging buddies wrote a long post about the 45 books she read last year. That's a LOT of books, and I immediately went over to my library website and put a hold on one of them that sounds good. Once the book is available, the library will send me a notice and I'll pick it up. That way, I don't have to buy a book that I will probably only read once.

Yes, much has changed in our lives in the past decade. Just seeing someone in the flesh that I haven't seen in at least two decades will be a thrill, and you know I will have my cellphone camera and my regular one as well to capture the event. Although I don't know exactly what to expect from my excursion to Seattle tomorrow, I know it will be a good way to start the new year, with new connections and old merging together. I do hope that the coming week will bring you, my dear readers, some new beginnings as well. Until we meet again, I wish you and yours all happiness.


Anonymous said...

It's too bad you experienced so much abuse as a young wife. I am glad you are settled now with a decent man. It will be nice to meet your stepdaughter again and to see that beautiful edifice. Happy thoughts, DJan.

Linda Reeder said...

I have read your stories of the past, so I'm not going back to revisit them. I just say "Hurray" for someone who shows up out of your past that you really want to see!
You will love the glass museum. I took so many photos when I was there! The colors and forms are wonderful!
Modern advances in electronics have changed and enhanced our world. Having you in my life is an example of that.
Have a great day in Seattle.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am so glad that you will visit with the young lady who obviously still loves you very much! You were probably a safe port in an alcoholic storm for her.
How wonderful to get to see the Chihuly Glass Museum!! I am envious!! I know you will take some photos.
A long time ago a Glass Blower Stayed at our resort for a summer he was working at a place not far away that had a Glassblowers shop. He made us several goblets...all have been broken by now :( :( But we still have a large window piece. He studied with Chiihuly at one point and then was overseas. I hear he is a premier goblet maker now and has a Studio in Mukitto Washington near Everett. I hope we get to Oregon next spring for my nephews graduation...he gets his Phd...then with a little travelling around who knows? :)

Stella Jones said...

Have fun tomorrow and enjoy your memories together. My step son also lives in Seattle so we have something in common. The gardens look interesting. Perhaps you will have time to take some pictures to show us?

Jackie McGuinness said...

I too am amazed at my circle of blogger friends, some of whom I have met and some who are now Facebook friends.

I would love to see the Chihuly Gardens.

Have a wonderful reunion with your ex-step daughter!!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

That is a beautiful story about your stepdaughter. I'm sure your presence in her life was significant and comforting. It's wonderful that you two will have time to establish a current-day, adult-to-adult connection. Chihuly's work is splendid, a great setting for your get-together. Cheers!

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I think you are going to have a great trip to Seattle tomorrow. Choosing the Bolt Bus is an excellent idea. You will know that I'm a train fan and although I love taking AMTRAK down to Portland, I recently took the Bolt Bus instead. So, I'm not sure if I will ever take the train again. Well, the bus is more economical and faster. The advantage left for the train is space to walk around during the trip and perhaps the snack bar. NOW, about the Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum ... On my list of "must see" and, of course, I should have already been there. I think it's almost as bad as living here and never going to the Space Needle. I will look forward to hearing what you think. I've heard it is awesome. NOW, about the web ... I really enjoyed your thoughts about the development of the web, connections, blogging and the digital life. Before blogging I did a lot of TWEETs and a couple of those Photo sites and then felt required to join Facebook. As it turns out Facebook just isn't my cup-of-tea. It is, however, amazing what some folks can do on there. I am really enjoying the pace of blogging. Getting to know folks through their blogs ... well, I find it fascinating. And, if time is available, it just makes a great hobby especially if you can combine it with some photography. I look forward to Eye on the Edge each Sunday. Thanks, as always, for sharing. John

Elephant's Child said...

Chihuly glass exhibiton? Drool and green eyes. Photos please.
Several (probably lots) years ago there was an exhibit here. And I went twice.
Hooray for (re)connecting with a positive piece of your past. And for the warmth and wonder of the blogosphere.

Red said...

I hope your visit goes well tomorrow. I'm sure you will be up to making this visit. You've done a lot of reflection from that time.

The Furry Gnome said...

Hope you have a good visit!

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, I had no idea. I am so sorry you went through such trauma but am so glad that is behind you. From what I gather, his daughter didn't live with him at that time which is a blessing but it still had to scar her. You both seem to have gotten past his damage.
Wonderful that your both are happily married now and that you are reconnecting. Have a terrific and healing time.

#1Nana said...

Hope you had a wonderful visit. I've also reconnected with a few old friends through Facebook and with extended family that I hadn't seen in years. I'm looking forward to seeing you in October for our annual gathering!

Rita said...

That will be an emotional visit, but I hope a very good one. We do live in such a different world than before the internet. I wouldn't have known you at all...and my life would have been less rich. Bless you! Love and hugs! You are a survivor who has flourished!! :)

amanda said...

At the time I am reading this, "tomorrow" has come and gone and is now yesterday.. I hope it was wonderful!
My husband's father is recently divorced for the 3rd time. His ex-wife was my mother-in-law for 15 years (I felt closer to her than to him) and a grandmother to our children. There's more to the story.. she was his 2nd wife as well, my husband's stepmother when he was a boy.. she never had children, herself, her life has been woven with ours for a long time. At first, I was sad that it seemed we wouldn't see her anymore. Over the past few years she obviously distanced herself, trying to detach during those hard years. The divorce was hard on her. At that point, she isolated herself and said it was too hard for her to talk to us.
But at Christmas she sent us a letter that warmed my heart, saying she still follows us on my blog and face book (though I don't post there much these days, but a little here and there.) Yes, the ability to stay connected is a thing of wonder!
She expressing interest in visiting and involvement with the kids. It made me happy to know that she is healing. She's a part of our family, marriage of not.
Anyway, I'm oversimplifying for the sake that this is a comment. :)
Time and connection and the ebb and flow of life are amazing things.
I hope your day together was delightful!

Mel said...

I hope enjoy your visit with your stepdaughter, and the Chihuly exhibit will be fantastic.

Like you, I am astounded by the connections the internet has allowed me to make, and how much these friendships and correspondences have enriched my life. I'm hoping to jump the digital void someday and actually talk in person to my web friends, but we are a very scattered bunch!

Like you, my reader is full of dozens of blogs and I try to keep up, but fall behind quite a bit. But what a great window into so many worlds and lives and world views. So many amazing people, and I have to say you are among the most amazing of them all. I love reading about your adventures, your life and your world view and am so glad we have "met" :)
Wishing you all the best this year.

Glenda Beall said...

I look forward to hearing about your visit with your stepdaughter. She seems to care about you very much. It always seems sad to me when step children bond with a stepmother and then lose them in a divorce. My sister-in-law was grandmother to her husband's five grandchildren fir 25 years, but once he died, she was not included in any of the family holiday reunions. I know it hurt her.
I hope you had a great time.

Lisa said...

Nice story about your stepdaughter.